- HEALTH TRACKER
Before & After
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Timothy Monson, M.D.
2/5/08: Met Dr. Monson for the first time today. I really liked him!! He was sweet, easy to talk to and ready for all my questions...which were mostly answered before I could ask anyway! We went over my medical history, weight related problems, a quick exam and then he went over all possible surgeries: risks, benefits, complications, etc.
I've thought about WLS for some time. Having quite a few people in my life that have already done it I've been privileged to pick their brain about the good and the bads. So, once my husband got insurance that allowed WLS I began really thinking abou it.
I started by calling my insurance company (BCBS of Illinois/PPO) asking what all the requirements were. Then I made an appt. to meet with my regular doctor to see what her thoughts were for me being a good candidate. She recommended it and set me up with the next stage: Nutrition Therapy.
I began meeting with a Dietician in August 2008. I will have to meet with her every month for the next 6-months. Ugh! All stuff I know already just not working. I've always been in a mindset of being too overwhelmed with my weight and what I have to lose that even though I know HOW I should eat, I just can't seem to stick to it.
January 11, 2008...Yeah! I finished my Dietician appts. today! I seriously can not believe how fast 6-months flew by. In the meantime, I have done my Psych Test and Evaluation. Let's just say, they didn't lock me up!
Now I have to wait for an appt. to meet with my surgeon to discuss surgery options, whether I am a good candidate and send off for insurance approval.
2/5/08: I met with Dr. Timothy Monson today...he was very nice, easy to talk to and answered a lot of my questions before I had a chance to ask them. He said "I want you to walk away fully informed". And I did. We went over my medical history, weight related health issues, and the different surgical options, risks, and benefits. Now his office just sends stuff to my insurance company, which I guess with BC/BS of IL might take a while. Great. I'm so ready to have this done.
3/11/08: Haven't been here in a while...having MAJOR issues with insurance company (BCBS of ILL/PPO). So far they are denying me. I'm very frustrated as they "forgot" to tell me many things back last August when I started this process that could've saved me months of work. Not only did they not tell me how to access their website where I could find the whole policy but the gal on the phone forgot to mention the "5-year history of morbid obesity" criteria...HELLO?!?!?! So as of right now that may be the one thing that snags me up not getting surgery this year... I haven't been fat long enough. Please! I'm still working on it but it's taking forever and not looking good for me. :( Anyone else have my insurance? words of advice?
3/18/08: I'M APPROVED!!!!! Holy crap!!! My surgeon's office FAX'd over additional information on 3/5/08, I called insurance company on 3/11/08 to confirm they received it and today I got my approval letter! I had to read it 5x before I absorbed that it actually said approval! I truly can't believe it. I was beginning to lose hope and thought that 5-yr. requirement was really going to prevent this from happening. THANK YOU, JESUS!!! It's an Easter miracle! LOL.
Course now I have to wait til at least May 2nd. :S But WHATEVER!!! Woooohoooooo!
3/19/08: Ok, so my bubble was burst a little bit when my surgeon's office told me that the wording of the letter was "not good enough" Argh!! It said the right procedure code but worded it lap band procedure to "abbreviate" as the Insurance Company said. Of course, Lap Band is not what I am in the process of getting so I see where the catch could come up later on but, MAN was I frustrated when I heard I'd have to wait yet another week!
3/22/08: Got the "newly worded" version of the approval letter in today's mail so hoping to get a date any day now...
3/24/08: WOOOO HOOOOOO!!!! I got the call....date set for MAY 6th, 2008!!!! That's 2-days before my 9th wedding anniversary and that's ok...husband might think otherwise, but this will be my gift to him. ;) Now if I didn't have to worry and/or deal with this Pilanidal cyst that I have and might have to have surgery for beforehand...
My only concern about the WLS afterwards is that I plan a trip with my entire family to California and I want to be comfortable and have f-u-n. Just worried I won't be up for that kinda trip, but it is a few weeks after so I'm hoping I'll be good to go.
4/8/08: I do my Pre-Op doc appt. in 2 weeks! I'm sorta beginning the whole mind freak about the whole process. Mostly about how life changing this will be - all for the better of course but still life CHANGING!! I have no regrets at this point but I am scared and nervous about post-op. Not to mention I already have a vacation planned for 24 days post-op which is adding to my stress but I can't and won't change any dates (surgery or trip) so I'm dealing with it. My mind can't escape the thoughts of "great! now I won't be able to enjoy food while on vacation!" Ugh!! Like that's totally the kind of thinking that got me here!:( I still keep telling myself its time to start exercising a bit now!! But I just can't muster up the energy or find the time (nay, make the time). *sigh* I am however, finding comfort in people from the May 2007 board and listening to what they advice and suggest being 1-yr. post op. I figure that's still "fresh" enough in their minds to help me.
