(NOTE: Most recent posts are at the bottom)
12/7/03---I have not been posting here at all, so the following is a synopsis of my journey so far:
I am 51 years of age, divorced, no children.
My highest weight ever was 289# (this is according to my home scale, my surgeon's scale said 293#). I had tried many diet programs, diet pills, etc. and had lost as much as 100# at a time, but eventually the weight always came back, plus more. I began researching wls a couple of years ago, but didn't have an insurance plan that would cover it. I was on medication for high blood pressure and in December of 2002 was diagnosed with type II diabetes (my father's side of the family all have it). Because of my diabetes I was unable to get insurance, so I joined the Texas High Risk pool, which sells insurance to those who can't get it elsewhere (I am self-employed). It is administered by Blue Cross/Blue Shield.I started with them in June of 2003. My new plan specifically said it would cover rny if medically indicated. My pcp had told me I was an excellent candidate for surgery and he wrote a letter on my behalf and I enclosed five years of his notes that detailed my diets, weight swings, and diet pills he had prescribed. I sent the papers in in July, and was approved a month later. Then came preop testing and I was scheduled for surgery September 17th. My surgeon was Dr. Lawrence Barzune, who has been performing wls longer than anyone else in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. He has an excellent aftercare program including monthly support group meetings and free follow-up visits. My surgery was uneventful, I had no complications, but the pain meds were interfering with my sleep in the hospital, so I stopped taking them the third day postop. The pain was only a problem when I was getting up out of the bed, and I had a trapeze bar to help me. I stayed in the hospital five days, longer than most because he was trying to stabilize my blood sugar. I left the hospital with half the dosage of high blood pressure med as before, and was taken off insulin. I checked my blood sugar and blood pressure several times daily the next few weeks, and when I went back for my first follow-up, I got to stop my blood pressure med completely. On the week 2 follow-up I was 23# down, week 5 down 37#, week six 41#, week seven 44#, week 8 48#, week 10 54#, week 11 57#.
Each surgeon is different regarding what you are to eat post-surgery. I was on clear liquids the second day postsurgery, and pureed food the third day. By the time I left the hospital, I was allowed regular foods, chewing each bite 20-30 times and taking 3 minutes between bites. (Those of you who are more restricted postop, you need to follow your own surgeon's instructions!) I was to eat four bites of protein, two bites of crunchy vegetables, and if desired, one bite of starch. I choose to avoid the starches to get better results. My pouch now holds about 2 and a half ounces of meat at lunch and supper, and I have a protein shake for breakfast. I take calcium citrate 1500 mg per day, a multivitamin twice a day, a B-complex gelcap daily, and an iron supplement daily. This works best for me.
For exercise, I started out walking several times a day in the hospital, and when I got home also. When you are early postop you MUST walk to avoid deadly blood clots and pneumonia. After a few weeks I got back on the elliptical crosstrainer at the gym---the one I use works both the arms and the lower body, and I'm now at week eleven I'm doing an hour on it, burning 700 calories an hour---I do it several times a week, plus weight training I'm now trying to do twice a week. I believe it really helped that I started exercising before surgery--I would recommend this highly to anyone preop. My opinion from people I've met is those that exercise postop have a much better result and look much better than those that don't. Remember the rapid weight loss will cause the body to lose a lot of muscle mass unless you exercise, and you will burn more calories daily when you have more muscle. Also those that regain weight later on are less likely to be doing regular exercise. Don't get me wrong---I don't like exercise, I've never gotten the 'high' that others talk about, and I've been sedentary most of my life. But I like the way I feel after I've worked out, so I force myself to do it even when I don't want to. I've been given an opportunity to have this surgery and change my life, and I want to make the most of it and have the best results I can.
