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!


FogDog said...

I applaud you for being willing to share your story in detail online! I had no idea what people go through with weight loss surgery; it's a real eye opener for me. I wish you all the best and hope the "dumping" episodes subside.


Beth Ann said...

I love the good news! But the dumping does sound awful. Good for you for figuring out the issues and adjusting. I hope that happens less and less!!

Tamzin said...

yuck! I will say this - I am so SO glad that I blogged onestly about how thigns were going. I love reading back over myexpeiences and like you - I dont want to "sugar coat" this for anyone that cared to read it.

29lbs is amazing! Its going to keep coming of for sure. :)

happyinca said...

So sorry about the dumping, Kathy. I hate it when our bodies have to communicate their preferences THAT way. Glad the pain is retreating a bit too. I love hearing your updates, so I was thrilled to see your post. Lots of love and hugs to you! Christy

Kathy said...

Thanks for the comments friends. Yes, the dumping has not been pleasant and I'm hoping it doesn't happen again. At least I know what it feels like so I don't think I'm having a heart attack, which is what it felt like the first time around.

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