- Username: MBowman189
- Location: Riverside, CA, USA
- Member Since: 10/1/2010
- BMI: 31.6
- Post Op
- Surgery Type: RNY (04/20/11)
- Surgeon: David Suh, M.D.
Before & After
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- Birds - We raise exotic birds such as cockatoos, and mcaws
- Dogs - We have two large Dobermans, and a chihuahua
- Fishing - Enjoy Deep Sea Fishing
- Auto Racing - Like to watch NASCAR and Indy racing
- Rock - Like Classic Rock, Led Zeplin, Black Sabbath, Metalica
- Country - Like both new and old Country
- Sports Cars - Restore 55 Chevrolets, and early Camaros
4-Month Surgery Follow-up – LIFE IS GOOD on September 5, 2011 5:23 pm
4-Month Surgery Follow-up – LIFE IS GOOD
Monday September 5th
Everyone I’m so sorry for slacking on getting back on the computer, updating my blog and answering emails, I just realized that the last time I updated was a week after surgery, but life is good! The last two weeks of recovery we spent in Arizona at Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Phoenix, and lots of their state parks, getting in lots of walking. During the last few months we went to Knott’s Berry Farm 4 times, and have gone on nearly every roller coaster and fast ride, its great being able to fit into the seats, having fun, and enjoying life. We had our annual Mexico deep sea fishing trip vacation in June and had a wonderful time, and brought back 120 lbs of Tuna and Dorado (next year will be better yet). It was wonderful being able to sit comfortably on the airplane seat, and it was so nice being able to walk around without getting winded and experiencing back, hip and knee pain as I had in the past. We spent last week in Las Vegas celebrating our 27th
wedding anniversary, and again we had a wonderful time, lots of walking and working out at the exercise room in the resort. I don’t know if I mentioned that we can both wear out wedding bands, which I haven’t been able to even put on my finger for 20 years. We had our 4 month follow-up with Kaiser on Friday August 26th, and I weighed 241 lbs with a BMI of 33.2, and blood pressure was 95/56, and have lost a total of 94 lbs since getting my referral last September 30th
and 48 lbs since surgery on April 20th. Gerry’s weighed 175 lbs with a BMI of 30, and has lost a total of 62 lbs since getting her referral last November, and 37 lbs since surgery on April 20th. We also had labs done, and everything was fine, and I’m sure this is because we both take our vitamins daily. I’m off insulin, but do still take some oral diabetic medications, but much smaller dosages, my blood sugars are normal, and my A1C was 6.4. Neither of us is really noticing any substantial hair loss, but Gerry says she does notice a little more than usual in her brush. We’re both taking 5,000 mcg Biotin capsules from GNC, so between that and the protein we take in, perhaps the little will be all we see. We’re both really pleased with our overall success, but I’ve had a couple stalls, but am still dropping just at a slower rate. Gerry didn’t lose as fast at first, but has just been steadily losing. I joke with her and tell her that I just wanted to let her catch up. I’ve dropped from a tight fitting size 48/49 pant size to a comfortable fitting 39/40 pant. We’ve learned not to go buy new clothes, and have started going to thrift stores for them. Eating and getting in all our liquids and protein was a real learning experience in the early months, but we’re both doing well. If we go out for example, we’ll order ice tea, and spend about 20 to 30 minutes drinking it, then go ahead and order our meal. We’ve learned that we can order for example 6 grilled shrimp, 1 dinner salad, and 1 baked potato and split everything. We normally can’t finish the potato though. We’ve learned that as soon as you feel full you stop eating, and don’t take another bite or you’ll be miserable. Normally I don’t feel like drinking anything for about 1 to 1.5 hours after eating. We’re both hoping to be at our goal weights of 200 lbs for me, and Gerry would like to be at 140 lbs by this Christmas. We’re both feeling healthier, feel great, have more energy, and have only one regret that wish we’re done this year’s earlier.
