Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I think I may be there.....

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We had our kids home from LA and it was just wonderful. I have more energy than I have had in 20 years and had the time to prepare everything in advance so I was not stressed. My family was awesome pitching in on eveything...baking pies, basting the turkey and so much more. I feel like I have changed so much in the last three months. No longer feel that I have to do everything and that is an awesome feeling.

It has been three weeks since my last fill. Since the last fill I have definitely felt a difference in what I can and cannot eat and I feel more satisfied. I cannot eat dry chicken, bread or dry snacks (pretzels) without getting the stuck feeling (used to be able to do so). Turkey was a challenge. I have had tons of stuck feelings (scary, painful moments) in the last three weeks and am having no break through hunger now. So, I talked with the doctor and they postponed my next fill to December 21. If I am still losing weight and feel as I do now, I may be at the sweet spot and need no more fills. Can't believe that a little over 5cc in a 10 cc band might be enough, but it may be. Apparently we all are different...some are good at 5cc and others need 7cc.

The good news is that I did not gain any weight over the holidays. Woohoo! That is a first. And I did not feel deprived at all. Had a little of everything and that was just fine. Still struggling to exercise regulary. I am such a dance nut (I studied and performed for 10 years), so I broke down and ordered the "Dancing with the Stars Cardio Video". My goal is to start ball room lessons with my hubby soon (makes me laugh thinking about us doing that). So maybe this will get me started.

Wishing you all a wonderful Holiday season. Will post some pictures soon of the ever changing me :-)

Friday, November 13, 2009

3rd Fill and still feeling great!

I went in today for my 3rd fill and I am now at 5cc.

The fills have been a piece of cake (so to speak....mmmm...I miss cake). No pain or problems with them and feeling very little restriction so far. Despite that little restriction and no real exericise so far, I have officially lost 35 lbs by the doctor's scales. WOOO HOOO!

Everyone says they can really see the weight loss especially in my face. All of my clothes are hanging and I have no jeans that fit now. Can I hear another WOOOOO HOOOOO?!

I feel soooooooooooo blessed to have had this surgery. AND I am so happy and feeling so different in every way. A lot of that has to do with the huge decrease in stress in my life (resigning my full time volunteer job with the opera). What a blessing it is to be so relaxed and focusing on me and my new consulting and grant writing work and finally getting paid well to do it! WOOO HOOO!

And I have learned so much about my old eating habits.

So those of you reading this with or without lap band surgery, listen up for these helpful hints! Wish I had followed these rules all my life.

1. Chew, chew and chew again your food to the consistency of apple sauce. I never knew how fast I gulped food before. Now I eat slowly and get full much faster.

2. Do not drink 30 min before or 1 hour after meals. My grandfather "Dandy" who was one of America's first Osteopaths (Doctor of Osteopathy) used to hassle us all the time at family dinners to not ever drink with our meals. We thought he was an old coot, but he wasn't...he was ahead of his time! Why? Drinking rushes the digestive process and washes food down keeping you from chewing properly. With lap band, it washes our food through our new pouch too fast and makes us hungrier faster. I thought this was going to be so hard to give up but turns out that I am adjusting!

3. Don't eat between meals, ever. Just walk away from the kitchen (I go upstairs).

4. Drink a ton of water (at least 64 oz a day)

5. Consume at least 50 to 70 grams of protein a day. I thought I was getting enough protein in my diet, but I really wasn't and most of us women don't. I feel so much better and my nails are hard as well....nails (the metal kind)!

So I am due for another fill in 3 weeks...they think that a few more fills should get me to my "sweet spot". I had my fitness appointment today (10 visits with a specialized trainer are included with my surgery). I have orders to do aerobic exercise and weight training 3 to 5 days a week. THAT will be my biggest challenge. I hate exercise. I love dancing, swimming, hiking etc so I just have to commit and do it. Tips will be appreciated.

Good luck to you all and Happy Thanksgiving. Our kids are coming home (from LA) and we cannot wait. It is snowing today and I just love this time of year. Blessings to you all!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

9 weeks down and 2nd fill

It has been 9 weeks since my surgery and I am still doing great. Weight loss has slowed down considerably, though I have lost 33 lbs since surgery. Not bad...I'll take it!

