Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Surgery Day!

I was starting to get nervous, really nervous.  As October 24th approached I started having second thoughts. I kept thinking "what the heck am I doing??" and even had to call my friend the day of surgery and ask her to remind me why I was doing this. 

All dressed up and ready to go!
We arrived at the hospital around 10am and I checked in and got my pre op room.  I got to wear a fun purple paper gown, got my vitals checked and blood drawn.  I was trying to relax but it was difficult.  Then the nurse came in and said they received a call to bring me down early.  I was wheeled down to the surgical wing and settled into a hospital bed.  I got my iv inserted, which hurt like the dickens because she could only put it in my hand. Finally the anesthesiologist came in to talk to me. I had heard from other people that had this surgery to ask for some anxiety medication if you are nervous, so I did. After that I was super relaxed!

The doctor came in to talk to me right before the surgery and we decided to remove my gallbladder since the ultrasound showed I had two large gallstones.  I would rather have one surgery than two, so I was ok with removing it! After that, I was wheeled into the operating room.  I was laughing and chatting with the anesthesiologist and a couple of nurses right up until they knocked me out :)  I even got onto the operating table by myself like it was no big deal, those meds were awesome! I loved the team that assisted my surgeon, they were so nice and made me feel really comfortable.  One of the nurses told me that they are really specialized in their field and know what they're doing, so that helped a lot.

View from my hospital bed
Next thing I remember is being in the recovery room.  I woke up to pain and nausea, which was not fun. Thankfully I was out of it and kept falling asleep so it wasn't too bad. I remember being wheeled into my private room (don't get too excited because it was very small) and seeing my mom.  I finally got my morphine pump, which was like heaven :) Once I was able to get the morphine and rest some more, I felt pretty good.  I had a nurse and a CNA that kept coming in every 4 hours, which doesn't allow you much time to sleep.

I had been dreading the gas pain, which thankfully I didn't have.  It must have been the toradol shots they gave me that stopped the gas pain.  I was able to walk a little, but whenever I did the machine would beep like crazy.  The nurses would tell me "take a deep breathe!" I didn't realize at the time that my oxygen level was really low.

That ended my crazy rollercoaster of emotions day.  Looking back, I think I was pretty lucky.  The pain was fleeting, I was only nauseous after waking up from anesthesia, and there were no complications. Overall, I feel pretty blessed.  I know I had a lot of people thinking and praying about me which I really appreciate! I am thankful I got through the surgery with such ease!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What I Eat

I've gotten a few requests for info on what my nutritionist (Emily) taught me, so here it is!

Emily had me following a diabetic plan. I'm pre diabetic so she wanted my blood sugar to be lower. Following this plan helped me to realize what I was eating and that a lot of it was protein and starches. She taught me to eat all food groups at each meal and gave me a poster that I keep on my fridge (see pictures below). At first it was hard to get each food group in, but it became easier. At first Emily just wanted me to get all my food groups in. Once I got into the habit of doing that, then I worked on portion control. 

What also helps me is to keep snacks in my drawer at work. This made me cut down on eating at the work cafĂ© and skipping breakfast. I have a bad habit of skipping breakfast occasionally. In my drawer I usually have applesauce or fruit cups, fiber one bars, small bagels, chocolate pudding cups (for when I need something sweet), and peanut butter (or almond butter).

Also, Emily wanted me working out at least 3 times a week and told me that after 20 minutes is when you start burning fat. I definitely know that's true because once I started working out 4 times a week for at least 30 minutes, that's when I started noticing myself getting slimmer. I haven't lost pounds, but I'm losing inches. Remember that it's better to measure yourself instead of weighing if you're going to be exercising! Muscle is heavier and takes up less room in your body than fat.

My daily meals usually go like this:

Breakfast - Half a bagel with peanut or almond butter, and greek yogurt (love the Danon 80 calorie Light and Fit).
Snack - Applesauce or fruit cup
Lunch - Low fat soup (usually a non creamy tomato based soup with veggies), side of fruit, yogurt and a starch if there isn't starch in the soup.
Dinner - Small chicken breast, steamed veggies, applesauce and a cup of almond milk

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Take Measure

Since I've been working out, I haven't lost much weight. My friend told me I should measure myself instead of using a scale, so that's what I've started doing. I've been measuring myself once a month since I started going to the gym and the second measurement was an eye opener!
June (starting measurements in inches):
Shoulders - 52
Chest - 48
Waist - 51
Hips - 53 1/2
Thighs - 27 1/2
Arms - 15 1/2
July (in inches):
Shoulders - 46 (6 inches lost!!)
Chest - 45 1/4 (3 1/4 inches lost!!)
Waist - 46 (5 inches lost!!)
Hips - 52 1/2 (1 inch lost!!)
Thighs - 27 1/2
Arms - 16 1/2 (1 inch gained, must be my bulging bicep muscle lol)
August (in inches):
Shoulders - 47
Chest - 45 1/4
Waist - 46
Hips - 53
Thighs - 28
Arms - 16

When I started the lazy man iron man challenge I deviated from my regular workout. I did a lot of bike miles and burpees instead of my preferred total body workout with weights. I'm confident once I get back to the weights, I'll see more of a change. In the meantime I'm happy with my progress.
It is interesting that 6 months ago I wouldn't even consider posting my measurements. Over the past few months I've been able to look at myself more objectively and recognize my progress. I'm changing the way I think about myself and hope I can continue to grow during this process. Most people that have weight loss surgery still see themselves as overweight even after they lose a lot of weight. I hope I can get to a point where I'm happy with myself inside and out no matter what my size.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Today I was thinking about the choices we make and how mine have lead me to this point in time. I think it all started last July when my mom suggested I look into lapband surgery and it got me thinking about having surgery. 

