Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Melton Relay for Life 2012

This Relay for Life was my 3rd Relay and although I probably shouldn't have done it, I did.  I did (give or take) 21 laps.  I was keeping track on my phone with my lap counter however, didn't add in some at the start or a few at the end.  I know that I am still feeling it a bit and it's 2 days on!  It was an amazing experience and I'm looking forward to the next one that I participate in which will probably be Frankston (unless someone ropes me in earlier).

I have an amazing friend named Terral.  It was her first Relay for Life this year.  I asked her if she didn't mind writing something up about her experience.  She has been on such a fantastic journey over the past 12 months.  I am so proud of her.  And I was so inspired by the challenge that she set for herself and how she accomplished it...

Hi! My name is Terral. On the 26th February 2012 I participated in my very 1st Relay for Life due to my friendship with Stephanie. In June 2006, my life was affected by Cancer with the passing of my father who had been diagnosed 3 months prior. But this challenge wasn’t just about my support for the Cancer Council but also my fight against obesity, which has been documented can contribute to the Cancer gene. I have struggled with my weight from childhood. But in saying that there were people around me who accepted me for the way I was & who I was. Yes, I copped a heap of torment going thru school, at home from my brother & worst of all, my mother. Losing my father so suddenly was a culture shock to do something about my weight. I lost it & found it again. More recently with the added incentive & inspiration of Stephanie, I have managed to lose some weight over the last 10 month period . So, I set myself the challenge to complete 36 laps of the Melton Tabcorp Park trotting track which is 1.04 kilometres in length & therefore would equate to 37.44 kilometres in the 18 hour period of the Relay for Life event. For someone who hadn’t really been to active previously I considered this was a large feat. How did I come to this goal? Well I guess it was abit of a mistake. I considered with the event starting at 4pm on the Saturday & finishing on the Sunday at 10am that it was only a 6 hour period (10 minus 4). It was a long day at work & the brain was fried. As per the literature we received on the Monday night prior it stated that a lap would take between 7 – 12 minutes to complete.  Therefore, I considered I should be able to complete a lap in 10 minutes meaning 6 laps an hour for 6 hours making my goal 36 laps. Being more realistic, it took me approximately 12 - 15 minutes to complete each lap. The heat of Saturday 38 degrees was nearly my undoing after only 8 laps which were completed in internals of 2, 2 & 4 when I felt light headedness. A lay down & rehydration with glucose & electrolytes solved this along with water. I wasn’t going to let down my team or those people who had sponsored me. Beside me along the way for the greater proportion of my laps was my boyfriend who doesn’t exercise for any reason or 1 of my friends who had surgery within the last fortnight. Laps 32, 33, 34 & 35 I pounded the track by myself but the last lap my fellow team members joined me to celebrate my achievement. Thank you again it was the encouragement I needed to do that last lap. All our lives are destined to be touched by someone who suffers from cancer & would recommend supporting the cause to anyone.

I am putting Terral's link to her Relay for Life donation page below so that you can donate if you'd like.  I still can't believe she did 36 laps.  She had a pace on her as well!  When we did the last lap with her. we were all in agony but she was strutting along.  It was amazing to study our silhouette's in the sunshine as well.  She has the most gorgeous curves and looked like a super model as she was walking down the track.  I am so inspired by her. 

Thank you to Terral, Jeff, Ricky, Sarah, Lachlan and Callum for being part of the Melton Relay for life 2012.  It was fantastic to do it with you and can't wait until we do it again.  Proud of you, honey xoxo

Here is Terral's donation link - click on it!  I will be...


2 sleeps until surgery!

2 sleeps until Surgery!  I haven't really thought about it that much (despite the Countdown on Facebook).  And I'm not really worried about it.

I lost 3.8kg this week - I am sure that was due to the relay for life on the weekend (shall update about that later - think I have a guest blogger to tell of their amazing achievements!).

I know I have said this a lot but I really look forward to getting back to where I should be which is back on track. 

