Thursday, September 3, 2009

Back in the Swing of Things

Boy, have I been busy. Went back to work in August and just really haven't had time for anything but work, work activitities, family, and SLEEP.

I finally made my second goal of 178 pounds. It was SO difficult. I knew it would be, because I plateauted there for a long, long time on the way up, but it was still very stressful and disheartening. Down a half, up a half. Down a pound, up a pound. And it took forever compared to my past loss. I am just glad it's over. Finally, I dropped 2.5 pounds "overnight" and got to 178, got on the scale this morning and was 177.5. The pounds between 177.5 and 170 were fairly easy for me to lose in the past, so I am hoping I drop steadily without all the back and forth. 3rd Goal - 170. 37.5 to go total. I can, I can, I can, YES I CAN!! Once I hit 170 I am in uncharted territory. I haven't weighed less than 170 since I was in my 20's. I spent quite a bit of time at 156, even more time at 140, my goal. I think getting under 170 is going to be a lot harder than getting to 178.

In terms of sleeve eating, I have really struggled the past couple weeks at work. We have a lot of food activities without choices. I have to admit I've foamed and hirked more times than I'd care to think of. I am working on that, realizing JUST how much I ate to deal with stress before. It feels great that I can eat no where near the same amount, but I want to get it under conrol. I know I am going to hirk, yet I eat that last swallow anyway. Silly.

Am also noticing that my go-to foods of the past just do not have same effect on me anymore - now THAT is a great feeling. Have not had fast food or soda of any kind since July 1st and do not miss it at all. The thought of sitting down in front of a giant burger and fries makes me kind of gag, at this point anyway. Just so HUGE, way too much food. Back in the day I could do a value meal plus an extra burger just for fun. Feels good for that to be over. I am not saying I will never eat a bite of burger again, but at this time it feels great that it all seems to be just too much to eat. I never thought I would feel that way.

Sorry I haven't posted in so long. I will try to do better.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Stall is broken!

Stall is broken. Woke up this morning, lost a pound! I LOVE MY SLEEVE!

Monday, August 17, 2009

3 Week Stall

Dear God - I am in the 3 Week Stall. I went down a pound, I went up a half, I went down a half, and then up a half. Today I am going to do only protein and exercise my buns off to try to break out of the stall. I hate this. But at the same time my clothes are getting looser. Woohoo!

Friday, August 14, 2009

3 Week Stall

Well, I am in the 3 week stall. Have only lost 1 pound this week. But, to put it in perspective, before I would be miserable all week long and expect to only lose one pound. So - it's not so bad. I am going to do only protein and exercise today and this weekend to try to break the plateau.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I love The World According to Eggface

Here is an Eggface recipe that

I am going to try since I am on puree:

Shelly's Baked Ricotta

8 oz of Ricotta Cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1 large Egg, beaten

1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

salt & pepper to taste

1/2 cup Marinara Sauce

1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Mix ricotta cheese, parmesan, beaten egg, seasonings together and place in a oven proof dish. Pour marinara on top and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake it in the oven @ 450 for about 20-25 minutes (best) or nuke it till hot and bubbly. I usually made it first in the oven and heated the leftovers in the microwave.

Still Losing

Well, I lost 3.5 pounds this week. I can't believe it. It feels so great. And next week I get to start more strenuous exercise! That is very exciting to me. In fact, I believe the reason I got to 213 rather than 250 or more is that I am a regular exerciser. I have missed it for the stress relief.

Yesterday was a better day at work. The difficult colleague left early to go to the doctor and try to get some things figured out. I am glad this person decided to do this. I feel at a loss about trying to help.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Are you a crazy person Test

Whoa. Yesterday was a tough day at work with a very tough person. This person talks about suicide, cries, talks about being hospitalized, rages, becomes depressed, becomes happy all in the space of an 8 hour day. There is something really, really wrong. It makes for a very stressful work environment. Plus, this person really doesn't have any idea that the roller coaster of emotions affects the people all around the area. Eeeesh. Came home stressed out and very tired BUT - DID NOT BINGE AT ALL!!!!

