Sunday, January 24, 2010

Just Impressed :)

I'm gloating a little...but I'm impressed with today's stats and had to share:

Total Calories In: 929
Total Fat Grams In: 13
Total Protein Grams In: 110

AND I have the 500+ calories I burned on Wii earlier today. I'm awesome sometimes :)

Bandster Hell

It's here! Thanks to avid reading on my fave LapBand support website, I'd done a lot of reading about this mysterious "Bandster Hell" everyone referred to. Apparently, once your stomach and insides have healed and the swelling goes down, you reach BH prior to gaining restriction. Remember, my band has no saline in it yet, so the only restriction I'm getting is from having a piece of plastic around my stomach. Any food slides through - I've tried chips, sandwiches, etc...more out of curiosity to see if I could eat those things more than anything. 90% of the time, I'm a good girl and eat what I'm supposed to. But, yup, all that can get through the band relatively easily. I still drink with meals...after reaching restriction (when fluid has been placed in the band), I'll need to eat MUCH slower, chew more, not drink 30 minutes before or after a meal, etc...all to help process the 1/2 to 1 cup of food I'm able to consume in a sitting. Right now? Not the case. The only thing helping me lose weight right now is ME. Period. Granted, this process has shrunken my stomach a little bit - I'm into week 4 of this now (counting the 1 week pre-op diet), and I definitely can't sit down and enjoy a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Large Fry, Diet Coke...and still have room for more! But, I'm pretty sure I could work up to that in a day or so!

So back to BH...symptoms? Until I get the band filled to the point where I feel restriction (you know, when the band is actually working with me!), I'm running this weight loss thing on sheer willpower. My stomach isn't swollen anymore, my scars are closed...now? It's completely up to me to eat healthily, work out, etc. Ugh. I have been STARVING since Thursday, but am being a good girl about eating 900-1200 calories a day while maintaining at least 60-75g of protein. Thank god for my FitDay program that I started logging my calories into. If it weren't for me being accountable for what I put into my mouth? I'd be eating all day just to help curb the hunger...and probably wouldn't eat the low calorie foods I'm choosing. Bandster Hell sucks. I'm so hungry that even my roommate's bitchy cat looks tasty at times. (Okay, not really - but it's funny!)

BANDSTER HELL MANTRA:
1. I WILL power through it.
2. I WILL take care of myself.
3. I WILL turn hunger pangs into an excuse to work out.
4. I WILL continue drinking massive amounts of water.
5. I WILL make this LapBand tool work for me!

Bottom line? I didn't go through all of this to blame weight gain on something in my head. I realize that my body IS well nourished, regardless of a grumbling tummy. Again, thanks to the FitDay program I use, I know I'm meeting all of my nutrition requirements daily. And because I continue to see weight loss on the scale, I know that my body's not in starvation mode and "holding on" to the weight that's currently on my body. Besides, a day of 900-1200 calories is more than enough to sustain a person. Ya hear that body? You're FINE! SHUT UP!

The side bonus of all of this, though, relates to #3 above. I finally took out the Wii Fit board today I got and put in the Wii Fit Plus game I got as part of my Christmas fit package. When I tried the game pre-op, I exceeded the maximum weight limit and it wouldn't let me play...sad face. Now having been back at work for a week and feeling better, not swollen, etc., I decided on Round 2 with the board. I put in the disk, got on the board...and I work now, even with clothes on! LOL! I spent 65 minutes today on Wii Fit Plus activities - it has this cool "Fit Bank" that tells you how long you've done activities and the amount of calories you've burned. Although it takes closer to 80 minutes to do 65 minutes of activity once you add in the transitions to new "games" and "workouts," I used the breaks to drink water and never sat down! This is going to sound weird coming from me, but I actually ENJOYED working out today! Wii Fit Plus makes it easy and fun to get some calorie burning activity in, so I'm planning to do 30 minutes of it a day. I know life gets hectic and I may not be able to swing it, but it's a good goal! And, once I build up some endurance and energy, I'll give the Biggest Loser game another try...that Jillian sure kicked my ass when I tried it pre-op!

Soo...Bandster Hell? Screw you.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Keeping Track.

