And it just keeps getting better…

So, last night I ended up in the ER with severe stomach pains. Docs took a CT and told me that I had a fistula and a track “filled with feces that isn’t connected to the intestine”. They told me to see my surgeon today.

So I go to the surgeons office but see someone else since my surgeon was doing surgery. He seems to think I’m okay, and to come back next week. (To see  my actual surgeon, hopefully, and not the PA that I’ve been seeing since surgery instead.)

On the bright side, they say my incision isn’t infected, but to keep packing it. Thought I’d share with you what I get to see and do twice a day.

This is what you don’t see prior to getting this surgery.  This is what could happen. Take a good, long look!

As for supplies: the surgeon’s office would give a bottle of iodoform packing when I’m there, as they have to check it and then re-pack it. When you run out, however, I’ve found options locally to be a challenge. Health Essentials has it for $11, but they require a prescription. I didn’t know this when I went there to get it. What I’ve found to be easier is to just order it online. Amazon has it for just over half of HE price here. Gauze you can get at Wal-mart, and the tape you see over the gauze is from the surgeon’s office. When I run out I’ll have to go back to paper tape from Wal-mart which bites, because it tears my skin up really bad.

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The things you don’t think about…

I’ll be the first to admit that I have difficulty focusing on the positives. Part of that is a lifetime of negative thinking patterns, and part of it is due to the head injury I sustained in September 2015 (due to a drunk driver). That, in and of itself, would probably warrant a blog of its own. But I digress…

There are things that happen that no one tells you about when you start losing weight. Granted, we’ve all heard about the joys of fitting into smaller clothes. But the little things, the small victories, we rarely discuss. The first time I was able to wear my bra without a bra extender felt like a huge victory. The first time I had to move my car seat forward was a huge victory. That was something I had honestly never thought about before. To realize my rear was shrinking to a point that my legs didn’t reach the gas pedal anymore, wow! I had never read in any of the research I did, or online bariatric support groups, anything about it. Do people just forget to mention it?

Weight loss stalls are something else I hadn’t read or heard about before surgery. While I had read some about regain, I hadn’t about stalls. Not until I went looking for them. I seem to have hit a stall right now, my body protesting against dropping any further. Which is understandable, as I was at the weight I am now for several years before I started experiencing more weight gain. At least that is what I’ve gleaned from the articles I’ve read, such as here and here.

It’s the little things, folks!

It’s also going to a restaurant and eating a half (or less) of that grilled chicken breast you ordered and packing the rest of your food up, while you watch your other family members eat quantities of food that you can’t possibly imagine eating ever again. And feeling the shame of knowing that before surgery, you would do the same thing. There’s a load of shame in going out to eat after surgery that you don’t think about going into it. I guess it’s something that will take time to get over….

 

Food…

Eating out can be a challenge, and let’s be honest, who really has time for that? Aside from the inside of a taco supreme or pintos and cheese from Taco Bell, there’s not a lot else I’ve found yet that I can eat, restaurant-wise. So protein shakes are a staple of my diet right now. Thus far, Premier Protein seems like it has the highest protein content, and the taste is better than other shakes I’ve had. Personally, the pre-mixed that comes in the carton tastes better to me than the powder that you mix up. I’ve tried some of the other flavors, but prefer the chocolate. I’d love to try the caramel but haven’t found it in the store, and I haven’t tried ordering it online yet. I’d rather just buy it in a store so I can try the flavor rather than having to tack on shipping to an already (pricey) protein shake!20170227_123135

Beginning this journey…

This is my journey through weight loss surgery. The good, the bad, the ugly.

I’m now two months and two weeks post surgery. I’m down 45lbs since surgery, and 60lbs from my highest weight, at 297lbs. I seem to have hit a stall, as I’ve been bouncing back and forth between a 4lb range for the past week. Frankly, it makes me sick.

I went in to the surgery (RNY) with the highest of expectations, thinking I would fly through with no complications. Boy, was I wrong! I had surgery on Monday, December 12th. They released me that Wednesday, and by Friday I was back in the hospital with infection. I was there until December 23rd. Then December 30th, I had to go back to the ER. I had looked down, noticing my bandages were a lot more wet than usual. I took them off, and the most foul-smelling pus ever came poring in rivers out of my primary incision site. They released me from the ER, saying that “that’s normal”…no, no, it’s not. I had an appointment the following Wednesday with my surgeon, and had to start packing it with iodoform strips.

So I packed it. And packed it. And then ran out of packing, and it was almost healed and I thought “well, it looks okay, it’s not deep at all, it should be fine if I just throw a bandage over it”.

Don’t do that. Trust me on this one. Just. Don’t.

So the top heals over. And I go on about my merry way. Until February 12th, when my incision broke back open and fluid started coming back out. So back to the surgeon’s office I go on the 15th. My incision has now tunneled two inches deep and I have to go back to packing it with the iodoform strips. Now, one five-yard canister is lasting me about 5-6 days.

It’s gross. The human body was not designed for things to be stuffed into man-made orifices. It trips me out every time I have to pack this stupid incision.

That being said, there are things I wish I had known prior to going into this surgery. Yes, my surgeon’s office did a good job on nutrition education and I know what I should and should not eat. Of course, I’m still finding out what I can and cannot eat. Bread is a no-no. Dumping feels like death. It really does. You do NOT want to go there. Trust me, a half a dinner roll isn’t worth the suffering you’ll endure later.

I wish I had known my hair could fall out. That delightful bit started a couple of weeks ago. It truly is disturbing. I’ve taken to wearing a boho bandeau to cover the thinning spots. I wish I knew my teeth could fall out. I met a woman last year who had an RNY and was doing well. Then I didn’t see her again for nearly a year, and I saw her at the beginning of the month. On the outside she looked great. However, she now has dentures as her teeth fell out from calcium deficiency.

Scary.

That brings me to my next thing…vitamins. If a person likes sweet tarts, they’ll be fine. I do not. I can’t stand tart. But that’s the flavor of my chewable vitamins. Tart. It’s not fun. Wish I had known that bit prior to surgery.

And let’s not forget nausea. It was really bad for me in the beginning, less so now. Prescription nausea meds were my best friend. I’m having to take them less often now, but it was a real issue for awhile.

I waffle back and forth right now between wishing I had never gotten the surgery and being glad I did. I’m off my blood pressure meds, which is a primary reason for getting the surgery in the first place. What I was on wasn’t working, and I couldn’t take anything else due to the fact that my body dumps potassium for some reason. I’m down 60lbs and wearing a jean size I haven’t seen in over a decade (except for a very brief period of time eight years ago).

There’s positives and negatives to this surgery. It’s not a decision to make lightly. It’s a huge lifestyle change. I guess we’ll see as time goes on how my perspective changes….