Monday, 28 November 2011

The Big Three-O

Well I bloody made it!  Actually, I have surpassed it! My total weight loss, as of today is 31.6kg, you little ripper!  In the imperial system that equates to about 70 pounds!  Crazy! 

I think that another 15kg might just do me.  I've never wanted to be skinny, that's what I'm most worried about... Looking like a lolly pop and my head (which is already quite sizeable) totally overshadowing my body. *Shudders* God I hate that look.  It just makes me want to chuck them a bikkie or shove a cream bun down their throat!!  I just want to be small enough to shop in normal shops.  I'm nearly there too!! I would say that I am a size 17.  Not quite a 16 or an 18!!  It's a bit frustrating being stuck between a plus size and the national average!  Another 5 or 6kg and I recon I can wave good bye to the 18 for good!

My weight loss has slowed right down but I am curious to know what to do if I don't want to lose any more?  I've been told that I will stop at around 35kg and that I'll have to work hard to get any extra off (which I am totally prepared to do, especially since I can barely eat anything anyway!), so I'll just have to wait and see I guess!  I have been told horror stories of people ending up underweight... I honestly can't imagine that happening to me!!

In food news, I am LOVING fruit at the moment.  Hooray for summer fruits!  The mango's that are available are absolutely sublime and I'm having at least half a mango a day!  My lunch for the last few days has been rockmelon, mango, lychee's and whatever else I've got, mixed up with low fat yoghurt.  Oh. My. God.  So good!

Well, that's it until I lose another few kilo's.  I'm really looking forward to Christmas and seeing many of my relatives that I haven't seen since Christmas last year!!  It's such a great time of year, I think I'm learning to appreciate it as I'm getting older...

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

I Feel Better Now!

Firstly, I can't believe that ten thousand people have read my blog!  That is amazeballs!!  As the numbers were climbing I thought it was unreal that a thousand people cared enough to have a squiz... but ten thousand?  Wow!  Thank you all for your support and messages of encouragement, I really do appreciate it!!

Now, what's news... Well, I'm feeling better.  Great news!  AND I've lost about a kilo in a week and a bit taking me to.....28.8kg!!!  Fantastic news!!  I'm SO keen to hit the big 3-0!  

I took the week off swimming last week and still felt fairly shitty on Monday and Tuesday.  After trying to get into see my GP and told the earliest appointment was in 3 weeks (I asked the receptionist if it was beneficial that I plan the next time I am going to be sick? Gruff response of Mmmmmm)  I had a colleague ask a friend (who is a dietitian) if she had any tips for me (thanks Fiona!).  She suggested that I could be dehydrated and need to drink more water and Gatorade to help replace the bits that I was using.  I also tried to increase my protein intake (which I find difficult since I'm not massively into meat or eggs) but I did focus on meat, eggs and cheese during the week.  I also ate some salmon and baby spinach to try and up my omega 3's and iron intake which could also have been part of the problem.  By Thursday I was bouncing off the walls.  Crazy, irritating kind of bouncing off the walls.  I had loads more energy and as a result, my sleeping patterns became erratic towards the end of the week.  What a change!!  From falling asleep at 8:00pm most nights to struggling to get to sleep at 11:30pm!!

So this week I started swimming again.  I've only been once so far and I made sure that I had an egg and half a piece of toast for breakfast to help with protein again.  I also swapped my ritual morning coffee for a green tea in the hope of continuing to hydrate myself after my swim.  I have been feeling OK, but I think the true showing will be on Thursday after I swim again in the morning.  I also backed off and swam 22 laps instead of my usual 30.  I'm not sure if that made a difference but I know I felt slightly guilty that I didn't bust out 30!!  I also measured myself after a month of swimming here are the results:
Bust = -2cm
Waist = -4cm
Hips = -2cm
Bicep = -4cm
Thigh = -19cm (I think this must be an error.  19cm seems ridiculous! Maybe I didn't measure properly last time?)

And that's it.  I know there haven't been photo's in AGESSSS so I will get husband to take a few new ones when he's home this shift.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Regret

For the first time since my op, I am regretting the choice that I have made.   While I feel regret, I am also feeling disappointed that I really can't enjoy food as much anymore.  I think because I associated the enjoyment with excess and it's so incredibly apparent that excess simply isn't possible.  Coming into summer there are so many lite, delicious meals that I can't wait to get back into.  It's just the tiny portions and repercussions of eating that I feel make it a waste of time.  Thus the regret.  I'm really starting to dislike the feeling of sickness after every meal.  I've tried to stop before I feel sick but it is literally happening within one or two mouth fulls.  I also think I'm feeling this way because for the first time in months, I've had a really difficult week food wise.  I thought it was just bread that was making me feel unwell but as it turns out, everything except water is causing grief.  And even that isn't going down so well.

For the last week and a half I have just felt unwell all the time.  Bloated, queasy, twinges and little pains in my stomach.  Just gross.  I have tried a myriad of foods in the hope that they will go down smoothly and I won't feel instantly sick.  I tried going back onto shakes for a day to 'flush' out my stomach and give my digestive system a break but I just felt like like I'd drunk too much milk.  I tried a day of all vegetables but they weren't friendly either.  Watermelon works.  I just have to make sure that it's all turned to liquid before I swallow.  Popcorn is ok too (again, chewed well).  The other thing that has happened a few times this week was the need to race, faster than Cathy Freeman at the Olympics, to the toilet just seconds after swallowing something.  I never actually threw up, but the 7 litres of saliva that poured into my mouth certainly made me think I was going to hurl.  So for the last few days I have just dealt with it.  Eat something, feel wretched for 20 minutes and then move on.  But surely this isn't what I am going to have to live with for ever?  Am I?

The return of the dizzy spells, accompanied with absolutely ZERO energy makes me think that I have some sort of deficiency happening.  I'm still taking my multivitamins, Berocca and krill oil tablets every day but I think there is definitely something going on that needs investigating.  I'll book into see my GP this week (which means in CQ terms that there will be an appointment available sometime close to Christmas) and hopefully we can get this sorted out.  I've always been a night owl, but many times in the last couple of weeks I've been asleep by 8 - 8:30 at night.  SO unlike me!!  I thought that perhaps I was burning more calories than I was consuming and that was why I had no energy.  30 minutes of swimming burns about 500 - 600 calories in half an hour.  If that is all that I am eating as well, it leaves virtually nothing for my body to use to keep it running.  That means good weight loss, but does it explain why I have no energy and feel awful?  I'll let you know!

Monday, 31 October 2011

Bread

Bread = bad.  I've probably said it before.  I have a tendency to forget the difficult things and try them again because I love them so much.  So uncomfortable.  I purchased a turkish pide on the weekend and was going to make myself a) a mini BLT, b) smoked salmon dip with toasted turkish bread and c) egg and lettuce mini sandwich.  Yeah, that didn't work out so well for me.  In fact, every time I tried to eat it I ended up throwing out the turkish bread and just eating the protein and salad.  Boo.  I was so looking forward to it.
I think that bread will prove difficult regardless of what stage I get to.  Perhaps because it swells or perhaps because of the gluten?  I can eat absolutely everything else but bread always makes itself a problem and I feel absolutely blerk after I've tried.  Cake and other wheat products are fine (in tiny quantities).  Multigrain toast was ok for a while (in saying that I haven't had it for about a month), and although I can't get through a full piece of toast, I could eat most of it.  I had 2/3 of a ham, cheese and pineapple toasted wrap the other day and it was delicious! So no problem with the wraps either! 
So I guess I'll be saying goodbye to bread.  Our affair is over.  I will mourn for you...  You and your fresh, fluffy goodness, teamed with butter, honey, egg, ham, or any other kind of spread will be banished to the back of my mind as just a distant memory.  Oh the sacrifices we make...

