The Pursuit of Rash Cream

Hey guys! Now I am 6 days post-op. The pain is pretty much gone, except for a little soreness or pinching at the staple sites. I am very excited to get my staples out in 2 days!! Hoping I will be able to sleep on my side after I get them out, because forcing myself to sleep on my back sucks.¬†I have been getting 32-34 ounces of water daily without fail. I need to start working my way up to 64 ounces, but it’s already a struggle getting in half of that. WLS problems! ūüėČ

Here’s my (mostly) non-surgery related updates:

-Sophia and I found a gym! It’s called Planet Fitness and we got the black card. The one by us has good reviews, though a lot of other ones kind of don’t. Loved the price though! Only $20 a month per person!

-I made 6 new health related boards on Pinterest! They are for healthy snack options, breakfast options, lunch options, dinner options, sides options, and dessert options (apparently there IS such a thing as healthy desserts!).

Here’s my surgery related updates:

-I have a horrible rash that started the night I got home from the hospital. It has a mind¬†of it’s own. One hour¬†it’s all over my bum and itching like crazy, and the next hour it’s on my back towards my hips. Two hours after that, it’s on the back of my legs and knees, and an hour after that it’s on the back of my arms. It keeps moving and it’s just a patch of inflamed red marks. They die down and then pop back up soon enough. No clue what started it or what to do, but I will be asking my surgeon about it when I go to get my staples out. It might be a reaction to some of the medicine or something, no clue. Definitely need to fix it though, because it’s driving me CRAZY! I might need to see a dermatologist which is annoying because I already have so many appointments coming up.

-The first 2-3 days post-op, I pretty much never felt hungry. Now it’s completely different. I feel hungry a lot, all throughout the day. I still get full right away, but I feel hungry all the time. I didn’t expect to be hungry at all this soon. I looked it up online, and I found out what I’m feeling is extremely common even as far out as 2-3 weeks post-op. Online it says that it’s because the nerves around my stomach have been cut and tampered with, and that’s why the fullness sensation is not in full effect (pun intended). Most people said that after 2-3 weeks, when their nerves were healed, they felt full ALL THE TIME and had to even remind themselves to eat. This made me feel a lot better because I was freaking myself out that I was going to be the exception and the surgery didn’t work all the way on me. LOL I’m such a worrywart!

-I have had 2 days now of the full liquid diet. I was able to add no sugar added fudgesicles and protein shakes. In fact I was told to start centering my diet around¬†protein shakes to ensure that I’m getting enough protein. I have 2 types of¬†protein shakes I’m currently using: 1) Carnation’s Instant Breakfast chocolate (I don’t like vanilla or strawberry), 2) Body Fortress Whey Isolate chocolate. I LIKE both of them, but don’t love them at all. I make them with 7-8 fl.oz. of fat free milk, which hasn’t upset my stomach (so far) at all. Only problem is they are very filling and I am finding that I can only get down half of one per day. I need to work on getting in at least one a day.

Here’s to hoping these are my largest problems post-op! Love to all,

Dimand Girl

Heighest Weight (pre op): 330

Surgery Weight: 310

Current Weight: 299

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”- Nelson Mandela

“Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”- Muhammad Ali

Post-Op… and feelin’ it.

Hey everyone! Hope you guys like the new page layout! Sorry I haven’t posted in a few days. My last post was a couple hours before surgery, and I was TERRIFIED! Now I have been through what I hope is the hardest part, and it will only get better from here.

Let me tell you guys about the day of and the hospital experience. I got there at 5:30am and they called me back at 6:15. Alex and Timur waited in the waiting area while I was taken back to the IV area. I had to do a urine sample, change into a gown, put on a hair net, and wait for an IV to be put in. I was absolutely trembling. The feeling was unbelievably overwhelming. The anesthesiologists (there were two of them), IV nurse, and a resident doctor (he was training with my surgeon) all came into my tiny sitting area. It was very intimidating having so many people talking to me while I sit on a hospital bed trembling and about to cry. They were all very nice, but my nerves were completely shot at that point. At 7:15, they allowed Alex and Timur to come into the back room before they wheel me away into surgery. The boys sat with me, and I felt much better seeing them. A wave of emotion flooded over me, and I burst out crying. Thank God the boys were with me though, because they made me feel exponentially better. They assured me that everything would be okay, gave me a hug and kiss, and watched as the doctors rolled me away.

