2011 Walk from Obesity ... another success!

Oct 11, 2011

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4 1/2 Months after Eyelid Surgery & Volunteering

Sep 14, 2011

I had my blepharaplasty on April 27th. It's been 4 1/2 months and my eyes look great! I'll post more pics as soon as I get some new ones. My computer died/fried/crashed completely so I lost all my pics.


No regrets what-so-ever!

Still running WLS support group meetings and speaking at Dr. Pohl & Dr. Giovanni's seminars. I had to say, what I love the most is visiting patients who are immediately post-op at Roger Williams. It makes me feel so good to offer support to others who are starting their weight loss surgery journey.

And now I have the opportunity to help those who are two years + post-op too! The 2+ year post-op meeting is going really well. We are able to discuss things we are too afraid to talk about at other meetings. It's a really safe, no-judgement zone! I love it! It's officially my favorite meeting now!

ALSO .... I'm feeling great about being able to reach out to others who know someone or who are suffering from the disease of Obesity! The Walk from Obesity event is October 8, 2011. Only a few more weeks. I'm so excited! Overwhelmed at times but ... Excited! I can't wait to see the turn out! I hope we are able to help as many people as we did last year!

I'm also selling 'Bariatric Advantage' products out of my home so people don't have to spend and waste money on vitamins and protein products they don't like. Plus, they can get it much faster ... and in person. I love the extra delivery hugz I get! LOL

I'm so extremely grateful for the opportunities that have come my way since I had my RNY June 4, 2008! My life has really changed!

"Living Life" is what it's all about!


And so my Plastic Surgery Journey begins....

Apr 16, 2011

EEYup! You are reading it correctly....plastics!

I am having my upper eyelids 'done' on April 27th! A Blepharoplasty! Since losing the weight, my upper eyelids droop like Under Dog's! I am seeing (no pun intended) a Opthalmology Plastic Surgeon named Dr. Phil Rizzuto (like the voice of the NY Yankees) Phil Rizzuto.

My insurance will NOT pay for it because although it hinders my vision from the sides, it doesn't hinder my visual capacity when looking forward. So....I have saved my moolah and will be paying cash!

I think it will be well worththe money though. I alway find myself raising my eyebrows in order to see better. Especially first thing in the morning and at night while driving. My line of vision compromises my safety when I'm driving.

Also, I'm hoping it will help me feel more alert and less tired throughout the day. I will add my before pics below and will continue to post my recovery pics as time goes on.

I am keeping a plastic surgery journal now. I have the turkey neck and what seems like a permanent frown on my lips from the sagging skin on my face. I don't wish to have a face-lift. That's too invasive for me at this stage. Instead, I will follow up the blepharoplasty with a skin treatment with Dr. Lori Palicheck called Exilis. It's a once-a-week in-office treatment for four weeks. Painless, no needles, no knives.

I have already started saving for a full Abdominoplasty and a Breast Lift w/ Flap! Until then, I will continue tucking my skin and seeking a good Bra at Ruth's in Warwick.

And awaaaaaay I goooooo!!!!!

Foot Surgery is a big downer!

Apr 06, 2011

Ok, let's start this blog by saying...I have Extremely sensitive feet! Just thinking of it right now makes me break out into a sweat! My feet are so sensitive that I've kicked many-a humans and animals who have brushed by them by accident. My legs and feet seem to have minds of their own. I can't control their backlash when others so much as threaten to touch them.

I broke the big toe of my right foot on December 30. Yup, day before New Year's Eve. And...I broke it good! Right in half...at an angle! Well, I had to be carried around by hubby for a whole week! Thank GOD I had RNY and lost 154 pounds! I would really have been in a world of hurts if I hadn't. But then again...I never would have been running in my kitchen in the first place. LOL

So, I wore the cute boot for eight lonnnnng weeks. In the process of all the doc appointments (and several moments of squirming from touches) the doc discovered my bunion. Now, I knew I had a bunion. My shoes told me so. It hurts. It let's me know it's there. I knew it would require surgery to make it go away. But that means SOMEONE TOUCHING my foot! So, I didn't go!

Now, without a choice...Doc Shemenski is at my front handling my foot while I'm skreeching and squirming. He measures and sends me for, yet another, xray. Now the xray tech is nice but....really....I'm praying she doesn't have a foot fetish.

If the bone was slanted 12 degrees, I would need a slight adjustment. 16 degrees slanted and some phone calls later...

my toe has healed well but not quite right, some swelling still and needs some 'sanding/planing down' but healed enough for me to go ahead and have, eeeyup, bunion surgery while he's in there on March 25th.

