Well hello there, from your newly “sleeved” blogger-friend!
On March 2nd I had a Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy. We call it VSG or “getting sleeved.”
From my last posts, I mentioned that I was on a really strict liver shrinking diet and wasn’t much of a fan of it. The first week I could have 2 Ketogenx brand protein shakes, 2 Keto snacks, and a lean/green meal at dinner. The second week, I could have liquid only. It had to be the Bariatric Advantage protein powder and it had to be 5x per day! I could fill in the day with clear broths, sugar free Popsicles and Sugar Free Jello. During those 2 weeks of liver shrinking, I lost 10 pounds. Yay, right? That’s kinda the point of all this. Yes. YAY. But that doesn’t mean that the preparation for this process doesn’t still suck, ’cause it really does.
Since last Wednesday, I’ve been on all liquids and will be until this coming Wednesday when I can have pureed foods. Although the word “puree'” still sounds icky, I am going to enjoy the week long phase and add in some yummy soups that I will stick in the blender. Like creamy potato soup, maybe some Wendy’s chili…that kind of thing
During this current phase, I am not really hungry. Fun fact: the part of the stomach that is removed also is the area where the hormone lives that makes us think we are hungry. So, the sensation of hunger is not here now, but I hear it will return later. I am challenged with drinking 64 oz of water, and getting in 60grams of protein each day. Sounds easy, but isn’t. Considering I am training myself to take very small sips by drinking from a shot glass, it takes all day- and I didn’t really accomplish that goal until a couple of days ago. (I know my way around a shot glass very well, but never did I think I’d use it for WATER?!?! Sleevers must sip. NEVER gulp, or it hurts like hell. And whatever is in our small stomachs may even come back up. On our way home from the hospital Thursday morning, I quickly figured out the difference between what a sip IS and what it is NOT. Jason was driving. I had my Atkins “Lift” drink, which is 20 grams of protein water. I had a bag in the back seat that I had planned to take to Good Will. After my first drink on my own outside the hospital, I grabbed that bag and endured the worst feeling! It felt like a bullet going down my stomach, exploding and then rising back up. You know that feeling in the back of your throat when you’re about to puke? Get kind of a tingle in your body? Yep. All that happened in a matter of seconds. But thankfully, there was no need for the bag and it can still be donated:) I have not made that mistake again. It’s a pain I cannot describe.
Some ask me “if you’re only drinking liquid, how are you managing your protein?” Since I started this journey, I’ve learned what protein shakes are good and what aren’t. I try to choose one that has 20 grams or more of protein, has less than 10 sugars, and less than 15 carbs per serving. My favorite is Premier Protein because it is about 11oz of fluid but 30 grams of protein. If I can get 2 of those, or similar ones down per day, I’ve met the protein goal. I use broths, flavored water, popsicles and jello as other resources for liquid. FYI- a popsicle is 2oz of water! Until I can eat real food, this is the way I manage it.
My surgery went really well. Kind of uneventful. I arrived at the surgery center at 10am Wednesday for a noon-time surgery. I did not have this surgery in a traditional hospital. Since I was a self-pay patient, we had to cut some corners. Bigger hospitals had bigger fees. So we went the surgery center route. The Sleeve is gaining more popularity, so Rex Surgery Center in Cary is where I went. They only do sleeves on Wednesdays and only 2 per day are done. I met a delightful young lady named Jessica (and her mom) there while we recovered together. It was like being in a hospital, but in a smaller setting with only one or 2 nurses on shift. They took great care of me. As long as they kept the pain meds coming, I didn’t really care where I was. 6 hours after surgery, I was able to chew ice chips and sip Isopure that I brought from home. If you don’t already know, Isopure is likely the best protein-fortified clear beverage out there as far as getting protein in at 40g per bottle- but it is by far, the most disgusting tasting liquid on the earth. Think of the way dirty socks smell and then try drinking that crap. I say that now….but after going 24 hours without food/drink at all, some red Isopure was tasting pretty damn good. That’s all I got to say about that….
I also have some unflavored, odorless protein powder that I can put it other stuff, like broth. It changes the texture to a more creamy soup, but its a nice way to get the protein in. I will also add it to other protein shakes that are maybe not so high in protein to boost the count per gram. When I graduate to softer foods next week, I can add it to soups, mashed potatoes, yogurt and pudding. MMmmmmmm pudding…. sound so great to me these days!
My first night at home was not a fun time. In fact, if you had asked me at 3am Thursday if I made the right decision, I may have told you a big fat NO. the first night at home was painful but not as painful as like maybe a birth or a hysterectomy – and I have had both. It’s just that I was so thirsty and I couldn’t drink as fast as I needed or wanted. That familiar pain I felt in the car the prior day was very much how I felt each hour that I woke up Thursday night.I had pain meds to take (by syringe…remember- no solid anything at that point. It’s a combo of Tylenol/Hydrocodone maybe? I don’t know, but it was my BFF that night. And though Thursday night was rough, Friday came like it always does, and I was a new woman:) The pain was less, and I realized when I woke that it was a little easier to sip.
And since then, each day has gotten progressively better! I am not in any pain. just a little discomfort from the incisions, but that is all. I am walking a little in my neighborhood just to get some exercise. I can’t walk the dogs yet or do any pushing, pulling or lifting more than 5 pounds, but I am managing just fine. My husband and daughter, sister, cousin and my mother have been amazing with their support. I thought this was gonna be way worse than it has been. I think I am just really blessed to have such a great support system. I went back to work Monday, but from home. I plan to work from home until the soreness goes away, and then I’ll go back. Would love to see my co-workers, who have also been wonderful supporters.
If you know me at all, or even if you have just come to read my blog as a stranger, you know that my battle with health and weight have been ongoing since I was a teenager. It is a battle that I have never been able to win. The Sleeve is a tool to help me combat morbid obesity and win back my health. This process is challenging, but I already feel that it is really going to be worth it. If you’re on this journey, I would love to hear about your experience, too.
I guess that’s it! Except…since surgery I’ve lost 5 pounds. For those playing at home, that is a total of 15 since I started the pre-op diet:) It doesn’t sound like a lot considering I am only taking in 400-500 calories per day. Some patients actually gain their first week because of all the fluids and meds and stuff they give you in the hospital. I can feel clothes fitting differently. 15 is a great start to my long journey ahead. I am so looking forward to the coming months and really getting back into my groove.
Thank you for reading!