Aug 24, 2007

1/09/05 - down 100 pounds (down 200+ from highest)
Finally!!! I reached the Double Century Club. Praise God! I never thought I would see a number on the scale that started with a 2!!! It's been over 20 years since I've weighed 2-anything. LOL Things have been busy here. Still working on getting things together at Dave's mom's house. We just keep chipping away at it. We got a treadmill at Sam's Club and I love it. It's a totally different workout than the gazelle. And I seem to get a better benefit from it. I am able to eat most anything ~ with the exception of chicken. It still turns to sawdust in my mouth and a brick in my pouch. Blechh!Sybil has expensive tastes. She like filet mignon VERY much! LOL And crabmeat and lobster and shrimp (fried shrimp, anyway...). Sybil's spoiled!!! I can now fit in some 1x's and even regular XL's at Sam's Club. Amazing! My wedding rings try to fly off everytime I clap in Church. I am actually starting to feel like a woman again. Men are looking me in the eye, holding doors open and some actually flirt! I guess I'm no longer considered sub-human. Makes me happy and angry at the same time. I choose to move forward and to ALWAYS be a defender of the overweight and the underdog!!! God be with you!!!

4/21/05 ~ Down 123 pounds (223+ from highest)
Long time no type. :-) A lot of changes have been taking place in my life and I have been so busy that I have not been keeping up with my profile. I am so sorry. Not that anyone but myself is reading the thing. LOL My dad has fallen gravely ill. About two and a half months ago, he got what seemed to be pneumonia, so they put him on antibiotics. Unfortunately, these wrought havoc in his stomach because of all the medications he is on. (He is 86 years old). His stomach started bleeding internally, is kidneys shut down, and all sorts of systems in his body went haywire. The family was called in from all over, and we expected him to die. By the grace of God, he did not. Due to God's mercy and all the prayers of folks all over the country, dad has had a rollercoaster ride of recovery. He was in the hospital for about a month, sent to long term care hospital for another month and was just moved to a nursing home on Tuesday. I had a major breakdown when we followed him there. The place smells ~ badly ~ and it's worn down. Some of the employees there are nasty, but most of them are very caring people. He has had therapy for the last 2 days (finally!) and seems to be getting stronger. A lot of the time, he is disoriented, but compared to the dementia he suffered in the last 2 months, it's improvement. He never seemed old to me before this. Three months ago, he was driving, cooking, cleaning...basically self-sufficient. Now he stares off into space and can barely move. My heart is very heavy.

On a happier note, while I was checking out at WalMart today, they had to check my driver's license, and the cashier said "Did you lose a lot of weight? You look great!" Then she asked how I did it, and everyone in line was congratulating me when I told them I had lost 223 pounds. It definitely made my day. :-) Well, I'm going to go and get something done around the house ~ seeing that I am hardly ever home anymore.

5/19/05 ~ Down 125 pounds (225+ from highest)
Dad passed away on the 9th. I was able to be there and holding his hand as he slowly stopped breathing and crossed over into the presence of God. I am now an orphan. I have felt so alone sometimes, yet I know in my heart God's presence is with me. People will always disappoint us, not be there for us. It's a given. Yet without forgiveness and love, life is not worth living. I choose life. I choose to love, laugh and move forward. I have learned that your closest friends will betray you, lovers will leave you when you need them the most and enemies can become friends. But through it all, life goes on. Elevators still go up and down. Bills still come in the mail. (Yeesh!) But I digress...my weight has been pretty much stuck for the past 3-4 months. I assume this is due to the stress I've been under. Just started back on my treadmill yesterday and my legs are letting me know about it. At least my sizes have continued to drop, even though the scale stays the same. I know I am feeling better, looking better (attracting some appreciative glances), and gaining confidence daily. I am grateful to be living again. :-)Peace of the Lord be with you all!

6/23/05 ~ Down 125 pounds (225+ from highest)
Still at the same weight. I think I'm stuck because of all the stress I've been going through. I'm trying to concentrate more on diet and exercise. I have a checkup with my surgeon in 2 weeks. It will be the last time I will see him as he is transferring to another state. BooHoo!!! I was ordained last Thursday at Black Rock Retreat Center in Lancaster, Pa. Full Gospel Assemblies had their annual Conference and Cindy and I ministered throughout. And both of us were ordained and had hands laid on us. It was a wonderful time. Father's Day was a little weird having nowhere to go. We just went out to dinner ourselves. Last night when I went to my brother's house, I got my mom's full length silver fox and 3 of her formal dresses from the 1940's. They are truly gorgeous! I hope I can find a clkeaner's who is reputable enough to handle this precious cargo. I would also like to thank Joan M. of OH for her hard work in beautifying my profile. Great job, Joan!!!! Thank you!!!! I will update after my checkup. God bless you all!

6/24/05~ Down 125 pounds (225+ from highest)
I just wanted to share something that was in a booklet from a Women's Leadership Conference that I ministered at. It was very encouraging to me and I wanted to share it with all of you, as we as MO people usually struggle with self-esteem and self-worth.

T.D. Jakes

Just because ~ no one has been fortunate enough to realize what a gold mine you are, doesn’t mean you shine any less.

Just because ~ no one has been smart enough to figure out that you can’t be topped, doesn’t stop you from being the best.

Just because ~ no one has come along to share your life, doesn’t mean that day isn’t coming.

Just because ~ no one has made this race worthwhile, doesn’t give you permission to stop running.

Just because ~ no one has realized how much of an awesome woman you are, doesn’t mean they can affect your femininity.

Just because ~ no one has shown up who can love you on your level, doesn’t mean you have to sink to theirs.

Just because ~ you deserve the very best there is, doesn’t mean that life is always fair.

Just because ~ God is still preparing your King, doesn’t mean that you’re not already a Queen.

