I’ve Got A Lot of Catching Up To Do!!

I’m going to list all of the things I want to cover then cover then as time allows.  I’ll first start by telling you that I had my surgery on Monday, October 17, 2011 at precisely 9am.  I came home from the hospital on Wednesday, October 19th, 2011 and I have not looked back or regretted the decision to stay on this journey to a new, healthier me. I have absolutely NO REGRETS!!

Things I want to tell you about in detail includes:

  • Pre-Op testing including the Endoscopy, Stress Echo, Registration, and TWO weeks of liquids before surgery
  • Planning and preparing for the kids while I was in the hospital
  • Getting to the hospital
  • Being prepped for surgery
  • Going to the OR and how I was treated
  • My hospital stay
  • The people who took care of me
  • My surgeons
  • Coming home
  • What I’ve been doing since I got home
  • Things I’m looking forward to

I believe I have covered everything up to the point of pre-op testing and I may have touched on this subject just a little bit. However, for my sanity and to be able to reference it later I want to cover it in full detail.  Today you’ll get the rundown of pre-op testing and the end results.

Once we went through the process of Insurance approval it was time to begin scheduling the Pre-Op testing. Those test included an Endoscopy, a Stress Echo, Chest X-ray, additional Labs, and registration.  On Wednesday October 21, 2011 I arrived at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Asheville at 7:00am for the scheduled Endoscopy.  I’m still not certain how I felt about having this procedure. I knew it was common, painless, and one of the major requirements for the surgery I was having.

After a quick history I was taken to a room where I had to undress only from the waist up, had an IV started, and additional medical history taken.  Soon the doctor performing the procedure came in to let me know what to expect and almost immediately I was taken back to the procedure room.  There was two people in the room besides the doctor. They both starting hooking me up to monitors. One nurse began injecting some medication into my IV while the other had me open my mouth wide and he sprayed some sort of numbing medication on the back of my throat.  That’s about all I remember until I was being spoken to in the recovery room.  The entire procedure took less than 15 minutes and within 30 minutes after I went to recovery I was ready to go home.  My throat was a little sore, and the meds they put in my IV were kicking my tail but other than that I felt fine.  Mama was with me and she drove home. I don’t remember the drive home or much of anything else that happened for most of the day.  The test results came back on September 23rd and I received a call from my surgeon’s office that I would need to immediately start a two week dosing of antibiotics for something called H-Pyloria Bacteria that was found in my stomach.  This is a bacteria that causes ulcers and is treated by giving high doses of two different antibiotics, Metronidazole 500 MG and Clarithromycin 500 MG. I also took a 14 day dosage of Prilosec.  I started these medication on Friday, October 23, 2011 and took the last dose on Friday, October 7, 2001.  I couldn’t tell any difference in how I felt so apparently the H-Pyloria isn’t something that makes you feel anything physically, unless of course you end up with ulcers.

The next set of tests scheduled was the Stress Echo and the chest X-ray.  Chese X-ray … nuff said. Nothing special there. Get undressed, have a couple of X-rays taken of the upper chest area … done!

The Stress Echo however … a whole new ballpark.  I still say today that if I never have to do this one again … It will be way too soon! The people were awesome, very nice, and very encouraging. The test is just horrible.  I couldn’t eat or drink anything 4 hours before the procedure and since it was at 12:55 in the afternoon I went in to this test both hungry and thirsty.  I was ushered into a room where there was an Ultrasound machine, a Stretcher, a Treadmill, and a heart monitor.  I again had to undress from the waist up and put on a cover that opened in the front.  I laid on the stretcher and the tech did an echo/ultrasound of my heart.  I had an IV catheter inserted and some sort of dye injected. They immediately did another echo/ultrasound. This whole time I’m hooked to an EKG monitor and could see my heart beats and rhythm.   The Cardiologist PA came in and told me how the procedure worked. The only issues they were concerned about was my being able to get my heart rate up to the level needed for the stress part of the test due to the blood pressure medication.  If the walking didn’t bring the rate up where it needed to be then they would have to do it with medication. I wasn’t thrilled about either!!

