Day 83

Several people have been asking how I have been feeling back in Bon Homme County …. so here’s the updates … I have been feeling really good after 83 days. I tend to get a wonky mild pain in the incision area and where my port/drain was and at the first attempt area where the surgeon originally tried to go in.

I have about 5 lbs left of edema in my legs too. I am still overly exhausted and feel like I have been getting enough sleep. However, I wake up every morning at 4:00AM wide awake for some dumb reason. I do try hard to go back to sleep but my alarm goes off at 5:45AM for work. But I have officially given up taking naps.

I am now on my third full week of working full-time. Things seem to be going well sitting at my pod. I still try to have my legs elevated majority of my work day but I do have to move around for part of my gig. And the weather has been weird outside — it’s officially winter — but it is either too wet out or just odd weather to just walk in our parking lot like I do in the warmer months.

I still have memory loss from October 22nd through November 17,  2018. Small tidbits have surfaced but that’s about it. I read somewhere the other day, that when your body goes through trauma like I did, your brain protects you and shuts down certain parts.

But here I am, day 83, alive.

And I started exercising three days ago on my recumbent bike. 13.1 miles on Saturday, 20.2 miles on Sunday and 10 miles today.

I bought two 5 lb hand weights too. I’m pretty much a wuss with arm strength so just going to try my best to get more strength in my upper arms — yet I was on varsity golf all through Junior High & High School (go figure).  … I can already feel improvement in my legs from the bike. Tonight I attempted Yoga for Beginners but decided right away, it’s not for me. I’ll have to figure out another way to relieve unwanted stress.

Goal wise, I decided I will do everything I can do between today, January 14th and end of June … to meet my goals for the week of July 4th when I’ll be in Springfield with childhood friends and family.

I would like to do the 5K with my family. I’ve never done it and always sit on the sidelines cheering in all the runners and walkers. On a side note: I think we all can recall last year’s 5K when I showed up late and three sheets to the wind from the previous night of drinking a Cranberry Vodka mixture at Norm’s. [insert laughter here].

Baby steps people. It’s all about one day at a time as hokey as that may be.

This guy I work with has been eating cherry tomatoes every day at his morning break. He said he buys 2 lbs of them at Sam’s Club and they last one week. On Sunday, I buzzed over to Sam’s and bought a tub for $5.98. They are the sweetest, most delicious cherry tomatoes ever. I took the time to divide the tomatoes out into separate Ziploc baggies for this week’s lunches and he was right, there’s enough for every day of the week.

My new stomach — all 15% of it, is healing nicely too. And I am faithfully following all the rules I was given. Eating 3/4 cup of food keeps me full at lunch which has lately been carrots with blue cheese dressing to dip it in or celery sticks and some sort of plant or meat protein …. my breakfasts usually include two oranges that I cut up and I may have a 1/2 cup of some sort of seeds like pumpkin seeds or sunflower kernels or peanuts for the protein.

For weekly dinners, I have been eating a lot of (non-breaded) shrimp. I fry it up in real butter and use a tiny bit of cocktail sauce to dip them in or just eat them with the butter and nothing else. They are filling and do the stomach justice.  I no longer snack or need snacks but to calm my anxiety at work, sometimes I eat sunflower seeds or just chew bubble gum.

I do carefully watch the portion control and I really just rely on my stomach to let me know when I am full, which is always right after I consume about 4 or 5 ounces at every meal.

Finally, I also am getting in enough water intake. Weirdly it’s taken a good 2 months to do that but my providers should be very proud of me.

Protein wise, I went from needing 80 grams back down to 60 grams as my dietitian stated. It’s nice knowing that I have easy access to all of my providers via the Avera Portal system. I can send any of them a private message in the portal and by the end of the day, they respond. This is way easier than calling, leaving a message and waiting sometimes a day or more for someone to respond — and then — play phone tag.

This past week, I also shifted my eating back to the Wheat Belly lifestyle. For awhile there, I got off of that path while I was healing but I feel I was ready to get back to my regular routine of foods and stay away from toxic poisons that are in today’s grains/wheat.

For the past year I have been talking about getting a year membership at Midco Aquatic Center here in Sioux Falls…. it costs $190.00 for one year in my age group. A bit costly for me considering that you do not get to go to any of the water aerobic classes with that membership fee. This past Saturday, I just decided to quit making excuses and jokes about my laziness and just get on my bike and go. Did the same thing on Sunday and actually planned out my night tonight doing it right after I got home from work. And my sleep has improved and my legs feel amazing. Oh and I am nixing the idea of the $190.00 Midco membership. I’ll just use what I have in my teeny tiny home and go from there.

Since Dec. 31st, I have been talking to Cherry Tomato Guy at work. Today I told him that he inspires me to be a better human of myself (health wise/exercise wise). Naturally, in my very awkward way, that I am with the opposite sex, it came out of my pie hole, like a 7th grade girl, telling him I had a crush on him. Welcome to my life as I know it. Awkward, wonky, weird.

