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Before & After
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I met Dr. Houston at the seminar. He was filled with knowledge that seemed to just flow out. He didn't have to think about what to say; it all came so natural. I could tell that he loved his profession and felt good about helping people change their lives. rnrn*Update on Dr. Houston... he's not just a consulting surgeon in my life now. He is my surgeon and held my hand (though not literally of course) til I made it to the loser's side. I had all confidence in him and he made sure I was doing my part before allowing me to leave the hospital after surgery. He makes sure you are ready to go and that you understand the importance of drinking and protein.rnrnCheryl was really sweet. She met me out in the lobby of the office to get all of my records and was so friendly. I was able to ask questions about the insurance process and she actually cared whether I got the approval. rnrnHolly was great, too. She tried to get the closest date possible and is so friendly. She does a good job at holding the office together and will tell you that if there is anything, anything that they can do to make things better, please let them know...
Latest Surgery Support Comments
8/11/2006 My file is now officially "in review" with Blue Cross. I hope and pray that everything they want and need is there, getting me approved.
10/10/06 Admitted to Centennial Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee to have Laparoscopic RNY. Performed by Dr. Hugh Houston.
10/12/06 Released from CMC and went to my mother's house for recuperation time.
10/19/06 Went to Dr. Houston for my follow up appointment today. Unfortuntely, I have not done so great in getting my protein in and my daily medicines are difficult to take by crushing. He released me to start protein shakes and also added cottage cheese since I need the protein so much and I love cottage cheese. He said perhaps that would help me get it all in. I have lost 17 pounds since surgery. I have gotten around pretty good and been feeling fine but today I think it just caught up with me. I was nauseated and didn't feel well all day today. The lack of protein may have had something to do with the nausea but I'm on the shakes already so that will improve. My time off has been extended til October 30th.
10/20/06 I didn't feel so great today. I think the past few days of being busy has finally caught up with me. I stayed in bed all day long til about 4:00. I did make sure to get in my protein. Also I haven't kept my wellbutrin up like I should and so I have felt some dizziness/strange twirling spells like I did the last time I got the wellbutrin leaving my system. But I am on track on hopefully the side effects will go away soon.
10/26/06 Went to see Dr. Houston. He wanted to admit me but I talked him into a 23 hour outpatient observation because Centennial is a higher copay for inpatient admission. I received several IV bags of saline and potassium but the dizziness I experienced would not go away. As the day grew on, I became agitated and had several crying spells. Then I remembered being taken off the Lexapro last week and was not tapered off of it. I didn't know what the reaction would or could be. So I got home today and looked it up on the internet. Sure enough, there were my symptoms. I called my primary care physician as suggested by Dr. Houston and he verified that it was probably the Lexapro causing these problems. So I am starting back on the Lexapro. Anti depressants are so complex but I guess it just wasn't time to come off of them right now... so I am hoping this weekend that the Lexapro will get back into my system and this terrible dizziness will cease.
12/17/06 I was in the hospital again a few weeks ago - from a Thursday afternoon until Tuesday afternoon. The doctor ordered IV's for dehydration and a scope. It was found that I had a stricture and that's why I was not able to eat much. Instead of being the size of a thumb, my stomach was the size of a bic inkpen barrell. I was basically starving to death and malnourished for eight weeks. They dilated a balloon and stretched my stomach opening. I am able to eat again! Many have asked why I had the stricture and if the doctor was responsible. But, I knew full well that this was a risk of surgery, just one of possible things that could happen. Some people's bodies do it, others do not. I am feeling much stronger as I'm able to get in the protein. It was so bad before, I would get sick just to hear about food. I was not able to eat there at the end. My body rejected even the sound or thought of food. Not now! I am finally getting the protein and liking eggs again.
I went to Dr. Houston's Christmas party on Friday night. This is nine weeks out from surgery and my last picture was taken the week I came home from having the surgery. I could not believe the difference in before/after. I just kept looking at the pictures and didn't see myself as some fat girl. I had an interesting thing happen tonight. I was waiting to cross the parking lot to go into Dollar Tree and some guy stopped his car to let me go. He had his window down and he said, "Ladies first." As small as that may sound, it shocked me because when I was younger, a group of guys riding together may occasionally holler out things to make fun of me. This is the first time a guy said something nice and respectful without making a joke. Just to get a little personal, perhaps that is why I don't like attention from men and never really cared to have relationships because deep down I could not believe they saw me as truly beautiful or pretty... and any comments/remarks they made came from some sick joke. Anyway, enough of the self examination for today.
