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Surgeon TestimonialSamuel Szomstein, M.D.3/5/03
Dr. Szomstein is a good guy, he was very informative and answered all my questions. From our short talk I would say he is a competent and confident surgeon, very knowledgeable. I just wish they had more than one nutritionist so I didn't have to wait so long!
Dr S is a very caring and professional surgeon. When I was in the pre-op room he tried to get my wedding ring off using a piece of string so we wouldn't have to cut it... it didn't work, but it is indicative of his attitude towards patients that he spent 10 minutes doing that for me. He has many fellows (associates) at the Cleveland Clinic who are learnig to do the surgery, and they are all also learning his manner with patients. He listens carefully to you and tells you straight what will happen, or his advice.
7/12/12 on July 12, 2012 6:38 am
Have had a good ride so far... surgery was 9 years ago July 10. Had gained back to 247, now at 213. On June 13 I had to go the emergency room... a blocked intestine, was caught in an internal hernia. I understand a small percentage of WLS patients (maybe 6%) have this complication at one time or another. Very painful, but I am back on my feet again...
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my old profile part 2 on July 12, 2011 7:26 pm
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I bought the new Dan Brown book and it looks like it will be great.
The patio is moving forward a little at a time. I find I like to have lots of projects going, that way I don't get bored...
My 3 month anniversary was yesterday, I have lost over 90 pounds!
Finally under 250! Tonight we go out to dinner for Eric's birthday (which was yesterday)... I haven't been out to a resaurant for dinner yet, I'll play it safe with just meat, I think.
Go Marlins, beat the Yankees!!
Another miniplateau... I am getting used to them. With luck I'll get to -100 sometime this week, though!
Going pretty well, hope to have said goodbye to the 250's now... I have my first non-church night time gig tonight on Miami Beach, maybe I can get back into the pro world now! My most recent tux is huge, had to dig into the closet for the last one, the one I split down the back 5 years ago... got it fixed, and it's a little snug but I can wear it.
We'll have to check on the Marlins' progress during our breaks tonight...
Also found a pretty good chewable calcium citrate... good fruit taste... BIG pills, though... they are by Twinlab, called calcium citrate wafers.
Had a nice guest yesterday, our friend Theresa visiting... she made a great bean dish, anyone wanting the recipe, I'll send it!
Going to see if I can get most of the rest of the concrete block laid for the patio today...
PS I am feeling like I can manage eating out now, have done it several times in the past week with no problems. I don't seem to have quite as big a problem with things getting stuck...
Still plateauing around 246 (actually 245.5 today, I'll take every ounce I can!)... got a little sick yesterday on eggs with green chilis. I hope I haven't started to not tolerate foods I have been able to eat. Had a shake for supper yeaterday night, and shakes today instead of breakfast and lunch, just to make sure everything is settled down.
Got some good, if odd, news Saturday: my eyes are noticeably better than 3 years ago. That means lighter glasses... maybe because of my dropped blood pressure, or all protein diet, or who knows, but I'll take it! Also have been getting the hiccups the past few days, it is really annoying!
Almost finished with the copper backdrop for our bureau... also, the patio is getting slowly finished. I have laid quite a few concrete blocks in cement for the edges, something I couldn't have dreamed of doing 4 months ago.
Woo hoo! Finally cracked 100!!!
I seem to have settled into a 10 pound a month loss... I guess that's better than the other way! My old clothes box is growing... and I am not quite sure if I want to buy more clothes just yet. So, I end up looking pretty sad-sacky most of the time with big folds in my pants and my shirts being way too big. Like I said, sure beats the alternative!!!
Cut back on carbs a little (basically, just fewer beans and nuts since I don't eat any other carbs at all)... I want to break the 240 barrier!
A little under the weather today... went to see Dr Altman (my PCP) for a regular appointment. Everything seems OK, BP, heart rate etc. No blood work done this visit. I have some sort of infection, got a little sick at the jazz band concert Sunday and stayed home yesterday. Got a prescription for some terrible tasting (at least when ground up so I can take it!) antibiotic. Can't sleep tonight (it is 4am) so I am working on the computer...
My wife is off to Gainesville... my son is having ACL surgery tomorrow, he hurt his knee playing basketball. She is a blessing, and is always there for us.
Stopped taking the antibiotic, I wasn't convinced it was working. I don't seem to be getting any worse, and have been able to go to work fine. I seem to have less energy lately, maybe because of the infection... I have been taking the occasional nap (2 this week) and staying up later at night. I don't seem to be able to sleep past 7am no matter what, which I guess is a good thing... I have upped my B vitamin intake a little, people say that can help with energy.
As for my diet, I am still an omelet freak: amazing egg (Albertson's egg substitute) with dried onions, mushrooms and low fat cheese account for 50% of what I eat. Pretty much have stopped eating too much else, I don't really want it; bread, pasta, rice and potatoes are not calling to me yet, I hope they won't! I am eating low fat peanut butter occasionally, and drinking quite a bit of coffee and tea... I have found I like the Swiss Miss no sugar added hot chocolate as well. I did have 2 Atkins Advantage shakes last week, they are OK, they taste like Slimfast used to...
Went up to Gainesville for Thanksgiving... Tim is recovering from the surgery, and is in lots of "discomfort" as they say. I bet this is the only Thanksgiving in my life I ever lost weight! Down 2 pounds as of yesterday... I am not eating very much, no real desire for a week or so. An omelet in the morning and reduced fat peanut butter the rest of the day. I know I need to get more protein in but nothing appeals to me. I am definitely drinking enough fluids, 100-120 fl oz per day still.
Lots of papers to grade and tests to administer, though, I will be very busy this next week!
Finally tried some Atkins breakfast cereal, the banana nut flavor. It is pretty good, and it is nice to have something crunchy to chew on. I am still mainly eating omelets of various kinds...
Stuck in the low 230's, it seems... it's OK, the inches seem to be dropping still. Maybe even the Atkins stuff I am eating is too high in carbs? Tried the Fettacini Alfredo and the Banana Nut Bread; the cereal and (of course) the frozen yogurt are still by far the best. The pasta is like cardboard, takes forever to chew! I have a church Christmas show rehearsal tonight, then I pick Kathy up at the airport at around midnight... a busy week!!!
A very busy week! Lots of papers/tests to grade, plus 8 Christmas pageant shows to play (the last is tonight). I am under 230 for the first time today, I am not getting all my protein in, I don't think, just not enough time. Fortunately, starting tomorrow everything slows down quite a bit. I hope to start going to the gym with Eric and working on my basketball, also I plan to finish the patio and fountain...
Got lots done on the patio today, now I am tired!
Had a bit of an episode last night, but am better today... I ate some turkey (not usually a problem) but it got stuck good! I tried to throw up, but nothing came up except liquid and finally a little blood (I was going at it pretty hard!). Finally I felt a big gurgle and it made it past the block... I felt better immediately but very drained... no turkey for me for a while! No ill effects today, I was moving 24" blocks and mixing cement for 2 1/2 hours... we might try to hit the gym today, it was closed yesterday (the whirlpool will REALLY feel good today!)
Five days to Christmas... really doesn't feel very Christmasy, though. It is cold, in the 40's the last several nights. I am not having much luck eating at the moment, no stomach trouble, just no desire to eat anything. As for several weeks, pretty much an omelet once a day and peanut butter or nuts the rest of the day. It seems peanut butter and other nut products are pretty good for you, containing much the same nutrients as fish for example. Lots of calories per ounce, but I am still losing weight, albeit slowly. I will say I am back on coffee pretty much (6-8 cups per day); according to my friend on the Atkins diet, caffeine slows the weight loss on Atkins (I haven't really seen that effect). I also make sure I take my vitamin and mineral supplements. According to Dr Szomstein, 223 is the lower border of obesity for me, so I am headed for just being grossly overweight :) soon...
Eric and I have been to the gym playing basketball several times, and I am playing fairly well, for a 49 year old music teacher! This morning I go to register Little Leaguers, then I'll work on the patio some more... those big cement blocks really take it out of me, but it is some exercise at least!
Happy New Year! I am plateauing, have been going from 227 to 230 since Christmas... hope to head downward again soon, I understand this is the way WLS works...
6 months and 119 pounds gone! The pounds have been coming off much more slowly lately... I think I may go back to the protein shakes for while. I was at the state music educators convention this past weekend and lost a few pounds (I was at 228.5 when I left Thursday)... that is the first time I have ever lost on a convention trip, I am sure! It isn't easy (for me) to get proper meals when I am very busy and away from home; I existed on nuts and peanut butter plus 1 regular meal each day. Not the best plan, for sure! One nice thing: lots of people I haven't seen for a while didn't recognize me when I saw them in Tampa...
Back from all my trips finally... went to a great jazz convention in NYC 2 weeks ago and worked with an all-county middle school band this weekend in Orlando. The interesting thing is I lost weight on all the trips, something unheard of before this! Less time to eat, more active... all have something to do with it.
I seem to be slowly moving down under 215, down 2, then up 1, etc etc etc. That's OK, I think I have said goodbye to 220 at least. Two big boxes for Goodwill ready to go. I thought about the clothes service they have here at OHelp.com, but they will only let you list clothing one piece at a time, way too time consuming when you have 25 or more to give away at a time! The way I see it there are people who shop at Goodwill (I have been one of them at times!) who need big clothes too.
