**For Part 1 go here : http://sonofstallis.com/2015/03/13/gastric-sleeve-the-lead-up/ **
I went into surgery that morning weighing 326lbs.
The surgery itself only takes about 20 or so minutes. All done laparoscopic and I have 5 minor cuts in my abdomen. No catheter needed since it’s quick. Just an IV drip and a needle that you can barely feel in the stomach. Then they wheel you off into the room, on goes the mask, and lights out.
Now I don’t pull punches, and I tell everything from my point of view so don’t freak out at this next part.
I woke up in the recovery room and I was screaming in pain. From the second I became somewhat conscience, I was screaming and asking for pain meds. I was still pretty much out of it and never even opened my eyes, but it felt like .. well.. like they just ripped out 75% of my stomach out. I heard the nurse say she was giving me drugs, but could only give me so much so it was still safe for me. I would guess this went on for about 5 minutes, and at some point I must have had my fill of drugs and passed out again. This by the way would be the worst of my pain.
Next time I woke up, I was in my room and I was still pretty much out of it. This time not in as much pain as before. They wanted me to have an ice chip here and there to get some fluid into me. It felt good to have some moisture in my mouth finally because my whole mouth and throat was so dry. I would stay awake for maybe a few minutes here and there, but overall for the next 16 hours I slept. The nurses would come in from time to time, fill me up with more drugs, check vitals, and pretty much let me sleep. Finally at some point I had to pee, and when it came to getting up I needed help because my stomach hurt when trying to sit up on my own. They wanted me to walk around because basically you are filled up with air, and you in so many words… you need to fart.
For dinner they brought jello and water for me, but I honestly didn’t even want to look at it. I did have water here and there but no way in hell was I hungry and wanted to put any food down my gullet. I slept some more and early the next morning I needed to pee more frequently because I was drinking a lot more. I started getting up on my own with a little pain, and was walking around just fine by the morning. I was all set to go home now. Before I left, I had some vegetable broth which was pretty good and more water.
Parents picked me up and the ride home wasn’t too pleasant. Sitting up front in the upright position was pretty painful, so I was really happy when we made it home so I could lie down once again. You are not able to take any kind of pills for a few weeks, so for pain they gave me liquid Oxycotin and liquid Mapap. Combine the two together and it’s pretty much like percocet. I have to tell you, it worked like a charm, didn’t taste bad, and REALLY made me kinda loopy. But I also know how addicting the stuff is, so after the 3rd day I stopped taking the pain meds almost completely. So at this point I knew the first week it was extremely important to keep myself hydrated. So with my tiny sips of water not cutting it, I ventured into jello. Jello and water were my friends for that week. That and my gummy vitamin each morning. Vitamins… very important. Back to Jello now. I could pretty much eat maybe 2 spoonfuls of jello and I was REALLY full. After a week of basically relaxing and drinking only water and having minimal amounts of jello… I went into the new week.
Now by the end of the first week I was able to get up just fine, minimal pain and felt overall pretty good. I honestly didn’t have my first shit until that Thursday night, which I was honestly glad because I hadn’t pooped since Sunday. I felt good enough by Sunday to drive and went out briefly just to get out of the house for a few hours. Mind you the only restrictions I had at this point was to not lift anything more then 10 pounds. I believe that is just so everything can continue to heal nicely.
Funny story, but something I should mention since I guess it generates a lot of calls to the doc. When you wake up and you look at your abdomen, the 5 openings will be covered by these bandages. Do NOT pull these off. I learned this lesson the hard way the first time I had gall bladder surgery, and left myself bigger scars then I needed. After showering and just daily shit you do.. they will fall off or be a point where they are barely hanging on and at that point you can take them off. If you do it too early, the scab isn’t healed and can leave a bigger scar there… just leave it on… trust me. So after about a week a few of them fell off. On my upper incision spot I noticed a white little thing. So I kinda fiddled with it a bit and lo and behold what do I see… It’s one of the suture strings sticking out of my incision. It’s kind of weird to look down and see string sticking out of you. Now because I am a dude, I decide to start playing with this thing. Give it a little tug here and there, and basically see if I can pull this thing out. I guess at some point while I am pulling on this little string, I think to myself “What if I yank this thing out and it opens up this huge incision?” I decided not to continue on with it and instead get a nail clippers and cut it down to right near the incision. Doc says that this happens all the time and actually is the main source of calls. I think they should tell you this.. but whatever. I cut it and to be honest… I can still feel it in there. They said it should dissolve in a few months so just be patient.