Had my first fill five weeks ago and could not feel any change at all. Had my second fill yesterday and .5 cc was added (have 4.5 cc filled in my 10 cc band). On a liquid diet until tomorrow so don't know if anything has changed. Going back in a little under 3 weeks for my next fill. Doctor said it could take up to 8 more fills to get to my sweet spot ("typical fill level is 7cc's or more). The fills do not hurt at all fortunately. I have been able to eat anything with no problem so I know I am not anywhere near my target yet.

Went on my first trip since surgery this past weekend. Flew to LA and spent four days there. What a wonderful feeling to have the seatbelt a little loose on me. Victory!!!

Found a Trader Joes and bought my favorite ready made protein shakes and ate several meals out with no problems. Took home a doggie bag and had two more meals from one dinner. Portion size in restaurants is so amazing. Met our children and went to the USC vs OSU game and walked my butt off and did great. Have not had such energy in many, many years. All of my clothes are hanging on me so I need to get them altered soon.

I feel soooooooooo blessed that I had this surgery. I have a long way to go to get to my goal of 140 lbs but I really feel confident that I can get there. Good luck out there to everyone!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I'm feeling terrific!

Sorry I have not been blogging. Verrrry busy with work stuff, but that is over and done and I am free! Yipeeee!! I am focusing now on me, exercise and my consulting business.

It's been six weeks since my surgery and all is well. I have lost 28 lbs (by my scales and 30 lbs by the Dr's scales) and most of my clothes are hanging on me or I am wearing stuff I have not worn in many, many years. What a great feeling!! My energy is super high and my joint pain is so much better.

I had my first fill on September 29...they added 1cc to the residual 3cc in my band. The fill was super simple, no pain at all and no big deal. Stayed on liquids for 2 days but have not had any feeling of tightness. I am not supposed to get another fill for 3 weeks, but I think I will call the doctor to see if we can move that earlier because I just don't feel any different.

I am enjoying eating lots of salads, soups and every now and then one flattened, crustless piece of wheat bread with liverwurst and mayo folded in half. Sounds gross, but a regular sandwich will not work I am sure. Plus I love liverwurst! I had one "PB" incident a few weeks ago when I mindlessly ate and swallowed a corner of a piece of dried out banana bread. OH MAN! I always wondered what "stuck" and "PB" I know and I will never mindlessly eat again.

When I eat, my husband finishes 10 minutes before I do but hangs with me while I chew and chew. I have to say that I do feel hunger a lot still, but I just refuse to give into it. Hopefully the next few fills will change that.

Now my big challenge is to exercise. Got to get into the habit of that asap. Good luck to you all out there!

Monday, September 7, 2009

3 weeks post op and my birthday...

Well it has been 3 weeks since my surgery and I'm not where I hoped I would be dang it. My weight is still dropping although at a slower pace now that I am off liquids. After my doctor visit I was so excited and energized that I worked Wed-Fri at least half days and felt so stimulated physically and mentally. That all ended on Saturday unfortunately.

I spent Saturday afternoon through Sunday night basically immobile due to stomach, back, abdomen pain. When I visited my doctor last Tuesday they basically said you can eat what you want. I was very careful...ate small salads with soft veggies (tomatoes, cucumbers, black olives), tuna salad and other semi-soft food. Then on Friday we went out to dinner at our favorite sushi restaurant (I Love Sushi by Winco) and I ate miso soup, salad and 3 pieces of a shrimp tempura roll. Felt ok afterwards so on Sat am I had 1/2 a piece of toast (crusts cut off) in the morning and worked in the kitchen for 3 hours roasting tomatoes from our garden and making salsa. Guess I over did it and it was downhill from there. Had to go back on liquids on Sunday and resorted to taking pain medicine last night. Got rid of the pain but had to get in bed and turn off the lights to keep from being sick from the medicine (pain meds do not agree with me). I am hoping that the problem was a simple stomach irritation due to new foods and physically over doing it and nothing else. I am so fearful of band slippage or something worse so it was a rough weekend. Had my first big cry yesterday from being frustrated and couldn't even cry very well for fear of hurting my stomach :((

