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Hi Everyone...currently I am 16 days post-op. I am down 22 pds. I had lap RNY by a great doctor in Wildomar. I have no regrets. I feel fabulous. I am a 5th grade teacher out in the CA desert. Never imagined I would move out the SF bay area where I grew up, but I am loving life out here. I have two grown son's who also moved here this year. I have a very loving and supportive husband who didn't care how I looked...only wanted me to be happy. My son's are also very supportive. One of my friends totally freaks out about this, but he is coming around. Everyone at my work is supportive also. Would I do it again? You bet!!! I was very lucky for my process from deciding to do this to actually day of surgery was 2 months. This was meant to be. I would glad help anyone who needs the help in knowing what to do. Peace out! Image hosting by Photobucket

Well I am feeling good these days. I have lost 30 pds now. I put it on yesterday to see how it fit. Well it was a tent on me....and what was really funny is that the dress is below my knees!! I am going to keep that dress. One of the teachers I work with said she would be next year I could wear the neck opening of the dress around my waist. I wouldn't doubt it. I also thought it was very funny!! Image hosting by Photobucket

11/17/02 Wow I can't believe it has been 3 months since I have updated my profile. I am currently 65 pds lighter than the day of my surgery. Amazing to me. I have come to feel like the new me inside is a part of me now. I don't think about having the surgery as much in terms of feeling everything that is going on inside. It had become more routine for me now. For the most part, I have had no problems. I somtimes feel as though I am having a gall bladder attack, but doctor says it is because I had excessive scar tissue from the gall bladder surgery I had over 27 years ago. So I deal with it when it happens. I eat a very limited variety of food. I vary little because I know what works for me and I don't want to rock the boat so to speak. I think when I am on x-mas vacation in a month or so, I will experiment on some new foods....mainly vegetables. I really miss salad a lot! Time and time again I have been asked if I had it to do over again would I do it. I have never once said well you know....maybe I would re-consider. I think to myself why didn't I do this sooner. My only conclusion was that if I had done it sooner, I perhaps wouldn't have been ready for the lifestyle change. It is like they can't operate on your brain and make it all go away...the behavior that is. So I feel encouraged so far that I am not going back....I like my new lifestyle. I like being able to kick butt at the gym with weights and walking/runner. I like being able to go into the clothes store and not have to worry that the largest size might not fit. I like looking better on my motorcycle and believe me I have drawn some looks prior to surgery and I get them now too...but feel better about it. I like the way people react to me. I like it when some say they barely recognize me even at this point. I laugh when my photo came up here and I blew right pass myself because I didn't recognize me. I like feeling longer having high blood sugar and high blood pressure.....and most of all I like myself for having the courage to give myself and my family the greatest gift I ever could have. The other thing that has been great about having this surgery is that I have made some really cool friends in the wls world!!! Image hosting by Photobucket

12/10/02 Well I am officially 5 months post op and feeling fine. I am currently down 78 pds....not a huge weight loss like some, but nevertheless completely pleased with what I have accomplished. I continue to go to the gym at 4 in the morning 5 days a week, and this is where I notice by biggest change. Not only being dedicated to getting into shape, but the inches have fallen off tremendously! I am wearing 16's now and that is much smaller than I ever wore at this weight. A friend of mine told me that her doctor explained that when we carrying a large amount of weight on our frames for extended periods of time that it tends to make our bones more dense....kind of like dinosaur bones. Makes sense to me because I thought I would have to be below 200 to get into 16's. Most of all I have to say I am the most pleased by how I feel. My energy is good, I have had little complications...well actually none...just some obnoxious gas that hurts on occasion. I still eat a very limited array of foods. I don't really care that I haven't branched out too much. I did add some more meat to my diet which really gives me a good boost sometimes....I actually will crave it. When I deviate with my food that is what gives me problems....i.e.gas LOL I still do not regret have WLS...I would do it every year if I had to maintain what I have accomplished. I have a real peace about my decisions and real peace about my limitations. I am the kind of person who does really well on very focused things. I think what I really like about having this tool is that you just can't cheat or back slide in a sense because it will catch you and expose you with dumping, and once you know you don't want to go there least not on purpose. So even though they only operated on my stomach....part of it in a sense they operated on my brain!

3/16/03 Well here I am 8 months post-op. Losing like a snail, but I rather don't care. I don't mean this in a negative way either. I just have let go of the numbers and stay focused on the exercise regime and eating properly. I know I have lost 90+ pds which is fine, but that century club still seems to elude me. I keep going down in sizes and I am currently a 14. That is what exercise has done for me....inches, and feeling good about myself. It gives me a tremendous amount of energy and I have to admit, I am addicted to the endorphines. I haven't taken a current picture. I plan to. I was looking at the two in my profile and realized how much I have changed in the 8 months. Pretty cool I think! I plan to get a new one real soon. Funny I was so excited about that leather jacket I bought 4 months ago and laughing at how large it is for me now. Going into the store and buying that off the rack was monumental at the time. Now it is going into the regular size department and trying to find clothes to fit LOL It seems like a real sea of clothes out there and sometimes it makes me feel really lost. I find the large sizes calling my name still. Really freaky to get out of them, and know there is no going back. Okay honestly, I can handle it. However, sometimes I just get frustrated. So life is good 8 months later. I fight with my issues as I am sure I always will, I am just more accepting of them now is all. I know I would do this all over again in a heartbeat without a doubt. I know I did this at the right time in my life. I don't know if I would have had the maturity and the awareness to have it down when I was younger. I don't even know if I would have appreciated it as much as I do now. Life is good to me in all aspects!!! Peace out!!!
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6/10/03 I am 11 months post op now. I have lost 102 pds. I know I am a slow loser, but who cares when you are a loser LOL. I have had some struggles with emotional eating which I kind of managed to avoid. It is really difficult when you lose your main coping mechanism. Lots have changed for me in the past 11 months that I wouldnt change for anything. Not only did my body changed, I also changed work places. I still teach, but this next fall I will be teaching middle school. This will be a real switch for me! I am looking forward to that. I am also looking forward to blending in more at the work place. I won't have all eyes on my like they have been this past year. IT is like I have lived under a microscope about the weight loss. I really don't like all that attention and now, I will be able to go to work and know I won't be the heaviest one there! I continue to exercise like a maniac. It has been a great stress reduction device for me. I could have never exercised like I do 11 months ago. Not only being obese, I also was smoking my brains out. I quit a month before I had I have a full year of no smoking under my belt too! That in itself is a great life saver as far as I am concerned. I no longer have high blood sugar nor hypertension. I wouldn't change what I have done for a moment, and I would do again if it meant that I could stay thin. Life is is great!!!

