Sunday, July 24, 2005
I'm Shelley, and I'm 37 years old. I'm morbidly obese (374 pounds with a BMI of 68.4) with a whole laundry list of co-morbidities. I have Type 2 Diabetes, Hypertension, Elevated Cholesterol, Asthma, GERD, and Extremely Limited Mobility... just to name a few. I sent my application for Out of Country Approval to OHIP this past Friday, July 22, 2005. Now the waiting game begins. I am hoping with my whole heart to be approved and then to have RNY at Henry Ford in Detroit.
It is so scary to think I may not be approved. I have just recently started reading the message boards here, and I cannot even believe that OHIP actually turns people down for this surgery. They have to be nuts, or maybe just very cold hearted. I can't help but believe that if we were asking for approval for surgery for anything other than Morbid Obesity, we would be approved- no problemo. It's the idea that we have somehow caused our own problems, or that we aren't as sick as people with "real" diseases. It drives me up a wall.
I am so ready for my life to change in a positive way. I am way too young to be feeling like I'm in the final stages of my life. I have a two year old little boy and a wonderful partner, and I so badly want to have a good life with them. As it is right now, I am pretty much just existing. My mind is good, and I am a whole person in that way, but my body just isn't cooperating. That can have a way of putting a damper on things to say the least. No matter how much I want to be a part of things, I simply cannot. I can't walk very far, so I haven't really done much real living in a long time. I am ready to begin again.
My brother had open RNY last May, 2004. He started out at over 500 pounds, and now a little over a year later, he has lost close to 300 pounds. He says his surgeon is getting an award for the surgery he did on my brother. My brother says he's not a typical patient, so I shouldn't expect things to go just like they did for him. He is an amazing inspiration to me. He's a macho type guy, so it is hard for me to get all mushy and tell him how proud and happy I am for him, but I do try to let him know how awesome I think he is without embarrassing him too much. He lives in the States and his insurance from work paid for his surgery, so he never really had to do the kind of begging thing we have to do with OHIP. At least I think of it as begging.
I wrote a seven page letter to OHIP(before I saw the many posts saying the letter should be brief, LOL) explaining what my life is like, and listing all of my co-morbidities. I think it was a pretty good letter, if I do say so myself, but in the end, it still feels like begging them to believe that I really need some help. Now that I've sent the letter and application off, I am feeling really nervous and worried. I thought I would feel relieved to have it on the way to them, and I am in a way, but now all I can think about is the idea that they might say no. I read in the paper yesterday that Dalton McGuinty is going to make an important announcement about OHIP tomorrow, so that has me all worried. I hope it's nothing bad.
Health Care is in such a shambles as it is, I cannot imagine how they could even get away with taking anything more away from us. I know they can, but it just seems insane. Hmmm.. is it getting obvious that I'm a worrier? I can take the littlest thing and turn it into days, even weeks, worth of worry. I gotta cut it out.
Some of the posters here are so funny. I just love reading the profile pages. Also, for the first time in my life, I am getting the idea that there really are other people out there going through the same things I experience every day. Obesity is so isolating that I really just didn't get it that I'm not all that unique in this struggle. I have been so ashamed about some of the ways in which obesity forces me to live my life, that I never really looked around to see that other people go through this crap, too. It feels good not to be alone, but I wish nobody had to live this way. Take gentle care.- Shelley
Friday, July 29, 2005
Now that my application packet has been sent to and possibly received by OHIP, I am thinking off all the things I forgot to mention, or about how I could have improved my letter. I can't do anything about all that now, so I guess I'll just have to try to relax about it....AS IF....!!! This is so strange- Here I am stressing about possibly being denied the opportunity to do the scariest thing I'll probably ever do in my whole life. At the same time, it feels like the best most wonderful thing I could ever do for myself in my whole life. I just wish it didn't have to be so scary. I also wish that I wasn't in this position of having to decide to either have this potentially deadly surgery, or to just sit tight with these potentially deadly co-morbidities. I do a lot of wishing these days.
I read through the WLS Memorial Pages, and I think that's what's got me all buggy. I wept as I read, and I wept more later when I was trying to go to sleep. I didn't want anyone to see me crying because I am afraid to talk about how afraid I am. It seems like talking about all the awful things that could happen might somehow make those possibilities more real. I know that isn't reality, but rather fear directing my thinking. Fear is a big thing for me, in case that isn't obvious yet, LOL. I've always had a number of intense fears and they all seem to be related to dying, or losing loved ones. It's not so much actual death that scares me, but rather the process of dying. I am afraid of being afraid, if that makes any sense.
I'm thinking about this surgery constantly. It's the first thought that pops into my head when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I think of at night as I'm going to sleep. I am so looking forward to a new life. I read the profiles of people who have already had their surgeries, and I feel so hopeful and excited. I want to walk again, I want to ride a bike again. I always loved the freedom of riding my bike as a kid. It almost felt like flying at times. I want that feeling again!! I want to enjoy the power of my body. I am even starting to imagine myself feeling strong and confident. These are some the reasons that I must conquer these fears and have this surgery. I want the chance to live a normal life, and I just can't let my fears stand in my way. I pray for courage.
Today I walked a lot more than I've been able to in a long time. I feel more motivated to try and more willing to feel the discomfort and pain walking causes. I think part of it is because I'm feeling more hopeful that it won't always be so hard. I want to be as healthy as I can possibly be for the surgery. I'm hoping I can walk each day to build up more stamina and maybe even help to get by bp and sugar levels a little more in line. I'm not sure what my HBA1C needs to be to qualify for surgery, but it was 7.4 or something like that when I last had it tested about a month ago. I recently started taking Avandia in addition to the Metformin and Glyburide, so that should help.
My new Endo is really strict, and I am afraid to piss her off, so I've been trying to follow my meal plan more carefully. She told me that I have to be absolutely regimented with my meds and food intake. I've taken her seriously. I've heard from a few of her patients that she really knows her stuff and that she's help a lot of pretty sick people get their Diabetes under control. I'm hoping that will happen for me.
