Thursday, July 31, 2008

Week One Post - op Follow up (day 10)

Wow, July 31, 2008 - 10 days post-op! Things are going well. The small set back in the emergency room on Sunday was just that-a set back. I am up and running again. Okay, maybe not running, but we are headed in the right direction!

I had my one week follow up with Dr. Hachem. He was happy with the progress. We had a very light humorous check up. For those of you who do not know him which will be all of you but Kevin, Shawna and my parent; he comes across as a very serious person, all business no play. I found out he can laugh! Anyway, I think he is still trying to figure me out! I got him guessing what is next!!

He took out the drainage tube and released me to drive, released back to work, etc. He said I have no limitations on activity. I told him, “Darn, now I have to start cleaning the toilet again.” He let me start taking my medications in pill form instead of crushed. If you have never crushed pills, I will just clue you in and you can call this a favor—they are NASTY! I told him I had the $21,000 question. He asked who got the money. I told him I did; he had already gotten enough from me. When he said I could take the pills whole I told him he answered that $21,000 question correctly. He asked where his money was and I told him he would have to put it on my account on the account he already taken all my money.

I’m sure you are curious of the weight loss. Well, there are several ways to determine this. I will go with what I feel is fair. If I go with the weight I was June 21st when this was actually started (Optifast Diet) I have lost 30 pounds in 5 ½ weeks. If we go from the weight at time of return home from surgery (and I’m sure some of the weight I had then was IV fluids) I have lost 15 pounds in 7 days. Either way, I am lighter. The big revelation is: I have knee caps! Even when I bend my knees. No more elephant leg.

Well, tomorrow I will begin the process of creating a habit. I want to get started walking more. I know I have to take it intelligently because I have not fully recovered from my emergency room set back on Sunday, let alone surgery healing. I still have some of the soreness from Sunday and I need to allow that to heal, but in the same breath, I need to exercise to heal that soreness. So it is a matter of finding a “fine line”. I’ve been told I’m not good at that!

I’m just ready to get back in my own bed—hopefully tonight I will be able to do that without my muscles screaming. I’m ready to get back in the routine of exercise, work and fending for myself. I know I still have limitations on weight, so that will restrict me in some ways. I will just take is slow and easy. Remember the turtle won the race!

Until more news to report--this is Tortoise

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Back in the saddle

I am back. I have been gone for a few days. I had a slight set back.

I was in major pain. It started Saturday late afternoon. I called Dr Hachem Sunday morning and he told me to go to the ER. I got there at 0800 and they immediately gave me a STRONG pain killer. They did a cat scan. Everything looked great. My pouch is working fantastic; it is draining through to the colon like it’s supposed to. The surgery looks great. My drain site is good (should get the tube out tomorrow). Once the tube is out I can get rid of the canteen that is taped to my thigh. They gave me another dose of the strong pain killer and sent me home. He gave me a prescription for the pain killer in case I needed it. He also gave me a prescription for an antibiotic because there was a little infection because I am unable to cough stuff up. I can remember in 4th grade mom telling me to cough it up and spit it out and I couldn’t. So getting the anesthesia out is hard for me-therefore a little infection. The doctor called Sunday evening to see how I was doing. He has called every day since to see how things are going. He called Monday night and I told him I was doing better and he said “For real?” I told him yes. He said, “You aren’t just humoring me?”

Well, the pain is muscular. Me being the “over achiever” I am, I was doing the sporometer (breathing device) too much. I was doing it 4 times an hour and I strained the muscles. I am still sore, but I am able to move about, walk again and breathe easier. For a while I thought I got pleurisy again. I never did take the strong pain killer he gave me. I used the Roxicet a couple of times and decided I was just too tired all the time. So dad got me liquid extra strength Tylenol and I am now awake. I haven’t had to take any of it since Tuesday afternoon. I still have the left shoulder pain from the gas they used in surgery, but that will alleviate in time. I have some ache rub that works on it. I am using it less also.

Mom made the best lunch today! She made hamburger vegetable soup. It is my favorite soup! Well, I haven’t been “eating” anything in the soup category because chicken broth just turns my stomach. So she was thinking, “what could I make?” She browned the hamburger and onions and drained it. Oh man, talk about smell delicious! Then she put in the mixed vegetables. Then the tomato juice and let it simmer. At lunch time dad strained the bulky contents and gave me 2 ozs of the broth. Oh, it was like the meal of a life time! It tasted so good. Nothing like grease (chicken broth). I felt like I had actually eaten lunch.

I am getting up and walking about every 20-30 minutes. I don’t make it real far because the muscles are still a little sore and tense. I don’t want to over do it again and have another set back. I make it a couple of trips down the hall and around the kitchen and entryway. I am using the sporometer once an hour. My breathing is improving with that. Now if I could only afford a masseuse to relax the muscles some. I don’t want a muscle relaxer though! If I can stay away from the medications it would make me very happy.

