4 months post opp 

Dear George… 

4 months has flown by! My son tells me there are only 6 more weeks till Christmas… 

Since my last post, I’ve had another follow up with my surgeon, the appointment went well, he was happy with how I’m tracking, I’m now down to 35 kilos lost.  We had a chat about the food textures as I’ve had a few incidents where I couldn’t tolerate foods that I’ve been ok with, all is normal there, it seems the lining of my sleeve may have become irritated or inflamed by either something that I’d eaten or possibly a tummy bug. 

I’ve started to loose a fair amount of hair, which I was expecting, it’s a side affect from the surgery and throwing my body into shock.  I’m not concerned at this stage as I have quiet thick hair, and if it does thin out too much then I’ll just chop it off! Might be good for summer coming up anyway. 

I went back in for knee surgery a few weeks ago, which was daunting but I’m recovering well and in a lot less pain, can’t wait to get into the pool again for some strengthening & toning.  I’ve found my skin is starting to sag, it’s not shrinking back mainly so far on my arms.  Time will tell how it goes, I’m still a long way off my goal. 

I have an Instagram account for anyone who wants to follow, I posted some progress pictures on there a few weeks ago the account is george_dear 

My next appointment will be in December with the dietician to check over blood results, then I don’t think I have any surgical follow up till the 12 month anniversary. 

Thanks for following my journey 

Cheers B xx 

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15 weeks post opp

Dear George… 

15 weeks has flown by! I really need to get some progress pictures happening for you.  I have a before but haven’t taken any since.

Feeling so much better proud to say I’m now 30kg down 😄😄😄 

Haven’t been able to incorporate too much exercise yet as I hurt my knee, I’m going back into hospital in 2 weeks to have the knee cleaned up, simple day procedure, fingers crossed it works! 

Thanks for following my journey so far 

Cheers B xx 

9 weeks post opp. 

Dear George…

Time is starting to fly by, 9 weeks post opp and I’m finally starting to feel a bit normal again! 

My scars need a bit of work, there starting to keloid (which I’m prone too).  So I’ve ordered some silicon strips online to help flatten them out. 

I saw the dietician last week, I was worried about seeing her because I have been struggling with food textures and the amount of food I can manage, however she was happy, the amount I can eat seems to be pretty normal for where I’m at.  I do need to add more supplements to my diet, so more vitamins! Additional multi, calcium & iron and protein powder/drinks.  I’m loosing around 2 kilos a week at the moment and have lost 25 kg so far.  Still a way to go, but starting to see the results and the light on the otherside so to speak.  

I still have bad days where I can’t tolerate food at all, but they are getting fewer 😄

Cheers B  

Dear George… 

I’ve had a few people ask me who George is, if you missed my very first post, George was what I called my diary as a teenager, I’d only ever write in it when I was upset about my weight, so this blog is a modern day version I suppose of George. 

Heading towards 5 weeks now since I had the sleeve surgery, I’m still struggling with food, more so struggling to find things that I can eat, which at the moment is not much.  I purchased a Nutri bullet A couple of weeks ago, this has helped immensely, I use it a few times a day making different type of smoothies, mainly fruit, using coconut water as my base & adding things like chia seeds or oats, it has been my saviour!  I’m still very  dehydrated, trying my hardest to drink fluids as much as I can. 

The scales tell me I have lost 18kg which I’m starting to see in my clothes, still a long way to go but it’s a start.  

Tomorrow I have my last appointment with the surgeon & nurse. 

If anyone has soft food ideas throw them at me 🙂 

Cheers B 

3 weeks post op

Dear George… 

It’s been a pretty rough 3 weeks. 

I went in Thursday 7th July for the gastric sleeve operation, the op itself went well, I spent the night in ICU after surgery, my nurse during the night (Jason) was wonderful, we had difficulty managing my pain  & my head felt like I’d smashed it into concrete.  I had a few troubles with my oxygen saturation also because it hurt to take nice big breaths. 

I went back over to the ward early in the morning and got settled, it was nice to have a room on my own, especially feeling nauseated & sore and sorry for myself. 

