Not The Biggest Loser

I just want to be…

Browsing in Surgery


For 2 days in a row I exercised twice in one day. Twice! Today I went to Fitness First for 40 minutes in the morning before work and this afternoon I went to Fernwood for 50 minutes after work. Still surviving with Optifast for dinner, though tonight I did have to have a piece of toast as well as I was still hungry.

I had a call from Felicity from Dr Layani’s rooms who has been keeping up with my progress through this blog. Firstly how amazing is it that my surgeon’s practice Manager is interested enough in my success to read my blog? I am even more amazed by the fact that after reading about the recent events of my life, she rang to ask me to come and see 2 of the specialists at the surgery – Dr Read and Tess. I have already been to see Dr Read several times regarding nutritional, hormonal imbalances etc and I have found his advise and supplement suggestions life changing. Felicity suggested a follow-up with him and also a visit to Tess who is one of their new psychologists. Aside from working with the surgery and lapband patients, Felicity said Tess works with IVF and other Obstretic related issues. I’m booked in late August to see the two of these specialists. Felicity suggested they wanted to help support me be as healthy as possible for my next pregnancy. I was totally blown away at her offer of help and the fact that I didn’t have to ask for it. Thank you Felicity!

So it’s all over now. My new life has begun.

As you will know from my last post, my husband was extremely sick, and I was up late taking him to the doctor, so I didn’t get to sleep till after 1am. I decided to sleep downstairs on the lounge, in case I caught the virus he had. I had to fast from 6am, so set my alarm for 5am so I could wake up and have my last ‘normal’ breakfast. I chose a bacon and egg Turkish bread roll with low fat coffee flavoured milk. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would have to be honest. I think it was a combination of nerves and the fatty meal from the night before that made me feel a bit sick. So after eating that I went and laid back down on the floor – moved the cushions from the lounge to the floor in the hope I’d be more comfortable, as I really didn’t sleep to well. I had another hour or so of sleep and then got up and started getting ready. Dad was picking me up at 9am. I had some great sms’s from friends and family wishing me well and a phone call from my sister in law. The wonderful Margie sent me an sms saying “Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life. I will be thinking of you”. Well that set off the tears, what a nice welcome to the morning.

Dad picked me up at 9am and drove me to the hospital. I had to go up to Dr Layani’s surgery first to pay for the surgery and be weighed. The office was full, I’d never seen so many people in the waiting room, there was hardly a seat spare! After paying for the surgery, I had to sit down and wait to be weighed. I sat down next to a lovely lady who was carrying some x-rays and who had smiled at me when I first walked in. She told me she’d been banded 8 years ago and reassured me that I was making the right decision and that I’d be just fine. She had lost between 35-40kg and seemed very happy with the surgery. That was perfect timing for me, as I was really feeling very nervous at that time. After I was weighed (my official Optifast loss was 4.5kg in 2 weeks, which I was a bit disappointed with as I know I could’ve done better), I had a quick chat to Felicity the Practice Manager from Dr Layani’s rooms who also pointed out another man sitting just near the desk who had been banded 5 weeks ago and had gone from approx 155kg to 137kg in 5 weeks. She said the physical change in him was huge. So I left feeling much more comfortable that I was doing the right thing. I then had to go pay for the anesthetist and then present myself to the front desk to be admitted to hospital. So I did all that, with Dad by my side. He came up and waited with me till I got called in to get ready for surgery.

They did their usual pre-admission check on me, checked my temperature, my blood pressure, gave me an ECG and asked me lots of questions. She then took me to a waiting room full of people in white gowns, TED stockings and little booties on their feet sitting on lounge chairs. There was probably about 10 people there. I freaked out and hoped she wasn’t going to make me wait there with them, but yes that’s exactly what I had to do. Go into the little toilet in the room and put my hospital gown on with a terry towelling gown over it and little booties on my feet. The nurse went off to get me some TED stockings (to stop Deep Vein Thrombosis) but never returned with them! So after waiting in that room for about 2.5 hours with a bunch of silent strangers all in white gowns, my name was finally called and they took me to my room. I was relieved to see I had my own room with my own little bathroom in it. They asked me to get into bed, put some stockings on me and a cap over my hair and then wheeled me up to the theatre.

