Things are finally moving along

Dec 06, 2007

Here I am again and it's December!! I can't believe how it all goes so fast. It's been almost 7 months since my LB surgery. I'm hovering around 238 hopefully (tomorrow is weigh day for me so I'll know for sure) and I began at 256 or so. I got another fill before Thanksgiving. This time it went WAY better than last. It took literally 5 minutes vs. 2.5 hours in my previous one. This doctor, Dr. Halls, knew exactly what he was doing and had no problem finding my port at all. And the tightness has been staying. I can't even eat scrambled eggs! It's keeping my calories to about 700-900 per day w/ lots coming from protein (esp New Whey IDS drink which is 42 grams of protein for not many calories).
    The other new & exciting thing is that I've been working out w/ a trainer that I just posted info on the California board about. He is amazing! His name is Nathan and he works at the 24 Hour Fitness in Pasadena (on Colorado Blvd if anyone is interested). It took me forever to find a great trainer, even though I've been w/ many in New York and even worked as one at Curves for a time a few years ago. For the past 5.5 months I've been working out on my own thinking I can move this weight loss process alone but it's been such a struggle so much so that my surgeon thought I was cheating w/ food all the time and certainly not exercising. But thanks to Nathan (and of course my proper fill) things have finally started moving along. I feel like he's my Bill from Biggest Loser. Even though I wasn't confident at all that anything will work for me anymore no matter how much I worked out (even though I know by the numbers, things should work for me, they just usually don't), he knew he could help me if I just did what he said. And that's all we've been doing and so far I've lost 5 lbs and 13.5 inches (since the middle of Nov) and 2.8% body fat. It's a drop in the bucket I know but it's more of a loss than I've had in a while. He's also really nice and knowledgeable but tough (I am in pain after the workouts but the good kind) so I feel like I'm in good hands. Also another big help has been the use of the Body Bugg which is a device worn on your tricep which counts your calories burned while you enter your calories consumed on their website. It tells you what your deficit (or difference between the two) is for the day. It's really more sophisticated than that but that's as much as I can describe. It works to 92% accuracy which makes you really able to see and control what you're doing.
    Now I've just got to make it through the holidays without gaining weight. I'm going to my family's home in NYC in a week and I'll be spending a lot of time w/ my family in the 'burbs as well as friends but I'll try to squeeze in as much working out as possible.
    I hope everyone else is doing well and may the holidays bring joy and peace to all. Here's to a happy and healthy 2008!!!

