Had the Sleeve Surgery on Sept. 3, 2013 and Happy!

Hi everyone, My name is Lisa and I am 37 years...

Hi everyone,

My name is Lisa and I am 37 years old. I have to decide on Monday, August 5, 2013 which procedure I would like to do. I qualify for both. I have no co-morbidity symptoms except sleep apnea (and am not sure if that's genetic or from obesity). I am 5'7" and weight about 280 lbs.

Insurance has cleared me for the surgery...just have to do an EKG, chest x-ray and abdominal sonogram and blood work.

I am extremely nervous about both procedures.... both have risks and benefits. I understand that Bypass is the gold-standard and that the sleeve is relatively new. My surgery team really says that the outcomes (weight loss, diet changes, etc. will be about the same) and its up to me to choose the surgery. Both seem very scary to me... so I would like to hear from you about how you made the decision.

Thanks,
Lisa

Surgery Date - September 3, 2013

Hi all,

I finally have a surgery date and it will be Tuesday, September 3. I decided on the sleeve surgery. I am excited and scared at the same time. I am in the process of scheduling the remaining exams-- EKG, chest x-ray, abdominal sonogram/ultrasound, and blood work. I also have the nutrition class tomorrow (August 8) where I will pick up the liquid diet foods that I will eat/drink the two weeks prior to surgery. I guess now is the time to start trying protein drinks and different powders.

This process will feel more real to me after I pick up the two-week meal replacement drinks. The first time I will see the "drastic" changes that I will be making. Right now, I am slowly cutting out caffeine, and have stopped drinking carbonated drinks and alcohol. Right now, I am doing tests and exams.and the surgery date is still a month away. The endoscopy was the first time I had anesthesia, and since I did that procedure at the hospital where I will have my surgery, I now have a feel for how the process will work for surgery.

Last Day of Food as I know it....

Tomorrow marks my two week mark before surgery. I start the pre-operation diet tomorrow. The forms say I can expect to lose up to 25 lbs in these two weeks. I sure hope so, and will be happy with any weight loss! I will take my before picture tonight and post to my profile. I have my chest X-ray and abdominal ultrasound and last nutrition class before surgery all on Thursday (August 22). I should be done will all doctor appointments until surgery.

I can't believe surgery is 2 weeks away. I am slowly telling my close friends at work about my surgery. I am not sure about the rest of my colleagues...am planning to just say I am out on leave...I guess they will figure it out as I lose weight. Maybe I won't mind them knowing after the surgery.

I moved into my new condo over the weekend....have lots to unpack and get organized. I hope to have it done all before surgery so I have a nice clean home.

Finished Week 1 of Optifast.... the final countdown is here!

I survived week one on Optifast. I had my final nutrition class at Fair Oaks Hospital (VA). I am losing about 1 lb per day on the Optifast meal plan. My surgery has been moved up to 7:30 am on Sept. 3 (was originally scheduled at 1:30 pm that day). I am excited to have it done earlier in the day so that I don't have as much time to get anxious that day. I have to be at the hospital at 5:30 am. I have been slowly getting myself organized for the days following surgery. I bought all of my vitamins and supplements on amazon.com and should be shipped this week. I bought a pill box and pill cutter. It will be challenging remembering what I need to take every day and at what time. I bought some spiral notebooks for my food journals. I also need to pack some comfy clothes to wear for the first few days until my skin heals from the surgery. Anyone else have any ideas on what helped them the first week post operation?

Day of Surgery and a couple of days post-surgery

The alarm went off this morning (Sept 3) at 4:30 am and I took a quick shower--used the scrub given to me. At 5:15 we were on our way to the hospital. During the 40 minute drive, I kept thinking about telling my parents to turn the car around. My brother and his g/f met me and my parents at the hospital as well. After hearing about fitbits at my nutrition class, I ended up buying myself one and then bought 4 more for my parents, my brother and his g/f. Was planning on giving them as Christmas presents but decided that I should give the fitbits to them now. I joked that I wanted to see who paced the most while I was in surgery. As I got closer to the time I was taken back for pre-op, the tears began to flow...we all cried a little. Once I was called back, I started shaking and crying a little. The nurses and Dr. Moazzez helped calm me down. I was out pretty much as soon as we went into the operating room. Everyone was super nice. The first hour was rough but not as bad as other people's experiences. I woke up extremely nauseous and the nurse told me to hold my stomach and cough as much as I could. This helped tremendously. I didn't have that severe pain in the shoulder that others talked about. I did have pain in my stomach/espophagus when the gas would get trapped. Burping was pretty much my only way to relieve it until I could get up and walk. I didn't know that after surgery and until the results came back from the barium test, that I could not have any fluids by mouth at all. All I wanted was to have water, and tried to bribe some of the nurses to sneak me in some water. They were able to get me some ice water and little sponges on sticks so that I could wet my lips.