Over the weekend, I spoke to several people who have had gastric sleeve and if this band doesn't work and I have to end up having a third, I will have a sleeve for sure.  I know that it works.  It's just a matter of weighing up the risks at the moment and the risks for me at this point in time are a little too much.  Thank you so much to everyone who has given me advice and suggestions over the past few weeks.  I really appreciate it xo

I shall update everyone with how my surgery went on Friday - I will be way too groggy to write anything on Thursday night (although it would be a funny read!).  I expect to be in a fair bit of pain like I was last time and have stocked the fridge with things that are friendly for me to have like I said I was going to.  I also have some good DVD's to watch whilst I recover.  I don't plan on sitting on my butt for too long.  I shall go for a little walk on Monday so long as I am feeling okay.  I plan on getting back into it right away.

I'll weigh myself on Thursday morning before I go to the Hospital and look forward to seeing how well I've done in the 2 weeks that I am on fluids for.  I am hoping for a fantastic loss.

See you on the other side...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Relay for Life tomorrow!

This week has been rather uneventful.  I have been in a bit of pain and have been vomitting quite a lot.  I find that I have a fair bit of reflux and am now really looking forward to getting my band replaced.  6 sleeps to go! 

Like I've said, I am looking forward to continuing my banding journey and getting the rest of this weight off.  I have just under 100kg to loose still.  And I want it gone.  My weight loss has really been at a stand still over the past few months due to the problems I've had and I can't wait until I'm all ready to go again.

That book 'eating by the light of the moon' arrived yesterday.  I am looking forward to reading it.

Tomorrow, I'll be participating in my 3rd relay for life.  It is going to be 37 degrees!  I am realy looking forward to getting out there and getting the job done!  It is going to be quite hot for the first 5 hours or so until the sun goes down completly.  I am working out ways on how I can help keep my team cool!  One of them is a small baby pool full of ice and water to dip out towels in.  I'll also bring some ice packs and plenty of drinks. 

If you haven't yet donated (or are one of the many who said they will but haven't had the chance yet), please go to http://vic.cancercouncilfundraising.org.au/personalPage.aspx?registrationID=323513 as every cent counts.  Lachlan and Callum are doing the relay with me again.  I think it's a fantastic oppertunity for them to be able to understand what cancer takes and how you are able to give back.  I am proud of them.  I wonder if Lachie will be able to stay up all night like he has the last 2?  Callum has gone to sleep at around about 4.  Either way, Sunday is always written off as we just sleep!

I also have an appointment with a psychologist to talk to about my weight.  I am looking forward to catching up with them and going through some issues surrounding my weight and why I am where I am.  This has been such a journey and as I have said a few times, I don't know myself at the moment.  I am looking forward to being able to reclaim some of that over the next few months. 

I have been thinking a lot about working out what I want to do in the next few years.  I have never been one to do a 2 year plan or anything like that but I want to work toward a goal.  I think this would help keep me focussed and on track and perhaps it will encouarge me not to have so many 'stand still' moments. 

Wish me luck for tomorrow and I'll post after the relay!  If I'm not a shrivveled up prune from being in the heat for so long!

Monday, February 20, 2012

5 sleeps until Melton Relay for Life 2012

Only 5 sleeps until the relay!  I am really excited.  It is going to be an awesome night.  I just got back from the pre relay meeting and they have some fantastic things lined up.  Terryl and Rick are aiming high and are going for 36 laps each!  The track is just over 36km long.  I have no doubt that they'll be able to do it.  I am going to try and match them.  We have an awesome team and I really look forward to participating in my 3rd Relay for Life.  Lachlan and Callum are pumped as usual.  They get so much out of the Relay.  I wonder if Callum will walk as much as he has in the past years?  It is a music theme so I am happy I bought him his Michael Jackson glove today :) he'll be in his element.

Please sponsor me!  I'll stop asking once I hit my target of $200!


If everyone who visted my blog each day donated $1, I'd raise about $240!  And that would be fantastic :)

It's also only 8 sleeps until my surgery.  I've been trying not to think about it.  I've had other things on my mind in the recent weeks that seem to take up a lot more of my time than worrying about my surgery.  I am feeling a lot better though now that I am out of pain. 