First Fill

Sep 07, 2007

    It's been a while since I posted mainly because I haven't been losing weight over the past few weeks. I've been gaining it! I was so scared that when I went to a follow up w/ my surgeon about two weeks ago, that he'd scold me. I'm up to 250 lbs and I'm 16 weeks out of surgery. I've also been able to eat pretty much as much as I want and was feeling hungry. When I met w/ Dr. K, he said I was actually doing ok (I was 245 lbs that day) and was on track. He said those were the signs that I was ready for my first fill. I was getting anxious about that because most people get their fill about 6 weeks post op. He reassured me that he uses his own method to confirm when the patient is ready so I felt much better after that meeting.
    I had a hard time making the fill appointment with the radiologist (my surgeon has it done under floroscopy by a radiologist) due to their schedule. Apparently only one person in my surgeons office can coordinate with radiology to make this appointment. Well it took 4 days to do so. When she was unexpectedly out of the office one day so I asked if the surgeon's assistant can help, she flatly said she couldn't and no one else could. I found out from another hospital administrator that she could have. The following day, the original person returned and also said the assistant could have made the appointment. So frustrating! I swear the assistant has it out for me. The day of my follow up, I was in the waiting room for 2 1/2 hours past my appointment time. I finally asked up front what the expected wait remaining wait was and mentioned that my appointment time was 12:30. They said they had me down for 1:30. I told them I called two days earlier to make it earlier and that the assistant moved it to 12:30 for me. They said she never told them about the earlier time. So that left me there another hour.
    Anyway, the surgeon had wanted me to get the fill that week but at this point it was Wed. so there was no room on Thurs or Fri. My only option was two weeks from then or to wait another 5 weeks! I couldn't possibly wait that long as I was gaining weight so I made my fill appointment for today, Fri Sept 7 even though I had a prior commitment in Orange County that made it very difficult for me to come up today. But I made it up in time for my first fill appointment.  Finally...
    I spent the last few days reading Fighting Weight, Kahlia Ali's book about the lap-band. I highly recommend it. It touched so close to home that I've had to put it down several times before reading it all the way through. I'm still not done. Anyway, I was hoping the fill procedure would be explained but there wasn't too specific of an explanation. I think that's because it's done so differently by everyone. For me it went like this...
    I was told not to eat past midnight the night before. So I showed up to the appointment about a half hour early to fill out paperwork. About an hour after my scheduled appointment time, the tech took me in and had me put on a robe (no bra or shirt but pants were ok). I went into the x-ray room and sat for a bit. I was supposed to have a Dr. Halls perform this (as a fellow radiologist, my father talked to him over the phone and said wonderful things about him) but I guess he was busy so they switched me to a Dr. Mogul. He said he'd been there 6 years (to Dr. Halls' 30) and had done this many times but if I wanted to wait for Dr. Halls, I could. At this point, I was getting anxious about the procedure and just wanted it over with. So he explained the process to me and began.
He didn't do anything without telling me which I appreciated. First I drank some barium and they put a round x-ray machine on a giant arm in front of me to see where the band was and how the fluid was going down. I had been standing on a platform at the end of a table. Staying in that position, they slowly lowered me so I was laying flat. It was a bit like an amusement ride. The doctor gave me a couple of lydocane (sp?) shots in my stomach to numb the area. They felt like little bee stings. Then he inserted the needle to begin to explore to see where my port was. He showed me my port on some big tv screens next to me. It was crazy to see the device inside me for first time. He said my port was not facing square out of my stomach, it was a little turned to one side, which is ok. He said everyone's is different. So it was just a matter of getting the angle right in order to pierce the membrane of the port in the rubber section and inject the saline. He said this can take from 1 minute in some people, depending how the port is facing, to up to an hour. Mine took almost 2 hours. He could get into the port but as soon as he pushed, the port would sort of shift and move, not allowing the liquid to be injected. So he kept shifting and adjusting the view via the x-ray to get it just right before further probing.
    I don't know how some surgeons do this just by feel. They must end up poking some people 12 times until they hope it's in right. My doctor ended up going in from another angle with one more needle to try and access it easier. That did the trick. Thank God he was patient and had a good sense of humor. He kept me talking. Although it didn't hurt to much, it wasn't comfortable. Thank God for the lydocane shots. He gave me more in the middle of the procedure b/c he said the first set were wearing off. At one point I definately could feel the needle in me and it hurt. It also mainly tickled. I kept jumping when he pressed down on my abdomen. I'm so sensitive there. But he said that wouldn't interfere with his job.
    Then they slowly raised the table so that I was almost upright again and could slowly drink more barium so they could adjust the tightness with the needle in my abdomen that was attached to a tube and syringe. At first I didn't feel anything, Another sip, and I felt fullness all the way up my throat as if the swallow didn't go anywhere. He said he did that so I could feel what it was like to be too full. He took a little more fluid out and that swallow went down fairly smooth but still slowly. He said he wanted to leave it there for me. That was about 1.4 cc's. He removed the needle, the tech cleaned up my abdomen and the doctor gave me instructions. Today I was to only have clear fluids. Tomorrow I'm allowed to slowly add in thicker consistency drinks and liquids and Sunday I can have soft solids.
    I went home and had about 8 oz of broth and felt full. I've only had a few ounces of sugar free juice since then. I'm so excited. This is now the real deal. This is what they call the active phase of the lap-band. Until now it was just passive healing which of course required effort too but this now is how it's going to be the rest of my life. Steady adjustments. I'm ready for it. Hopefully next time I blog, I'll be less than 250 lbs and feeling fine!

Post-Op Scar Photos

Jun 21, 2007

I thought I'd include some post-op photos which were taken on 5/24/07 and 6/4,6/5 and 6/6/07, 9 days post-op (2 days after staple removal) and two weeks post-op because this is what I was curious about as a pre-op patient so maybe it would help someone else who is pre-op. Seeing another persons scar pictures on this website actually helped me, even if it does sound creepy but it really helped me deal with my own scars! A big Thank you to OH Support Center for directing me to the tutorial that teaches how to add photos directly into blogs! Now if I can only figure out how to keep the Ticker Factory from changing the posts with my weight progress on it from previous blogs...  (added on 6/21/07)

photo 5/24/07-after staple removal

photo 5/24/07

photo 6/4/07 with a few steri strips left on port site (the biggest scar)

photo 6/5/07- steri strips almost gone (they fall away by themselves in the shower)

photo 6/6/07- no more steri strips! Yay! 

