Tuesday, May 24, 2016


People have been asking about what my goal weight is...what weight do I want to get to now that I've had this surgery to assist me in getting there. The truth is - I have no idea what a realistic expectation for me is. I've been so insanely over a healthy weight for so long, I have no idea what weight is going to work for me long-term. I can assure you it isn't the 130-144 pounds for a medium framed 5'6" female. I think I passed that weight in about 5th grade. It's a tough thing for me to wrap my head around.

Summer 1990 - approx 225#
At this point I'm hoping for 225-250. Now most of you are probably thinking why would I aim to still likely be classified as "obese". But the truth for me is that I weighed well above that when I graduated from high school. I'm thinking 225 was likely what I weighed in about 10th grade. I found this picture yesterday when I was looking for something else - and figured this might be me at about that weight. This is the summer before my sophomore year, after I'd had surgery on my left knee (it's still swollen). I'm guessing I was around 225 pounds in this picture - granted about 15 pounds of that was likely my bangs! (good grief - what was I thinking with that hairdo??) and another pound for shoulder pads - but you get the idea. I figure at that weight I should have no issue fitting into chairs, stadium seats or an airplane seat. That will also be light enough for me to skydive!! At that weight and size I should have absolutely no issue living the kickass life I want to. I'd be able to decide what I legitimately want to do, and do it - without being concerned about the walk, standing, or fitting into whatever seats are available. I'd be back in charge of my life...with slightly less bangs.

That being said - I have no idea if that is a realistic goal or not - but I know I'm willing to work my ass off to get to it. I'll make it realistic.

As far as where I am now - - things are going really well. I have a slightly less gross taste in my mouth. I've heard that will go away as the weight loss slows a bit - and apparently that is what I am to expect in month 2. I am consuming FairLife milk to get myself to, and beyond, my protein goal. I'm getting to eat actual food - a very curtailed list, but real food none-the-less. I'm starting to take my vitamins again, so hopefully my energy level will improve. I'm feeling great. I'm feeling like much more of a joiner than I had before. I'm not staying at home rather than going to do things because I may have to walk from the far side of the parking lot. I'm willing to participate, which is a huge step for me!

I've been using MyFitnessPal to track my food, to make sure I'm hitting my 65grams of protein each day. I'm not able to actually complete out my days however, because it keeps giving me errors that I'm not eating nearly enough to survive. I don't know how to tell the ap that I have a baby stomach now? I saw someone who has had this surgery post on Instagram that our stomachs are the size of an egg. Not sure I believe they are quite that small - I will definitely have to ask about that - but if that's true it's insane! Would definitely explain why when I tried to eat 2 hardboiled pickled eggs (made for me by my dad because I requested them) I thought I was going to die! Way too much food for me at this time. I've also learned that I cannot eat and then lay down. I was certain I was going to vomit last week. After 5 minutes of non-stop swallowing and deep breaths I finally started feeling OK again. Lots of learning last week on my first few days of "soft foods".

I'm going to keep plugging along with my tiny portions. I'm going to try and start adding in more movement. This phase of this process is baby steps. My lack of patience is really getting a workout! =) But I'm hanging in there. The number of times per week that I question this decision is decreasing all the time....

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Seven Weeks of Liquids

Sunday will mark 7 straight weeks of basically only liquids. This week I was finally able to incorporate some additional flavors by pureeing up an egg with some mayo, mustard and salt & pepper or having refried beans with a ton of Frank's hot sauce. It was wonderful, but still had to be the consistency of applesauce. I'm really looking forward to Monday when I move onto soft foods. Although my diet will still be very limited, I can actually chew! You don't realize how much you miss it until you go this long without it!!

Things continue to go really well for me - - at least for the most part. My incisions are mostly all healed up and cause me no issue at this point. Physically I'm getting around better than I have for a long while - helped along by the fact that I finally hit a pretty major milestone for me on weigh in Wednesday when I finally dropped down under 400. My knees are becoming more and more happy by the day. Physically I'm feeling great. I just have a couple of issues that have continued to bother me. The first is this gross/metallic/disgusting taste I have in my mouth constantly. It doesn't matter how many times I brush my teeth - I can't get rid of it. I may have finally gotten to the bottom of it - - more to follow on that in the info below about my talk with the nurse.