Stay tuned for my February pics that I took at the start of the month and of course the relay photos that I'll post after the event.

I'm enjoying being able to eat some different types of foods - I enjoyed a salad roll on the weekend and even munched on 2 points of sandwiches tonight at the Relay for Life meeting.  Oh how I miss bread!  I shall enjoy it whilst it lasts which won't be long at all...

Hope everyone had an awesome Monday :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

12 days to go :)

12 days to go until Surgery.  I have had a rather productive day.  I have been cleaning a lot and mainly folding clothes.  It's great to have a lot of energy and be pain free especially after I've been uncomfortable for so long.

I am trying to work out how to make things a bit easier for me when I get home.  I also need to remember what I packed in my bag before going to Hospital.  I have written a list here as some other people might find it handy.  Given the fact that I expect I won't have any complications (like last time), I packed lightly.  I didn't need a lot - I was more interested in trying to count how many fingers I had rather than struggling with the difficulty of keeping awake due to the pain killers although in saying that, it's nice to have some things just in case of being distracted.

My bag for Hospital will inlcude

2 pairs of soft PJ pants
2 light tops
2 bras or crop tops (and if you can, bras that do up at the front are awesome so you don't have to stretch)
Thongs (I HATE slippers but if you're a slipper person, this is where you would put slippers!)
Shower gel and sponge (or soap if you're a soap person)
Mobile phone (and charger!)
Books or Magazines
iPad or Kindle or some other kind of electronic amusement
Pen and pad (so you can write anything down that you might want to ask your Doctor)
Water bottle (saves having to keep reaching for the jug and pouring a glass)
Barley sugars or some other lolly to keep your blood sugar happy
A book about lap banding - this ends up almost being like a manual to your band and what to expect
Loose fitting clothes to go home in

I think that's about all I took last time.  I spent most of the time in my undies and a Hospital Gown but anything you wear, it's nice to have loose fitting as you don't want anything too tight like jeans.  The lowest incision is on the belly button so even some daggy granny undies or boxer shorts are ideal so that they don't cut in or make you feel uncomfortable.  Remember - we are having surgery, not starring in the Victoria's Secret runway show (yet...).

It's going to be a busy week in my household the week after I've had surgery.  I am going to preplan and cook all of the meals (where possible) so that we are as organised as possible.  I am not allowed to drive for around 2 weeks (this does vary between surgeons).  It is also important to keep up your fluids after the surgery so that everything continues to work well. 

I am lucky this time around that I know what to expect after banding.  I am going to have to do the 2 weeks of fluids, then 2 weeks of mushies (baby food texture) then normal foods.  I am going to plan out what I am going to eat - last time I had very little idea of what I would feel like or want - this time I know to make the soup BEFORE going into Hospital and freeze it rather than making it the day I come out (ouch!).

Back to cleaning I suppose...

And if you haven't already, please consider making a donation to my relay for life which is this weekend.  Every cent helps :)


Thursday, February 16, 2012

1st of March 2012 - lock it in!

I saw Doctor Winnett this morning. 

He went over all of my barium swallow images, one by one and compared them all.  He checked my shoulder to make sure that the pain I am having isn't muscular skeletal and poked me in the ribs.  He weighed me (I'm down a kilo and a half since last week - go me!) and he checked my stomach.  He is going to put a new band in.  Like we agreed, I've been going around in circles with these problems since September and I've had enough.

I spoke to him about the possibility of having a gastric sleeve.  He told me that it is still very risky given my weight.  I think that for now, I'll have the lap band replaced and if I need to have another one before it's expected that I'd need one, I'll have gastric sleeve done.  By then, I'll be a lot smaller than what I am and there won't be so many risks associated with having the surgery. 

I'm still being sick and have experienced a little bit of reflux this afternoon but other than that, I hope the next 2 weeks go quickly as the mixture of vomiting, aches and pains and not being able to do any strenuous exercise is not something I am too excited about.

