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One Year Ago Today.... (long)

Posted by on Feb. 8, 2012 at 9:42 AM
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My life changed for the better. Although had you asked me then, I would have cried and told you to just put me out of my misery! One year ago today I had my Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass. After 5 months of logging every bite I ate, every move I made and learning what my new life would be like, I finally took the step to give me the tool I needed to succeed. I started off the morning at 218 pounds, 16 pounds under my highest ever weight of 234 pounds. I was miserable. I was wearing a size 22 on that day. I had been a 24. I was always exhausted. I never wanted to move, I never wanted to play with my kids. Wait, no, that’s a lie, I WANTED to, but never had the energy to or would wind up in too much pain to play more than 5 minutes. My kids suffered, I suffered, my marriage suffered. I never wanted to leave the house. I hated to just look at myself in the mirror. But, that all changed a year ago.

 

The surgery itself was supposed to take 2-2.5 hours. It wound up taking 3.5 because there were many other revisions to be made inside my body. Before Captain Flint could actually perform the RNY, he had to remove many lesions that had formed all over my intestines, keeping them bunched together. He also had to repair a hiatal hernia. Otherwise my surgery was performed flawlessly. Thanks to all the extra work that had to be done, I was in a lot of pain. Morphine didn’t help. I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t breathe. But again, that was ME, and the extra work that had to be done. The girl that had her surgery after mine had NO pain.

I was released from the hospital 3 days later. I was able to drink, but my body wasn’t happy with ANYTHING but water for a few weeks. I was able to handle water, and chicken broth, and some jello. I was unable to handle any protein or vitamins, but should have tried harder anyways. But, in that first month even the doctors tell you to focus on the water if nothing else works, that there are enough stores in your body to handle nutritional needs, but NOT hydration needs. So I did that. After about 3 weeks the pain went away. I was losing a pound a DAY. I was beginning to be able to have more than just water. At the time, potato soup with protein powder mixed in was my favorite food. My first blood check was PERFECT at a month out. I was down 30 pounds in 30 days. I was still a bit swollen, so I had only lost one clothing size during this time, but you could see in my face, neck and hands how I had lost weight. The next couple weeks were great. I was doing well, beginning to move more, no more pain, the gas had gone away and the swelling was going away. My mood was AMAZING. I was no longer on ANY of my anti-depressants. I was drinking and learning to eat again.

 

But about 6 weeks after surgery, foods were starting to not sit well. We didn’t think much of it at that point, we knew my body would go through times where it would love a food one day, then reject it the next. The new pouch that is created when you have the RNY often gets referred to as its own person by many patients. Mine has since been dubbed Paco (ask Jason.) So, we didn’t think much of it. Well, we took a trip to Charleston to see family around the time of my dad’s birthday. Then we drove up to the Great Wolf Lodge in NC to see Jason’s mom. I was starting to eat less solid foods, but didn’t think much of it because I never liked to eat a lot of food when traveling. We got back from NC and took a trip down to Miami, just Jason and me. During that week I stopped being able to tolerate ANY solid foods. Only wanted pure liquids. Then it got to the point that I could no longer tolerate liquids. We thought, maybe I got a stomach bug. Maybe not.

 

When we got back to Jacksonville the vomiting escalated from once a day, to many times. After a week of this I went to see my surgeon in an emergency appointment. I was no longer even able to tolerate water. I was scheduled for an emergency Endoscope the next day. Turns out I had a stricture. The opening from my stomach to my intestines shrunk from the standard 9mm to 3mm so water couldn’t even pass. The doc fixed it and sent me home after a couple bags of fluids. Said by morning I should feel 100% better and to start again slowly adding in foods again.

 

Well, the next morning I STILL couldn’t keep anything down. At all. So, we went back to the hospital where they discovered I was still badly dehydrated and my potassium levels were down to a 2.0 (should be above a 4.0 at a minimum.) So I was admitted and they started giving me fluids and potassium. Now, potassium BURNS. If that stuff is not diluted properly it can burn your veins and cause damage. If it is given too fast it can do the same thing. Over the next 5 days I was given 18 bags of potassium. It destroyed a couple veins in the process. We had to change IV sites every day because it would wear the vein down enough to cause the IV to fall out. They could not get my levels up to a 4, every time they did it would drop pretty fast because I STILL could not keep anything down. They didn’t even bother bringing me food trays because of this.

 

They did another scope at the end of my stay, the opening was still perfect, a little inflammation was noticed but only because of how much I had been vomiting. Since my potassium levels were staying over a 3.5 or so they decided to release me and try and let me rest. Another week went by of me at home, still throwing up. Over this week I started getting weaker. I could barely stand, was incredibly dizzy. I gave up on sitting up and keeping my eyes open. The final straw was when I vomited up bile. That may not sound odd, but my new pouch has next to no acid pumps in it now. It is why I have to chew SO much. The acid pumps are still in the OLD part of the stomach, and that acid goes through the old intestinal tract and meets up farther down now so that the food will still get digested, just not in the same order as before. In order for me to throw up bile, I had to have the bile enter in the intestines very far down and then get forced all the way up and into the new pouch and back out. It’s just NOT supposed to happen.

