Friday, June 22, 2012

Officially on the Loser's Bench Part 2

This is my third day after surgery and my second day at home.  So far it hasn't been too bad for me as I compare my situation with what I know others have gone through.  Mostly I'm going stir crazy to be quite honest.   

I have my own little corner of my bedroom where I sit and sleep in our leather recliner.  The TV is within sight and I have my remote, so mindless entertainment is taken care of.  I have my laptops near me and easily accessible so I can, and have started working from home: answering emails, starting to work on projects that need my attention and the like.

My fill up station with the flowers sent to me by the company I work for.

But it does get tedious.  And boring.  I do not like to be kept in a corner for very long, so I have been walking every hour or so which is nice.

Physically I am doing really well.  I am still at a higher weight than when I went into surgery, but that is not bothering me too much as I know once the gas and fluids they pumped into me go away, the pounds will start to shed.  Trust me when I say I am really looking forward to when I can ride my bike again, or even do my four to five mile walks!  Now that I had just started to become active, I really miss the exercising!

I seem to be more bloated today than I was yesterday.  I was told that is normal and has happened to others after surgery, so I am not worried about that.  I am taking in fluids quite well, perhaps too well.  I have been told that I need to slow down even more and sip more.  To me I am sipping (coming from a gulping perspective) but I am doing my best to follow orders and slow down.  I really think the chewing aspect is going to be harder for me.  This whole slowing down will be a challenge, but one that I have chosen to embrace as a lover for the new physical life I want to share with my God, family and friends.

I do feel that I have been  productive today as I went out to our garden and watered with miracle grow.  No, I did not, nor could I bend down to turn on the water.  That is what my youngest daughter was there for,  to help me turn on and off the water.  I love my Morgan.  She was very concerned that I was overdoing it and wanted to make sure that I wasn't hurting myself or anything.  She's a very compassionate nine year old.  So she made sure the water was on and made sure the hose didn't kink and I had lots of slack.

The one thing that is bugging me is the gas I am experiencing.  That is the one thing I wish would go away more quickly than it currently is.  Somehow the Gas-X strips just don't seem to be doing the job very well.

So there you have it.  I am home, with very manageable pain, to the point that my hydrocodone sits by its lonesome like some forgotten relic of my past in the corner of my little world right now.  The liquid Tylenol has taken a hiatus and is nowhere to be found and although I am not looking for it my wife has left for the store to make sure I have some.  Just in case.

Overall I am in really good shape, as my limited knowledge of recovering from this surgery and my body can tell me.

I'll keep posting my results on this journey.  I hope you enjoy the ride with me.

Have a great rest of the day!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Officially on the Loser's Bench Part 1.

Tuesday was my surgery date and I'll be honest, I wasn't really nervous at all. I think what I was, was simply ready to get it over with.

Waiting for the IV to be put in.

I checked into the hospital at 6:00 AM and the waiting game began.  About 45 minutes later I was called into the admission area and my hospital bands were placed on my wrist.  Very soon after I was weighed, and placed in my holding area where I was told to get into the hospital gown and yes, wait some more.

My throat was sore and I was very thirsty at this point.  Part of my prep for this surgery is that I could not have anything to eat or drink after 10 PM the prior night.  It would turn out that I would not, could not have anything at all until the following day (Wednesday the 20th of June).  That was not fun, believe me.

Eventually the RN came in and put my IV in my left arm.  After that it was only a matter of minutes.

The IV is in!
Within a few minutes the anesthesiologist arrived and had me start inhaling a gas.  After that I didn't wake up again until I was in my room.

I was operated on at Forrest Park Medical Center in Dallas, TX which has to be one of the nicest facilities I have ever seen.  Every patient has a private room with WiFi, flat screen TV,  and room.  Lots of room actually.  When you called for the nurses for whatever reason, they responded very quickly with whatever you had asked for.

After the surgery, which lasted about an hour, the surgeon, Dr. Nick Nicholson, came out to talk to my wife and one of my fears was relieved quickly.  I was very concerned that my liver would not be up to par for the surgery.  You see, you need as small and healthy a liver you can get to have a good shot at a successful surgery.  I know of some patients who have been in the operating room and had the surgeon call off the surgery because the liver wasn't ready.  So that was a very nice bright spot for me.

Except for the numerous times I was awakened for the various normal functions the nurses had to take care of, I slept.  And slept.  And slept a lot more.  There were times when I thought the nurses were growing concerned over my sleeping all the time.  Oh, and those normal functions I needed to do?  That consisted of having my vitals checked, breathing through an airlife spirometer and walking.  Not to mention having my blood sugar checked due to the steroid shot I received before surgery.

