It’s been eight weeks since my surgery, the vertical gastrectomy, for weight loss, and I’ve lost a total of fifty pounds exactly. I’m losing between 2 and 5 pounds a week. I’ve had to make some adjustments, but I’m excited to be well on the way to achieving my goal: to be thinner, leaner and healthier at 50 years old. The knowledge that I took significant steps toward that goal is liberating, exciting, and most important confidence building.
My first and most significant adjustment is the loss of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. This is the medicine I was taking for painful joints, but as a category includes ibuprofen, naproxyn, asprin, Celebrex, diclofenac, etc. These medicines are off the menu for certain because of the stress put on the stomach lining potentially causing ulcers. That would be the worst. Leslie’s neice, Tami, ended up with an ulcer after the same procedure (for different reasons) and had to tolerate a feeding tube up her nose for six weeks. I miss these medicines more than ever because we’re working out regularly now (thanks to a good and generous friend). The three of us go as a family, and I’ve started with 40 minutes of cardio (20 on the bike and 20 on the treadmill). Then, I do some strength training on Nautilus type equipment. Leslie and I struggle along as Elizabeth smokes both of us jogging on the treadmill like a pro. She’s an inspiration, and actually got us started on this road to a healthier lifestyle. By the end of a work-out day, my hips and joints are screaming and 800 mg of good ol' ibuprofen would fit the bill!
My next significant adjustment is something I still work on, and it’s employing an understanding of the difference between head hunger and real hunger in daily eating. Word is that when you’re feeling head hunger you crave something specific. Real hunger will be satisfied by eating anything good. This can lead to eating too much or eating too quickly which has only one result … vomiting, which can stress the internal stitches. So, it’s important to be aware when eating. Also, anything even remotely resembling raw vegetables causes the same result.
Heartburn is my latest best friend and with me almost constantly, although my surgeon says it’ll go away in time. Not soon enough for me thank you. Ironically, however, there isn’t a bottle of Maalox to be found on the Peninsula. The pharmacist told us it was recalled. The key is to eat simple foods, so I’m highly focused on getting enough protein and staying hydrated. So far I’m managing at least two water bottles a day. I want to be thinner, but I don’t want to be a thin person trapped in a bag of wrinkles. Water is the key to avoiding this personal hell.
I still get a little tired, but I think much of it is continued recovery from the surgery itself. For example, last weekend we did a yard sale, so I did a lot of lifting in the sun. I was knocked out by the end of the day, and consequently received a serious reminder from my general physician. Recovering from major abdominal surgery can take three to six months … so don’t act too butch!
On the flipside, I’m getting into clothes that have been sitting in the closet for over eight years. This is really what confirms the weight loss to me personally. I pulled a shirt out of the closet to put on today fully expecting it to be snug still, and lo and behold it was a little big! Fifty pounds makes a big difference!
Bottom Line: It’s my 48th birthday, and I’ve taken significant steps toward my 50 year goal. I feel happy, healthier, and confident, and my entire family is on board reaping the benefits of this change in life. It feels really good.