May 12, 2016  

12 year re-birthday! It's been a struggle with my weight, but that's been the case all my life. Still not back to my lowest post-op weight, but nowhere near my pre-op weight either! I call that continued success!

I will always be grateful for my WLS journey, and to those who supported me every step of the way. Be well, my friends! 

 

 

May 14, 2014

Happy 10 year re-birthday to me! It has been a long time from my start on this process (as I review my profile, I realize that my journey on OH.com started exactly 8 years to the day before my son was born; I cannot imagine I would have been able to have an easy pregnancy back then). Overall, I have been successful; however, I have since gained back 60 more lbs. over the past few years. It is no one's fault but my own; the good habits are hard to keep up after a while, but I could just as easily have tried harder.

But no pity parties here - I am still SO much better off than I was before I had the surgery. It is up to me now to get back to the healthier me that I found a couple of years after GBS. I also consider myself blessed that I was able to lose over 200 LBS at my lowest weight point. That's not too shabby! So I clearly remember my happiest point, and will aim to get there again. I am going back to using protein, and will force myself to eat healthier. I have been married for 7 years, and have a 4 year old son, with hopes to have another child. I have too much to live for to go back to the weight I was.

If you ever get discouraged, know that it can be worth it if you're willing to make the effort. I will forever be grateful to Dr. Newhoff, as well as the people in my life who supported me no matter what. Life is beautiful no matter what size you are, but it's even better when you can see more of a future for yourself due to less health issues. May everyone find the happiness they're looking for!

--AM

 

January 2009

So here I am again after a long absence.  OH and its members and staff are always in my thoughts and prayers, but since surgery almost 5 years ago, my life has changed, and I don't get much of a chance to "visit".

So here's the deal - weight on the day of surgery (May 12, 2004) was an even 400 pounds.  Lowest weight after surgery was 198.  Current weight - 237.  So yes, about 40 pounds heavier than before.  But I try not to beat myself up about that.  Reason: I remember what so many of us were taught: BARIATRIC SURGERY IS NOT A CURE!!!  Surgery did not remove the other issues I have in my life, and so I have to continue to help myself.  I am still happy because I am still so much better off than I was back when I was pre-op.  When a 28 year old feels so much older than that, something's wrong.

My goal is to eventually get to about 175, but in order to even get near that number, I have to stop rationalizing bad food choices and lack of exercise.  So with the beginning of the new year, I've decided to refocus my brain toward those good habits I learned long ago.  This is not a resolution; this is my quest to get to the healthier me I know I can be.  (I know, sounds corny, but you get the idea.)

There's another reason to get back on track.  In February, I will have been married 2 years (to my DH who has known me and loved me through much of this journey).  We are hoping to have kids in the near future, but I have to be at my best physically for that, both to conceive and to take care of our children afterwards.

My love to all of those no matter where you are in the journey.  God blessed me (and continues to bless me every day) by helping me with this process, and I know He'll bless you too.

Angie




Update: October 2007


I have been so bad at updating my profile; I've popped on from time to time, but it's been 2 years (!) since I've updated. I actually have hardly been on the site the way I was in the beginning. But surgery has given me a whole new life, which includes a much busier schedule.


Please read my beginning story below. It was a struggle, but I always tell people I'd do it all again if it got me to where I am now. And that's not to say that my life is "happily ever after"; I could still stand to lose about another 30 pounds, and I still struggle with food. Hey, the surgeons warn you that the surgery is a tool, not a miracle. But while I haven't lost more, I haven't gained anything back, either. And at 3 1/2 years post-op, I am still so much healthier and happier than I was in May 2004.


I went from thinking that I'd never find a decent man to marrying a wonderful person. And no, he's not with me because I'm thinner - we met when I was 6 months post-op, so he's been with me almost since the very beginning.


I've let go of unhealthy relationships, professional and personal. It's something I did not have the mental and emotional strength to do before.


I will try to return, as I know the website and the OH community is beneficial for anyone at any point in their journey.


******************************************************




10-10-05


Well, haven't done too good on keeping my page updated. But when life keeps happening, it's hard to put the information down "on paper".


Also trying to post new pictures; so if this works, here's my picture from my 30th birthday:


Image hosted by Photobucket.com





:-( The photo comes up smaller than I'd like, but I'm still working on it. It's the first dress I've worn in years...


Well, the past 3 months have been pretty eventful. My weight isn't moving much, but that's also because I've ended up eating more carbs than I should be. I want to get back to a "normal" life, but I also have to let my body lose weight while it still wants to. I've also been letting "life" get in the way of going to the gym, which is inexcusable. While I won't make it all the time, my body has obviously gotten used to exercise, and I can't keep depriving it. But this just proves that surgery doesn't fix the issues in life, it is just a stepping stone for improving the physical part of it.


While I still can't always see the difference, my body has obviously gotten smaller. I'm now wearing size 14s, both tops and bottoms. I loved Lane Bryant & Avenue, but I've found that I can't fit the clothes anymore. It's been interesting...


Love life has been terrific! :-D I'll be celebrating my 1-year anniversary next month, and having someone who has seen the physical change and has been just as loving is a great feeling.


I have to wonder if my newfound health has changed my tolerance for BS... I quit my job of 5 years because I got tired of being treated as an automated machine instead of a human being. It was a battle I didn't feel like fighting anymore. So I quit without any type of backup. But the good news is I've found another job a week after my last day at the old job.