Just because ~ your situation doesn’t seem to be progressing right now, doesn’t mean you need to change a thing.

Keep shining, keep running, keep hoping, and keep praying.
Keep being exactly what you are already ~ complete!

7/19/05 ~ Down 125 pounds (225+ from highest)
It is my one year re-birthday today!!!!! *hop,hop,hop* I had an appointment with my PCP who is well pleased. The bad news is my bloodwork shows elevated liver levels and anemia (again or still ~ not sure which). My PCP thinks it may be gallbladder problems which makes sense because I have been having some pain... Oh, well! God is in control. :-) I am still stuck at my same weight, but am trying to shake things up a bit by going back to the basics. A good idea for anyone, I think. I have been pretty emotional lately with grieving the loss of my father and some issues related to my childhood. In addition, I am still trying to clean out my MIL's house. I want it done and on the market before we go away on our cruise in September. I pray that it happens. I am so grateful for my OH Family, their love and support over the last few years. The information, encouragement and laughter to be found here are PRICELESS!!!! I LOVE you all!!! XOXOXOXOXO
God bless and keep the faith!!!


Aug 24, 2007

Had my sleep test with the cpap machine last night. This will take quite a bit of getting used to!!! When I first put the mask on it felt as though I was being suffocated. It sort of freaked me out. Now I can't wait to have this surgery so I can get off the cpap machine!!! I won't have one at home for about 2-3 weeks. The doctor has to read my results and then order one from the company and they will deliver it to my home. So I have a reprieve for awhile. Supoosedly I will feel better after having slept with this for awhile, but I have my serious doubts. I did feel a little more alert after sleeping with it on, but I only slept for about four hours. All those wires and the strange bed made it very hard to sleep (not to mention my sinuses and I'm not used to breathing through my nose). And I'm not used to wearing a mask to bed. Well, if you ever need a form of birth control - this ugly mask should do the trick!!! I have a mammogram on the 16th, I see the pulmonologist on the 28th and then my PCP on February 9th and then I can send in all my test results so I can be approved for surgery. Hallelujah! Almost there...

The surgeon's offince called today to tell me they only needed my psych approval, my pulmonologist and my PCP's forms. I told them my last appointment was on February 9th and they said I they would try to get me in before the end of February. WOOOOOHOOOO!!!!!!!! Finally - movement! Within 2 months, YAY! Praise God! He will make your paths straight! Now I've got to get busy on getting these sinuses cleared up!

I met with the pulmonologist today. He asked a ton of questions, read the results of my sleep test, took my oxygen count through my finger, listened to my chest and poked and prodded me for a while. Then he gave me some nasal spray and approved me for surgery. Yay!!! Now one last visit to my PCP and my papers can be sent off for approval. Everything is in God's hands now.

I'm just getting over a terrible cold. But I was generous enough to share it with my husband! He stayed home from work today. This cold that's going around really makes you very tired. Hopefully, my PCP can give me clearance for surgery on Monday. Maybe she will have something to help my nose clear up faster. My period started again because I sneezed so hard, so I won't be able to get my pap smear done. Bummer...NOT! Well, I'll post again after my appointment on Monday. God bless!

Had my last appointment with my PCP including my pap smear and gynie checkup (yuck). Then I went over to my friend Val's house and faxed all the forms to the surgeon. Kelly the secretary will be checking everything over tomorrow and then let me know if she has everything she needs. Here we go!!!

I cannot believe this. Because my three PCP appointments were not consecutive, I have to go two more months to the PCP on a diet before they will send my forms to the insurance company for approval. I went in November, December, and February (instead of January) because my PCP wanted to see the results of my appointment with the pulmonologist. Now because of the 9 days in February I have to send in February, March and April PCP appointments. I am furious! None of the papers said the 3 months had to be consecutive. They all said "three out of the last six months." Well, I have been going to Weight Watchers for 19 months, but that doesn't count. I could just scream! So I called my PCP and made an appointment for March 10th. They couldn't believe it at the doctor's office either. All my friends say that God is getting everything in place, and that it will happen in His time. Yet I am still feeling frutrated even though I know they are right. You get yourself all worked up to face surgery and then realize you have 2 more months of mood swings and preparation to go through. Ugh!!! Well, I have to trust God more than I ever have before just to get through this.

Went to see my PCP today. She walked in and asked me if I had had the surgery yet. I told her about the insurance and the dates of our appointments not being consecutive. She thought it was ridiculous, too. Anyway, she filled out the forms and then gave a new prescrip for Provera (?) to regulate my periods. They have been coming every 2 weeks (Yeeesh!!!) so she is going to take a biopsy at my next appointment to rule out cancer or any such thing. I really think it's just my nerves. Since I have been reading "The Courage To Heal" (homework from my therapist) I have broken out in rashes and itchy skin all over. It's very hard to try and face my past. I have suppressed it and all my anger for so long... it's not a comfortable place for me. Oh well, I know God will be with me through the fires and the floods...it's just that walking through them can be pretty traumatic. I know this is the root of many of my problems and behaviors and that God is cleansing me. It can be very painful, though....

Final appointment done and papers are faxed to the surgeon's office. Now I have to wait for them to send them to the insurance company to get approval. I also had my biopsy done today - may I say OUCH!!!!! A little cramping, she said - hah! Oh well, I survived. LOL I am praying to have the surgery done the first week of May so I am able to go to the Full Gospel Assemblies International Annual Conference in June. My ministry partner and I have been asked to minister there. What an honor! I refuse to miss it. I am trusting that God will get me in there in His timing. And so the waiting begins...........Think they're done yet? Maybe I should call, LOL! Well, I've got lots of work to do, so I'd better get moving. Keep the faith!

