Weight Loss Tracker

Sunday, April 8, 2012

1st Post - 2 1/2 Months Post Op

So, let me start by introducing myself and taking you back to when I first had surgery. My name is Nikki and I live in South Jersey near Atlantic City in the USA.  I started pre-op on 1/12/12 and lost 15 lbs before my surgery on 1/26/12.  I have recently started reading other blogs and realize so many more things now than before I had the surgery. I was a planner and thought that I knew everything that was going to happen as I went into the surgery and post-op, but I now realize just how much I didn't know.  Let me be clear about one thing, and that is that each and every bander is completely different, along with their doctors.  My doctor didn't put any type of fill in my band during surgery, as he stated that the stomach area would already be swollen from the surgery so it would be difficult to eat regardless.  OK..I wish I had started this blog a many others which is pre-op, but since I didn't I will try to give you my best recollection of how it went down and also give you an introduction to me and my life.

Here are 2 pics at what I believe was my highest weight of 345, but not exactly sure...couldn't find too many...

The below is a pic from September 2010...not exactly sure of the weight in that one, but was smaller than above.

About me....I have been pretty big for most of my life, including childhood. I always say that I was born at 9.2 lbs and never stopped getting bigger!  I have tried multiple diets/lifestyle changes, what have you...and none lasted for a long period of time.  I have always been a fun and outgoing person and have lots of very good friends. I have never had a problem with having a boyfriend, albeit the wrong ones, until recently.  I found my soulmate on Valentine's Day 2009 and we were recently married on 11/11/11.  Everyone asks me why I didn't wait to have my wedding until after I lost the weight, and I think..what for?  I know that he loves me for me and I know I don't look absolutely horrible, so it wasn't really something I thought needed to happen. Here is a picture of me and my husband on our wedding day.

My main reason for losing the weight is to be healthier and able to do more sports that I like to do without feeling like an elephant is standing on my lungs after 5 minutes!  I am very fortunate that I don't have any co-morbid health issues. My cholesterol is 154, my blood sugar is great and my blood pressure is 112/71.  I mainly want to feel better about myself, fit in a plane seat/amusement park ride, without the thought that someone is pissed because they have to sit next to the big person. I really like softball/volleyball, but get too out of breath, so can't really play. I do, however, when on vacation go snorkeling/scuba diving. I grew up in the water and continue to swim like a fish!

This is a photo of me and my friend Jamie at my Bachelorette party in October 2011.

I started this journey 8/31/11 and due to insurance constraints had to wait several months before being approved to have the surgery.  My highest weight was 345, not sure exactly when, but I had taken some weight off with Weight Watchers.  At one point, I had lost 80 lbs and was down to 265, but like so many other times, I gained most of it back.

Pre-Op 01/12/12: Weight 327
So on 1/12 of this year I began this process.  My doctor had me on a 1000 calorie diet that consisted mainly of high protein drinks and threw in the occasional lean cuisine for something to chew. Honestly, the first few days were the hardest, but after that, it wasn't that bad.  They say if your liver is enlarged when the doc goes to have the surgery, that the doctor may not operate, and for me that wasn't an option so I followed the diet strictly.

