Hello, Again? Back in Hospital

Well here I am again and not at all happy about it.

This week I started to have pain under my breastbone. It started Sunday night and may have been the cause of my poor sleeping more than the ring on Tony’s finger (which would be a good thing, right?). By Thursday evening the pain had intensified beyond what I could manage and I knew the ER was on the agenda for the evening.

I had been careful, watching what I eat, taking some gas x and seeing if anything was influencing the pain in any way. I couldn’t find anything.

By the time we got to the hospital Thursday night, I was bowled over in pain and out of breath. They took me in quickly administering fluids and morphine right away. Sent off for X-rays and cat scans pretty quickly.

Then the surgeon arrived and my hopes plummeted.

The ER doc (as well as myself) were thinking pancreatis or something along those lines. But the surgeon debunked the results by saying I had another bowel blockage.

I just.wanted.to.cry.

This meant we were going down a familiar path. I would be intubated with an NG tube, no food or liquids, no narcotics and a lot of patience. They did give me a strong opioid called Tramdol which worked for the time being and anti-inflammatory meds which helped.

I did cry once the tube was placed because I couldn’t believe I was back here again, in this horrible situation. I knew now they would admit me as well.

I was terrified that having the surgeon involved meant I was looking at being cut open again.

Going back to the 9th floor in the room directly across where I spent my 4 weeks in Sept/Oct was like a horrible horror story. But all the nurses remembered me and were so kind. They couldn’t believe how much better I looked as compared to my first stay. I suppose there’s some compensation there – that even with the damn tube coming out of my nose that they thought I looked good! 😂

I didn’t get to the room until 6am or so, and then rounds start soon after, so I was feeling really crappy after a night full of pain and testing with no sleep.

As it turned out, the pain began to disappear once I was settled and I didn’t need any further pain killers. They had me on simple fluids to see if my body could recover on its own.

Another cat scan and X-ray followed during the day and they could see that the initial contrast was making its way through the bowel. I told them all they needed to do was give me a cup of coffee and I would be pooping in no time! No one bought that.

By evening I pooped on my own. I did a little poop dance of joy 💩 because I knew that meant my body was doing its job.

Early the next morning the surgeon agreed and the tube came out. The doctor arrived some time later and said if I stick to liquids and soft foods for a week they would allow me to go home that day. He knew I knew the bariatric surgery ropes so he was willing to be lenient. I wasn’t too happy to have to go back to a liquid diet, but it’s better than being in the hospital and monitored here.

Ultimately they believe it was a bowel blockage that I caught super early. The NG tube allowed my bowels to rest for 36 hours without doing any work. The diet allows for further rest from whatever the blockage or inflammation was from. There is no real “reason” it happened or any way to prevent it from happening again. It’s just because I have had so many abdominal surgeries and bowel resections.

I’m waiting now for my son to pick me up so I can rest at home.

I’m bummed this happened in the middle of my exercise streak, but I will exercise lightly for the next week so the habit continues to form. I already felt myself falling into a hole lying on the hospital room for 2 nights. I couldn’t even focus enough to watch TV or even read.

Let’s hope, like the surgeon hopes, that this doesn’t happen again and I continue on my merry way.

Health ?

I’ve been very lucky or very blessed. I’m still unsure which but I tend to lean towards a higher power continues to step in to save me.

I wouldn’t say I have been a healthy person for the latter half of my life.

I’ve almost met my maker at least 3 times in 50 years. There’s got to be a reason for that?

Maybe?

I’ve had the worst health run of most people I know because I’m always in that 1% that weird things happen to. But I survived. I chose the VSG surgery so I could take better care of myself, so with the other complications in the rear view, it’s time I take control.

Keto isn’t easy but it’s doable. Retraining your brain to eliminate obvious carbs is tough. Sometimes I just want a damn Triscuit.

I usually cave to my favorite Grandma pizza on Friday nights and a sesame bagel on Sunday.

I bought a Ketosis tracking machine. A small device where you prick your finger and it takes a reading. I am starting to learn that I can actually have my favorite cheats as long as I continue with exercise and taking my MCT oil. It’s not ideal, and it’s not a true Keto plan but like any other way of eating I’ve tried, I need to build in things that don’t make me feel deprived. I feel full, I’m eating better (hugely reduces sugar) and I have a built in portion control mechanism now.