We are experiening a health care crisis and a doctor shortage in Canada, and more concerning to me, Ontario, so even though I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in June of 2002, and begged repeatedly for a referral to a Diabetic Specialist, I did not see an Endocrinologist for the first time until July of 2005. That's awful, and I think it really damaged my health to wait so long to get the right kind of care. The Endo is so busy that I can't see her again until November, 2005. She is the only one in two counties near me, so she has all the Diabetic patients for miles. The waiting lists make me feel like we're living in a third world country at times. Free medical care is only a good thing when the care is good and timely. That's not the case here these days. It's a sad state of affairs, and it is harming people.
Today I was sitting on the front porch blowing bubbles for my little guy (He's 2), and there were some people moving in next door. I heard them laughing and cracking jokes about the fat lady sitting on the porch, and I just could have crawled into a hole and hid forever. I didn't though. I just continued to play with my baby and told myself that people like that aren't worth my tears, but it did hurt. In a way, I am grateful to have had this experience of living on the planet as a Morbidly Obese person because I think it has given me an extra measure of empathy. I would never treat another human being in some of the ways that I have been treated due to obesity.
Last summer we lived on a busier street, and when I used to sit on the front porch there, people would yell things like Fat Ass, Cow, MOO, Here Piggy, and other similarly lovely comments from their car windows. No matter how many times I experience that, it is always such a shock and so painful. I don't think I could ever get used to it. Sometimes I wish I could talk to those people and make them understand that people like me are suffering human beings who don't want to live like this, but I'm not sure it would do any good.
It takes courage for me to go outside the house sometimes because I just know what I'm in for, and I am so ready for that not to be my reality. It just amazes me how bold people are when it comes to making fun of obese people. I've even had people make fat jokes directly to me, and it doesn't seem to occur to them that it might actually hurt my feelings. One guy I knew used to call me Pork Chops, and he just thought it was the funniest thing in the world. I hated it, but I never had the courage to say anything to him about it. I was only about sixteen at the time, and he was a friend of my step father who also thought this guy was pretty funny. I'll write again later. Take gentle care.- Shelley
Saturday, July 30, 2005
We went to the mall yesterday for the first time in five years. I have lived here for five years, and I have never seen the inside of the mall. We were able to go because they now have motorized carts for people who can't walk well or for very long. It wasn't as much fun as I'd hoped it would be because I really couldn't take the cart into any stores, but I did enjoy the freedom of just being there. The guy at GNC moved all kinds of things out of the way, so I could bring the motorized cart inside. That was so cool of him, and I didn't even ask him to do it. It was interesting to see how many different kinds of protein products exist. I am not at all sure what I will need in that department, but it was good to get started with learning about it. I will wait to find out from the doctors what I will need, and I am learning alot here from other people's profiles. My brother gave me a can of protein powder that he likes. It's made by ROSS, but I haven't tried it yet. I guess it is tasteless, and he uses it to mix with food and drinks.
I was self conscious at the mall and when J and the baby went to get the car, it was all I could do to just continue sitting on the bench. I don't know what's with me. I was feeling like I wanted to dig a hole and hide while I was sitting there waiting for them to drive up to get me. I can't possibly know what people are thinking about me, but I was imagining that they were thinking I was disgusting. Nobody said a thing, but I felt so uncomfortable just in my own skin. I didn't want to be me in those moments. I was so grateful to see J and T drive up. As soon as I got into the van, I was fine. I was in my comfort zone again with the people who love me no matter what I look like. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful partner, and our little guy is just the best kid ever. I am so thankful that they love me. I love them dearly.
I wanted so much to have a good time yesterday, and I did in a way, but the self loathing thing really puts a damper on things. It's really strange, but I am more self conscious since I've been getting ready to have this surgery. I think it's becasue obesity issues are on my mind all the time. J and I did have a good time looking at all the clothes I could possibly wear after I lose this weight. I have just mainly been thinking about possible health benefits after WLS, so it was a nice break to be thinking about something a little less serious. It's still hard for me to even imagine that I might one day be able to buy clothes right off the rack, but I'm getting in the groove. Right now I usually wear size 5X stretch jeans from Penningtons and 6X pocket tee shirts from George Richards. That's my basic outfit. Change the color of the shirt every day, and there it is, LOL.
I grew up pretty poor, and I've been obese all my adult life, so I have never really been one to have a lot of coolish clothes. I think it will be great to wear things that I actually think are cute.That'll be completely new for me. I like pink a whole lot, but George Richards is a men's store after all, so I really don't have anything pink these days. These tee shirts are the only shirts I have found that fit me anymore, so I am stuck with them for awhile. We used to buy shirts for me at a store called Farm & Fleet when we'd go to Illinois to visit my family. We bought one on our way back to Canada during this last visit in early July, but it didn't fit me after we washed it. I wasn't even sad about it because I am so used to it. Finding clothes to fit me has been a real problem lately. I have even thought of taking up sewing, LOL, but I can only imagine what I'd look like in clothes I've sewn myself. I've got enough self esteem problems already, LOL.
Well, I have to get ready to go to vegetable hunting at the roadside stands around the county, so I will write more later. Take gentle care.- Shelley
Sunday, July 31, 2005
I just spent some time reading at Susan Maria's site, and I have to say I really love that place. Her Rants are awesome, and I am beginning to understand more about the nutritional requirements both pre- and post-op. I don't have a handle on it yet, but I'm working on it. I went to another Nutrition store today to check out the proteins and vitamins. I was happy to see that there are some good products sold near my home. I have heard that it can be difficult to get good protein products in Canada, so I was so glad to see that are some available. I was kinda stressing out about that. Whew!!
I am not sure what I am supposed to be doing while I wait to hear from OHIP, so I posted some questions on the boards, and I will call my preferred surgeon,s office Tuesday, as Monday is a holiday here in Canada. I am wondering what tests I should be getting done while I wait, and I am a little confused about who is supposed to be directing me on this and ordering the tests. I am sure my PCP will order the tests, if I tell her what I need to get done, but I don't know. HMMM... this is buggin' me. I am also concered about how I will get a CPAP machine, if indeed I do need, and I am fairly sure I do. I am not sure how much OHIP covers of it, and I don't think our work benefits will cover any portion at all.
