My name is Heather i am a 31 year old living in Alabama. I'm a Fire & Rescue Dispatcher as well as a volunteer firefighter with my local department.

I haven't always struggled with my weight. When i was around 20 the weight just started piling on, until then i easily kept my weight around 127lbs without much thought or effort. I wondered for awhile if my unhealthy eating habits had just finally caught up with me but the weight gain was becoming scary so i went from doctor to doctor trying to find what might be wrong. I gained over 100lbs in a matter of months.

My weight continued to climb over the years when i was finally diagnosed with PCOS and severe insulin resistance. I've tried all the different weight loss products and miracle diets, i've taken the pills done the exercises and nothing helps..i might lose a few pounds but only to gain it back plus some.

I've researched Gastric Bypass for over 5 years and after my health continued to decline i finally decided it was the right decision for me.


Well after years and i mean like YEARS of research i'm doing it! I am taking the steps towards having Gastric Bypass Surgery. Blue Cross Blue Shield makes damn sure that people almost give up in frustration of the horrid process for approval so i know i have a long road ahead of me of jumping through the insurance hoops.

I must complete a 6 month physician supervised diet, including monthly documented weigh-ins so that is just looking at December at the earliest to even complete the insurance requirements to submit for approval for the surgery. But as many times as i've talked myself out of it i could have been thru the process and had it finished 10 times!

I already paid my consult fee and had my first appointment last week with the coordinator, my appointment with the surgeon is this coming Tuesday to determine if he feels there are any additional tests i need to have done in the next 6 months or so. You also have to see a dietician to learn how your body will react differently to foods and how your dietary needs will change after surgery, i also have that appointment scheduled. I've lined up my first appointment with my regular doctor to start my 6 month supervised diet and thats this Thursday.

Yikes im really doing this. I have to do this. I know its such an extreme thing to do and believe me im well aware of the risks. I'm so thankful to have found this website years ago, i've been addicted to it for so long, the message board and profiles are very inspirational. I have scared the hell out of myself reading the Memorial Page over the years and reviewing pages of people who have updated with the complications they were having due to this decision and i backed out of it a dozen times.

For a number of reasons though i think i've just come to peace with the decision to do it, good or bad, it now seems like the right time and quite honestly im not living much of a life right now anyway. My health continues to deteriorate and im getting to the point with the back problems that i cant even sleep comfortably anymore, when i do sleep i cant breathe..i wake up choking and gasping and that scares me but more than anything im missing out on life, im just watching it go by. I'm too fat and tired to participate and i dont want to be that way anymore. My grandmother is dying at such an early age because of weight related health problems and at 30 i already have half of headed down that road!

I'm really excited about this and super emotional about it too, i just keep thinking "this time next year i'll be able to do......"


So the doctors appointment went well Thursday. I was a little nervous what my Primary Care Physcians reaction would be about the surgery but we had talked about it in the past. When i walked thru the door she said "congratulations i got the letter from the surgeon..lets start this journey!" I was so relieved. She thinks i might have an ulcer and put me on Protonix (sp?) to try and head off any potential gastro type issues before the 6 months are up.

Tuesday i have my appointment with the surgeon and i have to do the H. Pylori test.

Seems H Pylori can be problematic for gastric bypass patients so they check you for the bacteria prior to surgery and treat you with antibiotics to rid your system of it ahead of time. I'll let everyone know how it goes.


So sleepy and still at work.
Had my consultation with the surgeon yesterday, began with the H Pylori test. I had to hold my breathe for 4 seconds and then blow into this bag/balloon type thingy then they give you 1 minute to drink this substance i can only describe as lemonade on crack It was so tart, gave me immediate heartburn and cottonmouth. You then wait 15 minutes and blow into a second bag thingy. Interesting.

The surgeon came in (v. handsome btw) went over the three types of surgery they have available with the pros and cons of each along with all statistics, risks, etc. I felt kind of silly because i didnt have any questions for him, after each section of his discussion he would ask if i had any and all i could reply was "nope i've done my research" plus his speech was very thorough and covered just about anything i would have asked. He told me to call if i thought of anything and that was that.


