Thursday, May 31, 2012

6 months post-op: pics and stats

So only 2 days late this time, but here it is. I had my 6-month post-op appointment with Dr. Fuzz today, he was pleased with my progress, and of course stressed additional water for the constipation issues and if necessary, miralax. Joy.

I also asked him about the possibility of working with the reproductive endocrinologist (RE) to head down the road to IVF - it would take a minimum of 5-6 months, since my Depo won't wear off until the end of July, and if we use a donor for eggs (which is highly likely) - that process takes 3-4 months once a match is made. When I started the program, he said that as I reached goal we'd talk about doing so early - so I brought it up, and boy did I get shut down quickly. He said the American Academy of OB/GYNs says a minimum of 18 months from bypass to pregnancy is recommended, and he really wants me solidly in goal range. I understand why - but I just turned 46 - waiting 6 to12 more months will have me delivering late in my 47th year, and I just started wondering why I still hold out hope. The Man says we'll take it step by step, and let the RE evaluate our chances when the time comes, and make the decision then - I just hate the limbo, it's so hard emotionally.

Moving on - here's the photos and stats. I still hate my arms, and the girls need to come up another couple inches, but meh.

Current Loss Total Loss

And can't forget the weight totals:
Beginning weight338
Weight at surgery304
Current weight220
Total loss118

Monday, May 21, 2012

Masters Hooding

Though I finished my MBA course work last August, and we actually received our diplomas at a dinner in September, we finally had our masters hooding ceremony this weekend as Wake Forest University only does one graduation ceremony a year in May.

The weekend started with a cocktail party at the football stadium's tower area (luxury box access). It was for all graduating business programs, so honestly we hardly knew anyone - since most of them were May, 2012 graduates from the day time MBA program, and the accounting and MA in management programs. But, I wanted to go anyway - show off some of my weight loss in a fabulous dress the Man bought me for the occasion.

There honestly were only a few people I really wanted to see. As part of the Event, 3/4 of my study team fairly well betrayed and abandoned me - I ended up working the next semester completely by myself, even the "group" project of our macro economics class (which I nailed, btw, A- on the overall project). Another team was gracious and took me in for the final summer semester, and I love them for it, but I will never forgive those 3 people who screwed me over. None of them were at the cocktail party - I was kind of hoping to be able to snub them while looking fabulous. Oh well. 

It's really odd when people see you for the first time after a significant weight loss. They either don't react at all, sometimes you notice a slight look of surprise on their face, or then absolutely freak out on you. The first 6 or so people I did know that were there hardly reacted at all - and honestly I was getting disappointed. I thought I looked awesome, and how could people NOT notice the changes? Here's my look for the night:

New dress, new black patent pumps that you can't see, and a shawl I knit for myself (had to cover the flabby arm droopage).  I mean holy crap - I have a waist in this picture! Boobs are lifted to where they belong! I thought I looked pretty hot.

Just before we were getting ready to leave, one of my classmates Bobbi showed up and did a double take at me and squealed - it made my night.

Sunday was the actual hooding ceremony. For those who haven't been to a ceremony for degrees being awarded above the undergraduate level, there's additional bits of cap and gown regalia that are given to the graduate based on what type of degree is being earned. For a masters degree, that's a "hood" - which isn't really something that goes up over your head, it hands around your neck and down your back. PhD earners get a fancier gown and other things I'm not completely familiar with.

It was my intention to wear the same dress to the hooding ceremony, but after the cocktail party my toes hurt enough from wearing heals for the first time in a decade or two that I knew I needed some flats, and with that, I really wanted another outfit. I talked the man into taking me shopping Sunday morning, and we came away with a very cute printed dress and little shrug sweater that helped cover my arms. I was a bit mortified at how much I paid for that shrug when I probably could have knit one with $15 of materials, but it wasn't something I could produce in 3 hours, so I went ahead and bought it. Also, the Clarins beauty lady caught me looking at lipstick, so I walked out with lipstick, eyeshadow, and some make-up remover - I'm turning into such a girl again.