I just have always dealt with people who say that they want to lose weight or start exercising or whatever but just end up complaining more and more about it instead of moving their bodies and just doing it. Because CTG (Cherry Tomato Guy) and I both agreed that you, yourself, your own human, has to be the one to make that decision to make that change for you and only you. Then just do it.

Have a fabulous week — stay positive — and continue to make good food choices.

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Here’s the Latest Happenings

With the end near of 2018, so many thoughts and memories come to mind. Despite not feeling well from Spring to October 18th, I really did have an awesome year. I started volunteering at an awesome bookstore. I even attempted to tutor but it didn’t work out. I met new friends and I joined a Murderino podcast/meet up group in February.

I also happened to drop 74 pounds in 2018. And got healthier and happier than I had been in years. I really did love my life in 2018.

In regards to my life-saving surgery on Oct. 23rd: Everything outwardly has closed up nicely. It appears that the healing has ended its course minus the edema is still in my legs (10 lbs left to shed). Between now through Feb. 12th, I am to allow my body on the inside to now heal and to not try to lose any weight until after 2/12/19. Mentally and emotionally, I have not processed ANY of this. My short-term memory is still splotchy and I was told, I may not ever recover anything from 2-months ago.

The photo on the right is from Friday, December 21st. As you can see, I still have fluid in my legs, making them a lot thicker than normal but overall, I was feeling good that day when the photo was taken.

I am still trying to figure out this new stomach of mine too. Unlike what I was trained to have — the lap band from 2012 to Oct. 23rd of this year … I knew what I could and could NOT eat. I thought I had a routine and I thought it was somewhat working for the best for me, especially since December 2017.

With only having 15% of my stomach now… I can surprisingly eat foods I couldn’t eat for the past 6 years. My new stomach also tells me extremely quickly when I need to stop eating and that I am full. I can eat up to 6 small meals per day. I always always always eat breakfast now. I never knew how important eating right away in the morning was until I had my surgery two months ago. I tend to eat my lunches not quite at my former times around 11:30AM… I tend to eat it later after the norm.

Also prior to this new stomach, eating oranges or any type of citrus fruits really upset my stomach. New stomach, I eat a lot of oranges. In fact, HyVee, here in Sioux Falls, currently has 4-pounds of oranges for a cheap price of $1.77 per bag this week. I bought three bags. And lately, I’ve been cutting up 4 oranges at a time and eat them as a healthy snack.

The photo to the left, is my healed up incision that is located below my breasts but above my belly button.

Today, December 27th, I have been alive 65 days.

Rebooting MyFitnessPal

Weirdly just realized I joined MyFitnessPal on June 13, 2012. I downloaded the app on my Android just now to start recording a daily food diary and daily exercise diary to really keep myself ACCOUNTABLE… and found my old “page.” I saw I could add actual friends … so if you also have the app … send me a request. It’s way past my bedtime but I’m doing this to also make sure I get my 60 grams of much-needed daily protein in my body! 

More Protein Please!!!

My doctor contacted me today after my blood work came back today. I am officially not diabetic anymore. And I am in good shape with my kidney functions and my sodium levels are normal. I am still low on Iron but am taking pills for that and my total protein is low. So I need to contact my dietitian on Monday and ask her for recommendations.

Basically I know what to eat for protein but my new eating habits just don’t like what I used to eat for protein and my mindset just isn’t on track yet.

This photo to the left is what I resembled this morning at 6:30AM. My first time wearing eye liner/mascara in 43 days. And I’ve had necklaces hanging up in my bathroom for three years and today was the first time wearing one.

Now that I’m a new human, I feel like changing up my look again and go back to being more girlie. I even went to Old Navy this late afternoon and bought a lot of things of super cheap clearance… including two more T-Shirt dresses. Each one cost $2.88. They were $29.99. I also got a couple of new — smaller size — cardigans and dirt cheap but overly adorable shirts… one of them cost a whopping 58 cents. It was clearance upon clearance upon clearance.

Tomorrow I’ll head over to Sam’s Club and find things that are chock full of protein. Then it’s LEGS up, Netflix on and a lazy hazy Saturday while I continue pee all day long, thanks to my Lasix pill.

Have a fabulous protein-filled weekend!

Oh The Trauma…

My doctor visit didn’t go well. I’ve gained 30 pounds of fluids. 21 pounds of fluids since Nov. 20. I barely can move my legs and it’s difficult to get into my car.

It’s not just fluid retention but sharp pain in my legs, lower stomach and now my face. I got more blood work done at the visit. My doctor said with the intensity of the trauma my body has gone through this is why it’s retaining so much fluid.

The other option is far worse she said, which is death. I said I will take walking in quicksand for now.

She put me on a high dose of a pee pill. My legs need to be elevated a lot higher now and absolutely no salt. I also had to buy a scale [see photo to the left] I am to call her on Monday with my daily weight totals.

Let the pee games begin!

