Tag Archives: recovery

Incision Troubles, the post WLS Blues

9 Jan

All in all, I should be super happy.  scale is dropping (48 lbs gone total), feeling mostly pretty good.  Two issues at this point.

First is I have an incision that is givign me trouble. The 2nd incision from the left (I incorrectly thought this was the one that was oozing a bit in the hospital, but it is not, now that I think about it)  is giving me some trouble.  It’s been fine ever since surgery, no issues.  A few days ago, it pops up open and lets loose some mostly clear ooze.  Hmm.  No fever, no real pus, minimal redness (a few millimeters) around the incision.  Call the on-call doc and he thinks its a seroma.  So basically fine, just pay attention if anything is worse.  Today, after a shower I look down at it, and the scab that had formed had fallen off and the incision is gapped open a bit, and seems redder, and has what looks like more serious looking goo, but maybe that is just from the scab falling off.

The pictures below are TMI, so if you are squeamish, look away!

Saturday:

Today 1/9/12 after shower — water must have loosened the scab off and washed it away?

So that is that.  Yum, huh?  At the moment, no one but me seems to be having kittens over it despite two calls to the doc.  I have a just in case appt on Thursday, in case it gets worse.  They told me to put steristrips back on it to reclose where it has opened in the middle.  So now it looks like this:

In other news, I’m wondering if I need to put a call into my primary care doc to up my antidepressant.  I’m not sure at this point if I’m just expecting too much in recovery or whether I am getting depressed, because I just feel like holing up and doing nothing.  Work feels like too much right now, everything is sorta blah.  I have anxiety, mild depression and SAD, so it could be I need to get more sunlight too.  I have a SAD light, maybe its time to use it again.  Hmm.

Two weeks post op

6 Jan

I think my body has finally let go of its death grip on every calorie I’m eating.  The scale is starting to move.  I wish it had started to move sooner, but hey, I’ll take it. 

Yesterday, one of my incisions’ steristrips came undone after shower, and this AM, I sat down and noticed something felt weird.  The incision is gaping on one side just at the skin level. Boo.  No infection or draining, just peeled apart a little bit, about 1/4 of an inch.  I called the doc’s office, they told me to go get wound closure strips and put it back together.  So that is what I did.  I hope it heals correctly!

Today was also my first day back at work, at least a partial day, about 6 hours.  It went fine.  I am lucky enough to be able to work from home as much as i want.  In fact, most all of my team, spread all across the country, works from home.  I actually do usually go into the office three days a week, to see other humans and feel connected somewhat to my employer.  I don’t actually work with any of the people I sit with, so its kind of weird, but I sit just down the hall from my brother, so that is cool, since he is a cool brother.  😀

generally I feel better each day, still have twinges and pains now and then, and have difficulty bending down to pick stuff up off floor.  I was able to take my longest walk yet, and no nap.  So a red letter day, I guess 😉  As far as what is going on recovery wise — still on full liquids until next Wednesday, when I start 3 weeks of soft foods.  Have settled into a sort of general routine that gets me about 600 calories a day, and 70 grams of protein, and all my water so that is good.  one nice thing about working at home is that it is easier to manage all this stuff from home.

I am doing lots of reading about other activities for self soothing rather than food, and also trying to meditate more.  its helpful.  Meditating, reading, and knitting are saving activities right now.

I had a good time yesterday calling into my first WLS support conference call with Tracy Stevenson of mytinytank.net, mandapanda and squeeziemama.  It was good to talk with others who have been down this road and learn from them.  The topic was non scale victories, and I am happy to say I’ve already seen some of these.  It got me to thinking about all the things that led up to me finally deciding on WLS:

1.  Trip to DisneyWorld in July.  For a morbidly obese person, that should be ’nuff said.  I was chafing and miserable, but still enjoyed the park.  I had to make a run to walmart to buy leggings that would keep my legs from rubbing together under shorts.  Just what a fat sweating lady needed, is an additional later of clothing. Each night, I would have to peel down to undies, use a chafing ointment and lay in the bed just trying to recover from the pain.  I had ordered some moisture wicking type shirts and packed them in their packages right into my bag.  One was a columbia size 3x, andI was so disgusted that it didn’t fit, it was gapping open and tight, I couldn’t wear it.  I wore it two days ago — it was loose.  That was an awesome NSV.

