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Surgeon TestimonialMichael L. Schwartz, M.D.Dr. Schwartz has been amazing, as well as his staff. They all do a wonderful job at educating their patients. They have a system that works. His professionalism and kindness are reflected in his phenomenal staff. In my initial consult, Dr. Schwartz completed a short assessment and then sat down to talk to me about the surgery I was interested in (RNY). He was very open, honest, and to the point. He answered my questions thoroughly and left the forum open for any additional questions I may have. The next time I saw him was the morning of my surgery. He introduced himself to my family, who also thought he was very kind and professional. Once my surgery was completed, he spoke with them and answered their questions. I had a small issue with a hematoma at one of my incision sites and went to the ER the night I was released from the hospital. I told the ER staff I wasn't going home until I knew what Dr. Schwartz thought. I trust him. That's the bottom line. |
One Year Ago on April 23, 2011 1:01 am
April 21, 2010 I was being wheeled down to the OR a sobbing mess. I can laugh about it now. But I was terrified. I even wrote my daughters letters in case something terrible happened to me. I remember the nurse anesthetist who wheeled me down to the OR suite was trying to make small talk to calm me down - and I'm not even sure he could understand my answers through my blubbering. 168 pounds and over 2 feet less than I was then, I am now an entirely different person - inside and out.
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I saw my before pictures at my 1yr check up yesterday... I looked swollen. I looked so unhealthy. It brought back memories of hobbling around the state fair with aching feet and a sore back... Specifically skipping movies at theatres where I wasn't sure the arm rest would lift up to give me more room... Pretending to buckle my seatbelt on the airplane to reserve the small amount of integrity from asking for a seatbelt extender... Only wearing dingy old Crocs because my feet were too swollen and chubbby to comfortably fit into anything else... Sleeping on the couch at night because my lower back hurt so bad in our bed... Not being able to even sit on the floor to play with my daughters because my legs fell asleep so quickly.... Feeling ashamed. Embarassed. Gross.
All of that is gone now. I'm not afraid anymore. I'm not trying to hide in the corner of my life pretending that the quieter I am, people won't notice just how big I am. I used to get out of breath climbing out of my little car.... now I still have energy after an hour on the StairMaster. I have energy, confidence... complete happiness.
Untrenched Territory on August 19, 2010 6:23 am
My husband and I took our girls up north to Grand Marais this past weekend for a short mini-vacation. Although it was only two days, we packed so much in that I did not get much to eat or drink at all. Not nearly the amount of water and protein I should have. When we got home, I was worried about how this would be reflected on the scale. Much to my surprise, I had lost 4lbs. And then it happened. Instead of feeling excited and proud, I began to feel a little anxious. I felt scared, to be honest.
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It occured to me that I have never, that I ever remember, not been overweight. And I think my feelings of anxiety were based on the idea that no matter what, this journey is happening for me. Who will I identify myself as? Who will I identify with? For 30+ years, I've identified as someone who is large... fat to be frank. My childhood was filled with nasty comments from other classmates. My teenage years were sprinkled with a few close friends, and many thoughts that I was not worthy of any "in crowd" because of my weight. My college years & early 20's, I went to pubs with my roommates, spending most of the time as the quiet one of the bunch, avoiding any dance floor like the plague. For so long, I have imagined that the first thing that people thought when they see me was how large I am. One day, sooner than I imagine, that will not be the case. And as I felt so nervous on the scale this past weekend, I realized I was fearing the day that I realize I can no longer hide behind my weight.
This journey has been so enlightening to me. I have been forced to change my mind about my strength, and face emotional and physical stressors that even 6 months ago, I never imagined I'd make it through. Not for one single second have I ever regretted my decision. But I am apprehensive, albeit excited, about this untrenched territory of being a healthy, thin woman. I can't wait to see what she's like.
Noticing Body Changes... on June 11, 2010 9:35 am
Since starting my journey, I've lost just over 70lbs (35 since surgery). For me, it's a cup out of the ocean - but a magnificent start. I am beginning to notice the changes in my body. I can actually button many of my blouses that, for years, I've worn open with a cami underneath. I have a favorite pair of black pants that have become almost too big to even wear. When I look at my body in the mirror, though, I only see changes from the shoulders up. I have collar bones! And my face is shrinking... At this stage of my weight loss success, I am feeling a bit out of proportion... small head on big body; hence, my new profile pic. It really is quite bizarre... and even more strange, I don't seem to really care. I am moving in the right direction. I am well aware of the possibilities and likeliness of extra skin, etc. So I am really not fazed by the course my body is taking... it's just my first real awareness... And very possibly, my very first REAListic body image of myself. (After all, for 20+ years, I've thought I looked thinner than I was.) People at work are starting to notice changes as well, and it is great to hear compliments and kudos on my success. .... I have had some ups & downs the last month or so, emotionally and mentally, but beginning to see the physical changes in myself really is a fantastic reminder that not only am I right on course, but this could very well be the best decision I've ever made for myself and my family.
