A handful of times over the past year and a half — I’d say at least once every 4-6 weeks — I’ve experienced what I now know are symptoms associated with hypoglycemia. While hypoglycemia is most often found in diabetics, it can happen to anyone, really. Essentially, when your glucose level (blood sugar) drops too low, you get hypoglycemic, whereas if your blood sugar gets too high, either because you’re diabetic (don’t produce enough or perhaps any insulin) or because you ate an insanely high amount of sugar, you get hyperglycemic.
Hypoglycemia usually kicks in when your blood sugar falls below 70. Now, mine has always run on the lower side of normal, just as my blood pressure does (even at my heaviest, I didn’t venture into the high blood pressure range except during the last few weeks of both of my pregnancies). And since I have spent the last couple of years being super-careful about sugar intake (BECAUSE DUMPING SYNDROME SUCKS MAJOR ASS), and the last year really cracking down on my eating habits, it looks like I’m a little too restrictive, because my sugar levels crash.
FYI, symptoms of hypoglycemia include:
- heart palpitations (racing, pounding, irregular beats)
- intense hunger (I don’t get this)
- nervousness and/or irritability
This morning after I was suddenly feeling overheated, yet clammy, and my heart started pounding (I was sitting at my computer desk, mind you, yet my heart was racing and pounding like I had just run half of a mile), and I was extremely shaky. So shaky, in fact, that even my husband noticed, and it took me several minutes to assemble the glucose meter that my mother left behind at our house a couple of years ago.
The reading? 64. I tested just to confirm what I already suspected/knew: blood sugar being too low. In the past I’ve tried to sleep it off, which in hindsight was pretty damn stupid of me, since it would continue to stay low, if not dip lower, until I ate something. Today I ate a small piece of chocolate and then a slice of cheese – enough sugar along with protein to hopefully bring things up.
After laying down to wait out the jitters, and taking a brief nap because I was then sleepy, I felt much better.
Lesson learned? Allow a little more sugar or carbs… they’re not entirely evil, and in small doses they’re actually kind of necessary!
I’ve finally hit the 150s. Last Saturday I weighed in at 159.6. Last Sunday, the same. Monday, I went up a bit: 159.8. Then, on Tuesday: 158. But still, I refused to celebrate being out of the 160s, because I know how this weight loss thing goes: you get under a certain number (200, 190, 180, 170, etc.), only to gain a pound or two in water weight, and even though your logical side knows that it’s temporary, that you’ll lose it and perhaps then some, it’s still a downer.
But it’s now Saturday, and all week I’ve been consistent. On Wednesday I was 159, on Thursday I was 159.4 (so close, eek!), on Friday I was back down to 158, and then today I was 158.4. So with that said, barring a sudden “spike”, I think I can safely say goodbye to the 160s.
Once I hit 150, I’ll be satisfied.
As a post-op, I hear a lot of talk about surviving the holidays, particularly because of all of the food involved with most holiday gatherings. I haven’t had much issue with adjusting to the holidays post-op, most likely because my very first post-op gastric bypass surgery holiday was Thanksgiving in 2009, and it was exactly one week and one day after my surgery. Also? It was my first day of soft foods – specifically, mashed potatoes. I distinctly remember trying two teaspoons worth, very tentatively, and very slowly, and therefore really being able to savor the flavor and texture of them.
I’ve had three more Thanksgivings and three Christmases since then, and I’ve really had no problem with handling the food that comes along with holidays. I focus on family, and when it comes to food, I graze – having little nibbles of this and that in order to satisfy any cravings for tastes that I may have.
Also? I make sure to drink a protein shake or two before going anywhere for the holidays — this way I’ve satisfied most, if not all, of my daily protein needs, so I won’t have any “excuse” to over-indulge on food for meeting protein needs, since those needs would have already been met.
In my weight loss journey I found that my butt was the first to go. By the time I hit 250 lbs I realized that I was losing my ass. Now, at 160ish (I say “ish” because I bounce around between 160.8 and 162.4, and during the week before my period PMS bloat adds on another 1.5 lbs) lbs, I am ass-less. Or at least, it seems like that to me. My ba-donk-a-donk is long gone, and a sad little ba-dink-a-dink is left in its stead. My hips and thighs are here to stay, though. I don’t mind the hips, but I wouldn’t mind losing a bit of the thighs!
At 331 lbs, it had to be really cold before I got cold. I’d be perfectly comfortable with our thermostat set to 68° — hell, in the summer I’d crank that bad boy down to 65°. Now? Even in the summer, with the thermostat set at a warmer 72°, it’s not uncommon to find me in a hoodie.
Once I had my gastric bypass surgery (it’ll be three years as of November 18th, 2012!) and really began to lose the weight, the cold affected me more. By the time I was down to 200 lbs, I definitely noticed a big difference (no pun intended). From that point onward, I was all about layers, hoodies, and space heaters and electric blankets.
Here’s my outfit from yesterday – can you tell that November is here, and it brought cold weather with it?
Last week I attended my surgical weight loss program’s annual Drop Your Drawers program/social, where post-ops get together to show off their progress (and drop their drawers, and of course by drawers I mean pants, as well as other “before” articles of clothing), talk about life before and after surgical weight loss, and swap healthy high-protein, low-fat recipes. My friend Amanda, who had gastric bypass surgery in July, came this year, along with Dan (husband) and my kidlets, so it was nice having my “peeps” there with me. ♥
Some pictures from the event (I think there were 14 of us participating, and we lost a combined 2,200 lbs? Something like that…):
And yesterday I happened to be on my surgical weight loss program’s Facebook page and saw that they updated their cover photo to show all of us post-ops lined up, and they choose a photo of me wearing (and holding out) my size 26 jeans over my now size 11 jeans as their profile photo.
Dumping syndrome is common for post-op gastric bypass patients. The lack of a regular stomach, the valve at the bottom of the stomach, and the full length of small intestine means that sugars, or carbs which are converted into sugars, are absorbed faster, thus hitting the bloodstream faster. The result is dumping — those sugars hitting your bloodstream more quickly and causing a whole slew of nasty side effects, including:
- Stomach cramping
- Low blood pressure
- Heart palpitations
- Cold sweats and chills
I experience all of the above, except for the stomach cramping (with the exception of two occasions after my last small bowel resection – the intestinal cramping was painful enough for me to take a painkiller), vomiting, and diarrhea. The symptoms typically come on within 15-20 minutes of sugar dumping, and subside after 15-30 minutes, leaving me feel very tired, drained, and drowsy.
Carb dumping, on the other hand, is sneaky and evil. It hits me out of nowhere with a powerful wallop of dizziness, lightheadedness, and almost a confused state (which is very freaky to experience), anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half after eating some rich in carbs. For me, a corn muffin or a bowl of cereal is enough to do it.
Having experienced the two, I do my best to limit both sugars and carbs, but I’m especially careful with carbs – it’s harder to calculate carbs just by “eyeballing” something, whereas with sugar it’s pretty easy to estimate how many bites of a slice of apple pie I can eat (answer: four), or how many Oreos I can eat (answer: two) without dumping. Carbs are sneaky bastards, and the dumping they cause is an extra special kind of miserable that I do my best to avoid.