Diagram of Operation

Diagram of Operation
My new tummy arrangement after gastric mini bypass

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

One year and sixteen weeks post operation

Yesterday morning I had an appointment with Dr Lechaux to discuss the revision of my bypass.  This will reduce the bypass length from 2 metres to 1 metre and hopefully mean that I will absorb more food instead of it rushing straight through me.
He gave me a date of 23 January for going into Yves le Foll hospital, with the operation taking place at 14.00hrs the following day.  He then offered me an earlier date at the beginning of January, but I said I'd stick with the first date he suggested.  He said I must start taking the vitamins I am supposed to take daily for the rest of my life as he wanted me to be in tip top condition so that the intestine will heal well and not leak in anyway. 
He said that it would be a seven day stay in hospital which is longer than it was for the bypass itself.  He knows I hate it in hospital and said he'd see how I was and may let me home earlier but they do need to know that there is no leakage.
He thinks that it will not be necessary to go through the liquid, then purée regime before embarking on "proper" food again, as my stomach will not be operated on.  We shall have to see how things go. 
I have to see the anaethestist on 7 January and this time he has given me a devi for my insurance company which is weird as I haven't had problems with them paying on invoice the last three operations I've had.
He asked if it didn't work would I want a complete reversal and I said definitely not.  I would prefer to have diarrhoea for life than have the possibility of getting fat again.  Perish the thought!
So - I am not exactly looking forward to it - in fact I am worried as usual about another operation, but feel I do have to give it a go.  Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

One year and fifteen weeks post operaton

No change this week in my weight, which is good news. 
I have had some lovely food this week too.  I was out to lunch on Sunday with an Australian friend and then on Monday had home made beef casserole when a friend came to lunch followed by a fruit crumble which he brought with him with whole cream poured over. 
Today I have eaten one of the two rabbit pies with puff pastry which I made this afternoon - I haven't eaten rabbit for years and it was absolutely delicious.  With the little piece of puff pastry left over I made a small raspberry jam filled tart, which was also very good with cream.

This damp and grey weather we have been having lately makes me dream of casseroles and pastry covered pies.  I feel as if I need something sturdy and hot to keep me going through the day. 
I have though also had salad and on Saturday I bought a crab which was cooked for me by the fishmonger while I did the rest of my shopping.  I mixed a third of it with Hellman's mayo and chilli paste and had it with salad from my polytunnel and lovely fresh French bread.
A friend gave me a large portion of pumpkin which I shall be turning into soup after roasting it with garlic, onions, carrots and sage.  I do like to add cream too, but obviously I don't have to.  While I am trying not to lose more weight luckily I can indulge myself in these treats which will have to be more restricted after my revision.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

One year and fourteen weeks post operation

I weighed in this morning at 71.5kgs/157½lbs/11st3½lbs, so am remaining pretty much the same at the moment, but I am eating a lot of food.  I am always ready for something to eat, presumably because the diarrhoea is rushing the food I eat through me and it doesn't satisfy me.  Hopefully when I have the bypass revision this will no longer be the case.
I saw the vasculaire surgeon yesterday and he has booked me in for removing the large vein in my right leg along with some small ones for 23 November.  I will have to wear support stockings for three weeks and walk for a minimum of half an hour a day from the day after the operation.  A nurse will come to the house daily for a few weeks to give me anti-coagulant jabs.  Hopefully it will all go well. 
At the beginning of October I went back to Cornwall for a week and seemed to spend a lot of it eating out; the first three days saw me lunching in three different restaurants and my last lunch in England was spent at a riverside restaurant.  I rarely eat out here in Brittany, so it was lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed it all.  As well as seeing the family, I visited a few friends and my old surgery where the staff were surprised and pleased, once they recognised me, to find how much weight I'd lost.  It still amazes me that people don't recognise me in this new shape.
Shopping for clothes was interesting with having to buy smaller sizes than when in England in July and I even got properly measured for a bra in M&S.  It's strange not knowing what size I am when I start shopping, though I seem to be mainly size 16 in tops, sometimes 14 and size 18 in the two pairs of trousers which I bought. 
One really good thing - I managed to get my sewing machine mended while I was in Cornwall and will now be able to alter clothes that I want to keep but which are currently too large.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

One year and ten weeks post op

There has been something of a breakthrough in my post op life during the last two weeks.
Diarrhoea was still present and on Wednesday last week I saw my dietician at St Brieuc.  She weighed me in at 71.5kgs - the same as my home scales.  She was happy with my food diary - I have to complete the diary for a week before I see her - and that I was now including pretty much everything in my diet.  She wasn't happy with my continuing diarrhoea and suggested that I didn't wait for my appointment with Dr Lechaux in December, but see him before that.  She asked what I was drinking.  I explained again that I had a refrigerator which dispensed ice and chilled water.  She said that she thought that the very cold water I was drinking might be the problem.  I haven't drunk water with ice since, but have had the chilled water.
Before I left the hospital I popped into see Dr Lechaux's secretary and she said she would get him to 'phone me. He did 'phone and asked if I would email Dr Robert Rutledge, a mini gastric bypass surgeon in Nevada, USA, who has done more than 5000 of these operations, to see if he had a possible solution to my diarrhoea.  I emailed Dr Rutledge and heard back immediately from him suggesting a revision of the bypass.  I wrote back, worried, asking if this was a reversal.  He replied that it was an amendment to the length of the bypass.  If I was losing too much weight then it needed shortening and vice versa.  He described it as an easy operation which didn't take long and referred me to a youtube video of his.  I forwarded the information to Dr Lechaux and he replied today saying he would be contacting me regarding a revision.
Since stopping the iced water I am now starting my third day of limited diarrhoea.  I go to the toilet when I wake up and then not again until I go to bed.  In fact, last night I didn't, so it was twenty-four hours until I visited the toilet this morning.  Consistency marginally more formed but mainly mousse-like.  Is this a breakthrough?  Could all my troubles really be down to drinking water with ice cubes?  

