In the Hospital

I ended up spending two nights in the hospital.

The first morning, I had to swallow some disappointment when the nurse came in to get my weight.  Due to the amount of fluids they had been pumping into me, so they said, I had gained TEN pounds!  They told me this was normal and water weight and should fall off quickly.  Still, it was hard not to be discouraged when I had worked so hard for my pre-op weight and to be ten pounds over it in less than twenty-four hours.

I tried to eat the broth they gave me, but after one nurse crushed several of my pills into one big scoop of jello, I couldn’t eat anything the rest of the day.  I was feeling pretty lousy most of the day though I did get some walking in.  But I also didn’t go home that day. Continue reading “In the Hospital”

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Surgery Day!

The first two weeks of September raced by.  I had my pre-op appointment and got all the forms signed and the prescriptions I would need for after surgery picked up.  I was thoroughly sick of broth and jello by this point.  There are just not many options for non sweet clear liquids.  It’s pretty much beef, chicken, or vegetable broth.  It gets old.

In the process of applying for my FMLA leave, I had also learned what short term disability coverage meant, and that took a huge weight off my shoulders to know that I would be able to have at least a little income during my time off.

September 11th my mom and I were up at 4:00 am to be able to get to the hospital for my 5:30 check in.  I was starting to be a little nervous at this point, but mostly I just wanted to get it done after all the months of waiting.

Everything went well, I got checked in, was taken back to the pre-op area fairly fast and got all changed and hooked up to various machines, injected with a few different medications, and had a bag of fluids being run into me at full flow.

Then, about the time I was supposed to be going back for surgery, we start to hear what is going on from the nurses.  “Someone” had turned a fan on, or flushed a system, and the end result was that all nine operating rooms were now covered in a layer of fine dust.  This meant, of course, that they had to get them cleaned and sterilized before anyone could do any operating.

Continue reading “Surgery Day!”

August: Things Start to Happen

As the calendar moved into August, I was now about five months into the bariatric program.  I had lost around fifty pounds total, but there was still no sign of surgery being scheduled.

August 14th I went in for the pre-op group class with the dietician.  At this time, she reviewed everything we could expect for the weeks leading up to and after our surgery as far as food was concerned.  The strictest requirement was the two weeks prior to surgery when we would only be allowed to consume clear liquids and protein shakes.  The purpose of this, I learned, was to reduce fat around the liver and it also caused the liver to shrink, allowing the surgeon easier access to the stomach.

I was not excited about starting the liquid phase, but at the same time I was looking forward to it because it would mean I was only two weeks from surgery.

After the class, I had my EGD.  At this point, I officially met the surgeon I had been reassigned to after mine moved.  He was very polite and friendly, and my initial impression was that maybe this would be okay.  After the procedure, he advised me that I had a small ulcer which needed to heal before any surgery could be performed.  He prescribed a proton pump inhibitor to help the stomach heal.

Continue reading “August: Things Start to Happen”

Summer Time

Moving into June and July saw some changes.  The surgeon I had initially chosen got a new job and was moving to New York.  All of her cases were reassigned to one of the other staff doctors.  I was nervous about that since I had chosen a female surgeon because I felt I would be more comfortable talking to her.  My new surgeon would be male.

I hadn’t met him yet, though I was told that his requirements for surgery were not as strict.  He didn’t require pulmonary clearance, which some surgeons do, and he didn’t have a limit on what BMI he would operate on.  That’s not to say he wasn’t going to be reckless.  In my research, which I started after beginning this process, I learned that more experienced surgeons will sometimes have more lenient requirements.  They’ve learned what they can and cannot deal with.  Additionally, everyone at the clinic and hospital, both medical professionals and other patients, who had worked with this surgeon absolutely sang his praises.  I began to feel more comfortable about the change.

Continue reading “Summer Time”

Month Two

My second visit to the bariatric clinic was the first week of April.  It was a good visit.  Since the previous month I had lost over twenty pounds.  I credit most of this to the fact that I stopped drinking soda on March 6th and haven’t touched it since.  I significantly lowered my carbohydrate intake and it showed.

I went to a cardiologist and after an echo-cardiogram he advised me that I did not, in fact, have congestive heart failure and other than a slight regurgitation from one valve my heart was completely healthy.  So, now I had my cardiac clearance that I needed for surgery.

I got my bloodwork done as well and no issues were found there either.  With the weather warming up, I was able to start swimming in our pool and increasing my activity levels.

It was an encouraging visit and April had a lot of good results.  I still had a long way to go though, and I was struggling with having to avoid bread.  Pasta wasn’t as big of a deal, we use spaghetti squash instead of noodles and I actually like that better.  But bread…oh, how I love bread.  That has been, hands down, the hardest thing to cut out.  And the one that I admit I cheated with more than once.

Still, my progress was in the right direction.  I was feeling more energetic and more hopeful than I had in a long time.

The Beginning

So, let me start by saying that being heavy is all I’ve ever known.  When I was in fifth and sixth grade and other girls were wearing all the cute clothes, I was wearing boys’ husky jeans.  I never got to wear the ‘stylish’ clothes the other girls wore in junior high because I was wearing women’s clothing by that time.  And it only got worse from there.

I would, however, like to thank the kids I went to school with.  I was never bullied.  I was ignored, and yes that hurt, but I still had good friends, and none of those who weren’t my friends ever went out of their way to be mean to me.  I am very grateful for that now, though at the time I didn’t realize how lucky I was.

At fifteen, I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism.  It had caused my face, hands, and feet to swell and my metabolism to slow even more.  It also effectively stopped me from growing taller.  The medication helped, but even with dieting I was never going to be a “normal” teenage girl.

Fast forward twenty-five years and my doctor is telling me I have congestive heart failure and advising bariatric, or weight loss, surgery.  At the time, insurance was not an option.  I made too much for state help and not enough for federal help.  I did what I could on my own and managed to drop about thirty pounds.

Continue reading “The Beginning”

The Journey Begins

Hi, my name is Bree and I live in the great state of Arizona.  I started this site because some of my friends recommended that I share the experiences I have had over the past several months as I have prepared for and undergone weight loss surgery.

My objective here is to share the highs and lows I have been going through and will continue to go through due to this life changing surgery.   Everyone has a different experience with it and for those who are considering the surgery, have friends/family who are considering or undergoing it, or have been through it themselves, I want to share my perspective.

I am not a medical professional and any statements regarding medical recommendations are those given to me by my doctor and his staff, and they are not necessarily appropriate in all situations and for all people.