~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Newest Entries at the bottom~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
There is a great support group on Yahoo for the Junction City/Fort Riley area. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/fortrileygastricbypass/
Everything You Need to Know about Weight Loss Surgery is a must read for all people thinking about WLS. I found the web sit for the book http://www.obesitysurgerybook.com/
This is the Tri-Care Handbook on-line. http://www.wpsic.com/tricare/handbook/part9.html it explains the rules for "Obesity Treatment". It helps to be well informed.
Dr. Stewards web page. http://www.topekaobesitysurgery.com/
April 2002 I am the mother of two children and a military spouse. We (hubby and I were married only 10 days when he left for Basic Training) have been in the military for 15 years. We currently live on Fort Riley. This was our 6th duty station and have been here for a little over 3 years. I love everything about Kansas, except their football team. I am a Cornhusker born and raised. LOL I have fought with my weight most of my life. I have gained and lost hundreds of pounds. My thyroid has been checked more then once and I have been to see a nutritionist many times. Most of my family and friends have been supportive of my decision to pursue WLS.
4-25-02 I received my referral from Tri-Care. I have not met Dr. Steward yet. I called his office and was told he requires all perspective patients to attend an Obesity Surgery Support Group meeting and have a psych. evaluation before the initial consult appointment is scheduled. He also wants all perspective patients to read a book called A Complete Guide to Obesity Surgery: Everything You Need to Know about Weight Loss Surgery and how to Succeed. I have ordered the book from Barnes and Noble. I am attending a support group meeting on May 11, 2002.
5-3-02 I called Merit Behavioral Health (TRI-Care Mental Health Services) and was given names of civilian Tri-care approved mental health providers in the area. I called every provider on the list and no one would do a psych. evaluation with Tri-care insurance. I called back to Merit again and was given another list of names. The last provider (Family Care Center in Junction City) I called would do a psych. evaluation with Tri-care insurance and my appointment for my psych. evaluation. set up for June 01.
5-12-02 I went to the Obesity Surgery Support Group meeting ran by Brenda Kenworthy for Dr. Steward. I found it very informative. I am calling tomorrow for my consult appointment.
5-13-02 I have a consult appointment with Dr. Steward on June 04, 2002. 6-01-02 I went for my psychological assessment with Dr. Martinez. It was went well and he gave me a letter to take to Dr. Steward on June 04.I went to a WLS Group meeting on May 28, 2002 and heard some news that has me a little worried. Dr. Steward was there and seemed very nice. He informed the group about a patient that went through surgery earlier in the month has had serious complication. The patient ended up with a blood clot in her lung and a leak where her bypass was sewn to her pouch. These are both potential killer complications. The patient was touch and go for a week or so but seems on the mend now. I just made me do some thinking. I still have not gotten A Complete Guide to Obesity Surgery: Everything You Need to Know about Weight Loss Surgery and how to Succeed from Barnes and Noble. I placed the order on April 23. I really wanted to read the book before I met with Dr. Steward.
June 04, 2002 I met Dr. Steward today. He was very friendly and honest. He did not talk "down to me" and answered all my questions. I feel comfortable with Dr. Steward and was impressed with his "bedside manner". Dr. Steward talked freely about the patient that had complications. The patient is doing better but is still on a breathing tube. He told me it will take about 2 weeks to get insurance approval back and usually about 4 weeks after insurance approval surgery is scheduled. So the tentative date for my surgery is the 2nd or 3rd week in July. Also Dr. Steward stressed the importance of family and especially couples counseling because of the drastic changes after surgery.
June 09, 2002 My book finally arrived on June 05, 2002! Of course the day AFTER I have met the doctor. The book is amazing. There is so much information! The recipes look great and the week by week food guide is going to be helpful. I agree that A Complete Guide to Obesity Surgery: Everything You Need to Know about Weight Loss Surgery is a must read for all people thinking about WLS. I found the web sit for the book http://www.obesitysurgerybook.com/
June 13, 2002 I called Dr. Steward's office today to see if my referral had been returned from Tri-Care. I was told by one of the receptionists that my paper work was not faxed to Tri-care until this morning! So I still have another 7-10 days to wait for final approval. I am feeling a bit discouraged.
June 14, 2002 I called Tri-care this morning and was told they had not received a fax for the request for surgery from Dr. Steward's office. Tri-care told me to call back the doctor's office to see if they had the correct fax number. I called back to the doctor's office and spoke to Maxine. She told me that my paperwork had been faxed to Tri-care (today) and connected me to someone else to check the fax number. Both Maxine and the other receptionist were kind of "snappy" at me. Dr. Steward told me the paper work would be on the way to Tri-care by June 07 and I expected that to happen. I am very disappointed. I called back Tri-care this afternoon and they had received the request. I asked Tri-care how long the paper work would take. I was told this is a "level two authorization" and it can take 7-10 working days! Then add 4-6 weeks to
that for a surgery date, that would make it early in August!
June 19, 2001 At the WLS Support Group meeting on May 11, I met Kyra Nistler. She also works for the same school district as me and has Tri-Care Prime as her insurance carrier. Kyra had her initial consult on June 03 and my initial consult was on June 04. Kyra called today to tell me she has gotten approval from Tri-Care for her surgery and has her surgery date set for August 30. I am very excited for her! I called Tri-Care right after I got off the phone with Kyra and my approval is still pending. It now looks like I will have surgery sometime in September. I will call Tri-Care tomorrow to see if approval has come in. I was hoping to have surgery over the summer break so that I would not have to miss part of the school year.
June 20, 2001 I called Tri-care today. They told me I was approved on June 17th! They do not know why it was not in the computer when I called yesterday. I called Dr. Steward's office and spoke with Maxine. (She was much nicer this time) She told me Debbie would call me back with a date either today or tomorrow. They are booking for August/September. I am still in wait mode.