Had my appointment with the nutritionist, he had me fill out an interesting questionairre asking things about emotional eating and rating on a scale of 1 to 10 the support you think you will get from your spouse, family, co workers, etc then he talked with me about each item.

We went over "the diet" that is required by Blue Cross/Blue Shield for the next 6 months to meet their crazy guidelines and also went step by step over the post-op do's and dont's as to what i could eat by the week, such as liquids, mushies, stuff like that. We went over in detail how many grams of protein i should have daily as i go through the post-op phases, veggies, everything.

He told me not to focus too much on the actual calorie restictions of the "diet" at this point but to start trying to work some of these things into my daily routine and make them habits over the next 6 months, that way when i have the surgery these things will already be in place and my success will be that much easier. Things to focus on....
~Phase out all carbonated beverages (im not going to stress over this for the next couple months..this will be my biggie sacrifice and im going to slowly back off of the Cokes but i've got 6 months so im not going to freak out about it.)
~Stop Chewing gum.
~No drinking 30 minutes before a meal or after a meal. No drinking during a meal at all.
~Find some protein drinks i can stand.
~Start taking these vitamins and supplements now.
~Start taking tiny tiny sips.
~Start taking tiny tiny bites.
~Start chewing every tiny bite 30 plus times, must chew chew chew.

There was more but my brain is not functioning well after this long shift. As i was standing in the lobby making my next 6 months worth of appointments there was a lady buying supplements on the other side of the counter. When i walked out to my car she pulled up behind me and waved me over, she said she had noticed me inside making my appointments and was wondering if i was just starting my 6 months..she was really sweet, told me she had just had her surgery last week and she felt great. We both wished each other good luck and chatted for a few minutes, kinda nice to speak to someone going through the same experience.


Had my second dietician appointment yesterday, went pretty quick. I turned in a log of what i've been eating..they want examples from a couple times a week. You keep track of what you ate, how many calories, fat, protein, and carbs and the amount of water you're drinking. I was scolded again for only eating once or twice (if im lucky) a day, he suggested i might even try a protein drink to get in the nutrients of the third meal if i was having trouble, and i need to start trying them out anyway for after the i suppose thats not a bad idea. It was a short and sweet apointment and i'll go back next month for number 3...December cant get here fast enough!


Somehow i'm managing to gain weight while seeing a deitician on a monthly basis. But anyway, our uniform guidelines are very strict at the fire department and frankly my pants are just too freakin tight to be comfortable the uniform shop that gets awarded our bid list every year only carries mens sizes, which sucks cause they just arent made to fit us well..i bitch about this every year. So i decided to sneak off to another uniform shop that the county departments use to see what kind of pants they had in stock, at this point im uncomfortable enough to pay out of my pocket to get some new pants.

So i drive WAY out there and they do carry ladies sizes and you can actually buy off the rack..not place an order and wait 3 months like the other place, so i start loading up with stuff to try on. Nothing fits! Nothing! Just like in wedding dresses or something, uniform stuff runs around 2-3 sizes smaller so if you wear say a 12, better grab a 16 and suck in.

One of the other reasons i cant stand the other uniform shop is because all my coworkers are there and the firefighters and here the employees are yelling out your sizes and its just embarrasing. So once again at this store its a very, shall we say..."personal" experience, they are right at the dressing room door asking if it works or doesnt. So im already trying on the highest sizes they have in the ladies pants, so i ask how high the sizes run and she tells me, which i've already tried on and they dont fit so i just put on the smiley face and walk out and start grabbing various mens pants of various huge waist sizes and i barely make it back to the dressing room before i just totally lose it..i mean lose it, i couldnt even control my sobbing. Im sure everyone in the store could hear me..i just couldnt help it. I just sat in there for about 15 minutes crying before i even made another move. It was pathetic.

I know it doesnt seem like that big of a deal but that one incident pretty much just wiped me out for the whole week emotionally.

I dont post much about the weight stuff in here and all the reasons i feel its necessary to move forward with the gastric bypass but they do effect me daily in such a major way. Im on a strict supervised diet, i log everything i eat, i've almost completely cut out cokes (September is the last month for them by the way) im following the rules, yet i gain....please December hurry up and get here!