Well - six days further on and the effect of stopping iced water has not lasted.  I shall wait to hear from Dr Lechaux. 

After my mini gastric bypass last year I was ambulanced back into hospital because I got a clot in my right leg.  Having now seen the vascular chap at Guingamp he has referred me to a vascular surgeon at Clinic du Littoral for 17 October to discuss having the vein removed as he says it is dead and liable to clot.  I would now want to have this operation before any revision to avoid another post op clot.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

One year and eight weeks post operation

Well - I've finally reached the point where I have lost exactly half of my pre op weight.  I never really felt that this could happen.  It is an incredible thing and I am stunned by the reality of it all.  

I originally weighed 143.1 kg and now weigh 71.5kgs/11st3½lbs/157½lbs.  It seems unbelievable to me that my skin could have held two of the people I am now, athough, as I have said before, my skin is very saggy.  I feel it looks like hanging unironed curtains!  Luckily not too much of the spare skin is hanging round my face so when I'm dressed I don't look so dreadful. 

I put on a new Asda size 16 t-shirt this afternoon to go up to the Clinic in Guingamp and it was a little too big.  I did wear it, but was aware that the neck gaped rather a lot.  I had a mammography today and although there always has to be a second opinion which they will confirm in a letter enclosing the mammograms, the first doctor who looked at the results said there was no problem that she could see, so that's good.

I then went on to a supermarket and bought three fleecy round/scoopy neck jerseys for winter, all the same but different colours, and a lightweight zip up fleece, so I feel equipped for colder weather now.

It seemed really chilly when I got home and it was just raining too - only 18.7°C outside - so I got a fire going in the woodburner and inside it's now 23.5°C so I'm a happy bunny.


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

One year and seven weeks post op

Weighed in a day late again this week and was 72.7kgs/11st6lbs/160lbs, so a loss of 2lbs.  My skin is hanging on me and as I wear short sleeved or sleeveless t-shirts most of the time, I am very aware of my awful looking arms.  Don't get me wrong - I am thrilled to be lighter and mobile, but my skin is looking awful.  On Monday, even my chiropodist remarked on the wrinkles I have on my face now the fat doesn't fill them out. 

I wrote to my surgeon, Dr Lechaux to find out what the Créon dosage should be as Dr Picot hadn't told my GP, Dr Quarck, what he wanted me to take, and Dr Lechaux had prescribed it for me before.  He wrote back to say 25,000UI gelules three times a day, so I had to pop into the surgery and ask for a new prescription just for Créon.  I picked it up yesterday afternoon and will collect it from the pharmacy on my way back from bowls training tomorrow.  Then I'll start taking the correct does from Friday morning with the Surgilene - vitamins - which I keep forgetting.  I'm going to put them in an open container on the worksurface each night so in future I can't forget when I come downstairs in the morning.
The Créon is presented as a plastic capsule filled with tiny little balls.  I am not allowed to swallow the capsule so have carefully to tip the balls onto a spoonful of yoghurt in order to stop them falling all over the place - then they get stuck inside my mouth, so I have to try to cover them with yoghurt too - not easy but possible.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

One year and six weeks post op

I've weighed in a day late again, but at least I remembered this morning.  I was up early to take my daughter and grandson back to Roscoff to catch the ferry to Cornwall and got on the scales before I set off as I knew I'd have something to eat on the journey.  I like to weight before I eat or drink anything in the morning and wearing the same clothes so it's accurate.

My weight has dropped a little - 700g - this week to 73.5kgs/162lbs/11st8lbs - a miracle when I think of what I have been eating this week with the family here.  My diarrhoea is no better.  Now the family have disappeared back to the UK I will get on with taking the Créon I've been prescribed from tomorrow which means I will absorb fat instead of passing it straight through.  We'll see if that helps this time.   Also I'm going to start taking my vitamins daily.  I've failed to do this for at least five months now, so I'm going to start doing things properly. 

Last week I bought a whole lamb for the freezer.  Lamb is expensive here in Brittany and this was an organic lamb raised by some Brits over here.  I'm looking forward to eating the chops I've just got out of the freezer for tomorrow's supper.


