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Leslie's Weight Loss 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.

Week 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!!

October 2008:

All is great, but I recently had to have my band replaced. My band slipped so I was unable to keep anything down and the heartburn was intense. So Dr. Jones and his team took out the slipped band and placed a new one in. That was two weeks ago today and I feel much better. This is something that can happen, but out of the 'bandsters' I'm very close to, I am the only one this has happened to, so I still believe anyone considering getting the band should not let this detract them from the procedure. I strongly feel that the odds of this happening is slim, but unfortunately it can happen and if it does happen it can be fixed! But the pros so out weigh the cons.

But other than that I had great summer with my family and friends. I enjoyed the beach, pool and outdoors as much as possible. Of course with all the rain we had, outdoor activity was not as much as I had hoped for.

Like I've said, summer is not my time of year for dieting. I am an ice-cream-aholic (such a word hahaha). I don't care about the year round places; I tend to enjoy all the homemade seasonal mom and pop shops.

However, I am proud to say that I am down approximately 90 pounds and my size is now 14/16. I no longer can shop in the plus size stores. I love being able to go into any store, stores I referred to as normal sized, and just grabbing and going. My favorite is being able to buy in the juniors department. That was such a cool experience. XL stretch pants and an XL long shirt! The girls at work absolutely love it when I wear that. They say I look like a kid. Hahaha. It's great hearing the word 'kid' at my age.

I went Trick-or-Treating the other night with my kids over at a friend's house and her parents we also there. Her mother told me that if she were to walk past me on the street she would not even recognize me. And her father cracks me up because he can't seem to place me until we pull out the old wedding pictures. I can honestly say I now enjoy Trick-or-Treating or any other walking activity. I don't dread seeing a steep hill that needs to be climbed or running with the kids from house to house.

I no longer think what my next meal is going to be while eating the current meal. I still love food but it is no longer a priority. Believe it or not I enjoy cooking more than I used to. I am not really sure why, you'd think it would the other way around, but it's not. Maybe because I know my husband has a fancier palate where I have a more plain taste. So since eating isn't my main priority, cooking more healthy and flavorful meals is more fun.

I still believe the band was the best move I ever made. And I'd do it again! Actually I did!

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

Posted October 2008