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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Help! My pants are falling...

...and I can't hold them up!

I knew that I would be losing weight but I didn't think my pants were going to start sagging so quickly. By all means, I am not complaining. I just wasn't prepared to modify my wardrobe (including undergarments) this fast.

Since I was faced with this little dilemma, I decided to go through my closet and get rid of everything that was too big and that I never wanted to see again. I had done this a week after surgery and thought I had purged everything but apparently there were still some stragglers left behind.

I also decided to dig a little deeper into the closet to dust off the clothes hidden in the back of it. You know those clothes, the ones that you kept because "one day you'll fit into them again". I pulled out my favorite pair of Levi's jeans and a pair of cargo pants that I haven't been able to fit into since early spring 2007 just to see if I was getting closer to fitting into them. I was a little apprehensive to even try for fear of being rejected by the pants.

I decided to try the cargo pants on first. My work pants are sagging the most and if the cargo pants fit I could wear them to work. I got both feet in and slowly pulled them up all the way AND zipped them without struggle. I thought I was going to wet my pants from excitement. The only thing I couldn't do was button them but that was because the buttons had broken off back in 2007 before I put them in the "back of the closet". I am planning on going to the fabric store this weekend to buy new buttons.

I picked up the Levi's and looked them straight in the rear. I was determined to fit into them. With a little effort in getting them buttoned and zipped, they fit too. I was on a "clothing" high! I wondered what else might fit so I did a little more digging and dusting. Even though there wasn't much else that fit just yet, I didn't get discouraged at all. I was actually able to gage how long it might take until I could wear them again. When all the clothes had been tried on (or attempted to try on), I did a little math and at the rate I am losing I figure I have until the end of June before I am going to have to start buying new clothes. I better start saving!

Now...undergarments on the other hand - I need to purchase much sooner. There isn't anything comfortable about wearing "unmentionables" that are too big.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Goals: What are yours?

We had a finance seminar at work last week and one of the topics was goals. The course instructor said that goals are more achievable if you write them down. She said "Write your way to success." She made it clear that we were not to list dreams because dreams, afterall, are not goals.

This exercise got me to thinking about my weight loss goals. I started to make a mental list of things/activities that I haven't allowed myself to do because either my my weight was holding me back or I was just too embarrased to do them.

I took the instructors advice of writing down my, the goals that I want to accomplish as I go through and complete this weightloss journey are:

  • Wear a bathing suit without a cover up, a tank top, shorts (NOT capris), and a shirt that needs to be tucked in - IN PUBLIC (not at the same time of course).
  • Spend the entire day at the beach (playing, not hiding under a towel).
  • Go dancing with the Hubs.
  • Go on a cruise (could be where I wear my bathing suit in public).
  • Wear high heals.
  • Be more social with my neighbors.
  • Stop hiding behind people in pictures.
  • Take more pictures of myself.
  • Spend more time outside with the family.
  • Purchase sexy lingerie and actually wear it.
  • Take the dog for a walk during daylight hours.
That is just the start of my list. I know that as I go through this transformation (both physically and mentally), I will achieve all of these goals. When your self-confidence and self-esteem are low, a list like this seems impossible, but, as each pound drops on the scale my confidence and self-esteem grow.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


...25 pounds! I don't miss you at all.

I don't remember the last time I have been this excited about stepping on the scale. I am the one who usually argues with the nurse at the doctors office about getting weighed. I would say "Really? You need my weight again? Dang, you just weighed me a year ago".

When I started this weight-loss journey, we bought a new scale. The one we had was about 15 years old, had about an inch of dust on it, and wasn't very accurate. I had purchased that one when I went on Fen-Phen. We upgraded to a nice digital scale that tracks up to four people's weight. You program it when you first purchase it with each person's age, height, and your starting weight. It tells you what your body fat percentage is and how much you have lost (or in my son's case, gained) since you last weighed yourself.  It is also spot on accurate with my doctors office. Not bad for a $40 scale from Wal-Mart.

