A 12 Egg Day!!!

We decided about a month ago we ought to keep a tally on the calendar in the kitchen on how many eggs we got a day. We’d gotten kind of lax in keeping track, and thought with all of the girls coming into lay – well, it’d be good to know.

I will admit that we haven’t been 100% faithful at recording – but we’ve actually done fairly well. With 14 laying pullets (excluding Speedy who is still at Rancho de Kao – we miss her!) here are our tallys:

October 26: 6 eggs
October 27: 7
October 28: 7
October 29: 7
October 30: 10
October 31: 8
November 1: 9
November 2: 7
November 3: 9
November 4: 7
November 5: 8
November 6: 8
November 7: ??
November 8: 9
November 9: 8
November 10: 8
November 11: 7
November 12: 8
November 13: 7
November 14: 8
November 15: 8
November 16: 11
November 17: 10
November 18: 8
November 19: 7
November 20: 7
November 21: 6
November 22: 9
November 23: 7
November 24: 5
November 25: 5
November 26: 8
November 27: 11
November 28: 7
November 29: 10
November 30: 12

That’s a lot of eggs!

And of these eggs we’ve had everything from pretty tiny eggs to just a fraction shy of 3 ounce eggs. They are white, the palest blush, tan, light brown, brown, and so brown they’re almost magenta. They’re really beautiful eggs. And yummy, too.

Of course, for two of those weeks we were in Spain and our substitute chicken wrangler kept track for us.

So what have we been doing with all those eggs? Well – eating them. And we’ve got some friends who have shared some, as well. We’ve got a few people who are interested in purchasing them – in fact, we’ve actually got a couple of “customers” who have a standing order.

William is so inspired by the whole thing that he’s decided he should start an egg business. He wants to buy some Americauna chicks from a breeder in the Spring and get a nice colorful array of eggs for the sampling of eggs he wants to sell. We’ll see how that goes! 🙂

I have to say – I had a couple of occasions to see chickens from afar while in Spain. I actually asked John to stop – turn around – and go back! I wanted to see those chickens! Unfortunately, we were on the toll road when that happened and there was no turn around possible, so I had to admire from afar. I missed the girls while I was gone!

So it’s good to be home – and still fun and exciting to be enjoying our chickens!

Thanksgiving as a baby post-op…

We went to my uncle’s home for Thanksgiving dinner this afternoon. I knew going into it that I’d only be able to take nibbles. That didn’t bother me. What I wasn’t prepared for was the fact that I’d end up throwing together a little vinaigrette for the salad. In normal me fashion, I’d throw some stuff in, take a little taste on cucumber, and then adjust. What I failed to factor in is that only 2 small slices of cucumber would fill me up ALL the way.

Bummer.

I did finally end up getting some bites of mashed potato and gravy and some stuffing (all chock full of celery and onions – yummy!), and a couple of little nibbles of the turkey dark meat. It was good. But it was, well, a little sad.

Know what I wanted the very most?

A big old plate of salad! Salad so isn’t happening right now!

I will say that I did start the day out right. We picked up a quiche at Marie Callendar’s yesterday, so I cut off a small slice of that, warmed it up and nibbled on it throughout the morning. That was good, and nice and high protein.

So here it is early evening…. later that I’ve been able to stay up thus far! Woo Hoo! And you know what I want now? A left-over turkey sandwich. Guess I gotta face facts that we have no turkey and that sandwich is completely out of the question for me right this moment….

So – what was the overriding theme for the day?

Was it the fact that I didn’t get to eat everything that I wanted? Nope.

We actually went around the room as we paused for prayer this afternoon’s dinner and all said what we were thankful for… overriding theme for the day – our profound thankfulness for our family – the ones we were fortunate enough to spend the day with.

And I’m thankful for a great surgery, a good outcome thus far, and the blessing of being able to even pursue this surgery. I am richly blessed, indeed.

Pictures!

