RECOVERY UPDATE

I did begin my exercising this week, but it’s going slow as there are a couple complications not to mention being so weak from the excessive weight loss so fast.

For the first 6 weeks after surgery I only left the house about 3 times, twice to the surgeon for follow ups and once to church for Christmas. Our biggest fear was me catching something because of my compromised immunity, the drastic surgery and the fact that flu season is so horrible this year.  I’ve only been venturing out for the past 2 weeks and have been VERY cautious where I go and being around those that appear sick. BUT, somehow I managed to pick up a new infection 🙁 and are back on high dose antibiotics and have an ultrasound tomorrow for swollen glands in the back of my neck. I’m not normally paranoid, but I am to the point where I’m afraid to leave the house because I really want to get well and move forward.

I WANT MY STRENGTH & ENERGY BACK!!!

The other complication is learning to eat ALL over again – just like a baby. Food has to be reintroduced slowly and in very small quantities to test for tolerances, as well as be nice to all the suturing that took place.   I ate VERY well before this surgery because of other health conditions, but I eat even BETTER now! So when there are complications it just frustrates me beyond belief.

The picture above is a typical example of a stomach bypass.  Below though you’ll see what mine was.  Because of the ischemic portion there was even more suturing for me.  This surgery was more challenging also because I didn’t need to lose weight (well not this much – 30 pounds so far and still averaging about a 1/2 pound loss every day) so it’s been a serious challenge to get enough calories and food. My FitPal account won’t even post my daily results because they think it’s unhealthy.

Dumping syndrome is a condition that can also develop after surgery to remove all or part of your stomach. Dumping syndrome is also known as rapid gastric emptying. Dumping syndrome occurs when food, especially sugar, moves from your stomach into your small bowel too quickly. Early dumping syndrome is likely to resolve on its own within three months and can completely go away, but it can also last for the rest of your life!

Early dumping syndrome usually occurs 10-30 minutes after eating, but symptoms can occur as early as immediately or as late as 3 hours later (late dumping syndrome). Changing your diet can alleviate the chances of developing dumping syndrome, but unfortunately during the first few months you have to experiment with your food intake to see what your personal tolerances are. Plain old sugar is the BIGGEST culprit in causing dumping syndrome.

Dumping syndrome can be severe for some. Early symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, flushing, dizziness, lightheadedness and rapid heart rate. Severe cases can require medication. Late dump symptoms can include sweating, hunger. fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness, weakness and rapid heart rate.

Fortunately, for me I have only had this syndrome a half dozen times as I’m experimenting with new foods and with limited symptoms; nausea, flushing, lightheadedness and a rapid heart rate. Honestly it feels like you’re having a heart attack and are about to pass out so I am VERY careful with what I eat and more importantly WHERE I eat. We went to lunch today at a popular burger place. We will never be going back for other reasons, but evidently they “sugar” their french fries as so many places do these days to make them brown better. This is assumption on my part, but all I ate was a hamburger patty with cheese, 2 tomato slices and 2 french fries and it ruined the remainder of my day when I ended up having the syndrome.

 

COMMENCE EXERCISE!

Today is day 60, well it’s actually day 63, but it’s day 60 of being released from the hospital and I can officially begin an exercise routine!  Knowing I would be doing my exercise at home, I researched and ordered a set of training discs a couple weeks ago so I could watch the discs in advance and familiarize myself with the routines and timing. It has been quite a long while since I have done anything this organized, but I know it’s a now or never scenario for me. So far, I’m loving these discs done by a personal trainer as if she’s working personally with you.  It’s a 12 disc set and I’m looking forward to discs 2-12. 😀

Six surgeries plus additional anaesthesias for some of the testings in 7 years have ALL taken a toll on me physically being coupled with having lost so much weight so fast (30 pounds in 60 days so far) with this surgery has left me feeling in serious need of toning my body as well as rebuilding my strength and energy.  My FitPal account won’t even post my weight loss because they say it is happening too fast and is unhealthy – DUH, hence why I’m trying to get more strength.

I ordered Personal Trainer, a 90 day program narrated by (you guessed it) a personal trainer.  I haven’t actually watched ALL 12 discs, but do like the pace and energy so far. I know this program is just what I needed!

I’m hoping that the increase in exercise will speed up digestion and increase hunger so I can actually eat more to keep my FitPal account happier 😀  LOL, the doctor says to eat whatever I want, but with a stomach now the size of an egg and the inability to eat sugar, alcohol or high fat items, what is he thinking??  He did say that eventually I probably CAN eat those things, but I’m here to tell you I have serious doubts and that’s okay too.  I’m adjusting really well (or at least better than I thought I would) to no coffee, sugar or alcohol and eating even better than before which was already REALLY good.

WEEK 4 UPDATE – RECOVERY IN PROGRESS

The bottom line to me is THIS JUST ISN’T FAIR. I didn’t need this surgery for its original intended purpose, I don’t drink or do drugs. I don’t do fast food. I have cooked from scratch (FRESH perimeter shopping, no boxes or cans) for over 30 years since I was first diagnosed with Systemic Lupus and Fibromyalgia. That said, it just proves my point that LIFE isn’t FAIR!

