The Vajayjay Queen Returns!

I know you’re looking at that title and thinking “WTF?” Well this last week my lifting restrictions were lifted so I was able to return to my job in the OR. In our surgery department we don’t have formal specialized teams so everyone does a little of every specialty. With that said the same people do tend to be in the same cases/rooms more often than not. Most of my cases tend to be gynecological related. I’m also one of the nurses that are on the robotic surgery team, which is used for gyno related surgeries 75-80% of the time. So, like I said: the vajayjay Queen returns!

For the time I was on lifting restrictions they had me in preadmission testing calling patients with instructions and questions for their upcoming surgeries, and collecting whatever paperwork was still needed.  I enjoyed it. There was a certain sense of satisfaction to be able to finish a patient’s file in a timely manner. On the other side of the coin I am soooo glad to be back in the OR. It’s so nice to be moving throughout the day instead of sitting in front of the computer, and to be using my brain for what I’ve been doing for the last 9 years. And even though the ladies in PAT are super nice and welcoming, there’s a certain atmosphere and community in the OR that is special only to the OR that I missed too. If you’ve never had the opportunity to shadow or observe in surgery all I can tell you is that we’re a special breed.

Today marks my third day on full duty. I’m having to figure out how to get my protein and fluids in around my cases, which I knew would be a challenge but I’m doing better than I thought I would. I’ve found that the last couple of days I’ve been able to “mini-chug” my fluids, which means I can take 5 sips in a row comfortably rather than just 1-2. This is helping me tremendously in getting closer to my fluid goals. I still haven’t reached them but I’m really close. Every time I’m getting a patient from pre-op or dropping off a patient in PACU I’m making sure to get a few sips in.

Everyone is commenting on my progress when they see me, saying they can already see a bit difference. I’m not seeing a huge difference in my torso yet but I am noticing my hands and feet. When watching tv or something I find myself staring at my ankles/feet or wrists/wrists. They’re definitely getting slimmer. You know what the thigh gap is? Well I have toe gap. Sounds strange, but you can see a bit of light between my big and second toes! My toes look weirdly long now.

My energy level isn’t really that different yet, which could be down to bad sleep habits. I’m too much of a night owl and always have been. I am discovering though that I’m moving around easier. Just walking I’m moving faster. Bending over and lifting things is easier. I’m actually kind of looking forward to being released at 6 weeks to work out, which is a really strange notion for me. I’ve never looked forward to working out. Maybe it’ll actually be enjoyable since I won’t be hurting walking into it.

I’m trying to restrict myself to only weighing in on Mondays so I don’t obsess over the scale, so I don’t have any weight update this post. I can see myself very easily getting frustrated if the numbers didn’t move and I was weighing daily so I made a conscious decision to not even start down that road.

Dad and I are both experiencing shoulder and upper back pain occasionally. After thinking about it we’ve decided it’s because of our posture. Immediately post-surgery we weren’t straightening up all the way because of the incision pain. Now as the weight is coming off and we’re healing we’ve found we both have really bad posture. We don’t have our belly rolls to lean on as much when sitting  and our core muscle strength is so poor that we slouch forward more. After realizing this we’ve both made a concerted effort to pay more attention to our posture and to straighten up if we find ourselves slouching too much. I’m not sure about him but I’m already feeling a difference. I do know though that he’s making an appointment for a body massage as a birthday present to himself to help with the muscle soreness.

 

No longer a “Very”!

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I’m officially only severely obese! This last week I’ve slipped under the line from very severely obese, also called morbidly obese, to just severely obese on the BMI scale. Where else but in the bariatric world would that be an “only”?

Since surgery I’ve lost 15 lbs, 43 lbs total since my heaviest. Dad has lost 47 lbs total, 27 lbs since surgery. Today marked us 4 weeks post op. I’m currently 224.8 and Dad is 233. Also, since surgery Dad has had to take very little to none of his insulin.

Even though my loss isn’t exactly what I’d like I’m still loosing, and even though it’s only half a pound a day it’s still more than I would have done before. It’s very common around the 3-4 post-op week to have a stall. You’re body is getting used to the decreased calories and just the general stress from the surgery itself. To add to that I’ve not been successful yet in reaching my daily water goals. I’ve been decent at reaching my protein goals though. I also haven’t been eating as many times in a day as they’d like. Ideally I’m supposed to be eating 2 oz 4-6 times a day. I’m only getting 3, maybe 4 “meals” in daily. I’m just so full for so long that, right now anyway, it seems like an impossibility to eat 6 times in day and still be able to drink half of what my fluid goal is.

