My Weighty Story: 1 Month Out and POOP!

(Yes I know I’m late posting this. )

So week 4 was a rough week.

mental stress

 

I had really good days pain wise, then only to not sleep well and hurt the next.

I got on the scale on Thursday and I had gained 5 lbs since Tuesday’s weigh in. I know there are fluctuations, but in two weeks I did nothing but fluctuate between 215 and 222. 4 years ago I was at this weight and I couldn’t get it to budge. I would by lying if I didn’t say that I was freaking out a bit that my body is going to do the same thing.

When I spoke to the doctor at my 2 week appointment he wanted me to work on getting my protein up to 60-70g a day and up the water to 64oz a day. Basically get me going on what I will need to get to for the rest of my life. Let me tell you. IT IS HARD. I feel like I eat and eat and eat, and am full all the time, and I’m still only at just under 50g a day. Granted that is up from the average of 30 a day I was getting.

Well then Tuesday, June 5th came and it was weigh day. This was TECHNICALLY 4 weeks from the surgery date. I got on the scale and… it said I was down to 216.4.  I didn’t believe it. I still hurt in my side, and the scale had told me that before so I didn’t believe it. So off to work I went.

***Warning for those who don’t like poop talk, skip to the next paragraph***

I hadn’t been able to go to the bathroom in almost a week, my side still hurt, and I was tired. I had to work out of the office that day, and let’s just say that I finally got to the point that I had to make myself go. I held my side because I needed to push, and so I pushed on the area that hurt to help distract the muscle, etc. … [insert a whole lot of work here]. Suffice it to say it was one of the hardest times I have ever had going poop. But here is the interesting thing… after I was done… all my side pain went away. Yup. We think I was bound up. I haven’t hurt since. Sure I have a sore muscle, but life is otherwise back to “normal”.  So if you are reading this and still deciding or waiting to have surgery, please take your constipation meds. You don’t want to go through that.

So side pain now gone, I had a wonderful nights sleep, a great day, and because I didn’t believe my scale the day before, on Wednesday, I got back on and it said 213.4. So, I’m going to take that as breaking the stall.

Overall over the last month, I feel like I have more energy, and I’m starting to get my food more stable. I have my 6 weeks appointment in little over a week and I’m hoping to be released for full food and exercise. Since I don’t have the side pain anymore I have been getting on the elliptical 2-3 times a day, plus my daily walks to get my exercise in, which are bringing me to about 8-9000 steps a day. I know the Dr. will want me to be consistently getting 10K in, but even at the time of surgery I was only at 5,000 a day. I just wasn’t either able to or making myself get anymore than that.

So here is to another week toward a healthier me. Week 5 has been sort of amazing. I’ll have that scheduled for Tuesday release!

My Weighty Story: Week 3 and Things I Didn’t even realize I did

Before surgery, you practice eating slow, taking smaller bites, limiting the meals you have, and overall changing your habits in preparation for your new life.

No matter how prepared I thought I was,there are things that I’m finding that I do, that I didn’t even realize that I had done.

Just a few:

1. Wanting sugar while sitting and playing my video game. Frankly, I had realized how much I like to snack as I game, but I didn’t realize just how much I wanted SUGAR as that snack, let alone how mindless that snacking was.

2. Wanting Ice Cream each time I walk into the grocery store. I really don’t know if I felt this way each time I go to the grocery store before, but now, each time I go in for anything, milk, dinners for the family, more Vitamin Waters, laundry detergent. I. Want. Ice. Cream.

3. Opening the refrigerator just to see what I can snack on only to realize I’m not really hungry. I will stand there look at what are my options, I assess how hungry I am, and quickly realize, I’m not. In fact many times I’m feeling pretty full, and shouldn’t be thinking about putting in my mouth other than water at all.

4. How when everyone leaves the house there is a reflex to get up to the kitchen to look for comfort food. This one surprised the hell out of me one morning when I realized I had done it a few times.

5. This sort of ties into the mindless eating at the computer while gaming, but it also happens to be while watching TV. How much I will absently drink a beverage. While this is good for helping me get my water in each day, I’m not watching out to make sure that I’m not gulping, or taking too much in.

I’m sure there will be LOTS more in the future, and that is okay. These are things I have to work through.