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Dreaded Plateau

I think I've hit it.  The plateau.  Shit.  That dreaded place where the easy part is up and now I really have to watch my calorie input and energy output if I want to keep losing weight.  Bugger.  I haven't lost any weight in about 2 weeks and now sit at allllllllllllllllllllllmost 27kg total loss (26.8kg is close enough to 27 if you ask me).  I've given up weighing myself everyday because the numbers jump around so much it is getting a little confusing, not to mention disheartening.  I said tonight that consciously I knew I would have to work if I wanted to get the weight off, but subconsciously I was hoping it would happen without doing anything but sitting back and enjoying 3 tiny meals a day.  Shit.

In other news I have finally started swimming.  AND. I'M. LOVING. IT.  I'm going 3 mornings a week (the 5am start is a little rough) and smash out 1.5km in about 20 - 25 minutes.  I have in my arsenal: flippers, hand paddles, swimmers snorkel, goggles and kick board.  Just going back to the swimmers snorkel, that is dead set the best thing in the world.  It is so peaceful under the water with nothing to hear but the sound of bubbles and your own breathing... SO relaxing!!  I might whinge that it's too early, too cold, too sunny, too windy, too noisy or too wet but once I'm in, try stopping me!!
 One downside to swimming though is that since starting swimming I am finding myself SO much more tired.  When I say tired, I mean 8:30pm and I'm nodding off.  This from someone who typically goes to bed at 10:30 - 11pm most nights - highly unusual!!  Last Friday night I had a couple of wines after work (to help erase the memories of a very bad week) with husband and I was in bed, asleep, by 7:50pm.  I didn't even get to finish the tiny bowl of lamb rogan josh that had been whipped up at my request.  WHAT THE?!?!?!  I haven't done that since I was 7!

Anyway, it's time to focus on protein and veg and say goodbye (again) to carbs and try and get (at least) another 15kg off.  It's not unreasonable and really should be very easy, but now I'm going to have to jump in and put my mind to it and the chocolate down.  I'm hoping my swimming and walking and Just Dance 3 (Wii) and chasing the dog around will help me along... In the mean time, to help me feel better, I'm going to do a spot of online shopping!  If only that counted as exercise!!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

3 Month Surgiversary!

Time flies when you're having fun!  I cannot believe that 3 months ago today was my surgery!  It honestly feels like yesterday!  I am 26kg down which is AMAZING!  To break that down mathematically (I am seriously challenged in mathematics so if I'm wrong, I'm not surprised) I have been losing about 280g a day!  I now weigh almost the same as I did when I was in grade 11 which was 18 years ago. 

I am waiting patiently for it to warm up just a tiny bit more to start swimming again.  The other day I bought new goggles and a swimmers snorkel (no more stiff neck for me!) to accompany my gear bag, fins and kick board. These are all essential if you are going to 
a) look like a pro and 
b) totally tone up the bod, ready for summer!  
Maggie (the fur baby) and I have been walking every day and chasing each other around the house.  Husband and I are also thinking of getting bicycles so we can go riding together.  That could be a good Christmas pressie I think.  Although if I'm going to be riding a pushy, I want an original stackhat to complete the look.  Hmmm... EBay? 
I'm definitely feeling more energetic these days.  I rarely wake up during the night anymore and get a solid 8 hours (at least) every night which I'm sure is a huge part of feeling so energised!  It's the first time in YEARS that I have slept through the night.  It feels great!  Previously it wasn't unusual for me to get up 3 or 4 times to go to the loo or get a drink.  Now, nada.  Peaceful, uninterrupted sleep... Bliss!

One thing that has been concerning me of late is dizzy spells.  It is probably only low blood pressure but they are worrying me a little bit.  I have tried to google gastric sleeve and dizzy spells and most suggest blood pressure or lack of food.  It's definitely not the latter so it's either low blood pressure or a tumour.  We'll see!  Note to self: Visit GP about dizzy spells asap!

Ah, that's what I wanted to mention... I have established a daily routine for all my tablets, now that I am back at work:  Wake up, 'accidently' wake husband (when he's home) to say good morning, get out glass and half fill with icy water, add berocca.  Assemble line of tablets to consume - women's multivitamin, wild krill oil, somac and and other one that eludes me at the moment.  Drink and swallow (swallowing a whole tablet isn't a drama anymore) and then wait 20 minutes before thinking about breakfast!  It's good that I am remembering to take them everyday!!  It was a bit hit and miss before!

So this time 3 months ago I was waking up in the high dependency unit, in shock that I had ACTUALLY followed through and had the op done.  To be honest, I still am shocked.  I remember hearing about the procedure and thinking to myself, "this could be the solution you have been looking for since you were 14!"  But I never thought I'd follow through with it.  I think the difference between all those other diets that I failed at and this procedure is that now I never feel as though I'm missing out on anything.  If I really want it, I can have it.  Just in teeny tiny amounts.  And, most importantly, I can see and feel the differences in myself that I have wanted to see and feel for so long.  And you know what? Best decision. Ever.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Grazing

I must stop grazing!  I find it is easier to eat more food if it is "nibbles" type food.  For example; chips, dips, popcorn, jatz with cheese and kabana, nuts etc.  I can graze for ages until I feel full.  It's small amounts of yummy things that I like the most about nibbles.  Although when you're grazing, those small amounts turn into not so small amounts!  When it comes to meal time I can only eat a small amount of food (about half a bread and butter plate) and then I feel ridiculously full.  When I'm grazing I mentally feel more satisfied but not physically.  I really like being social and sitting around with a glass of wine, chatting with friends.  Thank goodness I'm back to work on Monday and the snacking will end - at least until the Christmas break! 

In other news, I had an appointment with my surgeon who is exceptionally happy with my progress.  I've lost 11.9kg since I last saw him 7 odd weeks ago.  He reminded me that I should be having 0 calorie liquids frequently during the day.  Hmm.  Mental note: Start on 0 calorie liquids and not apple juice as of now!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Extra Small!

There is nothing I love more than shopping.  I adore spending money and carrying bags around with new stuff to play with.  I am the most terrible saver on the face of the earth and always spend every cent of my pay, always.  Any money I have lying around burns a hole in my pocket and makes me itch.  It must be spent.  Here's the good news. I'm very quickly running out of clothing.  Gosh darn it.  But I am trying to be sensible.  That's a funny word, sensible.  I don't really understand what it means.  Anyway, I digress...

About a week ago I jumped onto Virtu, one of my favourite online clothing stores.  I found a gorgeous stripey singlet that I thought would be perfect for summer.  Team it with a nice block colour maxi skirt or cute denim shorts, sandals and a big hat and it would be fab!  But what size do I get?  Since they sell clothing from size 12 - 24 their sizes are a little different.  12 - 14 is xxs, 14 - 16 is xs, 16 - 18 is sm, 18 - 20 is medium and so on.  So I was a bit unsure what to get.  I'm a good size 18 now so small would be perfect for now.  But what about when I lose more weight?  Should I get an extra small? (insert silly giggle because the word extra small was used to describe something I will wear).  Nah.  I should get the small... No. You know what? Fuck it. I'm ordering the extra small!!

So I waited patiently for the shirt to arrive...
"There's a package for you" said husband tossing it to me. 
"Oh, it's my shirt I ordered the other day."  I opening it up to have a look.  "Pfft.  That's going to sit in my cupboard for a while!" I said seeing how small it was. 
"I don't know, hun.  I recon it might fit you... give it a go!"

So I slipped my arms in and pulled it over my head.  Expecting it to get caught on my boobs (which clothing tends to do, a lot), I had already prepared a robot arms comedy piece to avoid the awkward 'it doesn't fit yet' moment.  But you know what? It slid, somewhat snugly, over my boobs and sat almost perfectly on my hips.  I danced.  Not something you'd see in an awesome night club in The Valley, rather something you'd see at a hoedown full of special people with absolutely no ability to locate the rhythm in a song.  I even threw in a yee-hah for good measure!  I continued this amazing display of interpretive dance around the house whilst also throwing in a conga type experience with "I'm an extra small - yeah! I'm an extra small - yeah!" to complete the set.  Husband just smiled and shook his head at me, again.  I think, after almost 8 years together, he's getting used to my insanity...