I spent 4 days on the ward recovering & those 4 days I totally regretted my decision to have the operation, I’ve been told that’s normal to feel. 

During my stay I didn’t do well getting fluids or anything down.  Ice chips were (and still are) my best friend. 

I ended up with 6 incision sites, 1 main site and 5 smaller with around 20-24 staples, which came out around 9 days, and by that stage I still wasn’t getting enough fluids in, so we started a course of steroids to reduce the swelling around the top of my stomach, 4 days on the steroids made me feel ontop of the world 🙂 plus I managed to get some smoothies down! 

I’m not hungry, I don’t feel that at all, which is normal as the section of the stomach that was removed produces the hormone Ghrelin which makes you feel hungry.  I do feel discomfort when I drink something as the new tummy is still swollen. 

After the op the first week is strictly fluids, then the next 2 weeks puréed soft foods, then by week 3-4 starting to transition back to normal foods, I’ve been impatient, wanting to eat proper food, it doesn’t work, unfortunately it gets stuck and comes back up. 

I’ve lost 14 kilos so far, I don’t regret the operation anymore, but I am feeling very flat & lethargic, I’ve started on the multivitamins (swallowing those is a mission) so hopefully I might start to see the energy levels increase. 

Cheers for now B 

On the home stretch 

Dear George…

Less than a week until I head in for surgery!  Getting very excited now, but anxious about the hard work that lies ahead. 

I’ve had numerous conversations recently with different people having known someone who’s had the sleeve done with really positive results, but all commonly have had issues with some foods and no longer being able to tolerate them.. and I’m ok with that. 

It’s been a busy few weeks, I’ve been in for my last visit with the surgeon, had a session with the physiologist and my first appointment with the dietician and I’ve been playing phone tag with the pre-admissions clinic at the hospital.  

During my visits the dietician gave me a new plate which sections out what you should be eating in Protien, veggies & salad, it’s slightly bigger than a side plate but smaller than the average dinner plate.  My son has been cute he wants one too, funny little things kids are, his been quiet interested in what’s going on, I’ve been explaining everything the best I can, but his worried that I’m going to die, for some reason he associates hospital with dying at the moment, not sure why, his never visited anyone in hospital that has been extremely ill or terminally ill, people he has visited in hospital have been sick but always gone home. Just his way of expressing himself at the moment I think. 

I started the two week diet of optifast prior to surgery last week, I can say that’s not going so well, I can’t stand the taste of it and it makes me gag!  So I’ve been having up and go’s instead, the dietician also recommend 2-4 cups of certain veggies (non-starch) and because my BMI is over 50 I can have 100g of Protien as well, so one day I had some veggies & a boiled egg, and another uncooked veggies with some tuna.  I havnt been hungry as such just craving food I can’t have, like today when I messaged my sister telling her I wanted a chicken Parma, not because I was hungry I just wanted to taste something…  Well I had a carrot with some hommus instead… Not quiet the same thing but oh well. 

I got my sister to take a ‘before’ picture of me, it’s horrible!! Standing there in my bra and pants, guts hanging out!! But hopefully in a few months I can but it beside another one and see some changes. Positive thoughts right! 

Exciting times ahead! Chat soon bye for now 

Thanks for the support 

Dear George… 

Thank you! Ive had an overwhelming response to my first couple of blogs.  It was a big decision to share my story publically so to those who are tagging along on this ride with me thanks! 

6 weeks now till my surgery.  There’s a fair bit of organising to do prior.  I’ve received paperwork to fill out from the surgeon for hospital and have numerous pre-opp appointments to attend over the coming month. 

I have an appointment with a psychologist, the lapsurgery dietician and another appointment with the surgeon. 

2 weeks before the surgery I need to go on optifast or optislim I get those two confused, it’s sole purpose is to shrink the liver, sounds weird right!  Anatomically the liver sits over your stomach, so when the surgeon goes in to perform the Sleeve gastrostomy they need the liver to have reduced a bit in size and also to be floppy and flaccid so that that can safely hook it off to the side with out lacerating it to perform the procedure (hope I’m not grossing you out). 

As part of the procedure and follow up I think there is around 4 appointments to see the dietician, psychologist and the surgeon a couple of times. 

