I have been researching and considering this surgery for five years. I am now ready to have this surgery done.
Hospital Reviews(Detroit, MI) - Harper Hospital (Cori Center)
Product ReviewsIDS - Multi-Pro, Belgiam Chocolate
Needlework, Knitting & Crocheting
Beadwork - lampworking
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Surgeon: Kerry L. Kole, D.O.
Beginning Weight 351 BMI 58
The process is now in motion for me. I have my pysch evaluation scheduled, my H.pylori test is negative, I have a letter from my PCP stating I would be a good candidate for surgery, I will be requesting my medical records tomorrow, and I have a patient care co-ordinator from CORI. My insurance company appears to be easy to work with. Soon I will be ready to schedule the consult with the surgeon.
I am ready emotionally for this surgery, but of course I have many fears. Like most, if not all, obese people, I have "failed" so many times to lose and keep off weight. I've lost several hundred pounds in my life, only to find them again. How can I be sure that this time will be different? What if I go through this surgery, and still remain obese. I know I am a strong woman, but will I be able to control the head hunger once it comes back? I know this, I have to try.
I have discussed the surgery with my daughters. They are also fearful of having something go wrong during surgery, but they want me to live for a long, long time, and if this is what it will take to get me healthier, they will support it. I haven't discussed this with any other family members, yet, and only two close friends. Perhaps I don't want to hear any negative opinions about my decision. I don't want to have to explain myself. I have been extremely fortunate to have a loving family and wonderful friends. They love me no matter what my size is. I always feel guilty going out with my friends, and having to wait longer in a restaurant for a table instead of a booth. They never complain or make comments about it, though, I still feel bad inconveniencing them. My thin friends might not understand why I am willing to go through such extreme surgery to lose weight.
I decided to post more information on my profile, as reading other members' profiles has been so beneficial to me. I want to be able to remember what I was experiencing during this process. Others have been so honest as to what was happening before and immediately after surgery. I understand the full range of experiences, from no/little pain and easy recovery, to complications and regrets for others. I thank you all for your profiles.
I've done all I can do for now. I mailed off my paperwork to CORI today, and now have to wait for the PCP to send my medical records. I am looking forward to my psych evaluation next week, in a strange sort of way. I've never been to a psychologist/psychiatrist before, so I think it will be interesting. The hardest part may be for me to control my weird sense of humor. I don't know if the "shrink" will be like customs agents, meaning you don't joke about anything, or they might take you seriously. I'm not too worried, though, as I have very thoroughly thought out having this surgery. I want to be healthy and active again.
I have two major goals for this year, one is obtaining the surgery so that I can live a healthy life, and the second is setting up a lampworking studio in my home. Every day since Jan. 1, I ask myself if I have taken any steps towards achieving these goals. I have made progress on the surgery goal, now it is time to work on the studio. I can see how easy it is to become obsessed with the WLS, I think of it all the time, and try to imagine what life will be like after I have it. But the surgery is just a tool for the rest of my life, while the studio is an outlet for the creative part of my life. I have not worked outside the home for many years. First I was raising my children, then taking care of my mother. I have hopes of returning to work one day, when I have the mobility to sit/stand/walk for the hours necessary.
On another note, I haven't done any beadwork for a couple of months. I make all of my bracelets and necklaces quite a bit larger to fit me. That's the nice part of being able to create jewelry for me, at least it fits. Now, I don't want to put the many, many hours into creating a piece that will someday be too big for me. Many of my pieces are not adjustable, they have to be made exactly to fit. Since I don't know what size I will end up, I haven't wanted to make anything new, or finish any of the many unfinished pieces. I haven't told my beading friends that I am having this surgery yet, so they wonder why I'm not working on anything!
Another funny thing, I need some new clothes. I have been at my size for several years now. After I stopped dieting, my weight stabilized. It stabilized at a really hight point, but I haven't gained any weight for a few years now. So when I get the Lane Bryant and other companies large size catalogs in the mail, I've refused to look at them or order anything, even though I really could use some new clothes. I'd better get this surgery soon, before all of my fat clothes completely wear out. By not changing sizes for awhile, I also don't have a big stash of smaller clothes around. I think I gave away all of the small stuff from the 70's along, long time ago!!!!
I wonder as I write this log, what will I think in another year when I reread it. Will I be thrilled with my success, or will I have failed at another weight loss attempt? I know from reading posts from very recent (less than one month post-op)patients, that this is an extremely common fear. The weight doesn't seem to be dropping very quickly, or they have plateaued early. I hope I continue to update my profile, so I have a record of my journey, good or bad.
Needed to say I passed my psych evaluation on Friday. I was so scared to drive to Warren in the morning rush hour traffic on 696. But it was a beautiful day, no snow or bad weather. I didn't have any idea how long it would take, or if I would have to take any written tests. I needn't have worried. I got to the doctor's office early, was taken back to see the doctor early, and it was actually a bit fun. It could be I'm just incredibly boring, no history of abuse, no alcohol, etc. Plus, I had researched the surgery pretty thoroughly, so I was able to convince the doc I knew what I was getting into, as much as any of us can. Now I wait on the surgeon's consult. I still don't know if they've received my medical records, but I think they will be sending this in for insurance approval soon. It's becoming more and more real to me. Of course I have the food addict's thought, "Tuesday is Mardi Gras, I'll have one last time to eat paczki." I love paczki, that's big, rich, filled Polish doughnuts that are served on Fat Tuesday here in Michigan. My last supper paczki. Now am I crazy or what?
Checked with CORI today to see if they have received my medical records, and they have. Unfortunately, they don't have the psych eval report yet. ARGHHHH. It's right down the hallway!! I know it takes time to get reports written up, but I'm in a hurry. It seems they need to have it along with my records to send to the insurance for approval before they will schedule the consult. It may take up to 45 days for approval. I've read enough profiles to know how frustrating this waiting game is, but when it's me waiting---I thought I had more patience than this. I will be busy for the next two weeks, so if something does become available (not likely), I still wouldn't be able to do anything about it. That puts me into March, and I was hoping to have the surgery by mid-April. We'll see.