Got a call from Dr. Mattar's PA Anitha. Seems they never got my clearance from the cardiologist for my surgery, they only got the echocardiogram. Called Dr. Mankad's office - yes, of course they sent it, but will be happy to send it again. Called Anitha, "Did you get it?" Of course not! Called Dr. Mankad again, "Could you please fax it again, they apparently didn't get it yet." Called Anitha and told her they were faxing it that very minute. She says she will check in a few minutes. Haven't heard a peep yet. Hope they got it all. I will call Monday and make sure. I don't want this dragging on forever! Oy vay! *smacking head with hand in frustration* I feel a little like the gerbil on the wheel, running like crazy and getting nowhere! Oh well, God is in control!!!

Called the insurance company to see if they had approved my surgery. They hadn't even received the request yet. So I called Anitha, and she said she was getting ready to call me. She needed to know when I had my last mammogram and pap smear and if I had quit smoking. I QUIT OVER 8 1/2 YEARS AGO!!! Does anybody actually read all those pages I wrote out? So she said that Donna in the insurance department would be faxing it out - maybe even today. I hope so. I would really like to have this surgery in the first week or 2 of May. If not, then I will need to wait until after the Full Gospel Assemblies International Conference in June. I refuse to miss it! Oh well...God, it's definitely in Your hands now!

Called the insurance company today. My case is pending further information. They could not tell me what I still needed so they told me to call my surgeon's office. Anitha politely told me that unless I needed to do anything more, she would not know from the insurance person. So I am stuck. Waiting is not my best thing, so I guess this is a lesson in patience. Ouch!

Well, today my insurance company denied my request for surgery. They said I needed proof that I did not have "restrictive lung disease." Don't you think the pulmonologist would have caught that and not given clearance for surgery??? It's just HealthAmerica's way of trying to get out of paying for this surgery. They don't know me very well. I don't give up easily. I'm just getting so tired of fighting my way through this. I started this journey a year ago in May. I'm not getting any younger or any thinner. My Aunt Betty died last night too. Not a good day. I'm still waiting to hear what the arrangements are. My mother-in-law just came home from the hospital and sounds cranky. Yahoo! Well, here's to another day of waiting.

I had my breathing tests yesterday. Piece of cake. Dr. Kolinar (pulmonologist) would not send a letter stating I did not have restrictive lung disease unless I took the PFT's. (pulmonary function tests) It was just breathing in, breathing out, panting and holding my breath. Very easy and the results should be to the Dr. by Wednesday the 26th. I will call and see if they can fax the surgeon's office then. My hubby wrecked the car today on his way home from work. We have a teeny little Nissan Sentra and he didn't stop in time and went UNDER the back of a school bus. The bus didn't even notice it and kept on driving. The hood of our car is buckled up and folded in the front. The grill is broken (it's only plastic) and both headlights and parking lights are working, but broken open. One was hanging like an eyeball out of the socket. Weird! Well, praise God, Dave wasn't hurt. It's time to get a new car, I guess.

So much has happened - and all in God's timing. Since I last posted we got a new car - a Honda CR-V. We love it. We can fit 4 people and all our equipment in it too! Then Dave's mom got real sick so he was unable to come with me to the Full Gospel Assemblies Conference to be ordained. I wasn't going to go after she got sick, but she was on the mend and Dave insisted that I go. Anyway, when I got back she had a couple more surgeries and they were just too hard on her. She was diabetic and had heart problems. She passed away on Thursday June 24th and we buried her on Tuesday June 29th. Then on Wednesday, while we were at her house trying to locate all her bills, my surgeon's office left a message. I called them back when I got home but it was too late. They called back next morning with my pre-op appointment, my surgery date, my drain-pull date and my first and third month checkup dates. Whew! When God moves, He moves quickly!!! I just pray that I haven't done too much damage since we have been eating out so much. Well, it's all in God's hands anyway.

Well, I'm officially a LOSER!!! Yahoooooo! I have described my trip in detail (just for you, Donna!) so if you want the whole story, read on...

Okay: first I got to the hospital at 5:30 am and went to admissions. They took a urine sample (which they promptly lost I found out later!) then sent me up to the third floor to get prepped for surgery. This floor was kind of hectic. People were moving fast all around me and most had no time to talk or to even be friendly. Finally they called me to the back to get out of my clothes and into the lovely hospital robe and some slipper socks. The robe was for a small person. I called out to the desk for a larger robe and they brought me a larger robe that still did not fit. Well, I could get it on, but my arms were packed tightly in and I could not get it tied in back. I asked for another (by this time they were not happy with me at all, and I'm thinking "this is bariatric surgery, right?") so they bring me a third robe which fits much better but is still uncomfortably tight. They say it's the best they can do and did I take a urine test downstairs. I say yes and so I sit on the bed and wait. In comes the anesthesiologist who immediately puts me at ease. She asks me if I took a urine sample and I said yes and she leaves and comes back and says they're trying to locate it. Dr. Mattar's fellow (he's assisting in the surgery) comes in and asks me if I took a urine sample. (Okay, I see a trend here, and a possible problem...)I say yes, but he looks skeptical. I'm wondering if it's possible for me to squeeze out a few more drops. Ummm, no. By this time my husband and ministry partner Cindy are in the room with me. The anesthesiologist brings in another anesthetist and they are looking down my throat and seem excited about something and they're saying, "it's at least a 3 or a 4. They leave and come back with another anesthesiologist who also looks down my throat and they're all saying "great! This will be easy!" I'm pleased because at my pre-op appointment the anesthesiologist then told me because my throat was small and I have sleep apnea I might have to be awake to be intubated and also to have the tube taken out after surgery. Finally, Dr. Mattar and his fellow come in and ask me how I'm feeling and if I am ready. He reminds me and my family that my surgery will probably be difficult because of my size and that it may possibly have to be done in stages. Cindy asks permission to anoint me with oil and they say yes. Cindy and Dave pray for me and I'm finally starting to feel God's peace. The anesthetist comes in to give me a shot and Cindy leaves. She tells me that the reason they need a urine sample is to prove that I am not pregnant. I assure them that there is no possibility of pregnancy and sign a release form and they give me a shot to relax me. Dave gives me a final kiss goodbye and they wheel me down the hall to the elevator. (7:30 am)

At this point the anesthetist asks me if I am feeling woozy. I say no and she says, "well let me know when it starts to take effect." The next thing I remember is waking up in recovery!

