Weight loss is not worth the pain of surgery

Having had a gastric sleeve surgery done and joining online groups for support I have discovered a terrible truth.  The groups only tell you the good stuff and try to cover up the bad.  There is no support out there for those of us that regret having the surgery.  No support for those of us left in pain.  In addition to forums trying to shut down those of us saying weight loss isn’t worth the pain they brush over the fact that when you have a gastric sleeve surgery done it is not just your stomach they will alter….it is your diaphragm.  It is the stitches over tightening your diaphragm that will cause excruciating pain but no one will tell you that.  The doctors will lie and say it just feels a bit tight for two or three days.  It is just being stabbed with a hot sword that is twisted and broken off in your chest!  Pain medication will not even touch the pain.  I am 2.5 months out from surgery and still in daily pain.  The NHS doctors didn’t even examine me at my one and only follow up appointment and have refused to even investigate the pain.  The pain honestly overwhelms me to the point that I am imagining cutting my wrists so that the pain might finally be over.  Don’t let anyone tell you that in 2 weeks you will feel all better or that weight loss is worth the unending pain of having your diaphragm butchered.  Save yourselves and don’t have the surgery.  

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Gloucestershire Royal   Hospital 

Has no regard for patients right to choose their care.  They are ok with their doctors yelling at their patients to get surgical consent under duress.  THe are ok with their surgeons preforming procedures the patient has verbally refused before being forced to sign forms under duress.  They refuse aftercare and leave patients in agony with no treatment or pain relief.  ROyal Gloucester Hospital is dangerous.  Their bariatric department is abusive and assaulting patients.  Stay far away from this hospital!

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Had my sleeve gastrectomy a week ago today

7 days since surgery.  It has been scary and painful but I think it has been worth it.  Not everything went to my plan but I can and am dealing with those things.  I will start my story from the day before surgery.

The day before my sleeve gastrectomy my mind was raging at a million miles an hour and all I wanted in the world was to eat an actual, proper meal.  I woke up early in the morning unable to sleep anymore and got ready for a walk.  I figured a long walk would do me a world of good but wasn’t sure how far I really wanted to go but set off with my day pack, a bottle of water and a debit card for buying tea at stops along the way.  About four hours (and 9 miles from home) later I decided my head was finally clear enough  and got a bus home.  It put me in a good place for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, Surgery day was very long and hungry.  Organisation at the hospital left a bit to be desired but overall for the procedure I signed up for I was happy with my care.waking up after surgery was directly into pain and panic as I could get a deep breath in but my nurse was excellent and they allowed my husband to sit with me in recovery so my anxiety was calmed a bit.  Eventually I was moved up to a ward and tormented by the vile to show Judge Judy as I intermittently slept.  In the night I started shaking and overheating which eventually lead to my one and only vomiting episode probably brought on by a lack of effective pain meds. I don’t respond well to the medications they were willing to give me and as per usual the doctor blew me off.

The next day I did figure out I had to pester for what little meds they offered as they didn’t offer or give out pain meds regularly.  I walked about as much as I could on the small ward with the expectation of going home.  The doctor had said I could on morning rounds but had not communicated this to anyone else.  They also were of the mistaken impression that being in pain would be a reason I would want to stay on the ward.  It took tears, a bit of anger and insistence but I got to go home . At least at home I had control of my own meds and didn’t have to guess the schedule or beg a busy nurse.  An hour long drive home was less than wonderful but I was happy to feel in a safe place again (hospitals are scary and peoply which is not a “safe” feeling for me).

The first couple days was exhaustion and sleeping sitting up as I can’t yet lay down without suffocating pain (part of another story I am not yet ready to write but not due to the sleeve gastrectomy procedure itself).  Friday I went to the store while my men food shopped to get out of the house and get a few steps.  I leaned heavily on the cart and it wiped me out.  On Saturday I went to the store again and pushed the cart and was not wiped out and saw a light at the end of the tunnel.  Sunday I walked around the shop unaided and started moving about the house better too and stopped using the pain meds.  

