LilySlim - Weight loss

Sunday, May 25, 2014

I Ate Crap Today

Mostly. And not on purpose.

Food tastes shitty to me, again. Even my old standby, deli meat ham rolled up with cream cheese. It tastes...metallic. Bleh.

We did our usual Denny's read a paper thing today, and nothing, I mean nothing sounded good (except French toast), so I got these grilled chicken wraps (it's a tortilla, ok?), with chipotle sauce, ate one, brought one home, changed out the chips for fruit, at half a strawberry (YUM--doc just cleared me for small amounts of fruits and veg, so far so good!), gave the rest to my husband.

Then, we have no wifi at home because guess who forgot to pay the bill? (OK, it was me. All this traveling has me confused. No point turning it back on because we're leaving, at least, I'm leaving in a week. I was at a Starbucks until their Internet bailed.)

I got one of their bistro boxes because it has cheese in it. I left the crackers and the fruit, had two almonds, three dried cranberries, the brie and the cheddar. I don't like gouda. I'll give it to my husband for a snack later, although he doesn't like apples. Whatever.

Then I had to move to Burger King, and so they wouldn't throw me out, R bought me a double junior something cheeseburger, pickles and ketchup. I ate about 2/3 of it, realized it tasted like shit, and put it to the side.

So not my best day.

I got up so early (6am!!!) for my day II yard sale (I made $30- the whole weekend. Then everything went to the Goodwill.), and I forgot to make a protein shake. Then I took a nap from noon to 2 pm, and that's when we headed to Denny's.

I'll have a protein shake before bed. My new Syntrax Caribbean Cooler (pineapple / coconut) arrived yesterday. I LOVED the sample I tried, and their fuzzy navel, but I bought the 2 lb tub of the pineapple. I'm looking forward to it especially since it's so hot.

At least I remembered my iron and calcium (so far, since January, I've only missed vitamin doses twice. One at bedtime, which was not a forget but a "fuck it I'm tired," and the second one was an actual forget. So five months, two misses. I think that's pretty fucking good.

In a few weeks my life is going to radically change. I won't be cooking for my husband, we won't be going to Denny's (I don't think), as we'll be living separately until we land on our feet. Me with my mom (and how long will that last?) and he...well...he's going to camp. He was going to stay with his dad, but dad is doing what he does best--be a dick--even as he's dying of ALS. *sigh*

So I hope I'll have more of a routine to my life with my mom, I may cook for her, and less temptation in my husband who is a fast food addict--I've basically cut it out of my life, and that's why I feel shitty today. I wish I hadn't eaten most of what I've eaten today. I'm sure I'll pay for it with my bowels tonight or tomorrow or both.

I'm human, I'm imperfect, today was not my best day.

But tomorrow is a new day. I can start again.

My posting is going to be intermittent due to lack of Internet at home. So bear with me. It might be a few ragged weeks.

Friday, May 23, 2014

A Special Kind of Stupid?

I forgot to have dinner last night.


As a fat girl (now in recovery), not only would I never miss dinner or any other meal, I'd have to try very hard not to have seconds or thirds.

Last night, I forgot to eat.

I was busy, doing stuff and on the net, and my stomach started growling. For a moment, I wasn't sure what it was...but yeah, definitely, I was hungry.

I had baked the chicken I'd been marinating overnight in a McCormicks brown sugar and bourbon marinade, and they smelled good, so I cut off a slice from the narrow end, about the width of two fingers, and cut it into tiny pieces and ate it. It wasn't delicious, but it was good. By the time I was done, I knew I wouldn't be able to fit in a protein shake for quite a while before bed, so I skipped my evening protein shake. I ate enough protein yesterday to choke a horse, so I'm sure it was fine, but...I did forget to eat.

Now "that" has never happened to me before. LOL

If it starts to become a regular thing, I'll set my alarm on my phone.

Also, today, my surgeon gave me the okay to eat small amounts of fruits and vegetables, one at a time, and see how I tolerate them. I had a small salad (what would fit in the palm of your hand) with Italian dressing, salami pieces, Italian ham, and black olives (all of which I've already had, leave off the tomatoes [yuck], green bell peppers [yuck again] and onions [which I've lost my taste for and hate my lower GI], and mozzerella cheese. It has been three hours, and I feel fine. We'll see what tomorrow will bring.

I would really like a strawberry. There's a stand by the highway that sells fresh from the field, non of those nasty white-topped, ripened in the truck crap. Fresh, ripe, warm berries. Well, one. For now.

Otherwise? The weird cravings have gone away although I do like my food spicy. Always have. Got worse with the diabetes (spicier!!), and that hasn't gone anywhere. The spiciness level I like, that is. The diabetes is, so far, MIA. Heh.

Don't forget to eat, dum dum. :D

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Girls' Day Out

Since I didn't have to run down to SoCal to accompany my mother to a doctor visit, I had some extra burn. This girl needed a haircut. I last cut my hair in August 2013. In the photo I took yesterday and published on the previous blog, it was looking pretty scraggly. So I vowed that today? Today I was getting a haircut, a pedicure (my heels, UGH), and if time and money, eyebrows.