Got an urgent message from CORI on Friday to call them. My heart was in my chest thinking there would be bad news from the insurance company. Instead, the insurance co. wants me to see the surgeon, and have his notes sent to them before they authorize surgery. Makes sense to me. Plus I have to consult with their nutritionist. Apparently this is done by phone, seems a little strange to me, but hey, whatever it takes. I am very excited to finally have a consult date: March 3. This will be just a couple of days after we get back from Boston, yippee.
Posted after my surgeon consult, but the computer ate it. And it was a really good post, lol. But, much has happened since I saw Dr. Hendrick. I was extremely nervous, but I feel comfortable with him performing my surgery. He wanted me to have a cardiac stress test, medical clearance from my PCP, a Greenfield filter inserted, and lose 20 pounds. The thought of the extremely restrictive diet the nutritionist laid out brought up many psycological issues for me. I have so much difficulty on a restrictive diet, that I couldn't begin in right away. I knew I had to get the other tests out of the way first. Saw my PCP for the medical clearance, no problem. Had my cardiac stress test on the 17th. The stress test was stressful, duh. It was actually very, very stressful, as I have impossible to find veins. It took six tries before they were able to insert the IV into my shoulder just above my armpit. Once it was over, though, I was pretty confident everything had gone well. Not. My doctor's office called the next day to say the test was abnormal and I will have to see a cardiologist, AND "not to exert myself until then". What does that mean? Does doing the laundry mean I could keel over at any moment? Now the uncertainty is getting to me. I don't want to start the protien only diet until I know my heart is okay. I know I'm whining here, but I had finally felt I was down to the home stretch on the pre-op phase. Just another bump in the road. I have noticed being much more fatigued in the last few months. I thought it was just getting older, or more out of shape. I guess I'll find out in a few days.
I had my consult with the cardiologist, and he said the stress test showed blockages in two areas of my heart. He couldn't approve me for surgery without knowing the extent of the blockage. He also said there was at least a 60% chance that the test was showing false positives, due to my size, and perhaps from the difficulty they had in injecting the medications during the stress test. I could either have a second stress test done, using the Dobutamine, or have a cardiac catherization. He felt there was a good likelihood that the second stress test would also be positive and I would end up needing a catherization done anyway. If they did find blockages, they would probably perform an angioplasty and implant stents. I would be on blood thinners for 2-6 months, and couldn't have surgery during that time. Talk about depressing news!!!
So I had the cardiac cath done two days ago. Just like the stress test, it was horrible trying to get an IV going. Once again, it took six tries, and the IV they did get going wasn't the best. In fact, at the start of the procedure, they inject medicine to sedate you, however with me, I never felt it, at all. I was very awake and aware of what was happening during the procedure. Today I am very sore, both my arms from the bruises from the IV attempts, and my groin from the insertion of the catheter, and the pressure afterward to stop the bleeding. I am angry that I had to undergo this procedure. I do not have a personal history of heart problems, and my cholesterol is good, but my size and age were the determining factors. I have now undergone two painful procedures, one of which carried some very high risks associated with it. I need to put that behing me, and now focus on losing the 20 pounds to get my surgery scheduled. I have not been actively trying to lose weight during this process, as I wasn't sure of the outcome. I have been restricting sugar and carb intake. I see my PCP this week, and will see where my weight stands.
After my visit with the PCP on the 8th, I had lost 6 pounds according to her scale, and this was without the induction diet. That felt pretty good. The week after my cardiac cath, my mother-in-law was visiting us, whick was a very stressful time. The family is trying to observe her to see if she is showing early signs of Alzheimer's, and it has caused problems in my husband's immediate family. She was pretty much her normal self while she was here, but as soon as my husband drove her home, some of her anger symptoms returned. However, the entire week she was here, I couldn't begin my diet for the surgeon. BUT I BEGAN THE DIET ON MONDAY, THE 11th. So far, so good. In fact, even better than I had anticipated. I guess I was finally ready mentally to do this. I can tell I've lost weight, and I go back to the PCP on this next Friday, the 22nd. Hopefully I will be down the 20 pounds and then can schedule the surgery.
Bought a scale today. Haven't owned one for at least 20 years, but I knew I would have to keep track of my weight loss, and make sure not to regain. The scale says I am down the 20 pounds I need to lose to schedule surgery, if it is accurate against the doctor's scale. I guess I'll find out in three days. Also went swimming today, for the first time in about 2 years. Did about 35 minutes of deep water walking, I had to be really careful about the bursitis in the knees. It felt empowering today to take these steps. Still being very strict to the induction diet.
Okay, it looks like my profile is getting too long. But who knows if anyone ever reads it besides me. Went to the PCP last Friday, and I have lost 20 pounds according to her scale, and at least 23 pounds against the surgeon's scale. I came home and weighed myself, and my scale is right on with hers. So now, I keep dieting, and I'm down at least 25 pounds. My clothes are getting baggy, and I have still been off all pain meds for two weeks now. Yeah. Called CORI yesterday to find out about scheduling. The doctor's office, who implants the Greenfield filter, will call to schedule that and get my pre-ops done, then a date will be set. It could be in less than two weeks. Very scary, but I'm ready.
Yeah, I get my filter in tomorrow. A surgery date should be here very soon. I was frustrated waiting to schedule the filter, this diet was making me grumpy. The first doctor couldn't insert it for another two weeks, so I requested a differnt doctor, especially since I wanted to go to Harper Hospital, where I'll have the gastric bypass. I want to become a little more familiar with the hospital before the surgery. The filter surgeon called me himself, Dr. Joe Talbert. I was sooo impressed by that. I've never had a doctor call to schedule anything. He was so nice and kind and wanted to know if I had any questions about the procedure. This was within an hour of his office receiving the fax of orders from the CORI office. And he could do it in two days. Surprisingly I am not very nervous about it, I think because I've talked to him ahead of time. He was very reassuring about my WLS surgeon, Dr Hendrick. I have continued to stay on the induction diet, but seem to be at a weight plateau. Mother's Day is coming up this weekend, and I have decided to go out for brunch at the hotel we often took my mother to. It will be my last hurrah at a buffet, so to speak.