 

They admitted me to the hospital again. My potassium was back down to a 2, and I was even more dehydrated than before. They had a hard time getting a vein; those were all still hurt. They gave more and more potassium and more and more fluids. After 3 or 4 more days in the hospital I realized I was not JUST dizzy, but actually seeing DOUBLE. Full on, two full people, double. My eyes were losing muscle control and could no longer focus on anything. This clued the docs in that I was extremely B-1 deficient. This is called Beriberi and it was not fun. They rushed up what they called a banana bag-a HUGE bag of liquid vitamins. After an hour I stopped throwing up. After 2 I could sit, by the end of the 4-hour treatment I could see again. It took them so long to realize because Beriberi usually takes a long time to develop. Just a month prior I had perfect levels! And it didn’t help that it takes 2 weeks to get the results back from testing for b-1 levels. I stayed in the hospital another few days getting more b-1, more potassium and a few other vitamins that my body was lacking.

 

It was hard when I went home. I had nervous system damage and had a very hard time walking. It took MONTHS for that to stop. The past 3 months is when we noticed that I could run again, and jump and FEEL my legs. Every now and then they will go weak again, but nothing like at the beginning when they would give out. So, lesson learned. Vitamins are SUPER important. Protein is SUPER important. I can’t survive without either. Today I am 115 pounds, 103 pounds less than one year ago, and 119 pounds less overall. I fit into a size 4, I have energy for the most part (unless my anemia is flaring up, which happens) I can play with the kids, I can ride on amusement park rides with the kids, I will be able to get on a plane and NOT touch other seats and will have extra seat belt! I can walk around Disney World all day and be fully recovered the next day and not a week later. I have lost 2.5 shoes sizes, 2.5 ring sizes; have needed smaller framed glasses, shorter necklace chains. I have lost 100.4 inches from my body. I can see my feet, I can get a real hug from my husband, and I can actually hold my children CLOSE to my body. I can do so much more now than I ever thought that I would be able to do.

 

Eating is not an issue. Protein first; always. Then veggies. My body hates potatoes in all forms now, which took away my favorite carb. I don’t do breads, but will do a crab-balance tortilla (half of one) when I need that fix. I plan on following plan. I do not EVER want to get back to where I was, or anywhere near. I am fully aware that most bariatric patients have a small bounce back even if they are following plan, usually around 2-3 years out. This is the result of our bodies learning what happened to them and adjusting and becoming able to pull more calories back in. When that happens I will adjust my eating (which is working now) to be a little less carb again, less fat again, and most likely higher protein. Exercise will also be kicked up a notch. I will accept a 10-pound gain as long as I fight it. I will not accept more than that. As soon as those numbers start going up I will fight tooth and nail against it. But ya know what, that’s me. I did not come as close to dying as I did to let it all go to waste. I will be a good example for my kids and will teach them the right way to eat and how to be as healthy as they can be. I do not want to see either of them go through what I have gone through.

by on Feb. 8, 2012 at 9:42 AM
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Replies (1-2):
hello79
by New Member on Feb. 13, 2012 at 3:48 PM

Thank you so much for going into detail...one detail lacking is whether you had a drastic amt of loose skin and if so did you have plastic surgery?

I've had my consultation and am waiting for my gallbladder ultrasound, which will be in a couple of weeks.  I also had to get my blood sugars under control (as I am a type 2 diabetic Xs 1yr now on 2 pills and insulin), which I have.  I hope to have my surgery by middle to late March or early April.

tlc576
by Member on Feb. 13, 2012 at 4:03 PM

We are actually super shocked at how little skin there is. I have gone from a size 24 to a 4 and have not YET had plastic surgery. I do plan on it, there is a lot of skin, but it is not noticeable on me when wearing clothes (for the most part) I will probably have 5-10 pounds of skin removed and lose another size or two from my waist. I have a very very tiny frame so I am not too worried. I *could* live with the skin since my hubby is the only one to see me naked and doesnt mind it too much. At least it doesnt turn him off. We were expecting a lot more though. I do recommend waiting 18 months-2 years before skin removal though, at a year out things are still changing a lot. Our bodies are good a rearranging where pockets of fat are, and waiting gives me more time to learn to maintain my weight. Not this coming summer, but the summer after is when I plan to have my circumferential body lift. 6 months to a year after that I plan on having my breasts fixed. That will also give me time to see if I need to do any work on my arms or legs. I dont plan on doing anything extra when I do the body lift because of how major that operation is already.

Quoting hello79:

Thank you so much for going into detail...one detail lacking is whether you had a drastic amt of loose skin and if so did you have plastic surgery?

I've had my consultation and am waiting for my gallbladder ultrasound, which will be in a couple of weeks.  I also had to get my blood sugars under control (as I am a type 2 diabetic Xs 1yr now on 2 pills and insulin), which I have.  I hope to have my surgery by middle to late March or early April.


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