Unfortunately I had a little set back toward the end of week 1.  I was doing really well up until then. The pain in the right side was getting better each day as well as my energy and then…..

ct-distance-sneeze-germs-travel-20170223-001

That sneeze hurt like a sonofabitch. I saw stars, my vision dimmed, and then I remembered I had to breathe. Breathing of course hurt, so thank goodness for birthing breathing techniques still in the back of that grey matter. Once I regained my senses, I took some pain meds, and went to bed.

I was laid up for quite a few days, then I remembered that I had my DoTerra stuff. I fully realize that a lot of people believe that essential oils are hokum, witches brew, hogwash, or a scam. That’s fine. I respect your opinion. That being said, I have used them for a few things and have found them to be very helpful. For instance, during allergy season, just a dab of peppermint on the tip of your nose helps clear you up. There are lots of other things you can use for various things, but that isn’t the point of this post. Anyways,  I started taking the Deep Blue Polyphenol Complex and started using the Copiba oil on my stomach about a week ago, and I wasn’t instantly cured, but I noticed a marked improvement, and have each day since. Why I hadn’t remembered this earlier, I don’t know, but damn I feel like an idiot for it. When I talked to my doctor about it on my 2 week follow up he said if it is still bothering me come the 6 week appointment, he’ll look into it more, but he things I pulled the compromised muscle when I sneezed.  Figures right. Leave it to me.

On the bright side … the doctor released me to go back to work today. Oh it was really nice to get back to normality. the girls greeted me so excitedly. It was really heartwarming. The day itself was pretty calm for me, and it was really nice to see my email not blown up. My boss did a great job of keeping up on it so I didn’t have a billion things to come back to. (THANKS GIRL!)

My energy level was really good, and I iced my stomach a bit as it was starting to get sore. I expected that, which is why I brought ice packs with me. I am still using them at home. Then 1:30pm hit, and it was like I walked into a brick wall and I couldn’t get comfortable in either my chair or standing.  So even though I didn’t make the whole day, I did end up working 3/4 of it, and tomorrow is another day.

This isn’t a easy ride, but I know in the long run it will be SO worth it.

Stats:

HW (Highest Weight): 289

PW (Process Weight ie: what I started at when I started talking to the dr about this): 265

SW (Surgery Weight) : 232

CW (Current Weight): 215

 

 

So what happened on surgery day?

I had my VSG (Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy) on Tuesday, May 8, 2018. diagram-VSG

For more information on VSG and RNY, click here to be forwarded to Kaiser’s Bariatric, Northern California Department website.

My surgery went great and I’m doing okay. Kaiser Fremont was amazing.

Kaiser-620x330

The day of surgery really made me love Kaiser all the more. Everyone at the hospital was helpful, nice, and genuinely acted like they WANTED to help me. I arrived at 8:30am, checked in, and then headed to pre-op. Once I dropped off my paperwork, it wasn’t very long until they called me back.

After a quick wardrobe change, and a prego test (which obviously was negative), they set me up in a recliner to get the IV and first round of stuff started. Yes, you read that right. A recliner. No hospital beds for pre-op here. Unfortunately, I did have a bit of a problem with the IV. I got super light headed, and I almost passed out a couple of times. I am NOT blaming the nurse though because I’ve always had a problem with needles, and I wasn’t able to lay down for them to do it. Plus no food or much in the way of liquids for 12 hours before that, well, I guess in some ways it was expected.

Once they finished with all that they asked the same questions again and again. It’s pretty usual. They want to make sure you haven’t forgotten something or your stories change. What procedure are you having done today? Did you do the bowel prep? When was your last meal? When was the last time you had anything to drink? Any allergies? Do I have a Health Care Directive? (Which I have, but not on file with Kaiser, and the husband unit knows my wishes. If you don’t have one, you really should get one done. Never know what could happen.) Pretty typical questions.

Once they had me all settled, and gave me a blood thinner shot, they let the husband unit back to hang out with me until I walked into the operating room. The anesthesiologist came in when it was almost time (they were running a little head of schedule) and went over the same questions. I reminded him that I have had problems with anesthesia induced nausea multiple times, and he said that shouldn’t be a problem because they will put all kinds of anti-nausea meds in me during surgery.  He was hilarious by the way. Completely upbeat, and explained it by saying he was gonna start me off with a couple light weight margaritas, then he would then give me a super strong pina colada and next thing I would know I would be waking up in recovery.

