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WLS Chronicles ~ Maintaining

25 Jul

It has been almost SEVEN months since my surgery and I am still absolutely overjoyed at my decision.  I have found more energy than I EVER remember having, am only on one medication (hypothyroidism) and I am feeling more confident than ever.  This surgery has given me a new lease on life and I LOVE it!

Now, I make the best decisions with ease on food and drink choices.  I eat a LOT of cheese.  A LOT.  Mostly I eat eggs, bacon, chicken, broccoli, more chicken, cheese, beef, cauliflower, more cheese….ha ha ha!  I drink coffee.  A LOT OF COFFEE.  Splenda, sugar free creamer and the occasional sugar free Torani syrup are necessary in this new life.

I find myself with tons of energy during the day, when you are supposed to have it!  Moving was still exhausting but I could tell many times that I was able to do more, lift more, move longer when we were packing up our home of four years!  (We moved from NC to TX….not sure if I blogged on that…will do if I haven’t!)

Do I get hungry?  It depends.  If I miss a meal, I get hungry around the six hour mark.  I usually eat every three hours…so I can tell if I missed one easily.  But the hunger is different.  I crave protein and healthy foods.  I love roasted veggies.  I feel like I can TASTE foods better because I’m eating so much healthier.

Do I cheat?  I guess it depends on your definition.  I eat a few M&M’s (peanut) with my cheese and crackers if I am creating my own bento box.  Peanut M&M’s do contain protein so it’s not a terrible choice.  But I eat a max of FIVE.  It gives me enough of a sweet taste but will not wreck my life plan.  I ate a bite of my Mom’s birthday cake.  I have licked icing off of a knife.  In the last few weeks (since my nutritionist told me to treat myself every now and then) I have let myself have more carbs a few times a week.  Sweet potato – yessssssss.  (with butter + cinnamon + splenda)

Do I have cravings?  Yes.  As mentioned before I crave healthy foods.  I do have unhealthy wants as well.  I want soft, white bread.  All the time.  LOL  I do not cave on that one and I won’t.  Sandwiches were a go-to for me and I do miss them but I would rather stick to my plan.

All in all, I am doing quite well at adjusting to “life after bariatric surgery” and have had VERY few issues.  I have had “dumping syndrome” a couple of times, both after having something with a large amount of milk.  I (obviously) now avoid large amounts of milk.  I find that if I don’t plan, I see either a stall or I don’t feel my best.  SO – I plan!  🙂

In all honesty, the hardest parts of this journey have been been:

  • the planning – it can take as much time as you want it to take…from a few minutes to stop and think “do I have my water and a healthy protein” every time I walk out the door to a few hours meal planning/grocery shopping/prepping.  You get what you put into it.  It is SO worth it to take the time to figure out what works for your schedule, your new tummy and your family/lifestyle.
  • the change in habits – (I mean I am from the South where EVERYTHING revolves around eating!)  Thinking about food nonstop is a really hard habit to break.  We are inundated with Food Network, recipes/videos on Facebook, food everywhere we go – it is extremely hard for someone who is trying to live a new lifestyle of eating to live and not living to eat.
  • the emotions from support and nonsupport – This one is pretty self explanatory but the support I have received from my husband, parents, children, in-laws, friends and weight loss surgery family has been nothing short of amazing.  The feedback on my progress, on pictures, on my meals….I can’t tell you how important it has been.  It’s the reason I had to “come out of the kitchen” (my Dad coined that!) a month after my surgery.  I had all intentions of only telling a few people but I quickly realized that the cheerleading and kudos and encouragement meant far more to me than my privacy or pride.  The negative side of that, of course, is opening yourself up to criticism, snarky comments or judgements.  The worst thing you can do to someone who has lost 105 pounds is NOT MENTION IT.  I promise.  It is awkward.  I feel like I’m searching for the reason they aren’t noticing or mentioning it or is it me or am I not that different or or or or orrrrr….I feel like saying, “You mad, bro?” when someone doesn’t!!!   (One day I am going to post a Dos and Don’ts I PROMISE!)
  • the impact on my family (good and bad) – I think I covered most of this already but it does impact every day life, of course.  I prefer to not go to Texas Roadhouse.  I LOVED it.  Truly.  BUT THOSE ROLLS THOUGH.  That one is a hard one.  They are EVERYWHERE.  I am certainly not going to ask my family to not eat them, so I just don’t go there.  It is where they go without me and have their own dates and I stay home or find something else to do.  No problem.  Am I jealous when they all get dessert?  You betcha.  I’m human.  Occasionally, I’ll have a bite (depending on what I have eaten) but I have resisted overdoing it.  We truly have to plan our day trips, date nights and dinners out in a way that we have never had to before.  Our kids are picky (ok, so is Mike) so we’ve always had to plan ahead – look at menus – but NOW it’s an extra challenge with my new tummy.  I am SO appreciative of understanding kids – they really have never complained about the changes.  Of course, I feel like that’s probably because they see the good in this new lifestyle.  They see me healthy and energized…and most of all, happy.

