Update 08/27/13

Hello everyone! I know it has been a few weeks since i have updated everyone but the last few weeks have been CRAZY! Before i get into the details I want to start by saying thank you for all the support i have received since i posted the first blog. It was somewhat overwhelming and truly appreciated. I heard from some people that I didn’t anticipate hearing from with words of encouragement, support and even a few people shared with me how i have inspired them. I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart.

I started my pre-surgery diet on 7/30. My initial weight was 244lbs. Going into surgery on Tues 8/13 I had lost 14lbs and was down to 230lbs.  I was pretty happy with that. Surgery was a little harder than I anticipated. I got through the surgery fine. Everything looked great according to my surgeon. Brandon was wonderful. He was at the hospital with me around the clock. I tried to get him to go home but he just wouldn’t. Thank god for my mother-in-law who was home with Asa. Brandon was amazing. He walked me in the halls and rubbed my shoulder where the gas had settled to try and give me a little relief. I spent most of the day sleeping. I had a morphine pump and would hit it every time I opened my eyes. I was in quite a bit of pain and really just wanted to sleep through it. I was pretty nauseous too. I vomited a few times. It was the last one that scared me though. It was blood. I tried desperately not to panic, but i knew that wasn’t good. My surgeon did reassure me that it does sometimes happen and that i shouldn’t worry.

On Wednesday morning the nurses finally took the cathedar out. I was free of that nasty thing…or so I thought. They took me down for an Upper GI.  They had me swallow some die while the radiologist watched it go through my stomach. I was extremely nauseous through this entire process. After the first go round, the radiologist asked me to sit for a few minutes and try again. The dye was not getting through my stomach into my intestines. It was stuck. The radiologist reassured me that this too sometimes happens. That it was probably swelling that was the culprit. I was going to be sent back to my room and they would have to try again the next day. Needless to say, I was worried that something had gone wrong. My surgeon came to see me again later that evening to reassure me again that everything I was experiencing was normal. Bad news was i couldn’t urinate. The catheter had to go back in. Oh joy!

The next morning they took the catheter out again. This time I was able to use the bathroom! Thank god! The nurse explained that sometimes after surgery and having a catheter in that the bladder gets “lazy” and forgets how to work. It usually corrects itself within a day…just as it did with me. Good News! Ill take it!

Later that morning, I went down again to have my second upper GI. It was with the same radiologist. It took awhile, but slowly but surely the dye started to move through my stomach into my intestines! YEAH! I was so relieved! I was still in quite a bit of pain and hitting my morphine pump on a regular basis. Finally that evening, I was released to go home!

I was so happy to be home! I couldn’t wait to see Asa and Devan. I was ready to be home and in my own bed. For the next three days i was pretty doped up. I was on vicodin and i also had to give myself injections in my stomach (it sounds much worse than it was). I slowly started feeling better. The worst pain was in my left side under my rib. It was crazy sore. It hurt to cough, laugh, sneeze. It just all around hurt. I started laughing at something … I cant even remember what it was. The pain got so intense that i collapsed on the stairs and my laughter turned into tears. It sounds as crazy as it was. It was one of the oddest things I think that I have ever encountered.

The pain on my left side will probably be there for at least another week or two. It is getting better day by day. I came back to work last week on Wednesday, one week after I had surgery. People thought I was insane for coming back so soon. Brandon ended up out of town for work and it was actually easier for me to come to work and bring Asa to daycare than it was for me to try and stay home with him.

And that brings us to today. I am on straight protein. I get four oz three times a day. The weight is melting of of me. I am down to 213lbs. I have lost a total of 31lbs! I am could not be happier with my progress.  Although I don’t really see it yet, except for on the scale, others are noticing. Yesterday for the first time three different people stopped me at three different times to comment on my weight loss. That feels amazing!

This experience has not been easy, but I’m confident that it was worth it. I’m feeling pretty good!
Thanks for being a part of my journey!

C

And The Journey Begins…..Again

I thought long and hard about my decision to share what I am about to share and have come to the conclusion that I want to have complete transparency throughout the journey that I have just embarked upon. I came upon this decision for several reasons. First, I want to be completely honest with my friends and family. Second, I want (dare I say.. I will need) support from anyone and everyone that is willing to give it to me. Third, I hope that my journey will inspire, assist and give hope to those that may find themselves in a similar situation. So here goes….

A little history….

In 2008 i was having low back problems. They had come and gone for a very long time, but this time it was really bad. I found out that I have arthritis and degeneration of the disks in my lower back. I was in physical therapy for over a year with very little relief. I was in chronic pain which made it very difficult for me to be very active, not to mention the doctors’ orders were to do no more physical activity than walking from point a to point b until we could get it under control. The lack of activity, due to the chronic pain, and frankly bad eating habits caused me to gain a significant amount of weight. At my highest (in 2009) I was just shy of 300lbs (OMG! Did I really just tell the world that? Well I guess when I said full transparency….I meant it!). I was 290lbs to be exact. At the suggestion of my doctor I decided to have the gastric band surgery. Some people refer to this as the lap band surgery.

