Historical (Prior to Jan 2009)
Jan 11, 20091/18/06 -It has been 1-week since I met with my primary doctor to discuss WLS. He agreed that I have been monkeying around with my weight for so long I need to do something about it. I am slowly killing myself. We discussed the risks and the risks out weigh (no pun intended) not doing the surgery. He gave me a referral the green light for support and told me to contact Dartmouth. The next informational meeting is 2/3. I have done some preliminary research and have a few doctor appointments scheduled to try and speed the process up. Sleep consult on 2/8. I would not be surprised to find out that I have issues. My daughter, dad and brother all have severe sleep apnea.
I have not really disclosed my desire for this surgery to anyone other than my husband. He is not really supportive. He feels that it is a mind thing and I should just make up my mind to keep the weight off. I think he is afraid of how drastic this procedure is an that any surgery is a life risk. Fortunately for him, I have never met anyone in my life with more drive and willpower than him. (Unfortunate for me. He doesn’t understand when I fail or regain the weight).
I spoke to ‘Pegs’ at DMHC about when should I begin the 15lb weight loss. She said I can do this at any point now that I have met with my primary. It is documented, so tomorrow will be the day… no time like the present! Last week at my appointment with my doctor I was 312. Here we go!
1/20/06 - Ok. So I told one more person. A friend of mine who is a nurse. I expected for her to lecture me.. but she did just the opposite. She told me to do it. She was so wonderful and supportive! I want to tell my mom, but I am afraid. They are going away for a month... I will have had time to go to the orientation meeting by then... I will tell her when she gets home.
1/23/06 - Spent the weekend reading the profiles. Man, interesting to see the varied response to the surgery. What I found is that the reasons are nearly the same. Funny I read one profile that was brutally honest about EVERY thing that you would experience (from surgery) from the need for tongs to foaming at the mouth. Another who was so positive about the whole experience but portrayed the event nearly magical. Even the depressed days were bright! :) Yet what I found as a common thread was that around 2-6 months out you can almost watch nearly everyone 'brighten' up. Their attitudes and outlook on their adventure seems to change. From D-day - 2 months there is an obsession about the loss, you have those who hoped for the whoosh of 100 lbs or are dealing with the 'death' of their best friend food!
I find it really interesting almost cleansing to read the profiles. Nearly everyone has gone through what I have (growing up fat) and I can understand their thoughts and feelings as well! I have two more weeks until my orientation meeting at Dartmouth. I wish I had not waited until I saw my PCP. I thought that would be the best first approach, but missed the first meeting. Dartmouth only does their meetings once per month. This needs to be all for now, my daughter is bugging me to make dinner.
1/28/06 - Lets see. I have decided to let some of my family know that I am looking to have the RNY surgery. I told my little brother (ok.. so he is 38) He was incredibly supportive. He asked if he could talk it over with his wife and she is so down to earth and has such a supportive presence I had no problem. Not 15 minutes after I hung up from him, he called me back to say that Emily’s boss is a GBS Nutritionist and said that if I ever wanted to talk to her, to just call.
Did pretty good this week on my diet. Today I have had sweets and found that I crave them more right after I eat them. I know… so don’t eat them right! Work is still pretty stressful office is extremely dysfunctional. I want to do so much to reorganize but my hands are tied. Need to go ‘entertain’ my daughter. 7-days until my first meeting. I am excited. I hope we don’t get a storm that day! It is nearly a 2-hour drive to Dartmouth! 2-12-06 - Gosh lots have happened since my last post. I went to DMHC for the intro meeting, signed up for the program and recieved my packet. I was to meet with the sleep specialist this week and the office screwed up and postponed me for another month so I now go to see the doctor on March 8. I am plugging away on all the other paperwork. I wrote my 'weight history this morning and will post this as well.
It was kind of cathartic writing this. Here it is:
All my life I have struggled with weight. My earliest recollection was in grade school being called fat. Funny now when I look at my third grade pictures, I was heavier than the other girls and boys but by no means ‘fat’. It was in fifth grade when the pleading, begging and bribing began. I would come home crying from school and my mom would beg me to make better eating choices. (Note: at that time, my mom was a size 16 and too was constantly dieting. Because she felt that she was overweight) my father even went so far as to bribe me with what every eleven year old girl would want…a pony! Even the thought of having my own pony did not stop me from making poor choices. In fact, I began a really bad habit then. Funny that you can when you recall when you first remember doing something that was harmful to you. Anyway, that is when I began to hoard and hide food. I would earn, find or I hate to admit it take money to go to the country store to buy candy. Most candy bars were .10 or .15 so I could get quite a lot for .50! There was always a dime or a quarter on the floor of my dad’s car.
I remember taking my ‘stash’ and hiding it in a blue candy jar a neighbor game to me. I would pull my dish out when I was alone and I knew I would not have to share with anyone, except my dog. It is important to mention this dog. She came to us around my 8th birthday and she and I became one! Mouzzi was my very best friend. We talked; ok so I spoke while she lovingly listened as if my words were what she was most needed to hear. She would lay with me for hours while I read my books, cry with me when I was sad or hurt and always was with me when I had my special snacks. Mouzzi even went with me when I ran away from home. We were gone for 4-hours and no one even knew we were missing. (To this day, I find this sad! But I guess that was the way it was back then. Kids went out to play and usually came home for lunch and dinner!) During my early teens, I remember money was really tight with my parents and we ate a lot of pasta, hamburger helper and breads. Anything that could cheaply be spread amongst 6 people. That was fine with me since I adore just about any kind of pasta and since my dad made the bread, nothing can beat home made bread! It was during this time that I started picking up some extra weight. Funny looking back at things I don’t remember watching a lot of TV.. I adore reading and did that when ever possible. I remember playing ball with my brothers and riding bikes. (The closest neighbor was about a mile and my candy store was about a mile or so away from the house, so I did get exercise!) As I recall, eating between meals and portion sizes have always been an issue. My mom brought me to the doctor’s office to discuss weight loss. He sent me to a nutritionist. I call what they gave me was the ‘pork chop diet’. This was an extremely unrealistic diet that had ‘full’ meals for each meal. Breakfast would be normal, and then lunch would be a pork chop, ¼ cup of potatoes and a vegetable. (Who eats pork chops for lunch as a kid? PB& J was where I was at!) Obviously I didn’t do well on this diet. I now see that they were using the ‘pork chop’ as a meat metaphor, get some type of protein in... but then we were all about following exact instructions!
