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I have the same story as thousands of other overweight people:
Tried every diet...Lost weight...Gained it back (plus more)
My weight has impacted me for most of my life....
From grade school~enduring the teasing and name calling
To teen years~the heartache of no boyfriend...no dates
And now~it is affecting my life and lifestyle
My Angelette Cheryl's Page
I am blessed to have a supportive husband, ALan.
(who has never said a word about my weight no matter how much I gained).
I have a friend who had the surgery last year and I thought about it at that time but, when I found out that our insurance wouldn't pay anything-I decided against it (how could I spend that much money to do something I "should" be able to do on my own)
In the year since I first considered WLS, I have gained weight and felt completely miserable-my back hurts constantly, my energy level is zero, vacuuming my living room is a chore...
We are making a trip to my husband's home town and I will be meeting his family for the first time in May. I am embarrassed to have them meet me at this weight- I am ashamed of myself.
So, I decided that I wouldn't have much fun with my "retirement" money if I stay at this weight (or continue to get bigger as I have been)
I might not even make it to retirement if I develop serious health problems...
"Weight Loss Surgery May Add Years to Life."
Surgery date tentatively scheduled the week of June 16th. I had an endoscopy last year and they're going to look at the results and see if I need another one.
4/24 Pysch eval today and it went fine. Doing my sleep study tonight. The only thing still hanging out there is the endoscopy. I have been quite anxious the past couple of days. Feeling depressed and I'm not sure why.
4/28 My surgery date is SET ~ June 20th. I have to be in San Diego on June 17th for pre-ops and will have to stay in San Diego until June 27th.I have composed a letter to my sister to explain to her what I am doing and why- I decided to break the news to her via email and hopefully eliminate that initial reaction of shock and negativity and by the time she has a few moments to think about it she will support me, even if she doesn't agree or understand completely.....
May 5, 2002 ~~ I was worried about my Sister for nothing, her reaction was to offer support and to come to San Diego with me for the time that my husband will not be able to be there. I don't know why I was worried, I know that she is a wonderful, kind person and she would never do or say anything to hurt me~~
I also received support from my husbands family when we visited and I realize that the embarrassment and shame I feel comes from within me.... not necessarily from what anyone else projects toward me.
As far as the surgery goes, just playing the waiting game... which is really difficult for me....
(I don't wait well)
June 19th ~ Just waiting for the big day tomorrow...
I arrived in San Diego on Sunday- had pre-op tests at the Alvarado Center on Monday (ultra sound, chest x-ray, etc) then spent 2 days having fun with my sister. My husband arrived today and I'm really glad he's here, it's such a comfort. This afternoon, I'm running back and forth to the bathroom (bowel prep) WAHOO!
I am so glad that my big day will be here so soon~
July 19th ..... Almost a month post-op. I had complications and had to have a 2nd emergency surgery on June 25th.
On the 24th, I was having severe pain and my JP bag was filling up at a fast rate with black liquid. Within a couple hours, I was back on the operating table. I was in ICU for 5 days and then moved to a regular floor for 5 more days.
We had planned to fly back to WA on June 27th and didn't make it back until July 11th. That was pretty rough and it has slowed my recovery. I've only been home a little over a week. The second surgery was "open" so I will have several more weeks before that heals. I was quite surprised to find out that for my surgeon "open" means OPEN... she removed the staples before I left the hospital. So, I actually have an open incision on my stomach. My husband has to change the dressings twice a day (now I really know how much he loves me). I've had a lot of nausea and am really sore, but everyday gets better.
Sept 11 ~ Doing much better now. I have been battling low potassium for about 2 months now. I have to take a nasty tasting liquid potassium. Low potassium is very serious, if it gets too low your heart can stop beating! It causes muscle weakness, mental confusion, and irritability. Although, the liquid potassium is vile tasting, it has been helping me get my strength and energy back. I have lost 57 pounds during these 3 months. I am down from size 22/24 to size 16. I was on a 4 week plateau, which was very discouraging. But, I finally broke through that this week and lost another 2 pounds. I broke the 200's! I am now down to 199.
11/27/2002 My potassium has finally "normalized" (no more of that yucky tasting liquid!). My incision is finally closed. I am still having some soreness around the area. I am down to 179. That's 76 pounds in a little over 5 months. I am down from a size 22/24 to a size 14. I am feeling much better. I have so much more energy than before. I find myself doing so many more things - shopping, cleaning, just wanting to do more ANYTHING...
