Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Drinking water is not a problem for me. I LOVE H2O! Especially on ice! I would take my GIANT 82 oz. mug of water to school everyday. And I would gulp water in between classes. My students were shocked at my water absorbtion. There's nothing like swiging huge amounts of agua to quench your thirst.

Now even inhaling Adam's Ale has been taken away from me. There is no longer such a thing as chugging water... I have to sip it. No matter how thirsty I am, or how dry my mouth is, consuming liquid quickly is not something I can do anymore. It's frustrating. And sometimes I forget and start to guzzle down my H2O intake only to have to spit it out within minutes.

I suppose this is a minor complaint. And sipping is more lady-like. But I do miss my gulping-free days of ice-cold, purified water quenching my thirst and parched mouth.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Well, I caught it... I have a sore throat (like Payton and Gage had last week.) So I haven't felt good on top of not feeling good....

But I've talked to my dad and Joanne and they both assure me that it takes at LEAST 6 weeks to heal from a major surgery. So I guess I won't feel the greatest for another few weeks. I'm looking forward to feeling somewhat normal again....

I did call my nutritionist and she said I'm eating fine. She says that everyone is different and as long as I'm eating 3 times a day until I'm full, then I won't starve. So even though my portion sizes are beyond small I'm OK. I'm also spreading out taking my pills. Instead of taking them in one hour, I'm taking them over the space of 5 or 6 hours. It seems to help.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


I feel I am becoming anorexic. I eat barely anything. I'm not starving but emotionally/mentally I feel I am becoming undernourished, etc. I eat a thumb serving of food 3 times a day. That's it. And my pills still don't stay down. My body feels weak. I'm not sure I'm healthy... of if I did this a healthy way. It frightens me. I don't want to be anorexic. I just want to be healthy and have my strength back....

Saturday, June 26, 2010


It seems that I can't keep my medications and minerals down. I retch after taking them. I'm not sure how much of the vitamins and pharmaceuticals actually gets absorbed since I seem to spit them out 15 minutes after taking them.... Is this normal? It drives me crazy!

Friday, June 25, 2010


Today I saw the new "Karate Kid." It was great! I enjoyed it a lot. Much of "The Karate Kid" is predictable, because of the original story. But Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith won me over. They have a magically chemistry. Chan really displays depth and range that actually made me tear up. And Smith has great spirit and reminds me of his famous father. I'm glad I saw this show! I just wish I could have enjoyed it clinging on to my husband or sharing a "scared squeeze" with my daughters.

I also saw "Dear John" today. I liked it, but felt there was one scene missing. The man Savannah married needed to CHOOSE John to be his son's father when he died of cancer. Other than that, I felt it was a good movie. I cried... but that's probably not a big secret since when I watch movies I am VERY involved (I cry. I scream. I yell at the movie. I jump out of my seat. - My husband says I'm very interactive when it comes to watching a flick.)

I love escaping into good movies! :-)

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I was diagnosed with chemical depression in 1992. Since then I have been on some sort of medication to combat the sadness that often creeps up on me if I stop taking my meds. Throughout the years I've struggled with maintaining that balance I get with the medication and my mood swings. It's not always easy. But I find that if I take my medicine and if I remember: "IF YOU DO GOOD, YOU FEEL GOOD!" (My father always used to quote that.) I usually feel better....

For some reason, my depression is returning. I'm not sure if it's the fact that I REALLY miss my family. Or maybe it's because I feel like I throw-up everything I put into my mouth (including water, medications, or food.) Or maybe it's because I'm feeling a sense of loss over NOT being able to eat foods I once enjoyed. Or maybe it's because I'm tired ALL the time (I guess the surgery has really taken a tole on my body). Or that I'm constantly having dry mouth even though I am sipping on water whenever I get the chance. Whatever the reason, I feel sad.

Almost every morning, I wake up and lie in bed for a good hour before I actually convince myself to get out of bed... usually because I am despirately thirsty.

I'm still taking my mood altering medications. But I wonder if they are working. I try to use my dad's advice... but I feel like there's nothing good to do... I feel like there's nothing to do....