I can't believe I have a date, and it will be in 5 days. I have posted to the MI message board about my problems right now with immediately finding a new placement for my mom for a new nursing home bed. We have been so happy where she is for the last year and a half. I reseached a long time before I chose this home, and waited until a bed was available. Now I don't have that luxury. Damn greed. The owners of the nursing home are completely shutting down the nursing unit for renovation. But it is probably a way to purge the medicaid patients. It just doesn't seem possible that these two things are happening simultaneously. Perhaps I am being selfish for keeping my surgery date, but not only have I been waiting months for this to happen, I took care of my mother here at home for almost seven years. During that time, I completely ignored my own health, getting more and more disabled in the knees and back. It was not a choice at the time, it seemed the only options for me. It was so hard on my family duting those years, but the decision to move her to a nursing home was the hardest thing I've ever done. Now I have to worry about the safety of a new home, and how she will adjust. I can't complain about life being unfair, because I know others have it so much worse. I will have support from friends during this time, and I know we will get through it. I will just have to recover very, very quickly.
This will be my last update before surgery tomorrow. Life has been so difficult the last few days. I moved my mom into a different nursing home yesterday, and so far she isn't happy. I know it will take some time for her to adjust, and for the staff to get to know her. I was exhausted last night and my legs ached so badly from the heat and dehydration. I was on full liquids, but didn't get a chance to consume very much. Today is clear liquids, and I have the bowel prep to look forward to, ha. And to top it all off, due to conflicts at the CORI Center, my surgeon has now been changed. Until this morning, I didn't even know if the surgery was a go for tomorrow or not. I thought it was going to have to be postponed. It has been an emotional rollercoaster. And to top it all off, my daughter had some devastating news about her skating future. She has worked her entire life to be where she is, and her skating career is at an end. As of yesterday. If I believed in astrology, I should have had someone do my chart, because the planets must surely have been colliding. I have to mentally get ready all over again for tomorrow.
I am home from the hospital, and I think I am okay. It's been a bumpy ride, but the pain is decreasing and I am drinking water. I had some setbacks from the epidural, it was wonderful for the pain relief, but it shut down my kidneys. I had to have the foley reinserted, and get lots of IV fluids, then Lasix to jump start everything. I came home twenty pounds heavier than when I went in, from fluids, and am still up fifteen pounds of fluid. I am walking up and down my hallway, we call them "hamster laps", because they are so small and remind us of the hamsters in the cage. I had excellent care at Harper Hospital, the nurses and aides were all wonderful, even though all the beds were full and they were busy. I am wondering how the aftercare will be with the turmoil at CORI, and which doctor I will end up having. I have absolutely no interest in food, so I don't mind being on the clear liquids. Water and SF popsicles are sounding pretty good about now. Will update more as the energy returns.
First day to weigh less than pre-op. I have lost one pound!!! Went to see the surgeon on the 18th, and they took out half of the staples. Margaret and I counted the number I had--36. My incision is ten inches long...I measured it with a tape measure as it looked so huge. Today was the last Lovenox shot, which I am grateful for. I have bruises on my abdomen from them, I don't know if that is normal or not, but it makes sense, being an anticoagulant. I am feeling pretty good, although I still need the pain med. twice a day. I'm eating full liquids, and am so tired of the sweet taste of everything. I can't wait to eat something with flavor or spice. I'm doing more around the house, and feeling guilty for being so lazy. I think I'm ready to return to my life of activity. I miss driving places. Go back to doctor on the 25th for the rest of the staples. Worried about losing my hair, saw a woman at the surgeon's office with severe hair loss, so I'd better work on getting my protein in!!!
All of my staples are gone, hooray. The incision site was very inflamed and some of the staples were getting infected. I wish I could have taken out the staples myself. At the doctor's office the nurse told me they send some people home with a staple remover, wish they had done that with me. The scale is finally moving. I went yesterday, the first day I was allowed to drive, and exchanged my broken scale for a new one. I realized as I was using the new scale that the first one I bought was broken from the start. The replacement works so much better.
Last night I noticed a lump under my incision site. It may have been there before, but I didn't notice it because the area was so inflamed from the staples. I had to call the surgeon's office three times today before I was able to get any medical advice about it. I was afraid I was developing cellulitis from the staples, but the nurse thinks it is a seroma. I have to put moist compresses on the area a couple of times a day. The area is really tender and hot. It might start draining on its own, or I have to have it aspirated at the doctor's office on Tuesday. I am worried with it being a holiday weekend, I wouldn't be able to see anyone for several days.
I can now eat pureed foods, but nothing looks or tastes good. Nothing tasted good to drink, either. I ate a little scrambled egg last night with cheese, but it didn't taste like I remembered. But I have now lost 13 pounds post-op, and added with the pre-op loss, I am now 45 pounds less. That feels really good.
Well, I have had some exciting times since my last update. The day after my last staples came out, I was so happy to be out and about, I spent several hours with my mom. That night I noticed a swelling under the incision site. I called the surgeon's office the next day, okay, it took four calls before I got to get someone to talk to me, but the lumpt was about the size of a lemon, the area was red, hot, and tender. I was worried it was either a seroma or cellutlis from the staples. The nurse said it was a seroma and to apply hot, moist compresses twice a day to see if the incision would open on its own and drain. What a bummer, I felt cooped up at home again. It was Memorial Day weekend, so I wanted to be sure to check with the office in case the swelling got worse. I got in to the surgeon's office on Tuesday, the 31st. A different doctor than my surgeon looked at my incision (after waiting 3 hours in the office). He thought it was probably an infected seroma and I needed to have the incision opened. It was really scary for me, to hear the words, "hand me the scalpel" while I was fully awake. He injected a full bottle of lidocaine around the swelling, which really hurt at times. After it was opened, he didn't think it was infected, but there was a fair bit of bloody fluid there. He packed the one and a half inch wound with gauze and bandaged it. Then the good news that I would have to do the same twice a day. I was very shakey after the procedure and was so glad my husband had come with me and could drive me home.
