Monday, September 29, 2014

Weekly Weigh-In

I am thrilled to report that I lost 5.1 pounds this week!  I worked out every single day for that, along with following the surgeon's instructions for this stage after the gastric bypass.  Even better, I'm 102 pounds down from my top weight.  That feels incredibly amazing.  If you've been reading my blog for a long time, you'll know that 420 pounds was my top weight and the time when I started my journey in Optifast.  After losing 192 pounds through that program, I started a quick regain of almost all of my weight, except for about 60 pounds, after I got off of the shakes.  It was a devastating time and I just really felt so lost.  Fortunately, I kept some of my smaller clothes, the ones that were really hard to let go of when I had lost that weight before.  I now fit into a bunch of those, as well as other clothes friends have given me. I'm excited!  By the way, I put a new page on here at the top of the screen with my weekly weigh-in numbers for those who are interested.  This will especially be helpful for those who are pre- or post-op to see how I'm losing each week.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Two left feet and my bout with fish

I have been really kicking butt with the exercise this past week.  I walked every day for at least an hour or more, if not doing other activities in addition to that. While the surgery is a tool, I'm the one that has to do the work.  There are people who have a gastric bypass or other form of weight loss surgery and manage to regain all of their weight.  I want to learn from their examples so that I don't repeat those mistakes.  I sacrificed too much and underwent a major surgery just to throw it away.  I know that I need to continue working on the emotional and mental part of this journey, as it is just as important as what I do physically.  My therapist has been wonderful and I'm so glad to be seeing her every two weeks or so.

Speaking of the physical, yesterday I decided that it was such a gorgeous day here that I needed to be outdoors and not stuck inside a gym.  I went to Discovery Lake, which is a regular place I've been to many times before.  Surrounding the lake are beautiful homes up in the mountains with trees, hiking trails and a paved road.  One lap around this road is about three quarters of a mile.  Since I was walking alone, I decided to bring my iPhone with me to listen to music.  I had a big bottle full of Crystal Light and went about my merry way.  In no time at all, I was moving at a really good pace and starting to sweat.  Every time a song came on from my music library that was a little bit of a slower pace, I would skip it to something more upbeat.  That really kept my pace great and my heart rate was definitely up.  On the fifth lap, I decided it would be my last one.  It was about noon and the sun was high in the sky.  It wasn't as hot as it has been, but still in the 80's.  As I was rounding a bend about halfway through the lap, I fast forwarded the song and I started to feel light-headed.  I was drinking my Crystal Light the whole way through but I was also starting to get hungry.  Then, the next thing I knew, I lost my footing.  I'm pretty sure it was caused by the light-headedness because I had been changing songs the whole way through and hadn't had a problem up to that point.  I stumbled and actually tripped on the edge of the pavement.  I knew I was going to fall so I tried to brace myself, still holding my phone in my right hand (I was more worried about that thing than anything else!).  I ended up landing elbow and hand first on my left side, I hit my left wrist and my knees hit the pavement.  Actually, my elbow and hand sort of slid into third base, so the pavement was like a huge grater on my skin.  It was not a graceful fall in the slightest.  No one was behind me but there were people walking far ahead of me.  I motioned to them that I was okay when they turned around to help me.  I just thought to myself that if I could just make it to the bathroom by the parking lot, I could wash everything off.  I did take my t shirt and tried to stop the gushing blood from my elbow, but that wasn't doing much for me.  By the time I made it to the bathroom, I was a hot mess.

After a few minutes of trying to clean up and pulling gravel out of my arm and knees, I called a friend who lives a few miles away to see if she had some bandaids.  She was so great ... by the time I got to her house, she had a whole triage thing set up in her kitchen!  There was hydrogen peroxide, Neosporin and guaze galore, along with hugs.  The pain, on the other hand, really hit me last night and especially today.  I feel like I got in a fight with a brick wall and the wall won.  My whole left arm is in pain, I lost a lot of skin when I slid and I've got bruises all over.  Taking a shower was painful and touching anything against my skin stings.  Geez, if you're gonna do something, do it all the way, right?  I know things will feel better in time, but it just reminded me that I have to be very careful with my body.  Having a tiny pouch now, even though it doesn't have room for a lot of food, still can very much affect my entire body.  