June 23, 2002 I talked with Maxine again on Friday, June 21. Maxine must have been having a bad day the first time I spoke with her on the phone because she has been extremely pleasant the other times I have talked to her. She informed me that Debbie will call me with my surgery date as soon as possible. I had explained to Maxine that I work for a school district and had hoped to have the surgery over summer break. She told me that she spoke with Dr. S. about this and they were trying to squeeze me in earlier. I can only hope! I should (I hope) have a date tomorrow.
June 24, 2002 I had myself resigned to having surgery in late August or early September. I was just so relieve to be approved by Tri-care for surgery! Debbie from Dr. S's office hunted me down today (I was at my sister's house) to inform me she had a surgery date for me on JULY 11. Yes, that is 2 weeks for Thursday! I was so shocked I asked her to repeat it twice. Debbie probably thought I was deaf or something. Shock does strange things to your hearing. (ha ha) July 11 is opening night for daughter's play at the Little Theater Summer Workshop. She tried out today for a solo or small group song in the play. She will know tomorrow. I explained to her I will not be at her play, but Aunt Tina and Daddy will be there. That did not seem to help any. I will keep working on her. We have to buy a recliner before surgery. I have been told it is the easiest place to sleep after surgery. Looks like I get to go shopping.
June 26, 2002 I went to the support group meeting last night with Kyra Nistler and Jeannette B (post-op and looking great...way to go Jeannette B). Kyra called my yesterday and asked me to ride with her and Jeannette B. Kyra is really and amazing person with such....grace and personality. I will admit that I was a bit jealous when Kyra was approved and given a surgery date before I even knew if I was approved. When Dr. S's office called and told me I had a July 11th surgery date I was shocked and waited for the other shoe to drop. Nothing in my life ever seems to work that easily. I now know why I was given the July 11th date. I spoke with Maxine about having surgery during the summer because I worked for the school district and am off for the summer. Kyra spoke to Debbie about having surgery during the summer because she works for the school district. From what Kyra and I can figure out, when Maxine spoke to Debbie or visa versa they must have thought Kyra and Kim were the same person (both K names, both work for the same school district, both have Tri-care prime insurance and both were put in the system at the same time). Kyra agreed to keep the August 30th date and did not cause a fuss because I have the July 11th date. Thank you Kyra! She told me not to feel guilty but I still do. Can't help myself. My daughter did get a speaking part in the summer theater workshop and opening night is not July 11th like I thought. It is July 18th and I should be able to go. God does work in amazing ways sometimes. I prayed that there would be someway to have surgery during the summer and it happened and I prayed that I see my daughter in the play and it happened.
July 03, 2002 I went for my pre-op on July 02. Dr. Steward was very nice and answered all the questions I had. I had a list of them written down in a notebook so I would not forget them. He took about 30 minutes to talk to me and listened to my heart and lungs. I also went for my pre-admissions appointment at the hospital. I had an EKG, blood work and chest x-ray done. The nurse was very nice and had questions for me about WLS because her friend is looking into the surgery. It took two tries to get the blood drawn. Yick. I hate needles. I was given my blue hospital bracelet to wear for the next week. The nurse told me that because of the holiday, I would end up wearing the hospital bracelet longer then usual. I feel like and escaped patient. LOL The bracelet is sealed and it survived swim aerobics class. Oh, Dr. Steward said if everything goes well, I could be back in the water in 3-4 weeks. Yahoo. I went to GNC on post and bought some protein mix. Dr. S said it is a good idea to follow the diet in the book so I started it today. I went to K-mart to buy some new night gowns for the hospital. I like K-mart because they carry nice 4X nightgowns. I bought two of them and wore one last night to bed. My husband and son both looked at me and said, "What's up with the dress? We thought you were going to bed". Leave it up to the men in my life to think the nightgown was a summer dress. LOL Have a great 4th of July.
July 15, 2002 I want to thank everyone for their kind words, healing thoughts and prayers. They all worked wonders! I feel better then I ever imagined I would! I have not thrown up (YEAH) and have been walking around the block 3 times a day since I came home. I sleep a lot. I will write more later.
July 17, 2001 I am 6 days post-op and feel good. I am a little sore on my right side because I still have my drain tube in. It looks like a little balloon. I see Dr. Steward tomorrow for my post-op appointment. Surgery went great. I went into surgery around 8:00 AM and was out of recovery and in my room by 12:00 noon. I had foot pumps on in recovery (and for the rest of my stay in the hospital) and I remember asking the nurse "Who is giving me a foot massage? LOL I had great pain killers and I did not hurt at all. My side hurt like I had been laughing a long time. The first time out of bed to use the rest room was a bit rough. I had to turn the water on in the sink so I could pee. I was very nauseous and the nurse gave me a shot to help. By the 3rd time I got up to use the rest room I was not nauseous and could walk by myself. I was not allowed anything to drink the day of surgery. The nurses on my floor were wonderful. They were kind and considerate. Sometimes it did take a while for them to answer my call, but I realize there is only a few of them and a lot of patients. I went for my "swallow" test (upper GI) early the next morning. No one warned me the first liquid I would get to drink after surgery would taste like warm "dish soap". YICK. Even the thought of it makes me squirm and the after taste is indescribable! The nurses were great but the doctor in radiology was late and grunted a lot. Maybe it is because he works in the basement he thinks he should act like a troll. LOL. The upper GI showed a "bump" along the staple line. I was sent back up to my room and more tests were ordered. I still could not drink anything. About 2:00 PM went for a CAT scan on my stomach. I got some more dish soap to drink, but this time it had ice in it. Believe me it did not make a difference. It still tasted BAD!!! The CAT scan came back fine. I finally got to drink some water about 3:00 PM. Everything you eat or drink is dyed blue after surgery because if you leak blue will come out of your drain tube. I am still on the "Smurf diet". I have blue teeth, blue tongue, blue lips and everything that comes out of me is blue (except my drain tube). I am walking around the block 3 times a day to help prevent blood clots and to promote weight loss. I have been so lucky. I have not thrown up yet...I am sure I eventually will. I have been told it is like coughing up a hair ball. LOL MEOW MEOW. I am glad we spent the money and bought the recliner. I have slept in it every night and most of the days since I have been home from the hospital. At this time I am only taking my pain killer at night so I can sleep. During the day I am not in that much pain. I do not like the drugged out way the pain killer makes me feel. Thanks again for all you healing thoughts and prayers. They worked wonders.
