I've gone through an awful lot to get here.
20 years of starting to blow up like a balloon, realizing it, and trying to deflate.
Each time getting a bit bigger than the time before. I was a bit later getting married (30) and I had my daughter at almost 32. I gained 80 pounds during my pregnancy, since the only time I didn't feel ill was when I was eating. Not only did the 80 pounds stay, it brought friends. Before I knew it, I was over 300 pounds, and in total fat denial.
I was told about Dr. Robert Dent by a good friend of mine who had been through the Optifast program about 10 years ago. My family doctor was very happy to refer me. I didn't *have* to do Optifast, but it is considered to be the "gold standard" of weight loss program. If you fail at Optifast, you'll pretty much fail at everything, I was told. Guess what? I failed. Well, in all honesty...I did lose weight. It wasn't an easy road, however.
I was due to start Optifast on January 29, 2007. Christmas Eve, 2006 I fell ill. Bam! I was down for the count. I hauled myself to the local clinic (since my dr was off) and some young guy who didn't even really look at me prescribed an inhaler for 2 months. A month later I had pneumonia in both lungs. I felt really sorry for all the poor people at our first Optifast meeting. I coughed so much I think they considered dialing 911. Needless to say, it took 4 months, 4 rounds of antibiotics and a lot of determination on my part to rid myself of that horrid condition. By April, I was beginning to feel almost human again.
The beginning of May is when we were easing our way into food again. 3 shakes, and 1 meal per day. I travelled to Toronto for my cousin's wedding, and was more than thrilled to eat dinner at the reception. On the drive home, I started feeling abdominal pain. I should say that for a few years I suffered with spastic colon. I have a small loop of bowel that is extra, and if I don't keep on top of my fibre intake, it can go into spasm. It's painful, sometime making me vomit...but I hadn't had an episode in at least a year. I figured my luck ran out. But the pain wasn't the same...it was, worse somehow. I wound up having to pull over and letting my husband drive. The pain disappeared as quickly as it came.
2 weeks later, another attack. I got through that one on my hands and knees. A week later, another.
3 days later...the motherlode. It started while I was staring at the shampoo in Zellers. I decided I'd better rush home just in case. That was 4 pm. By 9, I was projectile vomitting and in so much pain I thought I might be Ripley and the mother alien was about to burst forth from my belly. Some time in the middle of the night it occurred to me that I might have a gallstone. I guess I'm a bit slow on the uptake. I made it to 6 am, showered, and headed to the ER.
Around 11 am, I guess they figured they either took me in, or I died on the floor in the waiting room. Either way, I was bad for business. Especially with hubby running back and forth to the triage nurse updating her on how I was going downhill by the second. It didn't take the ER doc long to sort it out though (giving credit where it is due) and within a short time I was all hooked up and feeling the morphine love. It didn't take the pain away, so I was given dose #2. At that point, I recall approx 8 med students wandering in to ask me about my pain. I remember 2 things: giggling almost non-stop, and thinking they didn't look any older than my 11 year old daughter. After dose #3, they wheeled me into the hallway to keep an eye on me. At some point or other, they sent me off to observation where they brought out the big guns. Dilaudid. Intramuscularly. I've never felt so good in my entire life.
I know the ultrasound hurt, but I didn't much care. When the resident told me I had pancreatitis, and that my amylase results were more than 4X normal, I thought...well isn't that nice? *laugh* I don't recall much about the following 8 days. I know I had an MRI (called an MRCP) and that I didn't fit very well in the machine and wound up having a breakdown when they finally let me out. I know I refused to be catherized and dragged my sorry butt (and IV pole) to the bathroom about a dozen or more times each day. Other than that, I was a tad out of it.
The surgeon was reluctant to take out the gallbladder until the pancreatitis had healed. He was also reluctant to let me go home. I begged a little, and finally they agreed. 4 days later I passed another stone and went back to my second home. The pain was so bad that time, I hyperventilated and scared the poor old lady in the stall next to me. That's pretty much where you have to be before they'll give you your meds. Another week in hospital.
There was good news though. I had lost 25 pounds in 2 weeks! Amazing what no food, and only IV fluids will do for you. I was down 65 pounds in total, from Jan 29 until May 29. Not bad.
This time the surgeon said that bad old gallbladder had to come out. So, 9 days after admission, out it came. What a relief! It took a very long time to start feeling better, and I comforted myself with food.
Before I knew it, all 65 pounds had come back. I was so miserable.
So...there you have it. In Sept I asked Dr. Dent about surgery. In Oct I was approved. In November I met Dr. Graber, and on Jan 11 my life changed forever. As of today (Feb 21) I'm down 35 pounds. I have good days, and not-so-good days. It's hard to change, but I'm determined. One day soon, I will be healthy again.