It has now been five days since the draining of the seroma, and the oral Keflex I'm taking is giving me diarrhea. It is so gross I act like a little kid trying to get it down. I have to hold my nose, and then eat a SF popsicle to try to get the taste out of my mouth. I am getting used to the changing of the gauze, but it is still gross pulling it out of my stomach, washing the area with antibacterial soap, and then pushing fresh gauze into my stomach. This maybe too much information for some, but its what I have to do.
Food and water are still difficult to get down. I barfed for the first time this week eating a scrambled egg. I should have listened to my body when it first began complaining, but no, I thought I could just keep eating the egg. Since then I've been able to eat tuna fish with mayo, a couple of crackers, Taco Bell refried beans, and a piece of toast with cheese. The vitamins are still awful, and I don't know if I'm getting in enough daily. I'll go back to the doctor in another week to recheck the seroma site. I may have to pack the wound for three to four weeks while it heals, which means no swimming.
We bought a treadmill last weekend, and they will deliver it tomorrow. I hope that I will be better at using it than I am at walking outside. I feel so vulnerable walking outside, I hope that changes over time. I am continuing to lose weight. I am now down 55 pounds, 32 pre-op, and 23 post-op. I weigh myself daily, as I need the positive reinforcement still. My BMI is now below 50, and my weight is under 300 pounds. I feel really good about that. I am no longer "super morbidly obese", I am just "morbidly obese".
Why does life have to stay so exciting? After last week's seroma, this week it has been a stricture, with hospitalization. I vomited last Sunday first meal of the day, so I ate applesauce, and it stayed down okay. But supper was grilled chicken and baked potato. I started barfing within 30 minutes of eating, and couldn't stop. I couldn't keep down water or even spit. Called the doctor's office and told to go to the ER as it was most probably a stomal stenosis, or stricture. We got to the hospital a little after midnight on June 6th. I spent four hours in the ER, funny, or not so funny story, I asked the ER nurse for only two things, a pillow and a gown that would fit me. Her reply, "this is Harper Hospital, not the Harper Hotel". I thought she was kidding, guess not. It was a miserable time in ER, vomiting and being uncomfortable. When she went to take blood, I told her to use the left elbow, as it is the best site for venipuncture. I didn't realize she would start an IV there when she was finished with the blood drawing. It was extremely uncomfortable, and only got worse as the day progressed. I stopped vomiting after seven hours, as I didn't have anything to drink, and was getting dry so there wasn't even any spit to swallow. Saw Dr. Kole early in the morning after I got to my room, and he said Dr. Flake, the endoscopy doctor would be in later to see me, and to set up for the scope. My IV continued to hurt more as the day went on. Whenever they inquired about my pain, I could only complain about the IV. They gave me compazine to relieve the nausea. My IV was dripping slower and slower. That night, the IV started to leak, and the nurse put in a request for a new IV to be started, but she didn't want to take out the current IV, in case it was needed. When the midnight nurse came in to put more compazine in the IV line, it was leaking more. I told her, IT HAD TO COME OUT IT WAS SO PAINFUL. So she pulled it around 12:30 in the morning. I didn't know at the time that the IV contained potassium, as my electolytes were so low from the vomiting. The nurse told me that, and also told me that was why my arm was hurting so bad, potassium is extremely caustic to the skin tissues. I was so miserable, my arm was swollen, hot, and throbbed. I had to ask for pain medication for my arm, not my stricture. They did the endoscopy early on the morning of the 7th. That went very smoothly, and I slept through the prcedure. I had some pain when I awoke in my right shoulder, although I was lying on my left for the scope. I think there might have been gas trapped that was causing that pain. I had to stay in the hospital another six hours after the scope to make sure I didn't develop a fever or have my heart rate go up. I was very happy to get home, but I have been struggling ever since with my arm.
I went to see my PCP today for the first time since before surgery. I wanted her to look at my arm and see if she could do anything to alleviate the pain. Unfortunately, all I can do is put on ice compresses and take pain medicine, and hope there is no long term damage to the arm. There can be such severe skin breakdown that debridement and skin grafting is necessary. So far, so good. And to cap all of this off, I have pinched the sciatic nerve in my right hip, probably from sleeping on my right side in order to protect my left arm. I am in pain to go up and down the stairs, or to sit for very long. Figures.
I am supposed to start working this Thursday, the 16th. I haven't worked in over 18 years, raising kids and taking care of my mom. This job in retail literally fell into my lap, and I'm excited and terrified to take it. That's how I feel without my arm and hip hurting. I am really terrified that I won't be able to do the job physically, and will let my boss and coworkers down. These are incredibly sweet and kind ladies, and so it is very important to me that I do a fantastic job. I have never worked retail before, just in a hospital laboratory. Can I run a cash register or credit card machine? Guess I'll find out. I plan on updating on the 12th, the one month anniversary of my surgery. If anyone pre-op ever reads this profile, please realize that my experiences are a bit out of the normal range, and not to be afraid of the surgery, just treat it with respect.
It's been a little while since I've updated. Working is going well, but it does exhaust me being on my feet for hours. Not having worked for 18 years, it's tough. It is getting better though, and I'm feeling more energetic. Still having some problems eating, vomited up today after lunch, and not sure why. The weight is coming off slowly, but the scale is moving. I had hoped to have lost more by now, but everyone says that. I have now lost 35 pounds since surgery (7 1/2 weeks ago), and a total of 65 since I started. It shows in my face and my butt! I will take my measurements on the 12th, my monthly anniversary, but I think I've lost at least 4 inches off each of my bust, waist, and hips. My old clothes look pretty clownish now, and I still wear them at home. I desperately need to go buy some new tops for work. I have pants handed down from a friend, but the tops are too short for my taste. Now dealing with both parents-in-law being hospitalized and then moved to a nursing home within the last week. They live in another state, so it has been very stressful on my husband. He left today to drive there to see if he can help them during this transition period. Family drama, big time.