Again, both of us again want to thank you all for your support you’ve given us on this journey, and I’m so sorry that I haven’t been on Obesity Help for awhile, but will try and update at least once a month. I’ll also be uploading a bunch of photos from over the last several months as well. Martin and Gerry Bowman
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1-Week Surgery Follow-up on April 29, 2011 11:03 pm
1-Week Surgery Follow-up
Thursday April 28th:
This last week we’re been taking it easy allowing our bodies to heal, and by Thursday morning we really felt pretty good. The first week of course was liquids only, and we did good getting in at least 80 grams of protein each day, 48 – 64 oz of liquid, and taking our vitamins. My blood sugar readings returned to normal a couple days after I got home, and as of today I’m off insulin, and Glipizide, and my doctor has reduced my Metformin. I’m hoping that as soon as I get released to exercise and strength training at week 3 or 4 that perhaps I’ll even be off Metformin as well. We started walking a couple miles a day on the treadmill, but spent the afternoon Wednesday walking around the shops and stores at Toms Farms. We saw Dr Suh at 11:30 Thursday, and explained we’re doing great. He released us to drive, which we probably could have been anyway, as we never took the Lortab pain medication which had been prescribed as needed. At the appointment I’d lost 13.8 lbs since our pre-op check-in, and Gerry had lost 8 lbs, and we’re both really pleased with the results so far. We’ve also been cleared for the next stage diet which includes refried beans, cottage cheese, string and other cheeses, yogurt, and fish. After the appointment we went out and celebrated by sharing a piece of salmon and ¼ baked potato, which tasted so good after being on a liquid diet for a week. After our celebration lunch we drove down to Newport Beach Pier and spent the afternoon walking a couple miles up and down the beach, which was really nice. Walking really feels much better now that I’ve lost 60 lbs total since October 2010.
Our First Real Meal Post-Op
PS: Couldn't eat all of the potato.
Again, both of us again want to thank you all for your support you’ve given us on this journey.
Martin and Gerry Bowman
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Surgery Completed, Recovering Well! on April 24, 2011 10:54 pm
Surgery Completed, Recovering Well!
I first wanted to thank everyone for your prayers and kind words of support, as it really means a lot to both of us.
Wednesday April 20th:
We went in to Inland Valley Medical Center on Wednesday morning April 20th at 7:30 AM, as Gerry’s surgery was scheduled for 9:30 AM, and mine 11:30 AM. They went ahead and checked us both in, at the same time, which I was worried they might make me wait in the lobby until 9:30 AM. Gerry was prepped and ready to go by 9:15 AM, and we spoke with our surgeon Dr David Suh who asked if we were ready, or did we have any additional questions. We’re so happy with the selection of our surgeon; he’s really fantastic and so professional. We learned that he does 20 VSG and RNY per week, or over 1,040 per year, and everyone including both patients and hospital staff alike speaks so highly of him. The anesthesiologist came out and asked a lot of last minute follow-up questions about our history. He gave her a shot in her IV to relax her, and said they’d be back in a few minutes to take her in. Of course I had to joke with her and tell her now I’d change my mind and let her have the surgery. She knows me pretty well, and knew that I was teasing her, as we’re both very comfortable with our decision to have WLS together. Most of the staff at the hospital said it’s very rare to see couples coming in the same day to have surgery, but supported the idea, as we’d be a good support team for each other. Well, they took Gerry at 9:45 am, and then I got prepped and ready for surgery. The surgeon came in and told me around 11:00 am that Gerry was in recovery, and that everything went well. They gave me the shot to relax me about 11:45 am and rolled me towards the operating room. I don’t even remember getting there, the next thing I remember is waking up about 2:30 pm, and seeing them taking Gerry out of recovery to our room, and seeing her waving to me. I think I fell back to sleep for awhile, and they rolled me to the room at around 3:30 pm or so. I know that by 6:00 pm they were advising us to get up and walk to start getting rid of the gas as soon as we felt up to it, and they would walk with us the first few times to make sure we’re doing fine.
Thursday April 21st:
By the next morning we’d gotten up at least 4 times that night, and were making 3 complete laps around the hospital wing. At 9:00 am Dr Suh came in to check on us, and was pleased to see how we were doing, and answered any questions we had. The big goal for Thursday as well to walk as much as possible, but also to use the Spiral Incentive Spirometry to work our lung functions several times an hour to prevent pneumonia. They kept checking my blood sugar and it was over 229 – 287 mg which concerned me, but with the stress of surgery, I knew that would happen. They also removed our cathedras later in the morning, and that was uncomfortable, and was what I dreaded most. Our friend Thursday was the pain pump, but they took us off it, and said we could have Lortab for pain, but said that the more you use it, the longer it takes to get rid of the gas, as it puts your intestines to sleep. I didn’t use it much, but Gerry did, so she was having more gas pains than I. My most painful area was across the belly button where they did the umbilical hernia repair. Thursday afternoon, they gave us water to drink, in one ounce cups and told us to drink (sip) no more than one every 15 minutes. They would count the cups to measure what we drank. Of course we could use the restroom, but we had to use top hats and urinals to measure our output as well. Thursday evening they brought us a wonderful dinner of protein beef broth, berry protein juice, apple juice, and jello. Later that evening we’d been able to drink enough that they went ahead and removed our IV’s bags.