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And More Emotional Issues... on May 28, 2010 8:45 am
I wish I could say my moods have improved, but truthfully, they are all over the place. I am sad today. I am overwhelmed. I have so much going on in my life right now, I can't keep it all straight. Today, I am realizing that I am spreading myself too thin to make other people happy. My mom is in town this weekend and has been saying for quite some time now that she'd love to go camping with me and my sisters because she never really gets one-on-one time with us from our families. So, this weekend, we rented a cabin for a night. One of my sisters and I can't stand camping or the outdoors. But I agreed to go along because of the company. My sister bailed at the last minute. And I know this sounds so ridiculous - but Im sitting here, I have a paper due tonight that I'll need to finish before we leave today, I have 2 kids that need taken care of while my husband works, and I have appetizers for 25 people to shop for and make for a cook-out tomorrrow. Yet, Im going. Believe me I know it sounds trivial and immature - but it's what has set me off today. And I have realized that my life is out of f-ing control. My house is a mess. My finances are a mess. My health is a mess. And I dont know how to get control of the reigns again. And I feel like I have no one to talk to... I feel like no one gets it. Im afraid of being judged, so I havent asked for help. And I feel like I am losing my mind.
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Emotional Challenges on May 17, 2010 8:00 am
From the beginning of this journey, I have paid close attention to all of the emotional and physical challenges that so many people face. Luckily, I have been a-ok. Though, I have felt that I was mentally prepared to take on anything that came my way. Afterall, knowledge is preparation... well... sort of. It's finally hit me. I'm almost 4 weeks out and I am an emotional basket case. To be frank, I'm a completel bitch. I saw a thread not long ago where someone had mentioned that people have been telling her not to change, not to "get mean." This was something I had never heard. I found it very interesting-- it made me wonder whether or not these people are considering a new, confident, self-assured, strong woman as "mean." But no, this is real. I can feel the bitchiness inside me. I can't blame it on PMS as I've finished my period... almost. I'm short tempered and the littlest things irritate me - forcing me to bite my tongue just to save myself from hurting anyone ...(not physically lol). I don't know if all of my changes are coming to a head... catching up with me emotionally so to speak. If 6 weeks of watching others enjoy their fattening, delicious foods in front of me is now paying a toll on my sanity... if constantly putting something in my mouth - sips of water, itty bitty bites of egg salad, vitamins, etc etc - has caught up with me.... I really don't know. I just know I don't feel like myself. I feel like I'm having a bad day... and everyone is going to pay for it.
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I have been overweight all of my life... I take that back. There may be some scattered old photos here and there of my toddler years that I was not heavy. But when I think about my weight during my childhood, I think about having to wear leggings (of course they were stirrup pants back then); having to shop in the Plus section or order from special catalogs. I remember being teased by classmates with "fat jokes" and names. In high school, I went on crash diets. I would lose so much weight, and then gain it right back at record speed the moment I stopped eating cabbage soup or whatver the diet flavor of the month was. The last 20 years has been the typical dieting life of someone who has struggled with chronic obesity.
In September 2008, I was 29 years old and 39 weeks pregnant with my second daughter. I went in for a routine OB visit. The scale reached the highest number I have ever seen for me: 400lbs. It was in that very moment that I realized I had to do something. All of the years of "at least Im not this big..." or "I don't think I look like that...." had all came plowing into my head and I had my epiphany. I am that big. I do look like that. After I had my daughter, I immediately joined Weight Watchers. I had success with that program in the past; and I was ready this time to make a committment. I lost 80lbs and suddenly my support team (my sisters) were no longer there for me and I gave up. I was scared and I lacked the confidence to go on alone. I gained nearly all of the 80lbs back at lightning speed.
That is when I decided to look into WLS. I wanted a tool to help me feel full. I felt I had the healthy diet down, but I could eat 5 servings before feeling satisfied. So here I am. After 2 educational seminars, I chose RNY over the Lapband. I started early with my insurance requirements; so when I made my final choice, the rest of the process was actually very smooth and quick. I now have a surgery date scheduled of 4/21/10. This is my story.