Well, I've passed the two month mark. The weight seems to be dropping slowly, a few tenths of a pound a day. I know, I shouldn't be weighing myself daily, but until I hit another plateau, I enjoy the boost seeing the scale drop daily. My hair is starting to fall out, which is very distressing. I have somewhat long hair, so maybe it just looks like a lot. But when I wash my hair and comb it out, there's at least twice as much as usual left in the comb. I wonder how bald I will get, and when will it stop. I am only getting in the minimal amout of protein daily, especially with working. The work is nonstop, and I don't have any regular scheduled breaks, so it is hit and miss eating. Plus twice in the last week when I went to a restaurant, I got sick immediately after. Vomiting with diarrhea, or diarrhea alone. To the point of being in such gastric pain driving home. I guess restaurants are out for me for awhile. I still don't know why, except maybe there was more grease in the food than I realized. I am exercising on the days I don't work, usually treadmill. The days I work, I just don't have the energy yet to do both. I need to take my measurements this weekend to compare. I am now wearing 3Xs comfortably, and all my old clothes look like clown clothes on me. I tried on a pair of 2X shorts, but they still wouldn't come up over my hips. Made me depressed. I am now under my weight from my Redux diet days, and that makes me very happy. My next goal is 250 pounds. That will be 100 pounds lost, and a true milestone for me.
Well, almost at 3 months post-op, over 12 weeks, and I'm finally starting to feel normal again. I enjoy food. I'm not getting sick. I have an appetite, but can stop eating. I have taken one small bite of my birthday "cobbler", that my husband made, and occasionally one bite of another dessert. One bite is enough, and I don't want to find out if I'm a dumper or not. I assume I am, and that keeps me from eating what I shouldn't. It really feels good. I had been on a plateau for a couple of weeks, at 277, but I seem to be dropping again. Down 81 pounds this morning. Eating many fresh summers veggies, tomatoes, green beans, cucumber, and yes, even a half ear of fresh corn.
Visited my dad's home two weeks ago, and he was thrilled I had had the surgery. I hadn't told him anything about it, so he was really shocked. I was worried I would get sick eating on the road, but found I could eat chili at Wendy's or the fish patty from a filet-of-fish sandwich from MickeyD's. I snacked on jerky and unsalted cashews while driving. I can drink water and tea easily now, and SF popcicles are still by best friend.
Work is going well, I'm having more energy to last the day. I did get my PCP to prescribe Celebrex for the days when my legs and feet hurt. I had to get pre-authorization from the insurance company to pay for it, but since there isn't any other pain meds I can take, they allowed it. I went through my closet two days ago, and got rid of so many 4X clothes, dresses I had had for years, and really liked. I am wearing 3X, and some 2X clothes. Life is pretty good healthwise these days. On the home front, my father-in-law passed away while we were visiting my dad. It has been extremely difficult for my hubby, and my life may become even more complicated with care for my MIL. Around all of my husband's family, only my MIL noticed I had lost weight. She was pretty out of it that day, on a med to calm her down after her husband's death. She looked at me and said, "you've lost weight, haven't you?" Then went on with the conversation. It's okay.
Century Club: down to 251 pounds this morning
I haven't been on the computer hardly at all for weeks now. When I have the time at home, I am doing things, instead of sitting here reading posts. Working takes up so much time that I used to have to goof off. I do miss the time I had to myself before. Weight loss has considerably slowed this last month. It's really scary to have only lost 6 pounds in the last four weeks. I stayed at the same pound for over two weeks. I am thrilled to have reached this major milestone, and am half way to my final goal. I am beginning to have serious doubts if I'll get down to 150, since the loss is slowing so much. I had hoped to lose more weight by now, but I am still having trouble with exercising very much. When I walk or swim for any length of time, my knees really hurt for days. I guess that might be part of the aging process.
Eating is much easier now, but I have still avoided eating more than one bite of anything with sugar. I still assume I will dump if I consume sugar, and I don't want to find out that I don't dump. I still start my day with a 30 gram protein drink, and drink more water that I have ever in my life. I am careful not to overeat, but food cravings have returned. So far, I am able to resist them. I wish I had had this surgery when I was younger, and my metabolism was a little higher. I weigh less now than I did at 27, and I'm proud of that.
The plateaus keep coming. Maybe three weeks of no weight loss to one week of big loss per month. I watch the protien and water intake every day, but have not been able to exercise like I'd like to. Still having trouble with the left knee. Saw the orthopedist last week for a shoulder problem and asked her what I could do to help the knees. She wasn't very helpful and basically said I may have already done too much damage to it from the years of morbid obesity. I don't normally expect, or want an "atta girl" from people for my surgery, but I expected one from the orthopedist. I told her it was the problems with my knees that made me decide to have the surgery. I hadn't seen her since January, and am now 110 pounds lighter. She didn't once congratulate me for having made this difficult change in my life. Now, she is young, thin, and athletic, so I don't think she has any idea of what life is like for the morbidly obese. I can't dwell on her response to my surgery, I know I did it for the right reasons, and WOULD NOT BE 110 POUNDS LIGHTER WITHOUT IT.
Had my first dumping experience last week. We had french toast for supper and I put SF syrup on it. I think someone put regular syrup back in the bottle a couple of weeks ago, after the last time we had it. After eating, I immediately experienced severe intestinal pain. Pain serious enough I wondered if I was heading to the hospital. I went into the living room, and then the dizziness and flushing began. I was sweating and cold at the same time. My husband said I was a strange shade of red. This went on for about 45 minutes when the pain began subsiding. It is good to know I will dump on sugar, as that will keep me honest. But to be truthful, I had not willingly eaten anything with sugar before this. I had always assumed I would dump. I am missing baked goods, and am worried about the holidays. I am feeling a little sorry for myself. Honestly I am glad I had this surgery, but that doesn't mean there aren't days where I wish I could flip a switch and eat whatever I wanted right then.
