- HEALTH TRACKER
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John Rabkin, M.D.
I can only report positive things about Dr. Rabkin, his staff and affiliated hospital.
The process, with his office, towards DS was educational, medically thorough, and nurturing. I felt fully informed in my decision to commit to the DS after attending the seminar and talking to the staff and watching their videos. I was asked to do some presurgery medical tests to insure that I could easily tolerate the procedure. The staff is warm and reassuring. The follow up is terrific,and the month support group meetings invaluable. I give him a 10 out of 10 on all points.
Latest Surgery Support Comments
Travel, art, family & friends
I have been considering WLS for years but have been afraid. Now I am afraid of what will happen if I don't do it. I am type 2 diabetic and very resistant to all meds and insulin. I am hyperthyroid, and also take pills for high blood pressure, and cholesterol. I hate the idea of all this medication and there is a good chance that I could be off all of it if I lost the weight. I just cannot seem to keep the weight off on my own. I told one of my medical advisers that I would be more comfortable with the surgery if I knew what the effect of such a radical procedure was 10 or 20 years down the line. She shook me up when she said that she was more worried as to whether or not I would be around in 10 or 20 years if I didn't have the WLS. That really shook me up!
I tried to find a photo to put in this profile. It is amazing. I have managed to hide behind others or just avoid the camera for years! I got my daughter to take one of me-(squinting in the sunset).
I am 54 years old. That was hard to put into print. Until my health issues caught up with me I have looked and felt much younger. I have had a very full life so far and haven't let my weight get in the way of good times and adventure. I started my family late and have three kids at home My 2o year old college boy, 17 year old high school boy and my 13 year old middle school daughter. My husband works out of the USA most of the time. He has been in Iraq for the last year working as a civilian on the rebuilding of that country. He is in a very dangerous position and there is a lot of stress for us all. My 17 year old was just diagnosed with type one diabetes and I am devoting a lot of my time to getting this figured out. It is not related in anyway to my condition. Just horrid luck that his immune system got messed up. I work part time out of my home office and spend way too much time on the computer. I need my rear end kicked to get going and exercise more. Anyhow, that is a little bit about where I am coming from. Wish me luck on this journey. PS I am used to having spell check so forgive my typing mistakes..
April 10, 04
I finally put a face to my name on this profile. I really keep worrying as to whether this is the right step for me to take. Reading the message board really helps my resolve. I am joining Curves and weight watchers with my 13 year old daughter. The best thing that I can do is to keep her from going through what I have suffered for forty years. Next week I get labs done in preparation for my Drs. visit. I want to be healthy as possible before going into surgery.
One of the things that bothers me most now is my lack of energy. Sometimes my daily tasks just seem overwhelming, I am so tired. For the last year I often need to take a nap in the afternoon. I am beginning to wonder, after reading other profiles, if I might have sleep apnea. I had thought depression but probably not so. The worst thing is that when I am tired, I am terribly irritable and that is not a good thing when dealing with three "needy" teenagers. I used to be a lot happier and laugh a lot. I realized recently that I don't laugh much anymore. Even my kids say so. That is sad.
I lost four whole pounds last week at weight watchers. I find the program too weird and adolescent with their cheers and star stickers. My 13 year old called it elementary school level. But she lost some weight last week and that is what is most important. I don't want her to ever have to consider WLS. It is hard enough for me to think about it.
I have lost a total of ten pounds with WW. Unfortunately, I can't tell any difference. I am still going to pursue WLS with Kaiser and have already had my blood work done and the appointment scheduled to discuss this. I am still scared $hitle$$ about having this dangerous surgery. I nearly died two years ago and spent two full months in the hospital and had an active PIC line for an additional two month. This was for an infection that no one could figure out where it came from. I had a close brush with death and I wasn't ready then and I am not ready now either. I have three kids that depend a great deal on me. I don't want to end up being one of those people that never feel well again after WLS or that don't make it home. I figure that I can get the process started and if I chicken out, then I will have to make myself lose the weight on my own. If I can take off another 50 pounds on my own it would improve my health and well being tremendously...but that is a big IF.
