Recommended Items for Weight Loss Surgery

Leading up to your surgery date for weight loss surgery is full of all kinds of things. Emotions ranging from high to low. You question if what you are about to do is right or wrong… Uncertainty about what to expect post op as far as pain and managing life… These are all normal and understandable questions and things to think about, and they should have ample time dedicated to them!

However, having a little cheat sheet about what to have for preop, post op (in hospital) and post op life at home can’t hurt, can it?

I had considered making a blog and video post regarding this matter and made mention of it in one of my most recent update videos, and some people have asked me to go ahead and do that, that they would appreciate it!

So, with that, the following items are what I personally found to be helpful, or not helpful, for the 3 stages listed above 🙂

Pre Op Items I Suggest

  1. Protein powders – you can often get sample protein powders from stores like GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, bodybuilding.com (you have to buy smaller samples, but better than a huge jug)
    1. I would recommend these so that you can find some brands you enjoy. There are SOOOOO many to try. Some great “bariatric” friendly ones are Premier Protein (they make prepackaged single serving shakes), Isopure (they are high in protein and low in sugar), or even Cellucor could be fun (they have so many incredibly vast flavors, like toasted marshmallow, lava cake, etc!)
    2. Do not go crazy buying huge tubs at this point… I’ve heard many people say their flavor preferences change post op almost immediately. For me, that wasn’t the case. For you it could be, and that would totally suck to drop $50 on a container of protein and decide you do not like!
      1. Another reason to load up: they aren’t going anywhere 🙂 When you get home from the hospital you are normally in a situation that you can walk a little bit. You’ll be able to get out to the store and buy them in no time (or order online)
  2. A good multivitamin
    1. I wasn’t instructed to take bariatric multivitamins before surgery, but was instructed to take a good multi. Post op vitamin requirements are different than prebariatric, so check with surgeon group and find out what they would recommend. Now is the time to see if you can stomach a multivitamin at all, or if you need to find one that works better for you
  3. Loose fitting clothing
    1. You definitely want a loose fitting shirt(s) for post op. You’re going to be swollen from the surgery stress on your body + the fact they pump you full of gas (for laproscopic) during surgery. It takes some time for that to go down, so you want some shirts that are comfortable to wear. I found them great for lounging around the house, sleeping in, etc.
    2. Some loose gym shorts are great, too. You could even rock these during your hospital stay (easier once catheter is out, should you get one). Again, this makes it easy to handle swelling post op, and for putting on what not for using the rest room

Post Op/Hospital Items I Suggest

Now for the good stuff! First, I want to include items that I suggest for in the hospital, but I also want to give some reasons about why you may not want to bring other items with you.

Yes Things!

  1. Chapstick!
    1. Your lips will be SO dry after surgery. You’re getting pumped full of liquid and nutrients thru your IV, but you’re not getting much water. For whatever reason your lips may be incredibly dry, so bring your favorite chapstick (mine was the normal Burts Bees. Nice and pepperminty!)
  2. Your loose fitting clothing from above!
    1. I actually packed all kinds of clothes… Multiple shirts… shorts… some toe socks… I wore one thing my entire hospital stay. My boxer briefs (nice bright red Christmas ones!). Once my catheter was out, I slipped on my boxer briefs and didnt care any more about my hospital gown being untied. I just let it flow, baby!
    2. Some other people had the nurse temporarily unhook their IV (theres a disconnect in it, they dont have to remove so dont worry!) and put on pajamas or some loose clothing. They got to walk around in shirts while I had on my gown 😛 Not a bad idea!
  3. Biotene mouth spray
    1. Like chap stick, your mouth may be incredibly dry. I used my Biotene a few times for the first 36 hours post op, but then since I was allowed ice chips immediately I didnt need it too often. However, it was HUGELY beneficial.
  4. A laptop or tablet device
    1. This one for me was HUGE.. I loaded up my laptop with a bunch of movies, I think like 8. I was in a private room and I got bored of the 12 channels for tv pretty quickly… So, I used my laptop and in between my walking and sleeping, I would watch a movie on my bed table. Pause it, nap a little, and continue the movie. I don’t really remember the movies thanks to being on Morphine, but I did pass my time without ever being bored thanks to it. You could also use Netflix, HULU, etc. Most hospitals now-a-days have free wifi for patients, so you can stream all the content…
  5. YOUR CHARGERS!!!$)*@!)($*@(#)*@#%
    1. PLEASE bring your cellphone/laptop/tablet chargers! I cannot imagine how much it would suck to be sitting in the hospital and run out of juice and have no way to fix it! Granted, my hospital was 1.5 hours from my home, so it would be easy enough to send a friend/family member to grab it, but may as well bring with ya, you know?
    2. TIP! – Consider buying a longer wire for your plug. I use a super long iPhone wire because I dont have a nightstand at home. I was able to plug the phone into wall behind me, and still had plenty of slack wire to set phone down next to me. I use a 6′ iPhone cable off Amazon 🙂

