Updates on the Gastric Bypass & the fact that I take lots of psych meds!

I find it slightly comforting that I get to encourage (I think) people who are about to have gastric bypass and who google and find this blog. A lot of people also find me on searches for Effexor or Paxil or something else I've taken and can at least read what my experience has been. It feels really good to know that maybe I can help someone out there. Last night someone wanted to know how I was doing on the latest switch and I realized, I haven't even mentioned it in a while. So, google searchers, here you go -- I shall update like a good little guinea pig:

Switching from Effexor XR to Paxil: I was on 300mg of Effexor XR (upped from the 150 before I had gastric bypass) for severe depression & anxiety. I chose to go off Effexor because I couldn't handle the side effects when a dose was missed or late. It's very disconcerting to become physically ill and psychologically distressed (AKA crying with a headache) just because you forgot to take ONE freaking pill 2 hours ago. It was also far too expensive. My prescription cost me over 200 dollars out of pocket every month. For these reasons, I decided to risk it and try something new.

I chose to switch to Paxil with one of the biggest idiots ever allowed to write prescriptions. She dropped my Effexor (300 > 150 > nothing) far too fast and because of this I did experience some withdrawals. Lets face it, it sucked -- but you know what you sign up for when you start taking it. I found that my body temperature was off -- I went from sweating hot to shivering cold frequently. I was dizzy a lot. I couldn't fall asleep when I needed too -- but I could easily stay in bed all day. I was very very slightly sick for about a week in there -- but nothing compared to when I switched from Cymbalta to Effexor. And I did experience a throw back to the racing thoughts of despair that can't be controlled. It's been a few weeks and I'm leveled out now.

I'm currently taking 60mg of Paxil -- the generic kind, not the extended release. This costs me about 55 dollars a month for 45 40mg pills (I take 1 in the morning and 1/2 a pill in the evening). I think I'm going to keep my prescription here for a while. I feel good. I do still experience high anxiety at times but I've not had an actual anxiety attack. My mood is pretty fair. Some things still upset me, obviously -- but hey, they're upsetting. I'm not going to find a magic pill to take away my problems -- but I think this dose allows me to "handle it." My general mood is fair (above sad, but just a hair below "good"). My mind is plenty lucid. For those who don't take any psych meds, it's hard to explain what I mean by that last bit. Before I took anything -- I just couldn't really get a handle on my mind. My thoughts constantly raced with multiple thought trains which were mostly negative. You couldn't tell me something was going to be OK -- because there were 5 major things I was agonizing over at any given moment. But now I can think perfectly clearly :) I can rationalize something that upsets me and move on. I have one thought train and I'm good with my one thought train. Real good with it. It's like a clear sky with a few fluffy white clouds compared to a hurricane.

Gastric Bypass Update: Thankfully, I've not had a single complication. It's been 15 months now and I'm at 210lbs. I was 325 when I signed up for surgery (though that certainly wasn't my largest!) and 313 the day I had it. I'm to the point where it's not just going to come off its self anymore. [Before this last week], I haven't lost a pound in about 2.5 months. I admit, I've got some spots I would love to have a plastic surgeon cut off, but it's nothing compared to what you see on TV -- and it's still better than carrying all that extra weight. My cloths fit great. I can shop wherever I want. Some people don't even recognize me. I can jog and beat my little nephew in a race. I can go up 4 flight of stairs and not be phased in the least. I sit with my legs crossed -- chairs are suddenly much more roomy.

But just because I lost a whole person, doesn't mean I feel like it. At some points, I seriously feel like I look ever worse than I did before. I'm very hard on myself. Eating is never fun anymore. I worry and agonize and hate myself if I think I've eaten too much. I worry about what other people think about what I'm eating.

I eat a normal amount. Far less than I used too -- but I'm not eating an ounce either. I read the servings sizes on everything and usually eat a serving of something. Before, servings were so sickeningly small -- now I use them as my rule. For breakfast, I have a small bowl of cereal (if I'm in a hurry) or some egg beaters. On special occasions (like vacation) I let myself have 2 sausage links and some egg beaters. For dinner I have a serving of some protein and a serving of a side -- I try to make sure I have healthy veggies as the side more than "bad" veggies like potatoes or corn. Rather than eating 3 or 4 slices of pizza -- now I just have one.