Surgery went very well, one cut in the skin three in the bone and two screws. Doc gives me Percocet for pain. I go home...find out I'm ALLERGIC to Percocet! Hubby rushes me to the ER. I spent 7 1/2 hours there~!

Well, all is said and done. I had my post-op visit last Friday. I'm healing well and will be having my stitches out this coming Friday. Doc Shemenski said (giggling) he may have to numb me up to have the stitches out because my foot is so sensitive and I squirm so much he may jab me with the scissors by accident. (Now that's just funny, hooah!)

I, basically, sit on my bum all day and watch movies and play around on Facebook. I've had friends and family come visit too! I worry about gaining weight and/or losing muscle while sitting around. I had weeks of not being able to move about when I broke my toe and was finally able to get onto my elipitical again for only a week. Thankfully, since December, I have NOT gained any weight. But, I do feel weeker.

I miss volunteering at the hospital so much! I love visiting WLS patients the day after their surgery! I feel like I miss out on so much because I have met so many wonderful people during my visits. It feels so good to offer myself to others. Sometimes I actually feel selfish about it because there are times I feel I get more out of it than they do.

Onward and Upward! Gotta stay positive! I woke up this morning with the thought in my head.....

I only have ONE chance to make this life AWESOME!

Although I can not do as much as I WANT to do....I CAN do so much more than I USED to be able to do!

I'm healing, I have friends who come visit (and bring flowers and send cards) when I'm down, I have family who calls all the time and comes by to make sure I'm okay, I have the most wonderful husband I could ever dream of..I'm grateful!

My Life Is GooooooD!!!

My Testimonial - I hope you get something out of it. God Bless

Mar 17, 2011

I’m a 46 year old married mother of six, grandmother of three, Army Veteran. I’ve been fighting the obesity battle since I had my first child in 1983. I sustained injuries while on active duty and was medically discharged from the Army in 2002. Being in the Army helped me keep my weight in check. Once discharged, I began eating my way through life, which brought me to Morbid Obesity and a BMI of 46+.

My highest weight was 286 lbs. My highest doctor recorded weight was 272 lbs. I am 5'5" tall. I wore a size 30 pants and size 4X top.

I have degenerative disk disease in my cervical and lumbar spine with permanent nerve damage. I have had two surgeries to replace discs and was looking at having more surgery, including a hip replacement within five years. I also have osteoarthritis in my hips, neck and right shoulder, bursitis in my knees and osteoporosis.

I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, GERD, sleep apnea in which I would stop breathing 96 times in a ½ hour and was a level 18 on my CPAP machine.

I was constantly tired, depressed and I felt worthless. I was actually envious of my own family because they had a ‘life’ and I didn't. I wouldn’t go to my kids’ games, track meets or matches at school or go visit friends. I was always in too much pain. Food was my only solace; my way to escape. It was the only ‘friend’ that allowed me to sit on my pity-pot and not judge me.

I was ashamed. Life was too much of a chore. I always had to use a cane and lean on someone's arm to walk anywhere. Some days I would have to walk with two canes just to get to my bathroom. And others my hubby would have to help me get into the shower. I couldn’t walk two houses down my street without having to sit down.

In January 2008, my husband came home with news that my insurance would cover the Lap-Band. My physician, my Neurosurgeon, Orthopedic Surgeon and Chronic Pain Counselor all agreed that instead, RNY was the better way to go because I would get faster pain relief if I were to lose the weight more quickly.

I had my Lap RNY (Gastric Bypass) with Dr. Dieter Pohl on June 4, 2008.

I still regularly attend support groups each month. I follow-up with Dr. Pohl and my nutritionist as suggested and diligently follow the ‘pouch rules’. Until I reached maintenance, I recorded my weight, food intake and exercise daily in an online journal. I am a member of www.obesityhelp.com/forums/ri which gives me added support.

All together, I have lost 154 pounds! I reached my original weight loss goal at nine months out from surgery and have lost another 15 pounds since then and have maintained for over two years now.

I no longer have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, GERD or sleep apnea! No more CPAP machine! NO MORE CANE! I walk without assistance!

I'm not tired and depressed all the time. I go out and do things with my family and friends and volunteer my time helping others help themselves. I’ve discovered that I Have a Desire to Inspire!!!

I am a Certified Bariatric Support Group Leader and have started and run several WLS support groups that meet each month at Roger Williams Medical Center where I had my surgery. The first group focuses on Post-Op Living and is aptly named the “Living Life Group”. Since then we have added a Bandster (LapBand & Realize Band) Group, a Men’s Group, a Day-time Group, a full Spanish Speaking group & a 2+ year post-op group!

