Heart Broken Week (Pt. 5)

So – I am WAY behind, what else is new?

The last time I updated Mike and I were still in NC and he has had a couple of appointments since then so I thought I’d just type out a little update for those that have asked…and for me too…because my memory…YEP!

Since we returned home to Texas he has been seen by his Primary Care Physician and his Pulmonologist here in College Station.  His PCP reviewed his labs, notes and all the information from the cardio team and did not find anything alarming or that he felt that was missed.  He agreed that on paper, Mike was not at risk for a heart attack…which is one of those things I keep hearing but also keep thinking of all the ways we could live better, exercise more, blah blah blah…but in the end, I truly believe that was God’s plan.  All the things are, and that was His plan for my hubby on that day and I will just have to rejoice and be glad in it.  Okay?  OKAY?  🙂  It taught me a few things and I’ll get to that eventually but for now….just trying to stick to the facts!

His Pulmonologist has suggested another sleep study (scheduled later this month) and Mike is VERY receptive to finding a CPAP mask that will work for him.  We already know he has sleep apnea.  He has been kicked out of a lab before because basically it was very clearly and quickly seen that he had it…that he needed a machine….but he has very very very particular about this process.  So…this is a huge triumph as in the past he has been….ummm….well….ya know.  I am ever so hopeful that this will be a game changer and will give him a restful sleep.  He wakes up SO tired and I can see the exhaustion by the time he comes home at night.

Speaking of him coming home at night………I am PROUD to say that he has been going into the office later and leaving every day by 5:30!  This has NEVER happened in the history of our marriage (and likely before) so I am extremely happy that he has taken this drastic measure and has the support of his team at work as well.  Finding a work/life balance is a huge issue for so many and I am very thankful that it didn’t cost my husband more than it did before he made this change.

His first Cardiac Therapy appointment is this week so he will learn more then about what is expected of him exercise and diet wise.  He is already eating better and eating less (portion wise)…drinking more water…trying to make better decisions and just getting more active, but he knows he needs to be guided by this great group of people that specialize in heart patients!  Again, this is a win – if you know my sweet but stubborn hubby.

Okay, without getting all mushy and in my feelings, I just wanted to give y’all the facts you want about “how Mike’s doing”….and I’ll keep you updated.  I cannot tell you how much it means to him and myself to get a text, email, phone call or card that asks about how he is feeling….it really does lift his spirits, and mine too.  We have for sure been blessed by some amazing family and friends.

Bye for now…more later…much much much more!  🙂

JJ

Heart Broken Week (Pt. 2)

So…it’s now in the middle of the night…around 2 am and I am tossing and turning a bit…and each time I do….I can tell that Mike is siting up.  The next time I wake up, I notice he’s on his laptop.  I sleep a little bit and wake up to more laptop husband.  So I ask him what he’s doing.  He replies that he is sending something because he thinks he might go to the doctor in the morning and that makes enough sense to me so I again go back to sleep.  Not a restful sleep, mind you…as I am stilllllll hurting.  Still feeling like, “this is bad…this feeling is bad…”

Around 5:30 am…after waking up multiple times and Mike was still awake, I get up and he says he thinks he needs to go to urgent care or ER.  I get ready and we hit the road.  We have a little conversation about where we should go – mostly I believe because he thinks that the fine folks at Baylor Scott & White are going to think we are CRAZY – and I win with the ER that I had just been at.  We know this place…they already have all of our info…and it is about 3 minutes from home.  Winner, winner.

So…I clearly knew what to expect since I just had this same scenario (since even though his shoulder hurt, it was his chest too)….and it was all just the same….until that part where they gave me the 4 aspirin.  When they brought his….they also gave him a nitroglycerine tablet.  I knew what that meant but honestly was hoping it was a preventative measure.  I did not want to hear those words.  We waited in silence for a few minutes for the ER Dr to confirm our fears.

My sweet hubby, with a heart of gold…a heart that I love and that I know without a shadow of a doubt loves me….had suffered a heart attack.

(I can’t even skip this part where after the Dr confirmed this, my sweet hubby said, “Man, I thought I’d be at least 50 before my first heart attack…”  NOT THE TIME FOR JOKING MIKE JONES AND THIS IS NOT A GOAL WE WERE GONNA HAVE!!)

