Debi H.
Antioch, TN, USA
Post Op - BMI: 24.7
Surgery Type: RNY
Member ID: H1076341495
Surgeon: Hugh Houston

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Hooray! My surgery is scheduled for Monday, April 12! It's hard to believe this is all going to happen but it is. I can hardly wait until this time next week. I should be home from the hospital and learning how to live on the 'losing side.'
I have made a friend on this website who is having surgery the same day, same hospital. We have a date to walk the halls together.
I am ever so grateful to have this opportunity to claim back my life and start living again--rather than passing the time and feeling miserable.
Please say lots of prayers for me and my new friend Donna--that the surgery goes well and our recovery even better! And if you don't mind, please say another prayer that my insurance approves my surgery. I have chosen to forge ahead with WLS and am appealing their first denial of my request. Who knows, with enough prayer power, anything is possible. I have learned that life is way too short to hope things will happen. I am learning to 'expect' results rather than hope for them! It makes all the difference in the world.
Hugs to all of you out there!

May 21
It's amazing that I am already 5 weeks post-op. I have lost 25 pounds and feel pretty good about that. I'm glad all the surgery stuff is behind me--especially the gas, the clear protein drinks, the sore stomach, etc. I still have very little energy and have started having significant depression. My PCP has put me on Wellbutrin--thank goodness. I hope this is a temporary thing and will go away as my obesity-related hormones level out. My clothes are getting too big to wear and I am enjoying shopping for smaller sizes. I have discovered that I can wear Missy sizes again (XL). Oh how I look forward to the day of buying a size 10 pants, etc. My day will come!

June 15
I am 9 weeks post-op and have lost 37 pounds! It's thrilling to be here. I have developed an 'aversion' to food and can hardly eat anything these days. I'm a little worried because I'm probably not getting in enough protein. I have ordered some protein drinks from Susan Marie.
My biggest activity right now is trying on clothes. Every night I go through my closet to see what fits (from my 'last skinny' days) and what needs to leave the closet. I cannot believe how different I look and feel after only 37 pounds. Can you imagine what 64 and 94 pounds will be like? It's truly amazing.
Thank you, God, for this wonderful tool!

June 25
I am 10 weeks (almost 11) post-op and have lost 42 pounds. Hip hip harrah! I still don't have all the energy other people talk about having but am doing well. It's incredible how people are behaving differently towards me. Guys now make an effort to wait and hold doors open for me (that hasn't happened in years). I feel much more confident and can do physical things that were a struggle 40 pounds ago--like get out of my little car easily, paint my toenails, reach around and scrath my back when it itches, stand up straight and know that my stomach isn't sticking out too much. Not that I am perfect--still have 52 pounds to go but, boy, do I feel and look better! My most fun activity is still trying on clothes at night and when I am dressing for work. It is amazing how some of my skinny clothes are now getting too big to wear much longer. Even my underwear is riding up--my butt just doesn't take up enough room to keep it in place. What wonderful problems to have. I could live with those for the rest of my life.
I need to work on my exercise and water intake. I can feel some of my flab starting to jiggle. Have discovered protein drinks and they are life savers when I don't think I can get in all of my protein.
Anyway, just wanted to affirm that life is good and God is great. I am so blessed!

July 6 I am feeling a bit discouraged--weight loss is staying at 43 pounds with rare dips to 44 :-) I have probably hit a plateau and it's disappointing but absolutely not the end of the world. I must confess I have not been getting in enough fluids in the last 3 weeks. I don't have any good excuses. I still struggle with eating at times although I think I experienced some hunger this morning. Funny thing--in the past, I KNEW when I was hungry--I had one of the loudest stomachs I have ever heard until 3 months ago! For breakfast I usually have a couple inches of low fat cheese (a serving or serving & 1/2 based on the suggested serving size on the package). Lunch is 1/2 to 3/4 cup of low fat cottage cheese and a canned pear (packed in very light syrup). Dinner is either re-fried beans with salsa and cheese or 4 ounces of chicken or fish and maybe some canned asparagus. I drink a glass of skim milk right before bedtime--because some of the med's I take must be taken with food. Some days I drink a protein drink to help me get in 60 - 80 grams. When I try to branch out and change my diet, I experience pretty severe stomach pains and have to lie down for an hour or so (and I am not eating sugars or anything high-carb). Don't know what's causing this. As long as I don't feel hungry and feel fairly healthy, I am OK with current eating plan.
I am so shocked when I read what others are eating 2 - 3 months post-op. For example, 'filet mignon, a small salad, and half a potato for dinner. Hamburger patty, 14 shrimp, 7 french fries, baked beans for lunch. 2 eggs, bacon, toast w/butter & jelly for breakfast.' Yes, I am exaggerating a little--but not much! If I ate like that, I would probably be in the hospital with stomach pain. My surgeon recommends no beef or pork, no fresh veggies or fruit, and no breads for at least the first six months. How are these newbies packing away that kind of food? I guess I'm pretty happy that I can't eat like that. I don't know how well this surgery would work for me if I could or would eat food in those amounts.
I do wish my weight loss hadn't slowed down so much but it was bound to happen. Now I just have to stick to my guns and wait for my body to catch up again.
On the high side--I can now wear size 14 missy slacks. It's probably been 14 years since I could get in a 14 anything! I had a hysterectomy 14 years ago July 3. After that, I started packing on the pounds and didn't stop until 6 months and 60 pounds later. Then I added 25 more pounds in the last 4 years. Whew--do not want to do that again. I am having a ball buying new clothes. I feel so fashionable (have always loved style even at my biggest) and light on my feet. I have a blast getting dressed for work each morning. It's funny--today I didn't straighten my hair for work--just let it curl. Well, 2 guys in the office noticed--both said it looked 'sassy.' In my fatter days, I doubt that either would have noticed. That's what being obese does--it helps other people tune you out. Maybe that's what I wanted all those years--no attention from anyone. Maybe it was a reaction to the hysterectomy and to being almost a newly-wed and wanting children(had surgery the 3rd year we were married). I think I didn't want to be desirable for a variety of reasons. Well, Good Friend, times have changed. Bring on all that attention! I have been with my husband for 24 years--married for 18-- but I can definitely handle being positively noticed (need the ego boost after 14 years of feeling unattractive and obese).
I am rambling now--but it's good to write out this stuff. I have a fear of food addiction--especially after reading so many posts that are from screaming addicts who don't know they are addicts. I will use my profile to help me stay mentally healthy and balanced--I hope. There seem to be a lot of people who have had this surgery or are planning to have it who have not begun to deal with psychological/emotional/addiction issues. They scare me because they are establishing a reputation of surgery failure when a whole lot of people are quitely succeeding. I'll save those thoughts for another post.
I am thankful for this day and for all of God's Blessings. His Grace comes to me in every aspect of my life.

