Sunday, 7 July 2013

One month down

Yesterday marked the four weeks from when I started on opti, the point at which I feel I really started on this journey. There's been a few hiccups along the way but all in all I'm feeling really good about my travels so far. I did a weigh in and measurements yesterday and have had some amazing results. I'm not going to be one of those people who lose 30kgs in six weeks, I know my journey will be slower than that. My starting weight was towards the lower end of those who have this surgery done and so I can't expect to lose everything I have to lose in a matter of weeks. As long as the scales are heading in the downward direction, I'm happy.

Weight - 98.0kg (loss of 10.1kg)
Waist - 104cm (loss of 7cm)
Hips - 127cm (loss of 5cm)
Under Bust - 96cm (loss of 6cm)
Over Boobs - 119cm (loss of 6cm)
Thigh (R) - 62cm (loss of 4cm)
Arm (R) - 40cm (loss of 3cm)

Gotta be happy with that huh?

Now, I've been told that some people find this blog to be rather funny and entertaining and I'm worried that this post will be a little too prosaic for them. In an attempt to remedy this, I present the following photo.

 Moving on...

So, yeah, pus. I've had to deal with so much pus! As far as post op complications go, this one is pretty common and if you catch it early, like I did, it's not a huge deal. Apart from the pus obviously. Cos that shit makes itself a big deal!
I was really lucky that my post op follow up was scheduled almost a week earlier than it would normally have been because Dr D got tired of removing tummys and was going on holiday. I'd gone to see a GP the day before (this was last Tuesday when I removed the final dressing and discovered a volcanic lump under my main incision site which was bright red. That plus the green ooze on the steristrips and the pain left me in no doubt what was going on) and I was put on antibiotics. I went and saw Dr D and the first thing he did was get a giant needle which was attached to an even bigger syringe, jab it into Mt Vesuvius and start drawing out as much of the inner disgustingness as he could. He warned me that what was inside would try to get out (a little like the chest burster from Alien), prescribed me some horse tablets and told me to come back the Monday he got back.

Speaking of horse tablets, please enjoy the winning entry from 'A Song for Ireland '96' My Lovely Horse, by Father Ted Crilly and Father Dougal McGuire! 

While I was with Dr D, he also told me the results from my pre-op blood tests. My cholesterol was a smidge high at 4.9, which left me surprised as I thought it would be much worse. My vitamin D levels are rather low, sitting at 27 when they should be over 50 on whatever scale they use to measure vitamin D and so I've been put onto supplements. Everything else was fine apart from my fasting sugar levels. I can't remember what they were but they were rather high and show a level of insulin resistance. This can lead to Type 2 Diabetes and this one fact, for me, completely justifies this entire operation.  I would much rather get on top of all this stuff now, and live a longer, healthier life, than to have to deal with the consequences down the track.

Someone who wont be getting diabetes is Charlie the Unicorn who went on an adventure to Candy Mountain. 

I've moved onto soft foods now and am slowly transitioning to more solid foods. I'm having scrambled egg, baked beans, yoghurt, mince dishes (bolognese and savoury mince), cruskits, quiche and today I even had one and half chicken tenderloins from Nandos. I'm trying to make sure I have protein at every opportunity and I have some flavourless protein powder that I've been adding to milk to use in my hot beverages. I've also bought some small protein bars to keep at work when I go back so I have something there I can snack on. I'm trying really hard to make sure I eat something little every two hours which is hard sometimes especially when I'm not feeling hungry. I have found though that since I'm having real food, not just liquids that I'm actually feeling hungry now. I guess my metabolism has risen from the dead.

I am finding that I tire very easily now and if I go out somewhere after a couple of hours I'm exhausted. I have one more week off work and I'm hoping that I find some more energy between now and when I'm back. It takes me about forty minutes to drive home from work and I really don't want to fall asleep on the way home! 

I'll keep you all posted on how I go. I shall leave you with one of my favourite Julian Smith videos. Just cos he's funny. Ciao. 

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

It's a Post-Op Infection and only A-Listers are invited!