I’ve been having a read of all the brochures from the clinic, initially after surgery you’re on a 600-800 calorie diet which as you progress to more of your maintence time increases to around 1000 calories per day.  Sounds hard!! But I have to keep reminding myself that just over 2/3rds of my stomach will be removed! An adult has a stomach with around 2ltr capacity, mine will end up being around 150mls.  Also with the portion of stomach that they remove, they’re removing an area of the stomach that produces the hormone Ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, so on paper 600-800 cals seems doable! We’ll see hey. 
I got so mad and depressed this week, I described in my first dear George blog the anxiety I feel about people judging me, judging people who are fat or let’s use that terrible ‘morbidly obese’ word!  I’d had all this positive support for my journey, then I see on social media some poor woman who was ‘fat shamed’ by a personal trainer, who took a picture of her in a shopping centre without her permission, made horrible comments about her, posted it to Facebook and was disgusting, for someone who’s PROFESSION is health & fitness!  What an arsehole (sorry) I just felt so sad for her, she is bound to see it, I’m worried for her mental health, something like what he did which went viral would be enough to tip some people over the edge. 

I took a screen shot of what he posted which I’ll try and add.. But seriously what a PIG. 

This so called personal trainer ‘strength sensei’ is the type of person I loath.  That post is not of me, but it just brings back all the horrible comments people have made to me.  

Again thanks for sharing, liking and commenting.

Chat soon B x  

I’m getting closer… 

Dear George… 

I’ve had my next visit to see Mr. McHenry & his nurse, nearly a year since the first consultation, we ran thru again what had initially been discussed, confirmed I’m ready to go ahead, planning the next steps, I’d had a Full blood work up done bringing my test results in for review, they do a whole list of blood tests to check you’re fit for surgery, including an ECG, all those results where A-OK and no need for further physician follow up.  

I did have to get on those dredded scales again, having been nearly a year since the last visit I knew I’d be heavier, I know because my clothes don’t fit, I know because my back is getting worse and my knees are sore.  To be honest I don’t think I really listened very well to what the amount was, I tuned out, I tuned out like you sometimes do when you’re watching a real good movie or TV show and someone is trying to get your attention but your solely focused on the TV or even book or computer, I tuned out and stared at the garden out the window thinking it really was a nice garden and how I needed to spend more time in my own, I have so many weeds! Those damn weeds!! …. Wait….what did she just say? Did she just say I was 150 something kilos… OH MY GOD was my thought, 150 what? Thinking I didn’t catch the end part, was it 152 or 156, I don’t know I didn’t want to have it repeated again!! BUT don’t worry I have to get on the scales again before the surgery so I’ll have an accurate ‘start’ weight to share. 

I’m getting more excited as each day passes, I seriously don’t understand why I’m excited to be put under anesthetic and have holes put in my body and the majority of my stomach removed, I think it’s just purely about the outcome… and possibly I’m a bit numb to the worries others feel and face when planning hospital stays and visits, I’m a nurse, I don’t ask if it’s going to hurt, or how long will I be staying,  I want to know statistics, success, failures, complications, how many incisions will be made. 

As far as surgery goes the procedure itself is laparoscopic and usually takes about 45 minutes if there aren’t any complications, so relatively short really. 

I havnt shared George out to the public just yet, I’m still getting my way around this blog site, I’ll give it a go at sharing over the next week or so, feel free to comment, share or follow me on Instagram, I’ve set up an account for dear George and will start sharing photos, etc

george_dear on Instagram. 

Chat soon cheers B

Dear George…

Welcome to Dear George…

Everyone has a story and this is mine.

10 Months on from my first consultation with Mr. Ray McHenry at Lapsurgery Australia, which I have thought about every day sometimes multiple times a day since.

This thought.. this procedure has consumed my life, my plans, my everything for over 10 months.  From the time I started researching the procedure well over 12 months ago (what procedure??)  Gastric Sleeve or Sleeve Gastrectomy; in the most layman terms weight loss surgery.  Whilst initially contemplating surgery and beginning to research the where? the how? the what and how much? I learnt that ‘bariatric’ surgery when performed through the public health system in a public hospital the wait list is from 2-6 years! whaaaat!!

