Tuesday, May 10, 2016

About my mom...

"Carole and I met in 1957. It was our first year at West Jr High, a brand new school recently built and very intimidating to a twelve year old like me. I had spent my childhood with a sister just eleven months older and I relied on her to tell me what to do. Now as I approached my teens it was time to grow up and I desperately needed a friend to do that. 
When I met Carole she was confident and completely comfortable in who she was. We became instant best friends and spent most of our time together over the next three years. A favorite pastime of ours was walking downtown to shop or take in a movie. Then it was off to Sylvia Sweets for Fries and a cherry coke. 
We talked about everything. I poured out my heart and soul to her and she listened. She never judged or told me what to do. She let me come to my own conclusions. I was still filled with panic as to where I was going and who I would become. 
Carole was calm and ready for her future whatever that might be. I always envied her way of living in the now and not worrying about what may come next. She bolstered my confidence assuring me I would do fine. In 1961 as we entered High School I was a totally different person due to Carole's influence. The frightened girl was gone and in it's place a woman ready for her future.
We lost touch after that but reconnected again year later through Classmate.com and then Facebook.I didn't get to spend as much time as I hoped with her but I will always remember her and what she did for me...."   - Donna P.

Me too, Donna.

Monday, February 29, 2016

So full...so fast.

Eating is all new after weight loss surgery. It's going to take some time for my habitual behaviors to cease! I scoop reasonable amounts of food on my plates only to find that I've sorely misjudged how much food to serve myself. I haven't overeaten, because the newly sized stomach form won't let me, but I have taken a lot more than I can honestly put away. It's a strangely fun conundrum I am having a bit of enjoyment with.

Eating and drinking enough is; however, an unforeseen chore. I mean it! In the fifteen or so hours of being awake, I'm supposed to drink at least 48 ounces of liquids, SOME of which needs to be protein drinks, AND eat 4 small meals. AND I have to space the liquid and foods at least 30 mins. apart from one another. Do you know the day is just not long enough to do all this? At least not yet.

Clear liquid isn't very filling and it doesn't cause discomfort unless I drink too fast and trap air in there...then have to burp. Burping sucks. It is at once a relief and an awkward pang...but enough of that. The thicker stuff, like protein shakes and soft foods (eggs, beans, minced up meats like ham, fish and poultry) make me feel full relatively quickly and just kind of sit in my stomach. It takes some time before I can safely drink anything (because it's a rule) so I'm usually thirsty after a meal. I'm like a ten-year-old watching time, just waiting for the go-ahead to sip something.

For the first week of eating foods, I have flailed just trying to keep up with demand (the ounces, the number of small meals, the instructions to eat every 4 hours)...so I created a schedule with prompts that push to my phone and calendar - stuff to make me do what I'm supposed to.

Here looks a day in the life:

8 AM Soft Food Breakfast (2-3 ounces)
8:30 AM to 10 AM clear liquids (sipping, sipping, sipping whenever possible)
10 AM Protein Drink (11 ounces)
- this takes me anywhere from 1 to 2 hours to finish but I have to stop by 11:30 because I can't drink anything from 30 mins before until 30 mins after any food.
12 PM Soft Food Lunch (2-3 ounces)
12:30 PM to 2 PM  clear liquids (sipping, sipping, sipping whenever possible)
2 PM Protein Drink (11 ounces)
4 PM Soft Food Snack (usually a string cheese stick or a Babybel cheese)
4:30 PM to 8:30 PM clear liquids (sipping, sipping, sipping whenever possible)
8 PM Soft Food Dinner (2-3 ounces)
8:30 PM til bed time clear liquids (sipping, sipping, sipping whenever possible)

But, believe me, it's hard to drink 48 ounces of liquid AND eat 12-ish ounces of food - which sounds crazy, right? I could easily drink 4 Coke Zeros a day. Maybe even 5. Maybe even 6. I skipped meals, drank Coke Zero, lost myself in work and busy-ness until I was so ravenously hungry, I'd go for anything fast (aka premade and ready to eat!) Nothing healthy to mention.

I'm going to keep trying to stick to this plan and (hopefully) get better at it. The real threat is dehydration and hospitalization so I want to be super careful about it. Anyway, tomorrow is my week three-versary.

