Thursday, February 25, 2010

Advice For Us Newbies

I sent an update to my clinic where I had my surgery and received this great reply from the nurse within a few hours. I mentioned I was doing well but was a bit discouraged that I wasn’t seeing a weight loss. I also asked when the first fill would be (it will be at 4 weeks) and since I have to pay each time, I did request that they consider an “aggressive” fill to avoid the cost of multiple little fills over a short period of time. I thought the advice from the nurse was so encouraging and don’t think they would mind if I shared some of her reply (in blue below).

"Thank you for your email and I'm glad you are doing well. Don't think of this phase as a weight loss phase. Most people do not lose very much weight in the first four to six weeks, in fact some people gain. This is the healing phase and although you are probably eating far less your body may decide to hold onto some of your weight until you've had a few fills.

We completely understand the desire for a "big fill" due to the cost and inconvenience. For most people two to three fills, done at least two weeks apart are needed to reach that 'sweet spot' where one cup of food keeps the hunger away for approx. four hours. After that you will need the occasional tweak as you lose weight. After the first year most people need very few adjustments. If we fill aggressively we run the very great risk of missing that sweet spot all together and making your band too tight. This results in lost time due to having to defill, then refill etc., not to mention discomfort and the adoption of maladaptive eating habits.

When the band is too loose, as you know, food passes across too quickly and you are hungry in a short amount of time and that is when we fill, to slow the passage of food and increase the amount of time that you are not hungry. If we tighten the band too much you get into problems such as heartburn, reflux of fluid at night and difficulty with solid foods. This is why we are careful with adjustments. Sometimes you may just experience difficulty with solid foods and find that you are consuming mainly mushy/soft/slider foods which leads to a plateau in your weight or a weight gain as these foods pass more quickly across the band and tend to be higher in calories. Nobody ever wants to have fluid removed from their band as they think that this will make them gain, however contrary to this we always find that when the band is too tight, by removing some fluid it allows the patient to get back to consuming healthy solid foods and they lose weight.

Sometimes people wait for the band to "tell" them to stop eating. The purpose of the band is only to control your hunger when you choose to eat less food. Some people do get a "full" feeling when they have consumed the proper amount of food and their band is well adjusted, but others don't. This is why it is very important to stick to one cup of solid food. By eating more than a cup there is a very real danger of stretching the upper pouch. This usually presents with persistent heartburn and/or no feeling of satiety, i.e. you feel like you can eat and eat. This is confirmed by a barium swallow and results in having the band defilled for 4-6 weeks to allow the pouch to return to normal size. As you can imagine this is very distressing for patients as their hunger comes back and their weight inevitably goes up. These are just some things to keep in mind as you are starting out."

I felt much better after reading this. Not knowing the how’s or what’s or why’s of things that are happening are the hardest but this confirmed a lot of what I already knew. All the blogs I follow basically said most of the same things as the nurse did so I know I just have to trust and follow their advice—no more trying to manage this new life myself. Well, ok—I would still take out the stitch!
I’ll be gone for the weekend visiting some friends and family and will probably not post until next week. I will still read the blogs I follow so hope everyone has a great last weekend of February. March is here on Monday which means winter is almost over, my birthday and St. Paddy’s day is almost here, I get my first fill, and spring will soon bring flowers and green grass and warm temperatures. Yah for getting through another winter!!!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Just Let It Happen

I had my first visit with the Weight Management Clinic where I will have my fills done and have them follow my weight loss. I have to pay for these visits but it saves me driving 10 hours round trip to the surgeon's office. I'm still not losing any weight but I think my head is in a better place and I know the pounds will come off. I also booked my appointment for my first fill in 2 weeks (which will be 4 weeks after surgery). I am hoping that it will be what I need to move forward. Funny how I was so impatient to start the pre-op diet, then impatient for surgery, then impatient to see results. I think I just need to take a breath and stop waiting for something to happen and just let it happen.

I also paid my sister a visit. She is very supportive but a bit perplexed about what this "thing" inside me is all about. She even offered to take in my jeans which are sagging terribly off my butt. She wonders what I can eat. She is also trying to lose about 30 pounds. I left shortly before lunch as I think she would have freaked trying to figure out if I could really eat what she made. It's funny getting across to people that we bandsters can eat almost everything. Oh well, I guess she and I will both learn what I can and cannot tolerate foodwise.

On the way home I stopped at the mall with three large floors so I walked around all three and decided it was enough exercise for today. No treadmill today. Tomorrow I'll up my distance to 1 mile and gradually build from there. I also stopped in to have my eyebrows waxed and shaped and then told the girl to go wild and wax the lip, chin and any other areas she thought were needed. My whole face is hairless. For lunch I had a Thai curry meal with rice-delish. It was strange not to order the "Diet Pepsi" like normal. I was able to eat most of it but left a lot of rice. The hardest part of all this eating is remembering not to drink with meals. In the past I have always had many glasses of water with my meal. I guess it was a way to wash the food down. At restaurants I have asked for them to leave the jug of water for me so they don't have to keep coming back for refills. But I still crave that drink of water while eating. I guess it is something to work on. And one other thing which may be my downfall. I can usually eat the entire basket of breads/rolls that come to the table and ask for more. I love fresh bread and rolls and doughnuts and ... OK I'll stop right now and think protein first!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Don’t Try This at Home

Suture removal day and all went well. I hate going to a doctor’s office. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family doctor but I hate booking an appointment, paying for parking, waiting for him to see me and then having him cut a small stitch in less than 30 seconds. I couldn’t return to the Surgeon’s office since it would have been a 5 hour drive there and another 5 hours back home for a 10 second snip. Plus, Gilly who had her surgery at the same place mentioned that the nurse who took out her suture snipped her skin. No way did I want that.

