My Journey starts here. What has brought me to this point I cannot take back or change so I have decided to start right here.
Life has a way of getting away from you sometimes. I guess that is what happened to me. I lost site of who I was and what I meant to myself and others. I had forgotten somewhere that Life is to be lived and enjoyed. I had forgotten somewhere that I am loved and that I DESERVE to be loved. Loved for me, not for who I think those that love me want me to be. This lack of vision allowed me to become grossly overweight with a list of ills that never seem to end, never mind the sad ache that comes from being lonely because you just cant seem to share the self you are now with be with people who remind you of who you REALLY are.
In a moment of clarity …….I saw it...........unfamiliar as it was. I recognized the girl. Just standing there and smiling at me. She held out her hand to me and said, “Don’t be afraid, I’m here for you.” As I moved toward her I saw that in her hand she held HOPE! Shiny, glittering, warm HOPE! And in that moment she and I connected. We are no longer separated we are one. And together we begin OUR journey.
Deciding that I need help and that I cannot resolve the issues of my weight and health took a lot of courage. It was not something that was easy for me to admit. My granddaughter was born on April 1, 2004. The first time I held her I knew I never wanted to leave her. Still I was not convinced that I needed help. Another year passed and I was exhausted. I was gaining weight; it was becoming increasingly more difficult to walk without gasping for air, by bones hurt. I don’t remember the last night I slept all the way though the night. I was sick more days than I was feeling well. Finally, I made the decision I needed to make. I wanted to live. I wanted to be healthy, I wanted to see my children and grandchildren grow. I wanted to be healthy to help care for my mother should she need me. Damn I want to ride a rollercoaster again. Now by no means was this decision made lightly. I have spent a couple of years researching. I have followed others on their journeys and digested each and every pro and con. I’m sure I missed a few but I am confident that this is the right thing to do for ME. I have searched out surgeons and hospitals and delved deep into the abyss that is Insurance I went to a WLS symposium with Dr Lourie in December 05. And God had his plan because the path was opened wide for me. Every door was opened and obstacle was moved. I had my consult Jan 5. And by March 1st he had submitted to my Insurance only to receive an approval on Monday March 6. My surgery date is May 3rd. May 3rd I start my new life.
• I can’t wait to be able to run with my granddaughter without falling down or fighting for breath.
• I can’t wait to walk into the supermarket and go thru the turnstile instead of having to open that stupid gate.
•I can’t wait to get into my sisters van without her kids helping me because my knees hurt.
•I can’t wait to get into a pair of jeans that do no pull-on with spandex.
•I can’t wait to ride a bike (outside)
•I can’t wait to go to the river because I can get into the boat.
•I cant wait to soak in an average size tub and use more than 1” of water to fill it.
Today I start with the updates. I should have done this sooner but I didn’t. Yesterday I saw my surgeon to sign away my old life. As I started reading the consent forms it hit me how real this is. I guess I have been in this self induced euphoria that last couple of months not wanting to face the realities of the changes that will soon become me. I studied, sought support, fantasized, and realized all that is WLS. Now that last statement is really not the whole truth. I had everyone believe that the euphoria was 100% genuine, because that is just what I do. I have been bouncing hard between pure fear and absolute jubilation. The in between was so muddled I just bypassed that all together.
◦ What if I cant pull this off
◦ What if no weight comes off
◦ What if I develop complications
◦ Will I be sorry ◦ Will I be able to get in all my water, vits and protein
◦ Will I choke on a bite and die from lack of air because I failed to chew chew chew
◦ What if slip and hit my head while walking just after surgery and fall into a coma.
◦ I am going to be so healthy
◦ I am going to be beautiful again
◦ I am going to live again
◦ I will ride a bike
◦ I will run down a grassy hill
◦ I will wear a cute little black dress with spike heals
◦ I will turn heads because I’m sassy ◦ I will run and play with my grandbaby◦ I will swim for hours
◦ I will shop and Love trying on clothes
See what I mean? The rantings of a true psycho.
I have my family who is all really supportive. And, My Rock. Now she doesn’t know it ‘cause I keep that a secret, but my baby sister is my rock. I admire her strength, grace and sheer determination. Nothing is passed aside. Did I ever say Thank You, for being my baby sister? Ok I sign my old life away and have my pre-op EKG, blood drawn and chest x-ray. I’m finally finished. Testing done. Hoops jumped and cleared. Pre surgery shopping done. My list? Okay. SF JELLO SF Popsicles Crystal Lite Peppermint tea Water Flavored Water Protein lots of samples to try Better than Broth Beef and vegetable Soups Strainer Flintstones w/minerals Viactive B12You get the idea. I will shop for other stuff later. This is enough to get me started. My son told me today he got the day off so he will be able to come to the hospital .That meant so much to me. I told him it made me misty. When I hung up the phone I cried. What a blessing. My baby girl is spending the night with me tonight. That sweet little angel face. I had better get to bed or I will get nothing done tomorrow 4 DAYS 4 DAYS I cant believe it will all change in 4 DAYS
April 30, 2006I
woke up at 3AM. I lay awake in bed for hours, not able to get back to sleep. Yet another night I have been unable to sleep that makes 3. I am exhausted. And let me try to get a nap today. It seems everyone else has plans for me. The phone rings (wake up). Can you do this (no nap for you). Sleep please sleep. I will have my grandbaby again tonight so a sleeping pill is out of the question. Geez is that me griping? I guess there will be time for me to sleep on the OR table. I was hoping time for myself before hand to get my head in a better place. Eyes on the prize, Focus.
