I feel broken.

by Christine on July 14th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Ah man, if it’s not one thing it’s another. After Monday’s challenging Concrete Poop of Death episode, I had a complete reversal and for the last 24 hours have had uncontrollable diarrhea. I just can’t win! I ran out of work in tears yesterday around 11, headed for the comfort of home. This morning I continued with my potty issues and didn’t get into work until 10 (which is WAY late for me…I’m usually at work by 7.)

But there is, of course, silver lining to every sob story: I lost 7 pounds in the last day! Yeah, I know..it’s not “real weight” and will quickly put itself back on the next time I eat something (hopefully in a half an hour for lunch). But hey, it was nice to see numbers in the 120s again.

Also, my port revision surgery is healing up nicely. No more pain medication for me. It’s a little achy, but not bad at all. I can even sit up in bed without wincing in pain. I bet I’ll feel good enough to work out a little bit this weekend…low impact, of course, but I need to get active again.

Today I’m hitting up some soup for lunch. My favorite are the Select Harvest soups, but I have a can of Progresso Lentil soup staring at me from my office shelf and of course some Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup. Hmmm…I wonder what my tummy will tolerate today.

To be honest, I’m sick of feeling in poor health. Something has got to give.

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Constipation and port replacement surgery do not go hand in hand.

by Christine on July 12th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Gastric Banding Surgery

Constipation. Port-replacement surgery. Let me tell you something, folks. The two do not and should not go hand-in hand. I haven’t pooped in about 2 weeks, and my body finally said that it had enough. It had a two-week compacted, compressed poop that was about 14 miles wide and hard as a fucking brick firmly lodged somewhere in my poop track.

Even on a good day that piece of shit would have been hard to push out of my body. On a good day it would take a little stool softener, some prune juice, some abdomen rubbing, some wiggling back and forth to loosen that baby up and get it moving on its way. I’d probably put on some relaxing music in the potty, some ridiculous glamor magazine that was handed down to me. I might file my nails on the potty or brush my cat’s fur while waiting for the action to happen.

But add into the mix a very sore abdomen–so sore, in fact, that I’m on some pretty heavy-duty drugs to make the healing process better, and you get a very ugly scene.

This morning I woke up SOBBING on the toilet. It hurt so bad I stuck a suppository up my ass.  (Leftovers from the first time I had the gastric banding surgery, I might add, so we’re talking about 2 year old suppositories. Do those things have an expiration date?) I laid on the bathroom floor massaging my abdomen. I sat on the toilet and was rocking so hard back and forth that I nearly rocked the toilet off its base. I prune juiced it, coffeed it. I laxa-tatived it.  No matter. This ginormous piece of shit was going to lodge itself stubbornly just out of reaching room, just inside my syphinxtor, and there wasn’t a damn thing I was going to do about it.

It was a real lose-lose situation. Either I was going to go to work with a painful turd stuck inside me all day, or I was going to have to risk tearing my poor abs apart trying to push that son-of-a-gun out of me. I opted for the 2nd choice. In the end I was victorious, but let me tell you, there were some casualties along the way. Each of my 6-pack gunmen are down for the count, and I’m not sure what kind of resuscitation I need to do to bring them back to life.

I’m pretty sure my neighbors heard my orgasm-like screaming as I was finally freed from the concrete poop. They’re probably going to high-five my husband the next time they see him mowing the lawn.  There’s a fine line between shrieks of ecstasy and cries of pain, let me tell you. I doubt I’ll have to heart to tell them that my husband is not, in fact, “da man” and it’s my toilet that deserves praise for its hard work today.

A note to anyone that will be going through the gastric banding or port replacement surgery in the future: start taking stool softeners regularly so that when the “urge” hits you, it hopefully won’t be a painful process.

Holy cripes.

In better news: A Dance with Dragons (by George RR Martin) hit the bookstores today! Did you get your copy??

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Monday Morning Blues

by Christine on July 11th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Gastric Banding Surgery

It’s Monday and I’m feeling quite scattered.

Surgery-wise, I think I’m doing okay. I seem to be healing, which is good. There does not seem to be any noticeable thing wrong with my stomach, like infection or anything like that. I am sore, and when my pain medication wear off I can really tell how achy I still am! I’m trying to wean myself off the pain meds today, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to go through with it…I’m feeling quite achy already.

My weight is stable from a week ago; I’m at 134, which is nine pounds higher than my goal weight. This is not good, and I look forward to receiving a LARGE fill from my doctor when I see him next week. Today I went to wear a pair of black dress slacks (Size 4) and was unable to put them on. I need to get my Size 6 clothes out of storage, apparently because my fat ass isn’t fitting into my current clothes. Isn’t that depressing? Holy moses.

