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A staggeringly honest and unrelentingly optimistic blog about obesity recovery.

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Kio

Starting month 4...

It's really hard to wrap my head around it, but today is the start of month 4 / end of month 3 after surgery!  Getting the business stuff out of the way...

Weight loss I was 355 when I started this process in April, 298 on surgery day, and I'm 251 today.  That's 57 lbs lost before surgery and 47 lost since - a total of 104 lbs down!  My monthly post surgery stats are:  M1: -17, M2: -14, M3: -16.  So I'm giving myself an A+ for the first quarter in the weight loss department.  :)  You November newbies reading this, take note - M2 is when I had my long stall, and I STILL lost a lot, and bounced back in M3.  So cut yourselves some slack!  I'm super excited about where I am right now.  I'll be under 250 soon and I haven't been there in over 10 years.

Vitamins:  I have generally done well with my vitamins, though I've recently had a rough patch - I'd say about a week and a half - where I've been doing very poorly with them. I'm working hard on getting back on track now. I give myself a B- on this part, because I absolutely know how important it is and I'm not letting it slide.. More on why I've been struggling in the next part...

Protein/Water:  This part has been super hard for about.... two or three weeks, I'd say.  And this is why I haven't been doing well with vitamins.  For a little while now, every time I put something in my mouth, there's about a 50/50 chance it's coming right back out.  Could be anything - vitamins, meds, a protein shake (diluted), or food of any variety - soft, puree, dense, whatever.  Honestly, at first I thought I had a stricture.  But I watched some videos online, and I'm pretty sure it's just that I'm eating too fast/too much. My evidence for this is that SOMETIMES things do go down!  I think if i had a stricture, it would be more all-or-nothing past a certain consistency.  But there are days when I can't get a protein shake down... but later I can eat ground beef.  It's just a toss-up (literally). 

And it's not about nausea - if it were, I'd be more worried.  I'm never nauseated.  I haven't had any nausea since surgery, except for one terrible tuna incident - and even then, the nausea hit WHILE I was already throwing up.  No, this is about starting to feel terrible in the pouch area, burping and hiccuping repeatedly, and finally needing to make myself throw up in order to be comfortable.  Which is imperative, because if I DON'T make myself throw up when this happens, it will be hours before I can eat or drink again.  And then I'm behind on my protein goals, behind on my water goals, behind on my vitamin goals... etc.   So this has been a pretty bad couple of weeks, and I'm pretty sure it's because I got cocky, and I hadn't been doing some basic things I needed to do:

1) Measuring carefully.  So what I've figured out is that for me, since I don't have any "full" signal until it's far too late, I needed to measure my food.  Not necessarily so I don't eat too many calories, because that is so not the issue, but because I can't eyeball the food and know for sure that it's not going to overload the pouch.  I know, for instance, that I can eat 4 oz of yogurt, but only just BARELY 2 oz of salmon.  And I need to measure those exactly using a scale, because if I eat even one bite too many, I'm losing the whole meal, and then everything deteriorates and chaos ensues on all fronts.

2) Stop beating my head against the wall. So, there's some stuff I can't eat!  And I just can't eat it.  It's not going to get better for a while, so I just need to stop trying. So far the things I've identified are tuna, chicken unless it is SUPER SUPER MOIST AND FRESH, packaged lunch meat, and any kind of protein shake at all.  Yeah - at this point I HAVE basically tried all the protein shakes there are, and something about them has stopped working for me.  I was fine with them in month one, but in month two they became hit or miss, and now they are just a solid miss every time.  And it's gotten to the point that I don't even want to look at them - they are sitting in my fridge, Leah swears she will drink them, but they make me feel ill every time I see them.  So if she doesn't drink them this month I'm going to get rid of them with or without her blessing.

3) Embrace what I CAN eat.  This was the hardest thing, because I'm not one of those lucky people who lost all interest in food after surgery.  I don't get physically hungry, ever - but I still do like food, and I like variety in my food.  However, there have been days that I've been reduced to nothing but yogurt and protein bars, and I am truly, truly tired of yogurt and protein bars.  Even the Oh Yeah/One bars, which are pretty good as far as protein bars go.  I have also had some pretty astonishingly low calories days over the past couple of weeks - in addition to low protein - so I've had to just suck it up and eat cheese and yogurt on some days.

The good news is, I'm actually getting the hang of it again.  I've had three days in a row now without throwing up even once, and I've been hitting my protein goals, and getting in 800-900 calories a day.  Now that the food situation has stabilized a bit, I'm getting my vitamins and water back on track, too. 

So here, for example, is what I'm eating lately: 

- Siggi's triple cream yogurt in various flavors - they come in 4 oz containers which is totally perfect for me right now.  Sometimes I add some granola.

- Carr's cheese melt crackers with gouda or swiss cheese on top - they're 8 carbs for 3 crackers, so I don't feel too bad about it if I only do it once a day.

- Salmon with butter/lemon/garlic, which is delicious.

- Shrimp with butter/lemon/garlic - thank you, all of you who suggested I give it a try, this is now a go-to meal for me!  I can eat 4 small shrimp at a time and they are lovely.

- Fairlife whole milk, generally 1 cup mixed with 1 cup of Starbucks blonde roast unsweetened cold brew coffee from the grocery store.  This is my protein shake replacement, and it's doing its work really well for me - I wouldn't be hitting my protein goals without it. 

- Oh Yeah / One bars.  My favorite is the almond bliss, but I also liked the seasonal pumpkin pie one I tried, and the maple donut one. 

- Quest Protein chips - these are actually kind of disgusting, but super easy for me to keep down.  The ones that work best are salt & vinegar, because the flavoring is strong enough to kill the basic taste of the protein chip.

- Sometimes chili - this doesn't always work for me, but I'm super happy when it does

- Pacific Organic Creamy Tomato Soup - I salt it a lot and add some greek yogurt, and it's delicious.

I've also eaten a few "off plan" things - a bite here and there.  Leah ordered chicken lo mein from my favorite chicken lo mein place a few nights ago, and I hate about two bites of it.  It was great, and I wasn't tempted to overeat it.  Mainly I ate the chicken and onions out of it, since that's what's best about it.  I bought a 75% dark chocolate bar with almonds last week and I've been eating one square per day.  I ate a corner of a roll at a work dinner the other day (probably the size of a quarter.) A few times when Leah has ordered out, I've stolen one or two of her mozzarella sticks - which are granted, 95% cheese, but also have some breading, so I don't know if they count as on-or-off plan.  I'm trying to walk a delicate line between feeling like I can't ever have nice things, and backsliding. For what it's worth, I'm still keeping extremely low carb with just an occasional foray outside the lines, and I don't feel like I'm at risk right now. But I'm mentioning all of this here because I need to stay accountable to myself and to you guys, and because if my weight loss slows down, I'll know what to cut out first!

So that was the rough part, but I'm getting better.  I would just say as a caution to any newbies reading this - don't think that just because you're ok eating something one day, you'll still be okay eating it the next!  And a smooth start doesn't always guarantee a smooth journey.  I mean, I'd say I'm doing GREAT, honestly - I'm a pretty happy camper in spite of this rough patch!  But I wouldn't want anybody to feel like a rough patch is the end of the world.  Don't catastrophize if you run into problems - just work through them!  Preferably, with help from all the amazing veterans we have here literally at our fingertips.  :) 

Now, the fun part:  NSVs!!!

There have been SO SO MANY NSVs LATELY!  First - I went to the office the other day to say hi to our CEO (which isn't weird; I used to be her assistant, and we came out of it really good friends).  She hadn't seen me since the day before my surgery, when I stopped in to tell her what I was doing the next day. ;)  She was so wonderful and complimentary, it was great.  She hugged me, and demanded a picture, and said I was her hero and a rock star.  She's the best!!! It made me feel awesome. I had dressed up and done the whole makeup routine and looked good.  :) 

Other people at the office were also super complimentary - those who knew about the surgery and those who didn't. I went to an off-campus meeting today and saw another co-worker I haven't seen in months, and she said, "Wow, Kio - whatever you're doing, keep doing it!"  Plus, our cleaners were in today for the first time in too long, and they were excited about my new hair cut (and new glasses!) and said I looked great.  These days it seems like everybody I see says something really nice!

Plus, there's the purely physical stuff.  Things FIT - even dresses I bought a little tight last month are now loose on me.  I've had to move all my rings to larger fingers; one of them only fits on my index finger now.  I  can wear necklaces now without feeling like I've put them on around a giant sausage neck.  I'm still walking Sadie regularly, always around 1.5-2 miles.  And just yesterday I discovered that I can WALK UP THE STAIRS TO OUR DECK.  This is an amazing new and strange thing.  I admit, I had to hold on to get to the first step because it higher than the others, and I was VERY wobbly on the next 4 steps, but I went up them without holding onto anything!  I feel like going up stairs without holding on is something I should be able to do even now, at this weight - but it's been so long since I've been able to, it might take a bit of rehab work or PT to get there.  Still, this was a huge victory for me! 

