Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Surgery Update

My surgery was on 12/20 and I'm sorry it's taken so long to post an update.

Hubby & I arrived at the hospital bright and early on 12/20, where I registered with them, got my sexy armband and then headed up to the same-day surgery waiting room to check in with them. I didn't even get a chance to sit down before they said that the nurses were ready for me. Thankfully, a couple of friends were there to sit with hubby so he'd not be waiting alone. I was taken to the holding area, where I changed into a gown, put a net over my hair and put on non-skid socks. The nurses then asked me 8 million questions, several times. I'm glad I'd be pre-warned about that because it would have gotten annoying, quickly, otherwise. The nurses also put the things on my legs that inflate and deflate to prevent blood clots. Then the real fun began because it took three tries to get my IV started. *sigh* They finally got it started and started some fluids and then the anesthesiologist came and talked to me. I was still concerened about the cold I'd had all the week before, but I had no fever and she listened to my lungs and said they sounded clear to her so we were good to go. My surgeon came in a little while later to see if I had any last-minute questions or concerns. Then they came and put the sedative into my IV. I have vague recollections of the OR, but only vague ones. When I came to in recovery, I was told that I'd done great and the surgery went really well! Unfortunately, I was stuck in recovery for three hours longer than usual because they were having trouble getting me a room. I felt terrible for my friends and hubby because I was sure they were worried something was wrong. I was a bit nauseated so they gave me something for that, but no real pain to speak of. Granted, there was so much pain meds in my system, that I didn't figure I'd really feel anything until it was time to go home.

I finally got to my room, and got to see my hubby and my friends who told me that the nurses had been really good about letting them know what was going on, so I felt better. I got changed into an actual gown instead of the paper one I'd worn in surgery, and got to see my incisions for the first time. My thought was that I'd gotten worse from my cat! They are so teensy! The Durmabond is off all of them except the one in my bellybutton. Since that was the largest, I'm just letting the Durmabond peel off as it will rather than trying to force it. Of course, I see my surgeon tomorrow for my first follow-up, so he may just yank it. But that's his perogotive. In my room, I was given a pain pump that I could press every 5 minutes, but that also gave me a gentle, steady stream of the pain meds. I didn't have to hit that pump at all. I did need some nausea meds, even when I was just doing ice chips, but not much. I got up and walked everytime they came and told me I needed to, and they were impressed that I went as far as I did each time.

The morning after surgery, I had my swallow test. That stuff is the nastiest stuff on the planet!!!! I'd rather drink a gallon of barium. Seriously. That's when I really needed the nausea meds. But they said it all looked good, and I got to see my new tiny stomach, which was really kind of kewl! My surgeon came in around mid-day, and told me that the test looked great and that, if I could keep down some water, broth and jello, I could go home! So they brought me a tray and I was able to keep a few sips of water, a spoonful of jello and two spoonfuls of the nastiest broth in the world down. So I got to go home! I slept off and on the rest of the afternoon, and did have a bout of nausea and vomiting later that night. I used some phenergren and sipped some water and that was the end of the nausea and vomiting.

I've not needed ANY of the pain meds my doc prescribed prior to surgery, and only one dose of the phenergren. I'm sipping, sipping, sipping and have progressed to full liquids. Assuming all is on target, I should be progressing to mushies on Monday. I'm so tired of liquids!

I attribute my success so far to being faithful to my liquid diet pre-op and to following my doctor's orders 100% post-op. I'm optimistic that he'll let me go back to work on Monday, on light duty. I feel up to it, though I've warned hubby that I may have to come home and nap for a couple of weeks.

All in all, I'm doing REALLY well!

Friday, December 17, 2010

On the Downhill Side

First, a school update: my semester is over, finally and grades are in. For IS 520: Organization of Information, I earned a B+. For IS 585: Information Technologies, I earned an A. I'm really happy with both grades and am even happier that I've got almost a month before the spring semester begins.

Now, a surgery update. My cold definitely seems to be getting better. I'm continuing with treatment and was successful in getting nasal rinse through both sides. This morning's rinse had some really gross results, but, as Hagrid says in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, "Better out than in!" Assuming I can actually get some sleep over the next couple of days, I believe it will be gone by Monday.

