Tuesday, February 26, 2008


On the LapBand message boards, they use the term NSV. It stands for a non-scale victory. Things that have nothing to do with the numbers on the scales but are victories for us in our weight loss journeys.

NSVs so far:
non-swollen feet
smaller fingers

Yesterday during Family Home Evening I noticed I was crossing my legs. Now, I still have many pounds to go before crossing my legs becomes super comfortable, but usually crossing my legs is not the most comfortable position, so I don't do it. I had done it without thinking about it yesterday and I was fairly comfortable sitting there.

Also, during the game of "Guess the Animal" I actually got down on the floor and mimicked a kangaroo. My favorite animal to mimic is usually the sloth, that way I didn't have to get up from my chair. So I guess I'm getting some additional energy. At the least, my mindset is changing, from a low-energy, do-as-little-as-possible person to getting involved with life. Step by step, it is coming.

Monday, February 25, 2008

25 on the 25th

Well, my hands fluctuate, so I think I jumped the gun on the declaration that I can't wear my ring on my normal fingers anymore. That particular night my ring was slipping off, but the next day I could wear it on the left hand again. It'll be soon, I'm sure, that I have to deal with that.

As of this morning, I'm down 25 pounds. 25 pounds on the 25th. 25 pounds in 20 days. I don't feel a lot different.

I went to church yesterday for the first time since my surgery. I was afraid of feeling really conspicuous, but it wasn't weird at all. My branch members are all so loving and supportive. I did wear myself out by the end of the day. My back hurt a lot. It felt like pregnant back. LOL It was good to jump back into things. It was time.

I'm pulling out my Flylady book this morning. (Don't know who Flylady is? Check out www.flylady.net.) I feel the need for some more order in my household and my life. I'm going to get dressed all the way to shoes this morning.

I need to get some walking in. It's hard to with the winter weather, but I need to do it.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Didn't expect this so soon

I had to switch my wedding ring to my right hand because it's just about falling off my finger. I hadn't noticed much difference in my hands, but apparently there's enough that my ring is loose. It fits just right on my right hand for now. I'll just look European for a while. (They wear their wedding rings on the right hand, at least in Germany.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I just found a website that has videos of gastric surgery (animations, don't worry, nothing gory or graphic). I thought you might find these interesting to see why the surgery I had isn't gastric bypass and what exactly the banding procedure does. So here is gastric bypass, and here is banding. I had banding.

One of the more discouraging statistics is the percentage of people who lose their excess weight with this surgery. For banding, they only list that patients typically lost 47% of their excess weight. There are those who don't use the band properly, or for whom the band really just doesn't work. I would guess those skew the percentage down somewhat. Anyway, from the sampling of people I've seen on lapbandtalk.com, there are a lot of people losing all of their excess weight. I plan on being one of them!

Goodbye weight, hello feet!

I'm really enjoying my feet. I can see my veins and tendons and my ankles. I showed Rachel my ankles and she said, "Oh no, not again." She thought that the padding around the protrusion of my ankle bone was swelling. Thing was, she wasn't used to seeing that protrusion, it's been obscured with swelling.

Tomorrow is Adam's 1st birthday and if I lose one more pound tomorrow I'll have lost 25 pounds, which is what he weighs on our home scale. So by his birthday, I will have lost Adam. Or at least his equivalent.

I haven't written for a few days because I was feeling lousy. Last Saturday I started vomiting and feeling miserable. Not sure if it was sugar detox, or dehydration, or what, but I vomited 4 times on Saturday and once on Sunday. By Monday I was feeling better and also got some anti-nausea medication. I hope my band is still securely in place after being taken on a ride by my stomach. I've been back on liquids/full liquids for a few days. Pretty soon here I should be able to start some pureed foods. (read: baby food) I will be on those for a couple to three more weeks, so I'll have to get creative.

I'm feeling good, though still have to not overdo things. I walked to the end of our road, about a block, to get the mail and back this afternoon and it was all I could do. I got on a cleaning kick today as well, but noticed that my body told me when I was done.

