Jan 3, 2018 - Uncategorized    No Comments

I used to look like ……..

Hi

My name is Samantha and three years ago, I looked like this….

I know I wasn’t skinny and I guess my chest will always be on the large side, but at least I felt comfortable and could wear pretty much what I wanted to wear.

I have had a lifelong battle with my weight, the typical yo-yo dieter we hear so much about. Over the last few years, I have been through a divorce, changed to a more sedentary job, given up my sport and quit smoking. I also went through the menopause.

Now, I look like this

I hate it! Look at the first slimmer picture… you can just about see, I was smiling. Not anymore.

When I tell you that it is really painful for me to show you the fat pictures, I am sure you will understand. That is why I am keeping my face hidden! Even my hands look pudgy!

I imagine it’s something that all people with body issues feel. To show the world how you really are is embarrassing and humiliating, you feel like a massive failure. I do my best to hide the fat but I’ve reached the point where I can’t hide it anymore, the loose clothes aren’t fooling anyone. No matter what I wear, I feel like a big ugly lump.

I KNOW you understand because you probably wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t have a similar problem yourself.

Today, right now, I feel as though I am lost.  Buried under the lard and becoming more and more invisible every day.  Fat, frumpy and boring.  To say I have lost my sparkle would be a massive understatement!

Well, I have had enough!

I am taking action to bring back the bright and bubbly person I know is buried under the pounds and pounds of fat.

I have been thinking about bariatric surgery for a while now and after a long chat with my family, I decided to ring round a few companies to find out more about the procedures on offer (and the prices too!).

I spoke to a few different people and one company stood out from the rest. The lady I spoke to at The National Obesity Surgery Centre (Sue) understood and seemed to know all about the various weight loss operations. She was much more knowledgeable than all the other companies I rang. She didn’t judge me and I felt comfortable talking to her. She also told me about the aftercare they give you following surgery, it sounded amazing. So much is included in the price!  You get the operation, support for life, a telephone consultation with a personal trainer who will design a workout or get moving plan for you, a workshop with a nutritionist and online support, as well as all the usual aftercare. Once I finished talking to Sue, it was easy to make my final decision.

I am going to have a Sleeve Gastrectomy with the NOSC on 26th January 2018.

Now that the decision is finally made, I am SO excited. I can’t wait!!

Jan 11, 2018 - Uncategorized    No Comments

My Sleeve Gastrectomy Consultation

I had my consultation today. Mr Ackroyd was lovely. He explained everything to me, made me aware of the full implications of surgery and how my life will change. He agrees that the Sleeve is a good choice for me. He explained why I need to go on the pre-op diet, something to do with making my liver smaller for the op.  It’s a bit daunting but I am so motivated, I know I will manage to stick to the rules for a couple of weeks.

Mr Ackroyd also told me that I will need to work with my Sleeve; it isn’t a magic wand that will make the fat drop off all on its own. I will need to make changes to my lifestyle and how I eat. Basically, I’m going to have to start thinking about what I put in my mouth and make good choices! Obviously, the sleeve is going to be a massive help, but choosing the right foods is very important because I will be eating tiny portions.

I’m a bit baffled by vitamins and minerals and what I should and shouldn’t eat at the moment, sometimes you don’t know what to do for the best. You read so many different things online. In future, I’m just going to listen to the advice they give me at NOSC . Their online support thingy has loads of helpful info too, there are answers to all my questions so far  and it’s full of recipes and healthy eating  tips.

So… my pre-op diet starts tomorrow!  I’ve enjoyed a few carefree days eating whatever I want and I’m going for my “Last Supper” with a friend tonight. We’re off to our favourite Indian restaurant for a blow out!  After that, it’s full steam ahead to the new me!

Jan 12, 2018 - Uncategorized    No Comments

D Day is here at last!

Well, diet day has finally arrived.

I actually feel quite excited about starting my liver reducing diet. I think I see it as the start of my new life. I am going to work really hard to make the most of my procedure and get back to how I used to be.

I had a call from Mandy, one of the people on the Support Team yesterday afternoon. She was lovely, very friendly and full of good advice. We talked about which diet I should follow and why.

There are five diets to choose from. I have chosen Option five, which is very simple. It is just four cans of low cal soup and four diet yoghurts a day with 200ml skimmed milk for hot drinks. I chose this one because I am not very organised when it comes to shopping and cooking at the moment and it will be easy to fit around my job.  Mandy said this is something I am going to have to work on and that we will talk about it after my surgery!  Somehow, I just know she is going to keep me on the straight and narrow!

I’ll let you know how I get on!

