I’ve been writing this post in my head for a long time.
For a while the title was going to be “Reeling.”
Cause that’s what I was doing.
It’s been an interesting journey, this time since August 16th.
That was the day when my world was rocked more than a bit.
My last appointment with Dr. Halpin.
Since then I’ve been ruminating.
Sending a daughter 3,122 miles away to college.
Getting my youngest through bi-lateral knee surgery at Shriner’s. (And a couple of complications thereof since.)
Weathering the fall-out of my middle kid being assaulted by an adult bystander at a basketball game – resulting in facial fractures and many, many visits to specialists to determine if surgery and re-do of orthodontia would be necessary.
Getting both boys through the flu – twice!
I’ve also been coordinating a big project – essentially, trying to get one hand-crafted item into the hands of the 1600 plus homeless students in our school district – by Thanksgiving!
And doing dishes, and laundry, and gardening, and taking care of my chickens, and canning.
And living life.
And trying to figure out what to do with this new gut of mine.
…and freaking out every time I step on the scale.
…and missing meat.
…and hating throwing up.
…and trying to find clothes that fit.
…and mourning the loss of my DS.
When I came out of surgery February 2nd, Dr. Halpin found John and gave him the lo-down on what had transpired in my 8 plus hour surgery. She’d explained that the stomach had to go; that they’d lengthened my common channel to 100 cm’s – she’d been worried that I was too thin and thought I needed more absorption. That I would be okay.
While I was still in the hospital she explained the same to me. I was pretty out of it and could barely hold a conversation, much less form substantive conversation about my new gut.
I remember nodding my head as she told me stuff, thinking, “I barely have the energy to nod!”
Weeks later, when I saw her in her office for the first of many post-op appointments I asked her to describe to me my new configuration. I’m the gotta know what my gut looks like girl. Right?! Gotta understand what was done in there – cause there may come a day when you need to be able to intelligently discuss it, right?
It seemed like our discussions were vague.
I asked her to draw it.
It looked nothing like I thought it ought and said so. She said she thought maybe she just wasn’t very good at drawing it. I can get that – I’m not such a great artist.
Months passed, and finally – on August 16th, when I saw her for my 6 month post-op appointment – I brought a print-out of the DS and asked her to PLEASE mark it up, show me what my gut was like.
For a couple of reasons, really. Yes, you need to know what they do to your gut! But – frighteningly – I’d done nothing but GAIN weight since my February surgery – and it was freaking me out. (Particularly coupled with the knowledge that my metabolism is pretty wrecked! So surprising – NOT!)
AND – because I’d started to have issues with blood sugars. High fasting blood sugars. NOT okay.
So – she drew.
And she explained.
And she said, “And so I took down your DS.”
And she said, “And I ADDED 100 cm to your common channel.”
“Wait!” I said, the room tilting, “You TOOK DOWN MY DS?!” And then the next line reached my cognition, “You ADDED 100 cm to my common channel? I thought you lengthened it TO 100 cm.”
“No – I added 100 cm. And yeah – I took your DS down. Basically, you’ve got a RNY gut now.” She said.
“Wait!” I said, nearly hyperventilating. “That means I’m not switched at all?”
“No. You’re not switched at all. I took that down.”
“No wonder the blood sugars.” I whispered.
“What do you mean?” She asked.
“I was severely diabetic before my DS. Like – fasting blood sugars in the 200s and 300s with 5 oral medications daily.” I explained.
“Well, I don’t think your DS was the whole reason it went into remission.” She said.
“I don’t think you understand the power of being switched.” I told her. “Do you know that they are doing just the intestinal portion of the DS on non-morbidly obese patients with severe metabolic syndrome – with nearly 100% elimination?!” I told her – she looked dubious. “I know patients who are living that reality. It’s true.”
Yeah, she didn’t believe me, I’m pretty sure.
We talked further. She encouraged me to exercise more. I reminded her that I’m orthopedic nightmare girl – whose added weight is already hampering her mobility. She said, “Oh. That’s right.”
But honestly – I was pretty much in a haze the whole way home.
No more DS?
All I could think about was Susan and her vow to get a tattoo across her belly that read, “Don’t mess with my DS!”
I shouldda gotten one!
Why didn’t I get one?!
And so, for a while I’ve been reeling.
Okay – I’ll admit it – I revert to reeling fairly regularly. In fact, I could well go up there and change the title back to Reeling if I think about it too long.