*gulp* Surgery is Monday. When I started this process back in April, it seemed like December (when I'd hoped to have it all along) was a LONG time away. Even when I finished my requirements and got my approval it seemed like December was far off. Now surgery is in three days. o.O I'm so excited to start my new life and actually LIVE my new life and get off some of my meds and have the energy to do all the things I want to do. Am I nervous? Yes, a bit. I mean it -is- major surgery with life-altering consequences. But any one of my co-morbidities could kill me and they are certainly not improving my quality of life. I've researched and read and talked with people who've had the surgery and read the forums at (go there if you are considering surgery, there's lots of good stuff!). I feel comfortable with my surgeon and his entire practice. I'm at peace with my decision. I've done REALLY well with the liquid diet. The only two "cheats" in the whole two weeks have been a splash of vanilla caramel coffee creamer and an orange. Considering all the desserts I was around last weekend, I'm considering those passes. :-) In fact, I went into the kitchen to heat up water for my chicken broth protein powder and looked at the desserts. None of them even looked good to me. Later, I had my sugar free pudding, and I was perfectly content. I've actually been surprised at how well I've done. Of course, it may be because I'm a chicken and don't want anything to make my surgery any more difficult than it has to be. :-)

Right now, I have a pretty proscribed set of foods to "eat". I admit some nervousness when it comes to making my decisions once I'm cleared for "real" food. Of course, that's almost a month away, so I'll have had a bit of time to make friends with my Sleeve. I am hoping that after a month (2 weeks pre- and 2 weeks post-op) of liquids, then 3-4 weeks of mushies, that food will become the non-issue that I need it to be. Once I get used to what my portion size is and can get into a routine, I'll be good. One of the plus sides to OCD, I guess. ;-)

I don't know how much I'll update between now and getting out of the hospital. It'll depend on whether I'm allowed my laptop. :-) The hospital has WiFi, so maybe... Still, in an ideal world, I have my surgery Monday AM early (have to be there by 6AM). I'll be there at least Monday night. I am hoping to come home Tuesday, but it might be Wednesday. I'm not sure what the magic combo is for me to be releasable. So, I hope to be posting by Wednesday, at least, that I'm on the loser's bench. So, scooch over everyone and make room!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Why now?

I've been diligently trying to prevent getting sick. I'd done a good job of it, too, until Monday. My hubby and I braved the snow and cold and went to the hospital early Monday morning for my pre-admission testing, which went well. The college was closed so we went home and took a nap. When I woke up, I knew I was getting a cold. :-( I've been pushing fluids and I even cheated on my liquid diet and had an orange. The cataloging librarian at work gave me some Airborne, so I'm doing that. I've emailed my surgeon's office to see what they recommend and to see if it will cause my surgery to be postponed. I'm already feeling better, but I'm worried that I won't be all the way better by Monday. Gah!!!!!!

I have faith that everything will work out the way it's supposed to but it's frustrating to have come this far without getting sick only to get sick the week before surgery.

ETA: Received email from my surgeon's office. He said to treat the cold like I normally would and that it shouldn't cause any reason to postpone or cancel. Yay!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Pre-op Consult with Surgeon

It's kind of amazing that the surgeon I met at my initial consult and the surgeon I met today at my pre-op consult did not seem like the same man. Initially, Dr. C was quiet, reserved and almost stand-offish. Today, he was gregarious, calm, and assured. Friendly, even. Weird.

Anyway, I weighed in, of course, to see how much more weight I had to lose before surgery. His scale loves me more than mine does because it weighed me almost 4# lighter, putting me at a total of 16.5# down from my initial weigh-in. I still have 10 days left on my liquid diet, so I feel pretty comfortable about how I'm doing. During the consult, he went over the test I had to take to make me understand why I missed the ones I did. I only missed two and one was due to a decimal point. I never said that math was my strong suit. ;-) The other one had to do with nausea & vomiting. I said that it was true that VSG patients suffer from nausea and vomiting. Dr. C said that it was false because most of his patients don't even need the phenigren he prescribes them. Otherwise, thanks to my paying attention to him, to the book we had to read and to other books I've read and other web research I've done, I knew what I needed to. Yay!

He told me that my endoscopy showed a small hiatal hernia that he'll repair while he's in there so I don't develop reflux. All of my other tests show that he shouldn't have to take my gallbladder. He showed me where my incisions would be, the largest of which will be through my bellybutton. The other four will be about 5mm long. That's TEENSY! I know they'll sting like papercuts and I'll be sore, but at least they should heal quickly. The news that made my day is that I shouldn't leave the hospital with a drain and that he tests for leaks before he closes, so I may or may not have a leak test post-op.

