Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Eventful week

The scale finally moved...after almost 2 weeks. That in and of itself seems like a major feat. Maybe it's the banana-peanut butter smoothies I've been making every morning I don't know. But after awhile, you need to mix it up otherwise those protein shakes are tough to get down.

Saturday, the hubby and I were planning on doing our putzing, lunch, take a walk, enjoy the day kind of thing when his sister called and said my dad's watch was ready for pickup. They are in the jewelry business and dad's been wanting his watch, so we went up to the store to pick it up and went to see his folks. His dad wasn't feeling well and we ended up taking him to the E/R in the afternoon. As of today (Wednesday), he's still in there. My sister-in-law called me this morning and told me they found a tumor in his bladder...not good. They removed most of it, but 90% of the time it's malignant. He was a 50-60 year smoker and the environment he worked in probably added to his chances of getting bladder cancer - on top of the emphysema he already has. He told the hospital and his physician he doesn't want any "heroic" measures taken. I just pray he doesn't suffer more that he already does. He's such a great guy...funny, funny man. He was asked a ton of questions by the nurse in charge of "Are you hard of hearing?"...What? "Are you hard of hearing? In typical Jack style, "Well, I've got a turd in each ear and can't hear for shit". Still has the sense of humor that guy. My hubby gets it honestly.

After returning from the hospital, we celebrated a friend's birthday with carryout and a fire on the back patio of our friends/in-laws house. More so for me since the whole mushie diet thing is throwing a crimp into any dining out plans right now. But the evening was enjoyable and I'm sure Kevin just appreciated the fact that we got together for his birthday.

My nephew and his wife had a miscarriage just after letting everyone know they were expecting their first. And my very ill Uncle Francis passed away Monday after a tough battle with cancer. I hope things start to calm down soon. All the family drama can get to be a bit much. You pray for all and be sympathetic, but try not to dwell on the negative too much.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Post-op appt

This warm sunny morning, I drove down to West Chester for my post-op appointment. By now, the left shoulder pain is pretty well just flares up at night for a couple of hours. My port site is still sore, even more so today when I tried to get up at 3 am and pee and the cat was between my legs in bed. Trying to maneuver around so I don't disturb the cat (really), I felt like I pulled every stitch near my port. And then the cat gets up anway. Really, what did I expect?

I have lost 14 lbs so far and the nurse seemed very pleased. My incisions were very well healed and everything looked good. She cautioned me not to be concerned if I gain a couple of lbs. before my first fill since there is no restriction at this point. She also wants me to eat until I feel full after I get on solid foods so she can guage how much saline to put in my band. I told her I have only been eating 4 - 6 oz of food at a time every 3-4 hours purposely to keep from getting hungry. I'm going to try like hell not to gain weight during this next 2 weeks. I've gained and lost the same 20-30 lbs so many times I'm tired of seeing the same numbers over and over again!

The drive back was great! First really warm day of the year so I could have the top down on the convertible and the wind in my hair and listen to some Kenny Chesney and I was happy as a clam! Until I had to be back at work at noon. So much for enjoying a nice sunny afternoon. These days, hardly any phone calls, all production personnel are gone by 11 am and there was only about 4 of us in the office the afternoon went very slow.

I've spent some time reading different forums recently and I have to say that in some ways it's really great to know there are people that live close by that are in the same boat you're in, but then again, there are a few people that post that you just want to blast. No real reason they're posting, all negative comments, ragging on physicians they have never met, criticizing people because their opinions and decisions differ from their own, and generally being a downer. Get a life and go away!

Looking forward to the weekend. It's supposed to be great weather, in the low 80's and sunny thru Monday! Tonight the plan is to relax around home and tidy up a bit, tomorrow the hubby and I are going to hang out and piss the day away...take the convertible, do some light shopping, have lunch at a little cafe' and try to get to where we decide to go without taking interstate or reading a map or using the GPS. Love those days. We have no particular plans for the whatever it brings should be good!

Monday, April 20, 2009

April 20th

Already Monday.....ugh. Seemed like no weekend at all. Friday night I went to the Grand Opening of the nearest Social Security office to support my sister-in-law, even though I wasn't feeling very well. Hubby said he would rather have a rectal exam than go, so I went right after work. He had a checkup anyway and would have been rushing to get back, so it was for the best. Saturday, Mom and I went to see my cousin, Jayne, in Carmel IN. She looked really good even though she said she had a tough week. She still has 4 1/4 months to go in chemo treatment, then when her white blood cell count is back up, she will have bypass.

