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

One Week Down

I’m a week post-op, and I feel like I’m healing pretty well. The immediate symptoms of my pneumonia are easing up, and I’ve started taking less pain medication. I’m still not able to be very active, but I get out walking at least once a day. It’s been nice to spend more time at home with Taylor and Rosie, even though I get cabin fever pretty easily.

Finishing up the first week brings with it something very exciting – new foods! I’ve gone from clear liquids to semi-solids to selected solids. I’ve been so happy to eat lean meat again. I can have shaved deli-sliced meat, minced up and chewed thoroughly. Canned chicken, turkey and tuna are also permitted. Other items I’ve added into my diet are cottage cheese, yogurt, egg whites, cooked beans, hummus, and selected soft cooked vegetables (carrots, beets, yams, green beans). Some people buy baby food, but I’d rather prepare my own stuff. Tonight my family wanted to have Mexican food, and I had my refried beans with cheese and a few bites of meat.

My happy news of the day is that I got on a scale, and I’ve had a great loss! I now weigh 355.2, which is down 18 pounds from my pre-surgery diet weight of 373.4 (1/30/12) and down 9 pounds from my pre-op weight of 363.3. Not bad for two weeks!

Today’s food:

  • Protein smoothie with peaches, strawberries, and banana – 3 oz
  • Shaved turkey breast with whipped light cream cheese – 2 oz
  • Refried beans with cheese and a little meat – 3 oz
  • Sugar-free fat-free vanilla pudding – 2 oz
  • Simply Apple juice – 3 oz
  • Water intake – 64 oz (finally did it!)
Thank you to all who commented on my Weighty Impressions post. I’ve had an outpouring of love and support. Many of those who related had been belittled and bullied for reasons other than obesity, and it’s heartbreaking to see how cruel people can be. It’s good to know I’m not alone, and that others have shared their stories.

Barium Is Gross – Day Before Surgery Post

Did you know that it’s REALLY hard to find a long bathrobe? There are tons of robes that are knee-length robes, and even some pretty sexy ones since Valentines Day is next week, but to find a modest robe that will cover your derriere in a hospital gown? Good luck with that! I almost went with the haus frau look in this stylish polka-dot “duster,” but decided to just wear the simple white knit knee-length robe that I already have in my closet.

Today was a pretty crazy day. I had to wake up earlier than (my husband and) I wanted to get some tests done in radiology. But since I had to arrive fasting for the tests, it was kinda nice to have it overwith by 9:30. I had to register (again) and then wait for my procedures. First I had an abdominal ultrasound of my gall bladder to see if I need to have it removed. I’ve had several ultrasounds before, but I’ve got to say it HURTS when they’re repeatedly pressing the transducer into you, right on the edges of your ribs, over and over.

yuckyNext, I went into a different area of radiology for the upper GI procedure. For some reason, I was expecting to have an endoscopy where a scope went down my throat, but it was just a barium swallow study. First, they gave me these really sour/bitter crystals to eat with a little bit of liquid. Oh my goodness – I’ve never been so burpy/bubbly, and they told me to avoid burping. I stood on a platform with my back flat on a “wall”, and I had to start drinking barium.

Have you ever had barium? It’s like the worst milkshake you’ve ever had. It’s like drinking a thick sweet chalky glue. Sooo gross! For the barium swallow test, I had to drink gulps of the liquid, and every time it made me gag and wretch. After I was scanned standing up, they tilted the “wall” I was standing up against 90 degrees, so I was laying flat. Then I had to roll around on the table, sit up, lay on my side, and keep sipping barium through a straw. It was not fun at all. But this is the test that checks to see if you have a hiatal hernia (which Dr Smith suspects),  and I’ll find out in the morning if they’ll be reparing the mythical hernia and removing my gallbladder at the same time as the gastric bypass.