In My room after surgery.  Sleep was my best friend!
The dreaded spirometer!

It took me a while to start drinking liquids again, but when I did I felt like I was in heaven!  Finally cool liquid goodness running down my parched throat!  I just had to do it in sips.  SIPS!  One of the items a newly sleeved patient absolutely has to learn how to do.  If I didn't sip, I had the hiccups.  Trust me in that I learned that lesson very quickly!

A couple of things about my stay and then I'll save the rest for my next post.

The first is that apparently there was a new doctor making rounds at the hospital who had never worked with bariatric patients.  All I can say is thank God I was asleep when he came in.  My wife informed me that he lifted my gown, and started pressing in and poking my stomach!  He actually thought I had just gone through a hernia surgery and my wife had to explain to this young doctor what I had surgery for,  why I had a drain installed, and why I had a pain pump installed.  My wife told me the young doctor was lucky I was asleep and I believe she was right.  I don't think I would have hit him, but I would have told him a few things he would not have wanted to hear!

The other item before I sign off this post was when the nurse took the drain tube out of my body.  My wife said it was an uncomfortable feeling when I asked her about her's being taken out.

She lied.

I have never had such an excruciating pain in my life!  I actually was crying and hyper-ventilating from the pain it was so intense!  I actually asked her, begged her to stop for a couple of minutes just so I could start breathing normally.  It finally came out, but holy cow!  That was actually worse than anything I had ever gone through before.

A little while after that I walked out of the hospital, got into our minivan and watched the world go by as my wife drove us home.

In part two, I will go over how things are going at home for me.

I hope you have a great rest of the day!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Well, I'm here at the hospital and playing the waiting game. The hardest part so far is not having anything to drink.

I'm sure that will change.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Less Than 24 Hours to Go Now

It's almost time.

Time for me to do some reflections on what has brought me to this point now in my life.

Time for me to realize that I have more to live for than just a good tasting meal.

Time for me to realize that food is not my comforter.

Time for me to realize that food does not rule my life.

Time for me to realize that exercise is my friend, my lifelong friend.

Time for me to realize that my daughters need a dad who'll be alive to spoil their kids.

Time for me to realize that life is more than  sitting on my ass in front of the TV and computer doing nothing.

Time for me to realize that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and HE does not deserve a fat, run down, no energy having tenement; HE deserves much better.

So does my wife.

So do my kids.

So do I.

My surgery is tomorrow.

My new life starts tomorrow.

It's a long time coming.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

T Minus 7 Days and Counting

Today marked the last item on my list of things to do to be ready for my weight loss surgery.  I say the nutritionist this past Saturday, and today I took care of all of my paperwork for preadmission and the last blood draws for the tests to be complete before the surgery.

I have seven days left until the surgery.  I've dropped over 25 pounds since I started this journey, and I am ready to lose a lot more.  I'm ready to be a "normal" size.  I'm ready to live.

T minus seven days and counting.

I can't wait.

Friday, June 08, 2012

The Pre Op Diet Plan

I started my pre-op diet plan this past Tuesday.  1200 calories a day, with 120 grams of carbohydrates, 90 grams of protein and 40 grams of fat.  What that translates into food wise is the following:
  • Two protein shakes daily; one for the breakfast and one for lunch.
  • Three protein bars daily for snacks.  I am eating mine roughly at 10:00 AM, 3:00 PM and 7:30 to 8:00 PM.
  • One regular dinner, which consists of 5 ounces of a lean meat and two cups of non-starchy vegetables.  
  • LOTS of water.  I mean lots of water, in whatever variety I can stand.
So far it hasn't been too bad for me.  I'm not starving and any hunger pains I have experienced have been overcome.  And the good news is that I have dropped another four pounds since starting the diet!

Here is what I am using in my diet:

  • Muscle Milk, both the Chocolate and Vanilla flavors.

  • EAS Myoplex Lite, Vanilla Flavor

  • EAS Whey Protein Powder, Mixed with Skim Milk (8 ounces)
  •  Kraft South Beach Cereal Bars (Peanut Butter Flavored)
and finally,

  • Pure Protein Protein Bars (Peanut Butter Flavor)

So there you have it.  My pre-op diet plan.  If you are curious as to how I am doing, you can find me on MyFitnessPal and track my progress.

I do have to say that I thought this would be extremely hard for me, but it hasn't been at all.  There are times when I do get hungry, but drink a flavored water and I am good.  I am really looking forward to continuing this and losing more weight.

