personal

Why I’ve had bariatric surgery.

Hi everybody!

The past few months has been a whirlwind for me. We’ve bought a house, totally redecorated the house and moved into our new house. More importantly, I’ve actually undergone bariatric surgery. This is a decision that I didn’t make lightly, and a process that I’ve gone through since October 2016. Now, as a plus sized woman who is proud to be plus sized and actually identifies as “fat” this has been tough for me. I don’t want people to think that this has anything to do with how I look or my size because it isn’t. I love how I look and I believe that fat bodies can be healthy but unfortunately mine wasn’t. I was diagnosed as type 2 diabetic and also diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea and I knew something had to change otherwise I wouldn’t live as long as other people. Me and Adam also want to have another child and I just couldn’t go through another plus size pregnancy. Some people breeze through but for me it was physically and mentally (which was worse) exhausting. I just couldn’t do it again. I made a choice for my own health and to benefit my family and I hope it will be worth it.

This is my journey.

My journey started in October 2016. During a routine appointment with my diabetic nurse she mentioned bariatric surgery but I told her I wasn’t interested. She went on to say I could do weight management with the GP whilst I waited for my hospital referral and I could make a choice later. My hospital referral was going to take around 6 months and even then I wouldn’t have to make a decision straight away.

(Me in October 2016)

I did the weight management with the GP which included seeing a dietician, a psychologist and the diabetic nurse. The dietician gave me a short term goal to try and eat breakfast because one of my issues was I didn’t eat till early afternoon then I’d have 2 large meals or pick all day at junk. The psychologist appointment was really positive and she thought I was in the right frame of mind for the process and it was really positive. All through the process every member of staff has been kind, supportive and really friendly. A massive difference to when I was pregnant. I started losing weight and lost just over a stone and then started slimming world in around march just before my hospital appointment.

(Around March 2017)

My first appointment at the hospital was the surgery seminar where we would learn about our options and which surgerys were available. There was three main ones, Bypass, mini bypass and sleeve. I liked the look of the mini as it was less complications and I was coming around to the idea of surgery as got to see success stories and speak to somebody who had had it done. I also then joined a facebook group for people having surgery/had surgery at our local hospital. They then did my height and weight and calculated how much I would have to lose to qualify for surgery. You have to lose 10% of your excess weight. I was 139KG and I had to lose 7KG by the time I saw the surgeon.

Next up was a whirlwind of appointments. I had to see another psychologist who was amazing and he referred me for counselling and wanted to see my again. On the second visit he okayed me for surgery. I had to be okayed by several departments before I could join the waiting list. My next visit was to the diabetic doctor who signed me off straight away and then I had to wait for the sleep clinic and the surgeon. Unfortunately my first home sleep test (a box on your wrist and probe on your finger) failed and I had to re-do it with a different box which made the process longer.

Whilst I was waiting for my appointment with the surgeon we went on our first family holiday abroad. We went to Ibiza at the end of September 2017 and I was terrified. I thought I wouldn’t fit on the plane, that the seat belt wouldn’t go around me and that everybody would be staring at me. I worried for nothing! My seat belt fit going there and it fit in the first seat I sat in going back however the two people sat next to Adam didn’t turn up for their flight and so I moved to sit next to him as we had booked aisle seats each not actually together. When I moved into my new seat the seat belt didn’t fit (despite fitting in the one I was sat in 30 seconds earlier) so i quickly rang the buzzer and got an extension. The stewardess was discreet and it slipped on easy. I never noticed anybody staring at me on holiday, in fact there was quite a few plus size mums so I wasn’t the only one. It felt nice! We even made friends with a lovely family and it was just an amazing holiday.

(November 2017)

We got back to reality and I psyched myself up for my appointment with the surgeon. I had lost the weight required (despite being all inclusive) and was nervous but excited. After meeting with the surgeon we agreed that the mini bypass was my best option and after my sleep appointment I would be put onto the list and I would then have all the pre operative appointments.