When the testing was done, I was able to break my fast. I had a certificate for a free meal at Tucano’s, and so I had my final solid food meal as Brazilian barbecue.  With me adjusting my diet to prepare for surgery, I was glad I didn’t have to pay for the meal because I really didn’t eat that much.  We walked around The Gateway and picked up a few things, and then went to the grocery store. I picked up cartons of broth, juice, yogurt, and other things I’ll be able to eat in my first week.  The rest of the day was spent with family and preparing for surgery. I also uploaded my first vlog post:

My food diary for today is a little screwy because I had to fast until 10 am, then I went on my clear liquid diet at 3 pm. I have know idea what my calorie counts are, so here’s just what I ate:

  • Breakfast burrito (right after procedures)
  • Brazilian barbecue with salad bar
  • Biscoff spread on a graham cracker
  • Apple juice (to wash down the yucky bowel prep drink)

Tomorrow I report to St. Mark’s Hospital ambulatory surgery at 6am. I’ll be having updates posted on Twitter and Facebook, and I don’t know if I’ll be up to a day-of-surgery post yet. Wish me luck!

Birthday Food Diary 2-5-12

Yesterday was my 32nd birthday. Happy birthday to me! It was pretty chill, especially in comparison to my birthday last year. I hosted the #FridaTweetup at Frida Bistro in Salt Lake City, where 40 of my nearest and dearest friends, family, and tweeps came up. It was a fun birthday party…but it was totally centered on delicious and unique food. Because I’m now so close to surgery, I wanted to have a more people centered-day. But of course, I still ate. 🙂

The day started out with Rosie bringing me breakfast in bed. She made scrambled eggs with chicken sausage. Then we got ready for church, attended church, had a friend come over to visit, and spent time together for the afternoon. Rosie made me a birthday smoothie and birthday cake, then we headed down to Lehi to my parents’ house for a family birthday party.

One of my dad’s specialties is teriyaki chicken, so I requested that for dinner. I brought a big container of baby portabella mushrooms to saute, and they were soooo good. I kept my portions really small, and had a small piece of chicken, lots of mushrooms, ONE TB of rice, a little corn, and some green beans. It’ll be my last time for corn and rice for a year, so I savored it.

We have a family tradition called “the birthday circle,” where we sit in the living room, and go around the circle telling stories about the person whose birthday it is. We enjoyed telling stories, laughing, and spending time together as a family. I was sad that my husband couldn’t be there.

After the birthday circle, we had some birthday cake. I kept my piece really small. Rosie made a cherry cake mix with cherry frosting and fudge drizzle. So yummy. Once we were done with dessert, my dad wanted to give me a priesthood blessing to help with my upcoming surgery. His former bishop came over to assist with the blessing, and I was given a blessing of a safe surgery and healthy recovery.  When the birthday festivities were finished, Rosie and I left to pick Taylor up from the airport. It will be nice to have him home for the next few weeks to help with my recovery. All in all, a nice birthday indeed.

  • Scrambled eggs and chicken sausage – 360 cal
  • Peach, blueberry, almond milk protein smoothie – 160 cal
  • Teriyaki chicken and veggies – 340 cal
  • Birthday cake – 160 cal
  • TOTAL – 1020 cal

Blending Like a Ninja and Food Diary 2-3-12

Tomorrow is my birthday, but today I opened up and used my present. With the need for soft/liquid meal in the upcoming weeks, I decided to get a nice blender. I decided on the Ninja Professional blender after reading reviews and watching videos on YouTube. It was $89 at Wal-Mart, and I had a $30 gift card to use, so it was  fairly affordable. There’s also a food processor attachment on some of the Ninja blenders, but I decided to hold off on the full kitchen system.

I have to say, it’s SO nice to have a good blender. We’ve been using a decent Hamilton Beach blender for a few years, but it’s not very good at crushing ice. The Ninja took my ice, frozen peaches, frozen blueberries, pure vanilla extract, and almond milk, and pulverized them in about 3 seconds. I was impressed. It’s nice to not have to take a utensil to stir things up to break up the ice.

