Bariatric surgery Feed

Hey, look - it's me!

So last we talked it was the day before surgery, which occurred last Friday. It's been a week now, I've been home since Sunday and recovery has been OK.

I've learned a lot about coming off morphine, ketone bodies (they SUCK), drinking too much liquid at one time (no bueno) and not drinking enough liquid (also no bueno).

I also learned a new twist on that old fitness meme "Sweat is just your fat crying."

Fat crying

The thing is the size of a paper cut but it's a leaky little sucker. Apparently the fluid looks for the path of least resistance, and right now it's out my belly. 

Super awesome. 

But I felt disgusting before it actually started leaking and now that it is, my belly is feeling less swollen and looking better, too. That same evening that I made my poor, exhausted husband take me to the ER (Valentine's Day, of course!) I also ralphed all the way home. (Thankfully the ER had take-home barf buckets.)

Yesterday I went back to the hospital for a follow-up and learned that the leaking is a fairly common thing, and that the barfing was me trying to power down the protein shakes and broth in one sitting. I was trying so hard to get to 60g of protein I felt like I had to do 20-20-20 at every meal. Well, considering that I have brand new plumbing and a new stomach the size of an egg, that isn't a good idea. So for the past day and a half I've been breaking up the drinks into 4 to 6 ounce portions and doing much better on that. In fact, it's 5 p.m. and I'm nearly at 50g protein -- yay!

I've been pacing back and forth across the house, shooting for a mile a day. That'll gradually increase as I start feeling better (and stop leaking). With the Olympics on, I often cross country ski or speed skate across the house, and the dog thinks I am nuts. 

Now for the freaky fun stuff. 

Since Jan. 18 -- a little less than a month ago -- I'm down nearly 15 pounds. A good portion of that was the pre-op diet but I've been dropping about a pound or so a day this week. There's still some bloating post-surgery (and, of course, the leaking) so once that all settles down I'll be able to get a more accurate picture of my overall weight loss. My body fat percentage has also gone from a ridiculously fluffed-up 52 percent to around 48. 

How do I feel about all this?

via GIPHY

(Nothin' like an MSNBC happy dance.)

 

 

 


Surgery is one week away

For the bariatric surgery of

Yep, that's right. It's happening. All the tests and exams are done (my bloodwork was surprisingly decent!) and insurance has re-approved the surgery.

Why "re-approved"?

I originally chose vertical sleeve gastrectomy, but early on I knew there was a chance I wouldn't be a good candidate because my esophagus is, well ...

via GIPHY

(Actual footage of my throat processing marinara sauce without Prilosec.)

My latest upper endoscopy showed that my hiatal hernia didn't magically close up from the last time we took a peek, and this time my esophagus showed some erosive changes, WHICH IS NOT GOOD. It's called Barrett's esophagus, but mine is in the very early stage with no dysplasia (cell changes). 

My surgeon had said that sleeve surgery can create hiatal hernias over time, and make existing ones worse. 

Well, crap.

There's a very bad thing that can happen if you let your esophagus turn to beef jerky, and basically roux en y bypass surgery can actually reverse the Barrett's. 

Weight loss and GERD relief: Two birds with one stone. Believe me, I've been taking PPIs for a decade, eat super healthy and barely touch alcohol. I just have this stupid hiatal hernia and a flaming pit of acid in my stomach. 

So bypass it is!

Frankly, I'm more concerned with the Barrett's than the size of my ass, so agreeing to change course was a no-brainer for me. My surgeon has done many, many procedures over the years (Cleveland Clinic Florida is a Bariatric Center of Excellence), and he said while the bypass is more involved, recovery is around the same amount of time. 

I'm really looking forward to the improvements in both areas.

Last week, I started the pre-op diet, which was fairly easy -- two protein and veggie meals and one protein shake meal with clear liquids in between. I dropped around 5 pounds. but today was the first day of a liquids-only diet, and damn! I was doing OK with my delightful protein drinks and water until around 4:30 when the hangry polar bear appeared. So I busted open the low-sodium chicken broth, and I swear, it was the best thing ever.

Dinner was probably a little more substantial then I should have eaten -- I found a can of Progresso Organic Tomato Basil Soup in the pantry and stirred in a scoop of unflavored Quest protein powder. That's kind of a smoothie, right? Actually, the soup was a lot higher in sugar than everything I ingested today -- go figure! 

That held me for around an hour and the bear came back, so I just went nuts and ate an Oikos Triple Zero. 

Not perfect but, yeesh, the hunger monster is outta control. 


Bonfire of the diet books

This is something I've been researching for quite some time, and I finally pulled the trigger: I'm getting a gastric sleeve procedure!

{Cue the protein-fortified confetti}

I went to an informational seminar way back in June, decided I didn't want to jump through a bunch of insurance hoops and put the idea on the back burner. I continued to eat kale and quinoa, exercise and drink water ... and GAIN WEIGHT.

After experiencing FOMO while seeing some of my friends get bariatric surgery and do smashingly, I revisited the idea and met with a surgeon at the beginning of this year. I also started working out much more regularly and rejoined Weight Watchers ... and DIDN'T LOSE AN OUNCE.

So I called the insurance coordinator on Thursday and discovered that I was approved for surgery. No long-term counseling, no nothing, she said. Just the usual pre-op exams and a scheduled surgery date sometime next month.

Armies sleevies

NEXT MONTH!

I think it helps that I'm on the low end of a qualifying BMI so I don't have to do any weight loss to get to a "safe" surgery weight. Either that or they took my "body of work" into account and decided that girlfriend has put in the prerequisites and is just ready to GET. THIS. DONE.

... which I am.

I don't smoke, I barely drink, I exercise, I don't eat fast food or candy bars, so all the healthy livin' stuff is in place. 

So why did I title this "Bonfire of the diet books"? Because I've been on or off or researching some plan that'll finally work for ...

OVER 40 YEARS

That's way too long to futz around.

I have sold or given away a giant stack of diet books over the past year but I still hold onto a few for what reason I don't know. The rest of them might go on the barbecue.

But don't get me wrong -- I know that even post-surgery weight loss takes work. It just won't be the head-slamming-against-the-wall kind of work. Over the years my hormones have gotten me to the point where I'm hungry all the time, and I'm not talking "head hunger." I'm talking stomach rumbling real hangry hunger, even minutes after I eat. A gastric sleeve will actually remove a lot of what creates those awful hunger-producing hormones so I can eat a portion of food, feel full and get on with my life.

I'm looking forward to that most of all. 

Another thing I'm looking forward to is getting my hiatal hernia fixed. Apparently a lot of people who get bariatric surgery have hiatal hernias and don't even know it. I KNOW I have one, and I am a world-class belcher. I have done research on this and know that hiatal hernias can be a side effect of gastric sleeves, but since I already have one that is caused by my weight (and probably genetics) I'm pretty sure I'll be able to keep my stomach shut. I don't plan on doing anything to risk having another one.

The snowball starts really rolling next week. I have an upper endoscopy, EKG, ultrasound, chest X-ray, bloodwork and a 4-hour nutrition class scheduled for next week. These guys don't mess around -- and neither do I. 

I said 2018 was going to be the year!