And this weight gain is doing wonky things to my brain. I FEEL incredibly fat. In fact, I feel as fat right now as I ever did at my Highest Weight. I know that is silly to feel the same way–after all, I’m still 90 pounds less than my Highest Weight!–but the feeling is the same. I feel mega, orka fat.  It is a very unpleasant feeling.

I am not eating poorly. On the contrary; I have been eating quite healthfully, actually. Grilled chicken, salad, fresh veggies. In fact, my band is a little loose on me right now, so I’ve been indulging in vegetables that I can’t normally eat. I can’t wait to tighten my band up though and drop these pounds. I hate feeling this way.

I’m very dizzy and can barely see straight, and I only had a half a painkiller this morning instead of my usual 2 pills. Oy, this is going to be a very long day at work I think.

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Friday & Back at Work

by Christine on July 8th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Good morning Revolutionists! It’s Friday, 10 a.m, and I’m back at work. I’ve been at work for three hours now…only a few hours left to go!  And then it’s the weekend! I have to say, both days that I woke up, I was pretty uncomfortable in the abdomen region. OW!  But it’s nothing the pain medication couldn’t ebb a bit.  However, I’m a bit dizzy and out of it. It’s a good thing my husband drove me to work (and will pick me up later).

Tonight there’s a concert I really want to hear in Saratoga tonight–Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds. But we’ll see how I’m feeling. I feel like going to a concert would be a dumb thing to do at this stage, but I have been wanting to hear this band play for months now!  Oh the decisions.

Last night was pub trivia. We won again (halftime and final prizes), but the scores all around the bar were miserable. It was a tough trivia night! I wasn’t much help and spaced out for most of the night. Still, it was nice to get out of the house!

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Replacing the Gastric Band Port

by Christine on July 7th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Gastric Banding Surgery

Yesterday I had my surgery to replace my gastric banding port.  I was replacing it because it became detached and was floating around quite obviously and was a nuisance. (However, the port’s ability to give me “fills” still worked.)  Here are some “before” pictures of why I wanted to get it fixed:

Dislocated Port

This is from about a week ago. This is a more extreme angle (looking down on it)…here is what it looked like yesterday before going into surgery:

Port

Prior to this surgery I had met with my surgeon twice to discuss my options with the port. You’d be surprised at how many options there are! My options were slightly more complicated since I’ve lost a lot of weight and have less fat on my body, which means there are fewer places to hide this bad boy.  (I discuss this in more detail, with some photos of how the port is actually attached on the abdomen, in this post.)  The options included:

1.) Putting it back where it was originally and just re-attaching the brackets into the abdomen. With this option the port would still be seen through the skin, slightly, since it is raised up an inch or so. The port could be moved to another location, such as under my breasts or on my side, but to be honest it would show even more there since there is less fat and skin there. However, it could be moved to another location.;
2.) Place the port UNDER my abdomen, which would require any future fills to penetrate through the abs and “guessing” where the port is located underneath. This would make the port unnoticeable under the skin;
3.) Cut a hole into the abs and embed the port in the abdomen. This would allow the port to lay flat and would be completely unnoticeable under the skin. However, this may comprimise my movement with my abs;
4.) Of course, because I have reached my goal weight (more or less), there is always the option to remove the port entirely. He could plug any remaining fluid in the band, cap off the end of the hose, and just take out the port. If I wanted any fills in the future he would actually have to make an incision into my skin, find the hose, and do it messily and manually, but it could be done.

I met with another bariatric surgeon at another hospital to get a 2nd opinion.  He recommended re-attaching the device exactly where it was originally on the abs, and just securing the port properly this time.  I agreed with the logic of this, and returned to my surgeon and requested that this be done.

Yesterday was the big day!

hospital

Pre-Operation

I had no pre-operation testing done, as I had to with the original gastric banding surgery. I had no psychological exam, no overall physical. I did not need to get a referral from my general physician. I did not have to do the breath test. I did not have to drink that horrible barium drink. I did not have to get X-rays (probably only because you could clearly see the detached port, without the need for the X-ray!). I did not need to get any blood tests done.  No pre-testing at all. I simply called my surgeon to say, “I’m ready for this to happen; can we please schedule it?”   I was told not to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery.  I did not have to do that full line of laxatives.