Now I am feeling some pain, but it is not unbearable until I try to move. Then they are showing me how to use the PCA pump (for morphine) but they do not tell me that you hit the button and let go. I'm holding the button in like the longer I hold it the more medication I will get. Wrong. You have to push the button and let go. When you let go the machine beeps softly and then releases the morphine. Then there is a short time that the button has no effect until you are able to push the button again. I don't know how long I was in recovery, but then they were wheeling me to my room. This hurt a little because as they pushed the bed over the thresholds of doorways, it felt like my guts were going to fall out all over the place. They also banged into 2 walls. ARRRRGH! I learned to hold my stomach while moving.

Once in my room (3 or 4 o'clock), the nurses there are like angels from heaven. Anything you ask for, they try to get immediately (haha). I learned that you needed to call for something about 1/2 hour before you might need it. Dave and Cindy came into the room and I was so glad to see them! I was too tired to talk much, but I wanted to listen to them talk and I really wanted some company. Dr. Mattar and his fellow came in and said that everything went great - better than he ever expected. He was so excited - I had never seen him anything but soft and quiet. He said my coloring was great and that it didn't even look like I had had surgery. I guess it went a lot better than he had even hoped. Cindy stayed until I drifted off. When I woke up she was gone, but my dear hubby was still there. He was real cheerful and I so needed him! He talked to me and held my hand and I fell asleep again. A respiratory therapist came in and gave me a breathing treatment. It's kind of like smoking a peace pipe. Then he showed me how to use the incentive spirometer (an easy toy-like thing that helps your lungs to expand after surgery) and the last thing was called a flutterer. That one was cool because it helped get all the phlegm up and out of my lungs. I always felt better after using it and it helped me to cough. I fell asleep again. When I woke up, it was 11:00 pm and Dave was gone. The nurses said I needed to walk and I was happy to do so. So they got me out of bed (learning how to get out of that bed was an experience in itself!), put another robe around me to cover my butt, got all my IV wires, monitor wires and catheter to hang on a pole along with an oxygen tank and we started out. I held onto the IV pole which had a bum wheel and wanted to go it's own way (I run into this in the grocery store all the time!) and the nurse walked backwards and rolled the oxygen tank. We walked down the hall, around the nurses station, down to the visitor's waiting room and then back again. It felt wonderful to move. My walks turned out to be one of my favorite times of the days there. When I got back to the room, the nurse reattached me for the night, got the respiratory therapist to hook up my CPap and I went out at about 2 am.

I woke up every hour to someone getting my vitals: temperature, blood pressure, drainage from the JP drain, catheter, oxygen levels and etc. By 7 am, Dr. Mattar came in to see how I was doing. I was very groggy so I don't remember what I said at all. I was taken down to have an upper GI to make sure I had no leaks. This was not as bad as I thought it would be, however the ride in the wheelchair was bumpy and my stomach was very unhappy. The test involved standing in front of a machine and drinking 2 types of liquids while they took pictures. It was over really fast. It wasn't difficult to swallow the drinks, however the first one tasted like nasty yellow cough medicine and the second one tried to be a creamsicle flavor and failed miserably. Then I sat in the hallway for about 45 minutes waiting for someone to take me back to my room. I remember asking the nurse for more pain medication and thankfully, they took me off the morphine and gave me roxicet. It worked so much better! With morphine, you get kind of spacey and groggy, but you still feel the pain. With roxicet, you don't get spacey, but the pain goes away - and quickly too! An aid came in and helped me bathe, changed my dressings and robes and then I went for a walk. By then Dave came in and we talked for awhile. Dr. Mattar came in with his fellow and said "Where's my star patient?" I was beaming from ear to ear! He told me I looked so good and asked the other guy, "does she even look like she had surgery yesterday?" They fussed over me a little more and I thanked him and told him that people all over the country were praying for all of us. He said, "God was definitely smiling down on us in that operating room." I was thanking God and the nurse that was in there at the time said I should be thanking Dr. Mattar. He shrugged and looked upward and gave the glory to God. The day passed with walks and nurses and visitors.

The next day, I got hardly any attention from the nurses at all. My call button broke and I would push the button and the nurse would have to come to my room to see what I needed. I tried not to bother them too much. I watched a video on how to administer shots to myself of Lovenox (a blood thinner) and an aid came in and got towels so I could bathe, but didn't help me at all. It was very difficult. I finally got dressed (getting dizzy bending over with no help) and then I went for a walk. Throughout the course of the day I was taken off oxygen, IV's and the like. However, anytime I asked for anything, they would say "you don't need that, you're going home today." I didn't see the connection, and I felt very neglected. They wouldn't put the leg pumps on my legs while I was laying. These are to keep from getting blood clots. It didn't matter whether I was going home or not, I should have had them on. Anyway, Cindy came to get me around noon and the nurse that wheeled me out needed an attitude adjustment. She was not friendly at all and seemed to enjoy taking me over as many bumps as she could find. I was very glad to go home!

I gained about 10 pounds from the day of my first appointment to the day of the pre-op appointment. During the week that followed up until surgery I lost 16 pounds (in 1 week!). I gained 23 pounds during the surgery itself and it's coming off at the rate of 2 pounds a day since I came home.