I am hoping tomorrow’s check up will release me to take my medications whole instead of crushed. They are some nasty tasting stuff crushed! I am not taking all my old medications. My blood pressure one seems to be the least offensive in taste. I have tried to disguise them in jell-o, apple juice, peach juice, white grape juice, crystal light and fruit bars. I did finally put some in my Amoxicillin. Nothing can make that taste worse! I only have a few more doses of it though!

I am starting to have knees even when I bend them! For me that is a sure sign I am losing weight.

My boss called yesterday to confirm some time off I wanted in September. I will finally have something beside Sunday and Monday off in September. I have had Sunday and Monday off for over a year. Everyone else has changed days off by the month. It will interfere with my Bible study, but I will just have to wait and see how things go. I don’t look for us to stay on this schedule for too long. Once we get all the new people trained we should go to a 12 hour shift. Anyway, I told him about my set back and I wouldn’t know what impact it would have on me returning as planned. I would try to still be back as I originally planned, but I wouldn’t know anything until after my appointment on Thursday. He said, “Do NOT push yourself. Take whatever time you need to take to get well. We will work around you. Just keep me updated so I can schedule accordingly.” He has an officer in dispatch now he can keep a hold of if need be. He doesn’t have to release her back to patrol until he needs to. He is so good!

Well, I am back in the saddle. We aren’t running any races, but we are back to a saunter.

Thanks for the prayers! DeAnn :0)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Post-op day 5

I am post-op 5 days. It is day 3 at home. I’m tired, but healing. You ask how I know I am healing. Well, my port incisions itch. They are not stitched or stapled, but “super glued”. I don’t know how long this adhesive is supposed to stay, but it sometimes feels like my skin is ripping from it when I move. Today my drainage incision site is the bear. It is sore for some reason this evening. I had to take a dose of the Roxicet in hopes it will help me move around. My back seems tired too. In sprite of all the negatives I have just listed I still am glad I did this. I got on the scale this morning and in 2 days I have lost 5.3 lbs. It doesn’t seem like a lot of weight, but it is for 2 days time.

I need to get outside to walk. That is hard to do means I am still in a robe. Because of where my drain had to go it is tough to wear pants or shorts. I do wear underwear and a shirt under my robe, but I don’t think that is sufficient for outdoor attire. I am planning to put on a pair of shorts tomorrow means the drainage seems to be slowing and healing well.

As best I can figure they usually put the drainage site on your upper side. Means I had the complication of more fat than anticipated and a shorter bowel than usual, Dr Hachem had to put the drain closer and lower to the waist line and hip area. It is really in a very inconvenient place. It is right in the roll of fat and where a waistband would hit the top of the drainage tube. It will be fine though. Anyway this has slowed my walking a little. I still get up and walk every 20-30 minutes up and down the hall, through the kitchen and into the entry way, but probably not as far as I would if I could get outside. As I said tomorrow I will get out 1st thing up while it is still cool.

Today I took 2 naps. It just seemed like since my shower I never got back up to steam. I’m sure these days are normal after major surgery. Bed time will be a welcome hour. I think I might start out in mom’s chair. I should be up and in bed by the time she is ready to be in it.

I actually decided to get outside tonight. I put on a pair of shorts and hiked them up like old man so and so with the waistband to my chin which worked fine with the incision and the “canteen” attached to my thigh, dangling to my knee. I walked to the end of the block and back and then ½ way down the other side and back and then to the end of the block and back. I’m not sure how far that is. I will have to put on my ped-o-meter tomorrow and see. It sure felt good! There was a nice breeze and it was quiet. I would rather walk out there than in the hall.

Well, my day is winding down. I hope tomorrow will be better for the right side ache. Time heals all wounds, but you know me. Okay, maybe this will be a shock to you all, but I am very impatient.

Until next time!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Back tracking a step

This is the update I sent out via regular email on Wednesday when I got home. I thought I would go ahead and post it here too.

I thought I would write an update. I was dismissed from the hospital today (23rd) at 2pm. I got home around 3:30. The surgery went well. It took longer than expected. The norm is 2 ½ - 4 hours. Mine took 5 hours. There was a slight “problem” Dr Hachem ran into when he got in there. I didn’t know that until today. I would imagine he told me when I was in recovery, but I don’t remember. The 1st thing I remember after surgery was in intensive care. He told mom and dad it took longer because when he got in there I had more fat than he expected. Plus my bowel track was short so he had to go around the back of the stomach instead of the normal front side procedure. It wasn’t so much a risk complication I guess but a time issue for him, therefore, 5 hours of surgery.