I layed in the room just before theatre for about 20 minutes. A nurse came and introduced herself to me and said she’d be working with Dr Layani during the surgery. She asked me how I was feeling and I said “nervous” and she said “you should be excited!”. The anesthetist came and introduced herself and asked me if I’d ever had any trouble with anesthetic before and I told her about the first time I had it, how I woke up while the tube was coming out of my throat and how traumatic it was for me. She broke the bad news, that unfortunately she would be doing the same thing as a safety precaution. She wants to know that I can breathe on my own when she takes the tube out. Great. So that set a little bit of panic in, but there was nothing I could do at that point. The nurse had mentioned that Dr Layani may come and see me while I was waiting to go in for surgery, but no sign of him. I don’t know why, but for some reason I really hoped he would come to talk to me. Just to say “everything will be fine, I’ll look after you”, so was a little disappointed when that didn’t happen. Oh at some point they put the needle in my arm for the drip and that was really really painful. She had trouble finding the vein at first and I almost started crying from that pain.
They eventually wheeled me into theatre and I saw Dr Layani standing on one side of the room chatting to some people. He looked over at me at one point and raised his eyebrows with a half smile. They asked me to put myself on theatre bed, which I did…was starting to get really nervous at that point. It all starts to get a bit hazy from here. Someone said something to me and I answered and Dr Layani came over to me and said “I was about to put you into position, but then I realised you weren’t asleep yet!” and walked away. I think the anesthetist gave me some gas then to relax me and I remember someone saying “this is the start of your new life” and I replied “oh don’t say that you’ll get me crying” and then I must’ve fallen asleep.

Sure enough I woke up as they were taking the tube out and was extremely panicked. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and was struggling to take a breath for ages, I estimate about 15 minutes. It was the worst 15 minutes of my life, I honestly thought I was going to die. The nurses kept trying to calm me down and telling me that I was getting enough oxygen and that I was breathing ok and was fine, but I just couldn’t believe them as it really was hard to breathe. I was also shaking really badly, my whole body was convulsing. It was the most awful experience. They eventually settled me down with some morphine , an oxygen mask and putting a blanket over me and pumping hot air into it. My breathing finally settled down, though wasn’t normal, as my mouth was really dry and I felt like I had flem caught in my throat that I couldn’t cough up because my throat and stomach were so sore. The main port cut in the middle of my stomach was really hurting, though the morphine did help that settle.

After a long wait, they finally wheeled me back to my room. The nurse took me into the bathroom to wash all the betadine off me and then helped me change into my pajamas. She gave me a well needed jug of water, which I decanted into my little 50ml shot glass and sipped slowly. The water was amazing! I spent the afternoon/evening drifting in and out of sleep. I got up every few hours to go to the toilet, and of course they came in ervery hour to check my temperature, breathing and blood pressure. I had one of those oxygen things up my nose for awhile as they said I wasn’t getting enough oxygen in my body, they asked me to make a big effort to take lots of deep breaths which I did and eventually they took the oxygen out. I had the drip in till about 2am the next morning, ensuring I was well hydrated. I didn’t sleep well because of them waking me up for tests and also because of the pain when I moved. I was given regular painkillers though to help ease the pain. I was able to have some apple juice that night which was a nice change from water! I had the lovliest nurses looking after me, so that made it all a bit easier. Had phone calls from Dad and from my husband which was also comforting, so I was actually ok with being there on my own.

Anyway I’ve been sitting here at this desk for awhile now writing this and I’m starting to get a bit sore, so will update on the day after surgery a bit later.

