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Leslie's Post-Surgery Diary

Week One:

I had my surgery on a Monday. Everything went great and I came out without a problem. But I was in a lot of pain. It didn't hurt so much where they had made the incisions for the surgical instruments, but I was very sore where they had inserted the port (the access tube that allows doctors to tighten the band by injecting saline, further promoting a full feeling). It is on my left side just above my belly button. The incision was a couple of inches long and the port is stitched into the muscle. They gave me some pain medication and that helped some. The next morning I went down for a test called a barium swallow. They gave me a really disgusting clear drink first. I somehow got that down. Then I had the barium swallow to make sure everything inside was working properly. Then they started me on some water, which you must drink from a medicine cup, and they started me on Carnation Instant Breakfast drink.

I expected to get out of the hospital that day, but I was getting queasy going from x-ray back to my room. The hospital staff didn't want to take any chances in case I was coming down with a virus or something. I was better by Wednesday and left the hospital.

Over the next few days, I continued with the water, Carnation Instant Breakfast drink and added some other protein drinks, some flavored-some not. I was amazed that I would drink just a little and would feel very full. I just didn't want anything more!!

I did feel somewhat depressed in that first week. It was hard to get around. I'm used to being busy, working and running after my kids. And I was very sore. I remember thinking, is this ever going to go away? Will I ever sleep on my side, my stomach or be able to pick up my baby again? You know in your brain that it will get better, but it was hard to think that way at first. I needed to use a cough pillow to get comfortable enough to sleep. But each day I feel 100 percent better than the day before.

Weeks Two & Three:

Exactly one week after having the surgery, I went back to work. I had tried driving the day before and it felt okay. I don't have a lot of heavy lifting in my job (Leslie runs a small law office) and I had been really bored. After I got to the office, I was uncomfortable (still very sore) and washed out. It was the most I had done in a week, and this was major surgery! My body was still getting rid of toxins and I hadn't had solid food in a week. You're depending upon your vitamins and protein drinks for strength. I did make it through that day, and picked up my daughter from dance.

I was able to drink other liquids - soup broths, milk. But quite honestly after 2 weeks I had had enough of that. You're supposed to stay on liquids only for 4 weeks but I cheated and anyone who tells you they don't cheat is lying! I needed texture. So I started testing it. I threw some canned chicken into the food processor and I ate about 1 tablespoon with no problems. I still stuck to soups and cottage cheese, but everything else went into the food processor!

Week Four:

I got the green light to start on Stage 4 of my recovery. That means I could eat scrambled hamburger, eggs -moist things. I made Shake and Bake Pork Chops for the family and cut it up like I was a toddler learning how to eat. Just a few bites and I felt like I had eaten two entire chops, with stuffing and corn! Your stomach does growl and you do get hungry during the day, but just a little bit of anything fills you right up. I would eat one meatball for lunch and I was really full.

I was still a bit sore, but could sleep on my side and stomach! All my wounds had healed and I could finally pick up my baby!

Week Five:

Since my surgery, I have lost 21 pounds. I've started exercising -- 1/2 mile each day on my treadmill and about 5-10 minutes of stretching and weight training. I am completely pain free and feel great.!!!

Would I do it again? Yup. I would. If it's two weeks of discomfort for a lifetime of health, I would take it any day.

PS: The pants I wore in the interview (on the video) are now way too big for me. I tried to wear them the other day, and they kept sliding down!.

Four Months:

I hit my first big goal. 42 lbs. I know that is a strange amount, but I am now the same weight I was when I first got pregnant with my daughter which was in November of 1997!!

Nine Months:

It has been about 9 months since my surgery and I feel I'm still doing great!!! I have lost 47 pounds. I have to admit that I found the summer a bit of a struggle since my absolute weakness is ice cream, and all of the local mom and pop shops are open in the summer. I've gone from a size 26 to a size 18. Some clothes are 14/16!!!! Just the sizes alone make me so proud. I have so much more energy. I use to hate going food shopping, especially if my husband wasn't home to help me bring the bags in. Now I go shopping during the day and bring in all the bags myself. I don't get short of breath or feel exhausted afterwards. I now enjoy running errands and I don't worry about bringing the things into the house anymore.

I really enjoyed my summer. I didn't feel as self conscious in my bathing suit and mostly I enjoyed chasing the kids and playing beach games. I am now able to play tag with my kids which use to be close to impossible, because I'd be out of breath before I even got close to tagging or being tagged.

I really enjoyed Thanksgiving. A holiday with so much food. Usually, as we all know, we eat what our brain tells us to eat and we don't pay any attention to what our stomachs are telling us. But with the band you can only physically eat so much, which is great! You enjoy a little bit of everything, but in moderation. If someone were to tell me even a year ago that a small slice of turkey with a couple of tablespoons of stuffing would be more than enough I'd laugh at them. But now I'm living it, and it's wonderful. You get your taste and your fulfilled all at the same time.
I'm heading off to Disney with the family and can't wait! I know I'll have more energy and won't tucker out early. I know I will enjoy every minute of everything and not worry about fitting onto rides. Some say only 47 pounds, others say WOW 47 pounds. Either way it's my 47 pounds, my accomplishment and I am proud of myself. Even when I have the days when I think negative of my weight loss, which I'm sure we all do, I know that without the lap band I would not be down 47 pounds, but up at least another 10 pounds.

I still say this is the best thing I ever done for myself! The weight is coming off and the size of my clothes are getting smaller and I'm feeling better about myself! What more can I ask for. My life has changed for the better, FOREVER!

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.


Posted December 2009

Contact Information

Weight Loss Surgery Center
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Shapiro Clinical Center, 3rd Floor
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
617.667.2845
617.667.2866
wls@bidmc.harvard.edu

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