It used to be when I was a pre-op, and spent hours on this site reading profiles for encouragement, I would wonder why people stopped writing after a few months. It's because we get on with the rest of our lives. It's not that this isn't important to me, I am grateful each and every day, it's just that it is now just a normal part of my life. I want newbies to see how life does go on, and our weight and our new eating patterns just fit it to everything else. So, I thought on my seventh month anniversary I would update. Weight loss had definitely slowed, which is always really, really scarey. Every plateau I fear that I've lost all I'm going to lose. Have only lost 1 1/2 pounds in the last 2 1/2 weeks. That included Thanksgiving. Which I must say I enjoyed as much as the rest of my family. I ate a small amount of everything, and probably felt as stuffed as they did. I made a SF pumpkin cheesecake, which was terrible. Ended up throwing it out. Decided that one or two tiny bites of regular pumpkin pie was better than a full slice of that crap. Having days of wanting to snack, and just fighting it. Not having trouble eating any foods, except still milk. Still avoiding simple carbs like potatoes and pasta, but sometimes eating whole grain breads and brown rice in small amounts. Not gettng in the exercise I should, but still struggling with the knee bursitis and bone spur in the shoulder. Went to my surgeon last week for a checkup, and he's very happy with how I'm doing. Can't believe it's been seven months. Will always want to eat sweets, sometimes it's hard to accept that that part of my life is over. Now wearing size 20 clothes comfortably. Still waiting to not need clothing with an X in the size.
Happy New Year.
Weight on 1-1-05: 351
Weight on 1-1-06: 221
Life is good.
Official theme for 2006 for my family: Lighten Up. Emotionally, Physically. Materially. Cast off the baggage without guilt, without regrets. I don't make resolutions, I make aspirations. I set goals, and will have a successful year if I take a small step each and every day towards one of those goals. In 2005, one of my two goals was to have surgery, accomplished. The second goal was to get my lampworking torch and studio set up. That is now the primary goal for 2006. I would like to be in onederland by April 1. I will treat my body with respect. I will clean out the clutter in my life, as I cleaned out the size 32 clothes from my closet last year. I will make progress.
Eight months post-op now, and have been on another plateau for several weeks now. Same weight today as I was on the 1st. Have lost 7 pounds in the last month, but that was all at the beginning of the month. Have been trying to stay away from carbs, I drink my protein every morning, take my vitamins every day, drink at least 64 oz of water, usually alot more than that. So this week I've stepped up the exercise. Okay, I wasn't exercising much before, just considering working my exercise. Went swimming on Monday, treadmill Tues, Wed off, walking tape Thurs, and treadmill (1.4 miles) today-Friday. That damned scale better move soon. Measurements have all gone down a little. Bought a size 20 jeans at Kohl's at the after Christmas clearance. Don't know when I've been able to wear a 20, not for over 25 years anyway. Wanting to snack, and was mourning never, ever being able to eat a piece of pie again. Hubby had a work luncheon where they had lasagna and Great Traverse Pie Co. pie. There are some very tough things about this surgery. I was reading some posts from the May 04 forum, and trying to figure out why some people were successful after their surgery at reaching their goal, and others were far from it. It scares me that I will be one of the ones who never comes close to their goal. It seems I can eat alot of food. Nothing compared to what I used to eat, but what if it is still too much. Define too much. I'll have to revisit this topic in another couple of months.
It's been three months since I last updated, and I finally passed to the land of one last week, just before my 11 month anniversary. It's actually been one year since I went on my pre-op diet, so I crossed over just two days shy of the one year date. I had been hovering at 202 for a couple of weeks. On the new year, I had set the goal of being below 200 by April 1st. It took me a little longer, and a lot of hard work, but I made it. I am now down 154 pounds. It took me 5 1/2 months to lose the first 100 pounds, and then 6 1/1 months to lose the next 50. Those size 20 jeans I bought in January--I gave them away today. I am now wearing size 16W, and am very proud of them.
I have been working out very regularly since early March, meaning 4-5 days every week. I started doing the Walk Away the Pounds DVDs, beginning at 1 Mile, and upping them after each week or so. Last week I did the 4 Mile Super Challenge for the first time. I am very proud of myself. However, to any newbies out there, this is still very hard. I went shopping for Easter basket goodies for the girls and my mom, and every candy called my name. Easter, 2005, I could still eat it, although I didn't eat very much. When I filled the baskets, I wanted to eat candy, and had one Herchey's kiss. Today, Easter Sunday, I had 3 jelly beans, 3 M&M's, one Dove egg, and one Herchey's Miniatures. It just makes me want more, but I stopped. I was afraid of dumping, a good thing. Each and every day I have to make decent food choices, I have decided I will never not want candy or baked goods. I am a food addict, pure and simple. For the first time in my life, I truly get it. This is how I always will eat. I must always exercise. I am fifty years old, and I get it. I don't like it, but I will do it. I like feeling good, I like being able to shop at stores for clothes, and not have to buy clothes from catalogs.
I have my appointment set up for my one year checkup with my surgeon, and I will discuss plastic surgery. I have a huge panniculus, horrible batwings, saggy breasts, saggy thighs, saggy chin. It is difficult to exercise, the stomach goes in the opposite direction from the rest of my body. The arms rub against my shirt or bra while exercising. My lower back often aches. Plastic surgery scares me. I am worried about the cost. I have huge college expenses for my children, and feel tremendous guilt for even thinking of spending money for plastics. Will see what the doctor says.
162 pounds gone.
One Year. Unbelievable. So much has transpired in 365 days, I am not a proficient enough writer to express how it all feels. All week I have been reliving the events of a year ago. How I was feeling, what my fears were. I am tired from working an eight hour day without a break. But I can do it. I have only two pairs of pants that fit me well, but they are a size 16W, not a 32-34. I went shopping on Monday, and bought a size 16 skort. I shopped in the regular women's department. I "crossed over to the other side". I look the same to me, because I only focus on my eyes when I look in a mirror. I think I started doing that so many years ago, because I didn't want to see the rest of my body. I never acknowledged how big I was unless I was forced to by looking at a photo of myself. Therefore, I see the same me I've seen for years.
I've lost an entire person, but who was she. She was the woman who loved to eat ice cream and McDonalds. She sat around all the time, because her knees hurt too much to do anything. She was the one afraid to fly, afraid of being embarassed in social situations. She lived an incomplete life.
The woman who is left is still ashamed of her body. The huge folds of skin on the abdomen, the grotesque wings under the arms, will she ever get used to them.
