Hi, my name is Cara. I'm 25 and live in Arlington, VA with my fiance and two cats. I have been overweight pretty much my whole life (my mom says since 3 months old.) I just found out in Spring 2004 that my insulin was way too high. This led me on a journey to find the answer to this insulin problem, hoping to resolve my weight issues. As the insulin climbed, the weight packed on more rapidly. Eventually, an endocrinologist in DC told me that bariatric surgery was the only way to get the weight off quickly and reduce the insulin in the process. I was devastated because WLS was a scary proposition. But, in the end, I met the challenge with courage and came through with flying colors. I am still in the early stages of the process and look forward to continued success.
***This starts from the beginning. Scroll to the bottom for the most recent posting.***
11/9/04: I met with my endocrinologist today who told me that the only thing that will lower my insulin is to have the WLS. I was upset and relieved. I've been reading posts on here and Carnie Wilson's books, and am getting ready. My appointment with Dr. Afram and Dr. Buras is next week on the 15th. I hope my boss is understanding and will support me even though I need to take time off to have the surgery. I'm hoping for a day in January or February.
11/10/04: I met with HR at work and am trying to get everything worked out for me to take off for the surgery. My boss doesn't know I am doing this, and I don't want to tell her I need the time off until I see Dr. Afram on Monday. Because I have been with my job less than a year, there is no guarantee of getting the time I need.
11/12/04: My boss asked me how my doctor's appointment went the other day, and I couldn't lie. So I told her I might have to have surgery. I talked to HR again and they said that they would be willing to "solicit" leave from my coworkers for my surgery, which is really nice. I am just feeling so depressed about everything.
11/15/04: I met with Dr. Afram and Dr. Buras today and some of my anxiety was lifted. They answered a lot of my questions, and said I was a great candidate. Now I am just waiting for my insurance approval.
11/16/04: Well the good news is I found out right away that the insurance is denying me because there is an exclusion in my company's policy. I say this is good because I can switch insurance policies until Dec. 3rd. I am pretty sure the PPO covers it, so I will be talking to the benefits person tomorrow. I thought for a few minutes that this was over, but Mandy assures me that it will work out.
11/19/04: I filled out my paper work and applied for the PPO. It will take effect Jan. 1st, and then Mandy will submit my paperwork again. If this doesn't work, I may be looking for a new job.
12/2/04: I went to Dr. Afram's group support session for the first time. It wasn't as structured as I expected, but it really helped talking to everyone. It is a hard realization to say, yes I need to do this, but I am finally feeling so psyched about the WLS. I can't wait till the new insurance kicks in and I can set a date!
About 335 lbs
1/3/05: I faxed Mandy at Dr. Afram's office a copy of my new insurance card, and by noon she had called them. They want a "certificate of credible coverage" from my last 2 insurance companies. So, I've contacted one and am waiting for HR on the other. This may be slightly time consuming, but I just hope it leads to approval. I have my pre-surgery appointment with the pulminary specialist this afternoon.
1/4/05: I went to see the pulminary specialist, Dr. Miller, and everything was fine except he wants me to do a sleep test to rule out sleep apnea. I stopped by Dr. Afram's office on the way out and Mandy said that the insurance company wants me to have my psych evaluation and my meeting with the nutritionist before they approve me. So, I set up my appointments for the next week, and am waiting to hear from the sleep center.
1/6/05: Yesterday was my visit with the nutritionist, and that went really well. I walked in on a group session as I arrived for my appointment, and was able to catch the last half of it. I was so glad to be there, because one of the women was 10 months out and looked phenomenal, and I thought that that could be me soon. I know that there are going to be a lot of changes, but I just can't wait. This is a very exciting journey!
1/10/05: I did my sleep study last night at National Rehabilitation Hospital. Not exactly glamorous, but it wasn't too bad. They should know whether I have sleep apnea in a few days. Tomorrow morning is my psych evaluation. I can't believe that I may have a date soon. I'm really ready for this.