Monday comes around and it’s been a week so I figure…. what the hell. Let’s see how much I weigh for shits and giggles.
Holy shit! I lost 25 pounds in 7 days!
Now I do have a brain believe it or not and I could kinda figure out what’s going on here. This is what I figure. I assume maybe your stomach weighs about a pound, but because I didn’t have any sugar, no soda, no food, no really nothing for 7 days, all that water weight was coming off. Still… seeing a result like that gave me a lot of hope and made me happy.
So now I am in the second week and can move into phase two of my diet. Pureed foods and very soft stuff like pudding or yogurt. So this is the part of the story that I look back at and still wonder if I could have changed things. Given my schedule has always been really whacky, eating 3 meals a day at normal times or even eating 3 meals a day period I personally find challenging. I do know how important this is because previously I was eating once a day… maybe twice. The 6 months of preparation is supposed to get you ready for that. However, I tried to do it, but had a very difficult time. You have to understand I go to work at 9pm and have my breakfast around then, lunch at lets say 2am, then try to get a dinner or something in at probably around 8am when I got home. What I was doing was getting up, going to work, eat at 2am, go home and go to bed and rinse and repeat. Furthermore, on my days off, I went and did a first shift schedule so it totally throws the eating times off. This even to this very point I am writing this.. is still very very hard for me.
Ok so back to phase two of eating. I found myself eating a lot of yogurt. One small container would usually take me about 25 minutes to eat. I could eat a bite or two, and then have to stop and take a break. Even longer for pudding. After almost a week of that, I got bored, but I also realized I felt like I was eating more often because I wasn’t full. I finally figured it out why this was happening, but I will get to that in a minute. At the time I was eating a lot of yogurt, pudding, and jello. Couldn’t get myself full for long periods of time, just short. So I started looking elsewhere. In my head, I figured protein by some kind of meat or other things should probably be consumed to help with this. I went shopping and picked up string cheese, roast beef slices, crab meat, and black olives. Went back home and opened up the crab meat, looked at it and reminded myself I need to chew everything to a pulp and then swallow or bad things will happen. The crab tasted awesome and after a half of stick, I was full. Next up, I switched it around and had scrambled eggs. Let me get to something first however that is important.
One of the things they push is protein. It is the core of what you need, and getting enough of it is massively important for a long time. So like a lot of people that get this surgery, I bough the strawberry powder for low fat milk, and the no flavor one to put into things. I reallllly wanted to like the strawberry milkshake but while it didn’t taste bad, it sure as hell didn’t taste good either. I ended up finding out that the muscle milk with extra protein in it, with a chocolate taste was not bad. Ok… that’s good, now back to food. I decided to have some scrambled eggs and since my measurements were not that good, I put a full scoop of unflavored powder in with the eggs and low fat milk. It sure cooked alright… but chewing on the scrambled eggs was like having sand in the eggs and was very grainy. Small portions of protein powder should be added just for everyone’s FYI.
I went on to eat small portions of the roast beef, a spoonful of peanut butter, crab meat, yogurt, string cheese, and of course pudding. Now I would find out the next week at my doctors appointment I shouldn’t have been eating some of this, but let me kind of go into why I wasn’t feeling full, and what happens when you stuff yourself. These are important.
Let’s talk about the eating part. Everything has to be done in small amounts. Tiny bites and in reality, you need time between bites. So one day what happened was I was having some scrambled eggs. For some reason they tasted awesome, (only a small scoop of protein powder this time) and I kind of ate the whole thing. I think that was three eggs. Well after eating this, I didn’t feel too hot and also felt extremely stuffed, and in fact the worse part of it was, I swear to God, I could feel the scrambled eggs at the top of my throat. Like there was no more room for anything to go down. It was just stuck there. There is another feeling you get, and I will describe that later, but the two so far are very distinct. So anyone that reads this and either has just had the surgery or is thinking about doing it, make sure to take a minute in between bites. The second you feel full.. stop. Because any more after that, it backs up like a drain pipe during a flood and is not a pleasant feeling.
Ok, so lets talk about the next important thing. Why the hell was I eating so often and not full. I failed to do something and I didn’t even figure it out till later…. not drink with meals. They told me before this no drinking 30 min before, or 30 min after meals. This is hard to do for me. It’s almost natural for us to drink while we eat. I know the first few times I did not drink and I did wait, but old habits came back in. So basically I was flushing everything right out of me almost instantly. All that protein that would help you feel full was taken out and made me hungry quickly which meant eating more yogurts and stuff.