The second is the liquid protein I need to drink. I am not a milk drinker. I hate milk. I tolerated it during the 3 week liquid diet portion leading up to surgery. It was a lot easier to mask it when I had regular taste buds, and a regular stomach. I mixed chocolate things with it, and it was OK. I was warned by the nurses and my dietician prior to surgery that my tastes would change after surgery. They warned me that sugar would likely be an issue. This may have been the biggest understatement they uttered. My little baby sleeve cannot tolerate anything sweet - at all!! Actually, that's not completely true. I've had some zero calorie beverages - Powerade and LifeWater that don't bother me much at all. But all protein options I've tried - my regular chocolate protein powder, the couple of Cellucor options (Peanutbutter, Cinnamon and Red Velvet), my Premier Protein shakes - - all bother me. I've tried watering them down with skim milk, unsweetened almond milk and even using only water - it does no good. I feel nauseous the whole time I drink them, and usually about a half hour or more after. I'm miserable. I dread drinking them, and basically just pissed that I have to.

So I called my nurse yesterday. I had to get the low down on the rules for the next phase of my eating - soft foods anyway - so it was perfect timing. It sounds like she and I might be really similar. She's now 5 years post-op, and has many of the same issues. Does not tolerate sweet well at all, and hates milk. She asked me to try FairLife. She said it's lactose free, so won't upset my stomach like regular milk will, and it doesn't cause her to gag like many other options (I was getting to that point, too). I tried it yesterday. I don't love it. It still tastes kind of "milky" to me - which is the issue. I'm going to see if I can find something - possibly just mixing in a little bit of their chocolate milk (which I loved prior to surgery) and see if maybe that can work - just to give it some flavor? I'll keep you posted on that. Wish me luck.

If there is a positive to this situation, it's that staying away from sweets appears to have just gotten a whole lot easier - - I don't enjoy feeling like crap, and am unlikely to put myself in that position again. And eventually I should be able to get the majority of my protein from actual food - - but that's a couple of months down the road. For right now, I have to consume such small portions while I heal, that I need to get protein through liquid in order to maintain muscle. There just doesn't appear to be much for other options right now. 

We also talked about whether I can have sugar-free gum or mints. I told her the breath thing is becoming a major issue. I feel like I have a film on the inside of my mouth at all times. It's pretty gross. She said that is completely normal (would have been nice to know) because I'm in something called "ketosis". There's a whole lot of medical blah, blah, blah online about this - but basically she said it's basically the term for losing weight so fast - and the "acetone breath" is a side effect. Excellent. She said this is also causing water to taste like metal. Good grief! I had just changed my Brita filter that morning because the water tasted like crap. Even bottled water tasted disgusting. I guess this can be removed by adding lemon & lime - or even oranges - to my water. Good to know. Would have been good to know even earlier. I guess that's why so many weight-loss patients I follow on Instagram always have lemons and limes in their water? Duh! So I am now armed with lemons and limes and ready to get my water intake back up!

I was also going over the approved food list with her for this next month - yes, MONTH - of soft foods. It went a little something like this:
Q: Can I have _________ (baked chicken breasts, string cheese, pickles, etc)
A: No - I doubt you'll be able to tolerate that very well at this time
Bummer! But there are still some bright spots to this new eating phase. I get to have the following - which I love: cottage cheese, berries, melon, baby bells (cheese!), taco meat and even chili. I'm looking forward to getting in some additional flavors and mixing things up a bit more. My dad also made me pickled eggs - and I can't wait to bust into those babies!

The only other weird thing is that I feel like I have a super-human ability to smell. Seriously - everything stinks! Maybe it is just me and my damn breath? But I swear if anyone has even looked at garlic or an onion, and I can smell it. The hallways at my apartment building are a minefield! Hopefully that will lighten up with time as well. 

I have my one month follow-ups Friday the 20th with the dietician and the nurse. Hopefully I'll be able to get a more solid plan for dealing with the couple of kinks that are causing me issues, and also get cleared to start working out again. Fingers crossed the soft food phase gives me enough energy to do that too! 

Monday, May 2, 2016

2 Weeks Post-Op

It's somewhat hard for me to believe it's already been 2 weeks! It seems like it's flown by, and taken forever to get here, all at the same time!