I’m feeling quite scared about tomorrow. My last few days of Optifast have been a bit of a poor effort. I exchanged the Optifast for quite a lot of meals. The only thing I can say is that when I did have it meal it was always at least half of what I would’ve eaten pre Optifast, so I’m happy about that. Except for tonight when I ate way too much…Cooked a nice piece of rib eye steak which had a bit too much fat on it, 2 lamb chops and oven fries…oh and 2 pieces of garlic bread. I feel a bit ill now. Hoping I haven’t caused my liver to enlarge again in one meal…is that possible? I hope not…Breakfast today was 1 piece of toast with margarine and vegemite (thick piece of toast) and lunch was my usual green salad with a can of tuna. I’m feeling a bit guilty for not sticking to Optifast for longer…but it is done now…

So the last few days have been a bit stressful. My husband has come down with the most terrible stomach bug. His temperature is high and he has all the normal symptoms of a stomach bug. He has hardly slept and has been running to the toilet every 20 minutes since Monday night. I’m taking him to the doctor tonight, though we suspect there’s nothing they can do. The timing of it huh? I have been petrified of getting it…Terrified they won’t operate if I have a virus and worse that it hits me after they’ve operated…what a combination! Lapband surgery + stomach bug…Please God no!

Now my husband was supposed to take me to the hospital and wait around while I’m operated on so that he’s there when I wake up because I’m a big wuss and get really scared and feel really lonely when I’m in hospital. I’ve never actually stayed overnight, but have been there for day surgery and hate waiting for my op and waking up and being all alone. So I’ve been concerned that he won’t be better by tomorrow (he definitely won’t be) but it gets worse….His work emailed him today basically saying he had to come in to work tomorrow (despite agreeing he could take it off to take me to the hospital) because they needed some urgent work done. They said because he’d been away for the past 2 days (on his deathbed mind you!) and wasn’t able to do this work by tomorrow, then they need him to come in. He explained that he was supposed to be taking me to the hospital…but it didn’t phase them…can you believe it? I don’t even know if he will make it tomorrow to be honest, he is that sick. I feel so sorry for him, I’ve never seen him like this. He hasn’t eaten since Monday night.

3.5 hours later…

So I took my husband to the doctor. We waited 1.5 hours to see a doctor for 3 minutes. The doctor told him he had some gastro bug, gave him a shot in the arm for the vomitting and told him he’d be better in a few days. Excellent. I spent my last night before surgery sick to my stomach about my husband, not to mention my impending surgery tomorrow in a dingy, smelly horrible 24 hour medical centre with the dodgiest of people you will ever come across. Sigh…

The good news is that he will be ok…even though right now he is upstairs rolling around the bed in pain…even though he hasn’t eaten since Monday night…even though he has to get up to go to the toilet every 20 minutes.

The good news is that tomorrow my life will turn around completely. I’m so happy and scared that I could cry. It’s funny…the last few days I have been feeling so smug. Like I know a secret that no-one else knows. Every time I feel someone is staring at me in disgust or judging me for my weight (whether real or imagined) I feel a real sense of smugness and smile quietly to myself. Why? Because I know that inside of me right now a huge transformation is taking place. Even before the surgery…it has started. I feel it…This is the beginning of the girl I was supposed to be. The girl I was born to be. She is finally emerging after 33 years. What a delightful and yet terrifying thought.

Started off the morning well…my usual Optifast shake. Raced off to the dietician at Coolangatta (in the convertible we purchased a few weeks ago…made the drive very worth while…such a beautiful car to drive on an hot summer’s day). The dietician went well. It was interesting to find out what I’ll be eating over the next few weeks and how to eat it. Or rather drink it! It’ll be fluids only for the first 2 weeks while my stomach heals.

My percentage of body fat is 48.9% and my goal is 30% which will put me below 100kg. My lean body mass (Muscle + Bones + Organs + Fluids) is currently 70.5kg. Which puts my goal of 70kg into perspective…though he did say I’d lose some muscle as I lose weight.