I got all three done. I had two inches taken off the bottom, a straight across cut, and had my bangs cut. No one was in the shop (SuperCuts), so the cosmetologist (?) offered to blow dry it and style it for free. It looks great. Take a look.

Then I headed over to MalWart, a store I swore I would never step foot in again but the prices!!!, to pick up a rolling, plastic filing cart. Unfortunately, they had them, but they were not wide enough to hold pendaflex files. Blast!

So I punted:  Cardboard filing boxes. My filing is currently in a pile, literally, because my previous file is FULL. We're moving, I need to have access to stuff like marriage license, birth certificate, paid bills, etc. I swear I'm getting one of those Neat Receipts one day, but the price is just out there for right now.

The primary reason I went to Malwart was after checking around online last night, I saw that they had ladies cotton Fruit of the Loom undies, in patterns and colors, on sale: Six pairs for $8.47. Such a deal. I'm down from a size 13 to a 10. It's a little early to be buying undies; however, they have started sliding down and that moves the sanitary napkin I stick on the inside of my underwear to catch the fluid from my open, leaking belly wound, and that crap gets on my clothes. I need tight underwear, not something slipping around my hips taking the napkin with it. I had some 10s that I bought accidentally a few years ago, and they fit perfectly. Two pairs is not enough, so I bought the six. They're in the washer. One pair is zebra print. LOLOL  I love it. Thanks FotL, for making panties for us plus sized ladies, even as they lose some of their plus. ;-)

Regardless, at the Malwart I went to, they have a nail shop. I had my pre-surgery pedicure there. Very nice Asian ladies. Super sweet. They have the spa chairs (lurve).  She handed me a menu with the different services I could get, so I decided to GO BIG. I got the deluxe. Mango scrub for feet and legs, parrafin wax on feet, scrubbing, lotioning, massaging, and finally, nail painting. I chose a very bright reddish-orange with a yellow sheen. Very summery. Aren't they cute? And my heels look and feel so much better! (They were so dry and scaly that they caught on rugs. OMG.)

Lastly, I had my eyebrows done. They were starting to look like Andy Rooney's. Ugh.  You can see them in the first photo. Maybe not, they're hiding behind my glasses. But they look great. $10-. What a deal.

I feel good. Great. Pampered and purty and ready to get some work done. I'll be setting up the files for moving tonight before I go to bed.

But first, something to eat.

R brought me home two (TWO!!) lousy chicken wings, I asked for four (he ate them ^%$#), and then a couple of small slices of a cheese ball I made (recipe at the bottom), I had a 48 gram protein drink when I got up, so I'm trying to figure something out to eat. I would love a bowl of Panda Express hot n' sour soup, but they are closed AND ten miles away. *sadface*  I'll find something.

So here's the cheeseball recipe:

2 8 ounce bricks of cream cheese, softened
2 cups of your favorite cheese (I used sharp cheddar and triple cheddar)
1 clove chopped garlic
Black pepper, to taste

I mixed it all together with a regular hand mixer. Plop it onto a piece of saranwrap, mold it using the plastic into a ball, then wrap it in foil, chill two hours or overnight. I did it last night.

It's good, not fantastic. It needs something. I think for me a little cayenne, maybe some pimento, or pickle, or something, maybe an herb? It needs something. I decided to leave the nuts off the exterior per traditional cheeseball methods as I am not quite 10 weeks out from surgery (and how fast they went once the first shitty six weeks were over. LOL)

If you've ever made this, or have any ideas how to kick it up a notch, leave a comment. Thanks.


Lastly, today would be my grandmother's 101st birthday if she were still living. I know she's watching over us, perhaps bemusedly, but still, I know she's there. She had the biggest heart in the world, and I know she keeps one eye on us. Miss you, gramma.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Belly Wound Follow Up Appointment

OK, before I tell you about my visit with my surgeon yesterday, let me tell you what happened tonight.

I tried on some capris in a size I haven't worn since I was in my 30s. Maybe even my 20s. Initially, when I put one leg in I thought, "Nah, these are not going to fit." But then I realized I'd been wrong about a number of things lately, and thought I should just "go for it." I put the other leg in, pulled them up, and they went over my ass and fit perfectly. I could even bend and sit in them. So I bought them. (They were on sale.)

I'm stunned.

I was also going to get some undies, down three sizes!! but I thought the price they wanted was too high, so I'll go to Target this weekend.

I knew I was going to lose weight and "melt away" as the surgeon said, but the reality is much different than what my expectations were.

My number 1 and 2 goals were:

1. Kick diabetes to the curb.
2. Have more energy.

Both of these things have occurred. I would be happy right there. But to not have a giant, heavy body that is difficult to move in (my poor knees, although granted I've fallen on the left one repeatedly over the years, poor thing), and to have angles in my face, my native American great grandmother's cheekbones peeking out, my collarbones! My g*d, I can see and feel my collarbones. It's amazing. This I did not think about too much. I really did not. But I am enjoying the hell out of it.


