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  • Writer's pictureKate

My Pants Are Feeling Loose

Updated: May 2, 2020

Hi Everyone! I returned home a few days ago from my 1-month checkup at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. Everything went well, although it was a bit exhausting to travel across the country when already having limited energy reserves. I met up with my stomachless sister out there (she had her total gastrectomy the week before me), we shared a hotel room, and caught up on stomachless life. Also ran into my surgery partner (she had her surgery the same day as me) and the whole visit was like a mini reunion. The NIH truly feels like home now. I know my way around, I know the staff, how to get from point A to point B, what restaurants and hotels are best in Bethesda, the shuttle schedules, navigating the metro, the airports, etc. Heck, I have almost been there more in the past month, than I have been at home! So, if you every need a Bethesda tour guide...I'm your gal!

Finding snacks that work well on the go was a challenge, but these seemed to go down well. Sitting in the NIH Clinical Center Lobby.

The 1-month check was basically just sitting down with the team, discussing any questions or concerns I am having, checking to make sure I am healing well, and scheduling my 3-month visit. No labs or scans were performed since it is too early in the recovery process to need those. Full bloodwork and CT scan will be performed at the 3-month check in December to make sure everything is on track on the inside of my body.

As of my appointment, I had lost just over 10 pounds since surgery. Although, I believe in the 3 day visit to the NIH, I lost 3 more pounds...whoops. My dietician said this would likely happen, but I didn't believe her until I stepped on the scale when I got home and was surprised. She said, "It will always be easier to loose weight than to gain it from now on, and transitions such as travel, going back to work, advancing diet phases, etc. will cause additional weight loss." This is messing with my mind a bit, but my pants are fitting better, so that's a plus I guess! In fact, some are feeling a bit loose, which hasn't happened in quite some time.

Some things I learned while on this little trip:

  • I can tolerate french fries!

  • Regular portions in restaurants would literally take me 3 days to consume, ridiculous.

  • Asking for the kids menu, although slightly uncomfortable, is easier when you mention the keywords, "I have no stomach."

  • Even the kids menu portions are too big.

  • I need to pack more snacks before flying. My plane was delayed 2 hours, and while we were sitting on the tarmac, I realized my poor food planning meant I would miss a couple of pertinent meals.

  • I cannot wait to be approved to move to the phase 2 diet and be allowed to slowly reintroduce foods I am craving! Like, anything green! Veggies, fruits, nuts, pickles, whole grains, etc. Weirdly, I am really not craving sugar. The thought of dessert sometimes comes into my mind, but I am not really craving it, it is just a habit. I am grateful for this!

  • I don't have to always sleep on a 30 degree incline!

  • When out and about, make sure to scan the surrounding area and always be aware of where the nearest bathroom is. TMI, I know, but it is the reality of my life at the moment!

There isn't much else going on. I have my good days, and some not so good days, but I have been sleeping well for the most part and have been getting naps in when I need them. Still no lifting for another 3 weeks (my surgeon reiterated this key fact at the 1-month visit. He said my risk for a hernia won't go down significantly until 8 weeks post-op, so no heavy lifting until then). This makes it hard for me to get things done around the house, because basically everything requires lifting!!

Eating is going ok. I take each day as a new endeavor because something that worked well yesterday, might not work at all today. It is really weird, but to be expected per my dietician. I keep the house stocked with a variety of things that have worked well historically, and I can usually find something that will go down ok. I find myself missing going out to eat, and missing the social aspects of food, so I am going to try and be more adventurous in the coming weeks to see how it goes. I'll keep you posted for sure.

Goals leading up to my 3-month visit:

  • Shove down 1500mg of calcium citrate daily (for some reason I have developed an aversion to these suckers, and have been skipping taking them. But, with me already having osteopenia from breast cancer treatments, it is VERY important that I get these down)

  • Be more diligent about separating liquids from solids. I tend to drink and eat at the same time because it is so engrained in me, and I am just so darn thirsty all the time! But, doing so means there is less room for nutritiously dense foods and means I actually eat less. So, I will be working on this over the next couple of months.

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