Wednesday, 22 August 2012

One year and five weeks post op

Yet again late with posting as I still have the family with me and I have no semblance of my normal routine.  Not that I have a real routine as such, but I do usually go on the computer first thing in the day and now I have a grandson to give breakfast to and entertain until the other adults surface, so we tend to disappear up to the field and do the animals and harvest the ready veggies and strawberries.  Here he is lining up the last of the podded broad beans to dry for next year's seeds.
I weighed in this morning at the same weight again 74.2 kilos/163½lbs/11st 9½lbs, so I'm happy.  I did wonder if I would gain while my family are staying, considering I'm having a lot of packed lunches as we're going out for whole days together to adventure parks etc
and icecreams are figuring pretty high on the daily list of foods along with pizza, chips and crèpes while we're out too. 
What I do find having lost all this weight is that I can keep going all day walking round adventure parks, not out of breath, not red-faced, not looking for a seat as I can't manage to sit down on the grass or get up afterwards, not worn out before the day starts.    I can get through turnstiles at pay kiosks, I couldn't before.  I can sit on a picnic table bench and not worry when the people get up on the other side that the table/bench combination will tip over.  I can sit on the beach all day reading, taking photographs and sunbathing while the others make sandcastles, swim and enjoy themselves without wishing I could leave. 
It's years since I've wanted to be on a beach as I found it so uncomfortable. It's all great!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

One year and four weeks post operation

Two days late weighing this week.  I've got the family here and completely forgot.  Still at least it shows I'm not obsessed with my weight! 

I've stayed the same as last week so far.  Before the mgbp I always expected to gain weight when the family come to stay as I cook much more than normal and someone is usually snacking and I join in.  It doesn't seem to be making much difference to me now though.  We went out this evening to a Pizzeria after a walk along the Nantes/Brest canal bank at Gouarec.  I couldn't eat all my pizza so the remainder is now in my fridge, brought home in a takeaway box.  Since I've been home though, I've had Carr's Water Biscuits with brie and little home grown cherry tomatoes - lovely!

Tomorrow we're having lasagna.  I made the meat sauce today and fridged it.  Tomorrow my daughter's boyfriend will make the béchamel sauce and we'll assemble and cook it for supper.  We'll be having a picnic lunch down by the lake if the weather's fine - I've got lots of bits and pieces, prawns, cheese, homegrown cucumber, tomatoes and salad leaves, paté, etc. etc. so it should be good if the sun shines.

I had the result of my stool sample tests.  All the infections, parasites etc. that they checked for were clear.  As my doctor said, it's perfect.  The diarrhoea continues.  I'm going to start some candida treatment when the family go home, although the test showed I don't have it, but we're clutching at straws a bit.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

One year and three weeks post op

I am a day late weighing this week - completely forgot to do it yesterday - so this morning I weighed in at 74.2kgs/163½lbs/11st 9½lbs, so I've lost 3lbs this week. 

I had a very bad Friday night through Saturday morning with regard to vomiting bile and then having very, very frequent diarrhoea from 02.05hrs to 10.00hrs.  I had no sleep and felt awful during Saturday.  Then I slept really well on Saturday night and woke with tons of energy on Sunday, doing lots of gardening and other stuff.

I saw my GP, family doctor, on Monday afternoon for my usual three monthly prescription drugs and she said I had lost too much weight.  I can't understand this as I just - only just -still fall into the obese level for my BMI.  I am 1.57 tall and weigh 74.2kgs which gives me a BMI of 30.10.  This is how it is calculated:
BMI Categories:
  • Underweight = <18.5
  • Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
  • Overweight = 25–29.9
  • Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater 

So obviously, to me, I can afford to get down to BMI 25 which would, for me, be 62 kilos, and still be just in the overweight category. 

I know the top half of my body is not fat at all now, but my hips, thighs and calves certainly are overweight and if I can, I would like to be smaller in these areas.  At just under 5ft 3ins a weight of 11st 9½lbs is hardly too low.



Tuesday, 31 July 2012

One year and two weeks post op

No change in my weight this week, still at 76 kilos.  I have had lots of noodles this week as I have been cooking stir fries nearly every day and been really enjoying them.

One thing I keep meaning to post about is sneezing and eating.  I know this probably sounds like an unlikely combination, but I have been doing lots of research.  Last year I used to hiccup three times after eating.  This year I have found that my nose was running a lot.  It was a bit like having permanent hayfever.  This seems to have decreased now to be replaced by sneezing as I am getting to the end of a plateful of food.  Apparently all these things are connected by the vagus nerve, so I did some research and have taken this extract from another blog -www.myweightlosssurgeryblog.com

"It is a common occurrence with post-op gastric bypass patients. When they take that last bite, just before feeling too full, we can experience sneezing and/or hiccups if we eat just one bite too much. Both the hiccups and the sneezing are bound to Vagus nerve signals. Many claim to get a “runny nose” with one bite too much food for their pouch, and hiccups from eating too fast. But this discovery sparked my curiosity about this Vagus nerve business.

The Vagus nerve helps to regulate the heartbeat, control muscle movement, keep a person breathing, and to transmit a variety of chemicals through the body. It is also responsible for keeping the digestive tract in working order, contracting the muscles of the stomach and intestines to help process food, and sends back information about what is being digested and what the body is getting out of it.

I also learned that there is a name for this condition, Gustatory Rhinitis, in which people sneeze, get a watery nose or become congested after eating. Any food can be a trigger, but most often it is caused by hot, spicy foods or alcohol. Cold food can also trigger a series of sneezes, which in the case of Gustatory Rhinitis is a neurogenic reflex mechanism (meaning it originates in the nervous system). Food-related sneezing can also be caused by eating large meals, and sneezing has been attributed to a distended stomach."

When I first thought of the connection it seemed quite mad, but now I know that there is a reason for the runny nose and sneezing I'm experiencing at the moment.

