Estela R.
Pharr, TX, USA
Post Op - Planning a revision - BMI: 47.7
Surgery Type: RNY
Member ID: Rosales949213492
Surgeon: Ashraf A. Hilmy, M.D.


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Click here for the 04/2001 Reunion Page
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Weight on date of surgery:
April 9, 2001: 278# BMI 46
2 wks--4/24/01: 250# (-28#) BMI 42 (lost 21% of excess)
6 wks--5/22/01: 236# (-42#) BMI 39 (lost 32% of excess)
3 mos--7/09/01: 220# (-58#) BMI 37 (lost 45% of excess)
4 mos--8/09/01: 214# (-64#) BMI 36 (lost 53% of excess)
5 mos--9/09/01: 206# (-72#) BMI 34 (lost 56% of excess)
6 mos--10/9/01: 199# (-79#) BMI 33 (lost 62% of excess)
7 mos--11/9/01: 196# (-82#) BMI 33 (lost 64% of excess)
8 mos--12/9/01: 189# (-89#) BMI 32 (lost 69% of excess)
9 mos--01/9/02: 190.5#(-87.5#)BMI 32 (lost 68%-too many cookies!)
10mos--02/9/02: 183# (-95#) BMI 31 (lost 74% of excess)
11mos--03/9/02: 180# (-98#) BMI 30.9 (lost 76% of excess)
1 YR.--04/9/02: 176# (-102#)BMI 30 (lost 79% of excess)
16 mos-08/9/02: 170.5# (-107.5#)BMI 29.2 (lost 84% of excess)

The last time I was the same size as everyone else was in first grade. I started gaining weight when I was 7 and went on my first medically supervised diet when I was 10 yrs old.

So many memories haunt me regarding my excess weight. I hated P.E. in elementary school. Our coaches always picked 2 team captains and had them take turns choosing who they wanted on their team. I was always the last one picked. Poor captain who wound up with me; I could see the look of disappointment on their face when they realized they were stuck with me. In 5th grade the school nurse weighed all the girls in the gym. It seems everyone except me weighed either 80 or 90 lbs. I remember walking into my classroom and one of the class bullies yelled out, "Hey Chunky, is it true you weigh 120??" I could have died!

Most of my clothes was made by either my mom or a local seamstress. It was very hard to find clothes for me at a regular store. I have recollections of buying clothes at Sears, I think it was called "Pretty Plus" or something like that. HA!! I had an early start on the plus sizes. Even finding shoes was difficult. I very vividly remember wearing my mother's size 8 shoes in 4th grade!! Poor 9 year old in her mom's shoes :-(

The summer before I entered 6th grade, I was put on my first medically supervised diet, which of course meant diet pills. I weighed 131# when I started and I lost 19# by the time school started. However, by the same time the following year I was up to 170 and I kind of maintained that weight until I graduated from high school. One morning of my senior year I had just boarded the school bus when a smart-mouthed 7th grader yelled from the back of the bus, "Don't let her on, the bus will go flat!" I was so embarassed I just parked my butt at the edge of the first seat and almost fell over everytime the bus moved. I later found out that smart-mouthed kid turned into the biggest seller of pot to little kids. What a loser!

Over the years I used so many diet pills, most of them from just across the border in Mexico. I fluctuated between 170 and 235 during my 20's. I married at 23, had a gorgeous son born in 1980 and a beautiful daughter born in 1982, then divorced when I was 28. I've been a single parent since 1983. Around the time I was 34 I just said, "To heck with this, this is what my body wants to be like." and I quit dieting and I stopped weighing myself. I eventually reached my highest weight of 284 in 1998.