Once I started 7th & 8th grade I tried out for volleyball and did not make it. I then tried out for the ski team and made it however my skiing ability wasn’t great so I dropped out of the team because I was afraid of the steep slopes you needed to be on for racing. Even back then I wanted to be part of a ‘team’ so badly. I realize now I wanted to feel part of something. As the second in four children, I have always felt a bit of an outsider. I have struggled for so many years over my feelings of being left out and have in my 40’s gotten over the sense of neglect. (I realize that neglect is a harsh word, but I always wanted to be noticed, but wasn’t sure how to correctly do this. I wanted to be my dads favorite child, but wasn’t. My brother Tim (3rd in the line of 4, but the first son) was. I wasn’t good at any of the sports that we had to play. Again, you might be stuck on the word had, I purposefully use that word because we went to parochial schools in Concord and lived in Canterbury which 20-miles away, my brothers and sister were very athletically inclined and because of our height all played basketball. I was forced to join the team or sit around for 2-3 hours until practice finished so I could go home. (With gas prices rising, one trip to Concord was all we could afford). So I joined the team. I was horrible. My life long joke with my siblings was the only two points I ever got were for Pittsfield. That would have been good if I went there, I went to Bishop Brady! I wanted to be part of the theater group but they met at 7pm at night and I couldn’t get back to town for that meeting. For the most part, I stayed with the basketball throughout high school; I had friends on the team and enjoyed being part of something. In my sophomore year I tried out for cheerleading. I did not make it. I was heart broken. The nun who was in charge called my mom and told her that I didn’t make it because of my weight. If I lost 50 or so pounds that I would definitely make the team. My mom told me this and we joined weight watchers for the FIRST time. I went with her and lost some weight. But life as a teenager was such that my friends were eating junk food during the day and I wanted to be like them and did the same sabotaging my weight loss. We stopped going after a month or so. Later that summer of my junior year my mom and I joined diet center. Now that was a fun diet. It was very intense. My goal over the summer was to lose that 50 pounds and go back to school like a new person. In my mind, people would not be recognizable to any of my school mates and all the boys would fall head over heals in love with me! Not the case. I think I lost the 20-lbs but wasn’t enough and once we went back to school, we couldn’t continue to go to the diet center program because of school commitments and I regained the weigh. Needless to say, I tried out for football cheering... and did not make it. I know I was better than a few of the girls, who got on the team, but they fit into the uniforms and I didn’t. Later that year I got my license and some of my friends were going to join WW again. I did it with them, lost some weight stopped going to the meetings and then regained the weight.
It wasn’t until I got to college that I had some real diet success. I found that you could buy this drug from your friends called little black beauties. They were wonderful. Gave you lots of energy and you never wanted to eat! Between the speed I was taking and the lifestyle of college (alcohol, socializing and dancing) believe it or not, I lost a bit of weight. I was in the best shape I had been in for a very long time. I was about 175 and looked and felt great. The dancing really helped. It was something that I loved and I was good at it. In college, a friend told me that I could be who ever I wanted to be.. so reinvent yourself. I did and it made me who I am today. I am now outgoing. I would not consider myself shy any longer. I gave myself confidence. College was empowering. Sadly after two years, my parents told me I could not go back. (Funny looking back on this period of time, I just blindly accepted what they said. I had the school loans for school, but they had to sign the financial aid forms because I was technically still living with them.) I came home and was miserable again. It forced me back into the ‘old Sharon’. The girl that I never wanted to be again. I was the sister of Tim, Laurie or Brian, daughter of Bob and Helen.. Never just Sharon. Shortly after moving home, I got an apartment with a friend. I was feeling myself come back again. I began spreading my wings and had a lot of fun doing so. I went back and met some of my high school friends and the guys now paid attention to me. Funny, I don’t think the weight (I wasn’t HUGELY obese... just heavy) was as much of an issue as was my self esteem. But at 175 I had guys paying attention to me and that was really neat.
It was during this time that my ‘source’ for speed went dry and I had to find a new method of keeping the weight off. I then turned to what was ‘in’ in the early 80’s and it was purging. During the next two years, I became bulimic. I would vomit after lunch and dinner if I ate too much or ate the wrong thing. I tried the diet pills during this time and they only made me really shaky and I didn’t like that feeling and stopped taking them. Some of my friends went the way of laxatives. I tried them a few times but didn’t like the side effects if you know what I mean and stopped them.
During the next few years, jobs changed, apartments and roommates changed and then I got a job at McDonalds part time. I enjoyed this job so much that I quit my job at Blue Cross Blue Shield to work full time. I succeeded there. They sent me to school and I was on my way to becoming a store manager when I met my later to be husband. During the three years I worked at McD’s I had a blast. Funny the way they structure their management, you work such weird hours, your co-workers become your surrogate family. I had a group of about 6 or so very close friends and we did everything together. During this time I stopped the purging episodes, I didn’t need them. My job was so busy that I was able to eat, drink (and I am not talking water) and maintain my weight. I think my weight crept up to 190 at this time, but wasn’t an issue. Still fit into size 16 and felt good. After I left McD’s and got a job at Chubb Life that the purging came back. It was the rage! We are now in the mid 80’s and ‘Thin was In’. I played hard and ate well. During this time I was somewhat successful with slim fast. I never was someone who ate breakfast first thing in the morning. I would have some time of a mid-morning breakfast then the slim fast, grab something at home or hit the happy hour buffet for dinner before the night of dancing and beer.
