Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Weight Loss Blog: Month 1

So, I had the surgery I described on December 11th, as planned. Thankfully, it went flawlessly. I remember being wheeled into the operating room, then moving onto the operating table, then a nurse yelling at me, "Wake up, Mr. Parker! It's all over!"

Waking from anesthesia is not fun. I was very nauseous, and it required everything I had to try to stay awake. Once I could stay awake, and the nurses were satisfied that I wasn't going to slip into a coma or anything, I was moved from recovery into my room. I had a great deal of pain in my gut, which I expected, having just been sliced into several times. What I didn't expect was that the bulk of the pain was not from the incisions, but rather from trapped gas. During the laproscopic bariatric surgery, they fill the abdomen with a bunch of gas, swelling it up, and raising the stomach so that the surgeons have room to work. Apparently, they either can't or don't suck all of this gas back out once they're done, and the trapped remainder exerts a great amount of pressure on your insides. this is relieved relatively quickly by walking, which the medical staff encourages you to do as early and often as possible. Once the gas dissipated, I had very little in the way of pain after that.

I continued to be nauseous throughout the first day and evening. After a visit from the doctor the next morning and some anti-nausea meds added to my IV, that finally, mercifully, stopped. The only other initial difficulty was going pee. I was quite confounded by the fact that I had to strain and push out every drop, until it was explained to me that the catheter that is inserted during surgery causes the bladder to become weak. Within a couple of days, this problem rectified itself as well. Once the doctor was satisfied with my intake of what could loosely be called "food" (broth, jello, tea, and water), and that my digestive system was in working order again (I've never had so many people waiting on me to fart), I was released on Sunday, December 13th.

After my release, the only problem I had was a minor infection in one of my incisions. This infection was caused, I was told, by a stapler. During surgery, a special stapler is fed down the throat, then removed through this incision. The passing through of this stapler occasionally causes infection. This was quite painful, but once the staples were removed, and the incision allowed to drain, I felt much better. A few days of heavy duty antibiotics (4 times a day!), and the infection was soon history.

A clever, wonderful friend suggested that I blog my progress each month on the 11th, so that is what I will try to do. My first week, I was restricted to liquids. After my one-week check-up and the removal of the stitches, I was promoted to "mushies"--mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, light soups, or anything that I can blend into mush. This is the phase that I am in now. I am slowly trying different things, seeing what my limits and tolerances are now. So far, I have noticed a definite nausea reaction to too much sugar, which is very common for this surgery. In addition, I seem to have a mild intolerance for certain types of dairy now as well. Strange as it may sound, it took a while to re-learn what "hungry" and "full" felt like. One thing that has been unmistakable, however, is "too full." If I have just one bite too much, or I don't chew something quite well enough, my stomach lets me know immediately. I initially tried to wait it out, hoping the food would digest. I have since learned that when I make that mistake and feel that feeling, the best thing to do is go into the bathroom right away and give my unruly stomach contents the ol' heave-ho. Not pleasant, but very instructive.

As far as exercise, I began walking 2 miles per day on the 1st of January. I recently upped that to 4 miles per day, taking one 2 mile trip in the morning before work, and another in the evening after work. I am also taking a liquid multivitamin twice a day.

It all seems to be working. As of my surgery date, I was 353 pounds. When I weighed in at Kaiser today, I was 321 pounds. 32 pounds in a month; an average of a pound per day? Not bad at all. I will be watching my intake and adjusting my exercise as needed to try to maintain this rate of weight loss as best I can. Check in here on February 11, 2010 to see how I did!