I'm also happy that the Surgery has been pushed back as that means I can participate in relay for life which is something I wasn't going to be able to do.  I hadn't wanted to think about that too much but can verbalise it now!  That's next weekend.  I'm really looking forward to it.  I shall take it easy but at least I'll be able to participate in it. 

Thank you everyone for your support over the past few weeks.  I really appreciate it. 

The next few weeks are going to be a roller coaster of some sorts I suppose.  I remember what it was like this time in November 2010 - I was a nervous wreck!  I am happy I know what to expect this time although I am still not very excited.  The only thing I am excited about is getting back on track... moving forward, looking forward 2.0 :) it also means I'll have a second bandversary!  Yay!  Sort of like Christmas in July without the yummy foods!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Confused... and sore

You have been warned - this post might be a bit long and may also contain a lot of whinging.

I have become one of Dr Winnett's higher maintenance patients over the past few weeks and today was no different.

On Sunday afternoon, I was sent home from Epworth with steroids and have been taking them as instructed.  I have been keeping on top of my pain relief and have been SO GOOD with my food!  I got to work at 7 this morning.  I was doing things as normal and at about 11.30am, I walked to the Photocopier, did some copying, went back to my desk, sat down and within 30 seconds or so, I started to cry as the pain that I was experiencing as SO severe, I couldn't do much else.  I asked my Team Leader for a break and I went into a meeting room to try and breathe.  I took some pain killers and then phone Dr Winnett's rooms.  I went back to my desk and just sat there trying to not think about how sore I was.

The pain was at the top of my shoulder on the left hand side.  It is generally referred to as shoulder tip pain.  Dr Winnett phoned me back and said that I needed to go and get the fluid taken out of my band right away.  I caught a taxi from work to the imaging place and they saw me right away as they were expecting me.  It took the Doctor about 10 get the fluid out as there was a bit of mucking around with my port.  The whole time, I was in tears.  It wasn't because of what he was doing - it was because of the pain that I was in.  Afterwards, I sat up and within a few minutes, I realised that I had no pain.  I had a barium swallow (lucky me - two in one week) and I went back to work as I was fine.  It was amazing how I could go from being in such immense pain to feeling almost 100%.

I left work and came home.  As I was walking down the platform, the pain started again.  Each movement I make hurts.  Lucky I can type without moving a lot.  I have taken some Endone (a very strong pain killer) and the pain seems to be easing off.

I see Dr Winnett tomorrow morning at 8.30.  I am going to go to bed soon in the hope that I don't wake up in pain.

I wish I knew what was wrong with me. Obviously it's something to do with the band but the fact is, it's hard to remember that I have something synthetic inside me that can cause things to go wrong.  The pain I was going through today was awful.  And I never want to go through something like it again.  I am just happy that I was close to where I had to go and get the fluid taken out.  Had I have had the kids with me or been somewhere else, I don't know what I would have done.  A $12 taxi ride has never been so worth it.

So, where to now?  I've been thinking a lot about my options.  I will speak to Jason about them tomorrow but, I am thinking about having a gastric sleeve.  The weight loss surgery option is the only thing that has worked for me so far.  My band has been a lifesaving tool.  I have said a number of times I don't believe I'd be here if it wasn't for it.  It has taken me so far.  I think that gastric sleeve is something that I should seriously consider.  I just need to weigh up the risks and find out who would be able to do it for me.  I would have to have the band removed and then wait a while and then have the sleeve done.  I know of people putting on 20kg in the space of 3 weeks after having their band taken out.  Having it taken out to see how I go might not be such a bad option as I don't have the time or the resources to have complications.  Obviously this is something that I need to think about a bit more.  Sleep on it, so to speak.  It's been a big few weeks for me...

I suspended my membership at the gym today.  I just haven't been going.  I'd prefer to be saving my money rather than spending it on something that I am not using.  I love going to the gym but just haven't had the time and haven't been feeling the best. 

I hate feeling as though I have taken so many steps forward but I am reluctant to take any back.

Today scared me.  It's not something I want to go through again.  And I hope I don't have to.

