10 Years Post-Op....what, already???

Jul 07, 2014

7/6/14

 

It has been 10 years since my surgery.  It is almost unthinkable that it has been that long.  I spent the Fourth of July with friends this year.  Ironically, it was at the same place I spent it back in 2004...just two days before my surgery.  My friend owns a home on a lake in my town and the city sets off fireworks over the lake every year.  This year was bitter-sweet.  This will be the last time we will see the fireworks from this house as my friend will be moving soon.  Watching those fireworks just brought back all of the memories and emotions from 2004....the anxiety of surgery....the feelings of finality.....the acknowledgement that my life was about to change..... or be over... in just a couple of days.  It prompted me to look at old photos from back then.  The 400 pound me...staring at the camera hiding behind so much pain.  I could even recall the thoughts I was having as the pictures were being taken....how badly I really felt but didn't want to show it and ruin everyone's festivities.  I look at the me then and stare into my eyes and I can see the pain there.  I can see the old man giving up.  I can see the light dimming away.  The surgery truly was a last ditch effort.  There was no other worldly option.  There was nothing left.

I look back over the past 10 years.  So many things that have happened that....in all honesty....I wish never did.  The surgery to start.  Do I regret the surgery?  Absolutely not.  I know that I am writing to you from the grave right now if it were not for it.  So, regret?  What regret?  Why regret?  I regret that path that lead me to the surgery.  The hard road that lead to that man staring at that camera 10 years ago that had given up on everything.  The man that was too sick to enjoy life and too torn to even care.   I would like to tell the little boy that would grow up to be that man to not go down that road.  Change your life.  Love yourself.  And most importantly....don't be afraid.  Don't be afraid of the world.  Don't be afraid of change.  Don't be afraid of yourself.

I wonder what the man ten years from now will tell the man writing this memoir.  Hey....wake up.....you've been given another chance.....DO SOMETHING!!!  Make it count!!!  What are you waiting for?

What am I waiting for?

All things end...eventually.  Time is a non-renewable resource.  It cannot be bottled and saved for later. 

What am I waiting for?

I need to find the courage to take the hard path....the path that is really not so hard at all.  It is actually the easier way, it is just scarier. 

Where is that damn courage? 

Come on, future me, where is that pep talk that I need?  Tell me how I have made the corner and we finally got it all together.  No stories of "what if" or "should have".  Let's have none of that.

Maybe courage is not really so important.  Maybe just faith and appreciation are enough.  Maybe living for today and not worrying about that old man in the photo is a better way.  A better today.

4 comments

9 Years Post-Op

Jul 04, 2013

7/6/13

Well....well....well.....here we are again.  It is hard to believe it has been 9 years.  I'm not going to get on here and whine about how fat I've become.  I have given up.  I don't even try anymore.  I need some motivation.  I just am too tired to keep fighting this weight thing all of the time.  I just don't have the will power to eat like I should, nor exercise.  I like food too much and hate exercise even more.  I hate people that say "Oh, you will love exercise once you get into it".  Bull crap.  I've tried it......I hate it.  I hate it more now than before I started. 

Let's put up some stats.  Here are the ugly truths:

  • Weight:  208.5 pounds
  • Fat:  29.5%
  • Water:  53.5%

Let's contrast that to 2007:

  • Weight:  162 pounds (46.5 pounds heavier now)
  • Fat:  16% (13.5% higher now)
  • Water:  64% (down 10.5% now)

At 29.5% fat, that means that 61.5 pounds of me is just fat (compared to 26 pounds in 2007).  So....I have put on 35.5 pounds of just fat in 6 years.  Amazing.  And this, ladies and gentlemen, is AFTER having surgery.  I'm sure that must be a record.  I cannot even convey the level of contempt and repulsion that I have in myself.  You cannot even begin to know.  I do not think I have EVER felt lower.....EVER.....and I have been in some pretty low places.

But.....gee.....I'm glad I didn't get on here and WHINE or anything.  I'm just so sick of this whole thing.  I'm tired of my weight defining me.  I'm tired of always having to deal with it.  I'm just plain tired.  The end.

 

 

1 comment

8 Years Post-Op

Jul 06, 2012

7/6/12

Wow, it seems like yesterday that I had my surgery.  It definitely doesn't seem like 8 years.  I wish I could say that they have all been successful.  I have managed to regain 34 pounds from my all-time low back in 2006.  That would be ok if it didn't show and I didn't feel it.  I feel fat.  I look fat.  I even get fat comments now.  I can only assume this sensation is similar to a celebrity that goes from obsurity to fame and then falls from grace. 
3 comments

7 Years Post-Op

Jul 06, 2011

7/6/11

I can't believe it has been 7 years since I had my surgery.  This has been a very difficult year for me.  I have put on 17 pounds this year.  My body fat percentage is now 26.5% with water weight percentage of 56%. 

Weight: 197.5
Percent Body Fat: 26.5%
Percent Water Weight: 56%

Much like my weight gain before, it just "happened" without me realizing the signs.  I'm at a loss to know what to say.  I feel as if I am a team that had the game won and then let a last second score beat us.  I find myself depressed and unhappy more and more because of my weight. 

Most of my weight has come back where my old fat was.  My "love handles" are now "love luggage".....that is where I notice the majority of it.  I have taken on a nice man-rack too and my thighs are becoming thunderous again.  It is really quite unsightly.

And with the weight gain have returned some old enemies.  My legs are starting to ache, swell, and turn red again.  My back aches more.  I am winded more.  My sleeping is off.  There is nothing good about gaining weight and getting old.

So, here I am....crying to you about how lousy a job I have been doing taking care of me.  I have no defense.  I know radical changes are needed and it is time for some life changes....even if it means a change of scenery.
2 comments

Six Years Post-op

Jul 07, 2010

7/6/10

Here I am....6 years post-op.  It has been a long road for sure.  My weight has crept up 20 pounds the past 4 years.  And honestly, I feel it.  I feel fat.  Imagine that?  Coming from 432 pounds to 180 pounds and I feel FAT now.  It is quite disheartening and discouraging.  I have clothes that no longer fit.  I feel like I did many years ago as my waistline expanded and my closet slowly filled with items made for a thinner man.  

My appetite and my laziness are my biggest foes.  I feel hungry all of the time and still eat to fill an emotional need.  I feel a longing to get back to my weight of 3 years ago.  I felt better and looked better then.

Something I have noticed changing of late (besides my every growing ass) is that my legs are beginning to bother me again.  They are turning red and ache, much like pre-surgery.  

Otherwise, my health remains well.  Six years out and my DS hasn't killed me yet.

2/14/11

It is odd to re-read some of my past posts and think of the person I was then.  I still have weight issues.  I still have insecurities and doubts.  I still have medical problems, though nothing like I had before.  But it is amazing how far I have come in some ways, and not others. 

I still feel like the "hunger monster" still rules me and I catch myself occasionally giving in to its obsessions.  Food continues to be a source of comfort and "identity" for me....at least on the surface.  I think it is more of a mechanism that contributes to the disease (much like a person with low self-esteem will unconsciously seek out an abusive mate to reinforce the low self-esteem).  I'm not sure if this will ever be different.  I think I can appreciate a drug addict trying to spend their lives post-recovery.  The "itch" is always there.

Shockly, though, I am spending my second Valentine's Day in a row with the same person.  This is a first for me.  She is quite opposite of me, having spent her life being underweight instead of overweight.  She fights to keep her weight up (hell to her, but sounds like Mecca to me).  And with all of the screwed up things spinning around in my head, she has managed to stick around this long.  Either a testiment to her fortutude, my recovery, or she's simply masochistic.  

Funny how just a few years ago, I posted on how I spent Valentine's Day in the doctor's office getting Viagra pens.  Now I go to the doctor's only when I feel it necessary and not as part of my routine.  I did spend the night in the hospital before Christmas with chest pains, but all of my tests came back ok.  Just a little reminder of past sins....and to take better care of myself.

