Thursday, August 7, 2014

Biopsy results and following the rules

I received a call from my dermatologist today with the results of the two biopsies done from my foot.  I am happy to report the areas in question were benign, so the cancer has not returned.  Hallelujah!  I do have a lot of pain in my foot, but there was a deep sample taken so I know it will feel better soon.  I'm trying to stay off of it as much as possible.  It's hard for me because I'm recording really low numbers on my Fitbit.  I try to aim for 10,000 steps a day most of the time and right now I'm at 1,347 steps for the day at almost 11 p.m.  Ho hum.  It will get better, though.  In the meantime I need to just practice patience.

Since seeing the surgeon the other day, I've been kicking things into high gear in terms of following the instructions given to me in preparation for surgery.  I decided when I got home and starting tearing in to all of the reading material that I need to do everything I can to have the right mind-set going into surgery and to prepare my body.  While I will be having the gastric bypass done laparascopically, it is major surgery internally.  Anything I can do to make the surgery easier on me and on the surgical team is what I aim to do.  If I was able to stay on Optifast and no "regular" food for eight or nine months, I can do this, too.  The surgical materials talked about some changes I can make, if I have not already started, to help decrease the risk of death, pulmonary emboli, wound infection, pneumonia and other complications.  Of course that is all very serious.  Some of the very important things I pulled from the reading include:

  • Begin exercising now.  Walking at least 30 minutes to 1 hour daily at a brisk pace will help strengthen your heart and lungs for surgery.  Daily exercises to strengthen and build muscles will help you during your recovery.
  • Deep breathing exercises two times per day enhances lung capacity in preparation for general anesthesia.
  • Begin a multivitamin and mineral supplement daily.
  • Take 1,000 mg of vitamin C per day.  This will strengthen the immune system and aid the healing process.
  • Increase protein intake by adding a high protein bar or high protein drink once or twice a day as a meal replacement.  This will promote muscle formation and allow your body to begin weight loss by burning fat.
  • Increase your daily water intake to include a glass of water with each meal.  Tea and coffee do not count.
  • Eliminate caffeine.  Waiting until the time of hospitalization may cause withdrawal symptoms.  Caffeine is also found in most sodas, chocolate and tea.  These should be eliminated from your diet.
  • Eliminate sodas and carbonated beverages.
  • Begin a high-protein, low-fat, low-carb diet.  Eliminate bread and pasta to help shrink your liver for surgery.
  • Begin lifestyle changes and prepare for success:
    • Schedule routine eating times and only eat in designated areas.
    • Avoid eating while doing other activities.
    • Use a cocktail fork or child-size flatware along with a small plate to help reduce portions.
    • Practice leaving food on your plate at the end of the meal.
  • Go to a bariatric support group.
  • Make sure you continue losing weight otherwise your surgery may be cancelled.
My healthy low-fat, low-carb
dinner ... delish!
Whew, what a list.  Obviously this is for my benefit to ensure I have not only a successful surgery and recovery but healthy life afterwards.  Thankfully I have already started incorporating most of these suggestions.  If you're on MyFitnessPal with me, you'll even see my meals have been including protein meal replacement drinks and I'm continuing to do that.  When I made my dinner tonight, I decided to turn off the TV and the computer so that I could focus on my meal.  The only thing I had on in the background was meditation-type music from Pandora.  It was an interesting experience.  I easily have forgotten how mindless eating can be when I'm doing it for the wrong reasons.  Eating when I'm bored, tired or watching TV is very different than when I am doing it for nourishment.  

Clearly I want to do the very best I can to be successful.  There have been so many attempts to lose weight in my life and I don't want this surgery to be in vain.  If I go in with a positive attitude and doing everything that I can on my end, it won't be.  I know it is a tool and that I will need to do a lot of work, but I am honoring myself in this process as much as possible.  I have to be honest with myself when it comes to my triggers and emotions around food.  In one of the gastric bypass groups I belong to on Facebook, someone asked what people did for their "final meal" before surgery.  Reading what people wrote was so shocking to me because most went all out.  If I go all out, I know myself well enough to admit that there is no stopping point, especially if I rationalize it will be the last time I could have something for a very long time or maybe forever.  I'm the kind of overeater that has no boundaries.  Good Lord, I got up to 420 pounds when I had started Optifast a couple of years ago.  If I had that last meal, it would include every sweet food I could get my hands on and probably send me into a diabetic coma.  I'm not exaggerating on that ... I've had high blood sugar readings before so I know I could do it again.

Instead, I am walking forward with as much peace as possible.  I'm being kind and gentle to my body.  I'm trying my hardest to listen to the doctor and follow his advice.  I certainly don't know what this surgery is going to be like for my body but I do know the pre-op suggestions and rules are for my benefit.  If I can do my part to make sure I don't develop complications and pain, then you know I'm going to do it.  


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