On Thanksgiving, my first real holiday postop, I went to my best friend's house for dinner. At mealtime I did fairly well, had turkey and gravy and only a couple bites of mashed potatoes. Now realize I have had virtually no starches since preop. A while later I had several big spoonfuls of cornbread dressing, and even later I munched on some crunchy flavored crackers. A real carbfest. I felt really guilty---but not enough to negate the enjoyment of the carbs! The next day, though, I got right back on the bandwagon. It helps me tremendously that I don't have any no-no foods in my house at all. I feel for those that have kids and skinny hubbies and have to have contraband around all the time. I don't know how I would handle that.
Sorry this is such a long post. I should have been posting here all along, but I just haven't. I'll try to keep it up.
3/1/04--According to my home scales, I started out at 289#. I am now 199.5#!!!! I'm so happy---I'm loving being in the 100's. It's been probably 15 years since I've been at this weight. Only ten more pounds to the century club! I had hoped to be there in six months (I'm 5 1/2 months out) so I'll be close if not on target. The biggest problem I have is wanting to graze, especially at night.
I'm going to the gym to work out on the elliptical cross-trainer for an hour at a time, and I also do some weights/machines for strength training.
I've gotten such wonderful support from this site, and I'm learning more all the time.
7/7/04---I really need to update my picture---I'm down to 164# according to my home scales, a loss of 125#!!! Now I have a BMI of 29, which means I'm overweight, no longer obese!!! Woohoo!!! I'm wearing misses size 14 pants and misses large tops. Probably would be able to wear 12 pants but I have an incisional hernia which makes my waist larger. I will have to have it repaired surgically, so while my rny surgeon does that, I will have a plastic surgeon do a tummy tuck. Would also love an arm lift. Will go talk to the ps in a few weeks. Surgeon wants me to lose another 15 or so pounds before the surgery. I have a personal trainer twice a week to help me with the last few pounds, still do the elliptical crosstrainer twice a week, and I walk an hour once a week as part of my wls group therapy with a psychologist. Now I'm babbling.....will try to update more often.
9/23/04---Wow, a lot has happened since I last updated. On September 14th, I had a hernia repair and lower body lift. It took seven hours on the table!! Because I chose the lower body lift instead of the tummy tuck, the p. s. would not do the arms at the same time, it would be just too long under anesthesia. Anyway, there is quite a bit of pain, but I've decided the results are so worth it!! He took off 10# of skin and fat. I'm now at a lower weight than I was when I got married 21 years ago (I got a divorce in '94). I have a lot of swelling still, so I don't know what size I'll be able to wear yet. Just before this surgery I was wearing 12-14's and medium or large tops. If I hadn't had the hernia I probably would have been wearing 10-12's because it was right at my waistline. Right now I have more discomfort than pain. Have been off pain meds for about 3 days now. The discomfort is a feeling like my skin is too tight and I'm going to pop open! The plastic surgeon says that is normal with the swelling, and he reminded me how loose my skin used to be, and now it is pulled tight. He is wonderful, he is Dr. Melvyn Lerman out of Medical City Dallas. He has done lots of wls patients and does beautiful work. He is kind and compassionate as well as skilled.
The surgery was performed in Dr. Lerman's surgical suite and I was then admitted into the hospital for one night. They put a catheter in me so I was flat on my back and didn't move until about ten the next morning. The nurses at MCD are wonderful. My parents were there to take me home and help me out for several days, then my brother came for a long weekend. I'm now by myself and doing fine.
He pulled the drains out when I went in on Monday---whew!!! I was so glad to get those things out, they were uncomfortable, too.
1. I have a lap now!! My cat can sit on my lap with room to spare.
2. I can look down and see my feet.
3. I have a smooth, tight butt at age 51---LOL.
4. No love handles at all.
5. With the hernia gone, no more 'alien baby' sticking out of my stomach. The hernia wasn't really painful but was an irritation.
