"IT'S MY LIFE  -  IT'S NOW OR NEVER!"

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I've always been obese my whole life. At the most I was 740 lbs., but now at 565 lbs., I'm currently doing Weight Watchers as my current doctor through Humana won't even discuss WLS till I'm under the weight off 500 lbs. I do good on WW but everytime I get near 500 I just start to yo yo in my weight loss. Can You Please Help Me ???

5/27/05 - I've changed my PCP to a much WLS friendlier one. A Dr.John Kern in St.Petersburg, FL. But I'm still not sure which of the WLS to apply for, the Laproscopic Band or the Gastric-Bypass? Some friends pushing either-or.
And I've made arrangements to start fixing my smile as a few of my front teeth are broken.
I've also made reservations to attend the Obesity Help Conference on June 25th in Orlando. 

6/8/05 - I went to Dr.Kern's office in person after not hearing back from his nurse, Kathy. She's in charge of new patients. When she saw me she went in her office and got me the papers to fill out. Then scheduled me for blood work and first consult but not till early July. I then went to lunch to celebrate and fell going to their rest room. It took 4 people to help get me up. I bruise my ego & left knee. But ok

6/10/05 - Tizzys Mew or is it Tina has a Roo, has offered and I have greatly accepted Tina to be my Journey's Angel! If was because of Tina that I found a doctor that really cares about over-sized people. Thank you Tina.
(Tina has faded in the past as I don't hear from her 4/27/06)

6/14/05 - I have turned in my completed paper work to see new PCP. And have impressed the nursing staff that I had everything filled out completely & correctly plus a few adding items nnot requested. So now more waiting, getting better at it. I've started to increasee my exercise activities too.

6/29/05 - I attended the ObesityHelp Conference in Orlando, FL. this past weekend. It was very good & informative. But Bo McCoy was not in attendance as I was hoping to meet him. He was my size and has lost 400 pounds in 20 months via his by-pass. I learned mostly and felt great of how the Support Group has accepted me and really feel as they care. We went out to dinner afterwards. And I learned how little after the surgery you can eat. Much Thanks to all who helped & encourage my Journey.

In a week I have to face my Obesity hopefully for the last major time. I'll be flying to Washington,DC/Baltimore for my nephews wedding. Thus i'm having to pay for two seats both ways. I'm flying instead of driving due to my lower legs hurting more than usual. And this next day after returning my WLS Journey will begin. With blood work at Dr.Kern's office.

7/18/05 - Well I had my first consultation with Dr.Kern. We went over my Blood Work after I recieved an EKG. He's very happy with my results. My LDL Cholesterol is high at 107/0-99. And my A/G Ratio is low 0.9/1.1-2.5. But otherwise I'm just FAT.

We talked about my wishes to recieve a WLS. At which he checked for the requirements with my insurance. Humana wants documentation of a 6 month weight loss program. So I need to get copies of my Weight Watchers history to Dr.Kern and a list of diets I have been on. Dr.Kern will then contact Humana. And we'll see if they'll accept the WW records or I'll have to complete another 6 month program under Dr.Kern's supervision.

And Dr.Kern knows Dr.Rehnke, the Surgeon I am considering.

 7/27/05 - I submitted the following letter to my PCP this past Monday of my Weigh Loss History with all of the Diet Programs I've been through on my travels to loss weight.


Dr.Kern - Family Practice Center
           5838 Ninth Avenue, North                                 July 2005
           St.Petersburg, FL. 33710

 Patient: Michael Eak - Diet History

   As a child I have been big all my life. I was sent every summer that I can remember to my Grand Parents. Where as I look back now was a strict diet with no snacks and desserts. I went to high school in Virginia. Where my parent's put me on Dirt Pills through our family doctor. When I got out of High School I lived and worked for a family friends who also put me on diet programs of their own which seemed to work but we were in marketing for the country
music business and it seeme every meeting dealt with food. I eventually moved on with my life.

Before I left Virginia I had tried several diet plans:
Weight Watchers, Doctor's Weight Loss Clinic, Slim Fast, the Ice Cream Diet (a cousin had done it and lose per my Grand Parents), Fasting (water only), TOPS - Take Off Pounds Sensibly,
Over Eatters Anonymously and the Veggy Diet.

When I moved to Florida in May'92 I lived with my Dad (Mom passed away already). We did some diet his doctor had put him on for Diabetes. After he died,Sept.'92 I was depressed for about
6 months and ate.I began to have Swelling in my legs. First my right but my left leg got worse. I asked a friend one day how it looked at which they took me directly to Mease Hospital. I was
in the hospital for a week and went from a weight of 740 pounds to 635 pounds on Heavy Diuretics. When I got out I saw my attending doctor for three months till the insurance ran out as I had lost my seasonal job.

Afterwards I tried the following diets: Nutri-System, Richard Simmons, Medifast, the Cabbage Diet, the Atkins Diet (which seem to clog me up so that I needed to do enamas to get my bowels moving). Sugar Busters, ediet.com and the Body For Life Challenge.

In 2003 I started with Weight Watcher in Florida. I did well for about 17 months losing about 90 pounds. But I had become a Judicial Process Server/Investigator and the hours of sitting and
eatting to stay awake took me away from Weight Watchers. Thus I put back on the 90 plus more. I then got the Wake-Up-Call as I fell asleep while driving. I stopped doing Weight Watchers. But tried to stay on it's plan.

Thus I apllied and was granted Social Security Disability. And to wait two years to go on Medicare. Of which is when I started with the Humana Insurance. Also through Humana I got the membership into the Silver Sneakers Program which gives me a Health Club Membership with the Clearwater YMCA. Which I swim at. At least three days a week hopefully more though.

In March of 2005 I got a part-time job as a courier, which allows me the extra money to continue with Weight Watcher. I now weighed in at 582. But through Stress and Depression I've lost some but gained more. I'm now between 592 to about 600 pounds. My original starting weight in 2003.

I know the Weight Loss Surgery is a Life Changing Program but I feel I can handle this program. And with the support of others that I have made friends with in a few Weight Loss Surgery Support
group I now attend regularly. Plus the After-Care Staff Program of the Surgeon I chose.

Please Dr.Kern will you check with Humana to see if I will qualify so that I may start my Journey to a New Life to live longer. My dad died at 62, his dad died at 62. I want to live past 62.

