ThriftyTheresa

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    59
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About ThriftyTheresa

  • Rank
    Advanced Member

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Female
  • Location
    Seattle, WA

Information

  • Surgeon
    Dr. Brian Sung
  • Hospital
    Swedish Medical Center
  • Height (ft-in)
    5-09
  • Start Weight
    353
  • Current Weight
    319
  • Surgery Date
    07/10/17
  • Surgery Type
    Gastric Bypass
  • Surgeon
    Dr. Brian Sung

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  1. Sorry it's taken this long for me to get an update out. Let's just say it's been a difficult and exhausting process to get myself back to "normal" since my surgery on 7/10. This week I can safely say that I am feeling good. The last 4 weeks though have been hard. Surgery itself went well, according to the surgeons. I was at the hospital Monday-Wednesday, released late Wednesday afternoon. I don't think I was taken care of very well in the hospital and that caused problems for me when I got home. At the hospital I was rarely given the opportunity to walk around the halls. During the daytime, my assigned nurse only checked up on me when I called him to use the bathroom and he would complain constantly about being so busy, so busy, so busy. The printed message on my room's wall said daytime nurses should check on patients every hour. He'd drop off pain meds and change my IV bag every 5 hours. He wouldn't let me walk the halls by myself and was too busy to walk with me. The nighttime nurses were better and I was able to walk a few times before bedtime. Trust me, I have complained to the hospital about this daytime nurse and his lack of assistance for me. Because I wasn't able to get up and walk while in the hospital, when I got home Wednesday I weighed 30lbs heavier than the morning I checked in for surgery. THIRTY POUNDS of gas and water and swelling. My belly was distended so far out I looked 9 months pregnant and had painful stretch marks that I never had on my body before. With all this swelling and distention, it was impossible for me to get comfortable anywhere - bed, couch, chairs. That first night at home was one of the most painful and uncomfortable experiences of my life. Honestly, the only comfortable sitting place I could find was my bathroom toilet. During the night, I sat there for a long time and slept a few minutes without discomfort. I had a hard time getting fluids in. I felt (and still feel) a lot of restriction in my pouch. Taking more than 1 sip every 5 minutes was difficult. Because I couldn't get much water or much protein drink in I was very weak. Feeling weak and dizzy did not help when it comes to getting up and walking. So the rest of the week and the weekend I just tried to stay comfortable and pray that the swelling in my abdomen would go down. Wednesday of the following week I was feeling a little better and sent my Dad back to his home because I thought I was doing better and could take care of myself. Then Thursday evening I started vomiting and had severe diarrhea. I was only drinking water and protein water (not milky protein) but it would all come up. I would have a round of vomiting and toilet time then I would fall asleep for a couple hours. I'd wake up, drink some more, vomit some more, go back to sleep. This routine continued all through the night. I thought about going to the emergency room but the idea of going back to the hospital was terrifying for me. When my Dr's office opened in the morning I called and spoke to my surgeon's PA. Since I did not have a fever it didn't seem like I had any infections. She prescribed me some anti-nausea medication and I was able to get my father to go pick it up and come back to help me. Once I was on the anti-nausea meds the vomiting stopped. The diarrhea also stopped because I didn't have anything else to give. The medication came with the side effect of sleeping so I continued my cycle of sleeping and waking up to drink a little but I really couldn't sit up more than 20 minutes or so. My eyes hurt like I had a migraine. It's obvious I was seriously dehydrated. I wasn't getting enough in and couldn't stay awake long enough to drink more. So for 3 days I basically stayed in my dark bedroom sleeping. On Monday the 24th I was determined to get out of bed. I had my post-op appointment the next day, Tuesday, and I needed to get some strength back in order to go to that appointment. My Dad was really helpful during all this time. I wouldn't have been able to do it without him. When we saw the Dr. on Tuesday I was back down to the same weight I was when I checked in for surgery. The swelling in my abdomen greatly reduced during all that sick time. We talked about the situation with the vomiting and how I'm not staying awake long enough to do anything. And I was supposed to return to work the following week. I didn't think I would get able to get the strength. They gave me the go ahead to advance my diet to soft foods and ordered me to get up and walk more. Starting to eat foods really helped increase my energy. I also stopped taking the nausea pill because it was making me sleep too much. Walking was so hard because I was so physically weak but me and Dad took little walks around the block and each day I was able to walk more and more. I spent the week trying my best to drink as