Warning: Do not try this at home.
So… I took out my own suture from the port site. And no my intestines did not spill out all over the floor. I decided to review suture removal as part of my Self-Assessment and Quality Assurance I have to do every year to maintain my license as a Registered Nurse. I gathered all the stuff I would need, including reading glasses since I can’t see close up anymore (age!), alcohol wipes to clean my utensils and I was good to go. Snip and it was out. Saved the health care system a fortune. The suture is the small stringy thing in the middle of the pic on the right.

Today is a much better day, although we have snow (a couple of inches only). I don’t know what went wrong with this winter but we have only had a little bit of snow—less than a foot. Too funny since I see all the snow in the States. Less shovelling is great and the snow-blower has been idle for most of the winter. Here is a picture of my back yard showing how little snow we have. The hot tub has to be cleaned off, although I can’t go in for another 4 weeks. Not sure why it is ok to swim but not go in a hot tub. Since I haven’t been cooking much, the BBQ has also been dormant for months. Since I took this picture most of the snow has melted off the BBQ.

I visit my local clinic here in Ottawa on Wednesday for diet counselling. My weight will be down as my last visit was a week before surgery. I have been going to this clinic for the last 3 years but never managed to lose more than 20 pounds. The doctor there will also do my fills once I have the surgeon’s office arrange it, probably in two weeks (at week four like others who had surgery at SWLC near Toronto). I also jumped on the treadmill and did 1 km yesterday and also today. Tomorrow I will start doing 1.6 km (1 mile). I am so surprised how little time it takes and I get off my butt and Just do it! but I do wear my Nikes.

I also wanted to mention that I am trying a couple of things to lose some of this excess water and maybe see the scales move. The first is something I learned years ago when I went to Diet Center (now bankrupt-go figure-you could only eat 450 calories/day). Every morning we had to drink a tablespoon of lemon juice which I have done yesterday and today. The scale edged downward a bit. I also tried Gen’s remedy and hope it shows on the scale. I've mixed up my big jug and am sipping it all day. Here are her directions.

Mix some Splenda sweetened (or sugar free) cranberry juice half and half with water. I usually make a total of 3 liters. Just make a big jug full. Then start drinking. Drink as much as you can during the day. It is my best remedy for flushing out the excess fluids, and it almost always works!

I also started on soft foods today and had a soft boiled egg and a bit of “soldiers” toast without the crust. I know a lot of you do not do eggs, but I don’t like cereal much, so this is my fav breakfast. I have this nifty little egg timer (the egg shaped thingy in the pic) that I picked up at the dollar store (you know the stores where all the stuff costs about a dollar). It cooks the egg perfectly. Soft enough to dip my soldiers! I felt like a little kid again.

Although I didn’t feel my band, it has kept me full for almost 4 hours so things are looking up. I also had a mashed banana and some pasta/ground chicken/sauce for lunch. Yum. Never thought I would say this but, Oh how I miss fruit and vegetables and salads. Who would have thunk?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hitting a Rough Spot

Woke up today and the scale reads the same weight as the day of my surgery! WTF (and it is only Monday-to further explain, see ). I am just so mad and angry. Maybe I should be back at work today so I can be mad at everyone else. Instead, I am going to open this rant.

I read all your blogs about the first week or so after surgery and know that this is the time to heal and that I shouldn’t think about losing weight and yada, yada, yada. Oh but it is so hard to think of all the effort (and money) and not see any results. Like going to the after Christmas sales and finding out when you get to the cash that they charged you full price. P*ssed off is the way I feel. And I had to get up at 5:30 am to drive my DH to the airport. And I didn’t sleep very well last night because I can’t sleep on my left side as I get pain near where the port is sutured to my gut. Speaking of my gut—it is still swollen, although now I think after two weeks, my liver has probably grown back to the fatty mess it was before surgery. And feeling sad for myself last night I sipped on 20 year old Port and half of it came back up in a burp. More waste of money. GRRRRR….

Just closed the rant. It’s over. I feel better. But the scales might just be sitting in the garbage on Wednesday morning instead of in my closet.

