Post Op: week 11. Milestones and Mayhem

Hello Again:)

I feel like this might be a rambling session today since my thoughts are all over the place, hence the mayhem reference in the title today.

Lots of things going on in my world.  Yesterday was week 11 post op Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy.  It was also the day for my check-in with Dr. Bruce. I wasn’t scheduled to go until my actual 3 month post op visit on 6/3 but we scheduled some time last month for a weight check since his staff knew I was concerned about how slow I am losing.  Since the visit lasts month, I only lost THREE pounds.  Yep.  Their scale yesterday showed only a 3 pound loss. I was heartbroken.  Not surprised, but still heartbroken.

I am losing far slower than anyone could have guessed.  Many VSG patients lose double digit numbers in a month.  I try not to compare myself to others, but it is really hard not to do that when I’ve seen with my own eyes the good this surgery can do on an obese person.  When Dr. Bruce talked with me yesterday, I jokingly said “Last month when I was here, you told me you had only 3 patients out of 900+ who were resistant to sleeve surgery.  I think I may be your 4th.” He replied and said “It looks like you might be.”

And I felt as if each word went directly to my soul and stabbed me.  Immediately, the tears started pouring. I recounted all the pre-op testing, the lifestyle changes I’ve made, the financial burden I’ve put on my family…and the tears just wouldn’t stop. And what’s worse, is that there is no rhyme or reason that a person is sleeve resistant.  You’d think cutting away 2/3 of your stomach would make anyone lose weight, right?  Not so much.

But even though it is POSSIBLE that I am resistant to it, it’s also possible I am not.  Maybe I am just losing slowly and steadily.  Maybe I am being impatient.  Maybe I am doing something wrong with my diet.  I have been very comfortable in this food stage.  I’ve had no issues reintroducing new foods into my diet. Have never really gotten sick…have had no complications.  I weigh my food.  The only time I’ve colored outside of the lines is when I had a cocktail and that has only happened 3 times.  I realize alcohol can slow down weight loss, but I don’t think 3 cocktails at different times is gonna halt it.  I think I got carried away with how comfortable I was and though I log my food in MFP, perhaps I ate too many carbs too often.   I don’t know.  But I DO know I’d rather lose slowly than have complications and lose quickly.  And losing slowly will also help prevent sagging skin and losing my hair.  Those are 2 things commonly associated with rapid weight loss.

The doctor and I talked about next steps to jump start the loss again.  I am going to try to do the protein shakes during the day with a lean/green meal for dinner, much like I did with the pre-op diet.  I did that yesterday and am following it today.  And I am HANGRY.  That is another oddity in this journey.  Most people who have VSG do not feel hunger.  But I do, and I have since the surgery.  I am really reeling in the carb situation.  I thought I was doing really well since I often am under 50 carbs per day.  But I am examining the types of carbs I eat and really trying to eat the good ones.  We’re also trying something I said I’d never do again.  I am back on Phentermine again for a few months to jump start the loss again.  I had tremendous success with it a few years back when I lost 80 pounds. I gained it all back, though….because I didn’t wean myself off of it.  I will follow the rules this time.  It’s for the short term.  I will have to go back each month for a check of my vitals and make sure my blood pressure doesn’t rise. Phentermine gives me a lot of energy, which I love.  But it makes me quite thirsty, which isn’t a terrible thing since I am supposed to have a lot of water anyway:)  I just never thought I’d have a NEED for it again, certainly not after a life-changing weight loss surgery. So, I’ll take my 3 pound loss and move forward.  I was really very upset yesterday.  For a lot of reasons, but that appointment was at 9am and set the mood for the entire rainy day. And I so want to dislike Dr. Bruce.  But each time I am there, he makes a faith reference- almost as if he knows I am really digging deep and finding strength in my faith. I let him know that I’ve been chatting a lot with Jesus about this situation lately:)

There’s another situation at my house that the Big Man and I have been in talks about, too.

