Weight Loss Boards

This post is about two extremes, one of my loves and one of my pet hates.  I love xtranormal, the text-into-movie site.  I find their whole concept amazing and many of the videos that people have made using their service are phenomenal.  As for the other extreme, I despise ignorance; especially when it is disguised as advice.  Combining my loves and hates is easy; I have just made my first xtranormal video about exactly this topic.  I hope you enjoy it!

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Letter From The Doctor

The NHS really impresses me.  So many people complain about it, and yet I have had really wonderful service.  Ok, the office management at the hospital leaves something to be desired, but overall I have had excellent care.  One particularly shining example of their practicality is the fact that all caregivers communicate with each other and include the patient in the loop.  I love that I get a copy of the correspondence between my doctors!

Today a copy of the letter sent by my surgeon’s office to my GP arrived in the mail.  The letter outlines the details of my three month follow-up appointment and the results of my blood tests.  Here is what it says:

Dear Dr. X,

I reviewed this lady in clinic today, she had a sleeve gastrectomy performed on 20th July 2010.

She feels extremely well and feels and feels that the whole experience has been extremely positive.  She sometimes feels hungry but she does feel full after eating and this is prolonged for several hours.  She has no problems with vomiting.  Her bowels are open daily and are normal.  She has no abdominal pain.  Her fluid intake is excellent at two litres a day.  She has three meals a day and one snack and enjoys good sources of protein, carbohydrate and fibre.  She has no problems with brittle nails or hair loss.


1. Multivitamin and Mineral od

2. Lansoprazole od

3. Ursodeoxycholic Acid od

4. Duloxetine 30mg od

5. Thyroxine 75mcg od

6. Calcichew D3 Forte od

Blood Test Results

Iron 4, TIBC 63, Transferring Sat 6, Hgb 11.1, MCV 80.2, Platlets 285, TSH 0.57, FT4 14.2, Ferritin 7, Cholesterol 3.6, Trig 0.65, HDL 0.81, LDL 2.49, Chol HDL Ratio 4.44, B12 7.6, Fasting Glucose 4.5, Folic Acid 214.3, PTH 5.8, Creatinine 66, ALT 22, ALP 103, Vitamin D 79, HbA1c 33

Her preoperative weight was 114.5 kg.  Her weight today is 97.5 kg.  Her blood pressure was 131/92mm/Hg.

Summary and Plan

The blood results have been reviewed by our Clinical Fellow who suggests:

Starting Ferrous Fumerate 322mgs OD as she has iron deficiency anaemia.  This would need to be taken at a different time to her Calcichew as it would affect the absorption.

We will make an appointment for her to be seen in six months time for our Telephone Clinic.

In the interim, if she having any problems she has our contact details to call us, but overall she has done extremely well and we are pleased with her progress.

With kind regards

I like positive reviews!  Of course, I wish that I did not have to add another pill, but I also know that I will losing the Ursodeoxycholic Acid in a couple of months so it is not too bad (it is a pill taken 4x daily for six months to help prevent gallbladder issues).

I love that I have this information for my files and that I can track my physiological and chemical progress.  Now I have to go and look up what some of these things mean . . .

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Victory Is Mine

These past few days have been chock-a-block with awesomeness.   I feel like I have turned a corner and that I am making some real progress.

Last week I took a long look at the things that have been delaying my weight-loss and decided to make some changes.  I resumed my food log (I had fallen off the wagon in that department), cut out the calories from drinks, upped my exercise routine and made an appointment with a personal trainer.  Although I have been fairly loyal to my programme, I realised that some bad habits had crept back into my lifestyle.  I am back on track and that gives me such pleasure.

I challenged myself to exercise five days in a row last week.  Usually I work out a few times during the week (mostly swimming, walking and using the elliptical machine at the gym) but never every day.  I didn’t tell anyone about the plan, I just made the extra effort — and it paid off!  It felt so good to meet my goal and to see the scale going down again.  The challenge re-affirmed my commitment to change.