In the blink of an eye I was in the OR. They had me scoot onto the operating table, and when I looked around it was like looking into an ocean of doctors and nurses. There must have been 8 people in the room. The anesthesiologist put a mask on my face, and asked me to count backwards from 10. I have absolutely NO clue what number I reached, I just passed out. When I woke up I was in a recovery area. I kept waking up in recovery and asking when I’d be in my actual hospital room, but then I’d fall asleep again. After a couple hours, a nurse woke me up and told me I was about to go to my room. When I got to the room, the boys came up and I instantly felt worlds better. I was in pain, and extremely out of it, but they always brighten my day no matter what circumstances. I had another IV put in place (in my hand) during surgery, I had two leg “pumps” on to ensure that I don’t get blood clots, and I had a catheter in. The combination was driving me crazy. I also think I have a phobia of hospitals because growing up both of my parents were very sick and thus I spent a lot of time in hospitals.

Alex and Timur were probably sooooo bored, because I slept almost the whole day away. My sister came to the hospital too, and I slept for most of the time when she was there also. I would spend 30 minutes awake, and 1 and half hours asleep. This continued basically all day. I requested to be moved to a private room so that Alex could stay the night¬†with me, and by the grace of God, I got my wish. I was moved into a private room at around 7pm. Timur and Katie left the hospital, and Alex and I watched “The Parent Trap” via Netflix on my tablet. It was actually really nice and I loved having him there. At around 10:30pm, we decided to go to sleep. But…….. that didn’t happen.

Alex was dead asleep pretty much right away. I, on the other hand, couldn’t sleep. I had slept the day away and between the painful IV’s, the catheter, the incisions, the leg pumps, and the fact that the room was like 92 degrees I just couldn’t freakin sleep. I was so upset. I was regretting having the surgery. I was up crying until 3am, and finally I fell asleep. At 4 they woke me up for vitals, and I fell back to sleep at 5. They woke me up again at 7, and I couldn’t fall asleep again after. At 8 they let me take the leg pumps off and it felt like a little bit of freedom. But still, all I knew was I had to get out of the hospital. I begged and pleaded for them to let me go. At around noon they took the catheter out. I had to take this water test where I drink 6 small medicine cups of water. I passed just fine, but I felt completely stuffed after I finished. It was such a strange feeling, one that I’m still not used to. The surgeon stopped in and told me I was good to leave that day¬†and I was ecstatic! The IV’s came out soon after. Timur showed up and we all packed, and I was released. Timur accidentally took the long way home, and a one hour car ride¬†turned into two hours. The bumping around was making me feel awful, so I leaned my head back and passed out in the car.

I was SO happy to be home! I was also very happy to be with Autumn again (though I can barely touch her or play with her because she’s too heavy and rambunctious). The pain on the first day was pretty bad. I took some prescribed liquid hydrocodone around 10pm, and it made me feel so good before knocking me out. I slept well. Every day since, the pain has gotten better and better. Yesterday I took the pads over my staples off, so it was my first time seeing the incisions. I look like the bride of Frankenstein, but it could always be worse. I showered yesterday, which I was originally scared to do. I thought it would hurt when anything touched the incision sites, but it didn’t at all. Actually felt really good. I’m getting the staples out on the 30th (in 4 more days!) and I’m excited to have them out. Sometimes the area around the staples ache a little, but it’s really much better. Also, the first couple days post-op the gas pains are AWFUL! They are much¬†better now!! My only pain complaint is that I think I had a slight allergic reaction to one of the meds they used on me. My entire stomach and all of the incision sites itch reallllllly bad!! On the plus side, MY DIABETES IS GONE!!!! I am off all diabetes medication and insulin! WOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