I'm sure I'll be OK. I know Heavenly Father wanted me to be healthy and that's why I did this crazy surgery! I know that my family is behind me 100% of the way. I just feel down and that's what depression does to you. I've lived with it for over 19 years. This too will pass.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Some days are harder than others. I really miss my daughters today.

I think the reason I miss them so much is that I was helping Payton get ready for her Secret Sister at camp. We went to the Dollar Store to get some small things. In the past, Kiara and Katia always went to the Dollar Store with us. And the age difference between Kiara and Payton is non-existant. They are basically the same age (Payton is 1 1/2 months older.)

According to multiple phone calls, my daughters are happy. They love the new ward in Kentucky. They enjoy spending time with new friends. And Chris and Haymond are like uncles to them already. I hear the joy in their voices. I miss their smiles and their hugs/cuddles.

The count-down is only 19 days til we are reunited! :-)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Yum! I had completely forgotten that I could eat beans this first month... until Joanne and I were watching Rachel Ray. She was using beans in one of her meals. I suddenly remembered I could eat beans (with the exception of green beans and baked beans.) Joanne had made burritos for dinner with refried beans on the side. I had some with some cheese! Take about delicious! Small things that make me happy! :-)


Today I'm not feeling well. I'm dizzy. I'm exhausted. I just feel sick. I can't seem to get enough water to drink and yet, when I do drink, I feel like throwing it up. I'm eating alright but even then I don't feel that great. I'm not sure why I feel like I do today. It could be that everyone in the Gunderson household has been sick for the past week, and now I'm sick too. Or it could be another "symptom" of the surgery. Whatever it is, I just feel like hitting the hay right now. I guess I will...


Monday, June 21, 2010


This morning I ate half of a yogurt and was full.

At lunch and dinner time I usually eat 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup of food. That's it. Then I feel stuffed and can't eat any more.

Strange to see what I'm eating now and what I ate before. My portion sizes have dramatically changed.


Each day now feels the same. I eat the same breakfast (yogurt or cottage cheese, sometimes jello). Then I take my vitamins and medication 30 minutes later with my protein drink. (YUCK!) Usually a pill or two gets stuck and I have to take a break between. I take a 15 minute walk. And then I find ways to keep myself busy until noon. Then I eat lunch (chicken or an egg). Some more busy time until dinner (chicken, fish or an egg). Another 15 minute walk. 30 minutes later I take some more medication and vitamins. Then I go to bed. I'm also constantly drinking water (because I'm supposed to.)

Joanne and Dexter are very hospitable. I love them soooo much! But I feel like this routine could happen just as easily in Kentucky with my family. I really miss them.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Happy Father's Day!

Although I don't get to spend time with my father or my daughter's father today, I am grateful for both of them in my life. They are both super supportive of what I have done (GBS). Both my husband and my dad encourage me to "follow the rules" of the surgery and to "get well soon." Both of them have been behind me from the start. This surgery isn't easy, and without their knowledge and acceptance of the "new me" I couldn't have done all this. Their encouraging words and loving support is worth more than words can say.

So, although I am not physically with my sweetheart or daddy, I want them to know how much I love them and I'm grateful for them on this Father's Day 2010!

Saturday, June 19, 2010


I don't like protein drinks. In fact, I REALLY don't like them.

Because our bodies don't store protein, and I can't eat very much, everything I eat has to be protein. And for the first month, I have to drink 20 grams of a protein drink. I started off drinking a powdered protein drink (flavored strawberry cream). It was so horrible that the first 4 days I drank it I gagged and tried to throw it up. Finally on day 5, I did. I couldn't hold my protein drink, so to speak.

I asked my support group what I should do. They recommended another brand that was already mixed. Yesterday mom got me some Isopure already mixed protein drink. I drank it today. It was better. I didn't gag. But I didn't like it. And the worst part is the after-taste that lasts after you drank it for hours! Even water tastes like the Isopure now. Yuck!!!!!!

Thank goodness I only have to drink this stuff for two more weeks....


I'm feeling melancholy.

