Three Years Later: Life After My Gastric Bypass Surgery

(null)Transparency can be a difficult thing.

When I decided to start Beauty and the Bypass, I was feeling empowered. After years of unsuccessful weight loss attempts, I was ready to proactively change my life. I was motivated to not only be a success for myself, but to inspire other people to do hard things.

Year one was the year of achievement. I went under the knife. I shared my ups, downs, and sideways moments. I hit many numerical goals and shared frequent non-scale victories. I lost 100 pounds in 6.5 months, and was down exactly 130 pounds on my one year “surgiversary.” But that was a one-day weight…and possibly a fluke with my scale.

At the beginning, I wanted desperately to be able to glide into Onederland and be under 200 pounds. But on my best and lowest day, I was 241. I hovered between 245 and 255 for the next year, struggling with reactive hypoglycemia, mono, peritonsillar abscesses and some deep mental health struggles. In October 2013, I had a tonsillectomy which resolved the recurring infections and mono. However, within a month of the surgery, I moved from Salt Lake City to Detroit and started a new job. Talk about a crazy whirlwind!

nicole bullock weight lossOnce I was in Detroit, I had a few personal epiphanies about my happiness. Because I was in a new place, re-establishing friend groups and professional ties…I realized how taxing it was to be “weight loss girl”. I was insecure about my weight loss success story because I was still technically obese. While specific numerical weight goals were in my head, my real personal goals were physical health (reduction of comorbid conditions like sleep apnea and hypertension), mental health, and ability of participate in physical activities without my weight/size limiting me. I realized that I had achieved improved health and activity, but my mental health was still lacking.

As a sufferer of depression and anxiety since my teen years, I’ve tried plenty of medications and met with quite a few mental health professionals. The pills and visits seemed to help me situationally, but I still would get into phases where my coping skills were poor. And whereas food was a frequent coping mechanism prior to surgery, I had lost my ability to medicate with food to a degree. After a long hard look at my life, my happiness, and my health…I decided that blogging no longer brought me the satisfaction it had for over a decade.

So I stopped giving myself arbitrary expectations of writing posts…just because. I got many concerned messages from readers, and I wasn’t exactly sure what to say. I was living my life as a healthier woman, and didn’t necessarily want the voyeurs of the interwebz to have access to my deepest and darkest. I posted a little on my Beauty and the Bypass Twitter and Facebook pages, but the previous drive to maintain my online success was gone. I declined sponsorships, product reviews, and opportunities to make money off my weight loss success. Some days I regretted it…but it was largely a relief to take myself out of the spotlight.

I knew I’d still want to make occasional updates on the blog, but I feel like most of my gastric bypass story has been told. There are bloggers I adore such as Melting Mama and Eggface who continually update the WLS world on post-op life. But since several people have asked me to give an update, here are a few highlights of 2014.

(null)My friend Wendy contacted me and said she was going to be coming to town in October to do the Detroit Free Press international half-marathon. Through her powers of persuasion, i consented. I’m not a runner by any means, and I care about my joints too much to take up rigorous running at this weight. So I walked and jogged 13.1 miles through Detroit and Windsor, ON. It was the most physically taxing thing I’ve ever done, but I hobbled through the last 2 miles and sprinted across the finish line to get my awesome finisher medal.

I was very into tracking my fitness during the year with my Fitbit One Activity Tracker (add me on my Fitbit profile). I made a goal of walking 3 MILLION STEPS in 2015…and I accomplished it. In fact, I ended the year with a total of 3,433,531 steps, which was the equivalent of 1593.95 miles. Also, I climbed 3,748 flights of stairs! But one thing that I learned is that steps alone won’t make you lose weight…and an active lifestyle still requires control of what you eat. I was less careful about my intake in 2014, and that’s part of the reason I had some regain. I own it, and I’m working on it.

(null)Another highlight of 2014 was my family trip to Amsterdam. When the Bullock family travels, we do so in short intense bursts. With only 4 days in the Netherlands, we crammed in as much excitement as physically and financially possible. We walked and walked and ate and enjoyed time as a family (and I celebrated my 10 year wedding anniversary with Taylor). It was such a happy trip, and I would not have been able to enjoy it so much had I not lost the weight from gastric bypass.

