Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Post-Op Appointment, and Other Stuff

I have my post-op appointment today. I was lucky enough to be able to have my general physician do the appointment locally, which saved me 4 hours of car time. My surgeon is in Illinois and I really didn't want to have to go back there for such a quick appointment.
Everything checked out A-OK.
The problems I'm having with eating chicken are apparently normal at this point. Normally when a person eats a meat product, or anything that requires more bile for the body to break down, the gallbladder steps in and starts shooting out bile. Well, when you don't have a gallbladder, or one that is diseased, there is no bile and the body doesn't know what to do. That's why about 30 minutes after I ate chicken, it came back up completely undigested. Makes sense to me.
He says I can keep trying, since the liver should eventually take over where the gallbladder left off. However, I'm not so sure I want to keep trying and and throwing up! Becoming a vegetarian is looking more and more like a good option for me.

I've gained 4 pounds in a week. Being able to eat more has its drawbacks.
I go back to the gym in full force next week.

I'm having a hard time with how fast summer is going by. It's been really chilly this week which doesn't help much. I enjoy having the kids home with me (for the most part). I hate the thought of them going back to school in just a month. I feel like there's more I wanted to do, and not enough time!

My oldest daughter has science camp this week. She's been loving every minute of it. I didn't send the younger one, even though she's old enough to go. We felt it was time that the older one got a chance to do something just for her, without her baby sister tagging along. That was a great decision!

My younger one told me today that when she's a teenager she wants a TV in her room. She said "you know, after you tuck me in and kiss me goodnight, I could watch a little TV before I fall asleep".
I asked "Are you sure that when you're a teenager you'll even want me to still tuck you in?". Her response was "Yes!". Ahh, the innocense of a 6 year old. I'll have to remind her of this conversation in a couple years.

Hubby is in Chicago at a Cubs game tonight. Ironically, they're playing the Brewers. We joked about who he should root for, since we lived in Chicago, but live near Milwaukee now.
I told him if he values his life he better cheer for the Cubs! When in Rome...

Since hubs is not home, the kids are having pizza for dinner, then we're going out for a girls only ice cream date for dessert. Fun stuff!

That's it for now folks. I hope you're having a great day.
Stay well!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Let's Catch Up, Shall We?

Eh, once again I missed Ten Things Thursday yesterday.
I had to do grocery shopping with both my kiddos, which takes twice as long because they have to stop and look at EVERYTHING in the store, so that sucked up half my day.

Anyway, I do have some random thoughts going on, so even though it's Friday, I'll share them with you.

1. I have my lemon/cucumber water in the fridge right now. Thanks Judi for sharing that idea of a refreshing, healthy, detox.
I've been getting a lot of acne lately for no known reason, so I thought I better give this idea a try. Besides, we could all use more water, right?!

2. My kids have discovered old episodes of "Jon and Kate Plus Eight" on Net Flix. They love watching those little kids grow up. *sigh*, I had to break the news to them that the parents broke up. Now they're sad.

3. On Wednesday I made black bean brownies for the girls. They're super healthy and full of protein. Of course I had 2 of them myself. I thought I was fine, but spent the rest of the day throwing up and was unable to eat dinner. I believe it was way too much fiber for me. I still felt irritated yesterday so didn't eat much and pushed the liquids all day. I'm back down to 157.
I'm hoping this is nothing and it was just too early. Fingers crossed.

4. It's been a lot cooler here in Wisconsin this week which means I've been walking outside again. It feels great!

5. I've been reading a lot about being vegetarian. I think that's where I'm headed since I still can't tolerate meat. Keep in mind that I haven't eaten red meat in over 20 years, so it's just been chicken and turkey for me. But even those lean meats come back to haunt me.
I have to say I'm not missing it. I love fruits and veggies, beans, tofu, etc. I don't think I'll ever give up eating fish, but the other stuff I could care less about. We'll see how it goes.

6. Both my kids have recently learned how to ride bikes without training wheels. That means there's been a lot of falling down lately. Yesterday I told them I was going to run in the house for a minute to turn the oven on and I'd be right back.
Well, of course that was the exact moment my 6 year old fell off her bike. Onto her FACE. Lots of blood, swollen lips, road rash. Nice. Ugh!