Yesterday I ate some chicken for lunch. It was left-over from the hospital, so it was a bit dry. Unfortunately, it got stuck in my esophagus. The pain was intense. I really WANTED to throw-up, and I did. But even that didn't help my distress. I laid down for an hour, and still felt the constant burn/pressure in my chest cavity. I sipped some water and the pain returned stronger. I finally broke down and called the bariatric center. I thought I perhaps had a stricture. But I didn't. It was just swollen from eating dry chicken. I was to suck on ice-chips for about 2 hours and then return to a liquid diet for the rest of the day. I'm back to "normal" today.

My mom is going home today. Dad came to get her last night. I LOVE seeing my father! But I am really going to miss my mother when she leaves. She is so nurturing. And she's a fun companion to be around. So I'm already missing her. I guess we all have to grow up and leave our mommys, but I don't want too.

The Gunderson's also left for the weekend. They are helping Joanne's parents move. So I am all alone.

It is time for reflexion and solitude. It's also proving to be a time for missing my husband and daughters. They are the light of my life.

Part of me wishes I had never had the surgery so I can be with them right now. I KNOW the gastric by-pass surgery was for my own good. I KNOW that it will add years to my life where I can be healthier and happier. I KNOW that it was a good thing for me to do. But I FEEL depressed that I'm not with my family right now. I FEEL down that this surgery recovery isn't easier. I FEEL forlorn about the food I have to eat (I really just don't want to eat at all - especially breakfast). I don't like my diet right now (chicken, fish, turkey and cottage cheese). It's bland.

OK, enough of my pity party. I'll be fine after I have a good cry....

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Itch comes from the Latin word: pruritus. An itch is an unpleasant sensation that causes the desire or reflex to scratch. Modern science has shown that an itch has many similarities to pain, and while both are unpleasant sensory experiences, their behavioral response patterns are different. Pain creates a withdrawal reflex while an itch leads to a scratch reflex.

There are many things that can cause itching. Most notible, in my opinion, is when a fly crawls on my skin, or a drip of sweat trickles down my leg. Mosquito bites are the worst kind of itches!!!! And then there are also ellusive itches that take a spouse to scratch your back. The ones where you are quoted as saying: "no, more to the right... a little bit up... no too much... OK, back to the left..."

Today I want to talk about the healing itch! :-) It's my favorite kind! It means I'm getting better. The only negative is that I can't itch the areas that are healing because I could reopen the wounds. I've been itching for a couple of days now - all over my belly! Although it's annoying, it's kinda a moment for rejoicing. Anyone know how to stop this healing itch?! JK

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I have five rules I have to do everyday for the rest of my life, since the surgery. They aren't hard rules. And, in fact, I think anyone who wants to loose weight could use these rules and achieve some loss.

1. Protein first at every meal, three meals a day. - The reason we are supposed to eat protein first is because our bodies do NOT store protein and protein is essential to our bodies or our muscles can break down. So now I am much more aware of protein. And luckily, my favorite food, cottage cheese, has LOTS of protein!

2. Drink water: 64 oz. per day (minimum). - I love water. I always have. I still do. Although when someone says that is all you can drink, you start wanting crystal light or SOMETHING. But as long as I have ice and the water is cold, I'm OK.

3. No snacking, as it promotes eating for non-hunger reasons. - I thought this would be difficult. I love snacking on chocolate and popcorn. But I haven't missed either since the surgery. I'm content with my small three meals a day. I hope this doesn't change....

4. Exercise at least 4 times per week for 30 minutes or more. - I'm still struggling with this one. I've "hated" exercise for 37 years and it's hard to make my mind change - I am walking though.

5. You must take vitamin and mineral supplementation daily for life. - I've already written an entire post dedicated to my supplements, etc. It's a pain in the neck to take, but I can do it.

So these are the 5 Rules I'm to live by from now on. Not too bad. Eh?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


There are a number of concerns after surgery... but thus far, I've only experienced one: FOAMING. Foaming is a lot like vomiting/dumping except it's with foam from your stomach. I've experienced this twice now. It's awful. Not only is it extremely painful in my sternum, but I end up foaming at the mouth and having to purge it. I know this isn't a pleasant topic, but I'm bing honest.... The pain is intense. It is pressure combined with burning. And I WANT to vomit, but physically can't. Both times I've experienced this sensation I was taking my evening pills. And I think the "bites" were too big. I cut all my medication, but apparently not small enough. I waited out the pain, which usually lasted about 30 minutes. I don't recommend foaming to anyone. And I'm much more careful with my meds now.

