- Name: DJ Wood
- Username: djwood
- Location: Columbus, GA, USA
- Member Since: 12/31/2007
- BMI: 26.5
- Post Op
- Surgery Type: RNY (01/21/08)
- Surgeon: Bryan Freeman
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Before & After
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Surgeon TestimonialBryan FreemanMy first impression of Freeman Bariatric Center was the staff. We were impressed with the information presented (good, bad, & ugly!!), but we were surprised to learn that Dr. Freeman and several members of his staff had had WLS! Dr. and staff took all the time we needed to answer our questions and address our concerns.rnrnPost-op, my opinion of Dr. Freeman and staff has only improved. During the hospital stay, Dr. Freeman and/or Tim came by at least once each day. The nutritionist came by to discuss food at home. The hospital staff had all good comments about Dr. Freeman and Tim, and it was obvious that they worked well together.rnrnThe 1 week follow-up to have staples and drain tubes removed was scarey, but Sue and Ann answered my questions honestly and did their best to make me comfortable.rnrnAt one month, I met with Dr. Freeman, Tim, and others. They listened to my problems and scheduled EGD for following day. The EGD was uneventful, and I was able to eat the same day. No problems since.
- Crafts - I enjoy paper crafts (making cards, scrapbooks)
- Pets - We have a 10 y/o Yellow Lab - Oakley
- Theater - Love musical theater. Performed in my younger days.
- Scrapbooks - I am working on my daughter's wedding scrapbook
- Cooking & Baking - Christmas 2008 was the first time in years I had the stamina to bake goodies.
- Army - Husband is career Army - 28 years - Ft. Benning, GA. - Hoping to retire 2011!
- Reading - Fiction: Grisham, Patterson, Sanford, Baldacci, C. Coulter
January 21, 2009 - One Year Post-op on January 28, 2009 10:35 am
The date kinda sneaked past me... I guess because I am
(1) surprised that the year flew by so fast;
(2) still amazed that I even had WLS; and
(3) shocked every time I look in the mirror and realize that I am not still 300 pounds.
I honestly thought I would be 300 pounds for the remainder of my life.
This year, I've learned a lot about myself and how I feel about food and exercise. Before WLS I was (sometimes still am) just plain lazy. As you probably know, our children are adults and haven't lived with us for years, so it was easy to go through a drive-thru for breakfast and lunch and out for dinner every night rather than shop for food and actually cook. Allen was away from home at least 2 weeks of every month, and when he was home he was agreeable to whatever I wanted to do for dinner. We enjoyed going out for drinks and appetizers after work and then on to a full dinner. Afterwards, when we were back home, we would read or watch television, or I would go to my home office to work. (I was allowed to work from home for 3 years because of bad health, which was in-part related to my obesity.) Exercise was not in my vocabulary. I believed I could not exercise because of my health and my health deteriorated because of my lack of exercise and horrible eating habits. You may have walked in my shoes... I could eat a pint of Haagen-Dazs Butter Pecan or a bag of Reese's miniatures after a huge dinner without any discomfort and I hardly ever thought about the calories. My justification - if I ever thought about it - was that I was already fat so a few more pounds wouldn't make any difference.
Today, the thought of how much food I could/would consume in a day makes me both physically sick and heart-sick. As with many obese people, much of my secretive and alone eating was to comfort emotional and psychological issues that I did not know how to deal with on my own and was too embarrassed to talk about to anyone else - even (especially) family and close friends.
In the summer of 2006, I had a mental meltdown in the office of our family doctor. I had fallen down the stairs at my sister's house and broken both ankles and was at the doctor's office for a routine follow-up. He simply asked me how I was feeling and I became hysterical. I probably owe my life to him. Because of him I received intense psychiatric and psychological therapy and after many trials finally found the right combination of "happy" pills that keep me level and sane.
In the Fall of 2007, the doc and I began to discuss WLS. He insisted that I research the surgery and report back to him. In the meantime, he did some research as well. When I told him I had chosen Dr. Freeman as my surgeon, he actually called Dr. Freeman to ask questions about the procedure. Since my surgery, he and Dr. Freeman have continued to share information about my progress. My family doctor referred me for WLS with conditions - that I continue my psych counseling and have regular follow-up with the Psychiatrist, and that I follow-up with him every 2 months.