Anyway, here's the second outfit.

Not sure why my face is a bit blurry, blame it on the Man's droid camera.

So the assholes were there at the hooding ceremony. We had to hang around (for nearly 2 hours) getting class pictures taken, etc. (I'm seated, 5th from left - horrible face because sun was directly in our eyes at about 11 o'clock - could look straight and open my eyes even for cash). I still look bigger than most people, but my friend that squeeled , Bobbi , (2 more down to the right from me) looks about the same - something I couldn't say in the past at all.

One of them spoke to me only when I addressed him as part of a group standing around, the other guy in the group wouldn't even make eye contact with me - par for the course since the betrayal back over winter holiday 2010/2011. Didn't surprise me, he's a complete spineless chicken. The other woman on the team showed up late, and I don't think even looked in my direction. She had a habit of being "fake nice" when contact was necessary as class finished up. I actually wanted her to notice my changes, but didn't really want to have to interact with her over it - so probably best we didn't have any contact. I still wanted to kick her in the teeth though.

So after an interminable 2 hours of class pictures, we were finally all lined up and walked into the chapel. A nicely short address from a local CEO who's also a Wake MBA graduate, and they started calling us all individually to receive our hoods and then shake hands with the Dean and the speaker.

No pictures of that right now- while the did allow family and friends to walk up to the front of the center aisle for pictures, the Man chose not to do that, so if the professional ones turn out nice, I might purchase one - otherwise, oh well.

I did snap a couple photos after my group was done.

My project management partner and good pal Cynthia

Sweet classmates Camilia and Jeff

and a silly self-portrait with the hood on (the gold thing everyone's wearing)

I'll admit after nearly 4 hours, I was wiped out - I snuck out while they were still calling the MA students and the Man and I came home to have dinner and head to bed. It was a very long evening, something I'll only do once, but I was glad I did.

Did I get the karmic "fuck you" I wanted? Maybe - but honestly, those people don't matter at all. They'll get their returns some day. And I will smile a little inside, even if that makes me a vengeful and ungrateful person. Yeah, that sounds a little bitter - and I guess I still am. But 99.5% of my time, those people never enter my thoughts - not worthy, don't need them!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I Was A Mother: For One Precious Year

I hate Mother's day; with an all-consuming passion. When I was a little girl, every few years I had to share my birthday (May 11) with Mother's Day, which made me feel cheated - in only the way that little girls can feel cheated by such things.

In 1992, when I was 25, I became estranged from my own mother. She's long had her own issues, but when I moved back to California from Washington and temporarily stayed with her, she transferred her anger over her own issues to me. I had plenty of my own things to deal with, and wasn't going to take responsibility for her problems (that were definitely not my problems) - so I moved out and haven't really spoken with her voluntarily since. One glaring exception was when I agreed to go to a family reunion in Kansas City, MO in 2006 - and only because both of my sisters would be there. Not really much since. There's too many additional things about my mother that aren't what this is all about, but I can't imagine we'll have anything resembling a relationship again.

After that - I spent time being annoyed at the generic "holiday" greetings thrown at people by retail or service workers; often under threat of discipline by their managers. People, please - don't throw such generic things at people. For Mother's Day - you cannot assume that every female of child bearing age or older is a mother. They may have just lost their mother, or lost a child. They may be living that special, lonely hell of desperately wanting to be a mother but for a variety of reasons have not been able to achieve that. Your generic "Happy Mother's Day" can make them anything but happy. It might just be a slight annoyance at the assumption, or you may find yourself with a woman suddenly trying to hold back sobs while putting her credit card back in her wallet and trying to make a mad dash to her car in the parking lot.

Just Don't Do It.