Here are some other common bariatric post operative concerns (that I hope to never have!)

-- It is very important to continue to eat food three times per day.
-- Some aches and pains are normal after surgery.
-- Dizziness after surgery may be due to dehydration. Remember to drink at least 64 oz. of water daily.
-- Dumping occurs when you put some type of food into the pouch which the intestine does not like. It usually occurs shortly after eating.
-- It is usually associated with a high heart rate, profuse sweating, nausea and diarrhea and is most intense in the first year after surgery.
-- The key to stopping dumping is to identify the foods that caused it and DO NOT eat them again. (The foods are usually high in sugar, starch or fat.)
-- If you experience vomiting, step back and try to identify if the process of eating had any of the following:
-- Were the bites too big? Dime sized?
-- Did you take enough time between bites? (20 minutes to eat meal)
-- Are you chewing your food thoroughly?
-- Remember the 30-20-30 rule
-- Make sure you drink enough water
-- Make sure you exercise daily
-- Do eat/drink excessive dairy products
-- Make sure you eat enough dietary fiber

Sorry this post was so graphic. Maybe I should have had a content warning about these concerns too.

Monday, June 14, 2010


I can sleep on my left side now! :-) Most of the surgery took place on my left side so for the past 11 days I've been sleeping on my back and a little bit on my right side. Now I have both sides "working!" And it doesn't hurt anymore. :-) Yeah!

DAY 11

Today I'm feeling fine. I'm not hungry at all. I had to force myself to eat lunch. Sometimes it's frustrating to have to eat three meals a day. I would eat two if I could....

It's really wierd that I haven't had any "cravings" for chocolate or salty popcorn/chips. I have had cravings for fruit. But I can't have fruit for 2 1/2 more weeks. I guess it's more difficult to digest fruit and vegetables so they want to give my stomach a break for 1 month before I attempt eating the more fibress foods.

I woke up at 6 A.M. I took Joanne to the doctor's office. It was really too cold in the office, so I walked around outside for about 20 minutes. It turns out that Joanne has a torn tendon in her arm and has to have surgery! :-(

Joanne, Gage, and Payton are also sick with a stomach flu... It feels like EVERYONE except me. I really am the most healthy person in this house, and I just had surgery! :-)

The rest of the morning, my mother and I are planning our family renion for 2011. It makes me excited for July 1-4, 2011. :-)

I think I'm going to take a nap now. I'm a bit tired.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


I've never really thought about hunger. But now I HAVE to. I've learned what the signs of PHYSICAL hunger are. For example, growling stomach, emptiness, loss of concentration, weakness or lightheadedness and irritability.

I've also learned that thte signs of PSYCHOLOGICAL hunger. They are: The sights and smells of food, Places associated with eating (like popcorn at the movie theater), TV food ads, "eating buddies" and special occasons and events. Also included under PSYCHOLOGICAL hunger signs are boredom, depression, sadness, anxiety, stress, anger and positive events.

I feel the PSYCHOLOGICAL signs that will be the most difficult for me will be the sights and smells of food and special occasions and events. I'm also going to have to really fight boredom and stress! All have been triggers for me to eat in the past. BUT now that I've identified them, I'm sure I can "fight" them.


Two weeks ago, I weighed 265.5 lbs. on the body composition analyzer.
On Thursday at my post-op appt., I weighed 254 lbs.
I'm already down 11.5 lbs.
My BMI is down 2.2 also! :-)
6.5 lbs of my weight loss come from fat! :-)

The body composition analyzer (an extremely fancy scale) is really cool. It tells you everything!

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Thursday I went to my post-op appointment. I finally had my blood sugars controlled. So when I showed up at my appointment, Kelly, the nurse assistant who did the "exam", said, "Well, you're no longer exciting!" I asked her if that was a good thing of a bad thing. She said it was a good thing this time! :-) I think I'd like to keep the rest of my "recovery with weight" unexciting. But I'm not a quiet and shy kinda person so I'm sure there'll be plenty of drama! Stay tuned!


