5 weeks post-op

So today I am officially 5 weeks post-op from having a full abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and I’m super happy with the results.  My surgery date got moved from December 21, 2016 up to November 30, 2016 due to the surgeon not being available through Christmas.

The first few days were very rough.  All my core muscles were screaming so any movement I made was just awful.  Then the gas hit.  About the second or third day I ended up with gas pains, and eventually being constipated.  It was excruciating until I had an enema and things got back to working again.  I also ended up with a yeast infection from the antibiotics I was on.  I ended up being on antibiotics for 2 weeks, as at my 1 week follow-up my incision was still quite red.

This is me the day I had my drains removed, 1 week post-op.2017-01-04-11-01-32

I went in the day of surgery weighing 162 lbs and today I’m 155 – Dr. Bengezi removed 7 lbs of tumor and excess skin, sewed my abdominal muscles together and moved my belly button.

I started this weight loss journey when I was 320 lbs.  I was diagnosed with diabetes and was depressed and just generally unhealthy.

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May 21, 2014 I went in for Gastric Bypass Surgery performed by Dr. Gmora in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.  I had lost some weight and was 277 lbs.

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2 years after my gastric bypass I went to a plastic surgeon to see about having what I thought was an unfortunate amount/placement of extra skin that had started growing when I was 15 years old.

Dr. Bengezi of Welland took a look at me and said it wasn’t all extra skin; what I always called my “bump” was actually a form of a tumor, called a lipoma.  He had never seen one so big before and he took a lot of pictures.  He then sent in a request to OHIP (our provincial health care plan) to see if they would cover the cost of a panniculectomy to remove the bump.  I got a call back about 5 months after they sent the request that I had been approved.

The morning of surgery I get to the hospital and the nursing staff is great.  They tell me how much they love and respect Dr. Bengezi and how nice he is and what great work he does so I was more than comfortable and not nervous at all.  When I finally get to the OR I’m chatting with the nurses and staff and they all love Dr. Bengezi too.  When he comes into the room he almost brags to the nurses how big my “bump” is that he’s going to remove and how I lost 160 lbs and basically my story.  But then he says something I didn’t know… OHIP only covered a panniculectomy, which is basically just removing the bump and nothing else but Dr. Bengezi didn’t want me to look bad so he upgraded me to a full tummy tuck with muscle repair at no cost to me!  I had no idea.

Post-op I had only one complication – a seroma, which is a fluid build up.  Dr. Bengezi got me in right away and drained 170 cc of fluid. I went back the following week and he took out 120 cc.  The next time I went I had 40 cc removed and this most recent time none at all.  There’s still a tiny bit of fluid left but nothing to worry about and he says my body will absorb it by itself as the lymphatic system repairs.

So, now, at 5 weeks out I am ready to show my “after” pictures.  I’m still swollen and numb, and there are still some spots on the incision that are scabbed, but otherwise everything is great.  I am super happy with the results and cannot wait to get this binder off (essentially a large elastic band that compresses my tummy) and wear real pants, like jeans.  Ooh.. and a bathing suit.  I haven’t worn one in years because none covered my belly properly.

Here are my stats, before I show the pictures:

Highest Weight – 320 lbs (April, 2013)

Highest Waist Measurement – 58 inches

Highest Hips Measurement – 59 inches

Bypass Surgery Weight – 277 lbs (May, 2014)

Current Weight – 155 lbs

Current Waist Measurement – 35 inches

Current Hips Measurement – 39 inches

 

June 26, 2014 – 259 lbs

So I have THREE major non-scale victories to share tonight. The first one happened when I was running late for a doctors appointment. I didn’t feel like waiting for the elevator so I decided to take the flight of stairs up to the office. So I took the stairs in a rush and wasn’t out of breath! Usually I’d be loudly huffing and puffing and would find it hard to speak to the receptionist for a few minutes. Not only could I talk, but my blood pressure was in the perfect range!

The second NSV happened when I went to the hair dresser. You know how some of them put that little tissue paper around your neck before they put the gown on? Well today, for the first time since I can remember, it actually fit all the way around and even overlapped a bit!

The third NSV happened when I went to Red Lobster for dinner. I actually got a little emotional and teared up a bit. I sat down and actually FIT in the booth with inches to spare between my belly and the table! 6 months ago when I went my tummy was right up against the table and even over it a bit. It was very uncomfortable. I ordered the stuffed talapia with broccoli and rice. I literally ate two bites of rice, a couple florets of broccoli and half the fish. I ate a few bites of salad and about 1/2 of a biscuit. So I ate quite a lot and was a bit uncomfortable but I didn’t get sick or anything.

