Tag Archives: pain

Making an Investment

Next week I head back to the hospital for another procedure since my gastric sleeve surgery. I am excited as well as extremely nervous about my next step to creating the healthiest body I can have. My surgeons will repair the damage to my body by fixing my incisional vertical abdominal hernia and removing excess skin. Committing to more surgery was a difficult decision, but I finally realized that this surgery is just another step in my continuing process of taking care of me.

I have an abdominal hernia from my two c-sections. I never felt quite “put back together” after my first c-section, but I felt a little better after my second so I never really gave my protruding stomach much thought. Since I was obese I just assumed my asymmetrical stomach was normal. It wasn’t until my gastric sleeve surgeon asked me if I knew I had a hernia that I even knew my abdomen wasn’t normal.

15 months after my gastric sleeve surgery and I'm still making changes to be the best "me" I can be!

15 months after my gastric sleeve surgery and I’m still making changes to be the best “me” I can be!

Aside from the displeasing aesthetic look, the hernia didn’t really bother me until almost a year after my gastric sleeve surgery. My running speed and endurance were increasing since I had lost about 100 pounds. I was excited and looking into 5K races. Then the pain started. I couldn’t run without stopping for the pain in my lower right abdomen. After another run cut short by pain, I knew I had to fix the hernia.

Fortunately, my gastric sleeve surgeon could fix my hernia so I headed back to him to schedule the surgery. I just assumed it would be a simple procedure like my sleeve. A few incisions, a night in the hospital and then I’d head home and start running in a few weeks. “No,” was the simple answer Dr. J gave me at my appointment. My assumptions were wrong. This surgery involves pushing my intestines back through my muscles then stitching the muscles up and then my incisions. I’m sure my disappointment and fears showed on my face. I thought I could have this done at the beginning of summer and be back up and running (literally) quickly. This was just a tad more involved, to say the least.

Dr. J added to my fear by telling me that the incisions could get infected easily, especially with all the excess skin I have from my weight loss. He recommended I go see a plastic surgeon to discuss having the skin removed (similar to a tummy tuck). I’m sure I looked at him like he was crazy. Me going to a plastic surgeon? I’m the fat chick aren’t I? It took me a minute to realize that I’m not the obese woman I was before and that plastic surgery was a viable option now. I made the appointment that day to see Dr. C, a plastic surgeon that Dr. J regularly works with on these types of surgery.

My appointment with Dr. C went better than I could have imagined. He’s a calm, practical doctor who answered every question I could think of during my appointment. He showed me pictures of other patients who were like me; seeing proof that my abdomen could actually look normal was thrilling. I appreciated his honesty in telling me my stomach would be better, but I wouldn’t have the abs of a 20-year-old. His office emailed the financial estimate the next day and the ever-supportive hubby and I went through the details together.

Dave and I talked about the surgery and the expected positive outcome for me both physically and mentally. Having the hernia fixed will make me better physically and going back to running will help physically and mentally. I miss running more than I imagined. Even with all the positive reasons to have both surgeries, I was still reluctant. Surgery doesn’t just affect me, but my whole family. After surgery I will have to rely on my family and friends even more than I do now. My husband is going to have to take more of the household and children responsibilities all while maintaining a demanding work schedule. I will need to ask my friends for help in getting my children to school and to their after school activities. The financial burden weighed heavily on my mind, too.

With all these negatives, all it took was one simple sentence from the ever-supportive hubby to make me see the light. Dave looked at me and said, “You’re making an investment.” Besides telling me he loved me for the first time and asking me to marry him, he has never said anything more loving and sexy to me. The person I love thinks that the steps I take to be a happy and healthy person are worthwhile. This was all I needed to hear and I emailed both surgeons to start the process for these next surgeries.

I now realize that my whole weight loss journey is about investing in me. Everything that I do to make me a healthier and happier person is well worth it. Any positive change I make in my life from losing weight to surrounding myself with positive people, is simply an investment in my present and future life. My Down the Scale journey will continue with a variety of investments including my upcoming hernia and tummy tuck surgeries. Who better to invest in than me?

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It’s a Gas, Gas, Gas..

I am sleeved. This past Tuesday, the weight loss journey truly began with gastric sleeve surgery. It’s wasn’t fun and it wasn’t pretty, but it is done. No turning back now.

Tuesday I felt positive on my decision. Pre-op was smooth. The nurse was able to get the IV in my hand without too much trouble which is a miracle. I have tricky veins and nurses always struggle with me. After an hour, we went to the surgery waiting room to meet with my sleeve gang. The professional and warm nurse soothed me right away. My Doogie Howser anesthesiologist was reassuring even with his baby smooth face. The physician assistant from my surgeon office was her usual friendly, confidant self and my attractive and experienced surgeon all reminded me that the surgery would go well.

 I kissed my ever supportive and very handsome husband goodbye and walked into the operating room. Or should I say alien ship? Stark white walls and blinking machines were not calming nor comforting. Doogie Howser’s gently whispering of “It’s going to go well” and my warm nurse gently rubbing my arm steadily did calm me down and suddenly I was asleep.

My two-hour nap was brutally awakened by the aliens of the mothership. After a minute I realized I wasn’t in a large experiment room on an alien vessel. Contrary to my first thought, aliens had not pumped my body full of so much air that I was going to explode. I was in the recovery room of my hospital and I hurt like hell. 

I pride myself on being a tough cookie when it comes to pain, but at this time I was not that tough cookie. I wasn’t even a cookie crumb of strength. Meet Jen, the moaning, whiney hot mess. The head nurse finally brought over medicine and I calmed down and mellowed a bit before I planned my escape from the alien ship.

Somehow I made it to my room and I recall my still handsome but now annoyingly perky doctor telling me about the hiatal hernia that he fixed and that I have an abdominal hernia that needs repairing in the future. He smiled and said everything went great. My hubby was comforting and not too perky when he arrived. Later, my friend who has been to my recovery of two of the four surgeries I’ve had, arrived with some trashy magazines and support.

I can’t say if I talked much to my hubby and friend that afternoon. The day passed in a nauseous haze. Finally, when I kept complaining about my nausea, one of the nurses checked my morphine pump. Turns out I enjoyed pushing my pain clicker a bit too much. I switched from food comfort to morphine comfort that quickly. A new painkiller was introduced and it made a world of difference, but not enough to go home that day. I stayed another night to keep my fluids up and to heal.

In theory, another day at the stay-at-home mom spa seemed fun. The never-ending gas and constant vital checks ruined the relaxation vibe. No one came to do a mani/pedi or rub my feet. And then my pity party began. “What the hell have I done?”, “How pathetic am I that I must have surgery to be normal?” and the more concise “F— me!” statements filled my head all day and night.

Two days after surgery, I took a welcome but nauseating ride home with these self doubting statements. Encouraged by my friends, and resting at home with my own Dr. Hubby and sweet and loving children have helped my outlook tremendously. There is guilt on my part that I am putting my family through this uncomfortable and awkward time. Even through all the pain, nausea and doubt, I still believe in my decision. A month of drastic physical and emotional changes will be worth it. I had gastric sleeve surgery to become a better me and to truly live my live the way I want to live it. Determination, humor, pain and change will get me Down the Scale to where I need and want to be.

Here I go…

Here I am ready to go back out until the world with my water bottle in hand!  Where did I go first?  Target, of course!

Here I am ready to go back out into  the world with my water bottle in hand! Where did I go first? Target, of course!