01/26/12: Weight 312
OK..lets talk about the day of surgery itself. I have to tell you that so many people on here say that there surgery was relatively painless and they felt pretty good. I, however, did not have the same luck. I was supposed to have surgery at around 10:30 in the morning, so did not have anything to eat/drink since the evening before. I wound up not going back for surgery until approximately 1:30pm and was a bit hungry, but when they brought me back to the surgery area, they started talking to me, put some stuff in my catheter in my hand and then I was out.  I woke up a few hours later, with not too much pain at all.  I was in Post-Op and they had me pretty well drugged.  I knew that they told me that I woud need to get up and walk within 4 hours of surgery and I made them get me up and start walking within 2 hours....no problems at all.  So, I sent my husband and mother home at approximately 8pm since I knew there was nothing they could do for me. I was still in Post-Op and was supposed to be moved to a room on the Bariatric floor, but the hospital was overcrowded that evening and I got to spend the lovely evening in Post-Op the entire night...I was the only one in there.  Approximately 10pm I started having gas pains, not pains from the incision.  I knew about the gas pains, as I had gallbladder surgery previously, but I had no idea how many and how often they would happen.  My gas pains were awful, and I can usually handle pain really well.  I think that since the Post-Op people weren't as familiar with my type of surgery as the Bariatric Unit, they didn't realize just how often I should have been up and walking, so needless to say the pain got progressively worse.  They got me up and walking, but the pains were so bad and they would shoot from my stomach to my chest (felt like bricks on my chest) and then they would expel through my shoulder (felt like what I assume someone feels like if they are bludgeoned...lol)...well...maybe not that bad, but pretty awful.  So, the team was really great with me and gave me lots of drugs, however, the drugs only helped the incision pains and not the gas pains, so I never slept the entire night.  Do not let this discourage you though, as I am apparently one of few that had the gas pains so severely. If asked would I do it again, yes i would..in a heartbeat. The next day the pains subsided more and more because I made sure to walk as much as possible. At 1pm the next day, they moved me into the Bariatric Unit and I guess they felt bad for everything I went through because they gave me a lovely end suite, with a beautiful view of the courtyard :)  I went home that evening, with lots of drugs and prescriptions in hand.

Here is a picture of me and my husband in March 2012...I think my face looks thinner at least....

I didn't feel to great the first few days, but it got progressively better and by a week out, I felt pretty good because the gas pains subsided and the only thing you could feel is the incision pains occasionally if you didn't take the drugs on schedule.  I was still very tired, but was starting to walk more. I definitely was unable to eat/drink much during the first 2 weeks following surgery.  I definitely made sure to get all the protein and water in though...even though I felt like I had to drink constantly :)

I followed my doctor's regimen closely for the next 6 weeks...introducing the next step on a bi-weekly basis as instructed. First Full Liquid Diet 2 weeks, then Mushies 2 Weeks, then Soft Food 2 weeks, by then though I could definitely eat whatever I wanted...no restriction at all. This is what I have heard other's refer to as Bandster's Hell. Apparently that is what they call it until you feel your restriction and it is actually helping you with portion control, instead of you relying solely on your own willpower to do it. 

I had my first fill on 3/12.  They put in 2 cc's in a 10 cc band.  A week later, when i reintroduced regular food, I felt no different.  What the? I didn't understand. I thought I was supposed to feel something...receive some sort of help, but No. I didn't.  My doctor is very restrictive with fills, so technically I was supposed to wait another 6 weeks before the next one, but I was able to somehow talk them into a fill 3 weeks later, so I had my second fill on 4/3, and additional 1.5 cc's.  As of today, as I read regular foods, I do not feel much different. I don't know if I feel some difference or not...but I was able to again ask for a fill a bit earlier than usual and I have another one scheduled for 4/23.  I believe I am still in bandster hell because I can technically eat whatever I want and have to rely on myself to make the correct choices.  That is extremely difficult. If it was easy, then I would have done that without having to have the lap band as a tool! 

Anyway, I am currently down 24 lbs, so I am definitely happy about that, but I know it would have been more if I paid closer attention to the types of foods I have been consuming and would have cut out the alcoholic beverages. That is my goal for now...leave the alcohol alone until Memorial Day!  It is wasted calories and does nothing for my weight loss journey and it goes right through the band!  I just celebrated my birthday this past weekend, so I also need to get myself back on track food wise. Nobody said it would be easy, so now it is up to me to do the things I need to do to start losing.  I can't wait until I finally get a restriction and find my green zone.  I must say I am truly inspired by another blogger's journey and read her blog from beginning to end this past weekend, so if you get a chance check out... http://cheeseandsunkist.blogspot.com/  Unbelievable journey and success story!  It is absolutely amazing how much we sound alike. She had her surgery 1/27/09, mine was 1/26/12. She started at 327, and so did I. She is outgoing, as am I and even our Myers Briggs Personality tests are only off by one letter!

Anyway, just wanted to give you a heads up of where I am on this journey. Hope to hear from some of you so that we can support each other. I need all the help I can get! Good luck to all of you whether you are considering surgery or already have had it!

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