16 Weeks Post Op

I am still amazed at how quick the time has gone by since surgery, but I really should know better as having a child makes each day go by even quicker, and getting older has shown that as well. It has been a difficult couple of months back at work and trying to assume some normalcy to life; it has not been easy though I am making slow progress through my recovery.

The last month I went back to full time hours at work and it’s been difficult to adjust still to the eating because my schedule is so erratic each day. I never know when my breaks are going to be and what task I am on each day, it makes it hard to set up a  schedule to eat. My caloric intake has been inconsistent as well, but better than I had imagined it would be at this stage. I am happy to report that my barium swallow came back normal, I will not need any dilations or further exams and don’t need to see my surgeon for three months. It has been roughly a year since my last one and I am very thankful to not have to have an endoscopy again in the foreseeable future.

I was hopeful that the redness in my scar would have reduced a bit and that it would have decreased in width as well, but with time I am sure that it will calm down. I need to remind myself that it’s only been three months and that I need to calm down as well. I have started to take time in the evenings after my daughter goes to sleep to do very little physically and to take time for me. I am starting to stock pile some crocheted items and I have started to teach myself how to knit as well and am looking forward to others enjoying the things I make.

My weight is still dropping off, but I can stabilize for 1-2 weeks and then all of a sudden an average of 1.5 lbs disappear off the scale. I wonder when it will stop but I know that I can expect around 10 lbs more to be lost with my 30% totaling in at approximately 40-45 lbs. I am comfortable in my mind with how I am, and how I look, yet with the sudden loss of weight I know that it can bring on mixed feelings and self image issues. I know that my body will change after all is said and done and my weight has finally settled and I start gaining (minimally of course) I will feel different. I have felt ribs shift, and skin loosen and I will be glad when I can start back at the gym to tone and put on some muscle.

Earlier this week I fell down some wooden stairs to my basement, I cracked my lower spine and my left shoulder in the tumble. I probably should have taken a day off work to recoup but have irritated it, now another thing to let heal. I already felt gimped a bit with the aches and pains of the inadequate abdominal muscles.

Well it’s one month until the children go back to school and life gets crazy again, hopefully I can keep up with Chloe and all the activities we have for her.

Hoping you have a wonderful remaining weeks of summer! All the best to you!

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3 Months Post Op (A couple Weeks Late Posting)

I just want to say that I cannot believe that 3 months has passed already.  It has absolutely flown by, and I am so glad of the positive improvements that I have been seeing over the last few weeks, though I have had some setbacks.

Monday four weeks ago I sure as heck didn’t plan on spending the 8 hours at the Hospital. It all started Saturday evening coming home from a bachelorette party, not feeling so great already and I start sneezing… Nearly 10 times and I am still having an issues. It hurts throughout my belly near the incision to begin with, on the last one I hear a pop in the left upper side of my belly. I thought the pain would go away like it had before, however it progressively gets worse into Monday where I was in so much pain I was crying. So, sitting in the waiting room for that long not being allowed to eat or drink was very difficult. For someone without a stomach waiting is not ideal. I started to get a headache and feel extra weak! At the end of it, I found out it was strained muscles. I spent the next week resting at home. I was also told I need to start some ab exercises to build on my core muscles.

The following week I started at full weeks of work. I can say that going to back to work full time has been extremely hard.  I have struggled with eating enough and with having enough energy at the end of the day to accomplish the tasks I need to and take care of my child and I. Eating has been a struggle as I work in a call centre and I am on the phone for most of the day, and it’s highly inappropriate to eat while on the phone, which means I am taking “personal time” which I am thankful that my employer isn’t harping on me about. It’s also hard when one is having a bad eating day and everything I eat bugs me. The work environment I am in isn’t ideal for obtaining a steady routine.

The last 5 weeks have been interesting I have had some losses but I feel more wins.

I can now eat bread at no more than one slice at a time.
I haven’t been retching as much as before (I have my bad days where food doesn’t want to stay down but they are less frequent than they were at the beginning.)
My B12 levels are stable with the sub lingual dose of 1000 units per day. (Yay for no shots!!)
I have recently eaten a whole vegetarian samosa, a mini Crunch ice cream bar, and had a bit of white wine.
I have been able to do more lengthy walks without having weight loss.
I feel so much more comfortable in my own skin now, a lot more confidence.
I had enough stamina to go to a rock concert (and the base and vibration feels a lot different in the belly than it did before.)

