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.

 

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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Pretty sure his name was Ramon)

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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?

Heart vs Brain

So my heart and brain are currently at war with each other. There is a distinct stigma in our society that to have any kind of weight loss surgery is to take the easy way out. That it’s just as simple as eating better and exercising. My heart can’t seem to let go of the feeling associated with this stigma, of feeling like failure because I couldn’t do this “on my own”. However, my brain knows that I need the help. That if I could have done it on my own I would have done it by now, and that there’s nothing wrong with seeking all the help I can get in whatever form is available to me.

Maybe it’s also a slight case of cold feet. I can’t stop thinking about it, analyzing it. Should I really have it done? Couldn’t I just work harder at dieting? It’s a major surgery and a major permanent change to my life. Is it worth it? Of course I rationalize it all out and I’m not going to chicken out, but at the same time my heart and brain just won’t shut up. I’m one that tends to overanalyze everything anyway, so that doesn’t help. I educate myself as much as humanly possible about a subject, then make a decision and a plan, and then move forward towards whatever the end goal is. I do this with everything, even when my husband and I started talking about getting pregnant way back when. And once I make my decision and plan there’s no going back for me. That’s just the way I am, so I know I’m not going to back out, but at the same time I can’t stop thinking about it. This time I think there’s such a thing as knowing too much….

One Month to go!

Today officially marks one month till VSG day! Eeek! I only have two things left to do before then. Next Tuesday I have my last appointment with the surgeon and a 3 hour class basically about post-op nutrition. I’ll also get my official preop weight and measurements. Then in the beginning of April I have an appointment with my primary to get clearance and a history and physical done for the records. And at some point I’ll get contacted by preadmission testing and find out if I need to do any preop lab work or if it can just be done the day of. And of course the dreaded 2 week preop liquid diet before VSG day.

By time VSG comes I’ll have done a information seminar, 6 meetings with my surgeon and nutritionist, gallbladder ultrasound, a psych eval, blood work, stool sample, a support group meeting, a cooking class, and had 2 appointments with my primary. If I had any existing comorbidities I would have had to more. For example if I had sleep apnea I’d have to do a sleep study, or bad reflux I’d have to do an endoscopy. Luckily though I’m a healthy fat person.

The Ending of an Affair

So I got my official scheduling reminder of the surgery today, basically saying that I’m officially in the computer. My surgery is going to be at 11am on April 24th. Reading this in actual print made it just a bit more real, a bit more terrifying and yet exciting. I’ve never had any kind of surgery before. My twins were even born vaginally, no C-section. That combined with the fact that I work in surgery so I literally know everything that could go wrong has me just a bit scared. Just a bit. I’ll admit it, maybe more than a bit. I’ve never been on the “other side” of surgery. Medical professionals, especially nurses, are notorious for being terrible patients. I’m curious what kind I’ll end up being, especially while still drugged up and not 100% in my own mind.

I’ve found that the last few weeks I have felt like I’m ending a love affair, mourning the loss of all the yummy, bad-for-me food that I’ve eaten my entire life. I haven’t been policing what I’ve been eating as much as I should be, rationalizing that I’d better eat it now because after I won’t be able to. I’m still portion controlling and getting my protein and water in like I should though at the same time so it’s not all bad. When I’m eating something that’s been an old time favorite I’ll have the thought in the back of my brain that “this might be the last time I ever eat this” and get just a tad sad. I know it’s just food, but it’s also been my coping mechanism for most of my life.

I’ve also decided to have a “last supper” of sorts the weekend before my preop liquid diet starts. There’s a local Brazilian steakhouse that my husband and I love to go to for special occasions. It’s hella expensive though. $50 a person. We only go when there’s a groupon making it a bit more reasonable at $25 a person. It’s literally a never ending steak and meat buffet. There’s guys who walk around with 12-14 prime cuts of meat on spickets and cut off a slice when beckoned, as well as a huge buffet of sides, salads, etc.  It’s amazing. After the surgery though it just won’t make sense financially to go there when I’ll be full after 3-4 bites. Another thing I’m mourning. Maybe there’s a kids menu? One can hope…