So my belly wound had quit leaking about 90%, although I was still using a pad to catch the small amount of fluid that was coming out. The center of the wound had healed fine, but the top and bottom had snail-like looking things poking out of them that felt like Jell-O.

Evidently the doc didn't like the look of that and tried to insert a rubber drain in the bottom "hole." It wouldn't go in. It was closed. Same with the top "hole."

He then told me, "I could take you into surgery, put you under general anesthesia, open you back up, re-sew everything, and you'd be good. Or I can take care of it right now with silver nitrate, which will burn."

"Let's do it" I said.

So he laid me back on his exam table, my pants and undies pushed down, put the leg rest up, and R held my hand, as the doc dripped the silver nitrate over first the bottom hole and then the top. It burned new openings in the would/drain, and it's been draining the same smelly pink crap that it did right after surgery. A LOT of it.

It hurt. It hurt a lot. I can't even think of something that would compare to it. R said I squeezed his hand so hard that I hurt him and almost bent his wedding ring. LOL

It was awful. But over in five minutes with no residual pain. *whew*

He said I'm doing great, my weight loss is progressing at his expected rate, and that I looked good. I then told him that I had gotten off all Crystal light, sweet n' low, Splenda and other products, and had moved to Stevia for iced tea, or just water, and upped my protein shakes to 100 g per day. That made him happy. We had a long chat and we both enjoyed talking to him. He's a funny, no BS kind of guy. The perfect surgeon for me.

Today, after the draining had ensued, I was down another pound from yesterday. I think the non-draining wound has slowed down my weight loss. That and all the experimenting with liquid, protein, and food cravings I was doing. It's better now, too.

So here is how the weight totals play out:

  • From my highest weight (which will not be named), in January 2011, I've lost 77 pounds (which includes a 4-month stint on weight watchers that I kept off for three years).
  • From two days before surgery I've lost 43 pounds.
  • From surgery day, (I lost 4 pounds doing the pre-op clear liquids and bowel prep), I've lost 39 pounds.

I hate to jinx myself, but in addition, I also feel great. I want to get up. I want to move. I want to walk. I'm cleared to lift weights. After we move to SoCal in three weeks, I'd like to join a gym. There's one within two blocks of where we'll be staying. I could walk there.

This experience has been scary, painful, difficult and, dare I say it? Amazing.

I'm a whole new person.

That I didn't expect.

But I'm grateful. So very grateful.

Here's a picture taken today at my doctor's office (my eye doctor), and
Those are the new pants. I've wanted a pair of
 olive green cargo capris for years. Yippee!

This is me with my MIL at my highest weight in 
April 2011. I joined Weight Watchers shortly after 
this was taken and kept it off until surgery day.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Road Trip Down the Hershey Highway

Oh the metaphors for poo...they're just never ending, aren't they? It's taboo normally to talk about "pooing", but for the DS patient? It's a daily reality.

I got constipated again. Two bites of rice was all it took. (Yes, I've finally learned that lesson, Oy.) We stopped at every major truck stop so I could crap. Nothing. I spent 30 minutes in one restroom, enough that the line that had formed while I was in there (only three stalls) I could hear whispering, "What is she doing in there? How long has she been in there? Are you sure someone is in there?) I just knew I was going to go this time.

Nope. We were heading down I-5 (or as Californians call it, The Five), and after the fifth emergency stop with no relief, I said, "That's it. I'll have to have some bread and butter." It worked the last time I was constipated and took about four hours.

We stopped at a barbecue place my husband likes and since they have so much meat on offer, I thought it would be a good choice for me. My open roast beef sandwich (which tasted like shit, it's downstairs in my in-laws refrigerator, up for grabs), I had some gravy, a few mashed potatoes, all of the soup part from some clam chowder (no chunks), and the roll with lots of real butter.

One hour later, I was riding the Hershey Highway. I'm not sure how many stops we made. Suffice it to say a 200 miles trip took us nearly eight hours, including a one hour stop for dinner.


I did not, however, shit my pants. I stunk up bathrooms from Buttonwillow to Bellflower. *sigh*

This is a hard process learning what my body can tolerate, what tastes good, and what can make me miserable. It's a fine, fine line, and I feel like I'm just really sucking at walking it. Everything that sounds or smells good tastes like shit. You couldn't get me to eat a donut for $50-. (I would for a million. Oh hell yeah.) Meat that I previously liked tastes bad. I want a big salad with chunks in it--cheese, and meat, and red bell peppers, and croutons, and green onions and Thai lime cilantro dressing. No can do. Probably taste like shit, anyway.


I think I need a consult with both the dietician and the psychologist. They both said I could call them. When I'm not busy taking care of someone else...sigh...I'll call and ask for appointments with both (they both did my pre-surg interviews via phone.). They said I could if I felt I was struggling. Well, I am.

Diarrhea is bad enough, but while on a long trip? Oh just stick a fork in me, I was done.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Diabetes vs. Diarrhea

Of the two, I'd rather have the latter than the former. Good thing, too, because that's what I've got as it turns out. And constipation.

Who knew I'd be spending SO MUCH time fussing over my bowels?

Yes, I realize I just had my bowels rearranged, but really? Every waking moment concerns my bowels?