YAY!! I navigated through a lunch out and a dinner out doing a cup of soup each time, and while the scales didn't go down, they certainly didn't go up! Presurgery, I would have come home and eaten a cheesecake or something just to calm myself down. What a relief to be in control!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Bad Day

A very bad day. Had heartburn all day long so started the Prilosec. That time of the month, actually somewhat improved from presurgery, but still had cramps, felt weird and achy etc. Made a HUGE food error - sipped chocolate milk today. It just seemed so soothing, creamy, chocolatey and delicious. Bad news - heartburn is worse than ever. I guess it's an improvement over presurgery when I might have eaten you know, a large Dairy Queen and 2 dozen cookies plus a few chocolate bars, but, darn it, I wish I hadn't drunk it! Oh well. Start anew tomorrow.

Blah BLues

What do you know. Today, for the first time since my sleeve, I have kind of the blah blues. I don't know why. The good news is that I am not hungry and have no urge to eat or binge, which would have been the first thing I'd done pre-sleeve. I'm not resentful over food (or lack thereof). It's just a little day of the blah blues.

The bad news is I don't have a blah blues strategy. Time to learn. What will I do to comfort myself today?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Half Pound Down and Puree Today!

Yay! Down another half pound and puree today! Having read tons about this, I have promised myself to do it right. I WILL NOT head right for the mashed potato or make a loaded baked potato and puree it. I am going to do tuna and other fish, all the light proteins that I can hopefully morph into salad like purees with a little fat free mayo and my new Oster hand held blenderizer. It worked great on the tuna, but the way. I am also going to start the sleeve eating routine today of three meals with two protein drinks in between.

6:29AM - GO TUNA!!!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Purees Tomorrow

Am due to start purees tomorrow right on the heels of foaming and kakking tonight. I am worried. After this kakking incident with pudding and protein drink I am going to be very careful. My husband bought me the Oster hand blender with chopper and cup so I can make sure to puree everything into a smooth, pudding like consistency. I am going with tuna salad puree tomorrow. Tuna is light, filled with protein, has no fat, and I like it. I am measuring portions and starting the suggested food plan. Here's how it goes:

Breakfast: 1/4 c (2 ounces) tuna salad puree

Snack: Protein Drink which I will need to sip on all morning to get down.

Lunch: 1/4 c tuna salad puree

Snack: Protein Drink, again with the sipping through the afternoon

Dinner: 1/4 c some kind of protein puree, I will decided this after experiencing the tuna. I might need to go back to sugar free pudding if my tum thinks it's best.

That should give me all the protein I need for the day and get me started on the idea of meal, drink, meal, drink, meal. I've read a lot about the puree stage and it seems you can't treat purees like the full liquids. Full liquids you can kind of sip all day. Purees are actually meals that need to get on the sleeve schedule or you can end up eating way too much.

Foamed and Kakked Today

I am sad to say that on the heels of my luncheon victory I must report a terrible failure. Through thoughtless, speedy eating of sugar free pudding and thoughtless gulping (if you could call it gulps) of cranberry protein drink, I first foamed and then heaved. I mean I bent over and kakked a big splat right onto the carpet.

I had to think this over to figure out how it all went wrong. First, I had a busy afternoon at work and did not eat or drink anything from luncheon on. By the time I got home at 4 I was terribly thirsty, crabby, and a little bit light-headed. In the old days (pre-sleeve) I would have stood at the kitchen counter and eaten everything in sight, washing it all down with Diet Coke or Dew. I used to called it a "snack," (DENIAL) but it was actually more like a 4th and 5th meal combined into one big gorge. So, I think what happened was, I still had that gorge coping mentality and without even realizing it unleashed it on my sugar free pudding and protein drink, eating incorrectly, hence kakking. It was the strangest kakking. I felt nothing in my stomach at all, it was like it never made it down. First there was a lot of foamy stuff and then WHAMMO I bent over from the waste, opened my outh and KAKK! There is was. It was reflexive, I had no control whatsoever.

I call this both a victory and a failure. The victory is the sugar free pudding and the protein drink, nothing illegal there. The failure is the speed eating and the kakking, both really bad for sleevesters. I think I will need to prepare myself for this time of day. It's a danger time for me and I am going to have to make sure I slow down and pay attention to what I am doing with food. I also need to make sure I sip my protein drink through the afternoon so I am not so empty and thirsty when I walk through the door.

I hope this doesn't turn me off sugar free pudding. It's been very good to me.

Social Eating Success!