And that's where I am right now - the State of Kio at the end of Month 3.  I'm probably going to update more this month about vitamins and water, since those are my current challenges. :)  And I honestly can't wait to see where I am at the end of month 4, and month 5, and month 6... Assuming I keep losing at a rate of around 15 per month, in 3 months I could be around 210.  And THAT would be a number for the record books for me - the last time I was anywhere near 210 I was actually 212, and it was 1995...

 

Kio

101 lbs down today!

Not from surgery - that would be crazy.    But I'm 254 today, which is 101 down from my starting point in April!  I lost 57 before surgery, and I've lost 43 since.  And now I'm just over 100 away from my goal - which is my personal goal for myself, not my surgeon's goal.  Trust me, he is a LOT more conservative.  I think he'd be perfectly happy with.... I dunno, whatever 355 - (60% x (355-140)) is... ok it's 226.  Once I wrote the formula I had to do the math.  So right now, I'm not quite three months out, and 28 lbs away from my surgeon's "goal" weight for me. 

But I am hunting bigger game than that. ;)   I mean, if I were to hit 226 and just... stop losing... I would survive that.  I wouldn't be perfectly happy, but I'd be okay.  I already feel so much better, it's hard to believe life was so hard and unpleasant just six months ago.  I can walk a couple of miles without much pain or effort, when a couple of meters gave me pain back in April. I can fit into clothes that make me look... I don't know.  NORMAL overweight, not crazy scary overweight like I was.  I can shop in the higher sizes of normal stores now, I don't have to buy everything at Full Beauty (ugh, I hate that name).  Most of my random day to day pain is gone.  I don't huff and puff when I go in to the office, even though it's like half a mile from parking lot to elevator. 

But I don't think 28 lbs more is going to get me where I want to be.  I want to be able to go up stairs without holding on.  I want to go to the gym and exercise and have people look at me and think "yeah she can lose some weight" instead of "what's SHE doing here, this gym is for normal people!" I want to go hiking in the Fells and bike to my office and do yoga.  I don't think 226 is that weight for me.

Whether I can lose over 75  more pounds than my doc thinks I will.... I don't know.  I'd need to lose 215 total to hit the goal in my profile and ticker, and that.... is a lot.  Worth trying for, though!  I mean, I'm almost halfway there now!

I did take some pictures yesterday when the scale dinged 100 down.  But I realized that when I took my first set, they were ugh, without very much clothing.  I never planned to share them online.  So to make them match up I took yesterday's pictures in the same clothes and the same poses, and realized I'm still not going to post them online!  Not yet anyway... maybe when I have some more milestones OUT FROM UNDER my belt.  But I'm too shy to do it right now.  SORRY, @CJireh!!!

 

Kio

Ok, so I offered, then @CJireh demanded, so here goes... my first photos on TT.  :)  Fair warning, the quality on these is pretty bad - I have always avoided being photographed for obvious reasons, and I take terrible selfies.  There are a couple in here that were taken by Leah, but she's not exactly a star photographer herself.  I think in each of those, I have my eyes closed. -_- 

Starting at my highest weight, around 350, about a year ago, here's a very blurry me Leah snapped when I was half asleep.  Included to demonstrate the epic chin(s)!

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The one below is from June of this year, at basically the same weight as the one above.  You can see I've done this pixie thing before... however, at that time my head looked a bit like a white bowling ball with a crew cut!  This is a Leah shot, so my eyes are closed, naturally.  I had to use a version of this with my eyes open for an article in our company newsletter, which spotlights random employees at random times and was having a teleworker round - you can imagine how proud I was of sharing it with my 500 coworkers...

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And this is me on September 8, 2017 - fresh out of surgery!  I was about 298, and as you can see ... I was pretty high when this was taken!  It was about two hours after surgery, I had already started walking, but I was banging on that morphine button pretty hard and pretty often.  I was also having some kind of bad rash/reaction to the face wash they gave me to use before surgery.

You can also see in this one why I rarely smile big for pictures... it makes me look a like a total lunatic. :)

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And now, here is me today!  I'm 259 in this one, with my new shiny haircut and about a football field less chin. 

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And this one is a bit wider angle, still from today - proud of this one because look, I have a neck!  And the beginning of some shoulders... 

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That's it for the headshots - but when I hit 100 lbs lost I plan to post some full length shots from the night before surgery and some new shots I'll take when the blessed day arrives.  :) 

Kio

10 weeks tomorrow!

Just a quick update, since I haven't done one in a while.  Things are going pretty well!  My energy is high, my weight loss is on track, all good there. 

My only complaint is that I've had some trouble with eating dense protein - I know I'm still very early out, but my nutritionist wants me getting most of my protein from real food right now, and that just... does not happen.  I get by with some protein shakes and bars, and a lot of cheese, basically.  Had about a week where I kept trying to eat more dense foods and failing.... so I dunno, maybe the time just isn't right for me yet.  The problem came in when I tried to eat something, sat with it irritating my pouch for an hour, threw up, then couldn't eat for another couple of hours until I felt better.  Those days I definitely didn't hit my protein goals, and my calories were super, super low.  (I also couldn't figure out how to calculate the goal - did EVERYTHING come back up?  What stayed down?  How many grams?  I decided in the end to throw up my hands and surrender - on days when I can't keep dense protein down, I'm not meeting my goals, and that's all I need to know.  Now I've stopped trying to eat stuff like eggs and meat for a while, and life is a bit easier, goals are getting met... all good.

I did find some shrimp, peeled and de-veined but not cooked!  I made three pieces and was able to keep THOSE down for about an hour... then not so much.  I've got some salmon to try, which is not dense but still protein and real food, but I haven't been brave enough yet.

I also cut all my hair off!  I'd show you guys a picture but my camera's in the other room.  I started to see more hair in the shower drain, and figured I'd just get it over with.  I have the pixiest of pixies right now, and since my face is starting to have an actual shape, it's not bad.  :)  The last time it was this short, I didn't feel cute at all.  This time, I almost kind of do!

At this point I'm sooooo close to 100 lbs down I can feel it.  I'm 259, which is the lowest weight I've been in about ten years.  I lost 57 lb before surgery, and I've lost almost forty since surgery - hard to wrap my head around.  I'm now smaller than my next-largest friend!  Leah makes jokes about how she's going to kick my @*# now, while I still have one ;).  It's true - the weight is coming off my butt like crazy.  It's also coming off my face, my chin, my neck, my upper arms, my thighs... everywhere but my belly, really.  I'm going to end up reeeeeally funny looking if that doesn't change soon!

Tonight I went for a long walk with Leah and the dog, and didn't hurt, and didn't have to stop halfway up any hills!  After the walk, I felt a little tired, but not so tired I couldn't stand up and do dishes, wander the house, etc.  No noodle legs!  One thing I've found interesting about exercise is how hard it is for me to say yes to it.  Every time Leah walks the dog, she asks if I want to come.  I try to say yes most of the time, but it's difficult. I still FEEL like I can't do it.  I feel like I'm going to get too tired, that I'm going to fall over, that I'm going to hurt too much.  But then when I do say yes and go along... it's really quite easy.  My brain and my heart just haven't caught up yet to the physical reality of what I can do now. 

Now I'm off to bed, but I wanted to check in and let everybody know I'm okay and still on track.  :) 

Kio

I feel like it's been forever since I posted, but it was just a week ago.  That probably says something about the kind of week it's been!  

I haven't been exercising as much this week - well, ok, not really at all - because I've felt really tired a lot of the time.  I thought it was just not sleeping enough - I can't seem to make it far past 6 hours a night this week, between one thing and another - or that I needed to return to CPAP.  But this morning I woke up with a full blown cold, and it occurs to me I've probably been fighting it off for about a week now.  My nose is stuffy, my throat hurts, and I've been so tired and brain fogged all day I actually called my boss at noon and told her I was shutting things down and going to bed.  Which I did, and slept for about three hours.  

But I miss you guys, so I wanted to post at least to say I'm still alive and still hanging in there.  I'm in a bit of a stall, bouncing around between 270 and 269 all week.  I haven't been getting enough protein or water this week, either, so that's probably related.  Today, even though I'm feeling ugggghhhh, I've made significant progress on that score.  64 grams of protein so far, and I'm swilling tea by the bucket (with Premier vanilla protein shake mixed in). 

I've also returned to tracking (MFP), since I feel like I have been off track all week, and I don't like the feeling.  I haven't done anything terrible - I did not, for instance, eat an entire glazed donut, like that one lady in my Psych group!  But I've had fried mozarella cheese sticks for dinner twice (two cheese stick limit) and while there's protein in there and not a TON of carbs, it's high in fat, and it's a trigger food, and I've felt ... I dunno, endangered, somehow.

This started when I saw my nutritionist last week.  She was pretty adamant that I try to eat some carbs - not a ton, but just to not try to cut them out completely.  I get up to around 25 g of carbs every day just incidentally from all the dairy I'm eating to get to my protein goals.  But she thought I should try to have like, I dunno, half a small whole wheat tortilla or something once a day.  She said the body prefers to burn carbs and will burn protein if there aren't enough carbs.  