So tomorrow will be two weeks post-op. I'll admit I haven't been following the post-op diet very well, but I'm determined to be back on track. After spending countless hours reading the forums on LapBand talk, I've been amazed at the progress people make - and how strict they are about accounting for what they eat. Since the surgery, I've been following the diet somewhat, but haven't been paying attention to how many calories or grams of protein I've consumed - both of which I know are necessary to building muscle, healing myself and losing weight! So, today I dusted off an old friend - a program I bought long ago (back in the Kimkins diet days - read my first post!) that keeps track of food, activity, weight loss, goals, etc. all on my computer - FitDay! I bought the program a couple of years ago and used it relentlessly while low-carb dieting. I've used it off and on, when the diet mood struck me, but now it's time to help my LapBand help me. By knowing exactly what I'm taking in, and tracking my weight progress, I am more accountable to myself. Funny, I didn't cheat once today...and I know it's because I'm actually SEEING the nutritional content of the food I'm eating. And, noticing I was a little lower on protein than where I should be, I came home and had a can of tuna for dinner. Woot!

Today's stats (since I'm full for the day and plan to just work on drinking some water tonight, which I haven't all day)?

Calories: 837
Fat(g): 16
Carbs(g): 99 - eek!
Protein(g): 77
Nutrients over 100% of the RDA (based on a 2,000 calorie diet): Vitamins B6, B12, C, D and E, Calcium, Folate, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Niacin, Riboflavin, Selenium, Thiamin and Zinc

Wow - what a day! And, since some are curious as to what LapBanders eat...here was today's menu:

Breakfast: Inspire Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Protein Shake (4oz), 1 Calcet Citrate Lemon Chew, 2 Mixed Berry Vitaband tablets
Snack: Grande Starbucks Black Tea - no sugar
Lunch: French Onion Soup (Panera Bread Co. with Bargaining Team - thanks to that for 70 carbs!)
Snack: Starbucks Grande Skinny Vanilla Latte
Dinner: 1 can Bumblebee Tuna

Not bad for a day's work! Obviously, my bargaining team and I are Starbucks whores...at least I made good choices! Tea has no nutritional value, but the Skinny Vanilla Latte, recommended by my sister Jacquie, was a good nutritional choice! I'm excited to track my progress with my nutrition program and watch the pounds come off!

TO IMPROVE:
1. Drink more water. (gonna work on 80oz. tonight...SHOULD be drinking it during the day instead of Starbucks!)
2. Exercise. (Did well by Biggest Loser-ing it last night, but I need to up my activity level! If this port pain would go away, I may feel more inclined to do it!)

But, I'm down 15.4 pounds now since starting this journey 3 weeks ago. Awesome! If only I could continue to lose at a rate of 5 pounds a week...lol! I know, wishful (and unhealthy!) thinking! OH - and, my doctor was full of crap about the "cortisol" thing I talked about in my post-op appointment post. His theory of not weighing myself releasing cortisol and burning fat in my body? Refuted by research I've done on the LapBand talk forum, google (of course - I'm a google whore!) and by a trusted nutritional expert-ish friend! So, I'll weigh myself whenever I want! I figure, if I'm dieting and exercising...that has to take the weight off. It's about me doing the work to become the physical being I want to become, not about random hormonal releases in my body!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Christmas Again?

Today was my first day back at work - yeesh! I've been feeling fine - minimal incision pain, well rested, well taken care of (thanks boyfriend!) and been eating (mostly) what I'm supposed to be eating...oh, and drinking a ton of water. But, one hour back at work walking around my classroom, bending over repeatedly to help students...I felt like two of my four incisions were burning and I had been sucker punched before 2nd period even started! While it was good to be back at work, and my students were stoked to see me, I had to tell 2nd period that they needed to come to my desk if they needed help with their journals today. I told them that if I continued to walk around and bend all period, my incisions would burst and they'd see my intestines on their tables! Hahaha - they bought it, and were good to me! By the time I got my four classes taught, did two trips up to the office to handle paperwork, and got my substitute lesson plans ready again (I'll be absent the next two days for contract bargaining - yay teachers union work!), I was exhausted and sore. Thankfully, I wore tennis shoes and comfy clothes today, so I wasn't sore from my outfit! My jeans did become cumbersome around lunch time...not because they were snug (which surprised me, because they're smaller than what I used to wear...I need to do laundry!), but because when I was sitting down, the top of the jeans rubbed on the incision right above my belly button. Solution? I unbuttoned the top of my jeans, zipped them down an inch or two, and tucked the excess material into the jeans - long sweater concealed it, and I was good to stand and lecture for my 5th period class!

I did come home after all of that, though, and laid down/napped briefly before a two hour union executive board meeting I had this afternoon. Although it didn't help much, it was good to rest. My stomach still feels oogly...but I did get in a light cardio/stretch Biggest Loser workout tonight in on my Wii. I'm still in awe and thankful that my mom and sister pitched in to buy me a Wii, fitness board and games for Christmas! Tonight was the first time I worked out post-op...I knew I wasn't in great shape, and I wasn't feeling very well...but I decided that since I was well enough to return to work, it was time to start working out!