Ok here's the bad news first - the luncheon menu today was choice of gourmet deli sandwich on fancy bread plus sides. There was NOTHING absolutely nothing I could eat or drink except bottled water. All the drinks were carbonated. SO - I bravely got out my sugar free pudding and did what I needed to do. The only odd comment I got was from this crabby colleague of mine who always has something negative to say about everything. I felt great about doing the right thing, and I know my new stomach is thanking me for sticking with the full liquid plan. Hooray!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Worried About Social Eating

Well here I am up early again. Since my surgery, I seem to need less sleep? I can't imagine this is a real side effect or benefit, but it seems to be happening. I go to bed at the regular time and wake up about 4:30AM rested and raring to go more often than not. Have no idea why.

Anyway, today is the today of my first real social eating challenge. I am going to a mentor/mentee luncheon. The food is usually catered in and very nice, but none of it is full liquid friendly. I am sure there will be salad, I have never seen or heard about a soup at one of these. The entree is usually very nice pizza or gourmet deli sandwiches, neither of which will work. I am just very nervous about sitting with my mentee and pushing food around on my plate while she eats during the hour long luncheon. I guess I will see how it plays out and do the best I can. I am only 1 day from puree - maybe I could do a lot of salad dressing and chew the heck out of the lettuce, skipping the more fibrous veg in the salad. I don't like the thought of all the fat and calories in the dressing, but I am going to have to problem solve on this one.

Down another pound and a half today. In a new decade!! Woohoo!!!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

July Weight Loss

I keep forgetting to post my weight loss. My ticker is at the bottom of the page, but I know it's hard to see unless you scroll all the way down.

I started my pre-op diet July 1st and had surgery July 20. I lost 22 pounds in July. Just to put that in perspective, here is a picture of a 22 pound fish - I used to carry that fish around with me each day, but now I've lost it!

Facing a Challenge Tomorrow

Tomorrow I have to go to a work luncheon. I am a mentor, and the purpose of this luncheon is to get to know the mentee and basically bond over a nice lunch. There is no way I can skip this. Usually, they serve foods that are not appropriate for a 2 week sleeve. In all the years, I've never seen a soup or anything that could count as a full liquid entree. I don't know how I am going to sit there with my new mentee and watch her eat for an hour while I push food around on my plate and pretend. I am going to have to figure something out by tomorrow. Argh. I feel like this is my first REAL challenge with the social eating thing.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Major Celebration

Last night my brother introduced my husband and me to his new girlfriend. She is a wonderful, sweet, smart, pretty girl and we both just loved her. We took them out to dinner at a great restaurant, one of my favorites. I was very nervous about this because I haven't been out to dinner since getting my sleeve and, being on full liquids, had no idea if there was anything on the menu I could order. I called ahead and found that there was a cheddar broccoli soup, very thin, and a macaroni and cheese in a soup-like creamy sauce, just as much sauce as pasta. I thought, "This is not ideal, CARBS, but I will be able to order it and fake through the meal - nobody in my family knows about my sleeve except my husband and my mom. I didn't want to have to lie to my brother and his girlfriend or get into any discussions if that makes sense.

Here is the FABULOUS news - there is SO MUCH fabulous news that I am going to bullet it:
  • I had no hunger feelings at all, no food envy of what other people were eating.
  • I had no desire to cheat. If I had been out with just my husband who knows about my sleeve I would have ordered just a cup of the soup and been totally content.
  • You know that mouth feel, where your mouth is just watering and wanting that food - GONE.
  • You know that head and body feeling where there's like a pulse in your brain going EAT, EAT, EAT - gone.
  • Before the sleeve, I would have shared an app, eaten a salad, and ordered an entree, probably eating at leas half to three quarters of it.
  • Before the sleeve I would have eaten the leftovers before I went to bed or first thing in the morning for breakfast - not this time!
  • Long story short, I ate 3-4 sleeve sized bites of the soup and 1 or 2 sleeve sized bites of the macaroni sauce AND I WAS SET!!

I can't tell you how wonderful this was. For a person who spent a big majority of each day planning food, thinking about food, stressing about food, and finally eating huge amounts of food, the control I felt at last night's dinner felt like a literal gift from God, and I do thank God for Dr. Zapata and my sleeve every single day. It is like being released from some kind of hellish slavery where food calls all the shots. Thank you, thank you, thank you again Dr. Z. and the gastric sleeve.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Oh my heavens, the burps. I sipped protien water and ate a couple spoonfuls of sugar free pudding too quickly and WHAMMO. It was DISGUSTING, I could feel the pudding moving up and down with each belch. Up a little BELCH down. Up a little but not quite as much, BELCH, down. And so forth. Lesson learned about "gulping" if you could call it that, I am not sure the size spoonful I had could actually qualify as a gulp.

Up at 4:30AM Again!

