June 11, 2007-Monica's musing from the road

Jun 11, 2007

John & I are in Spring Mills, PA, fishing our hearts out and enjoying the beautiful weather and rustic campground we are staying at. We arrived here May 9th after a 2 week stay in Gettysburg. We had a super time there, camping at Artillary Ridge, right on the battlefields. I walked and walked and even made it up and down Little Round Top one night.  Wow life is so good without those 176 extra lbs I used to carry around.  We have been living life as full time RVers for 14 months and we are so liking our new life style. Our son, Angus, from Burliington, VT came for 9 days and we had a great time together. He realized why we love PA so much and the terrific flyfishing this state offers. 
Today we went to Penns Cave and had a wonderful experience there. Such an interesting cave formation, nature is awesome. Tonight we are going to fish Penns Creek in Poe Paddy State Forest, just 9 miles from this campground.
We will leave for New Hampshire the end of June. We will be only 11 miles from our daughters and our two grandchildren. Hurrah, we have missed them so. 
Reading about the upcoming Dallas GTG, reminds me of the truly remarkable time a bunch of us OFFers met in New Jersey for an OH convention. Such a memorable trip and such a good time. We sure giggled alot. Maybe I can make a trip next fall or winter as we are planning to head southwest and stay in Arizona for the winter. 
Hope you all are doing well. I am maintaining at 154 lbs, but I am still shrinking. I can fit into a size 12 and I am so loving my new, healthier, stronger, and smaller body. Also thrilled with the PS I had last September. Having small size 38 B girls is delightful and not having any extra skin (except under my arms and upper thighs) is just the best. I feel 25 years younger and have so much more stamina now. Hey 30 months ago I could barely wipe my ass without twisting and contorting, needed inhalers, needed canes, and took a ton of meds. My journey has been and is a glorious path. 
Take care all. Good to visit.

Monica musings from the road

Nov 15, 2006

Hello all. I have not had internet service since 11/01 and have missed you all so much. John and I are in North Carolina. We traveled from CT to Gettsyburg, PA; to Quantico, VA....fabulous place we were camped right next to the FBI academy; to Virginia Beach, VA..another fabulous military campground and we are now in Washington, NC for the night. We head off to Camp Lejuene in the morning for an extended stay. We are having such fun and meeting such wonderful people. The military campgrounds are really super. It is wonderful hearing the national anthemn each morning and seeing the troops march by. In VA Beach we were right on the ocean and we had wonderful walks each day along the beach.
I am doing so well. I weigh in at 168lbs and now wear a size 38B bra and size 14 jeans, hurrah hurrah hurrah. I am healing wonderfully from the PS. I am thrilled with my results and so pleased I went ahead with the surgery. The arm, shoulder, hand, neck, back pain is gone along with all that pulling skin. Hope to catch up with older posts this evening. We will be in SC and Georgia soon and then on to Florida for the winter. I love my new life so much. John and I are really enjoying each other and this new life style. Best to you all. Miss ya and love ya.
330/168/160....yes I can.

Monica's WLS Journey

Oct 13, 2006

Hello all. I have not had internet service since 11/01 and have missed you all so much. John and I are in North Carolina. We traveled from CT to Gettsyburg, PA; to Quantico, VA....fabulous place we were camped right next to the FBI academy; to Virginia Beach, VA..another fabulous military campground and we are now in Washington, NC for the night. We head off to Camp Lejuene in the morning for an extended stay. We are having such fun and meeting such wonderful people. The military campgrounds are really super. It is wonderful hearing the national anthemn each morning and seeing the troops march by. In VA Beach we were right on the ocean and we had wonderful walks each day along the beach.
I am doing so well. I weigh in at 168lbs and now wear a size 38B bra and size 14 jeans, hurrah hurrah hurrah. I am healing wonderfully from the PS. I am thrilled with my results and so pleased I went ahead with the surgery. The arm, shoulder, hand, neck, back pain is gone along with all that pulling skin. Hope to catch up with older posts this evening. We will be in SC and Georgia soon and then on to Florida for the winter. I love my new life so much. John and I are really enjoying each other and this new life style. Best to you all. Miss ya and love ya.
330/168/160....yes I can.