1/12/04: Yesterday was my psych evaluation. It wasn't hard; it was just an assessment with about 170 questions and about an hour one-on-one with the psychologist. The assessment showed that I have a tendancy to be grumpy and crabby (big surprise) and that I'm anxious and depressed (woohoo!). This is pretty normal for anyone who's wanting to get this surgery. So, my old insurance company finally sent me the certificate of credible coverage I've been waiting for--with the wrong first name on it. Just getting this proof of coverage has been more difficult than anything else. They said they would take the one with the mistake, so I am good to go. That's right; I'm approved!! I still have to schedule the date, which is somewhat contingent on whether I have sleep apnea. Those results won't be in for a few more days. But this is a major step in the right direction.
1/13/05: Well, I called Sally this morning to schedule my surgery date. It will be in a month and 2 days, on February 15th. I'm so relieved to finally have this scheduled. This is really going to happen.
1/25/05: Things are going alright. I have been reading a lot and preparing for my surgery. I still don't know whether I have sleep apnea, but I am hoping they can solve this soon. I just can't wait to get this done and to finally feel better.
1/26/05: Dr. Miller, the pulminary specialist, called to say I do not have sleep apnea. He said that he can, however, give me a medication to make me less sleepy after I'm done with the surgery. This is an exciting proposition, as I am always exhausted. But part of me hopes I won't even need it after the surgery. I am hoping that once my insulin goes down, my energy will go up.
1/31/05: I just keep gaining weight. I suppose it doesn't help that I am eating everything in sight. There is this sense of if I don't have it now, I'll never be able to again. Especially with red meat and sweets. This morning I went for my ultrasound and upper GI. It wasn't much fun, but I am glad to have it over with. It is actually kind of cool to see your insides on a big screen. The ultrasound just hurt a lot more than I thought it would. But everything looked fine, and I don't think I'll have to get my gallbladder removed. Only 15 days till surgery!
2/8/05: I went to my PCP for my pre-op physical and blood work yesterday. It wasn't too bad. My weight is heigher than ever but I am trying not to get down about it. I have been really depressed lately. My friends and I are going to the Cheesecake factory for my last big meal tonight. Surgery is only in a week, and I need to start preparing myself. 7 days away!
2/11/05: The Cheescake Factory wasn't nearly as satisfying as I had hoped. I have a feeling that giving up these big endulgances won't be so bad. I went to group last night, and my friend Sam gave me tons of clothes that she's now too small for. She's lost 66lbs in 4 months. I can't wait to get to that stage. I did my final consult with the surgeon and met the nurses at the hospital. I got my bloodwork back, and I am good to go. Barely 4 days left!
2/14/05: Tomorrow is the big day. It all seems like a dream. Dr. Afram told me to take a sleeping pill and go to bed. This is what I'm gonna do. Hopefully, things will go smoothly and I'll update in a few days. Thanks to everyone for their encouragement!
2/18/05: I've been home for a little over 24 hours now. Things have been rough and I have had a lot of pain. I am surviving on water and apple juice. I'm feeling better now that I'm at home...The hospital was really difficult. I didn't get my pain meds regularly enough and my blood pressure was through the roof. I'm now doing 2 percosets crushed in apple sauce every 4 hours. It tastes nasty, but it works. I am really looking forward to pureed foods.
2/21/05: Things are going better. I've been able to sleep in my bed, which has been nice. I started pureed foods and have had eggs, chicken sausage, zuccini, ground turkey, and protein shakes. I really like the ProScore 100 from Champion Nutrition. My boyfriend and I made a shake with that and banana and apple pie spice...it was great! Today we tried Myoplex in chocolate peanut butter and that was good too. My face already looks thinner, but I'm not going to weigh myself till tomorrow.
2/22/05: I was a little disappointed that I haven't lost more weight yet, but eleven pounds is still eleven pounds I never have to carry around again.
2/24/05: I stepped on the scale this morning and I've lost 2 more pounds. I'm still in a lot of pain, but things are getting better.
2/25/05: I saw the Dr. today and he said I'm doing fine. I'm going to take a few more days from work, because I'm still in a lot of pain. This takes a lot more time to heal than I would have thought. I'm down 2 more lbs. This is pretty amazing.
2/28/05: Things are going ok. I tried eating out for the first time this weekend, and I didn't get sick or anything. I've done well with everything I've tried. The only thing I really didn't like was french onion soup. So I took a few sips and passed on it. I've really enjoyed salmon and chicken sausages and mashed potatoes. My boyfriend and I have been making protein packed sugar free pudding for evening snacks and that has been really good. I'll write again tomorrow for my two week weigh in!