When they finally put me on the treadmill they started pretty slow and I had to force myself to stay with the machine and not force anything more. Every 10 seconds it would increase both in speed and in elevation.  I stayed on the treadmill for almost 7 minutes before my heart rate hit a level they though would be sufficient for the stress echo. This is where things got horrible. Rather than being able to decrease the treadmill speed it had to be turned off immediately and I had only a few seconds to be back on the stretcher, on my left side, and only a couple of minutes for the stress echo to be done before my heart rate was out of the ‘stress zone’.   When they turned the treadmill off it all happened so quick I was left feeling weak and faint. They said that was normal and I would recover.  I did … and I passed.  My stress echo test was  a success and the final results were perfect so the only hurdle I had left was the two week liquid diet and pre-registration.

Stay with me on this journey and watch for the next installment of my journey to and beyond Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass.   During my next post I’ll tell you about registration and what I did to prepare the kids and myself for hospitalization.

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Still Shaking My Head in Disappointment

If you read my previous post then you know I was super duper excited for the coming weekend.  I was even looking forward to being able to post some new photos this week and give you a rundown of the weekends excitement.  I’m going to start at the beginning and give you a complete rundown.  I’ll post pictures as soon as I get my camera back … Here goes …

Friday night was absolutely the most awesome thing I have done since my last trip out west. Only this was probably even better. I had more fun than a single slightly old lady should have.  I had not been to a football game since I was in high school – 30 years ago.  I’m honestly not sure who had more fun … my former classmates and I or the winning team on the field. The game was awesome … We won! but the company was the absolute best.  We had about 30 classmates show up for the game and we rocked the stands from beginning to end. Everyone was laughing, talking, and simply enjoying themselves. One of our classmates went so far as to wear his athletic Letter Man Jacket from high school.  THAT rocked! (So did he … just saying!) I honestly hated to see Friday evening come to an end, but it did … all to soon for me.

Saturday was busy getting prepared for the evening.  Triple Kudos to my friends Cheryl,  Teressa & Becki for all their hard work.  I spent a couple of hours Saturday evening making sure I was ready. Folks … I never wear makeup anymore and doing my hair is pretty much a thing of the past … but for Saturday evening … I did it and I was tickled with the results.  I looked ‘hot’ if I do say so myself 🙂  I showed up at the venue right at 5pm which was our appointed time of arrival.  The DJ was there and ready to setup. One look at him and I knew the evening was going to be perfect.  He was ‘hot’ too! and he came in tow with loads of professional equipment and a playlist that was right up my alley.  I got a preview while they were setting up and doing their sound checks and in short .. It Rocked!  Not long after the DJ arrived, the caterer showed with their evening fair.  That’s where I feared thing were going to get tough. OH the food smelled so scrumptious. I was tempted … but I turned away. Was actually easier than I thought.  I was way to excited to eat and way to nervous to worry about it.

THEN … OH THEN … EVERYTHING WENT SOUTH!  MY PHONE RANG!

My heart sank when I saw the call was from my brother-in-laws phone. He never calls me unless something is wrong. With hesitation I answered it and my sisters asked me who had fallen at her house and broke their wrist.  YYYYY I didn’t have a clue .. I wasn’t there … I was at my class reunion getting ready to have an awesome evening … BUT panic set it because Lil Man was with my Mama.  I tried calling mama, both on her cell and home phone. NO answer.  I kinda brushed it all off, knowing that she and Lil Man were going to the store and mama has a bad habit of not taking her phone with her.  A few minutes later my phone rang again … I knew then I was doomed but I wasn’t sure just how far doomed I was going to be.  The call was my sister telling me that Mama had fallen and broke her wrist. She stressed that mama was just fine but I needed to get Lil Man.  I stressed then figured that Heather owed me one and she could get Peyton since it wasn’t long till bedtime and she could manage to get them in bed and go on with what she had to do. If it go to bad then I could run home, put him to bed, and go back.  DONE …

Not so much …

My sister called and said she thought I should come to the hospital … not in Franklin .. in Sylva! I could see my evening slipping through my fingers. Today it all still doesn’t make sense and I’m struggling with how I feel …