7-3-05


As of today, I have officially moved from "severely obese" to just "obese". Who knew I would ever be happy to say "I'm just obese"? :-)


Still a struggle sometimes making good food choices. Sometimes I back-slide. But I knew that this would always be an issue; as we always say, the surgery can help physically, but doesn't change the mental issues. And so I keep trying.


Getting to the gym 2 - 3 times a week, which is something I couldn't get myself to do a couple of years ago.


My company outing is coming up again, and I have so many people who tell me they're looking forward to seeing me. Again, mixed feelings about this - I sort of like the attention (the last time they saw me I was about 2 months post op and only 60 lbs. down), but now I'll be 14 months and almost 180 down! So I can see how they react to the difference.


But I'm still me! I look different, I feel healthier, better, but the personality is still the same. It's just frustrating sometimes. Oh well, at least planes are a little easier to deal with now (the whole seats issue, fitting down the aisles, etc.), and this time when I go, I'll have the energy to walk all around the resort, and do any and everything I want to do.


Also going home to PA for a quick visit later this month. My family will see me for the first time since Christmas; that I am looking forward to.



5-12-05

My Anniversary!

 


What a difference a year has made. As of today, I am down about 165 lbs. from a year ago!


I had my 1-yr. check-up with my surgeon a couple of days ago. All my bloodwork came back with normal numbers (I think the only thing was that my B-12 was pretty high due to the sublinguals I take, so he had me cut back to twice a week). He's pleased with my loss, and his only suggestion was that I up the exercise to 3 or more times a week. I've been so bad with that - letting a suddenly busy schedule get in the way.


This time last year, I was in 26/28 tops and 30/32 bottoms. Today I wear 14/16 tops and 18/20 bottoms. Cuter clothing is easier to find these days, but I still hate the fact that clothing manufacturers don't make more fashionable clothes for larger people.


I've noticed that I can take on a busier day now without feeling like I'm going to pass out. Last month I went to an amusement park for the first time in years, and was able to get on any ride I wanted. I loved amusement parks, so it felt so good to be able to go back and have fun.


I could probably go on & on about what all has changed, but I think I've already done all that throughout this profile. :-) Let's just say I continue to feel blessed. I know that some people have had a hard time with this surgery, and sometimes I feel guilty in that any hardships or complications I had don't even come close to others. But right now, I feel vindicated against those who say it's the "easy" way out, or those who just knew I'd fail early on. I know the journey's far from over, but I have faith that if I've gotten this far, I can see the rest of it through.



4-28-05


Weight has started dropping again, although I am noticing it's slowing a bit. I'm not sure if that's because I need to up the protein, up the exercise, or it's just a natural progression with the surgery. I'm thinking it's just how it's going to be, and that while I'll probably meet my goal, it's most likely going to take another 6 months or more. No worries. I feel great right now, and as long as I can keep things moving, I'll be satisfied.


I've had to move up my car seat a notch - apparently I was sitting too far back once I dropped so much weight. I come across little things like that almost weekly, and it still blows my mind.



4-9-05


I think I've finally hit my first plateau. It's lasted about 3 weeks, but I can take comfort in the fact that I still seem to be dropping clothes sizes.



3-11-05


Weight loss has been slowed a bit in the past couple of weeks, but I'm back on the ball. I'm eating better, less carbs, and I finally joined a gym. I've been there for the past 3 days in a row, and am so happy about how much stamina I've had in my workouts.


Another plane trip earlier this month, and I've gone from seat-belt extender pre-op to a regular seat belt with room to spare at 10 months out!


Clothes are also falling off again - that's the good news. The bad news is I've come to the realization that I'm going to have to get breast reconstruction at some point (trying not to hum the "do your boobs hang low, do they sway too and fro..." :-)), and may have to have some skin removal done on the thighs. I know I'll be happier once the weight and skin is gone, but the thought of more medical procedures and trying to find the money/insurance approval for them isn't such a happy thought. Oh well; it will probably be several more months before I can even officially look into it.



2-20-05


147 lbs. down and counting... :-D


Been a hard month, not because of the weight loss (although I still desperately need to get back into exercising :-(), but I've been sick with the flu and 2 sinus infections. The flu was good for one thing though: I dropped 10 lbs. in one week, the most loss I've had in a one week period in months. But illness is never fun, no matter what weight, so I've got to improve my immune system somehow.


I'm getting ready to attend a wedding in Atlanta in a couple of weeks. While I'm not one for long hours of shopping, I am looking forward to finding something really nice to wear to the ceremony. I'm down to about size 20 pants, and 14/16 tops. I honestly can't remember the last time I wore these sizes; I think it was in high school, which was over 13 years ago!


1-3-05


Happy New Year!


I'm grateful to be starting the new year in such a great position - good health, people who love me, and a feeling that the year will only get better from here.


I'm now down by 125 pounds. Buying clothes is becoming a chore, however, it's also becoming more interesting, as I now feel I can fit in things other than broad, flowing clothes. (I swear, sometimes I felt like the clothes makers were still selling muu-muus, but updated for the 21st century. I may be big, but I can still wear fitted clothes, dammit!)

I'm wearing 14/16 & 18/20 tops, and have moved down into size 22 pants. It never occured to me until now that I may end up having to go into non-plus size stores before summer 2005. It's a weird feeling.


Unfortunately, the exercise has been non-existent during December, between an unusually crazy time at work (it's usually unbelievably dead there in Dec.), and relaxing at home in Philly. While I did indulge in a few more carbs than usual, I mainly stayed true to the protein, even buying powder to use during my holiday vacation back East. And while I can no longer eat large plates of food during Christmas, I was able to enjoy some of my favorites (sweet potato casseroles are still off-limits) and get the protein-heavy foods in, making me feel much more satisfied than I thought I'd be.


