And we’re off to the races!!!

Fair warning ahead of time: this post is going to be very picture heavy with some somewhat graphic photos.

This past Monday, April 24th, my dad and I both had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy performed.  One of the first things they do after you go through registration is to weigh you.

Collage 2017-04-28 13_07_57I weighed in at 240 lbs, which means I lost a total of 9 lbs during the preop liquid diet and a grand total of 28 lbs from my heaviest last summer.

Dad weighed in at 257 lbs, which equals 12 lbs lost during the preop liquid diet, and a grand total of 26 lbs from his heaviest last year.

All in all not too shabby at all in my opinion.

Next thing they do is have you strip down to your birthday suit and put on a patient gown and some lovely bright neon yellow textured socks. The nurse puts in an IV and asks a bunch of questions about your medical history and medications that you take. My nurse was super nice but wasn’t exactly the best at putting in IVs.

Collage 2017-04-28 13_05_57She tried first my right forearm and blew it really terrifically, then tried my right hand and also blew that one. She then went to get another nurse to try who got my left forearm on the first try with no issues. So now I’m rocking some pretty awesome bruises on my right arm and hand, while you can barely tell that the IV was in my left arm at all.

Dad’s surgery was an hour behind mine so he and my aunt came a bit early to hang out before he had to get pre-oped. After they he was ready and we were just waiting they let me go down to his preop room to wait with him till the OR was ready for us. Our surgeon was running a bit behind, so that was nice. And let me just tell you one thing, Versed is awesome! It’s a relaxing med meant to decrease your anxiety and also has an amnesia affect so you don’t remember the scary later. It felt like I did about 4-5 shots of hard liquor in under 2 minutes. The room didn’t quite catch up to my eyes, if you know what I mean. If they offer it up to you, do not turn it down.

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These pics are from after we’d been transferred up to our inpatient rooms. They kept us overnight . This was done in order to do a test in the morning to make sure there were no leaks, make sure our pain was under control, make sure we could pee once our foley catheters were removed, and to make sure we could keep fluids down.

After surgery you’re not allowed to drink anything until the next morning at your leak test, so your mouth gets extremely dry. Like after 5 minutes of swabbing with a moist swab it feels like you just walked though the Sahara kind of dry. The contrast they have us drink was terrible. It tasted a lot better than I thought it would. The radiologist stands you up in front an x-ray machine, swallowing the contrast while they shoot a series of images. I was totally falling asleep in my wheelchair while waiting on him. The dilaudid pain pump is a wonderful thing but it made me so freaking sleepy I could barely keep my eyes open for any length of time. Within 3 minutes of pushing my pump button I wanted to take a nap. Anyway, the images he’s looking at show if the contrast travels easily through your esophagus into the new gastric sleeve and then out again. I passed with flying colors. Dad did not. His contrast got stuck in his esophagus. They blamed inflammation causing swelling and kept him an extra night to give it time to settle down and try again Wednesday morning. He passed on his second time around and was given his freedom.


The above are the intra-op pictures taken by my surgeon of my new sleeve, who’ve I decided to name Madame McSleevey. Awesome right?


One of the main things the nurses and aids try to encourage you to do is to get up and walk at least every hour. It helps with the gas pain, helps prevent blood clots, and just generally gets you moving. It felt very weird walking around with a foley dangling from my very drafty girly bits. A sensation I’m not really wanting to repeat in the near future.

FB_IMG_1493188028336After the leak test is passed they remove said awkward foley and then it’s just a waiting game till you can be discharged. You have to pee at minimum 200-250 ml to prove that you can before they’ll give you your wings. If that isn’t accomplished by shift change at 730pm you get the privilege of spending an extra night. I succeeded at exactly 655pm, just in the nick of time.

Once home I attempted to sleep in our bed, but it stretched out my abdomen too much and I kept wanting to turn onto my side which hella hurt. In the wee hours Wednesday morning we had a venue change due to this and moved downstairs, where I’ve pretty much been camped out since. I rotate between icing the belly, sipping water and protein shakes, taking my lovely percocet, eating jello etc, and taking mini walks around the house.