I really have not had much pain, the worst was trying to get up and walk. But I keep trying yo stretch a little in bed, and that doesn't hurt very much.., just feels like I have done 200 sit-ups.

I was pretty out of it the first 4 hours post surgery, and then I felt like getting out of bed. I walked 3 laps around the recovery room. After walking and laying back down, I felt like 100 lb brick was on my stomach and my whole body started to tingle/numb feeling- that lasted for about 2 hours. I have no idea what caused this...if it was the movement of the iv fluids, morphine, or residual medicines that were now flowing through my body. I only had that experience once. The nurses checked my oxygen, heart rate and other vital signs and I was okay.

About every two to three hours my vitals were checked. All were stable, which was good, but I did not get any sleep that night. It's hard to sleep when people come in every two hours. The next morning I had my barium test. I felt a little light headed going down to the test as I had not had food or water in about 30 hours. The tests made me a little dizzy, but I was okay. I was so happy that all was fine and I was cleared for liquids.

I ended up using more morphine on the second day to help me with the gas pain--all in the stomach, never in the shoulder area. this caused my blood pressure to fall. I was taken off of morphine and put on liquid codene, which is what I will be on when I get home. Over the next several hours my blood pressure increased steadily.

I think around 10 am or so my catheder was taken out, and I had to go to the bathroom on my own. At first I couldn't tell that I needed to go, but I decided to go anyway based on the fluid that was drawn down from the iv bags. I was able to go and was not retaining any fluids. I was able to get the high protein broth and jello down and get my water down. I think I was finally discharged at 7:30 pm, and went home. It was nice to sleep in my own bed, but it was an adjustment to the hospital bed--could raise and lower to help you get up. In my own bed needed tons of pillows to prop me up so I could lean back and sleep sitting up. I was sore the first two days even with full level of codene (3 teaspoons). By the third day I was feeling better. The first day at home I could eat only half of my protein shake (Costco premiere chocolate/vanilla). I try to do one when I first get up (after codene) and found that it's hard to get down with all the gas. I now walk while drinking it and that helps a lot. I found that pho soup broth tastes great and I can handle that earlier in the day (noon). My mom made me chicken/turkey broth, which is still thin, but I can't handle it until later evening. My mom also made a crab and shrimp broth for me, but's very heavy and can sip maybe 6 ounces compared to 8 to 12 ounces of pho soup broth and the turkey/chicken broth.

The bariatric advantage multi-vitamin is my hardest vitamin to take. The first time I took it, I chewed it up and I was so nauseous...but it passed within 10 minutes. The next time I just let it dissolve in my mouth, which took about an hour..not the best, but didnt' get sick. Another time I ate it a little faster and actually got sick...it could have been because of the gas that was trapped (ate soup before I took the vitamin), or maybe the combination of the soup and the vitamin.... anyway, this morning (Sept. 9) I decided to drink half of my shake then take the vitamin quickly and then follow with the rest of my shake. That seemed to work.

I can now drink 90 to 100% of my shakes, sometimes 80% depending on how my system is feeling. It's definitely much better than the 50 to 60% on the first day, and 70 percent on the second and third day.

I removed the pouch of pain meds that are taken by the catheder and taped to your stomach. I didn't see the black dots and realized it started to leak. I had my mom call the hospital to make sure nothing was wrong and I could take it out. The nurse said yes it was time to take it out. I didn't realize how long the catheder was inside the skin. I took it around 6 or so pm and by 10 pm, I could feel the bruises and stitches on my stomach. I had to up my dose back to 3 tsps of codene. (I had tried to conserve my codene supply and was trying to take 1 tsp per 6 hours). Once that other medicine stopped, I felt like I had a metal plate on my stomach, and my muscles had been beaten up with a meat tenderizer. My stitches, would itch, burn, and just ache a little. I could still feel pain after the 3 tsps of codene, when I had gotten used to no pain, just feeling tight. I will update more to discuss how long/quickly this pain subsides.