much as possible and eating yogurts, cottage cheese, and eggs. I felt stronger each day. Monday the 31st I had to go back to work. That was the end of my "disability" time at work and I would be penalized if I did not return. That day was a huge challenge. I packed all my foods and drinks and made my way in. I was still very weak, tired, and my brain didn't even want to function. But thankfully I have a desk job so once I got to my desk I could just relax a little, breath, drink, and breath some more. I'm grateful it was a relatively slow day at work so I didn't have a lot of calls to handle, and I could just take my time with the work I needed to do. When I got home that day I was exhausted to the max. I had some more cottage cheese and went to bed almost immediately. Each day at work got a little better. I actually think having the routine of work helped me a lot with my eating schedule and that helped me a lot with building up stamina and strength. This is almost the end of my 2nd week back at work - and my 1 month anniversary of having the surgery. I am 20lbs down from surgery day. That makes 62lbs down since I started this process last September. I do feel almost completely "normal" again. I have not had any more vomiting. I still have bowel problems from time to time but it's easier to figure out what causes that based on what I am eating. I'm still mostly living off yogurt and cottage cheese. I can't believe I'm not sick of those yet. But I have been trying to introduce new foods each day and have tolerated most everything. I can eat chicken, tuna, chili, lunch meats and cheeses. All in very tiny portions, of course. This is my new "normal". Now that I am out of the woods, the worst is behind me, and I can focus on the happy and healthy future.
  2. Sorry I've been MIA. Surgery was fine but I had a pretty brutal 2 weeks of recovery. 3rd week I started to get better. I'm in week 4 now and back at work. I'll post more in a blog post later when have more time. It was quite challenging, but every day is getting better. Thanks for thinking of me.
  3. Cool Jen! Nice to meet a "local"!
  4. Great job on the eating out! Everything you had sounds delicious. If you were at the convention center in Seattle I work 2 blocks away. I imagine I know which restaurants you went to within walking distance. The Thai place is a favorite of my workplace. I'll keep in mind that the fried tofu should be stayed away from. I LOVE Indian food and look forward when I can enjoy that again. Kudos for staying away from the naan. That is going to be hard for me. Yay for cheese plates and Yay for bringing all your snacks with you to stay full and energetic.
  5. Sunday I will begin my 2-week "diet" before surgery. My clinic does not require an all-liquid diet, just super low-carb - under 20g a day. This past month I have been working and lowering, and lowering, and lowering my carb intake. I haven't had any alcohol for over a month and I haven't had any sugar in a month except for fresh strawberries and a small squirt of whipped cream once a week. I know this is the final prep to shrink the fat around my liver and make surgery safer. I am taking this very seriously. Sunday is the final stretch toward this goal of getting surgery. It's been a hell of a 10 months to get to this point. Saturday night, however... I've planned for one final night of indulgence. My best friend and I are going to have a party night together. Have lots of alcoholic drinks, lots of greasy food at our favorite dirty diner, sing karaoke, and a final indulgence of Cheesecake Factory. She's not interested in surgery but she is interested in improving her health and losing weight. This Last HURRAH is for us both. I have already picked up the Cheesecake slices for us and I will say that I almost didn't. I had some very intense feelings of embarrassment about going to the restaurant just to order from the to-go counter and take the big bag of cheesecakes on the bus home. I wanted to order the slices online using a delivery service app but the slices my friend wanted were both limited edition and only available in the store. I couldn't order them online. I work exactly 2 blocks away from Cheesecake Factory and walk by it almost every day on my way to the bus. In the 15 years I have worked here I have only been there probably 5 times. It truly is a rare indulgence, and that is 100% due to the shame I feel whenever I go there. I even felt shame about it the ONE time I ordered online to eat in the privacy of my home because a delivery person would had to bring it to me. The place is just so over the top with large portions and once slice of cake has the caloric intake for 2 whole days of food. The last thing I want is for someone to see me, the morbidly obese person that I am, buying 4 slices of cheesecake. The judgment of strangers shouldn't matter to me, and it normally doesn't, but I was really struck with the realization that I was judging myself. I was buying 4 slices of cheesecake with the full intention of pigging out on them this weekend. It's disgusting. I'm disgusted with myself. I don't even want to eat the stupid cheesecake now. So me and my best friend are going to go out and have one last party night. I may or may not eat a greasy cheeseburger. I may or may not drink a lot of alcohol. The cheesecake might end up in the trashcan. I don't need it. I don't need it ever again.
