Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thankful at Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for so many things........since this is a WLS blog.....I am very thankful that I have been given the tool of surgery so that I can have my health! I really do not take that for granted!

Other things that I am thankful for:

1. My relationship with Jesus
2. My amazing family
3. Wearing regular clothes
4. Not having diabetes
5. Not hurting all over when I get up off the floor
6. The ability to bend over and tie my shoes and still breathe!
7. All of you guys who offer support!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Getting my protein!

As I told you in an earlier post...I had researched protein before my surgery......I found two that I used all the time. When I can afford it I use Shaklee products...I really do think that they are the best. They are completely natural and my blood work confirmed that it was worth using..Cinch and Meal Shake. I also used their liquid vitamins and children's chewable for the same reasons...they are all natural. You do pay a price for the best...although you can get all you money back if your not satisfied. When I can't afford the Shaklee...I use the Whey Protein from Walmart (you can only buy it at the store but here is the picture.) I always buy the vanilla because I can add chocolate to that or make a fruit smoothie or whatever I am in the mood for!! :)

I still use protein almost everyday. I have not had any problems with my blood work or energy level...except when I had a really bad kidney infection and then an allergic reaction to the antibiotic and I started bleeding internally...none of this was related to the surgery, I had kidney infections prior to my WLS. My iron levels were so low that they wanted to give me blood transfusions...I asked for a few weeks to see if I could get those levels up, I am afraid of blood transfusions. I felt awful..... the lack of energy and the horrible headaches!! I was diligent and I divided my liquid vitamins into small portions throughout the day....I increased my chicken, fish and spinach and in 2 weeks I had brought it up significantly...but it took 2 months to get it back to normal. I am thankful that I do not suffer from low iron!

Monday, November 17, 2008

7th week

On the 7th week I was cleared to eat solids. I remember being excited because I think that the liquid part of this procedure was the hardest thing! I was also really nervous. Would I always remember to chew enough? What was too big of a bite? How much was too much? What would I not be able to eat? drink? I started off really easy and light. I found out pretty quickly that my tastes were different on some things. I do have a theory???? NOT scientific but still my theory.

I believe that most of us....but for sure this was true about me......are not used to chewing our food so much. When I initially put something in my mouth it usually tastes fine but as I chew and chew and chew...sometimes, as things begin to break down in my mouth the taste and texture changes so much that I do not like it. I have on more than one occasion had to spit something out. I know when it is in my mouth that it is not going to go down. It is the strangest thing. It is also why I think it is so important to eat slowly...because as I eat...... all of a sudden I will know that I am done. Again many times I will have to spit out that last bite. After 3 years...that is getting better because I have learned how much I can eat of different foods.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The first 6 weeks

I spent a great deal of time before surgery preparing mentally and physically. I also did a lot of research about all the things I could and could not eat. I was very prepared when I came home from the hospital. I have a homemade soup recipe that I make for my family and I made it ahead of time special for me. I also bought anything that I thought I might want from sugar free jello to baby food. I had already researched protein and tasted them ahead of time...although I found that my tastes did change...weird! The protein that I decided on was made by Shaklee.
It is completely natural. Every article that I read...not by the company of course.....pointed toward the fact that their product broke down quicker in the system and was easily used. I chose their French Vanilla Meal Shake. I also used their liquid vitamins with iron. It is all natural and it is liquid. It seemed so much better than chewing up a synthetic "Flintstone" children's!! I had to get used to the taste....lots of holding my nose at first...but my first blood work proved to be worth it because all my levels were perfect!

The only thing I put in my body for 2 weeks was total liquid....if it wouldn't come through a narrow straw...it didn't go onto my body. I sipped on protein all day...and when I wasn't sipping protein I was sipping water!

On the third week, I added my soup that I had made ahead of time and things that were the consistency of pudding. Along with my protein I had lots of watery mashed potatoes and baby food.

On the 5th week I added in things like refried beans and soft potatoes....(white and sweet), oatmeal and scrambled eggs. I could only eat a few tiny bites of the eggs.....they were one of the things that changed flavors for me???

Below is my recipe for homemade chicken soup.

Homemade chicken stock...the store bought stuff is loaded with salt and fat...of course you can get the fat free but you still get the salt.

Whole chicken covered in filtered water (we do not eat dark meat so after it boils I pull the white meat and give the rest to my neighbor)
4 stalks of celery
2 carrots

Bring just to a boil...reduce heat...cover....simmer for 2 hours...make sure there is enough water so the chicken is covered.

Remove all veggies and chicken....let it cool some and put it in the fridge. The next day...spoon all fat off of the top. This should be enough stock for several pots of soup...remember you only use about 2 cups of the stock per pot. You can divide the unused portion and freeze it.