(December 2017)

My next appointment was the liver reducing diet. Before the operation you need to do a special diet for 1-2 weeks with the aim to reduce the size of your liver which will make the surgery easier as it is done keyhole. It was quite a basic diet and you followed allowed foods from a list. This was in December 2017.

 

(January 2018)

January 2018 came around and I finally got my appointment at the sleep clinic. They agreed to give me a new machine for my sleep apnea as I didn’t get on well with the last one and I got a new mask too. This machine massively changed my life and for the first time in about 5/6 years I finally felt rested. At the end of January I had my endoscopy appointment. An endoscopy is when they put a camera down into your stomach to look at it and they also took a biopsy of my stomach. They do this because they staple and seal your stomach creating a new tiny stomach but they leave the rest of the stomach in there too as you still need the gastric juice.
Image result for mini gastric bypass diagram

Not gonna lie, endoscopy’s are disgusting and I never want another one. I did it without sedation and just listened to the surgeon and nurses but it was brutal.

I was then told by my surgeon to expect a surgery date in March/April. However this didn’t happen. In fact I didn’t get a date until October due to the hospital being super busy over winter and a miscommunication between the sleep team and the bariatric surgeons administrators. The sleep team sent them a letter okaying me for surgery and they didn’t receive it, until I rang up querying my lack of date and they found the letter. I was finally put on the list properly in June 2018 and promised a date by around September.

With this in mind me and Adam decided to cancel our family holiday in September. We were supposed to be going with loads of family but didn’t want to pay it off for me to not go so we cut our losses and cancelled. We did however go ahead with the purchase of a house which we finally completed on in August and moved into at the end of August. We were keen to get the house ready to move into and not have to do any work later and so we worked flat out for two weeks to achieve this.

(August 2018)

We moved in and I finally got my letters for my pre op and operation. I knew the date though because I had been ringing every few weeks and I was told over the phone. I had my pre-op on September 19th which entails blood test, weight, ECG, MRSA swabs and an appointment about anaesthetic which lasts around 2 hours. The day after I started my liver reducing diet for two weeks.

 

 

These are a few of the meals I ate on my pre-op diet. I ate a lot of handmade lean mince burgers, meatballs, quorn chicken stirfrys with courgettie spaghetti, stuffed peppers/mushrooms and turnip chips. It actually wasn’t bad at all and I was really full the whole two weeks.

(September 2018)

Operation day rolled around. The day before was awful and I couldn’t stop crying or writing mental “if I don’t make it” letters in my head. Eleanor slept at Adams mums the night before as I had to be there for 7:15 and as soon as she left I sobbed. I cried my eyes out actually. I was an emotional wreck the night before my op, me and Adam went to bed early, had a long talk and just hugged each other. I woke up early on operation day and put the last bits in my bag, then Adam drove me to hospital and dropped me off. I cried all the way to the surgical ward and waited for it to open. It opened at 7:!5 and I went straight onto the ward had bloods, urine samples, was weighed (I was 120KG), put my compression stockings on and got gowned up. I had to speak to the surgeon, nurses, anaesthesiologist and sign forms to allow them to give me blood, fully open me, do an alternative surgery and accept that theres a tiny mortality rate. Pretty terrifying really!

Then came the time to go down to theatre. I walked there in my gown, slippers and dressing gown and the laid me on a table propped up with a squishy mat under my feet. I laid there crying and trying to calm down whilst talking to the people working away and they quickly put my cannula in. Last time I knew it was 9:15 and I slipped into sleep quite easy.

Next thing I knew it was 11:25 and they were waking me telling me the operation was a success. I stayed in recovery until 4:30 because despite them booking a bed for me weeks ago, there wasn’t any available. I felt immediately sick and in slight pain so they kept me topped up with anti sickness and some pain relief and I was restricted to 30ml of water per hour. I couldn’t leave the trolley, couldn’t really roll on my side and I didn’t have any of my belongings. I just had to sit and wait.

