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,ย  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).ย  … 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.ย  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.


My New Anthem Songs

Happy to be alive Day 58 ๐Ÿ˜˜ Found two songs that definitely define the new me: ๐ŸŽถ๐ŸŽน THIS IS ME by Kesha & FIGHT SONG by Rachel Platten. ๐ŸŽธ๐ŸŽผโค

I am wearing a size LARGE dress from Old Navy for $2.88 on clearance with a LARGE cardigan I bought at the Bargain Shoppe in Tyndall (SD) for $3.00. The fleece-lined footless tights, also bought on clearance, 2 years ago (never worn or brave enough till today!!!!) for $9.00 from Lane Bryant.

Enjoy your Thursday my friends.

Update: Drain-Free

UPDATEย ๐Ÿ’™Great appointment at my surgeon’s office yesterday. They pulled the drain out. My Mom was right there, up close and personal watching. It was slippery and gross and ended up looking like an alien once it was all yanked out. We all commented on how nasty it was.ย ๐Ÿคฃย So I have a gaping hole there now that needs to heal and close on its own. I am to return on Feb. 12th for my 3-month post-operation appointment.

I will stay part-time at work through the 17th/December when I return for my regular Doctor appointment to check on my edema in my legs. Then my provider will decide whether or not I stay part-time or return full-time after December 17th. We both asked many questions and got them all answered.

I am to concentrate on losing the last 15 pounds of fluids and stay away from slippery foods like yogurt, cottage cheese, ice cream, jello, soups, anything soft in texture from now on.

My Mom and I were extremely happy when we left.ย ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒปย 


Also… they don’t want to me lose any more weight right now with the exception of getting the 15 pounds of fluid off my body….because of the severity of my emergency surgery… She explained to us just how deathly ill I was when I came in on Oct. 23rd… my mom got tears in her eyes and I sat there dumbfounded, again having no memory. Between now and Feb. 12th they just want me to maintain where I was around 194 pounds and allow my body to heal all the way. So while they removed 85% of my stomach… I did NOT have the sleeve surgery like the average person getting it done, mine was made that way because that was the only thing left to do with the healthy part of my muscle tissues and the remainder of my stomach.

Some of my facebook friends wanted to know why I cannot eat slippery foods anymore…ย 

With any type of weight loss surgery (lap band, gastric bypass, the RY, and the sleeve… even the removal of the entire stomach….you go thru 4 stages of eating to “train” your new stomach how to re-eat, re-drink. Stage 1 is clear liquids like water and broth; Stage 2 is pudding and pureed foods (which includes pureed meat); Stage 3 is all soft foods (or slippery foods) and on November 20th I graduated to Stage 4 which is solid food or non-slippery foods like chicken, pork, beef, yams, veggies, fruits… high protein BUT absolutely nothing like cottage cheese, protein drinks, juices, Whey protein drinks, yogurt, jello, soups… from here on out.

For the very reason because OUR STOMACHS are different from yours, the slippery food holds no nutritional value for our new stomachs and they slide on through to the intestines without being properly digested — just like liquid calories: pop, coffee, fancy drinks…. THE SAME THING goes to snacking… .mindless unnecessary snacking…. it’s pointless.

As once we consume our 4-6 ounces of food per meal (we’re to eat six a day, not the normal three) … once we eat the small amount, we will literally be FULL and not to put pressure on my new “sleeve” — keeping in mind, mine is shaped like a banana now and quite small.

I love to help people be educated on my weight loss journey so please feel free to ask any question you so desire. I promise to answer truthfully.

Today: 6 Weeks Post-Op

6 weeks ago was my surgery. Today at 3:45pm, I return to my surgeon’s office to get my drain taken out, and to receive new instructions going forward. Please keep me in mind. My Mom is coming for the finale.

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.ย  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)
  • Menorrhagiaย (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.”ย 

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



Avocados, How I Love Thee

Celebrating my graduation from Stage 3 of pureed / soft foods to Stage 4 of regular food, I opted for an English muffin with lots of real butter and a full avocado with some pepper on it with no liquids until an hour after eating. The no liquids is one of the rules to being successful with weight loss surgery (FYI).

I normally do not eat English muffins or any bread as I follow the Wheat Belly lifestyle but since my surgery, I learned my stomach wasn’t taking in any kind of nutrients for most of 2018, so we thought the English muffin was still a little safe to eat even though it isn’t compliant with the WB world.