But for one beautiful day in May, 2010 - I was a mother. I've mentioned briefly that we used to be foster parents. Baby J came into our lives in early September 2009 when she was just 8 days old - freshly discharged from the hospital. She was the happiest, most adorable baby ever. With foster children, you cannot assume that you will have them for any specific length of time, though due to her birth circumstances we knew we would have her at least 6 months. To say that she was a delight is a historic understatement. While the Man hates photos, this one of the two of them when she was 6 weeks old speaks volumes to how we felt about her (her face is blurred, as identifying photos made publicly available were not allowed - though I think she'd be hard to identify from this photo, I won't take that chance. Those who have a Friends connection with me on Flickr have access to un-retouched photos.)

Early in 2010, as J approached 6 months old, we decided we were ready for a second child - we were licensed for two, so we told our licensing worker that we would open our home for another child, preferably one age 3 or under. 

Very shortly afterward, we got a call about a little girl T, who was 5 days shy of her 3rd birthday. I remember I was in the middle of a select luncheon at school with the former CEO of Wal-Mart -and my cell phone goes off. Out on the balcony of the building on campus I had back and forth calls between our worker and the Man, trying to decide if we should take the placement. I actually twisted his arm a bit (ironically) and we accepted. I had to return to school that night, so she'd arrived at the house about 20 minutes before I had to go - frightened, not wanting to leave the social worker that she knew, and clearly not sure what to make of Baby J, the Man, and the cats.  She crawled under the coffee table with a baby blanket and fell asleep, and wouldn't let either of us put her to bed - she slept there all night, and the Man slept on the floor with her. 

T arrived still in diapers, barely verbal, and with that dead, 1000-yard stare you see in shell-shocked soldiers, not something that should be on the face of a barely 3-year old child. We advocated fiercely and frequently for her, but very few of our concerns were addressed. By the time she had an early pre-school intervention she'd been with us 5 months, and had actually grown into quite a chatter box - though her enunciation and diction still needed more work than a developmentally typical 3.5 year old. 

So Mother's Day 2010 I was actually a mother. If anyone said or says to me I was "only" a foster mother, I'd have shanked them. No, these girls were not mine by blood, and not even mine legally except through temporary guardianship of foster parenting, but I was their parent. The Man bought me a beautiful card "from the girls" that talked about being Mom had nothing to do with DNA, but instead was about love. I cried. While I was slightly annoyed I had to share the day with his mother (something I had previously expressed not wanting to do) - in the end it didn't matter, we got to celebrate Mother's Day for me. 

T blossomed over the summer, but as she grew more comfortable with us the issues that were brought about by her background continued to come to the surface. We were continually dismissed in our requests for her as being inexperienced parents, or that she was "just 3" - both of which were true, but were not the root cause of the problems we were trying to solve. As fall came around, things just devolved. We gave it our all - we were committed to T, willing to go the long haul with her, but we weren't getting any support, and were specifically forbidden to seek some help we had been asking to be given. 

It came to a head in November in a way I won't describe here now - as I mentioned at the beginning of this blog I am still considering writing a book about it, but there's too much to it for a single blog post. On one awful night, the decision was made (by others) to move T from our home. In doing so, they chose to take J as well. We were heartbroken. J's case had progressed to the point where parental rights were being terminated, and we were in the very early stages of working to adopt her. She was 15 months old, and we were the only parents she had ever known. 

What happened afterward is an experience I'd not wish on my worst enemy. We spent months and thousands of dollars trying to regain custody of J, but in the end were blocked at every turn. Our relationship with our local social services agency was irreparably damaged. We were no longer parents, and were not going to be parents again in this way.

Mothers Day 2011 was beyond painful. We had just effectively come to the end of fighting for custody of J, the Man's mother was dying of cancer (she would pass a month later on June 8), and I was struggling to finish the last year of my MBA program. I think I probably did shoot daggers at many people who gave me that crappy generic "Happy Mother's Day" - I was no longer a mother, and it stabbed me through the heart every day. The girls' room had the door closed - like this black hole of grief kept at bay only by this small wooden barrier. I had to take the portraits down off the walls of the living room and the hallway - they were hidden away in that room, I couldn't bear to see them. 