I met with my trainer on Monday and it was a great success.  He reviewed my current routine and we set some new goals.  I am realistic, I said that I wanted to see some obvious improvement before my birthday in March.  My doctor has cleared me for all activities, so we have decided to add some weights to my exercise plan.  Unlike previous trainers, he does not have me doing the same old routine (warm-up, weights, 30 minutes of cardio, stretch), he has arranged my work-out as more of a circuit.  I begin my workout with eight minutes on the cardio wave — two minutes in each position.  Following the warm-up, I do a set of six weight machines (15 reps each on the inner and outer abductors, vertical traction, shoulder press, arm curl and arm extension).  After the weights I do eight minutes on the elliptical machine, going backwards on level eight and then do another 15 reps of each of the weights.  Finally I end my workout with eight minutes on the bike, once again on level eight.  This is quite a change for me.  It is less cardio than I usually do and all broken up.  Also, I had never used the cardio wave before and I am used to going forwards on the elliptical.  These changes are meant to vary the muscles that I rely upon.  I did my first workout of the new plan and it felt great.  The cardio wave is freakin’ hard and I was only able to do four minutes, but I made up for it with extra time on the elliptical (going forwards).   I have also found going backwards on the elliptical quite a strain.  Thankfully, I have been told that I can work up to the full eight minutes, doing what I can and switching to forwards motion for the balance of the time.  The trainer wants me to try this new routine 20 times and then meet him again for a review.  Thankfully my gym offers a free session with a trainer every month.

I plan to do the new workout three times a week and add walking or swimming to the mix once or twice a week on top of the gym time.  I need variety in everything I do, otherwise I get bored and start to get discouraged.  Thankfully, I view swimming as a bit of a treat because I always take the time to relax in the steam room afterwards.  Besides, I love the water.

The final slice of awesomeness came yesterday when I went shopping for a dress to wear to a wedding this weekend.  There were so many choices!  I finally chose a blue/purple/silver print dress with a big scoop neckline and a flirty skirt.  I wasn’t impressed with the dress while it was on the hanger but it amazed me when I put it on.  Not only did it fit me like a glove but, when I stepped away from the mirror, I had an hourglass figure!  It has been years since I have had a womanly shape.  Not only that but the label said that it was a US size 14 (I was a 24 at my biggest).  I bought matching purple shoes to celebrate.

Victory is mine!

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Three Month Check Up

A couple of weeks ago I went to the hospital for my three month post-operative check up.  Thankfully, everything has been going fairly well for me, so I was not concerned about what the doctor might find.  Two weeks before the appointment I went and had my blood drawn — all nine vials of it. They tested me for everything that I could imagine, from my hormones levels to all of my vitamin and mineral levels, liver and thyroid function etc.  I was impressed by this thoroughness.  It is nice to know that I am getting good care.

The morning of the appointment was brisk and clear as I made my way to the hospital.  I allowed extra time because, in my experience, something always seems to go wrong at Charing Cross Hospital.  Of course, this time was no exception.  Originally, I had received a letter in the mail that set my appointment for two o’clock in the afternoon.  A day or two later I got another letter saying that the appointment had been changed to nine in the morning, so I telephoned the hospital to confirm.  I was told to be at the hospital at nine and wait in the diabetes education room (also used as a general waiting area for bariatric patients).   I did as I was told but, thankfully, I managed to arrive 20 minutes early for my appointment.  The diabetes room was occupied and I was sent down the hall to knock on the door of the bariatric surgeon’s office.  The nurse was very confused about why I was there.  (Hmm, haven’t I been through this before with them?  See https://writingonthemirror.wordpress.com/2010/07/01/they-gave-away-my-surgery-slot/).  It seems that the hospital has moved all outpatient appointments to the first floor but has failed to update the appointment booking software and/or tell the staff.  But I digress . . .

I went downstairs and only had to wait about five minutes before my name was called.  I went into the examining room with a nurse and we discussed my progress.  The majority of the appointment was taken up by a survey in which she asked me about my recovery experience, my lifestyle, the foods I eat, the medications I take and any issues that have arisen.  When we had finished the survey she reviewed my blood test results with me.  Everything looked good.  My HDL was a little low (but it always has been) and my iron levels were slightly low but everything else was perfect.  Even my vitamin D levels looked good (I was deficient prior to surgery).  She weighed me and took my blood pressure.  My blood pressure was on the borderline of high, but the nurse did not seem too concerned.  My weight was down by 40 lbs (18kg/3.2 stone).  Not too shabby.

