- Username: LittleMissSunshine
- Member Since: 3/18/2011
- BMI: 43.1
- Surgery date scheduled
- Surgery Type: VSG (05/23/11)
- Surgeon: Joseph Chebli
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Surgeon TestimonialJoseph ChebliAfter reading through all 112 reviews of Dr. Chebli here on OH and finding very little in the way of negative comments, coupled with his being a multiple-year recipient of the Top Docs award, I decided to schedule an initial consult for the VSG (I almost got a LapBand from a different surgeon, but that's another story... check my blog if you're interested).
If I had to choose three words to describe Dr. Chebli, they would be direct, thorough and meticulous. I don't know about you, but those are qualities I would absolutely want in a surgeon!
There is no question whatsoever that Dr. Chebli is a Type A personality from the east coast. If you're a native west coaster, take that into consideration going in. It seems to me that people out here tend to be not as direct, so meeting someone who is when you're not used to it (I'm from Boston, so he made me feel right at home) can be surprising and may take you back a bit.
As another reviewer said, let him get through all the information he wants to make sure you have first and then ask your questions -- you'll probably find that by the time he's finished he's already answered 95% (or more) of what you were going to ask.
At your initial consult, he'll give you a binder that will walk you through everything you need to know and do in the weeks leading up to surgery... this will be your Bible both before and after surgery as it also lists all the post-op resources available in both the Seattle and Eastside areas (he works out of both Northwest and Evergreen hospitals). If you have any questions as you're following up on everything, don't hesitate to call his office... his staff is very knowledgeable and helpful.
During my pre-op appointment, not only did Dr. Chebli go through all the information I expected, he also described the operation in great detail, even explaining the most up-to-date techniques being used and why. While some of it went over my head (I could have stopped him and asked for clarification, but wanted to see what I could gather from context clues), I understood the majority and was impressed at his depth of knowledge and the attention he pays to what the leading VSG surgeons are doing to mitigate the risk of complications.
As I write this, I'm 10 days post-op and have had no problems whatsoever. Everything has been textbook without so much as a single run-in with nausea or vomiting. I even managed to make it through those first few days without worrying about getting my required amount of protein and fluids in -- a common concern to all post-ops -- thanks to his detailed discharge instructions. He truly leaves no stone unturned and while acknowledging that all surgeries carry risk, he makes you feel as though there will be no surprises that are within his grasp to control, that you'll know exactly what you need to do, when you need to do it.
It's also worth mentioning that I have heard from several nurses in the Seattle area here on the forums who've worked with Dr. Chebli and the one thing they all said about him was that he's an outstanding patient advocate. I definitely got that vibe while I was in the hospital... it became quite clear that the staff intended to make sure his instructions were followed to a T. It's hard to describe, but it's like when you go to a restaurant with someone who used to work there and still knows everyone... there's a certain degree of feeling like you're getting the white glove treatment. I don't know if it's that the hospital staff was so attentive out of respect, intimidation or a mixture of both, but it definitely translates into a great experience for Dr. Chebli's patients!
In summary, Dr. Chebli gets my highest recommendation... I can see why he wins the Top Docs award for bariatric surgery year after year. Don't hesitate to send me a private message if you want more information.
- Parenting - I try to follow positive discipline principles with our 5 yr old son.
- Movies - Harold & Maude, Little Miss Sunshine... love the thought-provokers.
- Music - Mostly rock, jambands, alternative, and folk/singer/songwriter
- Politics - Kennedy-loving Massachusetts liberal and proud of it!
- Counterculture - "Taking Woodstock" will be part of our son's cultural education.
- Baseball - Only the Red Sox, especially during the play offs.
- Road Trips - As soon as our son is old enough, we will take a summer vacation on Phish tour!
- Computer and Internet Surfing - Blogs, forums, facebook, twitter... total social media geek.
- Paranormal Research and Investigations - Always been enamored with ghost stories.
- Atheism/Agnostic - Raised Catholic, developed critical thinking skills, now it's the DIY approach.