July 19, 2002 NO MORE DRAIN TUBE! YAHOO! I am off the "smurf diet" and on a full liquid diet now. I have started drinking protein drinks and found a good yogurt by Dannon called light 'n fit creamy. Opening night for my daughters play went great. She remembered all her lines and did great on the song solo. I was so proud of her I cried! She did not talk until she was 3 so this is all truly amazing.
August 8, 2002 Today I am 4 weeks post op and everything has gone well. I have lost 26 pounds and started back at swim aerobics at the end of July. I walk every day and am feel good. I saw Dr Steward on August 01. He took me off the full liquid diet and I am now on purred foods (baby food diet). I am still having some trouble getting my protein in but am taking my children's chewable vitamins every day. I went into my PCP today with my first yeast infection in the folds of my skin. It must be from all the swimming and sweating when I walk. Tri-care considers 5 or more infections in one year a chronic problem and would consider doing a tummy tuck to remove the excess skin. So I am going in the right direction.
August 12, 2002 Today is Tuesday and I go back to work on Thursday. I will be 5 weeks post-op that day. I am stuck at 27 pounds. It can be discouraging when I hear of other WLS patients that have lost 40 plus pounds in the first month. My hubby says it looks like I am tightening up. I walk everyday about a mile and have been doing swim aerobics 3 times a week. Wednesday will be the last day I can attend day swim aerobics class. I am going to miss it. I am hoping to find time in my schedule to go to the evening swim aerobics class. Once school starts life in my world gets NUTS. Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Karate, Chorus, Band...there never seems to be enough hours in the day! Hubby and I are house hunting. He still has almost 5 years until he retires from the Army. I am not sure what has started this "nesting" mode. We are going back to look at a house and maybe place a bid on it. I do not know how hubby expects to fit moving into our schedule...lol. With my luck he will be deployed when it actually comes to time to move and the kids and I will be on our own. Ok...enough with my whining. Have a great week.
September 08, 2002 I can eat real food now!! I have not tried anything spicy and only very small portions. I have only had a "hair ball" twice. I am still having trouble with protein drinks. They upset my stomach. I have lost 45 pounds and some hair. LOL Hubby and I have bought a house! We will be moving at the end of the month. I go in for Sinus Surgery on October 3. This should be a piece of cake after the gastric bypass....I hope. Work has not been going as good. I am ready to turn in my two week notice and go back to school full time. I have taken my placement tests. I have to take a grammar class and pre-algebra. It is amazing how much more confidence you have in yourself as the weight comes off.
September 16, 2002 I am a little disappointed by my weight loss. I have lost 46 pounds and I am 9 weeks post-op. I know I never would have lost that much weight with out surgery. It is just upsetting to read about other people that are 3 months post-op and have lost 70 pounds. I feel like I am doing something wrong, but I am not. I have followed all the Dr. Stewards instructions and exercise at least 3-4 times. I am going to have sinus surgery on October 03, 2002 in Topeka at the same hospital I had the gastric bypass. I have been having awful sinus headaches. The draining of the sinus fluid into my pouch makes my stomach very upset. I will keep you posted.
October 15, 2002 We moved into our house October 05. I am glad the move is over! I had sinus surgery on October 03 and it was 10 times worse then having WLS! This is the first day I have felt like getting up and checking my e-mail. I never imagined that sinus surgery would take so much out of me. The morning of surgery I was in pre-op and Dr. Steward comes walking into the room. He saw my name on the surgery schedule and looked me up to check on me. I thought that was very nice of him. Dr. Steward is always so positive. He had sinus surgery done last spring. He looked pretty "chipper" the morning I had sinus surgery. I hope I feel "chipper" soon. I have lost 65 pounds! I went out and bought some new under garments. YAHOO. Hope you all have a great week!
January 04, 2003 Happy New Year!! I am sorry I have not posted since October 15, 2002. I did not realize it had been that long. I do finally feel better after sinus surgery. I can breathe again. I am 5 months, 3 weeks post op and as of today I have lost 95 pounds. I sometimes do not even recognize myself in the mirror. (Who is that stranger looking back at me?) LOL My husband and children refuse to let me walk away from them in the store because they loose me. I cut my hair very short. It is now coming out by the handfuls. I did not have that much to begin with. My 3 month blood work came back good and Dr. Steward did not put me on any special vitamins. I have had no energy but I think it is more emotional stress then because of the surgery. My mother passes away on November 10 and then my Granny passed away on December 20. I am still in shock. All of it was much unexpected. I have not been getting in enough protein, but eating has really become a challenge. As with most of us, food was my stress reliever. While my mother was in ICU and then when we took her home on Hospice Care to die, everything I ate came up as a "fur ball" so it got to the point that when I thought of food my stomach would lurched. I am trying to get back on a normal eating schedule. I have discovered Propel Water. I love it. Wal-mart usually sells it down the isle with the bottled water. It is kind of expensive but sometimes I need a treat. The problem is that my husband and children love Propel Water too. I will have to think of a good hiding place for it. LOL I hope everyone has a great 2003.