1/19/03 I am 7 months post-op and down 90 pounds. I am feeling good. I am happy with my decision.
I have made a great on-line friend. At the end of December, I posted a message of support to a surgery page (as I've done hundreds of time) and started up an e-mail conversation with Cheryl from CT. We found that we have a lot in common (and might actually be twins that were separated at birth). Although I am her Angel, she has been supporting me through some stressful times at work. Her surgery is scheduled for April 2nd. I think I'm almost as excited for her as she is. I just can't wait until she starts realizing some of her dreams. We have become fast and great friends. We have even planned to meet in New York City in August. Our plan is to go to a Broadway play and do some sightseeing (and maybe some shopping). But one of the biggest highlights we've planned is to go to the Today Show. Cheryl said we should make signs that say, "Al, We used to be fat, too and look at us hotties now." We think we should try to get Al Roker to take us to lunch (we could all probably share one meal) - haha.
NYC BLAST PHOTOS
3/29/03 I am 9 months post-op and down almost 100 pounds.
6/19/2003 Well, tomorrow will be my one year anniversary. It has not been an easy year. First the major complication with the kink in my bowel- which required a second emergency surgery. That had to be about the scariest night of my life (and my husband will tell you that it most definately was the scariest night of HIS life). It made my recovery much more difficult. I had months of not being able to eat, nausea, and weakness. At my 3 month blood test they found out I had low potassium (dangerously low- in fact, they almost put me back in the hospital) Then I had to take this VILE tasting liquid potassium for months. And now at one year, I am low on potassium again and must go back on the liquid. But, with all this would I do it again? YES.... I have lost 110 pounds and by doing that I have gained so much- some of which are just little things to most people but, to most of us we understand how big they can be.
Would I do it all over again- you bet.
August 20, 2003 ~~ I have been snacking (almost uncontrollably). I realize that I definately still have some "issues" with food. I still want to turn to food for comfort~~ when I am nervous, when I am bored, when I am anxious~~ I still want to EAT. I do feel that I am addicted to food (still am and always will be). I made the mistake of trying some "sugar free, fat free" fudgesicles. I started out with one, then I bought a box and I was having 2 at a time. Then I bought some "light" ice cream. Yesterday was like the old days~~ I got out the quart and dug my spoon right in (yes, without even bothering with a bowl) AND I did it twice yesterday! Yesterday morning I weighed 139 and today when I got on the scale I was 144! OMG. Needless to say, I went right to the freezer and threw away the rest of the ice cream. I am terrified that I will not be able to maintain my weight loss. In the past, I have lost large amounts of weight- and once I was able to keep it off for about a year. I am still "white knuckling" about being able to maintain my weight loss. I am still obsessed with my weight and still obsessed with what I eat.
My biggest fear is being a failure AGAIN. I honestly don't know what I will do if I am not able to keep this weight off. I know that I am going to have to get back to the basics:
WATER, WATER, WATER
In my last entry I was freaked out because I thought I had gained weight - this is kind of funny.... I figured out that when I had been cleaning the bathroom the day before, I had inadvertantly moved the scale so that it read 5 pounds heavy.... pheff what a relief.
I am down 5 more pounds. I reached my own personal goal of 137 (that was where my BMI finally reached NORMAL). I am NORMAL! And in fact, have gone below my goal and I am down to 134. I am only 9 pounds away from my ideal weight of 125.
I am still snacking frequently, but I am still losing weight (slowly, but still losing) and I am about at the point where I'm more interested in maintaining than losing much more.
I am getting ready for Christmas. I am have lost a couple more pounds. I am down to 129 now. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined! We are getting ready to go ND, SD and WY for Christmas. My husband's family has not seen me for a year and since then I have lost 40 more pounds. His sister was amazed when she saw me last Christmas and I was down to 170 from 255. She just couldn't believe it. I wonder what she'll think now.
January 1, 2004
Well, it's a new year and I really hope that it will be an easier year than 2003 (some personal difficulties).
We had a wonderful time on our vacation and it seems that "Magic Moments" just keep happening!