Well, I can't believe it. I went to sleep at the regular bedtime last night knowing I needed to get up at 6:30AM, and again woke up at 4:30AM fully rested and ready to go! This has happened more often than not since my surgery. Have no idea why!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Walking the Dog (And myself, too!)

Well, I haven't been walking that much this first week because I've been sore and for a few days I had a tight pain in one of my incisions, waist level, left side. It has subsided just like the wonderful and amazing Dr. Z. said it would, so I thought, "OK self, time to get back to exercising." I know I am not supposed to do any "tough" exercise like ellipticalling or lifting until 4 weeks out, and I'm not supposed to swim until 6 weeks out, so I chose to go early to our neighborhood off-leash park and walk my dog and myself, too!

I went pretty early, about 6:30AM, because I wanted to avoid a rush of larger dogs that might rear up to say Hi, accidentally smacking my incisions. It turned out to be perfect, there were 3 or 4 other nice dogs and and their people walking the trail, just enough to be entertainment for my dog but safe for me.

The dirt trail at the park loops around the perimeter for a little over 1 mile. It meanders through trees, up and down little slopes, and curves around a nice sized pond. It's a nice walk. I set a goal of doing 3 laps, a bit over 3 miles. Presurgery, this would have been the minium I did. In fact, I fully believe that I got to 213 pounds rather than 250 because I do exericise.

The first two laps were great. On the third lap, I got the strangest feeling. I wasn't hungry, and I wasn't physically tired, but I felt like I was flagging. It wasn't a lack of energy or fatigue. I didn't have a stitch in my side, I wasn't breathing hard or struggling to keep pace. By the end of the third lap, I got it - I WAS OUT OF FUEL!! Finally, for the first time in years, my body needed food for actual FUEL rather than the fun of it!

This was a GREAT feeling, to know that my body was using my food, so to speak, and indicating that it needed more rather than working off an excess. And it's perfect timing because today is the first day of full liquids for me and I can drink protein shakes! A good walk and a good day. And my dog had fun, too.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What weighs 18 pounds?

If anyone reads my blog, how about commenting with examples of things that weigh 18 pounds? That's how much weight I've lost since July 1st. It's exciting!

First Full Day of Work, Last Full Day of Clear Liquids

First full day of work and I am totally beat and hungry, thirsty or something. I also realized today how much I coped with work stress by eating. I think I must have grazed my way through each day! It was a great feeling NOT to do that, but also a weird feeling of, "Man, I want to eat one of those deli sandwiches that everyone else is munching down on. I am kind of sad I can't."

Bad stomach acid subsided around 10:30AM. I am not going to drink the SF pom/blueberry juice tonight and see if that makes a difference.

Bad Acid

Oh my gosh. BAD acid this morning, first time! The only thing I've done differently is drink a shot glass of straight bourbon haha that's a joke, SF pom/blueberry juice. Maybe that's enough to do it? I took my perscription med from Dr. Z and am hoping this acid goes away soon. It's very uncomfortable and I am burping like a mad woman.

For breakfast, going to do sugar free cranberry, broth, and water but really don't feel like swallowing anything on top of this feeling in my tummy.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Drank the Liquid by Noon

I am so relieved. I drank all the below-mentioned liquid - 4 ounces sugar-free juice, 4 ounces low-sodium chicken broth, 8 ounces water - by 12 Noon exactly.

Now here it is 12:10 and time to think about lunch. My clear liquid lunch today is a sugar-free Jello, cherry, and 4 ounces of Apple juice (also sugar free) along with that 8 ounce glass of water that is just so difficult for me to drink! I am going to try my best to get all this liquid, and the Jello for that matter, in me by 5:00PM and then recouperate for 30 minutes before planning the dinner rush. At least I did better than yesterday!

Liquids Are Going Down!

I am thrilled to report that the liquids are going down. I predict that I will be able to down it all by noon, a big accomplishment for me. So that will be 4 ounces sugar-free juice, 4 ounces low sodium chicken broth, and 8 ounces water for a total of 16 ounces of liquids! 64 - 16 = 48 - perhaps I will be able to drink 48 ounces more by the end of the day. I hope so! My surgeon, surgery representative, and nutritionist all emphasized that getting enough liquids, namely water after the clear liquids phase, is key. I feel pretty good!

Clear Liquid Breakfast

Today's clear liquid breakfast: 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth, 1/2 cup sugar free cranberry juice, and as much water as I can drink. I am having a very tough time downing 64 ounces of water each day. I haven't been able to do it. Today I awoke feeling very thirsty, so I hope to do better today.

