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Surgeon TestimonialC. Thomas Hitchcock M.D., F.A.C.S.Dr. Hitchcock reminded me of the father of a guy I probably should have married. He is caring, honest & has the bedside manner of a saint. He is totally interested in continued care of his patients; there is lots of structure. He let's his patients know the true risks of the surgery & what may happen if you have it, or if you choose not to have it. I would trust this man to operate on anyone....he helped me save my life.
- Crafts - Give me some glue; popsicle sticks & glitter & I'll make a masterpiece
- Cats - 1 Burman/Siamese looking stray - Simon
- Dogs - 1 Cairn Terrier - Duffy & 1 Dashchund - Mya
- Theater - Love it! I'm involved in community theatre on & off stage
- Music - Broadway showtunes & contemporary Christian
- Christianity - I love Jesus & He keeps it all together for me.
- Horses - 4 year old Mustang - Skyye; 22 year old Paint - Dakota & Welsh pony - Tempo
Amy E.'s JourneyClick Here To View
Describe your behavioral and emotional battle with weight control before learning about bariatric surgery.
Denial, denial, denial. I ate because I was happy, sad, angry, frustrated, etc. I told myself it was ok because I deserved it. I ate a lot of food when I was alone & then didn't eat a lot in front of people....how could I be overweight? No one ever saw me overeat.
It's not that easy!!!!!! on April 4, 2007 2:53 pm
Ok, I'm talking about riding a bicycle. You know the saying...."just as easy as riding a bike"....if it's been 30 years since a person has ridden, it's not easy.
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I bought a new bike this past Sunday. Hopped on it Monday evening after work & golly gee, I almost wiped out trying to turn around in the street. I was wobbley & my balance was off. So, I just rode up & down the street to get back into practice. It felt so good to ride a bike again. I now feel muscle aches in my hiney...I didn't know I had muscles in my hiney!!!
Jesus Christ has Risen...He has risen indeed!!!
The mighty world traveler on March 29, 2007 8:27 am
I have just returned from a fabulous 9 day trip in Amsterdam, Netherlands. I can't begin to say how wonderful this trip was for me. I know that I could not have enjoyed this trip a year ago. My plane ride was 10 hours....I fit in the airplane seat; I fit in the airplane bathroom & I my butt didn't hit people as I walked down the aisle of the plane.
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Amsterdam was not built for overweight people. The staircases are narrow & steep; there are few elevators & so the only way up is to climb the stairs. I visited the Anne Frank house museum (incredible & very humbling)....I could have never gotten into the part of the house where the family hid...you actually have to enter through the bookcase & walk the steep staircase to the hidden backrooms. I would not have fit in the staircase this time last year!!!!
I was also able to walk around the city without getting exhausted. Amsterdam is flat, so there aren't a bunch of hills to climb. I walked so much, I actually lost about 15lbs.!!!! Thank God my plateau has ended for now. I even indulged in some typical Dutch food. I took a trip to Brussels & had a couple pieces of good Dutch chocolate. I didn't dump, but I also took tiny bites & I didn't over indulge. I enjoyed chocolate that way it should be enjoyed...slowly & I actually tasted chocolate, I didn't just "woof" it down & shove it in my mouth. I also tried some other breads & things that I won't be eating on a daily basis. It's so wonderful to be able to enjoy food the way it's suppose to be enjoyed. In portions that are small enough to satisfy.
I'm excited to say that I am 16lbs. from "Onderland".....I never thought I would be this close to this number. Wow!!!!!!
My BMI is now 35.9 & I'm still in the "Obese" category. However, 41 more pounds & I will be considered only "Overweight".... then, I would weigh 175. I can't even imagine weighing so little....it's insane!!! I think I weighed that much when I was in 1st grade!!!!
This surgery saved my life & it's been a wonderful ride.
Ek...Ek....Equus! on February 15, 2007 11:50 am
I had a milestone moment last Saturday. I actually got to ride my Mustang for the first time. It was wonderful. She is a fabulous horse. It was wild though, I started to put my foot in the stirrup & I froze. I pictured myself as too big to get on a horse. I've been so big for so long that it's hard to "see" myself as thin enough to ride a horse. I finally got up the courage & I threw my leg up & over the horse with such height & energy that I almost went over the other side of her. It felt so good to ride. The best part is that because she is a Mustang, she is totally focused on me. She isn't a loose cannon ready to go off at any moment, when she is afraid she freezes & waits for me to help her feel comfortable. I'm not use to a horse like this, I know how to hold on for dear life & then bail off when a soft part of ground comes flying by!!! Ha!!! I'm excited to ride her again this weekend....