Unfortunately my hair continues to fall out at an alarming rate; I am getting more blood work to hopefully resolve why I can’t use a brush or it would be full by the time I am done)
I am extremely sensitive to sugar natural or refined and require a half an hour rest to get my body back to normal if I am having a bad episode.
As a precaution (and it was ordered in early June) I am having a barium swallow this week (I am not at all looking forward to this but I need to take care of myself and if there are issues they will be able to sort me out.)
My energy levels after a full day of work is terrible, I don’t have it in me to do the household chores or even cook without having at least an hour rest to regain my strength.
To name just a few…

My scar is still raised and very red, still itchy and in a little pain some times if I bend or twist in the wrong way but I go see my surgeon again in a couple weeks so maybe he can advise if I need to be doing something other then using Vitamin E oils and massage on it.

I have had many people ask about the surgery and such, and I tell them about weight loss and they always say “I should get that done!” My automatic response: This is nothing that you want to go through, the side effects, the eating issues, and the mental struggle to change the way you do things because you don’t have a choice is very challenging. The seem to (hopefully) understand that this wasn’t to lose weight or anything it’s to save me from getting stomach cancer.

The last three weeks have been rough emotionally and physically, I am currently acting as a single parent, and the struggles of being the only one to make sure the house is clean, the lawn is mowed and grocery shopping and cooking are done has been an extra strain on us. We are trying to work things out and are currently taking it day by day; and thankfully my parents have been amazing support for my daughter and I.

But here’s to hoping for easier weeks and no issues found in the barium swallow test. I am just looking forward to long weekends and days off over the next 4 weeks to try and reduce my stress levels.

Well bye for now,
Nicole

Home Sweet Home

I want to start off saying sorry for the disjointed last post, being in a morphine fog will do that to one…

Well I am finally home; after 14 long days of being in the hospital I can finally get back to some semblance of a routine.

Last week was pretty tough, I was able to move from clear fluids to pureed food easily on Tuesday though Thursday, but on Friday they moved me to a post gastrectomy diet. Needless to say that didn’t turn out well. I ended up wretching Friday night going to bed feeling some what better but on Saturday morning after toast (which was tolerated well on Friday) the pain in my upper abdomen grew exponentially. It was cold sweats, tons of pain, and general uneasiness. I was in rough shape, lost all colour and thought that I couldn’t take it any more. I have NEVER been in that much pain in my life.

I ended up having a CT (in which I think I got 250ml of telebrix down instead of the 2L they gave me) and x-ray that night, showing inflammation in my new connections, which was the cause of not being able to get anything down. I was put back on no intake of anything for another couple days to allow the swelling to go down.

On Tuesday they let me start back on clear fluids which went good, since nothing was vomited up. *Happy Dance* Wednesday my Doctor bumped me up to full fluids and advised that’s what I would be on for nourishment for 2-3 weeks to allow continued healing.

It was nice to be sent home on April 29, it was happy though emotional because of the few crappy days and the compassion and warmth the nurses and nursing assistants showed during my stay.They do such a tough job and cannot be praised enough for what they do every day!

I had enough stamina yesterday to go to the grocery store after being released and picked up what is needed for the next few days, no sugar added ice cream and popsicles, broth, canned soups, yogurt, juices, protein drinks (so far the only one that I found that’s tolerable and doesn’t make me want to vomit more is the Carnation Breakfast Essentials – Chocolate) pudding, and apple sauce. I have a new appreciation for looking at the labels, because prior to this I really didn’t! It’s so important without a stomach that you get enough protein and watch closely your sugar intake.

The next two weeks until I see my surgeon I hope will go fast. The liquid diet will be difficult to reinvent each day and make sure I am getting enough calories, protein and other nutrients to prevent extreme weight loss and lack of energy.

The first day so far hasn’t been too bad, made from scratch cream of potato soup (that we had to blend to smooth) with my mom and relaxed. We will see what adventures the next week brings.

Wishing you all happy and healthy days!