I hosted the first ever Rhode Island Walk From Obesity event in October 2010 and with help from my friends in the bariatric community, raised more than $12,000 our first year. The years to follow will only get better and better!

I  can only imagine where I would be right now if I had not had the surgery. I believe having gastric bypass gave me a once-in-a-lifetime tool that has saved my life in more ways than I can put into words!

I feel freedom I’ve never felt before! I love sharing my desire to inspire and my experiences and optimism with others who are traveling the same journey (no matter which path(s) they choose to follow).

Living Life!


All Support Groups Available in Rhode Island beginning 2010!

Jan 03, 2010

Beginning January 2010, we now have 12 Weight Loss Surgery Support Groups in RHODE ISLAND!!!!

There are now...

3 Groups for Gastric Band Only

1 Group for Gastric Bypass Only

2 Groups for Post-Op WLS (ALL) Only

6Groups for ALL pre-op & post-op WLS!



Miriam Hospital GASTRIC BAND ONLY 5:30-6:45 pm


South County Hospital ALL WLS 6:00 pm

Rhode Island Hospital ALL WLS 6:00 - 7:00 pm

Nutrition Consultants, LLC GASTRIC BAND ONLY 7:00 - 8:00 pm



Nutrition Consultants, LLC ALL WLS 7:00 - 8:00 pm


Nutrition Consultants, LLC GASTRIC BYPASS ONLY 7:00 - 8:00 pm

Miriam Hospital ALL WLS, 6 months+ POST-OP ONLY 5:30 - 6:45 pm



Roger Williams Medical Center GASTRIC BAND ONLY 7:00 - 9:00 pm


Roger Williams Medical Center ALL WLS, POST-OP ONLY 7:00 - 9:00 pm


Nutrition Consultants, LLC ALL WLS 6:00 - 7:00 PM



Miriam Hospital ALL WLS (considering, pre & post-op) 5:30 - 6:45 pm


Roger Williams Medical Center ALL WLS (considering, pre & post-op) 6:00 - 7:30 pm

If you would like a printable calendar of ALL the support groups available to us in Rhode Island, including addresses and contact information, please email me at [email protected]

Happy New Year my family of friends!!!



Goal and Beyond

Aug 08, 2009

I've decided to have plastics. When I come up with the money. I will start with my eyelids and a mini-facelift because this is what bothers me most. I'm considering a full body lift. So, I'll start at the top and work my way down. If it never happens, so be it. I prefer what I have now over what I had then. I'm so much more healthy and happy!

The excess skin is really bothersome. When I'm dressed, I like what I see in the mirror. When I'm in a bathing suit or less, I balk! I don't know how my husband can stand it! But he continues to tell me how sexy I am and that he loves me more and more each day! He's an amazing man! I'm truly blessed.

Besides all the excess skin all over my body, I'm liking where I am now. Weight wise. Initially, I thought "I'll be happy if I can weight 160 lbs". I got there and was happy but decided 140 lbs would be better for me. I got to 140lbs and was happy and comfortable. Then I continued losing and got down to 118lbs. That was beginning to scare me at first. I have adjusted my diet and have added calories and carbs because I don't want to get any lower. I don't journal my foods and exercise anymore. I have finally stopped losing weight and generally fall between 118 & 120. Finding size 2 womens is very difficult! I have the curves so have a tough time finding the right fit in juniors. So, I tend to stick to baggy size 4's.

I still exercise almost daily. I walk, ride my bike & do the Wii Fitness. I use my elastic band for my upper body. I've noticed some definition in my muscles because of it. I don't go to the gym as much as I used to. I just do what I can when I can. Hubby got a promotion at work so I bought him a bike. Now we both get on our bikes and ride together. I love it!!! I have a freedom now that I never experienced with him before!

Most days, I walk without a cane. The day my eldest daughter, Jessie, got married was my first official full day without my cane! I'm trying to build up the muscles around my left hip by walking without it. I've noticed more pain since I've been trying this and when someone is with me, I use their arm for assistance. But all-in-all, I think I'm doing pretty good in that area.

We have an empty nest now. All six of our kids are off and on their own. I'm having a tough time with it. I never thought I would. At one point, we had six teenagers and I couldn't wait to have our house to ourselves. Now, here we are. Just the two of us. I'm fine when John is home. When he's at work, I get lonely. It's so quiet in the house. We go to bed at night and it's just so damned quiet!