My PS went so very well and I am really amazed and happy that I took this journey,
I went to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA. Dr.Glen Brook and his fabulous NP, Leah Kenny performed the PS and my Gastric Bypass surgeon, Dr. Faillo fixed the surprisingly, large ventral hernia. The surgery took almost 5 hours as I had bilateral breast reduction and lift; hernia repair….my abdominal area is triple layer trussed with internal closure of the hernia similar to a laced up corset so that muscles are really tightened up (I have had 3 c-sections and a large gall bladder incision from1970), and my upper and lower abdominal area had absolutely no support or strength); and then skin removal. All of my previous surgical scars (9) are gone….GONE. I have a long incision from hip to hip just above my pubic mons and then a long incision up my middle through my belly button, ending just between my new perky high breasts. I am healing very well. I have had little pain and minimal discomfort. I have good nipple feeling and no pain from the under the breast incisions. On either side of my breasts under my arms are the only black and blue bruises I have. I am wearing a cheap Wal-Mart sport, T-back, halter top with stretchy elastic under sheath. The two beast drains were removed Tuesday just before I was released. I have 2 drains left in by my hip incisions and they should be removed tomorrow at another follow up visit. I am so amazed at the length of the hip to hip incision…..many, many “stitches” held together with clear plastic like duct tape and strips that will just fall off when ready. My initial pain came from this large incision and from the violent upper abdominal muscle spasms. I had morphine in the hospital and was released with percocet and valium. I am very thankful for the valium as Leah explained that the hernia repair and muscle tightening would cause these intense spasms and wow was she so right. These spasms finally lessened and are only minimal today. I no longer am taking any pain meds, but continue with the valium 2 x’s a day and taking the antibiotics. I had some constipation and fear of “pushing” for a bowel movement but I finally had success on Saturday….OHHHH that felt so good and normal. Not very interested to eat and have had to make myself eat and get in enough protein to help me heal. As always I am thankful for my Jay Robb’s Whey protein powder that I mix with skim milk that help me get in protein. I had to lay back on cheese and yogurts since I felt that these foods were adding to the constipation along with the pain meds. I just felt full all the time and food did not appeal to me. I am wearing two binders. One on the lower abdomen and one higher up below my breasts and these feel fabulous…totally. I will have to wear these for a least 6 weeks and that is fine with me. Today I have on regular clothes and they can accommodate the binders and the two drains. I am swollen around my waist, but below my belly button I have a FLAT, yes flat area and can see my public area for the first time WITHOUT lifting my formerly huge panni that has been with me for over 22 years. The relief of this skin being gone is hard to explain….yes I am in surgical discomfort…..but the weight and pulling of this skin has always hurt and caused me rashes, ulcers, and such a smell. After I lost the 146 lbs these last 22 months the panni became bigger and more painful…oh the pressure on my back.
The PS was going to do lipo on either side of my body so they could pull the skin tighter, but they found NO fat to remove so the lipo was not needed. Leah explained that when they were ready to close me up, they lifted me into a semi sitting position and had help bringing the skin together. My gastric bypass surgeon even stayed to watch what Leah and Dr. Brook were doing with me. They said they removed 10 lbs of skin. The pressure and pain in my neck, shoulders, arms, and hands is GONE. I had begun to lose feeling in both my hands…thumbs and index fingers these past months. I have always worn good bras with excellent support around my upper back, but my 48 DD’s were huge, HEAVY, and exerted such pressure on my neck and shoulders with deep grooves from the bra straps. As I lost weight the breasts became heavier somehow, the fat that let them rest on my body was no longer there and they just hurt more and more. The numbness in my left hand is already going away and I am so thrilled.
My surgery was approved and covered by my ChampVA insurance. I am very thankful for that. I was apprehensive about the surgery, worried about the procedures and the post op pain. DO NOT let that fear stop someone who is thinking about these kinds of surgery.
I did not do this for cosmetics, but for pain and functions relief.
I am happy Monica……330/186/16? Maybe
Healthier, happier, sexier, and so thankful.


Hello to you all from Monica, full time RVer and loving it.
John and I have been busy, yet relaxed, and truly enjoying our new lifestyle, living in our RV and semi-traveling. We left New Hampshire in mid July and are currently staying in a wonderful RV park in East Lyme, CT. Aces High is a great RV park and we are really glad to be here. We go to the Rhode Island beaches often, spent 5 hours there yesterday and it was fabulous. We can even bring our dog, Diablo to the beach now and he has a fun time walking the beach and playing in the waves. He learned quickly not to drink the water and we bring plenty of good water for him to refresh himself with. We have fun.
I am currently weighing in at 186lbs, a total loss so far of 144lbs. I am healthier, happier, sexier, and so thankful each day for Gastric Bypass surgery and the new life I have. No more asthma, diabetes in control (last A1c 5.6), great lipids, healthy iron, vit D, and no anemia. Less arthritis pain in the knees and so much more energy.

I am scheduled for breast reduction, 2 hernia repairs, and a panni removal on Monday, Sept 25th at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield MA. The surgeries are insurance approved and covered. The approval process took a long time almost 8 weeks, but I got it. I am using Dr. Brooke and Leah Kenney for this plastic surgery and my WLS, Dr. Faillo for the hernia repair. I will keep you updated on my progress.

Many new people on the board and I welcome you all and say hello to all the great people here who have been so helpful to me in my own journey.

Healthier, happier, sexier, and thankful each day….I took back my life!

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Today I weighed in at 208 pounds, that makes my loss 122 pounds down from 330 pounds. Hurrah for me.

Monica’s incredible shrinking journey into better health, better living, better sex, happiness, and thankfulness.

My starting weight was 330 lbs with a BMI of 58.4. I could barely walk a few steps, I was constantly short of breath, I never felt clean after using the toilet, I did not want to be intimate with my spouse, and I felt like Jabba the Hut – the immense slug like creature in Star Wars. I existed, a prisoner in my own body, not really living. I explored this surgical option/tool in 2001. But did not follow through with my efforts since my family was so against the surgery. Finally I could not stand my life anymore. My diabetes was always giving me problems, the year long attempt at weight loss with Weight Watchers was a dismal failure, the gym and personal trainer did not produce results, my blood pressure was up, my thyroid blood tests kept fluctuating, my lipid panel was grossly elevated. I was in a tight size 32/30 for bottoms and tops. I was miserable. One day in May 2004 I made up my mind, called the surgeon and went home to TELL my family this is it, I am going for the surgery, they could support me or shut up and leave me alone.
My surgeon helped me decide on which hospital I would go to and my decision to go to Mercy was very wonderful. The surgeon referred me to the Mercy Comprehensive Weight Management Program. These professionals embraced me, helped me get the tests and paperwork done so that my 2 insurances concurred with their and the surgeons decisions.

