Monday, 24 June 2013

Packing for a hospital stay/zombie apocalypse

I have this quirk I do when I want to be organised, which is compiling lists (some would could it OCD but let's not split hairs shall we?). As tomorrow is D Day, today I have to pack and so I hit the interwebs to find lists people had made for what to take to hospital with them (I never said I only complied my own lists - I'm not above cheating every now and then). I was rather disappointed. Most of the ready-made lists I found contained the items lipstick  and mascara. 

Really people? Are you fucking kidding me? I'm not going to some fandangled resort to have a holiday and pick up blokes. I'm having major surgery. I only tart myself up a couple of times a year as it is, I'm certainly not going to worry if my lips are the right shade of 'Berry my Treasure' pink the moment I wake up in recovery.

I guess as the saying goes 'If you want something done properly and you don't have the money to hire someone much more qualified than yourself to do it, then suck it up and do it yourself'. So here is it...

Scarlet's List

  • Jarmies, dressing gown and fluffy pink slippers (if you don't have pink slippers, then make sure they are at least fluffy)
  • Comfy granny undies and a wire free bra. We're not going for sexy here, we want to be comfy. After major abdominal surgery the last thing you want is to have tight, restrictive knickers with lace that gets caught up in your glued up wounds and who wants a wire digging into your armpit while you lounge about in bed? However we do not want to scare the locals so some form of chest support is a must.
  • Basic toiletries. Obviously toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, shower gel, deodorant, perfume etc. I'm not bothering with shampoo and conditioner as my hair will be fine for three days without being washed and it takes forever to dry so I don't want to stink up the ward with wet hair smell for 12 hours.
  • If, like me, you have broken eyes remember to take contact lens solution and a case but also backup glasses for when cleaning fake eyes become too much of a bother but you still want to see.
  • Mobile phone and charger. Staying in touch with the outside world is important. If the zombie apocalypse occurs whilst you are in hospital, you need to know to bunker down. This is, strangely enough, the overnight bag I'm taking. Paranoia? Or Preparedness? You decide.
  • Lip balm (NOT lipstick). Fluids will be withheld until the Barium Swallow test  to make sure there are no leaks and it's common to get a very dry mouth and cracked lips. Lip balm will help reduce the homicidal urges you feel towards the PSA as she flits past your bed and give coffee to everyone else in the room bar you.
  • A Kindle/e-Reader/Book. Some heathens do not enjoy reading but I have the Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection by Sir Arthur to occupy the spare moments when my adoring fans aren't visiting.
  • Chewable vitamins. My dietician said to start chewing vitamins as soon as I'm allowed to swallow more than saliva so I have me chewable multivitamins, calcium and iron tablets from Bandbuddies 
  • Some people have suggested that your own pillow, a sleep mask and earplugs can be useful if you find it hard to sleep in hospital but to be honest, the nurses are going to be prodding you awake all through the night anyway so why bother with extra baggage?
  • Comfy clothes for the drive home. These can be the same clothes as you arrived in since the fashion police rarely patrol hospitals so you should be able to make it home without a fine from them. 

With packing out the way, I'm all good to go! I did my final weigh in this morning and at 101.5kgs I'm really happy with that pre-op loss. I just hope my liver is all pretty and slim for Dr D.
The next time I speak to you, it will be from the sleeved side! Wish me luck! xxx

Thursday, 20 June 2013

How to not die of boredom on opti

The VLCD stage before surgery is very different for everyone. It all depends on your surgeon, your dietician and your BMI. Some people have to go on a strict, complete opti replacement diet for up to six weeks during which they may have to have 3 or 4 meal replacements a day. Others have to do this intensive phase for two weeks. Some get to do two replacements and one meal consisting of protein and veggies. Some lucky buggers don't have to do opti at all. People who start off with a higher BMI normally have to do the VLCD for longer periods but it's not set in stone. You won't know what you have to do until you see your surgeon. 

For me, I had my appointment with the dietician exactly two weeks before my surgery date. I chose to start the diet early however and did the intensive phase for three days prior to seeing the dietician, for the sole purpose of being able to have a 'normal' meal the Friday before my op a(s plans had been made about six weeks prior for that night). I figure three extra days on the strict phase would more than make up for one regular meal out, especially if I don't over do it. Friday is tomorrow and man am I looking forward to that meal! Opti hasn't been as hard as I thought, mainly because I'm lucky enough to be able to have that one protein meal a day but still, I'll looking forward to the variety! As great as it has been to have the option of one meal of 'real' food a day, it has been a challenge to make those meals interesting. I can't tell you how quickly one tires of chicken salad! 