Have been losing interest in some foods I have eaten the last few months, and trying to find new ones. Found some low carb (3 gms per slice) bread at Albertsons, I am making a grilled cheese to try right now. I still eat a lot of eggs, peanut butter and nuts... I was eating no sugar chocolate, but have lost my taste for it. Still eat almost no veggies, but I may try to add some. The problem is I am only getting 45-60 grams of protein in a day, and I need more. I have tried the high protein low carb bars, but they are pretty miserable tasting. Made some fake kung bao chicken last night with chicken, peanuts, chili sauce and hoisin sauce. It was pretty good.
Also took a short nap without my CPAP today (our power went out for some reason) with no problem. I won't make a habit of it, but at least I know I can do it.
Still hanging around at 212...
A cautionary tale from last night's support meeting: there were three people there with problems... they never make any attempt at these meetings to paint a rosy picture when it doesn't always turn out that way. One person had had the surgery in the mid-80's, and is coming back to have it "fixed"; another lost well over 100 pounds, but in the last 2 years has put much back, returning to old habits; the third person has very severe and ongoing food issues. All of them are out more than 2 years, and all of them were going great guns when they were where I am now, and not giving any thought to any possible future difficulties. We have to remain forever vigilant, and even with that this doesn't always work. I still feel it was the right decision for me, and is also right for many people.
My current problem: I don't really like eating, I am tired of everything I eat because I eat the same things over and over.
Finally cracked 210... it does get slower as you approach your goal. I have given away all my old big clothes, and now have bought some new ones. My waist has gone from 52 to 40, and my shirts from 3X to L.
A month and a half later, still hanging around 206-210. My clothes are still getting looser (is that a word?) all the same... I think I could get into 38 inch waist pants now. The end of the school year is always a panic, but it is over now. I have not been exercising at all, but now I can get back in the yard to finish some projects, like my patio and pond with a little waterfall. My diet is changing, I went through a period when I ate a lot of peanut butter, but now I seem to be on protein bars (Atkins chocolate and peanut butter flavored are the best I have found). I also like chicken wings occasionally, and lolo carb yogurt (also Atkins). Have added a little in the way of veggies (had some good green beans today), but no fruit or other carbs (pasta, bread, potatoes, rice). The few little nibbles of these carbs I have tried have made me a little ill... I will eat fish and chicken occasionally as I said, but beef and pork are pretty much off the radar screen: too chewy! Still eat egg substitute about 3-4 times a week, too, and cheese. To you pre-ops this must sound like an incredibly boring diet, and it would have been to me before as well... it's just that food has a totally different meaning and/or effect on me now... it is hard to explain, but I can be around people chomping away on pizza, burgers, fries, etc etc etc and it doesn't bother me. I just got back from having a snack of 3 oz of lolo carb yogurt (2.4gr carbs, 24 calories) and I am STUFFED!
I have had 5 losing days in a row, from a high of 213. I was slowly changing back to old patterns, such as grazing and drinking with meals. I still never ate 2000 calories in a day, I don't believe, but was eating a lot of nuts, peanut butter and sugarfree candy. None of that in the house at the moment, and my peanut butter has been changed to the low carb kind, and only 1-2 tsp per day... I am trying to be a good boy, I really want to crack 200 shortly. I am now keeping better (I think) track of my carbs and calories; I am eating 10-25 grams of carbs a day, and keeping the calories under 1500, and sometimes under 1000. If I can remember to keep drinking liquids (I had 140 oz yesterday) and not grazing, I think the weight loss tool will work as well as it ever did. When you graze you never get full, so you can do it all day! I am replacing peanut butter with cheese as a snack, that might end up being too high in fat, though. A good friend just told me he is going to have WLS, so I am motivated to get back on track!
Yesterday I started to put the stones around the pond in the back yard... I finished laying the large patio stones (just got out of school, although I start summer class today, so I had a little more time), and pressure cleaned the whole pool deck, it looks great! A year ago I wasn't even going into the back yard, too much effort.
My youngest son Eric graduated from high school, woo hoo! And to make it even better, my mom-in-law, a very nice lady and good friend, and my other son Tim Jr. came to visit. Life is good! The patio is even shaping up...
We even have a new, but maybe temporary, member of the household, a little cockatiel Eric found huddling in a tree where he works. It is sitting in its cage next to me and wondering why anyone would want to get up so early...!
My friend called, his date is June 15... he is having a "micro-pouch" open RNY. I will be interested to hear how that works, maybe you lose even faster than with the small pouch I have? Go for it, Kevin!!!
Getting closer to cracking 200 (the gym scale says I weigh 196, but it has always been a little less than the home one)! Today is our 28th anniversary, I am glad I can now look forward to quite a few more, last year I was doubtful I'd see this day!
My eating is even more restricted, although I did have an omelet yesterday, first of those in a long while. I just find the convenience of protein bars (I only like Atkins and Strive! bars) and cheese so much easier than cooking.
The oddest things remind me I am still shrinking... I can now cross my legs (either way) and curl my foot around the back of the other leg without helping it... last time I tried I still had to help at east one of them. Strange, huh?
200 this morning, for the first time in at least 25 years, I think. It is very hot and humid (90 degrees) but I don't mind it so much anymore. In fact, sometimes going outside after being in a cold AC room is nice.
Ate a bit too much Atkins yogurt yesterday... it has high protein and low calories and carbs (8 cal, .8 gr carbs, 4 gr protein per oz), but can give you intestinal distress when eaten in large quantities (I am embarrassed to admit I had 28 oz (!) of it yesterday...), probably because of the Splenda, I would guess. The Chocolate Malt and Chocolate Decadence flavors are great, and worth looking for (in fact, I already had some today when I was out). I'll even give a plug to Brendy's Yogurt Cafe in Delray Beach, just down the street from me!
Also wanted to say I don't crave carbs yet, at least bread, potatos, rice, etc. The few I have tried, including the low carb type, have all made me slightly to pretty ill... I am pretty much strictly Atkins, with just a little bit of veggies every few days...
Woo hoo! Kevin made it through in great shape, got to go home after 2 days in (maybe all that judo was helpful?).
Re-Birthday! One year out and still kicking... I am going to celebrate by fixing sprinkler heads and getting ready to put up some fence sections in my yard. Not a typical celebration, but good for me... God saw fit to reward me with another pound lost... they are coming off very slowly now! We now have another little parrot, a baby from the baseball park... plus, we added a rescued cockatiel a couple of weeks ago... that makes 4 birds, and a total of 16 pets (one of our fish died last week). And, one of my youngest son's friends has asked us to keep his Jack Russell terrier puppy for him for a while, that will put some spark into our house for sure... a Jack Russell (especially a puppy), is about as far from the temperament of our other dog (Pfred, a greyhound) as you can get, according to what we have read about them... it's all good!
Going to Philly tomorrow for a dear friend's birthday party, should be a blast! We spent the morning putting up stockade fence around some of our property, at 92 degrees it's hard work even if I am thinner!
Been sneezing like crazy the last few days, maybe my allergies are getting fired up? Also, I have just stopped using two more medicines: Bextra and Pamelor, both for my hip, which was bothering me... maybe that is having some effect...
Lots of stuff has happened since I last logged on... went to Montana for a great visit to my mom-in-law, but had to leave early to prepare for Hurricane Charley (he missed!)... school started, then Hurricane Frances came (she didn't miss)... out of power for 7 days, still no internet but we are so lucky our house is (almost) OK... our big palm tree put two big dents in our roof when it came down, and we learned how to fix roofs! Now Ivan is on the way, but it looks more like we will be spared this one... I hope Tim Jr. is as lucky, he is in Gainesville, where it might track through... two more things: I learned I don't need my CPAP anymore (no choice with no power), and that no power also helps with weight loss... it's all good, as they say! Oh yeah, FAU beat 2 Division I teams in football to open its season... woo hoo!
Hi after a long hiatus... I am doing pretty well, my weight has been fluctuating from 190 to 198 for several months, and I think I might have gone as far as I can without plastic surgery... I am pretty satisfied, though... I have maintained my 14 inch loss at the waist. Still (after a visit to my sleep DR) have to use the CPAP, and the atrial fib is still around. I have some back and hip pain, that was being taken care of with vioxx, the bextra, a very similar drug... great, huh? I am off them both for sure now. I have found I can eat some low carb things like bread (5 gr per slice) occasionally. I eat a lot of cheese, peanut butter, chicken wings, yogurt and protein bars of many types. Tomorrow I will have a little turkey, a bite of potatoes and dressing, and count my blessings! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!
5 years out... weight has fluctuated between 203 (rarely) and 220...
I am eating almost everything I did before, but most things have a definite effect on me... carbs cause sleepiness, sugar (and fake suger like maltitol) cause nausea... protein and fat cause the least effects... I hope to do a round of the original Cleveland Clinic diet (egg substitute, no-sugar-added Instant breakfast and skim milk) soon to get back to 200... I will report back on the results!
Also, must report that the food addiction was transferred to alcohol at one point, and I am happy to report I have been completely alcohol-free for over two years...