5 Weeks Post-Op

Jun 21, 2007

Yesterday was 5 weeks post-op from my lap-band surgery. It's been a little bit tough but only mentally, not physically. My mom left on June 10th, a few weeks after my surgery. It had been so helpful to have her here b/c she was helping me remember to eat slowly and take small bites.  I figured once she left it would be no problem. Unfortunately, as soon as I could I started pushing the boundaries to see what and how much I could eat with my new band in place. Nothing has been hurting which is a blessing but for me also a curse. I figured, hey, if it doesn't hurt, I could try and eat things that weren't recommended yet like chicken that hasn't been pureed or a burrito (not a whole one but still...) I chewed a lot but over a few weeks, I didn't take as long to eat as I should and I began eating more than I know I should be. But I'm not getting that full feeling that I'm so used to. Not that I was a huge overeater per say but I guess I've been used to feeling uncomfortably full after eating. That has been my way of dealing with a lot of stuff over the years. I eat even when I'm not hungry and typically more than I need to. And now I'm sure I've stretched out my newly banded stomach. The reason why I think this is because my scars are starting to be sore even though I've had them for a while now. I feel like they're sore b/c they're getting stretched. I also feel myself not losing any more weight although as of Tuesday  6.19 when I weighed myself, I hadn't gained any. I'm currently at 237.5 lbs., the same as for the past 3 weeks.
    I wrote this issue on and one lady wrote back saying that she could have a 12 oz mac & cheese meal before her first fill so not to fret. That made me feel a lot better. I mean, with this surgery, I understand that the changes have to come from you. That's one of the reasons why I opted for it. I'm very proud of myself for going through this but I'm suddenly questioning how strong I am and how successful I will be. Maybe I should've done the gastric? There was a lady at the support group meeting I went to who said she's convinced that the surgeon also operated on her brain b/c she simply doesn't crave or want to eat like before or the foods she used to. I've heard that time and time again. I guess there's a part of me that wishes this surgery took away some of my cravings and made it a little easier to change my previous habits. Maybe it will be after my first fill, which my doctor doesn't recommend until 8 weeks post op.
    I feel like this little rebellious kid who wants all this food I know I shouldn't have and despite having spent a lot of time and money going through this process am still doing things I shouldn't be. How will this work for me?  Has anyone else done this or experienced this post lap-band or am is it just me?
    Part of it too has been that the support group my hospital offers has mainly gastric bypass patients in it. Not that they're all not great, they are and I'm really glad to have them. But there isn't anyone who actually identifies with me there. They say we're all going through the same issues and of course we are to some extent but it's not the same as having someone who also has this device in them. I had to keep asking the fellow who was there and the nutritionist if what they were saying is different for lap-band patients as for gastric patients. Of course they were happy to address this but since I was the only one there w/ it, they were talking to the others. At this point, I was only 3 weeks post-op so none of these issues had really come up yet. It's only been over the past 2 weeks. Currently, I'm trying to find another support group in the area that is possibly exclusively for lap-band patients in the Pasadena, CA area. It's been difficult. If anyone who's reading this by any chance knows of one, please let me know. It would be much appreciated.
    The other thing that was a little disturbing was my first check up b/c I had an appointment with my surgeon. I never once thought I'd get his fellow. Nothing wrong with his fellow, he's a great guy, but for my first check up? I was quite surprised. He answered all my questions. But when my mom wanted to say thank you and say goodbye to my surgeon, the surgeon gave me some contradictory instructions from the fellow. Can't we all be on the same page people? This is confusing enough for the patient, even if you'd done all the research. I'd still like people to be clear.