On to the positive stuff for the day. Since I was up so early and finished my two mugs of coffee, I started to get hungry (first time that sensation has hit) around 8:00 and had two scrambled eggs. I then got on the treadmill and did a 1 km walk. I have decided it was time to get off my butt and get into some sort of exercise routine before I head back to work. I plan on 1 km (about 0.6 miles since my treadmill registers in miles) for two days and then up it to 1.5 km (about a mile) for the next week. I want to increase it 0.5 miles a week until I am doing 3 miles or about 5 km by the end of March. This is my version of the C25K (Couch to 5K) that others are doing but I will stick to walking. I also need to up my water intake as I seem to forget as I lie on the couch. I walk with music and only got through 3 songs one of which was the Black Eyed Peas song Meet Me Half Way. I decided it is what I will now sing to my band. Here is part of the song:

     Can you meet me half way
     Right at the boarderline

     That's where I'm gonna wait, for you
     I'll be lookin out, night n'day
     Took my heart to the limit, and this is where I'll stay
     I can't go any further then this
     I want you so bad it's my only wish

YouTube song: Meet Me Half Way (Black Eyed Peas) 

On Wednesday, I can start on mushie/soft foods and hope to get in more protein. I think I have been stuck with too many carb foods over the last two weeks. I can’t stand the protein drinks right now so haven’t been the best about getting in good protein. Now I can make some turkey chili and some chicken casseroles to get the right balance of nutrients. My cookbooks are spread all over the family room as I am determined to cook from scratch as much as I can. I was depending too much on frozen dinners and fast food over the last year. Yah for me! I love to cook and just have to make it another habit. I also have to learn to cut the quantity since my kids are rarely here for dinner and I can only eat about ½ of what I did before.

I’m going to meet my band half-way and do my part. No one said it would be easy. It is just a tool and I have to learn how to use it properly to build me a spectacular body. Thanks for listening.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Links to Lovely Ladies Too

Ok so I am plagiarizing the same title from Band-Babe but thought I would change the Blogger Award just a bit. I too have seen my name in quite a few of the blogs I follow so thanks to everyone for your kind nominations and comments. I have sprinkled this post with a few links so click on the red words. Like many of you, I couldn’t narrow down a list of fav blogs so have a look at the side of my blog under Blogger List for my entire nomination list.

I decided that the inspiration and support for working with the band came from all of you “veterans” and “newbies” and I can hardly express my gratitude when you leave a word or two in comments. It was so exciting for me when I saw my Followers List grow. I thought I would do a shout-out (like lovely Debi and Cara from The Dash). And I can't leave out Carmen who keeps me in stitches. Oh fooey, I love you all! I chose the following blogs as they have only a few followers (in most cases, less than 20) and I know they would love to see your support and comments.

Leslie (Massachusetts, USA) has been working with the band since August 2009 with her hubby who is also banded.

Fitness Bandit (Australia) has been banded for over a year and has a goal to run a half marathon this year. Also loves wine (like me!).

Epiphany (Australia) was recently banded on February 15th, 2010. We’re doing this together.

MommyOf4 (Texas, USA) was banded last March 2009 and is telling it like it is in the band world.

Ali (Nebraska, USA) was also recently banded on January 19th, 2010.

Maree and Jenny (New Zealand) are two sisters that were banded on the same day in November 2009. I love NZ!

Michelle (?B.C. Canada) is a mom to 6 kids. I don’t know how she does it! I think she is close to Whistler B.C. since she was given tickets to one of the Olympic Cross Country Ski events in Whistler.

Rebekah (not sure where she is in the world) but she is searching for her inner lizard, loves math and has pink boxing gloves. She had her surgery in June 2009.

Amanda (North Carolina, USA but moving to Colorado!!!) was one of the first people to follow me and leave such nice comments. She was banded on October 12th 2009. . Since she is Colorado bound maybe Gen can give her some encouragement.

Sherry (also from North Carolina, USA) will be banded on March 19th, 2010. Woo Hoo.

Jess (California) just because I love her smile and she thinks 47F degrees is cold.

I hope you visit these wonderful people above and leave them an encouraging comment or two. I didn’t follow the instructions to a tee, but then I have always been a rebel and bucked the system. I will complete the mission and will give you 7 interesting things about me by me:

**I was named after my cousin and was her flower girl when I was 5.

**I joined the army reserves to help pay my way through University and was a Lieutenant when I left. I was also a sharpshooter with both a rifle and sub-machine gun so don’t piss me off (just kidding—I don’t own a gun). I was in a Scottish regiment where the guys all wore kilts. The women wore pants. I think all men look amazing in a kilt. Both my hubby and 24 year old son have a kilt and love wearing it. With this firsthand experience I can definitely tell you what is worn under the kilt mostly because men don’t know how to sit like a lady!

**I know exactly where I was when President John Kennedy was killed—Grade 2, Friday November 22nd, the afternoon after recess. The entire weekend was news of his death. I also know where I was when the space shuttle Challenger exploded in January 1986 and of course the 9/11 tragedy. I know most of you may not remember the first two, but I do.

**My Best Friend is Linda and we met 37 years ago. I had to mention her because she reads this blog and I want her to know how much I appreciate her being my friend. We have gone through a lot together and we are both working on getting healthy together. Gotcha!