So about the food. Today is my first day of full liquids. Before I was on only clear liquids. The day after¬†surgery I had 2 bites of jello and was stuffed. My first full day home I had 1 sugar free jello cup and 1 sugar free popsicle the entire day. I also only had like 4 ounces of water. It was bad. Yesterday I had 2 sugar free jello cups and 1 sugar free popsicle, and I pushed myself to drink 30 ounces of water. Today since I started full liquids I am going to have a few no sugar added fudgesicles, instant carnation breakfast, and try to aim for 36 ounces of water. It is a truly surreal feeling to be this full this fast. You can’t truly understand it until you live it.

Emotionally it has also gotten much better. I don’t regret the surgery at all. This was the best decision I could have ever made for myself and my family and friends. I am so excited at the idea of Autumn growing up with a healthy momma! I love thinking about all the things I’ll be able to do that I couldn’t before because of this surgery.

I’m so sorry that this post was this long! I just had so much to stay and this was such a crazy experience for me! I want to share all of it with you guys. Hopefully this can help people have a better idea of the process. I will update soon but in the meantime feel free to email me!

Love to all!!

Dimand Girl

Heighest Weight (pre op): 330

Surgery Weight: 310

Current Weight: 299

“You have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of your life.”- Unknown

“Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”- Carl Bard

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^^Hospital selfies before surgery when I was waiting for the boys to come back to see me^^

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^^Saying bye to the boys before surgery. I was so scared!^^

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^^So groggy when the boys came to see me after surgery. Loved seeing them!^^

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^^When Katie (my sister) came to visit ūüôā ^^

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^^Day 2 in hospital. Before I was released. Attempted to eat jello but could only eat 2 bites^^

Today’s the Big Day

Well, surgery day is here. I need to be at UIC in around 4 hours. They asked me to be there at 5am. I can’t sleep for the life of me. It’s 1:45am and I am just completely restless. Alex is sleeping, Timur is sleeping, Autumn is sleeping, but I- the patient!- am not. UGH!

The feeling of this day and the day before surgery is almost indescribable, but I’m going to try my best anyway. Yesterday/day before surgery was very hazy and flew by. I barely ate anything… had zero appetite. My nervousness has been growing. All these questions have arisen. Pretty sure it’s because of what a huge step and lifestyle change this is, and I’m also pretty sure it’s perfectly normal to feel the way I do. Some of the questions that have been floating around my head are “am I really ready for this?”, “am I really ready to commit to life after surgery and all of the long term struggles?”, and “am I making a mistake?”. This is going to sound extremely paranoid, but by now you all already know I have anxiety so I’m just gonna say it anyway…. what if I die? I never considered myself to be afraid of death, but faced with a surgery that HAS claimed (very few) lives, I can’t deny my fear. I know it sounds ridiculous and irrational to most people, but it’s eating away at me. I’m strongly fighting the urge to write love letters (/emails) to everyone I love. I’m not doing so because I don’t want to freak them out royally. I’m sure it will all be okay— but knock on wood just in case anyway.

Since yesterday, this has all become extremely real. I started this process 7 months ago, and when I say it’s flown by, I mean that more than you could understand. Now that it’s here, all of the fear and other emotions I’ve been fighting/hiding are coming out. Not to mention, I’ve been really…. really really really really missing my mom. She would be holding my hand through everything, and it’s hurting my heart that she’s not here for this. Alex and Timur are doing a great job of holding my hand too, but it’s not the same. I will say, however, they lessen the pain tremendously (so does Autumn!!). My sister, brother, and dad are there for me completely emotionally as well, but Alex and Timur are physically with me every step of the way. It’s incredible, I often ask God what I did to deserve the people in my life. Alex reminds me constantly how much he loves me. When I say it back, I say it with every inch of honesty and integrity I have in me. He is my eternity. Everything I ever wished for, everything I ever prayed for. Timur is also there for me through it all. He is my best friend soul mate. We were put on this earth to become family. I can honestly say, if we stopped being so close, I would be shattered. My blood family put a lot of my puzzle pieces together, but I would never be complete without Timur, Alex, and Autumn. They have made me whole.

