Thursday, April 24, 2008

Finally Feeling Better

I was feeling really good and then on Monday, the stitches sort of came out (I won't go into details of how, but it was during a normal biological process). As such, it left me with a semi-open wound in a very sensitive area and well, it was very painful and much so that I really wished I could have the area between my upper thighs and belly button excised altogether. I called Dr. B's number, they were closed because of the holiday, but I got a call back from the doctor on call (very nice man, Dr. Johnson). He was extremely sympathetic and told me that my best bet was to take my pain meds and some ibuprofen...which I let him know I could not take because I am a bypass patient, and he suggested Tylenol but didn't think it would likely do much for the inflammation (Tylenol doesn't do squat for me anyway).

So, since Monday, I have taken one dose of my pain meds after going to the bathroom (what triggers the pain) and that takes care of it for the day. I attempted work yesterday but the 35-minute drive was awful, and then I couldn't comfortably sit all day. So, I'm working from home the rest of this week, doing some online training, and it's more comfortable for me to take frequent breaks and I can take the dose of pain meds and not have to worry about driving (or being stupid loopy at work).

I bought a bathing suit the other day. It was on sale from Victoria's Secret, and I thought "well, I might as well give it a shot, I'll need one anyway." I tried it on. It holds all of my loose belly skin in and if I do say so myself, I look pretty fit and normal in it. I think I look pretty darn good for almost 40 (next month). No shame this year wearing a bathing suit in public.

There was some sad news for me the other day. A childhood classmate of mine passed away unexpectedly on Monday. He was 40 years old and left behind a wife and 3 young children...the youngest of whom was just born in February. really can happen that we die and leave our children without us...and it reminded me that I made the right decision to take control of my health and weight with my bypass surgery.

There was a high school class reunion for my class last year. I wanted to go and see everyone, but I opted not to go because I was so fat I didn't want people to see what had become of me. I'm sad that I didn't go in some ways...I understand completely why I made the choice I did...and I can't say I would do it any differently now. But I am keenly aware of how much life I didn't live being obese because I didn't want people to whisper about me, how big I had gotten, etc. I really don't ever want to go back to that person again. I've struggled with head hunger these past 10 days or so since I've been home recovering. I haven't been to the gym, I'm out of my routine, and I'm somewhat bored...I know it's not real hunger...and I'm not aware of anything really emotional going on with me. I'm pretty sure it's boredom. I've eaten a lot of pickles this week. They are my munchy snack when water just isn't cutting it to knock out the head hunger. There are worse things to munch on. I just wish that head hunger went away forever. I know it doesn't get easier as time goes on. I have no illusions there. Maybe someday the struggle to fight the urge to eat when not hungry will lessen. That's not what I hear from other long-term post-ops, but hey, I can hope.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Weepy And Cranky And Bloated

I called Dr. B's office this morning and left a message. I hate calling and leaving messages/asking questions sometimes because I feel like everything I'm experiencing is normal and they're just going to tell me that it's normal...and sometimes that just doesn't help me feel any better to tell me that. I am bloated, constipated, and getting crankier by the minute because I am full of poop. I have taken my Colace, my Benefiber, eaten a high fiber diet as usual, gotten 80+ oz. of water each day, taken my daily dose of Enulose, and then last night, added a dose of Milk of Magnesia. And still, I am bloated and uncomfortable and cranky. So, I called to leave a message asking at what point should I be concerned that stuff is going in but not coming out. The person taking the message said that it's because I'm taking pain meds. Well, yes, I know that...and I know they are constipating. I am trying to hold off as long as possible on taking them (no more often than every 8 hours). But shouldn't all the other stuff I'm doing counteract that to some degree? Shouldn't SOMETHING be coming out? When should I be worried? I feel embarrassed for calling Dr. B's office and leaving a message. I am just so damn afraid at this point of becoming impacted and passing a stool that is monstrous and hard. And the fear is starting to get to me and now I'm crying. I should just go to bed and sleep for a while.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Bowels Of Hell

No, bowels are demons. Or at least they have their demons. They are being very stubborn right now and not moving things along...except lots of squeaky gas (think of letting air out of a balloon, the opening of which you're pinching very tightly and pulling taught...that's how gas is passing out of my bum right now...I know, I share too much). All of my usual stuff is going, supplements, fiber, Colace, Enulose, and it ain't coming out. I think this is what led to my horrible 1 a.m. to 2 a.m. pain last night/this morning. It started out as a burning kind of pain all across my mid-section. And then, it turned into a full-blown doubled-over kind of pain for about an hour. I took a Tums to no avail, and so then I tried three Mylanta Gas tablets. My thoughts were "if this doesn't stop in the next hour, if I can take it that long, I'm calling the surgical number to see who is on call and get their opinion because this SUCKS." My throat is still really sore from the breathing tube used during Tuesday's surgery and I can't help but feel like this has just all irritated my pouch to no end. Then there is of course my very lazy bowel that even with oodles of assistance, refuses to move things along. And that in turn leads me to have somewhat panicky thoughts about what actually having my first post-fissurectomy/sphincterotomy BM will be like. Pat said I'd likely be taking Dr. B's name in vain. Amazingly, I did pass a very small amount this morning and there was ZERO pain involved. Not little, ZERO. It hurts more to do a Kegel than it did to pass this small stool. I think I'd gotten so used to extreme pain when I had BMs that I forgot they're not supposed to hurt. (They aren't, right?)

