All posts by Chachi

I underwent bariatric surgery on January 29th, 2020. I had a procedure done called Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy aka VSG. I recently celebrated my "Surgiversary" and decided to share my journey on a more personal level. I dropped 90lbs over the course of a year. Join me on this journey of self discovery, empowerment, and inspiration. Together we'll experience the VSG lifestyle, where I will offer you an in depth experience on things like pre and post operation struggles, advantages and disadvantages of VSG, how this procedure has changed my life and of course the amazing before and after photos.

That wasn’t exactly tasty

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“I stopped eating sugary and processed foods back in January 2020 in preparation for surgery.”

Food Info
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I am almost 13 months post op and I’m still learning things about myself and this new tongue that I have. Okay, so this is typically how my mornings go especially when I’m on the run. I usually grab fruit and yogurt or coffee. This morning I decided to try a Nutri-Grain bar
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I stopped eating sugary and processed foods back in January 2020 in preparation for surgery. Every now and then I may have a popsicle or something but I’m more into savory things and such. I opened the package and tasted a crumb and gave it to my husband. I CAN’T DO IT!


I’m not saying everyone will loose certain cravings and tastes  for all things sugary. But for me it’s a no go. I opted for the banana and I was still only able to finish half of that.
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Listen to your body folks….. your stomach will remind you later.
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#vsgblogger #vsgfood #healthyeats #vsgjourney #vsg #vsglifestyle #breakfast #bariatriclife #gastricsleeve

Lakes, Photos, Beautiful Smiles & Self – Appreciation

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Omg we had not taken professional photos since my daughter Cassidy was a newborn. I was so extremely excited about getting these photos done. This was a combination shoot for family growth, Denim’s 13th and Cassidy’s 5th birthdays.

Back then, most of the time hubbs and I did the shopping. It use to take too long getting 4 kids ready to go to the mall for 30 mins. This time we got to go shopping as a whole. I greatly enjoyed preparing for this photoshoot.

We were looking too cute in our matching outfits. We hardly ever match unless it’s a family event. We picked out this beautiful park in Jacksonville called The Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens. We had a blast, this place was filled with so much greenery. The lakes and bridges throughout the park were gorgeous. There were plenty trees so It gave a very picturesque nature vibe.

The lakes and bridges throughout the park were gorgeous

The kids had such a great time. My photographer was able to catch so many precious moments. I loved loved loved every minute…….

Until we got them back of course. {key in the dramatic music…bumbumbuuuuuum…did it help with the suspense?? No…ok nevermind….it felt like it went}

Anyway…

Let me start with the fact that I truly loved how the photos came out, they were fabulous and my photographer did her thang! 

Now on a personal note…

We as people are always our own worst critic. When I laid eyes on these photos I think I picked out every negative thing on myself that I could think of. I had a problem with the way I looked in every photo. My face/cheeks, my belly, my butt, my arms, my boobs, my legs EVERYTHING. I hated how I saw myself. Although I knew the pictures were amazing, my viewpoint of myself was horrible.

Since having VSG I have come to appreciate these memories. They remind me everyday to never let myself go to that negative mental space again. Over the course of this journey I have learned to love this skin that I’m in.

So after I got over it I went on to order an extra large canvas to display my gorgeous family.

No matter what trials I go through I will always remain grateful that I had these moments to experience. These moments helped to create this amazingly beautiful woman I am learning about daily.

If given the opportunity to meet one’s past self, I would hug her and tell her “you got this, It will get better”. The amount of pain hidden behind the smile was crazy.

“The Cramps, Stomach Pains, And Hard Stools…Constipation Sucks!”

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Listen to me….This constipation thang ain’t no joke. My weekend was fantastic minus the stomach problems. And I’ve been drinking my fluids just fine. My constipation was so bad it got to the point where I couldn’t eat, or get comfortable sleeping. I had to call the nurse because it felt like I had rocks in my belly. I hadn’t taken a in almost a week and all the added protein was not helping the situation.

I hadn’t taken a in almost a week

So this conversation with the nurse ended in an emergency trip to Target. She explained that the increased protein diet, the amount of water I drink, and the lack of exercise during recovery were all a good mash up for constipation issues. So she recommended a few items that had worked for her and a few other patients.