I find that I am consumed with this subject. I have been spending any free time I have on WLS stuff. I can't seem to read enough about it, and I am thinking about it all the time. I guess this is somewhat normal when you're contemplating such a drastic thing. I hope it is, LOL. I want to be as informed as possible about everything, so I know that I am making an educated decision. This is not something I am taking lightly at all. The last thing I want to do is leave my beautiful family. I am doing this, so I can be here on the planet with them. It's so hard to look at my wonderful little boy and feel that fear that I might not be here to see him grow up. It breaks my heart. That's why I have to have the courage to have this surgery. I believe it is the only chance I have at this point. I pray it all works out alright. Take gentle care.- Shelley
Thursday, August 4, 2005
I sent an email to Wanda from Henry Ford on 8-1-05 to ask if there were any tests I should be having while I wait to hear from OHIP, and she wrote back today,8- 4 -05, saying that I should wait to hear from her before having any testing, but that it was a good idea that I was trying to get a sleep study scheduled. It is hard to sit and wait especially when this is all I have been thinking about. I have been so preoccupied with it that I am little snappy and crabby. I need to calm way doooowwwwwnnnnnn!!! In a way, I have been resenting the idea that I have to make such a drastic choice in my life just to have a chance at staying alive. I think that sucks. I know I have to do it- it's just that I wish I could be normal without needing to risk my life for it.
This afternoon we went to look at a house we would love to buy, so that gives me something else to think about. The house was great, and there's a huge fenced in backyard. We desperately need a yard for our little boy to play in. He needs one just because he's a kid, but also because he is overweight at only 2 years old. His preemie care follow up doctor has mentioned this to us several times, so we are very worried about it. Last week when we took him to get his stitches out after a dog bite, the doctor was mortified at our son's size and kept asking us to repeat again how much he weighed and how old he was.
We don't have a yard at all at the house we live in now, so he doesn't get out to play as much as he needs to. It was so nice to see him running around the yard of the house we were looking at. He loved it!! He kept saying "Our House?" I know he would be thinner if he got more exercise, and I so want him to be a healthy person. I dread the idea of him struggling with obesity. It hurts too even think about it. He's such a great little soul, and I don't want him to hurt like I have. Living with obesity issues changes who you are and how you experience the world. I want my baby to have a chance to be undamaged by this kind of crap. I hope that we can all get our obesity issues under control before he is even old enough to remember. More later.... Take gentle care.- Shelley
Thursday, August 25, 2005
I received a certified letter from OHIP on August 22, 2005 stating that I have been approved for a pre-op surgical assessment. The confusing part is that it also said that the surgical consultation, sleep study, psych eval, and whatever else I need, is not approved as these tests are available in Ontario. I know other people who have had at least some of these tests done in the States at whatever facility they were having their surgery done in. I dunno. I hope everything's cool.
I have to go to Henry Ford in Detroit on September 6, 2005 for a 4 1/2 hour information meeting. I am looking forward to it. I hope I get to meet the surgeon, but I am not sure if he is going to be there. I am thrilled to finally have the ball rolling, but I was hoping for just an outright approval. That would have been better for sure, but I am grateful for what I have gotten so far. It is better than an outright denial for sure, LOL.
My sugars have been very low lately in the morning. My Endocrinologist said it could take a while for the Avandia to kick in, so I guess it has kicked in. Two mornings in a row, I have felt all of a sudden shakey, sweaty, weak, faint, and heart fluttery, and when I checked my sugar it was 4.3 one time and 4.2 the other. These numbers are actually a very low normal, but I always feel crappy when I am in the 4's. I am so ready to ditch some of this medication. I hope that I no longer need it after surgery. I think I am too young to be putting all this crap into my body. I feel sorry for my poor liver having to process it all. I would love it if I could keep my body free of anything, but vitamins.
I was always so proud to answer no to the question " Are you on any daily medications?" I figured it somehow meant that I was healthy despite the obesity. I was wrong. I honestly thought that if I hoped and prayed enough, I would never get any of the obesity related comorbidities. I was so afraid of them that I convinced myself that they just weren't going to be a part of my life. My Grandma used to warn me all the time about my eating habits because she was afraid I would become Diabetic like she was. I thought she was nuts. She always seemed to be complaining about health issues, so I wasn't the only one in the family that thought she was a hypocondriac. It was just sort of the way everyone saw her, and I was raised believing that. I wish I had listened to her.
We were approved for our mortgage to buy the house we are in love with. Everything is almost complete now, and we will move in October 7, 2005. The sellers have asked us if they can stay an extra week in order to the floors done in their new house. They have offered to pay our rent here at the rental house, so we are cool with that. I would love to move in as soon as the closing date of Sept. 28, but our goofy landlord here at the rental house is making us pay for October anyhow, so we might as well let the sellers pay the rent here, if they are willing, LOL. Shoot, they are going to pay for a whole month just to get an extra week in the house. Sounds good to me. More later. Take gentle care. Shelley C.
Sunday, September 4, 2005
Boy this journey sure is a roller coaster ride. One minute I am very positive about the surgery and my hopes for life afterward, and the next minute, I am scared to death and not at all sure that I am going to go through with this. I want the benefits of the surgery and the tool that it provides, but at the same time I don't want to have to do it because I am afraid of dying. J reminds me all the time that I will likely die from some obesity related complication, if I don't have the surgery.
I told her this weekend that it is just different to actually know when you go in for surgery that this might be the last day of your life. I know that any day could be, but it is unknown, so it doesn't seem as scary. Actually knowing the day that you will go under and possibly not wake up, or even die from a complication related to the surgery later- is terrifying to me. I'm a scaredy cat from way back, so I am fighting like Hell not to allow my fears to steal this chance for a new life from me.
I still haven't quit smoking. I know I have to, but it's harder than I ever imagined. Even though I have been smoking for 30 of my 37 years, I thought that it would be easy to quit for something as worthwhile as a new life. It isn't. No matter how much I understand that the smoking is hurting me and can cause problems during or after surgery, I cannot convince myself to just throw them out. I keep smoking until I almost run out, tell myself I wont buy anymore, and damn if I don't start freaking out about it before I even run out, LOL. I will do this. I just don't know how, yet.
