Gastric Bypass

DietMy aunt recently posted a link on Facebook to a blog posting she had found entitled “Fibromyalgia to Pain Free!”

I’ve heard it said many times that people have found success in changing their diets, which has ultimately led to changing their lives, after suffering with debilitating Fibro & other such ailments.

Food definitely plays as a huge factor in contributing to pretty well all health problems &, if you have the self control needed to completely change your diet & make it a permanent lifestyle, then that’s great!

For me however, I’m a “Foodie”. I love food. It’s an addiction & a vice. It’s my comfort, my reward, my punishment & more all rolled in to one.

I went through major surgery (the gastric bypass) to try & change my life with food & it worked… for 3 years… then old triggers set in, & although I can still only consume small portions, I started to snack on things that aren’t healthy choices & slowly gained back a chunk of my weight.

anti-inflammatory-foodsIf I could just stop & be healthy, I would! but it’s the root of my issues (or rather feels like the glue that holds me together regardless of whether things are going good or rough in life). I don’t seem to have the mental strength to just give it all up.

I was able to quit smoking (5 years smoke free this August!) but the body NEEDS to eat to survive & I find dealing with food problems far worse than giving up smoking. I’ve sought counseling to help with this a few times since my surgery because I know that the issue goes beyond the food. It’s those issues that lead me to it & which cause me to feel powerless against being able to gain the necessary control over it so that I can continuously make the right choices regarding it so that I can gain back my health, re lose the weight & perhaps even experience life, once again, pain free.

Unfortunately, thus far it’s been without much success. In a lot of ways I suppose I’ve come to a place in my life currently where it all just seems so overwhelming & too daunting a task to take on. But, I do hold out hope that perhaps, in time, I will find the inner strength needed to do this.

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Shamrock Shake

I just love the McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes that are only available in March.

Unfortunately, they are so FULL of sugar that after only a few sips of one it literally makes me sick. However, a week or two ago I stumbled upon a recipe from The World According to Eggface for making a much healthier, weight loss surgery friendly, version. So, while I was out doing some grocery shopping yesterday, I picked up the necessary ingredients & made my own slightly modified version of hers….

I’m typically not a fan of any protein drinks or powders but this turned out pure AWESOME &, if you like Shamrock Shakes but not all the sugar & calories that are in the McDonald’s version, then this, my friend, is for you!


Ingredients You’ll Need:

* 1 Cup. Very Vanilla Silk Brand Soy Milk (definitely my favorite brand & version on the market)
* 1 scoop of Vanilla Protein Powder (I used Pure Protein’s Vanilla Cream Powder)
* 1 1/2 Tablespoons Sugar Free Vanilla Torani or Davinci Syrup
* A few drops of Peppermint Extract
* A few drops of Green Food Coloring
* 8 Ice Cubes (if you want it to be nice & thick like the actual Shamrock Shakes are)
* Optional: A small dollop of Fat Free or Sugar Free Whipped Cream on top.

What To Do:

* Blend on high till desired consistency is reached, then pour into a tall glass & enjoy!


Oh, FYI… Here’s the nutrition info for just the small 12oz McDonald”s version:

(click the image to enlarge for easier reading)McDonalds Shamrock Shake Nutrition Info

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Some times things change in a moments notice & there’s nothing you can do but just sit back, try to relax, & accept the path you’ve been abruptly dropped on.

Of course my recent experience is not nearly as traumatic as many whom have been affected by a statement such as that above, but this is my personal lil story:

About 2 weeks ago I awoke one morning to our dog Orly whining to go out at about 7:30am. I jumped up out of a sound sleep and quickly let the two dogs out for bit.

As I stood at the back door waiting for them to do their business I became acutely aware of an increasing pain in my upper belly. It felt at first like a cramping sort of feeling & I thought maybe a lil snack & a drink well I waited for the dogs would help. So I went off to the kitchen, had a granola bar & a few sips of juice then got the dogs back in & went back to bed.

Laying in bed I curled up in a fetal position, the pain progressively intensifying. I started visualizing the call I was going to make to Roy at work if it didn’t soon stop & it hurt more to even whimper. I feared I wasn’t even going to be able to explain to him what the issue was if the pain got any worse but thankfully it slowly started to disappear once again & I drifted back to sleep.

Then there was nothing, until a week later which just so happened to be last Tuesday. I’d had a relatively uneventful day at home & when Roy got home from work he stayed with the girls, who were napping, & I ran out to the grocery store to stock up on some things we needed.

When I returned home about an hour and a half later I could feel this cramping sort of pain returning. I put the groceries away, sat down for a lil while, then went off to make dinner for everyone.

Slowly the pain worsened.