There are 2 topics I always talk about.  Weight loss progress (me)  and Type 1 Diabetes (my daughter).  Haley’s 17 and has been a T1D for nearly four years now.  May 29th is her Dx anniversary.  So, we’re not new to T1D but we still learn something all the time.

At her checkup last month, her doctor asked us to try to be more vigilant about taking Metformin, which is actually a drug used in Type 2 Diabetes, but is really helpful for Haley, as it helps break down carb digestion and helps drive her blood sugar down.  We’ve done as the doctor asked.  Unfortunately, Metformin works a little TOO well.  She prescribed 2 pills with food each day.  When Haley takes 2 and also does insulin, her blood sugar plummets to unhealthy numbers.  We have had a series of “lows” in the 40,s, 30’s and even once in the 20’s.  I was with her a couple of years ago when she crashed into the 20’s and I never want to visit that again.  I was losing her.  Haley lost her ability to speak, her eyes were rolling back in her head…her vision was blurred.  My girl was simply checking out on me.  I never ever wanted her to feel that way again.  But it happened again last night because she is still trying to find the balance with Metformin and her insulin pump dose.

When she is low, she starts to feel shaky.  Haley says when she’s in the 40’s, she’s shaky and starts to sweat, and feels sick to her stomach.  In the 30’s or below, she said it’s like a slow, easy, calm drift to sleep.  She loses functionality.  She checks out.  During this time, we guzzle juice and wait for it to come back up.  We have a glucagon kit, which is also nicknamed the “oh shit kit.”  If we’re breaking out Glucagon, we’re past the need for juice, cake icing, etc.  We’re in trouble and a Glucagon shot in her hip/behind area is intended as a last resort before calling 911.

Luckily, the juice (and a PB&J sammich!) did the job because in just  a few minutes, she was laughing and joking with me again.

It is still amazing to me that she can come that close to danger and a few minutes later, she’s completely normal. It’s scary. Amazing. Exhausting.  After a low like that, her body needs time to recover.  She feels terrible for the day.  Kind of like recovering from the flu. I asked if she’d like to lay down with me for a little while and just relax.  Maybe take a nap.  I expected her to say no, to go play video games or watch TV.  Instead, she crawled up in my bed beside me and chatted with me for a few minutes (after she’d drank all the juice and her blood sugar was good) and then drifted to sleep.  My five foot 9 inch , 17 year old “baby” was lying beside me in the guest room.  I laid there with her and played with her hair while she slept.  And a million memories instantly poured into my brain. My husband kept texting me, asking what our plans for dinner were going to be.  I think I texted back and said we’re skipping it because I didn’t want to move from my cozy spot with my girl.  The house would have had to be on fire for me to move.  I wanted to breathe her in and the comfort having her beside me brought me.  I am hoping that she, too, found comfort while she slept next to me.  Sleeping is an issue for me and has since really elevated since her DX.  It is my greatest fear that the “low” will not wake her from her sleep and I will come to find her gone.  It is such a morbid thought, but any parent of a kid with a life threatening illness knows this fear. We’re trying to get a CGM for her)(Continuous Glucose Monitor)  that will show trends in her sugars- whether they are going up or down…and alarms that will be sent to my phone when she’s too high or low.  It’s a pretty penny, but it is needed and will help alleviate some stress in her life…and in mine.  Later when I told her goodnight, Haley said “Hey mom, thanks for saving my life today.” I giggled a little bit and thought…whew…that was a close call today! All a little too overwhelming.

So you take her near-death experience yesterday, combined with the disappointing doctor’s appointment and very little sleep and that’s a yucky day.  My old friend depression showed up yesterday for a little bit….but.  To use the verse from Lamentations 3:23, “God’s mercy and grace are new every morning.”

