- HEALTH TRACKER
Before & After
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Dr. Huse seems like a no nonsense man. Although our meeting was brief, he answered all my questions and I filled out the paperwork to get the process started. Really not much of a detailed impression yet. More to come.
I was in the process of getting approved when I lived in Florida. I was laid off from my job and I moved to Indiana. I have lived here for a year and will be at my new job for a year in January. I need help finding a surgeon and getting approved.
Update... I scheduled an appointment with Dr. John Huse in Indianapolis, IN in December 2002. I was told that my insurance wouldn't pay for his visit. I thought that this meant that it wouldn't pay for the surgery. I was going to change insurances in December of this year (2003) to get on to my partner's insurance. On Friday, 9/5/03 I received a letter out of the blue from my insurance company approving my surgery. The wording of the letter left me unsure of what they were saying, so I called them on Monday and they informed me that I was indeed approved. I am now waiting for the Doctor's office to call me back with a surgery date. They are now scheduling for some time in February, 2004. I am so excited that I can hardly stand it! I am supposed to hear from them at the end of the week with a surgery date.
9/23/03 I went to my primary doc today. I decided to get a tune-up to see where I stand on my bloodwork etc. I have had some pretty serious blood problems in the past. My doc was thrilled with me. She has been behind me all the way from the beginning of this journey. She changed some of my meds and I also found out that I have lost 26 pounds. I actually think I lost more than that and I have gained some back, but at least I am down from the 374 that I weighed when I first saw Dr. Huse. I have my psych appointment next week to get cleared there and more appointments with my primary, dietician, and the pre-op testing doc. Seems as if I am going to be busy with appointments. My partner Linda is standing behind me all the way. I am so very lucky to have her in my life. I have to wait a week to have my bloodwork drawn to see if the new med Dr. Lois gave me kicks in. I will write back with the results.
10/23/03 I had to have an appointment with a hemotologist. Seems that my anemia was getting out of hand. I ended up having a major heavy duty IV of iron. It is supposed to kick my system into making blood. My surgery date is 2/11/04!
1/3/04 I had another appointment with the hemotologist. My blood looks good right now. I can proceed with the surgery plans.
1/6/04 I had an all day meeting at St. Vincents Hospital. There were about 30 of us pre-ops in there. When we got there, they weighed me and took my picture. I have lost 40 pounds! We met with a dietician for the first 1/2 of day, then with the nurse practicianer for the second 1/2 of day. They packed us full of information, then they gave us some freebies. They gave us a video to watch about Lovelox, a blood thinner injection that we will have to give ourselves after the hospital, a bunch of paper work, piles of information, and A lunch bag that contained a baby spoon, a sippie cup, and some of the things we will be able to eat in the first 6 weeks. They also gave us these tiny 1 oz. cups. We will be eating 2 of those at every meal after surgery. I am feeling much more relaxed after getting all the information that they gave us. I don't like not knowing what is going to happen and I function much better knowing everything, even the bad stuff.
1/9/04 I have to admit that I am a little nervous these days. The waiting is hard, and knowing that the surgery is coming up in about a month is even harder. My next stop is an appointment on the 19th for my pre op testing. Everyone is talking about the surgery now, even people that I don't know. I guess it gives the folks at work something to talk about. I am feeling really lucky though that the people there support me so much. It will make it all much easier. My friends and Linda still continue to be a constant source of support. I am soooooo lucky!
I have also decided to try to get a little healthier before surgery. I have 33 days to go. I figure a little walking and drinking more water may help me a little. Time will tell!
1/20/04 I had my pre-op testing done yesterday. In 4 hours at the hospital I had Bloodwork, Urine, Chest X-ray, Upper GI, EKG, and Pulmonary Functions testing. The only test that was really bad was the Upper GI. The stuff that I drank was nasty. Three courses of nasty to be exact. My intestines still aren't very happy with me. I saw a Dr. in the afternoon. He told me that my test look good and he asked me if I had any questions. I guess that my next stop is surgery. I can't believe that it is finally coming up. It is 3 weeks from tomorrow and although I will be really glad when it finally gets here, it suddenly feels like the time is flying by.