Today is a new day and my 53 birthday. I feel better today...not in as much pain but really wrung energy and definitely down in the dumps. I am waiting for that energy surge that I read about on blogs. I had it for a few days so I was unprepared for the big let down and misery of this weekend. My husband reminds me that it has only been 3 weeks since surgery afterall and there are bound to ups and downs. I am praying that it was the rice and bread and over activity that started this otherwise I am clueless.

Anyone else have this experience?
Is it an up and down kind of thing until you figure out what foods agree with you and which ones don't?

I did not have any of the stuck feelings...just generalized bad abdomen and referred back pain. Fortunately I have not thrown up yet or had an urge to eat bad stuff or over eat (I'm too scared to do that). Comments and opinions welcome. Hoping for a better week! Take care all.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

2 weeks post op and I am feeling good :)

First Doctor Visit-It's been 2 weeks since my surgery and I am really feeling good! Went to the doctor today for the first time and they are thrilled with everything. My incisions are healing well (no visible stiches or staples...just little red lines), I have lost 14 lbs according to one of their scales and close to 20 lbs according to the other scale in the 3 weeks since I started the liquid diet. I like the latter scale the best :). I can really feel the weight loss and it is just wonderful. I go back to the doctor in 4 weeks for my first fill. They told me that I have about 4 cc residual fill in the band already which explains why I have been eating so little. This is better than the opposite. I feel so blessed that I have not had one incident or nausea or vomiting. YAY. I will do anything to avoid that. I did have a really scary incident on Saturday when I had crushing left chest, left arm and neck and jaw pain....had to sit completely still for hours and take the heavy duty pain meds (which I hate cause they make me loopy). It finally resolved after 4 hours and must have been gas pain (from left over surgical gas when they blow up your abdomen). That is the first real pain I have had thankfully. I really thought I was having a heart attack at first.

Diet-They gave me the green light today to eat normal food which I did reluctantly since I have been on liquids for 3 weeks. So I made a turkey, lettuce and tomato wrap with a small soft wheat tortilla and it was pretty icky. I was shocked at how things I normally love just don't taste the same...lunch meats are too salty, mayo is weird, the little liverwurst (my fav) I tried was disgusting. The best thing I have eaten today was a fresh cucumber and tomato salad (from our garden) with rice vinegar and toasted sesame seeds. It will be an adventure to create new healthy meals. Fortunately I have had no cravings for sweets or anything (sugar free jello and puddings are terrific)...I just want to chew healthy stuff .

Energy-still don't have much's appt. grocery store and bank pooped me out today. Need to be walking 30 min a day (in 5-10 min shifts) but I have a hard time doing that, so tried our recumbent life cycle today and it was great. I can now swim but our pool is getting cold with the cold nights.

Singing-my big fear was that the intubation tube would damage my chords and affect my voice. Dr. Traul said they used the smallest tube thankfully. So I tested my voice today (which I have not done because of my diaphragm tenderness) and I sang fine. woohoo. Bodes well for an upcoming opera role. I knew it was going to be ok when Hanna (our maltipoo) started singing along with me. She is so talented :)

Good luck everyone and thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Five days post op and all is well

Well I made it to my first Saturday with no complications (thank you God). Have lost at least 13 lbs since starting the liquid diet 12 days ago. My stomach (incision) pain is better and I have not taken daytime pain meds in days...just a little at night. Have been sleeping through the night the past two nights and back in my bed with Hanna between Mike and me. She seems to know to stay away from my stomach and only spoons with Mike! Ha! I have walked all over my house for exercise and even wore regular clothes today but still have no energy (nor am I allowed) to do more than sit, lie down or walk. This is really hard for me. For those who know me, I am major type A person and always doing something... so, I finally found a couple of sit down projects. Only problem is it hurts to sit straight up for a long time. This too shall pass, meanwhile I am going stir crazy.