7/10/03 Sliding on in here on the seat of my pants...well skirt okay...telling all you I made it through my 1st year as new WOMAN!! This has had to be the quickest year of my life. It seemed like only yesterday that I was complaining to my friend that if I didn't have this surgery any sooner, I would have to buy a whole new wardrobe as none of my clothes were fitting. I was in a tight 24 pants...really should have been in a 26 and I wore 3x tops stretched...or a 30-32 top (blouses if you could call them that!). Today I wear a 14 pant and skirts comfortably and generally will wear an XL top and some larges. Funny after all the years we have searched for loose fitting clothes only to be wearing form fitting ones now! I totally dig it! The really upbeat side of this surgery has been the health issues. I don't have any!!! None!! Well I still take thyroid meds which I will for the rest of my having to take big deal, but I no longer have stage II diabetes, I no longer have high blood pressure, my cholestoral if fine. Hell I really might live to be 100!! My grandad is still alive at a whopping 95! My confidence is unbelievable and even though I had confidence prior to this or some may say "balls", it has never been like this. It isn't cockiness either. Having this surgery is like drugs in a way because it makes you feel so high about life and about yourself. Now if we could bottle this, we would all be millionaires. However all kidding aside, I am a very rich woman emotionally and spiritually and that is all I need. Good family ( you know those 2 hunk

Hard as this is to believe....I was never a princess and never wanted to be a princess....I was lumped together with a group of really nice people. However,I still had no desire to be called one or have to be in what some has described as a posse. I have always been just Janine, but many didn't want to see that either. What started as a term of endearment (slork) with the Contessa aka Joann La Porte...everyone wanted a part of it. It was for Joann and me alone...people wanted be slorkettes we tried to appease them and from there it just snowballed in to this childish popularity game. This is my last post to the open boards. I have no desire to come here and post and share what is meaningless to most. Hard as it is to believe too, I have a life; a very rich and full life and I did prior to WLS. I just do not have the desire to participate in the games any longer. I will support people whom I have made friends with and that is far as I can go. What could have been a great forum has only turn out to be a forum of questionable intentions. Thanks for the memories everyone...and I will you will in your journey. PEACE OUT!!

I hope that everyone reads the 10/13/03 post I made here as it is pertanent. I just want everyone to know and you all know who you are who have sent me letters of encouragement to stay on these boards. It is really hard for me as some of you know to want to put myself out there on the public boards. Surprisingly enough, I have received emails and even IM's from people I would have never thought would do or even care....I thank you for that also. I just want people to know that I will continue to support people via surgery pages and emails. I will continue to read the open boards and if I decide that if something moves me enough to post on the open boards....I will do so. I realized that there comes a time in my life that even so I love you guys dearly (you know who you are too) I just need to take care of myself not only physically, but emotionally also. I was becoming really drug down by all the negatvity that was flying and I thought to myself...why do this to myself...and worse yet...what am I doing sometimes participating in it? So instead of getting in a twist...I bowed out....I took back my indentity...and now it is time to get back to the business of what this board is really about....supporting one another in this incrediable new lifestyle.

This past week, I heard from a great deal of AMOS members showing their caring kind selfs to me. It took me forever to respond to each and everyone of you...and if for some reason I didn't get them all out...I truly apologize. Have to really say I was blown away as I didn't leave....only watching my input on the open MB. I read the boards daily and sometimes a few times a day when time permits. It is truly my only form of support aside from my family and few friends that know I had the surgery.
I had a very interesting weekend here in Palm Springs (that is where I live). We had our annual Biker Weekend. It was really cool. Lot of dirty bikers...kind of fun to rub elbows with the Hells Angels to Bikers for Jesus people. We all have a commonality of our love of motorcycles. It was fun. I was able to purchase a new light brown leather jacket. That really excited me because the one I bought this time last year is too big for me and it is a gorgeous jacket, but I am glad that it is too big! I also was able to by a two toned leather vest...a womens one no less....awesome looking!!! Always bought some beater shirts with unappropriate slogans on them for when I want to be a dirty biker LOL....I tell you people.....this WLS has been a real kick in the pants for me. I was hit on this weekend....that felt good.....there was this woman body builder walking down the street in her patriotic bikini...and my husband said she had nothing on me in the shoulder department...and even though her biceps were larger than mine....I said to him I am not trying to have Arnold arms either LOL!!!! It was good in some ways for my self esteem, but bad in others because I have issues with my arms with the hanging skin. The more my arms are building muscle the more it is apparent that I have some major apehangers under them. I really want to have a brachio done, but it is not in the cards for me right now. I am have to remind myself how truly blessed I am to have been able to have this life saving surgery....because it saved my miserable sorry life and my health. I never thought of myself as a really depressed woman, but I now realize how depressed I was about everything and it all eminated from my fat self and poor health. I am very healthy and active now and I don't have to put on a front when things aren't right. I can now say I have a problem because I feel like I won't be judged. It always seemed like before I wouldn't say anything for fear people would say...well your fat...that is your problem...any health issues doctors would say well lose some weight and then we will talk. Well my God....who annoted them God, judge, and doctor all rolled into one? I am still skidderish around doctors....won't go unless absolutely necessary and that is not good either. See as we all know living a life of an obese person has some really long term damaging effects to our spirits and I don't know for myself will they ever totally disappear. Like I have said, I truly never want to forget who I amount of weight loss well ever let me forget what it is like to live the life of an obese person. I even watch obese people now and just wish I could help them to help is really painful for me to watch them sometimes and I think....I wonder if people thought that way about me. Most of my friends say they never really though of me as being fat...just a big go figure. So today is good....and I thank my lucky stars for wLS and the friends I have found here who have been so kind and wonderful and their support is priceless!! PEACE OUT!!!

