Follow Me In My Determination To Change

I thought if I shared my journey I would be more likely to succeed.

Sunday 31 October 2010

Bored Now

Apart from being ill and then just so tired, all I have had to worry about is what to eat. You start with a very strict diet of pureed food and then slowly reintroduce other consistencies until at about 6 weeks you can eat anything (just less of it). However you do need to make sure you have enough units of protein, carbohydrates, fruit, vegetable and calcium.

At the moment (about 2 ½ weeks) my stomach is still healing, and so you feel full even quicker, and if you eat too much you feel bloated and full. The hospital say use a ramekin dish as a portion and that is fine in the house, but in a restaurant, it is hard to tell how much of the tureen of soup served is enough. On both occasions this weekend, (once at a dinner where I was served soup and the other 199 guests sent to a self service buffet), and again yesterday, I have eaten too much. Being full and uncomfortable after soup is not something I expected.

Apart from the liquorice I have been very good. I have tried to introduce other things but am not as patient as I think I should be. I am also learning, like the fact that low fat cheese does not melt, it simply becomes plastic. I can laugh but in itself it is another good lesson, I don’t need to eat processed so called diet products, I can eat the real thing, now the portion size is smaller.

I have also developed an affinity with babies; this pureed stuff is not very exciting at all. Take a lovely meal of new potatoes, gorgeous ham, tomatoes and cheese and it looks like something regurgitated. 

I also need to learn that I can’t drink (even water) at the same time as eating yet. What I need to learn first is patience; roll on 6 weeks.  All moaning aside, I do feel better and my skin is less dry already. 

And the big rest is now over, back to work on Tuesday, where I will juggle food unit counting between all the catching up.

Friday 29 October 2010

First Slip - oops

I am feeling so much better. I am still feeling tired but generally great. Wednesday I left Guernsey where I spent my first 10 days. I was really pampered, looked after and had a great time. I was able to walk everyday, the weather was in the main sunny but breezy autumn days, and I even got to walk across my favourite beach.

I took the short flight to Southampton and spent a day with my daughter. I went back to the hospital to get some paperwork and they were so pleased with me I didn’t even have to have the follow up blood test they had previously suggested. I even drove which was a little naughty, you are supposed to wait to the 2 week mark and this was the day before.

Thursday I drove to Heathrow where I met a great friend and travelled with him to Denmark where I am now for the weekend. It is a big occasion for his company and I wanted to be part of the Celebrations. I will be good and I know I won’t be eating all the food, drinking all the wine and beer but I will be amongst friends and marking the event.

However last night I slipped up. In Scandinavia a favourite sweet is liquorice pipes. I remember these from when I was a child in the UK and last night as I sat around a table with friends they were all eating them. I was so tempted and thought perhaps I could just suck one, and then perhaps chew it into lots of little bits. Well let me tell you it was a definite lesson on my limits. It went down, but then repeated all night and left me with a horrible overeating uncomfortable feeling. I won’t be doing that again, although perhaps if I had washed it down with the whisky everyone else had?

It was a good lesson and hopefully I will learn.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

It Is All About The Numbers

So I need to loose 42Kg, I have already explained that as an 'almost' geek, 42 is a very important number.

I intend to create a graph of my progress and update every 1 or 2 weeks. This will also be accompanied by a 'food mountain' photo.

So I had 2 weeks on the pre-op - liver reduction diet and I lost 5Kg I was ecstatic. It is not yet 2 weeks since my operation but I ave in to my friend badgering me and weighed myself on Monday. I had lost another 5.5 Kg so a total of 10.5Kg.

10.5 is exactly 25% of 42! Now I don't want you to get excited, I am very big so the first weight will always come of quicker, also I had a little bit removed, and I doubt I ate much the first few days. So this weight loss is not indicative, but it is encouraging and a great boost.

For those of you who know me through work, I may be 25% there but it is a bit like 'Half Way to Fusion' :o)

If I lose an average of 1.5Kg a week from now on which is achievable then it will take me 21 weeks (half THE ANSWER) to get to my target. That takes me till the end of March. Now again this is my target and the doctor may have something else in mind when I see him for my follow up.

But for me, my friends who like Math(s) and for all the geeks out there, the numbers are in my favour.

Monday 25 October 2010

On The Mend

Gosh, didn't realise how much this would take it out off me. I am recovering at my friend's in Guernsey and they have been fantastic. 