I've done keto long enough to know this is pretty much bullshit, but I figured... ok, I will add a FEW carbs in.  And then I ate some mozarella sticks, because breading is just a few carbs, right?  Clearly, my head is not quite in the right place when it comes to my trigger foods.  I'm not going to do that again, and I've instructed Leah to bite my head off if I even suggest it (I usually eat dinner with her, so she'd know.  :) )  Even so, I've been having probably around 700 calories a day or less... just not in quite the right macro ratio, since my protein has been low.

One thing I have found is lovely, has a couple extra carbs, and doesn't really trigger me, is refried beans on a half taco shell with cheese on top, baked in the oven till the cheese melts.  So I'm happy to have found something NOT YOGURT to eat that goes down well, has protein, and doesn't make me want to eat more carbs.  Maybe I'll tell the nutritionist about THAT next time I see her. 

Halloween was pretty much awesome.  We gave out full sized candy and the tiny vampires and ghosts and power rangers and princesses and pirates were all thrilled.  Many parents mentioned the decorations, which I finished in a white heat yesterday just before dusk - one parent even asked permission to take pictures of her kids in front of our Pumpkin Door.  :)  I was super good - didn't touch the candy, wasn't even tempted, even though Leah and Meg snacked on it all night.  And all the leftover candy went to work with Leah today, and stayed there, so our house is junk-free once again.  

In terms of advancing my diet... I still haven't, much.  I'm mostly eating the same kind of stuff I would have eaten in Stage 3, with a few Stage 4 intrusions.  Like the half taco shell, and the breading on the mozzarella sticks.  Mostly the protein bars - I've found they're usually super easy to eat.  I mostly go with Quest, but I've tried a few Oh Yeah bars, and they were not bad (Key Lime and Cinnamon Roll).  I still can't handle protein shakes straight, and there are some protein things that I have found just do not work - like those Quest Protein chips I mentioned in a post a while back.  I've started thinking of these as "elevator foods" - in that they go down easy, and then they come right back up!  

However, in spite of my worry, I probably don't have a stricture - my nutritionist agrees.  I can eat solid food - just not all solid food.  It's possible I've been eating too quickly, so I'm making a very conscious effort at putting food aside after a bite, then waiting, then having another bite.  There's been less trouble since I started doing that - I just had a white meat chicken salad for dinner, for instance, and it's settled well. 

In other news... I've been engaging in a weird mental/emotional exercise today.  I've been re-reading blog entries from my friend who had GB back in 2008 and did not reach her goal weight.  I'm not sure if I'm doing this as punishment for not meeting my goals, or to try to learn from it.  Her surgery was 10 years ago, and I'm sure programs were different then, but it seems to me that she had a much harder time than I did immediately post-op.  She was in the hospital for five days after surgery, and along the way she had some pretty severe vitamin deficiencies and a stricture.  It's interesting to read it - both her experience up to 7 weeks, where I am, and long after.  I know WLS is not something she regrets - I talked to her before I decided on it, and she said she'd be far worse off now without it than she is with it.  But I also know she wishes it had gone better.  In one of her pre-surgery entries she asked herself "will I be one of the people who fail?" and it was like an echo of myself two months ago.  And I know she considers herself a person who failed it now, and that makes me scared that I will too... even though it's not logical, we're different people, we had surgery at different times, with different programs, etc.  

Hopefully it will just turn out to be motivational.

 

Kio

... one step into the bathroom... ;)  Beware, vomiting story below!

After the successful potluck night, I've had a bad couple of days.  Sunday night I tried something from stage 3 of my program, listed as a viable option "on the go" - I ordered a small chili from Wendy's for my dinner, since we'd been out shopping our socks off all day.  When I got home, I took three, maybe four small spoonfuls ... and regretted it almost instantly.  My stomach felt terrible, like - genuinely really terrible.  I tried to sit with it for about half an hour to see if it would pass, then tried to throw up.  But, I didn't manage to get all of it out... took another hour and another trip to the bathroom for that.  After throwing up I felt a lot better, tried to get some water into me and then some liquid tylenol, and went to bed.

Monday I woke up and felt much better, so I started with an old favorite - two chicken meatballs!  I've successfully eaten these several times, but yesterday was not one of those times.  I had the exact same reaction as I did to the chili, only it lasted most of the day because I wasn't able to throw them up very easily.  Two trips to the bathroom later, my stomach muscles were sore, and my pouch was empty, but it still felt terrible.  I had Leah pick me up some sugar free popsicles on her way home from work, and one of them was dinner.  I did feel like it calmed my stomach a little.  I was able to drink some water before bed, but in all, Monday was a wash for both protein and fluids.

Today I'm feeling better, but being super careful.  I've retreated back to stage 2 for the day - greek yogurt, popsicles, super soft cheese.  So far so good!  

Mainly I'm posting this to keep an accurate record - showing that this journey is all about hills and valleys when you start out.  The weight loss is awesome, but so far, eating is always an adventure!

Kio

Milestones:

I'm 6 weeks out today - and down 27 lbs since surgery, 84 lbs overall.  Today I landed at 271 on the scale, which is a big milestone for me - it's the lowest weight I ever achieved in Paleo adventure a couple of years ago.  After this point back then, I stalled for a couple of months... and then, gave up in despair and started the inevitable climb back upwards.  271 today is also 10 lbs lost in month 2, and I'm only halfway through the month.  So, there's a lot to feel good about.  :)  It took me 2 years to get to this weight on Paleo, btw.  It's taken me since April of this year, this time.

I've also hit a CPAP milestone - in that I've stopped using it.  I haven't worn it for the past three or four nights.  I'd hit the point where I was sleeping less with it than without it, because the air pressure was so high.  Nothing I did could stop the air from blasting out of my mouth, and I kept waking up in a panic with my mouth so dry I couldn't swallow.  Leah is monitoring me for snoring, I'm staying off my back, and I haven't felt sleepy during the days.  So I think that's going pretty well so far.  

Food adventures:

Yesterday we had our potluck dinner, and it was pretty successful!  Leah made lasagna and cheesy broccoli/cauliflower casserole, Meg made a caesar salad and brought potato chips, and our friends brought roasted brussels sprouts, some kind of crazy bean salad, and an apple cake.  I took a saucer instead of a big plate, and picked out a tiny sliver of lasagna (from which I removed the noodles and gave them to the dog; my portion was probably about 2 tablespoons of meat/cheee/sauce), a piece of broccoli, a piece of cauliflower, and one sprout.  No one asked me any questions about my portion sizes, even though none of them knew I'd had RNY.  They knew I was recovering from some kind of surgery, just not what kind. It took me about as long to eat my tiny portion as it did for them to eat their giant ones!  Still not over that.  Everything was great, and I was thrilled that I managed to eat actual vegetables.  

Later, when dessert came out, I took a tiny bite of the apple cake, but passed on the mounds of pumpkin and vanilla ice cream.  Leah actually cut a little piece off her apple cake for me - and then I halved that, and gave the other half to Sadie.  (The dog may gain weight now, but better her than me ;) My bite was probably about half a tablespoon.  It was lovely, but I didn't really want or need more of it.  

It was so awesome to be eating somewhat regular food!  The lasagna meat sauce was made with ground beef, and I didn't have any trouble with it.  The brussels sprout could have benefited from salt and garlic, but it was still nice and caramelized.  I was only able to eat the outside leaves; the inside was too fibrous.  I liked the broccoli better than the cauliflower - probably because the broccoli was softer.  I feel like I did really well last night - tried some new things, but stayed on my plan.  Later in the evening I had some cheese and yogurt, to hit my protein goals. But...

Nightmares:

I keep having these anxiety dreams/nightmares about screwing up.  One night I dreamed I ate a donut (this is totally because of that chick in my nutrition group who did that, I'm sure!) and then realized, halfway through the second donut, that I wasn't supposed to be eating it. It was like suddenly I remembered I had WLS and couldn't eat like that anymore.  I felt this vast sadness and despair... and at the same time, I knew I was going to finish that second donut.  It was really really awful.

Last night, I dreamed I ate half a can of Pringles before remembering I wasn't supposed to do that anymore.  I can't remember what I did after that in the dream, but I had the same sense of sadness and failure, a certainty that I'd ruined everything.  I think THIS was because of that one bite of apple cake.  I've posted before about being worried I'd slide down a slippery slope - I'm sure a single bite of apple cake is NOT the start of a slippery slope, at least my conscious brain is sure, but my subconscious has possibly missed that memo. 

I'm hoping as I gain more confidence in my ability to stick to my program, the nightmares will fade out.  For now, I'm just grateful that these are dreams I wake up from, and not a nightmare I'm living through anymore!

Kio

Hard to believe almost 6 weeks gone since surgery!  It feels like it happened yesterday.  But here I am - done with all my "special" diet periods and into my permanent Stage 4 as of yesterday!  Not that I've actually eaten anything reserved for Stage 4 yet - I'm still mostly eating the same old stuff.  Chicken (dark meat because it's easier), cottage cheese, yogurt, cheese... I've started eating cottage cheese with fruit in it, so that's something!  And the occasional protein bar, though it takes me two separate meals to eat just one.  Plus, they're almost not worth the trouble - Sadie (the doggo) likes them better than I do, and she is a dedicated beggar.  (Same with the cheese, really...)

