- HEALTH TRACKER
Glen Burnie, MD, USA
Post Op - BMI: 28.3
Surgery Type: RNY
Member ID: L1018632474
Web Site: http://www.TheRoadToThin.com
Surgeon: Robert Buras
Click here for Maria's surgery support page
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Click here to Jump to my
most recent POST-OP post.
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LAST PRE-OP post
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Very First Profile Post (March 28, 2005).
Click here to jump to my Diet history and Family medical history
GO TO TheRoadToThin.com to see:
* How to Prepare for Surgery
* Info on the different weight-loss surgeries
* Surgery comparison
* What to Expect Right After Surgery
* Detailed insurance info
* Info on Pre op Tests
* Vitamin and Protein Info
* My Pre- and Post-op weight and inches charts
* Doctor and Surgery info
* Product reviews
* Eating out hints
* What are sugar alcohols?
* How to write an appeal letter
* Pouch "Rules"
* Product and Link Information
* Before and After Pics
* Post-Op Upper GI pics
* And MORE!
QUICK INFO ABOUT ME
I am a [censored] year-old woman, with too many cats, a pre-op sister, and an
unnatural love for Ben & Jerry, Colin Firth, and anything involving chocolate.
(The ultimate would be Colin Firth spoon feeding me Ben & Jerry's chocolate fudge chunk.)
I currently live in Maryland, and work in DC in the entertainment industry.
As a former professional performer (musical theatre) I lived in NYC for 7 years, got to travel quite a bit,
and sealed my weight-related insecurities in fudge when I realized I would always
be cast as the character Aunt -- even if I was only 22.
Like many gals here, though I have come close, I have
not been lucky enough to Jan 2006 update -- I'm
hitch me a feller yet -- though I'm workin' on it!
engaged!May 2006 -- I'm married. Yikes!
I hope you enjoy my profile.
If you get through it all, you are very brave indeed.
Your special gold-trimmed "I survived Maria's Verbose Profile" Club card is on it's way.
Don't hesistate to email me if you have any comments, questions, etc.
Thanks for checking in!
(Please note that my updates are in reverse of most profiles. For easy access to new info, instead of the top posts being the oldest, they are the most recent. Click
here to go straight to the "Beginning" of my entire pre- and post-op journal.)
NOVEMBER 12, 2007
I remember a kinder time. A gentler time. A time when I would hear veteran post-ops saying things like "Oh no, I am eating too much -- I am gaining weight." and I would wonder how the hell it could be possible.
The mark of a true food-addict.
"Pssst.... hey... mister... gimme a hit. Got any M&Ms? How 'bout some Goobers... common.... I'll pay ya later... you know I'm good for it."
Translation: Damn I need chocolate. It will be Ok if I have some. I'll eat less later. It is only this once.
Reality: "It will be ok/It is only this once." is EXACTLY the mentality that got me to 300lbs (at one point before surgery) -- and so overweight that I had the RNY.
Why oh why can't they operate on our brains too?
I am searching for new motivation.
I've redone my RoadToThin website (www.theroadtothin.com) to be more upscale... and I have re-read EVERYTHING.
It is all about the rules.
Must follow the rules.
I don't have to eat as much as I am eating.
I don't need to have all the chocolate.
I WAS able to keep from being bored by doing things OTHER THAN eating.
I DO want to keep losing weight.
I do NOT want my weight to start with a "2" again.
AUGUST 25, 2007
This is a complete coincidence, but I just realized (when checking the handy dandy date pop-up on my computer tool bar) that it has been exactly one year since I updated my profile.
It is fair to say that "life happens."
The last you read (assuming you were reading), I was pregnant with the twins, having been married only a few months. I was adjusting to life as a new, full-time step mom and wife.
Well, since I last rambled to you, I have experienced just about every life-milestone a person can. From extreme joy to extreme sadness.
I shall summarize -- because making the long story short is STILL a long story.
* First, upon learning I was having twins, we realized we had to move.
Therefore, in October 2006, we sold the townhouse my husband owned and moved to
a larger home about 20 miles away.
* On December 14, 2006 I was put in the hospital due to one of the twins having some fluctuations of his heart rate. No one was overly concerned, but they wanted to do thrice-daily monitoring just in case his status changed.
* On December 19, 2006, when they monitored me, Baby B (Steven) had no heartbeat.
They did an immediate c-section (waiting only for my husband to arrive).
Baby A (Daniel) was born crying and sucking at a good rate, weighing in at 4lbs 9oz and 17inches.
Baby B (Steven) was silently born, as expected. He weighed 3lbs 9oz and was 15 inches.
They don't know why this happened.
Anyone who wants to know more about Steven, hear his story, see his pictures, share THEIR story, is invited to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org (Please put OH member - asking about Steven (or such) in the subject line so I don't delete as junk mail.).
* On December 27 we buried Steven at 9:00am in a small, graveside service.
* On December 28, at 8 days old, the less than 4 1/2lb Daniel had sugery on his tummy where they had seen an unknown tumor during pre-birth sonograms. Luckily, and with the grace of God, this tumor turned out to only be extra tissue.
Daniel came home, weighing a tad less than 5lbs on about January 14, 2007.
* At the beginning of April my dad (the original Daniel) came to stay with us for a while as he recovered from some recurring illnesses and problems with medication. A smoker for 35 years, he was on oxygen 24/7 and also had COPD, fibrosis of the lungs, severe rhumatoid arthritis, congestive heart failure and other ailments.
The time with us was great, however, as he and baby Daniel came to adore each other. In fact, baby Daniel kinda pissed mommy off by giving his VERY FIRST SMILES to grandpa!!!!
You can see some videos of grandpa and baby Daniel on YouTube:
* During his stay, my father's 89 year old mother passed away in St. Louis. Unfortunately, due to his own health, he was unable to attend her funeral.
* After six weeks, my dad finally decided he should go home, though he was pretty comfy at my house and very happy seeing baby Daniel every day.
* Sadly, just a few weeks later on June 12, 2007, at 7:45am, I got the phone call I had bee dreading for 10 years. It was my brother. "Dad is not breathing. Mom can't wake him. He's cold."
We were shocked, yet not.
Happy that he was out of his extreme pain -- yet overwhelmed at learning how to live life without him. Every family has a "rock" and my dad was it.
I am still surprised not to be able to call him. Still shocked that when I go over to the house, his room is empty. How can he not be there? His things are there. How can a new season of "HOUSE" be starting on TV when he is not here to watch it??
Anyone who has lost someone close to them knows what I mean...
YouTube also has a short video of my dad's service, if you would like to watch.
Also, there are many pictures of him with baby Daniel in the Photobucket link above.
Also, if you contiue to want to learn about him, you can go to www.langcommunications.com -- which was his freelance website, but is now a memorial site.
... and that pretty much brings us up to date.
My weight is basically the same.
I am about 15-20lbs lighter than before I got pregnant... but the stress of the recent few months is causing me to do some "eating therapy" and I have noticed I am starting to return to old habits.
Although I dump, if I continue I could easily gain weight, due to the fact I haven't been passing a cookie or peice of candy without eating it.
I am about to try some new products -- low carb, low sugar and higher protein.... and am attempting to vow to return to better habits. And I contiue to love the Stallone protein puddings -- which are a great shot of protein and chocoate.
Perhaps, however, I also need to re-read my own website !!!(www.theroadtothin.com). A lot!
AUGUST 25, 2006 JULY 5, 2006 -- ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF SURGERY April 21, 2006 So... as I watch the countdown until the wedding on my wedding website.... each day... my nerves get a leeeetle bit more... well.... "nervous." April 3, 2006 Tired. March 13, 2006 January 13, 2006 -- I'M ENGAGED! January 9, 2006 January 5, 2006 -- SIX MONTH ANNIVERSARY -- LATER THAT DAY.... January 5, 2006 -- SIX MONTH ANNIVERSARY December 24, 2005 December 22, 2005 December 13, 2005 December 12, 2005 December 9, 2005. Me and my "friend" at a party a couple days later. Why am I squinty looking? What AM I doing with my eyes? December 5, 2005 -- 5 month anniversary November 22, 2005 November 14, 2005 November 8, 2005 November 1, 2005 October 26, 2005 October 24, 2005 October 20, 2005 October 17, 2005 October 13, 2005 October 10, 2005 October 7, 2005 October 5, 2005 -- 3 month surgery anniversay September 28, 2005 September 26, 2005 September 23, 2005 September 13, 2005 September 6, 2005 -- 2 months Post-Op (-one day) September 2, 2005 August 30, 2005 August 25, 2005 August 22, 2005 August 12, 2005 August 11, 2005 August 7, 2005 August 5, 2005 -- ONE MONTH ANNIVERSARY August 2, 2005 July 27, 2005 July 22, 2005 July 21, 2005 July 19, 2005 July 18, 2005 July 17, 2005 July 16, 2005 July 14, 2005 (later) July 14, 2005 July 12, 2005 July 11, 2005 July 10, 2005 July 9, 2005 July 8, 2005 July 7, 2005 July 6, 2005 July 5, 2005 July 4, 2005 July 1, 2005 June 29, 2005 June 27, 2005 June 22, 2005 June 16, 2005 June 15, 2005 June 14, 2005 -- Later June 14, 2005 June 13, 2005 June 11-12, 2005 June 10, 2005 June 9, 2005 June 7, 2005 June 6, 2005 June 2, 2005 MAY 31, 2005 MAY 30 -- Memorial Day MAY 27 MAY 26 (later) -- Don't Ask, Don't Tell MAY 26 MAY 25 (later) MAY 25 MAY 24 MAY 23 (later) MAY 23 MAY 20 MAY 19 (later) MAY 19 MAY 18 MAY 17 MAY 16 MAY 15 MAY 14 MAY 13 (later) MAY 13 MAY 8 MAY 6 MAY 4 MAY 2 (again) MAY 2 MAY 1 APRIL 30 APRIL 28 (later) APRIL 28 APRIL 27 APRIL 26 APRIL 24 APRIL 19 APRIL 11 APRIL 1 -- STILL DECIDING :
My gosh... what a loser I am... I used to be soooo good at updating this thing.
Of course, that was when I barely had a life.
So, to update any interested persons:
I am now 17 weeks pregnant with the twins.
Things seem to be going along smoothly. If you consider constant paranoia
If I get too sick or tired I worry something is wrong.
If I DON'T get sick or tired I worry something is wrong.
If I am hormonal and want to surgically remove the head's of everyone I meet, I wonder if something is wrong.
And if I am mellow and amused by life's inconveniences I assume something is wrong.
Depending on the scale I get on (meaning mine or the doctor's) I have gained about 2-8 pounds since the pregnancy began.
Which, I guess for twins, isn't bad.
My scale indicates I've gained about 2-4 pounds.
My OBs scale seems to say more by a few pounds.
Can't figure that out.
I am wearing size L maternity clothes -- which translates to pre-pregnancy size 12-14. So that seems right.
Though it does depend on the store.
Some of the large sizes are obviously cut like a Jr. cut.
I have been buying some XL shirts though, in the assumption that my tummy will expand beyond L limits.
I am freaking out a bit at the weight gain -- though I know I need to gain, of course.
And, with this growing cantaloupe (it now FEELS like I am carrying a water-filled
cantaloupe down there), it should certainly be expected, I know.
But still it is hard to deal with.
I hadn't even finished putting together a "cute/thin" wardrobe yet. And now it is all stuffed the back of the closet in favor of elastic waistbands and shirts that could hide a holiday ham.
I am, however, overly obsessed with getting cute maternity clothes.
My husband doesn't understand this.
He doesn't get why it is soooo important to be DEFINITELY perceived as PREGNANT NOT FAT.
(Gosh, that entire concept would have insulted me before surgery. And still kinda does. Yet it is the truth.)
I guess men don't understand that many women (myself included) have a dream of looking oh-so-cute while pregnant.
They want to make sure they have skinnyish legs, a non-lard-filled butt, and a huge, adorable, OBVIOUS, pregnant tummy.
(Everyone say "awwwwwww")
So... I am making him a bit nuts being picky about my maternity clothes. I say I can't buy
something cause the cut will make me look fat. He'll say "But you are pregnant."
Dude... not the point!
If I look fat, I look fat!
I want to look baby-ridden, not fat-laden.
Anyway, so that is where I am at today.
I have two OB appointments next week (one with the normal OB, one with the high-risk), and even though I will only be 18 weeks, I am hopeful the babies will cooperated and tell us what sex they are.
Of course I am also paranoid about the appointment.
Afraid something will be seen that is wrong, etc.
Why oh why do early sonograms have to make babies look like freakish Aliens?
There are two ways I could start this:
One way would be ask how many times -- when you are bemoaning your life -- your friends have said something to you like:
"Oh, you never know -- next year at this time you could be married with kids have a great job etc etc etc"
To which your response is no doubt a sarcastic "Yeah... right."
The second way would be to mention that last July 4, as the boom boom soundwaves of the very close fireworks resonated through my body I kept thinknig "Glad this isn't the day AFTER surgery -- I'd be paranoid about these sound shockwaves hurting it."
But THIS year... I was busy covering my tummy area out of paranoia that my two little growing peanuts would be tramatized.
Yes, you read that right.
The difference a year can make is amazing.
And the funny thing is... although I know 98% of the changes are a result of surgery (confidence, body changes, etc).... I also feel as if the surgery anniversary is so NOT important.
There is too much else going on.
Last year at this time... as I was waiting in the pre-op area for surgery to start...
* Single -- and, though I had been talknig to someone for a while and met a couple times, I was not interested in getting into a relationship. Life was all about ME and surgery.
* 268 (at least -- last meals, you know) pounds.
* wearing size 26 pants -- and XXL tops.
* Wondering if my life might be different a year from then.
Now... it couldn't be more differnt:
I am now:
* married -- with two pre-made full custody kids who are 9 and 10.
* wearing size 14 pants (for now)... and tops that range from small - large (depending on if they are Junior fit or not)
* about to get bigger -- but for better reason -- becasue I am pregnant with twins
* 85 pounds less than surgery -- but about 100 since I started trying to lose last January.
All this I can easily contribute to surgery.
The clothing sizes and weight loss results are obvious.
The marriage -- I am sure it is because I truly WASN'T looking. For the first time ever I didn't give a crap about dating. Cause it was all about me having surgery and experinecing those changes.
THe pregnancy -- without the weight change and hormonal corrections... I am 95% sure there is no way I could have gotten pregnant so easily.
The nutshell of the story of course is... you have no idea what the next year can bring.
And... careful what you wish for... cause you just might get it. (Twins? Yikes.)
Finally... I make the announcement about the pregnancy a bit earlier than I might have normally.
It is still very early in the pregnancy... and because I am pretty damned old for any pregnancy (let alone the first) I am already high risk.
The twins makes it moreso.
I have already been instructed to stay off my feet as much as possible, and will likely end up on bed rest around week 25-something.
So... I announce it as part of my year-anniversary talk -- and to ask for prayers, good thoughts, etc that the babies will continue to grow and be healthy.
I need to keep them baking until at least after Christmas.
I was thinking...
... instead of something old, something new, etc... maybe my motto should be "something old, something new, something borrowed, and something to drink."
Think I could fit a flask into my garter?
It was a fun weekend though.
I am officially and solidly into size 14 pants/jeans.
Not 14W, mind you (which is cut bigger)... but normal 14s you find in the ladies section of Wal-Mart or Hechts or whatever.
I think of the size 26s that were getting tight just a bit over a year ago (before I started trying to diet again) and am amazed.
I am just now to the point where I pick up clothes and think "Oh, that is too small... it will never fit."
But it does.
I am wearing size 14 pants, size Medium tops, and 36C bras.
A small prayer of thanks: Thank you Lord, for not decreasing the size of my boobage. For this and hips that don't frighten small children, I thank thee."
Speaking of hips....
My fiance bought me some clothes over the weekend (which was very nice of him since he knew I had money stashed away to try to save for a video Ipod... so he coulda just said "Fergit that tech-toy, buy yourself some gosh dern clothes!").
I was searching out long (knee length) shorts to wear on our honeymoon (a cruise to Bermuda) and over the summer. And... I tried on white ones. With a white shirt.
White is the anti-black.
And since my wardrobe has always been (and still tends towards) black black and black with a hint of black, anti-black nearly causes me siezures.
But they looked cute, so I put them on.
Turned... looked in the mirror... and was not frightened of my reflection like a vampire in the sun.
Instead I had yet another Body-Snatchers moment ("Whose body is this? And why is my head on it?") and looked at myself with surprise.
I looked cute.
Yes, I will look like a moronic-dork if I forget to wear solid white underpants -- but I won't look like a moronic-white-elephant-sized dork... which is what I am used to.
How many times have I picked up a really cute pair of pants or such (size 26, usually)... walked into the dressing with the image of what I was going to look like in my head... and then saw a side-widened-fun-house-mirror reflection looknig back at me.<
Suddenly, I am looking better than I expect to, and it is darned shocking.
...Except that I now have a new side-show trick I can do with my legs.
I lie on my back and stick my legs up in the air as if I want my toes to touch the ceiling.
I glance at my calves and thighs.
Damn... they look fabulous. Nice shape. Like a real girl, or something.
Then I look down nearer my undies.
Hmmmm..... I don't remember putting on pantyhose... so why is that area so wrinkly?
I play with the elephant skin and pull it back out of the way.
Ooooo pretty thighs again.
Then... just to see.... I lift that skin.
And I can basically shove the skin and fat that is clenching on it all the way up to my knee.