I don't want to scare anyone with this posting, just to discuss what I went through. I am still very glad I have done this surgery. My parents are noticing the weight loss already, esp, in my face. Make sure you have tons of comfy clothes--nothing that is fitted as your stomach and abdomen will be swollen. I have been living in pjs. I have not tried to put underwear on yet, and may try later this week. I just wear cotton pjs and pj shorts that I use as underwear when I walk outside. I also couldn't take an underwire bra- got a soft, wireless bra to use until the area where the catheder was inserted heals.

I have taken one shower (took after a dose of codene)...I was told not to wash my stomach, so I kept the water to my back and took a quick shower--just washed my hair and that was it...didn't try to do anything else. It did feel nice to be clean. I did this last Friday, which was three days after my surgery. I will try to gear up to take another one this evening.

I will add a photo tomorrow, as it will be one week post surgery. Hope this helps! I wish everyone the best!

Two Week Post-Op Visit today!

Hi everyone, I had my two week follow up visit today. I have lost 33 lbs, 11 post surgery. I just need to lose 1 to 2 lbs and I am no longer in the morbid obese category. I am now allowed to have skim milk, cream of wheat, yogurt, and pudding. The dietitian also said I could start making protein shakes with milk, protein powder, 2 Tbs of banana (2 ounces) or 2 Tbs of canned peaches, so long as the drink is liquid and not solid like a milkshake. I don't do well with artificial sugar and cannot have real sugar. I have been told that I can add natural fruit juice to items for sweetener as well and use cocoa powder to get the chocolate taste.

I also get to stop taking the blood thinner shots on Wed.!! When the shots were delivered, I thought I had to take all 20 shots, but the Physicians Assistant said that I just need to take 14! I am so excited! Of course I start taking a new prescription today-- to reduce the chance of getting gall bladder stones. This one I need to crush and mix with food.

The dietitian also said I can start the mushy phase on Friday! I am so excited, that's 4 days early! Today is a good day! Can't wait to have fish and pureed veggies! I was told today that women need about 70 grams of protein per day....thought it was only 55 grams...so will need to take the protein supplement for at least 6 to 8 more months. After 8 months, we should be able to eat large enough portions to get in all of our protein without the need for supplements.

Eating yogurt (half of it) and then taking my multivitamin quickly and then eating the rest of the yogurt has solved the nausea problem! Woohoo! I really cringe when it comes time to take the multivitamin, even more so than the shots!

I am going to start back at work tomorrow, will try a full 8 hour day, and will work from home as I still cannot put on my work clothes-- at least not the bra for more than four hours, even if it is wireless. I need to find elastic pants or something that won't push against my stitches, esp. the ones on top of my belly button area. I would have thought losing 11 lbs, my clothes would be plenty loose. With the swelling and sensitive skin, the clothes could be loose and I just feel anything that touches the stitches.

I am cleared to do cardio such as walking and stationary bike. I will try my best to get in 30 minutes a day for now.

The physician's assistant said my stitches look fine, and that they are healing okay. I don't need to go back until next month.

I am posting a head shot today, and will see if I can get my parents to take a full body shot to post this evening. Most of my weight loss is noticeable in my face.

Adding Photos

Grocery Bill - $60!!

I went grocery shopping for the first time since my surgery and was excited to go now that I am on soft/mushy foods. My parents were kind enough to take care of me the first 2.5 weeks.

I spent about $60 and that will feed me for about 3 weeks. I bought some fat-free cottage cheese, fat-free plain greek yogurt, canned peaches, crushed pineapple, bag of mixed vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower and carrots--I cook and puree), a head of cabbage, 2 sweet potatoes, an avocado, sugar free- chocolate instant pudding mix (2 boxes), a half gallon of skim milk, margarine, a rotisserie chicken, a dozen eggs, a bag of spinach, mio water flavoring- lemonade, pearl-sized mozzarella cheese, shredded cheese, and a pack of string cheese.

I started my food journal and I can eat about 1 to 1.5 ounces of protein (fish, chicken or turkey chili) and about 1 to 1.5 ounces of pureed veggies. This will keep me full for about 2 to 3 hours. I am really focusing on getting my fluids down. It is still hard for me to drink water. I have no problem with decaf coffee or warm drinks, but for some reason water is still hard for me to get down-- easier when I add flavoring to it. I need to find some decaf tea and that will help get fluids down.