Mom mostly talked to Jayne and I mostly spoke with her husband, which was fine, he is great and very intelligent, but not in a "I know everything" kind of way. I could tell when we verged on politics we weren't going to see eye to eye so I tried to stay away from the subject. We looked at wedding pics, both hers and mine. My hubby and I got married in 2005 and I still haven't ordered any enlargements...all I have are proofs. I guess when you get married in your early 40's it doesn't seem as important to have your wedding pic plastered on the wall. Jayne's been married since 1983. We were in each other's weddings and shared some great memories. My wedding was the only one she was ever in since she went off and spent 6 years in the Navy after high school when most of her friends were getting married. Even though she grew up in Michigan and I in Ohio, we really tried to remain close when we were growing up. She is truly such a wonderful person. It's really difficult to see her having to go through this and really it is just beginning for her.

My hubby went to his Mom & Dad's to plant potatoes, onions, etc. on Saturday with his brother and then went visiting friends for most of the day. We live about 30 miles from his hometown of Celina and we go there almost every weekend, sometimes multiple times, to visit. That's where most of this family lives and our really close friends. So during the week, it's pretty much just us and our cat. We live such a sheltered life during the week...we both work and live in the same town and really don't venture too far during the week.

I have to say the best days are the ones that are the least planned. Once in awhile we'll go to Celina, visit his folks, check on some friends and find nobody really has any plans that day and then all of the sudden all 4 couples are sitting in a local watering hole trying all the new beers out and then cooking out, or going to a restaurant or sitting by a fire and before you know it, it's about 1 am and we've been gone all day (with every intention of being home by 2pm). Love those days...

Yesterday the highlight of our day was driving down to Englewood and going to the massive Kroger's to see what different things we can find. Not too much fun when you're still on the mushies but a cool place none the less. I've had such a fierce pain in my left shoulder this weekend and really nursed the heating pad. Chewed on Gas-X and Motrin to try and take the edge off, but damn it can really throb. Short of standing on my head for a few days, I'm not sure what else I can do to get that gas out of my shoulder. The area around my port is still really tender and the steristrips are starting to peel away. I'm just tired of not feeling that great. Sorry....kind of grumpy.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hump day

Ahhh, the joy that the work week is half over. This week has creeped by way too slowly, probably because I still have that nagging pain under my "cap" of my shoulder (you can tell I'm not in the medical field I'll bet). The place where I "think" my port is, I say that because I can't feel it, is more sore than the rest, but definitely bearable. I'm still getting up 2 hours early for work to get the heating pad on my shoulder and warm up a little bit since I'm a little more sore and stiff in the mornings, but I feel pretty good considering. I've lost all my post-surgery weight so I know the swelling is subsiding. Yesterday, I had heartburn so bad during the latter part of the day and I don't know why. I didn't really eat much yesterday, but the gas and the chest pain were irritating to say the least.

Can't wait til Friday when I can finally have some "mushies". I told hubby that I'm going to have a couple of spoonfuls of mashed potatoes since that is what sounds so good right now. Getting pretty tired of the protein shakes and soup. I have to pick up a few groceries tonight so I'll enjoy getting a few new different things.

I lined up a massage tomorrow night on my shoulders to try and give that gas a little help finding it's way out. Saturday, I'm hoping my mom and I will be able to see my cousin in Indiana and see how she is getting along. I have to call her today and see if that works into her schedule.

Hubby and his brother are going to be putting out their mom's garden Saturday so it will be a good day to go if it works out.

The doc told me that he will do my first fill in 4 weeks which puts it at the first week of May. I'm not sure what to expect even though I've been reading the forums like crazy. Sounds like it is different for everyone.

Sis and I have alot of good things to look forward to. Her son is getting married this fall, and my goddaughter just got engaged this past weekend and is getting married sometime next spring. Both her and her hubby are going on a fishing trip with us this summer at a cabin in Wisconsin. Should be fun. Last year, we spent a week in Maine and LOVED it! What a trip! But can't do that every was an expensive vacation, but well worth it!

Better scoot, lots to do today...

Monday, April 13, 2009

It's OVER!!!

Let's is Monday. Had surgery on Friday morning at 7:30 am. Everything went very well and Dr. Watkins seemed to be very pleased. Apparently, I also had a hiatal hernia that he repaired while inserting and positioning the band. I was in recovery by 8:30, and leaving for home by 10:30 am. Home by 11:45 am. Amazing. The ride home wasn't even bad.