**When I was training to be an RN, my first patient died on me. Our first clinical was the hospital geriatric ward after two months of classes. We could only do bed baths so I was assigned this man almost comatose and breathing funny (I learned in second year that he was Cheyne-Stoking—a type of breathing that precedes death). Just as I finished the bed bath, he died. He was the cleanest dead body that ever went to the funeral home (I hope you appreciate that Gilly). Once I graduated and started working on a surgical unit and ICU, I never had one of my patients die on me when I was on shift. A few died just before I came on shift and a few died shortly after I left but I never had to deal with a dead body again. Even though I am still an RN, I now work in software development with the Federal Government. Some would say there are a few dead bodies working there. LOL

**I wanted to be Miss America when I was in my teens. I loved watching the show and imagined me being crowned. Not sure when I realized it wasn’t really possible since I weighed over 175 pounds and wasn’t an American. Oh and I don’t have a lot of talent that I could have performed on stage.

So that is me in a nutshell. A bit of a nutcase but aren’t we all. Have a wonderful weekend of healthy eating. I’m just about ready to make a nice pureed lunch.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Crab Cakes and Pedicures

Today was a good day. My SIL treated me to a lovely pedicure this afternoon. I love pedicures. So relaxing and now my toes are sporting a lovely red O.P.I. nail polish. I can’t remember the color so will have to go to the store and hold a bunch of bottles close to my feet to find the same one.

Before the manicure we went for a quick lunch at the Red Dog CafĂ©, a tiny little pub close to the salon. This was my first meal out—how exciting. I finally decided to try the appetizer size crab cakes with wasabi mayonnaise and a bowl of their creamy vege soup. How delish. I was only able to finish one crab cake and half a bowl of soup. But my SIL was happy as she got to eat the other crab cake. I don’t seem to get a full feeling but do get an ache in my left shoulder. I am pretty sure this is just referred pain from the band as it seems to happen just after I eat and goes away about an hour later. Strange. During the pedicure I had a cappuccino and a couple of tiny biscotti but I felt stuffed and wanted to lie down. It took about 20 minutes to be able to sit comfortably. Sort of like after thanksgiving dinner. Ha—maybe this band will work.

This is also the first day I haven’t felt exhausted. I was out yesterday afternoon and did a good walk around Lowes to look at bathroom vanities. After about 20 minutes I was exhausted so went home and ate a half slice of pate and some mashed up Mac & Cheese. Not sure if it was the iron in the pate or the extra fat, but I sure felt great this morning. Trying to get in some good foods while only living on liquids was becoming very hard. It might also have been that my DH was out of town on business, so I had the bed all to myself. I usually sleep much better when he isn't home. LOL.

So I can now say, 9 days post-op, I am feeling pretty good. No weight loss in the last few days which is the most frustrating but it will come. I lost 15 pounds up to the day of surgery and then have only managed to drop another 4 pounds since. A bit frustrating but it is probably because I introduced carbs back into my diet (thank god!). Those low-carb diets may be good at dropping all the excess water but for me it is not a sustainable way of life. I do know in past years that my highest weight of the year is always at the end of February. I can honestly say, not this year!

Looking forward to seeing better results over the next few weeks. I Believe. The band will work.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

How to Block a Spammer

I just got hit with a spammer who seems to think he can join up as a follower so we buy his stuff. If you want to block him (and please do before he goes viral) here are the instructions from the help. Pass this on to anyone you think might be interested.

You can block them by doing it through your Dashboard. Then click on Followers and from there you can block. You can't seem to do it by clicking on the little follower picture. Darren the Vitamist guru is now gone!!! But I see him as a follower on many of your blogs.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Just Had to Post This...

Dr. Oz

I was skimming through some blogs and saw Nikki’s blog –you know, she the one in Hawaii. OK we aren’t jealous. She saw the 100th episode of Dr. Oz yesterday and since I missed it, I googled the show. This is a link to part of the show which really hit home. How Drastic Weight Loss Affects Your Body.

I hope you watch it and get some inspiration and also hope the full show becomes available on-line so I can see it all. The part about fat in the belly really hit home.

Thanks Nikki. Prayers to you and those in the military who are fighting for us. In Canada we wear red on Fridays to remember the men and women deployed from all countries.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Voices from the Closet

I started hearing voices last evening. I was watching the show Intervention about an alcoholic woman who wouldn’t stop drinking even when she was so close to death. At the end her family convinced her to accept the Intervention and enter treatment for her alcoholism. Then the voices started…

Voice from the closet (muffled): I’m still here in the front closet where you put me a few weeks ago.
Me: WTF. Who is that?

Voice from the closet: It’s me, Cheddar Goldfish.
Me (firmly): You know I am still on fluids and can’t eat you.

Voice (quivering): But I am so lonely in here. And it is dark.
Me (no resistance): OK, I’ll just take a few of you out so you aren’t scared.

Voice: You know if you chew me one at a time and let me dissolve in your mouth and then have a big gulp of water—it really is a liquid by the time it hits your stomach.
Me (brainwashed): OK, sounds good, but after 10 of you, back in the bag.

Ten minutes later:
Voice from the closet (muffled): So how do you feel.
Me: I’m still hungry but that glass of water really washed you right through my band I think.

