6 Week Post Op- Good News and Bad News

So, I had my appointment on Thursday with Jackie the PA at UPMC Bariatrics. The weather was kind of shitty, so I was fortunate that they had some cancellations and I was able to go up early, and was back in Warren by 4, before the real snow started in earnest.

It was the first time I had driven myself to one of my appointments. Usually Victoria would take me, or once in a while Mariah or my Mom would go, but this time, I went alone. It was nice to sing as loud as I wanted to the radio, or talk to myself on the drive. It helped calm my nerves.

I’m not sure why I was so nervous. Yes, I do. I’ve been in a stall almost since I hit 400. I’ve been hovering in the same 7 or 8 pound span for two weeks. I was nervous that I wasn’t on track with my weight loss because of it.

When Fely, the nurse who does the workups at Dr. Ali’s office, saw me, she threw her hands in the air and said “you’re disappearing!” She’s a sweetheart, and I figure she probably says that to all the post-op patients, but it still made me laugh out loud.

She took me back to the workup room. I took off my boots, and stepped on the scales. Now the good news; I had lost 21.5 pounds since my previous appointment, and over 50 since surgery. Frankly, I was a little disappointed, but she told me I had done great. She took hold of my dress and said “No more wearing these!” I was wearing one of the thin dresses I always wear (regardless of the weather) to my doctor’s appointments. They weigh next to nothing, and that’s why I wear them, I told her. She told me that she could see how much weight I’d lost and said I need to treat myself to some new things. I explained that I had bought myself a couple of pairs of jeans smaller than my old ones, but there was no way in hell I was wearing them to get weighed in! We both laughed, and continued bullshitting while she got my blood pressure and heart rate. We were laughing so hard, it took four tries to get a pressure!

Next, I went to the exam room and waited for Jackie. I only waited a minute before I heard her knock. The first thing she did was congratulate me on my weight loss. I thanked her, and relayed my concerns about the stall, and told her it was hard for me to gauge how I was progressing. She said I was doing amazing! I explained that I was doing well with my fluid intake, but had a tough time getting my calories in because of my nausea. It hasn’t really gotten any better since the last time I was there. In fact, sometimes it’s a lot worse. So it was decided she would send a script for Phenergan to my pharmacy. I can take it in between doses of Zofran when I need it. She then broke the bad news to me; this could last up to six months! To say I was discouraged is an understatement. She told me not to get too down about it; some patients have a tougher time with nausea than others, but to remember that eventually it WILL go away. My fingers are crossed that it’ll be sooner rather than later. She did tell me that I need to try to get 800 calories a day in whenever possible. It takes 800 calories for day to day function of your body, so I will continue to try.

We talked about my meds, and she told me that I can stop the Protonix, Carafate and Pepcid at 3 months post op. That’s two weeks from now! However, I do need to continue the gall bladder medicine for three months after that, and the vitamins indefinitely, so that I will keep on doing.

One last thing she told me before I left was that I have been dieting my entire adult life, and even before adulthood, and need to make sure I don’t allow the stalls to get into my head. She reminded me that I will see in my losses in the way my clothes fit before I do on the scale, so I shouldn’t let it get me down. She gave me an order for bloodwork to have done prior to my next visit, and I don’t need to come back until the end of May! I’ll be just around a year from the start of my weight loss journey then, so I’m excited to see where I’m at then. All in all, a pretty damn good report, I think.

In other news, I ordered tickets for myself and Mariah for The Avett Brothers show at the Chautauqua Institution on July 8th. Her birthday is the 10th, so for her gift, I bought a pair of preferred seating tickets for the show, which is only about an hour or so away from where we live! I think for my first Avett Show ever, and my first concert in almost 20 years!