My weight has crept up to 270ish, and my goal for 2015 is to tackle some of this regain. It’s hard to stay active through Detroit’s arctic winters, but I look forward to spring when I will be able to ride my bike all over my area and spend my lunch breaks wandering through Detroit people watching and taking pictures.

And that’s my 3-year post-op update.

Month 10 Post-Op Update

nicole bullock weight loss comparison

Sometimes it’s hard to really see the progress within yourself in a weight loss journey. You notice small changes, but you don’t always recognize how you’re changing in the grand scheme of things.

When you look at this side-by-side comparison picture of me, it’s obvious I’ve lost a significant amount of weight (119 pounds as of today). But this picture does not reflect the other ways I’m changing and evolving as a human soul.

As I’ve discussed in multiple posts on my blog, the most difficult part of the weight loss surgery journey for me has been my emotional evolution. Sorting out my self-image and the relationship between my long-held beliefs about body can be very confusing. I don’t always know if I’ll recognize the person looking back at me in the mirror. Sometimes I’m larger than I’m expecting, other times I just don’t look like me. I hadn’t been morbidly obese my whole life, and on my “skinny days” I see a very young Nicole staring back at me.

rei winter workout clothes

Not that youth is a bad thing! It’s fun to ask people how old they think I am. Lately, it’s usually 25-27 years old. Most people are surprised when I tell them I’m 32 and I have a 12 year old daughter.

I feel like I can look more youthful with my “new body.” I’m dressing in more age-appropriate clothing (since I’m not limited by juvenile “youth plus” or the mature fashions in the women’s department (that I shouldn’t have to wear for a few decades). Before surgery, I was wearing 28/30 size jeans. Now I’m in size 18 jeans, and even smaller in stretchy activewear. In the picture I’m wearing here, I’m in a 14/16 yoga pant and a men’s large jacket. I’m starting to pick around and try on fashions in XXL and XL sizes in the “regular” women’s department, instead of being limited to the plus size racks.

nicole bullock weight loss

As I’ve dropped weight and I’m dressing more my style, I am getting a lot of attention on my appearance. After years of feeling like I was either ignored or shunned for being morbidly obese, it’s fun to be closer to average-size. I’ve been blessed with great features (especially my hair and eyes), so even at my highest weight I got compliments. But now I get them every day, and from people who probably would never have talked to me before. I’ve noticed men being more gentlemanly, flirtatious and chivalrous, and women warm up to me in conversation more quickly. I’m enjoying the barriers that are diminishing in my social life.

As much as I’m lapping up the attention, I’m also conflicted at times by it. The compliments I’m getting about my body are exciting, but I’m noticing people are more complimentary in general.  I get kind comments on my  professional talents and more praise on the projects I accomplish. I feel like I’m working as hard as I ever was, but I get more attention for it. The horrible assumption that “fat = lazy” has become more prevalent as I drop pounds and I’m suddenly not considered lazy anymore. Surgery didn’t magically make me a go-getter…I’ve always been one.

Nicole Bullock KSL blogger event

I’ve had some fun non-scale victories lately, and one of them is having the confidence to be fun and playful on camera. I went to an event this week hosted by KSL 5 Television, and was able to tour and goof off in the studio. I took a lot of pictures with my friends, and I wasn’t always concerned about the angle I was standing at, or if the way my head was tilted gave me a double chin.

I was given the opportunity to be interviewed on a segment about children and online safety on KSL yesterday. Had I not lost the weight, I would have let the opportunity pass by. But with my increased confidence with my weight loss, I accepted in a heartbeat. I was excited to be on camera, and my worries about the segment were limited to what I’d look best in on camera. If you’d like to watch the segment, here it is:

Last week, my family returned from a 8 days in England and Ireland. I was able to fully enjoy the trip, including the days where we walked around the city for 10 hours. I’ll be writing a post about my experiences in London this weekend.


In A Groove And On The Road

nicole and rosie bullockIt’s been 6 weeks since surgery, and I feel like I’ve hit my groove. I’m getting better at listening to what my body needs and what I can safely consume. I’m usually at good energy levels, but still not as high as before surgery. Life feels different since surgery, but it’s a good different.

As funny as it might sound, my biggest complaint is my CPAP mask. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve lost so much chub in my face, or strictly because a TSA agent screwed it up (which wouldn’t be the first time), but I can’t get the mask to seal on my face, no matter how I adjust the straps. It hisses through the night, which wakes my husband up. It shoots dry air up towards my eyes, which dries them out…and has even made my eyelid chapped. The eyelid, right by my tear duct, keeps splitting and bleeding. I’ve been vigilant to apply Neosporin to the area, but it’s just not getting better.