My normal chicken soup recipe

2 cups chicken stock
3 large potatoes...diced
3 carrots sliced
4 boiled chicken breasts diced
2 cups prepared egg noodles

combine stock, water, carrots, potatoes...boil until tender....add desired spices....garlic salt, pepper, celery salt

Add chicken and noodles until it boils again.....yummy you are done!!!

Well ,I made this and put extra water....then I pureed it...I mean totally pulverized it! It was very liquid!! I then froze it in 1/4 cup servings.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

The morning after

I felt pretty good after my surgery. I got up out of bed within the first hour...that was tough. I really wanted to sleep but I was determined to do anything I could to make this a success all the way around. My sweet husband walked the halls over and over again in those 2 days. I was given all the normal instructions and home I went. The worst thing that happened to me in the hospital was the unbelievable headache I had from no caffeine! In hind sight I should have quit that little habit before the surgery so I wouldn't have had to deal with that in the hospital.

I did everything the doctor said over the next 6 weeks...I know that some doctors are a little different but mine was serous about letting the internal incisions heal. My stomach and intestines needed a break....I knew I didn't want any leaks so doing my part was really important to me. I am amazed when I hear about people who are eating regular food 1 week after surgery because they are hungry...I'm thinking...why in the world did you have this surgery...this is only the beginning of a lifetime of discipline!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Getting Ready for Surgery

So after much prayer I decided to move forward with the surgery. I must tell you that my amazing husband was not at all excited about me having the surgery. In fact he was adamantly opposed. He was so afraid that something would go wrong. It took alot of discussion for him to finally agree. I had to go through a battery of tests before surgery. I don't think I have ever been so poked and prodded in my life. My doctor wrote a great letter to the insurance and I was approved on the first attempt.

My surgery was scheduled for December 27, 2005. People would ask me if I was bummed that this would be the last Christmas to eat all that I wanted. I remember thinking that this would be the last Christmas that I would be absent from all the pictures! I couldn't wait. I always felt like a skinny person trapped in a fat body. I went into the surgery VERY excited! Nervous..of course! Would I actually lose the weight? What if I do all this and I am still fat? Now that would stink! What would I be able to eat? How much would I be able to eat? Could I live on a liquid diet for 6 weeks??? None of those questions could outweigh the excitement of finally getting my weight under control!

I just celebrated my 19th wedding anniversary yesterday. Here is my sweetie! He is an awesome godly man!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

My Story

Yep...that is me! I do not have many pictures of myself. The heavier I became the less I wanted to be photographed. This picture was taken 7 days before my gastric bypass surgery....3 years ago. The only thing that I regret is that I didn't do it sooner!

My story begins at puberty. I was a long legged skinny kid until about 12 and then I was just a little plump..not really heavy just 10 - 15 pounds overweight. When I was in high school I started running cross country but I never lost that belly weight. It was nuts..I was running 40 plus miles a week and I was plump. It was always interesting because I was a pretty good runner and when we would go to the meets...most of the girls were very lean and then there was me. After high school I started teaching aerobics. I taught 10 classes a week, each was 1 hour long and I had learned how to eat a healthy diet....still 10 - 15 pounds all on my belly. I was really fit but it didn't really matter what I did I could not loose that extra weight.

I was married when I was 23 and I continued to teach aerobic classes. 6 months after marriage I was diagnosed with stage 3 cervical cancer. I had to have the bottom 3rd of my cervices removed. I had some complications from the surgery and I was not allowed to exercise for 6 weeks. Although I continued to eat a good healthy diet I began to gain weight....it was horrible....daily I was watching the scale go up..up..up. You would have thought I was on a 24 hour eating binge for 6 weeks...I gained 37 pounds!!! Seriously!!! As soon as I started working out my weight gain stopped but I could not lose any of the weight I had gained. I continued to work out hard and when I was 26 I became pregnant with our first child. I only gained 27 pounds. After she was born, I started walking immediately and I lost all my baby weight by my 6 weeks check-up. I remember being so excited...maybe I would now be able to get the rest off. NOT!!! It was just the opposite...I started gaining.....5...10...15...20 pounds! To make a really long story shorter..I have 5 children and the same thing happened every time!

I was never a yo-yo dieter. I did try some different plans that I thought were healthy and I might lose a few pounds but I never lost any significant weight. I found myself 39 years old, joint problems, high cholesterol, diabetes and 230 pounds. I am 5'5" so this was 100 pounds more than I needed to weigh. I was at a point in my life that I needed to make some drastic choices about my health. I felt hopeless. I really felt like surgery was the wimpy way out. It was the choice others made who had no self control. Honestly that is what I thought. Remember I taught aerobics for 8 years and ran for 4.....I was not lazy and out of control and it seemed that to have surgery would be like saying that I was lazy and out of control.

One of the ladies at my church who had bypass surgery sat and talked with me one Wednesday night. This is a conversation that I will never forget. It was really the beginning of health for me!