My surgical birthday was on December 6, 2004. I have lost 120 lbs so far on my WLJ. My BMI is now 38.9, I am only Obese (HA HA). I can walk without my cane; I can breath with deep full breaths; I always feel clean now….what joy to not have to twist and contort myself to clean my ass; I can contort, twist, and get into many various positions during love making; I feel trim, sexy, self confident, and I GLOW. I hope to lose another 40-50 lbs, but as my weight management doctors tell me, I am already a winner, a success. I feel successful for the FIRST TIME IN MY ADULT LIFE…and this is a global feeling for me, not a feeling I have ever had. Sad that even with my 36 year marriage, 3 children, a great medical administration career, and other life accomplishments I can admit that I never felt successful because I was fat, fat, and fatter. I will send in new pictures of me soon.

This is a wonderful journey for me. I take my vitamins everyday; I take a little pink pill 3 days a week – B12 (thanks Ruthie and Maryann for this tip); my blood test results are fabulous!!!; my bone density normal; I drink at least 64 oz of water daily; I still have a protein drink daily; I try to exercise on a regular basis, but admit that I am not always doing this. I have learned from my mistakes and the information supplied by the other wonderful members of OFF and ObesityHelp.com. I help my weight management providers with insider information that they pass on to others going through the process.

I miss checking in and sharing our lives with the other members, but my life has gotten so hectic right now. We are in the continuing process of cleaning out our home and selling our house. The housing market in Massachusetts in the town of Amherst is ssssllllloooowwww. We have day after day of showings, but none of the houses under $300,000 have sold since October. It is draining to constantly have the house be ready for realtors and clients.
But this is what we need to do to sell the house and begin our new RV way of life. Again I ask that you all find the time to keep me in your thoughts and send me much positive energy that this happens sooner than later.

I am still so sorry that I could not attend the Atlanta GTG. I wanted to be with the girls and share a wonderful magical time, but I had to very adult and beg out. I will try and be a more active member on the board, sharing my life, giving support and taking genuine interest in the members who check in. I could not have achieved such a wonderful state of weight loss without the people who share in OFF. The love, the caring, the compassion, the kick in the pants, the tips, and the collective soul is real and very important. Love to all. Thanks for listening.

Monica…..healthier, happier, and sexier
32/30 to 16/18


I got my recent blood test results and I am looking as good inside as I am on the outside. My iron, sugar, thyroid, PTH, Vit D, B12, folate, folic acid, calcium, lipid,renal, and liver profiles are all within normal range and wonderful. I am very excited that after 9 months I can validate that the Opitsource Vitamins and the extra vit B supplements I am taking are working very well. I had started taking extra Vit E, but my weight management doctors said not too since the Vit E in my Opitsource vitamins provides enough.

I weighed this morning with another 2 lb loss and that makes 105 lbs gone. Hurrah Hurrah.

Hurrah for me, I have officially lost 103 lbs. I went to see my surgeon and my weight management doctors yesterday and their scales confirm my weight loss on this wonderful journey. Both sets of providers were very, very pleased with my progress and lack of complications. I had a bunch of labs drawn yesterday and this morning. Hopefully the blood work will show good results. Both doctors said that I glow, I really do and the glow comes from within. I went over to Mercy hospital to see the nurses who took care of me while I was hospitalized for the surgery. One nurse in particular, Anne Lynch made such a big difference with my care. She is the head nurse for the Bariatric patient wing and she is a wealth of common, good sense, you can do this knowledge and enthusiasm. She was so touched that I took the time to let her know in person that she made such a difference for me, while in the hospital (she wiped my ass more than a few times, made me blow into my air machine, got my legs moving as well as my big behind) and after I went home with her tips and good ideas for those first few weeks. It takes a village to make us each successful. I am so thankful for the OB OFF village, oh yes indeed.
I need to apply for a Century Club card. Hurrah. I am a healthier, happier, sexier, and more thankful each day for my new life.
Thank you all my friends and pathmates. I appreciate you all. Your strength and resolve have helped me so much!

Love and hugs

Age 58, 5’3”

August 26, 2005
Finally reached -101 lbs, hurrah for me. I say wow wow wow, I am now at 229 lbs. I am very happy and very thankful for this amazing journey.

August 3, 2005

Hello all. Well it is almost 8 months since my surgery. I continue to be thankful and joyous with my decision to have this surgery. I am truly gifted that my journey has been so good, with few problems, and great weight loss results. I have lost 98 lbs. The scale as been reluctant to move downward, not reaching the 100 lb loss yet. I know that I am losing weight all over my body, clothes fit loose, my wedding rings had to be removed for fear of loss, I feel different and can move better. I began on many occasions to become frustrated and anxious that the scale was not moving. I had to step back in my mind and realize and accept that WOW I have never lost this much weight before in my life, my body must adjust to the changes inside and out. This journey is not a slippery slide right on down, but like a life stair case, loss, adjustment, loss, adjustment. My mind must accept this and it has.
I wore a regular size 18 pair of Liz Clabourne beautiful daisy printed slack yesterday. I shared my moment with the December crew and the Over Fifty Forum (OFF). I am so excited about this. Have not gotten into regular sized clothes in 29 years people. I also purchased a regular womens wrist watch and it fit, it fit, it fit. Amazing.
I have recommitted to more protein, more water, less carbs (they are creeping back into my daily life), more exercise. I went back to the gym on Monday. I had not been going due to arm/shoulder problems for which I have been having physical therapy. The physical therapist worked on my balance (very common for us WLS patient to be screwed up, dizzy, bouncing off walls since we have just gone through a big weight loss and the inner ear must adjust), and I was so afraid to get down on the floor and not be able to get up (for years this was am impossible task). I now get down and up with ease (yes I must still grab onto or lean against something but I can get up). I am also having a problem in my left foot, I have bursitis between the large toe, 2nd and 3rd toes so I saw my podiatrist and he made a special support pad and told me not to exercise on the treadmill. While at PT I tried a recumbant bike and found that this is great for me. I get a cardio workout, but no pressure on my arthritic knees and no pressure or pain on the balls of my feet. So I did 15 min last night and will try for 20 tonight. I also completed 18 machines in the nautilus room. I will do that again tonight since I did those on Monday night. You can't do these every day. I have never used free weights and until I feel stronger I will stick with the resisitance machines. Great workout and I work up a sweat, me!
I still hope to lose at least another 60 to 70 lbs. But if I don't get there, that will be OK. I am so much healthier now, taking less medications, my sugar levels are normal, reduced my thyroid and blood pressure medications to lower doses. All my doctors are so pleased with me. I can breath better too.
If anyone were to ask me if I would do this again, I would say with such enthusiasm YES YES YES, in a heart beat.

