Category Archives: #bariatric

VERTIGO-GO

http://www.wikihow.com/Get-a-Sick-Day-off-from-School-Without-Going-to-the-DoctorSo I’m cruising along on day 3, feeling hungry, but eating what I need to when I need to. I even had some delicious homemade soup to look forward to for dinner. Squash, carrot, and celery soup, pureed into a warm, pumpkiny color. I enjoyed it thoroughly, so grateful to not have to resort to cream of anything…

Unfortunately I got sick about ten minutes after eating. I mean SICK. I was dizzy, nauseated, belching, and began throwing up. This is no small thing for a person with a Nissan fundiplication. Throwing up is not nearly as easy when you have one, but I managed. Six, eight, fourteen times during the following evening and morning. Then I stopped throwing up, but even the thought of water would make me nauseated again.

I crawled into bed and stayed there for 27 hours. If I stayed down, I wasn’t as dizzy, which meant I wasn’t as nauseated. Every time I belched I’d slow my breathing until it stopped. I existed, floating on a miasma of quashed misery, knowing the moment I sat up I was going to feel horrible once more.

Of course I wondered if this had anything to do with:

  1. the soup
  2. the diet
  3. the flu that has been going around town 

The soup had all fresh ingredients and was prepared by someone who knows how to make great soups. So I ruled food-poisoning out.

The diet, while monotonous and unsatisfying, didn’t seem bad enough to make me that sick. I grudgingly put it aside, even as I realized that I didn’t want anything to do with a protein shake at that moment, but might have accepted a piece of dried toast. I did not indulge in the toast, but neither would I drink the shake.

So I was left with the idea that it is a flu bug – one that will hopefully disappear on its own by the end of the weekend. However, I wanted medical corroboration and advice. So I phoned the Bariatric surgery center of the hospital.

At 4:30 in the afternoon on a Friday only weeks before Christmas.

Not too surprisingly, they were closed. A robo-voice advised me to hang up and dial 911 if it was a real medical emergency, but they also offered a number for ‘urgent’ situations. I called it.

The secretary asked about my situation, I described it. She went looking for a nurse and apparently found one who felt no need to speak to me directly. She wanted to know if I’d phoned my primary care doctor. I said no, and she suggested I do so. It was now 4:45 and the sun had set.

My doctor’s office  was closed, but they had a triage nurse on staff who agreed to phone the doctor on call, who just happened to be my primary care physician. By 6 o’clock I’d been advised that as long as I was able to keep water down I should probably stay home, otherwise I should report to an ER to avoid dehydration. By 9 o’clock I’d gotten 12 oz. of water down, and while still dizzy and lying down, I felt some better. I sat up from 10 to midnight… a victory!

Here it is, day five. I lost a day and a half, more or less, to whatever that was. I obviously feel better because even thinking about this post made me dizzy just hours ago. But I’m still not 100%, so I’m eating a yogurt, drinking 8oz. of water, and going back to bed.

No one takes photos of themselves when they feel this sick… that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 

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In Vain, or Insane?

So the best part of day 2 on a liquid diet is that day 1 is over.

Although I grazed through the day with

  • 7 8oz cups of water
  • 3 protein drinks, 
  • 2 cups of cream of broccoli soup (eww!), 
  • 1/2 cup of Malt-o-Meal (yeah, they still make it and it still tastes the same…), 
  • one 4oz container of applesauce (no sugar added), 
  • one 4oz container of non-fat pudding, 
  • and one truly bitter container of yogurt, 

somehow I was hungry pretty much every minute of the day.

Okay, in the interest of total disclosure, there were about 10-15 minutes following the protein shakes where I wasn’t actively hungry, but it roared back within the hour.

However, I’m one day closer to my goal, and THAT is pretty cool.

So day 2 started off with me wondering if I should take some photos of myself at the beginning of the journey. After I stopped quivering, I tried once more to talk myself into it. Same visceral reaction.

I learned a long time ago that you can’t be in the photos if you’re the one taking the picture. So I became the family photographer. There are still enough photos of me to make sure I get my face on at least 10 out of 12 months of the Christmas calendar (Mixbook.com), but I make sure they’re head shots. I shudder whenever someone takes a photo of my whole body, and usually crop it out of the photo as soon as possible.

I also avoid seeing my whole reflection in mirrors, focusing on whatever body part I’m dealing with (usually face, teeth, hair…). When I’m walking by large store windows I focus on the models within, rather than my image reflected from the glass. I never try new clothes on in dressing rooms before buying – I just return them after I’ve tried them on at home. In that way I have happily maintained my own ignorance of the true size of my body.

