I've had a few ask what's been going on with me personally. I suppose I can give you an update on how life after gastric bypass is treating me.
As of today, I've lost 157 pounds. Yes, you read that right. That number conflicts me on the inside greatly. While I'm so thrilled to have lost that number, I'm saddened and embarrassed that I HAD to lose that number. Thing is? I still need to lose around 20 more pounds to fit in with the medical community's definition of "normal". If I don't lose that last 20, then I'm going to be satisfied. (reason #3 I'm in therapy)
I go through spurts where I'm loyal to the gym. I'll go my required three times a week and do my level best. Then something will happen, like surgery, and I get a little lax and it takes a bit to get back into the groove. I have low blood pressure now. I can't win with that pressure. Before surgery, I was an inch away from being put on blood pressure meds. Now, I almost black out every time I stand up or bend over and straighten up. It's really irritating to be honest. When I was taken back for surgery and they were doing my vitals, the nurse make this low sound of appreciation and said, "You have the blood pressure of a runner!" To which I snorted and replied, "Please. The only running I do is a brisk walk for a good sale." I admit I walk like a fiend on the dreadmill at the gym in my pathetic attempt to condition myself for the Zombie Apocalypse, but it's not an every day all day occurrence.
About the surgery. I was allowed to keep my gall bladder when the bypass was performed. It was in good shape and my surgeon wasn't one to take out something that was working. Alas, a side effect of rapid weight loss is the destruction of the gall bladder. I started having pains under my sternum radiating under my right rib cage after eating certain foods like beef stew, meatballs, or steak. (beef- it was my enemy). After the second attack and a trip to the surgeon's office, he deemed it necessary to remove it. Gah. I put it off yet again and he smirked and told me if it was my gall bladder, and he was pretty positive it was, then the "attacks" would become more frequent and I would end up begging to have it out. Also, he wanted to remove it before it was seriously diseased. If it got in too bad of shape, then laproscopic surgery wouldn't be an option and I would have to be cut open. Well crap. I kept his advice in the back of my mind and went about my business.
In November I went for my well woman checkup. I have given birth three times and STILL hate that visit with a passion of great proportions. Another side effect of GB (gastric bypass) is screwy messed up monthly cycles. I was no exception to that rule. I dealt with horrible cycles that just about incapacitated me for a week at a time. I asked my OB/GYN what could we do. After a moment, she decided to do a biopsy on my uterus (mother trucker, that mess hurt! After she was done, I said...did you get a good sample? She replied yes. I then said...good, because that is the ONLY shot you will ever get to do that!). If the biopsy was fine, then we could do a uterine ablation procedure called Novasure. She gave me the option of a hysterectomy, but I declined as I didn't want the recovery period of that serious procedure. I waited for a week to see what was going down in the uterus. I went in for a follow up and all was fine. That meant we could go ahead with the ablation. Out of curiosity, I asked if she would be willing to go in with my surgeon and do a two-for-one. Ablation and gall bladder removal. She shrugged and said sure. Have his office call her office. Sweet!
I saw the bariatric surgeon and asked if he would willing to do this gall bladder deal and let my OB/GYN do her thing. He shrugged and said sure. His office said they would work out the details. I left thinking it would March or April before their schedules could work it out. Wrong. I got a call within two days saying that February 1 worked for them. Uh...ok. That was less than two weeks away. I agreed and when I got off of the phone, I realized that was the night of my daughter's birthday party. Crap. Mama went into combat mode then and I had that party all settled and ready to go no matter if I was home that evening or if it was decided to keep me over night.
I can't lie. I hate surgery. Hate the thought of it. And here I was going willingly into the operating room to have TWO procedures done. The morning of surgery, I had two NSV's (non-scale victories). First, the hospital gown was a regular one and it was huge! No big girl gown for me! Second, my husband was sitting there with me waiting for go time and I made the comment that I had room on either side of me in the bed. No overspill! The nurse laughed and said that I used the big girl bed last time for bariatric surgery and this was a standard bed. Say what?
My arrogant ass doctor (yes, I said that word and I meant it) was 40 minutes late. My OB doc was fit to be tied and ill as she could be. I can't blame her. He finally strolled in like he had all the time in the world. Next thing I know, these two nurses came in and started whipping up rails, started to roll, and talking 90 miles an hour. Hold up!!! I stopped them and told one...you better put the happy juice going in the I.V. because if you don't? I'm going to panic and make a run for it. She shot back that she needed me alert to get on the gurney in the O.R. I shot right back...I was out of it when I had bariatric surgery and you managed just fine. Knock. Me. Out. She did.
I woke up with my husband sitting there and hurting like nobody's bizness. Once I managed to potty, they let me go home. Laugh if you must, but I had that man stop at Mickey D's enroute home to get me a coffee. I dozed most of the short trip, but that coffee was mine when I was alert enough to drink it.