My pouch, I have discovered, is a very sensitive girl.  I've dumped eight times now.  It's not as if I'm keeping count, but it's a pretty traumatizing event and hard to forget.  I haven't even dumped on sugar or high-fat things, which we were warned about with gastric bypass surgery.  I'm being very diligent about reading labels to ensure I don't have more dumping.  Mine has been on food that, I think, has been too dry or the consistency just didn't work with my body.  A dear friend [hi honey!] suggested I try very moist tuna since there is so much protein.  In just a two ounce serving, it provides 11 grams of protein.  I figured I just had to give it a try and make sure that it's extra moist.  One of my friends, who had the gastric bypass done just like me, ate tuna that was too dry and ended up dumping by throwing up for an entire day.  I obviously didn't want to do that!  When my mom was staying with me after the surgery, she brought some food I could have after I was feeling well enough.  One thing was a can of tuna.  Now, when I say a can of tuna, most people envision a regular-sized can you can buy in any grocery store.  Oh no, not my mom!  Instead, she brought me this.

Just for the sake of comparison, I put a regular-sized can next to it.  That sucker that she brought me was over four pounds!  I didn't know they even made cans that huge.  After opening and draining it, I had to put most of it in the freezer.  Can you imagine how long it's going to take me to eat that whole thing with my little pouch?  Gotta love moms though.  Anyway, it went down very well.  I made sure it was super moist.  Maybe that's the reason I have dumped on other food.  I have to always be sure to have some sort of sauce or moistening agent with all of my more dense food, just to be on the safe side.

This process is all about learning and doing the work.  For those that think you can just have surgery and the weight will magically disappear, that's just not true at all.  It's especially tough for people, such as me, who have always been overweight and have battled food issues my entire life.  The coping mechanism I have always relied on - food - is gone now.  When I'm bored, happy, sad, frustrated, feeling joy or whatever emotion is going on, I can no longer turn to food.  I have to learn new ways of living and treating food just what it is supposed to be, nourishment.  Don't get me wrong, I make my food tasty.  But, when I can't eat more than about two ounces at one sitting, it's just a few bites and then I'm done.  I have this amazing salmon I bought, but I can't eat more than one ounce of it because it's so dense.  That blows my mind!  I also need to move my body a lot with exercise.  The way people treat me is already different and so there are many challenges along the way.  Welcome to my new reality!  I don't regret this decision, not at all. It's just not as easy as many people in society think it is.  Who knows, maybe someone reading my blog will be affected by my experiences and what I write about them.  

Friday, September 26, 2014

Exercising my butt off (literally)

Each day that passes since the surgery, I find it easier and easier to exercise on a more regular basis. The pain that I was experiencing on my left side under one of my incisions seems to have subsided.  So, I have really been kicking up my exercise.  I started going back to the gym this week. I cannot lift weights yet because of surgical restrictions, but I am doing things like walking on the treadmill, using the stationary bike, and elliptical machine.  Believe me, I definitely am sweating hard doing those things.  I also have been out walking in my neighborhood or at the beach and really enjoying the weather. I am pretty amazed at what my body is able to handle.  Today a dear friend and I went to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and got in exercise but also had a great time hanging out together and seeing all the various animals at the park. Here are some great pictures of us enjoying our day.


We somehow managed to get in about 10,000 steps walking all over the park.  It was my first time having food away from home. It's a little scarier being away from the safety of my home but I just had to trust that something would be available to me. We ended up ordering a fish taco plate. I know that doesn't sound like the best thing in the world to have, but it actually worked out pretty well given I'm still limited to soft foods and seafood. Yes, the fish was battered and it came with a mound of tortilla chips and other things I couldn't eat. However, I took one of those battered fish while she had the other and removed all of the breading. That left me with about a one ounce piece of cod.  It also came with pinto beans that we both shared and a dipping sauce I put on top of the fish.  It actually worked out pretty well. Everything was moist so I did not experience dumping at the park. I was really grateful for that because I was worried that might happen while I was out in public.  After surgery, many people worry about having food in public because of the fear of dumping.  This is something I cannot take for granted because there may come a time when I will experience that away from home. But, thankfully today, I just was able to have a good time with no worries.

