Friday, July 30, 2010

One Month Post-Op

It's been one month since surgery. I can't believe it! Time has really flown, and thankfully I am actually feeling human again. Whooo hooo!!!

I just took my one month post-op pics, a few days late, but going back to work this week has made me pretty tired. I can see subtle differences when I compare my pre-op photos to the ones I took today. I look less like I'm about to pop at any second. :-) Unfortunately I don't know how much weight I've lost now. The new scale I bought is not working and I haven't returned it and bought a new one yet. I hope to soon though.

I am definitely enjoying my non-scale victories. Such as having clothes fit, and or be lose, that were skin tight before surgery. I also enjoyed being able to sit in the chairs in the cafeteria at work and actually not feel wedged in like I had to lay back to fit. I could reach across the table with ease to grab the salt & pepper! My rings are fitting again too. Yay! And the best part...the compliments, even from people that have no idea what I did. It makes me feel really good!

I'm looking forward to all the changes to come!

Friday, July 16, 2010


Protein is very important to my post-op nutrition. I need 80-100 grams per day. I've learned quite a bit about protein lately. Did you know protein is the major component of muscle tissue? It keeps blood sugar stable, promotes satiety, and is needed for hormone and digestive enzymes. Protein is also needed for a healthy immune system, and is essential to carry oxygen in the blood. Who knew?! I make sure nearly everything I eat now has protein in it and I'm also on the lookout for new items that have lots of protein in them.

Here are some of my most recent finds:

EAS Myoplex with 42 g of protein!!! I was shocked when I found this last night at Kroger. I had not found a drink with that much protein in it so far. It was a little expensive, 4 for close to $13, but the 17 oz bottles seemed worth a try. I also don't mind the taste of them. They are not gritty like some protein drinks. I think it tastes similar to a less sweet chocolate milk.

Braum's 4% Milkfat Cottage Cheese. I located this while visiting my parents last weekend. A 1/2 c. of this has 14 g of protein. Awesome! It tastes really good too, but then again I do love cottage cheese.

Last but not least is the Special K Protein Water Mix. It has 5 g of protein in it, which isn't a whole lot, however it's better than nothing, AND I might as well get protein in while drinking my water. It tastes pretty good too, and I've seen it in three different flavors; Pink Lemonade, Ice Tea with Lemon, and Strawberry Kiwi.

Feel free to let me know of any great protein finds you may have!!!

28 lbs lost!

I had my post-opt class/check-up yesterday at Dr. Stewart's office. It went very well. I'm down 28 lbs in just 2 1/2 weeks. Whoooo and hooooo!!!!!! They also took me off my Diovan/HCT blood pressure medicine. I was shocked! My blood pressure was something like 107/70 WITHOUT medication. The nurse practitioner said it would have probably been in the 80's with meds. After ALL these years of being on it I almost didn't want to come off it for fear something would go wrong. I put my trust in the experts though and have stopped taking the medicine. I just can't believe it. She said my incisions looked good and everything sounded okay. I told her about the burning pain around my belly button and she did say it was a muscle and for me to rotate ice and heat for the pain. It will just take a little while to feel better.

The class was very informative as well. We talked about water consumption, getting enough protein and fats, and what we can all advance our diets to now. It was also nice to talk to the other two women who have had the DS like myself. One of the girls and I shared experiences about the horrible nurse from Denton Regional. We were cracking up that we both had her and she was horrible to us both. We also all shared our contact info so we can keep in touch and share good products we may find. All in all it was a good appointment and I had no issues driving for the first time after surgery. I even went to the grocery store last night for the first time post-op. It wasn't the easiest experience but I survived. I'm honestly just excited to be feeling more human these days! :-)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Squishy/Soft Food Boredom

I have to admit that I'm a little bored of this diet stage after surgery. Don't get me wrong, this stage is MUCH better than ice chips or full liquids, but it's definitely lacking excitement. I've been on squishy/soft foods since day 8 and have immensely enjoyed the mashed potatoes, refried beans, scrambled eggs, tuna, etc., but I'm ready to move on. I really wanted to add salsa to my refried beans this evening but that's not on my approved list so I decided not to. I also thought it just wasn't a smart decision for a new stomach. LOL! I have my post-op class/appt tomorrow afternoon so hopefully they'll have a new list of foods to advance to. For now I'll just wait and be happy I'm able to eat at all! ;-)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Two Weeks Out