1/4/04 Wow that is the first time that I have used 04! So here I am in the new year!!I haven't updated my profile in a long time I can see!!! I will be 18 months post op on the 10th of this month. Hard for me to believe. I am having an enormously big problem with my food because of emotional eating and justifying it with the holidays. I just want to eat, eat, eat, and then eat some more!! I am full, but my emotions are not full. Two months or so ago, I had the scare of my life thinking that my biological mother who gave me up for adoption was going to move here in my area. I swear I went off the deep end masking it by saying how cool would it be if we could just come to some common ground and she would finally accept me. Well I spent these two months not wanting to actually admit that I was really trying to live a fantasy and the more scared I became that it could be a reality....I porked!!! I made bad choices in food...oh don't get me bad choices came in the form of truly favorite thing to do!! I am not a sugar eater and never really have been...but I also drank excessively too. I didn't finally get it what was the root of it all until yesterday when I talked with my birth brother. He told me our mother was putting it on hold about moving here right now pending some other things and I swear to you all, the lightbulb went on!! Okay well the brick hit me in the head and I also felt sucker punched. For as educated of a person I am, I can really be a dumbshit about my that is some big surprise here....hello???????come again how I got so fat????Well the best thing that happened was I didn't gain weight...I flucuate between 182-185 but if I hadn't been porking and drinking....I would have lost weight with all the exercise I do....I swear exercise is my only saving grace these days! So needless to say this little revelation really put some things into perspective for I am still an emotional eater....they only operated on my stomach.....I learned that I need to stay aware and not slip back into my old habits even though they were my best friend. I am also grateful to have my friend and slork Joann here to slap some sense into me sometimes...oh and don't you all worry.....I slap her too LMAO....Tomorrow I go back to work after being off for 2 delightful weeks of painting, reading, and partying with family and friends....and let me tell you....I hope it doesn't drive me further off the edge.....I need to start looking for some changes there!!! More to come my is a new year and still a new life of adjustments....repeat to myself....stay aware, stay aware!!!


2/12/04 So here I am 19 months out...did I celebrate....NO....all I do is fight with my brain...and it goes like this:

Lately, I have been having intense discussions with my brain. I want to tell it to shuddup and leave me the hell alone!!!
I have been on a real tear of being down on myself...calling myself names, not sleeping because my brain wakes up and tells me how awful I look. The last 2 nights, I have been awake since a little after 1 a.m. in the morning...and this last night, I woke because I had the nightmare about having to go to my surgeon's office for a checkup! I walked up to the door and saw the girl who had surgery the same day as I. They were all happy to see me and I was mortified. She was rail thin (she was very tall like 6' and that is in real life) and here was me in a dumpy gym tshirt that was all wrinkled and a pair of shorts. I ran crying hysterically not wanting them to see that I was a failure. My husband was trying to comfort me, but when they came out of the building is when I woke!
What does this all tell me? I am very self loathing these days....yesterday I must have gone through I don't know how many changes of clothes. Some of jeans the legs are getting tight because of working out....I equate that to getting fat again....the surgery failed me. Every lump and bump I see.....I am fat....I just can't stand this any longer. It seems when I was MO that I didn't care I was so far into denial. Today this surgery has made me obessive about my weight more than ever.
I never went into this surgery thinking that I would be rail thin, but isn't there a happy medium for me somewhere? This is insane. I am dying a million deaths of seeing my AMOS friends this weekend because I am telling myself that they are all going to see that I am a failure....with each pound they lose....I keep telling myself I am gaining it.
I don't feel like a success....I am hurting....I hate that my body won't cooperate...why did I ever think that surgery would make me lose weight easier...fought tooth and nail for every pound I have lost....I guess I should be happy that I have. My friend said to me the other day....Janine take that dress out you wore to the hospital when you had surgery....I am afraid to because my stupid brain is telling me that it is going to fit.
So shuddup brain...stop torturing me.....I can't stand it any longer!!!

I so wish that I could feel successful. I do not measure my success with numbers still....I measure my success with my brain and trying to merge the body and brain with each other....that to me is by far a harder task!


2/21/04 For what it is worth, this site has served me well in the time I have spent here. I know that it has been a great place to find information, make friends, and generally feel like a part of a community. However, lately it has not felt right here nor does it feel good here any longer. The board is not a safe place and when I am monitored by other members for exercising my freedom of speech, it is no longer safe either. I have been sent horrible emails by a member using the language of a trucker....or maybe that is putting it mildly.....I did not. I am no saint....I have a mind of my own.....I don't feel it is necessary for many things....but I am so called spanked for saying what many people are feeling, and not playing into the daily whine fest that goes on here. See truth is people get on their high horses when you pull their numbers. I have to laugh because the post I made to someone's thread yesterday couldn't even respond herself. And furthermore, I have to sit back here and laugh thinking about what my friends have said and they don't get attacked. I guess I am easier prey....who knows. I rather doubt people will read this as I am going to pull a disappearing act. I don't want to be part of something that is so negative. Perhaps I will come back at some point in time and see the only changes is the weight loss....not the stupidity and awful attitudes!!