My appointment for the info seminar is this coming Tuesday the 6th, but I am not sure if I will actually see the surgeon that day. I know I won't have an actual appointment with him, but it would be nice if he were actually speaking at the seminar. My PCP has not called me to tell me that I have been approved for the pre-op surgical assessment. OHIP sent her the same letter they sent me, but they haven't bothered to call me. I am glad I didn't have to rely on her office to let me know about the approval, or the seminar appointment. I'd still be waiting, I guess. I am going to manage this whole thing myself. I knew that would happen, but I was hoping the doc would step up to the plate a little on this.
She has not suggested any pre-op testing, but I am going to suggest some tests to her because I want to be as safe as possible. I know I am not healthy at this weight, so I don't want to put myself in harm's way any more than is necessary regarding this surgery. If there's a problem, I want to know about it before surgery. More later.... Take gentle care.- Shelley C.
Wednesday, September 7, 2005
Yesterday was a BUSY day. I was supposed to receive an information packet from Henry Ford with directions to the hospital, forms to fill out, and information I needed before the appointment. The info packet was sent by Purilator and they left us a notice on Friday saying that we could pick the packet up on Tuesday after 9 a.m. That was really cutting it close considering that we had to be in Detroit for the appointment by 4p.m. that day. We picked up the package on Tuesday, and then we scrambled like crazy to get everything filled out in a hurry, so we could get the baby to our friend who was looking after him in time for him to settle in before we had to leave. This was the first time he was ever left with anyone since the moment he was born. We have never even left him with family for even five minutes. It was stressful. We were leaving him alone for the first time in his life, and on top of that, we were actually leaving the country. Talk about some worried Moms. Sheesh, LOL!!
Of course, we were late for the seminar, and in the packet it said not to bother coming in if you were going to be more than 15 minutes late. When it looked like we just weren't going to find the place in time, I called and cancelled. Just as hung up the phone from cancelling, J finds the place. We decided to try to go in and see if they would let us in. Just as we were going in, they were saying "Last possible minute. Nobody else gets in." Whew, they let us in. It was informative as far as the rules and guidelines specific to their program, and it was good for J to hear some of the things I have been telling her, but from the pros.
We didn't get home until almost midnight, and we had to get to bed, so we could be up early to clean the house as our landlord is showing it today at 1p.m. I actually hate having people tramp through the house looking at everything, but I know we have to let them because the law says our landlord can come in as long as we have 24 hours notice, since we have given notice that we are moving. More later.... Take gentle care. Shelley C.
Monday, September 12, 2005
We bought some Nectar Roadside Lemonaide yesterday, so I can try to get used to the protein thing. At the info seminar I learned that it can be used to help with pre surgical weight loss as well as get the body ready in better shape for healing after surgery. It was 50.00 bucks, and man I gotta say, that was worst fifty bucks I've ever spent. That stuff is vile!!! I've read so many things saying it's great and doesn't even taste like a protein drink. BULL!!! I was sick for two hours after I drank that stuff. Just thinking about it now makes me woozy. I know I will have to drink it for sure after surgery, but just the thought of it is awful. If I can hardly stand it now with a normal stomach, I don't how in the heck I will be able to drink it after surgery. Maybe I'll get used to it. I also got some samples of Isowhey powder, so I will try them today and tomorrow. I don't think I could take it twice in a day, LOL.
We had a busy weekend. We had garage sales both Saturday and Sunday, but we only made forty bucks total. Oh well, at least it's less junk to have to put away and move with. We visited our new house yesterday, but it was kinda weird to have the current owners there. We were hoping they would let us have a look at it when they weren't home. I would have like to walk around dreaming out loud, but it felt strange with them there. It was still nice to get a look at the house again, though. I didn't go upstairs because I didn't want to be huffing and puffing in front of these people. That was another reason I was hoping they wouldn't be there. They let us look at it once right before we decided to buy it, and it was so much fun to just imagine where our things would go and how they would look. I couldn't remember what the downstairs bathroom looked like, so I am glad we went because it is so pretty, and that made me happy, LOL.
We gotta get crackin' on this packing. I just want it to be done and over with, so we can be in our new house. The front porch is huge like the one the Walton's had on t.v., so I am excited about that because I want to decorate for Halloween. There's plenty of space to hang all kinds of neat things. T is still pretty young, so the fun is mostly for us right now, LOL. He doesn't know what it's all about, but we are still kids at heart, so we get a kick out of it. A friend of ours gave us a little tiger costume the other day, but the baby cried when we put it on him. I hope he tolerates it on Halloween. Last year, he dressed as Elmo, and he was so cute. We lived in the country last year, and we had to bring him to town to trick or treat, so it will be nice to be able to do it in our own neighborhood this year. We didn't have a single trick or treater at the house in the country, so it will be more fun this year.
Well, I better get to the packing. More later.... Take gentle care.- Shelley C.
Monday September 26, 2005
I love my new profile. Thank you so much Carole. I had my sleep study done on September 21. It was truly awful. It was really hard to get comfortable with all those darned wires wrapped every which way. They were around my neck and everytime I moved they were strangling the heck out of me. I kept undoing the wires on my legs everytime my legs jerked. If it wasn't such a pain in the a**, it might have been funny. I layed there for hours and hours just trying so hard to sleep, but I couldn't. Finally after what seemed like forever, I fell asleep only to have the tech come in to tell me that I had slept for an hour. Well, thanks for waking me up to tell me that, LOL. I hated the whole darned thing, but I am glad I got it over with.