Now usually on this blog, I talk about my gastric bypass. But let’s talk now about beauty! Today I went out with my best friend Emily for birthday pedicures. There’s a place at Fashion Place mall that does an amazing full luxury spa pedicure. We sat in our massage chairs and chatted as we got pampered for almost an hour. With the mineral foot soak, cuticle clean-up, paraffin wax treatment, foot and leg massage, and a fresh paint of gorgeous pearly silver nail polish, I felt like a new woman.

After pedicures, we went to Chick-fil-a for lunch, which is so yummy AND easy to eat when you’re on a calorie-restricted diet. I got the chargrilled chicken salad, 6 waffle fries, and a few bites of ice dream. We also splurged by getting treats at Mrs Fields and See’s, but I just got enough for a little taste. We also got some goodies from The Body Shop. If you haven’t tried their Chocomania body products, you’re missing out.

This evening, a neighbor of mine invited me over to meet his family. We had connected on Twitter, but had never met in the year that we have been neighbors. We talked a lot about nutrition and my surgery decision. He wanted to give me his “two cents” about my decision for surgery. I told him, “If I had two cents from everybody giving me advice about surgery, I’d have about thirty bucks by now.” I think I’ll forever be answering other people’s questions about surgery, but I guess that’s what I get for publicizing my WLS journey.

  • Blueberry, peach, almond milk protein smoothie – 140 cal
  • CFA chargrilled chicken salad with fat free dressing, 6 fries – 200 cal
  • Part of Mrs Field’s cookie slice – 200 calories
  • Gala apple – 80 calories
  • Sweet onion chicken teriyaki on flatbread – 370 cal
  • 2 T hummus and celery – 70 cal
  • Total – 1150 cal

Before Surgery Picture and Food Diary 2-3-12

Today was a slightly strange day. I started out by waking up at 3:30 am. Now, I usually have lousy sleeping schedules with my sleep apnea, but I really didn’t want to wake up early today. Especially because I needed to have fasting lab work done. I arrived at the hospital and went right to registration. I had to verify my information, pay the deposit for facility charges to St. Marks, and then meet with the pre-admit nurse.

The appointment with the nurse went a little longer than expected, so she told me I needed to wait until after my class to have my lab work. It wouldn’t have been too bad for fasting alone, but to go another 3 hours without water was frustrating.

Before my class started, I had to pay my surgeon’s deposit and “education fee,” which was $1125.  I dropped off a thank you card to Christina, the pre-approval rep in the office, thanking her for all of her hard work and persistence to get my surgery approved by Cigna. I really feel like she went above the call of duty. Next, I was given a big packet of paperwork to fill out and some “before” pictures were taken (both for the surgeon’s records and for a photo CD that I’ll get at my first post-op appointment).

The class was really interesting. It was taught by my surgeon’s nurse and one of  the hospital’s nutritionists. I found out all about what I need to be doing and eating before and after surgery. I will be getting a pain pump while I’m in the hospital to manage pain levels (since I can’t take pills). I will be on a clear liquid diet for the first few days. In addition to the class information, I met Barbara and Cori, who will also be having gastric bypass surgery with me next week. I have a feeling we’ll be good friends.

After class, I went back to the outpatient nurses area to get more pre-surgery instructions, as well as two items I need for the day before surgery – hibiclens (antibacterial soap) and Citroma (bowel prep drink). I had to give a urine sample, and then she took my blood work. I was upset when I found out that for the fasting labs, I didn’t need to stop drinking water. I was pretty dehydrated at that point, so she had to take blood from my inner upper arm (which left a little hematoma). The best part was that she took my weight – I’ve lost a whopping NINE pounds since Monday. This pre-surgery diet is working! Today’s weight was 363.2.

I finally broke my fast around 1pm, and I was ravenous. Because I had missed all my morning eating, I was good to be a little more flexible on what I ate.  I grabbed some food on the way back from the hospital, and later in the evening I went out to dinner with some Yelp friends. Because I sampled a few things at each meal, I really don’t know how to count my calories (and the restaurants don’t have nutritional information on a website).