Oh, and how could I forget - Dec. 21st: the first time in YEARS I was able to get on a plane and use a seatbealt without needing an extension. I was so pround that day!


I don't make resolutions anymore (too many broken or "revised"), but I do have a hope and prayer to continue my good health this year. I will get back into regular exercise if it KILLS me, and will continue to focus on eating to live, not living to eat. Overall, I think I did well last year following the surgery, but I don't want to forget what I've had to go through to get here.


12-12-04


7 months and counting... Down 116.5 as of today.


The good news is I can still tell how my health improves with each month. The weight is falling, food is not on my mind 24/7, and I feel good.


Now the bad news. LOL I have noticed myself grazing during times of boredom or stress. The upside is that usually when I graze, I do make good choices (almost always something protein-heavy), and I am actually mentally noting when & why I graze. It's not a constant thing, but obviously not a habit I want to get into, especially less than a year after surgery. But mistakes will happen. I had to teach myself not to beat myself up about it, or it would just get worse.


I go home to Philly for Christmas soon, and it will be interesting to see if my father's side of the family notices a change. They better! :-D


11-28-04


Down another 4.5 lbs, for a total of 112.5. Had a good Thanksgiving, one NOT focused on food, which was refreshing. Keeping busy with holiday plans, spending a lot of time with the new beau :-), and just marveling at the fact that this time last year, because of bad "friends" and bad health, I was not a happy person. What a difference this year...



11-12-04


My 6-month anniversary. Man, does time fly! And I think it's safe to say I'm not the same person I was 6 months ago - mentally as well as physically. I feel healthier and happier these days. I have more energy to do things. I'm more willing to go out and be active now.


I have a pair of jeans that my mother gave me a few years ago. I love the color - it's not blue-jean blue, but more of a green-blue. But I hadn't been able to wear them because they just wouldn't fit. Today of all days, I was finally able to get them on. It's a good feeling.


I also had something happen that I didn't expect in my life right now - I've found a kind, decent man. Someone who knows about the surgery, and could really care less! I just feel beyond blessed right now, and I say a prayer to God each day for my new health.



11-7-04


YEA!!! I've finally hit the century club. Down 104 and counting!


10-31-04


ARGH! The century club has eluded me today. I'm just 1 lb. away. That's OK, that sucker will be history by this time next week.


10-28-04


Feeling really good these days. I'm making good food choices (although those damn saltines are still my downfall!). I'm hoping to see the century club by this weekend - I'm down 97 lbs. so far. My hope was to be past 100 lbs. before Christmas, then before Thansgiving, but it's looking like Halloween will be my holiday for goal #1. (Goal #2 will be the dbl. century club, but I haven't put a date on that one.)


Also, after weeks of being in-between pants sizes, I've apparently skipped a whole size. :-D Gotta say, I'm loving that part.


My walking is still going well - I'm getting closer & closer to the 2 mi. point, but unfortunately my heel keeps giving me trouble.


What is amazing me most right now, I guess, is my self-esteem. It's really very good. I used to think it was good before surgery, but what I'm realizing is that at times I was "fakin' the funk" - trying to make myself think I was doing good on the outside, but feeling lousy inside at times. That conflict isn't there now. When I look good on the outside, it's because I feel good on the inside. I've gone back to using makeup a lot more now, and I take time to decide what to wear. (Mind you, clothes still an issue because the sizes are ever-changing...) It's not so much that I like the thinner person I'm seeing in the mirror, but I like the healthier person I see, and it puts me in a much better mood these days.


10-17-04
Did my usual Sunday weigh-in. So I'm now down 92 lbs. That century club is just weeks away... :-)
I've increased my walking to just over 1.5 mi. (taking 2 laps around a few streets near my job). The problem is it's causing major pain in my right heel, so I'm only getting to walk about twice week. :-( I'm seeing a podiatrist later this week, and hopefully they can help me with a solution, so I can get back on track.


My mom was sweet enough to buy me a ticket to come home for Christmas. It will be interesting to see how my father's family reacts to the new me, since they thought (& told everyone but me) that surgery was a bad idea. Now they'll get to see how much healthier I am already in such a short time.



10-6-04


Been feeling really good the past couple of days. My appearance is looking better - I'm actually taking the time to put on makeup! :-) I've been waking up in a good mood (may have something to do with not waking up in pain anymore), and it's just carried me throughout the day.


Well, today, I'm taking a break at work, checking out a book fair that's set up outside. While I'm browsing, I hear someone say, "You've been losing weight, haven't you?" I turn around, and it's a guy who works in my building - we see each other every once in a while on the elevators. Well, his comment just went straight to my head. I smile & go, "Yeah, I have." Before I can say why I'm losing, he says, "Yeah, I've noticed. You look really good." OK, can you say major ego boost?! All I could do is smile really wide & keep saying, "Thank you!"


Yes, I've said numerous times that I did this surgery to get healthy, not necessarily to be thinner, but there is nothing like a nice comment (especially from guys!) to make you feel good inside.


10-2-04


I'm about a week short of my 5 mo. anniversary. I'm down 86.5 pounds as of today. My own personal goal was to be below 300 before Christmas, but at this rate I could make it to the century club before Thanksgiving! :-D I'm feeling pretty good about myself, and I love how my health has improved. I've actually been forgetting to take my GERD medicine every couple of nights, which I've been doing for the past couple of months to prevent that wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night, horrible acid reflux feeling. But I've been OK! I think I'm going to reduce it to twice a week; I have a feeling that within a couple of months, I can kiss the medicine goodbye, this time for good!