And my finace wonders why I won't let him pick out honeymoon night outfits for me that barely cover my b-u-t-t.
I am afraid he'll think he married an 82-year old.
Note to self: Start saving for lower body lift.
Oh my gosh. I haven't updated since the morning after I got engaged?
So busy planning the wedding and such.
Doing some stress eating (bad).
Went to the gym today (good).
Got worn out pretty fast (bad).
But still losing (good).
But at a slower pace than I know I should be (bad).
Yes, you read that right.
Pigs are flying.
Hell hath a new coating of snow.
Dogs and cats are breaking through umbrellas.
My "friend" (we shall now call him either "David" or "my fiance" (did I just say THAT???)) asked me to marry him last night.
I know this may be a surprise to many -- because though I post 842 times a day sometimes, I don't talk about him much.
After so many failed relationships in the past (that I thought were getting close to marriage) you learn to keep quiet so if things start to go "pfffft" then you don't have to smile bravely when people say "So, how is "X?"
Since neither one of us wants anything big in terms of a wedding (I am too old to worry about spending a lot of money on a party), we are going to try to do it towards the end of April or May this spring.
(We are planning around the pending-timing of a vacation he has already promised the kids/honeymoon that will likely immedidately follow.)
Needless to say, I am very excited.
I really couldn't sleep much last night because I was so wound up, and things about how my life will change or things we have to do to plan for the wedding (such as: How do I change my name? and Will my cats hate his cat?) kept popping into my head.
He has great kids, and I am looking forward to not only making a life with him -- but his whole family (his parents are great too).
It's kind of surreal to be writing these words. Hasn't sunk in yet I quess.
I've spent 20 dating years watching other friends and relatives talk about the excitement of getting married and the planning.
So it is weird to be writing this stuff myself!
Some weird wows this weekend.
(How come I think all my wows are weird? I guess cause I feel like I shoulnd't be noticing them to begin with...)
I wore a pair of shoe-boots that had heels (solid ones) and it didnt' phase me. I went shopping, stood to sing in church, etc... and never though about them.
When holding the music book in church, I was resting my elbow on my hip.
Suddenly I realized, that I was not just resting it on my hip -- but something pointyish.
Yes, a hip BONE.
(From a week or so ago): I was shaving my legs and couldn't figure out why I was having a hard time with the top part of my shin. It seemed so angular... so pointy. I had to adjust my technique.
Then I realized.
A bone is in there.
I have actual PITS in my armpits.
Not just a place under my arms where I need to shave... but there is an actual INDENT/PIT there.
Again... who knew?
I dont' think I've ever had armPITS before.
Here I've been thinking I've been doing bad -- but not horrible with my calcium citrate.
I bought a new kind (pills) a few weeks ago.
For some reason I just decided to study the bottle again....
Calcium (as calcium citrate).... 800mg.
Then I notice....
That is for a SERVING.
And one SERVING is FOUR pills!
Since when are VITAMINS broken down into SERVING SIZES!?!?!??!??!?!?!?
Now I have to take SIX of these #^&(#% things if I am to get my calcium in.
I have got to find a decent calcium citrate.
I've tried the liquid... it thickend too much after a couple weeks.
I tried the dissolve tablets (not bad... but need to eat 4 a day and they take like 40 minutes to dissolve)
And now these pills....
As I sit here with my legs crossed (under the desk), I feel like I should post and make a big deal out of 6 months... but.... I don't feel like there is much to say.
(However, beign Super Verbose Girl, I am sure I will think of something...)
* As I've said previously, it is shocking to realize I am this far out already. It often feels like nothing has changed. And I can't belive I actually had the guts to do it to begin with.
* Instead of talking about the weight I have lost... I need to NOT BE COMFORTABLE in how easy it was, and focus on what I need to do.
I know that I have been losing weight pretty much by default so far.
And I am feeling guilty that I haven't been TRYING at all. (Cause I haven't needed to.)
Now, I need to be with the program more than ever.
* Continue with Vitamins (especially calcium citrate which I am the worst at getting in)
* Less snacking on the occasional (or more than occasional -- like last week) cookie or piece of candy.
* Actually WATCHING calories --which I haven't worried about at all in 6 months. It was bulletin-worthy if I could make it up to 700 calories a day before. Now... every day I could get more in if I wanted. Need to pay attention to calories.
* More water.
* Less soda (Yes, my surgeon said ok if tolerated. And yes, I tolerate)
* More water
* More water
* Get to the gym more often.
* Get rid of the "It'll be ok" voice in my head, and LISTEN when the other voice says "But you will dump on this."
That damned "It'll be ok" voice is what got me to nearly 300lbs to begin with.
Good Voice: "Should I have that chocolate muffin?
Bad Voice: "Sure, it'll be ok this once. How much damage could one muffin do?"
Anything I forgot? Feel like there is.
It is funny, the list above could reflect just about ANY "I need to get off my butt and lose weight" program I have done in the past.
The difference is that I now that NOW, if I follow these rules, it will WORK. I could never say that with confidence before.
Check out all the Christmas Cards I got from my Singles board buddies.
Try to ignore the bad kitty on the counter.
Twas the Days before Christmas and I am being a pig.
Eating all kinds of yummies, without giving a frig.
Hershey's and Recees and chocolates galore.
Thank goodness I dump, or I'd gorge on much more.
Pigs are flying.
Hell hath frozen over.
Dogs and cats are falling from the sky.
The unimaginable has happened.
My weight starts with a "1".
I am going to go pass out now.
For the first time since Jesus was a carpenter I have actually been looking forward to Christmas parties this year.
The dreaded "Oh no, what can I wear that won't look like it was made by Omar the Tentmaker" instead turned into a quest for semi-sexiness.
Though I still seem a bit "hippy" in pictures... You can certainly see a difference.
My sister isn't happy with HER pic here... but she hasn't had surgery yet.
What is interesting though:
In this pic, she is wearing the dress I wore last year (size 26).
I bet next year she is wearing the GREEN dress (size 16) I am now wearing -- or something even smaller if she schedules soon.
There are updated before and after pics on my ROAD TO THIN website.
My sister and I at a Christmas party. 200lbs.
My gosh... it has been 5 months already since my RNY.
On one hand it feels like years ago... on the other... I still can't believe I did it at all!
A brief update for those who care (all two of you):
Now (as of Thursday): 204 (5 pounds from a weight that starts with a 1 !!!!!!)
Was: size 26 pant.. about 22 (or XXL) top.
Now: Size 18 pant (might be able to squeeze into 16).... 12/14 (or L or XL top)
I found out the other day that in February I was 277.
So... along with the WLS... I have lost 73lbs since then.
Now, when I look at myself in a mirror, I look like how I THOUGHT I looked before.
I never realized how heavy I was unless I concentrated or saw a photograph.
I thought I looked like THIS before.
I went a little crazy on ebay buying clothes.
But it is sure nice to have clothes that fit.
Not only do I feel like I look nicer -- people are commenting all the time now on how good I look.
It was hard for them to tell when I was wearing the same clothes that were so big you couldn't see my new shape.
I am fitting into L and XL shirts from places like GAP and Charlotte Russe.
I am at a loss as to what to ask for for Christmas.
Part of me wants the good stuff -- like a Playstation portable.
But another part of me says "No... be boring... ask for a GNC gift certificate. You need to buy protein."
Those are words I never thought I would write:
"Ask for a GNC Gift certficate for Christmas"
Makes it seem like I am one of those health freaks or such.
I am officially in size 18 pants now.
I thought for a while I might be -- but was afraid to say "officially" until I got some new jeans from the store and wore them successfully.
Jeans are the true measure of size.
So I am wearing LEE Riders Size 18s right now.
My upper half is a size 14.
Went to a couple Goodwill/Thrift store places over the weekend trying to find cheap clothes while my size transitions.
Aside from one pair of jeans (size 22s) I hadn't bought anything new.
Since I started out as a 26 bottoms/22 tops, things were starting to look silly.
I am also in the mood to show off the loss more, and feel like I look better.
Sizes are weird.
I got a few things -- some of which will have to wait a while still (but how can I NOT buy a beautiful blue Ann Taylor sweater for $3 bucks???).
Some stuff is just Large -- and is fine.
Another is Medium (yikes) and is OK.
But another large is a bit small.
Even one XL is a little clingy. Odd.
Why can't clothing makers just DECIDE on a uniform standard?
Is that REALLY a lot to ask?
Well, I am now just over 4 months out.
Nothing new to report really.
Down to 214 (from 268
Size 18 pants, 14 top. (From 26 pants/22 top)
(Pictures are on my website www.theroadtothin.com )
I've had the munchies recently, and I am trying to fight those urges. I don't want to get into any kind of snacking habit... I know that would be the sure way to lose fater/gain.
I am really wanting to get some new clothes so I can show off my loss more.. but at the same time... I dont' want to pay $20-$30 or more $$ for an item of clothing that will (hopefully) be too big in a month or so.
Someone at work FINALLY noticed yesterday.
51lbs, and finally.
She had been away for a week and saw me walking down the hall.
I was feeling good because although my pants are about 2 sizes too big right now, I found a shirt in the back of my closet that actually fit (it was an XL -- not a 1X or 2X -- just XL).
So I walk up to talk to her about something and she gives me this really puzzled look and says:
"I...uh... umm..... did you... did you..... lose a LOT of weight???"
"Yes" I replied calmly and matter of factly.
"I mean, a SIGNIFICANT amount of weight???"
"What did you DO last week while I was gone?" she joked.
"I had been losing, you just didn't notice before becuase all my clothes are too big and hang loose and you can't see my frame."
"B-b-b-but it seems like you just took a razor and shaved off a huge chunk of your body!?"
"I've been losing for a while, it is just the big sweaters I tend to wear hide it probably."
She stared at me some more.
"What have you been DOING?" she asked, still confused.
"Well" (I started, preparing to be vague) "I eat small meals, almost no sugar, no carbs, and lots of water."
Without even a pause she says (in a nice, smiling way):
"You didn't have that surgery did you?"
"Maybe?" she laughed.
And then I had to stand there for an hour as she asked 18,000 questions.
She kept telling me I needed to eat more.
When I would think the subject was changed, she would suddenly turn to me with something like:
"What have you eaten today?"
I told her, and she was again... that isn't enough... you need to eat more!
I tried to explain I can't physically eat more, but she was just confused by the fact that a WLS patient can survive and actually improve their health while eating so little.
So I guess I am officially "outed" at work now.
She was really great about it though... kept telling me how proud she was of me, and was in awe of my before/after pics.
The funniest part was when I showed her my before pic and she gasped and said:
"Ohhh... but you weren't that big while you've been working here."
I laughed and said "This was the day before surgery."
She just shook her head...
I guess I hid it well under my clothes. She never realized I was that big.
Either that or my loss (in a day-to-day sense) has been gradual enough that she can't remember me being that way (even though it was not quite 4 months ago.)
I realize now as I walk past a reflective window or such that I now look the way I thought I looked before surgery.
Internally, I knew I was a big person, but never saw myself as "fat" in an unattractive way.... until I caught my reflection. Then I would be shocked and suprised -- and hopeful that the glass had been made wrong, so it gave a funhouse effect.
Now, I pass the same glass, and I see my reflection.
Yes, I still see a person that definately needs to lose weight.
But no grossly sticking out butt or tummy.
This is what I THOUGHT I looked like before.
On my bulletin board at work I have a schedule of cardio classes from the fitness center.
Wonder what the hell I intend to do with that.
On another note....
I am officially annoyed.
How can people NOT be noticing my weight loss?
I had to buy new pants the other day cause the others looked so *$^#-ing stupid.
I think the new outfit looked nice and slimming... no big butt stickin' out the back or tummy stickin' out the front to ruin the line of the clothes.
All in all, my clothes are looking nicer on me now.
BUT not ONE person in my office comments on it.
A conversation (of me trying to prompt for a reaction) will go like this:
ME: "I had to put another hole in my belt."
ME: "I really should get a new one.. after all... it is several sizes too big now."
THEM: "Uh huh".
And then there is the neighbors....
They see me go to the car... dressed up... how can they NOT notice that I am almost 4 sizes smaller?
They dont' even seem to flinch.
The only thing that tells me SOMEONE is confused is that the other day I was in a backstage area of the theatre, and a guy I have sat in meetings with looked at me strange.
I said "You DO know me, you know."
He just looked.
Then he looked at my ID and said in a "WTF" voice "Hey, that is a Warner badge"
"Yeeeeeeessss" I said.
It took him another moment to figure out who I was.
I now only weigh 56 pounds more than my drivers license says I do.
My sister's birthday was yesterday.
I cut the cake, and without even thinking I would lick my fingers when icing got on it.
Then... I thought I would be ok with a small piece.
... a piece just 1/2" thick at the thickest (then sloping down).
A 1/2 hour later I was so sick.
But even as I was sweating, clammy, nauseated and generally feeling like 18 kinds of crap -- I was happy.
...Cause I was dumping and felt like shit.
I also feel like Willy Wonka's Blueberry Gum girl today cause I am swelled up with gas.
Perhaps after I roll my way to the bathroom a few times I'll stop feeling like a derigible.
I have determined that the amount I can eat at a meal is directly proportionate to how much the food costs.
Example: If I am at a restaurant and the bill for my portion alone exceeds $30... I will only be able to eat 3-4 bites.
If I am eating a meal that cost approximately $15, I can eat 3-4 ounces.
If I am eating cheap, fried, bad-for-me leftovers from the back of the fridge, I will be able to consume what appears to be 18 full cups.
Something happened to a girl on the Singles board that scared the poopy outta me.
I wil start with the Moral of the Story: Take Your Vitamins.
She is just over a year out of surgery -- and she has anemia sooo badly that she had to get a blood transfusion.
She also has tingling in her feet -- a sign of neuropathy. (Lack of taking B-12 propery).
She is the first to admit that she has been "lax" in taking her vitamins... and here is the result.
I have been taking all my vitamins the way I am supposed to 90% of the time, but because I had a problem swallowing my prescription B-12 pill, I had switched to a sublingual that the surgeon recommended.
Even though he did suggest it as an alternative, her neuropathy -- so early out -- is enough to put fear of the Vitamin Gods in me.
I am now trying to pop the "REAL" B-12/Iron supplement with intrinsic factor (see the vitamin section on www.TheRoadToThin.com if you want more detail) as often as I can.
Sometimes I swear now that there is a lava lamp in my gut.
I seem to have a morning routine (most days) that, I am betting, other post-ops will recognize:
I eat something... maybe a cheese stick... maybe a banana or (even worse for the situation, my protein pudding).
A bit later I drink water.
Sudddenly..... blurp... blurp.... bubbles rising and churching in my intestines, like the workings of a lava lamp.
10 minutes later... I need to run to the bathroom.
Then... 5 minutes after that... I run again.
Then, I am usally done.
Thus enedth my morning routine.
Aren't you thrilled to have that detailed information of my bodily functions?
On the GOOD side... I had a another burst of energy this weekend (even though I was sick until Saturday afternoon), so I am hopeful my new energy is due to losing weight and better vitamins and such. I actually cleaned my house and did laundry AGAIN (shock). Even though I didnt' have to because NO ONE was coming over!
I bought myself an Italian Charm Bracelet off ebay...
...and one of the first charms I bought was one that says "I love Chocolate" (cause I SURE DO!!!)
But... the thing is... before surgery I NEVER would have bought a charm that said that.
As if the entire world would look at this teeny tiny charm and say "Ooohhh, so THAT is why she is so fat."
But now I feel fine wearing it. Cause damn straight, I love chocolate.
Yet I am not even close to goal... so, theoretically, someone could see the charm and think "oooo, so THAT is why..." right now.
But instead I don't feel shame or embarrassement in wearing it.. Instead I feel like "YEAH MAN, I like chocolate!"
Why am I ok with this now (even though I am still obese) yet not before?
I asked this question of folks on the singles board, and got the same answer from more than one person.
"Miss Beckie" provided the most concise answer... and I don't think she'll mind if I put her response here.
I think it is right on target.
I think you are alright with your "I love Chocolate" charm because you have already taken the steps to improve your life, health, weight. You know you will be at your weight for a short time and it is going to go DOWN and not up.... You dont feel guilt for liking chocolate anymore!
I took some new pictures which can be seen at my "before and after" link. I don't really see much difference in last month vs. this month -- but the difference from pre-op is pretty obvious.
I also took my measurements for the first time as a post-op.
A while back I posted that I thought my necklaces were hanging lower.
Turns out I am NOT entirely crazy.
I have lost nearly an inch off my neck.
Lost about 7" off my hips/butt... a few off my thighs, upper arms, etc.
I am still in a decent routine regarding food, vitamins, protein, etc. -- though I tend to suck at it all on the weekends.
I am also a bit put off that if I am "good" about eating close to 1,000 calories every day as I am supposed to -- then the weight loss slows down a lot.
If I get in only 500-600... I lose faster.
YET... continually doing such a low count is supposed to put your body in starvation mode.
I want to try to make myself go to the gym today, but I actually don't feel real well all of a sudden.
I did something really stupid last night, and now I think my pouch/intestines are bit grumbly in my tumbly.
You know how... when you eat all your food you think "Wow, that was good... and I feel fine. Maybe I can have JUST A BIT more."
I had a piece of thin crust pizza (which I have had before).
Then... I still felt fine.
"You feel ok... have moooooore" the Devil on my shoulder whispered.
So I did.
Just a few bites more.
I felt sooo horrible that I wished I had an anorexic friend that could have taught me how to induce vomiting.
I finally made myself go to the gym today.
Let's hope I can keep this up.