Yesterday was a bad day. My boyfriend and I were fighting and it was our first real fight. I got scared and reverted to old habits where I started retreating and took my stuff out of his house and left. We didn’t talk much as I felt he had put up walls and I got very defensive. After a day of fighting I swallowed my pride and told him I missed him and that I love him. And we started working things out. I’m going back tomorrow to see him and confirm that I love him and want to be with him.

I think it shows growth on my part that I was able to come to him in a vulnerable position and tell him honestly how I felt. I was terrified of being rejected but I love him so much I just had to let him know and take the chance. And thank God I did. I’d be so upset with myself if I had let my pride stand in the way.

FINALLY most of the hassle with my disability is over. I got paid! So I’m caught up on my rent and bills. It’s a good feeling. I’ve also got my doctor’s notes telling that I can go back to work and start exercising. I can’t do core workouts for a other month but at least I can start somewhere.

So other than the blip that was our major first fight the last couple days have been great. I haven’t lost much weight since the last post but the NSV’s were amazing!

Total weight lost: 61 lbs
Weight lost since surgery: 18

Went toy one month follow up and they say I’m doing great!

Day 32 – 270.2 lbs

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Happy day!  I may be still struggling financially, but I had a great day.  I spent time with my daughter and, even though she went home early due to a lack of solid food in the house, we had a great time.  I wasn’t feeling all that well today and had a couple naps, but in between and now I feel amazing.  I’m mentally hungry but have found other things to occupy my time.  Namely, support groups. 

I joined a couple bypass groups on Facebook and put up a couple questions.  And I got TONNES of responses.  I’ve been going off and on through other peoples’ posts and everyone is so encouraging and friendly.  It is AWESOME to talk to people who are at the same stage as me, are a little ahead or are years post op.  It’s great to hear everyone’s stories.  I’m feeling so amazing and supported by everyone around me.

Also making me feel good is that I found a picture of me back in September 2013 when my whole family got together and took professional pictures.  At the time I was quite horrified with how they turned out.  Not only was I the fat one in the family (which I’m used to) but I was way fatter than I’d ever been.  My face was huge.  So I took a “selfie” today to see if I could tell a difference… and MAN, what a difference!!!

So I’m going to post my before and during photos today. First photo is me today. Second is me in September 2013, and third is me in July 2013. 

 

Day 24 – 278.4 lbs

Hello 🙂  I’m happy today because I finally got released from the hospital.  I had to stay an extra day because my hemoglobins were down, even though surgery went well and I didn’t bleed out or anything like that.  Dr. says surgery was perfect and he couldn’t have asked for better.  The last couple days I was in agony with gas pain but it’s starting to pass.  Right now I feel mild discomfort from the incision sites and a bit of pain when I “eat.”  I don’t feel full it feels like I have a gas bubble so it rumbles and hurts when I breathe in.  I guess that’s my cue to stop “eating.”  Today I had 2 Boost Diabetic meal replacements, 125 ml of diet peach juice, 125 ml of diet lemonade, a couple sips of gross hospital broth, and a bunch of water while I was at the hospital.  I had 2 meal replacements because my sugar dropped under 4 and they needed to get it back up.  When I got home I tried my new protein shakes.  SUPER GROSS.  But a fitness guru friend of mine suggested I mix it with my plain Greek yogurt so I did.  It turned into a vanilla flavoured Greek yogurt soup but it was tasty.  Better than broth and water.  So it took a few hours to eat that, I also tried to have some pudding but got less than 1/2 through the cup before I felt yucky.  I checked my sugar close to bed time and it was low again, so I got myself 3 spoonfuls of low fat, no sugar added, lactose free vanilla ice cream by Chapmans.  It sounded like it might taste yucky, but it was actually really good.  I’m glad I bought it. 

 

Haven’t really begun to lose any weight yet, but I’ve also only been off the IV for about 12 hours.  I should start dropping weight soon.  I’m also not feeling any side effects like lethargy or anything like that.  But I’m probably not nutrient difficient yet either.  Goal for tomorrow: take ALL  my medicine/herbals/vitamins at the PROPER time.  Sounds easy, but I’ve been having a rough time remembering.  I’ve got to set some alarms or something. 