Sunday, 25 September 2011

10 Week Surgiversary!

I know the latest update photo's are slightly late - sorry!!  Although life has returned to its quiet state, I find myself busy every day!  I have thrown out another 2 bags of clothes that no longer fit me, I LOVE doing that!  It is so incredibly fulfilling to throw out the old!  

One item that I just can't part with is my denim skirt(s).  I have had them for so long that I really am having trouble parting with them!  They are far too big now and make me look much bigger than I actually am, particularly around the stomach and hips.  If I need anything above shoulder height I have to hold onto the waist of them or they end up around my ankles.  Not funny in the frozen section of Woolies reaching for something on the top shelf, I can assure you!  I've gone through so much with these skirts... From not being able to do up the top button or zip after weeks of over indulging to not needing to undo the button or zip to get it on and off because I'm existing on liquids!  Parting with them will be saying goodbye to a staple item of my wardrobe.  I will need to replace them with something or I may need to resort to something hideous like bike pants.  Looks like I'm going to have to hit the shops!

People keep asking me if I feel amazing.  Nope, I feel the same as I did 3 months ago.  For a while I was expecting to wake up with boundless energy and feel the overwhelming urge to go for a run.  No, no.  Running is still only for emergencies.  However, a couple of things that I have noticed that are different include:  
  1. I am much closer to my toes.  I can bend over and get much closer than I could before.  No longer do I have to kind of squint and wonder if there is a broken nail down there.
  2. I can feel bones in my frame.  I have located the elusive hip bone that everyone has been talking about for years.  It's quite big really.
  3. I have a jaw line and the beginnings of collar bones.  This is exciting.  I use to look in the mirror when I was 13 and wonder why my collar bones didn't jut out like my friends did.  Well they've finally started to show!
  4. I no longer see flesh when I look down.  Don't get me wrong, I can still see stomach, but in ground breaking news I can also see toes!
  5. Forearms and arms in general.  I saw a semi defined muscle the other day!  I'm not lying!  I saw it and husband saw it too!  He nodded and said 'yes, i think it is a bicep!'  SO exciting.  It looked like a little lump just above my tuckshop lady arms.  I was pretty happy about that!
  6. I'm learning to take compliments.  It's hard sometimes to acknowledge and accept a compliment graciously.  I am trying to learn to say 'thank you, I'm really enjoying the journey' but it still comes out as 'ohthankswellyouknowit'sexpectedsinceidon'teatanymore!'
  7. Portion sizes are ridiculous!  I'm getting used to serving myself up much smaller portions, however, I am still putting too much food out!  
Anyway, here are the photo's!!





This one is a comparison from the pre-op diet to now.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Sydney

Husband and I went to Sydney last week.  I've never been to Sydney.  We had a great time and I did a spot of shopping, however, I am hesitant to get too excited yet.  My plan was to go into Zara (the flagship store is in Pitt St mall) and buy a dress in a size 14 that I could hold onto until it fit.  The dream dress, if you will.  I'm an 18 now so only 2 dress sizes to get there.  A reasonable goal, yeah?  
Anyway, after a day of (again) walking the streets of Sydney, I managed to convince husband that he would be thoroughly entertained by the various (in number and level of talent) buskers that are always performing in the mall.  I whipped into Zara but was not, in any way, prepared for the hundreds and hundreds of women involved in a feeding frenzy over a table of knits.  Holy crappola!  There were people absolutely everywhere, I've never seen anything like it!  The Zara store is 3 levels (1: kids and women, 2: women and 3: men) and women literally push past you.  I felt totally overwhelmed and had to take a second to absorb what was going on.  I sharpened my elbows and eyes and threw myself head first into the throng.  There are literally hundreds of different pieces of clothing in a seriously diverse range of fashion styles.  I was desperate to find "the dress"  but couldn't even find anything that I liked the look of.  Being the beginning of September, I figured that the store would be full of gorgeous spring skirts and dresses but nope, winter is still very much on the minds of Sydney shoppers!  I was SO disappointed.  I left the store really underwhelmed with the whole experience.  Considering that Zara is internationally renowned for it's cutting edge fashion I was disappointed with what they had on offer.  
Eating out every night was also a new experience and I continue to learn my personal limits.  At home I just eat tiny amounts of whatever is on offer but when you eat out, you and your partner usually want something different.  It's hard to choose something when you know that you'll only just scrape the top of the serving and you don't want to look ridiculous leaving most of the meal.  
Most often, I chose something from the entree menu.  It is still far too much food for me to eat but it is easier to look at than a full main meal.  We went to Felix, a gorgeous French restaurant in The Ivy.  I ordered the smoked salmon salad and when it came out, i was quietly confident that I could get through most of it.  I got about half way.  I was fairly happy with that achievement, however I really didn't want to waste the smoked salmon.  It was AMAZING and is just so expensive to buy!  Thank goodness my cousin offered to help finish it!! Thanks, Pete!

Another night I ordered a meal at the hotel restaurant.  I asked if it could be made smaller but was told it was "pretty much standard size".  Whatever that means??  Pre-made maybe?  When it came out it was ENORMOUS!  I laughed out loud when I saw it!  After I had eaten my fill it went back to the kitchen looking totally untouched!  I had to laugh.  I think if I had said that I wanted entree size but would still pay the full price they might have been more likely to make a smaller one for me.  

A couple of tips I've picked up... 
  • I now share a meal when possible.  I'm only going to have a couple of mouthfuls and it's really not going to make that much of a difference to the meal.  Most of the time they're happy to share, knowing how little I eat.  
  • Don't order a drink.  If it's there, I'll drink it.  If it's not, I won't.  It makes the temptation easier.  I also try not to have even a glass of water in front of me when I'm eating.  Too much temptation to have some.  Disastrous results when you drink and eat. *Shudders*
  • Sugar. Lollies make me feel nauseous instantly. I avoid them.
  • Old habits die hard.  Really hard.  Although I am now accepting of the whole quarter of a stomach thing, it is really difficult to understand that I can't finish a meal.  I see a tiny entree sized meal and think; pfft, I'll get through that easy peasy.  Nope.  Wrong.  I'm really still learning how much I can eat.  I think it tends to vary, depending on the type of food and time of day.  Maybe I'm crazy but that's how it seems!
 

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

First Night On The Turps

We went to Brisbane for a good friends 30th birthday a couple of weekends ago.  I was totally unsure what to do or expect from a night on the turps since I hadn't really tried drinking yet.  But I did have a theory...
Since I only have a quarter of a stomach I figured that alcohol would travel through the area very quickly.  That would mean WAY more trips to the loo and not as much absorption of alcohol.  With a standard drink costing about $7 these days I needed to work out how to make the most of what I was consuming so I could get tipsy but not need to re-mortgage the house to do so.  

I thought maybe if I drank shots all night, the alcohol (which is thicker than water) would stay in my stomach longer and therefore absorb the alcohol.  So I started with shots.  A few different ones.  The lovely lady behind the bar, who I referred to throughout the night as princess, had fun mixing up different things each time (my favourite was a jam donut - Chamboard and bailey's in a sugar rimmed shot glass!). The problem with this was that once you've had your shot, you're done.  Drinking is a very social event and so I was left with nothing in my hand to hold.  It just didn't "feel" right and after having 5 of them, I still felt completely sober.  
I tried a pot of apple cider but it just has too many bubbles and so the minor discomfort when swallowing a mouthful, paired with my uncontrollable burping (usually at the most important parts of a story) ruled it out as well.  
So I went back to my good old friend: Vodka, lime and soda.  With one slight difference - half soda.   Because there was only a dash of soda in the glass it went down easily and there was none of the burping issues!  I continued on with my plan and ladies and gentlemen...it was a winner!!  Finally after 4 hours I actually started to get a little bit tipsy.  I didn't take it too much further because I didn't want to get to the drunk stage, again because I don't know what to expect yet.  I didn't feel overly full or bloated and I was able to have something in my hand to hold.  I also tried vodka, lime and water - another winner!

We had a great night and caught up with some great friends we haven't seen in a long time.  Thanks again for a great night out Duffy!