I had a rare burst of energy over the weekend... one of those moods/bursts when you don't sit down all day, because you keep thinking "oh, I'll just clean that"... "oh, I guess I might as well organize that too... "while I'm here I might as well throw that laundry in..." etc.
I don't get in those moods often.
So I wanted to take advantage of it.
I am trying to keep the energy going by making myself go to the gym today.
I did 15 minutes on the bike and 10 on the treadmill at a reasonable pace.
Also, I seem to be losing faster again all of a sudden.
For a while it was a pound a week.
Now suddenly... I've lost 4 pounds in six days.
What bothers me is I really haven't been eating much.
When I took my calories up closer to 1000 -- I slowed down.
When I started eating less (just because I wasn't really in the mood to eat)... I lose again.
If this is the tread it is going to be a bit frustrating come maintenance time -- or the end of the "honeymoon" phase when I CAN and will WANT to eat more.
A bit worried about that.
It's funny how, as you go along, getting into a routine, you find less and less to say.
I notice many profile updates start to dwindle off after surgery.
Mine is starting to also.
At first there are so many emotions to express.... so many thoughts to verbalize... so many worries to ponder... that I had to get them all down in writing.
Now... life is just going along.
More or less back to normal (sans the occasional "oops I shouldn't have eaten that" dumping episode).
I am less traumatized by my reflection these days.
Previously, when trying to convince myself I needed to do this surgery, all I had to do was accidentally catch a glimpse of myself in a store window.
Yikes... is that ME?, I would think. How can I be that big?
Odd to think this was just over two months ago.
Now... when I catch my reflection I still see someone who needs to lose weight... but I am not as repulsed by the bulging butt and tummy. My proportions are getting nicer.
So now my worries commence about (drumroll): hair loss and saggy skin.
I think I see some skin issue starting, but I am not sure.
Hair loss hasn't really begun (yet), although a few more strands are floating around than normal.
I am trying to make an effort not to wash it or pull at it as much. Though I am not sure it will make a real difference.
My hope is that if/when hair loss happens, that, at most, I am the only one who will really notice.
I guess I am finally in a routine regarding this stuff, because I am now getting in my food and protein and vitamins without having to stress about it as much.
I also find that I really NEED to eat every two hours now.
If I don't I get pretty hungry.
So I no longer look at the clock and go "shoot, I need to eat now" -- instead my body is telling me when.
Except on weekends.
Everything gets screwy then.
Here are a couple of odd "wow" stories:
(1) Last week my sister and I went to a Washington Nationals game -- which I don't think I had done since prior to surgery.
I sat in the seat and said, after a while, "I think these seats are bigger."
My sister then said "It's not just you, my seat feels bigger too."
(Keep in mind, she hasn't had surgery yet.)
Now, knowing they probably didn't replace all the seats at RFK Staduim within the past two months -- she finally figured it out.
"I know," she said "before your hips were spilling over into my seat."
(2) My necklace is hanging lower. I swear.
Yesterday was the 2 month anniversary of the surgery.
At TheRoadToThin.com I have new before and after pictures.
Not much more to say, really.
I don't feel much different.
I know I am wearing clothes a bit smaller.
But I don't feel much different.
Had a bout of "damnit" the other day when I was at a small birthday party.
Everyone was all about when they could have the cake.
And I would get excited for a minute before I remembered that I couldn't have a big ole piece of cake.
Then I would get bummed for a minute... like I had nothing to look forward to.
Come cake time I actually had the teeniest piece you can imagine. So thin it was silly... and didn't even eat any of the icing.
And I still felt bad afterwards.
Strange thing is... when eating something I shouldn't makes me feel bad, I am comforted.
When eating something I shouldn't doesnt' affect me -- I get very nervous and afraid.
I had two follow-up appointments yesterday.
The first with my Surgeon, the second with my PCP.
My surgeon is very pleased and says 34 pounds (10 since the last time I saw him) is a very good amount and indicated it might be better than average.
I, of course, complained I want to lose faster... but he just scowled at me.
I also noticed, when visiting the July 2005 surgery forum, that almost EVERYONE is complaining about slowing down or completely stalling right now.
So, obviously, this is normal.
Still hard not to freak out.
My PCP also seemed pleased.
She wants to see me back on Dec 1 -- and at that time we will do blood work if my surgeon hasn't already.
I had thought it would be ordered this time... but she says vitamin depletions won't really appear in the bloodwork until about the 6th month.
I am trying to continue to be very good with vitamins, protein and water.
I found out yesterday that drugstore.com has the Instone (Stallone) puddings for $1.99 for a pack of 4.
Given they are $7.97 for a 4-pack at GNC I rushed to buy 13 boxes (cause at that point I also got free shipping).
So 13 boxes (52 cans) or protein pudding for just over $25!!
You can NOT beat that!!!
(But I would looooove to know why they sell them so cheap. The price differnece is just silly.)
I seem to have sloooooowed down a lot.
Only lost a couple pounds in the past 3 weeks.
Of course I am boderline freaking out about this.
This weight-loss of 30-35lbs is ALWAYS (in the past) where my loss would stop, and I would start to regain.
I guess that fact alone kindof explains the slow/stall (since my body is used to doing that)... but I still need to panic.
Everyone assures me that a slow/stall at this point is very normal... our bodies are just catching up... etc etc etc blah blah blah. But you know what? None of that matters when it is MY body and I am farther away from a smaller size than I thought I would be at this point.
You get really spoiled really fast by how fast you lose the first several weeks. Though I am only 7 weeks out now, I know I was secretly hoping to lose 30lbs a month. And instead it is going to be 35 in 2 months.
I know, I know... I shouldn't complain... when was the last time I lost that much weight so quickly.
I still wanna be a size 8 by next week.
On a more positive note: I am still doing pretty good on protein -- thanks to those Stallone puddings (which I am now out of).
And I am doing even better with my vitamins.
I am trying to take at least 2 multivitamins a day (for fear of lack of absorption in the first) and a sublingual B-12.
Taking 2 multis should provide me with 200% of the daily iron I need, so hopefully I don't need to be taking an iron suppliment also.
I know I should be switching from the TUMS calcium to calcium citrate -- but I looked at those pills over the weekend.
There ain't any way those are gettin' down my throat.
Hopefully, somewhere in the world exists a subligual or chewable calcium citrate.
I am also continuing to do better with my water every day.
Suprising even myself.
The fact that I am belching less is a huge help with this.
The media must be alerted.
A new all-time post-op achievement yesterday.... I did almost everything right.
* I came dangerously close to getting in all my fluids
* I took all my vitamins
* Due to the Stallone Protein Puddings I got my 70grams of protein in.
* I made it up to about 700 calories
The only thing I didn't do was go to the gym.... cause I was busy (and wanted an excuse. Boy... I've been out of the habit since April now.... hard to get motivated...)
Just had a great weekend in Annapolis with several of the gals from the WLS Singles board.
I am thrilled to say everyone is just as much fun in person (if not MORE so) than on the boards.
A great time was had by all!!
HERE to see pics from the Famous Annapolis 2005 trip!
Featuring WLS Goddesses, Cathy, Felicia, Meredith, Beckie, Josie, Maria and (pre-op) Kathy.
I just realized.
I am not MO anymore.
I am down 30lbs since surgery... and my BMI is under 40.
To reach my goal weight of 150... I just need to lose 88 pounds.
For years I have needed to lose 100 pounds.
When will I learn?
What is it about my brain that looks at food thinks "Hmmm... that might not be a good idea... it looks like too much/has sugar/whatever" -- but then says "It'll be OK" -- and eats it anyway???
This "It'll be ok" is quite obviously the same sabatoging thought that would pop into my head pre-op whenever I was on a diet and/or sick of myself -- but still REALLY wanted a chocolate chocolate chip muffin.
"It'll be ok." always chimed in.
I just had a small torilla, folded in half, with some peanut butter on it.
It was only my second time eating something bread-like... and even though I knew it would expand in my stomach, and I should probably only eat 1/2 the tortilla -- that just didn't seem like enough since I was hungry.
"It'll be ok" echoed somewhere in the back of my brain.
Now I am sitting here, wanting to make "bllllleeeeeeeeech" noises while opening my jeans and letting my stomach hang out.
I am getting tired suddenly too.
Probably because my body is now working so hard to unfil my overly full tummy.
It's been a bit of a sad weekend.
All of us on the WLS Singles board that I frequent have been reminded of the dangers of major surgery.
Our friend Cesar Lorenzo, who began visiting us (and charming all the girls) a couple months ago had his surgery on Wednesday, August 3.
We found out yesterday (Satruday) morning that he passed away.
We are all in shock... and wishing this was a mistake -- or that someone is playing a really horrible practicle joke on us.
I continue to be amazed at how close and "family-like" these boards seem.
I've been a member of internet-forums before... and have never had this feeling of closeness with other members.
Cesar was a very sweet man with a fun sense of humor.
We all looked forward to him returning to the boards and following his progress.
He had promised us that he would return from the hospital and provide us with a full report of all the nurses he harrassed.
He was also looking forward the personal "striptease" that his selection of women would do for him when he reached 1,000,000 posts.
(This joke because he was so tickled with himself that he had made 100 posts on the Singles board -- and wanted a special reward.)
We don't yet know what happened.
What we do know is that surgery went seemingly well on Wednesday, and that he was walking and things looked good later on.
The family said an autopsy is going be performed to determine what happened.
Of course, the liklihood is an embolism or his heart... or such.
Please take a moment to visit Cesar's profile page.... and, when doing so, be greatful at all the people you know that have come through surgery without major complication.
Cesar's Profile: http://www.obesityhelp.com/morbidobesity/profile.phtml?N=L1110820131
Well, one month ago today I was at the hospital heading towards the pre-op area.
Funny, on one hand I am surprised that I am a month out already.
But on another hand, it seems like ages ago.
I go back and forth with when I feel good and when I don't when eating.
This morning, just a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese was too much to finish.
Last night, I had a really yummy meal at TGI Friday's (but ate a bit too much.)
I put some of the spinach/artichoke dip on my plate and ate it with a fork. YUMMY!
Probably about 2TBSPs of that.
Then, I ate the chicken and cheese from the inside of the chicken quesadilla appetizer.
It was just what I wanted -- and, of course, I have leftovers in the fridge for dinner tonight.
I am not sure my sister is happy right now though.
She is still pre-op, and said she gets really full when we go out now -- cause she ends up eating almost all of an appetizer and/or I end up giving her 1/2 my food!
I am still struggling with getting protein in.
I think/hope this will get easier as I can move forward into protein bars soon.
The drinks just aren't doin it for me these days.
I can only get 1/2 one down before it seems too gross to continue.
I am down 26bs, which seems to be average, but I am bummed because I've only lost a pound this past week.
Again, I am told this is kind of normal as my body catches up -- but still -- I wanted to be some object of amazement, I guess.
Heck, I wanted to wake up in recovery having lost 80lbs.
I am doing a bit better every day with liquids.
Now I just need to remember to take vitamins and get protein in.
The protein is the uckiness factor -- and the vitamins is the fact I seem to have a hair trigger gag reflex these days.
If the pill even PAUSES on it's way down, I gag.
Since I feel like it always takes me a while to recover from any gag incident, I am not thrilled with taking pills.
Unfortunately, the pill that usually gags me is the B-12 pill.
I may throw in that towel and buy the pricey sublingual B-12's at GNC -- or go for shots.
It just isn't worth upsetting my tummy... especially when the consequence is that I don't want to drink for a while, or don't want to eat later.
I didn't realize I hadn't posted since I felt awful.
It does seem the tablet form of Effexor was to blame.
On the capsul form, I am much better.
I am really dragging this week... but I am wondering if I am becoming victim of the "one month out" post-op depression I hear so many people talk about.
Apparently it is very common.
And.... it does kinda feel like that.
I just don't feel like doing anything.
I don't care... etc.
Hope this doesn't last too long.
I am getting a bit better with my fluid intake... but now my issue has switched to protein.
(If it isn't one thing, it's another....)
For about two weeks (when I was vomit girl) I basically ignored the protein need because I was lucky to be eating or drinking anything at all -- let alone trying to get down a protein shake.
Yesterday, I was determined to do everythign exactly the way I am supposed to... and I still only got about 2/3rds of an entire drink down (that is 1/2 in the morning and 1/3 in the afternoon).
They are just making me feel sick.
I thought "it is all in your head... just drink it."
And I just couldn't. I really felt like I was making myself sick.
And one thing I have learned over the past four weeks is: if I try to push past the "sick" feeling and keep going -- I will end up throwing up a few minutes later.
Psychological or not -- if it all comes right back up I am not sure there is a difference.
My gosh... just writing about the drinks now is giving me a sick feeling.
I have $80 worth of big-packaged protein powders in my cabinet (that I liked well enough when I ordered them) and now I can't even THINK about them without getting some "head naseua."
I've just had several more days of really feeling kinda awful.
Nauseous 22 out of 24 hours every day.
I haven't been drinking enough... eating enough... taking all the vitamins... or getting hardly any protein in.
It's just been awful.
HOWEVER (for pre-ops reading this) I think the main culprit is a medicine I am taking -- and NOT a surgery side-effect.
Pre-op I was taking Effexor (an anti-depressant) in capsul time release form.
The first week or so Post-op, I couldn't take that.
So my PCP switched me to a different version of the same med. A tablet that has a really quick release.
I think this has been the problem.
I would often feel better until time to take the pill again, then I'd be sick until it was out of my system... and then it was time to take another.
Yesterday my PCP told me to go back to the capsul form and see if that helps.
I have all my fingers and toes crossed.
It is sooooo hard to function when you feel sick all the time.
Not to mention the fact that I probably havent' been getting in more than 250 calories a day -- and 10grams of protein -- and 20oz of water... for DAYS.
THAT is not good.
If I want to stall my weight loss and plateau fast.. keeping this up is probably the sure way to do it.
10:06am: Just took the "old" effexor. Very nervous.
I have been feeling so much better this morning... actually had 3 pieces of Laughing Cow cheese wedges for breakfast.
I really hope I don't become vomit-girl (or wanna-be-vomit girl) in 20 minutes or so again.
10:36am: So far, so good. I even WANT to drink. A good sign.
1:03pm: Well, I haven't turned into vomit girl again. I dont' feel as good as I did this morning... but I am not ready to puke, either... so that is some progress.
Trying to drink water.
The crystal light lemonaide flavor was NOT agreeing with me (drink...intestines rumble as if I might have to run to the bathroom)... so I am trying normal water again.
If only I didn't feel like I was swallowing a tiny balloon with each sip.
And that is just a small/medium sip!
Just give me an IV.
I'll insert it myself.
Well, I feel a bit better today. Went to bed at 8:00pm last night...and started dozing on and off at about 8:30.
I think that helped a lot.
I've also gone really easy on food today and am trying to up my liquids.
So far today I've had.
8oz of Crystal light (in morning)
1 protein shake
about 2oz light yogurt (must be really liquidy, cause I could have had more)
Mainly the broth from about 6oz of chicken noodle soup from Au Bon Pain.
Drinking Crystal light again now.
If I can even get my fluid intake up to 50 I'll be doing REALLY good today.
Plan to have more popsicles and jello later.
I feel like crap today.
Everything I eat or drink just sits there and makes me feel ucky.
Frustrating... because I am thirsty, but drinknig is making me feel gross.
As soon as I STOP feeling gross, it is time to eat again (sigh).
Last night I made a critical error.
I thought "I need to get more calories in. I KNOW.. I'll have an egg then a protein shake 1/2hr later."
So.. had the egg.
I was fine. It was good.
45 minutes later... took a sip of protein shake.
"Ugh... I can't drink this... I just feel too full."
So I let it sit.
20 minutes later I got a terrible pain smack in the center of my chest (esophogus) and felt like I needed to burp REALLY badly.
Next thing I knew I was throwing up several times.
It seems I either didnt' chew the egg enough (and it got stuck in the stoma, clogging it) and/or it just hadn't left the pouch yet and the thick shake (even just two sips!) was just too much.
I need a nap.
Everyone thought I was sooooo tough going back to work yesterday.
Then today.... I got up tired... got ready... and was exhausted. I started breathing too fast, my heart was beating a bit fast, and I had to lie down.
I ended up staying home (after just ONE day of work) and then I went back to bed and slept until 2:30!!
I called my dad and he was like "Well, it sounds like you did the right thing, but you knew it would be tough. You knew you didn't have the time when you decided to do this now -- and that you'd probably have to push through."
I guess he is right.
I DID know it would be really hard to go back so soon.
I thought I could just suck it up and do it though.
Since I never had major surgery, I didn't realize how LONG I would be exhausted -- or how quickly I would tire.
If I had JUST been tired this morning, I would have gone.
It was the fact I felt my heart beating too fast, and was breathing fast that scared me.
Even right now... almost 6:00pm (and having slept til 2:30) I still feel far less energetic than I did last week.
Last week I wanted to go to stores and walk, started some projects, and planned to work on other craft projects.
I don't feel like I have the energy for any of that right now.
I just want to go back to bed.
What is it about this surgery that makes you say "It doesn't matter... I'll deal with it." ??
I mean, even if I had known in advance how tired I would be, I probably STILL would have done it now instead of a year from now.
I guess it is the feeling that your life is about to start -- so you want to hurry and get it started.
First day back at work. By 11:00am I wanted a nap.
I just cancelled the appointment I made back in early April -- for a consult with another doctor on August 22.
Amazing to think that when I made that appointment, the 4-month wait didn't bother me at all.
I thought "That's fine -- more time to think and research."