And so here's a selection of some of the things I've been having for dinner, just to give you some ideas :)

 Stirfry veggies

Obviously this doesn't have the protein in it, but it's easy enough to add some chicken or beef. Some nights, usually when I'm hungrier than normal I find it more filling to have a meal of veggies followed by an opti 'dessert (eg. gloopy pudding).
For the stirfy I combined capsicum, onion, cabbage, broccoli, beans, bean sprouts, garlic and carrot and added two tablespoons of soy sauce mixed with a teaspoon of crushed garlic, a dash of lemon juice and a sprinkle of powdered chilli.
Very simple and easy and very yum.

Spaghetti Bog, Opti style!

I really miss my pasta dishes at the moment and if I had a first born child, I'd willingly trade it for a lasagna right now! But one must make do with what one is allowed and so I settled instead for spaghetti. The quantities for this can be increased or decreased depending on how many you're feeding, in this case it was enough for two large meals for my hubby and two meals for me. There was approximately 80gms of mince in each of my servings.

400gm lean beef mince
Large tin of diced tomatoes.
Six or seven cloves of garlic, crushed (yes, I like my garlic, you can put less in if you're a pussy)
Large dash of paprika
One large onion, chopped.
Cabbage, chopped into long strings.

In a saucepan, combine everything bar the mince and bring to boil, then allow to simmer for about 30-40 minutes. Brown mince in a fry pan and then add sauce.
In a separate pan heat a little garlic oil (or plain oil if you're a pussy) and then saute the cabbage. Use cabbage in place of pasta and enjoy!

 Garlic salted chicken with seasoned veggies

So I like garlic, so what? Go judge someone else :P

This delicious dish is so simple to make and I must admit, I lived on it for the first five or so days of opti. I also find an extra piece of chicken is lovely cold, cut up on a salad for my real meal the following day.

'Palm sized' piece of chicken, schnitzel thickness (thinness?) is good 
'Free' veggies - I used carrot, beans and broccoli
Garden Fresh Vege-Spice - a little hard to find, I think I finally found it in a Coles somewhere near the spices/stock cubes
Garlic Salt - also found in the herb and spice section

Rub garlic salt onto both sides of chicken. Heat a small amount of garlic oil (or normal oil if, you know the drill by now, you're a pussy) over low to medium heat and cook chicken. Cook chicken slowly or you'll just end up burning the garlic salt on the outside and have raw chicken on the inside and end up with some nasty tummy bug and an exploding arse.
Steam veggies and drain very well in colander. Once drained, sprinkle some Vege-Spice over veggies and shake thoroughly (a good idea to keep them in the colander whilst doing this or you'll end up with broccoli on top of your fridge and other inappropriate places).

Serve and enjoy. Nom nom nom

Another tip I've found useful to help break up the monotony of opti is to utilise flavoured essences. A couple of drops of peppermint essence added to an opti dessert makes it a choc mint delight as opposed to a gloopy chocolate pudding. Peppermint or orange essence also tarts up a choc shake and I've also used lime essence (with mixed results) with the vanilla shakes. Yet even the times it wasn't quite the right  amounts, it was still something different to the everyday flavour of the shakes. If you can't get coffee shakes at your local chemist, dissolve some coffee powder in a little cold water and add it to the vanilla shake (but be sure to use decaf if that's what your dietician has ordered. If this is the case Caffeinated Anonymous meets on Tues nights, come join us as we weep into our fake coffees).
You really have to experiment a bit. Yes, sometimes it won't work and you might waste a shake but for the times it does turn out, your taste buds will thank you for their flavour orgasm.

On a final note, sugar free mints are a must, if you're not a pussy. You know, for that garlic breath...

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Bye bye fluid

Yesterday morning marked one week on opti and time to do my 'first' weigh in. Of course, like most people who are serial dieters, I'm also a serial weigher and jump on the scales every bloody morning. Not healthy I know but I've given up food and caffeine, don't take this away from me too!

