I am 36 years old, single with no children. I am the youngest of three children. I have been overweight all my life. Growing up, I remember my parents being slightly overweight, never morbidly obese. I am 5'9" weighing in at 475lbs, my all time high. I wear a ladies plus size 30/32. My BMI is 70, which puts me in the "super obese" category. As for my health, I suffer from asthma, depression, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis and menstrual irregularities. Over the years, I have tried dieting, nutritionists/dieticians, gym memberships, Physicians Weightloss Center, Dr. prescribed, Phen Fen, Xenical, Meridia... not to mention otc diet aids such as Slimfast, Hydroxycut, Dexatrim and who could forget the "Cabbage Soup Diet"? On a daily basis, I take about 15 prescription pills to keep me going. I am tired of just existing. I have got to get rid of this excess weight if I want to LIVE! At this point, WLS is my only hope. Unfortunately for me, my health insurance has a written exclusion pertaining to WLS even if other health conditions may be improved by the reduction of weight. Self-pay is obviously out of the question. Just as I was about to give up, I asked the Lord to help me find a way. Thank you Jesus, for answering my prayers. I remembered that when I had to take a medical leave of absence because of my health about six years ago, my LTD coverage offered some Voc Rehab services to me. So, I called my local Vocational Rehabilitation Office to schedule an appointment to see if I was eligible for services.
~1/26/06~ Went to my VR appointment today. I spoke with a counselor and filled out the appropriate paper work. I was advised that it could take as long as sixty days for a decision but to give her a call if I had not heard from her in 2wks. I hate waiting...
~2/14/06~ Well Happy Valentines' Day to me, my VR counselor, Shannon called and informed me that I was eligible for services. Thank you Lord for blessing me. Now I get to look for a surgeon. Wish me luck!
~2/25/06~ I traveled to Morehead City, NC, which is about an hour away for my first WLS consultation. I met with Rhonda, from Way Surgical Associates, who is a Bariatric Coordinator. She emphasized that morbid obesity is a disease, not a lack of will power. Rhonda recommends anyone considering WLS read the book " Weight Loss Surgery For Dummies" by authors Kurian/Thompson/Davidson. I ordered mine on line from walmart.com, waiting to receive it. Because Dr. Brady C. Way only performs the open RNY, I have scheduled another consultation in Greenville, NC with ECU Physicians to see if I would be a candidate for the laparoscopic procedure. I have heard good things about the Bariatric surgeons at the Brody School of Medicine.
~2/27/06~ Went to Wilmington, NC, which is about a 1:30 minutes away, to see an Endocrinologist about my diabetes. My PCP just wants to make sure that it is under control prior to considering WLS. I had to get some blood work done. Dr. Ge-Zerbe put me on a new medication and gave me a new blood glucose machine so that I can start testing my blood sugar twice a day now. Have a follow up appointment in a month. Good news is I lost 4lbs. Probably because I just got over having strep throat and had trouble eating. Hurt so bad to swallow.
~2/28/06~ I finally received my book "Weight Loss Surgery For Dummies". It is a little over 300 pages. This book is worth having!
~3/6/06~ Went to Greenville, which is about a 1:35 minutes away, for my second WLS consult. This was a group orientation, which lasted about 2 1/2 hours. Bobbie Lou, which is the Bariatric Coordinator, spoke to the group as well as Lisa who covered routine questions about different types of health insurance coverage. I had to complete some medical history forms and weigh in. The information that I provided will be given to the surgeons for review so they can determine if I am a candidate for WLS or not. Once again, I have to wait...In the mean time; I am still reading my book.
~3/7/06~ Got a call from my Endocrinologist's office today, I was informed that my thyroid function is low. So now I have to start taking Synthroid, like I really needed another prescription! Soon I'll be able to open my own drug store...lol. I pray that I will be able to have surgery within the next few months so that I can stop taking most, if not all of my medications.
~3/13/06~ Good news! Got a call from Pam at the Brody School of Medicine in Greenville. She wanted to inform me, that I have an appointment scheduled on March 29th to meet with surgeon, Dr. Kenneth G. MacDonald, Jr. I actually met Dr. MacDonald two years ago, when I attended a pre-op consult with my friend, Maria M. from Jacksonville, who is also an OH member. I keep telling her to update her profile. She looks great!