Well, both kids are up and ready to start their day so that's it for me. Only 6 random things today.

I hope you're all getting out and enjoying your summer so far!
Be well.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Back to Life as We Know It

I have a gazillion things running around in my head that I want to share with you folks, but life has been pretty busy around here. That's a good thing, because I hadn't really realized how much life had slowed down while I was getting sicker and sicker, and just getting used to it being that way.
I can now get through entire days of craziness without needing a nap to function. Woo Hoo!

I got the pathology report from my surgeons office and apparently my gallbladder was green and purple! You know I love to accessorize. Leave it to me to have a fancy gallbladder. I only wish he has let me see it before he sent it off.
I still have occasional phantom gallbladder pain and mini-attacks, but from everything I've read, that's totally normal. I'm slowly adding foods back into my diet and it feels SO GOOD to eat real food, particularly vegetables.
Yesterday I sliced up a red bell pepper and had that with my hummus for lunch and I swear I was in heaven for a moment. I never realized how much I missed veggies! Go figure.

Before I knew I was having surgery for sure, I signed up to run a 5K race. I couldn't back out of it as the fee was non-refundable. My hubby was going to wear my number and run the race for me. However, I figured it's only 3.1 miles, at the very least I should be able to walk it even if I can't run. I had a couple friends who were running the race and I let them know ahead of time that I knew I couldn't run the whole thing because I hadn't trained and was still recovering from surgery, but we would all meet up at the end.
Well, I did it. My guess is I ran about 30% and walked (super fast) the other 70%. My lungs were screaming! I've heard it takes a while for lungs to recover from anesthesia and intubation, and now I know that's definitely true. My lungs actually hurt. A lot. But, I kept going, knowing my family was at the finish line waiting for me. It took me about 42 minutes to complete the course, which is almost my worst time ever, but hey, I just had surgery 18 days before! I think I'll cut myself some slack on that one.

When we got home from the race, hubby and I worked in the yard for SIX HOURS. We had 10 yards of mulch delivered the day before and it had to be spread. We were sweaty, tired and filthy, but we got it done in one afternoon! I never want to see mulch or a shovel again. I can't even stand the smell of it anymore!

Then to top off the weekend, I had to work on Sunday. It was my first day back after having a couple weeks off. Not only that, but I had offered to stay an extra hour to help out. Aaaagh! Why do I do these things to myself?!
It wasn't too bad. The day went by pretty quickly, and I was in a nice air conditioned office, away from yard work. That's good enough for me.

So, I guess the point of this post is to say that I'm getting back to 'normal' now, especially with my energy level. I think I'll send a note to my surgeon thanking him for giving me my life back again!

Have a good day folks!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Getting My Groove Back

I'm definitely on the mend, and feeling normal again.
I know this because of the day I had yesterday.
Here's how it went...

Got up and ate a bowl of cereal. No pain.
Fed kiddo #1 breakfast.
Swept and mopped the kitchen floor.
Vacuumed my bedroom.
Tossed in a load of laundry.
Fed kiddo #2 breakfast.
Went for my 2 mile power walk which includes TWO trips up the neighborhood giant hill.
Watered the veggie garden by hand since our hose is still not working.
Weeded the garden.
Sprayed weed killer on all the flower beds around the house.
Filled chipmunk holes (those suckers want to get into my house!)
Fed everyone lunch, including me. No pain.
Took Kiddo #2 to a birthday party. She didn't want me to stay.
Used that 2 hour time slot to walk around a couple stores and do a wee bit of shopping.
Had dinner with my family. No pain.
Watched AGT with the kiddos. Our favorite show!
Made blueberry sorbet in my vita mix. Super yummy.
Got kiddos ready for bed.
Put freshly washed sheets on our bed.
Watched TV with hubby.

Do you see any naps in there? Nope. No need for a nap all day and I felt fine!

Feeling good about having the GB surgery now that I can see how sick I really was.

Have a great day folks!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Life is Good, TTT Style!