So last week I weighed in at 108.1kg and after 7 days on the VLCD  my scales were reading 103.3kg.
Now, let's be realistic shall we? A loss of 4.8kgs in a week is pretty much unheard of and far exceeds the recommended 'safe' loss of 1-2kg a week that most dieticians and doctors preach. And you know what? I haven't lost 4.8kgs of fat. The majority of that change on the scales is my body getting rid of all the excess fluid it's been holding onto. To be sure, I was obviously holding the equivalent of Mundaring Weir and I'm glad to have shed it but what I lose in the following week I'll know is actual yucky fat.

The past two days I've started getting that gross taste in my mouth that signals my body has gone into Ketosis which means it's no longer using carbs as an energy source but is now burning the ample supply of fat I have. I'm quite aware that the scales won't drop as dramatically as they did the first week and if I can get to 102kg by my scales by the time I have my surgery, I will be stoked. I'd love to think that maybe I could crack the infamous 100kg mark before then but I really feel like that would be an unrealistic goal and then I'd just be crushed when I didn't make it.

I can't believe how quickly the time is going, in 10 days exactly I'll be on the operating table. I'm getting so excited and am really looking forward to being on the sleeved side. 10 days and my life begins again!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

My head is going to explode

So the opti stage is going much better than I anticipated. It's not easy by any means but I think the fact that there is an end in sight and there is a purpose behind it (besides losing weight) has made it easier to stick to it. It's not just a fad diet or a quick fix because I'm feeling shite about myself.It's for liver shrinkage baby!
Having said that, I'm only four days out. It's still early days. As a serial dieter, we all know how this normally ends. If I was good at dieting, I wouldn't be needing the surgery. So in the back of mind there's always this nagging little thought 'When are you going to slip up and cheat?'

I started on Saturday and I went straight onto the 'intensive' phase, meaning I replace all three meals with an opti product and can also have 2+ cups of non starchy veggies a day. I must admit the first couple of days were a real struggle. I was hungry all the time and I was drinking so much water I was running to the loo every five seconds. When my hubby crunched into an apple after dinner one day I just wanted to throttle him and then pry that globe of green, juicy goodness from his cold, dead hands!

On Tuesday morning I had an appointment with Jess, one of the dieticians at Dr D's office. She was so nice and very helpful and spent a good hour and a bit with me. We started by going over my history, the issues I've had in the past with my weight, we discussed in depths my eating disorders. She also asked about what I would eat over the course of a typical day. Do I skip meals? Is there anything I feel I'm addicted too (I'm looking at you Coke Zero!). What causes me to binge? Very thorough to be honest.

Once she had gotten an idea of what my habits were, we moved onto the pre-op diet. Apparently I was being too strict on opti and had a little more leeway. I only have to replace two meals with an opti product and the other one I'm allowed a palm sized piece of protein or two eggs. That, as well as the veggies makes it a little easier to follow. Then she dropped the bombshell on me. No caffeine.

I'll pause here for that to sink in. No coffee.

I'm two days caffeine free now and my head is absolutely pounding. And it has been since yesterday afternoon! Last night I was so irritable that I threw a wobbly that would put a toddler to shame. My poor long suffering hubby is most likely questioning his decision to commit to a lifetime with me. I really wish I'd known sooner that I'd have to kick the caffeine (for those of you wondering why, caffeine inhibits the shrinkage of the liver and if your liver is too big and 'buttery' then they can't clamp it far enough out of the way and it will get knocked about during surgery) because if I did know, I would have weaned myself off it rather than go cold turkey.

We then moved onto the first four weeks post-op. Jess was very adamant that I needed to listen to my body very carefully afterwards. They give rough guidelines - two weeks on thin fluids, then a week of puree and finally a week of soft foods transitioning to normal food. However, depending on how my body heals, I can either move quicker through the stages or stay on them longer. If I start to feel hungry after a week on thin fluids, my body is telling me it's time to move onto more substantial food.

The one thing I really appreciated was when she told me that the pre-op diet would be the last diet I'd ever go on and afterwards I was to rip up the paper outlining it and never look at it again. Once I'm on the sleeved side I'm to give my body what it needs ( 2-3 serves of protein, 2 serves of veggies, 1 serve  of fruit, cereal and dairy) and then afterwards if I want chocolate or something else, I can have it without the guilt because my body has already gotten what it needs. Obviously my new tummy will be much smaller and so I might only manage one square of choccie, but the important thing is there should be no guilt!