I do have to confess that I have become a bit obsessive with this scale. I need to stop stepping on it every hour to see if the number has changed (like maybe the scale was lying and snickering behind my back). 

In addition to the 25 pounds I have lost, I also said "goodbye" to a few other things this past month; some harder to give up than others:
  • Bread (only hard when I smell it fresh baked or the Hubs is making toast)
  • Chocolate (except for sugar-free Jell-O pudding)
  • Candy (not hard at all)
  • Beef (at least for one year)
  • Coffee (gasp! but this is only temporary)
  • ALL carbonated beverages (they expand the stomach)
  • Pasta (haven't cried over it yet)
  • Ice cream (can live without it)
Surprisingly, making these changes hasn't been nearly as difficult as I thought. I figured I would be curled up in the corner with my whoobie sobbing because I missed them so much but that hasn't been the case. This is how I know that I was (and am) mentally prepared for this adventure.

So, what do I get to eat to replace all of these things? Until I move to more solid foods, I can eat:

  • Non-fat Greek Yogurt
  • Low-fat Cottage Cheese
  • Oatmeal
  • Scrambled Eggs with a sprinkle of Mozzarella Cheese)
  • Light Babybel Cheese chunks
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Protein Shakes (Optimum Nutrition has the BEST flavors)
  • Sugar-Free Jell-O Pudding (never knew it was so darn good)
I can only eat about 1/2 a cup of food at a time and it can take me up to an hour to eat it depending on how thick it is. If I eat to fast, my stomach gets crampy and I get the hiccups. I try to get in 90 grams of protein per day and try to keep my caloric intake around 900 but it can be difficult to get that many calories in right now.

As I write this, it amazes me that I actually just said it is difficult to get in 900 calories a day right now. Considering we used to eat at fast food restuarants quite often, my favorite meal at Jack-in-the-Box totaled 1,880 calories with 109 grams of fat (and that was just for ONE meal for the day). So, what was in that meal? It was a grilled sourdough jack, medium fry, medium coke, and a big cheeseburger. Sometimes, I wouldn't eat the big cheeseburger but I was still consuming 1,240 calories and 71 grams of fat in one sitting. That is crazy to me now. Funny how I couldn't have grasped this concept earlier...

...Goodbye to bad eating habits and bad decisions. Hello to a new life and new way of thinking.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Movin' and Groovin'

Post-Op Day Five

My surgery was on Thursday, February 24. I arrived at the hospital at 2pm, was in surgery at 3pm, in recovery at 5pm, was in my room by 6:30pm, and the nurses had me up and walking by 10pm.  I was on a morphine pump so the pain was tolerable.

I tried to sleep but it is darn near impossible to actually get sleep while in the hospital. Nurses are in your room every hour taking vitals or giving you medication. One of the sensors I had taped to me kept coming unplugged and one time the nurses thought I had flat-lined but instead of rushing into my room, they called me to see if I was OK. The nurse said, "We got a flat-line reading out here and wanted to make sure you were OK". So glad they cared enough

Another hard part about my hospital stay was the poor 93 year old woman across the hall from me. She suffers from Dementia and had no idea where she was and didn't know she had surgery. All night long I kept hearing her yell "Hello! I need help". Although annoying, I felt really bad for her. It was so sad.

Between the nurses and my neighbor, I slept in 10 minute increments that night and gave up trying to sleep around 7am.

I couldn't have anything to drink until after I had a "leak check" to make sure my remaining stomach didn't have a leak anywhere and after not having anything to drink since 7am the previous day my mouth (and throat) was extremely dry. They took me downstairs around 10:30am for the barium swallow. Now...a barium swallow after this type of surgery is TOTALLY different than one you have while doing a normal Upper GI (which is typically chalky tasting). This toxic tasting crap made me think I was drinking a mixture of the world's worst cough syrup, really bad vodka, and a hint of flat Sprite and it was blue. Praise Jesus I only had to take two swallows.

