Health / Personal / Weight Loss

The New Normal

I had my surgery on August 19th and since my life has been a roller coaster. I wish I could tell you that it went well and I feel amazing. I wish I could tell you that I wake up every day happy and healthy. I wish I could tell you that I’d recommend gastric bypass, but I’m not sure that would be true.

Let’s start off talking about my first surgery. I was shocked at how many people were in the operating room. That’s the last thing I remember. When I woke up in recovery I had a morphine pump that I could press, which was nice.  I have to say I wasn’t in considerable pain though. My mouth was so dry I begged for those little sponges that help swipe the inside of your mouth. Eventually I was reunited with my family in my own room. You can’t drink anything until the next day (incase you have a leak) which was the worst part. I never got enough sleep because they constantly wake you up for pills, shots, vitals.

I developed really bad anxiety in the hospital because of all the needles. I am so not a needle person. At first they gave me Ativan, which worked wonders. Then they realized my family had a history of addiction and would only give me this crappy anxiety drug that didn’t work at all. That really infuriated me. I personally have never had a drug addiction and I have very strong views against drugs but when you need something, you need it. I spent Monday through Friday at the hospital hyperventilating every single time someone touched my incisions or came near me with a needle. It was from from pleasant.

I got out of the hospital Friday evening and when I got home my grandmother had a hospital bed all set up for me. It was really hard to bend or get up and down so that really helped. I had a home health nurse come to change my dressings and empty my drain. I thought that choosing a professional to do this was the best decision, but not in my case. After being home for about two days, my home health nurse came to empty my drain and clean my wounds. She kept being really aggressive and rough and I asked her multiple times to take it easy. She didn’t listen. She did something called “milking” my tube drain, but didn’t hold the top when she did it. That night I was in agonizing pain. I mean the kind of pain you can’t imagine exists. I couldn’t sleep at all and pain medicine only kept it away for a few hours. I called my surgeon and they said it was normal so I tried not to worry. By the next evening, I could not take it any longer. I went back to the hospital.

They took me back immediately and the on-call surgeon came to give me a look. After examining me and doing some tests, they determined that my drain had been ripped out and I had a leak. After being there for about an hour, I was being prepped for surgery! My original surgeon came in to tell me that I was going to be on a feeding tube for the next six weeks and I would have to stay within close proximity to the hospital. Note that I started school in a week and I attend college in Canada, six hours away. After telling my doctor this, she told me I would just have to take at least a semester off. I was literally freaking out. Nothing is more important to me than my life up here in Toronto, it’s always been my happy place. I was losing it. I wasn’t even given a choice, I was just rolled off to surgery.

I woke up so scared. I just had no idea what to expect. Luckily, I was given the best news possible. I didn’t have a leak so I didn’t need the feeding tube. I actually cried tears of joy. Turns out, my home health nurse ripped my drain out though and that’s where all the pain was coming from. They had to completely replace it. What I thought was puss near my drain opening was literally fat cells that were ripped out of my body. Isn’t that disgusting! Thank goodness they were able to go through my former incisions so I still only have six scars. The entire fiasco set me so far back in the recovery process though.

After being under anesthesia twice in such a short period of time, I developed heart and lung problems. Tests revealed that my heart had enlarged and I was only getting oxygen at a rate of 82, when it should be 98-100. I was put on oxygen and actually had to go home with it. In total, I was in the hospital for about 12 days due to the surgeries. The pain was so bad I couldn’t walk straight for weeks and I had to be in a wheelchair for a little while after because I was having fainting spells. I actually still am, but I’m getting better at detecting when they’re about to come. I just have to sit down for awhile.

About a month after surgery I developed severe nausea and vomiting. I hadn’t really had that issue before but man when it comes along watch out! Even the smell of food would send me running to the bathroom. Then came the stomach pains from hell. I knew things were serious so I booked a flight home. Air Canada almost didn’t let me fly because I just looked so sick. Honestly, I looked like I was near death and that’s no exaggeration. My Meme picked me up from the airport and we went back to the hospital for another two-day visit.

The main problem was actually so bizarre. I had ovarian cysts that burst (which I had never had) and the pressure in my stomach was causing the pain and nausea. I was also severely dehydrated and malnourished, which seems to still be the cause of a lot of my issues. I literally puke up water though. I don’t know what’s going on, to this day I can’t keep it down. I think I’m going through more ovarian cysts as we speak. The pain is just lovely! Don’t get my started on pain. After having gastric bypass, I couldn’t be on any of my medicines for Rheumatoid Arthritis or Fibromyalgia. I knew the surgery meant the end of NSAIDS, but I didn’t realize what that meant to me. That means when I get a “flare,” I just have to deal with the pain basically. Well, there isn’t much dealing going on here. I can barely leave my bed half the time. There’s nothing I can do. I’m going to try to convince my rheumatologist to let me try something controversial, we’ll see how that goes. How I’m “living” life though is not living. It’s far from it.