OK, I exaggerate a little. A little. But

Pardon me. I have to run to the bathroom. BRB.

But see, it's ok, that's what I wanted.

Last Thursday I mentioned I had a few bites of rice at an El Pollo Loco. Constipated the hell out of me.

I didn't go again until Saturday morning, and by then I was very packed up and I had some abdominal cramps. Not fun.

I got on a message board and asked around for a natural way to get things moving. I was recommended bacon (full fat port), heavily buttered toast, and fat, fat, fat.

I went twice more yesterday, and both were very dry and painful. I think I may now have what is referred to as a hemorrhoid. Those are fun, too. (Not.)

Last night I ate two ham/cream cheese rollups, my go-to food just now (delicious and no weird side effects), and this morning I got up and what can only be described as a coprolite dropped out of my body.

So I started cooking bacon. By the end of the evening (two hours ago for me), I had eaten a whole pound of thick cut fried bacon.

About 10 o'clock (having eating half of the bacon), I had some wheat toast with a lot of unsalted butter. My stomach started rumbling. Two false alarms later, I squeezed out some more dried blech.

About an hour ago, the diarrhea started in full. I can't tell you what a relief it is to have things moving again. Now I know I'm getting old--I'm talking about my poops. LOL

So the bread tasted good, not fabulous or delicious, but good, 100% wheat, no HFC, but definitely carbs (Orowheat). But the butter? Oh yeah, the butter was good.

So I'm still figuring out my rearranged body, what I can and cannot eat, what it will do to me, or not, and mostly I'm just sticking to the ham/cream cheese rollups. They taste good and are very satisfying. I'm doing two 48 gr of protein shakes a day, but not today, not after all that bacon.

I'm loving the Good Earth's sweet and spicy tea iced tea--reminds me of my childhood (remember the restaurants? They were organic and the 80s!), and I love their tea. It sits well on my tummy. I'm using just the organic Stevia in it. I'm also having Sobe lifewater (made with Stevia), I really like the Yumberry and Pomegranate and the Strawberry Dragonfruit. They were on sale at Target recently for .86 cents a bottle. Totally worth it. Great for grab and go. Also? I'm doing bottled water. I tried coffee, and it was fine but not phenomenal, so I'll wait on that some more.

I'm up late working on multiple projects, some personal, other business. I've discovered that I need, crave the cool quiet of the dark hours--just me, alone with my thoughts. I can get so much more done without the nearness or the words of anyone else. *ahem* I've always been this way, I've just forgotten how much my personal sanity depends on a lot of quiet alone time at night. Mental note made.

Now I'm going to make my husband's lunch and go to bed. My eyes have been popping open after eight hours of sleep, no matter what time I go to bed. Before, I was sleeping 10, 12, sometimes 14 hours a day because I was just exhausted. Diabetes will do that to you. And kill you.

I'll take the diarrhea.

Never thought I'd be saying that.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

No Rhyme or Reason

So my new body has some weird new behaviors.  Like despite clean eating (protein shake am, ham and cream cheese rollups, 2 - 3 depending on hunger level, for lunch and dinner, 100 oz of fluids, protein shake for dinner/before bedtime for a total of 100 grams of protein for the day), Monday I had 90 minutes of diarrhea. Good thing I had my Kindle. Tuesday more but less severe diarrhea, Wednesday more diarrhea, AND my weight went up four pounds.

Thursday night, my husband found some coupons to El Pollo Loco. I hadn't cooked dinner because we had planned to go out to celebrate an accomplishment of his, but he was told he wouldn't be given the news for another 24 hours. So El Pollo it was.

I had half of a drumstick, four bites of mashed potatoes and gravy, two bites of rice, and half a corn tortilla with butter. So good. I gave the rest to R, which he devoured.

The result?


I finally went when I got up this morning and it was like a rock. And my weight is back down four pounds.

What the hell?

It all seems so arbitrary.

Things that "should" according to literature, doctors, and other DS patients, give me diarrhea, constipate me instead; and things that "should" give me normal (for a DS patient) bowel movements, may or may not give me diarrhea.

Damned if I do and damned if I don't.

Also--now that I'm feeling about 75% better, and my weight loss is slowing down, it's time to start real exercising. I push a cart around Target, the grocery store, or other big stores, about 4-5 days a week, and try to do more than one lap around the store (a big improvement over feeling so tired/shitty I had to use the store scooter) because for some reason pushing the cart relieves the stress and pain on my bad back (I broke a vertebrate sledding in the mountains when I was 17.). Regular walking, without holding onto something, kills my back. The pain can be intense. So I think I'd like to A) join a gym and use their exercise bikes (no weight lifting just yet) and B) get a bicycle. A real bike. For an adult (my current bike requires me to pedal bent over as the handlebars are too low and it's very uncomfortable.). I'm going to try some walking around the neighborhood and see how it goes.

I feel like every day is a constant experiment--and results may vary. So weird.

And I really want a big salad with chunks and bleu cheese and meat on it. Or a Thai shrimp salad with peanut dressing. Donuts and pie and other sweets sound so disgusting.

Just weird.