I am looking at the big picture, I have been fat for a long time and the damage just got worse. Today I went for a walk in the late autumn sunshine here, and passed what is my favourite cottage on the island. It is a simple, traditional Guernsey stone cottage which I pass every time I walked to my favourite beach. For many years it has been left to deteriorate, to the state of almost inhabitation, but this summer someone took it in hand and slowly they are rebuilding it. By next summer it will be finished and it will be beautiful again. I hope the same can be said for me.

As for me, the first week was bad, very bad, I really never expected this. I had no energy, and would sit staring at nothing for up to half an hour before doing anything, even just getting up to go to the toilet or get out of bed. Then exactly a week later I woke up. It was so surreal, I was on a telephone call and felt awful and then suddenly I felt fine, it was like switching on the light. I would be lying if I said I was 100% I am not but now the recovery is in full swing. Not back at work for a week yet and I think that is probably the right length of time. Stitches came out today so that is another step forward.

Wednesday 20 October 2010

The Right Kind of Advice

I have had lots of messages of support from friends for which I am so very grateful but one of the best I have had is from my silversurfers, they sent me this card, and wow is it true.

Day 7 today and still very little energy, quite a shock as to how lethargic I am, but time is the best healer, I just need to take it.

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Not That Bad

Please don't read the last two postings and feel sorry for me, this was my choice and the hospital stay was not all bad news.

On the first day when waiting for the op, I thought about having two weeks off work and not having to think about Fujitsu and then I looked at the ceiling! I was still in contact with the outside world at that point and there were a few funny tweets about Fujitsu air conditioning. Funny thing is I didn't notice it again until it was almost time to go home.

Then on Saturday when I was back in my room my lovely daughter came to visit, she is a student and therefore Saturday afternoon means sleeping off the hangover, which is exactly what she did.

Then on Sunday she had a lovely dinner in the staff canteen, she is now considering visiting someone else, anyone else, next week so she can have dinner there again!

When Things Don't Work Out as Planned

Back in my room everything seemed OK. I looked a bit worse than I expected, a few more tubes. My mum had died just 2 weeks before and I thought it would be bad for my daughter to see me like this so I asked the hospital to ring her, and tell her I was just very tired and not to visit me that first night.

The get you into a chair straight away so that you can move your legs, it helps with recovery. I had a morphine pump and in the past I have found these make me sick so didn't expect to be on it for long. In fact after an hour I was so 'spaced out' I asked to come off it.

Things were looking good until about 11 o'clock when I asked to go to the bathroom, after 4 steps I felt very faint and they put me into a wheelchair, next thing I know the room is full of people, alarms going off everywhere and people shouting at me.

I had passed out. Obviously it looked bad as they had pads on my chest and a crash cart out but I am sure they were just precautions. They gave me a few more drips and took lots of blood for emergency tests and after about an hour decided it was just a crash in my blood pressure which had dropped to 69 (I think 90 - 120  is good). They think it was caused by being very dehydrated and put it down to the delay in my op and me being Nil by Mouth for almost 24 hours.

I spent a few hours under the care of the HDU (High Dependency Unit) and then Friday morning it was decided to move me to ITU (Intensive Treatment Unit) so they could do more tests, like take blood every hour or so and a CAT Scan (Computed tomography) to check for embolisms, all was OK, a lot of gas and blood in my abdomen but nothing too serious. My sugar levels were very high and I was still dehydrated so I stayed on the drips for a couple of days but eventually only 2 days late they gave me the all clear and said I could go home. I have to keep an eye on my Hemoglobin which was 78 but eventually climbed to 94 (and I have no idea what it means).

My actual op really was a success and I have about 12 stitches to be taken out next week and I have a lovely bruise. I feel very bloated but that is the gas still inside my stomach. I walk like an old man but walking well, and I have an ache in my back from lying down so long, but all that will be an old memory in a week or two.
So a bit longer in hospital than I intended, but I am out now and recuperating at a friend's house in the Channel Islands.

The Operation

Instructions said be at the hospital for 6.30am, nothing to eat after midnight. So there I was at 6.15 outside the hospital very nervous. Inside were already 2 other people and by 6.25 all 5 patients for the day were ready and waiting.

I was very disappointed to find out that I was actually last on the list. No real reason just not being very patient. The doctor came to speak to me and explained that 2 of the operations were what they call 'restructuring' or a revision to previous surgery. My procedure has only been around for about 3 years and previously it was sometimes necessary to have followup operations.