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Before & After Photo

I took this photo tonight.  The difference between the two is about 7 or 8 weeks.  The photo was taken a few days before I started the pre-op diet.  The changes are pretty remarkable!!  Most obvious is the shape that my face now has!  I'm not looking like a box head anymore!!  I also measured and weighed myself today.  I've lost 10cm off my bust, 17cm off my waist and 11cm off my hips.  My total weightloss to date is 21.6kg!


Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The problem with PMS

I don't know about everyone else but PMS for me used to mean pigging out on all my favourite foods.  Cravings and portions beyond my wildest dreams.  Now with my quarter of a stomach, all I can do is dream.  Dream about sitting down in front of a massive bowl of bacon and tomato spaghetti.  Dream about the deliciousness of a king size Crunchie (or 2). Or dream about the 750ml Ice break chilled to just on freezing and then skulling until you get the inevitable cold headache... Now, while I can have those things, the portions are so small it defeats the purpose of a good quality PMS pig out!! *Sighs* Looks like I'll have to replace those cravings with mood swings and excess hormones... Poor husband.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Shopping

Apologies for the lack of updates in the last week and a bit.  I have had work commitments that have rendered me in the middle of Queensland, without a computer.  This lack of access to the world wide inter webs made me start to itch (literally), however, I am back and have access to the Internet again (rash has already begun clearing up)!!

After arriving home on Friday night, I received a text message from our chariot driver, informing me that I had stolen their collection of DVDs and remote controls.  Bugger.  My planned sleep in until 11am was ruined.  BUT it did mean that I needed to go into The Hamptons to drop it off.  This, in turn, meant that I could make up excellent excuses to partake in my favourite of all sports, shopping.  I obviously needed to go and buy a gift for the husband's birthday and perhaps he could have a look for a new mobile phone.  Everyone wins!  

While he was waiting (very patiently I might add for someone who lacks patience in his DNA make up) to speak to an expert, I made my excuses and dashed away.  I went to the usual fat girl clothing stores which always leave me unsatisfied and went into Sussan.  "Whoop-de-doo!" I hear you say?  Well not for me.  Sussan has really lovely clothes that, in the past, have just been a pipe dream for me.  About 10 years ago I could stretch an XL cotton t-shirt over a chair for a few days and it might fit but I gave that up long ago for the more comfortable, elastic waisted items that actually fit and didn't cling too much to the spare tyres inhabiting my middle.  
So in I saunter, making my way straight to the accessories (they always fit, it's hard to find a scarf that doesn't).  I've always been paranoid that the shop assistants would look at me and think, "Why is she bothering, nothing will fit her!" So if I start at the accessories, they won't say anything (I know, you are overwhelmed by my superior thought patterns!).  A singlet in the most divine shade of chartreuse caught my eye.  I thought, "Nah, it's too early to buy anything from here, but I'll pick it up anyway and have a look..."  I looked at it and thought "You know what, it might just fit me!"  At that moment, I was shocked out of my inner monologue by a shop assistant who said to me, and I kid you not, "What size have you got there?"  Me: "Um, extra large"  Her (or goddess as she will forever be known) "You know I think a large will be big enough for you"  At that point I went weak at the knees and began giggling like a crazy woman.  I mean she was totally out of her mind, but is that what she really thought?  Who cares!  She thinks I would fit into a large OH-EM-GEEEEEE!!!   Best shopping moment ever.  Needless to say I bought that stunning singlet (in the extra large which is still frickin awesome and fits perfectly!), and a scarf to complete the look.  I couldn't wipe the smile off my face and ran back to the shop to re-tell the whole event to husband!!  I was so happy!  
But it doesn't end there... Another awesome moment happened today!  I found a gorgeous pair of strappy sandals that have a strap around the ankle.  Delicious.  However, in the past I can get the shoe on but never do up the ankle bit.  Today the shoe went on, ankle strap did up easily AND there is even a bit of room to move.  This is great!!!!!  Another 15kg and I am going to be seriously dangerous in a shopping centre!  I'd better start saving!!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Yummmmm

I have been hanging for a Vietnamese spring roll.  It's all I've been thinking about for a couple of weeks now but I thought it would be too difficult to eat.  Tonight, I braved it.  My mouth was watering so much as I cut up all the ingredients.  It's one of those meals that is so fresh and healthy that you feel good preparing it and even better eating it.  I wet the rice paper and laid it on my plate.  I layered tiny amounts of vermicelli noodles, cucumber, carrot, lettuce, mint and finely diced chicken.  I rolled it up and swallowed the litre of saliva that had built up in anticipation.  I dunked this little piece of heaven in hoi sin sauce and swallowed the other litre of saliva that had already filled my mouth again.  I bit in and began the lengthy chewing process.  And chewed.  And chewed.  And swallowed.  And then I waited to see the effect it would have on me... Nothing.  No pain! Are you kidding me?  HOORAYYYY!!!  I can eat these!!  You little bloody ripper! 

I thought I'd only get through one, but at the end I was fairly confident I could do another.  So I repeated the process (minus the saliva bit) and savoured every single tiny bite, until I got about three quarters of the way into it and then needed to take a break.  I wasn't sure if I was full but I kept going and quite easily finished it.  I decided (after a 5 minute break) that I was going to try for a third.  That was silly of me.  It took me 15 minutes just to get half way through the third, only to discover that I couldn't finish it.  I just started to feel sick - which is my trigger for too much has been consumed.  My eyes are apparently still too big for my stomach, which is now even smaller so I'm in a world of trouble!!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

A Breakthrough!

The other night, I had a chat with a good friend who had the same procedure done almost a year ago.  While I was obviously thrilled with how I was going, there was always a nagging "is this normal?" voice regularly in my head!  It is so nice to talk to someone and be able to ask the questions that concern you the most and find out that it's normal.  The most concerning one is about the uncomfortable-ness (I am refraining from using the word 'pain') that occurs frequently.  As I've mentioned in the past it totally ruins my appetite and I usually stop eating when it happens.  She assures me that it becomes less frequent, but those old habits die hard and it's when you are engrossed in something delicious that you can forget to monitor the amount in your mouth, or how well you chew something! 

I have just spent the early part of this weekend over on North Keppel Island - what an amazing piece of paradise that is!  Crystal clear water and breathtaking views.  It's just what I needed to de-stress!  The amazing caterers over there are well known for their sensational food... and they didn't disappoint!!  I thought about letting them know that I have special dietary needs but I figured that I could always pick things apart and eat the bits I could.  After all, it is important that I begin to adjust to everyday life.  

The entire weekend was an absolute success for me, food wise.  No pain.  At all.  It was like a switch had been flipped all of a sudden!!  I ate fruit, salads, sausages, patties, cold cuts, cheese, cake, scones and the list goes on and on (I'm still full!!).  As long as I took things very slowly, chewed verrry well and kept things to a minimum, I was as good as gold!  I was SO excited!  I also think that the amount I could eat has increased slightly too.  It's hard to serve your self up teeny tiny little bits but I am getting used to knowing what I will and won't be able to eat.  I have also been carrying around my water bottle and making sure that I have been drinking as much as I can during the day.

This week I'm off on school camp.  Not my most favourite time of year but with good company, the time soon flies by!  I am aware of the menu (since I set it!!!) and I am confident that I will be able to eat everything on offer.  I'll be taking some back up food, just in case!!

Lastly (because I am so tired by eyes are falling out of my head), I've recently been feeling that "empty" feeling more, and more often.  I think that might be the hungry feeling that has been missing since the op.  I can have a drink of water and it no longer annoys me, but if I ignore it I find myself feeling a little bit unwell.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

The Big Two-Oh!

I have officially hit the 20kg mark!  Yipee!!  I would be here if it wasn't for that nasty virus that knocked me for six, that I can guarantee.  I didn't eat for 3 days when I had that nasty thing.  Even towards the end of the week I had no interest in eating anything... I just kept drinking fluids.  During this time, I also had some really uncomfortable pains in my stomach whenever I tried to eat.  Even the smallest, and usually easy to eat item gave me grief.  I stop eating when that happens, it totally ruins your appetite and puts you off! 
Over the weekend my "appetite" has returned and I am keen to eat again.  I'm not hungry or feeling weak but I want to try foods, rather than being worried they will cause discomfort.   I'm meant to start slowly introducing solids as of tomorrow but things have been going really, really well for a couple of days so I started a bit early (naughty me).