In 1989 my husband proposed after we had been together for about 4-years. We were scheduled to get married on July 11, 1990 but in January of 1990 I found out I was pregnant. It wasn’t a big issue to us because we had already planned on having children shortly after we were married. It wasn’t until I started really picking up some weight that we decided to get married earlier than our plans. We married on St. Patrick’s Day. At that time I was about 20lbs heavier. I felt great. I started maternity aerobics at the local hospital and began walking every night with my husband. I felt terrific. Around June or so my doctor thought I was gaining to much weight (which honestly I did not understand, I was eating better that I had ever eaten as well as the amount of exercise that I was doing!) She sent me to a nutritionist and she told me that I was lying. I could not be eating what I am eating and gaining the 15-20 lbs per month that I was. Insulted I left her office vowing that I would never talk to a nutritionist again. That was my second fun experience with a nutritionist. It wasn’t until my 7th month visit with my OB that he sent me for another ultrasound. I had poly-hydramnous (sp) and a special needs child. This time was a horrible time of my life. For the next 6-weeks or so I was sent to Boston to have numerous tests done on me and my child. On September 21, 1990 I was told that my child had a terminal diagnosis and to expect her not to survive more than 10-days. I can’t tell you how stressful those last few months of my pregnancy were. The guilt of what did I do wrong, what could I have done better, and the ‘death of the healthy baby’ (this is what my counselor later described the loss of what mothers who have special needs children go through). Nicki did live past 10 days. She has struggled; I have fought and some times felt so out of control. During her 1st five years I used my purging a way to help me with my grief eating. I would fall back on the bulimic ways when her health was out of my control. Over the years, her health has improved and I have found other ways to deal with stress. (Actually avoidance was a way that worked for me for quite a while, and got me two degrees! I went back to school full time, worked full time and then was a wife and mom!) During the last fifteen years of her life I have gained the most and lost the most amount of weight.
I cant tell you how many times I have joined weight watchers. I would say more than 20 times in her life. I would start.. do well… then either run out of money or time to do the plan. I did slim fast gain. Lost weight and then gain it back. I joined TOPS, but as dumb as this sounds, I needed someone to tell me what I could or couldn’t eat and that is not what that program was about and I dropped that quickly. In 1999 I joined Nutrasystem. I lost a lot of weight with them. (I had to pick up a part time job to be able to afford the meals, and with my commitments at home I couldn’t keep up with the 2nd job) Because of the price of that program, I only stayed on it for about 4 months. I slowly gained that weight back. I then spoke to a friend who was taking Fen/Pham (sp), she was losing tons of weight and spoke to my doctor about it. He didn’t believe in the medication. I then asked my friend who she used for a doctor and went to see him. He thought that I was a candidate for the medicine and gave it to me. I loved it. I have not felt such control over my eating habits. It was the first time I remember that I felt ‘empowered’ enough to say no. I was in control. About 5 months or so on this medication the FDA pulled it. I had about two months of pills left (I wasn’t consistent with taking them daily) and my husband found them and flushed them. He said being thin wasn’t worth my life. I had scheduled an appointment to meet my PCP again to make sure that the drug didn’t do heart damage and where to go from here. He felt the WW program was the best way to lose the weight sensibly.
I then switched jobs and worked at a rehab center that had a wonderful cafeteria. I also had a 1-hour commute each way. I found my second really bad habit that was formed. Eating in the car. Very dangerous. You don’t realize until you finish the bag of something what you just consumed. I then joined TOPS again. I found that the support group was unique but helpful. Because the group was so small I then was ‘assigned’ leader. I took that ‘job’ partly thinking that it would force me to be accountable. I struggled for 8-months with them doing the weight watchers program when I had lunch with a colleague. She mentioned that she was looking into doing the Atkins diet. I bought the book the next day and began that diet on August 8th. I was really successful with Atkins. I was still leading the TOPS group and had tremendous success. I lost a total of 90+ and was named the TOPS loser in the over 300 division. I was successful in keeping this weight off for more than a year and then changed jobs again.
My current job has many challenges in it and is very stressful. When I arrived, I found it really hard to follow the Atkins way and felt that I could with my new weight loss go back to WW. WRONG. Atkins and WW do not mix; in fact I found all my sweets and carb cravings came back when I switched. I then thought maybe it was because I was doing WW on my own and I needed the meetings, so I joined again. It wasn’t the meetings that I realized was my problem. It was the diet. I crave carbs. When I reduce or eliminate the ‘bad’ carbs and concentrate on low GI fruits and veggies and eat the protein, I feel better and lose weight. I then tried to go back onto the Atkins diet. The weight didn’t come off again and I became discouraged. I spoke to many people who say that you really only have one chance to lose on low carb. That in combination of being over 40 now… I think that my metabolism has slowed. My dream of being at a healthy weight has not. I do not have a goal of being 125. I do however want to be back to 175. Then I will look at how I feel and go from their. If I could truly dream, what would be the perfect weight for me… I would say 150.
For the last year, I have also incorporated fitness back into my life. I joined curves and really enjoyed going there but after a month or so, the pain in my knees were so bad, I had to get a doctors note to stop going. (Arthritis) I now walk. I use the campus that I work at to walk or on poor weather days, I walk inside the fitness center. I do have a full gym at my house (Treadmill, bike, weights and new this Christmas an elliptical machine) but find I am a social exerciser. I prefer if given a choice to exercise where I can talk to others.
In an effort to prepare myself for this new way of life, I bought the Sonoma diet book. I am only ¼ way through but it takes the best of Atkins and South Beach and incorporates healthier fats. In reading and speaking to many of the WLS clients, those who are successful have stuck to a new way of eating. The processed carbs that I know already are not good for me will become illegal. I used to say something when people would ask if I wanted a piece of traditional cake or something that was off my diet.. I would tell them that I am ) That stopped them thereJallergic to it (in a way I was… it made me swell!! without the oh, one bite wont hurt you. I found that my addiction to processed carbs is a way for me to cope with issues that I am avoiding. Sadly, I will go for the pasta, breads, crackers. Lonely, angry, depressed… doesn’t matter.. I am an emotional eater and need to find a way to get that emotion out without hurting myself by eating the one thing that will do me physical damage!
Please know that because I have never kept a journal, I may miss some of the plans etc.
1975-79: Weight Watcher (Many times joined), Diet Center, Pork chop Diet (Nutritionist), Gloria Stevens (Diet and weight loss Center)
1979-85: Weight Watchers, Diet Center, Fad diets (grapefruit diet, cottage cheese diet, AIDES diet chewables, water diet, V-8 diet, Soup diet) over the counter diet pills, black beauties (speed), purging, laxatives. Exercise centers: Concord Athletic club, YMCA, Slimersize.
