Last weekend, the weekend of July 4th, 2020, my nuclear family took a four day vacation nearby. It was a vacation area where we felt comfortable that we could social distance yet get our three year old away from the house.
Given that I’d been having post-op digestive issues for a couple weeks, I was concerned about the food situation while traveling. Since I was on soft foods, I did my best to stick with that group of foods but had to have grilled chicken breast a couple of times. That was met with success. So, when I returned, despite the fact that I hadn’t lost much weight in almost a week after losing very steadily before the trip, I decided to try to transition back onto regular foods while avoiding being too aggressive.
I wasn’t sure what was going to happen weight loss wise but, as it turned out, my body apparently readjusted to regular foods on our mini-vaca because I started losing weight again right away.
When I got on the scale yesterday and saw that the number had fallen below 210 pounds, my psyche shifted. Suddenly, that first massive milestone that I’d been waiting for, the so-called “onederland” seemed imminent. It’s surreal. It’s exciting. It’s something indescribable.
Hopefully this goes without saying, but I am greatly looking forward to my next update – Onederland!
Looking a this picture is just mind blowing. It’s difficult to see a significant difference for me because I see myself every day. So, I’ve been looking in the mirror thinking – wherein the world is the weight that I’m losing coming off of?! Don’t get me wrong, I see some difference. Plus, logically I know that I’m dropping clothing sizes. So, it’s clearly coming off. Looking at the picture, though, I see a difference in my belly, in . . . well . . . above my belly, my face, and even my arms!
Yesterday I actually went to get new pants for the first time. I had a pair of skinny jeans. Those were starting to get loose, though. The problem was – I had no clue what size to buy and all the dressing rooms are closed due to COVID! So, I guessed. I started out at a very tight 22 (so, a 24 realistically). A few days ago, our family walked the block and a half to get to our family pool. I wasn’t feeling well. Knowing I wasn’t going to swim. I just wore shorts and a t-shirt. Given the lack of shopping, I wore an old pair of 22 shorts. N the way back from the pull, without apparent impetus, my pants fell. I don’t mean that they started to slip down. I mean – had it not been for fast reflexes AND a long shirt, there would’ve been a show! So, I guessed an 18.
So, there I am yesterday standing in Penny’s realizing that the standard Women’s section goes up to 18. So, I definitely enter into the mind frame of – I can’t be an 18 because there is no chance I’m out of the plus section. Nonetheless, I grab a pair of work pants, a pair of jeans, and a couple pairs of shorts. Quite honestly, I was thinking, I’ll probably have to come back tomorrow to exchange these for whatever size I should actually be buying (but cannot know for sure due to the closed dressing rooms!). So, I come home and try on the clothes that I had purchased. They fit! So, here I am standing in my size 18 pants and nearly in tears thinking about the fact that I won’t need to shop in the plus size section anymore.
On a completely less encouraging note, I’ve got an upper GI scheduled for Tuesday morning due to the gastrointestinal issues I’ve been having. The surgeon will review those results with me. Until then, I am to take a Prilosec every day and a couple of swigs (yes, this was the doctor’s medical terminology) of Maalox every morning and evening. If I’m still having issues at the time we review the Upper GI and the Upper GI dosent explain what’s going on, then I’ll have to get an endoscopy. During this period of diagnosis, I’m supposed to be eating soft foods. Since I do not eat seafood, for me, that consists of protein shakes, Greek yogurt, fat free retried beans, and deli chicken or turkey. So, my diet bites right now. With any luck, they will get it figured out and treated soon so that I can eat a few things again!
Ugh! I’m 4 months post-op, and I’ve been having some issues the last 2.5-3 days. Things that I have been eating are no longer sitting well with me. In the past three days, I have not held down chicken once and my regular morning medication (without vitamins) once. Every other time I have eaten, I have kept the food down but experienced some pain and nausea. Since this is new to me (although admittedly my pouch has always been grumpy), I called my surgeon this morning. They want me to go back to liquids and purées for now and then report back on Monday to see if the surgeon wants to run any tests and/or see me. I am so incredibly frustrated. I was not a happy camper during the purée phase. Plus, I had zero energy (like I couldn’t get out of my bed). I will allow for the very real possibility that the lack of energy was just a byproduct of my surgical recovery and that I will not suffer with that again. At least I certainly hope that is the case. Nonetheless, I am not a happy camper!
