Friday, October 16, 2015

Baby It's Cold Outside...and Inside Too!

As the UK dives into one of it's two seasons....oh you didn't know we only have two? There is the season known as Cold, and the season known as Not-Quite-As-Cold-With-Occasional-Sunny-Periods. We are currently moving into Cold.

So, as I was saying before being so rudely interrupted, as the UK dives into the Cold, I am feeling every tingly, breezy, chilly bit. And we are still having tops of 12 during the day! At night it is dropping closer to zero, you can see your breath as you struggle to the Tube and of course when you get on the Tube you boil as you have so many layers on to battle the Cold.

Post weight loss surgery you will feel colder, your body is not getting as many calories, and you are burning your stores of body fat. Sadly, we are unable to hibernate like bears as we need to earn livings (and even I can't sleep that much!)

So now it is time for layers. Not too many that you look like the Michelin Man walking down the street, but not so few that we get chill burns either. The bright side is we get to accessorise with all the gorgeous hats, scarves and gloves that start to flood the market now. I am loving the cape coats that are popular this year, as they leave my arms free to bash unsuspecting commuters out of my way whilst keeping my core nice and warm.

I have a stash of reusable hand warmers for my pockets for when things get really nasty - I mean, it MIGHT snow again this year!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Guest Post from the Hussyband

When my wife first mentioned that she wanted this surgery I was shocked. My initial reaction was to say there is no way you are having major surgery to fix this. Like most people I had this idea that it was the easy way out, and comparing it to smokers saying they want to quit but not totally committed.

I remember trying to use logic to argue against it. "You are going to have surgery to stop you eating and drinking, so why can't you just do that without the surgery?"

My eureka moment was when discussing with my counsellor. She challenged me by saying what is the difference between taking medication and having an operation. There are many methods of treatment and the only thing that matters is that it works for that person. What works for one person may not be suitable for another.

Once I had my change of mind I was determined to support Elisa 100%. I made sure to look at the different options and understand why this one was the right one for her. I also looked around some of the forums to find advice for me to help support her for her journey. I found there wasn't a lot of support for me because most people seem to take this journey alone.

When it came to the day of the operation, I left work early to get home to take her to the hospital. I tried to stay calm to help her as she was already starting to get nervous.

We got to the hospital in plenty of time and Elisa was settled into her own room. Once all the paperwork was completed and the anithatist arrived, Elisa was taken down to the operation room and I went to the pub next door for dinner and the wait.

When I got back to the hospital she was just coming back to the ward and although in discomfort and very groggy she seemed fine, so I helped her settle as best as I could and headed home.

I got into the hospital the next day and Elisa was up (she hadn't much sleep as she had to keep walking around to help the gas disperse) and apart from a failed attempt at taking blood and a mixup with the cab Elisa was discharged without too much hassle.

Once home I did the best I could to make her comfortable and l had taken most of the week after surgery off so I think that helped. I was conscious of letting her do as much as possible so she would be able to cope once I went back to work.

The second week went by without any major issues and by the third she was heading into Central London to start a new job! We celebrated her birthday and our 8th wedding anniversary by going to the theatre and I gave her a necklace that I think she likes - no fancy restaurants this year, so I had to think of something different!

I am so proud of all the hard work and the pain that my wife has been through and will try and support her on her journey.


Note from Elisa: I love my necklace and my husband. Not necessarily in that order!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Level Up - Phase 1 Complete

Sorry for the radio silence - settling into a new job left little energy for anything else the last week.

Thank god Phase 1is over. I feel like I need a gold crown and an animated facsimile of myself jumping up and down to celebrate.

Phase 1 was hard. The first three weeks post-op were liquids and purees the consistency of custard. For excitement, I could have chocolate mousse made with skim milk - whohoooo. I am so rock and roll baby.