We got in some great exercise and I got a lot of sun on my face. By the time we came home, I was exhausted and needed to rest.  I do need to pace myself and remember to rest when I become tired. This is something that I take for granted sometimes because I forget that my body went through major surgery. That's a blessing, but also a curse at the same time.  I will be returning to work next Thursday, so I need to listen to the cues my body gives me when it's telling me I'm tired.  I am still in recovery mode so I need to be especially alert.

One other thing I'm working on right now is going through some of my clothes that have become too big on me. I know it's a nice problem to have!  The thing is that a lot of my clothes are hanging on to me, especially my pants.  For some reason, it's just so hard to let go of those bigger clothes. I remember that when I was on Optifast and I had lost a ton of weight, I gave away a bunch of my bigger clothes and, when I gained weight back, I had nothing to wear. Now I look at it as a different experience.  I don't want to live in fear that I am going to need to keep my bigger clothes so that I can perhaps one day fit back into them if necessary.  I want to be able to move forward and know that the process I'm going through is one of health and that when it's time to let go of things like those clothes, it's okay.  In fact, one of my girlfriends gave me a bunch of clothes that are in the next size down for me and they actually fit now.  I'm a little hesitant to start wearing them yet because they fit perfectly and I like things a little bit looser but I know that that's something I can work on in time.  I'm grateful to have the experience of having clothes that are too big. I will take that any day of the week!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Weekly weigh-in

I'm winding down from a busy but great day.  I lost three pounds this week, making my loss 32 pounds since surgery and an incredible 97 pounds from my highest weight.  Maybe this next week will put me over the top!  That would be awesome.  I know I shared this on my Facebook page and Instagram, so I'm sorry if you're seeing it again, but I wanted to share some side by side photos.  Below left was taken a few months before surgery and the picture on the right was taken today.

A few people commented that I looked younger and happier in my most recent picture.  You know what?  I am happy.  Recovery from this surgery hasn't exactly been the easiest for me, but I absolutely, one hundred percent, do not regret this decision.  I know my journey is just beginning with Katrina (my new pouch), but I already feel a lot better.  Even though I would love to look cute in cute clothes, that is not why I did this surgery.  It was about desiring to have a decent quality of life, to be healthier.  That is what makes me happy.  Now, if I end up feeling more confident and rock the hell out of some jeans, I'll be okay with that, too!

This new life is so weird to navigate at times, I must admit.  I can get so full on just little bits of food.  The more dense the food is, the more full I get on just a little.  The dumping is also something that is difficult to contend with.  I have dumped on tilapia, a thin white fish, twice.  And I have gotten extremely full having imitation crab.  So then I wondered to myself if, in fact, seafood was just not agreeing with me.  Today I bought some salmon to see if maybe a thicker cut would help.  I don't have a bad reaction to shrimp, but I want to expand my possibilities if I can help it at all.  I am so thankful that, yes, Katrina was very happy with salmon.  Here's how little I had to eat when I had it for dinner.

All said and done, that is 1.75 ounces of cooked salmon and a one ounce cup of refried beans.  This is actually on a salad plate, not a regular dinner plate.  I doubt I'll ever be eating with those again!  The more dense fish is a lot more filling than beans.  In fact, that amount of fish made me more full than when I would have an 8 ounce serving back before the surgery.  Who am I kidding?  It probably wasn't even an 8 ounce serving ... it was more likely 12 ounces.  I had so much food before and now my tummy is like a baby.  I'm definitely not complaining, but it's just a different reality for me these days.  When I got the fish, I went to the seafood section in the supermarket and got fresh fish.  I asked the man helping me if I could get roughly one and a half pounds of the salmon.  When I came home and cut it up for meals, it made enough for me to have twelve meals.  That is how tiny Katrina is!