Hey Folks! It's Thursday and I'm happy!
I've been meaning to post all week but sometimes life (and kids) gets in the way.
So here are my Ten Things on this wonderful Thursday...

1. On Tuesday I felt hunger. Real, honest-to-goodness hunger, just before lunch. I realized I hadn't felt that in a very long time. For several months I've been eating to survive, and to keep my hair, but not because I've been hungry.
That tells me things are healing and the gallbladder was the culprit of my problems.

2. Almost all of the glue has fallen off my incisions and everything looks good. I'm pleased.

3. Yesterday and today I went for a 40 minute walk in the morning. The first real exercise I've had since last Sunday and it felt awesome! I can't wait to get back into the gym.

4. My surgeon says I can have my post-op appt. here in Wisconsin with my general doctor. Not having to drive back to Illinois will save me 4 hours travel time and a lot of gas. This makes me happy!

5. I can poop! Yes, I know that may be TMI for most people, but I have to share. I've been suffering from severe constipation for so long that just that simple act was like the heavens opening up and angels singing!
Hallelujah, amen, let the church say AMEN!

6. We went to an outdoor concert last night and I had a glass of wine. I didn't wake up feeling like I'd been hit by a truck Another step in the right direction.

7. Hubby and I went out to dinner the other night. MIL is in town and suggested we take the opportunity for a date. I was very careful about what I ordered but I ate everything and it ALL STAYED DOWN! No heart burn, no puking. That, my friends, is like a mini miracle!

8. I'm maintaining 158.5, even with my new adventures with food.

9. My daughter was playing around with her new tape measure, and learning how to measure things. She decided to measure mommy and we discovered that my waist is back down to it's pre-surgery 34"! All the bloating and swelling is gone. I put on my size 10 denim shorts and they went right on, zipped, and no discomfort. I had to giggle.

10. I'm just about out of all my 'safety foods' like soy yogurt, which means today I need to venture out and try other things. I really need to see if I have any issues/attacks. I'm still scared but feeling more confident due to all the things I listed above. Wish me luck!

That's it for now folks.
Get out there and have a great day!
Be well.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Some Pre and Post-Op Shots, and an Update

Hey All!
I've been meaning to do this post all week but just haven't found the time. Plus, my kids are always on my laptop, where my pics are stored, so my opportunity for posting is limited while they're home!

Anyway, I took some belly pics the day before surgery. I was really feeling down about having more scarring, and figured I'd be hating my body after the gallbladder removal. Not that I ever go around showing off my abs, but still, I just wanted to keep my mostly normal looking body!

Here is what the belly looked like one day before surgery. Keep in mind I haven't been doing my grueling work outs in a while because of all my dizziness and nausea, and just plain exhaustion. Even with that said, I don't think it looks too bad for a person who has lost about 80 pounds!

Not sucking in the gut, my ribs really do stick out that much!

Dontcha' just love my port? Remember I had tried to get it moved and swapped out for a low-profile one while I was under for the gallbladder surgery, but that was a no go. I'll have to live with it!

Now, here's the same belly one day after surgery, with about 6 pounds of bloat and swelling. Yes, I weighed myself and I was 166!
It took a couple days, and LOTS of peeing, but I'm back to normal. In fact, I'm down to 158 now.

I have to admit, it didn't turn out all that bad. I was pleasantly surprised. I thought the incisions would be a lot bigger, and that my belly button would be more affected.

Today is one week since surgery, and things look even better than they do here. I didn't take another pic but promise I will soon.
The glue is starting to come off on its own. All incisions look clean and are healing nicely.

The good news is I haven't had any of that nasty acid/bile reflux that I was having in the back of my throat. I also am not having the pain at the top of my right rib cage, which makes sense because that's where the faulty gallbladder was. Now that it's gone, I shouldn't be having pain there!
I am however terrified to try to eat real food. Today I had a protein shake for breakfast, soy yogurt fur lunch, soy ice cream for snack, and oatmeal for dinner. All stayed down and didn't cause an attack. I'd like to try more solid foods but I've been living with this problem for so long, I've been conditioned to stay away from most solids. Once I'm fully healed I'll start adding more foods. That way if I throw up, at least I won't be blowing a stitch!

