Friday, September 16, 2011

Its been a CRAZY month...

I apologize for my absence.

I started having some weird pains about a week after my surgery.  At first I couldn't breath very well, and ended up going to the ER 3 different times.  I was in pain for about a month.  And I'm talking white knuckle pain, I was taking 2 percocet every 4-6 hours, and even that wasn't cutting it at times.  Each time at the ER I was given morphine, saline, and a battery of tests were run on me.  Each time, they couldn't figure out what was wrong...

I was stumped, thinking, wow, I'm weak, or that I wasn't handling this surgery well at all.  Getting mad at myself because I literally couldn't do anything on my own.  I went to the grocery store at one point, and was in there about 20 minutes, and felt like I was going to pass out.  I was shivering in 110 degree weather, and felt overall awful.  I also wasn't able to EAT, or drink much of anything.  I was eating probably 3 tbl max per day of any given foods, and drinking probably only 48 oz a day.  I'm supposed to be eating probably an ounce each meal, and drinking 64 oz of water at least per day.  Getting in enough protein was very difficult.  After my excursion to the grocery store, I could no longer deal with the pain.  I went in to see my surgeon.

I waited in his office for two hours (I waited because I didn't want to go to the ER again, and be turned away because nobody could figure out what was wrong with me), it just so happened to be my dr.'s surgery day, so I had to wait.  Finally, after waiting in agonizing pain, and not being able to sleep at all the past few nights all caught up with me when I was in his office.  I burst out sobbing, I told him I couldn't do normal things, I didn't know what was wrong, the pain was virtually all over my abdomen, and radiated towards my back.
He thought it was my gallbladder, so had me admitted to the hospital again.  Thank goodness for good friends, a friend watched my kids for me since Paul is deployed, and all last minute too.
I headed up to the surgery rooms, and waited until tests could be run.  First I had an turned up with nothing, my gallbladder was healthy.  Again, we were all stumped.  My dr. thought maybe I was severely constipated, and told me they were going to do a hospital enema, but before that they were going to run a CT.  After my CT scan, I was waiting for my enema...not that I was even remotely looking forward to THAT, but hey, if it made the pain go away, I was all for it.  All of the sudden, one of my surgeons assistants came into the room, and told me we were going downstairs.  I figured oh boy, here we go with the enema, this is going to be SOOO pleasant.  =/
We get downstairs, and I get taken into the ultrasound room again.  This time, someone else does the ultrasound DIGGING into my ribs.  That was so not fun, but probably better than the enema I was prepared for, so I figured something was suspicious on the CT, and they were looking for something else.  Ultrasound again looked good, and I vaguely heard in passing something about thrombosis, and clots, but didn't think anything of it because they didn't see anything.  I was wheeled back up to my room to wait..yet again, for what I thought was my enema.
A nurse came to come get me, and so here we go again, down to the enema station.  We get downstairs, and the hallway was really crowded, people were looking all over the place, the nurse and I were like WHAT is going on?  Luckily, it was just a normal end of day lowering of the flag, but the way that it was all congested, the nurse almost told me to ditch the wheelchair and run (you just never know in an Army hospital these days), so that was my little funny.  Then we get to a room, and MRI is plastered all over the place, magnets, and warnings.  So I went into an MRI room.
They outfitted me with an IV, and set me all up on this itty bitty narrow bed that goes into this tube.  I was told to hold my breath multiple times, and then let it out, I was moved up and down in this contraption while it was hammering away.  Just your typical MRI.
Afterwards, I was waiting for my nurse, and literally saw my MRI...I don't think that the MRI tech was supposed to let me see, or maybe he didn't realize I was looking, because when I mentioned it, he looked sheepish.  I clearly saw something that looked weird to me on the scan, but I'm also not a dr., so I just let it go.
That night was night number 2 in the hospital.  Still, not knowing what was going on, not having my enema (yay, I escaped it), and wondering when my pain was going to get better.  The next day, I got an early visit from my surgeon, he explained that I had a deep deep vein thrombosis.  Near my liver.  Its really rare to get a blood clot near your liver, but for some reason, I did.  Its just a peculiar place to get one I guess.  It was probably causing my pain, and everything else that was going on with me.  I immediately started getting Lovenox shots in my tummy, and had to take a Coumadin pill every day.  They released me later that evening, and I finally got to come home.
I am SO grateful that my dr. listened to me, and admitted me.  I'm so glad that they found out what was wrong.  I took the Lovenox shots (that I had to give to myself), for about a week, and then started on Coumadin pills.  We are still trying to find my right levels, and the correct dose of Coumadin for my body.  I am to stay away from green leafy veggies, and honestly, its not hard because most of my intake of food at this point is focusing on proteins.  I occasionally can fit in A green bean, or A small bite of fruit, but usually, the best thing is to focus on my proteins instead.
That first week, I started getting my appetite.  I started being able to eat...and learning my way around my new pouch.  I'm going much more slowly than others who have had this surgery because of my health issues.  When I was admitted into the hospital, I had lost 40 lbs in a little less than a month.  After I was discharged, I was on a stall for the last two weeks, and my weight loss is beginning to make its journey back down to where it needs to go.  Because of my stall, I had to focus more on my diet, and figure out what I was doing or not doing that I could change.
Obesity help has been a fantastic tool.  There are many people on that website that have helped me along the way.  Right now, since I can only have so much food, my main focus is on protein, so I have to get in between 60-70g of protein, and only 30 g carbs.  It took me a week or two to figure this out and now I'm learning.  I've learned so much in just a short time, and am learning more every day about my new tummy.