Some things reserved for Stage 4 include steak, ground beef... basically any meat that isn't chicken, and all shellfish.  Other things like pasta, doughy bread, rice, are not precisely forbidden, but not encouraged.  And I'm planning to avoid all of them anyway.  (Funny story:  Leah had cheese and whole wheat crackers yesterday for her very nutritious dinner.  After she was done there was like, a crumb of cracker with a bit of cheese on it on her plate, and I very daringly ate it.  I felt ready to join a biker gang after that - I was living dangerously!  That cracker crumb was my first solely carb food since surgery.)

What I'm actually looking forward to - what I'm going to try tonight - is a meal consisting of more than one food item.  A friend is coming over this evening, and she's making Indian butter chicken; we are supplying broccoli.  I'm going to eat at least one tiny broccoli crown alongside the chicken if it kills me.  I know it's a weird thing to be craving, but broccoli was a staple in my pre-op weight loss plan, and I really miss it!  Plus, fiber.  Fiber is good!

In other news, I'm doing pretty well here in month two.  I'm just a week or so in, and I've lost 8 lbs (down to 273 \o/).  I've been doing a ton of walking - in fact, yesterday I totally overdid it:

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I know that can't compete with what some of you people are doing, but that is definitely the longest time and distance I've been on my feet since I was like... ten.  I was inspired by my new sneakers, which arrived at around 2pm - they're Scarpa approach sneakers, and they feel awesome - they're so comfortable!  Definitely the best walking shoes I've ever owned.  (Link: https://www.amazon.com/Scarpa-Womens-Crux-Approach-Shoe/dp/B00S1GWK5S.  They're a little hot pink, nothing to be done about it, but I still found them worth it.  Leah has had a pair for a year now and she loves hers too.) :) 

One thing that is becoming harder and harder for me to deal with is not knowing whether I'll have dumping syndrome.  I just really want to know!  I'm not sure why I'm obsessing about this; maybe I just want to know if it's a crutch I can lean on if/when head hunger gets the best of me.  But the only way to test it out is to eat something with sugar, and I don't even know how much sugar I would need to eat, and what if that triggered a craving?  I don't want to risk it.  But I want to know!  Ugh.  Curiosity kills the Kio, they say - right?  ;) 

Beyond that curiosity, I haven't had any trouble resisting things that are bad for me.  Mostly I'm just trying to get in enough protein each day.  In spite of an interesting meal where I ate 5.3 oz of cottage cheese (my guess is I ate it so slowly part of it had digested before I finished), I still have trouble getting in more than 2-3 oz of food at a time normally.  I can't handle the shakes anymore - they're just gross, far too sweet and I'm so sick of them I can't stand it, plus they are now hit or miss in terms of whether they stay down or come back up. That means I'm forced into many small meals throughout the day to get what I need without getting "full".  2 oz of yogurt here, 2 oz of cottage cheese there, an egg over here... half a protein bar over there....  And in between I have to drink, drink, drink to get my water in.  So with all that going on, plus three calcium chews a day... I feel like I am constantly putting something in my stomach.  It would be awesome if some of it could be a vegetable now and then... but I know the pouch will loosen up a bit eventually and I'll be able to eat them eventually!  (If you all knew me before surgery, you'd laugh at me mourning vegetables... so not the type!)  

In non-weight loss news, I've also been doing a lot of decorating, and pre-decorating, for Hallowe'en.  Hallowe'en is kind of a big deal around my house!  It's not even about food - it's 100% about putting on a good show for the kids in the neighborhood.  Every year I make window decorations for all the front windows (6 of them) and the front door.  This year I'm also doing the back doors (2 french doors) and carving a pumpkin.  And we're having a potluck for a bunch of friends on Saturday, so I need everything done by then, and it all needs to look as good inside as it does outside. So there's a LOT to do. 

I'll close this out with a sample of this year's lower front windows - the only ones I've done so far:

Outside: 

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Inside: 

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I'm particularly fond of the spider. And I kind of like the inside better than the outside for this one.  :) 

 

Kio

Catching up

Now that I'm out of my first month, I'll probably just be blogging when something feels post-worthy, or when I need to get something out of my head and onto the page.  I've found that as I recover, and as I get further out from surgery, I'm a little less hyperfocused on every aspect of what's happening to my body and what I put into it.  For one thing, it's harder to stay that way - as the first few weeks pass and you start to feel more normal, you head back to work.  And there are holidays to plan, and the dog gets sick, and there are people coming over, and life just starts becoming life again.  

Which isn't to say I'm not paying attention.  I am!  In five days I can try to eat... basically whatever I feel like trying.  It's kind of exciting!  And it's also kind of scary.  I feel like I've been more focused on the scary part, the last few days.  I've said this a few times before... but the more my choices open up, the more I worry about making bad choices.  I think it's party because I don't really know what bad choices look like.  

For instance:  Before surgery, when I'd basically given up on ever losing weight and being healthy, I planned my days around junk food.  How much of it I had, how quickly I could get access to it, how long it would last, whether I could finish eating it before Leah got home.  This was kind of an ongoing bad choice.  A terrible choice.  But it's where I was, and I want to be honest about it.

But that's not the kind of thing I'm going to do NOW.  Post-surgery, I feel like my potential bad choices are different.  My pre-surgery bad choices were made at rock bottom; I feel like any post-surgery bad choices I make are at the very top of a high, slippery slope.  

I've read a lot of posts lately about how people are managing their mental game when it comes to food.  Many have said they don't deny themselves anything entirely - they just eat much less of things, maybe only a bite or a few bites.  Or they plan the event so it doesn't have a great impact on the day's macros.  But I'm afraid of that right now.  I'm afraid that if I have a few bites of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving day, I'll wake up the next morning at 355 lbs again with bags of chips scattered all around me.  Rationally, I know I'm capable of eating a few bites of pumpkin pie without deteriorating into a binge - and in fact that at this point I'm not even capable of binging.  But what if two bites of pie at Thanksgiving turns into a spoon of ice cream a few days later, and a few pieces of chocolate a few days after that, and a week later a small bag of M&M's, and and and and and... ? 

So while I agree that in the long run, saying "I can never have X" is not just as dangerous as eating around your surgery on the regular would be, I think I personally need to hold off on X until I'm more confident in my ability to handle it with brains and moderation.  Maybe that means no pumpkin pie (or whatever) until I hit goal and maintain for a while (assuming I DO hit goal... who knows.)  

In the meantime, I'm just eating what I know works for me.  Today was interesting, though - it was a day without yogurt!  I haven't had one of those in quite a while.  Instead, here's what I ate today:

  • Half a 32 oz iced decaf from Dunkin, with a chocolate protein shake poured in (30 g protein)
  • 3 oz chicken dark meat (21 g protein)
  • 2 oz "taco" leftovers, basically ground turkey with taco spices, a little cheese on top (around 10 g protein)
  • 1 Quest protein bar, divided into two "meals" (20 g protein)

I did really well on protein, which is not weird considering it was one of my busiest post-surgery days yet.  I saw my dermatologist in the morning, then went to the office for about an hour and chatted with people, then came home to collect a urine sample from my dog (she's been having some issues) and take it to the vet, then after I got home from the vet I decided she actually had to be seen today because she looked so uncomfortable and unhappy - so I went back to the vet with the dog.  Then later Leah and I went to the pharmacy to get the meds prescribed at my dermatologist visit from the morning.  I felt like I was on the go almost constantly.  So yay me!

 

Kio

So today was weird - this is the one issue I have with my program.  They keep making follow-up appointments for me, and nowhere in the appointment notice does it mention it's a GROUP appointment.  So I went in today all ready to see the psych individually, and there were five other people there.  Wheeeeeee.  

I mean, I would have gone anyway - I just would have been mentally prepared for group speaking.  Instead I was probably giving off all bristle-vibes.

Anyway!  It was still pretty interesting.  There was one guy there who believed in his heart he knew how to do post-op better than anyone else.  He was full of sort of vague platitudes about inner strength and whatnot and WOULD NOT BE QUIET.  Then, there was a nice woman who looked like she had surgery a year ago - totally normal weight - who actually had it about two months ago.

In fact, everyone there was about two months out from surgery, except for me - and everyone there was a sleever, except for me!

Almost everyone there talked about how much they can eat - they can all down about three to four ounces of solid food at a time now?  Me, not so much.  I can eat one ounce of something solid, or two, MAYBE three ounces of something soft.  And some of them are getting hungry already.  I'm still not ever hungry.

One thing that shocked me was all the normal food people were talking about eating.  Maybe it's because I'm a month behind all of them, but even so... there were choices I don't think I'll be making for a while.  People were talking about eating pizza, or canned soup, just as a matter of course.  The woman who looked like she'd never even NEEDED surgery said she got really mad at her coworkers last week and on the way home she ate an entire glazed donut.  

I was just like - BUH?  You are TWO MONTHS out from surgery!!  First, there is no way in the world I could actually eat an entire donut at this point - maybe a donut hole?  But - WHY WOULD YOU?  I mean - I get being angry, and I was totally an emotional eater before surgery.  But even I have the discipline to hold off longer than two months before succumbing to donuts, I think.

