How Am I Doing? – My Progress Report

How am I doing?

It’s now officially two weeks since I had my gastric sleeve surgery. It’s hard to believe that it has already been fourteen days since I went under the knife. I’d heard so many horror stories of being in pain worse than childbirth, etc or of horrible complications.

I think I have been pretty lucky:

  • I’ve had no infections around my incisions
  • I don’t have the awful gas pain a lot of sleeve patients seem to complain about
  • I haven’t had any problems staying hydrated, so no dehydration issues
  • I haven’t had hair loss (yet) so I must be eating enough protein, vitamins and minerals
  • I haven’t been troubled with constipation (probably because I stay hydrated?)
  • I haven’t puked or had acid reflux or anything like that
  • I haven’t experienced dumping syndrome (yet) even though I have tried things that others have said brought it on for them

I have been pretty good at not comparing my weight loss progress to others. I know we’re all different. So far, since the 23rd, I’ve lost around 6 kilos (approx. 13 pounds). It’s not a huge amount, by I am glad the weight is coming off a little slower. I know it will speed up once I have clearance to start working out again. Right now, I am only allowed to take walks.

All that matters is that I am following my surgeon and nutritionist’s guidelines.

Have you been sleeved? Share your progress too. Let’s cheer each other on! 🙂

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Post-op Day #7: Ode to homemade soup

This time last week, I was in my hospital pyjamas at Capio St. Göran’s Hospital in the Kungsholmen section of Stockholm, walking up and down the hallways to get rid of any residual gas from my operation. I was still a little groggy, but I wasn’t in much pain. In fact, I only remember a little twinging, no full-fledged pain. I had an IV feeding me glucose and, whenever I was back in my hospital room, I was trying to remember to sip water.

One thing that still sticks in my mind: all of the water I drank at the hospital tasted sweet, like someone had added sugar. I don’t know if this was from the anaesthesia or the glucose. Even when I first came home, the water from the tap tasted weird. Now everything tastes normal again (thank God for that). I didn’t like sweet water. It made me grimace.

Since I came home last Wednesday, the thing I have been craving most has been homemade soup. After thirty days of diet soup that was grainy and not very tasty and left me hating life, it felt so good to get the clearance from my surgeon and nutritionist to have homemade food for Stage One: the Liquid Food Stage.

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The first homemade soup: creamy sweet potato. Yes, I know you’ve seen it already. (Photo: me)

My gorgeous hubby has been taking very good care of me and has so far made three delicious soups for me: creamy sweet potato soup, potato and leek soup and cream of chicken soup. All three have made me and my tummy very happy. They’re filling and they haven’t irritated my stomach.

Whenever he’s in the kitchen making a new batch of soup, my appetite returns and I feel the Foodie in my kicking her heels in glee. Yes, she knows life will be in moderation now, but as long as she doesn’t have to survive on only diet soups made from powder that feel like goo in her mouth, she is happy.

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PhotoCredit: Elise Bauer/simplyrecipes.com

Why homemade soup instead of store-bought? It tastes better. You know what’s going into it–no weird E-numbers, no MSG, nothing artificial. It doesn’t take that long to make. And I’ll say it again: IT TASTES BETTER.

Just because you had a gastric sleeve doesn’t mean you don’t want your food to taste good. So make some soup, eat it and feel your tastebuds and your tummy say thank you.

Are you post-op and your doctor has given you the okay to have homemade soup? Here are some recipes I can definitely recommend trying.

Remember to make sure that you use a blender to get a nice, smooth texture. You don’t want any small bits irritating your still-sensitive stomach. Once you refrigerate any leftovers, they’ll thicken up, so add some milk when reheating.

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup from Greatist (Note: if it’s too thick, add a little more milk to thin it out a bit).

Potato Leek Soup from Skinnytaste (Note: if it’s too thick, add a little more milk to thin it out a bit).

Creamy Cauliflower Soup from Skinnytaste (Note: if your surgeon has put celery on your “avoid” list, use onions instead. Also, if the soup is too thick, add a little more milk to thin it out a bit).

Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup from Pinch of Yum (Note: since I was seven days post-op, we added 40 grams of puréed turkey for even more flavour and it was delicious. We also used homemade chicken broth as our base.)

That’s it for now! I’m off to read a good book. 🙂

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Home from the hospital

Yes, I am back! On Monday, I went for my weigh-in with the nurse at Capio St. Görans Sjukus in Stockholm. I weighed 102 kilos, which meant I’d lost enough weight to go through the operation. Then I went home and packed my hospital bag to be ready for the next morning. I had to purchase one extra item for my hospital bag, per request from nurse, compression socks to help prevent blood clots. These had to be worn during the operation and the entire time I was at the hospital.

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Me checking in at 6:45AM at the hospital. I look strangely alert for someone still sleepy. 🙂 (Photo: me)

I had to be at the hospital by 6:45AM. I took an Uber to make sure I arrived on time and I was checked in, changed and waiting to be operated on by 7:15AM.

When I compare this hospital experience to what I had in Greece back in the 1990s….yeah, this was like staying in a five-star resort compared to that experience. Honestly, I still have nightmares about the Greek public hospital experience. I am sure not all Greek public hospitals are like the one I experienced in Volos but the whole thing made me happy I live in Sweden, that’s for sure.

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Me, post-operation. Sleepy, a little sore and in my stylish hospital PJs. It was actually easier with theirs than changing to mine. (Photo: me)

One of the first things that struck me was how calm the doctors and nurses were. They came to meet me in the waiting room and then escorted me to the operating room. Once there, they talked me through each stage of the operation and made sure I was comfortable on the operating table. I was covered with a weighted, warming blanket and then they began inserting the IVs to be used to administer anaesthesia, etc. I was out pretty quickly. Unlike the horrible Greece incident, I did NOT wake up on the operating table. I didn’t wake up until I was in the recovery room. The doctor spoke to me very calmly and made sure I was feeling okay. Then I was moved to my room in the gastric ward on the 8th floor.

One of the first things  I did was sip a few spoonfuls of water. My throat was parched, as were my lips. Good thing I had my Carmex with me. I spent a lot of time sleeping, but I also did a lot of walking in the corridors to help with the gas pain and general surgical pain. Actually, I didn’t feel a lot of pain. I was sore, sure. But it was manageable. I’ve got five incisions from the surgery–they look pretty good. I thought they’d use surgical glue to close the incisions, but I instead I’ve got sutures that look almost like staples. In two weeks, I’ll need to go to my local doctor to get them removed.

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Breakfast of champions? Maybe so. Tastes good anyway.  And it’s rich in iron and calcium.

I spent the next few hours (when I wasn’t sleeping or walking) having blood drawn, getting temperature checked, having doctors or nurses listening to my stomach, checking my breathing, checking my blood pressure, checking that even my urinary tract was functioning as it should.

All the while, I was being fed glucose intravenously. That went on until the next day, when I was told that I could have breakfast: 2 dl of gruel, yoghurt or sour milk (it’s similar to yoghurt and Swedes love it). I had lactose-free Greek yoghurt. It took me 45 minutes to eat all of it.

For lunch, I had mild tomato soup (also 2 dl). And then later I had a snack of 2 dl of rose hip soup. Mind you, the recipe in the link has sugar in it, but the one at the hospital was unsweetened.

Since I had no fever, my incisions looked good and my pain levels were pretty low, I was discharged from the hospital at 3PM on the 24th. Now I am at home recuperating. I will be on sick leave for a month, which is good. I need the time to get adjusted.

So far, I’ve had breakfast + a snack + lunch. I’ve taken one walk and will take another in a few minutes. I actually feel pretty good. Sure, I am still sore, but I expected the pain to be worse.

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Walking in my neighbourhood in Solna, Sweden.

I probably need a nap soon too.

 

What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

As of today, it’s only nine more days until I go under the knife. I’m a little nervous, but in a good way.

