1 year update

Jul 28, 2009

One year ago my life changed. Not just a little but entirely. I knew going in to the operating room that I was making the right decision. I really never wavered from that belief. A year later I am 1000 times more sure of my decision.


Words really can’t describe how my life has changed. I remember how I used to look, how my body used to hold me back, and how I was in many ways stuck living a life I was not intended to live. I didn’t know then but in comparison I know now. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great life but there was so much I missed, some much that hurt, and so much I wanted. While surgery doesn’t change your life, it changed how I am able to live mine. There are moments that feel like my surgery was just yesterday. But I think about the last year and all the things I have done that I never could have done 12 months ago and I can’t help but know that I am so lucky.


I think I am at goal, my losses have slowed substantially. I have a plastic surgery consult tomorrow and might have a better idea then. But more it is a mind issue. Is a 6/8 small enough or since I have the chance should I aim for smaller but does my body have weight to give up. And then isn’t it ridiculous that I would want more considering how far I have come? This is still a mental challenge for me, part of which stems from never acknowledging either pre or post-op what my size truly was/is.


In the last year I have:

  • lost nearly 130 pounds eating some yummy food
  • traveled to several places including Ireland where I hiked one hell of an island ~ oh I broke a sweat but a year ago my heart might have exploded
  • wore a bathing suit, in public and walked around like it was no big thing (and I’m not just referring to my boobs and butt being no big thing ~ because well they aren’t)
  • worked out regularly and enjoyed it (and no Starr, not just for the eye candy, though that helps)
  • made some amazing friends on these boards and in IRL. For the MADS who took care of me pre-op ~ I could not have done this without you.
  • Checked just about everything off of my “why I want to have surgery” list
  • Cured my high blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • Made my doctor tear up she was so proud of me
  • Bought at least 5 wardrobes ~ some just an item to two but now the closet is filling up again
  • Started dating…I feel like I have and continue to spend my life getting men to see past how I look and get to know me…it’s a little different post-op for sure though
  • Went from a size 24 to a size 6 or 8 (I even fit, though not attractively, into a 4 last weekend)
  • Lost over 109 inches (based on the 12 measurements I track) including some highlights such as 17 inches each from hips and waist, 11 inches from my bust, and 10 inches from my upper thigh. Wow, I am just calculating these for the first time and even I’m a little surprised.
  • Began living the life I know I am destined to lead. I am still the same person I was just with a lot more confidence and self-assurance.


I have only one con and I think I have figured out the situation. From shortly after my surgery to now, my hips have hurt. The pain has gotten progressively worse. Well the other night my massage therapist finally figured out what she thinks the problem is. My knees pronate in, which puts pressure on my hips. So why didn’t they hurt before…well likely because my thighs were so big they pressed my knees out removing the pressure from my hips. Even my con is a WOW!!! Hope to see a doc soon to see what can be done to correct this.


My advice if you are a pre-op or newly post-op. Follow the advice of those who have been here a while (and I don’t necessarily mean me). I am very happy that I stayed away from carbs as long as I did. The protein first rule was key and I still live by that.


Thank you to all who have gone before and good luck to all that are beginning their journey.

5 Months...

Jan 03, 2009

A little update on how things are going at 5 months. Some major wows have been experienced and I am so very happy with my surgery choice.


Shopping in regular stores. I can go in to stores with my sisters or friends and try on clothes and even buy them. Oh and the normal sized section of the department stores are huge!!!! I got bored looking one day it was so big.

Crossing legs. It's awesome. I do it everywhere.

Walking...walking...walking. I have so much energy.

I went horseback riding.

I'm sure there are lots more. I am just so thrilled with life these days.

3 months...

Oct 28, 2008

A few reflections/wows on the last 3 months:

I've lost 62.1 pounds. They have been the easiest pounds I have ever lost. My body has changed in different ways than with prior weight loss and there are moments when I don't really see the changes but everyone else assures me they are happening. I've started to get looks of surprise from people I haven't seen in a while.

I'm cold. I have never been cold in my life. Last winter I wore a coat 5 times ~ that's all. Now I wear a coat every day. I bought an electric blanket this weekend and am sitting with a heating pad on my lap at work.