It had been a tough month for eating. After hitting onederland, I got used to eating more carbs after Easter. The weight loss stalled, then went up a couple of pounds. On 4-30, my weight once again was 200 pounds, and I knew I had to do something. On May 1, I cut out ALL carbs, except for a few good veggies. I lost 10 pounds in 10 days, by basically eating the pre-op diet once again. I have totally carb "de-toxed", but it has been hard. I went out to lunch with a friend and ate a Cobb salad, while she had a burger and fries. I don't know if she had any idea of how much I wanted a fry. I don't think that desire will ever leave. I have 40 more pounds I want to lose, and I will have to work for each and every one. I am still working out here at home at least 4 days a week, can't believe I'm doing it. I see the doctor next week, and hope to begin the plastics discussion, which terrifies me.
Approved for abdominoplasty. I plan on having the surgery in late September, and am very, very scared. Not afraid of dying, but of the pain and recovery period I have read so much about. I've been spending time reading the plastic surgery forum, and have kept up on other people's recoveries. I am not looking forward to it, but I want this huge panni gone. My arm batwings are immense. I am still exercising at least four times a week, and my arm muscles are pretty well defined, but oh, the skin. I have at least a four inch drop of skin below each bicep. It would be funny if it weren't, the amount of loose skin I have, everywhere. I wonder how much it all weighs. I'm down a couple of more pounds, finally, after no weight loss in over a month. Was at 181 this morning. Still hoping to get below 175, then I truly will have lost over half of me. Last weekend at the open house there were people who hardly recognized me, that was cool.
8-26-06 175 pounds 176 pounds lost
Am majorly depressed, but it has nothing to do with the WLS. In fact, it would be worse without being healthy. Took youngest daughter off to school this week, and it's the first time in 24 1/2 years that I am not a full time mom. Cannot believe how incredibly painful this is. Inside I am screaming for my daughter to come home. Yes, intellectually I know this is the best for her, yes, this is where I want her to be, but I am grieving the companionship of my child. My oldest has moved to NYC this summer, and I am feeling very, very stressed over this, too. I worry about all of the big city problems, and on top of it the terrorist worries. How to deal with all of these emotions without food. I want to comfort myself with food, but can't. I want to drink, even though I don't drink. I want to go shopping, but have no money. Time will get me throught this. It reminds me of how painful it was three years ago when I had to move my mother from my home to a nursing home. I cried for days and days. I have kept myself from crying now, because it would be hard to stop.
I have my tummy tuck with muscle repair scheduled for Sept. 21st and am scared to death. I have read so much about the pain and recovery on the forums, that I have to keep from thinking about it. In a weird way, I want the surgery tomorrow, so the pain of the surgery will keep me from the mental pain I am feeling about my daughters. I am whining here, but I am also being honest about what I am feeling. I have not reached out to friends with all of this, as I don't want to dump on them. So I am trying to deal with this the best way I can.
Weight loss has stopped pretty much. I had dropped to a low of 175, and then rebounded up to 183. I wasn't eating much more food, so I thought I was just stablilizing. Then the weight has come back down again without me doing anything again. It is down to 175 this morning, as I have had a stomach virus for the first time since surgery. Have had diarrhea and intense gas for a couple of days now, so I am not eating much. I've had my protien drink for the day, but nothing else yet. I have to be careful today to get all my water in. I have been very consistent with my exercise, four times a week, but not this week. Not with the dorm move in, and being sick. I am worried about the exercise when I am recovering from the TT. Will I be able to resume it? Will I have the will power to resume it is the question.
The hanging skin on the rest of my body is driving me insane. I have at least an inch of skin hanging from my forearms. Probably at least five inches from my upper arms. I have skin hanging below my calves, and my thighs and butt, oh well. I don't know if I'll ever have the money for plastic reconstruction, and I don't know if I'll ever feel like a thin woman without it. Would I rather have the skin than the fat, yes, but I wish I didn't have either.
I was looking at some photos of myself in the year or so before WLS. My mental image of myself was never that woman. I think that is why there is a disconnect between how my friends see me and how I see me now. This is how I always looked to me in my mind. I never recognized the obese woman as being me. Only when confronted with those old pictures do I see the difference.
9-29-06 162 pounds 189 pounds lost (8 pounds skin)
Well, the tummy tuck is over, Sept. 21st. And, yes, I am in alot of pain. It is depressing pain, as it doesn't seem to be lessening as days go by. It is painful for me to sit here at the computer, as it puts more pressure along the lower incision line, and into the pubic area. My weight was 171 the day of surgery, and is now down to 162, even with fluid retention. Dr. Kole removed 8 pounds of skin and fat from my abdomen, repaired THREE small hernias I didn't know I had, and repaired the muscle layer. He filleted me like a fish!!! I can't tell how I am going to look until more swelling goes away. I was very concerned with the pubic area, very self-concious about how big and droopy the mons was. He continued the incision below the tummy line about two inches into the mons. It will never be "picture perfect", but I think it will look less abnormal. I refer to it as "Ken", as the rounded private parts of a Ken doll. I itch, burn, and sting. In short, I am miserable, and still need lots of vicodin to get through.
The vicodin is causing truly horrific constipation. I am now having rectal bleeding from straining so hard to pass stool. I am using Dulcolax suppositories to help, and they are helping, albeit painfully. As long as I am on vicodin, I will have the constipation. Fiber, stool softeners, and fruits don't seem to help. It is as if the lower rectal muscles are just frozen.
And, the left JP drain stopped working 3 nights after surgery. This was the drain that was producing the most amount of drainage, so I knew it was going to be a major problem. We called the doctor, and he said I needed to push the drain tube back into my abdomen. This worked for about 5 minutes, until I moved again. It made for a very long, no sleep night. The next day, we drove into the doctor's office, and he pushed the tube back in, and restitched the tubing. So far, it appears to be staying in place. I go back to the doctor in six days, we'll see if he removes either of the drains.
The hospital was not so good. I had heard a few bad things about it ahead of time, and nothing traumatic happened, but it certainly could have been better, been more comfortable. I hope if I have any further plastic surgery, it will be much closer to home. I had hoped that since the weight loss I would be easier to insert an IV. Not so. It took six attempts, and by the sixth and successful stick, I was crying. The nurses just kept saying my skin was so loose. It could well be. Once they did get it, the IV stayed good through the entire hospital stay, so that was a blessing.