Voice (whiny): Can we come out and play again?
Me: No. This lady on TV is telling me that she is addicted to alcohol and just needs one more drink to feel better. I don’t want to think I am like her and don’t want to look like I am addicted to Goldfish.

Voice (soothingly): You can’t get addicted to food. You have to eat to survive.
Me: OK. I’ll just let 20 of you come out and play this time.

The rest is history, 20 more cracker Goldfish swam into my stomach, chewed, dissolved and washed down with water. MUST.TELL.SON.TO.HIDE.GOLDFISH. I slunk up to bed avoiding everyone. I was afraid I would be confronted by the group of people from Intervention and sent to treatment for addiction to food.

Today is a new day. Last day of liquids and sooooo looking forward to pureed foods. I already have a list of what I will eat tomorrow. Yummy mashed sweet potato and squash. Woo Hoo!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Biggest Loser—Good or Bad

I am a bit stunned at having lost almost 19 pounds in less than three weeks. Three weeks ago today was Robbie Burns day and I was out at the pub for a “last supper” of steak, mashed potatoes and beer. I started the liquid pre-op diet the next day. Only 5 days post-op and I am really, really tired of liquids and can’t wait until Wednesday when I can start eating some pureed stuff, like squash. I think I miss real food, the chew, the taste, the swallow.

On Valentine’s Day, nothing spectacular happened. I actually couldn’t get much down for most of the day. I had 1/3 of a protein shake and then a few spoonfuls of soup and most of a vanilla shake but my insides hurt. Part of the problem could have been the “devil Dulcolax” I took the night before that gave me a violent reaction for most of the night. Must remember, nature will take it’s course and doesn’t always need something to encourage elimination. I did have a glass of wine and let about 20 chocolate chips melt slowly in my mouth. I also took my DH grocery shopping to pick up some food and to get a bit of exercise. All went well except for when DH bashed 3 grocery bins into my oh so tender tummy (it was purely accidental-standing in the wrong place at the wrong time as he pulled them out of the car—a real ouchy!).

This morning I opened the newspaper and saw the story about the Biggest Loser not able to keep off their weight. I found a link to the article in another paper so hope it works: Ups, downs of life after 'Biggest Loser' . When the Biggest Loser came on, I watched it every week, but in the last few seasons I have flipped it off. I find the constant abuse that these people are put through mind numbing. Jillian and Bob might be wonderful people and trainers but what is broadcast is humiliating and abusive. The article says the girl regained 60 pounds of the 98 pounds lost on the show (30 pounds came back the first month). She is now working hard to lose some again for a followup show in a few months. I wish her luck but I don’t think they teach safe and effective weight loss. Yes maybe she won $250,000 but the pounds are back.

As I read the article, all the various ways I have tried to lose weight came flooding back—TOPS, WW, Diet Centre, Weight Loss Clinic, Drugs, dieticians, nutritionists, exercise—none that were permanent. But the band—I will work it and let it be my buddy. It won’t yell at me or make me do 12 hours at the gym each day. That inner voice is starting to be heard and it is saying, “you can do it, believe”. I guess I have my word for the year—Believe—I think a few others also have the same word.

And I have to post that Canada finally won a gold medal in men’s moguls yesterday. The reason this is such an event is that Canada has never won a gold medal on home soil. It doesn’t take much to get us Canadians excited. So sorry to the Silver medalist Aussie Begg-Smith (he is actually a Canadian born in Vancouver) and the bronze medalist Wilson from the USA. It was just our time.

Recipe request from Tracy:

Curried Squash Soup
   1 med onion, chopped
   3 cloves garlic, crushed
   2 carrots, chopped
   4 cups squash, chopped (frozen)
   1 tbsp olive oil
   1 tsp curry powder
   1 tsp ground cumin
   4 cups chicken stock
   1 tbsp dried parsley
   salt, pepper & hot sauce to taste
Sauté onion, garlic and carrot in oil for 5 minutes. Add curry and cumin and stirfry for a minute or so. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until all vegetables are tender. Puree until smooth. Add seasonings. You can also cut up a live squash instead of the frozen.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Making Liquids Fun

I am feeling pretty good but am obsessed with finding different ways to drink my food. As I am still on liquids only post-op until next Wednesday, my choices are limited. So far over these last two days I have tickled my taste buds with:
-Campbell’s Tomato with Basil and Oregano soup
-V8 with a splash of hot sauce
-Vanilla milkshake made from skim milk, scoop of frozen yogourt and a dash of vanilla
-Oatbran, watered down with milk (and a spoonful of brown sugar)
-Steamed skim milk with vanilla and splenda
-Fruity protein drink
-Orange juice

But I am bored. I pulled out some frozen broccoli and will make up a big batch of Broccoli soup tonight. It is pureed, so I will just add a bit more broth to water it down. I have pulled out my cookbooks and have on the horizon plans to make pureed soups—Carrot-Ginger, Asparagus, Tomato and Curried Squash. I am finding it hard to get in a lot of protein as the chocolate shakes are turning my stomach just thinking about them again. I hope I’ll be able to finish them up as they cost a lot of money. I was told that a liquid is anything you can get through a straw so am almost ready to blend a KFC chicken breast with broth to liquify it. I also have some unflavoured protein powder so might try adding a bit to a bowl of soup to up the protein.

