Friday, June 10, 2016

Day 17 - in the Depths of Pureed Food

Part of me can't believe it's been 17 days since surgery.  Part of me can't believe it's only been 17 days since surgery.  It has been a rocky road, for sure.

I haven't need any pain meds since my last post - YAY!  I've been able to get on the bike and am up to 11.5 minutes.  It's a slow ride, but I'm moving.  I would love to take Casey for a walk (since Poly remained at daycare this week; with me still unable to bend at the waist we felt like we had no choice, plus she's happy there).  I specifically asked if I could take Casey for a walk.  She asked how big he was (ehem, 90 lbs....) and if he pulls (most definitely).  With those two answers she said it wasn't safe and I could do damage to my sleeve.  I've worked too hard to do anything risky!

So I've been sitting around, mostly avoiding everything that's on my to-do list.  Most of the stuff has basically been copied from one day to the next with little accomplishment.  I've also spent most of the week debating what this post would look like.  Unlike most of my sleeved online friends, I have no picture from the day of surgery.  I also have no pictures from my highest weight.  When you're a hippopotamus you tend to avoid the camera at all costs.  I do have a picture from a cruise last September which gives you a good idea of what I looked like.  I think this is even more than I weighed when Keith and I did the photo shoot.  I have to say, I'm still undecided.  If I'm going to post it, I might as well put the number out there, right?  All or nothing?  I'll avoid that for now and decide as I near the end of this post.

I did pretty well with the liquid diet, although I started to get hungry by the end of the 2 weeks.  I hadn't had anything solid in a long time!  At the same time, I feared the pureed diet more than I can express.  "What am I going to eat?"  "Surely they can't expect me to throw chicken in the blender?"  "I can't bear the thought of eating protein-high baby food!"  As you can imagine, there were many more thoughts along those lines.

I had my post-op appointment and both the nurse and the dietitian were pleased.  The nurse based my weight loss (just a little over a week post-op) on my 1st pre-op weight.  That may or may not be accurate.  Honestly, I have it all recorded in a calendar, I just haven't looked at the numbers.  Based on that she was pleased, but I know that between my pre-op and my 1st attempt, I lost a bunch of weight from the liquid diet.  Then I did my famous emotional eating and gained most of that back.  I worked hard to lose enough so I was, thankfully, not as fat as my 1st pre-op number.

I talked at length with the dietitian with all of my anxieties.  She said it's normal and proceeded to give me a sheet with a bunch of suggestions.  The one I assumed was egg salad (which isn't half bad, even pureed), but she had a number of suggestions.  I was still skeptical, especially given that I have to do this for 2 weeks.  The good news is that one idea is actually pretty good - and high in protein (the main goal - forever).  It's using chicken (I bought Perdue Short Cuts), plain Greek yogurt, and ranch dressing (or I could use mild taco seasoning also).  So, it's a protein drink for breakfast, 4 oz of a high protein meal for lunch and another for dinner, with another protein drink sometime during the day.  I usually save it until nighttime and then make one of the sweet ones from the cookbook I have.  There is apple pie, banana bread and a number of others.  It's pretty scrumptious... at least as far as protein shakes go.

At my first post-op, I met with the dietitian (who gave me the instructions/pureed food ideas) and the LRNP.  Everyone seemed pleased with my progress.  They told me that they anticipate a 20 lb loss in the first month.  I think that I'll be near that, but my 2nd appt, which is supposed to be a month from surgery will only be 3 weeks (so I can see him in the 'burbs).  I'll have a little wiggle room as far as loss is concerned.  I am following the post-op orders to the letter and have increased my exercise daily.

Yes, I overdo it and yes, I pay for it that day and/or the next.  I try to not do too much.  I am also stubborn as all get-out and want to push myself.  I want to find my limit without passing it.  I want to take this opportunity and not screw anything up.  I can't screw it up.  I've worked too hard.  The thing is, for the rottenness of clearances leading up to the surgery and the pretty awful first attempt, this post-op regimen is incredibly difficult.  It's going to kill me to keep away from carbs until I get closer to my goal weight.

Goal weight?  When I asked the LRNP about that, she said what they use as a determination is an antiquated chart.  They anticipate a 55-60% loss of my excess body weight.  The rest is up to me - all me.  It's following the diet - the very strict eating plan - and getting my exercise in.  As soon as I'm cleared by the doctor to do so, I'll be activating my membership at the gym and begin water aerobics.  When I'm strong enough, I am considering working with a personal trainer, but that's not exactly free.  One thing at a time.

It's frustrating when people say that surgery is the "easy way out" because they have NO CLUE!  The prep and clearances were killer, but little did I realize (as much as I read about it) that the real work starts now.  It's HARD.  The "diet" is hard.  The exercise is hard (and can get painful when I do too much).  Meeting weight expectations is hard.  Having regular doctor appointments to follow-up is hard (1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year and then every year thereafter).  So yeah, the real worked started 17 days ago.

I've been writing this on and off all day and think I have decided (if so, you can see above) that I will post the picture.  Yes, it has a number on it, but I will never let myself reach that number again.  I will not screw this up.  I cannot!

As an aside, I saw the EOB for my surgery and including the upper GI test, all the meds, the 2 nights in the hospital, the anesthesia, etc., the total was over $78K!!  I am SO thankful for my primary insurance plan because I won't have to pay anywhere near that amount.  Praise God!  Truly, I left this in His hands and prayed for those 5 months between my initial appointment with the surgeon to the day of surgery.

The "incisions" weren't too big, although one of them, the largest - about 2"-3" - still had steristrips on it yesterday.  They had rolled upwards and downwards and the only part which remained attached I slowly removed.  That area is where they did all the work and the "incision" is about 2-3 inches long and my stomach sort of puckers in there (as well as one other "incision").  Today I felt a lot of pain in that area and my Mom (a nurse) gave a suggestion of how to cover it.

I try to only wear the binding document when I go out or at night.  I haven't taken any Tylenol.  I do the breathing device far less often.  And I continue to write down everything that goes in and out of my body, as well as documenting my temperature twice daily.  I don't know if that's still necessary, but, as you've read - I WILL NOT SCREW THIS UP!

So, you'll see that I posted the picture.  Like I said, all or nothing.  If I'm not going to be honest here, behind a computer, how can I be real in my offline world?

I know this will be a long hard road.  But it's a journey I have to take; that I have to continue.


  1. I'm so proud of you, girl. It's great that you're documenting and sharing this so that others can be inspired by your experiences. And why, oh why, didn't you take a surgery day photo?!?! I'm looking forward to reading more about your journey!

    1. Thanks, Janet! As for the surgery day photo, I'm not really sure. My Pastor and a friend were there and we were chatting up until they took me back to the pre-op area. It really didn't even cross my mind that day. While I was recovering in the hospital, and even at home, I was in too much pain and too concerned about following my plan. I think I'll take a 1-month picture, but I'll put it in my datebook ;)

      I can't wait to read more about YOUR journey! (gosh, I wish we lived closer - we have SO much more in common than this aspect of our lives!)