Blog of a girl who struggles with her fat ass and the process of it's elimination.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Going Through Surgery (My Long Winded RNY Gastric Bypass Story)

So I went through with Roux-en Y Gastric Bypass surgery.  Guys.  This ish is hard.  I’ve never had surgery before, much less spent any time in the hospital.

Prior to surgery I needed to go through 6 months of being monitored by a PCP or other doctor to document my weight and attempt at weight loss.  This was required by my insurance, Blue Cross Blue Shield.
In October 2013 I found out that I have sleep apnea, and the doctor’s recommendation was to lose weight.  He referred me to the related weight loss clinic to go through a 6 month supervised weight loss plan.  I made an appointment but did some further research.  I found out that they specialized in weight loss surgery (WLS), and since it was close to benefits enrollment time at work, I also had just found out that my insurance covered surgery.  I decided to go to an informational class to see what it was all about.  In the meantime, I researched the web up and down and read numerous blogs by people who had gone through WLS.  It was rather depressing when I found out that I was heavy enough just to qualify for surgery.  To qualify one needed to have a BMI of 42 and over, or a BMI of 35 with comorbidity such as diabetes…or sleep apnea.  So I was covered in both categories.  

After Hubs and I attended the informational class I made an appointment immediately.  I had to wait another month so I just did more research online.  Once I finally had my appointment, it wasn’t so much as a discussion on whether I was going to have surgery, but here we are starting the process.  Appointment #1 of 6.  I was guessing I would have surgery sometime in Summer 2014.

The clinic itself had some requirements for me to qualify for surgery.  I had to lose 5 lbs.  I thought that would be easy.  It wasn’t.  My dietician also had me work on about 3 goals per month to start establishing the habits I would need after surgery.  I had a laundry list of things I had to start doing/not doing before surgery.  I thought it was a long list.  After tackling a few per month, it didn’t seem so bad.  The months passed quickly.  Once I finally started to exercise the weight started to move downward.  Not quickly.  But enough.  My dietician approved me to meet with the surgeon at my 6th appointment.

My surgeon is cool.  Full of energy and a talker.  He’s the one that lead the information session, and I knew right away I wanted him as my surgeon.  I get along best with warm and fuzzy people, and he definitely had warm and fuzzies.  When I met with him he went over the risks of surgery and made sure I was choosing the right one for me.  Knowing that I had never stayed at a hospital or had surgery before, he took the time to let me know that the hospital experience is a very different one.  He was very caring and very passionate about what he does.  He wouldn’t give me a numeric goal because he said he just wants me to be healthy.  If I had a certain number to reach I might end up feeling weak and gaunt.  Not to mention, I think, the pressure that comes along with a specific number.  I loved, loved my team.

I should also mention that I had to visit with a psychologist and take an MMPI test.  This was to be sure I was mentally stable enough to go through surgery.  The psychologist gave me his blessing to have surgery, on the condition that I seek help when I need it since I have had some issues in the past with depression and anxiety.  I promised I would and went on my merry way.

I finally came to the point when my file would be sent to insurance to be approved for surgery.  They estimated this would take two weeks.  It took four days.  I got the call from the clinic and scheduled my surgery date right away.  My date was exactly two weeks away from that call.  Thursday June 5th, 2014.  Commence stomach butterflies.

I immediately ran over to my lead at work to tell her, and I was giddy and practically skipping all over the office the rest of the day.  I was just so happy and excited.  I told all the important people and my mom scheduled a flight to come take care of me.

I took two days off work prior to my surgery date to prep my house for myself being indisposed for several weeks, as well as clean for company coming.  My mom flew in the next day, the day before my surgery.  I was on clear liquids only that day and let me tell you, I get hangry.  It was not fun.  I also realized I wouldn’t be eating anything at all until the day after surgery.  Boo.  I had to drink a bottle of magnesium citrate that night to make sure my intestines were nice and empty to give my surgeon lots of room to work.  Well, it didn’t really work.  I felt quite ill but I can’t say it emptied my intestines at all.  I went to bed late after a nice anti-septic shower and prepared for a very early morning.

I woke up before everyone else so I could take another anti-septic shower and make sure I had everything I needed in my hospital bag.  We were to be at the hospital by 5:30am.  Gross.

Once we got to the hospital I was still feeling just fine.  Not scared at all.  I thought for sure by this point I would be terrified, but I wasn’t.  I was taken back to pre-op and my family was left in a waiting room.  I changed into my operating outfit and warm fuzzy purple socks with paw prints on them.  This is where the fun started.