This is our last morning in Altea. To the left is Denise from Canada, who had surgery on the day I was discharged from the hospital. She’s obviously doing fabulously!This is me 7 days post-op and on our balcony of our room in Altea.
Here are John and I on the evening of the 17th in Madrid – at the Flamenco show that we took in that evening. That was such a fun night!

This is the morning of the 21st – the morning after we arrived home. I asked John to take pictures of me for the blog… he did and then he said, “But you should take the sweater off – it camoflages too much.” To which I said, “DUH! Why do you think I wear one?! Well, except for the fact that I’m always cold!”


BTW, I’d lost 10 pounds at this point in time. Below are the pictures without the :ahem: camoflage!

I’ll take more pictures on Monday since that will be three weeks from surgery.

13 Days Post-Op – again!

It’s kinda funny… I know all of the stuff there is to know about being an early post-op. For heavens’ sake I lived it July 2002 with my original DS. It really is still fairly fresh in my mind. Then, add on top of that the fact that I’ve been granted the extreme privilege of getting to walk along side lots of post-ops as they’ve gone through the same early post-op stuff and allowed me to coach them along… My husband and son included!

I know it.

I understand it.

I totally get it – why stuff happens and when.

What’s kind of comical is the fact that when you throw in that free radical estrogen is at play as fat cells are being depleted of their stores – is the emotional factor that almost negates all of the stuff I’m supposed to know!

Case in point…

I always tell patients, “Never buy a lifetime supply of ANYTHING as an early post-op. You’ll love it this morning, but you may well hate it by early evening.”

I know that in my head, but when I taste something that may as well have been served by angelic beings on gilded platters (otherwise known as simple fruit juice – this was about a week ago) I’m positive that I will NEVER tire of it.

WRONG.

I’m totally sick of fruit juice now. Couldn’t pay me enough to choke any more down. Now it’s iced green tea or nothing. Well, except for maybe hot tea of various kinds. Hallelujah for tea!

This morning John and I made a huge batch of cream of potato soup with some finely chopped ground beef in it to add a boost of protein. OH MY WORD! It’s amazing. I love it! I’m so glad I made a huge pot of it. (Forgetting that I have a very tiny tummy, of course! LOL!) I’ll want to consume only this for the rest of my life. I said to John, “This is easily the best soup I’ve ever made.” He looked at me, then responded, “That’s your surgery talking.” Yeah, he knows. 🙂

So how’s it going at 13 days post-op the second round? (The first round being July 2002.) Good. I had kinda a barfy day yesterday. I don’t know if it was exhaustion, dehydration, or what, but I felt all day long like I was about ready to hurl. Didn’t actually barf at all, but kinda wished I could. I sipped my fluids all day long – most of them super iced, because night before last all of a sudden super iced was THE best thing on the planet. Along early evening came last night and I switched to hot stuff – and voila! The baryness went away. Go figure.

The jet lag is still doing it’s crazy stuff. I fell asleep probably by about 8pm last night. That’s actually pretty good for this stage of the game – but then I was up wide awake and raring to go at 3am this morning. That really is a pretty good night’s sleep for me, so no wonder. But it would be good to get that normalized a little more – and soon. Life picks up at high speed, well, actually starting today.

I did have the requisite totally wiped out body clock completely confused, don’t know what time of day or night, totally exhausted jet laggy kind of day yesterday. MJ, Ann, and I all felt encouraged that we were expericiencing it simultaneously! It’s always good to have surgery pals!

Well, I’ve got pictures to post – but I’m too tired to mess with them right now. We’ve got church this morning, so I’ll get a little cat nap and then get ready for my day – I may even break down and wear make-up!

Pictures later – I promise!

Jet lag lives…

Here it is – early morning hours of the 22nd of November. Why am I up? Can you say:

JET LAG!!!!

Yeah, I can! LOL!

We left Madrid early morning on the 20th (Johns & my 15th wedding anniversary, coincidentally) Madrid time – and got home about 11:30 pm same day.