Once I made the decision though... I wanted to go forward.
I am glad we got in touch with this DC office, because I really like the aftercare and such.
Funny to think that now, when that orginal consult date comes around, I will be a month and a half post-op.
Tomorrow is my first day back at work.
It is a little soon, I think, but since I don't have the vacation/sick time there is nothing to do about it.
I packed a bag full of stuff I now need to have at work.
A pillow (cause I expect to be tired and need to rest at lunch).
A personal blender.
Bottles of water.
Stash of the B-12/Trinsicon vitamins and other meds.
Atkins protein drinks.
Cans of pre-made chicken salad spread.
Low Carb yougurt.
Hershey sugar-free mini-chocolate bars (in case I get desperate for a treat and need something to suck on.)
If this is what it takes to pack to go to work, I'd hate to see what my next vacation is like. I'll need a whole new set of luggage just for my blenders, protein powders, vitamins, meds, and various other bits of food and snack.
Went to lunch today at TONY ROMA's to celebrate my dad's birthday (which was the 13th).
My parents are convinced I shouldn't ever eat, it seems.
Analyzed every bit of food going into my mouth.
My mother was saying I couldn't have anything on the menu (she is convinced I am going to ruin the operation) and my dad was lecturing about how I shouldn't be thinking about food (yet we are at a restaurant where the purpose is to eat lunch).
So finally I said "Hey, I am supposed to eat every two hours -- and it is time to eat."
I ordered a baked potato with butter on the side and ate... maybe 1oz of it I think.
I kept mushing up tiny pieces and then eating them. I was afraid of dumping on the starch in the potato, so I took it really slow and minimal.
I also got my dad to give me a bit of his fish (probably 1/2-3/4oz) explaining that the protein in the fish was best for me and that some post-op's families have taken to nicknaming them "Gimme a bite" -- because we never order or make our own food anymore -- just mooch off other's plates.
My brain still doesn't understand what I have done on a weight-loss scale.
I am wearing a blouse that is looser than it was, but still I keep thinking that (knowing me) I MUST have done something recently to screw up the 15 pounds I had lost at weigh-in the other day.
My brain doesn't understand that I should keep losing for a while... it is finding a reason to assume I have gained.
Perhaps these thoughts were part of what always sabotaged me in the past??
Uhg. Time to eat again.
So odd to now spend my days thinking "Crap, I have to eat again."
I know it won't last... I know that in 6 months or so I will probably be wishing for this time... but right now it is just weird and kinda frustrating.
So I had my one week follow up (though I am... what... 9 days out)....
I've lost 15lbs. Down to 253.
So.. wrap your brain around this:
I've had major surgery, been on liquids, am eating pureed stuff, get tired easily, etc.... yet....
I immediately thought "I lost 15lbs? But I wasn't even trying."
Isn't that odd?
The only thing I can figure is that, in the past, losing weight always involved soooooo much thought.
An entire day would be "Ok... I am just going to have this to eat... no I will not go get that muffin, I will NOT go get that muffin. No I will NOT go get that muffin. This salad is fine, I don't need more than that... crap I am still hungry... where is the chocolate... I need someting chocolate...maybe I can find something low calorie. It might be ok to eat...."
And that was a day of losing weight before.
So now... it feels like I'm not trying.
I guess my recovery is going along ok. I have my 1-week follow up appointment later today.
For some reason, the idea of having lost weight is weird.
"Why would I have lost weight?" my brain is thinking...even though I haven't had over 700 calories a day (and am probably averaging 300) for the past 10 days.
I need to get my calorie intake up... cause I know that starvation mode could cause me to platue really early.
I am doing ok with my protein -- as long as I have products I like. Which I am running out of fast.
Everyone said "Only buy samples -- you don't know what you will like" so I did.
But that also meant I was out of samples by day 3 of purees.
I ordered some Matrix Chocolate.. but it won't arrive until tomrrow.
In the meantime I tried some flavors I didnt' think I'd like -- but do.
The Perfect Protein Pineapple Vanilla and the Whey Grape are both good mixed with the Carb Countdown milk.
It seems my little dumping issue the other day was probably because I drank the protein shake too fast.
I have had shakes with it 3 times so far... taking care to drink slow... and it has been fine.
So... sloooooow consumption is obviously just as important as the ingredients to prevent dumping.
Second day on pureed foods and I think I have managed to dump a bit.
On my protein shake, no less.
I got some diarrhea, then felt lightheaded, then my heart was kinda pounding. And I got paranoid that I was about to die from some sudden complication.
Seems it might have been the Carb Countdown milk I have been adding to the protein powder. I might be developing lactose intolerance.
I guess well see.
It wasnt THAT bad (especially since I was home and not at work).
Actually my big issue today is my binder.
It is completely killing my back.
Making it pain-filled like arthritis.
No position is comfortable.
I am now taking my pain meds again for my BACK not my surgery site.
I took the binder off this morning, which I know I am not supposed to do.. but I thought if I could have a day without my back being twisted in that thing it might help.
Maybe I can talk my surgeon into letting me have it off unless I am going out or sleeping -- or if it has been off for more than, say, 12 hours.
I keep having to remind myself not to drink during meals.
A hard thing to do.
First day alone while sister went to work.
I was worried about it but it went ok.
It was my first day on foods other than liquid.
I had an egg (with about a true teaspoon of cheese) for breakfast (all mushed together) . then a protein shake then some pureed chicken then some pureed tuna.. and then a protein shake.
All of this over the course of the day.
I felt like I was being a pig.. eating constantly but was shocked to realize that that I didnt even make 700 calories.
I did manage to get 77 grams of protein in though.
The highlight of the day was actually the fact I am developing a rash under my binder so I had to jump (cough) in the shower and have my sister wash and lotion and powder my back.
My energy was coming and going all day.
At one point I nearly fell getting up from the toilet.
Yet an hour later I had energy enough to do a bit of tidying around the house.
Later in the evening, after my sister got home, we went to Safeway to get some tuna and such. And I managed to be so ditsy (end of day combined with pain meds I took, I think) that I left my ATM card in the machine and so it was bye bye to that.
This will be a lot of fun to fix.
I am also a tad concerned about the fact that when I walk for more than 15 minute or so, I start to sweat a bit and feel a bit feverish.
Not sure what to think of that.
It probably isnt much to worry about at this point not quite a week out.
Got up, took a shower, washed my face, brushed my teeth, traveled to church and back and then needed a two hour nap I was so exhausted.
I slept deeply too.
Ive been trying not to take too much of my pain meds, cause I dont like how tired they make me but every once in a while I start to feel queasy or feverish. As soon as I take them, I feel better in both regards.
Headache a bit better today. In fact, much better, but I could still feel it living in my head wanting to get bigger again.
I felt like I hadnt been walking enough and we had talked about going to Target to do walks. Problem has been, everytime I had the energy by the time I got around to mentioning it to my sister my energy was gone.
It was in and out all the time.
So today I said Lets go ahead and go now.
So we went to Target and I walked back to the lawn section, sat in a lawn chair for 10 minutes, and then walked back.
It kinda tired me out.
Woke up pretty early.
Not very comfortable in bed.
Slept in downstairs chair (cushioned with many pillows) a lot.
The entire day was again spent dealing with the headache.
It was really horrible.
I could tell you exactly where the veins in my head were and how they went around my head to the back of my neck.
I think if I hadnt had the headache, I would have been feeling much better by this point.
Due to the cpap not arriving until after midnight, I didnt really sleep until around 1:00am.
Then at 4:30 I was being poked for blood.
I gave up and called for the cpap to be removed.
They also took the oxygen off.
I had a headache that I thought was due to the dry hospital air, and I was anxious to get out and started asking when I could go home.
After all, it is not like they were doing anything special for me in the unit.
They had even disconnected my IV.
At around 6:00am someone took my vitals, and even though I felt like I still couldnt breath well, my saturation was up (without oxygen added) to 97.
My fever was done a few notches to 100-point-something.
The surgeons PA also listened to my lungs and said I wasnt moving air around much, but my lung expansion was getting better.
Then breakfast came.
Again . packets of pure sugar (this time I was graced with a tea bag too), full-sugar jello, and sugar-italian ice along with the beef broth.
Again, I called Nutrition. This is supposed to be diet.
About 1 ½ hours later someone brought by an orange jello with a meal ticket that said Diet red jello and a sticker on the jello that said Dear Patient, due to circumstances beyond our control we have had to make a substitution in your diet.
In other words I waited an hour and a half for full-sugar jello again.
If I had felt better I would have banged my head against a wall.
A bit later my vitals were taken again and my oxygen saturation was still in the 90s, and my fever was lower by one more tenth.
Not long after that, a Priest came in and offered a blessing and communion. I said yes to communion, before he reminded me that maybe I shouldnt since I was on a liquid only diet.
Seems at least the local Priest knows the bariatric rules even if the staff and diet folks of the bariatric unit dont.
As the Priest left, the surgeon came in and said I could leave.
Dont know if this is usual or not because it was barely 36 hours later but since I had been asking to go home, maybe he figured I would do fine.
That was all I needed to hear.
As quick as possible I then took a shower and got dressed. This took about two hours.
Then my sister took me home.
I kept my eyes closed the whole ride home, and can tell you were every pot-hole and pebble on that road were located.
When finally home (around 12:30pm still less than 48 hours since surgery) I basically just sat on the couch with my eyes closed and didnt want to vocalize anything.
My parents were worried cause I couldnt communicate but by this point I had such a tremendous anesthesia-related and sinus-related migraine, that I couldnt think, move, speak.
I am sure I basically just dosed the rest of the first day at home.
At some point during this day, the Home Medical rep arrived with the cpap.
As soon as I put it on I knew something was different with it.
The pressure was too much for exhaling.
It had been fine during the titration, in the ICU, and in the hospital.
This was different. And uncomfortable.
Something interesting with the cpap rep.
And there is no point even calling about it, because hed say I was crazy and drugged.
But when he came over to me to put the mask on he leaned against the bed where my hand was holding on to the side.
And either he had a large, firm item in some odd center pocket of his jeans or he pressed an erection into my hand.
Now, I have felt an erection through jeans before (though it has been so long, I am surprised I can recall) and that is defiantly what it felt like.
What could have possibly turned this guy on like that?
Certainly not my morbidly obese self in ugly shorts, shirt, hair, and unwashed face.
No it had to have been that he was in the room with someone who basically helpless.
As I said, there is no point even calling and complaining about this because if confronted with it, he would probably just laugh and say she wishes, and then they would slap each other on the back.
The first thing I remember is waking up in the teeny hours of the morning and thinking oh crap, it isnt morning.
I also quickly learned about my Morphine button and used it frequently.
I became aware of the NG tube, but it didn't really bother me as much as people said it would. Drugs are nice things.
Time was really weird almost all this day.. but especially during this night.
I would wake up, look at the clock and press my morphine button.
Hours later I would wake up and press my morphine button and it wouldnt work.
Cause it wasnt hours later. It was less than 8 minutes later.
This continued for a long time.
Time had no meaning.
At some point a nurse turned on the TV and I was relived when the early early early Today Show stuff started to come on.. cause then I felt like I had actually made it through this weird-time-line-night.
At some point I also became aware of the revolving air pressure things on my legs.
I was so doped up, they were actually pretty easy to ignore.
I basically dosed on and off with the morphine pump in one hand and asking for mouth swabs.
When I was more alert I got some ice chips which surprised me but they were so good, it is stupid.
At some point around here, they took the NG tube out.
They told me to breathe out -- but since I had no breath in me that meant less air was being expelled than would have been needed to blow out a weak birthday candle.
So I blowed... and they pulled... and a big loooong tube came out... and kept coming out...
I never imagined it could be that long.
It was really uncomfortable and kinda painful to have it taken out... but it was immediately nice to have it gone.
The discomfort was so quick, it really shouldn't even be worried about.
At around 8:00am they had me move to a chair, which I am sure was a little difficult but I remember the nurse saying wow! cause I was obviously moving better than she expected.
After a while in the chair, I really felt like I needed to get back in bed and go back to sleep, but they had me there so I could be taken for my leak test.
At that point, it would have been difficult on us all (me mostly) to get back in bed, and then have to get BACK in the chair to go for the test. So I basically had to sit there until.
When it was time to go, I found out this chair I had been sitting in had wheels (I thought Id have to get in and out of a wheelchair).
The nurse disconnected my IV and my Morphine pump (telling me to take a hit before she did).
I pretty much kept my eyes closed for the whole ride to the upper GI area.
The Upper GI was really nothing.
I took a small sip of some drink (dont know what)... and they looked.
Then I took a small sip of the same stuff I had drank during my pre-op upper GI.. and they looked.
And I was done.
They then showed me my new pouch on the screen.
I saw the esophagus and then the pouch at the end.
My gosh it looked sooooo small. Barely bigger than the esophagus.
Very cool though.
I wonder how I can get copies of those pictures??
I then went back to the ICU room where I was dismayed to find that the morphine was no longer to be my friend.
But, as a reward, I got a cup of ice water.
Has anything EVER tasted so good?
Maybe a triple chocolate sundae.
Perhaps the cake batter ice cream with oreos from Coldstone.
Maybe even the best Melting Pot cheddar cheese ever made.
But that water was pretty close to all the above.
I wanted to get the catheter out, and get up and try to walk, but I couldn't because the ICU has no bathrooms for patients.
Now you are wondering: "Did I just read that right???"
Yes, you did.
If you are in ICU at GW University Hospital in D.C. you HAVE to have a catheter because it has no bathrooms.
What genius planned that floor?
I dosed on and off waiting for my sister and mother to arrive.
My dad was worn out from the day before and stayed home.
I was glad of that, cause the last thing I wanted was for him to get sick from all this. He needs to be careful about oxygen levels and getting overtired. His arthritis makes everything 10 times as difficult and energy-sucking as it should be.
Now I have to ask how is it that my family has a way of ALWAYS sharing a hospital room with some weird patient?
When I was in Bellevue (yes) Bellevue Hospital in NYC for a day once, my roommate (cough) would scream and pour her juice all over the floor and then demand the nurses come clean it.
I couldnt sleep for more than 10 seconds in a row cause she was so #$&$* noisy.
When my sister was in the ER a few weeks ago with her chest pain, the woman next to her let off a constant, impressively persistent stream of massively-whiney nuuuurseeeeee calls.
I think only dogs heard some of these calls.
In my ICU room, the patient next to me loved to rattle his bed.
Every 4 minutes rattlerattlerattle rattlerattlerattle rattle usually until someone paid attention to him.
Now, I guess I understand I think he was intubated and couldnt speak but based on what I overheard, I dont think he was the most cooperative patient.
Word came down that I had a room to go to, and they took my catheter out.
Again, although reasonably coherent, I was still out of it enough that I really didn't care that the nurse was opening up my girl areas and poking around.
So minor in comparion, really.
I didn't think it hurt to come out. I FELT it.. but I really didn't think it hurt.
My sister and mother arrived around 11:00am, I think.
Not long after, I was taken to a real (private) room.
Barren is the best word to describe it.
Things kinda went downhill (hospital service-wise) when I got to the room.
They let my sister be the nurse all day (by default, cause no one offered ANYTHING) then got mad when they realized she planned to stay the night in the room (which we had been told in advance was a routine thing).
But SHE was the one having me (and helping me) walk down the hall, go to the bathroom, picking up things I dropped, getting me liquids (I was never even offered a drop of water and this is when I am supposed to be sipping constantly.)
The day nurse even said I should take a shower and be sure to get water and soap all over the incision that it was good for it.
We were headed to the shower when we saw my surgeons PA and she happened to come by and say hi.
We told her I was off to take a shower and she put the brakes on fast.
I was not supposed to shower until the next day at the earliest.
So, it became a whole big deal with some kind of nurse/surgery supervisor coming in and fussing with us because we were planning on my sister staying the night (as I said, we had been told in advance was routine).
So, we piped up with all the complaints of the day.
The misinformed nurse.
The bad meals.
The lack of water, pillows, or...oh ... ANYTHING we had asked for 3 times so far.
She then focused on the sugary meal and said "Well, you need to request diet."
We explained we did that... and still kept getting stuff that was basically just sugar and water.
She then said with a snide, superior voice "Well, you know, we aren't focusing on weight loss here -- we are focusing on recovery."
At this point both my sister and I wanted to punch her in her condesending mouth.
"IT ISN'T ABOUT WEIGHT LOSS" we explained "it is about the physical effects that sugar can have on me now." (aka dumping).
She didn't seem to understand.
This from the "head nurse" of the "bariatric" unit.
I still want to smack her.
Kathy then started trying to get me organized so she could leave as was being demanded.... putting things close... taking me to the bathroom... filling up all the water glasses...
Then.. I don't know what happened in her mind or conversations with others (maybe the nurse now on duty said we hadn't been a problem).. but she then unexpectedly came back in the room and said Kathy could stay.
She even went out of her way to find a chair that would turn into a twin bed for her.
No idea what changed her mind... maybe she thought we were keeping notes to sue over misinformed nurses and bad diets... but whatever happened... she let her stay.
There are no also pillows anywhere in the hospital apparently.
Not in ICU and not in the regular rooms.
Luckily, in ICU, I just didnt care.
But that morning, I had requested a phone and called her and told my sister to bring two with her when she came.
Good thing I did.
I wouldn't have had any.
Somewhere around the middle of the day, I started feeling like I wasnt breathing well and I was getting hot.
They took my vitals and saw that my oxygen saturation was down to 84 and I had a fever of nearly 101. (For me normal is 97.)