Highest pre-op weight:
6/15/03 : 345 175 to go
7/01/03 : 331 -14 161 to go
7/04/03 : 328 -17 158 to go
7/06/03 : 326 -19 156 to go
7/07/03 : 325 -20 155 to go
7/10/03 : 322 -23 152 to go
after protein shakes(preop):
7/11/03 : 320 -25 150 to go
7/18/03 : 312 -33 142 to go
7/20/03 : 309 -36 139 to go
7/22/03 : 306 -39 136 to go
7/23/03 : 301 -44 131 to go
7/25/03 : 300 -45 130 to go
7/27/03 : 298 -47 128 to go
7/29/03 : 296 -49 126 to go
7/31/03 : 294 -51 124 to go
8/02/03 : 292 -53 122 to go
8/04/03 : 290 -55 120 to go
8/06/03 : 292 -53 122 to go
8/08/03 : 289 -56 119 to go
8/16/08 : 287 -58 117 to go
8/20/03 : 283 -62 113 to go
8/29/03 : 275 -70 105 to go
8/31/03 : 274 -71 104 to go
9/02/03 : 273 -72 103 to go
9/06/03 : 272 -73 102 to go
9/08/03 : 270 -75 100 to go!!!
9/11/03 : 268 -77 98 to go
9/20/03 : 266 -79 96 to go
9/22/03 : 264 -81 94 to go
9/26/03 : 261 -84 91 to go
10/02/03 : 258 -87 88 to go
10/03/03 : 257 -88 87 to go
10/06/03 : 255 -90 85 to go
10/12/03 : 253 -92 83 to go
10/16/03 : 251 -94 81 to go
10/17/03 : 249 -96 79 to go
10/25/03 : 246 -99 76 to go
11/07/03 : 244 -101 74 to go
11/10/03 : 243 -102 73 to go
11/14/03 : 242 -103 72 to go
11/15/03 : 241 -104 71 to go
11/17/03 : 239 -106 69 to go
11/23/03 : 238 -107 68 to go
11/26/03 : 237 -108 67 to go
12/02/03 : 235 -110 65 to go
12/06/03 : 232 -113 62 to go
12/11/03 : 231 -114 61 to go
12/14/03 : 229 -116 59 to go
12/20/03 : 227 -118 57 to go
01/06/04 : 227 -118 57 to go
01/11/04 : 226 -119 56 to go
01/12/04 : 225 -120 55 to go
01/15/04 : 224 -121 54 to go
01/27/04 : 220 -125 50 to go
02/01/04 : 215 -130 45 to go
02/12/04 : 212 -133 42 to go
02/24/04 : 212 -133 42 to go
02/29/04 : 211 -134 41 to go
03/13/04 : 209 -136 39 to go
03/14/04 : 208 -137 38 to go
03/21/04 : 206 -139 36 to go
05/11/04 : 207 -138 37 to go
05/13/04 : 205 -140 35 to go
05/27/04 : 203 -142 33 to go
05/29/04 : 202 -143 32 to go
06/12/04 : 201 -144 31 to go
06/14/04 : 200 -145 30 to go (!)
06/16/04 : 199 -146 29 to go WOO HOO!
07/11/04 : 198 -147 28 to go (Re-Birthday!)
07/26/04 : 196 -149 26 to go
08/18/04 : 194 -151 24 to go
09/12/04 : 191 -154 21 to go
07/12/08 : 220 -125 55 to go
my old profile on July 12, 2011 7:05 pm
This is my old profile... I have added a few new things on the end...
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I am a college music teacher, married for 27 years, two sons, 17 and 20. My wife is an RN, working nights in the new moms and babies ward. I am a professional trumpet player and composer/arranger of jazz music. I have been working at Florida Atlantic University for 20 years.
A veteran of the diet wars, but have not won a battle in many years!
My sons are skeptical about the surgery... they think (and maybe my wife does, too) that I could lose the weight if I "really tried hard". Of course, they are also concerned with the risks...
Went to a post-op support group tonight at US Bariatrics... the staff seems very congenial, and the post-ops there were certainly very grateful for the attention they received and continue to receive. Before the meeting there was a staff appreciation reception with at least 200 patients in attendance. No complaints I could hear, and (as far as I could tell) much good information was passed on. Quite a few pre-op "imposters" like me at the support group, but we were certainly made to feel welcome. Now I have to get the approval process underway!
A day of tragedy.
My 17 year old son and I have pretty much agreed to not talk about the surgery anymore. He says I am "taking the easy way out", rather than the hard work of losing the old way... he doesn't understand that the old way won't work, and has been proven to be almost impossible for MO people... IMHO the diet industry is promoting one of the "big lies" we always hear about, at least to people who have the genetic disposition towards obesity and morbid obesity.
Of course my son is at that indestructible age... he is having to confront fear for a parent for the first time, and will not admit that this is part of his problem with the surgery. I hope at some time in the next 3 months he will start to support my decision, but at this point he pretty much will not discuss it anymore.
I am hoping to see my picture up... I have sent it twice, maybe I have an email problem?
FINALLY have the patient forms ready to send in, then US Bariatrics takes over the process... I am reading that BCBS isn't one of the companies that is difficult to get approval from... I guess I will see!
My picture is up, but I have to get a full body shot taken(ewww!)... I have actually lost 8.5 lbs since deciding to have the surgery... maybe because of the diuretic my doc put me on. My edema has gotten a lot better, but my back pain is getting worse! And to make it even worse I just ran out of Ultram...
I am an ebay addict, but WLS might be my next obsession... I feel so ready for it I want to become a crusader, and I am still pre-op (and will be for a few more months at least!)!
Took my papers in, now I have to wait to see what is next! Also visited the US Bariatrics store... they have lots of food products and other stuff... got some cheese samples, a protein shake and no calorie/fat/carb BBQ sauce and Caesar dressing.
Started saying goodbye to foods yesterday... ate at Taisho, and bid farewell to sushi! I know I could have just the fish part later, but I like the rice, seaweed wrap and eel sauce so much (and I won't be able to eat them!) I decided to put it behind me... also picked up my letter from Dr. Ginsberg, she is right on top of things! I don't feel too well today, ate a day old sausage McMuffin from my fridge at work, and picked up a heavy box of records that was donated. SO, my back is killing me and I have a stomachache. I guess that will be my goodbye to sausage McMuffins!
Feeling antsy! I want to hear back from the doctor, to get something going... goodbye to French fries!
Goodbye to onion rings! Not much left to eat! ;) My first cardiologist appointment is tomorrow, I will probably have to have a thalium stress test...
My cardiologist (Dr Weinblatt) gave the go ahead for the surgery, no stress test required! Perhaps US Bariatrics will require one, but maybe not. Since my sleep Dr, my Psychologist and my Psychiatrist have all endorsed it, I hope the way will be clear!
Bye bye to donuts! My psychiatrist advised me to see a neurologist about the pain and occasional weakness in my legs... I will talk to Dr Ginsberg Monday.
Ouch! Dr. Ginsberg has put me on a very restricted diet: no carbs, sodium, sugar, cheese, red meat, fatty fish, fat, or any food from a can! I don't know if I can do it, it seems like the post-op diet. I can have chicken, eggbeaters, 1 slice of WW toast with breakfast, protein shakes, 2 cups of green leafy veggies with vinagrette... :(
A couple of bad days... I found out US Bariatrics 1. doesn't accept BCBS PPO, and 2. they require $10,000 up front!!! So, I needed to find another doctor... I have settled on the Cleveland Clinic, I have an orientation meeting Tuesday and a surgeon consult Wednesday next week.
Because US Bariatrics does not accept BCBS PPO, and further requires the entire surgeon fee up front ($10,000), I have had to search for another surgeon. I found the Cleveland Clinic in Weston, FL accepts my insurance... they have two surgeons, Raul Rosenthal and Samuel Szomstein, with Rosenthal the more experienced. He is not available for a consult until April, which would make my May window of opportunity impossible. Fortunately, Szomstein is available March 3, and I can attend their orientation March 2, so as far as I know I am good to go. I am wondering if they will accept the authorizations I have already received from Drs Ginsberg and Weinblatt.
Went to the orientation at the Cleveland Center... I liked all the people there... it is a much smaller operation than USB. All the pertinent facts seemed to be the same or nearly so. I was able to ask a few better questions this time. We watched a video of an RNY lap surgery, it looked strightforward to me. I may just make it under the wire for a May date. I see Dr Szomstein tomorrow at 2pm. They use the protein shakes for 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after surgery.
I should also say that the Cleveland Clinic is very nice, like a Hilton... all the rooms are private. Why these doctors would take my insurance when USB doesn't is beyond me.
This afternoon Kathy and I went back down to Weston to look for redcrested swamphens, and saw 9 of them. I think I might have gotten a touch of heatstroke, I haven't felt well since we got home.
I feel a little better today, I am on my way to see Dr Szomstein...
Dr Szomstein seems to be a very competent and knowledgeable doctor... he is very up front about the risks, and answered all my questions to my satisfaction. He gave me the totals as far as complications having happened at the Cleveland Clinic, and what happened in each case...
