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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gastric bypass surgery: Things I didn’t know to expect


I had a laparoscopic roux en y gastric bypass two months ago. I have had surgery before and I went to a series of pre-op classes and group meetings, so I thought I knew what to expect. Well here are a few things that I didn’t anticipate that might be useful for someone else to know.
1.       This surgery is a gas, gas, gas! I was warned about the gas, but I had no idea that the gas pain was worse than the pain from the incision. That is probably because the pain meds help with the incisions. That goodness that cleared up after a few weeks.
2.       I didn’t want anything to do with food. I was told that I would not feel hungry post op. In my case, that was very true up until week four. I actually had an aversion to eating or drinking all together for the first two weeks. A big part of this was due to the discomfort and gas I experience whenever I ingested anything. After the second week, when I moved to soft foods, I became interested in exploring what food I could eat. I did notice that I do not feel hungry, especially if I am consistent about taking the acid reflux medicine, which I am suppose to take for the first six months.
3.       That doesn’t taste right! About a week after surgery I developed a weird taste in my mouth. I also have a metallic taste in my mouth, which makes drinking plan water awful. And I am water drinker. I did some research online and it is supposed to go away and it did after six weeks. Some foods and drinks that I liked don’t taste the same anymore. Hopefully it will pass. Things that are sweet, even it is an artificial sweetener, tastes and now smells disgusting. Believe me, I love some sugar. When I drink 100% juice, I water it down. I was surprised that I actually liked and could tolerate the candied yams.
4.       What do you mean I now have more medicine to take? Online, everyone talks about how they came off their medications. Well that wasn’t the case with me initially. Not only did I have to take all of my previous meds, but I have to add meds prescribed by my surgeon. On top of all of that, I had to add vitamins. After three weeks, my primary care physician took me off my prediabetes and high blood pressure meds. Hooray! Just note that until you are on regular foods, you will have to crush your medicine or open the capsule. That made me hurl. Yuck! Also, I had a hard time swallowing my pills up until about week 8. It felt like my medicine was getting stuck in my throat. You have to realize that you can’t drink as much water as you use to.
5.       It is so easy to overeat! Take serious the advice to eat slowly. You may not know that you are full if you eat too fast. By the time you know, you are experiencing stomach pain. What looks like a tiny amount of food still may be too much. Also, sometimes you can eat more or times you can eat less.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Clear liquids: Day 1

Started off the morning (although late) with a hot cup of beef broth. It isn't the most flavorful. My natural inclination would be to add salt, but that is why I have high blood pressure. Oh well. I need to adjust to food with adding salt anyway. I will tackle some light apple juice next.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The day before the 2-day clear liquids

You would think that I would pigging out today, but I'm not. I'm not that interested in food. Tomorrow I start two days of a clear liquid diet before surgery. And I'm actually ok with that. I plan to take some full length before pictures tomorrow.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The last tango

For the last month or so, I have felt the need to say goodbye to some things. All of which are certain foods. I know that once I have the gastric bypass, the real work begins.

This is a life line. A tool. A chance. I plan to take it very seriously, but as the saying goes "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." And I have the best intentions.

I have no doubt that this is the right thing to do. The only thing I doubt is me. I have lied to myself and made excuses so long I can't honestly tell if I believe in me anymore. I would like to say that I have reached the point where enough is enough. And it is. But is that enough?

I know that some of these doubts are fueled by fear. Some are a result of my track record. Some by all of the stress in my life right now.

I am scheduled for surgery on Tuesday. Once the surgeon is done, I know that it will my turn to pick up the scalpel to carve out a new life for myself.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Day 2: Countdown to gastric bypass

I couldn't bring myself to try the New Direction Vanilla Pudding for lunch after having a light breakfast. I was starving. I will have to try these at home over the weekend. I still haven't stood on the scale to assess the damage.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

So the saga begins

Day 1: instead of lunch I had one packet of New Directions Nutritional Supplement Cream of Chicken Soup. Nothing to write home about. I followed directions. It was very clumpy. A coworker gave me a tip -- mix a small amount of hot water in it and mix it until it smooth and then add the rest of the hot water to it. Hopefully that will take care of the floating layer of goo. I have until the day after Labor Day before my two week liquid diet begins. Then roux en y here I come. As I drank my lunch, I asked myself "why am I doing this?" I know the answer is my health. I will work on perking up. I'm just exhausted from working so much. It will get much better.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Wet N Wild Color Icon™ Eyeshadow Trio Swatches