July 11, 2005

Here it is 7 months post op and I am doing very well. I had a very long stall(almost 7 weeks) with regard to the scale moving downward. I knew that I was losing weight, clothes and jewelry fit me so differently, but the scale was stuck at -92 lbs. Hey this is great, never have I lost weight like this before. I am feeling very fine and so happy with my decision to have the surgery. But I was getting frustrated with the scale staying at 238 lbs for so long. However on Saturday morning I weighed in with a 6 lb loss. Now I am at 232 lbs. Have not seen that number in over 20 years. Hurrah for me.

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June 15, 2005
Today I had my 6 month check up with the Mercy Medical Center Comprehensive Weight Management doctors. I had a great visit with everyone, Candace, Ann, Maggie, & Barb. I got to say hi to Dr.Keroak and give him a hug. I even visited with other patients. The staff tell me that I am one of the most successful WLS patients there and that I am considered their mascot. Hurrah. Wow is it different going to this group of health professionals. They get so excited for their patients accomplishments. I basked in the praises for my 90 lb loss. Life is good. Candace the NP and I discussed my lab results. My pre-albumin is again low and Candace said that I need to add more protein to my diet and she suggested that I up my protein shake to 3 a day to insure that I am getting what my body needs. She explained that to ward off problems 1 -2 years down the road with anemia and muscle loss we WLS patients need to sustain a good intake of protein daily.
We discussed my memory loss and my fears concerning this. She said that even though my B12 and folate labs were normal, I could begin taking extra B12 and this can help with cognitive memory. Hey I can use all the help I can in that department so I will try the Vitamist B12 spray. I know that Liz uses these and I like the fact that these are absorbed right into the blood stream via the mouths mucosa so it bypasses the stomach. Candace also said that I should have another bone density scan, all menopausal or women over 50 should have this test done every 3 years. I got an appointment for June 30th, great. I purchased 3 more bottles of Optisource Vitamins and I got a book, “Dr.Shapiro’s Picture Perfect Weight Loss, A visual program for permanent weight loss.” This book looks very good with many ideas on good food choices using pictures to show you what you can eat compared to what you can eat with healthy food choices. Interesting stuff!! Candace and I talked about plateaus and again she explained that WLS should not be a slippery slide straight down the hill journey. The journey should be thought of as occurring in steps, downward steps, followed by staging areas where the body catches up with the melting pounds. Our bodies need to adjust to the melting and while the scale may not move for weeks and weeks the skin, muscles, inches are being rearranged and are melting off. Since I have been stuck at 240 for so long I needed to hear this, I knew it but needed that verbal validation. Everyone at the medical office told me that my journey has been really wonderful and that it is evident that I am following the rules, getting in my water, and exercising. I go back in 3 more months and have been asked to attend some of the support group meetings. I explained that I get so much support each day from the People of the Over Fifty Forum, the December 04 crew, and sometimes the Massachusetts group on ObesityHelp.com. I really talked a lot about ObesityHelp.com and how this website has helped me, not only in making my WLS decision, but before and after surgery. Talking, sharing, exploring with those individuals who have “Walked the same earth, done the same things, experienced the surgery”, these have become focused necessary people in my life. I have learned more information that applies to me and my life from the people on the boards than any of the professional people I have met with other than those professionals at the Weight Management Group. I am thankful everyday for my WLS and for ObesityHelp.com. So again I can say that life is good for me. I am very happy. I am emerging into the women I had always hoped I could be. People tell me I glow. I do inside and out. Movement is less painful, I feel pretty, I feel confident, I am Monica, empowered and enjoying life. Hurrah for me and all those who have been brave enough to take back their lives.
age 57
330/240/1??................healthier, happier, sexier...doing great!

June 6, 2005

June6, 2005

Hurrah for me, I am celebrating my 6 month post op anniversary. I am so happy with my new life and body. I went into the operating room 6 months ago with peace and calmness in my heart, mind, and body. I knew that this was the only step left for me to take back my life and live again. At 330 lbs I was just existing, existing with pain, surrounded with fat, unable to even clean myself with confidence or without twisting myself into agony to do so. I have lost 90 lbs and it has been easy. Easy yes this new way of eating. Planning is key and keeping myself surrounded with good food choices is so very important. Drinking water all day and evening, my skin is beautiful and hydrated, people tell me that I glow and I do. Right now I am again at a plateau with my weight at 240 pounds. I am not concerned cause I am melting and the weight will come off. I have on an 18/20 size shirt today. 6 months ago I was in 3X and 32/30 sized clothing. I can even shop at Walmart and Target. What fun to buy less expensive clothing with some cute style.
Everyday I am thankful that I had this surgey. Life is good and so much better with 90 lbs gone. Hurrah for me.

