Friday, August 7, 2009

Feeling better & different

I am beginning to feel less like a walking, talking side of a house. Thursday (my fortieth birthday), I had my first post-surgery appointment and was happy to say goodbye to the drainage tube and mini football. I felt a strange, cringe-worthy sensation as the nurse sort of yanked it all out of my side. The hole left behind was immediately covered with gauze and tape, and that was it.

Also at this appointment I learned I had lost 12 pounds since my previous weigh-in on July 23. Twelve pounds in about two weeks. Crazy. So, to date: Lost 13 pounds from March to June, 11 pounds from June to late July (liquid pre-surgery diet), 12 pounds after surgery.

My watch slides around on my wrist. My bras fit more comfortably. Clothes are looser. No swollen ankles (not that I've been on my feet as much as usual).

In the week immediately after surgery, I had started taking my vitamins and other medication -- rather half-heartedly, I admit. After neatly organizing them in a brightly colored plastic case (a different color for each day of the week), I sort of lost hope. Somehow, seeing them all in one place made me wonder how I would ever get them all down. My post-surgery appointment reminded me how vital these are to my health. For the rest of my life.

6 multivitamin capsules a day
1 chewable iron tablet
4 chewable Calcium citrates (they taste and have the consistency of Starburst candy, never one of my favorites)
1 Pepcid (to prevent acid from eroding the lining and sutures of my newly small tummy)
Twice a week I have to put a small B12 pill under my tongue until it dissolves

Oh, and I have to exercise, plus make sure to get 65 grams of protein (Slim Fast), and 64 ounces of clear liquids. I admit, thinking about all of this gets me down sometimes. It all seems daunting. But, I just have to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. The alternative is unacceptable.

Next Thursday, I'll begin eating real food (half a cup per meal)! My menu choices are "cream of" soups (blended to get out any chunks), mashed potatoes, sugar free pudding, and scrambled egg! By the time I go to a conference I'm attending at the end of the month I'll be enjoying shaved deli meats, cheese, and toast. All these mundane foods sound sublime to me now.

I do think about food quite a lot, mostly at night when I am trying to fall asleep -- even though I am not hungry. This must the psychological part kicking in: the comfort and routine of a hot meal and eating until I'm stuffed (and then having desert).

Monday, August 3, 2009

Those three days circled in red...

...Are past now. I'm sitting at home trying to not think about the five openings I have in my body, less than inch-long incisions now stapled shut. Plus on my left side, upper under my breast is a hole with plastic tube coming out of it. This tube attached on the outside of my body to a small plastic container that's sort of shaped like a football. This thing collects drainage from the stuff that's going on inside my body, post-surgery.

I can shower, which I do daily -- very carefully. I lie around alot, as sitting straight up is uncomfortable. There are a lot of vitamins to take, there's a lot of fluid to imbibe, dressings to be changed, etc.

My mother is here with me. She mostly watches TV and reads as I try to do as much as possible for myself. Still, it's good to have her around. I would hate to be alone at this time.

After a few days post-surgery, I began to experience the first glimmerings of hunger, but they are easily sated with clear juices, broth, water, and jello (although I don't really like the jello). My new favorite snack is Crystal Light Frozen pops. Actually something I can crunch on AND counts as a liquid!

On Thursday, my birthday, I go to my first doctor's appointment post surgery. At this time I hope to have the tube and little football removed, and learn when I can start nibbling on such delicacies as scrambled eggs and mashed potatoes!