I shall update tomorrow when I get home... wish me luck xo

Friday, February 10, 2012

The good news, the bad news and the 'so so' news...

The good news - Doctor Winnett is pretty sure I don't have to have surgery... yet.  The bad news - I don't know what is causing my pain.  The so so' news - I don't like the unknown.

I went and had my Gastroscopy today.  I actually quite enjoyed some of the 2 hour wait as I walked down to Altona beach and I lay down on the sand looking at the sky.  I could have fallen asleep.  It was lovely to lay in the sunshine.  There was a bit of a breeze.  I had sand all over me.  I wish I had have gone down there at the start of my wait - I would have been very relaxed prior to my procedure.

The anesthetist introduced himself and I went into the room where the Gastroscopy would take place.  Jason had a look at my pictures from the Barium Swallow that I had on Tuesday.  When I woke up, he said to me that the pictures weren't as bad as what the report made them sound.  He said my pouch is a bit big but no where near big enough to have to worry about having Surgery at this stage.  He booked me in for next Thursday where he'll find out how I am and I might have my 2ml put back in.  He said we'll go slowly and he may need to operate again after I've lost another 40kg or so to make sure everything is in place.  I plan on losing that by the end of the year.

I am still in a fair amount of pain  Tomorrow morning I am going to make a menu up of the foods that I am going to eat this week.  I am going to make sure they are high fibre foods and I shall also concentrate on my water intake.  I've been doing pretty well but, I now know that it's going to be a bit tricky from here on in.  I don't have a lot of fluid in my band so I am going to be a bit hungry.  I am also going to be tempted to eat foods that I haven't eaten in a while as I know that they'll 'go down'.  But, I'll do it.  And I'll do it with flying colours.  I am proud of how I have gone so far.  It's all about moving forward and looking forward :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Surgery date set - 21.2.2012

So, the verdict is in...

I saw Dr Winnett today.  He told me that my pouch is enlarged, that I may have a hiatus hernia and he needs to check to see if I have erosion from the band.  I am still very much in pain and am taking strong pain killers.  I am trying to limit the amount that I am taking as they make me feel woozy and they also cause constipation.  I had not lost weight, in fact, I had put on 1 kilogram.  He said not to beat myself up about this and I haven't and he explained to me why I wouldn't have lost weight.  I understood but, it's still annoying to be at a total stand still with my weight considering I have been pretty good.

I suppose I need to take one day and one thing at at time.  First thing is first - I have a gastroscopy tomorrow to see what is going on inside my stomach.  This will give him an idea of what he is working with when I have the revision surgery.  He will be replacing the band but the port doesn't need to be touched.  He didn't remove any fluid today as I'd had 2ml removed yesterday.  He did say that he would be happy too however, if I am in pain tomorrow, I will ask him to do it although I haven't noticed a reduction in pain since the 2ml has been taken out.  I can't eat but I can keep fluids down.  Smoothies are on my list of things to eat for the next few weeks. 

One good thing about this surgery, I don't need to go on OptiFast!  Yay! 

I've had some mixed reactions to having to have a surgery revision.  Some people have said not to go through with it and to have gastric bypass or a gastric sleeve.  Others have suggested to have the band taken out all together.  I suppose I'll say this here and now and it's something I've said before and have no problems in admitting...

If it weren't for getting the band, I don't believe I'd be here.  I would have kept on eating.  I wouldn't have stopped.  I would have either died or gotten to 300kg.  I would have gotten to a point where I couldn't walk, where the palpitations would get worse, I would have continued to not be able to do up my shoes, not be able to get into the car, not be able to fit in the shower, break chairs and beds.  I wouldn't have been able to sit on Mum and Dad's antique chairs.  There are so many things that I am able to do now that I have lost this weight (almst 90kg) and I know that if I had the band removed, I would put all the weight back on again.  I'd like to think that I wouldn't but I know that I would.