He gave me several prescriptions for tests (MRI gallstone, EKG, chest x-ray, UGI series), and said those I had completed recently could be used (I have had an x-ray and an EKG in the last 3 weeks preparing for US Bariatrics). I can also use letters from my cardiologist, sleep doctor, psychologist and psychiatrist... I already gave them the letter from my PCP. I have made an appointment for the MRI and UGI at University MRI for March 14, and shortly after that should be ready for approval.
The big problem: I have to see the Cleveland Clinic nutritionist, and her first opening is June 4! That means I cannot have surgery until at least 2 weeks after that because of the protein diet (I may see if I can get a little jump on that). I am scheduled to teach the second half of the summer, and that will not happen... the classes are already turned in, and I would have to trade with someone who also can teach jazz history... I think I am out of the picture for working this summer.
Bye to pizza and fried potatos! I think I may be getting the start of an ulcer...knawing pain in the upper left quadrant that is helped by Pepto Bismol. Plus, my youngest son (17) asked me to buy him some condoms today... that would have been the time to take a BP reading!!! He claims it was a joke... ha, ha. Tomorrow I will go around and pick up some of the reports from the doctors I am collecting.
I like to write, I am surprised I haven't kept a journal before... Tim is home from college, he is supportive, which I am grateful for... I am trying to have a protein shake in skim milk for one meal a day. I weighed 334 at the CC, that is my official weight for the insurance. Since it appears my surgery is not until June, maybe I can take off a few more and make it easier. Taking pounds off was never my problem until about 5-7 years ago, when depression got hold of me (it still has me)... KEEPING them off was impossible, though!
Picked up my heart results today... also gave up steaks and whole eggs... going out to lunch with my son and his friend tomorrow, I am glad I can still have a tuna sandwich!
Had a couple of tests, actually the last two I think, on Friday. The ultrasound gallbladder wasn't too bad, except for some reason my abdomen is tender... I guess it has been for a while.
The nasty, but easily surviveable, test was the upper GI series. The barium drink isn't too bad when you just have to sip it for the esophagus part of the test; when they do the stomach, though, you have to drink quite a bit of it, and it isn't very savory! Plus, you have to roll around on the table so they can see all the parts of your stomach; my rolling around on hard surfaces days are past by a long ways!
I get the results on Tuesday...
(PS gave up Chinese food, but had to have some pizza yesterday... we had several of Kathy's friends as guests, and one of them is a great pizza cooker! It was excellent, but I am off pizza again as of today!)
Picked up my gallbladder, X-ray and UGI results yesterday... no problems. So, I will take them down to the Cleveland Clinic Monday after class. As far as I know, this will make it possible for them to apply to BCBS for approval. Had Dover sole with my friend Murray on Tuesday, it is great! I have a feeling I should start on the protein shakes for real, though, my liver was very fatty in the scans according to the report.
We are at war, and I am dead set against it...
Big weekend, lots of concerts at school... My pro group, the Jazz Rats Big Band (I am sure you have heard of them???? ;) )played on Friday night. Our singer got larygnitis, so we did our favorite type of concert: we winged it! Lisanne will be back for our next concert April 6...
I will take the UGI, ultrasound, x-ray and ekg results into the CC tomorrow, gotta get this show on the road! I gotta get thin for thong season... hahaha!
Took most of my stuff in to CC today... picked up Dr Chediak's letter, can mail it tomorrow... have stopped my ritalin and wellbutrin, have been off them for a week... will see how it goes!
Feeling terrible today, stayed home from work... had a fever last night, chills. Headache, couldn't sleep, etc. I don't feel like I can go in tomorrow either at this point, no energy plus lots of aches and pains from my back and hips. I did move some boxes of LP's yesterday, but that shouldn't have given me a fever. I think stopping the ritalin has increased my appetite, unfortunately. I have had pizza and French (I refuse to say Freedom) fries... plus a few burgers at McD's... it is possible that the comedown off Wellbutrin might be too much and I may have to start taking it again...
Started the Wellbutrin again, after three days home from work with the flu, fever, aches and sleeplessness. I feel slightly better today, but very tired. I am not really able to stand the heat outside yet.
Got the first statement from BCBS about the surgery consult with Dr Szomstein ($274)... says nothing was submitted about medical necessity, I guess I will have to call the office Monday to see where I stand.
Will go with Kathy to the wildlife refuge this afternoon to hear Dr Petuch talk about fossils... thank goodness the talk will be indoors!
Called the CC today, and was told the nurse would call and give me a surgery date! I need that before they can apply for BCBS approval.
Didn't make it to the Petuch talk, didn't feel too well yet.
Am definitely eating more now I am off Ritalin. :(
Still no date, a few minor problems with CC receiving my test data. I faxed the last one in today (EKG). Then, the nurse has to forward the forms to someone else, then I get a date, then my application for approval is sent in... a lot of thens, eh? I did ask when the soonest dates were available, she said July, I hope by Monday (or whenever my stuff is forwarded) it won't be August! If I have surgery in July I will still be recovering by the start of next school year, which might not be too good.
Had a slight fever again last night, don't know what it could be.
Unfortunately I have said hi again to some of the foods I thought I had given up: fries, meat, donuts, pizza, whole eggs. Next week I am almost certainly going for sushi with my friend, that will be a welcome back to another food... :(
I have a date! Friday, June 27! My dietary consult is April 21, so I will have plenty of time to do whatever they want me to do before June 27. Actually, they had me down for June 6 first (!) which would have been great, but I committed myself to teach the first summer session... I don't think I could (or would want to) find anyone to do the last 3 weeks of the 6 week session... now to start to prepare myself even more mentally!
Got into a near accident a few days ago... I ran up and over a curb hard to avoid being hit by another car. My back and neck are messed up, I hope they will get better soon!
Went down to the CC yesterday to ask a question and drop off another doctor's letter... result: nothing! The desk staff isn't very knowledgeable or helpful. No offer to accommodate me in any way... pretty disappointing, I hope the surgical staff is better trained! I am better off (slightly) doing all my business with them by phone.
Lots more eating, things are tense at work and home. Not sleeping well at all; ran out of Ambien, will get the prescription refilled tomorrow. I might hit 400 by surgery (God, I hope not!)! Tried a canned protein shake today, it almost made me throw up, very chemical taste. Also have had sushi, eggs, lots more. :(
Had my nutrition consult today... wasn't bad, learned quite a few things. Have gained 4 lbs since the original weigh-in (now 343) the nutritionist says 7 lbs is average gain between first meeting and surgery, what with all the "last suppers". They would like me to lose 2 lb a week until surgery, I might start the protein shakes early. They recommend no sugar Carnation Breakfast in 8 oz milk plus 1/2 cup eggbeaters, for a total of 24g protein.
We visited with a fellow who had his surgery 3 months ago, that was very good. Put some of our fears to rest (not all of them!). He gave us several good recommendations, too.
Pretty tired, am not sleeping too well. Picked up another prescription for Ambien today, that seems to help but can't be used every night or it will lose its effectiveness.
One thing I forgot to say yesterday... Emily (the nutritionist) told me they sometimes don't get insurance approval until the day of surgery!!! That would be a REAL drag, to be prepped and find out you had been denied, sort of like a reverse reprieve.
Just sent another, full body picture in... 345 pounds, needed a telephoto lens... ;)
Well, 2 months to lift off! The sooner the better, I am getting fed up with the way I am... I have lots of things I want to do, and I need my life back to do them! My youngest son went to his first prom last night, it reminded me of how many firsts are still in my future: first son to graduate from college, first daughter-in-law, first grandkid... and many more. I want to travel after I retire, and now I can hardly travel from the couch to the bed! My yard now looks like a jungle, only 10 years ago I landscaped a yard by myself...
My back has never been worse, but as one of my WLS friends reminded me, things are looking up! The school year is about done, I am going to get my oldest son at college this weekend. My wife wants to spruce up the house a little, which will be great... I just can't help her too much right now. By August I will be back in the saddle again!
:( Just heard I was scheduled for surgery during my doctor's vacation... I hope there is better communication between him and the surgical team than there is between him and the front office. Since they are unwilling to let a nurse do my surgery ;) I have been moved back to July 11. Any further and I am going to run smack up against the start of the next school year, not a pretty prospect... the other thing is that I am steadily gaining weight, the Ritalin, which I have stopped, evidently was working against the weight gain. I have been eating all the foods I gave up at the beginning...
I go on Friday to pick up Tim at Gainesville (UF), that will be a nice trip... unfortunately I won't be able to help him move any of his stuff, my back is so sore it glows in the dark. (We need to keep our sense of humor, we need to keep our sense of humor, we need to keep our sense of humor, we need to keep our sense of humor, we need...)
Back from Gainesville, seeing Tim and going out to dinner with him and his roommate was great, the traveling part is pretty rough for me these days... I can't sleep in motel rooms, and I managed to pick one that hasn't been improved since the 50's! At this point I can only sleep kind of braced into my couch; anywhere else I just can't do it. Probably slept 3 hours Friday night. Tim lives on the 3rd floor of an apt building, and I could only make it up there 2 times (once Friday and once Saturday). And of course, I am well past being able to help him move any of his stuff... it is great to have him home, though, and well worth the trip. We went shopping/looking yesterday at computer stuff, it is fun.