  6. Thanks Jen. It was a weird dream for sure. After writing about it I stopped thinking about it completely. Getting out my feelings made me feel better. This is why I like blogging here. I still feel very excited about the surgery. I still affirm that I am not scared. There's always the fear of the unknown, but the unknown can happen any day and any time. If I was truly afraid of the unknown I would never leave my house and never LIVE. I'm doing this surgery to help me LIVE a long and happy life. There's no reason to be scared.
  7. Now that I've let everyone know my surgery date, people have been asking me "Are you getting nervous yet?" I always answer "No, I'm excited!" I've had abdominal laparoscopic surgery before when I had my tubes tied and fried. I know what to expect on surgery day and I know what I will feel like waking up from the anesthesia. I don't fear any of it. At least that's what I am saying to myself. I woke up this morning from a very bad dream about the surgery. In the dream I was on what appeared to be a TV show being filmed in the hospital. There were bleachers of people watching the live filming. I was there as a "surgery success" patient and had lost a lot of weight. My tummy area was flabby with loose skin. I was wearing a very unflattering "dress" that looked more like a long T-shirt which clung to my flabby rolls, my hair was a mess like I just woke up from sleep. I had the distinct feeling I wasn't wearing a bra or underwear under this ugly gray t-shirt dress. I looked terrible but everyone was cheering and praising me for my great weight loss. There was a another woman there who was larger than my starting weight and she was fresh out of surgery and walking for the first time. She walked to me on the other side of the stage and we hugged and the audience cheered for us. All the while this is happening I keep thinking to myself "I don't understand. I just had surgery yesterday. How did I lose this weight? Why do I look like this?" Then I was talking to someone at a control panel-type desk in the filming studio and noticed a piece of paper, or a newspaper type thing, and saw the date was in February. My mind knew my surgery was in July but the date is telling me an entire 7 months had passed. I didn't remember anything past going to the hospital and going under. How had all this time passed? I couldn't find my father or any friends. I was back in my hospital room talking to a nurse asking why it was February. Was I in a coma all this time? What has happened to me? Why am I here? Where is my father? The nurse just stared at me for a long time while I was crying and asking these questions. Then she said "I don't know why you're so upset. We're taking care of you. Why don't you just take some more drugs and go back to sleep." Around that time I woke up. It's been a long time since I've had such a vivid and upsetting dream. So obviously from this dream I must be more scared than I realize. There are clearly feelings of not being in control of my health or my body. When the nurse told me to take more drugs sounded accusatory like I had become a drug addict. There were feelings of vulnerability being exposed to an audience and the ugly, unflattering dress I was in reminding me that I may be less heavy but I am still unattractive and I don't want people looking at me. So what I take away from this is - sure I am probably a little scared of the surgery, but I am more scared of what will come after the surgery. Or maybe it was just a dumb meaningless dream. I'm not going to let it bother me anymore.
  8. I appreciate the info. I'll be prepared with liquid Tylenol at home. I've had laparoscopic surgery before so I am familiar with the gas pain.