PEACE OUT!!!!!!!!!

I can't believe it has been nearly 3 months since I have updated my profile.
Not a lot has changed for me in the weight department and that is okay with me. I have not given up...or given in....I am just at a place where I know I have hit the ending of my weight loss so to speak. I knew going into this surgery that I would not be skinny as I was never a skinny person to begin with. Believe me I have grappled with this and have chewed it up and spit it out so many times that I have a sour taste in my mouth over it.
I took a huge step this past month and decided to seek reconstructive surgery. I do not know what kind of a battle I will have with the insurance. Dr. Katzen is by far more optimistic than I am...which is cool....and I need that right about now!
Although I will not be a model so to speak when I am done with the surgeries....yes my eyes....and in my mind.....I know that this will finally put a close on my life as an obese person. I know that sounds strange in a is like I never want to forget where I came from...and I never will....but I feel like I have to do the reconstructive surgery in order to have a healthier mental outlook about myself. I prayed and exercised my brains out hoping that I would be saved from the hanging skin....but age and the length of time I spent obese were not in my favor!
The irony of it all is that when I have been mulling the surgery over in my head....I get scared to think of a life without an apron....a life without apehangers (my is a motorcycle thing LOL) life without breast that have their heart set on going all know what I am talking about. So how silly am I? Pretty silly....but I will mourn the loss pretty much how I went through the same emotions giving up food!
I often wonder if there will be a day that goes by that I will not obsess about weight issues, hanging skin....and food? Perhaps....I think I have in some ways taken steps to do so....and as my shrink said to me many years ago...."Janine we are not cakes that we stick our fingers into to see if we are done." Moral of that one is that life is a continuing process where we learn, jump the hurdles...and eventually find our niche of success!

6/12/04 Well here I sit...nearly 2 years out and in 3 days I am going into the hospital for my first round of reconstructive surgery. I am one of the fortunate ones to have my insurance covering a good precentage of the work for me....I just have to pay my co-pays.
I have mixed feelings about all of it. I have had an apron (panni) since I had my 1st son over 26 years ago...will be weird to see my body with a flat stomach for sure! It feels like I am going through a mourning process about it all....will I freak out whenI see my new body. I am scared to death waking up and feeling the pain....a friend who had her thighs lifted said don't be scared a how swollen you will be between your legs....I said I guess I will know what it feels like to have balls too LOL
I know that I am going to come through this surgery with flying colors....I have faith in Dr.Katzen....good man!
So not only am I nearly my 2nd anniversary, I will be 50 in July...shouhd have had both surgeries by what a 5th gift to myself!!!
Image hosting by Photobucket Shortly before I had my 1st reconstructive surgery.
7/9/04 Tomorrow marks my 2 year anniversary of having WLS. I truly cannot believe that 2 years has slipped by so fast!!! It is pretty darn amazing the mostly ups I have enjoyed in these past 2 years.
I was very fortunate to never really have any complications from WLS. I sailed through the operations with no complications. I complied with my surgeon's program even though he did not follow me after a couple of months. I had a great PCP who did anyways. I have never had any problems with my lab work. I do not take expensive vitamins. Daily I take a high potiency multiple vitamin from Trader Joe's and I take one CalciumCitrate pill a day. Once a week, I pop my sublingual B-12. Like I said I have good labs. My doc says they are of a young persons!
The 2nd year of my WLS was in some ways very difficult for me as the further you are out from surgery the less willingness you have being compliant. I bounced around in my weight within 5-7 pds. I still continually exercised up to having PS 3 and half weeks ago. I beat myself up emotionally a lot my 2nd year. You know, the honeymoon was over!! I had to really work at it and I was a slow loser on top of it!
Now don't get me wrong, I am thrilled at where I am at. Part of the beating up was totally related to skin issues and no matter how hard I worked at the gym, I could not see the person who I was. I constantly looked in the mirror and kept telling myself that I was just doomed to be a fat pig the rest of my life......but I wasn't a fat pig.....I was a nearly 50 year old gal who had 2 kids....c-section which left me at the ripe age of 23 with an apron from hell....gobs of stretch marks that lead to a map of nowhere, and very unhappy. Everywhere I looked on my body, I had the tell tell signs of hey you were once a MO person!
It was meant to be that I met Dr. Katzen who did my initial round of reconstructive surgery a few weeks ago. For those who do not know what I had done.....I had a complete lower body power lift. I am cut from my panni all the way around up over my hips and around the entire back. I had a medial and lateral thigh lift....which is the most painful thing I have ever done....the body lift was a cake walk in a sense....and my butt was lifted.
Although I am still swollen in my can tell how slender I am going to be. NO I am never going to be a model, but hell for what Dr. Katzen has done to my body so far....I am thrilled beyond belief!!! Yesterday, I bought myself a size medium jersey skirt....a MEDIUM!!! Knit....and clingy and even though my tummy is swollen fit and looks good. I started to cry in the dressing room and I know so many of you here can indentify with that one. I immediately called a gf when I got out of the store and told her because the day before she was able to buy a size 6 pair of shorts and she looked awesome in them and hasn't had any body work done yet!!!
So in few weeks I go for my 2nd round of PS....the upper body stuff! YAY!!!!!! New boobs and no more apehanger arms!!!!
In less than 2 weeks, I turn 50! I am so happy that I made it to be 50. I use to think my parents were so old at 50 and I am feeling like life is really just beginning for me. I know I am going to live the 2nd half of my life happy and healthy. I know I am never going to have to beat myself up for how I look. I am going to be able to wear clothes that have the 5% spandex in them without looking like a sausage incased in unnatural patterns and colors, I will be able to go to the gym and feel proud of what I have body is going to show all the hard work that I have done and will continue to do.