January 30, 2003 I made the century club!!!! The day I found out I had lost 100 pounds I put blonde highlights in my hair. Hubby really looses me now when we go shopping! I have not bought a lot of clothes. I have been raiding my husband's and son's closets. LOL I had a tooth filled on Monday and my gums bled a lot (I usually do not bleed like that). I had blood work drawn last week and I am sure if there is anything out of wack they will let me know. I still do not have a lot of energy, but I think it is because my life has been difficult the last few months. Since the beginning of the New Year my son has gotten 2 ambulance rides to the hospital. So much for this year being calmer. :-) Have a wonderful week!
March 24, 2003 I bought a size 12 Tommy Hill Figure jeans and they fit!!! SHOCK. Sorry I have not updated for a long time. I promise to write more later. April 4, 2003 I have lost 122 pounds! That is a whole person!! I have an appointment today about my gall bladder and the back pain I have been having. I will try to fill you in more later.
April 11, 2003 I went for my 9 month post-op visit today. Dr. S has moved into a new building and it is very nice. I forgot about the move until I was in Topeka. Good thing the new building is right off the interstate because seeing the building is the only thing that reminded me about the move. I have lost my memory along with some of the weight. LOL Both the nurse and Dr. S were impressed with my weight loss (by their scale 120 pounds...by my scale 122 pounds GONE). Dr. S said my 6 month blood work looked fine and has ordered my 9-month blood work. He told me my saggy stomach skin actually looked really good and that I am tightening up nicely. I don't agree with that. Have you seen a rhino at the zoo with all that extra skin hanging? That is what I feel like. I have grown "bat wings" on my arms and I am sure that if they get much bigger I will be able to flap my wings and fly. LOL I do not have a hernia (darn...I really wanted one to help get the tummy tuck). I have been having a lot of back pain. My PCP did not think it was my gall bladder and has given me a referral for physical therapy. Dr. S said that it is good to go to PT, but remind them I can not take steroid medication. Even after loosing all this weight my bra size is still 38DD. All I have left is SKIN. I will never need a mammogram...just give me a flash light and let me hold up my breast. It would work. LOL The Army will sometimes do breast reductions. I am hoping that when I get closer to my year post-op date I will be able to convince them I really need a breast reduction. I work at an elementary school. The students know I have changed, but they just can't figure out what I did. One group of 5th graders were discussing me on a field trip and I walked up to them and said, "Well do you think I have lost some weight?" They said, "No, that is not it." Then I asked them if it was my hair. They all agreed that it was my hair because I cut and dyed it blonde and back to red. So the moral of this story is, if you want to look like you have lost 100 pounds...cut your hair short. LOL I have an eye appointment on Monday to see about getting contacts. I have worn glasses since grade school. I am not sure if I will be able to give them up. Hubby is not to keen on the idea of contacts. He says he looses me too much now. I have bought a pair of size 10 Capri Pants. Size 12 jeans are starting to get baggy, but I can not get into all 10's. I did not know adult people could actually wear a 10. I don't ever remember wearing a 10...even as a child. I hope everyone has a great weekend. Hugs
April 29, 2003 On April 11 I passed my 9-month post-op milestone. Depending on the day I have lost between 122-125 pounds. I seem to keep loosing and regaining the same 3 pounds. I guess they like me and want to stay around. LOL. I bought contacts! I have worn glasses since I was 12 years old. I actually feel a bit naked with out them. I do have to share my contact story with it
.this is one of those Kim moments. During my first week with contacts I was to take my contacts out every night and put them in every morning. Ever since mom died I have had insomnia off and on. Some weeks are worse then other and last week was a bad week for me. Friday I had to go in for my one week follow up on my contacts. I got up Friday morning after only a few hours sleep and put my contacts in. My eyes were very tired and they just hurt and I was not seeing very well. I attributed all of this to lack of sleep. I go in for my check up and cant see the Big E. I am sitting there and I realize I must have lost a contact sometime that morning and did not even realize it. Talk about feeling like a dufas. I blurted out
I must not have a contact in that eye. I know the clinic staff had to have had a laugh after I left. This morning my contact popped out again, but this time I realized it and put it back in. I find myself eating more and this worries me. I do not want to get back into the old routine of things. I can eat some sweets now but they usually give me really bad gas, tummy ache or diarrhea. I am taking my childrens vitamin and calcium every day. I take Benefiber when I need it. It was a year ago that I started this WLS journey by visiting my primary care provider and asking for a referral for surgery. I am so glad I made that step. It has changed my life forever. June 18, 2003 I was given a referral to see Dr. Peterson in Topeka about breast reduction surgery. I went from a 48DD to about a 36D. I saw Dr. Peterson on June 12, 2003. He told be that after all the skin was removed I would be an A+ or B cup!!! I don't ever recall being that small. I am waiting on Tri-Care approval. I hope to hear soon. I had to have pictures taken of my breast here on post to send up with the referral request and then had to have another set of pictures taken at Dr. Peterson's office. So now there are two set of my saggy breast floating around in the "insurance circle". I am with in ten pounds of my goal weight. I hope to get there before my one year anniversary. Have a good week. Hugs.