By the time I’d finished making dinner and had sat down to my own plate I could barely touch it. I just picked at it for a while whimpering to Roy about my dilema & waited for the girls to finish up then managed to shower Alanna since I’d given Brooklynn one just the night before then left them to play for a little while before bed.

I sat back down to attempt to finish my dinner & the pain started to then become agonizing so I decided to try laying in a fetal position on the bed as I had done the week before hoping it would just pass like the last time & thinking it felt oddly familiar to the gallbladder attacks I had been experiencing earlier in the year, before it’s removal in late February.

After laying on the bed for a while Roy came to find me & suggested that if I was in this much pain maybe I should consider going to the ER.

For most people this might be an easy decision but it’s something I always struggle with. I know that a typical ER trip lasts hours & it was already after 9pm by this time. The following day was also the girls first day back to school & I didn’t want to go to the ER get stuck there for hours, get told it was nothing major, be sent home in the middle of the night & then end up having Roy wake up the girls, load them into the van, pick me up, load them back into their beds & then expect them to get up for a full day of Preschool, after all summer off, with an interupted night of sleep.

I also didn’t want to have to find someone willing to come in & babysit on only a moments notice for half the night while Roy stayed with me. So, after much agonizing concideration I finally decided that if Roy & the girls could just drop me off so I could at least make sure it was nothing serious then I would take a Taxi home when I finally got released so that I didn’t have to disrupt the girls or anyone else.

Yes, I think of all these things despite being in severe pain & my worries are almost immobilizing. I am just so grateful that this time (unlike a major gallbladder attack I had back in January) Roy was actually here to stay with the girls so I could seek immediate medical help.

Around 2 or 3am, after some lab work & a CT Scan, the ER Doctor decided I had a bowel obstruction & admitted me telling me there was a possibility I may need a tube down my nose or possible surgery.

Moments after updating my Facebook status to keep Roy & my now concerned family members in Canada, all in the loop, the nurse (who had already blown a vein in my arm while roughly trying to insert my IV) returned to announce she was going to be shoving the dreaded tube down my nose also.

I. Freaked. Out…. Completely!

Not just because she was “rough” but I had already had a previous nose tube experience after waking from my Gastric Bypass surgery back in 2009 & I knew it was far from pleasant. The difference however is that in my previous experience I was unconscious from surgery when they inserted the tube & this time I was wide awake. I begged her for some sort of throat numbing spray or sedation of some sort & she just shook her head no. So like any other mature adult I broke down & bawled like a baby.


She left for a while as I tried to compose myself, frantically Facebooking an update of my impending trauma that was about to ensue.

When she returned with a second nurse she produced a bottle of throat numbing spray & told me she could in fact numb my throat for me a little bit. So she gave it a spray & both nurses moved around me until I had one on each side. They then produced the long tube & a cup of water with a straw telling me the best thing I could to was swallow when they told me to in order to help it go down.

The rough nurse held the tube, while the other held the cup with the straw in my mouth & each of them put a hand on the back of my head holding it so my chin was against my chest & then the rough nurse with the tube began shoving it home while they both barked at me to swallow.

I did. Frantically! Up until the tube began clogging my throat making swallowing nearly impossible. They just kept barking the order at me while I spewed water everywhere exasperatedly trying to explain that I couldn’t!

Finally the tube bottomed out once it hit my lil stomach pouch & they backed off to test & make sure by pumping a syringe of water into it causing me to belch as my lil pouch suddenly filled with a blast of air & water. I was horrified, humiliated & definitely a bit traumatized fearing what the night with this thing was going to be like.

Around 4am I finally got taken up to my bed on one of the upper floors where I got very little sleep for the next night & following day. I think the tube was only in for that one night (it’s all a bit of a blur now) but it turned out to be a waist of time since it didn’t do anything they’d hoped & the Xray which I had the following day showed there was no blockage there. So they weren’t sure if it had somehow passed or if there was another issue we were dealing with.

Apparently some of my laps were showing elevated levels such as in my liver & after my assigned Doctor & hospital surgeon consulted with one another they decided what I might actually have is a left over stone in my Bile Duct left over from my Gallbladder removal. They ordered some sort of special MRI to be done on my belly, which ended up taking a day & a half for me to get in for & I’ve since been waiting over a day just for the results of it.

If it is a stone then I will aparently need surgery but because of my Gastric Bypass they will not be able to go in through my mouth like they normally would & the surgeon here is claiming it can’t be done Laproscopically either so I’m possibly looking at major surgery which means a big(ish) scar & a lengthy recovery. Not to mention all the added risks that go along with it.