1985-1995: Purging, Weight Watchers, TOPS, Slim fast, Fad Diets (all the above and more) Nutritionist. Exercise centers: Concord Hospital Maternity aerobics, Concord Athletic Club.
1995 -2000 Weight Watchers, Phenfam, Slim fast, Nutra System, TOPS, fad diets, diet suppliment that were sold by AMWAY. Exercise Centers: Fitness Factory, YMCA.
2000 – Present: Portion reduction, Slim fast, Weight Watchers, TOPS, fad diets, Nutritionist, Atkins, South Beach, Sonoma Diet, just about every over the counter diet pill hoping to find the Phenfam equivalent. Exercise centers: Curves, CMRC fitness center (work place fitness center), FPC Fitness Center (work place fitness center). I have also over the last 4 years have bought equipment to have a home gym in my house. 2-15-06 - Went back to the doctor. I have walking pneumonia. Ugh. So tired of not feeling well. Did meet with the nurse for Dr. Caruso and she has all the pre-surgery requirements. Dr. Caruso is on vacation until next week and we will begin starting to schedule the blood, ultrasound test, etc. next week. I spoke to Tuesday Griffin at DMHC and she called Anthem. I am all set assuming that there are no changes to the insurance between now and my surgery date. 2-16-06 - I spoke to a doctor today and scheduled my psych eval!!! March 6th! 3-1-06 - Been pretty busy setting up appointments. Friday I have my 2nd meeting at DMHC, Monday the 6th I have the 'blood work' done at 10 and then my first psych visit at 4:15. Wednesday the 8th I have my gall bladder Ultrasound and then meeting with the sleep specialist to discuss sleep apnea.
I told the girls that work for me about my impending surgery (I figured I am already in my mind set to have this.. so it is impending!!)... Sort of wish I hadn’t. One of the girls has a heart of gold but since I mentioned it to her.. is bringing it up for discussion. My intent was not to have it as a conversation piece but I felt that I needed to let my team know why I was at the doctors so much. I hate to hurt her feelings but may need to say something to her.
I now have to start truly concentrating on the weigh loss. I don’t want anything to slow me down. I really want to have this surgery done this summer! 3-11-06 - Lots have gone on this week. Had my blood work done. Went for the gall bladder ultrasound... but was not told it was a fasting test... and I will now have to go back and do that on the 20th. My second psych will be the 23rd. I saw the ENT this week as well. He believes that I have sleep apnea (no surprise) and is setting me up for a sleep test. Bad thing is that the center is backed up to the end of may.. UGH. I have asked for a referral to another hospital for a closer date. Next week I need to call the nurse at Dr. Caruso's office to get him to write his report. Then I think I can send my information into Dartmouth.
As for the diet... I have really not concentrated on that and need to do so. I know it will help me out in the long run. I am thinking of going back on Atkins. It worked and I really liked how I felt when I did low carb.
On a totally unrelated topic. I sent my request to the special folk who update your websites and make them look extra special... I gave them a few ideas. I cant wait to see what they do! I also put my name for a 'special friend'. I had hoped to hear that I have been assigned to someone and I had a special buddy as well. I always loved the Secret Santa part of Christmas.
That’s about it for updates. Ta Ta!~:) 3-19-06 - This weekend was our 16th wedding anniversary. My husband took me to Maine for a spa weekend. It was wonderful. We arrive in Maine and went to dinner. I had seafood (Mussels and then a lobster garden salad!) It was heaven. We then went to the pub at the hotel had a few drinks, talked and laughed. We reminisced about when we first got together. Funny we spoke of how we both did not like each other when we first met. In fact, really disliked was more the way of it... then we became best friends... then I married my best friend. We joked how it took us more than 4-years to figure out we were 'meant' to be together.
I have to say, it has been years since I laughed so hard... about nothing... and he kept doing really romantic things like when we held hands, he would raise it to his mouth and give it a kiss and say I love you! He has never done that before. And if the weekend wasn’t the most perfect thing... Friday he sent me 3-dozen roses! They were so impressively beautiful.
As for the program, my journey we did not talk about it. He is still not an advocate for this. But I hope as I move closer to my date he will understand this is what I need to keep me alive! Tomorrow I have my gall bladder ultrasound and then Friday I have my last psych test. I am still waiting for a date for my sleep study.
Well, pretty beat. will update more later! 4-1-06 - Well April is here, my objective of getting all my tests done and my packet to Dartmouth is on track. I just got a copy of my psych eval, I was worried most about that test. Not an issue. Now the only thing I have left is the sleep study. I have lost the 15 pounds that is required, but my goal to surgery is to lose another 25. I would like to be 280 prior to surgery. I will do it. My next goal is to introduce walking again. The weather has been pretty nice so I think that I can get at least a mile in per day.
Work has been pretty stressful the last 3-weeks or so. Not sure this is the place for me. I want it to be but there are so many outside circumstances that are making it so much more difficult. Home life is pretty smooth. No complaints there at all! 4-9-06 - Well, I am officially in the queue. I went to my last seminar at Dartmouth yesterday (the required ones anyways) and passed in all my testing and other materials. I spoke to Pegs and she stated it would be about 3-weeks before I get scheduled for my appointment with the Nurse Prac. She stated that there were about 3-dozen people before me! So I will be patient and continue to lose the weight.
I stopped at Cheshire to see my PCP to get a weight and was down the required 15. So now any weight loss will be gravy.. or as I chose to think of it, ensuring my safe recovery from the surgery! I had a long conversation with my husband about this. He is still very supportive about me losing the weight, we spoke of my self esteem being increased (as it has in the past when I lost all my weight) and my general mental health being more positive. He is not however in favor of the surgery. He still doesn’t see why I would want to do it. I am doing it to help me. I know I can lose the keeping it off. Historically, I over eat which leads to my weight gain. This will help to not allow me to do this any longer.
I have been so tired this week. Funny thing is I can’t sleep. There is a lot going on at work... very stressful. I have had a real tough time unwinding at night. I need to have my husband help me move the treadmill out to where I can get it so when it rains, I can walk inside. Off to make a cup of tea and start the nightly bedtime ritual...
As I mentioned, It is my plan to try and be down to 280 (at least) before surgery.
