Meet Eric Baker, 49-year-old Seven Lakes resident. Listen as Eric talks about his struggle with weight, failed diets and why he opted to have weight-loss surgery here at the FirstHealth Bariatric Center.
And join us as we follow Eric on his personal journey - the good, the bad, the ugly and the VERY exciting.
Started my pre-op diet, and was a little hungry but not any worse then all the other diets I had been on. I took it day by day while looking forward to Dr. Grantham taking my hunger away.
11/26/15 (Thanksgiving Day)
Surgery in four days!
Was really not looking forward to this day. For 49 years this day had been all about eating too much and laying around watching football. I stuck with the diet and did pretty well, and as it turns out it was not too bad at all. I had seriously been watching my diet since the middle of August (after the initial information session) and my eating habits had changed quite a bit. We had dinner late in the afternoon and went to the movies at night.
11/30/15 and after
I was somewhat anxious, but actually looking forward to getting the "show on the road." After several months of changing my eating habits through dieting, and mentally preparing myself for the surgery and my life after surgery, I was ready to start my journey. I had not had a diet soda in two months and gave up caffeine when I started my pre-op diet. For some, that may seem like a small accomplishment, but I was so addicted to the diet soda, or maybe just the caffeine, that I would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with a headache and have to drink one to get back to sleep.
I had pre-registered for surgery so there was not a lot of waiting around. It went by so quickly! One minute I was in pre-op, and before I knew it I was waking up in the recovery room. Personally, I didn't experience a lot of pain, just some cramping on the left side of my stomach. Believe it or not I was in more pain when I had my wisdom teeth pulled than this surgery. My mouth was so dry - a feeling that I will never forget. I just wanted something to drink but I had to wait for 12 hours before I could use my new stomach (probably should have drank a little more the day before). The swabs dipped in water helped a bunch.
At the 12 hour mark (midnight) I was given a two ounce cup of ice chips to suck and swallow - now I know this does not sound like much, but they hit the spot. Shortly after that I asked for some pain medication - mostly so I could get some rest, they were not needed so much for the pain at that point.
The next morning I was given the first installment of the liquid challenge - I had an hour to complete two ounces of water. This was pretty easy, I just had to sip and everything was fine. The next hour I was given two, two ounce cups of water to complete in one hour, which was once again not a big deal. I just had to sip every five minutes or so. I could tell that the clock was going to be my friend throughout this first phase. An hour later I asked for water, chicken broth and beef broth (had an hour to drink all three liquids, six ounces total in one hour). Once again it was not too big of a deal (sip every two and a half minutes). Also, it could be that I was ready to pass this test and be awarded with a trip home! If you drank too quickly your new stomach would let you know about it.
I left the hospital around 7 p.m. and was happy to be home. I was still not in a lot of pain, but had to take things slow and easy. I was looking forward to sleeping in my bed, but chose the recliner for the first night. After the first night I was sleeping in bed, I would add a few pillows to elevate my head, and used the pain medication as needed. All in all I was not in as much pain as you would expect after the procedure I had just been through.
With my dependence on watching the clock and time I started wearing a watch (something I never did before). I had to drink six ounces of clear liquids every hour until I got to 80 ounces total. For the first week or so I would have to drink a sip every two and a half minutes or so. For the first two weeks I lived on zero calorie sports drinks, chicken broth, beef broth, ramen noodle broth (noodles strained and removed), wonton soup (without the wontons) and chocolate protein shakes (added three days after surgery). The protein shake that worked the best for me was Premier Protein Chocolate (already premixed, 30 grams of protein, 11 ounces).
One of the biggest challenges with this surgery unlike a typical surgery is usually when you have surgery (leg, arm, whatever) you lay around and rest and heal, but with this surgery I was always working on getting my fluids, protein and walking every hour or so. It was pretty obvious if you did not keep up with it you would fall way behind and never be able to catch up. The last thing I wanted to do was go back to the hospital to receive IV fluids because I was dehydrated. I would typically wake up around 7 a.m. and start with my fluids first thing. It was amazing that for two weeks I was on an all liquid diet and was not hungry at all. Everything got easier with every passing day and week, at the end of this phase I will enjoy creamed soup in addition to the sports drinks and protein shakes.
I kept up with all liquids consumed by using this chart I created.
A water bottle marked with ounces helped me easily consume my liquids.
My favorite drinks!
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