I am feeling shockingly well, at least compared to what I anticipated feeling like. I'm sleeping back in my bed. I'm able to move around with little or no pain. Physically, I'm great. I feel so lucky for that. I mean I really had some crazy shit running through my head prior to surgery about all of the things that would/could be an issue. At one point I was certain I wouldn't be able to wipe my own ass. Seriously. I had a talk with my sisters about it. I told them I was concerned they may have to do it for me. Luckily - it never came to that. Partially because I wasn't nearly as immobile as I thought I'd be, and also because it took until Thursday for me to take my first shit. Five days! I guess that makes sense when I'm literally taking in NOTHING. Water, popsicles, jello, broth....that's about it. It was nuts.

After my first week of clear liquids I got to graduate onto a couple of new things. I could have cream of wheat (gag) but wasn't interested. Instead I opted for either flavored greek yogurt or tomato soup. I could have 2 tablespoons of one or the other, three times a day. It really felt like I was getting a huge treat after weeks of non-stop protein shakes and clear liquids. Then I found out I had to water down the yogurt when I had it. Everything needed to be the consistency of apple sauce - and slide off my spoon like apple sauce. I had gotten myself some Panera tomato soup from Target, but quickly learned I couldn't have that - - it had tomato skins in it. Everything I had for these next 2 weeks called "full liquids" had to be completely smooth. No chunks of anything. Luckily Wendy gave me some Trader Joe's tomato soup to get me through week 1. I also had to have protein shakes - so I could get myself close to 65grams of protein a day.

About Thursday the nausea hit. It would appear around the time of my protein shakes. The yogurt and soup would go down just fine, but I'd gag trying to drink my protein shakes. I spent the next 2 days - including one at a family wedding/reunion - feeling like hell. Then my friend Melissa came to my rescue! She gave me a couple of different flavors of protein powder to try, and asked if I'd tried almond milk. Good grief! Why didn't I think of that?!?! I am not a milk drinker. I don't think I've consumed a half gallon of milk in the last 10 years combined, and I'd been drinking milk for what was basically 4 weeks straight now. My body was not having it any longer. I got myself some unsweetened almond coconut milk and tried those new flavors -- I'm sitting pretty now! I called the nurse today to insure these changes are OK - and we're good to go! Melissa - you are a life saver. Thank you! And I also have a nice reserve of homemade tomato soup from my aunt Karlene. It is fantastic. Definitely going to make the last week of this phase go so much easier!

Because I'm consuming next to no calories, my goal is to walk 5 minutes, 4 times a day. I go walk around my block, which is a good fit for my timeframe. By the time I get to the end of my walk, I typically feel woozy. Seriously. Kind of light headed. I can't wait to get onto some more foods, so I can get some energy back!

There is a line of staples that created my new tummy
Monday the 9th I get to start my one week of pureed foods. I know - that sounds disgusting - but it is necessary. I have to allow my new baby tummy to heal. But there is some good news -- I get to add in some new flavors!! Everything still has to be super-liquidy, but I can have refried beans with hot sauce, or taco sauce. I can make egg salad - a hard boiled egg with mayo and mustard. I can season things so they have some flavor!! I can have pureed chicken or turkey - but let's be serious....I don't think there is one chance in hell I would be able to get that down the hatch. The thought makes me gag. It's only one week. I can do it! I've been told after that that I can actually chew things. Soft things - but not pureed things none-the-less!  I posted one day last week that I'd do unspeakable things for a taco...that still holds true. Not because I want to eat junk, but because I can't wait to consume something that makes some noise!

At this point, I've determined that it is no wonder people lose weight with this surgery. If you follow the eating plan they put in place you don't have to do a thing. You'll BORE the weight right off you. For real. I am now on week 6 of the same boring shit. Yes - I got to add in a nibble of yogurt and a thimble of tomato soup - but for the most part everything is the same! I'm not working this weight off - - it's running away because it's so damn bored!! But I guess it gets me to my goal in the end, right?

To end this post I need to send some long-overdue thank yous. To my sisters and mom who took such good care of me my first days at home. To my brother-in-law who covered their insanely busy lives so my sister could take the time to take care of me. To my friends and family who are just awesome every time I see any of them! To those that have sent cards and messages and follow my social media accounts - - I am so lucky to have this amazing support system around me. I am more grateful than I can adequately express. I appreciate you all so much. Let's keep kicking a little ass.