Kell@ H.
Blaine, MN, USA
Post Op - BMI: 36.6
Surgery Type: RNY
Member ID: H1137793112
Surgeon: Frederick Johnson, M.D.

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Jan 2006 "before" - Nov 2006 "after"
(-140 lbs)

1/1/2006 -- Introduction

I'm 34 years old, 5' 8" and 381.8 lbs. I've been overweight all of my life, and obese for all of my adult life. I think now I'm called "Super Morbidly Obese", or something like it's implying that I'm going to drop dead any mintue now. Whatever! Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!

It's kind of funny, but written in my baby book, my mom wrote, "She sure is a big eater, always making extra bottles.", lol. If that's not a genetic factor, I don't know what else is! I can remember as far back as elementary school, not being able to do the gym fitness tests and of course the teasing from other kids. I was pretty resiliant to the torture of being "big" growing up, because my mom always taught me to rise above it and be proud of myself and my accomplishments. I was a good student and had strong family support, therefore I drew my strength from them.

I first joined Weight Watchers the summer before high school started, and lost about 70 lbs. My freshmen year was the only year of high school where I felt almost "normal". Still "big", but I didn't stand out. I was even a varsity football cheerleader my junior year! But, alas, it was not to last. I slowly regained that weight throughout high school and then on and on throughout college.

Today, I have a great job, bought my own house, have 2 sweet 1 year old kitties, have 2 beautiful neices, and life is pretty good! Except for my weight! And now, as time continues to tick by, it's really starting to catch up to me. My feet hurt all of the time, my knees are achy and "crunchy" (I predict knee surgery in my future), and both of my parents have high blood pressure and diabeties, so I know I'm a ticking time bomb for those.

In my most recent attempt with Weight Watchers, I lost 50 lbs. But, over this last year, I've regained that. Arrrgh! I'm finally admitting to myself that I need some greater intervention to help me out. I just can't do it on my own. In my mail one day arrived a newsletter about the Bariatric Center at Unity hosptial...and so my journey begins.

1/20/2006 -- Learning, considering Lap-Band

I've just recently learned about the Lap-Band procedure through my hospital newsletter. It appealed to me, because it's less invasive. I am scheduled for an educational session on 2/9/2006 at Unity Hospital in Fridley.

1/23/2006 -- Get a head start on Pre-op weight loss

Reading the message boards and profiles has been quite educational. Now, I'm thinking with my high BMI, that maybe the RNY procedure would be better. I do know that I want something done, but will have to learn more to decide which would be best.

I keep reading how you have to lose "pre-op" weight, so I'm sticking with Weight Watchers and hoping to get a head start on that.

1/24/2006 -- Decided on Open RNY

Can you tell I'm a Newbie? I'm out here every day reading and reading. I think I've become obsessed/addicted to OH! Anyway, I was thinking these past few days why I never considered surgery before I heard of the Lap Band? It's not the actual surgery that freaks me out, because I've had three already:

1. Appendix ruptured (14 yrs) - 12" horizontal scar from that.
2. Ovarian cyst and ovary removed (24 yrs) -- 6" vertical scar from that.
3. Gallbladder removed (27 yrs) -- 4 Lap scars from that.

So, I've had my fair share of abdominal surgery (plus PS someday). They all went fine, and I certainly know what the pain feels like (appendix was the worst), pre-op and recovery. I think it's the fact that they are rerouting your digestive tract -- what if there's a leak, what if there's a tear, what if there's an infection? I guess this could have happened with any of my prior surgeries, but those didn't freak me out!

That's why the Lap Band was first appealing to me; it seems less radical. Now, that I'm getting more educated about it all, I think I'm leaning towards RNY. Not sure if I want to do all the "fills" and adjustments that are needed with the Band. I want to have one procedure and heal, and get used to it. It seems whenever people have fills they are already feeling hungry again, and then get their fill have to go back to being sore and pukie again. Hmm, I haven't even had my first educational session yet!

Anyway, it's good to get all this out, to try and figure out my head. I can just imagine reading this a few years down the road and think...what was I thinking...just do it already!

1/25/2006 -- Before photos

WW meeting tonight...down -7.2 lbs! Wow, I knew I was having a good week! Been painting a few rooms in the house, so that was a lot of activity over this last week. That puts me at -10.4 for the year; 371.4 lbs (pre-op).


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2/2/2006 -- First Images

I've decided to attend the Images support group meeting at Unity soak up more information an confirm my decision. I've pretty much decided on going with the RNY surgery now. I'm excited to get this process started, and hoping that the insurance approval goes well. I've read about some slow approvals with my Ins. Co., Patient Choice. Now, I'm starting to understand why everyone is talking about having patience with the process. I'm thinking, ok, I've finally made the decision, now let's get going already. I love reading the profiles out here on OH, and dreaming of my future! Thank you for such a inspirational community!

I went to Images; what an amazing group of people! Everyone was so open and comfortable with very personal issues. Absolutely no comparison to Weight Watchers meetings! It was also a bit scary, because it really made the surgery finally feel real to me. Still learning, but seeing it's "real" not just an idea. Seeing the good and the bad. Some have medical complications, some have emotional issues, some are plateauing, some are losing hair. It's not all roses! But, all said it was worth it for the weight loss in the end. It's an amazing feeling being in a room of people who know exactly how you feel, people who have large amounts of weight to lose, like me.


2/6/2006 -- PCP full exam

Today, I had first appointment with my new Family Practice Dr. who was recommened by my OB-GYN, who recommended getting a complete physical:

Dr. Joy K Anderson, MD
Multicare Associates
Fridley Medical Center
7675 Madison St. NE
Fridley, MN 55432

The clinic is right next to the Unity Hospital parking lot in Fridley. I also wanted to use this appointment to get my weight loss attempts documented along with knee and foot pain I've been having. I was nervous because I had never seen this Dr. before, and didn't know what her take on Gastric Bypass would be. She did a complete exam, and ordered an EKG and fasting blood test. My blood pressure was a bit high (130 over something, probably nerves), although it has been running on the high side.

We had a good discussion about my weight history, and of course I ended up getting emotional about it all. She was sympathetic handing me a tissue and acknowledging that it's an emotional subject. She said she would put my weight history in her dictation, and said that Gastric Bypass would be a great option for me! Yeah! I was so afraid I'd get a Dr. who recommend more visits to a nutritionist or something. I've been attending Weight Watchers for about 2 years now, and 6 months of Curves. I don't know why I never quit, just didn't want to be a "quitter" again. So, hopefully my Ins. accepts all of this.

By the way, we also did my Blood Pressure at the end of the visit, and it was even higher (140 over something)! It was supposed to be lower, but I was so worked up that I attributed it to that. She wants to see me in a month to check my BP again. Hopefully it will be down, if I lose another 10 lbs at WW, and am more relaxed.

Anyway, after this stressful and emotional afternoon, all I wanted to do was go and get a Dairy Queen Blizzard. Can we say, "emotional eater"?! I settled on a Burger King hamburger, no fries. Tomorrow is a new day, one step closer to WLS! Wednesday is WW again, hopefully down a few more pounds. I'll have to be really good to counter-act my stress eating. Thursday is finally my Intro meeting at the Bariatric Center, so I'll finally get my foot in the door there. I'm planning on making my first appointment that day with the Bariatric Nurse.

