I am 23 years old, married, and the mother of a wonderful 2-year old boy. I have chosen to have Weight Loss Surgery to live a healthier, happier life and to have more energy to be able to play with my son. People ask me if I am nervous about having surgery (7/30/02.) I tell them that I am not nervous, just extremely anxious. Anxious to have this surgery so I can begin a better life.
Hospital Reviews(Grand Rapids, MI) - Blodgett Campus
Surgeon: Randal Baker
UPDATE 7/20 - Only five days before my surgery, and the surgeon's office calls to tell me that I WILL NOT BE HAVING SURGERY ON 7/25. They said that the hospital did not have an open slot, and that now they are tentatively looking at 8/2. I AM SO MAD! I have been on protein shakes for 10 days and now I have to continue on them for another extra week! I don't know if I can do it. Plus I have to pay for the shakes out of my pocket, and they are anything but cheap. Now, I did lose 12 pounds during the first 7 days on the shakes, but I'm beginning to have a hard time getting them down. I am so sick of them. Now I don't even now my surgery date for sure. I have come this far, and now this happens. I have made all arrangements with my family and employer for my surgery on 7/25. I pray that God grants me MORE PATIENCE and the STRENGTH to make it through another week. I feel so let down my the surgeon's office. When they gave me the date of the 25th, I was told that the time may very, but that the date was set in stone. I feel as is a fast one has been pulled on me. I am supposed to hear from the on Monday or Tuesday with a new date. As for now, I feel sick to my stomache by the whole thing. ALL I WANT IS TO LIVE A HAPPY, NORMAL LIFE!!!
UPDATE 7/23 - I HAVE A NEW DATE! My new date is July 30, and I have been told that the date is CONFIRMED. I would still rather be having the surgery on 7/25, but beggers can't be choosers. Unfortunately, that means another four weeks on the strict diet of protein shakes. I don't have any problems while I'm at work (which is were I get the first three in me.) But, its very hard when I am at home. Especially around dinner time when my husband and son are eating a delicious meal and all I can do is smell it. Oh well, I have made it this far, I guess that I can make it until surgery. After surgery, I will still be on the protein shakes for a while, but only 2 per day.
UPDATE 8/1 - I AM ON THE OTHER SIDE!!! I spent two days in the hospital and am now back home. A little on the sore side, but that is to be expected. I'm looking forward to feeling better and getting out and walking. I'll see the surgeon on the 13th and then it will be back to work. (Sorry, but I am tired. I'll try to post more later.)
UPDATE 8/19 - Sorry that I haven't posted in a while. I've had a lot of ups and downs the past couple of weeks. I'm struggling to get the necessary protein in me and I have been very weak and sick. I was on the protein shakes, but my body started rejecting them. So, I tried a different type of shake and that did not work either. All I want is to feel good again. I've missed more work than I expected to because of this. On a lighter note, I had my two week post-op appointment last week. I have lost a total of 30 pounds so far! (13 pounds before surgery and 17 after) The bad news is, I can feel the weight coming off slower now. I've been so weak, I
haven't been able to get all of the walking in that I would like to. But, I'm not going to give up. The skinny me will conquer all!
UPDATE 9/5 - Well, life is starting to get a little back to normal now. I met with the dietician this week, and she is allowing me to eat soft foods, in particular, high protein foods. The goal is 50 grams of protein per day, and I have been getting half of that. Thus, I have not gotten all of my strength back, and the weight is SLOWLY coming off. I am down 38 pounds since I started the protein shake diet prior to surgery. I occasionally will get sick, usually because I will eat and then take a drink after eating. That little drink will send me over my stomach's limits and everything will come back up. Is only happened 3 times since surgery. Its not easy adjusting to my little pouch. But I'm sure that I will get the hang of it. Last week, I returned the CPAP machine to the sleep clinic. I am so glad to be done with that. (I hadn't used it since before surgery anyhow.) My sleep apnea seems to have improved, and I have been sleeping well. With the exception of actually falling asleep. I toss and turn for a long time before I drift off into dreamland. I have no regrets about having this surgery, even though the protein issue has been a real struggle. My biggest pet peeve right now is that I am always so dog gone thirsty, ever since surgery. Does anyone have any suggestions? Well, unfortunately the housework does not get done on its own, so I gotta run. I will post more some other time. Thanks for listening!