The next couple of hours were a blur of pain meds for him…waiting…his pain returning…and more pain meds.  He was hurting just as bad if not worse than when we first got there.  In the midst of all of this they were working on admitting him and figuring out when they could do the heart catheterization so they could check for what they suspected, a blockage.

He was admitted and it was honestly a whirlwind of people in and out…taking him for tests, blood/lab work, getting him comfortable, me trying to inform his parents and my parents and coordinating MJ getting to school (thank you Jesus for Christian – my helper always!!!) and SO.MANY.QUESTIONS.  From me, I mean.  I have never been through this and I had heard words like heart cath and stent and balloons and bypasses and I just had no idea what to expect.  It was pretty rough, y’all.  Especially considering that I was still hurting.  He was still hurting.  And we just both wanted to SLEEP.

Once his case was reviewed and the cardiologist stopped by it was very clear that he wanted to waste no time getting him in for the cath.  He wanted to take any advantage to lessen the damage to the heart.  We got the word that we had 45 minutes until his procedure.  I had already reached out to a dear friend back home that has been through lots of heart stuff and was texting back and forth with her with questions and thoughts and fears.  What a blessing to have someone who was right there with me…who had walked this walk before.  (I mean, besides Jesus, y’all…becuase HE WAS THERE.)

When the team came in to get him (after I helped him prep and prayed SO hard that they would be able to enter his freshly shaven wrist) I asked them a few last questions – mainly reiterating that they would be able to perform any necessary procedures while they were there.  They took him away, told me where to wait and the wait began.  It seemed like the longest two hours of my life!!  Thankfully, I had technology to help (mostly messages and texts between my mama, my heartfully-challenged-husband-experienced friend and my sweet friend who was going to take care of MJ that evening.

The waiting room was completely empty besides me.  (How often does THAT happen??)  I prayed aloud since no one was there to bother.  I video messaged my friend.  I tried to pass the time by the best I knew how.  My sweet friend (that was taking MJ that evening) also came by to pray with me…which was an amazing gift.  I finally got word that he was back in his room and I rushed as fast as my little legs would take me to lay my eyes on that cute little bald guy!!!!

He was telling me all about the procedure….the huge TV he watched a lot of it on….and that he thought the heard some of the outcome but he’d let me ask for sure.  When the right person appeared, I only heard “we found a 100% blocked artery” I am pretty sure.  I had to ask the next part to be repeated after that because I absolutely missed it.  Yes, in fact, his obtuse marginal artery was blocked 100%.  They were able to place a stent and were confident in his recovery.

Y’all.  Immediately in that hospital room….he had ZERO pain.  They were able to go in his wrist.  His heart cath was at 2 pm.  Once they brought him back, he was able to eat (which he did not do a ton of, mind you….it was….mysterious!) and rest.  And rest.  And rest.  The rest of the evening is a blur but I remember being KNOCKED OUT on the couch in his room in no time.  I actually slept for a few hours at a time…amazingly.  I got up bright and early the next morning…they were taking off the “box” that was over his punctures on his wrist and I left to get MJ to take her to school.  The next few hours were a blur of tests, doctors, basically everyone checking all the boxes to release him!  SO THANKFUL!

IMG_3814

MJ had a basketball game at 6 that night.  I was there…with my hubby and his new titanium stented artery.

Mike has told me more than once that while I was at the ER getting checked out, he was sitting there asking God if He was using my situation to get him there.  He certainly remained steadfast in his stubbornness and went back home for a bit but thank God he came back to be checked out.

I have tons more to say about this….and updates will come from the cardiologist appt as this week progresses.  I just needed to get this out….between being 40, having a lot going on and brain fog from the chronic fatigue syndrome….if I don’t write something down, the details become VERY sketchy to me!!  😦

To be continued!