I’m considering contacting my Gastric Bypass surgeon if it is indeed a stone because he knows exactly what’s going on with my insides & he is a professional at the Laproscopic surgeries so he might be able to do it that way for me. That would however mean having to go 3 hours away for it to be done.

Ideally I hope it’s not a stone at all but the question then is; what is it?

I’m still experiencing pain although not as severe as Tuesday night & I know my body well enough to know that what I’ve been feeling is definitely not normal for me. So I’m also a lil afraid of just being sent home if it shows nothing because they don’t know what to tell me & then find myself back here in another week or two when it reoccurs as severely once again.

Tomorrow I hope to have answers… but it may take till Monday since not a whole lot tends to happen on the weekend.

Fortunately, Roy’s chain of command gave him the immediate time off he’s required in order to take care of the girls while I’ve been holed up here for the past 5 nights & all without forcing him to take any personal leave for it. If I do require surgery they will also get him on a longer term family medical leave in order to get us through it.

I’m saddened however, to of missed the girls first day back at preschool but thankfully, Roy took pictures for me & the girls have thoroughly enjoyed their time back.

I am extremely grateful for my wonderful MOPS group & Roy’s squadron spouses group who together have come together to create a meal sign up & have been bringing wonderful home cooked meals over to Roy & the girls in my absence. I feel truly touched & blessed by their support during this time & I know Roy & the girls are truly grateful for it too.

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It’s now been a lil over 18 months since my Gastric Bypass surgery & for the most part I think I’m about done with the weight loss.

I’ve been on an extremely long plateau for over 2 months now fluctuating between 154 & 149 lbs. My ultimate goal is to be around 135 lbs but I have a suspicion I won’t see that until after my plastic surgeries to have all this excess skin removed & I have a LOT of it, let me tell you!

It may be TMI for some but I’m going to be graphic & honest for those who really do want to know for an idea of what they might face during their own weight loss journey but for those who are less interested just skip ahead a paragraph or two… or maybe just skip this entire post all together.

Basically, I used to have DD “tatta’s” that have now turned into deflated, pancake like, barely C’s. My inner thighs are saggy & wrinkly & resemble what I’ll probably look like at 80… except I’m 28…. and my tummy has so much excess skin hanging off of it that it litterally flaps when I try to run… as do the “tatta’s” if they aren’t confined. Then there’s my under arms which flap around too & make me look like I have wings & am about ready to take off.

Soooo…. that’s the reality of the situation. Thank God my clothes make me look better!

Losing 130 lbs of weight that has severely stretched the skin is just bound to have this type of effect so I do get it, but it’s also sort of disapointing in a sense trading in one unattractive figure for another. I really wish I didn’t have to go through yet more surgeries just to get to a normal looking figure for my age that doesn’t flap around all over the place or have to be rolled up & tucked away under my clothes.

Despite all that, I do feel quite proud of how far I’ve come & I feel sooooo much healthier too. Sure, I still have some insecurities caused by the excess skin that make more intimate moments embarrassing, but I find comfort knowing that Roy doesn’t scrutinize my flabby skin the way I do. He sees the attractive woman I truly am even if I don’t yet & is able to see past all the skin, thank God.

Regarding intimacy as well is the fact that I no longer feel like a beached whale upon our bed that can barely participate while my husband tries to navigate the rolls. I now feel like an active participant that is truly able to enjoy what’s going on instead of spending the entire time wishing I’d remembered to turn the lights off or that the bed would just open up and consume me whole so I could disappear & no longer feel like an utter failure as a woman. Yes, that is the thought process of an almost 300 lb woman.

The plastic surgeries I plan to have are on the back burner for now due to the fact Roy & I are trying to conceive. I know a pregnancy will cause weight gain & I don’t want to waste my insurance paid tummy tuck only to get pregnant & stretch it all back out again right after. I’m also not sure how well breastfeeding will go with implants so I’m putting that off until after as well. So, since I’m putting those off I figured I might as well wait to do the arms & thighs too.

In other news, I got myself a sweet deal on an Elliptical from Craigslist. Someone in town was selling their Pro Form 820 for just $75 in order to clear space in their garage. So I now have this beauty parked in our living room where I can spend time on it while watching The Biggest Loser… or whatever else while getting a beneficial but low impact workout.

I’m not intending to use it to actually lose any weight at this point. It’s more an effort to increase my heart rate a bit each day & to stay healthy. I’m also hoping to gain a little muscle toning in my arms & legs because another side effect of my Gastric Bypass is the fact that my body now eats away at the muscle too & not just my fat.

I used to have some pretty good upper body strength & now have virtually none.

I’m still not great at doing the protein drinks but I do try to keep a good focus on my meat intake each day. I love shrimp & tend to eat them a lot. Red meat I also love but it sits like a lead weight & I can’t consume enough of it to be truly beneficial so what we have been doing a lot, as of late, is making beef jerky which I can eat like candy… seriously!