July 7 I have collar bones! For the first time in years, I can see my collar bones. Oh what a happy day!
July 9 Went to see my regular physician today--all lab work was perfect! I see my surgeon next week. I have now officially lost...ta da...47 pounds by my doctor's scales! It's hard to believe it! My size 16 pants are starting to fall down on my hips--14's fit much better. Thank goodness for summer sales or I wouldn't have anything to wear to work! I keep wondering when I'll wake up from this dream or when something will go wrong. It's like everything is too good to be true. I will concentrate more on cherishing each day and each pound lost and thank God for all my blessings. It's truly a miracle!

July 14 Gee whiz--this is journey has slowed down to a crawl. I have lost 48 pounds and am wondering when the next ones will 'leave this body'! I am able to tolerate greater portions of food but am keeping my choices very limited--low fat cheese, cottage cheese, saltine crackers, chicken or fish, and sometimes creamed corn or asparagus. I'm starting to get scared that I am eating too many calories since the loss has slowed down so much. I see my surgeon tomorrow and will see what he has to say.
On the positive side...I purchased a pair of size 12 pants this weekend! Yes, a size 12. All my 16's are falling off me, my 14's look good and I am s l o w l y approaching s size 12 (and not just those that are 'cut big'). Life is beautiful, my friends. Life is beautiful.

July 20 I am stuck, stuck, stuck. I keep losing and gaining back 2 or 3 pounds. Haven't seen the scales go south and stay there in over 3 weeks. Frustrating as hell. My sense of hunger has also returned--my pouch growls and makes hungry noises in the morning and mid-day. I have been eating almonds and cashews as an alternative to cheese (am about cheesed-out). I know I could do better with liquids and maybe need to reduce my food intake (although most days it would be hard to get it much smaller). I am faithful to the 60 grams of protein--at least I can feel positive about that. Oh well. On the good side--my PCP has now taken me off the following medications: Micardis (HBP), Lozol (HBP), Trazedone (depression), Advair (breathing), Neurontin (pinched nerve). I am still having terrible insominia--feel like I am losing my mind during the day because I am so sleepy. At night, I start waking up around 1:00 and continue this for the rest of the night. It makes me feel so crazy in the day--like a bad trip on LSD--no concentration, poor decision making, little short term memory. I slept well Sunday night and felt good yesterday. Last night, I did the wake-up thing but managed to sleep a little in between. I need to get more focused on what I am doing and manage myself better. No one is responsible for my success except me (and God). Little help here, Lord, little help please. Peace to all.

August 5 Time for an update. I had a fabulous evening at the outlet mall last night. For the first time in years (probably 14), I actually stepped into, zipped up and buttoned at size 12 straight denim skirt. Is it loose--no! Does it fit well--absolutely. Plus, the size 14 was way too big in the waist! I felt soooo sexy standing there. I tried it on for my husband when I got home and he couldn't believe how good I looked! It's an ego trip for sure. I am still down 53 pounds. The scales yoyo at times--52 pounds, 53 pounds. I still have 41 pounds to go--but I am more than half way there. I am going to my 35th high school reunion in a few weeks. I was never 'in with the in crowd' in HS so I am not sure why I am bothering to go except that I feel good about myself. I have a career, I've been married for 18 years, and I am close to having at least the same shape (not figure, but shape) I had when I was 18. I feel danged good about that after years of obesity. It's a good day. Thank you God for all of the blessings You have given me.

August 13
Well it might be Friday the 13th but it's a good day! If I stand completely still, hold my tongue just right, and don't breathe, my scales say that I have lost 55 pounds! Wow!! I am feeling physically stronger all the time. Even got up at 4:00 AM 3 days this week and exercised for 20 minutes on my glider. Oh yeah! I tried on a cute little denim skirt at Target today. It fit--a little snug but wearable. I noticed the size tag as I was taking it off. I had picked up a size 10 by mistake...and it fit. I almost fainted. I now have a closet full of size 14 clothes that are getting too big, a couple size 12 pants that fit, and am looking forward to the 10's. Yes, it's a good day. Thank you God for all the blessings, grace, hope, and abundance You have infused into my life!