I’m working 20-25 hours a week, and a few days I’ve made it over 7 hours. I usually start feeling fatigued in the early afternoon, and will head home to nap. But if I have a meeting or an urgent task to complete, I truck on through. When I’m lucky, I’ll hit my second wind. It’s SO difficult to get through the sleepy afternoons without caffeine.

One of the happiest things is that I’ve felt good enough to travel a bit. As a pilot wife with flight benefits, I have a hard time sitting still for too long. First I roadtripped to Portland to help a friend move up to the Northwest. The next weekend, our family was supposed to go to Anchorage to visit my brother and sister-in-law. But since flight loads were miserably full, Rosie and I opted to fly down to southern California.

One of the most humiliating things about being an obese traveler is needing to request a seatbelt extender. After losing 5 inches in my waist, I was certain that I’d be in the clear for buckling my seatbelt sans extender. This picture doesn’t accurately show the gap (buckling a seatbelt requires two hands, and I had one on the camera). I was about an inch and a half from securely buckling my seatbelt. Hopefully the next time I’m on the plane I won’t have to make the walk of shame to ask the flight attendant for an extender.

We flew into LAX, but after a one hour ground stop, we decided to grab a hotel and pick up our rental car in the morning. The hotel’s website said they had a “deluxe continental breakfast buffet,” which was actually just muffins, doughnuts, and a few mushy apples. I skipped the free food and went to Trader Joes to get some good food that I could eat on the trip. Afterwards, we drove up Pacific Coast Highway from Dockweiller Beach to Santa Monica. At Venice Beach, Rosie and I got out of the car and took a 40 minute walk on the cool, foggy boardwalk. It’s amazing how the ocean makes exercise SO much easier.

Being in California was tough this time, because I realized how much of my usual Cali experience revolves around food. I have a bunch of favorite Mexican restaurants, donut shops, bakeries, and dessert spots. I did indulge in a few restaurant things (like a little tiny bit of toppings from carne asada nachos from Tijuana Tacos in Pomona), but I avoided most of the places where I knew I’d get myself into trouble. My in-laws carefully watched me as I ate during meals, blown away at how little I was eating.

It was an enjoyable time in LA, but the trip home was tough. Due to a rental car return fiasco, we missed our flight from LAX. We ended up flying to Las Vegas, hoping to get a connecting flight to SLC. We lucked out getting seats in first class to Vegas, but flight loads to SLC were dismal. Instead of waiting 6+ hour for the next flight to SLC, I decided to rent a car and drive up to SLC.

Not only do I love air travel, but I love roadtrips. Unfortunately, I associate a lot of a roadtrip by the drinks and snacks I bring along. But by the time I got on I-15 in Vegas, I was dragging. I broke my 2 month Coke-free streak by getting a cup of Coke Zero, filled to the top with ice. I sipped it for the parts of the trip I was dragging, with Gatorade G2 and water for the rest of the time. But as I drove, I thought about what I wished I could be eating….chocolate Dunford donuts, caramel popcorn balls, and chewy candies like Swedish Fish. I was glad we stopped at a grocery store for some chicken salad at the deli to snack on.

central utah snowstormIt was tough to drive up to SLC without a relief driver, and I had to stop to nap a few times. I hit all sorts of weather…from warm cloudless skies…to sunny snowstorms in Central Utah, to torrential rainfall. When I finally arrived home, I was TIRED. I still feel like I’m recovering from the trip 3 days later.

I’d like to thank the people who checked up on me this week, worried because I hadn’t posted anything new in over a week. It was crazy with travel, and my personal laptop is having major issues. I hope to post 3-5 times a week from here on out.

Oh, and about my weight. I haven’t weighed myself in almost 2 weeks, but I’m guessing that I’m down about 40 pounds.

I Want To Be Sedated

Today I was sedated with Propofol, the drug that killed Michael Jackson. After the procedure, the PA said to avoid moonwalking for the rest of the day.