As I began my weight loss surgery journey, Dr. Fuzz told me that he wanted all of his pre-menopausal female patients on birth control, as those with fertility issues often had their fertility come roaring back, often very soon after surgery. I rolled my eyes at him, but agreed. I didn't expect a positive response, but I also asked if he thought fertility might come back, would he consider allowing me to attempt an IVF perhaps a bit sooner than the 2 years they want most patients to wait - after all, I was 45, and at that age, every month counts. 

Fuzz told me that if I complied and got into my goal range, he'd consider approving my working with the reproductive endocrinologist again (we'd tried multiple rounds of injections without and with IUI in 2006/2007, but stopped short of IVF due to lack of funding at the time). I'm still 30-odd pounds above the top of Fuzz's goal range for me, but when I have my 6-month follow-up appointment with him on May 31 it's something I'm going to bring up. I just had another Depo shot the other day, so it will be a few months before that wears off, and any IVF attempt takes months of prep - I want to coordinate all of that appropriately. 

While I cannot yet bring myself to fully believe that this will be successful, I cannot walk away from the possibility of one last attempt at being a mother. Despite all the trials we went through during that time, and despite the horrific ordeal afterward, it was something that I desperately want to have in my life. 

Now in 2012, this Mother's Day is a year of transition. the Man's mother is no longer with us - something we'll definitely miss. I'm desperately trying not to eviscerate people who spout the generic Mother's Day crap. And finally, of course, I'm recovering from a month of hell with the fissures and surgery. I'll be doing my best on Sunday to ignore everything about Mother's Day - but I can't help but have that tiny bit of hope in the back of my mind that perhaps at this time next year, we may be expecting a child of our own. I can't believe it, but I cannot give up. 

I was a mother - for one precious year. Please, universe, let me be so again soon - for the rest of my life.

Friday, May 11, 2012

5 months Post-Op - Pics and Stats A Little Late

So my 5-month post-op entry here is almost 2 weeks late, and I do apologize for that - I've not felt well, and haven't really wanted to even put clothes on to take pictures. I had doctors appointments this  morning, and I'd done my hair yesterday (hair cut about 3 weeks ago!), so I figured why not get it done now.

Looking at these pictures, I'm really disappointed. All I see is the flaws - the fact that my pants are hanging on me nearly everywhere (but the waist and belly bulge) despite being size 16W, my 1X shirt is already too big, my chin looks like a turkey wattle, and the backs of my arms seem like they will never get smaller at all. Even my lower arms/hands look fatter on "film" than I see them on  my body.

I do see changes between this month and last, in how far things stick out - I got a new bra that's actually sized properly so I'm not quite so droopy, but it still doesn't look quite right.


Here there are.

Now for the stats

Current Loss Total Loss

Oh! And can't forget the weight totals:
Beginning weight338
Weight at surgery304
Current weight228
Total loss110

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hospice Hope Run 5K Walk/Run

This post is about 3 weeks overdue, for which i do apologize. I was very excited to participate in this event as I wrote earlier in April - it was fundraising for an amazing organization that helped my mother in law and her family in many ways after her cancer diagnosis in 2011, but it was also proof that I was getting healthier and my fitness level was improving. If I finished - it would be public validation that I was moving forward in my goals since my weight loss surgery!

I met several members of my weight loss support group at the event starting point an hour or so early - Jennifer Baldwin, Cathy Pierce, Ricky Foxx, and a friend of Jennifer's. It was our goal to participate in a group, but we vowed to meet at the finish line if we were to get separated. I honestly was afraid I'd be one of the very last across the finish line, a fear that didn't really go away as people surged ahead of me quickly as we took off. But I'm getting ahead of myself - here's our group before the call to line up at the start. (Which one's me? :D )

Not super happy with the way I looked here - sports bra was getting too big, so I was droopy again, and the T shirt a tad tight (I ordered a 2X, and they were "out" when I picked up my race packet the day before, so I was given an XL- really?) Ah well.

