Archive | January 2012

After Surgery

On Thursday, January 26th, 2012 Scott and I got to Rose Medical Center at 7:30am on the nose.  We went to accounts payable to settle my copay.  Then we went to the elective surgical suite and checked in.   We waited a bit and then I was called back to surgical prep.  I practically ran thought the doors, I was SO READY!  They did the run down of the paperwork and got me all settled and then called Scott back.  Then I met Kim, Dr. Snyder’s head nurse at the surgical center – she is awesome! – and Tony, his surgical assistant – also awesome, and a couple of medical students that were there that day.  Everyone was incredibly kind and professional.

Then Dr. Snyder came in and we reviewed exactly what he was doing, we both signed the appropriate documents, and I loosely recall kissing my husband and then waving as they wheeled me down the hall.  I did not have a care in the world.

I apparently spent time in recovery after surgery, but I have zero recall of that.  I do remember being in my room, and I guess I was pretty loopy.  I know I walked up and down the halls, I wanted to set new land speed records and I think I did. I woke up during the night to see my wonderful husband asleep on a cot next to my bed.  I love my husband. I heard my mom and daughter were there but I don’t really remember that.

The next day was busy.  They took me to get x-rays of my surgical site, and I had to drink some nasty stuff to check and see if I had any leaks before they could give me more than ice chips.  I was not leaking so I moved to clear liquids including clear protein drinks and jello.  A quick side note – everyone told me that no one was hungry after this surgery.  I WAS STARVING.  For real.  All the nurses said I was the first person that had that issue.  Of course I was.

More walking, more breathing into this little contraption to make sure you are working your lungs hard enough, lots of sipping and then the Milk Of Magnesia starts showing up.  These people are serious about seeing some bowel action before you can go home.  I was determined to go home on day 2, so let’s just say that I worked that out.  They took out one of my drainage tubes, and I went home with another drain still in and a catheter that was pumping a numbing agent into the surgical area.  I removed that myself the next day, and the drain gets pulled tomorrow at my 1 week appointment.

I am on a very bland diet.  I can have protein drinks, jello, water, low-calorie drinks (not soda) and that is it.  I am not hungry anymore.  I am not sleeping well at all with the tube in, but that is a small price to pay.  Narcotics make me loopy so I am not taking those so I am in some pain but it is manageable.  And I am bored out of my mind.  I really want this phase to be done already.

Just a side note.  I started this journey at 240 in December, and I weighed 218 on my home scale this morning.  Pretty cool.

I am 5 days post-op today! I am still really sore, and have one drainage tube still in, and am having to manage a few other wounds from drains as well, but I would do this again tomorrow to get on the road to health.

The BEST thing that has happened so far besides getting me on the road to a healthy future is that I heard from a friend that I adore yesterday who told me she is seriously looking into this, partly because the universe is smacking her over the head…and my blog was a part of that.  I am so happy if any if this can help anyone else.  The next best thing is that I am hearing from a lot of you that you had no idea that losing weight as an obese person is fundamentally different that for a sub 35 BMI person.  Information is power.

Thank you to all of you that are supporting me on this journey, I am grateful.

Stay tuned! I promise pictures are coming!

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This entry was posted on January 31, 2012. 8 Comments

Today is THE DAY! Surgery time!

I have spent the last few days doing the final prep for the surgery…and now the BIG DAY is here!

1. I bought the groceries and medical stuff I needed and filled my prescriptions for pain meds.

2. I bought my new cross-trainers to put my orthotic inserts in to walk around my neighborhood when I come home.

3. I made arrangements for friends to come help me walk since I can’t hold the leashes for several weeks.

4. I packed my hospital bag.

5. I spent the last 2 days on a clear liquid diet and bowel prep (yes, it is just as fun as it sounds) to clear everything out.  I have a raging headache from being so hungry.

6. I showered last night with a surgical grade soap and again this morning.

I.  AM. READY!

Stay tuned!

 

This entry was posted on January 26, 2012. 2 Comments

Let the games begin – almost!

As I have mentioned before, the exercise component of this journey cannot be overstated.  It is critical, and I would go so far as to say that if you are considering bariatric surgery of any kind and are not willing to change this aspect of your life  – meaning get off your sofa and start moving around daily for at least 30 minutes and do some strength training as well a few days a week…. then you will have LIMITED results.  That’s just the deal.  You HAVE to wrap your head around it and commit to it.  Period.  Bariatric surgery is A TOOL – it only works if you use it correctly.  It is not magic.