October 25, 2004
My progress towards WLS is going at a snails pace. I have decided that my health really depends on getting this weight off or good. My diabetes is becoming more and more insulin resistant. I take a mixture of R and NPH totaling 90 units in the AM and a total of 60 at night. I am trying to eat very few carbs. in order to reduce my blood glucose. I need to reduce my cholesterol so the Atkins diet is out. The good news is that I am very slowly losing weight and have dropped to around 38 BMI. My nest Drs. appointment is in 3 weeks and I am really going to push this thing forward. I refuse to gain weight in order to qualify. What should I do? Put lead in my pockets????
May 18 2005
I had a PCP appointment this week with my endocrinologist for my diabetes, HBP, and high cholesterol-among other problems. She added yet another Blood pressure medication, increased my insulin dosage and doubled my cholesterol meds. YIKES! So,I told her how exasperated I was with my weight and my health AND I asked her directly for a WLS referral. I have talked about it to her before but she would not give me much of an answer. This time she said that I would have to call heath education with Kaiser and take their WLS class. Then when that is complete to let her know and she would give me a referral. O O OK
I went to the Health Education office and the woman I spoke to was so very nice and helpful, BUT she didn't know what class the Dr was talking about. She tried to call the doc but she had left for the day. Anyhow, now I have a bunch more numbers to call to try to get this thing started.
Finally got a call back from my doctor as to where and when there is a qualifying seminar on WLS. After being on the CA OH Board for two years, I think I could help teach the class,but I am eager to go. The next class isn't for two weeks and it is out of my area but I am going. I have to get this process moving along. (I later found out that this is not a class that I need to attend and I didn't go)
I have been busy the last couple of weeks making plans for an elaborate summer trip. My sis and I and our four teens are going to London, then the chunnel train to Paris, then down to the Riviera, Then fly to Ireland and back to London and home. I am making all the travel, hotel and car reservations and it is time consuming. I am exhausted just thinking about it. I have to be the trip leader, planner and driver and it is a big responsibility (especially since I don't speak French.) My husbands company pays for me and our kids to go to London so I thought while there we should see as much as possible. Now I have decided that I am nuts to undertake this at my weight and health. Too late, I have bought the tickets. Whew one step at a time, just like the surgery.
I hope to get approved before leaving so that I can get my official weigh in for Kaiser. I am sure I will lose weight on this trip and want it to count in my 10% requirement.
May 31 '05
Support from a doctor, what a difference it can make! I feel so good about my decision to actively pursue WLS because of what one of my doctors said to me today. I hadn't seen my Gyn in a while so went in today. I mentioned that I was pursuing WLS and he was so enthused for me. He told me about a good friend and patent of his that had wonderful results. He said that I was a walking time bomb with all the comorbidities and he hoped that I would be able to get it taken care of quickly. I had wanted hormone replacement but he said my health was too fragile for them. He praised my personal physician and said he would do what he could to help in the process. My doctor has been very luke warm about WLS and I've had to push. It was so good to talk to a doctor that was encouraging. Especially for me, the ultimate woman with no courage!
August 16, 2005
Despite what others may say about Kaiser, I am pleased with their approach to WLS. I asked for a referral at the beginning of June. I have already seen the psychologist and dietician. They gave me a stamp of approval and have sent the paperwork to my Doctor, who should send that along to the surgeons office next week. The dietician said that I have had enough supervised diet that I wouldn't have to take Kaiser's diet class. She enrolled me in the class before I wnet on vacation and it started the day I returned. I am already in the 5th week of that class and will continue. Why did she enroll me in it???? The dietitian also used my weight from the doctor's appointment where I first asked for a referral. It was my all time high weight ever at 280. I have lost 17 pounds since then. (2.5 months). So I just have 11 pounds to go! I am scared, but elated that this is really happening.
October 5, 2005
just opened a letter from Kaiser. To paraphrase, it says that they have received my application at the Bariatric Regional committee. My records will be sent to Richmond's Bariatric Surgery Dept. for more review. They will schedule:
1. Orientation Class
2. Nutrition Class
3. Consultation with a Bariatric surgeon.
They will schedule the classes and consultations and state that this will take a few months before I get seen! I have been trying to loose my 10% but no one can tell me when my weight was the official start weight. This letter is kind of a let down.
