Surgeon: Alexander D. Abkin, M.D., F.A.C.S
Went to the Dr. on Wednesday. I lost 13 lbs in 4 weeks! Wow. She was really pleased. So was I. I can't remember ever losing that much before! Even my most successful weight watcher experiences averaged out to 2 lbs per week. It feels really good to have my clothes fitting more comfortably and seeing my face emerging in the mirror. It feels like getting back to happy. I'm almost in my 16's. I have a whole wardrobe of size 16 clothes that a part of me wants to stay that weight again for a while. I guess I'll just have to deal w/ buying new clothes when I go below that.
People really don't know about the band. I was talking with a bunch of women last week and one of them mentioned that she knew someone who had the bypass and the general consensus was that that is very severe and that a mother would have no business putting herself at that kind of risk. Noone mentioned the band. I didn't because it still is so new and people really don't get the lower risk. And they think I'm not heavy enough to have had surgery. I just don't feel like rationalizing what I did or rehashing the pain my weight has caused me. None of them has carried an extra 100 lbs around with them for years or suffered taunts and feelings of isolation. I am proud of myself for overcoming those experiences to be as happy and well adjusted as I am now.
It's been really interesting now that I have restriction. I'm definitely losing but also spending time feeling uncomfortable in my stomach and even nauseous. I'm thinking it's all part of the process of figuring out what works well in the band and what doesn't. When I go in next week to the Dr, I'll definitely ask about it. I'm also going to meet w/ the dietician again. I just find that it's all different in practice vs/ trheory. I need to review recommended foods as well as nutrition requirements since I've been feeling a little tired and I'm concerned it's lack of veggies and fiber. I am taking vitamins but there's nothing like the real thing.
Well, I've really been lacks (sp?) in keeping this updated. Let me just say the surgery went amazingly well. I had almost no pain, although my hospital roommie experienced quite a bit of pain. It seemed to really vary from person to person.
There were about 15 band patients there and I met a few while we are waiting to be fluoroscoped or something like that. Anyway, The hospital feels like a distant memory now. I had restriction after the surgery from the swelling and then it went away and I could eat almost anything. after my first fill, I felt very little difference and never pb'd or had any pain. I was worried because i lost only 1 lb between the 1st and 2nd fill. The Dr just said I needed the fill.
Well, the second one really did the trick. Wow. Now I know what everyone was talking about. I had a really bad, painful pb episode 2 days after that fill. I ended up having to tell my brother about the surgery becuase we were having lunch when it happened. I had ordered an egg white omelet, which had gone down well before the fill but I guess not after! Huge baseball in my throat, pain, hiccups, mouth watering. It was scary and I'm sure my tense reaction did not help. He was cool about it all. Didn't say much actually. I think he was kind of freaked out about my being in pain.
Anyway, I've lost about 5 lbs since I had that fill (was 1 week ago) and things seem to be looseining up a bit. Liquids are easier than they were. I'm still just figuring out what works for me food wise. I'm going by trial and error and what I've read people tolerate and by what the nutritionist told me. So far, soups are still a mainstay. I've been doing some really solid food, but that episode freaked me out so I'm taking it slow.
I miss really enjoying my food and eating till I feel satisfied rather than stopping to avoid pain. But I think that will get easier once I have more experience and maybe then I can enjoy food. But I think I really have to just find other things to enjoy because if things keep going as they are, food is not going to do it.
Altogether I've lost 30lbs since the liquid diet stage. I'm feeling so much more free and easy with myself. I'm excited to really get excersizing into my routine. Have to work the little guy into it. Maybe a baby jogger? Walking w/ the regular stroller is ok. and I have my weights that need to be broken in.
Just got home from the preop testing. Spilled liquid diet drink all over myself as I was trying to blend it w/ a stick blender. Not a good idea. Will try to go get a real blender later.
So there were about 5 or 6 other preop surgery patients going through the testing at the same time as me. They were pretty easy to pick out. It was interesting - the men were much more overweight than the women. The women were all about like me - defnitely too heavy but not what you would think 'morbidly obese' looks like. But I guess we all are since we qualify. I spoke w/ one woman whose friend had the surgery a yr and a half ago. That's what inspired her to do it. She said her friend looks great. It takes her an hour to eat a salad but she's lost about 80 lbs. Wow. That is so good to hear.