So, they put me on 3 liters of oxygen for the rest of the day.
I was also brought a spirometer breathing exercise thingiemabob to try to help get my lungs (partially collapsed from surgery apparently) expanded again.
It was sad how weak my lungs were . I could barely move the thing, much less keep the little ball between the guides.
A little scary too.
Then, ANYTHING I asked for, theyd say Ok, well get that for you and it never happened.
Three people said I should have a cough pillow.
I ended up with one only because (coincidentally) a post-op friend down the hall (who was in to have some pain checked out) had one and sent it over to me.
Didnt matter what it was.
Even when I said I wanted the respiratory person to come so I could go to sleep, it took HOURS.
I requested the person come at about 8:40pm (I remember thinking it was early to go to sleep, but what the heck).
I try to be a patient patient so I waited until a bit after 10:00 to tell the nurse no one had come yet.
About 20 minutes later she peaked in and said What? They havent come yet?
Finally, after midnight, 3 ½ hours after I requested a CPAP so I could go to sleep and recover from the major surgery I had just 24 hours earlier someone finally showed up.
Lets back up a moment, though.
I also got my first meal this day.
Here I am.
I get the tray.
Chicken broth (of course), SUGAR FILLED Italian ice, SUGAR FILLED (not free) orange jello, 4 packets of pure sugar and a cup of hot water (I guess I was supposed to make tea except there was no tea bag.)
We called the nurse and I was told to call the Nutrition people.
Oh you need to request diet.
I am in a bariatric unit after a gastric bypass werent there advance orders for that?
OK well bring you another tray with diet liquid foods.
Need I mention that never happened?
THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE A BARIATRIC UNIT WITH TRAINED PEOPLE.
No one ever offered me a drop to drink.
No one helped me walk the halls, go to the bathroom, etc. (except my sister).
I was told to shower when I shouldnt.
And I was given meals that were 90% pure sugar.
[Post script: All the surgery information -- and pictures -- can be found on TheRoadToThin.com]
I was scheduled to go in at 11:30am because I was the last of 4 surgeries this day.
My sister, my parents and I all left the house at 10:30am and headed to the hospital. Surprisingly, I was not as nervous as I thought I would be.
I even got a decent nights sleep.
Once there, I was sent to the pre-op area where I waited for about 20 minutes before they took me back, had me change, and started poking needles into me.
As usual they couldnt find a vein and the IV ended up in my hand. I think I got my first of about 4 shots of heperin (blood thinner) somewhere at this point too.
Not a bad shot at all. Must be a teeny needle.
I then basically sat in the bed for hours waiting to be taken back.
Sally, at the surgeons office had thought I would go early, so she had told me to be there at 11:30 even though I wasnt scheduled until 3:00.
As it happened, he got delayed in the morning and I ended up going in late nearly 4:00pm.
In fact, all the other surgical patients had come and gone long before.
The pre-op area was basically deserted.
At around 3:00pm they gave me a sour-tasting liquid that was to neutralize the remaining acid in my tummy. Some people apparently think this is horrible stuff but since I like sour stuff I didnt think it was that bad.
They then gave me Versaid (sp?) the truth serum/amnesia drug. I dont remember anything from about 5 minutes after that until I woke up in recovery.
Dont remember anything about being taken into the OR nuttin.
When I woke up in recovery, I recall someone saying my name and something about being done. And I think at first I thought I had dreamed it all.
The next thing I remember was my family coming into recovery. That is not the norm but because it was sooo late (and I guess no other patients were around) they made an exception.
I remember my sister having a relieved look on her face.. and saw my parents at the foot of my bed and we talked for a few seconds while I kept my eyes shut but I cant recall what we said.
Pretty sure I was coherent, for the most part.
I dont remember much more after that.
I know my sister took my parents home and I have a small memory of being taken into the ICU and thinking Hey, this is supposed to be a private room! (But the private rooms are the normal rooms, not ICU.)
PRE-OP ENTRIES BELOW
Tomorrow is the day.
My only pre-op orders had been not to eat or drink after midnight. No bowel prep or liquid diets or anything so it seemed appropriate to start out the day by waking my sister up and insisting she go out and get me some Ben & Jerrys. It seemed really critical.
I cleaned up the house a bit in preparation for the mini-cook out we were having with my parents.
Just hamburgers and hot dogs.
Oddly enough, I didnt want any of that food.
Just the bad stuff the Ben & Jerrys.
I had three pints (almost) before the day was over. A new (and never to be broken) personal record.
3 days and a wake-up.
I feel like I should really be freaking out more.
Though I continue to be semi-panicked by the idea of how permanent this is. The whole altering of the insides.
A few things going on:
...had the final pre-surgery meeting with Dr. Buras yesterday. He basically went through all the stuff I already know. He reconfirmed what the actual surgery is, reminded me about eating and exercising needs post-op and answered any questions I had.
I found out that I am having a PROXIMAL RNY which is the 75cm one.
He also stated that they will, indeed, be removing my gallbladder at the same time as the sonogram revealed I already have several gallstones.
I went for another sleep test last night.... this time to be titrated for cpap/proper respiration during surgery.
Now, I understand the importance during surgery. It helps to make sure you are receiving anesthsia properly (and other obvious things) etc.
And... it STILL wasn't the nightmare many people talk of.
I did sleep... but I sure wasn't comfortable.
And I think it is fair to say I hated it.
If I had any residual doubts about WLS before -- the mere idea of having to sleep with that THING on my face for the rest of my overweight-life was enough to push me full fledged into "YES!" territory.
...I think I am gonna get slammed for this... but here it is:
I am NOT wearing that thing at home.
Maybe a few times the first week to make sure I am healing/oxygenating properly while I am forced to sleep on my back... but after that... no.
I don't have apnea that bad... the pulmonolgist thinks I would only need it for two months max anyway... and, when I am not forced to sleep in weird positions, I don't seem to have trouble.
I don't fall asleep at lights or in movies or meetings... etc.
When Dr. Buras gave me post-op prescriptions. The prescription mulit-vitamin, prevacid (for a month), and pain meds.
He also gave me some samples.... one of which was the Chromagen/Trinsicon vitamin.
Each soft gel capsule contains:
Vitamin C 150mg
Vitamn B-12 10mcg
Dessicated Stomach Substance 100mg
Of course I had to call the office.
I mean... "dessicated stomach substance"?
Dr. Buras called back quckly with a response of (and of course I am paraphrasing):
"Dessicated stomach substance is dried up pig stomach lining
It is Intrinsic Factor -- which we need to help our bodies bind to the B-12 and absorb it properly.
There is a part of our stomaches that normally produces this intrinsict factor (unless you have a condition called "Pernicious Anemia").
During the RNY, this part of the stomach is bypassed.
Therefore we now need the substance provided artifically to get proper binding and absorption of the B-12.
The choice is this prescription mulitvamin -- or monthly B-12 shots."
Melissa Parrish (who trains nurses) from the boards also provided this info as to WHY we need to take this:
"Your small intestines have little fingerlike projections called Villi. They grab and absorb all of the nutrients. The rest of your intestines are primarily for water absorption. The gastric juices and enzymes are produced in the stomach. After these enzymes are added to the food they break it down and turn it into a semisolid mass called chyme. Since your stomach will not be able to create Chyme wich is a semi solid mass that allows the Villi to take the nutrients this synthetic "pig stomach probably will make it easier to digest and fill in the missing links."
I still say "YUK".
But I know this is important.
Without this proper nutrition/absorption you can develop nueropathy (sp?) (a numbing/tingling of limbs) years down the line.
I am keeping my fingers crossed that my insurance pays for this prescription vitamin.
I finally got some REALLY positive support today.
Others (like another friend and family) are understanding... but I can tell they aren't thrilled.
Yesterday I told a friend I have had for...oh... ever... that I was having the RNY next week.
I thought she'd be upset, becasue she is very into health.
She eats perfectly and knows all about nutriion, vitamins, etc.
So, I was afraid she'd respond with the "You should eat less" answer that, of course, doesn't work for most of us anymore (if it ever DID, that is).
Anyway... here is her response:
"I support your decision for gastric bypass 100%.. Yes, the complications are dangerous, but that doesn't mean these things will happen to you.
I know someone who had the surgery and she used to be a size 42, she is now a size 2. She still eats, just very little, and whatever she wants. It has changed her life drastically.
I think you are making a very wise decision. It does have risks, but the risks for obesity as you said are far worse than surgery risks.... I know you must be surprised that I am even saying this, but I think in certain cases like yours this is vital.. it's not about cosmetic reasons, it's about health. I think the concept is an ingenius one. Whoever thought of this was brilliant.
Anyway, so you know you can count on me for prayers and comfort. Ofcourse I will be here to support you."
POSITIVE FEEDBACK and even words like "very wise decision"!!
And her friend going from a size 42 to 2!!!
From her lips to God's ears!
I can't even dream about a size 2. Seems completely and totally unrealistic.
ON ANOTHER NOTE...
Sigh... the pulmonologist's office FINALLY called me (I had my test on the 11th) and acted like they had been trying to get a hold of me forever.
(Ummm...no... it was the reverse.... But I digress.)
He says I have enough apnea and oxysats going down to 82 -- that I should get titrated for surgery.
He thinks I would only need a cpap machine for a month or two at home...
Well.. I don't want a cpap... but you know I am not going to screw around with being properly oxygenated/respiration during surgery.
So I am going to get a titration tomorrow night.
To be honest, I don't really think I have apnea (that affects me) even as bad as he says.... because I had to sleep in weird positions I NEVER have to sleep in normally... because that bed was SO unfortable. So I probably had to sleep in ways that would cause me to be apnea-affected. Hmmm... sounds odd, I know... but it makes sense to me.
Anyway... since surgery (obviously) has me breathing while on my back... and since it is not to be screwed around with... I am certainly going to get titrated for surgery/respiration purposes.
At least I didn't think the sleep test was the nightmare some people do.
It wasn't that bad.
Went to the hospital this morning to do pre-admission stuff.
I basically did all the registration paperwork, and they took blood to cross/type/match (or whatever it is).
The point of that is that they now will determine my blood type (guess I should find out what that is, huh?) and then put two units of my blood type "on hold" with my name on it just in case.
Today also begins a serious of major panic attacks -- or meltdowns as Malia from the Singles board so aptly called them.
I alternate between panicing about not having the any protein drinks that I like -- and freaking out about what I am about to do to my insides.
Am I INSANE?
I am about to change the makeup of my stomache and intestines.
These are kinda important things.
Am I CRAZY?
This is for-ev-er I seem to suddenly realize out of nowhere every 6.7 minutes.
Had my nutritionist appointment today.
To read about what was discussed, click
I am having some really odd food reactions recently.
(1) I saw a diet pepsi commericial and for a second wondered why they were still advertising it -- since in two weeks I wouldn't be able to have it. As if Diet Pepsi is going to fall off the edge of the earth simply because *I* can't have it.
(/pauses to take a big ole pre-op gulp of diet pepsi...... aaaahhhhhhh)
(2) THIS has never happened before when shopping for food.
Much more than normal, I have been buying Ben & Jerry' and such for treats, but that is it. Still trying to be BASICALLY good with other food choices and eat "normally."
Last night, however, I suddenly WANTED ONE OF EACH.
I wanted to go bonkers.
I wanted the frozen pies, I wanted the crab cakes, I wanted that flavor of ice cream I've always wanted to try, I wanted cookies, I wanted chips, I wanted large pizzas, I wanted.... well... anything even remotely yummy-looking.
What held me back?
Due to my own stupidity, some essential purchases, and a need for rip-off designer purses from a DC street vendor -- I am totally tapped out.
If I had the money.... I'd be stashing stuff at the neighbor's right now -- cause my freezer and cabinets would be too full.
So what did I go home with, you ask.
Well... completely nutritous stuff, of course:
1 box of double fudge cake miz
1 can of butter cream icing
2 pints of Half Baked (low sugar ) Ben & Jerry's
1 package of small tortillas (don't want to have too many carbs after all)
1 package of new, milk chocoalte covered oreos
2 packetts of Starkist tuna (getting my protien in)
1 bag of extra cripsy tater tots
... and... stuff for Kathy and I to make Melting Pot style chedder cheese fondue.
(Which we did last night... and it was PERFECT!!!! Email if you want the recipe... we were amazed! (We go there waaaay too much and know just how to make it. )
Had my pre-op physical with my primary care doctor today.
To read about what was done, click
here, and look at the TESTS link
The most amazing thing is that, even with all the "last-meal" crap I have been eating, I am still basically maintaining my weight.
Though I was 6 pounds more last night than I was when I saw her last... I also know that the last time I was there was in the MORNING.
Yesterday's appointment was in the evening.
And I seem to weigh 3-5 pounds more in the evening.
Also.. I had to pee really badly.
So, with that combined knowledge, I think it is safe to say that -- if I had been weighed at the same time (and in the same way) I have previously weighed myself, I would have come in at 259 or 260.
Maybe I should have ALWAYS been doing the Melting Pot/Ben & Jerry diet.
Seems to work for maintaining, at least.
(In reality I know that even though I am eating a lot of crap, it is still not even close to what I was eating prior to my diet beginning in February. I am still eating lots of yogurt, sugar free things, and only OCCASIONALLY getting something like a chocolate chip muffin or tuna melt.)
You can find a link to my weight chart TheRoadToThin.com
The pre-admission nurse called me promptly at 10:30 this morning as promised.
She was very nice... and had tons of complimentary things to say about my surgeon and his staff.
THAT is good to hear from an "insider". It was entirely unprompted, so she didnt' have to go into it at all.
She told me I need to go in for a cross/type/match blood work up before surgery.
I will go in at 8:00am on Monday, June 27.
I have to go to admissions and do some paperwork -- then to the PAT Unit.
There, they will take a vile of blood, test it, and then put "on hold" 2 units of my blood type just in case.
There is also a "Bariatric Camp" I could attend at 2:00pm Wednesdays where I could tour the unit, meet the nurses, etc.
But I am already missing too much work with pre-op tests, the surgery itself, and now my sister's cardiac cath.
The nurse took my medical history... allergies to medications, heath and surgery history, etc.
I also discussed with her that I want to be sure the anesthesiologist uses a "guided" entry to put the tube in me to protect my vocal chords.
I explained I was once once a professional singer (and hope to be again -- at least on occasion) and am very afraid of my chords being damaged.
She was very understanding and said she would put a big note on my chart -- and that I should also remind the anethesiologist of this prior to surgery. "After all, she said, look what happened to Julie Andrews".
I certainly HOPE that isn't what took her voice away.
I always assumed it was that her vocal chords (while having nodes removed surgically) just didn't repair themselves properly after surgery.
Also, as other pre-surgery instructions, she told me to take my medications early that day -- and that I should have no blood-thinning type medications (advil, aspirin, excedrin, etc) 10 days prior to surgery.
And, of course, nothing to eat or drink after midnight prior to surgery day.
She tells me that currently my surgery is scheduled for 3:00pm.. but Dr. Afram usually goes early... and most his surgeries last 1 1/2 hours.
Well my sister wins the "Let's shock our parent's with medical news" prize.
Here I was, all worried about telling them about my RNY.. and now she has another little bombshell to drop on them:
After going to the cardiologist to get pre-op clearances (and further check out chest pain she had June 2 made her go to the ER)... turns out she has to get a cardiac catherization -- and possible angioplasty.
She is only 31.
Of course it is good this is being discovered and taken care of now. It would have been bad for her to have an RNY with a partial heart blockage.
However, we can't help but be pissed that the ER doctors.
I am sure (and the cardiologist is sure) that they focused on her age -- 31 -- and determined that there was no real way she could be having an actual heart problem.
They should have been tossing her age out the window, and instead been focusing on her size, risk factors, family history, etc.
Based on that info alone, they probably would have given her a thallium stress test -- and not just a treadmill stress test.
It was thallium test (which we specifically wanted our cardiologist to do) that showed the possible blockage.
Of course, she is a bit freaked out.
"I have eaten myself into an angioplasty at age 31" she said last night in the car.
But, at least this was discovered before any possible damage could occur.
And, if this is the impetus she needs to get her mentally ready for drastic weigth loss (either via RNY, lapband, or weight-watchers) then that alone will be worth it.
It is funny how life works.
When I was underemployed/unemployed I worked at that cardiologist office (my dad's cardiologist) for several months.
All the odd jobs that I was overqualified for made me feel like a loser.
BUT.. if I hadn't worked there... I wouldn't have known to tell her to push for a thallium stress test.
AND... if we didn't have this relationship with this cardiologist, he might not have agreed to do it.
He himself said "I am shocked, I was doing all these tests for your peace of mind. I did not expect to see any abnormality."
Life is funny.
And... I have to say (in trying to always reach out to a religious side)... God does work in mysterious ways... and I thank Him for protecting her in this roundabout way that I am just now understanding.
Ukk.... I think I am still getting that upper-GI barium out of my system... cause I don't feel that well today.
I think my intestines are chalk-i-fied.
I tried to drink lots of water yesterday.
Guess I need more.
Today began with an 8:00am psych consult.
To read about that... click
Then later in the day, I pre-registered for my hospital stay at the hospital's website.
Had to fill in a lot of basic info.. name... address... insurance.. emergency contact...etc.
There is also pre-admission stuff to be done.
That was a separate number to call.
A nurse is supposed to call me tomorrow at 10:30am to ask health questions and mediction allergy questions.
But my main concern during all this is: BUT WHO DO I TELL THAT I WANT TO SPEND THE $10 BUCKS A DAY TO RENT A LAPTOP IN MY ROOM!?!?!?!