I am at home, in a little pain and some discomfort mostly because I learned that my skin is too sensitive for the tape on the JP drain sponges. I was okay until Thursday night when we were changing my dressings and tried to take the old tape off. Now mind you, I have been changing the dressings 3-5 times a day since I got home on Wednesday. But this time as the tape came off, so did big chunks of my skin. Can you say OOUUCCHH!!!!!!!!!!!!! Most of my pain is due to this 9 X 12 inch patch of raw skin. My incisions look great, feel great (for the most part) and I am really only a little sore throughout my abdomen. On Friday I had a major emotional breakdown. I was in so much pain from the raw skin, no one was around to help me for most of the day, I kept dropping things and was unable to help myself, and lastly and VERY importantly, I was not able to take my puppy (okay, she's almost 12, but she's still my baby) outside because she tugs too hard on the leash and I could not afford to damage any internal stitching or stapling. Mostly I was feeling so all alone. I walked up to the front of the house and played and sang at the keyboard. This helped, but I got tired quickly. Anyway, I called my friend and angel of mercy Val and she came over to take care of Kira and pray with me. I felt so much better and a lot less alone. I posted on the message board "What has happened to me?" So many people answered and let me know it was the effects of the morphine wearing off, the stress of the surgery and my hormones running rampant due to the stress. It made a lot of sense and I started to feel better. I love the people on this website - they are so compassionate! They could teach the Church a lesson in support and compassion! I went to sleep Friday night feeling so spent and tired and woke up Saturday feeling like a new person. And so here I am trying to catch up on everything and return all my emails. Don't give up on me, friends! I'll write soon!!! XXXOOO

Went back to Magee Hospital today to have my JP drain removed. The nurse took my vitals, weighed me (I only lost 4 lbs) and went over my inputs and outputs. I was moved up to the pureed stage (yay!)and am still restricted in lifting and only walking for exercise. Then she went to pull out the drain. I reclined back on the exam table and she untied the stitches with tweezers then got scissors and snipped them off. This was a little painful as the stitches had twisted and dug unto my skin and it was inflamed and very tender. then she said to take a deep breath and as I exhaled she would pull it out. So I took a deep breath, prepared myself to feel the drain being pulled from my tummy and exhaled. Then she pulled my heart out through that little tube!!! It didn't exactly hurt, but it really felt like my heart was being pulled down and out. Not a pleasant feeling at all. Then I look up to see her watching me and realized that she had enjoyed my discomfort. She could have warned me that the feeling came from one's chest, not the belly. But I am now going to refer to to Nurse Bev as Nurse Ratchett for her sick pleasure of watching other's discomfort. Then as we were leaving the hospital and merging onto the Blvd. of the Allies, we got hit from behind by a young man from Texas in a ... Nissan! He didn't do any damage as it went under our vehicle and he wasn't going very fast. DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR, OR WHAT??? Then the best part...we went to lunch at Eat N Park and I had cottage cheese!!! I was floating around the room on a cloud. Food had never tasted better! I am so glad to no longer spend my days drinking beef and chicken broth! Yahoo! It went down great and stayed there. God is really bringing me through all of this victoriously, from the beginning surgery to this day, He has kept me and I praise Him! Now let me go find my protein drink....

I cannot believe what I have been through. I was in so much pain in my right side due to the raw skin and the pulled muscle and I was running out of pain meds. I called Anitha at 8 am and later in the afternoon because she did not answer me and asked what I could use because Tylenol was just not working. (Actually, it has never worked for me.) She called me back and said that Dr. Mattar would not give me anything because my pain was not surgery related (WHAT???) and to call my PCP or go the ER. So I am crying in pain and have been all day. I am frustrated and I feel like the surgeon cashed my check and wants nothing further to do with me. So I call my PCP and she has no openings and I start getting hysterical with the lady on the phone who is now prompting me to "breathe, breathe..." SHe says, calm down and I will get a nurse on the phone. The nurse gets on and I am crying and trying to tell her my story between hiccups (from crying), and she says to me - it's a surgical problem, call your surgeon! I couldn't believe it! I start getting hysterical again (mind you, my pain is now about an 8 or 9) and she says to either go to the ER or tough it out. I tell her, my insurance may not give me permission and she says, "I am giving you permission." I hang up the phone and start thinking, was I crazy to have this done to me? I will never be able to take ibuprofin again and it's the only thing that releives my pain. My husband tells me to get dressed, he will take me to the hospital. He has worked all night, ran in the morning and was only going to get 2 hours sleep as it was. I said no, I'm not moving!!! (idiot) He finally goes to sleep after much arguing. I stayed in my wonderful recliner, stretching my roxicet out as long as possible. My sister/ministry partner Cindy comes over about 10 pm and says, get up, you're going to the hospital. She couldn't believe how bad I looked. (I mean my wounds!) I was in so much pain, I didn't change my clothes, I went in my nightie. (You KNOW it had to be bad!) Anyway, I finally received some care in Washington Hospital. I found out that I had a seroma which had developed since my drain was removed, so they gave me Keflex for the infection. The doctor removed the bandage nurse Ratchett had put on it in Magee, and saw that the exit wound was red, swollen and pussy. She pressed all around it, pushed in the center with her finger (Can you say pain?) and discovered it was solid. This explains the severe pain I was in. The ER Dr. Restina (GOd bless her a thousand times over!) called and talked to my surgeon, who was happy to give me another scrip for roxicet and the doctor also told me to use hydrocortisone cream to help heal up my raw skin. She also said it was an allergy to the tape. Who knew??? Anyway, I am now home and healing and able to walk again. Now if I could only get this diet figured out....

It's been almost three weeks and I have lost 30 pounds!!!! Do you believe it???? It kind of makes all the aggrevation, frustration and pain worth it. I have had the "foamies" and sinus troubles, but otherwise I am great, if a little sore. I tire out very easily. I still have to work on eating enough, getting enough protein in (protein shakes are gaggy!), and getting in enough water. I hear this comes with time. I also need help getting in all my vitamins. I am so afraid to try this liquid iron, because I hate throwing up. Actually this is one of the reasons I think this surgery is so successful. Nobody likes to barf!!! I am going on a trip to Deerfield, Massachusetts at the end of the week to minister with my partner and our hubbies are coming along. I cannot wait! I hope I am not too tired to enjoy it! Love to all!!! God bless!