  • Magnesium Citrate (this is the devil) It does get the job done but the cramps so painful and your stools are liquid. The flavored one tastes so tart *Success within a few hours, definitely overnight
  • Milk of Magnesia ( one of my favorites) This works great, no cramps stools are normally soft, easy to pass. The texture is very thick and the flavors are limited. I prefer the cherry flavor, I had the original in the hospital. They all have like a chalky taste. But it gets the job done *Success within a few hours, definitely overnight
  • Benefiber (good for work and travel) I got these to carry for work. They taste great and they are easy to use. You just pour a single pack into a bottle of water and go. I didn’t feel it was as affective as the other options but it was good to have to keep me taking my fiber. *Success is hit or miss for me
  • Smooth Move (Amazing) Of all the products I have tried, this is my absolute favorite. No cramping, the flavor of the tea is a normal herbal taste. It works just as a regular tea bag does. They box says to steep the tea for 15 minutes….for me I keep it until my tea cools down. I found that it is more effective when you let it sit for a while. It helps to drink fluids right after to help process. Before surgery I would use sugar to sweeten it but you don’t need it. I’ve been drinking it with no sugar since surgery. *Success within a few hours, definitely overnight
  • Miralax It works. I feel like it doesn’t move your stool faster than some of the other options. It’s a powder form so you would need to use it like the Benefiber packets. But for the cost of Miralax I prefer to try some of the cheaper options. *Success within a few hours

All items pictured can be found at your local stores.

Smooth Move

I have gone through trial and error with these items. I have been using these products for over a years time. Of all these products the only ones I keep in my cabinet are the milk of mag and the smooth move tea. I use them regularly like every couple days. If I notice that I haven’t had a bowel movement in about a week I take either product for quick relief. Most of the products mentioned will provide you with relief within a few hours. If you choose to take these at bedtime a morning stool is almost guaranteed. Well at least for me it is.

I use to wonder if this was a forever thing I’ll have to deal with or temporary?? This constipation thing does not stop. I have learned that it just makes sense to keep certain types of laxatives around just to take regularly.

#vsgproblems #constipation #help #postopissues #postop #vsg #vsgcommunity #bariatriccommunity

My Life changed forever on this day

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I had my surgery performed in Orlando, Florida at Orlando Regional Medical Center; part of the Orlando Healthcare System. I can’t say anything but great things about my experience. I was really scared after making the decision to go forward with bariatric surgery. But, I got over it and embraced the change and everything that came along with it.

Doctor T was suggested to me by a girlfriend of mine after her bariatric surgery experience with him. We talked about her surgery over the course of a few months. I asked many questions about her experiences before, during and after surgery. I wanted to make sure I considered everything. She said that he was “very good, especially with bedside manor.” She had mentioned “how she felt very comfortable with him, that he made it easy to talk to and he answered every question.”

he was very good, great beside manor and easy to talk to

I did attend a seminar prior to my new patient appointment as a requirement to understand the types of surgeries that were offered, its risks and the expected outcomes.

After careful consideration I decided to have Doctor Teixeira perform my surgery. I had my new patient appointment a few weeks later. After meeting “Doctor T” for the first time I felt more relaxed more comfortable and at ease. We had a patient interview to discuss why I felt like I needed surgery?, what surgery did I think was the best option for me?, what did I plan to change and do different?, and what lifestyle changes I was going to make to ensure I had a successful surgery and post surgery experience?.

January 29th 2020 – Surgery Day

On the day of surgery, everything was pretty quick and easy. I waited for them to call me back into the preop area which only took about 20mins. The wait in preop took a little longer, about an hour. The preop area is where they helped me get prepared and ready for surgery. They had me change my clothes, switch over to my hospital gown, remove all of my jewelry, they got all my IV’s and fluids started, I received all of my pre surgery meds with the anesthesia crew, and met the fellows and attendings that would be assisting/attending my surgery.

ORMC
2020

ORMC Check-In Surgery Day 2020

Surgery Day 2020 All Prepped

Surgery Day 2020

Shortly after, I said see you later to my husband and I was rolled away to the surgical suite. The trip down that hallway was so cold and so white. LOL everything about that little journey was creepy (I watch a lot of scary/weird/dramatic movies) I’m sure I was freaking myself out more than necessary. I mean it was a critical turning point in my life. Once we got into the surgery suite I was given my sleepy meds and off I went into dreamland.