Amazing - 6 days of clear liquids and no real hunger. I realized this morning that, pre-surgery, I most probably confused thirst with hunger, eating in both instances rather than drinking as much water as I should.

Today and tomorrow, and then I am on to full liquids with protien! I can't wait. Facing that chicken broth each day is beginning to feel like a chore - glum!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Food Regrets

I was just thinking of food regret. I've been reading a Kinsey Milhone novel and in this one, she and the protagonist often pick up fast food. In the scene I just read, they stopped at MickeyD's and got giant coffees and 2 Egg McMuffins apiece along with hash brows drenched in kechup - or maybe it was french fries drenched in kechup another time, I don't know. Point is - Kinsey does a lot of junk food eating, the exact kind of eating I'm telling myself I USED to like to do.

It made me have some regret and mourning feelings over food.

I have to say that before the sleeve, I really loved to eat. That's how I got to 5'5, 213 lbs. Food was my go-to for anything and everything - celebrations, sorrow, stress, sadness, happiness,boredom, movies, occasions, you name it. I would get upset over my fatness, yet cap it off by getting ice cream. Can a person use food to calm themselves down? Yes, indeed they can. Plus, I just really enjoyed it. And I ate big and cheap - I liked a good Big Mac with large fries and diet coke along with a Filet of Fish sandwich and maybe a regular cheeseburger to scarf in the car on the way home. That's not to say I didn't like quality food as well, a steak and lobster dinner hit the spot too, Brie and other good cheeses, nice crackers, good breads, recipes I'd make and then end up eating the most of, more of than my husband and sons put together. I love (loved?) gourmet stories like Harry and David, Dean and Delucca.

It's a great feeling to lose that type of hunger. I am totally in agreement with the ghrelin theory, that when the the doctor removes that portion of the stomach he is also removing much of that hormone production that sparks the drive to eat. Honestly, pre and post surgery are night and day for me. I haven't eaten a solid food or cheated once on my liquids, and more importantly, I have felt no particular urge to do so. This evening, I think I felt a real hunger pang, so I warmed up a half cup of chicken broth and now I'm good. I absolutely could not have done that before surgery. No way. It's the best feeling.

Still, I have a few feelings of mourning for eating, tucking into a big plate of something. I'm so happy, and I feel so free and like I have a second chance, but it's a little bittersweet, too. Weird.

Here is an example of a sleevester clear liquid lunch: 1/2 cup sugar free cranberry juice, 1 sugar free Jello cup. Before surgery I could have easily downed a house salad, 8 ounce steak, loaded baked potato, side of vegetables, and dessert at any given meal. Today I predict that I will be able to eat about 1/3 of the Jello cup and drink 1/2 of the juice. I am finding it easier to eat beverages with a spoon rather than drink them. Dr. Zapata said that this would improve with time.

Dr. Zapata

Dr. Zapata - words cannot describe how much I respected, trusted, and genuinely liked this wonderful man.

Morphine Hell

Hello, Readers!

Let's get right down to it - Morphine Hell.

NEWSFLASH: Morphine has random side effects on some people. This is all within the normal range and totally unpredictable. One of the random side effects is the inability to pee.

Now, your body feels like you have to pee, and your bladder is telling you to get to the bathroom, and you feel like you might just rock out pee right there on the spot, so you untangle yourself from your covers and painfully sit up, pulling yourself to your feet to struggle to the toilet dragging your IV, your drain and bag, your circulatory wraps drooping and flapping, your bootie flapping in the breeze, you make it over the bathroom threshold, ease yourself gingerly down on the pottie and after all that - no pee. So you hang your head and give a little wail of exasperation and pull yourself back together and do the whole thing backward to get back to the bed, exhausted and still needing to pee.

Where, you lay down and try to sleep for an hour until the urge to pee just becomes nigh unbearable. So you do a repeat of the above routine with the same result - no pee.

By this time, you are starting to suspect that something might be slightly wrong. You don't know exactly what, but you think it's time to check, so you call the nurse. The nurse comes right away, and you point to "No puedo orinar, mi vejiga esta muy llena (I am unable to urinate, my bladder is very full)" on your Spanish translation sheet. The nurse pats your shoulder comfortingly, nods her understanding and leaves the room. For a moment you are nonplussed, but she returns immediately with -TAHDAH - the wonderful Dr. Zapata.