Interesting dilemma - I'm having an issue with clothing. I have moved down in sizes, but the thing is I'm in the middle when it comes to pants sizes. It's pretty cool - the 30s & 32s I started in are so loose, I think it's officially time to write them off. (If I put even some loose change in them, they threaten to fall around my knees! LOL) A couple of 28s fit fine. But some are very baggy, and I can't do 26s - they're still too tight! Clothing companies don't make 27s, so for the time being I have the baggy look going. Good news is that in tops, I'm in 22/24s and even a few 18/20s. I just hope my bottom half eventually catches up with my top half.


9-12-04


It's my 29th birthday, and I'm 4 months post-op. My mind is all over the place, so this may be a bit of rambling...


Wow, how things have changed in such a short time! I get more done these days, because I'm not as tired as I used to be. I had a really busy day last month that, this time last year, would've wiped me out before I could finish it! Working all day, running around at lunch, a meeting after work, and my Spanish class after the meeting! And I was able to give each part 100%, something I couldn't always do before.


I saw one of the old friends at church today. I wanted to approach her and just tell her I hope she and the others are doing well, but I couldn't. I just wasn't sure how she'd react, if she'd acknowledge me at all, and I wasn't going to let anything upset me today. I can't say it's all water under the bridge - I got blamed for so much negativity and bad feelings, when very often I wasn't even in the mix of it - but I just don't want to overlook the good things we all did for each other. My life is on a good track now, and even though we're not friends anymore, I want their lives to be the same.


My main focus right now is this job I want SO bad. I'm volunteering with the Phoenix Birthing Project, and now they have a Coordinator job open. It would let me use the things I learned in college, plus my administrative skills but I'd be doing more than just office work. I have a really good feeling about this. My new body would let me keep up the hectic pace of the job, and I'd FINALLY be at a job I love.


My dad called me today, and thanked me for sending him the letter about surgery. I sent a letter a couple months ago to all the people in my family explaining that I had the surgery (for those who didn't know), telling them how I was doing, and how it was a long-thought out decision and process to get to surgery. I was so glad to know it cleared up some misconceptions, and let people know I was doing better health-wise because of the surgery. I also think it was better that I sent the letter after the surgery instead of before. They got a chance to see how I'm doing, and realize it wasn't some snap judgement to have this done. Even my dad, who was not happy with me having WLS, is now happy for me. :-) Wouldn't ask for anything more...


8-27-04


OK, realized that it's been another month since I updated. I keep fighting with the "exercise monster" - some days I don't mind working out, and some days it's like pulling teeth. Of course, I feel like I've accomplished something once I've done it, but it's getting my butt going that's the hard part! But I'm still averaging 4-5 days a week of exercise, so not too shabby.


My last appt. with my surgeon left me somewhat not as happy as usual, but at least I know why things are the way they are. I went into the doctor's office, all ready to see if I had lost weight since I visited my PCP the week or two before, and the darn scale had me GAINING about 7 pounds! What the f---?! Obviously, different scales are set differently, but 7 pounds?!


Of course, Dr. Newhoff was surprised too. "I thought you would've lost more weight than this since last time." I wanted to say, "No kidding, Doc, me too!" He had me review all the foods I've been eating - I've had a major thing for saltines lately, but he's not concerned about them, which surprised me.
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Well, in passing, I mentioned that my PCP agreed with me to take me off my high-blood pressure medication. He says, "well, there you go. That's most likely it." He said my body was probably trying to adjust to being off the meds. Who knew?! I'm glad I mentioned it to him. So he just wants me to keep exercising, drinking the fluids, and he emphasized finding a protein drink I could stand so I could finally get that protein in.


Glad to say I was able to do that, and with a drink I never thought would've satisfied me. I've been so busy trying to find a nice chocolate protein powder that I could use, but those that didn't taste like crap made me sick. I got a sample of the Syntrax Nectar drinks. Didn't like the Very Berry Cherry, which I thought I would. Also didn't like Fuzzy Navel. But the Apple Ecstacy has been great! I ordered a tub of it, and it's already gone, since I've been drinking it every day. I think this will help get my weight loss going again.


I'm now able to weigh myself at home. Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. :-) So far, I've kept my promise to myself to only weigh once a week. I don't want it to become an obsession - as long as I keep losing weight, I'll be satisfied (or so I hope!).


Been reading the message board, and just saw another poster asking about regrets. It reminds me of the conversation I had with someone last week. I was in the lobby of my office building, and hear someone talking about having the surgery. So of course I had to interject with questions, and we talked about my experience. The last thing she asked me was, "Would you recommend the surgery to people?" That's a loaded question with me. I KNOW I've been blessed to have had such an easy time post-op (even the vomiting was never as bad as it could have been), but I keep in mind that there are those who have not been as lucky, who have had complications since day one. I had "buyer's remorse" in the first few weeks, true, but getting distance from those first few weeks makes it easy to forget the beginning struggle, and now I know my life is better. Daily (or even twice-daily) trips to fast food restaurants have now become about once a month, and even then it's high-protein foods. I went out last night to listen to jazz music, so my urges to get out and do something are finally taking shape. I don't have nearly as many body aches and pains, and the ones that are left seem do dwindle each day. So I can't say I have regrets, because my life had improved, and it just gets better each day.