~3/14/06~ Minor set back... spoke with my VR counselor today and she informed me that she cannot authorize my initial surgical evaluation until after she receives the medical records from my upcoming appointment with my Endocrinologist on 3/27/06. So I had to call and reschedule my appointment with Dr. MacDonald, which is now on 4/19. I must admit that I am a little disappointed but it is well worth the wait.
~3/16/06~ Nice surprise, my picture was added to my profile today, thanks to the volunteers at OH.
~3/27/06~ Good news! Had an appointment with my Endocrinologist today. My blood pressure was normal, I lost 9lbs and my glucose numbers look good. Next follow-up visit is in 3 months. Looking forward to my appointment with Dr. MacDonald on April 19th!
~4/7/06~ Got a call from my Endocrinologist today, my thyroid function is still low, so I have to increase my dosage of Synthroid from one pill a day to two a day. The sooner I can have WLS the happier I will be. I am tired of taking so many meds. I am starting to experience some hair loss; my doctor says that is normal, with the combination of meds and my thyroid. I know that my hair will eventually grow back but it is still a little depressing. I went out and brought a wig, something that I thought I would never do but I have received a lot of compliments on it. I don't wear it all the time because it makes my head hot; I am seriously considering just going to get a short haircut.
~4/12/06~ My niece and I attended a Diabetes education class today at my Endocrinologist office. It was very informative. I have been watching what I eat, avoiding anything high in carbs, sugar and sodium. I have eliminated regular soft drinks and started drinking lots of water, flavored water, crystal light and occasionally diet sodas. So far, my efforts can be seen in how well I have been maintaining my blood sugar. My nutritionist was very pleased. It has not been easy. It is so hard to break old habits but I know that I am worth it. I have a week until my appointment with Dr. MacDonald. I hope and pray that he says that I am a candidate for WLS.
~4/19/06~ Had my consult with Dr. MacDonald today. I got stuck in traffic so I was about 30 minutes late for my appointment. I was afraid that I may have to reschedule but I didn't, thank God. Bobbie Lou, who is the Bariatric coordinator, came in first to talk to my sister and I about my medical history and said that Dr. MacDonald would be in shortly. Well shortly turned out to be a little over an hour but I didn't care. I would have spent the night if I had to..lol. Dr. MacDonald explained the risks of the surgery and told me that I met the criteria for WLS. After a brief exam he explained that I would have to have the open RNY but if I lost at least 50 lbs. that he may be able to change it to laparoscopic. He wanted to know if I still wanted to proceed with surgery. Of course, I exclaimed! So he wrote up my orders to get my chest x-rays, EKG and ABG done. I must say that the ABG was a little uncomfortable but not as bad as I expected. Now I just have to wait for Bobbie Lou to send my appointments for the rest of my tests.
~4/24/06~ Received the rest of my pre-op appointments in the mail today! I am so excited and blessed to have this opportunity. My next pre-op appointment is on...
~5/10/06~ Endoscopy; all went well today. Dr. MacDonald actually performed the procedure himself. That made me feel at ease. He found that I have a Hiatal hernia, which has nothing to do with my weight, but it is causing my acid reflux. It will not prevent me from having surgery so I can proceed with the rest of my appointments.
~5/22/06~ Nutritional Eval; met with K. Segrave at Medical Park Associates in Greenville. I had to pay a $150.00 fee for the nutrition support program, which covers my pre-surgery assessment, a post-op class and all educational materials. I had to bring a three-day record of my food and beverage intake, which we discussed. She was very nice and I received a lot of valuable information. I will not have to meet with her again until I am at least 3 to 4 months post-op.