I still have pain, its managed with percocet.  I have to take more Coumadin than the initial dose, as my INR levels are lower than they should be, but we are working on it.  I have an appointment about once a week to see this dr., I see my surgeon about once a month, my nutritionist about once a month, and finally I haven't seen my primary care manager in a very long time, lol, but I need to go see him about my anti-depressants.  They no longer sit well with me.  Then again, I may not need them much anymore either.

There is my not so short update.  I am learning my new stomach, figuring out how it works, what works well for me, what doesn't, and how my new life is going to affect me.

Just a few important facts about having a gastric sleeve surgery:
They removed 85% of my stomach, but did not bypass any intestines, so I still absorb important nutrients.
My surgery was done laproscopically, which means that my scars on my stomach, will be much smaller than having an open stomach surgery.
People who say that this is the "easy" way out, are very uneducated.  I was one of those people a long time ago, until I started doing the research.  This has actually been one of the hardest things I've done, in my life.  Of course, I have had complications along the way, but what people don't realize, is that there is a LOT of emotions that come along with this ride.  I've mourned certain foods more than once, I've gotten sad that I can't binge eat, and drown my emotions in food anymore.  Its for the best though.  My issue has never been about LOSING the weight.  I've lost the weight multiple times.  My issue has ALWAYS been about maintaining.  I had this surgery so that I can have help with maintenance later on.

Overall, I will keep you posted on my weight loss, on my recipes, and many other things.  I am feeling so much better these days, so I should be around much more!


  1. Glad to hear things are going better for you now Stephanie. I, for one, am so proud of you for taking this huge step in your life! I know some of your weight loss journey, and if it were not for you, I never would have been inspired to do boot camp 2 years ago and take a serious step in taking care of my health! You are an inspiration to me and many others! Keep your head up girl!

  2. Thanks so much Magi! I loved boot camp, I remember you and I giggling about how hidden our abs were in class one day. Boot camp was so much fun! We may have delirious when it was all said and done, but it was awesome. I wish you were still nearby, we could totally be workout buddies again!

  3. I'm sorry you've had such a rough time, but I'm glad you're doing better, now! You are such an inspiration - have a great week!


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