Physical & Emotional Changes & Challenges Since Leaving the Hospital

Good morning!!  I can’t start this post without saying THANK YOU for all the love all my last post.  You guys are truly amazing.  I am so lucky to have the best friends (blog friends included!!) and family in the world.  I have cried a LOT of happy tears with all the support I have received over the last few months.  It truly means the world to me.  

As promised, today’s post will detail all the crazy physical and emotional changes I have been through over the last few months.  While the physical changes are drastic, the emotional roller coaster I have been on is even more crazy.  

I never have been a fan of the scale.  Personally, I have always just gone on how my clothes fit and how I feel.  To me, this allows me to have a better mindset and relationship with my body.  The number on the scale can be misleading and it’s just not something I have cared about for a long time.  

I have never been one to share my weight online…not because I don’t want to, but because I don’t think it matters and I don’t like the idea of people comparing themselves to others.  But for the purpose of this post, I will share my before and after weight to detail the dramatic changes my body has gone through since I first got sick.  It has been 3 months since I first got sick and began losing weight.  

Before I got sick, my weight was 132 lbs (I only know this because of doctor visits).  I have maintained this weight (give or take a few pounds) for around the last 10 years.  My body is happy at this weight and I was proud of all the muscle I worked hard for over the last few years.  After about a month of being sick (throwing up for 3-4 days every week for 5 weeks (before I ended up in the hospital), I had lost 15-20 lbs.  I felt sick every time I would eat and once the throwing up episodes would begin, they would last for days and it felt like they were never going to end.  I didn’t have much to throw up most times, but I think just the lack of eating for that many days caused me to drop the weight so quickly.  By the end of my hospital stay I weighed 107 lbs (I got on the scale the day I got home).  I credit the IV nutrition ( I was on it for over one week) for not losing anymore weight.  

This was the day I arrived home from the hospital.  As you can see, I was as white as a ghost and scary skinny.  After about 2-3 days at home, I lost more weight, which we assume was from getting off all the fluids at the hospital (IV nutrition and saline).  I checked my weight again and I weighed 97 lbs (now up to a 35 lb weight loss).  This was very scary for me to see as I haven’t seen that number since… I’m guessing middle school.  I could feel people judging me everywhere I went (I even had complete strangers ask me if I eat and tell me that I am too skinny).  

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The crazy part of this was that I was actually eating more than I ever have and eating things I haven’t eaten in years.  I was eating milkshakes (see below!), chips, very high calorie smoothies, ice cream, chocolate, etc. Because I basically hadn’t eaten in 3 months, my stomach shrank so I would get very uncomfortably full VERY fast so I had to eat food just a little bit at a time.  It was hard not to get to the point of almost puking every time I ate because I was SO hungry, but would get super full after just a few bites.  My body was craving salt and carbs and sweets like I never had before.  I would get full really quickly, but then hungry (RAVENOUS) after about 30 minutes so I felt like I was eating constantly.  My family said they have never seen me eat like that before in my life.  

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These pictures were taken a few days after I got discharged from the hospital.  You can see the weight loss and also where they made the incisions.  The two strips on the right are where the went in laparoscopicly (with a camera) for the procedure and the strip over my belly button is where they eventually made the large incision to be able to resection my bowel.  At this point I didn’t care if the incision was over my entire stomach, I was just beyond grateful they found something they could fix.  That being said, the incision is much smaller than I thought it would have to be, which I am thankful for.   

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I am really looking forward to fitting back into some of my clothes and being able to wear my wedding rings again.  As of this week, I am up about 7 lbs since my lowest weight, which I think is a really good start!

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There are quite a few other physical changes that have occurred over the last few months.  The next one is exhaustion.  While in the hospital, I was exhausted all the time (the medications definitely played a role in this) because I was still not eating.  I have mentioned this before, but the way doctors usually deal with a partial bowel blockage is to starve the bowel (aka fasting in hopes the obstruction will disappear).  The whole time I was in the hospital I was not eating (which was extremely hard because I was STARVING).  After every 4 or 5 days, they would try to begin me on a liquid or soft food diet, but I would get sick very quickly so it was always back to fasting.  This made me extremely exhausted all of the time.  I slept a lot because of this, which was good so it would pass the time.  Once I got home from the hospital, I was exhausted.  I wasn’t feeling bad, just very tired all of the time.  I spent most of the first few days at home in my bed or on the couch.  I would have to lay down after walking up one flight of stairs or standing for a few minutes.  I contribute not being able to eat full meals at lots of calories (because I would get full so fast) to this level of exhaustion as well.  Thankfully, by the end of the first week I was able to take my dogs on short walks around the block and able to stand for longer periods of time.   By the second week home I had much more energy and was also able to eat more food in one sitting.  

Another big physical change that occurred while I was sick was hair loss.  I was shedding hair like crazy while in the hospital and still am now.  The lack of nutrition really had an effect on my hair, but thankfully I have a LOT to spare.  I have always had really thick hair so I have been lucky you can’t really tell a difference.  I finally got my hair cut last week, which was so very needed.  I can’t even begin to explain how good it felt. 

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The first time I have done my hair in a LONG time.  A task I used to dread has now become something I look forward to.  

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My teeth went through a big change too.  With the lack of nutrients, my teeth were not as white as they usually are.  Thankfully some crest white strips are helping with this. 🙂

My skin has always been more oily rather that dry, but every since I wound up in the hospital my skin was extremely dry.  The whole time I was in the hospital and up until now, I have had to use a lot of moisturizer to keep my skin hydrated and keep it from peeling.  I definitely contribute a lack of hydration from water and food to this issue too. 