The doctor's office called the next day to tell me that I have severe sleep apnea with hypoxia. I am waking up 64 times an hour, which would explain why I always feel so tired. My oxygen levels dip down into the low 80's, so they are not sure if I will need a c-pap or a bi-pap. I have to go back for another night on the 18th of October, and I am really dreading that. I wish I could somehow have the machine titrated at home, but that isn't possible, so I will have to go sleep in that awful place at least one more time. I hope that's all. All total, they say I slept 4.2 hours. I sure didn't feel like it. My apnea ratio was 64.3, but I am not exactly sure what that means. I am going to have to run that by my PCP. More later.... Take gentle care. Shelley C
Sunday, November 6, 2005
Well, we are all moved into our new house and loving it. The backyard is great. The baby loves to play outside, and we love to see him play. I started with the CPAP machine, but so far I have only kept it on all night one time. I can't stand it. I know I need to use it, so I keep trying, but it is really hard because I feel like I can't breathe when I have the mask on. It is not as bad as it was the first few times I tried it, but I still find that I am taking it off in my sleep without realizing it. My pressure is set at 10 which the respiratory tech told me is a little high for a woman. I tried to get the sleep doc to lower it some, but he said that I need it that high to keep my oxygen levels up where they need to be.
I haven't heard anything from OHIP or from Henry Ford, so I am going to give them a call in the morning. The surgeon said it might be about a month before we would know if OHIP approved me, and it has been 32 days, so I think it's a good time to call. I still haven't quit smoking, but I am trying. I wish I could just put them down, but somehow I can't. I have to lose 30 pounds before my surgery can be scheduled, so I am working on that as well. I am going to check with the nutritionist to see if I can use protein drinks to replace at least one meal a day. I have to be careful not to lose weight too quickly because it could cause my lovely little gallbladder to freak out. I don't need that right now because I cannot have the gallbladder removed in Ontario. I just pray it stays calm until I can have the surgery.
We have a sweet new puppy named Sadie. She is a Yellow Lab/ Golden Retriever cross, and she is such a doll. We have always wanted a big dog, so it is nice to finally have a yard so we can have one. Our little dog, Hershey, hates the puppy, but I think she will come around eventually. She's only 10 pounds, so she's probably just afraid of the puppy because she's bigger, LOL.
I am really looking forward to beginning my new life. I cannot wait to be able to walk around and enjoy our new yard. I want to plant flowers next summer, so I hope the surgery can happen soon. More later..... Take gentle care. Shelley C.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Hmm, I haven't updated in so long that I am not sure if I am even doing this right, LOL. I can't believe I didn't update when OHIP approved me. They did, and now I have to continue to lose the thirty pounds before my surgeon will schedule my surgery. My weight loss was very slow at first, so I got a little discouraged, but as soon as it kicked in I was rockin'. J has decided to join me on the pre-op diet, and she is loosing weight too, so I am happy for her. I pretty near starved to death the first few weeks we were on the diet, LOL. My sugars were very low, and I felt weak, tired and a bit confused all the time. I couldn't keep my sugars at a safe level at night, so the PCP took me off of Avandia. I was so glad about that because that stuff is scary. It caused me to hold a ton of water, and my legs felt like tree trunks. That went away almost immediately when I stopped taking it.
I also was able to go off of my BP med, Altace, for a few days, but my BP shot up to 197/96, soooo, I went back on it. I'd just rather be safe. J seemed disappointed that I was going back on it, but I don't see this as a set back at all, but rather just a way to stay as healthy as possible before surgery. This is not the time to allow my blood pressure to get out of control. The doc also upped my water pill to 25mg a day from 12.5mg a day. I'm peeing like a race horse, but I am glad to be getting some of the water off. I drink the 64 oz I need for sure every day, and I usually end up at about 80 oz of water per day. As long as I keep putting the water in, the water pills won't harm me, and 25 mg daily is still a fairly low dose. I would to have the freedom of not taking any meds at all. I think it is a real possibility for me after the surgery. If not, at least I will be healthier in other ways.
I went for all of my required pre-op testing on Wednesday the 18th of January. That consisted of a chat with the medical clearance doc, an EKG, the psych appointment, and the appointment with the exercise physiologist. That didn't seem like much compared to what I have read on other people's profiles. I thought I would have to have an upper GI and a PFT and possibly a stress tests. Not that I am into getting medical tests done, but I kind of wish I could have had them just to be on the safe side. Maybe OHIP doesn't require them, so they don't have to pay for them, LOL. I could get my PCP to request them, but the waiting lists are so long that I would probably run out of time to get them done before my surgery approval expired.
I have to have the surgery by May 16, 2006 because that is when my OHIP approval expires. In the time between now and then I have to finish losing the 30 pounds and be free of nicotine for 60 days. I didn't weigh this morning, but at last count I was at 356 by our scale. The scale at pre-op testing said 363, so that sucked because it means I have only lost six pounds according to them. I know I have lost more, so I just have to keep going and keep my chin up. I was given medical clearance for surgery, but the doc said that I am at more risk going into this surgery than most people. I have to say that she scared me saying that. I am not blind, and I do know that I am a big risk because of my weight and comorbidities, but just to hear that I was at MORE risk than most people was a bit of a shock. I guess I just figured most SMO people were in the same boat as me.
I have always been very afraid of this surgery, but in the last few days since my pre-op appointments, I have really wavered a lot. I have been unsure about whether or not I will really go through with this. In the deepest part of my heart, I hope I can find the courage, but at times the doubt is really strong. It is becoming more and more clear to me that I have a problem with anxiety. I have always been aware of this, and mostly I just manage it and get on with things, but when it comes to surgery, I am just terrified. I want so much to be excited and thrilled that I have been approved to have this possibly life saving operation, but I actually feeling overwhelmed with fear instead. Hmm, fear seems to be my theme, LOL.
I am afraid to continue living this way, and I am afraid to take the chance on the surgery. What to do?? Sometimes I just want to hide and make it all go away. I do not want this to be my reality, but I know very well that it is. In one way, the surgery feels like an escape from all of the rotten medical problems that go along with obesity, but on the other hand, I am not sure that I won't just be inviting more pain into my life. This is certainly not something that is taken lightly by me, and I think it just plain sucks when people accuse WLS patients of taking the easy way out. Shit man, the easy way doesn't even begin to describe how this process has been for me. I don't know what the easy way is, but this sure aint it.
J seems very worried and even a little angry with me when I start to talk about not having this surgery. I know she doesn't mean to pressure me, and we have talked extensively about how that just isn't a good idea, but it does feel like pressure when I know I would be letting my loved ones down by not doing this. She is just the most wonderful partner, and I love her dearly. I want so much for us to have the kind of life together that we want and deserve. It has been a hard road for us because I have been sick almost from the moment I arrived in Canada to be with J. I was heavy when we met, but I was working full time and living my life like a normal person. Now, I am dependent on her for just about all of my personal care and certainly for everthing else. I hate that, and I know it has taken it's toll on her for sure. She's tired, and so am I.