My pre-op nurse was a complete dope and seemed like it was her first day on the job.  Okay, whatever.  After playing 80 questions with her and repeating my name 20 times, she attempted sticking an IV in my hand.  Apparently my veins were boycotting IV’s that day.  I had never had an IV before.  After her successful attempt at wounding me, she pulled in another nurse who proceeded to poke me another several times.  This is when I started to get stressed.  My surgeon came in to check on me and I teared up seeing a face I knew I could trust.  Eventually the anesthesiologist had to give me the IV himself, using an ultrasound machine.  I think I was stuck at least 12 times in their attempts.  My hand was swollen after one of their failed attempts, and I had at least 4 or 5 sticks on the inside of my arm on one side.  IV’s are not my friend.

Now I had to try to pee.  I thought I had to go earlier and they wanted to take a sample, but being off any liquids since midnight I didn’t have anything to squeeze out.  They needed me to try again because they needed to see a negative pregnancy test before they could do surgery on me.  I finally was able to squeeze out two drops (one actually made it into the cup!) and was cleared to go to the OR.  My family came to see me off very quickly and I vaguely remember feeling emotional at this point due to the IV trauma.
My OR team came and put my “party hat” on and wheeled me to the ice chamber OR.  The OR I had was at the end of a hall and close to frosted glass doors that looked like “the light”.  The student anesthesiologist was incredibly friendly, young and pretty.  I already felt like I was in more capable hands.  They blew up the air mattress I was apparently lying on and I went on a fun slide onto the operating table.  They were securing my arms in place and I was looking around at all the lights and wondering why it was so damn cold in there.  And I mean cold.  Really, really cold.  I asked my student friend and she said it was surgeon’s preference.  Apparently my surgeon was extremely warm blooded or something.  The anesthesiologist came in with his Star Wars head cover and started chatting with me while they put me to sleep.

This is where my clear memory ends.  My memories from the first week are fuzzy.  I woke up in recovery and was able to see my family.  I was wheeled to my room, which was the nicest room I could ask for.  I was at the end on the corner, so I had two big windows and no roommate.  Room #327.  I remember being in pain but apparently I didn’t rank it high enough (I’ve never been good at the 1-10 pain scale) so the nurse said they wanted to wait to see if the pain killers they were giving me would kick in.  Two hours later, they did.  I was given a fun button right in my hand that I got to press every 30 minutes to deliver more heaven pain killers.  I was allowed to eat ice chips which I never knew the glory of until that day.  Ice chips are wonderful.  My family had the sense to put my phone on Do Not Disturb mode so I could receive calls and texts but it wouldn’t make noise or vibrate.  They updated the necessary people to let them know I was alive after being cut open and sewn back together, then they left me to sleep.

I slept a lot.  When I was awake I was falling asleep.  I had some people want to visit me, but I was in pretty rough shape.  I asked my family to let them know I wasn’t up for visitors that day.  My successes for the day was going to the bathroom on my own and taking a few very slow and painful walks.  I have to say I’m so glad I shaved my legs before surgery.

The next day I was wheeled to the X-Ray area to make sure the new plumbing worked properly.  I drank some funky liquid in tiny tiny sips as they watched it move through my innards.  I was free from leaks and approved to start eating.  By eating I mean clear liquids.  My first meal consisted of broth and a small glass of cranberry juice.  They were both delicious.  There was jello on my tray as well but I fell asleep long before I reached the jello.  Yes I fell asleep while eating.  This was not the first time I fell asleep while doing something in the hospital.  

I felt much better this day so I sent messages out letting friends and family know I was up for visitors.  I got lots of flowers and a few visitors and I felt so loved and happy that I’m cared about so much.  I still slept a lot and ate my fill of ice chips.

My third day in the hospital was harder.  I felt worse when I was supposed to be feeling better and getting released that day.  I don’t remember much of this day except feeling awful, in pain, and sleeping.  I almost had to stay another night but I was released at about 8pm.

My pug monster was ecstatic to see me.  After a quick greeting I was able to take a shower.  It felt so good.  Difficult, but good.  I couldn’t bend at the waist at all.  Lord help me if I dropped something.  I practically lived in our recliner for a week.  I slept in it for the first two days.  In fact I slept most of the first week.  Pug took it upon herself to live on my lap to “protect” me.  My mom brought me food and made sure I was taking all my meds.  I had one complete meltdown.  It’s been hard, I can’t deny that.  So there is the tale of my first week.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Surgery Anxieties

I have two required doctor appointments left to fulfill my insurance requirements.  These last two appointments I'm supposed to meet with the surgeon, but I'm not sure that is going to happen.  They didn't say anything about it at my last visit and I forgot to ask because I thought I was behind by one appointment.  When I visited last I expressed my concern about not being able to lose my pre-surgery 5lbs.  I've maintained most of my goals from my visits.  I've been given between 3-5 goals each visit.  When I talked with my dietician about my concerns she said that if weight loss was easy, this program wouldn't exist.  They're here to go to bat for me and say that I've done everything they've asked me to do.  She told me not to worry about the 5lbs.  Well, I'm still worried. 