After he left, Dr. Dutta, my surgeon came in and went over everything again and gave me a quick run down of what they were going to do. That basically consisted of me walking into the OR, laying on the table, and as he described it the hive swarming in. There would be nurses strapping me down so I wouldn’t fall off the table during surgery, nurses putting the pressure cuffs on my legs (to help prevent blood clots), the anesthesiologist would put an oxygen mask on, and various nurses running around the room. So lots going on, don’t worry, its all normal. Then he said he would see me in about 10 minutes.

10 minutes.

Yup. At this point it was like 10:20 or so, and I was originally scheduled for 11:00ish so my heart started to race in excitement. Kel and I finished getting all my stuff in one spot, and then they said the OR was ready for me. One more quick kiss and I love you to the hubs and I was off, walking out to start my new life!

The OR was pretty much as they had described it, but the room was bigger than I expected it to be.  I walked in and everyone shouted their hello’s, like it was a big party and I climbed up onto the table. From there it was the swarm, just as expected. Dr. Dutta came over and in a very jovial voice said, “Alright everyone ready for the breakdown?” or something like that. “Alright everyone we have Kimberly Ringer here for the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy. You are Kimberly Ringer and that is the procedure you are here for right?” I confirmed and then the nurses rattled off a bunch of techno-gargon related to the surgery and the tools that were needed, confirmations around the room and then the bartender showed up.

The anesthesiologist put the mask over my nose and mouth and told me the margarita’s were coming in, verified after a moment I was feeling okay, said the Pina Colada was incoming, pressed down, and …………………………………….

15cm-14-3cm-Car-Styling-Cartoon-Cute-Panda-Sleeping-ZZZ-Stickers-C5-1558.jpg_640x640

The rest of Tuesday, I pretty much slept until about that evening. I vaguely remember my husband coming into recovery and telling me I was sleeping the day away, and then later coming in and saying he was gonna head home so he could get the daughter unit to dance, since I was sleeping, and that I probably wouldn’t remember him telling me that, and to PLEASE not be too mad at him for leaving. Or something like that. Like I said. I VAGUELY remember all of that.

When I did come to and after I got up to go to the bathroom, they brought me some Crystal Light, some Jello, and some hot rose tea. The Crystal Light and Jello was not a problem. Once the hot water hit my stomach, it was a huge NOPE. It all came back up. Alright… new baby stomach did NOT like hot yet. Noted.

A while later they were able to get me into a room and I was wide awake by then, and feeling alright. Once they got me settled, they gave me some nausea meds, and some more morphine. Yup, threw that up pretty quick. In fact I threw up the pain meds all night long when they tried to give them to me.

So … when you are researching weight loss surgery, you often hear about people who have these moments of regretting having the surgery. Usually during the first month or so, sometimes after due to complications, but it was at 5:30 am on Wednesday, that I laid there, hurting thinking to myself that “Okay, now I can see why someone could regret going through this.” I wasn’t, and I still don’t, but I could see how someone COULD think that. I hadn’t been able to keep much down in the way of pain meds, and I wasn’t sleeping, because, well who sleeps in a hospital.

At 5:30 when the nurse came in, I asked her what medication they were giving me for pain, because I couldn’t remember, and when she told me morphine, I asked her if they could check with the doctor if we could switch it to something not as strong as I’ve had issues with some of the stronger pain medications in the past making me sick. That could be why I wasn’t able to keep it down and historically, I’ve not been able to keep much past Norco down before and she said she would check on it. She came back with Hycet, which is in the same family as Norco / Tylenol, and it worked.

I got to see Dr. Dutta a couple hours after that, and thanked him for changing the pain meds, because it had really helped. He also gave me a run down of the surgery and reassured me that everything was textbook, and no leaks were detected. He also gave me pictures of before and after, which are super cool. I am not going to post them because there are going to be some readers who may be a bit queezy. Dr. Dutta then went over his exceptions for my water and protein intake until I physically see him again at the 6 week mark (I have a phone appointment with him on Wednesday), that if I have any questions just to let him know, and then said I could go home and should be able to leave about 10:30.

c01ff-tada

Super excited. From there it was just a matter of getting my new medications, going over things with the nutritionist and having discharge paperwork done. When it was time to leave, I was ready. I would have walked out if they had let me.

