Two weeks on the liquid diet! One week to left on it, because surgery is next week!

Firstly, Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrated yesterday or are waiting until today to celebrate. I celebrated by adding some nutmeg and cinnamon to my chocolate Optifast shake to give it a taste reminiscent of pumpkin pie (urgh, my favourite). It didn’t taste like it, obviously, but it’s quite a nice addition.

Secondly, there are so many things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving, but I will just say this: I am so grateful for this opportunity to have weight loss surgery and to work with the fabulous health care team that I’m working with, and all of those who have supported me thus far, and will support me afterward in my recovery and beyond.

So. It’s been two weeks today since I started my liquid diet. I’d love to say it’s been easy, but it hasn’t. Also, I weighed myself this morning and was up 2 pounds, which leaves me at a loss of 11.5 lbs as opposed to the 13.5 lbs I had lost the last time I weighed myself. I know, I know, I shouldn’t focus on the scale as much because there are so many variables which play into it, but it is a bit of a letdown when all I consumed yesterday was 650 calories. I got all four of my Optifast shakes in, as opposed to just the three I’d been struggling with for most of these two weeks, but didn’t have any of the veggie broth yesterday. Maybe that had something to do with it, or maybe the fact that I didn’t get enough water did. I don’t know, but still, 11.5 lbs is still something to be very proud of.

For those wondering: this diet is meant to shrink the liver so that the surgeon has better access to the stomach through laparoscopic surgery. Canada is one of the strictest countries in the world it seems as far as length of liquid pre-surgery diet is concerned, as well as what we are allowed to consume: only four Optifast and a cup of broth a day. Better safe than sorry, I guess.

Another thing that probably has contributed to my weight loss slowing down is the fact that I just can’t really leave home, because I feel awful most of the time and have a lot of gastrointestinal issues that I won’t get into, for your sake and mine.

But not all is bad. Hell, nothing is bad (except how I feel physically, but that’s to be expected). As of this morning, even though I was up two pounds, I lost even more inches! I’ve lost 11.5 inches off of my waist, 4 inches off of my thighs, 3 off of my biceps, and 3 off of my calves. So I will count that as a victory indeed.

One week today I’ll be make the two and a half hour journey to the hospital to get my surgery (the next day).

I have a killer headache and not much energy, so I’ll end it here. I hope you’re having a fabulous day.

This is not easy. Getting ready for WLS/Bariatric Surgery/VSG

Well, I can finally say that I’m getting my surgery done THIS MONTH now that it’s October 1.

Today (October 1, 2021) and the last few days since I updated have not been easy. There’s been a lot of gastrointestinal maladies that I won’t go into details about, but I do feel need to be mentioned to just prepare anyone embarking on this three week Optifast journey in preparation for the bariatric surgery. Not everyone has these issues; some deal with constipation, whilst others have no problems but just dislike the taste – some even like the taste!

I have quite a sensitive stomach to the artificial sweeteners, so it’s been a lot more difficult for me. But I feel like today I rounded the corner in the sense that I was awake all day, able to get some things done, and I didn’t have the constant thoughts of food that I was having for the first few days.

I also go a phone call from the pre-admin clinic and I have quite a few appointments coming up next week with the hospital’s pharmacist, anesthetist, as well as getting a requisition to my local hospital for a chest x-ray, as well as more bloodwork and an ECG on Monday morning. I’m not sure when the chest x-ray will occur, but hopefully soon! My surgery date in on the 19th!

Also, I haven’t weighed myself since the start of Optifast due to scale difficulties that have now been rectified, but I have lost six inches of my waist since Monday – insanity! It’s worth noting that I did have a large cheese and pineapple pizza on Sunday night as my “goodbye meal,” so I was probably just very bloated when I took my measurements on Monday. Still, it’s not too shabby!

I know I said I’d have some pictures and video up, but I’ve honestly not felt well enough. I’ve been in my pyjamas and in bed with the occasional walk for the better part of this week. I don’t know why it’s hit me so hard, but hey, everyone’s journey is different.

I feel a bit fed up, I feel upset, defeated at times, and I cry. But I’m keeping my eye on the prize. And fortunately I have a great support group on Zoom of ladies going through the same thing. Thank you to them immensely and to the social worker who facilitates it.

But most of all, thank you for reading and putting up with my whininess!

Sept 28 recap: Liquid diet day 2 out of 21 in preparation for weight loss surgery (WLS / VSG)

I’m not going to lie and say this is easy. In fact, it’s downright miserable. According to others in the bariatric program I belong to, the surgery where you get 85% of your stomach cut out is the easy part: the hardest is the three week liquid diet! Yesterday was the hardest day so far, because I keep forgetting that I can’t eat anything other than the Optifast or a cup of veggie broth. I’ve not strayed, but the temptation is there. I will not waver, however. I still haven’t taken my “before” pictures nor have I weighed myself as unfortunate the scale is presently out of batteries and I didn’t feel well enough to leave the house yesterday to get new ones. Yes, you feel that badly on Optifast for the first few days.