Friday I was very nausea (they did a wonderful job keeping that in control), only tenderness at the incisions but even then it was minor due to the numbing medication they used during the procedure. I was up and down every couple of hours since anesthesia makes me really drowsy. Dr. Watkins called around 5pm on friday to check up on me and hubby told him everything was good. I can't say enough good things about Dr. Watkins and University Pointe Surgical Hospital for their professionalism and care. What a great group of people. Hubby was impressed too. Very attentive, I met with everyone on the surgical team and post-op was a breeze. I don't know why I had anxiety over it. Even the needle in the hand wasn't bad.

Now - on to Saturday....oh Mother!!!! I have to tell you, for about 10-12 hours there I was absolutely miserable. One of the possible side effects of the surgery is gas pains and referred pain in the shoulder area. I got it in spades. Both shoulders, neck, upper chest. Wow. I told hubby it only hurts when I breathe and when I swallow. What a relief when I could actually fart! That took a few hours, but when it finally came I could rival any that my husband could dish out!

The hospital called Saturday night to check on me and by that time I felt much better, just the referred pain in the shoulders. I pretty much had a heating pad on my shoulders all weekend since the throbbing could really get bad. The loritab elixir didn't really do anything for the pain, so I switched to Motrin this morning and it's much better.

Sunday and today are better yet. Still shoulder pain, tenderness at the incisions as expected, but much better than Saturday. I came back to work today and just took my time getting ready to get the stiffness out. Not bad at all.

If it wasn't for the shoulder pain, I would say that the pain from the actual procedure is very minor. It's a little uncomfortable getting in and out of bed, but hey, I've got 5 slits in my abdomen, what do you expect?

I'm on liquids for another week until I progress to mushy/soft foods for 2 weeks. But in all honesty, you don't feel much like eating at this point. Although my stomach seems to be making all kinds of noises these days. It's amazing how you can gain 6 1/2 lbs in a single day from surgery. Hopefully, the swelling and the pains will subside in a few days and that will come off. I'm going to try and keep my caloric intake around 900-1000 calories this week and keep my protein up to heal properly and not gain anything while I'm recooperating. But I'm very pleased with the surgery and at this point and so glad the worst is over.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Day before surgery

Been reading different blogs today, getting recipes, reviewing pre-op notes and making a list of things to bring. My procedure is outpatient and I'm the first of the day so I should be home early afternoon. We just have to get up around 4 am to drive to the hospital...ugh! The whole pre-op liquid diet thing hasn't been bad. I won't say I would want to do it again, but it's tolerable. The protein shakes help...more so than broth or soup, and the sugar-free popsicles help to take the edge off. If I got hungry, I just got busy. Hubby and I would go to the "Y", or walk around the park. It helps to exercise the stomach when you're hungry, then you don't feel like eating! In all honesty, I just want to get the surgery over and done with and begin the journey.

Sis went in for a follow up this morning and said she felt like she went back to work too early. The doc gave her hell. She also got to start soft foods and had cottage cheese and said it felt like a 5-course meal. With no restriction, hmmmm, she must be pretty swollen. Her first fill is scheduled for April 29th, so she has something to look forward to.

Easter is Sunday, and both the hubby and my family is having get-togethers. We'll try to go to my side if I feel okay...only because they are closer and it would be easy to leave if I need to.

I guess my only concern for the surgery at this point is the anesthesia...I don't tolerate it particularly well. Then there is the stick in the hand that usually sets me off. Yes, I'm a candy ass when it comes to the poke in the hand. I can give blood like nobody's business, but stick me in the hand and I'm likely to go into orbit. I keep telling myself...mind over matter. Seems like it doesn't quite work when there is pain involved. Food - no problem, pain - give me drugs.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Lazy Sunday...

Hubby and I are relaxing today, just doing laundry, maintenance on the hot tub, reading the papers, TV, catching up with my sis, watching Y&R...all the mundane things that help keep life on an even keel.

Friday night was fun, Paul Thorn was great (as always). Saturday night, spent some time with friends at their house, them eating chili while we watched the Final 4 games of March Madness. Go Michigan State! Wow, did I say that? Some die-hard Buckeyes hate all things Michigan, but hey, General Mills ain't General Motors, and Michigan State ain't UM. Like their coach, intense, well respected. You go Izzo!

Sis called me today...feeling much better! The band seems to be a little tight in the morning for her. She can only sip, and she says jello absolutely fills her up. I told her about the Unjury powder, so it sounds like she might try it. It's a life saver for me!