May 3, 2006
Well, its 3am and I’m getting ready to change my life. 4 more hours. Wow. I can do this. I wish I had a larger water heater I needed another half hour in the shower. There I go trying to make a deal for more time again. Ok you can have one more deal. You go today. Keep you date with that handsome surgeon of yours and, you don’t have to wear your tennis shoes to the hospital. You can wear those worn out, no tread, ugly smelly sandals you live in. Deal? Deal! Its time to go, I have to pick up my sister. She’s my surgery buddy. And I will get to meet my Angel Judy. She will be by later this evening. I’m going to be just fine. It was a yucky drive. An hour and a half in cloudy drizzle with traffic, can you believe that? Traffic at 4am. I was half an hour late to the hospital. My son followed my sister and I down so he got to be there with me to. I was thankful and blessed. I get there and when I told the gal at the desk my name she says “We’re ready for you, we were hoping you would get here soon.” I got my fancy arm band and was escorted right to the pre op room where I was given a stunning gown with matching socks. After I change into my OR wear, my sister and son get to stay with me. Then the fun starts. I get weighed, 339 pounds. Vitals, medical history taken (11th time in last 3 months). My pre op nurse Sharon entertained all of us with an absolutely flawless rendition of the entire “Operating Room Procedures for Gastric Bypass Surgery Patients” Monologue. And then as if on cue Dr Handsome came in. Did I say Dr Handsome out loud? Oh well its true, my surgeon is not only a genius and master of this type of surgery but it certainly doesn’t hurt that he is a cutie to boot. I had been told that he would be using the Da Vinci robot. What? A robot? Ya I hear ya I was not pleased with that prospect. I imagined a surgeon at home in his lazyboy with joy stick in hand, in his pajamas. Dr asked me if I had any last minute questions. (DO I) He spent the time to explain in detail about his robot. And the benefits of having it a part of his team. I felt better now. After he left I met the rest of the OR team. My son said a lovely prayer and I said goodbye to my sister and I was wheeled to the OR. Once in there the nice folks transferd me to an awesomely uncomfortable table and I heard someone behind me say “Honey I have something nice for you…………………………………… .................... “Susanne? Susanne? Can you wake up for me? Susanne? Well good afternoon. It’s all over sweetie. How are you feeling? We are going to keep an eye on you for an hour or so then we will take you up to your room. I get a private room! With a HUGE bathroom, not that I need one with a catheter. Wow this is really nice. I was in my room maybe 5 minutes when I see my sister and son. Boy was I glad to see them. I felt really groggy. And I felt really puffy. Pain? Yes, there was pain too. I left recovery at 2:30pm the surgery usually take a couple of hours, mine started at 7am, but I had an over abundance of scare tissue, my Dr. wanted to take his time and work thru it rather than just do an open procedure. See I told you he’s the best. I felt rather good considering I just had major surgery. I slept for a while, said goodby to my son, had to go to work, chatted up my sister and slept a while longer. I got a visitor too. My OH Angel Judy came to see me in the evening. Her pictures just don’t do her justice. She is really a special person. An angel, a complete stranger taking her time to come see me, a complete stranger, and offer to walk me around the halls. But, Judy was no stranger it seems like I have known her along time. We had a great chat. I was out of sorts so we may have chatted about some really bizarre things. The nurse brought me some apple juice in a one ounce cup that took half an hour to get down. The goal was one of these cup every 15 minutes. (Ok, now who here is on meds.) And finally the nurse came in around 9pm and had me get up and start walking.
WOW, did I sleep well. I had insomnia for the past 4 days and I slept most of it off. My sister is sleeping in the recliner I hope my snoring doesn’t keep her up. She needs her sleep. She has been an angel. Waiting, watching over me. Just being there. She may not know this, but her being here with me has made all the difference. My handsome Dr. came to see me this morning too. I must have looked a fright. He said I can go home today if I want to. I never expected to be released this quick. I feel great today just a little sore, so I decided to go home.
I feel good. Did I really have surgery, and where is all this GAS that everyone complains about. I think I’ll have a SF Popsicle. UMMMMMM, boy was that good I’m going to have another one of those. So, I eat not one but four. OUCH!!!!! I want to die. Sometime during my nap someone filled me up with gas. OH MY GOD! Damn popsicles. Ok so it wasn’t really the popsicles, I made the mistake of inquiring to myself this morning where all that terrible gas was and well, now I know. Walk, gas x, heating pad, hot shower. Repeat. Ahhhh the shower was the best. This gas lasted about 3 days. The worst 3 days of my life. The only 3 days that I actually felt like I had major surgery.