Don't get me wrong - I know eventually we're supposed to be able to enjoy a little bit of whatever we want - in moderation, and after our protein. And I can forsee a day when I screw up and eat something totally off plan, in a disordered way.   But that day I think would need to be far in the future, when I have more distance from all the changes and all the learning I'm going through right now.  So - to just go out and deliberately self-sabotage NOW, when all the instructions and warnings and appointments must be totally fresh in her mind...??? I don't know, I guess I was just really surprised.  

The biggest positive I got out of the meeting was when the doc passed around bags of calcium chewables - different from the ones I've tried so far.  These were Bariatric Advantage, and they were pretty good.  I think I'll order those next, because I'm not too keen on Celebrate.

And that's it for today!  Just to wrap up - I hit my protein goals, hit my water goal, did 45 minutes of outside walking with Leah and the dog, and now I'm off to bed. 

Oh, and I broke out of the 280's - 279 today!

 

Kio

...basically, nothing new to report!  I'm still doing really well, just now starting to settle into my life a little better.  I have some worries - am I eating too much, too little, the wrong kinds of things? I'm thinking about posting a "normal day" menu soon for some feedback.  But for now, I'm just gearing up for tomorrow's post-op psych appointment!  I'll report back after.  :) 

Kio

Day 29 - CHARTS!

Today is officially one month out from surgery - and as promised, I have brought some charts.  :)  Three, to be exact.  

First, to get it out of the way, I DID MAKE IT to 281 today!  Kind of an arbitrary number, right?  But since I'm 5'3", that puts me just under a BMI of 50 for the first time in years.  49.8!  Since surgery, not counting water weight from the hospital, I've lost exactly 17 lbs.  

So, Chart #1:  Weight loss over time.  Pretty much what it says on the tin - this shows my weight loss between my surgery date and today.  

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That abrupt jump upwards between 9/8 and 9/9 is the extra 11 lbs of water I picked up in the hospital.  I didn't get back to my pre-surgery weight until the 16th!  

Chart #2:  Gains/losses each day in relation to my monthly cycle.  I've arbitrarily chosen to give non-period days a value of 4 and period days a value of 5, just to make the chart easier to read. 

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The gain/loss line in orange is a little tricky, because the gains are negative and losses are positive numbers.  You can tell by the spike between the 8th and the 9th of september - it shows as -11 but represents that 11 lb water gain from surgery.  As you can see, it's pretty clear that I lose a lot of weight during my period.  I started my period at 293, and it ended on 9/25 at 285.  Then it bumped back up a pound or two - which I suspect was my body starting to retain water again.  The weight loss after my period is much more gradual.  My theory here is that the water retention masks the fat loss until my period hits - then the water weight comes off, and my "true" weight is at the bottom of that drop.  

That weight loss pattern is pretty familiar to me from previous weight loss attempts, so it wasn't very surprising.  But this next one I thought was really interesting - it's the first time I've ever tracked these stats together.

Chart #3:  Losses and gains tracked against sleep.

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Especially at the beginning of this chart, there's a pretty clear correlation between the amount of sleep I get and the amount of weight I lose, day by day.  There's a lot written about how important sleep is for weight loss - and this basically confirms it in my particular case, most of the time. When I'm getting more sleep, my daily losses are bigger.  When I'm getting less, they're smaller.  I think there's probably at least a little derangement of the data in early September, because it's so close to my surgery date and so much water had to come off, so I'm interested in seeing what the next few months look like.  

Life sometimes gets busy, and tracking will get harder to keep up with - but I'm going to keep these updated for as long as I can, because I'm sort of fascinated by the kinds of things that affect weight loss.

For what it's worth, I do also have charts tracking my losses/gains against how much water I drank that day and against how many carbs I had that day.  But the only possible correlation I found was a slight tendency to have greater losses when I was in the range of 25-35 carbs per day - more or less carbs than that seemed to correlate to less weight lost on the following days.  Water, weirdly, seemed to have zero effect on my losses.

Briefly, in other news:  Today was a perfect day.  I got all my water and protein in, with half the protein coming from food and only half from a shake (watered down with decaf coffee - I seem to have no trouble with Premier shakes if they're mixed with something more watery.)  I got plenty of sleep.  I ate chicken (mostly dark meat) and survived. I was really looking forward to my egg, over-easy, but something went wonky halfway through and I had to stop eating it.  But it was yummy while it lasted.  I also got in all my vitamins and all my meds, AND I CLOSED ALL THREE RINGS on the apple watch today.  It was my longest stretch on the treadmill yet - 41 minutes, all at about 1.7 mph, none of it holding on to the rails or the desk.  Considering that three months ago I would be hard pressed to just stand up for 10 minutes without pain, I think I'm doing great there.  

I've also noticed that my burping/hiccuping problem has mostly passed.  I still burp and hiccup as a sure sign that I need to stop eating right away - even if I haven't gotten in as much as I planned or as much as I was able to yesterday or whatever.  But it passes quickly as soon as I stop eating.

My next doctor milestone is coming up - my post-op visit with my psychologist is on Tuesday.  I really liked this guy when I met him for my initial psych eval, so I'm kind of looking forward to seeing him again. :) And that's a wrap for tonight!  Sleep good, thinnertimes world! :wub:  

Kio

So I'm almost a month post-op now, and since that's a time for checking in on goals and measuring progress, I figured it would be a good time to look at my pre-op list of things I wanted to be able to do.  I'm happy to report I can already do three of the things from my list! 

5) Park far away from things.  I can park hella far away from my office, walk all the way to the building and up to the 5th floor and all over the office - without stopping in the lobby to rest so nobody sees me turning bright red and huffing and puffing.

6) Shopping!  While I haven't been clothes shopping yet, I have done so much more grocery shopping than I did before surgery.  Not necessarily because I need the groceries (though buying one ounce of everything is a lot of work) - but mostly just because I can.  Tonight Leah and I went to Whole Foods, wandered around the store for half an hour grabbing stuff, then went to Shaw's for kitty litter and poster board (I'm on deck for Halloween decorations at our house every year, and this is a staple).  When I got out of the car, Leah was surprised.  "You're coming in??" she asked.  Because I can't carry the kitty litter yet - I'm not yet released to lift heavy things - and usually if I'm not paying for something at a story I'm not going IN to the store - I would get tired and be in pain.  NOT SO TONIGHT.  I went in just for the sheer enjoyment of being able to go in and move around.  It was NICE!

7) Stand around chatting with people at the office.  After I park far away from the office and get upstairs, I can absolutely just hang out in someone's office doorway and chat with them for ten or fifteen minutes, without needing to sit down, or being in terrible pain.  Or any pain!  I just stand there!  It's awesome.

And while this isn't on my list, I've found that with extra exercise comes easier exercise.  My previous top speed on our treadmill desk (1.5 mph) is now my "slow-down-and-rest" speed.  My current top speed is 2 mph - and climbing!  I can do 2 mph for most of a half hour workout.  For the first time ever yesterday, I closed the green ring on my apple watch (30 min workout with a high enough heart rate).  I closed the pink one too, but I'd missed the blue one (stand goal) by ONE MEASELY HOUR.  Thanks to being on an IV, so not necessarily my fault, but I was still annoyed.  :angry:

Another super cool achievement:  Smaller clothes!  My still-big-but-smaller-than-me friend Meg brought over a bag clothes she doesn't wear, and we figured maybe a month from now I would fit into some of them.  I took them out of the bag to put them away this morning, and started trying on some of the things I liked.  They fit!  And then I tried on other things... and they ALSO fit.  Eventually I had tried it all on and ALL of it fits!  These are 18/20 bottoms and 22/24 tops, and my friends... I have been wandering around in 30/32 tops and bottoms because I didn't think I'd lost enough weight to move down a size yet.  I wore one of the sweaters today and when my nurse showed up, she said she thought it was a little BIG on me.  !!! !!! !!! She also wants me to text her my weight a week before our next visit (5 weeks from now) because she thinks they'll need to recalibrate the dosage for my infusion.  :)  So there's that.

And finally - inspired by @NerdyLady, I pulled out some of the rings I wear occasionally when I go into the office.  I have a fairly nice, delicate gold claddagh ring and my mom's gold university class ring, both of which mean a lot to me for various reasons.  Previously, the claddagh was a tight fit on my ring finger and a no-go on my middle fingers.  Now it fits my ring finger verrrry loosely and my middle finger just a bit too tightly.  My mom's class ring... is actually going to be a problem soon.  I used to be able to wear it on either ring finger - securely, though it was a bit loose.  Now I can only wear it securely on my index finger.  

Ok, so that wasn't final... I also wanted to mention a few of the things I thought and worried about before surgery, and how they've turned out so far:

1) "I'm crossing my fingers that I'll turn out to be a plan-following, quick-losing, no-nausea-having, minimal-pain-having success story this time next year."  Well, it's not next year yet, but at one month out I can say:  So far, so good!

2) "what are the first few minutes like when you wake up?"  Super painful!  I was not expecting that.  But then, if you're a newbie reading this, keep in mind that they deliberately woke me up really soon because I have sleep apnea; they wanted me awake and breathing really quick.  The only pain that didn't fade immediately after my first hit of morphine was throat pain from the intubation, which actually took about two weeks to go away completely.