I have become the "Queen of Pills" since my surgery! It doesn't help that every pill I take has to be halved or quartered in order to fit into my stomach. It really is a time consuming venture. It usually takes me 20 minutes every morning just to swallow and take all the "stuff" I'm supposed to take! Here's the breakdown:

In the morning:
-- 1 serving of a Multivitamin (I take Centrum Chewables)
-- 500 mg. of Calcium Citrate
-- 300 mg. of Venlafaxine (for depression)
-- 40 mcg. Potassium Chloride (only for 10 days! :-)
-- 150 mcg. Levothyroxine (for thyroid problems)
-- 1000 mg. Metformin (for diabetes)
-- 40 mg. Pantoprazole (for acid reduction with my smaller stomach)

In the afternoon:
-- 500 mg. of Calcium Citrate
-- drink 20 grams of Protein drink (The worst by far. I always gag! I don't have to take it after 1 month, thank goodness!)

In the evening:
-- another Centrum Chewable
-- additional iron pill (20 g)
-- 500 mg. of Calcium Citrate
-- 300 mg. of Venlafaxine (again)
-- 40 mcg. Potassium Chloride (again)
-- 1000 mg. Metformin (again)

Just writing the list made me tired. I have to look for all this information in different places - so maybe this list will make my life a bit easier....

Friday, June 11, 2010


I ate too fast today at lunch. I got some fish lodged in my esophogus or something. There was soooo much pain between my ribs.... And I was really scared. I was warned that if I didn't eat my food slowly enough or small enough bite sizes (dime size) I would have problems like this. They said you just have to wait it out. It hurt soooo bad! I was crying and angry with myself for eating to quickly. (I know I didn't eat large bites because I've been measuring them....) I guess you live and learn. I won't do that again.


I've always wanted to be a dancer. Not the high-school move around to the beat kind of dancer... but a "real" dancer who can ballroom and latin dance with the best of them. I thought that dream was beyond my body's abilities. I just realized that maybe I CAN make that dream come true in the future. I'm looking forward to classes with my husband learning those fancy dances and not feeling extremely self-conscience. And who knows? Maybe I could also learn how to tap dance or Irish dance too?!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Nothing has been "normal" since Monday at noon. My aunt and Joanne said that it just proves how "special and unique" I am. You decide if the following story makes me "unique" or "special" or "just really bizaare."

Monday at noon my blood sugars went really low. I was down to 51. I was shaking, out-of-control, cold and hot and sweating. Everything "felt" wrong. And I was scared. I called my surgeon and talked to one of the nurses assistants named Kelly. She told me to eat TONS of jello and call her back in 1/2 an hour. I did. And I was still low. So for the next 5 hours my mother worried, Joanne fretted, and I kept suffering severe lows without any sign of regulation. Finally, Kelly told me to try one tsp. sugar with a jello shot. That worked for about 15 minutes and then shot my blood surgars even lower. She had me try that twice. Finallyat about 8 p.m., I was told to go to bed and ignore the situation while my sugars were at 59. Still not high enough but as high as they had been all day. That seemed so odd, but I followed orders.

I woke up Tuesday morning with low blood sugars again. I ate some jello. But instead of calling the office again, Joanne lent us her white Durango so mom and I could go to a post-operation class and eat my first meal. The class was really good. I learned alot. But before lunch my blood sugars were way low (45). The dietician said to check after lunch. (In really cool news: I enjoyed my first meal of 1 Tbsp. cottage cheese and 1/2 of a hard boiled egg.) After lunch I was as low as I'd ever been and I was immediately admitted to the hospital again. (Luckily, the post-op class was right on the 5th floor of the hospital... I only had to move two doors down to my "new" hospital room of 5407.)

Mom and I settled down in the room for a long night which turned into a longer night as they IVed me sugars, monitored my blood sugar levels, and used me as a common pin cussion every hour on the hour. They also fed me my second meal of fish and cottage cheese. (Can you tell that I LOVE cottage cheese? Well, I do. It's been my favorite since I was a very little girl.)