August 16
Can't believe it--woke up 2 pounds lighter today. That puts my weight loss at 57 pounds...and only 37 more to go. I went shopping this weekend. Most of my post-op clothes are starting to get a little baggy. It's such a trip to be able to buy clothes in the Misses department, have such a variety of styles and prices to choose from, and feel like I look good in them! My hubby and I went to a neighboring county fair yesterday. I wanted to go--the weather was perfect and I felt great. We enjoyed all the live stock and exhibits and walked for several hours. Can't remember the last time I did something like that without being exhausted and having aching feet. My body is so happy to be carrying around 57 fewer pounds. Thank you God for all the blessings You have given me. Life is good.

August 25
Don't know why I am writing today except that I am disappointed in myself/my weight loss. I have been going back and forth with the same 2 or 3 pounds for a couple of weeks. I added up my daily calories yesterday and think I might be eating too much although it doesn't feel like it. Breakfast is either low fat cheese and 4 - 6 crackers or (bad) peanut butter crackers out of a vending machine. Lunch is normally low fat cottage cheese and lite canned pear. Dinner is sometimes almonds or low fat cheese melted with tomatoes/veggies or chips and cheese (not and but either/or!). Sometimes I add a protein shake if I think I haven't gotten in enough for the day. Although I feel skinny for me, the pounds refuse to leave. Hopefully by this weekend those pesky 2 or 3 and a couple more will leave this body! Maybe I should have a fat exorcism. Maybe I should exercise and drink more water. I know intellectually that is the answer but emotionally I don't--so I am still choosing to reject the very things that would help me. I need to keep a journal so I can figure out why I am sabatoging my progress.
I continue to be plagued with insomnia. Went to sleep last night around 10:30, was wide awake by 11:30 and was essentially up for the rest of the night. Went downstairs to try to sleep on the couch since in the past this has allowed me to get an hour or two of sleep right before I need to get up in the morning. Didn't work for me last night. Today I am already starting to feel sleepy and it's not even noon yet. There has got to be something I can do about this. I go back to Dr. Mihyu on 9-6. Maybe he can offer some suggestions.
I look good today (despite no sleep and becoming exhausted). I have on a new straight skirt and knit top and have gotten some compliments already. I had a meeting with 2 VP's this morning and felt so comfortable with them. It is amazing what almost 60 pounds does to a person's confidence and self esteem. My 35th HS reunion is this weekend. I am looking forward to going if nothing else to wear some new clothes and feel like I look good. What a shallow person I have become! Oh well, after 14 years of obesity and feeling miserable, I guess it's OK for me to feel good about how I look. I still marvel about all the medications I no longer take. That alone is incredible.
I am asking God to help me find a way to be a more compassionate, caring person and to getting my weight loss back on track. This obesity-thing is bigger than I will ever be and I need His strength to overcome it.
Life is good!
August 31
Thank goodness--the last day in August. This seems like a terribly long month! I went to my 35th High School reunion over the weekend and had a truly good time. It was wonderful seeing all those people who still mean something to me after all these years. I have to admit--it helped that I felt so good about myself. Of course, once I got there I realized just how tiny some of my old buddies are--gee whiz--did everyone but me wear a size 6??? Not to worry--I looked good and felt good and got scads of compliments about how good I looked. Just the ego boost I needed I suppose (although I realize how I feel about myself should come from within and not based on what others tell me). My hubby said we were the best looking couple there. Don't know about that--there weren't that many couples! Out of a class of 600, about 170 came to the reunion--that's pretty darned good! It's heartwarming to talk to all those folks who have become so successful and are making a difference in the world--high school teachers, judges, senators, 'director of international studies' at a women's college, and so forth. It was like being in the company of greatness. One day maybe we'll write the next chapter in 'The Greatest Generation.' Not that we compare to our parents' generation but we're not doing so bad ourselves.
On the weight side...If I hold my breath just right and don't move, my scales say I have now lost 60 pounds. It's all so amazing to me. I did buy a pair of size 10 pants last week. Yes, they're snug but hopefully by the time I wear them, they'll fit just fine. I returned 3 pairs of slacks I had purchased several weeks ago--they had gotten too big before I could wear them. That's a nice feeling--especially when the store had all the same pants in the next size down (12's!) and they were on sale. I got a smaller size and some money back. Who can beat that???
I thank God for all of His blessings. Life is good!

Labor Day Weekend...
Was good! I went shopping yesterday to take advantage of all the clearance sales. Although my scales have hardly moved in weeks (up one, down one), I now comfortably wear 10's and 12's in pants. Probably a 14 or large or extra large in tops. I look at my reflection and sometimes don't recognize myself. It's a little shocking. Even my old panty hose are too big for me (sag and drag everywhere). Losing weight is like having a completely new body that I'm simply not accustomed to. Each day is a discovery for me. I spoke on the phone with a family friend on Friday night and told him about my surgery and that I have lost 60 pounds. It felt wonderful (he's in the medical profession, so for some reason, I felt really comfortable about telling him). He said he has thought about it for himself. These days I am feeling like a poster child for the surgery. As of today, I have 33 more pounds to lose to reach my surgeon's 'ideal weight' for me. I am certain I can lose the rest of the weight although it might take a while. I go back to my neurologist this afternoon. I am praying that he will have some solution to my insomnia. I have been taking medication for Parkinson's disease to treat restless leg syndrome. I also take Ambien which does nothing for me. I don't know what it's going to take to help me sleep all night. I am ready to try anything at this point.
I am rambling and starting to nod off (how bad is that when you put yourself to sleep with your own musing??).
Life is Good. Thank You God for Your love, abundant blessings, and gifts!

