Diagram of Operation

Diagram of Operation
My new tummy arrangement after gastric mini bypass

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Medication change and vomiting

Saw the doctor this morning who reduced my medication so I have less stuff to take and changed some medication to easier things to take. 

When I got back, after midday, I ate two TUC biscuits a small piece of cheese and part of a nectarine.  I then threw up every 10-20 minutes and couldn't seem to stop. God knows what it was all about.  Felt so awful all afternoon.  Finally, after a particularly long session of vomiting from 5.45-5.55pm I gave in and telelphoned the doctor.  She said she'd call me back at the end of surgery.  Typically, I didn't throw up again.  I think the last long session must have cleared a blockage probably caused by the vitamin tablets which are pretty big.   I could cut them in half, but then I'd have to swallow twice the amount - the medication is difficult.   

The doctor called later and said she wasn't happy with me taking the vitamin tablets again.  She said I had to go to the chemist tomorrow and ask if there was a liquid alternative.  If the pharmacist wanted to he could call her at the surgery.

It's thunder and lightning again here this evening - now 20.10hrs - and it seems so close - right above the house, that I've disconnected the electricity to the laptop.  We've have a lot of thunder this last seven days.

Strangely quiet today without Libby and Charlie, although there is something nice about it!  I was going to go to bed early, I'm exhausted from the vomiting, but can't as I have to do the animals myself now.  Come back Libby!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Six weeks post op and Weigh Day

Last morning of Charlie, my grandson, arriving in my bed in the morning as I take them back to Roscoff this afternoon to catch the ferry back to England.  I love him lying quietly next to me while he watches his television programmes, his shock of blond hair on the pillow.

I got up and drove straightaway into the supermarket as we haven't been able to get milk for the last few days.  Bought four bottles from a tightly packed shelf and drove straight home again.

Managed to leave a message with the hospital cancelling my appointment with the dietician tomorrow.  I can't find the appointment paper with the time and I have the doctor tomorrow as well, so thought it was easier to let the dietician call me back with a new time.

I weighed in at 12.20pm and was 126.3 kilos/19st12½lbs, which means I'm under twenty stone for the first time in ages, and I've now lost  16.8 kilos/2st 9lbs.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Bloody Medication!

As I collected the remainder of my medication from the surgeon's prescription yesterday, I thought I'd better start taking it today. I am already on Inexium and something for the Candida, so ignoring those that leaves four extra things.

The first, a large 2cm diameter tablet - Vitamin D - to be sucked was the first thing I put in my mouth was difficult. I hate taking tablets of any sort and to have to keep something of this size in my mouth until it disappeared was not good. It took 35 minutes to dissolve - not acceptable. I usually have a Vitamin D injection in Autumn, Winter and Spring, so wonder whether this would be a suitable alternative to this huge tablet.

The next were two brown tablets of nearly 1cm diameter - multi vitamins - and not easy to swallow at that size. I had to wait 5 minutes between each one and they seemed to be stuck part way down.

Then two similar sized white tablets - Delursan - is used to treat small gallstones in people who cannot have gallbladder surgery, and to prevent gallstones in overweight patients undergoing rapid weight loss, also used to treat primary biliary cirrhosis. I have no gallbladder so can't get gallstones so I guess it's for the latter condition. Half an hour after taking the brown tablets I took the first white one and twenty minutes later I threw up. I then took the second white one and managed to keep that down.

Half an hour later I took two Imodium substitutes and threw them up within ten minutes. I give up. The usual Imodium tablets dissolve within 2-3 seconds on my tongue, but these are white capsules and I have to swallow four of them.

I decided I will have to make an appointment with Dr Quarck, my GP, to discuss this medication situation as clearly I can't go through this every morning. Just 'phoned for an appointment next week after Libs goes back and have 10.30am on Wednesday. Hope she can sort something out because I am now having difficulty eating too because of the medication making me throw up and the throwing up making me feel so weak. Buxxer, buxxer, buxxer.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

First Post Op Visit to Surgeon

I had a reasonable night's sleep and feel fairly good this morning, I think the best I've felt so far.  This is good news as I had to drive to St Brieuc this afternoon to see Dr Le Chaux in his outpatient clinic. 