We went out for dinner on Friday night to a smorgasbord - totally a waste of money on my behalf but whatever,  I went to be social.  I had a 1cm piece of beef, a 1cm piece of chicken and roughly the same with a piece of potato.  No problem at all!!! Hooray!!!  Yesterday I had a couple of macadamia nuts, some sausage, and even a little piece of ciaobata bread... No problem at all!!  Hooray again!!!  Today I had a third of a cucumber and creamed cheese sandwich (the Queen's fave).  It was so delicious!  I have also begun to try salad-y bits and pieces: Tomato is good, lettuce is good, grated carrot is good and cucumber is also good.  I am mindful that once I can tolerate a solid texture I shouldn't go back to the mushy textures.  It's hard to imagine that only 5 weeks ago I could barely swallow a teaspoon of water.  I know I've still got a loooooong way to go until my diet is fully back to allowing all items on the agenda but so far, so good!

Monday, 8 August 2011

Happy 1 Month Surgi-versary!

This time a month ago I was just waking up from my surgery.  I would never have believed that I would come so far in a month!  In about a week I am allowed to start introducing "normal" foods into my diet, mind you I won't be rushing this in any way, shape or form!!  I still get a pain in the top of my stomach if I eat too quickly or try to eat more than half a teaspoon at a time.  I'm quite happy with minced and mashed and give my continuing disinterest in food it wouldn't bother me to leave it another few weeks before having a go!!  My total weight loss since surgery is 10.5kg and 17kg overall.  Awesome!

On Saturday I came down with a nasty virus.  Nassssty virus.  I have been virtually bed ridden since.  I had been hoping that it was just a virus but I just wasn't sure.  When I got up this morning I went to take my somac and within seconds I knew I was going to throw up.  Wracked with terror I braced myself over the loo and let rip.  Since my stomach is so small now the amount of vomit is also significantly reduced... It doesn't make the experience any more pleasant though!!  I was concerned that I may have a leak or something wrong with my gizzards so I contacted the surgeon to see if it was a possibility.  The possibility was minor but still there.  I called my GP and told them it was an emergency (since she is usually booked about a month in advance).  They got me straight in - phew!  After taking my temp (39.1) and blood pressure (normal) and poking and prodding around it was decided that it was just a virus.  I haven't been that relieved in a looong time!!

Friday, 5 August 2011

Food For Thought...

I had a thought tonight... In the past I have weighed myself and always been jubilant if I'd lost even 100g (and would always call it half a kilo - well it almost is!). But when putting on as little as 100g I've thought, "Oh well..."  and after putting my shoulders back and turning my frown into a smile, I force myself to push it to the back of my mind.  
You see, losing weight is all about numbers, no matter who you are.  The difference between fatties and skinnies is that skinnies see an increase and immediately think "right, no more snacking after dinner and nothing consumed after 6:30pm, no matter what, and I'm going to run 2km this week and 5km next week."  And they stick to that.  The 100g plus an extra 500g is gone.  Problem solved.
I see an increase and think "Shit. I've put on more weight.  Shit.  I've really got to do something about... I think there might be cake in the fridge and just a small piece is fine, I'll walk the dog to work it off."  Hmmmmm.  Do you see the problem?  A week later the same process occurs.  Then I get serious.  Really serious.  I weigh myself.  I take a small can of baked beans, a fat free yogurt and a can of diet coke to work and have a salad for dinner.  Although a little hungry, I make it through.  The next morning, weigh in.  Surely I've lost 100g.  Shit. Nothing.  Next day, same routine plus a walk.  Next day, same routine plus a walk and a piece of chocolate because I've been really good!!  Now, the restraint taken to avoid getting on the scales for the last 2 days is horrendous and I am expecting that I will be able to see a major difference in my clothes annnnddddd dropped, what, 5 or 6 kg in 3 days?  When I see no difference or just a couple of hundred grams, I convince myself that it's just not worth it.  Depriving myself for the amount of time needed to drop the weight is unachievable.  So I return to normal.
 
Now when I weight myself, I know that these are numbers that I will NEVER see again.  And I smile.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Post Surgery Check Up & Week 3

It went like this verbatim (after a 45 minute drive into the 'Hamptons)...

"Elly?"
"Yes, hi!"
"Come on in."
"How are you feeling?"
"Fabulous, not problems at all!"
"How are your incisions?"
"Fine, I think... Should they be a bit lumpy under the skin?"
"Yes, that's a normal part of the healing process, they'll go in about 3 months.  How is your eating going?  Minced and mashed?"
"Yep, all good.  Some things are a bit painful but I just avoid them or take much smaller mouthfuls and chew it better."
"Great!  You should be able to move onto trying "normal" foods in about 2 weeks, until then, take it easy."
"Ok.  I have tried a couple of "normal" foods and they were a bit tricky but it wasn't really painful or anything.  I just needed to chew really, really well."
"Ok, probably avoid doing that for another couple of weeks, you need to heal."
"Oh... roger that, will do."
"Great.  See you in 8 weeks and then 6 monthly after that for about 18 months." 

And that was it.  2.5minutes  It was my post op appointment so it was free.. yay.  Never mind the $55 in fuel it just cost me, OR the accident that happened while I was fueling up that nearly killed me (a total drongo came around the roundabout at about 70km an hour and headed straight for the servo before locking his steering and breaking hard at the last minute, causing him to fly off up the street and take out the trailer attached to someones car driving on the other side of the road. Dickhead.).  Or the kangaroo I almost hit on the way home...  But I did catch up with some lovely friends for a mouthful of rice and a couple of pieces of chicken and beef (beef remains the enemy).

In other news, I finally got up the courage to try sushi.  Avocado hosomaki (little avo rolls with Japanese mayo - yummmmm), drowned in soy sauce so it was nice and wet.  Chewed like a mo fo and got through 4 little pieces after much discomfort.  I waved the white flag on that one.  No dice.  I'll try again in a couple of months.  Boo.

I strapped on my sneakers to play a game of netball tonight.  First time in 2.5 years.  I was SO excited and I was playing with people I'd never met so I was keen to impress.  I had a stack within the first 2 minutes.  Oh good.  The new fat lady is already down.  I bounced up and kept playing. Busting out my best "I'm right, I'm right, let's go!" and not wanting to look at my knees or massage my aching buttocks that I landed on.  The game was going really well up until I stacked it AGAIN.  Awkward.  I blame the fact that I haven't worn sneakers for about 2 years and forgot how to walk in them.  Let's go with that theory.  On getting out of the shower I have discovered that this old grey mare just ain't what she used to be.  Injuries are as follows:  Busted black and blue finger, feet are killing me, buttocks are screaming, may have torn a tricep muscle, Achilles is already tender and shoulders have collapsed.  I can't wait for next Thursday night!

Not much weight lost this week and a bit.  Around 2kg.  Food has been fairly good (chocolate is easily eaten - yay) but I really do need to get out there and do more exercise.  I'm tearing up "Just Dance" on the Wii for an hour on Friday with the kids,which always works up a sweat, but it needs to be more often.  Lucky I've got it at home!!  Maggie is fanging for a big walk and fun on the beach...I might just do that this weekend.  If I can walk.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

SLOW DOWN!!!

I would never have considered myself a super fast eater but now I find myself totally frustrated by how slow I am!!  I have to chew my food so much that it ends up like a liquid in my mouth.  That totally ruins the sensation of eating something delicious because by the time it is a liquid it has morphed into something no longer desirable.  In the time that it takes me to chew 2 mouth fulls everyone around me is half finished an entire meal!  Try it... Seriously, try chewing every single mouthful at least 60 times or until it is virtually a liquid.  There can be no lumps, at all.  By the time I finish eating my tiny little bowl (about 150g) I am totally over eating and just want to move on.  