4/17/08: I can't believe I have less than 3-weeks to go! Ahhhhhh!!! I'm so anxious to change my life. Yet why is it so hard to just start that NOW?! It's the classic "I'll start my diet tomorrow" syndrome I think. Argh. I'm frustrated with myself that I have YET to start exercising on a regular basis which I know I have to do. I just keep thinking once some weight comes off I will have more energy to exercise! But the better part of my brain knows that starting now will help with everything and after a few days I WILL have more energy. Fiscious cycle...
4/29/08: Pre-Op Day!! Well, I barely made it since my surgeon's nurse screwed up and couldn't read a calendar. Found out night before my pre-op appt. that I was supposed to be on the OptiFast for 2-weeks but now will only be on for 1-week. They said b/c I had less weight than most to lose it should be okay. So I've got my OptiFast and TrePuree for post-op. I love Rachael, the PA. She was very excited for me and broke down how everything will go. I had no questions by the time I left except "is it Tuesday yet?!?!" :)
Here were my stats:
Body Fat%: 49.6%
5/4/08: Food...I miss FOOOD. I'm doing ok on this liquid diet thing but it truly sucks eating the way I will be able to eat post op, now!!!! The shakes actually taste good and I'm not tired of them yet but the brain hunger is killing me!!! Kelly on the May 2008 boards said it right when she called food commericals "food porn". Ugh! But I've only got 1.5 days left of this and then (supposedly) I won't have these massive hunger pangs anymore and will begin to be able to eat and chew something! Yippee!!
5/12/08: Well, I am officially (ok, one day away) from being ONE WEEK post op already!!! The week has flown by (mostly me sleeping thru it). I feel better than I thought but not as good as some I hear who leave the hospital and go home and mow the lawn...uffda! My worst pain complaints were my back day one in hospital and the gas pains. Good Lord!!! But a few days post op and those went away. Water and walking really helped with that. I am having a hard time getting my required protein in nor do I even feel like eating. I am now starting to get some mild hunger pangs back but nothing like before. No deep belly growls. :) I should be down to my last TrePuree tray and I think I still have 5 left! I can't believe they expected me to down a tray a day, even if I was only eating 1/4 each sitting. Still couldn't do it! I was eating yogurt and drinking some protein shakes in the middle of it too though. I had a bad "dumping syndrome" experience Saturday night when I tried to drink a Boost High Protien shake (which as I now know has 27g. of sugar) and within minutes of drinking it I felt sweaty and nauseaus. It was truly awful. But passed in about an hours time. So needlesstosay I won't be drinking THOSE again! :S Other than that its just trying to get in the right amount of proteins each day and sipping my water. I am slowly getting better at the sipping. And because as my luck would have it I got my period the day I left the hospital and I am pretty tired too. I went through the emotions of "what the hell did I just do" soon after I came home but I'm thinking that will quickly pass once I weigh myself for the first time. :) And yes, ironically my scale is broken so I haven't weighed myself since the morning of surgery!!! It is kinda starting to drive me nuts now but I'm trying to hold out for my 2-wk. post op appt. to get the full shock and surprise of it all.
5/20/08: 2 weeks post op! Wow! Time stood still waiting for surgery day now they are flying by. I am doing well, eating soft textured foods. I did not find the need to eat puree for very long so I am thankful for that. I have yet to find a protein shake that I can tolerate both sugar and digestively. I love my Special K Protein water though!! I still find it tough to get enough protein in a day and will start tracking my daily eating tomorrow for my 2.5wk. check up. I will also find out how much I've lost as I have not weighed myself since surgery!! Very anxious for that. So far I am able to eat things like: chili, yogurt, string/shredded/cottage cheese, refried beans, chicken breast, tuna, salmon, light mayo, mustard, cream soups, veggies, SF pudding, SF popsicles, skim milk, SF instant carnation bfast. Things I've found I can't do are ww toast (got stuck - bad feeling), and high sugar items like when I tried to drink the Boost High Protein drink - ugh! I feel clothes getting loser or fitting better, others can see it in my face. I really want to start exercising to help speed up the weight loss and tone the lose skin...I just can't get started. Very frustrating. But I will!!!!