I meet with him 2 weeks after surgery to talk about weeks 2-4 after surgery which is the mushy food stage.

My first day after surgery I am to drink clear fluids only such as water, clear fruit juice, cordial, black tea or coffee. Then from days 2-14 I am to commence full fluids. Todd has asked me to drink Optifast 3 times daily (600ml total) and 400ml of V8 for my veg intake as well as a luquid vitamin such as Supradyn. I think I’m going to struggle with the shake at lunch time, so I might try and having thin soup instead for lunch at work.  I’m also able to drink diet cordial and tea anc doffe with milk and artificial sweetener (no sugar). I have to spend the first 4 days sipping 50ml (shot glass) every half an hour to keep myself hydrating and so I don’t drink too much at once and make my band slip. It’s going to be an interesting 2 weeks!

After meeting with Todd the dietician, I met up with the wonderful Cath who has lost 30kg since her surgery earlier this year. She was a source of so much information and was so positive, supportive and honest. It was so good to talk to her and it just confirmed even more that I was doing the right thing. I had a skim cappucino with equal while talking to Cath.
On the way home I ate an Optifast bar for lunch. Later met up with my friend Sarah for a diet coke at the Coffee Club. It just about killed me as everyone around us kept ordering this divine hot food including wedges and all sort of other things made from filo pastry. It really was quite hard to sit there and just have a diet coke!

When I got home I cooked up my stir-fried veg. My husband had about a 1/3 of a chicken breast left over from the BBQ he had just cooked, so I decided to put that in with my veg and really enjoyed it. I don’t remember ever enjoying chicken breast quite that much and I am a chicken breast lover! I felt a bit guilty about it, but then I have to put it into perspective. I didn’t eat McDonalds or a block of chocolate it was a small piece of very low fat chicken breast cooked without oil.  However later that night I had a packet mix cappucino and a tiny, tiny sliver of sitcky date pudding with a teaspoon of chocolate ice-cream. I am talking no more than 2 tbsps worth of food here. However I am concerned that after the piece of toast I ate yesterday that I’m starting to break it every day, even if only in small ways. Hoping to be 100% good tomorrow!

Only 5 more days till surgery!

Got a few things going on in my personal life that made today hard. Felt a bit down all day which made me want to give up and eat. I succumbed to one last thick piece of white vegemite toast (naughty I know). I talked myself into it by saying I won’t have one next week and probably won’t be able to eat it after the surgery, so it was my last one…even though my last one was supposed to be the day before I started Optifast! I’m the master of excuses!

Tonight was worse as far as being tempted to eat, but so far I have managed to survive. My husband was cooking a BBQ with fries in the oven (AGAIN!) and because I was feeling so down, it was near impossible to say no! But I sat in the office eating my stir-fried veg instead of joining them and now they are all eaten and cleaned up so the danger period is over. Though they are currently at the shops buying sweets and other yummy things to eat while watching a dvd. I think I’ll be staying in the office tonight doing paperwork! Great Friday night huh?

Tomorrow I have an appointment with Todd the dietician to find out exactly what I will be eating after surgery and I guess to catch up with how I’m going on Optifast. After that I’m meeting up with Cath who is an amazing woman who has had the surgery and has lost 30kg and looks incredible! She was the speaker at the information evening I went to in September and I was really inspired by her story. I didn’t get a chance to meet her that night as there were so many people there. I’m also hoping that the gorgeous Nic from one of my favourite lapband blog sites will turn up. Her site was the first one I found when I was doing research and her success floored me. She looks even more amazing now after losing 41kg in 11 months. She is such an inspiration and I can only hope to look as incredible as she does.