3) "Am I going to be one of those people who has no significant pain post-op?"  Yes!  "One of those who has agony?" Nope!  At least not for more than a minute after waking up.  "One of those who can't keep anything down, or one of those who never feel any restriction?" No and no. I have had VERY little nausea at all, and I do now feel restriction when trying to eat more solid foods.  "Will I have dumping syndrome?" I don't know yet, but I'm kind of dying to find out.  I'm just scared to eat something that might cause it.  "Will I be a slow loser or a quick loser?"  Jury's still out.  Does 17ish lbs in the first month count as slow, or quick? Or somewhere in the middle? "Will I have a stricture?" Not so far, though I thought I did for about a minute.  Turns out my stomach just sometimes really doesn't like Premier protein shakes. "Iron-deficiency?" Not so far, but it would take longer than a month to show up.  "Will I never feel hunger or food-interest again like some people report?" I don't know about never, but I haven't felt hunger so far.  I'm interested in food - I still like eating food that tastes good.  But I don't eat because of that, or because of hunger.  I eat because I need to hit my protein goals.  "Or will I be one of those people who feels hungry immediately after surgery?" Happy to report a no on that one!  "Will things taste and smell the same, or will I find I don't like stuff I used to like?  Will my sense of smell go off the charts?"  I haven't noticed any change in the way things taste to me, and my sense of smell is dead normal.

So that's my big introspective end-of-month post; tomorrow will be my big weight update/charts post.  :) 

Kio

Nothing really stands out to me about yesterday, which is probably why it was so easy to just fall asleep without getting around to posting my daily update.  ;) 

Today is day 27, and so far only a few things of note.  I'm less inclined to think I have a stricture, since I am able to eat meat (in the form of chicken meatballs) but the Premier Protein shakes are still hit or miss unless diluted.  I'm also able to eat:  Cheese, Greek yogurt, Ricotta, hummus, and small pieces of very moist chicken.  I don't know why I'm so resistant to just going out and buying a different kind of shake.  Maybe it's because Premier has worked SO well for SO long, it's hard to believe it's failing me.  Or maybe I'm holding on because it has SO much protein for such a small quantity of liquid - when they work, they are a huge help in hitting my goals.  Whatever it is, I need to get over it and buy some shakes that my stomach will actually allow through the lower gates!

Also notable today - it was a pretty full day of work, and I was fine.  I managed 2 chicken meatballs instead of just the one I've previously been able to get down, then later some greek yogurt, and now some babybel cheese.  Still working on my water, and will likely BE working on that straight through till bedtime.  

Today is also an IVIG day.  Every 6 weeks I get an IV infusion of immunoglobulin for my autoimmune condition - 4 hours on an IV for two consecutive days.  I've got an IV in my arm as I type, and have about twenty minutes to go before I'm done.  A home health nurse has to be here for the whole infusion, but I like her a lot, and when I told her a few months ago I was going to have RNY, she told me she'd had it back in 2007!  So she knows exactly what I'm going through, what to check for, etc, and is a great source of information.  :) Plus, she gives me my B12 injections, so I don't have to do it myself.  It means I'm always about 2 weeks late on them, but my B12 levels are fine this way, so I'm not too worried about it.

My big experiment this week was yesterday - I made tomato soup!  And it was all going well, until I added the unflavored whey protein isolate powder.  It didn't affect the taste, but it DID make the soup a big grainy, instead of velvety smooth as it should be.  I used 2 cups of Fairlife whole milk instead of 1 cup of heavy cream - to cut the acidity a bit, and to up the protein content.  But unfortunately, when all was said and done, the protein content per serving (3 oz) was sooooo very low that I can't in all honesty say it's a source of protein at all.  Still, without the powder it will work great as a soup, and is healthier than just the cream - I'll just have to reserve it as a sometimes kind of thing, not a staple.  Here's the recipe, in case anyone is interested:

  1. One 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes with basil
  2. 5 cans (of 5.5 oz each) of Campbell's 100% pure tomato juice
  3. (Add both of these to a large pot and simmer for 30 minutes.  Remove from heat to cool slightly, then puree to silky smoothness with whatever you use for that - I use a Cuisinart hand blender/magic wand.  Return to stove and reheat.)
  4. 1 stick of unsalted butter (8 tablespoons)
  5. 2 cups of Fairlife whole milk
  6. (Chop the stick of butter into smaller chunks for easy melting; add them to the soup.  Then stir in the milk slowly, a little at a time, until both butter and milk are incorporated.)
  7. Salt and/or pepper to taste (though I have never found this soup to need either; it has a nice tomato-y zing all its own).
  8. Prep time takes about 10 minutes, mostly opening of cans; cook time is about 40 minutes, 30 or so of which are unattended.

Finally - I'm getting very close to the one month mark!  I plan to count my months by my surgery date - so from 9/8 to 10/7 will be my first month.  At this moment, I'm sitting on 16 lbs of weight loss for the first month if I DON'T count the water weight I gained while in the hospital.  If I DO count that, it's more like 27 lbs - but I can't really think of that as official.  IVIG is a very hydrating process, so I'm expecting my weight to either go up a pound or stay the same today and tomorrow - but of course I won't know until the 7th what my final official number is.  

On the 7th, I'll post a chart of my weight day by day for the first month.  :) 

Kio

I made it to the office today - am awesome, clearly.  I had to park waaaaaaaaaaay out in the boondocks and, which was very good for my step totals today.  Chatted for about an hour with my grand-boss, and then another hour with my boss, and then went to a couple of meetings.  One of the meetings was a farewell lunch for a departing (to another department) colleague - and I didn't even look at the food.  Kind of a victory, except...

The reason I wasn't interested at all in the food was, I was so uncomfortable from yet another protein shake failure.  I figured I'd be smart about my protein today - I planned ahead.  I brought a vanilla shake with me, drank a little more than a third of it on the way to Dunkin Donuts, and got a large iced decaf coffee.  Then I poured about half the coffee out and replaced it with the rest of the vanilla shake - it made a pretty decent vanilla latte. Only that first third of the shake sat in my Gremlin (which is what I have named my pouch; thanks @BurgundyBoy!) like glue.  By the time I got to the luncheon, I was barely able to sip at the "latte".  My boss - who is awesome - kept giving me significant looks about not drinking, and I finally excused myself to the bathroom and said fairwell to the Gremlin's contents.  After that I felt much better - and the much-diluted coffee-shake was easy to drink.  

I'm kind of sad the lunch went down like that, because my grand-boss had made an effort to order stuff she knew I would be able to eat.  There were refried beans, and a chicken salad.  I couldn't even think about solid food though.  And when the cake came out, my interest in it was absolutely nil.  (Funny though - my great-grand-boss, who has also had some form of WLS in the past two years, probably sleeve, leaned over and whispered to me, "I kind of want to put that whole thing in my face!" ;) ) 

After that there was one other meeting, and I was about to escape afterwards when my boss pulled me aside and said they had a welcome-back gift for me.  And it was seriously the MOST PERFECT GIFT!  A great card saying the whole team supported me 100% and wished me the best, and inside - a $140 gift card to Old Navy!  I was so moved by this - my team is seriously fantastic.  I seriously plan to work there till I drop in my traces.  I've been with this company seven years now, and they're the best.

Anyway, back at home I ate some hummus, because I needed SOME nutrition and it's been pretty reliable.  Then drank the rest of my "latte", and then much later ate some greek yogurt.  I was feeling pretty terrible about meeting my goals today, but it turns out I didn't do too bad. I'm sitting at 40 grams of protein right now, 450 calories (thanks, Hummus!) and 64 oz of water.  Plus, I did 30 minutes on the treadmill (10, then later 20) and got eight hours of sleep last night.  

Still... I'm thinking about calling my surgeon's PA tomorrow.  I haven't been reliably getting in my protein.  And any time I eat or drink, I feel like I spend the next twenty minutes burping or hiccuping, and the hiccuping is painful.  Not like surgery-damage painful - just the same painful hiccups always are - but still.  The burping isn't a great sensation, either.  I may need to either get scoped, or ... I don't know, maybe just move back to Stage 3a for a while.  

My eating strategy for tomorrow is basically to drink enough Fairlife whole milk to hit 30 grams of protein - as a stand-in for my shake.  I may mix in some unsweetened cocoa and stevia to make it hot chocolate.  Later, I'm going to make some tomato soup with Fairlife whole milk instead of cream, and blend some unflavored protein into it serving by serving.  And then at the end of the day, I may try to eat a slice of chicken lunch meat, or possibly one of the chicken meatballs that went down okay before (but in a lot more marinara than the first time.)

Down another pound today, so there's that.  :) 

Kio

Day 23 was uneventful!  Nothing very interesting to say.  

Day 24, today, is my back to work day.  But since my team is great and my commute is nonexistent, basically I wandered downstairs, went through my email, and did maybe half an hour of work. The rest of the time I messed around online - and I have to say, you guys don't post NEARLY enough to keep me entertained through a work day.  ;)  Tomorrow I have to actually go to the office for some meetings - only a couple of hours, but one of them is a lunch for a departing colleague.  That's going to be interesting...1

In an attempt to do better at getting my water in, I started the day with 11 oz of decaf coffee with some Fairlife for cream, then did 17 oz of water, and only then tried to eat. But even after that, I kind of sucked at getting the rest of the water in.  I'm finishing another 16 oz now, and will try to get a little more in before I go to sleep, but I'm afraid that's going to be it.