As I’ve mentioned in several other posts, I’ve been having a difficult time with keeping liquids and solids down the last 10 days. I’ve been having some pretty violent vomiting, which can cause scarring on my surgical anastamosis (where the stomach pouch and small intestine come together.) At my 4-week post-op visit, Dr Smith told me that I probably had a stricture, and would need to have an endoscopy to see if I needed to be dilated. Unfortunately, the soonest I could get an appointment was Thursday (today), so I’ve had a tough few days. Monday night I was in the ER to get hydrated, and I’ve still been having a tough time getting enough fluids.

This morning I had to be at St. Marks at 7:30am for registration. Once all the paperwork was order, I was taken into endoscopy. I got in my gown, was hooked up to IV fluids and monitors, and had an EKG. I was asked the most comprehensive health history questionnaire imaginable. I’m allergic to fentanyl, which is commonly used in endoscopic procedures, so they said they would be using a different drug on me.

Once all the pre-procedure stuff was taken care of, the took me into the endoscopy procedure room. They put me on oxygen by nasal cannula, and the tech told me about the functions of the endoscope. The actual scope was smaller than I expected, much to my relief.  Within the black cable (which is hanging down in the from the machine on the right), there are functions to insufflate (blow air) and suction, as well as the camera.

They called Dr. Simper (one of Dr. Smith’s colleagues), who would be giving me the procedure. He reviewed all the risks and benefits of the procedures, then I signed consent forms. They started an IV push of Propofol, and everything got fuzzy until I fell asleep.

The procedure took less than a half hour. The endoscopy showed that I indeed had a stricture. A normal anastamosis is supposed to be 10-15mm. Mine was 4.5mm. This is like the difference between the diameter of a dime versus a pencil. No wonder I had such a hard time keeping things down! They successfully dilated me, and said I should be having immediate relief.

As I woke up from the sedation, I felt so loopy. I was jabbering about how colorful my dreams were, and how the wallpaper border of the room looked like it was moving like a conveyor belt. They told me that I was coming off of Propofol, which was one of the drugs that killed Michael Jackson. I was told to take it easy for the day, and to avoid any moonwalking for the rest of the day. I was advised to have clear liquids for the rest of the day and to avoid any “activities that require good judgement.” 

I was given some apple juice with Sprite to drink, so they could see if I could keep it down. I was excited that I was able to drink and keep the drink down without discomfort. After finishing more IV fluids, they released me. I spent most of the day sleeping, which wasn’t hard because I was still so groggy from the sedation. I sipped on broth and juice, and had some sugar-free popcicles. After being on clear liquids so much this week, I’m VERY excited to go back to soft foods tomorrow. Bring on the cottage cheese and yogurt!

But enough about Michael Jackson, endoscopic procedures, and liquid diets…how about The Ramones?

Four Week Post-Op Report And Vlog

Monday morning I had my 4 week post-op visit with Dr. Smith. In the waiting room, I ran into Barbara, who was one of my surgery buddies from the pre-op class, who had her gastric bypass the day after me. I weighed in at 341.2, which is down 32.1 pounds from my pre-op weight. We talked about how I’ve been having some bad days, dehydration, and how persistent my nausea and vomiting is. He was concerned that I may be dealing with an esophageal stricture, and ordered an endoscopy with dilation. This procedure requires a clear liquid diet, for at least 24 hours.

The scheduler tried to get me in for a next day appointment, but the soonest she could get me in was Thursday. I’ve been trying to keep to the clear liquids diet, but it actually makes me more nauseous.

I went into work for 3 hours, and was not feeling quite right the whole time I was there. I went home napped, and got progressively worse through the afternoon. By the time I decided to call my surgeon for direction, it was 5:15 – just missed his office closing.

I called the answering service, and Dr Smith called back a few minutes later. We discussed my symptoms, and he agreed that I was dealing with severe dehydration. He advised me to head to St. Mark’s ER for IV fluids.

I arrived at the ER a little after 6pm.  Luckily the waiting room was pretty empty, and I was through triage within 20 minutes. By the 30 minute mark, Dr. Paradise was in the room assessing my symptoms. I got started on IV fluids and had a series of tests done. I was so dehydrated that I hadn’t urinated all day, and I wasn’t able until a liter of fluids was in me. As I got more hydrated, I was more comfortable and felt less yucky. Once my levels were what the doctor wanted them to be, he had me start sucking on ice chips and sipping salty Sprite (I can’t have carbonation with my gastric bypass, and salt will counteract the CO2). When I kept them down, I was able to be discharged.

