Friday, April 22, 2016

Natalie 2.0

The day finally arrived! My surgery date was Monday - and I'm not sure I could be more delighted to just have it over with! Between the too-long liquid diet leading up to it, and the nonstop freaking out over all of the possible horrible outcomes, I was exhausted!

Sunday night I got to take an hour long shower - seriously - that what they wanted me to do. I soaked in the tub for a while, and then took a 25 minute shower. That is the best I could do. After the shower I had a packet of towelettes I had to wipe down with in a very specific order. They claimed I might feel sticky for a bit while my body dried. Lies. I was still sticky the next morning when I woke up. No food or liquid after midnight, and no shower allowed after the cleansing procedure Sunday night, I was mostly just fueled by nerves.

My sister Wendy picked me up and drove me to the hospital. I got checked in, and Wendy was given the buzzer (like one of those buzzing/light up things you get at a restaurant when you're waiting for a table). She had to wait downstairs while I was taken up to a tiny little room to get my blood drawn, vitals taken, changed into my sexy surgical gown, wiped down with more towelettes and my IV started. Oh! And they needed me to pee in a cup for a pregnancy test. I told them I hadn't had anything to drink for hours, so it might be an issue.... All of this was done while sweating profusely. My nerves were manifesting themselves in the form of perspiration. Once I was done with everything they had me lay on the bed, and hooked this hose up to my gown. It actually blows air through the gown, and cooled me down right away.

After the student tried unsuccessfully to get my IV started, and my nurse took 2 seconds to get the needle in my arm, my family could come up. Wendy and my Mom joined me in the room for the last hour+ of wait time. We all chit chatted, met many on the anesthesia team and my surgeon, and tried not to mention the fact that we were all freaking out a bit. And then it was time. I was wheeled down a couple of short hallways and into another room. They had me switch onto another bed while the 4 people in the room got my arms strapped down, my compression boots on, and warned me I'd get getting very sleep soon. That's about all I can remember until I woke up in recovery. First thought: YES!!! I WOKE UP!!!! Yes - there were plenty of days that I thought it was a very distinct possibility that I wouldn't. I wasn't wearing my CPAP machine, so knew things must have gone alright. My next concern was the chest pain I was having. I would learn that the air/gas they pumped into me for surgery would be my biggest issue over the next couple of days. I have no concept of time - I was in and out constantly. I was kind of freaking because the chest pressure was making me feel like I could barely breath. Two nice folks came to move me to my room (thank God I didn't have to share) where we had to deal with my next biggest issue: nausea.

The nurses got me going on some more meds, somehow magically got my gown changed, and then there were my sisters and my mom. I was still high as a kite. In and out for the next few hours. Got started on some ice chips. I was then told our goals for the day were to get me out of bed and into the chair right next to it - and then I'd go for a short walk. Oh goody. But by some miracle, I was able to move myself. I basically got out of bed and into the chair on my own. I did the sip test (basically drinking a shot glass of water in 1/2 hour). I needed to do 2 of them. No problem. Down the hatch. Then it was time to get on my feet and go for a short walk. I expected my legs to just not work after being bedridden for so many hours - but it was no problem. Very short walk, but it was a success. Then I also used the restroom. I would come to find out all of things things are good things.

I slept  like crap on Monday night - nausea and gas pain wouldn't allow it. Was feeling much better by Tuesday, but basically slept the whole day away. My sisters and dad came to visit, but I basically slept through that. I tried to reply to messages on my phone, but felt like I was going to hurl every time I looked at it. Went for walks and slept. That was it. Wednesday morning it was time to get sprung. The nurse showed me how to give myself shots in the stomach once I got home - - apparently the shots prevent blood clots. After a visit from Dr. Jones, I was on my way.

Nausea again on the ride home, but otherwise everything was great. My sister had everything unpacked and put away before I even got to my chair to pass out! She went and got my 5 - yes FIVE - prescriptions. Anything I could need she got me. I have the greatest family. I have the greatest friends. And I am so grateful to all of you for making this terrifying experience as manageable as it can be!

Now I'm at home. Walking and sipping. I was told about 3422 times that the reason most people have to go back into the hospital is due to dehydration or pneumonia. I'm definitely going to try and avoid that shit.

I've decided - possibly partially due to the fact that I likely still have the Oxy in my system - that is time to share the last tidbit of my story. I've been pretty open and honest about things up until now - but I've never actually shared my weight. Likely because I knew deep down I was going to be heading right back for that number, and likely a higher one, when my latest weight-loss attempt failed miserably. My starting weight at my first appointment on September 9, 2015 was 495 pounds. Nearly 500. Holy shit. It is no longer that shocking that I couldn't walk, or stand - or that I was in constant pain. That was my highest by far, but I also KNOW I will never see anything near that number on my scale again. When I weighed in the morning of my surgery I was at 424.8 pounds. I'd lost 70 pounds on my own. I'd done what was needed of me before my surgery to insure it could be done as safely as possible. I had worked hard. I'd proven that I'm willing to do what I need to do to change. I haven't had a soda since February. Fast food is a thing of the past. I have made changes, and will continue to make changes, because I will never see a number like that on a scale again. My body is going to be so damn grateful, and I can't wait to see what I can do once I'm not hauling all of that around with me all the time. This is literally day 5 of my new life, and I am so damn excited to be a part of it! And I am so glad you are joining me.


  1. Awesome, Natalie!!! Nothing worth doing is easy nor will it happen overnight. I'm in awe by you and strength and determination. the fact that you have an amazing family helping and supporting you; you'll conquer this. Our prayers are with you.

  2. Natalie 2.0 is fricken awesome!!!!!
    Congrats sister

  3. Loved reading this! Helped me understand a lot of the thing I am most nervous day!!! I am following you on twitter because I am so excited to watch your journey!

  4. Natalie, you can do this! I love reading your writing! Perhaps a book is next? You go girl!!!!!

  5. I love reading your writing! Perhaps a book is next? lol You got this girl..........


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