Jan 15, 2018 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Just had to tell you!!

Just had to tell you!!  On the morning of the  fourth day of my pre-op diet I have lost 6 ½ pounds.

It’s amazing! I’m so pleased.

I’m not going to lie, I am finding it quite hard to stick to, I am very hungry but there is no way I am going to give in and stuff my face (as I usually would)! I want my op and that is a great motivator.  Only ten more days to go!

Jan 18, 2018 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Pre-op Diet – Halfway there!

Just a quick update:  I have reached the halfway point in my pre-op diet, day 7!

I can’t believe it has gone so quickly and as the days pass I am getting more and more excited about my Sleeve Gastrectomy!

Weight loss so far: 9lb! I think I am already beginning to see a difference when I look in the mirror.

It isn’t easy but I am so determined to stick to it, nothing is going to stop me having that op!

Jan 22, 2018 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Pre-op Diet: Day 11

Well, I have made it through the weekend without incident! It is Monday morning and I am on day 11 of my pre-op diet. I have lost 11 1/2lb so far!

I thought I would give you a quick update to let you know how I am feeling.

I woke up this morning feeling cold and I have been cold all day. I’m not sure if it is my diet but it is unusual for me. I’ve had the heater on in my little office ALL day!

I gave Mandy (Support Team) a quick ring and she explained to me that you can feel cold when losing body fat and sometimes your metabolism slows down when you are on a very strict diet.  Mandy also told me to log into the online Support Programme for more information. I did, and everything I wanted to know was there. All my questions answered……….. it’s so easy!

After the first few days, it definitely became easier  to stick to the diet. I felt really hungry at the beginning but now I’m not noticing the hunger anywhere near as much as I did and some times I even forget to have my last tin of soup and my last yoghurt!

Only another 3 days to go!

Then I start my fast!      

 

Jan 24, 2018 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Pre-Operative Assessment

Yesterday we drove across to Sheffield for my pre-op assessment. It was very straightforward. After checking in at reception, a nurse took me through to a treatment room.

We went through my medical history and another questionnaire, nothing difficult. She was really checking up on my post-op support. I had to stick a swab up my nose and rub another on my groin. She took my temperature and  my blood pressure and then I was weighed. After my blood was taken, I asked a few questions and that was it. Nothing stressful at all.

I am now on day 13 of my pre-op diet and I have lost just over  12 1/2lb so far. The weight loss seems to have slowed down significantly but I think I am still losing around half a pound a day. Only one more day of this soup and yoghurt diet to go. Although it has been easier than anticipated, it is quite boring. Thinking about my surgery and the results I will get keeps me going! My boss has joked that she is going to sack me if I am in skinny jeans before her this summer……    guess I had better start looking for another job!     

Jan 26, 2018 - Uncategorized    No Comments

The Big Day has arrived

I woke up early this morning, not that I had much sleep because I was so excited.

I have surprised myself by sticking to the pre-op diet of soup and yoghurt for the whole fourteen days, I wouldn’t have believed it possible two weeks ago. I have lost 13lbs in total so far and I know this is just the beginning!

I had a light breakfast this morning before my six hour fast and now I am nil by mouth until they take me down to theatre.

I know that the next time I consume anything it will be fluids/thin liquids only for 3 days following my procedure and then gradually I will move to thicker foods.

You probably won’t hear from me now until I return to work which should be around 2 weeks after my procedure.   I anticipate having one full week off and return part time the 2nd week to ease me back in.

 

See you on the other side!

Feb 12, 2018 - Uncategorized    No Comments

I did it!

Well, I had my op on 26th January and today I am back at work! I promised you an update as soon as possible so here it is:

I arrived at Claremont Hospital  in Sheffield on Friday afternoon. Once installed in my room, Mr Ackroyd came to see me and the nursing staff made sure I had everything I needed and fully understood what was about to happen.  I was told about the need to wear compression stockings after my surgery and also about the Fragmin  (anticoagulant) injections I would need for ten days after going home from hospital. I’m a little squeamish when it comes to needles so I had already arranged for my son to give me the daily injection. There was a lovely little pile of items waiting for me in my room; paper knickers, theater gown and lovely red socks to keep my feet warm during surgery plus a whole lot of information in a big green folder.

The staff couldn’t have been more kind, helpful or knowledgeable. Every single person I came into contact with seemed to go out of their way to help me.

I was taken down to theater at about 4.30pm and went into a little room with a couple of nurses and the anaesthetist. The next thing I knew I  was being put back into bed in my room!

