It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I’ve decided I truly suck at this whole blogging thing. Anyway, here I am and I’m going to take you on the journey that was my pre-op diet & the first few days after the operation. Keep in mind that this is my point of view and things that happened to me. Everyone’s journey is different.
I’ll start with the moment I got the call that everything was cleared and I could be scheduled for surgery. It happened at 4pm on Tuesday. I told them that I wanted to have the surgery AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. The lady I was speaking with said that we could do it as early as the following Monday. Whoa. That’s a bit TOO fast. I still have to do my pre-op diet! Hold up. She laughed and then suggested Wednesday, February 14th. DONE! Schedule me in! Let’s fucking DO THIS!
You guys… The minute I got off the phone with her, I ran to my boss’ office to let her know that I’d be taking some time off and then I legit sat in my office shaking like a scared puppy in the corner. I wasn’t scared though, I was straight up excited! I couldn’t wait! It was finally happening. I finally had a date and both my pre-op appointment and my 2-week post-op appointment were scheduled too. It was surreal. I couldn’t believe it. I’ve been waiting for this to happen for the past 3 years. I’ve been wishing and hoping and researching for so long. Finally, things had been seriously set in motion and it was ACTUALLY happening.
I spent the rest of my night calling all of my family and friends to tell them the news. All in all, I knew they didn’t give rat’s ass about this news, aside from maybe 2 or 3 people, but that didn’t stop me from telling every person I could think to tell. I didn’t get any sleep that night because all I could think about was how much my life was about to change. Everything I had ever known about food was about to be ripped away from me and I was going to have to start over completely from scratch. The thought of that, as scary as it sounded to me, was also extremely refreshing. I know it seems crazy but when I say this operation is a new start for me, it really is.
The Friday after I got the call was when my pre-op appointment was scheduled. I went in to have my bloodwork taken and to get full instructions on what to do up until the day of my surgery. It was super fast and painless. I got a chance to ask all the questions I had. Everyone in the office was so nice and all the ladies kept congratulating me and sharing their success stories with me. I left the office feeling fully prepared and even more excited than I already was.
I started my pre-op diet the following Sunday. The purpose of this diet is to shrink my liver so that it slides easily out of the way for my surgeon. A fatty liver that doesn’t want to move out of the way can make things very difficult for my surgeon. The diet consisted of 3 protein shakes a day and 1 nutrient dense 450 calorie meal. I have to say, the first 3 days were really hard. I drank what felt like my weight in broth and hot tea. By the time the 4th day rolled around, I was just so excited about everything that I was bound and determined to finish this diet. I did what I was supposed to do and on the morning of my surgery, the results showed.
My highest weight ever was 307.8. I’ll admit, the last few days before my pre-op diet, I did terrible things. There were so many Oreos that I couldn’t even count. There was cheesecake, pasta, and alcohol from The Cheesecake Factory. There was birthday cake. There was fondue – LOTS of chocolate fondue. Practically everything that had sugar in my house was eaten in those last few days. I had no shame. It was my last time to indulge before I started my diet. I think I did a pretty great job on the diet.
I stayed up super late the night before surgery. I was enjoying laughing and having a great time with my husband and my momma. We sat up and watched YouTube for hours. We finally got around to getting some sleep somewhere around 2am. My alarm went off at 5am and I drug myself to the shower. Somehow I managed to get myself packed for my overnight stay at the hospital, took all the medications required by my surgeon, and finally, I crawled in the car. WHOOT! Today was FINALLY the day. No more excuses for living the way I’ve been living. This was truly the first day of the rest of my life.
Once we finally found the itty bitty surgery center in the middle of Dallas, (trust me, it was an adventure) I parked the car and waddled my way in complete with blankets, pillows, and backpacks for myself and my husband. I checked in at the desk and got all my pretty bracelets. They called me back up to the front desk to be sure someone was going to be staying with me for the first 24 hours after my surgery. I was confused by this because I was still under the impression that I was staying overnight. Whatever lady, yes, someone will be there with me. Then she asked for the name of the person who would be driving me home today…
Wait. What? Today? You’re sending me home TODAY?! At first, I was really excited to hear this news. I mean really, who actually wants to stay at a hospital overnight? Not me. In fact, I usually do whatever it takes for me to get home as soon as possible from hospitals. No thanks. So I thought to myself, “AWESOME! It’s like this day keeps getting better and better. WHOOT!” I let my husband know that I would be going home that day. He was just as confused as I was, but he shrugged and took the blankets, pillows, and backpacks back to the car. No wonder everyone was looking at us like we were completely crazy for moving in. It all made much more sense when the lady at the desk told me that this was a small outpatient clinic and they didn’t have any rooms for overnight stays. Hmm. Would have been nice to know that beforehand!
