Friday, December 30, 2011

Rumors of Day Three Being Toughest Debunked

A day after my weight loss surgery Tuesday, I got a text from my younger brother Bob in New York City.

"How are you feeling? Was it a slice or a laparoscopic? After surgery, Day 3 is always the challenge."

Well, Day Three has come and gone and it was very much like Day 2, which wasn't all that tough.

I mean, I had a C-section when my daughter was born. That was tougher pain-wise.

I've had two bunionectomies (one each foot). Those were tougher pain-wise.

Basically, the time things hurt is when I get up, which I'm trying to frequently. And if there's anything that is tough, it's the liquid diet for the first two weeks.

The day before my surgery you drink all clear or see-through liquids, and that evening my husband pointed out that gin is clear liquid, also chardonnay. Funny man. I didn't have any, even though I did think twice about it.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Held Together by Glue -- No Joke!

Day Three and I'm going great guns. To see me, you wouldn't know I had gastric sleeve surgery only two days ago, Dec. 27, 2011.
For some reason, Lady GaGa's song "Show Me Your Teeth," is stuck in my head, because the first thing my husband wanted to see when I was out of the recovery room and in my hospital room was the incisions from the laporascopic procedure.
There are six of them. Three are only about a half-inch across, like the one I took of myself a few minutes ago, shown at the right. The other three are about 1-inch to the largest at about 1 1/4-inches. The incisions have absorbable sutures and Dermabond® glue on top of them.
That's right, I'm essentially super glued together, although not with the registered trademark Super Glue itself. Interestingly, that technique came from medics doing field surgery with glue during the Vietnam War. Topical skin glues were developed after that specifically to close wounds.
The fun part is that it allows me to shower immediately. I just can't take a tub bath, get in a hot tub or swim for six weeks. I'm thinkin' in January, the latter two are not too high on my priority list. Would be nice to take a tub bath, but I'm not complaining.
Best thing is the incisions don't hurt at all; although they do itch a bit and I'm keeping my hands off of them. I understand the glue will eventually peal off in a couple of weeks.
Biggest challenge right now is trying to get out of bed, off the sofa or out of a car, which takes muscles in that zip code. But it's not nearly as challenging as I thought it might be.
Walking has been nice and it's highly recommended to do it often. My little rescue dog Lucy is very excited about that idea.
So about two-and-a-half days down and about 12 to go on the Stage 1 two-week liquid diet.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A New Year's Resolution or Losing Jennifer Aniston

Giving yourself a brand new start at the beginning of a new year seems like such a cliché. I've done it and done it and done it, -- it seems like every single, darn year.

This year, I decided to do something different. I decided to change my life permanently, with gastric sleeve surgery on a chilly Tuesday morning, Dec, 27, 2011. When I weighed in just before surgery, I tipped the scale at 256 pounds. My highest weight was 273 last summer when I started this journey with Dr. Gregory Walton and his staff at WeightWise.

I figure I have about the equivalent of Jennifer Aniston to lose, figuring she probably weighs about 110 to 120 pounds. And just imagine walking around with Jennifer slung around your shoulders. Yikes.

It's the next day, Dec. 28, and I'm so excited about my upcoming journey of getting healthier and hopefully happier with myself.

Partly, it's because my health has been declining the past several years: hypertension aka high blood pressure, sleep apnea, bad knees I've been told will need to be eventually replaced. I kept wondering what's next? Heart problems? Diabetes?

Here's a picture my husband snapped of my figurative toast to my new life -- a warm cup of hot beef broth fresh from the recovery room and ensconced in my hospital room at Summit Health Center in Edmond, Okla.

My very nervous 215-pound, 6'2-inch husband took me to surgery and took every opportunity to talk me out of it. What if we just did the same program without the surgery? He would do it with me. Unfortunately, we've made that same sort of promise so many times and a few weeks later, we're back to eating too much and drinking too much. He's been busy blaming himself, but he nor anybody else forced me to eat or drink too much. The word "no" is in my vocabulary -- a couple of glasses of wine and my resistance is down and I'm noshing like crazy.

I am having conflicted feelings of being selfish and denying him the communal experience -- at least for awhile -- of sharing the same meal we've made together. Or adult beverages on the back porch, accompanied by cocktail shrimp or smoked salmon with cream cheese, crackers and accompaniments. And then dinner like a grilled steak, veggies and salad. Really I was eating twice though.

But in other ways, I feel like I'm trying my best to save my life and make our adventures the most we can make them. We've been on trips, like one to Italy, when walking was very much required and I just couldn't keep up.

My husband lost two of his closest, long-time male friends in 2011 -- one wasn't a surprise and one completely blindsided us. I know he was scared of losing me too, -- but on the flip side, I was scared if my health went further down, he would lose me too.

I spent the night in the hospital, sipping broth and water and came home this morning feeling pretty good. I'm tender around the middle as expected and I have six "superglued" small incisions from the gastric sleeve laparoscopy also known as sleeve gastrectomy. This will allow me to shower immediately, although I can't take a bath, hot tub or swim for six weeks. Not a problem.