In 2 weeks, I will have my one-year follow-up visits with both doctors. Although I am still 26 pounds from my goal weight, I am happy with the progress I have made and hope the doctors will be too. I have not lost any weight in 3 months and only 10 pounds since September. I go up and down from 181 to 183. I know I can lose another 20 pounds and would like to make it 26 to reach my goal of 155 but I am not stressing over it.
I am still going to the park to walk almost every day - even in the cold - but I usually only walk 20-25 minutes because that is how long Allen runs. I have a state-of-the-art treadmill, a full set of hand weights, and other exercise equipment in our den right beside the chair where I watch television every night but I have not used any of it in months. That's the LAZY me...
I still eat a lot of yogurt and cottage cheese and an occasional protein bar rather than prepare some other healthy breakfast and lunch. That's the LAZY me...
I still concentrate on getting at least 100g protein and stay between 1500 and 1700 calories each day. I would probably lose that additional 26 pounds if I cut back to 1200 calories and 3 meals - no snacks, but I just became bored with measuring, weighing, and recording my food. That also is the LAZY me...
I feel pretty normal most days. I am happy. I like the attention I receive from people that have not seen me since surgery. My hair is growing back and it is not gray. I loved cutting-up my credit cards to Lane Bryant, Catherines, Avenue, and Junonia, and celebrate every time I toss one of their catalogs in the trash. Yes, I have ugly, wrinkled, saggy skin. So what? There are only a few people that will ever see that and they don't care. I will be 55 y/o in March and I think I look a heck of a lot better than most women my age. More than that, I feel better than I have in over 20 years.
I hope 2009 does not fly by as quickly as 2008 did and I think 2009 will be my best year yet. - if I can just get defeat the LAZY me... - dj
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December 21, 2008 - 11 Months Post-op on December 21, 2008 8:19 am
I'm feeling much better about food and my "numbers" than I was on Monday. I'm still struggling not to grab a snack every time I go through the kitchen, so I'm trying to stay busy and out of the kitchen.
We are looking forward to spending a few days in Birmingham with all of our family except for Tarah. She will be in Ft. Lauderdale visiting a college friend and then in Naples, FL visiting her mother.
Merry Christmas! - dj
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December 15, 2000 - My name is.... on December 16, 2008 4:24 am
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... and I am a food addict. I’m not sure I can even say a “recovering” food addict.
For the past 2 weeks I have been in a battle so fierce that I am physically and emotionally exhausted and near the point of surrender. Every morning I pray that today will be different and that I will have the strength to overcome the demons, but by evening, I am miserable with guilt and in physical pain because I could not defeat the desire to eat constantly. I have not been hungry since my surgery in January, but the need to eat has become almost overwhelming.
As suggested by my shrink, I tried planning by making a list of everything I will eat for the day and the time I will eat it, but as soon as I make the list or finish a scheduled meal I am thinking about what I will be eating next. I’m staying busy with Christmas shopping and projects, but my mind is preoccupied with thoughts of the food coming my way in a few hours. More than once the emergency protein bar in my handbag has become an unplanned snack while driving from one store to the next.
With the blessing of my PCP, I adjusted my food schedule from every 3 hours to every 4 hours as I attempt to move forward to a more normal way of eating – three meals and no snacks are recommended by my surgeon. We also want to see if I will have hypoglycemic-type episodes by making the small time adjustment. For the past 2 weeks, I (still) have my protein drink(s) as soon as I get up (usually 0530) and try to make it last until my first meal at 1000. Lunch is at 1400 and dinner at 1800 and I have a light snack (usually a 100 calorie bag of popcorn) before going to bed at 2200. I have my cell phone set to tell me when it is time to eat so I won’t go too long and crash, but unfortunately that has not been a problem...
The problem is not WHAT I eat; it is HOW MUCH and HOW OFTEN I eat. We do not have junk food in the house. It is only Allen and me and thank goodness he will eat whatever is available and he never complains. I’m not eating cookies and ice cream or fettuccine alfredo. I’m eating low carb frozen dinners, protein bars, protein cereal, protein chips, yogurt and fruit, and food that I cook. But, I am eating until I am too full and after most meals I am so stuffed it actually hurts. If I stop before I am full and miserable, I begin thinking about the next meal shortly after finishing the last one. Even though I know when my meals should be and know that my alarm will remind me, I feel like I am watching the clock or pacing the floor in my mind waiting for the time to pass.