  • Lunch -kid’s bean burrito, chicken soft taco, and a few nachos
  • Dinner – grilled shrimp and veggies, and veggie enchilada with rice and beans
  • Dessert – shared a single scoop of ice cream with Rosie

Did I stick to 1000 calories today? My guess is that I went slightly over, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I can tell my stomach has shrunk this week, and I’m not able to eat as much as I was even a few days ago. Because I didn’t let myself get over-full, I consider the day a success.

Food Diary 2-2-12 and “Before” Measurements

Today. Was. Hard.

Definitely my hardest day since I started the pre-surgery diet. I could blame the Groundhog for seeing his shadow, but it was my own darn fault. I started panicking about all these things I was craving and couldn’t have. Like nacho cheese – why on earth was I craving it? I wish I could say that I had another day on track…but I just kinda lost it.

The day started out great – fresh fruits and veggies. But as the day went on, I started craving carbs. I wasn’t feeling satisfied by what I was eating. I had a really bad headache. I was having computer problems at work, which made it so I was sitting around more than usual. I started looking around online about what other people were saying about pre-surgery diets, and got into my head how some surgeons allow a big binge the morning before surgery, then fasting till the procedure. I was weak, and I succumbed to temptation.

I decided to go to Costa Vida, and ordered a small sweet pork salad. I barely touched the dressing, but I devoured the meat, beans, rice, pico de gallo, and guacamole. And I ate the better part of the fresh flour tortilla. And because the pork salad was the special of the day,  it included a free drink. I filled the cup with pebble ice, and only had a little of horchata. Had I not been on a calorie restricted diet, it would have been a perfectly fine meal. I checked the website for nutritional information, but I couldn’t find the correct facts. I had to estimate what I actually ate, and the total may be WAY off.

  • Laughing cow light cheese – 2 wedges – 70 cal
  • Fresh fruit – 70 cal
  • Fresh veggies – 30 cal
  • Can of green beans – 75 cal
  • Muscle Milk light – 100 cal
  • sugar-free Jell-o – 10 cal
  • Costa Vida salad – 680 cal?
  • Horchata -100 cal
  • Chicken apple sausage – 170 cal
  • TOTAL – 1305 cal
At midnight, I need to begin fasting for my lab work in the morning. I’ll be meeting with the pre-admit nurse at St. Mark’s, and then have my pre-surgery class at the surgeon’s office. I haven’t decided if I’m going to go into work after my appointments yet, I may work from home. I’m going on FMLA, but I don’t have any sick time. Whatever time I take off will be unpaid, so I can’t slack too much.
Also, I decided to take my “before” measurements today.
  • Neck – 16.75
  • Bust 52
  • Chest 46
  • Upper bulge 53 (fat roll above my waistline)
  • Waist 49
  • Hip/butt 62
  • Thigh 34
  • Calf 23
  • Ankle 12.5
  • Bicep 20
  • Lower arm 14.5
  • Wrist 9



Food Diary 2-1-12

Today was MUCH easier than yesterday foodwise, and I attribute it to the grocery trip I made before work today. I went to Harmon’s, which I think has the best produce of any chain grocery store in the Salt Lake area. I got fresh produce and canned fruits and veggies. Even though it costs a lot more, I know that when I buy the pre-cut produce because it’s convenient.

Funny story – I was in the mood for Laughing Cow cheese this morning, and saw that I had a wheel of it in my fridge. I grabbed it to take to work, and thought I’d have a wedge in the car. It was COMPLETELY rubbery. I checked the expiration date, and it was JUNE 2010. How on earth did I last in my fridge that long? So I picked up another Laughing Cow at the store, and I’ve decided that I like to have the light Laughing Cow much better than regular string cheese, mostly because I can have 2-3 wedges for the same amount of calories as a string cheese. Then, once I got to work, I got an email pitch from Laughing Cow to promote it on my other blog. Seems like working with Laughing Cow is in the cards for me!

The big news of the day is that my surgery date has been moved up to February 7th, which is next Tuesday. Apparently, Dr. Smith is going out of town next Friday, and he wanted to see if I’d move things up so he could be there for my whole hospital stay. Now my pre-surgery class will be on Friday morning, and my abdominal ultrasound and upper GI endoscopy will be Monday morning.