About 11 o'clock a nurse came to tell me that there had been a complication with the first op and they were still in theatre so my op was likely to be late afternoon. I tweeted 'Your doctor would like to apologise for the delay in your procedure which is due to operational issues with the previous patient.', I was bored but not too worried. About 3.30 they told me there was a change in plan, I was going 4th and would be next down. Then the nerves started. I was upset for whoever was meant to be 4th apparently they were bumped in my favour. I don't know for definite but the general consensus was that I was paying for the op and she may have been an NHS patient. I do feel really sorry for her but I would have been furious if after all the preparation and cost I had been made to wait.

They came to get me just before 4 I think, and down I went to anesthetics, the anesthetist I had was more jolly than I saw before and he did put me at ease, then as quick as anything I was out.

I woke up just an hour later, apparently the operation was very straight forward and very fast. A success.

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Reading this for the first Time?

This evening I am preparing for my operation and if all goes well I will tell everyone tomorrow what I am doing. I don't want it to be a surprise and I am not hiding it from anyone, afterall hopefully people will notice.

So if you have seen my Facbook or Twitter and been interested enough to follow the link, welcome. It makes more sense if you start at the beginning.

Last Supper

So I am here in Southampton ready for my operation tomorrow. Getting a little nervous but also excited about what it all means for the future.

I arrived on a flight from Brussels and the taxi I got from the airport was number was 42 so that should be a good sign.

I have spent the evening clearing my inbox and watching the Chilean Miners being rescued. God Bless Them All.

My daughter who I am staying with tonight made me my last supper. Soft boiled eggs and marmite soldiers, I love her. Not sure if Marmite is actually on the list but it was only a scraping and I know it is good for you.

Diet not that easy in a French Hotel

I am in Brussels for the 3 days before the operation, and the hotel and restaurant had more than 2 weeks notice as to what I could and couldn't eat. I know they had this because the hotel emailed me and said they didn't stock sugar free jam and could I bring my own. Looked like I was onto a winner.

Big mistake!

Cocktail reception on the first night, they offered me a I said in my last blog just a good variety of leaves but just leaves.

Breakfast yesterday, I asked for eggs boiled, they didn't have anything ready so I had to wait, and wait and today it took 25 minutes to get a soft boiled egg, obviously that includes the time they spent chasing the chickens out back.

Lunch yesterday I had to ask, and then negotiate what I could have. If you know me well I don't eat fish but I did just to have something. Steamed fish and rice, not exciting but OK. They did give me a nice fruit cocktail.

Dinner was in a hotel, very posh but oh how painful it was. For starter they gave me pate, I explained I couldnt and they said fine and took it away. After prompting someone did come and discus the main course and we agreed on steamed chicken and rice. My colleagues finished their first course and then they tried again for me, a lovely plate of grilled vegetables with.........pesto sauce, not going to work. Off they went again and another plate arrived with no sauce (I wonder if they just washed them). So as my colleagues watched me each every mouthfull, we eventually moved onto the main course.

There was discusssion about the rice, the chef called it risotto which I think contains cream or fat of somekind, but she was adamant it was only steamed, however the final plate had no rice, but some broccoli and beans. However I have to say the fruit salad was great.

Lunch today was chicken and grilled veg and it was good, I did have to wait and they did have to be reminded several times through the morning but it was good. Pity I had no fruit today.

Still only 1 meal to go!

Monday 11 October 2010

Two Days To Go

In 42 hours I will be almost ready for the operation.

Nerves are starting to creep in and my best friend worry has come to visit.

I am in Brussels for a couple of days until the evening before the op, so I hope keeping busy will keep my mind off it all.

Last night there was a reception at the hotel I am in this week and they offered to get me a salad, like in Berlin it was just leaves, to be fair a better selection of leaves but just leaves. I am here for 2 days so I hope it gets better. Again, thank goodness for my store of fruit for emergencies.

Today's Reminder

Today I caught the red eye out of Belfast and as ever it was packed. I was on the aisle, and two women boarded later to sit inside the row. The first lady was quite short but was as wide as she was tall. She tried to lift the arm rest on the aisle but that is fixed and she had great difficulty moving past it, as her height meant it was directly in line with her bottom. She was able to lift the two other arm rests but it took a good few minutes for her to huff and puff her way across.

She had a seatbelt extension and I have to say, when BMI had 1 1/2 seats in Business Class but a standard belt, I could only just use that. The lady was out of breath for a good 10 minutes.

I got off the plane quite quickly but was waiting for a friend at the back of the plane. There was a good 3-4 minute delay as this lady got herself out into the aisle and off the plane.