Anyway, they finally called my name and I went back there to pee in a cup and answer all the questions. I changed into my gown and gave the nurse my urine sample. As she asked me all the questions that they require and made me sign all the consents to get everything all squared away and official, I had another nurse taking my blood pressure on one arm and sticking the heart monitors on my chest. There was another nurse getting my IV set up and another one checking my legs and ankles for swelling. I was surrounded by people swarming around me trying to get me prepared for the big white light.
My surgeons showed up along with the anesthesiologist and before I could even blink 3 times I was wheeled into the OR. They made me move from one bed to the operating table, strapped my arms out away from my body, and slapped on the heel protection pads. My anesthesiologist was still just as distracting and funny as he was during my EGD. He has a special way of distracting you so much that you have no idea what’s really going on around you. I was relieved to see him again since he made me smile so much the last time. Before I knew it, I was out for the count and I woke up in recovery. Fun times were had… I think.
Recovery was complete hell. The heart rate monitor was incredibly loud and annoying. People wouldn’t stop talking to me. I couldn’t sit down for longer than 5 minutes before they had me up and walking laps again. I was begging for pain medications because I felt like my insides were on fire. Once the pain meds kicked in, they had me walk some more. They sent my family in so that everyone could verify that I was indeed still alive and doing alright. I had 0 interest in talking to any of them so I just kinda grunted and moaned and maybe threw a few thumbs up their way. Before I knew it, it was time to go home. That car ride was rough, but the pain meds helped just a little bit.
We got home and I did exactly what they told me to do. I walked and walked and walked. I sipped water every 15 minutes to keep myself hydrated. I took my medications to keep my nausea and my pain subsided. Keenan helped me empty my drainage tube quite a few times and I burped and farted as much as I possibly could so that the C02 would leave my body. I got no more than 20 minutes of sleep at a time because the gas pains were so intense. I had absolutely no relief unless I was up and walking, however, I had no energy to keep walking around my house because I hadn’t slept hardly at all and I hadn’t had anything in my system except major drugs and some sips of water in well over 24 hours.
Luckily I had an appointment at 1pm the next day to remove my drainage tube and my nurse was able to see just how much pain I was in. This wasn’t the normal uncomfortable feeling… this was complete 100% pain. Tears. Cuss words. Moments of wanting to completely change my mind because there was no way I could keep going like I was. I told my husband that I regretted everything and I didn’t want to do it anymore. For real, with no exaggeration, the first 24 hours were by far the most terrible, awful time of this entire experience for me. I was wishing that I had been able to stay the night so that they could give me the good stuff. The tramadol that they prescribed me wasn’t doing a damn thing for my pain. Nothing.
My husband got me to the surgeon’s office and once my nurse talked to me and saw how much pain I was in, they agreed to give me something a lot stronger. I got 2 injections in the hips and within a matter of 10 minutes, I was relaxed in the car on my way back home. I got home and crawled up with my blanket. I slept for 5 hours straight and it was wonderful. Once I was able to relax a bit and finally get some sleep, my entire experience from that point forward completely changed. My mindset had gone back to being positive and uplifted. I felt like walking and sipping my water. I was able to sleep for about 2 hours each time I laid down. The pain medication that they prescribed me was finally starting to take the edge off of the discomfort. Having the drainage tube removed was definitely helping me to feel better as well. Things were finally looking up. The worst part of it all was behind me.
I slept most of the day on Friday. I was feeling much better and was able to take care of everything on my own. I set timers to walk and sip water. I tried to get a few drinks of my protein drink down. I did everything I could to follow the doctor’s orders. Progress was being made.
Today is Saturday and I’ve been feeling much more like my good old self. I’m able to move freely and sip water with no nausea at all. I drank an entire protein drink and I can tell my body is starting the healing process. I have a lot more energy today and I’ve only had one small nap this morning. I have faith that tomorrow will be even better than today.
I get to start a full liquid diet on Wednesday. That means I get to add creamy soups and protein shakes. I’m looking forward to something other than water, popsicles, jello, fruit punch protein, and ice. I’ve left you guys with a lot to read and it’s officially time for me to get some rest. Perhaps I’ll post another update next week once I start my full liquid diet. For now, I’m going to leave you with a nasty picture of my fat belly the day after surgery.
If you’re squeamish, turn away now.
Good night my sweet souls.