And a new morning it was.  I reached a new milestone today.  My first in this journey! I weighed myself today and I am happily writing to you from “Onederland.”  Don’t know what that is?  If not, you must not have a weight issue LOL. ONEderland is where you find yourself when your weight begins with a ONE instead of anything else.  That’s right…I just sorta put my weight out here on the crazy internet for all to see.  it’s not like ya’ll were blind to the fact that I am a heavy girl.  SOOO- since my pre-op phase in mid-February, I’ve dropped 31.4 pounds. It’s a little less than 3 pounds a week.  I still call that a win. 31.4 down.  54 to go. Easy, right? Pffffffffftttt.  No, it’s not easy.  But I am doing it.

Thanks for reading and letting me get the emotions out.  Whether 1 person reads or 100 read, it is nice to be able to document my journey and pour my feelings somewhere that people may be able to understand.  Weight loss is super hard.  If it were easy, we’d all be skinny!

I hope everyone has a great evening.  Thank you again for spending your time with me today ❤

Be Blessed,

Dawn

 

 

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My beautiful T1D- a year later!

Hey there:) 
In prior posts you’ve likely read where I reference my daughters.  I talk of them often because they make me so proud! My older daughter (Hollyann)  is 22, and lives with her gf nearby. I don’t see her often enough, but she knows where her home is and that she’s loved here.  She’s made me really, very proud of how she’s handling life as a 22 year old young adult.  I know the day will come when she’s going to need the help of her mom and step-dad and I hope I am prepared to help her.  And if I am not, I will prepare quickly! She’s a great girl.

My younger daughter is 14 and was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at this time last year- almost to the very day.  Memorial Day weekend is synonymous with many things…cookouts…pool parties, the start of summer.. recognition of our service men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for ensuring our freedom, and being thankful for their service, as well as the men and women who currently serve.  It is also synonymous with Haley’s “Dx”…her diagnosis.

We were actually at the same park yesterday where she had what she calls the “worst day of her life.EVER”.  I made her walk the 2 mile loop around the lake at the Apex Community Park last year with our then-new puppy, Bo.  She was sluggish and tired.  I attributed to it being hot outside and being a typical teenage girl who maybe stayed up too late the night before play xbox with her friends.  What I would later learn about that awful day was that the kid was in DKA= Diabetic Acidosis.  Her Dx would come to us just a day later after she’d called to say she felt terrible and asked if Jason or I would come get her from school. 

If you’re a parent, you know that your kids will come to you when they are ill and that there is an urgency in their voice that can chill you to your very soul.  This was one of those times.  There was no MAYBE she’s sick.  I knew that Sunday on Memorial Day that she was sick.  I was going to call and make an appointment for her that Monday but again- it was a holiday weekend and the doctor’s office was closed.  I’d planned to call Tuesday by noon.  You know, go to work, get a few things done and then move onto picking her up and taking her to get checked out.  Only I never got that chance because of the bone-chilling phone call.

Haley had been drinking an unusual amount of water, tea, soda, anything she could get her hands on.  Sunday night’ revealed that she’d drank nearly a case of water and a 6 pack of Sunkist soda in less than 2 days.  That didn’t count whatever she drank during the weekend that I DIDN’T see…I just knew it was going to be a “sugar” thing, but I thought in the back of my mind that it was going to be a temporary thing.  I had some exposure to T1D because my first cousin has a son who is Type1.  I knew OF it.  I didn’t really know anything ABOUT their daily lives and struggles until the diagnosis came after Haley complained of muscle aches, unquenchable thirst, dizziness, seeing “spots” and having blurred vision

Here is the definition of DKA, courtesy of wikipedia:

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a potentially life-threatening complication in patients with diabetes mellitus. It happens predominantly in those withtype 1 diabetes, but it can occur in those with type 2 diabetes under certain circumstances. DKA results from a shortage of insulin; in response the body switches to burning fatty acids and producing acidic ketone bodies that cause most of the symptoms and complications.[1]
DKA may be the first symptom of previously undiagnosed diabetes, but it may also occur in people known to have diabetes as a result of a variety of causes, such as intercurrent illness or poor compliance with insulin therapyVomitingdehydrationdeep gasping breathingconfusion and occasionally coma are typical symptoms. DKA is diagnosed with blood and urine tests; it is distinguished from other, rarer forms of ketoacidosis by the presence of high blood sugar levels. Treatment involves intravenous fluids to correct dehydration, insulin to suppress the production of ketone bodies, treatment for any underlying causes such as infections, and close observation to prevent and identify complications.[1][2]
DKA is a medical emergency, and without treatment it can lead to death. DKA was first described in 1886; until the introduction of insulin therapy in the 1920s it was almost universally fatal.[3] It now carries a mortality of less than 1% with adequate and timely treatment.[4]

Hello.  It can be deadly. The ER doctor who treated Haley told us that if we had waited just 8-12 hours longer, we might not have such a happy story to tell.  Haley was in bad shape.  I am SO glad she was vocal about how she felt and that she was insistent on making me LISTEN.  
Once we had the diagnosis, Haley was upset for a few minutes, and then was like “ok. this really, really sucks.  But let’s deal with it and when can we go home”.  Meanwhile, I am texting my cousin, Regina, like a mad woman! Regina let me text her night and day for months, and I STILL DO! Even though we’ve been at this for a year, we still have highs and lows and I still ask for her advice.  It’s amazing the book of knowledge she is- and amazing that Wyatt is as calm, cool and collected as he still is after his DX around age five!
I don’t think anyone really realizes what a big deal it is.  Most folks thing Type 1 is lumped in with Type 2 and that you can control it with diet and exercise, but it can’t be.  And some folks think that it’s because I fed her too much sugar, which makes me giggle) And some think it will magically disappear if she were to lose weight.  That one makes me giggle, too:)  Type 2 is no joke, either, so please don’t think I minimize the seriousness of it.
But a year later, I feel like we are so much smarter and relaxed about things! She is eligible to get an insulin pump, but we are a little hesitant to do it right now.  She injects herself with HumaLog about 5x a day.  And she has a nighttime injection of Lantus (slow acting insulin) each night before bed.  Imagine injecting yourself 6x a day with a needle.  Fun times, right?  NOT.  She has more high blood sugars than she does lows, but the lows are a real worry for us.  Twice she has had dangerously low sugar levels.  One of which I thought she was checking out for sure.  Glossy, glazed over eyes, inaudible speech, clenching her heart,  It was the first time I was really faced with making a quick decision to get her sugar level UP an FAST.  I’ve learned these things…in no particular order!
1: cake icing, in particular, the gel kind, is the best way to get sugar levels to rise.  Squeezing the tube in between her cheek and gumline, and massaging it so that she swallows it, is the best method.  
2. Cake icing is the last stop before the “oh sh*t” glucagon shot that we carry around with us in the scary red case. See below!
3. Blood sugar goes way,way, wayyyyy low after vigorous exercise, like riding her bike, street hockey and swimming.
4.  Blood sugar goes way high when we eat pasta or pizza and we can expect it to be high for a couple of days!
5. Teenage girls are hellaMOODY when their blood sugar is too low or too high! That’s all we will say about that:)
6. I’ve learned to always keep some sort of candy or icing in my purse because we never know when a LOW is coming on.  We’ve been walking through the mall together and she will just give me a look like…hey mom, can we chill a minute and let me check my sugar?  And sure enough, she knows her body well enough to know she’s low.  We pop some skittles or something and she’s good as new!
7. No matter how much I try to prepare myself, I WILL leave the diabetic supply bag at home at least once in a week at home while we go somewhere and have to go back to get it!
8. I AM MORE SCARED of DIABETES than Haley will EVER be.  I think of it’s impact on her body…future complications and possible children that I hope she has.
9. She’s stronger than I EVER have been or will be.
10. Haley is a rockstar to the bone and I can’t say enough how proud of this kid I am!
I remember begging Jesus in my prayers to somehow take this from her and give it to me.  I remember making silent bargains with Him on my drive home from the hospital with her.  “I will be a better mother, a better wife, friend, anything- just give it to ME”. I convinced myself that somehow it was my fault.  But He knew us before He made us:) He made her special. He made her strong and I am convinced that she’ll use this as a gift for someone else someday.  Maybe she will be the babysitter whose specialty is caring for T1D kids.  Maybe she’ll be like the cool nurse who cared for her in the ER at Wake Med.  Maybe she’ll be the doctor who cares for T1D’s.  We just don’t know- but whatever she chooses, I know she’ll be great:)  
So a year later, we’re so much more efficient and smarter about Diabetes!  She’s so much healthier and has a great grasp on school and home life. Maybe one day soon we’ll revisit the insulin pump because we know it’s gonna simplify things for her greatly.  But for now, just one year into this trek, we have made GREAT strides!

