Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dan is finally home from the hospital

He was released yesterday around 6pm...thank goodness.  He is doing much better.  He is not taking any pain meds and he seems to be getting back to himself.  He has been placed on a full liquid diet again for a week...until we see the surgeon next week.  This was a very scary event and I am so glad it is over.  Now I need to get back to the reality that I have not purchased any gifts for Christmas yet and it is in a week!!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dan had exploratory surgery today

Ok, when I woke up this morning to get ready to go and spend the day at the hospital with Dan I was really thinking we would just be sitting around all day.  But our surgeon had a change of heart overnight ( I wonder if I had anything to do with that?) and decided to go ahead and operate on Dan today.  I did not have much notice and I was not rushing up there but then Dan called and said he stopped by and the Dr. is going to do it in a couple hours.  So I raced up there( we are an hour south of hospital) and got there 15 mins before they took him to the pre-op area.  I was able to go down with him while he waited.

The surgeon came by and saw us beforehand and told us what he was going to try and do.  I told him how happy I was that he changed his mind.  I really was pretty unsure that this could just fix itself....there was just way to much pain involved. 

Once it was over, our surgeon came and told me that he had an unusually large amount of scar tissue around one of the connections that was actually bending the bowel in half in a kink.   He has never seen anything like this (this much scar tissue this early on) and he thinks that Dan may have had a reaction to the suture that was used.  So he replaced the suture material, removed as much scar tissue as possible and straighten out the kinked area.  He looked at me and said "This would not have fixed itself on it's own quickly, maybe over a 2 to 3 week time frame".....I told him I was so glad it was over and now we can get back to recovering and getting back to normal.  

Dan returned to his room about an hour later and he is sore, but stood up and went to the bathroom on his own, eating ice chips and trying to stay comfortable.  The plan is to come home on Monday. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bad News....Dan has been admitted to the hospital

Yesterday we were going to a fancy Christmas Party.  They had sent a driver to pick me up and take me up to Dan's place of work to meet him and then we could arrive at the party together.  I was really thinking I would have to skip it this year since I am only a week and 1/2 post op but I have been feeling do GOOD I decided I wanted to go.  So around 5:00 Dan called and said he was in alot of pain.  He was having cramps in his stomach and he had just eaten a scrambled egg (egg beaters).  He said he need to go to the ER.  So, as soon as I arrived we headed over to the hospital.  He had already spoke to our surgeon.  Dan was in so much pain by the time were made it half way there.  There was alot of friday night traffic and it took us an hour to get there. At one point I contemplated pulling over on the shoulder of the highway and calling an ambulance to get us there faster.   He was not doing well at all...squirming around, tears, makes loud moaning sounds.....ect.  We finally get to the ER and check in. And sit down....and sit some more...and sit some more....until I can't handle it anymore and I went back up to the window and asked how long it would be...expressed how severe this was and how this was a true emergency.  She asked me to sit down and she would call the charge nurse.  So I could not just sit so I call the surgeon again and told him we had been there 30 mins and we were just sitting here and how much pain Dan was in.  He said he would call the hospital.  Within 5 mins we were placed in a room.  They did a quick evaluation of him and started the IV.  He was finally given pain meds about 15 mins later and was finally able to open his eyes and unclench his fists and speak.
An hour goes by and they decide to do a CT scan.  Our surgeon arrived to see him and thats when I felt alittle more at ease....not much but alittle.  He was sure it was not a stricture or something like that.  I asked if it could be a twisted bowel or a blockage and he did not think so because Dan is only 3 weeks post op and he said that would be rare to have that happen so early....especially since he had been feeling great for a good week now.  But the results came back as a partial bowel obstruction.  He was admitted.

