Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Don't be a Halloweenie.

I am very happy to say that I have hit 2 major goals in the past few days! First is my NSV (Non Scale Victory), I had a goal to not have my thigh touch the steering wheel when I drove. I am happy to say that after 2 weeks of not driving and getting behind the wheel on Monday afternoon, my thigh was a good 1"-2" under the wheel!!! WAHOO!!! The second goal is a numbers one. I have lost 15lbs since surgery 2 weeks ago, 25lbs total since my pre-op diet 4 weeks ago.

I started mushy foods and it's a welcome relief from all the liquids, but I'm already bored. HA! Truth is, nothing really tastes that good. Everything seems kind off. It is quite common for VSG patients to have issues with their tastebuds, so it doesn't shock me. 

The hardest thing right now in recovery seems to be just how sleepy I am. I still feel the need to take a nap during the day which is really hard when you are taking care of a 4 year old. Like right now, I started this blog entry to keep me awake! Otherwise I'd be dozing off in this chair right now. :P

Yesterday was the first day that I was able to get in all 64oz of my fluids. I was so happy to finally hit that mark. It makes me realize that things are moving forward, even if, VERY slowly. Patience has never been my forte. 

I wish you all a very Happy Halloween! This is my favorite holiday and I was unable to fully celebrate it this year like I like to. It makes me sad, but I know it's all going to be worth it next Halloween when my life is drastically improved. I love Shelly's WOW for today:

My mantra when tempted by poor choices & not-so-fun size candy bars: "Don't trade what you want most, for what you want at the moment."

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Slowly but surely.

It's really hard to put into words everything I've been going through this past week. There have been so many times where I sit down to write out a post but get lost in my own feelings.

I knew this wouldn't be a walk in the park. However, I didn't expect the healing to take so long. I still feel like a "patient" not myself. I'm still in pain at night from the incisions, although they are starting to really itch, which I think means they are healing. I need help putting on my socks, plugging my phone in, or whenever I drop something because I can't bend over. I am constantly being asked if I'm drinking enough (out of goodwill and concern, I know, but it gets a little irritating, I won't lie?),

I did put regular clothes on for the first time last night when we went to Theis Family Farm for their Pumpkin Land. It's a tradition we've done every year with Nathan since he was born. It wasn't as enjoyable this year, first because it was FREEZING and second because I couldn't do the hay ride or run around with Nathan. However, seeing the smile on his face made the whole thing worth it. We were only there for about 1 hour but it was nice to feel human again.

Today we went "Trunk or Treating" at church and Nathan had a blast. Me however, well, about 20 mins into it I was sweating, in pain, had a headache and was nauseated. It doesn't really hit you that you are RECOVERING until you push yourself too far. I got home, had a good cry, drank some protein and now I feel a bit better. Nathan was the cutest little Angry Bird though. I'm just grateful I was able to be there with him, even if we had to cut it short. 

I got to try some pureed foods today. I decided to go with a blended soup since it had a bunch of protein, Campbells Bean & Bacon to be specific. I whizzed it up in my blender stuck it in the microwave and OMG it's like the best thing I've had to eat in 4 weeks! LOL. It made 10oz of soup with 10gms of protein and it took me over an hour and a half to eat it. It's amazing how small my stomach really is now. This is the first time I've really had to pace myself eating something because it was GOOD! I'm going to have abt 1/2 cup of cottage cheese tonight to get my protein up to where it should be. I'm actually looking forward to it! 

I was warned that around the 2 week mark I would get emotional. Fat cells are where our hormones are stored so when we burn nothing but fat, all those hormones bombard us with emotional issues. Today was one of those days. I had a good cry and thankfully my hubby was there with a comfy shoulder to cry on. He helped talk me through it all and I feel better now. I am learning to accept that this is a process. I am an instant gratification kind of person and I need to learn to take my time, accept what I can and can't do and let myself heal and move forward each day. 

So far I haven't hit either of my water or protein goals, but I am getting closer everyday. I never thought it would be so hard just to drink water! I know in the long term this will be exactly what I need, the restriction of food, but it's kinda discouraging when you feel like you have a drink in your hand ALL day and you still can't reach your goal. 

