Thursday, October 13, 2011

Stage 1 & 2 Post Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery

To read my story from the beginning start here , then here then here.

Stage one post procedure is 3 days of clear liquids, every 15 minutes, 1 ounce. It was just a matter of doing it. There is no desire whatsoever to eat or drink. You just do it. And when you don’t want to do it – you have loved ones near by who remind you – it has been 15 minutes – do it. I will admit, I probably only got 3 out of 4 ounces each hour and rather than drinking all 1 ounce at one time, I sipped it for the entire 15 minutes – so it was like small trickles of fluid non stop. I preferred warm broth to cold or room temperature fluids like crystal light or water. I also had popsicles – those helped a lot when I needed some consistency in my mouth. As I talk about the stages – one of the hardest things I experienced was not chewing. I have no idea why. I am sure it was psychological, but I missed chewing and having texture in my mouth – popsicles where great in this area.

I spent most of my time in a recliner in my room. Lying down was uncomfortable and I had a lot of reflux issues. I just had this constant burning when I lay down, so I did not lie down very often. At night, I would start off in the bed, but by the middle of the night, I was up and sleeping in the chair. My husband raised my side of the mattress by folding a blanket and stuffing it under the mattress. That and a bunch of pillows around me helped, but I never really got a full night’s sleep for a while. Chewable tums/Mylanta etc became my best friend, until I started Zegrid – but that is much further in the story. In these early phases, I just suffered through it for the greater good.

Stage two, full liquids, started on Monday. This is where you add the protein drinks and you alternate 2ounces of fluid for the first two 15 minutes, then 2 ounces of protein shake for the next two 15 minute cycles. Trouble, Trouble. I could not tolerate the protein drinks. It almost instantly made me gag and throw up. I even tried heavy duty, more bang for your buck protein drinks and those were even worse. There was something about the synthetic protein that I just could not handle. It was very frustrating. I had no problems with these tyoes of drinks before surgery, but now, my body was just not cooperating. I tried to approach it very academically. My mother bought me the small plastic throw away containers (ya know, the one you make jello shots with?) and they were perfect 2 ounce containers. I would make my shakes in the morning, measure them out, and then store them in the fridge for all day. I had a chart to check off my success like stars on the kids’ chore list. I started each day out with a positive attitude and a plan. I can do this, I can do this, I can do this….I can’t do this……NO – YOU-CAN-DO-THIS!! … I can’t.

Cream if wheat became my savior. It was basically the only thing with a good source of nutrition that I could tolerate. I made it with real butter and honey to help add to the calories – sounds counter productive to what I was trying to accomplish, but I was barely getting 300-400 calories a day at this point – and that was with the real butter and honey. But it was something. Fluids, cream of wheat and cream soups – this became my life until day 14.

Wednesday (Post op day 6) – My dark day in the desert:
Wednesday was my darkest, ugliest day in this process. It was my first day alone. Mike had gone back to work, kids were at school. I cried and cried and cried. It had been almost two weeks without food, I was tired, and I was weak from surgery and no nutrition. I did not want to eat and I was being forced to drink something that made me even sicker. This was my torture, this was my purgatory. I was watching Eat Pray Love for the first time and all I could see was a woman trying to find herself, making mistakes, and nauseatingly overeating. I remember thinking – this is my penance for bad mistakes. The Chinese water torture of forcing fluids and shakes only to feel worse is my punishment for years of too many calories and poor choices. I was facing (for the first time) a situation where I did not want to eat but had too.

Oh yeah – and the worst part – I wasn’t losing weight. My body had gone into starvation mode. Because my pre-surgery weight loss was so significant, and I was not getting in enough nutrition for several days now – my body was refusing to give it up. I was searching forums regarding the surgery so much that when my cursor hit the search bar, it preloaded with a long list that always ended with post sleeve gastrectomy surgery:
Weight loss day 4 post sleeve gastrectomy
Protein drinks post sleeve gastrectomy
Why can’t I tolerate protein post sleeve gastrectomy
Did I make the wrong decision post sleeve gastrectomy?

This is when my mother started the now ever present lesson in this entire process. Give yourself a break. Did you hear that, Becky? Give your self a break. Your body is not a mathematical genius. Your body does not follow the rules. It will catch up with itself and the weight will come off – but you have to give yourself a break and know it is going to happen – not in your time, but it will happen.

On Friday, I had my 1 week post op appointment. I told my doctor about my issues with the protein and he told me he wasn’t all that worried about me getting a perfect score on my protein drink chart. He was more worried about keeping me hydrated. He also said my surgery was basically text book perfect – and it was tight – very tight – so he was not surprised with the volume issues.

By the following Monday, I was determined not to be a sick person. I decided I was going to go do the shopping while the kids were at school – maybe even hit the gym and walk on the treadmill. Bahahahaha – what a joke – I got winded by the time I made it to the back of the store. I kept pushing, and by the time I had a cart full of groceries, I truly felt like I was going to pass out. I called my husband weepy and he said, just leave the cart and go home, he was around the corner and he would meet me there. I was stubborn and said no – I couldn’t abandon the cart when I was so close, to just have to do it all over again another day. I checked out, humbly asked for help from the store to get me to the car and loaded then I drove home. Mike was there – he made me some soup and told me to go lay down.

So – I started to give myself a break at this point. I acknowledged that I was going to have to chill out and ride this out. I knew things would change when I got to stage three pureed food (read baby food). I knew I would be able to get more protein/nourishment at that point and I would have more energy – but until then, I couldn’t beat myself up because I could not run a marathon.

Next blog – Baby Food – Baby Steps.


~Crystal said...

Thank you for sharing this difficult part of your journey. (((hugs)))

Anonymous said...

How did you get all your meds in

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