 

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Patient Patience

23 Sep

To say that I’m exhausted from pain is an understatement.  Let me just give you a quick rundown of what’s going on….(and if technical, lady-business words make you uncomfortable – skip this one!)  I posted this ten days ago but updated it today 10/3/16.

April 2013 – intense pain and cramping during periods, had an ablation to help with pain

October 2015 – pain starts back up and surgery is scheduled, due to endometriosis

December 2015 – hysterectomy performed (partial, kept ovaries)

June 2016 – pain is back, but only in left side…checked for cyst – negative….GYN thinks due to endometriosis.  Suggests removing ovaries will kill estrogen and therefore stop feeding endometriosis.

June 2016 – Ovaries removed. No hormones prescribed so as to remove as much estrogen as possible.  Pain continues.  While performing surgery, notices there is significant endometriosis on colon.

July 2016 – Pain continues. Visits to primary care physician, GYN and general surgeon to discuss options.  Surgeon orders colonoscopy and EGD to check for any blockages or other issues.

August 2016 – Colonoscopy performed.  No blockages.  Colon is “floppy” but not showing any signs internally that endo has damaged.  Surgeon not convinced that endo is source of pain.  GYN is sure endo is.

September 9, 2016 – Follow up with general surgeon and he now wonders if pain could be from femoral hernia.  He checks and feels “something”.  He performs ultrasound and sees “something”.  Orders CT Scan.

September 20, 2016 – CT Scan performed and awaiting results.  Still waiting.  Not patiently.

I’m so hoping this pain can be a distant memory soon.  Until it is, I am just taking one day at a time….sometimes an hour at a time.  The pain is on my left side, is worse when I’m standing and appears for most of the time when I am standing/walking/sitting and if I am laying down it is more than likely THERE but maybe not as “sharp”.

September 26, 2016 – Follow up with general surgeon to discuss CT Scan.  He started to say the words that I dreaded hearing…”The scan did not 100% confirm….” and I have to be honest, I didn’t hear much else.  I broke down in tears and just stopped listening.  When he was finished I confessed that I wasn’t listening and he started over with “I still think you have a femoral hernia…” and that was enough to make me feel better.  He thinks maybe the scan didn’t show because I was lying down and the hernia could correct itself while I’m lying down – so he wanted to proceed with surgery.  While discussing the surgery details, he let me know that he wanted to perform the surgery using robotic assistance so that slimmed down the time slots and hospitals.  It would be at Rex’s Raleigh campus and the day was up for grabs (depending on who could proctor and when the robot rep was available to be on call).  He wanted to use this means in order to explore my abdomen/intestines/colon to check on the endometriosis.  OH YES…..I was so happy.  We scheduled the surgery….and then rescheduled (based on all of the above) for just 4 days later, Friday, September 30th.  I was so happy it was going to be on Friday instead of Thursday since Mike was in Boston but due back late Thursday night!  (To be honest, I would have still had the surgery, but I was glad I didn’t have to without him!)

