Tuesday, May 29, 2012

One week down!

Wow, can't believe it's been one week and one day since surgery. Thankfully, I'm doing great physically! But in the video I talk a bit about how I'm feeling with the emotional piece of all of this. Very curious. Some stats for you:
  • Starting weight day of surgery: 250.4
  • Today's weight, 8 days later: 237.1
  • 13.3 lbs lost!
I've been really varying what I've been eating, even though I'm only on clear liquids at the moment. Mostly just to try out new stuff. Sounds like I'm really fortunate that I have a good tolerance for liquids and the things I'm eating (I use that term loosely, since I'm really drinking all my food :) I'm consistently getting:
  • Around 400 calories
  • Over 70g of protein
Want to know the specifics? Check out the link on the left-hand side of my blog...and you can read every sordid food diary detail.

No vitamins yet. I don't start those for another two days - the same time I get to add low fat/soy milk and thicker low-fat soups to my diet. I am taking an acid reducer each morning, as instructed by my doctor. Though it's in this granular form that does NOT dissolve in anything, so I've taken to pouring it on my tongue and taking a swig of water. No doubt this is not the prescribed method, but what are you going to do?

I didn't mention it in the video, but I've already been out with people twice (people that don't know)! I've just been sipping my water while they chow down on fried foods and hamburgers. People seem to buy my whole "oh, I just ate", or "I've decided to cut alcohol from my diet for a few months" for now. I was out tonight and they were eating and, man, it smells good. All this stuff I hear about "I wasn't even hungry!" after sleeve surgery...well, here's the thing. I'm not hungry either. But they didn't do surgery on my brain...and that seems to be the organ doing most of the food and portion control, if you know what I mean. I did fine at the restaurant, but when I got home was finding myself really thinking about food, food, food. In the moment, it bums me out. But beyond the moment, it reminds me of exactly why I knew this surgery was for me. I needed a physical restriction, for a period of time (because it won't last forever...maybe 6-12 months at best), to BREAK THE CYCLE. And this is why I've assembled a team around me, including a therapist and a nutritionist. To help me smack my head back into place so I treat food like the fuel that it is, not as a coping skill for [insert emotion here]. I definitely sympathize with people on the message boards who post things like "I wish I would have known that I wouldn't get enjoyment out of food anymore". At the same time, I'll be glad to lose it. I'm a food addict, so for me to enjoy it is for me to abuse it. I'd rather find my enjoyment in things that don't make me fat...though I haven't figured out what that is yet! Thankfully, there's still time ;)

Enjoy. Gastricsleeve4me

Friday, May 25, 2012

Day 3 and 4

Wow, so it's already about time to go home! Wanted to share my videos from Day 3 and 4. Here's a quick scoop on what's been going down:

  • Day after surgery sucks. Sounds like it's the typical sh*t day. I was feeling lame, and just wanted to sleep, when really I should have been walking around. I got to drink liquids. Apple juice, gatorade, and tea to be specific. But on the upside, got my IV out :)
  • By Day 3 I was feeling good! Actually booted up my computer and got some work done. No issues being up and walking around. Felt way better after they took my drain out too. Did a leak test, and actually watched the liquid go down live on a screen, which was crazy! I got a souvenir pic to take home, lol
  • Day 4 and it is time to go home. Glad I didn't carry much, since it was a bit tiring. Developed a crummy rash, which is super-annoying, but I'll deal with it when I get home. Drank juice on the way to the airport, and then drank a protein shot when I got there. Made the video below. And like 3 mins later had to run to the bathroom since it ran right through me. Lovely. Hoping that's not a trend!
Enjoy. Gastricsleeve4me

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Day of surgery

The day is here! Check out my videos before and after surgery. Best, gastricsleeve4me