 

Well, I’m tired.  Will post pictures of the incisions tomorrow (yay you!) just wanted to check in.

Todays weight: 278.4

Total weight lost since surgery (day 21): -1.4

Total weight lost since beginning this journey a year ago: 41.6

Day 22 – one day post operative

Today has been more of the same. I’m in pain but not at the incision sites, which must mean it’s from the gas they pumped into my abdomen. I’ve been up walking around trying to get the gas out but it’s not working. Despite that the nurses and doctor says I’m doing very well.

I’m still super thirsty but I’m actually allowed to drink… Sort of. I can only drink 30 ml at a time. As of how I’m up to 90 ml per hour. Basically that translates into 3 almost mouthfuls per hour. Not nearly enough if I’m walking around or talking. Thankfully the hours are going by pretty quickly for lunch I as given some jello and some diet lemonade. Better tasting than water. The jello and lemonade were when I was taking 60 ml per hour so they each lasted 3 hours long. For dinner I get another thing of lemonade and the paper says I’m supposed to get a coffee but I didn’t. I’m not making a fuss though seeing as how I don’t like coffee.

I called disability today as they never called me back and they were supposed to last Friday. They still haven’t gotten any records of me being on disability. So I called my boss and freaked out. He’s emailing someone in HR and telling them to call me ASAP. Of course they haven’t called yet either. So God only knows when I’ll be getting a pay cheque.

I got a phone call last night while I was in recovery and didn’t have my phone with me. It was in response to a job I applied for. So I called them back this morning but they never answered. I left a voicemail but they haven’t called me back either. I don’t recognize the name of the company but I recognize the job title and it is one I wanted. I think it’s through a hiring agency and that’s why the company name didn’t sound familiar.

I haven’t been able to weigh myself today either. Tomorrow I’m scheduled to go home so I’ll do it then. Talk to you guys soon!

TODAY IS THE BIG DAY! Day 21 – May 21, 2014

Today I have my gastric bypass surgery!  I think I might be nervous subconsciously because I haven’t slept well the past 3 nights.  As it is, today, I’ve been up for almost an hour and it’s only 2:42 AM.  I’m also very hungry seeing as how I haven’t been allowed to have any shakes or anything other than water for the past 2 days.  And since midnight I haven’t been able to have even water or cough drops for when I start coughing.  I’m pretty tired, even though I can’t sleep, so after this I think I’m going to try for a couple more hours. 

One good thing about not being able to eat for 2 days is I’ve lost like 9 pounds.  Bad thing – loose BM’s.  Funny side note: Sean and I went to Rona yesterday and there was a car with a licence plate “BM KING” lol.  Why anyone would want that as a licence plate I’ll never know.  Anyway yesterday was an up and down kind of day.  I didn’t sleep well, but other than that it started off good.  First we went and printed out my resume since I had a job interview that afternoon.  I almost got a parking ticket, but SEan talked the guy out of it.  Then we went to Rona to do some “window” shopping.  They didn’t have what we were looking for (what we found they sold online). Then we stopped and got coffee from the K Cup place, and a bit of food from the grocery store.  We then went back to Sean’s place and relaxed for a couple hours. 

After a couple hours of relaxing it was time for me to go to my job interview.  We mapped out where I was supposed to go, but I didn’t write down detailed instructions because I have GPS on my phone.  Before the interview I was supposed to meet a guy about trading phones.  It turns out I’m not an Android kind of girl and wanted an iPhone back.  For some reason leaving Guelph and just entering Cambridge (where the interview and phone transaction was taking place) my data plan just all of a sudden died.  I couldn’t get a GPS signal any more, couldn’t pull up a map, couldn’t Google anything… it was horrible!  Of course I didn’t have any maps in the car I could read either so I pulled over and got directions to the meeting place.  It didn’t surprise me that the instructions weren’t good and I got lost again.  My text was working so I was able to text the guy I was meeting and get him to Google me the directions.  Turns out he wanted to back out of the transaction because he discovered his phone was worth more than mine (which I knew, but hoped he wouldn’t LOL).   So I said OK and he said if I put more money down he’d sell it to me. I only had an extra $30 instead of the $50 he wanted, but he let me take it with that. 