Here is another bit about the vagus nerve from the internet.

Vagus nerve: A nerve that supplies nerve fibers to the pharynx (throat), larynx (voice box), trachea (windpipe), lungs, heart, esophagus, and intestinal tract, as far as the transverse portion of the colon. The vagus nerve also brings sensory information back to the brain from the ear, tongue, pharynx, and larynx.

Wikipedia has this information:

This means that the vagus nerve is responsible for such varied tasks as heart rate, gastrointestinal peristalsis, sweating, and quite a few muscle movements in the mouth, including speech (via the recurrent laryngeal nerve) and keeping the larynx open for breathing (via action of the posterior cricoarytenoid muscle, the only abductor of the vocal folds). It also has some afferent fibers that innervate the inner (canal) portion of the outer ear, via the Auricular branch (also known as Alderman's nerve) and part of the meninges. This explains why a person may cough when tickled on the ear (such as when trying to remove ear wax with a cotton swab).

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

One year and one week post op

This morning I weighed in at 76 kilos/165.5lbs/11st 13.5lbs which means I've lost 67 kilos and have just slipped into the eleven stones.

I took the photo before I went to bowls this morning.

My usual bowls polo shirt is now just hanging on me being size XXL and I can't wear it anymore so as it was really hot this morning I thought I'd wear this size 16 vest style t-shirt.   I can't believe it's size 16!  I also wore, for the first time, my men's leisure bottoms size M which I bought when back in the UK in April.  So I've gone from XXL in these too down to medium. 

Yesterday, hunting through a cupboard in the spare room, I found a carrier bag of swimsuits that I haven't seen for years.  It had six size 16 swimmers in it, five with labels still intact, so that's me sorted for swimming and sunbathing this summer.  I found loads of other carrier bags of clothes but haven't been through them yet so don't know what's in there. 

I went to see a new friend on the way home and stayed chatting most of the afternoon.  Then went shopping for ingredients for a stirfry for supper which I ate sitting out in the sunshine - oh - how I love this weather.  Still 32°C at 18.05pm.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The First Anniversary of my Mini Gastric ByPass Operation

Today is the first anniversary of my mini gastric bypass.  In some ways it seems much closer than 365 days from the operation, but in other ways it seems so much longer.  I am not the same person inside or outside that I was a year ago.

I am just so glad to be celebrating it.  It was an operation I didn’t want but needed to have.  I had to convince myself to be there at the hospital I was so frightened at what the future would hold.  If only one had the advantage of being able to see into the weeks, months and years ahead, how much simpler life would be.

Although much of the past twelve months has been difficult, I cannot regret my decision, and I am so grateful that the seven medical people who had to report on whether they thought the operation would be worthwhile, reported in the way that they did and gave me the opportunity to change my life.

It’s hard to describe all the things which are different for me now.  I have mentioned most of them over the months of this blog, but every week something happens which makes me realize again how different things are for me now.

Most of all I am grateful for my incredibly increased mobility.  It’s hard now to imagine how handicapped I had made myself.  Having to walk with a stick for the 20-30 metres that I could manage was hard work.  There were a lot of things in the last years particularly that I missed out on because of my inability to move any distance.  Long plane journeys were intolerable because of the limited space in the seats, in spite of usually being given a possibility of changing to a position in the plane where two adjoining seats were available.  Getting in and out of a plane toilet was almost impossible, the door simply didn’t want to pass the bulk of my body.  The hassle of extension seat belts and the fact that they are bright orange instead of the discreet silver-grey of the fixed belts and that the air crew usually had to shout to ask in which number seat was the lady who needed the extension belt.  I’m surprised the plane didn’t tip over as people turned to see where it ended up!

To bend down to retrieve anything I dropped was difficult as was loading the bottom shelf of the dishwasher, putting things into the lower oven of the cooker and contorting my body to find things on the base of floor cupboards.

I didn’t wear socks unless someone was here to put them on for me as no amount of twisting and bending would allow me to reach my feet.  Likewise washing every part of my body was difficult and taking a bath instead of a shower was out of the question as I couldn’t get myself off the bath bottom when I needed to get out.

I couldn’t turn in bed without a huge amount of effort and this effort meant that every morning I had to shift the mattress back to its correct position as it would come over with me.

When I closed the car door it would bounce off my thigh and I’d have to start again, having moved further towards the gear stick.

I couldn’t sit in chairs with arms.  Eating out and drinking in outdoor cafés meant either perching on the edge of an armed chair or asking if they had a chair without arms which I could use.  I even started taking a collapsible chair in the car with me so I could sit at the same table as the people I was with.   The easy chair I sat in at home had made my thighs constantly numb as I couldn’t fit into it properly.  I hadn’t realized that this was the reason and only found out when I lost so much weight off my hips and thighs and the feeling came back.

Buying clothes was a matter of going to the Asda supermarket men’s section and picking up anything which had the label XXL.  Women’s clothes just didn’t seem to exist in sizes which would go round my backside – which was enormous. 

My asthma was not good and I became breathless at the slightest effort, even getting out of a chair was hard work.  I was finally diagnosed with sleep apnoea and had a breathing machine which was later joined by an oxygen extractor at night.  To date I have managed to get rid of the extractor and I hope that soon I might lose the breathing machine as well.  I hardly use my Ventolin spray and only use my steroid spray in winter in case I get a chest infection. 