You know I sit back and think about all that I have done in the last 2 years to enhance my life and my looks and it is really hard for me sometimes to take it all know the magnitude of it all. I swear that I would do this surgery (WLS) all over again or each year if that is what it meant to keep healthy like I am now. It is truely a life altering decision. I had to really grabble with do I wanna give up my best friend or do I want to be healthy?????There was seriously a lot of soul searching going on. I had a hard time at first when I made the I or can I really give up all my comfy food....could I be compliant....could I learn to say NO to myself? I found that once I said yes and that I was going to have WLS and made that committment, I could do it. I am not saying that each day there hasn't been and internal battle with my brain and emotions, but I have a tool that reels me in and pulls the reins tight and sends that message to my brain and says, "NO you are not going to screw up!!!!!!" I am forever grateful!!!


Gearing up for the 2nd round of reconstructive surgery is quite difficult for me in the sense that I am starting to feel human from my 1st round of surgery and I know I have to go through some uncomfortableness again!
I said to a friend the other day at the gym about how I wish I didn't have to have the second round of surgery, but he said no don't you think that way....get it done and you will be through with it and just move on! I told him he was right because I never want to go through something like this again.
The lower body lift with thighs and all was a very long haul for me, but one day short of 6 weeks I was back in the gym inspite of being full of stitches and staples in my groins and all the way around my torso. I have become the kotex queen of bandages for the leaky spots and rarely have a leaky accident. I have a couple of places that opened due to lack of blood supply from an old big deal....but irritating having to tape pads to my body when I don't do the girl thing any longer LOL!!!!!!!!
Over the course of this past week, I worked out everyday. Dr.Katzen asked me to go back to the gym and work my upper body prior to my next surgery which I have been doing. On the 1st day I walked 15 minutes on the treadmill....and from that day on....I have been back on the eliptical crosstrainer....yesterday completely 18 minutes. Now I know that doesn't sound like a lot....but when you are whacked up like me it is a lot....but prior to surgery....I did 35-40 minutes at a time!! I am hooked on that machine LOL....weight training was only up one notch from where I was working out before. However, there are exercises that I am not doing because I am not suppose to work the abs yet nor my inner legs.
When I think of where I have come just in these 6 weeks, it is absolutely amazing. The 1st couple of weeks I could have blown my brains out from the pain....and I would not say that lightly either. I have a very high tolerance for pain, but the thighs were off the hook in pain. I am so glad now that I did!!!
I guess everything is about time and patiences....and I suck at patience big time! This has taught me a lesson!
I am grateful for the life I have been given back not only from WLS, but from the reconstruction because that has given me more in a sense emotionally. This is not to say that I am not so so grateful for the WLS....I was lifesaving!!! Reconstruction truly gave me my confidence back.....and I don't care what you can't put a price tag on either!!!!
Stay tuned for more to come after next surgery :-)

Okay I survived reconstructive surgery # 2!!! I am 11 days post op right now and have a completely different out look on life than I did 11 days post op from my 1st surgery!!!
This surgery hurt me in a different way...more burning and pulling in my arms and sides. For all of you who haven't followed the journey here, my 2nd surgery consisted of a breast job with silicone implants, a brachioplasty, lipo on my back which eventuated in having to have incisions made on the side of my torso from around just under the breast area to a smidge below my waist on both sides, tattoo's removed from my biceps, and a revision of my last surgery as my wound opened on the bikini line due to lack of blood supply from an old surgery with lipo and more skin pulled down!! Can you say I truly look like the bride of Frankenstein with all the scars???????????
Well I do look like her, but I am okay with it all. I am overwhelmed at how this surgery is so much different from the last one in the sense of one, pain and two how different I look.
I was happy with the last surgery, but I was incomplete still...out of balance so to speak. This sugery gave me one hell of a figure that I never thought was possible! I can't even begin to express the gratitude I have towards Dr. I have said, "A true miracle worker and artist!!!"
This surgery has really come with a hefty price tag of emotions for me also. I feel like I am so exposed now and have no way of hiding behind my body. I have cried a lot and I am sure mourning still the loss of my security blanket, i.e. FAT!!! Not to mention I have to reinvent the way I dress even down to my underwear. Now don't get me wrong that I hate it, but it is a bit frustrating in the stores for me now with the old programing going on in my head about...oh I can't wear this or I can't wear that....and the truth is....I can wear anything I want because I no longer have the hanging skin that inhibited me from wearing it.
My mind has really not caught up to the image. I startled myself a number of times yesterday when I was out at how I look. Now I am only getting stares because of the incisions on my arms and not because I am either FAT or at the hanging skin on my arms that I never bothered to cover.
I am walking around in a very new world to me. This gal that I know who works in Lane Byrant said to me yesterday (and no I do not have shop there as I am with the swelling a medium and/or size 12 for the time being) that so many people forget where they come from and I said to know me and you know that I would never forget that. She agreed with me.
So often we have the tendency to forget how life was being MO...I am constantly going to be reminded of who I am everytime I look in the mirror or pull my clothes off and see the reminants of my former self....and although I joke around.....I am very humble about this experience and understand what it has afforded me....some piece of mind not to any longer beat myself up over my appearance and there is NO way you could ever put a price tag on the ridding of self loathing and gaining self acceptance!!! PEACE OUT :-)
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I can't believe that I am actually finishng my 4th week of work now!! I went back to work 3 weeks after I had my 2nd surgery. It was initially difficult with trying to get myself back into a schedule and routine, but now I am in full swing of teaching and feeling really good about myself.
There has been a lot of changes in my body in the last month. One I am significantly smaller...meaning a lot of the swelling has gone down in my abdomin. There is still a good amount left of swelling, but I don't care at this point as I look half way normal.
I saw Dr. Katzen the other day and more than once he said to me that I looked great and was rather cute when he walked into the exam room...he said, "Hi I am Dr. Katzen (with his hand out to shake mine) I know you????" I just cracked up until he got the needle out to shoot up my groin with lidocaine to remove a staple and a stitch that remained from my original surgery.
I am overall pleased with how I look like I said. I keep thinking I have these huge thighs now as most pants for the way they are cut are too slim in my thighs and loose on my waist. Yes I am wearing a size 12 with what appears to be a very flat tummy, but actually it is still swollen!!!! LOL
What has dramatically changed for me is my outlook about myself. I was so so down on myself for so many years although, never letting my appearance totally get in my way. I feel excited about life. I feel very present in life for a change and look forward to going to work each day which is a good thing. I feel very clear about how I need to eat, how I need to exercise, and how I need to stay mentally healthy to not eat and to exercise. I feel I have a great support system starting with my husband down to a number of really close friends.
I guess no one ever said life would be easy and God knows we have had some pretty hard roads to travel, but WLS gives a life that we would never had known otherwise. The grattitude I have for making it to 50 years, for having wonderful people in my life, to having 2 awesome son's...and then to have what seems to me WLS hand to be....and the icing on the cake the reconstructive surgery.....I just feel like I said grateful. I am a very lucky person and there is not one day that goes by that I don't know that I am very lucky for all that has happened to me. It molded who I am....and to tell you the truth there is not one thing I would was a road I needed travel to become one with mind and body!!