As we gathered for the start, the Winston-Salem State University Marching Band came up to the base of the stadium and played a few songs for the participants - that was kind of fun.

Then we were off! I was surprised as we got about a mile out into the course at the several reasonably large hills that were there - the general neighborhood is not hilly at all - it seems they found a pocket of streets just for that purpose!  Downhill of course was a nice bit of rest, but uphill really pushed me to keep going without stopping and without slowing down too much.

In the week before the event I had done 3 miles on my treadmill at 2.4 mph, so that came in with a time of an hour and 15 minutes. As I saw the stadium come back into view I was very motivated to finish well - I had a general idea of how long I'd been walking since I had my cell phone with me, but the official race clock would tell me with more precision.

Since I wasn't a timed "runner", I wouldn't get an exact time using the RFID tags built into some people's race numbers, but the big clock was still ticking away as you crossed the finish line.

I was the last of my little group to finish - but by far wasn't anywhere near last of all the participants to finish - I came in at 1 hour 06 minutes!! I was thrilled. I'd done my first 5k - and the results can only get better when I do my next one.

I raised a total of $200 for the Hospice and Palliative Care Center - and won a very big "non-scale victory" in finishing the event.

I was so sore the next day I was hobbling a bit (hills work your shins in ways that the treadmill doesn't!) - but I'd done it.

Yay me!

Friday, May 4, 2012

TMI: Where I've Been and How Bad It's Hurt

I've been missing from my blog for wow - nearly a month now. I was getting ready to post about the Hospice Hope Run on April 14, but the day after that event I started down a path that has been mind-boggling at best.

This post will be graphic, if you're not interested in a frank recounting of some bodily problems - best just skip this one. 

Weight loss surgery patients, RNY gastric bypass patients in particular, often have issues with finding the right balance in their digestive systems between constipation and diarrhea. Sometimes this is simply a matter of keeping fiber in your diet (naturally or by supplement) or by taking a regular dose of stool softeners.

I have had a moderately difficult time finding this balance since surgery - but it hadn't been anything near as disruptive as what I was about to experience.

The day after the 5K, I wasn't feeling much like cooking (frankly, I was very sore and rather hobbling about the house). We decided to order in Chinese food, and I chose an old favorite I hadn't had in a while: Mushu Chicken. The filling is amazing - primarily chicken and cabbage, shredded carrot and other ingredients in a slightly spicy sauce. Chinese "pancakes" come with it, but they're a little dense for me at this point, so I focused on the filling instead (which always is more than the pancakes would hold anyway).

Apparently, this was a bad choice - I'm thinking the relatively large cabbage pieces were a bit too hard to digest, and I ended up with constipation by Monday evening (after having left overs for dinner Monday night!). The problem continued for more than just a few days, and it felt like I may have developed a hemorrhoid. Significant difficulty and pain in passing bowel movements (though nothing hard, if anything, leaning toward liquid), and some bright red blood when wiping.

After a week of pretty significant pain, I gave in on Monday and called my bariatric surgeon's office. A new bariatric nurse is part of the team, and she took my call and while she agreed with my assessment of what was probably going on, she told me that it wasn't directly related to my surgery, so it wasn't really something they could help me with, and that I should see my primary care physician (PCP) if it didn't clear up in a week.

Frustrated, to say the least, a med-student friend of mine on Twitter encouraged me to call my PCP immediately rather than wait another week. I was able to get in that afternoon with one of the practice's PA's. She did a quick rectal exam (I screeched louder than I'm proud of) - said yes, I had an internal hemorrhoid, and prescribed a cream to be applied internally called Proctosol. She did say this could take several weeks to heal, but that the cream should help, along with sitz baths. Yeah...not so much.

Side note: we have a small bath tub - shallow, and not very long or wide. 100+ pounds ago I'd not have been able to get myself in and out of that for a sitz bath - I can do it now - maybe not as gracefully as I'd like, but no fit or access issues - a small victory amid all the pain.