The surgery itself was less than an hour long, and the doctor kept my husband updated through and app called EASE. He said it gave him a piece of mind and he really enjoyed being able to communicate with the doctor as the surgery was going. After the surgery was completed I was taken to my recovery suite on the bariatric floor of the hospital.

Dr. T showed up multiple times throughout my 3 day stay at ORMC just to check up on me, see how things were going and to inquire about any questions or concerns that I may have had. We went over my fluid intake and what was expected, my medications, moving and walking around and life after discharge. On day 2 we re-visited my fluid intake because it was hard for me to get any fluid down. Every time I tried to swallow anything, it came right back up. Trying to take my meds was the absolute worse. Apparently, I was experiencing the side effects of Gastritis. My stomach had swollen shut from the trauma of the surgery making it hard for me to get anything down.

Once I tried the broth things begin to get a little better. The swelling started to go down and I was finally able to get some food into my system. I began to walk around and get things moving back to normal. I was given a certain amount of laps I had to complete daily in order to be discharged home. So I tried to get up and get moving as soon as I felt comfortable to stand unassisted. By the time discharge day came around I was able to compete 8+ laps at a time.

Room 22 That’s Me

Doctor T was very passionate about making sure I had a great support system at home. He discussed with my husband my care routine including meals, assisted moving, monitoring my meds, my dressings and how to care for them. What was to happen once my husband returned to work and I had to care for myself. He was very thorough. I really appreciated the time he took out to make sure everything was understood. Dr. Jawad also made an appearance, he is the lead surgeon (I think … pretty sure) at Orlando Health Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery Institute – Downtown Orlando. He stopped by just to make sure everything was going ok for me.

Check-out was a breeze! They didn’t rush us out of the hospital at all. They offered us lunch before we left because it was close to lunchtime, they walked us out of the hospital and everything. The staff was perfect the entire time I stayed at the hospital. I honestly had no complaints about any part of my experience at ORMC.

Doctor T exceeded my expectations as a surgeon. He provided me with a very comfortable and unique experience. His staff was also extremely welcoming and helpful. I love that Orlando Health offers support group meetings, and regular nutrition classes to aide in bariatric weight loss. They have an on call nurse that you can speak with for major concerns like constipation, and dizziness.

Watch Me Shrink: My waist use to be 50 inches

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**Shrinking Sunday** talk about losing inches. My waist use to be 50 inches around. I am at such a loss for words. I am so glad that I have been keeping up with documenting. When I say crazy the proof is on the tape I’m still in shock with the fact that I actually went through with getting my surgery! I’m so glad I did. Having my VSG was the best gift I could’ve given myself. Happy Shrinking Folks!!

Weight coming down

#vsg #vsgjourney #weightloss #weightcheck #measurements #bariatricsurgery #sleeved #gastricsleeve #bariatricbabe #losinginches #shrinking #shrinkingsunday

Can you say dizzy

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Welp! I’m at the ER…..had a crazy dizzy spell this am lasted about an hour. My bariatric nurse instructed me to go into the hospital to get checked out.

I had just finished dropping the kids off to school. I started to drive home and all of a sudden my vision became blurry and my head felt funny. I was only 5 mins from home so I called my husband and talked with him until I pulled into the driveway. I figured it would go away if I laid down but after laying down for about 15 mins it didn’t. Once hubbs got home he took me to the emergency room.

…all of a sudden my vision became blurry and my head felt funny.

Upon check in I discovered that the employee had had a VSG 6 months prior. So of course we spoke about the journey and how much our lives had changed since having our procedures done. She did mention that her biggest issue at the time was her fluid intake. She said she understood how difficult it is to drink all the water that is required on a daily basis.

After a few minutes they called us back and finished checking me in. Once I explained my symptoms and told them that I was on recovery from bariatric surgery they quickly ordered blood work , an EKG and an MRI. Due to the prescription meds that I was taking they had to take certain precautions to ensure I wasn’t experiencing a blood clot or any other surgery related complications. They immediately hooked me up with some fluids and told me to relax.

Dizzy Spell

EKG

Hospital Visit

Some time had passed and they came to get me for the MRI. At this point I was still dizzy but nothing to crazy. As long as I didn’t stand up I was good. I waved bye-bye to the hubbs and off they went.