~6/1/06~ Psychological Eval with J. Williams at the Pain Management Center in Greenville. If you have an appointment scheduled here make sure that you are on time! My appointment was at 12 noon. I was about 20 minutes late for my appointment because of traffic from Jacksonville to Greenville. I also had a little trouble finding the building. I attempted to call several times to let some one know that I would be a few minutes late. Unfortunately, I kept getting the automated answering service. Anyway, once I did arrive the receptionist advised me of their policy that if you are more than 15 minutes late that you have to reschedule your appointment. I was truly upset because I had no prior knowledge of this policy. I kept my head though. I simply asked the receptionist if she could check to see if I could be seen and that I was willing to wait. Luckily, Dr. Williams agreed to see me. As far as I can tell everything went well. I guess I am not crazy after all...lol.
~6/5/06~ I had my Upper GI, Gall Bladder Ultrasound and Lab Work done today. The only complaint that I have is about the barium that you have to drink for the Upper GI. It is like drinking chalk...gross! I am glad that is over with. My next appointments are on...
~6/19/06~ Pulmonary Eval completed. My breathing test went well but my ABG was abnormal, so I have been scheduled for a sleep study to confirm possible sleep apnea. I am not discouraged. God has brought me this far so I know that he will see me through.
~6/26/06~ All went well with my Anesthesia Consult. After being examined, the anesthesiologist said that I would not need a tracheotomy so that was good news to me! He also believes that I have sleep apnea. This was supposed to be my last pre-op test but now I have to wait for my sleep study appointment. Once that is over, I look forward to getting my surgery date.
~7/12/06~ Sleep study completed. This was definitely a new experience. It took me a minute to adjust to having all of those electrodes attached to me. I had to sleep on my back or side, which was difficult for me at times because I usually sleep on my stomach. I'm just glad that it is over. Now I have to wait for my results.
~7/31/06~ Initial consult at sleep center. Well I got my test results today. I have sleep apnea. I stopped breathing 262 times in one night! I think that I am still in shock. I have to have another sleep study, this time with the CPAP machine so the doctor can prescribe one for home use.
~8/6/06~ Second sleep study completed. My tech said that all went well once she was able to adjust the CPAP to keep my airway open. Wearing the facial mask is something that I have to get use to. It is not the most comfortable thing in the world.
~8/15/06~ I received my CPAP machine today. Just a note...VR does not cover the cost of this machine. My health insurance does not cover gastric bypass but it will cover 80% of the CPAP. I am responsible for the remaining 20%. I am glad that I have met my deductible for the year.
~8/21/06~ Follow up appointment at Sleep center with Dr. Lee. My second sleep study results with the CPAP were much better. No follow up is needed for 12 months. I am hoping that my weight loss after surgery will be significant enough that I will not need CPAP. I am still adjusting to wearing the mask when I sleep.
~8/22/06~ Decision visit with Dr. MacDonald went well. After Dr. MacDonald reviewed my test results, he examined my abdomen and decided that he can perform the lap RNY instead of the open. I am so excited!! I have lost about 30 lbs pre-op. Bobby Lou advised me that she would be sending all my information to VR to get approval for surgery.
~8/25/06~ Spoke with Shannon at VR. She told me that she received all the information that she needed from Dr. MacDonald's office and that she would be faxing the authorization for surgery today!
~8/28/06~ I called Dr. MacDonald's office to see if they had received the authorization from VR and if my surgery had been scheduled yet. I had to leave a message of course. Sandy from Dr. MacDonald's office called me back a few hours later to let me know that my surgery would be on SEPTEMBER 8TH! I FINALLY HAVE A DATE! I CAN HARDLY BELIEVE IT! I just thank God for blessing me with this opportunity. My last pre-op lab work is scheduled for September 5th. I also have to bring a family member or support person with me to meet Dr. MacDonald or they will cancel my surgery. So far, my Mom, my boyfriend and my sister are planning to go with me. Is that support or what? I informed my employer about my surgery so my last day at work will be September 4th. I am so glad that I have short and long term disability coverage at work.
~9/5/06~ Pre-op lab work completed and I am ready for surgery. Just three days to go!
~9/8/06~ Today is the day that I have been waiting for for so long. I have to be at the hospital at 5:15 am. My surgery is scheduled for 7:30 am. My mom, sister, boyfriend and aunt are all going to the hospital with me this morning. I am not scared or nervous. Just ready to go! I pray that all goes well.