I do realize and will accept to another Weight Loss Supervised
Diet Program under your care if that is required by the Humana Insurance Company. To realize my wishes to recieve on of the Weight Loss Surgeries in my future.

Thank You, Mike

On Monday I'll contact Dr.Kern's Staff as to the results from Humana if I don't hear from them first.
 

8/1/05 - I contacted Dr.Kern's office and was told just to be patient as their still checking with my insurance plus with the JSA Medical Group their associated with as to approval (it seems it's all about the money to them not my health).

8/17/05 - After still no word from my PCP I have written and submitted the following letter to Dr.Kern's office:

It's been a month since our initial consultation at which you said you would check with Humana, my health insurance company to see if I would qualify for the Open Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass Weight Loss Surgery.

I too talked with 2 Humana reps via phone. I told them of my weight loss history, attempts to which diet programs I have done and my current medical and physical conditions. At which they told me to get back to you to get the referral to the surgeon of my choice.

On returning to your office, I was instructed to just be patient that besides my insurance you had to check with the JSA Medical Group
Well I'm still waiting. This is my health. I am Severly Morbidly Obese.
I have Severe Sleep Apnea which I am on a Bi-Pap with an Oxygen Concentrator both set at their highest levels. My high blood pressure is being controlled by drugs and I wear compression stockings on both of my legs to combat swelling and ulcerations. I know the only way to ward off any current and future medical problems is to lose the excess weight. One of the main problems could lead to my legs being surgically removed.

Now if your decision to the referral to a surgeonfor the weight loss surgey is going to take longer may I at least start a Supervised Weight Loss Program under yourr care. As I have had to stop the Weight Watchers daily meetings due to some unexpected finance problems. I did recently go to the Morton Plant Hospital Medical Center and got weighed. I now weigh in at 570.9 lbs. down from the 595 when I first saw you.

The Surgeons I have chosen are Dr.Rehnke at the St.Petersburg General Hospital and as an alternate, Dr.Murr at Tampa General Hospital. I now attend several WLS support groups regularly now and participate on-line to both these surgeon's support sites. Plus also the www.obesityhelp.com and several other sites on the internet web pages. I even attended the Obesity Help Conference in Orlando this past June 2005.

I did consider Dr.Dietrick but is has relocated from the now closed Wish Center to USF college area in Temple Terrace. a bit far if I was to have any complications post surgery. Plus as of today he isn't on Humana's plans as both Dr.Reehnke and Dr.Murr are.

I continue to swim regularly at the Clearwater YMCA and have altered my food intake to start to convey toward the weight loss surgeries post diet.

Both of my parents were obese with diabetes and my plder brother was just diagnosed with it. I would like to do something before I develope it.

I thank you in advance for your help and prompt response.
Sincerely, Michael Eak

8/18.05 - I recieved a call to get back to Kathy at Dr.Kern's office.

8/19/05 - This morning before I had time to call Kathy, she called me. I'm to fill out the Questionaire I've already recieved from Dr.Rehnke's office and fax it back to them as soon as possible.
They will then start a file on me and set a pre-consultation with their staff to set up all of the testings I will need. Then they'll contact my Humana Insurance for approval to have one of the Weight Loss Surgeries.
My intent is to recieve the "Open Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass".

"Hooray, I've got my referral and I'm on my way."

8/22/05 - As instructed by the Surgeon's off I have filled out in detail the pre-admiitance questionaire. And with my Weight Watcher's records faxed them to their office. I also let Kathy at Dr.Kern's office know that I had done so. As she wanted to know so she could stay up with my process to help move me along.

8/23/05 - I checked with Yvonne at Dr.Rehnke's office. They recieved the info packet and are sending the next one to me about getting testings and everything else needed. I should have it in a week or so. In the mean time I'll go this coming Saturday to his next Support Group Meeting at 2:30PM. A good friend that had the Bypass this past June'05 says she will be there too.

I also checked with Kathy at Dr.Kern's as to referrals to up coming doctors including the Psych evaluations. She said she'd have to check with Dr.Kern as to wether they'd do that referral.

8/29/05 - I recieved the next step onward in my Journey.
The letter of Prospective Patient came today. On Wednesday September 21st - is a Mandatory Orientation at 9:45 AM followed
by my first Consultation with Dr.Rehnke, My Surgeon. On Thursday September 22nd at 4:00 PM. In the mean time I have more paper work and need to start making appointments for several medical testings. Such as a Psychological Evaluation and more.

9/7/05 - Wednesday 9/1 I faxed everything to Kathy at Dr.Kern's ofc. and called her as what was the next step toward getting testing refered & completed. She said she'd call me Thursday.
She never called. SO today Wednesday, I made a in-person visit.
Kathy said it was up to me to find a Psychologist and set up my Test with them. Once the Evaluations are complete and they've mailed in a copy of the results with a referal letter to qualify the surgery. Only then would they'd move forward with the other tests required.

I found Dr.Robert A. Pensa, PH.D. - a Clinical Psychologist in Largo, FL. Dr.Rehnke used to use him all of the time. And he accepts my insurance. So now I've got a call into Dr.Rehnke's office for approval to use him. Then I'll need to get a referal from Dr.Kern's ofc. for insurance coverage to pay for the evaluation.

Now in search for a Dietitian for Nutritional Counseling.

9/9/05 - Well I got a call on my answering machine from Dr.Rehnkes ofc. stating they'd rather I use one of the psychs suggested from their list provided. Is three names considered a list. That was yesterday so yesterday I called Dr. Baum's office and left a message shortly before 4 PM. When I got home today there was no reply so I called Dr.Baum's ofc. again today shortly after 3 PM and kept my phone line open till 5 PM but there was still no reply from Barbara as it states on Dr. Baum's answering service.
 
Can anyone help me with Dr.Baum's office hours.
And is there a larger list from Dr.Rehnke's office of other Psych Doctors?

9/12/05 - On Monday Sept. 19th at 2PM I have an appointment with Dr. Joseph Baum for my Psychological Evaluation. Does anyone have any tips other than just being honest?