I'm slowly getting my energy back and feeling better with each day.

That's it for now folks. Have a great night!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

"Where's the 41 Year Old Woman?"

I must share with you the best story from the day of my surgery.

I'm in the post-op holding area. It's where they line up all the people coming out of surgery. You stay there for an hour or so as you come out of anesthesia and have vital signs monitored. It's a long room with patients lining the walls on each side.
After about an hour, if all goes well, a Patient Care Tech. comes and wheels you to a smaller, more private room in a different section of the floor.

I hear the voice of a woman asking my nurse "Is this my patient?". She told her yes, she could take me to my room.
She giggled and said "I have to tell you, I've already walked through here twice looking for you, and had to go back to the nurses station to check the chart. I thought I read it wrong. My instructions were to get the 41 year old woman. I couldn't believe they meant you! Seriously, I guessed you were in your late twenties, MAYBE early thirties. I just can't believe it".

Of course I told this angel that I loved her and that she made my day.
I wonder if I can hire her to follow me around and give me compliments all day!

Have a great day folks.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Gallbladder Saga, days One and Two Post-Op

Well, I finally had the gallbladder surgery, and lived to tell about it!
You may recall I was concerned I would die on the table and leave my kids without a mom. I'm happy to report that didn't happen.

Sunday night I didn't get much sleep. The anxiety took over and I kept having bad dreams, like the doc telling me he found cancer during the surgery. It was awful.

We got up bright and early to make the trek to Illinois, to the surgeon I trust with my life. Just before we left, we were all sitting in the sun room talking and hubby asked me if I was nervous. I confessed that I was and he was trying to reassure me with kind words. Just then the biggest, brightest, most beautiful Cardinal I've ever seen sat in the tree outside my window.
For those of you who don't know, the Cardinal was my mother's favorite bird. She used to say she would come back as one if she could, and that we should think of her whenever we see one.
I believe it was my mom letting me know she was there with me. I truly do.

We got to the hospital and they checked me into pre-op waiting room #12. I told the girls it was lucky since both their birthdays are on the 12th of the month. Then my little one says "It's also the day Mema died!". Um, let's just stick with the positive here kid.

It took 3 nurses, and 6 attempts, to finally get my IV line running. I look like a pin cushion, and I'm sure I'll be a bruised mess by morning.
As soon as they got that 'relaxation' medicine going, I was flying high and had forgotten all about my anxiety. I don't even remember getting wheeled into the operating room.

Surgery started at 11:45am. and the doc was on the phone with my husband at 12:20pm. telling him we were done and everything went well. That man is fast!

The car ride home was pure torture, and let's just say I'm glad they gave me a baggie to take with me. I needed it. Three times.

I am not in a lot of pain. The worst part has been the nausea. I know it's from the anesthesia, but it's awful.
It took me from 3:00pm. yesterday, until 3:00am. today to finish one 11oz. protein shake. I took tiny sips as I could, just so I could take the pain meds without upsetting my stomach.

I'm allowed 2 pills every 4 hours but I've been taking 1/2 of a pill every 3 hours. Just enough to keep ahead of the pain, and not make me sleep all day.

The two best things so far are I am NOT experiencing any of that horrible gas and shoulder pain everyone talks about. He must have done a good job at getting it all out during the surgery. I know they try to get some out before you wake up, but it doesn't always work. So far, so good with me.
Also, I had heard (and seen on You tube) that the surgeons go through the belly button with the big scope and leave a big hole that has to be packed with gauze. That was the one thing I was terrified about. I didn't want a big ugly hole in my belly button!
Well, I'm happy to report he didn't even cut me there. He made a very tiny incision just about the belly button. You can barely see it!

Still nauseous and tired today, but taking it easy. Hubs is home this week so I'm in good hands.
Eating is the last thing on my mind, but I'm pumping the fluids.
I did take some pre-op belly pics and as soon as I'm up and around, I'll take some new ones and post the comparisons.

So, overall, it hasn't been too bad.
I'll try to post more tomorrow.