I'm sure nobody reads this any longer.  I seldom lurk on the chat rooms any longer and I update this thing only on occassion.  But....if you are out there.....I hope it has helped in some small way.  Things will get better...but there is no magic pill.  There is no perfect medicine.  This is not a fix...only a patch.   Just be sure to keep up the stitchings.

1 comment

Five Years Post-Op

Jul 05, 2009

7/6/09

HAPPY 5TH ANNIVERSARY!!!!

It is truly hard to believe it has been 5 years already.  That old person I see in pictures seems as foreign to me as looking at some old black and white photos of years gone by. 

Many things have changed for the better this past year.  I seem to be able to date with more frequency than before.  Now that more DS loan is paid off, my finances should begin improving.  And my health, for the most part, has been fairly good.

This year has also brought many set backs too.  Most personally is the loss of my step-dad and the financial and emotional roller-coaster that something like that brings.  Also, I have fallen back into habits of old; eating things I shouldn't at all hours of the day, being lazy with exercise and vitamins, and not doing my yearly bloodwork like I should.  I haven't been to a support meeting in over a year.  I am paying the price for these transgressions too:  my weight is up, my sleeping is erratic, and my energy level is low.  I also have seen a decline in my strength and physical prowess.  It amazes me how much I beat myself up each day.  You would think that I would eventually learn my lesson, wouldn't you?

My current numbers look like this....

Weight:  177.5
Fat:  21%
Water:  60%


2/15/10

Just an update...

Weight:  177.5
Fat:  21%
Water:  60%

Look familiar?


4/16/10

There are times when you sit back and think back on your life.  Seems like I do that a lot lately.  I look around and see how things really don't change.  I'm still the person that nobody really knows or likes.  I have never been a good friend....never dependable...never really close.  I look at how disappointing of a son I've been.  I'm the guy at work that nobody gets or likes.  I'm the "friend" that people know by "association" and really would rather just not know.  I see how that frustration manifests itself in my eating problem.  

I've also been thinking about this blog.....how much stuff I have "put out there".  But I also think of all of the stuff I HAVEN'T put out there.  I have really watered down the real story on here.  Maybe it is time that changed too.

Before you ask, I'm not suicidal.  That was part of my past that I have no desire to reinvent.  I just think some hard honesty is in order. 

So as the spirit hits me, I will be posting stuff on here....hopefully more than what I have done in the past few years.  I might start revealing more stuff that has gotten me here.   I really don't care if anyone else cares about it, but I'm really not doing this for you....this is about me.  

I have always felt like I was wandering around lost in the woods.  I think I know why.  How can you find your way if you don't know your path?  How can you know your place when you don't know who you are?   I have taken steps backwards the past few years.  It's time to start getting some momentum going again....


5/6/10

I have to find a way out of my funk.  I have slipped back into the ways of old, and my weight is showing it.  Here are the current numbers:

Weight:  180.5
Fat:  22.5%
Water:  59.5%

I have to start cleaning house again.  I really am in a tail spin.  My weight is climbing rapidly and my eating is out of control.  Seems like I am hungry all of the time.  I hate being this way.  I just wish my stupid fake hunger would just go away dammit.
0 comments

Four Years Post-Op

Jul 07, 2008

7/6/08

HAPPY FOURTH ANNIVERSARY!!!

It is hard to remember life pre-op now. And the struggles of my surgery have started to blur as well. Four years is a long time to keep a "fresh" perspective on things. It is easy to forget where you come from and the hardships of the past.

Today finds me not as fit as last year, but still healthier than the man of old. My recent blood work has come back fine. My cholesterol remains low, but higher than before (112 total). No abnormal vitamin or mineral counts. The thyroid still is the problem area. Otherwise, everything looks pretty good. So much so that I will stop having blood work done yearly and go a bit longer between tests (to make the insurance company happy).

Mentally it has been a tough year. Dealing with weight gain has been difficult. Trying to find my "groove" again just hasn't happened. I think I am going to get a personal trainer to get me on track. I do have a desire to get in shape and get that skin removal done this coming year.

Emotionally I find myself still holding on to the boy of the past...still overly self conscious and over critical.  I think working on the self image will be a priority for me this year (which means getting to the gym damnit!!!)

Here are my latest stats four years post-op...

Weight: 177.5
Fat %: 20.5%
Water %: 61%


10/6/08

Well, I started thinking about plastic surgery again recently. I need to get this hernia fixed and get rid of all of this skin. I checked with my HR department about using my 401k. Basically if I want to take a medical hardship withdrawal, then I will need to do it before my loan is paid off (which is in March). Otherwise they require you to take out a loan first before you can make a withdrawal. But you can only have one loan at a time, so that means I need to at least pay for surgery prior to my payoff date. So....the search for a plastic surgeon begins....

Here are my latest stats...

Weight: 175.5
Fat %: 20.5%
Water %: 60%


2/5/09

My step father passed away last night.  He was 77 years old.  He had been struggling with COPD and a failing heart and the Lord decided it was time for him.  I think everyone is glad he is at peace, although I am a bit surprised by the timing.  He seemed like was getting better near the end.  I know he had found peace before he went.  We had a lot of long talks and I know he was right with God.  What else can one ask for?  He died quietly in his sleep and is spending eternity with Jesus.


3/22/09

My hernia is getting to be more and more of a problem.  I continue to have more intense stomach pains because of it.  I need someone to plant a money tree in my yard so I can get something done about this thing.  Errrr


6/16/09

I have reached a financial milestone today.  My DS surgery is finally really mine!!!  I made the last payment on my loan today.  Five long years and my new life is really mine.  What to do with all of the extra money....hmmm (can someone say plastics???)
1 comment

Three Years Post-Op

Jul 05, 2007

7/6/07

HAPPY 3rd ANNIVERSARY!!!

Well, here I am 3 years post-op!!! It seems hard to believe. This has officially been the "rebound" year. I am actually about 9 pounds heavier now than I was this time last year. And unfortunately, they show too. I am getting quite the gut and I really am not pleased with myself because of it. Lessons for all of you newbies....listen up....

1. Your appetite WILL come back!!! And you WILL eat more.
2. Bad foods like fast food and snacky, sugary foods WILL start tasting good again.
3. Vitamins WILL become a pain in the butt and easily forgotten.
4. Exercise WILL always suck!!!
5. Old habits die HARD!!!

I am eating probably more than the average person does in a day now. I am having the same old portion control and head hunger issues I had before I had my surgery. Fast food is still cheap and convenient. Snacky cakes are still delicious...and are even worse now because I can stomach them better then I can meats and vegetables. My advice....continue measuring EVERYTHING and continue to stay away from foods that will get you in trouble.

My health, overall, is good. My blood work comes back saying that only my thyroid levels are off and my cholesterol remains below normal. Vitamin wise I am good....and that is with me missing my vitamins on occasion. My advice again...do not let your daily hum-drum get in the way of taking care of yourself...period.

Speaking of which, here is my daily regimen now....

Morning:
1 - 75 mcg Levothyroxin for the thyroid (which will probably be increased AGAIN)
1 - 50 mg Zinc
1 - "Building Blocks" multi-vitamin
6 - "Building Blocks" calcium citrate (1000 mg calcium and 600 IU of vitamin D)

Mid-day:
4 - "Building Blocks" calcium citrate (667 mg calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D)

Evening:
3 - "Building Blocks" calcium citrate (500 mg calcium and 300 IU vitamin D)
1 - "SourceCF" multi-vitamin (heavy in vitamins A, D, E, and K)

I still hate exercise. I just cannot get into it. I think I am a hopeless case. Like I said...old habits die HARD.

And emotionally....with the weight gain and some recent problems in the woman department, I am near all time post-op lows. As odd as this may sound, it sucks not having the weight to blame my lack of sex appeal on. l'm afraid that I just do not possess the "skills" required to maintain a relationship. And it does not help that I seem to be attracted to the WRONG women....ones in some sort of despair. It is really quite pathetic, but I'm not sure how to approach the problem. I think you may be seeing these type entries in here for some time to come.