It got to the point where I could barely sit normally to work (and I have a very comfy/supportive Herman Miller Aeron chair), and ended up clocking out of work early on Wednesday due to the pain. I resolved to not be brushed off again, and set my alarm to go into my PCP practice's walk-in clinic first thing in the morning on Thursday. Another PA saw me, and agreed more aggressive treatment was necessary - she switched the cream to Lidocaine (much more anesthetizing), and gave me a short course of Hydrocodone until I could get into a surgeon's office where they could either remove the hemorrhoid in their office, or arrange for a hospital outpatient procedure. I called out of work for Thursday and Friday.

Even the hydrocodone didn't really do much for me - over the weekend without it my pain would be up about an 8 on a scale of 0-10, and the hydrocodone would maybe knock it down to a 6. Monday I called out again, and then started having very very very dark brown (not quite black) stool, with pain topping a 9 on that scale, some hardness in my lower abdomen, and on top of all that - I vomited anything I tried to eat, which honestly hadn't been much for the last week - when it hurts to go that bad, you tend not to want to put anything through your system. I was surviving on Gatorade G2 (45 cal/20 oz bottle) and Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt bars (70 cal/6g protein per bar).

We called my PCP's office and they told me to go to the ER - so off to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center we went. Luckily - they either evaluated me as urgent enough, or they weren't very backed up, as I was taken back to a bed immediately. They did some blood work, another rectal exam (complete with additional shrieking for which I apologized for in advance), and decided I needed a CT scan. In all my medical adventures I'd not yet had one of those. They gave me a saline IV, a nice dose of morphine for the pain (morphine - my friend - my 'I don't really give a shit about the pain scale right now' lovely substance), and swept me off to CT. It was quite quick, and the contrast really didn't warm or give me a burning feeling like they said it might (maybe thanks to the morphine).

When the doc came back with results, he said blood work looked good, and it did appear again i had a hemorrhoid, and asked me what I wanted them to do (which I found a bit odd, but I ran with it). I said I was frustrated with now 2 full weeks of debilitating pain - I hadn't been able to work, I couldn't sit normally - either had to be laid back in my recliner kind of canted to one side (keeping pressure off the side where most of the pain was), or in bed. If a surgical procedure was necessary, I just wanted it done and over with. We had discovered that my appointment with the surgeon the next day may not include an actual procedure - if they decided it needed to be hospital outpatient, they'd have to schedule it for another day. The thought of additional days without relief was nearly unthinkable.

Doc said that he understood, and would probably feel the same way, but that performing that type of procedure in "emergent" circumstances tends to lead to poorer outcomes - more likelihood of infection and other complications, and that they'd feel more comfortable having the specialized surgeon taking a good look at the situation and treating me on Tuesday or later. I wasn't happy, but I understood. Then he dropped a bit of a bomb on me.

He said that the CT scan did show a suspect lymph node near my rectum - it could very well just be my body doing what it was supposed to in fighting the problem with the hemorrhoid, but that it needed to be looked at closer, to rule out unrelated malignancy.

Um, malignancy? Wow, the last thing I need is ass cancer, seriously. I know this was a precautionary statement on his part, but my stressed mind really didn't need that thought. We went home, I took the last of my hydrocodone, and spent a good deal of Tuesday in the tub trying to relieve the pain before my 2pm appointment with the surgeon.

By the time Michael was able to get me there, I was in tears - pain up about a 9, and barely able to sit - quite awkwardly, with only a little of one butt cheek on the chair. It felt like I had a peach just inside my ass.

I had to fill out what felt like reams of paperwork - they wanted my current prescription meds in 3 different places (as a bypass patient that list is verrrry long, and I got frustrated and finally said "see other sheet" instead of writing it all out multiple times).

When we got into the exam, the nurse clearly saw my distress, and asked about my pain - I lost it at that point and just started sobbing. The doctor came in quickly, and had to do another rectal exam (so tired of fingers up my butt at this point). I about hit the ceiling from the pain. He asked me to lay completely on my stomach and poked around a bit more, and declared that I had an abscess that was not only internal, but had spread externally - so it was actually crossing that anal sphincter area. Yeah, I was legitimately in pain.

