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My Scottish vegan journey to sleeve gastrectomy and beyond :D

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AlbaGuBrath

I started my pre-op diet today which, in Scotland, means 70g of protein, 30g of carbs and between 800-1000 calories a day for 10 days. 

I was told that there was nothing in place that would support a vegan lifestyle as all current plans are very meat heavy. My dietician was happy to let me try and make a vegan menu that fitted the bill and then trial it for a few days before embarking on it properly so she could check that it was nutritionally good...it took me hours of research and planning, but I did it and I submitted my full eating diary to her.

I got this back today...

"You have done extremely well here in making a vegan diet low in carbohydrates.  On the face of it, this seems very good.  I will put through the computer to analyse a couple of days if that's OK to just be certain, but this is terrific. 

 

Are you about this evening to have a quick chat.  This gives me the chance to put it into the nutritional analysis programme for assurance.  On the face of it, it looks excellent, well done"

 

Just off the phone and she has given me a big fat 2 thumbs up and was so positive and full of thanks for having 'taught her a huge amount'...she will be telling my surgeon and advising to him that  patients who are vegetarian or vegan are put in touch with me for support!! I came in at an average of 28g carbs, 74g protein and 850 calories daily. 

 

It may not seem like much, but for me...having this drive and focus about the positive eating is making me feel so confident in my stamina for after-op eating and not resorting to lazy processed foods. 

 

Also...who doesn't love getting a 'well done'?!

 

 

 

AlbaGuBrath

A fortnight today and I'll be needing everyone to shove up on the losers bench to make room for me 

I followed my pre-pre op diet for 3 days and sent what I had eaten through to the dietician...got the thumbs up that my vegan plan was spot on, so I'll stick with similar and maybe make some seitan for a different texture if I feel I need it. I'm so relieved as I was anticipating a bit of a battle to stick to my eating choices with low carb so readily found in meat, but she seems genuinely interested and excited in learning about different ways which is great!

Pre assessment was today and I met with the anaesthetist, nurses and physiotherapist. Apparently I am super low risk which is a relief to hear...I feel a bit sorry for my poor old body that it is working so hard to be healthy in spite of my hideously bad eating habits and weight...ah well, in a fortnight it will get its apology and its life will become so much easier! 

Bloods done (what a mess my arm is after...i've never had that before!), ECG done, a million questions answered, MRSA tests done, weight done (I've been the same for about 2 months now...why am I great at maintaining but exclusively when overweight),  physiotherapy common sense information given, but most of all a good confidence boost has been delivered.

I went in an anxiety fuelled mess ready to tell them to forget it...and came out laughing, positive and confident in the team looking after me. I have officially progressed from dread to scared excited...that is a very important thing to have happened. 

Going in on my own on the day of the operation...train from home at 1007, admitted 1145, operation 1330 chuffed to be first in line!! 

 

AlbaGuBrath

Que sera sera

The past few days, I have mostly been obsessively looking at operation mortality rates (yes, low...but 1:1000 for an elective surgery) and flipping out about why I am even doing this. Just stop eating crap forever without an operation...if it were only that simple.

Not aided by finding a post here from a grieving mother whose daughter died during surgery...I just have to keep digging to the pit of my soul and finding the logical statictitian in me that says...even with the risks associated, I am likely one of the lower risk people having the surgery and focus as hard as I can on the projected benefits. Making plans for the next year when I get thinner and healthier...having a skin bin list of things I want to do which weight has stopped me from thus far in life  and really trying to switch off the naggy niggly voice inside my head that is making me wobble. 

I am categorically having the surgery, I will make my next 3 weeks far more bearable if I can just accept that my decision is made and stop trying to overthink everything!

AlbaGuBrath

Double thumbs up from the psychiatrist and dietician for the go-ahead!

I felt the psychiatrist appointment was a bit of a tick in the box essential...nothing gained at either end I don't think...

The dietician was great and really enthusiastic to learn about the vegan lifestyle and foods which I would be having...she has never had anyone on a plant diet having bariatric surgery, so it's all new for her. She was really surprised at the ability to eat very low carb and high protein as required...thank goodness for me having done TONS of homework beforehand, so had all the info at my fingertips. She was especially pleased with the pea protein isolate I had found which has less that 1g of carbs and a whopping 82g of protein per 100g.

Because this is unchartered territory for her, I have to do a 4 day pre-pre op to ensure my carb intake will be low enough for the pre-op stage which will begin 10 days before surgery. 

Thankfully, it seems that the foods I should be eating pre-op are all things I eat and enjoy already...seems ridiculous that I am so heavy that I need surgery to weight manage. 

I will be adding photos of the information sheets I was given about diet pre and post operation. They are shockingly basic and I am not surprised that people regain weight through poor choices with that as their sole source of info. Thank goodness for the learning and wake-up calls I have had on here!

AlbaGuBrath

I'm thinking of all the questions I want to ask the dietician tomorrow...I wish I had written down the millions of them which have pinged into my head the past few weeks as I thought of them!!
I have done loads of homework on post-op eating under a plant diet and have a comprehensive list of protein sources etc to run past her. I am the first vegan my surgeon has dealt with in Aberdeen, so I'll be interested to see if they have some tailored paperwork or if it will be a generic meat-based one. 
I had a great long blether about all my thoughts of the operation with my partner on Sunday...He is away 2 days before I go in for the op  and not back until a month after. He was just home at the weekend from his last month away and I was in dire need of some proper adult conversation about it with someone I could be completely open with. It really helped to clear my head and shift focus back onto the positives :) 
I am starting to get excited about all the activities, clothes options and fitness options I will be in amongst when weight starts to properly shed off. Roll on tomorrow when I can get the last 2 thumbs up needed to crack on and get this done!

AlbaGuBrath

I never thought when I decided to go for the sleeve that I would have such a journey of learning. So much information to digest, so many tips and so much amazing advice for how to make the most of this opportunity to take the reins and sort my weight once and for all.

Things are very different in Scotland (probably across the UK, but our health service is different to England, Wales and NI so I'm not sure) than in the other countries which I am reading experiences from. I'm going privately for the procedure, so have avoided the extrapolated jumping through hoops required to make the very specific criteria required by the NHS to qualify for surgery. 

I self referred, have met with Duff Bruce, my surgeon, and have appointments on the 23rd with the dietician and psychiatrist before heading in for the operation on the 20th September. I know from a friend who had the surgery that I will be requested to follow a carb free diet for a week before surgery, but I plan on doing a (shortened version) reversal of the post-op diet for that week and go to thick liquids for 4 days and clears for 3 so I am prepared for what I am coming out to. 

I want to be a police officer...I've always wanted to be a police officer so I called the recruitment centre today and have my weight and fitness requirements to apply. The knowledge that this is about to become an achievable goal has lit a fire in me and given me a determination level which I haven't felt in many years. Great too as the focus of knowing where i need to be physically will make a big difference to my post-op exercise and eating programme. 

I am educating myself as much as I can to ensure I give myself the best opportunity for success. This site is by far my favourite for information, advice and inspiration. I read a wonderful thread yesterday about the honeymoon period...what an eye opener that was for me and it completely changed my thinking of that post-op period and how to best manage myself for long term future success. 

excited for the journey ahead :)

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