8/18/04 - down 36#s (136+ from highest weight)
I had my one month checkup yesterday and got moved onto soft foods - YAY! - now I can have tuna fish and lunchmeat and more of a variety of foods. I can start more vigorous exercise now. In 2 weeks my DR. said I would start getting bursts of energy (thank God!) and could do more things like weight training and toning. I am excited to start moving more to jumpstart my weightloss. I have been on a plataeu for 6 days and I'm a little frustrated. The weekend in Massachusetts was wonderful! It was like staying in a bed and breakfast and was so beautiful and peaceful. The 2 couples that run it treated us like royalty. I was so blessed! God really moved during the Praise and Worship and one lady who was not saved was healed from shoulder pain. (My guess is that she's a believer now!) There were other miracles that took place, too. MA is a beautiful place. We went to a butterfly sanctuary where the butterfies are all over the place and they land on you. Beautiful! We also went to Yankee Candle and were overwhelmed by the scents. It was a restful time and a great getaway. God bless!

8/23/04 - down 42 lbs. (142+ from highest weight)
The scale finally started moving again, thank God! My hubby took my one month pictures and measurements. I have lost 20.75 inches so far. Praise God! Even though the losses seem huge, I have a far way to travel on this journey, and I'm trying to see the glass as half full, not half empty! I'm having trouble eating, although by reading on the message boards, this is not uncommon. One day a food will taste great, the next day I cannot stomach more than 1 or 2 bites of it. It's like I have to trick my pouchie into eating. The more solid the food is, the more quickly I fill up. I can eat almost 4 ounces of cream soups, but only about 2 ounces of fish. When I eat the more solid foods, even though I chew them to a pulp, they still seem to sit in my tummy like a brick. But I LOVE carb countdown chocolate milk. It tastes like the real thing and in 8 ounces there are 100 calories and 12 grams of protein. A perfect food as it counts towards my liquids also. And it tastes wonderful (especially when compared to protein shakes - yuck!). Anyway, I'm trying to exercise more and am starting back onto my gazelle knock-off. I poop out too quickly!!! I'm still waiting for that "burst of energy" that my surgeon talked about!!!! See you soon and God bless!

9/24/04 - down 57 lbs. (157+ from highest)
Got back from a 4 day stay in Florida with Cindy (ministry partner) and Bev (friend) who moved to Florida in June. Bev lives in a wonderful apartment with swimming pool and hot tub and tons of amenities. We met some of her new Florida friends and we shopped and swam and shopped and ate and shopped some more. Cindy came home beautifully tanned and I came home crispy-burnt and freckled. We had a great time sight-seeing. The weather was incredible but we didn't get to go out on her son Robbie's boat because there was a small craft advisory. We are planning to go back in February/March 2005 for a follow up visit. This time we will stay much longer! I lost a pound a day when I was down there - reason enough to move!!! Gotta go eat some protein - God bless and talk to you later!

10/29/04 - down 73 pounds (173+ from highest)
Had my 3 month checkup last week. At that point I had lost 63 pounds. SO in a little over a week I lost 10 pounds. Is that a miracle or what??? I have been so busy with trying to take care of MIL's bills and estate and housework and winterizing the house and all the ministry that I am going a little nuts. But I would not have had the energy to do any of it a few scant months ago! I am eating solids now and the nurse at my 3 month told me I could have been eating salads and raw veggies since my one month checkup. If I ever see nurse Ratchett again, I'm gonna slap her!!! LOL Anyway, the raw veggies have really helped with my constipation. I laid away some clothes today at WalMart - they were 22/24's. Wow! Who knew??? I have named my pouchie Sybil because she has multiple personality disorder. LOL I guess that's it for today. God bless!

12/03/04 - down 88 pounds (down 188+ from highest)
Where did the year go??? It was just July and my surgery and here it is December already! I haven't even started to get ready for Christmas yet. I'm usually almost done by Thanksgiving. Oh, dear!!! I would love to hit the double century mark by the 19th - my 5 month anniversary date. That only gives me 16 days to lose 12 pounds. It will definitely take a lot of effort, but maybe.... Anyway, I have had the laziest last 2 days. It seems that my motivation has left me completely. I'd better get it together quickly. I hate when I feel like this. I have no idea what causes it, I just know that it affects my whole life. I can pull things together for the important things that I must do, but everything else just sits around staring at me, waiting for me to do something with it. I guess I'm feeling overwhelmed with all that still needs done at Dave's mom's house. A raccoon moved in and has been wreaking havoc with everything. It's too big to trap, so we tried to plug up the hole where we think he's coming in and we sprinkled some raccoon repellant, too. He hasn't left a mess in the past week, so hopefully, we are done with him. He probably left because he has eaten everything there he wants - cocoa, ramen noodles, an entire bag of sugar (he licked it clean!!!), candy and various nuts. Every time we went in the house, we had to clean up his mess before we could do anything else. It's become very oppressive. Can't wait to finish it and unload it. Not only that, Dave keeps bringing stuff home from her house and our house is looking as junky as her's always did. And it's starting to take on that stinky-moldy smell. Yuccky! And I want to decorate before the holiday, not after! LOL Okay, I'm done whining now. Guess I'll get to work. I really need to be more motivated!!! God bless!


Aug 24, 2007


I am 42 years old, married and have no children. I have been overweight since I was about 8 years old.

I was overweight as a child and became obese in high school. I became morbidly obese in college and super morbidly obese the first year of my marriage. (We ate fast food for the first few years. I didn't actually cook my first roast until after we had been married for 8 years.)