It'll be a busy week too. Seeing Dr.Baum - Monday, Going with my friend Debbie on Tuesday evening to Dr.Rehnke's Seminar on the WLS - The Lap Band. Wednesday is my Orientation for the RNY at Dr.Rehnke's office and then Thursday the First Consultation with Dr.Rehnke at 4 PM. Plus working Thursday & Friday. And then Saturday is Dr.Renke's Support Group which I now attend regularly every month. Oh and swimming everyday as much as possible.

9/13/05 - Well I faxed Kathy at Dr.Kern's office today about getting a referal to Dr.Baum and to make sure there was one to Dr.Rehnke too, as It's not posted on my Humana Insurance page yet. Plus to start the almost always required 6 Month Doctor Supervised Diet with monthly visits.

Well Kathy called to inform me that Dr.Baum was out of the JSA Medical Group Network and that it was up to me to call the Humana Health Network to get approval to use Dr.Baum. (Why didn't she just set me up with a Psych within the JSA Network from the start?) Well I called and was approved & given a Authorization Number for the first three visit with a Co-Pay of $15.00.

Kathy also stated she would get the referal going from Dr.Kern in the process for Dr.Rehnke and work on the Diet Visits. I just though this Family Practice would be more helpful in setting everything up.

9/20/05 - Dr.Baum was impressed with my progress as too my buddies. He recieved three letters of Support from my friends.
That I have made it a routine of attending Support Groups and having attended the OH Conference in Orlando plus the Walk from Obesity. And researching the web, that I expained the operation to him instead of him to me. Including diet afterwards.

I paid the required co-pays up front , a little unusual. But Barbara said it would speed up the final response letter. Co-Paid $45.00 total through my Humana Insurance, which included the "567 question True or False"  "Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory" test. Which I did in 2 1/2 hours. Dr.Baum talked with me for about 40 minutes before I did the test.

Barbara, Dr.Baum's assistant told me I should have the results in about two weeks at which he'll send both Dr.Rehnke and myself (a copy) his letter of approval.

9/21/05 - I & one of my buddies went to the Orientation today. We learned more info. And I'll see Dr. Rehnke tomorrow at 4 PM. There were eight of us there. Plus some of the other's buddies.

Afterwards I popped in at Dr. Kern's office and I told them that I had the Orientation plus the Psych Evaluation. And now it's time to start any testings required. At which Kathy told me that they would do all of the tests that Dr. Rehnke required. And I asked what had come of my request to start the required 6 Months of a Doctor's Monthly Supervised Diet? Kathy then imformed me she would get on it to get it started. Was I talking to a brick wall on September 13th. When then she said she'd get it started?

I'll refer all of this to Marlene who is now my contact person in Dr. Rehnke's office. Plus discuss it with Dr. Rehnke. More to come.

9/22/05 - How things change so fast.
I got a call this morning from Kathey at Dr.Kern's office.
She called Marlene at Dr.Rehnke's office to comfirm what I had
told her about the 6 Month required Supervised and Recorded Diet.
And that I'm to call to schedule an appointment after seeing
Dr.Rehnke this afternoon. She wouldn't just schedule it then.

Well I saw Dr.Rehnke and if I didn't need the 6 month diet he
would've been ready to schedule a date right then. But I will
be going to both Dr.Kern's & Dr.Rehnke's offices once a month
to record my weight loss progress & health. I will be following
the Atkin's Diet through these months. Dr.Rehnke was very please
with my attendamce of the Support Groups & other events.

By the way I weighed in today at 599.6 lbs. = BMI 76

11/29/05 - Well I completed two of the 6 month Doctor Supervised Diet required by my Humana Insurance. But there is a "Fly in the pie" so to speak. In the Humana requirements it states if I lose more than 10% of my initial BMI (76) at the start of this 6 month diet, that I could be denied the surgery. Thus I lost 16 pounds the first month and upon being told NOT to lose to much (a first in my lige of being fat) + (10% of the 76BMI is about 50 pounds). I gained back 12 pounds. But I'm back on track now that Thanksgiving is over. I will not give in for Christmas eatting either.
Next weigh in is December 21st.

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12/25/05 - Santa Season is over for another year and even though I had another great season performing as Santa Claus the extra Weigh is making me very tired and breathless at times,

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1/17/06 - It's been two months now so four months done on the Supervised Diet (that's not being supervised by anyone other than myself) only two months to go. I got really busy in December appearing as Santa all around Florida once again. But I behaved very well. In December I did gain 1 pound (that's better than the 20 - 40 lbs. I usually gain). And through January I LOST 8.3 pounds.
As to the Diet I go in to Dr.Rehnke's office where I'm being weighed.
And see Dr.R for a few minutes for questions where he makes notations. Then I stop by my Primary where a Nurse takes a note of my progress and says they'll make a notation in my records there.
I need to go read my file at the Primary's office, Dr.Kern. And get a copy of the complete file too. As there seems to be a problem with Dr.Kern's staff sharing my records with Dr.Rehnke's staff for my records in their office.

2/13/06 - Well 5 months of the required 6 month diet are completed
I weighed in today 573.9 that's down 16.4 pounds for this past month and 25.7 for the last 5 months. So one month to go. I've also increased my exercise to two hours per day of swimming. I had to take my swim trunks in 4 inch to keep them from falling off.

And now will schedule my Nutritionist Evaluation with Dr. Betty Wedman-St.Louis on St.Pete Beach - a published author of several Nutrition Books also. Cost $65.00 per hour (Insurance usually doesn't cover this, but I will submit the bill with hopes they will).

2/15/06 - I got another call from Dr.Rehnke's office today: Concerned that they still did not have any of my Medical Records from any of my Past Doctors for these last 2 years. But was told they'll send me Release Forms to go get my records from each Doctor I've had.

I then called Dr. Kern's office (my PCP). And told them of my weight loss from Monday at Dr.Rehnke's office weigh-in. For Documentation in My Chart at their office.

I then asked about my records and why they hadn't sent them to Dr.Rehnke's office at which I was told they had NO Records other than from my beginning as their new patient from Last year.

I will go with copies of the Releases that are being sent to every doctor that I've seen for my charts since I've been living in Florida.

2/23/06 - I recieved the Records Release Forms from Dr.Rehnke's office and made several copies. Then started visiting 4 Doctors and
1 OutPatient Facility, that I've been to in the last four years. I've been told they only need the records from 2005 & 2004 but I figured mores better than less. Everything that has happened due to my Super Obesity.