I can't believe it's already been TWO WEEKS since I had my DS procedure! It's definitely been eventful. I seem to have experienced the most random side effects. I realize this may be TMI, but I'm documenting everything I've been through! After getting home the Thursday after surgery I was having some bleeding when using the bathroom. After calling my doctor's office that Friday it was determined that the stress of surgery had caused me to start my period. Yeah, that's what you want to deal with right after surgery! LOL. Then on Saturday right after surgery, I got a yeast infection due to the antibiotics I'd been on during my stay in the hospital. Lovely. During my first days home my back hurt pretty badly because of the hospital bed, but that thankfully didn't last too long. Then last Tuesday and Wednesday I had a terrible pain in my side. I wasn't sure what was going on so I took Gas-X and did lots of walking to see if I could rule that out. The pain wasn't relieved after the gas was, so it was off to the doctor last Thursday for me. After seeing the doc he said it was probably just a sore muscle since I'm using different ones instead of using my stomach muscles like normal. Thank goodness it was nothing serious. While at the doctor's office I also started having an allergic reaction to the steri strips that were covering my incisions. He removed them all and told me that taking them off and using cortisone cream would make them better. Oh how they have itched. They have just now stopped, knock on wood. The nurse weighed me before I saw the doc and I had lost 20 POUNDS!!!! Whoo hoooo! I was thrilled!

This weekend I felt well enough to visit my family for my Mom's birthday. I even ventured out with Mom to visit Grandma at the retirement home. Courtney picked me up Friday because I haven't driven yet. The last day I took pain meds was last Wednesday though so I'm about ready to drive. I know it will be sore and pull some but should be alright. I should be able to drive to my post-op class this Thursday.

All in all I feel as though I'm turning a corner. I'm feeling better and am able to do more. I was pretty excited that I was able to lay on my side some the last two days. This was very exciting since I sleep on my side and haven't been able to since surgery. It's made for some not so fun INSOMNIA lately. I'm praying that's over now though!

Surgery continued


This was a pretty difficult day in the hospital. Keelie & I didn't get much sleep in the wee hours of the morning between the IV machine beeping, nurses and techs coming in, and just not being able to. Around 5 am I decided I would sit up again and possibly walk. I don't think the nurse believed I was actually going to because she left the room while I was sitting up on the side of the bed and didn't return for quite awhile. However this allowed me to feel more comfortable being upright and let me stretch and helped me to feel better overall. Eventually the nurse returned and I was ready to walk. We slowly walked halfway down the hall, to the nurses station, and back. The nurse seemed impressed that I had already walked and she must have told the tech because she walked in like she already knew and seemed impressed too. Hello, my pre-op class told me that I would be up walking after surgery so I needed to stay on target! :-)

I thankfully got my hated catheter out at noon, which thrilled me. However, the afternoon was quite hard. My IV that was put in the day before for surgery quit working, which I brought to the nurse's attention after I noticed my arm swelling and hurting. What followed definitely felt like terror. The nurse proceeded to poke me three times in attempts to making new IV's work. She put one in my right arm, which set the IV machine off every time I moved my right hand. Since I am right-handed it was quite difficult to not move. After the machine going off numerous times, my arm starting to swell, and the nurse saying that the IV had quit working, she then pricked me in my left arm which immediately blew the vein. Next the same nurse moved the IV to another spot in my left arm and that one set the machine to beeping almost every time I breathed. IT WAS MISERABLE!!! The beeping was driving me insane, really. I could not make the nurse understand that I wasn't even moving my hand, as she accused me of quite a few times, and it would just go off. I even walked down to the nurses station to talk to them about it, and that is when I just lost it. The nurse made the comment that I was just too tall for the IV machine. Really? SERIOUSLY? Another nurse standing nearby commented how I wasn't too tall. Yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm not nearly the tallest person to ever have an IV. What in the world?! And in the midst of it all the tech thought it would be a great time to take my blood pressure, pulse ox, and temp, and to continually giggle. I was done. Hit a wall. I commented how I wasn't feeling well and then just started crying. I made it back to my room and couldn't stop crying. FINALLY another nurse came in and put a new IV in my right arm that worked and didn't set the machine off. She was my hero! My IV worked correctly the rest of the time. I also requested that my nurse and tech not be my nurse and tech again the next day. They didn't return for the rest of my stay. Thank you Jesus! After my breakdown Keelie graciously volunteered to stay with me Tuesday night as well. She was a GREAT help!
working on breathing Tuesday evening

