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Apr 27, 2016


Three Month Follow-up Appointment - December 15, 2015

Jan 15, 2016

I just realized when I was updating my weight in the tracker that I forgot to write an update on my last apointment with Dr. Beausoleil. I was down 10 lbs I think, so they were happy with that. Everything was routine with Monique, in and out quickly. I didn't need to see Rhinette. The doctor's appointment was quick too, I let the doctor know that I had called the plastics office and was told it would probably still be another three months before I'd even be called and scheduled for an appointment. Dr. B. had figured I'd be in to see him within three months but because mine is elective / cosmetic, it's pretty low on the priority list. This was disappointing for me to learn because I'd hoped to have surgery over the winter but it looks more like spring at the earliest. I'm curious to hear the feedback at the plastics consult and find out pricing of course, and how they do it time-wise (arms first, stomach next, legs, or upper body and lower body?)

Dr. B. scheduled my next appointment for six months time which was fine with me. I'd like to say my eating habits have changed drastically since surgery but unfortunately, they haven't. I still struggle with making the right choices and this is easier some days then others. Summer and late fall is always a hard time weight wise for me. Lots of socials, beach time, gatherings in the summer, and tons of birthdays, thanksgiving, halloween, right into Christmas parties, socials, and baking in the fall. In December, I just stopped fighting it, especially the last two to three weeks. I gained 10 lbs but lost it in my first full week back 'at it' in January, so it was well worth it. I continued do work out an hour and a half to two hours a day, even though my eating was off track. I've renewed with my personal trainor for three months and am back in losing mode. I want to get as much off as possible before the plastics consult. I'm down 160 lbs and would be escastic to get another 15 - 20 lbs off. I've been with a trainer, working out seven days a week, since June (I get the odd Sunday off, maybe once a month or so) so I have lots of muscle. I figure I have a good 15 lbs of excess skin and would love to see that off the scale!


Blood Work Follow-up Appointment - June 9, 2014

Nov 24, 2015

I had my follow-up appointment for the blood work taken at my last appointment in March. I met with Monique (sp?) first of course and that went well, I was down a few more pounds since my last appointment (up and then back down again!), I then seen Dr. B. His meetings are always short and to the point but he's always very kind. My blood work results were all great, he told me I could stop taking my monthly B-12 injections. He asked if I wanted to proceed with the plastic surgery referral but I decided to wait until my next appointment as I'm still losing and wanted to be a little further along before meeting. He asked if I wanted to come back in 3 or 6 months, it was up to me but after, it would probably be every 6. I said I'd like to come back in 3, probably make the referral at that time and then continue with bi-annual appointments. He was fine with that so my next appointment is September 22nd.

On another progress note, my sister and have started a 12 week (but was given a bonus week so 13 weeks) challenge with a lady here in town who has lost weight and is now offering a meal plan / guideline and weekly weigh-in's. My sister decided to join and said I could just follow the meal plan with her but I wanted the accountability of weigh-in's so joined as well. The first two day was a cleanse with protein, green veggies and lots of water. After that it was x number of starches, protein, veggies, fruit, and fat. I'm not following the meal plan to the letter because I can't get 4 ounces of protein in at a meal but I'm basically just trying to make better choices, eat this / not that kind of thing. For me, upping the exercise has been a big benefit. I've been walking almost every day since about 4 - 6 weeks after surgery. My sister and I walk 4 mornings a week at 0530 for an hour and in addition to that, I've just started walking for an hour and a half in the evenings a few days a week as well. Occassionally walking 2.5 hours a day is definitely yielding results in both weight loss and body shaping. I definitely think the weekly weigh-ins for the summer will help keep me on track. Summer is always a hard time for me, too many barbeques, desserts, cheesies and chips at the beach, and just too many temptations in general make it a challenge.