Side note: it's Christmas again! When I woke up from my nap this afternoon and was about to leave the house, there was a package on my doorstep - from my Grandma! She's AWESOME! She had gastric bypass surgery done a couple of years ago and has found this website where she buys various nutrition products from. I wasn't expecting it, but she had bought and sent me three boxes of Calcet Citrate Lemon Cream Creamy Bites (I just had one - it's yummy!) to help with my calcium intake, a 90-day supply of LapBand friendly vitamins (chewable - I had one of those too, also yummy!) and a bag of peanut butter fudge whey protein powder! Although I'm stuffed right now, I'll be sure to try out the protein powder in the morning for breakfast! WOW! How awesome is my Grandma? No, you can't have her.

And, that's it in a nutshell! I'm 12 days post-op now, no idea what I weigh, and the first day back at work was hell. Luckily, since I'm contract bargaining for the next two days, I'll be doing a lot of sitting...then back to regular work on Friday! Yeesh, I'm ready for my first fill and for the weight to start coming off! But, as boyfriend and I say...one day at a time :).

Friday, January 15, 2010

1 Week Post-Op

Yesterday's one week post-op doctor's appointment was quick, easy and painless. The doctor examined my scars (3 of the 4 steristrips had come off already) and told me that my scars were healing just fine - I even learned about the proper healing color patterns of wounds and bruises! He explained what the large mystery bruise on my upper right arm was (doctors shot me up with drugs after the surgery and, because I was given heparin to thin my blood to help reduce the chance of blood clots, my arm couldn't handle the shot without bruising), and gave me tips for the next few weeks until I have my first LapBand fill on Saturday, February 6th! In case you weren't aware, my band is empty at the moment - no saline in it whatsoever. When they first install the band in your stomach, they leave it unfilled so that all the sutures holding your stomach and whatnot together have a chance to heal and develop scar tissue. So, the "tool" isn't 100% active at the moment and I'm bound to get hungry before February 6th rolls around and I finally get some saline in my band.

For now, I'm not allowed to do two things: (1) weigh myself and (2) buy new clothes. The doctor yesterday told me that not weighing myself will make me constantly curious about what I'm weighing, how I'm doing, etc., which will release cortisol (a hormone) into my body and will actually help to burn fat...interesting. Am I wrong for wanting to research that one when I have some time? But, I'll follow the doctor's orders and only get weighed in at my fill appointments once a month. Buying clothes - yeah, I didn't plan to buy any anyway! I know I'll be losing weight (he said I'll first notice the difference in how my pants fit), and I'm too cheap to go buy new clothes every couple of weeks when I notice my favorite pair of jeans aren't fitting right! As a fat chick, I have a closet full of clothes I've outgrown or don't wear because they don't fit right or, even better, I bought and planned to wear "when I got thin." How long have some of those clothes been in my closet?! At any rate, I'm sure I'll be just fine on clothes for awhile...I'll wait until Spring Break (last week of March) to buy some new wardrobe pieces. By then, I should have lost close to 50 pounds and will be going to visit my boyfriend for the week in West Virginia...I think that calls for some new clothes! The doctor's reasoning for me not buying new clothes has a lot to do with common sense - wanting to make sure I feel the difference of weight loss in the clothes I have and not wasting money on clothes often if I happen to drop weight quickly.

My only confusion about the doctor yesterday was the diet I'm supposed to be on. The nutritionist I worked with to get my insurance authorization prior to the surgery e-mailed me my dietary guidelines for pre- and post-surgery. They clearly outlined what to eat each week, stating they I was to move to pureed foods on week 2 and solid foods on week 3. I have a complete table filled of types of foods, examples, etc. Yesterday? The follow-up doctor told me that I should have been on clear liquids week 1, full liquids week 2, THEN pureed foods on week 3 and then, finally, solids on week 4. Hmm...surely a big difference in what I'm supposed to eat. He did tell me not to worry about calories and that I can start doing cardio exercises as soon as I feel up to it. I am on a weight restriction (nothing heavier than 10 pounds) until the first month of healing is over, but it'll be nice to start using my Biggest Loser Wii game soon to start pumping up the weight loss! As for the diet? I'm going to stick with what the nutritionist told me - she also sent me YouTube videos to the Head Dietitian who outlined the same post-op diet she had e-mailed me in writing. So, yeah.

