Surgery review — okay, this is gonna be brief…

I can’t believe how long it’s taken me to be in the mood to want to write this…And even now, I’m not really. But I do want to get out some details before everything becomes a hazy memory.

Surgery was Thursday, June 8 — as of that morning, I was at 340.4lbs, which is a total pre-surgery weight loss of 60.3lbs. While I’m proud of that, I really can’t believe I lost so little weight on the liquid diet pre-surgery. And just before I forget, I weighed myself on my first day home, and I was 345.3lbs, but that’s to be expected.

Honestly, I wasn’t nearly as nervous as I anticipated being before surgery. Dr. Toder assured me I didn’t need a catheter, and the nurse agreed to put my IV in my forearm instead of in my hand, so I was happy as a clam. I figured when I had to lay out on the operating table that I’d get a little heavy-chested and lightheaded, but I didn’t… I think I was just ready. Before I knew it I was waking up! I got to see my mom in the PACU, but my blood pressure shot up so they only allowed her to stay a few minutes. Within about 30mins I was up in my room, and pretty much totally aware about an hour out of surgery. My first crack to my mom was, “So… Am I skinny yet?” Why am I not surprised? 😛

Thursday was some walking — way easier than anticipated! — and napping. I had pain meds a couple of times but the worst pain was my lower back and my headache. I was dying for some water though! I wasn’t allowed anything til Friday morning, and even then the CNA gave me ice water (a no-no, apparently) — it made my stomach spasm and I just went back to sleep to deal with the pain. When I woke up again around 8, the nurse brought me room-temperature water, which went down WAY smoother! Lots of walking on Friday, and I believe Friday morning was my last pain meds, aside from Tylenol for my headache. Sometime Friday night my IV stopped functioning properly, so they had to switch it to my hand… Now, I’m a big ol’ baby and cried. I have some sort of phobia around having needles in my body, and the fact that it was in my hand sent me over the edge. Thank jeebus for my work wife, she was probably the only thing that saved me from having a real panic attack. ❤

Saturday morning it was time for the shake! I got about 2ish ounces down before I couldn’t take anymore, but it settled fine. I was out of the hospital and home by 11:30am!

This is probably super boring, but honestly since being home I’m just exhausted. Perhaps it’s the negligible calories (seriously — Sunday was 2oz protein shake, Monday was 3tbsp yogurt, and today was a record high of a full yogurt and some jello) and just my body needing to heal. Either way, my mood has been crummy ever since coming home. I just can’t wait to feel normal again! I know it’ll happen, and I feel progression every day, but it’s such a strange feeling to feel so incapacitated after feeling so good just days ago.

Below you’ll find some pictures — might be too graphic for some, but here are my incisions. I am so willing to answer questions, I just can’t formulate a good post right now… feel free to ask away! 🙂

Less than 12 hours out…

My surgery is tomorrow morning! I am so so soooo beyond excited. I feel like I’ve been waiting for this for ages, even though in reality the real prep for this has only been about ten months long. But I feel like it’s a step in the direction of a solution for a life-long problem, and a step I am incredibly ready for!


Today has been so weird. I was a grumpass all day because my weight has been stuck for a couple of days at 343, a pound and a half increase from my lowest weight so far. That’s only about ten pounds of weight lost in two weeks of a liquid-only diet that I stuck to like a damn champ. But that’s a conversation for another day…

This evening my cousin and I went on a long drive, and it was such a great stress-relief. We laughed and listened to music and saw all kinds of beautiful things along the way. It really was an awesome way to finish out an otherwise kind of stressful day.

In prep for surgery, tonight they had me shower with a wash (essential Hibiclens) all over, and I have to do it again in the morning! A little weird but… the soap leaves you smelling like a brand-new baby! It’s so great — I loveee this smell!

Tomorrow I’m getting up at 6, showering, throwing the last few things in my bag and packing up my CPAP machine, meeting my mom to do some car shuffling, and then we head to the hospital. 8am check-in and preparation for surgery, and a 10am start time. I’ve been told the surgery is about 1.5-2hrs, and then I’ll be in recovery for an hour or two coming out of anesthesia. Then some more big challenges… but I hope to write more when I’m at the hospital, so we’ll leave that for then.

See ya on the other side, guys! EEK!

One week away!

Today is Day 7 of the two-week liquid diet pre-surgery. It is definitely not the easiest thing I’ve ever done, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t tolerable! Don’t get me wrong I want pizza and Doritos and Cheez-it’s, but I can be around other people eating food and be okay. I can happily enjoy the yummier things, like miso soup and yogurt. And the  best part is — results! As of this morning, I was down just under 10lbs. I’m pumped. I can’t believe surgery is this close. Finally. And I’m damn proud of myself. I can’t remember the last time I said that… so this feels good! 🎊

Dreams suck.

