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Surgeon TestimonialMark Fontana, M.D. F.A.C.S.Dr. Fontana, is a quiet, young doctor who I believe is an excellent surgeon. His credentials, experience, and kindness are all reasons I ultimately chose him as my surgeon. rnrnDuring my hospital stay Dr. Fontana visited once daily and monitored my progress with a great deal of attention even coming by the hospital on Saturday evening to remove my drain so that I could go home! (Thanks Dr. Fontana.)rnrnThe Norfolk Surgical Group program/process is very comprehensive (before and after care programs) and at times the before requirements can be very frustrating. It is important to stick with it; the end results are very rewarding! |
It's been a year! on July 13, 2008 5:55 am
Where did the last year go? A year ago today I was recovering, not as uncomfortably as I thought I would be, at Norfolk General Hospital from my gastric bypass surgery. The highest weight I saw on a scale was 305 lbs. WOW! What a heifer!!! In January of 2007 I began the journey of weight loss surgery. In order to have the surgery I had to quit smoking…okay done! I had to attend classes and seminars, meet with psychologists, have numerous blood tests, a body scan, meet with a nutritionist and a exercise physiologist and the worst part of it all….quit drinking diet coke! I did it ALL…EVERYTHING!!! And a year later, I still don’t smoke and I haven’t had a diet coke.
When I made the decision to have this surgery, I told myself this was my ONLY shot at losing weight FOREVER! In order to be successful, I had to do this regimented and to the T of what my surgeon and nutritionist recommended. I stuck to the plan 98%. Here is where I may “cheat”:
1. If the glass at a restaurant is dirty; I’ll use a straw.
2. I eat protein supplements in the form of protein bars; my surgeon believes his patients should be off all protein supplements and getting the protein from “real” food.
3. I’ll eat fat free pretzels and chips. What can I say?!? I love the crunch and the salt.
Basically that is it! I don’t cheat. I NEVER eat fast food. I have NOT HAD 1 carbonated beverage. I don’t eat sweets. I NEVER drink with my meals…and always wait until 30 minutes after to begin drinking again. And the biggest change I have made:
I go the gym at least 6x a week…but usually I go 7 days a week!
Going to the gym has gotten me to where I am today, 1 year out, 148 lbs. slimmer, and SO MUCH HEALTHIER!!! I feel horrible if I have not been to the gym, my day does not feel complete. This is a big change for a girl who hated the thought of walking from the car to the store even if it was to buy shoes and/or purses! :)
I didn’t make it to my goal weight at 1 year out. Honestly, I am a little bummed about it, but I refuse to let it ruin my happiness with the entire journey. I have roughly 20 more lbs. I would like to lose. I am hoping to have plastic surgery within the year to tighten up some abdominal skin and inflate the deflated balloons I have hanging off of my chest. All in all, it has been an extremely successful year and I am looking forward to the day I can post that I am at goal….140 lbs! YAY!!!
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11 months out... on June 16, 2008 12:11 pm
One month to go and I will be a year post-op. I have not lost as much weight as I would have liked in the last few months, nor will I be at my goal weight by 1 year out, but I know I am continuing to make progress eventhough it is slow. This past month I had a set back with the gall bladder removal, I could not exercise for 2 weeks (my surgeon gave me the go ahead to continue with cardio at my post-op check up.) One of my incisions is infected, but otherwise I feel great. I no longer have the severe pain during my evening meals.
It is really hard to believe I have lost 135 lbs. and sometimes I find myself still thinking I weigh 300+ lbs. The number on the scale shouldn't be all that matters, but I feel like until I get to the number I have been shooting for, I will continue to be a prisoner to the scale. Every morning, after most meals, after exercising, and before I go to bed I weight myself. I am aware that this is not healthy behavior, but until I get to my "special number" I will not be satisfied. Yesterday I went shopping, and it is unreal that I can buy not only from normal, regular stores, but I wear a 12...sometimes a 10 (at BMoss).
My plan was to buckle down in this last month before my surgiversary, but I cannot seem to get focused. Now that I am out of work for the summer it is going to be even more challenging not eating throughout the day.
11 months out...135 lbs. down!!!
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My gallbladder on May 24, 2008 6:54 am
Sooo...I have been feeling a lot of pain after meals for about a month now. For the most part I could get through it and pray it didn't come back. It didn't happen after every meal, just mainly my evening meal. Last week I promised my mother I would call the surgeon and figure out what is going on. My mother, a nurse, told me to be prepared that it was my gallbladder and it would most likely need to be removed.
