8 Days Post Op Weight Loss Surgery and *pics*

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

As I sit sipping 4 ounces of tomato soup for breakfast (I moved from clear liquids to creamy liquids yesterday), thinking on how quickly the last 8 days have gone by. Despite the monotony of 7 days of clear liquids, this has not been an unpleasant experience at all.

I was at the hospital by 8:00 a.m. on Monday, the 28th of July. Our morning started out kind of funny. The ladies in registration were double, triple, quadruple checking every single thing on every single paper. I was thinking they were just being super cautious, rather than with the usual caution I've experience in hospital admissions before. It became apparent in the waiting area why so many precautions were taken with my paper work. I was talking to my family about how I was listed as my married name at the doctor's office, but the hospital insisted on listing me as my maiden name hyphenated with my married name because that was what is on my driver's license (you really do need to read carefully before signing those things at the DMV). A voice behind me said, "So YOU are the culprit!", and started laughing. It turns out that my maiden name is the same as his first name, and we both have the same last name....and we both were scheduled for surgery with the same doctor that morning! He arrived first and was accidentally given MY armband until his wife noticed he was listed as female. Everyone from admissions, to pre-op prep, to the OR staff were taking so many precautions with us - it became a joke. It was a serious situation to be sure, but we all made it funny with jokes and what not. They even marked my arm in big letters with the word SLEEVE and his with the word HERNIA so as not to allow the confusion to follow us into the operating room.
Here's a rather unflattering picture of me after getting my arm marked:

The surgery went on without a hitch. The doctor told my family I came through with flying colors. Doc told me the day after surgery that there was surprisingly little fat on my liver which was proof positive I had been eating relatively healthy for quite some time.
BOOYAH! - to those who didn't believe me and to the insurance company who denied me benefits for the surgery because they thought I could lose weight on my own, no matter what metabolic testing showed. The nurses at Foundation Surgical were top notch, as were the techs, respiratory therapists, phlebotomists, and all of the staff. I was treated with so much respect and dignity. I was up and walking within hours of surgery. My husband, children, grandkids, friends, and other family members popped in and out over the three days, which cheered me up so much. Here are pictures of my husband and my grandson, and of my granddaughter, taken the evening after surgery. I don't look great, but I felt pretty good, other than weak and sore.

By day 2, I was looking and feeling a bit better. This made Robyn smile!

Speaking of weak and sore, that about sums up how it feels when you have a Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy. I've had pulled muscles that hurt worse. If you have a c-section or hysterectomy, you know what I am talking about how it feels like your guts are falling out when you stand up. None of that with this procedure. You feel sore, you have "twinges", but that is about it. I had 6 small incisions that each had about 4 staples. I was bruised, but not too bad except for one incision which bruised up pretty good. I had a morphine drip I used twice the first day and wouldn't have used at all after that except they gave me a potassium drip the second day since I was low and OUCH that burns like crazy!




Pretty, huh? They looked a bit worse after staple removal, and with all the gluing and steri-stripping my tummy is now a mess of falling off strips and glue residue. Ick. Still too sensitive to scrub.

Walking, oh yeah....lots of that. As I said I was up and walking LOTS from day 1. Unfortunately, the hall I was allowed to walk in is only about 100 yards long, so it got pretty darn monotonous. Here's a picture of me all pretty in pink on the morning of day 2. I had them unplug the IVs from my arm so I could walk unencumbered. Walking with the IV pole on day 1 made me feel clumsy and a bit like an invalid.

Foundation is a very small, private hospital. The rooms are all private and have a little alcove "sitting area" if you don't want folks surrounding your bed when they visit. The love seat folds out into single bed, which my husband slept on the first night. He wanted to make sure I was okay. I was, so he got the luxury of our own bed at home after that. He is the dearest man on Earth, I tell you. I had a great view of grass and trees (and the side of the outer building). In the evening, deer came out to feed and a few came right up to my window. It was lovely, enchanting, and entertaining. None of the pics from the evening came out well, but this was my daytime view.

The worst and most monotonous part of the stay? The fact that they have real chefs preparing the meals at this hospital and I was on a strict all liquid diet from day one until yesterday. Foundation is a 20 bed hospital, so they can have more flair with cuisine than most hospitals. Chef Alan informed me on the morning after surgery that had I been on a regular diet, lunch would have been Chicken Pasta Proven├žal and dinner Veal Marsala. Apparently Tuesday was Italian fare. Instead, I got variety! The big culinary question of the day was, "What color will today's sugar free popsicle be?". Every meal had broth, hot or iced tea, orange sugar free jello, and a popsicle. Strangely enough, the popsicles were delicious. I had to ask to make sure they were sugar free, because they were so sweet. One of the techs told me that they had tried many types, but the ones the patients liked best were the cheap Budget Savers brand popsicles. They are sold in regular and sugar free form. We can get them here in Texas at HEB. I was fed six meals while there. Here's four of them.

I came home from the hospital on Day 3, Wednesday evening. I've been getting stronger and less sore every day. Now I am just a little sore when I bend, and I get tired easier than usual, but from what I've read, this is normal. I was able to go shopping at Burlington and a few other places on Saturday with my husband, and to the grocery store with him on Sunday. I've done some walking, and some strength training. This weekend I can go back to swimming if my incisions look good.