I keep saying weight-loss is a never ending battle and it's so true, for me anyway. The honeymoon, craving free phase is a godsend post-surgery but then the cravings come back, the effortless weight loss slows down and you have to buckle down and do the work to keep it going. I'm not where I want to be size / weight wise yet but I'm slowly getting there. Someone gave me a few articles of clothing that they no longer needed in a size 14 and I laughed and said 'yeah right, maybe next summer' and they said 'I'm not sure, you're getting pretty narrow, just try them' and sure enough, they all fit! I started out a size 30-32 and tight 5X, and 16 months later, I'm a 14-16 and XL. It seems like it's slow going but then I have the moments where I see it's paying off. I never try to forget what a blessing this surgery truly is.


Follow-up Appointments - March and September 2015

Nov 24, 2015

I guess I've been lax in updating on here about my appointments with Dr. Beausoleil. I had a routine appointment on March 26th but met with his wife, who was doing the follow up appointments that day. I was down a few pounds, and after gaining weight in the fall, into January, then losing it over the winter, I was pleased to have a loss.

My next appointment was scheduled for June but I canceled it because my weight was up again, and I just can't face having a gain during these follow-up appointments. I rescheduled for September and started working with a personal trainer mid June. My plan included working out six days a week and following a ketosis (low carb) eating plan. I'm still doing this, although usually seven days a week at the gym, and am with him until the end of the year. I'm proud to say I haven't missed a workout since I started in June! My nutrition continues to be my downfall and slows my results.

At my September appointment, I was down and was happy with that. Monique (sp?) wasn't in but rather the other nurse, who I've never met before. She was fine but having never seen me before, couldn't quite appreciate my progress. Since that appointment, I've finally hit onederland! It's been a slow process with many gains along the way but I keep at it and get it under control. I've lost 155 lbs.

In September, I also met with Rhinette who was pleased with my success to date. I told her that these appointments keep me accountable and she noted that they're finding that patients they hear from / see on a regular basis often have better success then those who fall off the radar. I can totally appreciate that and it just reinforces my desire to continue with these appointments. I'm so grateful for the full service follow-up care that the Moncton team provides. I've heard that in Halifax, I believe they only get one post-op appointment (to remove the staples maybe?) and that's it.

I then met with Dr. Beausoleil and he was pleased with my weight loss and went over my blood work results from the March appointment. All my levels / blood work continue to be good but I was lucky in that was usually the case pre-op. We talked about plastic surgery and agreed that I was ready for the consult. It's the end of the November and I still haven't heard anything, so I'll follow-up on that at my next appointment in December. It was my understanding that it would only be a few months before I received a call for an appointment.  I'm being referred to the male surgeon in Moncton. There's also a female surgeon but there's a year long wait list just to see her, and Dr. Beausoleil said this guy is also good, just newer to the area. I'm pretty sure he told me he's referred his daughter to this surgeon, so that was comforting. He said it was around $10,000 to get the stomach and liposuction done. I'll also be inquiring about my arms, and a general overall assessment.

I'll try to remember to update after my December appointment and as the plastics process starts.

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Regular Appointment - September 22, 2014

Sep 23, 2014

I met with the bariatric team again today for a routine appointment. I first met with Rhinette while I was waiting and it was great to see her, she's always so positive and happy for her patients. I then met with Monique, and even though I was 'only' down 3 lbs, she was very happy with my results to date. Summer is always a struggle for me weight-wise so I was happy to get the summer weight off that I'd gained and a little more. I met with Dr. Beausoleil who was also pleased with everything. Even though it's been 19 months since surgery he was fine with meeting again in three months. I'd said that I liked the accountability of having to see them and it keeps me on track. He said they're happy to provide whatever support I need as far as frequency, so that was a nice surprise, as I figured it would be six months to a year before I'd see them again. I decided to forego my plastic surgeron referral for the time being as it would still be too premature at this time. I think my steady activity post surgery has helped with toning plus I still have more to loose.

I've gotten back into walking / jogging and hiking again and am enjoying that in these cooler temperatures. Although I walked in the summer, it was more sporadic then it has been in the months before. I'm joining a gym mid October and am looking forward to moving forward.