869ae06afc5c51c8b60d511fc88bf813

All in all, it’s been a pretty good couple of weeks since my last post. Oh, except about the boy with whom I’d been talking. We met, and had a great time. Two days later, I found out he has a girlfriend. He’s been living with. For five fucking years. Needless to say, he’s toast. So, we soldier on…

For the most part, a good couple of weeks. I had a dinner/movie date with Mariah last week (Deadpool is a great movie), with Tori on Thursday (new Chicken Power Bowl at Bob Evans was wonderful!) and I introduced Joie to “Downton Abbey” (“Mom, that Mary is a bitch!”) last night.  I continue to stay as positive as I can, which isn’t the stuggle it once was. I’m very fortunate to have family (and even ex-in laws) who love me very much, good friends that pick me up when I am fading, and some amazing coworkers I am fortunate to call my friends.

Finally, for those keeping track at home, I’ve lost 92 pounds so far!

Take care of yourself and love each other,

Linda ❤

 

 

Advertisements

One Week Post Op

I feel fantastic! I am completely shocked that I feel as good as I do today. No joke.  That’s not to say it’s been totally smooth sailing, because it hasn’t, but all in all, I’m feeling so good right now.

I was discharged on Saturday around 4:30ish with a fistful of prescriptions, and my sister and her friend brought me home to Warren (about a 2.5 hour car ride) on Saturday. We went through the CVS drive thru, and was told the scripts that had been sent in from the hospital were ready to be picked up; when did we want to pick up the two we were dropping off, as they closed in 20 minutes. My sister asid she would go inside and wait for them, so we parked, and I waited in the car while Donna and Jen went inside. Five minutes later, they come back outside and tell me they have the Lovenox there, but they don’t have any Hycet, my liquid Lortab for pain. I was already hurting, so of course, I started to get anxious. And I cried. My quick-thinking sister called Walmart to see if they had any, and they did. However, they were closing at 8 as well; that’s when I started to cry. The pharmacy tech told my sister that she would wait for us to bring up the Hycet script and would fill it right then so I wouldn’t have to go all night without any pain medicine, so we hauled ass to get it filled, and left Jen at CVS to pick up the other scripts. We got to Walmart 5 minutes later, and 10 minutes after that, Donna walked out with a ginormous bottle of Hycet. We went back to CVS and picked up Jen, and went to my apartment.

We got parked, and very slowly waddled across the street. I had a little trouble making it up over the curb, mostly because it was dark and I was afraid of falling. We got inside the apartment, and I eyed up the stairs. I had been freaking out over the IDEA of the stairs, but once I started, I made it right up the stairs without issue. Didn’t even have to stop! I legit impressed myself. I got myself settled in, and was in bed by 9:30.

I’ve only taken two doses of Hycet since I’ve been home. It burns SO BAD every time it hit my stomach, so it was easier for me to just power through the pain I had, and take my anti-nausea med, than suffer from the pain elixir.

Speaking of meds, I have LOTS of meds to take for the next several months. Pepcid (ulcer prevention), Protonix (ulcer prevention), Carafate (again, ulcer prevention), and Urisol (gallstone prevention). I was told to cease all my regular meds until after I met with my PCP this week, so at least I had a break from them. However, I’ve had to give myself Lovenox injections twice a day since discharge. I did that when I had my hysterectomy a few years ago, so I can do that in my sleep.

I’ve been concentrating on getting all my fluids in every day, and have more or less succeeded. The protein has been a real problem though. I haven’t been able to get more than a few ounces of shake down a day all week. I keep trying every day, which is all I can do. However, I did decide to get some unflavored protein powder so that I can start adding it to my purees next week if I still can’t get the shakes down.

I’ve been walking around the apartment every hour or so, and continue doing my leg pumps. The last thing I want or need is a blood clot, so I’ll leg pump til my ankles give out if it saves me from a PE.

Today was my big day out. I had an appointment with my PCP, bloodwork at the hospital, a trip to the DMV, and a brief visit at work.  The doctor’s appointment went very well. When he walked in the room, he high fived me, and congratulated me. We talked back and forth about things for about forty minutes, and decided that since my blood pressure was 160/82, that  I would go back on my Lisinopril, at half my former dose, and would continue to forgo the HCTZ and Lasix; if I do start getting edema again, I’m to call and let him know ASAP before I decide on my own to start Lasix again. I told him I was going back to work on Monday, and he said he would prefer that I start out working half days. He said his fear was that I felt great, and went back to work full force, and ended up wearing myself out, taking twice as long to recover. I told him I’d figure it. I then made an appointment to go back in about six weeks, and left to go to the hospital for bloodwork.