Day of Surgery

I showed up at the hospital yesterday at 9 a.m. and checked in at the main desk. They took me to the surgery’s waiting room where I checked in a second time. They gave me my wrist band there.  After waiting for a few short minutes they ushered me into the prep area. They asked me to undress and put on the room (disrobing everything–no bra or underwear). They gave me booties and a saucy little cap to wear. I took out all body jewelry. They asked me 1010 questions about my overall heath and medical history, my emergency contact information. They had me sign a few forms of paperwork consenting to the surgery, the anesthesia, etc.  The nurses took my vitals (blood pressure, temperature, pulse, CO2 levels). There was nothing invasive about this, nothing painful. I was in a good mood, actually–I couldn’t wait to get this done!

My surgeon had originally requested that I only have local anesthesia, which means that I would be drugged up but essentially awake during the surgery. However, when my anesthesiologist came in, he recommended that I have a combination of local and general anesthesia, and I wholeheartedly agreed with him. I did NOT want to be awake for a single moment of it! I happily signed the consent form for the combination treatment.

My surgeon, Doctor P, came in to say hello to me and to discuss exactly what was going to be done. We agreed that we would replace the port on top of the abs, in the same location (he uncovered my robe–with a nice view of my cootch of course–to look at any other options for putting the port. We didn’t really see any, so we decided to keep it in the same spot. He explained that he would go over the old incision this time, then place the port a few inches to the right of the incision. (The port can’t be directly under the incisioin because it would probably pop through it.) He could, however, replace the port with one that is smaller in circumference and lower profile.  What do I mean by “lower profile?” Well, you can kind of see the difference in these two photos.

The picture on top clearly is higher/more raised up than the port in the 2nd photo. I believe he changed my port to a smaller/lower port.

He said that the port is attached using something comparable to a nail gun that is strapped into the abdomen.

During this process Doctor P asked if he could look at my body to assess my loose skin. He asked if I was interested in getting a tummy tuck or have loose skin taken care of. I said, “HELL YES and please feel free to take care of that today if you can!” He laughed and said he couldn’t.  He looked at my skin and it’s honestly not that bad, but the worst area is definitely my lower tummy. He asked if I would like to meet a plastic surgeon, and I said yes please. I thought me meant a referral, but no–he walked out and returned with a plastic surgeon friend of his who was in the hospital today. That plastic surgeon took a look at me and said he could help. (again, lifting my gown–another full cootch shot! I swear I was a vagina-flashing machine yesterday) and actually laughed when I asked if insurance might possibly pay for the cosmetic surgery, to which he said, “oooh definitely not. You don’t have enough loose skin.”  But he gave me his card and said that we could definitely negotiate a price–he chargest flexible rates that vary depending on the amount of work that needs to be done. When he left the room my nurse whispered, “I’ve seen his work and he’s VERY good, if you were interested in that.”  Hmmmm….interesting!

After that it was just a few minutes of waiting. They added some pain killer to my I.V. and then they wheeled me into the Operating Room around noon. I remember looking up at the lights in the O.R. and they were a little fuzzy to me, so I asked the nurse, “Was that pain killer you added to my  IV back there?” and she said yes. About .000005 seconds later I blanked out. And that was it!

The surgery itself lasted an hour and a half, which really surprised me that it took so long!  I woke up around 1:30 in the recovery room. I remember during my original surgery I took about an hour and a half or 2 hours to wake up from my anesthesia fog. This time it was about 20 minutes tops. And I felt really rested and recooped too!  My abs ached a little bit, but it wasn’t too bad. On the pain scale (0=none; 10=lots) I was about a 4. I felt pretty good!

I drank a little apple juice, changed my clothes (a little painful, since it involved the use of my abs), played a game on the Ipad with my husband, and then they wheeled me out of the hospital. That’s  it!

After Surgery

I was really surprised at how painless this surgery was, especially compared with the original surgery. I had my hubby pick up my prescription to pain meds on his way back from taking the cat to the vet.  They prescribed my Oxycodone, which surprised me! That’s heavy duty stuff!  Well, let me tell you what….about 2 hours after I got home the medicine they gave me started to wear off, and the pain level significantly increased. One oxy, and it was much better.  I went to bed at night with no problem. But when I woke up, ooooh my pain was up to a 6!! OWCH!  I took 2 Oxys and I’m feeling significantly better now.

As for food, yesterday I had soup–tomato soup and then chicken noodle soup. I realized afterwards that it went down SUPER easily.  I am not sure, but I suspect some saline came out of the band when they replaced the port.  (((insert sad face here)))  I hope that’s not the case, but I have to see my doc in a week anyway, so I can just get filled up at that time.  I wonder how the surgeon knows that the new seal around the port is working properly? Hmmm.  Today I will move to more solid foods to see how my tightness level is.

Here is a picture of my tummy today…already I can tell that there is less “pooch” to my stomach because of the flatter port, even though my tummy is significantly swollen from the surgery.

I think that pretty much covers everything. If you have any questions, just ask!

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