2/9/2006 -- Intro. meeting for the Bariatric Program

I went to the Intro. meeting and confirmed my decison to move forward. I scheduled my first nurses meeting that day for Friday, 2/17. Through another OH member, I found out the names of some Psych Drs who take my Insurance and who Unity recommends, so I've already made that appointment for 2/27. Trying to keep the process moving. Seems all my appointments are a week apart. I wish I could just bunch them all together.

I've filled out the 16 page health history for the Nurse's meeting on Friday. Still have to get the results from my PCP visit last week, to take to this next meeting (EKG, Cholesterol, Blood Sugar). WW is tomorrow, and I'm afraid I'll be up a few pounds. Grandma came to visit last weekend, I had a few too many deserts! Oh well, just gotta keep plugging away...

2/17/2006 -- First Bariatric Nurse's Meeting

Had my first Nurse's meeting today with Lynn at Unity. She went through the material pretty fast, but there was nothing new that I hadn't researched before hand. She was impressed with the documentation that I brought with...copy of my last PCP visit which was a couple of weeks ago, copy of my last year's medical records, copy of my Weight Watchers membership booklet.

But, she also wants me to lose 26 lbs. before surgery. That was a surprise! She didn't really take into account the weight I lost in January, just wants me to keep losing weight. It shrinks the liver before surgery, and exercising regularly before surgery helps you recover faster. And yes, I'm up 5 lbs. since last week!! I thought I'd be up, but not that much. Why is it so easy to gain weight?? Ugh. She said it's not set in stone, and that they woundn't cancel my surgery if I don't lose all 26 lbs., but it's a good amount to aim for. So, I'm thinking positive, and I'm going to go for it! This week I've started using the treadmill and eliptical machine at my neighborhood clubhouse to start getting some regular exercise. And, if I'm faithful with the WW program, I know I can lose weight on it. It's the "sticking with it" issue I have keeping the weight off.

Anyway, the other discussion that worried me a bit is that she said many Insurance companies are not accepting Weight Watchers as a "structured weight loss program". She wanted me to start seeing a dietician and get my weight documented monthly with a medical provider. What?! I've been attending WW for the last 2 years, and I was hoping that would be my proof of weight loss attempts. The specific requirement my insurance company needs is, "Must have had 2 unsuccessful attempts occurring within the last 2 years with a structured program of three to six months in duration." So, not very specific...what does "structured program" mean to them?

I got home and called Patient Choice (Wausau Benefits) right away, requested to be transferred to the Consult Unit, and asked specifically what they mean by "structured program". She said, "Well, that would be something like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig." YEAH!!, I thought. I asked her, "So, it doesn't mean I have to go see a Dietician or Primary Care Physician to get weighed monthly?" She said, "No." Matter of fact, a Dietician is not a covered service under my plan until after surgery. After all that stress, I'm relieved and think that I have what I need to be approved.

So as a precaution, not to put all my eggs in one basket...I'm still scheduled to see my PCP next month anyway to check my blood pressure. I'll also have them register my weight, just in case. That will be 2 months in a row, and by the time my Psych stuff is done, I'll probably be able to get a third month in.

One other thing I had to get done is to have my Iron tested (Ferritin blood test). That could have been done at my last PCP vist, but Lynn said that they never think to test for that unless you're hemmoraging or anemic. So, I popped into my clinic right after my session with Lynn, and they said I could do it right then, so I did. That's done. Yeah!

Lastly, Lynn agreed that the Open RNY would be the best procedure for me. Given my weight and the prior abdomial surgeries, the Open RNY will allow the surgeon to perform the best, and to remove any adhesions that have developed since the prior surgeries. Yeah, that decision was confirmed!

In summary, I have a few tips for those just getting started...1) Go to your PCP doc (Family Practice) and get a full physical. Includes documenting any comorbidities, full blood tests (glucose, cholesterol, Iron), and EKG. 2) Also, get your Psych exams set up ASAP, because they are usually booked 2-3 weeks out from the date you call, and may require multiple visits which are each 1 week apart. I got mine set up last week, and my first meeting is 1 week from Monday.

So, I'm on my way........ :-)

2/20/2006 -- Waiting for Psych appointment

Happy Dance!! Like everyone else, I hate this waiting...waiting...waiting for my next appointment which is Psych. So, I thought what the heck, I'll call them this morning and see if they have any openings this week. Yes, they did have an opening on Wednesday!! So, I bumped my whole psych process up by 1 week. The psych I'm seeing schedules you for 4 appointments, all of which have to be 1 week apart:

1. Initial Consultation (2/22)
2. MMPI Exam (2/28)
3. Review results (3/6)
4. Follow-up (if needed) (3/13)

It doesn't hurt to keep asking for what you want!! So, I'm hoping my file can be submitted for insurance approval by mid March.


2/22/2006 -- Initial Psych interview

Today was a great day! I saw Dr. John McAlpine, Ph.D. at Outreach Counseling & Consulting Services in Shoreview. I was a bit nervous, because I've never seen a Psychologist before, and I didn't quite know what to expect. I sort of wanted to see a female Dr., but he had the earliest opening, so I took it. This initial appointment was about an hour interview. He was very easy to talk to, and I felt very comfortable. He started off by telling me that the bariatric program I chose at Unity was excellent, and he highly recommended them. That really made me feel at ease, because I knew he was "on board" with the idea of gastric bypass.

We discussed my weight history and eating patterns. He gave me a list of behaviors to work on until I see him again. These include things that you would want to do after surgery like..."chew small amounts of food to applesauce consistency", and "avoid fluid with meals". I am supposed to rate these behaviors as 1) I do this well now, 2) I need to work on this some more, or 3) I need to work on this a lot more.

My 2nd appointment is for the MMPI exam, in which I will not meet with the Dr, just take the exam. Then at my 3rd appointment, we meet again and discuss the results of the exam and the behaviors I'm working on. I left feeling that he really thought gastric bypass is an excellent option for me to acheive a normal weight. Yeah!

I also had Weight Watchers tonight. I was hopeful, because I have started to exercise again. Well, it worked!! I was down -5.5 lbs in 5 days (I was weighed 5 days ago at my Nurse's meeting). Another Yeah! I need 20 more to go for my goal weight loss before surgery.

For my exercise, I have been starting to use the free treadmills and eliptical machines at my neighborhood association club house. I'm going straight from work to the gym, because if I go home first, then I tend to lose my motivation. This has been working well. I went 5 days this week (my first week). I spent 30 min on the treadmill at 2.8 mph, and 10 min on the eliptical. Got some good huffing and puffing going on, but it's really making my feet achy. Oh my aching feet!! I get home and put them up in the lazy-boy for about an hour or so. "No pain, no gain" I guess...or rather it should be "no pain, no weight loss". So, I'm hoping to keep this up for my pre-op weight loss, and continue the habits for after surgery.

A happy day!! :-) :-) :-)


2/28/2006 -- Psych testing appointment

I attended my Psych testing appointment. Didn't see the Dr. at all, just sat in a little room and answered a zillion questions. There were 3 tests to take: 1) MMPI was about 500 questions. It's a personality profile test. 2) Life value test, not sure what is was called, but it was about 15 questions asking about what is important to your happiness in life and if you are achieving that happiness. 3) Medical psych test, again not sure of the name, but this one was about 200 questions related to how your medical condition is impacting you psychologically. It took me about 2 hours to take all the exams. I think I did ok, just answered them truthfully. I think I'm a pretty well-adjusted, happy person, except for my weight issues.