I was only at the hospital about fifteen minutes, and we were on our way back to Warren. We went to the DMV, and I got my new driver’s license (a picture I don’t HATE, for a change), then stopped at my work for a brief visit. It was SO nice to see everybody! Hugs, well-wishes, and lots of “you look amazing”, which was so sweet to hear. I am so tickled to have such supportive coworkers; it really is mindblowing. When I told them I was going back to work on Monday, most of them were shocked. I told them i was planning on working at least half days, but it will all depend on how I feel when I get back to work. I did offer to work on Christmas Eve, since we’re only open a half day, and I’ll be able to let the receptionist into the building. Most people say they don’t get anything done when we work half days, but I LOVE it. Those days are usually right before holidays, so we have few staff working, and I get a TON of stuff done because I’m not interrupted all the time!

So, now to the numbers. On Saturday, around 12:30 am, I weighed 451.8 lbs. I knew I was going to weigh heavy because of the incessant parade of IV bags I was receiving, so I didn’t freak out. This morning, when I got out of the shower, I weighed 435.0 lbs. I am officially down 51 pounds since I started this long strange trip back in May/June. I still can’t believe it.

I’m looking forward to starting purees next week (Merry Christmas to me!), and since I’ll be able to have real food, and my girls will have to work on Christmas, we decided to have a Christmas Eve dinner party of sorts for the family. Hors d’ouevres and such, so nobody has to get stuck making a big ass meal in our tiny ass kitchen. Dips and things of that ilk. I kind of can’t wait. I’m planning on roasting some summer veggies I have in the freezer, and pureeing a little chicken breast, and maybe having some hummus so I won’t feel deprived. I’m really looking forward to it.

This ended up being way longer than I had intended, but oh well. For those who don’t like reading long blog entries..

TL,DR- I’m doing fucking awesome!

Linda <3<3

 

 

 

Back to the Grind

I’ve had a pretty crappy week or two. First, an update on what’s going on with THAT.

I was perusing my chart on the local hospital’s patient portal, and read my ultrasound report. It said my pancreas, kidney and gall bladder looked normal, but my liver was full of diffuse fatty tissue. That got me to thinking, and reading. I had no idea what fatty liver disease was (but leave it to me get something that REINFORCES that I’m fat!), so I did quite a bit of reading about it, and I think that might be the culprit. Lots of the symptoms are similar to gall bladder/gallstones, including the nausea and upper abdominal pain. If it IS fatty liver, then I’m already doing the things I need to do to reverse, which kind of came as a relief. No surgery for fatty liver unless it’s really advanced, which I don’t believe mine is. Bear in mind, this all me. I haven’t heard anything from either of my doctors yet.

I spent the weekend running to Erie. Saturday, I dropped Mariah off to catch a ride to Cooperstown, NY with some friends from Ohio to see the Avett Brothers and John Prine. (My dream double bill, btw. I introduced Mariah to JP, and she introduced me to AB. :)) We were supposed to be there by 8, but didn’t make it til 8:15, which worked out okay, because they ran into bad weather on their way from Kent. I drove right back home; I pulled in my drive way before 10am.  I hung out at home and watched Orange is the New Black most of our dreary Saturday,  then went back to Erie Sunday afternoon to get the kid.

In the meantime, it appears I got myself a nice, shiny chest cold. Just in time for my EGD on Friday. I reckon I’ll see how I’m feeling on Wednesday and give UPMC a jingle to see if they want to reschedule me or not.

Speaking of Friday, this is an exciting week for me! And busy! I have my first weigh in on Wednesday, after work, the consultation for the sleep study on Thursday morning and , of course, the good old endoscopy on Friday.  I don’t know which thing I’m more nervous about! It’s all exciting stuff, and now that I’m a month in, I feel like it’s really happening!