June 20, 2003 I received my approval letter in the mail this afternoon. I get the breast reduction surgery!! The doctor's office closed at 12:00 noon today so I will have to wait until Monday for my surgery date. I will keep you posted. :-)
June 23, 2003 I am scheduled for surgery on July 15, 2003 at Stormont Vail Hospital in Topeka. http://www.stormontvail.org/ I go for my pre-op check up on July 07 and have my mammogram scheduled on June 30. I should only be in the hospital over night. That is only 3 weeks away!! I have so much to get done before surgery. Now to work on the tummy tuck. :-) I also just realized that again surgery will be the week of my daughter Little Theater play! This will be the second year in a row I have had surgery around her opening night. Last year it was a week before the big night...this year it is only 2 days. I hope I get some great pain killers because her heart would be broke if I am not in the audience. July 11, 2003 today is my one year re-birthday. What a difference a year can make. I never imagined I would feel this good right now. I knew I would loose weight but the fact that I have lost 135 pounds is still amazing to me. I am thankful for all the support and kind words I have received from others this last year. You are all wonderful!!! I am scheduled for breast reduction surgery on July 15. The doctor said I will end up with an A+ or B cup after all the excess skin is removed. The Army is being the Army. My husband can not get the day of my surgery off and he can not get the time off work to pick me up. He as a HAZ MAT class all next week from 9 AM to 5 PM Monday-Friday. I am thankful my sister is here. She can take me to the hospital and hopefully can pick me up. We are still trying to work out the details. I am really missing my mother today. She came to Kansas last year for my surgery and was one of my biggest supporters. I wish she was here to see how well I have done. I hope everyone has a great weekend.
July 14, 2003 Only a few more hours until my breast reduction surgery. I find myself more nervous about this surgery then I was about having gastric bypass surgery. I slept well the night before gastric bypass but not tonight. My dad is concerned and maybe that has rubbed off on me. Last year mom was still alive and she was the calming effect. Dad is renting a room in Topeka so he can be near the hospital. He is visiting from Omaha and does not want to drive back to Junction City (about an hour from the hospital). Mom had complication following routine surgery last November and died and I think maybe that is in the back of all of our minds this time. I am going to try to get some sleep. I will keep you posted. Hugs
July 20, 2003 Sorry it has taken me a while to post on how surgery went. I have slept most of this past week. I am not sure if it was the painkillers or just all the running around I had to do the week before surgery, but it feels great to get caught up on some sleep. The breast reduction surgery went good. It was a little stressful getting to the hospital. I drove the wrong way down a one-way street on the way to the hospital. Ok
I was a little nervous. LOL The surgery was in the new surgery wing at Stormontvale Hospital in Topeka. The pre-op rooms were still being put together and the door on my room was already broke. The older volunteer in the surgery waiting room was very grouchy. She looked a little like the wicked witch from the Wizard of Oz (what do I expect in Kansas). Surgery was suppose to start around 12:30 but did not start until after 1:30 because of a surgery room back up. I ended up changing surgery room nurses and anthologists. It was difficult for my father and my sister to be at the hospital. This is the first time we have all been together at a hospital since mom died last fall. I realize how much they both love me by being there. We were all very nervous about surgery. My sister ended up falling apart in the pre-op room. She was so afraid something would happen. Dad did not say a lot. What father wants to think a lot about his daughters breasts? Dad just turns very white when he is upset and dad was as white as a sheet that morning. I finally saw Dr. Person about 1:30 and he drew the plum lines for surgery. He said it was to help make everything even. I told him they were not even to begin with so if they were a little off I could deal with it. I did get a chuckle out of him at that comment. I have never been completely awake when being taken into the surgery room. That was a different experience and some how my IV ended up getting a leak and they had to start a new IV right after I got into the surgery room. My new surgery room nurse was wonderful. She could tell I was scared and kept talking to me. I am soooo thankful for her. I woke up in recovery sore but glad to be there. I kept asking the nurse to tell my father that I was OK because he was so worried. I arrived in my room on the 7th floor about 6:00 PM. I figured my family had gone to get something to eat. Around 7:00 PM my father, sister and 2 nieces come into my room looking so relieved. They JUST found out that surgery was over. NO ONE bothered to tell them I was in recovery or that surgery was over. They said that Dr. Peterson had just spoken to them and they rushed up stairs. My sister even went into recovery (during the time I was there) and was told I was still in surgery. The surgery waiting room volunteer was of no help. As scared as my family was there was always one of them in that waiting room. I am soo sorry my dad had to go threw all that worry. I am still very upset about that. After my family check on left and me the nurse did bring me something to eat. I am not sure why they ask you all those diet questions because they bring you whatever they want. I told them I have had gastric bypass surgery and could not eat food high in sugar. So what do they bring me? Regular Jell-O and a Popsicle
both of them too high in sugar for me to eat. The nurse was very nice and did get me some hot tea and equal, sugar free Jell-O and some crackers. The antibiotic was in a capsule too large for me to swallow so I had to open it up and put the powder on some Jell-O to take. That was some nasty tasting stuff. My left had been numb most of the night. The nurse said it was because of how I was positioned during surgery. By the next morning I did have all feeling back. My husband was able to get to the hospital about 8:00 PM that night. He had a full day of Hazardous Material classes to take. They Army did not let him off to take me to or pick my up from the hospital. The night in the hospital went well and the nursing staff on the floor was wonderful. For breakfast they again brought me high sugar food. The nurse called down and did order me something I could eat. Dr. Peterson was around to see me before 8:00. My father arrived around 10:00 AM. It was about 12:30 before all the paperwork was done (there had been an emergency on the floor) and I was released to go home. I was afraid to look at my new breast. When I did take the bandages off the next day to take a shower it was not as bad as I thought it would be and I had more breast then I thought I would. I am very bruised on both sides and even my right shoulder blade is bruised. I am tender and they are starting to itch like crazy. I know it is because they are healing. I see Dr. Peterson again on July 22. He did not put in a drain tube. I do have stitches and steri-strips. I do not know if he is going to remove the stitches on Tuesday. I will keep you posted on how thing go. Hugs
August 27, 2003 I am a little over 6 weeks out from the breast reduction surgery. The surgeon did not take out the stitches he just clipped them so they would come out by themselves. The incisions lines on my breast are different so they look different. The doctor has told me that once my breast settle down they should look more alike. He said it would take up to 3 months for the swelling to go completely down. I have gone back to water aerobics. I was very sore after the first few times back at class. Hubby has been alerted for Iraq and will be leaving any day now. We went out on a date last weekend and took photos. When I picked the photos up from being developed, I was shocked to see what I looked like. I really dont see myself as a thin person, but my goodness I looked thin in the photos. SHOCK. I wonder if myself image will every change?