I am very thankful to my friends and family that have been there for me. I can't thank my brother enough. He and my SIL drove out here from Ohio with very little notice to come help take care of me so my husband could go back to work. I called him Monday afternoon and 8hrs later he was in a car driving here. It was a big boost to my reserves having him here. He helped out in so many ways. Not just by driving Nathan back and forth to school, or doing my dishes, or making sure I was drinking, he was a source of familiarity and it made it easier to relax and know that he was here. I'm very lucky that he was able to just pick up and come out when I really needed him. I broke out in tears when he walked through the door. Sometimes what you need most is just a hug. He worked with me and helped make sure I was drinking enough because if not I was going to be readmitted into the hospital. When my Dr. called on Thursday afternoon and I gave them my numbers and they were happy I was ECSTATIC that I wold be able to stay home. I know a little bit of that victory is in part thanks fo my brother who would wake me up from my naps, not let me out of the car, or would just annoy me, until I drank some more. It was a great visit even if it wasn't for the best of reasons. It was a little bit weird to be taken care of by my little brother though! :P

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Home sweet home.

Somehow I've been able to take in enough fluids that when my Dr, called to check on me this afternoon he said I didn't need to be admitted tonight. Thank GOODNESS!!!
I've been averaging around 50oz fluids & 50gms protein which is a HUGE increase from what I was doing on Monday, only 30oz fluids & 15gms protein. 
Good news is that I'm 22lbs down total including my pre-op diet. 12lbs down since surgery. 
I hope things continue to improve, I was given the go ahead to start Phase 2 foods on Monday if I am consistently getting in my fluids. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fluids, Fluids, Fluids.

SO, I had my 1 week check up on Monday afternoon, which was kinda silly in my eyes because I was just discharged from the hospital on Friday. Anywho....

I went in and they took 1 look at me and said I had a choice, IV fluids downstairs and I have to call back Thursday afternoon with hopefully a better day or be admitted again right then and there. So, I opted for the IV fluids and to go home since my husband absolutely has to go back to work tomorrow and I have no one who can help/watch my kid. 

He did say if I'm not able to up my fluids I will be readmitted on Thursday so I can be monitored. He attributes all these issues with my sleeve being swollen and restricting volume. Today I only managed about 15gms of protein and 32oz of fluids. Not gonna cut it. 


I had my little crying fit tonight, "why the hell did I do this to myself?!? What a stupid decision." etc. 

I feel so defeated right now. I'm trying so hard to buck up and keep trying but it's so hard when your body won't do what you ask of it. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Home & Sleeved!

So, I went into the hsoptial on Tuesday the 16th to get sleeved at 2pm. The dr. was running behind so I didn't actually get back to the OR until about 4:30pm. From what I am told the surgery was "textbook". Very easy. The recovery however, NOT very easy. 

I had a very hard time coming out of anethesia, which was new for me, I've had past surgeries and not had any issues. From what I was told and what I remember from being in and out of conciousness, I woke up vomiting and dry heaving. They gave me 5 different nausea medications to get me to stop. Because of the vomitting I was in immense pain so they had to drug me up really well. I remember crying so hard, wailing that "it hurt" over and over. I spent almost 3hrs in the PACU before I was able to be controlled with medicine. I was moved into my room where I was just supposed to spend 1 night at about 9pm. I don't remember much of that night, must have really been knocked out on pain meds. 

The next morning I had my leak test done and it came back perfect. Then my Dr. came to see me and was concerned because everytime I took a sip of fluid, be it water, popsicle, ice chips, tea or anything. about 10 seconds after the sip I would get a horrible sharp pain in my stomach. Because of this pain, I was unable to get the required fluids down (4-6oz per hour) and I was told I would be spending another night in the hospital. He thought that most of the pain and issues I was having was from swelling that was talking a longer than normal time to heal. 

That night & the next morning I was still in pain everytime I would drink. I would try to force myself but the pain was very intense. By this point I had my first "freak out" moment of what the hell did I do to myself. This has been a disaster. But, I bucked up, kept walking the halls, sipping and sleeping. 