Even through all this, my weight didn't begin to cause me any serious problems until my 30's. True, I couldn't ride at amusement parks, outside activities were limited, I wouldn't be caught dead at the beach and dancing was out of the question, but when the important things became chores, I knew something drastic had to be done. Little by little I had stopped living. But when I had to leave my job because I was falling asleep at my desk, I couldn't get the swelling to go out of my legs anymore and standing became painful, I knew I had real problems.

I was unable to stand with my Pastor when she ministered, so I knew I had to do something. I asked God for help and He told me to first get off of Pepsi. I had been drinking a two-liter bottle a day. Then He had me stop eating in the evenings. That was incredibly hard - I'm an evening snacker from way back! Those two things combined allowed me to lose about 40 lbs. I was then led to Ideal Health which is kind of like Atkins plus fat burning pills. After losing about 70 lbs on that, I got stuck on a plateau and was desperate to eat bread of any kind.

At that time my ministry partner Cindy had been going to Weight Watchers and was very successful. She lost 60 lbs to get to her goal and is on maintenance. She looks terrific and is so happy! I joined WW also, but after a 42 lb loss, I again came to a plateau which lasted about a year. After paying $12 a week to have those ladies insist I was cheating week after week, I quit. Since then I have gained about 35 lbs back.

I saw an ad on iwon.com about Bariatric Treatment Centers and investigated their website. Even though my PCP had been trying to convince me to try WLS, I was dead set against it until I saw that website. After they sent me some info, I went to my PCP and told her I wanted to try it. She grinned from ear to ear like she had won the lottery! Anyway, since Bariatric Treatment Centers are not covered by my insurance, she referred me to Dr. Schauer in Pittsburgh. She then asked one of the nurses in the building who had had the surgery through him to talk to me. We talked for about an hour. I was convinced and really excited to try. I called Dr. Schauer's office as soon as I got home. They mailed me an application packet which took me a week to fill out. (They said it would take an hour - it was 36 pages long and wanted my entire medical history and that of all my family!)

Anyway, I mailed the packet in on October 4th, 2003 and they received it October 6th. I called them on October 27th since I had not heard anything from them. I was afraid that they had lost my paperwork. The lady I talked to said that the earliest I would get my workshop appointment would be in January. She told me to be patient. But like so many people here on this website, since I have made the decision to go ahead, I just want to get on with it!

I am tired of watching all of life pass me by. I am tired of sitting on the sidelines. I want to play in the game! I have heard it said that life is not a dress rehearsal - this is it. Well, even though I know I will spend eternity with Jesus, I want to do the best I'm able on this side of the grave. It's amazing to me that my weight has held me back from so much! I know that I will have my work cut out for me - change is never easy. But I just cannot go on living (or not living) like this.

UPMC's office called today out of nowhere and asked me if I wanted to come to a new patient workshop with Dr. Mattar (one of the other doctors in Dr. Schauer's group) on the following Tuesday, November 18, 2003. I was shocked for two reasons: first because my doctor referred me to Dr. Schauer, and second because the call came out of the blue. I had resigned myself to not hearing from them until after Christmas for the January workshop. So I am torn between staying with a doctor whose reputation is stellar but his wait period is long, or going to one of his associates and getting the surgery much more quickly. I have decided to at least go to the workshop and meet Dr. Mattar. In the meantime, I will be praying very hard to stay in the center of God's will for my life. I don't want to run ahead of God and make a mistake. On the other hand, this change may be His hand in action. I will just have to trust that He will show me the way clearly. Pray for discernment, please! My will is to have this surgery today and get started, but I'd rather be in God's will and do this right. Oh well, I am really excited to see a move, so I'm going!!!

Went to the workshop today. It was 4 hours long and a little disorganized, but at least I got to meet the surgeon. He was much thinner than his pictures. The physician's assistant said that all the doctors in the practice were constantly in competition with each other to lose weight. I wonder if any of them would consider surgery for themselves??? (None of them are obese. They didn't look like they needed to lose weight in any of their pics, either.) I didn't learn anything new that I had not learned while researching this website. I did, however, learn what I needed to do to get my insurance approved. I need three consecutive months of physician-documented dieting and a barrage of testing including: PCP history and medical clearance, psych exam, nutrition, pulmonologist (sleep apnea), cardiologist (pre-op clearance), EKG, CXR (whatever that is), and a host of lab tests. All this testing will take about three months after which I will send all test results in and they will get insurance approval (approximately one month). When my insurance is approved I will get my pre-op exam within days, and then surgery within two weeks. It looks like I will have surgery around March or April, barring any complications. I pray that I will have the patience necessary to get to this point! Well, all in all, I am trusting that God has everything planned out for me and I am in the center of His will. I will do that which is prescribed and in the meantime continue to explore this website which is rich in information. To God be the glory!

Visited my PCP and got all but one of my tests scheduled. I don't have a psych exam yet. I'm looking for someone local so I don't have to drive into Pittsburgh. I had all my lab tests done today: 9 vials of blood, EKG and chest Xray. Very easy. I hope the rest of the tests go this well! I am worried about getting copies of everything, though. They don't really like to give copies to us lay people. I guess they feel since we're not doctors, we could do something dangerous with the information!!! LOL. I started back to Weight Watchers on Saturday to satisfy my insurance's request of three months supervised dieting. I went to a different office, though. Didn't want the receptionists at the old one looking down their nose at me! Oh well, will update after the next test!