4-19-2006 - I received an email from DMHC that they will review my materials within the next 3-weeks. I do so hate waiting! Work is starting to look up a bit. About 2 weeks ago my dr. put me on adderol xr for my ADHD, what a difference. I still talk really fast, and it has somewhat helped me focus.. (I still find that with the stresses of the job, I am still trying to double and triple multi task). I have found the ability to stay on task which is truly helpful. I find that I am exhausted by 9pm (I am yawning through this!) which is another switch.. I can sleep through the night.
I also received a package from the sleep clinic at DMHC. I am EXTREEMLY disappointed in their service. My PCP sent them my information well over a month ago, I have left numerous messages for them to call me back and have yet to be able to speak to someone! I think I will call Peggs tomorrow. Just not right. I hate that in this section of NH you don’t have any choice of where you can get treatment.
4-28-06 - Well I finally got a call from the sleep study dept at DMHC. They said I should be hearing from someone soon to schedule my test.. I am really anxious about it... Just want it done. I want to have the surgery and have the control that I read others have who have had the surgery already.
I just finished reading another profile of a gal who just turned 20 and had the surgery. She spoke of the issues she had faced in college and her struggle with food as her comfort. I so was able to relate to just about everything she said. Sadly, 20 years ago, GBS wasn’t really done. Reading her profile and listening to her struggles made me so much more determined to have this surgery. I can’t wait to feel good about my body. I cant wait to be able to buy clothes in a normal store, not worry that I wont fit in a public seat or hear my daughter (who is disabled and doesn’t realize what she says is hurtful) say that I am way fatter than anyone else she knows.
My husband is still not supportive of my weight loss method of choice, but is supportive of my weight loss. Over the past 3-weeks I have 5-4-2006 - I finally reached DMHC sleep center and have a date for the sleep study. It is May 25th. Really happy that I have been able to schedule that. It is the last thing that is relatively in my control that I am able to do to prepare for the surgery. I have been sticking to the diet and have not cheated once. My clothes are pretty loose which is a pleasant change. It’s a good thing I have a closet or two full of assorted sized clothes!!!
Work is pretty hectic right now. I honestly cant wait for things to start settling in place. I was thinking earlier today. The whole 18months I have worked for the college, it seems that the Dept has been in one crisis after another. I hate working like that! 5-14-06 - Happy Mothers day! I had a great day. My daughter made me two cards and my husband bought me 3 fruit trees, (We just moved and I love fruit trees, I use them for the wild life more than for us) 2-apples and a peach tree. I have never grown a peach tree before.. this will be fun!
As for the weight loss, I am doing really well. I am trying to eat the things that I know will most likely be part of my life going forward. I have cut out all white flour and sugar. Since I have done this I have lost about 37 lbs. I feel so much better!
I am really frustrated with Dartmouth. I was told that they would be reviewing my file within 2-3 weeks. I hand delivered it to them on April 7th and they still haven’t been able to look at it. I want so much to be on the other side... the side where I am a ‘loser’!!
Next week is my sleep study, so when that is done, I hope that it will be smooth sailing from there… but I do live by Murphy’s law.. and I am expecting a bumpy ride. Well I need to get my daughter to bed. Update more later!
5-29-006 - I had a pretty good day last Thursday. I had to attend a seminar for work at Hampton Beach! It was absolutely beautiful. Weather was great; sky was sunny (which is a switch for us New Englander’s lately!) I walked the beach prior to the meeting and even stuck my toes in the water… BRRRRR! Love the ocean smell. I had a tough time concentrating on the seminar.. I kept looking out the window at the surf and those die hard tanner’s lying out in the sun getting a head start on their tans.
Well the sleep study has been completed. Why they actually call it sleep study is beyond me... how can you sleep all hooked up like that? I was told the Doctor will call me on Tuesday with my results.
As for DMHC, I called the coordinator because I received a cryptic message when she will review my package. It looks like sometime mid June. ARGGH. I busted my butt to get everything done early in hopes to have the surgery done prior to September... Really doubtful now. I don’t know how I can swing it (work wise) anytime after September. We are so busy until February and I don’t want to have to wait that long! Murphy's law says that they will fit me in between October and December 31. (The most harried time of year for me at work!). Oh well, it is out of my hands.
As for my dieting, I have done really well. I am down to 280 (my scale) now. I say my scale because last Thursday evening when I went into the hospital for the sleep study, they weighed me at 8pm with PJ's on and I was 287. I like my scale much better. (Done in the buff, first thing in the morning!)
Off to do more gardening! Between the black fly’s and mosquitoes, my body looks like I have the pox!! That should be good for a chuckle or two tomorrow at work. I have a buddy! So excited!! I love the secret buddy program; life just doesn’t have enough surprises! 7-20-06 - Ok so it has been a little while however not much has happened. In June I received a call from DMHC and was finally scheduled to see the NP. So yesterday was the day. Very nervous about going to the meeting… what if they denied me.. how much longer will I have to wait… I want this to happen so bad I don’t want to screw anything up.
So I met with the dietitian first. Things went well. I have been doing south beach for about 4 months now and have lost 40.5 lbs and they were impressed. Basically she said that this was the way I would most likely eat for the rest of my life. Meeting with the NP was more difficult. She asked some pretty difficult questions regarding my past. For about 10 years I had issues with bulimia. Mostly this was caused by issues at home (my daughters health, marriage, etc) haven’t thought I was over and done with it but she wants me to go back and revisit a psychologist to ensure these issues and bulimia are done. I stated, issues are still present it is how I chose to deal with them is different… so Monday (I was really lucky to get in to see the Dr quickly) I meet with a different psychologist. She did say at the end of the meeting that we would continue to proceed and that she would schedule me for my next meeting with her and the dietitian in 1months time. It was her opinion that this surgery for me would happen before Thanksgiving.
One thing she was surprised my doctor didn’t mention to me was the vitamin D deficiency I had. Well that is all for now… up date more when I have more news.
7/23/06 - Still haven’t heard from my secret buddy. Really bummed that she dropped me! Spoke to the head of the program and she said that she (my buddy promised to get in touch...but still nothing). Oh well.