5/23/08: 18.8# DOWN!!!!!!! I had my 2.5wk. check up today with Dietician Andrea and Dr. Monson. Since my pre-op on 4/29/08 til today I've lost 18.8#...holy crap! Their scale weight was 227.1! I am very happy with that. I am not down a size in my clothes or anything yet but the clothes I pulled out from last summer ARE fitting better and/or looser! Sweet!!!! I can't wait to see what the next 2 wks. and month bring! My Dietician just suggested finding more ways to get more protein in. I knew this was an issue of mine but do need to work on it. I am avg. about 45-50g per day and need to be up to 60g. at least. I am avg. about 425-550 calories a day as well, she said low but was more concerned about protein. She asked if I was doing protein bars yet and I guess my Atkins mentality kicked in and responded reluctantly to that one. But it would be nice to have something like that to grab and snack on when need be. I find this way of eating to be so much like Atkins yet being able to eat so many other things that ARE good for me that Atkins would have never allowed. So I feel like I am stuck between two worlds almost. :) My surgeon had only good things to say: incisions healing nicely, weight coming off appropriately but stressed that I start exercising as soon as possible b/c the sooner the better the results will be. This I need to work on FAST! I have started taking the girls around the block in the wagon so that's a nice quick walk pulling 60#. LoL!
5/27/08: Well, I did it...I bought a new scale. I just had to do it. It is my judge and jury. It tells me what I am doing is working and/or not working. Now if I can just keep it to a 1x a week thing...sigh. This AM I am down to 224#...a total of 19# to date and I'm not even done with the first month! Hoary cow!
The doc scale vs. mine of course is off by a pound or so since they do tenths and I don't.
I go on vacation at the end of the week...I am both excited and nervous. I think I've expanded my soft food diet enough to have some choices so I should be good. I've also experimented with the "South Beach Living Healthy" bars and granola snack packs. If I eat 'em slow enough they actually agree with me rather well! Not to mention they taste great, give me some crunch I miss AND pack another 10g of protein into my day - which I've been having trouble doing. I also started walking last night so I'm hoping I can keep that up regularly and see the scale drop harder.
6/6/08: Happy 1-month surgiversary to ME!!! I can't believe its been that long! 24-pounds lost!! I seem to have hit a stall at the moment but I was expecting it at some point soon. Need to get more consistent with exercise. I fear I am able to tolerate a lot of various foods but still trying to keep portions to a minimum. Certainly is a different way of eating...living...thinking. I've had a few episodes of eating too fast or too much and feeling like the food was stuck, but that goes away in 10-15min's. I've only had one dumping syndrome very early on where I drank a protein shake that had too much sugar. I'm staying away from the obvious no-no's but have gotten away with what feels like more than I should, such as Graham crackers, small sips of a chocolate shake, 6g cheesecake, and nuts. Nothing astronomically terrible but it went down and I felt okay...soooo...
My California vacation was a BLAST! I didn't feel cheated and was able to keep up with the fast paces. I feel now like I can do anything and can't wait for more wait to come off and this stall to end!
7/4/08: Happy 4th of July!!! And my almost 2-month surgiversary!!! Things have been going quite well. I'm finding it hard to suck down all the zillion vitamins my NUT has told me to take after my initial month of chewable bariatric vitamins. As much as I hated those towards the end I almost wish I could just take those again. I am anxious for this 4th of July at the lakes! For the once I am actually looking forward to sitting on the beach in my swimsuit and swimming with my girls!!!!!
As far as weight loss I am happy with what I've lost but know it could be more if I could only up the exercise. I'm just so tired after a long day at work and then running after the kids solo til 8p.m. Some weeks I can lose 5# and the next only 2# but a pound is a pound. AND the inches seem to be melting off even if the scale is moving too much, so that's nice.
Shopping....shopping is actually becoming easier already and I've got from a size 22 to an 18 pants in the regular section, not the plus sections!!!! I'm buying L or maybe XL tops instead of 2x. Sooooo much fun!!!! :dance:
STATS TO DATE:
Starting weight: 243
Current weight: 204
***39lbs. gone forever***
left upper arm: 15"
right upper arm: 15"
Upper chest: 44"
Lower chest: 41"
Upper stomach: 43"
Belly button: 43"
left thigh: 27"
right thigh: 27"
left upper arm: 13.5"
right upper arm: 13.5"
Upper chest: 40"
Lower chest: 40"
Upper stomach: 39"
Belly button: 41"
left thigh: 23.5"
right thigh: 25"
***Total Inches lost to date: 45.5" ***
7/15/08 Ok, so a few months back, just a month before my GB surgery my buttocks right at the top of the crack started to hurt SO bad - like I could barely sit, walk, or move. Even went so far as to have my hubby look at it and take pics b/c well obviously I couldn't see it!!! I went to my primarly doc and she said right away it was a Pilonidal Cyst. I had never heard of such a thing. She explained what it was and said the only way to fix/cure it was surgery. Me not being one to jump on a surgery table too quickly went home and immediately did my Google homework. Needlesstosay, I found some pretty horrific and what I now know worst case scenarios but still scared the beegezers out of me. It continued to get worse so I took her advice and got a consult with a surgeon. But by the time I could see the surgeon it had pretty much gone away...after 1.5wks. of pain. He said it WASN'T a Pilonidal Cyst which just confused the crap out of me b/c after all my research and even chatting with others on a BB I believed it was as well. He said to come back if it comes back and to see him when its at its worst. Nice.