I'll meet with my Psych Dr. again on Monday (3/6) to discuss the results. Then I think he finishes his report and sends it off to the Bariatric Center. So, hopefully they get that sometime in March. That should wrap up my requirements for insurance. I just won't feel certain until I get the official approval.

I attended Weight Watchers again last night, and I'm down another -5.4 lbs!! That puts me at -21.2 for the year! Exercising is getting easier. I've been doing the treadmill and eliptical 4x per week for about 3 weeks now. My feet are not quite as sore anymore, and I'm finding I can bump my treadmill speed up from 2.8 mph to 3.0 mph. That's about as fast as I can go, before my lower legs start aching.

I've started to order some protien samples, to see what I like. They are not too bad so far. Plus, I'm finding that they are quite filling for breakfast. Who would have knew?? I guess I'm so used to tracking "Points" that I never really paid attention to how much carbs I really have been eating. I'm impressed at how long the protein stays with me.

So, I'm still moving along...losing pre-op weight and getting through the Psych process.


3/6/2006 -- Review Psych Results

Today I went to to review the results of my MMPI with Dr. McAlpine. I'm normal! He said that he highly recommends me for this surgery. We went over the test indicators and all were within normal limits. One piece that was a little high was that I was trying to portray myself in a positive light. I was just trying to be honest, but the test interpreted that I may have been too positive! Whatever! I am a positive person by nature, even though I have these weight issues. Oh well, all I really needed to hear was that I got his recommendation. So now he will finalize the report and send it off to Unity. They should get it in about 1 week.

I also went in to get my Blood Pressure checked. It was high again! 142 over something. What? They just checked it at my Dentist appointment and it was 117. I don't get it. So, now I have a feeling my PCP will prescribe BP meds. I don't want to take them! I'm been exercising regularly and am down 21 lbs for the year, so I don't understand why it's up. Maybe nerves at the Dr.s office? I wasn't feeling nervous though? Anyway, I guess I'll just have to wait and see. No use worrying. I guess it's a good co-morbidity to have.

3/15/2006 -- Still waiting

I'm frustrated by this waiting game. I just want to find out if I'm approved. Still waiting for the Psych Dr. to send my report to Unity. He said it would take 1-2 weeks at the most from my last appointment which was on March 6th. Well, I was patient and waited 1 week to follow-up. Turns out that he forgot to send it to his office for processing, and now they just got it yesterday. The office gal was really rude, and told me that it could be another 2 weeks!! She said that she has other reports to go through and it's first-come-first-serve. So, I have to pay for his forgetfullness and mistake?? I got her to agree that Unity would have it faxed over by next Friday for sure; 3 weeks from my last appointment. I'm now calling her the "report-nazi" under my breath. I want to have surgery by May 1st, so I don't think this will jepordize that goal. But, the quicker I find out if I'm approved, then the faster I can pull together any peices that are missing. Grrrr.... Sorry so grumpy.

Later that day...on a happier note, I went to WW tonight, and I'm down another 3.6 lbs. That's -28.2 for the year! So, I'm moving right along there. I'd love to have surgery in early May, so I should have all the pre-op weight off by then. Now, I just have to get approved.


3/24/2006 -- Psych report received

Haleigh-freaking-luiah! Unity has now received my Psych report. Took the Psych office three weeks to send it out, but I called this morning, and the receptionist at Unity pulled it right off the fax machine. The next step is to pull my chart, give it to my nurse who will review everything. She will send on to the Surgeon to give his OK, and call me for a "teaching" appointment. Once the surgeon gives the OK, then they will submit everything to Insurance for approval. So, maybe by the end of next week it will be in the hands of Insurance? Wishful thinking? We'll see. But, I'm so happy to not have to deal with the slowwwww Psych office anymore! Happy Friday!

3/25/2006 -- An emotional find

Tonight I was cleaning out my closet and found a box of old school papers and art work my mom had saved for me from elementary school. One thing I came accross was a diary I had written in 4th grade. It was in 1982 and I was 10 years old. One entry in particular sent me into tears and I started sobbing for the little girl who wrote the following words. Typos and grammar of a 4th grader...

"I would like to change my fat. I am to fat. I wish I could be skiney. Because evrybody aways calls me names and I don't like that. I am trying hard to loose wight but no sucsess. Sometimes I wish I wern't alive, I was just a nothing. People ask me how much I weigh, I just say I don't know. When I hear the word fat I get inbarest. And when we are in gym I can't climb rope because of my weight. And I get inbarest. I can't do things in enogh time cause I'm fat."

Pretty clear insight into the pain of life long obestiy. I thank God that I was strong enough to overcome those feelings as a little girl and grow up to be the person that I am today. But as I get closer to finally realizing this "dream" being "skinny", it really got me to the core tonight.

Kind of ironic that the very next paragraph went like this...
"I won a contest in art. March is art month and we had to draw something of Hardys [Hardee's]. I won first [place] so we got to have a free meal at Hardys [Hardee's]. It was real good."

4/6/2006 -- Waiting for Surgeon review and Ins. Approval

Here we are in the waiting phase again. I completed my Nurse's Educational appointment last Friday. That was lucky, because I got in on a cancellation. Otherwise, it was originally scheduled for the end of April. Now my file has been sent to Dr. Johnson for review and dictation. Then it will be sent to Insurance for approval. Mindi, the insurance coordinator at Unity, indicated that it could be 3 weeks before I get a phone call either way.

So, I just need to concentrate on pre-op weight now. It's been going well. I'm starting to like exercise, because it's balancing out the not so good meals (like a wedding reception). My goal is to not have any "gains", which I've done good at since January (total loss: -33lbs).

4/9/2006 -- Mini-milestone

I forgot to mention, that last Wednesday I also had a visit at my PCP clinic to check blood pressure and weight. They could actually weigh me on their scale this time!! I'm below 350lbs now, and most scales max out at 350. I usually just gave them the weight from my Weight Watchers card. But, I knew I was getting close so I told her, "Let's give it a try". Yep, I was 349!! My WW weight was officially 348.6. So, a mini-accomplishment done!


4/12/2006 -- Met pre-op weight loss goal!

Went to WW tonight and was down -3.6 lbs, putting my total for the year at -36.8 and meeting the pre-op goal Lynn set for me. So, now I just have to hold that weight loss until surgery, and losing more wouldn't hurt either.

I also called my insurance company today and verified that they received my file on Tuesday, 4/11. It's been forwarded to a nurse for review. She said I should hear something in 5-10 days. They offically have 15 days to respond. So, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a speedy approval!


4/19/2006 -- APPROVED!!

I just found out today…I AM APPROVED!! So, the approval took 1 week. I am so excited! I called on Monday…no status change, still under nurse review. I skipped calling on Tuesday, too busy at work. So, I called today at 4:30, just as I was leaving work, and sure enough I was approved as of Tuesday, 4/18. She said my file said, “approved as medically necessary”. I am just in shock. I thought for sure I’d have to fight a denial and submit more paperwork. I’ve heard some approvals that went horrible with my Insurance Co. Anyway, I called my clinic right away and they said once they get the approval I can schedule my surgeon review appointment. I left a message with my nurse, who is in on Friday. She can OK getting the next appointment if they haven’t received the approval notice yet.