I also still battle depression on a daily basis. Daily tasks just seem too large some days and the thought of even having to be in public makes me want to crawl back into bed. These are the same old problems as before....nothing new. I'm still the recluse, but the older I get the more I seem to get aggitated by simple things a lot quicker. Most days I would rather just stay on my PC all day or play with some of my "toys" then to deal with the real world. And when I am out with people, I am amazed that my closest friends put up with me and my mood swings and short sightedness. That really is a testiment to their character, which I admire (and envy) greatly. I'm afraid nothing short of long term therapy is going to fix me. And until I get a grip on things, I know my life will truly never be "full" or "complete".





7/20/07

OK...I want to clarify my last post. I am not suicidal or anything like that (I've had a few people ask me). I'm just saying that this whole thing is a "process" and I have a LONG way to go. And I hope I can show others that if they are thinking that having WLS is going to magically fix all the problems of their life, it will not. The same old environment that was there when you were obese will still be there as you lose the weight. My advice is to cut those things out of your life that cause you pain or are detrimental. This includes food, habits, environment, and even people. This also includes negativity, doubt, and self-loathing. I think that a lot of people find that cutting out the food is the EASY part of this process. The rest of it is much much bigger. Three years post-op and these things are more prevalent than ever. Don't get caught up in all the compliments, or what the scale says, or what size clothing you are wearing. These things are not where the challenge is. The challenge is within. Just be prepared for it.





7/23/07

I went to a water park this weekend (ok...I was DRAGGED to a water park this weekend). I have to say that all of the insecurities that I had when I was 432 pounds came rushing back. Having all the loose skin everywhere, there was NO way I was going to take off my shirt. It was bad enough that it was sticking to me when I got wet. It was really humiliating. One of my friends told me "Just don't worry about it. There are a lot of out of shape people here." My response to that was "Yeah, but I don't see anyone that looks like they are MELTING!!!" It's one thing to be fat and run around with a bunch of fat people (as long as you are not 200 pounds bigger then everyone else). It's a whole DIFFERENT thing to be running around looking like a melting pudding-pop. I can't wait to get plastics. If I could just figure out how to pay for it... :(





8/6/07

Here I am 37 months post-op. As part of my ritual every 6th of the month, I weighed myself on my digital scale. I was surprised to see it read "162" pounds. That puts me within a half a pound of what I was this time last year. So what does that mean? It means that my weight hasn't drastically changed this past year as I was fearing. Now is it because I might be a bit more dehydrated or whatever now than I was a year ago...who knows. I think my percent body fat is higher now than last year (I'll have to go look). I'm sure I probably lost muscle mass along the way too. But, you know, I'm just glad it didn't read "172" like I was expecting.

Here are my latest figures.....

Weight: 162 (normal by the "chart" is about 155)
Percent Body Fat: 16% (normal, but I would love to see 10%)
Percent Water Weight: 64% (which is considered high)





10/8/07

Well, the weight gain is for real...as sad as it is. Here is the latest....

Weight: 169.5
Percent Body Fat: 17.5%
Percent Water Weight: 64.5%







11/2/07

You know....here I am just two posts after stating "I'm glad it didn't read 172 like I was expecting" when I weighed. Now I weigh in at 173 pounds!!!! Man, I need help!!! I am just out of control. I really just can't stop grazing all day and I just seem to have given up somedays.





12/4/07

Here is the latest....

Weight: 170.5
Percent Body Fat: 18.5%
Percent Water Weight: 62.5%







1/28/08

My girlfriend Lori was down from Kentucky this weekend. We went to the Gasparilla parade in Tampa and had a wonderful time. (Did I mention that we have been dating for a couple months now? You know how I like to keep my personal life "personal"). It is just amazing to think how I am able to walk around all day, jumping around for beads, and acting the fool all day long and less than four years ago I would not have been able to walk to where the parade was let alone stand there for hours. Sometimes it is easy to forget that past life. But I know that keeping it on my mind keeps me humble and appreciative of all the blessings I have in my life.

Driving back from the airport today, I decided to stop by the hospital to pick up some vitamins. I also took the opportunity to weigh on their scale. So.....this is the "official" count....

Weight: 170.5
Fat Percentage: 13.6%
Fat Mass: 23 pounds

My scale says 18% fat. That's a BIG difference. Hope THEIR'S is right :)





2/20/08

Well, that girlfriend I mentioned is no more. That's right...I'm single again. Sad thing is I'm not sure what went wrong. There was the problem with distance (she's 800 miles away) and you know how those long distance things can go. You'd think at my ripe old age that this would be old hat for me, but I'm so far behind where I should be having lived most of my life hiding behind my weight. Maybe I'm too immature? Maybe just too unfamilar with what a woman wants and needs? Maybe it's because I still tend to keep to myself and lack the "small talk" gene that most people possess? Whatever the cause, the result is the same....the world will be going to sleep with nobody thinking about me tonight.





2/21/08

You know something....I am one whiny dude on here, huh? LOL. I must I come across as some psychotic, self centered, paranoid, suicidal, ass.....and a lot of that is probably accurate. But just let me tell you a little more about this little journal of mine. This place has become the venting place for me....sort of like therapy. I come here to vent all of my frustrations about any weight issues or things that I perceive as long standing issues that involve my self image (like dating, etc). Unfortunately, you, the reader, most often only get to see that bad things....and that might make it seem like that is all there is. But notice these postings are sporatic and not daily ones. Most days are uneventful and my life is happy. I come here to vent and wallow in my self pity, and for some reason seeing it in black and white somehow helps me put it all in perspective. These "hangups" of mine are just that.....mine. The world is not the culprit here...it's me. Reality is how we see it or make it. If I CHOOSE to be happy, then nothing the world has to say about it changes that. If I CHOOSE to be sad, then the world has nothing to say about that either. And now that I am far removed from that 400 pound plus man, I see that most of the problems I had were all made by....me. And...here's the hard part to swallow....most of the problems I have NOW are all made by...you guessed it....me too.

I don't get on the message boards much anymore. I don't feel that I should persuade someone one way or the other to have surgery. For physical issues....absolutely!!! For the emotional stuff....it won't fix that. And it's hard to know where someone is inside. All I do is tell them to do some soul searching and get things right with themselves...THEN have surgery. It really needs to be just about the WEIGHT and nothing more. And as much as I am SO grateful for having done the DS, this is a MAJOR life-threatening decision that should not be swayed by good or bad "reviews". All I can do is offer up my personal experience and hope that it helps someone in some way come to the best decision for them.

I am really thankful too for all of the terrific support this place has provided for me through the years. Many of my friends here have laughed and cried together. And quite honestly, anyone that can put up with me pouting is someone truly special, and there are a LOT of special people here. Thank you all for caring so much!!!


Two Years Post-Op

7/6/06

HAPPY 2ND ANNIVERSARY!!!

It is amazing how fast the time has gone by. It is hard to imagine being 432 pounds now. That old life of huffing and puffing, back aches, and oozing sores seem almost foreign now. I guess I should update you on the "state of affairs" now that it is another year into this journey...

Health wise, most things are better. The overall aches and pains are better. The sleep apnea is gone. The phlebitis, although it still exists (and probably always will), is not a problem. My blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar are all great. Most of my old problems are gone now.

My NEW problems include some obvious ones....LOTS of excess skin, especially around the panni. Saggy man-boobs and no ass to speak of LOL. I still have the hernia from the operation that hopefully will get corrected soon.

Blood work wise, I have a few problems. My vitamin D and K are low. I am going to start a ADEK vitamin regimen to see if I can prop those numbers back up. Also, my zinc levels are low. Looks like I will have to focus on the heavy metals and the fat soluable vitamins.

My HDL continues to be low, but my overall cholesterol is now normal. My thyroid continues to be off, but that was a problem pre-op as well. And my CO2 levels are slightly high. But my calcium and PTH continue to be good.