I was fairly alert Monday evening. I had a rough sleeping night. Dr Hachem for some reason didn’t want me to use my CPAP that night. I couldn’t sleep on my back and I had difficulty getting turned on my side. So at 5am my nurse (Joy) and Shamika helped get me turned over. I slept fairly well for about 2 ½ hours. He was in to see me 4 times Monday. I made my 1st journey down the hall about 5:30pm and made it about 1/3 of the way down the hall. I had to remember I had to make it back! The 2nd trip was about 7pm and I made it ½ ways. My 3rd trip was at 11:45pm and I made it to the end of the hall. My 4th trip was at 3am and I went the same distance. I was on oxygen all Monday. I had to take an insulin shot twice. My sugar level was high. The 3rd testing was normal, as were every testing thereafter. They said sometimes that happens right after surgery

Tuesday I had the leak test done. YUK!! I had to drink that nasty barium and have x-rays of the stomach. Getting up on the x-ray table was a challenge of its own. Then when he said, lay on your back I thought, “he has got to be kidding.” Then when he told me I needed to roll over on my left side I knew he was delusional. I did get it done, but it was painful! There were no leaks so I got to “eat” finally. I hadn’t had anything (solid or liquid of any sort) since 8pm Sunday. So I started by drinking 1 oz of water in an hour for the 1st 3 hours. Then it was 2 oz of water or juice in an hour for 3 hours. Then it was 2 oz of that every 30 minutes for the next 3 hours. I never made it to the last 4 oz because I was full and did not want to push it. I walked down the hall this day once every hour. This night Joy set my CPAP up and I slept much better. I slept a little while on my side, but mostly on my back. I walked the hall 2 times during the night. I walked during the day once every hour. Dr Hachem checked on me 6 times. He is very attentive!

Wednesday I had Jell-o and an option of soup, but Kevin had clued me in on the soup and so I passed! I had grape juice, apple juice and jell-o along with my water. I had to have a sonogram of my legs to make sure I didn’t have any blood clots. I didn’t so they released me. He saw me 3 times today.

I have some soreness in the left shoulder. I guess not everyone gets that, but it does happen. As I understand it has something to do with the gas they pump you up with to get the room they need to work. It also has something to do with the anesthesia. The pain will alleviate as it all gets out of my system. It has lessoned.

I never used the pain medication for pain. They convinced me to use it before I got up to walk because it would make it easier to get out of bed and walk. So 15 minutes before I was going to walk I would push the button on the morphine pump. I haven’t had any since Tuesday evening around 7pm. My pain level was never higher than 3 on a 1-10 scale. Even then it wasn’t really pain, but soreness—like I had done too many sit ups. Then today I had them give me a dose of Tylenol 3 to travel home. We thought that might make me a little more comfortable with my shoulder and the distance.

They placed a patch behind my left ear before surgery. It is to help with nausea. I have to take it off tomorrow morning. You leave it on 3 days. I never did have any nausea, gas or bloating feeling. The 5 port holes that are used to do the Laparoscopic are not stitched or stapled closed. It is “super glued”. I still have the drainage port in. I will get it out next Thursday when I go for my 1st follow up. I have a small bottle taped to my leg that catches the incision fluid that is still draining. I have to empty it and keep track of how much it’s draining. No one will take me up on the offer of some fruit drink. Oh well! I will have to give myself a shot every day for the next 2 weeks. It is a blood thinner, so they taught me how to do that. The staff was wonderful. I did not have a bad nurse in the bunch.

Well, I hope this will put some of your minds at ease. I am doing very well. I will be off work 2 weeks. I will do a lot of walking, no lifting over 10 pounds and clear liquids only. Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Day one at home

I got home yesterday (23rd) around 3:30pm. I was discharged from the hospital at 2pm. It was great to go home. I only wanted to sleep in my own bed. The 1st night at home in my own bed was wonderful. I don’t remember waking up but once until morning. Now it is a matter of gaining stamina and that is coming slower than I like, but I am impatient. I have some more intense soreness so I have to use the pain medication some. I hate to but they tell me it helps speed up the recovery. I am trying to walk once every 20 minutes. I have a timer set because I tend to get distracted and lose track of time. I’m drinking 1 oz of liquids (water, juice, broth) every 15 minutes. My stomach was growling this morning and I suddenly realized it was the old stomach. I had to chuckle.

Getting in 64 ozs of fluids was not reached today. After 41 ozs at 9:30pm I was feeling fluid logged. I didn't take in any protein and that concerns me means protain aides in the healing. So I have an email in to Ronda (director of Innovative Weight Loss Solutions-the program I am with). Before surgery I was taking in over 64 ozs a day, so the smaller pouch must make the difference in the ease of it all. I hope the ease of getting the quanitity will increase with time. Right now I feel almost uncomfortable because of the logged feeling.