I never feel full though. That's a major drag and much worse than you can possibly predict. Though most people tell me they do feel full. I never do. I just decide before I start eating how much I'll eat and when I'll stop and then I stop when I said I would. I could easily eat more than I do -- but you just have to have will power to not. Just because I CAN eat another serving doesn't mean I SHOULD. Oh, and fuck everyone who says they don't get hungry. I do -- my stomach even growls just like it always did.

At first, sugar would make me super sick. It doesn't anymore -- but I still buy everything sugar free because it's a good habit to have and much more healthy. High-sugar or high-fat foods do make me sick. They give me a tummy ache (sometimes severe) and make my intestines attempt to clear everything out.

Constantly throwing away clothes is harder than you think it will be. But you have to make yourself! You're never going to be that size again -- EVER -- so why keep the clothes? Give that shit away.

I still haven't had a soda and have no intentions of picking them back up. Switching to drinking water or sugar-free tea exclusively takes some working at first, but it's not as hard as you might think. The reason we can't drink coke is because the carbonation can stretch our stomachs. Well, now my stomach stretched anyway so theoretically, I might as well drink them. But face it -- they're unhealthy. Why pick back up a bad habit that I don't even miss?

You know how everyone says it's not a magic fix -- its a tool. You have to change your life. Well, they're right. The surgery just gave me a drastic tool to overhaul my diet. After 15 months, I'm not experiencing the sicknesses and the tiny pouch and all that that forces you to eat like you should. Now I'm just doing it because I know I should, I know better, and thankfully it's become habit. If you don't want to change, you won't. I could easily start eating tons of junk and constantly munching and gain it all back - and lots do. The surgery won't keep you from doing that after a year or two -- it's all going to be YOU.

I just had all my bloodwork done again - and I'm doing wonderfully! Not a single problem. I still don't regret it one single bit. I'm thankful that God provided the opportunity to have it and I'm so glad that I did it.

At 210lbs, I'm far from where I hoped and expected to be at 15 months out. I get very discouraged and am very hard on myself. I've fallen into a slump of thinking that this is just the way its going to be.

HOWEVER, last week I was hanging the scale between 215 & 212 depending on time of day and stuff. Today the scale is happily on 210. These are the first pounds I've lost in weeks and I'm greatly encouraged by it. I dedicate these lbs to Tel & Leah. Leahs been a constant encourager in comments, so I certainly can't leave her out. But last week I posted about it even though I was in my rut -- and Tells comment inspired me to start downing my protein shakes again and making the right choices and that was enough to move the scale. I'm losing again and I'll be BELOW 200 before I know it!

11 Comments:

Anonymous steph said...

for the record, clexa + welbutrin + xanax = dizzy. do not take them within 2 hours of each other even tho the dr says to take them a tthe same time.

11:21 PM  
Anonymous Leah said...

w00t! a shoutout :-) I'm glad that my comments were encouraging (I wasn't sure). So, I'll keep being encouraging by saying wow. I'm honestly amazed. You look really good in your photos (less than 210, imo), and I'm impressed by your dedication.

to play devil's advocate, I do want to hear about you exercising more :-p seriously, I started lifting weights back in January, and it's made a big difference in how I look -- I especially like that my arms are starting to look nice. Also, I've not has as big a loss as you, but I have lost 15 pounds in the last year through exercise (weights + cardio) and some diet modification. I too have cut out the soda and also the juice, even tho I love juice. I'm trying to watch my portions and the food that goes in my mouth.

Hopefully by next year, we'll both be where we want to be :-) Keep up the good work.

11:59 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Yes I admit, I have not been getting out in the 100 degree heat to jog/walk. In florida I did take walks on the beach though. I do things like walking my garbage out rather than driving it to the dumpster and taking the stairs rather than the elevator and parking further away so I can walk. & parking at one end of a shopping center and walking from store to store instead of driving.