As part of having a healthier life, I am pursuing more treatment on my back because I have been suffering from chronic pain there and in my left leg for quite a few years.  There's a point where you just say enough is enough already.  I'm there now.  So this morning I had an appointment with my physical medicine doctor and then with my physical therapist right afterwards.  The doctor gave me an exam and feels the damage may be weight related and it may also be muscular.  She gave me several cortisone injections in my back.  I'm talking about six or so.  She wanted to cover the entire area that hurt and, to be fair, she did warn me that she was going to do that.  No matter how much you're prepared, though, it still freaking hurts.  She also prescribed a topical cream for me to apply to the area three times a day.  I have to wait for that to come in because it's some sort of compound that they have to special order.  Afterwards, the physical therapist gave me stimulation through a tens unit on my back.  It felt amazing.  So I'll be doing that at home, in addition to exercises to strengthen my back and leg.

As a person who is always taking care of other people, it's sometimes very difficult for me to do things to take care of myself.  Yet, I know it's time to do that.  My health has to be a top priority.  So if that means I need to do more things to care for my body, then that's what I will need to do.  Without even realizing it, I'm doing things throughout the day that fits in the category of self-care.
I logged these miles into my Fitbit today without even realizing how much I was doing.

It's the most I have walked since having the surgery.  And it felt amazing.  I wasn't feeling pain on my sides from my incisions like I have been these last several weeks in recovery.  It just felt nice to be active and know that every action I take towards my health is a win for me.  Like I said, I feel happy and I'm just going to roll with it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dumping, doctor's appointment and weekly-weigh in

I have had a very interesting week.  I have thought so much about doing updates here, but it didn't happen.  I've been trying to take recovery day by day.  The pain that I have been feeling on my left side under one of my incisions has been feeling a whole lot better.  Every time I would walk for more than 10-15 minutes, the pain would be excruciating so I'd have to stop.  Then one day, I tried walking again and it didn't happen any longer.  So I've been trying to increase my exercise little by little.  Some days I do great and other days I do feel pain so I know my body is telling me to not push it.  Overall, the healing is going well, especially given it was major surgery.  I often forget that I had a huge operation.  When I look down at my tummy, I see five very small incisions.  It blows my mind a little bit about what went on underneath.  I still can't watch a video of the surgery.  If it's animated, that's fine but I just can't watch a live procedure.  I know what went on, but I'm a bit squeamish with watching an actual operation, even more so when it's my own body.

On Friday, I had my first dumping episode.  If you're easily grossed out, you might want to skip to the next paragraph because I'm going to describe what happened.  I know there are people reading this who are thinking about surgery and it's only fair that you know every part of it.  Besides, I don't ever want to forget what I went through.  Friday was the day that I was allowed to add seafood into my diet.  I decided to get a mild white fish, tilapia.  I looked online to figure out the right temperature to cook it so that I wouldn't dry it out.  Everything went fine in terms of that.  I had a very small amount with a little bit of dipping sauce so that it wouldn't be dry.  One of the things we are warned about is to make sure our food is moist.  Otherwise, our pouches may not be very happy.  I had dinner and everything was fine, but I did have a very small amount because I was worried about adding fish.  Later on, against my better judgement, I had a little bit more because I felt hungry still.  People say you're not hungry after surgery, that it's head hunger.  Um, no, not true, at least not for me as well as other people I know.  I get hungry.  Anyway, I took some leftovers out and put it in the microwave for a few seconds so that I wouldn't overcook it.  I then put a tiny bit of guacamole on it to make sure it was moist.  I read specifically about guacamole on a bariatric eating website, so I decided to follow their lead on that.  I had the fish and didn't notice anything unusual.  A few minutes passed and then I started to feel this incredible pain in the middle of my chest.  That's when the burping started.  I couldn't stop burping no matter what I did.  Next the area where my tummy is started hurting.  I don't know if it was the stoma, the pouch or my actual stomach but all I know is that it was very painful.  I was actually doubled over in pain.  I was rubbing my stomach and that didn't help at all.  I couldn't sit still, so I started pacing around my house.  That wasn't helping because the pain was all over my body by that time.  I was nauseous, shaking, sweating and felt so sick.  I hate to throw up.  I'll do anything to avoid it.  However, by that time, I was calling on the name of Jesus to help me.  I proceeded to throw up seven times.  Every time I thought I was done, I'd have to run back to the bathroom.  I was so upset and I was all alone at home. This all started at about 9pm and, by 1am, I finally decided to reach out to the doctor on-call for guidance.  I wasn't sure if I should drive to the hospital, which is about 35 minutes away, or what I should do.  I could have reached out to family or friends, but I was afraid to wake people up.  I know, it's silly now when I think back to it, but that's what was going through my mind at the time.  When you can't breathe normally and you're trying not to panic, weird things go through your head, that's for sure.  The doctor told me to go back to clear fluids, even if that makes me throw up more (which it did), and then return to things like yogurt to eat the next day.  Eventually, by 3am, I felt like I could finally go to sleep.  Since that time, I have had two other dumping episodes, one yesterday and one again today.  When I look at the common denominator, it's all food that have been leftovers in the fridge that I have reheated.  The first was the fish, yesterday was cream of wheat and today was an egg muffin (egg made with cheese in muffin tins).  So my lesson here is that I can't reheat certain foods in the microwave, even when I add things to them to make them moist.  There's just too much danger of things getting too dry.  The only exception would probably be canned foods that haven't been cooked or soup.  Dumping is not pretty, but this is the reality of negotiating with a new pouch.  Some things will go down well and other things will not.  I thought I'd have to worry only about foods that were high in sugar or fat, but I guess there's no textbook definition of when it happens to each person.  It's trial and error.