May 26, 2005

Had a super time at the NJ convention. Met with 7 of my OFF friends. Such wonderful women, so authentic, caring, so successful in their individual weight loss journeys. We has fun, a lot of it. We learned many new things, tried new products, and shared our time and lives together. We will plan another get together for more OFF members, someplace central, someplace where we can all meet, with or without our spouses and have more fun. We are putting money aside for a special trip. All will be invited.

I am now down to 242lbs and I can't believe how good I feel and how good I am looking. Oh my I am becoming a vain women. Ha ha, I can get into size 1X tops and bottoms and made a trip to Walmart and found some 16/18 items that are a little snug now but watch out in a few weeks. I had on a pair of black, tiny no elastic waist jeans, size 22 yesterday. I got so many compliments and I was running to the bathroom to look at me all day. Vain, vain vain. So what.

My journey continues to be very good. I see my surgeon on Tuesday and my PCP on Wednesday. Had a bunch of fasting labs done today and I am very interested in the findings.

Having fun, enjoying life, so thankful every day for this gift of life.

May 9, 2005

I am doing very well. I am a very happy women. I visit the chat rooms often, OFF, December 04, and MA. I post and respond a lot. I love coming here, sharing, learning, and visiting with the friends I have made.

Physically I have lost 80 lbs, weighing in at 250. I am currently at a plateau or stall for 2 weeks now. I know that the scale will move soon as the inches are melting away. I can walk without my cane, I can exercise at the gym, I take less medications, my lipid profile is wonderful with a cholesterol of 156 instead of 265, my thyroid function is normal, my diabetes is under control and well maintained, lucky I feel to have made this decision to have WLS.

Each day I balance my protein, water, and calories to make sure that I am doing all I can to be successful. I take my vitamins and follow the rules. I did begin drinking coffee again and enjoy 1 cup a day. I also allow myself a sf caffeine free diet coke now and then. I can eat almost anything I want, but I have learned via Stupid Monica Tricks that there are certain foods that do not agree with my new pouch and plumbing so I avoid these foods. I think that the beautiful, special, small salad plates that I bought for myself are a great tool for my portion control. I make it easy for me to be in control. I sip my water all day and evening. My skin is so hydrated for once in my life. I always had such dry, cracked, itchy skin all over due to my diabetes and thyroid disease, but now with all the water I drink (64++ oz) I no longer have the dry skin. My hair loss has slowed down and I am doing good things for my hair. I got it cut in short layers, I hydrate this daily with a special olive oil product, Frekka (Sephors.com) and give it an olive oil hair mask once a week.(a great Avon product) I don't brush my hair only style it with my fingers since I have curly hair. I massage my scalp daily like my hair dresser showed me. At first the hair loss was scarey but I see all the new growth that is coming in.
Shopping has become fun. I never wanted to go shopping for anything. Getting out of the car and walking was so difficult. Now I am dangerous! I have so much more energy and stamina. I can finally buy clothes at Walmart and Target. What fun. I always had to shop at large size stores and pay premium prices for clothes. Now I can get slacks for $10 or $16, imagine. I have given the Salvation Army thrift store bags upon bags of too large clothing and I am so happy that someone else may benefit from my beautiful clothes. I must dress for work each day and I had such lovely clothes. I am not the least bit sorry that these items became too big, I relish my bodies changes...all for the better.
I am going to the NJ convention May 20-23. Maryann Long and I are driving down and sharing a room. We are very excited about going. There is much planned for the convention and we will see and do everything. Best of all is that many of the people we visit with each day on line at the Over Fifty Forum (OFF) are coming to the convention from all over America. What fun to finally meet our friends. I will update after the convention to share what I learned, had fun doing, and the meeting of all of the friends.

March 15, 2005
Just back from an appointment at the Mercy Comprehensive Weight Management office. I saw Dr.Kerocak and he said hi, Maggies on vacation, somewhere warm, said hi to Ann, the nutritionist, Barbara the receptionist and I had a nice fun visit, and then I got to see Candace the Nurse Pratitioner. I have lost 56 lbs by their scales, 15.6 lbs since my last visit there 2/08/05. I am tickled pink (yes I have on pink shoes, a great top, and my nails are a bubble gum pink). Candace is very pleased with my progress and especially happy that I am getting in all my protein (70-100 grms), carbs (at least 100 grms), and between 900-1100 calories a day. Also happy that I am drinking so much water. Told her about my excerise and how it is helping me. I am walking on the treadmill and have begun using the Nautilus equipment at the gym. Wow this is powerful stuff for me. Last night I worked up such a sweat that it was dripping into my eyes. Who would guess that I could do this. I told my hubby that I would need to get a head band. Me in a sweat absorbing head band. Power on Monica. We also talked about my feelings, and how I am generally doing since the surgery. All I can say is that I am doing wonderful and am thankful that I had this surgery. I have the power to make good healthy food choices and I do not find this hard to do. I have some foods that don't make my new pouch happy, so I stay away from them. I told her that sometimes I forget to chew well, or just take another forkfull and yikes my stomach hurts. The pouch lets me know when I have offended it. I do not feel deprived and I think that this helps me make the good choices I am making. I take a few moments each day to make sure that I have my vitamins with me, to make sure I have my Hoods Simply Smart milk, my protein powders, the food I will have for lunch or snack. By taking these few minutes and preparing for the next day, I head off problems and insure I am empowdered and in control. I am fortunate that at work I have a place for my applesauce, nuts, protein bars, tuna in pouch, and a frig where I keep my milk, lite mayo, SF jello and pudding. Sure I may miss my caffeine free diet coke, but that is about it. I choose to any drink water, lots of it, the special milk, and the lite Tropicana OJ.
So all in all Monica is a very happy women. People notice my efforts and comment on my weight loss. I have a smile on always, and a lighter step. I can move around so much better now. I can walk without losing my breath. I can make love with abandon and increased pleasures. My DH tells me daily how proud he is of me. He is so pleased that I am getting healthier and that as a bonus I am looking better each day to. I love it when he gets up in the morning before I leave for work and tells me how beautiful I look. I will need new clothes soon. I have few smaller sizes hanging around. So I will hit the discount shops and a local Salvation Army for some hand me ups. Even my shoe size is smaller and that is so very nice. I still purchase my shoes at Zappos.com, but I can get them less wide and a whole sizer smaller. Hurrah for me. I am loving life.