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Oh yeah, weight loss...I've hit a plateau, no problem, I feel great & I know that I will begin to lose again. I'm not in a panic. I haven't been exercising lately, it's just too cold...poor excuse, but that's what it is. I'm looking forward to warmer weather & soon!!!
It's a milestone!!!! on December 26, 2006 9:17 am
I stepped on the scale this morning and, to quote "Fiddler on the Roof"..."Wonder of wonder, miracles, miracles..." I have lost a total of 100 lbs!!!!!! Yeah!!!! I'm so happy & excited.
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This morning I went back to see Dr. Sabapathy, the bariatric psych., I like going to him, especially now after surgery. He has been a tremendous help & I fully believe that he has helped me be as successful as I have been. Being overweight my entire life is more of a mental thing that is has been a food thing. Ironically, I was easily able to avoid all the sweet treats that have been around during the holidays. Food is easy to forget about, I just work out my feelings of sadness or rejection or being alone or whatever by thinking about those feelings & trying to think of happy things & how blessed I am, rather than wallowing in self-pity. I suppose that's the thing I didn't learn how to do when I was a child, I learned that food was the way to happiness.
I had a great Christmas, the best part was going to see my Mustang at the trainers....I actually got to see him ride her. What a fabulous, wonderful thing. I almost cried. The next time I get to see her I'm going to be able to ride her. That should be in about a month...perhaps I will lose another chunk of weight & I'll be able to swing myself into the saddle. The best part about this horse is that she is only 14 hands high, so she is small enough for me to get on gracefully. I use to have a 17 hand horse & I had to scramble to get on her, or lead her to a picnic table/deck/etc. to get on. I'm only 5'5" so a tall horse is a challenge.
Life is great!!!!
Happy New Year!!!!!!
....it's Christmas time in the city...... on December 22, 2006 9:04 am
Today I put on size 18 jeans. I don't remember a time when I wore anything that didn't have a 2 or a 3 in it....what a fantastic Christmas present for me. I've lost almost 100 lbs. I think I'm having a mental block of getting there. For the past few weeks, I've been "playing" with 2 lbs. that are bouncing back & forth. It's a crazy ride & I love it.
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I am currently working on a play, "Enchanted April." It's a lovely story & I play the Italian housekeeper. All of my lines are in Italian, it's so much fun. Anyway, in one scene I greet the owner of the home (he has returned from business) & we make it as big & silly as possible. On Tuesday, the actor actually picked me up & swung me around. It was over before I knew it, but I FLEW!!!!!!! It was so neat...no one has ever been able to pick me up before...ever. The only bad thing is that he grabbed me so hard that I think he may have cracked a rib or I pulled a muscle. My chest hurts when I take a deep breath &/or cough & it aches a bit. I certainly don't want to spend Christmas at the Dr. office, so I'll wait until next week....if it continues to hurt.
I am blessed & this is the merriest of Christmases for me!!!
June 27, 2006
I have been "hovering" on this website long enough & it's time to actually work on my profile.
I am 42, single, no children....golly, this sounds like a personal ad in the paper!!! I've read so many profiles & my story is very similar, I've been overweight my entire life, been on every diet known, I have shelves of dusty diet books (some I even read & followed!!). I would lose weight & regain what I had lost, plus more. I don't remember how much I weighed in school, it was all I could do to forget the numbers, but I know I was huge. I remember in grade school (probably 3rd or 4th grade), my brother teased me that I weighed 114 lbs. I keep asking hiim to taunt me with that number now, but he just laughs---he's an "evil" younger brother.
Growing up, food was always the reward. My mom would buy snack cakes & cookies & things then tell my brother & I it was for my dad. How unfair!!! We would sneak the goodies & eat them all when our parent's left the house. When I got older, I learned to bake & I could bake anything & have the entire house clean & most of whatever I baked gone before my parents would return from work. I was also shy as a kid....not really, but everyone told me I was shy & that I was a good reader, so I didn't do much of anything physical. Our family got a horse when I was in 6th grade, so all through Junior High, I showed horses, I remember the woman who gave the lessons told my mom that I was really good, but I would be better if I lost weight. Sigh!!!