Monday I went for a short walk with my daughter….maybe a mile.  Tidied up the living room a bit.  Went to Costco with my husband. Then finally went to the gym (very gently used the exercise bike and treadmill) and weighed in on the boditrax machine.  I had lost 7.7 lbs in the first 5 days and had broken through my next 10lb goal.  My muscle mass has suffered greatly but I still have more muscle than the average female athlete weighs in total.  My fat mass dropped considerably in those 5 days.  I really needed to see this as I was actually having a down day since my short walk had puffed me out a bit.  By the time I went to bed I had reached my 10k steps and knew I had lost weight.

Tuesday I started the day with a two mile walk.  I got some laundry done and generally started to feel more like myself again.  I went for an evening walk to puffed me out again and did just over 11k steps.  I discovered that my evening “heartburn” was actually that my liquid thyroid meds upset my stomach but following up with water clears it.

Things that had not gone to plan.  I stocked up on protein shakes only to find I couldn’t tolerate them.  In fact anything with artificial sweeteners seems to irritate my stomach.  Luckily the gym has a shake with no addded sugar or aspartame (I think it mentioned stevia) which goes down well and tastes nice. So I have a shelf of protein powder I can’t use.  Pain meds: I don’t get any effect from paracetamol that I have ever noticed but stubborn enough to try anyway.  They gave me an option of big horse pills or a bubbly tablet in water thing….neither are tolerable in the slightest.  So off to the store and buying masses of children’s calpol fastmelts so I could suck on them until they melt…four times over to get my full dose.  It was expensive but if it did give any vague relief it was worth it.  Also, they only sent me home with 3 days of codeine so I made do with half doses in the day and full doses at night to be sure I didn’t run out ….I still have some if needed. 

Lastly, I cannot lay down to sleep.  I am propped up on 3-4 pillows or else I wake gasping for air.  I believe this is due to another procedure that was done switch was was not given an option of saying no to.  This is a whole other story which I will tell when I am feeling less angry.  Let’s just say I am not happy they “repaired” a hiatal hernia which was not harming me at all and which they did no testing to confirm needed such extreme treatment.   This has also caused a stabbing pain in my diaphragm and an inability to take a deep breath.  I would have refused this procedure if I had known the facts and the doctor had not tied it to being able to have my sleeve gastrectomy.

I am glad I had the sleeve gastrectomy.  I am no longer excessively hungry and a protein shake fills me up nicely.  I know this procedure was the right choice for me and will help me immensely in reaching my weight goals.  I do recommend this procedure for anyone that has truly researched and considered it in detail.  It is not something to jump into quickly.  I learned as much as I could and even watched video of surgeries for about 8 years before even requesting referral for weight loss surgery 2 years ago.  It is serious abdominal surgery and of no use to someone with food addiction or binge eating issues until they have conquered those problems.  

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Gastric sleeve pre-op 5 days out

Five more days until my gastric sleeve surgery.  This pre-op diet is mentally wearing.  My body is functioning well below par and my brain is fuzzy.  I am sitting here on the sofa with the idea of a nice walk but not the energy to do it.  I know this level of calories is what I must get used to in the long term though and I have adapted quite a bit over the previous week.  Must just keep on keeping on.  On the positive side, I have lost 13lbs in the last 10 days.  I will push myself out the door today though and it will help me clear my head.

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Gastric Sleeve surgery

I have been manuevering the process to get the gastric sleeve surgery through the NHS for about 2 years.  Many times I truly believed I was wasting my time and that they would deny me the surgery.  I just kept on keeping on and doing my best to do whatever they asked of me.  

I have lost about 60lbs on my own over the course of these two years.  I know that is rather slow progress but progress nonetheless.  I have also reduced my fat percentage from 54% down to 41% in that time which is an even bigger achievement to me.  Could I eventually lose all the weight without surgery?  Honestly, I don’t think so.  I am so mentally shot from dieting and being hungry all the time over the last 3 decades that even if given the magic formula of weight loss I think I would crash and burn.  I need to be able to reduce the hunger….knawing, painful hunger…..and at this point I feel that weight loss surgery is the only way.