I like I am obsessed; I argue with myself about food and for the last 2 weeks my evil twin is winning. Today between breakfast (yogurt, cereal and fruit) at 10:00 a.m. and lunch (Healthy Choice frozen entrée) at 2:00 p.m., I had 2 bags of protein chips. The evil twin argued that they were only 100 calories each and had 7g protein per bag. Between lunch and dinner (eggplant parmesan with spaghetti sauce – no spaghetti) at 6:00 p.m., I had an apple with peanut butter and a handful of peanuts – not the worst things I could have eaten I rationalized, but still snacking, and this was a good day! The damage???
Total calories: 1776
I am aware of my mistakes and the consequences, but I don’t know how to stop. I feel like I am out of control. How do I get back on track and stay there? Am I overreacting? Being too dramatic?
Any advice on how to deal with this issue would be greatly appreciated. - dj
October 24, 2008 - 10 Months Post-op on November 30, 2008 9:25 am
Fall has always been my favorite time of year, but even more so since living in the tropics for 10 years where there were only 2 seasons – hot and hotter. Allen and I had a nice trip to Virginia earlier this month. Allen was on orders, so we could have flown to Norfolk, but we wanted to take a few extra days and drive through the mountains of North Carolina. After we made the decision to drive, it occurred to me that I would not have been able to take all my food on a plane, and there is no way I could have survived 10 days without my favorite foods.
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AchievOne Mocha Java (www.ibariatric.com)
Fage Yogurt 0% Fat
Unsweetened Frozen Blueberries
Great Value 4% Cottage Cheese (Wal-mart)
Boars Head Turkey – thin sliced at the Deli
Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage Links
Splenda in a pour-spout box
Go Lean Crunch Almond and Flax Cereal
General Foods International Sugar Free Decaffeinated Instant Coffee
- French Vanilla Café and Suisse Mocha flavors
Bariatrx Essentials Bariatric Meal Protein Powder (www.Bariatrx.com) - Dutch Chocolate Flavor
DelMonte Splenda-sweetened diced peaches in single-serving cups
DaVinci Sugar Free Raspberry Syrup
Creamy peanut butter
Revival Soy Protein Product(www.revivalsoy.com)
Smart-carb Protein Bars
Autumn Apple Frost
Chocolate Raspberry Zing
Chocolate Peanut Paradise
Yogurt Covered Soy Nuts
Chocolate Covered Soy Nuts
Smaller Chin Cheddar Chips
The above list is of my FAVORITE foods; those that I eat almost daily. This is how they go together:
1. AchievOne Mocha Java, diluted with ½ cup fat free milk, over crushed ice, is my wake-up every morning. Sometimes, I have 2.
2. ½ cup Fage yogurt, ¼ cup Splenda-sweetened blueberries, ¼ cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch Cereal, and 1 to 2 pumps of DaVinci Raspberry syrup mixed together is an any-time meal that satisfies my sweet-tooth, and my need to crunch. I buy a large bag of frozen blueberries at Sams. Divide into 4 Zip-loc Freezer bags and pour about ¼ cup of Splenda in each bag, and put in the freezer. I keep one bag in the refrigerator at all times.
3. ½ cup Great Value Small Curd 4% Cottage Cheese and 1 container of DelMonte Splenda-sweetened diced peaches is a filling snack. I don’t like any other type of cottage cheese. The peaches come in 4 individual servings per pack. I drain the water off and dump on top of the cottage cheese.
4. A crisp apple cored and sliced with creamy peanut butter spread on each slice is a favorite treat that I have when I can afford the calories.
5. I can’t eat eggs, but I can eat Eggbeaters – anytime after noon. (The smell of eggs in the morning will send me running to the bathroom gagging my guts out.) Jimmy Dean turkey sausage links are one of the few meat items that I can eat without feeling too full too fast. I like to cut them into small pieces, brown in a non-stick skillet, and scramble with ¼ cup of regular Eggbeaters. During the first two months after surgery, I would add cheese and make the eggs omelet style. After I realized the cheese added calories and fat but not much flavor, I stopped using cheese.
6. I buy one pound of Boars Head Turkey at the deli and have it sliced thin (not shaved). I put it in a plastic container in the fridge so that I can pull out one slice at a time. I add spicy mustard and sometimes a pickle slice, roll it up and stick with a toothpick. I can usually just eat one, so I use it as a snack. Low calorie and all protein.