I love Spain. It’s an amazing experience. I love going to Alcoy. I love going back to the Sanatorio San Jorge (the small private hospital that Dr. Baltasar operates on his private practice patients in). I love that first time to see Dr. B again – a big hug, a kiss on the cheek, an affectionate reunion. It’s always like going home again. I actually always feel a big relief when I get there.

I loved the time we spent on the Mediterranean – Altea was gorgeous! The weather was 70’s and sunny, the hotel was a resort – and gorgeous, you couldn’t ask for nicer.

Madrid was fabulous. What’s not to love about Old Madrid? Or the amazing flamenco show we took in? Or the Prado? Or the Royal Palace? Or Gran Via? The shopping is amazing!

But I love home. I adore my kids. I love my dog and cats and chickens. I really love my own fabulous bed!

If you’ve been reading my blog at all – you know we had a great time!

Oh yeah – that’s right – I also had surgery somewhere in there! LOL!

My revision was on the 10th at 3pm. Surgery went well. We knew going into it that my stomach had dilated considerably since my original DS in July 2002. (And I started with a small stomach! About the 2.5 to 3 oz range. That was tiny for my generation of DS!) They found that the part of my stomach that had stretched out on the top part had adhered (gotta love those adhesions – not!) to my liver and spleen. So they carefully took it down as small as they could, and then made the bottom part very narrow. So I’ve still got a bit of a larger than normal top part of my stomach, but it’s way smaller than it was going into this. They weren’t able to reach my common channel at all. I had hoped for a re-measure – it was 65 cm at the time of my original DS – I was hoping to learn if it had lengthened at all, as they have been known to do if you do much reading over the years on outcomes and resurgeries. But I told Dr. B going into surgery if it meant unnecessary time on the table – I was totally with him on his commitment for surgery to be short and not super stressful on the patient – and to call it a day. My adhesions were so severe that it was completely impossible. I guess that shouldn’t be surprising after all of the abdominal surgeries that I’ve had – all of them open – which means WAY higher chance for the fibrous difficult to release adhesions and much more difficult surgery. (Dang – what I’d give to have been able to have a Lap DS to start with!)

But you know what? I’m totally okay with it.

My restriction is SO MUCH more obvious now. I love that!

I weighed when I got up Friday morning and I’ve lost 10 pounds. Not bad!

Do I have a goal weight? Nope. My goal is to lose weight to prolong my mobility. If I listened to the orthopedic surgeons – who I think are totally unrealistic – they’d want me at about 110 to 120 pounds. Yeah, NOT. I just can’t fathom that I would be – or look – healthy at that weight. So – I’ll do my best to focus on the basics:

Get my protein in.

Get my fluids in.

Take my vitamins.

Move.

I want to be healthy. That’s what this is all about. Well, that, and the fact that I’m not willing to give up my mobility without a fight.

Thanks for all of the thoughts and prayers, pals!

*smootch*

dina

I love home

Ann was saying yesterday when we were in the Atlanta airport – after an already long day of travel: “No one ever talks about how sucky the trip home is!”

So I will. It’ sucks. It’s long. It’s not really painful. But it’s – well, long. Really long.

I got up at 5:30 a.m. in Madrid yesterday. That’s a 9 hour time change from here in Oregon. We left for the Madrid airport at 7:30 a.m. from downtown Old Madrid. Got checked in with Delta. Got through security. Got a little breakfast. Shopped in Duty Free for about 15 minutes. Then we got on our plane at 10:10 a.m. It departed about 11:00 am. We arrived in Atlanta at about 2pm Eastern Standard Time – that’s a 6 hour time change from Madrid – so, that would have been about 8pm. We had to board our plane from Atlanta to Portland at 6:30 pm – so that gave us enough time to try and find some food, go potty, walk some, and sip lots of Starbucks Iced Green Tea (with extra ice!).

Here’s the thing about traveling as – for me, anyway – an 11 day post-op, is the fact that when you have weight loss surgery you burn lots of fat. And estrogen, my friends, is stored in fat cells. So, you’ve got all of this free radical estrogen at play – and the eternal day of travel about mid-way through the experience becomes the eternal day from hell!