Tomorrow I'll get to the 2 Hospitals, the Wound Care Unit and Monday to the current Doctor and the Sleep Disorder Clinic.
Then in two weeks do follow-up calls to every place that hasn't gotten my records to my surgeons office. 

Plus I'll have extra copies of the Release to give to any Medical Testers my Primary sends me to Prior to my Surgery. To just make sure he has a copy of my lastest tests.

3/10/06 - I completed my Diet Evaluation with Dr. Betty Wedman-St.Louis (a Nutritionist and author of many books on nutrition) and passed it with praise of my progress to lose weith these past months and learning for success after recieving my surgery.

3/21/06 - I completed my Humana Insurance required 6 month diet yesterday. I've lost 35 pounds. And will see my PCP next week seeking Medical Clearence to recieve the Surgery.

3/22/06 - Attended the Lap Band Orientation today.
I have just completed the required 6 month diet that my Humana Insurance wanted. All along I've been planning on the Open RNY as Humana didn't cover the Lap Banding. But with the new Medicare requirements, now Humana as I'm told by Dr.Rehnke's staff. Humana is covering the Lap Band which Dr.Rehnke highly suggests but the final decission is my own.

I'm just having a hard time deciding which procedure to do. All of my evaluation were with planning for the Open RNY, which I passed with great praise for my progress toward recieving it. I've asked for medical tests leading to a date, but am being told I don't need them.

The Lap Band is very less evasive compared to either of the RNYs.
Less malabsorbtion plus less time in the surgery and hospital stay.

So I'm in limbo till next week when I see my PCP for Clearence.
Any thoughts would be helpful. I'm at 565 lbs. down 35 lbs. since Christmas. Following the Super Atkins Diet.

I also turned 50 years young last Wednesday 3/15. So this is my present to me.

3/27/06 - I though & prayed hard and discussed the pros & cons again plus read repondes to my on-line postings of my question of which WLS would be for me. And I'm sticking him the Open Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery. I believe in my heart that is best.
Tomorrow I see my PCP/Dr.Kern to get closer to my wishes.

3/28/06 - Well I saw my PCP-Dr.Kern, today. And he assured me that he'd issuse me my "Medical Cleareance" by the end of this week to receive the Open RNY GBP Surgery, as the Surgery is Medically Necessary. And he'd take care of the Medically Supervised Diet History with Dr.Rehnke's staff too.

Next onto Humana Gold Plus Insurance for Approval.

4/11/06 - I HAVE MY SURGERY DATE !!!!! Hubba Hubba

Wednesday May 10th at the St. Petersburg General Hospital near Tyrone Mall at the corner of 38th Ave.N. & 66th St.N.
I will receive the Open Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass - Humana Gold Plus.
 
I don't know what time yet. But was hoping for the Palms of Pasadena Hospital as that's where Dr.Rehnke does most of his surgeries. But my Primary, Dr. Kern. Is on the Board of Directors at St.Pete General too. Plus doesn't have visiting rights at the Palms. My insurance company has sent other patient's to St.Pete General in the past with a few bad reviews but mostly "Good Reviews" recently.
 
I start the Optifast (cost $200.00) Liquid Diet April 25th. To lose extra weight before the surgery and to shrink my Liver. I've been told since I'm going Open, it's not nessacary but the more weight I lose before the better the outcome. So for my safety I'll do it.

I'll have my "Pre-Surgery Medical Testings" done Monday, May 1st.
This will consist of Blood work, EKG, And any other tests they feel are nessecary. By Dr.Kern followed by his "Medical Clearence Letter" to Dr. Rehnke to receive the Surgery
 
I'll see Dr.Rehnke on Monday, May 8th for my Pre-Surgery Consultation & any other minute last questions I may think of.
 
Looking forward to the Procedure and for your Prayers, Michael

4/12/06 - Wendy from Dr. Kern's office called to tell me shortly after my visit for Pre-Clearence on May 1st I'll also go to have a Chest X-Ray taken.

4/13/06 - From an Unknown Author:

"'Twas the night before bypass"

'Twas the night before bypass, when all through my gut
not a morsel was stirring, not even a nut.
The suitcase was packed by the back door with care,
in hopes that a new me would soon return there.
I lay nestled, snug in my bed
while visions of calories danced in my head;
and me in my plus size pajamas and wrap,
had just settled in for a long, restless nap.
When deep in my mind there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my dreams to see what was the matter.
Away to my fridge I flew like a flash,
ripped open the door and drooled at the stash.
The moonlight reflecting off the beautiful snacks
gave a luster of radiance to all on the racks.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but an array of the comfort foods I hold so dear.
With a familiar feeling of all those I'd pick,
I thought in a moment I just might be sick.
More lovely than angels their voices they came,
and they whistled and shouted and called me by name;
"Now pizza, now French fries, now chocolate galore
on cheesecake, on ice cream, on donuts and more!"
From the tip of my tongue, to the bottom of my toe,
I will miss you all more than ever you'll know.
As an addict that shakes and stirs as he sits,
I'll mourn the loss of my delectable hits.
So back to my bed I went with great haste,
and settled back down with nary a taste.
And then in an instant, in pre-op I sat,
nervously waiting to no longer be fat.
As I sat deep in thought and adjusted my gown,
In came my surgeon in one single bound.
He was dressed all in scrubs, from his head to his feet
and he seemed very calm as he eyed me like meat.
He looked at my chart, with his scope gave a listen,
I don't think he noticed my eyes starting to glisten.
He was chubby and plump -- he could lose some himself,
and I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke barely a word as he prepped for his work,
he paused for a moment, then turned with a jerk.
And laying a finger aside of his face,
and giving a nod, out of the room he did race.
He checked in the next day, to his students gave a whistle,
and away they all flew like a down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim as he walked out of sight,
"speedy thinness to you and a healthier life!"

4/27/06 - Started the OPTIFAST Liquid Diet, precceding my Surgery date. This will shrink my Liver which they'll need to move to get to my stomach. Plus help lose more poundage & Clean out
my bowels. They are is French Vanilla, Chocolate & Strawberry flavors. All of which Ilike but the FV is my favorite.

5/01/06 - Had my Pre-Op medical Clearence Testing done today.