I spoke w/ the nutritionist - she gave me some tips on how to get the water in - just fill a large jug of water in the am and keep it w/ me and sip till it's gone. Of course, not 5 mins before or 20 mins after I eat. that seems doable since the major waiting is for after you've eaten - and you know when that is. if you had to wait 20 mins before. that could get tricky.
One unfortunate thing is that they have no idea exactly when the surgery will be - it could be anywhere from 5:30am, to 11:30 am. For my health and safety, I'd like the earliest time w/ the most alert Doctors. For my emotional well-being, mid-morning would be best since then my dh could come w/ me - after sitter gets here. We won't know till the night before when they call us. It will happen as it should and we will make it work.
Oh my God! I just got the approval letter from United! Wow! They are covering up to $8k of medical. So the hospital is covered and now 80% of medical is. We have to pay some out of pocket but that is ok! I am so excited! I can't wait to tell my husband! He is going to be so excited too! I start the liquid diet in 6 days! I have to find some coupons for Slim fast Optima.
So we got the letter stating that the hospital portion will be covered. My insurance has 2 seperate parts - hospitals are covered by BCBS and Dr's are covered by United, Government plan. So it was exciting to get the approval letter, but it's really only 1/3 of the battle.
Anyhoo, I'm just feeling the big-ness that I am. I knock into things and feel achey. I get tired after 20 block walks. It's yucky. I just cannot wait for this tool. I don't want to attempt a diet w/o some kind of safety net.
Well, surgeon's office still has not sent out paperwork or called. They actually said they had to get January done first. hello, it's 1/31??? Ok, so they're backed up. Attributable to their success and popularity. I'm just worried b/c we're well into the 30 days the ins. co. has to respond and if they take the full 30, we may have to reschedule.
I feel like a lot is on hold till I know the date. When I go back to work, and when I start to really get in shape. I don't even want to try to diet till I have the band. The roller coaster is too much. But I may just have to do it for my own sanity. I can't stay at this weight. Especially if I'm going back to work. It's pretty physical work and the extra weight holds me back.
Baby just went to sleep. My whole body is sighing w/ relief. He is such a bruiser! he's only 5 mos. and already trying to climb on things. He's amazing. I can't believe how much I love him. Anyway, I digress. Things seem to be falling into place. The mortgage is complete, and we have a closing date. re. the surgery, I spoke w/ the insurance person who basically said they would probably deny me initially, but based on her experience, I had an excellent chance on appeal.
So we're moving to the burbs and I'm having this surgery. everything is going to change.
I've been comparing my feelings about this surgery to the tummy tuck I had a few yrs ago. That was after a big weight loss. I never regretted having it. I knew I would never have been able to lose that gut on my own and having it changed my life. It gave me so much confidence. I love my tummy. Even after a baby, it's still flat. Now this surgery I'm more scared about. How will I feel? Will I feel sick? Will I be able to socialize freely? Will I really lose? I know there is no magic ball to answer those questions. just my intentionality and hard work.
I am committed to being fit, active, healthy, confident and beautiful. That is what I'm committed to. I can achieve this. As I write this, fear creeps in from the past. How many diets have I started with the best of intentions and complete commitment? Only to fail and feel such guilt, shame and helplessness. But I really see this surgery as a continuation of the commitment I've always had. I have the theory that if you really want to achieve something, keep trying. If something doesn't work, try the next thing. Leave no stone unturned. My fear comes from my failure at doing what I've done before. But I've never done this. So the fear is logical, but it doesn't say. I do.
I got an e-mail from a fellow United Healthcare person (not Empire - Government plan though) and she asked why i chose the band vs/ bypass. It's a great question and I've definitely thought about it. Here is my thinking:
I know the bypass would be an easier option. I have one child and I want more so I feel the greater risk w/ bypass is not one I want to entail right now. I can have the band removed and have a bypass if it comes to that. I'm willing to deal w/ the inconvenience of the fill adjustments. I like that the process will be a consciouss one. I will have to think about what I am doing regarding food. I think the mindlessness is what got me here, I love to zone out with food. I cannot do that. It is unhealthy. The band will force me to deal w/ that. As I said, if I fail, I will have options. I'm optimistic about it.
My Dr. Has a good success rate w/ the band and has done the surgery over 500 times. I'm excited to keep up w/ fills. I don't foresee a problem w/ that.