September 10
Today is a wonderful day. I just got back from seeing my PCP and getting my last lab results. My cholesterol is 163! My doctor said it's like a baby's --especially the ratio between the good cholesterol and the bad cholesterol. My triglycerides are 115--an incredible drop since at one point a couple of years ago they were around 455. I am so very thankful to be so healthy. All my other results were excellent--truly a red letter day.
My neurologist put me on Trazedone for insomnia. The first night after taking it, I could hardly get out of bed--but I did sleep all night. Last night I reduced the dose by 2/3 and still slept all night. This morning, I had little trouble getting up. I pray this is the solution to all my sleepless nights and all my sleepy days. I was teaching a class on Wednesday and completely forgot what I was supposed to do or say. The class didn't really notice but my co-facilitator knew I was sinking. It was so humiliating and I have no doubt that my brain is fried from not sleeping more than an hour or so every night for months. Please let this medication do the trick.
I haven't lost a pound in weeks--up one, down one, up again. I guess this is my first true plateau. But, by my doctor's official scales I have 'officially' lost 60 pounds. I have hardly exercised in the past week and haven't been mindful of the quality of food I have been eating. I cannot tolerate big amounts of anything (nor would I want to) but I also haven't done well with getting in enough protein. I have promised myself to do better this week. On the fun/good side--it is a dream to shop for clothes. I bought a couple size 10 jeans last week. It's so incredible to by-pass the plus size department and go straight to size 10 and 12 racks. It's a good thing I have found so many bargains since I know (hope) I will out-lose them in a couple of months. Sometimes I just want to yell from the dressing room--"These are a size 10! Do you know how long it has been since I could wear a size 10!" Of course I don't do that in public--only at home--tee hee.
It's a beautiful day--sunny, low 80's, not a cloud in the sky. It's Friday and payday and I weigh 60 pounds less than I did 5 months ago. Thank you God for all of these wonderful blessings. Life is good!

September 14
Not sure why I have to write something today but I do. I was down all weekend. Thinking about September 11 and recalling those horrible first hours and days washed sadness all the way to my soul. I pray for peace and for everyone's hearts to be healed of their own loss and healed of their for hate others--based on religion, race, background. I cried for weeks in September 2001- I knew the world would never be the same and it hasn't been. So this weekend I mourned.
I also found out last Friday that several people are being terimnated/laid off this week. I have to be selfish and pray that I am not on someone's list. I keep saying that I am tired of starting over at the age of 53 soon to be 54. Talk about being in a funk--we're talking major funk! I bought Dr. Wayne Dyer's book, Power of Intention, and I hope it will help me find myself in this world of work. Lots more thinking to do on that.
Weight is still the same--up one, down one. I did buy a size 10, hot pink, corduroy skirt this weekend. It's snug but should fit before long (plus, it's too warm to wear it right now any way). Seems like all my other clothes get too large very quickly if I buy them to fit. Wonderful problems to have.
Thank you God for the opportunity to find my 'skinny self.' I am truly blessed.

Sept 27
Went to a big crafts fair this weekend at Centennial Park. I always see one specific artisan (Her name is Denise and her company is 'Behind Blue Eyes' from Washington, DC) who designs and makes the most incredible clothes. Over the years I have bought several hand painted jackets, dresses, and tops from her. This time when I walked up to her booth, she did not recognize me! She could not stop raving about how good I looked. I bought another jacket from her--in a size small-medium. All my other 'Behind Blue Eyes' purchases from over the years are still in my closet. They are the last hold-outs from my bigger days. I have a small fortune invested in these pieces and I cannot bear to get rid of them yet they'll never fit again (if I have anything to do with it). I even talked with her about altering some of the stuff but she said the darts would be all wrong. I am not sure what I'll do with them--each is a work of art. She said I might try taking them apart and using the material to make something smaller. That would be a major undertaking--maybe this winter :-) Now I have a new work of art jacket in a much, much smaller size. It was almost like a dream since the last time I saw her I weighed 66 pounds more than I do now. I am actually starting to see myself as a much smaller woman when I look in a mirror. However, when I go into a store, I still think I am supposed to go to the plus size section. I didn't start buying plus sizes until 7 or 8 years ago--some how squeezed into the biggest misses stuff I could find. My husband had some pictures developed last week--including some from last Christmas as well as some from about 4 weeks ago. Talk about before and after. The change is amazing. I can't believe I ever got that big and now I can't believe I have lost so much. No wonder so many people have emotional ups and downs and mood swings after surgery! Aside from the real physical reasons, the psychological impact is huge. I am so glad that the majority of surgeons insist on psychological exams. You have to be pretty strong to deal with all the changes you go through. Anyone who thinks this is an easy journey needs a dose of reality. The results are phenomenal but the road is full of bumps and strange curves. Talk about an adventure! Wouldn't trade it for the world.
God has so blessed me. I thank Him for my health, family, husband, friends, career, cats, abundance, stamina, intellect, opportunities, sense of humour, challenges--absolutely everything good as well as challenging.

