Saturday June 16, 2018 – 6:30am–three days post-surgery
I guess this is a sort of a morning pages entry because my brain is still kind of fried. Potatoes. When will I see another potato? Not that I want one. Don’t want anything. Must keep taking sips. So far I’m still carrying IV fluid I think—pee not dark. Or maybe I’m doing it. I don’t know.
I feel: tired and achy. Weak and low energy. Hmm sounds like I just had surgery, heh. No drugs to take the edge off—sucks that they were out of liquid Tylenol yesterday. Mercifully, I’m not in what I think of as post-surgical pain at all. Truthfully, the only really bad piece is the right side of my neck. I have no idea why. It went away for a while when they a) gave me Imitrex and b) sent me home, but I woke up with it again. Possibly from weird pillowing.
Allergies were gone in the hospital, but now I’m back to catland, so I’m draining. At least I’m not puking when I yack up stuff, the way I was that ghastly first night. It feels like I got more anesthesia than I’m used to. Apparently I looked really bad in the recovery room—some nurse told my folks (A, T, Ryan) that they’d probably be keeping me through the weekend! Although they did keep me till the afternoon. Maybe those dozen spoonfuls of tomato soup freed me.
More poop. Everything except water has some solid components, and our bodies can’t use them, so out they go. I just figured this out. Duh. I was thinking maybe my bowel would have a break.
According to my scale, I lost a bit over 25 pounds prepping for the surgery. I kept recounting the pounds—seriously? That much?
11A—Sitting here with a sippee cup half full of protein shake. It’s half full because that’s about all my stomach can hold right now. For the visual: Last week, my stomach could hold about a small mixing bowl worth—Thanksgiving dinner—and now . . . I have a juice glass. A very upset and angry juice glass, which is making weird sensations and tiny noises, as this is really My First Meal. Or at least that’s the goal. I’ve had what you could call nibbles for the past two days, mostly pudding and yogurt to help me choke down *shudder* powdered pills.
The sippee cup is to regulate my sips. (It sounds so dumb when I put it that way.) A minute amount, about a half teaspoon or so at a time.
I have been catching up on sleep as if I were getting paid for it. I have the annoying misfortune to need a lot of sleep anyway—I run best on 10 CPAP-monitored hours—and you don’t even have the opportunity for that in the hospital. And I got maybe three hours that first horrible night. I was so sleepy! But the dry heaves kept coming.
Sunday, 6/17/18 6am
Still not at home in my body. These early mornings are the worst, without so much as tea to get me going.
January 5, 2019, 7 a.m.
That was six and a half months ago. I can tolerate a limited amount of caffeine now—more than one cup of coffee makes me jittery. I’m on a “normal” diet, which means I can eat most regular food as long as I obsess over protein. Protein: I got put back on the shakes when a huge amount of my hair fell out. (Fortuitously, I had a lot of hair to begin with, so it’s not noticeable.) A protein shake—a good one—has something like 30 grams of protein, which is more than is in a whole pound of beef.
What’s changed: I now weigh 214 pounds, meaning I’ve lost almost 70 pounds, 50 of that post-surgery. (The prep was draconian, ending with two shakes a day and a Lean Cuisine. I was starving! But it slimmed down my liver enough to let my surgeon do the procedure laparoscopically.) I’ve gone from a size 26 to a size 18 in pants, and have dropped down two bra sizes as well (four inches from the band and one cup size). Many parts of my body are beginning to do the shar-pei thing—I have pleats under my butt and along my legs. The bones and muscles in my arms show now. (My daughter was fascinated by this. She kept squeezing my forearms because she could. I told her to stop after I bruised from it. [She didn’t grab all that hard, but I’m on a blood thinner for non-surgery heart issues.])
People sit next to me on the T and the bus now. I can cut my toenails with ease. I can even cross my legs. Interestingly, I seem to need an hour or two less sleep. My stamina is improving, and I no longer walk with a cane or need physical therapy.
The downside: I was expecting it, but it’s pretty brutal. I used to be well insulated in my own blubber, but now that so much of it is gone, I am freezing! I’m sitting here in a shawl, after going and goosing the thermostat up to 74. Heavy sock slippers. Sweaters are my friend. I’m glad I’ve slimmed down to where I can wear my down jacket again.
And Thanksgiving was . . . a little sad. No big pigout for me. However, it was the only time I’ve actively missed having a normal-sized tummy. Most of the time, it’s been fine. I remember how dire it sounded before I really looked into the surgery, and I can assure the curious that it’s no big deal. I get (a little) hungry, and I eat little meals. Restaurants are a pain, because I am limited to appetizers, else I end up taking it home and eating it at least twice more. (Portions in this country are as massive as you’ve heard.)
This is approaching tl;dr, so I’ll stop here for now. Thanks for reading, and feel free to ask questions!
Sheila Kennedy said:
Thanks for sharing your journey. You are a amazing women.
Aww, thanks! Coming from a victorious warrior like you, that’s a real compliment!!!