On another note, if I eat or swallow too much I find myself now feeling nauseated.  I haven't experienced this at any other time except today.  I feel like I reallllly need to burp but every time I try a lump of food tries to come up.  I feel nauseous to the point where I am uncomfortable and walk around like a dog in labour.  I don't know whether I want to stretch out or curl up, or throw up, but I just feel revolting on the whole.  
Today in particular was ridiculous.  For breakfast I had scrambled eggs and an eye of bacon.  Yesterday, no problem whatsoever, today, one bite of the egg and bacon and that was it.  I had to lie down for 10 minutes.  We went out for lunch and I just had a skim milkshake (only got down about half of that) and 2 hot chips from Ben's plate.  Nope.  No good.  Bed for an hour after.  It is just the most horrible feeling, and I am so not a fan of vomiting (it's not my prettiest moment - the noises and crying that accompany a spew are far from dainty) so I try to avoid it at all costs.  
I'm not sure whether I am pushing myself too much or eating things I'm not meant to (I know the bacon is a no no but I am chewing it up until it resembles nothing like bacon so it should be fine?!?!?!) but I've had scrambled eggs before and they were fine.  Oh well.  It's just another day in the learning process I suppose!

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Check Up

I had a follow up appointment with the dietitian on Thursday.  I have my appointments by phone because I couldn't get an appointment with the dietitian in town.  It suits me though, I like her, she's my kind of person, I think.  We both have dogs and a slight obsession with them.  Brian the Beagle is an awesome name for a dog.  She gained my respect instantly!  

She was impressed with the amount of weight that I had lost and gave me some tips for trying new food.  It really is all about texture.  I know the second I put something in my mouth if it is going to be easy or difficult to swallow.  If I think it is going to be difficult i firstly start to panic a little bit and then look for a liquid of some sort to take a tiny sip of and make it a bit mushier to swallow.  The two things that catch me up are a) totally forgetting about the sleeve and putting a "normal" size mouthful in and then having to chew for 5 minutes to be able to swallow a tiny portion and b) getting over excited about a food and wanting to eat more than I'm able to.  I'm still learning to control the excitement!!!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Then & Now & Back to Work

Well, well, well.  It's hard to believe that a whole month has already passed by!  So much has changed in my life and the way I function on a daily basis.  Before I forget what it was like, let's review a typical day's diet for me in the past:
THEN:
Breakfast - porridge or toast x 2 or bacon and eggs on the weekend.
Morning tea - 99% fat free yoghurt or cake if there was some around (no restraint shown, ever.)
Lunch - salad or ham and salad roll or tuckshop hamburger.
Afternoon tea - Depends on when I got home.  Either nothing if late home or some cheese and crackers or 2 min noodles or some nuts or chocolate or steamed dim sims - afternoons are a hungry time for me.
Dinner - large serve of chicken and rice.  Probably seconds, especially for more rice.
Dessert - chocolate, sometimes half a block.  If there is something else i'd have that too.

NOW:
Breakfast - most of an optifast shake and multivitamin.
Morning tea - water
Lunch - today I had a weet bix (yes, 1) with half milk and half water.
Afternoon tea - water
Dinner - something soft and squishy that goes down easily.
Dessert - custard or something similar just to get the sweet hit!

There is a MUCH wider variety to choose from now that I'm on minced and mashed.  But it's no walk in the park.  I got far too excited about it this week and strayed from what I know works, to my own detriment.  I made savoury mince and mashed potato for dinner.  Seriously, I was SO excited about having something solid I was dancing around the kitchen!!  The results...  Mashed potato, yes! Fabulous and smooth and yummo!  Savoury mince was ok if I chewed well, but the veg (carrot, peas, corn, zucchini and cabbage) were not friendly, especially the cabbage.  I also think that I wasn't chewing as well as I could have, given my level of excitement this was to be expected!  Then I did something stupid.  I whipped out the puffed pastry and cooked up a couple of little triangles just for the crunchy.  Nope.  Didn't work.  At all.  One bite was all it took to work that out!!  It sat in my food pipe for hours and hours.  Blerk.  It will be a long time until I try that again.

I also need to eat very slowly.  And I need to remind myself I need to eat more slowly.  It takes me longer to eat just a few mouthfuls than it takes people to eat an entire meal.  If I eat too quickly or try to add liquid to the meal, things go pear shaped, quickly and in a worse case scenario, come out one end or the other!!!  Otherwise I am just very, very uncomfortable for about an hour. *Shudders*

I started back at work this week.  The kids are aware of what I have had done and are very supportive and interested in the whole process.  I have an open relationship with them and didn't just want to disappear for 2 weeks without explanation.  Most of them have made some kind of comment that I have lost weight and mainly that I "look different" - I choose to take that as a compliment!! On Monday I asked them if anyone had a question they wanted to ask me.  I had a very captive audience who all wanted to know if I could eat yet.  I ran through what I could do and explained that I had to chew everything very, very well before attempting to swallow or it was painful.  Mistake.  Every time I put anything near my mouth the entire class stops to watch and see if I'm ok!!!  Even if I have a sip of water, someone will ask if it hurts!! In addition to this, many of them have tried chewing until it is a liquid and decided that it takes the fun out of food!!  I totally agree, but what are you going to do?!?!?!!

1 Month

It's been 1 month since I started the pre-op diet and I have officially lost 14.7kg as of this morning.  It's amazing that I have lost that much weight in a month!!!  ALL my clothes are loose on me and yet despite this I have just had a look at the latest photo's and I personally can't see that much of a difference.  I mean, I certainly wasn't expecting to see Elle McPherson but it would have been nice to be able to reallllllly notice it!!  I can tell in my face.  My nose is narrower and I think my eyes and skin are clearer in general, but overall I can't really see a difference.  The close up without the necklace is the photo from a month ago.  This is where I can see the most difference. 

I have had to throw out a complete section of my wardrobe which absolutely, definitely no longer fits and I've moved onto my "oh I love that top, I wish it still fit me" section which is nice!  I'm also now 3kg lighter than I was at my wedding 14 months ago.  

So without any further ado... The latest photo's!




Thursday, 21 July 2011

The Skinny Jeans!

My apologies for not blogging in the last few days.  The hard drive in my virtually brand new laptop shat itself and needed replacing.  We only got it back today.  This was my first priority!
  
Things have been progressing smoothly.  I'm down about 11.5kg already.  I feel fantastic and other than feeling like an afternoon nap most days I am as bright as a button.  I still have some air trapped which is irritating and causes minor shoulder pain, and I still can't sleep on my stomach, but that's it.  I have finally taken off my dressings and steristrips.  I was hesitant to take them off just in case I ripped the wounds open, but it was fine.  On the food, or liquids front, I should probably be drinking a lot more than I am, but I honestly find myself not interested in eating or drinking anything at all.  I am very aware of trying to stay hydrated and I'm drinking about a litre of water a day, but otherwise I will have a very small amount of runny porridge in the morning, a Tony Fergusson shake for lunch and a miso soup for dinner.  After dinner, when I always want chocolate or something sweet, I'll have custard or a yogo.  I still get that "blocking" pain right below my sternum when I try to swallow too much, but I seem to have increased the amount that I can swallow considerably since getting home a week ago.  Thick-ish soups and pureed fruit continues to be the enemy so I have chosen to avoid these for the time being!!  I long for a piece of fresh white bread with butter, but that is a very, very long way off!