I recently picked up two Wet N Wild eyeshadow trios from Walgreens. I have been pleasantly surprised how highly pigmented the Color Icon eyeshadows are. The color payoff is fantastic. The shadows are very soft and smooth and are easy to blend and pack onto your eyeshadow brush. I have read reviews that warned about them getting crumbled if you drop the palette — so be careful. So far, I have worn the 380B Walking on Eggshells trio to work. With a good primer or eyeshadow base, I didn’t get any creasing or fading. I have also worn the bright green in the 331 I Dream of Greenie trio. I highly recommend the Wet N Wild Color Icon™ Eyeshadows. Best of all, each palette is only $2.99! I have my eye on a few more trios including Spoiled Brat. These may not be Mac eyeshadows, but you get more than your money's worth.

Below are swatches of the two palettes. No eyeshadow base or primer was used.

331 I Dream of Greenie


Wet N Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Palette in  I Dream of Greenie


Wet N Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow in  I Dream of Greenie swatches
380B Walking on Eggshells

Wet N Wild Color Icon EyeshadowPalette in  Walking on Eggshells

Wet N Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow in Walking on Eggshells swatches


Monday, July 18, 2011

Urban Decay Naked Palette Swatches on Brown Skin

I finally gotten "Naked." I know that I am late to jump on the Urban Decay Naked Palette bandwagon but hey, I am finally on it. Before I bought the palette, I searched the Internet looking for swatches of the 12 eyeshadows on brown skin. I really couldn't find any. Now that I have the palette, I decided to take a few photos so that if anyone else looking for swatches before buying the palette.




Thursday, July 14, 2011

hidradenitis (do I owe you some money or something?)

If you ever missed a bill payment, you know what is like when bill collectors call. You come home from work and there some strange number popping up several times in one day on your caller ID.
Call me crazy but I never dodge bill collector unless they are calling for someone else. I actually want to know if I forgot to pay a bill. I am trying to keep half way decent credit, but I've been known to forget a bill especially if I misplaced it.
Anyway, what does this have to do with hidradenitis suppurativa? Well just like a bill collector who calls your house with an messed up attitude as if you personally owe him some money, HS just won't let up. HS just keeps "calling." Popping up out of nowhere.
In case you didn't know, I refer to the lesions as "aliens." Hey, it gets me through the day. Well just as I get some relief (just for one day mind you) from a few huge ones (we'll call them Visa and MasterCard) then here comes some more (Macy's, Sears and Loew's charge cards) rearing their ugly heads.
THIS IS SO FREAKING FRUSTRATION AND PAINFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I go to the dermatologist tomorrow. I am off my Remicade until after my gastric bypass and that is a few months away. So I will definitely need some intervention here.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Congrats to the class of 2011

I'm here at friend's pinning ceremony. She finished nurse school as a single mom with four kids. Whenever obstacles presented themselves, she leaped over them like a true super woman.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How can silence be so loud?

The quieter things are, the louder it gets. If you have tinnitus, then you know what I am talking about. I have been dealing with a swooshing sound in my right ear that seems to pulse with my heartbeat for a few years now. Lately, it has been getting louder and harder to ignore, especially at night. Fortunately, I sleep on my side. If I keep my ear against the pillow, it muffles the sound. Unfortunately for my neck and shoulder, it is less painful to sleep on left side instead of my right. We all have to choose our battles. I have visited numerous specialist and I have had all kinds of test, and the sad reality is I may have to live with it. But, I am not ready to give up just yet. For now, I will settle for sleeping on my right side with the TV on. Hopefully, my ongoing research online will turn up with something that will prove helpful. If it does, I will be glad to share that information.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stop worrying about what others think

As a child, my mother told me that if people were not putting clothes on my back, food on my table or a roof over my head, then I shouldn't worry about what people had to say. I was listening to Marvin Sapp’s song, “Praise Him Advance,” this morning, and it made me think about that little pearl of wisdom. That was the best piece of advice I was ever given. Thanks Mom.