Andy picked huge quantities of cherry tomatoes from the polytunnel yesterday and I started to take out the stalks with a view to cooking them, but found I have no garlic so will have to wait until I come back from the hospital.  I cook them with sugar, garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Then I blend them and then pass them through a seive.  The resulting gorgeousness I freeze until I need to use for a sauce or a soup - frequently I eat lots of it before it gets to the freezer because it's so delicious.

He also picked the runner beans which have been far too long on the vines.  I prepared the ones which were tender enough to eat and the rest have been despatched to the compost heap.  It was necessary to pick them all so that the vines continue to produce more beans.

I had most of a boiled egg with bread and butter for breakfast and sat outside with a hot chocolate drink a bit later in the sunshine.  For the first time I didn't sit under the parasol - usually it's just too much having the heat on me, but this morning it was ok.  Things are looking up because I'm a total sunworshipper.  I still have to avoid sun on my parathyroidectomy scar, but I just wear a silk scarf tied round my neck.

Went to the hospital and waited for over an hour while one patient saw Dr Le Chaux, then it was my turn.  He asked loads of questions and so did I.  He seemed happy with my health, progress and weight loss.  Gave me a prescription for six lots of medication including Vitamin D, Imodium, Inexium etc. etc. and an appointment for 7 December.  He reckons I should be losing about 10kg/22lbs/1st 8lbs a month for the six months post op.  He seemed a little surprised about the vomiting which I experienced and with my shitting yellow liquid, but included Imodium in the prescription.  It seems to be a little better today anyway.

I've definitely felt better/stronger today - my best day so far post op.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Visitors and Imodium

Well, the Imodium seems to be part working - definite reduction in evacuations but still needs dose adjusting upwards a bit.

Can't seem to think of anything I want to eat today - Sunday - it really is difficult when food is of no interest at all.  I've had a Bovril sandwich for breakfast, half a banana and a little canned spaghetti in tomato sauce with two small slices of saucisson from Libby's plate. 

Libby's been weeding and clearing one side of the driveway today, in spite of the heat, bless her.  I sat out with her and snipped the seedheads off poppies and marigolds.  I stood up for a while and pruned the roses which have got to about 8-9ft tall and out of control.  It nearly killed me though.  I am  definitely not ready for physical stuff yet. 

While playing Scrabble on the computer we heard a faint "Bonjour" from the driveway and it was a lady in her eighties, with her daughter, who comes to visit each year.  She was born in the house we now use as a utility area and gym and she likes a bit of nostaglia and always pops in sometime during the summer.   She has a wander round the garden and into the houses to see what we have done.  This time she told me where she lived now and invited me to pop in and see her. 

Monday and I had to go to Guingamp to have a cortisone injection in my left knee.  The doctor did my right knee before my operation, but couldn't do both at the same time because it would be too much cortisone in my body apparently.   As I came out into the car park at the clinic a friend from Book Club came over to chat. 

I slept well again, but it rained hard during the night and when I woke in the early hours I could hear the rain on the garden parasol.  I must remember not to leave it open except during the day.  

Tuesday is weigh day and I have lost another 1.5kg/3.3lbs so am 128.5kg - five weeks post op.

Three Imodium tablets this morning to try and sort my damn bowels out.  Finally found something I can eat without problem - TUC biscuits.  Not terribly nutritious, but good to find something I want to put in my mouth.   Bought some mushroom and pork smooth paté which I had for lunch on buttered toast and that was good, but I couldn't eat too much. 