I don't sweat like I used to. I used to sweat so much. It was really so embarassing. I was kinda ok with being fat but being embarassed to walk 2 blocks and being a sweaty mess was awful ~ even in the winter. I just spent 3 days walking everywhere in Chicago (temp in the 70's) and never broke the slightest of a sweat.

Having your sister tell you it is so nice not to have to worry about you and if I'm ok ~ priceless and heartbreaking all at the same time.

From size 24 to 18.

BP is normal with no meds. Getting first cholesterol screening since surgery in about 2 weeks!

Bought my first top in a "normal" store. Almost cried in dressing room.

Meeting a future DSer who tells me she didn't think I could be who she was supposed to meet because I "look like a normal person"

I'm finally, just barely starting to believe this is going to get me where my weight needs to be. I'm a diet failure, it's a mental thing.

Am planning trips and living my life again. No more hiding at home.

oh and one last thing....


Surgery story...

Aug 05, 2008

Please forgive the words running together. I have no clue how to fix it. If you know how please feel free to PM me  :-)

July 24th

Everyone gets up, goes to the hospital, and then the delays begin. I go back to pre-op about 10:30 am and get all set up. The delays continue. About 2:30 or 3 the doctor comes in and says that he thinks we should postpone. I am crushed but 100% support his decision as I don’t want him working on me without being on his A game. No thanks on that! Had a great nurse ~ Liz who took great care of me. So kinda in a haze we all leave and head back home with a promise from the office to call with a new date. The good news, I got me some Ledo’s pizza…yum.  

Family goes home.  

Best thing about today ~ I never once thought I was making the wrong choice. I sat there confident and assured. Going home knowing that sitting feet from the OR you feel that was provides quite a bit of comfort.  

July 25th  

Alice calls from Johns Hopkins. New date is Tuesday, July 29. A Tuesday which is a weird day for a DS and will completely change how I have come to think about Thursdays and their significance in the future. Talk to family on how to deal. They as to be expected come though amazingly  

July 29th  

Well any eating I needed to do has been accomplished. Everyone up super early to get to the hospital by 6 am. My dad was so cute because he wanted to make himself breakfast but didn’t want to make me jealous. I felt no food envy and told him to enjoy. Was actually less organized this morning but I think that has to do with the early morning surgery time.   Arrive at hospital and check in. They tell me to hang close as they will be taking me back to pre-op soon. We have ended up referring to the 24th as our dress rehearsal so everyone knows exactly what will be happening ~ quite nice. So after about 15 minutes and re-doing all paperwork, a sweet nurse called my name and set me up in a little medical area where I got my new IV (left hand was still no good from the 24th) in my lower arm. Get my blood thinner shot, cute outfit, leg cuffs, stockings, and the oh so sexy hair net. Then the family gets to come back. At this point all the docs are coming back quickly to chat so before I know it there is Dr. S and I remind him of the 100 cm common channel request, he says no problem and literally at 7:45 they give me my happy meds and wheel me back to the OR. I have to give much love here and everywhere to my parents for their love & support. I’m sure there were tears as I was rolling out but they kept strong for me until that point. The last thing I remember was rolling in to the OR and them moving my gurney next to the operating table and moving over there, telling the docs there is no way I was going to fit on that little table and then waking up. It was at least 4 hours later ~ no clue. As I was waking I remember having on a oxygen mask but when I finally really woke up all I had was a little oxygen tube across my face.  

I don’t remember moving to my room or much from Tuesday or Wednesday. I remember having to get up from bed to walk and literally thinking I was going to never recover. There was no way I was going to walk easily again. But the nurses and my mom kept motivating me. And let me just say that any time I could not find my pain pump I was ANNOYED. That was my new BFF. I was so sad Wednesday when they took it away ~ umm please can I have that back now???!!!!  