12/28/06 I am feeling great! Since being in the Succeed program which started in May, I have now lost 64 pounds. My clothes sizes are all going down and I have been through 4 wardrobes. The pants I started out in were size 22, and shirts were 2X. Now I am in a size 16 pant and XL tops. It feels wonderful to have an outfit where I can tuck the shirt in to my pants and wear a nice belt. Before surgery, I would have never worn a shirt tucked in. Hope everyone had a blessed Christmas. I had a fantastic one with my family and friends... Santa brought me so much and what he didn't bring, I bought for myself! It was a joy to give presents this year. I felt better about myself and wanted to help others feel better too. I can now cross my legs without pulling my foot up! And my shoe laces aren't crooked anymore because I don't have to tie them with my foot twisted sideways on my knee. My parents bought me a beautiful red dress, size Large which is really like an 8 or 10, for Christmas. I can't wear it YET, and my 8 yr old nephew said, "She will never get into that!" But look out little kiddy... I am coming up fierce and mean.... I am going to be in that little red dress before you can say "milkshake and fries!"
1/9/07 This is my first post of 2007! Lately I have been feeling so good. Sometimes I feel thinner and I have more energy than I used to. I also feel wonderful after getting the scope done and stomach stretched last month. Tomorrow is my follow up appointment with Dr. Houston. He is a wonderful doctor and I love his office staff. They are friendly and caring, and great to visit with when in the office. People at work are supportive... always callling me skinny and telling me how much I have lost. This makes me feel great about myself. I find that I also love talking to people about the surgery and showing them my pre surgery picture and the picture taken at the doctor's Christmas party. I am now into size 16 pants and an extra large shirt. I got my hair cut this past Saturday, and colored with highlights. I wanted something different since I've lost weight. I also enjoy buying new clothes A LOT! Luckily I bought the snugly fitting pants so that as I lose more weight, they will still fit probably down to a low 14.
1/15/07 Before starting my weight loss program and having gastric bypass, I took my measurements. Last night I re-took them and here are the results.
Breasts - 47 1/2 New: 40 (7 1/2 lost)
That's over 55 inches! I did not realize how much I had lost... I am totally shocked.
1/16/07 Forgive me if I've already posted this, but I weaned myself off Wellbutrin. I used to take the extended release, which is a no-no after surgery. In October, they put me on regular release generic wellbutrin (bupropion) 3 times a day, 100 mg for each tablet. Well, I could not stand taking any pills, so I only took one in the morning, one in the evening. That means I automatically took myself off of 100 mg. Weeks, maybe six, went by. I got tired of taking the pills even more... so I only took a 100 mg pill each night. Finally, I started skipping to every other night only because my hatred for pills, and my awful memory. This took place from October til late November, early December.
I would say that it has worked. I normally get very depressed every year at Christmas. I become sad, weepy, feeling sorry for others who do not have anything, etc. but this year, I started my Christmas shopping and had it done before Thanksgiving! I have never done that! I was so happy all season long. Not one single ounce of sadness, loneliness, weepiness, depression. I could not wait til Christmas to give to everyone, and spend time with my family. There was a sense of expectation for a wonderful holiday... and it was not a disappointment...
Now I am going to ask my PCP to help me wean off of Lexapro. Remember by my earlier profile entries that I had quite a time with it, when I got off my pill taking routine. It is nothing to mess with, and that's why I am going to get his help. Actually I didn't start out trying to get off of Wellbutrin; it just kind of ended up that way. But Lexapro is a different story. It messes with your circuit system, makes you dizzy, all kinds of stuff. But I was taking it due to PMDD caused from birth control pills to help my periods stay regular. But I have been off birth control now since July an don't think I need it anymore. I will let you know what the doctor says...
