Diagram of Operation

Diagram of Operation
My new tummy arrangement after gastric mini bypass

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 caf├ęs 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.