I stayed till sometime after midnight and headed hour away :(   When I arrived this morning he had been taken down for an XRAY Bowel Series.  He was gone 5 hours!!  When he finally did get back he had been in so much pain.  The pain meds work for about 2 hours and then it all comes rushing back again.  The surgeon came down and saw him around 4 and said that the Bowel Series did show some barium coming trough the narrowed area so it is not a complete blockage and they are not going to rush to do surgery to repair it.  WHAT!!!???   So this is the plan.......Dan is to wait through the weekend till Monday in the hospital, getting Delotid every 2 hours, no drinking, no eating, only ice chips in hopes that it will correct itself.  The narrowed area is at the bottom of the "Y" in the RNY procedure were the intestine is sectioned onto the bottom of the small intestine.  I disagreed with the waiting two times with the surgeon.  It just seems like ALOT of pain and discomfort to go though for 3 and 1/2 days all to end up going in to figure out exactly what is wrong and fix it.  Right now they can only rely on the CT  and Xray pictures.   I think they should just go in and see exactly what is wrong and fix it.  Forget the waiting part......but for now we are waiting.......

Monday, December 6, 2010

Post-Op Video #13 Part 2

Post-Op Video #13- Dan's 2 1/2 week and my 1 week update

Dan is 2 1/2 weeks and I am 1 week post op

Dan and I are adjusting to our new lives, and trust me this is taking some adjustment.  Dan is doing very well right now.  He is down 36+ lbs and is finally feeling better.  He is still on the antibiotic but his stomach is feeling better and no more pains.  He has already had to move down to a smaller size jeans and his 3x shirts are starting to look way too loose.  He began eating mushy/soft foods this past Thursday and he is enjoying everything he has tried so far.

Things Dan is eating:     Boca burger with ketchup and light mayo-pureed
                                          Albacore Tuna with light mayo and SF pickle relish
                                          Low sugar Instant Oatmeal
                                          Canned baby shrimp, light mayo and Old Bay

I am 1 week today and I feel pretty good this morning.  I am down 14lbs and I am happy with that.  I gained 6 lbs of fluid in hospital. Sleeping is still hard because I must remain on my back or I feel alot of tugging and pain.  I am not getting all my fluid or protein but I am trying very hard and I have a drink in my hand all day!  I have tried a new protein this morning at a suggestion from a friend on Facebook.  EAS Myoplex Carb Control in Rich chocolate  It is premixed drink and it tasted very light and no smell....may be a keeper.  Gonna go get some more tonight.  I wanted to mention something that I had not read or heard from anyone, maybe because it is private and embarrassing but it happened to both Dan and I and I may not have worried about it so much if I had heard people talking about it prior to surgery...Diarrhea.  Yes, honestly a constant thing that once I finally did have my first BM on day 4 post op it continued every 3 hours (including at night) until yesterday around 6pm.  It was not painful but it was something that did occur with both of us.  When all you have to "eat" are liquids for a full week prior to your surgery and then nothing but water and protein drinks after, it makes sense but it was bothersome and annoying.  Just wanted to put it out maybe someone pre-op will be aware.   ok, lets move on :)  I am moving around much better.  Standing more upright and doing more things around the house and feeling more like myself.  They say you will feel better each day and it is true.  Each day gets easier.

Things I am eating:        Protein shakes 
                                       Lipton Noodle Soup (in the Red Box)- ok, if I did not have this I                                          would be dead now from malnutrition- now even eating some noodles                                          Cream of Potato Soup
                                         SF fudgesicles
                                       Carnation Instant Breakfast(1/2 packet), 1 scoop unflavored protein &
                                               instant coffee
                                       decaf hot tea, 1 tsp sugar, 1 ounce fat free milk or 1/2 and 1/2



Thursday, December 2, 2010

I am home from the hospital and Dan is 2 weeks post op

Pre-op Area waiting for my turn- November 29, 2010

I came home last night.  Yesterday was a very long night and long day.  My night was just horrible and I just don't think you should stay in hospitals alone at night.  Too much buttons not anywhere near me and just scary to be in the dark and cannot even turn on a light.  The day did not go much better.  I walked the halls around 6am.  Came back to bed, drank just water, my parents were coming to spend the day with me and we were all hopeful I would get to leave later in the afternoon.  As the day went by there were discussions about if my drain would come out or if I would have to keep it in till Friday.  Most of the uncomfortable pain I felt was near the drain area.  Lots of residents with lots of different opinions coming in and out all day but finally one of the main practice's surgeons came in and said yes I could go home tonight and the drain can come out.  Should have just waited till we saw him and not listened to all the other opinions.  Like I said, it was a long day.  I was home by 8pm.  