I am functioning well. I'm back to work, back to driving, back to eating (kind of) normally and I'm still so glad I chose weight loss surgery. My next goal is to treadmill just a little bit and see if I can make a pattern of that.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

It's Doctor Day! It's Doctor Day!

"Thank God, Almighty," it's Doctor Day! By the time you reach the end of your 2nd week post-op,  you will rejoice, too. The big deal about today is twofold: I should hear the words, "You can drive again." and get permission to eat mushy foods.

Mushy, baby food-thick, foods may not seem appetizing to you...but to me this is almost the best news ever. I've been drinking meals for 4 weeks and beef & chicken broth, SF popsicles and gelatin will only get you so far in between protein shakes. It takes me a long time to drink a protein shake, but drinking clear liquids and eating popsicles isn't that hard at all.

I hope everything looks good in terms of healing. I'm excited to have my sutures looked at. The largest one has a bump under it that I'm a little concerned for...but I try to keep in mind that muscle has been cut through and had to be repaired as well. It could just be a bump from all that fibrous muscle tissue clumping together. That's the hope! Fingers crossed?

Otherwise everything feels good to me. There are some sore spots...but nothing feels painful. I haven't had to take my pain medicine since a few nights after coming home. Recovery has been incredibly easy. I don't know if it's the same for everyone, but I hope so.

I've planned a trip to a nearby Indian food restaurant (IF the nurse gives me the go-ahead to eat mushy food) where I can have mushy cheese and spinach (palak paneer) or maybe curry lentils. Something soft and not clear liquid. Are you feeling me?

Prayers for a good outcome. Peace!

Friday, February 19, 2016

OMG! It's been a whole entire week!

A week ago, tonight, I shared a room with my daughter and the most ice chips any hospital has ever produced. The procedure itself was over in less than an hour, that morning, but I was still feeling the affects of the gas pumped into my remainder of stomach and the cuts and bruises all over my middle.

I stayed overnight in the hospital about an hour away from home so it was really cool of my girl to drop on a cot and just be with me for the duration. She was sincerely helpful in every way. I found myself mothering her just as much as I always do - insisting to nurses to keep the lights down, to let her sleep whenever I could get up to walk the floor on my own - but she turned the tables on me whenever possible.

We had the most fun walking through the quiet hallways, just talking and laughing but trying not to wake anybody who could try sleeping. I was getting doses of pain medicine through an IV so I wasn't feeling much discomfort and could walk relatively OK...dragging my hospital gown and IV pole along. Several people tried to adjust the gown so it'd be shorter than me but none of the string-tied alterations stayed in place. No big, I learned to walk with the constant threat of tripping and NO FALLS. I did alright. :) I stubbed my toes on the base of my IV pole countless times though.

Whatever, it was all fuel for humor between my daughter and I. She was overtired and fresh from college stress so the two of us made a heck of a pair as we waddled around from place to place. The staff at the hospital was always encouraging, extremely helpful. I didn't want for anything. Even the nurse who comes in to check blood sugar came to see me at regular intervals.

We were impressed!

That night, I was introduced to chicken broth, beef broth, sugar-free orange jell-o, water, ice chips, sugar-free popsicles...whatever I felt I could take in. I kept with the ice chips mostly because they -felt- good and my throat was still raw from the mandatory breathing tube I had during surgery.

I slept off and on, talked with Hopper and the nursing staff, paid a little attention to TV and rolled into the next day like I didn't just have a big piece of an organ removed.

I still haven't felt the change in my actual stomach yet. At only 1 week out, I'm still sipping on liquids so there hasn't been a test of any sort to see what the new size holds. I did get to see blue chalky dye stuff move through me while in radiology the next day...but still no real *feeling* toward the small pouch.

Overall I am feeling well. I maneuver OK and most of that movement is pain-free. I haven't taken any pain medicine in a few days. I've been sleeping here and there. Trying to get comfortable in bed is probably the hardest thing about being home but it's gotten a little easier. I'm managing. :)

My disposition is good and so far I can say, "Yes, I'm glad I did this." I will let you know if that changes.