My biggest problems I am facing is that my weight loss seems to be coming from muscle mass. I am having a very difficult time keeping muscle on, especially the upper body. The dietician suggested to up my protein, carbs, and water intake as my caloric intake may be too restrictive and I may be stressing the muscles too much. I have to laugh because the REAL problem is that I eat crap I'm not suppose to and act like a big lazy piece of crap 99% of the time. I really have to get better at it. Although I am at "normal" weight, I don't look "thin", I look "scrawny". And honestly it is better (as a guy) to be "heavy" than "scrawny".

I still have a tendency to want to feed head-hunger. Sometimes it is hard to pull back. Having to find that illusive "will power" that I didn't have BEFORE surgery is sometimes very hard to do.

As far as diet and exercise are concerned, my exercise has not been as good as it should. I really need to get into a weight training routine to stop this muscle loss. My diet could also be better. I consume pretty much everything and anything. I don't really make a conscious effort to "eat properly". I eat my fair share of junk food and sweets. But I don't frequent McDonald's as much, and I tend to avoid carbonated drinks most days. But I eat a lot of starchy foods, which I need to count down on and move towards protein. It's just so much easier on the stomach to eat stuff like crackers and bread than to eat the heavy protein.

Vitamins currently consist of 2 multivitamins, 10 calcium citrate pills, 1 vitamin E, and 2 vitamin A each day. But I will be adding vitamin D and K to the mix. As far as meds go, I am only taking synthroid for the thyroid condition.

I still fight depression, but honestly I think I am learning from it. One day I just looked around and realized that I am the one in control of my life and that I was using the depression as a replacement for the weight that I used to hide behind. It is easier to just hide behind something than to go deal with real life sometimes. If I think about how far I've come since 7/6/04 and take the time to acknowledge and congratulate myself for having the courage to make a change, then the depression seems really silly and the feeling of hope and opportunity fill its place. It can be really consuming to be lost in the dark, but all it takes is just the slightly hint of light and the darkness will run from it. The power is in the light, not the darkness. Darkness cannot extinguish the light. It is hard to look at life that way, especially when you're having a bad day, but hopefully, like this journey, I can take it one day at a time....

Weight: 160.5 pounds
Percent body fat: 14.2%
Fat Mass: 23 lbs
Muscle Mass: 137.5 lbs
Dr. Kim's Target Weight: 190
MY Target Weight: 175
Pounds Lost: 271.5 pounds
Pounds to Lose: NONE!!!
432 / 160.5 / 175 / 105.6% excess weight gone



7/19/06

OK...just a quick update. I've changed my vitamin regimen since my labs are a bit off. Here's the lineup...

1 - 400IU water solubilized Vitamin E
2 - 400IU Vitamin D3
1 - 30mg Zinc
2 - 8000IU Vitamin A
2 - Building Blocks Multiple Vitamin
12 - Building Blocks Calcium Citrate (2000mg Calcium and 800IU Vitamin D total)
2 - ADEK Multivitamins (18000IU Vitamin A, 800IU Vitamin D, 300IU Vitamin E, 300mcg Vitamin K, and other stuff too)
1 - .075mg Levothyroxine for the thyroid

Yeah, I know that sounds really high for the Vitamins A, D, and E, but with the bad labs (and since I've been taking some supplements all along and STILL got bad labs), I'm going to stay the course until my next set of blood tests (which I'm going to do in 6 months versus the normal 12).

I've added the vitamins A, D, and E pills I listed are pills you can buy at any store. Vitamin K is not available by itself without a prescription. Since we (being DS'er) don't absorb these fat-soluable vitamins well, we have to take them in excess. And even then there are no guarantees.

Thanks to a OH friend I have a supply of the ADEK brand vitamins to help me with this (thank you SO much Tam!!!) These vitamins are specifically made for bowel surgery patients that have absorption problems. They contain a mix of most vitamins, like a regular multivitamin, but emphasize the "problem" vitamins of A, D, E, and K in a "water solubilized" or "dry" form. Hopefully this will get me back to where I need to be. I'm just watching out for signs of toxicity, which can happen if you get too much of these vitamins.

Also, I got my denial letter from my insurance company for my plastic surgery. Big surprise there, huh? States that I have not shown "medical necessity". I guess short of sending them skin graphs I think that is what they would always say. If anyone has any ideas, I would appreciate any advice.



8/4/06

One of the problems I am having is that I still get dizzy spells sometimes. My head gets "swimmy" and it becomes more laborious to breathe. My vision fades to white and sometimes I get a ringing in my ears. A few times I have passed out during one of these episodes. Granted it has only happened a couple of times, but it happened to me again today. I was working outside and had stopped to talk to a neighbor. I admit I was a bit hot, but nothing I felt was "too hot". After a few minutes of chatting, the spell came on. And it just got worse and worse until I passed out briefly and hit the ground.

I typically do not pass out during one of these episodes, but I seem to get them a bit more frequently than I probably should. What do you think this could be? Blood pressure?



8/7/06

OK...an idol of mine really gave me a shock today. I saw Carnie Wilson on Celebrity Fit Club 4. As you may know, she had the RNY back in 1999 in a very public and televised manner. She went from over 300 pounds to 145 pounds. She even posed for Playboy after reaching her goal. But, since then she has had a baby....and has added on some pounds. She is now a chunky 188 pounds. She measured in with 39.5% body fat. That's really not good for someone who is only 5' 3".

So I'm hoping that her experience will again inspire me to take control of myself. Just 7 years post-op, she is having problems with the same old things. I really don't want to be one of those statistics. I really don't want to be writing on here years from now how I'm looking into a revision...or whatever....to fix my problem again. I wish her the best of luck and hope she does well with her refound struggle. Just goes to emphasize that this surgery does not give you a free pass to slack off. Something I have been guilty of a lot lately.



10/13/06

Friday, the 13th...right before Halloween. How much do YOU weigh AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Weight: 164 pounds
Percent body fat: 13.1%
Fat Mass: 21.5 lbs
Muscle Mass: 142.5 lbs
Dr. Kim's Target Weight: 190
MY Target Weight: 175
Pounds Lost: 268 pounds
Pounds to Lose: NONE!!!
432 / 164 / 175 / 104.3% excess weight gone



12/6/06

This page has now been visited over 20,000 times!!! (I accidentally reset my old counter a long time ago but still had my stats. However, I've decided to put in a new one with the correct count). My page is not as active as it was when I was such a big mouth on the boards, duodenalswitch.com, and other places, but I appreciate everyone's support and I hope to keep this up-to-date for years to come. If you haven't done so, please take a moment and sign my guestbook below. I would love to hear from you.

I know how hard it is to find information from "old-timers" like me (after 2 years post-op, you are considered an "old-timer") because most of us get on with our lives and don't think about our weight problems any longer. But as changes happen to me down the line, hopefully I will be able to share them with you all so you can get some "real" information from someone that has actually been there.

Thanks again for all of the support and prayers!!! Love you all!!!



12/15/06

I found out something from my employer today. By setting up a FSA (Flexible Spending Account), which is a tax-free account that can be used for medical purposes like co-pays, prescriptions, some over-the-counter medications, and other expenses that insurance doesn't pay, I can use it for buying my vitamins if I have a doctor's letter stating they are medically necessary. So I have set up a FSA for next year. I have already gotten my letter from Dr. Kim, so this should help with the expenses a little bit.

Speaking of vitamins, let me update you on my daily mix as it sets today....

1 - Synthroid .075mg
1 - Building Blocks multivitamin capsule
14 - Building Blocks Calcium capsules
1 - SourceCF multivitamin softgel

I stagger all of these pills throughout the day so I'm not taking them all at once (they are not as effective if you take them all at one time since you can only absorb a certain amount at one given time).

Let me tell you about the SourceCF vitamins. They are designed for cystic fibrosis patients. They are high in the fat-soluable vitamins A, D, E, and K, which have been some of my problem areas. They are in a water-miscible form for easier digestion, and they are a lot cheaper and have higher concentrations than some of the competitors I've found. Here are the concentrations per pill of the fat-soluable vitamins found in the SourceCF vitamins....