1/18/07 I am getting so many compliments and remarks from people I work with. Some I don't even know who they are... today I had to visit the employee service center to find out if my supplements (vitamins, calcium, sublingual B12, and yes even protein shakes, powders, bars are covered by flexible spending!) would be covered by my flexible spending and the two people I talked with both said something about how much I had lost. The first lady said, "You are getting so skinny!" That is a remark that I do not get tired of hearing! I have had a week of wows... I looked at my wrist in the car earlier this week while on my way to work... and oh my goodness... I could see the wrist bone! Can you believe it? I just kept looking at my wrist, turning it all around, and thinking how happy I am that this weight is coming off. If there were ever any doubts as to whether the surgery was worth it, this week would have definitely removed every single doubt. Even a pair of my shoes are loose and I thought I might walk out of them. Do you think its possible for me to go from a size 9 shoe to a 7 1/2? I hope so, as I have some good friends who have beautiful shoes that I can borrow!! haha. Miracles have happened so I guess my size 9 boats can shrink down just like the rest of my body.
1/24/07 I had a wonderful and funny thing happen last Friday at my PCP's office. Keep in mind that I have not seen him since prior to surgery when I was trying to lose my 10% required body weight for Blue Cross to approve my surgery. I was sitting in the room and when he came in, he said, "I'm sorry but I don't think I remember you." I said, "Well, good! I have some pictures to show you!" And when he looked at the before/after pictures, he said "It looked like all that letter writing finally worked." I don't think either one of us could believe it! He said that I was doing great, and there was no reason I couldn't come off the Lexapro. He gave me some suggestions for weaning off the medicine. I am going to have my annual eye exam today after work, and even though it's not time for new frames, I am getting some new ones! NEW GLASSES FOR A NEW LOOK FOR A NEW GIRL. Last night I had to give my size 16W pants to my neice. They are now too big and my other 16s are becoming baggy. 14s are just around the corner, but thank goodness my closet is packed with them since a friend of mine gave them to me prior to surgery. I remember when she gave them, some 16s, 14s, I thought, "I will never be able to wear them. Maybe I should give them to someone who could actually use them." But now here I am, four months later, and ready for the 14s. I am so glad I chose to have this surgery.
1/26/07 Oh my achin' back! I feel worse this week than I did at my highest weight of 251 pounds. My back is killing me! I went to the Spine Center in Nashville yesterday for an initial consultation. The chiropractor, Dr. Benedict, was very nice and thorough in his exam. They took 6 xrays and I go back Monday for treatment. He said that he sees this in a lot of people who have lost a lot of weight. Evidently the muscles have to adjust to where the weight is, and now that things have changed so much, my back needs some adjusting time and help... this is yet another lesson I can add to the gastric bypass experience... when and if someone else says their back hurts, I will definitely pass this information along. I asked my primary care physician about my back and he didn't really know about losing weight affecting things. One great thing happened. I looked up my bmi on some website and it said that I was moderately obese... no longer severely or morbidly! Hallelujah! I will be much happier when it says slightly obese, and even healthy! But I will settle right now for moderate.
1/27/07 I had something happen today which was funny... Mike and I used to eat a lot at the Mexican restaurant in town. They know us and are always so nice... we haven't been in quite awhile though. We went for lunch and the lady that does the register looked at me funny and said, "I know you..." while trying to figure out who I was... I said, "I hope you know me... I'm Kelly's sister" and she came by our table after we were seated just to look at me again... in disbelief. She could not believe how much I had lost, evidently. That was funny.
2/8/07 Saturday is my 4 month surgiversary! I cannot believe it. Seems like a year ago! I guess that is good... it means I have situated in quite nicely and life is normal now... not "normal" as the way it used to be... a new kind of normal. I think I have settled nicely. Today I went to Dr. Houston. My left side has been feeling strange. When I bend or move, I can feel something in there move around. It doesn't hurt, but its been doing it for about a week and a half now. Its beginning to aggravate me. Its like a muscle that is overused and is getting tired... Dr. Houston said he wanted to take a look at it to make sure it was not a hernia from the surgery sites. He didn't feel anything though. It could be scar tissue, fat bubble, cellulite. He just said that if it starts to hurt, let him know. I am so glad I had the surgery because I have more energy and am looking better, but I hope I do not start having health problems from the surgery. But, if I would not have had the surgery, I was going to have a completely different set of health problems.... I will have to trust and pray that everything will be fine... and pay attention to the changes in my body.