Several friends have brought Mike dinner (thank you dear friends). I have sniffed and frozen a bit of each dinner for when I can eat it in a few weeks. Cannot drive yet so definitely have cabin fever. My last complaint is the liquid diet. Have one more week of this and boy is it ever tough. Liquified soups and protein shakes get so old so fast. I blended my lentil, turkey, portabello soup until it was liquified but could not drink it because it was just too gross. Have even liquified chicken and stars, chicken noodle etc but they are just glad this is temporary.

To end on a positive note...I am grateful that I am alive and have this chance to improve my health. Thanks to all who have sent me healing thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Two days post surgery and I am surviving

Ok here is the real truth about my lap band surgery. I am not feeling terrific so this description will be a bit clinical, but hopefully will give others info about what this involves and let my friends and family know what is going on (the phone is not my friend when I don't feel well).

Big drama before surgery was that my mammogram had a suspicous area that warranted spot mammography and ultrasound and almost delayed my surgery. Fortunately, it was a cyst they think recently enlarged because I started bio-identical hormones 6 months ago. Geez...finally got the all clear for surgery at 4pm on Friday. Whew.

It is Wednesday afternoon and I had my surgery done at 7:45 on Monday am by Dr. Traul and Eaton at RVMC. Did really well on the pre-op liquid diet and lost at least 10 lbs according to the weigh in the morning of surgery. Was not really nervous going into this. Mike was there the whole time and Jess was in my room when I arrived. Pre-op at RVMC was excellent. I am an IV nightmare (last ER visit a few years ago took 5 attempts before success) so warned them to get their best person to do they IV which they did thankfully so no problems there (props to 40 year veteran nurse rock). Read a book until the relaxing shot kicked in and off I went. Made a faux pas when I asked who the anesthesiologist was and he told me and I said "but I requested Dr. Hall and you are not him". He was nice and treated me well. Recovery room stay was longer than expected and felt pretty awful but made it to the room at 10:30am. The anesthesiologist used a smaller intubation tube after learning that I was an opera singer (thank you). Biggest complaint after surgery was definitely cotton mouth. I am a huge water drinker and could not have but 30 mil of water every 15 minutes...dying for water. Then, that night my IV hand started swelling and burning which meant I had to get a new IV (infiltrated out of the vein) and no one was around that was willing to attempt a new IV with my history. They finally got a CCU nurse at 2am to come do it but it was put in my right arm (elbow) so that everytime I bent my arm the IV buzzer went off! Nothing is easy. Poor Mike spent the night between two chairs (I love him so much) and helped me through everything waking me up every 15 min to drink. We managed to get a few hours of sleep but between every 2 to 4 hour nurse visits and my IV buzzing, it was a sleepless night. Found out late in the day Monday that I could get morphine every hour (dang...nice to learn that 12 hours post op!) Did that frequently but could not stand the wiped out feelings so gave up morphine on Tues am. They give you two antibiotic IV treatments these days to fight off infection so hopefully that all went well despite the IV issues. Tuesday am slept a bunch...Dr. Traul came in and said all went well. I have 5 incisions on my abdomen at 12 o'clock, 2, 10 and 6 and then one on the bottom of my left rib cage. I asked about that one because being a PT made me question the location. Apparently they "blow up" your belly with gas to do the surgery and that is the last incision made to expel the gas. Have no external stitches...just internal dissovable stitches and steri-strips that will fall off in a week or so.

Big post surgery issue is the after effects of the gas in your way to rid that except walking and movement which aint easy. Sort of feels like a big weight on your chest and uncomfortable pressure. Once they made sure I could swallow well I left the hospital and walked out (no more wheel chairs these days) and got home at 1:30pm on Tuesday. First challange was our amazing tempur-pedic bed. We love it but it is not good for post op abdominal surgery. Thankfully Luke's bed is hard and low to the ground so that is my new spot until my stomach incisions heal and I can get up and down from a lying position easily. Finding that I can drink lots of water thankfully and have only had a few uncomfortable stomach sensations. Not sure what is what yet so I look forward to understanding all of that. Had the energy to make and liquefy my favorite soups before surgery so my diet is fine. Have to get 50 to 70 grams of protein a day which is easy to do with all the choices these days of flavored and unflavored protein (but less than 5 carbs and no sugars).