How can I give credit to Dr. Zapata with mere words? He is just so wonderful. I just have such fond memories and feelings about him. If he were here, I would want him to be my primary physician, no question.

ANYWAY - Dr. Zapata knew what was going on immediatley, and explained to me that the inability to pee can sometimes be a side effect of morphine. While not common, it is certainly not strange or unusual, hence the prompt on the Spanish translation sheet. He asked if I had ever had morphine before. I had not. He nodded, letting me know that in any future situations involving morphine I needed to explain my reaction to the doctor so they could either use a different pain medication or be prepared with a !!!CATHETER!!! and he'd just get mine ready now.

Now I'd never had a catheter before, so I was very apprehensive. I am ashamed to say that even after traveling on my own to Mexico to have weight loss surgery, getting the surgery, and recovering from the surgery, even after all that, I balked at the idea of getting a simple catheter. I was in complete misery, my bladder was totally distended and I felt like I was going to explode, but just couldn't face having that thing stuck up there. Dr. Zapata did try to convince me and he was genuinely sorry and concerned that I said no, he knew I was in misery, but I would have none of it. I could tell he thought I was being foolish (which I was), but he finally said, "Lucy, this is really your decision. Do you want the catheter or no?" I peeped out a meek, "No." Dr. Zapata shrugged his shoulders as if to say, "So be it," and said he would check on me soon.

Fast forward to 1 hour later - distended like a giant balloon, I called the nurse, pointed to the Spanish translation sheet, and begged for the catheter. I would have dropped to my knees had I been able. People, let me tell you. I was so miserable as she stuck that catheter in there that it actually felt like a welcome relief. Words cannot express the wonderfulness of it. Release. Nirvana. Bliss. A return to humanity. The world at large seemed like a better place, I'm not kidding. When the nurse was finished and I was laying there in peace, Dr. Zapata came in to check. Despite all my earlier protests, he never once said "I told you so." He just held my hand and said, "Next time, you'll know," leaving me with kind words and a hug.

Long story short - if you get morphine and can't pee, don't mess around. Go for the catheter.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Surgery 2

Okay, picking up where I left off. It seemed like I had just gone poof! into blessed lah-lah land when I was waking up in recovery. I was attended by not 1 but 2 yes that's 2 very kind and gentle nurses. This was very helpful when I needed to use the restroom as the nurses supported me on each side and helped me limp along until I made it. In a nutshell they were just very helpful in every way. I had a slightly embarrassing bout of belching on the way to the restroom. A side effect (if you could call it that) of laprascopic surgery is really intense bloating and gas - they really blow you up like a balloon during that surgery. Anyone who's doing this type of surgery can expect to toot and burp like a son-of-a-gun when there finished. I knew this going in, but I didn't realize that I would belch with each step - that's right with EVERY SINGLE STEP. The first belch - a big one - popped out of me as I took my first step to the restroom. I remember gasping in horror and covering my mouth with my hand. The second belch popped out of me as I moved my other foot forward, hand still at my mouth, a literal belching machine. Boy, was I embarrassed until the nurses pulled my hand away and said, "No, no, good, good!" Apprently, the only way to get rid of that gas is to move it around by walking and belch or toot it out. The faster you get rid of it, the more comfortable you are and the better off you are on the inside.

So back to the bathroom - I made it to the bathroom only to find that I couldn't go, so back to the recovery bed I went. I don't know how long I layed in recovery, it's pretty blurry. I do know there was pain. This is normal and to be expected with the sleeve, but I had not mentally prepared myself for this as I had planned to get a lap band up until my arrival in Mexico, so it was a bit disconcerting. (Lap band pain, from what I hear, is actually more of a discomfort than pain). My pain was concentrated on the left side right below the rib cage, I would call it sharp. Any movement at all made that side of my body feel as though part of me could tear loose. I remember thanking god for the leftover effects of the anesthesia as well as the pain medicine, to be without those would have been pure misery.