Life's tough. Get a helmet.

My Surgery Story: Part I

I received my surgery date of March 14 at the end of January. It actually worked out very well for me as I had quite a few things I wanted to have completed before I returned home to recover. I had been warned and was prepared for the first six weeks of recovery to be difficult and I wanted to have time to take lots of naps, stare at TV and read. So I cleared the decks.

I had two outstanding work projects, and I got the first one completed, and then a project I'd been working on for over two years--my oldest and dearest friend--he came up to our place the Friday to Tuesday before surgery to get his book completed and published. We worked long, hard hours--something I was not used to as the last few years my health has taken a beating and energy and endurance had been particularly hard. In the evenings, my friend took my husband and I out for dinner or lunch. And I don't mean McDonald's--the first night, we ate the top restaurant, not the buffet, at the local Indian Casino. We both had lobster thermidor lying on a bed of spinach and cheese ravioli in a garlic cream sauce. OMG, I closed my eyes and leaned back against the booth and just went "Mmmmm mmmm mmmm."  My friend agreed. We followed that with dessert. Then we went to probably the best steak house in central California the next night, Harris Ranch. Yeah, they have their own grass fed cattle. I had the best steak, a rib eye, I've ever had in my life. It was so good that we went there again on Monday night. Just wow. Over the next few days we had Vietnamese, was a true farewell to food tour. Good food. And there was a lot of laughter. Good times.

My friend was going to leave on Monday, but we had problems with the upload and conversion of the e-book, so he came by again on Tuesday (he stayed at a local hotel; he's slightly allergic to cats), and we worked on it together, our screens side-by-side, and went over every problem we'd found, fixed it, and had it uploaded. I was exhausted.

My surgery was in three days. I had Wednesday to pack, buy vitamins (which I had shipped to my mother's house where I would spent the week after recovering), get my act together, check that the cat sitter was still available, and mostly think about what I would be doing. I waited to buy the vitamins because I was afraid my insurance company would balk at the last moment, but I figured three days before surgery my odds were good that it would happen. The vitamins arrived at my mother's on Thursday. I didn't think they would arrive so soon so I didn't mention it to her. She almost sent them back. Oops.

So Wednesday, all systems were GO, and I got into the van and hit the road about 2:30 pm to pick R up from work and drive down to Southern California. I had booked a hotel on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena about two miles from the hospital. It was a well-known chain hotel, and the price, on was just right. I booked two nights.

Wednesday I was on a creamy liquids diet. I had cream of chicken soup with milk, I had Crystal Light, I had a Mango Smoothie from Jack-in-the-box, and split pea soup for dinner at a late-night diner I used to frequent when I lived in Pasadena and worked nights. (I was very hungry by our 10 pm dinner.)

The next day, Thursday, I had an early appointment with my surgeon, then shortly thereafter a pre-admit and labs at the hospital. And I was on clear liquids. Gatorade, iced tea, hot tea, chicken broth, and I forget what all. I also had to do a bowel prep using liquid magnesium citrate. I was very hungry. I had been advised by the preadmit nurse not to have either my evening or surgery morning insulin injections. The concern was my blood sugar falling too low. High was better than low. Low could get my surgery canceled. I followed her advice.

The surgeon appointment went fine, it was a quick drive (no traffic at 10 am!), but we spent about two hours at the hospital filling out paperwork, registering, and taking labs to prepare for my 5:30 am check in the following morning. Surgery was scheduled for 7:30. Sweet. I was the first surgery of the day.

My friend with the book kept calling and texting me that there were more problems with his e-book. I had gotten a bad virus on my computer a few weeks earlier, and although I thought I had gotten rid of it, I was still having problems with my computer, and clearly, it was affecting the upload of his e-book file. He wanted to come to my hotel that night so I could work on it. *balk*  I was tired. I spent five, twelve-hour days in a row working on his book, then one day of packing and prepping to leave, then a 200 mile drive, doc appointments, labs (five vials of blood), and I was tired. TIRED.

But...he is my oldest and dearest friend, he needed me, I needed to help him before the surgery because my experiences from previous surgeries was that I would have a bad case of anesthesia brain (doih). I told him fine, come on over, but I had to do a bowel prep and I may be running to and from the bathroom and it might even smell. He was cool with that. Actually, he was in a panic over his book.

My husband left to go pick up my mother and my plan had been to get a nap. So my friend shows up at my hotel room and voila! He's purchased me a top of the line, 17" screen, HP laptop with some super peripherals--Office 2010 (with Word, etc.); a 64G flash drive; two years of tech support for up to three different computers; a $150- top of the line virus program; and I can't think what else. In all, it was a $2000- gift.

When I asked "Why?"

"Because your computer is a piece of crap. LOL"

He was right; it really was..

I don't deserve a friend like him.

I'd never even seen Windows 8, but I'd heard there were issues.

I managed to get online using the hotels WiFi and install Word 2010, add his file from his flash drive (he was sure it didn't have the virus on it as he'd spent a couple of days making changes), I made my changes and had it uploaded by 7:30 pm.