Rollaway

I’m claustrophobic so this trip down the hall to the MRI machine freaked me out. This machine was closed in as well so it was really creepy. They tried to soften it up with the cool glow in the dark galaxy stickers. But, It wasn’t working The tech was cool about it though, she talked to me the whole time I was in there. It lasted for about an hour. Then they brought me back into my little room.

They tried to soften it up with the cool glow in the dark galaxy stickers. but it wasn’t working…

Once we got my results for the bloodwork they came in and explained that It was dehydration. No clots, blood was fine, scans were good. They told me to be mindful of my fluid intake and to keep bottles of water with me to sip on throughout the day. I stayed on the fluids for a little longer then they sent me home.

It was a rather interesting experience for me because I don’t usually need to go to the doctors office for anything let alone the hospital. But, since surgery having an on call nurse has been a huge benefit. I don’t ever have to really wonder about anything. I can reach out and get questions answered about food, vitamins, safe exercises, when should I go to the hospital, all kinds of stuff. Not really sure if everyone gets an on call nurse or if that was just a part of my insurance plan. However, it was an amazing perk.


#vsgpostop #vsgissues #vsgorlando #hydration #fluids #ervisit #vsgrecovery

“Well, Well, Well…..Would You Look At That…..

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MY BELLY DOESN’T FOLD ANYMORE

I can not believe I can actually say those words. And to be honest I didn’t think it was going to be that big of a deal. But who am I kidding?! It’s freaking amazing.

I didn’t give myself enough credit for making the life changing decision that gave me a second chance. So I made a promise to celebrate every victory no matter what. I know what it felt like to be on the negative side of things. And I am over that.

Ok, so when you get over a certain weight your abdomen does this inward fold thing. Normally it’s right where your navel is, it kind of aides in the belly fold. The ending result is this kind of stacking effect (hence the “2 stomach” term) Anyway….

I was sitting talking to the hubbs and I looked down and noticed my stomach wasn’t creasing. I was like “babe grab the camera… take the picture”   He’s looking all puzzled like what’s happening?! I’m like “just grabbed the camera and tell me when you press record.” I had to make sure it wasn’t an illusion. So I sat up and leaned back, then sat up and leaned back and it was still 1 stomach! I was over the top excited.

Listen…

I’ve always been held back from some of the many joys of being a woman because of how I felt about my body. Even though I had people by my side and in my corner there are moments that you experience alone!

Those are the moments that crush your confidence, that feeds you lies and poison your mentality. Those are the moments when negativity invades. When you’re scrolling down timelines and you want to be happy for the success of others but can’t help but find flaws and compare everything.

When you’re laying up at night and your mind is going 5k miles and hour because you’re trying to figure out what did you do to deserve this?

You start coming up with things and making s*** up in your head.

Why do I have to be the one living in this body that doesn’t look as appealing to me as I want it to?

Why can’t I give birth and snatch right back?

I wonder what else they’re doing because there’s no way they lost that much weight in that amount of time and I haven’t lost anything in 2 weeks!

Those moments… that feeling.

It’s hard to feel good, sexy, and confident when you’re 100+ pounds over weight. It’s hard to wake up in the morning all energized and take time out to get all done up, when your feet hurt the moment they touch the ground from the pressure of your body. When your back is in chronic pain because its working in overdrive to hold up all your extra weight. When your lungs feel like they are about to explode because you attempted working out to get healthier.

After living in a depressive state like that for so many years it drains you. You tend to lose sight of excitement, you lose sight of joy, you lose sight of self love, and self care. You lose sight of YOU!

I got so low I gave up on everything. I asked myself “what else could possibly go wrong?” With the way my life was going “What’s the worst that can happen if I just got the damn surgery?” I reached a point in life where I just said “f*** it”.

Boy am I glad that I did

I felt so good in this moment. I felt accomplished, i felt sexy, i felt happy.

I don’t care how small, how ridiculous, how cheesy, how lame. At the end of the day…I made this change for me. Everything I had energy to complain about I will celebrate. Today was one of those days. I felt so good in this moment. I felt accomplished, I felt sexy, I felt happy. I was so happy I had to share…..

I made a video and everything…..

Who is that girl?!

I had to tell myself that this is a big deal.

IT IS A BIG DEAL. 

Whoohoo NO SCALE VICTORY FOR THE WIN

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