Monday, August 17, 2015

Surgery Day!!!

I'm 6 days post op but I want to write about the day of surgery before it all becomes a blur.  I want something to remember and maybe encourage others.

Tim and I had to be at the hospital by 6am.  I was the first on the schedule! That was a huge answer to prayer! My surgery was scheduled for 7:15am.  I was checked in on the 7th floor, rushed to the back, changed into my gown and there was a lot of hustle and bustle. IV inserted, blood thinner given, nurse giving me the upcoming events.  Meet with the surgeon.  He prepares me for what is next and what he expects.  He was in a great mood and that helped relieve my anxiety some.  Anesthesiologist met with me.  Tim came back for a few minutes before I was rushed off to the OR.  Tim kissed me and before I knew it I was in the OR.

It was cold and there were people everywhere! I was moved to operating table and lots of warm blankets were put on me.  They immediately put a mask on me that was filling my lungs with oxygen. There was one nurse who was so sweet and awesome.  She grabbed my hand and said "Ok so what are we going to dream about?  Should we go somewhere tropical" it made me smile real big.  She held my hand and kept talking to me as they administered the first drug that would relax me and make me sleepy.  I closed my eyes and I was out....

The next thing I remember is waking up in recovery.  I had extreme pain right in the middle of my upper abdomen.  I mean constant throbbing pain.  I remember saying to the nurse who was trying to get me to wake up that I needed meds.  She had a morphine pump and she would push the meds for me.  I remember saying it a few times that I was in pain.  Once the pain meds kicked in I was extremely nauseous and she started giving me meds immediately.  Once I was more comfortable they got me up and put me in a chair.  I was so exhausted.  It took everything in me to open my eyes.  I remember them saying my husband was waiting to see me that he was really anxious which was not Tim at all.  That was when I asked if they had done the surgery laparoscopic or open.  The nurse kinda laughed and said "Oh honey it was laparoscopic" I smiled real big! another answer to prayer! I remember Tim came back and held my hand.  Asked me how I was doing and it was so tired I could barely answer him! I remember the nurse came back and said that they had a room for me so they needed me to walk the hall and then I could sit down in the wheel chair.  I was so nauseous when I opened my eyes or stood up.  So I walked and then sat down and they wheeled me to my room.  Once I was in my bed (which felt like heaven) and comfy I slept....

The nurses would come in and check on me and I would try to wake up as much as possible but I was just so tired.  My parents came around 2:30 and my mom really made me feel so good.  She reassured me that I really looked good.  I struggled to keep my eyes open while they were there but they were understanding.  I just listened to the conversation as my eyes were closed.

My monitor kept going off.  Apparently I wasn't taking deep enough breaths.  It was going off so much I asked the nurse to turn the sound down since I couldn't sleep lol.  In all reality it was good that it was waking me up because then I would start breathing deeper lol. The anesthesia really did a number on me.  My parents left an hour later and then my Mother in Law who works right down the street came to visit after she got off work.  I still could barely keep my eyes open but I was glad she came to visit.

I slept the rest of the afternoon on and off and it wasn't until about 9pm that I finally felt more like myself.  Around 10pm I was getting sleepy and asked Tim if he was ready to head to his parents house for the night.  Poor guy had been up with me and had cat napped through out the day.

I just have to stop right here and praise the Lord for giving me such an amazing husband.  He literally hasn't complained one bit about helping me this past week.  He was there every time I needed help getting up and or adjusting in bed.  He would randomly grab my hand and tell me he loved me.  He's just the most loving man I could ask for.  Thank you Tim for being true to the vows we made 14 years ago.  I love you!

Tim headed home and though my first night alone in the hospital wasn't horrible it was pretty tough at times.  losing your call button when you gotta go potty is not a good thing lol.  By the next morning once I was rested I felt soooo much better!

A friend of ours, Stacy, came to visit. She had the sleeve 2 years ago and she looks amazing! She also works at the hospital that I had the surgery.  So she came and chatted with me until I headed to have the swallow test done.  Let me just say, it was not nearly as bad as I had read about but it wasn't pleasant either lol.  The gas you experience after this surgery is just so painful.  You are trying to move and get it it out and it just seems to not want to budge.  I burped and burped and burped and burped and I would feel a little better and then there would be more pain.  So when I had my swallow test I had passed the first part of the test no problem.  I then waited 30 minutes so they could make sure the lower connection to the bowels was not leaking.  They couldn't see after 30 minutes so she said I needed to walk for another 30 minutes to try and move the gas around.  So that is exactly what I did....I walked for 40 minutes and then took another picture.  I passed my swallow test and was finally sent back upstairs to my room.