Vitamin A (as 40% palmitate and 60% beta carotene) ... 9000IU ... 180%
Vitamin D (as cholecalciferol) ... 100mg ... 167%
Vitamin E (as d-alpha tocopherol) ... 200IU ... 667%
Vitamin K (as phytonadione) ... 500mcg ... 625%

These vitamins also have good quantities of the other vitamins you typically find in a multivitamin. Check them out at www.sourcecf.com.



1/22/07

I got to do something this weekend that I never would have done a few years ago.....I went on a cruise!!! It was GREAT!!! I went to the Bahamas for 3 days. I got thrown out of a 5-star resort and almost got arrested for drug possession. Now THAT is a good vacation LOL.

In Nassau, there is a VERY swanky resort called Atlantis. This place has an underground aquarium, a private lagoon and beach, a casino....you name it. Well, I was sporting my Florida Gators National Championship shirt (oh yeah baby!!!) and the doorman happened to be a Gator fan too (Gator Nation stretches all the way to another country ya'll!!!). He told me how I could sneak into the VIP part of the resort....places unaccessible to the public. And, oh, was it NICE!!! If I ever have the cabbage and go to Nassau again, I'm getting a suite at this place. However, I eventually got caught and was asked to leave. It was fun while it lasted.

In town (or I should say just outside of town...off the beaten path), I bumped into a local that was trying to get me to come into his restaurant to eat. I declined (the cruise ship feeds you VERY well). I guess because I was off the beaten path, some undercover cops were tailing me. Well, they wound up stopping me and asking if I had bought any drugs from the guy (come to find out he is a drug dealer and has been known to sell drugs to tourists). They were wanting to take me to the US Embassy (at least I assume so since it was in that vicinity), but after some smooth talking and showing them what I had in my pockets, they let me go with no problems. Nothing like going to another country to cause the kind of trouble that all the Americans have grown accustomed to me creating here LOL.



2/6/07

Had a chance to weigh today on the scale at the hospital. Here's where I am now. Still losing muscle and putting on fat :(

Weight: 161 pounds
Percent body fat: 14.1%
Fat Mass: 22.5 lbs
Muscle Mass: 138.5 lbs
Dr. Kim's Target Weight: 190
MY Target Weight: 175
Pounds Lost: 271 pounds
Pounds to Lose: NONE!!!
432 / 161 / 175 / 105.4% excess weight gone



3/6/07

Well, here we are 32 months out. It has been a very difficult few weeks (actually months) for me. I have been up and down with the flu since November (a lot worse in the past 3 weeks). I just can't seem to shake this sinus and chest congestion. I feel tired and weak all the time. I really can't wait to see spring get here this year.

Also, I've put on 5 pounds this month. I'm not happy about it at all. It is from being sick and eating and drinking non-stop (and not exercising from not feeling good). Why is it that it takes sooo long to get rid of it, but nothing to put it back on?



4/6/07

The rebound weight continues. I am now back up to the weight I was a year ago (that's 8 pounds heavier than my low). I'm REALLY not happy about it. If it was all muscle weight or brain weight or something, that'd be fine. But I'm afraid it storage duties for all those twinkies and ho-hos :(



5/6/07

OK...this isn't funny anymore. I've gained 11 pounds in 3 months!!! I'm on a 44 pound a year gain tear!!! I'm starting to have flashbacks to my pre-op days. I have to admit I'm getting really worried by this. It's amazing how much 11 pounds shows too. I really need to find strength to get back on track. People are noticing the weight gain and that I'm eating more. I hate this so much!!! I'm so frustrated!!!! If I cannot turn this around this coming month, I'm going to find help.

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One Year Post-Op

7/6/05

HOLY SMOKES, IT'S BEEN A YEAR ALREADY!!!

The time has just flown by so quickly. I went to see Dr. Kim today for my one-year checkup, and even he is amazed that it has been a year already.

I got my bloodwork results back today. My PTH levels are still off, which means my blood calcium is low. This can cause the body to draw it from your bones. So far that does not seem to be the case. My system may still be "adjusting" to not having to carry so much weight. Right now the doctor doesn't seem to think I need to change anything, just be diligent with the supplements and diet.

My thyroid levels are off again. Not bad, but low. I might look into starting Synthroid again. I'll have to follow up with my PCP.

Other than my HDL cholesterol still being low, everything else came back pretty good. My vitamin B-12 levels are high (that was a surprise since lots of WLS patients have to get B-12 shots because they are low), and my overall cholesterol is low. Your cholesterol level should be between 100-200. Mine is 97. When have you ever heard of someone's cholesterol being too LOW? LOL. The doctor was happy with my weight loss progress (218.5 pounds so far), but wants me to exercise more.

I also got weighed and measured today. Here are the results:

Weight: 213.5 pounds
Percent body fat: 22.6%
Time since surgery: 1 year
Dr. Kim's Target Weight: 190
MY Target Weight: 175
Pounds Lost: 218.5 pounds
Pounds to Lose: 38.5 pounds!!!
432 / 213.5 / 175 / 83.1% excess weight gone

Since I had surgery I have lost 24 inches in my waist, 24 inches in my hips, 10 inches in each thigh, and 4.5 inches just in my neck!!!! Can you say WOW!!!

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I guess I should reflect back on the past year as a post-op DS patient. It has been a tough year. With the 3 hurricanes, the vomiting, the nausea, the hernia, and the hypotension, it has been a hilly ride. Has it been worth it? ABSOLUTELY!!! My prayer is that I can still say that 10 years from now.

At one year out, I can pretty much eat anything. I don't get sick very often from food. I can eat a large amount of food. I can eat a normal frozen dinner sized meal and still want a side salad and a snack sometime during the day. I do try to keep it healthy. In fact, I haven't had a hamburger, hot dog, or french fries since I got sick on McDonald's almost a year ago.

And the big question about having bathroom problems after having the DS...I actually have fewer problems than I did pre-op. I get some trapped gas sometimes, but nothing really different than before. It is usually a sign that the diet is off and that I need to correct it. I stay pretty regular and have fewer painful episodes than what I used to have. Now the smell can be rough, but whose doesn't stink anyway, right?

One of my biggest problems now is the "head hunger". I still have cravings and times when I just want to graze, and that is getting harder to deal with as I am able to eat more and more. Like Dr. Kim said pre-op "this surgery is only a tool and it doesn't fix your head". That is so true. The surgery helps do what you can't on your own, but it does not fix the problems that lead to the obesity in the first place.

My BIGGEST problem I have now is depression and self-image. I still see myself as the fat guy that nobody likes or wants anything to do with. I still am not a social giant by any means and that is something that I truly want to change. I want to be able to go out and have fun and feel like people want to be around me. I truly need a self-esteem boost, and I know that I am the only one that can do anything about it. My biggest problem is HOW? They don't have surgery to fix that one.

So all of you pre-ops out there please realize that this isn't the magic cure to your problems. It will help you with your weight problem, but it will not help you find true happiness. You can only find that within yourself. And I am having a very hard time finding mine.



7/28/05

<<<< MILESTONE >>>>
Well, I've hit a couple of milestones since my last post. I am now down to 209.5 pounds for a total of 222.5 pounds. I am now lighter than I have been since 1991 (14 long years ago).

Weight: 209.5 pounds
Percent body fat: 21.3%
Fat Mass: 44.5 lbs
Muscle Mass: 165 lbs
Dr. Kim's Target Weight: 190
MY Target Weight: 175
Pounds Lost: 222.5 pounds
Pounds to Lose: 34.5 pounds!!!
432 / 209.5 / 175 / 86.6% excess weight gone

Also, this profile has surpassed the 10,000 hits mark!!! I hope it has been insightful to those interested in WLS and the DS. I plan to keep entering posts in here for a long time. Something I found during my research is that most people do not keep up support groups or profiles like these once they have lost their weight. I want people to see what a DS patient experiences long after the weight loss has stopped. I hope some of you will continue to make that journey with me.