I don't think I would ever have got that big, my weight has its natural high, it is too high but hasn't changed in 20 years, but 'There but for the grace of God' did enter my mind.

Three more sleeps and then hopefully I am on my way to not being the person everyone dreads being sat next to on the flight.

Sunday 10 October 2010

Day Ten and getting very close

Today, I am determined to do 2 things. Get my expenses done and manage a whole day without lettuce!

I am travelling with work tomorrow for 3 days and then I fly direct to Southampton where I have my operation on Thursday.

Yesterday I got my final instructions from the hospital, which makes it all so real. I still want to do it but at the same time it seems so permanent, no going back. when I was 33 I had to have an emergency hysterectomy, I was very upset that it meant I could no longer have children even though I had already made up my mind I didn't want any more. So I want to be slimmer, I don't want to eat too much, but the thought of not having the option of a binge seems very final.

But this is what I want, and it is not about food, it is about health, being healthy, avoiding the problems my mum suffered and eventually died from, and then the benefits of health and being able to join in with more of life.

Friday 8 October 2010

Goodbye Mum

Today we said goodbye to my mum, the main motivation for having this procedure in the first place.

It was a hard day in so many ways and it was the end of the day before I got a chance to eat, there was a reception in a local pub but nothing I was allowed to eat. So my brother in law Chris poached me some lovely eggs and I made a salad (for variety) with toast croutons.

Goodbye mum.

Day 7 - Perfect End to the First Week

End of week one, by this time next week I will have had the operation.

I had a black tie dinner today in the Jumeirah Carlton Hotel in London and I had sent them the diet sheet in advance. They were brilliant I had a small salad starter, chicken, rice and vegetables for main course and fruit for desert, all wonderfully presented.

Thank you hotel it was great.

Wednesday 6 October 2010

Day Six

Porridge again. I will start to look like this.

Again conference buffet and a good selection of salad including pickled red cabbage.

Flew back to London and had a Boot's Shapers caesar salad, ditching the croutons and the dressing, not exciting but ok. At Berlin airport I did have a small bread pretzel, I am allowed 2 slices of bread so it was ok, in fact it was more than OK it was lovely, almost made up for having to walk past the currywurst stand.

Day 5 - A problem with the language

Day 5 started very early as I was flying to Berlin, the obligatory porridge and then off to the airport. I was there to man a stand for my company, and the conference provided food. As with yesterdays’ buffet there was enough to satisfy my at lunchtime.

In the evening in the hotel restaurant, I asked for a green salad with tomatoes and red onion with no dressing. The girl said she understood, well if she didn’t she should have asked i could have managed that in German myself. So imagine my surprise when this arrived! Colourful I suppose in a way, but a lot was quite bitter and after a few mouthfuls I gave up.

Thank goodness for the emergency apple in my bag!

Day 4 Still Doing OK

Monday I was speaking at a conference, that was entitled 9-9, 12 hours and this included a lot of breaks with catering.

Lunch was a buffet and there was enough salad and a little chicken to make it ok. The evening included a 3 course meal so again my friend was despatched to the kitchen to make arrangements. He knew the chef here as well so I expected a treat, and I got one. Not quite as good as the 'Rainbow Salad' as it is now called in Jytte's restaurant but not far behind.

The evening was a little more difficult as lots of drink around and I ended the visit sitting up around a very famous table till the early hours of the next morning and a lot of great whisky and champagne was on offer, but I stayed good.

Sunday 3 October 2010

Day 3 Heaven

Today started a bit odd, too much boiling water and my porridge was more like gruel :0)

Went to a dinner party in the afternoon where I simply drank water and then had some fruit.

But then in the evening a friend I was visiting rang ahead to his favourite restaurant and explained the diet. This is what I had. Thank you Jytte and everyone else, the bar has been set.

Saturday 2 October 2010

Day 2 and Doing OK

- Porridge again for breakfast - liking this thank you M&S keeps me full.

- Late lunch / early dinner, fantastic green salad with tomato (thank you Mette) and boiled eggs (thank you Mogens' Chickens).

- Fruit

I don't feel hungry at all, although occaisionally my tummy sounds like it is.

2 days down, 12 to go

Friday 1 October 2010

Day 1 of Liver Diet

So the diet is very strict and I need to follow for 2 weeks.

Today is day 1 and has gone well - Porridge from M&S, salad and fruit from Boots, Banana and Apple and peppermint tea pinched from SAS lounge at Heathrow. Lots of lovely tea from friends.

1 down, 13 to go