Tag Archives: WLS

Five Days Post Op

I’ve officially reached the “why in the hell would I do this to myself?” phase, and I’m not happy about it. I’m healing and dropping a little weight, but I’m exhausted from showering, walking and trying to drink 48 ounces of liquids each day.

Yesterday I was struggling with cabin fever, so my boyfriend and Mom took me on a little trip to a place I’m always comfortable. I slept much better than I have since surgery, and I know I’m healing. I know I have to be patient…blah, blah, blah…I’m just ready to see some progress. I’m ready to confidently move around without fear of the gripping pain that comes with moving too quickly. I’m ready to curl up in my own bed, which just isn’t possible yet.

Right now it takes me almost 5 minutes to drink an ounce of anything. I knew it would be like this, but it’s still hard to wrap my head around it. It’s even hard to hold my iPad up long enough to read books, answer messages on social media and such.

I know I shouldn’t complain about this awesome opportunity that I had to regain control of my body while losing weight, but today I’m frustrated. Today I need to be reminded that I made a carefully thought out choice and that everyone I know who has been through it says it was the best choice they’ve ever made.

I definitely don’t feel like that now, but I know feelings lie. I know this was a good decision, but right now it’s hard. I guess that’s just part of my process, but what I should do is remind myself that God is faithful and cut myself some slack since it’s been less than a week.

My goal for today is to read, walk, sip and spend time with people I love, and hopefully, I’ll improve a bit more tomorrow.

Healing After Weight-Loss Surgery

Whoever says that weight-loss surgery is the easy way out has never had to heal after weight-loss surgery.

I used to think I’d feel like a failure if I did this, but in reality I’m proud of myself for keeping a positive attitude during surgery and recovery. This stuff is hard, but I’m looking forward to seeing the results of my efforts.

I’ve been surprised by the outpouring of prayers and encouragement I’ve received from people online and in my everyday life. I know I’ve already said it, but no one could ever ask for a better support group than what I have.

Mom is still here, and I’m thankful because I need her. She’s great at encouraging me to walk, rest and sip. I don’t know how I’d get through this without her. She has been so patient and helpful, and she’ll be that way as long as she needs to be.

Michael has been great too. He makes sure that Mom and I have everything we need and reminds me that the more I move around the quicker I’ll heal. (I don’t particularly like that part, but I know he’s right.) It’s such a weird feeling to sit right next to the guy I’m in love with without wanting to curl up next to him. There’s just too much discomfort for that right now.

Unfortunately, that also means that I’m skipping church tomorrow. My church community is filled with awesome people, and on an average Sunday I get loads of hugs from kids and adults. I can’t handle that yet, and if someone tried to hug me right now I’d probably cry. I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s true.

I slept better last night than I did my first night home, but it was still rough. I woke up around 4 am, then I went back to sleep and awakened for the day at 8:20 am.

As I write this I’m sitting in my bed, hoping that I’ll be comfortable enough to take a nap in a few minutes.

I wish I could say that I feel awesome, but I’m not quite there yet. Right now my pain level is at 5 or 6, but I’m looking forward to improving each day.

Until then…

Less Than One Week

I felt much better today than I did last night, and I’m thankful for that. I’m still hungry, and I spent a big part of the day dreaming about the ounce or two of chicken that I’ll be able to eat about 7 weeks from now. Instead of chicken I forced myself to drink protein and water. I’m more tired than usual too, but I’m down over 14 pounds from last week. That’s encouraging.

It’s hard to think about anything else at this point, and I suppose that’s okay. I’m tired of talking and thinking about it, but it’s one of themes important things I’ve ever done. My surgery is less than one week away, and I’m just ready to get through it. I’m not looking forward to being in the hospital, but I am looking forward to returning home to start the healing process.

sakroots

In an attempt to take my mind off of my hunger I spent some time looking for black boots online, but I didn’t find any that I wanted. I’ll just need to look for them locally because it’s too hard to know what will fit well.

I did find a pair of rain boots, and they’ve been on my wish list for quite a while. I ordered them because I already know the size and fit, and I’m looking forward to a rainy day in October when I can wear them.