In the meantime, the bowel prep, which tasted like sour 7UP, had yet to "kick in."  Then my husband showed up with my mother, who said she wanted to be at the hospital on surgery day. The best way to do it was have her at the hotel with us as my check in time was 5:30 am.  There was much hugging and chatting. My mom hadn't seen my friend since he went with her in the 90s to help her buy a car. The guy is a bodhisattva (angel), I'm telling you.

So they all wanted dinner. I said "I can't eat, I'm not going." Everyone understand and the three of the left together in search of food. My friend treated everyone to Dupar's, which had just opened in Pasadena.

In a stroke of luck, the bowel issue made itself known while they were all out having a good time and a nice meal. By the time they came back, I was all done. Hallelujah and thank g*d for my Kindle (I can read it on the toilet.)

My husband started helping me gathering up all non-essential luggage and take it out to the car so they could have a quick checkout after he dropped me at the hospital. We all crashed out--I had trouble sleeping, of course, but my eyes popped open when the alarm went off at 4:30 am. I had about 4 hours of sleep. I knew I could catch up on my sleep later, but I was TIRED.

I showered real well with tea tree oil soap, a natural antibiotic, I didn't wash my hair--it was fairly clean and I didn't want to show up for surgery with wet hair, got my husband up, we dressed, and drove through the eerily quiet and empty streets of Pasadena by 5 am. 

***to be continued***

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

My Friends, the EMTs

My Friday, May 2nd 5 am actually started about 5 pm on Thursday, May 1. I picked R up from work and we headed for the coast. It was 95 at our house when we left, so even if we hadn't had this trip planned for a month, we may have headed for the cooling breezes of the ocean anyway.

We stopped in Paso Robles at an A & W because R needed to be fed and watered. I stayed in the van reading on my Kindle. I am easily triggered by food smells and photos, and I didn't need the temptation. Cravings have reared their ugly head. He was inside for a while, then he came out, finished his fish sandwich and we were buckling in to leave when I said, "Hang on: I need to use the restroom."

I was in there quite a while with explosive runs. I mean...I've never experienced anything like that in my life. I don't know how long it took. I got up, pulled up my pants making sure the sanitary napkin I had stuck to my undies was over my leaking belly wound, flushed, and washed my hands.
I walked out to the car, got in spoke to R, we began buckling up, and I had to go back to the restroom. And I was in there quite a while. I sat there for a while with nothing happening to make sure it was done, finally got up, pants up, washed hands, and had to sit back down again. It was just unbelievable. I think I was in there over 20 minutes, I'm not sure.

When nothing had happened for a while, I washed up and headed back to the car. We finally headed out and south to our hotel room, which was only two blocks from the ocean. I couldn't wait to get my feet sandy and wet.

We got off the 101 in Shell Beach and took the frontage road which was covered with restaurants, shops, and motels. When we finally reached our hotel, I had to go. Again. Not as bad, but definitely urgent.

I couldn't imagine what I'd eaten that could cause such a reaction.
We stayed in the hotel for a while to make sure it wasn't going to repeat before we headed for the beach. The plan was to walk to the beach, but by this time, I was not feeling 100%. R drove me to the end of the street and I walked onto the beach as he parked the car. The tide was very low and it was a long way, over sand, huffing and puffing, wondering if my fixed broken ankle could handle sand (it could), and waited for R. I waved at him and he got this super cute picture of me near the water.

I had been waiting for this mini-vacation for a long, long time and I was determined to enjoy it. I felt like I could probably "go" again, but I could hold it. I wanted to get my feet wet, hold hands with my sweetie--whatever that "thing" was that we had on our first date--it's still there. Attraction, chemistry, whatever you want to call it, it's still there. And it was perfect. We walked on the beach, picked up shells and a I found an ocean-smoothed rock, got our feet wet in the freezing cold water, and then went up to the seawall to watch the sunset. And it was glorious. R made me laugh and we hugged as the sunset began to change colors.

We started looking for a restaurant and nothing piqued our interest. We drove around for about 45 minutes, and I said, "We'll know it when we see it." And we did. It was the Shell Beach Brewhouse. Really delicious food. Really delicious (I had the lobster bisque--no chunks, just a tomato/chicken broth with lobster and sherry taste. Fabulous.) I also had two glasses of water after (we were there about two hours), as I knew I was risking dehydration due to the amount of liquid that had exited my body (I had to "go" again as soon as we got to the restaurant). I had also had a 20 ounce bottle of Arrowhead while on the beach and a 20 ounce Sobe on the trip down from Paso Robles.

Back at the hotel I went again (!!!), we changed for bed, too tired to do anything but surf the net for about an hour, and then we snuggled up and went to sleep. I'd tried to have a protein shake, but I could only get about half of it down because I was so full of liquid.

I woke up at 5 am, my heart pounding, racing, galloping like a runaway horse. This had happened to me once before in January 2001 while I was watching a Dennis Leary video with my then boyfriend (so funny!!), and I leaned over to put my finished dinner plate down and I felt my ribs pinch my chest and my heart started racing and I was panting. After and hour of this, I called my mom who told me to go to the ER.