I had a former co-worker die last Sunday. What is really scary is she had GBS a year ago. She passed out going down a mountain road and crashed. It appears that she wasn’t taking care of herself. Please if you read my scribbles, take care of yourself! Take your vitamins, eat your protein and drink your water!!
On a bright note, I went to see a great movie yesterday. Lady in the Water. Really makes you think! Recommend it highly. Funny how I really didn’t want to see it, I had wanted to see something lighter. I have been pretty emotional lately. But Hubby wanted to see it so I went.
I have a 2nd psych meeting tomorrow evening. This is to talk about bulimia. I had it years ago. I have not really thought about it for quite a while... but they don’t want to proceed with surgery until I get checked out for it. I am somewhat nervous about the appointment. I will drop a note tomorrow once I have met with the Dr. to say how it went. TTFN
8/25/06 - Gosh so much has happened in the last month. Loads of ups and downs… but we are on our way up again!
Back in July, I called DMHC a week after my appt with the nurse practitioner because I had thought I was to have my 2nd appt in August.... The Secretary basically told me that what I heard wasn’t right. The nurse practitioner had in her notes that I wasn’t to be scheduled for another 2 months. AND the earliest The Secretary could schedule me is Sept 27th. If I didn’t take that appt it would be some time in Oct. She then stated that she schedules new appts first, then post ops then those who are coming in for 'follow up' appointments and since they changed the program to 2-nursing visits.. I fall into follow-ups. They were extremely busy and I would just have to be patient. When I brought up the nurse practitioner and my discussion, she said that the nurse practitioner should never have said that I should have this process done by Thanksgiving. When I dated it out to The Secretary on the phone, (Appt w/The nurse practitioner on 9/27, then another 4 weeks or so to see the Doc.. now is November then 4 more till a date... she corrected me and said 6-8 weeks...and that extension of dates is because the Doc's don’t only do GBS. So when I said the earliest I could expect would be January... she said that she couldn’t commit to saying anything for sure). I tried again to explain to her about my job... didn’t matter.
So here I sit...I met with the counselor (again) as the nurse practitioner requested and he said that although he would like me to continue with seeing a counselor he didn’t see an issue with me proceeding with the surgery.
I spoke to my PCP's nurse (at DMHC Keene) and my insurance company to see if DMHC-Lebanon is the only place I can go. The insurance co said that my Dr. could refer me outside the 'network'...but it would be a process. So I am going to do some homework. Look into the Boston hospitals to see if they would transfer my data/test/classes and counseling to their programs without a set back and see if they can do my surgery sooner than next year!. It is really sad, but from the get go I have felt that DMHC although I can see the program is set up to 'care' for the patients they do not have the staff to deal with the patients (customers) wishing to participate in their program. I don’t want to burn my bridges but I NEED to get this done. I feel like I have been waiting around for DMHC-Leb for so long... you figure I have been waiting (except my July appt with the nurse practitioner when she asked for a 2nd psych consult) since April with all my tasks completed. So two weeks ago I called Brigham & Women’s and spoke to another nurse practitioner and she asked if I could come down to their ‘orientation’ class that night (I did) and she scheduled me to see the physician right then! She then said as long as I did indeed have all my tests/requirements done and could get my insurance referrals to go through my surgery could be less than a month from that date! Great news, I have my referrals and they were approved! WHOOO HOOO! I already know that Dartmouth had me go through just about every hoop known to man so I should be all set there! So my date with the doctor is September 28th! One day after my appointment would have been with Dartmouth and it is with the surgeon!
9-20-06 - Happy Birthday to me! 43 don’t hurt so bad! I have been really bad at updating my journal. Work has been insane and if that isn’t enough pressure I signed up for a HR certification course... Lots of work. My thought was to study while I am recuperating (assuming I can get my surgery for November) and take the test in December.
7 more days until I get to meet with the surgeon. I can not wait. I so want this process (the surgery part anyway) over. Sort of like knowing you have to have a tooth pulled. You know you are going to be so much better when it is done.... but the wait is unbearable.
My daughter and my husband threw the most wonderful little party for me tonight... I came home to a steak and salad dinner. A beautiful bouquet of flowers... and to find out that my daughter decided to do this... (Because of her disability, this isn’t something that she normally would have thought of).
Funny, I have been so emotional lately about today and tomorrow. I so never expected 16 years ago to be celebrating her birthday tomorrow. About 2 weeks or so ago, a colleague and I were walking back from a meeting and she asked how Nick was doing... I got choked up and nearly began crying thinking of how far she has come and that she will be 16 tomorrow! Not bad for a kid who I was told was to be born dead and then given a 10-day life expectancy... I am so grateful to the Nurse at Brigham & Women's Hospital...she told me to take Nicki home and love her for how ever many days we had left.... Never imagining that she would turn 16! I am so proud of what she has done to over come her obstacles...I am constantly in awe of her!
If anyone ever doubted that there are angels on earth… you simply need to meet her.
9-28-06 HAPPY DAY! Well I just got back from Boston... I met with Dr. Lautz and he has agreed to take all the tests/documents I had done for Dartmouth and he scheduled me to have my surgery on November 13th!
I have to go back down there on the 10th for a upper GI (because of the GERD) and to meet with their nutritionist... other than that I am on the last leg of climbing the mountain!!!
Now if that isn’t the best news... I came home to find a package from my secret pal! What incredible timing!!! It was a book on Fairies. I cant wait to read it.... Thank you soooo much!!!
10-21-06 - Well it is a Saturday night and I have a few minutes before I have to get my daughter to bed so I thought I would update…I went to B&W on the 10th for my upper GI.. one word.. UGH. Man, I did not know what I was getting myself into. AND no one told me what the after effects would be!!! I was in the bathroom the whole next day. My next appointment is on November 2nd. To say I am getting nervous isn’t really the truth… anxious is more what I am feeling. I want this procedure so to have happened yesterday. I want to be a ‘loser’. I want to fit into clothes and still be able to breath.
So many people who I have shared my news with have started to become nervous for me. My husband still isn’t talking much about the surgery. That really disappoints me. I really had hoped he would accept my decision whether or not he believes it is the right one and support me.
