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My VSG Journey

This is the post excerpt.

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It’s been three days since I had Vertical sleeve gastrectomy surgery (VSG).

I suppose I should have started this blog when I first started my VSG journey back in September 2017. The most common question people ask me is simply, “why?” There are too many reasons as to why. I’ve always heard that weight loss surgery (WLS) was taking the easy way out. In going through the classes to prepare for this, there is nothing easy about WLS. Nothing.

I know exactly when my turning point was. This past summer a friend and I had planned a trip. When I got on the plane ready for our adventure, I couldn’t get the seat belt fastened. It wouldn’t fit!! I had to ask the mortifying question to the flight attendant…”Do you have a seat belt extender?” By the fourth flight I knew I had to make some changes.

So in August when I was back from my trip I contacted my primary care physician (PCP) and asked to be referred to the Bariatric program. By September I had attended the initial workshop which I think is designed to weed out those who aren’t ready for such a lifestyle change. I was 279 lbs. I couldn’t believe I had let myself go. I had gotten to this weight in the blink of an eye it seemed like.

My life before pursing WLS was pretty care free. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted. I drank beer, a lot of beer. Although this had tapered down a bit since the previous year.

The beginning stages of pursuing WLS was to cut out all alcohol, caffeine, limit carb intake and sugars. It was a huge sacrifice. Was I ready? Absolutely.

My first meeting with my surgeon was to get my first goal weight. This was the weight I had to reach in order to go further into the program. The surgeon gave me the weight of losing 20 lbs. Once I was within 5 lbs of reaching this goal, I would then need to contact The Bariatric dept to schedule my psych evaluation appointment. By October 28th I was close enough to schedule my psych eval. My nutritionist appointment was scheduled for October 11.

The main purpose of the nutritionist appointment is to evaluate you eating habits and see what areas you need work in. I also had to start taking my supplements. I would take a calcium supplement 3x a day and a multi-vitamin twice a day. She said I was on track with my weight loss. The next step was the psych evaluation.

The appointment was set for November 27. The Friday before this appointment I got a call rescheduling me for December 5. No reason as to why. When I attended this appointment it was to see if I had anything that would prevent from succeeding with WLS. Did I ever purge? Did I ever binge eat? Basic questions. The only requirement to get cleared was to attend the WLS support group and report back.

After this it was getting my surgery date set. I was told they were booked until the end of January. Once I got the call, they said they had a cancellation and I was all set to go for January 11, 2018. The date my new life would start.

A picture says a thousand words…

I love the difference I can see here. I remember back in July, I thought I looked good. I was happy, but still bothered by how over weight I was. I know I still have a long way to go. It’s exciting to see the difference in me. I’m gaining my confidence back. I feel awesome, healthy, and motivated. 💪🏼

What a difference a year makes.

I almost can’t even believe the progress I’ve made. The crazy thing is in 2017 I didn’t even feel like I was that heavy. Granted this was early 2017 and it wasn’t until September I started the WLS process.

Now as I look at the difference between the two pics, I’m happy I made the decision to have surgery. I’m happy with the progress I’ve made and I feel healthier every day.

I had my one month follow-up appointment with my surgeon yesterday. He said I’ve been making progress. He also stated I should be losing 15-20 lbs a month. His goal weight for me is 150. At first I was intimated by that weight. Can I really do it? With my new tool I absolutely can. I look forward to the changes in my health, my body, and my overall well-being.

Post op progress

Today I am at day 18 post op. As of today I’m down from a size 22/24 to a size 18/20. I’m feeling healthy. I couldn’t really see a difference in my weight loss when I look in the mirror. When I did the side by side, I was amazed. There is a difference!

I’m still having trouble getting all my protein in. I’m only on day 4 of soft foods. My list of approved foods at this point is 1/4 cup of the following:

  • 1% Cottage cheese
  • 1-Egg (boiled, scrambled, poached)
  • 2- Tbs peanut butter
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cheese (low or non fat)
  • Milk
  • Tofu
  • Couscous

My first meal on Day 15 (day 1 of soft foods) was a half of an hard boiled egg. That felt like it was stuck in my throat most of the day. For lunch I had 1/4 of Greek yogurt. I was so full from the day that I was only able to get my liquids in.

Day 16 (day 2 of soft foods)

Breakfast- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt

Lunch- 1/4 cup cottage cheese

Dinner- 1 ounce of skim mozzarella baked in the oven into “chips”

Day 17

Breakfast- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt

Lunch- 1/4 cup cottage cheese

Dinner- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt

I’m working on getting my protein increased. Tomorrow I go back to work so I will meal prepping for the rest of the week.

Happy Monday!