2. Traveling frequently — having to ask for a seatbelt extender each time I got on a plane.  I am sure that the next time I get on a plane, I won’t need one!  I barely needed it, but i bet now I won’t need it — NSV to come!

3.  In september — broke one of our dining chairs sitting on it.  Yes. you heard me.  I was so mad and embarrassed.  No NSV to match that, except to say that most chairs have a 250 lb limit, and I am now under that, so feeling safer.  You just haven’t lived until you’ve BROKEN something you were trying to sit on.

4.  I am getting my waist back!  Up until about the 240 lbs mark, I am lucky enough to still have a waist.  I haven’t had a waist for a LONG time.  But my hubby noticed that I once again have a waist that goes in instead of just being straight down. That makes me feel more womanly. 

Ok, so that is all I can think of at the moment! 

One last thing, spare some prayers for my BFF.  She just let me know that her dad is in critical condition and they are likely going to have to make the terrible decision to take him off life support within the next day or so. I am so sad for her, and for him.  Prayers going up for Denny.

1 Week Post Op, How did I get so fat musings?

30 Dec

Well, I had my first week post op visit, it was pretty uneventful.  I had my staples removed, and the PA put on steri-strips.  Got a prescription for actigall, which I am supposed to start taking one month post op to protect my gallbladder.  Wish he had just pulled the darn thing at the same time 🙂  I only lost 2 lbs according to them, but my my home scale says I lost 6.  I think its somewhere inbetween.  I was wearing jeans and a sweater because I was cold, and that is a lot more than I’ve had on at past weigh ins.  Not exactly the huge amount I would have hoped for for having spent a whole week on clear liquids consuming less than 250 calories a day.  Hmm.  But I know it will start coming off.

So how am I feeling?  Pretty good!  I’m off the heavy duty pain meds, as of yesterday.  I still have twinges and pulls in my incisions, particularly when getting up, but I am walking about 5k steps a day so that is probably ok.  I need to gradually start increasing the walking.  I have not experienced any nausea or acid issues or vomiting or any of that stuff <knock wood>  I have had some things that kind of didn’t like going down, but the feeling passed quickly.  I do have a headache this afternoon, but all in all, not bad.  I miss my friend Advil, because that works so much better for me than Tylenol.  Boo.  My incisions all look good.  One was getting irritated, the top middle one, from my bra rubbing against the staples, but its much better now that all the staples are out.  The worst one is on the far right side, which is opposite of what most people say.  My doc said he does all the hard work through the one on the right because he gets a better angle on the stapler.

I was telling a fellow VSG buddy, FavoredOne, that I have this little stinkin’ thinkin’ thought that I will be the one person for whom sleeve doesn’t work, right?  Doesn’t everyone have these thoughts?   I have to step back and look at it and try to break it down.  I came home from the hospital having lost a bit, so its not that.  I spent a week on clear liquids with less than 250 calories a day.  I got in all my fluids and protein each day.  I did what I was supposed to do.  So I just have to wait and see, the weight has to come off sometime, right?

I started full liquids yesterday, and it is a lot better.  first day out, I went to P.F. Changs and got my favorite, hot and sour soup, and they blended it for me.  1 7 oz serving has 80 calories, 3 g fat, 9 g carbs and 7 g protein.  I love it.  I got the large bowl, and just measure myself out a small portion for lunch and dinner. One bowl that cost $5.95 will last me about….6-8 meals?  Amazing.  It fills me up really quickly.