Despite doing everything right most of my life, I’ve ended up with the Systemic Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Ovarian Cancer and have now had an unnecessary gastric bypass because of FAILED MESH to fix a hiatal hernia, not once, but twice before!

So, while, it isn’t fair, it is now reality and I’m learning a new normal. My NEW NORMAL isn’t that much different from my old normal food wise except for amount, frequency and the BIG addition (or subtraction) of ALL sugar, most carbs and fat from my diet. I watched my sugar before, but I did take it in my 1 cup of coffee in the morning and the occasional holiday sweet. I REALLY miss coffee.  Now though there is the possibility of “DUMPING SYNDROME” which frankly scares the hell out of me. As time passes the threat of this will become less and less.  The doctor said he truly believes that by the time I’m “released” in March I will be able to eat and drink WHATEVER I want. Here’s hoping!

I had a really cool doctor doing my Upper GI test today and he showed me everything as he was doing it and where the dye was going.  Good news is there are no  leaks!  The freaky thing was his showing me my “new” stomach and it’s actual size. OMG it’s tiny – like a small hard boiled egg and it does not stretch or give at all.

DUMPING SYNDROME happens because there is no longer a “holding” vessel aka your stomach for food to sit in and gradually pass along to the small intestine. When sugars and starches that you have eaten are dumped into the bowel, they may act like sponges, rapidly absorbing water from the body into the intestine.  This leads to a number of symptoms including diarrhea, low blood sugar and feelings of weakness or dizziness.

ALL Food now passes directly into the small intestine hence why the small amounts, more frequently are more important than ever. From what I’ve read up to 75% of gastric patients may experience DUMPING SYNDROME at some point in their life, but it is most common immediately after surgery and may subside over time. The key is to avoid ALL the triggers.

There are two phases of dumping syndrome; early dumping phase and late dumping phase.

Early Dumping Phase 15-30 minutes after eating
• Caused by rapid entry of food into the small intestine
• Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, cramps, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and feeling full after eating only a small amount of food. Weakness, flushing, dizziness and sweating may also accompany early dumping syndrome.

Late Dumping Phase 90 minutes to 3 hours after eating
• Caused by a rapid rise in blood sugar followed by a rapid decrease in blood sugar
• Symptoms may include sweating, fast heart-rate, weakness, feeling tired, anxiety or mental confusion

General Guidelines to Prevent Dumping Syndrome

  • Eat six to eight small meals daily to avoid eating too much at a time.  You may be able to tolerate larger portions over time, but keep servings small at first.
  • Have a protein food with each meal and snack such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, nuts, tofu or peanut butter.
  • Do not drink liquids with meals. Drink 30 to 60 minutes before or after meals. Eventually you may tolerate small amounts of liquid with meals.
  • Limit high-sugar foods such as soda, juice, Ensure, Boost, cakes, pies, candy, doughnuts, cookies, fruit cooked or canned with sugar, honey, jams, jellies.
  • Choose high-fiber foods when possible.  These include whole wheat breads and cereals, whole wheat pasta, fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Choose foods high in soluble fiber.  This includes apples, oats, beets, Brussel sprouts, carrots, spinach and beans.
  • Try adding a serving of fat to meals and snacks such as butter, margarine, gravy, vegetable oils, and salad dressings.  Fats slow stomach emptying and may help prevent dumping syndrome.
  • Some people find that avoiding very hot or very cold foods can be helpful.
  • Chew foods well and eat slowly. Try to relax while eating.
  • Lying down right after eating may lessen symptoms.

YAY!! Today we start the new phase of my diet – trying to add back in fresh fruits and vegetables in VERY small amounts. I have to say that I have missed salads the most! I’m praying I can tolerate that salad!

WEEK 2 RECOVERY UPDATE

I an now entering the “SOFT” diet for at least 2 more weeks and then everything has to be in VERY small portions that are protein packed. SOFT is a relative word in the world of food.  They are really only adding 3-4 things to my diet, so it is still basically bland, unflavorful and plain. This ENTIRE process is about retraining my body and my mind.  Life as I knew it in the food world is over! It really is that plain and simple!

The part about this surgery that sucks is that I am NOT obese and did NOT need a gastric bypass for weight loss, but ended up with one because the doctor could not save the stomach after the BIO mesh side affects from previous procedures. So, life literally got tipped on its end from when I went into surgery and when I woke up – what was scheduled had to be drastically altered mid surgery.

I had wanted to lose a few pounds, which is definitely a done deal now. Now, I just have to make sure to get enough calories to not let it get out of hand!

I have been craving a silly scrambled egg FOREVER it seems! I also get to add a spoonful of peanut butter – YUMMY! And I told hubby not to get too comfortable with his bachelor diet. Starting next month as soon as I can muster enough energy to cook I am going to to take a hand at some Ramen Fusion. 

I’m already looking forward to 2 weeks from now when we enter the Pre-Regular Stage. The real trick will come in March when the lifetime diet takes affect! I am looking forward to the taste of REAL food, but not the digestive process.  Honestly REAL food scares the hell out of me. I’ve always been a type A person who eats too fast and food that too hot.  This is FORCING me SLOW down, chew more and eat less more often.