Friday April 22nd:
We’ll the next morning they came in early and took blood samples to make sure everything was normal before releasing us later in the day. They brought us a wonderful breakfast of protein chicken broth, berry protein juice, apple juice, and jello. We had to follow the same rules of measuring everything. Dr Suh came in around 11:30 am and checked us out and cleared Gerry to go home, but I’d been having pain in both calf’s so he wanted to do ultrasounds to check for blood clots before giving me clearance. They gave me another IV just to make sure I wasn’t dehydrated, and around 2:00 pm took me down for the procedure. We’ll at 3:30 pm we got word everything was fine, and they checked us out. They said to quit taking my lasix and potassium, and to taper off my insulin as I healed and my sugars returned to normal.
Saturday April 23rd:
We tried sleeping in the easy chair Friday night, but both decided to try our luck with the bed about midnight. We slept pretty much on our backs to stay comfortable, and as it’s a large post bed have something to hang onto rolling out of bed. We decided against taking any Lortab as we wanted to get rid of the gas as quick as possible. We walked around the house and yard quite a bit, and as they always say, walking helps with the gas, and it’s working. We’re taking our Bariatric Advantage chewable multi-vitamin, calcium citrate, iron, B12, and vitamin C on schedule, drinking 3 protein drinks a day (80 grams total), eating diet jello, and drinking lots of water and crystal light. Saturday morning my blood sugar was still 220 mg, but by Saturday afternoon, my blood sugars were returning to normal and were actually a rather low 63 mg. The rest of the day it was between 94 and 120 mg.
Sunday April 24th:
It was rather amusing laying in bed this morning and listening to each other’s abdomens noises from the gas that was working. The pain is getting better with each passing day, although the hernia repair is what bothers me the most. Our protein and liquids are increasing, and we’re walking slowly on the treadmill. By the end of day, it seems like most of the gas is gone. Another observation is that so far nothing has changed in our tastes and smells, all of our protein drinks still taste good to both of us, although the Syntrax nectars are really good, as they’re thinner. We can’t wait to have our 1-week appointment to be cleared for driving and to go to the next stage diet, as cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, refried beans, apple sauce, tuna, pureed vegetables, and mashed potatoes sound wonderful. Gerry’s already checking out the tofu cookbook to see what she can make.
Almost forgot, I wanted to say that we were very impressed with the hospital and staff at Inland Valley Medical Center in Murrieta CA as well, everyone was very professional, helpful, attentive, and friendly to both of us. I would highly recommend their facility to anyone looking to have surgery.
I’ve uploaded the photos from the surgery week, so take a peek and enjoy.
Again, both of us again want to thank you all for your support you’ve given us on this journey.
Martin and Gerry Bowman
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Surgery Just 2 Days Away! on April 18, 2011 10:37 pm
Surgery Just 2 Days Away!
We’ll just two short days until our surgery date, so I thought I’d just post an update. Things have been so busy lately trying to get everything done around the place that I won’t be able to do after surgery, and making sure everything is ready for our return home from the hospital. I ordered our chewable vitamins, iron, and calcium citrate from Bariatric Advantage, and the order was delivered in less than 2 days, I was impressed. For vitamin C and B12 we’re using the ones purchased from Costco, and our Biotin from GNC. We also had to line up care for my 80 year old father that we care for, but everything is in place now for our recovery period.
The last 6 months seemed like such a long time, but the last 3 weeks just flew by. We had our appointment for a psychiatric evaluation on April 6th, which was a piece of cake. Her name was Sharon, she was about 5’ and weighed 102 lbs, and was really nice. Of course she covered all of the subjects she was required to ask, but also shared that she too had the RNY 3 years ago. She said she weighed 268 lbs, and now weighed 102 lbs, life was good, and she feels great. She was really nice to visit with, and after we were finished said that I was ready and felt I would do great.