On the good news front, I have been mostly pain free today, no headache and not much back pain. A rarity! Went up to school and got a little caught up on some things.
Back to the pain BS... I hope my back will be much better after I have removed that which is pulling on it! Perhaps my PCP can put me back on Ultram, the Aleve isn't quite getting it (Aleve plus ibroprofen isn't much better). Tim went back to Gainesville for business, will be back tonight. Eric is going to Jazz on the Avenue, Kathy's at work, so it's just me and my new flounder recipe!
Speaking of floundering, last night at the store I asked the fish guy to wrap up 2 pounds of shrimp for me then proceeded to walk out of the store... my son, who works there, ran out and said why did I leave my shrimp? I had totally forgotten them. Then I went home and took out the garbage to the street... unfortunately it was Wednesday and the garbage goes out Thursday. So, I don't know where I am or what day it is; great, don't you think?
Hmmm, got a call from Anita at CC... the psych letter from Dr. Rutstein was not in enough detail, evidently. I had not sent in Dr. Warner's letter, so offered to fax it. Anita said she would call me if more was needed. It is good they are working on this early, although of course the fact is that my first application was denied pending further information. I am guessing I will have to get a more comprehensive letter from someone, maybe the doctor at CC, which will, of course, cost more.
But, Anita seemed upbeat, or maybe that's just my spin on it...
Spent time in the pool this evening, it seems to take the pressure off my hips and back for a while. Still get out of breath walking (and sometimes while laying in bed with my CPAP on, what's that all about???).
On a good note, I beat my 17 year old in a game of PIG (no pun intended) today... I can't get any rebounds, but will, starting in September I hope!
Called Anita at CC about the other letter (Dr. Warner) I faxed in last week. She said the guy from BCBS called the letters "insignificant", and said a much more detailed letter was necessary (social and family history, treatment description, evaluation of my ability to make lifestyle changes- why wasn't I told that before, I am sure Drs. Warner and Rutstein could have provided it). The ironic thing is that no one who is morbidly obese would be in that condition if they could make lifestyle changes... I have tried 25 times! It makes me angry.
Here we go again... I am planning to start the Instant Breakfast/egg substitute presurgery diet recommended by the CC tomorrow... it may be necessary if BCBS denys me the surgery. I am not confident of my ability to lose, and I am having a bad feeling about being denied the first time around by BCBS; I read a few horror stories yesterday about the Florida branch. The policy says WLS is covered if it is medically necessary, but it appears to be a capricious process, and dependent on who your BCBS evaluator is. I have an appointment with Dr. Rutstein tomorrow, I will ask him to do a more extensive letter for me. I have a feeling I will have to go to the CC psychologist, though, because that person probably knows exactly what needs to be in the report to get approval.
I have an appointment next Tuesday with Lisa Stewart, who does psych evaluations for the Cleveland Clinic... she says her typical letter is 3-4 pages, and that she has never had a patient denied because of one of her letters... so, I am optimistic! Her office is even right across the street from where I work (the Cleveland Clinic is about an hour's drive south). I have been trying to take one of my daily meals as a protein shake deal... and cutting back a little on carbs the rest of the time. Still having a real hard time sleeping... lots of hip and back pain.
Met with Dr. Stewart yesterday... she is a psych evaluator working for the CC. She is a very personable and thorough doctor, and was very reassuring about the results of my interview. Should be ready in about a week, then we'll see what BCBS does with it! Less than 2 months to go now, the days are sliding by...
Sleeping a little better, got my Ambien prescription refilled.
Eating everything in sight! This can't be good...
Holiday weekend... oldest son is driving back to UF to visit friends staying over the summer. I guess we will try to clean up the yard a little, lots of rain fell last night.
Rainy Memorial Day, no yard work today...
WOO HOO! Here we go, I was approved today! So, it really isn't all a dream... Oddly enough, Anita (authorization person at CC) didn't know if Lisa Stewart's letter had come in, maybe BCBS just changed their minds...
I had started to try to figure out what I'd do if I was denied. Lots of thoughts coming and going today... can't quite sort them out yet. Maybe it's time to start to get scared! At least I won't have to lose any more sleep about NOT having the surgery!
They called yesterday to try to move my surgery up to June 18, but I can't :( because I have to finish teaching my summer school class June 24. Maybe I'll just dismiss them for the rest of the class ;) ! I might get an earlier date than 7/11 if someone cancels...
Went to a Marlins game last night with Tim and Eric, those seats are LOTS smaller than I remember, even smaller than airline seats. Was enough to almost cripple me after over 3 hours crunched up in one (and to make it worse, the Marlins lost!). Pulled weeds one day this weekend, though, that wasn't too bad... (they were getting high enough that I didn't have to bend over much!!)
A good sign, maybe: Tim and I went to get a wireless router so we can network the computers without all the wire strung everywhere... two days ago it wouldn't work for either of us no matter what we tried... and yesterday it started working by itself! Ever heard of a computer peripheral fixing itself??? Mine usually go the other way, crapping out without any human involvement...
Coming up on 1 month to go! Hard to believe, it seems like a dream sometimes... it will get real when I have to start on the liquid diet, I think! If I was smart I'd start now in case they can move my date up. Seldom been accused of being smart though...
I am preparing pretty heavily (no pun intended!) for the large amount of napping I will have to do while recovering. In fact, I feel a big nap coming on right now!
One month to go! I think I'd better start reviewing the materials I have, I am vague on some things I knew well several months ago... I am expecting more info from the doctor's office as well soon.
Father's Day tomorrow...
Almost 3 weeks to go, it is getting more real to me... I am started to worry that the CC might forget to contact me with pertinent info, so I emailed them... I know what I am supposed to eat starting a week from tomorrow, I am just not sure about the scedule for the remaining pre-op tests I will need.
Just have an exam to give tomorrow then grades, then I will pretty much be off until the fall semester starts the last week of August... 6 weeks of vacation, with that little matter of major surgery in the middle... ;)
Three weeks and counting... and 100 exams to grade!
Just got an angry email from one of the people I have been corresponding with through Obesityhelp... she was mad because I had not emailed her to see how her surgery had gone, and basically told me to shove it. The last I heard from her was in May, and she had not gotten a date yet. My plan is to tell everyone on my email list as each step is completed... and let them respond if they want. Life is too short to get angry! To all my friends reading this: the rest of the world won't, so let's all cut each other some slack, please!
Wrote a note to my "WLS family" today apologizing for any future venting I may do... please don't flame me too much for it!
Also wrote my brothers today to tell them... I seem to remember mentioning I was considering this, but I am pretty sure I didn't tell them for sure. Guys, if you read this, I am sorry I waited so long, I think it is part of my accepting this was going to happen...
I have managed to have only 2 protein shakes and a granola bar today so far... my stomach thinks it needs much more! I am not sure I can succeed starting this early on the protein, but if I can do at least 2 meals a day of it until next Thursday maybe the total transition will be easier...
Kathy has started to look into the surgery more, which makes me very happy!
I need to check with the CC tomorrow, I am supposed to have a consult with Dr Szomstein 7-10 days before surgery, and I haven't heard a thing from them. Also, I haven't had my H pylori test yet, and am concerned about several insurance issues. I reviewed my CC info packet, but it doesn't say too much about the final 2-3 weeks before surgery, as to any blood work, etc I may need. My schedule is fairly open from tomorrow until the 11th, and anything I have can be moved easily. I hope to work at the Little League Tournament next weekend...
The boys got back from Gainesville, where they were visiting Tim's roommate from college.
Also, I read a very sad profile tonight from Tina R, a FL WLS patient who has had about the worst experience I have heard of... I emailed her, I hope we can correspond. I probably can't help her except by listening, but maybe that will help a little... she said in her profile the stories of those who have lots of problems are sometimes swallowed up by the ones from those for whom the whole thing is a breeze. Of course all of us want everything to turn out perfectly, but we are missing a chance to help if we don't respond to those who need it.
Oops! Here I am thinking I am "up" on what I need to know about the operation and procedures when the smart one of the house (not me!!!) says "you better call them!" What I found out has made this a long, tiring day...
I was rereading the booklet they gave me at CC months ago when I found I would have an appointment with Dr. Szomstein 7-10 days before surgery. Since I haven't heard a thing from them, I called. It turns out I need 1. an appointment with the anesthetist, 2. an appointment with Dr. Szomstein, 3. "medical clearance" for surgery, and 4. the H Pylori test (at least!). AND, it was my responsibility to set all these up! (never mind that the materials I have don't say anything about 1 and 3, and don't say I have to set up 2 and 4...).
I did all the tests required by the "scrip" the CC gave me for insurance approval... and thought I would be told when I needed something more. I was called and told I was approved by my insurance, so thought WOOHOO! and that everything was moving along as it should. I guess if I hadn't called I would have gone down there on July 11 only to be asked who I was!
As I am thinking about it now, I don't think I have had the H Pylori test, it might have been too early for it in March... today the lady I talked to at CC said I should have been given dates for some of the needed items when I was given a surgery date... my date was moved a few times, and in the melee I wasn't advised.