The husband said he has never driven that highway home that slow before EVER. He was so concerned about me throwing up or shifting wrong in the car and being in pain, he drove super slow. Which was really nice, because that road he drives every day, and …. well I can’t stand it.

I was so incredibly happy with Kaiser’s staff. Every single person I interacted with were nice, helpful, and seemed like they really wanted to be there. I totally give Kaiser Fremont an A+ for my care and well-being.

Well now it’s been two weeks, and I feel great with one exception. The pain on the right side is sticking longer with me than it does for a lot of patients. For the most part my energy feels good, I’m walking as instructed (every few hours at minimum), and I’m getting about 30g of protein in a day and about 40oz of water in a day. It should be higher, but it is hard. I’m just not hungry, and I’m full on just 3oz of food. Eventually I’ll need to get the protein to about 70oz a day and the water to 64oz a day, but I’m only two weeks out.

Well, here is to the new me. Let’s rock it.

Wait, What the what?

5 Day

 

So only 5 more days until my surgery. I’m super excited and haven’t really been freaking out about the major change I’m making. I feel confident, I feel sure.

But here is the problem…. my damn subconscious. I have had dreams of everyone in my office screaming at me about how much they hate me, how worthless I am, how I’m horrible at my job, and so on and so forth.  Okay… maybe I’m a little insecure about leaving work for surgery and recovery. I can understand that.

I have had many dreams where I get back to 220lbs and then no matter what I still can’t lose the weight past that. Then I wake up crying because I’ve gone through this extreme to get the weight off and be healthier, and it doesn’t work. Not at all. Not going to lie. That is a REAL concern of mine.

Here is where it is stupid.

Dream 1: Okay Mrs. Ringer, you are free to go home. … 4 hours later may husband doesn’t show up to pick me up, and I call him and he totally forgot that he was supposed to do that.

Dream 2: Waking up in recovery with my daughter laughing hysterically at me pointing and crossing her legs to keep from peeing her self from laughter. Of course she won’t tell me why she’s laughing.

Dream 3: I lose the weight, I get to where I want to be and my husband says he is divorcing me because I’m thin now. No other reason. Just because I lost 100lbs.

Dream 4: I lose weight, get to goal weight, but then can’t stop losing weight. It’s right out of Stephen Kings’ book Thinner. I wither away to a skeleton and my husband just laughs at me.

Dream 5: A co-worker comes to the hospital to see me, but instead she takes one look at me and nopes right on out the door and gives whatever it was in her hands to the person in the next room.

Now put those 5 on a circulating loop. It’s all stupid irrational stuff. None of it makes any sense.

Other than that, I can’t wait. I went in for my pre-op last week, and there were NO nerves at all. None. Nada. I expected to have butterflies in my stomach or something, but nope. I walked in with my head held high and ready to conquer this.

Is it Tuesday morning yet?

 

Weighty Decisions and WHY I’ve made this choice

Grab a cup of coffee. This is a long post.

So, it has been a really really really long time since my last post.I know that, and I’m sorry. I just haven’t ……… Anyways.

If you know me or have been following me over the years you know that I have worked hard at losing weight for the majority of my life. You also know that I have ALWAYS struggled with my weight. I have always been that FAT friend. The one tolerated because there was one, maybe two people in all of the circle who actually liked me.

Over my life I have done  just about everything, save surgery. I’ve done Weight Watchers, Curves, Adkins, Low Carb, the military diet, Slim Fast, Special K, Doctor monitored Phenementrine (I am probably not spelling that correctly), Doctor monitored dieticians and nutritionist, Doctor monitored Wellbutrin, you name it, I have probably tried it, or something close to it. I’m the classic YO-YO. I would lose 20-30 pounds, then gain 30 or 40.

About 6 years ago, I looked at a picture I had of myself at Christmas and just cried.

Before

I was 289lbs, the highest I have ever been, and through blood sweat and tears was able to get down to about 220. Unfortunately, nothing I did made the scale move from there. I was at 220 for about 4 months, and I tried upping my exercise, cutting more calories, upping my calories, and a bunch of other stuff, but it wouldn’t move. So I gave up and have since gained a chunk of that back.