September 30, 2016 – Surgery day!  Woke up at 3:30 to leave the house by 4:30 am.  Traffic was very light!  LOL  Getting the IV in……not easy.  This is just one of my arms and the other was as bad…I think they stuck me around 6 times.  When they finally get one, they broke my heart by saying, “Since your surgery is robotic, you have to have two IV’s.”  They quickly followed that up by telling me they would do the second one after I was asleep. (Thank you Jesus!)

20160930_205319

My Mom and Mike were there (my Daddy and in-laws were on MJ duty at a school program) and by my side until they took me back.  FAST FORWARD —

When I woke up from surgery, I remember being so scared!  I remember worrying right then that I’d still have the pain that has been my enemy!  I panicked and they gave me more oxygen as it had fallen to 91%.  After that, I was okay…got more pain meds…drank Ginger Ale, ate my graham crackers and got out of there!  I was so ready to be home and in my own bed.  I don’t remember much about the ride home at all!  Just that Mike checked on me and held my hand most of the way!

October 3, 2016 – It’s been a few days now and I have to tell you I’m really surprised at how much these incisions hurt!  They are bigger than my previous surgeries (and I mean my poor belly button has had three surgeries now in just 10 months) and feel more tender.  Getting up and down out of a chair or the bed feels a bit like someone is ripping muscle in my abdomen….but no big deal…ha!  I do feel better every day so that’s a positive.  The leg pain that had started as a result (we believe) of the hernia is GONE – praise God!!

I am so thankful for friends and family who have reached out, helped out and prayed diligently.  I may not have a large family but I have an amazing husband and kids, an awesome set of parents and in-laws and many cousins who have prayed and checked in on me.  I’m blessed.

I can’t believe all that has changed in three months.  I went from a workaholic to a stay at home Mom.  A relatively healthy 37 year old to a 37 year old hermit in chronic pain.  Making the decision to leave my stressful, travel-heavy job was a hard one but I am so grateful that my husband and family supported me in it so much.  There is absolutely no way I could commit to working at this point.  I’m thankful that I have always had a job, since I was 15 (shout out to Jimbo’s Grill and On Cue!!) and I have had amazing opportunities, met wonderful people and learned many things (shout out to pivot tables, vlookups and incentive programs).  The season I’m in now is one of waiting and being still and having faith.  It’s uncomfortable but I do believe that the Lord is with me and is guiding me through this.  He is giving me strength to do things that matter.  Homework with MJ, moving my oldest to college, getting ready for doctor appointments, cooking dinner for my sweet husband….the important things.  I am just learning every day to be a patient patient.  It’s not easy.

Inzombia

14 Sep

That word mush of insomnia and zombie has probably been coined already….and I’m probably late to the party…but it’s the only thing that sums up my life right now!

Between menopause (from ovary removal 6/22) and pain in my LLQ (that’s left lower quadrant if you’re blessed to not have to know these abbreviations) that is from something like endometriosis on my colon OR a femoral hernia OR an alien abduction…I am soooo sleepy.  All day, every day, I could sleep.  I wake up to fetch MJ from school, take her to school, go to doctor appointments, and cook/eat.

I feel like this should be a sponsored post from Hallmark Movie Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, and Lowes Foods To Go!!

I am hoping to hear from some tests and to get a CT scan scheduled immediately to confirm my Dr’s latest theory….but until then, I have a mystery in Eden Lake to solve!

The better to SEE you with…

30 Sep

I decided last Thursday to make a consultation appointment (only my third in about 12 twelve years) to see about LASIK surgery.  What I didn’t decide was to consider the possibility of them having an opening the next day.  However, I knew it was good timing for me (Friday afternoon) so I agreed.

My appointment was around 2 so I worked and anxiously awaited my appointment.  Scooted up to Raleigh and started the three-ish hour barrage of tests, dilations, more tests, videos and questions.  It went great.  The staff and doctors were amazing.  I never felt pressured or uncomfortable.  They were so helpful and when they confirmed that I am (still) a candidate for all laser LASIK surgery…..my heart jumped!  I honestly thought I’d go home and talk it over with Mike….decide…..call them back.  However, it didn’t go quite that way.  Here is a rundown:

Nurse:  You are an excellent candidate.  Is this something you’d like to get scheduled?