Libby wanted mussels for supper tonight so we bought half a kilo as I won't be able to eat many if any.  Charlie had one in the supermarket and said he wanted them too.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Imodium and visitors

I've decided that the weakness that I'm experiencing all the time, but particularly when I stand, is due to the fact that I'm still, explosively and without much warning, shitting liquid frequently throughout the day and night, as I have been since I had my operation.  Obviously, if you have diarrhoea you are going to feel weak.  So, I went to the Pharmacy around one thirty and bought some Imodium.   The temperature at SuperU was 27 degrees, so another very hot day.

The first time I took Imodium was years ago again when I'd come out of hospital after an operation with the same symptoms.  I had a friend with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and she took two Imodium on a daily basis always.  She brought some round to me - they were only available on prescription in those days - and I took one.  I didn't shit for ten days. 

Bearing this in mind, I took just half a tablet to start with, although the maximum dose per day is three tablets.  Hopefully, once my bowels are under control things will get much better.  Not a pleasant subject, but part of the experience so I thought I should share it.

I cooked my chicken casserole yesterday morning after Libby had prepared the veggies.  Had some early afternoon and it went down well - not a large portion obviously, but it was tasty.  Had it with lots of the liquid, like a  chunky soup really.

This morning my bowels had not improved so I took a whole Imodium and will wait to see what happens with that.

Friends from Bowls came round in the middle of the day.  It was great to see them and have a good chat.  They brought me a lovely lavender for the garden - one of my favourite plants. 

Went shopping later in the afternoon.  There's no semi-skimmed milk in the supermarket.  It's always a problem at this time of year when holidaymakers are here buying up the stock.   Bought bread and ate most of the ham sandwich I made for tea - the rest  was destined for the bird table.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Four week weigh-in

Four weeks post op.  I weighed in this morning and have lost 13.1 kilos/28 pounds/2 stone.   So on my scales, I am now 130 kilos/20 stone and six pounds.  I can see that some has gone from my face, but my tummy seems just as uncomfortable with my waistbands, although some must have gone from there too.   Just glad to see that there is a weight loss.

Yesterday I ate more than the day before and I'm aiming to increase my meal sizes a bit this week as I don't think I'm eating enough still.  Friends with their new granddaughter came over late morning which was good. 

After lunch, when I finished off the quiche from yesterday, three of my Writers' Group friends came over and we sat out in the garden catching up.  They also brought me some lovely flowers.  

Libby, Charlie and I then went to the supermarket and picked up some groceries for the next few days.  I bought chicken joints and veggies to do a chicken casserole tomorrow - Libby will help me prepare it as I can't stand up at the hob for long enough.  The temperature on the supermarket forecourt read 28 degrees Celsius - a hot day here today.

Apart from when I stand up, I feel generally improved today.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Not the best of days

I think it would be fair to say that I have had enough of feeling like this.   I had a good night's sleep, got up showered etc. and came downstairs for breakfast.  As soon as I had finished eating I had to go to the loo, and every time I ate after that the same thing happened.  I ended up going back to bed and sleeping until nearly 2.00pm.   Let's hope I still manage to sleep tonight.

Managed to eat a biscuit, a nectarine and a piece of cheese this afternoon without problem, but feel so weak as I don't think I'm retaining the food long enough - I certainly wasn't this morning.

One of my neighbours, Paulette, popped by this afternoon and said I did look much better than when I first came out, when I was a sort of grey colour in the face, whereas now I look more alive, so that's a relief.

Libby and Charlie made biscuits this afternoon and I had one of those too, early in the evening.  It was a plain sweet biscuit and I ate it very slowly as always.   I don't think there's anything I couldn't eat, but I wish I could think of something I would really like to eat.  No fresh bread at the moment, otherwise I might have had a runny yolked boiled egg for supper, but don't like them without bread.  I'll have to drive into St Nicolas in the morning to get a loaf.

