Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Deja Vu...sort of

I was going to give everyone an update on how I was doing since my surgery, but something more important has come up. 

The huz's cousin, I guess she is my cousin too!, had a new little boy two nights ago.  We found out that they learned last night that he has a heart defect and he was being transferred to a different hospital.  I cannot tell you how much this makes my heart ache for her family.  Even though we haven't actually met since they live on the other side of the US, I feel a close bond with her.  When I was preggo with Monkey, she was preggo with her first little one.  An adorable little Monkey of her own.  She is just too cute! 

I also can't even begin to explain to you how hearing this brought all of the memories from when Monkey was born flooding back.  I am not sure how many people I actually told this story to, or how many remember.  I remember like it was yesterday. 

The day that I was supposed to be discharged, we were seen by the GI on call to discuss that there might, might be an issue with Monkey's liver.  She talked with us for a little while, threw out about a dozen names of diseases that she could have, and then said words that I will never forget.  She said, "I am debating on whether to keep her here rather than letting her go home so we can run more tests."  I was devastated.  It was like someone knocked all of the wind out of me.  Shortly after the GI left, I was sitting in my bed just looking at Monkey sleep in her bassinet when my OB walked in.  He asked me how I was doing and I immediately started bawling my eyes out.  He was the best!  He calmed me down and asked me what was wrong.  I told him that she might not get to come home with us.  He said that he knows that it would be hard, but it is what is best for her.  He also said that he and his wife had to leave one of their babies at the hospital for a few days after he was born and it was hard, but it was better for him.  Luckily, Monkey got to come home with us and we just brought her back for tests the following Monday.  It was the best feeling in the world.

Unfortunately, Ashley and her family do not have this option.  Baby boy has already been transferred to a new hospital.  We are waiting to hear what they have to say.  I can't imagine what she is going through and I am constantly thinking about her and her family.  This is one of those situations where I am ready to jump in the car or on a plane and help out if needed.  I know she has enough support, but I hope she knows I would be there in a heartbeat! Please take a few moments out of your day to say a prayer, send good thoughts, or just think of their family.  I am sure they will appreciate it.  I know I do and I did when we were going through everything with Monkey.  I will update on myself tomorrow. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

On my way

Well, Wednesday May 11th was my surgery!  It was nerve wracking and a little scary because well, surgery is major.  Even if it is something routine, it's surgery people!  I can honestly say that of all the surgeries I have had, this has been the worst actually.  The day of my surgery, we got to the hospital at 12:30, got signed in, called back into the pre-op area and waited.  I hate waiting.  It always makes things worse.  I don't think I actually got taken back into the OR until around 2ish.  When I got out of the OR, I stayed in recovery for awhile.  They were apparently waiting for rooms to become available.  I was actually really out of it and in a lot of pain so I didn't care about a lot other than wanting to pain to go away.  I got into my room around 6 or 6:30p.m.  I was glad to see my husband, but was still in pain.  The pain killers did a lot for the pain from the surgery, but not a lot for the gas pain in my shoulder joints.  It was much worse than anything I have had in the past.  I had to get heparin shots about every 12 hours.  They were not fun.  Especially since I got them in the arms rather than in the belly.  The nurses were very nice and were great!  I had to get up that night around 10p.m. and walk.  Let me tell you, that hurt a lot.  It was very slow going as well!

The next day I was still in and out of it thanks to the morphine! :)  They told me that I had to take a swallow test before they would let me eat or drink anything.  The swallow test is rather simple.  You stand in front of n x-ray board and swallow a substance that lights up on the x-rays.  They take a bunch of pictures to make sure that nothing has slipped or moved since the surgery.  Then you have to wait to see if you passed.  Luckily I did and I got to have a Popsicle (sugar free of course), SF Jello, water!, ice chips, and other things that I didn't eat actually.  I had to get up and walk to floor much more.  It was difficult because I was still very sore and trying to push an IV pole when you can barely hold your arms up is an experience in itself!  I got to go home around 4 or 4:30 which was great!  My step mother in law came up to the hospital and waited with me until they released me and then took me home.  So thankful for her! 

Since being home, I have been extremely sore.  It seemed to be getting worse and I was a little worried Thursday night because I spiked a little bit of a temperature. It only ever got to 99.8 and I think it was because I was trying to move too much.  Since then I have had a normal temp and been progressively getting around better and better.  I have 5 incisions and they are all pretty sore.  I have yet to wear jeans because two of the incisions are very close to my belly button and I know jeans would just hurt too much right now.  So, I have been very grungy the past few days in my sweats and shirts.  I went to an all day concert yesterday and walked most of the day actually.  I felt MUCH better after doing that.  It helped me get the soreness out of the muscles.  When we got home last night I looked at myself and it really looks like someone beat me up!  I have bruises everywhere.  I guess it is because of the heparin shots.  I tend to bruise easily, but never this easily! 

I think the worst part of this whole thing has been the diet and getting used to a completely new way of thinking.  I was on the clear liquid diet from Sunday to Sunday.  It was SO very hard.  I don't know that I could have done it for much longer.  I like Jello and Popsicles and all, but not all day every day!  Right now I am on the Full liquid diet.  That will last a week as well.  It is kind of misleading because I can have applesauce, yogurt, thin mashed potatoes and blended soups as well as all of the liquids I could have before.  I really need to start working on taking smaller bites of things now and chewing well.  I know that this is going to be one of my biggest struggles.  One of the suggestions in the book is that you actually set a timer for two or three minutes between bites.  I also need to chew my food to a toothpaste consistency before I swallow it.  That way it won't get stuck and I will have less of a chance of having issues of swallowing other foods. 