UPDATE 9/18 - Six weeks post-op now and down 44 pounds. Feeling pretty good so far. Trying to get in the daily exercise, but that doesn't always work when you have a hectic schedule. I have purchased a pair of roller skates (yes, skates not rollerblades.) Its quite the workout because I haven't skated in over 10 years. I'm exhausted when I'm done, but I feel as if I have accomplished something. The protein issue has improved. I have been pretty much just eating string cheese, with some occasional chicken. I really need to get groceries, so I can get a little more variety into my diet. String cheese is good, but its gets pretty boring after a while. I am able to eat a little more now than I could a few weeks ago. Once and a while I will have one bite/drink too many and I will get sick, but I can live with that. The hardest thing is when there is something really good to eat, like chicken tenderloins, and I can only have a few bites. I want more because its so good, but I know that I have to watch it. What I can eat is just like a little tease. But it is all well worth it. I have been getting a lot of compliments at work from both the men and women on how I look. I'm surprised that people can notice already. I guess its because that the weight loss is very noticable in my face. Of course, whenever I look in the mirror, I just think about how much more that I have to go. Until next time...
UPDATE 10/6 - Almost 10 weeks post-op and down 57 pounds. Not as much as I would like to be by now. But beggers can't be choosers. 57 pounds is a lot to lose, and I would never have been able to do that on my own. I wish that I would have had WLS a long time ago. My doctor has put me on Magnesium supplements because my levels were low prior to surgery. I finally remembered to buy some, but I haven't started taking them yet. Hopefully, they will give me an energy boost and get my metabolism moving a little faster. Maybe then the weight will start coming off faster. I am so anxious to get to my goal weight, so I can buy new clothes. I will actually be able to wear clothes that are in style. I am so pysched!
UPDATE 1/1/03 - Happy New Year to all! I apologize for not posting updates as often as I would like to. However, once you have lost weight and start to get your life back, you'll understand that there is so much more to do than sitting in front of your computer day and nigh. Not to mention that I have been very BUSY with work and the holidays.
Well, I have lost a total of 87 pounds, and I am now 5 months post-op. My goal is to have lost 100 lbs by my six month checkup. I will do my best, however, the weight is coming off slower now. I am looking forward to start aqua aerobics next week. Hopefully, I'll be able to go twice a week. I need the toning very badly. I must admit that I am not getting the much needed exercise now that winter is here. I haven't worn a bathing suit in over 3 years, so I am actually looking forward to getting into one now that I have lost the weight. I FEEL GREAT!
I am doing my best to resist the urge to go out and by a brand new wardrobe. My old clothes are too big, yet I don't want to spend money on new clothes that I will also grow out of in time. Therefore, I have been frequenting many second hand stores. It is so nice to be able to shop in the regular sizes again. I am wearring a L/XL instead of 2X or 3X. Yeah!
My health is good. However, I am still struggling to get in 50 grams of protein each day. I am lucky if I get 30 grams in. My hair is falling out like there is no tomorrow, but that does not bother me, because I had way too much hair to begin with. So, I am happy that I am losing some of it.
All in all, I think that having this surgery is the best thing that I have ever done. I wish that I would have had it sooner than I did. I love the new me, and I can't wait to see the finished product. People ask me if I have a goal, but I really don't. I'm perfectly happy just being under 200 lbs again. However, if I must set a goal, I would like to see me at 130 lbs, which means that my total weight loss would be 138 lbs. I figure that losing half of me is good enough.
Well, life is good on my end and I hope that it is on yours too. Take care and make 2003 your best year yet!!!
UPDATE 4/17/2003 - Now I completely understand how many people start an online journal before WLS, posting entries often, and then hardly post new entries after surgery... you get your life back! You don't have time to sit in front of the computer anymore. There is so much out there that you can do!
Things have been going great for me lately. I am still losing weight, just a lot slower than I have been. My total weight loss is 115 lbs in 8.5 months. I'm thrilled. I can actually wear some size 12 clothing. I never thought that I would be able to do that. People at work say that I am just wasting away and getting too skinny. Heck, I still want to lose another 20 - 25 lbs. Of course, I would be happy if I remained where I am at today. It is so nice to be able to buy normal sized clothes and actually look GREAT in them.
Health wise, things are perfect. I have energy and have been enjoying the spring-like weather that we occassionally get here in MI. I have been riding my bike, which is something that I have not been able to do comfortably in 8 years. It is great exercise!