To top off that great news, I was down another -3.8 at WW. That was also a shocker given my Easter splurges. But, I exercised also so I guess that paid off. I was so in the mood to celebrate when I got home, that I finished off the few chocolate easter candies that I had left. Why!? Such a stupid way to celebrate, I guess that’s why I’m where I’m at right now. That will be an emotional trigger to break! I’ve been working on not “feeding” my stress, but I also have to work on not “feeding” my celebrations. Anyway, I’m going to eat lightly tomorrow to do some damage control.

So, all-in-all I had a pretty great day!! Looks like my goal of having surgery in May will happen. It’s like looking forward to a new Birthday…I just can’t wait!


4/22/2006 -- Meeting Dr. Johnson on Monday

Lisa called from the Unity Bariatric Center on Friday, and said that they received the approval from Insurance. So, I was able to schedule my surgeon consultation. To my surprise, he has an opening on Monday (4/24). So, on Monday I get my "DATE"!

4/24/2006 -- I have a "DATE"

May 15, 2006. That's my new honorary Birthday. Both the nurse and Dr. Johnson complimented me on my pre-op weight loss. So, now I need to maintain for 3 weeks. He was very easy to talk to and answered all of my questions well.

A few take away points were that if I feel that I need to do a "final meal", then I'm probably not mentally ready for the lifestyle change after surgery. I've thought about this before, and I really don't have an overwhelming urge to do a final meal binge. I was in the mood for Don Pablo's the other night, so I made a low-fat taco salad at home.

The other thing that stuck in my head was that when he was talking about the "standard" risks, he said that given my prior surgeries, it's possible that there may be too many adhesions and that once he got in, he could find that he can't do the surgery. He said it's rare, but possible. That would really suck! But, I'm thinking that it will be just fine!

Anyway, time to start planning and making lists of to-do items before surgery! May 15, May 15, May 15...

5/8/2006 -- One week until surgery

So, it's now one week until surgery, and I'm still excited! I decided one week ago to not pay for anymore sessions at Weight Watchers. My season pass expired on 4/30, so I thought I'd save a little money and maintain on my own. Well, this past week I've sort of been having that "last meal syndrome" that I thought I wouldn't have. I haven't been having big fancy meals out, but I have been doing a lot more of grazing at home. I think it was a combination of not having to weigh in at WW and a bit of nerves kicking in. So, now it's a week later, and I have no idea where my weight is at.

After a frustrating weekend, I knew that Monday would be my "start" date of my light diet...sort of a modified liquid diet. I would normally have 33 points per day on WW, and today I've had 22 points...things like oatmeal, protein shake, soup, etc. I also did the eliptical for 45 mintues. So, I'm hoping to do some damage control from last week, and I must follow this for surgery, so there are no more excuses.

Anyway, I weigh in on Thursday morning for my pre-op physical, so I'm concentrating on that right now. I have most of my groceries bought, and I have to do some cleaning yet. That's about it...I'm ready!

5/11/2006 -- Pre-op Physical

I saw Dr. Anderson today for my pre-op physical. I am cleared for Surgery on Monday (3 days). Not sure if I trust their scale, but it said 331 lbs. That would be 50 lbs for the year! That would also put my BMI at 50.3, almost under 50. Wow, that's a pretty amazing! Also, my blood pressure was down to 108/80. It was about 140 when I saw her in February. So the exercise and weight loss is helping there.

She listened to my lungs, heart, and examined my lymph nodes and torso. I also had a finger-prick CBC blood panel done. Everything looked great! Gotta spend Saturday cleaning the house, and buying some "regular" groceries for my mom who is coming to stay with me next week.

Saturday is Milk of Magnesia night. Good times...;-( Sunday, is Mother's Day and I will spend the day drinking my liquid diet. Then I'll be up at 4:00am on Monday to be to the hospital by 5:00am.

Before photos: 5/14/2006

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5/18/2006 -- I'm Home!

It's Thursday evening, and I thought I post a quick update. I'm not up to sitting at the computer for a long time, so I'll have to elaborate more later.

I had Surgery on Monday and was discharged on Tuesday night. My Surgery lasted about 2 1/2 hours, and the Dr. said everything went adhesions to deal with and my pre-op weight loss really helped him in the procedure. It appears that I have about a 4 inch incision.

I was put in my room at about 11:30am. My blood pressure was spiking so they gave me some blood pressure meds. They said it was probably due to the pain. I woke up with very bad back pain, and needed lots of morphine to get it under control. Once that was better, my blood pressure stabilized. Mom said that I woke up three times during this time period, and asked her the same questions each time, "What did the Dr. say?" and "How did the procedure go?"

That evening I was on morphine shots and a vitamin packed IV. They got me up to go to the bathroom and walk later that night. I also have a pain drip device draining into my incision to make it numb and manage the pain with less drugs. I call it my little cannon ball, because it's a ball shaped bag inside of a black bag that I wear over my shoulder. I get to or have to pull it out on Friday myself.

Dr. Johnson gave me the choice to go home on Tuesday night vs. Wednesday morning. He said the only reason to stay was if I was nervous about getting my fluids in by myself (no IV as a back-up). I had finished all of my anti-biotics, morphine, ect. and was already on my prescription pain liquid. So, we decided to head home and get some rest in my own bed with my own shower.

Well, I better get going...getting tired sitting here. I still have pain in the incision and I'm shuffling around the house and taking walks outside. So far no nausia and my fluids have been going down pretty well. The highlight of my day was having a BM! I was worried about others who said they had constipation and had to go back to the hospital. Anyway, more later...thank you all for your well wishes!

Hospital Photos: 5/15/2006
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Resting...gotta love that "hospital face"
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My Angels, Lisa & Lori


5/23/2006 -- 1 week Post-Op (-12.2 lbs. since surgery)

Well, I'm finally getting caught up on all my e-mails and posting to my blog. I've been too tired and sore to sit at the computer for very long. But, I think I turned the corner yesterday, 1 week out. I was quite sore the first 3-4 days and didn't want to talk to anyone or do much of anything. I finished the first bottle of pain meds on Friday, and didn't refill the prescription. I also pulled my pain pump out that day. So, just had Tylenol over the weekend a few times.

Fluids have been going very well, no dumping or nausia, so I'm thankful for that. I also went through a range of emotions last week, probably a combination of the pain and a realization that surgery was done and there's no going back now. I'm feeling much better from then. I also received a call on Thursday from Anna, a Physician's Assistant, who assisted with my surgery. That was a very comforting call, knowing that I wasn't forgotten, and I was able to get any further questions asked or issues discussed.

My mom went back home today, so I'm on my own again. My sister lives about a mile away, so I can call her if I need some help. Been taking a few 15-20 minute walks each day. It's amazing how exhausting just strolling along is. But, each day is better.

I had my 1 week check up yesterday, and Dr. Johnson was very pleased with my progress. I was down 12.2 lbs, but he doesn't want me to pay attention to the number, just follow the "rules". I was suprised to learn that I could start my creamy liquids yesterday, so I hade some cream of potatoe soup, yum! I also tried milk this morning and that seemed to go well. So, I'm getting a little more variety now. Just have to keep sipping and walking. That's my focus for the next two weeks. It's amazing that I’m not hungry at all, just keep chaning my liquids to get a different flavor every now and then. Weird not being hungry.