For the last couple years, I have had lots of problems with back spasms, which leave me unable to get comfortable and throwing up from the pain. On July 4th weekend 2015(16?), I had an episode that was so bad, that I spent 36 hours throwing up, passing out, throwing up bile, then not even bile anymore. It was so bad and scary that the husband and daughter units had seriously considered taking me to the emergency room. In hindsight, they probably should have.

Anyways, I started eating healthier and walking again. Then as I have done before, didn’t see the result, and my body just hurt all the time, with nothing to show for it. I stopped. My back continues to give me problems. It affects everything I do, and plan to do.

My back isn’t going to get any better at this weight, and while I don’t have diabetes or high blood pressure yet, they are going to happen if things don’t change. They both run on both sides of my family and if I stay on the road I’m currently on, they will also be added to this list. I have watched someone I love very much have some serious health problems over the last few years and is now at a point where they can’t hardly walk because their feet are so bad. I see that, look at myself, and realize that while it may not be my feet, it is my back and my knees, and if this is not corrected now, then I’m not going to be able to help take care of that person when they need it, or my husband, who is 13 years my senior. (In the interest of full disclosure, the husband unit is in much better shape than I am. Not to mention, that if something doesn’t change he will greatly out live me.)

Not to mention that I’m not being an example of being healthy to my daughter. Yes, she is 17 and a senior in high school now, but SO NOT the point. I don’t want her to follow in my footsteps when it comes to health as it has historically been written. I want her to live a long, healthy, active life.

This isn’t healthy.

I am not healthy.

This isn’t okay.

I am not okay.

This has to stop.

I see the road ahead of me, and I don’t like what I see.

I HAVE TO DO SOMETHING.

GETTING “OPERATION GET HEALTHY PROJECT” BACK IN EFFECT

Step 1: I talked to my doctor about everything. We talked seriously about options. I gave her the extensive list of things I have tried and failed out.

Which brings me to the weighty decision I have had to make.

My doctor, believes that I should seriously consider getting weight loss surgery (WLS). Other doctors have suggested this over the years, and up until December I was aggressively against it. In November another doctor had suggested it, and I just said I wasn’t ready yet. This time, when my doctor asked me to consider it, for the first time in my life, I didn’t recoil, I didn’t snear, and I didn’t think “Oh Hells No!”.

I thought… okay. Let’s discuss this. So we did. She went over the different types, and that we can always start the process and I can always decide not to move forward with it. She gave me a bunch of information and told me to do my research online, then send her a message to let her know if I wanted to talk to the bariatric department. She also stressed that surgery is NOT a quick fix. It is a last ditch tool to help you achieve a healthier life style. I would still need to put in the work, A LOT OF WORK. Finally, she gave me a referral to  a nutritionist, as that would be the first of many steps in this process, whether I decide to go through with surgery or not.

I did the research on WLS, and watched an untold amount of youtube videos from both doctors and patients who have had it. One thing I found super interesting is that all the good happy stories were right there, at your fingertips. I had to go SEARCHING for the complications, for the failures, etc., which I did read and think about.

Then there was the discussion with my daughter and husband to see what their thoughts were on it, and they were extremely supportive. They have both seen me struggle to lose weight, and how hard I did try with no success. While their reactions surprised me, they didn’t. They have always been supportive in whatever it takes to make me healthy. This is just such a DRASTIC decision, I didn’t think they would immediately jump on board for me to move forward with this process. They made sure to tell me that whatever my decision, they would support me fully. ( GODS I love those two. )

There are things that won’t change even with surgery. For instance, my thyroid issues. I have a thyroid that runs so slow, I walk by a doughnut shop and gain weight. Let alone walking in and consuming one. Another example, in a way is my dependency on food. We all depend on food to survive. It is a necessary evil in life.

What I would (and should ) change is my EMOTIONAL dependency. When I’m stressed, I eat. When I’m depressed, I eat. When I celebrate, I eat. When I’m bored, I eat. That would all have change, but I have to eat. I would just have to change how my dependency is ruled.