"Inspiration, Move Me Brightly..." on July 22, 2011 10:59 pm
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We all have our own reasons for having arrived at the point of considering (and going through with) having WLS: watching a parent or other loved one struggle and ultimately succumb to health problems from obesity, wanting to be a better partner to our spouse, a better parent to our children or just simply being fed up with a stunted life that we know
can be better.
While some may turn to therapy or perhaps their faith when they run across difficult or challenging periods in their lives, I turn to music. You may walk out of a psychologist's office or a Sunday morning mass feeling refreshed and encouraged, that's how I feel when I walk out of a live show. I've been inspired, reassured and moved to tears by music far more than I ever was in the eight years of formal religious training and sacrament preparation that was shoved down my throat as a kid (yes, I'm a bitter, disillusioned ex-Catholic).
When I set out to put a playlist together, my first priority is getting the cadence progression right
, but there is a secondary consideration when I'm choosing songs. It's not something I shoot for with every song, but I do try to incorporate a few songs that "speak to me"... if you know what I mean.
Here's a quick run-down of some of the songs in my current playlist rotation that elicit an emotional response from me... sometimes motivating, sometimes reflective, but always something that helps strengthen my resolve with every listen:
Magic by Olivia Newton-John
(speed: 1.8). Yes, it's cheesy 80s and Xanadu is by no means tops on my list of favorite movies, but if you think about the song being sung to you by the slimmer, healthier you that's been waiting for their turn to shine, it works.
Safe and Sound by Sheryl Crow
(speed: 2.2). This one makes me think of my mom... she passed away 2 years ago at age 72 following cancer, a stroke, a heart attack and cancer again. She was morbidly obese for as long as I can remember.
Ordinary World by Duran Duran
(speed: 2.3). Although this one is pretty obviously about learning how to pick the pieces after a break up, I'm able to repurpose it for my own needs..."But I won't cry for yesterday, there's an ordinary world somehow I have to find... and as I try to make my way to the ordinary world, I will learn to survive".
The Cave by Mumford & Sons
(speed: 2.3). I don't know what the original inspiration for this song was, but I have to think it was some sort of self-defeating, life-limiting affliction because the metaphors certainly lend themselves well to thinking of it in terms of battling obesity... for me, "the cave" = surgery.
Run by Snow Patrol
(speed: 2.5). Another one that reminds me of my mom, especially now that she's gone: "Light up, light up... as if you have a choice... even if you can not hear my voice, I'll be right beside you, dear".
In the Waiting Line by Zero 7
(speed: 2.6). Not so much the lyrics with this one, but the groove... I'm totally going to seduce my husband with this song playing in the background as soon as I feel confident enough to rock some lingerie ;}.
The Resolution by Jack's Mannequin
(speed: 3.2). Another post-break up song, but it works for battling your demons too.
I'm sure there are more songs like this in my collection, these are just the ones that fit into the cadence I'm working with right now, so I thought I'd share.
So... what songs get you going?
(Oh, and if you didn't recognize it... the post title is a nod to lyrics in Terrapin Station by the Grateful Dead
Playlists for Non-Exercisers on July 18, 2011 5:17 pm
So in my last post
, I mentioned how I'm a little psycho when it comes to playlists:
I'm a big fan of working out to music, so much so that I actually create playlists with songs that I've assigned elliptical speed values to so that it starts with slower songs for the warm-up and cool down phases and progresses to more upbeat songs for the actual "level 7" phase.
Maybe it's just the Libra in me, but it just breaks my brain when my stride cadence isn't in sync with whatever song my Zune decided to pull out of the shuffle crapshoot. This isn't a new thing, mind you... I first came up with this little system to "mitigate the risk" (pardon the corporate speak, but it fits) of this happening around 10 years ago when I was using a portable disc player. Man, was that labor intensive compared to now with MP3s... but I digress.
Point being, I was going to pop on here with a post about peppering your playlists with songs that inspire and motivate you and make some suggestions of my own (that'll be another post), but then it ocurred to me that it might be more helpful to outline the afore-mentioned cadence-to-music syncing thing as a follow up to my last post. Not only does going through this playlist process align your movements to the music, it's also a great way to get a sense for the different levels of exertion so you can associate a song with that level 7 or 8 you're striving toward.