There was a bit of a mix-up on our paperwork with the surgeons’ office, as we were told after our surgery consultation we’d be getting instructions in the mail, and there would be labs ordered the day before the appointment for the final check in. A week and a half had gone by, and still nothing, so I started calling and it was a good thing as I think our paperwork fell through the cracks. Well, the calls got things on track, and everything was scheduled just in time. We had our final labs on April 13th and the last appointment on April 14th with Dr Suh, where he did a final weigh in, which being on a no starch diet I’d lost another 9 lbs. This means that my highest weight last October was 335 lbs, and my surgery weight is officially 288.8 lbs, a loss of 46.2 lbs pre-surgery, which makes me feel good. Gerry’s highest weight last October was 237 lbs, and her surgery weight is officially 214 lbs, a loss of 23 lbs pre-surgery, which makes her feel good as well.
The same day we went to the Inland Valley Medical Center did a pre-check in with the hospital. There were some other last minute things we wanted to do, such as taking some last minute before photos, and take updated measurements. Our camera broke the day of the pre-check in, so I had to go buy another camera, and I’m learning how to use it. I’ll upload some photos tomorrow; of course I had to take a picture of our “last supper” this evening, as tomorrow is a liquid only day. So tomorrow is just protein drinks, broth, water, and crystal light. At 5:00 PM we’re to drink the Magnesium Citrate to flush us out, and stay within proximity of a restroom. Later in the evening we have to take showers and scrub our entire body from chin to toe with Hibiclens skin cleanser to kill all of the bacteria on our body, and repeat this in the morning before leaving for the hospital. We can’t have anything after midnight, and then only take my blood pressure medicine with a sip of water Tuesday morning. Tuesday morning we have to take all of our medicines we take with us for them to confirm dosages we take, and need to be at the hospital at 7:30 AM for Gerry’s surgery at 9:30 AM, and then I get prepped and go into surgery at 11:30 AM.
Both of us are really at ease with our decision to have the RNY and with the surgeon selected. It’s hard to believe in just two short days our lives will change forever, and we will be starting the next stage of our journey to a happier and healthier life together. We’re very thankful to so many people for the opportunity to have WLS, Kaiser had a lot of requirements for approval, but I wouldn’t change a thing. We learned last week at our support group that our Options class teacher Marianna Gabriel was leaving Kaiser Corona, and going back to practice outpatient services in Kaiser Irvine. We’re all really going to miss her and the support she provided to everyone.
In addition, both of us again want to thank you all for your support you’ve given us on this journey. Please say a prayer for us Wednesday morning for a safe uneventful surgery, and a speedy recovery.
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We Have Our Surgery Date! on April 1, 2011 12:47 am
We Have Our Surgery Date!
We’ll the last 3 weeks seemed like forever, but we used the time wisely, have been stocking up on a wide variety of proteins, buying things that we’ll need post-op, getting things done around the place that I won’t be able to do right after surgery, and filling out all the forms 30 pages in all for the surgeons office. I really want to thank ALL of you that have been so supporting during the last 6 months. Your support, comments, suggestions, recommendations, and recipes are appreciated so much. I also want to especially thank Lucyfan1980 for the suggestions on expediting the process while we were waiting for our insurance approval. By attending the surgeons Bariatric Seminar, Patient Education class, and pre-op and post-op support group meetings which were all prerequisites for getting a surgery date scheduled, it probably cut a month off of our wait. I learned at the Kaiser pre-op support group meeting last week that Dr Suh had renegotiated his contract with Kaiser to include the VSG, whereas before he only did the RNY for Kaiser. The contract is set to go into effect the last week of April. Previously, if you had Kaiser and wanted the VSG, you had to go to Pacific Bariatric in San Diego, or Kaiser in Harbor City. I called the Kaiser case manager, and Dr Suh’s office to confirm this before discussing the option with my wife. As mentioned in earlier blogs, the RNY is the best choice for me, as it will put my diabetes in remission. I felt that my wife Gerry on the other hand would be a good candidate for either surgery, so we studied both even more the last several days to help decide. Eventually, she decided that it would be best to go with whichever one Dr Suh felt would be the best. My wife Gerry and I had our consultation with our surgeon Dr. David Suh today, and he and his staff at Crown Bariatric are all really nice. We arrived for the appointment 45 minutes early, as I didn’t want to be late for the planning of our new birthday. At first we turned in all of our forms, went over and signed