Then in November I saw a specialist about a health issue and they found I was also pre diabetic (which was completely unrelated to my issue at the time). I was referred to a nutritionist named Emily and started working towards being healthier. Because I was already seeing Emily, it made the whole process for gastric bypass easier. I had already completed one of the insurance criteria and had 6 months of documented weight loss history because of our appointments :-). 

All it really took to get the ball rolling on this crazy adventure was a blood test result and here I am 8 months later in a totally different mindset! Who knows where this will lead me from that one decision to see a different doctor (no offense to my primary doctor cuz he's awesome!). I am already happy and excited most of the time. I can't wait to also become less afraid of going out in public and having more self confidence overall. And most of all, being able to shop in all the cute stores! Ok I'm only half joking on that last one, but seriously I might become a shopaholic :-)

Quote by Eleanor Roosevelt

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Couch to Gym!

When I met with my doctor in mid June and talked about gastric bypass surgery, he told me that he wanted me to start working out. He said 4-5 times a week and eventually work out an hour each time. I thought he was crazy and he knew I thought he was crazy lol.

I've had a gym membership from my work gym for over 4 years and I've only used it twice. I thought going there would be a good start. So, I went down after work the first day and decided to try out the elliptical machine. It was pure torture! I made it (barely) to 3 minutes. It really took me longer than 3 minutes cuz I had to stop and rest! Well I had enough of that machine and decided to walk on the treadmill instead.

The next day I rode on the recumbent bike, which was nice and easy. Later that night however, my quad muscles were so sore! I knew I had to mix up my workouts but I didn't know how.

The next night I met Coach Nick, he's an intern working at my gym. I asked him about different exercises and he went around the gym showing me different machines. It was a good workout except for the time I almost passed out!

I liked doing a little bit of everything, cardio and weights mostly. So that became my routine: 15 minutes on the treadmill and 15 minutes of weights. I made all three coaches workout with me every night :-)

Then one night the head coach was working and he said "we're going to do ten minutes on the elliptical." I told him I hated that machine but I tried it. To my surprise, I made it all 10 minutes without stopping! And this was only a week after barely making it 3 minutes!!

Needless to say, I'm pretty proud of the progress I've made. When I first started I didn't realize how out of shape I was. I knew to some extent, but being at the gym really brought it into focus. Now the stairs at work are no problem, I don't huff and puff when I get to the top. I've increased my time on the elliptical little by little. I even started adding more weights to the weight machines. It's just a start, but I am doing awesome and I'm even starting to enjoy working out.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A New Beginning

I have been heavy most of my life. It's something I've always struggled with and I have never been successful with diets. I lose weight, I gain it back, and often times gained even more. Last year I started thinking about weight loss surgery, specifically lapband.  I did the research, talked with people who had had the surgery and discussed it with my doctor.  I was all prepared to do it, when my doctor dropped a bombshell: he has only had one patient be successful with lapband.  He told me, I wouldn't lose more than 50lbs (which would still put me in the obesity BMI category) and that if I was going to do surgery I should do gastric bypass.  Now that threw me.  At the time I wanted a procedure that wasn't permanent and frankly doing something permanent scared me.  So I decided not to do lapband surgery and instead tried to lose weight on my own (unsuccessfully as usual).
Flash forward a year later and here I am still struggling.  In January I was diagnosed as being pre-diabetic and started seeing a nutritionist/diabetic counselor. I tried working out at least 2 times a week, but I hated it. My blood sugar was stabilized but I was frustrated because I wasn't losing any weight. In my family there is diabetes on both sides, history of kidney failure and hypertension.  I could see myself heading down the same path as my family members and that scared me.
Then little things started happening.  A Facebook friend had gastric bypass surgery and I followed his posts to see his experiences.  Then I went to Tennessee and my shuttle driver told me about her gastric bypass surgery.  It was a very interesting conversation and got me thinking.  Interestingly enough, she was my shuttle driver on my way home from the airport too!  I took it as a sign.
I had a really good conversation with my doctor and he was very supportive about it.  He gave me a name of a doctor's office and suggested I go to a free seminar.  I signed up for the next seminar (June 28, 2014) and started researching the surgery.  I found a Facebook group for gastric bypass and read most of the posts, saw the before and after photos, asked questions and soaked up as much info as I could.  By the time the seminar rolled around I had made up my mind, I was doing it!  I was so excited that I filled out the forms that day and slide them under the office door.
Right now I am completing all the insurance criteria and hope to have all of the criteria done in a month.  I should be able to have surgery in the fall.  I am using this blog to document my journey and hope it will inspire others looking to change their lives.  I am excited to begin my new life and it can't come soon enough!