I rediscovered an interest in WLS in 1999 when Carnie Wilson brought this out into the open. I started researching a few months later. Here's my journey into WLS:

NOVEMBER 1999: Started researching, just curious.
DECEMBER 1999: Decided this was for me, finally said the words
out loud, "I'M MORBIDLY OBESE." and then I cried...
JANUARY 2000: First visit to surgeon.
MARCH 2000: Denied coverage by BCBS PPO of Texas...Disappointed,
depressed, wanted nothing to do with this for awhile. Took
my time to write an excellent appeal letter, only to find
out that come Sept 1st we would have new insurance.
SEPTEMBER 2000: Informed that all coverage would be exactly like
BCBS, but decided to request pre-approval. Promised we
would get benefits booklets within 2 wks.
NOVEMBER 2000: Company claims they have no record of my request.
Woman gave me hope when she said, "As of now it's not
covered, but have your surgeon get all your documentation
in." Still no booklets.
JANUARY 2001: 2nd request sent in to new insurance. Still no
booklets.
FEBRUARY 10, 2001: Denied by phone :-( Requested denial
letter so I could apply with Texas Rehabilitation Commission.
Still no booklets.
FEBRUARY 21, 2001: New booklets received. There it is!!
"Nothing covered for obesity...yadda, yadda, yadda...
Medically necessary charges for morbid obesity will be
covered." ALL RIGHT!!!
FEBRUARY 26, 2001: Called insurance. Asked why the denial
when I was looking at written coverage. Representative
claimed the books were hot off the press, not even SHE had
a copy, but YES, if that's what it said, it WOULD be
covered. Received copy of denial letter I had requested
last week...LOL Attached to it was a copy of the exclusion
from the old BCBS policy. Yep, they had said it would be
exactly like it, they even xeroxed the exclusion page.
MARCH 12, 2001: Surgeon's office called me. Insurance said
surgery would be covered if co-morbidities present. Yep,
hypertension, severe GERD, sleep apnea, possible herniated
disks, right hip arthritis.
MARCH 14, 2001: Tentative surgery date -- 4/9/2001 (Surgeon is
out, firm date will be set next week.)
MARCH 21, 2001: IT'S OFFICIAL!! I'M APPROVED FOR 4/9/2001!!!!

When I first started researching I figured I would have to go to San Antonio or Houston, TX to have surgery. I didn't know how I was going to ask my parents to accompany me out of town, and also ask them to live in a motel while I was there. But God would see to it that I would have this done in my own area.

In my research I came upon OSSG and zeroed in on the Texas group. I asked if anyone in that group knew of anyone from my area who might have had the surgery in San Antonio. One of the ladies told me she knew of a man who had had surgery about 4 months prior, but it was done close to my home, about 20 miles away!! One thing led to another and I was able to get in touch with this patient, and it was he who led me to Dr. Ashraf Hilmy in Weslaco, TX, who would eventually save my life.

All this time I told only my children and my parents about my intentions. I eventually told my 4 siblings, one at a time, once my surgery date was set. I only told 3 people at work because I didn't want to hear anything negative while I was researching. You know how people are, you bring up the subject and everyone seems to know of someone who had it done a L-O-N-G time ago and has suffered from negative side-effects. I wanted to go into this with a positive frame of mind and that's what I did.

My last couple of days pre-op were horrible!! I went to pre-register the morning of Thursday, 4/5/2001. At noon my surgeon's office called me. My insurance would not pre-certify me because I didn't have a psychiatric evaluation on file. No one from the insurance company had ever mentioned this, so off I flew to an appointment my surgeon had already made for me. The report was faxed to my insurance company then it was wait on edge for their response. Sparing you the long details of all the phone calls made, I was officially approved on Friday, 4/6/01. On Saturday I was very sick with so much nausea, vomiting & severe headache, even a slight fever. I was afraid my day was just NOT going to happen for me but by Sunday night it was all gone -- just a bug that was going around.

MONDAY, 4/9/01:
FINALLY, DAY OF SURGERY ...arrived at Knapp Medical Center in Weslaco, TX at 6 a.m. Shown to my room within an hour and given a gown to change into. I will admit to shedding 2 tears at the last moment. I asked myself what was I doing, but my fear only lasted for a couple of seconds. I gave thanks to God for finally getting me here and settled in for the preparations.