Today was a lot easier than yesterday. I was properly hydrated, so I felt less fatigued. I worked for 3 hours, was able to attend a fun lunch with some bloggers, and relax and recuperate for the afternoon. Rosie wanted to audition for a play, so I helped her prepare a song and resume, took her to the audition, then went home and got straight in bed.

I got an extremely loud case of hiccups, and decided to record it…but as soon as I hit record, the hiccups were gone. But since I had the camera out, I decided to do a quick vlog post for a 4 week post-op update.

Post-Op Day 10 – Applesauce, Hiccups, and Progress

I have to admit, it’s really nice to be able to report good news. I felt like I really had some downer posts at the beginning of the week, both with Weighty Impressions and my post-op pneumonia. I’m starting to see a little indent in my cheek…can you see it?

Not everything is hunky dory though. I vomited today. It’s the first time since I’ve had surgery. I’m cleared to eat fresh fruit, but it’s not digesting so well. My tiny watermelon chunks come out like mashed watermelon, even though they are well chewed. I was craving applesauce, and had a bunch of apples that needed to be used, so I decided to make my own. I peeled, cored, and chunked 10 apples, and pureed it with cinnamon and vanilla extract. It came out delicious, and I had about 2 tablespoons. Unfortunately, I lost it within 5 minutes. I need to be careful to limit my sugar intake, including fructose (fruit sugar). Maybe my body will be ready for it in a few weeks.

I went to Cafe Rio for lunch, and was happy to eat my beloved pork barbacoa without any problems. Really body…pulled pork over fresh applesauce?

One of the worst things I’ve dealt with since surgery is the hiccups. It happens up to 10 times a day, and it’s usually from drinking water too fast. When I get them, it feels like my insides are being ripped apart, which is not cool after abdominal surgery. I found out that a spoonful of peanut butter helps better than any other remedy, but I have to be careful to not eat too much. Yesterday I uploaded this video to YouTube.

I took my measurements again today, and I’m exciting to see there’s progress beyond the pounds. Nothing drastic, but enough to make a difference. Here are my new measurements, compared to 2/2/12:

  • Neck – 16.25 (16.75)
  • Bust 51.75 (52)
  • Chest 46 (46)
  • Upper bulge 51 (53)
  • Waist 48.5 (49)
  • Hip/butt 60.5 (62)
  • Thigh 33 (34)
  • Calf 22.25 (23)
  • Ankle 11.5 (12.5) – and so much less swollen looking!
  • Bicep 18.5 (20)
  • Lower arm 14 (14.5)
  • Wrist 8 (9)

More Energy And Less Medication

Today I started the day with a peach protein smoothie. Because I’m now able to eat fruit, here’s my easy smoothie of the morning:

  • EAS AdvantEdge RTD protein shake
  • small can of diced peaches in own juice
  • lots of ice
  • Sugar-free Torani vanilla syrup

Usually I blend enough that it’s really smooth and thin, and I save half to have in the afternoon.

I didn’t think it would happen so soon, but I’m actually feeling like I’m really getting better. My energy is up and my pain level is down. I’ve only been taking about half as much Lortab as I was last week, and sometimes I feel good enough to skip a dose. For a while I was scared about how soon I would need to go back to work, but now I think I’ll be ready for next week.

Today when it was time to take my second pain meds of the day, I felt good enough that I didn’t need to take them on time. Because I’ve been restricted from driving since surgery, I thought I’d take this pain-free time to go on a joyride. I made a few stops, walked around a few stores, and enjoyed being out of the house for about an hour.

riverwalk apartments utahWhen I got back, my friend Marci came over to help me with some cleaning. As wonderful as my husband is at taking care of me, he doesn’t understand that a messy house hinders my recovery. Marci scrubbed the bathrooms until they were spotless, and did little things to straighten up a few rooms. I couldn’t do much, but it felt good to be productive.

This evening, I went out again with Mary and Shay, and they wanted to get Red Mango. I have been wanting some frozen yogurt, and I like their froyo because it has it has live and active cultures (which my body desperately needs after so many antibiotics). It’s low on calories and fat, but a bit high in sugar, so I only had a few bites. It was such a treat!