Except that’s not true. When asked to estimate my own weight I’m usually within 10 pounds, startling the hell out of health professionals who uniformly believe overweight people have no true understanding of their situation. Although I routinely refused to be weighed when being seen by doctors (that public humiliation thing I covered yesterday), I have lived with this body my whole life and am aware of what wearing various sizes mean in terms of total weight.

In other words, I know how big I am but avoid like the plague seeing the proof of the pudding, as it were, with my own two eyes. Kind of the way I want the world to deal with me too. You can know I’m a plump (fat), middle-aged (old), charmer (woman), just don’t see me that way. I’d rather you ‘saw’ me as my young, beautiful, healthy self in my eighteen year old body.

Of course, doesn’t everybody?

I don’t know if I’m going to talk myself into a ‘before’ photo or not. I’ll let you know tomorrow.

Vanity, or Sanity?

QUESTIONING BARIATRIC SURGERY
 
I used to walk into my doctor’s office with my hand raised defensively. “Let’s just start with the assumption that I need to lose weight, and move on from there.” She would laugh, and we’d begin discussing my reason for being there.

I have long held the opinion that doctor offices psychologically attack patients to ensure a greater adherence to medical advice. They do it by stopping in the hallway, invariably full of foot traffic, to weigh and measure you on a full-sized scale. Textbook perfect Public Humiliation 101.

I’ve never known what it’s like to maintain a healthy weight. It’s been a continuing issue for freakin’ forever. Diets and exercise programs have been intermittent interruptions throughout my life. Sometimes they are a resounding backdrop to other memories, like when I sucked in my tummy so hard my diaper fell off.

My self-esteem took the expected plummet, relieved only during the most successful stages of dieting episodes. I’ve never received so many compliments and/or so much praise as I have when I’ve lost weight. So many, in fact, it made me resentful.

Why didn’t I get compliments like that for other achievements? I have been a storyteller for decades, performing before groups large and small, done community theater, been an award winning teacher, written an award winning novel, and yet the only time my friends and family seem proud of me was when I was thinner. Which never lasted long. (By the way, I know this is only my perception and that my friends, and some of my family, are very proud of me and my accomplishments. But knowing, and feeling, can be two vastly different experiences.)

Sometime in the second or third month following a successful weight loss diet an overwhelming craving would crash over me. If you’ve never felt it you won’t understand this, but it is an absolute imperative that you eat. Your mind focuses on food, and only food. You find yourself wandering in and out of the kitchen, grabbing a taste of this, or a handful of that. You hate yourself for losing control, and yet the body grabs you by the throat and screams in your face, “No more starving!” Then it gets your belly to emphasize the point with a lot of uncomfortable roiling and loud rumbling.

I’ve yo-yo’d up and down so many times I’ve lost count. I’ve been a size 11 and I’ve been a size 26. One time I bought a size 32, but I think that was sheer frustration that I couldn’t find anything to make me look attractive and bought something three sizes too big in a flood of self-loathing. I’ve done Weight Watchers (twice), the egg and grapefruit diet, Phen-phen, low-carb, 7-day diet, oatmeal and apples diet, etc., etc., etc. I counted points, collected cards, and plotted food charts.

Any diet will work, as long as you stick to it fiercely. In my experience that means a combination of severe self-loathing, determination, and acceptance of pain. It takes a lot of hurting to make you turn away from food while you’re still hungry. To refuse yourself a feeling of satiation involves embracing discomfort, and to continue that unpleasant feeling for days, weeks, and months requires (from me, at least) a hatred for my fat self. It’s not enough to want to be thin – I have to hate to be fat.

I beat myself up (dieted) regularly for the first thirty years of my life, and over the following twenty-eight still do so, but with longer and longer intervals between. The last two diets I started with reluctance,  knowing I would succeed, be happy with myself for a few months at least, and then begin the inevitable regaining of the weight and accompanying self-loathing. I did, two for two.

I’ve lost all faith in low calorie, nonfat, low self-esteem diets. How many times do I have to repeat the cycle before I admit it doesn’t work? Apparently, this many times.

I am scheduled for a Roux en-y operation on December 15th. It’s taken me over a year to get to this place, but I’ve finally arrived at the starting gate. Today I have begun the two week liquid diet required before surgery. I’m already hungry, but hopeful that at the end of this journey I’ll be able to lose – and keep off – the baggage I’ve been lugging around my entire life. I’m ready to cut away more than half my stomach to control my eating.

People say to me, “As long as it’s for the right reasons…” meaning it should be a health only decision. Mine is, and isn’t, but more about that later. Being me I need to chronicle this journey. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Wish me luck.