Bariatric surgery is — Weight loss achieved by reducing the size of the stomach with a gastric band or through removal of a portion of the stomach or by bypassing the stomach straight to the small intestine.

OR

You can go privately with the correct private health insurance (which I didn’t have) for a couple of reasons..

  1. because of one of my main beliefs about private versus public care.  My belief and let me disclose that this is obviously mine and you can agree or disagree and that’s OK!  I believe that private health insurance is a rort and not by the meaning of having a wild party! Fraudulent & dishonest yeah possibly.  Look I am a nurse I understand many things related to hospital care, doctors, physicians, specialists, medicare and the australian government.  I still view and by all means call me narrow minded, wrong or whatever you like, but i still view private health insurance as a major RIP off; Private health insurance gives individuals a false sense of security I hear all the time; “oh it’s ok I have private health insurance.”  Well that’s nice if you can afford all the top premiums to have the top cover PLUS afford all the out of pocket expenses, that a lot of Australians can’t afford.        Why because your bank balance is bigger and you can produce the $$$$ should you get preferential treatment??                             I know we are lucky in Australia to have the medicare system, and millions of us have access to it and use it everyday.                                                                                                         But again WHY should the wealthy only be the ones to move forward on the surgery wait lists, while someone else whose condition may further deteriorate and their quality of life decline because they can’t afford it!!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Yes that’s my view, my opinion, and it may not be yours.  Anyone who doesn’t know me should probably know that I can be opinionated but I am fair too.  I believe in a lot of things especially equality for all humans on all levels, equality for Women, equality for Men, equality on marriage and a person’s damn right to choose who the hell they want to marry, love is love… end of that discussion.. where was I? oh that’s right bla bla bla private health insurance my reason number (1) and its mostly unintentional classing of rich vs poor.
  2. reason 2 of why i didn’t have private health insurance was the poor factor, or well not really, but my money gets spent else where, I am a single mum and I’m not poor as such but definitely fall into the low income earner category since master 6 arrived.  I mean we don’t go without we are very fortunate we have a home and a car and everything that we need, but the dollars I earn are spent on living life, just your normal everyday life with bills and mortgage and cost of living.

 

So 10 months or really lets say 12 months ago I really had to make some tough decisions:  The choice in my mind was made, I was having this surgery, but was it going to be a long drawn out wait on the public hospital list? being more miserable by the day, week, month with no end date, no goal date in sight? or try and find the cheapest health fund and join up?                                                                                                                                                                       12 months wait period to claim verses up to 6 years.  That comparison alone made my choice, could I afford it? no….

My poor credit card.. but really that’s what they’re for right? emergencies?  this is not a new pair of shoes or replacing a washing machine after all.  BUT it is potentially life saving surgery.

We all know the statistics around obesity and higher chances of heart attack, stroke, diabetes etc etc, so yes my life is the emergency, me being here on this earth for as long as possible to raise my son, is my emergency.

Back to 10 months ago, Private health insurance CHECK… Appointment with surgeon CHECK..

My first visit to Lapsurgery Australia was to first see the surgeon’s nurse, then see him.

If I remember correctly Carol is her name; my first thought was “ohhh great, here comes this confident, skinny woman!”  why did I automatically think that she would judge me? and the way I look?  why? because it’s constantly in my head.  My brain thinks – mostly from experience with nasty shallow people.  I feel that fat people don’t judge other fat people because they know what the skinny and genetically blessed people don’t, they know you already hate the way you look; and don’t tell me that you “love your curves” when they are quite clearly gutters, roundabouts, ditches, footpaths and the service road all  in one; don’t tell me when you try and squeeze your fat ass into a pair of jeans that won’t do up anymore that you’re happy with your curves… you are lying to yourself!!