There is definitely a part of me that mourns the loss of food in the way I’ve always used it (yes, used, as well as consumed – I am addicted to food) and will always. I know that once I get my vertical sleeve gastrectomy that I’ll be able to have tiny portions of treat meals a few times a year after about 18 months post-op. But it’s a slippery slope for me, as I’ve lost significant amounts of weight in the past and have treated myself to “cheat” meals that became cheat weeks, and eventually turned into cheat years. Whilst I’m not as overweight as some of the people who get surgery, I wouldn’t have been approved for this surgery if I didn’t need it. I felt out of control with my eating for so long and I tried absolutely everything, and yes, of course sensible eating and lots of exercise. I always tended to shy away from fad diets like the cabbage soup diet or whatever restrictive diet of the day was, and I’d stick with programs like Weight Watchers, which is tried and true and healthy and balanced. I lost so much weight two or three times on WW over the years, but keeping it off longer than a few years was all but impossible for me. I always felt so ashamed when I’d gain the weight back, as though it was some sort of personal failing and an outward manifestation of some sort of character flaw and weakness.

There’s so much more to obesity than that. It’s so much more than people being lazy, gorging on fast food constantly, and drinking pop non-stop. For me, I ate quite healthy, just too much, and I was a grazer. Always looking for something to munch on, and on a 5’2.5 – 5’3 ft frame, that adds up quickly.

So. We’ll see what today brings. I have a group therapy class about changing eating habits and thoughts/emotions about food this morning on Zoom for an hour and a half — this will be the third week now, and it’s 4 weeks long, which means it will end just before my surgery on October 19. I plan to carry on with counselling after my surgery just to insure long term success. After all, this didn’t happen overnight, and it won’t be fixed by a surgery either — I’ll just be given a wonderful tool and what I do with that tool is up to me. And you can bet your ass I’m not going to fail after waiting two years on a weight list, and a further 5 months from orientation to surgery, with a zillion appointments with doctors, dieticians, social workers, phlebotomists, internal medicine doctors, surgeons, bariatric nurses etc etc etc etc.

I’m in this to win it. And I’m in not in competition with anyone but myself, and goddamn it, I’m proud of the woman I’m becoming, and I know that I’ll be shedding weight, but gaining so much more.

Life is about to begin. I’ve been given this opportunity and I will not do anything to screw it up.

Oh, and to those who think this is the easy way out? Kiss my luscious ass. I’d love to see you do this, and then eat tiny portions of mush for a further six months, with protein powder mixed in to absolutely everything you eat, and for the rest of your life only being able to sip water very slowly in small amounts or end up in extreme pain. No straws, no carbonated drinks, keeping track of not just carbs, calories, fat, but making sure you get in enough liquid and at least 90 grams of protein, and timing yourself at every meal so that you take at least 30 minutes with no distractions like your phone, a book, or even much conversation. Just pure mindfulness. Not to mention the pain, the hardship, and the judgment from others. Actually, I don’t care about people judging me — I think it’s worth it to share my story so that it may inspire others who are thinking of having weight loss surgery (don’t do the lapbands though – they are outdated, 90%+ get removed, and they cause health issues, and each removal costs between $3,000 and $14,000, meaning taxpayers are on the hook for up to $33 million).

I’ll have up some pictures and perhaps videos later on today or tomorrow.

Day 1 of Optifast: The storm before the calm?

Prior to bariatric surgery, you are required to go on a liquid diet; the legnth of the diet depends on your surgeon or dietician, but here in British Columbia, the standard is three weeks of a liquid diet called Optifast – four pouches a day mixed with 300 mls of water, plus an additional cup of broth of your choice, and at least 1.5 litres of water.

So far I’m down 3 packages today. And I feel awful. Headache, nausea, and things I won’t mention. I feel quite emotional, but I just keep trying to think of what the end result will be: getting vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) weight loss surgery.

Trying to stay strong.

Skinny legend diaries entry #2

I’m feeling very grateful for this new lease on life. I got the call for a surgeon consult in Victoria on August 3 (this is the step right before surgery, which usually comes a month or two after the meeting). Today I was deemed “anatomically perfect, with no problems whatsoever” (their words) during my barium swallow test (it was awful and it feels like cement in your stomach). Most of all, though, I feel grateful for being in such great health. At the hospital I did not expect to see so many extremely ill patients in the medical imaging department; I expected people who, like me, walked in for fairly basic tests, or those with sports injuries. No, these were people facing grave health issues, with many visibly terminally ill. To have diametric opposite emotions bubbling inside myself of being both devastated for them but happy for myself was not something I expected to experience today. Just another reminder of how precious life is, and how when we’re give an opportunity to better our life, to grab the bull by the horns.

Skinny legend diaries entry #1

So. I am sharing a secret. I’ve told precious few people and was going to wait. But after two years on a wait list, followed by two months waiting for the program orientation in late May, followed by medical approval from the program’s doctor on my first visit in early June, and then dietician approval this past week on my first visit, I am over the moon to say that my file has been forwarded to a surgeon, and I will be getting weight loss surgery within the next three to six months (the average wait time from the surgeon receiving your file until your surgery). I am a lot smaller now than I was when I was referred by my GP two years ago and have lost a lot of weight since December, however, I have struggled with weight all of my life and it has had a very, very negative impact on my mental health and self-esteem over the years. It’s been very hard for me. I’ve lost and gained and lost and gained an incredible amount of weight in my life and I’m just tired of it. I am beyond grateful and incredibly happy for this opportunity. And for anyone who thinks that this is the easy way out: try having 85% of your stomach cut out and then eat mush essentially for almost a year, and then tiny portions for the rest of your life, and then get back to me. 😂😄😃 This, if anything, is the hard way to do it. And I’m ready for the challenge and more excited for the future than I have been in a very long time.