- Name: Erica Alikchihoo
- Username: Womyn42
- Location: Denver, CO, USA
- Member Since: 9/2/2008
- BMI: 26.0
- Post Op
- Surgery Type: RNY (03/02/09)
- Surgeon: Michael A. Snyder
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Surgeon TestimonialMichael A. SnyderMy first impression of Dr. Snyder is that he passionately wants to help obese people become healthy. That impression never changed. He gives you all the tools you need to be sucessful in his program, right down to employing a registered dietician and a notebook of things to expect, things to do to prepare, a shopping list of things to have on hand for after the surgery, a list of expectations as to what you should be doing after surgery to become healthy, and many more tabs.rnrnThe office staff was very helpful, although I sometimes had trouble getting calls back. I just had to be my own advocate and keep calling and leaving messages, and emailing when the calls didn't work.rnrnI didn't dislike anything at all about him. He is high energy, and sometimes that's a little intimidating to someone who is basically sedentary like me, but I hope that as the weight comes off, my energy levels will go up, too.rnrnHe demands execellence of himself, and he demands it of you, too. Make sure before you have your surgery that you KNOW what you are going into, and the side-effects you could experience because of it. Make sure you follow his eating suggestions BEFORE surgery so that you know how you'll eventually be eating after surgery. LOSE WEIGHT before surgery, it helps him be able to move around in your belly. He does address the risks of the surgery, both physical and emotional, and warns you that there will come a time you'll wonder \"why did I ever do this?\" I told him that time would never come.rnrnHis aftercare program is excellent. There are several different support groups you can attend at the hospital, and he requires visits to his office the week after surgery, then 3 weeks post-op, then 6 weeks post-op, and then again at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months, and thereafter once a year. At the first 3 appointments, you also attend nutritional classes so you know what you can be eating and how to transition to the next steps.rnrnI would rate Dr. Snyder a 10, extremely competent, enthusiastic, personable, helpful (he even gives you his personal pager number in case you panic or have problems). And his bedside manner is great, along with his surgical competence.... both are wonderful!
- Books & Literature - I LOVE to read, will read any genre, but tend to stick with particular authors
- Cats - We've got 4 - all
- Theater - I live near and LOVE the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and go often.
- Music - Goddess music, and country-western
- Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender - Lesbian
- Beadwork - Goddess rosaries, earrings, and bracelets
- Grandchildren - I've got 3, all boys, from 9 months to 5 1/2 years
- Reading - Autobiographies, science fiction, historical fiction, comparative religion
- Mind, Body and Spirit - I create ritual to implement change in my life, I also do spiritual healing
Erica Alikchihoo's JourneyClick Here To View
Describe your behavioral and emotional battle with weight control before learning about bariatric surgery.
I was always "lush" - "curvy" - no skinny-mini for me. I look back at pictures of myself, and I was NOT fat, but I was constantly TOLD I was overweight, and my parents constantly had me on "diets". I was 5'9" and weighed between 140 and 145 most of the time. But my relationship with my parents was not the best, and I ran away from home at age 16. Ended up being kidnapped, raped, beaten and held hostage until I believed that I deserved to be where I was. Took me nearly a year to get out of that situation, and only then because he killed two of my pets. I was so afraid of him that I left the state, made some bad decisions, ended up pregnant, and had to come back home to my Dad and Stepmom's. I had the baby, and then to prove to my...
Down 120 pounds now, and can sit with legs... on October 16, 2009 9:07 am
I can hardly believe it..... I have lost over 120 pounds since September of 2008. I've gone from a size 28 pants, to a really baggy size 16. I'll have to be getting new pants soon! And I've had to give away nearly everything in my closet. Some of the things I just can't bear to give up, so I'll try to have them altered, but I don't know if that will work. I went shopping at Macy's the other day, just to TRY ON some business suits that would be suitable for job interviews (because I've got to get down to business now, finding a job), and was amazed that even with REGULAR size 16 outfits (not 16W), the skirts were invariably too big for me, although the jackets seemed to fit fairly well. At least it gave me a starting point to order a couple of suits from Roaman's catalog. I know, I know.... I swore that I'd never order from a "big lady's" catalog again, but their suits are half the price of Macy's (and the ones at Macy's were on sale!), and they go down to size 12W, so I guess I can still get stuff there for a while. Too bad WalMart doesn't carry women's suits!! HaHaHa!
Also.... I just want you to know.... I am sitting here at my kitchen table with my legs crossed at the KNEE!! I don't even remember being able to do that as a teenager!
And I wanted to comment on exercise (I know.... one of our favorite topics). When this whole journey started, I could not walk far because of the pain in my back and legs. I'd maybe get 500 feet and have to stop and huff and puff for 3 or 4 minutes. Then, I'd have to sit down every chance I got, to wait until the pain was eased enough to go further. Finally, my surgeon said that I could substitute the stationary bike for the walking.... but even then, I was only able to ride it for 7 minutes at an intensity level of 1. NOW..... I'm at the gym for nearly 3 hours at a time. I walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes at 3 mph. I ride the stationary bike for 30 minutes at about 11 mph and an intensity level of 7. I do the elliptical or the rowing machine (at level 10) for 15 minutes. Then, I do about half an hour to 45 minutes of physical therapy exercises including some Pilates, and half an hour of weight training, and finally, I do about 25 minutes of swimming the breast-stroke. I've had to buy a snorkle and mask to do it because I am not allowed to raise my head out of the water to breathe - it would put my back into a "flexion" position that my physical therapist says is a no-no. But the point is.... I'm ACTIVE again!!! I can WALK again!!! I can move without significant pain!!
But, the epidurals I was getting that made all this possible have stopped working. I spoke to the neurologist on Tuesday, and she is ordering another MRI for me to see what's going on with the back. Seems she is not as enthusiastic about the minimally invasive X-Stop surgery now as she was 6 months ago, and is not as willing to consider it. She also says that the only insurance that covers it is Medicare. She DID say that if I wanted to push it, she would attempt to get BCBS to authorize the surgery, but she wasn't optimistic about it. I told her that I am not willing to go the route of laminectomy and fusion yet... but that Flexeril was not working and the Norco that I've got is knocking me for a loop. Seems the more weight I lose, the loopier I get when I take it. So, she suggested Neurontin (or Gabapentin). It's specifically for nerve pain. I will pick up the prescription today and see how my body reacts to it.
I REALLY do not want to lose these physical gains I've been able to make. Except for my back, I feel like a whole new person! I'm ecstatically happy and ready for whatever life has to throw at me. I hope I get a wonderful job that will tide me over till it's time to retire. I've got applications in for federal, state, and city positions, in addition to Kaiser (where I'm considered a "strong" candidate for their open position). Anyone here work for Kaiser? If so, what is their policy with regard to WLS and post-operative follow-up? Will I be able to change over to a Kaiser doctor who is knowledgeable about WLS and malabsorptive issues? I'm a little concerned....
Anyways, here's to a greatly improved life and outlook on things!!
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