So, today I am home alone and doing fine. I thought I would need folks to check on me but I think I am going to be ok and I am miserable company so would just as soon be left alone. Jessica left for LA this morning after being home a month. I cried and Hanna hooted (her version of crying I pitiful...sounds like a howl/ sweet). Hard to Jessica go after such a long visit.

Emotionally I am wiped. Have had a few moments of feeling "oh my gosh what have I done and did I really need to do this to lose weight?". This is no cake walk for sure and is major surgery. So far so good and I pray things continue to go well. Thanks for the prayers and good wishes.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

4days before surgery...lots of lessons learned and aha moments this week

So I am on day 4 of the liquid diet and losing weight according to my little scale. That's thrilling!It has not been nearly as hard as I thought it would be and I now have confidence that I will be fine and can handle the 2 week liquid diet and gradually progress to pureed then soft then normal. I have to say that this is the first time in the 22 years that I have been overweight that I finally have hope that I can return to a healthy weight and resume the active lifestyle that I have missed for so long. I was always a normal weight until age 30. Then I gained 80lbs (in a year) when my thyroid stopped functioning during the post-partum period of my second child. A few years later, 3 years of using steroids to control asthma and a fungal sinus infection brought on the next 40 lbs and I have never been able to lose it until now. I feel so grateful to have the lap band option and I feel so good about realizing that I really can do this. My family and friends are so amazingly supportive and I am truly grateful. I did have a challenge today at work when I had to go to lunch with some donors and all the soups were chunky. I asked if they could puree it and the did. Success!

A question for all you lap banders out there. Is there such a thing as getting too much protein (via the protein shakes)? If so can it harm you?
Until next time, good luck out there everyone...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pre-Op Week

It is the week before surgery and I have been on a liquid 1200 calorie a day diet since yesterday (Monday) am. Thankfully today was easier than yesterday. This is supposed to help you lose 5 pounds before the surgery and shrink your liver and fatty deposits so the surgery will be easier and my liver smaller. Whoever decided that patients should do this was brillant....Why? because I will be on a liquid diet for two weeks post-op and I really am glad to know what and how I will be doing that. Fortunately, I have been using protein shakes for breakfast for 6 years now due to insulin resistance. Unfortunately, my protein shakes have been higher carbs and sugars than what I could have been using (dang it). Have to now drink protein shakes with less than 5 carbs and no sugar and at least 20 grams of protein. I have found a great one...Isopure...50 grams of protein, 0 carbs and sugars and it is instantized so I don't have to use the blender each time. LOVE that. It is critical to get 50 to 70 grams of protein a day and along with Isopure flavored shakes I also have the flavorless protein powder that can be mixed into soups. So...success!

Surprisingly, I am not pooped and had enough energy to make 3 meals tonight for Mike and Jessica. Chicken salad, chicken and rice soup (pureed for me), a roast is still in the crock pot for tomorrow night and bruschetta with our home grown Cherokee purple heirloom tomatoes and cucumber salad from our garden. Made all that food and served it to my family and it felt good.

Have had some "ah ha" moments today. I am humbled that I am having to do this surgery to lose weight and how easy it is to get into the habit of eating. Not just over eating, but maybe not making the best choices or having dessert, etc. After two days on this diet, I am so motivated to get healthy and active and back to my goal weight. I cannot wait to start dancing again (poor Mike will learn how to ball room dance! HA!) and winter sports (cross country skiing and down hill). Thanks for reading.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Time for a smaller healthier me!

Time for a smaller, healthier me! I am starting this blog to chronicle my weight loss journey. I will have lap band surgery on August 17, 2009 by Dr. Traul at Southern Oregon Bariatric Center. I was normal weight for 31 years and have been overweight for 22 years. It's time to take care of me.