7. Another snack that I love to take in my bag when I am shopping or running errands consists of ½ cup Virginia peanuts and ¼ cup yogurt covered soy nuts from Revival Soy. It is sweet and salty and actually has some protein. Sometimes I use the chocolate covered soy nuts or a combination of both. They are so good! They are NOT calorie free so I eat them sparingly.
8. Revival Soy has many flavors of chips that are quite tasty but my favorite is Smaller Chin Cheddar. (They all have funny names.) The chips look like RiceChex. They have a fake cheddar coating that makes them taste like Cheetos. They come in individual 100 calorie packages and have 7g protein.
9. Revival Soy Smart Carb protein bars have been life savers for me when I am travelling or too busy to stop to make a meal. They may be a “glorified candy bar” as some OHers have said, but they are the only protein bar I can stand to eat. I really like them but I only eat ½ at a time. They are sweetened with sucralose, but have a high sugar alcohol level so I learned the hard (dumping) way to not gobble down the whole bar at once. Each bar has 20g protein and 220 calories (+/-).
10. Another standard in my repertoire is the one and only protein shake I like. I make it with 2 scoops Bariatrx Dutch Chocolate Protein Powder, 2 teaspoons General Foods International Sugar Free Caffeine Free instant coffee, one teaspoon vanilla extract, and 12oz water, mixed in a shaker cup and poured over ice. I have mixed it with fat free milk, which tastes good but adds calories and carbs along with the extra protein. I only make this shake as a meal replacement. It has way too many calories and carbs for a snack. I think the reason I like the Bariatrx Protein Powder is that it has both soy and whey protein. I absolutely will not try another whey protein powder. I have wasted “whey” too many $$$ on whey.
This may look like a lot of snacks and not much in the meal category, but there is a reason for the snacks. If I don’t eat a small amount of something every 3 to 4 hours, I get shaky, dizzy, and generally fuzzy. I try to have 3 real meals and 2 or 3 small snacks during the day. I also have discovered that if I have one of the small snacks immediately before I go to bed, I don’t wake up in the middle of the night with a screaming headache.
Of course, I eat a lot of other things… Actually, I can eat almost anything now; the amount depends on what type of food. I still can only eat a small amount of dense protein (meat, fish, chicken) before I feel really stuffed. I only measure food that I know I should have a limited amount of – like mashed potatoes, or slider food that I could eat a lot of – like soup, yogurt, cottage cheese, and canned fruit. I do not eat sugar or high-carb foods and I “say” am not eating rice or pasta or bread, although I have taken a pinch of Allen’s roll, or counted out 10 rotini noodles to eat with some meat sauce. I once ate a Lean Cuisine frozen entrée that had some rice in it, but now I only buy frozen meals that have no pasta or rice.
It’s not that I think that all WLS peeps should avoid pasta, bread, or rice. I think it is up to each person to decide what is right or wrong or good or bad for them. For me, pasta and bread were the 2 main things I could not resist pre-WLS. I could eat a dozen hot yeast rolls dripping in butter, or a man-sized plate of any type of pasta, and I would do that 3 times a day if available. For me, it is best to stay away – FAR away – from both.
After 10 months of being consumed by what and when I eat, I am trying to not let food rule my life. I am happy with my weight loss and I am OK with the slower pace. As long as I continue to move toward my goal of 155 and not away, I am satisfied. Last year I was looking at Thanksgiving and Christmas as my last chance to eat all I wanted. This year I am excited to be with our family and friends without being obsessed about what’s for dinner.
PS., I changed my avatar and downloaded pictures. I don’t know why the pictures did not load properly; I did them the same way as before. Who knows??? I will ask Amanda to fix them - maybe tomorrow.
October 20, 2008 - Queen of De-nial on October 20, 2008 9:42 am
There are many side-effects associated with RNY that Dr. Freeman and his staff discussed thoroughly with me before and after my surgery. In addition, I read posts on OH from pre and post-op members that reinforced the discussions I had with my PCP and Surgeon. So it doesn’t make much sense that I truly believed that I would not experience any of those issues, right? Often, when I read members’ posts about problems they were experiencing or challenges they were trying to overcome, I would think “That can’t happen to me ‘cause I follow the rules; I’m healthy; I will be different.” Man, was I mistaken! I should be referred to as the “Queen of De-nial".
Before surgery, I believed that lap-RNY would be about the same pain and recovery as the lap gallbladder surgery I had 10 years ago and I thought I would be one of those post-op patients that could walk 5 miles the day after surgery. Instead, the pain lasted much longer; I had yucky drain tubes that I did not have with the gallbladder surgery; and the recovery time was 2 months instead of 2 weeks. I guess I did not account for being older, fatter, and much more sedentary… (I still can’t walk 5 miles!)