Let see what else do I have to tell you… I went to see the patriots play Miami on the 8th! We had great seats… Row 37…. I have to say I was disappointed. Football is bigger than life on TV… and I kept thinking that the goal posts were so small… It kind of reminded me of watching a high school game. There was so much going on I found it hard to watch the game. I was so excited ‘to be close to’ Bruschi, yet even being as close as we were to the field, I couldn’t really see him! I truly admire him. He is a great player, but more than that he is an all around special man. He not only leads the defensive team (watch how he empowers his defensive line) but has compassion to others by assisting with a child’s wish through the Make-A-Wish organization (http://22.214.171.124/focus/f-news/1664906/posts), as well as being a great day. Now with that being said, it was a great game. The stadium was awesome; they really are fan centered and family friendly. Tomorrow they take on the Bills. My two most favorite teams… but as long as Bruschi plays for the Pats, they must win!
Need to run….
11-3-06 Ok so I had my pre-op with Boston… went pretty smoothly. Anthem is saying that they didn’t get my paperwork again. I saw the two receipts that are in my file showing the documents were mailed. ARRRGH I so hate that part of insurance! So I called them and spoke (ok somewhat sternly to the gal who answered the phone) and she agreed to stand at their fax and wait for my Doctor to fax again my paperwork. So I now know that Anthem has my stuff. Doctor explained the complications again, but was encouraging that his success rate was 99% and didn’t expect any problems. He is also the director of the bariatric program for B&W as well as being on the Board for the State of Massachusetts. When I met with the Nurse Prac at Pre-op (separate appt) she was really cool. She helped me with my fears about my husband’s reluctance to support me with this surgery. I am really happy I had her. I now know that I can do this… (although to have him by my side would be so much easier)… by myself if needed.
I was recently reading a post on the November 2006 surgery site and Ellen spoke of the things that she wanted to do after the surgery; others added how they wanted to feel and the exhilaration of what we will all look like next summer. It got me thinking….(I replied) “I want to run, I want to hike Mount Monadnock (and still be able to breathe), I want to more than anything feel confident enough to walk on the beach in my bathing suit without feeling that people are staring at me (and not in a good way!) Imagine simply fitting in, being one with the crowd…not someone who stands out. To be described to someone as, “you know… Sharon. She is the big blonde girl who...” Can you just imagine how it will feel when we are being described as “you know…Sharon. She is the girl with blonde hair, around 5’8” and has the great laugh & smile.”
So Cheers to my November buddies for we are on our way to becoming truly visible. Best of luck to you all on your surgery and my wish is we all have a speedy recovery, forgiveness for those who only saw our shells and may have shunned us, and a renewed appreciation to all those who took the time to know us inside and out!”
On another topic, today was our benefit fair. It was a huge success. People don’t realize how much planning and work goes into putting an event the size we put on takes. Towards the end of the day, I met with one of our vendors. She was doing aura screenings. (I need to warn you I am a BIG angel & faire believer) During my scan she told me things that were so on target with how I am, feel and experience with others. What was most amazing was the guides that were present in my aura. I have always felt them, some times heard them but to see them was really cool!
Funny, I often tell a tale about a man who I met nearly 15 years ago who made a huge impact in my life. He spoke of many lives, soul mates and acceptance of what is. He spoke about how my daughter (who is terminally ill) is a gift and a teacher and will be here for as long as she needs to teach me (and others) lessons. When she is done, she will wait for me to move on to our next adventure. This information he imparted to me that one winter night changed me forever. Not that the loss of Nicki will ever be easy should she decide to ‘move on’ but to accept that this is not all we have. There will be a time when things are easier for her and that she chose her form to help me so I need to honor her by learning the lessons she teaches me daily, tell people of her spirit and most importantly enjoy every second with her! Lately I have gone away from my reading books on angels and fairy’s, to busy with work and day to day life. I wonder if that vender who quite honestly I didn’t realize was coming was placed into my life for me to meet (right now) before my surgery to make connections again. Hmmmm. Something to think about.
Back to pre-op stuff. Today is my second day on the ‘liquid diet”. Going ok. Having the head issues but it isn’t to bad. I think doing the low carb thing has really helped. I know that cravings… I have acknowledged that sugar has been something that has not been good to me and the longer I am away from it the healthier I will be. As for the caffeine headaches! OUCH. But, they too should be gone by tomorrow.
11/13/06 - Ok, so this is my last pre-op posting. Feelings: Scared, my husband and mother say I don’t need to do this. They know me best. However everything inside me says for me to do this. I am at peace with what I am doing. I know I will be healthier by doing this. I am for once stopping my ability to overeat; I realize this is a life long battle but I know that with this tool I will succeed.
I just put my daughter on the bus. I cried. She asked what was the chances I would not come home from the hospital. When I said 1% she just said oh. I tried to remind her that nothing is 100% safe and chances are that I would be just fine. Stronger in fact!
Last night I had asked my husband to spend some alone time with me, he closed down on me after dinner and went to bed early. I know it is hard for him, but I so could have used his strength. I just wanted to be close and for him to hold me.
My youngest brother called me last night. He is so excited about being a new dad. It is truly a miracle since he hasn’t been off chemo for a year yet. They have been trying to have a baby for so long and when he was diagnosed with cancer I truly though his chances would be over for having a child of his own. When we spoke last night I think he just began to feel the pressure of being in the Navy. He will be deployed when his child is born. Not that he hadn’t missed his wife when he was ‘shipped out’ before but to wait so long to be a dad and then have to miss that special moment! I really feel sad for him.
Yesterday was pretty funny; Nicki planned a surprise for me. She woke up early took her shower and stood in front of me and said we were going to have a ‘girls day’. Shop to you drop day! At targets!! She is a riot. I thank god every day for her. Who would have ever thought that 16 years ago when I received the news that she would not be a healthy baby she would bring so much joy into my life!
Well, I am all packed. Showered and just waiting for my parents to pick me up. Should things go horribly wrong today, I want the world to know how much I loved and was loved by my family.
Alan, you are my best friend and I was very lucky to find you (albeit at McDonalds!) and I treasure every second we spent together. You are the love of my life!
Nicki, you are my sunshine! You make me happy when sky’s are grey, you will never know dear just how much I love you…. You have given me such happiness and a few grey hairs! I adore you! Don’t let anyone say you cant… make them figure out how to make it happen! Always know I loved you more than air!