I no longer take blood pressure controlling tablets, nor statins for cholesterol because I don’t need them.

I can garden again because I can bend without effort or discomfort.  I can weed, plant, sow and water.  Previously carrying an 11 litre watering can was something I didn’t want to do and on my veggie patch there is no piped water so no hoses.

I no longer use my stairlift.  Before my weight loss I could not climb stairs for two reasons.  Firstly my knees were so painful that it was distressing and secondly my breathing was so bad because the effort was too much.   My knees are much better now and my breathing is not a problem at all.

I had no lap as my stomach spread onto my thighs before so my grandson and my cats could not sit with me comfortably, that has all changed.

I used to have to use a lifter to bring my bowling woods from the floor to my hand as bending was so difficult, now I just bend.  I no longer throw my woods but bend to the floor and roll them along the mat and have become a better player as a result.

At the surgery when I had an appointment with my doctor, the receptionist would have to bring me an armless chair to the waiting room as the chairs were much too tiny for me.  Now I sit in the same style chairs as everyone else. 

I am not the fattest person in the room anymore, in fact I am sometimes one of the slimmest!  I never thought I’d say that.

My children have never seen me this slim and I think and hope that they are proud of me.  I often wondered if they were bullied at school for having such a fat mother.  They said they weren’t but I still wondered.

When I rewind back to how I was feeling on this day a year ago, I remember how scared I was and how lonely I felt.  I wanted someone with me all the way to the anaesthetic moment holding my hand but that didn't happen.  Once I arrived in the operating suite I was left for ages without human contact and I was very afraid.  This morning, in contrast, I am confident, and happy with my life. 

I look in the mirror and am amazed at what I see.  Appearance has never been important to me – I’ve never cared what I look like even when I was really slim when I was really young.  I am just grateful that I now go out without people pointing at me and talking about me behind my back, I’m just happy to look normal.

So thank you, Dr Lechaux for giving me this chance at a normal life.  I will continue to try not to jeopardize my new stomach and reduced intestine, because I am so grateful and happy that I’ve had it for 365 days and I would like to keep the effects of it for as long as I possible can.

Thank you also, all my family and friends who have been so supportive and who have put up with my constant conversations about weight loss, diarrhoea and the other situations I have found myself in during the last twelve months.

Pre-opMeasurements                           Today 52 weeks post op

Bust 136cm – 53.5ins                           41ins                   12.5ins lost

Waist138cm – 54.3ins                          38ins                   16.3ins lost

Hips172cm – 67.7ins                            46.5ins                21.2ins lost

Calf 54cm – 21.3ins                             18ins                     3 ins lost

This morning I weigh in at 77kgs/170lbs/12st2lbs and have therefore lost 66.1kgs/145.5lbs/10st5.5lbsin the last 52 weeks - brilliant!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Fifty one and a half weeks post operation

I didn't manage to post on Tuesday and then forgot completely.  However, I weighed in at 78 kilos/12st 4lbs/172lbs so another 1.1 kilos/2.5lbs lost.  

Diarrhoea was  particularly difficult yesterday from the early hours through to the early hours of this morning.  I've no idea why, I don't feel that I changed anything in my eating so who knows.  Slightly better today, if it hadn't been I've have bought shares in a toilet roll company!

I can scarcely believe that next Tuesday a whole year will have passed since my mini gastric bypass.  I look back at photos from before the operation and I can hardly understand that they are me.  I can see from them that I was grossly obese and from current photos or looking in the mirror I can see that I am now much, much slimmer. 

I find it difficult to remember what I looked like and how I changed during the time that the weight was dropping off.  If it wasn't for the old photos and the XXL clothes in my cupboard I would hardly remember at all that I used to be so hugely fat.  Strange how the mind plays tricks.  I have always thought in the opposite way to an anorexic.  I think in my head I have always been the slim person I was in the 60s/70s and was always surprised to catch sight of the fat me in shop windows or mirrors or to find that I couldn't get through a much too small gap or turnstile.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Fifty weeks post operation

This morning I met with Dr Lechaux for my standard six monthly appointment.  I weighed in his office and weighed the same as I did at home on my scales - 79.1kg/12st6.5lbs/174.3 pounds - so another 1 kg lost this week in spite of my trip back to England.  

My oldest son gave me a good talking to yesterday morning because he felt that I was eating too much, more than him he said.  I rarely finish a plate of food and in fact in the restaurant we went to on Sunday I had the starter of chicken liver and mushroom parfait with two tiny pieces of toast and rocket and then could barely start the roast beef course.  I took home the beef wrapped in a napkin and had it for tea with salad and three new potatoes.   In the evening I had a bar of chocolate and two crumpets, but they are things I don't eat in Brittany, so I'm obviously going to enjoy them when I'm back in England.   I understand his concern, but don't feel that it's a problem and I don't always eat so much in real life back in Brittany when there aren't visitors here.

I am as I said, still losing weight, if slowly.  Dr Lechaux said this morning that he didn't really want me to lose much more if at all.  I would like, if I can to lose a little more from my lower half, the top's fine, just the lower half could do with a bit of weight gone and 12st 6.5 lbs is hardly underweight so I feel justified in losing a bit more if it happens.   Having looked at my stomach Dr Lechaux said when he saw me in December he would decide about removing the excess skin.  There are possible associated problems with this:
haemorrage, abcesses, scar not joining together, untidy ends to the scar etc. etc., but then everything one does has a risk and you just have to take it on board and try to lessen the risk as much as possible.  The hospital stay is a week - too long for me but apparently this is because you have to have tight bandaging intially etc. etc.