Until next time, have a great rest of the day!


Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Last Test -- The Dreaded EGD

I am finished with the testing now and to be very honest, I am very relieved.  I have been psychoanalyzed, tested for heart and lung issues, and now had a pencil sized tube with a camera on it shoved down my throat to see if my stomach would pass the test.

Well, besides a few polyps found and removed, it passed.

For those who might not know what an EGD, also known as an Upper Endoscopy, is, it is a test to examine the lining of the esophagus (the tube that connects your throat to your stomach), stomach, and first part of the small intestine. It is done with a small camera (flexible endoscope) which is inserted down the throat.

 Thankfully you are put to sleep for this procedure!  Once the IV is in place, which for this time was in my right hand, and it was my time, I was wheeled into the OR where I was greeted by KISS playing "Lick it Up".  Not really my kind of music anymore.  They were very accommodating and actually changed the music for me while I was awake.

I am lying on the bed, and I am told to lie on my left side in a fetal position.  After I do this, I am asked to bite down on a tube that looks like it was built out of PVC pipe.  Since I had already gone through the VO2 Max testing, this is no big deal to me.  The reason for this?  So I don't bite down and damage the forty thousand dollar camera!

 After this the anesthesiologist injected the knockout juice into my IV and I think I was awake for maybe four to five seconds once it hit my body and then I was out!  As for the "knockout juice" used, I will say that it did burn some coming into my body.  Not a bad sensation, but one that you could feel.

After having some very interesting dreams, I was woken up by the nurse in the recovery room.  My throat was raw and hurt!  She offered juice or ice water and I chose the latter.  Ice Water never felt so good on my throat!  Just one piece of advice to anyone getting this procedure: DON'T DRINK TOO FAST OR TOO MUCH!  If you do you will not like the sensation of the water coming back up!  I didn't vomit, thank God, but I did cough several times which was not pleasant.

After getting dressed I was on my merry way home via Jason's Deli.  I hadn't eaten since 6:30 that morning so I was sort of hungry.  I was fully recovered by eight o'clock that evening.

After all that, I am still cleared for surgery unless I hear otherwise.  They did find some polyps in my stomach and removed them to send to the lab.  The doctor performing the procedure told my wife that everything looked normal and if I don't hear from him then the old adage, no news is good news applies.

Onward to being sleeved!


Sunday, June 03, 2012

VO2 Testing

This past Thursday I had another medical test for my upcoming gastric sleeve surgery.  This was the VO2 Max test and was ordered to make sure I was cleared of any unknown or hidden cardiac issues that might be there due to my family's history of cardiac troubles.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but I knew that I'd be riding a stationary bike.  Other than that, I had to do my research online.

From Stanford University's Sports Medicine Center:
VO2 Max testing measures how effectively the body
consumes oxygen during exercise. It is a measure of an
athlete’s maximum ability to pull oxygen from the air,
transport it into the blood, and deliver it to active muscles.
VO2 Max is dependant on several factors, including lung
capacity and function, cardiac output, oxygen delivery, and
the oxidative capacity of muscle cells. Theoretically, since
the greater the volume of oxygen consumed by the body
the greater the body’s ability to do aerobic work, VO2 Max
values can be used as a benchmark for individual’s level of
When I arrived and I was ready to be tested, I was hooked up to an EKG machine, and asked to do several tests to determine how my lungs are.  I had my nose closed off to prevent me from breathing through it, and closed my mouth around a plastic tube.  I did a total of nine breathing tests this way.

Not me, but you get the idea!
 After that it was time for me to get on the bike.  This time instead of the nose clamps, I had a full mask fitted to my face which prevented me from breathing through my nose.  It's a good thing I breathe through my mouth anyway, so I was used to this as I had to once again breathe through my mouth into a tube.  After the technician placed an oxygen sensor on my finger, I was ready to start pedaling.

No, not me again, but this was close to the setup I was on.
I was told to keep my speed between 60 and 70 and the load on the bike would start to increase.  It took me a little over seven minutes to be told to stop, as I hit my maximum heart rate at that point.  I'm not sure if that's a good thing or bad thing, but I am leaning towards good.

After the bike test I did two more breathing test to see if I may have sports asthma. 

I asked the technician that from her experience, was there anything she could see that would preclude me from having the surgery and she said no, not from what she saw.  I still have to wait to see what the actual doctor who reads this study says, but I honestly don't think anything from this test will preclude me.

So onward I go .  Up next for me is my upper endoscopy, set for June 4.

Have a great rest of the day!