    That leads me to the surgeon's office staff. I am still in shock that I had such a hard time trying to pay my actual check to the surgeon for him and the anesthesiologist. Forgive me if I've already ranted about this previously but I don't remember at this point. The assistant told me one thing, the hospital people told me another, and the woman who supposedly handles his financial dealings was the most confused of all. I was like "can someone please take this money?!" What is the problem? Finally the surgeon took it directly but I didn't get any receipt from him. I got one from the financial lady but it did not have any name or indication where it's coming from. It literally just said 'Receipt' at the top of it. It was ripped out of one of those like spiral bound message books, hand-written, that have 3 or 4 little message segments per page. I was like "What is this? My accountant is going to think I'm crazy and got my surgery from some crack-pot doctor." And sure enough she did. I told her this was through USC for heaven's sakes. She almost didn't believe me and said that it did not suffice for tax purposes. The lady in the surgeons office acted like I was the most difficult thing in the world. She said she has NEVER EVER needed to do this for anyone before. I'm sorry, am I the only cash patient in the world?And if it's such a problem, why do they offer it as an option? She was so confused when I told her I needed something more thorough on letterhead, preferably typed out. Oh, and first she said she can't give me a receipt at all b/c I didn't pay her directly so she doesn't know if I actually paid it. I was like "I tried to! You wouldn't take it! Remember?" I told her the surgeon himself had it so she could ask him. Although the surgeons assistant kept insisting that he shouldn't have anything to do with the money to begin with. And with that I agree b/c he misquoted me the hospital fee to begin with which no one honored. Finally, after getting the surgeon himself to talk to this woman who deals with the money (supposedly) and he asked her to give me a receipt , she was STILL like "well, we should check with his assistant b/c I really have never dealt with this before..." WHAT THE...!!! She actually made me go with her to the assistant about this AGAIN, who was like "well just type it on some letterhead. I don't know."  This is seconds after the surgeon asked her to do it for me. I was about to be like "Look move over, just let me use your computer to type it out myself. And stop treating me like I'm the crazy one here!" Again I ask, what is the problem?! I've gotten more legit receipts for a pack of gum than for a major surgery such as this. Even then, when she finally semi-half heartedly agreed to do it (prob just to no longer have this discussion any more which was SOOO unnecessarily difficult for NO reason), it was not until THREE WEEKS LATER that I still saw neither hide or hare of this receipt. I mean if this is what she does, how long can it possibly take to understand what I need and do this for me without making me feel bad asking her to provide me with a stinking receipt?! It's not like she was mean about it or anything but she simply acted like I was crazy and asking her to do this impossible thing. I had to email her and finally, at long last I was faxed a remotely acceptably proper receipt this past Monday. Sheesh!
    Lastly, I wonder if anyone can help me out with the following two tech problems:
1. I can't seem to add any photos to my actual blog itself. I wanted to post a few directly into my blog and it's not letting me do it.
2. Does anyone know how to keep the ticker factory ticker to not change your previous weights? I noticed when I updated mine a few weeks ago, that all the previous ticker postings I had made on previous blogs (such as pre-surgery, etc) had moved too. Well that's not helpful. I thought only the current one would change. They don't have a number to call for help on their website and I tried asking on lap-band but I couldn't get any definitive answer.
Believe it or not, these are the two things that have prevented me from updating my blog for a while b/c I wanted to enter things as they happen and not have to retrospectively inject stuff such as tickers and photos. That would have prevented this from being such a long blog but I wanted to share my experience and get it off my chest so to speak.
Thank you for reading and for any input anyone might have on any of this.
p.s.- Tues 6/26 is my 31st b-day and despite some of these hassles and challenges, I am so happy I have done this for myself in order to live a healthier life. I guess I just have to keep reminding myself that.
I sincerely do hope everyone is finding success, even amidst the bumps, in their own journey. Take care! 

