Friday, March 23, 2012

Two Weeks Post-OP

This is me shortly before surgery. I was excited and nervous. I remember feeling like I wanted to puke. Although now that I think about it, it may have been because I was STARVING.

The absolute worst part before surgery was inserting the IV. I shit you not, it took at least three attempts to get the needle in me. I still have small bruises from where they tried. Hurt.Like.Hell. Oh, and then on the sites that they didn't use, I began to bleed all over. Yeah, I'm a bleeder. Thankfully my amazing husband was right by my side, trying to keep me calm. After a while it was time for them to wheel me to the OR. I remember laying on the bed being wheeled to a different part of the hospital. It got really cold. It seemed like forever before we reached the OR, but in all reality, I'm sure it was just a minute or so. At this point, I began to cry almost uncontrollably. I don't remember much from the OR besides that I was so cold.

A few hours later I woke up in this giant recovery room. I had the sweetest lady by me. She spoke with a really soft and gentle voice. Kind of reminded me of my grandma. I was so groggy and they really needed me to wake up. I would open my eyes for about 30 seconds and then fall back asleep for five minutes. Repeat for two hours. I am so glad they were updating my husband as much as they could because I'm sure he was nervous, whether he wants to admit it or not.

After two hours in recovery I was given the okay to be taken to my room. As I'm being wheeled there, I realize we are following my husband, my dad, step-mom and little sister. It was nice having them there, but honestly, I don't remember much of their visit. They brought me some magazines, a really cute cup (that I can't use yet because there's a straw in it, booo) and the most amazing chapstick ever.

My mom was watching my son that day and picked my daughter up from kindergarten that afternoon. On their way to the hospital, they stopped and picked out some flowers.

The rest of that Wednesday is kind of a blur. I remember my husband, kids and mom being there. I also remember vomiting that afternoon. Definitely don't recommend that. Can you say 'ouch'?! My brother and his wife came to visit after they got out of work and I was a tad more awake then, but still pretty out of it. Once my visitors left for the night, my nurse informed me that my oxygen was low. Not dangerously low, but I had just strained myself trying to talk to so many people at once. So I had to go back on oxygen for a while.

Totally cannot believe I'm sharing this picture. It was one thing to post it to Facebook while I was still all doped up, but I haven't been on my pain meds in a week now. Surgery makes you a hot mess.

Once my levels were stable again, I was focused on my recovery and getting the hell out of there. I know I was going to have to stay for two days after surgery, and I also knew that walking would help tremendously in my recovery. So I walked. And I walked and I walked and I walked. It felt good to be up out of bed and on my own two feet. The nurses were really impressed with how I was recovering. After I walked and walked, I went back to my room to get ready for bed. Husband and I texted quite a bit that night too. I missed him and the kids a ton.

I thought that perhaps with all the wonderful pain medicine they pumped into me that day I would sleep really well, but that was about a joke. They were in every half hour to check my blood pressure, etc. Once I finally got into bed it was about midnight (yeah, I decided to go back out and walk some more.) I laid wide awake in my bed until 1 am. Fell asleep around two, and by 4 I was wide awake then. Once my nurse came in to check my vitals and give me some more meds, I asked if I could move to the rocker chair in the corner. I actually slept for a couple hours there. I would have stayed sleeping but this damn fire alarm kept going off. For like, THREE freaking hours.

Bright and early Thursday morning the surgeon came to visit and check and on me. He was very impressed with how I was doing and said that as long as I passed my x-ray thing. Which was disgusting by the way. I got into a wheelchair and had some teenage girl wheel me to the opposite end of the hospital, hitting every bump on the way. I then had to stand up in front of a machine, and they gave me this small Dixie cup with some of the nastiest liquid I have ever tasted in my life. If you can imagine what medicated dish soap tastes like, that is what it tasted like. It was well worth it though because it showed that my stomach had no leaks and I was then upgraded to stage 2 of my post-OP diet.

I had many more visitors, phone calls and cards delivered on Thursday. It really made me happy to know that so many people love, care and support me. As wonderful as that was, it felt just as wonderful to have my IV unhooked from me, and I was able to give myself a sponge bath and put some 'real' clothes on. By real clothes, I mean stretchy maternity capris and a long sleeved t-shirt.

By Friday morning I was feeling so incredibly much better. I actually was able to get nearly 12 hours of sleep from Thursday into Friday! I felt good enough to bust out of the hospital! My husband came and got me while my mom watched my son. It felt AMAZING to be home again!

This past Wednesday marked two weeks post-surgery. I am happy to say that I am recovering very nicely. I would say I'm about 95% back to normal, or at least what normal was for me. I will admit that the first week was pretty rough, mostly due to the drain I had coming out of me, the pain from the gas they pumped into me during surgery, and I don't always do so well on pain medicine.

I'll tell you what though, as soon as that drain was removed at nearly a week out, I felt loads better. (Okay, maybe not IMMEDIATELY, but shortly after.) My mom drove me to my one week follow up appointment and after, we went and did a little clothes shopping. I found an adorable shirt I loved on clearance. Tried it on in my size, and actually needed a smaller size. I about cried!

Here's a picture of me at one weeks post-surgery. I think I look so much better!

With each passing day I am getting stronger and stronger. For the first time in a long time, I can honestly say that I am really proud of myself. This stage of the post-OP diet has proved to be incredibly difficult for me and it's only been two weeks. I should be bumped up to the next stage any day now, and fingers crossed it goes a bit better. It's just so hard to be around and preparing food for others knowing that I can't eat it. I have been so strong though. I went through, and continue to go through major body changes (not to mention the surgery cost a pretty penny) and I really don't want to screw this up.

If I told you I haven't thought this was a bad idea, I'd be lying. Especially that first week. I wasn't in a great deal of pain after surgery at all, but it was still just really difficult to be the wife and mom that I'm used to being. I couldn't (and still can't really) pick my son up. I tried playing outside with the kids, and I felt my stomach muscles in ways that were not good. I had to sleep in a recliner for over a week. I ended up with an even more sore neck and shoulders because of this.

The craving feeling totally sucks. I don't even feel hungry, and really the main thing right now is to just make sure I drink enough to stay hydrated. I know I'm not getting the protein amounts they want, but I'm slowly working on it. I bought a bag of some new protein powder tonight and I'm hoping it will help me tremendously in working towards my protein goals.

I'm very lucky that I had the surgery when I was fairly young. I hear of older people having it done, and granted by then they usually have the co-morbidities that come along with obesity, but I just could not imagine recovering this nicely from such a major surgery at an older age. I mean, less than 12 hours out of surgery I was up out of bed, holding on to my IV pole and walking the halls of the hospital.

I haven't seen the fabulous weight loss that I hear everyone talking about, but with what I lost before surgery and what I've lost since, I'm at a total of roughly 35 pounds. Still have a long way to go, but I know once I am fully healed, I can start working out, and walking, and as long as I stick to the doctor's orders, I should start shedding the extra weight in no time. I'm glad that most of the recovery (at least the physical portion) is behind me and now I can concentrate on the new and improved Amanda.


  1. You mentioned not doing well on pain meds. Do they just not work well for you?

  2. I pretty much avoid all pain meds when I can. When I do end up taking them, it's usually because I'm in a lot of pain (like recovering from surgery) and I need something strong. They make me SO tired. I feel so groggy on them. I have the most insane dreams ever.