I went to the Urgent Care nearby that was a fully-stocked and staff ER, told them what was going on, and they put me in a wheelchair as my nurse yelled out "SVT!", and they put me on a gurney in the back and tried to find a vein. I don't know how many times they stuck me, but they finally got it in my hand--I forget the drug name, but it puts the brakes on real hard and makes your chest feel cold from the inside. They observed me for an hour or so to make sure there was no bad reactions, then I went home and resumed my life. It never reoccurred.

Until Friday, May 2 at 5 am.

My doctor at the time had told me to try doing squats and coughing to try to "restart" the heart at a normal rhythm.  First, I hadn't done a squat, a full squat, since I broke my ankle, and was startled and glad that I could. I did four, and my heartbeat didn't change. I tried coughing and squatting again--no change. I was breathing hard and panting. My thinking starting getting confused, I woke up R and said, "I'm in trouble."

He had a great difficulty waking up--we'd only been asleep about 4 hours--and I didn't kno what to do and I started crying. Finally R said, "Do I need to call 911?"
"Yes, yes, call 9111." That was the thing I'd been trying to think of but couldn't.

I was wearing a cotton spaghetti-strapped chemise and R said, "You should put some clothes on for the EMTs." I threw on some capris and a T-shirt and sat on the side of the bed, panting, heart racing.

Within about two minutes, a Pismo Beach police officer arrived. He had a big plastic box that looked like a medical kit and latex gloves on. "Hi," he said. "What's your name?"
"Julie," I said.

He took my pulse. He said, "I can help you, but I am a police officer, not an EMT, but they should be right here."

And they were. Three EMTs and two fire department.

They quickly got to work. Took my pulse. Tried to find a vein. Asked me what drugs I was taking, I pointed to the TV stand where R had lined them up. "Over there." Pant. Pant. Pant.

One of the EMT's got me to slow my breathing: In through the nose, out through the mouth, like Lamaze training, which I'd actually taken with my aunt who'd asked me to be her labor and delivery coach when her baby-daddy split in '95. I used that breathing in a lot of painful situations (like I dunno, SURGERY) over the years.

He took my pulse again as the other guy continued to look for a vein in my arm(s). "Your pulse is 207," he said. I looked alarmed. "That's lower than what it was when I got here."  I didn't feel reassured. A normal resting heartbeat is 60-100 beats per minute.

Finally, they decided to go with my left hand. Those veins are blue and obvious through my pale Irish skin. He didn't even hurt me too badly. The clearly older, veteran EMT, who was guiding the young, handsome EMT who was handling my IV and drug administration said, "The drug we're going to give you (adenosine) has about a six second half life, and the closer we can get to your heart the better it will be. But we'll try it and see how it goes."

It wasn't as dramatic as the time I had it in 2001, but my heart slowed down and I did feel a little bit of a coldness in my chest. They all cheered when my pulse slowed down, then had me walk over to the gurney (with multiple cords attached to my body), lie down, they covered me and strapped me down, and started wheeling me out of our room to the parking lot. Son-of-a-bitch, but the guy leading the end of the gurney, where my feet were hanging over he edge (don't they have any gurney's for people over 5' 7"? LOL), and damn if he didn't bang my bad ankle right into the guard rail, heel first. "OW! That's the ankle I broke!" I don't think anyone heard me. It's fine, just a little sore, and sometimes I feel the metal shifting (I don't know how to describe it, but it hurts.).

Into the ambulance with Kevin-Bacon's look-alike (at 26), no lights or siren; I wasn't an emergency. Which is good, but I really wanted the lights and siren *grin*.

At the hospital R and Kevin, the Kevin Bacon doppleganger, realized that they had gone to college together and served on student government at CSUMB in 2008. Small world. But wait, there's more. Evidently my full name is the same name as their dispatcher. The vet EMT said to me, "You're not Jules XXX, you don't have curly hair!" They were all tripping out at my name and cracking wise. Honestly, they were a whole lot of fun.

So they put me on saline, took blood for labs, covered me with the thinnest blanket I'd ever seen (why was the A/C on at 5:30 am? Dunno.), and I waited. R took care of insurance and admitting, and came in to wait with me.

The doctor came to see me and told me I was severely dehydrated and my magnesium was low. I had explained about the DS surgery, shown them the diagram on my doctor's business card (and so wise), and she said she was going to give me a magnesium pill but she wasn't sure it would help due to my malabsorption issues. I took it, whatever.

They finally cut me loose about 9 am. We needed to haul ass to Los Angeles as I had an appointment with my DS surgeon at 1:30 pm. No surprisingly, I slept the whole way.

My surgeon was very surprised to hear of the events of the last 24 hours. "You shouldn't be low on magnesium, but you were very dehydrated." The hospital had given me copies of my labs to show to him. Whatever the test for dehydration is, I was a 13 and normal is 25 or above. We talked about what could possibly be causing the severe diarrhea and he decided it was the tomato soup at Panera.