On a more personal note, I have started attending group therapy sessions at Celebration Health hospital. Dr. Ferguson is holding them for post-op patients of the hospital. I cannot attend every week since they conflict with my work schedule, but I will try to attend as much as possible. So far the sessions have been good. However, the more I talk the more I discover just how truly screwed up I really am. I am really struggling with self-esteem issues and socializing. I have been a loner for so long that I do not know how to be social for any lengths of time. I often feel isolated, alone, and unwanted. I know if I have any chance at a normal life I will have to deal with this stuff. A friend has told me that "all I need is a good woman." Maybe he is right. I've tried the dating thing (well, sort of) and I cannot commit to being around someone ALL of the time. I always feel like I am imposing on their time or that I always need to have something clever to say. I am having a hard time just finding myself and letting it come through.



8/5/05

HAPPY LUCKY 13...WELL ALMOST

<<<< MILESTONE >>>>
Well, at 13 months I come in at 202 pounds....down 230 pounds!!! I'm less than my 205 pound graduation weight. I am now down to what I weighed in 11th grade!!! Now THAT is cool!!! Can you say the 80's? That was a long time ago friends. I think I was sporting a mullet then.



8/8/05

<<<< MILESTONE >>>>
4....3....2....ONE-DERFUL!!!

This is truly an AMAZING milestone!!! To think I was 432 pounds just a little more than a year ago is astonishing. I never thought I would EVER put this entry in here. As of today, 57 weeks out, I am now a "hundred-something". I broke the 200 pound mark!!! I'm within 10 pounds of my doctor's goal!!! My body fat is now 19.5%, which is at goal!!!

Weight: 200 pounds
Percent body fat: 19.5%
Fat Mass: 39 lbs
Muscle Mass: 161.5 lbs
Dr. Kim's Target Weight: 190
MY Target Weight: 175
Pounds Lost: 232 pounds
Pounds to Lose: 25 pounds!!!
432 / 200 / 175 / 90.3% excess weight gone



9/6/05

<<<< MILESTONE >>>>
SUPEROBESE....SUPER-MORBIDLY OBESE....MORBIDLY OBESE....SEVERELY OBESE....OBESE....JUST PLAIN OLD OVERWEIGHT!!!

Well, at 14 months I've managed to lose 236 pounds. I had a very difficult month, only losing 6 pounds. But I am no longer obese!!!

I go to talk to Dr. Kuster this weekend about my options for my loose skin. He is from Brazil and his staff will be in Florida this weekend throwing a conference. A friend of mine that I met on the internet, Jamie, is coming down for the event. She has been to Brazil a few times for plastic surgery and she looks absolutely gorgeous!!! (she is a DS'er too). I'm hoping that maybe they can work some of that magic on me. It will be great to actually get to spend some time with Jamie and hopefully get to know her better. She has really been a big help to me during my weight loss journey.



9/11/05

The convention this weekend was a complete blast!!! I got to meet some of the most incredible people I have ever met in my life. There was a nice sized group that met for it. Some were like me getting information on plastic surgery. Others were prior patients that had a lot of insight to offer.

It was just amazing how a bunch of strangers could get together and have such a great time. I finally got to meet Jamie. She is such a sweet and beautiful person. I hope we can become really good friends. She is really quite amazing.

I also got to meet her friend Olivia and some of the other internet faces I have seen and talked with about plastics. A group of us went out to Pleasure Island Friday night and had a great time. It was basically me and 4 hot chicks so the night was good LOL. I had a great time getting to know them and drinking and dancing and having fun too. We went to City Walk at Universal Saturday night for a few drinks. It was funny to open up so much to a bunch of strangers. I really enjoyed getting to know Jamie, Olivia, Susan, Kari, and the rest of the gals. It was really nice to just unwind for a while with some people that really didn't care if I was off my rocker or not. I actually felt human this weekend. I really need to have more moments like that.

I had a consult with Dr. Kuster about plastic surgery. I got to meet him and Christiane and they both seem wonderful.

After looking me over, he came up with the following suggestions:

- Abdominal area (to fix the love handles, back fat, hanging panni, and pubic area):
--> Lower body lift
--> Liposuction
--> Vertical resection
--> Hernia repair
--> Mons lift

- Breast area (to eliminate the "man-mammories"):
--> Male breast reduction

- Arms (to fix the "bat wings" and the baggage beside my luscious man-boobs LOL):
--> Arm lift
--> Liposuction
--> Under arm

- Butt (or the lack of one):
--> Micro fat grafting (basically moving my love-handles to my prettier side LOL)

Throw in the blood transfusions that I might need and all this comes to $15,800 US. Not as bad as I thought. And that is if I did EVERYTHING. My big focus is the lower body lift and the man-boobs. But I have to admit I'm thinking seriously about putting some junk in the trunk!!! The arms and thighs could wait until another time, which would reduce the cost to about $13,010. Of course these costs do not include airfare, hotel stay, medications, food, or "other". Realistically, it will probably run closer to $30,000 for everything, but that is still a bargain versus doing it in the States. And what I have seen of Dr. Kuster's work, he is very good. He is very conscientious of scarring and seems sensitive to the fact that I am a guy (which most patients of this type are women) and that guys require different techniques in order to get the desired male body. He seems to think I would lose about 20-25 pounds in "real" weight with the procedure, which would put me at goal.

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He did say that I would have to have my legs fixed prior to coming down for surgery. With my bad veins in my legs there is the possibility of thrombosis, so I have scheduled to go see a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic in Weston, Florida to begin work on that. I go down there in 2 weeks for an initial consult. Wish me luck!!!



9/23/05

I went to see Dr. Fernandez at the Cleveland Clinic today about my legs. He seems to think that they can correct the vericose vein problem with the VNUS catheter procedure that would close the saphenous vein so that no blood can flow through it. This procedure uses electrodes on the tip of the catheter that heats the walls of the vein causing it to collapse. Then the vericose veins below the knee would be removed through small incisions in the leg. The procedure should take about 90 minutes and I should be able to go home that same day. I go in on November 10 for preliminary testing, so please keep me in your prayers.

Weight: 194 pounds
Percent body fat: 19.1%
Fat Mass: 37 lbs
Muscle Mass: 157 lbs
Dr. Kim's Target Weight: 190
MY Target Weight: 175
Pounds Lost: 238 pounds
Pounds to Lose: 19 pounds!!!
432 / 194 / 175 / 92.6% excess weight gone



9/24/05

Today our support group held our chapter's ASBS Foundation's "Walk From Obesity" event in Celebration, Florida. The event is held nationwide in over 58 cities. The charity event is held annually to raise money for the research and awareness of bariatric surgery as a means against obesity related illnesses. We had a nice crowd at our walk and our chapter has raised over $1500 so far this year. Way to go!!!



10/1/05

<<<< MILESTONE >>>>
GOOOOOOOOOAL!!!

Almost 64.5 weeks post-op, I have finally hit my doctor's goal of 190. I weighed today at 189 pounds!!! WOW!!! I haven't seen 180-anything in over 15 years. I can't wait to tell Dr. Kim that I made it!!! If I can just keep it off now.



10/6/05

WELL...IT'S BEEN 15 MONTHS...

It's hard to believe it has been so long since my surgery. I did a bit better this month, coming in 9 pounds down and down 245. I've lost exactly 100 pounds in the past 9 months to the day.

Weight: 187 pounds
Percent body fat: 18.8%
Fat Mass: 35.5 lbs
Muscle Mass: 152 lbs
Dr. Kim's Target Weight: 190
MY Target Weight: 175
Pounds Lost: 245 pounds
Pounds to Lose: 12 pounds!!!
432 / 187 / 175 / 95.3% excess weight gone



10/12/05

I went to see Dr. Prevel today in Orlando about plastic surgery (this is the second time I've talked to him). He gives free consults to Dr. Kim's patients since he does his work at the same hospital Celebration Health. Here's what he came up with...

