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!