Right now, J and T are at the gym swimming, and I am hope pouting because I can't get the courage to go out in public in a bathing suit. I know I am supposed to be swimming every day, and again today, I could not make myself do it. I am ashamed. I can't find the courage to walk through the halls of the gym into that pool area with my big body showing. I am afraid of the looks, comments, sneers and laughs. I did it this summer, and it took all I had to endure it. It was just so hard to feel that vulnerable. I wanted to smack those people who made nasty comments, but instead I just beat myself up inside some more.
In the locker room where we get dressed is the hardest. It's the other women I find most unaccepting of the fat lady sitting on the bench struggling to get her aqua shoes on. That fat lady is me, and I can't believe how hard that is to take when I know others are repulsed by me. It has gotten to the point where I don't want to look people in the face because I am afraid of what I'll see in their eyes. I don't want to be hated. I am a good kind person and I hurt a lot when people reject me based on nothing more than my appearance. I hope that I am never like that in my life. I don't know what it would feel like to look like an average person, but I hope I never forget what it feels like to be the person nobody wants to approach. I don't ever want to forget that obese people are just as loveable and wonderful as anyone else. I'm not sure what it is about obese people that makes others want to avoid us, but I do know this is a true thing. People speak to J when we are together, almost exclusively. It's like I am not even there. It's an odd feeling to feel so very present because of my size, but at the same time almost totally invisible.
These boards are an absolute blessing to me. The people here are truly angels and I am thankful for all of them every day. I don't know how I ever got along without you all. It is amazing to feel like I am accepted for just being me. That's unusual for a girl my size. I can't wait to get my pic up on my profile and my posts. It's just so nice not to feel like I have to hide. I want to have a face here. I just have to figure out how in the heck to use our scanner again now that it is all taken apart from the move, LOL. We are still unpacking in the new house, and we are loving this place. It is taking longer than I thought it would to unpack, but that's ok. It will get done when it gets done. I am not going to worry about it.
I dunno where I'm at right now regarding the surgery. I am just going to keep working toward my weight loss and smoking cessation goals, so that I have a choice, no matter what I decide. I think I am still going to go for the surgery, but I have a lot to deal with emotionally before I am 100% sure. I don't have a whole long time to decide, but I know that whatever choice I make, I will give it a ton of consideration. I can't do it any other way, so I will just accept that about myself. I'm a worrier, so I should have know I would go through it this way. I just wish I had as much courage as I think I need, LOL. Take gentle care. _Shelley C
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
One of the ladies from the SMO board asked if anyone had goals listed on their profiles, and I am too lazy to check my whole profile to see if I listed any, LOL, so I will list a few here. It is hard to even think of the things I want to be able to do as goals because so many of them are just regular every day things.
1. I will walk freely again. I will be a walkin' food as soon as I can. I love it, and I miss that freedom so much.
2. I will take care of my son, and not have to rely on my partner to meet his physical needs.
3. I will do something for my partner for a change. She does damn near everything for me, and I want so much to relieve this burden from her.
4.I will plant a garden and flowers in our new yard. I can't wait.
5. I will help with the household chores as an equal partner sharing in these responsibilities.
6. I will drive again.
7. I will take my time walking through any store I want to go into, and I will buy some clothes off the rack because I like them and not just because they are the only ones that fit.
8. I will sit in any chair I like and not worry that I am going to break it.
9. I will take walks with my family.
10.I will play softball again.
11. I will run.
12. I will cross my legs. I think this one is kinda cliche, but I really want to do it, LOL.
13. I will get off these meds and be healthy.
14. I will respect my body and exercise.
15. I will not hide inside my house because I am ashamed for anyone to see me.
16. I will go to museums and the zoo and be able to walk.
17. I will visit the Butterfly farm.
18. I will take care of myself in the bathroom and never again have to suffer that kind of indignity.
19. I will truly take care of myself and be able to depend on me for the first time in much toooo long.
I could go on for days, but I will think of more to add later. My little guy is sick today. He's been asleep on the couch all morning, and while that gives me some much appreciated quiet time, I do feel sorry for him. He is going to be 3 on March 7th. I can't believe how fast time flies. He is such a gift to us, and we are forever grateful to have him in our lives. It wasn't easy for two women to have a baby, lemme tell ya, LOL. We did artificial insemination at home, and it took just about a year to get pregnant. It was an expensive and emotionally draining process, but we would do it again in a heartbeat to have this wonderful boy. He was two months early, very tiny, and on a ventilator when he was born, so we weren't at all sure he would be with us for long. We were so HAPPY the day he got to leave the NICU and come home. We were foster parents at that point, so I was used to lifting heavier babies, and was only five pounds when he came home, so when I went to lift him out of his carseat to bring him into the house, I lifted him so fast that he hit his head on the roof of the car. OMG, I just about died, but now we look back and laugh at that day. He was so tiny that we were kind of afraid to break him. Sheesh, I cried for 45 minutes thinking I'd brained the poor kid. He didn't even notice, LOL.
He has gone from a 4 pound teeny little guy to a 60 pound three year old, and that alone is one of the major reasons we want to change our relationship as a family with food and fitness. He needs positive role models, and me sitting on the couch at 350 pounds just isn't cuttin' it. He has tons of energy, so I cannot wait to be able to run and play with him like he deserves. Right now I get tired just watching him run, so I hope things change soon. Take gentle care.- Shelley C
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Since this is my journal, and my experiences here at OH are a part of my journey, I am going to write about it truthfully. Tonight as I was reading the Main board, I saw a post about Brokeback Mountain. I am not naive enough to think that this place is free of homophobia, but I guess I was lulled into thinking it was no big deal here what anybody's sexual orientation is? Most of the posts in that thread were fine until I came upon one where somebody said it was wrong in her book to have a movie about two gay cowboys and how her husband wouldn't step foot into a movie about something like that. It just hurt my feelings, I guess, and it frustrated me because I knew this was not the place to address a person like her, and I really felt the need to, LOL.