Today’s food diary:

  • peach protein smoothie
  • refried beans with melted cheese
  • shaved deli turkey with whipped light cream cheese
  • Red mango frozen yogurt  (about 2 TB)
  • 1/2 stick string cheese

Surgery Post-Op Day 1 And Hospital Discharge

One of the hardest things about an inpatient hospital stay is the nighttime. It’s meant to be a time of rest, but really, it’s a chance for everyone who has access to your room to interrupt your much needed sleep. Nurses, phlebotomists, assistants, and orderlies seem to have a knack for knocking on your door between the hours of 11pm and 5am. Last night I had 9 interruptions between these hours. Not cool, hospital!

Fortunately, I was able to get lots of rest during the day. Probably a total of 3 solid hours, which was more than I got during the entire night. Taylor slept at home last night so he could get Rosie off to school in the morning, and he arrived at the hospital around 9am. By the time he got there, I’d been up walking around the floor, had a nap, and met with Dr. Smith for a bit.

Dr. Smith said the incisions were healing well, and I was set for discharge around 5pm. He was concerned that my oxygen saturation had dropped so much in the times I’d been walking around (down to 84% at times), so he was considering sending me home with an O2 tank. He said that he biopsied a small lesion on my liver during surgery…it may have been a scar, could be some kind of benign bump, but he wanted to make sure it wasn’t anything serious. He joked that if I have cancer, I’d be in a much better place to fight it with my lower weight. Thanks doc!

I tried to get up to go for a walk every time that I had to use the restroom. I already had to go through the effort to get OUT of bed and untangle all of my IV cords, so it wasn’t that much harder to take a walk around the floor. I would carefully put on my robe over my IV arm, and I was glad the robe was short-sleeved to allow that.

One of the happiest moments of the day was when I upgraded from water to broth and sugar-free jello. In the morning, I was able to go from drinking one ounce to two ounces of water. Once I was able to do this successfully, I was able to have broth and jello for lunch. I’ve never been much of a broth fan, but that beef broth was delicious. I couldn’t tell what flavor the jello was (lemon, tropical, mango?) but the three cubes in my cup were lovely.

In the afternoon, I napped, watched a movie on my laptop with Taylor, and prepared for discharge. My PCA pump was discontinued and I had some liquid Lortab. I needed to take a shower, which was quite a production. I had to put a rubber glove over my IV hand, then have the top taped tightly to avoid water from seeping in. I had a big gauze pad over my stapled incisions and JP drian, to they had to put this sticky sterile plastic sheet on me. I took a shower and washed my body with special soap. I also washed my hair because I can’t get my incisions wet until tomorrow evening.  After my shower, the IV was removed, my incision staples were replaced with steri-strips, and the JP drain was removed and bandaged.

After I was bandaged and dressed in my street clothes, I got my discharge instructions from my nurse. They outlined what I’d be able to eat and drink for the next few days, gave me my nifty hospital mug, helped me pack up my belongings, and wheeled me down to the valet parking area. We stopped by Walgreens to drop off my prescription for liquid Lortab, and headed home. It was SO hard to walk up to my 3rd floor apartment, but I slowly made it up one step at a time.

Rosie made me some fresh jello and chicken broth, and I ate while they had spaghetti and garlic bread from a ward member. It felt very disjointed to have something so bland while they ate something flavorful, but I knew my body wouldn’t tolerate even a bite. Taylor ran back to Walgreens for my pain meds, at which time I was sobbing in pain. I didn’t realize what my actual body pain level was until I was completely off any medicine, and it wasn’t pretty. I was sobbing as I swallowed it and washed it down with water. He helped me realize that I’d had far too much to drink at once (3T of Lortab with several sips of water to wash it down). He grabbed a mug for me to swish and spit to get the taste out of my mouth. I quickly fell asleep for about 2 hours, at which time I felt much better. I can take the Lortab every 4 hours, which gave me just enough time to write this post before taking my drugs and going to sleep for the night.

Thank you again to all those who have been checking up on me and sending well wishes. It’s been a tough day emotionally, as well as physically, and I’ve appreciated all the messages, texts, and calls I’ve gotten (even when I’ve been too out of it to respond, or to reply comprehensibly – I know I’ve sent some pretty jibberish messages).

Tomorrow I’ll be advancing to a full liquid diet, and I look forward to more than just broth and jello. The plan is to get a lot of rest, but I’ll be going on an outing to the grocery store for some sugar-free Popsicles.