As you know from my previous post, I am committed to the Vegas Rock & Roll 1/2 Marathon in December with Dr. Snyder, Richard, and a host of others.  Pretty exciting.  And I had all kinds of homework I needed to do:

1.  Richard told me to call Neil Wolkodoff (PhD!) and get my body scan and gait assessment, so I did that earlier this week.  That was incredibly eye-opening.  The highlights are:

a. My gait is terrible (not from anything I did, it’s just one of those things) – so bad that I need orthotic inserts for my shoes to help correct it for my training…and if I was not hell-bent on running, Neil would have directed me to another form of cardio, like swimming.  And I need very specific running and cross-training shoes.  There are some things I can do to work on my gait, one of which is practicing a correct gait in a shallow pool with those weird 5-toe walking shoes.  And I will work with Richard – A LOT – on correct running form.

b. No big surprise here – I am very overweight.  I have a 51.7 percentage of body fat.  Normal is 19-26.  And my BMI is about 38 – down from 40 since I started getting ready for the surgery.  Normal is again around 23 give or take 3 on either side.  I weighed 241 when I started this and my personal goal is 140….so 101 pounds and a BMI of 24.  On the positive side, I am very well hydrated.  My segmental lean analysis shows I am actually pretty good in my arms and core, but that surprisingly my legs need more weight training.  I would have bet the farm that it would have been the other way around.

2. I met up with Richard and his running crew on Sunday to chat, learn their stretching regimen and talk a little about shoes.  I couldn’t run yet with them, but will start training as soon as possible for my relay leg in the Colfax Marathon on May 20th.  Richard is amazing – he knows how to run now and is a SERIOUS ATHLETE – yet he makes time to spend with the newbies like me that are committed to getting our lives back.  Talk about paying it forward.  I love him – and his amazing partner Carlos.  I have so much to learn from them.  That group is so much fun that the suggestion was made to get together earlier because we spent too much time laughing.  I am loving this peek into my new life!

3. Join the gym (I am joining the Jewish Community Center – JCC – to be with my other tribe, LOL!) and start weight training 2x/week and I also have to do the pool work to change my gait.  PITA, but I am committed to running so I need to do it.

All of this will start just a few weeks post-op.  First I will be walking daily immediately after the surgery, at least 30-60 minutes a day….the bummer here is that nothing can pull, so I cannot leash walk my dogs, so I have to rely on Scott or Chelsea to do that for me, and I love walking my dogs.  I think I need to wait 4-6 weeks before a 130lb dog can tug me around.  Bummer.  Then after several weeks I can start the pool and weight training work and the running.  I am SO. EXCITED.

Stay tuned!!!!

This entry was posted on January 16, 2012. 3 Comments

I May Be Insane – in a Good Way

Yesterday I had my pre-surgical testing done, and also had my pre-op visit with Dr Snyder.  That was something else.  First – the office was PACKED – and I mean packed.  Standing room only.  When I got there, I was handed a 4 page TEST!  I am not kidding.  Dr Snyder makes you take a test to make sure you know what you are committing to, and to make sure you actually understand it.  And then he reviews it with you personally and then you both initial and sign it.  I am more than a little competitive, and I got 100%.  I guess not many do, so I was proud of that.

We chatted about the surgery.  I am not even a tiny bit nervous, I could do this today.  We also chatted about my exercise plans, and I told him about my plans for the 5K and ultimately 1/2 marathon this year.  So of course because I am a world-class athlete in the making – he invited me to join him and Richard (see my earlier post) at the Vegas Rock & Roll Marathon in December and I said YES – without even thinking about it.  WOW!  Dr Snyder gave me Richard’s full name and number and I committed to calling him.

SO I got home and friended him on Facebook and left him the following message:

“Hi Richard! Dr Snyder gave me your cell today and I decided to look you up on FB, too. He invited me to join you guys in December for the Vegas Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon. My surgery in Jan 26th and I am doing the couch to 5K training as soon as I can, my first 5K is in May, then I want to do a 10K later in the summer and then the 1/2 Mar.

I was at the December seminar, and you inspired me to get off the couch after my surgery, so thank you. I am going to find my inner athlete and bring her back to life.

Looking forward to chatting with you soon!

Marie”

And I planned to call him the next day. But then Richard hopped on the bandwagon, accepted my friend request and started messaging me, and the conversation culminated in me agreeing to be a relay leg in the Colfax Marathon on May 20th.  Yes, that’s correct, less than 4 months after my surgery.