I’ve struggled with my meal plan a little the last few days. When I don’t feel well, I just want comfort. And when I’m running around, fast food was always super easy. So I have had some fast food, but I tried to make more informed and intelligent choices. The girls and I ordered chinese last night, and I ate about a quarter to a third of my portion. I’ll probably have the same amount for dinner tonight.

Tomorrow is “Food Day” at work. Ugh. Everybody brings in food. And we have 28 people working tomorrow, so it’ll be a veritable smorgasbord. Thankfully, a couple of people are bringing in veggies, and I’m taking in some roasted red pepper hummus, so at least I can eat something. I’m really tempted to have a little of Cheryl’s pulled pork, but I’ll behave myself and not overindulge. I’m trying to maintain portion control and not lose my mind. So far, so good.

And Bob is calling me every day. He’s more and more dependent on me as someone to talk to and keep him grounded. I’m still not sure if that’s good or bad.

So that’s that for now. I’ll more to report later this week. Cross your fingers for Wednesday!!

Be kind and love each other. ❤

Linda

Ugh. What’s wrong with me?

I say this not in the “oh crap, I screwed up!” sense, but in the “I don’t know what it is, but I think something’s not right” way.

For the last few days, anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes after I eat, I get sick. Horribly nauseous (yesterday I threw up more times than I can remember), with pain under upper abdomen (mostly on the right, under my ribcage, but sometimes toward the middle). Like I said, it’s been happening for a few days (now I can’t help but wonder if what I had a while back was this, without the acute pain), but now anytime I eat ANYTHING, the nausea starts, and the pain comes shortly after that. Yesterday, I thought it might be food poisoning, except I had the same thing I have a couple times a week – a mixed greens salad with turkey, hard boiled eggs, dried fruit with light dressing. Pretty standard stuff. And it hasn’t been a problem up until now. I went home early from work yesterday because I felt so bad, and threw up for a couple of hours. I slept for a couple of hours, woke for a couple of hours, and then went to bed. I had a piece of toast around 10 because I didn’t want to take my Ibuprofen on an empty stomach. This morning for breakfast I had lowfat yogurt with fruit and granola. I had some discomfort and nausea, but it was pretty manageable (I wasn’t doubled over like yesterday). At lunch, I had carrot sticks and a couple of handfuls of mini pretzels with hummus. Within an hour, I was in pain, and thought I was going to throw up again. (I didn’t, but I really wished I could). It got a lot worse to the point I was in tears, so I went home early again. As soon as the pain started, I called my PCP to see what he thought; the nurse called back about twenty minutes later to tell me he wanted to see me in the office, but he won’t be IN the office until Thursday.

So what do I do? I’m afraid to eat. (I tried some crackers a while ago, and the pain’s already starting, though hopefully not as bad as earlier.) Do I not eat at work, and just stick to my water?  I have to get through tonight and tomorrow before I see the doctor, and I don’t think I can do it without eating something. Is it possible it’s my gall bladder? Idiot that I am, I was symptom checking and gallstones was one of the possibilities. Even when I’m not having acute pain, the spot under my ribcage is still really tender.

If any of you have been through something like this, PLEASE give me some insight. I really feel like crap.

Thanks in advance,

Linda

Tuesday Update – they can’t all have pithy titles!

b8f37af0-7097-4eed-a863-25fbea54c414

It’s a beautiful day in Pennsylvania. It’s friggin’ cold, but gorgeous. It’s rained nearly every day for almost a week, doing little to get me out of the funk the flu put me in. However, it might be chilly out, but I’m feeling MUCH better about things…

I fell off the wagon over the weekend. Pizza. I love it. Hot, cold, I don’t care. I could eat it every meal every day. And with the ability to get a pizza for $5, and not even have to get out of my car? C’mon! It’s a no-brainer.

But it isn’t anymore. That can’t be my go to supper anymore, even though it was many, many, MANY nights. (I had a huge pile of pizza boxes that I had to get rid of before my landlord came over the other day – they’re in the back of my car, if anyone knows where I can get rid of them!) When my kid brought home pizza, and offered me some, I caved. 2 slices! And another the next day! Bad, bad Linda.