The next morning my Dr. came to see me again. He checked all my incisions, I only ended up with 4 ports, and they were healing very nicely. He decided since I was still in a lot of pain when I was drinking that we should try Carafate to help coat my stomach until the swelling went down. He also told me, and this was at 9:30am that I would NOT being going home today either. It was another night in the hospital for me. However, the Carafate was a god-send because that day I was finally able to start drinking my liquids! I was so proud to get just 3oz down in a hour! Then I made it to 4oz and hit the wall. I couldn't make it past 4oz. Walk, sip, sleep repeat all day & night. 

Finally on Friday at about 11:15am I was released from the hospital!! Yay!! I was thrilled to get out of there. I was NOT planning on spending 4 days & 3 nights in the hospital. Because I was healing slowly I was worried that no matter what I did I wouldn't be able to get my fluids in, and even today I am still having issues doing so. 

Today is my 6th day of recovery and I'm sometimes able to get my 6oz of water/gatorade/propel down in an hour but those are rare victories I still struggle to do so. I attempted to drink some protein yesterday and I ended up in so much pain that I threw my clothes on and went for as long a walk as possible to hopefully move it around. It was terrible. It was only 4oz, sipped over an hour. I was completely miserable for a good 3-4hrs. I took some pain meds and layed down and took a nap. For the rest of the day yesterday I did nothing but water/gatorade/propel and managed to get down 12oz in 2hrs last night before bed. The most ever so far! 

So, because I know I need to get some protein in I am trying again today with the protein. I've watered it down so hopefully it moves through easier. Although, I just drank my 4th oz and I'm feeling quite full already. I've been drinking 1oz every 10 mins. 

The best piece of advice I've ever gotten about this surgery is "Never trust a fart". Let me tell you it is SPOT ON. I'm still passing a ton of gas from the surgery, from both ends but when it's the lower end I make sure to get to the bathroom because you just never know. LOL. Better safe than sorry. 

My husband has been amazing. He has been talking care of our 4 year old on his own since Tuesday and keeping the house together and being my nurse. I am so thankful for all that he has done during this time. There is nothing like knowing you have all the support in the world sitting right next to you when you are questioning what you just did to yourself. 

I feel stronger mentally and physically now. I have my post-op Dr.s appointment tomorrow at 1:30pm. I am supposed to be moved onto soft/purreed foods tomorrow, but I have a feeling that since I am still struggling with fluids he might wait. We will have to see. 

I weighed in at 341.6lbs when I checked in at the hospital on Tuesday afternoon. The day I came home from the hospital I weighed 345.8lbs from all the fluids & stuff from surgery. This morning I weigh 336.6lbs. 

Overall this journey has been a lot harder than I anticipated. I've read all the stories, talked to lots of people and we all just go through this surgery differently. Seems like I caught  the harder end of recovery. The good news is that all my vitals, my new stomach and I are doing VERY well. I just need to keep pushing fluids. I will be anxious to see what the Dr has to say tomorrow. 

Thanks to everyone for all the support!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tomorrow is the day.

It's almost time. I got the call from the OR this morning. I will officially be sleeved at 2pm tomorrow afternoon. It's been a long journey. It's been 20+ years of being overweight, 1+ year of serious life change & 4 months since I decided on weight loss surgery. I am excited to start this part of my journey and to fully live for the first time.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

This place is pretty sweet. They have a good selection of diet/bariatric products and their shipping is FAST!! Want $10 worth of product for free?!?! Just sign up and in the referral box put my email address: and you will get $10 FREE to use on their website with NO minimum order! It's a pretty sweet deal. Check it out!

I just ordered some BariWise Fruit Drink, I definitely recommend this stuff!

My life in numbers.

A lot of people are shy about showing their numbers. Personally I can't tell you how many times I've told someone what I actually weigh and they are shocked, they couldn't believe I really weighed that much. I am much more than these numbers, but they provide more than pain, shame and embarrassment for me. They provide me with goals, progress and hopes. I hope to NEVER see some of these numbers again in my life. I will make these goals and I will share my progress with you. Part of this journey is being honest and not only with myself. Sometimes the best motivation is having others know the truth.