I got my surgery date for 2 weeks time yesterday and have started on my pre-op diet.  I feel insanely hungry.  The noise from my stomach is distracting for the people around me.  This will be a long two weeks and I will have to use all my willpower to not turn to cannibalism.  I cannot tell you just how unsatisfying even a double protein shake is as there are no words for it.  

I do wonder how I will feel emotionally without eating normally with the family.  My first bit emotional challenge will be 9 days after surgery when the family goes out for a nice meal for my eldest 17th birthday.  Exactly one month later (and only maybe up to mashed potatoes) is my son’s 16th birthday and the 8 week mark will be my birthday.  How will I feel?  They try to help you prepare but emotions are funny things and effect us all differently.  

Anyway, must stop dwelling on my thoughts as it is only making my already growling and churning stomach more hungry.  Dinner (only solid allowed) is in the oven and hopefully will feel somewhat filling.

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Cassava Flour Banana Bread

Since going paleo last year then falling off the wagon after about three months of the aforementioned paleo (no grains) I have realised that gluten and I are not the bosom buddies I had previously believed.  I won’t go into details of my experience of gluten after having eliminated it for a long period of time but let’s just say it was unpleasant.  I have been eating paleo again since January  and my body is back to liking me much more again. 

After a couple months I was getting bored and “needed” baked goods but wheat flour is just not an option.  I played around with almond flour and coconut flour a bit without joy.  A few weeks ago we started getting a fruit/veg delivery that included blemished fruit for juicing or smoothies.  In that flat of fruit I got about a dozen bananas that clearly had a short shelf life so had to do a big banana bread making session.  I also had an excess of apples so made jars of applesauce and applesauce muffins so it was a long session. I made coconut and almond flour recipes which were nice but nothing to write home about in my opinion.  

I ordered up the cassava flour shortly after that as it had been mentioned several times as being very good.  I didn’t have any recipes but  read on Pinterest  that it can be used one for one in place of wheat flour.  I found my old banana bread recipe and adjusted it to be primal friendly.  
125g butter

125g maple syrup

2 eggs

4 Bananas

350g cassava flour

1tsp baking soda

1 Tbsp cinnamon

4 Tbsp hemp seeds
I used coconut oil to grease the pan and poured in the mix.  Baked at 180 C ( around 350F I think) until a knife comes out clean. 
It came out more moist than the coconut and almond flour options.  This one was very more-ish which meant it was all eaten within a couple hours (normally it takes a couple days for everyone to munch through it all).  This recipe inspired us to have a go using cassava flour in chocolate chip cookies today.  
I am now in love with cassava flour.  I very much recommend it for anyone avoiding gluten or grains entirely. 

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Life as I know it today

Christmas seems to have gone pretty well.  Everyone is happy with gifts and no major fights.  I have even heard giggling from the two teens in the shared room.  Shocking I know!  The food has been a bit much for me this year.  I honestly feel like I have a good hangover in the mornings.  I am also working on my New Years resolutions….or at least goals for the future.

My lovely husband likes to spoil me with gifts.  Would be fine if we were millionaires but stresses me out a bit about finances since we are very average.  I know we had the cash to buy this handy dandy iPad I am typing on since we sold the house so this is an irrational worry….one of many.  I also got a Dyson V8 vacuum cleaner which makes me a happy girl but it seems to bother others that I honestly wanted and was excited about a vacuum.  I had my heart so set on the vacuum that I was disappointed by the iPad because I didn’t expect that I would get two expensive gifts so when the V8 came out I was as giddy as a kid with a new toy.  My family seems to think I am crazy….probably so but I have my new toy and that makes me happy.

Crazy BIL didn’t start any shit while at the in law’s house (was plenty shitty beforehand though) but we were both so anxious about him starting shit that we decided to leave early rather than spend the night.  The middle kid was also jonesing for his new computer.  While we were there it was a nice day though and that is what matters.