Which leads me to Valentine’s Day. You know that day of LOVE. After 28 years of marriage to the same dude, I can count maybe one time that Valentine’s Day ever entered his mind. His reply is always, "I don’t need a special day to show you my love because there are so many other days of the year to do so". I think he reads way too many Hallmark cards. Anyway, this morning, knowing full well that I am on liquids, he asks if I would like to go out to a restaurant to eat for Valentine’s Day. Well drink is more like it. Which got me to thinking that wine is a liquid and since the doctor said I could only drink liquids, I guess a glass of the good stuff would be ok. Then I thought—well chocolate can be a liquid if you melt it and put it in one of those fountain things. By then my DH was really getting excited thinking of all the things that can be dipped in liquid chocolate. At that point I had to pull out my list of post-op activities and show him that resuming sexual relations is still two weeks away. That’ll teach him to miss over 25 years of Valentine’s Days.

On the 14th, we will stay at home, sip some Curried Squash soup with a glass of red wine and then lick a bowl of melted chocolate. Sounds like heaven to me! Oh and watch the Olympics. May you get in the Olympic spirit and cheer loudly for the athletes from your country.
PS: So sad about the Georgian Luge athlete. My heart goes out his family and friends.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Let the Games Begin—I Believe

Now two days since surgery, I ‘m feeling pretty darn good. I spent yesterday just lazing around the house in my flannel PJs reading how everyone is doing through their blogs and posting some comments. I have been so cold for the past few weeks it is insane. I am usually sweltering and rarely turn up the furnace past 65F but I think it must have been 75 degrees in the house yesterday, with me in flannel and fuzzy socks. Guess something happens when you cut sugar out of your system.

The liquid codeine helped for the first 24 hours but I switched to Tylenol by lunch yesterday and I am moving around lots and only have a bit of shoulder and gas pain. This morning for breakfast I was able to drink ¼ of a Optifast shake and I feel full. Hope it lasts. I am looking forward to some soup for lunch to get away from all this sweet stuff. I am so missing savoury. My stomach is still looking quite preggers, which of course could never be but it seems to deflate a bit each hour. I lost a total of 15 pounds pre-op and am that same weight today. My hands are still swollen with fluid and I can’t get my wedding ring off yet, so hope the fluid disappears soon. You’d think by only having clear fluids for two days you would lose some weight—but no, it doesn’t give up without a fight.

Tonight is the opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics 2010 in Vancouver, B.C. Because Canada is hosting these games we are being inundated with Olympic news and updates. The slogan for the coverage is “I Believe”. This will be my slogan too for the next while as I learn the ropes of living with the band. I Believe it will work and I will finally lose and keep off the weight that has ruled my life.

All in all my surgery went well. I had a cutie-pie male RPN who got me ready for surgery. The anaesthesiologist was also really nice, even though he was the one who got me worried about my EKG results. As I was going under he told me to dream of a nice warm beach. And of course Dr. Cobourn a real sweetie who seems to genuinely get the fact that we need this little band of help. As most of you saw, I was cleared for surgery on Tuesday afternoon after an echocardiogram. I actually have a heart and except for an area that isn’t quite elastic enough, it is a good heart for years to come. I won't post pics of my swollen punctured stomach with 5 holes because it basically looks like all the other stomachs that have been shown in your blogs, except older. LOL.

For those who think the Canadian health care system isn’t very good, everything went so well, I was stunned. As Dr. C. told me, he had to grease a few wheels to get me in for the echo within 24 hours, something which would have been at least a two week wait. Even though I paid for the lapband surgery myself, all other tests were covered by our provincial health plan including bloodwork, EKG and echocardiogram. I can claim the cost of the surgery on my income tax and will get a few thousand back. My personal extended health plan with my employer covers most of my drug costs and might cover the cost of the actual band but will have to send in the forms to see. I will still be out-of-pocket thousands of dollars, but at this point I see it as an expense I needed to make.

So Let the Games Begin. I hope to win gold with the band—my buddy—but will even settle for a silver or bronze. I was able to convince the doc to give me a four week sick leave so I’ll get to watch a lot of the Olympics. I’m not back to work until March 8th, lucky me. My Olympic favs are downhill skiing, luge and speedskating. Good luck to all the countries around the world but Canada is going to kick butt at these games so watch out!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I'm a Bandster

Just a quick post to say that my surgery went well and I am now banded. Everything went smoothly and I was discharged and in the car at 1:45. I decided I would like to be home in Ottawa so my DH drove us back and I am now in my own bed. I slept most of the 4 hour drive (ok he was speeding a bit) and only had to take one shot of the liquid codeine.

I also want to add that I was extremely touched by those that made wonderful comments as I struggled through these last few days. I think of all of you as my friends and cheering section that helped me get through this. I love blogging and reading all your blogs. Now that I am home for 3 more weeks, I'll be reading even more.