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One Year Post-Op Appointment - March 24, 2014

Apr 22, 2014

I had my 'one-year' post op appointment on March 24th, although my one year anniversary would have been February 5th (I chose the appointment for that particular date as I had to be in Moncton then anyway). I had an appointment with Amanda in psychology at 11 am and then blood work at 1:00 and my doctor's appointment at 1:15. You don't get your blood work results right away. I have a follow-up appointment for that on June 9th.

My meeting with Amanda was pretty uneventful, no issues really. She noted that psychology is trying to play a more active role with post-op patients and would expect to meet with me on the days I'm there for regular appointments (not the upcoming blood work one).

It was great to see Monique, she was excited with how far I've come with my weight loss and was so positive, I love how expressive she is. You feel like a million bucks when you leave her.  Dr. B went over a few questions and answered all of mine, including the topic of plastic surgery. My stomach is still fine but my arms and the front of my thighs will need work. He said the surgeon they work with won't see post-op patients until the 18 month mark or their weight has stabilized. It only takes about 3 months from the time of referral until your appointment. Dr. B may put my referral in when I'm over in June. I highly doubt the province will pay for it (maybe the panni removal down the road, if necessary) but I'll see what the surgeon says and get an idea on prices.

I'd had my blood work taken the week before by my family doctor and their nurse called me on my way home from Moncton to say that the results were all good / normal but they must have forgotten to run the glucose test, so I have to go back to get that done. My blood pressure was always good, normal to high-normal and is now running on the low end of normal.

On a more personal note. I found my weight was see-sawing in November / December. I'd go up and down the same 2 - 3 lbs over and over again, up 1/2 lb, down 1, up 1/4 lb, then another and then 1/2, down 1/2, and on and on (I'm a daily weigher). So I decided to join Weight Watchers online in mid January to try and see if that could kick-start my weight loss. I also didn't have a good handle on how much my daily caloric intake was, ie, was I eating 100 calories too many or 1,000? This definitely got me on track. On my first day of joining, I'd decided mid-morning to join so I wasn't prepared for the food day and had already had my breakfast / morning snack. I was alloted 36 daily points and had already eaten 18! I loved the fact that most fruits and vegetables were zero points. I had been thinking, well my main meals are so small, the little 'treats' I'd been having would still be okay but that obviously wasn't the case. I was starting to grab Tim Horton bagels in the morning, would have half of it on the way to work and half mid-morning. Just bad food choices and it was showing. The surgery honeymoon was definintely over and it's now up to me to keep it off and continue to lose. I up'ed my exercise as well and got a lot of walkin and snow shoeing in over the winter (walking brisking for 1 hour is about 6 activity points, snow shoeing is about 16 points).

I'd lost 18 lbs over the course of two months with Weight Watchers and was happy with my results but seemed to 'fall off the wagon' as soon as I left Dr. B's office! I started to eat junk food and make bad decisions. And continued to eat like that for the next month! I picked up a bag of my favorite, Cadbury Mini Eggs at Costco, a 3 lb bag! Which wasn't too bad at first, I'd have a few in the morning, a few in the afternoon, and a handful in the afternoon. With the pressure of an upcoming doctor's appointment (and weigh-in) behind me for a few more months, I definitely went back to my old ways and lost control. It's definitely true when they say they fix your stomach, not your head. I gained probably 8 lbs over the course of a month and part of the reason was going back to the binge and diet pattern where I'd get reved up to start healthy eating but would binge on junk food just before starting (the last meal syndrome).  I'm happy to say though that I started drinking protein shakes for breakfast and lunch, as I was having a hard time getting enough protein in and it's just so much easier with a scoop of powder in a shake with fruit, water and ice. In 3 days, I'd dropped all the weight that I'd gained in the past month! It was definitely a LOT of fluid because I was going to the bathroom every hour. I have a snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon and a 'normal' dinner in the evening. I'm gong to try to keep this pattern up for another week or so anyway.