Anyway, I had to get on the scale with a package today (the only scale large enough to weigh it) and so I know that I'm up 4.5 lbs. of pure poop. Great. I hope it all starts moving along soon. The bloat alone is killing me. Ugh.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

On The Mend

Yesterday was my fissurectomy and sphincterotomy. All went well and I was home by about 2 p.m. resting pretty comfortably. Between keeping an ice pack wedged between my bum cheeks and the pain meds, I'm doing ok. Sore, but ok. I can only imagine the position I must have been in on the table though. My thighs feel like I did 200 squats or something yesterday, and my back is sore as well. I'm glad I was out for all that positioning. I haven't had a BM yet, and I'm hoping my body holds off for another day so that I can avoid excruciating pain. But, if it happens it happens. The pain is much, much less than I anticipated...I think I must have just become so accustomed to horrible pain in my rectum that really, anything else seems pretty mild in comparison. The anesthesiologist mentioned that my iron is low, not so low that they wouldn't operate, but he wanted to make sure someone was aware of it and following up on that. I told him we had upped it a month earlier...apparently that hasn't made much of a difference. I emailed Melinda about that today and I'll wait to hear from her on what (if anything) to do.

Zachary is a sweetheart. He feels bad for me that my bum hurts and that I have to wear an ice pack in my underwear (yes, he has asked what the heck I'm doing with the ice pack when I get it out of the freezer and he never sees where it's being used). He was also quite bummed that I get to stay home and he doesn't. He wanted to know who was going to take care of me. I told him I'd be ok on my own, and I'd just be resting. He wants to be home resting too. He is one very, very sweet little boy.

I think I'll be good to go back to work Monday and hopefully even back to the gym then too. I have to say, the OR staff didn't find my jokes funny yesterday though. Being tax day and all, I made some jokes about "if the IRS wants a piece of my butt, they'll have to stand in line." Not even a smile was cracked. Ah well.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Things That Get Me Through

On the OH RNY message board, the talk of stalls is pretty common. They can occur early on (like within the first couple of weeks post-op), every few weeks, months, whatever. I did a lot of reading of the message board before my surgery, so I knew that folks talking about and experiencing no weight loss for weeks at a time, despite doing everything "right," might happen. I had to make a decision to trust that my tool would work for me.

That was about the time that, in my head, I renamed Weight Loss Surgery to Health Gain Surgery. I think it's so easy to get focused on the number the scale reports, and the sizes we fit into. And hey, these are all really wonderful things to pay attention to...but they aren't ultimately the be all and end all of this surgery. For me, this surgery was about saving my life. I was afraid I would die before I finished raising my son.

In pursuing weight loss surgery (yes, that's still how I commonly refer to it because no one would know what I was talking about if I said I had health gain surgery), I knew that many lifestyle changes would need to be made...and they needed to be made for the long haul, not just until the scale said I reached a certain number.

So when stalls occur for me (and they do from time to time), I re-evaluate everything I'm doing. Am I eating and drinking as I should? Am I food journaling? Am I remaining accountable for what I put in my mouth and when/why? Am I exercising as I should? Getting enough sleep? (NEVER underestimate the effects of sleep-deprivation on your entire body...I know from first-hand experience that they are very vast and can be profound.) If the answer to above questions is "Yes, I'm doing what I'm supposed to be and I'm still on track," then I breathe a sigh of relief and say "ok then, my body is healthy and happy, and if the weight doesn't want to come off right now because my body is holding on to it, so be it."

I remember that I did this for my health, and not specifically the weight. As such, everything I'm doing for my body is contributing to that goal of good health. Ultimately, that's what really matters. The hot little body I'm getting as a result of my efforts is just an added bonus.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dating Really Stinks

For several years now, I've been on several online dating sites. I've had minimal success. Recently I decided to up my age limit for the men I even consider dating. The younger ones don't seem to be working out for me, so I thought maybe going older might be a good idea. Well, after corresponding with one for a couple of weeks, I guess my lack of availability at any time was a problem. Haven't heard from him since he asked me how much time I'm able to find for myself with my child. My son is with me full time when I'm not working, and on the every other Saturday for 8 or 9 hours that he's with his dad. So, my time solo is pretty limited...but I can arrange for a sitter and such when needed for a date or whatever. Apparently, this isn't good enough for some. Ok, fine, movin' on.