The "company" I got this surgery through is a pretty large company - the doctor who did my surgery (Dr. Salimitari) is someone I will never see again unless I choose to. He used to be part of the "Top Surgeons" group, where I went for my consultation, pre-op work and will go for post-op, but he now practices outside of that group. Therefore, all of my follow-up visits will be done about 5 minutes from my house by one of two doctors who come up from Los Angeles to hold office hours for LapBand patients on Thursdays and Saturdays. Since the guy I saw yesterday (who, incidentally, was the same doctor I saw for my consultation two months ago) wasn't the guy who did the surgery and isn't the Head Dietitian for the entire "Top Surgeons" group, I'm going to stick with the diet given to me in writing. Besides that? I'm ready for some MUSHIES!

Although...having said that, it's definitely an interesting learning curve. Boyfriend and I went out last night with my students for an FFA meeting and karaoke night and I treated myself to some mashed potatoes and gravy. Plus side? My total bill was $1.79 for the potatoes and water I drank, taking $3 total out of my wallet for the dinner plus tip - WOOT! Down side? I'm going to learn quickly how to handle food with this band. I had been sipping on my water while my FFA officers and I met prior to the event, and then worked eagerly on the mashed potatoes when they arrived. After finishing most of the little bowl, boyfriend notified me that I was turning red. Yeah, I wasn't feeling too hot...we went outside so I could get some air and walk around...and I didn't eat again the rest of the night. I was SO full. My students requested a couple of songs for me to sing and I got hoarse trying to sing them, but was scared to drink any more water for fear of exploding! LOL! But, all is well - I didn't throw up, the nausea and fullness are gone. But, yeesh, when these doctors say not to eat and drink at the same time because your belly isn't big enough to handle all of it at once - they weren't joking! I'm going to have SO MUCH FUN learning the capacity of my "new" stomach!

Finally, my weight loss thus far. I'm not going to weigh myself anymore (doctor's orders - did you miss that above in all of my rambling?), so I'll post my weight and loss when I go to the doctor. My scale at home yesterday had said I was down 15.2 pounds, but the doctor said I was only down 10...blah. Of course, I have to wear clothes on his scale...and we determined that there's actually a 2 pound difference between his scale and mine. But, I'll go with his scale.

Weight 1-14-10: 328 pounds
Total Weight Loss: 10 pounds

Monday, January 11, 2010

Another life changing day!

So here it is - post-op day 4. The weekend went pretty well for me. I haven't had another episode like I did with the popsicle the other day, but I've made sure to be drinking my water and have been drinking my protein shakes and broth for nutrition. It's really weird to be taking in minimal calories, and being full. Last night I was hanging out in the SingSnap chat room with some friends, singing some tunes, drinking my water...and realized I was hungry. I got up and made a 4 oz. protein shake, drank half of it, and was so stuffed I threw the rest down the sink. It's so BIZARRE, but I know it's par for the course and I'll get used to having such little content make up my meals. I did go big yesterday and picked up a small chocolate milkshake from Burger King as I was picking up my dry cleaning...and drank the whole thing! I was surprised I finished it, and didn't get sick, but I also know that milkshakes are one of the "slider foods" they warn you about - something that slides quickly through the band pouch. It made me really think about how this band is really just a tool to help me in my weight loss journey. I could continue eating fast food and other crap, and never lose any weight. The only difference now is that I physically can't handle the portions I used to be able to (double quarter pounder with cheese, supersize fry...the works). It's still up to me to eat healthy and exercise so that this weight can come off. Nothing's happened to permanently alter my anatomy, so I've really got to use this tool to my advantage.

That's the big difference between the LapBand surgery and gastric bypass surgery. With the surgery I chose, I'm not "altered," I can still eat just about anything, there's no "dumping syndrome," I'm not going to get sick and puke just because I ate certain foods...I'll still be able to meet nutrition requirements, but doing it the right way. I do know that once I'm on solid foods in a couple of weeks that I'm supposed to start taking some supplements - calcium's one...can't remember the other right now (I'm focusing on each week's recovery diet at a time!), but, in general, I'll be able to make sure I'm doing what's right for my body. Definitely need to increase my water intake and exercise, while reducing my "crap" food habits. I've done extensive research on both surgeries and decided that this one was the right one for me - it allows me to live a "normal" life while still helping me to maintain my health goals.

Back to this weekend, after a two paragraph tangent...I spent the weekend relaxing and cleaning my house. My favorite teacher friend came over on Saturday and hung out with me - we watched a movie, shared stories, showed off my surgery incisions...good times! It's been nice to be mobile enough to clean my house - I've done more cleaning that NEEDED to be done in my house than I've ever made time for. Of course, there were plenty times where I needed to stop and relax...and, at one point, my stomach got too sore to bend over anymore. Frequent resting, though, made it possible to get through the cleaning I wanted to do and help in my recovery process. As well as I feel, I can't imagine going back to work right now...knowing me, I'd tough through teaching my four classes, jumping around like I do when I lecture and help students, and I'd never fully recover. In fact, I'd probably be in agony by the end of the day and seriously mess up something in my insides...it's good I "forced" myself to take this time off to recover fully and correctly.

