Posts filed under ‘weight loss surgery’
For the last few days I’ve noticed some hormonal changes, and I’m
hoping wondering if this is my body getting close to labor and birth. I’m starting to have night sweats again, I’m breaking out on my face, and I’m getting more crazy with each passing day. I kind of feel like I’m back in my first tri, except with 40 extra lbs. I originally went to the doctor because of the night sweats, thinking I was having some kind of endocrine issue. Nope! Just pregnancy!
I’m so excited to find out if Tax Deduction is a girl or a boy. I’ve gone back and forth so many times in this pregnancy, first thinking it was a boy, then girl for a looooooooooong time, now boy again. I just don’t know. This pregnancy has been a weird mixture of more and less intense than my others. It’s more intense because of my weight loss; I can feel a lot more than I could with all the others, and I’m more knowledgeable about the process. It’s less intense because — duh! — I’m a lot more busy with the older kids. A clerk at Tar*get will say something to me about how it’s getting close and I’m thinking, “Close to what, exactly? Oh, yeah. I’m having a baby.” I feel like not knowing the sex inhibits the bonding I’ve felt with the other kids. With the others, I would think, “Hey, The Informant, how did you like this Thanksgiving meal? Pretty good huh?” but now I think, “Hey baby who might be XX or XY and we’re still not 100% certain on a name, what do you think of…” and by the time the sentence is out I’m totally distracted by something else anyway.
Last night I was having some intense back pain, thinking, “This is it… maybe…?” but nope. I took a bath and went to bed. It was probably from doing “too much” on Thanksgiving. All that cooking, plus I moved a Graco Nautilus car seat from my garage into the house, so that The Happy Mathlete could borrow it.
Next Friday is My Chemical Romance’s birthday and it might be sort of cool if the baby shared his birthday.
No, not me. I’m fine. I’m actually better than fine lately — I’m past exhaustion. I can actually function reasonably well, and my brain cells seem to be regenerating. Who knew? The biggest problem I’m having is global warming. Screw the conspiracy theorists; my breasts could melt icecaps right now. The weather is making my lose my mind: it’s hot and humid and sticky. As Wii would say, The local infrastructure is not equipped for these extremes in temperature; I cannot get my weak A/C’ed house — with it’s entirely-east-or-west-facing windows — below 78* which just plain sucks. Pregnant or not!
I’m tweaking my vitamins around a little bit, trying to get my levels up as high as I can get them without poisoning myself. For example, I take 200,000 IU of vitamin A per day. That’s toxic for the average person who hasn’t had a biliopancreatic diversion with a duodenal switch. Meanwhile, my A-range is low/average. I’m adding some helpful-for-pregnancy supplements like Red Raspberry Leaf, Chlorophyll, Stinging Nettles, and Alfalfa. I’m also trying to keep my pills below 60 per day — I have a hard time when I take more than five doses a day. I’m in touch with my surgeon, as well as VitaLady — yes, that’s her actual name — for input on my lab results. I have labs drawn every three months. It’s like sixteen vials of blood; some of them are light-sensitive so they have to be wrapped in medical-grade tin foil, some of them are heat-sensitive so they immediately go on ice, some of them have to be taken in weirdly-shaped tubes. Whenever I go in and hand the order to the tech, she always looks at me like, Seriously?!?!?! I wanted to spend my day handing out urine cups and reading InStyle.
I’m back to cooking, thank gawd. I thought we would all starve. I have no idea how we spent years with My Chemical Romance in charge of the kitchen. We ate a lot of tacos. Last night I made slow-cooker chicken with dumplings; I had marinaded the chicken overnight in homemade Italian dressing and made the Cream of Chicken soup from another recipe rather than using the stuff out of a can. It cooked for about eight hours and the chicken fell apart it was so tender. The kids, of course, hated it, particularly Mineral. He was deeply offended that his chicken collapsed. I have no problem with my children not eating their dinner, but I hate when they insult my cooking. Making Cream of Chicken soup is not easy; marinading in homemade dressing takes time and effort. And yet, they’d be happy to eat fast food or something frozen you stick in the microwave. I love cooking. When I have time to myself, I like to cook or bake without interruption; I find it very soothing to create something. I find that especially true with baking. We are regular Cost*co shoppers and most of the samples are microwavable food. I remember once the spokeswoman was saying, “breakfast burrito, ready in 60 seconds or less!” and I thought, How good can it taste if it only takes 60 seconds to cook?!?!? I’ve become a slow-cooking snob.
Dear Dr. Gagner,
It’s me again, the girl who had OBAMA written on her arm in permanent black marker on the day you performed my surgery. In my defense, it was election day, and I was a proud absentee voter. I’m sure you remember how the anesthesiologists whined about my arm being “unsterile” (their word) and threatened to leave me awake while you rearranged my intestines. In fact, that’s probably why my recovery was so freaking painful that I had to all but pay the nurses to score me some dope on a street corner since mor*phine is clearly a total waste of time. Why not just some tylen*ol? UGH.
Anyway, Gagner, I just found out I’m pregnant. I’m 11 weeks. This will be #5 for me and I’m planning a homebirth.
