Surgery and post op update

Finally had gastric bypass on 11/16/2020. I also had my gall bladder removed, as well as an exploratory laparoscopy to look for endometriosis and adhesions. They found neither so that’s a good thing. Doesn’t explain my pelvic pain unfortunately. I’m hopefully that maybe weight loss will help with the pain in case it’s weight related. Which it totally could be.

Comparison photos updated the night before surgery
Comparison photos updated the night before surgery.

I have lost a total of 70lbs pre surgery. I lost roughly 15-20lbs on my two week pre-op liquid diet. I started my period just a few days before surgery, so I was having some bloating from that. My surgery weight was 276. My highest weight was 340. My goal weight is 180.

I haven’t had too much post op complications. Not much gas pain other than one incident after I took some crushed meds that really upset my stomach. I felt like the gas got stuck in my chest. The crushed meds really set me back today, as it took hours for me to get my pain and nausea under control. I’ve also had to be catheterized twice due to having issues urinating on my own. It’s been mortifying lol. My belly looks sorta weird right now but my surgeon assured me that it will look right after the swelling goes down. They repaired a small hernia which I didn’t even know I had. So I’m glad they found it. That’s the spot where the most swelling is apparently.

8 incisions (including my belly button). Here is a picture while I’m laying down. Doesn’t show how distorted my stomach actually looks.

Incisions post op have been fine honestly. General redness and tenderness but that’s to be expected. I’m very lucky that i haven’t had trouble with them yet. I’m still in the hospital and will get to go home and back to real life tomorrow. I’m praying that I don’t have any more trouble. Hiccups have been the biggest annoyance that I’ve dealt with. I’m so over it. I hiccup for no reason at all.

Here’s to hoping I succeed in my second chance in life. ❤️

Dieting During Isolation

Food has been my everything since I could learn to eat. I’m used to eating a lot of fresh food and vegetables per my normal diet goes. Not being able to go to the store as often as I need to has definitely put a strain on my weight loss efforts.

I do my best to meal prep for myself as much as possible. If I don’t meal prep, I absolutely eat badly. It’s a problem that I have recognized in myself. Being at home with my husband and kids has honestly made me crazy. I’ve had a rough menstrual cycle, so of course sweets has been something I wanted very badly. I have slipped up and eaten things I shouldn’t have. I just worked out more often to compensate for my short comings.

If you’re struggling… make a plan. Make a meal plan and stick to it. When you go to the store, stick to your grocery list. Get in and get out so you don’t make the mistake of buying things we want to snack on. Do your best to keep up your diet so that you don’t ruin everything you’ve worked hard for.

Good luck!

Surgery Update

Well, I got the call last week. The one you wish and pray doesn’t come. The one you dread. Elective surgeries have been postponed for a minimum of 30 days in my area. To say I have been devastated…. is not enough.

I’m thankful they contacted me the day before I started my pre-op liquid diet. My surgeon requires a 2-week one instead of 10 days. Anyone who has to prepare for a surgery understands the disappointment that comes when it’s been taken away. It doesn’t matter that it will be rescheduled. People like me a flighty. They mess up their diets and feel guilty. They stress eat. But when you can’t even properly diet with the current COVID-19 scares, it’s a problem.

You never know what’s going to happen in 30 days. I’ve worked hard to get my surgery approved for my insurance. I worked hard to prove I’m ready. I’ve had to pay a lot of money out of pocket for this surgery, and not having it felt wrong. I felt like I had been punched in the heart. Obviously I’m doing better now and have accepted this pause.

I’m struggling daily to keep my diet together. Social distancing has put a real damper on my food shopping. Not to mention the winter produce was not very good. I’m hoping that the newer crops have produced better items so that I was eating more fresh veggies and fruit. If I derail from my diet, I’ll have to go through the monitor diet again. Pray for me, please. I just want to have surgery and be a better me.