I met with the nutritionist on January 31st, and after discussing how I eat, my known pitfalls, my concerns, my history, my family health history, etc., she got me started on a diabetic diet at 1200 calories a day and no more than 10 carbs a day (its an exchange formula that you do to figure out how many carb points per # of grams of carbs in the item). I starved for the first 4-5 days. Sent her a message and she suggested I up my protein to help curb the hunger. I did and did much better, my body adjusted a little bit.  Upping how much protein I was consuming via protein shakes helped a lot.

On February 8, 2018, I went to the Bariatric orientation seminar in Fremont, which is where the closest Kaiser Bariatric Center is to me. At the time I went I was about 85% positive that this is what I wanted to do, but I knew I really needed to learn more directly from the doctors, surgeons, and people I would be working with over the next few years if I decided to go through with this.

So I showed up to Kaiser early… which may or may not have been a good thing. So I sat in my car and listened to a book until it was time to go in. Once I got checked in and waited in the waiting room, more people came in and I noticed something that surprised me a bit. I was one of the only people who didn’t bring someone with me for this. Most everyone who came for the orientation had a partner, friend, parent, whatever, with them for support. I think I was of maybe 3 who didn’t have a companion with me.

Anyways, they called my name, they started by taking my weight and giving me a “Binder” that I have to take to every appointment. It is more of a spiral bound notebook, but they call it the binder. It has everything in it we need pre-op. Info on each type of surgery, nutrition info, and a bunch of other things.

The doctor then gave a presentation on what types of surgery Kaiser Fremont will do (which is the RNY gastric bypass or the Sleeve). They don’t do the lap band as they have not had success with it in the past, and they have found that it often requires a second surgery because it doesn’t work, or there are complications with the band. They also don’t do the switch as it has a much higher risk of malnutrition later on. One of the interesting things I learned is that people with diabetes or the risk of diabetes may do much better on the RNY because since it bypasses the colon(?), insulin is regulated better, and some people have been able to get off of their diabetic meds completely.

He also went over loosely what Kaiser requires before they will schedule your surgery. This includes your consult with the surgeon, dietician, psychological evaluation, some weight loss and some various testing. Yes, they do make you lose some weight before hand. As the husband unit said, “See you can lose the weight. The problem is sustaining that kind of weight loss and keeping it off.” They want to make sure you can commit to the food changes that need to happen for your new life.

There was a bunch of other information that he went over, but one thing he kept stressing is…

MAJOR LIFESTYLE CHANGE FORCED UPON YOU

and

READ THE BINDER!

Because I had done so much research before hand, a lot of the information I knew. I did learn some other things that are more Kaiser specific though, and the Dietician presentation I thought was a good wake up call for a lot of people. Some of the comments that I heard from people really surprised me and made me realize that I don’t think they did any research on this before coming.

Am I just weird?

Am I necrotic about this?

Seriously, there were people saying…

“That’s all I’ll be able to eat?”

“What? I won’t be able to eat cake again?”

“What do you mean I have to eat my veggies after my protein?”

I was just shocked and floored with those comments. I mean.. what did you think this was? I freaking walk in the park option?

<deep breaths>

So…. rant over. Though I did learn a bit more, once the Dietician was done, they filtered us through so that we could make our next appointments. Again, I had done my research, so when they asked if I had a surgeon preference, I told them I did not because everything I found on all the surgeons was great. So I got my appointment  and then mulled everything over all the way home …. through 5:00 pm traffic in the Bay Area. Then I mulled it over a lot more. Then a lot more. Then lots of conversations with the family, and mulled it over some more.

My Weighty Decision

The pros and the cons have been weighed and I am going to have the surgery. I know this isn’t going to be easy. I know that this is just a TOOL to help me get the weight off. It is strict and at times it’s going to be brutal. This isn’t an easy decision, but yet it is for me. Medically, it is a no – brainer for me.

I already hear people saying well just eat like that now. You will still be able to “cheat” that way, you won’t have the possible side effects down the road. The problem with that… it allows me to fall back into old habits. This is the forceful hand that will NEVER let go. I will forever have to be mindful of how I eat. Let me say this plainly…

THIS. IS. NOT. THE. EASY. WAY. OUT.

If you have read some of my past posts about the weight loss, there are some about how I want to wear cute clothes, to be not looked at with shame in public, and lots of other vain things. Yes I talk about health and stuff, but this time it is so much more health focused.

I just can’t allow myself to become what I am becoming. I have to do this.

So, bring it on.