Neighbor’s (also family) had gone down to Mama’s to get Lil Man so he could see the baby coons playing in the tree outside their house.  Mama decided she would walk up to their house too. Instead of taking 2 minutes to put on shoes, she took off in her house shoes.  She got on lose gravel and lost her footing thus causing a fall that broke her wrist. We don’t have decent orthopedics in Franklin so when EMS picked her up she requested to go to Sylva, which they obliged. Depending on the severity of the break she may have needed transport to Asheville.  That’s where things get crazy and confusing. My sister called again to see if  I was coming to the hospital.  Still not sure the reasoning behind that but at any rate … that is the call that destroyed my excitement for the evening.  People were starting to arrive and I was alive and electric to see everyone … all the sudden my electricity was GONE.  Everything turned black …  I ended up having to leave, get Lil Man, make a trip to MedWest ER … where I proceeded to sit in the ER waiting room … dressed to the party nines … for about 3 1/2 hours while the doctor set mama’s wrist and cast it.  She was discharged home just before 11pm. My class reunion … ended at 11pm.  I wasn’t thought of again until I was within 7 miles of home when my phone rang and it was my sister calling to see where I was.  Evening wasted!  I had never felt so disappointed and hurt.  I cried … I still cry.  Saturday night was a big deal for me and it’s an evening that will NEVER happen again … 30 years don’t happen but once and I worked so hard … only to have it taken from me.  Do I blame anyone … NO.  It happened … get over it … but it hurts.  Maybe if I had even felt ‘included’ while waiting at the ER things would have been different.  I felt like I was in the way and was wasting my time. I felt like it didn’t matter that I was there … and I still feel like it didn’t matter.

I missed the most awesome evening.  I’m still getting notes of thanks for all the hard work organizing the event, and equal notes of regrets that I couldn’t be there.  My former classmates aren’t even required to acknowledge that the evening was wonderful and that I was missed … but the fact of the matter is that they are … they said something … My family … not so much.

All that grief to only be faced with more grief … Surgery coming up on Monday and as of right now I don’t even have anyone to take me to the hospital on Monday morning, much less be there for me while I’m in surgery or be waiting when I come out of recovery.  I’m not even sure I’ll have a ride home from the hospital on Wednesday.  Right now … I’m not even sure if I’m going to get to have my surgery and that makes me even sadder than missing my reunion on Saturday night.  I’ve worked my tail off to get to this day and now it may not even happen.

I’m on a down low self pity kick right now … I covet your prayers AND I promise that by God’s grace I will post new photos and stats soon.

It’s Friday Folks!

I’m so excited for this weekend I can barely contain myself.  In addition to preparing for my surgery I, along with three  others have been working our tails off getting ready for our 30 year high school class reunion. I am filled with enough excitement to make me want to POP! There are a few people coming that I literally not seen since the night we graduated from high school on June 6, 1981. Football tonight, entertainment and food tomorrow night ……………. ***scratch***

Everything has it’s hurdles. Tomorrow night is going to be the largest hurdle I’ve had to face since this week started. If you’ve been keeping up then you know that I started a liquid diet on Monday morning in preparation for my upcoming gastric bypass.  This week has been much easier than I thought it would be and I’m honestly not worried about the ‘concession stand junk’ at the ball game tonight. I am, however worried about the food being laid out tomorrow night.  ALL of my favorites … BBQ sliders, cheeseburger sliders, fruits, veggies, wings … all the good stuff that I can’t have. Thank goodness we aren’t having stuffed mushrooms. I’m almost certain I would have to give in and have a few.  I”m planning to go in armed with my protein shake and some sugar free pudding in the event that I just have to have something of solid consistency in my mouth.  I’ve made it all this week … surely I can make it through one night!

On that note … this morning’s weigh-in had me down 10lbs since Monday.  YES! People … that is 10lbs in FOUR days! YES! Since I started liquids on Monday morning about 7am … until I hit the scales this morning about 6:30am … I had dropped TEN POUNDS!!

Only unfortunate … I have NOTHING to wear this weekend so I’m going to raid some closets tonight.  10lbs folks … four day … can you believe it???!!

Stay tuned on Monday for a rundown of the weekend … diet, excitement, and maybe even an updated photo!

Thank you for taking this journey with me.

Preparing For a Two Week Liquid Diet

Three days into a two week liquid diet, in preparation for surgery on October 17th, and I can honestly say it’s not bad, not bad at all. Sure I’ve been a bit hungry but it’s a different kind of hunger. Sometimes you experience hunger simply because you smell food that … well just smells delicious. Sometimes you experience hunger when you see food or find a new recipe you’d like to try. Sometimes you experience hunger and you really are hungry. Sometimes you experience hunger and you’re actually thirsty.