I was taken to the holding room at about 8 but didn't actually get into surgery until about 9. I will say one thing about me, I LOVE the anesthesia. I just knock out totally! I don't remember a thing!! I do remember waking up in recovery for a bit a mouthing to someone, "Thank you", and I meant thank you for making sure I woke up!!

It must have been around 4 p.m. when I woke up in my room and I felt simply wonderful! You wouldn't have known I had just had surgery. I was anxious to get up but no one listened to me. I had several visitors and I even applied lipstick so my son could take some pictures of me :-)

I found out later that day that Dr. Hilmy had said that I had the inside anatomy of a thin person and I would soon have the outside anatomy of one too. That was so good to hear. He said I had almost no signs inside of being morbidly obese. Usually the liver will be fatty as a result of morbid obesity, but mine wasn't. This enabled him to complete the surgery in a little less than 2 hrs.

TUESDAY, 4/10/01, DAY 2:
I was helped out of bed and it was very painful. That was my only complaint about the whole staff...this nurse raised my bed rather quickly and I told her to wait, that it hurt. Her response was, "Of course it's going to hurt." I made her slow down anyway till I felt good about getting up. I had the swallow test then had the nose tube removed, that was the most grossest thing I've ever felt!! It felt like a snake was coming up out of me!! Slept most of the day, even though they kept bringing me liquids and more liquids. Dr. Hilmy came in and asked if I wanted to go home! I said, "NO, it's too soon! I'll go home tomorrow!" I must have been doing exceptionally well. Oh, I learned how to operate the bariatric bed, so when I needed to get up I would take care of everything and then I'd call the nurses to come unhook me from all the wires.

WEDNESDAY, 4/11/01, DAY 3:
Doctor released me to go home, but by the time I was almost ready I needed more pain medication. It was a 25 minute drive so I didn't want to risk it. Nurse said I would have to stay one more hour after meds... I said no problem. I finally arrived at my parents at abut 2:30 p.m.

THURSDAY, 4/11/01 until TUESDAY, 4/24/01:
I recuperated for 2 wks at my parents home. I was given the best treatment and waited on hand and foot, mostly by my mom. My dad was always encouraging me. "How are you feeling today, better than yesterday?" was his usual greeting in the morning. I really don't know if to say my recovery was as well as could be expected or what. I had read so many people's journeys and some were good and some were not so good. I will say that it felt horrible to be so helpless for a while. I'd get into either the recliner or on the sofa and when it came time to get up I had no strength in my upper body. I cried a couple of times because I felt so helpless. But yes, everyday I did feel a little stronger. I can't say I was in any pain, it was more like very sore.

It was very hard to get used to eating. I had NO appetite whatsoever and wanted nothing to eat. I had to practically force myself to take in anything. The only thing I wanted was water, and it had to be ice cold!

TUESDAY, 4/24/01:
2 wk check up for staple & drain removal. I was very pleasantly surprised to see that I had lost 28 lbs!! I couldn't believe it when that scale stopped at 250 !! I haven't weighed that in about 8 years. Dr. Hilmy said that what I was feeling, as far as lack of appetite, was very normal, that it will pass. He smiled and said, "Enjoy it, let the pounds just melt off. Just make sure to get your liquids in and take your vitamins daily." I have a very high tolerance for pain, but the drain removals hurt VERY much!! O-U-C-H !!! The nurse said it was very painful because I was probably already forming scar tissue around the tubing inside my body. I honestly felt like I was being stabbed! I just know I almost passed out!

THURSDAY, 5/10/01:
One month update... I am down to 245 which is a loss of 33 lbs in a month. I have lost so many inches that I'm finding a whole new wardrobe in my closet. A few yrs back I gave away 3 huge boxes of clothing but kept a select few, the newer items. I can now get into all of the clothes, in fact, some of them are already big on me. Most of them are size 22, and I started at a tight 24, almost a 26 a month ago.