Welcome to the social event of the post-op calendar! Almost a week of festivities with all your favourite stars along for the ride!
Severe Pain showed up early to the event and partied hard in her towering stilettos, stomping the dance floor from dusk till dawn. Arriving shortly afterwards, and joined at the hip were Giant Tennis Ball Sized Lump and Red Red Skin. These two canoodled together so much that insiders are already touting them as the new 'It' couple.
The science geeks who are so hot right now, Antibiotics, arrived mid festival. This group has always been known for their ability to improve any party, mainly due to their sexy science secrets and interest in the group has risen to an all time level. The blogosphere was awash with reports that almost directly after their arrival, the daring diva Severe Pain tried hooking up with one of their members. ThisIsSoLame wrote ' Severe Pain was so into AB1, it was obvious to everyone there. But he showed absolutely no interest and eventually had to tell her straight that nothing was gonna happen. SP was totally embarrassed and mad and she left in a huff!'
Hip Hop group Ewww Gross arrived amidst increased paparazzi activity as they are well known for causing trouble at events such as this. They lay low for a short period but it wasn't long until they clashed with event security company Giant Mother Fucking Syringe. Three of their members, Pus, More Pus and Holy Shit How Much Pus Can There Be, were ejected from the event, however Lurking Pus and Could be Swelling Not Pus were allowed to stay. At this point Horse Sized Antibiotic had arrived and calmed everyone down.
There are still several days of this festival left, stay tuned to hear all the latest goss about your fave celebs.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Scarlet gets sleeved!

Six days post op today and yes, I realise I'm a lazy cow for not blogging before now. How dare me! I shall give myself twenty lashings but perhaps I'll do it after this post so I can still type. Is that ok with you? It is? Splendid!

So, last Tuesday I was up and about very early for a 6:30am admission at Glengarry Hospital. It didn't take long to be admitted, have my stats taken and see the anesthetist; before I knew it, it was 7:45am and I said goodbye to my hubby and was wheeled down into surgery. I remember having the oxygen mask put on me and that's about it! According to my surgeon I was chatting away to him but I don't remember any of that. Apparently I didn't say anything embarrassing so that's always a plus!

I'm not sure when I first remember being really conscious after the op. My sister had come down to keep Christian company and she said I kept waking up, would apologise for being boring and then go back to sleep. I always remember how hard it is to wake up after an anesthetic though; you hear someone saying your name and asking you to wake up and it's so hard. You just want to sleep but you have to keep swimming out of it to talk to a nurse and then you sink like a stone back into the depths of sleep.

I remember I needed to get up to pee at some stage and I went to stand up and promptly started to fall on my arse. I refused the indignity of having a bedpan bought to me and instead chose to hold it. Barb had been telling me that I really looked like a zombie (as opposed to a zombie hunter) but I didn't understand what she meant until I managed to shuffle to the loo a short while later. It wasn't the numerous IVs, drains and oxygen attachments that made me look like one of the walking dead, it was more the fact that I had dark rings under my eyes and my mouth was completely stained blue! During surgery I had either savagely killed and eaten a smurf or they had poured blue dye down my throat to check for leaks.

My money is on the smurf massacre...

So, what should you expect in hospital after being sleeved? After surgery you are nil by mouth until usually the following day when you have your barium swallow done. You will be hooked up to an IV to keep you hydrated but they also gave me two little cups of goodness which helped so much. One contained a lip balm type substance for my lips (duh) and the other was a gel that I could swoosh around inside my mouth to keep my mouth wet.
For the first day I was on oxygen and was hooked up to the BP, O2 and heart rate monitor all the time. That stupid machine kept beeping at me because it gets grumpy if your heart rate drops below 50bpm. Barb told me that when I was still unconscious it threw a right spak because I dropped down to 30bpm.
I also had a lovely drain in the whole time I was there which makes trips to the loo very fun as you have to juggle not only your IV stand but also a plastic container slowly filling with the dripping goodness of your innards. Funnily enough, no one ate around me...
I wore the very fashionable TED stockings the entire time and also had Vena Press compression wraps on too. These would alternately blow up and deflate to simulate walking which helps reduce DVTs when you're stationary for such long periods.
I had a chest cannula inserted for administering of injections although this was rarely used. I think they used it for morphine once or twice but the majority of the time pain meds and anti nausea meds were administered via my IV or by a shot to my arse.