A New Beginning.

May 19, 2007

    Well, I made it. I can't believe the surgery is over! I'm officially 4 days post-op and banded. I feel awesome. I feel so lucky to have the wonderful doctors, surgeons, friends and family who have helped me through this time.
    OK, from the beginning.  Somehow I made it to sleep around 1:30 am Monday night. My mother woke me up at 4:40 am and we were on the road by 5am. We checked in with admitting where they explained to me the Advanced Directive thing (basically a living will) but hadn't filled it out so now it was too late. Thankfully I did fill out a portion and gave it to my mother to execute but I would have appreciate it a bit ahead of time before then. Then I went into a pre-op prep room where I changed into my gown, booties and hair net thing. The wonderful nurse there, Susie, applied an I.V. to my left hand. I barely felt it, which is astonishing for me. I met with several people then including Dr. Peterson, Dr. K's fellow, Dr. Strum, the anesthesiologist, several members of his team, and some other people who would operate on me. I also got the first in a series of shots of heprin in my right arm. My cousin (a nurse) said it's not possible to give those shots in the arm any more only in stomachs. My mother corraborated this. However, perhaps b/c of the surgery, it is supposed to be in my arm. Although the post-op nurse never heard of this. Maybe different standars elsewhere. Who knows? Anyway, around 7:40, they wheeled me into surgery. I remember Ronny from the anesth. team saying that she put something to calm me in my I.V. I remember kissing my mom goodbye and being wheeled into the elevator and even the O.R. as everyone around me was cracking jokes. Then I woke up and was in recovery. Apparently I was awake and talking (the doctors said I was being funny) after this but I don't remember seeing or talking. A very strange thing. Then I found myself in my own room, room 742, with my mother. She brought me beautiful purple orchids, a big get well soon balloon and little stuffed poochie I named Bandy, as a mascot for my new lap-band. I'd like to find out what size band I got put in. I'll have to remember to ask the surgeon. So I was wrapped up in warm blankets and felt good. Of course the lortab via I.V. helped. I was so happy to be out and done that I cannot say.
    I slept on and off most of the afternoon then started walking slowly up and down the hallway. Whenever I was lying down, I wore air inflators to keep the circulation going in my legs and prevent vein trombosis (my mom's words- doctor speak for any type of blockage from happening). Also, since they intubabed me for the anesthesia, my throat was sore for a few days. A scarf kept it from getting exposed to the air. It was nice not to worry about eating as the I.V. took care of that. I had a little shoulder pain in my right shoulder then left. It eased up a bit on Wed.  Dr.  Peterson came by and said everything went superwell. Some of the residents came in and took off my original bandages. Dr. Katkouda came in later and I showed him. He said they shouldn't have removed them but other than that, he said everything went really well.
    Tues night was good. My day nurse, Elisa, got switched for my night nurse, Yvonne. Both were very sweet and accomodating. I ate a lot of ice chips. My main priority that night was going to the bathroom so I wouldn't have be re-catherized. Somewhere around 11pm I did. I didn't know it was such a big deal so for all you soon to have surgery, fyi just so you know. I was so happy. I managed to get a few hours sleep. They were kind enough to give my mom a recliner so she could sleep in my room with me.
    We both awoke around 6:30. More walking. Dr. Kathkouda came and checked on me around 8:30 and said after I had my first bit of liquids orally for bkfst and lunch, I could be discharged if I tollerated it well. After more walking and a dry bath, had the nurse check in with the surgeon, we got my discharge papers after one last check of vitals. I think I officially left around 3:30pm. All in all, a superior experience.
    As far as hospitals go, my floor was relatively calm, which is a nice experience. It was almost hotel-like.  As mentioned, everyone was nice and went beyond my expectations. I didn't even want to be discharged. I figured I was so comfy there, why not stay on. But honestly I couldn't wait to get home either.
    The rest of Wed, Thurs and Fri went by in a flash. Mainly, I've been walking in the am and pm with my mom. The hardest thing has been tracking all the fluids I'm to drink/eat. Up until today, I've been on a clear liquid diet. Thank God for my mom's delicious chicken broth. As of today, I can have cream soups and puddings although after just 1/2 cup of cream soup I got full so no pudding. Juice instead. But nothing has made me feel nauseus or sick at all. Of course I'm being extremely cautious and doing exactly what is written. I don't want to take any chances.
     It's wierd how quickly I get full. I know my stomach is still tender but it feels so cool to be full after just a little bit of food. As of this morning I am down to 244.5 lbs, that's 2.5 pounds post-op loss.
    This is truly a new beginning. I'm so glad to have gotten this done. I think with my surgeon's guidance and family's support, it'll really help me.

Night before surgery

May 14, 2007

Well, it's a few hours before I leave to the hospital for my lap-band surgery. I weighed myself this am, I was at 248. It's been a while since I was below 250. Yipee! As expected, I'm not tired even though I was before. I'm quite relaxed and ready for anything. My mother and I spent the morning at the spa and did some errands in the afternoon. Before I knew it, I was having my "last supper" (her delicious scrambled eggs with peppers, small chicken breast, whole wheat english muffin & grilled veggies) around 3:45. It was more like a last meal. Then I spoke with my father, cousin and brother on the phone. They were very enthusiastic and supportive, as my mother has been this whole time. Before the sun set, we went out for one last walk to town and even did a little shopping. Later, I had some clear chicken soup my mother made. Delicious. Then I packed and made sure I had everything in order at my apartment. Then I did my thorough shower (no lotions or moisturizers), removed my nail polish, and here I am.