I met w/ Dr Ren today. My husband came and she did not mention my weight which I was grateful for (he still doesn't know the actual number). Anyway, she said I'd be a great candidate and they gave me a date. Unfortunately I know that's only half the battle as I have an insurance company that has been described as "brutal". And that was by someone who deals w/ these companies all day long. Anyway that woman said she'd call them today to see if it's approved. My date is 2/25/05. I just can't count on it because of insurance.
Interestingly, I met a young woman in Dr.Ren's waiting room who I thought for sure was waiting for her Mom or a friend. She was completely thin. Not skinny, just slender. Then the receptionist gave her her insurance card back. So I asked her and it turns out, she had the band put on 2 years ago and has lost 110 lbs. Wow. I'd love to do that. She said she was there because her fill is too tight, she can't eat and has no energy. She needed an unfill. She is young, just 25 and believe me, those 10 yrs (the difference in our ages) makes a big difference in metabolism. Realistically, I probably won't lose that kind of weight. But maybe I will. I'm certainly ready for the change.
My birthday! I'm 35 years old. It feels like a true 'grown up' age. And now that I have a baby, I really feel like an adult.
My OB wrote the letter for me. Well, she basically signed the letter I wrote. A very kind and generous person on this site e-mailed me a copy of her letter and I plugged in my info. Let's hope it works. I also got my bloodwork done and now I just have to take that full body photo for the surgeon. Whoopee. Not looking forward toi that. I've mastered whizzing by the mirror at just such an angle that I don't scare myself.
My hubby bought me a box of chocolates from my favorite chocolate place. That won't happen again after this surgery. That's basically why he did it. I love that. You know, my whole life, I wanted things like that and my family would never buy them for me because they didn't want to reinforce my bad habits. But I just ended up feeling deprived and over doing it when I could finally do it on my own. I pray to God that my baby doesn't have this weight problem. If he does, I promise to support and love him and make sure he feels good about himself. I will not put him on diets. I will model good behavior, promote an active lifestyle and supply good, bountiful, healthy food. When he is grown, he can decide to go on a diet. I have been on them since I was at least 9 years old and to what end? A demolished metabolism and sense of my own failure since I could not ever maintain the weight. I love my boy and I pray he will not suffer with this fate.
I spoke w/ the insurance person at my surgeon's office. She said they won't look at anything except Dr supervised diets. Luckily, another member here gave me a great letter template to use. I filled it out w/ my info and sent it to the nurse at my Dr's office. Hopefully she'll use it word for word. I could have fibbed and she probably would have just used it but that is really bad charma and not necessary at this point.
I gave a lot of info on dates and weights of all my weight loss attempts over the last 20 years. There was a lot. It's amazing really. It's no wonder I feel weary at the thought of another diet.
I feel like between finally getting that letter written and then all the mortgage stuff coming together, everything has cleared up. Last week it all seemed cloudy and a mess. Now my work is cut out for me. it's actually mostly done.
But this is very typical of me to focus on the 'doing' of things. All the while stuffing my face from the stress of it. How will I manage my stress after this surgery? Will I find other vices or maybe better healthier ways of dealing.
I always try to come up w/ things I could do besides eat when I am on a diet but nothing ever seems as appealing. maybe I will have to now. I wonder...I love to read. Books and magazines. I love crafts and art projects. I'm social. I love to talk w/ people in my boat (these days other new moms). I like to shop. I like to pass time playing with my son. I like to talk about everything with my husband. I like to move. I like walking, hiking, biking, spin classes, step classes, pilates, yoga, pottery, painting, cooking. Wow. I guess there are a lot of things. I remember once thinking that eating as a relaxation was so easy and mindless. It was like staying active w/ the least investment.
I have been much more aware of how I eat lately. Very fast. Almost inhaling my food. Barely tasting the bite till I take another one practically on top of the first. Now my stomach hurts because I ate so fast tonight. Yuck.
I think I have been letting myself do what i have been holding myself from doing for so long. That is eating what I want. it is strange. I look forward to not being able to do that anymore. I just really have to be conscious of not digging a deep hole for myself that even the band won't get me out of.