I really have a lot of faith in the folks at St. Vincents. It is a beautiful hospital full of the nicest competant people. I feel like this is a really good program, and my heart tells me that everything is going to be okay. I was skeptical for awhile and I had a rather gloomy feeling about the whole thing, but I think that I was just worrying because there was way too much unknown staring me in the face. I have done tons of research on this subject, but I needed for the folks that would be taking care of me to tell me what they are going to do before things started to feel more comfortable.
I went shopping last weekend for extra sippy cups and baby spoons. I have to use those for the first six weeks and having one of each just wasn't enough. I also got food that I would need some slippers, and my vitamins. I also had to order a robe and a nightgown so that I would look somewhat presentable when I was taking my walks in the hallway at the hospital. I guess that I am as ready as I can be for now.
1/21/04 Don't even know how to type this right now because I am so bummed. The doctor's office called and they are changing my date. It seems my doctor has been called for jury duty and I will have to wait 2 more weeks to 2/25/04. My rational part of my brain tells me that it's only 2 weeks, but my irrational emotional self is angry and sad. This "only" two weeks makes me have to deal with the emotional nonsense that comes with this surgery for two more weeks. I am not a patient person and I hate the waiting. I don't have any choice but to wait and deal with it. I also keep thinking that I can't imagine them not letting a surgeon off of jury duty. Linda got her jury duty papers last week. I told her that I thought that it was an honor to serve on a jury. She says that maybe Dr. Huse feels the same way and that he isn't trying to get out of it. I guess that makes sense, but GRRRRRRR.
2/23/04 Okay, so the waiting wasn't really that bad. It actually went quicker than I thought it would. I am feeling a little nervous, but I am ready to get this over with so that I can start my new life. I am saying prayers and I will be okay. See you on the other side!
6/1/04 It has been a very long time since I updated my profile. Much has happened and I had a pretty rough time of it for awhile, but I am back and I am doing better every day. I came through my surgery and I was doing pretty darn good for about a week and 1/2. I was walking as I was supposed to, eating my liquid diet, and I hadn't taken any pain medicine since I left the hospital 4 days after surgery. I felt positive and I thought I was on my way to recovery. Then everything went rolling downhill at an amazing pace.
I started feeling run down and I had pain in my back near my shoulderblade. It seemed to get worse over a couple of days and then my temperature went up. I called the doctor and he told me to go to the emergency room to get checked out. When I got there they took blood, did an x-ray, and returned the verdict that I had pneumonia. I was pretty shocked. They sent me home with a powerful antibiotic and I took it for 5 days as prescribed. I noticed as the time went by that I wasn't feeling any better at all, and by the fifth day, once again I had a temperature, the pain in my back was increasing, and overall I just felt horrible. I called my surgeon again, and he said that I should go to the Emergency room again. Since I live about an hour and 1/2 from the hospital where I had my surgery, I went to the hospital in Bloomington. The Emergency room doctors did test, saw that I still had pneumonia, and then they called my family physician who came into the hospital emergency room to see me. She decided to admit me.
It was already pretty late when I got to my room. My room was in Progressive care and I wondered what in the world I was doing in there instead of being put on a regular floor. After awhile, I dropped off to sleep. A couple of hours later, I woke up. I was shivering, and my whole body was shaking violently. I managed to push the call button and the nurse came in. That was basically the last thing I remember until somewhere around 6:30 a.m. when I came out of a fog to a room full of nurses and my doctor. They told me that they were moving me to Critical Care and they wisked me through the halls. I spent the next 4 days there. Apparently, I had a huge infection in my abdomen that had caused my diaphram to be lifted up causing the pneumonia. During the night, I had gone into Septic Shock and I was staring death in the face. My blood pressure had dropped to 40/30 and my heart rate was pounding along at a rediculous pace around 250 BPM. They apparently had quite the time trying to get me stablized.