Since I transitioned to solid foods seven weeks ago, I’ve tried lots of recipes. They have predominantly been just okay. So, when I tried this Buffalo Chicken Dip – which I have been eating plain with a spoon in a quantity of a quarter cup – I had to share.
It’s tremendous! It’s definitely spicy but still edible with just a spoon. It’s also not too spicy to require me to break the – nothing to drink within a half hour of eating rule. Finally, because it’s shredded chicken, there is no danger of developing that feeling that there is dry food stuck in my esophagus.
*Cooking tip – cook the chicken breasts in an electric pressure cooker/ instant pot. Then, put the chicken into a kitchenaid mixer. It will shred the chicken beautifully!
*Cooking tip 2 – reduce the fat in this recipe by using low fat cream cheese and low fat or fat free cheddar and mozzarella cheeses.
A week ago today I had my 3 month follow-up. It went very well. I was at about 230. So, a loss of just over 55 pounds. The doc said I had met my three month medical goal and was almost to my six month medical goal.
The doc also said that I was at the sweet spot in my weight loss journey. To paraphrase, my pouch (new stomach) will stretch back out a little and the connection will loosen at 12-18 months out (although it should never return to the size it was pre-op). So, basically (although he didn’t say this outright), it would be ideal if I could reach goal weight within that time frame. I’ve got 90-95 pounds more to lose to reach my goal weight (as opposed to my medical goal – which I don’t even know!). Currently, I’m losing 10-12 pounds a month. It’s a rate of loss that I’m not particularly thrilled with because I’m completely unrealistic! 😂 If I continue that rate of loss, I will reach my goal weight within the year which is good since I feel like I’m in a race against the clock now!
Speaking of rate of loss, I’ve been at about 230 pounds for about two weeks now. It’s incredibly annoying. I hate stalls! Well, I just hopped on the scale and saw 228! It’s a tiny difference but it makes me optimistic that I’ve broken the stall! Onederland, I’m coming for you!
I’ve lost 53 pounds in two and a half months. I know that I’ve lost size. Clothes that I was wearing are loose. Clothes that I couldn’t wear suddenly fit. I’ve also been taking monthly pictures and doing before and after photos. when I look at those pictures, I see a difference but it has never felt as dramatic as I feel like it should be. I mean – I’ve lost more than a third of what I want to lose in only two and a half months!
Yesterday, I was contemplating this phenomenon and realizing it must be body dysmorphia. Given that I was wearing the same style and size shirt that I wore on the day of my surgery in my before photo, I decided to take a fresh set of after photos.
The result was pretty shocking. Suddenly, I saw it. The difference is pretty significant. Yes, I’ve still got a long way to go, but I have come a long way, too! So today, instead of being annoyed with how slow my journey is progressing, I’m astonished by how rapidly it’s progressing. Unfortunately, my brain is slower to catch up then my body.
An update is long overdue. In these crazy times of the coronavirus quarantine, it seems like everything is being pushed aside – including this blog!
I’ll begin with where I left off. I am SO much better than when I wrote my last post. I don’t feel exhausted all of the time. I actually get out of bed everyday now – whether I have to or not. I even bought a bike over the weekend just because I wanted to which is insane to me because I never thought I’d want to ride a bike again!
I’ve been cleared for solid food since week 7. Having said that, I’m still very careful of meat that isn’t ground because I got chicken “caught” in my esophagus once and it made me sick as a dog. I have eaten chicken since then, though. I believe that part of my problem is actually with reheated meat. I got some to-go fajitas (minus the wraps) from a local restaurant. They were delicious and went down without a problem. When I reheated it the next day, it wis still edible but it wasn’t as easy. So, as with this entire process, you live and learn. Perhaps more importantly, I hope that this fades because it’s difficult to meal prep with only vegetarian or ground meat meals. And, it’s impossible for a working couple with a young child to cook every day!