Had a fairly good day at work yesterday, as in I am getting used to the hunger during the day. Arrived at Dr Layani‘s rooms at about 3.30pm for my appointment. I was actually feeling quite nervous and worried, I don’t know why. I guess it is still hitting me about how much of a big change this is going to be on my life. Dr Layani soon put me at ease, and made me feel very confident that I was making the right decision and that I was in capable hands. I didn’t really have many questions as I’ve done a lot of research and spoken to a lot of people.
Afterwards I filled out my hospital admission form had a good chat to Felicity about the operation, the hospital stay and my Optifast stage. She was surprised when I told her my BMI was 54, which was nice :-) She said she’d never have guessed it was that high. I find that a lot, that most people don’t realise how much I weigh…I don’t know why that is…especially since I’m short, I thought I would look heavier than I really am. I get it a lot though…when people used to hear I was applying for The Biggest Loser, they would often say “But you’re not big enough to go on the show, you’re not like the other contestants” which is funny because I am EXACTLY like them, and in some cases heavier than some of the contestants! It’s kind of nice that people don’t see me like that…

Anyway spoke to my health fund to double check they cover me…they do…Phew…Felicity rang them first when I first arrived at the office and I was having a small heart attack while she was talking to them, knowing I would have burst into tears if they said no! Spoke to my Dad after my appointment and he asked me if I wanted him to pick me up after the surgery, which I greatfully accepted. My husband is taking Thursday off and hanging around waiting for me to have my surgery so he can see me afterwards and I was hoping he wouldn’t have to take another day off to pick me up on Friday. Besides it will be nice to have my Dad pick me up…he’s going to take the day off for me. I’m lucky to have such supportive family.

So I left Dr Layani’s in a very good mood. They were all so friendly there and really made me feel very positive about the whole experience. Yay!

I found last night quite hard when I got home. I was really hungry, so I decided to go to bed at 8.30pm as for some reason my back and legs were aching and I didn’t want to think about being hungry anymore, so had an early night which was well needed.


I can’t believe I will be starting a new life next week….

on Optifast. I’m starving and have been most of the day, but I was really busy at work which meant I didn’t have too much time to think about it. And though I’m hungry I feel really good for being so disciplined and in contrast to how disgusting I felt last night after our very bad binge.

Todays food:

Breakfast: Optifast Chocolate shake made with water and ice

Snacks: Short macchiato with small shot of caramel syrup, cup of tea with dash of skim milk and artificial sweetener, cup of coffee with dash of skim milk and artificial sweetener
Lunch: Optifast chicken soup, coke zero

Snack: skim latte (small)

Dinner: 1.5 cups of stirfried vegies with soy sauce/chilli sauce, Optifast vanilla shake

Bring on day 2…

I’ve had moments of doubt about the surgery over the last few days. When I hear/read about weight loss success stories where people have done it on their own, I have sudden moments of realisation that I’m going through all this because I can’t control what and how much I eat which seems crazy. But it’s reality. I’ve been on diets since I was about 5 or 6 years old and I’ve achieved no long term success…so it’s time for a drastic change. I need to thank the bloggers I’ve linked to in my blogroll for giving me hope for the first time in my life that I can achieve permanent weight loss. Go check out their results…quite amazing really and totally inspiring.

freedom? being a slave to food? I’m not sure… I’m due to start Optifast shakes on Thursday as my surgery is 2 weeks from surgery. I’m feeling kind of weird about it all. A bit scared, a bit excited, a bit emotional.  It’s been a stressful couple of weeks full of things changing. We’re in the process of trying to sell our 2nd car, and buying another one, putting an investment property on the market, and once that goes, putting our house on the market so we can move closer to work, and then me getting surgery. It’s all getting a bit much. Lots of running around to do with car things and medical appointments.

Went to my GP today to get a referral to Dr Layani and also for a letter to APRA so I can apply for my out of pocket expenses to come out of my superannuation. Will send all that off tomorrow. Hopefully that will go through without any issues as we haven’t got the money put away to pay for it ourselves.