While online shopping I paused to watch the series premier of Designated Survivor. I had high hopes for it because I adore Kiefer Sutherland, and it didn’t disappoint. The first episode was great, so now I have two fall TV favorites.

I’m worn out, but I’m okay.I’m resting well at night, but it doesn’t take much to wear me out. I ordered the vitamins that I’ll need, so I’m looking forward to having more energy soon. Until then I’ll just continue to take it day by day and look forward to next week, when what seems to be the hardest part, will be over. I hope I’m right about that.

 

 

I Can Do This

I’m several days into my liquids phase, and while it’s not fun it’s not miserable. I avoid situations that might feel like torture (like watching everyone eat pizza,) but I’m okay otherwise. I have a cozy, comfortable home, and it’s my favorite place to be right now.

Yesterday after church I skipped my weekly lunch with friends, and I went home. My plan to was to change clothes and head to the mall to do a little shopping, but I took a long, afternoon nap instead. It’s just easier to be here right now because food is everywhere, and I’m hyper-aware of my desire to eat something no matter where I am. It made me feel sad and lonely for a few minutes until I realized how excited I am about this opportunity.

I also feel empowered right now. As much as it sucks to skip a delicious meal among friends, it also feels good to think about how well I’m doing in sticking to the plan. The liver-shrinking diet isn’t sustainable long-term, nor should it be. It’s definitely giving me more confidence by the day though, which was unexpected.

The truth is I really didn’t know if I could do it. I have to give all credit to Jesus because He’s strong in my weakness, but it’s incredible to know that He provides enough strength everyday.

Mornings are good for me because I don’t want food, but evenings are tougher. Thankfully, I discovered my love for Ramen broth and strained French onion soup. Those things satisfy my craving for savory things, which makes this phase much easier to tolerate.

Now I’m enjoying a quiet night at home with Michael. I love it when he’s here, and it’s comforting to know that he has already experienced this. He’s traveling a lot for work now, so he can be here for my surgery.

Overall things are going much smoother than I could have imagined. I don’t know why I’m always so surprised when God provides exactly what I need. Thank you, Jesus.

I’m looking forward to chewing things again, but I’m going to make it through the next several weeks until it happens.

I know I can do it now, and that is a tremendous feeling.

 

 

 

 

“I Don’t Want Your Pity; I Want Pizza.”

I was at a party tonight, and I’m happy to say that I lived through the torture. Unfortunately, food has dictated my life for longer than I’d like to admit, and right now I’m making some strides to change that. For me, that means that I’m going to let it (err, the lack of it) dictate what I do for a little longer. I doubt I’ll be going to any more pizza parties for the next couple of months.

At the party someone needed me to know that she didn’t feel sorry for me. Luckily for her I didn’t want her pity, I wanted pizza. I didn’t eat it, but it was tough to sit and watch everyone else do it. I left before the cake tonight because it was just too much to take. (Please excuse me while I adjust to this big life change. I might need a few days.)

Overall I’ve done well on my liver-shrinking, liquid-only diet so far. I have a long road ahead of me, but I’m glad I’m finally doing it. I’ve made it through a couple of days, and it’s an empowering feeling. I’m still hungry, but I’m gaining confidence in myself (and losing weight.) I’ve also dropped 6 pounds. I’m looking forward to seeing a lower number next week and the week after, etc.

I do love sugar-free popsicles right now, which I didn’t expect. (Everyone else seemed to know though.) I’ve also tried some variations in my protein shakes, as well as mixes that I can pour into a bottle of water. I don’t plan to drink these long-term, but if they help me get through this phase I’ll do it.

It’s been a long and productive day, and I’m tired. I felt a little sleepier than normal today, but the only difficulty I’ve faced is moments of legitimate hunger and breaking up with foods I love that don’t love me back.

I can do that.

I am doing this.