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11/4//04 As all of you know this past weekend was the big OH Convention in LA. I went to this event with the understanding that people on these board were kind and loving people whom I felt I could trust. For the most part I still think I know who you are. However, the chain of events which took place this last weekend has sadden and disappointed me to no ends.

First of all and to whomever might read this, I will not excuse my behavior attributed to alcohol although it did play a part into it unfortunately. However, the same people who come to these boards claiming to be supportive and who are tried of being judged are the same people who pointed finger...well just remember when you point that finger, there are 3 fingers pointed back at yourself.
The other thing, I feel that a lot of us were betrayed by posting pictures on this site for God knows who to see that could ultimately have a negative effect on people's careers. Although not done in malice, but done in very poor judgement.

As a very wise person told me about this last weekend, that we came here to the convention with a lot of emotions and we felt that it was a safe place. There was gossip and rumors flying, big time caddiness and back stabbing, and plain vicious lies spread by some.

It really baffles me to no ends. I do not understand why a bunch of grown so called adults had to act in the fashion...pretty much grade school stuff as I cannot even say it is middle school behavior.

Why does human nature dictate the crudest acts of unkindness I often wonder. I can honestly say in my hearts of hearts that I have nothing bad to say about one person here. No I do not have to like everyone. However, that does not give me the right to put them down because we do not see eye to eye on things.

A number of people have encouraged me to stick around and show up to events still...that I am a well liked person and that people look up to me. Well obviously you saw a different side of me this past week....okay a side that perhaps I am not particularly proud of but nevertheless I am just as human as you are or the next person. But moreover, I do not feel safe now. I feel like I was hugely betrayed by some of the people whom I did call my friend. I look around and who can I really trust? Well I found out.

So as much as my actions do not tell the person of who I really am, I do not feel that it is anybodies right to sit in judgement. That is for our final day if you know what I mean. I have a lot going for myself and I do not mean that in a conceited is just I am so much more than the person you saw this weekend.

As always, I do wish everyone well in their new way of life where they are!!


Well I feel I can take a moments breather and think for myself and not have a bizillion things to do.
As a lot of you know my oldest son got married this last weekend and it is a barrel of emotions I must admit.
I had no reservations about the gal he was marrying. In fact I like Sandy a whole lot. The two of them make a cute couple and I have to hand it to her...anyone who can put up with James does deserve a medal and then more!!
The wedding itself went off without too many hitches. The reception was a real ball. Everyone danced and yucked it up like you rarely see at a wedding.
I had a hard time because I was being seen by a lot of people who never knew me for one, and then there was a great deal of people there who had not seen me for a very long time. I could see the shock on their faces, but I handled it with dignity I felt. I wanted the focus of the day to be away from me and directed at my son and his new bride.
I hide myself under a dressy poncho for a long time before I let people see me in a revealing black dress. Now don't get me wrong, I felt good about how I looked, but nevertheless it is still hard to receive postive attention when I have been so programed to only hear the negative.
I re-read my profile this morning. I haven't done that for a very long time. In nearly 2 and half years, I have come a long ways. I am not saying I am done for sure. However, I can see the growth, I can see the struggles and it was very good for me to read the struggles, and keep myself focused to stay clear in my thoughts and not allow anyone or anything to sabatoge my personal growth.
I want to be successful for myself and myself only. I know that sounds selfish in a way, but what I mean is that I am not here or anywhere else to please anyone.
I set out on my journey a few years ago in quest of a healthier life. I have always said that anything past getting healthy was pure gravy and I still believe that mentality to this day. I have been extremely fortunate to get to where I am today and I won't ever forget that either.
So when you have time, sit down and re-read your profile again and see how far you have come in your journey. I think it is as benefical to you as it is to others who read your profile.
I know I do not have all the answers to living my life after wls. I know that somedays are by far more difficult than others. Things effect our lives, and we are so quick to revert to our old habits. I just know I have to stay focused and stay strong and and be true to my own self.


It has been a while since I have made an update on my profile. Since the least update, I have had another surgery. Although the surgery went fine, it has been long haul to recover from this one it seems like.
Life just seems to be so hectic and crazy....I survived the holidays with not a lot of stress for a change. Both of my son's did the holiday cooking. My younger son and his wife cooked for Thanksgiving and my older son and his wife did the Christmas dinner. For the 1st time for both holidays in 30 years I did not cook. It felt weird, but I guess it is time to pass the reigns!