So, now I have 2 more weeks of liquids, then one week of purees (starts June 5th), then on to solid foods (starts June 12th). Since I have been doing well with liquids the Dr. also wants me to start my vitamins now instead of waiting until week 4.

Other than the pain of last week and a few emotions, my recovery is going well!

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Me and my "cannon ball" (i.e. pain drip device).
Can't quite stand up straight yet.
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Flowers from friends Amy, Andi, and Kathleen

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Incision 1 week post-op.
Next shower should wash of the remaining scabs and steri-strips.


6/5/2006 -- 3 weeks Post-Op (-16 lbs. since surgery)

I've finally reached week 3! I can start purees tomorrow! How exciting to get some new textures and flavors. By the end of the day, my teeth feel yucky from drinking all day. Kind of like how you don't want to give your pets soft food all of the time, it's bad for their teeth. The hard food cleans your teeth, and now I know how that feels.

Anyway, I weighed myself at my neighborhood clubhouse, and it appears to be down only a measley 4 lbs. So, I'm kind of bummed not to be seeing the "fruits of my labor". I don't want to get hung up on the numbers, but I'm getting anxious for this "life change" to happen. What I've heard before, is that your body will try to hang on to it's weight in the first few weeks, because it thinks you are starving. Once it realizes that you really will not be feeding it tons of food anymore, and continue to excersise...the numbers will finally drop.

So, that's what I've been doing. I'm walking about 40-50 minutes every day, and drinking all of my liquids. I'm finally getting a little tan this summer from all the outside time. I usually just burn on the weekends during the summer.

My incision is looking nice, a couple of scabs still hanging on. I'm trying not to pick at it, although the skin is itchy around it. I can roll over in bed now and sleep on my side. It's still stiff on the inside, and I notice it mostly when I sit or bend over to put my socks/shoes on. Otherwise, everything is moving along nicely. I have three more weeks off of work, and I plan on enjoying this time a bit addition to my re-discovery of foods!


6/15/2006 -- 1 month Post-Op (-21.7 lbs. since surgery, -72.8 total)

I'm at 1 month post-op and doing well. I started solid foods last week, which was very exciting. New flavors and texture! Some things have enjoyed are egg salad or chicken salad on 3 Triscuits, deli chicken with a slice of cheese, and cottage cheese with a few tablespoons of chili. I've experienced no nausea, dumping, or "stuck" foods so far.

Since solid foods are going well, and liquids are consistent, my nurse mentioned that I should start to focus on getting my protein grams up throughout the day...aiming for 40-60 grams per day. I've been struggling to find a protein powder that I like. The nurse suggested that I start with just a tablespoon of powder to add to foods rather that a full scoop, and then start increasing that as I'm able to eat more. This has helped to add a few more grams throughout the day, and the taste is not so bad.

I eat about 4 Tablespoons of food per meal which makes me full, sometimes more like 1/4 cup. But I can tell when I'm getting full, because I'll have a series of little burps and a fullness feeling in my chest. It's still amazing that this little bit of food makes me full. The nurse suggested that I try and drop that back down to 3 Tablespoons, and that should be pleanty to make me satisfied at this stage. She was right, I feel just as satisfied at 3 Tablespoons as I did at 1/4 cup. I think I was trying to increase the portions to get more protein in.

Otherwise, I drink water, Propel, or Cyrstal Light throughout the day to get 64 oz of fluids in. I've been continuing to exercise 30-40 minutes everyday; mostly walking, but I did get back on the eliptical yesterday which was a nice change. The nurse suggested I start some toning exercise also, so I also did some of the arm machines for the first time.

Otherwise, she said everything else was great! We reviewed my vitamins, and set up my next appointment for 3 months out.

1 month post-op: 6/11/2006

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6/21/2006 -- back to work next week (6 weeks out)

My last week off is this week. I went to RW on Tuesday and stayed overnight with mom. Today, Wednesday, we went shopping for some new clothes for work. I felt like I was shopping for the first day of school. I didn't want to buy a ton of stuff, but it's hard to find matching outfits at the salvation army so I did have to buy some "new" clothes. Lots of the summer clothes are going on sale now, so that helped.

I'm kinda bummed about the slow weight loss so far, but the nurse said I was doing great, so I guess I'll just keep plugging along. Maybe I'm going to be a slow loser? Don't know, but just take it one day at a time. I was surprised that when I was trying on clothes I found that size 26 fit better than 28, and that's what was tight on me last month. So, there's some progress. I still want to check out some local consignment shops, and clean out my closet. I want to get rid of the ugly stuff that I would never wear again even if they ever did fit. OMG, I started sorting my closet, and I counted 19 vests (sweater vests, jean vests, rayon/poly vests)...I'm never going to wear another vest again...EVER!!

I went out to eat a few times this week, Applebee's and Chili's. It all went very well. It's very exciting to be getting some new flavors of food! At Applebee's I shared a chicken fajita with my mom. I had 3 slices of chicken, a few onions and peppers, a bit of cheese, some sour cream, and a bite of a tortilla. My mom had 2 "assembled" fajitas and she took the rest home. There's still enough to make 2 small fajitas. At Chili's we ordered some chips & salsa, chili con queso, and boneless buffalo wings. I had 6-8 chips with mostly salsa, a few dips of the cheese dip, and 2 wings. We had 5 wings left to take home (I took two), over half of the cheese dip, and a pile of chips. It's so weird having so much food left over. I'm finding that I'm having a hard time throwing stuff away. I still do it, but it's very uncomfortable for me. My head still wants to eat it, but physically I know I'm full, and I just don't have room in my pouch to eat it.

Gonna wait until Monday morning to get back on the scale again. That will be my 6 week update. Until then...

6/25/2006 -- back to work, 6 weeks out (-29.7 lbs. since surgery, -80.8 total)

Tomorrow I'm 6 weeks out, and back to work. I'm feeling great! Many days I forget I even had surgery, just that I don't eat very much and get bored with eating. I'm very excited that I'm down to 301 lbs, so I should be out of the "3s" by the end of this week! Major milestone for me.

I've been shopping for some back to work clothes. I pretty much overhauled my entire closet, and hit all the consignment shops and thrift stores. It was kind of like shopping for the first day of school, except I was buying all kinds of sizes, with just a few pieces in each. A wow moment I had from this was that in two days of shopping, my feet were not sore or swollen when I got home. In the past I would have taken Advil to help my feet from throbbing at night, but I didn't need to. So, I found a few things to wear for a month or so I hope. I have my "first day" outfit all picked out and ironed ;-).

6 weeks post-op: 6/20/2006

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6/30/2006 -- a few Wow moments... (almost 7 weeks out)

After reflecting on these last few weeks, I noticed some early Wow moments:

1. Went shopping 2 full days, and my feet were not sore.
2. Went out to eat at Chili's and comfortably sat in a booth.
3. Sat in the lunch room chairs with arms on them, and it was not painful on my thighs.
4. Enjoyed walking on my lunch break.