It is now almost 3 months since my surgery. Life gets better every day. I saw my surgeon today and he is thrilled with my recovery and the 50 pounds I have lost. He said he was very pleased with my surgery and that with all my medical conditions I did so very well. I don't go back to see him for 3 months. I saw my PCP last week and she too was thrilled with my progress. The weight loss alone was significant for her, but my lipid profile results stunned her. My cholesterol went from 256 to 165, and my other lipid numbers also greatly improved. My diabetic panel showed good results too. My thyroid is function well in the normal range, this has been a problem for me the last 4 years. Getting me to a normal TSH level has been up and down. Now I am doing well. I see the weight management doctors in the middle of March and will have many blood tests then including vitamin levels and a CBC.
I joined a gym. I have just been walking on the treadmill at a slow speed, but given I could barely walk at all in November I have come a long way baby. I can walk 25 minutes on the machine and not get winded or glupping for air. I got clearance from the surgeon for me to use all the equipment at the gym and I have an appointment with a trainer to walk me threw the nautalis equipment.
I find I have more energy. I can breath so much better. My hubby and I have always had a good sexual life, but since the 50 pounds are gone the passion and comfort for me has really increased. This is a wonderful gift! My hubby constantly praises my achievements and when we go to the WLS support group meetings he is very vocal about how well I am doing. He makes me glow.
The Mercy Medical Center Comprehensive Weight Management group is such a wonderful place for people who have weight problems. This group of professionals never makes you feel like a failure or someone out of the ordinary. You can call there or email a provider and feel comfortable asking questions or raising concerns. They are all so sentive to our problems. They help me manage my weight loss and cheer my achievements on.
I continue to go to the over fifty's forum, the December surgical page, and my Massachusetts page almost daily. I enjoy making friends and I am so thankful for this website.
I am so thankful that I made the decision to have WLS and that I have finally taken back my life, and that I am living life again.

It is almost a month postop for me and I am doing very fine. I have lost 30 pounds and I feel very good. I go back to work tomorrow and I hope I can last the full day. I got a cold last week that really set me back up being tired and not doing much except taking care of me. I can eat well, everything that I have tried, except for a slice of bacon I had that did not fit well. I will not try that for a while. I am so happy to have found a protein drink I enjoy, Jay Robbs vanilla and chocolate. This powder is whey protein and has 24 grams per scoop/8 ozs. This good drink mixed with water or skim plus milk is wonderful.
I drink two a day and my nutritionist is pleased that I am getting all the protein she wants me to ingest.
My arthritic knees still hurt but the pain is being less. I am off of 5 medications, down to just 4 a day, and my diabetes is doing ok. My breathing problems are finally calming down. I am on a heavy dose steroid inhaler twice a day and that is making a big difference. I hope to step down to the smallest dose in a few months. All those years of smoking even though I quit 6 years ago, did the lungs damage. COPD is not fun and the trouble breathing after surgery was the most frightening part.

I am very thankful for my surgeon, Dr Faillo, and his competent staff. His nurse Cheryl did a fine job taking care of everything for me. I asked Dr.Faillo why this surgery did not hurt as much as my previous abdominal surgeries and he said he uses very small instruments and tools so that there is very little invasive trauma to the skin, muscles, and organs.

The staff at the Mercy Hospital Comprehensive Weight Loss group were fantastic. Dr.Keroack, Candance, Ann, Mark, Maggie,and Barbara were just the best. They came to visit me daily and cheer me on. I hugged and cried with them. They will all track my progress and help me achieve my goals.

I am so happy that I chose Mercy Hospital in Springfield for the surgery. I had a great private room with a big bed and chairs. My family could even stay with me if they wanted. The nurses were wonderful, especially Ann Lynch. I was in the hospital from Monday 12/06/04 through Friday 12/10/04 and each person I came in contact with for care was wonderful. The staff really knows about customer service and care. This is a place where you are first and all strive to make you comfortable and making you feel better fast. I am so pleased with the choices I made for this journey.

I had my surgery December 6. It went well. Biggest problem for me has been shortness of breath. I am happy to be home and I am sipping, and swallowing fine. All functions are functioning. I am having trouble with the taste of the protein drinks I have on hand. Glad I did not by a bunch of stuff. Glad Maryann Long gave me some good advise. I will find my way trial and error. Thats all for today.