Some of us get weepy. (I was – I missed my kids – BAD! And I was on the way home for heaven’s sake!) Some of us get cranky. (I had my moments.) Some of us get depressed. Some of us get goofy. Some of us get mad. We are amazing individual beautiful creatures, aren’t we? My goodness, God is an amazing Creator!

What makes it even more frustrating is the fact that it’s hard to get calories in when you’re a baby post-op and traveling. So you gotta go prepared. I took baby bells (they’re great little semi-soft cheeses wrapped in wax – they travel well). I took some very tender tea cookies – they’re bland and they go down well with hot tea, which is easy to get on a plane. I took cup a soups – again, hot water a breeze to get on the plane.

When we were in Atlanta we went to Chili’s restaurant hoping to find a post-op friendly meal. Didn’t happen. We tried to find soup. Um, not so much happening, either – much of anywhere. I did find a soup at one of the deli’s – it was truly awful. Things got prettier when I got my Venti Iced Green Tea, no classic, with extra ice at Starbucks. I started sipping, and then I realized, my fluid intake had been dismal thus far for the day. Duh! I was seriously dehydrated. Then I got to thinking better – and a little more creatively.

I am still on fuller liquids, but that’s nearly impossible when you’re traveling, so you gotta maybe bump it up to soft foods until you get home. We found a great little restaurant in the food court called Paschal’s – it’s apparently a well known restaurant in Atlanta – and bless their hearts for having a place in the airport! I settled on some chopped steak with lots of gravy and green beans. I nearly wept with joy over the green beans – they were so good! The chopped steak, in tiny bites and chewed carefully with lots of gravy was perfect. As soon as I got some protein in me things got amazingly better!

The last leg home is always the longest, for some strange reason. We had a delay out of Atlanta by about an hour, so that put us into Portland later than expected. But you know what? I didn’t care by then – I was just glad to be home!

It’s a long trip. Is it worth it? You have moments in the midst of it when you wonder why the heck you chose to go halfway around the world for surgery – then you remember Dr. Baltasar… Yeah, no brainer – totally worth it!

We’re in Madrid!

Okay – so I should probably preface this by saying that while I *love* my life in the burbs on our wonderful 1/2 acre with our kids and chickens and cats and dog… I love Madrid.

It’s beautiful…

It’s historic…

It’s exciting…

It’s pretty much the heartbeat of Spain.

I usually spend just a few days in Madrid on the way out of Spain – but it’s possible to do quite a bit in even just a couple of days.

One of the things that I recommend whole-heartedly is taking in a Flamenco show. If you’re gonna do it, then choose the best – Corral de la Moreria. Most hotel concierge services (aka front desk clerk) can call and get you a reservation. Shows are at 9:30 pm and midnight. I’ve been to both – both are fabulous.

So fabulous, in fact, I just gotta share:

Obviously, we went last night – just a few hours after having arrived in Madrid. This is just a snippet – but you cannot sit through a flamenco show and not be moved.

Sigh.

It was amazing. I will also interject here that we three post-op girls managed to find stuff to nibble on – while the guys ate like kings. It was all I could do to keep from hitting John over the head and stealing his leg of lamb! LOL!

Today we’re going to take the Madrid Vision tour bus today with a plan to take in the Prado – the world’s largest art museum. That should be awesome.

More to report later!

Showers are good!

Every post-op should have their first post-op shower in a shower like this:

Sigh… this could be habit forming!

We had a great day today. We found Denise and her sister Darcy at breakfast this morning. Denise had her sleeve surgery with Dr. Baltasar on Wednesday. They’ve actually been here a the hotel since Friday but we hadn’t been able to find them yet. Amazingly enough, they are just a couple of rooms down from us!

After breakfast John and I, RJ and MJ, and Ann drove to Benidorm (6 km down the road) to the open air market. We had a fun time watching people. I wish I could access Ann’s pictures – she got a shot of a lady trying on a bra over her clothes at one of the booths – it was a riot!