My first full day at home was today.  I had some Ensure, Carnation Instant Breakfast and a little Lipton Noodle soup(minus the noodles).  I have been drinking ice water and Crystal light.  I did not have any protein today.....not sure how that would go.  I gain 6 lbs of water weight in hospital.  I took my first shower early this morning and that went well.  I have about 5 incisions and one through bellybutton.  I will try to take a pic of it for you.  Also have the drain area hole.  I am taking Lortab elixar.  I can take up to far I feel like 5ml works really well.  So far I am ok.  I did sleep alot today and was so happy to be back in my own bed.  I can lay flat and nothing hurts although I cannot turn on my sides yet. 

Dan is 2 weeks post op!!!!  He is doing really well.  He has lost 33.8lbs.  He did have a bout with an upset stomach for a few days.  They had him come in for a CT Scan (which showed nothing) and they feel it may be a bacteria issue. Apparently they give you an antibiotic on the day of surgery that can mess up the balance of natural colon bacteria.  And if that is aggravated then it can cause diarrhea and stomach cramps.  He is now on Flageal and had a much better day today.  He ate oatmeal for the first time yesterday 2 times and today he had oatmeal and for dinner he made a little concoction of a Boca burger with ketchup and mayo, heated it up and then pulsed it in the Magic Bullet.  It smelled pretty good as he was making it and he said he liked it.  And its been hours since he ate it and he says he feels fine.  I am sure he is very thankful to eat some "real" food now.  He came in from work today and his jeans are huge on him...just huge.  Before we head to bed I think he needs to look though some older pairs and find one at least one size smaller :)   

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dan's 1 week post op video RNY

24 lbs lost already!!

Dan is doing very well.  He is down 24 lbs this morning !  Today is one week from surgery.  ( ...I may have even talked him into make alittle video later today)

The appt went fine yesterday.  The surgeon did not think it was a hernia or anything to worry to much about.  Dan does still have some pain there and the area is still a little bulged out but he has his first follow up on Monday so the surgeon wants to wait till then and if it is still bothersome then he may need a cat scan just to make sure it is all ok.

Food wise Dan is eating protein shakes, pureed soaps and Lipton chicken noodle soup, crystal light, SF Jello and water.  He is getting his vitamins in twice a day and really I think he is doing very well. 

I on the other hand am still pretty miserable but I am getting use to it.  I am eating (or drinking) soups, lots of Carnation Instant breakfast, more soups and some cream of wheat.   Also really liking SF fudgesicles and SF Popsicles.

Be watching for a video update soon.......

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Things are improving slowly

Dan is doing pretty well.  We went out and ran a few errands this afternoon and he did real well walking and lifting things.  He did not get alot of protein in today.  It is so hard to be drinking the water and getting the protein and spacing it all out.....just seems to be sipping something constantly.  He does have one area on his tummy right near an incision that seems to be swelling or something.  kinda bumped out alittle.  Hard to describe but anyway we call the surgeons office just to check.  He has no fever and it hurts sometimes but it was not swollen like this this morning.  They want him to come in tomorrow to have it checked.  We live in northern virginia and tomorrow maybe the WORST day to travel as far as the traffic we are trying to get a really early appt just so we don't have to sit in hours of traffic.
Will update you all tomorrow on how appt goes

I am on day 2 of liquids.....and I am still hungry...ugghhh.  I did soup, carnation instant breakfast, sugar free fudgesicles and around 8 pm tonight I made very liquid 'y cream of wheat.   Not great but one more day over.

Monday, November 22, 2010

First day of liquid pre-op week and Dan is Recovering

Well today is the day I start just liquids. really all I can say.  I have taste-tested a few things as Dan was living through it and I found a few things I like....Special K Protein - French Vanilla drinks and Carnation Instant Breakfast-Rich Chocolate.  I will update you again as the week goes by.