By the time I got to the meeting place I had missed my interview.  Of course I couldn’t pull up the email with the information on it so I couldn’t call them to let them know what was happening.  So I got to the meeting place and had to wait almost a half hour before buddy showed up.  We looked over the phones and made our trade.  I then got him to give me directions to the mall so I could get a new SIM card.  When I arrived at the mall and got the SIM card, of course the phone wasn’t working.  I spent nearly 45 minutes working with the sales rep trying to get the phone to work.  Finally he suggested I call the guy and get my phone back because he didn’t think it was unlocked properly.  We had previously tried rebooting the phone twice and it still said “No Service”.  So I got the guy to write down directions on how to get back to Guelph and left, dejected.  When I arrived at my car for some reason I decided to reboot my phone again.  And what happened?  It worked.  All of a sudden I had service (both data and voice) and I was able to map a better way home.  This whole ordeal took over 2 hours. 

So as crappy as my day had been going I knew I had something to look forward to… Yesterday I got my new SUV! Well, new for me… but still.  It’s a 2010 Santa Fe Sport.  I love it.  It’s all black, partial leather interior, power everything, sun roof… I’m sure there’s more but that’s all I can remember.  So Sean and I went and traded in my crappy car for this beauty.  It was so comfortable to drive home.  Handles beautifully and rides smoothly.  When we got to Welland (my home) we also were selling my dining room table and the guys who were buying that showed up within a few minutes.  They moved the table and it was time for me to go to my daughters place to bring her the phone charger she left over the weeekend.  Zoey loved the SUV too.  We took a ride to the bank and she was blaring the music LOL.  I have to admit it sounds pretty good. 

So yesterday was an up and down day.  Today is hopefully going to be all up!  I’m excited for my surgery, for changing my life for the better.  I have so many supportive people behind me and my sister is driving me to the hospital today.  Sean will be staying with me for a few hours to make sure I survive and am OK.  He’s also going to text Zoey so she knows I’m doing well.  Zoey has been worrying and crying over it.  I feel badly for her, but don’t know how to ease her fears.  Sean says he doesn’t have the doom feeling so he thinks it will be ok. LOL.  I’m sure it will be.  Next blog will be from the hospital!

Weight this morning: 277.0

Total weight lost since starting Optifast 3 weeks ago: 14.4

Day 19 – Monday May 19, 2014

So… It is 1:56 AM and I can’t sleep.  My calves are itchy for some unknown reason, I can’t seem to stop coughing (allergies – woot!) and my cat is running around the house as if his tail is on fire (poor turn of phrase seeing as how he has only a stub for a tail due to an amputation LOL).  So technically it’s the 19th of May even though this feels like the blog for the 18th.  It is a long weekend today… Victoria Day so no work but also stores are probably not going to be open.  This isn’t usually a big deal, except as of midnight I stopped being able to drink my Optifast drinks and can ingest nothing other than clear fluids for today and tomorrow so I’m going to be dying for distraction.  And tomorrow after midnight I won’t be able to have anything at all… not even cough drops so I might just keep coughing till I gag.  Pleasant.  Later today I’ll be going to Guelph to see Sean so that won’t be so bad, but I still would rather we be able to do something other than sit around and think about how I can’t eat anything. 

So I’ve ranted before about how I have no money due to not being paid for a month because my boss and HR didn’t do their jobs and put my time sheets/disability claim in on time and today isn’t going to be a big change.  I’m waiting for a cheque to come in that was supposed to be here Friday sometime via courier but I highly doubt it will come in on a holiday.  My dad fronted me the money that is contained in that cheque because his concern is even if I get it, it will be held by the bank and I won’t be able to use it in time.  Legit concern that I never thought of.  This cheque isn’t that big (but when you have nothing feels huge!) and is the cash portion of a life insurance policy.  I still don’t quite understand how that works despite having it explained to me, but if I can get some emergency funds when I need it – bonus!  Even with this new cheque I’m not going to have quite enough to cover all my outstanding bills (as I said, haven’t been paid for a month meaning neither has anyone I owe) so I’m selling some stuff on Kijiji.  In case you don’t know, Kijiji is an online classified website, similar (but better, in my opinion) to Craigs List.  I’ve sold my seldom-used bicycle (it was a beauty though… was sad to see it and all it represented I wanted to do with my life go), my white display cabinet, and tomorrow I’m dropping off an air conditioner I no longer need.  Well, in theory, I’ll need it for June/July when it gets hot and I’m still at this apartment… but I’ve survived without A/C before so I’ll do it again.  Not happily, though.  I’m also trying to sell my dining room set (pub height table, 6 chairs, a removable leaf and a removable lazy Susan) which I love, but it won’t fit nicely in Sean’s place and my cell phone (which I also love, but I can get one I love just as much for cheaper).  Hopefully I’ll find buyers in the next couple days.  (If you’re in the area and know anyone give me a shout LOL)

