Tag Archive | weight loss

Tomato Soup for Breakfast ~

I’m two and a half months out from bariatric surgery and things are going… not so well. The past 1 ½ months have been sketchy to a living hell. Every day is a new adventure in stomach pain and trying to figure out what I can eat to ease that pain without making me more ill. I did discover that I am one of the 7% of bariatric patients that suffer through post-surgical complications. Somehow, it feels anticlimactic and does not help me feel any better. My current everyday life is spent trying to find ways to make my stomach stop aching. Nothing I eat or drink helps… with the exception of tomato soup. There is no common sense related to this, especially since tomato soup is commonly known as pretty acidic. Yet if I drink about ½ to one cup of it, with a little butter melted in, it gives me some sense of relief, enough to make it worthwhile. I consider myself blessed.
I went to the surgeon, again, last Thursday. This time I saw the associate of my surgeon – the one who actually performed the Roux en Y procedure. He, Dr. Cooper, (the associate) listened intently and asked relative questions as to my pain, my state of mind (which is currently very depressed) and he offered hope by scheduling me for an upper GI the very next day, and then an “extensive” endoscopy scheduled for tomorrow (Monday, 10-22-2018). He did not tell me that “it’s normal” and that “it’ll pass” as I had been told by anyone and everyone to this point. I just cried. And he gave me tissues and held my hands until I could gather myself back together and gain composure.
So, I had the upper GI two days ago, and will be admitted into Crouse Health tomorrow morning for a 1:00 p.m. endoscopy procedure. Not looking forward to that “nothing to eat or drink after midnight” standing order. And I’m not looking forward to have the procedure done at all. The last time I was at Crouse, I left there scarred and with PTSD over the hour long issue of getting an IV line put in. I break out into a cold sweat now just thinking about it. I don’t scare easily, but the fear is real today.
Dr. Cooper suspects something called a “stricture” in the opening between my stomach and small intestine. It’s where the opening narrows, or sometimes even closes. After researching, I see it’s fairly common and is fixable through the endoscopy. I guess my biggest fear now is what if it isn’t a stricture? What if it’s something that can’t be fixed tomorrow? Will I come home as sick as I have been or possibly even worse? No one can possibly understand how awful this is unless you’ve lived it. The constant pain is physically and emotionally draining, and has driven me into a horrific depression that, fortunately, I’m very adept at hiding. Sometimes I just can’t hang on, and I break down in uncontrollable tears. Sleep is fitful, as the pain is 24/7 and sometimes I wake in the night several times. But mornings are the absolute worst when I wake up and am hungry and the pain is doubled or tripled, and I don’t know what to eat to make it ease, except tomato soup. So, this is where it stands right now. I will be having tomato soup tonight at midnight, knowing I won’t be having anything again until late afternoon on Monday. If you’re the praying kind, prayers are greatly appreciated. If not, just keep me in your thoughts and hope that something definitive is found and fixed tomorrow.
Thank you for stopping by.
Blessings,
Tamara

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Strange Days, Indeed

Nobody told me there would be days like these, post-surgery.  I have been researching bariatric surgery since December 2017, and I don’t recall seeing anyone telling about the complete breakdown of emotion (hormones) and the ensuing chaos.  I don’t recall being this out-of-control since I was around 14 years old.  And before I continue, I want to issue a “disclaimer” that this post may be a bit off-the-wall, random and wandering to different subjects without notice.

Tammy post surgery 8-7-18

Yep, this is me.  Six Days Post Op.  No makeup, haven’t even brushed my hair.  But I made it to my sewing room today!  I am a power to be reckoned with!

I’m Day #6 post surgery.  I guess I can constructively consider myself a mess, emotionally and physically.  I have been nonstop crying for two full days.  Irrational, uncontrolled ~ I feel like I can’t even trust myself, like I’m not safe to be around.  I’m typically a quiet, uneventful person.  But since I got home from the hospital, the “lash-outs” have been real, more frequent.  I’m just kinda waiting for them to “subside”, if they do, but I don’t think that’s going to be an option much longer.

Then there’s this nagging, low-grade fever.  It stays around 99-100 degrees most of the time.  Sometimes it just disappears.  I called my surgeon, fearing infection.  It took over 8 hours without a call-back, and I called them finally and was told to “take Tylenol and call us if your temp goes to 101”.  Ummmm, this did not instill a sense of calm.  Meantime, a low-grade fever seems to be impairing my functionality.