With all of these I’ve walked a very thin line this week. I started with liquids about 7:15 on Monday morning. By bedtime, with nothing of consistency all day, I was starting to panic thinking I would not be able to do this. I woke up Tuesday morning and I thought I was totally famished. I drank a glass of water and proceeded to get ready for the day. I soon realized that I wasn’t hungry anymore so maybe I was just thirsty. This morning when I woke up I didn’t even think about food or drink. I felt fine.  Each day has been tough, but not as tough as I expected. My goal is to keep my diet high in protein, low calorie, and low carbohydrates. Monday I consumed a total of 86 grams of protein. I did this with protein shakes and Greek yogurt.  Tuesday I consumed 55 grams of protein. I had a meeting Tuesday night and forgot to drink another protein shake before bedtime.  So far today I have consumed about  65 grams of protein. If I have another protein shake tonight then I’ll top out today with over 80 grams of protein.  I’m trying to keep calories below 1000 each day. I think I’ve stayed below all three days.

Another friend is Crystal Light Metabolism + Green Tea Peach Mango (that’s a mouth full!).  After while, drinking nothing but water gets old. Adding flavor not only helps, but this particular flavor is really, really good.  I haven’t had a diet soda, not even a taste of one, since Sunday. I was expecting the caffeine headache but so far I haven’t gotten a headache at all.  I honestly haven’t even thought of a diet soda.  I prefer my soda with hearty solid food and since I can’t have those … why bother?

I weighed myself on Sunday morning and knew what my goal was for surgery. I needed to lose 13.5lbs. I had put some weight back on since my visit with the surgeon. It’s easy to do and I knew the liquid was coming so I ATE. Not excessively, but thing that I should not have been eating.  End of day Monday I hopped on the scale again and kinda freaked. I had gained ONE pound. I struggled to not give up. Tuesday night when I weighed I was down FOUR pounds. I believe the weight gain on Monday was from fluid. I ran myself crazy on Tuesday and hardly had any fluid retention at all. I’m anxious to see what the scales say tonight.  This weekend I will also go back on my Lasix fluid medication to pull off any excess fluid that may be trying to hang out and weigh me down. I want to be well hydrated for my surgery, but I don’t want the excessive, unnecessary, crazy fluid that I normally have.

What else … OH YEAH!  What did I do over the weekend to prepare for what I knew Monday morning would bring?

I enjoyed eating of course!! Friday evening we went out for dinner.  I enjoyed my most favorite meal of all … Prime Rib, baked potato, salad, and yeast rolls. Heather ordered a huge hot fudge brownie for everyone to share for dessert … I had one bite and it just wasn’t appetizing so I skipped it. While it was a lot of food … it was pretty healthy so I wasn’t worried.  Saturday morning I made homemade biscuits & gravy for breakfast. The boys could eat that three times a day and I knew it would be a while before Nanny made biscuits & gravy again. I enjoyed that with sausage and over easy eggs.  We had dinner out at a special open house celebration with a local volunteer fire department. Dinner consisted of hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, and chips.  I finished Saturday off with a Nestle Ice Cream Cone.  Sunday morning I fed the boys breakfast of cold cereal and milk then I hopped in the shower to get ready for church. By the time I had everyone ready to head out the door for church I realized that I didn’t have time for breakfast so I grabbed a protein shake and headed out. After church we went out for lunch and once again I enjoyed Prime Rib with all the trimmings.  I considered this ‘my last supper’.   However, that wasn’t the case.  Heather ordered pizza for dinner and I enjoyed pizza for my last supper. After the kids went to bed I had a chocolate bar and prepared for what was to come.

Do I miss eating … Sure!  Wouldn’t you?  I would give anything to go home to chili beans with cheese and cornbread for dinner … or maybe grilled ranch burgers … or even grilled BBQ chicken.  But I can’t! Plain and simple … I can’t eat solids and I’m honestly okay with that.  I will enjoy a cup of creamed chicken soup then have a small dish of sugar free/fat free pudding later. I will finish off my day with a protein shake.  I’m doing it … and I’m honestly okay!

Thank you for taking this journey with me. Today I am 12 days away from having a surgery that will change my life forever.