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This past Monday I went in to see my surgeon's PA and she told me to take a few perscriptions and have an ultrasound of my upper right quadrant. Thursday I went in for the ultrasound and was told my surgeon wanted to see me in the next day for an appointment instead of next week like originally planned. So yesterday I go in to see Dr. Fontana and he tells me my gallbladder needs to come out immediately. I have a gallstone and it is most likely what is causing the pain. While he's in there he said he was going to look around at the surgery from last summer (Gastric Bypass), look for hernias, and take a look at my bile duct.
I WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW...I BEGGED FOR HIM TO TAKE THIS WHEN HE DID MY SURGERY LAST SUMMER! I KNEW I WAS GOING TO HAVE PROBLEMS...ITS IN MY FAMILY. (I am not mad at him...I realize policy and procedure has to be followed on his part.) I WAS RELIGIOUS ABOUT TAKING THE ACTIGALL TO PREVENT THIS...AND NOOOOO I HAVE TO HAVE ANOTHER SURGERY RIGHT HERE AT THE END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR (I AM A TEACHER) AND RIGHT BEFORE SUMMER. MIND YOU...THIS IS THE FIRST SUMMER I FEEL GOOD ABOUT MYSELF IN A LONG TIME. I WAS REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THE BEACH AND THE POOL, BUT NOW I HAVE TO WAIT 4 WHOLE WEEKS TO GO SWIMMING. I CAN'T GO TO THE GYM FOR 4 WEEKS EITHER. I GO TO THE GYM EVERYDAY!!!!
10 months out... on May 17, 2008 8:39 pm
As of last Monday I am 10 months out. I would love to be upbeat, but I have had a rough couple of weeks with the weight loss. I have not lost any considerable amount of weight in quite some time and if I even look at carbs I gain a pound. I heard somewhere on a message board that carbs are like crack and I TOTALLY AGREE! THE MORE YOU EAT, THE MORE YOU WANT!!! I spend most evenings eating popsicles and grazing on "allowable" foods, but REALLy want to make myself stop eating after a designated time. I just can't get myself to do it. I knew the last bit would be hard, but these last 25-30 lbs. are going to kill me. So while I have lost 131 lbs. I am not feeling so great about myself or this journey I have been on. I wouldn't go as far as to say I am depressed, but I am definitely down right now and hate that the scale determines my mood for the day/week. Hopefully I can find the stregnth and courage to overcome this, I know this will not be the hardest point of the journey, but I need to get over this NOW!
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9 months post-op!!! on April 21, 2008 6:40 pm
Well I am 9 months post-op (and a little change) and doing fairly well I think. To date I have lost 129 lbs. (hopefully tomorrow will be 130) and I am continuing my daily cardio workouts and a trainer 3x a week. A few weeks ago, about the time I started with the trainer, I quit going to pilates after the teacher was out and the sub was a ballerina...let me tell you, I quit ballet at age 8 for a reason! All is well though I will probably continue with the pilates this summer after school lets out and I have more free time.
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At 9 months out my diet has not changed much from 6 months. I do, however, find I can eat A LOT more and it scares the mess out of me. On an average day I take in between 1000-1200 calories, 20 g of fat, and 70-100 g of protein. My doctor said it was completely normal at 6 months for me to be consuming this due to the amount of exercise I engage in. On the days where I don't do the training I eat less protein. I have found myself testing the waters so to speak when it comes to sugars and certain foods. I will continue to stay away from certain trigger foods for me like: diet coke, ice cream (full flavor), candy (unless it's sugar free and that's only occassionally), and full flavor anything really. If I eat it it has to be reduced fat, light, fat free, or non fat. I have found myself craving carbs again and will indulge in the light chips or pretzels which goes against my nut and surgeons advice, but I figure it is a small compromise and I try not to eat it a lot. I do worry about the amount of food I eat to keep me satisfied, I do stop when I feel full, it's just the point at which I am full is so different now than even 3 months ago. I am really trying to watch portions and make sure I eat all the protein first so I don't fill up on carbs.
So at 9 months out I am almost 130 lbs. down and 25-30 lbs. away from goal. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to be there by July 12th my 1 year, but realize it is a long shot. I will keep trying for it though and hope I can come within 10 lbs. of it at the very least!!!
Being the “Big Girl” has been my place in life for as long as I can remember. As the eldest granddaughter on my mother’s side and somewhere in the middle on the other, I have always been the biggest of all my cousins. My parents, who in my opinion are average in stature, always provided meals consisting of hearty, tasty choices. My mother is a phenomenal cook! I have always enjoyed meal times with family and social occassions where food is present. Food is not only pleasing to the taste, but often to the eye. I grew up loving all kinds of food, including very healthy foods like salads, vegetables, and low fat options.