For what it’s worth, I felt like crap after I ate them. I won’t lie; they tasted DELICIOUS! But they sure didn’t agree with me! Lesson learned.  No more pizza for me! (Unless I can figure out that cauliflower crust deal. That looks pretty badass!)

On a positive note, I helped an elderly patient today, and she said when she sees me she’s going to give me hug.  She had gotten lost on her way to the office, and said that I was her guardian angel. What a sweetheart she is!

OH! And I was talking to my account manager at our EHR (Electronic Health Record) vendor today, (One of our receptionists refers to him as the “guy from MDI with the pretty voice”) and I told him about my impending weight loss surgery. (We have that kind of relationship – he said from now on when he is having a bad day, he going to call me because I make him laugh.) Turns out, he has a degree in nutrition! He said that if there’s anything he can do, or if I have any questions, to feel more than welcome to ask him! He also gave me some ideas about things I can do to help relieve the pain in my knee. (He recommends Tiger Balm Ultra.) I think he might be a real asset for me.

Another positive is my water in take. I’m up over a gallon a day now.  I still haven’t had any diet pepsi since I was the day I saw Dr. Ali. It was rough for a few days, but I got through without too many headaches, and without killing anyone. That’s a good thing, right?

And then there’s Bob. I met Bob a couple of years ago at a bar in Tidioute. He was a childhood friend of the bar owner, and had come up from Pittsburgh to Tidioute for the PA State Championship Fishing Tournament that our little town has held for fifty years. I hadn’t seen Big Steve, the bar owner, since he took my now ex-husband to the airport and out of my life forever, so we were catching up. Bob walked over to Steve and brought him a beer and introduced himself to me.  He’s in his early 50’s, white hair, and quite handsome.

We talked for hours. He asked me if I would go out to dinner with him sometime, and I said yes, so we made plans for a couple of weeks later. We had dinner and talked more, as we’d been doing everyday since we met, and decided to see each other again.  I didn’t hear from him again for 3 weeks.

Bob had a vascular problem in his right leg, and he was MIA because he’d had two toes on that foot removed.  They’d also put in a stent; that was when they told him that doing it again would have been for naught, and eventually he would have to have his leg amputated. Bob and I talked many, many nights about his impending amputation: he tried to convince himself it wasn’t going to happen, and I tried to keep him grounded, telling him it was better to face it head on and get it over with than to suffer in pain, with no hope of any good outcome. We continued to talk every day or every other during that time. He had asked time and time again if I’d go to be with him when he had surgery, and I told him I would.

Six weeks or so later, Bob fell off the radar. I got a text from him (which he hates to do) telling me that he’d had surgery and was at home, recovering. I was a little hurt he didn’t tell me prior, but I found out that it ended up being something of an emergency procedure, as his entire foot had turned black, because he let it go that long.

We went back to talking every day, and I tried to be as supportive as I could, but I just couldn’t bear listening to him feeling sorry for himself. One night, I just blurted out “Bob, your whole life isn’t your missing leg, and if you think it is, I think we should stop talking!” I know that sounds super callous, but it needed to be said.

After that, we talked every few weeks, very briefly, and always about his missing leg. I was as supportive as I could be, but I couldn’t stand the wallowing. I had another blowup at him for the same reasons. It got to where I stopped answering his calls and texts. I still thought about him,

Fast forward to last week. Bob called from out the blue. He filled me on how far he’d come since his amputation – he was wearing his prosthetic, his car had been outfitted with hand controls, and he was getting out more. I was very happy for him, and proud too. He told me that not holding back (yelling at him) had motivated him to get off his ass and up on his good leg to get the things done he knew he needed to do. I told him that I really was very happy, and proud of him for all his hard work. When he asked how I was, I told him about my knee, and my impending weight loss surgery. He voiced his concerns about the wls, and I told him it’s much safer now than it’s ever been. I also told him I have an amazing surgeon in Dr. Ali, and I have the mindset I need to do all this the right way.  That was the longest I’d talked about myself with him since before his toes were amputated! Since then, we’ve talked almost every night. He tells me all the time that he wouldn’t have ever gotten over the loss of his leg without me. While I tell him that’s bullshit, part of me is very happy and gratified if that truly is the case.