My loving and incredibly supportive (figuratively and literally) husband has been right there next to me the entire time in case I need something. I know he’d rather be sleeping in bed rather than on the couch but I haven’t heard a single complaint, other than he wishes he could give me a big strong hug but is afraid he’d hurt me. Right now he’s even running an errand to get my sewing machine repaired for me so that I have something other than the TV to do during my convalescence. Collage 2017-04-28 13_10_19

The main pain I’ve been having hasn’t been the from the gas as I was expecting. I expected pain from the actual incision sites and some discomfort from the gas they use to inflate the abdominal cavity.  What actually hurts the worst is caused by the abdominal swelling around the incision sites. The swelling is pulling on the suture lines, shifting every time I move, hurting like a mofo. Keeping up on the icing and perocet help some. Coughing. Coughing also sucks great big hairy monkey balls.  I’m thinking that it’ll improve as the swelling goes down. The worst one is the site on the right. I’m betting this is where they removed the gastric remnant, the part of the stomach they removed to create the sleeve. The swelling is centralized above the incision line, creating a little dunlap of tissue which is pushing down on the incision line when I sit upright. So right now my abdomen looks weirdly lumpy bumpy.

If you’re in the process of getting a sleeve done, or any weight loss surgery, you’ll find lists everywhere with suggestions of what to bring to the hospital. Here’s mine: comfy slippers with traction bottoms, long phone charger cord and phone, chapstick, and clean undies for when you get discharged. Everything else I brought I didn’t end up using. I wore the exact pajamas out that I wore in, and didn’t wear them at all while actually in the hospital. I had brought a book but was never awake long enough to read, thank you dilaudid. I had also brought a bunch of toiletries but taking a shower there was the last thing I wanted to do. When I did eventually take a shower it was glorious, though I did need major help from the husband. It hurt to raise my arms too high, pulled the tummy. My Dad didn’t even use a bag. His overnight bag was a plastic Kroger bag consisting of pajama bottoms, undies, and socks. My husband actually had the most of all of us. He stayed overnight with me. He had pajamas, laptop and charger, phone and charger, clean clothes, and snacks.

On a slightly hilarious sidenote, the husband just came home from his errand of dropping my sewing machine off at the repair shop. While out he stopped off at one of his favorite places for lunch and was challenged to an eating contest. Not one to back down he accepted and won! His prize? An awesomely tacky baseball hat he’ll never wear, a major stomachache, and double the bill (they didn’t cover the food). But hey! He won! Ironic, no?


My Two Milestones

After being on the pre-op liquid diet for one week I’ve lost about 5 pounds, putting me squarely one pound under my first self-appointed milestone. (Dad’s lost 7 pounds, btw). I have the distinct memory at 245 pounds thinking that it was the heaviest I’d ever been and that I needed to do something about it. That thought, and weight, happened around our wedding 8 1/2 years and many diets ago. Today I weighed in at 244 lbs. I’ve never been happier to be where I thought I was fat before.

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I was the same weight in all the above pictures, 245 lbs. The first is at our wedding, obviously. The second I was 9 months pregnant with twins. And the third was from this past weekend.

My second milestone that I met over this past weekend was rewearing this dress:

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I had originally bought this dress to wear to the naming ceremony of our daughters. When I initially bought it after they were born I had lost a lot of weight over the course of the pregnancy and actually weighed less coming out of it than I did going in. That didn’t last long. Within the 6 months between their birth and the ceremony I had put on probably 20-25 pounds. I don’t actually know the exact amount because I actively avoided finding out. I attribute this to probable undiagnosed post-partum depression, and the mentality that since I was breastfeeding twins it didn’t matter what I ate because I’d burn it off anyway. Very not true by the way. Trying on this dress at the store I felt incredibly pretty and feminine, which after being a human whale for a significant amount of time was a big deal. By the time I wore it and had to stand in front of our family and friends I just wanted to hide.  This past weekend I ventured to trying it on again after 5 years, which is also a big deal since there’s many emotions associated with this dress. Low and behold it fit! and it actually looked good! I even went so far to put on makeup since it actually made me feel good to be wearing a dress again.

Today marks the beginning of week 2 of the pre-op diet and I’m not terribly physically hungry, but I’m definitely head hungry. You’ll find if you read through enough bariatric forums, books, etc that they’ll talk about head hunger. This is basically all the cravings, all the self-sabotaging thoughts that lead to gorging yourself on unhealthy foods. You can be full and satiated but still hungry and thinking about what you’re going to eat next. That’s me. I’m fantasizing about certain foods. Steak. Sushi. A large loaded baked potato. I’ve done pretty good not giving in. I’ve only really cheated once in the week. Friday night I waited too long to eat and drink my evening protein shake so I was hungry and hangry and so I gave in. I had some shrimp tempura, along with the protein shake. I’m not even really feeling guilty about it. There are a lot worse things I could have cheated with and it was hella yummy. After a week of broth and jello it was incredibly yummy.