I'm miserable.


Just got back from my 4th dietician appointment, lost 1lb this month..i'll take it.


Had another dietician appt today was disappointed because i had to weigh-in wearing full uniform..of course i showed a gain. Usually im wearing capris and a light shirt, slip off my sandels but i had no choice but to be stuck in uniform boots and a big heavy duty belt, blah blah.

On a positive note i have been caffeine free for 16 days!!!


I had another weigh-in appointment last week and my final one is in December, i am now entering the total paranoid freak out stage of being scared that after all this effort i'm going to get denied by the insurance company. The staff at BWI assured me that i have "played by the rules" of the insurance companies, i've complied with all the outrageous requirements and everything should be fine...but im still scared.

I've always been the type to try and not get my hopes up about things then if it happens, great...if not, okay i'll live and im not too let down ya know and all this time that i've been in this process for getting requirements finished i've always said things like "IF i get approved then blah blah blah" and "IF i get to have the surgery..." and i was thinking that i really need to be more positive about this, the stakes couldn't be any way past the getting your hopes up point so why not?

I need to think good thoughts and it will happen so from now on its "WHEN i have the surgery...."


Well i had my final appointment today with my regular physician in regards to the ins requirements for surgery, if you remember i had to see her at the beginning, middle, and end of the process.

I had a million questions swirling around in my head and while this entire thing has gone by much faster than i thought this final month came to a screeching halt..the days wont go by fast enough. I have my final appointment with the BWI dietician on Monday and im done!!!!

I have to admit i was a little disappointed today though, i was hoping to leave her office with a pile of paperwork to rush over to BWI with the idea that on Monday after finishing my final dietician appointment they could add that to the packet and off it goes for insurance review...dont know what gave my brain this impression but it's certainly not how this ball game works.

My doctor explained that once i finish the final dietician appt he will send her the notes and she will then BEGIN my packet, she will go back and "beef up" any notes and compile all the historical medical documention to plead my case, she then has to review all my current meds and send her suggestions to the surgeon on how to change/replace any meds that are not crushable or would be digested incorrectly after the surgery, as well as include all my pre-op testing results. WOW!

So i ask her about a time line and she tells me "call me the week between xmas and new years" I wanted to scream "Noooooo! That's too long, i've gone through 7 months of this im ready NOW now NOOOW!"

So as im somewhat discouraged im also completely thankful that i have an awesome physican who has supported me in this journey and who is taking the time to do an extra amazing job on putting together the best looking packet to insure my approval...i've waited this long, i can wait a few more weeks right? Thank god i'll be super busy with holiday stuff to keep me distracted while time stands still.


Just finished my FINAL dietician appt, now its time to wait on everyone else. The insurance coordinator told me to call on the 27th or 28th to see if my doctor has sent her part of the packet in. Then the coordinator will call me when she faxes it to the insurance and gets confirmation they rec'd it.

She explained the insurance has a policy that they can hold it for 30 days before beginning review but that the day they send it i should start calling BCBS and bugging the hell out of them EVERY SINGLE DAY..."did you get my information" "have you started reviewing yet" "have i been approved" "do you need any additional information" "where am i at in the process" she said call call call and they magically get you reviewed quicker.


Well i called BWI (bariatric wellness institute-surgeons office) to check and see if they had received my paperwork yet and they havent so i immediately called my doctors office and left message for her, that she asked me to start reminding and bugging her the week after xmas and bug i shall. Hurry up people!


Called BWI again yesterday to see if they had received my paperwork..still nothing

Called my doctors office to leave another message for her and they informed me that she is off till Wednesday the 3rd. UGH! I begged them to attempt to get a message to her and just find out if she sent it over to BWI or if she is still working on it.

They called me back about an hour later and told me that it still isnt completed, she expects to submit it to BWI on Wednesday. /sigh




Called BCBS today to see if they are showing in their system that they have received my paperwork and still nothing. I'm so impatient at this point. The customer service rep i spoke to today told me it usually takes 7 to 10 business days to be scanned into the system.