I am a 56 year old women who has fougth the weight battle almost my entire adult life and I have lost the battle. I am Morbidly obese, diabetic,with high blood pressure, 2 bad arthritic knees, shortness of breath, & extreme fatigue, a "fuddy duddy"way before my time women who needs this surgery NOW! But...I am fun loving, have a FANTASTIC husband and have been happily married 35 years, have 3 adult childred, 2 super grandchild, wanting to enjoy the rest of my life NOT being so restricted by the bulk around me. Finally have the family support I need to be successful. Went to see the surgeon 3 years ago for a consult and received such resistance from my family I let it go. I have had many abdominal surgeries and do not often do very well with anesthesia, so my husband is very scared and worried. I have explained that I need this surgery to LIVE, not for any other reasons. Went on WW last October had success, but thyroid problems kept happening and now I am almost back to where I was all those months ago. Wish me help. This site is wonderful and applaud all who have gone of this journey. I will be a LOSER, but WINNER of life.
My husband and I love to flyfish. Unfortuately, I have been unable to fish, I can barely walk. I feel that a very wonderful gift we shared is gone. We planned to travel around the country and fish all the places we have read about. I want this to happen. I have an appointment with the surgeon on July 21. Wish me luck and loss!

I saw Dr.Faillo today and the visit went wonderfully. I brought much medical information with me, letter from my PCP, current and past lab test results, Endo and Colonoscopy reports and biopsies, nutrition progress notes, PCP medical notes, list of current medications, problem list from PCP. I also had a list of questions to ask the doctor and staff. These questions were answered fully and completely to my comfort. My wonderful husband came with me and spoke beautifully on my struggles to lose weight. He informed the surgeon of his reluctance with me having the surgery, but after seeing me go through 9 months of Weight Watchers and 4 months of exercise at a gym (this was our Christmas gift to each other 4 months at a gym, we went together and helped each other...it was very romantic and such support for us to do this together. Of course he lost more weight, he is buff and trim and looking so good and feeling healthier all around)and having my thyroid go up, down, up again and again, he is all for the surgery. I was very pleased that Dr.Faillo listened to his, my, our concerns and took the time to answer. He explained his process, what the surgery would be like, he had pictures, statistics on the # of surgeries he has done and any problems his patients might have had. He was totally wonderful. His staff also was very good. The office nurse manager, Cheryl was very professional, kind, and compassionate. I became emotional when she asked me how long I had tried to lose weight and was ashamed to tell her 35 years, 35 years of failure. She looked right at me and said you have come to the right place. We help people here with their lives and the quality of the life they experience. She put me at ease and I felt good. So the doctor told me that I would have to join a group program to facilitate my insurance approval and HELP ME THROUGH THE ENTIRE PROCESS. He told me I had a choice of hospitals, and I decided on Mercy Hospital in Springfield. I had two surgeries at Baystate Medical center. The surgical staff was wonderful, the anesthesiologist the best ever Evelyn Vargas. But the after care on a post surgical floor was very lacking. There were problems finding a binder LARGE enough to go around me so they had to put TWO together. It took like 4 people to get me wrapped up in this. I had had a huge hernia repair and the binder held me together. My son had two shoulder operations at Mercy Hospital and both operations went very well, the staff fantastic in his care and they were very aware of us as parents and the worry we had for our son. So I got the name of the group for the Mercy Hospitals Comprehensive Weight Management group. Dr Faillo and Cheryl said the wait for an appointment usually takes 2-3 months to begin the process. When I got home I called the program and Maggie answered my call. She sounds wonderful, funny, compassionate, and caring. She told me there was a cancellation for AUGUST 5TH. Would I like that appointment instead of the end of October. I said YES, YES, YES. So I continue my journey and I am thrilled. Thanks to all who helped me compile a list of questions and who gave me such support.
Well today I went to see the Comprehensive Weight Management Group of Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Massachusetts. Dr.Keroack and staff are very wonderful. I walked into the office and immediately felt at ease. All the chairs were extra large and so comfortable. Barbara the office receptionist and Maggie the nurse are lovely women with kind, concerned, welcoming attitudes that flavor the first minutes you are there with good vibrations. I meet with Maggie who weighed me, and then sat with me and recorded all my history, meds, etc. The exam room had the extra large chair and an extra large exam table. So designed for the larger than life patients that come to this group. Dr.Keroack is young, slender, focused, compassionate, and dedicated to helping men and women achieve the weight loss and healthy life style we deserve. He spent an hour with me going over my history and what I was wanting to achieve with weight loss. We discussed what I have done for the last 40 years and he assured me that together the journey to a healthier life will occur. He explained the various medication, diet, and surgical options available now. He felt that I have been trying to lose weight for so long, tried so many programs, that he would only offer the surgical solution for me. He was very pleased that I came to his office with a letter of support from my PCP, recent lab results, office notes from the PCP, nutritionist, x-rays, PFT's, EKG, and an ECHO report. He said that if the surgeon could do the surgery tomorrow he would approve. Dr.Keroack was very pleased that I had done so much investigation into the process. That I knew so much about the before, during, and after. I explained how critical OH has been for my education and that OFF is a place I go for any answers or questions. He expressed delight that I new the score. He went over how I need to journey my daily intake. Gave me a few leads on videos to get for chair exercises since my knees and weight prohibit me from even walking a little ways. He gave me sample food plans to follow to get my insides ready for the surgery. He "fast tracked" me to see the nutrionist, Ann that day and tried to get me in to see Mark, the pysch provider also. Unfortunately Mark was not free so I made an app to see him on Sept 8. Since I am over 50, I also will need to see a cardiologist, and have an appointment for 9/21. I came away enriched from the experience and thrilled that my surgeon, Dr.Faillo for sending me there. I am on my way and so very happy, my checks hurt.
Thank goodness I found this site. I am happy and thanks to my friend Melody in Florida, WLS 03/04, for letting me know about OH and the wonderful people.
What a busy but wonderfully fulling week. I saw Candance the NP at the Weight Loss Center. She spent a hour with me and it went very well. She is so kind and compassionate. She reviewed the procedure again, discussed eating habits and the food plans, exercise, and had me go over my reasons and convictions about this surgery. I purchased some of the vitamins they have there and will try them on for size. These vitamins have everything a person with WLS might need to keep in balance. You take one chewable tablet 4 times a day.
After my visit with Candance I went over to the surgeons office. This was my second visit with Dr.Faillo. He spent almost 35 minutes with me. He also went over the surgery again, explaining all the details and answered all my questions. I wanted to know who long my bypass would be and he said with my BMI, he would make it 150 cm. This should help me loose all I can. I asked him what I could do to help him with the surgery and he said to try and lose some weight by going on the protein post-op diet before hand. This will help skrink my liver and make more space for him to do the surgery. I asked him when I would be able to have the surgery. He said end of October or beginning of November. Needless to say I am so excited. Dr.Faillo's staff is just waiting for the reports from the the Weight Loss group, nutrition, doctor, nurses, labs, and psych provider. The surgeons office than takes these reports and submitts them to BC/BS Federal for approval. Everyone at the Weight Loss Center and the surgeons office said I will obtain approval since I have so much documentation and the co-morbidities.
The next day, I had to return to the Weight Loss center to see Mark the psych provider. He is wonderful and spent an hour talking with me about the journey I have chosen. He too said that I am a great candidate for the WLS. He would like to see me again after the surgery since he learns various new things with each patient that goes through the process. He also said he was available for any other issues, questions, or problems I might experience.
This week on September 16, I have a colonscopy and the on September 24 I got see a cardiologist.
Well as you can see I have made great progress in doing what needed to be done for this surgery. I came back to work the next day so excited about having this done so soon. However, my immediate supervisor, a wonderful boss, understanding, fun, and a great mentor to me, is also going to be having some surgery in October/November. I must schedule my surgery after hers. So I do not have a confirmed date yet. But I know that the date will soon be set. I will keep my eye on the prize, a healtier life and bide my time. I am preparing myself by taking the vitamins, eating 1800 calories a day, looking at portion size, drinking my water, walking (as painful and hard as it is), doing chair exercises, reducing my portion size at meals and incresing the size and makeup of my snacks to even out to 6 intakes a day. I had one of the Walhgreens protein drinks, 4 ounces = 12 grms protein, carmel flavor and it was pretty good.
So I am on my way.....wish me luck, life, and liberty!
Yes, yes, yes...I am approved for surgery and have a date on the table on December 6th. My new Birthday. I am so excited. I am very at peace within me as I know, feel, hold as truth before God, that this is the only avenue open for me, to continue to live, love, be healthy, and happy. This is a drastic step, but I am at a drastic weight. I can barely walk, my knees and legs are in constant pain, I have rashes where skin touches skin, I fell ugly, I do not feel clean, I do not feel sexy, I feel suffocated by the rolls of fat and skin around me. I feel ashamed, I feel like a failure, I feel like a second-rate citizen, I feel people look at me and wonder how I could disfigure myself to this degree. STOP, STOP, STOP...... My new life is about to begin, I will not look back on the old me, accept me, and go forward. All the work done in the past to shed the fat, Monica has resulted in failure. NO MORE, I am taking the right steps, seeking the right help, and have support from so many persons that I do feel cradled and carried by them. 8 more weeks. I must prepare my body for the surgery, to give the surgeon and myself the best possible outcome. Please all pray for me and help me to achieve success.
Peace, happiness, and comfort for all who pass this way.
Love Monica