I didn't do well with protein, either.  I started off with 1/3 cup of refried beans (trying to get some fiber!) with a little cheese and greek yogurt on top. I managed to eat MAYBE a third of that, so little I didn't even feel it was worth doing the math.  I compensated with a premier chocolate shake later, and this went down okay for a change, so I got to 30 grams.  Then I ate an ounce of chicken from Leah's stir fry, and.... so far that's it.  A day of fail on the protein front.

The problem I'm having is one of timing.  It takes me a long time to actually eat or drink something.  I start to feel uncomfortable right away from burping so much, so I pause a long time between tiny bites or sips, and it takes forever to get stuff down.  Then I have to wait 30 minutes to drink, and then I try to spend an hour drinking.  And then I try to eat again... but I'm running out of time in the day.  I could eat something NOW, but I don't really like eating just before bed.  The internet tells me the constant burping will eventually pass, but... it hasn't yet.  

I went down another pound today, so that's nice.  Since I first met with my surgeon, I've gone from a BMI of 60 to a BMI of 50.  I had to call my PA today to find out if I could just stop taking Lovenox when I ran out, or if I needed to taper it off - just stop taking it was the answer, btw, but keep moving - and she said she was really impressed with my progress.  I am too!

And on the keep moving front, I did half an hour on the treadmill, part of it at 2mph.  Faster than I've ever gone.  And I wasn't even holding on!

Kio

Just a quick dinner update - I had a brutal night last night, and I'm tiiiiiired.  Feeling much better today though.  

Dinner at Bonefish Grill went well, all things considered.  In retrospect I should have just ordered off-menu - they probably would have just made me a small piece of fish or something with some sauce on it.  I did think about the soup, but it was just clam chowder, and I figured it would have wheat flour in it - which I have always avoided.  I thought about the crab cakes, too, but they had bread crumbs in them and 1) wheat flour and 2) breads and flours are a stage 4 food. 

So I ordered a regular entree, the baja fish tacos.  I knew it would be way more than I could eat.  I did NOT realize it would be the size of my HEAD.  The amount of food was just astonishing, and I ended up eating a tiny piece of cod no bigger than my pinky finger.  Even with lime juice, and some of the lime crema sauce that came with, it was kind of dry - and it sort of sat in my pouch like lead.  I felt super full super fast, on far less food than my usual 1/3 cup of ricotta or yogurt or whatever.  It did go down, but it seemed to take a looooong time.  And it didn't taste great - just sort of bland and woody.  I'm hoping it was just overcooked, or cooked in a way that didn't work for my special  needs - otherwise my tiny portions of frozen fish in the freezer will go to waste. Leah ordered the surf & turf with crab cakes.  I ate a tiny bite of the crab cake, and instantly regretted that I hadn't chosen them, bread crumbs be damned.  It was really nice. 

She and Meg both ordered the pumpkin creme brulee for dessert, too.  When they came to the table I was actually shocked at how huge they were. Big slabs of creme brulee in bowls the size of a grown man's hand, including fingers, with a scoop of whipped cream on top. Because what the hell is pumpkin creme brulee, I stole what I can't even call a "bite" of Meg's - I sort of dipped the edge of my spoon into it and licked it - and it tasted good, but it in no way called to me to have more.  (If you're wondering, it tasted basically like pumpkin pie.)

TL;DR - Overall, it was successful in that I went out, I ate food, I survived!  But the food wasn't to my taste, didn't make my new stomach very happy, and isn't something I will be having again.  And I felt actual restriction for the first time, just like you guys all said I would when I was eating solid protein - so there's that!  Either I have a super tiny pouch, or I still have a lot of swelling in there.  I doubt very seriously that was 2 full ounces of fish.

Kio

Well, this is an embarrassing thing, but I say right there in my blog's subtitle that this blog is going to be staggeringly honest.  

I've been doing okay mostly, but my first BM took about 6 days post surgery, so my doc put me on Miralax.  "As needed" - which has turned out to be about every other day so far.  But tonight I had a super severe bout of constipation that was frankly traumatizing (and probably emotionally scarring), and I'm going to be a once-a-day Miralax kind of gal for the forseeable future (or at least until I can get some fiber into my diet), just to ensure that doesn't happen again.  Honestly, I was afraid I was going to rupture something.  Or pop a brain aneurysm.  (I do know straining is bad for you.  This was not a situation where I had a choice.  Ugh.) Dying like Elvis is NOT on my bucket list.  *shudder*  

Eventually, I had to help things along like a nurse - with nitrile  gloves and a can-do attitude.  Thank god I had some handy.  Or, well, thank Leah, who can't scrub a toilet without a full hazmat suit. After that, I stripped down and took an hour-long, comprehensive shower. I still feel vaguely unclean. 

So there you go - staggeringly honest, that's me.  WLS patients of the future, don't be like me.  Take your stool softeners early and often.  Take your poo health seriously. YOU'RE WELCOME!

Kio

Day 21 - 3 weeks down

Pretty uneventful day, unless you count all the grocery shopping.  :)  This little ex-piggy went to market, and bought:

  • A pack of 14 chicken meatballs - I can probably eat 2 per meal max, so that's 7 meals
  • A 10-ounce piece of cod - which I can probably get 5 meals out of
  • All the fixings for a ricotta bake - I can make 4 with the ingredients I bought, and each one is five or six meals. I made one tonight, and it was lovely!  I may have overdone the "italian seasonings" though.
  • A "Salmon creations" lemon and dill packet, which I ate half of and threw the rest of away, because it wasn't actually very good
  • A bottle of Fairlife milk, because it has sooooo much protein. 
  • A vastly smaller mini-muffin pan than the one we had - for making egg bites.  Since there's no way I will ever need 24 of them at a time, and I don't like the way they taste frozen

I'm still having occasional trouble with the premier protein shakes.  Earlier today I found myself unable to choke down one of the chocolate ones, and that's my favorite one.  Again, it wasn't the taste - it just made the pouch unhappy.  Even earlier today:  I drank one with zero issues.  I suppose I should try some other kind of protein shake, but I have no idea where to start.  Premier has been my go-to.  I'd rather not switch to something I can't get at CVS or Costco.  Suggestions welcome!

My legs felt tired and achy all day, possibly from overdoing walking yesterday.  So the only walking I really got done was around and around the grocery store.  After that I had some treadmill intentions, and vaguely considered going along on the dog walk with Leah, but nothing came of it.  

I haven't mentioned weight in recent entries; this is because after my experiment with adding salt a few days ago, my weight went up two pounds, and has been declining since.  It's now 285 again.  And who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Well, I do - at least, I know that it will bring a trip out to dinner, my first dinner out since surgery.  Wish me luck!!

Kio

Day 20 - belated

Crashed last night instead of doing my update.  Ooops!  Life seems to be speeding by pretty quickly.  I go back to work on Monday, and I've had a couple of glitches this week, but I feel like I'm ready.  My boss is certainly ready ;). I'm trying to keep up with the journaling of this process, but sometimes I may fall behind (and I've fallen a little behind in answering comments - sorry!  Catching up as I can.  :)

But yesterday was an exciting day!  First day of solid-ish foods.  I wasn't TOO adventurous - I had probably about an eighth of a scrambled egg in the morning, then later in the day a quarter cup of tuna, mashed up with 1 tbsp of mayo, and finally in the evening half a deviled egg.  None of these were ecstatic foodie experiences, but they were certainly nice alternatives to greek yogurt and ricotta cheese! (Though I have to say, I did pretty well making my first deviled eggs in a decade.  Leah considers herself the Chief Egg Deviler in this household, and my favorite meals are always those prepared for me by others, so I haven't had any occasion to try it!)  Everything seemed to go down pretty well.

I've been trying to puzzle out the exact parameters of Stage 3b, since I'll be here for 3 weeks.  After this there's only Stage 4, which is "all foods, but be careful introducing them" - Stage 4 is basically being released into the culinary wilds.  There's a list for 3b, but it's got a lot of vague in it - like a list of acceptable fish and then fish "like" those listed fish.  As far as I can tell, Stage 3b is "any food not specifically listed in Stage 4."  Only stage 4 doesn't really have a list to go with it, because it's everything.   

What I make of it is:  I can have poultry as long as it's moist, and fish as long as it's flaky (presumably stuff like sword fish is out?  Whatever, I am not an eater of sword fish.)  Beans and lentils are allowed. All vegetables seem to be allowed as long as they're "well cooked" - by which I think they mean very very soft - and without skins or peels.  Bananas, canned peaches or canned pears are all okay (canned in their own juices or water; no syrup). Oatmeal, cream of wheat, farina, that kind of thing - all okay. Cheeses are okay. "Tub margarine or oil" is okay, though to be honest, I am choosing to read that as "butter and olive oil are okay" since those are the only fats I cook with. Hummus and avocado and smooth nut butters are okay.