Over the course of the appointment, the nurse must have complimented me on my progress at least five times.  She and the surgeon are not overly interested in weight loss, but focus instead on the overall improvements in health and quality of life.  She was impressed by my attitude, my support network, the variety of my diet, my high protein levels and adherence to their advice.  I was told to keep up the good work and sent on my way.  My next appointment is at three months but that is a phone interview.  I hope it is as good as the three month check-up!

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I Have Not Forgotten This Blog

Firstly, I apologise for being away for so long.  I didn’t plan to abandon the blog, but somehow I just didn’t feel the need/desire to log my feelings.  The more I stayed away, the more I started to think that my experience was not worth recording as it has not been terribly eventful.  I had plans for several posts but they never happened; I am sorry about that.

Anyway, I am back.  As I mentioned, I began thinking that this blog was not worth keeping because I have dealt with my main issues.  I have conquered the fear of telling my family about the operation, I have resumed a (mostly) normal life and I don’t seem to need the catharsis of writing.  Given that the main drama has ended, who would want to read my ramblings?  My experience does not seem to compare to that of many of my peers.  I have not lost shedloads of poundage, I can eat pretty much whatever I want, I am not losing my hair, I have not had many digestive issues and I have not had many major dramas.  Yet, over the past few days I have begun thinking that perhaps the fact that my recovery is worth sharing simply because it has been so anti-climactic.  Not everything has to be about car crashes and ambulance chases; real life is not Fox News.



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So I thought that I was invincible.  At least, I thought that I could eat as I liked (which is close to super-hero status in my books).  Lately I have been eating plenty of solid protein in the form of chicken, beef, pork, lamb and cheese.  Everything was going well until the other night when I ate 1/2 a meatball too many.  At first I thought that I was fine.  I felt as though I had something stuck in my chest, but it was not unlike the feeling I sometimes had pre-surgery when I needed a gulp of water to wash something down.  Thankfully, I have learned my lesson about taking a swig too soon after eating (this has led me to vomit in the past) so I sat back and waited.  Suddenly my mouth began to fill with saliva.  I rush to the washroom and feared that I would throw up, but instead the saliva just continued to pool inside my mouth.  Soon I had a mouth full of spit and the fluid continued to flow.  This attack of “the foamies” lasted about ten minutes.  Overall, it was not the worst thing that could have happened but it has reminded me that I have to take care.  I am not Wonder-woman and I cannot eat whatever I like, as quickly as I would like.

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I’m Back

Bad blogger!   It has been so long since I have posted.  I’ve been back from Canada for a week, but somehow I did not find the time to write.  Sorry about that.

I had an amazing trip!  It was wonderful to see the family and, best of all, I felt so happy and comfortable with my decision to have surgery that I decided to tell just about everyone.  It is hard to believe that not so long ago my surgery was a big secret that caused me terrible anxiety.  Now, it is a life-changing solution that I proud to admit.  As I was leaving the family reunion, one of my aunts hugged me and whispered that she was proud that I was so brave and taking such good care of myself.  It couldn’t have gone better.

When I arrived home I as still eating a “soft diet” but I quickly discovered that I was capable of so much more.  Proceeding slowly and carefully, I sampled all of the foods that I wanted and found that my body was happy to oblige.  I am now eating solid protein (meats, cheeses etc.) in addition to the yoghurt and protein shakes that were my staples.  I have even tried bread, but I find that it fills me up too quickly and does not leave sufficient room for my protein.  I am eating between 800-1000 calories per day and I do not feel deprived in any way.  I am happy with this progression.

While away I did a lot of swimming, boating and walking.  It felt great to be active and I have kept up the momentum since returning home.  I have been walking for 30 – 60 minutes every day, and I hope to return to the pool soon; somehow I just haven’t made it there yet.  My weight is continuing to decline, and my friends and family have commented that they see a difference.  It feels good to have that feedback!  Moreover, while I was home in Canada, I took advantage of the lower prices and bought some clothes.  I didn’t know what size I would be and I was stunned to learn that I had dropped from a 24 to a 16!  I was even able to buy clothes from the regular section instead of the plus sizes!  Life is good.  I hope it continues this way!

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