After the open air market we went to lunch at Tony Roma’s in Benidorm. The girls enjoyed soup and the guys ribs – while the girls tried really hard not to drool visably at their yummy food. After lunch we walked the block to the beach.

This is a pretty classic snapshot of Ann, MJ, and I – laughing. We’ve done a LOT of laughing this trip. A LOT. LOL!

I am having one little wierd thing going on. I’ve got one spot on my abdomen that *really* hurts. Kinda feels like someone has punched me in a quarter sized spot repeatedly. It’s definitely external – Dr. Baltasar and I talked some time ago about potential side effects or complications that could come about because of my mesh with a lap surgery. One of them is that some gas can get trapped in the mesh. I’m wondering if that’s what’s happened. I just emailed Dr. B and will likely hear from him in the morning about his thoughts on this. In the meantime, I’m trying to take it easy – and no laugh so much.

The sunset tonight was stunning – just had to share:

We’re heading to Madrid on the noon train tomorrow. I’m not sure how we’ll handle the change in weather – leaving the 70’s for the 50’s. Tough, huh? I guess we’ll just have to buck up!

Thanks for all of the good thoughts, precious prayers, and emails of support!

5 Days Post-Op – Again!

When you’re 5 days post-op when you’re a “virgin” DS every day is amazing – a little scary, maybe – but new and exciting. I’ve got to admit, it’s a little more old hat this time out for me. Maybe that’s because I’ve gone through this with so many patients now… nineteen that I’ve actually been a support person for. I think that’s everyone… Then the others that were in Alcoy while we were there that we all adopted into our group… Then the others that I’ve had the privilege of talking with – whether in person or via phone, or email, or text, etc. as they’ve gone through the process.

So yeah, I had to stop just a moment ago and try and figure out how many days post-op I am! Surgery was Monday, today is Saturday – that’s five days. Wow – they’ve kind of flown. And I feel really good. In fact….

I FEEL GREAT!

I will admit to the fact that Dr. B decided to pull my drains this morning since I was in Alcoy briefly *might* play into that a bit! 🙂 LOL!


(This is in Altea – ancient olive trees in front of one of the churches in town.)

Yesterday we just kind of hung out around the hotel and some in town. Very similar to the day prior. (Below is a view of John on the Promenade in Altea on Thursday.)

Friday mid-day we had a conversation with Theresa, the wife of the general manager of the hotel here. MJ mentioned she wished we could cook some soup for we post-ops and Theresa promised to ask her husband if the chef couldn’t prepare something specifically for us! As it turne out, MJ wrote down one of her recipies (she’s a fabulous cook), it was given to the cook, and we were informed to report to the Miramar Restaurant at 9pm that evening to taste test! Cool!

Here’s the Mediterranean at sunset.

Ann had not been feeling so hot since late afternoon, so went to rest after our outing Friday mid-day. We checked her vitals, etc. and everything was as it should be. However, her general sense of unwell continued and grew. We went to dinner – had the MOST AMAZING soup ever – and were having a fine time, when Ann suddenly felt very ill. I quickly phoned Dr. Baltasar and at his direction we quickly gathered a few things and John and I took Ann back to the hospital in Alcoy.

Long story short, her blood pressure is improving dramatically – and her body simply doesn’t know how to handle that after many years of severe elevated blood pressure. Her medication was adjusted, and after a series of diagnostics she was deemed fine and dandy.

As you can see, she looks fabulous by this morning! This is she and Reuben, one of the nurses at the hospital.

We’re back in Altea now, enjoying the much warmer and sunnier weather here. We’re planning on heading out to lunch shortly (starts around 2pm). Tonight we will go to old Altea to visit art shops, do some general shopping, and enjoy a lovely dinner out.

Oh, interestingly enough, most post-ops don’t start vitamins until thy are a month post-op. Dr. B and I have discussed it and we’ve decided that I will restart my vitamins now. I’m starting with calcium (I’m using UpCal-D travel packets) and Vitamins A, D, E, K, and magnesium. So far, it’s going well.