The catch-up continues!
Week two brought on a lot of changes, all of which were definitely for the better. I was no longer stuck to thin liquids and I suddenly had a whole new variety of food opened up to me. I was able to eat pudding, protein shakes (I also was able to have these the first week), Greek yogurt, pureed soups, fruit smoothies and other thick liquids. It felt so nice to be able to taste something different again!
One of my favorite things to eat during this time was Unox Ertwensoep (pea soup, seen in the photo above) put through the blender. I was incredibly nervous when I first tried it as I really had no idea how much fat was ok, and even though this had very little fat I was still scared out of my mind that I was going to have a bad reaction. I didn’t though, and I ate a LOT of this soup in the following 1-2 weeks.
The amount you see above is all I could take at once, which was roughly a half a cup. It would take me between 30-45 minutes to finish the bowl and I would often have to get up and put it in the microwave as it would get cold before I could finish it. Even cold it was delicious, which was strange because before the surgery I may have eaten this once a year as I really wasn’t a big fan of it. It’s what changes when you are suddenly so limited, the tastes in this thrilled me to no end all of a sudden.
The Physical Bits
The plasters came off my incisions during the second week and felt so much better. I got a little woozy as I was taking them off as I wasn’t sure what to expect but they were all healed very nicely. As the swelling started going down in my belly I was able to assess what I was feeling a lot better. I still had pain in my upper belly around the incisions and in the muscles if I made movements that were too extreme. Getting up and down from my chair was a lot easier, I didn’t have any constant pain from it, so all was well.
I did, however, realize something strange going on. I had complete numbness in one part of my upper belly and hypersensitivity at the left side of my waist by my belly button. When I visited the doctor for my checkup at the 10 day point, she told me it was nerve damage from the surgery and could take up to 6 months to repair itself. It wasn’t horrible, but it was enough to be annoying.
I still wasn’t able to sleep on my side with total comfort and sleeping on my belly was still out of the question. Sometimes I could tuck a pillow up against my belly for support and sleep comfortably on my side for a few hours but it was always sore when it came time to shift to another position.
I continued to have issues with the trots and dashing to the toilet. I called the clinic about this a number of times but they continued to assure me that it was normal and was due to my liquid diet. My friends who had surgery before me told me to enjoy it while it lasted because once I started solid food, I’d have the exact opposite problem. Wasn’t looking forward to that.
My exercise still consisted of short walks of about 20 minutes. I was still slow moving and it was snowy and icy at this point (in late January) so I was very slow moving both due to my lack of stamina and needing to be careful where I was stepping. On days when the weather was too cold or I didn’t feel up to going out, I continued to climb the three flights of stairs in our building once or twice a day.
The Mental Bits
Mentally I felt fantastic! I was happy and feeling incredible after getting off the diet from the week before. The change in diet brought me more enjoyment from the limited amount of food I was able to eat as well as increasing my energy levels a bit, which helped a lot. The complete lack of hunger and obsession with food continued to thrill me to no end.
The Out and About
I didn’t go out a whole lot at this point. I still went out and did some shopping, went out on short outings with my husband, but I generally stuck close to home. I had 1-2 visitors come by, which was really nice… I was still a little lacking in the brainpower department and was easily tired in that respect but it felt great to see people and socialize!
The Weight Loss
My weight was still coming off fairly steady at that point. My weight at the two week point was 111.4 kilos (245 lbs) which was 7.6 (approximately 17 lbs) down since the surgery and I was happy with that. I was already starting to feel better physically and while I couldn’t necessarily SEE a lot of changes, I did notice that some of my clothes were getting looser, and when I walked I didn’t feel as much shaking and wobbling going on.
The Long and Short of it All
Week two was a drastic improvement over week one in every possible way. I was happy, my weight was coming off, I had no hunger and I had a bit more variety in my diet and I was moving and getting out more. The only down side was still having the trots every day, which also made me not want to venture too far from home. In the grand scheme of things it was a non-issue. Week two was a really good week for me!
In the beginning of week three not a lot had changed, it was basically just a continuation of the week before. The booklet from the clinic said that if the thick liquid phase was going well that I could go ahead and try some more proper food.
I had prepared for this stage by cooking boneless, skinless chicken filet in the oven, I cooked carrot and turnip and then froze it all. So when it came time to try some real food (put through the food processor, of course) I had food already made and just needing to be pureed and heated up.
Towards the end of the third week I decided to give it a go!
This was my first “Real Meal” after the surgery. I pureed the chicken but my urge to chew was so strong that I stopped it just short of turning into mush. It looks like a lot of food in the photo but this is a desert plate and desert fork. There’s actually only about a tablespoon of turnip and half a tablespoon of the carrot. I had a package of ‘light’ gravy (no fat, made with water) so I put that in with the chicken so that it wouldn’t be too dry.