~9/10/06~ Well I am two days post op. I was just discharged from the hospital this evening. My surgery went well. No complications. Dr. MacDonald performed the lap RNY. I am so glad that it is over. I can now look forward to recovery. Feeling a little tired from the ride home. I will update later.
~9/12/06~ Had an appointment with my PCP today. He took me off of my BP, diabetes, acid reflux and arthritis meds. I still have to test my blood sugar twice a day to make sure that I don't have any highs or lows.
~9/15/06~ One week post-op and doing fine considering. I am still a little sore. I have to give myself Lovenox injections twice a day to prevent blood clots and of course I am on pain medication. I am still adjusting to being on a liquid diet. I really don't have much of an appetite so getting in all of my liquids is hard some times. I have started walking. I have to admit that I have experienced a few mood swings. I was told that this is normal with this kind of surgery. Thank God my family has been so supportive.
~9/22/06~ Well I am 2 weeks post -op. I can already see a change in my appearance. My face and upper body is slimming down and my clothing is loose. My incisions seem to be healing well. I had some concern over the appearance of two of them so I called Dr. MacDonald's office. After speaking with one of his nurses, she assured me that I was fine and that it sounded like my body was reacting to the staples and not to be alarmed. I am scheduled for my 2-week follow-up appointment on September 26th. I should get my staples removed then and move on to stage 2 of my diet as well as begin on my vitamin supplements. I can't wait to see how much weight I have lost in the last two weeks. I weighed 445lbs the morning of my surgery.
~9/26/06~ Got my staples out today! I have lost 17lbs. post-op, which puts me at 428lbs. I get to start on stage 2 of my diet. I am looking forward to having something besides liquids. I am now on the following vitamin supplements; chewable multivitamins, sublingual vitamin B12, ferrous sulfate elixir and calcium citrate. My next follow up appointment is scheduled for October 10th.
~9/27/06~ Today has been a challenge. I went to the grocery store yesterday and purchased the types of foods that I should be eating now. Unfortunately my stomach is not cooperating. I have been sick on the stomach most of the day. I have decided to drink my Boost Plus and water for the rest of the day. I will try foods again tomorrow.
~10/3/06~ I have been on stage 2 (soft foods) for a week now and I am still having trouble with keeping some foods and liquids down. I think that I prepared myself for everything except for this. I know in time things will get better. God has not brought me this far to leave me now.
~10/8/06~ Well, I am one month post-op and anxious to see how much weight I have lost. I am continuing to have difficulty with keeping foods and liquids down; I fear that I may have a stricture.
~10/10/06~ I went to my 4 week post-op appointment today. Todays weight, 417.5 lbs. I have lost 11 more pounds. Dr. MacDonald is out of town so I spoke with Dr. Chapman. He agrees with me that I may have a stricture or possibly an ulcer that is causing me to vomit so much. I will be having an Endoscopy tomorrow morning to see exactly what the problem may be.
~10/11/06~ Dr. Chapman performed my Endoscopy this morning and discovered that I did have a stricture. He was able to correct the problem. I am now back on liquids for a week.
~10/19/06~ Well, it has been a week since I had my Endoscopy. I started back on soft foods today. So far, so good. Only time will tell.
~10/21/06~ I had a major scare today! I was on my way outside, to go for a walk, when I slipped and fell out the door. Luckily, I landed on my bottom. Nothing is broken. I am sore and I'm sure that I will have some nice bruises by the morning.
~11/7/06~ Went to my 2 month post-op appointment today. I am still having a few issues with keeping food down. My fluid intake has improved. I was a little anxious today to see how much I weighed, which was 409lbs. I was a little disappointed because that was only eight pounds lost since my last appointment. I am not discouraged. I know it takes time. I am thankful for every pound lost. Dr. MacDonald has scheduled another Endoscopy for me on the 15th. Hopefully, this will be the last one that I need.
~11/8/06~ I had my annual appointment with my OBGYN today. Although it is necessary, I always dread going. There was no change in my weight.