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Day before surgery

Well, it's here. Holy cow. Can't believe it's finally here. I've recorded a couple of videos today. One this morning before I headed to Mexicali for surgery with Dr. Alberto Aceves, and another after I made it back to the hotel following my tests. So, what happened today
  • Arrived at the airport at 11 AM and was picked up by a very nice guy, and met the other woman who's having surgery tomorrow
  • Drove about one hour and fifty minutes to the Calexico/Mexicali border
  • About 1 mile after crossing the border, arrived at Hospital Almater
  • Had blood drawn, a chest x-ray, and an EKG. Took about 30 mins.
  • Met with a patient coordinator who took payment and went through a few things about tomorrow
  • Was driven to the Crowne Plaza Mexicali and checked in
  • Had room service for a late lunch (since I was fasting for the blood tests)
Below you'll find my videos, and some pictures of Hospital Almater. Wish me luck! Best, gastricsleeve4me

Waiting area at the hospital
Entrance to lab for blood tests
In the lab

Hotel Room at Crowne Plaza

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pre-Op Diet (FAIL)

Well, I had the best of intentions. My Dr. had provided a pre-op diet for me since my BMI was over 40. I was meant to follow it the week before surgery. It was basically a low/no-carb, high-protein diet. And cutting the alcohol and caffeine. I knew that I might have some challenges since I was working out of town the week before, and I'm notoriously bad at planning my meals...which leaves me just eating what's available (which is always high-carb, high-fat, and high-sugar!). I did great for a few days. And then I got a cold. I was feeling quite miserable, and just got a little lazy. So, frankly, the pre-op diet sort of went out the window. I justified it by saying that my BMI had dropped below 40 in the weeks prior to surgery, so I didn't technically need to do it. I'm really, really hoping this isn't a sign of things to come. I mean, really, I couldn't go 7 DAYS without eating carbs? Eeek.

Now, in addition to the pre-op diet, my surgeon had about three or four other tips before surgery. Number two? Don't get sick. Dammit. I freaked out a little catching that cold. I thought about not telling the Dr. since I was afraid they might move or cancel it, but realized quickly that's just plain stupid to not tell them...this is my health we're talking about here. So, I wrote them an email and, thankfully, everything worked out. I recovered and they don't seem concerned. But it was a good reminder to STAY WELL in the week leading up to surgery. I'm pretty sure heading to the germ-center that is Chuck-E-Cheese for a kids birthday party wasn't the best decision I've ever made. Anyway, it all worked out in the end.

Well, I've got less than a week to go and I AM READY. Hope all is well in your world. Leave me some comments now and again...will let me know someone's reading! Best, gastricsleeve4me

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Last night home

Holy moly...it's my last night at home! Surgery isn't for a week and a half, but I'm traveling up to the surgery date, so it's my last night home. I'm in planning mode - making sure I've got everything that I need. So, what have I been doing?

  • Playing with protein powders. I'm sticking with Isopure in the big tubs for now. Just can't best the zero carb + whopping protein. Read more about protein powders on the Supplements page
  • Getting my vitamins sorted out. HINT: TwinLab sells chewable calcium under multiple labels...and one is cheaper than the other! Read more on the Supplements page
  • Applying for short-term disability. If you haven't tried this...you should. It could mean the difference between having to take vacation time from work after surgery, and not! Worked for me for a previous surgery and looks good to do it again
  • Finally finding a therapist and nutritionist that I like. I saw three nutritionists before I found one I liked. A great reminder for me that, if I don't connect with someone, I should keep looking!
  • Deciding who to tell. So far, just one friend and a woman at work. I did tell my bosses that I'll be having surgery, but not what for
Want to hear more? Check out my video. And thanks for all who are subscribing to my channel on YouTube! Best, gastricsleeve4me

Monday, May 7, 2012


Early on I heard people talking about the tracking their food intake, particularly around calories and protein. I looked at a few different sites online that do this, and am excited about the one I picked to start using at myfitnesspal. Why do I like it?
  • I can access it from my mobile devices
  • It's easy to use
  • It has found every food I've searched for so far, including many of the popular protein-packed batriatric stuff
  • I can set my specific nutrition goals. So, right now it's loaded for what I know I need to be getting from my pre-op diet
  • It provides the ability to add weight loss "badges" (see the new one on the left part of the blog that says how much weight I've lost?) and "sliders" (those fun little things that show where you are in your weight loss progression that are used on a lot of the forums)
Another thing I like about it is that I can make my food diary public, and share it with all of you. You'll find a new link on the left that allows you to see what I'm eating. Not particularly helpful yet, but figure it may prove to be post-surgery.