7/05/2006 -- Milestone 295 lbs (under 300), 7.5 weeks post-op, -35.7 since surgery, -86.8 total

Happy 4th of July! I met a major milestone this going under the 300 lbs. mark forever!! I hopped on the scale this morning and was 295. I sort of felt it over the weekend, because I cinched my new belt in one more hole. I was thinking, hmm.. did this new belt stretch or did I drop some pounds?

This weekend I went to a 4th of July celebration at the parent's house of some of my sister's friends. Her family stayed in their camper, and I pitched my tent in the yard. The house was on a lake with a dock, pontoon, water-trampoline anchored off the shore, jet-skis, tubing, 4-wheelers.

This was my first weekend of a major event, camping, and being around lots of food that was out of my control. I packed my own cooler of food and snacks, but it was definitely not as structured as at home. It turned out very well. No stuck food or nausia. I drank all my liquids, got my vits in, and ate my protein first with about 1/4 cup food per meal. On the grill, I had a light hot dog or a Boca Burger with no buns. I did have a peice of chicken which I think I ate too fast, because I had to stop for a bit and wait for the food to pass through. I could feel it in my chest for a bit, but it eventually went down.

For lunch at the parade I had a pulled BBQ pork sandwich without the bun. Couple of times I was snacking on Baked Cheetos or Snack Wells Vanilla Cookies, but had a few and stopped. I tried toast with PB for the first time, as well as Honey Nut Cheerios with milk. Not the most protein in those, but tastey for breakfast.

For a dish to pass, I made fresh black bean salsa, (which everyone loved), and this allowed me to eat some protien and veggies already chopped. I also tried a 1/2 inch slice of cake with the whipped frosting, which also went down well. Oh, and when it came time for smores, I had 1 square of chocolate on 1/2 of a graham cracker. I did not try a marshmallow. But, the whole weekend I felt satisfied, not hungry, and did not feel deprived from the celebration.

On the "non-food" side, I went 4-wheeling for the first time which was a blast! In the past, I probaby would have avoided doing it, because I would have thought there's no way that machine could haul around my weight. I went swimming (in a swim-suit), and water shorts. I did avoid climbing the ladder up to the water-trampoline...didn't want to embarrass myself trying to haul my butt out of the water on that. But, I enjoyed swimming, floating around on a water-noodle. I also did not try the jet-skis. I didn't want to fall and possibly tear something inside (which probably would not happen), or to fall off out in the middle of the lake and not be able to get back on the machine. So, there are a few things that I will have to save for next summer. But, it was a great first summer event with the new me!


7/11/2006 -- Stuck food

Well, tonight I had my first instance of "stuck" food. Uhgg! I bought some Ham & Cheese Lean Pockets, because they have 25g of Protein per pocket. That's awesome I thought. It was a bit bready, but I thought I could chew it down enough. NOT! I had about 3 bites and felt like I was having a heart attack. The food was lodged right under my breast bone. I tried to throw it up over the garbage can, but could only produce spit. It lasted for about 40 minutes, as other people have mentioned. I was constantly burping up air, wondering where that was coming from. So, once I felt I was coming back to normal, I made an old fashioned plain scrammbled egg and that slipped right down. Whew, no more Hot Pockets for me! Sometimes I forget I've had surgery, and food goes right down easily, but alas I now know...I have a pouch and she has her limits. I've named her "Norma". The the goal is to keep my Norma normal. ;-)

7/15/2006 -- 2 month Surgiversary, -43.7 since surgery, -94.8 total

Still doing well, and each week drop a few more pounds which feels great! Sometimes I feel like I'm not losing fast enough, but hey when have I ever lost 40 lbs in 2 months? So, I'll take it. It would be cool to have lost 100 in 6 months... Anyway, I'll just have to wait and see on that.

Only the one incident of stuck food so far. Probably because I'm avoiding anything with breading. I'm still tracking my calories and protien grams. I get about 600-700 calories per day and approx. 40g protien. I'm still working on finding a protien supplement that I can stomach regularly. Gotta get on that before my hair starts falling out.

I found that light ice-cream has been going down very well. My favorite to chocolate and peanut butter. So, I've got to watch that. It's so easy to snack on some ice-cream at night, and all of a sudden I've eaten 400 more calories!

Exercising has become pretty much a habit now. If I don't go for a walk or to the clubhouse a day, I miss it. Weird. I've found I really enjoy walking outside the most, taking in the scenery and "deprogramming". No radio or TV, just walking and breathing. Feels good.

Next post will be at -100 loss total...See you soon I hope!

2 months post-op: 7/15/2006


7/23/2006 -- 10 weeks post-op, -49.7 since surgery, -100.8 total

Who would have thought, one week later, I've reached a major milestone of -100 lbs gone forever! This really has been an amazing are some wow moments I've noticed so far:

  • I felt my neck bones one day; they are really in there.

  • I don't worry about sitting in a "booth" anymore.

  • I sat in a regular folding lawn chair, and fit.

  • I enjoy getting a good workout in.

  • I feel like I take up less space, like in my car.

  • I've begun wearing shorts again...for walks.

  • It's weird feeling my clothes getting looser rather than tighter.

  • I'm still doing well, post-surgery. No complications, dehydration, or constipation. I'm keeping up the exercise at 45-50 min/day going for walks, or using the treadmill or eliptical machine. I think this has really balanced out my ice-cream splurges, which I still have to work on. I had another stuck food incident on raw broccoli while at work. Yuk. Won't try that new rule: stick to the safe foods at work. I'm still stuggling to find a protien supplement I like. I can get about 40g of protien through regular food, but as I come up on my 3 month loss could start happening, so I want to get more protien in. That's about it for now...this train has left the station...just keep chugging along!


    8/14/2006 -- 3 months post-op, -54.7 since surgery, -105.8 total

    Wow, it's amazing that three months has come and gone. Everything is still going well. I've had 3 episodes of stuck food and have thrown up once. I ate too much cantalope or didn't chew well enough...and burp, out it came; felt much better after that.

    I met with Diane, my nurse clinician, and she said I'm losing slightly faster than average, so that made me feel great! I've lost 42% of my excess weight, and 11" off of my waist. She reminded me to watch my portion intake and pay attention to not eating/drinking empty calories. Also to be aware if I'm hungry prior to grabbing a snack. This is all stuff I know, but it was good to hear it again and re-check my habits.

    I went camping with my family this past week, and I discovered I can handle more sugar that I expected. I had a S'more and had no dumping. I also did a bit more snacking while camping, and a bit less exercise, so I'm sure that's why I've been in a 3-week stall. I've lost about 5 lbs in the last three weeks, which is pretty slow. Not fun. But, I'm back on track now and looking forward to a big loss soon.


    8/18/2006 -- Mini-update: -61 since surgery, -112 total

    I hopped on the scale today, Friday, and it appears that I'm down another -6 lbs. So, things are moving again. I won't officially weigh in until Sunday, but very excited to get moving again!

    3 months post-op: 8/17/2006


    8/20/2006 -- Wow moments! -64 post-op, -115 total

    To start off the day, I did my weekly weigh in and found I'm down -9 lbs this week. What!? I moved the little weight up and down three times. After my 3-month appointment, I cleaned-up my eating habits and boy did it work! Plus, I had only lost 5 lbs in the prior 3 weeks, so I think my body was finally ready to let it go.