2/11/07 Yesterday was my four month Surgiversary. Before GBS, I had never heard of that word. Now it's something which excites me. I have lost a total of 85 pounds and I feel great! Mentally I am viewing myself in a better light and my self esteem is coming back. Sometimes I stand in front of the mirror and just think: "How did this happen?" My body has and continues to change. And, I know I make my family and friends take a lot of pictures... but its just that I want to celebrate every moment - - and be able to look back at the pictures and remember those moments.
2/17/07 I clicked on the People - Upcoming Surgery Anniversaries.... I thought, "I wonder what success rate the RNY patients have had" and started clicking on people who have a one year anniversary today. There was not one single person who had kept up their profile or posted after pictures. Then I continued on to the two year people. I only clicked on 3 people... still the same thing. They did not update their profiles and no after pictures. I guess it must be just me.... but I like to post new pictures so people won't continue to think I am at 251 pounds which my absolute highest. And, I would like to help encourage others who are thinking about weight loss or who may be in a lull. You just never know where your name might show up and who might decide to click on your profile. I also have this desire to share my experiences... if not for anyone else, for me. I was at the doctor's office yesterday and had my before picture, showing a few people who never saw me fat. I just started this particular chiropractor's services about three weeks ago (I think). As I was showing it to the physical therapist, a patient said, "I don't mean to be nosy but what kind of surgery did you have?" Well by the time I had left the therapy area, I had shown three patients. One was a guy. I didn't care if I had no idea who these people were... all I knew was that I felt wonderful and happy. So I would like to keep posting my little journal entries, however insignificant they may seem, and posting my picture every week because it seems that I have become fascinated with savoring the moment and wanting to celebrate it again and again.
2/20/07 I thought it was high time to post a new blog.. so here it goes. But I will warn you... it may be of graphic nature. Men may wish to refrain from reading it. So its my time of month. I've been depressed, crying a lot, feeling sad, terrible about myself. So what on earth does a person do? Go to the nearest CVS and buy products that will give you a quick fix. For instance, my friend said my hair looked terrible. So I bought several kinds of hair products that are guaranteed to make me look like a fabulous supermodel. (So if there is a guarntee, how come I can't get my money back) Another friend said I had dark sunken eyes, causing me to look tired. So I bought some cream eye shadows in light colors which will prevent me from looking tired and my eyes from looking heavy and droopy. I also spent $12 on clear mascara which of all places I finally located after the fact at Walmart for $4.97!! Now today I am feeling pretty good about my new purchases even though I haven't used them yet... but tomorrow I will wake up feeling fresh, alive and new as my period will be over and so will the effects that it has had on my body... and I will regret spending all my hard earned money on stupid quick fixes at the local CVS drugstore...or Walgreens if that is your place of choice... sometimes I go to Walgreens too...
Today I refigured my BMI. It's 28.3 which is considered moderately obese and does not qualify me for bariatric surgery! Well isn't that great? I am no longer morbidly obese just as many others have written about these past few weeks and days. I look forward to the day that it says I am healthy and not overweight... but til then I will settle for moderately obese...
2/21/07 I was thinking about a turning point in my life concerning college... it was after my first semester that I attended my roommate's (who was a graduating senior) graduation program. I will never forget sitting there thinking, "One day... that will be me." Over the next four years I longed to pack up and move back home to Tennessee, 8 hours away. I wanted to quit so many times. But yet in the back of my mind was that thought... and the memory... of being at that graduation... "One day... that will be me." I endured. I worked hard. I persevered. And in 2001, I sat in that same auditorium with pride that I had accomplished what I had purposed in my heart.
Four years later... when I began visiting Obesity Help, I sat in amazement staring at the before/after pictures of patients who had gastric bypass surgery. Whenever I became discouraged in my own weight loss journey, I signed onto OH and thought that old familar sentence, "One day... that will be me." It was a hard journey. Diets, carb counting, calorie counting, Weight Watchers, Atkins, South Beach, exercise regimens, support groups, you name it... but I persevered. In October 2006, finally I had my surgery. Now after losing 87 pounds, I am seeing the pounds fall off. Again, the goal I purposed in my heart is being accomplished. I am so happy and proud of the results... knowing that soon I will have my picture up on that before/after forum for other to be inspired by.
