1 Year and 2 Months After Surgery

Sorry it has been so long since my last post. As it so often happens, life gets busy and time really flies fast!

It is now just past a year since my surgery on May 12th, 2016 and I have lost a total of 181 pounds! At first the pounds really shed away like hair off of a cat in summer. It has slowed now to about 5 pounds a month. Which is fine with me as long as I am still losing weight. I also don’t exercise every day (maybe only once a week at the most) so I would lose weight faster if I did it more often. I also still have my occasional junk food like mac and cheese, chips and fries. Don’t get me wrong, I also eat salad regularly as well as fruit, dairy, meat and occasional vegetables (admittedly, vegetables are my least favorite food group). I just eat a lot less of the bad foods. Like when I eat mac and cheese, just one of those little microwave cups of mac and cheese is perfect for a meal. Right now I am eating a bagel with some cream cheese (which I only do about twice a week). I usually just eat half of the bagel, but sometimes I can eat the whole bagel if space it out over an hour. My apologies to all the vegetarians and vegans out there, but I have been craving meat daily since the surgery. I crave it every day. I feel like such a carnivore! I usually eat chicken and sometimes my favorite – beef. I bake chicken wings (not fried) in the oven and they are delicious! For beef I usually do meatballs or beef fajita strips heated up with various seasonings. Protein is very important in my diet and something that all of my doctors insisted that I make sure that I get enough of after the surgery. No problem there!

Now here is the key to eating after a gastric bypass – eat slowly. ALWAYS eat slowly. It takes 7 minutes for food to reach your stomach. With a smaller stomach, it doesn’t take long before it is full so if you eat quickly, your stomach will be full before all of the food has reached it. I am sure you can imagine what happens when your stomach is full and more food tries to enter it. Not a pretty picture. You also have to be careful with drinking liquids when eating. Liquid will fill up your stomach very quickly. Doctors suggest drinking before you eat, then again after you are done eating and no longer full. What I usually do is drink before eating and take little sips of water during my meal. I do mean a sip. Just enough to help wash down the food and wet my mouth.

Healthwise, my blood pressure has been around 140/90 for months now. I feel fine. I am still not taking any blood pressure medicine (I had to take it for 20 years before I had the surgery) and so far none of my doctors are concerned – just as long as it doesn’t go any higher. My cholesterol did go back up to what it was before the surgery, but lately it has been going back down. It is common when losing a lot of weight fast for your vitals to go crazy. Up, down and sideways lol. Up until recently, I had still been taking the full amount of cholesterol medicine that I have been taking for years. However, a few months ago, my primary care physician decided that my cholesterol was doing well enough to try cutting my cholesterol medicine in half. So for five months now, I have been taking half the dosage of my cholesterol medicine. Next month when I see my doctor again, I will find out how my cholesterol is doing on the half dosage.

Before surgery, I weighed 419 pounds and my kidneys were having problems. They were operating at 55% and my blood was highly acidic. I started to see a Nephrologist. She put me on Sodium Bicarbonate pills and I have been seeing her since my surgery. I was also instructed to drink more water and eat more vegetables. Slowly as time went by, my kidneys got better. Each time I went back, they were better and better and the acidity levels in my blood were getting lower. I recently visited my Nephrologist earlier this month and my kidneys are now at 95% capacity. Unfortunately, my blood acid levels are up again. So she put me on a higher strength Sodium Bicarbonate and told me once again that I need to eat more vegetables. Sigh…my downfall – veggies. So I am trying to find a way to incorporate more vegetables into my diet since I am not a fan. I do like corn and cauliflower, so I am adding those to my diet. It’s a start. I have been eating a salad with lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers about 3 times a week – but I need to eat vegetables every day.

Other than that, I have been doing great! I have more energy and can get so much more done in the day. Lol the only downside to having more energy is trying to sleep. I have asked my primary care physician to prescribe me a light sleeping pill to help me sleep at night. Without it, I wouldn’t fall asleep until the sun came up. But now I can fall asleep soon after taking the pill. Only problem is that most nights I only get 6 to 7 hours of sleep before I am wide awake again. I am such a light sleeper – always have been. So I wake up every time one of my dogs bark or I have to turn over. Hoping this will change someday. Oh I forgot to mention that I no longer use the CPAP machine as I no longer have sleep apnea! I may not be able to sleep past 7 hours most nights, but the quality of sleep is very good. It is so nice to no longer have to sleep with the CPAP machine! One of the things that the sleep study experts do is measure your neck. They said that the thicker the neck, the more likelihood of having sleep apnea. After measuring my neck, the nurse said mine was now a normal size and that I could try sleeping without the CPAP machine to see how I did. I have been CPAP free for 6 months now and feel refreshed in the morning (depending on how many hours of sleep I get – 7 hours of sleep and I feel really good).

Here is a “before and after” photo of me. Before surgery and 1 year after surgery. Yes I did edit out a person just for privacy reasons. 🙂
In the second photo, I am relaxed – no I am not sucking in my tummy as so many people do in their “after” photos. I wanted an accurate photo for my weight loss journey.

So just past 1 year out and doing great other than a few hiccups. I am sure those wrinkles will also be ironed out in time. Though I am starting to get the skin folds that so many people get after losing a great amount of weight. The fat goes away but the skin (when stretched out as far as it does when weighing 419 pounds) does not shrink back very far. I suspect that one day I may have to do another surgery to get rid of the extra skin, but I will cross that bridge when I get to it. I figure I won’t worry about that until after I reach my goal weight of 150 pounds. I currently weigh 238 pounds – so only 88 more pounds to go! I might even go past my goal weight….we shall see. Gosh…only 88 more pounds. That is such a great feeling!