Another thing about no major fighting is that my girls who share a room have sent quite a bit of time giggling away in their rooms.  Do they disagree and have tiffs?  Of course they do but not as bad as I have been expecting since we moved into the new house. I feel really blessed to have happy and healthy kids and the giggling brings me so much joy.

Since it is Christmastime and all we have been  eating anything we like.  There has been chocolate, cheese and lots of pastry, cake and cookies. I believe I am feeling a sugar hangover every morning lately. Chocolate doesn’t even interest me at this point as I have had so much.  I hate to even imagine how much weight I have put on in the last week.  It can not be good I am sure.  My aim at this point is to start gently get back onto my paleo wagon by New Years Day.  By then all the nibbles and treats should be long gone and I can do a full clear out of my kitchen/pantries.  I have been reading a paleo style book (eat fat get thin)and listening to a primal podcast (primal potential) trying to work on my mental state and be ready for the first of the year. 

 I have been referred to the bariatric surgeon for gastric sleeve surgery so  really must get back into the dieting game now so I don’t get sent back down to the useless dietitian and psychologist.  Not so impressed with the endocrinologist either after seeing the letter they sent to my gp (I get a copy of the correspondence).  The doctor wrote to the gp that I had been following an extremely restricted diet of no carbohydrates at all.  I had told them that I had been following a paleo/primal diet while my eight loss was very good.  I explained how the diet works and that I was having about 100-150g of carbohydrates everyday in the form of non-starchy vegetables and fruit.  How on earth the supposedly intelligent people can see this as no carbohydrates at all is beyond me.  

Now for my goals for the future which I guess are resolutions considering the time of year.  I am going to be getting back onto my paleo diet and make sure I go to the gym five days a week so as to get my weight down.  I don’t know for sure if I will be allowed to get the gastric sleeve surgery so have have to just keep working toward losing another 120 pounds.  I don’t expect I can do it all in one year by any means and I don’t think I want to even if it is possible.  I think a none surgery goal for my weight loss is another 50 pounds this year.  In addition to the weight loss goal which I guess must be a part of any self-respecting fat girl’s New Years resolutions I also have a goal of improving my household organisation.  I want to do better about keeping my home clean as well as planning out shopping.  My last goal is to spend some quiet meditation time each day so as to help myself relax more and hopefully reduce anxiety.

Life is pretty good right now.  I have a few things to work on in the future but nothing I can’t do.  I am blessed with a husband that treats me like a queen and kids who are wonderful people.  I hope you have all had great holidays this year and that next year is better than ever before.

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Blueberry smoothie

Just a simple little recipe.  No added sugar but it does have 35g of carb so not for you Keto guy.  It also has 34g of protein though and 2 servings of your 5 a day so a good healthy start to the day.  I use my nutribullet for this with the big cup which it quite completely fills.  My big appetite is my downfall.

Now on with the recipe.

BLUEBERRY SMOOTHIE:

100 frozen blueberries

1 good handful (about a cup) spinach

30g shelled hemp seeds

200g Fage 0% Greek yogurt

300ml or to fill line of almondmilk

Blend until smooth.

I did say this was a simple recipe.  Often I assume something this simple isn’t worth mentioning; but then again, perhaps for those that tend to overthink and just for inspiration it is worth just throwing it out there.  Tomorrow I will using raspberries for a bit of a change as well as substituting chia seeds as I am out of hemp but that is the beauty of the basics….they are a starting point.  

I like the creaminess I get from the yogurt as well as the protein boost.  I also add the hemp mostly as a protein source though the nutritional stats for it are pretty good. Most importantly for me right now is that I had noticed my fruit and vegetable servings had been suffering a bit lately so this smoothie packs the punch I need.  I hope you enjoy this breakfast as much as I do.

Oh and for the record, the regular Greek yogurt with fat is fine too but my store only had the 0% so I made do.