Total lost: 64 inches (I hope my math is correct). I wish I would have kept up with more measurements... I know the inches lost are more but I didn't do but five areas.
2/28/07 Thanks to the protein party goers... Paula, Susan and Kym... I have gotten some new ideas for protein. And, found that Bariatriceating.com is a good source of ideas, products and support. OH is wonderful but I was needing something different to push me over and beyond and help me get the protein in. Today I got in a total of 78 proteins. I don't think I have ever gotten in that much protein in one day. Yesterday I tried hard (although I didn't start out with a protein shake...) to get my protein in... forcing down the rotisserie chicken for lunch and salmon for supper... but I just couldn't get much in. I ended up with 43.
3/11/07 Yesterday was my 5 month surgiversary. I spent it with some wonderful friends - - the lunch gang... people from the TN area who have also had gastric bypass, lapband or some type of WLS. We meet once a month in the Nashville area and it has become a wonderful monthly outing for me to look forward to. This month we did a clothing exchange and it allowed us even more time to socialize... we used to all LOVE to eat... now we LOVE to talk! I love to see these folks each month because I get to see how much weight they are losing. Its SO encouraging to me. We are all on this journey together, sharing in each other's victories, and yes at times sharing in each other's difficulties. I never thought I would become so closely involved in a group that specializes in one certain thing... for example, when I sold Mary Kay, alot of Mary Kay women flocked to Texas for the meetings and to see Ms. Mary Kay herself in person... and these women were faithful to meet every single week... that wasn't part of who I was. I never wanted it to go that deep... but with the weight loss people, I enjoy it so much. I can really identify with all the struggles as I had and still have most of them... Recently someone brought up the issue of body image. We are all still getting adjusted to our skinnier bodies and not quite knowing what to think or feel... I guess two words would describe it best: SHOCK & AWE. I look at my size 12s, which today became 10s, blue jeans and think, "There is no way I can get them on my body." But then I put them on, zip them up without sucking in my gut like I used to with a size 22 or 24 jeans, and it just amazes me. Now I see that stomach pooching out and I wish it were gone... but I am hoping with more weight loss, it will disappear. I am now getting between 85-110 protein grams a day! Hallelujah! And I feel so much more energy. I swear that one night I thought I must have been high on protein... I had so much energy! And it just makes me chatter chatter chatter... how anyone gets a word in edge wise, I will never know! I seem like myself... the one I have missed having around for so long... "myself" had been gone for a number of years... shy, withdrawn, depressed became my personality as obese, but when I was younger, I was outgoing, friendly, talkative... I used to cry asking God, "Please bring that person back! I want to be like that again!" I gave up. I never thought it would be possible... but now I see that person coming to visit a little more each day... and the person I had become, the one I didn't like, seems to fade away. All I can say is, Take your size 22's with you, old friend, cause you ain't welcome here anymore!
3/11/07 My BMI is now 26.4.... slightly overweight. It is hard to believe I am down to 154 pounds. I started this journey at a whopping 251 pounds, and in just 3 more pounds, I will have lost 100!! Woohoo! I am so excited.
April 9, 2007 I finally took a trip to Illinois, where my mother's family lives. I have been putting it off for some time as I wanted to lose as much weight as possible. But I thought Easter would be a good time, especially since my mother was off this past week for Spring Break. The day before we left, we received word that my uncle had passed away and there was a visitation/funeral to attend. Afterwards, the entire family got together at another aunt's house for a "reunion" if you call it that. Its such a shame that we have not all come together since the last funeral, which was six years ago. I remember my childhood days when our family got together for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the occasional picnic at the state park. I miss those days. Anyway, my aunt Shirley is homebound and she said, "You've lost a lot of weight! How did you do THAT?" I reminded her of surgery... my uncle Bill is almost homebound too due to age and health issues. He didn't recognize two people, and told my mother the next day that he finally figured out who I was by studying me... the high cheek bones gave it away as I look so much like my mother... (and she NEVER lets me forget it... after all, people usually say, "You look so pretty... you look like your mother.")