Its been said that people get this and it goes away and comes back or sometimes only happens 1x and never comes back. I'd sure hoped that was my case but it appears as though its starting to come back again. Crap! I am waiting it out a few days to be sure its really the beginnings of that but thinking I need to call and get an appt. with the surgeon again b/c it took a long time last time and that's why by the time he saw me it was "healed"
Mine doesn't seem to be as bad as most I've heard about. It really, as my husband describes it, a big long cut at the top of the butt crack that looks like its split open. There is no pimple I've heard mentioned but there is pain and later on I'm sure will be draining as occured the first time. I think I have a sinus track but that's only from what I've heard and read from others.
So after much more thought today I called my primary doc to have her look at it again, she still thinks its a PC. She can't imagine what else it could be or what else would be causing it. She says its like one long open cut then my sacral dimple and then another little cut. She said "I'd be really really reaching but maybe a case of excema?" and gave me a steroid cream to use 2x a day from now til Friday. She said if it doesn't get any better or worse that I should call her on Friday. So I'm hoping this cream work, but I really highly doubt it. I think its a PC, she thinks its a PC but the last time this happened the surgeon I saw did not. I think its cuz he saw it too late but I've been wrong before....once. :-) I'll keep ya' posted.
In other good news I've lost another 2#...feeling good. Just wish I could do this exercise crap. Been a long time since I had a summer where I felt comfortable in shorts and a TANK TOP!! WooooHoooo!
7/25/08: ONDERLAND!!!! OMG I am finally in "onederland", below 200#!! I have not been less than 200# in over 5 YEARS!!!! The exercise (and being sick) this week obviously paid off AND felt great! I only got in 2 workouts instead of 3 before I weighed in b/c of getting sick for a few days but I lost SIX POUNDS!!!!!!! I've been on a very annoying 2# a week weight loss regime for WAY too long so I guess it was a long time coming I drop a few more than that. I was elated either way. People are making comments on how great I look and that just fuels me to do even more/better. :-)
8/3/08: Well, I am just about 3 months post op now and I've already half way met my overall goal weight!!! WoW! I can only hope the next 3 months go just as well and just as fast. It's hilarious b/c I actually have NO clothes to wear, a few pairs of shorts, pants, and couple of shirts that I'm not swimming in. I was in a size 18 a few weeks ago and it seems almost overnight that was too big and now I am in a 16!!! I have finally started walking the treadmill at least 3x a week and that really seemed to kick start the weight loss this past couple weeks when I've lost another 9# instead of 2 or 4!!
I'll be posting my 3-month pics and measurements later...I love my RNY!!!
10/9/08: Wow! Been awhile since I posted...that's just how crazy life's been and how great my RNY has been to me as well. Just working on losing and uping the exercise. However, I've been experiencing a lot of lightheadedness, dizziness, fatigue, nausea after I eat which doesn't normally happen unless I eat too fast or too much but just happening all the time lately. Finally I went in to primary doc and got some blood work as I suspected hypoglycemia. And sure enough, my blood sugar was 80 after I'd eaten a piece of string cheese 15-minutes earlier! Doc said fasting blood sugar should be just below 100. Yikes! So she suggested I get sugar pills like diabetics take - go figure! My culprit my whole life - sugar and NOW I'm not eating enough of it and have to take it in a pill form! So far so good on those but I will be seeing my surgeon for a 3-month re-check on Monday as well as a dietician to see what I am eating and mostly what I could be adding to help out this problem.
So far I've lost 70#, size 14 pants and Medium shirts! and I feel GREAT! The exercise thing is still a hit & miss mostly b/c I feel like crap after I walk on the tred for a brisk 20min. Sux. Hopefully that will change after I figure out the blood sugar business.