In September of 2010 I had gastric banding surgery. For those who may be unfamiliar with this surgery they basically put a band around the top of your stomach so that there is a restriction on how much food you can eat. This by no means is a miracle surgery or an answer to all your problems. It is simply a tool that when used correctly will assist in weight loss. Believe me, I know several people who have had the surgery and have not been successful because they don’t follow the “rules”. There are many “rules”. No carbonation, eat small portions, eat very slowly and small bites, no drinking any liquids during meals or for at least 60 minutes after meals are just a few. To be clear, this surgery is by no means a cop out. It is a serious commitment. A lifelong commitment. A commitment to eat healthier (I went through nutrition classes as part of my pre-surgery requirements) and to stay active. It is a commitment to change your entire lifestyle to become a healthier person. I made that commitment and I had great success with it!

After surgery, at my lowest I was down to 174. I had lost 116 lbs. I felt FANTASTIC! I was back to my high school weight! I had great energy and there were little things, like being able to cross my legs that I came to appreciate on a different level. If you have never been heavy, this may be a hard concept for you to grasp, but for someone who had not been able to cross her legs for several years, it was an AH HA moment for me!

When Brandon and I decided to have a baby, I had a difficult time with the thought of gaining a bunch of weight knowing that i had just gotten rid of it. I had several conversations with my general practitioner, my OB/GYN and my bariatric surgeon. They all assured me that they had experience with women who have gotten pregnant after the lap band and that there were not any additional risks. My surgeon said that the fact I had lost so much weight would actually make it easier for us to get pregnant. Brandon and I were both committed, so we decided to proceed and got pregnant at the end of April 2012. At that time I was about 180lbs. I was down to a size 12 and still felt fantastic!

The first two trimesters were pretty good. Other than being tired, which is to be expected, I really didn’t have any problems. Then came my third trimester. That was an entirely different story. In September 2012 we decided to take a babymoon to the Bahamas. One last trip before the baby came. We had a great time…until we were headed home. At the airport, I started vomiting and there was blood in my vomit (I did say full transparency right?). When we landed back at home, we went straight to the ER. At that point there wasn’t extreme concern as they diagnosed that I had vomited so harshly that I had busted blood vessels in my esophagus. That was where the blood was coming from. This however was only the beginning.

I continued to vomit on and off for the next few weeks and then there came a point were I was unable to hold any food down at all. At my check up with my OB they started to become very concerned that my fundal height was below where it should be. Next came a whirlwind of tests. Ultrasounds (yes plural), non stress tests etc. I was petrified to say the least. The decision was finally made to insert a picc line and feed me intravenously until it was time for me to deliver. It was very complicated. At the time they couldn’t tell if it was as a result of the lap band prolapsing since they couldn’t use the x-ray machine to look since I was pregnant. I had to learn to prepare and change my own IV bags. I had to have a home health nurse see me weekly at home to change my dressings.  My regular OB gave up. I had become too high risk for them. They transferred my care to the University of Chicago to a maternal fetal doctor. I was going to U of C once a week from November until the time that I delivered.

On January 15, 2013, Brandon and I welcomed our AMAZING baby boy Asa Gideon into this world. He was perfect…a little small, but perfect. Three days after I delivered I went to see my surgeon. Sure enough I had a slip of my lap band. Now we had to get it out immediately so that I could get the nutrition I needed in order to breastfeed. A week after I delivered Asa I was back in an operating room having my lap band removed. I really struggled with this. It was a part of me. That might sound silly to some, but i had come to depend on it to tell me “when” to stop eating. It gave me the trigger I needed to tell me to stop eating. Now that trigger was gone. I no longer had any restriction.

Now back to the present and the big reveal…..

I have gained a ridiculous amount of weight over the last 7 months. I was back up to 244 lbs (I’m starting to question this full transparency stuff! Joking!). My lower back pain has been rearing its ugly head lately and I am back to being in chronic pain. I met again with my Bariatric surgeon to discuss my options. We decided that I should give the Gastric sleeve a try. The gastric sleeve is a little more invasive than the lap band but not nearly as invasive as Gastric bypass. I will be having surgery this coming Tuesday, August 13th. I have been put on a pre-surgical diet and am happy to report that I have lost 14 lbs since last Tuesday! So why then would I need the surgery? Why don’t I just stay on this diet? It is not something that anyone could sustain for a lifetime. Here is what I get to eat in a day:

Breakfast: Protein shake

Lunch: Protein shake

Dinner: 4oz lean protein and 1/2 cup non starchy vegetables

I am also allowed 2 servings of sugar free jello, 2 servings of sugar free popsicles and 2 servings of soup broth

I also have to consume a minimum of 64 oz of water

That is not sustainable. I will however be following a very strict diet for the next year. My doctor literally tells you what you can and can’t eat and how much for the next 12 months.

I have set myself the goal of 165 lbs which means that from today, I have 65lbs more to go. I CAN DO THIS!

I have committed myself. I have committed to weight loss. I have committed to eating healthier. I have committed to a new lifestyle. I have committed to being an overall healthier person for myself and my family.

So there it is. I have put it out there for the entire world to see. Complete and full transparency. I will be dropping weight fast and I choose to be honest and forthcoming about my process. I hope to continue to “blog” about my journey as it unfolds.

Critics take heed. I DO NOT WANT OR NEED YOUR CRITICISM OR YOUR NEGATIVE ENERGY. This is my decision and my decision only. Unless you have walked in my shoes you can’t possibly understand the thought and contemplation that went into making this difficult and life changing decision.

Supporters be vocal. I DO NEED AND WILL APPRECIATE ALL SUPPORT. Please feel free to post comments!

Here we go again! I can honestly say…..

I’M EXCITED FOR WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR ME!