The people who noticed the most were people from my aunt's church. They have only known me as obese... never small like my mother's family. One guy walked passed, and when I said, "Hello stranger" he turned his head and did a double take. He did not know me! One lady just kept saying, "My goodness how did you lose all the weight?" And even after I told her, she just shook her head, and said, "I can't believe how much weight you've lost."
My crazy aunt Helen was the funniest. She is NEVER speechless. When she came over to the aunt/uncles' house where I was staying, I came out of the living room. She looked in my face, and just stood there silent for a minute, then her eyes went down to my toes, then up to my head again... she was stunned. She told me later that I looked great, and the reason she didn't say anything is because she was jealous (she wasn't really... she is just a hoot... I love her even if she is psycho!)
My other favorite aunt Val actually tasted my protein shake, and liked it! I had taken a bunch of baggies labeled with the protein powder that I put in them, and took my Magic Bullet along also... she loved the bullet... and said if I had left it, she would definitely put it to good use! haha... but I let her taste Vanilla Elite that I had put some cranberry/rasberry Fuze in. It somewhat tasted like a float.
My uncle (Donnie) and mother (Donna) are twins. His daughter looks so much like me. I saw a picture of her last year after she lost a lot of weight (although she has never been overweight...). I wondered, "Will I look like her when I am small?" I secretly hoped so, cause she was pretty! My relatives still say how much we look alike. She is 130 lbs, in a size 5/6. 130 is how much I want to weigh, and I got excited that maybe I can be her size once I get rid of 20 more pounds.
Do you know that not one single person told me to stop losing weight... that I was too skinny...or tried to look over my shoulder and tell me what to eat, what not to eat... afraid I would become anorexic. It was so nice to not hear any of that garbage that I hear at work all the time. Also, Friday I received a voice mail from the HR Department about a job I had applied for. I am supposed to go for a job interview one day this week. I can't wait... my aunt Val gave me a closet full of nice clothes... Now I need a new job to wear them to!
My favorite person to see was the lady at church who was always mean to me. Not just me. She's mean to everyone. Our eyes locked as she was walking into the sanctuary. But she avoided me like the plague. She sat in the pew ahead of me, but across the aisle. Then later when I said, "Hello stranger" to her brother in law, the one who didn't recognize me, she immediately turned to look at me (ole nosy) and hollered over "Hey skinny! How did you lose all that weight?" I told her, "Medical intervention." After all, I was in the Lord's house... I couldn't lie! And, I figured if Star Jones could use that line, then so could I! She even came over and hugged me and said how nice I looked. Now I can't swear to what word she technically used... nice, great, well but hey, I will take anything! I'm sure it gave her plenty to talk about later... but I didn't care. Nothing she can say would steal my 102 lb weight loss. No one can take that away from me. Overall it was a good trip but I am glad to be back home in Tennessee.
April 12, 2007 Tonight I went to the Succeed Program. Remember, this is the mandatory 12 week program that my employer has for people who want weight loss surgery. They require attendance at 11 meetings, and 36 exercise sessions. Then patients must lose 10% of their overall body weight before Blue Cross will approve their surgery. OH How I remember those days! I think that every person who has gone through insurance approval process experiences the same frustration and hard work. It is so hard to jump through all their hoops, but in the end, its worth it. I wish insurance companies would see how they will benefit also once patients go off of medications and have less doctor's visits.
I enjoyed meeting the people. I met two ladies after the meeting, and I can tell that they are fully vested, heart and soul, and ready to have their surgery. Its not just a procedure to them, but a chance to start a new way of life. I am so excited for people who are pursuing WLS. It truly will change their lives!
On another note, I have a job interview tomorrow. I want a new job. I need a new job. I am tired of being responsible for two positions and being given no monetary benefits in the form of a raise. Also, co-workers say things that push my buttons such as "when are you going to stop losing weight." In general, I think its time for a change.
Breast - 36 in (2 inches lost) Original 47 1/2 Total= 11 1/2 inches
Total lost since 2/21 = 14 1/2 inches. GRAND TOTAL: 78 1/2 inches