I've been playing with it a bit today, putting in my pre-op diet requirements that I'll start next week. I'm really enjoying being able to see exactly what the day looks like when I load in all my new protein shakes, snacks, etc. Not so pleased to see what my sushi lunch has done to my carb intake, but better to see it and course correct, I suppose! Anyway, thought I'd share the tool I'm using. There are certainly others out there, so welcome your experiences and recommendations as well! Best, gastricsleeve4me

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Why I eat

I don't want to steal the thunder from my video, so I'll keep this brief ;) There's lots of videos out there about gastric sleeve. And they're mostly focused on what people eat, what's happened to their hunger, and how much weight they've lost. It's all very encouraging. But I wanted to talk about an issue that's very personal to me; and that's why I eat, and how I got to 250 lbs in the first place. Knowing that I use food way beyond it's intended use of nutrition, I know that I'm going to have to deal with these underlying issues of using food to deal with my emotions.

I've been in therapy on and off over the past six years to try to work on some of my issues with processing emotions. But I've never focused on the food/eating aspect specifically, and I think now is the time. Wondering if others out there feel the same. Best, gastricsleeve4me

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pre-Op Diet

I received my pre-op diet info from Dr. Aceves and thought I'd share. It appeared to be directed specifically at sleeve patients with an over-40 BMI (mine's about 40.6). I've been asked to be on this diet for seven days before surgery. Which means I've got one week before I start!

  1. There are NO CALORIE LIMITATIONS on the LIVER-SHRINKING diet. You may eat/drink as much as you wish of the allowed things to feel satisfied, although we suggest reasonable limits to assist your weight loss. This does not have to be a liquid diet.
  2. Start a low carb (30 grams or less daily), high protein (minimum 60-70 grams daily), keep a close eye on the fat intake (don't over do it) and at least the minimum required daily amount (64 ounces) of plain water intake diet prior to surgery.  
  3. If you chose to drink a protein shake. Please read the labels. You should get at least 15 grams of Protein & less than 6 grams of total Carbohydrates per serving. Protein shakes are NOT required, but are very convenient.
  4. You may have  low fat yogurt, lean meats, grilled chicken, green vegetables. We recommend checking the carb content on your food.  You can find a very useful carb counter on Atkins.com.
Wish me luck! Best, gastricsleeve4me

Friday, May 4, 2012

Mexico it is!

I recently shared that it turns out insurance will cover me! But, guess what? I'm going to Mexico anyway and self-paying. Why, you ask? Check out my video to find out! Best, gastricsleeve4me

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Wow. So, six weeks ago I was told by a bariatric surgeon that my insurance required a five-year weight history with an over-40 BMI (morbid obesity). I didn't have it. So I decided on surgery in Mexico. I researched the hell out of it, secured a date, paid my deposit, and have been planning (as this blog shows!) in earnest ever since. I'm due to have surgery in Mexico in under three weeks. But today, upon visiting a second surgeon, I was told that my insurance recently dropped the five-year requirement. Which means that I should qualify. Son of a bi*ch! Now, while it will save me $8000 (which is nothing to sneeze at!), I have to consider that:
  • I'd have to wait six months, since they require six monthly office visits with a nutritionist
  • the surgeon I visited has a lot less experience than my surgeon in mexico
  • because I don't think the surgeon I visited is the guy for me, I have to start looking for a well-qualified one that is also in my network...and that means more time
  • I do have to pay for 10% of the surgeon's fee, as well as the hospital (though this is likely to be under $2000)
  • going through insurance will mean less money
  • US doctors in my area seem to be more conservative about bougie size, which I believe may correlate to less weight loss (though recognize some studies that indicate a lower complication rate)
  • I believe my surgeon in Mexico is great and I'm confident that I will have a positive experience
It's a lot to think about. But it's not as clear-cut as you might think. I'm ready. There is no better time than now. Right now. Today. I'm fortunate enough that I can afford the surgery in Mexico. But is going forward with Mexico throwing away $8000? Oh boy. Want to hear more? Watch the video. Best, gastricsleeve4me