I passed the leak test and was finally able to drink some water. Lunch time came and after I had four spoonfuls of the mystery flavored broth, one tiny spoonful of what I assumed was Jell-O, and a sip of juice I was full. I thought for sure it was because I was tired and still thinking about that barium beverage I had earlier but when dinner came it was the same thing.

I was finally released at 10:30pm and was home by 11pm. The Hubs got me settled in at home with my 17 year old son "supervising" me while he went to go pick up my pain medication from the 24-hour pharmacy halfway across town. I tried to lie in our bed but I ended up on the L-shaped couch because it was easier to sleep against.

The next three days were spent relaxing, walking around the house, and just trying to get my head back on right after being under anesthesia. Today is the first day my head feels totally clear and I didn't need a nap.

I am thankful to have had this surgery and can't wait to get on with the recovery. I have broken down the negatives and positives of the past five days below.

The Negatives

After having four previous abdominal surgeries, I had mentally prepared myself for the healing process of this surgery. What I didn't (and really couldn't) prepare for was the JP drain I would go home with. I hadn't had one in the past, so I wasn't prepared to deal with this new "appendage".

If you do not know what a JP drain is, it is a surgical drainage device used to pull excess blood and fluid from the body by constant suction. Using a JP drain after surgery may help you heal faster and decrease your risk of getting an infection, so I am not completely against having it. It just limits a few things I want to go back to work when I wanted or sleep on my stomach (which is comforting for me after abdominal surgery).

I am also having an allergic reaction to one of the medications I was given in the hospital (not sure which one since they gave me multiple at the same time) as well as the paper tape used to keep my bandages in place, both causing an itchy rash.  Doesn't make relaxing or sleeping any easier when you feel itchy.

One side affect to having any type of abdominal surgery is it slows down your digestive system as well as your "plumbing". I won't go into the painful details of this but I will say that after four days of struggling, things are finally movin' and groovin' again.

The last negative I have really isn't mine. It's the Hubs. With all this time I have on my hands right now and since I am stuck at home, I have been watching a lot of QVC and HSN. Hey, I only ordered one thing today...

The Positives

One of the benefits of having the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy is you have a large portion (about 85%) of your stomach physically removed from your body, unlike Gastric Bypass or the LapBand where the stomach stays in your body. With having this portion removed, the hormone Ghrelin is removed as well. Ghrelin is the hunger stimulating hormone that tells your body you are hungry. This is a positive thing because of the obvious reason BUT you have to tell yourself to eat and drink so you don't get dehydrated and sick. You also want to make sure you get your protein in first before anything (which in the liquid stage means you drink a lot of protein shakes). I have lost eight pounds since Saturday (four of which were from the IV fluids pumped into me at the hospital).

I received three beautiful flower arrangements from well wishers. One from my parents, one from my office, and one from a group of my really close co-workers spread across the company (Edmonton, Ottawa, Seattle, Tampa, and Hawaii).

The Hubs and my son have been doing their best to take care of me. I am not one to sit around and let people wait on me but they are quick to respond if I do ask for something. They each cooked dinner for eachother and last night I ordered them pizza.

Now, even though my body doesn't think it is hungry, my nose still works and last night it told my brain that it wanted that pizza really bad. My brain suggested it to my stomach but the thought was rejected. Not only because I can't eat solid food right now but because my stomach said "ummm, you aren't hungry". This will be interesting once I graduate to real food. I will have to re-train myself how to eat and to make sure I eat the proper nutrients in the right order (protein, veggies, then carbs).

As soon as I get this darn drain out, I'll be able to get movin' and groovin' on the Wii and with Spring on its way in I'll be peddlin' away on my pink beach cruiser as well.

The last positive I have right now is...with all this time I have on my hands, I can watch as much QVC and HSN as I want and the new craft item I ordered today will be delivered next week...
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