We went to a club in ND to see a band that my DH, Alan, used to play with (he was a professional musician for 30 years). So, it wasn't too long before they got him up on stage, of course, to perform. That left me sitting at a table all by myself (which I am accustomed to from being a musicians wife). Alan's best friend showed up later and came over and asked me to dance. When we got out on the floor he asked, "why is such a pretty lady sitting all by herself"..... and then I realized that he didn't recognize me even though he had met me the last 2 years that we were in ND for Christmas. So, I laughed and told him that I was Alan's wife and his reply was, "oh Sh_t"....... I had changed so much over the past 2 years (from a size 22/24 to a size 6/8) that several people didn't recognize me. I was quite proud of the fact, I didn't get asked to dance just cause I was his friend's wife and he felt sorry for me sitting alone. I can remember going out all too many times when I was younger and sitting at the table while all the skinny, pretty girls danced and I got the job of watching their purses. It's hard to believe how excruciatingly long a song can be when you are sitting all by yourself, humiliated and ashamed that no one wants to dance with you.
This was the first Christmas that I asked for clothes. Before I lost weight, I prayed that no one would give me clothes - for 2 reasons - if they got the size right, it was embarrassing - and if they got the size wrong, (always too small,) it was embarrassing..... This year, I did have to return a pair of jeans that I got for Christmas, but somehow it's ok to return a pair of size 8 jeans because they are too big!
Another difference this year, is that I actually got on my DH that I was the one taking all the pictures during our Christmas gatherings and so I wasn't in any of them. I used to run and hide from the camera. If I did get trapped into having a photo taken, I always tried to grab a kid and put them on my lap to "try" to hide behind (like i could hide behind this skinny little 6 year old). For those of you who have asked, we still haven't gotten the picture back from the Christmas party.
On our way to ND we stopped in Billings and got the opportunity to meet one of my on-line AMOS friends, MaryKay. She and her son met us at a restaurant and we talked and talked just like we'd known each other for years and years. MaryKay had her surgery in June and is down almost 100 pounds! She is a real inspiration!
Pics of me and MaryKay (and her son)
I have been so busy working on the book and still trying to continue everything else - keeping up with the message board, posting to surgery pages, and still sprucing up a few profiles.
I have found a couple of low carb/low sugar "treats" that I love:
Krusteaz Orange Cranberry Muffins
Keto Funky Chunky Ice Cream (cherry ice cream w/cherries & chunks of chocolate)
Keto Tammy's Triple Blessings (vanilla ice cream w/pecan toffee crunch and caramel swirls)
A delicious combination is the Brownies with some a little bit of the Funky Chunky Ice Cream on top (I can only eat a small piece - about 3 bites)
Strawberry Cheesecake Protein Drink:
Crush 3 ice cubes in blender
add 6 oz water or fat free milk
add 4 frozen strawberries (no sugar added or syrup)
add 2 tablespoons of reduced fat cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
add a serving of any vanilla protein drink.
You can substite other fruit such as raspberries, banana, etc.
I also love to set it in the freezer for awhile and get it not quite frozen, but with ice crystals in it.
It's not the same as a cheesecake- but it has that flavor.
July 3, 2004
I have been doing fairly well, although June was a very emotional month. What with Momma Angel passing away on June 10th and my aunt passing away on June 15th. I kind of became the "go between" with Momma Angel's family and OH. I just got letters today from both of Momma's daughter's, Amy and Becky. They were so comforted by all the posts and emails to them about Momma Angel. The first set that I set them just happened to arrive the afternoon before Paula passed. They were able to realize how much she was loved by us all and Momma Angel was able to hear them. Even though she was in a coma, Becky said that when she started reading the posts, Paula smiled.
Momma Angel was an icon on ObesityHelp. Paula Bazan was her real name and she joined OH in the Spring of 2002. She struggled with one stumbling block after another for a year trying to have her surgery. She spent that year, not dwelling on her own problems, but offering support and encouragement to other members. After she had all the problems ironed out,she made a personal decision not to have bariatric surgery, and yet, she remained a part of the ObesityHelp family.
She gave her time freely and unselfishly, making it her duty to welcome and sign every new member's surgery page and became known as Momma Angel. (I sign new member's pages, also- and sometimes, I just tried to post to a page before Paula would~ but, it seemed like she always beat me to it.) Although the message she sent was simple, it touched so many of us as we were feeling scared of the journey we faced. She not only welcomed thousands of new members, She let us all know that we were not alone. She made sure everyone had support from other members before their surgery. Paula made all ObesityHelp members feel special and loved. She gave countless members the faith that they could achieve their goals and reach for their dreams. She truly was an angel to those facing their weight-loss surgery journey. Our beloved Momma Angel passed away on June 10, 2004 from complications brought on by pneumonia. Momma Angel will forever be missed and always remembered.