October 7
Kinda of a sad day for me. My father would have been 80 years old today. He died of brain and lung cancer 8 years ago and I still miss him so. I wish I were able to give him a big kiss on the head and surprise him with a wonderful gift. He was a marvelous person--so well-liked.
Today is also a red letter day for me--I went for my 6 month check up today. Dr. Houston said he is thrilled with how I am doing. I have lost 67% of my excess weight after only 6 months. That translates into losing 64 pounds and being weighed fully dressed. I keep telling myself that I have lost 66 pounds but that's wearing only a vey light night gown. I also went to another surgeon today about a lump on my chest. He's pretty sure it's nothing to worry about but it's too big to remove in his office. So here I go--back to an operating room for the second time this year. I know in my heart of hearts that this is only a cyst but I will feel better when it has been removed and been to the lab. My surgery is October 27.
Physically--I think I am doing a little better with energy. I have only lost 6 pounds in the last 2 months. That's a bit discouraging but as my doc said, the closer you get to goal weight, the slower it comes off. When I tell people I still have 29 pounds to lose, they look at me and ask--From Where??? It's a thrill to hear those words but I know I need to lose this last part...and I WILL lose it! I bought a size 10 leather short skirt the other night (on sale and a cheapie at that). What a kick I got when I tried on the 12 first and knew that a 10 would fit better. Woo Hoo! It looks good, too! My husband and I are off to Lexington, KY for the entire weekend. We are going to horseraces at Keeneland and I can hardly wait. I am taking my first vacation day of the year to go. The last time I was at Keeneland, I was a week away from GBS--and pretty focused on that instead of having fun. Now, 6 months later--I am returning a new woman--feeling good about myself, off almost all medications, and have a new lease on life. I am sincerely looking forward to some fun at the track and some peace and serenity in the barn area (we will get up and go watch the horses work out when the sun comes up--that's the best thing in the world). Then we'll go back to our hotel, clean up and dress up, and go back to the track for an afternoon of fun. It's my piece of heaven on earth every October and April.
Guess I'll go for now. Lots of stuff is happening at work and I'm kind of upset about it (my boss is leaving and I've pretty well been told that I won't be considered for her job). I think it's time to find another opportunity. At least this time, I'll look younger, healthier, and sexier when I go for interviews. I know that sounds horrible coming from someone in Human Resources--but I don't kid myself either. When you've been 52, fat, and unemployed, you can get a real wake up call about who will get the job that you want (the younger, sweet-thang in the shorter skirt). Guess what, my credentials, qualifications, experience, and education are top notch. Now, maybe my appearance and self-confidence will add (rather than detract) to the picture.
We shall see.
Thank you God for my humility, abundance, gracious and wonderful friends and family a, for my second chance at life, and for all the wonderful blessings You continue to place in my life.

October 11
Hubby and I went to the horseraces for a 3 day weekend at Keeneland in Lexington, KY (a slice of heaven on earth). I held up remarkably well--never got tired of walking and just hanging out with other horse people (who are marvelous for the most part). I could not believe I got so much positive attention-it was an ego trip. It was opening weekend and lots of very big names in the horseracing industry were there. Hubby videotaped our early morning excursions to watch all these beautiful animals get their morning exercise (it's really better than the races). I couldn't believe that was me on the video tape--I would not have recognized myself if I hadn't been there! I also got my photo made with a very famous jockey--Gary Stevens--woo hoo -- if you saw Seabiscuit, you know who I am talking about. In the past I would have been too embarrassed to ask him to take a picture with me (because I felt so giant and fat next to a slender jock) but not this time! All I felt was confidence and a little wonder that it was really happening!
This is an amazing journey. Life is Good!

My weight loss is still so, so slow. I am sure if I would leave off the carbs and exercise more, I wouldn't be complaining--so I have to take responsibility for my slow down. On the good side--I tried on size 8 jeans last night and they actually fit. They were snug but they fit. I also tried on some other size 8 slacks that fit but didn't look very good--so I left everything at the store. I have been on a clothes-buying spree that won't quit. It's so hard not to buy everything I try on because most everything looks great! I had lunch with a friend from a former job last week--she was astounded at my weight loss. Then, of all things, I was having lunch with some business associates this week and I ran into my previous boss and his side-kick. I was laid off from that job after working my butt off--60 hours a week-- and being unprofessionally treated for over a year, so I didn't leave with the greatest of feelings. I was happy that I was getting out of a bad situation, and fortunately I found another job within a couple of weeks, so it was all good for me. Anyway both guys filled me with compliments on how I looked and couldn't have been nicer. I admit--I felt a bit smug to be sitting in the restuarant with new business associates who are now part of my life/career...and I looked really skinny! Yes, it was an ego trip and I enjoyed every minute of it. Also, last week I went to a seminar and ran into a woman who had interviewed me for a job 3 years ago--when I was desperate to find work as a professional trainer (went unemployed for 6 months and it was a really depressing time in my life). She didn't offer me the job (and I really wanted to work for that company) and it was nice to see her again now as a skinny person who feels pretty confident now. She actually gave me her business card and said she'd like to talk with me about what my company is doing for leadership development. I do hope she will follow up so I can show her what she passed up. I was probably way over qualified for the position but I was also willing to do anything for a paycheck at that time. I know all of this sounds like vengeance--it's not malicious--just a sweet feeling that the skinny, capable person hiding behind all that fat has finally come forward again. I thank God every day for this new life he has given me. Each day is an adventure--I'm on a high and sometimes get really scared that it will end. It's almost like I need a 12 step program to keep me healthy and skinny. I have gone to Overeaters Anonymous in the past--so I'm not talking about that kind of program. Maybe this is a sign that I need to get my butt into the post-op support groups provided through my surgeon.
Stuff to think about. Off to Keeneland again this weekend. Life is good.