Me:  Give me just a second.

My text to Mike (verbatim):  Baby!  I can do it, they said I’m an excellent candidate.  What do you think?

Mike’s text to Me (verbatim):  YES. DO IT.  It’s your eyes.

My text to Mike (verbatim):  But what about the cost?

Mike’s text to Me (verbatim):  BABY, DO IT.  As soon as they can.

Me to Nurse:  Okay!  When is the earliest?

I expected her to say something that rhymes with Brovember.  However, she rattles off…..NEXT FRIDAY WORK FOR YOU?

————————————WHAT??—————————————-

I was almost as stunned when I realized that indeed it would work.

So, this Friday, I’m having LASIK surgery on my eyes!  I can’t be more excited!  I’m at the point of having to wear my glasses for the four days pre-surgery and WOW they are annoying me more than ever!  I think it’s the absence of CHOICE….I don’t have one!  It will be so worth it but I’d give anything to wear my contacts right now!!!!

I left out a funny part of the story….when they dilated my eyes….it was just WHOA!  More than ever.  It just made me crazy!!  Christian went to the appt with me and he was laughing at me…we went to dinner and met Mike….more laughter……went to hockey game….you get the picture.  Even so, I had to take one………….check.out.those.pupils.

 

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Mono-logues

4 Oct

So I decided that my update yesterday could have been called vague….and that is surely not ever my goal.  I prefer to be clear, pointed and transparent.  So, let me seriously give you the lowdown.  

  • I am tracking along with this illness.  (If you’re just learning of my mono issues, you can see the old news here.)
  • I can expect another 2-3 weeks of feeling bad….but hopefully will make the turn soon and be able to join the living again.
  • For the next 6-9 weeks I will be especially susceptible to pneumonia, bronchitis, strep, colds and have the increased risk of hepatitis so my liver functions will be tested regularly.
  • I have an ear infection so he gave me antibiotics for that, which of course go great with anyone’s tummy right?  (Blah!!)
  • Since I have a “weakened immune system”, I am to limit exposure to known sick individuals and to go to the doctor if I have the teeny tiny beginning signs of a cold, sore throat or any fever.
  • I am normal.  Several symptoms made me wonder if I was…and I am.  Not sure if I’m happy or sad about that!!!  
  • The dizziness should get better over the next few weeks.  He is hopeful that it will not last the duration of this illness (which is about 12 weeks total).
  • I should not be taking anything for sleep.  I asked because I am so off on my sleep patterns.  He wants me to sleep when I am sleepy and not worry about when that is.  
That’s all, folks!  I seriously want to thank those of you who ask about me daily, who have called, emailed, texted to check on me, those who’ve sent things, those who have prayed.  I appreciate you all so much.  This has been more than I ever could have imagined so I truly am most grateful for one thing – PATIENCE.  I’m not really good at it….but I’ve learned more than ever who is…my husband has been so loving and patient through this, I can’t even express how much of a difference that makes.  My sweet  mother has been especially kind and helpful.  My kids have been totally understanding and have seemed to enjoy doing little things for me and I have to tell you that their handmade cards are the most treasured.  My boss has been amazing and easy on me.  My colleagues have been absolutely wonderful and have picked up where I left off in a big way.  My employees have been receptive to the changes that they have had to endure and have stepped up to make sure things didn’t fall through the cracks.  My friends and family have been sweet to check on me.  I have had cupcakes, spaghetti, lemon pound cake and flowers delivered….(ohhh thank you to my sweet cousin Diane Thomas for that spaghetti…it was timely and so so so so good!)…and I am so very humbled by the kindness of my loved ones and of strangers as well.  From people who have contacted me privately through my blog or people who have found other ways…I just can’t say enough how much it means to me.  This has been a hard thing for me  for which I’ve had no control.  (Possibly that’s the hardest part.)  Thanks to you guys for making it a little easier on me.  Love you all!!!