They took me down to the Cat Scan Machine and using the images they put a drain into my side to drain the infection. They started pumping me full of two different antibiotics by IV. I stayed in the hospital for about five weeks. I got C-Diff from those antibiotics which they gave me another antibiotic for. I had my lung drained, only to have it collapse and then fill up with fluid again. I had a "giant" hemotoma on my side that pushed down on my leg causing extreme pain and weakness. I worked with the therapists there to get myself walking and to get my strength back. I could go into detail after detail, but I will leave it as it is because I still can't quite deal with the whole experience. I am very lucky to be sitting here writing this, and I am grateful to everyone who worked to save my life and to the wonderful caring people who kept me alive and smiling though all of this.
Through this whole experience, I tried to remain positive, and many people told me that my attitude through it all was pretty amazing. They all asked me at least once if I would do the surgery all over again. My answer is a definate YES! I have lost 96 pounds already. I feel better every single day, and I appreciate life and people more than ever before.
I have had occaisional problems with throwing up, but I have never had "dumping syndrome". I eat what I am supposed to and nothing more. I eat the correct amounts and I take my supplements as I am supposed to. I no longer crave food and I haven't felt hunger since my surgery. Food is now fuel. It isn't a celebration, a crutch, or a friend to take my pain away.
I will stop here for now. Hopefully I wont take me as long as it has this time to get back here.
Tomorrow is my 7th month anniversary. My life is so much better than it has been for years simply because of loosing 143 pounds so far. I exercise at Curves 3 times a week and Linda and I go biking 3 times a week. I am able to do things that were only a memory before my surgery. My quality of life has come rushing back to me and I am amazed everyday at this new and improved life. Thank God for this surgery and for the heath care people who make it possible. With all the complications that I went through, I can truly say that I would do it all over again to get to this point. Life is wonderful and living it so much better is a wonderful gift that I have given myself. I have about 80 pounds to go, but I am on my way and I will get there. Do something nice for yourself today. I will!
10/4/04 The picture below was taken about 30 pounds heavier than I am now. I am one happy chick!
11/17/04 I have been an exercising fool the last month or two. I am going to Curves 3 times a week, biking on the off days when the weather lets me, speed walking at break time rather than sitting doing nothing, and I have been adding steps to my days by doing things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator and parking further away from things, etc. For the first time in my life, I can actually honestly say that I am really enjoying exercising. I have also been working with some weights in the evenings and doing some calisthenics.
I have found that although lots of friends and even Linda told me that they would exercise with me, for the most part, I am on my own. Now instead of letting this bum me out, I decided that really it was my journey and my responsibility to get out there and do it, even if it means doing it alone. So that's exactly what I do. Now Linda will get out there and take walks with me at times and she likes to ride bikes, but Curves and the rest is all mine. I recently ordered some Richard Simmons workout tapes, and I think that Linda will do them with me when they get here. Time will tell. If not, there is always Richard...lol. I am down to 204 pounds and I can't wait to get past the 200 mark. I swear I haven't weighed under 200 since I was in Jr. High School. I can almost smell 199 and I can sure hear it calling my name!
I now also use fitday.com to track my daily food intake and my daily activities. It has really helped me to identify what foods I need to eat, and I have modified my diet because of it. It also gives me incentive to keep my behind moving. I can't say it enough, this surgery is the most awesome gift I have ever given myself and I would go through all the bad stuff all over again to feel like this any day.
The holidays are coming. Thanksgiving is next week. I am not worried at all. I know now that I can, have and will do this till all this weight is gone. The only thing is, now I am having issues with all the skin though. It is making me feel a bit bizarre. I feel like I am buried under it, and that it isn't really part of me. It's kind of like having an alien beast hanging around you, and it moves like it has a mind of its own. Yuck is all I can say, but oh well. So much skin, so little time...
My clothes are getting on my nerves. I can't afford to buy new ones all the time, and right now I have 3 pair of jeans that I am making work all the time, and thankfully (but much to her dismay because it makes her feel fat I think) I am now fitting into Linda’s shirts. I even borrowed a pair of her sweat pants today so that I could work out without flopping material. They are a size Large, and I can't believe that I fit into them or her shirts for that matter. In her behalf though, she wears her clothes on the large side.
Gotta go for now... Peace to all that come this way!
1/7/05 - Well it's been awhile and a good deal has happened in my life.