Hopefully it'll be getting cooler soon so I can get out and jog again. And my class schedule on friday has a perfect time slot where I'm stuck between classes on campus -- perfect time for frisbee golf!

12:06 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

And dude, 15lbs aint shabby. Remember, I've been dieting around for years -- LOL. 15 lbs takes some hard dedication -- at least it did for me. It wasn't easy to drop from 325 to 313 before I had the surgery.

And doesnt cutting out juice SUCK! I LOVED juice. And you would think that juice would be good for you -- but no way too many ampty calories. I only drink calorie-free or very very low cal drinks now. Crystal light is my friend ;)

12:10 AM  
Anonymous Leah said...

juice sucks. I love it so much. Now, I just enjoy it as an occasional treat. Sometimes I get gatorade, but I think even that has lots of calories.

For the exercise, does your school have an air-conditioned gym? Maybe you could find some off-hour where not too many people will be around. Plus, you could always go do those mall walks. I remember lots of people did mall walking when I lived in Nebraska -- in the summer, they specifically opened the mall up before the stores were open so that older folk had somewhere air-conditioned and safe to walk in the early morning.

7:06 PM  
Blogger Tel said...

Awwww! Thanks, baby! You really are encouragement to people who are trying to lose weight. And it's SO GOOD that you admit that WLS is *not* a magic cure for obesity. It's simply a life-changing tool that will help you get to a healthy weight, but you *have* to do our part.

I've been swimming a lot lately and I can't believe that the big fat pouches under my arms (I call them "arm boobs") are gettng smaller.

If ever you get discouraged, look at your before and after pictures. And wouldn't you rather be 210 than 325 or more?

I thought so.

Hang in there, cutie-pants!

7:59 PM  
Blogger Tel said...

PS - Be careful on Paxil. It can really damage your sex drive. And withdrawal is a bitch. (Not that I know first hand, but my friend had a really hard time with it.)

8:02 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Considering I'm not getting laid at the moment or anywhere on the horizon (but I'm open-minded), I don't know that I'd mind my sex drive taking a hit. That said, after being on Effexor & Depo-Provera at the same time I think I know a thing or two about the topic ;)

Thanks for the warning though -- theres always more to worry about. Which is the one you can take when you're pregnant? I want that one so I just never have to go off one EVER AGAIN.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And as far as arm boobies go... Leah, give me some ideas on some arm work-outs I can do that will burn calories & get rid of excess arm boobage that I can do in the middle of my well-air-conditioned & private living room, please.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Tel said...

GIRL! You're on Depo? That shit made me nuts. Gave me acne, made me lose my hair, made me super cranky and I, uh, lost my ability to, uh, self-lubricate, which, ya know, comes in handy once in a while.

Get an 8 pound medicine ball and a big exercise ball. They're fabulous.

Burn yourself a CD and dance your ass all over your living room. Pretend you're stripping. It's fun.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I WAS on depo. Like I said, I'm not getting laid and thats some harsh side-effects for something when you're not even USING it. Plus it was expensive. I was on it for about a year. Made my periods be all spotty -- I still got them, they were just SUPER light -- enough to be annoying, but not enough to count. And I had the same... um... problem while on it. Not only THAT one but also a problem with... the lovely experience that you want to have when doing such things.

And I totally did the dancing around my apartment to loud music tonight! LOL. I made a playlist of good songs and ran around and did every excercize I could think of that hurt. I figure if it hurts, thats good. FEEL THE BURN. LOL

Tomorrow I might have to do something less cause I can already tell my muscles are gonna be aching in the morning. Time to pulll out the finger symbols & belly dancing DVD! (Yes, I'm totally serious).

11:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are an inspiration!

Just wanted to suggest a good sugar alternative. Xylitol. It's a natural sugar, nothing man made that doesn't get exreted from your body like Splenda, and I read it encourages the burning of fat.

Emotional Freedom Technique. www.emofree.com If it could get you off of medications, would you try it? It's free. But you may want to work with a practitioner for your anxiety if you can afford it.

2:40 PM  

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