Where my last post showed you what to look for when exercising, this one tells you how to apply it to create a personalized work out that works for you (pun intended).
So, if you're interested, here's how it's done
1.) Open your music software and create a new playlist (if you're old school, proceed to step 5 and in addition to pen and paper, take your portable CD player and a stack of discs with you).
2.) Add whatever songs you want, but try to do a mix of slow, medium and fast songs -- the order doesn't matter... yet.
3.) Keep an eye on how much time your playlist covers, cater it to meet your typical workout duration or a bit longer if you want to be able to skip a song or two here and there.
4.) Sync this new playlist to your player.
5.) The next time you're on the elliptical (you can walk with your new playlist later, you need to assign a speed value first), bring a pen and pad of paper with you.
6.) Play this new playlist in sequential order -- turn off shuffle.
7.) Find the beat and move to it... when you've got a consistent rhythm going, notice your speed value: mph, strides per minute, whatever (NOTE: songs that seem super fast can also be slow if you skip a beat between strides).
8.) Write that speed value down and either finish out the song if it's comfortable, or move on to the next one.
9.) Lather, rinse repeat... write down values for each of the songs on your playlist.
10.) After your workout, go back to the playlist as it appears in your software... right click on the song title and choose "Rename"
11.) Edit each song so the speed value appears before the title, e.g. 2.2 - Cornflake Girl.
12.) Manually re-arrange the songs with the lowest value first, building up to the highest value and then one or two low value songs at the end (cool down).
13.) Re-sync this playlist with your player with the newly revamped song order.
You now have a customized work out that will help you determine where your level 7 and 8 cadences are. After you've done this work out once, you should know which songs you could maintain the speed of comfortably on and which ones were above your ability. If you have too many that are too fast, restart this whole process with slower songs and create a new playlist that's more your speed.
Over time as you "audition" more and more songs, you'll have a wider variety of speeds to choose from and you'll be better able to cater your workouts to meet your (hopefully!) evolving need to be challenged.
If you try this and come up with a playlist you love, be sure to come back and post it so anyone else reading can try it out!
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Workout Tips for Non-Exercisers on July 12, 2011 10:35 pm
If you fall into the category of people who, like myself, never played a sport, never saw gym class as anything but pure torture and struggled to figure out how anyone could sustain any cardio activity for more than 5-10 minutes, this post is for you.
Step One: Evaluate Your Options
Walking is the go-to exercise for most morbidly (or super morbidly) obese people, presumably because it's easy and everyone knows how to do it. While that may be the case, sometimes the path of least resistance doesn't necessarily equate to best the best thing for you... or your joints. If you find that walking is leaving you with achey hips, knees and ankles, you might want to consider trying something different to start out with until you can drop enough weight so that walking isn't so taxing on your body.
I've been a fan of the elliptical trainer since they first arrived on the gym circuit scene back in the 90s... my personal preference is the Precor EFX (the old school style with stationary handgrips). Although it's not no impact like swimming or water aerobics, it is low impact and easy to learn, so if you haven't used one before, there's no time like the present! You move the foot pedals as though you're cross-country skiing and adjust the incline and resistance to suit your workout needs, which brings us to...
Step Two: Excercise "in the Zone"
This is where I should probably point out that whole thing about don't start any exercise program without your doctor's consent, because if you follow the advice I'm about to give here and drop dead of a heart attack, I don't want your family coming after me. So there, you've been warned.
One of the biggest challenges I faced when figuring out how this whole exercise thing worked was learning how to recognize when I was "in the zone". Having had no formal exercise background to draw from, I resorted to research to help me figure it out. Eventually I ran across a book Oprah wrote with her personal trainer, Bob Greene called "Make the Connection".. In a chapter where he discusses exercising at the right level of intensity, he offers this super handy guidance:
Picture a scale from 0 to 10, what follows are descriptions of how you should be feeling at each level.
0. This is how you feel when at rest. There is no feeling of fatigue, your breath is not at all elevated. You will not experience this at all during exercise.