Dr. Blackstone and Melissa came to see us after their hospital operations. They explained what was happening to me with my blood sugars. Normally when sugars go low, eating or ingesting some kind of sugar will help raise the levels. But after gastric-by-pass surgery, your stomach doesn't digest the sugar because of it's size and missing the first 1/3 of your intestines, so the sugar goes stright into your blood. Insulin instantly kicks in and sends your sugars and extra potassium into your cells, causing a low. Eating sugar is the absolute WRONG thing to do after GBS. Instead, I should have eaten protein... and waited. I shouldn't have panicked and eaten sugar.

They assured me that their education for diabetic patients would change because of me. It would be better. And they would review the material they sent home too. I guess I was the first one in ten years to have reacted this way. Joanne and Aunt Val said that I was special. :-)

Mom and I settled down for sleep at the usual hospital bed-time of midnight. Mom wasn't comfortable in the reclining chair so she decided to sleep on a small bench built into the wall. There wasn't much room (only about 2 feet across) but it was long enough. Nothing else exciting happened until (duh duh duh) mom fell at 5:00 a.m. off of her make-shift bed. She landed on her shoulders and instantly began crying. I begged her to let me call the nurse... but she wouldn't let me. After about 10 minutes, I told her to call dad and see what he wanted her to do. He told her to let me call the nurse.

Jodie, one of my favorite nurse aides, came as I called. I told her my mother fell. She said, "Oh! That's who fell!" I guess both patients on either side of my room had called the nurse reporting that someone had fallen. They had looked in and seen that I was still in my bed so they had continued looking for the "ghost" faller. The mystery had been solved. Mom was taken to the ER. I was allowed to sleep for another 30 minutes. It was extremely hard to sleep worrying about my mom....

By now, my sugars were high. I was ranging in the 180s. Which is better than low. They told me I would get to go home today after my surgeon released me. I waited for Dr. Blackstone, as well as my mom....

Mom came back from the Emergency Room about 9:00 a.m. She had a hilarious story to tell. After having xrays and a cat-scan, she was pronounced OK. They said she would be sore for a few days and to take Ibuprofin. Then they put her into a room to wait until they could discharge her. She waited for over an hour. By then she was worried about me. She was also cold and she needed to use the restroom. So she came up with a plan. There was only one blue piece of paper in her room with her name on it. So she got a pen from her purse and wrote a little note. It said: "Hi! I'm running away. But I'm not running far, I'll be in room 5407." Then she made her get-away. She didn't get far. A nurse asked her where she was going and she said, "I'm running away." LOL. They gently brought her back out to discharge her properly. Mom and I laughed so hard as she told the story of the little grandmother who fell and tried to run away. :-)

The rest of Wednesay was spent waiting to go home. We waited. We waited. And we waited. Finally we were allowed to go home at 5:30 p.m. I was worn out. I really wanted to return my friend's car. And I wanted some normallacy. I was grouchy and tired and for the first time a bit depressed about the surgery. (Why? Because I learned that I won't be able to go "home" to Kentucky for 6 weeks... and I really miss my daughters and husband!)

Monday, June 7, 2010


Well, yesterday was a bit discouraging. I think I was mentally ready for the life-style change. And I was mentally ready for the eating changes in my life. But I hadn't really thought about the pain involved in surgery. Yesterday I was soooo discouraged with myself because I STILL hurt. I feel like all I do is walk, breathe and drink water. I don't contribute at all to society and when I do try to walk around a bit, I complain because of the constant pain to my abdomen area. It's a bit upsetting. I thought I was tougher than most. After all, I had both of my daughters completely naturally without any pain medication (including Tylanol.) Why is this putting me out of commission more than that did? Mom and Joanne assure me that it's natural to be in pain after surgery and that I will recover. But I wanted to be "better" in 3 days... not 5 or 6?!

Sleeping is also difficult with the pain. I am a side sleeper. I have always been a side sleeper. But it is physically impossible to sleep on my side right now. I have to sleep on my back. Which causes more pain to my back injuries that I suffered earlier this year. So I prop myself up on pillows so I'm SORTA lying backwards and SORTA sitting up. I do get some sleep... but it's not comfortable.

Well, I guess there are some days you just have to complain a bit. I knew this wouldn't be easy. Maybe this is just a huge reminder to me that it is a lifestyle change and it isn't going to be easy. There will be pain involved. And some ickyness... Speaking of ickyness....