I know I should be more nervous than I feel right now but it seems exciting right now. I'm sure tomorrow at this time, it'll be a different story but I'm so optimistic and happy to be fortunate enough to be getting this done, and I am so grateful for the love and support of my friends and family. Now it's all in the good surgeon's and God's hands.

Can't wait to be on the (further) losing side...

Pre-Op Photos:

Only a Day to Go

May 13, 2007

Tomorrow is my last day prior to surgery. I'm lucky to have my mom here with me. She came from New York a few days ago to over the last few doctor visits and clinic appointments with me. Encountered some last minute stumbling blocks but got through them. I've been doing my pre-op diet for two weeks now, and for the last week, I've been on protein shakes 2x a day w/ one meal. It's taken off about 8 pounds I'd say. Amazing what that along with a little extra exercise has done for me already. Can't wait to have surgery and see what it really feels like to be a 'big loser'! I haven't really been hungry through this process, just trying not to let my blood sugar drop so I don't get faint. It was wierd not taking my mom to brunch today as it's Mother's Day and all but she's been so supportive and understanding, like all my family whom I've told about this, so to her it was no big deal. She actually is trying to drop a few pounds while she's with me too.

Tomorrow, I planned a day at the spa for the two of us, as a Mother's Day gift and as a thank you for her support. I couldn't do this without her love and interest. The few friends I've told have been awesome as well. And a special shout out to Kween Tee from here, if you're reading T, thank you for all your encouragement and kind loving words. It's truly special and meaningful to know you and have your support.

The Virtual Me, hopefully will be The Reality of Me one day!

Apr 29, 2007

I thought doing the Virtual Body was a good idea for visual inspiration.


My Virtual Model
My Virtual Model

This was from the following website: or on Levi Strauss' Virtual Model website

Moving Right Along

Apr 29, 2007

It's been a bit frustrating trying to coordinate between my surgeons office and my doctor's office regarding the type of pre-op testing I need. First I was told one thing at my initial consultation, then I was told another by someone in the surgeons office. So I spent a lot of time trying to figure out which of the tests that I had done in January I could re-use for this surgery (which is what I was initially told b/c it was supposed to save me some money as I'm a cash patient) so I had to find out what precisely all the results were (for which tests). The doctor's office didn't understand why I was the one calling them and figuring all this out. Apparently they thought there should be a coordinator who knows exactly the right questions to ask regarding my specific case. And frankly I agree. But in all fairness, the coordinator on the surgeon's side has been pretty clear as to what she thinks I need to have done as she does this every day. I asked the nurse at the doctor's office to directly speak w/ the coordinator for any questions she may have so that I can get all the tests I need scheduled. After all, I don't have that much time left before my surgery!

After a long debate, back and forth with the coordinator, I found out directly from my surgeon that in fact I do not need a cardiac stress test but do need a recent EKG and Chest X-ray along with the blood work and psych eval.
So I think that has finally been resolved. I already got my chest x-ray done. My appointment for the rest of the exams is this week so I'm looking forward to having that all complete.

I just feel like there should be a more organized, coordinated way to go about this instead of everyone passing the buck and me, the client and patient, getting caught in the middle. I don't mind doing the work of gathering the information needed, that's my responsibility. But I don't like when I'm treated by the various doctor's office staff like I'm being difficult when all I want to do is understand what is being asked of me and what each component means. I'm sorry, I think I'm a fairly intelligent person who has done their homework to some end but it's not as if I get surgery every day. I shouldn't be treated like a nudge. If I don't get on top of my own business, who will?

Now moving on to other things, I'm looking forward to having my mom here in a few weeks to help me go through surgery. So the next important component is to get a full picture of what I need for my pre-op prep and diet before my mom arrives and also to get all the suppliments and things ready for my hospital visit & when I'm home. I went to meet with a dietician that is affiliated with my hospital. It sounded as if this visit was optional, even over the phone if I wanted, which is good for flexibility I suppose but it didn't sound very serious. I am very serious about this b/c so far I have been relying on information found on various sources on the internet and others' experiences, which I find very valuable but they're not tailored to this surgeon and this hospital, which I thought was the idea. I also thought it was mandatory for every patient to meet with the hospital's dietician as well as for support group. That is a whole other mess that I don't want to even try to understand or untangle yet.