I will admit to a couple of cheats and really weird behaviors.  I let two cella liquid center cherries melt in my mouth slowly on christmas day, and spit out the cherry itself.  I also had one tiny piece of potato chip and ground it to bits and let it go down with a drink of water.  then the weird(er) stuff.   I have chewed up some things that I liked, and spit them back out and rinse my mouth out with water after each bite.  I just wanted the taste and the sensation of chewing.  I can’t be the only person ever to do that. I know its stupid, but….I figure its better than actually eating it.  B

I find it interesting how different the advice on post-op diets are.  I am a member of verticalsleevetalk.com, and there is such a continuum.  I talk to people who are on clears for 14 days.  I talk to people released from the hospital on full liquids, and one who was released from the hospital on soft foods! FOr myself, I have 1 week of clears, 2 weeks of full, 3 weeks of soft and then by week 6 resuming to normal diet.

I read a great memoir last night, called ‘Designated Fat Girl” by Jennifer Joyner (jenniferjoyner.com) and it was really interesting, so many of the ways she described her food addiction, her thinking, her rationalization, her food binge choices mirror me.   It was a quick read and made me think.  She describes these behaviors as self-destructive.  which, ultimately, eating the way I have for all these years, is destructive.  I also have at least one other fairly socially accepted addiction that is self destructive, but I don’t make the link between why I have done what I have done/do what I do and wanting subconsciously self-destructive.  I just don’t get what my reasons for doing what I do are.  I don’t get it.  i have spent time in 12 step groups, but havent’ had a great enlightenment.  When does that come?

Yes, I have sexual abuse or molestation or whatever you might call what happened to me between ages 4-5, but on the scale of how bad those things can be, mine wasn’t as bad.  I have talked about it in therapy, I know its not my fault.

I always FELT fat.  When I was a kid, I was a little chubby, but not overweight.  teenage years as I shot up and was active in school stuff, I thinned out.  When I started college, I had an extremely obese roommate, and I think apart from major personality issues (she thought it was ok to have a 1.x GPA and never go to class, I was a “square” who had a 4.0 GPA that first year)  I think I was scared to look at her to know what I could (and have) become, as I already could binge like no one’s business.  That year, I didn’t gain the freshman 15, I lost about 10 lbs, because every time I would see her in our room, binging, often on my food, it disgusted me and I would go to the gym to exercise or run out on the trails.  I got married after my freshman year weighing 132 lbs and in a size 9, and still imagined that I was a fat girl.  What I would give to weigh that now!

My weight started to balloon up after I got married.  About a year after I had been married, I went to weight watchers for the first time.  I weighed 152 at that point (still, would kill to weigh that)  I gradually just gained and gained and gained.  A lot of people assume I can blame my weight on all the babies.  But nope. I was 250 before I got pregnant with my first, and have been bouncing up and down from that point for 15 years.

So I guess I am supposed to figure out why I do this.  I’m not sure, is it necessary to know why?  Will that keep me from doing it in the future or at least understanding it more?

Post Op Day 3

24 Dec

 I really have had a pretty good first few days, relatively speaking. 

I had a NICE full night of sleep last night, waking up only to take my pain meds to keep ahead of the pain, and that was FABULOUS. I woke up feeling tons better. I know by night time I will not be feeling so great if my past experience with c-sections holds true, but I’ll take how i feel right now. This is great. In general, I have tolerated liquids great, not had any nausea, had lots of bloating and gas pain and referred pain through yesterday from the CO2, but all in all doable.

I walked 6200 steps yesterday with my small walks around the block with hubby or son. Which, ironically is more steps than I was getting in on average pre-op. LOL. Small walks add up if you do them regularly (lightbulb moment, duh)

I really don’t WANT anything to eat. but it is hard to see the commercials on TV for yummy things and to smell the foods other people are eating in the house. Hubby has felt bad and I told him, he needs to eat and he shouldn’t feel guilty about that!