I hope that everyone does their best to carry on Momma Angel's mission in life~ to give back to others and help someone along their journey.
At Day's End
Is anyone happier because you passed his way?
Does anyone remember that you spoke to him today?
The day is almost over and it's toiling time is through;
Is there anyone to utter now a kindly word of you?
Can you say tonight in parting with the day that's slipping fast,
That you helped a single brother of the many that you passed?
Is a single heart rejoicing over what you did or said? --
Does the man whose hopes were fading, now with courage look ahead?
Did you waste the day or lose it? Was it well or sorely spent?
Did you leave a trail of kindness or a scar of discontent?
As you close your eyes in slumber, do you think that God will say,
"You have earned one more tomorrow by the work you did today?"
by John Hall
Click Here for Momma Angel's Obituary
(You can still leave a message on her guest book for the family)
On a personal note, I was sick for about 2 weeks in May with a sinus infection and I lost another 8 pounds. That has taken me down to 121. It wasn't fun the way I lost it, but it gives me more of a "cushion" to work with, just in case I fluctuate a few pounds.
When I was in Omaha for my Aunt Alice's funeral, another Aunt told me that I was "too thin, I looked sick, I looked TERRIBLE, and that I needed to gain a least 10 pounds." I really didn't know what to say to that. I just told her that I had been sick recently and lost 8 pounds very quickly. I was worried that maybe I did look sickly, but no one wanted to mention it to me, but everyone else I ask says that I look great. So, I am going to take her comment with a grain of salt. (next time I see her, I should tell her that she needs to LOSE about 70 pounds... except, I would NEVER say something that insensive)
The book is coming along (although, I wish it was done). I am getting very excited. So many people are contacting me and anxious to get it. Can't wait until I'm done.
I had my 2nd year anniversary while I was at my aunt's funeral. When I got back home, I had tons of well wishes on my surgery page. Thanks to Alice for remembering me to everyone. It meant a lot to come home to all that encouragement and love.
Thanks to eveyone who posted.
Nov 14th, 2004
Went to Spokane today and got to have lunch with 2 of my OH friends, Kikki and Calvin. It was so much fun to meet them! Kikki gave me a beautiful bracelet that she made with an angel on it. I will cherish it forever.
Oct 24th, 2004
Found out last week that I have a hernia (pretty good sized one). I had actually gone to a plastic surgeon to talk about a TT and he found it (there really wasn't any "finding" - he could see it without even feeling for it). So, then I had the choice of doing the hernia at the same time as doing a TT. I wasn't exactly impressed with the surgeon that I saw, first of all. He wasn't interested in working with me regarding insurance (which I'm not sure I could get approval for medical necessity).
But, my issue right now if insurance, my DH might be laid off at the end of Dec and so, I decided that I'd better get the hernia surgery taken care of without delaying waiting for insurance approval for the PS. I am having it done locally.
So, my hernia surgery is scheduled for Nov 3rd. Right after we get back from the OH National Conf in LA.
I am excited about going to LA and getting to me so many of my OH friends. Can't wait to post all the pics!
11/25/04 Happy Turkey Day
We had a wonderful time in LA at the conference. The conference was good, but the best was meeting so many people that I have "known" for so long on OH. After the conf I also got a chance to meet another great OH member, Vi. She was just the greatest - we met her at her work for lunch (which just happens to be at Fox Studios). We had a nice long lunch and talked up a storm and then she had arranged for us to get a VIP tour of the studios. We got to see the sets of some shows, including Judging Amy and NYPD Blues (yeah, it's filmed in CA, not NY). They were also filming a scene while we were there- that was so exciting. Thanks to Vi, we really did feel like VIPs that day.Since I had my hernia surgery the day after we got back, I've been slow to get the pics up- maybe that would be a good project for today. We are not having a big Thanksgiving as DH has to work and my family is all back in South Dakota.
Had my hernia surgery right after we got back from LA. The surgery went well - they actually found another hernia while they were in there and fixed it, too. I feel like I'm having a slow recovery, though. I had a low grade fever off and on. Now I've got a bulge that I'm feeling in the area where the hernia was. It's uncomfortable and I'm having the tendancy to walk a little bit hunched over. I go to the surgeon again on Tues. So, hopefully, I will find out what it is.
I am still having some problems with my hernia repair. I have another bulge that has developed - the surgeon is "hoping" that it's not another hernia. It has gone from discomfort to pain, though and they are getting me in this afternoon to take a look at it.