So this year, 2005 is met with no resolutions as I feel a real contentment in my life these days. I never even thought about making a resolution and as I was making a post this morning, I realized that I had not done so.

It is such a relief not to be in that kind of a mindset. I have made peace and feel like I do not need to set myself up for disappointing myself any longer. I realize that in my 50 years that I have come a long ways and understand that I need to deal with issues as they present themselves and not wait for something like a new year to take care of them.

I feel like having wls has taught me a lot about myself and what I mean by this is that I no longer have the food to numb or dull the situation. I feel like I have to confront my issues and that in itself can be very powerful. Powerful in the sense that I am taking the power out of food and allowing myself to feel what is uncomfortable, say what I am not liking and know that I am not going to stuff it all back down with food.

Years ago when I found my birthmother, I realized that I never had to quit at doing something that I started. WLS has renewed that same kind of determination about my life.

Now with the added luxuary I would say of having reconstructive surgery it has only compounded my shear determination and strength inwardly. I realize what a lucky person I am to have been able to have my entire body remolded into a normal looking body, but it gave me courage and strength that I did not know I had. It gave to me that there is no way that I would ever blow my wls tool because I like being able to fit in and not be known for oh yeah that use to be the fat gal! And don't get me wrong here, I know where I came from and I will not let that ever effect my attitude or my feelings for people who unmercifully get hounded and disrespected because of weight issues. sounds so futuristic, but knowing that I have a future of living healthy is remarkable! So as I march through this young year so far, I will hold my head up high and know that this once fat girl can do anything she sets out to do and she doesn't need to make resolutions to achieve it!!!

PEACE OUT!!!!!!!!


For those of you post-op and even those who are pre-op who have had these thoughts about wls that after you have your operation that you would wake up thin?
Well I sure had those thoughts big time and was so horrible disappointed when they woke me up in recovery that I was not thin and gorgeous. I played such games with my head. And of course, even after I worked through that part, I thought all would go back to the way it was when I was a young woman (like teens ) and my life would be complete.

Well here is the real kicker....I lost the weight my body would allow me to...and life was not all so great and my skin took a huge hit from being morbidly obese all my adult life.

I seeked out reconstructive surgery as a last result to have some sort of normalcy with my body and this is where I found that the psychological part of this leg of my journey has been the hardest.

I did wake up thin so to speak. It is one of the most freakest feelings in the whole world and there is even less time to get use to the fact that your body has been altered. Still all these months later the mind and body image has not caught up. I still want to buy larger sizes and this is not about a size or the number is just I don't get it.

I catch glimpses of myself and think who is that? And the funny thing of it is....I really didn't go through this as bad as I did while going through the wl. I think the reason for that is because I was a super slow loser and my mind had more time to adjust.

The other part to this PS thing is that NO my skin does not look beautiful like one would think. I am a walking map of scars from the ravishes of obesity. My stretch marks that I had from being obese are still there only in different places and in different directions. I really trip out because they use to be more vertical and now they are diagional!!

No amount of reconstructive surgery will ever rid me of knowing here I came from and for sure there is no way that I ever want to forget. Some have said to me you did this out of vanity, and I have to say part of me did and part of me feels really hurt when they say this because they have never had to life in a body of fat.

I feel more so that I did this and I have said it many of times here is that I did it for my sanity and my physical health. I know in my heart of hearts that I would have never maintained my weight if I had not done something even more drastic than wls.

This leg of my journey has been very up and down for me emotionally and physically. I want to be normal in my head so bad, but then I think what is normal and what am I trying to achieve? Is normal that model in a magazine or the gal strutting down the street with her head held up high brimming with cofidence? I don't know to be honest with you. I never wanted to be a model nor did I ever think I was even pretty. You know my husband has always thought I was pretty even when he married me at 360 pds....but today he thinks I am his model and treats me like one....I really love it too!

I guess what I am trying to tell you guys is that one I am happy I did this in a lot of ways, but it is not a cure all to end all. There is a huge psychological component that goes along with doing something like this and it takes continual work just like it does working your tool that we have been so lucky to have. I really do hope someday that my mind and body image merges to a degree where I can let go of the feeling of such a huge event in my life....and then again maybe I should just try to learn to embrace who I am now...healthy and happy with a side of who and the heck am I?



For months now as you all have known I went through all this reconstructive surgery still to be plagued with belittling myself every chance I got and never accepting the changes for real or should I say own those changes. I have constantly had this broken record in my head saying to're're this or all know that was recorded by each and everyone of us for whatever our reasons are.

Well yesterday, Dr. Katzen pulled up my surgical pictures. The before one he took literally minutes before I went into the operating room. First of all I was not watching his computer screen when he was he says to me, "Janine do you recognize this person?" I sat there with some puzzlement....and he said to me, "Janine do you recognize that tattoo?" I started to feel the tears come to my eyes when I realized....OMG that is me.
To go a step further, Dr. Katzen pulled up the pictures of where he marked me off for surgery. In some places it look like nearly a foot of my stomach was taken off....the marks were shocking because he said where the lines were from top to bottom is where he removed all the skin. I also saw some of the pictures that were taken during the medial thigh lift while I was under anesthesia.

Shocking all of bet!!! I can honestly say that the surgical stuff was not the most shocking part of looking at these photo's. The shocking part was the disbelief at how far I have come due to the talented hands of this man.

Will I ever put myself down like I have always done....I don't think so. I have often said that Dr. Katzen gave me a real gift of returning my life to me or just having a life that I never knew. But this by far was the greatest gift he gave let me see where I came from. And see the look of pride and accomplishment in his face was also a pleasure to see.