Age: 29
Height: 5'5"
Highest Weight: 375lbs
Lowest Weight in past 5 years: 318lbs
Starting Weight: 351lbs
Pounds lost so far: 9lbs
Current Weight: 342lbs
Current BMI: 56.7
Goal at 1 year weight: 228lbs
Amount to loose to get to goal: 114lbs
Current Pants size: 28
Current Shirt size: 22/24

Body Measurements:
Wrist: 7in
Bicep: 21.75in
Neck: 15in
Bust: 50.5in
Chest: 42.5in
Belly: 52.25in
Waist: 43.75in
Hips: 64.5in
Thigh: 37in
Calf: 26.5in

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

7 days to go!

It's been a WEEK! I made it through a week!!

This has probably been one of the most challenging things I've ever done. These past 7 days have been rough, but I made it. I have 7 more to go until my surgery. I really struggled on day 5. I had the worst headache that just pounded and made me nauseated. I lost control and I cheated. I at least chose a decent food to cheat with. I had about 2 cups of cottage cheese. It's on the 2nd phase foods and it was full of protein but I still felt like crap for cheating. I just lost all my willpower that night. I was alone, hubby was out at a hockey game and I was miserable. What I learned from this situation though is the cottage cheese didn't make it better. Food doesn't make me feel better. Food is not about feelings, it's about nutrition. I think this was a worthwhile lesson to learn. Yes, I had to cheat on the diet to learn it, but in the long haul it is going to make me stronger. I've never thought I was an emotional eater, I still don't think that but I can see how my emotions led me to eat that night. The whole situation gives me something to work on and hopefully that will motivate me to finish out this diet and move onto my surgery with a good mind frame.

This biggest thing I can say about this diet is that I am SO SICK OF SWEET things. UGH! Everything is sweet, and not just sweet, like teeth aching sweet. They say your tastebuds change during this journey and it's for sure already happening. The protein shakes I am having to drink are just so sweet that it's hard to stomach them. I was literally crying about it yesterday to Michael. I just wanted something that wasn't sweet!! Thank goodness I had a sample of Unjury Chicken Soup Protein powder. It literally saved me that day. It was drinkable and while it kinda tastes like a Ramen Noodle packet minus the noodles at least it wasn't sweet! Of course, now I'm out of it and waiting for my canister to be delivered. Oh well!

Overall the past week has been full of emotions, ups & downs, victories and defeats. It's been a tough 7 days but with the support of my amazing husband and my awesome friends I've made it through one hurdle and I'm ready to keep working towards the next one!

Total weight loss for Week 1: 9lbs.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Pre-op diet update. Day 4.

 Today is day 4 of my 2 week liquid diet. I thought I was going to DIE yesterday!!! The nausea, the pounding headache. I was in bed at 7pm and asleep at around 9pm. I didn't wake up until 10:30am!!! I slept like 13hrs! My head was pounding so bad that I thought I would NEVER get to sleep, it was the most awful feeling. I ended up taking 2 benadryl and that finally knocked me out. 

 I feel SOOOO much better this afternoon. I have a slight, dull headache still but I feel awake for the first tiem since I started the liquid diet. I hope things continue to get better from here. I'm not struggling with being hungry much. I have been SUPER gassy however, from both ends. 

And hello Jay Robb protein powder!!!! Seriously the BEST one I've tried so far. I made a Pumpkin Pie shake from the Vanilla, added some Pumpkin Pie spice. YUMMY!! I had the JR Pina Colada this morning too, seriously the stuff has NO aftertaste and no chalkiness. Serious yums. 

I've also lost 9, N-I-N-E lbs since Tuesday morning. Holy Carp. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

Day 3 of the pre-op diet and I am starting to feel ok. Which is surprising because I hardly slept at ALL last night. I was so tired I went to bed at 9pm, but tossed and turned still somewhere in the 2am mark. Of course my little monster Nathan woke me up at 6am so it's going to be a long day!