So, I'm still a Mom. Always will be. Just not doin' the Mommy thing anymore. Weird, I've spent the last 26 years of my life being in the 'Mommy' role. Now here I am, different body, different life. Weird, very weird.

I'm very grateful for my life! Having a life! Living my Life! I've met many, many wonderful, caring friends along this journey! And there's more around the corner!

The 'Living Life' group is getting bigger and bigger! I should consider finding another room for it but the one we are in is so convenient and has a personal 'feel' to it. I don't want to see our group in a 'cold' environment. I'm also working on getting the hospital to allow us a room for children so that parents who can't come to a meeting because of daycare issues can bring their children, yet not interfere with the meeting. There are so many parents out there who would love to benefit from regular meetings.

As soon as I can afford it, I will become a Certified Bariatric Support Group Leader. I want to be formally trained so I can better help others. I'll also get the 'back-on-track' training so I can help those who are struggling. I hoped to getting my certification in Boston this month but with Jessie's wedding, I just didn't have the funds. I can't get over how much it costs! I'm looking at the October, Vegas course. I'm so passionate about this and I really want to help as much as I can. Once I get my certification, I would like to volunteer to visit newly post-op bariatric patients while they are still in the hospital. Just so they know they're not alone. Obviously, they would have to give permission ahead of time and give their name so I'll know who to see. I would sooooo love that!

It's a beautiful day out! Going for a walk! God Bless!

1 comment

PLASTICS....the next journey???

Mar 26, 2009

Hmmm, bought some books on it. Checking out the web and OH. The money is the biggest issue. I'll wait until my weight has truly stabilized for at least six months then take it from there.



Mar 26, 2009

I've been at goal for a week now. Wow, I just can't believe it! I don't think it has actually sunk in yet. I've been working so hard to get here and now....it IS here.


I know the proper answer is Maintain, make new goals, yadda ,yadda. But emotionally, now what? You know? I just never thought I would be in this 'place'. I guess it can be quite an adjustment. I'm glad I have so many friends now who help me adjust.

I've always been certain that just because I've had this surgery doesn't mean only good things will come my way! I knew and still know that what happens in life happens on life's terms. Not on my tems! That I have to take the good with the bad no matter what phase or stage of life I'm in.

I've learned there are good stresses and bad stresses. I have a lot on my plate these days and most of them are very, very good to Fantastic! But I am dealing with some emotional things that are all happening at once.

An example of a good stress is>>>>>

My eldest daughter, Jessica, is FINALLY getting married after being with Elias for eight years, having two kids together and living together six years! July 11th is theee day! I'm so excited for their little family! I bought a gown for the wedding. It's a size 8! AND it's NOW too big!!! So, if the taylor can't take it in, it's off to find a new one!

Another example of good stress is >>>>

My husband's Army Unit has been deployed for a year. I'm the Chairperson of his Unit's Family Readiness Support Group. They are coming HOME SATURDAY!!! I have lots of planning to make and a lot of educating and support to give.

An example of a bad stress is >>>>

My father, who's the eldest of seven childen, is a recluse and wants nothing to do with anyone. I'm the only one he's welcomed to see and spend any time with. He use to come to my home for a month at a time and spend hours and hours with my grandchildren. Now,,,he seems to be in such a deep depression that he sees no way out of it. He lives in Connecticut. He doesn't want company and he doesn't pick up the phone and won't return my calls anymore. Two of my Uncles (who live the farthest out-of-state) want me to show up at his house and have my Dad committed! I'm so worried about him. He's lost a lot of weight and is so unhealthy. I haven't even seen him since my surgery because he won't see anyone. Not even me! I'm sure I get some of my depressive disorder from my father. I'm grateful to have the wonderful therapist I've had for the past seven years!

Another bad stress is >>>>

My grandmother, Dad's mom, has recently been put into a nursing home. I'm the eldest of all her granchildren. My son, Adam, is the eldest of her great-grandchildren and my grandson, AJ, is the only great-great grandchild she has. The other six of her children are selling her house and allowing everyone to go through her belongings to see if there is anything they want. My Memere and her house have been the ONE and ONLY constant in my life! Even though she used to tell me about my weight, I counted on her always being there. In that house. Ready for anything! Now, she can never go back to it...and neither can I. I'm having a really hard time of all this.

And, yet another bad stress that's been going on for some time now. Basically all my life >>>>

My mother and sister (I have only one sibling). They are dysfunctional to the point of unhealthiness and I choose to be healthy today. Mind and Body. So, I don't have the type of support system from them that I would like. It's hard to say no to disfunction when you've had it your entire life. But DAMN it! I deserve better! And the only one who's gonne make that happen is me!