I'm also feeling anxious today about my work.  I know I shouldn't.  Having no surgery date in advance is difficult to ask my work to go through, because they can't schedule availability around when I'll be out.  This makes me feel guilty.  Again, I know I shouldn't, but I do.

I'm very excited for the time when I'll be able to drop weight and feel better about myself.  I'm getting anxious about surgery.  I've never had surgery before.  I'll have to be in the hospital for three days.  Three days.  My mom plans on being here for me, so that will be nice.  I've told enough friends now that I expect I will have at least a couple of visitors.  Maybe I just need some emotional support right now.  I'm excited to go home to be with my husband who has been wonderful at reassuring me.

I do wish I had a date though.  But maybe that would just give me one more thing to fixate on.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

So. Let's talk.

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Hi lovelies!  First order of business, I just found out that I have FOUR followers on Bloglovin!  HI GUYS!!!!!  You have no idea how happy this makes me.  YAY!

Second order of business.  So.  I made a REALLY big decision.  Some of you may be happy, some of you may disagree, but this is what I believe to be the right decision for me.

I'm having gastric bypass surgery.

I'll pretend everyone is happy with that and I won't defend my decision.  I will, however, start to talk about why I chose to do this and the process I go through.

Firstly, I decided to blog about this because:

A) I've googled up and down blogs of people going through this, and I firmly believe in blogging about the stuff I would be googling myself and am often coming up short on.  You need to find it somewhere!

B) My blog is about weight loss.  Durr.

C) I want to document my own thought process and how I feel through each step.

I've done oodles of research on the process, what to expect, how I need to change, etc.  I've never had surgery much less major surgery, or even stayed in the hospital, so this is actually quite a scary thing for me to do.  The process sounds highly unpleasant.  This will not be easy, by any means.  But, again, I believe this is the best decision for ME so I am going through with it.

My first step was checking with my insurance to see if it will be covered.  I wouldn't be able to have the surgery if it weren't covered.  The criteria required by my insurance is a BMI over a certain number (or a BMI of a lower number plus at least one obesity related medical issue, which I also have...) and to be monitored by a physician while following a diet plan for six months.  My doctor had advised me to see their weight clinic for a monitored plan anyway, so I was going to do this whether I decided to have surgery or not.  At the end of the six month time period, all my goodies will be sent to insurance for approval so I won't know FOR SURE until then, but I don't see why I would be rejected.

Second, Hubs and I attended an informational session at the clinic.  This was lead by one of the surgeons who went through each surgical option they offer, that their pros and cons are, success rates, etc.  This was actually pretty cool and I'm very glad we went.  (It's required anyway, but I did like it.)  I'm also glad Hubs went with me so he knows what I'm getting into as well.  At the end of the session I was able to set up my first appointment at the clinic.

Expectations.  I expect this to be hard.  I expect it to be unpleasant for a while.  I expect it to be a huge change.  I expect to not be able to eat much at all.  I expect this to be a permanent tool to help me get where I need to be.  I expect, finally, to have success.

Struggles.  My biggest struggle is actually who to tell.  I've told my mom and my closest friends, but beyond that I'm very nervous.  Except, of course, to blog about it.  But very few people that know me personally are aware of this blog.  Those that are aware I'm comfortable telling.  This blog in it's entirety is uncomfortable.  I talk very specifically about my struggle with weight loss and even post some numbers.  This is always a sensitive topic.  I do feel the need to tell certain family members, but they are the ones I'm afraid of most.  I need support.  I'm afraid some people will see this as an easy way out.  Believe me when I say, in no way do I see this as being easy.  I see this as a last resort.  You, dear readers, are fully aware of my ups and downs.  Then more downs.  As the surgeon explained, I've tried every other way, now I want the way.

So, there you have it.  I'm having surgery.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mini Quiche Muffins

I've seen little breakfast/egg/quiche muffins floating around the interwebs so I decided to make my own.  I couldn't find a recipe that fit perfectly with what I wanted, but I think part of the beauty of quiche is that you can throw whatever stuff in it that you want.  I'm fairly picky when it comes to vegetables, but I had some stuff lying around that I thought would make a good quiche.  I also like quick and easy recipes, not only because I like spending more time outside the kitchen, but I also like getting as much sleep as possible during the week.  So my work day breakfasts are grab n go.