Another physical change I didn’t think much of was the color of my eyes!  While in the hospital they were very dark and dull, but ever since I have been home and fueling my body properly, they have been bright and almost a greenish color.  It sure is amazing what good nutrition can do to our bodies (and what a lack of nutrition can do too).  

Besides the physical changes I have been through, my emotions have been all over the place.  It was hard not to have the attitude of “why me” while dealing with this sickness before and while in the hospital.  I take great pride in my health and have always been a very healthy person eating nutritious foods and exercising daily.  It was very emotional to go from really healthy to basically bed-bound and needing assistance for even the very small tasks like putting my slippers on.  I had good days and bad days while in the hospital, but overall it was a very stressful situation not knowing what was going on and how long I would be there.  I was very emotional seeing my family so stressed and upset about my situation too.  It was really rough on all of us.  It may seem silly, but I was really emotional being away from my doggies and feeling like they think I had abandoned them. 😦  My emotions have been much more steady since I have been home.  I still have good and bad days, but many more good days than bad.  I will share a little more about how my perspective has changed since being home in another post coming soon.  Overall, I am happier than I have ever been and so grateful that I was able to make it through this situation without losing my mind. 😉  I am so happy to be alive and to just be back to living my normal life.  

Thank you all again for all your kind words.  I hope you guys all have an amazing weekend!!! 

Questions:

  1. Any fun plans for the weekend?
  2. What are some ways you take care of your health?
  3. What are some things that helped you get through a very emotional time?

The First Few Days At Home…A Visit From My Sister, Girls Night, and Relaxing with my Pups

Hi friends!!  I am so excited to get back to regular blogging.  It may take me a little while, but I have missed blogging so much.  With all the free time I had in the hospital, you would think I would have blogged more, but honestly there wasn’t much to talk about.  I also had very little energy every day, which was saved for my laps around the nurse’s station with my IV pole. 🙂

Life has been nothing short of beautiful and amazing since I have been home.  I have spent a LOT of time outside, which has been so wonderful (I only went outside twice during my whole stay in the hospital).  I seriously feel like I got released from prison when I got discharged.  It is so nice not to be attached to anything and to be able to spend so much time out in nature.  The fresh air has never felt so good.

Today’s post is going to be a little update since getting out of the hospital and being home.  I have a few different posts planned to discuss what has been happening around here since being home (I have a whole post on all the crazy physically changes I’ve been through), but today we will just start with the first few days after being discharged and what they looked like.

My surgery was on a Friday and I got released from the hospital on Sunday.  I was ready to go HOME!  I was BEYOND excited to see my sweet babies.  I missed them so much while I was in the hospital.  Hospitals should be dog friendly.  I would have been a lot less sad if my puppies had been with me. 😉 

Sweet Callie had to be on a leash because she LOVES to jump up on me and we had to be really careful with my incision.  They were just as happy to see me as I was to see them.  They followed me everywhere and Callie did not leave my side for the next week.  

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My sister flew in from Dallas a couple days after I got home to help take care of me.  Last time she was taking care of me she was studying for her law school finals.. this time she was busy studying for the bar!  She got all the smarts in the family. 😉  My little brother and dad spent a lot of time at my house, along with my mom too who cleaned and cleaned so that I would just rest.  

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We spent the days relaxing and even made it to my mom’s pool a few times to lay outside, which was so nice.  My mom took us to get our nails done, which felt amazing.  I felt so gross and grungy while staying in the hospital so it was nice to get a little pampered.  

My mom invited my besties, Lissa and Rachael, over on Friday night for a girls night.  She bought my sister and I matching pajamas for her graduation and made sure to get some for Rachael and Lissa for our girls night.  My mom is the cutest.  

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We made lots of appetizers and pizzas to munch on while we puzzled.  

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My sister’s boyfriend’s mom sent me this fun puzzle that you get to color once it is all put together.  

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We all had a blast chatting and completing the puzzle.

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Then we celebrated some birthdays with some chocolate cake!

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Rachael and my sister’s birthdays are in June and Lissa’s is in July so we had lots to celebrate! 

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We pulled out some champagne for the occasion too.  These four girls are so important to me.  They all rallied and were beyond amazing during my stay in the hospital.  I am so lucky to have them all in my life.  

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The finished product!!

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How amazing is the rest of the care package that my sister’s boyfriend’s mom sent to me??  So thoughtful and sweet of her.  It made me feel so loved. 🙂 

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The pups were not ready for my sister to leave either.  

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I missed these kisses while I was away.  

This dog loves his stuffed friends. 🙂 

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Before dropping my sister off at the airport on Saturday, we lounged at my mom’s pool for a couple hours.  

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On Saturday evening I went to dinner with my mom and step-dad and our family friends (my husband was in Michigan for our friends’ wedding… I wasn’t able to travel that soon after surgery).  

 

 

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While I have a post coming on all the physically changes/challenges I went through/am still going through, I will say that the biggest challenge the first week after surgery was extreme exhaustion.  I couldn’t walk up the stairs without having to sit down immediately or stand for very long without having to lay down.  My body was so fatigued so I spent a lot of time watching shows and movies in bed or on the couch with my pups. 🙂  

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I took off two weeks from work after surgery, but started back on Monday this week.  I have never been more excited to work in my entire life. 🙂  My work is very flexible and my boss is extremely understanding so I am just taking it day by day and doing what I can.  I really love being back at home, in a routine, and most of all, being able to eat normally without getting sick or winding up in the ER.  Life can change in the blink of an eye, so I sure am appreciating my health like never before.  

I am SO glad to be back.. I have missed yall!!!  Tell me in the comments what you guys have been up to and how your summer is going!  I would love to hear!

Questions:

  1. What is new with you?
  2. Any fun summer plans on your agenda?
  3. Have you ever been hospitalized before?  Ever had surgery?