But mostly, of late, I’ve been trying to find my footing.
And to be honest – my footing isn’t so stable – literally speaking. Because of the added weight (I’m now at 165 lbs – up 40 pounds since February 2nd.) my orthopedic stability has declined significantly. My pain has increased substantially as well. I’ve had several falls. I’m starting to wonder if this ankle rebuild will meet muster when assessed in the coming March – it’s not doing good things. Only, I’m no longer a candidate for surgical intervention. Why? I weigh too much.
I’m still trying to figure out how to eat with this lack of a stomach. Meat is still pretty much out. I can do some fish – if it’s light and tender and flakey and thinly filleted. But for the most part, I’ve gotta go with vegetarian options to get my protein in. I sneak as much shrimp in as I can – but being that I’m technically allergic to shellfish – and too much equals one big bad reaction – well, I can’t really count on it too much. And I’m getting in as many eggs as I possibly can – but again, allergic to egg whites, so – caution must be exercised.
Bread is still evil. I have found that Oroweat’s Winter Wheat is doable under certain conditions. I.e., open faced egg salad sandwich pretty much being that condition. I keep hoping that someday deli sandwiches will be back in my repertoire – but thus far, ain’t happening.
I’m trying to keep my calories less than 1000 a day. That’s hard. And it sucks. And I hate it. (Do I sound whiney enough yet?) The problem with this being when my blood sugars bottom out and I have to counter with sugars to get it where it needs to be. (My reality this very afternoon.) All I could find was a cookie. I don’t want to waste my calories on reactionary stuff, you know?! UGH! (Okay, now I’m feeling more mad than whiney. But – I will tell you – I’ve been that way lately!)
I’ve been talking to Dr. Baltasar. Trying to understand WHY this is where I would end up. Apparently, it’s the norm. There’s a certain belief that it’s non-defensible to remove a stomach and leave a DS configuration. There’s a vague sense that I’ve gotten from several surgeons I’ve talked to about this in the last couple of months that they’re afraid of where that would leave a patient nutritionally. To which I want to say shout remind:
THE GIRL WHO STARTED WITH A BMI OF 66?
ALMOST 400 POUNDS?
EVERY CO-MORBIDITY IN THE BOOK?
I NEED MY DS!
I don’t want to be proud or haughty or rude – but if ever there were a DS post-op who understood what it takes to make the most of the care and keeping of a DS – HELLO?! – it’s ME!
I’ve asked Dr. B if it’s even possible to return the gut to a DS configuration. He has responded that we should just wait and see what the future brings.
Did I mention I’m reeling a bit?
And honestly – 165 pounds isn’t that bad. Right?! Yes, I’m clinically obese again.
Sorry – back to the thought… Yeah, so 165 isn’t that bad. I would have LOVED to have ended up there. I would be totally okay with staying here. The problem being this:
I’VE GAINED 40 POUNDS SINCE FEBRUARY 2ND.
Is no one getting the trend here?
Are they not cluing in?
Yeah – no, pretty much, they’re not.
I can admit it. I’m afraid!
I know where I started.
I know where I could well be headed.
I’m sorry -but this current configuration SUCKS and I want my DS BACK – NOW!
Okay – not bad enough to go into surgery any time soon. Still a little PTSD going on here.
Yeah. I’m still grieving.
Do you know what I went through to GET my DS?
The loss of it is devastating.
I have lots of RNY/gastric bypass friends. I love them. I honor them. I know they had their choice to make, and I had mine. This is not meant to slam any person. This is about MY feelings and MY understanding of MY physiology.
The RNY is not good enough. Not for me, anyway.
I guess that’s part of the whole sense of being caught in a bad dream. How can I be going through this? How?
Yeah – I know. We’re back to my own stupid fault. Back to the too much ibuprofen thing.
Oh, to be able to turn back the clock some.
But that’s not real life.
And so – once again – I find myself needing to pull up my big girl panties and move on with my life.
I guess part of the reason I’ve not blogged here much – aside from my life being crazy busy, etc. – is that I feel like it’s a little fraudulent to blog under “Living the DS Life” – ’cause I’m not any more. And well – it makes me sad. (..and mad, and scared, and angry, and terrified, and…)
Okay – I’m going to shut up now.
I’m not giving up blogging here. I’m just still trying to figure out how to live this new life. Honestly – it’s exhausting, trying to figure it all out.
Comments? Let ’em fly. I’ll do my best to answer.