November 1
My weight loss continues to be quite slow--but I am getting smaller. I have lost 70 pounds and have 24 more to go--amazing! I am starting to feel my pelvis bones--something I have not felt in 14 years! Yippee! I will see my brother for the first time in months when I travel to East Tennessee for my Mom's birthday this coming weekend. I think my brother will be astounded--and I can hardly wait for him to see me. I had surgery last week to have the lump/knot removed from my chest--it was really on my chest and not on a breast--thank goodness. Anyway, the lump was more of a cyst and I feel fully recovered except for the Frankenstein-like stitches--no low v-necks for me for a long time. I have 8 external stitches and who knows how many internal ones. Yesterday was Halloween (duh, since this is Nov 1) and I went shopping for a while. Every time I looked in the mirror and saw this big red scar and black stitches, all I could think was how appropriate for Halloween--pretty funny. I spent a lot of time this weekend taking up some clothes that became too big after wearing them once or twice. I am a bit worried that I am substituting shopping and spending money for eating. I have a whole new closet of clothes and keep buying more. It's like an obsession right now.
All in all--I continue to be thrilled with the benefits of WLS--I am healthy, confident, and I look good! Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful gift of a new life.

Nov 8 2004
Goodness--I have now lost 70 pounds since April. It's pretty incredible. I saw my brother this weekend and he couldn't believe how much smaller I am. I also saw one of my Mom's dearest friends and she just raved about the new me. I was getting ready for work this morning and tried on several things before I found something that didn't just hang in folds on me. I have several size 12 and 10 skirts that I need to take up--quickly! I treated myself and bought 2 new pairs of jeans this weekend--size 8! Unbelievable! They're a little snug but they're stretch jeans, so they're supposed to fit rather than slouch. I have also returned some skirts that I bought last month--to trade them in for size 8's. I still weigh 25 more pounds than I did when I got married 18 years ago--but I am smaller than I have been in 14 or 15 years. By the time I reach goal (24 pounds away), I will be thin. My Mom says I better not lose any more or I won't have a butt. She said I would need to get some panties with padding! Isn't it funny--when you're obese, all you hear is how you 'need to lose a few pounds.' When you're small, you hear 'you're going to get too thin. You don't need to lose any more weight or you'll look haggard.' I suppose life will always be that way--my Mom or friends telling me that I need to do something else to look perfect. The way I see it--I no longer have acid reflux or high blood pressure--that is gift beyond wonderful. Being a size 8 or 10 is a fantastic side effect! I'm not going to dwell on how other people think I should look. I'm very proud of my body and I feel good about myself. I need to work on my self confidence and find a really good job that I just love and that pays at least 25% more than I am earning right now. That would put me back to where I was in 2000 - 2001 before my career went south along with the economy and then Sept 11. Focus! Believe I can do this! Network! Put myself out there! Go get 'em, Deb!
Life is good and I thank God everyday for my new health and all of my blessings.

December 6
It's hard to believe it's almost Christmas. Since my last post, my husband and I have lost one of our 12-yr old kitties and found out the other has untreatable cancer. Very sad times but I feel at peace--almost. Percy disappeared the Sunday before Thanksgiving--we have no idea what could have happened to her. She was Don's special baby for over 12 years and he is really mourning. The next day we had an appointment at the vet for Wombat. The vet discovered a tumor under her tongue. She had surgery on that Wednesday and the following Monday we found out that it was cancer. Where it's located makes it impossible to treat, so we are nursing her through her last days with us. To lose both kitties after over 12 years is heart wrenching but inevitible. I hope Percy has not/did not suffer (our neighbors found her collar--what could have happened to her I will always wonder) and as soon as Wombat cannot eat or seems to be suffering, I will have her put down. It's hard to let go but we all must at some point.
OK--enough sadness. I am very disppointed to write that I was not even considered for my manager's position. It makes me doubt that I will ever make it to the ranks of director--which shakes my confidence as well-educated almost 54 year old with extensive experience in my field. I've been thinking this morning that perhaps I should work on an MBA or another Master's degree. Obviously I am standing still or going backwards and I still need to work 10 more years. Stuff to think about over the holidays.
On the weight-loss side--I have now lost 75 or 76 pounds and it really shows. I went to see my Mom and brother this weekend--both were in awe (and of course, started telling me that I don't need to lose any more weight, and so forth) I still have 18 pounds to go but am starting to think I will be a rail by then--it might not be the best weight for me. So--do I see where my body stops and say that's the best weight? I'll see Dr Houston in 4 weeks and will ask him then. In the meantime, it would sure be nice to drop about 6 more pounds :-) I now wear a size 8 in just about everything from the waist down--even have a pair of size 6 pants that fit just fine. It's amazing--I walk past anything that shows my reflection and I never recognize that it's me. Much of my energy has returned--thank heavens. For several months i was beginning to think I had something terribly wrong with me. I am doing much better. I must make myself exercise--I feel like I have zero muscles--just some flab and bones. When I take some time off during in Christmas, that will be a great chance to get back on track and get some rest! Yippee.
So, I'll end this post as I normally do--by saying thank You to God for my health, this surgery, and my abundant blessings. I ask for strength and direction and guidance. I am truly blessed.