Finally got back to the ward after 4:30 and was placed in my own side room. Managed to transfer beds myself without help and started to feel a bit better. I was hooked up to two drips and I finally got my phone and glasses back so I contacted my family and let them know I’m okay. Adam came to visit me and I was allowed some time off the drip so Adam could take me for some fresh air and for a bit of a break from the room.

Adam helped me put some fresh pj’s on and finally left. I was managing to walk myself to the toilet (with drip) and generally feeling 1000 times better than I expected. I settled down with some wordsearches and my phone and managed to sleep.

The second day I had no pain relief and only anti sickness on the morning and I was allowed to drink more fluids. The morning was boring, just lots of visits for blood sugars, blood pressure, IV changes and my stupid IV machine buzzing like 5 times an hour. The physio came and was shocked I was up and walking and said I didn’t need them, but I managed to persuade them to go for a walk with me out of the ward and back so I could stretch my legs. By the time afternoon came my beautiful friend Hollie came to visit me like a breath of fresh air. She made me laugh and I was so grateful for her being there. Adam and his mum also came to see me and once again Adam took me out in a wheelchair around the hospital. Adam left and I bought a TV package (which was extortionate) as my phone signal wasn’t good enough to watch things on and I watched a few films. I managed another decent nights sleep and anticipated going home the next day.

Friday came around and I was finally allowed my cannula out. This felt amazing because I had two IV’s in and my hand was throbbing. Also the machine kept beeping and getting blocked and was generally a pain to drag to the toilet all the time. I also started on food again. For my first meal I had a tiny bit of toffee yoghurt which I managed well and I had some soup for lunch. I was so scared to eat but it wasn’t bad at all, but was really strange getting full off tiny amounts. Then I sat and waited to go home. I was told lunchtime but due to my meds not being prescribed on time they weren’t brought on the lunchtime round and so I had to wait till 6. Adam came to collect me and I was finally discharged after 6:30. I was packed up, ready and waiting at the door. Once my meds came I was out!

I was so happy to leave hospital. Being away from Eleanor for so long broke me a little bit. It just felt unnatural to be away from her and I cried missing her.

I went straight to Adams mums house where Eleanor was staying and was so glad to see her. Poor Adam hadn’t seen her too as he had been coming to the hospital and she had been sleeping at his mums. She was so sweet with me, wanted to inspect my tummy and kept asking if I was okay and if the doctor had made me better.

Me and Adam left again and Eleanor stayed there as she was going to Disney on Ice the next day with Adams gran and sister and she came home to us after.

Waking up with Eleanor Sunday morning was amazing. I had missed her so much!! She actually went back out that night to stay with my cousin Carley till Tuesday because we had arranged it when I thought I was going to be more poorly. I used those few days to rest and relax and get into a routine of eating little and often.

Since then I’ve been going from strength to strength. I’ve got back into a bit of a routine, and I’ve been on days out but I’m trying not to do too much and I’ve avoided heavy lifting. I’ve already noticed small changes which is weird. As much as I haven’t done it to change my body, I am excited about some aspects like fitting into Primark clothes….and cheaper clothes in general. Plus sized clothes are a fortune!!

(Outfit from Primark)

(Tracksuit from Topsy Curvy)

(Dress is very old from ASOS!)

I just wanted to give a massive thank you to our amazing families who have just been amazing. My mum for being my supporter, Adams mum, sister and gran for looking after Eleanor so well and my cousin Carley and her boyfriend Jamie for having Eleanor for a couple of nights (even if she did come home wanting a puppy). Thank you to my friends. Tina, Emma, Katie, Beki and everybody else who I’ve spoken to daily and who has been a huge support system for me. Huge thank you to my followers and friends on instagram who kept me occupied with questions, instagram lives and who reached out with supportive comments and messages. They meant the world to me and I was genuinely overwhelmed with the response. The amount of love and support was unreal and I feel like it made the hospital stay that little bit easier.

Thank you to Eleanor for being my inspiration, for looking after me and asking me if I’m okay and for keeping me amused with your funny antics. I couldn’t ask for a better kid.