    Then, I decided to go shopping at Kohl's today to buy some new walking shoes. My old shoes, which were new before surgery, are already getting worn out on the sides. Anyway, I have very wide feet and usually buy Men's Wide walking shoes. I happened to find the exact same brand and size I bought before surgery, and discovered that they were too big! So, I tried on the normal width and they fit just fine. I didn't expect my feet to be shrinking already. Maybe I'll get back into Women's shoes someday?

    Then I was off to the clothing department. Oh boy, never a fun time. I have not bought clothing at Kohl's in years, but thought I'd just see what they had. I needed some black pants for work, so I grabbed a pair of 22Ws off the rack. Lo and behold they fit! I also tried a 2X shirt, and it was too big! The 1X was a little snug, but perfectly doable. Just three months ago I was still wearing 28s and 3Xs. I was actually finding stuff that fit, from a "normal" store. It was blowing my mind! I only bought the pants though...don't want to spend too much on new stuff that won't fit later.

    Then there was a huge rack of coats on sale. I didn't buy any, but tried them on. I also found the 1X fit just fine. It's hard to explain, but for me to try on a coat from a store, off the rack is just unheard of. I've been wearing the same coat for probably 4-5 years, which I bought from the cataloge. I tried on the wool ones, the leather ones, the zipper ones! They were all very nice coats, and it was just amazing! But, I know I can't buy a spendy one this year, because I'll still be shrinking. It was just neat to see that they do fit.

    It was a good Wow day!


    9/15/2006 -- 4 months post-op (-74 post-op, -125 total)

    Today is my 4 month surgiversary and everything is still going great! I would love to reach -100 post-op by my 6 month anniversary, so that's about 25 lbs in 2 months. It should be possible, but I have noticed a decline in each month's weight loss total:

    Month 1, -22 lbs
    Month 2, -21 lbs
    Month 3, -18 lbs
    Month 4, -13 lbs

    I guess it's true that you start slowing down the further you go out, so that just means that I have keep following the rules diligently.

    I'm eating around 600-700 calories per day now, with about 3/4 cup of food per meal. I should drop that back to 1/2 cup according to "the book", but I know that I stop eating when I'm full. I don't snack between meals, and don't drink with my meals. I usually want something sweet at night, so that's something that I have to watch. I love sugar-free Werthers, and they satisfy my sweet tooth.

    This month I joined the Mercy exercise group, which meets on Tuesday nights. It's nice to hook up with other bariatric friends more that once a month at support group. I'm really starting to enjoy exercise, which is weird for me! I do something pretty much every day now, and miss it when I don't. I usually go about 50 min now. Last week at Mercy, I went 85 minutes! Got caught up in chatting, and was feeling good so I just kept going. Things I like to do: walk, eliptical, stationary bike. I'm thinking I would like to get a new "outside" bike next spring. I sold my old bike about 9 years ago, and I always enjoyed the speed of biking. I no longer have to rest my feet after exercising, and they are not achy anymore.

    I went shopping for some new jeans, and fit into a size 22. I also started wearing my sister's hand-me-down coat which is a size 18/20. I was blowing my sister's mind (and mine too) by fitting in to her old jacket. I have a whole rack of size 18's from her, and hope to get into them this winter. It's fun wearing clothes that actually fit, because then I can really see that I'm looking smaller. Gonna have to get rid of the baggy stuff soon, because it's starting to make me feel dumpy. I was feeling pretty "cute" in my new digs! ;-)

    Some other observations over this past month:

    >> I started randomly crossing my legs. It's not a quick and easy cross-over by any means, but occasionally I'll sit kind of sideways in a chair and just throw my leg over. Never done that before.

    >> I'm starting to get cold. I've heard others mention this happens with the rapid weight loss, but didn't think that it would be starting already.

    >> I'm starting to notice some hair loss. Not clumps, but definitely handfuls in each shower and while blow drying. It's hard to keep up with all the hair in my bathroom. Gotta go buy some more draino for my shower. Good thing I'm starting out with a think head of hair, so maybe it won't be so bad.

    >> I enjoyed our family pot-luck over labor day with no issues (i.e., getting stuck or dumping). I had little bits of everything and it tasted wonderful! I've found I can handle sugar pretty well, but do notice that my heart starts beating a bit more, I get sweaty, and a little shaky. Yes, I can enjoy life and food still, just smaller amounts and not as often.

    >> I traveled on an airplane for the first time in 12 years! I went to Phoenix for the weekend, and was bumped to first class, which was awesome BTW. But, on the way home I flew coach in a middle seat and fit just fine. I didn't have to ask for a seat belt extender and was able to sit comfortably with the armrests down.

    Phoenix, August 26, 2006

    4 months post-op: 9/16/2006


    10/16/2006 -- 5 months post-op (-90 post-op, -141 total)

    Everything is continuing to go well for me. No issues such as nausia, dumping, pain, etc. I have discovered my sweet tooth again, which is kind of troubling. I don't seem to have any dumping from higher sugar items. Although I don't eat super-high sugary things like in the "old" days, I have dabbled in some M&M's, light icecream, rice crispy bars, and cookies. Yikes.

    I'm still losing weight at a good pace, excercise regularly, drink all my fluids, don't drink with meals, eat protien first, get all my vitamins in...but have enjoyed these small treats. So, I figure it's good to be aware of this, and good to enjoy life with occasional treats without beating myself up about it, but I also have to keep a watchful eye on it. Snacks such as crackers and chips don't seem to bother me at all, but something sweet is tempting for me.

    I'm very pleased with my weight loss, and still striving to hit that -100lbs for a post-op weight loss. So, I have 10 lbs to go for this month. Should be doable, according to my trends. But, I know that I have to continue "working" the tool. This isn't magic, and I can't just forget about working at it. I have to be diligent, just like any other "diet". The bonus I get with WLS is that I can't physically eat large amounts and I'm very rarely hungry. It's that "head-hunger" which is a universal challenge to everyone, even those with WLS.

    Here are my weight loss totals by month:

    Pre-op, -51 lbs
    1 month, -22 lbs
    2 months, -21 lbs
    3 months, -18 lbs
    4 months, -13 lbs
    5 months, -16 lbs
    Total: -141 lbs

    5 months post-op: 10/19/2006


    11/13/2006 -- 6 months post-op (-90 post-op, -141 total)

    Well, I've experienced my first official plateau month; just stayed the same the entire month. I had my 6 month post-op appointment with Diane at the Bariatic Center today. Here are my stats:
    BP: 134/84
    Weight: 371.5
    Arm: 17"
    Waist: 55"
    Hip: 66"
    BP: 110/70
    Weight: 241
    Arm: 13"
    Waist: 40.5"
    Hip: 50"

    Arm: -4"
    Waist: -14.5"
    Hip: -16"

    So, even with my plateau this month, she said I'm doing excellent and progressing better than average. To get myself kickstarted again, I need to get rid of the empty calories, which I know I've been struggling with. Such extras have been Frappaccino Lights, chocolate, and sugar-free ice cream. Just those things can add an extra 300 calories onto my day, which should still be around 600 calories per day. My water, protien intake, and vitamins are also doing great. I'm still excercising regularly, but not quite as often as I was over the summer. About 2-3x per week rather than 5-6x per week. So, she said I have some good wiggle room for busting the plateau: get rid of the empty calories and bump up the excercise another day. All stuff I know, but it's good to hear it again.