It was lunch time at this point and Tim went down to grab so lunch while I waited for my nurse to bring me my first cup of water! I was so excited to start my water challenge.  Oh my drink mouth was so dry! I had been sucking on ice chips but you could only have so much lol.  So she brought in my first big cup of water and said I had 6 hours to finish one liter of water.  I was game.  I started sipping like crazy.  I'd get up and walk and walk and walk and then go back to my room and sip and sip and sip.  I'd walk and walk and walk and sip and sip and sip.  I was burping up a storm but I didn't care.  I was getting this water in! I finished my cup by 4pm.  I was so excited.  Until the nurse came in and gave me another big cup half filled and said "I know you thought you were done but this last cup will equal a liter" oh kill me now lol.  So I got up and walked and walked and walk and sipped and sipped and sipped.  I was so tired and just wanted to sleep.  I had hit my pain button a couple of times just because the pain from the gas was so bad.  Well the pain meds would make me so tired! By 7pm I finished my water challenge and was finally told I would be discharged!

It took another 3 hours for that to happen due to issues and orders and what ever. I was finally home and in my bed by midnight :)

I would say my surgery went perfectly.  My stay at the hospital was great and I have the greatest husband in the world.

I blog more on the last week tomorrow. I'm tired and need to go nap lol

What an experience....

Ann Marie

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The easy way out...

In my previous post I talked about how I got to where I am today.  Where am I? 10 days away from having gastric bypass surgery.
I went through this entire process in 2008 and when my information was submitted to my insurance, the insurance found a "flaw" and would not allow us to correct it so I would have started my whole process over.  I was so heartbroken and devastated but I understand today that it was best that I waited until this time in my life to have this surgery.
Today I am much more prepared for this life changing surgery.  I have a lot more knowledge of how my body works and how food affects me.  I feel I make much better food choices and I am much more active.
I know there are some who consider this type of surgery "the easy way out".  I guess in a way for a long time I kinda felt that if I went through with this surgery I would be giving up on myself.  Both of my parents have had this surgery and many friends who have had this.  Some have been extremely successful and I have watched others put the weight back on.  I see both sides of this and I have to tell you, it is far from the easy way out.
I am still pre-op so I don't have the "actual" experience" but let me share with you why this is not in any way the easy way out...
For the rest of my life, I will be limited to how much food I can consume at one time.
 I will most likely have certain foods I may never be able to eat again.
 I also will experience "dumping syndrome" which is very unpleasant.
I will have to take vitamins/calcium/iron for the rest of my life.
I cannot simply just go to a restaurant and order anything from the menu.
My stomach at first will be the size of a thumb.  Once it heals and the swelling goes down it will hold maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cup of food at a time.
My taste for food will constantly change.
Most people who have this surgery are unable to eat leftovers.
If I do go out I'll probably be sharing with someone lol
Our society of fellowship and hanging out is centered around my life will be so different at these moments.  I have read people who are asked several times at restaurants if the food was ok because they could only eat a couple of bites.  I have also read of people who ate out and ended up in the bathroom having a "dumping" moment.
If the Lord allows me to become pregnant I will have to be closely monitored and have bloodwork done often to make sure the baby is receiving the appropriate amount of nutrition.
I will deal with lose skin....not just normal flabby skin but pounds of lose skin that I will most likely have to pay out of pocket to have removed.
I may lose a bunch of hair (not that I have a lot to lose :( ) in the first year.

I know this may not sound much of a problem but when you consider that I have to literally change the last 35 years of how I thought of food its going to be quite the journey!

As much as I am nervous and even scared of how this will affect me, I am looking forward to it all at the same time!
There will be something freeing about being able to kneel down on the ground, or squat down to reach something.  To not struggle to put a seat belt on or have to shop in special stores for clothes.  To not think twice about booking a flight on an airplane or even going for a hike and not having to worry about if I can make it.  I have many, many things on my "when I'm skinnier" list.  Some things most people take for granted, others are things I've dreamed of doing.