I cannot explain to you in words what I experienced yesterday because I cannot sort it all out. I just know that I came away from his office yesterday with a different perspective of myself. I am honestly blown away and I have a new sense of myself. I know I walked around wherever I was in the vast L.A. area with my head up high and a feeling for once in my life being super proud of myself knowing where I have come from and what I have accomplished!

Hugs to all of you for the continuing out pour of support you have shown me through my evolving self!


What a difference a few months make in healing well pretty much completely and being able to work out in the gym 4 days a week. I feel like a new person! I have had some pretty good results with working out and have received compliments beyond...even was told my someone that I reminded them of the wrestler, China. At first I was offended, but then realized it was meant as a compliment because I look strong...well heck I am!

I have pretty much kept a low profile around these neck of the woods. Meaning I am more than willing to support people who are honest and real and have and will continue to pass over the b.s. that seems to be so prevalent around here.
This wl community I thought would be different and that we had this common bond...kind of how I thought about my adopted brother and me always sticking together because we were bound my adoption...well think again.
It is like if you are not so emotionally healthy prior to surgery...this surgery is surely not going to fix your head unles you seek out therapy or just plain be willing to change your behavior.
I have come across more childish and really rotten behavior from some here that I am super appauld about to be quite frank and it will continue to keep me away for good at any OH activities or anything related to them. And for people who have read my profile and has nothing to do with things that happened at the convention last year, but it is a cumilation of a lot of things.
However I do want to reiterate, the people who truly need support and the few people who shown their true friendship, I will always support and go out of my way for is like you take what you need and leave the rest behind kind of thing.

As for my future with living this way of life, I feel confident in the choices I make and this is not to say that I do not blow it hear and there. I am not so over confident that I think that I also have my food issues solved. I am just like the rest of you....I struggle and have my bad days, but one thing that is always consistant is my love of exercise and really my love of me because for one if I cannot love myself....who can I love! I am proud of me for all the I have accomplished in my 50 years and I know there is more for me down the road!!!

Peace Out!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A footnote to new people reading...I am not longer a 5th grade teacher. I teach in the CA desert still, but I am now a middle school teacher. Not that it really matters but I was looking at the beginning of my profile and saw that!


You know it is nice still after being nearly 3 years out from wls that I can still have one of those Oh Wow moments!!

Today was the beginning of the installation of the tile mural wall I have been working on non-stop for the last 5 months which was created by students and staff at our school. Needless to say, it has on a whole be incrediably overwhelming with some real highs and lows throughout the process. Thankfully, I have experience of doing projects on this size as this is the 3rd mural I have created at a school where I have taught.

Well enough of that...what was the oh wow moment was that me...after all day teaching went out and helped my greatest guy in the world stucco the wall where the mural is going to be placed. I worked 5 hours after I taught all day....applying this goop to level out the wall or as in stucco guy talk...float the wall. I am telling you, I did not have the stamina even a year ago to pull something like that off let alone being a morbidly obese person. I did my first mural as a MO person. Today I did this as a normal sized person who is healthy, fit and full of life.
I have to honestly say I do not know what meant more to me, the mural or the feeling of accomplishment with self. I went through hell to get to where I am today. And yes I call it hell because the weight loss was the easy part to me. Not having choices with my food like I use to is not hard for me either. What was hard was making it back from reconstructive surgery and even harder to have the acceptance of self when I look in the mirror these days. I do not want to say I still see that fat person looking back at me...the person whom I knew for so many years. I am more not understanding my body in the sense it is all so new and it is a body that I never had in my life. This is not because I was always MO...this is because the doctor who rebuilt me built me this whole new person!!
The other thing is that I had to go into Ross's to get some work clothes....meaning some beater type clothes that I didn't care about wrecking while doing this installation. It is so incrediably weird to go in there and just pick up some bing bing and everything works without trying it on.
You know when I began this journey I never had a size or a weight in mind of what I wanted to be. If I had had a mouthful of something when the surgeon told me that I would probably weigh about 140 pds...well I would have spit it all over his face. I thought to myself...yeah right...140...I weighed that in 8th grade, wasn't as nearly tall as I am now and was thin. Today I do not know how much I weigh....I am a size 12 sometimes 10's in pants....and I wear a large top. I am happy. I couldn't have asked for more and above all and this is the real clencher for me is that I am healthy, I am fit, and I have this new found confidence that I feel free to exercise. I no longer sit back and not say what I really feel because I know now that I can say it and I am not going to ridiculed on my weight because I have an opinion.

Ain't life grand???? You know there is no amount of money in the world that could make me go back to where I was and if there was a price tag I would put on where I came from...well I would also have to say....PRICELESS!!!



Wow I have a hard time believing that it has been a year today since I had my first round of reconstructive surgery. I never thought in a million years that I would be sitting where I am today in terms of what my body looks like. I am still not out of the woods in terms of surgery as I am having another one on the 15th of July and hopefully it will be my last one!

I really feel good about where I have gotten inspite of set backs of having to have more surgery than anticipated. I am really okay with it because I know my doctor has my best interest at heart. He didn't have a great body to work with from the get go and I still feel after all said and done, he is still a talented man.

Things just keep getting better and better for me. I am able to work out like a fool and not have to worry about arms flying or about anything else. How cool is that?

In terms of how I feel about myself. Well I do feel more vunerable to people's attitudes and how I am treated, but a member here pointed out how we are all guilty of some sort of discrimination about others too. It was a point well taken. Sometimes I feel more sensitive too in terms of having raw feelings that can't be stuffed, but I am learning that this is okay too even though it causes me problems. Those problems are a 50/50 thing with me and others and mostly I feel because they are not use to

About Me
The Beautiful Desert, CA
Surgery Date
Nov 26, 2005
Member Since

Before & After
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