Today was a little rough, but I think someone told me or I read or both that day 3 & 4 were the toughest. I will just keep doing what I'm doing and take the progress as it comes. I can only do my best. I am so glad I did this! No regrets! Tomorrow is another start!

Thanks for reading! Until next time--DeAnn :0)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Just hours to go

The question of the day is: "Are you ready?" My answer is: "Yes! Only __ hours left." One of my co-workers asked if I was enjoying the bathroom decor today. I told her I was getting caught up on my "Find A Word" searches. If I ever have to taste another Fleet again it will be much too soon. That is the nastiest tasting stuff. I mixed it with apple juice and couldn't even taste the jucie. The best part was the 16oz water chaser!

I got off work at 2:30am and in bed by 3am. I got up at 7:30am to go to church. I didn't want to take the fleet and then go to church because I don't recall there being speakers in the bathroom. So I got up to go to early service. That way I could start the Fleet 30 minutes late and be at home. I think an early bedtime is in the making for tonight. That will be okay though because I will need to get up at 3:30am to take a shower and get around to be on the road before 5am to be in Junction City and checked in by 6am.

I have my bag packed. I have been trying to drink lots of liquids today so I am not dehydrated for surgery. I've had 76oz of water, 16oz of apple juice straight up, two 4oz glasses of apple juice with a shot (1.5oz bottle) of fleet, one grape popsicle and and 8oz of chicken broth. I still have another 4-8 oz of chicken broth to go and more water. I think the approptiate word is "floating".

Well, this is the end of this portion of my journey. The next time you hear from me I will be set on a new leg of life. It is one I am anxiously looking forward to! Until then, be kind to yourself and take care! DeAnn :0)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Let's get started!

Okay, here we go. I have always wanted to do this, but wasn't sure how to get started. Well, thanks to a good friend I have gotten one more step into the computer age. I hope to be able to keep some of you updated and others intrigued. Actually as I said I have been wanting to do this for some time. I know not everyone will remember, have time or care to check this space daily. For that matter I don't even know if I will have time to post every day, but I thought I would give it a try. So if you are reading this now, I appreciate your interest.

I am getting ready to embarke on a new adventure in my life. I have just 3 days left and I will be facing a new way of life. No, I'm not getting a sex change, coloring my hair or joing a monastary. I am doing something for me though. On July 21, 2008 I will check into Geary Community Hospital in Junction City, Ks for Roux-n-Y gastric bypass surgery. Am I nervous? NO! Am I anxious? YES! I have battled weight since I was a teen. I have battled it with some serious focus for years off and on. Losing weight, gaining weight, losing weight, etc. Thanks to someone who loves me greatly, Shawna, and her husband Kevin I am going to have the surgery. It will be a whole new way of eating, thinking and living. The picture is of me at my heaviest before surgery. Watch me shrink!

The health issues I have faced and still battle to this day have changed, increased and continue to mount. This surgery will help to eliminate some. I know it isn't a cure, but it is the best tool available. It won't be easy to change a 45 year old life style, but I am ready for the challenge. I have been making changes since Feb 14, 2008 when I made the decision to have surgery at all costs. I have prepared myself and truely feel I will be successful. What a way to show yourself you love yourself and on Valentine's Day to boot.

Yes, the cost will be great in several ways. I am paying for all the surgery on my own because at this time the insurance company does not pay for weight loss management in any way. The other costs are not monetary, but emotional and mental. They are positive in every way I think about it. I will give up on the emotinal (boredom, anger, lonely, etc) eating. That means I will have to rely on the mental. I will have to find other ways to fulfill those emotions and feelings. I have seen the positive influence in the spiritual sense. After much prayer God provided the finances to do this. I am mentally ready. I have not had a moment of nervousness and feel very much at peace. It has been hard changing life long habits, routines, thinking and comforts, but I have. I know I have a long way to go and it is a life long journey, not a quick fix. Once again God is there for that too. Now as I look at the physical aspect. There is so much involved in that. Not just my health which has been prominate in my life for over 25 years, but in the last few years I have had more and more problems. Almost all these problems can be contributed to my weight. Also since March I have taken on an exercise regimen. I am hoping in time it won't seem like a regimen on some days, but a release and enjoyment. I joined the YMCA and I water exercise and the gym where I bike, walk, lift weights, etc. I actually enjoy it once I am there. Like any habit it takes time and dedication.

Well, I just wanted to invite you to join my journey. We will start where I am and that is surrounded by this new journey of life I call "living healthier". Who knows where we will end up. I hope to bring you insight, laughs and maybe a few tears. So watch for the next posting. Until then I hope your life is full of beauty, hope and challenges. :0)