 

 

 

 

No More Chewing Food…For Now…

Today is the last day that I’m going to chew food for a while. My two-week liver-shrinking, liquid diet begins tonight, and I’m ready to get started. I’m sure it’s going to be challenging, but it’s time to do it.

liver-shrinking-dietI haven’t met or heard from anyone who had to do liquids for two weeks prior to surgery, but I’m following the instructions of my surgeon.

I’ll have 3 or 4 protein shakes a day, and as much chicken broth as I want. I can also have things like Powerade Zero and sugar-free popsicles, jello, etc. I wouldn’t usually ingest sugar-free anything, but I’m doing it right now because I’m committed to following the rules in this.

After surgery I’ll continue consuming liquids until Week 5, at which point I’ll be able to eat oatmeal, half of a banana or a few bites of a sweet potato. I’d like to think that by that time, even though I may be tired of not eating and/or thinking of not eating, that my weight-loss will motivate me to continue.

It’s going to be a big adjustment. I expect it to be challenging, but I also expect Jesus to give me enough strength to handle it day by day.

I’m not going to pretend here…I’m nervous. I’m not scared to have surgery, but I know that my relationship with food is about to change. I’m also a little afraid that I’ll be starving or irritable or both during the two weeks prior to surgery.

My final surgery clearance is scheduled for tomorrow, and I’m ready for that to be over too. I’m tired of thinking about it, but I’m also tired of being a slave to food.

Everything is in place, so that I don’t need to feel stress. My plan to is to be off work for two weeks, but if I need to be off longer that’ll be okay too.  I couldn’t be more thankful for that!

I’m just ready to get through this big, challenging thing, and I can’t wait for the day that I look back and say that it was totally worth it.

 

 

My Surgery Date is Set

There’s so much to share on my blog this week, but right now my focus is on my surgery. The date is set, and it’s happening before the end of the month. On one hand I feel excited, anxious and ready to get this show on the road, and on the other it still doesn’t feel real.

I have the best support system a person could hope to have, and I feel more at peace in every area of my life than I ever dreamed possible. I’ve gained more knowledge on the subject – what it will be like before and after, etc., and I believe that I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

As confident as I feel about the surgery I also feel unsure about a lot of things. What it will be like to live with a smaller stomach?  What level of pain I can expect to experience after surgery? How will I feel throughout the two-week liquid diet prior to surgery? Won’t that be harder than the liquid diet post-surgery? Will I still like my favorite protein shake by the time my food restrictions have been lifted?

The weekend was filled with fun and challenging things that I’ll write about later, but I also addressed the fears I have pertaining to the surgery itself. Michael and I were talking about what it will be like when I get home from the hospital.

I’ll be off work for a couple of weeks, which is okay with me. I love my job, but I also love the idea that I’ll be forced to take some time to relax. I’ll have an excuse to stay at home long enough to catch up on this season of Suits. (Thank you, DVR.) I’ll also watch new shows like Designated Survivor and This is Us.

I should be able to walk before I return home too, and thankfully, I live in a neighborhood that has all kinds of things to see and experience. I’ll also play more Pokemon Go since I already love that pointless game. I also have lots of yarn, painting supplies and books, which will provide hours of entertainment.

I’m as prepared as I can be, and I’ve spent the last few weeks wrapping my head around how differently I’ll treat food. I’m not a binge-eater, but I’ll have to readjust to eating at home more often when I get to the point where I can actually consume food again.

Right now I’m taking it one step at a time. I feel fine one moment and overwhelmed at other moments. When I get overwhelmed I remind myself that I don’t have to face it all today, and I refocus on what matters at that moment.

I firmly believe that God opened this door for me, and I think the timing is brilliant because my heart and mind needed to heal first. Now it’s time to heal my body.

I’m nervous about the discomfort I may feel after the surgery, but honestly, I’m not comfortable in my body at this size now. I mean, I’m used to it, but so many things would be easier if my body lived at a healthier weight. The little pain that I may or may not feel will be worth it.

 

Before Photos and Courage

I’ve always been a fan of photos, and I’m never one to shy away from the camera. I’ve gotten so good at using specific angles and filters that I don’t always see myself as heavy as I am.