My hubby has been GREAT. He always is. So helpful and uncomplaining, he is the best. He’s very supportive. He has a difficult time sleeping when I am not there, so although I would have preferred sleeping in the recliner, I slept in our bed so that he could get some good sleep. with the incline in my bed because of pre-op reflux and a stack of pillows, it worked out quite well. I slept great.

The only really bad thing that has happened was that my two year old was sitting on the lower part of the recliner I was sitting on last night, and although I had a pillow protecting my tummy, at one point he suddenly turned and wanted to lift himself up and of course somehow shoved his little hand UNDER the pillow, and shoved all his weight right on the most tender site to hoist himself….OMG. I cried. I couldn’t help it. That hurt.

One thing, I don’t know if its the meds, the wear off of anesthesia or what, but my sleep is heavy and my dreams are vivid and crazy. the last dream of the night I dreamed that I “accidentally” ate beef stroganoff and noodles during the post op clear liquid stage and was sitting there horrified wondering what was going to happen to me. It seemed SOOOO real, I woke up sure I had accidentally done that.

Also, although i was pumped full of liquids, I’ve been able to clear them adequately and I’m not really water bloated, and I would say that is confirmed by the fact that I’ve lost a few pounds since surgery when I weighed myself this AM. I was expecting to have gained some water weight.

First full postop day

22 Dec

Well, I am sleeved! I had my surgery yesterday with Dr V. As he had suspected, I did have a hiatal hernia, the more rare kind as it turns out, a paraesophageal hernia. This means that my stomach was bulging up through the hiatus right next to my esophagus. So he was able to repair that as well as do my sleeve. I have a keepsake picture of my hernia…lol…aren’t I lucky?

So the blow by blow of surgery day. My brother drove me to the hospital at 6:30. The timing of being at the hospital was hard because our younger kids daycare doesn’t open until 7, so hubby had to take them into daycare and then come down to the hospital later.

They took me back about 7 am to begin prepping me. I had drank gallons of fluid the day before because I am not an easy stick. They had noted this on my chart because of their experience trying to draw my blood in the preop labs, so the nurse was ready for me, warmed my arms with warm blankets and then hot gel packs, and got it on first try, in a great location– first time that has ever happened for me, god bless sue!

My husband arrived just before they took me back, traffic was bad, but I got to see him before they took me into surgery. They gave me a shot of lovenox blood thinner and the relaxation med. I was feeling mellow. I was out like a light soon and then waking up in recovery.

They started on time at 8:30 and I was coming to in recovery at about 10:30. I stayed in recovery for an hour, during recovery, i was feeling sore, they kept upping the meds and added demerol because i was still feeling it pretty decently. That seemed to do it. they brought me up to my room and got me settled in and hooked up to my pain pump so I could just push a button when I needed more.

I walked once around the unit the first night and had a restless night. The early part of the night was hard, because I felt like I had to pee, and I had a catheter in! Turns out when the bag was drained at one point, the tubing got vapor locked so my bladder was really hurting and that was bouncing pain all around my gut. Once they got they figured out, I was able to get some sleep.

Doing the breathing and coughing is a bitch. The coughing in particular sucks.

My mouth is a dry wasteland. I am hoping they get me down for my swallow test soon so I can begin to sip, sip, sip! I am wondering what that will feel like. Kinda freaked, will it hurt?

My abdomen basically feels like I have done a zillion sit-ups. Yowch!!

Anyway, I am on the loser’s bench. My night nurse said they are probably going to want to push me out of here today, (my guess because the doc wants me crossed off before he leaves for vacation.) I however would like to stay my full two nights because my two youngest are going to want to be jumping on me and I would like to have one more day just to focus on me and recovery before I jump back into being a mama. I can actually sleep in the hospital, so am hoping I can get one more day.

It makes me nervous that I did have a hernia, as well. One more thing to leak or have complications with. Send positive vibes and prayers if you are so inclined? Thanks to my hubby, brother, local friends for faboo support, and Thanks #wls world for all the great support you have been offering, my twerps and the lovely folks at verticalsleevetalk.com have been AWESOME!

More soon.

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