Wednesday the 10th I had a visit with a cardiologist. She was an incredible doctor (Dr. Mankad) who treated me with respect and dignity. I'm not used to that. She made me feel like a person. How strange - and how sad that that should be strange to me! Anyway, she said my EKG was fine and that my heart sounded strong and my blood pressure was good. However, just to be sure she scheduled an echocardiogram for next Wednesday the 17th. It's in the afternoon. In the morning I am scheduled for the psych exam with Dr. Mike Greenwald. I am not thrilled about that for two reasons: First, I have to be in downtown Pittsburgh for a 10:00 a.m. appointment. Secondly, I don't trust psychiatrists. They don't normally believe in God and if you hear from God they think you're nuts. Oh well, I hear from God so I must be nuts!!! After I get through these two, and having seen Dr. Vore on Monday for my 2nd PCP-ordered diet (I've lost 6.6 lbs in under 2 weeks), I am that much closer to sending my papers to the surgeon for insurance approval. Actually, if all comes out well, the only things left are the sleep test, pulmonologist and the nutritionist. Yahoo! Getting closer every day. I keep thinking and dreaming about after the surgery and all the changes that will take place. I'm both excited and a little scared. Very normal I am sure. To God be the glory!

Had my psyche exam in the morning. It took almost 2 hours to get into Pittsburgh. But it was snowing (flurries) and walking from the parking garage to the Lawyers Building was exhilirating. I was early, so Dr. Greenwald interviewed me for the first hour and tested the second hour. The doctor seemed a little cold at first, but after I opened up and was honest with him, he seemed to be a little more friendly. He said that I got an excellent on research (thank you to everyone on this website who have submitted, helped , donated and worked!!!) but only a fair on everything else. (Such as follow through etc.) Not too encouraging. The truth is, he was a little more liberal than I am and I think he didn't like it that I would rather counsel with my pastors than see one of his colleagues. However, I did learn a few things from him. For example because of sexual abuse as a child, I have this buried anger in me and I tend to internalize it and also when hurt I tend to withdraw. I have used food to numb my pain. I also am able to emotionally detach from people when I feel threatened or hurt. (I already knew this part) But what I learned from him is that there are coping skills for adults and that I am still using those same defenses I learned as a child. I think I might actually seek out one of the names he gave me so that I can learn some of those skills when I can no longer use food to numb my pain. Oh, and by the way, shock of all shocks - I have an eating disorder!! WHO KNEW??? (Duh!) Then later in the afternoon I went to my echocardiogram. This guy had absolutely the dryest personality I have ever met. What ever happened to him that he lost his sense of humor? I have met funnier funeral directors! Anyway, it seemed to go well. I got to see my heart on the monitor...until he went up under my breastbone to shoot up through the bottom of my heart. All I kept thinking was that I shouldn't have had that crunchy gordita from Taco Bell for lunch! Well, from the bottom of my heart, God bless!

Got a call from the sleep center. Someone cancelled, so I am going in tonight for my sleep apnea test. I hope that my sinuses don't mess this up. Also, Cindy and I are singing "Mary Did You Know" in church tomorrow and I need to be at my best. Pray for me! Will update tomorrow.

Bad news. I have sleep apnea. First of all, when I got to the sleep center, they wired me up more than the insides of a computer! I have really thick hair and they put about 8 or more sets of wires in my hair, more on my forehead, temples, chin, behind my ears, shoulders, legs and who knows! then they wrap two large velcro belts around your waist and under your breasts, tape an oxygen moniter around one finger and then tell you to sleep! Ha! Anyway, I slept very fitfully and had to get up to pee twice (I don't normally do that). When morning finally came, the nurse told me that I definitely have sleep apnea (blood oxygen was 70 and normal is 90-95) and will have to wait for my chart to be seen and then be called back again, fitted for a c-pap and sleep another night there. Then she said that they could have split the night and given me my c-pap right then and there, but they didn't. She couldn't tell me why not!!! It would have saved me another uncomfortable night in the hospital, weeks of waiting and pushing back my surgery for who knows how long! How ridiculous! I am trying very hard to be patient with all the tests I have to go through, but I would appreciate some consideration. It takes a long time to get approved and I am afraid that my insurance will change their minds about approving this surgery in 2004. I only had to finish with the pulmonologist and the nutritionist to be ready to send my paperwork into Dr. Mattar's office. Now I have no idea how long this will take. Forgive my frustration, but this is a big set back because I have heard that if you go on a c-pap machine they want you on it for 6 weeks before they will approve surgery. This puts my surgery back to about April or May. Yuck!

Well the good news is, our song "Mary Did You Know" went extremely well. God anointed it and many were blessed! (Me included!) Well, praise God anyway! I know His timing is always best! I guess I just needed to vent.

Well, had my second required appointment with my PCP today. She has put me on Prozac. It seems that everything in my life seems to circulate around the one really bad time of my life. When I was 8 years old I was molested by a neighbor's grandfather for about three months. Now, due to these circumstances I am super obese because I internalize and stuff myself with food to ease pain and deal with rejection, have the coping skills of an 8 year old, could not sleep because of night terrors until about 1 1/2 years ago (another cause for weight gain), and I'm finding out that many (if not most) of my medical problems are because of mental issues. I guess I've been treating the wrong part of my body for all these years! My PCP has promised me that going through and resolving all these past issues will be painful, but well worth it, so she put me on the Prozac to help me deal with it all. I'm sure it's for the best in the end, but there's such a stigma that surrounds Prozac! I pray to God I am not on it for long. Once I learn to face hurts and rejections head-on and learn not to hate myself (subconciously of course). I should be able to find other coping skills and not use food to numb my pain. Well, praise God anyway! I know He can heal me of anything. I just wish it was over already! Merry Christmas!

Had my nutrition consultation today. Went very well other than getting lost in the hospital on the way to the office! It was a quick hour about what I will be eating after surgery on different schedules and also vitamins and such. I am starting now to make the changes so it won't be such a shock to my body. The hardest thing is to not drink with meals. I have always done that! It will be a hard habit to break! To God be the glory!

About Me
Charleroi, PA
Surgery Date
Oct 16, 2003
Member Since

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Latest Blog 3