I am down from a 22W to an 18W. I did wear 1X tops and almost all of them are too big on me. I need to find 0X or larger XLs. It feels great to clean out clothes that are too big for me. I am now at 248 lbs, and have lost 37 lbs. I am hoping to be down 45 lbs by September 30. My weight stayed at 250 for a couple of days as I transitioned from all liquid to soft-mushy phase. I was stable on Friday and Saturday, and by Sunday afternoon, the weight started to come off again. With all of the protein, my percent muscle is stable.

I did learn over the last few days that making my own protein shakes I do need to be careful of what I put in them. On Saturday, I used all natural peanut butter (I think 1 to 2 Tablespoons), milk and protein powder... I drank maybe 3/4 of it and was so tired afterwards, I slept for 2 hours. I am not sure if that was from a food coma or just tired from going back to work. I did make another protein shake on Sunday...this time added a small bit of banana, peanut butter, protein powder and milk...and again fell asleep afterwards for about 2 hours. Today I just added protein powder to milk, and no need for a nap!

Each day is trial and error.

Six Weeks Post Surgery

Hi everyone,

I guess it's been about 6 weeks since my surgery. I have lost about 45 lbs (averaging 3 lbs a week, probably would lose more if I exercised). Now that I am back at work after 12 days of federal gov't shutdown...I can add back in my 3 to 4 mile daily walks (I walk about a mile at a time).

Most of the soreness from surgery is all gone, which is a very nice feeling. I did ride my bike for the first time post-surgery, was able to ride about 5 miles on flat roads, was quite tired afterwards, but the ride went well. I am learning how to order off a menu...I was able to eat some chicken salad from Potbelly...just asked for a small cup of chicken salad. I used a camel pack for water and was able to sip from it as I rode. I hope to do weekend rides until the weather gets too cold.

I am really looking forward to eating a salad. I did eat some very well cooked green beans and did not have any problems. I have not eaten anything with seeds in it, at least as far as I am aware. It will be nice to eat fruit again and berries.

I feel almost back to normal... I can get water down much easier now. For a while, could drink warm fluids (decaf tea, decaf coffee, etc.) but colder fluids were hard for me to get down. I did drink some OJ, made me tired afterwards, but it tasted so good.

I still crave chocolate every so often, but I know how sick I would be after eating it, so I haven't tried to eat it. I do chocolate premier (Costco) protein shakes, so that helps. I can now eat bananas without my stomach hurting. I am also having an easier time eating sweet potatoes. I added a small amount of cheese and fat free sour cream, and they almost taste like regular mashed potatoes.

I am keeping a food journal but haven't been perfect this past week... my schedule went out the window while the gov't was shut down. I do realize that I need to remind myself to eat. I get busy watching tv or reading and I will forget to eat.

I will definitely post more after my next followup visit!

Looking forward to my 2nd post-surgery follow up visit... 10/31

Hi all,

It's been 8 weeks since I had my surgery and I am feeling back to normal. I am walking about 5 to 6 miles a day during the week-- walk my dog and walk to/from work. My weight loss has slowed down... probably because of the walking-- guessing it's a shock to the system plus not able to eat additional calories as I am still limited in the amount of food I can eat at a time. I am so close to losing 50 lbs...(have been for the past 3 weeks) and just can't seem to shed those last 2 to 3 lbs to make the 50 lb goal mark. I do have much more to lose, but to be able to say I have lost 50 lbs is so exciting! Maybe this weekend!

I really hope that I will be cleared to eat all foods-- salad, vegetables and fruits, etc. I know that there will still be items off limits, but to be able to have a salad again or eat real fruit-- not canned peaches. I have been eating bananas, so I guess those are real fruit... but to bite into an apple! Or have berries again... :)

So far, with all the Halloween candy around, I have not been tempted much to eat anything. I did try some plain m&ms... and it gave me acid reflux...so that's my reason not to eat any more candy or sweets! I am glad I had that reaction or it would be difficult for me to look at candy and not eat it.

It is still hard for me to wear a wire-bra. I must have scar tissue that hasn't quite gone away. I am sore by the end of the day where the wire has pressed against my skin. It feels like I have a big bruise.