I'm still having a hard time eating. I have to force myself to eat. It seems that I go to the kitchen to prepare something and my throat and stomach kind of go into knots at the thought of eating. I seem to enjoy the cold foods more because if I try to eat something hot, by the time I finish in 1/2 hour, it's cold and not enjoyable. I have found that I simply love canned lean ham (mixed with a little mayo and stored in refrigerator) with fat-free cottage cheese. I'm enjoying it now, but I don't want that to be the only thing I eat. I have to start trying new things, just not sure what will sit well right now.

I'm really concerned about this lack of eating. I don't want to be one of the "bald" statistics at 4 months from lack of protein. I've talked to a couple of friends who are pre-op and they simply love it when I say I don't want to eat anything. But to be quite honest, I'm very concerned about this because I don't want to go from one extreme (over-eating pre-op) to the other (losing too much post-op). I've read where some people actually continue losing after they reach an ideal weight. I most definitely don't want to be one of those. My ideal weight is 150 lbs, and according to the AMOS chart, I should be able to reach that in 12 months. We shall see.

I have been out of work for 5 weeks. I'm getting ready to go back next week. I'm an elementary school secretary and closing up the school year and budgets need to be done. I'm prepared to work only 1/2 days if need be, I'm not going to push myself.

MONDAY, 5/14/2001:
I went back to work today. I wore a bright red skirt and multi-colored silk blouse I hadn't been able to wear for 4 yrs and shocked everyone with my new look. They were used to seeing me in my stretch knit dull pants outfits. Remember I hadn't told anyone about my surgery before I went in. Well, last week I told one of my coworkers to tell Miss XXX, that way I could be assured that by the time today came, everyone in school would know and they wouldn't be too shocked...LOL Sure enough, everyone knew and came looking for me to get a glimpse of me. Several of my co-workers approached me about the surgery itself and I was more than glad to share my knowledge. I wish everyone who could benefit from this surgery were able to have it done. By the way, I was able to work all day just fine.

I just realized that just about everything I had wrong with me due to my morbid obesity is gone!!
NO MORE: Sleep apnea. Son says I don't snore anymore.
I never wake up with a headache anymore. What a relief!
NO MORE: Severe heartburn. I don't take the Asiphex I used to.
NO MORE: Severe lower back pain. I don't take the Skelaxin I used to.
NO MORE: Right hip pain. I don't take Celebrex anymore.
NO MORE: Knee pain. I can walk with ease !
NO MORE: Swollen ankles and feet by the end of the day.

The only RX I am still on is Norvasc 5mg daily for hypertension. Doc says that will soon be gone too. It's so amazing to realize all the things that were wrong with me due to the excess weight. I wish everyone were as happy as I feel right now!

TUESDAY, 5/22/01:
Had my 6 wk checkup today. DRUMROLL PLEASE.......I've lost 42 lbs since my surgery!! I weigh 236 lbs!! Can you believe it??!! It seems as if it was only yesterday that I was waking up from the surgery! AWESOME!! Dr. Hilmy was very happy with my progress. My BMI is already at 39, from a 46. I haven't started exercising and of course, he recommends that I start. I told him I was craving/thinking of things I couldn't have. One was of an ice cold Coke in crushed ice. He said I could have coke, as long as it's flat Diet Coke. No thanks!! Told him I already took a tiny drink of regular Coke, and you know what?!? It just didn't taste the same. I'm so glad my cravings for sweets is gone, I haven't wanted anything, mostly because I'm scared of dumping. I'll just continue with what I've been doing, it seems to be working :-)

My daughter, Gina, celebrated her senior graduation dance this past Saturday, May 19th. I was able to purchase a beautiful black semi-formal dress for the occassion. I received so many compliments that night! Of course I was beaming with pride but I was also so very happy with my "new" looks. I can't remember the last time I was this happy.