Mark has been wonderful through my recovery. Very patient and comforting. He bandages me every day, and has become quite proficient at it. We went away for four days immediately prior to my surgery in order to celebrate our 30th anniversary. It was a wonderful, romantic, relaxing time together. It took my mind off of my impending surgery. I had been very anxious about this surgery, much more so than the gastric bypass. Mainly because there was an elective element to it. What if I chose to have this surgery and something happened. Finding out I had the three hernias eased my mind about the surgery, that I might someday need surgery anyway to repair them. I hope they are completely repaired and don't come back.
I feel I have been really whiny this week, but I am in pain. I want to feel better, and get back to working out and feeling strong. I hope I have done the right thing by having this surgery.
10-15-06 155 pounds (-196)
Three and a half weeks post tummy tuck, and still in pain. But definitely getting better. Mentally more like myself, and probably just bored with lying around. I don't have the stamina to do much else yet, and because I still have a drain in on the left side, it hurts to walk or be active. I still don't have much of an appetite, and am losing weight as a result. I am drinking my protein daily, and trying to focus on eating good choices, but I can't eat very much at a time, and because I am sleeping so much, just not eating. I never, ever thought I would get so close to my goal weight of 150, and might not get there, but it is tantalizingly close. As soon as I am back to normal, I am sure the weight will rebound upward some. Plus there has been no exercise in four weeks.
The doctor is still happy with the incisions healing. Mark measured for me and I have 39 inches of incision. 15 inches vertically and 24 inches hip to hip. I am still quite swollen through the waist area, so I don't know how small I will end up. I got a surgical compression garment on ebay that I love. It is from the Marena Co. and is a full garment, mid-calf including bra. It feels so much better to wear than the binder. It has an open crotch which makes it easy to go to the bathroom, and I can thread the drain tube up through the opening and pin it to the outside. I need another one, but don't want to pay full price for it!
Still needing vicodin, but less amounts of it, and less often. I am wondering when I won't need it anymore. I have another three full weeks off of work, and hope as soon as the drain comes out in another four days (four weeks) that I'll recover more quickly. I am worried about being able to work a full day. Now even sitting up all day, I have alot of pain, I can't imagine being on my feet all day.
weight lost -211
My BMI is normal. I have recovered from the abdominoplasty. I am continuing to lose weight, and have upped the exercise even a bit more. Continuing to eat the same way, drinking two scoops every morning and watching the carbs. Eating healthy about 90% of the day. Will eat a few reduced fat pringles a day, or some sf treat, occasionally a hershey's kiss or two. Wondering if the weight will stabilize or go up.
weight lost -216
Well, the weight loss has not only stabilized, but even gone down a little more in the last couple of weeks. My dear husband shared his really bad cold with me, and I've been taking sudafed as a decongestant. It has worked as an appetitie suppressant, which has surprised me a little. I don't believe my weight will stay this low, and expect it to bump back up around 140. We'll see. Last week with the cold was the first week I didn't get in my 4x weekly workout. By mid-week, I thought I was probably delaying my recovery from the cold by pushing my body so hard. This week I'm back to the workouts. The first week in February I walked/jogged 26 miles. What, am I crazy? I am so proud of myself and my accomplishments.
Oldest daughter and I went shopping at the outlet mall, a place I wouldn't have been caught dead in before. Oh.My.God. It Was Fun. We spent nine hours shopping. We are now the same size, so we would gather up armloads of clothes and go into the same dressing room, each trying on everything. I could easily become a clothes addict, but don't have the money to do so. As it was, I bought an adorable blue jean jacket, and a pair of slim fitting Ralph Lauren polo jeans. I wore them to work yesterday, and I felt hot. I felt "skinny". I felt good. I was able to try on pants from a size 4 to a size 8. The size 8 Levis that I bought in November after the tummy tuck are now too big. Unbelieveable. I bought a pair of dressy Bass shoes. I don't need wide shoes anymore, let alone WW. I actually like shoes now.
A group of cloggers performed a dance at the nursing home for my mom. They seemed to be having such fun, I talked to them afterward and they have almost succeeded in talking me into to joining them for a beginning class. It starts this next week, and I have to decide if I'm going to. I would have to leave work 45 minutes early, which I hate to do. And, it really scares me to put myself out there. But it would be a great addition to my boring workout routine. The people who gave the performance were about my age, and several on the not-too-skinny side. It is just so out of the realm of possibility in my old life.
I have been having physical therapy on my left shoulder for the last 8 weeks. It seemed to be making my shoulder pain worse, so I got a steroid injection two weeks ago. I think the shoulder pain is lessening slightly, so the pt exercises should start to improve my strength and flexibility soon. If not, I'll have to have a procedure where the calcifications are aspirated out of the joint.
Spending more time on the board, trying to focus on the mechanics of maintainance. I started a long thread on the grads board that has received many thoughtful replies. Just gets me thinking about what "goal" means. Never, ever thought I'd reach this low a weight or BMI, and wondering why me when so many others don't. With my weight at 135, I know there has to be close to 10 pounds of skin still on me, which would mean I would be in the 120's. wow.
Saw Dr. Kole last week. He was happy with my progress, although I am still a little anemic. My hemoglobin has been in the 11. range for many years now. I've started taking Repliva to try to bring it up a little. My liver enzymes were slightly elevated which concerns me a little. That is unusual for me. I'll have my blood retested in six months and we'll see if there's a trend there. I expressed my concerns with the lumpiness of my tummy tuck. He said if I really wanted him to revise it, he would, but to take into consideration where I started. I think he was saying it doesn't look so bad, and maybe I'm being overly critical. I am planning on getting more PS consults this fall for the breasts and arms, and I'll see what those surgeons say about the tummy. I think there is definitely room for improvement, but I want to only undergo one more surgery, so I'd like to correct the tt at the same time, even if I have to pay another surgeon to do it. I truly dread the thought of another surgery, but trying on summer clothes, I look terrible in anything with short sleeves. I am dreading summer, just because of that. On the other hand, it's April, and it's been snowing this week. I am sick and tired of freezing, so maybe it's worth the embarrassment of saggy arms to feel warm.
Empire BCBS, EPO
Empire BC/BS has been very helpful and easy to deal with. I have had my questions answered in a timely manner.