In the end of November I noticed pain in my incision area. There had always been a bump there since the day of my surgery, but my doctors said that it wasn't a hernia. So the pain was getting irritating, especially after working out at Curves so I broke down and called my doctor. Turns out it is a hernia after all. My family doctor sent me to a surgeon. He was the same one that had done my gallbladder surgery a couple of years ago. He was amazed and proud of my weight loss and his nurse who I had seen many times couldn't figure out who I was until I showed her my driver's license. It still shows me as a super obese individual. She just stood there looking back and forth from my picture to me shaking her head and smiling. I digress... sorry.. The surgeon ask me about my surgery and when I told him the gory details of my brush with death he said that he would rather not touch the hernia until at least summer. He doesn't think that my body has had time to recover fully from the Septic Shock. Sounds good to me because I really don't want to have another surgery yet. Still getting over this experience in my head too! He told me that I shouldn't lift over 10 pounds, should bend over only when I support my hernia, and the killer, I can't go to Curves anymore. That one scared me. He did tell me though that I can still walk, climb stairs, and swim for exercise when I asked him what I can do. I decided I would quit going to Curves and that I would join the YMCA so that I could swim. I haven't done that yet, but I will now that the holidays have past.
The next thing and probably the biggest deal for me (even bigger in my head than the hernia thing) was that for the first time in my adult life since junior high school, I WEIGH LESS THAN 200 POUNDS! I was on a miserable plateau stuck at 206 for what seemed forever, so I talked to the Dietician and she told me to increase my food. I was thinking that she had lost her mind, but she hasn't let me down yet so I did what she said. The weight started to go down again after just a couple of days and poof, I lost 7 pounds. That day when I weighed myself, I cried. I cried for the sadness that the weight had given me in the first place, and I cried for the extreme happiness that I felt because of loosing the weight. I danced around the house and around my job for a week. OH HAPPY DAY!
The holidays were a bit strange for me. I went to Maryland to visit my family. I had a wonderful visit with them, but there was one thing that bothered me. FOOD. I felt like life was revolving way too much around food as is usually the case with my family. I choose not to subject myself anymore to things like candy, deserts, etc. These things were everywhere, and although I did okay, I am glad that the holidays are over. It's easier to control what I eat here at home and I feel safer because of that.
We had our annual New Year's Eve party. Although I slid healthy things into the menu for the night for everyone, they really seemed to enjoy the food. They kept coming back for more and commenting on how good everything was. I didn't tell them that there wasn't any sugar in anything and they didn't notice that there were a reduced amount of carbs. Makes me wonder why people don't eat that way in the first place!
Well I think that I will end this for now with my not necessarily in any order top ten list of what this year has meant to me...
1. It was the worst year of my life because I nearly died.
2. It was the best year of my life because not only did I live, but for the first time in years because of the weight loss I REALLY lived.
3. I have gained quality of life this year. This is HUGE!
4. I feel proud of my accomplishment and of myself.
5. I can enjoy all kinds of activities now with Linda that I never could have before.
6. I go anywhere I want without worrying about will I fit through, in, or around something.
7. I now buy my clothes off the rack and I don't have to go to fat girl stores anymore.
8. I am now more open to other people because I feel better about myself.
9. I have gained a bunch of self confidence.
10. I feel happier than I have felt in my whole life!
Happy New Year Everyone! May this year bring you as much beauty as last year has brought me!
1/25/05 Well, today I am 11 months out and I hit a milestone. I am now 1/2 the woman that I was 11 months ago. I started at 374 with a BMI at 62.2 and today I am 187 with a BMI of 31.1. It is incredible! I really can't believe that I am below 200 let alone down to 187. My heart is singing and my body is sighing a huge woooooo of relief. Life just keeps getting better and better...