So what makes today so life changing? *He* is coming! *He* is a guy I met online, unexpectedly, about two months ago. I had given up on love in my life at that point in time, ready to focus on my LapBand surgery, my career...just me for awhile. I got out of a pretty intense relationship last summer, that was bound to end in marriage, so it was the first time in my life I stopped dating, stopped "flirting," and generally stopped having an interest in being in a relationship. Those who know me well know that that transition was pretty huge for me. I was enjoying life, though, living for myself for the first time in 29 years. Then, as they say, that's when love found me. While minding my own business working in the SingSnap chat room (I was an administrator in the room for five months of 2009), *he* kept popping in as a new member, not really sure what to do. I finally asked him, after a few days of him popping in and out, if he was going to stay this time. He did, taken aback that someone noticed he was popping in and out. We got to talking and found out that we have just about EVERYTHING in common - it's really insane. We could have been twins! The weird part about it all is that he's only 3 months older than me - I've typically dated men who were 5-10 years older than me. At any rate, we talked/texted constantly over the last two months...he lives in West Virginia and I'm in California, so a quick meeting wasn't going to happen.

But, he's flying in TODAY! We get to meet! He's known about my LapBand journey since we met, since I met him right about the time of my initial consultation. Although I'd like to make the "first impression" under normal circumstances, he knows I'm 4 days post-op and he's vowed to take care of me...lol! I'm such an independent, headstrong (okay, stubborn!) lady, but I know I'll have to turn some of that over to him and let him take care of me...it's what I should do anyway to recover correctly! It's hard to really describe how crazy I am for this guy, or how well we click - but I'm sure it'll be a great week for both of us. I do have a couple of things to do for work this week, but since I'm also recovering from surgery, he'll be able to come and help me out.

The weirdest thing about it all, though? He asked me last night what I'd be wearing, so he could pick me out of the crowd at the airport (he's flying into LAX the same time my bestie's flying out to Alaska to visit his sister, so all of the transportation worked out great!)...I didn't know what to tell him! Since the surgery, I've worn nothing but pajama pants, tank tops, etc...no bra. One of the incision spots sits right on my bra line and two of them are right below it, underneath each breast. On top of that, my stomach is pretty swollen from all of the activity of the surgery...I don't know HOW wearing a bra will feel, or if I'll be able to comfortably wear a pair of jeans...as soon as I shower here in a few minutes, I'll begin the "trying on" of outfits to make sure (a) I look cute for the first impression (well, as cute as I can look four days after surgery with a swollen stomach!) and (b) that I'm comfortable and not in pain just from the clothes. I'm in enough pain at my incision spots and inside my stomach/rib muscles - I don't need any more!

Sooo...four days ago I made a life changing step just for me. My LapBand is installed, I'm recovering, taking my pain meds and antibiotics...recovery is going well and I'm looking forward to the life I have in front of me. Today? May be the day I meet "the one." If it doesn't turn out that way? At least I'll have finally met an awesome friend who will definitely be in my life for years to come! I'm stoked!

AND - as a side note? I've been hanging out at www.lapbandtalk.com to read others' stories of their LapBand journey, getting advice, etc. I met and have been chatting with a new friend who also lives in California who had his surgery a month ago. It's neat to have a friend nearby who is relatively close to my progress. We've both shared our stories and he's been helpful in answering questions I have...yay for my band buddy Troy!

Today's Weight: 326.2 pounds (12 pounds gone baby!)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

No mo popsicles!

Yeesh - day one of recovery and I'm learning what this LapBand is really capable of doing to my system already. I spent most of the day on the couch, in and out of sleep while watching TV. I ventured to the grocery store later in the day, and even treated myself to a Diet Coke at Burger King on the way home...only about 10 sips, maybe, were ever drunk from that soda...waste of money? Yes.

At the store I loaded up on liquid goodies - fat free chocolate milk, fat free milk and some fat free coffee creamer...things I didn't have in my house, but knew I'd be allowed to drink (obviously, the creamer WITH coffee...lol). I also picked up some sugar free "snack size" popsicles. Now, not having any experience with this band other than the little bit of water, juice and broth I had had so far today, I figured "snack size" was definitely the way to go. I get home, put away groceries, and sit down with my barely-touched Diet Coke and a raspberry popsicle...

