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Monday, March 22, 2010

Faith to be healed

I came across this scripture in the Book of Mormon. I'm paraphrasing it here to my life. Nephi is speaking:
"But it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, according to my faith which is in thee, wilt thou deliver me from the (the illnesses that afflict me); yea, even give me strength that I may (overcome) these (afflictions) with which I am bound." (1 Ne 7:17)
I have faith that the Lord will do this for me. Now, I just have to act like it!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

My Gastric Bypass Surgery - One Year Later

It's been a long time since I made an entry to this blog. Seeing as how it's now been a year since my GBS surgery and a lot has changed, thought I might talk a little about those changes.
  • Diabetes - I'm a type II (adult onset) diabetic. Before the surgery, my A1c reading was in the high 6.0's , I was on insulin (delivered via an insulin pump) and taking two different oral medications for the diabetes. Now, I am off my insulin pump, and not even using insulin anymore. I've been taken off one of the two oral diabetes medications (glucophage) ; I still take metformin, which doesn 't bother me. My A1c when last tested (late in January) was 5.9 (almost normal).
  • Other physiology - I'm off most all of my other pre-surgery meds. My cholesterol is perfect (without meds); triglycerides were down to about 150 but crept up to 190 this last time my blood was checked. I have low iron, so I take iron tablets. My vitamin D is low, so I'm currently on a 12-week regimen of 50K (that's right - 50,000!) vitamin D tablets once a week. I take a bunch of vitamins that I didn't take before (because of the malabsorbtion issue with the GBS).
  • Weight - Before the surgery, I was 270 lbs. I now weigh 200. I actually went all the way down to 185 briefly before creeping back up. I'm not happy about gaining 15 lbs back. But, my surgeon told me that he expected that I would. He said he'd be happy if I ended up at 215 or 220. I liked being at 185lbs. and I'm not happy going up to 200lbs!!! So, I'm going to have to do something about that.
  • Clothing - Before the surgery, I was wearing size 2XL shirts (with 18 1/2" collars) and 48-50" waists in my pants. Now, I'm wearing size L shirts (with 16" collars) and 40" pants waists, however both my shirts and pants are starting to get a little snug. (That's why I'm going to have to do what I need in order to lose those 15lbs again. Almost all of the gained weight is visceral. I clearly have a genetic predisposition for that.
The problem is that I'm now able to eat again, almost like I was eating before I started preparing for my surgery. I'm eating stuff that I didn't think I would be able to eat (like simple sugars - shame on me!), fast food (although I do have a lower tolerance for the stuff), pasta, potatoes, etc.

I will just need to work on what I eat and on my appetite. Clearly, I've stretched my stomach out some (which the surgeon said really did need to happen). So, it's back to watching my diet. But, at least now I have a tool that will help me.

Exercise is another tool. Ginny, Tessa, Bradley and I joined the local gym in January. Unfortunately, I've only been there twice so far. I just need to push myself to go. My work has been crazy over the last six weeks, but things are finely settling down. Now, if the weather would just cooperate! We've had virtually no opportunities to play golf since the fall. That needs to change!!!

I'll try not to let so much time go by between now and the next time I write.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Feb 3rd: Surgery

My surgery was scheduled for 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb 3rd. I was told to be at the hospital NLT 6:00 a.m.! Since Ginny and I didn't particularly feel like getting up at 3:30 to leave by 4:30 to be at the hospital by 6:00, we decided to spend Monday night in the Potomac Mills area at a motel that was only a mile or so away from the hospital. Much more relaxing for both of us!

After checking into the motel, we found a Pizzaria Uno nearby and had a nice, quiet dinner. We returned to the motel and I read until about 9:00 p.m. and then turned in.

On Tuesday morning, we were roused by the 4:45 a.m. wake-up call we had requested. I got up, showered and got dressed. Of course, I was supposed to arrive at the hospital fasting, so I didn't have to worry about breakfast. Ginny didn't need food that early and would just wait until after I was taken into surgery before she found herself some breakfast.

As we drove to the hospital, I remember feeling no real anxiety. I knew that this was the right step in my life at the right time, so there was really nothing to worry about.

At the hospital, after checking in with Registration, I was taken to the lab to have blood drawn for something they called "type and sort". This was done so that they could have several units of blood ready in the OR, just to be safe. After finishing that, Ginny and I headed back to the Surgical Suite.