I wonder how long it may take from the letter to the surgery?
October 22, 2005
I have a rare, quiet Saturday morning to myself. Nobody requesting (demanding) breakfast, my attention, or my computer. Someday, I am going to really miss all that activity around here, but right now I am enjoying the peace. My high school class is organizing a reunion and wanted us to write a short biography. I am too old to make it short! Anyhow, this sort of shows what I have been doing with my life.
I come from a close family of five kids and dozens of cousins. Many weekends and vacations were spent family camping on the north Sonoma coast or up in the Sierras at mountain lakes. I guess that inspired my love of travel. We had little money but lots of love and fun. We were good at entertaining ourselves and I spent lots of time drawing, painting and doing crafts. I have a degree in Social Studies, Art and a high school teaching credential. It didn't take much substitute teaching for me to discover that was not the right career choice. I moved to the Haight in SF, did ART and worked in pharmacy. I traveled on a shoestring budget whenever I could. Saving money I lived with roommates. For a few years,I shared my place on Fell St. with an ever evolving rock/punk band until they drove me crazy. I vowed that if @#$%*# was elected president, I would leave the country, so I "retired", eliminated my possessions and got going. I love to travel and my favorite spot, so far, was Brazil so I took my tiny savings, moved to Rio with two of my gay men best friends and lived there a while being a beach bum and teaching English. I traveled home by land zigzagging all around South and Central America. I even took cargo boats up the Amazon for a couple of weeks. I met DH just a few days after returning to San Francisco. We pooled our resources and bought a home in the Haight Ashbury, fixed it up, rented it and then bought another, etc. I found a new career as a real estate manager/handyman. It was a luckiest thing to do because of the property value boom. For years, I was busy beimg a Mom, improving the property and being the president and art director of the Haight/Ashbury Nursery School. We have three children. We moved to the suburbs of Athens, Greece when my youngest was a baby. I was active in the schools there. DH was working on building the Athens Metro. It was a wonderful five years and hard to move back, but family is important when raising children. Living in Greece, we traveled, visiting nearly all Europe,India, Egypt, Turkey, Czech Republic and of course all over Greece and it's islands. (Which not easy with three little kids) Returning to California, I found I was spoiled by the ease of raising kids in the suburbs so found a place that was an easy BART commute to SF. DH works out of the country all the time now. Family likes snow sports and I like to swim, hike and kayak, so we have a rustic cabin off hwy4 in the Sierras. I would love to spend more time there. We continue the family tradition of camping with lots of extended family and friends. I continue to travel with the kids. They love it and we have some great adventures. DH's dream was to have a place on the beach in the south of France so he got a place(one hundred forty years old).It has been a good investment that we rent and husband uses it often since he lives overseas. Europe is too expensive for my taste. I am too pudgy for the nudie beach scene but I am sure that my sons love it. I took the kids for couple of weeks last summer and explored the mountain villages nearby. Travel is one of my passions and I hope to be able to continue to explore the world. I have made many wonderful friends through my love of travel and music. Many of my friends were gay men in SF and sadly I have lost all but one of them to AIDS and,though he's very ill, he's still traveling. Music has always been important to me. I go to as many concerts as I can and enjoy all sounds, especially world music,rock,jazz, and Brazilian artists. We have a Flat Coat Retriever,Cavalier King Charles Spaniel,and a Shih Tzu. I made the mistake of promising the kids they could have a dog when they turned 13. I guess when they were little, I never thought that day would come. Now they are in high school and college and I have the pets. I am still managing property out of my home office. I continue to love art and still paint, although not enough as I just don't make the time. I take art classes to inspire me and I am always planning my next trip.
-----Yeah, I know,it is too much information....