August 30, 2003 I shopped at Victoria Secrets today for the first time in my life!! I was so excited. :-)
September 8, 2003 My husband left today for Iraq. I hope this next year goes quickly.
September 11, 2003 I am not sure where to start with this. I went in this morning to my PC on Fort Riley to see about having my excess stomach skin removed. I am still having a lot of back pain and the pain medicine hurts my stomach. I have also had infections in the folds of the extra skin. I spoke with PA Graylow. He will not write me a request for a referral to have the skin removed. He said that the request would have to come from the doctor that did my gastric bypass. I asked PA Graylow why and he really did not have any answers for me. With all the units deployed here if is very difficult to see the other doctors in my PC. I asked PA Graylow if they would write me a referral to see Dr. Steward again and he told me no because I just saw him in July. It seems like a catch 21 situation. I am feeling a little frustrated right now. September 12, 2003 I had my 2 month check-up today with the plastic surgeon that did my breast reductions. I asked him about a TT. He said he has NEVER seen Tri-Care approve a TT. Dr. Peterson said that very rarely the Army has approved of the removal the excess stomach skin but only with documented cases of sore/ulcers in the skin folds. He said that if I do get infections in my skin folds to take pictures for decimation. I am going to see the patient rep. on Monday. Wish me luck.
September 18, 2003 This is just a VERY short up date to let you know what is going on. Last Saturday I went to the emergency room with pain on my right side. It ended up being my appendix. At 7:00 PM Saturday day they did emergency surgery. The appendix ruptured as they were removing it. I was released from the hospital yesterday but am still running a low grade fever (99`-100'). I am on bed rest and meds. Because of all the excess stomach skin I have, my sister is packing and unpacking the incision line twice a day. I go back to see the doctor next week. I did not send Vince a Red Cross message because I did not want to worry him and there is really nothing he could do. I hope every one has a great day.
September 22, 2003 On September 12 I had my 2-month check-up for my breast reduction surgery. The doctor said everything is healing well. On the drive back from Topeka my right side started hurting. Drew, my son, had to work the K-State football game that Saturday (September 13) for Boy Scouts. He was picked up at 7:00 AM because all workers have to be there 4 hours before the start of the game. After he left, I did dishes and started laundry. I still felt bad and went back to bed. Around noon I rolled over in bed and it hurt so bad I cried. I knew it was time to go to the ER. I left the cell phone with Shelby, my daughter, and told her that if Aunt Tina calls to tell her I went to the ER with a side ache and will call her when I get home. The drive to the hospital was rough. I honestly thought I was constipated because that happens a lot to people that have had gastric bypass surgery. I had been at the hospital about 30 minutes when Tina showed up all crazy looking. She had Shelby, her daughter and husband Jim with her. Right after I had left the house, Shelby (who can tell stories) called Tina and said that I fell in the bedroom and had to go to the hospital. I was glad to see Tina, but I had to yell at Shelby for not telling the truth. Tina and Jim decided that Tina would stay at the ER with me and Jim would take Shelby and Natty home. All Saturday afternoon they ran tests on me. Finally about 5:00 PM they sent me for a CAT Scan to see if it was my appendix. The doctor thought my appendix was leaking and ordered emergency surgery. I signed consent forms at 6:38 PM and was in surgery by 7:00 PM. Surgery lasted about 3 hours and my appendix did rupture as they were trying to remove it. I have lost around 140 pounds so I have a lot of excess skin on my stomach and that complicated surgery. I remember waking up in recovery asking for Tina. They sent me to ICU. I woke up that night dreaming I was a basketball. I had leg pumps on and a blood pressure cuff. Talk about good drugs. LOL The ICU was so full that I ended up in the only place left. It was not even a room
just a space with a curtain and no bathroom. The bathroom was down the hall about 50 feet or so. I was in ICU for 5 days. I did have a TV but it was very small and kind of broken. I teased the nurses that who needed TV
I just listened to what was going happening on the other side of the curtain. HA HA. There was a crazy woman that roamed the halls at night talking to herself and another woman that just screamed every few hours for the hell of it. I was so thankful when I was sent home. They sent me home with an open wound that is about 4 inches long and 3-4 inches deep. Tina or Jim pack and unpack it 2-3 times a day. I am not sure how long we are going to have to do it.
September 28, 2003 It is 2 weeks and one day since my appendix was removed. I did end up getting an infection and have had 2 return trips to the ER with it and 2 visits to the surgery clinic. I think I am finally on the mend!! My sister and brother-in-law are still packing and unpacking my incision twice a day. I can't believe how deep it is. The incision is about 4 inches across and depending on area it is 3-4 inches deep. I go back to see Dr. Woods on Wednesday, October 01. He was worried the infection is behind the stitches at the bottom of my incision, but since I have quit running a fever he is hopeful! I will keep you posted. Hugs.
September 30, 2003 A man in my husband's unit was killed in combat yesterday morning and a soldier in my husband's company was shot. They informed the wives early yesterday morning so no news is good news. I was told that the unit is seeing combat on a regular basis. My husband's platoon has a soldier that is only 17 years old!!! That is only a year older then our son! It ran on the local news last night and they said the unit was under heavy fire as they tried to recover their dead and wounded. It was a sleepless night here. I ended up baking cookies and packed them to mail today. They will be stale when he gets them, but it made me feel better.