Okay, enough of that!  I saw my primary care doctor on Monday.  It was my first time visiting her after the surgery.  She came in to the room and just beamed at me.  I'm now officially off of every single medication except for my anti-depression pill and a cholesterol pill.  She thinks I may be able to pull off of that soon, too.  The swelling I used to have around my ankles is gone.  My blood sugar readings are normal on their own now.  And my blood pressure is 117/64, so that med is gone, too.  I have lost 29 pounds since the surgery three weeks ago, 94 pounds from my highest weight of 420.  She told me that I am going to be the poster child for a gastric bypass success story.  She just couldn't stop smiling and she even told me she's proud of me.  That made me feel like a proud little girl!  She likes me, she really, really likes me.  This doctor has overseen my care for about 15 years, so she's seen me through the worst of it.  She knows how hard it was for me to decide to pursue surgery, but she has been 100% supportive the whole way through.  I did tell her I've been frustrated because I seem to have been in a weight-loss stall for the last week or so.  I lost 21 pounds the first 10 days and then everything seemed to come to a screeching halt.  She reminded me that this is a process and that I am still going down, so I don't need to worry.  I did lose a couple of pounds this week, so I'm clearly not stopped all together.  I am trying to weigh in only once a week, but oh my gosh that's so hard for me.  I finally gave in and weighed myself this morning after only a couple of days.  I feel like I'm more obsessed with knowing the number when I don't weigh myself versus when I just do it once in the morning and then go about my day.  I don't live by the number on the scale, but it just tells me where I'm at and keeping me accountable, even with little fluctuations.  Who knows, maybe in time I can let that stuff go.  For now, though, it is what it is.

Okay, this was a longish post.  Sorry about that.  I need to get back to posting more often.  I have been also posting short updates on my Instagram account.  If you want to follow me over there as well, my username is @misskathyjean.  Don't worry, I'm not letting go of this blog.  It has been an important part of my journey for several years and it will continue to be.  I just find support in many different ways.  The Instagram community of weight loss surgery folks is pretty amazing as well.  I have also found some gastric bypass groups on Facebook and on MyFitnessPal that have been tremendous in addition to amazing friends who are traveling on this road with me and just those that support me as a whole.  Between that and the support of you wonderful readers, I feel more than blessed.  I feel humbled and honored to have met such incredible people.  It takes a village!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Weekly weigh-in

