- HEALTH TRACKER
Before & After
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Latest Surgery Support Comments
I was always a "chubby" child. When I was in the sixth grade, and only 11 years old, I started my first diet. Unlike most 11 year olds who were calling their friends, I was calling my sponser from Teen OA every night to report what I was eating. Since then, I have been on every diet imaginable, losing and gaining hundreds of pounds over the past 31 years.
I am now a 42 year old mother of two beautiful girls and weigh more than I have ever weighed in my life, even when I was pregnant. I cannot do the things I want to do because of the excess weight. I want to be able to live a long and healthy life with my family which is why I feel that weight loss surgery is the right choice for me.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - The Consultation
Today I went for my first consultation with Dr. Holover and boy was I nervous! I brought along my Mom for moral support. After spending hours filling out forms on the internet, I was surprised to find out that I needed to fill out MORE forms. Good thing I brought copies of my internet forms because a lot of the questions were the same.
After my meeting with Dr. Holover, I felt so much less nervous. He was so friendly, personable, and patient. He explained the entire procedure and answered all of my questions. (and boy, did I have alot of them!!) Then my Mom asked even more questions, and he answered them too!! The whole thing was a very positive experience.
I left the office with the "red folder of death", as my sister calls it, an appointment to have an endoscopy with Dr. Holover, and an appointment with the nutritionist, Sharon. I was on my way down the long road to the loser's side.
Monday, June 18, 2007 - The Cardiologist
Today I met with Dr. Papaleo for my cardiology consultation. I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a cardiologist. After an in-depth history, I had an exam and an EKG. It was at this time that he told me he wanted to do a stress test and echocardiogram. I was glad that I didn't need to get the thallium stress test unless the stress-echo was abnormal. I scheduled my stress test for June 27 and was on my way.
Thursday, June 21, 2007 - The Endoscopy
This was an interesting experience because my mother had an endoscopy done by Dr. Holover the same day!! We met in the BJ's parking lot and we drove to Mercy Hospital together. My step-father came with us so he could drive us home. They took me in first, had me change into a hospital gown and started an IV. Then, in walks my mom in her hospital gown!! Luckily, they put her on the stretcher next to me. We had a few laughs while waiting to be taken to the endoscopy room.
When they took me to the endoscopy room, I met the anesthesiologist who gave me some very nice medicine that made me feel great! I was glad to hear that they were not going to make me gargle with some medicine that I heard was awful. They put the mouthpiece in my mouth and the next thing I know, I was finished!! Dr. Holover said I had some slight redness in my stoomach, but nothing else. I was very happy to hear that because I have had stomach problems all my life, and I was worried that something would be found that would prevent me from having the bypass.
I was brought back to the holding area, given some juice, and had the IV removed. By the time they brought my mother out from having her endoscopy, I was dressed, discharged and ready to go home. I was a little tired and had a slight sore throat, but otherwise felt fine.
We actually stopped at the diner on the way home form the hospital and had breakfast! It was good to finally have some caffeine. My mom dropped me at BJ's and I drove home myself!
Wednesday, June 27 2007 - The Stress Test
I think I was more nervous about this test then the endoscopy. I am so out of shape I was dreading the exercise part of the test. I had to go on the treadmill for long enough time to get my heart rate up to a certain point. After what seemed like an hour (and was actually only 7 minutes!!!) the doctor said I could stop. I was so glad because I didn't know how much more I could take. I was breathing heavy, my heart was racing, and I was sweating like a pig!!! (If you have ever had a stress echo, you know that the next part is difficult.) I had to get right off the treadmill and onto my left side on a stretcher that I could barely fit on! Then the doctor said, "try not to breathe heavy" (Yeah, right!!). He did an echocardiogram which showed that everything was normal. Believe it or not, he said I was in better shape then he expected ... go figure!
Monday, July 2, 2007 - The Psychiatrist
This appointment was not stressful for me at all, as I have been seeing my therapist for years. My therapist was not surprised that I was going for the gastric bypass surgery. She has known me through thick and thin (literally!!!). She even knows some people that have had the bypass and have been very successful. She was very supportive and happy for me. All in all, the appointment was not only easy, but it was inspiring as well. I left the office knowing that I have someone else behind me, supporting me all the way.