October 23, 2003 I went in for a check up this morning on my appendix surgery. Everything is healing well and I do not have to pack the incision any more. I go back to see the doctor in 3 weeks. I still can not return to water aerobics, but I can take a bath now. YEAH. I should be dismissed from Dr. Woods care at the next visit and he will hopefully write my request for a referral for the removal of my excess stomach skin. I have heard from hubby on the phone and have gotten a letter. :-)
November 12, 2003 I saw Dr. Woods today for a follow up on my appendix. The incision still has not healed so he put silver nitrate on it to promote healing. He wrote my request for a referral to have the excess stomach skin removed. Now I start the waiting period. Dr. Woods said the fact my wound has not healed is in my favor. He liked the letter I wrote but told me to keep it, just incase I have to appeal. I go back to see Dr. Woods in 2 more weeks to check to see if it is healing. Still no water aerobics.
November 16, 2003 I did not check the mail yesterday because we had company visiting from out of town. This evening when I thought about the mail I went out and there were a letter from Hubby. I was soo excited to see his words on paper. There was also something from Tri-Care. It was my referral to see a plastic surgeon in Kansas City!!! I was honestly not expecting anything from Tri-care for another 2 weeks. I am still in shock!! I will call tomorrow about an appointment.
November 17, 2003 I have my consult appointment with Dr W. Thomas Lawrence on December 16, 2003. He works at Kansas Medical Center in the plastic surgery department. January 16, 2004 I received my authorization for Abdominoplasty in the mail today. I called the doctor's office, but the scheduling nurse had already left for the day. I have to call back on Tuesday. I am hoping to schedule surgery over Spring Break in March because the doctor I was sent to is in Kansas City at the Medical Center. Drew and Shelby submitted poems about you to Creative Communications Young Poets Contest. Both poem are now in the semi-finals and will be published in a book! I have ordered the book. The finalist will be announced later. I am so proud of them. This is the second time Shelby has been a semi-finalist. February 20, 2004 I have my surgery date. It is scheduled for March 24, 2004 at the Medical Center in Kansas City. My Pre-op appointment is March 17, 2004. I will post more later.
March 12, 2004 Yesterday I had one of those Grace moments. I got a call about 7 AM from Westwood wanting me to work the day as a Para. I told them no problem. I was still in my PJ when I ran Drew to school about 7:10. When I got home I had was rushing around the back of the van and somehow got tangled up in my feet and fell. I hit the balls of my left boot so hard I have a blood blister. I scraped up both knees, the palm of my right hand and my right cheek. OUCH. I got up and went inside to get ready for work. By the end of the school day I was done for. I had such a headache and my back hurt. I cant take any of the painkillers, not even Tynol because surgery is so close. I put the heating pad on my back and was in bed before 8:00 PM. I did not sleep well last night and now my right shoulder, arm and right side of my neck hurt. I am falling apart. It has to be old age. ~smiles~ The teachers at school realized yesterday that I am a gastric bypass patient. They all were so amazed. They cannot believe I was fat. Guess the skin does not sag as much as I think it does. LOL
March 24, 2004 do I really want to do this? I went for my pre-op appointment yesterday. Tri-care has approved for me to have a 2-4 day hospital stay and the Dr. wants to keep me as long as possible because of the size of the incision. He also informed me today that I would have at least one blood transfusion during surgery and most likely one the day after surgery. I will be sent home with 2-3 drain tubes that will be removed about 10 days after surgery. I will be fitted for my compression (like a girdle) garment while in the hospital and will have to wear it most of the time. I had blood work and did my pre-admitting yesterday. This is going to be a lot different then the past surgeries. This will be my largest incision every.... under the breastbone to the pelvic bone and then from hip to hip. I was not scared before my gastric bypass or my breast reduction but this tummy tuck has me a little worried. Surgery is scheduled for Wed. March 24th at 7:30 AM in KUMED. Vince will not get to come home for surgery. He is still in Iraq.
March 30, 2004 My drain tubes came out today...it hurt but not as bad as my roommate at the hospital made it sound. I am swollen and black and blue. The doctor did liposuction but did not do the upside down T incision. He did a bikini cut. So I am cut from him to hip. I have about 100 stitches. The doctor said I have 3 layers of stitches. I had surgery March 24th and was sent home from the hospital March 26th. I spend a lot of my time sleeping.
April 05, 2004 Hubby is coming home for 10 days R & R leave!! He will be here sometime this week. I am still swollen but the bruising is almost gone. The muscles in my right thigh still hurt and I do not have feeling in my tummy area...yet. The mole I had under my right breast is now on my right hip. I id not realize the skin could stretch that far.
April 28, 2004 I went for my 5-week post-op yesterday. I had a 10:30 AM appointment and did not see the doctor until after 1:00 PM. He took about one minute to look at my incision and told me to come back in 2 months. As the swelling goes down I am less and less happy with the results. I think my belly button should have been higher and the skin should have been pulled tighter. Anything is better then before but I wish he had done the mid-line incision because I think the skin and stretch marks would have ended up looking better. After all this pain
I am feeling a little frustrated. They did not weigh the skin so I do not know how much was removed. The doctor estimated he took off about 10 to 12 pounds of skin. Hubby left to go back to Iraq on April 24th. Vince called last night. He is still in Baghdad and has no idea when his unit will send a convoy after him. The soldiers that are in-transit all (men and women) sleep on cots in big hanger type rooms. Vince said one soldier has been there almost 30 days!! Vince's base camp is near Fallujah.