I was extremely dopey for the rest of the evening and slept through until Saturday morning, apart from the hourly checks when the nurses came in to take my stats. I don’t remember feeling any pain, I was just a little tender and sore where the incisions had been made and my mouth was REALLY dry. Here’s a little tip for you- take a lip balm, it really helped me when my mouth was dry. I was put on a drip to stop me becoming dehydrated as I had been nil by mouth from Friday morning and for the first twelve hours I was allowed to sip only 25ml of water per hour. When I felt uncomfortable, I was given pain relief via the drip which was really effective. I was sick a couple of times but I think that was just a reaction to the general anaesthetic, which isn’t unusual according to the nurses.

On Saturday I was able to get up and walk to the bathroom and to begin to sip fluids freely which was a big relief.  I had my first cup of tea which was absolutely wonderful! The drip was taken out on Saturday evening I think, but to be honest, my memory is a little bit fuzzy. Mr Ackroyd came to see me on Saturday and reassured me that everything had gone well and the op was very straightforward. I spent the day in my room with my partner, watching TV, snoozing  and sipping water and tea. I was given soup for lunch and dinner and ordered a smoothie for breakfast on Sunday.

On Sunday morning my strawberry and banana smoothie arrived. It took me about an hour to drink it in tiny sips. I needed the nutrition as I hadn’t really eaten since 8am on Friday morning and had been on my very strict diet soup and yoghurt pre-op diet for the previous two weeks.  Mr Ackroyd came back to see me and told me I could go home. I had a long chat with the nurse in charge who explained the medication I was taking home with me (soluble pain killer, antacid melts and the injections)  and told me what to expect in the coming week or two. I was given a letter and staple remover for the district nurse along with a letter for my GP.  Once I had everything, off I went!

I arrived home and spent the next few days resting, mooching around the house and looking forward to visits from my family. It is pretty boring watching TV all day! I had stocked up with lots of clear and smooth liquids so I had everything I needed. I couldn’t believe how much my sense of taste had changed. I couldn’t stand anything sweet and was craving the most savoury flavours. Very odd! Anything with sugar or sweetener tasted super sickly  sweet so I stuck to clear broth and cups of tea for the first three days. When I could move on to pureed food I was still unable to eat anything sweet and I am still finding that things taste different now.

I had my staples removed by my practice nurse last week  (day 10) and my incisions are pretty much fully healed. I feel remarkably well, just a little tired if I overdo it. I was very glad to get to the end of the daily injections.

I am now on day 18, my first day back at work. No more daytime TV!

I rarely feel hungry, the only time I do feel hungry is if I have forgotten to eat all day!  I am eating small portions of very soft food and looking forward to eating ‘normal’ food again. I am being sensible though and waiting until the Support Team at the NOSC tell me I can move on. They have been fantastic, they called me everyday for the first week, just to make sure I was okay medically and coping with the eating regime. Now Mandy calls me once a week to check on my progress. It’s really good to have someone to talk to who understands what I am going through and has lots of tips to stop me getting bored with my pureed diet. It is also very motivational as I would not like to tell Mandy I have deviated from the plan!!

In the month since I started my pre-op diet I have lost 20 pounds.

20 whole pounds!! I am thrilled! People are already noticing the change. Just imagine a pile  of butter.  It would take forty half pound packs to represent the weight I have lost already…. unbelievable!

Feb 19, 2018 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Three weeks and three days!

I can hardly believe that three weeks have passed so quickly! I feel fully recovered and ready to progress onto more ‘normal’ foods under the guidance of the Support Team. As long as I eat slowly and chew well and the food doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable or sick, it should be fine.  I tried a little stir fried chicken and some veg. It was nice to really get my teeth into something after five weeks weeks of liquid, pureed and soft food (including the pre-op soup diet) but I couldn’t manage the rice. Even though my portion was very small, I felt satisfied and left the rice on my plate. Leaving food does kind of go against the grain as all my life I have been told to “eat up” and was always expected to clear my plate. Now I need to learn that it is okay to leave some food and even to throw it away if necessary. Of course, I always try to judge my portion size correctly but it is a steep learning curve and occasionally I do put a little too much on my plate. I can honestly say that my sweet tooth has not returned!

My weight loss has slowed down a little as  I begin to eat more but I have lost 23lb so far.  I’m told that this is perfectly normal and to carry on losing at the super fast rate would not be healthy.  Already I am feeling so much better. I think I have dropped a dress size too. I’m not going shopping just yet though, I want to wait until I reach target and then buy some lovely new summer clothes….fingers crossed!

 

PS More people are noticing the change and asking what diet I am following. I’ll tell them when I hit target!

 

 

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