Thanks for reading and letting me brag about my girls. They truly are my greatest blessings. 
Hollyann, me, Haley.  Mother’s Day 2013.


Taken just a few days shy of her diagnosis. Not feeling well, but still sporting a smile:)

Our JDRF Team last November! She has a great support group in family and friends!  We will walk again in November, should anyone want to walk with us! My girl needs a CURE!


Thank you for coming by to read about our first year.  We are not perfect by any means, but we are happy to have surpassed the 2am wake up calls to do finger pricks.  We are pleased to be more educated and sure of things now.
We’re just happy that SHE is healthy and feeling good.  Haley starts HIGH SCHOOL in the fall! I will surely have a whole other blog just for THAT!

God Bless! And hey- if you’re a member of our military and you’ve stopped here to read about my girl- THANK YOU for your sacrifice and service.  As much as I commemorate this weekend as Haley’s diagnosis weekend, I really do know that first and foremost, it’s Memorial Day and I can’t thank you enough for securing our freedom.  I know freedom is not free!

Kindly-
Dawn

little fighter, soon it will be brighter

I used a picture with this saying in it a few weeks ago.  Such a simple quote, yet it’s full of meaning for my little fighter. Stinkerbell has her checkup with the diabetic doctor tomorrow. We go every 90 days. It is hard to fathom that I’ve been a parent to a T1D rock star for a little over six months. So much has happened since then! It was all so overwhelming then. And it still is- we are just getting used to the daily roller coaster ride with glucose levels. Most times her sugar is elevated….and we can live with that while we use insulin to bring it down. But days like today really keep you in check and on your toes!

Haley texted me shortly before lunchtime today. Just as I was getting ready to scold her for texting at school, I realized what the message was…. “Mommy, my blood sugar is 57 and I’m in gym class. It bout took the life out of me.”

Needless to say, I didn’t scold her. She was able to get to the designated room to check her sugar and get a snack and recovered from the low.  Normal folks should have blood glucose levels somewhere between 70 and 100. And 57 is not The lowest we’ve seen- but it’s scary, and if she  doesn’t  eat some fast acting carbs soon, she will continue to feel badly. She was scared today and so was I.  But she knew what to do, reacted quickly, and averted a crisis. Rock Star, I tell ya!

Tomorrow’s checkup is going to include talking about an insulin pump and we fear that her doctor may not consider her as a candidate for a pump. He likes to see that the patient takes care of themselves the “manual” way…fast acting insulin injections, finger pricks and slow acting insulin injections at night. That’s her schedule. All day long. There’s never a time that she ignores it- but we could do a better job with night time readings for sure. Getting a pump is a big responsibility. It gives the diabetic a continuous drip of insulin 24/7. We really want to try an omnipod. She would have a pod inserted every 3 days rather than injections 4-6 times a day.

This is a rough gig. But we are up for the challenge. It is hard to remember the rules sometimes. I hope we eligible for the pump.  I have my fingers and toes crossed:) if you could add Stinkerbell to your prayer list, I know she’d really appreciate it:)