Now things get interesting. In the bed next to mine - this is still in recovery, not in my hospital room which was private - they wheeled a Spanish-speaking woman who had just gotten a gastric bypass and was also recovering. Our recovery strategies seemed to be a bit different. While I, a product of my midwestern hayseed background, attempted to bite down on the pain and crunch it all in, this woman was of the school of letting it all out: "Dios mio! Ohhhhhh, dios mio, dios mio, ahhhhhhhhh, ayy, ayy, then Spanish words which I am sure were something akin to "Dear god, the pain, the pain, Oh my god I can't take it this is torture," and so forth. I have to tell you, in my mind I was saying Amen, sister. If my sleeve was hurting the way it did, I can only imagine what she felt with her bypass. Then, something unusual happened. Somehow, in my hazy state, I felt my inner resolve slipping. It was like all the emotions of the next door dios mios and ayayay's became contagious to me, and I started to feel a little melodramatic myself, some sort of post-surgery suggestive state. All this built up in me and a rocked out a little "Ohhh!" of my own only to find - taadaa! Dr. Zapata immediatly swooping back the curtain and sitting down to hold my hand and reassure me with kind and loving words none of which I can remember. The Mexican patient's doctor also sat with her and reassured her in a lovely deep Spanish voice. How long was this episode? I have know idea. It felt like forever, but was probably 10 minutes at most from start to finish.

The next step was being wheeled down to my room, and what a room it was! A private room with a sitting area. A comfortable chair and couch which could be pulled out into a bed. Two televisions, one for the sitting area and one for the hospital bed. There were louvered doors between the sitting area and the hospital bed area so that one could have as much privacy as one needed. The bathroom was tiled in marble with beautiful fixtures. There was a walk in shower, also marlbe-tiled, with a built in bench and rain-drop style shower head. Very nice!

The hospital bed itself was very comfortable. The sheets and bedding were high quality cotton and velour, nothing synthetic, itchy, or "thready." The pillows were down, nice quality, very comfortable. Boy was I relieved to get situated in that comfortable bed in that nice room and get the first doses of pain med, anti-nausea, and antibiotic shot into my IV by my very professional, competent and caring nurse. I remember my nurse apologizing to me because she did not speak English! This nearly brought a tear to my eye. I tried to communicate as best I could that she should not be sorry, that I should be sorry for my horrible Spanish. I remember her giving my should a reassuring pat and then I drifted off to sleep.

Next installment - morpheine hell.

Surgery Part 1

Hello readers if there are any. Just thought I'd post about the actual day of my surgery.

Sanchez picked me up at the hotel right on time and drove me over to Santa Engracia hospital. The hospital was new, clean, sweet smelling, very nicely decorated, and quite posh. As we entered I saw many differenet groups of professional looking, apparently well-heeled Mexican citizens walking about on their own hospital business. Not to sound like a snob, but the fact that these people had the look and mannerisms of professionals reassured me that this hospital would be a place of choice for many, suggesting high quality and good reputation.

Sanchez, my driver, escorted me, carrying my bag to the cashier's window where I smoothly paid the correct fee for the gastric sleeve. There was not, nor was there ever, a single question or "misunderstanding" about the financial aspect of the whole thing. Everything was totally on the up and up. We then went to the admitting office where I was admitted just as a person would be in a US hospital. The admittance clerk was polite, professional, and very kind.

I went upstairs to the surgery prep area where I was given a bag for my passport, wallet, cell phone, jewelry, and any other valuables. This bag was signed and sealed, I was given the ID portion, and the bag was then locked in the hospital safe. I put on the normal surgery garb - booties, cap, and gown. My bag of other essentials for the stay was secured in a locker with the key attached to my bed so it would stay with me through the surgery.

As soon as I was laying in bed in the surgery room Doctor Zapata came and talked to me. He was the kindest, most caring, genuine man. He made me feel calm and secure. The nurse, also very kind and caring, came and inserted the IV - Dr. Zapata held my hand the entire time. She injected me with something to "relax me." As Dr. Zapata held my hand and spoke soothingly to me, in my relaxed and woozy state I must admit I remember thinking, "Dr. Zapata, would you marry me?" I am quite sure I did not say these words out loud, for which both I, Dr. Zapata, and hopefully my husband should all be very grateful.

The next thing I knew, with no waiting whatsoever, the anesthesiologist arrived. She was a lady, very professional, who explained to me exactly what would happen before the surgery and that I would know nothing, feel nothing, and remember nothing. This very kind lady spoke perfect English and made me feel entirely secure. This was a confident, capable woman and I immediatly felt trust in her for what she would do.

Before I knew it we were moving into the operating theater. The electrodes, the blood pressure cuff, all the accoutrements were on me. My anesthesiologist said with a smile, "Now you'll go to sleep, and when you wake up it will be all over." Poof. I was gone.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Back from Mexico

I am back from Mexico. The situation, from doctor to nurses, from accomodations to drivers to everything else was everything I'd hoped for and more PLUS nothing I feared it might be.