5/08/06 - Had final consult with Dr.Rehnke today. Everything is looking good and is a GO. My older brother, Frank. Flew in from VA. to be here with my Sister, Geni. To watch over me with everyone's prayers.

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5/10/06 - 10 AM I'm on my way to the hospital.


5/18/06 - Yes I'm home resting and walking slowly. I'm still a bit tired and moving wisely with the two sets of staples totalling about 80 or so plus a drain tube. No Belly Button!
 
My RNY went great but delayed by another surgery in my room from 1 PM to 3 PM. At St.Pete General they put you in a ICU/Recovery Room. Which allows visitors too. The next day I was up walking and sitting out of my room by the Nurses station a few times a day. 
 
And I was told I would be moved to a Regular room as soon as I passed some gas. But that never happen and while I had a drain tube, I developed a Hiated Hernia which was stragulating my intestines. By Sunday evening it was starting to back my system up badly.
 
So Early Monday morning I was taken to Xrays. I was told to drink the stuff that felt and smelt like paint. (They should add some Mint to make it better). Upon starting my fourth cup. I vomited most of it back up. The staff was very concerned & caring. (I was told a few days later by the Hospital Doctor's standing in for my PCP they thought I could have died Monday).
 
I was told I would be going back to surgery to repair the Hernia. I was scared but still feeling your prayers and very positive because I Dr. Rehnke (my surgeon) said he'd take care of me. I was scheduled for 6 PM but again pushed back to 10:30 PM due to someone else's surgery in my room. I was placed back in my recovery room about 11:30 PM. Waking up Tuesday morning feeling much better. And they had me up walking again right away.
 
My Positivity and high spirits suprised them and they suprised me by transferring me to my own private room that afternoon. I believe I got the private room due to my overly size thus having a larger than normal size. Plus a Special larger chair.
 
Wednesday afternoon I had my first bowel movement and by Thursday morning several more. By the time Dr. Rehnke and his assistant, Julia. Came by. Which came by every day I was in St. Pete General. I was so very ready to go home. And they agreed. But wanted me to be eating first. So I had a few small bites of scrambled eggs. And felt fine. And released.  I was home resting at about 1:30 PM.
 
So by Dr. Rehnke's methods were back on real protein foods right away. But only about an ounce and a half.  So far I've had the eggs, shredded chicken and tenderized stew meat cooked in a slow cooker. Plus a little cottage cheese, ricatta cheese and parmesan cheese. Sipping all the time of Walmarts brand of Crystal Light. Plus a Pre-Naple vitamin. And my pre-surgery meds..
 
So now on the Loser Side and getting stronger. Thank you again everyone.
I'll be seeing you Lighter Later, Mike

5/19/06 - My follow up visit with my PCP is next Wednesday followed by visiting Dr. Rehnke the next day to get my Drainage Tube out and possible the Staples on my incissions.

5/28/06 - So I've had my first follow up visit with Dr. Rehnke, Julia his Assistant pulled all, both sets of my Staples out replacing them wit Sterile Strips (medicated bandaids) which once my wounds are healed , they'll just fall off. Now as to the Drain Tube from my older stomach, Julia cut the tube loose which was sown in place. But as she pulled it out, it didn't come out. So she had to yank harder and it hurt coming the rest of the way out, but only for about 5 minutes. It was as though this was a suction block.

I then saw Dr.Rehnke, who says I'm doing better than anyone had expected and just to keep taking it easy till the hole in my chest is healed over and the surgery line heals. As soon as the hole heals over, then I can get back to swimming working up to the gym exercises & light weights.

Oh I almost forgot, I've lost 27 pounds since the WLS and a total of 67 pounds since seeing Dr. Rehnke. I weighed in at 532

6/04/06 - I have developed a tender hard spot at the bottom of my Hernia Surgery Incission. It's warm to the touch and only hurts alittle when I'm walking. I'll call my Surgeon's office Monday as today is Sunday unless it begins to hurt more intensely.

6/05/06 - Well when I got up this morning the Inflamation had spread but still the firmest at the bottom of the Incission. It now
hurt when sitting & walking. So I called Dr.Rehnke's office
to learn they don't open till 9AM. So I had a Foot Doctor
appointment at 830AM. So I went to that , then to Dr.Rehnke's
office. But to only find out that Dr.R and his assistant Julia,
were out of the Country till the weekend.

I was sent to my Primary, Dr.Kern's office. Which hesitantly
(as I was thinking - telling me this was a problem for Dr.Rehnke). They took me in, did my stats and Dr.Kern sent me home for bed rest with a prescription of Cephalexin 500MG - 4 times a day till gone. I will return to see Dr.Kern on Thursday.

I have my next appointment with Dr.Rehnke on Monday, June 12th.
If I had known Dr.Rehnke was out of the country, I probably would
have gone straight to St.Pete General Hospital Emergency Room.

So if it does get worst, I guess I call Dr.Kern to decide for the Emergency Room or Do I just go there?

6/09/06 - So Wednesday night/Thursday morning, the wound started to drain. So I placed a bandage on it. When I got to Dr.Kern's office the next morning and earlier than scheduled they took me right in as the bandage was drenched. Dr.Kern stated the Inflamed area had grown. So he prescribed a stronger antibiotic, Levofloxacin-500MG to take only once a day till I see Dr.Rehnke on Monday. I'm also to change the bandage several times a day especially if drenched when i check it. And a pain pill as necessary.
I have regained my appetite too. So otherwise still laying down as much as possible.

6/12/06 - I saw Dr.Rehnke at about 11 AM. The undressed my Wound Incission. They cleaned the surface and openned the main wound. They took a Culture to see if it is infected, but stated it looked good. Then Dr.R proceeded to probe inside with his fingers while cleaning it out with gauze. And yes it hurt! Once totally cleaned out he packed it with sterile gauze.
They then bandaged it and I was sent home for more flat laying rest. A home care nurse will be here at 8 AM Tuesday to clean out the wound and repack it & rebandage it. Hope she's planning on coming back a couple of times each day as within 8 hours the current bandage was leaking beyond the bandage.

I'm to return to see Dr.R on Thursday at 3 PM. And I update after.