  9. Last week I had an interesting experience and it was very helpful for me as I look forward to my own surgery. I visited a patient who just had Sleeve surgery with my surgeon and got to help her be discharged from the hospital. We have a FB group made specifically for patients at our hospital. No Drs or Nurses are involved, it's just for patient support since we all have the same clinic guidelines and education we can help each other. A woman posted Tuesday morning that she was getting her Sleeve surgery that afternoon and she was all alone. She travelled from a different part of the state to be here - about 300 miles. All of her family are in another state even further away and she was going to be completely alone for a week and staying in a hotel. That broke my heart. I live very close to the hospital (less than 2 miles) and I reached out to her and said I would be happy to come visit her on Wednesday afternoon. No one should have to go through this alone. When I arrived it turned out the lady was ready to be discharged and was already packing her bags. Since she had the sleeve it was just one overnight for her and she was good to go. She was staying at a hotel that is just a couple blocks from the hospital and they sent a shuttle to pick us up. I carried her bags. She had already checked in to the hotel before the surgery and had the room filled up with protein drinks, water, soups, broths. The hotel had a little refrigerator for her and a microwave. She was all set up. After getting back to the hotel she was still feeling really good so we took a walk down to the drug store and got her prescriptions filled. Returning to the room we chatted a while until she was eventually ready for a nap. She spent a couple days recuperating and I visited her again on Saturday and she left Sunday to finish her recovery staying with a friend in another city further away. She will have her 2 week post-op check later this week and fly home after that. All in all I found it very helpful for ME to see what my experience might be like. I will have 2 nights in the hospital because I am getting RNY and she got the Sleeve. It was a nice way for me to see the behind the scenes action from the view of a patient. Seeing the recovery room, the location we would be in the huge hospital campus, met a couple nurses who were assisting her. Seeing how well she was feeling the very next day was amazing! I could not believe how good she was feeling and ready to walk to the pharmacy. She wasn't feeling nauseous or in pain so that really gives me hope I will have a good experience myself and will not be completely incapacitated. Talking to her the next few days was good to hear about the liquid diet, the things she was enjoying and not enjoying drinking. Hearing about her sleep and sleeping positions. She had a really good attitude and I think that also makes a lot of difference. Overall it was a good experience for me to help her and I hope I made her recovery a little easier being in a strange city all alone. I now feel more prepared than ever for my turn on the Losers Bench!
  10. After 2 weeks of waiting for insurance approval I hadn't received any phone calls with confirmation. I had a check-in appointment yesterday and got the good news that insurance has approved the whole shebang and we chose a surgery date of July 10th. It's another 6 weeks of waiting - and preparing - but I am ready! Part of the appointment yesterday was a group class with other patients where we went over the 3 diets we will be on. 2 week low-carb "Atkins" diet (staying under 20g carbs a day), 1 day clear liquids before surgery, and the 2 week post-op liquid only diet. 2 weeks after surgery I will have another class to take on diet advancement to pureed and soft foods. I loaded up on protein and vitamins at the clinic store. We go to sample a lot of the drinks and chewable vitamins before we purchased so that was very helpful. I was surprised to see the prices were a good $5 cheaper than Amazon for most products. The Unjury chicken soup might be the best medical grade food product I have ever tasted! Funny because the Unjury protein powders are absolutely vile! Anyway...it's happening! Now I just need to get all my ducks in a row at work and contact the powers that be regarding time off. I'm almost there!
  11. July 10th confirmed as the big day! Swedish Hospital Seattle with Dr. Brian Sung.
  12. I thought 2 weeks ago the hospital was going to send al my info to insurance but that didn't happen. Instead they gave me another appointment for a "Final Review". So yesterday I had my final review with the surgeon and signed all the paperwork permitting him to poke holes in me and play with my guts. My Case manager at the clinic is NOW submitting everything over the insurance. She told me it could be 2-3 weeks for approval. I called and spoke to my case manager at the insurance company and told her to expect everything this week. She thinks it should only be 2-3 DAYS to get the approval so I am hoping she is right saying DAYS instead of WEEKS. I'm already scheduled for a pre-surgery checkup and a couple pre-surgery classes on May 24th. After taking those classes I will be clear to have surgery anytime in the next 30 days. The journey to get to this point seemed to fly by - been working on this since September last year! This last little bit of waiting and hoping and praying and waiting some more is driving me insane. LETS GET IT DONE ALREADY!