Richard also told me to go get my body mass and gait evaluation done, so I am doing that today.  Then I am meeting up with Richard and his running group on Sunday to learn about their training and shoes and stuff.  WOW!

To recap, I am now committed to run with my awesome surgeon this year, and to train with Richard and run soon with his team – and he is now a known athlete.  HOLY. COW.  But I KNOW I can and will do this.

So after all of that, I just sat at my computer with tears of pure joy dripping down my face.  The realization that I am REALLY.  GETTING. MY. LIFE.  BACK….is starting to be very clear.  And I am ecstatic.  It upset Asher my Great Dane, though.  He was a little stressed out that I was crying.

Speaking of Asher – here is what a freak I am – I took him to a world-renowned vet in the area of athlete and working dogs in Colorado Springs to have him assessed to make sure he can train with me, and he was cleared to train with me for up to a 10K, so that is WAY COOL!  Talk about my life lining up!

Stay tuned!!!!

This entry was posted on January 12, 2012. 3 Comments

It’s Official!

I am crying so hard right now that my hands are shaking.  I just got off the phone with my bariatric case worker from my insurance company, and everything is in place, I AM APPROVED!  And my date is Thursday, January 26th!

I am almost sick with excitement and anticipation.  I am so looking forward to the rest of my life, and using this tool – my gastric bypass – to help achieve my health goals so that I can have the life I have imagined for the past 25 years.  I am excited, committed, focused and READY!

Stay tuned!

This entry was posted on January 9, 2012. 5 Comments

Connections

I had lunch with a friend that I love dearly this past week.  I don’t get to see her very often, but I have felt incredibly connected to her for a long time, and am so blessed to have her in my life.  She is so supportive of me always, and is very excited for me as I embark on this journey.

My friend has a sister who is also obese.  She has also struggled with this for a long time.  And it sounds like she is at the “giving up” point that I hit this past year.  Breaks my heart.  I can feel her pain.  I have been there.  Recently.

One of the biggest reasons I started this blog was the hope that I could help – even a little – by sharing my journey with others.  For two reasons.  For those that are not obese, to help them understand what all of this means and why this is a really great option for some people.  And for those that are obese – for them to follow the journey of someone they have a connection with, in the hopes that it helps them to clarify their options.

I did not even realize this was an option for me until a few months ago, and I will bet that is true of A LOT of obese people.

Circling back to my friend and her sister…..I hope that those of you that are reading this blog know that it is completely OK with me if you share this.  I have chosen to make this public…….  So if it can help someone else, please do not hesitate.

I wish each of you health and wellness this New Year.

Stay tuned!

Checking all the Boxes

So this week I met with the nutritionist at Dr. Snyder’s office and also attended the mandatory pre-op group glass, which basically walks us through what to expect and what we need to do between now and 1 week post-op.  And you get a big binder that they tell you to keep with you all the time (or in my case I loaded it onto my iPad) to reference.  Dr Snyder told me I would become an expert and I am indeed becoming an expert on this topic.

Apparently Dr. Snyder actually tests people – with a written test! – at their one week pre-op meeting with him to see if they are clear on everything, and I intend to pass that with flying colors.  There is a lot to know – diet stuff, exercise stuff, wound care, what is and is not a big deal, when the follow-up appointments are….you get the idea.  It is all my new normal, and I can do it.

Today is a big day!  I should get my final insurance approval and with that my surgery date!!!

For Hanukkah, Scott gave me today as a gift.  We are walking the dogs together this morning (we can’t usually do that during the week since he works outside the house), then brunch – which I love, then a massage, then get ready for dinner – sushi – then the Michael Jackson Cirque De Soleil show tonight.  Awesome.

One thing that will be changing big time in the short-term is working on spending time together without it revolving so much around food.  I really will be able to eat out with people in the future after I get the hand of my new “tool” – the gastric bypass – but until then things like taking walks together or meeting for coffee (herbal tea for me) will be my new normal.

I am super excited, I feel very prepared, and now I just want to hear that I have a date.

Did I mention that I found my first 5K (that is about 3 miles) that I will run in?  It is Mother’s Day at City Park in Denver.  I can beat the stroller and walking crowd!  Be there or be square!  I am starting the “Couch to 5K”  plan as soon as I can post-op.  Chelsea has offered to train with me and I am really excited about spending the time with her!

I hope all of you are reaching for your goals and dreams as I am reaching for mine.  Thank you for your support, love and encouragement.  I can feel it.

Stay tuned!