Guess i'll keep waiting and keep bugging them. *evilgrin*


BCBS finally shows my paperwork in the system as of yesterday afternoon. She advised me today that they have 30 days for review starting 1-11-07...hoping it will be reviewed quickly and approved!


I think my daily calling to the insurance company is starting to get on their nerves. You never end up with the same person and some of them are really nice and tell you "oh it could be any day now" and then like today i had one snippy rep tell me "you know they have 30 days for review, dont need to call everyday. You'll get a letter in the mail." I said "okay, i'll call back tomorrow!"


I'm so so frustrated. Okay Heather just take a deep breath, alright. I knew that dealing with the insurance company was going to be stressful, i prepared myself for it..but when it actually happens that sure doesnt make you feel any better.

Made my daily call today and was told that it was on hold waiting for my surgeons office to send my information ONLINE for predetermination. I explained that i was pretty certain my surgeons office did not do online submissions and that i was told on January 11th that all 27 pages of my information was received and has been in medical review since. She stated that because my surgeon was part of the online program that it would be the only way the insurance accepted the info.

I immediately contact my surgeons office and spoke with Stephanie the insurance coordinator who verified that they absolutely do not use the online service because of problems in the past getting BCBS to pay off the online approvals, she said that loooong ago they made the decision that BWI would not participate.

Took a few minutes to calm down and called BCBS back and asked to speak with a supervisor, i talked with the representative for over 10 minutes about the situation and she confirmed that the review commitee was waiting for this information from online submission. She did not have a supervisor available and said she would have the supervisor call me back after researching and that if the surgeon was part of the PMD network they must submit online.

Surely my surgeons office would be aware of this issue if this really was the case. I can not believe the stunts that the insurance company pulls to delay the process and put people off. I was starting to feel a little silly yesterday with calling so often but now im glad that i do, what if people didnt call at all and it would just sit there in limbo due to their BS reasons not to continue the claim.

Grrrrrr! So frustrated.


Called back BCBS this morning since the supervisor never returned my call on Friday afternoon. I was informed by this representative that my stuff was on hold until the provider representative worked things out with the surgeons office. I asked what a "provider rep" was and he explained that it is the representative for BCBS that goes to the doctors offices to find out why they arent following the rules. I asked if there was a number or any contact info for this rep to find out how long this process might take and he told me there was no way to contact them. I said "how long will it take the rep to call my surgeons office?" He advised they would go in person, not call and that it might take place "some time in the next week or so."

I called Stephanie with the surgeons office and explained what they told me and she said this was one of their tactics to prolong the process and that they DO NOT and WILL NOT file online claims, she said they have steadily been getting approvals based on their faxed submissions and there has not been a problem.

Stephanie said she would call them today and get back with me.

I'm so discouraged at this point, its so frustrating to go through all these ridiculous requirements for so long and then be put on hold like this. I hate that it's totally out of my hands also, i've done all i can do that i know of and now im forced to depend on others to act on my behalf. Control freak much? LOL


I attended the "It's A Onederful Life" Meeting in Toney last night. It was so great to meet everyone and see people in different stages of this process..from a couple months out to 4 years, and everyone looks amazing! Thanks ladies for being so welcoming and honest, i'll see you at the next meeting!

1-23-07 Part 2

Okay Stephanie just called from BWI and had a question about my sleep study from 2004 and i asked her if she figured anything out from yesterday. She said she spoke with them and they are still insisting on the online submission only. She said she still does not feel comfortable with it, they have had several occasions in the past where they used the online approval and then after the patient had surgery BCBS stated they didnt meet the requirements and the patient was then responsible for the bill.

She said she is filling out the online form right now and will see what happens, she said they are reassuring her that she will receive a written letter showing approval and then we will go from there. She said if they receive that letter then it will fall to me to decide if i want to accept the responsibility for payment if they do not come through or it will be on me to fight it out with them on my own.

So now im not sure if i want to get excited about a possible approval in the next few days via online or if i should still wait it out. What to do? What to do? I wonder how long the letter will take to get here?