The office does not have results from any blood work from Dr. Ginsberg, so I don't know if the pylori test was part of it. And even more amazing, the CC lady said she couldn't tell me which blood tests were requested, I'd have to get that from Dr. Ginsberg! Dr. Ginsberg has moved to another practice, and I haven't even seen the PCP I will be using now. All the scrips I was given were made by a rubber stamp, you would think the CC point person on the phone could tell you what was required!
I now have an anethetist appointment and one to see Dr. Szomstein this Thursday, and an appointment to get medical clearance (with a CC doctor) for Monday 6/30, after which I will go to a support group meeting (I might need support, AND a stiff drink, by that time!)... I am going to Ginsberg's old office tomorrow morning to get copies of all the test results from her for February to now, and will hand carry them to the CC if need be.
I am a passive person, not really much of a self advocate... if not for my wife I think I might have missed this next date, thank you, Kathy!
PS A good omen, I think: On the way back from the mall, my wife and sons spotted a little monk parrot sitting in the road... they stopped, and it let them catch it... we lost our other bird, Squeek, several weeks ago. I think this one might have to be named Squawk! He is sitting in Squeek's cage and checking us out...
I am wasted! But I think I may be all set up now... Thursday I see the anesthesiologist and Dr Szomsteim in the morning, and get my blood tests in the afternoon. Then Monday I go down again to be medically cleared for surgery and then I will attend a support group meeting at 6pm. I am more relaxed, I think, now that I feel everything is falling into place.
The new parrot my wife and sons found seems to be enjoying himself. We took him to the bird vet and found out he was 8-10 weeks old, and needs to be hand fed. Kathy is the only one who can do it!
Two more days to the liquid protein diet... I hope I can stick to it!
Last day on solid food before the surgery... tomorrow it's protein shakes and lots of water! Went to Brewzzi's for dinner and had their famous meatloaf... 3/4 is in the fridge now, someone else will have to finish it!
Had my appt with the anesthesiologist today, he said it will be a routine surgery... also was to meet with Dr Szomstein, but he was tied up in surgery so I met with another doctor who is a fellow at the CC. He was very nice (I had seen him the other time as well)... and will be returning to California tomorrow to start his own WLS practice.
Also had the remaining tests done: H pylori, other blood and urine tests, and picked up copies of my psych and insurance approval letters (met Anita, the insurance lady, she is nice!)... as a plus, the lady who took my blood is a Simpson's fan! So now, only my "medical clearance" appt on Monday and I am good to go!
Spending time at the clinic is reassuring because everyone is so matter-of-fact about the surgery, they do so many (3 a day for Dr S). I will go in at 6am on 7/11, but I don't know where in the "holding pattern" I will be, probably 1st or 2nd.
I joined the Yahoo group for Drs Rosenthal and Szomstein, and have already met some really great people! Some of the personal websites they put together are fantastic! They even offered to have the "WLS angels" visit me after my surgery and of course I said yes! You will never find a friendlier bunch than WLS patients, we are all so grateful we have been given a second chance!
I managed to stick to the 3 protein shake (actually sugarfree Instant Breakfast, 8 oz of skim milk and 1/2 cup of egg substitute) regimen today... it is not easy, I had to have a cup of warm chicken broth too to tide me over (and I blew it by having a low-carb beer, at least it is a clear liquid!!!)...
I am really a wimp! Only two days of protein shakes and I am mourning the loss of food already... that's how I got here! I am not so much hungry as I am wishing I could eat something I like (or could chew!)... I am going to stick it out, though! It will make the surgery so much easier if I drop 10 pounds or so...
I, and all other, WLS people got some sad news today... Pete Herida, "Big Pete", one of the most amazing WLS patients ever, passed away earlier this week from a non-WLS related condition. I remember the first time I went to his website:
I was stunned at what he had done, going from over 800 pounds to under 250! He was a crusader for WLS, appearing on Oprah and making a WLS video. I am so sorry he is gone, and I feel for his family... I am happy he did get to fulfill many of his wishes, and we can thank God for that. I am sure he would tell all of us to keep plugging... he is a hero!
Still having fair success staying on the sugarfree Instant Breakfast regimen. My scale says I have lost 9 pounds so far, but it isn't easy! I kept score at a Little League tournament game this afternoon, and had the smell of french fries, hot dogs and hamburgers to contend with! I did make a mistake later and have a frappacino while I was reading a book at Barnes and Noble... all that sugar really affected me, I don't know what I was thinking!
I guess I am looking forward to the time when I can have some chewable food again (and that won't be until at least 3 weeks after surgery!!!).
PS Thank God for chicken broth! It is a lifesaver when I am hungry!
This protein shake deal is tough! I cheated yesterday with some cheese and peanut butter, I just couldn't stand it! I am down 13 pounds as of this morning, probably all water weight like usual on the first few days of a diet. Also bought some veggie broth, it is good, too. I don't seem to be able to be satisfied with a big drink of water, iced tea or crystal lite; they say "drink lots of water before you eat, it will fill you up", but that just makes my stomach growl more! I am praying that the hunger will indeed leave me for a long time after surgery...
Today I travel to the CC for an appointment to get medical clearance for surgery... I hope it won't be a problem. I really don't have a PCP right now because Dr Ginsberg left the practice and I don't have an appointment to see Dr Altman until September.
Got medical clearance today from Dr Galindo at the CC, she is very nice... also went to a scary support group meeting after... Dr Fernandez (I think that is his name, sorry if it's wrong!) did a talk about blood clots with some very graphic pictures... definitely made me want to make sure I walk a lot after surgery! Maybe my constant, annoying, leg shaking has helped me all these years!
There were also some very heartfelt testimonials at the support group, and it is to Dr Rosenthal's credit that he encouraged those with tough recovery stories to tell theirs as well as the easy ones. They all said they didn't regret having it done, and I won't either!
Happy 4th of July to everyone! I haven't written in several days, just haven't felt "up" enough. Time to whine some more: this protein shake diet is really making me feel sorry for myself and having to give up all my favorite (and bad for me) foods. I may get to be sick of chocolate (the shake flavor) after this... it isn't satisfying, or should I say I am still often ravenous for what everyone else is eating. As I said before, I hope it is true about the hunger going away, it would be torture to be this hungry and only be able to eat 2 bites!
I am low on energy, spending a lot of time sleeping...
One week to go!
Feeling a lot better today so far... my back has settled down quite a bit. Added the calories up in the shakes, they are 210 each, so 630 per day is the total for 3, no wonder you get hungry! I am tempted to change some of my earlier posts, but I want to be honest about my state of mind going through this. Managed to get some chicken wings for my family yesterday without eating one, I had a little piece today to taste it... just a taste of something different helps!
We have 2 baby Quaker parrots we found on the ground in the past 2 weeks... they don't make it if they can't fly when they fall out of the nest. Anyway, Kathy is hand-feeding them and we checked them out at the vet... they are very cool (but noisy)!
Four more days and a wake up, as they say! Played my last Sunday church job for at least 3 weeks, maybe 4... For some reason (I am not complaining!) I am more "up" today... I am sure it is all the family members and friends who have weighed in (excuse the pun) with their support for me and my decision. It also helps to hear encouragement from people who are very newly post-op, their comments about their experience help me to prepare.
Several friends and WLS "Angels" will be visiting me in the hospital, that will be very nice!
Tomorrow I have to call and make sure all the preregistration details are in place, wouldn't want to get there Friday and have them ask me who I was!
For those having trouble with the shake diet: make sure you drink a lot of water... it seems to make me less hungry, and I feel better. Kathy, my wife, pointed this out to me... she is very good at keeping me going in the right direction, even if I don't want to!
Feeling calmer still, God is stepping into my corner! Saw Dr Warner, my psychiatrist, and we agreed I would be able to make our next meeting July 18, one week after surgery, and I plan to! Having slightly better luck being strict with the preop diet... today I only licked a spoon that had chili on it... I know, I am stooping low but someone has to lower the bar! That broth tastes darn good at times...
Here's a big recommendation for animal lovers: a beautiful film called "Winged Migration". We are big bird lovers in our house, and this film is almost miraculous in how it gets you to feel you are in the flock of birds flying... many kinds of birds in many types of situations they encounter during migration.
Oh yeah, I am preregistered for Friday, and I am the first surgery of the day! Woohoo, I told them maybe I could catch a movie that night... :O Kathy will have it tough, she has to drive back and forth to hand feed our youngest parrot...
Thanks again to all who have emailed and have read my profile, I hope my scratchings can help someone...
One more day and a wakeup! Having good luck now with the shakes, not really so hungry. Tomorrow is just clear liquids, and for variety a dose of Milk of Magnesia! Getting my hospital "stuff" together: slippers, clothes, tongs, wet wipes, books, fan, paper and pen, etc etc etc. We have to leave for the clinic at 4:45AM tomorrow night, to get there by 6AM.
I find myself thinking more and more about the time after surgery, what I will feel like, how I will get back to doing fun things again. I think that is because I am more comfortable with the idea of the surgery...