Dan is recovering slowly but surely.  He had alittle Cup of Soup Tomato soup( 4 oz over an hour) and it may have given him a stomach ache.  He was up alot last night.  He did do very well with his food intake yesterday until around 7pm.  Here is a copy of it from this great website/Iphone app we have decided to use.  Calorie Counter by FatSecret.  Here is the link to the website.

How tricky is this website.  You can watch your sugar and protein as the day goes by.  I would recommend it.  This is a printable version of his day yesterday but on the actually app you can see a total at the top of day of protein, sugar, calories...... Every food we have searched for is already in database except our protein powder which I found a very similar brand in there.  It does fast food and restaurants, name brands and more.  The only thing if wish it watched for you was water intake.  So I installed another app on my phone for that.  As you can see he did not eat that much but I think it is pretty good for first day home from hospital.  We are going to try to get in more protein today.  60 to 80 grams is ALOT!! 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dan is coming home today

5:18am Yesterday was rough. The surgeon said it would be his roughest day. He did not sleep at all. They changed his pain meds in the morning and that seemed to help. He went for his leak test and all that was fine so he began clear liquids. Just alittle water at first. He still got very nauseous when he would sit up. He did get up 4 times and walked once. This morning they will remove drain and IV. I would assume they will start his pill form ( or maybe liquid form) of pain meds to get him use to that before we get discharged. They said he could leave mid afternoon. I am not counting on that but I am hopeful. He seemed in better spirits when I left him last night. It is very early now so I have not called yet. Just can't sleep. We are leaving at 8:30 (I am taking the twins with me) to go spend the day with him and bring him home.

9:36pm   We made it home about an hour ago.  It was stressful but we are here now...all the kids have eaten dinner now and I am exhausted.   Dan's pain level is pretty low and he was switched over to Tylenol with Codeine.  He has tolerated all liquids so far.  I also think the nausea is much better much so that he did not want me to fill the script for it.  Hopefully he will sleep well.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dan's surgery update

12:25pm Everything is running on time as of now. He was taken to operating room at 9:30. They are going to remove his gallbladder also so they said about 3 hours and then an hour in recovery. He did not seem nervous. I am way more concerned about all of it than Dan is. I am in the waiting area just waiting for my beeper to go off. The surgeon should be here soon to talk to me.

1:10pm. Surgeon came out and said everything went very well and he is in recovery. I will get to see him in about an hour.

10:25pm   I am finally home.  Dan finally got out of recovery at 5pm....much much longer due to respirations, nausea and pain levels.  He did do ok till around 8  then needed more pain meds.  He got up out of bed and We walked down hall.  He did really well.  He cannot have anything to drink until tomorrow sometime after the leak test.  I am planning on getting there around 9 or so. They are still saying a saturday release.

Monday, November 15, 2010

New Video update.....

and I posted my measurements on this page. 
We are getting so close now, Dan surgery is in 3 days on Thursday and mine is 2 weeks from today.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Little update....Dan's surgery is in 8 days!!!

Just a little update. We are moving forward and Dan is all set for surgery next week on Thursday, Nov 18th at 9:20. He starts his liquid diet tomorrow and has his last pre-op apt with the surgeon on Friday. I have to say that while we were in the midst of all of our testing and appts I felt like this was going on forever....but now that it is here, it feels like it has happened so quick. I cannot believe we are approved and having surgery all in the next 3 weeks!!! We had a great time in Vegas. Here is the latest video:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Yesterday was a happy day :) ....DATES!!!

We had already planned to head over to the support group that our surgery group was having at 7. So I headed up the highway to meet Dan. He called and said that our surgery coordinator had spoken to him about his submission to insurance and DATES!!!!!
Well she is pretty sure that Nov 18th will work for Dan and I can have Nov 29th !!
This, of course, all has to be submitted to our insurance company but dates are so exciting. It makes it all seem even more real. Dan paperwork has all been submitted as of yesterday and now we are waiting to get his approval. I had labwork that had to be added to mine.....but she is submitting mine probably Monday or Tuesday next week.
So now we just kinda more appointments, tests, follow up appointments....We have had such a crazy calender full of this stuff and when you think about it X2 was really alot. But we did every appointment they requested and now we just have to wait .......and wait.