I can't believe that I am 11 months out. In just a month I will celebrate the most amazing year of my life. Until then I will just set another attainable goal and go on. I think my next goal will be for me to weigh 179. Weird amount right? Well at 179, I will no longer be labeled OBESE. I will move to OVERWEIGHT. Some people would faint if they were labeled overweight, but when you have come down from SUPEROBESE, OVERWEIGHT seems like quite a victory. 8 Pounds.... Gotta look towards that and keep on moving. I have set myself little goals all along the way. Obtainable numbers that I can celebrate are the way for me. Of course there was -25 lbs, -50 lbs, -100 lbs (a big one), 150, and weighing under 200 (a HUGE one). After I get to being OVERWEIGHT, I will need to loose just 5 more pounds for another goal. That's when I will have lost 200 lbs. I am giving myself a pep talk in my head, can you tell? Whatever makes it work!...
4/6/05 My year anniversary has come and gone. Actually, I am now a little over 13 months out from my surgery. I haven't checked back lately because things have been busy. Still loosing and life is beautiful! I am walking about 3 miles a day, and I feel great! My BMI says that I am no longer obese. I am now considered to be simply overweight. That is a huge thing for me. I want to be "normal" (never thought I would say that). At least in the normal weight category. I have always enjoyed myself being different. Unique is a wonderful thing and I don't want in the least to be average or normal in any other way.
I have been shopping for wedding garb. My partner's daughter is getting married next month and we have all the festivities to attend. I bought a new pinstripe suit. It looks pretty darn good on me if I must say so myself. I hope that it isn't too big by the time the wedding gets here (or do i?). I need to get some new summer clothes. I am wearing Linda's stuff right now. Otherwise I would be running around shirtless. I guess I am going to make that a priority really soon.
My skin is becomming more of an issue as it gets warmer outside. I now have trouble with infections in the folds and I would love to have all of the extra skin gone. The thing is, I am scared to do it. Almost dying and all the hospital stuff I went though has done some weird things to my head. I am now pretty Dr. and hospital phobic, and the thought of surgery makes my head swirl. I guess for right now, I will just put it out of my head, but as the weather gets warmer and I sweat more because of the heat and because I am a lot more active, I get a little more miserable each day.
I have been going to support group meetings for WLS people. I leave there feeling pretty darn good every time I go. It is a pretty big pat on the back to me that I am one of the biggest loosers there too. A pre-op woman there brought her elderly mother along, and the mother sat beside me. As we introduced ourselves to the group and I gave my numbers, the woman looked at me with sweet grandma eyes and she kept telling me how proud she is of me. I had never met the woman before and when she left, she hugged me and she again told me how proud of me she is. I wish daily that my Mom had lived to see me loosing this weight, and for a moment I felt like she was there looking at me through those kind elderly eyes. My heart was totally full. Pretty cool experience!
Be kind today... you never know who it will effect in what way!
I found myself wondering why I haven't written here lately. Life can sure get in the way sometimes. There have been a lot of changes since I last updated. First of all, I have now lost a total of 208 lbs. It's a whopping total that has made a world of difference in my life.
I still walk everyday, and I have joined an exercise group at the local hospital that is designed for Bariatric patients and is run by their rehab department. I work with physical therapists, exercise therapists, a personal trainer and others in their department. They have designed an exercise program just for me that allows me work out without hurting or making my hernia worse. I am seeing a definite difference in my muscles, especially my abdomen. That makes me very happy. I am having a little problem with a small weight gain because of the muscle that I am building, but I will get over it. I can actually make a muscle and see it! That's a pretty big thing for me.
We went to my partner's daughter's wedding and I got to wear my dream suit. It is Ralph Lauren, and it is absolutely beautiful! I had to buy that suit because the pin striped suit that I talked about in my last post was too big when I tried it on. I am actually glad that it happened though because I felt better in that new suit than I had ever felt before. I'm glad that I got to feel that amazing feeling.
I love buying clothes now! It is such a cool thing to go to any store and to be able to find things that fit. I actually have choices now! That's a far cry from having to buy ugly stuff from women's catalogs that I never knew whether or not they would fit me. It's amazing how much easier it is to be in my skin these days (even if there is a lot more skin than I need left from loosing).
I got a promotion at work. I don't think that I would have got this promotion if I hadn't lost weight. It's a lot easier for me to go the extra mile these days and I find myself doing that in all aspects of my life. My energy level is so much higher, and frankly I think that people view me with a new respect because of the weight loss. I also think that I have so much more confidence that it carries over into all areas of my life, and people see me differently that way too. I can honestly say that I am proud of me for the first time ever. I feel okay to do the things that I never would have tried before. I really do feel like a butterfly that has escaped its cocoon, and I have no reason to hide anymore.