Do you remember the episode of Sex And The City when Miranda finds a pair of jeans (her "skinny" jeans) that she has had in the top of her cupboard since the 80's and wonders, do I dare try them on?  And when she does, realises that she not only has her pre-baby body back but she is even slimmer than she was before the baby?  I had that exact moment today!  Except for the pre-baby thing, obviously!
I was trying to find something to wear to the movies in The Hamptons with the hubby when I thought I'd try on my jeans.  Now this first pair of jeans I have always fit into, it's just that in the last 18 months I've had to more or less pour myself into them and not breathe or eat for the duration of their wearing.  I put them on and they were too big!!  I'm talking the kind of too big that would make me look ridiculous if I tried to wear them in public.  I glanced over to my skinny jeans (and not the type of skinny jeans that should only be worn by someone who is either considered a supermodel or has toothpicks for legs or is trying to avoid being raped given that they need to be peeled off, but regular boot cut jeans) and thought.... Hmmmm it's probably too early to be trying them on.  I might get them onto my knees but I don't know about doing them up yet.... Oh hell, let's give it a go!
I blew the considerable amount of dust off them and flicked them out.  I haven't worn these since I was 27, 5 years ago.  I put one leg in and chuckled to myself, not a chance but let's keep going... I put the other leg in and began to pull them up over my knees... Wait a cotton pickin' minute, these fuckers are going up without any pulling or tugging or sucking anything in.  Surely this dream is going to stop as soon as I get them over my arse... Ok, they are up and happily around my arse, in fact, I'm going to use the term loose.  They are loose around my arse.  Oh. Em. Gee.  They won't do up, no way they'll do up.  Gethefuckoutoftown they've done up, AND they are loose around my waist too! YEEEEHHHAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! So I have achieved one of my first milestones only 10 days after surgery... My skinny jeans are on! I can't tell you how fricking excited I have been all day!  Today I strutted.  Everywhere I went was with a strut.  I felt gooood!
In other news, at the movies I consumed about 10 pieces of popcorn without any pain at all.  I know I'm not meant to eat anything semi solid for another week but I had to give it a go.  I miss real food!  One piece at a time and I chewed until that was basically a liquid anyway and then swallowed.  No problemo!  Hooray.  I didn't push it because I didn't want to have a stomach full of popcorn which could cause trouble, but a few wee pieces, very well chewed, was fine!  Happy days!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Not So Smooth Sailing...

Today has been my hardest day yet.  6 days post surgery.  I will admit that I've had a big weekend (bed at 2:30am last night - ummarr!) but today I struggled.  I have felt so remarkably good the entire time that I could almost say that I've had ants in my pants!  Aside from a wee bit of continuing pain in my shoulders from the trapped air from the surgery (I'm assuming - maybe my neck is out??) which makes very deep breathing uncomfortable and hiccuping a nightmare, I have not had any other pain! It's hard to curtail your activities when you feel great and can see in yourself that you've lost weight!

After a late start this morning I felt good.  Not as much energy as I've had in past days but nothing wrong with me that caused any bother.  After a sensational and relaxing pedicure and a visit from friends I made pea and ham soup.  I put it in the blender and whizzed the shit out of it so there were no lumps.  To make sure it was quite runny, I added some tomato soup and water too. I poured myself about 150ml and struggled with every single mouthful.  The pain just below my sternum was uncomfortable enough to make me stop every single mouthful and wait until it passed.  I tried smaller mouthfuls and swallowing more slowly - both have worked in the past to stop the pain - but today it was just exhausting.  I had a lie down on the couch and felt better a little while later.  I had a mouthful of water, no pain.  Same amount of apple juice, no pain.  Gahhhh!!  It feels like you take 2 steps forward and then one back!  Yesterday the custard that I had for lunch caused no pain, but today my soup, which was runnier than the custard, hurts.  What's the go, Jo???

I'm always aware that I need to stay hydrated but today I just didn't want anything at all! I am fairly sure that I am well below my 2.5L - 3L intake.  The rest of tonight will be spent sipping water.  That's what you get!  I'm hoping for sunnier skies tomorrow and that whatever is causing the blockage will piss off overnight and let me enjoy the soup I've been fanging for!!!

Friday, 15 July 2011

July 14 & 15

When I got home I was allowed to begin "free fluids".  Basically anything up to the consistency of custard.  I was pretty excited about custard just quietly!  I will do this for 2 weeks to make sure that I am gentle on my new stomach and let it heal properly.  The discomfort I originally felt when having the clear liquids has gone and I can now tolerate a decent mouthful of liquids, however, now I get it with the thicker liquids.  I am very aware of the liklihood of pain (which isn't unbearable, but more uncomfortable) and have been avoiding getting to that point.  I have to "eat" about 1500ml of fluids each day.  This is difficult, believe me.  I have been walking around with a glass of something in my hand to make sure that I am regularly drinking something (especially water).  I am crucially aware of becoming dehydrated and ending up back in hospital.

I find myself a little confused by the sensations that I am feeling and what my brain is telling me.  I can't recognise hungry at the moment.  I haven't felt hungry at all since the surgery.  Psychologically I want to chew on something (more on that later), but I am not hungry as such.  I understand uncomfortable (which I assumed was "I'm full"), but I really am experiencing more of "not interested" and "don't give two shits".  I wish that I had felt that at any time of my life pre-surgery.  I only ever felt the need to consume until there is nothing left.  How times have changed!

We went into town today to get a few things and drop off some of my stuff to Vinnie's.  On the way home Ben got some hot chips.  ohemgee they smelt divine.  I knew I couldn't eat them and that wasn't a problem. I didn't care at all. But I could chew them.  And chew them I did.  When I got home I chewed up and then spat out two chips.  It's actually quite difficult to not swallow what you are chewing.  But you know what, I got the sensation that I had been longing for since before starting that pre-surgery diet.  Hot and crunchy carbs in my mouth.  Yummo!  I happily spat them out and that was that.  Craving satisfied!

Incidently, I am now 10kg lighter than I was on the 27th of June when I started the Optifast diet.  Nice!

The Swallow & Home

I woke up again feeling surprisingly good considering what my body had been through.  It was a little difficult to roll over with the cannula and drip in my left hand and a drain protruding from about 10cm to the right of my belly button.  When moving around the hospital I was sporting a stylish blue bag which held the drain bag and most of the cord attached between it and me.  This went everywhere with me.  To the loo, up the hallways when I needed to stretch and "do a lap".  One of the nurses gave it to me early on because I kept throwing the clear bag and it's contents over my shoulder and she thought it might freak out the other patients!!  Fair call.
I asked the nurse what time my swallow x-ray was.  1pm.  Here was I hoping to be tucking into an apple juice by 10.  Bugger.  At about 10 I had two lovely visitors (who both spoilt me rotten, thanks again gals!) and just as we were getting into it, one of the orderly's came and gave me a 5 minute pick up warning.  Bugger that I had to end my chat with the girls, but it made apple juice that much closer!  
He wheeled me (I asked if I could walk, the answer "not a chance") down to x-ray in the dungeon of the hospital and into what I'm sure used to be the morgue.  It was so bloody cold I was glad I had my cardy on or I might have caught a sniffle!  The swallow x-ray involved standing between 2 giant x-ray plates and swallowing some barium (which looks like sherry but tastes like shit).  The radiographer takes multiple shots of the liquid going down into my stomach and then into my intestine, while making sure there are no leaks.  It was really cool to watch.  It happens much faster than I thought it did and swirls and dances around!
Dreaming of apple juice (it sounds pathetic, but after drinking water for more than 24 hours that tasted like metal, I was desperate) I asked "Is it ok? Are there any leaks? Is it ok?"  she told me she would have to go and get the guy in charge to have a look.  He came in and had a look and walked back out again.  Unable to control myself I pounced "Is it ok? Are there any leaks? Is it ok? Can you please tell me!" Apparently I was a bit loud and eager because he kind of jumped a bit and said that he was going to have a closer look and that they would let me know in the ward.  Great.  How long would that take.  After being wheeled back to the ward, I asked the nurse if she had heard anything.  She went to check and came back with APPLE JUICE!!!!!!!!!  That stuff is like liquid gold.  I was so elated.  Also because it meant that I could get the drip and cannula removed.  Hooray!

The next morning I had my bags packed and was ready to go home at 7:30am.  I text Ben and told him I was ready to go home now.  No reply.  Boo.  The surgeon, Dr R, came in at about 8:30 and gave me the once over and asked if I wanted to go home today.  I pointed to my packed bags.  He laughed.  He reminded me of what to do for the next few weeks and told me to make sure that I followed the dietitian's instructions to the letter.  Of course.  The drain was removed (ahhhh freedom from that uber stylish blue bag) and Ben turned up at 10:30 ("Oh I don't know where my phone is.  I haven't seen it since last night" typical!) and I went home.  There is honestly nothing in this world like your own shower, your own bed, your own couch and your own telly.  Heaven.