Mini Quiche Muffins

1 dozen eggs
Shredded cheese (I used finely shredded colby jack)
Frozen broccoli, thawed a bit
Canned mushrooms
Salt n Pepa (that's pepper for those of you under 30)

**These veggies can be substituted for whatever your heart desires.  Add some meat if you want!  I wanted to focus more on needing to eat more veggies than eating more meat.  See modification ideas below.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Crack all those eggy bitches into a bowl.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Whisk.  Spray a 12 cup muffin tin well with non-stick spray.  Add a few bits of veggies in the bottom of each cup.  Add a pinch of shredded cheese on top of each cup's contents.  Pour eggs into a big measuring cup for easy pouring.  Pour eggs into each muffin cup, SLOWLY, filling to about 3/4 way full.  Bake at 350 for 20 mins, or until puffy and eggs are set to your preference.  Once cool, pop out all your little quiches and throw them in a big ziploc bag to refrigerate.  Microwave two muffins at work or pop into a toaster oven until warm.  Voila!

Modification ideas:
  • This recipe can be modified for a smaller muffin pan, use 1 egg per muffin cup.  
  • Mix in some milk or cream to make them more decadent, but keep in mind the more fatty stuff you add the less healthy you can claim them to be.  
  • Add sausage or bacon to them, that would be super yummy.  
  • You could do a more traditional quiche and throw in ham, asparagus and mushrooms the way my French grandmother makes quiche.  (This reminds me, I am visiting her soon, must request a quiche for breakfast one day.)  
  • Go "southwestern" and add red and green peppers, onion, and whatever else makes it southwestern style.  
  • Put some hot sauce or ketchup on top.  
  • Amp up the veggie content with chopped spinach.
  • Play with different cheeses for different flavors.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Plan for This Week

Good morning lovelies!  This week I didn't take my typical Thursday/Friday to plan my meals for the following week, so I didn't go to the grocery store armed with my typical categorized shopping list.  (Yeah, that's how I roll.)  BUT!  I am quite happy with myself because I did pick my breakfast, lunch and dinner meals and had a successful trip to the grocery store.  Did you like the recipes I posted last week?  Let me know!  I need some feedback people!  I know you're reading, blogger tells me so.

Harassment aside, I wasn't successful in working out last week.  Wednesday and Thursday nights I was busy, Monday I didn't feel good, Friday I was exhausted.  But I did work out on Tuesday.  I also meant to work out over the weekend but I seemed busy with other things.  Actually I did paint yesterday, which is a work out in itself.  Saturday night I had a birthday party for myself, so naturally I ate and drank like a woman without a goal.  Well.  We must move on.  Oh, and I should mention, Turbo Jam is pretty awesome.

Anyway, being my birthday week I do have a couple celebratory dinner plans this week, plus this weekend we are going to the Renaissance Festival on my ACTUAL birthday and I plan to eat, drink and be very merry.

Besides birthday goodness, here is the meal plan for this week:

Mini Quiche Muffins

Taco Salad made with:
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Ground turkey taco meat
  • Half an avocado
  • Taco cheese
  • Frank's hot sauce
  • Sometimes a crushed up corn tortilla shell

Fiesta Lime Chicken - Pinterest recipe

Yummmmm-o.  It's like mexican week at the SWAFA casa.  By the way, mexican food is my absolute favorite.  I could eat it every day.  And so I will, this week!  Now do you want some recipes?  Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Honey Glazed Carrots

No joke, this recipe is included in my nutrition guide.  Granted it's a much simplified recipe from the one I had already (which included butter and brown sugar and other yummy stuff), but it works just the same.

Honey Glazed Carrots

1 big bag-o-baby carrots
1/2 cup water
4 Tbl honey

Boil water in a covered saucepan.  Add carrots and steam until tender.  (This took me about 18 minutes.)  Drain.  Add honey.  Stir to coat.

Go forth and eat!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Frozen Greek Yogurt Bites

I needed to plan some protein into my evening meal, so I figured I would incorporate it into my dessert.  Because, really, what's better than dessert?  (Reason why I struggle with an ass? Hmm...)

I adapted my recipe from another blogger's recipe.  I cannot accept these genius credits.

Honey Banana Chocolate Frozen Greek Yogurt Bites

Honey greek yogurt (I used Greek Gods Vanilla Honey - because this stuff is seriously the bomb diggity.)
1 ripe banana
Semi sweet chocolate chips

Spoon yogurt into an ice cube tray.  Add 1 slice banana per cube spot.  (I put them in vertically.)  Top with some melted chocolate.  Freeze.  Eat!

Omgyum.  Desserty and proteiny and banana-y goodness.  I meant to sprinkle some cinnamon on the yogurt/bananas before I put the chocolate on top, because I freaking love Bananas Foster anything, but I forgot and figured the cinnamon would get lost on top of the chocolate.

Try it.  Love it.