That is essential!
Started the week and day out with the upper GI, chest X-ray, and abdomnial sonogram.
To read all details of pre-op tests click
Had the sleep test last night.
Funny... it already seems like a day or so ago.
I guess that is because I napped after getting home at 6:00 in the morning.
I still have "ghost" feelings of tape and wires being on my face.
To read all details (and see a pic of the testing room) click
I took the BIG STEP and told my parents.
I had been especially worried about telling my dad, because I have literally seen him worry himself sick.
But, I knew he would be MORE upset if he found out afterwards.
Plus, it has been very weird to have the big, life-alterning thing about to happen -- and not be talking to him about it.
So, I told him first and he took it pretty well.
I am sure he is concerned, but he is trying to be supportive about it.
Probably the worry and such will come more on surgery day.
He asked several questions... and my sister and I were very positive about it and the hoped-for outcome.
My mother was a bit more hesitant... but she actually said she would be MORE upset if I was only 20 or so. But at my age (cough) she kinda understood why I wanted to do this.
So... we are officially out of the closet.
I may tell another friend (maybe)... but for now, that is it for "revelations".
Everyone else is going to hear that:
"I am going to have surgery -- and they will probably take my gallbladder and do some other stuff... and then they are putting me on a really strict diet afterwards"
I hate lying (but don't want to have to tell people) so I figure (since he probably WILL take my gallbladder too) this is still TECHNICALLY the truth.... though with some omissions.
My sleep study has been moved up to this Saturday. They had a cancellation.
Even though I instantly got nervous (cause I do NOT want to do it.. and I do NOT want a friggin CPAP), it is good that it will be on a weekend.
With the originally scheduled-date, I would have had to go home for like an hour.. then go to the sleep study.. then TRY to sleep.. and then get up (after not sleeping, I think) and work all day again.
So... a Saturday will be better.
I have Sunday to recover from any non-sleeping I do.
I keep talking and dreaming about the weight I hope to lose post-op.
But it just seems like I am deluding myself.
I mean... the idea of losing 50 pounds in a few months -- and getting down to anything close to 150???
It doesn't seem even a tiny bit possible.
It just ISN'T MY life.
I feel like I must be destined to have things go wrong in some way.. because MY life does NOT -- and has NEVER -- included being a normal weight.
It has ALWAYS been all about being larger than everyone else.
Being embarrassed to run and play and dance in front of others.
Being the one who was always without a date at a party.
Being the one who guys looked past -- as they checked out the slim friend next to me.
I mean... when you have spent your whole life NOT losing the weight you SWORE to yourself you would lose... your brain can't understand that it SHOULD work this time.
I truly hope I can look back on these comment in a year and say "I couldn't belive it -- but it IS my life now! It did work!"
T-minus 28 days and counting.
I am not completely freaking out yet -- but that is because it feels so far away still, I think.
I am having moments of imaging my insides being re-arranged, feeling like a mutant freak, and again wondering if I am INSANE.
But then I go back to the reasons and the process:
* I haven't been able to get and keep weight off on my own
* If I don't do something, I am going to be using a cane or worse before I am 50.
* I have to trust that if doctors thought this surgery was dangerous and life-limiting (in quality and length) that they wouldn't be doing it.
* My surgeon has an excellent reputation.
* I hope that if God did not want me to have this surgery, He would not have direted me to this site (when I was looking for somethign else), guided me to stay and learn, and then made the insurance approval pretty easy.
* Even if I lost weight on my own -- maybe even 60 pounds or so.. I'd still be obese. And, it is more than likely that in a few years I'd be back up to this weigtht or worse, and that I would then be talking about a much riskier procedure, because I would be older and sicker.
Another thought process:
More and more it is feeling like an "us" and "them" situation --where all people with WLS are "us" and everyone else is "them".
It is what I imagine people with serious diseases must go through... because they suddenly feel like they are part of an exclusive group -- that you can only fully understand and participate in if you have had the experience.
I have seen people put up some post-op goals, so here are some that come to mind:
* roller coasters and plane seats without fear of fitting or being too tight.
* climbing a rock-wall
* shopping in EVERY store in the mall instead of just Lane Bryant
* Not thinking about stairs before I get to them.
* Not worrying how far away I have to park from an event
* Not being embarrassed to meet new people
* Doing vacation-things like paddle boats, row boats, parasailing, hot air ballooning, etc withought worrying about weight restrictions or embarrassment.
* Looking forward to summer -- instead of dreading it. Right now I hate it because I can't hide under clothes as much... and because I suffer through every summer in jeans -- no matter what the temperature -- becasue I don't want to be seen in shorts.
* Being picked up and carried by a guy.
* Auditioning for parts I've never had a shot at before.
I have been hyper aware of myself and overweight people in general recently:
* I had to stand up in front of a large crowd and wave as I was introduced. I didn't want to. I dreaded it. Keep in mind I used to be a professional performer... I've been onstage in front of dozes and thousands, singing, acting, etc.
But yesterday I didn't even want to stand up and wave -- because I didn't want people (that had never met me) to note me as "that fat girl".
* A photographer at the above event wanted to take a group picture. I tried everything I could to get out of it. But finally I just had to submit. I was miserable as he clicked.
My only consolation is that (God willing) I can look back at that picture in a year and marvel at how much thinner and healthier I am.
* I see overweight women and watch them struggle. Walking with canes... breathing too much... looking tired... and I want to separate myself from them. All I can think is "I don't want to be "that" anymore.
* I had to move quickly up and down a 30 foot hallway at work.
Not even a run... just moving quickly.
I was out of breath when I returned and struggled to disguise it. That kind of activity should NOT have done that.
* It is probably partially the weather, but my knees were hurting a lot more yesterday. Espeically on stairs.
* My sister had some chest pain. Although she is ok, it struck both of us that -- even though she is only 31 and I am...uh....a few years older... given our shapes, history, etc. it probably ISN'T that unlikely for us to start having serious health issues soon. Right now we just have minor BP and thyroid issues and such... but we are probably on borrowed time until the major stuff hits.
Where did the three day weekend go?
Well, I realized this morning that I accomplished two critical things last week:
(1) I got all my pre-op appointments made;
(2) I figured out how to eat at Melting Pot as a post-op.
For all those as enamoured of Melting Pot as I am, I shall give you the anticipated post-op experience -- without feeling like you might as well be setting ten dollar bills on fire and tossing them to the wind.
Dip your fork in a few times, savoring the yumminess.
(Put the rest in a container you brought. A waitress once told me it can be heated up if you add a little water or milk to it before microwaving.)
Order the chicken breast entree (best money value) for ONE.
While you are cooking and eating a few pieces of the chicken breast, cook the other pieces. Then stick em in another container you have brought.
Obviously, this will heat up easily (sprinkle water to keep really moist when heating) and you will probably get 2 more meals (or more, depending on how far out you are) out of it.
Either skip it, or order dessert (expecting to take a LOT home or leave a lot) OR... try to convince the waiter to give you a few sample bites of fruit and chocolate.
I know at least one post-op that has accomplished this!
And.. VOILA! You have a lovely evening at Melting Pot without feeling like you just paid $60 for 3 bites of chicken.
Today is one of those days when I wonder -- both positively and negatively -- about my post-op food urgers and head hunger issues.
Negative: This morning I wasn't hungry after having a yogurt, but I just wanted to keep eating. It didn't even matter what it was really. Thankfully, I didn't have much munching food in the house... but I think I would have munched and grazed on just about anything available.
This makes me very nervous.
Positive: We are having a backyard family bbq for Memorial Day.
We have made potato salad, deviled eggs, hamburgers, corn, strawberries with splenda, and christmas cookies I had vaccuum packed in the freezer (figured I might as well get rid of them).
I haven't munched while cooking.
And I have been trying to imagine what it would be like to make all this stuff and only taste and then watch other people eat.
I feel ok about that.
So, hopefully, this is a "positive".
I already had a verbal approval (and the surgeon's office has the codes) but I got my approval letter from the insurance company today.
It just makes me laugh. And continue to hate insurance companies.
It says "We are pleased to inform you that coverage is available. Please note this letter does not guarantee payment."
So basically, they are saying "Sure we approve it -- FOR NOW.. but we can always change our minds cause we have all the cards nyah nyah!!!"
Over the past few days... since getting my surgery date... I have been re-thinking if this IS something I need to do.
The problem is that most of the time, I don't FEEL fat.
I FEEL pretty healthy.
I FEEL "normal" until something reminds me I'm not.
So I kept wondering, is this really something I should do?
But really, every time I think that, something reminds me that YES... it is something I should do.
* I catch my reflection in a window. Oh my. Am I THAT big?
* I climb a set of stairs and have to disguise from others how winded I am.
* I get up from my desk and my knees "pop" with arthritis.
* I walk up a slight hill with others -- and I am the only one that is catching my breath when we reach the top.
* Without even realizing it I've started noticing (and trying to avoid) even as much as a set of three stairs.
* I realize that my definition of "just accross the street" is VERY different from someone who doesn't think twice about walking a few blocks to pick something up.
* I just went up and down 75 stairs at work. Not because I wanted to exercise, but because I had to. Even though I paced myself I am back at my desk still a bit sweaty from it.
That is bad.
Well, I had pretty much decided not to tell many people (only select friends) about the WLS.
And I don't want to have to tell people at work.
But, yesterday I bit the bullet and told a girl at work who I think I can trust... and with whom we talk about a lot of kinda private stuff.
The office/company set up is weird... but think if it as her being on another floor in a another department. We all know each other and talk and such... but don't intermingle every day.
So anyway... I told her what I was doing (thinking she would say "Wow, that is great... good for you") and instead I got kind of a blank look like "You're gonna do what? Why would you do that?"
And then, trying to be polite (and funny about it) she said "Hey, whatever rocks your boat."
She then offered support, etc.
But I can tell she just can't begin to understand why.
So... it kinda basically sealed the deal for me:
Unless post-op I am suddenly called into the boss' office with him wondernig if I am seriously ill (because of surgery followed by weight loss) I am not going to tell anyone at work.
And only a few, carefully chosen friends.
(Though I think I will need to tell the friends after the fact... cause they will be surprised (in a good way, I hope!) at how I look.
I know some people think this is a cop-out, and I should instead spend time educating and enlightening people... but you know what... I don't have the energy for all that.
I don't have the pre-op energy to spend on that... and I doubt (with all the emotional things I assume I will be going through) I will have the post-op energy to spend on that.
OK. I have all my pre-op appointments made. (See May 24 list). Sheesh.
June is one giant Doctors appointment.
I also found out that as long as I stay in network, I never need a referral for United Healthcare.
The strangest thing happened this morning... but I'll get to that in a minute.
Last night in chat (before most arrived,I think) Daniel and Kel and I (I think that was it, maybe Malia too?) were talking about pre-surgery feelings.
I was saying I suddenly feel like might be insane for doing this, keep wondering if it is the right thing etc.
I said that although I obsess about EVERYTHING so it FEELS like a big deal, all in all, this process has really been very easy for me.
I had no hoops to jump through.
I only needed a BMI of 40.
And, despite the insurance denial letter (that was sent in error), it really only took a little over two weeks to get approved.
(Though I had to look at the calendar to confirm this -- cause it felt like a month!)
I was saying that I have to hope that if God did not want me to do this, He would have put obstacles up.
About a year or more ago I happened upon this site.
I shrugged, didn't really think much about it, and moved on.
This time, I again stumbled upon the site while looking for a support group that understood what it was like to need to lose a lot of weight (as opposed to those diet boards where most seem to need to lose 25 or so).
When I found the site this time, my immedite thought was "I would never do that" and I felt like a fake for staying around.
But why did I stay???
I think I was curious as to how all these people were getting insurance to pay... cause I assumed it was something that insurance almost NEVER paid for.
So, obviously, I stayed, learned, changed my mind, and here I am ... with a date scheduled.
Was it meant to be that I had no obstacles and STAYED and learned this time -- even though I was SURE (even when I started my profile) that this was somethign I would NOT do???
Now back to the weird thing that happened this morning:
My only true obstacle is the upfront money (that covers follow ups forEVER, and covers nutritionsist costs, etc) that I need to give my surgoen's office.
For me, it is a lot of money, and I have been struggling to save.
Suddenly, out of nowhere this morning, I got a check from my ELECTRIC COMPANY. For almost $200.
I am still not sure.
It just says "deposit" in the line item.
Did I give them a deposit 5 years ago that is now being reimbursed? Maybe.
Did I over pay? Possibly. (I try to stay ahead of the bills when I can, because for years of unemployemnt/underemployement (after company restructures and 9/11) I lived in fear that the electric or phone would be turned off any second.
I guess I should call and find out why.
But... all in all... it makes me think: Is this surgery meant to be for me, right now, at this point in time.
Getting money out of nowhere (when I need it for surgery costs) sure makes me think....
I hope it is God telling me that things will be ok... and it IS the right thing to do.
Here is something kinda fun and not-WLS related:
Margaret Cho taped her newest HBO special at the theatre where I work last week... and they just called to find out how I want my name to appear in the credits.
Kinda cool, yes?
Now onto WLS stuff....
The pulmonologist's office continues to make me crazy.
When I had the appointment almost two weeks ago the Dr said the Sleep Study people would be calling me within a few days.
Well, they haven't.
So last Friday I called the pulmonologist office and said "Ummm.. they haven't called..." They said "Oh, we just faxed them your info this morning."
I said "OK" and hung up.
Now, date scheduled, I am feeling a lot of pressure to get all these pre-op appointments done. Still no call re: sleep study.
So I call the pulmonolist's office again.
"Oh well, we havent' faxed your stuff yet."
I said "Well, I was told last week you HAD, and now I have a surgery date so this HAS to get done -- give me their number."
She gave me the number but said not to call just yet, because since nothing had been sent to them yet (grrrrrrr) they would have no idea who I was and what I needed.
This pisses me off.
I worked in a doctor's office for a while once.
I NEVER lied to patients and said I had done something when I hadn't.
I NEVER let refills and referrals and and this kind of thing pile up.
I mean...we are talking about people's HEALTH here... it is too important to just consider it "a job".
Ok. End of rant.
Typical. They gave me the fax number instead of the phone number.
So I had to call AGAIN and get listen to their "dont' press zero" five minute long voice message before I could get to a receptionist.
So now I have called the sleep study place and have an appointment. But it is supposed to be done two weeks prior to surgery. The ONLY appointment I can get is 6 DAYS (and 3 business days) before surgery. They have promised they will fax everything... we'll see.
The entire point is to make sure I breathe ok during surgery, so if they don't get the results to the surgeon in time, it is useless.
July 5 is the date.
My new independence from fat?
Panic attacks are going to build slowly but surely from this point.
I've suddenly gone back to "Am I insane?".
I can't believe the grocery list of stuff I have to do before the surgery date. To keep myself sane, I will write it all down here:
* Upper GI (June 13, 9:30am -- AA Diagnostics)
* Abdominal sonogram (June 13, 9:30am -- AA Diagnostics)
* chest X-ray (June 13, 9:30am -- AA Diagnostics)
* Psych evaluation (June 14, 8:00am -- Surgeon's office)
* Nutritionist appointment (June 22, 11:15am -- Surgeon's office)
* Complete per-surgery clearance physical w/PCP w/EKG(June 16, 5:40pm -- Gallatin)
* Sleep study (June 28, 8:45pm-6:00am -- Doctors Hospital, 6th fl medical bldg. Moved to June 11.)
* Pre-surgery meeting w/Dr. Buras (June 30, 4:15pm -- Surgeon's office)
All this has to be done at least two weeks prior to the surgery date.
I have contacted my PCPs office and hopefully referrals for the upper GI and such will be on the way soon.
Well, the surgeon's office didn't call.
I will try very hard to wait until bugging her tomorrow.
The insurance specialist in the office (Mandy) had a baby on Friday, so Sally (the front desk person) is probably a bit overwhelmed trying to pick up all the balls that were left in the air.
I shall try to be patient.
Not freaking out today (yet).
I am waiting for the surgeon's office to call to schedule my surgery date. I am sure freaking out will resume after that.
Still freaking out.
Rotating panic attacks.
Current issues of obsession: all items listed below... with a strong focus on:
* not wanting to tell my dad because he might worry himself sick (literally)
* Why hasn't my surgeon's office called with a date?
Let the freaking out begin.
Below, a partial list of rotating issues that I am obssessing/worrying about:
* Will I lose a lot of hair?
* What if I die?
* What if I have complications?
* What if I have complications that basically ruin my life?
* Should I tell my dad? If he worries too much it could truly make him so ill he might have to be hospitalized. He is not supposed to be stressed.
* Should i tell my dad I am having my gallbladder out? He might understand that more -- and therefore worry less. This surgery is an unknown to him.
* If anything happened to me -- even just complication wise -- it could kill or cause serious illness to my dad. I couldn't deal with that. The last thing I want is to cause him worry and stress.
* Will I get body odor like others have mentioned?
* Will I have bad breath?
* Will I have gas and ... uh... gaseous emissions all the time?
* Will I be able to get to bathrooms in time?
* Will my skin hang and look gross -- and then insurance won't pay?
* What if I start to gain it back?
* What if during pre-surgery tests they disover I have a problem that prevents surgery?
* What if during pre-surgery tests they find I have cancer?
* What if I get a stricture?
* What if, years from now, my bowel twists? Will I recognize symptoms? If I do... will ER doctors belive me and treat me appropriately?
* Will losing weight make me look older?
* Will it cure my PCOS?
* Will I be able to perform at work ok when back?