So big hugs to all of you. OOOOOOOOOOO. Did you feel it!

I'm now a real bandster. Life begins again.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Good to Go

Woo Hoo. Clearance received. Surgery is on for 9:30 am (EST) on Wednesday morning, February 10th. Never thought I would be sooooo excited to go under the knife.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Waiting for Liftoff

Still in a holding pattern, still waiting for liftoff. Because the EKG changes are new, I need further cardiac testing and am booked for a 2D Echocardiogram in Mississauga on February 9th at 1:30 pm—just 18 hours before my scheduled surgery. I am told that Dr. Cobourn will be at the hospital at that time so I may have an answer—Yah or Nah—shortly afterwards. I picked this cute little cat as a photo, as it represents how I feel at this moment.

Wow. This is hitting me hard. I’m almost 56 and now my heart isn’t as good as I thought it was. At 50 things seemed great even though I was overweight (ok I think I hit the obese level) but I was exercising and eating decently, just too much. So what happened? The last two years haven’t been the best. Two years ago, my mother died, but that was a relief. She had been in a nursing home for 22 years with Multiple Sclerosis which basically screwed up our family dynamics royally. Part of this stress had me on anti-depressants for 15 years. After she died I stopped the pills and didn’t think I really needed them. Work for the last while has been stressful. I work with the federal government in computers, software development and technical support and love what I do. It isn’t hard, in fact it is pretty boring at times. But it is government and 1 ½ years ago a new employee was hired to help me but caused me no end of grief. He was unable to grasp even the simplest concepts and after much complaining, he no longer reports to me. But he is still there because they can’t fire him. Enough said. It eats me that he is getting a free ride. So my stress levels and blood pressure soared. Last spring I developed plantars fasciitis and had a hard time walking, which was my exercise of choice. So it has been almost a year since I put my heart to work. My feet are better now and I was getting excited to add walking back into my life.

As the morning goes on it is strange, I don’t feel like eating. I think my brain is trying to process all this but I’m really thinking I may keel over and die of a heart attack if I let a piece of chocolate pass my lips. Still sticking to the pre-op liquid diet as it may be the only thing I can get down. If you got this far in my post, please don’t feel sorry for me as I am just in shock right now. Take this as an omen of things that may come to pass if you don’t start looking after yourself now. I notice many of you are in your 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. Taking the step to be banded is the most intelligent decision you will ever make. I wish I had known about this little band of help years ago. Hopefully I have this echo and it will show I can survive surgery to be banded. If it shows I am on deaths door (NOT!) I did tell my husband that we can take the $16,000 refund and go on a fabulous trip. NASA delayed the shuttle launch yesterday but it went off last night without a hitch. I’m hoping for the same thing—that the Launch countdown to surgery will start again.

OK enough feeling sorry for myself. Tears are wiped off my cheeks. The sun is out and it is actually warm (well -5C (23F) is warm for Ottawa in February). I think I will go shopping! Have a fabulous day because I have decided, I will too.

*******Just got this link from Jess and had to share: because it says it all! Thanks Jack (and Jess too) for saying the truth.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

My Fav Tools

Still no news whether my surgery will go ahead this week. I should find out Monday morning but have my fingers crossed that I won’t need a cardiology clearance. So I continue on with the Shake-y pre-op diet. I did make up a soup yesterday which was delish, although my list of pre-op stuff to eat said not to use broth probably because of the salt, but I did anyway. I am a broth sinner. I dumped all my low carb veges—onions, garlic, celery, broccoli, asparagus, cabbage, parsley, spinach—into a big pot with the chicken broth and boiled it up. Whizzed it with my hand blender and with a few shots of hot sauce, I demolished two bowls of this wondrous tasting soup. Who knew low-carb could taste so good!

Shortly afterwards I had to whiz up my chocolate shake and got to thinking about all my lovely tools that I have. Unlike many others, I’m not a big shoe, purse, jewellery or clothing person. But I LOVE appliances and kitchen utensils. I drool over the shiny stainless stuff like someone drooling over diamonds. My BIL used this little frother at Christmas to make me a cappuccino so I immediately went out and bought 2 of these fine little whizzers, one for home and one for work. It operates on batteries and blends my shakes thick & frothy in seconds. My other new hand blender is the Cuisinart cordless immersion blender I found a few weeks ago. It also converts to a mini chopper. I hate cords and wish everything was rechargeable. Of course I have a blender. I think I’m on my third one as I keep burning them out making Margaritas in the summer. My DH uses this all the time to make his smoothies.

I love spicy food and yesterday I was almost dancing in the aisle at the grocery store when I found this big bottle of hot sauce. I must have 10 bottles of different hot sauces but this one is my fav. It is especially good in a Caesar and in almost anything. I once tried a diet where you drank a solution of cayenne pepper throughout the day to rev up the metabolism so the pounds would melt away. They lied again. If it did, I wouldn’t be here talking about the lapband.

Some of you may have noticed I am using “fav” today. This is so I can avoid the favourite vs favorite which my keyboard keeps trying to correct with the “our” because it is set to English (Canada). I figure fav is international and gets away from the English and American spelling. So here’s to our Fav things. I’d love to hear about some of your band favs.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Don't Know What is Going On!