My high school, college, etc. same as everyone. I continued to gain more weight & I learned to be funny & tell the jokes before anyone else could. I got involved in theatre in college (shy my hiney!!) & fell in love with it, I have a Master's in Communication with an emphasis in theatre (but I work in Insurance...that's a different story). Anyway, I worked a lot of backstage & small parts on stage & I continue to do that today. I just made sure I auditioned for parts that would be "size appropriate." I made a lot of friends & the majority of my friends were gay guys. They really know how to make a big girl feel good about myself. I adored them.
Fast forward 20 years & I'm still overweight, I had resigned myself to be a big girl my entire life. My best friend from right out of college told me about a girl she worked with who had weight loss surgery & how amazing her transformation was to watch. She suggested I look into it. I thought it sounded silly, I'd heard about stomach stapling & I knew (because I thought I knew it all) that it wouldn't work for me.
In Feb. 2005, I saw the daughter of a friend of my mom's. She had the surgery the previous November & she looked incredible. I couldn't believe she was the same girl. We emailed a few times & I decided I would look into surgery. I talked to my PCP & she wasn't all that excited, but she recommended a wonderful surgeon, Dr. Hitchcock.
I attended a seminar in June '05 & I was hooked, I didn't realize there were so many people who felt the way I did & here was something that will help me & it's so much better than reading the latest fad diet. I started the process with Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Long story short, they had me jump through many hoops & then in November, I was denied. Not to be discouraged, my company was changing insurance carriers & I would start in January with Definity Health.
Definity had many more hoops to jump through, I had to have all of the tests for surgery, prior to their acceptance. I did it all. I even had to have a negative H.Pylori test & a negative alcohol & drug screen....passed everything with flying colors & in May I received my approval letter.....tears of joy & what the hell have I gotten myself into???!?!?!?
So, I meet with Dr. Hitchcock last week & his nurse comes in & asks when I want to have the surgery. She offered me July 18!!! Lordy, that was way too soon (I know, some people are dying here reading that I turned down a date), plus I'm in a play that closes the 30th of July, so my surgery is scheduled for the day after...July 31, 2006. Yeah....I'm excited.
It's taken me a little over a year, but I was patient & I didn't let all the hurdles get me down, I was just determined to jump all of them & I did & successfully. My advise to any of you who are caught in the insurance "game," just be patient, do exactly what they ask you to do & smile when you talk to them on the phone. You can cuss them all you want when you hang up!!! :-)
Anyway, now I'm trying to drink 72oz of water each day & walk 8000 steps, the water is easy, harder to get the steps in since I sit at a desk all day long. The steps will come though.
That's my story, I have enjoyed reading so many stories about people similar to me, I'm excited to become a loser with you & I support & feel your pain to all the people who are getting closer & closer to approval.
God bless & thank you all for your stories!!
July 16, 2006
Soooooo, in two more weeks, I will be getting ready to go to surgery. WOW!!! I knew I would reach this point & I'm ready. I have trouble expressing my emotions about this surgery to others, they ask if I am excited & scared. I tell them yes, but I don't know if I'm really excited or scared, I'm just ready to basically get it over with so that I can begin my "transformation" (that's what my friend calls the surgery...I think it's a great description). Why am I not excited you ask? Well, I'm going to lay on an operating table, gas will be pumped into my body, knives are going to cut through my skin & my organs are going to be perminately changed....I'm not excited to be going through the procedure. I am excited to see the result of what I will do AFTER the surgery. I know it's going to be a struggle, I know that I am going to have to work hard, etc. I know this isn't a "magic" cure. I think getting this close to surgery, I am more fearful that it won't work for me....I'm not sad about this, because I know it's the old "tapes" playing in my head, but the closer I get, the more worried. How can you tell people that you are worried? Especially when they don't understand all the emotional issues behind weight gain. They would simply say, "If you are worried, don't have the surgery." But I can't not have the surgery, I am ready for this lifestyle change and I want to change and I am determined to follow the rules exactly. I'm thinking that these feelings might be "normal."