My sister is literally un-freakin-believable! As usual, she drops everything to help me and be at my side. Side note— When I would get pissed at Katie in the past, my mom would say “whether you’re mad at her or not, if anything happened to you she would come running.” This has always been the truth. I consider myself to be an extremely loyal person, and I honestly feel a huge part of that was learning it from Katie. The reason I bring her up is because today is going to be very long, hard, and tiring for everyone. Especially her. She took two days off work and offered to watch Autumn so the boys could go to the hospital with me. She is waking up at 4:30am to watch Autumn when she already has her hands full with an almost-9-month-old (my beautiful niece Grace). Then, after what’s sure to be a looooooong day with two young kiddos, she’s visiting me at the hospital. She even wanted to sleep over so I’m not alone, but the hospital doesn’t allow sleepover’s ūüė¶

I also spoke to my dad and brother today, which was really amazing for me. My dad was uplifting as usual. Made me feel much more calm and reassured me that this is all going to work out. He has a way about him that always makes me feel more confident and just all around better. Spoke to my brother later on at night, and he cried. He’s a little worried I think. He doesn’t know this (well, he might NOW), but I cried too when we got off the phone. Not sad tears. It was a great reminder of how connected we are even when we are thousands of miles apart. It’s an amazing feeling to have that connection, because I love him and look up to him tremendously. My family is always with me. Between Josh, Katie, my dad, and my mom, it’s no wonder I am in love with my life and live such a happy existence. It all started with them. The originals. My support system since before I can even remember.

Those didn’t mean to come off as “I love you” letters (/emails) LOL. It’s just that this blog is about me, and they are all a huge part of me. On this day I am very emotional, and I have been thinking about these incredible people so much. It felt good to express that on here.

Okay back on track. Here’s what my day will look like:

-At 3:50am I have to take the shower with the anti-bacterial soap they gave me.

-At 4:10am I have to get everyone ready to go.

-At 4:30am we have to leave the house for my sisters.

-Drop Autumn off at Katie’s by 5am.

-Be at hospital by 5:30am.

-Surgery probably won’t even start until 8-9am.

I think you guys can guess the rest. I will definitely do an update soon to let you know how my first couple days of post-op goes. I am nervous, excited, anxious, worried, happy, etc, etc, etc. Above all, I’m just praying this all turns out okay and for the best.

Sorry for the extremely long rant (again). Wish me luck!!

Love to all,

Dimand Girl

Heighest Weight (pre op): 330

Surgery Weight: 310

“Expect nothing and appreciate everything.”- Unknown

“Family- where life begins, and love never ends.”- Unknown

“Friends become our chosen family.”- Unknown

“People come and go, but once in a while you meet someone who is supposed to be in your life and your heart goes ‘Oh, there you are. I’ve been looking for you.’ You’ve found a member of your tribe.”- Unknown

“Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.”- Unknown

^^^Day of the “Unknown”, to honor my fear of the unknown.

Future Goals and Lifestyle Changes

My surgery is¬†rapidly approaching! I am still excited and nervous, but my most¬†overwhelming emotion is readiness (is that even an emotion?!). I am ready for my new healthy lifestyle. I am ready to wake up and have energy. I am ready to put in the work. I’m not gonna lie and say that I will be perfect from this day forward. I will fall on my face sometimes. And that’s okay, because everyone does. As long as I don’t lay¬†on the floor defeated, I will be just fine. Pick up the pieces, learn from the mistakes, and move forward.¬†