Today not only marks our 4 weeks post-op but also my Dad’s birthday. He’s 66 years young! As a birthday present I bought him a plushie version of his new sleeve. Of course I couldn’t resist getting one for myself while I was at it. They’re just so darn cute! If you want to get one for yourself visit the following link to the etsy shop (https://www.etsy.com/shop/Plusheez). The owner is super nice. Meet Madame McSleevey and Pierre (Dad named his own)! They even feature our surgery date embroidered on the back.

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A few observations since I’ve been moved onto the soft and mushy food stage:

(1) it is really really weird to me how little fills me up. I realize that’s kind of the whole goal but it’s still really strange to me. Before you don’t even want to know what I could eat in one sitting, and still be thinking of what I could eat next. Now I’m full after half a yogurt! The other day for lunch I had one large cocktail shrimp. One! In the past I’d have defrosted half the bag, eaten them all, and then had dessert. For Dad’s birthday dinner we split a cheeseburger (not fast food) without the bun. I only could eat less than half of my half. Even then I probably had a bite or two too many.  Just weird. It’ll take some getting used to for sure, which is of course the end-game.

(2) I’ve had to reteach myself how to drink. I’ve always been a big chugger or gulper. If I drink more than 3 sips in a row it physically hurts. 3 is even a bit much sometimes, especially if it’s something thicker like a protein shake. Super cold drinks also hurt no matter how much I drink at one time, but at the same time room temperature is gross and turns me off. If something has warmed up to room temperature I just can’t do it. Nauseates me just to think about it.  I’ve found that I’m more likely to drink more in a sitting if the beverage is warmed up hotter. My favorite so far is to heat up a cup of Fairlife milk with a dash of sugar free vanilla syrup, creating a healthy version of a “hot vanilla”, as opposed to hot chocolate. It’s super yummy, I drink it all every time, and it counts as protein and fluid. Good things all around!

(3) When I’m full one of three things will happen. Either I’ll hiccup just once, my nose will run, or I’ll get a rush of metallic tasting saliva. Sometimes by themselves, sometimes in combination. 

I’ve created and updated a progress pics section. You’ll find it at the top of the website page. The embarrassing picture of me at my heaviest I’ve talked about previously has been included. Please be kind.

Speaking of photos, below you’ll find some photos from since my last post. I haven’t included the full body shots since I just put them in the progress pics page. You can look there if you’d like to see those.

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Not a huge difference but you can definitely see one, especially in the double chin and chipmunk cheek area.

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Here’s what my incisions looked like at 3 weeks post op after the surgical glue came off. There’s a tiny bit of bruising still around the bigger incision on my right, but as of last Wednesday (day 23) I’ve had very little to no pain.  It was kind of strange actually. I went to bed with the same pinching soreness I’d had and then woke up with nothing. I can only think that the internal sutures finally dissolved and that’s what was pinching. I’ve also noticed that as the swelling has gone down, and as the weight has gone down too, that my divot has decreased. I was really quite worried that I’d always have a divot in my right side from the big incision. Silly little piece of vanity I realize since I’m probably going to have quite a bit of loose skin at the end of all this, but it was still there in my mind nonetheless.

Below are some progress pics of me and Dad together. On my official progress pics page I’ve only included individual shots so far. That may change in the future though.

In order from left to right you have December 2016, April 2017 (weekend before liquid diet), and May 2017 (Mother’s Day). Not that you can tell too much but my jeans are barely staying up and I’ve lost enough mass in the massive boobage that my bra has a definite gapping action happening. Dad has had to put new holes in his belt too.

Well that’s all my calorie deprived brain has to say for now. Be sure to tune in next time!

The Good, the Bad, and the Stinky

The Good: Today was my 2 week follow up appointment, really 10 day follow up, with my surgeon. Since surgery I’ve lost 10 lbs and he says that my incisions are healing well. I will say that the larger incision on the right still smarts some to be sure, especially with movement.  It’s manageable though. I haven’t taken the percocet in a couple days and have been just sticking with icing my tummy.  My bruises from the failed IV attempts are healing as well, however they are definitely a matter of looking worse before better situation.

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So as of today, since my heaviest last summer, I’ve lost 38 lbs. I find this both amazing and saddening at the same time. I can’t believe I let myself get to the point I was at. Looking through my previous posts I realized that I blatantly lied out of embarrassment in the post chronicling my weight via photos. I had said that I didn’t have any photos of me at my heaviest. This is untrue. I actually do have one. I took it in the dressing room at Lane Bryant. I even put my phone on silent so the clerks wouldn’t hear the picture taking sound and know what I was doing. It was taken the same day I had my epiphany. I found out how close to my Dad’s weight I was and decided to try to do something about it. I went to Lane Bryant in search of workout clothes and fell into a depressive funk when I saw myself in the mirror. I took the picture to remember that low, just in case there was a high in the future. I’m not going to post it here. When I get around to filling out the Progress Pictures gallery I may put it there. Maybe when there’s more of a drastic before/after. I’m still embarrassed.