The support group was interesting. All about food choices and ideas. Most of the people there had had lapband. Whenever I get in a group and starting talk pros and cons of each surgery....why oh why do I start to second guess my decision of RNY??
I really think it is the best choice with better long term results...I just hope I am right. I have watched some girls that are having issues with RNY....losing to much...immune systems down...getting sick alot. But everytime I watch, these same girls will always finish up their videos with "I wouldn't change the fact I had surgery" or "I'd do it again tomorrow". I know Lapband would be a better way to ease into this...but here I go again...uggghhhhhh

But we now have I think RNY is the best choice for me (hear that conviction in my voice) :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

.....might be getting closer now

This week things have really moved along...I was going to do a video but decided to just blog it. After going to the seminar last week we decided we really liked this new group. The surgeon that did the seminar was very down to earth and I found him very informative. It was very similar to the first seminar we went to with the first group. They do seem to push sleeve and lap band more than RNY....but we cannot have sleeve through our insurance so we are opting for RNY. We scheduled our initial consult with them. We met with them yesterday and it all went well. Weighed and measured (I am only 5'10"...woohoo), shown how the program works, met with the surgeon himself, went over risks and benefits, talked about all the required testing( Dan is ahead of me on all that), talked about surgery dates ****MAYBE NOVEMBER !!! **** and basically got a feel for the whole process. We also are going to our psych evaluations this friday evening. I feel alittle nervous about it but I am sure it will be fine....I will just be as honest as I can about everything.

As far as upcoming appointments, Dan is doing very well getting his completed. He has his second portion of the sleep study next week. He may also need another round of labwork. He needs to meet with the dietitian and the psychologist and he is pretty ready to go.
I still have to do labwork, have initial visit with Gastro( for required endoscopy), schedule the endoscopy, meet with the dietitian and the psychologist.
All in hopes to get mid to late November surgery dates...we are thinking about 1 1/2 to 2 weeks apart. We are planning on helping each other though this...not involve our extended families. Any suggestions from anyone on this? Will that be enough recovery time for the Dan (first) to then have to care for me and him? We were thinking the same day and it was offered to us but after really thinking about was a crazy thought...what if one of us had to stay longer at the hospital or there was a we kinda think about 2 weeks. Any comments on this would be appreciated :)

After looking over the nutritionist's information, it looks like she would like for us to start getting ready by buying items for after surgery, getting our supplements and protein supplements purchased and ready to go. She also wants us to try living like post-op for alittle while before the appt with her to get an idea of how it will be like. Sounds like a great idea to me....we will start working on it...our dietitian appt is Oct 18th.

So all in all this past week was very successful and we are definitely moving forward !

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sleep Study results....and our week

Dan had 2 procedures this week.  He had an Endoscopy done on Monday and a sleep study done Wednesday night.  The doctor went over the results of the endoscopy while we were there and said Dan does not have any hernias.  The sleep study results came today and he seems to have "severe" sleep apnea....scary.  I have been telling him for over a year to go and just have one done because he has alot of trouble sleeping.  He wakes often...sleeps very lightly and just seems tired.  So there is the reason.  He has to go back for another study to get him ready for a c-pap machine.  Just one more reason he needs this surgery. 

We sadly have heard no good news on the insurance front.  She told us that within 3 days of last wednesday it would be taken care of....well it has been 9 days and frustrating.  We cannot even schedule our first consult without the Carefirst records showing it is a covered benefit.

We do have another seminar planned for next thursday with another surgery group in Fairfax.  I wanted to see if it was done differently at a place that is not a "Center of Excellence".  So we are gonna check them out.  We also are going to a WLS Expo on Sunday at the orginal surgery group.  Sounds pretty interesting....tour hospital facility, meet doctors, round table discussions. samples, fashion show (Dan is not to excited about that) and such.....

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Watching others going through this.....