For Adam's birthday cake tomorrow, I've decided not to do traditional icing. I just can't put that into his body. We're so careful about what we feed him normally, I just don't want to give him junk. So I'm making a banana cake and icing it with whipped cream and maybe pudding. A while back I bought these toppers that go on cans of whipped cream and color the edges of the sprayed cream blue. I've never had reason to use them till now, so I'm excited. We're just having our little family for the party. Everyone we know here is too busy, we don't want to bother them with a baby birthday party.

Thanks for all the love and support.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My surgery, the unabridged version

I just sat down to write a post for the message boards about my surgery and it turned into a very long journal-type entry. I thought I'd include it here for you guys to get more info. There is some repeated stuff, I'm very aware. Enjoy!

Hi Everyone!

I'm home and feeling better after being banded.

The day before surgery my dh and baby (11 months old) and I drove 3 hours to Denver and stayed overnight with some friends. All the pre-op stuff went well. (Except me being blindsided by a 9K quote from the surgery center! Thank goodness I'm insured and only have 10% of that to pay.)

I had some anxiety beforehand and apologized to my husband if anything went wrong that I'm truly sorry. I just wanted him to know that if I died in surgery, or as a result, that I really didn't mean to and that I was going to be really disappointed on the other side if that's how it turned out. I shed some good tears and then moved on. He has been amazing and very supportive.

I had to wait what seemed like forever. I was the third of three LapBand surgeries that my doc was doing that day. Before I was taken in, the first patient came by to say hi. She was doing fabulously and was planning on heading home in 30 minutes. That eased my mind a bit. I had a book with me and it’s a good thing because if I had nothing to concentrate on, it would have been rough.

As I was drifting off, I remember them having me swallow a yellow or orange tube of some sort. Next thing I know, we're done. I didn't come out of the anesthesia very well. Instead of feeling like I was waking from a nice nap, it was chaotic and loud with people giving me instructions right and left and I was in so much pain. Don't they give patients pain meds before they bring them out of anesthesia? I didn't like that at all. I think I slept in the recovery room for at least an hour before they did the barium swallow and checked that my band was okay to go.

I also had a lot of pressure built up in the middle of my chest. The flouroscopy showed a large air bubble in my pouch. I expected to burp it up and have it go away. I never did get a good burp in, I guess it absorbed into my body within a couple of days.

As far as nursing my baby, Adam, I tried pumping about 3 hours after surgery and was only able to get about 1/4 ounce out. I made the choice to go ahead and nurse him then because Brad was getting ready to leave for the evening. I knew he’d probably get some of the residual anesthesia in my milk. It was a blessing for Brad because Adam slept 10 hours straight that night. (Not something he had done yet.)

I stayed the rest of the day and overnight in the surgery center and only got up to pee and walk 3 or 4 times. I was worried that I wasn’t doing enough walking, (bloodclots in the legs) but it worked out. I had slept what I thought was all night and when I asked if it was morning, the nurses chuckled and said it was 10 p.m. There were two of the LapBand patients there and two nurses and that was it.

I was surprised at checkout that I didn’t have a prescription for pain meds. Someone somewhere messed up and I wasn’t given one. The nurse did give me two percoset which didn’t seem to do anything at all. The drive home was uneventful , we stopped every hour so I could walk, but basically I slept the whole time.

I think I slept most of the next couple of days, they’re kind of a blur. I did vomit my first night home. I woke up about 2 a.m. and was already having the increase of saliva that comes right before. I tried to will myself not to vomit, but it didn’t work. I ended up heaving about four times. I don’t think anything even came up, and it wasn’t a violent heaving, so I’m not worried that my band was compromised. I’ll spare the details, but I’ve also had diarrhea up until yesterday, (3 days of this).

The first couple of days I couldn’t get much down. I couldn’t stomach the protein powders I had been using before surgery. The Isopure Clear especially made me nauseated. I think I was basically nauseated for the first couple of days.

Each day has gotten progressively better. I’m five days out, down 17 pounds (that’s in a week’s time) and feel great about my band so far. I moved to a full liquid diet on my 2nd day post-op. It was all I could do to survive at that point and I’ve tolerated it well. It was within the nutritionists’ guidelines, so I’m okay there.