Let me say there is a VERY big difference in being naturally curvy and being morbidly obese (isn’t that a horrible word!)  I’m talking out of the teens in clothing sizes, 16, 18, and into the 20+ clothing sizes, the so fat you have trouble putting your own socks on or even reaching around to wipe your own bottom on the toilet!  In my experiences skinny people judge you, I hear the “you would be beautiful if you lost some weight,” the “but… you have such a beautiful face.” the “why don’t you try shopping for clothes at xyz store, I saw that they have sizes that go to a Large.”  and in reality those sizes that go to the ‘L’ are actually around a size 12-14- yep well double that and we’ll be getting there.

In my head they’re saying; “she’s so fat why doesn’t she just go on a diet.” and one that I am absolutely hating with a passion and do it myself is that, more recently with the now ever popular social media outlets like facebook and dating apps.  We all have a selfie…right… yes… come on that picture of yourself that has been taken at a particular downward held high angle just right that it hides your jowls and triple chins, that’s all I have as profile pictures!  god forbid that our facebook friends or tinder potentials actually see what we look like from head to toe, we crop out our arms, or just use a head shot, totally makes us feel better, for a while at least, especially after your 95th like on your new profile picture…. that is until you have to actually meet a person in the flesh…panic…anxiety…depression…worry…inadequacy all sets in.

For Carol the nurse who I went in to see before my first consultation with the surgeon, I was wrong, she was lovely, caring, mature, sensitive and totally understanding (maybe she too used to be fatty).  She weighed me, measured me, chatted and took my obbs (blood pressure and pulse). She had no disapproving looks, no comments, just 100% professional.

Once it was my turn to see Mr. McHenry, Carol came and took me in; again very professional, I felt at ease.  Mr. McHenry was fabulous, not stuffy, not looking down his nose at me like most doctors and G.P’s I have seen over the years, we chatted about several procedures that Lapsurgery Aust. (he and his colleagues) perform, but most importantly he made me feel good, he made me feel like I just didn’t want to burst into tears talking about my hundreds of attempts at weight loss, where I will do really well and get 20-25 kilos off, then my body plateaus, I change my calorie/carb/protein intakes because I know how it works, I know it’s all about energy in versus energy out, I am very well educated on the topic of dieting!  I should have a masters in it.  But for some reason my body just stops, its says what the hell are you doing to me!  you are starving me!  I will hold onto anything I put in.  So motivation is lost, no results are seen, so I eventually stop.  My body says “OMG thank YOU!!” and again holds onto anything I give it, just in case, just in case I decide to put it through that hell again, so it stockpiles, like squirrels for winter stockpiling nuts.  I end up putting all the weight lost, plus an additional 10kg or more.  After all, my body thinks that the world is ending and needs to be prepared and have all the nuts stock pilled.

I have tried many many diets so you can do the math of how many times I have gained back plus that little bit extra more and may start to realise how when I stood on the scales 10 months ago, Carol told me I weighed 146kg.  I was in disbelief!  that can’t be right! surely not… that’s not what my scales at home say!  well apparently very commonly once you weigh over 110 kg scales of any brand, type start to become inaccurate.

I wasn’t a fat kid, I was really fit and very active.  It’s only as a late teen and early twenty something that things started to change for a few reasons.

As a teen I always had an obsession with my weight, I had a journal that I would write in and write it to a somewhat imaginary person — George; “Dear George…” I would write, I still have it and at some stage of this journey I will share some entries, I do remember being disgusted at myself for being around 60 or 65 kg I think it was at the time.

Disclaimer:  I have never really said anything to others about this before other than George my journal – I don’t think my parents or foster parents would have known, I know parents snoop, but the book didn’t look like a diary and it was never left out and mainly stayed with me at all times, there is really only one person who I have shared bits of this with.

If I was unhappy with my weight I would punish myself, and only allow myself to have an apple and water for the day, or just water and this would go on for days and days until I started seeing results on the scales, and if I did give in and eat a meal, I would immediately punish myself by going out to the back toilet, have the TV out there playing loud and make myself vomit. This continued for years  and years.  George would only be written to if I was extremely angry about putting on weight… I would list off everything I ate all the activity I would do and if I wasn’t happy with the results decrease my food and supplement it with water.  So this is really where my story began.

For now I must end this entry to my blog or what is really the modern version of George, I am excited to have dates for my surgery now, so will share that with you all next.

Cheers B