My belly and guts make noises like I’ve never heard before. People say this is common after VSG. I also hiccup with one bite too many or too fast. It’s a great automatic lever because I still don’t “feel” full but have this amazing auto-reaction that says “stop now or it’s going to hurt.” I notice I still have to focus on eating more slowly. Having smaller portions helps as I don’t want to finish hours before everyone else, but my brain is trained to eat quickly and I have to reprogram it.

I use smaller plates and can easily tell how much food in a serving is too much for me. If I eat the right things, my hunger is curbed appropriately. I probably still don’t drink enough water so that’s something I have to work on. I tend to wake up throughout the night to drink which definitely signals I need more water throughout the day.

When I’m on a date, they don’t usually notice how little I eat or drink. I’m such a cheap date now! My friends notice though. They notice I barely eat and that I don’t drink even half of what I used to – they liked me when I enjoyed more! I tell them I enjoy eating and drinking as much as I always did, I just do less of it and it’s fine!

I chose the surgery because portion control was always my biggest issue. Now it’s controlled whether I like it or not! It’s interesting how the mind works – knowing I “can” eat anything I want makes it much easier not to eat it. I can’t over eat anymore. But if I am dying for a peanut butter cup, I can have one and not feel the guilt.

My heaviest weight back in 2012 was around 256 pounds. My weight prior to surgery was 214 pounds and today was 154 pounds. I can’t believe I’ve lost 100 pounds from my frame overall. I made a photo compilation of the 3 faces of Madeline over the past 7 years and I look healthier and younger.

As for how the weight falls off me, I notice a pretty consistent 3 week stall, then 4th week drop. My initial goal was 150 pounds but I am pretty sure I am going to drop it to 140-145 pounds. The surgeon feels, since I am now a normal BMI, I won’t lose anymore.

I did have to have my wound cauterized again which was super painful this time as he had to open up the edges and make fresh skin that would heal again. It’s a bloody mess and hurts now, but bloody means healthy.

I don’t know if I can ever be happy I made the decision to have the surgery, or have it in Mexico. But, in typical Mads fashion, I am beginning to forget about the horror I endured and starting to focus on the tool I now have in my body. I need to put this weight loss to good use.

I don’t know if I’m in peri-menopause or if my body is still in shock (totally possible according to the doctors) but I just had another 75 day stretch with no period. I don’t miss not getting a period but I prefer to keep the hormones around! I still have to get back to the doctor to discuss what we are going to do about the polyps.

I’ve been steadily ensuring I am working out every day, no matter what. A 30-45 minute commitment is more daunting before I do it so I just have to stop thinking about it and force myself into automation. It honestly feels good to be a little sore and I’m sure, soon enough, I will start sleeping better as well. I have totally lost my ass from the weight loss and feel excess skin hanging everywhere. I don’t like it so I need to change that. I don’t think I have “so much” excess skin that a steady exercise routine won’t fix.

Sorry my posts are so mundane but I think boring might be good for me for a while as I begin to take my life back into control.

Blogging has always helped me maintain focus when I commit to it.

Small forward steps are happening. I am still obsessing over Tony, but I’m taking control of myself again.

Mexico Update

If anyone lives in Utah or Arizona there is going to be a live news cast on the infection I came home from Mexico with: Pseudomonas aeruginosa

You can also google:

CDC Tijuana Superbug

Grandview Hospital Mexico

Pseudomonas aeruginosa Grandview Hospital

And you will see I was one of the first to come home with, but not the last to be taken down by this superbug.

https://www.cdc.gov/hai/outbreaks/pseudomonas-aeruginosa.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/they-went-to-mexico-for-surgery-they-came-back-with-a-deadly-superbug/2019/01/23/ac0ca280-1dcb-11e9-9145-3f74070bbdb9_story.html?utm_term=.048b6ed8902a

I know the people in the articles and interviews and their surgeries were post mine and we have been consistently shut down from allowing to post in the support group for patients. So one of the ladies went public.

It’s sure to be bigger news soon.

Clean-ish Bill of Health

4 surgeries and 3 months of brainless-ness later, here I sit pondering the meaning of my life.

Since I don’t have any insight or answers, lets talk about my health.