FRIDAY, 6/1/01:
Attended a graduation supper tonight. Had the soup from some "frijoles a la charra" and the sauce from some "carne guisada". I reached over and took 2 tiny sips, I mean they were TINY, of Hawaiian Punch. In about a half hour, as I was driving to another celebration, it happened!!--- The severe, severe stomach cramps came on. I was worried because I didn't know why this was happening. As I walked into the building I felt I was going to puke right there!! I rushed to the bathroom and it suddenly dawned on me... THE SUGAR IN THE PUNCH!!! I was so sick!! Diarreah and vomiting, the cold sweats, the cramps. I was doubled over in the bathroom for about a half hour before I felt good enough to walk out. I was able to hold out the rest of the evening because I didn't want to ruin the night for the others. OLD HABITS DIE HARD!! NO MORE SUGAR!! NO MORE DRINKING WHILE EATING!!

I'm finding so many clothes to wear that I hadn't worn in so long, but at the same time I'm running out of things to wear. I wore mostly knit pants outfits, and all of them are huge on me now. I'm still able to wear most of my t-shirts, although you can see that they're very big on me also. The few dressy dresses/skirts I hadn't worn in about 4 yrs, well, I got to wear them all these past few days to the celebrations I attended. For my daughter's graduation ceremonies I was able to wear a light green linen skirt/top that I absolutely love! It's already big so I won't be wearing it for long.

THURSDAY, 6/14/01:
I've been battling pneumonia for the past week. I know it has nothing to do with my surgery, but being as how I'm still fairly new out of surgery, and I'm probably weaker than I normally would be, I figure this is why it's taken such a hold on me. My PCP has taken wonderful care of me, he knows about my WLS and is very knowledgeable about follow-up care.

I hadn't weighed myself because I hadn't been back to my surgeon's office. I weighed at my PCP's office and guess what??? I've lost 51 lbs since my surgery!! I weigh 227 lbs!! So hard to believe that it's so easy to lose the excess weight! I have 77 lbs to get to my personal goal of 150 lbs. It's amazing, simply amazing!!

MONDAY, 7/9/01:
I drove to my surgeon's office for my official 3 month weight today. I was very excited to see the digital readout stop at 220. That means I've lost 58 lbs. in 3 months! Don't get me wrong, it hasn't been easy all the time. There have been some days when I ate too fast and paid the consequences of the severe pain, but those have only been about 3 or 4 in the last 3 months. It's a matter of re-learning my eating habits.

I joined a gym 2 wks ago and go daily for a 45 minute step aerobic class, then I usually do 20 minutes on the stationary bike and from 10-20 minutes on the treadmill. I have never had so much energy!

THURSDAY, 8/9/01:
Went to have blood drawn for my check up next week. It will be the first time I have labs done. I'm hoping everything is ok, since I forget my vitamins sometimes. Walked across the street to weigh in at my surgeon's office. WOW, I weigh 214! I've lost 64 lbs in 4 months! Met with my surgeon on the 14th and everything was fine! WHEW!!! I told him I was worried about my numbers and he said, "Well, you must be doing something right, and whatever you're doing, keep it up. By the way, what ARE you doing?" I said, "I'm NOT dieting. I eat a little of everything, of course, I concentrate on protein, but I eat just about everything except sugar." He said losing 50-80% of the excess weight is considered a success, so I can be classified as a success already!! Imagine that! According to the NIH guidelines I should weigh 134, but I'm aiming for 150. I can't imagine myself at that weight, since I haven't weighed less than 170 since I was 11 yrs old! Only time will tell.

I noticed that I started losing some extra hair about 2 weeks ago. I reminded myself that this could be a side effect of the surgery and I convinced myself that I was NOT going to worry about it, if it was going to happen, it was going to happen. Guess what...I lost hair for a whole 2 weeks!! That's it! Maybe it is a result of the high protein diet I keep or maybe it's because I just didn't worry about it; whatever, I'm not going bald!!