I had a dream that I was the last to find out that Nan had died… no one bothered to tell me until the funeral preparations began, and it was accidental — I found out when someone asked me which photos of her I thought she would prefer. In my dream, I fell to my knees and lost it. I woke up and cried. Too similar to the day she died… when I arrived at the hospital, she has just gone. I never got to say goodbye. I wasn’t there when she died. She’d been there for me my whole fucking life and I wasn’t there when she died. How was I supposed to know not to go to work that day… I was planning on the fact that I would need to take days off down the road for her recovery — taking her to appointments when her sisters went home, having bad days where she just needed someone at home. I didn’t know she was dying that day.  Why the fuck did I even go to work?! I should have been there with her. I’d have rather been there and held onto her as she left, than running up four flights of stairs only to find my entire family sobbing. 


I know it’s selfish of me. She’s not hurting anymore. If some form of the afterlife is real, she’s with people she loved now — Bubba, Nana Homa, Allan. But it doesn’t change the fact that I fucking miss her. I just want to hear her voice again, I don’t even care if it’s just to tell me to clean my apartment. I can’t believe how much has changed in the little over one year since she’s been gone. I thought thinking of her would be easier by now, that I could think of her and just be happy with the memories. Usually, I guess, I can kind of force myself into that mentality. But today I’m still pissed off and feel like there’s a giant fucking hole in my life where she used to be. And I feel so shitty that I wasn’t there for her the way she was always there for me. 

Here we go…

Today is Day #1 of my 14-day liquid diet pre-surgery. I’m so pumped, and a teensy bit nervous… I’ve done full-liquid days, and they were fine, but can I manage two weeks? I’ve got the self control of a two-year-old, so I worry about saying no and avoiding mindlessly eating. I’ve got tons of protein shakes (Premier Protein, if you’re curious — I enjoy them, no weird whey taste that many others have), low-sodium broth, lots of yogurt, and I need to pick up some jello and low-sodium cream soups soon. I hope there’s enough variety in there that I’ll be okay and make it through. There’s of course a bbq this weekend at my aunt’s house, who is a notoriously amazing cook… Fingers crossed, please!

I’ve been eating like CRAP since I found out my surgery date. Last night we had a celebratory ‘last meal’, and I’m honestly so glad to be doing liquids today. My body is revolting — a few breakouts on my face, upset belly, frequent bathroom breaks, lol. It’ll be nice to have a reset of sorts. I got on the scale this morning and it had crept back up to 352.6, but I’m not worried about it. According to legend, these next two weeks should be drastic in the weight loss department! 🙂
PM update: All is well!

A DATE HAS BEEN SET!

JUNE 8, 2017


Holy fucking hell. At 8:42 this morning the scheduler from Dr. Toder’s office called and told me insurance had approved my surgery, and that June 8 was the first available date! To think, I just called two days ago and they said the insurance approval could take up to thirty days, and today I found out I will be having surgery in less than three weeks. Holy shit.

To say I was excited is an understatement — I got super emotional. My ‘work wife’ came in and congratulated me, and I cried. This has been such a long road. August 1, 2016 was when I went to the doctor’s for the pain and numbness in my leg, and it was that date that I started researching bariatric surgery again. I met with my PCP later that month to get a referral to the EMCC surgical weight loss program, and here we are!

My nan would be so happy right now, so proud of me. I wish she were here to see this. I just want to talk about the whole thing with her. I can’t wait to see where my life is a year from now…

And it goes a little somethin’ like this…

I met with my surgeon last Tuesday, and then promptly got so busy I didn’t have a chance to post an update! My surgeon is Dr. Michelle Toder, at Eastern Maine Medical Center. I like her — she’s very no-nonsense, no side-stepping the issues, very upfront. She told me that this isn’t about making me comfortable, this is about me getting to live a full life. She repeatedly called me a baby (her words, lol) and asserted that I had so much life left to live if I just get the weight off. I could see how that might offend some, but I think it was just what I wanted (needed?) to hear. I don’t want a lazy doctor — I want my stomach to be as small as possible, and I want my goal weight to be as low as realistically possible. I don’t want to go through all of this to still be considered obese, or even overweight. I would love to be in a normal weight range. I want to run, I want to hike, I want to jump on someone’s back and not be afraid of hurting them.

 

Ugh, tangents… so good at them, lol.

 

Anyways — as of that morning (05/09/2017) I was down 50.7lbs! Holy Hannah. That’s a huge milestone I didn’t think I’d hit til after surgery! Dr. Toder told me several times how hard she knew I’d worked to get there, and that she was really impressed. It was a short meeting but I feel really good about the whole process. We did lab work that day, and she said as soon as my insurance says a-okay, we’re a go to set the date! She said they’re usually at about four weeks out, so hopefully in the next six-ish weeks I’ll be posting about how the surgery went! Fingers, toes and eyeballs all crossed!