He would break the work into two surgeries. The first surgery would consist of the following:

--> Male breast reduction and bilateral excision (which fixes the man-boobs, the side-saddles, and the underarms)

The second surgery would consist of the following:

--> Abdominoplasty (which fixes the abdomen muscles, skin, and fat and the hernia)

--> Thighplasty (that covers the circumferential thighs, buttocks, and flanks)

--> Lipectomy (to suck out that last bit of fat around the mid section)

For the male breast reduction, including anesthesia, supplies, operating room, etc, would cost roughly $6,941.50. For the LBL, it would cost about $14,071.00. Grand total: $21,012.50.

To do the same thing in Brazil with Dr. Kuster would cost $4,590.00 for the "boob job". Add in concierge fees, travel, etc, that comes to roughly $6,190.00 (about a 11% difference or $751.50) To do the LBL in Brazil would cost $9,810.00. With all the add-on fees and travel, that comes to about $11,410.00 (about a 19% difference or $2,661.00)

Total here....$21,012.50
Total there....$17,600.00
Difference....$3,412.50 (or 16.5%)

It would be cheaper to go to Brazil. But I would not have family or friends near me, nor do I speak the language. I would have the long flight back which would be fun being post-op. And if I had complications I would have to find a local doctor willing to fix me. So to save the extra money..is it worth it? Ehhh....verdict still out on that one. I would love to go to a local doctor at the same hospital where I've been and where I am comfortable but that is a lot of money.

But first things first. I go down to the Cleveland Clinic on November 10 to look into getting my legs fixed. Then we can talk more about this.

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10/24/05

HURRICANE WILMA!!!

Hurricane Wilma roared through last night just south of us. We got mostly Cat 1 force winds here. We got some flooding and a few trees down, but that is about it. Of course the power was out most of the day, but it is on now. This is the fourth hurricane to hit us in 14 months. There are several groups in our area gathering supplies and things to take down to south Florida to assist. I know from experience that any help is appreciated in times like this. At least the temperature has dropped (it was in the 40's last night) so there is less chance of heat exhaustion since they will be without power for some time. Right now over 1/3 of the state is without power (that's some 6 million people) so the extensive cleanup will take some effort and time. Hopefully we will be spared any more storms this year.



11/3/05

<<<< MILESTONE >>>>
THIS IS A BIG ONE!!!

I have now lost over 250 pounds!!! How incredible is that?!!! In under 70 weeks my weight has gone from 432 pounds to 181.5 pounds!!! Jenny Craig, eat your heart out sweet-heart!!! Yippee!!!



11/10/05

I went to the Cleveland Clinic in Weston today and spoke with Dr. Groves about my legs. After getting some tests ran and reviewing them (and me), it was decided that due to the excessive damage that stripping would probably be preferred over the VNUS procedure. This means more incisions and a harder recovery. His office is suppose to call me and set up a date.



11/22/05

It certainly has been a busy day. I called Dr. Grove's office about when I could schedule a date for surgery. Mary, his aide, said that they just got in the insurance paperwork and I have been APPROVED!!! YEAH!!! They scheduled me for a December 5th surgery date. Please keep me in prayer.

So, in preparation of my soon to be surgery, I went to see my primary, Dr. Ghaly, to get my tests done. Gave 40 gallons of blood, had an EKG and a chest x-ray done (which I think is because I can't seem to shake yet another cold I have gotten), and all of this happened before lunch today!!! How is that for everything coming together!!! So, barring any bad news from my tests today, I will be in South Florida in less than two weeks!!!



12/7/05

I am home from surgery. Everything went well. My leg is extremely sore (as you can figure) but I'm otherwise doing good. I have to keep the wraps on my legs for 48 hours and then I have to wear support stockings for two weeks. Dr. Groves has told me that I can have the followup appointment with my PCP in a few weeks if I think everything is looking ok.

Oh, and just to let you know about my blood work...I had them add a Vitamin K panel to the test to be sure there would not be clotting concerns from vitamin K deficiency. Even though I'm not getting shots or taking prescription Vitamin K, the blood work came back normal....on the low end of normal, but normal.

My cholesterol continues to drop. It is now down to 88!!! That's TOTAL cholesterol...88. My HDL is low needless to say (it's 38.5), but that's just barely low. My TSH is high again, so I'm back on Synthroid. Also, my MCV, MCH, and MPV levels are slightly elevated. Also my Ferritin level is high (should be under 180...mine is 394.5). But supposedly this is nothing to be worried about as long as everything else checks out ok. The only test that I haven't had done (because they forgot to order it) was the PTH test (blood calcium) which is what I've had the most problems with since surgery.

Weight: 177.5 pounds
Percent body fat: 18.1%
Fat Mass: 32 lbs
Muscle Mass: 145.5 lbs
Dr. Kim's Target Weight: 190
MY Target Weight: 175
Pounds Lost: 254.5 pounds
Pounds to Lose: 2.5 pounds!!!
432 / 177.5 / 175 / 99.0% excess weight gone



12/16/05

Well, here we are Day 11 post-op and things are not well. I went to my PCP yesterday because my calf has become very red, warm, and hard in spots. He scheduled an ultrasound on my leg to be sure there are no clots and prescribed an antibiotic. I called down to the Cleveland Clinic to tell them what was going on. Dr. Groves will be out next week, so an appointment with Dr. Sesto was made for the 21st. They gave me instructions to call them if I started to notice any drainage from any of the incisions.

Well, that has started to happen. One of my incisions is leaking blood and clear fluid. I called back down there to tell them (figures it would happen late Friday afternoon). I'm waiting for the nurse to call me back now. This "minor" surgery is becoming more of a problem than my DS was!!!



12/25/05

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2005!!!

Wow...it is Christmas again already!!! I sure have a lot to be thankful for this year. First of all, I'm thankful to God for sending his Son to be born and die for me. I'm sorry if I'm not "PC" enough, but America has had to "tolerate" different views, beliefs, and cultures...I think it is time they "tolerate" Christianity too!!!

I went to see Dr. Sesto about my leg. It has cleared up a lot since I got an infection. My leg is doing really good. It is still swollen and red a bit, but it feels much better than it did pre-op already.

Also, I got the BIGGEST Christmas gift I could have ever wanted today!!! Drum roll please.....

<<<< MILESTONE >>>>
I'M AT GOAL!!!

It took 17 months to get there, but I'm at my personal goal I set before surgery!!! Dr. Kim thought it might be a bit too aggressive (he was worried I would be disappointed if I didn't make it), but here I am!!! In fact, when I got on the scale today I'm BELOW my goal!!! I weigh in at 173 pounds....2 pounds below my personal goal!!! My medical records that I have only go back to when I was 16, so this is the lightest I have been since.....I don't know when!!! I was younger than 16 for sure!!! And to think I still have plastic surgery to go yet. I know there will be some rebound weight (especially if I keep eating the way I have been lately), but I am so happy and thankful to be here right now. Thank you, Santa LOL!!!






12/26/05

I just got word that a very good friend of mine, Christine , had to have emergency surgery last night. She had to be opened up to repair a strangulated small intestine. She had the RNY about 4.5 years ago and works at Celebration Health where I had my surgery. Please keep her in prayer. And let her know you are thinking of her.



12/28/05

Christine is doing fastantastically!!! Dr. Kim fixed her right up and she did not have to have any of her intestines removed. She has a scar on her belly now (she's upset because she had a LBL and now she has a scar on her nice new tummy). But she is getting around well and has no pain. In fact, some of her other problems like indigestion have gone away. Thank you all for keeping her in prayer.



1/25/06

I know this doesn't have anything to do with WLS or my experiences, but please keep my Mom in prayer. She had a stroke last night and is in ICU. She collapsed at home and was having slurred speech and paralysis on her left side. Please keep us in prayer.



1/26/06

My Mom is still in ICU, but she is talking well and is moving well too. They confirmed that she had a blockage in her brain and has elevated cholesterol. They are wanting to move her to a regular room tonight. No more salt or goodies for you Mama.