I’m concerned that I’m not getting in my requisite amount of protein per day. I’m supposed to get 60 grams a day at this point. I drink a protein shake in the morning with 30 grams. I often only eat black beans and maybe a little bit of ground sausage or turkey the rest of the day. I’m taking all of my vitamins. So, to be honest, my biggest concern regarding the underconsumption of protein comes from the standpoint of – most people start losing some of their hair at about three months post-op. While I know that is just a temporary phase, I’d prefer to avoid that altogether!
The feature photo (the before and after) is a photo of me prior to starting the liver shrinking diet and me two months post-op. The difference in my face is remarkable if I don’t say so myself!
I also got a renpho Bluetooth scale which tracks all kinds of stuff. It’s really cool and it costs less than $35! Here’s a photo of everything it tracks. Also, just to wrap up this post, I have lost 47 pounds since February 20, 2020.
I am two days shy of 6 weeks out. Shit just got real! I dropped below 250 pounds. That’s a milestone that I have not been able to achieve since putting on the weight regardless of what diet I tried.
It’s been a struggle. It’s still a struggle. My stomach is still healing, I guess, because it’s still a challenge finding food that I can tolerate. I get nauseous after eating at least five days out of seven. And, I actually get sick about once a week.
Technically, I move on to full solid foods next Thursday. That seems bizarre to me since I’m still having issues eating. I guess I’ll be able to experiment with more foods. Frankly, I’m afraid too, though!
All that being said, I have gotten my appetite back (if you can call a strong desire to eat 2-3 ounces of food an appetite!). So, I’m not sure if moving on to full solids is just a license to get sick more often or not.
The struggles with eating are SO frustrating that if I had experienced any significant stalls (as is common), I may well be regretting my decision my now. Thank heavens that hasn’t happened. So, for now I’m over 36 pounds down and still falling.
While on purées I was craving “real” food like crazy. The commercials of pizza and ice cream almost killed me!
Now that I’m transitioning to soft foods, I’ve got bigger problems. Almost nothing agrees with my stomach! I feel like I’m either starving or nauseous or actually throwing up almost all the time!
My energy is still subpar (and I’m being generous), but I have been trying to ensure adequate water intake in hopes of improving that in case it’s dehydration (which gastric bypass patients are at high risk for).
With all that said, I still do not regret my decision. I know this is a process. I know that in time things will improve. It’s just taking longer than I anticipated. I am grateful to have gotten the surgery when I did since they are now canceling all non-essential surgeries.
I’ve lost 23 pounds, and I’ve transitioned to purees. So, things sound wonderful, right? Nah. I’d say things are moderate at best.
While I don’t regret my decision (predominately because I know it will get better), I was not prepared to grieve the loss of food nearly as much as I am.
I’m dying for a slice of pizza and the day of DQ commercials advertising blizzards was no friend of mine, either. Speaking of friends, it’s SO hard to be around people who are eating food that I cannot have! My husband and I went to the movies and he got a popcorn, and I thought I might kill him!
I did try a few bites of scrambled eggs the other night. That was a horrible mistake! I experienced dumping syndrome, puked my guts up, and thought I was going to die for over an hour.
I’m also finding it a challenge to eat super slowly and to not drink for a half hour after eating. So, I sometimes suffer the ramifications of feeling overly full (although nothing terrible because I never eat more than a quarter cup of purée and often eat less).
I went back to work on Monday, but quickly realized that I was going to have to transition back to work by working half days for a week or so. Although I’m not experiencing pain anymore, my energy levels are still horrid and by mid-day, I need a nap!
So, here’s to the next steps in my recovery – soft foods starting next Thursday and full time work as soon as possible!