3/1/05: I'm very sleepy today and have been bad by only eating once so far. I'm going to go fix myself some lunch and actually greet the day at 3:45pm. The weightloss has been steady this week and I'm very happy with my progress. I just can't believe I'll be back to work in a week. I think I may need to start back at half days.
3/2/05: Woohoo! I lost three more lbs today from yesterday. That's pretty cool :)
3/8/05: I was worried about the weigh in today because I ate out over the weekend more than normal. But things are moving at a good rate, and I'm happy with my progress. People have noticed in my face and belly. I'm going to work hard this week.
3/10/05: I stepped on the scale this morning and I've lost three more lbs! Amazing. Work has been tough this week, but I know I can't sit at home forever. I'm going to group tonight, and I'm excited to share my progress.
3/14/05: I've been really sick the past few days and can't seem to keep anything down. It feels like the acid is really building up in my stomach, especially when I throw up a few times. I had to miss half a day of work on Friday and a full day today because of being sick. Still, the progress is good and I have lost at least 8 lbs this week.
3/15/05: Ok, so I'm now officially one month out. I've lost 30 lbs and am pretty happy with things. I'm back to work today after a minor setback this weekend. I'm feeling pretty pooped, but I have faith that things will get better.
3/18/05: I went to the doctor's today and since I started my period, my weight jumped to 315. Argh. The Dr. laughed at me and told me to throw the scale away. He assures me that I'm doing great...be it 26 or 30 lbs in 4 weeks. Still, I had weighed myself at home before leaving, so at least I knew what to expect! I am now cleared to exercise, and am looking forward to adding that component. Hopefully it will help with my energy levels.
3/22/05: The weight is getting back on track. Only two pounds lost this last week, but I'm ok with that considering I had my period. I have a majorly important interview on Thursday, and I am so glad to have the extra boost of confidence from this weight loss.
3/30/05: So I'm frustrated. I've been throwing up a lot and have had a hard time eating all my food. I really want to lose weight more quickly and am afraid this weight is going to stay on me forever. I bought some RTD protein shakes, so I'm hoping this will help. I may have to see the DR and ask him what he thinks about my problems.
4/1/05: The RTD shakes have really helped. I haven't thrown up in a few days and have been getting in all my meals. I dropped 2 lbs already since Tuesday. As far as I'm concerned, this proves my theory that I really need at least 750 cals a day. The shake mid-morning has given me a great energy boost, so if I can find one I actually like, I want to keep this up.
4/4/05: As I mentioned before, I'm trying all these different kinds of RTD shakes. The one I'm drinking right now is foul: ABB Extreme Body. Yuck. Things have been going better, though. I took a long walk last night. I have an appointment with the Dr. tomorrow because of my throwing up. Pills have been getting caught and causing me a lot of pain. I think I need to be scoped. I'm doing better with my eating (when I'm not vomiting) and I hope to see a big leap in weight loss soon.
4/10/05: Argh. I have a cold and it is not fun. I feel so sick. I saw Dr. Afram and then Dr. Nsien, the gastroenterologist, and now I'm having my endoscopy on Wednesday. Hopefully they can dialate my opening a little and the throwing up will stop. I've lost one lb in that last week. I'm hoping for at least one more by Tuesday.
4/12/05: I threw up twice last night. I'm really hoping Dr. Nsien can help me tomorrow. The pace of my weight loss is annoying me. But, I read a great article on OH yesterday about metabolism. It was saying how a low-cal, low-fat diet slows the metabolism and that you have to eat enough food and enough protein to get things going. As I've said in the past, I really do think we can eat too few calories. My Dr. seems to disagree and thinks that if you aren't losing very fast, you must just be eating a lot. Let me tell you, I am lucky if I can get 800 cals a day. And that is nothing. In our former lives, that was a lunch. I've got to be religious about my protein and I've got to quit "forgetting" to eat, drink, or take my vitamins. I'm worth this added effort. Afterall, I didn't come this far to sabotage myself now.