So what do I need to pack for my overnight stay at the hospital? I asked a few people who’ve already undergone the surgery and here are some of their tips for what you should have in your hospital bag.


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I’ll have my trusted fave, Carmex with me. (Photo: mycarmex.com)

Lip balm and lotion

Following the surgery, you won’t be able to drink anything for a certain amount of time and your lips and skin will probably feel parched. Having a lip balm and lotion will take care that uncomfortable dryness until you can finally have some water. And if you’re dark-skinned like me, the last thing you want is to have ashy skin. My favourite lip balm is from Carmex. It goes everywhere with me and keeps my lips from getting too chapped. Most likely, I’ll be packing Eucerin Advanced Repair Lotion since I have problems with very dry skin.


Your medication

If you’re already on medication, bring it with you. You’ll still need to take it until you’ve been given the OK to stop. Make sure you’ve already informed your surgeon and the nurses about which medication you’re currently taking.


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Definitely taking my Kindle with me. (Photo: amazon.com)

Tablet or laptop, books, phone and chargers

You’ll spend a lot of time waiting, so you may as well make sure you have something to keep you occupied. I’ll have my Kindle and my phone with me. I’ll also pack my chargers to make sure I can keep everything juiced up.

If you’re not an e-reader or tablet person, bring a paperback, some magazines or a newspaper with you. Why not bring a notebooks so you write down your thoughts? It’s always good to start a journal to help you keep track of your progress and this could be the perfect opportunity to start.

 


Comfortable clothing

You’ll most likely be in the hospital over night and you’ll need a change of clothes for the next day. Because of the incisions, you’ll probably want to avoid bending too much won’t want anything that’s too tight. Opt for something loose and comfortable. Don’t worry about making a fashion statement. There’ll be time for that once your incisions have healed. Right now, focus on being comfortable and not having anything that will press on your already tender incisions.


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(Photo: thecatspjs.com)

Robe and two-piece pyjamas

After the surgery, you’ll need to walk around to help relieve gas pressure, which will also help with the pain.

You’ll want the robe in case you feel chilly and you’ll want your pyjamas for walking around and feeling a little less exposed than you do in a hospital gown.

Make sure you pack two-piece pyjamas and not a onesie. This will make it easier for your doctor and nurses to check your incisions or listen to your tummy.

I’ve got plenty of pairs of cute PJs , so I think I have this point covered already.

 

 


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My favourite slippers (Photo: mahabis.com)

Slippers or slipper-socks

If you’re like me, your feet are always cold. As much as I like going around in bare feet, it’s winter here in Sweden (which means my feet are definitely cold) and since I’ll be walking the hallways trying to get rid of gas, I’ll want something on my feet. I have a very comfortable pair of slippers from mahabis, but any pair of slippers will do.

If you don’t like slippers, try slipper-socks. They have non-slip soles and should keep your feet nice and toasty.


Toothpaste/Mouthwash/breath spray

Like I said earlier, before and after the surgery, you’ll have a period of time when you won’t be able to drink anything, and you’re probably going to want to get rid of that sticky feeling in your mouth as well as keep your breath from smelling too funky. If you can get up on your own, brush your teeth. Otherwise, use some mouthwash or breath spray to freshen your breath. You’ll feel a little better for it (even if it’s only psychological).


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My favourite hotel-style pillow from Hemtex. (Photo: hemtex.com)

Your favourite pillow

You’ll want something comfortable with you, something that reminds you of home or makes it easier to sleep. Having your favourite pillow can help both at the hospital and in the car/taxi on your way home. Don’t forget to bring your pillow case too, since hospital pillow cases can sometimes be scratchy.

I’ll most likely take my pillow from home. I bought it from a store here in Sweden called Hemtex and it’s a hotel-style pillow, so it’s wider, higher and squishier than most pillows. In the US, you can find hotel-style pillows at any well-stocked department store.


Have you already undergone your gastric sleeve or bypass? What did you pack in your hospital bag? Share your tips with us! 🙂

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