I never considered that I would have a stricture. That only happened to others. Even when I could not keep water down, I waited until my scheduled visit with the surgeon to tell him. The next day, I was in the hospital, dehydrated, anemic, and having a dilatation.
Stalls in weight loss were for those patients that ate too much, or ate carbs, or did not drink enough water. Not me! LOL… What a silly woman I am! My first stall came before 3 months post-op, and I have had several since, usually when I am not eating enough.
I expected to lose a little hair, but I was not as frantic about it as some OH members. I lost some hair after a prior surgery years ago, but it wasn’t much and did not last long. OH-ers wrote that the loss usually begins at 3 months post-op and lasts until the 6th or 7th month. I am conscientious about taking my vitamins, so when I began to notice more hair in the shower drain at 10 weeks, I was not too concerned. I did begin using Nioxin hair products that were recommended by my hairdresser and some OH members. Now, 9 months post-op, the hair loss has slowed somewhat, but I have lost so much that it is hard to cover my bare scalp.
For the first 6 months after WLS I religiously recorded every bite and sip I consumed. I logged onto OH to read the forums and “talk” to my OH friends at least once each day, and I wondered why my surgery sisters were MIA – Remember that post? Two weeks later, I was the one MIA. For me, it took a little while longer than those post-ops that have full-time jobs and/or children at home. But, “Life Happens” even to the Queen!
For months, I never thought about not following the rules. I had a routine and I stuck to it. While I was away from home for 2½ months, I found it was difficult and not very practical to be so obsessed with routine. It actually occurred to me for the first time that WLS was more than losing weight and being healthy. For me, it was about accepting that my life had changed forever and I needed to be able to live with the restrictions without making myself and those around me crazy with the details.
My son asked me why I still drank protein drinks, ate so many protein bars, so much yogurt and cottage cheese, and not much “regular food”. I told him that I like AchievOne and protein bars and yogurt and cottage cheese, and that those foods are healthy, easy on my stomach, and, when the yogurt and cottage cheese are mixed with fruit and/or granola, it is full of protein and fiber. He asked if I thought I could eat the same things for the next 40 years. Wow! I never thought about that!
In the past 2 weeks, I have really tried to eat more of a variety of foods. While away from home, I tried several frozen entrées (Healthy Choice, Lean Cuisine, Smart Ones) that do not have pasta or rice, and I have actually cooked a few meals. Yesterday, I went through my recipe file and cookbooks and made menus and a shopping list for the week. Now I must cook because I will not let the food spoil. For me, it’s just another step toward accepting and living with life after WLS.
The final blow to my theory that WLS issues only happen to others slaps me in the face every time I shower or change clothes… The loose, hanging, sagging, excess skin looks exactly as some described… a deflated balloon. Seriously – I expected to have belly skin. I had that before I was fat because of large scars that look like a cross on my lower abdomen from an open c-section and an open hysterectomy. I also knew I would have saggy breasts – I am, after all, 54yo - but, I was not prepared for the way my thighs, arms, and behind look.
At my age, I cannot justify spending thousands of $$$ on plastic surgery. There are many other more important things we can use those $$$ for. I am documenting all the rashes and infections on my breasts, belly, thighs and navel in hopes that our medical insurance might cover some procedures.
On a more positive note: I have lost 114 pounds! That in itself is absolutely, positively, without any doubt, worth each and every post-WLS issue I have had. The only thing I would change is: I would have had the surgery when it was first suggested to me 5 years ago.
I don’t want to be the Queen of De-nial. I just want to be the Queen! - dj
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My Story I haven't always been obese. (Isn't that an awful word? It is still hard to hear and even more difficult to believe it describes me.) In my early twenties I weighed 128 - I'm 5'8". Now, the number is 296. More than twice the younger me.
I began gaining weight during my first pregnacy in 1979 (75 pounds) and have gained and lost hundreds of pounds since then. There is no medical reason for my weight gain, I love food and never met a plate I couldn't clean.
The decision to have WLS was a difficult one. I wasn't even sure that it was feasible for someone my age (53). But after a year (+) of research, discussion with my family, many talks with my PCP Dr. Haggerty, and consultation with Dr. Freeman and staff, I am certain surgery is the right choice for me. I am ready.