Thinking later, I think it was the Italian sandwich I got also (and took home), with no bread or lettuce, just a slice of turkey, a slice of roast beef, and a slice of salami with Italian dressing and some red onion. I had the "sandwich" later that night. It finally dawned on me that onions and I have always had a love/hate relationship, and I shouldn't have eaten them. If I had to point somewhere, it would be the onions. I just wasn't thinking when I ate them. Lesson learned.

I'd had tomato soup, Campbell's, from the can, made with Lactaid milk, added cheese, and a sliced up turkey dog earlier in the week with no issues, so I really think it was the onions. My weight was up five pounds. Doctor was shocked. I was pissed. It had been going up and down five pounds for two weeks. I wasn't eating a proper DS diet--I had gone off the ranch.

Regardless, no more "just a bite" of any vegetable or fruit or anything fried or that is not protein and water-based. No fake sugar except Stevia, no Crystal Light, just water, protein shakes, and protein. We went straight to the biggest and best natural food store in Orange County and got some samples of protein shakes, bars, and some chewable iron tablets, and headed for my inlaws.

I've been eating "clean" since Friday, and I'm down six pounds (Hooray!), and my blood sugar was 131 fasting this morning. I've had no insulin for two weeks. I'm so grateful to be able to say and experience that.

The SVT was caused by dehydration. I had drank so much fluid I couldn't fit any more in, but it didn't matter--it wasn't enough. And it caused an emergency. Poor R, once he woke up, was rightly frightened; I was terrified.

This surgery is no joke. I can't think of anything I could have done differently as far as hydration--I literally couldn't squeeze more in. But next time I have severe diarrhea, I'm calling my surgeon. Actually, now that I think of it, R tried to call him before and while the EMTs were there, but it kept saying "the number you have dialed is no longer in service."  ??? WTF? We tried over and over and over and just got the same message. I'm going to guess we just had no service there on the coast.

It was a weird and frightening experience, and one I'm not eager to repeat. I'm just glad it turned out well for me and for R.

Happy ten years!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Tenth Anniversary Mini VaCay to Pismo Beach.

We went to Pismo Beach Thursday night for our ten year, first date anniversary. It's only a few hours from where we live inland, and I had been dying to see the ocean for months. It's the sweetest little town with family owned restaurants, hotels, motels, condo rentals, etc. It's a tourist vacation spot. I wish we could have stayed longer than one night, but appointments and obligations were awaiting us starting on Friday.

I found us a B-grade, reasonably-priced hotel room two blocks from the ocean. It was a nice room, not too fancy, but clean, recently painted, fresh and soft cotton sheets, and big fluffy pillows. Too bad we didn't get much use of it, but I'll tell you that story later.

I hadn't walked on sand since I broke my ankle two years ago and I was wondering how that would go especially since the tide was extremely low. It didn't bother and I huffed and puffed my still overweight self out to the water while R found a parking space. That enabled him to take this photo of me, in a white linen dress I bought almost seven years ago (for $10!), that I had planned to wear on a beach excursion but never did. It still had the tag on it. It was a little too big, but I wanted to wear it at least once before I sell it on eBay. I love this shot.

The water here is north of Pt. Conception which means the water comes from Alaska, and it was glacial!! It felt so good to have the waves lap around our ankles. Brisk would be an understatement. In fact, the metal in my previously broken ankle started tightening up and felt so strange--it felt "extra cold." But I loved it. So did R.

We had such a good time. I found a pretty smoothed rock; half of a sand dollar; and some razor clams still attached to each other that looked like angel wings. We walked down the beach a ways, and as the sun started going down it got chillier and windier so we decided to walk back up to the seawall and watch the sun go down behind the Pismo Beach Pier. We held hands and laughed a lot.

This is looking inland before it got dark. And yeah, that was a lot of sand to huff and puff over to get to the water, but it was worth it and my body needs the exercise.

This is looking inland through the Pismo Beach pier at the cities of Pismo and Shell Beach. The lights were just coming on.

This picture is facing east toward the Pismo Beach sand dunes. Those are quite popular with ATV'rs.
We didn't go--just not enough time, and we don't have ATVs.

This is my favorite picture of the trip, maybe even frame-able. :-)

We drove around and did some sightseeing for a while and also looking for a place to have dinner. We ended up in Shell Beach at the Shell Beach Brewhouse Bar and Grill. It was fabulous. I had lobster bisque. I think it was the best soup I may have ever had. It was tomato and broth-based, not cream-based, and it took me an hour, but I ate every bit of it. Just wow. If you're ever in the area, I really recommend it. R had some type of chicken sandwich that had "curry remoulade" on the side and a salad made with "dark beer and pomegranate juice." I tasted both and they were delish.

By the time we got back to our room it was after 10:30. There was a pool, but I still can't swim as I have an open belly wound (which is doing much, much, much better), and we were both really tired. A long drive, a long walk on the beach, and we were tuckered out. We both got on the net for about an hour and then decided to go to sleep; we were too tired for any "shenanigans." *wink*

Everything was going great until 5 am when something wrong with my body woke me up and I ended up surrounded by EMTs, fire department, and one police officer--all handsome and very nice--and then I got to ride in an ambulance to the local hospital. Good times! Not.

That's in the next post.

But Pismo otherwise? Was just what our souls ordered.