Heart Broken Week (Pt. 1)

This is likely part 1 of something….but we will see how far I get.  It is 12:38 AM and just being honest I have presents to wrap, laundry to ignore and sleep to avoid.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Sunday 12/8 – 4 pm:  Mike and MJ decide to go outside and play basketball.  I wish I had taken a pic of them out there.  (Hmm, squirrel….shall I check Ring to see if a camera caught them….hold please….) (Please forgive this grainy pic but I zoomed in…)

Screenshot 2019-12-15 at 12.44.38 AM

Okay…I am also not sure if I have mentioned that my baby girl is following in the steps of her big brothers and is playing basketball.  It is middle school ball and it is a great opportunity for her to learn the fundamentals and to experience a TEAM and y’all it is the best group of girls.  All rooting each other on and they just seem so happy to see each other at the beginning of each game…as if they have not spent the morning together at school!  🙂 I am so happy for her!  Her coach is an AMAZING lady who loves the game and you can tell she genuinely loves these girls.  It has just been great for us.  SO – her Daddy was giving her some extra practice time, doing some drills with her and getting outside on a beautiful afternoon.  They enjoyed themselves so much!

Monday evening:  Mike gets home from work and is complaining about his shoulders and chest hurting.  We talk about it and both figure out that he likely overdid it the day before since he does NOT regularly play ball and use those muscles.  He takes some pain meds….goes to sleep….and I think all is well!

Tuesday evening:  Mike texts me in the evening to tell me he is not going to a work dinner that he had planned to attend.  He was trying to finish something up and would pick something up on the way home because he was not feeling well.

Tuesday night around 11:30 PM:  I felt SO stressed out. I can’t really explain it and if you have never had a panic or anxiety attack, it probably sounds silly….but I had this feeling of a weight on my chest and could NOT shake it. I felt “impending doom” and was just SURE I was having some kind of episode.  I had gotten out of bed because lying down seemed to make it worse.  My left arm hurt.  I was hot all over (and that is WEIRD for me!) and felt nauseated.  I got back in the bed around 12:30 and honestly I just wanted Mike to wake up and check on me…and he did.  When he heard how worried I was, instead of his usual “trying to fix things” or just being laid back and telling me it was all good….he said, “You want me to take you to the ER?”  With those words, I got up and got ready.  If HE thought it was that serious, well so did I!!

Wednesday morning around 12:15 am:  We get to the ER and there is NO one in the waiting room (yeah!!) and when I walk up and say “I’m having chest pains”…you can imagine the urgency that evokes.  It seemed like it was about 23 seconds before I was in an exam room and having leads stuck to me and an EKG being taken.  IV is inserted and blood taken and then they brought me 4 aspirin to take.  I am explaining my symptoms to every nurse, tech, dr, PA, visitor, and anyone else who will listen.  A short time passes and the ER Dr comes in to tell me that I am suffering an anxiety attack.  We talk about that for a minute…the fact that I take anxiety meds….that I  am really shocked that it’s “only” an anxiety attack and that I feel this sense of “impending doom” and he sends me home with orders to take some medication at home and get some rest.

We get home around 1:30 am and I do as I am told and then I went to sleep.  I can’t say that I really felt better when I went to sleep but knowing that I was physically or clinically “okay” and my heart was okay did help me to know that it was my anxiety and helped me to try to get some rest.

All this time, Mike is still hurting and sadly I do remember him sitting in the chair beside my ER bed and he was talking about his shoulders….and I seriously remember thinking……….”REALLY, CAN’T IT JUST BE ABOUT ME FOR A SECOND??”  Bahahahahahaaa….ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh how funny that is today!!!

See you in the next edition because THIS story is far from over! 😉

Weight Loss Chronicles ~ TOC

I cannot tell you the number of times that I have been contacted by a friend from high school, a neighbor or a perfect stranger to ask for help as they decide whether or not to take the plunge and have Weight Loss Surgery.  It can be SO intimidating and stressful throughout the process and especially when thinking of maintaining a new life and a new relationship with food.  I am always SO happy to help and always direct them to this blog as well as my Instagram feed for WLS (username:  rnyftw) but I have noticed how hard it is to go back and reference each stage of my journey so I thought I’d link it all here to help anyone (and myself!) who may need to see a specific one:

WLS Chronicles – The Decision

WLS Chronicles – The Initial Visit

WLS Chronicles – Pre-Op Testing

WLS Chronicles – Pre-Op Diet

WLS Chronicles – Surgery Day!

WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Days 1 -3 Clear Liquids)

WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Days 4 -13)

WLS Chronicles – Emotions

WLS Chronicles – HELP!!! (links to apps, and support talk)

WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Days 14 – 20) ~ Semi-Solids

WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Day 21/Week 4 – Day 41/Week 6) ~ Soft Foods

WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Day 42/Week 7 – Three Months Post-Op)

WLS Chronicles ~ Week 14 Update

WLS Chronicles ~ Dining Out

WLS Chronicles ~ Maintaining

I hope that makes it easier for everyone to reference the stage they are looking for!  If you have ANY questions beyond what I’ve blogged out, please please please reach out to me!  My email is mrsjmejones@gmail.com and I truly do enjoy helping others in their journey as well!

 

WLS Chronicles ~ Maintaining

It has been almost SEVEN months since my surgery and I am still absolutely overjoyed at my decision.  I have found more energy than I EVER remember having, am only on one medication (hypothyroidism) and I am feeling more confident than ever.  This surgery has given me a new lease on life and I LOVE it!

Now, I make the best decisions with ease on food and drink choices.  I eat a LOT of cheese.  A LOT.  Mostly I eat eggs, bacon, chicken, broccoli, more chicken, cheese, beef, cauliflower, more cheese….ha ha ha!  I drink coffee.  A LOT OF COFFEE.  Splenda, sugar free creamer and the occasional sugar free Torani syrup are necessary in this new life.

I find myself with tons of energy during the day, when you are supposed to have it!  Moving was still exhausting but I could tell many times that I was able to do more, lift more, move longer when we were packing up our home of four years!  (We moved from NC to TX….not sure if I blogged on that…will do if I haven’t!)

Do I get hungry?  It depends.  If I miss a meal, I get hungry around the six hour mark.  I usually eat every three hours…so I can tell if I missed one easily.  But the hunger is different.  I crave protein and healthy foods.  I love roasted veggies.  I feel like I can TASTE foods better because I’m eating so much healthier.

Do I cheat?  I guess it depends on your definition.  I eat a few M&M’s (peanut) with my cheese and crackers if I am creating my own bento box.  Peanut M&M’s do contain protein so it’s not a terrible choice.  But I eat a max of FIVE.  It gives me enough of a sweet taste but will not wreck my life plan.  I ate a bite of my Mom’s birthday cake.  I have licked icing off of a knife.  In the last few weeks (since my nutritionist told me to treat myself every now and then) I have let myself have more carbs a few times a week.  Sweet potato – yessssssss.  (with butter + cinnamon + splenda)

Do I have cravings?  Yes.  As mentioned before I crave healthy foods.  I do have unhealthy wants as well.  I want soft, white bread.  All the time.  LOL  I do not cave on that one and I won’t.  Sandwiches were a go-to for me and I do miss them but I would rather stick to my plan.

All in all, I am doing quite well at adjusting to “life after bariatric surgery” and have had VERY few issues.  I have had “dumping syndrome” a couple of times, both after having something with a large amount of milk.  I (obviously) now avoid large amounts of milk.  I find that if I don’t plan, I see either a stall or I don’t feel my best.  SO – I plan!  🙂

In all honesty, the hardest parts of this journey have been been:

  • the planning – it can take as much time as you want it to take…from a few minutes to stop and think “do I have my water and a healthy protein” every time I walk out the door to a few hours meal planning/grocery shopping/prepping.  You get what you put into it.  It is SO worth it to take the time to figure out what works for your schedule, your new tummy and your family/lifestyle.
  • the change in habits – (I mean I am from the South where EVERYTHING revolves around eating!)  Thinking about food nonstop is a really hard habit to break.  We are inundated with Food Network, recipes/videos on Facebook, food everywhere we go – it is extremely hard for someone who is trying to live a new lifestyle of eating to live and not living to eat.
  • the emotions from support and nonsupport – This one is pretty self explanatory but the support I have received from my husband, parents, children, in-laws, friends and weight loss surgery family has been nothing short of amazing.  The feedback on my progress, on pictures, on my meals….I can’t tell you how important it has been.  It’s the reason I had to “come out of the kitchen” (my Dad coined that!) a month after my surgery.  I had all intentions of only telling a few people but I quickly realized that the cheerleading and kudos and encouragement meant far more to me than my privacy or pride.  The negative side of that, of course, is opening yourself up to criticism, snarky comments or judgements.  The worst thing you can do to someone who has lost 105 pounds is NOT MENTION IT.  I promise.  It is awkward.  I feel like I’m searching for the reason they aren’t noticing or mentioning it or is it me or am I not that different or or or or orrrrr….I feel like saying, “You mad, bro?” when someone doesn’t!!!   (One day I am going to post a Dos and Don’ts I PROMISE!)
  • the impact on my family (good and bad) – I think I covered most of this already but it does impact every day life, of course.  I prefer to not go to Texas Roadhouse.  I LOVED it.  Truly.  BUT THOSE ROLLS THOUGH.  That one is a hard one.  They are EVERYWHERE.  I am certainly not going to ask my family to not eat them, so I just don’t go there.  It is where they go without me and have their own dates and I stay home or find something else to do.  No problem.  Am I jealous when they all get dessert?  You betcha.  I’m human.  Occasionally, I’ll have a bite (depending on what I have eaten) but I have resisted overdoing it.  We truly have to plan our day trips, date nights and dinners out in a way that we have never had to before.  Our kids are picky (ok, so is Mike) so we’ve always had to plan ahead – look at menus – but NOW it’s an extra challenge with my new tummy.  I am SO appreciative of understanding kids – they really have never complained about the changes.  Of course, I feel like that’s probably because they see the good in this new lifestyle.  They see me healthy and energized…and most of all, happy.