It was a tough week. I hurt. Badly. Liquid pain killer (liquid works better for GB patients post-op), pajamas, and coffee were my best friends for a solid week. By week 3, I was feeling pretty decent. Except for a sharp pain in my right side. I found out at my post-op visit that the surgeon had to put an extra stitch internally in that incision as I was bleeding and it would dissolve on it's own in about three months. Good to know. The gall bladder was ok looking, but it was going to need to come out. Here's the kicker. When you lose a massive amount of weight, your internal organs have a much bigger area to move around. I had a space in my bowels (he took a look around while inside to make sure all was well) that was heading towards being a kink with an internal hernia. He fixed it and feels like that, in conjunction with the gall bladder, were the roots of my evil. I got to say I think he's right because I'm now able to eat beef with no problem and haven't had any pain like before when I would eat. I have to add here how I love how God works. I was second guessing my decision to have surgery the first of the week. I ended up having the worst cycle in history the week before the ablation AND two gall bladder attacks with hours of pain. I was so ready for that Friday morning to get here. God has to slap me around some times to get a point across. I respect that. I'm stubborn.
FYI for the womenfolk. I have not had a cycle since the procedure. Granted, I would have only had one but it wasn't there! I pray that the procedure works for me and I don't have to worry about that mess again. I'm also hoping that not having heavy cycles will improve my iron levels because I sure could use a boost in that area.
I feel good. I still get irritated that food is still my main focus. Making sure I get protein in and fluids every single day. It still feels like a full time job that will never end. Therapy is showing me that I'm still in the learning phase of this area of my life. Eventually it will be a way of life and I won't have to spend so much time obsessing over food.
I'm still a food addict. I still want stuff that isn't good for me and I want to graze all day sometimes or just forget this altered digestive system for one freaking day and be "normal". Guess what? THIS is my normal now. Yeah, therapy is definitely one of the good decisions I've made in life.
I find it hard to believe when people tell me how good I look. I mean, I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart but Big Girl Brain butts in and tells me it's not true. I am a victim of my own poor choices. I have loose skin (which I knew would happen) that is just crazy. Hopefully, next year at some point, I will have a tummy tuck (insurance will pay to remove the loose skin- I will have to kick in the rest for a contour and shape up of the abdomen area. Oh. Dear. Lord. I just realized I am yet AGAIN planning to go into an operating room willingly. I need to have my head checked again. And again. And again.) when I'm finished losing what my body will allow me to lose.
Don't get me wrong. I see how far I've come and I know it wasn't "free". I am human. I see my flaws before I see the positive. I really need to get past that.
Can I offer up a small piece of advice? You don't have to take it, but I sure wish you would consider it. When you come across someone who has had a weight loss surgery, PLEASE don't feel compelled to tell them that your best friend's second cousin's Aunt's daughter had this surgery and she gained ALL her weight back. We really don't need to hear that. We know we can gain the weight back. You telling us this is like a hammer on a glass window. All we hear is "You look good now, but you're going to fail and be obese again." Just don't, okay? Each person is different and telling these stories is an insult to those who have had this surgery and maintained their loss. We, the ones who have braved the knife, want to be successful. We want to know we made the right decision for our health. Don't knock us down. We're like pregnant women. Don't tell us horror stories about births gone wrong. It's just not necessary. Thanks.
I don't have a picture because, again, Big Girl Brain never thinks she looks good enough to take one for the update picture. I will take one within the week and have the oldest work her magic for a collage. Remember now, when you see me, you'll see a person who's lost weight. I see a person who has loose skin under her neck, more wrinkles around the eyes, and skin baggage around the middle area.
Positives from the past six months are:
-Crossing my legs. I never get tired of crossing my legs.
-Wearing tall boots with skinny jeans or leggings. I am a complete diva in my mind when I wear those boots.
-Discovering that the new hair growing on my head is curly. Really curly. To the point my stylist finally told me it was time to stop fighting it and work with it. Wait til you see it.
-Finally agreeing to fly to see my in-laws this summer. I haven't flown in ten years because I didn't want to buy another seat. True story. That, and I hate flying.
-Having amazing friends that are surely so exhausted from hearing the ups and down from this surgery, yet still talk me through the hard parts and lift me up when I need them to do so. Thank you, Neighbor Debbie and Sherry Lou!
-My family has adjusted to my new way of eating. My almost 9 year old son knows what Mama can't have and he doesn't mind reminding me. I need that.
I suppose I need to quit saying life after gastric bypass eventually. It's simply life. My life. I'm loving it and working on loving it more and more each day. My marriage is strong and we celebrate ten years this September! The Man has something up his sleeve and I'm content to sit back and wait for it to happen. My children are beautiful and healthy. Each child is walking their own path and I'm lucky enough to be along for the ride to shake the pom poms when they succeed and hug them when it doesn't go just right.
Yeah, it's simply just life.