more forms, they were really surprised to see we had all of our prerequisites completed and out of the way. Said we’d probably get our surgery date after seeing the surgeon. We watched a 30 minute video, weighed in, and waited about 10 minutes to see Dr Suh. He went over both of our medical histories, asked us both a lot of questions, asked which surgeries we wanted to have done, and agreed with our decisions. He then did a pelvic examination on both of us, paying close attention to my “little alien” umbilical hernia. He said Gerry would be a good candidate for any of the surgeries Lap Band, VSG, or RNY, but recommended the RNY as it had the best long term results. He supported the fact that we’re doing this together, and said this will give us the best results in losing and maintaining. He went over a list of 20 questions I’d prepared, and answered each of them thoroughly. If anyone is interested I can do a blog with the questions and answers. After we told him both of our adult children were living at home and could help us through recovery, he said he could do both surgeries the same day. He asked who wants to go first, and I looked at Gerry and said ladies first. Another reason is that I have an umbilical hernia he will be repairing, so my surgery will take longer. He said we did have two more steps to take before having surgery, and that was to set up an appointment for a psychiatric evaluation, (which we already have scheduled next Wednesday April 6th) and there will be one more appointment on April 14th, where he do a weigh in (and you better not gain an ounce), will order some last minute labs to check blood counts (to rule out infections), and then the same day we go to the Inland Valley Medical Center and do a pre-check in with the hospital. He said for the rest of your life, no crackers, chips, pretzels, cakes, high calorie deserts and cookies, ice cream, and carbonated sodas or beverages. He also said, from today until surgery, “NO Starches” such as potatoes, rice, pasta, breads, crackers, tortillas, chips and pretzels, or fast foods. He wants our livers to shrink as much as possible before surgery. Lastly, he wrote us both prescriptions for Prilosec to reduce stomach acid, and told us to pickup Magnesium Citrate to take the night before surgery to flush us out. His surgery nurse Lisa came in and made sure we had scheduled our psych appointment, went over things one more time, and gave us our surgery dates of April 20th at 7:00 AM, and 9:00 AM. We both are so happy and excited that in just three short weeks we will be starting the next stage of our journey to a happier and healthier life together. Both of us again want to thank you all for your support you’ve given us on this journey. We’re both doing the Happy Dance tonight.
PS: I'll make sure to update our stats, and upload some photos just before surgery.
Here is a photo of some of the items we've purchased getting ready for the weeks and months ahead. We didn't purchase all of our vitamins yet, as we wanted our surgeons approval first. We'd selected both Opurity and Bariatric Advantage products, and he was good with both. We're actually going to purchase both, just in case our tastes change, and we don't like one of them afterwards.
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My Story I've been heavy for as long as I can remember, in fact I remember weighing 80 lbs in kindergarten, 200 lbs in 9th grade, and 250 when I graduated high school. My entire lift has been a been a roller coaster of diets, some worked, some didn't, but all failed as the weight just comes back on. When I got married in 1984 I had recently finished the Nutri Systems program and had gone from 290 down to 225 lbs. I was a Heavy Equipment Mechanic at the time, so hard work and exercise helped slow the gain, but my wife is a wonderful person and good cook so it made a bit of a challenge. We'll 10 years and 2 kids later, I promoted up into management positions, long stressful hours, mentally exhausted when I got off work, lead to poor eating habits to deal with the stress. In addition, I'd developed type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. 15 years later, the stress is even worse, weight has come back, and then some. In 2006 I injured my knee in a tree trimming accident, which has made exercising such as walking, and bike riding difficult, but it's getting better now. About 5 years ago my wife and I went on Optifast and did fine went from 345 to 240, but it came back in about 2 years. We tried Optifast again 2 years ago didn't do as well, only went from 325 to 265. We'll here 2 years later, we've decided that diets just don't work for the long term, and WLS is our best solution. When I went into Kaiser for a Bariatric surgery referral on September 30, 2010 my weight was 335 lbs, 6'0" tall, 135/76 BP, which gave me a BMI of 46. My wife GBowman189 is trying to get a referral as well, has a 39 BMI, doesn't have any serious health conditions, so is just short of the 40 BMI, that is needed to qualify with Kaiser, so we may be doing a self-pay for her.
We'll the decision to get WLS, and the referral was the first step in our life journey of permanent long term weight loss, and healthy life.