I have come to realize that I spend too much time worrying about all of the wrong things, like what others will think. I tend to hold things in that should be addressed and it ends up creating tension and stress that in turn affects my health. This week, I have been very cranky. Stuff started getting to me. I was more irritated with people than I usually am. The little things set me off — a sure sign of stress. That is all because I haven't set boundaries or I just don't enforce the ones I have set up.

Dr. Tony Evans, senior pastor of the Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, in his daily radio address, “The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans,” has been preaching a series about freedom — freedom from anxiety, freedom from debt and freedom from fear. It has been very helpful to learn what God’s word is on the subject of how Christians should deal with worry and the things that are the source of those worries.

Those sermons came right on time. I also needed to be reminded of Mom's advice. She didn't mean it to say that I should be cavalier when it comes to others, their views or their feelings. I just can't run my life based on them, especially when it is not in my best interest.

I am still learning and growing.

I responded to the tension this week by doing something for myself. I started cleaning my bathroom and put up new shower curtains and rugs — and it is starting to take shape. I never would have believed that housework could be relaxing. I don't mean the act itself, I mean the feeling you get when chaos turns into order. When you begin to see the fruits of your labor come to light. That sense of accomplishment is sometimes enough to put a smile on your face and to get you motivated to make other changes.

Here is a link to Marvin Sapp’s live performance of “Praise Him Advance.”

The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass pre-op

Tomorrow I take the next step in my journey. I was hoping to have a gastric sleeve but I knew based on my research that the roux-en-Y was best option, so it wasn’t hard for the surgeon to convince me of that. I will be doing my psych evaluation and meeting with the nutritionist. I am eager to be compliant. I haven’t had a soda in a week. It would have been longer but I had a few sips of Sprite because I was nauseated.
I had someone who doesn’t know my health situation tell me that all I need is to join a gym. Hello, the best thing is water aerobics because of my joints and back, but that is out right now because the hidradenitis is flaring. And that is just nasty to get in a pool that other people have to get it when you open wounds – for both me and them. I hate it when people take this attitude, BUT if you haven’t been where I've been, don’t tell me where to go or how to get there, especially if you aren’t willing to take the time to educate yourself about my situation.
I digress. I just hate it when people think they know what you have or haven’t done or tried or what you are going through. I’m excited about tomorrow. I will post what I learn just in case someone is curious.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

When going somewhere meant something

I came across an old picture online of a women dressed in a suit buying a movie ticket at the box office window. It got me to thinking about how times have changed. We no longer see going to the movies or taking the Greyhound or riding on an airplane as something you get dressed up for.

I remember when my mother and I were shopping and packing for me to go off to college. She and I would argue about what was appropriate for me to wear on campus. This even included my PJs. My mother thought that I was supposed to dress more conservatively and wear real nightgowns (the ones that go down to your ankles) at the dorm. I was ok with sleeping night shirt or shorts and T-shirts.

Now before you laugh, you have to realize that my mom went to Grambling University in the 1960s. Women wore dresses and pantyhose. Your clothes were ironed. You came to class looking like you took your education seriously. And that is because you did. You knew that those attending an HBCU at that time were among the privileged few.

I am sure the educators out wish that there students came to class looking like they took their educations seriously and more importantly, that they realized how lucky they are to be getting an education.

By the way, my mom and I came to a compromise. But still, it turned that I was often overdress for The University of Texas at Austin because some of the students looked worse than hobos.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Hyperpigmentation and Acanthosis Nigricans

When I was a teenager, the skin on my neck began to darken. My mother accused me of not doing a good job cleaning my neck. I would insist that I was washing my neck. I would stand in front of the mirror with a soapy washcloth and scrub my neck until it turned red. It didn’t do any good.

What I didn’t know and what my mother didn’t know was that I had acanthosis nigricans as a result of the polycystic ovary syndrome with insulin resistance. I didn't know I had PCOS either. Acanthosis is commonly seen in people who are insulin impaired and/or diabetic (type II).