Dad doesn’t have his follow up appointment till next week but he visited today so I accosted him with the camera.

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In the last 10 days since surgery he’s lost 12 lbs, putting him at a total of 38 lbs from his heaviest at the start of all this. At this point he says his main pained spot is right about the umbilical incision.  He’s also barely had to take any insulin at all!

We’re both struggling to get our water and protein goals. We feel like we’re literally drinking the whole day and only get half way there. Our nutritionist doesn’t include the water in our protein shakes towards our daily goal total, so that 16 oz minimum that’s drank but not counted. Soup, jello, and popsicles don’t count as liquids either even though they’re part of the full liquid diet.

One of the things that I’ve found that’s hindered me reaching my goal I think is that I like to sleep entirely too late and then stay up too late. Not working is not really encouraging me to get up at the ass-crack of dawn since I don’t need to. The husband gets the girls up and to school so no need there either. When you wake up at noon or later, after going to bed at 2 or 3 in the morning, it does certainly cut into the hours of the day you have to drink. Add to that the 30-30-30 rule we have to follow and there’s just not enough time. I know, problem easily solved if I just get my well-rounded tuchas up earlier but that is easier said than done. Ask my husband.

The Stinky: If you peruse the bariatric forums you’ll soon find that one of the main topics of conversation is constipation. Before surgery I was never really what you would call regular, which more than likely stemmed from a crap diet from crap food with no fiber or real nutritional value. It was not unusual for me to go a week without having a visit to the golden thrown for a constitutional. After surgery it was approaching 9 days with no sign of impending poodom, aside from some really nasty letting of air, so I decided to take matters into my own hands so to speak. One dose of Miralax later and I did indeed accomplish my goal, stupendously. Never having taken Miralax before I did not know what to expect. Holy fire out of my butt Batman! It worked fast and was a bit too overly thorough in my opinion. Since that lovely experience I’ve decided to add some Benefiber to my daily regimen, at least till I’m on more solid food. If I can avoid it I would rather not have a repeat performance.

The Bad: Thursday morning at 3am my husband’s grandfather passed. He was diagnosed only a week ago with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and a mild-moderate heart attack. He was a kind and gentle soul. Very intelligent and very giving. He was one of the nicest men I have ever met, if not the nicest. FB_IMG_1493956617767

So Saturday our little family of 4 are going to drive 8 hours to upper New York to attend his funeral on Sunday, and then back again on Monday. Just in time for my husband to go back to work Tuesday night and for me to go back on Wednesday. So far I’ve managed to not eat my emotions as I would have before. So far…This evening after my husband went to work it fell on me to tell our 5 year old girls the news and the plan for the weekend, explaining what to expect. At the end I asked them if they had any questions, and they did of course. My girls are very practical with their questions, as with all things. They asked the standard ones about never seeing him again, where was he going if he wasn’t here anymore, etc etc. But then with a very concerned look, one turned to me and asked very seriously, “Am I going to get a new dress to wear?”. Priorities…

I asked my nutritionist today for food suggestions for the drive since I’m still on puree stage and don’t really plan on traveling with ready access to a blender. Her suggestions were a little to be desired. She wanted me to prepare ahead of time by freezing puree tuna, beef, chicken, etc in ice trays to unfreeze later as I need them. This wouldn’t necessarily be a bad idea if I was traveling with a microwave strapped to the back of the van. Just what someone with no appetite wants to eat. Cold, slimy, puree meat. Yum… Instead of taking her up on her awesome idea I’ve bought a few different favors of cottage cheese/fruit puree, yogurt, and I’m going to experiment with baby food versions of puree meat. They’ll probably be disgusting as well but at least they won’t be frozen and I won’t be upset that I put effort into them before I chuck them in the trash bin.

I did conduct one cooking experiment today that was a grand success though. As a way to diversify my protein sources my NUT (nutritionist) suggested I try a ricotta bake. Look it up on pinterest. It’s awesome. Basically you melt a few difference cheeses, egg, and marinara sauce together and bingo bango you’ve got a crustless pizza/lasagna type thing. It was glorious! I’m serious. It was so flipping good I might just live on it now. It was so nice to taste something somewhat savory, or at least a different flavor palate. Most of the options I’ve been eating, even since the preop liquid diet, have all been mostly sweet flavors. It was really nice having something that wasn’t, and wasn’t soup.