July 09, 2004 I went to Topeka today for my 2-year check up on my gastric bypass. I did not get to see Dr. Steward but did see his Physician Assistant Robert Blanken. He was really nice and even has friend from Omaha. I "wowed" him. Grins. We talked for about 30 minutes. He said that I looked great. He told me I am the farthest out from surgery patient he has seen. PA Blanken checked with Dr. Steward about the headaches. They both agree I am probably having migraines. He gave me the name of some medication I can take that won't hurt my pouch. I am hoping it works.
July 10, 2004 I did it. I went and got bear claw prints on my new tummy. The tats will look great when they heal. Hubby won't let me put his name on my body...so I put his prints. Giggles
January 26, 2005 WOW. It has been a long time since I updated. I moved my dad it Kansas in August 2004. My husband returned from Iraq on September 26, 2004 and my sister delivered twins six weeks early by emergency c-section on October 04, 2004. My sister almost died so the twins came to stay with me for a while and hubby took 30 days R&R Leave. There just has not been much time for me to update. My back has only gone out once since the tummy tuck. It went out when I was moving dad. I was picking up things I should not have been. I am not happy at all with the way my tummy healed. The doctor did not do a reverse T-cut like I wanted. I have tight skin from hip to hip and around my belly button (So tight they won't pierce it). I have loose saggy skin on both sides. When I bend over it looks like I have two sets of boobs. Tri-care will do nothing to fix it because it is now considered a cosmetic problem. I still do not have feeling in part of my right leg and lower stomach. The feeling may never come back. My weight has stabilized at 170 pounds. I was done to 149 pounds after my appendix ruptured but I was also on death's door. The doctor said this is where my body is comfortable and that works for me. I still walk as much as I can. I have not been to water aerobics in a long time. I am now baby-sitting my sister's kids during the day so there is no time for the water.
March 29, 2005
Last Wednesday was just a little stressful in our world. I had an 11:30 AM appointment in OB/GYN with Dr. Thai.There was an emergency on Labor and Delivery and Dr. Thai was called away. At least they let me get dressed and wait in the waiting room for her instead of leaving me half dressed in the patient room. When Dr. Thai gets back I am sent to the room again. About a year ago I was told I have Varicose veins in my vulva and vaginal area. The doctor told me it was because of my "extreme weight loss". It has become a joke and we call them my "spots". Dr. Thai took one look at my spots and decides she is doing a biopsy RIGHT NOW. Dr. Thai gave me 3 shots (those shots hurt so much I actually cried
I am not usually such a wuss but OMG they hurt) and took 3 separate biopsy samples. She said that she is very concerned about the one that bleeds. I may just have abnormal blood vessels, pre-cancer cells or maybe cancer. After she said the C word I was in a bit of shock. I held it together until I got to my sister's house and just started crying. The samples are being sent to BAMSY (I am not sure where that is and did not think to ask) and it will be 3-4 weeks before I know the results. This is going to be a long 3-4 weeks.
May 02, 2005 IT IS NOT CANCER. HOOAH The only bad thing is there is not much they can do for the pain. I have "dilated blood vessels". But after thinking I might have cancer...I can deal with this.
Hospital Reviews(Fort Riley, KS) - Irwin Army Community Hospital
(Kansas City, KS) - Kansas University Medical Center
(Topeka, KS) - St. Francis Hospital
(Topeka, KS) - Stormont Vail Hospital
Surgeon: Brent Steward, M.D.
Day before surgery/July 10,
2002---January 2003/6 months
June 04, 2002 I met Dr. Steward today. He was very friendly and honest. He did not talk "down to me" and
answered all my questions. Dr. Steward wanted to make sure I was well informed. He stressed the importance of support before
and after surgery. He stated that counseling is usually a must because of all the physical and psychological changes a WLS
patient and family goes through. My sister went to the appointment with me and Dr. Steward eased some of her fears. I feel
comfortable with Dr. Steward and was impressed with his ability to communicate. He was very honest about the number of
surgeries he has done (at this time under 20) and the risk of complication. Dr. Steward and Dr. Bernstien always work at a team
when doing WLS.
June 26, 2002
Last night was the WLS support group meeting in Topeka. Dr. Steward was there and he was much more
relaxed and had a smile for everyone. He came in to the meeting late and was called out once when his
pager went off. Dr. Steward had a visual presentation for the support group. It was a wonderful and had
great information. Dr. Steward has quite a sense of humor and had everyone in the room laughing more
then once. Dr. Steward explained that him and Dr. Bernstien face some of the same prejudices as their
patients over WLS. Many other surgeons see WLS as an "unnecessary surgery for a non-disease". Dr.
Steward stated that the support group meeting are as much for the doctors as the patients. It gives
everyone a boost to keep going.
July 19, 2002
Dr. Steward came to see me before surgery. He had a surgeon visiting from Ireland with him and informed
me he would be watching the surgery. Dr. Steward was his usual friendly self and this really put my parents
at ease. After surgery when he and Dr. Dr. Bernstien spoke with my family they answered all the questions.
My dad seem quite impressed with Dr. Steward and my dad never likes any doctors. LOL Dr. Steward was
on call right after I had surgery. I do not see how he keeps up his schedule. I did see him each day I was in
the hospital and his PA also visited me daily. Dr. Steward was in touch with the nursing staff on my floor 2-3
times a day to check on his patients. I had the room across from the nurses desk and could hear them
talking to him. I went for my post-op appointment yesterday. Dr. Steward was gentle when he took out my
drain tube and always has time for my questions. He is a great doctor and also a great person. I would
recommend him highly.
This is the Tri-Care Handbook on-line.
It explains the rules for "Obesity Treatment". It helps to be well informed.