    As far as goal weight, the clinic doesn't advocate a goal weight, but we looked at the BMI chart for the range which would be considered "successful" for me. It was between 164 - 197. To reach a "Normal" BMI of 25 I would be at 160, which has always been the number I had in my head. But, she said that for people with greater than 100 lbs to lose, it's harder to get to that "Normal" BMI. So, if I shoot for 180, I would be considered a success story...and that's only 60 lbs away! Then, if I keep working on the additional 20, that would be just a bonus. Given that I lost 50 lbs pre-op, losing an addtional 60 now, doesn't seem that far away. So, it's time to get psyched up again and get rid of the extras that are sabbatoging me! Whoo Hhooo...only 60 lbs to go!! ;-)

    6 months post-op: 11/18/2006

    12/15/2006 -- 7 months post-op (-90 post-op, -141 total)

    Hello, it's that time again to post an update. The big news is that I had surgery last monday (12/11)...on my right foot (see photo below). I had a bunionette removed from the outside of my foot on the little toe side. So, I've been lying around my house for the last week and a half. I'm on crutches, with absolutely no weight bearing on the foot. Crutches suck! I can't use them on the stairs, don't have the arm strength, so I usually crawl up on my hands and knees, then slide down on my butt. It's quite pathetic. Anyway, I decided to squeeze in into this year, because I've met my out of pocket maximum for insurance, so it's essentially free. If all goes well, I figure I'll do the left foot next summer. I've always had pain in the "width" of my feet, so I decided to see an Orthopeadic Dr. to get them checked out. Lo and behold, they could do something for me. As a bonus I should also get narrower feet, so I should be able to fit into normal women's shoes now. Can't wait to go shoe shopping after both feet are done. Until then, I suppose the shoe on my right foot will be flying off, because it's a smaller foot now. Anyway, that's what I've been up to.

    Weight-loss wise, I'm still stuck, but I'm not freaking out. Just enjoying the holidays. I know what I'm NOT doing right, so next year once I'm up on my foot again, I'm planning to get back to regular excercise and eliminate/reduce the "naughty" calories. I'm just glad that I'm not gaining which is what would usually happen over the holidays.

    Otherwise, I've also been busy getting back into quilting which is always fun in the winter. I bought a new embroidery sewing machine in October, so I've been attending "new-owner" classes and software classes to learn all the gadgets of the machine. It's fun, and I love meeting the new people in class. Three of us are going on a retreat in February, so also looking forward to that.

    Merry Christmas!

    Happy Birthday to me! I turned 35 today, lying on the couch after right foot surgery.

    2005 Christmas "before"

    2006 Christmas "after"

    Summary of steps taken before Surgery

    Primary Care Physician physical exam (incl. EKG, fasting labs, Ferritin/Iron blood test)02/06/2006
    Attend Information Session02/09/2006
    Make appointment and complete 16-page Health History02/09/2006
    Meet with a Bariatric Nurse for Introductory Session (Lynn)02/17/2006
    Prepare for Surgery (lose pre-op weight [26lbs], gather documentation) 
    Complete Psychological Evaluation and Sessions02/22/2006
    Meet with the Bariatric Nurse for Education Session (Diane)03/31/2006
    File sent to surgeon for review04/03/2006
    File sent to Insurance for Approval04/10/2006
    Meet with surgeon to review surgery (Dr. Johnson)04/24/2006
    Complete PCP pre-op physical 7 days prior to surgery05/11/2006
    Return home05/16/2006
    Complete 1 week follow-up visit05/22/2006

    Weight History
    DateNotesWeightPounds LostPounds from SurgeryTotal Pounds LostBMI
    01/06/2006Pre-op 381.8~ ~58.1 - morbidly obese
    01/11/2006 379.22.6 2.657.6
    01/18/2006 378.60.6 3.257.6
    01/25/2006 371.47.2 10.456.4
    02/01/2006 367.24.2 14.655.8
    02/08/2006 366.21.0 15.655.7
    02/17/2006Pre-op goal:
    addl -26
    371.5+5.3 10.356.5
    02/22/2006 366.05.5 15.855.7
    03/01/2006 360.65.4 21.254.9
    03/08/2006 357.23.4 24.654.2
    03/15/2006 353.63.6 28.253.8
    03/22/2006 351.81.8 30.053.5
    03/29/2006 350.21.6 31.653.2
    04/05/2006 348.61.6 33.252.9
    04/12/2006Met Pre-op goal! 345.03.6 36.852.4
    04/19/2006 341.23.8 40.651.8
    04/26/2006 340.60.6 41.251.8
    05/11/2006Pre-op Physical331.09.6 50.850.3
    DateNotesWeightPounds LostPounds from SurgeryTotal Pounds LostBMI
    05/15/2006Surgery330.70.3 51.150.3
    05/22/20061 week318.512.212.263.348.5 - Extremely Obese
    06/05/20063 weeks314.
    06/12/20064 weeks3095.521.772.847.0
    06/26/20066 weeks3018.029.780.845.8
    7.5 weeks
    under 300 lbs
    07/10/20068 weeks2905.040.791.844.1
    07/15/20062 months2873.043.794.843.6
    07/23/2006 Milestone10 weeks
    down 100 lbs
    07/31/200611 weeks2792.051.7102.842.4
    08/07/2006 2763.054.7105.842.0
    08/14/20063 months276054.7105.842.0
    08/20/2006 2679.063.7114.840.6
    08/28/2006 2643.066.7117.840.1
     2613.069.7120.839.7 - obese
    09/10/2006 2583.072.7123.839.2
    09/15/20064 months2571.073.7124.839.1
    09/24/2006 2525.078.7129.838.3
    10/01/2006 2466.084.7135.837.4
    10/08/2006 2433.087.7138.836.9
    10/16/20065 months2412.089.7140.836.6
    11/13/20066 months241089.7140.836.6
    12/15/20067 months241089.7140.836.6
    Date# W#PL#PLS#TPL#BMI#
    Milestoneunder 200 lbs 199    
    Milestone 197   30 - overweight
    Milestonedown 200 lbs181  200 
    Milestone 164   25 - normal

    Member Interests:
  • Family & Friends - They are my strength.

  • Health - I've had three prior surgeries, so one more doesn't bother me.

  • Cats - Two one-year-old kitties, Lola (calico) and Maggie (gray).

  • Needlework, Knitting & Crocheting - I'm in a lunch group at work called the Stitch-n-B_tch. ;-)

  • Quilting - Just started taking clases about a year ago.

  • Cooking & Baking - I need to start learning how to cook healthier for WLS.

  • Camping - Love to go camping with my family.

  • Road Trips - Took a road trip to Yellowstone with my parents. Beautiful country!

  • Gardening - I love to garden, but hate the mosquitoes!

  • BMI over 50 - I guess this makes me special?

  • Click here to see interests of other ObesityHelp members.

    Surgeon Info:
    Surgeon: Frederick Johnson, M.D.
    Insurer Info:
    Patient Choice Signature, Wausau Benefits
    My approval took only 1 week (4/10/2006-4/18/2006). I called several times before my file was sent to be sure of what documentation was required. On some calls, I was getting contradictory information, but when I pressed them to look up my plan specifically, the requirements matched what was said previously. I was very diligent to gather all the documentation required by my plan. I give them high marks for giving me accurate information to achieve approval on the first attempt.