Well, I talked to the surgeon today; Dr. Fisher at Richmond Kaiser regsarding getting the RNY. I liked him and feel that he is looking out for what is best for me..BUT... I wasn't happy with what he had to say. Kaiser doesn't do WLS if you are under 50 BMI unless they feel that it would help to solve two or more co-morbidities. My main health problem is my diabetes. He says that because I have had this condition for nine years and have to take huge amounts of insulin, that the chances of WLS significantly helping the diabetes management are small. He actually thinks I have late onset type one diabetes and the should be tested for that. He feels that because I am no spring chicken that my behavior may too difficult to change thus making WLS ineffective. Yadda yadda.... So he will let me continue with the process, take the orientation classes, do the 10% weight loss and wait and see what is decided. So I am kind of on an emotional roller coaster right now. (So, of course, all my previous efforts to lose the 10% were for nothing because they don't count until after your meeting with the surgeon. AND no one could tell me this during the last six months!)
Happy New Year! I attended my orientation class today and now I am very hopeful that this surgery will become a reality. I learned very little new information. What I did get from the experience was a feeling of confidence that this is a competent group of medical experts in the Field and that I can go into this with less fear. I did not lose anything since my last appointment, but then again, I didn't gain over the holidays. I have to get my mind set on weight loss and stick to it.
At my last Doctor's appointment, I was given my third medication for high blood pressure. I hope that my losing weight will improve my health problems.
February 3, 2006
Everyday I think this is the day that I begin my weight loss program and everyday I fail. What's the matter with me? I can't seem to make this a reality. On the fourteenth, I have my appointment with the nutritionist. I had better have lost some weight by then! I sprained my knee over a month ago and today is the first day of walking without a limp. I tore ligaments in there and they take a long time to heal. I got the x-ray results back and there are signs of arthritis in both my knees. The arthritis isn't a problem yet, but it is just a mater of time at my weight. All the more reason that I should get serious.
I was invited to join friends on a Caribbean cruise for late March and I turned them down. I know I couldn't lose weight and have all the free food I wanted available for a week. So I am taking baby steps. Next week, if my knee stays good, I am joining a gym that I will actually go to.
I will be attending a memorial service for my brother in law who has lost his long battle with cancer. I have been feeling very down over his passing. I am ashamed to admit that lately I have been feeling even worse over the prospect of seeing family members and acquaintances that I haven't seen in many years. I am the heaviest that I've ever been. I feel guilty for being so self centered that I am worrying about my appearance at a time like this. One more reason to look forward to surgery so that I won't have to deal with this self torture again. I haven't been posting much lately but I check the board every day as it helps me to kick these blues.
I have been lurking on the board. I am feeling rotten over the fact that I can't lose the 10% required by Kaiser and have, in fact, gained about ten pounds. Six months ago I injured my knee and have been unable to get the kind of exercise I was used to. That plus being kind of depressed has made weight loss seem unreachable. I have to get my head screwed on right and get going with my journey. I have lots of family support with this.
I have felt like too much of a failure to be on the boards. Besides, the board is not very active anymore, it seems.
I am officially opening the 10% club. Let's give each other daily support, ideas, goals, whatever it is that might help us. I will try to post about every day with a question. Where are you towards your goal? What is your story?
I was approved in January. I was told to lose 27 pounds. I had just injured my knee and it proceeded to get worse over the next six months so that I couldn't easily walk. During this time, I lost muscle tone and I gained 10 pounds!!! I am finally able to limp around. Good news is that I have lost the ten and I am back to where I started.
In looking back on my efforts so far, I knew I had to do something when every dieting effort I tried would only take me down so far and then stop. My fear has held me back from surgery. I am on track again because my health is failing. I have no stamina and one affliction after another. I am now really determined to get WLS and to stay on track to lose my 10% and to regain my health. I want to see my kids become independent adults.
10-30-06 ---Giving up?-----------
My surgeon actually told me I wouldn't be able to do this with my medical history. If anything, I want to prove him wrong. I think that he made a terrible statement that tends to hold me back and make me feel defeated. I would would like to loose it quickly but with all my medical problems, I am happy with any progress. I am fighting with insulin dependent diabetes, thyroid disease, joint problems, and menopause. I take handfuls of medication twice a day. My body aches and my muscle tone is so bad that exercise is painful and brings on more pain. I feel like giving up but, for me, it would be giving up on life and I am not ready for that! Maybe just blowing off steam can help.