I feel very negative today.  Each day I hope I'll wake up feeling noticeably better than I did the day before, but it doesn't seem to happen.  I feel I need a kick-start in some shape or form.   I'd like to go to sleep for a week and wake up stronger and raring to go.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Eating too fast - not a good idea

I slept pretty well last night.  Finally woke about 8.10am and lay there for a while expecting the nurse.  I couldn't decide whether to have my shower and hope she didn't come while I was in there.  Charlie came over and watched some of his programmes in bed with me and eventually I decided to get up, shower and dress.

Came down to eat a whole Weetabix with milk and a teaspoon of sugar.  Felt a bit nauseous and took a tablet for that and half a "chill pill". 

Nurse arrived about 11.30am and did my usual jab and I showed her the blood test results.  She was happy with them. 

Cooked some cod for lunch, which tasted lovely. I chewed it really well, but I think I ate it too fast and after feeling very rough for about 30 minutes vomited and lost it all.  I think it was because it tasted so good that I didn't remember to wait  long enough between mouthfuls.  I shan't forget again! 

Fell asleep in front of children's television this afternoon.  That's the chill pill I expect.

Went to swap my Land Rover for my Peugeot as a friend is borrowing the Land Rover, and then went to the supermarket.  Absolutely shattered when I got back.  Driving is quite tiring and I wouldn't be able to pull the wheel hard in an emergency.

Had some duck breast for tea and hummous with potato crisps.   Later a few strawberries and one piece of fudge.

My friend, June, contacted me by Skype this evening, and it was lovely to talk to her again - she had been very worried about me.  I had been very worried about her oldest daughter, who lives in the middle of the area where the London riots had been, so good to know that she was ok.

Right - time for bed.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

My son went home today but Libs and Charlie are still here

Really good night's sleep and then woken at 8.00am by the Nurse's head popping round my bedroom door saying "cuckoo!"  She gave me my jab and I watched the news on the television until I got up for my shower.

Took my blood pressure tablet and came on down to cook my breakfast of a rasher of bacon and the yolk of an egg, followed by a half mug of drinking chocolate.  Then took my Candida medicine - seems to be working.  Finished up the raspberries mid morning and had a very small ham sandwich for lunch.  

Can walk more easily today, still with a cane, because of my knees too, but standing for any length of time is difficult.  Supermarket shopping is knackering, but at least I have the trolley to lean on. 

At 2.15pm Matthew drove the Land Rover with me, Libby and Charlie to Roscoff to catch his ferry back to England.  I wish he could have stayed longer, but he has his own life and work to get back to.  I then had to drive back home.  It was tiring, but did it all in one go and then cooked some chicken wings for supper.  I managed just two and Charlie had the other two while watching Little Bear on the television - his "before I go to bed" programme.  Had another hot chocolate drink and some potato crisps. 

It rained part of the way to Roscoff and all the way back and into the evening.  We had thought about spending part of the day on the beach, but in the end gave up that idea and left later because of the forecast.

Feeling a bit stronger today and didn't take a "chill pill" so things must be better mustn't they?   Ended the day with a chocolatey custardy thing. 

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Quite a good day - even with the blood taking!

Woken by the nurse arriving to do my blood tests and anti-coagulant injection.  I didn't hear her arrive because I was asleep and my breathing machine makes quite a noise.  She arrived at the house where Libby and Charlie sleep and Charlie couldn't understand her speaking in French.  Libby got up and showed her over to my house and she came upstairs to the bedroom.   She was the nurse who founded the nurses office here in St Nicolas du Pélem and, amazingly, her grandparents used to live in the house where Libby and Charlie sleep!  Her name is Martine le Bars.   She managed to take enough blood for all the tests on the first attempt - brilliant, and then gave me the anti-coagulant injection and said she'd see me tomorrow.

Whole Weetabix with milk and a teaspoon of sugar for breakfast.  A whole peach mid morning which Libby peeled for me and sliced ready to eat.  Boursin with bread for lunch and a sliver of pork pie. 