He seemed pleased with the way I look and the effort I have made and I am very pleased to have had the operation and have lost so much weight.  The first four months were the worst but I have never regretted having the operation.  I could never have lost the huge excess weight I was carrying without his help.

His secretary made an appointment for me with Dr Housse at Rennes for August next year to talk about my upper arms and breasts being tidied up.  A long time away, but I'm not really in any hurry.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Forty-nine weeks post op

Weighed in this morning at 80.1 kgs/176.5lbs/12stones8.5lbs, so have lost 900g this week.  I have a feeling it might just be a temporary loss as I feel I am settling somewhere between 80 and 83 kilos, but I'm willing to be wrong!

I shall be going back to the UK in the next few weeks and will no doubt put on weight there as I eat all the foods I miss living in Brittany.  Funny how you always crave the things you cannot have, or can have, but at a vastly inflated price, so choose not to.

Diarrhoea still reigns and I have still not started the last prescription drug I picked up from the pharmacy.  I will get around to it eventually.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Forty-seven week post op - sorry I missed forty-six weeks

I missed forty-six weeks because I had visitors from Cornwall and didn't think about it at all.

So, forty-seven weeks post op and I weigh the same again, smack bang on 81 kgs, 12st11lbs/179lbs, so I guess I've stabilised at this weight for the moment at least having been there for four weeks now.  

I went out for dinner at my favourite local restaurant, Le Pelinec, courtesy of my son, and with his partner and another friend last week.

and had a lovely meal, but couldn't eat all of it which was frustrating.  No plate is packed with food, but we had five courses, which is a lot to get through. 

The puddings were lovely - this had been started before the photo but not by me!  I had a fig and apple tart with cream.

This morning I did half an hour in the polytunnel before I go off to bowls.  I've done loads of work in the veggie garden and polytunnel over the last two weeks.  I haven't been able to bend so well for years and it's good weeding, sowing and planting without feeling ill bending over.  I've been really enjoying it.

Prawn salad with bread and butter in my poly box for lunch today at bowls.  I'm eating loads of fish rather than meat, plaice, mackerel, trout, prawns, bass - lovely - and much cheaper in Brittany than in England.


Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Forty-five weeks post op and a little light at the end of the tunnel maybe

Tuesday morning again and I weighed in at the same weight as last week, so no change then, which is fine as I'm not desperate to lose more weight, I'm just really happy with what I've already achieved.

Here's me today, wearing a skirt for the first time in 24 years!

My fifteen day course of Questran and Créon finished on Wednesday last week and I was then prescribed a two week course of Loramyc.  This is a drug which I have been given in case I have Candida (thrush).  I am showing no normal signs of Candida but it was the next stage in trying to combat my diarrhoea.  It is a strange drug which is taken by putting the tiny tablet on one side of the mouth between the lip and gum and keeping it there.  The Pharmacy didn't have it in stock so I had to return the next day to collect it.

However, the following day, Thursday, I had a sort of breakthrough on the diarrhoea front.  I went to the loo at 08.10hrs and realised just after lunchtime that I hadn't been again.  I also realised that I had forgotten to take my usual medication - two allergy tablets, two supplements to help hair and nails recover and Inexium, the drug I take to protect my stomach.  I have taken Inexium every day, without fail, since my operation and while in hospital it was included in my drip.

So - I have had Inexium every day since my operation and I have had diarrhoea every day since my operation.  Could there be a correlation here?  I checked out the information leaflet in the drug box.  1-10 people in 100 people can have diarrhoea as a result of taking Inexium. 

I didn't go to the loo again on Thursday until 22.00 before I went to bed.  I didn't wake up in the night to go and my next visit was on Friday at 08.20hrs.

In fact Friday was a great day and I didn't go to the loo at all until Saturday morning at 08.10hrs.

Friday evening was the Obestité Bretagne Nord meeting in St Brieuc at our new meeting place of Le Papagayo restaurant.  Dr Lechaux was there and when he asked how I was I briefly told him the above and said I had also written it down in an email to him that afternoon.  On Saturday morning I received a reply from him saying that I could go without Inexium for a month and see what happened.   My feeling is that I will take Inexium again on Monday and see if the diarrhoea recurs, which would seem to be a good test.  If it does, then obviously I will come off Inexium until I see Dr Lechaux on 3 July when I presume he will prescribe a substitute. 

I'm trying not to get too excited, but I can't tell you how lovely these three days have been without worrying about staying near a loo and the possibility of accidents.  I really was beginning to believe that I would never be in this situation, so my life could be on the road to very good.

Sunday saw a return to the old diarrhoea day, but Monday was slightly better and today has been good so far.

I'm not entirely sure it was the Inexium now, but am still staying away from it for the time being and I'm just glad that overall things are slightly better than they were.  I am finding black coffee difficult to drink at the moment, even weak instant black coffee.  It tends to give me stomach cramps immediately and this is a real pain as it's my favourite hot drink.

Yesterday I met for the first time since my operation two French friends who were amazed to see me at this weight.  It's so good to get this sort of feedback. 