I feel like I'm in the final stretch. I continue to lose little by little, so the doc should be happy with me on that front. And if you don't count the small bits of chicken in cream of chicken soup as cheating, I haven't cheated at all on the liquid diet.

This week should fly by. The person that works with me is off on vacation tomorrow and quite possibly Tuesday, so doing 2 jobs keeps me way too busy, but the time goes fast and I won't be able to even think about my stomach, so it will be good.

Sis and I are dreaming of the day when we can power shop together for some "fun" clothes. Seems like we've both been wearing clothes that our Mom would wear for years. Time to wear something more fun and feel good about it. We are both so ready to shine! Her son will be getting married, most likely sometime this fall or winter, so there is alot to look forward to.

I've told a few close friends I'm having the surgery. They understand. I'm so much happier when I feel like I look like everybody else and blend in. You know how when you go to a wedding and everybody's dancing, but you don't want to because you think 'I don't want everybody looking at me, or don't want all the blubber to be moving around long after you stopped moving'. Some situations I would rather do without. And frankly, I'm getting to the point where I'd rather dance. Motivation is not an issue for me at this point. I'm there. Just want to get the operation over with and move on. Next!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Ready for the weekend...

Boy am I antsy to get this week over. Busy, busy, busy. Sis called last night and let me know that maybe I should re-think the whole idea of going back to work on Monday after having surgery on Friday. She is experiencing a great deal of pain the last 2 days. Since she has had previous laparoscopic surgeries, the scar tissue was an issue that may be causing her discomfort. (I'd like to think I'm tougher than her, but I won't go there). I'll see how it goes over Easter weekend.

I'm kind of excited for tonight. We have a dozen people coming over for a "cocktail hour" before we all go see Paul Thorn at Canal Street Tavern ( A couple of us have seen him a few times and it's always fun. He's got that great singer/songwriter thing going on, yet to hit it big, but able to make a living at it. Really enjoy his music. Kind of like a hidden treasure.

One more week to go before surgery. I have to say it hasn't been that bad on the whole liquid diet phase. And it's kind of nice to have a little more room in some of my clothes.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fool's Day

Today is Wednesday and I've been on the totally liquid diet now for 6 days. The first two were a struggle, but after that...not too bad actually. After a couple of days of Atkins shakes, Carnation instant breakfast (yuck), and cream of chicken soup, I started to "doctor" up my Atkins shakes with a little chocolate Unjury protein powder (it truly is the best tasting - and a small amount of 1% milk in a shaker. Yum! 280 calories, but very satisfying and approx. 37-38 grams of protein. Two of these babies and I've got my protein in the for day!

My husband (the foodie, supporter, nurturer, and #1 fan) took it upon himself to make me a homemade beef broth over a 2 day period. It was finally ready to his satisfaction for dinner last night and I must admit it's quite a hit. Kind of like a more liquid beef stroganoff gravy with a bit a heat. He joked that he probably wouldn't be able to duplicate it, but I have to admit it is really good. Not that he ever makes anything the same way twice! He is the "cook" in our family and a very good one at that.

My sister had her band surgery yesterday and she called my last night. Said she had no pain, and really felt good about the surgery. I little hiccup due to scar tissue from previous laparoscopies but not really a big deal. March 31st will be more than just our mom's birthday, it will be the beginning of the rest of her life. It is so wonderful to be doing this together.

My doc wants me to keep my caloric intake around 800 calories prior to the surgery in order to lose weight before surgery. So far, I've lost around 10 lbs. Not too bad!

I received a call from my cousin yesterday that I've been trying to visit, and we had a great chat. She is 47, and only just recently found out that she has colon cancer and a heart defect along with cardiomyopathy. She lives about 2 1/2 hours from me, and we don't see each other that often, but she really has been my closest cousin. She has the best attitude, a very strong faith, and is someone who will make anyone who comes in contact with her happy to just be around her. You can't help but love this girl! I really hope everything works out for her. Their family is in quite a turmoil right now with her cancer and her father's colon cancer also. None of her family live close to each other, so the logistics are difficult. She must undergo chemo for 6 months and eventually sounds like she will need a bypass. Being only 3 years older than me, that really hits home.

Sunday was a bit of a test this past weekend when we went to a 1 year old's birthday party. Complete with pizza, cupcakes, etc. Not a place you want to be for hours on end. I just keep thinking the results are going to be worth it!