Welcome to my blog

If you enjoy finding a lot of different outlets for your creativity, then we may just be kindred spirits.
This blog is an outlet for my interest in miniatures, crochet, plastic canvas, and many other various arts and crafts.

I also love walking, taking digital photos, and most recently, have rediscovered an old love...bike riding! I purchased an amazing new bike, a comfy Townie by Electra this summer, and have been having a grand time exploring the area as though for the first time. It's like being a kid again!

If you enjoy any of these things too, pour a cup of coffee and tea, sit down, and join me.

Take care!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

5 Weeks Post Op RNY Gastric Bypass Surgery, with Pneumonia

So I have good news and bad news.  The good news is that I lost another 4.8 Lbs this week, bringing my grand total to 51.4 Lbs lost altogether since starting Optifast on January 18th.

The bad news is I have pneumonia.  I think I caught it in the mall...not pneumonia, but the virus that led to it.  I have to walk every day and we still have loads of snow and ice here, so I've been walking in the mall.  I normally avoid crowded places as I get sick easily, but it was important to walk so I went anyway.  I caught a cold or virus last Thursday, and it wasn't bad at first; just sneezing, runny nose, a bit of a dry cough.  By the weekend my asthma had kicked in and on Monday, when I couldn't get ahold of my doctor, I decided I'd better go to the hospital for an asthma treatment.

Thank goodness I went, or I'd have no idea I had pneumonia and think it was my asthma.  They both feel the same; wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, back pain from all of the coughing.

I'm on antibiotics now.  The pharmacist said it will take 3 days for the antibiotics to start working, and this evening's dose will be the third day so hopefully he's right. I already feel better than I did on Monday; Monday was the worst.

I only have 7 days total of antibiotics and usually need more than that.  I have a follow up appointment with my family doctor on Friday morning, so hopefully he'll top me off if I need more. 

The doctor in emergency scared the hell out of me.  He sent me for blood work, an EKG, and Xrays (I requested the Xray to see if my atelectasis had gotten worse).  He said he was worried I had complications from surgery and was looking for a blood clot, and that I may need to go back in for a CAT scan.  He said he'd call me with the results of my blood work and then never did.  I think it's wrong to scare someone like that and then not call to alleviate or confirm the fears.
I called the hospital but they wouldn't tell me anything, except to say that if I hadn't heard from the doctor then it probably means he found nothing wrong on the blood tests. Hopefully my family doctor can access that information and let me know on Friday.

I need to call my nurse in Sudbury tomorrow to let her know about the pneumonia.

This is all a pain in the butt, but I don't think the pneumonia is due to the surgery.  I used to get pneumonia all the time back when I was teaching.  If I would have gone in to emerg a day earlier it may have just progressed to bronchitis like normal, and not pneumonia. I usually get sick at this time of year because the snow starts to melt, then freezes, melts, then freezes, and it releases snow molds in the air, which I am allergic to. I think that, coupled with picking up an infection from someone at the mall, is what made me so sick this time.

I am happy to have lost over 50 Lbs; it was my first mini goal.  I'm also happy to weigh 252.6 Lbs. I was 304 when I started this and hadn't seen the 250's in ages.  It will be amazing to drop below 250 and get into the 240's, then 230's.  My weight stalled in the 230's for years, then stalled in the 250's for years, then 260-280 for years.  When it went up to 300 it scared me into surgery.

People are already commenting on how much I've lost, which is nice.  I was feeling so ashamed about my weight I barely left the house, and hated being looked at because I felt judged every where I went.  Eating in public was agony and I preferred to eat alone, hiding at home.  I just felt so full of shame, and that's all gone.  I haven't felt shame since I started Optifast on Jan. 18th and that alone makes this whole ordeal worth it to me.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

1 Month Post-Op RNY Gastric Bypass Surgery, the Good and the Bad so Far

Hi guys,

Today is my one month post-op anniversary.  I can't believe I had surgery exactly one month ago today!

I lost 5 Ibs during week 4 post op, so my total weight loss is now 46.6 Ibs, since I started this journey on January 18th of this year (2017), with 3 weeks of Optifast protein shakes.  I lost 23 Ibs in those 3 weeks, and 23.6 Ibs since surgery last month, for the total of 46.6.  I think that is fantastic.

I've also lost clothing sizes; 2 pant sizes.  The other day I put on my sweat pants, let go of the waist to tie the draw string, and before I could grab them, they fell right to the floor, lol.  I had to go down to a smaller bra size as well, and can fit into tops that haven' t fit in ages.  That feels really good.

Since starting this on Jan. 18th, I've lost a lot of inches as well.
My bust was 54" when this started, and now it is 51", for a total of 3 inches gone off my bust.
My waist was 52" and is now 45.5 inches, for a total of 6 inches gone off my waist.
My hips were 59 inches and are now 52.5 inches, for a total of 6.5 inches gone off my hips.
My belly button circumference was 58 inches, and is now 53 inches, for a total of 5 inches gone around my belly!
I also lost an inch or two from each of the other areas I measured, but am losing the fasted off my core areas.
I've lost 20.5 inches off my core areas...that's crazy!