    6′ Amazon Basics iPhone Cable – $7.99 + Free Shipping
    Click image to be taken to Amazon!

  6. Your favorite pillow 🙂
    1. The hospital bed had two pillows, but the comfort of using my own pillow was incredible.. I wanted to sit up for the most part, even sleeping, so I was able to stack the two hospital pillows + my down pillow and was INCREDIBLY comfortable.
    2. TIP! – If you bring your pillow, use a nonwhite pillow case so it stands out and you can identify yours easily 🙂
  7. Mio Fit – post op at home

    Mio Fit

    1. Mio Fit is a water supplement you can purchase at your local supermarket. They come in multiple flavors but the FIT variant has 0 caffeine, 0 sugars and 0 calories. They do have electrolytes and help to soften the water so that you are getting as much hydration as possible while you drink. They taste good and have been vital to me getting in all my water 🙂
    2. I personally LOVE the lemon-lime. The berry blast is great, as well, but did not care for the orange.
  8. Water Vessel – post op at home
    1. I previously posted about my RTIC 30oz tumbler (link here) and how much I loved it. I STILL DO! I use it every day and it helps me get in plenty of cool/hot liquids. So far I have had no spills anywhere 🙂
    2. Whichever you choose, find one that is insulated and can hold a decent amount of liquids for you.

No Things for Hospital!

  1. Excess clothing!
    1. You wont use it! Have one set of clothes, thats all you should need. I literally used the stuff I walked in the hospital with
  2. Books
    1. I brought my Kindle but I did not even touch it… I wanted to read, and considered it… Looking back now, I’d have been wasting my time. If I can’t remember any movies I watched then theres no way I’d remember anything I had read!
    2. TIP! – Magazines are probably fine 🙂

 

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One Month Post Op Progress

Hey everyone!

Yesterday marked four weeks post op since my Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) surgery, so wanted to touch base and share some progress/updates

My starting weight was 315, my surgery date weight was 300, and my one month weight is 270 so thats a total of 45 pounds lost!

My shirts and pants are all feeling better and am down two notches on my belt 🙂

Sleeping great, back pain is gone and my incisions are giving me no discomfort any more. In fact, two nights ago I pulled out my sutures. My incisions are fully healed 🙂

Check out my progress photos below, and I have a new video up on YouTube! You can click the image strips for my face progress or body progress to have them enlarge 🙂

One Month Face Progress

 

One Month Progress

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Is VSG a POUCH or a SLEEVE?

VSG

There are PLENTY of online communities/forums for individuals to do research leading up to having bariatric surgery. These waterholes are absolutely valuable resources to hear thousands of peoples experiences, advice, opinions, etc etc. For me personally, they helped me learn a tremendous amount about how the procedures work, the types of procedures, pros/cons and things to expect for post op life (from waking up post op to years down the road).