Finally a massive thank you to Adam. My rock, my better half and my best friend. From visiting me, supporting me, looking after me when I was having a few wobbles, making me food, making me rest and just generally being an amazing man as always. You are such a wonderful person and I’m so very lucky to have you.

Who knows what i’ll look like in a years time. That’s not what matters to me. What matters to me is that my health improves and I’ll be around longer for my family. Thats why I’ve gone through this whole process.

Apologies for the long post. I’ve been asked about how, why, the process and how I’m recovering so I thought a whole post with everything in would be best.

Lots of love,

Hannah x

 

 

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baby · parenting · personal · plus size

Whats the t?

Hi all!

Once again, life has gotten in the way and has stopped me from blogging as much as I would like to.

The culprit this time? My laptop decided to stop working – but only the t key! This made typing incredibly awkward as I had to copy and paste every single time I wanted to use the t key. Very annoying.

Now I finally have a new laptop after there was an accident which ended up in the screen getting completely smashed – making it completely useless. Finally I can get back to blogging and hopefully keep up with it. I do love writing, but I think I second guess myself quite a lot and really it’s gone on the back burner since I’ve had a child. I think I get a sense of guilt if I’m just sitting behind a laptop and not really engaging with my child, but there’s ways I guess I can do both as she’s a very independent baby who is just happy to play!

Well, I keep saying baby but she’s almost 2 – how did that happen?!

I figured with this post I’d give you a little insight into where I am with my life at the moment. I’m in the weight loss management program and I’ve lost around a stone and a half so far, and 3 in total since last year. Currently going through all the steps to eventually have weight loss surgery which isn’t something I’ve decided on lightly. I hope that people understand I have no way been pressured into WLS by anybody and I don’t dislike the way that I look at all. I’m happy and confident as a plus sized woman and will genuinely sad to be smaller – however I am doing this for my health and so that in the future I can have another child. I certainly couldn’t do another pregnancy like the last one and I really want another child in a few years. I also want some quality of life. I have sleep apnea and honestly I’m just so sick of being tired – which is another reason I’ve stopped blogging as much.

This summer I’ve been super busy helping out at lunch club at church. Lunch club is a thing my church runs where we invite the local kids into the church for a hot meal over the holidays to take some of the extra financial burden off families in the area. It’s also a great way to see all the kids and to do things like crafts with them and we’ve even had great fun with mini discos.

I also arranged and ran a fundraising summer fayre within the church which raised £500 for our youth services. We were all so happy with this and we plan to raise another around Christmas.

Finally, I’ve been working with AWAYOUT to do crafts and outreach with the girls in the blossom project which I love. I finished my sponsored swim for them – all 1416 laps of the pool swam and really enjoyed my time doing it.

Another big difference in my life is that for the past few months I’ve made a really amazing group of friends and we have been hanging out and having play dates as well as baby free nights. It’s so nice to be around other people who “get” you and who are on your wavelength. I almost feel like they’ve saved me a little bit and their support is really just so wonderful. I was slipping into pretty bad depression again but honestly this group of women have helped me so much – I don’t know where I’d be without them. So a massive thank you and shout-out to Charlotte, Nikki, Sam, Steph & all our beautiful squad babies, I truly love you all.

IMG_5368

Now i’ve been able to upload all my pics to my new laptop I’ve got a few local reviews and pieces to post, and I’m on holiday at the end of this month so watch out for that! We’re off to (hopefully) sunny Ibiza with a toddler – wish us luck!

Just wanted to say a huge thank you to those who stick with me, comment on my posts, ask how I am on IG etc. It means a lot to know that people care. I know my posts are more and more sporadic but I really will make an effort to keep people update!

Thanks for reading,

Hannah x

 

baby · Community · fashion · parenting · plus size

Why I Want To Lose Weight.

 Hi all.

This post has been a difficult one for me to write for a number of reasons. First and foremost I don’t want to upset/offend or trigger anybody with weight loss chat. Secondly, I am losing weight because I personally need to and believe that what everybody else does with their bodies is their business. Thirdly, I don’t want anybody to think that I’m now against fat bodies. I will never be against fat bodies. If I could be well and still the size I am – I would be happy with that. Unfortunately, I’m not healthy and this means I need to lose weight.