I expected to be more “ambulatory” that I am.  I am able to move about slowly, barely within my own home.  I’m unable to safely go outside, let alone physically GO somewhere.  And I certainly cannot drive yet.  I was assured that, once I stopped taking the Oxycodone (narcotics for pain), I would be fine to drive.  Um, no.  I have difficulty with any sort of exertion.  I lose my breath quickly and easily, and need to sit down frequently and for long periods.  I can’t lift anything heavier than 7-10 lbs.  I’ve spent the past 6 days trapped within these walls, looking at housework that needs to be upkept, and yard work that needs attention, yet unable to act upon either. The frustration is SO real!  **I need to say that Al has been an absolute God-send through this, and does anything/everything I ask him to do, but he has his things to do too.**

How about that “change of eating lifestyle” that I prepared for?  It’s hard, but it’s working.  The term “conscious eating” is my new mantra.  It has to be, unless I want to spend countless hours “dumping” (vomiting) from eating “wrong”.  There are very strict guidelines to go by these first few weeks, and I have been following them rigidly.  Most importantly, everything that passes my lips must be sugar free and preferably fat free.  Sugar and fat make you dump post-surgery.  So far, I’ve gone from drinking 1-2 oz of plain water to drinking protein drinks (2-3 oz) to SF (sugar free) flavored water drinks and crunching on SF popsicles.  Yesterday I took my first sip of chicken bouillon and, I must admit, it was heavenly!  Tonight for dinner, I’m excited that I’m going to try a teaspoon on SF pudding!  To date, my diet has not been an issue for dumping ~ but I keep my guard up!   ***(I just want to add info on “dumping” ~ it’s not simply vomiting, it’s also intense nausea, cold sweats, dizziness, diarrhea ~ some or all of these symptoms at the same time.  So, not a pleasant experience. No.)***

Moving on to “body changes”… nope, I can’t even.  Suffice to say (for now) that further surgeries will be warranted!

I think that about says it all at this point.  It’s early morning (8:15 a.m.) and I’m feeling somewhat sane, so it seemed like a good time to journal this.  I’m hoping this info will help or inform someone else either going through this journey or getting ready to embark.  It is way harder than I’d anticipated, but I’m assured that it’s very “worth it”.  However, my main reason for journalling this is to have it later to look at, to remember.  I know I’m going to WANT to remember this journey.

Some stats, just for fun:  Started the journey in November, 2017 at approx. 356 lbs.  Weight at surgery:  297    Current Weight Day #6 Post Surgery:  283.  And I’m melting… melting…. melting!

Thanks for stopping by.

Tamara ~

PS  I should mention that this is MY experience.  Everyone is an individual and may experience differently.  I cannot speak for what others endure.

 

The “Easy Way Out”?

I’ve been on this journey towards weight loss all of my life.  I’ve been on the journey towards bariatric surgery for six months.  I know others who has experienced it, I’ve talked to people on Facebook and even joined some bariatric weight loss surgery support groups online and locally.  I feel pretty well-educated and informed on most positives and negatives relating to bariatric surgery.

Many, many post-op patients have commented the same revelation over and over:  when they share the news of their surgery decision and experience, the person they tell (usually a good friend or family) comes back with “What?  You took the easy way out?”  And with that disrespectful and awful statement, they often crush the patient’s dreams and ambitions to lose weight and move towards being healthy.  With just that one statement they also show their own ignorance

So, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the “ease” it takes to have bariatric surgery, and live the completely new life afterwards, let me give you a quick taste of what it’s like.

Before ever going under the knife, you need to find out if your insurance will pay for such a surgery, and what part they will play.  If you don’t have insurance or money in the bank, you may opt to head to Mexico to have it done – reportedly less expensive by thousands of dollars.  Then you need to find an accredited bariatric surgeon in your area – they most often come as a “group” with their own nutritionist, psychiatrist, labs, access to special testing.  It’s an all-in-one adventure if you’re lucky.  Don’t forget to find out if they accept your insurance… or back to Square One.

Got your doctor in mind?  Go to one of his/her info-sessions, and once you decide, the process begins.  Now, the process can take anywhere from three or four months to over a year, depending on what state or country you live in.  For those in countries with unified health care, it’s usually well over a year of waiting.  Typically it’s around 6-8 months from info-session to recovery room.  Again, different states/countries have different results.  You will be asked to see a nutritionist multiple times, a psychiatrist multiple times, extensive blood work, an endoscopy, a cardiologist,  and possibly be tested for sleep apnea, go to required surgery support group meetings and several visits just to the surgeon.  You need to have your primary care physician’s clearance and approval in writing that they support this choice.  Chances are good that you will also be required to lose some weight “on your own” prior to surgery – some insurance companies require it, some surgeons require it.  Once you jump through all of these hoops, the surgeon’s office will submit your paperwork to the insurance company.  Then the wait begins for the approval… usually takes 3-4 weeks.

Once approved, more tests, pre-op education and surgeon visits as well as nutritionist visits.  The insurance company may give you a “window” of 2-4 weeks to get everything wrapped up and the surgery DONE.  If you can’t accomplish all in that time span, you start over.  But usually you are good to go, and you feel elated that it’s finally going to happen.  It didn’t seem real until approval was received and the final hurdles scheduled.

Still think this is the “easy way out”?  More to come in my next post.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look.

Blessings,

Tamara