Felt a bit weird this morning, hard to explain exactly, so took half a "chill pill".  Chicken soup and raspberries mid afternoon and then this evening spaghetti with parsley and butter.  Whether I ate the spaghetti too fast or didn't chew it enough, I'm not sure, but I felt pretty rough for the hour afterwards and thought I would be sick - luckily I wasn't.  May give pasta a miss for a while.

The children swam this afternoon in the pool in the garden - it's been such a lovely blue sky sunny day.  They've just all been playing on the Wii and now it's Charlie's bathtime and I'm left for twenty minutes in peace and quiet!

A good eating day (apart from the spaghetti) and spoke to friends on Skype in England which is always good. 

Tomorrow is a busy day, with driving to Roscoff to take Matthew to the port and then I have to drive back.  If it's difficult I'll just have to stop a few times and take a break.  The weather doesn't look as if it will be great tomorrow, so may go bowling - I shan't be playing - and for a meal on the way to the port.

May get the blood test results back tomorrow, usually here in Brittany they arrive within twenty-four hours - will be interesting to see what they are.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Second day home and feeling much better

Well - Tuesday is weigh in day and I've weighed in at 132.5kilos which is a loss of 10.6 kilos/23.3 pounds.  This is more than I should have lost in 3 weeks, but is obviously due to me not being able to eat properly due to the nausea and vomiting.  It appears to have disappeared from my face and tummy and I do feel thinner, and that's a good feeling. 

I slept well last night although woke up very early.  I had a shower and washed my hair for the first time in a week and feel very much fresher now.  My fringe seems to have grown so long that I am having to wear it to the side or I wouldn't be able to see.  I'll have to cut it tomorrow.

I cooked a rasher of bacon and an egg for breakfast.  I ate all the bacon and dipped my slice of baguette and butter in the egg yolk.  I enjoyed it and followed up with a half mug of full cream milk with a teaspoonful of drinking chocolate. The dietician said to put chocolate powder in was better than tea or coffee from a nutrition point of view.

The nurse arrived to give me another anti-coagulant injection and then I visited the Doctor after midday to get a prescription for something to counteract my mouth Candida.  She was going to contact the hospital this afternoon to see why I am only having the anti-coagulant injections until Saturday, as current thinking is apparently to prolong this treatment depending on the blood clot.

I explained to the Doctor that I hadn't been able to take any of the medication I was normally on due to the vomiting, and wondered, after three weeks without it, whether it was really necessary?  She agreed to let me discontinue everything, including my asthma drugs - unless I had a breathing problem at any time - except for my blood pressure medication.  She measured my blood pressure which was 130 over 90 - fine for me.  She also gave me a prescription for the nurse to take blood for a load of tests when she comes tomorrow just so she can see how everything is going.

Came back home and had prawns for lunch dipped in mayonnaise with two slices of buttered baguette and followed by a chocolate dessert.  This afternoon we've all sat out in the garden chatting and sunbathing.  I'm now defrosting homemade chicken stock and frozen roast chicken meat to make a chicken soup for supper.  It's so good to actually want to eat;I had begun to think it would never happen. 

My son, Matthew, went off to the supermarket to get some peaches, bananas, strawberries and raspberries, as we seem to have just one banana and one apple left in the giant fruit bowl and as I don't seem to have programmed veggies into my meals today, I thought I'd better have some fruit instead.  The raspberries were a very good flavour.  I love the way you can crush them with your tongue against the roof of your mouth.  Charlie, my grandson, shared them with me.

Monday, 8 August 2011

I did survive - eventually - and I'm back home!

Today is Monday, 8 August 2011 and I arrived back home from hospital - for the second time - this afternoon.
It has been a difficult time. I will eventually post what has happened in the last three weeks, in more detail. Briefly, what happened was that after the operation on 18 July, I did not recover well. I did return home on Friday, 22 July, but felt very weak and nauseous. From then on things, went downhill and I couldn't seem to put anything into my mouth at all, not food, not medication, not even my toothbrush, without vomiting.