So I guess this is why, when I'm alone, I feel down.

The other part is...I wish I could share all this with my mother. I miss my mother. I wish she would get help so we could continue our relationship. I miss my dad and I'm worried about my Memere.

I am also thinking I'm not getting enough sleep because of worrying. i already take Cymbalta 60mg a day. It really helps. I'm grateful to my PCM for being so wonderful.

I work out 30-60 minutes in some way or form each and every day. This has helped me stay positive. I hate exercise but I love the endorphins!

I'll see my NUT in a few days. I'm sure I'll be raising my caloric intake to 1,200-1,400 a day easily. I think will also help with my tiredness and will help me deal with things better.

Just a smidgen of things I have to be grateful for...

- I have the most wonderful, loving, supporting husband in the entire Universe! He's my best friend!

- I'm at goal! My pain is so much less and I am so much healthier now than I have been in years! So, why am I feeling down and tired all the time?

- I have great kids! All six of my kids are amazing in their own way!

- I have three beautiful, joyful grandchildren and four adopted grandchildren!

- I have so many friends! I, literally, have 100's of friends I've met since starting this journey! Amazing! Simply Amazing!

- Spring has sprung!

Onward and Upward!


Redefining Who I am

Dec 29, 2008

I think it's time to really start blogging. I've been thinking about so much lately. Not about just the weight either. I'm realizing that I am more than just a weight. More than just a number. Just trying to figure out 'what' / 'who' this woman is.

I've begun to see my life differently now. Things I settled for before are not sitting well with me anymore. I have far less tolerance for dysfunction in my life. I'm so confused. I'm at a crossroads. In the middle of the forest and don't know which path is less scary and/or less painful.

It's been almost seven months since my surgery. As of this morning, I've lost 108 pounds! I've gone from wearing size 30 pants and 4X shirts to wearing size 8-10 jeans and Medium shirts. I'm very excited about that. But I'm finding that I don't know who I am anymore....

I used to be so depressed and felt so worthless. I, literally, would not leave my house to go anywhere. I was in pain 24/7 and was too embarrassed to face anyone. If someone wanted to see me, they came to my house. I would call my neighbor, Renee, each morning and invite her over for coffee and/or a movie. That was the extent of my visitations. We even stopped having our weekly family nights with the kids and their families on Thursdays because I was so uncomfortable, depressed and just wanted to be left alone.

Thank GOD I have such a wonderful, patient and loving husband. My Best Friend, My Love, My Hero!

I used to be jealous of my family, my kids and my hubby, because they had a life outside of our home and I didn't. They WERE my whole life. And still are but now I am beginning to have a 'life' outside my home too.

And to define 'home'. Home for me was not just my house, my livingroom, my recliner, my food. It was my fat! It protected me. In a weird sorta way, it was comfortable! In a non-exposing kind of way. It was an excuse to not leave my house. It made me non-intimidating to others. Which allowed them to approach me. It made me dependant upon others. Which allowed them to feel needed and necessary. It made some be nicer to me and some to ignore me. Which allowed me to be left alone. In my home, with my food.

This all goes so much deeper than I'm willing to type here right now. If you started reading this and am still with me here, then I don't need to explain further, the depression and debilitating self-worthlessness I felt.

I started this journey, scared as hell! I went to Dr. P & Dr. G's seminar on Valentines Day 2008. I felt hope, yet more fear of the unknown future I had in front of me. For, if I chose not to take the WLS path, I at least knew where I was heading. Disaster or not, I at least knew. If I chose to go ahead and take the WLS path, where would I end up? As I said before, I lived for my family. They deserved to have so much better than who I was and what I could offer. Although I always gave them the best I had to offer at the time. I felt it wasn't good enough. I wanted to give them so much more. And in the hallows of my heart, I knew, if I had the surgery, I would be able to offer them more. So, I decided to go through with it. For them...not for me.

However, there was that nagging question....What am I gonna do without my food??? It was the one thing I thought I had control over. I could always count on MYSELF to comfort MYSELF with it. And it was easy for my family to please me by offering, making, buying my favorite foods for me....as gifts, as rewards, as 'I'm thinking of you, Mom' gestures, etc...

Now that I had chosen to have WLS, how do I do it? How do I do anything? How do I handle anything? OMG! Without food!!!! And, who should I tell and not tell? After all, I should be ashamed of myself for 'having' to have WLS to lose the fat, keep it off and become healthy....shouldn't I?

To Be Continued.......

About Me
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Feb 06, 2008
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