Clear liquid day, thank goodness for Crystal Lite... down to 322 this morning, hope Dr Szomstein appreciates me getting some of that fat out of his way... ;)
Feeling really good about this, thanks so much to all the pre- and post-op people who have contacted me with encouragement and reassurance. Thanks to my family and friends, too, they are all behind me!
I will try to post later before we take off for the hospital... and I think Kathy and/or the boys will post later after the surgery, either here or on my surgery page...
7/11/3 4:33AM :O
Here we go! Leaving for the hospital in about 10 minutes... a little anxious, but glad the wait is almost over. Thanks again to everyone! I will see you all on the losing side!
Now I know why there are so many profiles with big skips after surgery! I haven't felt like going to the computer at all until today, to answer some emails, and am fading fast right now! I am quite weak still, either my recovery is a little slower than some or I am a wimp! I am walking 40 minutes a day and drinking 60-70 oz of clear fluids. Everything tastes and smells BAD, I guess because of the anesthesia... and I have been told that passes.
I am writing a LONG essay about my hospital stay, the good, the bad and the ugly... and I think rather than putting it here and taking up space I will just say that if anyone is interested they can email me and I will gladly send it...
308.5 this morning... My wife and oldest son went and got me a nice GE small food processor today, I can use it starting next Friday! I have corrected the booboos in my last posting... my mind is still anesthetized I guess, I have trouble remembering names and terms, and am stuttering a little bit occasionally. I have been told this also passes...
I have tried tastes of several things (cheese, peanut butter, creole sauce, what an odd mixture, huh?) and they all taste strong and quite weird.
Went in this morning to get my stitches and staples out... took an oxycontin the doctor had given me and it went pretty well. I weighed 300.4 on their scale!!! Dr S was very encouraged by my water intake and my walking, both of which I will continue. Then, Michele, Emily's assistant, came in and asked some nutrition questions. She gave me the go ahead for Phase III, chewable protein foods! My wife has the good idea of only trying one at a time, so I had a scrambled eggbeater at one meal and some white tuna at another. Both went down well, so I will keep experimenting. I bought lots of fish, chicken and veggie stuff, plus cottage cheese and low fat cheese.
I have been trying various foods, and have had good luck with most (tuna, ground chicken, eggs, no fat cheese, beans). My favorite so far: black beans with a little ground chicken and a tsp of lite sour cream! Sort of like Mexican food... I have been able to eat as much as 5oz at a meal, but I discovered that might be because I sort of slouch in my chair while I eat. I am still having the heaves occasionally to get rid of gas in my stomach, but that is receding a bit. I am also having a protein shake between meals to make sure my protein level is up. Yesterday I had 61 grams of protein.
I have started to walk Phred (my pooch) outside twice a day, and he loves it! Too hot in the middle of the day, though.
Today for some reason I am getting faint when I stand up... perhaps my blood pressure is dropping a little?
Had an Atkins buckwheat pancake and some no sugar/calories/carbs syrup for dinner... not too bad. The black beans still get the nod!
Quite tired today, I am lethargic. I did drop below 300, though! I think it will be quite a while before I break 200... ;)
The faintness has abated a bit. Having a bit of trouble with my CPAP machine, for some reason I am letting my mouth open when I sleep, and my whole mouth and throat gets dry and rough. So, I wake up every 1/2 hour or so... maybe that is contributing to my lack of energy.
Tomorrow, if I feel like it, I will probably visit some of the musicians I usually perform with at the church. Between services (we play 2) we go to a local bagel place for breakfast... unfortunately, the benches are very close (for a big person) to the tables. I will know I have gotten somewhere when I can sit at a table without my stomach being compressed!
Oops! Ate some shrimp with no carb cocktail sauce, and up it came! Threw up three times before I started to feel better... I think maybe I didn't chew it enough, maybe, not sure.
Turned out the shrimp episode lasted quite a while. I have thrown up about 10 times , and am just starting to feel a little better now at 11pm, 5 hours after I ate the shrimp. I was worried for a while I had blocked my stomach opening, but now I doubt I did, or possibly it was but has opened up. Not a good feeling at all! I can finally drink water again without losing it, and hope I have learned something about my pouch! I guess I'l see what happens tomorrow.
Feeling lots better today. I am supposed to go back to clear liquids for a day, then shakes for another, after an episode of not tolerating a food; I didn't do that today, and have come out alright so far.
Went to the bagel place this morning for a while, talked to everyone. I had no desire to eat anything they were having (potatoes, bagels, bacon, eggs, etc) that I would normally crave... I am going to wait until the 4th Sunday in August before I return to playing at the church.
297.5 this morning...
Kathy and I went to 2 support groups tonight, one for only post-ops and the other for everyone. Very nice bunch of people, and I met a couple of people there I have been talking to online. There are some real powerful stories among WLS patients... but they all say they would do it again in a minute.
I am feeling normal for a couple of hours a day now, still need at least one nap, though. Tried a soy hotdog tonight, wasn't too bad at all.
Tried a 2X shirt and it fit (I have been at 3X for a long time)!
Went out to breakfast this morning with some good friends, but ate too fast I think, up came my eggs when I got home! It is hard to get all the protein when you don't keep it down... I think I will also start to find some foods work in cycles, that is, I will tolerate them one day, but not the next... it is amazing how little I want to eat after I have "filled up" on 2-4 oz of food, that lasts me for hours. Still have "head hunger", where I crave things (mostly carbs like bread, taco shells, potatoes, etc.)...
Tried a Healthy Choice hot dog today, it didn't really go down too well... I am not fond of the soy substitutes, though. I have a feeling I will amass a little list of foods I can eat, and just rotate them. So far I feel the best on cottage cheese, black beans and canned chicken... I also feel good drinking lots of water, and walking.
Bad luck with flounder today! I have a feeling it was the seasoning I used, rosemary and tarragon, two of my favorites before surgery... back to cottage cheese tomorrow! Warm green tea helps the tummy when things have been unsettled.
I hope to get outside in the next few days and do a little (translation: about 10 minutes!) yard work... and I hope to get to the mall to walk for a while tomorrow.
Went walking at the mall... I have to get into the "mall-walking" culture, I went the wrong way! It is like swimming upstream against the salmon. Lots of people walking, some talking, even more with walkmans (interesting since I collect the darn things!).
My eating capacity has settled down to 2-3oz total, just like they said it would. Some things I thought would be bothersome aren't (like salsa mixed into my cottage cheese), and others are (fake catchup, I am going to pour it down the drain!). I am enjoying green tea, it will probably replace coffee as my drink of choice. Finally gave up on sugarfree jello as a medium to take my (very bitter) ground up medicine, I just mix it in a little water and get it over with quick, then rinse my mouth out with more water. Having a little trouble getting all the protein in, may have to retain the shakes for a while longer. Down to 292, and the last hole on my belt!
Weight keeps dropping, which is good... ate beanie weenie yesterday, was hungry before bed and had some more. Probably didn't have enough protein by 10 grams or so. I still haven't had enough energy to work outside, it has been over 90 degrees the last week or more.
Tomorrow I have my first appointment with my new PCP, Dr Altman. I have heard she is not a real advocate of WLS, but it's too late now! I hope she will consider taking me off a pill or two, but she might not considering I am still 120 pounds overweight.
My first weight gain! Kathy thinks it might be because my new PCP took me off one of my meds that is partly a diuretic... we'll see! The scale in the doctor's office is even kinder than mine, it had me at 288 at my appointment yesterday. I had a shake for breakfast anyway just in case I'm not getting enough protein. Dr Altman is very personable, and she has a good nurse practitioner...they were very encouraging about everything. My BP was 122/80, and maybe next month I can stop another pill. I will always have to take something for my atrial fib, and also aspirin (I am now on 3 baby aspirins per day) and Prevacid to keep ulcers away (they can be caused by the aspirin, I guess it happens more often for WLS patients).
I am feeling more and more like doing things... I am doing little projects around the house (like straightening up a bookcase), but very slowly...
The weight gain didn't last too long... I am stretching out my eating time to 45 minutes or an hour, things stay down better.
Been on a plateau for a few days, I am trying to increase my protein (a shake with some added protein powder) to see if I can get going again... they all say plateaus are common, so I'll wait and see (it's not like I have any choice! :) ). Feeling better all the time, though, went to the gym and shot the basketball around with my kids last night. I almost decided to play a little 1 on 1 on 1 with them, but chickened out. My legs aren't into running! I can walk twice as fast as I can run, when I start to lift my legs to jog they feel like lead!
No eating problems for a few days, and I have been able to get around town and be outside more.
No news to speak of... a few more oopses with foods of various types. It is like Pavlov conditioning, a few bad experiences and you don't want to go back there. Eating is more just something I have to do, the choices (and my wants) are so limited at the moment. Went to a Marlins game (10-0 over the Padres!) and was lots more comfortable than the last time.
Monday we have an all day meeting, it will be interesting because I haven't succeeded yet eating outside the house...
Have thought my protein input a little low, so have had shakes each day for a couple to get the losing started again... we'll see if it works!