6. I weigh 147#, have lost 142#!!! Yippee!!
289/147/150 (past goal)
12/3/04---Again, lots has happened since my last update. In October, I had more reconstructive surgery---brachioplasty (upper arm lift) and also a breast lift/augmentation. It has now been six weeks since that surgery and I'm really enjoying buying pretty lingerie, bras and panties that match, etc!! Most of the swelling is down from my lower body lift and I'm now wearing size 6 Petite jeans!!!! Not wearing small tops, though, because of the breast augmentation. Medium petite tops fit fine. I'm so thankful that my wonderful parents have provided funds for the reconstruction. It's the icing on the cake (sugar-free!!!). I looked good in clothes, but the excess skin was a problem, especially given my age (now 52). Also the hernia was a huge problem and was starting to have that 'alien baby coming out of the stomach' look! Now I have lots of scars but they will fade. Dr. Melvyn Lerman of Medical City Dallas was my plastic surgeon, he's done a fantastic job and I would highly recommend him to anyone, he has lots of experience with wls patients and the excess skin issues. The only excess skin I still have that bothers me is my inner thighs and my neck. Maybe after the first of the year I can think about that.
I never thought I would say this, but I absolutely missed doing my exercise when I was recovering from my reconstructive surgery. I couldn't do weight training or my elliptical crosstrainer until just recently. Given that I used to be so sedentary, it's amazing that I missed it and couldn't wait to get back to it!! Just before my PS I was in the absolute best physical shape (endurance, muscle development, cardio) that I've EVER been in. Now I have to build myself back up to that level but I can tell my body is responding well to getting back into shape.
As far as food, I still have a protein shake every morning and have protein and salad or veggies at lunch and supper. I seldom have starches/bread/etc. At Thanksgiving dinner I went to a country club with my family, dinner was a buffet. I had a few bites of dressing and mashed potatoes (after my turkey---protein first, of course!!) and a couple of bites of real chocolate cake. I was totally satisfied and even lost a half-pound that week!!! It's awesome. The tool is still working because I'm still following the guidelines. I don't drink with meals, I get plenty of protein and water, I take all my supplements faithfully. I'm very happy with my current weight and am just maintaining. I went from size 26 pants to 6 petite, 4 X tops to petite medium. On my home scale I've gone from 289# to 142#, I've lost more than I currently weigh! Life is very very good!!!!
-147# @ goal
Oooooops, it's been forever since I've updated. Since the last note, I've undergone two more rounds of reconstructive surgery to eliminate excess skin after a loss of 147#. In February of 06, I had a face and neck lift and in March of this year (07) a thigh lift with a revision of the upper abdomen. I'm done with PS! Dr. Melvyn Lerman at Medical City Dallas has done all my PS, he is wonderful!
My weight has fluctuated some, did experience some bounceback (and lost some of it again), but am comfortable now in the low 150's (doctor's scale---the home scale I used in the previous posts is now history). I wear size 6 petite pants if they are elastic waist. At age 54 I have no desire to be size 2.
Exercise is crucial to my maintenance (and was crucial in my weight-loss phase). I still don't drink liquids with my meals and now I typically wait 90 minutes to 2 hours before I drink again. I'm able to catch up on fluids quite easily before the next meal as I can down a 20-oz bottle of water in 5 minutes or less. I still eat protein first and get 70-95 grams per day. I still have a protein drink for breakfast because I don't like breakfast food and don't like to eat early in the day. I have the shake and a little fruit. For lunch and supper I still do some kind of meat, poultry or seafood and either salad or veggie. I am still sensitive to "white carbs" (the more I eat the more I want) so I only eat bread, pasta, etc., on special occasions. I don't keep junk food in my home. This is what works best for me.
I'm not ashamed to say I still see a psychologist who is well-versed in food issues when necessary. Even though I'm 3 and a half years out, when I'm under stress I still sometimes want to turn to food for comfort. I'm a work in progress! It's a trite but true statement that they perform surgery on our stomachs not our brains.
But the reality is that my life has been forever transformed by this surgery. I have my health back in a miraculous way, and I'm going to do whatever is necessary to stay on track. It's been proven that support groups are very beneficial in long-term success. I do both in-person support groups and OH. I like to "give back" in honor of the people that helped me when I was a newbie.
Best of wishes to everyone, wherever you are on your journey!