Day 1 After Surgery

I woke up and in my very groggy state asked what time it was.  I hate not knowing what time it is. Where is my hisband was the second question.  Ben had come back up to hospital to see me and was there for about 5 seconds before I told him to go home!  Poor bugger.  2 x 110km round trips for the day, plus worrying about me and he was exhausted!  

Due to a problem with my ticker (nothing major, just a leaky valve) I was put into HDU (High Dependency Unit, similiar to ICU) for the first night following my surgery.  I was attached to a ridiculous number of machines: a machine that automatically takes your heart rate and blood pressure every hour, oxygen up the nose, a drip, the same circulation things on my legs inflating and deflating and my attractive drain protruding from my stomach.  There were 3 people in there plus me.  All night I heard "nurse, I need to use the bathroom..." to which the nurse replied "you have a cathedar in, just relax..."  10 minutes later the same request from one of the other patients.  I thought to myself, do I have a catheter in too?  When the nurse came in a while later I asked her what do I do if I need to go to the bathroom? "You get up and walk." she told me.  Oh good.  Major surgery just hours ago, but up you get!  Actually, I was quite pleased with that, I didn't want to use a bed pan and I'm pleased that I got to use the loo! 

After a solid night sleep (when you are still groggy from anesthetic and are being monitored every hour, the sleep is broken, but still good!)  I was awake.  Still a bit groggy, but awake.  And I felt good!  The nurse asked me if I thought I was able to go and have a shower... seriously, she may as well have told me that I had won a million dollars.  I jumped up and went for a shower.  H.E.A.V.E.N.  I felt fabulous.  My shoulders were aching and I still had a pain in my sternum (from being filled with air for the surgery I'm told) but otherwise I was good!  
On return from my shower I was hooked back up to all the machines and had a jab in the stomach to prevent clotting.  I was asked if I would like a Voltaren suppository.  Umm.  I wasn't sure I wanted anything up the bum, but she assured me it would make the pain in my shoulders go.  I agreed.  Anything to get rid of that pain.  Man that stuff is good!  Within 20 minutes all pain and discomfort was gone.  That suppository would be my friend for the next 72 hours.   I might even go so far as to say that I miss it, especially today (5 days later) with nothing but panadol, I'm a little fragile.
Dr V and Dr R both came to see how I was doing and both commented on how chipper I was and that I looked great considering I'd just had surgery.  I honestly think the juices and arnica made the world of difference to my recovery.  
I was eventually moved to the ward, thank goodness.  Being someone who swears a fair bit I kept having to chastise myself for dropping the odd bomb now and then.  Get me to my own room where I can close the door and be myself. 

I was only allowed to drink small amounts of water that day.  I hae never had such a dry mouth in all my life, and the piss weak teaspoons of water weren't helping at all.  I was only allowed to have 60ml of water an hour.  The equivalent of 2 shots an hour.  It sounds like nothing, but it was more than enough to try and handle.  The sensation of water going down into my new stomach felt like an hour glass.  It got so far and then stopped and slowly ran into the new stomach while bubbling and causing me to burp constantly.  I assume that this is the inflamation in the area.  It kind of like when you drink too much, too quickly and you get a pain in your sternum that feels like a blockage, then it let's go and you're fine again.  It bloody hurts.  But by taking smaller sips it makes it easier to run through.  I asked the nurse when I would be allowed to have apple juice.  She told me that I had to have a swallow test tomorrow and that if that came back all clear with no leaks that I would be allowed to have apple juice.  I couldn't wait for it to be tomorrow!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The Surgery

Well I'm home and I have survived!  There really is no place like home.  And specifically, your own shower and bed!
I'll tell my hospital experience in a couple of blogs because it's going to be quite long, I think!  So let's start at the very beginning...

Monday morning my alarm bleated at 5:50am.  I had to have a shake before 6am so I jumped up, downed the shake and went back to bed for another hour.  No point wasting valuable sleeping time!  We got to the hospital at 8:30 as instructed.  After checking in and parting with large amounts of dollars for my hospital excess I went down stairs to the next check in. Paperwork.  We sat and waited.  And waited.  And waited.

At 10:00 we were called in to an interview room to speak to the nurse.  He ran over the obvious things and then went to get the anaesthetist to meet me and give me the once over.  So in rocked Dr V.  What a character.  Loud, to the point and obviously very skilled in his field.  "How are you feeling?" he asked me in a thick South African accent.  "I'm terrified" I replied making sure I popped out my doe eyes and batted my eyelashes so that he would be extra gentle with me.  "Yes, you should be.  You could die." he said looking me dead in the eye and smiling.  Fuck.  I'm going to die, I thought.  He noted a couple of "big juicy ones" (veins) that I had and drew some circles on me.  Then said "Ok.  See you on the table!" and he was gone!
20 minutes later we had another meeting with the nurse, at which point he filled the circles Dr V had drawn with numbing cream and a water proof dressing.  Then Dr R (the surgeon) popped in to check that I had been on the diet and understood the complications (that blasted leak thing).  He said that the surgery could be a bit late because his first op was on a woman with a BMI of 71 and that it could be a challenge for him.  Holy shit!  My BMI of 39 made me look anorexic! If she was 170cm tall, she would have nearly weighed 200kg.  Whoa.  Anyway, he disappeared and Ben and I had to (very, very quickly) say our goodbye.  As I walked away,  I got teary that I didn't have time nuzzle into him and breathe in his smell to linger with me for the rest of the day, or to kiss him properly and tell him how much I love him and that he was my best friend and also that it was ok to remarry if I died, and that I wanted 'time of my life' from dirty dancing at my funeral, and that the password for the bank account.... oh you get the picture.  Deep breath, swallow hard and keep going was what I thought. Millions of people do this every day.  Harden up princess.

I was directed to the shower where I had to scrub using their "special sponge", a betadine soaked sponge which is far from my sweet scented palmolive naturals I'm used to.  Then I had to don the stylish white gown and regulation chux undies.  I pleaded my case and was allowed to keep my own undies on (because they were basic and cotton and could be cut off if necessary - thanks for the tip, Jess!).  I was shown to my bed and told that when it was my turn I would be called.  I was given my sexy 'teds' compression stockings and fought with them for about 10 minutes to get them on!  I was given my pre-med tablets and very quickly went to sleep, waking myself up snoring several times!!
An hour later (now about 1pm), I woke up and wondered how much longer I would have to wait.  This isn't good for me, this waiting thing.  I watched an episode of Offspring on my phone and checked Facebook a thousand times.  I listened to a nurse yell at an elderly couple who had both been in for day surgery and both lost their hearing aides. About half an hour later, they were found in the husbands pocket. Just the back and forth banter was hilarious!
At 3:30 I was called.  They wheeled me down the hall and around the corner where I was asked (for the third time today) what my full name, date of birth, allergies and what I was having done today.  They wrapped me up in a nice snuggly warm blanket and put some pressure thingo's on my legs which inflated and deflated to keep the circulation going.  

Then I was wheeled into the theatre.  I was again asked what my full name, date of birth, allergies and what I was having done today (I couldn't bring myself to answer 'gender reassignment' but I wish I had!).  I couldn't see much but I was introduced to all the doctors and nurses in there.  In rocked Dr V again.  He whipped off the dressing and began to insert the cannula while proclaiming "You've got a ganglian (big calcified lump on my bones of my hand) here, but we'll try and go around it and try not to lose any troops!"  I giggled.  "Success, the battle has been won!" he proclaimed loudly.  "Did we lose any troops?" I asked, he giggled. "No troops were lost!  Come on Johnny boy, let's do this!" He called to the surgeon, who's name isn't Johhny.  A nurse put an oxygen mask over my mouth and nose.  "This is it, isn't it?!" I asked.  "Breathe deeply and we'll look after you..." she said soothingly with a gentle smile.  She's nice.  Was my last thought.  

Shit I was glad when I woke up, despite the intense pain right in the centre of my sternum (which I had been told about) and Dr V yelling "BREATHE, ELISSA, BREATHE!"