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Moved and settled but OMG the laundry

We sold our house and got rid of all those pesky debts and have a still small emergency fund which all makes me feel happy and secure. The new house we are renting is beautifully decorated and came mostly furnished with good quality furniture and appliances. There have been a few teething issues but mostly getting on well.  There is only one niggle that is driving me nuts…..he house only has a washing machine and no dryer.

I know I have managed without a dryer many times in my life but I hate it.  it is the rainy season (ok that is about every season really) so hanging out is not na option most days.  When it isn’t raining the temperature is so low that all I can do is pray for freeze drying (ok the truth is that colder might actual help by causing freeze drying as it is really just cold and damp air).  There are few accessible radiators so my typical wet weather option is out and there is no dryer.  Sometimes the clothes take 2 or more days to dry and smell foul in the end.

What I need is ideas for drying faster, generally having less laundry and making them smell nice.  

I got fabric soften in sunshine fresh but not yet sure what it will smell like by the time the clothes dry. They do smell nice (though chemically) when first out of the wash.  I would prefer a natural option but the ones I have come across have been unscented.  I also don’t like the heaviness in my chest from the chemical option.

Less laundry would help too but with a family of five, of 2 adults and 3 teens, the clothes stack up to a full load or more everyday.  My husband cycles to work so has a cycling outfit, work outfit and an afterword casual outfit every workday. My eldest is now working as a dishwasher in a pub so has a college outfit and a work outfit several days a week. Middle kid helps a bit by rewarding clothes but to an extent that is just dirty….. there is a smell.  My youngest generally has one outfit a day and is a skinny thing with small clothes but that doesn’t help much.  The problem has been enough that I find myself beginning to use more paper towels than ever to avoid using up my fabric towels and needing to add them to the wash.

How do I get the laundry to dry faster.  I keep running out of tea towels and cleaning cloths because it takes days for things to dry.  I even have a heater in the back room surrounded by three large clothes airers trying to help things along.  I love having an extra back room with was meant to be a quiet reading area but it is constantly full of wet clothes . 

Clothes are the bane of my existence. It is never ending and it is burying me alive.  Perhaps it has already killed me and the foul smell is my rotting corpse buried under the wet clothes.

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Slowing down

I was reading a blog post about simple living about figuring out what that means to each individual and it got me thinking about not only what simple living is to me but about what my interests in general happen to be. Looking at my topics for blog reading on WordPress, I realised that this might be the place to start to figure out how to slow down my life in the right way. My topics are home education, paleo, and simple living.  In a way they all are very interrelated for me. 

Home education allows us to work at our own pace and individualise our children’s studies but also means we can set our on schedule or work with none at all if we want.  Home education mostly relieves stress for me.  Of course I have my wobbles at times when I worry we are “behind” in some way but day in and day out it feels like a simpler way of life.

Paleo as a way of simplifying life.  Many people would probably think this has no relation to simple living or that it makes things more complicated.  In some ways it does complicate things as I am the only one in the family that wants thus way of eating but it has great potential to simplify things.  I fell into paleo because it was easier to grab some cooked meat and s pack of berries at the shop than to pack a lunch.  I found I really enjoyed my simple quick meal and it both kept my calories down and filled me better than a sandwich, crisps and an apple.  After a while I noticed that my weight was coming down more easily too.  For me the key to paleo being a simple way of eating is not bothering with finding paleo alternatives to non-paleo foods. Right now this is an area of struggle for me though but I guess also an area to work on to get to my simpler life.

Simple living as a topic seems obvious but it is actually well too broad.  It tends to include everything from people talking of their embracing meditation to full on homesteading to finding God. Many of these things I skip over.  I know for me that religion does not equal calm. Homesteading is too much work and would drain me quickly. Meditation is nice and something I am working on but not something I general enjoy reading much about.  I haven’t really figured out exactly what I am looking for in this section.  I know I like the living with less stuff (but not white and sterile) kind of minimalism always catches my eye. Anything about saving money or working within a budget draws me in as well. Perhaps I need break down this category further to find my simple.

What is your simpler way of life?  What do you think would bring you to a calmer existence?  Have you found your simple or perhaps on the journey?

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