During the last week, I lost 3.4 pounds.  My doctor did warn me that I will drop weight very fast the first 10 days or so after surgery and then it will slow way down.  He was right!  I dropped 21 pounds in less than two weeks, and then it seemed to halt fast.  I'm not going to let a slower loss this week frustrate me because I know my body has gone through some major trauma with the surgery.  I'm getting in less than 700 calories a day, so I know it's not as if I'm overeating.  I wish I could get more calories in right now, but my little pouch does not allow me to eat more than I'm already eating while staying on soft foods.  Even my dinner was a little bigger than I've been having and it was 120 calories.  I had one ounce of tiny shrimp, one light Laughing Cow wedge and three ounces of split pea soup.  Believe it or not, it made me full.  It's such a different world for me now.  Some people have stated that their desire for food has gone away with the surgery.  Mine has not.  I see sweets or other delectable looking things and I still want it.  Yet, I just can't go there.  Even if my pouch allowed me to eat ice cream, there's no protein in there and that's what I'm surviving on right now.  Besides, when has there ever been enough ice cream, pie or cake for me in the world?  In time, I know I'll be able to eat more than I do now.  The truth is that I'm learning a new way of eating so I'm trying to be patient and gentle on my body.  One of my friends from the Kaiser pre-op program has landed back in the hospital after surgery due to some complications.  While I am praying for her healing, I also need to remind myself that I can also develop complications if I don't everything I must to take care of myself.  That means getting in all my protein, drinking enough water and not pushing my body beyond it's limits.  Sometimes this means I need to rest when I don't want to or staying on a schedule to meet all my nutritional needs.  There's absolutely no room in there for ice cream!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Dumping and a compression belt

One of the things I always vowed when I started writing this blog was to keep things real.  I wanted to write about a journey that, while it was my own, was an honest glimpse into my life as an obese person (technically "super morbidly obese") trying her best to become a healthy person.  Sometimes the days are wonderful and beautiful with rainbows and kitties.  Other times it might include depression or bodily functions polite people don't always talk about.

Well, I'm about to become very impolite.  My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Reynolds, would not be very pleased.  Sorry, Mrs. Reynolds, but I just have to go there.

Yesterday marked two weeks that I had my rebirth and underwent gastric bypass surgery.  I have a new tiny little pouch in my body.  I call her Katrina.  That name is the amalgamation of all the ways people have messed up my first name over the years.  (My legal first name is Kathryn, although I go by Kathy or Kath, even Kat.  People have called me Katty, Katie, Kristin, Christine, Katrina.  Seriously, how hard is Kathy?  Anyway, I'm deviating.)  I have been adjusting well to Katrina, but it has not been the easiest thing in the world.

There is a phenomenon that people who have had a gastric bypass go through called dumping.  As I understand it, dumping occurs when you've had something to eat and instead of your body digesting this food, it dumps right into your small intestines.  This occurs because perhaps the item you had contained too much starch, sugar or it just didn't agree with your system.  Some of the symptoms that come along with this include nausea, cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea.

I'm always a little fearful of experiencing dumping.  I mean, it doesn't sound pleasant, does it?  I have had two episodes that might fit into this category.  First, I drank a protein shake pretty quickly.  I didn't down it or anything, but I just sipped it consistently until it was gone.  My doctor warned me not to drink protein too fast, but it's hard to remember all the rules when you're new to all of this.  I had my Premiere Protein shake in about 30 minutes.  Maybe that's normal for a person with a full-sized stomach, but I have a little pouch now.  It made me practically run to the bathroom.  I didn't vomit but something equally as unpleasant.  Your imagination right now is spot on.  The second episode was when I think I had too much to eat.  It's not that I was eating a lot because, frankly, I can't eat that much.  However, one extra bite is enough to send pouches like mine to dumping.  After I had a particular meal, I was burping consistently for quite some time and my tummy felt like I had a stomach ache.

Oh the adventures of my life!  I know this is temporary and it will pass.  I am having a positive attitude about everything because what else can I do?  Already it looks like my diabetes is in remission and that right there makes me very grateful.  The weight is dripping off my body pretty quickly and so I'm just hanging on for the ride.  I am experiencing pain on my left side under one of my incisions, so I know I can't resume normal activities yet.  I went walking the other day and decided to go for more than ten minutes.  All of a sudden, the pain came on and it was pretty unbearable.  I walked very slow so that I could get back home in minimal pain.  I put on my compression belt to help keep everything tightly in.