Yesterday I did it!! I managed to get all 5 of my protein shakes in. Some of them were not so yummy but I did enjoy the AboutTime Peanut Butter shake. I added 1 TBSP of PB2 to if for some extra flavor and protein and it way yummy! I also had some Won Ton soup broth and OMG, it was like I was drinking a little slice of heaven. So sad, I know. But when all you are "eating" is protein shakes even some soup broth can taste like a million bucks!

Today my mission was to find some Syntrax Matrix protein. I've heard really good reviews about this brand and I'm already getting bored and tired of the chalky taste of some powders. Lots of bariatric patients say their Mint Cookie flavor is to die for and the Cookies & Creme isn't far behind. I ran around to different vitamin & supplement stores and finally found the Cookies & Creme flavor at The Vitamin Shoppe. Price was about $2 more than online so I decided to go for it.

I'm glad I did! It was very good! First impression when you open the container is that it looks like smashed up cookies!! Real looking "cookie" bits and all! The smell?! AH-mazing. I kept saying "please taste as good as you smell, please!". I whipped up a shake with water as directed and let me tell you, YUMMY! It has a bit of that protein smell after being mixed but there is no chalky taste to it at all. I bet it would taste even better mixed with some almond milk instead of the water next time. So thank goodness I have found 2 shakes that I can get down with no problems. This one and the CLICK. 

One thing that is really bugging me is that my stomach is CONSTANTLY rumbling. Not because I'm hungry actually but because of all the liquid. I feel so bloated and, excuse me, gassy. My entire digestive system is just rumbly and grumbly and just UGH!

Overall yesterday was an easier day and today is shaping up to be pretty well, even though I am seriously tired. As Dory would say;

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Unauthorized Guest Post!

Hello to all!  I am Heather's husband, Michael.  Heather has no idea that I am posting this on her blog.  However, I thought I would share some of my thoughts about Heather's decision to have weight loss surgery and why I have absolutely no doubt she will succeed.

My wife of almost 10 years can do just about anything.  I've seen her find her way to New Jersey to meet some guy who she knew only by a screen name.  I've seen her teach herself how to knit amazing toys and gifts for friends and family members (or strangers in need).  I've seen her read entire books in one day. I've seen her handle a very challenging 4 year old and our home day after day while I am at work or out at some sporting event or church group.  She does a terrific job at all of it, even if I do give her a hard time sometimes.

The one thing that has always scared me about Heather has been her weight.  Her appearance has nothing to do with my worry, as I believe she is beautiful inside and out.  I've been scared because of her health.  While Heather is a generally healthy person, she has had problems with her back for as long as I have known her.  Her weight, combined with the pressure it puts on her back, means we can't be as active as we want to be and enjoy the outdoors and other special moments as a family.  I also know that being overweight can have increasing health effects as one gets older, and I want to make sure that Heather is around for a long, long time, as I couldn't ever imagine my life without her.

That is why I fully support Heather's decision to have surgery.  I have no doubt that not only will the surgery help her to become more healthy, but that she really wants to be that way.  I know that Heather will follow every piece of advice and every word that her doctors say.  I know that Heather has been thoroughly vetted by the fine folks at the SSM Weight Loss Institute, and firmly believe that they would have rejected Heather for this surgery had she not had a fantastic opportunity to do well.  The doctors have told me and Heather that her current generally good health gives her an excellent chance to have a successful surgery, recovery, and subsequent weight loss.  I don't think there's a chance... I think it will be automatic.

Not that it won't take some work.  I'm sitting here thinking about what it would be like to go 48 hours without eating anything.  I think I'd go out of my mind.  She's done it and still has 12 days to go.  No pizza or pasta for the rest of my life?  I'd go clinically insane.  See what I mean when I said Heather could do anything?  I'm so very proud of her, and I know she'll make it.

I have no idea what our lives will be like after the surgery.  However, I'm so excited to see what the future brings.  Ten years of marriage is a huge milestone, and I'm very likely to celebrate it with a happier and healthier wife.  Nothing would make me more grateful.