  13. Had my last appointment for my supervised weight loss yesterday. Since September I have lost 29lbs. I have lost 39 lbs from my highest recorded weight in 2015. I'm happy with the results and my medical team is happy with me too. Now I have to wait for the call from my nurse coordinator about submitting to insurance and choosing a surgery date! So happy that this 6 months is over with. It's been up/down, good/bad, but overall I am grateful for this period of time to lose some bad habits, start some better habits, try out new foods, become more active and educate myself about the surgery and what my life will be like post-surgery. So excited to go forward and get this done!
  14. I just finished my 4th month out of 6. I have been very happy and excited during this whole process. I have learned new food recipes, I have been packing my meals for work (breakfast and lunch), I have been reading sites like this one and various Facebook groups for information and inspiration. I guess it's all the mindset of the individual. I am SO EXCITED to get to the goal of surgery (and all of the other goals after surgery) that I am just super happy about progressing toward that goal. Learning the new food habits is not easy, and can be frustrating, but I am proud of myself and what I have accomplished in my 4 months of supervised weight loss. I am proving to myself and the doctors that I can do this and be a successful post-op patient. That being said...I understand you're hurry to want the 6 months over with as soon as possible. I started talking to my doctor in September about surgery, and I met with the surgeons office in October. But my first month of supervised weight loss did not officially start until November. I can't count my September and October appointments toward my 6 months. In order to satisfy my insurance company I am doing everything by the book, jumping through any hoop they ask me to. Satisfying the insurance so they will pay for it is just another goal. So again, perhaps it's just a mindset thing. When you're looking toward the future don't look for all the roadblocks and pitfalls and challenges. Just keep walking. You'll make it there.
  15. Feb 28th was the end of my 4th month of the Supervised Weight Loss required by insurance. I did not lose any weight - however - I did not gain any weight, either. I weighed in at exactly the same (give/take a few ounces) as I did at the end of January. I am still at 35lbs under my highest weight. I am not celebrating and I am not upset, either. I still have 2 more months of supervised weight loss before surgery and I am focused on losing more between now and then. February 3rd was my birthday and I allowed myself to indulge this month without guilt. I had cheesecake multiple times during the month, I had friends take me out for drinks, nachos, brunch throughout the month. My father and I went to Las Vegas to see Cher on Valentine's Day. We ate mostly convenience/fast food and I had cocktails in the casinos. I splurged on Chinese food, Indian food, and Pizza at home. But every time I ate/drank something I tracked it on MyFitnessPal. All the good and all the bad. I tracked it all. I still had "high protein/low carb" on my mind every time I make my food choices. I allowed myself to splurge on certain meals and I would balance that out with healthy choices for the rest of the day/week. The nurse who I met with for my appointment did not shame me for my "bad month" but actually commended me that I did not gain. She reviewed my entire month of food - all the bad and the good - and she says it shows I can do "maintenance". I don't quite agree with her, because frankly there were times where I was a complete hedonist and binged without abandon. That is something I don't want to do again. I am not a fan of the "everything in moderation" mindset because I certainly don't want to talk myself into destructive behavior after I have surgery. I don't want to look back on my "last hurrah!" and my "food funerals" had this month and think to myself that it would be OK to go back to poor eating habits with the false bravado that I could "cheat" and not gain. And the nurse said it was OK to cheat from time to time. That false feeling of security is how other WLS patients get regain. I don't want to even entertain that idea that cheating is OK. I'm a food addict. You don't tell a drug addict that it's OK to have a little heroin from time to time just to treat yourself. My eyes are firmly on the goal of losing more before surgery. So March 1 I am back on track and so excited to be in Month 5 out of 6!. February is now over and I am back on track. Packed breakfasts, lunches for work. I have healthy dinners planned all week. Anyway...onward and downward!