~11/15/06~ I have to be at PCMH by 9 am because my Endoscopy is scheduled for 10 am. This is my second post-op procedure. Dr. MacDonald assured me that all went well and that I shouldnt be having any more problems with my stricture. I pray that this is true. Vomiting and having dry heaves is the worst. Other than that, I really have no complaints.
~11/21/06~ I had my 2 month post-op appointment with my Endocrinologist today. My diabetes is still being managed with no meds! Thank God.
~11/29/06~ MY 37th BIRTHDAY! I thank God for allowing me to live to see another year. With my surgery behind me and my health continuing to improve, I now look forward to many more birthdays to come.
~12/3/06~ Returned to work after a 3 month absence. I am glad to be back. Because I work third shift and stand on my feet for eight hours a night I definitely have some adjusting to do. My ankles are swollen and my muscles are sore. Myoflex (pain relief cream) is about to become my best friend. (LOL)
~12/12/06~ Had my 3 month post-op appointment today. Today's weight is 397 lbs. Twelve more pounds gone. Not as much as I expected to have lost but I am happy with that number for now.
I was hoping that I would get the chance to see Dr. MacDonald since he will be leaving the Brody School of Medicine this month. I met with Dr. Barker instead. He emphasized that I need to eat more protein. Easy for him to say. I still have trouble eating meat at times especially beef and chicken. I do okay with fish and shrimp. Dr. Barker suggests that I exercise 7 days a week instead of the 3 to 4 days that I am walking. He also expects for me to lose 50 more pounds within the next three months.
~12/21/06~ I had my first mammogram today at the request of my OBGYN. Since I have been losing weight, what's left of my breasts appear to be full of lumps. The technician suggested that the lumps are probably glandular resulting from my weight loss. I pray that she is right. I will feel better once I get my results back.
~12/25/06~ Well it's Christmas day. All my family has assembled together to eat dinner and to exchange gifts. All except for my brother who has been in the hospital since December 10th. He was diagnosed with liver cancer back in April. My sister and I took him a minature christmas tree yesterday so he could have a tree in his room.
~1/9/07~ Alot has happened since my last post. Unfortunately my brother passed away on December 28th. He was only 55 years old. Celebrating the New Year was the last thing on my mind. My mom, sister and I had to plan my brother's funeral.
~ 1/11/07~ I had an appointment with my PCP today for a routine follow-up. I weigh 389 lbs. I was a little disappointed that I have only lost eight pounds since last month. I won't complain because losing weight for me is better than gaining weight any day.
~2/8/07~ Well I am 5 months post-op today. Nothing really to report. I am still trying to increase my protein intake. I feel like I might be experiencing a plateau. Special Kay was nice enough to send me a copy of a plateau buster diet. I have not started it yet but I plan to soon.
~2/9/07~ I received a message today from Rhonda, formerly with Way Surgical Associates. She just wanted to let me know that she had read my profile and saw her name. Also to let me know that she will be having a support group meeting here in Jacksonville February 21st. Rhonda now works with Dr. MacDonald at Southern Surgical in Greenville. It was such a surprise to hear from her. I plan to attend the meeting that is if I don't over sleep. I am a day sleeper so it is hard to get up sometimes, it's like waking up in the middle of the night.
~2/19/07~ Had an appointment with my OBGYN to get my depo today. To my surprise when I stepped on the scales to weigh it read 375 lbs. Wow! 100 lbs. gone. How exciting! I have lost a small person...lol.
~3/22/07~ Just a weight update, down 13 more pounds at 362 lbs.
~7/2/07~ Had a follow appointment with my PMCP today. My blood pressure, blood sugar is normal. Still off of my meds. I should be excited but I am disappointed that I have only lost 13 lbs in that last three months...talk about hitting a plateau!
~9/8/07~ Well today is my one year anniversary! I weigh 336 lbs, which is a weight loss of 139 lbs. I have a lot to be thankful for. My health as well as my overall outlook on life has improved drastically.
I enjoyed meeting with Dr. MacDonald. He is a very knowledgeable surgeon. He doesnot sugar coat the facts. He is serious and straight forward. I like that. I don't want to be entertained by someone who is going to cut me open.