Feeling awesome!

Today marks the day I’ve officially lost 50 lbs since September 15, 2017! This was my heaviest weight at 279. Since surgery on January 11, 2018 I’ve lost 12 of those 50 lbs. The day of surgery I weighed 241.

I’m feeling great and accomplished! This has not been an easy journey. The support of my family and friends has been amazing. I was worried about my immediate family not being accepting of my choice to have surgery. When I talked to them in September, they were more than supportive! This has helped me so much. Knowing my parents and siblings are there for me and supporting my decision for a healthier life. I couldn’t have done this without them.

I’m feeling motivated and determined to keep up the hard work. My lifestyle has changed significantly in the past five months. I’m looking forward to the coming months of reintroducing food into my life. Friday I start stage 2. I feel unstoppable! I’m proud of how far I’ve come. I’m on way to “Onederland”.

1 week since VSG

Today marks one week since I’ve been sleeved. Hooray!! I’m still having trouble with drinking the protein, but the water is going down just fine now. Sip sip sip. That’s what I keep hearing.

Some good news…. My dad got me a jacket for Christmas. It’s a size XL men’s jacket. Of course I was sure it wouldn’t fit. I tried it on and it fit nicely around my shoulders and I liked the length. I couldn’t get it zipped shut though. Not even close. Since I knew I was having the surgery soon, I decided I would see if it would fit after. Today I tried on the jacket and was able to zip it! It’s still a little snug, but the fact that it was able to zip up was insane! What a victory!!! As you can see in the pic below, it’s not even close to being able to shut. Hooray for me!

I have one more week of liquids. Per my Doctors orders I’m only allowed 1 can of protein drink and any zero calorie beverage (at least 2 bottles). I’m basically living on vitamin water zero and herbal tea. No broth, no popsicles, no jello. My plan doesn’t allow for any of that. Since I trust my Dr. I’m going to do what he says and follow MY plan. Ok ok, his plan.

Happy one week down to me! I’m happy with my jacket, with the process I’m having, and with the healthier new me!

Prepping for surgery

When I was preparing for surgery I had been on so many sites, so many groups and so many instagrams to try and see what I would need to bring to the hospital.

The top items were:

  • my cell phone and charger
  • Chap stick
  • iPad
  • deodorant
  • Gas X
  • PJ’s
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste

I made sure I had everything packed and ready for my stay. Of all the things I brought, I only used the toothbrush and toothpaste. I didn’t once pick up my phone to text anyone. I didn’t watch movies on my iPad. Hell, the entire time I was so groggy and sleepy I didn’t want to do anything except close my eyes until it was time to walk.

One of my best friends stayed with me at the hospital because my immediate family all lives out of state. She is a God send. Any time I was in pain she was up immediately asking for the nurse. She would watch tv or text while I was too tired to talk.

I was only admitted overnight, but that sure was long enough. My overnight nurse was amazing. He made sure I was comfortable and never made me feel like a burden. The next morning I was a little nervous about being released. What if I couldn’t manage the pain? What if something went wrong? All questions I’m sure lots of people have. Around 10am they brought in some protein drink and water. They wanted to make sure I would be able to swallow it before I left the hospital. Upon my first sip…. omg the pain! It felt like the liquid was just sitting there at the bottom of my throat. Backed up and waiting to make its way down. Now I understood why the day before I wasn’t allowed to have any food/water. I took a smaller sip with the next drink and it was much easier. I could drink again!

Finally around 11 they said I would be discharged. Yay!! I’m going home!! I was up and ready to go, but had to wait for the transport to take me down. By noon I was home and my new life was about to officially start. On my own, without the crutch of having the nurses around. Day 2 officially began.

Day 5

Part of my plan after surgery is following a strict 2 week liquid only diet. I know everyone’s plan is different so make sure you follow the plan your surgeon gives you.

My plan consists of drinking 1 can of protein drink and 2 bottles of water. So far I haven’t been able to reach my goal yet. Yesterday I got the closest. I drank about 3/4 of a premier protein drink, a bottle of vitamin water zero and a cup of Smooth Move tea.

Smooth Move tea?! Who knew this would really be as bad as they said. I haven’t had a bowel movement in 6 days! Hopefully today is the day. TMI I know…. oh well.

Back to my plan. I’ve been reading different board and groups who are allowed broth and popsicles. Unfortunately mine only has zero-calorie drinks and protein drink. The weird thing about the protein drinks is before I had the surgery, the Premier Protein Caramel flavor was my favorite. Now I can’t stomach it. It just tastes gross. I can manage with Vanilla which was my second favorite, but chocolate… chocolate is a God send! I love the chocolate. So bring on today! I got you!