When I was pregnant with Eleanor, I was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea and it was tracked that I stop breathing around 100 times an hour when I’m asleep which is super scary. It means that I never ever feel well rested and I drop off asleep through the day for a few minutes which isn’t great. It’s quite embarrassing when I drop off and I hate it. The only way to tackle it is to use a c-pap machine which I just can’t get the hang of or lose weight…so I’m choosing the latter.

I’ve battled with my weight for quite a long time now. I’ve gone through every stage of hating my body to the point of hiding away and self harming, to parading my beautiful body along a stage at a plus size beauty pageant – whilst wearing a bikini! I’m at a happy place with my body and how I look, but not with how it functions and if I’m going to have a better quality of life then I really need to change.

For so long I’ve championed plus sized bodies and the amazing things they can do that defy the bullshit that doctors try to push on you. I’ve seen so many beautiful plus sized mothers bring their babies into the world when they were told they’d never be able to even conceive as a plus sized woman – I myself was one of these women. I was told at every step how high risk I was and truly bullied by the NHS. When Eleanor came there wasn’t a single thing about her that wasn’t perfect, and she’s growing to be an intelligent, bright and confident little girl; something they told me I wouldn’t be able to “cope with” and would have to have extra help with. I’ve had none and need none.

I’ve seen plus sized bodies climbing mountains and doing yoga, running marathons and being “healthier” than their slimmer counterparts.

Unfortunately for me – that not the case. My body is different from others because I have hypermobile joints which means they are unstable and move too much and even dislocate. This causes me extreme pain and so anything I can do to take pressure off them and improve my quality of life – I want to be able to go on long walks with my family and not worry if there’s somewhere to sit on the way around. I’m sick of staying in the house whilst Adam takes Eleanor out alone because I’m sore or because I need some rest as I feel isolated away from them and almost feel at times that they have a much better bond together.

The big thing I need to lose weight for is Sleep Apnea which is currently giving me no quality of life. I stop breathing in my sleep which means I never feel well rested and often fall asleep during the daytime – mostly when doing quiet tasks such as writing blog posts. I find it so hard to get the focus to write and finish a blog post, it takes me days/weeks to write just a snippet without nodding off which is why I’ve not been blogging as much.

With sleep apnea you get something called a CPAP (continuous positive airway machine) to wear at night which is a face mask which pumps out air into your nose and throat. Unfortunately, I find it hard to breathe through my nose and so I can’t use the machine without finding it very hard to breathe. It also triggered the PTSD which I was left with after my c-section that didn’t go to plan.. I’m hoping with weight loss that this gradually gets better.

It’s not just health why I want to lose weight. I’m sick of paying the “plus size tax” on clothes. I want to be able to go to shops like Primark and buy a pair of shorts for £3, not £30. I want to be able to see in my hand what I’m buying and not wonder what the sizing is going to be like on my online order. I want to have choices like everybody else and not have to stick to the same 2-3 shops I always do.

I’m going on holiday in September and in some ways I’m dreading it. I’m hoping that I fit in the seat okay and don’t need loads of extenders! I’m hoping I can fit down the water slides and have the energy to run around after Eleanor and dance with her at the kids disco.

Eleanor is my number one priority. I don’t want her to get bullied in school cause I’m the “fat mam” at the school gates out of breath and I don’t want her to be ashamed of me. I want Eleanor to grow up in a world that accepts people for who they are and doesn’t judge people for their appearance and I want her to grow up knowing that she is beautiful and perfect – but I also want her to be able to live her life without any complications like mine and I don’t want her to feel as unhappy I do at times. This world is a cruel place and people are really nasty (kids in particular who have been brought up to be fatphobic).

I really don’t want to cause any upset or offence to the plus size community because I fully intend to still be a member of the plus size community and body positivity for all – I just need to do this for my own health so that my life is actually worth living again and so that I can enjoy my family and be around to watch them grow.

Hannah x