4/13/05: I was right! I had a stricture. I've been throwing up 1-8x a day for 5 or 6 weeks and finally had an endocscopy today. Low and behold, I had a stricture. The Dr. dialated my stoma several millimeters. Already since the procedure when I took a tylenol, it didn't "catch." I'm very tired from the hospital drugs, but happy and rather vindicated that I didn't make this whole problem up in my head. I even have some nice photos from inside my pouch as a parting gift. Moral of the story is, if you throw up all the time and feel pills being caught, talk to your doctor about a possible stricture. I'm glad I stuck to my guns, even when the Dr. assured me that it was probably because I was eating too much too fast or not chewing enough. Or it was stress about throwing up causing me to throw up. I'm glad it was something fixable. I'm down 39 lbs today; can't wait to hit -40!
4/16/05: I didn't weigh myself yesterday, and low and behold today I weigh 299. That's -42lbs! I haven't thrown up since the endoscopy and am feeling much better.
4/19/05: So I lost 7 lbs this week! I feel that this proves that throwing up and too few calories are not good for my body. Since I stopped throwing up, the weight is flying off. Yay me!
4/26/05: Hi again. So, I'm on my period, and guess what, the weight has hardly moved. 1 lb if you squint. Hopefully by next week things will be moving again. I've thrown up twice in the last 2 days, both times because of chicken. The Dr. warned me that my stoma would close down a little, so I am going to have to remember that I am not invincible. Things have been kind of crazy because of job interviews and Devin finishing school. But I want to commit to the gym this week. It's got to happen.
5/5/05: Grumble, grumble. I'm late posting this week because I've been super busy. Only lost 1 more pound (and another since Tuesday.) Rather depressing. But! I am finally fitting into more of Miss Samantha's cute clothes including pants. I am now able to fit into 95% of all the 22's. I am wearing jeans I forgot existed from my closet. So that is good. I went to Macy's and all the clothes I took to try on were too big! I was able to buy a size 18 skirt for the first time in god knows how long. So these are all great things. I think I'm going to look stellar at my big interview tomorrow.
5/10/05: Well, the weight went down 5 lbs this week. I'm happy with that. The interview went really well on Friday and I looked nice. I haven't thrown up in a week or so, so that is good. All in all, I'm happy. But I still have to commit to the gym!
5/11/05: Devin and I got engaged last night! Now I'm -52 and + 1 fiance!
5/24/05: Ok, so I've been delinquent. I didn't lose anything last week and I was feeling discouraged. But, I'm doing fine with a -4 loss this week. I didn't get the job that I really wanted so I am looking for other opportunities. Devin finally graduated, though, so once he gets a job at least $$ won't be so much of an issue. I've been lax on getting my protein the last week, so I need to get back into my good habits.
6/6/05: Things have been going ok. I've been craving wierd things lately, like fried chicken, egg rolls, etc. I have had a little of whatever, and now I don't want them anymore at all. Which is good, I guess. I'm determined to get this weightloss ramped up! I just started back on birth control pills and my period is getting all messed up and my weight loss seems to be confused too. Hopefully things will get back on track.
6/14/05: Well, the weight loss is steady lately which is nice. I'm trying to be more active and to eat more normally. I've really been noticing a difference in my clothes.
6/21/05: Things are ok. My hair is still falling out, but it's not noticeable. I'm moving into a new apartment soon, which is exciting. And I have a super important job interview tomorrow. I'm excited to wear my size 18 blazer!
7/5/05: I'm doing well and I'm finally noticing a change in my clothing. I can't believe I'm so close to being -75. That's quite a mile stone. I've been craving sugar and candy more lately, but even when I have some, I stop easily and don't eat as much as I used to. I'm still losing my hair, but there are no big bald patches or anything. And I'm still totally uninterested in sex. I really hope my hormones go back to normal soon.
7/8/05: Today is a monumental day. I have lost 75 lbs! As I told my friend, it's like losing an Olsen twin :)
7/13/05: So, I saw Dr. Afram today. He was slightly annoyed that I haven't been to see him in 2 months. But he was very happy with my weight loss. He says it's ok to lift weights and he wants me to exercise more. Big surprise! Still, I'm thrilled to have lost almost 80 lbs.