Every once in a while I’ll make myself a protein drink too, usually dressed up as a coffee of some sort by using Click or by turning it into a delicious Tiramisu Smoothie.

My portion sizes are still quite small. Of course I can eat a little more of certain textures than I can of others but it really takes very little to fill me up even 18 months out.

I do still eat sweets as well. I didn’t have the surgery to deprive myself of the things I love. I did it to force myself to relearn moderation & portion control.

Many people are unable to consume much in the way of sweets after gastric bypass & even my own ability is sort of touch & go. One day I can handle it just fine & the next I could eat the exact same thing & become very ill (which in the Gastric Bypass Community we refer to as “Dumping).

Thus far, all my labs have been good. It’s a challenge but I have an array of vitamins I have to take each day:

It starts with 2 multi vitamins each morning, as well as vitamin D (because I have a deficiency which I’ve had since before my Gastric Bypass).

Throughout the day I’m supposed to take 1000mg of Calcium & I struggle with remembering this one a lot because I have to take 4 of them each day & it can’t be all at once due to the fact my body can’t absorb them all at once.

Then, before bed, I take 60mg of Iron which comes in a chewy chocolate raspberry bite from Bariatric Advantage that is awesome.

Lastly, I also take a B12 sublinqual tablet (which melts under the tongue) once a week & I will have to take all of these for the rest of my life in order to get the nutrition my body needs since I can no longer absorb it all from foods.

In the end do I feel it’s all worth it?…. Absolutely!

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I know, I know… I just posted a progress pic not that long ago. However, I took new pics the other night hoping for some better quality ones then what I used for my last progress pic & wearing the same shirt that I started out this whole photo documentation of my weight loss journey in.

I was so impressed with the various side by side comparisons that I wanted to make sure they’re posted here as an exciting documentation of my progress for others to see & perhaps even gain inspiration from if they too are contemplating having Gastric Bypass Surgery.

I am still struggling with believing that I’m really this small now & with clothes off I feel like I look like I always did in the front due to all the lose skin. I will be so happy when I finally have it removed & truly have a flat belly for the first time ever.

Currently I have exactly 20 lbs left to meet my goal of 135 lbs & am down 127 lbs total.

I’m doing well with eating & getting in my fluids & I finally found a protein powder I can stand the taste of. It’s called Click & it’s amazing! It tastes just like having a hot or cold Mocha or French Vanilla Latte since it can be made either way & comes in either flavor. I’ve seen one of the blogs I follow post about it a lot, but never actually got around to buying it until now. Right away I started noticing pounds coming off just a lil bit faster then they have been. I really don’t drink it too often either but it’s definitely an improvement for my protein intake since I’ve failed terribly thus far at drinking the other nasty protein drinks more than on the very rare occasion.

I have also  been experiencing some random but excruciating upper tummy pain that’s located right in the center of my tummy below my sternum I guess it’s called & between my ribs. The doctors aren’t sure what it is just yet but don’t think it’s my gallbladder. They’ve ran some blood work & I’m going for an ultrasound of it later this morning. In the mean time I was put on Nexium because it’s suspected to be some sort of GI track issue & the Nexium will help coat & protect it hopefully reducing the episodes of pain.

The pain doesn’t happen very often but when it does it’s absolute awful & debilitating. The last one I had lasted over an hour & was so intense I could hardly walk, talk or breath & I had to pick the girls up from school & mail some packages to Roy at the post office throughout it all. I literally thought I was going to collapse while at the post office & was having visions of them calling me an ambulance & not knowing what would happen to the girls if that happened. It was pretty scary!

So anyways, I just hope they figure it out with this ultrasound & can get me on the road to recovery quickly so I don’t have to experience this any more.

Apparently, while I was at the doctors to discuss the pain, my blood pressure was found to be extremely low. They checked it a number of times with various cuffs & different equipment but it stayed low with each one. I don’t know why, but did mention (as I’ve also told them a number of times previously) that I do experience dizziness quite often & have been told my heart rate is quite slow.

This doctor always tries to tell me it’s just lack of enough fluids so once again she decided to run labs to check my electrolyte levels & I guess I’ll know more regarding that sometime soon, however nothing more was done about it.

So between the low blood pressure, slow heart rate, frequent dizziness, random excruciating tummy pain, and chronic pack pain that often sends nerve pain throughout other areas of my body, & getting sick with nasty colds 3 times in the last month and a half, I feel like one big mess. I look a whole lot better than I did 16 months ago sure, but I’m falling apart!

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Jody’s Weight Loss Progress
July 2014
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