January 5, 2005
Wow--it's a new year. Don't have much time to write but did have to report that TODAY, for the first time in umpteen years, I am wearing panty hose in Size Average--not 'tall, not Queen--but plain old average. I never thought I'd wear that size again. They are staying up, not cutting off circulation, and seem to fit me to a Tee. Praise the Good Lord for miracles of modern science and bariactric surgery.
I made it through Christmas with no problems. Well, I did throw up twice during the week--probably from eating too much--I had a hard time measuring food when I had so many choices. My menu/food list is normally quite limited and it's easy to know how much is enough. When you're trying a teaspoon of green bean casserole, a teaspoon of dressing, etc. it's hard to know exactly how much food you're taking in until it's too late. Back at work this week has been a different story--I have been grazing during the days--eating cheese and crackers and peanut butter and crackers. While I know these foods are acceptable in limited amounts and very high in protein, I'm concerned that I could fall into the pattern of believing it's OK to snack all day--expecially when I don't get a real lunch break or if I'm not interested in food during lunch time. I need to figure out what's going on with my resolve. I do have a new manager and am feeling very un-valued and un-heard at work--so my stress level is getting high. However, I have got to find other ways of dealing with these feelings rather than stuffing my face. On the physical side--I look good if you don't count my sagging breasts--wearing mostly 8's and bought a size 6 straight skirt this past weekend. I have a New Year's Resoultion to exercise more (getting back on my glider in the morning). However, my new boss wants me here by 8:00 if not earlier--my previous boss didn't care as long as I was here by 8:30 or 8:45. If I am really going to exercise this means I will need to get up really early and jump on my glider. It's all a matter of choice. I pray that God gives me the strength to make good ones. All in all--my life is good and thank you God for my abundant blessings.

January 10
It was a sad weekend. We had our 12 year old cat euthanized on Friday. She had cancer that wasn't treatable and has been going down in health since right before Thanksgiving. Very sad--I miss her--especially in the mornings. She insisted on sitting in my lap while I put on my make up in the morning. Our remaining cat, Hoover, could care less about the 'getting pretty' process.
I had a follow up visit with my regular physician this morning. He is so pleased with my progress. I've lost 78 pounds by his scales--Yippee! I have been hungry for the last 2 days--some real hunger and some head hunger (couldn't find anything that tasted good or that satisfied me). I obviously had too much of something (fruit 'n nut trail mix or coffee) before my appointment. I was very weak and shaky when I got to his office--so much that I went to the hospital cafeteria and bought some milk. The milk helped a lot--esepcially since my doctor runs 2 hours late all the time. I looked at Centennial's Center for Obesity member list just now--all the people waiting/wanting to have surgery. All I can say is that if everything else has failed in your attempts to lose weight, GBS is the gold standard. I am as healthy as a teenager and feel like I have a whole new lease on life. My blood pressure is perfect, my acid reflux is gone, I don't snore any more, I'm not all congested, I can easily hike my leg up to trim my toenails, I can scratch my own back--even in the hard places--it is like having a completely new body. I walk into a store and head for the size 8 clothes. My newest bra is lacy, feminine, and a 34 C (rather than the industrial strength 38 D minimizers I used to wear). Sometimes I get scared that I will wake up from this wonderful dream. All I can say is thank you God for my abundant blessings, for my uncle who left me some inheritance money which paid for this, to my friends for their on-going support, and Dr. Houston and Holly for guiding me through this journey. I am truly blessed!

January 14
Hard to believe that 2 weeks from today I will turn 54. I so clearly remember turning 31, 40, 16, 36, and several others as well. Where does the time go? My weight loss is doing a yo yo these days. I had lost 3 pounds since Christmas and woke up on Monday with all of it back. I thought it would surely disappear this week but it has not. I've been in a funk over work (new boss who is a bull in a china shop) and have lost both my 12-year-old kitties in the last 2 months. That combined with after-holiday-lost-feelings (now that I am not focused on Christmas, what am I supposed to be doing?) makes for a pretty decent funk. I went to a big mall last night and enjoyed walking around although I have developed terrible pain (arthritis I guess) in my left hip. This pain keeping me awake at night and I'm concerned about long term pain management since I cannot take aspirin which is so good as an anti-inflammatory. Today I feel fat, lumpy, old, and arthritic. How yucky!!!! Shame on me for having such an unjustified pity party--here I sit a mere 16 pounds from goal, wearing my size 8 Ralph Lauren corduory jeans, looking better than I did when I was 40--feeling sorry for myself. I will allow myself to feel this way for about another hour and then I must move on to brighter, more cheerful outlooks.
I've spent some time on the message board today--reading about others' fears, hopes, pettiness, dreams, defensiveness, immaturity, courage, strength. It's a good reminder --to help me always remember how far I have come in my own journey. I also need to be reminded not to judge so harshly because I haven't walked a mile on someone else's shoes.
So this week I will end by thanking God for all of my blessings, asking Him to watch over all the unfortunate victims of the tsunami and to give them grace and strength, and asking God to give me a little bit of that too. Please help me refocus myself on the positive, healing energy that prayer always brings and help me channel my life in a forward, constructive, assertive, caring direction (a fabulous, high paying, fun new job would be nice). Hey--I have always read that you must be specific when asking your higher power to bring something into your life. Maybe I'll just ask for long-term joie de vivre!