1. This is how you feel working at your desk or reading. There is no feeling of fatigue, you breathing is not elevated.
2. This is how you might feel while getting dressed. There is little or no feeling of fatigue, your breathing is not elevated. You will rarely experience this low level while exercising.
3. This is how you'd feel walking across the room to turn on the television. There is little feeling of fatigue, you might be slightly aware of your breathing, but it's slow and natural. You might experience this right at the beginning of an exercise session.
4. This is the feeling you'd get while slowly walking outside. There is a very slight feeling of fatigue, your breathing is slightly elevated, but comfortable. You should experience this level during the initial stages of your warm-up.
5. This is the feeling you might get while walking briskly to the store. There is a slight feeling of fatigue, you are aware of your breathing and it's deeper than in level 4. You should experience this level near the end of your warm-up.
6. This is the feeling you might get when you're walking somewhere and are very late. There is a general feeling of fatigue, but you know that you can maintain this level. Your breathing is somewhat deep and you are aware of it. you should experience this level in the transition from your warm-up to your exercise session and during the initial phase of learning how to work at level seven or eight.
7. This is the feeling you get when you're exercising vigorously. There is a definite feeling of fatigue, but you are quite sure you can maintain this level for the rest of your session. Your breathing is deep and you're definitely aware of it. You can carry on a conversation, but you would probably prefer not to. This is the baseline level of exercise that you will maintain in your sessions.
8. This is the feeling you might get when you are exercising very vigorously. There is a very definite feeling of fatigue, and if you asked yourself if you could continue for the remainder of your session, you think you could, but are not 100% sure. Your breathing is very deep, you can still carry on a conversation, but you don't feel like it. This becomes the feeling you should experieince only after you are comfortable reaching a level seven and are ready for a more intense workout. This is the level that produces rapid results, but you must learn how to maintain it. Exercising at this level is difficult for many people.
9. This is how you would feel when exercising very, very vigorously. You would experience a very definite feeling of fatigue and if you asked yourself if you could continue for the remainder of your session, you rpobably could not. Your breathing is very labored and it would be very difficult to carry on a conversation. This is a feeling you may experience for shor periods when trying to achieve a level 8. This is a level that many athletes train at and it is difficult for them. You should not be experiencing a level 9 on a routine basis and should slow down when you do.
10. You should not experience a level 10. This is the feeling you would experieince with all-out exercise. This level cannot be maintained for very long and there is no benefit in reaching it.
Bob recommends doing a minimum of 20 minutes in level 7 or 8 in each exercise session. While it does take some time and effort to get there, once you're able to maintain that level of activity, you WILL start to feel that burst of energy you hear so much about from people who rave about what exercise does for them.
So... how do you get there?
Step Three: Establishing Your Rhythmic Cadence
I'm a big fan of working out to music, so much so that I actually create playlists with songs that I've assigned elliptical speed values so that it starts with slower songs for the warm-up and cool down phases and progresses to more upbeat songs for the actual "level 7" phase.
Whether you listen to music or not, you need to establish a regular, even cadence in your breathing in order to start to work towards exercising at levels higher than what you're used to. I've found that no matter the resistence level I'm using, if I take one breath in that spans a forward movement for each foot, that does the trick. So breathe in... (left forward, right forward)... breathe out... (left forward, right forward)... breathe in... (left forward, right forward)... lather, rinse, repeat. When I'm moving faster, my breathing also picks up in proportion.
The next time you start a workout, make a point to concentrate on keeping your breathing even and steady. If you're having trouble with the one breath in for every 2 steps rule, slow down.... you're pushing yourself too hard. Start out slow at the lowest resistance/incline level and experiment with gradually increasing resistance/speed to see where you start noticing the sign posts of each level as described above.
NOTE: Don't shoot for level 7 right off the bat... if you're just starting out, try to get to a point where you can maintain level 5 for 20 minutes. Once you've mastered that, push a few of those minutes up to level 6 each day until you've made the change over to doing level 6 for 20 full minutes. Take the same approach to achieve level 7.
So, that's it. If you walked into this post not knowing where to start or what physical signs to look for when it comes to exercise, you now have at least some semblance of an idea on what you need to do... all you have to do now is get out there and do it!
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