Doomsday: October 23, 2018

Many hours after my emergency surgery.

 

Full look of my incision.

 

Getting bandaged up by two nurses in my hospital room.

 

The RNs are trying to get my drainage tube adjusted correctly into the side of my stomach.

 

All bandaged up.

 

Exhausted, cold and super thirsty but got ice chips instead.

Remembering on Day 41

Earlier this afternoon, I went on to my Avera Portal and looked up everything I could find about the two ER visits I had on Oct 19th and Oct 23rd. As well as, the visit to Dr. Strand to get my lap band emptied and then the actual emergency life saving surgery also on the 23rd. What I read stunned me. S T U N N E D. Shocked. Mystified. And then I had to go lay down because the magnitude of what I just read and after looking up all the meanings of the 8 different diagnoses almost put me over the edge.

I saw my RN friend was online so I immediately bombarded her with my stunned numbness. And I sent numerous texts to my mom too. While my mom was literally present during the whole nightmare, I either blocked it all out or I just haven’t fully processed it all but I think I’ve mentioned it before but I know what happened on October 18th, October 19th and the night of October 22nd. I recall not wearing my winter coat on a very frigid morning of October 23rd when my mom pulled up her car to the door of my complex to pick me up and take me to the standing ER on 26th and Marion Road.

I remember falling off the gurney in the ER that morning… and I remember being told that an ambulance was on its way to pick me up. I remember my mom saying she was going to walk over to HyVee next door to get some breakfast. I remember calling her on her cell phone telling her I was on my way to Avera McKennan Hospital via ambulance and to come back quickly. Next I remember three EMTs showing up, getting me into the squashed teal and green ambulance. I remember the ride to the hospital as very very uncomfortable and I thought the driver had hit all the potholes on his merry way, when in reality, I know he was driving fast to get across the city. And somewhere along the drive, my mom was tailing right behind in her car. She told me much later that she got there at the same time as the ambulance.

I remember the lady EMT was at my feet pushing the gurney and the blonde hair guy EMT was at the front of the gurney. My last memory was mega blurry and I remember barely being able to see and someone helping me into a hospital gown. I remember nothing else until a long long long time later when I weirdly remember suddenly being awake in Room 1-205 on the Med-Surg Wing 1 at McKennan Hospital.  There were two nurses in my room talking quietly. I do not recall seeing my mom right away. I remember being in a foggy state of mind. And I clearly remember the horrific pain in the middle of my stomach.

In and out of sleep, I clearly remember my very first visitor. Mavis (Odens) Amundson. What a wonderful and beautiful surprise. Then several others came to see me…. I remember every visitor but I don’t know how coherent I was with any of them. Or if I was “actually all there.” I do remember each nurse and nurse tech who came in. I tried to get to know each person who helped treat me. I thought it was important to understand how they were treating me. But what my mom and I came to learn was none of them had any idea what kind of surgery I just survived or the seriousness of what I just went through.

So back to today and reading the 8 diagnoses on my Portal Chart through Avera.

  • Gastric Necrosis
  • Acute Blood Loss Anemia
  • Acute Abdomen
  • Hypertriglycerdemia
  • Sepsis
  • Leukocytosis
  • Dysmenorrhea (related to my other issue dealing with peri-menopause)
  • Menorrhagia (related to my other issue dealing with peri-menopause)

I read all of the findings from each doctor or PA-C. I read their notes. I read the diagnoses on the Portal and then I Googled all of them. I contacted my friend who is a RN too just for some clarification… and then I sent them all to my mom via text. Not to upset her but to simply ask if she was told any of these while she was waiting for me to get out of surgery or anytime afterwards. No, she said. While Dr. Person’s did come out and speak to her, none of these crazy words were discussed.

It’s all good. I am alive on Day 41. I’ve been living life so much differently now that I haven’t been sick like I was prior to surgery. I have been vomit-free for 41 days. I have been acting differently. I have been talking differently. I have been feeling differently. I have been thanking my mom daily for saving my life for the second time in six years. And with that, how will I ever repay her?!

How do I tell my own mother thank you for literally saving my life? Yes, Dr. Person and the other team of surgeon’s and the OR staff truly saved my life on the operating table… but had my mom not kept urging me to get dressed and let’s get in the car to the ER …. or had she NOT been at my apartment spending the night… I know I would have never taken myself to the ER by myself. And I would be dead.

My mom was my saving grace. Literally. And I literally healed at my childhood home for 32 days.

And now we have majority of the answers to our long long long year of unanswered questions of what was wrong with me and why I was always in pain.

Happy to be alive on Day 41. Happy to be back at work — part-time status for now, but happy I am still employed. I am happy with the friends who have truly stepped up and showed me their true faithful selves to me and my wonderful mother. I am happy just to be happy that I am healing physically, mentally and emotionally.

As Dr. Strand said to me, “Don’t dwell on the past, let’s just keep moving forward.” 

Here’s to remembering but not dwelling on anything but the future.