One year on I’m half the person I was!

A year ago today Ailsa and I were in Wellington and I was recovering from a gastric bypass with Atul Dhabuwala. It’s been a huge year with some major medical dramas, some of them ongoing. Just this morning I received an appointment to see Dr Anderson (the neurologist) as a follow-up to a stroke caused by the lead-up to Aspiration Pneumonia. I have a paralysed vocal cord, which ACC agree is a result of medical misadventure at Base Hospital. It is slowly healing but I sound like Darth Vader! 

In 2010, before we went to Italy for the Legato exhibition, I weighed 139.6kg. I lost 25kg before we left, but slowly regained 22kg. Dad died of a heart attack at 65 years old, and Mum died at 89 having suffered 16 years of ill health related, in part at least, to her weigt. When I discovered I could withdraw my KiwiSaver to fund surgery there was no looking back.

Atul set a goal weight of 75kg for me, based on the average percentage of excess weight people lose. To be a normal BMI I need to be 68kg. I’ve dropped below Atul’s goal; one year on, I have lost 70.2kg and sitting at 69.4kg. So, I am officially half the person I was…

Thanks to my boss Fiona, staff and colleagues, and STDC as a whole, for concern and support. My sister Ailsa for going with me for the surgery and check-ups, for taking me to hospital more than once, for cleaning up and sorting out, and listening. My best friend of 48 years, Sandra, who has cared without fussing, and just recently asked me “are you okay being this thin?” (or words to that effect) and when I said yes, was happy for me and left it at that.

And of course to Tony, who has dealt with a very, very sick wife – he has cleaned up unmentionable messes without complaint when I was at my sickest. He has coped with a shrinking wife, which must feel odd, and smiled patiently as I bought endless rounds of smaller clothes.  

It’s been a hell of a journey and I have truly earned every gram I have lost. If anyone thinks weight-loss surgery is the easy way out I have news for them! It is a battle every day to drink enough, to eat the right things, and to understand my fat brain.

Has it been worth it? Hell yes! I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Have I rewarded myself? Hell yes! I have always wanted an Annah Stretton Flip dress. On Thursday Tony and I went shopping for the day to celebrate his 71st birthday, and enjoyed dinner on the way home.  The photos below tell the story…

 

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A difficult few days

Last week I was sailing through the post-surgery recovery, feeling great. On Saturday the nausea kicked in with a vengeance – food was ok, but trying to drink water was almost impossible. The only way I could manage it was tepid water with a little diet lime flavouring. I went from drinking 1.5ltrs a day to well under a litre, feeling sick constantly.

Anti-nausea pills have it pretty much sorted but the combination of too little to drink and a (teeny) high protein diet induced the worst Gout I’ve had in years. Yesterday I had to use my walker and even then I was barely mobile. The nurse at the weight loss clinic said to get whatever meds I needed down me, and rely on the Losec to protect my tummy. I spent all day yesterday sleeping off the meds and today am walking with just my walking stick.  

I’m still a bit nauseous – one sip of water can be one to many – but am clearly on the up again.

On the flip side I have lost just over 10kg since the surgery 12 days ago and am 200gm off 20kg since the pre-op diet began at the start of August. My body doesn’t feel a lot different, although I am wearing clothes I haven’t worn for a couple of years, but my face us changing.

face-2016-09-14

One week post-surgery

I had my weight loss surgery last Friday in Wellington. Dr Dhabuwala and I had planned on a Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass (REYGB) but we knew scar tissue from a difficult hysterectomy 20+ years ago might be an issue, and it was. I ended up with a Single Anastomosis Gastric Bypass. It’s popular overseas for a number of reasons but not in New Zealand yet. The good news is that he was able to undo some of the old adhesions at the same time, which should relieve some of the ongoing pain.

They made 6 ports (holes) and because of the scarring there was a lot of pushing and poking but I have experienced little pain, mainly discomfort. I was up the next morning and in the shower, then walking the corridor from time to time. My blood pressure kept dropping and at one stage they thought there might be a leak but it came right – I am still on only half the blood pressure medication I went in on.

Ailsa was with me for the surgery and spent 3 days at home with Tony and I helping me get the food organised as there’s a lot of fluffing around initially. She also exercised her stomach muscles getting the anti-clot stockings on me each morning! We could not have done it without her and I’m so grateful. My best friend Sandra was, as always, there with me in spirit.

For the first two weeks I can eat 4 teaspoons of high protein food three times a day. Initially I was only managing two teaspoons and couldn’t finish ½ a Cruskit. At week 3 the food increases slightly, and again in week 4. So far all the foods I’m supposed to try have been fine, except for the vanilla yoghurt in the hospital which made me feel awful. Oddly, I don’t want anything that has much flavor at all. I am *not* hungry at all – my appetite has totally been turned off which is a huge relief.

dinner

A typical meal. The cup is a tiny espresso one.

 

I lost 10kg in four weeks’ pre-surgery, which was essential, and have lost 4.5kg this week. I’m a bit tired, but other than that I’m good.

changing-face

Two days ago on the left, with flowers from work, and in June on the right.