Once I get back to eating a more normal meal, which is at about 4 weeks out, I will need to start measuring out my food.  I will need to measure out a 1/2 cup of food for my meal.  They say that you are always supposed to go for the proteins first to fill you up rather than the carbs.  This is also going to be hard because you get used to eating a certain way and it is going to take a lot to get into a new way of thinking about food.  A dear friend, and liver mom, said to me on FB the other day "I guess you really have to change your relationship with food" and she's very right.  I have to start thinking about what is going to be best for me, not what sounds good or is quick.  I can't eat when I am bored or just because anymore.  I have to change everything.  I know that in the end it is going to be a good thing, but I am sure it is going to be a struggle to get there.  I am very glad that I have been able to have this opportunity. I know that a lot of people don't understand what this is all about and that's alright, but I'd rather they ask than just brush it off. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Last meal please.....

So, as of this morning I started my liquid diet.  Can I tell you that, at just shy of 7 hours, it sucks!  More about that later. 

Thursday night we had to return a brand new TV that was just over 30 days old!  It just stopped working.  Wouldn't turn on at all anymore.  We were SO not happy.  After we went to the store and ended up getting a completely different TV, which was a little more expensive, I was starving!!!!  So, I decided that we needed to go to P.F. Chang's for my last big meal.  It was SO good!  I figured that since we were in the area, I would have my last big meal for a very long time.  Actually for forever since I will only ever be able to eat small portions again after Wednesday.  I was very pleased with my "last meal" and figured that yesterday would be a normal day of eating.  Well, we ended up going out again last night with the in-laws and I had Crab Legs!  YUMMMM!  So, I had two very good last meals over the past two days.  I can only hope that the thought of these meals will get me through the next few weeks! 

As of today, I have had a lot of Jell-o, a orange sugar free Popsicle, a protein shake that I almost threw up all over my step mother in law and my mother, a better protein shake, a lot of water and some chicken broth.  And this will continue for the next two days and then week following my surgery.  I know that it will be worth it, but right now I feel like crap.  I am hungry and verging on being cranky.  I know the cranky part is from my caffeine withdrawal!  We will see what tomorrow brings! 

Oh yeah!  I have a final to take tomorrow too!  Yay!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Time for some change...

It's time for some change around here.  Not only on the blog do you like the new background?, but in general.  I have a secret that only a select few people know about right now.  However, pretty soon everyone will find out anyway so, in the spirit of change, I thought I would just share it with everyone.  (I'll get to the spilling of the guts in a minute)

Let me just say that I understand that not everyone approves of what I am about to say and that's o.k.  It's my life, not yours.  It's also my decision, not yours.  I also understand that some people might have questions.  Great!  The more you ask me, the more I can explain to you so that you can understand where I am coming from.

O.k., on with the gut spilling.  In the very near future, a week from tomorrow, I am going to be having Lap-Band surgery.  It is something that I have thought very seriously about and have decided that it is the best option for me and my health.  I know that a lot of people view this as an easy way out, but let me assure you it is not.  This is actually going to be a very long and difficult road with very strict lifestyle changes.  I am going to try to start blogging again because I want to chronicle this journey I am about to take so that others understand the risks, benefits, and daily struggles of this type of choice.  This is a tool, not a fix all.  I am going to have to exercise for at least 30 minutes 4-5 days a week, watch what I eat extremely well, measure out everything that goes into my mouth, and make better choices about what I put on my plate.  

There are also certain things that I will have to give up indefinitely.  One of those items is anything carbonated.  This includes Soda, Beer - no big loss for me Yick!, Champagne, sparkling water, sparkling ciders, etc.  Sweets and other sugary items also have to go.  Just because you have this surgery, does not mean that you can't continue to gain weight.  I am also going to have to limit my caffeine intake to 1 cup of coffee or tea per day.  Also, no more straws.  They can cause gas intake which can lead to extreme discomfort.  This is the same reason I can't have carbonation any more.  I am going to need to take a multivitamin and a calcium chew for the rest of my life.  Honestly, this is probably something I should be doing anyway, but now it is more important to make sure I get all of the nutrients I need in a day.

I have learned a few things through this journey already.  I have learned that this is something I am committed to.  I know what I have to give up and what I am going to put myself through and I am alright with that.  I have also learned that apparently when you take a calcium supplement, only 500mg of calcium will absorb into your system at a time.  I am a science geek so I thought this was really interesting.  So, if you are taking a calcium supplement that is over 500mg, you are missing out on the full benefits.  

So, starting this Sunday, I will be on a liquid diet.  It will consist of Three protein shakes a day (bfast, lunch, and dinner), sugar free drinks, sugar free Jello, sugar free Popsicles, ice, sports drinks diluted in water, etc.  This is to help shrink the liver as well as empty out the stomach.  I will be on this diet for three days before and 1 week after my surgery.  I will get into the rest of the diet as that time gets closer.

So, I have hopeful that this is the tool that I need to help me discover the me I should be.  The me I want to be.  Only time will tell.  I hope this is a good journey for us all.