I had a little strangeness at one of my Bariatric meetings last week. A woman who is now going to have Lap Band surgery lost her mother last year after she had Roux-en-Y. She had the same complications that I had, and in front of the whole group of 30-40 people she asked who had had those complications and had lived. They all looked at me because they know about my problems, and she then looked to me for some kind of answer about her mother. I truly was taken back, and I tried to help although I didn't quite know what to say. It was a weird moment in my life that I wouldn't want to relive. The meeting seemed to turn into a them vs. us (lap band vs. gastric bypass) and I left wondering if I would ever return. I found out later that I wasn't the only one, and that there seems to be a jealousy held by the lap band people because they don't get the results that we have. I hope that they soon understand that we are all fighting for the same thing. Simply put, life.
We are planning a vacation for the first week of August with my sister and my niece. We are going to the beach. I tried on 20 different bathing suits to find out that there isn't one that works for me now. My skin from my apron tries to escape out the bottoms of the legs. Gross, but true. I ended up buying a couple of jogging tank tops with a built in bras. They are form fitting and they work just fine on the top. I then had to buy some men's swim trunks. It sounds weird, but it works and I want to go swimming without having to worry about being embarrassed when something falls out of where it needs to stay.
Life always throws you curve balls. We have the choice to swing and hit it out of the park or to stand and watch it go by wondering whether or not we would have hit it. I choose to swing at it. I may have extra skin, (which is bearable under clothing) but I will keep on keeping on and I will do what I want to do.
Peace out to all!
It's been quite awhile since I posted. Things with me are wonderful. Christmas with my family was good, and since they hadn't seen me for quite awhile, everyone noticed the difference. For Christmas, Linda got me something that she promissed me 2 years ago when we were Christmas shopping. I was looking at leather coats with a far away look in my eyes when she came up to me. I told her how much I had always wanted a leather jacket, but frankly, to get one at that point would have required a whole cow full of leather and they just didn't make one my size. She told me then that she would buy me a leather coat of my choice when I hit my goal weight. She followed her promise and I got my leather jacket for Christmas. Even though it has been cold, I have to wear it everyday just because I feel so good in it. It's almost like getting an award or something, and I feel proud every time I put it on. It is a women's size Large. No XXXs needed! I am grateful and happy and I love my girl. She knew what this meant to me, and she is awesome for remembering.
I found a picture today of Linda and I on our cruise a couple of months before my surgery. I have to say that it was absolutely weird to look at myself. I must finally be seeing a thinner me in my head, because when I looked at the picture, I didn't recognize myself. I found myself looking into my own eyes wondering what was going on in her head while I was pittying myself. It's very strange to say the least, and I will never forget the pain that the weight brought to my life.
When we were getting ready to go out today I asked Linda to take some new pictures of me. Needless to say I had to have one taken in my new leather jacket.
Life is good, and I am a very happy girl.
If you are reading this and you haven't had surgery yet and you are thinking about it do it. It will be the best gift that you will ever give yourself and it will change your life for the better in amazing ways.
I am here if you need me... just ask...
Linda and I have joined a new gym together. We have worked out there a couple of times this week since joining and I couldn't be happier. Before my surgery, Linda told me that she would exercise along with me during my journey. It just didn't happen. We have started eating healthier together, and are on our way to working off some pounds that don't need to be in our life. Linda actually gained a few pounds during my trip to healthy. I am not sure how that happened. Perhaps I lost them in our bed during my sleep and she rolled over and they stuck to her. I bet it could have even happened at some point while we were snugling. I bet the pounds jumped from my butt to hers while we weren't paying attention. Either way, she found them and now she is going to loose them. I am tagging along to see if I can drop a few more pounds too.
I couldn't be prouder or happier that Linda has come to a point where she wants to do something to make herself healthier. I also am benefitting by having a workout partner to make it better for me. Life is good when your living it. Film at 11.