I have to say it feels as if surgery was about 5 months ago rather than 5 weeks ago. The change in weather here in Ohio puts me in a whole new season versus when I had the sleeve done.
Let’s start with the numbers….
Weight Update...As I reminder I'm 5'9" - I always like to know this when I see others' statistics:
235 Highest Weight
212 August 1st-Day One of Preop Diet
197 Day Before Surgery (last preop weight)
191.2 September 16th - 6 Days Post Op
187.8 September 24th - 14 Days Post Op
181.0 October 15th – 5 Weeks Post Op
Down 31 lbs since 8/1 (47 days)
Down 16 lbs since surgery weight
% of Body Fat - From 45.2 to 39.1
I also took measurements, which was very validating. Here are my current inches lost:
- 1 Neck
-2 1/4 Bust
-1 3/4 Rib Cage Right Under the Bra
-4 Belly Button Line
-2 3/4 Hips
Here’s the very coolest, most exciting, made me actually cry number – FOURTEEN!!!!! Yes, that’s the number on the tag of the jeans I can wear now. I’m thinking 14 sounds much better than the 18 on all the tags I was wearing. I had borrowed one pair of 16s from my mom since my 18s were falling off. Fortunately, my mom has about 6-10 pairs of jeans in size 16 and in size 14 that I could borrow. They’re all new, as she bought them on clearance and put them away for a rainy day. My daughter was wearing a size 12 for a while, so she has some of them for me to move into next. Then I can borrow my daughters. She told me the other day, “You’re going to look so hot if you get down to this size!” I’m not sure about “hot”, but definitely thinner!
There’s only one big downer on the report today, and for that we return to the TMI department. The big “C” – constipation – ugh! When I quit eating meat a while back it solved that life-long problem for me. Since surgery, it’s not been good. I’m taking Amitiza now, which is a medication that causes fluid to shift into your intestines so things can move along. It’s working about 1/2 to 3/4 of the time, but waiting a week is not uncommon. My advice to others after surgery is to not mess around with this. Start using something like Colace and Miralax as soon as possible. If that doesn’t work, talk to your doctor. I happened to have Amatiza on hand from when I was taking it a few years ago, but I would have been heading to the doctor’s office if it wasn’t there.
Now for some “meh” stuff. First, a disclaimer for anyone reading this that hasn’t yet had surgery. None of what I’m about to say in any way means that I regret having had surgery. I would still choose that path, and I’ve not had one moment where I thought “maybe I shouldn’t have done this.”
Here’s my sad words…..eating, particularly going out to eat, just isn’t much fun anymore. Please realize I am just being whiny here and I fully appreciate that I’ve been able to have this surgery and will forever be grateful that I could. I feel guilty complaining, but I really miss enjoying good food. I’ve been able to eat anything I’ve tried without any complaints from my stomach which is a beautiful thing. Here’s what I mean……You know how there are times when you have something that you really enjoy, it’s cooked/made perfectly, and you really enjoy savoring it? I feel like I enjoy the first few bites, really think it’s amazing, and then am sad because that’s it – I’m full. Here I sit at the table with a dish of _________ (fill in the blank), it’s SO good, and I can’t eat anymore of this. On top of that, everyone else will continue to eat and enjoy for the next 15 minutes while I watch. In the grand scheme of things this isn’t a big deal, but as food has been my passion and also my coping mechanism it feels figuratively empty to not eat more. I don’t want to gorge, just enjoy a ‘normal’ portion.
I have found one thing to be helpful with this. I went out to dinner this weekend to a really great vegan restaurant where the portions tend to be very large. I asked for a container with each thing when it came out. I had mushroom soup, and I put all but about 4 spoonful’s into the container, popped on the lid, and then emptied the bowl. I ordered a side salad as my main course, and it was bigger than a full salad at most places. The lettuce was crisp, fresh leaf lettuce, and it was topped with an incredible dressing, a little sliced avocado, tomato, black beans, corn, cilantro – just YUM! I had one of those large square leftover Styrofoam containers and I put all but about 5 forkful’s into the box, closed the lid, and finished of my plate. Mentally it felt so much better to be able to eat everything in front of me rather than sitting and staring at a full plate or bowl. Hopefully this is an idea that might be helpful to others.
Okay, put the cheese, crackers, and glasses away because I’m done whining.
Let’s talk exercise! I’m feeling very proud of the fact that I’ve gotten back to the gym. I also have gone walking in a nearby park with my daughter on two occasions in addition to my daily dog walks. I have to say I am really shocked by how weak I feel. The course we walk goes around a lake and there are two big hills over the 3-mile path. I was getting short of breath to the point of having difficulty conversing with my daughter! At the gym I had to face the fact that I’m no longer the strong woman. Normally, I can spend a day hauling wheelbarrows full of rocks, moving 40 lbs. bags of topsoil, etc. without much effort. I sat down at some of the machines, put the pin in the stack of weights, did one rep, and moved the pin up to near the top of the stack. I have got to build those muscles back up. I plan to use sessions I’d previously purchased with a personal trainer, but she’s a body builder and works me like crazy. If I go to her in this condition you’ll have to scrape me off the gym floor and load me into my car!
I’d read from several people that it was a smart plan to start lifting a month or two ahead of surgery to build up a little reserve. I let work, life, and the lazy’s get in the way of doing that and I shouldn’t have. But we all know woulda, coulda, shoulda doesn’t help. I do hope that if you are heading into surgery in the future you’ll take heed and do some work. You don’t have to go to the gym – just use cans of food in the home and google body weight exercises. I think it would be very worth it to go that direction.
I also wanted to share that I had my first experience of overeating with the sleeve on Friday. I ate a reasonable amount of food, but then had a lapse in memory and took two big swallows of liquid. That was a very miserable 10 minutes waiting for everything to move down into the stomach :( I won’t be making that mistake again any time soon.
Lastly, I wanted to talk about family and their fears about surgery and also about going to Mexico if you’re heading that direction because of lack of insurance. A big shout out to the parents of smoogott3 as they heard a little about me and my experience. I just want to reiterate that having surgery will always carry some level of risk, but it is outweighed by the risk of staying overweight for most people. I can also say that I’ve read many stories on here and elsewhere of people who’ve had less than optimal outcomes with many types of surgeries here in the USA – more than I’ve read for Mexico and Costa Rica (the two places I’ve researched). Research is the key – reading everything you can find until you’re sick of looking at it and then making an informed, sensible decision. My husband has been all about me losing weight for the past several years because he’s one of those very health-focused people. If I had a dollar for every time I heard about how I need to take better care of myself I’d be retiring tomorrow. Yet he was of course worried about surgery in general, and surgery in Mexico too. I showed him all of the information I’d found including posts from other nurses and doctors who chose to have the same surgery at the same facility and had only positive comments. He said it came down to trusting that I’d made a decision based on facts and taken the time to be sure this was the right decision for me. So to all the family out there, ask questions and do some reading yourself. When your loved one choses this path, be supportive – it makes a world of difference!
That’s enough words for the next month! I’ll be back with more pics and updates in 2-3 weeks unless something interesting comes up before then. Thanks for reading and taking an interest in my story and my opinion, and best of luck to all of you in whatever paths you choose :) - Anita