Emotional Eating & Weight Loss

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has strong emotional connections to food. I admit that I’m a food lover, a chef, and a food addict. I know what it’s like to feel out of control of my eating habits. One of the first side effects I had post partum with my son in 2019 is an obsession with sugar. It seriously consumed my every thought of pretty much every moment for months. I kept telling my doctor that I was craving sugar to the point it was making me crazy. She did prescribe me Victoza, which helped so much with the cravings. Why couldn’t I be obsessed with a plant-based diet instead??

I eat when I’m happy. I eat when I’m sad. I eat when I’m bored. Idle hands get themselves into trouble. I have to force myself to really focus on other things and keep myself busy. I have to ignore that little voice that says I’m hungry 24/7. I have to ignore the sugar sugar sugar chanting in my head. These things hurt so bad, and no one understands unless they’ve also experienced it. People think I’m crazy when I try to explain how I feel, as most people don’t have those intense sugar cravings.

Emotional eating can be stressful. I know when I’m doing it, especially since I can see the signs. The best thing I’ve ever done was seek help for the cravings. I eat so much less, and stop shoving food into my mouth. I also stopped bringing snacks to my desk at work. Eliminating things I can easily grab has also helped a lot. If it’s not there you can’t eat it. When I’m having an episode I just drink more water. Mind over matter every single time.

I see a therapist like many people do during the process of getting approved for surgery as well as post operatively. Your brain still hasn’t caught up to your stomach yet in the first 12 months. It takes a lot of hard mental work and establishing healthy eating habits to not over eat. Over eating can cause a lot of issues post op. So seeing a therapist to help you work through any mental hurtles will help immensely.

If you’re an emotional eater like myself, I hope any of my tips and tricks help you to overcome your urges. Also, speak to your provider about how to manage your cravings. These are the first steps to getting the help you need. Some people lose weight on some of the appetite suppressants. I am not one of those people but that’s okay with me. Managing the cravings was what helped me the most to get a little bit more control over my body and health. Good luck to you all on this journey!

PCOS and Losing Weight

02/22/2020 – Pictured is myself 3 weeks prior to gastric bypass. My 9 month old is on the couch.

What is PCOS? It stands for PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome. Typical symptoms include enlarged ovaries, multiple small or Pearl-like string of cysts on the ovaries, hormonal imbalances, insulin resistance, acne, facial hair, weight gain, infertility, and more. It has become more commonly diagnosed in women of child bearing ages, but we know less of this condition and how to treat it. Because it has so many symptoms and each symptom has a side effect, it can sometimes be hard to treat.

Hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance can make losing weight a difficult task. This is a condition that I deal with every day. I have a lot of symptoms, which include the insulin resistance. I was diagnosed in early 2016, not quite 2 years after my first child was born. It was discovered then that I was also pre-diabetic. My A1C was 6.5, and probably the highest it had been in my life. I have since then been considered Type 2 Diabetic, and am very well managing my numbers and sugars at this point in time.

Losing weight has been a big issue for me. Every time I stepped on the scale, it was always more than the day, week, and month before. I felt like nothing I was doing helped. It didn’t seem to matter how hard I tried to eat healthier, exercise more, or meal prep, I didn’t lose. I felt like a failure. And I’ve felt like a failure all of my life because of my weight. I’ve never been beautiful enough, skinny enough, or good enough. This has led to many conflicting issues I battle within myself. It has lead to unhealthy emotional eating, as well as a negative outlook on myself. Something I still deal with but am working hard to correct.

The day I decided to take back control of my weight and my life, is the day I chose to consider weight loss surgery. At the peak of my weight gain, I was at a whopping 332lbs. I have worked very hard to lose weight and maintain that loss. I am currently 290lbs. I honestly believe pregnancy allowed me to lose weight with both my daughter and son. I lost 50lbs with my first child, and around 30lbs with my second. As soon as pregnancy ends, the weight gain returns. It’s incredible how the body reacts to pregnancy, don’t you think?

Weight loss surgery was not an impulse decision. It has taken me years to come to this conclusion. What triggered me was when I had to inject insulin daily during my last pregnancy. I said I would never be this fat again, and I would never inject myself with insulin again. I called my doctor and told her to give me a referral for surgery as soon as I had the baby because I couldn’t handle being this big any longer. I have felt so trapped in my body. I feel like a skinny person trapped inside of a obese person. And anyone who knows what I mean, will understand what I’m saying.