We still don't have an answer on the house. it seems like a go but it's not done done. I had a really nice day w/ my baby. No work and no baby sitter today. He did really well and it was great to be able to totally manage his feedings and sleep. We really got into a good rythm. The going back to work question is looming. Do I or don't I? The surgery sooner would speed up my return.
I do want to it do already. I made the decision that I want it and now I have to really put all my ducks in a row for insurance.
Tomorrow I will get completely straight my weight timeline and speak with the insurance person at the surgeon's office to get clear what they will need.
Between this and the mortgage, my head is spinning.
I just read someone's profile who had the duodenal switch. She got tiny w/ no re-gain after 2 years. but she has calcium being robbed from her bones. She doesn't seem to mind that and says she can eat what she wants. That seems wild to me.She had spme pretty negative things to say about the Lap band. mainly that you should just go on a diet 'cause that's what life will be like after you get it. I wish I could catapult myself into the future and know that thye band will work for me. All the people I've met through my dr's office seem to think so. Hopefully that's based on experience and not sales. I'm so hopeful about the surgery. I'm actually optimistic and the stats really do jibe w/ that optimism. People tend to lose 55% of their excess weight after 2 years. Sounds good to me.
Well, I've never kept a web log before and somehow it seems very fitting that when I finally do, it is related to my weight. It, like for so many others, has been the defining aspect of my life. For me, it is everything. That may seem extreme, but it has really colored every experience I have had. When I have gone through 'thinner' periods, I have felt so free and unencumbered. Heavy times are literally that, 'heavy', Sad, weighed down, alone, scared this will be the way my life will be forever. Trapped. So now to finally commit to writing it down somewhere it is on here, a WLS cite. As it goes...
There is so much going on in my life right now that I actually should not be spending time to do this. But maybe it will save me time in the end by clearing my head and sorting things out so I can clearly see the next step.
Regarding the surgery: I have attended the mandatory info session, met w/ the psychologist, met w/ the nurse practitioner and the nutririonist. I passed all and now have an ppt. to meet with Dr. Ren, the surgeon. She is known for doing the band. The band seems to be the best option for me as I plan to have more children and have a young baby right now. The other surgeries are too risky for me with a baby. And the recovery just a little longer, so longer till I can pick up my very big baby (he's 4 moths and 17lbs of cuteness).
I'm meeting with the Doctor in 12 days. That is not actually that long. Next week I need to call my Dr's office to get the referral letter done and check on the status of the bloodwork. I also have to gather all the diet history info this weekend. My Mom is going to e-mail me a bunch of pics from childhood that help chronicle my yo-yo dieting past. I started fat cam at age 12 and kept going up and down since that time.
I think it's good for me to write down how I'm feeling now so I can compare it to how I may feel as the weight starts to come off. First of all, I am at my heaviest ever right now, if you don't count how high I went in pregnancy (260). Now I am 245. Previously I had been up 239 a couple of times before (in high school and then right after college). I had managed to stay below 200 for the last 6 years but somehow, being pregnant, I couldn't manage to not gain too much weight. Not 'somehow'. I mean, I know how. I ate everything. Cookies, ice cream, candy, tuna melts, cheeseburgers, whatever I wanted. It was a free-for-all. I pretty much did not know how to not be on a diet. I should have stayed on a diet and I probably would have been fine. But in the end, I am a stress-eater and just ate my pregnancy, new-marriage fears away.
So here I sit, back and hips aching from the excess weight combined w/ picking up my toddler-sized newborn a million times a day, sleep-deprived, no time to exercise, about to have this surgery that I wish I could have had at 200lbs and not gotten to this place. Now I am scared that I will only lose to where I was before and not reach goal. At least that would be an improvement but I know I want more. And I know I will be successful.
We are moving from the big city to the suburbs next month. That is another big source of stress/excitement. I am handling the whole mortgage/sale process since I am mostly home w/ the baby and my husband is working like crazy to support us all. We are both wrecked right now. The move and the surgery are big exciting things in my near future, but both are going to be filled with ups and downs. The surgery will obviously have long-term rewards, but in the short-term, I will ahve to find ways to deal w/ new house and baby and recovering at the same time. On the up side, the liquid and mushy phases will probably simplify my diet so I won't have to give them too much thought. The other toughies are finding childcare to help me out there. Mom wants to do it but that's a mixed blessing and we really sometimes don't get along. Although she does love to be the savior so this situation might be a good fit.