Things that got me through Phase 1 included:

  • Nutribullet - for turning chunky soups into smooth ones
  • Set of scales for measuring food
  • Measuring jug for liquids
  • Measuring spoons - tablespoons were my most used, but I found the smallest measuring spoon was perfect for eating with the first week!
  • Small/Medium plastic storage containers (for example breakfast was generally three tablespoons of Weetbix - I would squash two to three Weetbix up in a tub at a time, that lasts me just over a week, in the storage tub I keep a small 1 tablespoon measure so I don't have to go hunting,)
If you are UK based, the following foods will help give you some variety:
  • Tesco Diet Chocolate Mousse (3 tablespoons was about 2/3 of a tub)
  • Tesco Crab Pate (also the Smoked Salmon or the Mackeral) - half a container was one meal
  • Ambrosia My Mini Custard - perfect serving size!
  • John West Infusions Tuna - the chilli and garlic is best, half a tub plus a small dollop of cream cheese and a squirt of lemon or yuzu juice was amazing - throw it all together in a mini blender and pulse until smooth
  • Lighter Life ready to drink shakes from SuperDrug - they give you 20g of protein per serve, perfect for drinking on your way to work for breakfast.
Foods that anyone would find useful that are generic:
  • Miso soup - packets of instant miso, make as directed and just don't eat the chunky bits
  • Flavoured Teas - I have been, and continue to, struggle with getting my 2 litres of liquids a day. Flavoured teas help. My current stash has all sorts of stuff - jasmine green tea, mixed berries, apple and mint.
  • Speaking of Mint. Fresh mint, leaves only steeped in hot water. You can drink it hot, cold, luke warm. You can gargle it, You can even wash your face in it. It is fabulous, great for the inevitable gas that lurks like an unwanted guest at the end of a party.
So, now onto Phase 2. Adding texture, slowly increasing portion sizes and flavours.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Back to the Grindstone

I have been lucky, as a freelancer I was able to take time off not only post-op, but pre-op as well, so it made my 2 week liquid diet a bit easier to bear (no biscuits, rounds of tea, trips to the pub, stinky get the idea).

Today I started a new contract in Central London working on a large bid for a consortium of companies. I was dreading taking the Tube into town, it is notoriously busy, crowded, full of cranky bastards who care for no one else's comfort bar their own.

In anticipation I had a chat with my lovely local station guards, and they gave me a "Baby On Board" badge, I had asked for a "I have just had major surgery so give me a seat you bastard" but they don't exist (yet! A niche market though.)

I got into town OK, coming home tonight I had to stand for about 10 minutes as the train was heaving with people and their noxious body odours, thankfully I had to stand near a door, but you try holding yourself and your breath for 5 mins!

Work was good, Nice people, and I have told them what I have done, so they are really helpful with things like lifting heavy objects, plugging in power cords at floor level and making sure I left a meeting to get my food as per schedule.

Knackered now....wonder if I can get the Hussyband to cook for himself tonight?

Friday, October 2, 2015

I am No Longer a Hermit - Eating Out

Today I ate outside the house for the first time since surgery two weeks ago. I was desperate for a bit of normality, so after getting my hair prettified I met up with a friend at one of my favorite local pubs.

Don't worry - I didn't drink!

I had a chat with the manager, and he brought the Chef out to see me. We went over what I can eat, the amounts and textures, and he went off to work his magic.

It was really nice to be out of the house, with a friend, in a pub. OK I wasn't drinking, but I didn't mind her wine, I didn't even ask to stick my tongue in it (the wine you filthy perverts).

The Chef pulled together a lovely chicken and artichoke mousse quenelle, together with a mashed carrot one. Both tiny and perfect.

I was daunted about going somewhere where I knew I would have to order off menu, but the staff were brilliant, curious about what I had done to myself, and a little shocked as I am known for liking my food and booze.

If you are worried about explaining to strangers what you need and why, don't be. Everyone I have had to explain this to over the last few weeks have been supportive and understanding. It is a tool for us to transform our lives, and by talking about it, we demystify the procedure. If people understand it, they will understand us.

Baby steps people. Try it somewhere you used to go to and know the staff. If you don't want to talk about in front of people you are dining with as they don't know, call and speak to the chef/manager in advance.

Just because we have undertaken this procedure, doesn't mean we need to be restaurant and social hermits.