* What if I dump at work and need to lie down?
* What if everything makes me sick?
* Should I tell people at work?
* ... more obsessions and worries to follow...
I am going insane. Since Monday morning the insurance specialist thought she'd be able to have approval for me.
I guess someone at the insurance company is being stubborn.
I keep marveling over how I seem to be worrying about a different thing every week.
A little revolving door of emotions and worries.. one in.. one out... one in.. one out...
One week I obsess about one issue.. the next... I am on to something entirely different.
Here is what I have been through so far (each one is about a week long):
* The "How can I think about doing THAT to my body" worries
* The "But I might DIE!" worries (I expect this one to be back... I feel it coming)
* The "Wow... could I really look and feel that fabulous?" thoughts
* The "My insurance would never pay for that... or would it?" worries
* The "On no.. what if I can't even consider it due to an exclusion!" worries
* The "Oh no, what if I get denied!" worries (ongoing)
* The "Am I doing this just cause I am vain?" thoughts
* The "Oh no, I would have a big scar!" worries
... the last was last week (and still this week).... my current new worry/obsession is:
* The "I am re-arranging my insides! Am I CRAZY!?" worries
Who knows what will be next.
I am assuming it will be a mixture of insruance, death, complications, and "how am I going to live without diet pepsi" consuming thoughts.
Hopefully things are on the right path.
From what we (meaning the surgeon's office) can determine -- someone at the insurance company put the wrong federal ID number for the hospital in my records.
So.. they said "out of network" sent a denial, cancelled the whole thing... etc.
Basically they had to start over this morning, and Mandy at the surgeon's office put pressure on them to have an answer by the end of the day since they made this mistake.
She (Mandy) is again hopeful there will be no problems.
Mandy is about a week away from having a baby -- so she is very anxious to get as many approvals as she can before she goes on materninty leave.
She is showing no mercy to the insurance company right now!
So, for some reason my sister has the insurance person (Mandy) from our surgeon's office in her AOL buddy list (I guess she got it from the YAHOO group they have).
This morning she yelled "Em!!! (She calls me Em) Mandy is on AOL!"
So... I go over to the computer, and I send an IM:
"Hi... are you 'on duty'?" (Cause I didn't want to bother her on her Sunday unless she gave the OK.)
She laughed and asked what I wanted.
I told her about the denial letter and she was thoroughly stumped.
Not only was she confused because she KNOWS the surgeon and hospital ARE in network -- she also knows that on the 12th the insurance company told her they were still reviewing my case.
THe letter is dated the 9th.
She also confirmed she found no exclusions and that I meet requirements.
(In fact, she was thinking she would have my approval any day now.)
She doesn't understand the letter/denial either.
She thinks/hopes it must be a mistake...
...hopefully we will find out more tomorrow. And hopefully it will be better news.
Why should I have expected anything else?
I got the most f***ing vague letter. I am so pissed.
And of course, there is NO ONE to talk to.
The insurnace company is closed for the weekend.
The doctor's office is closed.
Nobody to talk to until Monday.
I am so upset because it seemed like there shouldn't be any REASON for them to deny me.
I am using a participating surgeon.
They DO allow the procedure.
My company does NOT have any exclusions.
They require a BMI of 40+. I am 43.
THERE IS NO REASON.
This letter tells me absolutely nothing.
It seems to be a denial letter with no REASON for the denial.
Here is what it says:
Based on this review, we have determined that Gastric Restrictive Procedure is not a covered benefit under this plan because: Services are available within the UHC network.
WTF? The doctor *IS* within the network!!!
Then.. regarding appeal it says:
You have the right to a further appeal of this determination. You may initial an appeal by submitting the following information within 180 days: Via Letter.
Please submit the requested information to: (address)
When we recieve the information, we will complete our review no later than 15 calandar days after we recieve your request for review.
AND THEN IT DOES NOT LIST ANY INFORMATION THEY WANT!
SO WHAT THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO PROVIDE THEM FOR REVIEW?
WHAT IS MY BASIS FOR APPEAL?
It is such a BS letter.
It tells me nothing.
And the little it DOES tell me goes against what I previously confirmed with them (and the surgeon's office).
I am so upset.
Yes... if I can't get it done I can try medi-fast or weight watcher or any of the other things I have done before.
Maybe I'll lose as much as 50 pounds... getting me down to still over 200.
But this is the first time I have EVER had this much HOPE that my weight loss attempt WAS going to work.
In the past it has always been "I hope I can do it this time. I hope I can... I hope I can..."
This was the first REAL, CONVINCING hope I had.
I wasn't "I hope I can do it"
It was "I AM going to do it this time... finally!"
I really hope this is some kind of mistake -- or something that can be easily rectified.
After a death-defying cab ride I made it to the pulmonologist's office.
To read details about the testing itself click
The point of the visit was to determine if a sleep test should be done.
He doesn't really think I have apnea... but he says since I am "borderline" we should do it anyway.
After all, he pointed out, this is elective surgery and apnea can contribute to a morbidity.
It was a nice office and the doctor (who I will not name unless requested) was nice.
He has an interesting look though.
I fully expected him to walk into the treatment room and say:
"Hello, I'm Gene Shalit from NBC's Today Show, and I'll be your pulmonologist today."
As I said, he was nice, seems very competant.
The office has nice, effective services.
They took a blood gas (after digging in various veins for 10 minutes) and they had the results in 5 minutes. THAT alone is impressive.
They also did a breathing test.
HOWEVER, all that said, I will NOT GO BACK unless forced to by insurance and/or referral needs.
They have the most obscene "financial policies" I have ever seen.
They charge $10 to call in a refill.
Are you kidding me?
$10 to make a NECESSARY phone call that ONLY the doctor's office can make?
I used to work for a cardiologist -- calling in a prescription is NOT that time consuming.
And then there was this form they wanted me to fill out and sign.
In fact, if forced, I was either going to re-write it, say that I needed to show it to my attorney, or just flat out leave and tell the Surgeon I needed to be sent to a different office.
They had a form that basically said (but not in this way) that if they wanted to charge $500 for a procedure, but insurance says that "reasonable and customary" is $200 -- then I have a $300 balance with them.
I am to pay within 30 days or they will automatically charge my credit card.
(And on this form they wanted all my credit card information.) NO F***ING WAY.
Now, maybe they don't MEAN that -- maybe they just mean co-pays or if they do somthing odd that insurance deems "experimental" that I would owe.
But that isn't how it reads.
It reads the way I explained it.
And I don't care what they might MEAN -- my signature and credit card number attached to those words gives them license to charge whatever they want to my card -- just because they say I owe it -- and I can do nothing about it.
Uggggh... bloated girl things beginning to happen (I am sure any men reading this are THRILLED to know that).
I have a pulmonologist apppointment in about an hour.
I don't WANT to have sleep apena (nor do I want to go through a sleep test and be handed an alien-squid-looking CPAP) - but approval might be easier if I did.
My sister and I are going to try to find a DC lapband doctor and get a consult with him also.
The lapband is so much less risky... yet I've heard weight loss can be significantly less. I don't want to go through this and only lose, like, 50 pounds. Plus, I think the second I stopped getting fills my stomache would be the normal size again, and I'd get hungry all the time.
So I did some calculations last night.
My surgeon says we are to eat 6 meals a day.
No drinking one hour before or one hour after meals.
Get in 64 ounces of water.
Given the feeding/no drinking schedule that is 12 hours a day when I am not allowed to drink.
Let's assume I sleep 8 hours.
That gives me 4 hours a day to itsy-bitsy-baby sip 64 ounces of water.
Ummmmm..... yeah. Ok. Whatever.
I hope my surgeon shares whatever drugs he is on when I am post-op.
Went to my first support group meeting last night.
Apparently it was not the usual format as two "Life Coaches" were there.
Very nice ladies. I especially thought Robin was very warm and approachable.
They didn't seem to fully understand the group they were dealing with -- but I am sure they will learn. We had two women there who were very recent post-op (one only a week!) -- and the coaches were like "Why can't you exercise?"
So, they need to learn more about WLS and how follow up care occurs, etc.
I admit, I am not sure I am "into" the whole life coaching thing.
It kinda felt like all you have to do to be a life coach is say "So, what area of your life needs improvement... hmmm... interesting... so what is the ONE THING you can commit to doing this week that will help you reach that goal."
And poof, you are a life coach.
I'm not saying that kind of prompting isn't helpful for many people -- I just find it soooo easy to make fun of. Like a ready-made Saturday Night Live skit.
I wouldn't have a problem talking with them in the future... I just think I would need to titter to myself a little, too.
We also couldn't help but whisper amongst oursleves afterwards about how friggin thin those women were!
It was akin to them going into an anorexia support group and saying "You can't worry about body image, you are what you are... too thin is not good." Yet they were both (as Bridget Jones would say) human stick insects.
My sister is still up in the air about her decision.
It makes some sense.
I was still a "no" at this stage.
She has only been VERY actively thinking about this for a week.
I've been researching since about mid-March.
So, I think right now she is a "no"... but I suggested she continue to go forward with all her pre-approval appointments and such.
She can change her mind until she goes under anesthesia, so why not do the "pre" work during her decision making process.
By the time it is all done -- she will probably have done a month or more of additional thinking, reseaching.
By that time -- if she is thinking "yes" -- she will be all ready to schedule with no hoops to jump through.
Well, I am hoping things are under way.
I have my referrals.. I made a pulmonologist appointment.
I think all that needs to happen for approval is to get sleep study results (but I am not even sure that is NEEDED.
I just hope all this isn't in vain.
I feel like I have researched every possible way they COULD deny me... and haven't found a reason.
Is my PCP supportive and providing referrals and such? Yes.
Does my insurance cover it at all? Yes.
Do I have an employer-added exclusion? Doesn't seem so.
Am I MO? Duh.
Do I have co-morbidities? This might be the issue. Some small ones.
Do I have strong family history of weight-related illness? Yes. This might help my weak co-morbidities.
I feel like I should be confident about approval... but I just can't say "WHEN" I get surgery. I can only say "if/when" and put a parenthetical "I hope" next to every possible reference to getting approval.
My sister is still waivering on whether to have the surgery herself.
Her BMI is about 46 and she has some stronger co-morbidities.
She visited the Memorial page last night. Though that is a necessary thing to do -- it did scare her.
We'd be stupid NOT to be scared and aware of these possible complications.
I think worrying her the most right now is complications that can seem to arise years out.
Such as bowel twists.
That complication tends to happen years out -- and, it looks as if by the time the doctors know what the problem is -- you are past the point of no return.
One profile she saw said the person went to the ER with abdominal pain one day -- was told it was gas -- and was dead the next.
Apparently death can be very fast with this one. By the time you feel enough abdominal pain to go to the ER, you are hours/days from death.
Now, I know that we are talking about THREE people on a site that has thousands of people... but still... what ARE the LONG TERM complications?
If we are doing this to save our life... and try to live past 50.. how do we know complications won't pop up that take us before that anyway?
I need to find some decades-old post-ops.
All in all, though, she is still very back and forth.
One day she says she hopes we could get our surgeries on the same day -- or, at minimum, just a couple weeks apart (so we can be at the same post-op stages)... and the next day she is thinking "no."
I certainly understand.
If you scroll down to the bottom/beginning of THIS journal, you will see how increabily undecided I am.
In fact, when I first joined this site -- and even when I started this profile -- I was sure my decision was going to be "no" -- and that I was going to use this site as basically a place to record my own "on my own" weight loss -- and talk with people who knew what it was like to be MO.
I was 90% sure I would not choose surgery.
Now I am 95% sure I want it.
Saw someone posted somethign on the main board about their insurance having an exclusion.
Since I KNEW other people had that exact same insurance, I had to ask more about it.
I obviously didn't understand what an exclusion was.
I thought it was something the insurance company put in place for everyone... regardless.
It is something your COMPANY decides on. I am guessing if they exclude some things it means they can get lower rates.
I began to panic. What if my company (a MAJOR coporation) had this exclusion?
So, I went through the Benefit manual online (which the customer service rep said today has not changed since 2002), and found them.
I held my breath.
No sex change operations... no nutriionists... no wigs....
... There it is.
"No weight reduction or control (unless there is a diagnosis of morbid obesity).
Then I breathed. And almost cried with relief.
That is one of those moments that tells me how much I DO want this surgery.
Yes, I will be petrified, and I am worried about post-op complications, emotions, struggles, etc. But there is no denying I was very relived to see that there does not seem to be an exclusion in place.
Had my first WLS nightmare the other night.
I dreamed I'd had the surgery and was feeling so good I went to work the next day.
I got hungry and forgot I was only supposed to have liquids ... and ate.
I felt no ill effects.
Then I kept wondering if I had ruined it.
Then... there was this weird event to attend involving little kids ice skating and dancing (you know how dreams are).
Suddenly, I heard a female voice in my ear (as if I was wearing an ear-radio).... "Oh gastric bypass person, come see me... I have info for you!"
"How does some stranger know from just looking at me now that I had gastric bypass??!?" I wondered.
So after the event I found the woman in the crowd and she told me about all the great things they had here at work for WLS patients.
It was all told like it was this big, underground secret.
"We have this.. and this.. and this... and if you think you've hurt it we even have an x-ray machine so you can check it."
So... I am then in the car with my sister, and I am telling her about this dream I had.
I described the way I went to work, and was telling her about the female "secret" coworker.
I was mid-sentence, telling her about the work "perks"....
.... and then we turned a corner too fast and drove off a cliff.
(we now pause to appreciate the "dream in dream" aspect -- because obviously I did not drive off a cliff or I wouldn't be writing this)
It was huge and vast... and larger and deeper than the Grand Canyon.
And we fell and fell in the car... aiming downwards.
My brain said "What can we do to save ourselves."
And I knew the answer --- nothing.
I heard her screaming... I kept saying "oh no... oh no... oh no...."
And started to hope it was a dream.
But it was so real... and was going on for so long I knew it wasn't.
I KNEW it was the end.
Then, as a last ditch effort to save myself, I said "wake up, wake up, wake up".
And I woke up.. heart pounding... blood rushing... filled with relief to be in my bedroom.
While filling out my paperwork at the consult yesterday I was shocked to finally see my family history -- and DIET history in print.
I never would have guessed how often I dieted.. how much I yo-yo'd.... and how serious some aspects of my family history are.
MY FAMILY HISTORY:
Out of all close family members....
My mother, father, sister, mother's father, mother's mother, father's father and father's mother....
6 of those 7 have diabetes
4 of those 7 are obese or MO.
5 of those 7 have high blood pressure
5 of those 7 have other heart issues
5 of those 7 have arthritis (4 of them weight-related)
I had no idea my family history was so strong in so many areas.
MY DIET HISTORY:
* 1975: I was put on my first diet (by my grandmother)at the age of 9. No idea if I lost anything. I remember being upset because she wouldn't let me drink Tang.
* 1983: About 200 pounds.
I put myself on a 1,000 calorie a day diet. Ate mostly pudding pops and snacks (carefully measured) I think.
Lost about 30 pounds.
Got down to 155 (my lowest weight ever). (Still thought I was huge. Still treated like I was huge.)
* 1985: About 280 pounds.
* 1986: About 250 pounds. Don't remember how I did it. I know I went to the doctor. Somehow got down to about 250 or so. Stayed around this weight for a while.
* 1989: About 250. Moved to NYC. General city life and little money helped me get down to about 225 or so.
* 1994: 225 pounds. Office where I was temping at had a Weight Watcher program brought in. Did it for about 5-6 months. Lost about 5-10 pounds I think. Got down to about 215.
* 1994 (later): Back up to about 225.
* 1995: 225 pounds. Disgusted with myself again.
Ate ONLY very low fat items. Walked HOURS a day... never took the subway. Never ate after 8:00pm.
Lost about 20 pounds.
Got down to close to 200. My lowest weight ever as an adult.
* 1996: 240-245 pounds.
After moving back to Maryland.
* 1998: 245-250. Once again, shocked at how big I have become. Joined the low-carb Atkins bandwagon. Lost about 20-30 pounds in 6-9 months. Got down to about 220-225.
* 1999: Began about about 220. Ended at about 245.
* 2000: Phen-Phen. Lost about 5 pounds. Felt weird on it. Stopped before it was pulled from market.
* 2000: 240. August-lost 5 year boyfriend. November-lost 5 year job. November-complete tear of lateral miniscus in right knee.
Doctor refuses to treat me. No point because of my weight. He says "Buy a cane, move to a house without stairs, and don't walk for exercise."
Like an idiot, because I was depressed due to job and boyfriend issues (and because my knee hurt a lot) -- I listened to that last piece of idiotic advice.
Gained about 35 pounds.
* 2004 (December): 280. For the first time in years I am finally gainfully employed again (full time at a job I like), feeling better about myself, and I get on the scale. Yikes.
* 2005 (January): 280. I begin trying to watch what I eat. Limit portions. Less yummy things. I go to gym a few times.. but get horrible brochitis. For about three weeks I was lucky to make it to work, let alone the gym.
Sickness aids my efforts. I didn't want to eat half the time.
* 2005 (February): 275. Put myself on a 1,500 calorie a day diet. Takeing advantage of free gym at work 2-3 times a week.
* 2005 (March): 275. Go to doctor to talk about thyroid tests (again.) Blood work comes out borderline high. She gives me thyroid meds. I work even harder on diet.
* 2005 (March-current): Weights -- see chart at TheRoadToThin.com -- I begin researching WLS.
JUMP TO TOP
I went to the DC surgeon's seminar/consult today.