flowers from Leah, Leigh Ann, Marge, & Hannah that arrived Tuesday


I slept a lot this day and it felt great. I had quite a few visitors as well. Uncle James dropped by around 11 am for a visit. Then Mom arrived around noon to help me get a shower. I hadn't had one since Monday before surgery and I was REALLY wanting one. It was pretty horrible, honestly. There wasn't an actual "shower". There was a bathroom with a toilet and sink on one side and a shower head on the other with a drain in the floor. I still had my drain in my side, and had to have my IV and incisions covered, so it made it quite challenging. I sat on the shower chair with my back to the water as Mom would spray me down. I was quite glad when that 45 MINUTE shower was done. I had been unplugged from my IV (so no pain meds) and was in pain.

Leah, Margaret, Paul, and Hannah came for a visit that evening. The nurse dropped by during their visit to unplug me from my IV for good. Goodbye morphine! ;-) Courtney arrived to spend the night with me. Then Deborah and Caryn popped in for a visit as well.

Wednesday night, tiring out

beautiful flowers from Deb & Caryn, roses and stargazer lilies, my fav!


Going home day!!! My doctor stopped in early and said I could go home. Yippeee!!!!!! The nurse took my drain out and I felt like a new woman!!! I practically bounced out of bed. The discharge papers went through, Keelie, Mom, and Dad arrived to help me and Court load up, and I was OUT OF THERE! Being at home and in my own bed was the best thing EVER!!!! No more hospital bed killing my back or nurses trying to drive me nuts! Yay! No more hospitals stays for me in the near future, fingers crossed!!!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010



The day finally arrived after months of preparation!!! I had the Duodenal Switch Procedure last Monday, June 28th, at 11:30 am. Keelie picked me up that morning at 9 and we headed to the hospital, as I had to check-in at 10. I was surprisingly calm. I figured I'd be beside myself at some point Sunday, but I wasn't, and the calm had held over on Monday as well. God had definitely given me a peace. My stomach did flutter and drop a bit when I got out of the car but it was short lived. I was quickly called from the waiting room and had my IV hooked up and gave numerous bits of information to the nurses. I visited with Mom & Keelie a bit and then it was time to go. They were taking me back around 11:10 am. A hospital on time?! No way! I said a quick hello to Uncle James and Debra as I was wheeled away. I recall seeing Sue, the PA, in the operating room and that's about all I remember, thankfully.

The next thing I remember was waking up in recovery and I was NOT happy. I was hurting. I could feel the dreaded catheter and my incisions were uncomfortable as well. I remember the nurse trying to wake me and all I could think is "GO AWAY!" I was hurting and didn't want to wake up for that. I then became VERY stressed and anxious. I looked around a bit and saw only one other patient. However, there were what seemed like TONS of nurses back there and you would have thought it was water-cooler-visiting-hour. I just remember them having extremely loud, personal conversations. It was so annoying and was definitely stressing me out. I just kept praying and passing back out. The next thing I remember is being wheeled to my room, but being asked who was there with me and being told they had been unable to find my family. Yeah, that didn't help my anxiety. I arrived at the room where they then said they had put me in the wrong bed after surgery and they would have to move me. They asked if I would be able to help them by scooting over. This wasn't my first surgery experience and I knew many times they make you move beds and it's extremely painful. I told them I didn't know if I would be able to move myself (like they would leave me if I didn't cooperate or something) but said I'd try. I did try a little bit but it hurt BAD. I guess they finally gave up on me because they started moving me with the bed sheet and the backboard. I wanted to scream. It hurt SO bad. They laid the bed completely flat which was a killer. Hello, surgery sight is the stomach! I don't want to be stretched flat. Ugh. At that point hitting a few nurses did cross my mind. I just wanted to be left alone. The bed switch was finally made and I felt somewhat better. Then my family arrived. I was relieved since I had been told they couldn't find them.