I definitely know how big I am when I think about squeezing into a booth in a restaurant. ( I just can’t.) I’m also keenly aware of it when I’m a passenger in someone else’s car, or when I’m walking with people in the middle of Summer in New Orleans, sweating while they’re all just a little warm.

IMG_3535 2Sometimes I see myself as heavy as I am, but most of the time I’m not ready to face it. I didn’t gain back everything I lost, but I regained most of it. It doesn’t feel good, but I don’t beat myself up about it either.

I’ve learned to focus on the positive things, which is important. I just focused on loving myself so much for a while that I stopped focusing on other things that matter too. Now, I love who I am as a person, which took some serious effort and reflection, but I also want my body to be smaller.

IMG_3608 2I’ve been taking before pictures everywhere I go. I’ve posted some of them, though I don’t have the courage to post all of them. I’m proud of myself for continuing to live a full life, even as a plus-size person, but now that weight-loss feels imminent I’m facing the realization that my life hasn’t been as easy as it could be if I wasn’t so concerned with little obstacles that most people don’t have to face.

When I think of what life will be like after significant weight-loss I don’t picture a perfect existence, in which nothing bad ever happens. I don’t look forward to the attention I’ll receive from people who might ignore me now, nor do I even look forward to hearing how great I look in comparison. I already know that I’m loved and worthy. I’ve known it for a while now.

I’m looking forward to the feeling I get when I can run a mile or more without stopping. I’m looking forward to walking into a restaurant and not caring if we sit at a table or in a booth. I’m also looking forward to the day I can sit in the chairs at my church without leaving with bruises on my butt and without fidgeting through the sermon because it hurts to sit in the seats.

As you can imagine I’m really looking forward to the day in which I can buckle my seatbelt in coach (not that I want to start sitting exclusively in coach again, but I definitely can’t wait to know that I can!) In fact, I’ll happily fly in coach when I know I can do it in one seat.

IMG_3409

I know those days are coming, and I’m ready to experience them. The changes in the way I look at food and the way I eat it are scary, but I’m not expecting any surprises. I know what has to change, and I’m working on it. I’ve been working on it for a long, long time, and I’m finally getting some much needed help in that area.

I have the best support system I could ever hope to have, and I’m set up for success at work and at home. I believe I can do this, and I’m looking forward to the day that I can look back and say that I proved it to myself.

In the picture on the left I was laughing because I usually stand up straight. I roll my shoulders back just a little and walk with my head high, but I slouched for this “before” photo. I think I look hilarious and adorable in the photo, and I definitely don’t feel like I look as large as I am. I posted the photo because it didn’t make me feel bad about myself, there are many more on my iPhone’s camera roll that do. I’m ready to be healthy and fit. I’m ready to see some results, so the changes have started.

I’m ready for what’s coming, and I’m going to practice patience over the next several months as this new chapter unfolds.

 

 

What Do People Do For Fun That Doesn’t Involve Food?

I wish I didn’t have to ask the question in the title of this post, but it’s an honest question that needs some answers.

When I think about the time I spend with friends we don’t always eat, but i almost always consume calories. If we’re not meeting for lunch or dinner or happy hour, then we usually meet for coffee.

Everyone I know seems to agree that society places emphasis on eating together. I was at the a restaurant over the weekend where the menu stated “Food is Love,” which too often has been true in my mind.

Michael is super supportive, and he loves to go for walks around the neighborhood with me. He only lives a couple miles away, so it’s easy for him to come over and stroll to the Riverwalk with me. He walks my pace even though his is much faster, and lately we’ve enjoyed playing Pokemon Go together as well. There’s really no point to the game, but it’s fun. It’s also a great motivator to walk more. I’m not kidding. On our last walk I even hatched a Pikachu, which was really exciting. Ha

At home I can knit. It’s a hobby that requires both of my hands, so I can’t eat when I’m doing that.

I’m not sure what else to do. I know I can still go to Starbucks, read my Bible or color and enjoy my favorite hot tea, but what else is there to do?