Do I have a fear of dying? No, realistic thoughts, but no fear. I love Jesus & I know that I have nothing to be afraid of in the death department. Am I afraid of the pain? No, I am a big fan of pain killers & I plan on using them. I had surgery 5 years ago & I don't think I ever felt pain....I say if you can get the pain killers---use the pain killers!!! I've never had children, but I would want an epidural the first day I was told I was pregnant!!!! HA!
Well, I'm off to do whatever & enjoy the day....of course it's 100 degrees outside & 99% humidity, so I'll be finding air-conditioning things to do.
July 30, 2006
Tomorrow is the BIG day!!!! 7:30am. I'm not really all that nervous right now. I planned this surgery so well, I'm in a play this weekend, so my mind has been more on my performance than on the surgery.
The play I'm doing is a two woman show called, Parallel Lives: The Kathy & Mo Show. It was written by Kathy Najimmy & Mo Gaffney. It's hysterical & my co-star & I have so much fun with it. We are performing at the Kansas City Fringe Festival, if you have a Fringe Festival in your area, take some time out of your day to support the Arts in your community. The Fringe Festival is lots of avante garde performance pieces; art; dance; theatre; etc. I feel so blessed to be a part of the experience, the only problem is that I don't have the chance to see too many other performances.
Here's the "fun" part...my show is at 5pm today.....I begin the ol' bowel prep in about an hour (1pm).....we don't have an intermission in our show, but.....perhaps we will have an emergency intermission. If I'm nervous about anything, it's that the "go juice" won't kick in until midway through the show. EEEK!!
Actually, I'm not that worried, I have some advise, I don't think it's "sage" advice nor do I think that it's anything people don't already know, but it's this: Why worry? Through my entire experience (which began April 5, 2005), I haven't worried. I am a Christian & I know God answers prayers that fit into His plan. If God allows it, I accept it. I wanted this surgery last year & the doors closed, I didn't worry, I just went on to the next thing & I was patient. I have never gotten angry at anyone, not at the system or the wait time. I've kept busy with my life, I didn't let surgery be my entire focus. You won't be successful if you put all of your energy into the surgery & you forget your life. If you do, what will you do after surgery?
I have friends ask me if I am scared or nervous. Well, it is surgery, so somewhat, but I'm focused on my life, so I'm thinking about all the plays that I will audition for in the upcoming months. I am thinking of my life beyond surgery & not on what I can & can't eat....my focus isn't on eating...my focus is on living. Soooo, that's my soap box, granted everyone is different, but that's what helped me. This surgery isn't the reason I'm living, the surgery is going to help me live longer....saggy, baggy skin & all.
The next time I write, I'll have had my surgery & watching the pounds melt off like butta. Of course, it's hot enough right now that if I sit outside long enough, I will melt like butter.....if only it were THAT easy!!
God bless you all ---- I know He has blessed me!
August 6, 2006
I am back from the hospital & feeling great. I stayed for three days, my kidneys didn't want to function, so I stayed an extra day...let me tell you, they are working fine now!! I'm drinking an average of 50 to 60 oz. of water a day. I'm eating sugar free jello, chicken broth & sf popsicles only right now. Next week I am able to add the soft proteins & protein shakes.
My hospital stay wasn't all that horrible, I did have a person in the room with me & she drove me insane. I think she was using all the nurses as her personal wait staff & so they were busy tending to all of her needs. I was just happy to get out & sleep in a bed without anyone moaning next to me!!!
Let's see....pain...it isn't as bad as I expected it to be. Actually, nothing has been as bad as I thought. I hardly used the morphene pump in the hospital & I don't take my liquid pain killer much now that I am home. Every once in a while I might have a dose just to help me sleep more comfortably. I think the part most "painful" is the gas they used to inflate my belly. Walking has helped get rid of the majority, however I can still feel it moving around in my body. I feel weak quite a bit, but I think when I can start adding protein, that will go away. The staples itch quite a bit now, but that is just healing, so that's a good thing. I don't have any drainage from any of the incisions, I don't have any tenderness...except for where the incision is stapled. I think my belly looks like Stonehenge, six little dashes in a circle.
I don't know if I am unique, so many profiles have told about pain, discomfort, trouble with eating & drinking. I don't think I'm the exception to anything, I'm hopeful that I'm more of the norm & that the majority of the people who have this surgery feel as good as I do. I haven't regreted this decision one bit & I don't miss food. I have been given my life back & I can't be happier.