...and soon remember that literature my doctor had given me that said "Write a sign and hang it where you eat that reminds you to EAT SLOWLY!" Knowing that I'm on a totally liquid diet, but that popsicles are okay, I made sure to eat this yummy raspberry frozen confection slowly so as to avoid any chunks going down the ol' esophagus. I licked, sucked, looked at the 'sicle...all was well. About halfway through the popsicle, I felt...stuffed. I threw the rest of the popsicle away and posted a status message on Facebook that said: "just ate half a "snack sized" real fruit popsicle. I'm stuffed, threw the second half away. That kinda makes me giggle :)." At the time, 3 hours ago, it did!

From there I headed into my favorite online karaoke chat room and started chattin' with a couple of friends...and it hits me. I was MORE than full. Not giggly "omg only half a popsicle filled me up" full, but...FULL. I didn't feel well. I got offline, ventured back to the couch...would be in fetal position, except that my incision sites are still painful...and just felt sick. 3 hours later, I'm just now starting to feel normal again. But, I swear, I've been feverish and ready to pop for most of the evening...all thanks to half a popsicle.

Lesson learned? EAT SLOWER! If the popsicle has to drip on me, so be it. I should try putting it in a bowl and eating it like ice cream...oh, and I also need to DRINK MORE WATER. Now that I'm up? I put some Brita filtered water into the sippy cup I bought myself today (heck yes!) and sipping on the water is helping as well.

:::yeesh::: Day 1? LapBand wins.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Officially Banded :)

All went well with the surgery today, from leaving the house at 9:30am with bestie in tow to arriving back at home at about 9:30pm, this time with bestie having me in tow! The last twelve hours happened pretty quickly - when we got to the hospital at noon, it wasn't long before I saw the admitting nurse, paid my co-pay, signed paperwork, etc. Then, bestie and I were whisked back to the surgical ward where I immediately gave a urine sample, got dressed in the oh-so-fashionable hospital garb (open to the back - woo baby!), and chilled in a bed while an IV was put in my wrist (side note: I HATE IV'S in my wrist! HATE them!). By 1pm I was chillin' in my bed in the room outside of the operating room - which would later be the recovery room for me. I hung out there for awhile, met with my doctor, anesthesiologist, and nurse, and was wheeled into the operating room at about 2pm. Once there, it wasn't long before I was literally strapped down, arms out to either side of me, and legs strapped down together like I was a prisoner in a mental ward...and, while final tightening and adjustments were being made to my arms and legs, the anesthesiologist threw an oxygen mask on me, told me to take deep breaths...

...and I woke up back in the recovery room at about 4pm (although apparently the nurse had told bestie at 3pm that I was done and on my way out - guess I took awhile to recover!). Doctors said my surgery went perfectly! At that point, my throat was VERY dry and I was feeling pain in my stomach, which I later found out is where the "port" incision for my LapBand is. After taking in more oxygen, because the doctor says I wasn't taking deep enough breaths to fully recover from the anesthesia, I was wheeled to the original room I was in (with a "Hi Bestie!" mid way to grab him from the waiting room) at about 4:30pm. We hung out for about an hour while I continued to wake up, use the restroom, get the IV removed, get my prescriptions, talk with the doctor, got dressed, contacted family...lol. It was an eventful hour :). And, with that? I was wheeled out to the front of the hospital and in my car before 6pm, with bestie driving, of course!

The trip home was uneventful for me - I was still in pain at the port incision (I had learned that I have 4 incisions in mah belly, and that the two surrounding the port will be the most painful for me, according to the doctor), and the trapped CO2 gas in my stomach was finally trying to escape...leading me to have shoulder pains from trapped gas trying to escape. I know bestie had fun navigating Los Angeles traffic for the first time, but I was in and out of consciousness, so I couldn't tell ya much of what happened! I did have him stop after about an hour so I could get up and walk...I've read too much about developing blood clots in your legs from all of this, and that walking also helps to get rid of the trapped gas in your body. So, we walked around a 76 station (I believe - I was kinda out of it...) in Santa Clarita for a bit, and we hopped back in the car...destination: PHARMACY!

Yup, by that time I was ready for drugs. I was drinking water to soothe the VERY dry throat, but was nervous about it - not knowing how much water my now-little belly could hold. But, I wanted to get my post-op drugs so I could start recovering the way I'm supposed to. Luckily, the first store we stopped at once getting back in town had some awesome ladies in the pharmacy - with twenty minutes to closing, they were more than happy to fill my two prescriptions, talk with me and get me on my way. Yay! I also picked up some Gas-X strips, because I've heard they help greatly with all this trapped CO2, and some sugar-free Caramel Coffee Werther's Original candies...omg YUM! The nurse had told me I could suck on cough drops, so I figured this was just as safe - as long I don't chew it up or take any chunks down mah esophagus!