However, for me, one odd thing is just HOW critical people are that the VSG post op stomach MUST be referred to as a SLEEVE and not a pouch. That a POUCH is solely reserved for RNY (gastric bypass). Granted, a sleeve is long, like they say a banana. A pouch is not. For me, thats not enough. For me, to see new individuals get corrected DAILY on what to reference the modified stomach as gets old and honestly kind of pisses me off.

Theres a motto that I love: If I do not know something, educate me. Don’t belittle me.

The argument could be made that these individuals (myself, included) are in fact being educated when they ignorantly, or by habit alone, reference a VSG stomach as a pouch. This led me to a question …. what does the bariatric professional community reference the stomach to?

There are the online communities opinions — then there is the professional opinion. I would prefer to adhere, follow and trust the professional.

The following is a post I wrote up to be on ObesityHelp forum, under the generalized “Weight Loss Surgery Forums”. I encourage people to do their own research. Theres no such thing as being too educated.

My post (can also be seen on OH here):


I decided to do some research into this, seeing as how serious a few people on this forum are that members (new people) reference the VSG stomach modification as a SLEEVE rather than a pouch. To me, they’re both adjectives. They both reference the newly reshaped stomach compartment our bodies are left with after bariatric surgery.

Is there a possible source of confusion by calling a VSG stomach a pouch? I wouldnt say no, but I dont know how critical it is that it must be called a sleeve, either. The RNY stomach resembles more of a “traditional” pouch as its not elongated.

According to Merriam Webster:

pouch |pouCHnouna small bag or other flexible receptacle, typically carried in a pocket or attached to a belt: a tobacco pouch |webbing with pouches for stun grenades.• a lockable bag for mail or dispatches.a pocketlike abdominal receptacle in which marsupials carry their young during lactation.• any of a number of animal receptacles similar to a pouch, such as those in the cheeks of rodents.

That being the case, I wanted to see what the professional bariatric community refers the VSG stomach as. Here are my findings. These are not all inclusive of the entire internet, as that would be a little bit too much work for me to do, but feel welcome to share any additional findings

http://bariatrictimes.com/the-history-of-sleeve-gastrectomy/

Author:

by Gregg H. Jossart, MD, FACS; Gary Anthone, MD, FACS

Dr. Jossart is Director, Minimally Invasive Surgery, California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco, California. Dr. Anthone is Director Bariatric Surgery Program, Nebraska Methodist Hospital, Omaha, Nebraska.

References to stomach as pouch: 9 times

References to stomach as sleeve: 0

————–

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleeve_gastrectomy

Author:

the internet

References to stomach as pouch: 0

References to stomach as sleeve: 1 time

————–

https://asmbs.org/patients/bariatric-surgery-procedures#slee ve

Author

None listed, however, is leading organization for Metabolic Surgeries in America

References to stomach as pouch: 2 times

References to stomach as sleeve: 0

————–


https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/007435.htm

Author:

Updated by: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, general surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

References to stomach as pouch: 2 times

References to stomach as sleeve: 0

————–


http://bariatrics.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=95

Author:

None listed

References to stomach as pouch: 3 times

References to stomach as sleeve: 2 times

————–

http://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/restrictive-operations-sto mach-stapling-or-gastric-banding

Author

Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD – Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerAli Tavakkoli, FACS, FRCS, MD – General Surgery, Bariatric Surgery

References to stomach as pouch: 0

References to stomach as sleeve: 1 time

 

In conclusion, my findings show that both the term “pouch” or “sleeve” can be used nearly interchangeably. From these 6 publications, the stomach is referred to as a pouch 16 times, and a sleeve 4 times. There can be some confusion to new individuals researching bariatric surgery, however, generally the stomach reference is involved in context of mentioning whether it is VSG or RNY, or another surgery; thus, eliminating any questions or reasons to be confused.