I assume that as a non-American doctor, you are enlightened enough to realize that homebirth is just as safe as hospital birth for low-risk pregnancies. I realize I’m not quite low-risk, but my labs look good and I’m continuing my supplements and eating every ounce of protein that isn’t physically nailed to the ground. I’m even back to drinking those absolutely disgusting protein shakes. SHUDDER.
I’m seeing an OB along with a homebirth midwife, and having growth ultrasounds done every eight weeks to make sure Tax Deduction (due in December) is growing properly despite my malabsorption. If he or she is a little smaller than the four older ones — or at least has a slightly smaller head — I won’t complain. Honest.
Any other suggestions? – Skinny pregnant Mommy Soup
Dear My Chemical Romance,
I love you. Clearly even after four kids we can still find time for each other, since I’m pregnant and all. I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but I think sometime between January and when I took the kids to Disney World and ended up needing ass surgery, and you had to come rescue the kids and me and drive us home and I took too many painkillers and threw up in a paper bag in the car and the bag tore open and the dog licked up all the vomit and you and the kids gagged and insisted we drive with the windows down despite the fact that it was 45 degrees outside. I’m feeling much better now — and I still love you!
I’m very sorry that the health department wants to shut down our kitchen because it’s “toxic levels of nast.” I’m also sorry that you had to go commando to work twice this week because the laundry isn’t done. (Next time try borrowing a pair of my underwear!) Thank you for coming home from work early because I was having afternoon sickness — and bringing Kris*py Kre*me! Thank you for yelling at the kids when I was too tired to do so and could only wave my arm weakly at them while narrowing my eyes and trying to give THE LOOK.
I hope that in a few weeks, when I’m in my second trimester, I will have some energy back. Until then, I will buy you more boxers this weekend.
xoxox Mommy Soup
Introducing the men who have helped my ass become as painful as it is today.
1. Oh! Canada! (Biliopancreatic Diversion with a Duodenal Switch surgeon)
I had weight-loss surgery on election day, 2008. That morning I woke up early, found a shar*pie marker, and wrote OBAMA on my arm in huge letters. That afternoon I endured glowers from members of the anesthesiology team, and I’ve always believed that my subsequent pain afterwards was because they refused to use my “contaminated” left arm for IV narcotics.
Oh! Canada! came to see me while I was in pre-op, blindly waiting for versed — blind because they’d taken my glasses away! — and he assured me that he wasn’t a citizen and didn’t vote.
(And, yes, for all you conservatives: I had surgery done by an IMMIGRANT! I took a JOB out of the hands of an AMERICAN CITIZEN and gave it to a NON-AMERICAN! And I think it was the best decision I ever made!)
2. Circa-1980s Rob Lowe, MD (local colorectal surgeon #1)
The first time I had ass-pain, I goo*gled for a local colorectal surgeon and found Circa-1980s Rob Lowe, MD. Bad hair and clothes withstanding. I almost started laughing when I realized that Circa-1980s Rob Lowe, MD, was gone to stare deeply into the inner-most crevices of my… behind. While my cheeks were taped apart. And he had on a caving helmet.
Circa-1980s Rob Lowe, MD is… well, you get the picture. Unfortunately, during my first experience with him I determined that he is prettier than he is competent which lead me to…
3. Disapproving House (local colorectal surgeon #2)
When Circa-1980s Rob Lowe MD did a procedure that didn’t quite work, I sought the advice of another local colorectal surgeon, and ended up in the office of Disapproving House. He’s rude, abrupt, unpleasant, and was very disapproving that I’d seen another colorectal surgeon before coming to him. He fixed me up though, and I hoped I’d never have to see him again.
4. My Indian Chemical Romance (Gastrointestinal doctor)
I don’t have much to say about My Indian Chemical Romance. I go see him every few months when I’ve just spent a week on the toilet and he tries various medications/admits me to the hospital for dehydration/does tests that are totally inconclusive/completely wrong. He finds my surgery and subsequent complications very intriguing.
Recently Wii asked me about him. I said, “He’s okay, he does a lot of tests to rule things out, but the best thing about him is that he’s really cute.”
I sent her a link to his office page, and she replied, “You only think that because he’s the Indian version of your husband.”
And — OMG! OMFG! ZOMFG!1111 — she’s right, and I didn’t notice until that very moment. In fact, as I was photo*shopping this picture, My Masterpiece sat in my lap and pointed at the screen and said, “Dats daddy.”
5. Dr. Wins-The-Battle-Loses-The-War (Miami colorectal surgeon)
On one hand, he performed surgery that fixed a very painful problem. On the other hand, the procedure that he did to fix the problem has created — I think — more pain than its fixed. Since coming back from Florida, I’ve seen both Circa-1980s Rob Lowe MD and Disapproving House, and both have agreed that I am suffering from the incisions made by Dr. Wins-The-Battle-Loses-The-War. And they’ve both given me a lot of painkillers.
6. My Therapist. I go there, I pay $10, and for an hour I talk about my favorite subject: ME.
I didn’t have “colorectal surgeon” in my cell phone contacts until after I lost 130lbs. Prior to that, my only experience with a proctologist was watching Katie Couric’s colonoscopy on the Today Show.