7-29-04


Went to my PCP yesterday; of course now that I can be weighed on a regular scale, they finally buy the digital ones! I sort of felt gypped! But the feeling didn't last - I'm down another 13 pounds!


My doctor was thrilled to see me as a post-op - her happiness was infectious! She agreed with me that it was OK for me to try being off my high blood pressure medication, so that's one less medicine. We did have to switch me to another medicine for GERD - the generic Prilosec always feels like it gets stuck going down into my pouch. Not fun. But hopefully my insurance will approve an oral version. The docotor predicts that after I lose another 100 pounds, I can lose the Prilosec too.



7-27-04


Wow, can't believe it's been a whole month since I posted. I haven't been able to come onto the site as much, since my home computer is trying to croak on me. :[email protected]


I've been doing great on the exercising in the past few weeks. I try to make sure I do the Walking Away the Pounds DVD at least 4 times a week, and when I'm not doing it, it's usually because I have some other high-level activity going. I just came back from our company's annual outing this past week, and I'm amazed at the energy level I had. Didn't get to work out in the fitness center like I wanted - we were just too busy with meetings whenever they were open - but I did do the waverunner again this year. I also got knocked in the lake by one of the staff (!), and the work I had to do to get out of the lake did a major number on my body; every muscle I had was sore for 3 days!!! But the event was nice - I got SO many compliments on my weight loss, and people were constantly amazed when I would order food and had 90% of it still left on my plate as I backed away, full and satisfied. I think I made good food choices.


This was also my first time with alcohol as a post-op. My surgeon said it would be OK as long as I stayed away from the fruity drinks, but I was so fearful of dumping on anything with sugar, I ended up only drinking chardonnay, and even then it was always about half a glass. Fear worked on my side, and I only got slightly buzzed once (mind you, I could down major drinks pre-op, but I never was one to be drunk off my ass - I need to be coherent). It's interesting not having the choices that everyone else has, and still being happy.


At the outing, I ate things for lunch & dinner like rosemary grilled chicken, baked chicken, fish, cheeseburgers, beef hot dogs, & got my broccoli in for veggies; I had bacon & eggs for breakfast (a continental breakfast was always offered, but obviously I couldn't partake in it this soon after surgery). I did try some french fries & some mashed potatoes, but NEVER a big amount. I knew I needed to keep control of the carbs so they didn't gain control of me. :-) I had these things, they tasted WONDERFUL, and I was always amused at how for once, my plate was never empty.


My clothes are feeling so baggy now, but I'm in a strange position - my next smaller size won't fit (for most items), but my current clothes are too big. Waiting for that point when my body will let me officially go down the smaller size. It looks like it's already happening. I didn't end up buying a new swimsuit for the outing, but just as good: I found a size 28 swimsuit in my dresser that I haven't worn for 2 years. It fit very well!


6-24-04


Just came back from my 6-week check up, and (drum roll, please)... down 45 pounds! My clothes are getting looser, and while I'm still doing daily naps, I feel like my energy is trying to return. I bought Leslie Sansone's Walking Away the Pounds yesterday (after many suggestions from fellow AMOS members), and did the 1 mile walk. Man, that thing was HARD, but I was so proud of myself. The 2-mile walk is a long way away, but for once, I feel like I will be able to accomplish things like that.


Found out that it's OK to do a little drink at the outing after all, but I will probably do a glass of wine - or more like a sip or two. There will already be enough drunk people at this thing; I don't want to add to the total!


I have some clothes I can use as I start to lose more weight, but I think I'll need to buy another swimsuit (by the outing, I'll be almost 3 months post-op).


It will be nice to be able to eat solid foods again, especially for Independence Day. Probably will be just me, myself, and I, but at least now I can enjoy grilled foods with the rest of the country! (It's been sheer horror having to smell grills going around my neighborhood as I have to eat my cream of chicken soup. :-( )


6-21-04


Not much to update, but felt like I should put something. :-) I'll be 6 weeks post-op on Wed., 6/23, and I have my 6-week checkup with Dr. Newhoff on Thurs. I do feel like I've lost more weight (pants are about ready to slide off me), but I haven't checked, because I desperately don't want to become scale-dependent. I will be low enough soon to weigh myself at home (scale max is 330), but I only want to weigh once a week; I'm afraid I'll get obsessed otherwise.


My company is having their annual outing next month, and although my eating is still restricted, and I can't do liquor, I'm still looking forward to it. I got on a waverunner last year for the first time in 10 years, and I loved every single minute of it, even being near 400 lbs. So I'm sure this year will be just as good, if not better.


Some of my admin. colleagues know I've had the surgery. I'm hoping during this outing next month that they don't feel inclined to tell me how "good" I look. Why? Usually this would be welcome news, and while I feel like losing 33+ lbs. is good, I don't feel like I've lost enough to be noticeable! So when people say stuff like that, it feels forced. I just want to go enjoy myself. I'll be able to eat more regular, solid foods, so that will make eating with others much easier.


I did try some other solids this week (ok, a couple of days before my official 6-week time, when I'd start eating solids, but soft foods are driving me nuts!). I had a volunteer meeting, and they grilled some hot dogs and hamburgers. I got half a hamburger and one hot dog (no buns for either). It was funny - one woman said to me, "You didn't put very much food on your plate." I told her, "Yeah, and the funny part is I won't even eat what's there now!" Which was true. I ate about 5 small bites of the hamburger, and 1/3 of the hot dog. I loved the taste, and was completely satisfied. Of course, I did explain to the woman (and the rest of the room) why I wasn't eating, which was OK. By this point, everyone seems to know someone who has had the surgery, and they were supportive and had questions. (They were floored when I explained that ice cream & cake, which we had for a celebration, was a no-no.) I told them that I will be able to eat more food and more types of food in the future, but for now, this is it, and I'm fine with it.