Equipped with my Walgreen's bag of goodies, bestie and I headed (finally) for home. I downed 2 Gas-X strips on the way (peppermint-yum!) which seem to be helping with the gas buildup, sucked a Werther's down (omg-yummier!), and got home to greet my kitty cats and take the first round of meds. (1) I've got liquid vicodin/acetaminophen to help with the pain - I'm able to take that every 4 hours, up to 5 times a day. I giggled at the pharmacy lady when she advised me to take it with food - then told her I was on strictly liquids for a week! (2) I've got antibiotics in capsule form, which I get to open and mix the capsule-y powder into a liquid in order to consume four times a day. First time? I dumped the powder on top of the 1/2 ounce of liquid painkiller - lemme tell ya, NEITHER of the meds taste good...all sorts of "ew" went down with those first meds. I believe my quote to bestie was, "This tastes like every sort of ass in the world." But, they're both great for me - antibiotics must be taken for the next seven days, and I'm not about to be a martyr for pain, so I'll be sure to be taking the liquid pain cocktail of goodness often, as permitted :). I'd read that a lot of post-op "bandsters" feel that they don't need the pain meds, so they don't take it, then fall asleep and wake up with horrendous pain. No thanks! I have no problem at all downin' some liquid feel good meds!

Sooo...that's it! I'm home now, bloggin'. I've updated Facebook (LOVED all the support I got there today - you guys are AWESOME!), called friends, bestie's back to recording music in his room, and I'm talking to *him!* I look forward to healing over the next week, savoring the liquids I get to consume, and checking in with my doctor for my post-op appointment (here in town) on Thursday morning! Added bonus?? *He* is flying here on Monday...gonna have an incredible time with him, just being lazy around the house and letting him pamper and spoil me as I recover! LOL! Lovz you babe :).

Today's Weight (pre-op): 328.6 pounds
Total Weight Lost: 9.6 pounds

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Aaand...I'm off!

Just waiting on my bestie to be ready to go - and we're off! We just need to hit the gas station to fill up my car, then we'll be off for the 2+ hour trek to the hospital! I'm totally comfy right now in my fuzzy pajama pants my sister got me for Christmas, a tank top (no bra! - I'm gonna have incisions in that area) and some flip flops. I'm all showered and followed all of the pre-op instructions...haven't had anything to eat or drink since midnight, showered, no makeup, perfume, deoderant (it's odd to leave the house without that on!), lotion, etc.

Ooo...I hear bestie gettin' his coffee on in the kitchen - must be time to go!! The consultant said I'd be discharged at 7 or 8pm (did I say that yesterday?!), so we should be home about 9 or 10pm tonight! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeee....here we go!

It's here!

Hospital called today and confirmed my surgery for tomorrow at the Tri-City Medical Center in Hawaiian Gardens, California. I've never been to that particular city before, but it sounds nice! Besides, I can always tell people that I went to Hawaii for surgery, right?? :) I have to check in at noon, so bestie and I will leave the house at about 9:30am to make the trek down there. The consultant told me I should expect to be discharged around 7 or 8pm tomorrow night, so it'll be late before I get home and get to pass out! I've heard from several people today wishing me luck, wanting updates tomorrow, etc...gosh, wish I could have my phone with me all day! Once they take me back for surgery, I'm sure I won't be bored anymore...but if you're someone waiting for the "how she's doing" blog, I doubt I'll jump on here when returning home from surgery late tomorrow night. And, Grandma? I know you'll be asleep :).

Wow - reading back that first paragraph, I'm not so eloquent at the moment. It's been a rough last few days...getting back into the routine of school while sticking to the pre-op diet, lecturing and hammering content into my students as much as possible because I'll be absent for the next 6 days from work, union grievances to process, substitute lesson plans to write, grades to finish...yeesh. I'm almost *lucky* to be having my LapBand installed tomorrow so I can take a break! LOL! It's sad that I'm ready for another "vacation" after returning from our two week winter break, but I'm sure I'm not alone in that!

Don't have much to say as of now, and my lack of sophisticated thought is bothering me a little...I will say that I'm not so much nervous about my surgery tomorrow. I'm anxious: for the surgery to be here and over, for the post-op recovery to go smoothly and as painless as possible, for my awesome bestie to be out of the hospital waiting room as quickly as possible and, most of all, for this new life I will lead as a "Bandster" to truly begin.

Monday, January 4, 2010

3 days from now...!