I was so incredibly nervous as I ate this. It took me quite a long time, probably about 45 minutes and I ended up leaving about half of the turnip on the plate. After about 10 minutes it was stone cold but I didn’t care because I was just enjoying chewing so much. Not that it required much in the chewing department, I think I was just kind of going through the motions because I needed to.
Thankfully, once again I had no problems after introducing something new into my diet, and the half hour of sitting waiting for lightning to strike after I finished was for nothing!
The Physical Bits
Physically my belly generally felt the same. The pain with extreme bending or twisting was the same, not a jarring pain but more of a “Remember you had surgery recently, idiot!” kind of pain. Enough to remind me to take it easy. The nerve pain continued to irritate me but not to the point of it being a major issue.
Sleeping on my side became more comfortable and towards the end of the week I attempted to sleep on my stomach. It was possible but it did cause discomfort in the incisions and the muscles in my upper belly. I had to shift slowly and comfortably, push myself up and position the weight differently on my belly in order to get comfortable. Even with the small bit of discomfort it felt wonderful to be able to sleep on my belly again!
Just as my friends warned me would happen, one day part way through my third week the trots stopped dead… it ALL STOPPED DEAD. I ended up going five days without any movement at all and it made me crazy. According to the people at the clinic (and everyone I asked on different WLS groups) it’s normal. Around the three week point most people see their weight loss slow down and their bowels go completely on strike. Mine were striking hardcore. I spent the entire second half of the third week being constipated and it didn’t feel that great, for sure. I hoped that week four would bring about a bit more regularity.
Again, the exercise during the third week was a continuation of the week before. We were in a bit of a cold snap here in the Netherlands, it was very slippery and not nice to walk outside.
But AHA! I didn’t let that stop me! I bundled myself up and got my butt out there!
Ok, I have to confess… I may not have gone out as often as I did if it weren’t for the fact that my husband hurt his back. Yeah, really bad timing, but that’s life! Thank the heavens for my super quick recovery because suddenly I was the one getting down to help him put on his socks and taking the dogs out! What a great pair of invalids we were! I kept my walks short, just around our immediate neighbourhood, but like the week before, I felt that as long as I was moving, it was all good!
The Mental Bits
Even though it was cold outside and my husband and I both weren’t at our best, my mood stayed quite high. OK, there MAY have been one minor tantrum after hurting my stomach trying to help him on with his socks… and I may have mentioned something about him hijacking my recovery. There were a few moments where I got a bit cranky because I was only a little over two weeks out from surgery and the tables had suddenly turned with me taking care of him. It got a bit like a competition for who was worse off and even though he’d taken great care of me up until that point I was still sort of like THIS IS MY TIME DAMMIT!
Whatevs. It’s called being married.
Anyway, being able to introduce something else into my diet for more variety made me happy. I enjoyed my walks and noticed myself getting less and less tired as I was out there. The lack of hunger was still a huge relief. The bowel issues and having a co-invalid made me a bit frustrated at times but I knew it couldn’t last forever (or hoped it couldn’t!!). All things considered, it really was quite the same as the second week, a little more to deal with but I was still happy and feeling better and better each day.
The Out and About
I was still going out regularly with Xander for some shopping (when we were both feeling mobile enough), I spent the day with a friend having a Twilight marathon here at home and towards the end of the week I went to a book club meeting at a girlfriend’s house. I loved seeing my friends, chatting and getting out there. I still wasn’t confident to take public transit and get out and about on my own but I was starting to see people and do things again, that felt nice. My friends were very supportive and interested in how things were going with me and I was happy to answer any questions they had.
The Weight Loss
At the three week point my weight was 110.3 kilos (approximately 243 lbs) which was not a huge loss (1.1 kilo or 2.5 lbs) from the week before. I was a little disappointed to see the weight loss slowing down but I had a feeling it was going to happen as I’ve heard others talking about the “dreaded week three stall”. I tried not to let it get to me but of course it did a little.
The Long and Short of it All
There wasn’t a lot of change between weeks two and three. I introduced a few new foods and started feeling a bit better as I continued my recovery. The fact that my weight loss was slowing down and the bathroom issues swinging from one extreme to the other was annoying but it didn’t bring me down too much. I knew all of this was possible, I expected it, so when it happened I just let it happen and got on with business. It’s all temporary and that’s just how I had to look at it. All in all week three was a great week! My check up at the clinic was only a few days away and I was ready to tackle week four!