1/30/06

My Mom is home now and doing really well. She is about 95% back to normal. She will have some physical therapy and a drug regimen to follow for her cholesterol and blood pressure (and a diet to follow which she will hate). Thank you all for keeping her in prayer.



2/6/06

Wow...it's been 19 months already. In a lot of weighs (forgive the pun) it seems like forever. Here are my latest stats. I'm going to move my target to 165 pounds since I'm under my original goal weight.

Weight: 169.5 pounds
Percent body fat: 15.8%
Fat Mass: 27 lbs
Muscle Mass: 142.5 lbs
Dr. Kim's Target Weight: 190
MY Target Weight: 175
Pounds Lost: 262.5 pounds
Pounds to Lose: NONE!!!
432 / 169.5 / 175 / 102.1% excess weight gone



3/7/06

Wow...time sure does get away from you. Just a few updates...my Mom is doing great. She is 95% back to normal. Thanks for all the prayers.

Also, my leg is doing much better from the surgery. The blackness has gone away and most of the swelling. My hair is growing back and the numbness has gotten better. I'm really glad I did it.

My new problem now is acne. I have worse acne on my face and chest than I ever did in school. Over the counter stuff just isn't helping, so I went and got a prescription for Tazarotene. I've had to quit using it though because it is making my face burn and peel. I thought maybe this was just diet or something, but I'm finding out that there are a lot of DS'ers that get acne problems. I'm not sure really why, but I've heard it is from vitamin A malabsorption. So, I'm thinking of trying that to see if it helps. I've also heard that a zinc deficiency can cause acne.

Also, I am now down to 167 pounds, which thrills me to death. Now I'm looking forward to plastic surgery. Dr. Kuster is having another U.S. visit in San Antonio this year in September, so if things work out I may try to visit with him again. A friend of mine I met the last time in Orlando, Olivia, just got back from Brazil from Dr. Kuster and is overjoyed. We are talking about maybe making the trip together the next time she goes down. It saves money doing that and it's nice to have someone around you know when you are recovering from surgery.



4/13/06

I swung by the hospital for vitamins and to weigh today. The staff there is almost entirely new since I first started going there. They are also on the third floor now in a much larger office. I guess they are doing really well by the looks of it.

Now I have a question for you. If anyone can answer it, please email me. My weight has been bouncing up and down for the past three months....about 5 pounds or so. How is it that my weight is the same, my waist has gotten BIGGER (yes, I've had to go back up to a 34 waist), but my percent body fat has gone DOWN 2.9% (which is 5 pounds of fat by the way)? Am I losing fat everywhere else and GAINING a bigger belly??? Oh, now that will not do AT ALL!!! I'm going to look like Starvin' Marvin on Southpark if this keeps going!!!

Weight: 169 pounds
Percent body fat: 12.9%
Fat Mass: 22 lbs
Muscle Mass: 147 lbs
Dr. Kim's Target Weight: 190
MY Target Weight: 175
Pounds Lost: 263 pounds
Pounds to Lose: NONE!!!
432 / 169 / 175 / 102.3% excess weight gone



5/16/06

I have been riding a pendulum of irrational emotion lately. I find myself slipping in and out of depression. And with it I find myself medicating the problem with food. It seems this cocoon I have built around myself has gotten so thick and permanent that I wonder if I will ever escape from it. I feel so terribly alone and vulnerable, but at the same time I also feel like I want to bury my head in the sand so I don't have to feel the anxiety of not knowing how to "fit in" with others. I have been such a recluse for so long that I feel like I'm an alien inhabiting someone else's strange thinner body and seeing society for the very first time. I don't get the odd stares or remarks because of my size anymore. As strange as this sounds, part of me misses it because at least it made me "special" and stand out. I no longer get the "Boy, you sure are looking great" compliments any more either since my weight loss has all but stopped now. Now I am just a nameless face that just blends into the scenary. How ironic is it to go through so much in a valiant effort to not be invisible only to become that apparition upon reaching that aspiration?

My acne problem is on my face, head, and chest now. And I look like I have aged terribly the past few months. Poor diet and exercise are partly to blame. A thinning face, a balding head, and stress and depression are too. It is still so hard to give up the addictive ways of my past. Though my weight is relatively the same, I have put on fat weight since the last time I measured....

Weight: 167 pounds
Percent body fat: 13.8%
Fat Mass: 23 lbs
Muscle Mass: 144 lbs
Dr. Kim's Target Weight: 190
MY Target Weight: 175
Pounds Lost: 265 pounds
Pounds to Lose: NONE!!!
432 / 167 / 175 / 103.1% excess weight gone



5/31/06

I just returned from a week of vacation in the mountains in North Carolina. What an amazing place it is up there. Let me tell you how things are different now versus just a few short years ago. I spent much of the week climbing trails up to waterfalls and through nature trails. A couple of years ago I couldn't walk 1/4 mile on level ground without being hospitalized. Now I was dragging people up steep inclines for miles at a time and was jogging up some of them. What an amazing feeling it was to be able to experience those things again. It is amazing how we take so much of our lives for granted. If this whole experience has taught me anything it is to appreciate everything and that is a lesson I hope I will never "take for granted".



6/13/06

A few updates on some things of late. I went to see Dr. Stevens, my dermatologist, about the acne. I have abandoned the Tazorac as it is just too harsh on my skin and have ordered Proactive. So far after just a few days, I have to admit my face is looking a bit better. Dr. Stevens gave me some samples of Adoxa tablets to take for a week, some Topicort gel to use for a few days, and then some Benza Clin gel to follow that for a few days. I'm going to stick out the Proactive regimen first to see if it does the trick.

I also had Dr. Stevens look at a couple of questionable skin spots on my stomach, chest, and back. I had a cancer screening done at my jobsite a few weeks ago and they marked a few spots that they thought I should get checked out for skin cancer. So, Dr. Stevens took a biopsy of the spots and I should know something in a week or so. The spots all reside in areas that would be removed if I had a tummy tuck and breast reduction, so if they are deemed as needing to be removed, the plastic surgeon can get them (if I EVER get plastics that is).

Dr. Stevens also gave me a prescription and samples of Ertaczo, which is for rashing underneath the skin folds. Hopefully this will help under the saggy panni.

I also have seen Dr. Prevel recently. He is submitting a insurance claim for me for plastic surgery. I know it is a major longshot, but still worth the effort. He gave me an updated quote for the procedures...

Abdominoplasty - $4,500.00
Thighplasty - $2,000.00
Lipectomy - Included
Operating Room - $3,960.00
Anesthesia - $2,300.00
Supplies - $732.00
Garment - $150.00
Two Night Hospital Stay - $1,250.00

TOTAL - $14,892.00 (up from $14,071.00 last year, or 5.8%)

The Male Breast Reduction would be another $3,700.00 if I could do it all at the same time. (I'm actually thinking about skipping the thighplasty, but we will see). I know however it turns out that I want to be cut on as little as possible...meaning no repeat cutting in the same areas!!! (like having the hernia repair and then later having the plastics...no thanks).

I went to see Dr. Redan about my hernia today. He is a surgeon that would work with Dr. Prevel if I decide to have it done at Celebration. He seems to think the operation would go really well. Now if I can just get some financial help from somewhere.

While I was over there, I weighed. Here are the results....

<<<< MILESTONE >>>>
DOES THIS MAKE ME "NORMAL"???

I cannot believe it. I weigh in at 162 pounds. That puts my BMI at the "normal" range for the first time since....EVER I think!!! Wow!!! And I made it while gaining more FAT!!! What??? Here are the numbers...

Weight: 162 pounds
Percent body fat: 14.3%
Fat Mass: 23 lbs
Muscle Mass: 139 lbs
Dr. Kim's Target Weight: 190
MY Target Weight: 175
Pounds Lost: 270 pounds
Pounds to Lose: NONE!!!
432 / 162 / 175 / 105.1% excess weight gone

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About Me
Central, FL
Location
33.7
BMI
DS
Surgery
07/06/2004
Surgery Date
Jan 19, 2004
Member Since

Before & After
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December 2007
168lbs

Friends 129

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