Zoey and I have had a pretty good weekend.  I allowed her to spend the night with her friend from the school she went to when she lived with me.  Her dad doesn’t like when I do this, he thinks she needs to spend every minute of every weekend with me.  I understand where he’s coming from, but it’s unreasonable to me because she spent years with the kids in the neighbourhood at school and now doesn’t get to see them at all because she lives across town.  So if I have to sacrifice a night or just a few hours every couple weeks for Zoey to be a little happier I will.  It makes me lonely without her but I think interacting with kids her own age and doing fun things like “hanging” at the park is important.  I say “hanging” because I got in trouble when I said if she wanted to “play” at the park she could.  Apparently 12 year olds don’t “play”.  Duh.  We didn’t have any more deep discussions, but we watched one movie a couple times (she’s like her dad that way) and just spent time together.  When it was time to go to bed she slept with me (she doesn’t like sleeping alone at my house lately for some reason, and I don’t often deny her because I miss her and like having her with me) and cuddled me and said, quietly, “I don’t want you to die”.  Which broke my heart a little. 

About the surgery… I do feel a little guilty.  The program claims they haven’t lost anyone yet so I’m not too concerned… but what if something does happen?  Someone has to be the first.  I don’t want to leave Zoey motherless… and Sean has been alone for so long – he finally seems happy.  My dad, well he lost his wife (my mom) almost 14 years ago, could he handle losing his firstborn too?  I mean, it’s my fault I need the surgery, and it’s completely my choice to have it.  So it kind of feels a bit like it would be suicide if I died.  I mean, its certain death if I don’t do it and continue gaining weight but I’m starting to get a little nervous.  And weepy.  Again, LOL.  Well, I’m not going to focus on it.  At least if something happens it will happen because I’m trying to change my life for the better, not because I felt depressed and swallowed too many pills. 

I have a confession to make.  I cheated.  I ate some pudding.  It was low fat, sugar free pudding… but I’m still not supposed to have it until I come home from the hospital.  I also had a cup of no sugar added grape juice.  I thought I was allowed to have grape juice as long as it has no sugar added, but it turns out that’s only true if it’s white grape juice.  And the shit thing is we debated over buying white or purple grape juice and I decided on purple because I’d never had the white kind before.  I also bought the wrong kind of milk.  Thought I was allowed to have 1% but as I re-read what I’ll be allowed to eat for the first 2 weeks I’m home I realized I’m never allowed to have 1% or 2% milk again.  It will have to be skim milk or soy or almond milk for the rest of my life.  So Zoey will be taking home the milk, and I’ll go buy more and some white grape juice for when I’m home from surgery.  And one more confession… today I felt like I was going to the executioner or something.  So when Zoey and I went to Target we stopped at the Starbucks booth and picked up some drinks and I bought a blueberry square.  I’m not supposed to have caffeine, sugar, milk, or solid food but I did.  I did, however, realize it wasn’t as good as I was hoping it would be.  The drink (Oprah’s Chai Tea Latte – Tall) was way too sweet and the blueberry square just wasn’t satisfying at all.  Definitely not worth the $1.95 + tax I paid for it.  I should have gotten the blueberry scone.  *sigh* So, again, I really cheated for nothing because I didn’t get enjoyment out of it.  Quite possibly a mental thing – I know I’m not supposed to have it so I end up not liking it.

Well, I guess that’ll be all for today.  It’s been almost an hour of thinking and typing, and finally my cat and my cough have settled down.  I should really go back and try to sleep some more. 

Weight for today: 286.0 (wow, apparently Oprah’s Chai Tea Latte and a blueberry square = a 3.2 lb weight gain… hmmm)

Total weight lost while on the optifast diet: 5.4 (not NEARLY enough.  The doctor said he didn’t care if I lost weight but as long as I followed the diet, which for the most part I have.  But I care.  Annoying guy at nutrition class lost 40 lbs in 3 weeks and I stayed hovering between 5 – 11 lbs.  NOT FAIR.)

Total weight lost since I started my journey last year: 320 – 286.0 = 34 (a much better number!)