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Forty-four weeks post op

Just over ten months post operation now.  I weighed in today at 81kgs/12st11lbs/179lbs so a loss of 2.5kgs/5lbs this week - and a total loss of 62.1kgs/9st11lbs/137pounds. 

This is a weird weight loss as I have been eating lot of food.  On Sunday I actually cooked five different meals and they were not small.  I'm not sure why I feel so hungry and want food all the time and it is worrying.  I am also not sure why I have managed to lose so much weight this week in view of all the food I have eaten.

Today I have got under control a bit more again as I spend Tuesdays away from the house at bowls.  No time for breakfast this morning and I had prawn mayo salad for lunch with two slices of buttered baguette.  This evening I have so far had a plateful of really tiny globe artichokes dipped in melted butter, so a better day. 

My relationship with my loo has not diminished much and I have had three accidents this week, which is the worst performance so far - not good.  The last one was before I went to bowls for the day and I thought twice about leaving the house again, but took courage in both hands and I was fine.

I have been taking both Questran and Créon and should finish taking Questran on Thursday I think, but have loads more in the box, so am not sure if I might continue for a bit.

I saw the dietician last week and she asked me how much more weight I wanted to lose.  I didn't really know, but replied that fifteen kilos would probably be enough.  This would see me at about 68 kgs/10st10lbs/150lbs.  I asked how I would stop losing weight and she just said "Eat more".  Well I couldn't eat any more than I did on Sunday and I still lost weight, so I'm not sure that would do the trick.

Anyway, to look on the positive side, I have now managed to get into the twelve stones and that is good, although I'm not sure I deserve this big loss this week.

We have an Obesité Bretagne Nord meeting this Friday.  Instead of our normal meeting place at the hospital we are transferring to a restaurant - Le Papagayo in St Brieuc.  I hope I shall be able to find it easily.  We are moving because as the group has become bigger we have outgrown the room at Yves Le Foll. 

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Forty-three weeks post operation and things are looking up

Just a quick update.  I weighed in this morning at 83.5kgs/184lbs/13st2lbs.  So another 500g/1.1lbs lost this week.  I am very pleased with this steady continuing weight loss.

I saw Dr Picot at Clinic St Yves, Rennes on Thursday late afternoon. He is a very pleasant chap, easy to talk with and it was a good meeting. He had several comments.

The first one was that I mustn't exclude any item of food from my life unless it had been proven that I was intolerant to it. I explained that I now eat and drink everything that I did prior to my operation and had reintroduced dairy products without any noticeable effect. He did ask that I drink lactose free milk if I drink milk, but that all other dairy products are fine.

He said that I was now a slave to my bowel and I had to take back control. He gave me a chart to complete daily which is split into two hour blocks. Each time I have to go to the loo I have to put a cross in the box. I am only allowed one cross in each box. This seemed impossible as first thing in the morning I use the loo a lot. He said I must not do that. I have to hang on and not give in.

It is possible that I have Candida Albicans in the bowel and he suggested that I take something to counter this before taking antibiotics to kill any bacterial growth which I may have in the bypassed portion of upper intestine. Apparently, the gas which I have is almost certainly due to the presence of bacteria. Although I have already tried two different antibiotics, he suggested that there are many others I can try, one after the other until we find one which works.

He has prescribed Questran which has a good record of ceasing diarrhoea in patients who have had their gall bladders removed. I have had mine removed but didn't suffer with diarrhoea afterwards. It is apparently a very unpleasant drug to take for texture and taste but can be very successful.

He has also prescribed Créon which I took before with not very good results. We shall see.

He examined and listened to my tummy, tested my reflexes and the quantity of hydrogen in my breath. He was very thorough.

So, hopefully one of the above things will work. If, however, nothing works, then it will be another appointment with him and then a week in Clinique St Yves for them to try and sort me out.

The Questran seems to be helping with my diarrhoea.  Unfortunately, one of the side effects is sensitivity to sunlight and I am a sunworshipper.   As a result, I have a rash on both legs which is very itchy. 

Actually, thinking about it a bit more, I suppose it might not be photosensitivity but just a straightforward reaction to the drug.  It's so good not to spend so much of my day worried about accidents and trying to be near a toilet.  I am also pleased that in spite of having the diarrhoea controlled I have still lost weight.

I spent the whole day out at bowls today and ate a pasta and fish lunch, and drank three black coffees with no bowel problem - brilliant!  At last I feel that I may have a chance of not living with this problem forever.

This was me on Sunday before I went out for a picnic by the canal 

followed by a walk along the Nantes/Brest canal path with a friend and his dog.  Absolutely stonking hot afternoon, with almost no breeze - just my sort of weather in beautiful surroundings.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Forty-two weeks post operation

The scales showed 84 kilos/183lbs/13st3lbs when I weighed in this afternoon - I forgot to weigh this morning.  This is a loss of 500g/half a kilo, 1.1lbs in a week.  My weight loss is definitely slowing down now.  However, I met some people at the last Obesité Bretagne Nord meeting who were still losing a kilo a month two years on from their op so I'm not worrying.

Here is the latest photo of me

I have no-one to take a photo of me so I always have to take them in the mirror which is a bit weird.

I seem to have got my eating sorted now and haven't been out of control this week at all.