I have increased energy, my mood is happier and more stable, and I am thrilled with my weight loss.
That's the good news.

The bad news is that I've had some serious pain issues.  I was one of the few people who had crazy, searing pain after surgery, and it took over a week to get it down to bearable levels.  I was unable to take my full dose of pain killers so it was never properly managed, but slowly, I got better to where it only hurt to stand up or sit down, or bend.

I was unable to start my full liquid diet the day after surgery , like most people, and had to stay on the clear liquid diet for a week before I could tolerate full liquids, other than my protein shakes.  Full liquids include yogurt, cottage cheese, apple sauce, runny cream of wheat, cream soups, and other things like that.  When I was finally able to tolerate those foods, I started feeling stronger, because i was getting in more calories.

By two weeks post op I was supposed to start my pureed diet, and I was so looking forward to it, but looking back, I should have waited an extra week because I'd only been on full liquids for one week instead of two.

The purees tasted divine, and went down easily.  I ate very small portions and was sure to take my time, sometimes taking 2 hours to eat 1 or 2 ounces of pureed food.  I had no nausea, no stomach upset, and was happy...until about 4 hours after eating, when I'd get hit with sharp pain in my lower left abdomen. It felt like I could feel the food moving through my system, and the pain was awful.
I stayed on purees for 3 days and couldn't stand it any more so called my doctor who sent me for an ultrasound and X-Rays.  I had no obstruction, thank God, but the tests showed that my lower left lung had not reinflated after surgery, so I was told to do deep breathing exercises, and to go to the ER if I become short of breath, or develop a fever.  I've been fine.  I started singing, to try to expand my lungs.

The report also showed surgical clips in my stomach, which freaked me out as I wasn't told they would be left there and i wasn't sure if they were there on purpose or left behind by accident.  I called the surgeon but his secretary didn't know.  So I was anxious about that, although I hoped they were supposed to be there.  I didn't find out until yesterday that yes, they are supposed to be there, and are not a problem.

The tests also showed problems with my lumber and thoractic discs, but I already knew about that. It does explain all of the back pain though.

Yesterday I had my one month post op appointment in Sudbury.  My Dad drove me, as it's a 4 hour drive and he didn't want me to go alone.  We left on Feb. 27th and spent one night at the Clarion Hotel in Sudbury. It was nice spending time with my Dad. We went for a walk downtown, to the old mall, and then back again, and after dinner at the Hardrock Cafe (liver and onions for dad, roasted red pepper soup for me), we relaxed in the room. Then Dad decided to go swimming.  I went with him to keep him company but couldn't swim yet.  He had a lot of fun.
Dad at the pool

Dad swimming

Dad enjoying the pool at the Clarion in Sudbury
I had my appointments yesterday, starting at 8 AM.  First I was in a classroom with other bariatric patients, learning about the vitamins, and supplements we need to take.  It was not something that required driving to Sudbury as the information could easily have been given to us in the form of written notes or even an online class.

The second part of the appointments were better, as I was able to meet with my nurse one on one. She faxed a copy of my ultrasound and xray reports to the surgeon, and sent him a message asking what I should do about the pain after eating.  She said that wasn't normal and shouldn't be happening.  Earlier last week, she had put me back on full liquids for 3 days, and I did that, and felt fine on full liquids, but the pain came back when I started back on purees again.
She said she'd phone me when she heard back from my surgeon, and that was it; I was done.

Dad wanted a free coffee from MacDonald's (they're giving away free coffee all week long) so we drove to a huge Walmart in Sudbury tht has a built in MacDonalds.  Dad got his coffee and also a Big Mac.  I couldn't watch him eat it, as I love Big Macs and they contributed to my weight in the first place, lol.  I am fine watching people eat just about any other food but couldn't cope with the Big Mac.  So I walked around the Walmart and found a kitchen gadget that I've been wanting on sale.
It's a zoodle maker...a device that makes noodles out of zuchinni and other veggies.
Zoodle maker
I was supposed to start the Soft Solid food stage today, and was looking forward to some zuchinni pasta.

After we left the Walmart, I bought a cup of chicken oup at Subway.  I asked the girl to try to give me mostly broth and no noodles, and she did. It took me 150 km to eat half of the cup of soup.  My Dad finished the other half in around 2 seconds, lol.

We were almost home when my phone rang and the nurse told me she'd spoken to the surgeon and he wants me to go back on the Full Fluid diet for 2 whole weeks!  I was shocked, as the Full Fluid diet is what people are supposed to start 1 day after surgery, and I am one month post op.  She said the surgeon thinks I have inflammation inside and that is why the purees hurt.  He said the full fluids will give my insides a chance to heal.  If I don't get better, or if I get worse, even on full fluids, I need to call him to let him know.  Thankfully I am pain free on full fluids.  It feels really good to be pain free.

So, I will be on Full Fluids for 2 more weeks, then I'll have to try pureed food again, and if it goes down well, I'll be on that for 2 weeks.  So one month from now, if all goes well, I'll be on Soft Solids and I'll get to try my zoodle maker, lol.