I know that this is a whole lot to share, but it's better than nothing. : ) Weight Loss Surgery has given me a new outlook on life. I am more confident and ready to take on the world. Thank goodness for WLS!!!
UPDATE 12/26 - Wow! It has been quite a while since I have updated this. Sorry! Let me tell you where I am at now. I made it down to 135 lbs, which brought my total loss to 138 lbs in one year! However, I am gaining some weight back... I am currently 5 months pregnant!
At my last ob/gyn appointment, I had gained 12 lbs already! It is so hard to see the scale going back up after watching it going down for a year. However, I know that I need to gain the weight, for a healthy baby. This pregnancy has not been as easy as my first. I have been very sick and have hyper-glycemic episodes. I can't say that the surgery has or has not contributed to these problems, but I take things on a day by day basis. I was only 12 months post-op when I got pregnant, so maybe I should have waited a little bit longer. I figured that since my weight loss has subsided, that I would be good. Its hard to eat enough for me and the baby, but I am doing my best. Some days, I am so nauseous that I barely eat anything. Then the next day, my appetite comes back with a vengence. : )
I still think that having Weight Loss Surgery was the best thing in my life (other than my kids.) I am very happy with the new me, I just hope that I can back down to 135 lbs (if not less) after the baby is born in May. That is my biggest fear... not being able to lose the weight. After having my first child, I lost all but 5 lbs of the pregnancy weight, and then continued gaining and gaining after that. I sure hope that history does not repeat itself!
I realize that it has been way too long since I have last updated this, however, I go by the old saying... "better late than never." I had a healthy baby girl in May of 2004. The LONG pregnancy filled with "all day" sickness was well worth it! I ended up gaining a total of 35 pounds throughout the pregnancy, which my doctor was pleased with... but I was not. Due to complications with my cervix and the potential risk of premature labor, I was on "semi-bed rest" for the entire pregnancy. I was able to work through the entire pregnancy, but I had to sit down with me feet up ALL the time. That meant no exercise, not even in moderation! Between this and having to ward off the naseau by eating ALL the time, I can see why I gained 35 pounds.
Present day, I am still working on getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight of 135 lbs. I have about 5 pounds to go. I gained the most of my weight in by hips, thighs and butt, which is making it REALLY hard to lose. I feel bad about my current weight, yet I have to keep reminding myself that I have come a really long way from 268 lbs!
It has been 3 years since my surgery and I am very glad that I made the choice to have the surgery. I am more confident than ever and am very much enjoying being able to shop in the misses department instead of the plus sizes.
One of the biggest struggles to this date is that the surgery is a tool to help you eat less, yet having the surgery does not fix your mindset. I just recently had some time off from work and I was very bored sitting at home. (We did not go anywhere due to the HIGH gas prices.) Being bored, I figured that I would munch on food all day long. Not healthy! At least I was not munching on the same sweets that I used to munch on all the time... I cannot tolerate that stuff anymore.
Life post-op is great! I wish that I would have had the surgery earlier on in life! Now I just need to find a good but cheap plastic surgeon to tighten up this tummy. A little work on the thighs and arms would be great too! : )
I did not meet Dr. Baker until the day of my surgery. I had always seen his associates in his office. My first impression was a good one. I was prepped and in the pre-surgery holding area. He explained what was going to happen next and asked if I had any questions. After surgery, I believe that he checked in on me once. (Other doctor's also popped in occasionally.) Dr. Baker is very encouraging and wants what is best for his patients. The whole team at The Center for Weight Management in Grand Rapids has been great. They have a very structured program that their patients go through, not only to educate them, but to reassure them that they are in good hands, and that help is always there if you need it. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the highest) I would rate the whole program/doctors an 8. The only downfall is that you have to go through a lot of appointments with different staff members there, and I ended up waiting most of the time for my appointment. Other than that, they have all been really helpful and nice.
Blue Cross Blue Shield, Blue Choice
Everyone at Blue Choice has been great. I made sure to keep records of every phone call and to whom I spoke with. I had called Blue Choice to make sure that they had received my request for surgery, and I expected to hear "that they have received it, but it needs to go to the review board to be approved." Instead, I heard "you're approved." I was expecting a long battle for approval, but Blue Choice was great.