I started showing the signs of PCOS in my teen years. I started to gain weight, had horrible periods, starting getting hairs on my chin and my skin was changing. I was getting these dark, velvety, thick patches on my neck (ring around the neck, LOL), underarms, between my thighs and under my breasts. On top of all of that, I had acne, so I was not a happy camper.

Over the years, the dark patches have darkened and spread. Now it is on my cheeks, the corners of my mouth, my ears (around the earring holes). Thank goodness the acne is gone, but now it has been replaced by seborrheic dermatitis. Oh joy.
Needless to say, I don’t like leaving the house without makeup. Not that I am vain, I just don’t have the luxury of having good skin. Fade creams are a waste of money. According to my dermatologist and my research, only weight loss will lighten it. Well that should be easy to take care of. Yeah, right.

I have included a few photos below. The first one shows the scales on my earlobe from the seborrheic dermatitis and some dark patches. The second one shows my cheek and the corner of my mouth -- and a little facial hair. Time to schedule another laser hair removal appointment. Let me check my wallet!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Ok so I cheated and I am hungry

This past Saturday, I had a coke. Truth be told, it wasn't all that great. I working on cutting back on portion sizes but I am starving. This isn't psychological hunger. I am hungry. I just had two slices of pizza. My stomach is still growling. I think to myself, surely a small would be able to eat two slices and be satisfied, so what is wrong with me? Does the body look at colories or volume. It finished the pizza 20 miniutes and it is like I have eaten a thing. Does someone know if this is a result of stretching my stomach or do I have an unrealistic view of what average size person could eat and be satified with? My perspective could be off. I had a sandwich, chips and an apple for lunch, cereal for breakfast and I have been hungry throughout the day. This is a bunch of bull.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Damn, I want a coke

I have been struggling to get over my addiction to Coca-Cola for years. So I am giving it ago again. I slipped over the weekend (just once). This is so sad. I had my nephew pick up a coke last night when he went to the store. I called him while at work and told him to hide it or drink and that if I ever ask him to get one, bring back juice or iced tea. At least I am not walking around with the shakes. At least, not yet.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My weight loss surgery journey begins

I’ve never been the type of person who wanted to be thin. I look at models and think that perhaps their faces are pretty but their bodies have no shape. Women are supposed to have curves; they are not supposed to look like prepubescent boys. I started out as one of those thin kids. I remember that all of my jeans had to be slim, not regular. Then puberty kicked in and so did my genes, a decrease in activity level and bad eating habits.

At 37, I am now plagued with a slew of health issues, which I will list, many of which are caused by or exacerbated by obesity. Yes, the big “O.” I have never had a problem acknowledging that I was fat. Even when people told me that I wasn’t fat, I was just healthy. Take my advice, don’t let people lie to you like that. The sooner you own it, the better. Some people are prejudice against fat people. They assume that we are lazy and have no will power. I am not going to even address that at this time, but trust me; I am a very hard worker despite living with chronic pain on a daily basis. As for willpower, maybe I am lacking in that area. Who knows?

I have decided to pursue weight loss surgery and I plan to chronicle my journey here. The goal is to help anyone else who may be obese and suffering from some of the same issues I have. Once I find my digital camera, I hope to start photographing every morsel of food that goes in my mouth, so that I can feel like I have people to be accountable to. I will also chronicle my weight loss journey through photos.
Some people see weight loss surgery as taking the easy way out. I see it as a life preserver. I suffer from the following health issues. Some of these conditions/diseases have contributed to my obesity; some are made worse by it. Some will be helped by weight loss and some will not.

Prediabetes
Uterine Fibroids
Polycystic ovary syndrome
Hidradenitis suppurativa
Osteoarthritis
Polyarthritis (autoimmune)
Nervous bladder
High blood pressure
Pulsitile tinnitus
Migraines
Pappilledema
Lipodermatasclerosis
Fibromyalgia syndrome
Chronic back pain
Sebhorriec dermatitis
Acanthrosis nigricans

I think that is the full list. I will also write posts in the near future about how some of these conditions have affected my life, in hope that someone will find this information helpful. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Chronic health issues can be very isolating, especially when you have no one who can relate to what you are going through. I just hope these posts help.