Yesterday I started creamy liquids. I swooned over cream of mushroom soup (4 ounces) for breakfast and lunch. I actually got teary-eyed when I got to eat a sugar free chocolate pudding cup in the evening...so good! I will be eating like this for two weeks and then move into the final two week phase of soft, moist foods like tuna with a little mayo, scrambled eggs, cottage cheese, grilled fish, protein shakes, black beans and pinto beans. After that, starting on September 1st, I start my "new normal" eating of 3-5 small protein based meals per day. I'll be on a high protein, lower carb lifestyle from here on.

I'm working hard on the outside of me now that I am home. I've pledged to follow all the rules so that the inside of me gets where it needs to be. As to the outside, I've promised myself to keep my nails done, to take care of my hair and my skin better than I have been, and to love myself and pamper myself a whole lot more. I'm totally prepared for all the loose skin that is inevitable with rapid weight loss. The better I care for myself, the more I will come to terms with the other down side - looking older. Since I have lost 25 pounds (19 pre-surgery and 6 post) it is really showing in my face and most especially in my neck. My husband has pledged to have my neck and face taken care of (yeah, I am vain enough to have plastic surgery) for my 55th birthday next May. It means a WHOLE LOTTA savings and selling off some unneeded stuff and some creative money raising and side jobs for both of us, but it will happen. I'm hoping that insurance will pay for the skin removal on my belly so that after the face and neck we can start a savings treasure chest for my ...uh...treasure "chest" if you get my meaning.

I got my hair cut yesterday. I can wear it down as in the picture or I can flip the sides and ends for a whole new look. My sister-in-law and I are giving each other highlights this afternoon or tomorrow. What do you think? Sassy was the look I was going for.

Well that is all the news that is fit to print. I'm doing great and I'm happy that the surgical weight gain from all of the swelling and IV fluids is gone and I can report a 6 pound post surgical drop. Next blog I will post some before pics taken a week before surgery in my bathing suit and bathing suit pics taken a couple weeks after. Going to work up my nerve and post them...really!

Life is good. Again and again and always and forever I say to you - Never give up. Never give in. As always, I love you all.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    If you still have those sticky stripes of glue on your skin you can take a cotton ball and put some Avon skin so soft on it and it will take the glue off with little rubbing it will come off with ease. It will take any glue off of any thing too. Found out that it will also take the glue off of windows(live in FL and the hurricanes will mess the windows up and people put tape on to keep the window from shattering and causing more problems). Best of luck on the weight loss too.
    1709 days ago
  • JUNEAU2010
    Thanks for the update! So glad it is going well.
    1711 days ago
    Sounds like you're doing really well! Congrats. And don't be surprised if eventually some of the skin tones a little. My arms still aren't great, but after several months they're a lot better than they were. At my age I figured it wouldn't firm up at all, but it did. The face did, too.
    1713 days ago
    You are already looking slimmer in the face than you did when I last saw you. I'm so happy for you, MJ! You are on your way to better health!
    1716 days ago
    Looking wonderful!
    1716 days ago
    You're looking great. Cute hairdo!
    1716 days ago
    I am so grateful that everything is going so well! And way to go on plans for future up keep. I don't believe there is anything vain about wanting to look your best. Lots of Love your way
    1716 days ago
  • DEB62BIE62
    Congratulations. Looks like you are doing really well. Glad to hear it. emoticon
    1716 days ago
    Like the hair, love your positive attitude! Hope you heal very quickly! Keep up the great job!
    emoticon emoticon
    1716 days ago
  • CSYOUNG1952
    Your doing great and I love your new hair do.
    1716 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    You look great and there are good times ahead.
    Your surgical name issue was funny but so glad they take it seriously. There is no second place in surgery. Gotta be right every time.

    1716 days ago
    WOW - it looks like things are only going to go up and up from here :-)

    I'm glad that this is now behind you, and also glad that you can give the PROVERBIAL finger to the Insurance Company. Maybe you could send them a copy of your report which makes positive comments about your liver, and tell them not to judge everyone as the same!!

    Wishing you well for a continuing great recovery.

    Kris xxx
    1717 days ago
    You look amazing, like my own mom, I would have never guessed you for a grandmother. I am also considering some weight loss surgery, but it seems that my husband's main goal in life is to discourage me.

    I am considering the lap band, but he is afraid that because of the lack of fuel that I'll be able to take in, our active lifestyle will be brought to a standstill. Keep us posted on your progress.

    Congratulations on your decision towards health and happiness!
    1717 days ago
  • SBEAR5
    Ya look all kinds of sassy! emoticon

    Thanks for the update, and the walk down memory lane! haha

    The neck and face is where everyone noticed on my first, but it took me awhile to see it for myself. And now looking back, I'm amazed at the difference. Sometimes I wonder if ALL my weight loss didn't come from my face! haha

    Love ya sassy lady! emoticon emoticon

    PS. That's hilarious about the name mix up. Glad everyone had a good attitude about it. Some ppl would have not been so understanding.
    1717 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/5/2014 3:10:19 PM
    You look emoticon !!!

    "Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later."
    ~ Og Mandino ~
    1717 days ago
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