I wanted to tell her off and let her know that nobody is asking her damn permission to love who they love. I'm glad she and her hubby won't be going to see the movie because I wouldn't want to see a wonderful story like that wasted on the likes of such ignorant people. Ok, that's all I wanted to say for today. Rant over. Take gentle care.- Shelley C
Tuesday, May 9, 2006
It's been a long time since I've updated this thing, and I can only say that is probably because I just didn't want to deal with this subject at all. I was feeling so pressured and so afraid that I just had to take a break from it all. I cancelled my final pre- surgical appointment with the surgeon, and I decided I just needed to let things calm down. My life had become absolutely miserable every single day. The pressure from my partner was incredible, and I was feeling terrified all the time. I couldn't take it. Deciding to slow things down was really risky in a lot of ways, but the big one for me was that my partner was insisting that I either have the surgery, or we would no longer be together. I didn't want to lose her, but I could not let her force me to do something that I thought might kill me. I felt like I was fighting for my life, and I had to just slow it all down and let the chips fall where they may.
We did not break up, and at first after I decided to take a break from it all, things were great. I was feeling so alive, and the tension between us was gone. It was such a relief not to be pressured every day. Things went along like that for a while, and then we went to Illinois to visit my family which includes my brother who had the surgery. I was nervous about seeing them and being pressured again about the surgery, but I really wanted to see my new baby niece who was born on my birthday, so we went. My family did pressure and question me a lot, but I just decided not to get into defending myself or my decisions and just listened to them without saying much. It was just easier and I didn't need the extra stress getting into heavy conversations with them might cause me. I didn't really feel respected by them based on some of their comments, and I just didn't want to open myself up to them and feel more vulnerable. They didn't seem to grasp at all what I was going through, so I didn't trust them to discuss something so sensitive for me.
My brother was the biggest pressurer of all, and my partner seemed to jump on the bandwagon with him. He seemed to inspire her to start pressuring me again. The other day in the car, I asked her what was wrong because she seemed distant, and right away she started in on me about how unhappy she is with the way things are and how disappointed she is about my not having the surgery. First of all, I have not decided not to have the surgery. She says she just knows that I am not going to have it, and she isn't sure we can stay together if I don't. Here we go again.
My approval from OHIP is good through May 16, 2006. Obviously I am not going to have the surgery by then, so I finished up my paperwork today requesting an extension. I pray they say yes because I do not want to lose the opportunity to have the surgery. I just need more time to get my head around all of this fear. I have been keeping a lot of how I feel inside because I don't feel it's safe to share it all with my partner right now because she is so into letting me know how disappointed and angry she is with me for not having it done already. This is one reason a more local support group would be an excellent thing. The support group for Henry Ford patients is about an hour and a half away with a border crossing in between. It just isn't easy to get there, and I hate crossing the border, so I have never gone to it. I really need it though. I need to feel safe having and expressing whatever feelings I have, and I don't feel that way at all lately.
I am so sad that things have turned out this way. I wanted this to be a positive experience, and I was really thrown for a loop when my partner started being so negative. She tells me how sick of me she is and goes through a list of all the things she is tired of having to do for me. We have both said things in anger that I wish we had never said. I don't know if those pains will ever heal. I sure as hell didn't need more reasons to feel bad about myself. Sometimes I just feel like I am nothing. I want the benefits of the surgery so badly, but I am just so afraid of all that could go wrong. I want to be brave, but I don't know how. I keep praying that the fear will be lifted and that I will just do the things I know I need to do to prepare for the surgery, but it just doesn't happen. I feel like I am fighting myself. It's a strange sensation to be of two very different minds at the very same time.
My packet for OHIP is all ready to send, so obviously I haven't given up on the surgery. I am going to get this damned weight off, stop the fricken smoking, and do this. I have to. I know that. I think I have been unable to lose the weight or stop smoking because I knew if I did those things, the surgery would really happen. I don't think I was ready for that, and I know in the back of my mind, I would have cancelled the surgery all together if not for the pressure from everyone. I kept the process going because I didn't want to deal with anymore rejection from my partner and family, but all along I didn't want to do this at all. I was really sure I wanted the surgery when I first applied, but then the fear set in, and I wanted to run the other way as fast as I could.
I am still very angry and hurt over being treated the way I have been about all of this. I needed my loved ones to support and love me no matter what I decided, but they made it clear to me that their love was conditional upon this surgery and my getting healthy. I think that's a crock. It's not that I don't consider or understand how it feels for them to see me in this condition and how life is harder for them because of the way I am right now, but it isn't right to threaten to not love and abandon someone when they are down. It just isn't. I am not a piece of crap, no matter how much I weigh, and I feel like that is how I have been treated. It almost makes me angry to think about how they will all treat me better and respect me for when I am thin. I hate that because I am still the same person right now, worthy of all the same love and respect I would be at 200 pounds less. Well, now that I have spilled all of that allover the place, I will stop for now. Take gentle care......- Shelley C
Monday, June 26, 2006
Whew!!! Was I angry in that last post!!!! I am not that angry todaay, LOL. I did end up sending my packet to OHIP requesting an extension of my approval. That was just over a month ago, and I have not heard anything from them yet. I checked with Henry Ford, and they haven't heard anyting yet either. I am actually starting to get nervous that OHIP might not give me the extension. I have decided not to freak out about that, and if they don't approve an extension for me to have surgery at Henry Ford, I will pursue the surgery here in Canada. The wait list is much longer, but I have been such a staller anyway, so I don't mind having more time to get my FEARS under control. Hopefully they will just give me the extension, so I can get it done at Henry Ford as planned.