I will write more about Dr. Zapata and his wonderful staff in a later post. Until then - HUGE NEWS. I wend to Mexico intending to get a lap band, but after being there, visiting with Dr. Z. and his staff as well as other patients, I came home with a gastric sleeve. I am thrilled. It was clearly the better choice for me.

Now I will have no fills, no port worries, no sticking worries - all those surgery maintenance things that bandster have to do are nil with the sleeve. In terms of money, it was about 3000 more, but by the time you price fills and hassal and potential revisions of the band and port down the road, the 3000 breaks even very quickly. I know my first two band appointments were going to be 250 each - there's 500 hundred of it right there.

Well I am pretty tired and need to go walk around the house while taking small slips of liquids. Laters!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Last Minute Nerves

Scale - 202.5 down 1/2 pound

Am having a bout of last minute nerves RE lap band surgery on Tuesday. I can't really pinpoint exactly what I am nervous about - everything is in place and ready to go, nothing has changed at all. Just can't wait to get it done!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Hooray! Am down 1/2 pound to 203 and starting on presurgery liquid diet today. I know weight loss will probably be slow for me. I have a history of putting it on slowly and taking it off slowly as well. I have to admit, I did a lot of eating to get to 213 pounds although I am still in a daze as to how I got there. It will just be a lot easier to take it off slowly when the lap band is cutting down on this ravenous hunger. I've been reading a lot about head hunger - this is not head hunger! It is that scraping pain in the gut hunger that keeps you thinking about food every time another pang crunches in there. Flight on Monday, surgery on Tuesday. I can't wait!

I've also been reading about lap band sizes and the importance of getting the appropriate band for your stomach. Evidently, the doctor cannot know the exact details until he is looking at your insides, then he makes a judgement on which size band is right for you. From what I've read, people who have a lot of tightness problems - reflux, outragious puking, pain - often have a band that is too small for their anatomy. I know I am doing the Inamed band because my fill doctor up here prefers it, but there are two sizes. Am so glad my doctor has done several thousand (literally) of these things. My surgery rep. was banded by him, and she's reassured me that there will be no problems. Come on, Tuesday.

Friday, July 17, 2009

10 Golden Rules For The Lap Band

1. Eat only 3 meals per day
2. Eat slowly and chew thoroughly ( 15 to 20x per bite)
3. Stop eating as soon as you feel full
4. Do not drink while you are eating
5. No between meal snacks
6. Eat only good quality food
7. Avoid fibrous food
8. Drink enough fluids during the day (not at meal time)
9. Drink only low cal liquids
10. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day

Dreamed of Eating

Ok - last night I was so hungry I actually DREAMED of eating food. I was at a picnic gorging myself all night long. Got up this morning - hadn't lost a pound. I have got to get one of those scales that weighs pounds and ounces.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ok it is 8:38PM and I am starving. I've eaten all the foods I am supposed to eat today, and 8:38PM is too late to be eating at any rate, so it looks like I just have to tough it out until tomorrow morning. This is so, so, so why I want the lap band so badly. Today is a perfect example. I've followed the right diet, eaten the food I am supposed to eat, I've done everything right, but I'm miserably hungry. I want that super hungry feeling to be gone.

Second Time Around of the First Day

Well, here it is, my second blog attempt in 2 days. I think I have the background I like and the rest of it seems to be falling into place, so it looks like a go. I am writing this blog at a time of change in my life, the change being lap band surgery upcoming on July 21, 2009. I can't tell you how excited I am about this surgery! I've struggled with my weight for years, for the most part keeping it under control. But - the past years have been very, very stressful and BANG - the weight got out of control in a big way for me. I am not sure which feels worse, that feeling of being physically out of control, being housed in a body that doesn't match my inner images, or mentally out of control, the anxiety, frustration and depression of trying to deal with a problem that seams absolutely unsurmountable. I don't think people who have never struggled with weight can understand that feeling.

So, the lap band. The minute the plans were laid I felt as though a huge weight lift right off my shoulders. I've read it all, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and I know in my gut that this is going to work for me. You know that feeling you get, call it intuition, call it whatever, but it's that feeling you get when you know something is right for you? That's the feeling. It feels good.

I am going to keep track of my weight loss stats on here as well. Here's where I'm starting:

July 1 213
July 16 203.5 (Atkins style presurgery diet)
July 18 Start clear fluid diet prior to surgery

Let's hope tomorrow brings good news on the scale!