Mom & Dad – Thank you for loving me.
Laurie – Focus on what is important. You have a heart the size of Texas, dump the losers and make yourself and the girls a priority. Find out what gives you strength and use it. Don’t give your power away to a man. They are here to support you, for you to love not to take car of you. You need to do that for you! When you can do this, your life will fall into place. This is said with love, because I do.
Tim – ‘Tim B, let me out of the closet Tim B”. Oh, the therapy we must have caused that poor kid! You have always been there for me. To listen, give advise and to take on the battle. We had fun (ok you must admit that terrifying Brian was fun…but to clear your conscience he is nearly completed all of HIS therapy!) Love you. Love the kids.
Brian – Wow what a wild ride you and I have been on. OK, so I am sorry about the ant (he he he… maybe a little sorry!) Honestly, I love the man I have been able to watch you grow into. Your courage to fight the cancer… is something that I admire. You are going to make a terrific dad! Be easy on him/her! And remember if you are lucky, he or she will have a little bit of my sense of humor in them to continue tormenting you throughout your life!! Love you, and already love the miracle that grows within Em!
Britt, Sarah & Katie – Don’t reach for the stars…. Fly beyond them. No excuses… succeed. Know I love you.
Laurel – Thanks for not being just a mother in law. You have always have been a friend first. Love you.
Peck – You have so much inside you that you hide the world. Get out there. Show them what you got! Thanks for always being there! And thank you for Savannah-Sue!!! You gave me what nature couldn’t by allowing me to be with you when she was born. I will never forget it!
Savannah-Sue--- how I love you! You in so many ways are like watching Nicki all over…
All my love - ~Sharon
11/29/06 - Well 6 days have gone by and although I posted to the site I am fine I haven’t documented this part of my journey. So I will take you back to last Monday. Sunday night I was rather nervous, scared…oh and any other emotion you can imagine. I could sleep to save my life. So by the time the alarm went off to get my husband and daughter off for the day at 5am, I figured I might as well get up to. I took my shower, shaved my legs (etc) being as vain as I am (not really… but a surgeon might see them… I know, and what right? Laugh. Remember that one patient who had razor stubble on her legs!!) then went to the kitchen to spend some last minute time with my husband and he sort of ignored me. I gave him a hug and said I was scared and his only reply was you should be. I was really looking for comfort from him…Anyway once they all left I wrote my last posting and did some work (I am connected remotely from work so I can pop into the office 24/7 --- REALLY dangerous!)
My parents arrived about 10am. We had a few quick stops one being work to drop off some tickets I forgot to leave in the office. Said my goodbye to a coworker and friend then off we went. We got to Boston in record time. In fact nearly an hour early so we had (ok my parents had) a drink and a snack then went to admitting. This is where my frustration began. I arrived 10 minutes early for a 1pm appointment. (surgery was to be at 3pm) I waited until 1:35 until someone came to get me to go over my address, insurance, general information. Then I went back and sat until nearly 2pm. They then brought me to another waiting room gave me a beeper and said it would go off and someone would get me to ‘get my vitals’. At 2:30 ish I went up to the desk and said my surgery was to be at 3pm… did I need to be doing something? She said they would call me soon. What was really hard about this room is that it was a mix of patients waiting for surgery and significant others waiting for them to get out of surgery! So people were eating, drinking laughing and talking… all of which I couldn’t do or was to nervous to do! Finally then came and brought me to another waiting room I sat for another 5 minutes or so and then was taken to yet another waiting room where a nurse took me into a locker type room. She asked me if I wanted a large Johnny. I said and extra large please (thinking my god, I only dream about being a size large) well this large Johnny was the size of what I would consider a 5X. I laughed with my parents when I came in and said this was the psychological boost I needed before this surgery. I was then transported to a surgical waiting area. My mom joined me. We then waited another ½ hour and found out the surgeon was running about 1 hour late. I finally had my vitals and then spoke to the anesthesiologist. He was very nice, more than nice in fact. Made me feel very comforted because of the MH that runs in my family. The last thing he said was that he promised me that he would ‘keep me alive’. He said he had the crash kit in the surgery room and would be by my side the whole time monitoring my vitals to insure that I didn’t have an MH issue.
I said goodbye to my mom and they wheeled me into the surgery room. The room was very big and very bright. The anesthesiologist warned me it might be cold. I was then asked to move onto a really small stretcher and then the nurse hooked up my IV…then it was good night Irene. I did not remember anything else including if I was cold! I was woken up at 8:30pm by a nurse saying I came out of surgery great and that my mom was leaving and going home. I vaguely remember the anesthesiologist saying you did great and I kept my promise!
I don’t remember being transported to my room and remember very little of that first night. The next day what I remember is being horribly sore. My ribs felt like someone broke them. The pain was bad, don’t get me wrong, but not as bad as my C-section. (I had an up & down section not a bikini section) that next morning the nurse came in and said I needed to get up and walk before they took me to get my leak test. Not to happen. Just after she said that the guy from transport came in. I sat down in the wheelchair and went for a ride of my life. I think that they get paid by the number of people they transport… like a taxi service. He whipped through the halls with such speed that I instantly became sick to my stomach. Then I sat in this room when two techs came in and they were talking really loudly about some botched plans and one tech took a woman in a stretcher, the other took me. My tech was so engrossed with her story wasn’t watching where she was going and nearly ran me into the stretcher. I had to say Oh this is going to hurt before she would stop. (Inches mind you away from the top of the bed!) We then get into the x-ray room and a really nice student tech gave me a cup with a straw and told me to drink while he counted to three. I told him I just had surgery and wasn’t to drink out of the straw and was told I could this once. So I did. UGH.. So bitter! He and the mouthy tech asked me to get up, spin around (I had tubes going every direction) and face the camera. I then thought I would be sick. He ran and got me a bucket and a wet wash cloth while I did in fact ‘loose lunch’. During this time the other tech was taking pictures and told me that I appeared to be fine. No leaks.. It was then the taxi driver came back to pick me up to take me to my room. (I shut my eyes on the way back making it easier).
In my room, my roommate who didn’t have GBS complained and yelled all afternoon at any professional who had the misfortune to either come in or pick up the phone when she called. She yelled because they wou