Since things regarding the surgery are in a sort of limbo right now, nobody is really pressuring me because they all know we just have to wait to see what OHIP says. It is out of my hands right now, so pressuring me would not do any good. My partner and I are healing some of the wounds that we both gave out and took in during the whole battle for the surgery thing. We know we love eachother dearly, and we have explored what might have caused all of that anger to happen between us. Fear is the major thing on both ends. Basically, I live in a state of fear surrounding all of the obesity issues and comorbidities every second of my life, so adding the fear of dying or being badly damaged from the surgery was too much for me to handle. It was like I was boiling over with it and simply standing still paralyzed because I didn't know which way to go. My partner feared that I would die if I didn't get the surgery and she could only think of the surgery as a way out of all of the crap we have been through with my health. With both of us operating from a fear base, things go way out of perspective and feelings got forgotten.
Both of us want the same things. We want to live a long healthy life together and be here for our little boy. That's the goal right now, and despite the fears, I know what I need to do. I need to take the risks and have the surgery because I want the chances it could give me. Without it, I can see no other way. I have just had to accept that reality and not let fear roll around in my head trying to figure out another way to do this. There just isn't one. Either way, I am going to have to have some kind of surgery because of my Gallbladder, so it might as well be a surgery that could give me my life back. I really am a sensible person, but fear screws me up every time. It just runs me, and I hate that.
I love my partner and our son more than anything, and I want to share this beautiful gift of life with them. Lately, I have really been thinking about all that we could do together if I were healthy and about how much we all miss out on because I can't participate. That just isn't fair to any of us. Our little boy deserves a childhood, and I plan to do my part to try to give that to him. I have to be strong and brave and mature about this. I am a Mom now, and I can't just pretend all the bad things will go away if I just ignore them. They haven't and they won't. I have to take some action on my own behalf. I am sure most people are afraid, at least a little bit, so I am not so different in that. I just had to realize that I couldn't let it stop me from having the surgery.
In other news, we are enjoying the summer very much, and my partner has started working days instead of being on the pager for crisis six nights a week from 4:15pm until 8:30 am. It's so nice to know that when she comes home at 5:30 pm, she is not going to be paged to go out 'till all hours of the night. That change alone has been huge for us. Our little guy really could not understand why she was on the phone so much when she was at home, and why she couldn't just hang out with him. Now she can, and he is so much more relaxed. We all are.
I have not heard from two of my best friends since I decided to slow things down, so I guess they couldn't handle the idea that I may not have the surgery. They were very invested and also very pressuring, so as much as I miss them, I guess we all needed a break from one another. I may contact them when things are more securely in place regarding the surgery. I have to work through those feelings first because I know that this problem is mine and that it has impacted others. I have to fully accept responsibilty for what's mine before I can really share with them. I don't want to hurt them and I want to go about this in the most healthy way possible. That's all for now. Take gentle care...- Shelley C
Saturday, August 5, 2006
I don't journal a lot here because I feel ashamed about how negative this whole experience seems to be for me. I feel like it is supposed to be such a positive thing that I don't always feel comfortable sharing how it is going for me. This has got to be the hardest journey I have ever been on. I know it is not meant to be easy, but it sure doesn't even feel pleasant most of the time. All the crap along the way seems to get in the way of joy I think I should be feeling at the prospect of actually becoming healthy again.
I allowed my approval window to expire with the first approval I got from OHIP. I was actually so relieved to be free of the constant pressure of having to prepare for the surgery. Once I knew it was off the table for awhile, I was able to calm down and start living my life again. I felt awesome and so refreshed with a vigor for life. I had been living with so much pressure from Janet that I just couldn't take it anymore. She had me feeling like I was literally at death's door every second of my life. I was terrified, and it is difficult to make positive changes in your life when you feel that way all the time. I cried every morning when I woke up and cried myself to sleep again each night. It was Hell. I was afraid to even approach OHIP for a reapproval becasue I feared the pressure would start all over again.
It has!!! I had been doing well with the diet and weight loss up until about a week ago. Janet was in my corner as long as I was doing well, but as soon as I slip, she starts acting angry and rejecting all the time again. Today, I had some chips first thing this morning. I know that is not a good choice, but I am human, and I take responsibility for it. I just wish she could be supportive of me, even when I screw up. It does not help to be treated like you're the biggest loser in the world for having some chips. I am Morbidly Obese. That took a life time to accomplish, and the problem isn't going to be cured over night. The issues that got me here are still with me, and I have to work on them, even if I have the surgery. The surgeon can change my stomach and such, but he isn't going to fix my head. I can't lick this problem in Janet's time. It has to be in my own time and in my own way. I am hurt and angry with her right now, and I hope this is not going to be the way it is for the entire journey. She doesn't realize that she is just standing in my way and making it all that much harder to fight this uphill battle. I just wish she would get out of my way and let me do this thing. I can do it, but I just need some peace along the way. That's all for now. Take gentle care.
Tuesday, August 8, 2006
Well, as soon as Janet arrived home she apologized, and we talked about things again. I understand that she has her hopes and dreams pinned on my getting the surgery and becoming a more functional member of the family. She is tired of having to do everything, and I can't say I might not feel the same way in her situation. Believe me, I am tired of not being able to do things for myself and not being able to help to improve our lives. I want myself back- my independence and my spirit. I want my power and strength back. I have historically always been a strong person, so it is totally awful for me to be seen as a weak person who can't do anything.
I want to show the people who didn't know me when I was healthy that I am a spit fire and they can't really push me around like they have in the last six years. I have not been able to really stand up for myself because I just didn't have the strength left after just trying to stay alive at 378 pounds. I can't wait until I am no longer the one who gets picked on and talked about like I am a child all the time. Janet's dumbass step dad does it right in front of my like I am not even there. He's always talking about my weight and suggesting how I can lose it. He is 300 pounds himself, so I don't think he is doing that well at it, LOL. A few weeks ago, we were all sitting out on our front porch and he kept telling me to stand and and turn around, so he could look at me to see if he was able to tell I've lost weight. I kept saying no, but he kept insisting that I just stand up, so he could have a look. I hated it. i don't want to be the center of attention. I just want to be normal and just sorta fade into the woodwork when it comes to people like him. Whenever we eat with them, he is always saying " Shelley can't have this, she shouldn't have that, and trying to make my food decisions for me. I can't wait until I can just tell him to f*** off. I think I will gain that sort of confidence back when I no longer feel so vulnerable. I hope so. Take gentle care.
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Surgeon: Jeffrey A. Genaw , M.D.