OK, so I had more to say than I thought. :-) I have GOT to find a way to get more exercise in, but otherwise, things are good.


6-8-04


Had to go to the surgeon's office today to drop off FMLA papers. Decided to get weighed while I was there. I'm down to 366. I don't quite know how to feel about this at the moment. I'm now down about 33 lbs. since my surgery, which is GREAT (my best loss on my own in 1 month was 14 lbs.), but I felt like it should've been more. I know I'm not getting in all the exercise I'd like. I'm doing well on water, but foods and protein shakes have been hit and miss, which I'm sure is affecting things. I'm trying to keep my head up about it.


Hehe - side note - just as I'm updating this, my mom returns my call to her - my mom & sister like me to update them on my progress. I told her while I'm glad I'm 10 lbs. less, I was disappointed it wasn't more. She asks, "Didn't your Dr. say it would be an average of about 10 lbs. a month? And you're already down 33 in 4 weeks' time?" So she sends a "smack" my way via phone. :-D Then reminds me to look at the up part of it, and know that while I'm not getting exercise & food in, I'm working on it, which is the important part, and it WILL get better. So I get off the phone feeling a bit better about it all.


Can I just say again how much I LOVE my mother & sister? They mean the world to me - I know I am a better woman because of them. They keep me strong when I feel like I can't go on anymore; they make me feel like one of the most loved people in this world, and I cannot and never want to imagine being without them. Even when we drive each other nuts, we still support and love each other. They're a big factor in my current (recurring) dilemma about whether to return to the East Coast.


As beautiful as AZ is, after 7 years, I just don't feel fulfilled. The only family I have out here annoys the sh*t out of me, and I don't get to see the rest of the family enough, since they're almost 3,000 miles away. I have simply "grown out" of my current job, and want to do something more meaningful. But I can't seem to find anything in Phoenix that doesn't involve a MAJOR pay cut. And the Black community here is somewhat disconnected. I'm working as a volunteer in two wonderful groups, Sistas of Planned Parenthood (Black/African-American women who focus on health in Maricopa County), and Phoenix Birthing Project (ensuring better health and life for Black infants and their mothers, usually teenagers). But it doesn't seem to be enough.


I had just skimmed another memeber's profile the other day, and he mentioned how he moved back to his home state after being unhappy where he was for a few years. I found a lot of similarities to my life, and I wonder if he was on the right track. 7 years is a long time to be alone, trying a new life. When do you finally decide that you're done "trying", that the "new" life isn't working?


6-5-04


Been having up days and down days.


What I'm finding is that I'm having an even harder time at work, because it's hard to put up with the annoying things when you're already walking into work tired. So I'm just praying that God either helps me find a better job, or gives me more strength to hang on at this one until He's ready for me to move on.


My days have been lopsided - one day I'll get in decent exercise and water but not enough food/protein, the next day I may get in excellent protein, food and water but nowhere near enough exercise, and so on. Today was an EXCELLENT exercise day, as I got in a full mile! (Can't remember when I could do that before.) However, I didn't get a nap in (people were doing work on adjacent apts. starting early in the morning), so I wasn't motivated to do much but rest. I just keep hoping I can do this right and get everything in the way I need to.


I have also experienced both vomiting and dumping episodes in the past week and a half. :-( Not fun at all, but now I know that my body will hold me accountable for what I do wrong. In a way, it's a blessing.


Even with my lack of energy, I'm more back to a "normal" routine - work, meetings w/ my volunteer groups, on the computer... I do still have down moments and crying spells, but with each passing day I feel more like I'll be able to make this tool work for me.


5-22-04


I had hoped to update again before now, but I'm starting to realize why updates don't happen very often early on -- I am so tired! Energy is not in my vocabulary. But I keep trying, and hoping that with each passing day, as the pain passes, so does the fatigue.


I did my first post-op check up with the doctor yesterday - down 23 pounds since my pre-op appt. the day before surgery! That is definitely good news.


The problems - I don't want to eat anything. It's hard enough getting the protein shakes in; all I want to do is water and nothing else. But my surgeon reminds me that the more protein I get in, the more the weight will come off, and the more I move, the more my body will get used to it and regain some of its energy. But when you're dealing with extreme fatigue, getting out of the bed is a task. My family has been great during this time - my mother stayed with me the whole time during my surgery and a few days after, and my sister's been here for week 2. They've been great emotional support (and making sure I get off my ass!). But when my sister leaves in a couple of days, it's all on me. They'll be checking up on me via e-mail and phone, but I have to depend on myself now to do this.


The emotional rollercoaster has also started. I tend to cry from the fatigue, or just get so irritated by things. And those damn food commercials aren't helping either! I was forewarned that the commercials will seem like they're appearing more than normal, and it may be hard to take. But it's difficult to see these commercials for foods I may really want, because in the past I could just go get what I wanted. That's not an option now, and it's hard to cope with.


I just keep trying to go one day at a time, and try to remind myself that things do get better with time.


5-15-04


Well, I'm back home. Everything went very well. My surgery only took a couple of hours, and my recovery was pretty uneventful. I have been able to keep both liquids and some soft cereal down, so I was discharged on time. But I am tired! This surgery takes a lot out of you. So hopefully I can update more in the next few days. Thanks to all who sent your well wishes - they obviously worked!


