What a Year!


Tuesday of this week I celebrated an anniversary. It’s been a year since I had the revision to my DS.


What a year!

A year ago I returned to Spain to Dr. Baltasar to have him re-sleeve my stomach. I’d also kind of hoped he’d shorten my common channel – but that was not to be. Honestly, today – a year later – I’m glad he didn’t.

Here I was – 5’2″ tall, 193 lbs (okay 192.78 lbs) and a BMI of 35.3.

Okay – not bad, when you consider I started here:

5’2″ at 365 lbs and a BMI of 66. (July 6, 2002 – 4 days post-op.)

I wondered – with just a re-sleeve – if I’d lose enough to satisfy my orthopedic surgeons requirements for me to go forward with the ankle reconstruction surgery. Not only was he satisfied – he was thrilled with my results. Enough so, that I was in surgery March 4th of this year for the ankle reconstruction. He ended up removing some necrotic bone, using donor bone to fill it; replacing all of the ligaments around my ankle with donor ligaments, adding a donor tendon across my ankle for stability, cleaning up a bunch of arthritis, severing the muscles in the back of my calf, so that he could reconfigure my foot and ankle. It was a big surgery. And I had to spend 6 weeks like this:

Man – I did a lot of knitting this year! I still am!

After my six weeks of non-weightbearing and toes above the nose, I was released to mobility – at first with a walker, then a cane, and a walking cast. The first six weeks I wasn’t allowed to use any ibuprofen, because it can actually cause your body to reject the donor material. Didn’t want that! But when I became mobile, and my pain escalated – and because I hate narcotics and the way they make me feel – I asked if I could take ibuprofen. They said I could.

And so I did.

I buy the 600 mg tablets of ibuprofen in Spain when I’m there. They’re awesome. I’ve been taking them for years. I don’t take them every day or anything, normally, anyway. If I’m having a particularly difficult time with pain orthopedically, then yeah, for a few days I might take it fairly regularly.

I wasn’t prepared for the pain that came with mobility. So I took 600 mg ibuprofen for pain. It didn’t cut it. So next, I tried taking 1200 mg of ibuprofen for pain. It didn’t always cut it, either, so then I tried 1800 mg of ibuprofen at a time for my pain. THAT worked. So I would take somewhere in the neighborhood of 1200 to 1800 mg of ibuprofen – oh, every 4 to 6 hours.

On April 24th, 2009 I got sick. It was not like anything I’d ever experienced before in my life. I had an upper left quadrant pain and tenderness, fever, and this overwhelming urge to go to bed and just sleep. I was peeing a lot, so I wondered if it might be a bladder infection – I really haven’t had them in the past, so I wasn’t sure. I ended up going home and crashing – and feeling worse by the minute.

Long story short, I ended up getting some antibiotics and feeling better for a while… Thus began the long drawn out saga known as “As the stomach turns…” In short, all of that ibuprofen use essentially burned two holes and caused two fistulas to form in my stomach. Ingested contents were passing from my stomach into my abdominal cavity and causing an abscess, and I would get sick. Then I’d get antibiotics and get better for a little while, and then I’d get sick again. I mean here it is November and I’m still not recipient of the magical “All BETTER!” seal of approval quite yet.

July 2009 Baltasar BBQ at the McBride’s House. John – 5 years post-op. Me – 7 years post-op. Isn’t my husband handsome?!

I was actually pretty sick in this picture. This was not that long before my second hospitalization with this whole stupid ibuprofen-induced illness. Gosh I look tall in that picture! I should always find an old stump to stand on in pictures!

I really look tall next to Michelle! She’s so tiny and petite, though!

Weight loss wise – in terms of the whole revision – I think I was probably about 145 pounds in July.

That was the point in time when I started having a really hard time eating – it would literally hurt to eat – in large part due to the fact that stuff was going through my stomach into my abdominal cavity! So I was not eating a whole lot. Then I went in the hospital and was NPO (nothing by mouth) a lot of the time for diagnostics and procedures.

I know that by late August and early September I weighed about 140.

(Nothing like a really flattering hospital picture to make your day!)

Somewhere in the course of September to now I’ve settled at the weight of 130 pounds.

I think I was in the third grade the last time I weighed 130 pounds.

So – let’s see… I’m 5’2″ tall, I weigh 130 lbs, so that means my BMI is 23.8.


I’ve never been a normal weight BMI in my adult life.

To be honest, I’m still trying to get my head around it. It’s really new emotional territory.

My size 10 petite jeans are getting a little too roomy. I have to hike them up quite a lot.

And yet – I still have days when I feel fat! When I was a pre-op, I always swore I’d never say that – I mean – HELLO – I’ve been fat! 130 pounds is NOT fat! I know that in my head. But somewhere in that ethereal zone between logic and emotion and hormones I have days when I feel – no other way to say it – fat. Yes, of course, not as fat as I used to be. It messes with the head – I won’t kid you.

So – would I do the revision again?

Heck yeah!

Would I take the boatload of ibuprofen again? YOU HAVE TO ASK?!

I always harp on people to make sure they take milestone photos – and guess what – I don’t have any! So I tell you what – I’ll work on getting some taken and posted. Okay? People tell me I look a heck of a lot better than I did a few months ago, now that I’m not nutritionally compromised any longer! All I gotta do is find someone standing still long enough to oblige me by pushing the button on the camera! That can be a challenge at our house! J

So – that’s my year as a revision post-op in a nutshell – for the most part.

I continue to be blown away at God’s faithfulness to me – providing what I need, protecting my life, guiding my steps. I couldn’t reflect on this year without saying: Lord God – I love you – I thank you for your kindness to me – even when I deserve nothing! Your mercies are more than I can fathom!

Okay – pictures soon!


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Kathy Eckert says:

    Dina, I am a member of the OSSG gone wrong site and found this link on your post. I am so glad you are doing well with the surgery but I want to ask you to be sure you keep a close eye on your kidney function. Ibuprofen can damage the kidneys as I have found out. I developed kidney disease recently, don’t know if it was from the JIB I had in ’77 or from the Ibuprofen I was taking for back problems but my nephrologist said to stop the Ibuprofen and don’t take it again. Just be sure to keep track of your Creatine Clearance, BUN, and GFR . I discovered that mine were bad when I was surfing the net and comparing my lab results from a health fair.
    By the way, you look marvelous!!

    1. dinamcb says:

      Thanks Kathy,

      Interesting! I’m not a member of that group – I’ll have to check it out.

      Yeah – totally got the lecture from a whole bunch of my docs about kidney AND liver function being altered due to excessive ibuprofen use. They’re still doing weekly labs and watching me like a hawk!

      Dang, girlfriend – you’re an old timer! I’ve got a friend who had her JIB in ’76 – what you guys have been through! Wow!

      Thanks so much for the heads’ up and the lovely compliment! 🙂

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