Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bariatric Betty's 3 week check up - doing great, BUT...

So yesterday (actually day 19) I had my three week check-up with my surgeon's office.  They were very pleased with my weight, the amount of fluid I'm getting in, the amount of protein I'm getting in, and my walking.  According to their scales I've lost 15 lbs since surgery, which was 17% of my excess weight.  They said that the average lost at one month post op is 16% of excess weight, so I'm already ahead at less than 3 weeks.  She also mentioned that they would anticipate that I will have lost 50% of my excess weight at 6 months post-op.  That would mean I would lose 30 more pounds in the next 5 months - sounds great to me.  So that's the good news.

They were concerned about a couple of things.  First - I haven't been taking long enough to eat.  I found that out myself the night before when I ate my black bean soup in about 10 minutes and was in pain for about the next hour and a half.  That was the FIRST TIME I had even had any discomfort from my pouch.  I was almost happy that it happened, because I was starting to wonder when I would get some pouch "feedback".  So I had already resolved to take a lot more time eating.  I've been getting a lot of volume in my pouch for being 3 weeks out.  I was getting almost a cup in most meals, and they said that eating that quickly means that 1) I probably have been having my puree too thin so it's exiting the pouch too quickly and 2) I'm a quick healer and not very swollen at this point.  They said that I will be able to eat less as my food gets more solid.

Second, I was asking about being allowed to exercise more.  I wanted to start some lightweight free weight training for my arms/ shoulders, and maybe gentle walking on the elliptical.  As my fat is decreasing my arms are starting to get flabby, and I miss the endorphin rush I get working out.  Plus, I keep on reading and hearing others being warned not to waste their window of opportunity/ honeymoon period.  I want to make the most of mine.  This appointment burst a few bubbles.  I was told very bluntly that I'm not consuming enough calories yet to build any muscle, and that if I start working out now, it's possible I could destroy my existing muscle tissue, and then it wouldn't come back.  Whoa.  When I asked about the elliptical I was told "No, because even that will use your abdominal muscles more, and if the stitches in your abdominal muscles don't heal well then you could have permanent weakness in spots."  Oh.  So I said "OK, so just keep walking, you know walking my dog..." and she almost choked.  "You're walking your dog?!?"  I tried to explain that I've come up with strategies if he starts to pull (like standing on the leash) so I don't stabilize with my abs, but that he usually doesn't pull, he just walks at my side.  But, she was still worried.  I tried to explain that my dog HAS to go out at least once during the time that my kids and husband are away during the day, and that I have made sure that I take all the precautions I can.  So I'm not arguing about weight training or using my elliptical - I totally get it.  And I'm going to be very careful walking my dog, but I have to walk everyday and so does he. 

So one of the funnier moments of the visit was with the surgeon's assistant who was talking about how I'll be on regular food before I see them again.  So she says, "Breakfast, talk to me about cereal and milk..." and looked at me.  Huh?  I think I can only say I had a confused deer-in-headlights look.  "C'mon, what do you think about cereal and milk for breakfast?"  Ummmmm.  I don't.  I don't think of cereal and milk for breakfast.  I've been a diabetic for the previous year and a half.  Too many carbs, too low protein, etc.  "No, no.  Think about your rules, would milk and cereal make a good breakfast?  No.  Protein is way too low, right, but it is also a lot of LIQUID calories.  You aren't supposed to have liquid calories.  And it will wash the cereal right out of your pouch - it's like drinking with a meal!"  Oh.  OK.  Right.  But I had a whole nutrition class with one of their nutritionists after the appointment and she felt really confident that I understand the rules.  It was just being asked like that, my brain froze and went "Whaaaaaaaaahhhhhht?"

I had the nutrition class with Orlando, a fellow RNY patient that I met in the hospital.  He's doing really well, too.  I have to say, the support of fellow patients as well as the amazing staff at the hospital means so much.  I talked to them about me attending my local support group vs. the one at the hospital because they're on the same night each month.  The surgeon's office said that was fine - yippee!  And pretty soon I get to start having TVP (texturized vegetable protein) - a staple in most vegetarians' diet. 

Yesterday I also got the formal invite to my best friend's wedding reception in May.  And promptly got anxious about it.  A dinner reception - eating in front of non-family members.  What if my pouch throws a fit and I vomit?  Will there be anything I can eat?  OMG, I've never been anxious like this, but I calmed down and started working through it like a challenge.  OK, I'll ask my friend exactly what is on the menu, then I can see what I might be able to eat.  If there is anything appropriate for me to eat, I can try making it at home a few times before the surgery so that I can see if my pouch will tolerate it.  And I will pack a source of protein that I can eat - maybe cheese cubes, I'll be on normal food by then.  That way I can have a ready protein I can eat out of my purse before I try a bite of anything else.  OK, that will work. 

So I have a bunch of social things coming up.  My son turns 9 this month, and is making his first communion next month.  Then my friend's wedding reception in May, and a family vacation in June.  I need to have clothes that will fit for all these occasions.  The birthday is fine - at a bowling alley, I can get away with loose jeans and shirts.  The first communion will need something dressy, and I will be too small for anything I currently own.  Ditto on the wedding.  And I will need summer clothes for vacation...  Luckily, there is a local community garage sale in about 10 days where they usually have really nice clothing.  I will be all over that sale.  Once my weight stabilizes I will save up and buy some new nice clothes for myself - but it doesn't make sense to waste money on clothes I may only wear a couple times while I'm shrinking. 

I hinted to my family that maybe in 6-9 months they could nominate me for "What Not to Wear" so I could get professional advice on how to dress my new body, as well as a gift card to pay for it.  The response?  "Ummm, they would need you to be in New York for like a week, right?  We'll just save money up for you to shop here."  It is nice to needed. And the poor guys did just do without me for three days and they still don't have me back in full form yet.   Maybe What Not To Wear will decide to make a stop in Cleveland someday :)  I can't complain - not with all the blessings in my life.  My family, my friends, and my pouch.


  1. Glad things are going well! I have some dresses that don't fit anymore- I'll save them in the back of my closet and as that time gets closer, if you're in those sizes, I can send them over to OH :) You have such a great attitude, you're doing awesome!

  2. Thanks Heather - I'm looking for size 16/ 18 - don't know if you have any that large anymore!