Category Archives: Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy

The Woman In The Mirror After Bariatric Surgery

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The main thing I’ve noticed is how much I see myself now. I don’t mean just physically, but emotionally and mentally.

I use to dread walking past a mirror, I hated the image I saw.

It represented so many negative things in my life. Childhood trauma, emotional abuse, mental abuse, lack of self – worth and confidence. Lack of self- love and forgiveness. Self- esteem was almost non existent. My trust in people and society was totally twisted.

I never really understood the value of the words self – love!

I had to relearn to love myself, to value myself. My weight defined me for so many years of my life.

The biggest road block I faced was that image that reflected back at me.

Bariatric surgery helped me to put that image in focus!

instagram.com/iseeyouchachi

You get so use to allowing other people to control how you feel about yourself, about life, about certain situations and the choices you decided to make in reference to your life. You spiral into a whirlwind of depression and then you feel like there is no one there to help you out.

Then life itself rips you to shreds on the backend while you are already fighting so many battles on the front end. Advice from those close to you becomes little to none and unless you are dishing out your entire soul….. no one wants to hear anything. Everybody wants the tea but can’t stand to lend a hand or an ear. Letting people drain you becomes overwhelming until you shut down.

Confidence

Self love

2021

That smile tho’

I would always look at myself in the mirror and wonder if there would ever come a day when happiness existed. If there would ever come a day when I would love looking at the woman looking back at me.

Since having bariatric surgery I’ve learned to love, trust, and rely on me. Especially on the personal aspect of things.

When I talk about the reflection of self I tend to focus on me.

I am able to focus on me because I have an amazing support system between my husband and my children.

They make sure I get time outside, that I’m always laughing, they try to aide in me keeping my stress levels down. They are always constantly there and I love that. It motivates me to become a better human. I preach a lot of self love and self confidence to my children so I can’t not lead by example. This surgery was for me but bigger than me.

Everything has changed for the better and I am in love with it all.

Bariatric surgery is merely a tool. Literally you have to change your thought process, your eating habits, refocus your energy and everything. I understood the assignment and went in with every intention to come out and be different.

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These leggeings make an outfit themselves

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These leggings would’ve made a cute outfit all by themselves.

Don’t worry about that emoji…ya’ll just here for the transformation

Mind ya business, I was in my basketball player zone

So crazy I was like 10pounds heavier in the photo on the left at the time I took this photo. 90pounds

Let Your Light Shine

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Let Your Light Shine so brightly that others can see their way out of the dark

I want to be the best inspiration I can be to others on the same journey. It’s a challenging road to travel but I’m proof that you can do it.

12 months 3 weeks 3 days post #verticalsleevegastrecomy

270 180b 90 pounds

I love me some meeeeeeeeee

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.

“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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“Why Are You Pulling Socks Out Of Your Bra MOM?!”

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OMG!! The daily weight loss struggles when you’re trying to be cute.

Even though boobage loss was explained…I didn’t think it would be this serious. Lately I’ve been experiencing what I like to call the “Cleavage Cave-In”. It’s the only way I can explain what is happening to my boobs. They literally look like they are collapsing inward. I can’t even tell you what size bra I currently wear. Everytime I go to buy a new one the struggles increase, within a few days time it doesn’t fit anymore and/or the support is gone.

They literally look like they are collapsing inward

I’ve never been a fan of bras but they have always been necessary due to how large my boobs use to be. I am one of those “can’t wait to get off work cause I’m taking my bra off as soon as I pull into the driveway type girls”, one of those “unclip the bra and let gravity take over” type of girls. I can’t really say if my problem with bras is naturally developed or if it’s just an annoyance because my boobs were always so heavy. Either way the struggle is real.

Anywoo…..

So the hubbs and I are in the room getting ready. As i’m trying to decide what look I want to wear for the day, I’m like “damn man I really need to order some new bras because my selection at the house is getting slimmer and slimmer”. Meanwhile the hubbs is like “baby just order them now, why do you keep pushing it off” and I simply replied “because I don’t see the point, I can still make some of the older bras work” I go over to the mirror to see how much magic needs to be done and boom

“THE CLEAVAGE CAVE-IN”

At this point I was like there ain’t no way I can fix this. Then it hit me…STUFFERSSSSS!! Only thing is I never had to stuff a bra before so I don’t even know where to begin. Instantly I started thinking about what girl movies had I watched that taught me about bra stuffing? Now and Then was the only thing I could remember. I didn’t want to use pudding like Teeny (that could turn out messy although hubbs would probably enojy that one) I definitely didn’t want to tape them down like Roberta (skin too sensitive) So I just went with socks. I have hundreds of them so I started packing and stuffing.

Now, I hope the girls from back in the days who had to stuff their bras used way less pairs of socks then I did. I had 7 pairs of socks stuffed in my bra… ankle socks, footies, crew socks, and fluffy ones. The winter socks pushed up the best by the way just saying!

I had 7 pairs of socks stuffed in my bra

Voila! Cleavage Cave filled in . I took a selfie to see if it worked and it did, you can’t even tell can you? It was a very interesting process actually.

But,

There was no way I was walking around with that many socks in my bra. As I started to unstuff, in walks my 17 year old with this question mark wrinkle on his forehead talking about ….”what are you doing? Why are you taking socks out of your bra?” and then he cracks up laughing. #Teenagers

I was like …”listen don’t judge me, the struggles are real! I gotta make adjustments every now and then.”

I took that bra off and into the donation box it went I prefer comfort over look. I grabbed a minimizer