I'm heading to Massachusetts in a little over a week to buy a whole new spring / summer wardrobe. I need everything from jackets to bathing suits to work and casual clothes. That's also part of my incentive to get back on track. I guess I'm sharing this as a sort of confession / cautionary tale, to show that there may be periods where you revert back to old habits and hopefully you'll move past it in a positive way and not let it spiral out of control. This is definitely a life long battle. The 'tool' that surgery gave me definitely helps and upping my protein has helped to shrink my new stomach back to it's proper size (I was definitely pushing the limits and stretching it) and I'm so, so grateful for the surgery. This post began as a quick and simple appointment update but ended up being more of a blog post so my apologies for the long ramble!


September 19th Appt

Oct 03, 2013

I had my latest appointment,; it's been 3 months since my last appointment.  I seen Monqiue who weighed me and went over their list of questions that are always asked post-op (how long do my meals last? do i drink with meals? taking vitamins? exercise? and reviews if there are any change with meds or medical history). The appointment was probably less than 10 minutes. I was down 30 lbs since my last appointment in June and down 97 lbs since starting the pre-op diet late January.

I then seen the doctor but not Dr. B, I think it was his wife who's a GP (that's what I've heard on the boards anyway). She basically just went over all the information Monique entered into the computer. She said I was doing well, asked how I felt, etc. She was nice and I was only there about 5 minutes. There were no issues or problems so all was good and it was a quick appointment. They figured I'd get my blood work done at my next appointment which will probably be in December / January.

I'm writing this post on October 3rd and I finally hit the 100 lb loss mark!  This includes the weight lost during the pre-op diet lost in the two weeks immediately preceding the surgery.  In reflecting, I just have to say that life is just easier now. I don't have to think twice about going up or down stairs / steps. I fit very comfortably in theatre seats and no longer have to order aisle seats for performances. I work in an office and am up and down throughout the day and get things when I need them, instead of waiting until I have a list of things I have to get and getting them all in one trip. I walk probably 29 out of 30 days in the month and I pace on that one day I can't get out, usually because it's raining too hard. I love wearing sizes that I haven't worn before as an adult. The number I see on the scale is still surreal to me. I'm not so self conscious anymore and feel I blend in more with the crowd but in a good way. I don't stand out as the biggest person anymore.

I've probably mentioned in past posts that I haven't had any complications or issues related to surgery at all. An ideal post-op recovery, no issues with digesting / eating any foods, no throwing up, and no skin issues so far.  I would have no reason not to recommend this surgery. I love what opportunities surgery has given me, and am very grateful to be one of the lucky ones to receive it and have it performed so well!


June 10/13 - 3 Mth Appt (4 mths post-op)

Jun 12, 2013

Today was my 3 month follow-up (to the last appointment at six weeks). I seen Monique, Dr. B. and then Rhinette.  Just standard stuff with Monique although she didn't take my blood pressure or vitals. I was down 68 pounds but had literally just ate before going to the appointment so it should have been closer to 70 lbs. I've gone from a BMI 57 to 46. I was only with Monique about 10 minutes before going to wait for Dr. B.

Dr. B was pleased with my results to date and seemed pleased that I walk every day (thank goodness for the dog!). That seemed to make him happy. He mentioned that right now they only measure success / progress in weight because they are a weight loss program but we might see that changing in the next year or two. He asked me if I had any questions, which I didn't but mentioned I was hated taking a chewable multi-vitamin and hadn't been taking any of my vitamins because of it - all or nothing for me! He walked me over to Rhinette and I talked to her about it. I've since picked up a bottle of the female multi-vitamins from Costco (Kirkland) and have started back on my vitamins.

Dr. B said my appointments would be every 3 months for the first year and every six months in the second. I wasn't clear on that so that clarification was helpful.

That's about it. The appointments were uneventful but I love having an excuse to go to Moncton. A couple of friends joined my sister and I for the trip and we had a great day with beautiful weather for traveling.


Three Months Post-op

May 03, 2013

In one way it's hard to believe it's ONLY been three months since surgery and in others, it seems like a lifetime ago.

It's a couple of days shy of 3 months but I've lost 56 lbs since the pre-op diet. Post op recovery was uneventful, no issues at all. I think I covered in my surgery post that I was on pain meds and Gravol for a day or two post op but that was it. I stopped the meds once the air pains lessened and that was after 48 hours or so. I remember sipping water initially and thinking how cumbersome and unnatural it was, and wondering if I'd ever go back to being able to take a big drink of water, and the answer thankfully is yes. I could probably do that after the first 6 weeks or so.