I'm Approved!

Wow i can finally say i'm approved! While im somewhat hesitant to get too excited about it until i have that letter in hand and i make sure there are no "catches."

I'm still not sure how my surgeons office will handle my approval because of the fight between online submission vs faxed but surely with the letter stating approval they will proceed.

Just left a message with the surgeons office to let them know..i'm ready to get the ball rolling!


Talked with Stephanie at the surgeons office today, she said she received the online approval but they would like to wait to see the letter before proceeding, which i expected. Now i'll be stalking the mail man until it arrives. hehe


Got my letter today woohoo! Still not sure if this is exactly what they require to go ahead with things. I'm going to post it here to get some curious if its similar to what others have received and also for those in the future to see whats coming.

A predetermination of benefits for the patient's proposed treatment is complete. Based on the information provided, it has been determined that the following proposed treatment meets medical criteria.

Procedure Code 43644 Description Lap Gastric bypass/roux-en-y

Benefits will be provided according to the guidelines of the contract in effect at the time the service is rendered. If the service cannot be provided within twelve months, you will have to resubmit your request to our medical staff for medical necessity verification. Benefits for covered services will be provided according to the patients's eleigibility, terms and conditions of the contract in effect at the time the service is rendered. A Pre-Admission Certification (PAC) is required prior to an inpatient hospital admission for elective procedures. If the PAC is not obtained, benefits may be reduced or denied.

This courtesy copy is being provided as a requirement of the Department of Labor Regulations. This information has been requested from your provider. No action is required of you at this time.

We appreciate the opportunity to review your request and hope that this information is helpful.


OMG the surgeons office finally called me back today, she said she had reviewed my file and everything was ready to go. She asked how soon i was ready and i told her as soon as possible, then she said "how about next Wednesday, the 7th?"

Wow that's soon! I have to pre-register tomorrow or Friday at the hospital and do the necessary tests. My pre-op appointment is the day before surgery on Tuesday with Dr. Foreman.

It's finally happening and actually on my husbands birthday! I really hope the roads are okay tomorrow because i have a million things to do and buy. Yikes! Thank you everyone here on the Bama board for your support and words of wisdom and for such encouragement when i needed to vent about the process.

2-6-07 Tick Tock, Tick Tock

Tomorrow is the big day! I must say the magnesium citrate stuff is evil...its just terrible.

I have to be at the hospital at 5:30AM so i think im the first surgery of the day. I'll update as soon as i can.

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 barley 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!"


I'm home!  Woohoo!  It's still too difficult to sit like this for long so i'll have to give my play-by-play later.  Just wanted to quickly tell everyone thank you for the wonderful advice, phone calls and well wishes! 


How I became a loser…..

So on February 7, 2007 I had to be at the hospital at 5:30am. I spent the evening before choking down the bowel prep magnesium citrate, it really was terrible….cherry flavors have been ruined forever for me. I honestly only got one of the two required bottles down, I just couldn’t do it but believe me the one worked fine.

I woke up around 3:00am and showered with the hibiclens solution they have you buy, dried my hair put on a tiny bit of make up, couldn’t leave without the lipstick. Grabbed my pillow, cellphone charger and a change of clothes and we were ready!

Arrived at Crestwood hospital and waited in the lobby for registration to open, I was still having some embarrassing effects from the magnesium citrate and was running back and forth to the bathroom every couple minutes. I had already pre-registered so once it opened I basically just got my bracelet and a pager (like you get when waiting at a restaurant) they said when the pager goes off report to the front desk, so we waited till about 6:30am in the main lobby.

A nurse came to get me and told me to come back to prep for surgery and for Brian to keep the pager and once I was ready to go they would page him and bring him back. They took me to a small room, where she told me to undress, put on the gown, explained the hose I had to put on for circulation and she started my IV. She took my vitals and apparently I was a little more nervous than I thought. My heart rate was high and my blood pressure was up there too.