It went pretty much as I expected.
A room full of pre-ops... a couple of post-ops talking about their experience (although they were a bit too enthusiastic... it felt like a sales pitch)... and the doctor explaining the procedure.
I was pleased to discover that -- due to my research here -- I was pretty well informed.
There was no information discussed or listed on the "possible complications/side effects/how your life will need to change" lists that I didn't already know about.
They are starting the approval process... and I am supposed to get a sleep test in the next couple weeks.
I am still very nervous about getting approval.
The office offers many services.
* On staff they have a nutritionist and fitness expert -- who are available to us pre and post op as part of the "package."
* They require we start attending support groups weekly right now -- and for 6 months post-op.
* They require follow up appointments every month for 6 months... then every three months for the rest of the year.. then every six months for EVER.
I would have to pay a chunk of money out of pocket.
This would cover all future office visits (as described above -- many of which (farther out) insurance wont' pay), the psyche evaluation, the nutritionist info, the personal/fitness info.
I am a bit nervous about insurance approvals...
...very nervous about getting the money together to get this done....
...more nervous about getting an RNY...
...but overall... very excited... and anxious to be post-op and losing.
I broke down and finally told someone.
Her first reaction was worry -- because she assumed I hadn't researched it and didn't know what was going to be required.
When she saw I had, she was more accepting... AND... even found a surgeon here in DC.
I had been taking the "cautious" approach so far, and wasn't working real hard on getting another consult.
Though my August 22 consult is ages away, I was nervous to try for another.
Well, as luck has it, they do one Saturday seminar/consult a month -- and the day after tomorrow is it.
SO, suddenly I wentfrom having a consult in 4 months -- to having one in less than 48 hours..
And, she admitted, she is thinking about it for herself.
So we will go together.
It is a relief to finally have told someone.
Well, I got up the courage to call my insurance company.
Found out a few important things (bear with me -- some of these notes are mainly for ME (and anyone else with UnitedHeathcare EPO):
* They say my surgeon IS in their network
* They say BMI has to be over 40 (no problem)
* They say that I do not need to have a 6-month prior supervised diet -- that I just have to show I HAVE tried to lose weight in the past.
Obviously the current diet will count.
And I asked if I had to have actual doctor documentation -- or if I could just write a document detailing all the times I have tried to lose in the past, what I did, how much I lost, etc. I can probably even show pictures of those time periods (though I tend to be very camera shy when I am at my heaviest.) She said she thought that would be ok.
* I have to have co-morbidities (more of a problem)
* Obvious co-morbidities are high-blood pressure, apnea, and other weight-related health issues.
* They say that thyroid and the weight-related arthritis in my knees MIGHT be considered acceptable. (But before I mentioned that the reason I have arthritis in my knees was due to weight, she said it didn't count. When I told her that she said to be sure that my PCP specifically mentions WHY I have that arthritis.
* They said that at some point (but I assume as we get closer, my PCP will have to fax them a notification of precertification (866-756-9733fax)
* They say they pay 95% of eligible costs (hmmmm).
Getting more and more nervous about insurance and my diet.
I called the surgeon's office to see if I could get in earlier than August 22 (if they'd had cancellations) but she said "no" -- that she had, in fact, just booked someone for September.
She did say she wouldn't mind if I called once or twice a week to check and see about recent cancellations, though.
Also found out that (according to surgeon's office) I need to be doing the 6-month supervised diet.
Well, I AM... but I bet I'm not doing it "right". So I need to go to my PCP every month and get proper documentation. I sure don't want to have to start a 6 month program AFTER waiting 4 months to get into the surgeon -- and AFTER I have already been dieting on my own for 6 months.
Now that I have decided I am really interested in this (dreams of beign thin are consuming me -- like the "nightmare" is finally almost over)... I am getting more fearful that insurance won't approve me.
To my knowledge I have no serious health problems.
My BP is a tad high -- but nothing that the doctor has even commented on.
I am being treated for thyroid (though my numbers were borderline -- the meds are obviously helping). Does that count?
I don't think I have apnea.
I don't have diabetes.
I am getting arthritis in my knees. (Does THAT count, I wonder?)
It would really be terrible if -- at 100 pounds overweight for 95% of the past 20 years -- I can't get WLS becasue I am not sick enough.
Seems to me the best time to have an elective, major surgery is when you are healthy.
Anyway... then there is my diet.
I'm doing good.
So good I am getting nervous.
It is POSSIBLE that by the time my August 22 consult comes along I won't technically be MO anymore.
I might be only 98 pounds overweight... or 95 pounds overweight.
Now... I don't want to slow down my dieting... I am doign really good.
Plus... what if insurance WON'T pay regardless? Then I slowed down my weight loss for nothing.
And, I am getting into some good eating and exercising habits. I don't want to change that.
BUT... what if insurance will only pay if I am 100 pounds or more overweight?
Will I be doomed to be MO or borderline MO for years more just because of a few pounds that I worked REALLY hard to lose (and that will probably be back)???
Very nervous indeed.
Woke up yesterday morning with this "thing" on my face.
Without being too descriptive, let's just say it could have had a name and heartbeat of it's own.
So I watched it fill with fluid, and, deciding it was probably some kind of allergic reaction (and assuming that the rapid closing of my throat was probably next) I rushed to the doctor.
She had no idea what it was.
"What... you just woke up that way?"
Her best guess is some kind of allergic reaction or such, but really didn't know.
Anyway, the upshot of this story is that she mentioned how much weight I had lost since I saw her a month or so ago (being treated for thyroid/weight).
"Wow... you've lost.... A LOT of weight!"
I told her I didnt' really think it was the 20 pounds she was seeing (more like 15) because the last time I was there it was the end of the day, and I have sadly discovered that I can weigh 5 pounds more at the end of the day.
She was still impressed though.
So I mentioned to her that I was seriously looking into WLS and had a consult scheduled for August.
To my surprise and shock -- she was very supportive!
I was surprised because when I mentioned this idea to her about six-nine months earlier, she seemed to dismiss me. I guess she took me more seriously this time because she sees how hard I am trying to lose weight.
She told me she knew of my surgeon ("He has no personality, but he is a great surgeon.") and would help me out with requirements, etc.
So.... although I still have the remnants of an unhatched egg on my face, I am glad to know I will have my PCP's support for any insurance/surgery requirements!
I've been wearing my hair up a lot recently.
Why? What does it all mean? I've no idea.
One of life's great mysteries.
I hate scales.
Last Monday... 262.0... a lot gone suddenly (probably water weight from after girl-stuff) but still.. on track.
Then, the next day up half a pound!
Trauma. What oh what did I do sooooo wrong?
Then Friday night... after a too-big dinner and at about 9:00pm. 267.2.
(cue: Anne Frank-sounding sirens.)
OH COME ON !!!
Over a 5 pound gain in, like, three days?
Don't give me any of that "it's the end of the day, you are retaining water, muscle weighs more than fat" crap either.
Then today. 260.1.
I fretted and worried that I was a monstrous diet failure the whole weekend for nothing?
It is probably a fake weight too. It was before lunch and after potty.
I'll probably go to the doctor next week -- all excited to get on her scale and show her how much I have lost -- and it will say 271... and she'll shake her head and sigh and say "only one pound.... dear dear dear... we must try harder mustn't we.
Keep in mind that I am pre-op (I hope, at least) and I am just trying to lose on my own right now....
... but I have confused the heck out of myself recently when the following things happened:
* I saw someone eating a salad on tv and I thought "Ooo... that looks good" (Are ya kidding? Did *I* think that????)
* Similarly.... I just put together my lunch salad of romaine, bean spouts, alfalfa sprouts, tomato, low-fat cheese and FF raspberry vinegrette and I thought "Ooo, that looks yummy" (Whadafu? Where is the brain that has to talk itself into salads -- becasue it really wants guacamole-topped cheese quesadillas?)
* I was sorry it was the weekend, because I wanted to be able to go ride the bike at the gym (which is at work). (Ummm... who IS taking over my brain? Jane Fonda?)
* I looked in my refrigerator and cabinets (after going to the grocery store) and saw tomatos, lettuce, brown rice, veggies, fruit, ff pudding, bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, and a TON of yogurt and thought "Who LIVES HERE?"
I would be very pleased that the Healthy Pod People are trying to take me over -- except... that it has never lasted in the past.
How do I get the Stepford Nutrition program to STAY in my brain, I wonder?
Well, I want to thank everyone for making me feel welcomed.
I know that even if I don't choose to get surgery, I am learning valuable information about
nutrition -- especially from the folks out there that are a year or more post-op.
I am pleased with myself right now because I lost 10 pounds since March 4. Restricting calories to 1500 or less and getting to the gym 2-3 times a
week. New thyroid meds probably also help.
I am afraid to be too happy about this, though, because how long will my determination last? Weeks?
Months? Years? I need it to be a lifetime if I want to be healthy, etc. I am also a little disturbed because I have contacted two surgeons in my area -- and neither of the offices have gotten back to me.
I keep wondering if it is a "sign" that I shouldn't do this.
The complications I see some people have are very frightening.
POST-OP POST SCRIPT
(First post below)
I am not sure you can tell by reading these first many entries, but at this point in my research I felt like a complete fraud in starting a profile.
I had absolutely NO intension of getting weight loss surgery.
"There is NO WAY I would do that!" I was thinking as I wrote much of these early thoughts.
I started the profile simply because I wanted to voice my thoughts on being overweight to an audience I knew I would understand.
But again, I never thought I would do it.
To lose weight?
That is just insane.
MARCH 28, 2005 -- MY FIRST THOUGHTS
Being overweight my whole life, this surgery is something I have been contemplating for a long time.
Currently I am 38 and 275.
A size 24-26.
Boy, how I hate writing those numbers.
I feel like I might as well be screaming "I AM A FAT, LAZY, NO-WILLPOWER, FAILURE!"
I was shocked when I found out I weighed that much.
How depressing to know that even if I lost 100 pounds I would still be very overweight.
Like most of us, I have done it all.
Don't eat after 8:00pm.
Walk hours a day.
Don't eat after 8:00 PLUS low fat PLUS walk hours a day.
I still never got under 200.
Of course, right now, I am on yet another diet.
Trying to limit calories to 1000 a day... but usually ending up near 1,500 or so.
How long will it last?
How can I be positive about an answer?
It has never lasted before.
Not since the first diet my grandmother put me on at age 9.
My weight, I feel, is, in essence, ruining my life.
I used to be a professional performer, and though I weighed less then, I was still never under 200. Naturally, weight was a huge issue when trying to win parts.
Are you sure these aren't
on the diet?
Though friends consider me attractive, funny, intelligent and all kinds of other good stuff (and though I also think I am a those things) it seems I can't seem to find a man who will
commit to me.
Even great dates/relationships seem to fizzle out when I can see him thinking "But what will my friends think -- that I am a chubby chaser?".
To many men, that is as bad as telling him that he is impotent -- that Baywatch was cancelled -- or that his car sucks.
I look at other people on this board and see women who have gotten married at my current weight -- or higher -- and wonder how they were lucky to find someone.
Though I do have boyfriends, and would want someone who loves me no matter what -- given the general "first impressions" issues, my choices are
Now, before you wonder if I am wanting surgery simply so I can get married, the answer is
definitely yes... and, most definitely, no.
I know that I could still end up unmarried even if I lose weight and become a lovely size 6.
However, I also see the toll it is starting to take on my body.
My knees are getting worse exponentially, it seems.... limiting my exercise options.
I never used to think about stairs.
Now I find myself avoiding even a set of three.
More and more often I have to take Advil or aspirin before going to sleep -- because I am starting (I think) to get arthritis in my lower back.
Though still pretty healthy, after years of obesity without issues, my blood pressure
is getting a bit higher all the time.
How long before I develop apnea?
And I worry that every blood test will reveal I have finally managed to give myself diabetes.
I want to go swimming, or ride a roller coaster, or take an airline flight without being embarrassed about my body -- or whether I will fit in the seat or be
humiliated in front of strangers.
I want to wear cute clothes, and be able to shop in places that don't specialize in oversized bright floral prints (who thinks we want to wear that stuff???)
I want people to see ME -- not my fat.
I want to see me.
I often wonder if I have a reverse-anorexia.
Constantly forgetting I am fat.
Even when I look in the mirror... hair and makeup done and dressed nice... I usually think I look attractive.
But when I look at a picture of myself I am shocked at what I see.
Can I possibly look like that?
How can that be the same person I saw in the mirror that day?
How can it be that one minute I am vowing to myself that I WILL be thin... that I CAN do it... that fruits and salads ARE yummy -- and then 3 minutes later I am thinking how good a chocolate chip muffin would be.
One won't hurt, after all.
Even worse when I am trying to force myself to eat only 1000 calories a day... am doing good... and am suddenly seriously craving a big ole squishy, greasy, dripping-with-cheese tuna melt.
Or that chocolate chip muffin.
I am lost when a craving hits that doesn't just whisper "it's yummy -- it'll be ok" but instead distracts me over HOURS.
HOURS of fighting a screaming voice which prompts "You will never be able to focus on work until you have that muffin! GO GET IT NOW! HURRY BEFORE YOU FALL OVER FROM NEED!!!! YOU MUST HAVE IT... I WON'T LET YOU CONCENTRATE UNTIL YOU HAVE EATEN THAT MUFFIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
So here I am.
Except for THE Questions
WHY SHOULDN'T I?
The main fears I have are the obvious: the unexpected.
Though the memorial page does have many people who died in unrelated ways -- or who had some health issues before surgery, the thought is obviously very frightening.
It seems I am risking my life for vanity.
Then again... aren't I risking my life if I can't lose?
If I just had more willpower... I keep thinking.
I SHOULD be able to do this on my own without surgical methods.
JULY 5, 2006 -- ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF SURGERY
April 21, 2006
So... as I watch the countdown until the wedding on my wedding website.... each day... my nerves get a leeeetle bit more... well.... "nervous."
April 3, 2006
March 13, 2006
January 13, 2006 -- I'M ENGAGED!
January 9, 2006
January 5, 2006 -- SIX MONTH ANNIVERSARY -- LATER THAT DAY....
January 5, 2006 -- SIX MONTH ANNIVERSARY
December 24, 2005
December 22, 2005
December 13, 2005
December 12, 2005
December 9, 2005.
Me and my "friend" at a party a couple days later. Why am I squinty looking? What AM I doing with my eyes?
December 5, 2005 -- 5 month anniversary
November 22, 2005
November 14, 2005
November 8, 2005
November 1, 2005
October 26, 2005
October 24, 2005
October 20, 2005
October 17, 2005
October 13, 2005
October 10, 2005
October 7, 2005
October 5, 2005 -- 3 month surgery anniversay
September 28, 2005
September 26, 2005
September 23, 2005
September 13, 2005
September 6, 2005 -- 2 months Post-Op (-one day)
September 2, 2005
August 30, 2005
August 25, 2005
August 22, 2005
August 12, 2005
August 11, 2005
August 7, 2005
August 5, 2005 -- ONE MONTH ANNIVERSARY
August 2, 2005
July 27, 2005
July 22, 2005
July 21, 2005
July 19, 2005
July 18, 2005
July 17, 2005
July 16, 2005
July 14, 2005 (later)
July 14, 2005
July 12, 2005
July 11, 2005
July 10, 2005(Written July 11)
July 9, 2005(Written July 11)
July 8, 2005(Written July 11)
July 7, 2005(Written July 11)
July 6, 2005(Written July 11)
July 5, 2005(Written July 11)
July 4, 2005
July 1, 2005
June 29, 2005
June 27, 2005
June 22, 2005
June 16, 2005
June 15, 2005
June 14, 2005 -- Later
June 14, 2005
June 13, 2005
June 11-12, 2005
June 10, 2005
June 9, 2005
June 7, 2005
June 6, 2005
June 2, 2005
MAY 31, 2005
MAY 30 -- Memorial Day
MAY 26 (later) -- Don't Ask, Don't Tell
MAY 25 (later)
MAY 23 (later)
MAY 19 (later)
MAY 13 (later)
MAY 2 (again)
APRIL 28 (later)
APRIL 1 -- STILL DECIDING
TO EAT OR NOT TO EAT?
This brings me to the issue of willpower.
If I haven't had enough to lose weight and keep it off over the past 30 years -- why should I think I would have enough to eat the way I would need to after surgery?
True, the way food and drinks might make me feel sick would be "incentive" -- but, if I haven't been able to make myself eat and
exercise the way I need now -- why should things change afterwards?
How do I know I won't get horribly depressed afterwards -- being forced to drink and eat a certain way.
I think I will feel like a freak... and sad that I can't just eat a great Thanksgiving dinner like everyone around me, etc.
Though I don't feel like a normal person now -- I have a feeling I still wouldn't feel normal -- because I can't eat like a normal person.
Overall though, I want so much for this "nightmare" to be over so I can live a normal life.
I am pretty sure if I knew I would come out of surgery without complications I wouldn't be hesitating at all.
MY DAILY VITAMINS/MEDS
(Very difficult to get them in the right way!)
* Effexor XR (anti-depressant). For me, I had to have extended release. This doesn't work for some people. For me, it does.
* Multi vitamin (I take chewable Centrum)
* B-12 (I am supposed to take prescription B-12 with intrisic factor... but can't get them down. B-12, however, is maybe the MOST important vitamin we can take. My surgeon said I could take the sublingual B-12. (See product reviews below.)
* Calcium (from Tums)
* Calcuim Citrate (VERY important)
* As needed: Prevacid solutabs
I thought I was huge. I'd love to be 200lbs again.