I’m scrambling to catch up because I haven’t even blogged about my surgery yet and yesterday was my 1 week “surgiversary”. Recovering the right way takes a lot of my brain power, apparently.
I fully intended to write one more blog post before my surgery day, but those plans were dashed by a sadistic little bitch called “Day 7 – Pre Op CLEAR liquid diet”.
So let’s talking about the pre-op diet that my surgeon requires of all patients. 7 days of liquids: 6 days full liquids, 1 day clear liquids. Here it is:
PreOp Full Liquid Diet
3 – 4 Meal replacement shakes (from approved list) per day
At least 64 oz of water daily
Tea and coffee without sugar or cream/milk
PreOp Clear Liquid Diet (day before surgery)
Gatorade/Powerade/Vitamin Water Zero
**NO RED OR PURPLE DYES IN ANY BEVERAGES**
The pre-op full liquid diet of protein shakes and sugar free jello isn’t that bad. The first day, you’re excited. Then it wears off. Then you start remembering all the restaurants you didn’t get to have one last hurrah at. Shit.
Honestly, I handled that fairly well. One of the nice things about gastric sleeve surgery is once I’m healed and eating regular food, I can eat anything I want. So if I felt a little regret creep up about not getting to go to Razzoo’s one more time, I just reminded myself that I would be back there again soon if I wanted to. Their blackened chicken po-boy sandwich is GORGEOUS. After surgery, I’ll only be able to have a couple of bites of the grilled chicken in the sandwich – but that’s the best part! I won’t be able to eat the bun. I’m okay with that. Eventually, I’ll be able to have a bite or two of it if I choose. The main takeaway is that I’m not losing anything, I’m just being forced into finally learning moderation.
Most of the time, I just kept my nose to the grindstone. I felt myself starting to go a little numb around Day 5-ish. I was getting tired of avoiding food and focusing on the protein shake thing. I was starting to obsessively worry about facing surgery. It’s totally my thing. I get all melodramatic and stupid. I start wondering if I should leave little notes around the house in case I die so that HMH knows which niece to give my Grandmother’s watch to or which of my friends to offer my needlework supplies to. Not to mention the notes I’d have to leave around the house to remind him about housecleaning ‘n shit.
By the time Day 6 rolls around and you’re facing the clear liquids on Day 7, you’re ready to cry. I sipped leisurely at that last protein shake, my friends. Leisurely.
As it so happened, there was a winter storm approaching north Texas the night before my pre-op appointment. It was quickly looking like the roads were going to ice over and I wouldn’t make it to my mandatory pre-op appointment on time. The hospital is an hour and a half north of our home…and my appointment was at 8:30 am. On a work day. Add an ice/sleet storm to that and you have a recipe for disaster. So I did the only thing a Hot Mess Princess with a plan would do: I drove my ass up there the day before and I stayed in a hotel. Mother Nature better think again when she tries to keep me away from something important!
The nice thing about it was that the hotel was basically right next door to the hospital…and my room was its own little studio apartment. I had a full kitchen and a kick ass bathroom. Free wifi. I was all set up to hunker down and watch the storm roll in. The bad thing? We didn’t want to kennel the dogs for this, so HMH stayed home while I camped out all by my lonesome. Plenty of time for me to lay around and obsess a little more.
Here’s another tidbit of wisdom if you’re thinking of having any type of bariatric surgery: beware of the mental meltdown/shutdown. Not necessarily about food. I think mine was caused by my talent for obsessing mixed with a genuine feeling of being overwhelmed by all the shit I was going to have to go through. Although I took my tablet and about 7 needlework projects with me, I spent most of my time in the hotel watching tv that I really didn’t enjoy…and staring at the wall/laying on the bed. I just sat there and festered. Not healthy. Wouldn’t have happened if HMH had been there to distract me.
The next morning I made it to the hospital for my pre-op appointment (I had my frizzy hair tied back so they wouldn’t mistake me for a patient from the mental observation wing). In the waiting room, I met a fellow patient named Laura. Same surgeon, same surgery date. In fact, her surgery was scheduled just before mine. We insta-bonded over the following questions:
Are you scared or nervous? (Yes, we both were.)
Have you tried the protein water yet? (I hadn’t, she had…she warned me that it’s not pleasant.)
What’s been the hardest part for you? (I don’t think either of us narrowed it down, we just chatted back and forth about what an experience this whole thing is.)
It was wonderful to have a new friend to experience this with. Together. Someone to compare notes with as we go along. We exchanged phone numbers and promised to visit each other in the hospital the next day.
After the pre-op testing we headed across the street to our surgeon’s office for our final stop: a visit with the bariatric nurse, who took our measurements and gave us exercise guidelines, and an open forum question/answer session with other patients that was led by our surgeon. By the time I was headed home, I had a big smile on my face and a nervous feeling in my tummy.
That last night at home was pretty brutal. All I could think of was surgery. Was I going to be okay? Would I have any complications? Am I really doing the right thing? What if I’m the exception to the rule and I still can’t lose this weight? The musings got more sensational as it got later, so finally I just popped an Ambien and knocked myself out.
I’ll pick up tomorrow with a blog about surgery day – but I just want to say this about the pre-op full/clear liquid diets: it’s hard. It’s very hard. It’s challenging mentally, emotionally, and physically. The hunger is difficult to ignore at times. I wasn’t always hungry but there were times that I felt a little crazed. The fact that my surgery was looming in the distance kept me in line. I didn’t want to cause myself any complications because I couldn’t toe the line. So I didn’t.
For me, the worst times were when I would just zone out and stare at the wall. I had lots of things to do that I’d pre-planned for but none of them were motivating when I was actually in the thick of it. The last two days of the pre-op diet were miserable for me and, even though there was pain associated with the actual surgery, in many ways I consider the pre-op diet to be the hardest part of this process so far. It’s definitely not to be taken lightly – but if you plan ahead and approach it with an open mind and have lots of support, you can do it.
If I can do it, anyone can.
I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about surgery day. In the meantime, if you have questions please feel free and ask…or tell me about your own surgery experience. I’m all ears.