Thanks to all the well wishers, I appreciate the thoughts & prayers, I know God was with me the entire time, I am so blessed!
Now...I'm looking forward to doing all the things on my "to-do" list. I have booked a flight to Chicago in November, so I'm sure I will be able to fit in the seat by then. :-) I think I'm most looking forward to being able to ride horses again. I have a pony & I'm getting a cart for him this coming week (very excited), but there is nothing like the freedom of being able to ride a horse & feel comfortable.
I'm off for a walk now.
Blessings to all of you!!!!
August 21, 2006
Last night I threw up for the first time, I thought perhaps I could try some hamburger...wrong!!! My little pouch became very unhappy, but it's the first time & it sure let me know it didn't want hamburger ever again. :-) I was rushing things a bit, but that's how we learn. I should know that rushing through this process won't be a good thing, I haven't been rushing previously, that's for sure.
I'm not weighing myself now, I decided that the number wasn't a factor so much as getting my health & my life back. I know that I had to buy new underwear today...2 sizes smaller than before. I know that I feel great & I'm feeling better all the time. I do get tired if I try to do too much during the day, but my rest period is much shorter.
I find that I don't care about food. When I see an ad for something I think it sounds good, but if I talk about wanting it, the food becomes unappealing, I just don't care or feel as if I want it. I use to love cookies & I could eat an entire package in one sitting (something I am oh so proud of....not!!!). So I looked at the sugar free cookies label....I was so turned off by the cookies & lost interest. I'm learning to be creative with the protein I am able to eat & I find that I like it. I also find that I'm really not hungry, so I have to pretty much force myself to eat enough, but trust, I'm eating enough.
Again, I firmly believe this surgery is all about your attitude. If you are positive & you don't focus on a number or focus on how you will change into a rich, successful, beautiful person, you will be successful. Remember that the surgery will not change anything that is currently negative in your life. What it will do is HELP you to stop being able to focus on food as a source of enjoyment or pleasure and will allow you to see food for what it is, nourishment. If you are overweight now, start enjoying life as much as you can right now, do all those things that you are able to do, right now, don't wait for the surgery to make your life better, your attitude now will determine your success. This is the best decision for my life I have ever made & I will continue to do the things that made me happy previously, I'll just do them now without breathing hard or the chub on my legs rubbing together.
Blessings to all of you!!!!!!!
November 27, 2006It's been 4 months since my surgery. I'm down 90lbs & I couldn't be happier. I made it through Thanksgiving & it was easy...very easy. Instead of being self conscious of what I was eating & eating more food than is normal for one person, I had fun. I enjoyed spending time with my family & friends. AND the best part, I did eat. I had turkey, a bit of potatoes, a bit of stuffing, some black olives, sweet potatoes, veggies, etc. I had a taste of everything I wanted to taste. I didn't eat pie or dessert, but then, I really didn't have a desire to eat the sweet desserts. I had a spoonful of sweet potatoes & put a bit of whipped cream on top & that was plenty of dessert for me. I didn't feel sick after eating, the rest of the people were miserable & had to nap...I didn't have to nap, as a matter of fact, my sister-in-law & I went for a walk after dinner (it was a beautiful Thanksgiving in the 70's!). This surgery has saved my life & I can still enjoy everything about the holidays, but just in moderation & I am satisfied. I'm excited for Christmas now.
Here are some successes:
My BMI was 55.4 & now it is 40.6.; I've lost over 12 inches from my waist alone; I have ridden in an airplane without needing a seatbelt extender AND I used the fold down tray; I've purchased zip-up jeans from Wal-Mart..no elastic waistband-size 22 - they are almost too loose for me now; I can't wear any of my rings because my fingers are getting smaller...that means I'll have to do some jewelry shopping...oh darn. :-) I finally weigh less than what it says on my drivers license.
All of my blood work, cholesterol, blood sugar, etc. is NORMAL, I'm getting in plenty of protein, I'm adding some good carbs., I have energy & I'm feeling good about myself.
I have loose skin all over my body, but I don't care right now, eventually I will decide what to do about it, but I can't tell you, dear reader, how happy I am that I have loose skin.
Enjoy the holidays & don't mourn the fact that you can't eat something, rejoice in the fact that you are still living & you can enjoy the fact that today is Monday or Tuesday or whatever day. Be blessed!!!!!!