Wow. I didn’t mean to write a novel this week, but it looks like I have. I’ve still got 15 more days til my weigh in, and I’m doing my best. I’m hopeful for a significant weight loss this month, but I’m not going to dwell on it because I don’t want to psyche myself out.

In the meantime…

Be kind, always.

Linda ❤

It’s hell being popular!!

When I went to see Dr Ali last week, I came home with a laundry list of orders for testing and bloodwork that needed done before my next appointment with him in September. Included in that list were an Endoscopy (EGD) and sleep study.

Well, imagine my surprise when I look through today’s mail and find an envelope from the Seneca Sleep Disorder Center, based at Warren Hospital and UPMC Hamot. My sleep study is scheduled for June 18th and I have to be there at 9:45am. My EGD is scheduled on June* 19th. at 10:30; I have to be there at 9:30 to register.

I’ve never had either of those procedures, so I don’t know how this is going to work. Do I sleep all day on Thursday? Then get on the road before 8 to be in Erie by 9:30?  I hate the idea of missing two days of work in a row, but I guess that’s just how it goes.

If anyone has any insight about the sleep study, I would very much appreciate the information. It reminds me that I need to get all the other junk done too. 17 blood panels. Xrays. ABG. EKG. Happy happy, joy joy. BUT, I know that they’re just steps on my journey to a new me, and I’d run there if I could.

I’m nervous about the tests, as I suppose anyone would be, but I’m anxious to have them behind me, so I can keep on moving forward to my goal- a happier and MUCH healthier life!

Be kind, Always.

Linda ❤

PS – A very special shout out to my supervisor, Cheryl. She is a wonderful person, and we are all lucky to have her. She is the glue that keeps our surgery center together. Thank you so much for this morning. I really needed it. And I’m sorry I made you cry.

*Edited – because I’m a dumbass.

Be Kind. Always. – The most difficult blog to write.

I saw a photo on a friend’s Facebook wall tonight, and it really resonated with me.

BeKindAlways

I say this, because I’ve been struggling with the idea of posting my starting weight.

Part of me is scared as hell. Mortified. I can’t believe I let myself get to this place. It’s a number that’s painful to see, and I believe that anyone who sees it, and knows me, will likely be shocked. I was when I saw it. But I need to post it. I need to hold myself accountable for my actions. So here goes….

486.

I weighed 486 pounds last Wednesday. The biggest I had ever been in my life. Even when I had babies, I was never as big as I was that day.

I use the past tense because in my heart, I know it’s the past. This is my new beginning.  I’ve been asked if I’ve made any goals, and as of yet, I have not. Except for the 36 pound goal Dr Ali set for me. I am most concerned with getting to a place where my body isn’t sick anymore. It doesn’t hurt to walk. It doesn’t make my head hurt when my blood pressure shoots up. Where I don’t snore like a freight train. (Sorry, Tori.) Where I don’t have to worry about dying before my girls get married or have babies.  Where I don’t have to worry about dying in my sleep, and my kids being embarrassed because they don’t know what to do with their fat, dead Mom. I won’t do that to them, and I won’t do it to myself.

I choose to live. And live I will.

I’m going to wind this up now. I’m tearing up a little bit, and think it’s best to end here. A couple of things before I go.

Cam – You’re an incredible lady. We’re both in it to win it, and win it we shall.

Kelly – I’ve got your back, girlie. If you need me, please get in touch with me. I’m here to help.

Finally, I posted my weight in the hopes that if there is someone else out there that is uncomfortable or embarrassed by their size, that they have company. I was afraid before that when this journey started, that I would be the butt of jokes among some of my coworkers, or “friends” on Facebook. But, as I’ve stated before, I have received so much support, that I’m overwhelmed at times. Truly.

Be kind to each other. Always.

Linda ❤