At this point I was very in and out of it. I know nurses came by to get my vitals and I also know I complained about my catheter more than once. I was extremely hot as well. Keelie gave me cold cloths to cool me down (as seen in the lovely photo above, courtesy of my sister). My family and Keelie were talking to me and it continued to stress me out and cause anxiety. I told them that I just couldn't have them talking. They quieted down but I could hear my mom whispering, which was still stressing me. In my head I just sat up some and told them I couldn't have them talking at all. What they all told me is that I was throwing my hands up telling them not to talk. I think they were all scared. LOL!

The next thing I remembered was actually coming to and Mom & Dad were in the room. At this point I was more awake, than any other time, and was calm. I could carry on conversations with them. Courtney & Keelie returned from eating and Mom & Dad headed out for the night. I told the nurse I wanted to sit up, and possibly walk, around 10 pm. Getting up was VERY hard, but I finally did it with the help of the nurse and Keelie & Courtney. I sat there for a little bit and decided I would not be able to walk at this point so I got back in bed. Just an fyi, getting in and out of bed after surgery...NOT EASY. You would think they would come up with a better system, or better beds for people who were just operated on, so the in and out wouldn't be so painful.

The following day provided troubles of it's own, but we'll reminisce about those another day! ;-)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

La Madeleine - The Last Meal

As I said in my previous post, I ate La Madeleine for my last meal on Sunday, June 27th. I had to stop eating at noon for surgery the next day. La Madeleine wasn't really what I had in mind but The Original Pancake House had a wait and I was on a time crunch, so Leah, Leigh Ann, and I headed to La Madeleine to scarf some food before I had to quit eating.

I decided on the Chicken Parisien - marinated chicken breast, bacon, melted cheddar, mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato on a sourdough roll. I got the Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta Salade as my side, and got the Potato Soup as well. Last meal, remember. Of course I washed it all down with two glasses of Dr. Pepper. I was being very mindful of the time because I didn't want to do anything to compromise my surgery. I wanted to play exactly by the rules. I was trying to eat everything by noon and I guess I wasn't paying attention to how fast I was eating or my lack of chewing. All the sudden I was stuck and my mouth began to fill with saliva. Stuck due to the lap band I still had. Of course right about that time Leah and Leigh Ann direct a question to me. I was so embarrassed. They know my band struggles and knew what was happening. I barely got out the words "Talk amongst yourself" and signaled that I was having issues.

I quickly walked to the bathroom to throw up and of course all the stalls were occupied. I stood there a minute and thought "don't throw-up, don't throw-up, don't-throw up" and then there it came. I could not keep it in. I lunged toward the sink, pulled out the wicker trash can (yes wicker), and threw up. Of course there were two people watching my embarrassing moment. One lady quickly left the bathroom and the girl at the sink putting on her make-up moved over as quickly as possible. Right at that moment a stall cleared up and I bolted. Of course by that time there was nothing left to throw up and I was completely fine so I just hung out in there another minute before exiting. I went to the sink to wash my hands and profusely apologized to the girl still putting her make-up on. She said she felt bad for me and she understood. No, she didn't, but that's okay. Then I was out to rejoin the girls and finish my meal. Oh yes, by throwing up what always got stuck with the lap band you feel fine and can go right back to eating. Yes, I know, not normal.

This incident was perfect by happening at my last meal. It just reiterated that by having surgery the next day I was doing the right thing. I was getting rid of my band and all the issues I'd had with it for the last 4 1/2 years. I would be starting over on the right path. Although pretty embarrassing, throwing up was very symbolic for me. The weeks leading up to surgery did the same thing for me. Little things would happen here and there and I'd just think "yes, having surgery is absolutely the right decision".


Before my DS surgery last week I did a lot of things to get ready for it. I cleaned the apt, went grocery shopping for the things I needed after surgery, ate out A LOT (Cheesecake Factory, Posados, La Madeleine, etc.), drank LOTS of sweet tea and 'real' Dr. Pepper (had to get all those 'last meals' in before the big day), and I also took 'before' pictures, as well as measurements. I want to be sure and document my progress along the way through photos and measurements. I've seen lots of people do so and the comparisons are amazing. I can't wait! So here they are. They are terrible, but necessary.

Sunday, June 27th, 2010
Waist measurement - way tight 60"

Bust measurement - 58"

Hip measurement - the measuring tape wouldn't even reach around to measure
Bicep measurement - 20"
Thigh measurement - 32"
Current clothing size - 26/28, 30/32
Shoe size - 11 (sometimes wide)
Bra size - 48 B