I know it will be a long and at times tough journey but so has living the life I have.  I think for me the hardest part has been dealing with people who judge me because of my size.  Even in the church.  I have had people watch what I eat and make comments to others about me.  If I have learned anything over the last few years its....Just because you may be skinny doesn't mean you are healthy.
On Tuesday I sat in my pre op appointment and the doctor said to me "So you have no issues other than PCOS, no high blood pressure, no diabetes, no high cholesterol,..." and my response was "I'm the Healthiest fat person you will find!"
The more I research, the more I change my diet the more I see changes.  This surgery is a tool.  Tim and I were talking about this on our way home from vacation and he made a really good point.  He said "People who have cancer go and have radiation or chemo.  People who have diabetes take insulin, people who have any type of issue go to a doctor and are prescribed medicine or therapy of some sort.  You have PCOS and weight is your problem so this surgery is just like those other things." That gave me so much more peace.  I don't care what others think of what choices I am making.  They have not lived a day in my life so they cannot make any type call of what I should or should not be doing.
I sat in the office of my surgeon and had to get him to understand that my weight is a reflection of PCOS not because I indulge in food.  Every other doctor I have been too has agreed with me and though my surgeon has not had to deal with many people with pcos he cannot group me in the same category.  I still chose him because he's one of the best.
My goal with this blog is to help others who have PCOS to have a voice.  There are many with PCOS who do not have the weight as a symptom but that doesn't mean they don't suffer.
I'm beyond thankful for the many who have encouraged me along the way.  In 10 days my life will be so different.  I'm looking forward to getting healthy and living.

Until next time...

Ann Marie

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Journey of a lifetime...Under Construction

In September of last year my husband and I had a conversation concerning my health.  As many of you know I have struggled with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome since puberty.  They didn't have a name for it back when I was 11 but as the years have gone by and more and more research is done they are starting to narrow down the cause of this.  A lot of it has to do with the types of food we eat.  As food evolves and becomes more and more genetically modified the more we, the people, will suffer with many new illnesses but that is for another post at another time...back to why I'm writing this.
I was a pretty healthy kid.  As a baby my mom found that I was lactose intolerant and allergic to chocolate (yes please feel sorry for me.  Go head...take a moment....just know I still eat it but I suffer with a burning throat and have to drink a ton of fluids to make it feel better lol) and in my early twenties I found out I also am allergic to latex! Explains why I had such sore and swollen gums for a week or two after every single dentist visit! Other than those moments I was pretty healthy.  Once puberty hit I began experiencing new things that were painful and would make me extremely anemic and tired all the time.
Nothing against my family, but we just don't talk.  I mean, we do now but growing up we just never really talked about how things change as you become older and what you will experience.  I did go to public school until 9th grade so I had the "sex education" classes and anatomy classes and such so I learned about a little about what girls will experience as they become a teen and such.  I also never really talked about that kind of stuff with my friends.  Really, I only had a couple of close friends growing up and we were boy crazy and into movies and being...well kids. So with all that said it wasn't until I was 13 or 14 that my mom realized I was having some serious issues.
After several doctor appointments and testing the end result was "well if your daughter would lose the weight then she would not have these problems."  Let me just say....teenagers are already going through one of the most difficult times in their life and when a doctor throws in there that they are fat and need to lose weight, any ounce of "self worth" is squashed.  It still brings me to tears when I think of those moments.  Moving on... what they didn't know at the time was my increasing weight gain was a symptom of something seriously wrong.  Due to female issues my doctor decided at the age of 14 that I should be put on birth control.  So here I am about 50 pounds over weight at 14 and my doctor puts me on a pill that will "help" with one area but will make me gain even more weight. The cycle just gets worse from there.
Here I am 21 years later and this past Wednesday I was approved for Gastric bypass RNY by my insurance. When we started this process I was determined not to share that we were going through this.  I have had many who have loved me no matter my size but I have had a lot who have judged me because of my size.  Of course I am guilty of the same thing and I always try to remember that people just are not educated.  Our society is all about looks and of course when they say a heavy person they automatically assume they are binge eaters and lazy.  Food is why I am heavy but not because I am a binge eater....
When one is extremely anemic, passing out and having to go in and out of the hospital it is extremely difficult to cook, clean and exercise as well as hold down a 40 hour job.  I remember in the very beginning of my marriage I would work, and sleep.  Literally. I was so exhausted I could barely move.  Tim and I struggled so much and in the end we just really had no idea what was wrong with me and the stress of bills, newly married and life almost ended us.
There was one doctor in Michigan who invested time in me and my situation.  I remember after several appointments he told me my husband needed to come.  He sat my husband down and explained that if we don't get control of this situation he would lose his young bride,  It was then Tim realized that things were really bad.
So here I am with 24 days before my surgery and I am having all kinds of mixed emotions.  This would explain my first post concerning this surgery being pretty scattered.
I want to start blogging so I can share my journey with those who may come before me.  I want to talk about some of the things I was scare of.  How I sorted things out in my head.  How it took me 7 years to finally make this decision.  As my new journey to a new me begins I want to be able to put into words what I go through, how I deal with those who are uneducated and how I overcome what some have called the impossible.
My goal is to blog at least once a week on a specific topic.  My next blog will be about how having this surgery is NOT the easy way out!
I'm looking forward to this journey....please pray for me, my family and my surgeon....God is so good to me!
With Love
Ann Marie