That brings me to the latest match. We'd been emailing for about 2 weeks and had lunch last Saturday. He seemed like a nice enough guy, though there were a few little things that I wondered about (little red flags)...but I have learned not to trust my own judgment (though I really am beginning to wonder why that is, because if I go on my gut at the start, I'd be much better off). This man talked about his ex-wife and her mistreatment of his daughters for 2.5 hours. And while I can sympathize with the difficulty and heartache this must cause for him, I really didn't want to hear about his ex-wife for 2.5 hours. And then there were the little comments about how all women are controlling. And he questioned me as to why I felt my son needed a "Big Brother". That one came home to roost in a big way after our date when he asked me out again. And I declined for the time he gave me...I was considering meeting him once more to see if maybe it was just nerves that caused him to talk about his ex so profusely.

Apparently, my unwillingness to bring my 7 year old son on a date with this guy the first or second time I've met him bothered him. I was told I am an overprotective mother, not letting my son share the company of an adult male that I meet, so what if he's not going to be there forever, I'm depriving him of the opportunity for strength, love, joy and independence. Wow. All that, because I said I don't introduce my kid to the guys I date unless and until I think it's going to be something serious. Holy cow...he summed me right up...NOT. I'll spare you all the details but suffice it to say that he put down my mothering, apparently thought that one date constituted a "relationship" that I was ending upon the first instance of me not agreeing with him, and he dissed my (not so perfect, but who's is?) family...oh, and he said I'm a little "broken." I had no idea I was broken.

Needless to say, I told him I was moving on and I would suggest he did the same. But can I share a funny part of our date (at least funny to me)? While we were standing outside, and I was glazing over as he talked, I saw my reflection in the glass windows of the restaurant. And I thought "wow, am I really that little?" Because I looked little...even to me. Maybe it was the dark glass...maybe it was looking for a positive in a dismal situation, but I felt petite. And it was a very cool feeling.

On another note, I had my pre-op testing this week. The woman who did my pre-op testing didn't see the part about me having had GBP surgery and when I mentioned it she said "do you mind my asking how much you've lost?" I told her it was just under 120 lbs. since I started Risk Reduction. She said "WOW! That's a whole YOU!" And it almost is. She said "and I don't mean this to sound wrong but, well, you just look hanging skin, etc." And we talked a little about how well my skin has fared and how exercise has really helped with good muscle tone and shape. It was really a very feel-good moment. And yesterday was my 9 month surgiversary. Very hard to believe it's been 9 months on this journey. It feels like it wasn't that long ago...and yet also feels like a lifetime away.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

9 Months Post-Op

It's hard to believe it's been 9 months. And I'm down almost 120 lbs. since I started this journey. Wow. These are my 9 month pictures.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Good Busy Week

I got some great news yesterday from the Big Brother Big Sister organization. They have a match for a big brother for Zachary. We'll get to meet him on Tuesday! I'm very excited for Zachary to have some regular one on one time with positive male role model. I think it's really important for him. Zachary seems pretty excited about it as well.

I've still been feeling really tired. I think my sleep is just garbage right now. I need to be taking my Ambien regularly I guess to get out of this wake-up cycle. And I think I need to put Tubby (our orange and white cat) in the bathroom at night so he'll stop scratching at the door and waking me up. He's a persistent little booger...I'd be happy to let him in the room at night but he doesn't sleep and instead knocks stuff off the dresser, the night stand, etc.

Work...well, it's not a feel-good place right now at all. That's about all I'm going to say on the topic for now. Too much expected, too few resources, and not enough appreciation. One of my main projects (that I am the only resource on despite numerous requests to management to change that) is going to come due for some QA right about the time I'm going out for my fissurectomy and sphincterotomy. I will NOT be coming back to work before I'm ready like I did after my bypass surgery. Ain't gonna happen.

I think PMS this month is kicking my butt. I've had lots of food cravings when I KNOW I'm not physiologically hungry. I've done well at keeping the cravings at bay, though I did have an extra treat/snack the other day when I just thought if I didn't accommodate the craving somehow I'd probably go ballistic and eat a bunch of junk that I shouldn't or more of stuff that's ok. It's still a mind thing you doesn't stop just because we lose weight. It's easier to deal with the "stuffing your face" syndrome because physically, if I overeat I am in pain (so it's not something I do because I don't want to ruin my tool, I want it to be there for me when I need it).

I think I'm just in a rambling mode today. It's not that I have anything in particular to talk about...just feel the need to talk. And sleep. Sleep would be really good right now.