January 26
I am having a really tough time lately. It's an emotional and psychological thing. I don't know if it's after-Christmas blahs, boredom with winter and lack of sunshine, concerns about work. Actually it's all of the above. It doesn't help that I have not lost an ounce in weeks. I am having a difficult time relating to my new manager and am feeling very left out of what he is planning for the future. I can't decide if he doesn't relate well to women (he and my male colleague get along fairly well), if he is intimidated that I have more experience in several areas than he does, or if he is just a prick. He doesn't listen well and devalues and discounts most of what I bring to the table. I don't think he means to be so crass and uncouth. I think he just doesn't know any better combined with not really caring how he comes across to anyone but our executives. Anyway, I'm having a pity party rather than doing something constructive to get myself a new job or figure out how to get along with my manager. A former co-worker contacted me last week about a job in her company and I have followed up but have not done as much as I could to get an interview. See--I'm belly-aching but prefer whining rather than doing something that would address the issues. Now I can have a pity party about that as well. It is terrible to be in such a funk! I keep thinking of the new lease on life that losing weight has given me and I feel very ungrateful that I am feeling sorry for myself. I guess this drives home the point that WLS will not solve underlying issues that made me fat to begin with--lack of self-confidence and maybe the need to be dependent on something--even if it's bad. I read some articles yesterday that people's brains seem to be hard wired for addictions like eating, smoking, sex, gambling, etc. That brought me down as well--I don't really like to eat any more but I love to shop and I love to gamble. Does this mean I am doomed to be addicted to something all of my life? If so, please, God, help me become addicted to something positive like exercise--not spending money, drinking, indiscriminate sex, etc. Please help me be a more positive and focused woman.
My birthday is day after tomorrow--hard to believe. Right now I don't have anything planned except lunch with my colleague, Cameron. Thank goodness for him--he's a wonderful person and I'd be quite crazy here without him. Maybe hubby will take me to dinner--although most people just don't understand that being taken out for a meal is not exactly the way this WLS gal would choose to celebrate a festive occasion. Take me shopping or to a concert or an art gallery--some place where food is not the only focus. Although I don't really have the money to spare, I might go to a casino this weekend. Don hasn't even mentioned it to me. I know he wouldn't want to go but given a choice, that's what I'd like to do to recognize my birthday. I guess I'll wait 2 more days and see how I feel.
If anyone is reading my profile, I apologize for whining and being self-centered. I will ask God for the strength and direction I need to move on to a higher level of appreciation of life and a higher level of consciousness. I actually do have everything I could ever need or want--I just have to appreciate it for me to see it manifest in my life. Thank You, God, for all of my blessings.

March 21
Well...a lot has happened since my last entry. First, I lost my job on my birthday--gee, could you have picked a better day? I'm OK with not working that company any more--actually, it's been wonderful to be away from the stifling environment and feeling left out. Maybe it was a gift after all. My hubby and I went to Nassau last week. I know that I will never have more than 2 weeks vacation for the rest of my working life, so we took advantage of my 'free time.' We loved the Bahamas. I'm not a beach person but the sunshine and laid back atmosphere was fabulous. Having a new body made all the difference. I will probably never have a tan but I do have a body that looks just fine being as pale as it can be. I feel confident and self-assured and that makes all the difference in how I see life.
I have finally lost another pound or so--the first since January! I still have 13 pounds to reach my goal weight. I now wear size 8 in almost everything--and have actually started wearing size 6 in a few things. It's remarkable. I want to reach goal but I'm very happy with where I am right now--and very grateful to have come this far. I bought 2 new bathing suits for our trip. I haven't bought a new suit in 8 or 9 years. You cannot imagine how wonderful it was to be trying on size 8 suits--and they fit--and actually looked good. I am so very thankful for having had this surgery and being healthy. I am exercising at least 4 times a week and feeling good. I do have arthritis or something going on in my left hip and knee. However, think of the good side--I have 81 fewer pounds to carry around--so what is a little pain compared to how I felt this time last year.
My surgery anniversary is coming up in 3 weeks--April 12. I am profoundly grateful that I had the opportunity to start a healthy life and get to know myself without mounds of fat covering me up. Life is good and I am so blessed. Thank you God for giving me so many gifts and for the abundance of love that comes my way every day.

Member Interests:
  • Gambling - love love love--wish I was lucky

  • Fashion - adored it since I was a kid

  • Education - have been in corporate development & education for over 20 years

  • Horses - Thoroughbred horse racing -- my passion

  • Click here to see interests of other ObesityHelp members.

    Surgeon Info:
    Surgeon: Hugh Houston
    He is a surgeon first and foremost, confident, capable, etc. He also has a real 'human side' that doesn't separate him from the rest of the world (no 'God' syndrome that many doctors assume). Holly, his nurse, is quite helpful and personable. The office staff at the center could benefit from customer service training. Both times I went there pre-op, I felt like I was interrupting their day when I asked for assistance. One time I left a letter from my PCP, my business card, and asked them to have their insurance person call me--got no response for 2 days and later found out she did not get the message to call me. Hmmmm. Dr. Houston does emphasize aftercare and seems very knowledgeable about bariatric surgery. So far, I'd rate my surgeon 9 out of 10--it's early yet!
    Insurer Info:
    HealthSpring, Freedom plan
    I question HealthSpring's competency in dealing with bariatric issues. The first denial stated that I did not have a BMI of 40 (no mention of an exclusion policy). I also have 2 co-morbidities--documentation was submitted. Apparently co-morbidities do not enter into their calculations. I never received a notice of the second denial although they had sent a letter to the Bariatric Center (who submitted all of my paperwork). I understand, after speaking with the Bariatric Center, that HealthSpring's reason for the second denial was that WLS is excluded from my policy. So...why didn't they state that in the first place? Yes, I feel like I got the run-around from this company. If you have HealthSpring and are morbidly obese, find another insurer.