Let me start by saying, every individual is different. Every surgeon is different. If you are reading this and you are on your journey to weight loss surgery, ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS listen to YOUR surgeon and medical team.
My surgeon instructed me to start a “liver reduction diet” two weeks before my surgery. The purpose of this diet is to make it easier for the surgeon to move your liver out of the way so they can focus on your stomach during surgery. The first week of the liver reduction diet is made up of a daily diet of 2 bariatric protein shakes, 2 bariatric snacks (crisps or bars) and one meal of lean meat and green veggies – NO/LOW carbs, NO caffeine, NO sugar – and 64 ounces of liquids. I started on December 13th and this part of the diet was not THAT complicated or difficult but that one meal a day was CHERISHED let me tell you!
The second week of this diet was very simple. Five bariatric shakes a day. Only that. No solid foods, no snacks, no cheating. This was HARD. I missed chewing. I missed real food. I could still have hydrating liquids and that included sugar-free popsicles so they were my jam. They still are. Yummy.
The liver reduction diet requires planning, willpower and commitment. Basically this sets you up for success after surgery as well. It also gives you bad breath, low energy and dry skin! By the last few days, it was all I could do to get those shakes down. The last day, I think I only drank three. There was just no way. I was tired of them and just tired in general. Keep in mind that on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day I was on liquids only. My family was so kind and understanding and did everything they could to make things easier on me. During this time I still cooked for my family and was around food…I knew that it was going to require me to keep doing that after my surgery so I figured I should start learning to resist temptations! Easier said than done but I did it!
Twenty-four hours before the surgery, I had to stop all red and purple liquids. That means only orange sugar free popsicles! 🙂 As usual, nothing to eat after midnight the night before surgery. My surgery was scheduled for 10:30 AM so I had to be there at 8:30 AM. I was so beyond ready. Prayer helped me so much here. I felt a peace that I couldn’t have come by alone. I was ready.
Once you have committed in your mind that you’re going to go for it, the work begins. You may not even commit until after the first appointment…or the third…or the tenth! Personally, I had to commit in my mind before I even walked in to the office. My first appointment (Aug 8, 2016) was a flurry of activity. I was assigned a caseworker (Kevin, very helpful) and weighed (ugh). I sat down with Kevin and he presented me with two important documents: Surgery Estimate and Bariatric Checklist. The estimate was FABULOUS:
Now, this is not normal. However, when your sweet husband spends a week in ICU due to double pneumonia, you have certainly met your out of pocket maximum for the year. Thank you Jesus for health insurance. Yes, you are seeing that right. This surgery cost me exactly ZERO dollars. (Hmm, I guess that should have been on my first post about this! It was a factor!)
The Bariatric Checklist was the piece of paper that looked the most intimidating.
All those highlights were something I had to do…which meant (to me) something to worry about. (Let me just pause here and say that my prayer life was being tested and built at this time and I believe it was God’s plan to teach me how important it was!!) The first thing I heard Kevin say was: “Okay, your insurance requires four months of weight loss visits – basically four months of us weighing you – before surgery.” I thought I had NO chance of getting this surgery squeezed into 2016!! He then told me that this visit would count as my first one…so my window was TIGHT! I had a ton of things to do in a short amount of time and we began scheduling appointments and making plans! It was organized chaos and I was up for the challenge.
I met the surgeon and we discussed the types of bariatric surgeries and the pain I was feeling in my left side as well (my aforementioned femoral hernia). Dr Tyner was very helpful with the tons of questions I had already and gave me some information on apps to use and diets to read up on to get myself ready for this huge change.
When I left the office that day, I cried like a baby knowing that this was going to be hard. I cried harder out of joy, knowing that I serve a risen Savior who would equip me for this battle. I literally and figuratively leaned on Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
There are many steps of Weight Loss Surgery and possibly one of the hardest is making the decision to go for it. Many weeks or months or even years go by while someone considers it, most often.