Back to work! I started work this week, and it is interesting... I am a teacher, so I don't really have a "lunch hour", or haven't had one, except for the occasional meal off campus. My students are used to being able to come into my office at any time all day when I am there. This is not going to work when I am eating, since I pretty much have to be by myself and not distracted for 45 minutes-1 hour to eat. So, I haven't eaten much in the daytime since I started back. I have been getting up 2 1/2 hours before work to get my breakfast, medicine and walking in before I go, and when classes start (next Monday) I'll probably have to get up even earlier. Today I didn't hear my alarm, so I drank a shake in the car for breakfast...
I am very tired when I get home, even though my job is mostly sedentary... I expect this will improve over time.
I am now looking through my closets digging up clothes from a few years ago. I have had to use an old belt, and I got to the last hole on this one today. I am feeling pretty good except for the tiredness, and I have been able to do more around the house, too.
I know there is curiosity as to what a WLS patient might eat in a day, so I'll give a little "menu" for today:
Breakfast: 1/4 cup eggbeaters, 1 slice veggie cheese, 1 TB lite sour cream, cooked into an omelet with PAM spray.
Lunch: 1 1/2oz Underwood Chicken Spread (sometimes I mix mustard and Miracle Whip Lite with it, it was a sandwich spread my mom used to make that I love!)
Dinner: 2oz Chicken of the Sea Sweet and Spicy tuna mixed with 1 oz 1% cottage cheese.
Wow, I didn't realize how exhausted work would make me... I am a recliner boy as soon as I can get to it when I get home. Not having much luck getting a proper lunch eaten, and I am drinking my breakfast on the way to school. I hope it will slow up next week, and that I'll be more with it! At least I am getting my H2O and my walking in. Tomorrow I will be registering Little Leaguers for the fall season, and then church on Sunday as usual. There is a hurricane heading our way (Fabian), but too far out to tell much yet.
Had a momentary lapse today... even after almost 2 months of baby bites and LOTS of chewing. I was at work, students in my office (I HAVE to get an "out to lunch" sign to hang on the door!), and I had some tuna in a dish to eat... between their questions I picked up a 1/2 forkful, chewed it about 4 times (my old way), and swallowed it. Within about 15 seconds I realized my mistake, it felt like my throat/stomach was stuck solid. I had to leave, I felt pretty awful, and fortunately on my way home it worked its way past the stoma, or this afternoon would have been MUCH worse!
I seem to have mini-plateaus about every 15-20 pounds, but the overall trend is still downward, thank God! I have found that I don't quite have as many "in between" clothes from the past as I thought; Kathy thinks I wore them out or gave them away. Since I don't want to buy anything I won't be able to wear very long I'll just have to look a little like a sad sack for a while... baggy pants are in style, but not for middle aged guys (!)... and I refuse to wear them "plumber style" like the kids, with my underwear and cleavage hanging out!
Stuck again! I have been eating a little bit of veggies (mushroom and onion in my omelets), maybe that is stopping the weight loss... I am feeling pretty good, no nap today.
Another common (but gross!) problem WLS patienbts have is constipation... we don't eat any fiber to speak of, and very little mass. I also like cheese, which is a good binder! I may look into several suggested remedies...
Also, my hips and back are pretty painful... I noticed especially last night in bed because I am out of sleeping medication (ambien). I am still hopeful this will improve.
Tim Jr. is home this weekend to attend the U Florida U of Miami game at the Orange Bowl tonight... UM (my doctoral alma mater) is favored, but UF may pull off an upset... Eric is going to a birthday party at CityPlace, an upscale street in West Palm Beach... I am not hip enough to go there... ;)
Went walking at Locotahathee tonight with Kathy and Eric... very nice, humid but cool. Lots of nice birds and turtles. Tim Jr. is probably back in Gainesville by now, the game (of which I watched only the first half, I have to get up early to play in church Sundays!) was a heartbreaker for UF: they were up 33-19 half way through the 3rd quarter and lost 38-33 (UM put up 25 unanswered points, for heaven's sake!).
I don't remember if I have put any of my insurance troubles down here yet... BCBS has denied my claim after approving the surgery before the fact. They say the codes submitted by the CC are not covered by my insurance. CC is working on recoding my claims, but has already sent two bills, the second with a slightly veiled threat of sending my account to a collection agency. I have been reassured by 2 CC adjusters in Atlanta, the home office, that everything will be OK, etc, etc, etc... and am in a holding pattern for at least another month or two.
100 to go! Went to see Dr. Altman today, we are going to try to eliminate the diazide (edema med), we'll see how it is after 3 weeks BP and swelling-wise.
Now, if Hurricane Isabel will just turn away all will be good!
Isabel is still pointed our way, but lots of time left for it to turn... meanwhile, I went to see Dr Szomstein, he told me I am in the 95th percentile for this point after surgery! My blood work either wasn't faxed to CC, or it was faxed and misfiled by the office help there (it would be the third time this happened to me). So, I will pick up the results by hand and fax them directly to Dr S... I will never figure out the disjunct between the quality of the nurses and doctors at the CC and the abysmal quality of the office staff...
Still stuck at 268, I guess patience is the best policy, that and lots of water and protein. I am now taking percoset 2x daily for my hips and back, that may be screwing up my metabolism... I know it really works as a constipater (as if I needed that!). :O
Finally budged below 268, we'll see if I keep going. Couldn't sleep past 6am today, and it's a Saturday! So, I am doing computer maintenance. Got some good news yesterday... BCBS paid $13,500 of a $15,000 bill submitted by the CC, maybe they are going to start paying at 90%. I am getting the runaround from Labcorp about my blood test results... they claim the results were faxed to Dr S, he never got them. They won't send them to me so I can give them to Dr S... they said it was illegal to do so. This is pure b******t, I have been given everything up to my X-rays to hand carry to doctors in the past.
Have been having some weird cramping in (I think) my pouch... a few days ago it was enough to keep me up at night. Seemed to be worse after drinking warm or cold beverages, and the percoset stops it for a while. Dr S thinks it is a muscle spasm, and I think he's right since it has steadily improved. I am a hypochondriac and self-diagnoser... any weird pain and I am ready to go in for a liver transplant or some such!
I think it is past time I thank Al Roker here... I read a few past posts of mine and I don't think I ever mentioned the TV show he did about his surgery. It was remarkable, and pulled no punches. In fact, he said so many things that I had said before, and in the same words! I shed quite a few tears watching his struggle about getting the surgery, and he is the reason I decided to go for it. Thanks, Al!
Just a note to all my friends and family, and maybe by extension to friends and family of other WLS patients... I really don't mind being around people who are eating! I can have my tea or coffee or water and be perfectly happy. Food I would have died for (and actually could have died from!) doesn't do much for me at all. I have cut my eating back to about 6-7 different things, and when I am done with my little bit I don't want ANYTHING else! Everyone doesn't have to be freaked out by the fact I am not eating (I still can't eat outside of my little ritual at home, and that is OK).
After much diddling around with Labcorp (one of the most poorly administered testing companies in my opinion; it only makes sense that my insurance specifies them... :< ) Dr S finally got my lab results... and they are great! My cholesterol is 163, triglycerides 100... my iron is low so I will start a supplement today (an elixir, as they say, it sounds like snake oil to me!).
I may be off my plateau, down to 261 today.
Still hanging around 261... oh well. Went to see Dr Altman, she seems happy with my progress, 124/80 for BP, and no more diazide for water retention. The iron supplement, mixed in water, tastes like that bad, chemical-ly water we used to get out west on the prairie, artesian water they call it.
We are going to Gainsville for Thanksgiving, should be an interesting trip. I have got to get used to sleeping on flat beds, and maybe without the CPAP. I go to see Chediak Thursday, maybe he will have good news for me.
Time for bed, already took the ambien!
Broke through 260 finally...
5:01am Can't sleep, so I'll write a little... had a delicious chocolate banana lo-lo carb/nonfat/no sugar yogurt from the local Atkins place... it seems to disagree with my digestion. I had to eat it in three installments and it caused a little distress each time. Why did I continue to eat it? It cleaned me out every time, like Philips M of M! (plus, as I said, it was delicious!)
Went to see Dr Chediak about the CPAP; I'll be using it for a while, at least until I get to 190. He wants to lower the pressure so my mouth doesn't get so dry, though.
Ordered more supplies for my redo of the back patio: concrete blocks, cement and rebar.
Was a good weekend for most Florida sports... the Hurricanes, Dolphins, Marlins and FAU all won their games. FAU is now 4-2, which is quite amazing. UF lost again unfortunately... we (including Tim, who is coming home for the weekend, but excluding Kathy, who has to work) are going to a Marlins playoff game Saturday night, assuming they beat Chicago at least once before that...
Also wanted to mention I am back to enjoying coffee... so far it doesn't seem to keep me awake (I am having a little bit of insomnia right now, but that is because my stomach is upset I think). I don't have the mocha with the sugary chocolate syrup like I used to, though.
Nice weekend, Tim came home and he, Eric and I went to see the Marlins last night... they did poorly, Dontrelle Willis had a very bad 1st inning. Other than that all the games this weekend were great, FAU is 5-2!
I went to an "On Our Own" meeting on Wednesday at a diner in Weston, everyone in the group is so nice! I wish it wasn't so far, though, I had to leave pretty early to get back and grade papers.
Borders has a sugarfree mocha, it is great! Plus, they had a "Teachers' Weekend" with 40% off for tea