In regard to having gastric sleeve - it is something that has worked wonders for many of my friends and it is something that I will consider if I have any more problems with the lap band.  Dr Winnett doesn't do gastric sleeve so it would be something that I would have to find another Doctor to consult with.  It also may end up that I would have to have the band taken out and then a few weeks later have the sleeve done.  As it is, having this surgery is going to result in me having to take 1 - 2 weeks off work and I want to reduce the amount of time that I have to have off as a result of my band and any problems that I may encounter.

I asked Dr Winnett for a number for a Psychologist today and I'll give her a call tomorrow to make an appointment.  She sounds lovely.  I am looking forward to dealing with the issues and why I am the way I am.  It is something that I am going to have to work through this.  I know this but, it is something that I look forward to fixing.  It's not just my physical self that needs fixing, it's also my mental.  I did buy that book that someone suggested as well which is called 'eating in the light of the moon'.  I look forward to getting it.  I also have a few books that I am going to read whilst I have my week off.  I suppose after having the surgery done, it is back to basics.  I will follow my 'knife, fork, band' book.  I am happy that I know what to expect.  Dr Winnett said that he has to operate a little longer than what he did the first time but other than that, the recovery is about the same.

I also know that it is a lot safer for me to be operated on now.  I was so scared before about death.  The possibility was very high.  I am not so worried now.  I also know that once this is done, I can start the journey again and strive to have fantastic results.  I am a bit worried as my scars were healing quite well.  I did mention my concerns to Dr Winnett about the fact that this is going to put my bikini modelling career on hold for a further few years but he did assure me that with a bit of assistance from Bio Oil, I'd be back on track in no time.  I shall hold him to that.

I'll make sure that I drive to work for the first few weeks - I don't want to be on a peak hour train only to have someone jab their brief case into my wound.  That would hurt. 

I shall let you know how I go tomorrow after my Gastroscopy.

Thank you for all your support xo

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Perhaps TMI for some...

It's been an interesting few days.  Sore to say the least...

On Sunday night, I had a really strong pain in my chest.  I couldn't breathe properly at all and found it hard to even take a full breath.  I went down to the local Emergency department where they did an ECG which came up fine.  My blood pressure was a bit high but all of my other stats were fine.  They suggested that I go straight to the Hospital.  As I had to drop Lachlan off for his first day of Year 8 the following day (not to mention the Twins were starting Kinder), I decided that seem as the pain had settled a little bit, I would just make an appointment with my GP, which I did.  I saw him at 3.30ish on Monday and he said that he believed the pain was to do with my band as it is in the rib and left hand chest area.  He ordered a chest X Ray which I couldn't have until the following day so, I went home.  He also gave me some strong pain killers.

That night, the pain got worse and worse.  My ribs were sore, my tummy was sore, I couldn't take a full breath again - it was horrible.  I ended up going to Epworth where they gave me some much needed pain relief.  They also took some X Rays and bloods.  I was in and out of it all night.  I was told that I was dehydrated so they started a drip.  My blood test came back fine but my X Ray came back saying that I was constipated.  I thought I was the complete opposite but, apparently I have fecal impaction.  Hmmm.  Basically, I'm full of shit! But I know that there are many people who could have told me that for nothing.

I ended up staying in at Epworth for the night and was supposed to see Dr Winnett today but, I slept through my alarm.  I will see him tomorrow at 11 and will work out a plan from then.  I am going to go and see a dietitian as well, I think.

I had a barium swallow yesterday and had 2ml removed from my band (I think there was 5ml in there).  This was supposed to stop the pain but I am still having it.  I am keeping away from the really strong pain killers as I end up being very, very woozy and can't function.  It's quit odd though that the pain killers I need to take are the ones that can make you constipated! 

So, that's it at this stage.  I am still here - just very, very uncomfortable.  I am going to sit down and review my diet and am going to try really hard to include as much fibre as possible.  Although I have been eating quite well, I haven't been putting as much thought into it as what I used to.  I have so many books that I can use (designed specifically for lap banders) and I plan on starting with them tomorrow.  But for now, I go to bed and try to sleep!

Thank you to everyone who sent me messages to find out if I was okay xoxo it's appreciated :)