Things reserved for stage 4 seem to be:  Beef, lamb, pork, shrimp, scallops; all fruits except for banana, canned peaches and canned pears; stringy/fibrous vegetables like asparagus, celery, peapods; nuts; popcorn; purely starchy foods like pasta, bread, rice, most cereals.

So basically, I have a huge range of choices right now.  I'm just not sure how to begin exploring it.  I've been thinking all along that I'd be pretty restricted until Stage 4, but it turns out that's not really the case.  There are lots of low-carb things I have traditionally loved that I could make right now, if I wanted to.  The tomato bisque I love with only four ingredients (tomatoes, basil, butter, heavy cream - ok five if you count black pepper - and I could add unflavored protein powder to it); a much-lower-sugar ground-turkey version of my favorite mini-meatloaves (made even mini-er now though, of course, and probably without the oatmeal)... that kind of thing.  But I feel like before I get into all that, I need to figure out a couple of things, like - how do I intend to eat, now that I can eat?  And how often?

I don't really like the idea of eating all the damn time.  The "every two or three hours" thing would mean I have to start eating early and finish late in order to get all my protein in.  So I'm definitely going to need at least one premier protein shake a day, at least for a while.  If I can do that, then I could just do three other meals with at least 10 grams of protein each, and hit 60 grams easily.  Though that's my minimum for protein - I'd be doing better if I could hit 90, but that's two shakes a day.  I don't think I can get there with just food, not this early out.

And the other thing is fats. I've always done the kind of low carb dieting that doesn't worry about fat, and I'd kind of like to continue that.  But  I've noticed the fats do bump up my calorie consumption considerably.  I worry it will slow down my weight loss.  But then, I actively dislike most low-fat dairy - it just tastes watery and weird to me.  I could limit dairy, though, now that I can eat meat... maybe that's the best solution.  I've never been hugely into dairy anyway, beyond butter for cooking, heavy cream in my coffee, and cheese (  :wub: ).  I can easily skip ricotta and cottage cheese without feeling remotely deprived - though I've discovered greek yogurt is yum, and I feel like it's super healthy for probiotic reasons as well - and I only like the whole milk version.  Still, it's not something I would probably want every day.

Maybe for now what I need to do is stick with simple whole foods, lean meats and veggies - just as my baseline.  And I can branch further out for special occasions.  I imagine I'll be pilfering a lot from The World According to Eggface when I start doing actual recipes.  :)   Actually - maybe I'll start tonight with a ricotta bake!

Kio

Day 19 - ups and downs

Up - I didn't feel as tired/fatigued today as I did the past three days or so.  I felt good enough to get in quite a lot of walking - for me anyway: 20 minutes on the treadmill at a pretty good clip, and one mile of outside walking with Leah and the dog, once the sun went down and some of the bake went out of the day.

Down - My bananas & cream Premier Protein shake this morning was a bust.  I got about 3/4 of the way through it, felt weird and awful, felt nauseated - truly nauseated - for the first time since surgery, and uh, ensured that it came right back up.

Up - The stories are true!  Throwing up isn't as terrible experience after RNY as it was before.  Wasn't difficult, didn't hurt, didn't burn, just whoops! and done.  And I immediately felt better.

Of course, I also immediately worried I had a stricture.  And who knows, maybe I do, but there's not enough data yet.  I called my PA, who said something about maybe it was an "aversion" - which makes little sense to me.  I didn't have any negative feelings about the shake when I was drinking it; it just made me feel bad once it was down in the pouch.  That is not what I thought a food aversion was; if it is, I've been misunderstanding the term since I got here.

But she did suggest I just try water for a few hours (as did @Jen581791!), and then try another stage 3a food like greek yogurt.  I did that, and didn't seem to have any problems with it.  I went for my outside walk after the yogurt, and it stayed down.  I did get pretty burpy when I got back home and started drinking water, though - burpy enough that my chest kind of hurt a bit from it.  But that seems to have passed, too.  My current theory is that my Celebrate calcium "soft chew" may be gumming up the works in there; the problem with the shake happened after having my morning one, and the problem with the burping happened after having my evening one.  I chew them basically into liquid, though, so.... who knows.  Hopefully all will be well again tomorrow, because Leah is making me a very softly scrambled egg for breakfast!

I'm not getting anywhere near my protein or fluid goals for the day.  I AM going to try to finish this half liter of water before bed, though.  So here I sit, drinking and burping and drinking...and burping...

Kio

After a very shaky start this morning and this afternoon, I started feeling better this evening, and feel pretty good right now.  I'm beginning to think it really is a salt issue, since my other theories have been shot down by lived experience:  My twice-daily lovenox injection doesn't seem to have derailed me, nor has a caramel protein shake (premier protein, same as this morning), nor has my multivitamin.  In fact nothing today has really bothered me since hummus, which is just weird and upsetting, because more than most people?  I really, really love hummus.  Hopefully that was just a passing thing. I think my bouillon cup turned things around for me around 5pm, which would seem to confirm I'm having some sort of "keto flu" issue.  Aside from the minimal sodium in the Premier shakes, nothing else I eat in this stage really has any - or compels me to add any.  So maybe a cup of bouillon is how I start my days for a while.  (Sadly, it also increased my weight by a pound overnight, but it's a pound of water, so who cares.)

Anyway - I'll see how I feel tomorrow, but so far so good tonight.  I met my protein goals AND my fluid goals, in spite of feeling pretty bad and napping most of the day.  No exercise to speak of, though, not today or the past two days.  Maybe tomorrow I can do something about that!

 

Kio

Got all my blood tests back today - everything is normal.  I still feel pretty tired, but maybe it's just another phase of recovery?  Or maybe I just need more protein.  I've been getting to 60 a day, but maybe I'll up it to 80-90 today and see how that goes.  Two protein shakes instead of just one should do it.

It's pretty disconcerting; whatever it is, I hope it passes soon.

Kio

So...yesterday I was pretty tired, and today I am even more tired, with some bonus shakiness and lightheadedness.  I've talked to my surgeon's PA, who sent me to my PCP for some blood tests.  My PCP was all, "Hell no, you're coming in and I'm looking at you myself," so I had a friend come in and take me over.  So I got a head-to-toe, my blood pressure taken in various positions, pulse rate measured in various positions, 02 tested, blood sugar tested, heart and lungs listened to, incisions and throat and ears examined, the whole nine yards.  Every thing seemed pretty good.  Then I was sent across the street to get a CBC panel (STAT!) and various other tests for things like iron and vitamin D and thyroid and a sodium and allsorts.

My CBC stuff all came back normal and the rest of the stuff won't be back till tomorrow.  Until then, my PCP thinks I might be dehydrated (even though I am getting all my fluids in!!!!) and may be low on sodium.  So possibly some post-op version of "keto flu".  I'll find out more tomorrow!

For now, I'm sitting at home drinking some salty salty knorr chicken bouillon broth and relaxing.  I feel like this is nothing serious, but I felt pretty bad after two weeks of feeling great, so I exercised the better part of valor by getting myself checked out. 

Kio

Most days I feel great, but today was one of those days where I'm very well aware that I had surgery two weeks ago.  Nothing really bad - I was just super tired all day, so much so that I took an afternoon nap.  It threw my whole schedule out of wack, such that I met my protein goals but am still working on fluids and didn't actually get any exercise.  Leah basically did chores all day so I felt like a total loser in comparison.  Some of those chores were mine!  I can't wait till some of my physical restrictions are lifted and I can start being of more use around the house again.  

Since I didn't have the energy for much, I spent most of the day working on a tracking spreadsheet for, well, everything.  Food, protein, vitamins, meds, fluids, exercise, sleep, weight... even my period.  I've set it up so each tab is one day, and each day covers everything I'm supposed to do to support my health during this journey.  (I kind of hate using the world "journey" in this context - it makes me feel like I should be spouting mantras while climbing mountains in Tibet - but it certainly felt like a journey today.)  Tomorrow I'm going to work out some charts so I can see the daily ups and downs of my weight and track them against fun stuff like how much sleep I got the night before and what my fluid intake was the day before... yeah, I've clearly lost my mind.

Earlier in this blog (or earlier in forum posts, probably) I mentioned I'm not much of a tracker of things.  This process seems to have knocked that out of me, at least for now.  I'm not sure how long I'll keep up the tracking, but I'm guessing at least until I've got myself into an eating pattern that feels sustainable in Stage 4.  I want to say I'll do it throughout the "honeymoon period" or until I reach my goal weight, but honestly I'm not that optimistic about my tracking endurance.  We'll see how it goes.  I mean - it's pretty easy to track everything you put in your mouth when everything you put in your mouth is either ricotta, greek yogurt, or a protein shake, you know?

I actually feel a bit like my work life has invaded my personal life.  It started with weight - of course I'm going to track my weight!  But from there I kept thinking of other pieces of data that I might want somewhere down the road.  And if you're a person who works with data, you know that it takes a lot of it to tease out any actual information.  The more I have, I figure, the more I'll be able to see what effects my weight loss/gain.  Next thing you know, I'll be trying to report this stuff to my boss ;)!  (Who will totally get a kick out of this when I tell her about it...)