In this liquid diet I have made a few mistakes. I’m not happy that I did, but I’m also not shaming myself for them. After my first day slip up on Mac N Cheese (refer to the blog entry before this one), I decided that if I was going to cheat it wouldn’t be on heavy carb foods. My few cheats have been on crab legs and lobster tail, a few pickles here and there, and a handful of black olives. I haven’t gone crazy, and since those slip-up’s I haven’t let it happen again. Yesterday I got some good news from my nutritionist at UIC (she actually just left UIC because she moved, but she continues to help me on the side when I have questions (she’s incredible!)). She said that it’s okay if I have 3-4 ounces of fish or chicken a day. I decided to stick to fish since it’s much lighter. It’s still not much, but it makes everything exponentially better. At least when my family is eating dinner I don’t have to sit there empty and jealous, I can nibble on my salmon. I have also lost any urge to cheat because I have something to look forward to for dinner.¬†

If anyone reading this has been in this boat, will be in this boat, or might¬†be in this boat, please read what I’m about to say. DONT BEAT YOURSELF UP. Adding unnecessary stress and beating yourself up over mistakes only makes things worse. Forgive yourself and move on. Certainly don’t go crazy (I say that for your own health and wellness during/after surgery), but if you have small cheats here and there don’t let the guilt eat you alive. I’m not gonna lie, this is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. I am constantly hungry, tired, weak, sore, etc. I never understood¬†how much food actually fuel’s the body because I’ve never gone very long without eating. Now I get it. All that being said, the truth is- it’s gotten easier. Not just because of the salmon being added into my diet, but because my body (and mind) has kind of¬†gotten used to not eating much. I’ve realized that the diet is not only to shrink the liver, but also to prepare us mentally and physically¬†for life after surgery. This is pretty close to what it will be like, so I’m actually glad that this liquid diet exists to help prepare me.

With that, I’m going to stop ranting about the liquid diet and move on to a happier subject… future goals and lifestyle changes that me (and my family) will achieve/put in place.

-Working out 4-6 times a week. 

-Eating healthy 85-95% of the time.

-Waking up earlier.

-Going to sleep earlier (work on my insomnia issues).

-Work on my stress and anxiety. 

It may be a short list of only five things, but these five hurtles have held me back for a long time. I’m breaking the shackles. I am very happy that Alex and Timur are on the same page as me about this surgery. It is the first step of many to lead an honestly all around healthy life. We already have the happiness, all we need is the health!! My biggest motivation in all of this is Autumn. I want to lead by example how important positive lifestyle changes are. I want to be the best mother and role model I can be for her.¬†

On another note, I am going to start uploading some recipes here that me and my family love. The vast majority of them are family recipes that have been handed down to me from my parents (both great cooks). They are also all very simple, which is great for me who’s not the world’s greatest¬†cook (yet!)!¬†

I wish you all love, happiness, and HEALTH! Until next time,

Dimand Girl

“Believe you can and you’re half way there.”- Theodore Roosevelt

“Mistakes are proof that you’re trying.”- Unknown

 

The Struggle is Real…

Oh. my. goodness. you guys. This liquid diet is too hard. My liquid diet officially began on July 8th……. NOT. I cheated on my first official day by having macaroni and cheese at night. I felt so guilty and scared myself that my liver wouldn’t shrink enough and it would cause complications, so the next day (the 9th) I didn’t cheat at all. Today is the 10th, so my second day of not cheating and I am so hungry. Yesterday it was easier because I visited my grandma and then Alex and I saw ‘Deliver Us From Evil’ in theaters so I was kept busy all day/night. But today I woke up starving and extremely low on energy. All day I’ve been torturing myself and watching food network dreaming about all the foods I can’t have. Alex told me to stop but I don’t want to because I say it makes me feel better. Not sure if that’s true, or if I’m just so hungry I want to stare at food all day. *sigh*

The sheet I was given about what I can eat during the liquid diet phase is very limited.¬†I am allowed some Crystal Light, diet Snapple, and diet sugar free drinks, but honestly I don’t really like sweet drinks. I think I said this in the last post, but I tried (and hated) plain Swanson’s soup broth. The ONLY things from the list I really like is cottage cheese, Slim Fast 321 (rich chocolate and cappuccino delight), sugar free jello, and sugar free Popsicle’s. Those four things are my life. I really should be drinking more water though. I have not taken the water thing seriously enough, and I have to. So I will. Starting…. tomorrow ūüėȬ†