I have switched to some gummy adult vitamins as the Bariatric Advantage multi-vitamin makes me so sick. I usually take it in the middle of one of my larger meals...but even then I still feel off for about 30 minutes. The gummy ones probably aren't nearly as good, but they do not make me sick.

I will post more on Thursday after my doctor's visit. Hope you all are doing well!

Had my 2 month post- op visit

I had my 2-month post op visit today and I am now allowed to eat crunchy foods, fruits and vegetables and seeds!!! I am so excited! I bought my first salad today for lunch!!! Was told not to have gummy vitamins as they may stick to my stomach...but have been cleared to swallow pills. So will get a women's one a day vitamin. Even though my weight loss has slowed, am super excited to be able to eat almost everything (still no pizza, pasta, bread, sugar, carbonated drinks or alcohol for a year). I do have energy to walk 5 to 6 miles a day. i bought new running shoes and that has helped with these walks. I am starting a 5k training program on Monday, November 4 that will get me from couch potato to running a 5k in 9 weeks. I signed up to do a 5k turkey trot on Thanksgiving day. I am also trying to get in a few more bike rides before it gets too cold. I hope to start swimming next week as well. I plan to sign up for a triathlon-- will be in June 2014. I need to start training now if I want to do it then.

Survived Thanksgivng!

Hi all,

It's been about 3 months since my surgery and I have lost a total of 60 lbs. People at work are starting to call me "skinny" which I have not heard ever in my life! :) I still have 75 more lbs to lose, so I am not quite half way.

I did a 5k turkey trot on Thanksgiving day (was very cold, in the high 20s or low 30s). I was able to do a run/walk and completed it in about 43 minutes. I have signed up for an 8k which will be on Sunday, Dec. 8. I am hoping that the weather will be a bit warmer this weekend.

At Thanksgiving dinner was able to take one spoon full of sweet potatoes, one spoon of baked veggies, and a couple of ounces of ham and turkey for my meal. I did have a small amount of wine...1/8 of a glass to toast. I had a tiny bite of pumpkin pie and pecan pie later in the evening, and felt sick afterwards... not used to eating sweets. So this will be a deterrent... Was happy to eat my normal portions at thanksgiving and had no desire to snack on the left overs.

I did take leftovers home- ham, turkey, sweet potatoes, kale, and baked veggies. I am still doing the costco premier protein shakes and eating quest protein bars.

I do have to remind myself to take my vitamins. I am swallowing pills, but the multi-vitamin is hard for me to swallow. I may go back to the chewable ones. I can't stand feeling the pill go down my throat.

I have lost quite a bit of hair. I am lucky that I have very thick hair, so it's not noticeable to others but me. I can feel a difference. I have started taking the biotin supplements, so will see if that helps. I am not sure how long it will take for that to work.

I am running (run/walk) 3 days a week and trying to swim at least 2 days per week. I signed up for two triathlons for 2014- one in June and the other in September. I am hoping to reach my goal weight by June, but will see.

It is still hard for me to get all of my fluids down. I do drink half caff coffee, protein shakes and a bit of water at work and while I exercise, but not nearly close to the 64 ounces. I really need to start sipping water all day. This is a habit that will be hard for me to keep. I am hoping I get some fluids from fruit- grapes, apples, etc.

I wish everyone Happy Holidays!

Cheers,
Lisa

About 10 months Post- Surgery

Hi all,

I know it's been a while since I posted on this site. Everything is going well! Just been busy at work and also working in a cube, lack of privacy! I have now lost about 85 lbs. The weight loss is slowing down quite a bit, but okay with that so long as I am not gaining anything back! My hair loss has slowed down and may have stopped. I can eat almost everything I could eat before surgery, just in much smaller portions.
I feel like my normal self... no side effects from the surgery! The scars have faded and are barely noticeable. I do have loose skin and once I have lost the remaining weight, will save up to do skin removal surgery.

In April, I ran 10 miles for the Cherry Blossom race in DC. I was able to run the first 6 miles straight and did a run walk for the last 4 miles. In June, I did a triathlon, swam 0.5 miles, biked 15 miles and ran 3.1 miles. I have another triathlon in August and my last one in September. I have full energy to work out and it is much easier to work out now. Before surgery, I was in 1X to 2X shirt size, now am in Large to Medium. In pants, I was 22 to 24W and now am in 14/16. Suit jackets are a 14, getting close to a 12. It's so nice to be able to buy and wear clothes from regular stores!
Blue Point Surgical Group

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