Weight Loss Survey ResponsesClick Here To View
Surgeon: Michel M. Murr M.D.
Wow. It's been a long time since I've posted. I guess I've been busy wrapped up in my new life. I'm almost 8 months out now and I've made good progress. I've lost 101 POUNDS to date and am on my way to goal. I would like to lose another 39 pounds to reach my personal ideal weight. I feel healthier and more energetic as each day goes by.
My sleep apnea is almost all gone to the point where I don't use the cpap machine any longer. I will have to be officially evaluated with another sleep test in a few months so they can close my medical file as far as the sleep apnea goes.
I am happier than I have been in a long time. The outcome of this process has enabled me to bring back things to my life that were long dormant because of the obesity. I feel like reaching out to people that are obese and telling them there is an alternative and you don't have to live miserable.
Having said all that it's not all roses. Learning to change your eating habits and adapt to your new stomach limitations is a big committment but one that I think is well worth it. I am constantly learning how to pace things out and what I can tolerate. To this point, I've limited red meat to a once in a while occurrence and also eat pasta very minimally. I can tolerate breads and rice but also minimum quantities. At 8 weeks out I started to exercise on a regular basis and exercise at least two times a week with a personal trainer. I also manage an onine support group through yahoo.com for people considering weight loss surgery and encourage anyone seeking pre and post-op support in the Tampa Bay, FL area to check us out at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OSSG-SUNCOAST-Tampa-2/. You first have to subscribe for membership (free) to join the group.
Well, I have to check out for now but I will try to update this periodically with my progress.
It is the day before Thanksgiving. I know I haven't updated in a while but it's kind of good in a way because it allows me to see the progress in spans of time rather than weeks or days as I traditionally see myself. I'm now down 64 pounds since my surgery day. Sometimes progress is slow but in general it's been a great adventure. I can now go to a restaurant and eat a relatively normal size portion. Well let's face it I don't eat a full plate anymore by any means. I went to Bruster's Ice Cream parlor for dessert tonight which consisted of a baby scoop (1 ounce) of no sugar added/fat free cherry vanilla ice cream. I try to be very careful with sugar because you never know how you're gonna react and when you're not in the comfort of your home I'd rather not take that chance.
I saw my surgeon earlier this month for my second followup and he was very pleased with my progress. Sometimes I get disappointed that I'm not losing the weight as fast but then something or someone reminds me of how far I've come. I guess in some ways it's good that I'm not losing it as fast as others because I'd be constantly shopping for new clothes and my wallet isn't that big. It's funny how one week a shirt will seem just the right fit and about two weeks later it's loose.
The one thing I can say for a fact about not always seeing the scale move down is that I must still be losing inches because my clothes keep getting looser. Someone at work today was telling me that a co-worker did a double take the other day looking at me even though they see me everyday. It's hard to believe people when they say that because for so long people haven't looked at me and if they did it was in disgust...now it's in awe. That takes some getting used to because in some ways I don't want any attention to how I've gone about doing it, but in other ways I want to shout "YES, look at me, I know I'm shrinking and I love it!"
My husband jokes that I am truly a 'loser' now. He's been a tremendous amount of support.
Well the holidays are upon us and in someways it's hard because I want those sweet treats that I've always loved. And then there's those evil potlucks and parties. I've tried some alternatives in recipes like splenda, egg beaters, and other tricks to get by in recipes and still satisfy the sweet tooth, but darn it I do miss certain things.
I keep telling myself this is all for the greater good and if I can just get close to my goal it will be worth it. I think I have quite a ways to go on that...76 more pounds...but I know without this tool that goal was a lot farther away. This time last year I was 100 pounds heavier. I am defintely a more happier and healthier person right now and I know if I keep on the same path of choosing the right foods and exercising that I can get there or at least be content in the progress I've made.
This is the best choice I've ever made and I'm glad I had the courage to take the chance in order to improve the quality of my life and those that love me. Ciao, til next time. Happy Holidays!
Open RNY on 7/30/02 - 260lbs.
Currently 196 lbs.
Dr. Murr (Tampa, FL)
I'm now exactly 9 weeks post-op today and I am down 39 pounds. The weight has slowed down but I'm still optimistic since my doctors say this is typical of many people. The first 28 days I lost 28 pounds. But then I was taking in mostly liquids and very limited on the food which was mostly yogurt, egg beaters, jello, and stuff like that. I've been able to tolerate all dairy foods I've tried except when I go out somewhere and they use real fatty cheese I can tell because it ends up feeling like a ton of bricks in my stomach so I try to limit this as much as possible. I've had a few moments of depression especially when it seemed like I was in a stalling period but it seems to have picked up a little lately. I've also started seeing a personal trainer so I hope that will speed up things a little. I went back to work after 4 weeks and it was really hard at first because I would get tired quickly. I still have my days where I feel fatigued alot more and those are usually the days where I probably need more protein and have been going at full speed w/o having a moment's break. Probably the hardest thing at work is trying to remember that I need to take a moment for myself to recoop. All in all, I'm delighted with my decision. I would have hoped that the weight was coming off a little quicker only because of the results I've heard from other people, but I also have to take into consideration my body frame and that other people have had more restrictive procedures whereas my doctor probably allowed for my absorption rate to be larger since I don't have as much to lose as some people. Even though in my opinion it's still alot. To be at goal, I want to lose 100 more pounds. So here's to hoping that by this time next year, I'll be at goal.