So the solution to an abscess is to lance it. This generally hurts no matter where it is, but they needed to numb the area with multiple Novocaine shots - right around my anus, about the most sensitive and nerve filled places on the body.

I honestly couldn't control myself - I was sobbing and shrieking hysterically as he injected the Novocaine, trying to muffle some of it in the pillow on the exam table, and squeezing the hell out of the Man's hand as he squatted next to me up at the head of the table.

Once that was "numbed" (and I use that quite loosely), they lanced it - meaning sliced it open (I don't know exactly how big the cut was, I'm assuming half an inch roughly) - and then pushed about to drain what was accessible to him. Additional sobbing and hysterics accompanied that effort. They packed it with an odd gauze tape and then put additional regular gauze pads in my butt crack and taped them in place - when I finally got dressed it felted like I had a wash cloth stuffed between my cheeks.

He gave me a prescription for percocet (oxycodone) and a strong antibiotic and sent me home with instructions to continue the warm sitz baths and to call back on Wednesday if I didn't experience significant symptom improvement.

The percocet at least helped knock me out more, but I woke up in just as much pain as I had been in the day before - while it didn't feel like I had a peach up my butt anymore, it still felt like I had at least a golf ball up there. I called in the afternoon, and was told to continue the sitz baths, to double up the percocet, and to call back Thursday morning to get a time to come in (doc is in surgery most of the day Thursday, so his nurse was going to try and time it so I wouldn't have to sit and wait in the office too long).

We finally got back in Thursday about 3:30 - he made another small lance in it and drained just a small amount of fluid - he didn't bother with the Novocaine, since that seemed to distress me more than the actual lancing, and I agreed with him. He said the infection looked much improved, though clearly there was some still there. Our choices were to continue the antibiotics, sitz baths, and percocet since it seemed to be working, or admit me to the hospital for more invasive surgery. His preference was to avoid the surgery unless absolutely necessary. When I asked how long I'd be impaired enough not to be able to work, he said 3-4 more days would probably be required - so that if I wasn't in a position to work on Monday morning, to call him immediately and he'd make time to see me for further evaluation. I asked for (and got) another prescription for percocet, since he'd had me double up on the first one, I didn't want to risk running out over the weekend.

I'll admit that today, Friday, things are feeling somewhat better - but as the percocet fades, the pain still comes back up to a 5 or 6 - but that's a good improvement over an 8 or 9. Hoping that goes down at least a point a day through the weekend.

My biggest challenge now will be getting back on track with my nutrition and hydration - I would be surprised to have gotten more than 30oz of non-protein-shake liquids in a day, and there's only been a few days in the last 2 weeks where I've actually been able to get a shake down. I've probably been existing on 200-300 calories a day. Not healthy upside to that, is that I'm down an extra 10 pounds. As Fuzz would way, I tend to do this the hard way.

Any food that's not near liquid has been sitting in my stomach like lead bricks - I think I'm going to have to be very careful and start with getting 2 shakes a day in (which will get me my protein requirements) and slowly adding back soft foods before solids as I did post-op. 

I do have my 6 month follow up with him on May 31, and we'll be having a significant discussion about bowel movement management and how NOT to have this happen again.

I must shout out to my fellow WLS program patients Maggie, Jen, and Gail - all of whom have offered emotional support, and though I ended up not needing it, offers of transportation to some of these appointments, as the Man's work schedule is not easy to bend, and I have no business driving on percocet.

And of course, I cannot forget my Twitter peeps - @MargaretNrthwd for encouraging me to get to my PCP, @KrispyLove for her friendship and medical knowledge, and dozens of others for their emotional support and willingness to listen to me whine about my ass for nearly 3 weeks now.

So that's where I've been - and it's hurt like hell.

I'll hopefully be posting about the 5K and getting you my overdue 5-month results in the next few days.

-- Annie