I had other issues though, at nearly 275lbs. Mostly that I was exhausted and depressed, and self-loathing. I tend to be harder on myself than I am on others; you might be fat because of bad genes or a really stressful time in your life or a medication that causes you to gain weight but I was fat because I was lazy and had no self-control.
The most difficult part of the decision to have weight-loss surgery was flying the surrender flag. Choosing to have bariatric surgery meant that I had failed every diet-and-exercise-lifestyle-change-program on the planet. I was not ever going to call Jenny (again). I was not ever going to attend another We*ight Wa*tchers meeting (again). I was throwing in the towel instead, and throwing in my lot with a surgeon whose specialty is rearranging the intestines of the morbidly obese.
I had a Biliopancreatic Diversion with a Duodenal Switch on November 4th 2008, election day. (I woke up from anesthesia and asked, “Who won?” and when my mom said “Obama,” I replied, “Really?” and fell back asleep. She claims we had the same conversation eight times. I don’t remember.) I had my stomach cut and a portion of my small intestine moved and connected near my pylorus and duodenum; I no longer absorb much fat or protein in my meals.
My lowest weight, less than a year after surgery, was 129lbs; I’m now between 135lbs and 140lbs. I wear a size six.
When I was morbidly obese I used to think that thinness would cure all my problems. I knew in my rational brain that it was a fallacy, but it seemed like my problems always came back to my weight: I avoided intimacy with my husband because I felt my body was disgusting; I avoided making friends because I didn’t feel worthy of friendship; I rarely played with my kids because I had no energy to do so; I spent too much money buying clothes I hated because I couldn’t shop at normal stores and instead went to Lane Bryant; showering several times a day caused a high water bill; our energy bill was even higher because I was hot and kept the air conditioning going most months of the year.
The surgery and subsequent weight loss did solve some of those issues: I am intimate with my husband, in more ways; I have a lot of friends; I have the energy to play with my kids; I can buy things off the clearance rack at O*ld Na*vy; I usually shower only once a day day.
(Our energy bill stayed high because I was freezing cold all winter.)
However, more intimacy with my husband does not mean my marriage improved; I would not have friends who are fat-phobic in the first place; having the energy to play with my kids is not the same as having the desire to play with them; I still wear the same type of clothes I wore before (shorts or jeans and a solid-colored tshirt or long-sleeved shirt); and there are new problems.
That caught me off-guard. There are new problems.
I could not imagine a size six would have problems. Apparently I was sizist; what possible problem could one have when one fit into an airline seat properly and only needed to shower once a day? What else was there to worry about?
But as I typed the words “colorectal surgeon” into a search engine for the first time, I had to admit, even thin people have problems.
Since that first time, I’ve seen the proctologist three times; recently while on vacation with my kids and dog in Florida I had to have anal surgery. My insurance only covered 80% of the procedure, leaving me with a hefty out-of-pocket bill – and having to purchase a plane ticket to Florida for my husband so he could drive us home. I had taken our four kids (and the dog) by myself on vacation; I thought I’d recover quickly and still be able to drive us all home on my own. I was wrong — the surgery was intensely painful — and I couldn’t drive for days. It’s been nearly two weeks and my butt still hurts. This is a problem.
The issues for which I needed a colorectal surgeon are because of my surgery; specifically how my gut reacts to its new arrangement and how I treat my tender, rearranged intestines by what I eat.
There are other issues, too, daily issues: I do not have much good bacteria in my intestines, and bacteria are very useful to a colon. Just ask the gastrointestinal doctor; another new one on my speed-dial since Obama was elected. Even though I eat yogurt daily, and take a probiotic, sharing a bathroom with me isn’t fun. If you do a search for “Duodenal switch” and “bathroom issues” you will get a million sites. Maybe even my blog.
The leftover skin – the skin I swore I wouldn’t mind, because who cares, it’s just extra skin! I’m not going to worry about that when I’m skinny! – migrated to my mid-section and most days that I don’t wear mom-jeans I look pregnant. I have been asked by well-meaning strangers when I’m due – this means that not only do I look pregnant, I look pregnant enough that total strangers think it’s socially acceptable to ask me about it.
The first time someone asked, I was deeply offended and proffered a very snarky reply; the most recent time, I simply said I had a stomach condition that causes severe bloating. Combine extra skin in the mid-section with a body that lacks the hips to hold up pants; combine the occasion bout of bloating with not standing ramrod-straight all the time and you get me, looking like I’ve just finished my first trimester.
I was wrong when I thought being thin would solve all my problems; it solved some, exacerbated others, and created new ones. There are benefits to physical smallness: I love buying clothes off the rack; I love my underwear drawer full of size mediums and my cute bras. I feel great: I can run around like never before and jump on the trampoline with my kids, and my treadmill is no longer a towel holder. My self confidence has increased dramatically.
But in return, I’m married to my Biliopancreatic Diversion with a Duodenal switch; it’s with me every second of every day, and unlike the days of diets and exercise this has changed my entire body forever, I can’t ever throw in the towel on my own body.