 

Results are In! (Well, some….)

So, after all that has happened (his almost fainting, stroke like symptoms, general exhaustion, findings of liver and kidney function issues) and his appointment this past Monday at a hematologist (still awaiting all of the results from that)…we were looking forward to today!  He had a three hour glucose test last week and we knew we were to find out the results today.  (Never mind the fact the I went yesterday for lab work {Vitamin D} and saw the Doctor and he TOLD ME the results!)

First, we talked about the hematologist (who Mike loves) and his findings so far.  He wrote our PCP a dissertation on my husband.  Swoon.  It was about all of the issues and what he thinks might be going on with my sweetie’s blood.  As of now, they are leaning towards a diagnosis of polycythemia.  You can find more information about THAT here.  Basically, his body is making too many red blood cells.  This can lead to complications since they blood flow may decrease and stress on organs can increase.  Obviously, this is a great concern to us and is wayyy up there on the priority list to figure out what’s going on.  The hematologist took 13 vials of blood on Monday to test for all sorts of things, levels, genetic markers.  The follow up for that is in two weeks and I’m very anxious to see what that is!

Now, on to the PCP’s test results of the three hour glucose test.  So, normally, a non-diabetic person should have a glucose level of 60-100 at most times.  Once they eat something, it should normally raise no higher than 160 (even if it’s seven ice cream sundaes and four Sonic slushies).  So, 30 minutes after Mike started his test (and had drank that lovely stuff that all pregnant women get to experience)…his glucose was at 262.  Yes, TWO HUNDRED SIXTY TWO.  Yikes!  The interesting thing?  At three hours…it was 56.  So, he spikes WAY up and he drops WAY low.  The good doctor hesitated to label him “diabetic” (probably due to insurance if you want to know the truth) but is treating it as such.  Put him on a medicine (Januvia) and will see him back in 6 weeks.  He also let him know he needs to lose ten percent of his weight and gave him some diet tips and levels to stay within.

I am really hoping this is a wake up call for BOTH of us.  For ALL of us.  My family, extended family, friends, whoever might be reading this.  Bad habits are SO easy to fall into and SO hard to break.  We let our kids grow up eating whatever is easy for us all and then expect them to turn from those habits when it matters???  So silly and I KNOW this.  So, I started typing this when my hand started cramping from making menus and lists of things that are “safe”.  We will not do this cold turkey, but we will make swift changes (already did for supper) that will affect our diet, weight and our LIFE.  We can’t continue to live by convenience and just expect to feel good because it tastes good!  Also, boot camp on Saturday for me was not a one time deal.  Mike has even expressed interest in going so I am TOTALLY down with that.  I would love to show him up work out with him.  I have found myself trying to do push ups around the house too…from different elevations…to see if my upper arm strength is existent any better.  I just want to be able to know that he and I are doing everything we can to improve our lives.  I feel like a twelve step program could help though!!!

Okay…I’m wrapping this up, just wanted to update those who asked and were praying!  Thank you so much.  I serve a Mighty God and I know that He will bring us through this.  I have much faith in that!!