5-11-04


Less than 24 hours to go...


My pre-op stuff is all done. The surgeon examined me, and seems to think I'm in somewhat decent shape considering my size.


But I'm frustrated. My official pre-surgery weight - 400 lbs! I was so hoping I could keep under 400, but obviously having those "last" tastes of my favorite foods took their toll.


I probably shouldn't be overly concerned. In the end, I've only gained 10 lbs. from when I first saw the surgeon in Dec. '02 (which in itself is a miracle). But I guess to me, this is just proof that if I didn't have the surgery, I was dealing with eventual weight increase, which would only make things worse.


And the most ironic (I think that's the word, it may not be!) thing happened - as I'm leaving the surgeon's office building, and go to the parking garage to get into my car, I find that I can't get in - the a$$hole who parked next to me parked so close that I can only open my driver's side door about an inch! Now, I've squeezed in to the car before (many MO people have to deal with this all the time), but there was NO WAY I could fit in there this time. And of course there's no way to know when the person is getting back, so I could either wait, or try to get in another way. Waiting was not an option, today of all days. I had to go in through the passenger side, and struggle over the automatic gear panel to get to the driver's side. Normally, I would've cried. Today I was pissed! I later figured that this may be God's way of distracting me from being anxious about the surgery. But at the time I wanted to choke that other driver!


I just had to say to myself, isn't this a trip. Had this been even a couple of days after surgery, it wouldn't have been such an issue. (sigh) Oh well.


My mom is on the plane now to AZ, so I'll be picking her up from the airport. And early tomorrow morning, what I've been working so hard to get done will start.


Good-bye, old me....


5-10-04


Well, 2 days left to go...


I'm starting to realize why it's so hard for people to keep up with updating their profiles - even before surgery, life can get so hectic that it becomes an afterthought.


Not much to report at the moment though; finishing up things at work; Tuesday is my physical with Dr. Newhoff, and final preparations before the surgery on Wednesday. There's a support meeting tomorrow night, so I'm thinking of checking it out just to see how they are. Anxiety is setting in a bit, but that's to be expected - this is a major life change about to happen.


Also having trouble sleeping, but I can't tell if that's due to my normal sleeping issues, or anxiety over the surgery. Had 6 hours of sleep last night, but as I type this, I feel like I never got 40 winks.


Hopefully I'll have time tomorrow to post my final pre-op weight.


4-29-04


13 days left to go...


I think nerves are finally starting to set in. Not about the surgery itself - I truly believe God will bring me through it just fine. Just the idea of changing EVERYTHING in terms of how I treat food. It's been an addiction, a crutch, a means of comfort - and now that's all going to change.


Meanwhile, I'm trying so hard not to lose my cool at my job! My co-worker/supervisor is a major pain in my ass! He doesn't respect the job I do (he says he does, but his actions say something else). He makes the simple things riduculously frustrating. I know post-op hormones can cause major mood swings. If I'm ready to kill him now, how am I going to be once I get back from surgery?! Lord, please help me...


Before anyone suggests that I talk to him about it - been there, done that. He told me at my last review that I seem to get short with him. And he's totally right - I tend to get short with people who don't show me common courtesy and respect. Respect me enough to give me the details I ask for when I'm working on a project for you. Respect me enough to not try to have a conversation with me while I'm on the phone with someone else! Respect me enough not to micromanage me. I've been here longer than all the other office managers COMBINED - and it's because I do a good job. He knows all this, and I've reminded him of all this. But I've already learned that life is too short to put up with nonsense; once I return to work from surgery, my BS-tolerance meter is going to be darn near non-existent. :[email protected]


4-12-04


Nothing major to report. In the process of figuring out what foods to have at home right after surgery, what I should & shouldn't take to the hospital (my mom will be with me, so if I forget anything, she'll be willing to get it for me - moms are too cool :-) ), making arrangements with jobs #1 & #2 to take time off.


No anxiety has set in yet; I don't expect that to happen until a day or two before surgery, but I do expect it to happen. I remember being a little anxious before my gallbladder surgery back in '99 - let's face it, surgery, no matter what it's for, can be scary.


But I have faith. I just told my father I was having surgery. Poor man - 4/10 was his birthday, and what do I give him as a present? Your oldest child is going under the knife... :-S


I don't think he wants me to have the surgery - he's so concerned about what could happen. But I've explained to him what WILL happen - this surgery will give me my health back, and give me the life a 28-year-old should have: one filled with fun activities, energy & strength, confidence, and less pain.


Yes, my mind has been on all the things I will no longer be able to eat. But when I think about all the things I'll be able to do, those foods don't seem like such a hard thing to give up.


4-8-04


Well, the good news is that I will not have to wait 6 months for Dr. Newhoff to perform my surgery. The bad news is that I seem to be thisclose to a surgery date, and we're playing the game of This person needs to call this person, etc. I figured I'd be OK once I was approved, but now that I got the ins. co. to say OK, I WANT MY DATE, before they change their minds! (I know it won't go down like that, but that's what it feels like.)


OK, as I was typing the last paragraph, I was checking my voicemail at home. Who do I have a message from? The surgeon's office! Of course I called back ASAP, and I now have a date!