Dad stayed in to the night on Tuesday then came back with Kat (my sis) on Wednesday. I tried really hard to be lively for her and damn I thought I was doing well but the one thing I have realized is that I never felt as good as I thought and that the next day when I feel a little better I realize how crappy I felt the day before. Everyone laughed as all I wanted was for people to talk to me. Could have cared less what you were saying ~ read me the dictionary for all I care but talk to me. So everyone sweetly did just that. I believe I kept trying to get Kat to do things she wasn’t supposed to, which is just about normal for us.  
Wednesday is another haze of drugs. I do believe they took my cath out this day too. Another thing I would have allowed them to leave for a while. I didn’t start peeing immediately but after a while I did and now I medically believe that not breaking the seal is the way to go for long nights of college drinking. Once I started there were no problems. Though at one point I was sitting on the toilet with my ipod on trying to relax enough to get things going. Yeah quite a sight. However, I have to say my mood was brightened about 6 am when a rather large group of docs, probably my age and all very attractive, came in for morning rounds. Well in any other situation I would have been in heaven though in this case with them examining my scabs, drains, and abdominal area I was mortified.

Thursday (no pain pump ~ still pouting) was the upper GI leak test. So off in my wheelchair I went. It was not fun but I pushed through. The test showed that my bowels were still swollen but no leaks. All in all good news. However here is where things went off track a bit. Some of it I didn’t realize at the time but clearly the surgeons were worried about the swelling. It ended up that I had ileus, which is when you bowels don’t start working right away. Worst case I have come to find out is surgery but first up is no food or liquid by mouth to let them rest. I was on liquid pain meds but Thursday night those decided they weren’t going in the stomach and up they came. Nasty. But the nurses and my mom were awesome and got me all cleaned up and ready to go again. Back to pill form. I think that made the docs worry even more. Oh and I farted!!!!  

Friday, still no food or liquid by mouth but this was the first day I really felt better. Before I had been doing hospital laps because I knew I had to. There isn’t a choice. You just do them. On Wednesday night I did them every 4 hours. I hated every last one of them. But they were good for me. But by Friday I felt good. I sat in the chair all day (v. bed), watched TV and started cracking some jokes. Bad idea as I was cracking myself up and laughing hurts! The good news was the farts continued, cute docs continued to visit, and I was feeling better. I also started hinting that I wanted to go home.  More of the same Friday night and sat am until they finally sent me home.  

The car ride home was smartly managed with neausea meds and pain killer. I got in, stayed awake long enough to give my mom directions as needed, and then I slept until we got home. Being home felt AWESOME! Did go home with drains, which I hate. Once they are gone I hope to feel much much better.  

Since getting home I have moved between the big overstuffed chairs, couch, and a tad bit in bed. Don’t find laying flat in bed comfortable yet so avoiding that.   Sat night just sat around watching tv and did get a shower. Mom changed drain bandanges so that is good. Sunday. Guess what, more sitting around, drinking protein, and water. Monday went about the same.

Today I actually haven’t had the tv on and have been on the computer most of the day. I feel better every single day. I think on one day I feel good, normal only to feel even better the next day. 

“Food” and drinking are going well. I’m pooping and yes, my poops stink more as does my gas. But I’m ok with it. If I courtesy flush, even in my own house I’m fine. Reaching around the clean up hurts still and for that I don’t like pooping but I’lll deal until the abs loosen up a bit.  

Let me close by saying how awesome the staff at Johns Hopkins are. There are simply not words to describe the care, compassion, and amazingness of these men & women. It is truly a state of the art facility in both its technical equipment and more emotional/nurturing care of their patients.  

Something I wrote one day...

Aug 05, 2008

Note to self: Self, you will not wake up thin. This will take time and dedication. There may be some stalls, some pain, and yes, even some buyers remorse but you will remind yourself every day that you are worth it and you are on your way to a healthier and more active life. The path won't be perfect but it will be worth it in the end.

up next...

Jan 17, 2008

PCP was supportive. Info session attended. Up next ~ consultation! Between now and then research, talking to the family, and finishing up getting all the medical records.


Jan 09, 2008

Hi. I have been lurking around here for a while now and just wanted to get more involved. I am meeting with my PCP tomorrow to get the process started from that perspective. I have my consulation scheduled with the surgeon on February 18, 2008.

About Me
Surgery Date
Jan 09, 2008
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