They brought Brian back to the room and I had several different nurses and anesthesiologists come in and ask questions, one of them gave me a “little something to relax” and then we just sat and waited. A little after 8:00am they came in to get me. Brian and I said our goodbyes, I reminded him of who to call as soon as he heard anything from the surgeon and off I went.

They wheeled me into the OR and had me scoot over to another table. I remember them telling me they were going to start giving me the “happy juice” and other people asking me to arrange my arms just so. I was thinking “huh, this table has a ledge thingy at the bottom where I can put my fe..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.”

Then I woke up in recovery, I was still very out of it and someone was yelling at me to open my eyes and “look how the morphine pump works.” “Heather wake up and watch how this works!” Then she starts clicking the morphine button, I immediately start dry heaving and im trying to rip the oxygen mask off my face because I think im going to get sick. So she is yelling at me “no, need that oxygen mask!” She is steadily clicking the morphine button and every time she hits it I start dry heaving again, finally I made her understand I needed the mask off cause I was going to throw-up. The dry heaving was horrible cause it was pulling on all my incisions and flexing all the muscles in my stomach. The nurse is still bothering me about the morphine button and I think I growled “lady quit touching the damn morphine button!” I drifted off again and awoke in the room.

I remember nurses trying to arrange all the lines hooked up to me and telling me to hold the morphine button where I could get to it if I needed it. I was dozing off and on for a couple hours when I woke up and realized I needed to pee. I thought there is no way I can get up but everyone helped pull me up and I waddled over to the bathroom, I was so relieved I was able to pee because several post-ops had warned me that the nausea medication made it difficult to go. I figured since I was already up I would try and walk a little bit. I hit the hallway and made it about half-way down when the dry heaving hit me again. Quickly made it back to my room and into the bed and I was out again for awhile.

My friend Deanna came by and brought me a nice card and I was trying so hard to stay with it enough to have a conversation. I just couldn’t keep my eyes open but I was still following their talking and I would jump into their discussion occasionally. I had several of the girls from the support group call and give me wonderful advice. Brian decided while Deanna was there he would go home and feed the cats, shower, etc. Deanna left after a couple hours, I imagine I wasn’t great company anyway.

I woke up again around 7:00pm and used the call button to ask a nurse to come disconnect me so I could go to the restroom. I had IV’s, pulse ox, compression garments that were hooked up to pumps, all kinds of things I had to be released from before I could try and get up. After several minutes a different nurse came in and disconnected me, she didn’t offer to help me up so I used the arms of the hospital bed to struggle my way to a sitting position. I made it to the bathroom and when I came out the nurse was gone, so I managed to get myself back into bed and used the call button to ask her to come back and hook me back up. About 45 minutes later and still no nurse, I was getting pissed off. The beeps and alarms of the IV and oxygen machine were very annoying and I just wanted to relax again. I called Brian and asked him where the heck he was and he told me he would be back in a few minutes. Finally Brian showed up and I told him to go find a nurse, another nurse comes in and scolds me for being unhooked from the compression garments for so long. It’s not like I can reach them!

My surgeon came by and checked on me, I explained the dry heaving and he asked the nurses to start giving me something for nausea. I just drifted off and on through the night and got up probably 6 or 7 times to go to the bathroom. Prolly a little TMI but I was shocked to have started my period, due to my PCOS I have not had one in maybe 5 months or more.

I think the most painful thing at this point was my throat, I sooo wanted a drink of water or ice chips. I finally asked to take off the nasal cannula hoping that if I didn’t have the oxygen blowing it wouldn’t dry my throat out as bad. They said as long as my room O2 stat stayed high enough without it I could keep it off. My blood pressure continued to be high during my entire hospital stay and I had the worst shakes the whole time which worried me to death apparently because I think I brought it up to every single nurse.

Around 4:30 am someone came in and took blood and the nurse started getting me ready for discharge. At 5:00am I was allowed to have a grape popsicle. I think I rubbed that thing all over my face :lol: my lips were so dry and cracked, in fact my top lip was oddly swollen. I couldn’t handle eating the entire popsicle, it was just too sweet. The nurse informed me that as soon as the surgeon came by I would be discharged, she told me I should be sitting up and alert..moving around and looking ready to go to make him happy.

