Tuesday, December 23, 2014

happy one year surgiversary to me!

One year ago today I took a major step towards improving my health and well-being:  I had gastric bypass surgery.

At this time last year (around 7 am) I was in a hospital bed on the surgical floor waiting to be wheeled into surgery.  And I was STARVING!  I couldn't wait to be knocked out so I wouldn't be hungry anymore.   (I'm sure Bob couldn't wait either.)  Plus, I wanted to get going on the road to a thinner, healthier me.

Two weeks before surgery I had to do a pre-op diet.  The purpose was to help shrink my liver so they wouldn't have a problem getting to the organs underneath.  The first twelve days consisted of three protein shakes per day, one protein meal replacement bar, unlimited salad with fat-free dressing (whoopie! NOT!!), sugar-free Jello, sugar-free Popsicles, pickles, and fat-free broth.  The first few days were tough, but I quickly adapted to it.  Little did I know how tough the two-day pre-op liquid diet would be...

Surgery was on a Monday, so I had to spend the weekend before, the last two days of the pre-op diet, on a clear liquid diet:  sugar-free Jello, sugar-free Popsicles, fat-free broth, and disgusting protein drinks (not shakes).

Have you ever done a liquid diet before?  Do you know what it does to the mind?  Do you know what it does to your bathroom habits??  I was very hungry for most of the weekend .  Sunday morning I had a meltdown in the kitchen, because I was so hungry.  I felt bad afterwards, because Bob just didn't know what to do with me or for me.  What can you do when someone is that hungry, but can't eat, and is having a meltdown because of it?  He couldn't do the one thing that would make it better, which is to give me food.  I tried to keep busy, which is tough when food was my everything.  I went over my sister's house and drank a crap load of clear broth.  And remember I mentioned bathroom habits?  Let's just say that bowel movements don't cease just because you're not eating solid foods.  Imagine the other side of the 24-hour stomach bug, but everything down there is clear in color.  Yeah.  That was fun.  I was worried I wouldn't make it home from my sister's house without having to find a bathroom.  I made it just in time, though.  Anyway...

I went to my one-year post-surgery appointment last week.  A year later and I'm down 130 pounds so far.  I started at 343 lbs and I'm now 213 lbs.  My clothing sizes have gone from about 30/32 to 14/16.  4X down to XL.  Even my shoe size changed - I'm no longer a wide width.  I don't have sleep apnea anymore and I'm no longer pre-diabetic.  I can go all day, pretty much, and not get tired or have to sit down.  My knees don't bother me anymore.  I don't get winded going up the stairs.  I fit into a booth at a restaurant.  I don't have to scope out the whole room for a chair that I'll fit into.  I get full with one item from the dollar menu.  Actually, I couldn't even finish that one item last time I did that.

So, what kinds of problems have I had or do I have now?  No issues with any foods at all.  I don't ever throw up because a food doesn't agree.  Nitrates bothered me at first, but not anymore.  I've never gotten food stuck in my stomach.  I can only tolerate so much sugar, but that's probably a good thing.  I can't really tolerate alcohol, but that doesn't matter to me anyway.  I had some hair loss, but that's normal and it has stopped.  There were times when I cried because I couldn't have "just one more bite" of something.  (Weight loss surgery is really tough mentally.) I still struggle with taking too much food at one time.  Even though I know how much will fill me, I tend to load up my plate and waste a lot of it.  I have a lot of extra skin in my abdominal area.  I can exercise until the cows come home, but it's only going to help to a certain point.  Pants are a problem.  My waist is 14/16, but pants fit tightly because of the extra skin; if I buy a bigger size to accommodate the skin, the legs, hips and rear are too big. Unfortunately, that's the reality of what happens to the body when one loses weight and regains it several times over.

Would I do it again?  Absolutely.  Why wouldn't I want to use all the tools available to me in order to be healthy and feel good?  And that's what this is:  a tool.  It's not a magic pill.  I still had to work and will continue to work the rest of my life.  Although, when the weight just flies right off it's hard not to feel like it's magic.

My next goal?  To be under 200 lbs.

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