For me, it was a few factors. I had been diagnosed with diabetes and put on meds for it. I had been diagnosed with high blood pressure and medicated for that. I lost an Uncle last March who was obese and we believe that led to his passing. I had more time on my hands than EVER, after retiring from my job in July. I was referred to a surgeon for a pain I was experiencing (that we thought was endometriosis related and turned out to be a femoral hernia) and this particular surgeon performed bariatric surgery as well. I prayed. I talked to my hubby. I talked to my Daddy (who had lap band surgery in 2013). I talked to my Mama (who was the chief cook/warden/support for my Daddy!). I stressed, I worried, I prayed, I read, I researched, I cried, I decided.
I needed to do this for my family, for my health, for my LIFE. I have ALWAYS battled with my weight. I have hypothyroidism as well, which does NOT help. I am an emotional eater. I had a very stressful job for 5+ years with travel and meetings and “no time” to plan to eat healthy – so I didn’t. Yes, that’s an excuse. 🙂 I was all about convenience. I was being selfish. Why not be selfish enough to take the time and energy and opportunity to push the reset button on my health? My family was the most supportive. I knew I would face criticism and the whispers of “why can’t she just diet and exercise?” and worse. The thought of this negativity made every little bit of positivity mean that much more. I clung to it and decided to move forward with the surgery, not really sure of which procedure I would land on. I was open to all options and began praying that I would have peace and clarity about which one. The procedures (lap band, gastric sleeve, duodenal switch, gastric bypass) all varied in their effectiveness as well as their chance of complications.
Research online helped tremendously as well as information from my surgeon’s office. (I went to Bariatric Specialists of North Carolina. Cannot say ENOUGH about how awesome they are.)
If you are considering bariatric surgery, my advice is this: Research, be patient and ensure you have a support system that understands the full process. Research the surgeries as well as the surgeons. Don’t settle for mediocre care as you may end up with mediocre results.
I plan to chronicle each phase of this journey and would love feedback or questions! You can reach me at email@example.com.
Today’s blog: What is your favourite thing to do when you lose energy in your home and can’t use electronics?
This.just.happened. Last week, a transformer blew outside of our house and we were in the dark. There were no favorites, justsoyaknow…it was just whatever kept the kids quiet! We had all of our devices, 3 iPads, iPad mini, MacBook, 3 iPhones and a Touch…6 rechargeable candles…1 Mag-lite…and we were set! MJ watched Tangled w/ headphones as to not hear the wind…Mike and I talked…and slept. Christian chilled in his room, playing games on his phone…it was a regular night, actually….just darker.. 🙂
Today’s post question ~ What is the most creative way you conserve energy in your home?
I’d say the BEST way? I don’t cook! Ha! I save energy on a few things….my stove, oven, water (since there aren’t dishes to wash), dishwasher… I can give you 100 excuses…but it boils down to time, energy and convenience…. My hubby loves it when I DO cook but at this point, it’s so rare it is such a cool thing…he thinks it’s a special occasion! Works for me! 🙂
Today’s blog: Come up with a creative plan (and no, it doesn’t have to be realistic and scientifically-based — toddler on a hamster wheel, anyone?) to create energy once we use up our fossil fuels.
Here is a good plan ~ somehow determine how best to bottle toddler energy. Maybe it’s a chemical in their glands, maybe it’s in their blood, maybe it’s secreted in their urine…but somehow, it’s there. They have a ton of it. They can use less and we can use it for everything!!! BOOM.
My prompt for today: What is your biggest concern about the future of the environment?
Obviously, I’m concerned about the future for a few reasons…. Of course I just CARE. I’d like to see this world we live in thrive and be green and pretty and all that jazz… However, if the Lord doesn’t return soon and I leave this world before my children are left to hang around and endure it – I’d like for them to have pretty things to see, air to breath (that doesn’t harm them), animals to observe and clean water to drink. I think water is a big deal for me for a few reasons….I LOVE IT first of all. I love to drink it, swim in it, see it, you name it! My job is obviously greatly affected by water. We want people to ENJOY it…we want people to benefit from the cleanliness of it…we want to MOVE it… It’s a big deal, y’all!! I could give you lots of stats but you all know the deal. There’s a lot of water. There’s a lot of pollution. There’s a lot of work to do…we just need to be sure we’re all doing it, that our government is funding someone doing it and that we are all supporting it!!!
We’ve already established that I’m not a superhero…but if I were…I’d have you call me – MOM. Thas all. Most of those are pretty superhumanish, don’t you think?