 

On a different note — I graduated from SNHU this Saturday. I FINALLY — after ten years, two associates degrees, a thousand twists and turns — have my bachelor’s degree! I’m not finished yet, so it’s not that exciting, but at least now I’ll be working towards an advanced degree (masters in Higher Education Administration) that might actually open some doors for me, career-wise. The ceremony was really nice and HUGE and totally a special event, and I’m so glad my mom convinced me to go. We stayed at a hotel and went swimming, and my suit bottoms were literally falling off! I have no butt anymore! Why is it that the weight goes from the place I least want it to go from? Lol… oh well. This weekend was also super celebratory, and my healthy eating pretty much went by the wayside. Back on track now though! Definitely do not want to screw up so close to surgery. Full steam ahead!

HOLY CRAPOLY.

Okay, it’s been a hot minute. Time for some updates!

I’ve been using the BiPAP for about a month now. My AHI is consistently under 1.0 (besides the few days I was sick with a cold), which is a drastic improvement from the 163.1 it was for my sleep study! Don’t even get me started on that… Such a joke of a procedure. ANYWAYS. All is going well with the machine and mask, no issues or complaints really. Just a weird new addition to my life.

 

A couple weeks ago, I got very frustrated with the process and called my program coordinator. I love her, let me just put that out there. If you are in the central Maine area and are thinking of Eastern Maine Medical Center for your surgery, do it. Lynn Bolduc is the greatest coordinator… she gets it. She empathizes with those in the program and understands how hard this whole process is, not just the physical weight loss piece. She is encouraging and uplifting and GOSHDARNIT I just can’t say enough good things about her! Goodness I’m good at tangents today… Back to why I called her. I lost sight of the light at the end of the tunnel, and was worried about never actually getting to surgery. The nutritionist had told me I wouldn’t be able to see a surgeon until my BMI was at or below 60, a feat that seemed (still does!) impossible. I hadn’t stalled out, but my weight loss has definitely been slowing… I’ve been around a BMI of 65 for awhile. Lynn and I spoke about that and she said that if I got to 357 she would advocate for me to meet with the surgeon early. She said that if I met the goal at my next nutritionist appointment, my surgery would likely end up in early to mid June.

Well… I had my (SPOILER ALERT!) LAST appointment with my nutritionist today! I didn’t hit my goal… I was at 359.8lbs. I was feeling pretty dejected and made my appointment for one month from today to see her again. Ten minutes after I left, however, my phone rang and it was Lynn. She told me I continue to impress her, and she hadn’t expected I’d actually hit 357, she just wanted to motivate me to get there, and that I’d lost enough that she was totally comfortable referring me to the surgeon early! We talked dates and she told me my appointment would be anywhere between May 2-19, depending on scheduling issues. I heard from the surgeon’s scheduling lady a few hours ago, and I meet with Dr. Toder on May 9!! !!!

 

Assuming all goes well, my surgery isn’t far off. I’m only a little nervous… Mostly about my own issues with my body after losing weight, and not so much about the surgery itself. I’m sure as that draws closer I’ll fret about that too. But today I’m ecstatic… It was a good day. Thanks, Ice Cube.

 

Current home weight: 359.9lbs

Current office weight: 359.8lbs

Starting weight: 400.7lbs

Total weight lost: 40.9lbs

 

41

When it rains, it pours. Thank goodness it’s April…

It’s been a tough six weeks. I broke things off with my boyfriend of about a year and a half. I still love him dearly… I cry daily. But I had the realization that no matter how badly I wanted things between us to work out, they just never would. He would never ask me to marry him. He would never ask me to be a part of his family. Fuck, he never even asked me to consider moving closer to him when I had to move recently.

 

Speaking of which, I was essentially evicted from the apartment I’ve lived in for the past two-ish years. After my grandmother died, her husband allowed me to stay in the in-law apartment as I had been since May 2015. Fast-forward to the end of February, when I received a text message from him while at work, telling me I needed to find a new place ASAP. When I asked him to reconsider, to allow me to stay until after my surgery, he told me to be out in two weeks. So here I am, renting a $500 bedroom from a complete stranger.

 

Which brings us to Development #3: I’m moving to Pittsburgh. My best friend lives there, and already has a super cute little house. I’m hoping to transfer my job out there, since we have a ‘sister’ center just ten minutes from the house. The original plan was to move after surgery, but considering the fact that (Development #4) I’ve still got 30+ pounds to lose, isn’t happening fast enough. I can’t afford to stay here and pay out the nose for a room. I can’t mentally afford to stay in the same place, the same rut I’m in. I’m ready for my next adventure.

 

So now I’m working on essentially transferring my surgery out to Pittsburgh. There’s a great program really close to my future home, and I think that, so long as my insurance remains the same, I’ll be able to get my surgery much sooner than if I remained here in Maine.

 

Starting weight (~August 1, 2016): 400.7lbs

Goal weight (for BMI of 60.0): 333.5lbs

Current official weight (March 23, 2017): 365.9lbs

Current unofficial (home scale) weight: 362.0

Total weight lost: Between 34.8lbs and 38.7lbs

Left to lose: 32.4lbs to 28.5lbs

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