Update at 5:30pm: Won't get the final decision until Monday, Feb 8th when the anaesthesiologist reads a previous EKG from 5 years ago with the new ones. I guess then I'll find out if it's a go for surgery. Still staying on the protein diet. And I am now off work!! Thanks all for your kind words-they really help.

Just a quick update today. 9 days into the liquid protein drinks and I will say, it isn’t too bad. Don’t feel like doing a jig but I’ve stopped thinking about food (OMG?) and seeing 13.6 pounds lost so far is really motivating. My really bad news is that my surgery might be delayed next Wednesday. I guess the anaesthesiologist didn’t like my EKG (it showed a bundle branch block) which in layman’s terms means my heart doesn’t fire perfect. Since I show no other symptoms, like being dead of a heart attack, it could be nothing or it could be further investigation by a cardiologist which means delay. I am waiting patiently for the nurse at the clinic to get back to me with some information. Since I will be travelling out of town for the surgery, I need to cancel the hotel reservation if I don’t get banded next week. And I am booked off work-WTF-I’m taking my time off no matter what! My first thought when they called was here I have been on this pre-op diet and why couldn’t they have told me before I started. After careful consideration (and a bunch of tears), I realized the best thing for me right now is to lose as much weight as I can without the band. The band will still be in my future as I know it will be the only thing that will help me lose all the pounds and the most important thing, to keep the weight off! Besides my stomach has deflated dramatically, like I was stuck with a pin so I guess the liver is shrinking which will help my fatty liver situation.

So send some positive vibes that the small heart issue is not a big deal and all those delayed signs will be set to “On Time” so I can be banded next Wednesday. Will keep you posted.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I Am S.A.D

7 sleeps left before being banded. It feels more like the anticipation before Christmas, except before Christmas I get to eat all sorts of sweets and treats and sugary things. Not now. I am in full blown “ketosis”. My mouth tastes like metal, my breath stinks. I am still waiting for the “I feel like a million dollars” moment to occur. But I am surviving, just like all of you before me.

I just got back from a break with my new manager and a few colleagues. Of course we went to a donut shop but I only had my cuppu tea-black-no sugar. It wasn’t that hard to not eat a donut, so I guess this ketosis thing is a way for the brain to go into an out of body state. I am getting a bit depressed but only because I suffer from S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) from low serotonin. And of course the way to boost serotonin in the brain is through carbohydrates which of course can’t be found anywhere in my body. My DH is handling it ok, as I snap that I am fine and just leave me alone. Let me sleep and bitch and wander the house and don’t ask stupid questions! But the sun did come out today and is supposed to be out tomorrow too. The weatherman says we are now gaining 2 minutes of daylight a day, so by the end of February we should have another hour of light. Sorry to those in the southern hemisphere who are losing those 2 minutes a day as you head into fall and winter.

Next week at this time, they will be waking me up and I will be on the other side. Yahoo!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Glass of Wine With Meals Recommended

Last night I was reading the book “The LapBand Solution” by Dr. Paul O’Brien who pioneered LapBand surgery in Australia (Melbourne) and is now setting up shop in Dallas, Texas. The place where I am having surgery (Surgical Weight Loss Center) in Mississauga gives us this book for reference so I am now treating it as my Band Bible. He gives tons of good information, rules and examples but does say that lightning will NOT strike you down if you disobey any of the rules. I found a link to part of the book so you can read The 8 Rules that he suggests. 

I wanted to share Rule #5-Avoid Calorie-Containing Liquids (p. 206). I was hoping some of our Aussie bloggers could confirm if any of their surgeons/nutritionists mentioned this info as they are probably following Dr. O’Brien’s book. Here is the edited version of Rule #5. You are only allowed to drink: 
     • Water
     • Mineral water
     • Tea or Coffee
     • Low-Cal soft drinks (be careful of the gas)
The exceptions to the “no liquid calorie” rule are a glass of wine with meals, which we know is good for your health and good for your weight loss when taken in a modest amount (1 drink a day).

Hallelujah. There really is a God!

OK, so I get excited easily. Remember I am on the liquid protein shakes and am carb deprived. On p 147 of the book he says they initially advised no alcohol but many of their patients did take alcohol in spite of their guidance (no sh*t!). So they did a study to see if the patients lost less weight because they were “breaking the law”. To their surprise they found that the more alcohol these patients had, the better the weight loss. Most were drinking wine with meals so they aren’t sure about beer or spirits. He then goes on to say that they have changed their “rules” and now allow up to seven standard drinks per week. He did note that their patients were generally drinking Australian wine. I want to thank our Aussie bandsters who participated in this study by Dr. O'Brien. 

Note: I will go out on a limb right now and say that although I love Australian wine, I’m sure many of the other world wines would be just as effective—my favourite right now is South African but I’d never turn down a wine from California, Italy, France or Niagara—ok and New Zealand wines stole my heart last year!

So there you go. Something to look forward to when I get to eat again. Drink Up!
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