My sister has been at UC medical center for ten days. I am grieving and hoping. She has a malignant brain tumor on her brain stem and the nerves that lead up into her brain. It was finally diagnosed last week after lots of false starts and stops. They thought MS, Lou Gerigs, Lyme disease and she was actually told by doctors at UC medical center that she did not have a cancer last month. She is almost completely paralyzed, can't even swallow or talk but she is totally aware and alert. So sad and frustrating. It can't be operated on and Chemo doesn't work well on it so she is receiving daily radiation. No improvement yet or is it even expected. I drive into the city almost every other day to sit with her and carry on a one way conversation.
My scale is broken so I don't know what is going on with my weight.
July 17, 2007
It has been eight terrible months since I last updated. My wonderful sister died after being tortured by a terrible disease. She passed in June. The illness totally wiped out their savings so I planned and paid for all the final arrangements. The stress has been unmanageable for me. I fought just to stay at the same weight. I still have to lose my 10% for Kaiser plus a few more pounds. I have been on this web site of over four years and watched people came and go and have their surgery and loose all their weight and make their goals. I am still in limbo & I can hardly stand it. If I could lose 30 pounds, I wouldn't need WLS!
Two years later.....
Older, sicker, fatter and finally on my way to weight loss surgery. I learned about a better WLS that Kaiser never ever mentioned to me. I asked for the Duodenal Switch and appealed Kaiser's decision to deny the DS as WLSand their 10% weight loss rule. I "easily" won my appeal because the California Dept. of Managed Health Center is very pro DS and has overturned every single appeal against Kaiser. I am working hard to jump through all of the hoops required to get surgery. PCP medical clearance,EKG, Xray, Colonoscopy, Lab tests, updated Psychological clearance, etc. If it hadn't been so long since I qualified for the Kaiser bariatric program, I wouldn't have to be redoing these tests. Hopefully it will all come together by 9/9/9, my auspicious surgery date.
A year later
About ten months ago, just weeks before my dreaded 60th birthday, I got the DS. I have been diabetic for over 15 years and had a lot of damage going on in my body due to it. After my DS surgery I was completely off of oral diabetic medication, and off of my four blood pressure medications and off my cholesterol medications. I am still on a low dose of insulin and that is almost totally gone now. I check everyday and occasionally take much less than a tenth of an insulin dose that I once took. I am confident I will be totally off all prescription medications by my one year anniversary.
Now here is the kicker,I am traveling for the first time in years. I am in France and today I spent the day on the beach swimming in my size ten!!! swimsuit. Yes, I have some flabby skin, but so what? I am looking out of my window at palm trees and getting ready to go out to eat. My only worry is whether I will order mussels or duck breast in cream sauce. By the time I finished my meal last night, I wasn't at all interested in my kids sweet crepes and gelato. But if I wanted, I knew I could have some. Tomorrow we are headed for the Italian riviera and the Cinqua Terra. I am trying to figure out what good things to eat there. I love sea food an it loves me. We will be doing a lot of hilly village hiking there and I am looking forward to it, instead of dreading the pain that I would have been in before the DS. At 60 I have been given the most wonderful gift of health and a future I wish the same for your mother and hope you have her around for a long healthy life!One year later and I am a happy owner of a 10 month old DS!
July 17 2010
At ten months out I went on vacation with my three young adult kids and met my husband who works in the UAE (Abu Dhabi) for a vacation in the south of France & Italy. By some miracle, we could all get time away from school and work. I've been home a couple of days and finally recovering from jet lag. Using frequent flyer miles means a lot of stop overs and not the most direct flights. So coming and going it was always well over 24 hours from door to door! I couldn't have even considered such a thing a year ago, much less tackled all the walking, hiking, heat and beach time that I actually enjoyed. I think I lost nearly ten pounds in 18 days even though I enjoyed all the food that I wanted. I even had fresh french bread, pastries and fries without consequence. Happy happy joy joy!!!
I haven't had many pictures taken of me alone in years and years. This time I got my photos taken all the time and I didn't delete them! I picked out a few for my profile. My kids took so many I had trouble choosing!
What a miracle the DS has been for me. I have been one of those with very few problems and then only minor stuff. My hair has started to grow back and it is curly. Especially in the humid weather we were in. I need to build up some muscle but I am stronger than I was a year ago. Need I say it? I am THRILLED and deeply in love with my DS.