6/14/06 - Well I have a Home-Care Nurse coming twice a day for the next seven days but even after one day she says my Incission Wound should be healed shortly as the drainage has already slowed compared to yesterday. Tuesday morning it was 7cm deep. I got a couple of pictures if anyone wants to be grossed out. LOL.

6/18/06 - My wound no longer hurts at all. Thursday Julia (Rehnke's right hand) came in,undoing the bandage she cleaned the Open Wound and placed a clear numbing jell in it. Then I waited about 20 minutes till Dr.Rehnke came in & we joked alittle. Then he began to probe in the wound with what I thought was a long Q-Tip till I looked down to see a long metal probe, covered in my blood. He was going in too about 5 inches. And he hit a bubble releasing three spurts of very dark blueish, red old blood. Which he said was a good thing. They then finished cleaning it and
re-bandaged it. Then sent me home telling me to just finish any anti-biotics I had.

Now I'm still having a Home Care Nurse coming out each morning to change the bandage which also consist of pushing some sterile gauze into a hole in the wound into a larger cavity. The drainage is slowing to which I'm told the wound will now start to heal and close up eventually. I can't wait, I truly miss going swimming.

6/30/06 - I'm feeling fine but just above my first incision hole another inflamed area has been openned and probed by Dr. Rehnke. Yes it did hurt while he was probing but i was thinking of you which made the pain drift away. But the hole got drained and then bandaged it up and send home once again with a script this time for a G.C.P. Solution - an Antibiotic, (which is made  & filled at only one Pharmacy in Pinellas County- what a racket. They don't take any insurance either.) Costing $74.00 for 250 cc. I have one refill too. The Home Care Nurse then after cleaning both wounds out. Soak another gauze pad in the GCP Solution. This piece of gauze is then pushed into the tubular hole in the surface hole. Everything is then bandaged over till the next day. When it's all repeated again. When I asked how long before it's all healed. Dr. Rehnke predicts at least another month. And of course no work either or exercising. But I'm still positive and thinking I may go talk to my pysch before I do get really depressed. So please keep me in your prayers & good thought too. Soon I'd be healed.

7/10/06 - TODAY is my TWO Month Aniversary "Woohoo"
I went to two Support Meetings over this past weekend, BUT. One each day for a couple of hours, (Saturday at Morton Plant & Sunday in Brandon/Valrico). Both were very good & informative. With hand-outs too. The one on Sunday even gave everyone a brand new Pedometers. And after we went to Chili's. My first time eatting out in two months since surgery. But as I ordered just the Meat Chili, I got a bowl but should've gotten the cup. I only ate a few spoonfuls and took the rest home. But grazed on it till it was gone Sunday evening. I didn't feel bad but I gained two pounds this past week, as I found out at Dr.Rehnke's office today. But I can redeme myself by sticking to the plan and lost six pounds by Thursday when I'll see him again. I see Dr.Kern tomorrow for a look at my wounds. Then first blood work since surgery next week.

But GOOD NEWS, which I forgot to post last week. I'm under 500lbs. It was 494lbs. but today it was 496lbs. But I'm still happy as it's the first time I've been under 500 in at least 10-15 years. I can now pass the palm of my hand between the steering wheel and my belly without touching either & I crossed my legs, my right ankle over my left knee while sitting.  That's 600 12/05 - 560 5/06 - 494 - 7/06 = 106lbs. Lost!  Woohoo!!!

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7/13/06 - Well my Hernia Incision 2 wounds are healing but still slowly. And now we've learned that underneath they are connected. The older ones opening is closing which Dr.R says is ok. As they'll now just apply the GCP Medication Solution through the other hole. The Home Care Nurses are now using a Sterile Packing Strip to repack the wound(s) coated with the meds. The striping is made in Isreal.
 
Now the wonderful news. On Monday I had gained 2.5 pounds (I know exactly from what - I had Loyde's BBQ all day the Fourth of July & Chile's meat chili all afternoon on Sunday) But since weighing in on Monday I've been very good. I made a combination protein meal in my slow cooker thus all of the meats are very tender & moist (I threw in Boneless Skinless Chicken, Stew Meat, Ground Turkey, Ground Beef & Mozarella Cheese, plus spices to my tatse) which is great tasting. But I still only have an ounce maybe another half ounce per serving. So I know your asking...................
 
Monday gained to 496.6  Todays weigh-in 484.9 = 11.7 lbs. LOST forever.

7/20/06 - I only lost 1.5 pounds this week. Now at 483.4 lbs. But this coming weekend will be a challenge as I'm getting together with relatives for my GrandFather's 90th Birthday at Olive Garden.

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7/22/06 - I thought I was good by only ordering the Sausage soup.
But as I only ate the sausage and some spinach in the soup. I realized afterwards that even though I pushed the potatoes to the side that were also in this soup, I must have consumed alot of carbs due to the Starches mixed in the brothe from the potatoes.
I did skip all of the offers from the relatives to try something off their plates and even said No to a piece of the Birthday cake.
But on the way home Sunday I did have two Krystal Cheeseburgers.

7/26/06 - I saw my Primary Doctor & staff today. And got my Blood Work results too. But as there was a Good moment there was Bad on their part too. I have been taken off my Cholesteral Meds. And all of the other tests were good too. But they did not do the testings for Iron, Calcium or any B vitamins. These were the most Important ones to test for. So they drew 6 more vials of blood and sent them out to LabCorp for testing.

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7/27/06 - I saw Dr.Rehnke today shortly after getting weighed, I gain .6 lbs. so now weighing in at 484. We talked about my preceeding week of eatting & activities. And I'll need to become more diligent in measuring my portains. I've also began drinking two protein shakes per day. I also got a call from Dr.Kern's office that my Blood Work Tests came back. That everything came back almost perfect. I'll get a copy to review myself in the next few days.

8/1/06 - ObesityHelp.com called and interviewed me this past week. In an Upcoming Magazine Issue (I'm hoping Nov/Dec.) I'll be the Featured Spotlight Story. I can't believe it since I'm only almost three months Post-Op. 
Also the OH is going to include my Journey's story in the Press Release in Fort Lauderdale News stories for their Upcoming WLS Conference in Ft. Lauderdale on Saturday August 19th. Which I'll be attending. At the Westin Inn of Ft. Lauderdale.