Update or notsomuch

3 Oct

So here is the update.  

I am normal.

(For someone in their third week of mono.)

That’s all.  Thanks for playing.

Prayers for today!

2 Oct

If you’ve been following my mono progress…you will know that it’s been almost THREE WEEKS.  Which, by the way, is tooooo long!  From what I have heard/read that’s about normal, though many people (women, especially) do experience issues far longer than this.  But we are not going there.  Nope!

I have a follow up appointment with my Doctor this afternoon.  Pray that it goes well, I feel good enough to be there and that I don’t fall out.  Being “up and about” has been the issue lately.  Getting up too quickly and getting dizzy or feeling hot and like I’m going to pass out – those are the things that keep me home.  Well, that and feeling like I need to sleep 16 hours a day.  During the day.  It’s no fun, y’all!!!!

Thanks for the prayers so far…

Results are In! (Well, some….)

8 Aug

So, after all that has happened (his almost fainting, stroke like symptoms, general exhaustion, findings of liver and kidney function issues) and his appointment this past Monday at a hematologist (still awaiting all of the results from that)…we were looking forward to today!  He had a three hour glucose test last week and we knew we were to find out the results today.  (Never mind the fact the I went yesterday for lab work {Vitamin D} and saw the Doctor and he TOLD ME the results!)

First, we talked about the hematologist (who Mike loves) and his findings so far.  He wrote our PCP a dissertation on my husband.  Swoon.  It was about all of the issues and what he thinks might be going on with my sweetie’s blood.  As of now, they are leaning towards a diagnosis of polycythemia.  You can find more information about THAT here.  Basically, his body is making too many red blood cells.  This can lead to complications since they blood flow may decrease and stress on organs can increase.  Obviously, this is a great concern to us and is wayyy up there on the priority list to figure out what’s going on.  The hematologist took 13 vials of blood on Monday to test for all sorts of things, levels, genetic markers.  The follow up for that is in two weeks and I’m very anxious to see what that is!

Now, on to the PCP’s test results of the three hour glucose test.  So, normally, a non-diabetic person should have a glucose level of 60-100 at most times.  Once they eat something, it should normally raise no higher than 160 (even if it’s seven ice cream sundaes and four Sonic slushies).  So, 30 minutes after Mike started his test (and had drank that lovely stuff that all pregnant women get to experience)…his glucose was at 262.  Yes, TWO HUNDRED SIXTY TWO.  Yikes!  The interesting thing?  At three hours…it was 56.  So, he spikes WAY up and he drops WAY low.  The good doctor hesitated to label him “diabetic” (probably due to insurance if you want to know the truth) but is treating it as such.  Put him on a medicine (Januvia) and will see him back in 6 weeks.  He also let him know he needs to lose ten percent of his weight and gave him some diet tips and levels to stay within.

I am really hoping this is a wake up call for BOTH of us.  For ALL of us.  My family, extended family, friends, whoever might be reading this.  Bad habits are SO easy to fall into and SO hard to break.  We let our kids grow up eating whatever is easy for us all and then expect them to turn from those habits when it matters???  So silly and I KNOW this.  So, I started typing this when my hand started cramping from making menus and lists of things that are “safe”.  We will not do this cold turkey, but we will make swift changes (already did for supper) that will affect our diet, weight and our LIFE.  We can’t continue to live by convenience and just expect to feel good because it tastes good!  Also, boot camp on Saturday for me was not a one time deal.  Mike has even expressed interest in going so I am TOTALLY down with that.  I would love to show him up work out with him.  I have found myself trying to do push ups around the house too…from different elevations…to see if my upper arm strength is existent any better.  I just want to be able to know that he and I are doing everything we can to improve our lives.  I feel like a twelve step program could help though!!!

Okay…I’m wrapping this up, just wanted to update those who asked and were praying!  Thank you so much.  I serve a Mighty God and I know that He will bring us through this.  I have much faith in that!!

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