CONTENT WARNING! Don't read on if you have a weak stomach.
I also FINALLY went to the bathroom, number two! It's not much, because I haven't had anything to eat except jello and chicken broth. It's extremely runny and not fun to clean up (especially when you have to twist to wipe right where the pain is...) But the doctor's at the hospital were anxious for me to go number two. So... yeah! I did it! Twice! I've also been passing a lot of gas. That was the other thing the doctor's wanted me to do but it took me until Sunday to do it. It's oderless, but loud. I guess it's left over from the surgery when they pumped me full of air. At least it's leaving my body.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


If anyone decides to do this surgery I would recommend staying with my best friends, Lori and Joanne, to prep and recover. I feel and have felt like I'm at a 5 star hotel!

I'll always remember swimming in a warm pool with Lori, while discussing solutions to "the eating game." I'm forever grateful to Lori and her parents for letting us get away from our lives for a few hours by watching Shrek, the Final Chapter at the theater. I'm glad Ollie (Lori's father) was worthy to administer a priesthood blessing the night before my surgery. He even dressed up as if he were going to church, and with the pain he is currently having in his body, I really am grateful for his loving gift of service. The Lori van ran non-stop to get me whatever I needed. She took me to my appointments. She took my mother to get me my vitamins and minerals. etc.etc.etc. And my mother was also taken care of. Lori packed her food for the hospital. Mom constantly thanked Lori outloud in the hospital for making such a good lunch for her. She was never hungry.

Since the surgery I have also felt cared for. Joanne has done everything she could to make me feel comfortable. Payton, Joanne's daughter, has graciously lent us her room to make us feel comfortable. She also made sure I had yellow roses, my favorites (and she would know) beside my bed and pictures of my daughters on the other side of my bed. Too make me smile. She was sure it would help in my recovery. :-) Joanne has made the best chicken broth for me to eat. The tasteless stuff at the hospital has nothing on her! And she's made tons of different jellos for me to choose from and eat. She's got tea on hand for when I need that bit of comfort. She is ready to listen and let me tell her about my surgery. Things couldn't be nicer....

DAY 3 - SATURDAY - 6-5-10

Saturday was "leave the hospital" day, and Mom and I were ready long before the hospital personnel.

Breakfast was a litle more welcome. I sipped the herb tea and ate a few mini-bites of my lemon jello. One sip of broth was enough - absolutely zero flavor. I'm surprised that I'm not hungry. THe last ten years I lived life around my food....

It's also interesting that my blood sugars have ranged from 110-160 units, and that's withouteating anything. They say the meds and IV matter. It will be so interesting to see what happens with that factor when I get home.

"Leave the Hospital Day" was also "Shower Day!" - Hip-Hip-Hooray! I think showers are like pain medication. It really helps me "forget" the pain while the warm water runs over me.

Watch out Joanne! Here I come!

DAY 2 - FRIDAY - 6-4-10

Day two seemed long in one way but also full of breathing, walking and drinking water.

My breathing is shallow compared to what I could do prior to surgery. Prior to surgery I did 3250 ml, and the most I"ve done after is 1000 ml. Gotta keep working on breathing! Breathing deeply causes a little pain b ecause the diaphragm is so close to the stomach.

Walking - I've gradually increased my distance over the day. I can now make it three times around the nurses' stations. I"ve also practiced wearing a smile while walking!

I've probably been best at drinking. My mouth has been so dry that I've felt I can never get enough water. (Ice chips just didn't do the job.) I was told to drink at least four .5 liter bottles during the day, and I easilymanaged 4 1/2 bottles!

Taking meds has been "something to write about." All of my regular pills have been cut into 4ths and 8ths, so I am 'swallowing' for much longer time-wise. The only other thing of note is my potassium levels. Because I've tested a bit low, they've made me drink the most awful, disgusting, horrible..... stuff (potassium) three times today.

My pain medication has been: hydrocodone. They have made my life wonderful and miserable at the same time. Wonderful in that my pain is eliminated within 20 minutes of taking the pain killers. Miserable in that they cause me to be extremely hot an perspiring. The latter has even been hard to sleep around, but better hot than hurting. Right?