I didn't drive for the first seven days but found the first couple of days I ran errands I was a little tired / wiped afterwards. I never got so tired that I needed naps though. I loved having February and part of March off, it was a great time to hibernate and recover.  I now walk the dog each evening, it's only 20 - 25 minutes but I enjoy it. I haven't been following any eating regiment, I know those on the OH forums are very high protein, low carb and low calories but that doesn't work for me. I stopped losing weight once I hit the pureed stage and didn't lose for a good 5 weeks or so. It was VERY frustrating. I tried low carb, high protein, high carb / low protein, a high calorie day to 'shock' the body, low calorie, more water, etc. nothing moved the scale. And yes I lost inches during the first few weeks but that didn't continue the whole time I was stalled. I then started losing weight again around my monthly cycle but that was only a few pounds again. I noticed in month 3 that I started losing weight again after my cycle but it's been lasting longer (weight loss) this time. Hopefully the body is starting to get up to speed with the calorie restriction and is letting go of the starvation mode.

I have been noticing on the days that I feel like I've eaten a lot (probably 1000 - 1200 calories as opposed to 800) are the days I lose weight but this has just started in the last two weeks so we'll see if that holds true or not. Clothes are fitting better, I'm dropping inches, people are noticing, I'm feeling great, life just seems easier in general. I was never on medications or had breathing issues, so that's not new but my joints feel better, I don't feel so stiff getting out of bed in the morning. I've never gotten sick from eating too much, never had foamies although my stomach will make a low gurgle noise if I've been drinking liquids too soon before eating; it's like there's not enough room and although not painful, there's air trying to release through my mouth (but not gas).

All in all, it's been a great experience, a few headaches and disappointments early on because the weight stall for so many weeks. I'm still amazed at how little I can actually eat. There's many times I WANT to eat more because it's so good but I physically can't (ie, Easter turkey dinner, I could only have a slice of meat, spoonful of dressing and potatoes but no room for broccoli, carrots, pickles, etc, and definitely no room for dessert).  I've gotten lax in taking my vitamins and need to get back into the habit of doing such. I do get a B-12 shot once a month instead of taking B12 supplements - one less to remember to take and it's easy.

I had my 6 week appointment with the doctor on March 25th and I return again on June 10th.



February 05, 2013 - Surgery!

Feb 10, 2013

There was a blizzard on Sunday and clean up took place on Monday so the roads weren't too bad leaving on Tuesday morning. We arrived early.

I checked in at the information desk in the lobby around 8:00 am (told to arrive by 9 am), received a number and was sent to the little pre-admissions waiting room just to the left of the information desk. I was registered at the same place as when I did for pre-admission testing. I was sent up to the 3rd floor which was the palliative care unit (but you're only there for a short time). I was given a paperish johnny shirt to put on after I stripped off. The johnny shirt was double layer with cut outs on the outside layer; this was then hooked up to a heat pump to help eliminate infection post-surgery. Vitals were also taken and an IV inserted.

I was finally wheeled down to surgery around 10:50 am (surgery was scheduled for 11 am) where I was asked a number of questions (this happens many times). I had a red bracelet on (in addition to my hospital bracelet) alerting them to my intolerance to morphine and codeine. I was wheeled into the hall along with others and Dr. Ching stopped by to talk to me about my what she would be using to keep me asleep. Dr. B. stopped by to see if I had any questions which I didn't. I was wheeled into the surgery suite shortly after (around 11:20 am) and the ladies there starting getting me prepped and moved me to the surgical table. I was finding it all very emotional and tears were falling down my face while inhaling the gas. The ladies were so kind, I just remember them wiping my face and telling me everything was going to be fine and I was doing great.