SUNDAY, 9/9/01:
Today is my 5 month anniversary. I weigh 206, which means I have lost 72 lbs! I lost 8 in the last month but I'm not worried about the slow weight loss. I am losing inches like crazy due to the high-impact step aerobics I do 5 times a week. I also walk at least 35 minutes on the treadmill and do 20 minutes on the bike.


SUNDAY, 12/9/01:
Today is my 8 month anniversary. How time flies!! I now weigh 189 lbs which is a loss of 89 lbs since my surgery. Soon it'll be a year, too amazing. This journey has been so unbelievably easy, compared to others who have complications and trouble adjusting.

01/29/2002:
Went for a check up with my surgeon today. He was very pleased with my results so far. All my labs are excellent and he had a smile the size of Texas when he saw that I've lost 90 lbs so far. I told him that I was concerned with my "slow" weight loss because people who have had surgery after me and who started at more or less my weight have now lost 120 or so lbs. He reminded me that everybody is different and the body is going to lose weight as it feels comfortable. He reminded me that I'm healthy now and that's all that really matters. He asked me how I felt and of course I told him I feel simply wonderful! Then he showed me my "before" picture and he said, "and you look TOTALLY different so don't worry about the slow weight loss!" In fact he said to not weigh myself if that was a problem for me, he said for me to base myself on how I feel and what I'm able to do now. I thought I would return in April for my one-year ck up but he said that today would take care of that, I'm not scheduled to see him again until February of 2003.

SUNDAY, 09/01/02:
I have gotten so lazy about updating this site. I'm online all the time, but I mostly keep up with my support groups and have just neglected to make some time to post here. I can't believe how time has flown!! I wanted to lose 100 lbs SOOOOO bad for my one year anniversary and I was worried that I wouldn't. Surprise surprise, I managed to lose 102 lbs!! My weight loss is so very slow now; in fact, it's at a snail's pace. I keep wondering if maybe this is the weight my body is comfortable at. I was in the 170's since I was 12 years old up until I was about 19 and then I shot up into the 200's. I'm quite bony as I am now, so maybe I'm just a large frame and will never get to my personal goal of 150 (doctor said I should be 134, NO WAY, I'll be skin and bones then!!)

The night of my one year anniversary (April 9th) a friend and I went to Bennigan's to celebrate. I was feeling like Queen of the Jungle, just knowing what I was celebrating, the fact that a year ago my life was so very different. During the evening a very good looking man started talking to me. He took my phone number and during the conversation I mentioned my surgery -- hey, I'm not one to keep secrets. He was extremely complimentary and had me stand up to model for him. Nothing developed from that, but just the fact that I am now attractive to men is just too much!! I'm REALLY living life now.

I'm still a fanatic of my local gym -- I go four times per week and do one hour of high impact advanced step aerobics plus one hour of weight machines to help tone my body. I'm quite content with the way my body has reshaped itself; however, I find that as I lose more inches, my skin is sagging more and more. At first I was convinced that I would not need any plastics, but the smaller I get, the more I am beginning to look into it, but not until after my 2 yr anniversary. I am now almost 17 months post op and have lost "only" 19 lbs in the last 9 months, but I have gone from a size 16Women's to a regular 10/12!! There is SO much to be said for regular exercise!! If you're not exercising, JUST DO IT!! I kind of still get hung up on the weight issue, but everyone who sees me swears that I can't possibly weigh 170, they all say I look about 145 or so. Clothes that fit me comfortable in May are now too big to wear.