So two weeks goes by and I get on the scale again.
299….. hmmm. Step off the scale, back on the scale…. 299.
Now while I am elated to be under 300, I was like wtf. 2 effing pounds after eating just this little crap? Alright whatever, I will deal with it and at this point I went back to work.
Now for my job I sit at a desk, staring at screens, doing not much of anything besides taking calls and using the keyboard. I would say the first week back at work was a little bit uncomfortable for me. Sitting up for long periods like that would irritate me, so I took a break here and there and walked around to just change positions. I packed my lunch which consisted of yogurt, water, black olives and some tuna. The tuna was my main lunch. Take a can of tuna, put it in a container, add a few dollops of light miracle whip, a small teaspoon of relish…. viola! Good protein lunch.
So first day back at work I made it a mission to get back to walking. I went down to the gym and did just regular walking for an hour. Even with proper footwear, my feet killed me. But I kinda figured this was going to happen. Just keep up with it. It does get better over time.
So, another day goes by and I am back on the scale.
This went on for another 4 days. I honestly thought maybe the doc fucked up and didn’t cut off enough, or tighten it right, because I was stuck at 299 and no progress. In my head, I was eating next to nothing, and I was thinking I was going to be losing like 10 pounds a week. So here is my pro tip for anyone reading this. Weigh maybe every week or two weeks if you can be patient. Honestly, seeing myself stuck at 299 REALLY pissed me off and discouraged me. I thought I was doing something wrong, or I was fucking up, or this isn’t going to work, and I did this for nothing. I worried for nothing and it wasn’t good. So maybe give it a week or two before checking the scale.
On the 5th day I was 297.Might have only been two pounds, but hope was back and I was feeling better. Yes.. two pounds made me feel better.
So remember that other feeling when eating I mentioned earlier? Let’s talk about that for a minute.
My second week back at work I packed my lunch as normal. Tuna, cottage cheese, yogurt, and of course water. I usually eat (my breakfast) within the first hour of being at work. So around 10pm. Started off with the cottage cheese. FUN FACT and PRO TIP : When purchasing things from the store… check the label for expiration date. Opened up my cottage cheese and….
Did not smell good at all and looked even worse. Expired. No problem… got my tuna stuff I made. Opened that up… ugh.. it didn’t taste right and I couldn’t figure out why. So now I am down to just yogurt. I eat my yogurt and I’m good. Around comes 2am and lunch time for me. Well at work everyone is ordering Chinese food. Now I know I can’t eat pretty much anything, but they have those steamed dumplings there. My rational for ordering this was that inside was meat, and meat equals protein. So I order.
They come and they look fantastic. 6 little dumplings. I bite into one and OMFG SOOOOOO GOOOD!!! I let my brain stop thinking about my limits and have another one. The second one I could tell I was full.. but…. this is my first real encounter with real food. I take another. By the third one I am now feeling stuffed to a point that is not good. So here comes this second feeling. Foods like pasta and bread expand in your stomach. This might be ok with a normal stomach, but after this surgery, there isn’t much room to expand and it feels God awful.
I honestly couldn’t take it and I had to release this feeling. I went to the nearest bathroom and tried to puke. I tried for like 15 minutes to puke. I couldn’t. I HATE to puke and maybe it was my brain stopping my stomach from needing what had to be done, but I couldn’t do it. The next 3 hours was not fun. So whatever you do, at least until they tell you its ok, which wont be for at least a month, don’t have anything that can expand in your stomach because its freaking painful.
Ok so let’s wrap this up. Few more things.
So am I happy about what I did? Would I do it again? Yes. Overall pain was not too bad besides the first time I woke up in recovery. After that I felt really good except some minor discomfort. My own mistakes with the eating is the only thing that caused me any other discomfort and that’s also because I didn’t listen. Listen to the doc… it works.
It has been one month since I had the surgery… So what am I down too?
326 – 290 = 36 pounds in one month
Now according to the doc, this is a little bit above average. I personally think it’s because I didn’t stop my old eating and drinking habits before having the surgery, so afterwards my body went through a huge change and I lost a lot of weight. The ultimate goal would be to get down to 200. However, I will settle on 220. Still LOTS of work to do and a ways to go, but I have a good feeling about this. I will update my weight and anything else I learn in 6 months.
If anyone has any specific questions, I will answer them when you comment. Thank you for reading, and good luck to anyone that does this.