Ok so I was going to hide the scale until my 1st post op appt. I had noticed a couple of things that were different so DARN IT I broke that baby out. (Head hanging in shame). Before the surgery is screamed at me EEEEEEEEEEEEE every time I got on it. I was too heavy. And a digital scale has no manners, could just show a big fat 0 but no, it BEEPS and has HUGE RED EEEEEE’s. Well today the darn thing is still broken, it still screamed at me. IN NUMBERS I’ve lost 12.5 bounds I am exactly 7days post op. Good for me. I celebrated with a SF Popsicle and a walk to the mailbox (other side of my complex, usually a driving event) Oh and I have a tip to that is proven to get me through the day. Being good to my PouchI start each day with something warm. Usually herb tea of some kind peppermint is the usual choice. It is soothing to the pouch and reduces any morning nausea I may have. I have noticed that if I start the day off being nice to the LITTLE fella, it is nice to me the rest of the day. One the days I piss off the pouch, it stays pissed off all day and I am totally miserable.
I woke up this morning feeling WONDERFUL. And, I have a date. I will be seeing my handsome surgeon today. I can’t wait…….. “Let’s see what I will wear. Oh come on you’ve got to have something in here. Ah there you are. I just love this pink shirt with the sexy neckline. And it looks good on me too. Now where did you put that lipstick? Oh my you have looked this good in a long time.” I am really feeing great and I have noticed that my skin is radiant. It’s almost as if I had a laser peel. Ok the benefits are starting to show. I have a long drive today, so I better get to it. I’m looking forward to the drive and getting out. And especially seeing my handsome surgeon. After an hour and a half on the freeway I finally arrive at the Drs Office. Right on time. “Hello Susanne. How are you feeling?” I didn’t want to do it but I did. “Well Dr. I have to say that I absolutely hated you for a few days. But I’m sorry now I thought those things. I am so grateful to you. Can I give you a hug? Thank you.” My surgery took close to six hours and I asked Dr about the scar tissue. He is the best when it comes to details and if you ask he will give them to you. He said, “There is a lot of confusion about scar tissue. It is like epoxy glue that fuses your organs together. In order to get the organs we needed to do this surgery we had to spend A LOT of time cutting through that very hard solid substance.” I thanked him sincerely for taking the time to do that rather than just give up and open me up. Some surgeons would have done just that. With the kindest face he said “It is a lot of extra work for me and my team but, YOU are worth it. By doing it that way, we are able to insure YOU the best scenario for recovery. And that is what you came to me for.” I got a little teary because of my gratitude. I can tell he was touched by my thanks. Ok now on for the good stuff. I have lost a total of 16 pounds as of today. My incisions look good. And I seem to be right on track. He said I can have some Cream of Wheat, and really watery mashed potatoes. Yummy. And I have to get more protein in. It is essential. So I set one goal. Get at least 60-70 grams of protein in daily.
“PROTIEN, PROTIEN, I LOVE PROTIEN. Ok keep telling yourself that.” Well I have challenged and successfully slain the evil protein monster. I have learned to get past the smell of sweaty feet and ass. I have learned to mix magical potions that really truly taste great and I look forward to them. I haven’t had to hide unflavored powdered crap into my Cream o Wheat and Pudding. Ready made drinks suck. The protein I use I get from GNC. Pro Performance Whey Protein. Good stuff. My favorite flavors are Chocolate, Banana Cream, Strawberry and the best of all is Chocolate Caramel. The magic ingredient is Lactaid Fat Free milk. Mixing with water allows the horrible aroma to bleed through. And using the Lactaid not only masks the odor, but makes it smooth not slimy. I always mix them with a couple of seconds in the Magic Bullet Blender to make them smooth. I add coffee or a spoonful of instant coffee to the chocolate and chocolate caramel sometimes. And for a special treat I add and ice cube or two and blend for a fabulous FAKE A CINO (that’s a fake frappacino for us Starbucks folks) For the Banana Cream and Strawberry I add frozen or fresh fruit. Strawberries, blueberries, peaches, pineapple and bananas, you get the idea. I also use SF flavored syrups I found at Smart and Final. There is no limit here. And that nasty evil protein monster is gone forever.
“Let’s get on the scale this morning and see how we are doing. Ok, I’m waiting, 314 pounds. You have got to be kidding me. This scale is broken. I have been over 320 for the last 3 years. Ok let’s try this again, ok, 314 again. Oh you big cry baby, look at you sobbing over three little digits” I am so excited I am down 25 pounds since my surgery. I feel better than ever and I can do things I haven’t done in quite awhile. I’m not winded when I walk or bend over. I can bend over. My knees no longer hurt. I can unhook my bra. I have noticed that my chin no longer rests on my chest when I sit. And my boobs are no longer at my chin. They have dropped considerably. Only an obese person can appreciate that one. My butt and legs are very squishy. They used to be very solid. And my complexion WOW. I can’t help by sob when I think of these changes. Even now as I put this down, great tears. A long time in coming.
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