So, now, I just keep on with the liquid diet and go for my pre-admission tests on Monday.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Counting down & various frustrations

I started my liquid diet on Sunday. It's not been as difficult as I thought it would be, but I do miss sugar. Hell, I miss fruit. But I want to make the surgery as safe and free of complications as possible and I know this will shrink my liver to do just that. The first couple of days, I lost almost 4 pounds, but then yesterday my energy level dropped to near non-existent levels and this morning, my weight is back up again. I did use some salt on my cucumber (I'm allowed raw veggies) and I am guessing that it may be due to too much sodium or not enough water. It may even be PMS for all I know because I've stopped my BCP at least until after surgery. We were hoping that DH could have his vasectomy tomorrow, but funding and timing conspired against us so that he'll have to wait until after Jan. 1. I'm not excited about that because our insurance changes Jan. 1 and I've no idea if it's even covered on the new plan. I'll have to look into it. Still, I'm hoping to not have to go back on the Pill post-op if I can at all avoid it. Even if it means three different forms of non-hormonal birth control until we can get his vasectomy, I'd rather not go back to taking the Pill. I'm grumpy today, and really tired, but I know that if I perservere, my energy will come back. I've got to walk some, regardless of how tired I am, so that will help.

Monday, DH & I went to the Post-Op Survival Skills class. It was basically a class of 6 or so pre-op patients meeting with the nutritionist but started with the RN who is the Bariatric coordinator for the hospital talking to us about the day of surgery and how things would be after surgery while we are in the room. DH seemed to be reassured with how organized the process is and that he'd be kept in the loop the whole day. Then, the plastic representations of food that the nutritionist had helped us visualize what I'll be eating once I transition to real food. I'd been trying to describe to DH what my portions will be, but it wasn't until he saw what 1/4 cup of "cottage cheese" looked like or what 6oz of "fish", "green beans" and "rice" (all together 6oz, not 6oz each) looked like did he really get it.

Thankfully, I met someone at my class who'd already had the pre-op consult and pre-op testing so I could ask what to expect. I always like to know what to expect. :-) Tomorrow is my pre-op consult with the surgeon. I'll weigh in and he'll tell me how much more I need to lose prior to surgery. He'll also answer any other questions we have and will show me where my incisions will be. I have to take a test showing that I understand everything I need to understand.

Monday, 12/13, I go for pre-op testing which consists of meeting with the anesthesiologist, having a chest X-ray, and EKG and bloodwork. I expect, given my pulmonary issues this time of year, I'll go home with an incentive spirometer. I'm doing my darndest to not get sick, too. I should also get the time I'm to arrive at the hospital on 12/20. 12/19 at 1PM I have to drink magnesium citrate (yum, yum) to clear out my bowel. Considering last year I had a colonoscopy and had all the prep for that, 10-12 oz of magnesium citrate should be a piece of cake. :-) I go NPO at midnight the morning of surgery. I wonder how much sleep I'll get...

This weekend is the first of the holiday parties I'll attend prior to surgery. I'm still on liquids and hope I can get people to understand that "one bite won't hurt you" is the biggest lie since "We're from the Government, we're here to help you." I don't mind other people eating in front of me. What I mind is them feeling like they have to keep offering it to me. I'll be on liquids two weeks post-op, as well, meaning I'll be on liquids a total of a month when all is said and done. That first bite of mushies will taste like HEAVEN.

Prayers towards a text-book, complication-free surgery and recovery are gratefully accpeted. I may be babbling incoherently before it's all said and done, so bear with me. :-)

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

I have a date!

Apparently the Divine Hands that have been helping my process this whole time have continued! I knew They would, but I'm human enough to have been nervous. :-) After a whirlwind of appointments for Post-Op education, pre-op consult with the surgeon and pre-op testing, my surgery is on 12/20!!!! I'm so excited! And I just can't hide it! (Apologies to The Pointer Sisters.) I start my "liquid" diet on 12/05, which means I need to get out to the office and get the shakes & instructions. 12/06 is my Post-op education class, 12/09 is my consult with the surgeon and sometime the week of 12/13, I have my pre-op testing. I'm not sure what all testing I'll need to have done. I had an Upper GI in May, along with bloodwork and an EKG. I had an abdominal ultrasound done last October. I know I have to meet with the anesthesiologist and I expect more bloodwork. Beyond that? Dunno.

Now I need to figure out what to tell my Mom. She's a worrier, so I've kept her kind of out of the loop until I was approved and had a date. I guess I need to call her now, huh? :-)