My life has changed so much!! I've become a social butterfly. There is no invitation that I will turn down now. If someone invites me to a wedding or a party, I'm there! I honestly feel that the "real me" has emerged. I always felt wild and free inside, but my fat shield wouldn't let the real me come out. Everytime I go out with friends, I'm bound to meet someone new. Nothing permanent has developed, but just to know that I'm attractive again is such a high!! I lightened my hair and have added blonde highlights and damn, I have to say that I look totally different!! I walk with my head held high, I KNOW that people are looking, especially men! My birthday was on August 26th and my kids bought me a belt and white blouse at a local western store. I wore the whole getup this past Friday to work, the blouse, jeans, belt and black ropers. Everyone was in awe!! I got so many compliments, I was walking on air. Later on I went to the grocery store and I noticed several men looking at me, and they were good looks!! Don't get me wrong, some of my paranoias/insecurities still sneak up on me now and again, but I'm slowly trying to work them out of me.

The clothes shopping...Oh my God!! I can't walk into a store without coming out with something new. I can't describe the feeling of being able to just pick something up off the rack without trying it on and knowing it will fit. Before my surgery I used to buy only clothes that fit, I hardly ever bought anything I really liked. Oh sure, there are pretty clothes in 3 and 4X, but they cost a pretty penny too!! To be quite honest, I never considered myself worth the extra money to look nice, I just did the best with what I had. Now...ohhhhh, let me tell you, I'm a clothes freak!! I have clothes for every and any occassion, from just going out to the park to a night out on the town. Talk about getting excited at being able to buy $3.00 little tops and $5.00 capris!!

The "head games" are the worst!! Let me see if I can explain...I look in the mirror and I know I'm much much smaller, I can see the changes in me. But, when I walk away, sometimes I still feel that people see me at about a size 20. I can't imagine that they see the new size 10 me. It's too weird to explain. I've always considered my mom to be tiny, she's a size 10/12 and when I try on some of her clothes and they fit, it's like I'm in a twilight zone, like who's body is this???

I work for the school district I graduated from and several people have had this life-saving surgery lately. I've had several of them call me and I'm more than happy to share my experiences with them. I met with one woman who had questions and before we knew it, we had been talking for almost 4 hours!! I tell you, I'm a preacher when it comes to this surgery! I will never get tired of praising God and Dr. Hilmy for working a miracle on me.

I have dumped a few times when I least expected it. It's getting harder to stay away from the "forbidden" foods the further out I am from surgery. There are days when it seems that all I want to do is eat, and then there are days when I don't even think of food. I'm pretty good about getting in my required water daily. I was never a soda freak before my surgery, so that hasn't been a problem for me. My drink of choice is plain water. I usually get in about 100 oz daily, I just carry a 50 oz Dasani water bottle with me and I make sure I drink 2 at work. What I'm not very good at is my vitamins :-(
I know it's very important, so I really really try. I just forget, but I'm getting better.

As of today, my BMI is 29.2 which puts me in the "overweight" category. Hey, that's good, considering that I've gone from Morbidly obese, to Severely Obese, to Obese, and now to just plain Overweight. I'll take it, it's all good :-) I've lost more inches since May when I took the before/after pictures that are posted. If anyone has any questions or wants to talk, please feel free to e-mail me.

SATURDAY - September 14, 2002:
Okay, Friday I weighed myself and I was at 175 1/2 !!! THAT IS NOT GOOD! I haven't come this far only to see my weight go back up! I'm having to re-examine my eating habits lately. I know I'm drinking more alcohol than I should. I stop and think, "Have I traded one obsession (food) for another (alcohol)?" I don't *think* I'm drinking too much, do 4 beers once a week constitute too much? I don't know. The cookies have been calling me, it's hard to resist. I work in an elementary school so there are always kids parties going on and we're always included...it's so hard to say no. I will definitey have to regroup and go back to my good habits if I want to be able to keep this weight off.

One good thing that happened when I weighed myself and groaned at the numbers....our nurse said to me, "How can you weigh 175 and wear a size 12 while I weigh 145 and wear a size 12???" I proudly showed her my size tag on my jean skirt as proof :-) and reminded her of my 4X/week visits to the gym to work my butt off!! Her statement should be proof enough for me that I DON'T look 175 lbs (as many many people have told me).