Here’s to doing better this week and having no cheats! One week to go, from today. Eek!

Liquid Diet funtimes

A few weeks ago Dad and I went to our last appointment before the surgery. We had our measurements taken, official before pictures, lab work, bought our protein powder, and 3 hour education class on diet pre-surgery and immediately post-surgery.



Dad mugging for the camera during his blood draw.



Yesterday marked the first day of the pre-op liquid diet. The main reason most surgeons have their bariatric patients do a pre-op liquid diet is to shrink the liver. The stomach resides pretty much right under the liver. By shrinking the liver it creates extra space and makes it easier to retract the liver during the surgery, thus making it easier on the surgeon and on you.









The basic parameters of our diet includes drinking 3 protein shakes, 48-64 oz water, and 6 servings of “food” off a short list they gave us. The list has 1 package plain oatmeal, unsweetened applesauce, broth, soup, carbmaster yogurt, sugar free jello, or 1 cup carrots/salad/veg with 2 tablespoon fat free dressing.

It’s currently the middle of day 2 of liquid diet funtimes and so far it hasn’t been terrible. I’m not that hungry, or hangry even. I do have a bit of a headache, but then I’m also prone to migraines so who knows if it’s connected or not. I am finding that my “meals” aren’t lasting me as long as a normal meal would. My stomach is letting me know earlier that it wants something in it. My co-workers are sympathetic to my plight, however the first two days someone brought in chocolate cake, donuts, and cookies. My will-power so far has held out but I can hear them calling my name 3 rooms over. That’s the problem with working in surgery. There’s always free food, usually unhealthy yummy food, out in the breakroom.


The Last Supper

If you ask the experts or those that think they’re the experts they always tell you never to have a big last supper before you start your liquid diet. I blatantly ignored this advice. This is definitely a “do as I say, not as I do” moment.

For super special occasions my loving husband and I like to go to a restaurant called Boi Na Braza. It is a Brazilian steakhouse and it is all kinds of decadent yummyness. It’s also hella expensive so we only go when we can buy a groupon and then hoard said groupon till our special occasion. The big draw of this restaurant is that you can literally eat a never ending buffet of high end cuts of meat. Grouchos (see picture) walk around carrying 15 various cuts of meat on large skewers. You’re given a coaster when you first sit down. Green side up equals “give me the meat!”. Red side up means “give me a minute”. They also have a huge buffet of sides, salads, etc. And if that wasn’t enough there’s also the dessert cart and wide array of wines, beers, and cocktails. Needless to say that by the end of the night I needed a wheelbarrow to get out our car, because there’s no way we’re not going to get our money’s worth!

The reasoning behind ignoring advice and forging ahead with my diet destroying last supper is simple. After the surgery there’s no way I’m going to be willing to shell out the prices that this place charges for all of 4-5 bites of food. It’ll be a delicious 4-5 bites for sure, but not worth the expense. Even their kid’s meals are expensive, so it’s a deal breaker. This was a last goodbye to one of our favorite restaurants, at least until someone else offers to pay or we win the lottery. Plus, once I start the liquid diet phase it’ll be nearly 2 solid months before I can eat anything that requires proper chewing. And I know this goes along with the mentality I’ve been trying to unlearn, but I wanted to reward myself for the journey I’ve been on the past 6+ months. I realize that’s counter intuitive, but there it is all the same.


 (Groucho dude holding the best cut in my humble opinion, the top sirloin.

Pretty sure his name was Ramon)


My awesome father babysat the minions so that my husband and I could enjoy our decadent night.  Here’s my wonderfully supportive husband. He’s decided to join me in trying to be healthier too, mainly because he doesn’t like the idea of me weighing less than him. I’ve been heavier than him our entire relationship, all 14 years of it. You also wouldn’t believe the amount of shape-wear I have under that dress.  Spanx are a fluffy girl’s best friend.

While I had my Dad over we did some “before” pictures since we start the dreaded liquid diet on April 11th.

Isn’t my Dad just adorable?