The first day I was very tired and couldn't stay awake for long periods of time which made me a delightful companion. I did find however that one of the affects of anesthetic is very much like motion sickness. That night I would be fine when in bed but once I got up to go to the loo (they really pump you full of fluids and IV or not, you still gotta pee them out!) by the time I got back to bed I would be feeling so sick. I don't know how many sick bags I went through that night but the night nurse took to calling my and my roommate (we both had the sleeve done) the Barfing Duo. RM would start heaving so I would call the nurse for her and then I would start vomiting and she would call the nurse for me. We were told we were the nicest patients there and really looked out for each other!
One thing I didn't consider would be what I was barfing up. Obviously my tummy had been cut open and stapled shut and most blood gets sucked out during the op but a fair amount of it stays in your tummy. Barfing up blood all night is not at all attractive, especially as it's a blue black colour thanks to the smurfs. If I had a craving for brains I would seriously have thought I'd not had my tummy removed but had the zombie virus injected into me!

It was a long and restless night but the following day we were told we were going for our barium swallow earlier than expected. The thought of being able to sip on water was divine and I promptly threw up.
The radiology place was opposite the hospital but for insurance purposes we weren't allowed to be wheeled across the road, we had to go via taxi. Our IVs were disconnected and we were given cute little bags to pack our drain bottles into so we wouldn't scare the locals. Dressing for the occasion was out of the questions so off we went into our jarmies, dressing gowns and fluffy slippers. I was given an anti nausea shot before I left but man, the motion sickness feeling got a lot worse when in a moving vehicle. I managed to not ruin the nice taxi man's cab, however I did end up using my sick bag whilst in the waiting room. If it came to it, I always had my drain bag as a backup...

The barium swallow was a very quick procedure. You squeeze behind an xray plate (um hello, fat people have this op done, most of us can't fit through that tiny gap!) and then they make you take a mouthful of this horrid chalky aniseed flavoured stuff and then hold it in your mouth, just to saturate your taste buds. Once the full torturous effect is felt, then you have to swallow. As thirsty as you are, trust me, this does not help! I had to do this four times and the third and fourth times I got to watch which was pretty cool. The braium goes down your esophagus and within five seconds it's through your new tummy and into your upper bowel. It's crazy quick!

Once we got the results back, we could start sipping on water. So we waited. Every time the nurse came in we would ask if they were back. Radiology faxed back the OK but we had to wait for Dr D to sign off on it. So we waited. And waited some more. Damn surgeons operating on other people! By 5pm that night the head nurse made the executive decision to allow us to have some water. And it was glorious! In teeny tiny amounts. As thirsty as we'd been, we had to take it very slowly.

The following night I was only sick once or twice which was a huge improvement. I slept a little better but I was totally over the hospital bed. Damn those things are uncomfortable! My back was killing me. Of course that could also have been the residual gas. Wait, I haven;t mentioned that yet, have I? That stuff is a bitch! It just wallows around inside your cavity, causing pain and taking it's sweet arse time being absorbed. It's favourite hiding place was up under my diaphragm and across my shoulder blades, not so much the shoulder tips as everyone warned me about.
At 7am the next morning we were rudely awoken by Dr D coming to do his rounds. My irritability of being blinded by every light in the room being turned on at once (he's an awesome surgeon but he has the bedside manner of a gnat) was quickly subdued by his words 'You're doing well, if you want to stay in another night you can but I'm more than happy to send you home today'.


I was on the first train outta there! I could not spend another minute more than I really had to in that uncomfortable bed! I had my dressings changed and went through the awfully weird sensation of having my drain removed and I was ready to go!
Christian came and picked me up and then dropped me off at home before heading out to pick me up some juice for me. I sipped on apple juice that morning and then had some V8 juice that night. Man was it good to be home.

Since then I've been recovering well. I'm still very sore and tender around my incision sites but that wasn't helped by me crouching down suddenly when I was walking with a friend's little boy holding my hand and he fell over. It was instinctive but damn, it hurt! I've been having Up&Gos, V8 juice, some runny egg custard Barb made me and a little strained Cup-a-Soup but yesterday that just didn't feel like enough. My dietician told me that when I started getting the urge to eat more solid foods, I could give it a try. It wouldn't be a 'hungry' feeling but it would be similar and it's my body's way of telling me I've healed enough and it wants to move on. So yesterday I had some Chobani yoghurt for lunch and that was fine and for dinner I had a few teaspoons of mashed potato. I'm still going to take it slow but over the next couple of days I'll see how I go and might even have some scrambled egg.

I'm seeing Dr D for my followup appointment on Wednesday so I'll keep you all posted as to how that goes.