So tomorrow is my last day of ‘normal’ eating maybe forever. I’ve been trying to think up all the things I’m going to miss. Today I had a piece of that thick white vegemite toast for breakfast, a $6.95 Rump steak with pepper sauce, chips, salad and a white breadroll from the pub near work for lunch, a cheesymite scroll from Bakers Delight, half a regular Capricossa pizza, 1/2 a baklava and 2 drumsticks! As you can see white bread and steak feature high on the list! I’ve heard a lot of people can’t eat those after surgery, and I sure will miss them. But it will be totally worth it. So Thursday I’m supposed to start Optifast. I’m not yet sure how many I’m supposed to have every day. Could be 2 or 3. I’m hoping 2, but then maybe 3 will just be easier to just not eat anything at all? I don’t know. It’s going to be hell anyway. Especially since Dale has friends coming to visit from overseas next week to stay with us for 4 weeks! They’re going to be ordering takeaway, going out for dinner etc and I’m just not going to be able to join in. But again, it’s completely worth it. Anyway I have to call the dietician at 4pm on Thursday to find out how many shakes I should be having, as my appointment with her is not till Sat 6th October which is only 5 days before my surgery. I’m hoping I make a huge loss with the Optifast during those 2 weeks to really get my weight loss on a roll.

So the question is what’s on the menu for tomorrow? No idea yet…will report back tomorrow. I’m feeling kind of emotional and scared about letting go of these eating habits that have kept me company all my life. It’s almost like grief, knowing I’ll never be able to eat this way again…am I weird or what?

I can’t believe this is actually going to happen in 2.5 weeks. I don’t think it has really hit me yet. I’m really excited and yet quite nervous too…I found this amazing article by Dr George Fielding who is a Brisbane lapband surgeon who has had the surgery himself. If you are thinking about having the surgery or if you don’t understand why I am  having the surgery, read this as I think it gives a good insight into what I am going through/have been through.

Many fat people have so much that is never seen, buried under a carapace of fat and self defence. But boy do they try. Ask Jenny Craig (JC). Ask Weight Watchers (WW). When people attend, stick to it and control hunger, they lose weight. When they stop attending they instantly put on all the weight – they feel guilty and eat more. When they go back they are 10 – 15 kg heavier than the first visit and the cycle starts again. They all start thinking that JC or WW are the only thing that helps them until they realise they are a complete waste of time. They give up and just get fatter, which they invariably do. The US National Institute of Health (NIH) reviewed 4500 publications on weight loss and found the maximum sustainable weight loss by ANY diet, exercise or behavioural modification programme is 12 kg. Two dress sizes!

I told my family today about the surgery. I had discussed it with my Dad and step-Mum already but last time I spoke to them I hadn’t booked in yet. I was really happy with their reaction. They were all so supportive. Dad kept telling me that he thought I was doing the right thing and my sister in law and brother were really excited for me. My sis was also really supportive. It’s nice to know I have the support of my family as they know how much I have suffered over the years and how unhappy I am with my weight. It must worry them too that my weight will eventually affect my health, so I think they are all relieved that I’m doing something about it. They also know how hard and long I have tried to do it on my own.

My next appointment is on Friday with the psychologist – a 2 hour appointment. Should be interesting. My dietician’s appointment isn’t till Sat 6th, only 5 days before my surgery, so I’m going to have to call them as Jan, Dr Layani’s nurse told me to start Optifast 2 weeks prior to the surgery as my BMI is over 50 (54 to be exact gasp!). I need to find out from them how many shakes I should have and the type of meal I should have if I’m only having 2 shakes and 1 normal meal.  So the important dates for me are:

Fri  28th September: 2 hour psychologist appointment

Wed 3rd October: Dr Layani consultation

Sat 6th October: Dietician

Thu 11th October: surgery

Fri 12th October: home again

Tues 16th October: back to work

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