There I was put in a small room with a bed and the obligatory I/V contraption. After getting undressed and into the hospital gown, the anaethesiologist came in and hooked up my I/V. I don't remember too much after that. We only had to wait about 15-20 minutes before they came to take me into surgery. I remember saying goodbye to Ginny, getting a kiss from her and then being wheeled out of the room, but nothing after that. They must have started the anaesthesia already.

The next thing I remember is that uncomfortable feeling of starting to come out of it in the Recovery Room. I call it uncomfortable because you're half in it and half out of it still. I remember feeling a lot of activity going on around me and an obnoxious nurse who kept moving my left hand back down to my side every time I tried to rest it on my upper chest. I guess she thought I was going after some of the incisions. I don't know!

Anyway, after what I have been told was an hour or so in recovery, they took me up to my room. I was still kind of "out of it", only partially aware of what was going on around me. Ginny was there waiting to greet me. I'm sure I didn't act like I was happy to see her very much. I was still trying to wake up!

The final days before the operation

It's time for me to catch up on what's been going on with the ol' Cheese grater.

I can not believe it has been almost a month since I last entered anything here. So much has happened during that time that I'm sure I will not get everything down. But I'll give it a try!

Pre-op liquid diet: I had to give up on the Optifast diet after about five days. The shakes were going right through me. I lost ten pounds during the process, which was the whole purpose of going on that diet. But, I don't think it was a "healthy" weight loss.

During the last week in January I went through the final clearances from my cardiologist, family doctor, and the surgeon's office. I met with the nutritionist and my surgeon on Thursday, the 29th. They noted that they were still awaiting the input from my cardiologist and clearance from my family doctor. I let them know that I had appointments the next day for those.

On January 30th, I had appointments with the cardiologist first thing and then my family doctor later that morning. From the cardiologist's standpoint, he wanted me to have one last EKG (which was normal). When I got to my family doctor's office, she wanted me to have an EKG too. I told her about the one done earlier in the cardiologist's office. So, they spent the next couple of hours trying to get that one faxed over.

I'm going to break this up into multiple posts so that people don't have to wade through everything if they're only interested in certain parts of the story.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Optifast - Day 8 (Tue, Jan 27)

The Optifast shakes are definitely not agreeing with me. They go right through me and keep my system messed up throughout the day. I tried using an anti-diarreatic but to no avail. Over the weekend, I stopped using them. I needed a break.

I discussed this yesterday with my nutritionist. She opined that maybe I was having an allergic reaction to them. Either way, we are suspending the shakes. I will attempt to replace them with low calorie (protein and veggies) meals/snacks.

Weigh-in info: 258.4 lbs.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Optifast - Day 4

Morning weigh-in: 257.2 lbs (down 2 more lbs - total loss todate: 8.4 lbs)

I'm really amazed at this whole thing because I really haven't been hungry. I don't know if that's attributable to being sick or to the Optifast having an appetite suppressant in it.

So, yesterday saw a bit of a flurry of activity as the surgeon's office scrambled to get everything in order before the surgery.

1. They have decided that they need an abdominal sonogram done after all. Initially, they had said that since my gall bladder had been removed previously, that wouldn't be necessary. But, now they've changed their mind. Bummer! Requires an extra trip over to VA.
2. Surgeon also says he needs an updated cardio clearance from my cardiologist (Dr. A. K.). I had one done back in September when I first started this whole thing. Apparently that's a little too far back to use. So, that necessitated moving an appointment with A.K. from next Friday (1/30) to this morning.
3. I also will be seeing my primary care physician this a.m. to get her medical clearance for me to have the surgery.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Optifast - Day 3

Weight this morning: 259.2 (down 2.2 more lbs)

OK. So, I think what's happened is I've experienced, medically speaking, the "perfect storm".

When I started on the Optifast, I immediately developed what I thought were side effects (e.g., d...ha). But, now I think what happened was that the flu or a virus decided to drop in on me at about the same time. Reason I say this is because I have had a slight fever now for the last few days. I'm no doctor, but, I don't think drinking Optifast is going to give me a fever.

I'm worried about dehydration, so, been tossing down Crystal Lite and water like they're going out of style. The program calls for drinking 64ozs of nocal fluid each day anyway. So, I'm probably doubling that. I think I drank a gallon or so yesterday.

Now, on to more important things: weigh-in this morning - 259 lbs! That's a total of 7.5 lbs lost since starting on the program. Whew! That seems a little fast to me. I'm probably seeing a combination of the Optifast and the virus. I hope this drop doesn't cause me other problems.