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8/4/06 - Well my wounds from the Hernia Incision are deffinently getting smaller and I'm hoping soon they'll be healed. The top hole is closing faster than the first one and so they've stopped packing it
(It hurts very much when the did/do) but they're still packing the
other hole. But down to a 2"x4" bandage instead of a MaxiPad size
one.

My Blood Work came back Very Good almost Excellent by both Dr.R & my Primary's standards.The followings are the concerns I have:
Under Hematology - RDW -15.8 High as standard is 11.7 - 15.0
Under Chemistries is:
Iron Bind.Cap.(TIBC) - 222 Low as standard is 250 - 450
Glucose, Serum - 106 High as standard is 65 - 99
Potassium, Serum - 3.3 Low as standard is 3.5 - 5.5
Albumin, Serum - 3.3 Low as standard is 3.5 - 5.5
A/G Ratio - 0.8 Low as standard is 1.1 - 2.5
Everything else was/is within Standards.

OK what everyone is really interested in: I Lost again. Now at 479.1
pounds. Lost another 5 pounds, down 121 pounds since starting with Dr.Rehnke. Only 279 pounds to go to get to 200. Then I'll bulk back up to 225 pounds.

8/10/06 - WOW Three months out of Surgery Today @ 475. That's 85 pounds gone since May 10th and 125 since Christmas'05. I've just approved with changes the article that OH is going to place in an upcoming issue of their OH Magazine. And off to the 2006  Obesityhelp Conference next week in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Also once again I'm stuck here at home instead of out exercising while I wait to hear when my Home Care Nurse will be here to change my bandage. But Good News, the top hole of the Hernia Incision wounds has healed over and the bottom hole is closing and will be healed shortly, per my Surgeon, Dr. Rehnke. Insides is still open (about 5 cm) but very clean so if it closes the insides should be fine without anything to cause it to re-infect it's self (if it does it'll just re-open and the healing process would start all over). Hoping sealed before the Conference so I can enjoy a dip in the YMCA's and hotels pool. So I've begun to search for another Part-Time job. As I am walking much further and faster with a spring to my step, now without stopping to rest. Woohoo. I'm very happy.

8/17/06 - The second incision hole to open has closed completely even before the first hole that openned. Now the first incision hole has started to close too. It's 5 cm deep as when it first openned it was 18cm deep. 
 
I got weigh at the Joslin-Cheeks Center/Morton Plant Hospital today as I won't see Dr.Rehnke again till next Thursday. I lost another 5 pounds!! Totally 90 lbs. since my surgery date and 130 since last Christmas!!
 
I'll be off to the OH Conference at about noon tomorrow coming home Sunday.

8/23/06 - I'm healing very fast now as I've upped my Protein intake by drinking the Protein shakes at least twice a day. The last hole which was the first is down or inside up to closing at 3 cm. Still about an inch. But I've learned what to say to the nurses
and contacted my Payroll Courier Boss and am starting back on Friday as a Filler Driver to cover routes where those drivers need off or call in sick. I'll see Dr.Rehnke again this Thursday and update my lost then too.
 
The OH Conference was WONDERFUL! Again it lacked in some spots such as a Very Old Surgeon giving a Lecture on the History of Weight Lost Surgeries. Boringgggg.
As there were a handful of Pre-Ops and 160+ Post-Ops. And all agreed they knew about the History in their Pre-research to getting their surgeries. Another was a couple of guys talking about their local gym. This is ok but this is a State Wide Conference and even bringing in attendees from as far away as NJ, AL, SC & GA,
even a few from TX & CA.
And I got quite a few taps on my shoulder with others telling me what an inspiration my OH profile has meant to them and now even getting to meet me. As it was also nice getting to meet those who we've corresponded with on the OH Boards & Forums.
 
There were fewer Vendors of WLS Post-Op Products than last year too and less door prizes. But we weren't there for Prizes. It's about "Inspiration, Motivation & Learning"
And the Friday Night "Meet & Greet" & Saturday Night "After Glow" Gatherings were just as Wonderful as the actual "OH Conference". Debbie also got very inspired and gain lots of contacts, even meeting a lady she's been writing too from Orlando. And an unexpectedly met one of her cousins from New Jersey, who flew down for this.

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So over-all it was a success. It was such as success in my mind that I wrote to Dr. Monica Ganz, the OH Event Planner/Coordinator, telling her so and asking when they would plan one to be held in the Tampa Bay area. Well she has written me back requesting what dates we'd like next years to possibly have it here. I guess I have Volunteered to help put it together. We will see what becomes of my dreams.
 
I've talked with Niloo, my "Spotlight on Success" OH magazine story writer. It's finalized and on the Pulisher's desk for approval to be published.
 
Another event I've signed up to participate in is the "Walk From Obesity" funds raiser. Which I did last year but was too big to actually walk much. But will be walking many laps around the inside the Westfield Citrus Town Point Mall this coming September 30th.
www.walkfromobesity.com Would you consider sponsoring my walk? This walk will take place throughout the United States. And the funds raised will be used toward Public & Professional awareness of Obesity through the American Society for Bariactric Surgery Foundation (a non-profit 501c3 organization. www.asbsfoundation.org Your donation is also a tax deduction.
 
I've returned to exercising at the Clearwater YMCA now too. But still not allowed to swim. I'm mainly walking on the tread mills, low impact bike and light weight machines. I hope soon to be getting in some Racquet Ball time too. I can't wait till the Clearwater City Parks, finishes the New park near me with it's one mile walking trail around it's lake.

8/26/06 - We had a GREAT Support Meeting. About 16 were there. And we talked about everything and got to meet new faces that had been posting on the board, one in perticular I'm hoping to hear back from on a personal inquiry.

8/27/06 - 2 AM. - Because I had a pain in my lower belly thinking either a rash or stomach ache so I got up for an hour but then went to bed but 8 AM. now up this morning with major pain in the same spot thought it might be a rash but looked with a mirror and nothing so now waiting for Adam (my Case Study Nurse too) to see what he advises but just like Elainy (from the Support Group) I might be going to see Dr. Rehnke or the Emergency Room or Both either tomorrow or shortly.  I'm holding off on taking a pain med till the nurse gets here. As I move it hurts more so I'm staying still in my recliner. - More as I progress.