Once I accepted that I needed to lose weight, that’s when I started this journey. I can literally lose an entire person in weight and still be considered overweight. That information is sobering. And knowing this information doesn’t make it any easier. Knowing how hard it is to lose weight and struggle through the battles of it all, just to fail… well… it’s terrifying. And that is why I believe surgery is my best option.

If you’ve reached this point like I have, please read some of my other blog posts in regards to getting surgery and how to get started. Choose life. Choose to start it now. I have faith in you that you will be just as successful as myself in this journey. It is not easy, but we can get through this together. PCOS is not a death sentence, and it does not define who I am any more. I refuse to let it control my life like it’s an excuse any longer. What about you?

How Do You Start the Weight Loss Surgery Process?

It’s really easy to start the process of getting weight loss surgery. Most facilities that do surgery, make you register and attend a weight loss surgery seminar. They tend to have a surgeon that comes and speaks about the different types of surgeries, pros and cons, do’s and dont’s, and allow you to sign up for a consultation while you’re there. Most insurance companies also require this, and has a ton of useful information. Attending one is your best bet for getting in and completing part of the requirements.

There are different types of procedures that you can pick from. There is Roux En Y, a gastric bypass procedure, which creates a stomach pouch out of a small portion of the stomach and attaching it directly to the small intestine, bypassing a large part of the stomach and duodenum. After gastric bypass, swallowed food will go into this small pouch of stomach and then directly into the small intestine, bypassing most of your stomach and the first section of your small intestine. (This is the procedure I’ve chosen to go with and is covered by my insurance.)

Image taken from http://www.MedlinePlus.org

The gastric sleeve is where surgeons remove part of your stomach, and join the remaining portions together to make a new banana-sized stomach or “sleeve.” With just a small sack left, you’ll feel full a lot quicker than you did before. You won’t be able to eat as much, which helps you lose weight. Plus, the surgery removes the part of your stomach that makes a hormone that boosts your appetite.

Image taken from http://www.surgery.ucla.edu.

Biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch or also known as the duodenal switch, is a complex weight-loss surgery that reduces your ability to absorb calories, vitamins, and minerals. They first do a gastric sleeve, then they reroute the upper small intestine to be shorter in distance from the bottom, and then is attached to the duodenum. This changes how the food is digested, which causes the weight loss.

Image found on John Hopkins website: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org.

You can lose more weight with the duodenal switch than with the gastric bypass or the sleeve gastrectomy. You’ll be at higher risk of developing nutritional deficiencies afterward. These include some that can be life-threatening if untreated. When deciding whether to have the surgery, these complications and other surgical risks should be carefully considered along with the benefits. Each procedure is unique and will cause weight loss. So choose wisely! I hope going over this intro into types of surgeries available and getting started with your weight loss surgery,

#NewYearNewMe

My New Years resolution was to have success with weight loss (again), just like every year that has come and gone. I’ve been serious about my health and ways to improve it for the last several years. I can honestly say that I have been obese the majority of my life, and I just cannot do it any more.

So #newyearnewme happened and here I am going through the process of weight loss surgery. This is a major life changing event. Not just for me, but for anyone else who also chooses this path for rapid weight loss. It is not a decision you can make blindly, as this alters your insides. You’ll never be the same. AND THAT IS SCARY.

If you’re like me, maybe you have medical conditions that make it hard to lose weight. I have PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome), hypothyroidism, and Type 2 Insulin Resistant Diabetes. Even with medications, my thyroid levels have been up and down enough to give me some persistent side effects. It’s part of the reason I struggle so much with losing weight.

I’ve tried many different types of diets, pills, exercise programs, doctor-lead professional weight loss, extreme calorie counting and more. This time, when a doctor suggested weight loss surgery, I strongly considered it and how it could help me long term. So keep following my posts, as I will go over how to get started with weight loss surgery, how to prepare yourself for the changes you’ll be facing, dieting the right way, meal prepping, shopping for clothes for your new body, and more.