I found the appointment really useful, I got some good tips (I've already ordered the Nutristart pack from that comes with some plates and vitamins and a guide to eating after WLS) but more of all, I came out very hopeful. I've tried and failed so many times to lose weight and in the back of my head there's that nagging thought that this is going to fail as well. Jess really made me believe that it is possible, I can lose this weight and I can keep it off but most importantly, I can become healthy. She told me that she would prefer if I was a fit size 14 than an unhealthy and sickly 55kgs. She set a rough weight goal for me of 70-75kgs but ultimately she'd prefer me to aim for a size 14.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

The first day of the two weeks before the first day of the rest of my life

Ok, so a little longer than two weeks, but 'The first day of the two weeks and three and a half days before the first day of the rest of my life' is taking things to a new height of silly.

But I digress. So, first day of opti today, my final personal weigh in (the weight I'll be going by as my scales will be used more often than the surgeon's), measurement day and also 'before' photo day.

Busy huh?

How bout I break down my stats for you? Because I know most of you are here for support but I'm sure there's one or two people here simply because they have a fat fetish and we may as well get them finished so we can read the rest of this post without them breathing heavily in the background.

Waist - 111cm
Hips (around belly button) 132cm
Under bust - 102cm
Over boobs - 125cm (I did the two measurements as I'm very booby and I'll lose weight from there for sure but most of the weight from that area will be from my back boobs)
Thighs (R) - 66cm
Upper arm (R) - 43cm

These figures were very scary to me but nothing freaked me out as much as my 'before' photos. My hubby took them for me and when I saw them I shrieked and asked him how he could possibly still be sexually attracted to me. He rolled his eyes, huffed and walked out of the room because he's sick of justifying his love for me and I went back to freaking out. I know that at least I'm taking steps to correct the situation but it was a huge shock to me and led me to the decision that you won't get to see my before photos until I have a progress shot to compare it to.

I've been shopping, am fully stocked up on opti, have lots of salad for my lunches and am making veggie soup to get me through the first few days of dinners. I'm sure I'll get bored of that before long but let's just deal with one day at a time shall we? I also have emergency diet jelly in the fridge and some caffeine free diet coke.

I also have a plan of attack in place to help stop me from binge eating and ruining everything. I am moving into the study! My husband is a computer nerd and spends the majority of his time at home in the study on his computer, so I shall be joining him. I know that I will be far less tempted to cheat if I have a witness but we'll see how long he can put up with me!

I'll check back in later in the week and let you all know how I'm going :)

Sunday, 2 June 2013

T minus 24 days and counting

Yesterday I went and had my pre-op blood tests done. I almost choked when the nice lady pulled out 10 vials ready to be filled. Ten! That's a shit load of blood! Perhaps Doctor Dolan is secretly a vampire?

It was a very interesting procedure. After assuring the lady I wouldn't faint I watched her take all the blood and then mark one to be frozen and then wrap one in foil. They're testing my vitamin and mineral levels and apparently some of the tests require quite specific instructions. I also had to fast for 12 hours prior so they could check my cholesterol levels and I also had to fill out a thyroid questionnaire. The lady called it 'The Doctor Dolan special'. Apparently quite a few of us from his fan club frequent this pathologist.

The results should be back in time for my dietician appointment Tuesday week. That way if any of my levels are low we can start to correct that before the operation.

This weekend is my last weekend of 'freedom'. In order to shrink the liver to give the surgeon the best possible access to the stomach, most people have to follow a very low calorie shake diet for a certain period of time before the op. Even though I won't have to start the opti shakes until I see the dietician, I'm going to get a head start with them and commence next Saturday. The weekend before my op I'm going out for dinner with my old workmates and want to be able to have a proper meal with them so I figure if I start a few days earlier that will make up for the lapse.
I haven't been going as crazy as I thought I would this weekend, but perhaps that's because I got my operation date so long ago that my 'food funeral' has been dragging on for months. I did tell my hubby that we're going to have pizza at some stage over the WA Day long weekend but other than snacking on a bit of chocolate, I haven't been stuffing my face like I thought I would.

Next Saturday morning I'll do my first weigh in of this journey, take measurements and also pre-op photos. And then I'll be on my way to the sleeved side! Can't wait!