We spend alot of time looking through forums and videoblogs getting ideas on how other people have approached this. Learning so much. I had already given you a link to where I found out about Vertical Sleeve from Christie's Blog (a couple going through this together) and now I have come across another couple with a video diary. Ok, so informative and interesting. I am so impressed with how they have done and it just makes me think this is something Dan and I can do together too. I have attached a link to his first video but I think there are 32 in all, spanning over a year or more. They were not covered by insurance at all and decided to go to Mexico. That idea is floating around in our house too because now we (well, especially me) are concerned that the sleeve is not covered by Carefirst unless your BMI is 50+. Well I am just hitting the 40 mark and Dan is about a 42 so I can only hope this is going to work out for us insurance wise. I have been reading that Anemia can be largely effected by malabsorbsion issues and may be a good reason Gastic Bypass would be ruled out for me. I have been anemic in years prior to this and before my heart surgery I was "very" anemic and I have been on Iron since then. I feel after all of our research that the sleeve seems to fall right between and seems perfect for us. Here is the link. Enjoy watching their journey...and I also found through her blog on that they are pregnant sweet. His videos stopped in April of 2010 but she had done an update. He gives you all their usernames so you can following along and see pictures inspiring.

Brooke and Andy's Journey

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Good news.....we hope

Dan finally got an email back from the insurance broker and this really is a covered benefit.  Apparently, the BCBS files were incorrectly written and we have this benefit for Morbid Obesity.  I am so excited but guarded at the same time.  I feel like this is great news and the most positive thing anyone has reported back to us but at the same time we have a long way to go.  I do not know what hoops we will have to jump through before we can actually consider scheduling a date.  We both have already canceled our consultation visits because we originally were not covered.  So we are starting back with scheduling those appts again.  Dan does already have his sleep study test scheduled…..but I am a different story.  I will need to get an appt with my primary doctor to get all that scheduled.  I am sure she will write me a letter of recommendation….we already have spoke about the idea of WLS…..but I also just had my open heart surgery in June.  I do not know if there is a waiting period as far as insurance goes.  I already ran it by my cardiologist and she said I am now in better shape for something like this than I was prior to my surgery.  I also already asked the surgeon at Blue Point (we may go with them) about having this surgery after my heart surgery and he took a few minutes with me after the WLS seminar and explained that nothing with this surgery will effect the healing of my heart surgery.  I kinda feel like Dan will go first and maybe I can do mine a few months later…..but we will see…..but just getting the news that it is covered is making me smile today  :)

Monday, September 6, 2010

1,2,3 GO! ......well not really

Dan and I have been overweight most of our lives.  We met 8 years ago and were just married 1 year ago.  We both have a few health issues and we feel Weight Loss Surgery (WLS) will make a big difference in changing all that for the better.  I had a congenital heart defect, bicuspid aortic valve, that I just had open heart surgery to correct in June 2010. Losing weight would make my heart not have to work so hard.   I also have high blood pressure.  Dan has diverticulitis, fatty liver, back issues and may have sleep apnea (test coming up on Sept 19th).  I just know he will feel so much better if he lost the weight.  I feel if we both could lose 100 pounds we would have a new lease on life.  Our stats right now
Robin- Age: 43           Height: 5'10"           Weight: 288.0   BMI: 41
Dan- Age: 36                  Height: 6'2"          Weight: 322.0     BMI: 41
Dan originally was thinking of having the Lap-Band option but after some research and the fact that I was following an interesting blog of another couple doing this together (check out Christie’s Health and Happiness blog) we are now very interested in having Vertical Sleeve.  Officially called Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy, this surgery involves removing 85% of your stomach, it really seems much safer than the Lap-Band (many complications) and Gastric Bypass.  NO nutrition absorption problems, no dumping (food get stuck -vomiting) and seems to be restrictive just enough to , if you are motivated, to help you lose 100+ pounds.  Perfect for us :)
Of course, at this moment in time, we are stuggling with insurance.  Dan got started with all this because he was reading though policy information and saw WLS is a covered benefit if you meet certain requirements ( we do) but after going to a seminar at Bluepoint Surgery and having them speak to BCBS Carefirst PPO.  We are not covered.  So Dan had first appt cancelled due to them saying that.  Dan has gone back and forth with our broker and Carefirst for a few days now.  Yesterday, the broker called and spoke to Dan and now we are covered as long as we meet the requirements….but that all might change today….we will see.