I feel we as a community should do less scorning of individuals referencing their new or future stomach cavity as a pouch or sleeve, and instead help educate and respond to questions that will actually be beneficial to them.

***Disclaimer: I am not a professional researcher or a “vet”. I simply used one of the most powerful tools in the world and searched for “vertical sleeve gastrectomy procedure” and selected several sites that are credible and trusted sources for information. No information was pulled from a blog or individual(s) page, but instead research establishments, medical professionals, etc. With further research, my findings could be completely wrong. ***

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RTIC Tumblers – Control your beverage temp!

Most people are probably aware of that YETI craze going on around the coolers and/or tumblers. They keep your drinks cold (or hot!) for hours, they don’t condensate, they’re room temperature to the touch, etc…

However, they’re also SUPER pricey ($40+)!

RTIC Tumblers

Behold, the RTIC tumbler! You can get these on Amazon with free shipping, which is awesome, right?

I’ve been using my 30 oz (with optional handle) to keep my cooler liquids cold. I add a few ice cubes, my water and my Mio Fit and have a surplus of chilled water (but not ice cold, my sleeve can’t really enjoy that yet) for hours. Can’t stand room temperature! My theory is try for TWO full glasses a day and I’ll have exceeded my water intake for the day, which I have done consistently since getting out of hospital!

The 11oz lowball has been fantastic for sipping warm liquids! For me that has just been broths mixed with protein, but could be used for tea, coffee, or even colder liquids.

Check them out, I definitely recommend the buy!

30 oz tumbler w/ lid – $22.40: http://amzn.to/1VBjIAd

11oz tumbler w/ lid – $19.77: http://amzn.to/1O7sG6F

 

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Lessen your blood thinner pain!

One of the first things some bariatric patients learn to do is administer their own blood thinner injections. In my particular case I had to do one shot every day, which I chose to do in the morning getting ready for work.

These shots cause a decent amount of bruising at the injection site because the medicine is thinning out the blood (just as its suppose to!). However, some of us (thats me!) didn’t think to spread out the shots throughout their abdomen to lessen the bruising and pain of having a shot in say the exact same location multiple times!

When looking at your tummy split it into quadrants. Each day use a new quadrant for your shot, but be sure to give yourself distance away from your incisions, and also I suggest staying in areas that have more of the “soft fat” to lessen any pain as well.

Abdomen QuadrantFollowing this process your injections will be much less painful as time goes on, but you will have more little black and bruise marks around your abdomen. I personally would take the latter!

 

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Blood Thinner Injection Demo

Yesterday was my first day back to work since surgery 5 days ago. In the rush to get ready, I nearly forgot my blood thinner injection! I’ve had a few questions about them so I decided to make a quick video of how I’ve been doing them and the setup of the injection.

Enoxaparin Injection

Check it out below! Its pretty simple, really. Just grab the prefilled injection, clean injection area (spot with plenty of fat) with medical alcohol, remove syringe from package, press into cleaned area, holding the syringe with thumb and middle finger depress plunger with thumb slowly. With my shots, there is a spring that automatically retracts the needle and stows it safely inside once finished. Thats it!

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First “solid” prepared food

I had read online about the Egg Face ricotta bake for post op meals, and how it can be a good option for pureed stage as well. In my last video I talked about how I made some up, but I unforutantely did not take a photo of it before my wife and I dug in. In the recipe it doesnt call out for any chicken but I did add some precooked slices by Tyson.

For my serving, I have been taking 1 oz of chicken then some ricotta/sauce/mozzarella and adding some chicken broth, tossing in magic bullet and blending up.

Its actually really good, like a pastaless lasagna but has all the flavor!

Link to Eggface recipe here

Egg Face Ricotta Bake

 

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Post Op Update – Day 4

Am now four days post op and going strong! Have had no issues with adding food or getting in liquids. Check out my update video below! 🙂

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Post Op – Second day updates

Again, not much ability to post but did another progress video

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