8/28/06 - The redden & very warm to the touch area has enlarged over-night. So as soon as I got up I called Julia and left a message. She called me back promptly shortly after 11AM. And I told her what was happening at which she said I needed to come in. I'll be at Dr.R's at 230PM today.
 
According to the "Weightloss Surgeries for Dummies" book,  it's most likely a "Intrabodminal Abcess" which it states is very common with those of overly sized bellies. And can be cured with Anti-biotics, but may also need some draining. Which if so the drains are placed by using xrays or scanning devices
 
I'm still very Positive that I'll be fine shortly & onward losing daily.

8/28/06 - SO I do have a Abdominal Infection, what brought it on who knows. But Dr.R says it is common with those my size. And it could happen again & again. But they put me on CIPRO 500mg (a Strong Antibiotic)  twice a day for the next 7 days. Then I'll be back to see Dr.R on the 7th at 445PM
Thank you for all your prayers and very well wishes, Mike

*****TO BREAK PLATEAUS IN WEIGHT-LOSS*********
#1 - Do this for 10 days to break a plateau
#2 - Drink 2 quarts of water a day
#3 - You must have 45 grams of protein supplement and all your vitamins/minerals supplements each day
(some suggest at least 60 and up to 80 gr)
#4 - You may consume up to 3 oz of the following high protein foods, 5x a day
beef,  pork,  chicken,  turkey,  lamb,  fish,  eggs,  low fat cheese,  
cottage cheese,  plain yogurt or artificially sweetened,  peanut butter,  beans/legumes.
You may also have:  sugar free popsicles,  tea or coffee,  sugar free jello,  broths/bullion,  crystal light drinks
#5 - If it's not on the list, you can't have it for 10 days!!!!
#6 - Keep a food diary and try to get up to 30 mins of exercise daily

9-6-06 - Almost Totally Healed
 
Dr.Rehnke has released my Home Care Nurses (no more belly massages). As my original Hernia Incision Wound is totally clean and should close itself in a couple of days. That I'm to just change the dressing till I see Dr.R in two weeks on Thursday the 21st. No more packing of the wound cavity. It felt great to take a full Hot Shower without having to worry of getting the dressing wet.
 
But there's Not So Good News too. I was Very Bad these past two weeks as I did cheat some. I had chocolate kisses, oatmeal squares & sugar cookies. I gained 6 pounds. There was no dumping and I feel bad now but not so then. I felt then as I was getting away with something but actually I was only hurting myself. And thus Gained Weight. I am back on track though now too. But that's no excuse for cheating.
 
I've returned to work as a Payroll Courier covering others routes till they have a permanent route for me. The first day I came home at 200PM exhausted as I start at 500AM (I had been getting up at 900AM these last 4 months) and slept till 530AM to do my route once more. But not tire whatsoever today after work.
 
And as I have been walking as exercise, I will be returning to the Clearwater YMCA on Monday to start my regular exercise routines for now on. As soon as Dr.R releases me, I'll be back to Water Aerobics & Lap Swimming too. And I can't wait to get back in the Racquet Ball Courts, I haven't played racquet ball  in twenty years as I used to play for hours.

9/21/06 -    Well a lot is happening! After the last weigh-in where I gained 6 pounds I went back to bare basics eatting just Protein and drinking the Zero calorie beverages.
I weighed in today at 458, that's minus another 14 pounds totalling Since Christmas '05 under Dr.Rehnke's care I've lost 142lbs.
 
I've also received my release from No Activities to Start Exercising & Swimming
Plus Today is ONE Year since I had my initial consultation with Dr.Rehnke. I'm so grateful that he has come into and saved my life from being unhealthy.
 
And next week is the "Walk From Obesity". Last year I went as a Pre-op but Did Not Walk much at all. This year I'm returning as a Post-Opter. And have Professional Friends Sponsoring my walking to help raise funds to help make these United States and Florida more aware of the Obesity Epidemic and Treatments available.
 
And I have submitted my Application to Learn and Become an ObesityHelp Leader to help others.
 
Plus I've received the Go Ahead to plan & promote next years 2007 Obesity Help Conference to be held in the Tampa Bay area. A Friday night, all day Saturday Conference, Saturday night dance & Departure Sunday morning Hopefully followed by departing Sunday on a Cruise from the Poer of Tampa, featuring OH seminars of motivation & learning to increase the value of the Tool we've received to lose weight. Plus lots & lots of Fun & Relaxation!
 
I've finally return to my job as a Payroll Courier with so much more Confidence & Energy. And was promoted to cover several routes of those who take vacations, are sick or need help from time to time. And to set up new routes. It's sort of like delivering presents year round. Plus the Bookings for my appearences as Santa Claus have started coming in too from all over Florida.
 
So that's it till next month unless something excitingly new comes along, Mike

10/10/06 - WOW Today is exactly 5 Months Post-Op and I'm weighing in at 458lbs. That's a loss of 102 since receiving my RNY.

I did the "Walk from Obesity" but they didn't have my registration. Dr.Rehnke sponsored my walking by donating $200.00. The walk was attended by about 80 post-opters. And breakfast this year consisted of a high carb protein bars & bananas. Neither of which I can have. But there were many Give-Aways such as a new yellow gym bag. But over-all we had a good time and raised just over $7500.00.

I then danced the night away getting home at about 6 AM. Only to get up about 6 hours later and drive to Springhill to get the pictures that were taken of the Walk from Obesity.
But got so busy that I never got around to passing them on to Julie.

But all was not a wasted trip as Ed showed me his beautiful house and went over all of the vitamins & blood works that I should be requiring now as a Post-Op.

But as I was leaving I noticed the underside of my belly felt like I had a rash starting and by the time I got home I was in such pain and it was HOT to the touch so I went to bed after taking a pain ill.
And in the morning it still hurt so off I went to see Dr.Rehnke. Which he put me on Antibiotics for the next 12 days and I continue to take them even though the Belly Infection was gone within three days. But of course I stopped exercising again.

And got busy searching for the Hote

About Me
Largo, FL
Location
69.0
BMI
Surgery
04/21/2009
Surgery Date
Apr 02, 2005
Member Since

Friends 340

Latest Blog 8
Well It's been quite a ride!
My Life Continues to Grow Healthier 4/20/07
November Progress Update 11/13/06
"'Twas The Night Before Bypass"

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