As you can imagine, it's hot when I have it on.  While it feels good for awhile, I have to take it off to breathe comfortably.  I know things will get better in time, but for now I tire pretty easily and that pain reminds me that I can't return to normal life quite yet.  It is still there on the left side, so I know it will take time.  I'm on sick leave from work for six weeks, but oh my Lord am I bored.  I've been reading books, watching crazy daytime TV, playing Candy Crush and trying to exercise when I can.  Recovery takes time and I need to always remember that.  Just because my incisions don't look like much looking at them from the outside, a lot of twists and turns did occur inside my body.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I can eat and drive now

I had a visit with my doctor yesterday for the one week follow-up appointment after surgery.  The first thing he asked me was how I was doing and I said, "I'm hungry!  Can I pleeeease have some food now?"  He kind of chuckled at that.  After surgery, you have to stay on full liquids for about a week to ensure your body can handle more.  Even at that, I was limited to one protein shake a day in addition to liquids.  That's only 30g of protein.  When I wasn't getting in any other sources of real protein, I felt light-headed and hungry.  I know they say that I'm not supposed to be hungry and that it might be head-hunger, but I can testify that it was real, bonafide hunger.

During the visit, he said that I could add in soft foods.  Those are things like scrambled eggs, egg salad, yogurt, refried beans, other types of beans, baby shrimp, cream soups, that sort of thing.  The foods should be fat-free as much as possible and strained if it's soup.  I should now increase my protein to at least 60g of protein and continue having the one protein shake a day in addition to the new foods so that I can get there with no problem.  I also got the release to drive again, as long as I'm not feeling light-headed.  At that moment, I was a little light-headed, so my mother drove us back to my house.  I then had some of a protein drink and, as soon as I was feeling better, I got my butt in my car and drove to the grocery store.

When I got to the store, it felt a little scary for me.  Of course I was going to have to read labels thoroughly.  I needed to look for high-protein items, as well as low-sugar contents.  I just didn't want to mess up because my body could very easily go into dumping syndrome.  I didn't want that, of course, so I spent probably 20 minutes in the soup aisle alone.  For my first meal, I settled on fat-free refried beans and tomato bisque soup on this saucer.

Now, I know this doesn't look like the most fabulous first meal, but it was good to me and my new little pouch.  The doctor said to eat no more than three ounces in the first few days when I have my meals.  So I measured two ounces of the refried beans and one ounce of the soup.  I ate all of my beans but could only have half of the soup.  I was full after that.  How weird is that?  I remember times in the past where I would spoon a whole can of refried beans into a bowl with cheese and salsa, heat it in the microwave and eat the whole thing in one sitting.  Now I couldn't possibly imagine doing that now.

This morning I made egg salad for breakfast with one egg, one tablespoon of light mayo and seasoning.  I pulsed it in my food processor and oh my goodness did it taste amazing.  It's funny how the little things make such a difference, isn't it?  I've also been doing better on getting more fluids in.  When I came home from the hospital, I could barely get in the minimum of 30 ounces of liquids the doctor required.  Now I'm drinking four and a half cups now.  I'm sure as the days go, I will be able to get even more in.

Things are going well so far.  I am limited to how much exercise I can do.  I overdid it yesterday morning and was really hurting on my left side near one of my incisions.  I was walking very slow, slower than I've ever walked, but it was just too much on my healing body.  I do think I need to start weighing myself less now, though.  I'm not necessarily obsessed with getting on the scale, which is good, but I do find myself getting on it every morning.  If anything, I need to limit it to one day a week.  The doctor recommends weighing once a month, but that seems too far for me personally.  Once a week will allow me to have my weekly weigh-ins again and leave it alone for the rest of the week.  The surgery was on August 22nd and I'm already down 26 pounds just twelve days later.  That's fantastic, of course, but I think I'll go back to Monday weigh-ins again.  I need to focus on my new eating habits and new lifestyle in general.  It's exciting to see the numbers dropping so fast, but I don't want to focus on that.  My life has changed and I have had a rebirth.  Adjusting to these changes will take time, but I'll get there.