Hospital Reviews
  • (Springfield, MA) - Mercy Medical Center
    Surgeon Info:
    Viratio Fiallo, M.D.
    I had originally met with Dr.Fiallo in June 2001. I immediately like him, he is well spoken, with a focus on you the patient. For a surgeon he has a marvelous bed-side manner. When I finally convinced my family that WLS was my only option, I went back to him. Again he is very focused on you and your needs. He explains the various options and listens to your questions and concerns. I was very impressed that he spoke of those patients that did not do well. He explained why they did not do well and he took responsiblity for making sure that patients are informed about the good, the bad, and the ugly of this operation. Hearing what he said helped me cement my decision to have the surgery. I chose to go to Mercy Hospital in Springfield and he encouraged my decision. Dr.Faillo is associated at Mercy with their Mercy Comprehensive Weight Loss Management Group and he sent me to them. Dr.Faillo's office is pleasant and well run. No long times waiting which I find impressive. His personal nurse is Cheryl. She is fantastic and knows what tests, forms, insurance stuff must be taken care of before the surgery can take place. This care on her part helped relieve my stress in making sure that everything was done. You just KNEW that Cheryl would be taking care of business. All in all I am thrilled that I had the surgery and that I chose to go to Pioneer Surgical Associates, specifically Dr.Faillo
    Insurer Info:
    BCBS Federal, Monica Bond
    I never had to do anything other than show up and participate with the doctors, nurses, and staff preparing me for this surgery. My surgeon's office handled everything. Dr.Faillo of Pioneer Valley Surgical Associates of Springfield Massachusetts, has a great comprehensive program. The Biatric Coordiantor, Cheryl, is efficient, compassionate, knowledgable, professional, and a stickler for detail. Her abilities allow for a seamless, stress free process that allows the patient and family to concentrate on the medical, emotional, and psychological issues, not the insurance.

  • About Me
    Emery, SD
    Surgery Date
    Jun 28, 2004
    Member Since

    Before & After
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    Friends 71

    Latest Blog 3
    June 11, 2007-Monica's musing from the road
    Monica musings from the road
    Monica's WLS Journey