I really liked my US surgeon, he is a good man and a great surgeon and always spoke to me with kindness, empathy and in a way I could understand what was happening with my body and why he was making the decisions he made.  He also saved my life, so there’s that.  Oh, did I mention he’s also super cute like in a Hospital Drama kind of way?

My last weight recorded in the US was 218 pounds.  I am 5’8″  That’s not my heaviest weight, but it was my weight as of April of this year (Fuck you April, just sayin’).  Todays weight was 167 with clothes on.  Almost exactly 3 months post VSG (Vertical sleeve gastrectomy) and he was super happy with the sleeve itself and my progress.  That’s 51 pounds gone forever.   Honestly, I was worried I didn’t lose any weight this month and he said that’s fine considering the wound, but I need to continue to work towards my goal weight.

How does it feel to be (sort-of) instantly thin – pretty fucking amazing if you ask me.  Would I do it again?  The surgery?  Maybe, but here in the US.  Maybe the same thing would have happened, even here.  No one knows.  I was a risky candidate to begin with.  I don’t know what choices I would make if I wasn’t in such a dark place.  But, since I did do VSG in Mexico, and I did lose 51 pounds, I DO feel pretty amazing!

That is, until I get undressed.  It’s really unattractive and I am going to have serious issues with getting undressed.  At the moment, I would pretty much eliminate any casual sex – I couldn’t manage my own anxiety about what they think.

So, that puts the weight loss in a very strange place.  I cleaned my closet and attic and have enough clothes to get through the winter.  I still had my “goal” clothes from my weight loss challenge with Bobby – clothes I never fit into as I don’t think I ever dropped under 180-185 pounds.  And they would have been a bit tight then, even.  I feel good in clothes, I look great.

Luckily, I don’t have the hair loss that many experience and my hair looks gorgeous as it’s longer than ever.

My boobs fell,  but due to a breast reduction when I was about 24, they still face forward! They fit back into my smaller bras, but I can see losing more weight from them unfortunately.  My band is back to a solid 36 from a 40.  I was a 36-26-38 at my lowest weight now 120 pounds at age 24-30.

My ass is gone and flat!  Yikes! Less worried about the ass and legs as they will be the first to come back IF I exercise.  At the moment the skin literally hangs around the bones and it looks old and yucky.  I need to fix that.

My underarms are officially chicken wings.  I downloaded some exercises for them.  I have more creases at the upper arm/armpit due to loose skin.

My son mentioned my neck looks older and he’s right.  I lost quite a bit in my neck and have to get my everyday necklace shortened as it now hangs too low.  Speaking of jewelry, all my rings are now loose and swim on my fingers.

And…..I did email Peloton to restart my subscription today….so that counts as a CHECK!

Weight loss after trauma is just weird.  It’s like I woke up and it was gone.  A lot of that has to do with all the surgeries post the VSG – so I almost forget about the VSG as it was simple compared to what followed and the trauma I endured.

I also can’t decide if I am going to tell or not?  I have told many people, but not all people.  Would I have told if I just lost weight and no trauma?  I don’t know.  People are so judgey.  There is NOTHING easy about weight-loss surgery.  It’s not an easy way out of anything.

I joked with the surgeon today about how I traded one beauty for another.  I look good when I’m dressed up, but underneath the wrappings, nothing is what it seems.  I asked him how many lives he’s saved where people come in worried about their vanity months later and he realized I was making fun of myself.  I suppose I need to be in good humor considering I had a death wish.

I sit and wonder how a man like Tony would view my scars….and how my future men will view them.  Its going to be very, very difficult to embrace certain positions, that’s for sure.

I’ve got a clean bill of health from the surgeon, excluding the possibility of a hernia in the next year.  I will take it.

Therapy is another story entirely.

I’m still working on the therapy part and I do my homework, sometimes.  I liked the relationship book she directed me to and I feel I have completed as much of the work in there as I can up til today.  Next is embracing my inner childs voice.  I do worry about continuing therapy in the New Year.  I will have to start a $6000/year deductible again with no job.  I will have to decrease the frequency of the visits if I continue to not work, and that worries me a bit.  I also need to get my kids in to her over Christmas Break.

My body is ready to get back to the work of living, now I just have to convince my mind.