Thanks for listening to me ramble and for supporting Heather as her surgery date approaches.  You never know, I might just pop up again and post here.  In the meantime, all of Heather's family and friends should know that I am by her side through it all and will support her before this surgery, after this surgery, and for the rest of her life.  I take that responsibility very seriously, and I expect all of you to hold me to it.  Until next time...


I will be a beautiful butterfly.

This may sound a little corny, but last night I was thinking......

This journey of mine to become a healthier, more active and more beautiful Heather is like a Caterpillar turning into a butterfly. I have surpassed the caterpillar stage, the sitting around being lumpy and accepting my fate instead of doing something about it. I have started to build my chrysalis which wraps me in love and support from my family and friends. It's while in this chrysalis, during and after my surgery, where I will change, emotionally and physically to eventually become a beautiful butterfly. I love this analogy because it's so relate-able. So from now on my symbol of hope and success for my weight loss journey will be the butterfly. I bought this necklace to remind me everyday of my journey and what is to come after all the hard work and effort I put into this.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Day One.

Today was the beginning of my 2 week pre-op liquid protein diet. I was nervous this morning a little bit. Everything started out pretty well. I made my first protein shake in my handy dandy Blender Bottle and hit the ground running!

Surprisingly it wasn't bad! I had a chocolate shake (Muscle Milk Light) with light soy milk. Everything went well, I had another shake later (Click Espresso) with 1/2 water 1/2 almond milk and YUM-O that was amazing. Definitely a go do shake. About 2hrs later around when I was supposed to have another shake I got really nauseated. I tried to just struggle through it and sip some water but it got so bad I thought I might vomit so I took some medicine (Meclizine). It definitely calmed my stomach down and I feel better but I am not going to be able to make my daily requirement of 5 shakes per day. I'm sipping on some Crystal Light w/ unflavored protein powder (Syntrax Nectar Medical) so I can at least get 3 shakes in. If I can finish this shake I will have had 60gms of protein & about 70oz of fluids. Tomorrow my goal is to get in my 5 full shakes. If for some reason the nausea continues I am going to call the Dr. and see what, if anything, I can do to help it. 

Overall, the nausea aside, today wasn't as hard as I thought. I did get pretty hungry about 2pm and that's when I had my 2nd shake and I felt better. Tomorrow is a new day and a new chance to do better, that's exactly what I'm going to do!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Bring it on!

The words of R.E.M. are swirling in my head this morning.

 "It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine"

Today marks my last day before my WLS journey really begins, because tomorrow I start my 2 week liquid protein diet. I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't nervous, I am. I will probably have a break down or two, cry or whine over the next 2 weeks. However, I know that this is the right path for me and while these next 2 weeks might be the hardest part of this whole journey. Basically you are living your life as if you had already had the surgery. Reducing calories down to about 800 a day and 40gms of carbs or less. Here's what I get to eat/drink for the next 2 weeks:

Protein shakes
Crystal Lite or Sugar Free Koolaid
Flavored waters like Propel or Powerade Zero
Sugar Free Popsicles 
Sugar Free Jello

Sounds yummy doesn't it?!? I've stocked up, bought every flavor jello I could find and got some popsicle molds to make my own popsicles from Crystal Lite/Koolaid. Now the whole reason for this 2 week diet is to get my body ready for the surgery. One major benefit from doing this is that it shrinks the liver. The VSG surgery is done laparoscopically and to be successful they have to maneuver around the liver. It also aids in pre-op weight loss. I've heard others doing the 2 week liquid diet have lost 0-20+ pounds, but everyone is different. 

Tonight I will be taking photos of my starting point and taking measurements. I want to document this journey I am going on every way possible. It's the start of a whole new me and I am so excited. I'm not jaded, I know this is not going to be a walk in the park. I'm ready to do the work. For myself, for my husband and my son. They mean the world to me and I want to be here with them for as long as possible. This surgery is giving me the opportunity to restart my life and create a better future for all of us. I'm so lucky to have the unwavering support of my husband along with family & friends. 

I'm ready for this. BRING IT ON!!