I’m probably going to go back to the hospital this Friday. I haven’t been able to eat in four or five days. I think I’m suffering from some kind of food anxiety. I’m gagging as I write this because it’s about food. I have no idea what is going on in my head but it needs to be taken care of. I am going insane. The psychological issues that come up after gastric bypass are just as bad as the physical ones! I’ve been fainting randomly too. I “fell asleep” in the bathtub for two hours. Who knows what even happened, because I sure don’t remember. I woke up after passing out in my hallway. It’s gotten so bad I’m basically banned from driving. When I get out of bed, go up stairs, take a shower, etc. I get faint. Sometimes I literally do faint. I need answers now. I’ve been told it’s either blood pressure or blood sugar. I’ll let everyone know how that goes.

I know you all want to hear about progress though so here it goes. It’s been 12 weeks and I have lost 77 pounds. I know, I know that’s great. I just wish I felt better. People keep making comments like, “Wow! You must feel so much better, so much healthier!” Actually, no. Not at all. So far from it. I was happier 12 weeks ago and I definitely felt healthier.  I have stopped answering most questions honestly. I don’t feel like going into it during a casual conversation. “How are you?” “I’m good, thanks!” When really I want to say oh actually I feel like shit every day of my life. I keep calling this my “new normal.” I guess this is just life now. We’ll see if I feel differently anytime soon, I sure hope so.

I’m sorry if you don’t like what I have to say in my post. I’m sorry if you had gastric bypass and it changed your life and you are so happy and healthy. This is my story though, and with my blog you will always get the truth.

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Starting Weight: 317 

Current Weight: 240 

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15 thoughts on “The New Normal

  1. Hey Hilary, I wish you the very best. Hopefully as your body progresses in its recovery the stress will level out too and you can feel like your bubbly, wonderful self again.

    PS Glendon misses you!

  2. I am so sorry things are going so horribly for you. I know you were so anxious to feel great like they say the surgery will do. It sucks to be miserable everyday. There are a very few days a month I feel good. I hope they figure out why you feel so bad. I am praying for you hil. I love you so much!!!!

  3. Sweetie!! I wish I can take the pain away! I don’t know anything about what you are going through. But I do know about fainting. Everywhere! I have fainted in banks, churches, grocery stores and yes…in the shower. That was the scariest. Because I was alone. Hence my multiple concussions. (I am pretty tall so the fall is big). I was malnourished. My sugar level, iron level were dangerously low. And so was my BP. I had to change how I was eating. Remarkably, I gained weight and never felt better. Ironic huh?
    Keep talking about it to the right people. Anybody who will cause you stress and will not be supportive (and you know, I am sure, who they are) keep saying ‘fine. Thanks’
    I wish you strength. Courage. And great medical staff. I mean…wtf was with that nurse???
    Kisses!!

    Keep us updated!
    -Leeza

  4. Ive been following your blog and this post makes me really sad! I am a gastric bypass surgery patient too and I was very fortunate to have no ill effects and after reading this, I think you need to start a law suit against that home health nurse…she could of killed you with her rough bed side manner!!!

  5. You Look great! I know that you have had some significant amount of other health issues with this surgery and that really sucks! I totally get what you mean regarding feeling healthier and better before surgery than you do now. Im in the same boat! Everyone says that it takes time, but its nice to know that you are steadily loosing through out this instead of going through all this and not really going down on your weight. Hang in there!

    • Thank you! I am just now starting to feel better after another hospital a couple days after this post. I really do feel good now though and I hope you are feeling better too! Let’s hope it stays this way!

  6. Beautiful Hilary, I am so so sorry that it’s been so difficult for you. I literally have guilt about it because I feel like I did so well, I set you up thinking it was going to be easy. If I could take half the pain you have onto myself I would do it. I just hope they can figure out what’s going on and fix it soon. You shouldn’t have to live in pain for the rest of your life. If there is anything I can do to help, you let me know! seriously! Love you!!

    • Thank you Erika, you are the sweetest! You’ve been such a great support system for me. I’m finally feeling good and I love exchanging recipes with you! I’m glad to finally be on the same page, love you too!! ❤

  7. I am so hippity- hoppen fighten mad right now I could POP !!!! How could these people treat you as they do the masses ??? You are an individual with specific needs and problems. They should gather all the specialists that are needed and make a complete plan for JUST you. The fact that there was an addict in your family certainly doesn’t mean that giving you aid during post-op does NOT mean you are going to become an addict……shame on them. The visiting nurse needs to be horse whipped and then given the same treatment you were…….True ovarian surgery can cause hormonal imbalances and even fainting……why have they not checked that out ? Boy, I need to pack my bag and come up there with a twelve gauge shotgun and clean house…. You have had some piss poor care and it needs to change. No way should you be feeling this way. You are going to have to raise Caine and make them hear you. Maybe you should have had a nurse in the family as an advocate. My heart just breaks for you. I can promise you are in our prayers and you do not deserve this.

    • I went to the hospital after this post and raised some hell, don’t you worry Joan! Now I’m feeling better and I will be posting what they found out. Thank you for all of your continued support!

  8. Pingback: Feeling Better | hilaryflint

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