I then woke up recovery around 1:30 pm, with the gas mask still on and a nurse asking me if I had pain, I nodded and she asked me what it was on a level of 1 - 10. I said 10, she gave me Dilaudid and then something for sickness. One of the first things I remember when waiting for her to get my pain and nausea meds was 'I made it, I'm alive' and 'I'm so happy that it's over!' and feeling such gratitude. I remember thinking the discomfort I felt wasn't as bad as I expected for surgery. I slept off and on and was taken up to ICU around 5:30 pm - it took this long to get a bed on the unit. My sister, who was with me and who's an RN (formerly  ICU) was relieved as she hadn't seen me since 11 am and neither of us had expected that wait.

The nurses managed my pain and nausea. The air from the surgery was contained to my stomach so I was given Dilaudid to help with the discomfort but it made me nauseous so it was a vicious cycle. I tried water that evening but I just dry heaved and the nurse said we'd try again the next morning. I slept poorly but dozed off an on.  I hear of many who walk, walk, and walk the first night but I was never encouraged to and was feeling fine (because of the meds) so I didn't. I wasn't necessarily in pain but because of the gas, I was uncomfortable.

When I sat up on the side of the bed the next morning, it was just before my dose of meds for nausea so I felt like crap and that's when Dr. B. came in (around 9:50 am). He wanted to see me to drink some water that morning (I hadn't yet) and would check back with me later that day. He told me if I wasn't feeling up to it, it would be no problem, I could just stay another night (but on the normal med-surg unit). I was devastated and was not interested in staying another night.

I drank one bottle of water over the course of a few hours and was onto my second. I was sitting up and feeling much better by the time Dr. B. stopped by the second time (around 2 pm) and he asked how I was. I said MUCH better. He agreed and released me with instructions to call his office if ANYTHING came up. He then left a prescription for Dilaudid and another for my time off work.

The ride home was uneventful and I was happy to be going home. Recovery just goes so much better once home. It was time for more pain meds and Gravol when I got home which put me right to sleep. My bedroom is on the lower level and I had no problem with stairs or sleeping in my own bed (some find it more comfortable to sleep in a recliner for the first few days). I've had no pain from the actual surgery or my incisions to date, which I find amazing!

The next day (Thursday) was much better. I still found it hard to drink the water but the projectile air release from my stomach had stopped, so no dry heaving.  I had a nap in the afternoon and continued to feel better as the day wore on, especially after a shower. My sister noted that I should use a hairdryer on a low heat to dry my incisions after a shower just to make sure they're good and dry and prevent infection. She also noted that since it had been well over 48 hours since my last bowel movement that I should take a Senekot (stool softener) that evening and another in the morning. This would hopefully prevent getting too constipated and having to exert with too much pressure. This seemed to do the trick as things started semi-back to normal the next day. I took pain meds this morning for the last time. I woke up semi on my side (I usually sleep on my side or stomach, never on my back) and it didn't hurt.

I felt great on Friday and started on full fluids. It took 30 minutes to eat 1/2 cup of cream soup but it tasted pretty good after days of water and two weeks of protein shakes. My mom dropped me off an electric candle warmer so I could put my soup bowl on it and it would keep my meal hot. I would HIGHLY recommend picking one of these up since my soup was initially cold after 5 minutes ($7 at Michael's craft store). I was able to lay and sleep on my side tonight and slept much better.

I'm day 6 post-op (Sunday) and feel back to normal and have for a few days. I was able to sleep on my stomach the last two nights and am having no issues with that. One thing I did mention to my sister today was that I kept having this feeling like something was on my tongue, like micro hairs. I had the feeling for a couple of days but thought nothing of it. When we looked at my tongue there was a whiteish residue, not quite thrush or a fungal infection but she thinks it's because I've only had liquids for 3 weeks, thus, no roughage to remove this normal residue. For now, I'll gargle with salt water 4 times a day and will scrape my tongue with my toothbrush and also gargle with Listerine to help it. This may not happen to others but I'm mentioning it just in case others reading this newly pre-op do experience it.

I'm looking forward to driving on Tuesday and to getting my staples removed in two weeks after that. I'm also looking forward to starting the pureed stage and then of course, real food! I haven't been able to weigh myself at home so I can't wait to see what my weight is at my 3 week check up.