I had a Cat Scan on my bulge and determined for sure that it is not a hernia, it is scar tissue. The pain was caused when I over exherted when stripping and waxing my floors.
Yesterday Al and I drove to Spokane to meet some OH friends for lunch. We got to meet Michelle (Southern Bandster) from TN, who was in Spokane visiting her sweetie, Calvin. Kiki arranged a wonderful 1/2 circle booth facing the Spokane Falls for a spectacular view. When we all slid into the booth, I commented that a year ago we wouldn't have all ben able to fit into that booth. We figured out that between Kiki, Calvin, Michelle, and myself we had lost over 600 pounds! We had a fantastic time.
Spokane New Years Eve Lunch Pictures
DH is getting laid off in about 2 weeks and we have decided to take the opportunity to move back home the end of January. We are both from the Dakotas (me South Dakota and DH North Dakota). My Mom just bought a duplex in Spearfish SD and we are going to rent here unused 1/2 until we find a place of our own. We were lucky and we got our house here in WA sold the day after we put it on the market. It is going to be a hectic month with the move and trying to get the book finished.
Happy New Year to everyone. 2005 will be the Neva's year of adventure!
Our new puppy Sandee
WOW - I can't believe that I haven't updated my profile since last January..... (shame on me)
Well, we made out move from WA to SD. We moved in with my mom in her downstairs of her condo. The downstairs was unfinished and so my DH and I "finished" it (my DH built walls, ceilings, put in a bathroom).
I got a part time job at Premier credit card company call center working in customer service.
In July, DH and I decided to open a used book store in Spearfish. WOW, what a huge undertaking.... going to yard sales, library sales, etc trying to buy enough books to get started. We found a location above a coffee shop right on main street in a historic building. At first we were afraid that we would never have enough books to fill our 1,000 sq feet location. We opened in Oct, 2005 with about 3,000 books. Now, less than 6 months later, we have more than 13,000 books and we are running out of space in our location. We have had our up days and our down days... but, we are doing OK.
I got my book printed and it arrived in December. It was kind of amazing to me, that I did it... I actually wrote a book.. I actually got it printed.... and it actually looks good (like a REAL book).... I have had nothing but good reviews about the book. and that makes me very proud. I am just touched so much when I get an email or note from someone who says that the book helped them. My only desire is that the book will help people on their journey.
NEW BEFORE AND AFTER PICTURES
(San Diego, CA) - Alvarado Hospital
Crystal Light - Tangerine Strawberry
Weight Loss Survey Responses
Click Here To View
Computers & Internet - Spend WAY TOO MUCH time on the internet......
Pets - Had a cocker spaniel Simon for 14 years - he died of old age last Thanksgiving
Dogs - Have a new little baby - an apricot Toy Poodle (that I got from the shelter!)
Motorcycles - After losing 111 pounds, we got a Goldwing! STURGIS RALLY 2004!
Writing - Am writing a WLS book - to be out sometime in the Fall of 2004
Web Development - Member of the htmlhelp team- love to create profile pages
Radio & Television - I am a TVaholic
Football - I am a die hard Denver Bronco Fan (love John Elway)
Married - to the love of my life! He was VERY supportive of my WLS!
Renaissance Festivals - I love scrapbooking- but, I haven't done much lately
Click here to see interests of other ObesityHelp members.
Surgeon: Julie Ellner, M.D.
Dr Ellner was very attentive. We met before surgery and she took time to show me what
would happen to my "insides" because of the
surgery. She answered all my questions
and I never felt rushed.
Four days after my surgery, I experienced intense pain and my JP bag was filling with
black liquid. My husband called the on call nurse and was told to get me to ER.
By the time we got there, Dr Ellner was on
the phone with the ER physician ordering tests.
By the time my tests were completed, Dr Ellner was at ER and we were back in surgery
very shortly after that.
During my additional stay in the hospital after the 2nd surgery, Dr Ellner
actually gave me her private cell phone number.
She is not only a great DR, but she is a wonderful person. I felt that
cared about me very much and I really appreciated the care that she gave me.
The entire staff at Alvarado has been great. They have followed up with me post-op.
Premera Blue Cross
One of my co-workers had the surgery last year and after going through all the hassles
of trying to get them to approve. She finally gave up and paid for it herself. They
have very specific written exclusions and the Dr that I contacted also said that they have,
had the experience that Premera Blue Cross will NOT approve the surgery.