My new birthdate is Wed., May 12, 2004. I was wondering why I wasn't more excited when I was finally approved, but now, as I sit here in total glee, I realize that until now, it didn't feel like it would really happen. Now things are in motion--my date is set, my mother is helping me find funding for my part of the surgery payment, she's flying out here to help me during surgery and immediate post-op, and even my sister, who hates Phoenix, is offering to come help as well. I'm finally realizing how blessed by God I truly am right now, and I'm overwhelmed with emotion.


3-24-04
OH MY GOD! I am approved!


I'm still not sure how it happened, but I got a call from a guy at the insurance company's medical board saying my file had come across this desk, and that he was going to get me approved. A couple of hours later, he called and said, "I want to congratulate you - we are approving you for surgery." I tell you, it's been a long time since I've had tears of joy, but I had them today.


Now I have to see how long I'll have to wait for the surgery - Dr. Newhoff had a 6 month waiting list when I first started, so I can only imagine that it's even longer now. But I've come this far, so I'll wait a little longer...


3-6-04
Well, this has been a long month, and unfortunately, things are getting worse.


I sent my appeal letter to my insurance company. I made sure to put a Delivery Confirmation on it, so I would know when Great West received it. The letter was in their hands by Feb. 17th. I had been waiting for what seemed like forever to get an answer, and finally called them after 2 weeks was up (which is how long they said it would take to process my appeal). The verdict: denied AGAIN. They are still pushing this 6 mo. medically supervised diet, which I feel is me just throwing away more money. I've been down the diet road so many times I've worn a groove in the path! I have extra frustration in knowing that there are AMOS members who have the same insurance that have not had to adhere to this requirement. It truly feels like I'm being discriminated against simply because they don't want to pay for any more surgeries.


My other fear (which I've found out is not at all as far-fetched as I thought)is that while Great West takes this opportunity to put me off for 6 months, they could easily write a WLS/GBS exclusion in in time for our company's open enrollment in August. So do the math: Even if I started a 6-mo diet right now, I wouldn't be done until September. They could put an exclusion in right before I'd finish this required diet, which would leave me out of more money, and just overall SCREWED.


And another possible medical problem has cropped up: long story short, I am now dealing with high blood pressure. Whether this is just temporary remains to be seen. And unfortunately, I've been so upset over this 2nd denial,it is no doubt keeping my blood pressure high.


So as it stands, I am researching possible legal recourse. But after having a long talk with my mother (my adviser/best friend), my best bet may be to move back to the East Coast, where I could find a better job (having no luck on the job search here in Phoenix), I'd have my family to give me emotional support, and in turn that may reduce my stress, depression and high BP. I've considered moving back to Philly before, but this time there are more reasons to go back besides homesickness.


2-11-04


Mea culpa - I've been gone so long.


I was so depressed after I got my denial letter, and then had another crisis to focus on--chest pains! Long story short, nothing is wrong with my heart, but as usual, they're saying me losing weight could only help. The pains started around October (hmm, wonder what caused them...could it be, maybe...STRESS?!), and finally pretty much disappeared by January.


But I also didn't do any updating because I just wanted to stop thinking about the whole weight loss war for a while. I stopped coming onto the website (with the exception of the occasional pop-in visit), and eventually stopped the dieting program I was on--I wasn't doing well anyway, since I was always hungry, and you know how that can sabotage a diet plan.


It's been 5 months, and before my right to appeal expires next month, I have decided to write an appeal letter. I would really prefer to have a different insurance company, one that will take this process seriously, but I have to pick my battles; do I want to waith indefinitely until I can find that perfect insurance company, or do I put up with the current one in the hopes of getting toward the final goal - my life-saving surgery?


Since I last updated, I have also found a man who is in love with me. I love him dearly--he is the sweetest man, would do anything for me and is ready to battle with anything/anyone that causes me heartache--but the true test will be whether he can deal with a smaller me. I did something I didn't think I would do-I told him about the surgery, and we had barely been together two weeks (I always figured I would wait until the surgery was definite). He says he will love me no matter what, but if the surgery changes his feelings, that will be HIS problem, not mine.

9-29-03


After the insurance company has been shuffling around my paperwork, it finally got to the right person. So I called the bariatric center back, and I was denied.

From what the woman at the center said, the insurance company didn't used to be so unorganized, and she usually didn't have problems getting paperwork in and getting people approved. But apparently the medical director has now decided to get stricter about accepting people. I guess I should feel honored that they started this new policy with me. They want the usual - 6 months medically supervised diet. But how they explain it is that they just want a documented mention of my weight and how I'm dealing with it during each doctor's visit during that period. The fact that I'm almost 400 pounds, have constant headaches, back pain, joint pain, can barely walk when I wake up in the morning, blood pressure constantly increasing, and have tried darn near every diet known to man just isn't good enough for them.

I had a feeling this was coming, but I really didn't expect to feel so bad. I need to get past this (really bad to burst into tears at work), but I can't help but feel like there is someone or something out there that doesn't want me to get better.

I mentioned previously that I was already planning to leave my job, and possibly move back east, but I will essentially have to start this whole process over, and I'm finding that very hard to deal with right now.


8-5-03
Just finished my consult with Dr. Newhoff. I wish I would've thought of more questions to ask--I feel like there's something I forgot to ask him!



Things went well. I'm pretty sure I gained weight since I first went to the office in December, so they're telling me that I l

About Me
Phoenix, AZ
Location
49.7
BMI
RNY
Surgery
05/12/2004
Surgery Date
Sep 27, 2001
Member Since

Before & After
rollover to see after photo
December 2003
385lbs
Before - May 2004, one day before surgery/After May 2005 - one year later and 160 pounds lighter!
400/240lbs

Friends 1

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