8/2/05: -85 lbs is an amazing accomplishment. I am on par to lose 100 by Labor Day, which is my next goal. Devin and I joined Bally Total Fitness and we've been going 4-5 times a week. I'm kicking butt with cardio but it will take longer to get my strength back with weight lifting. Still, onward and upward!
Cara in Las Vegas 8/2005
8/23/05: So things have been slower than expected this month with vacation and house guests. But, Dev and I are back in the gym and the weight is slowly coming off again. I am announcing my resignation from work today and looking forward to my new job, which starts 9/12/05. Until then, I'll be busy with exercise, exercise, exercise!
9/7/05: Today is my first day off before I start my new job. I've been having some dizzy spells so I'm headed to the DR. tomorrow. Hope everything is ok. I had a "wow" moment recently when I was in Filene's. I tried on a 16w blazer and it was a little big, so I tried on a misses 16 and it fit! Crazy.
11/8/05: It's been a long time since my last update, and I apologize for that! I've been a workaholic with my new job. But, the amazing news is that I've lost over 100 lbs! And I'm fitting into size 14 tops and 1x pants. Before long, it'll be so long plus sizes. It's so strange. I found out that my vitamin B was low, so I'm feeling a lot better since I've been dilligent with my vitamins. Things are going well, but I still need to stick with it. The wedding is only 9 months away!
1/6/06: Ok, kids, I guess I'm living the life more and worrying about everything less. Hence why I'm not on here often. But a friend reminded me that I should update, so here it is. I've lost 113 lbs now. Still over 200, but getting closer every day.
Week 0 - 341............BMI: 55.........Goal: 150 lbs
Week 1 - 330 (-11)......................Total Lost = 11
Week 2 - 324 (-6).......................Total Lost = 17
Week 3 - 319 (-5).......................Total Lost = 22
Week 4 - 311 (-8).......................Total Lost = 30
Week 5 - 309 (-2).......................Total Lost = 32
Week 6 - 308 (-1).......................Total Lost = 33
Week 7 - 305 (-3).......................Total Lost = 36
Week 8 - 303 (-2).......................Total Lost = 38
Week 9 - 296 (-7).......................Total Lost = 45
Week 10 -295 (-1).......................Total Lost = 46
Week 11 -294 (-1).......................Total Lost = 47
Week 12 -289 (-5).......................Total Lost = 52
Week 13 -289 (-0).......................Total Lost = 52
Week 14 -285 (-4).......................Total Lost = 56
Week 15 -282 (-3).......................Total Lost = 59
Week 16 -280 (-2).......................Total Lost = 61
Week 17 -277 (-3).......................Total Lost = 64
Week 18 -273 (-4).......................Total Lost = 68
Week 19 -272 (-1).......................Total Lost = 69
Week 20 -268 (-4).......................Total Lost = 73
Week 21 -262 (-6).......................Total Lost = 79
Week 22 -262 (-0).......................Total Lost = 79
Week 23 -261 (-1).......................Total Lost = 80
Week 24 -256 (-5).......................Total Lost = 85
Week 25 -256 (-0).......................Total Lost = 85
Week 26 -256 (-0).......................Total Lost = 85
Week 27 -252 (-4).......................Total Lost = 89
Week 28 -251 (-1).......................Total Lost = 90
Week 29 -250 (-1).......................Total Lost = 91
Week 30 - 250 (-0).......................Total Lost = 91
Week 31 -249 (-1).......................Total Lost = 92
Week 32 -247 (-2).......................Total Lost = 94
Week 33 -247 (-0).......................Total Lost = 94
Week 34 -246 (-1).......................Total Lost = 95
Week 35 - 244 (-2).......................Total Lost = 97
Week 36 -244 (-0).......................Total Lost = 97
Week 37 -243 (-1).......................Total Lost = 98
Week 38 - 239 (-4).......................Total Lost = 102
January 6, 2006 228 lbs (113 lbs lost)
Just switched from Carefirst to GBS.
They want certificates of credible coverage from my past 2 insurers. I have to prove consistent coverage for at least 18 months. They are also making me do my psych evaluation and meeting with the nutritionist before approval.
They approved me within 24 hrs once I had everything done.