To “celebrate,” Taylor, Rosie and I went out to dinner. I checked all of the nutritional facts online before we went, and I was able to keep right at where I needed to for my daily calories. I’m glad I filled up on veggies during the day so we could have this “last splurge” dinner as a family (because my husband was out of town for my Last Supper(s)). Afterward, we took a trip to Costco for a giant bottle of chewable vitamins, lots of fresh produce and other “crash diet” friendly items.

Today’s food diary:

  • three wedges of light Laughing Cow – 105 cal
  • 4 oz of celery – 20 cal
  • 4 oz of carrots – 45 cal
  • Sugar free Jell-o (3 times in the day) – 35 cal
  • lean deli-sliced turkey (2oz) – 50 cal
  • Honeycrisp apple – 80 cal
  • 2 T Hummus – 70 cal
  • Muscle Milk light – 100 cal
  • 6 oz sirloin steak – 320 cal
  • grilled veggies – 90 cal
  • 1/2 dinner roll – 100 cal
  • TOTAL – 1015 cal

Food Diary 1-31-12

sipping waterToday has been much harder to stick with the low-calorie plan. Yesterday I felt like I was hungry all day, but the hunger level was manageable. I can’t say the same for today. I decided to try starting my day with scrambled eggs and sausage to get in some protein. Halfway to work, I was so hungry, I stopped for a smoothie, which got my calorie counts up even higher. I allowed myself a few *small* splurges…like 4 Cheetos.

Today I’ve been trying to make up for my hunger by drinking LOTS of water. I’d logged 60oz of water by 11am, and by 8 pm I was at over 130oz. I’ve been using Mio water enhancer drops to make it a little more interesting. And I’ve got bags of pebble ice from Sonic both at home and work so it’s nice and chilly.

  • 2 scrambled eggs and 2 links of sausage – 260 cal
  • 24oz fresh peach smoothie – 330 cal (half in morning, half in afternoon)
  • string cheese – 80 cal
  • dried apple rings – 70 cal
  • 5 Quaker multigrain fiber crisps – 40 cal
  • 10 pickles – 10 cal
  • 4 Cheetos – 32 cal
  • Can of light chicken veggie soup – 160 cal
  • Sugar-free strawberry Jell-o – 10 cal
  • TOTAL – 992

Food Diary 1-30-12

Today was my first day of the pre-surgery “crash diet.” The goal is to keep around 1000 calories per day. Here’s my food diary:

  • Bottled mango smoothie – 220 cal
  • Muscle Milk light shake – 100 cal
  • 2 light String Cheese – 160 cal
  • Carrots and 2 TB hummus – 100 cal
  • Quaker multigrain fiber crisps – 80 cal
  • Green beans – 60 cal
  • Del Taco chicken soft taco and regular soft taco – 340 cal
  • TOTAL – 1060

This morning I had an appointment with Dr. Smith. I hadn’t seen him in the office since last April, so he wanted to go over a few things with me. He gave me a quick physical exam, discussed my most pressing symptoms, showed me where the incisions would be for surgery, and answered a few questions. Next, I met with Cathy, who is the surgery scheduler. We went over more paperwork, confirmed radiology appointments, and reviewed the pre-surgery diet. I also got my FMLA paperwork submitted so my husband and I both have time off work.

I was FLOORED to see how much weight I’ve gained this month. I started the month at 357 (when I weighed in at Dr. Poor’s office when I had bronchitis.) Today I was 373.3, which is officially the most I’ve ever weighed. I’ve gone up 16 pounds in three and a half weeks. It’s a lot, and I expected to gain some, but not that much. I’ve been replacing diet soda with juice, flavored milk, and other drinks so I keep myself away from the bubbly. I was on steroids for over 2 weeks for bronchitis, which ALWAYS makes me gain. And then with the 5-day bingefest I had over the weekend, I guess it isn’t too surprising. I’m retaining fluid like crazy, probably because of all the high-sodium foods I had. Good thing I’m eating right, starting today!