As long as I can remember food has played an integral role in what I do with family, friends and even alone, and I’m ready for that to change. I’m just not sure where to begin.

I am excited about all of the money I’m going to save by not eating out or buying groceries in excess at home. That’s exciting, but I know that I need to replace my old eating habits with healthy new ones. Exercise works a little, but I can’t do that all day. And I definitely can’t expect my friends and family to stop eating and exercise instead every time I feel like going out.

I’m a social lady. I love to be around people. I enjoy cooking for them, baking for the them and just spending time with them. I know that there are people in my life who will not understand that, and I’ll keep them at a safe distance while I adjust.

I’d just love some ideas if you have any. What are some activities I do to replace going out to eat or having coffee with people I love?

Gastric Sleeve Update: Two Weeks Prior To Surgery

Last night I dreamed about having weight-loss surgery, more specifically, I dreamed about the recovery stage. I woke up immediately remembering that it’s going to be a reality soon, then I quickly wondered what level of pain or discomfort I’ll feel when I return home.

I woke up earlier than I needed to this morning, but I laid in bed for nearly an hour contemplating the future, as in, the rest of this month. I’ve already begun praying for God’s strength because it only seems doable by His grace, and when I got up I started making little plans to make it as palatable as possible.

I started by measuring out a week (or more) of the protein powder that I’ll be drinking prior to surgery. I’ll be drinking the same stuff after the clear liquids phase, post surgery, but right now I’m more concerned with everything leading up to the surgery date. (One step at a time, you know?)

Two weeks prior to surgery I will have to drink protein shakes and clear liquids. Two weeks seems intense, but I also know I can do it. I’ll just deal with the hunger and/or frustration if it occurs. I’m not going to assume anything right now because I just don’t know.

The goal at the liquids stage will be to drink 3-4 protein shakes per day, and clear liquids. (More on the latter in a moment.)

Teras Whey

Each container contains two scoops of my favorite protein powder, Tera’s Whey. This stuff is magnificent! I drink it everyday, and I’m not tired of it yet. I’m just going to assume that I can make it through two weeks of only these drinks and clear liquids without despising them by the end. The kicker here is that I’ll be drinking them with water instead of  unsweetened almond milk. They taste okay with water, but the almost milk makes them almost decadent.

I’m also allowed to have clear liquids. The list, which is short, includes:

  • Thin broths or bouillon and bases (no veggies or meat chunks)
  • Sugar-free Jello
  • Sugar-free “diet” juice, fitness waters, Crystal Light, Powerade Zero (They were very adamant that I should stay away from Gatorade.)
  • Sugar-free popsicles (When I saw these at the grocery store last week they looked much more appealing than I thought they would.)
  • Decaffeinated coffee, tea, herbal or flavored sugar-free tea, hot or cold (One cup of regular coffee per day is allowed after Week 5, post-op.)
  • Artificial sweeteners (Splenda, Stevia or Equal)

Almost everything on the list above seems like a chemical storm to me, but I’m following their rules throughout this process. I can definitely appreciate the herbal tea, and I think I’ll allow myself to eat the Jello and popsicles, etc.

The day before surgery I’ll have only clear liquids. I’m thinking that I’ll lose a significant amount of weight prior to surgery just from doing this two-week thing.

As intimidating as this feels in certain moments I’m ready to get started. It’s not quite time yet, and in some ways, I think it’s harder to wait than to just do it.

I’ve decided to give myself a reward when I complete the liquids phase before and after surgery.   I’ve never been a fan of rewarding myself with food (thankfully, since I won’t be able to.) I do enjoy rewarding myself though, so I’m going to buy this laptop backpack by The North Face when I reach my first goal. It will be useful everyday, but I’m looking forward to using it on our trip to Colorado for Christmas.My boyfriend and I are also talking about heading to Costa Rica to in January.

I’m guessing the two weeks prior will be the hardest part, but what do I know? I do know that many people were able to do this, and I believe I will too.

Now I’m going to do my best to stop thinking about the days ahead, and I’m going to enjoy this stormy Monday with friends.