Friends called my daughter, Libby, in England and she dropped her life and came, with her small son, to look after me on 25 July - thank goodness she did! I didn't improve and on Thursday, 28 July the doctor came to visit me at home. My usual lovely GP was on holiday, but her replacement was equally as good and she ordered blood tests to be taken on Monday, 1 August when my stitches were to be removed. The tests were done and the results arrived the following morning. By then I knew there was a problem with my right leg - I clearly had phlebitis - an inflamed vein and a blood clot, as I'd experienced a lot of pain overnight and my leg was red and hard. I called the GP again and she came out, took one look at me and called an ambulance for me to go back in to hospital. The blood tests had also shown a urine infection and other levels which weren't quite right.

I was devastated to be going back in and felt so ill and upset. I had ultrasound and Doppler tests on my leg, lung x-rays, a scan of my kidneys, various blood and urine tests and finally ended up back on the same ward as when I had my operation. I think I was probably very ill, and certainly I was very low and anxious. Would I ever go home again?

I received antibiotics (which unfortunately gave me mouth candida), anti nausea drugs, painkillers and anti-coagulant injections, all except the last by a drip into my arm. I am never easy to insert a drip into, my veins are apparently fragile and fine. After a few days the drip ceased to work and I had to have a neck drip inserted which was a nightmare experience. However, this then worked better and I was finally getting all the medication I needed.

The next thing was for me to have an endoscopy to check if my new tummy was still ok and that the entry opening was not too tight. To do this they give a relaxing drug, like Valium/Diazepam and I watched the nurse expel the air from the syringe and remember nothing from then until I came to while being wheeled back to my room. Apparently - while I remember nothing - I refused the endoscopy and they were unable to perform it. However, it wasn't all bad news. The relaxing drug had the effect of stopping me vomiting and making me much less anxious. When I realised this I asked for a mild sedative and taking this stopped the anxiety and the vomiting, so that I was able to eat again and generally made me feel much better about everything.

The other medications had been working during this time and finally yesterday, I said that I felt well again and wanted to go home. They packed me off this afternoon with enough medication to take out a village, and I'm now back home. On arrival I ate a slice of French bread spread with Boursin, a garlic and herb cheese. Later in the evening I the same meal as my family, including fresh runner beans from my garden and mashed potato - although obviously in very small portions and chewed until I couldn't chew any longer before I swallowed it.

I feel so much better it's like a miracle. I think the reason for the nausea and vomiting was anxiety and not physical at all. Thank goodness I was sent for the endoscopy, even if I didn't end up having it!

The local nurse came in this evening to do my anti-coagulant injection and will be here each day for the next five days to do others, so will keep an eye on me.

I was overwhelmed by the number of 'phone calls, emails, messages on forums and Facebook that I and my family have received. It has been a very difficult time and all the support and concern shown by friends has been amazing and very helpful.

From now on it's onwards and upwards. I feel sure that the worst is over and I'll try to post every day now as I had originally intended. I weigh on Tuesdays so tomorrow there will be a post about that.

I will try to do a posting eventually about the days inbetween. A lot of it is vague as I was so poorly, but I will post what I can.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Still Alive but Very Weak

Just a quickie as I can't sit forward for long.  At some stage I will do a multi-day posting to cover all the days I've missed.  I have felt so nauseous that eating, taking medication has seemed impossible.  No-one told me about the terrible nausea.  Managed to take my medication yesterday and today and trying to eat a little more each day.  The doctor has put me on high calorie foods to make sure that the little I do eat contains as many calories as possible. 

My blood pressure is slightly lower than they would like.  Stitches out this morning and three attempts at giving blood for testing - harrowing nurse visit - although she was very kind.

I couldn't cope on my own, so my daughter dropped her life and came over from England with my four and a half year old grandson last Monday morning at the request of friends.  Thank goodness. 

Will hopefully get myself more comfortable and together by this time next week.  Just don't seem to have enough strength to sit up for very long.  All for now.