I really haven't slept much today. Mom has read Oprah experts' "Ten Most Valuable Lessons in Living" to me. We both decided there were several bits of thoughts to take away from them.

LOri cam around noon bringing flowers, hugs and smiles. She even walked me around the nurses' stations. She is such a dear friend.

Breathing, walking and drinking - I've made progress today.

PS In total I probably ate 1/8 cup of jello throughout the day. Period. My "food" of choice is water.

PSS I received a complimentary manicure and a complimentary food massage today. My nails are toupe and my feet spoiled. I'm spoiled too.

DAY 1 - WEDNESDAY 6-3-10

Here I am at the Scottsdale Health Care Hospital, the bariactric Center is on the fifth floor, and my room number is 5421. The experiene has been a new and interesting one.

While driving to the hospital we recieved a phonecall telling us my surgeon, Robin Blackstone, was running a little ahead of schedule. We arrived 15 minutes early, and I was immediately prepped for surgery. I had no time to sit and be nervous, but I think I preferred it that way.

I really like this hopsital. Everyone was kind and reassuring as they took my vitals and tarted teh IV. Mom was with me after the prep for a few minutes - before they took me to OR. She tells me I was calm and collected about going in.

The anestheiologist gave me my "forgetful" drug, and the next thing I remember was waking up in Recovery, with six small incissions. There are two on my right side, two on my left, one near the center of my rib cage and one near my belly button.

To explain my surgery: They cut and sutured my stomach to the size of a golfball. They also rewired one/third of my intestines, so the stomach attaches directly to the rest - hence the gastric "by-pass."

While workig on the by-pass, they decided to give me a "two-fer." My gall bladder came out! Other than that the surgery was uneventful and went very well. Dr. Blackstone is the best in her field, and we chose her for that reason.

My recovery was supposed to take, at most, two hours. But because of room availability, I was there for six hours. Mom was a little concedrned until she realized they weren't able to shuffle people out fast enough to shuffle me in. I didn't mind at all. I slept through the whole thing.

Coming back to my room, I was pretty much alert. I remember being told I had three jobs to do the rest of that day and through the next two days. #1 Breathe. #2 Walk. #3 Drink Water. -- More about those "jobs" later.

Meanwhile, my family and close friends were all contacted andt old that I'd been a "star" patient. The first call, of course, went to Scott, and the following were next: Parents, Parents-In-Laws, Siblings, and Best Friends, Lori and Joanne.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Good morning! I'm really, really, really scared now.

I must have a SLOW digestive system. I didn't get "sick" until 10:45 p.m. I drank the Magnesium Citrate at 1:00 p.m. I was up most of the night using the restroom. So sleep was not available. I'm also "sick" because I haven't eaten since yesterday. I can tell my blood sugar is way off. The hospital staff said they would manage my diabetes in the hospital so I guess I won't worry... but in the mean time I have a headache and I'm really shakey.

Last night Lori, Mom and I discussed coping mechanisims when I have my "episodes" where I break down, cry, eat, sleep, or shop! I think changing my thoughts and coping mechanisms are going to be the most difficult thing about this surgery. I really am worried. Lori suggested that I make a "happy box." I've made "happy boxes" in the past for friends who needed pick me ups. She suggested that whenever I feel like eating or shopping I should get something out of my "happy box." I think it's a great idea! I plan on making that a priority as soon as I'm in Kentucky! I'll let you know when I have made my "happy box." :-)

Well... this is it. We're leaving for the hospital. They say I won't remember any of it... which is a good thing... I'm mostly worried about my emotional and psychiatric health.....

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


OK. Now I'm getting nervous... scared actually. I'm still excited for the surgery, but I am frightened to go "under the knife." It's real now. My mother is here for emotional support and help. I just ate my "last meal" for awhile. One of my best friends, Lori, made me breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast. In a few hours I get to drink the Magnesium Citrate. I probably won't be able to blog again until Saturday or Sunday... More then.... And I'll add pictures when I move to Kentucky and have my own computer. I want to add before and afters. And mom said she'd take some pictures in the hospital! :-)