It was a Bowls competition this afternoon and my bowls partner and I got through to the semi finals but were pipped to the post.  The final was excellent and the lead changed on the last game.  I felt as if I played the best games I have ever played.  This is mostly due to the fact that I can now bend and roll the wood instead of throwing it - I now have some control thanks to my reduced tummy.

On Thursday at 4.15pm I have an appointment with Dr Picot of Clinique St Yves at Rennes to discuss my bowel problem.  It was to have been Wednesday but they've just changed it.  I'm collecting four Muscovy ducks on the way back so shall have some company in the car!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

41 weeks post op and an unexpected eating problem

I have been struggling with eating over Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Six months ago it would have been impossible to write this, but I have been really overeating, cooking several meals in a day and not passing the fridge without opening the door.  I’m not sure what has caused this sudden aberration but I though I had better try to knock it on the head immediately.  Yesterday was easier as I was out at a Book Club meeting in the afternoon and not at home within feet of temptation.  I had leftover Chinese for breakfast, boiled collar bacon and chips for lunch and then steak and salad for supper.  I ate nothing between meals and didn’t snack in the evening so think I have it sorted.  It just seemed so weird when I looked back and thought about how I could barely force myself to eat anything for the first few months, and it was really worrying me on Sunday night when I lay in bed thinking about how out of control I had been.  I just hope I haven’t stretched my stomach pouch too much.

It’s Bowls now, so again I shall be out of the house most of the time and don’t have lunch when I’m out for the whole day so today should be a good eating day.  I’ve weighed in at 84.5kgs/13s 4.3lbs/186.3lbs  so have lost just 200gs/8oz this week and I'm lucky to have done that with my erratic diet this week.

I’m now taking the antibiotics which were made up for me, but so far no difference in the bowel department.

The monthly Obesité Bretagne Nord meeting was last Friday and there were lots of new people there.  Some who had already had the mini gastric bypass and some waiting for the operation.  It was a lively meeting, as Dr Lechaux said, there were some strong personalities in the room!  I didn't stay until the very end as I wanted to catch the Chinese before it closed to get a €6 takeaway.  We usually finish with drinks and snacks, but I wanted to get the takeaway and I also wanted to take a photo of the sunset sky on the way home and just caught it beautifully against the clouds.  I ate some of the Chinese while I waited for the sky to change.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Weight, measurements and stuff at 40 weeks post op

Weigh in today see me at 84.7kgs/186.7lbs/13st 4.7lbs, so I've now lost 58.4kgs/128.7lbs/9st 2.7lbs in 40 weeks. 

I saw Dr Lechaux on Friday and he gave me a prescription for an antibiotic which I am to take for seven days now and every three months for a year.  When I went to collect it from the Pharmacy I was told it had to be made to a specific formula and wouldn't be ready for about a week - ooer!  He always seems to be amazed at my weight loss, but then this is more than partly due to the persistent diarrhoea.  We talked about the loose skin I now have and he confirmed that he will remove the stomach spare skin at some point.  He knows of someone in Rennes who may do my upper arms, but this would have to be paid for by me.  His secretary made an appointment for me with Dr Picot, Intestinal Consultant at Clinique St Yves in Rennes for 9 May late afternoon, so not too long to wait until then.

He also asked me to drink a glass of buttermilk every day.  I bought some in the supermarket on Saturday morning and having fridged it to make it really cold I added two bananas, Ribena (a blackcurrant syrup), milk but mostly buttermilk to the blender and made my first ever smoothie.  I was not looking forward to it as I am not keen on dairy products other than milk, cream and cheese, but it was fine and as it was nearly a blender full I had some in the fridge for later.  So I've had that every day since.

I am eating a wider variety of foods and larger quantities.  On Sunday I had a black coffee with sugar, smoked salmon slices edged with dill and lemon,steak, chips and cauliflower cheese purée, my smoothie, prawns heated with tomato purée, garlic, lemon, pili pili, parsley and butter and served with slices of baguette - so no problem eating at all at the moment.

My diarrhoea has not improved.  I drove to town on Saturday to the bank and was going on to the supermarket but had to return home very quickly which was a complete pain as I then had to drive back into town again.  My relationship with my loo is becoming more, rather than less frequent.  I even have a paperback in the bathroom now so I'm not wasting so much of my day when I am in there.

I thought I'd do my measurements this week and I took them on Sunday evening.

                     Pre-op                 Measurements      Loss up to date at
                     Measurements      Today                  40 weeks post op 
Bust               136cm – 53.5ins   106.5cm - 42 ins    29.5cm - 11.5 ins
Waist             138cm – 54.3ins     99.0cm - 39 ins    39.0cm – 15.3 ins 
Hips               172cm – 67.7ins   124.5cm -  49 ins    47.5cm – 18.7 ins
Calf                54cm – 21.3ins    47.0cm -  18.5 ins   7.0cm –   2.8 ins
I have now managed to find a bra which actually fits me.  I couldn't find anything in the few shops I visited in Cornwall when I was there for my birthday, not one bra was in the size I wanted.  The assistants said they didn't have the size in their range at all.  However, unbelievably, I did find the right size bra in a supermarket here.  They only had one in stock in my size, but I visited two other branches and found a black one and another white one - good news.  I had lost more than nine stone and was still in the same bras as I wore before the weight loss which obviously were not doing a good job - nice not to fall out of them when I lean forward now!