On line, I found a very comprehensive program guide for lap-band patients from a hospital in Kentucky. I brought that with me to my appointment with the dietician to see if they had anything to offer that would be comprable. She did in fact have something like that. Finally, something concrete in writing from my hospital. The dietician was very nice although a bit hesitant and tentative for my liking. But that's just a personality thing. I'd rather deal with someone like that than overbearing and cold. I feel like I'm better equipped to deal with the  upcoming surgery now.

I've not really begun consistantly losing weight yet per say. I think I'm feeling a little bit of mourning or something for my food. Although the other night I was on this website and found a bunch of wonderful people who were lap-banders who were posting about how you're not totally deprived when you have the lap-band and you can still go out to eat and enjoy yourself. That was a huge relief, it was as if they were reading my mind. I was able to relate to their issues and concerns. I have this struggle with not wanting to think about food anymore all the time and yet apparently I'm feeling like I'm going to miss it. Very confusing. As the old saying goes, I'm starting the diet on Monday morning, but this time for real b/c I don't want surgery complications due to not shriniking my liver appropriately enough. That's the least I can do to help my surgeon in terms of what I can contribute to the success of my surgery.

Last night, my friend invited me to go to a swing dance with her at a nearby dance hall. She said a friend of hers from dance class would be performing and there would be a band from New York there. When we went, I was so surprised to find many people of varying ages there, some dressed in the 40's and 50's style and some just casual, all dancing together. I mainly observed as my back had been bothering me a bit yesterday but I did participate in a circle dance called 'The Walk'. It was so much fun. Even Bill Nye, the Science Guy was there kicking up his heels! Random, but true. There was also an Andy Roddick look-alike (Hello!). For the most part, everybody was easy-going. I was also surprised to see girls my size and bigger there too. It was inspiring that they weren't home hiding. They were participating in life. I decided that I want to take some lessons, maybe after I lose the first 25 lbs. I'm not very good at goal-making but that's the closest I've come so far.

Also, my friend very kindly agreed to take my first set of official measurements. Here are my results:
date: 4/28/07
current weight: 254 lbs.
BMI: 40.67
lbs lost: 3 lbs.

waist: 48"
chest: 50"
thigh: 30" (both)
arm: 15.5" (both)
ankle: 9" (both)
calf: 17.5" (both)
neck: 14.5"
hips: 58.4
shoe size: 10.5 (R), 10 (L)
shirt size: 22/24
pant size: 24/26

I will also upload some photos she took for me. I'm looking forward to seeing some results in the upcoming months.

As of my consultation with Dr. K on Friday, 4/27 I weighed 257 pounds. With that number in mind, these are some of my weight loss milestones:

Goal 1    -25 pounds    (232) 
Goal 2    -50 pounds    (207) 
Goal 3    -75 pounds    (182- below 200, dare I dream)
Goal 4   -100 pounds   (157)  
Goal 5   -110 pounds   (147)  

But I will try to keep in mind the fact that I want this to be a slow and steady process, not expect miracles, and remind myself to put in the hard work that goes along with using the lap-band as a behavior modification tool, not a miracle cure.

Surgery Scheduled

Apr 17, 2007

A lot has happened in the past few weeks. Mainly, I went to 2 different symposiums or information sessions. One at Huntington Hospital and one for USC University Hospital. Then I met with Dr. Namir Katkhouda from USC. I felt very comfortable with him. As everyone whose blogs I have read about him, he was very professional and knowlegable. I was warmly welcomed by him and his staff and was able to get all my questions answered.  My ambivilence led him to ask him which sugery he thought would be best for me, the lap-band or the gastric bypass. He said I would be able to get either one and he basically said if I was interested in the safer approach I should go with the lap-band. After further consideration and a visit to the WL Mentor Group at Huntington Hospital and getting some further input I decided that it would be the best thing for me.

They gave me a surgery date of May 15th becuase I'm paying out of pocket. So now I have less than a month to make sure all my ducks are in a row as well as lose approx 12 pounds per the doctors request.

So there's a lot to do and a little time to do it in. Fortunately, I have the support of my parents (which I was very concerned about) as well as my brother and cousin and a few friends who I've talked to about it. The rest is now up to me and the doctor.

About Me
Pasadena, CA
Mar 11, 2007
Member Since

Friends 7

Latest Blog 10
Things are finally moving along
First Fill
Post-Op Scar Photos
5 Weeks Post-Op
A New Beginning.
Night before surgery
Only a Day to Go
The Virtual Me, hopefully will be The Reality of Me one day!
Moving Right Along
Surgery Scheduled