I do already have some restriction. I’m finding that I can only get in about half the volume of liquid that I was getting in before surgery. I can have about ½ to 1 cup before realizing I’m full.

I have a hard time with Splenda. I’ve never been a fan of artificial sweeteners. I find I can tolerate it if I use a little (1 t or less) of sugar and ½ pack of Splenda for my sweetening. I’ll knock that off if I find that I need to tweak my diet.

My surgeon told me on the day before surgery that he wants me to stop using milk. I was surprised, hadn’t heard that before. His reason was that milk has too much sugar in it. He said that skim, 1%, it didn’t matter. All had too much sugar. Interestingly enough, his nutritionist’s info includes milk, so for now, I’m using milk in the things I’m drinking. I couldn’t stomach the protein drinks any other way. Again, something to look at if my diet needs tweaking.

My incisions are healing nicely. I did develop a rash underneath the plastic waterproof patches that he put over the steri-strips, so today we took as much of that plastic off as we could without removing the steri-strips. I’m prone to rashes with medical tape, so I wasn’t surprised. I’m treating it with a steroid cream and I think that will work well. Adam keeps lifting up my shirt to see my tummy. He knows the incisions are something significant and has taken notice.

My feet are less swollen than they have been for the last 6 years or so. They still have a bit of fluid in them, but look more normal sized.

I am at peace and feeling good about this decision. I’m sure hard times will come, but for now it’s sure fun to step on the scale and see that I lost 4 pounds from the day before. My girls are getting into it, asking me each day how much I’ve lost. I’m fully aware that it will slow down at some point, but enjoying it for all it’s worth right now.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Not sure how, but. . .

I'm down 16 pounds in one week. I'm sure the bulk of that is water, but still. . .16 pounds is significant. My ankles are less swollen than they have been in years. Fun stuff.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Getting better each day

In case you don't know, or don't remember, my pain threshold is fairly low. So you can imagine I've had a rough few days since the surgery. I wasn't prescribed any pain meds, which had to have been an oversight on the doctor's part. But, this morning, things are looking up and I'm feeling better.

The surgery was a great success. Dr. Melniczek said my liver was beautiful, the most beautiful one he'd seen today. The pre-op diet is to shrink the liver, so that made me happy that that was a success. He also told me I had skinny insides. When I asked what he meant, he said I didn't have a lot of fat around my organs. Which may be why I've been able to carry so much excess weight without developing other life-threatening problems, or co-morbidities as the medical community calls them. The only co-morbidity I have is sleep apnea, which it's anticipated that I will no longer have once some of the weight comes off. Hopefully that's the case.

The nurses were really nice. There were just two patients and two nurses staying overnight in the surgery center. We were both LapBand patients. The other lady was from Utah, her brother was the anesthesiologist working with Dr. Melniczek. I thought that was a pretty good vote of confidence to have his own sister come have surgery with his colleague.

Now we're just wrestling with the liquid diet and trying to get in enough protein and fluid. So far so good.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Everything is in place

Well, everything has fallen in place and surgery is on for this Friday at 12 noon. I'll be heading to Denver early on Thursday morning for the pre-op appointments. Brad and Adam will be with me and Rachel and Hannah will be staying with some friends.

I'll be spending the night on Friday in the surgery center and coming home on Saturday. We'll be too late to vote in the Kansas Caucus which is taking place that day. Bummer, that would have been a fun experience.

Brad and I are going to dinner tomorrow night. There's a new Chinese place in town that is supposed to be pretty good, so we're going to go there. We were planning on that for Valentine's Day, but I won't be eating solid food by then, so tomorrow is going to be my last supper, so to speak before the liquid diet begins. I will have only liquids for three days before the surgery. I'm stocked up on clear juices, broth, jello and protein powders. Should be interesting.

I'm mostly excited with a little bit of nervousness mixed in. Any of you who would like to send some prayers up for me would be greatly appreciated. Mostly, I just hope I don't die. Everything else I can handle. I just have to make it through surgery. I'm confident that I will, but there's always that small chance that something can go wrong. My surgeon told me I had more chance of dying on the way to Denver in a car accident than from the surgery. Risks are something we have to take in order to live and this is one that I'm fine taking so that I may live more fully.