Both days so far (and it doesn’t seem like this will change until after surgery):

Breakfast- 2 jellos

Lunch- 2 jellos

Snack- 1 Popsicle and 1 Slim Fast shake

Dinner- 1.5 cup cottage cheese and 2 jello’s¬†

Snack- 1 Popsicle and 1 Slim Fast shake

It sucks. I would literally eat things I don’t even normally like (like tomatoes, coconut, ANYTHING) just to feel better. I feel so awful. I have literally zero¬†energy. My sugar levels are ok, but I still feel shaky and miserable. I am trying SUPER hard to not be grouchy with the people around me… it’s not their fault after all! Alex has been incredible. He mixes different flavors of jello that he used to like so I can have variety. He literally caters to me because I feel so sick and lazy. I refuse to force Autumn to be stuck inside all day so even though I have no energy, I still take her out for walks, to the park, or swimming. Swimming actually feels really good because it takes my mind off food, but when I get out of the pool I feel even more hungry. Pray for me, people!

For anyone out there who is considering the surgery and reading this: DONT LET THIS DISCOURAGE YOU!!!! The pain of being really hungry is NOTHING compared to the pain of missing out on things due to being unhealthy. I keep telling myself “only x amount of days until the surgery!”, and it keeps me motivated.¬†

Thanks for listening to my rant, and keeping my mind off food for 10 minutes!!

Dimand Girl

“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do, it comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.”- Rikki Rogers

“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”- Art Williams

Liquid Diet… ish

So… my liquid diet officially starts tomorrow (July 8th). Since I gained 10 pounds from having a million “food funerals” (saying goodbye to all the foods I will miss), I decided to start the diet 5 days early. Yeah, that didn’t work.

Each day I did really well until dinner. I would eat sugar free jello and a slim fast shake for breakfast, and have a sugar free popsicle for a snack. Then dinner would come around. I would be so starving that I would give up my diet and eat whatever I wanted. Same thing each day. The good news is I lost 6 pounds because I have been half-day dieting. Also, when I “indulge” during dinner, I am careful to not over indulge. I did try Swanson’s chicken and beef broth. The beef broth was disgusting, and the chicken broth was just so plain. I decided I would rather just eat a million jello’s throughout the day. I really wish I liked the broth so that I could at least have a little variety, but nope. Stupid taste buds.

Other life updates: My bestest girlfriend Sophia (in all the pics from my previous blogs) is dating someone! I’m very excited for her! And now we have plenty more gossip and stories for each other haha! Alex got a full-time job last week! He starts training tomorrow, and is super excited! It’s at the same place Timur works, a car photography place (don’t know the name of the company- maybe I should pay better attention when they talk to me ;)). Autumn is really getting great at swimming!! With the help of her floatie, she is super comfortable navigating herself around the pool with no help now! I love it! Fourth of July was lots of fun! We had a couple friends over, went swimming, went to dinner, and watched the fireworks. It was really a great time! Autumn was terrified at first of the fireworks, but we played some Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (her favorite!) for her on the phone, and she was happy as a clam for the rest of the works.¬†

Back to surgery stuff (again). My surgery is in 15 days!!!! I can’t believe it. I have been reading, watching videos, and pinning things about the surgery more then ever. I think I have all my supplies ready, but I haven’t gone grocery shopping yet for after surgery. I probably will a day or two before. I know I already made a post about surgery supplies, but since then I have added more and in one of my upcoming blogs I will update the list so everyone can see all of what I bought. I know other people’s lists have helped me, so hopefully mine can help others. Pay it forward. ūüôā

I don’t really have anything else to say, so I will keep this post as it is- relatively¬†short.

Hope you all had a great 4th of July! I am putting some pics below of mine.

Dimand Girl

“Ask yourself if what you’re doing today is getting you closer to tomorrow.”- Unknown

“Life without liberty is like the body without a spirit.”- Kahlil Gibran

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