Being overweight has not, until this point, hindered me from enjoying friends, social events, and everyday activities. I was a very active child. My mother and Nana felt strongly about children playing outside and not sitting in front of a television for hours on end. Roller skating, riding bicycles, and playing endless games of kick ball are all fond memories of activity I remember participating in as a child. Developing friendships with peers was never a problem. I can remember always having friends, really true, loyal friends who would “stick up” for me when I was teased about my weight. Those friends will forever be embedded in my memories and I will never forget their kindness and compassion.
Being overweight never overshadowed my happiness. Until the past 2-3 years I was able to live a normal life. I went away to college, joined a sorority, made life-long friends, engaged in relationships with guys, and obtained employment as a high school fashion marketing teacher. I hear horror stories of people who are discriminated against because of their weight, and while I am sympathetic to them; I cannot relate. I have never felt judged by my weight in circumstances like employment or education. Throughout life I have been told I dress appropriately and trendy for my size. At this point I am aware of what is not attractive for someone my size to wear. I LOVE CLOTHES and have always been able to shop and purchase trendy, cute, and flattering clothes for my size!
My life as an overweight, and now morbidly obese, female has not always been pleasant. I have very vivid memories of teasing and taunting by childhood classmates, stares from people in restaurants, looks of sympathy when I did not fit into a seat at an amusement park, guilt for eating things I knew I should not, a deep sadness for not being able to wear clothes from certain stores my friends could shop in, not be able to go to the beach with friends in high school, and now at 29 the confidence and self-esteem to go out and meet new people.
At 29, I have decided to take a journey towards a healthier life. I have struggled with my weight my entire life and I do not want to live like I have been any longer. Few diets have helped me in the past. I remember between 7th and 8th grade losing roughly 25 lbs. with SlimFast, I was so excited when I stepped on the scale in the beginning of the school year and it said 161. What 8th grade girl is happy when the scale says 161?!? This one was, because at the end of 7th grade when I was weighed, I was 186!!!! I don’t recall another number on the scale until I was in the 10th grade and was weighed, by a fellow classmate, for a new marching band uniform. I weighed in at 214!!! It was, and I think is, the most shame, embarrassment, and low I have ever felt. I could not believe I weighed 214 lbs. For 3-4 months I was strict with myself about losing weight…I watched what I ate, did a few exercises each night in my room, and lost a few lbs. (I don’t know how much, because we did not have a scale at home). If I had to guess, I probably lost 30 lbs. My clothes were loose, I felt good about myself and I thought I would stick to it, but I didn’t. From the 15/16 I was wearing my sophomore/junior year in high school, I went up a size every other year through college and up to this point where I am a 24/26 depending on the store. You would think as much as I love clothes that I would have done something about my weight in college, when all my petite friends were shopping for trendy club clothes, and I was stuck looking through the racks at Lane Bryant. I can remember at the end of a night of drinking crying in the bathroom at a bar/club or party about how I wished I was smaller and more attractive. To this day, I am unsure whether my friends knew that or not, but I can remember more times than not crying myself to sleep in college because of my size. How come I did not do something? I don’t have an answer. I really was happy during the day, with friends, at sorority functions, in class, around campus and even when it was time to go out at night. It’s like I said before, being obese did not overshadow my happiness, but I was upset and ashamed of being SO big.
After college, my Aunt Maureen encouraged me (two times mind you) to go to Weight Watchers with her, because she had lost roughly 70 lbs. sticking to the plan and going to the meetings. I tried Weight Watchers 5 times over the course of 6 years. Two times with my aunt, not totaling a whole lot, maybe 20 lbs….2 times with my now sister-in-law (I lost a good amount one time, about 50 lbs.) and one time with my slim friend Ingird, who I think was just going to keep me company and I did not lose anything…NOTHING! For whatever reason I could not stick to it. Also during this time I joined 3-4 gyms only to quit going 2-3 weeks into it. Right now I have a membership to Fitness 19 and I am ashamed to say I have not been since February. I keep the membership because I know after the surgery I WILL be motivated to go. I want to do what I can to prevent myself from having to have further surgeries to fix the sagging skin.
So here I am...a month pre-op and I am super excited AND extremely nervous about this journey. My decision to have gastric bypass surgery has been met with some skepticism by a few of my loved ones. It bothers me that they are not truly supportive, but my mother is, along with a few others, and I know I can get by with that. In three weeks I will begin the full liquid diet. I think I might be more nervous about that part. For a WHOLE week I will be living on nothing but liquids! Today I started taste testing the protein drinks we’re required to drink during that week and following surgery. I know I will find something…but so far they have been horrible!