Friday, July 6, 2007 - The Endocrinologist
This was one of the easiest consultations. The doctor took a history and did a very simple physical. I left with a prescription for tons of bloodwork. The last time I had so much blood taken at one time was when I was pregnant! Once the doctor's office got all the results and reviewed them, the doctor sent a clearance letter to the surgeon along with a copy of the blood results.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007- The Pulmonologist
My meeting with the Pulmonologist was very uneventful. According to my husband, I have become a very loud snorer! He has never heard me have any episodes of apnea. I informed the doctor that I didn't think I had sleep apnea because I am not tired all the time, even though some nights I get only 5 hours of sleep due to my work hours. After taking a long history and a short physical exam, the doctor took my oxygen level reading with a pulse oximeter. He then had me take a brisk walk around the hospital. When I returned from the walk, he took another oxygen reading to see if it had gone down after exercise, which it did not. Even though the doctor felt that I probably had mild sleep apnea, he didn't order a sleep study. The reason for not ordering the study is because the first course of treatment for mild sleep apnea is weight loss ....enough said!!
Thursday, July 12, 2007- The Nutritionist
I met with Sharon George, the nutritionist who works with my surgeon. It was a short meeting during which Sharon covered what my initial post-op diet would consist of (soft/mushy food for 4 weeks) as well as what type of nutitional supplements I would be taking, and what my protein intake should be. She gave me a packet of information that covered everything she did and more. It was alot of information to digest (no pun intended) so I was glad to receive the same information on paper. I will be seeing Sharon again post-op for more nutritional counseling to help me make smart and healthy choices immediately after my surgery and the years ahead.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007- Second Consultation
At this appointment I met with the surgical physician's assistant (PA) who reviewed everything with me. She looked over all of my consultations to make sure everything was in order. She also filled out my surgical consent form and instructed me to bring it with me on the day of my surgery. I was not surprised to see that I had gained 8 pounds since my first consultation. Ever since I decided to have the surgery I, like many other people, have been feeling like I have to eat everything that I won't be able to eat after the surgery.
After meeting with the PA, I met with Dr. Holover who reviewed everything in my file again. He also asked me if I had any more questions and patiently answered every one of them, even if I had asked them before. Then it was time to see Stephanie who would be setting up a date for my surgery.
At this point, I was ready to have the surgery the next day but, as my Ziggy luck would have it, the first open date was September 4. I actually turned that date down because my kids start school the next day. So, I took the next available date which is September 11.
Thursday, August 30, 2007- Pre-Surgical Testing
Today, I went to Mercy Hospiatl for my pre-surgical testing and pre-surgery class. Pre-surgical testing consisted of a brief meeting and exam from a hospital PA, bloodwork, urinalysis (including pregnancy test), chest x-ray, and EKG. Then myself, and 5 other pre-op patiens of Dr. Holover/Garber met with Anna Stoessel, bariatric coordinator, for an informative class. Anna took us steb-by-step through our surgical experience. She explained everything that would happen to us before, during, and after surgery. We discussed what we would need at home after the hospital, and ideas of what to eat during the first month post-op. Then she answered all of our questions (and there were many). The entire experience took close to 4 hours,, but it was well worth it.
Saturday, September 8, 2007- The "Last Meal"
I went out for dinner tonight with my children, sister, mother and very good friend. Everyone says not to call it the last meal, because eventually you will be able to eat almost everything you ate before surgery. My sister, whose 1 year surgeversary is on Sept.12, is proof that this is true. We went out to a Greek restaurant in my neighborhood because I wanted to have their Mediterranean Chicken dish which is so delicious, but loaded with fat. While at the rstaurant, I ran into 2 women who I had recently met at a local support group, what a small world!
After the dinner, we went to my house to take some "before" pictures. Every time I look at myself in pictures, I am shocked at how large I am. I also took pre-surgery measurements. While at my house, my sister took a set of 1 year post-op pictures and all I can say is WOW!!! What a difference a year makes. (Check out her page at: http://www.obesityhelp.com/member/petmomkaren/) She is truly an inspiration to me and everyone around her who is pursuing WLS.
We all had alot of laughs during dinner and during the "photo shoot". I will remember this day forever.