Open RNY on 7/30/02 - 260lbs.
Currently 221 lbs.
Dr. Murr (Tampa, FL)
As of 8/15/02, sixteen days postop, I am down 20 pounds. I still can't believe how quickly these pounds are coming off. I know that it won't always be this quick but right now it's still hard to believe. I had a pretty smooth recovery so far. I came home from hospital four days after surgery. The only scare I had was that a couple days after coming home I started to ooze this tan looking liquid from the end of my stitches. Called doctor's office and they said this was perfectly normal and to just keep it covered with gauze. Before I left the hospital they took out the jp drain that was collecting excess fluid from after surgery. Doctor's office said the ooze I was seeing was leftover liquid that was trying to find it's way out. I can't wait til the rest of these steri strips come off. I know they're there to protect the stitches and that in good time they'll come off. But in the meantime it looks so nasty because I can't really wash that area thoroughly.
I'm supposed to return to work on 8/26 and I think I should be on target for that. Only concern I have is driving to work since it's a long commute. I guess I'll have to do a little driving before that to make sure everything will be okay.
Well everyone, I'll keep you posted on my progress as much as possible. Thanks for everyones well wishes and encouragement.
My first impression of Dr. Murr is that he is very serious in tone. He wants to make sure that you understand the implications of this surgery and that there is a risk of death as the worst possible outcome. It was scary hearing him say that but not something that I was unaware of. I told him that I understood this and that I was willing to take that risk for the sake of having a better lifestyle that the surgery and weight loss would bring.
Since I have not really had much time during appointments to talk to him I can't really say I know him that well. I have read many good things about him as a surgeon and his previous patients that I have talked to at support group meetings all say that they were very pleased with him as a surgeon. And that he is very caring. Martha is the primary contact in his office staff. She is the bariatric coordinator and also hosts the support group meetings. She is very nice but also very busy. The best way to reach her is by email. She responds relatively quickly although she can be brief in her responses. I guess that's probably because she has alot to handle. Dr. Murr has a long waiting list of patients to see for the first time. I waited 7 months to see Dr. Murr for my first visit. The second visit with Dr. Murr did not get scheduled until I had seen the nutritionist, psychologist, and sleep doctor to determine if I have sleep apnea (which I do). When all those doctors had submitted their reports back to Dr. Murr, only then, did I get put on the list for the second appointments. Fortunately, that appointment came alot quicker than the first. As far as Dr. Murr's beside manner, I do not know this yet other than first impressions, but I do hear that he tries to visit each patient after surgery to see how they are doing and he does make himself relatively accessible through his assistant, Martha, for emergencies or questions post-op. I think that surgical competence, especially for this kind of surgery, is more important than bedside manner. I think Dr. Murr is both incredibly competent and caring about his patients. I think he just wants to make sure people know what they're getting themselves into. It's not for the weak of mind.
I've heard that aftercare program is good at the hospital Dr. Murr performs the surgery, Tampa General Hospital. They have a great nutritionist on staff, Jennifer Broder, who visits each post-op patient to discuss nutrition plan and suggested foods post-op. She is very friendly and helpful.
Cigna of Tampa, HMO
I barely dealt with my insurance. I guess I was very lucky that they approved me after the first letter my doctor wrote to them. I think that following all the suggestions that Dr. Murr's office gives to us really helped. I made sure to obtain medical records that listed any weight loss I had attempted over the years. In my case, I had repeatedly complained to my primary care that I wanted to lose weight. I had tried prescription weight loss medication and lost 30 pounds or so but within six months I gained that weight back and more. This was the story of my life.
When I first went to the orientation meeting where Dr. Murr's assistant gives new patients or people inquiring about the surgery an information packet it mentioned in there that they suggest getting on a physician supervised weight loss program.
The reason for this is to have supplemental information of attempted weight loss to supply to the insurance. I don't know if this is what did the trick for me. I hesitated a bit, but I did do this because I wanted to do anything that would help my case in getting insurance approval. I followed all suggestions from my surgeon and went to all the doctors he suggested to get documentation to submit to the insurance.
I definitely recommend being thorough and making sure that you follow up with your doctor's office to let them know each step you complete. It shows that you are persistent and really want this. They may get sick of hearing from you but do it anyway. I tried to be as nice about it as possible without being a pain in the butt. I think they understand that you really want this and are eager to get this process rolling since it does take so long to get your visits. By the time you get to the final appointment with the surgeon, before he writes the letter to your insurance, you should fully know whether this surgery is for you.
I think the system is set up to weed out those people that just look at this as a quick solution. People aren't going to go through this process that don't really believe in it. Stick with it and you'll be rewarded. By that I mean fighting the insurance if they deny you the first time.