Grandma called me yesterday because I hadn't posted a blog in "a couple of days," and wanted to make sure I was alright...lol. I'm fine! I never saw this blog as a daily update of what's going on with this surgery or journey, rather a place to write when I felt like I had something to say, whether that be every few days or several times in a day. At this point? I will have a LapBand around my stomach within 72 hours, if all goes as planned with the surgery. I had lost 8 pounds pre-op as of this morning, and had decided to switch to a mostly liquid diet for these last three days to finish jump starting the diet process (I've been doing extensive reading on a lap band support forum about various pre-op diets people have been required to be on). I'll be on liquids for a week following the band anyway, so I might as well get used to it! Today's menu included: 2 whey protein powder shakes, 1 glass of juice, 1 can of chicken broth and 1 can of tuna (see? MOSTLY liquid!)...oh, and tons of water. Two more days of this diet and it's surgery time! Although, I will tell ya this - if anything happens and they push my surgery date back or can't operate (I'm terrified of being one of the people whose liver is too fatty and they close back up without a band!), I am going to GORGE on some fatty fast food on Thursday!!!

Today was an interesting day, though. As a teacher, I had to head back to school after two weeks off for Winter Break. I'm still working on not smoking, but it was interesting talking to both my students and colleagues about the surgery I'm having. Although I'm absent frequently from my classroom to handle contract negotiations and other teacher union duties, I wanted everyone to be clear that I would be back for these first three days of the new semester to get the ball rolling, but that my substitute would then be in charge starting Thursday and through next week. I tried to convince my students that I was having brain surgery (lol!), but finally told my FFA Officer team at our meeting this afternoon what was really going on - I'm sure it will be spread throughout my 100 students by tomorrow :). No big deal! In the front office, I wanted to tell one of my close counselor friends, but he had another casual friend of mine in his office - so I blurted it out anyway! It's not that I haven't wanted to tell people about my journey (the counselor friend has known for awhile that it was coming), I just get paranoid about things that "will happen," and don't like to get peoples' hopes up...or mine...until it's all said and done. But, c'est la vie. The front office secretaries and I had the discussion when I signed off for my 6 days of absences - "What kind of surgery, if you don't mind me asking?" was all I needed to hear to have the conversation. The ladies have always been good to me, and one of them is a Facebook friend, so I figured they could know. Again, it's not that I feel ashamed or want to hide it, I just want to have an actual band IN MY STOMACH before I start making public declarations about what I'm doing. Also had to send out an e-mail to the union executive board I sit on to let them know about two meetings I wouldn't be able to make, due to the surgery, and remembered that two of them hadn't been told about the surgery - so, they know now...and one of them has even been considering the surgery herself, and wanted to pick my brain about my experience thus far! See? You never know where support buddies will find you :).

But, with the frequent story telling of my upcoming surgery, the decrease in calories and, therefore, energy, cessation of cigarettes, and dealing with being "back to school" today...this girl's sleepy.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

A new year always brings promises with it - those of health, love and money. This year? It's going to be quite a different year for me. I turn 30 in August. I may be looking to buy a house in July (or decide to rent for another year). He will be here in 10 days. And, most importantly to my health? My surgery is in 6 days. I'm looking forward to the incredible changes I'll see in 2010, and to the new places I will see (West Virginia & Louisiana!). I'm really stoked about the opportunities that this year promises to bring, and know that success is within my reach for my own, personal health and well being. That? Is the greatest gift I could give myself in this new decade - happy 2010!

And here we are on Day 2 of the pre-op diet...surprisingly, it wasn't the hunger that got to me yesterday. Despite consuming under 600 calories in the entire day, it was the MASSIVE headache I got from quitting caffeine and cigarettes all in one day as well. I'm an avid Diet Coke drinker - a typical day involves me consuming two or three (or four!) 44 ounce Diet Cokes from various fast food locations in town. When I'm not out and about as much (as is the case with vacation), I typically drink a lot of iced tea (plain, thanks) and even get on a coffee kick every few days. Cutting my diet to strictly water, diet juice and protein shakes for my liquid consumption...ugh. On top of that? Quitting the pack a day I was smoking didn't help me either...I took a nap yesterday afternoon only to awake with the most ginormous, pounding headache I've had in some time. I woke up, took some Excedrin and bummed a smoke off of my bestie (best friend and roommate) who was happy to oblige. When I muttered the comment, "I need to go buy a pack of smokes," he handed me a pack he had just bought and said, "No ya don't." Trust me - he's the most supportive guy around, and it's probably best that I quit one thing at a time. Maybe he knew that? So, I smoked throughout the night, stuck to the diet, and will have to work on the nicotine headache later today. But...

Today's Weight: 335.0 pounds :) Yay for pre-op diet!