TUESDAY - October 15, 2002:
The only thing I can say about my life lately is that I'm making up for so much lost time!! I am REALLY living life now! This past weekend I went to BikeFest 2002 (Roar by the Shore) at South Padre Island, TX to mingle with a few wild people. Damn, talk about having fun... shoulder to shoulder people everywhere I went. I even got hit on by a few men. Heck, I even rode up and down Padre Blvd on the back of a Harley, something I had NEVER done before in all my 47 years!!

Another good spot in my life is that I met a man recently. We've been talking on the phone for a month and met in person last week. It's going nice and slow, very different from any other relationships I've had. My self-esteem is wonderful now, I feel beautiful and I know I'm worthy of a man's love and attention. Not sure where this relationship is going, can only hope for the best.

SUNDAY - November 10, 2002:
This weekend I attended my 30th high school graduation reunion. Oh my God, talk about having fun! So many people who I see locally hadn't seen me since before my surgery and they were all so amazed and complimentary of my "new look". It felt so good to feel so free and with no paranoias about my weight. I was up most of the night dancing the night away, not with anyone in particular, but with the big groups of graduates who were just dancing the night away. After the festivities, a 34 year old guy tried to pick me up at a restaurant!! His biggest compliment to me was, "You are a GORGEOUS woman." Damn, talk about ending my evening on a good note!

Okay, so the new relationship didn't work out. Just too many differences. You know, when I was morbidly obese I always felt that if a relationship didn't work out it was because of ME and my weight, but I don't feel that way anymore. I know I'm a good loving person who is ready to give 200% to a relationship. Just gotta keep looking, I'm sure there's someone for me out there.

I've posted a recent picture that I couldn't wait to pose for. It's of me with my 2 legs in one leg of my old size 24Women's pants!! Can you see that big 'ole grin on my face!?!!



Photos






Hospital Reviews
  • (Weslaco, TX) - Knapp Medical Center

  • Surgeon Info:
    Surgeon: Ashraf A. Hilmy, M.D.
    I met Dr. Hilmy during my first appt. on 1/13/2000. He had been recommended by his first patient (bariatric surgery is fairly new in my area, first surgery was done in August 1999). He examined me, listened as I told him about all the many ways I had tried to lose weight since age 11, and just nodded as he listened. Seems that all of our life stories are the same. He explained the surgery thoroughly and told me I was a prime candidate for WLS. I was very impressed with his manner and knowledge. My mother went with me to my first appt. and he included her in the explanation and answered her questions too. I would rate him a 10 so far. My next mtg with him was on 4/2/01, a week before my Open RNY. He explained the surgery to me and asked if I had any questions. I said, "Only one, when do you ck for leaks?" He said, "The next day, but you're not going to have any!" and he said it with a smile. I love him...he's very confident of his work. He came to see me during my hospital stay and he was always in a pleasant mood. I'm so glad he's practicing so close to my home.
    Insurer Info:
    Unicare
    Okay, BCBS of TX was horrible to work with. I'm glad there's a class action lawsuit against them at present time. My employer changed to UNICARE as of Sept.2000 and that was the BEST thing that could have happened to me because they do pay for it if it's medically necessary. They claimed they never got the first request in Sept. and gave me a hassle on the 2nd request in Jan of 2001. It's been difficult getting the approval, company reps weren't sure what was approved and what wasn't. But as of today, 4/5/2001, I AM APPROVED!! 3 wks after my surgery I got the explanation of benefits for the hospital bill. I got a little over $3,000. discount on a bill of over $10K. The ins. paid over $6K and I was left with a balance of $1,000., which is my maximum co-insurance plan. June 20001: Ok, great news! Just got my explanation of benefits for my surgeon's bill. Total charged was $5,200. Insurance company gave me a discount of a little over $2,400 and they paid the surgeon the balance of a little over $2,700. That means I'm getting the $1,550. that I paid my surgeon back!! (That was my 30% share that was due before my surgery.) So I guess that means they paid my surgeon at 100%!! Great, huh?