By the time 8:00am rolled around and the surgeon still hadn’t made it by I was like, forget it I’ve got to lie down and rest for awhile. A few minutes later someone came in with a tray that had two different juices, hot water and beef broth, and some jello…I was like “whats this?” I wasn’t expecting them to bring me anything, that lady just said ‘its various things for you to try” I determined I didn’t want the broth or the juice I would try the jello. It was a small amount in a Styrofoam cup. I took one tiny bite when the surgeon walked in and bitched me out for not measuring the jello out with the plastic 1 ounce cups. I’m like what cups? I just assumed that this was 2 ounces, I assumed that what they brought me was properly measured . He really scolded me for not doing this correctly, went on and on about how I was going to ruin the pouch and how important this was. I completely understand all that, I know the rules, I just wasn’t told anything when they brought the food in so I assumed when I shouldn’t have. I know he was just trying to get his point across but they need to understand you are still loopy on drugs and they need to be very specific about what they need YOU to do. I shouldn’t have assumed it had been handled for me, but at that point I thought that was what the nurses were supposed to do. Kind of rubbed me the wrong way.

I was ready to go! He stated he would get the discharge stuff signed and someone would be there to get me, so I got up and dressed and then we waited and waited. Brian was like “well maybe we are just free to go.” Finally I just got up and walked to the nurses station and asked what we were waiting on, she was like “oh, you’re ready? I’ll get your wheelchair.” Brian went down to get the car and off we went.

The ride home was a little rough any little bump pulled and hurt. I got into the house and realized that the couch just wasn’t going to work. The girls would be off the bus in a couple hours and I didn’t want to worry about people running all over the living room when I was trying to rest. Our bed wouldn’t work either because its too low so I took over the kids room.

My back has been killing me being stuck in one position for so long. I’ve just taken it easy, took lots of naps. Every day is better. I know im not getting in nearly enough food. The 2ounces every 2 hours is just not happening. The allowed foods right now are totally unappealing, and all seem too sweet. On the bright side I am down 14 pounds since Wednesday.

It has been a little rougher than I expected, not in pain really but just discomfort. I’m so independent I don’t like having to bug other people to help me up and do things but things are better and better each day. I’m so ready for this phase 1 of eating to be done. I don’t think I’ll ever eat jello again. Even with all the discomfort I’m still so happy to have been able to do this and im hoping that as time goes by things will become easier to handle.


I left the house today. Woohoo i feel half-way normal. Went to work and was treated like a celebrity, it was odd. Delivered some girl scout cookies and then went to the grocery store. Stocked up on fat free, no sugar added pudding, some more adventurous soups and a few other items.

Overall it felt good to get out of the house. I got a bit shaky but i dont think i overdid it.


Okay mission aborted for today, was planning on getting out and running a few errands. Left the house ran to the post office and its closed WTF? Realized im not feeling as spunky as i did yesterday. Feeling weak and shaky today.

And just for documentation purposes (for me) a certain something kicked in today.


Happy Valentines Day

I started mourning food a bit last night.  I've tried to not let it get to me but last night i was having a hard time.  For the most part watching my husband and the kids eat dinner wasnt too bad, but last night they had spaghetti with smelly garlic bread and i was sitting on the couch trying to choke down broth after feeling bad all day and i started feeling sorry for myself.  I knew this stage would come, i was prepared for it, but i must admit i got a little teary eyed. 

Just goes to show this is the right choice for me, if i would have been dieting on my own or trying to do Atkins i would have caved last night.  I dont have the will-power by myself and right now the surgery doesnt give me the option to fail. 

It's going to take awhile to get in the right frame of mind about the new eating.  Plus these beginning diet phases just suck, im sick of jello and ready to move on.

On a positive note, im down 23lbs today!


Ok so eating sucks. I'm having such a hard time making myself eat anything at all, what a switch huh? ha. I'm so so thirsty all the time, i just want to guzzle an entire bottle of water but im only allowed to just never takes care of the thirst. I'm so paranoid because i feel like im already breaking the rules, not getting in enough food and protein. It's hard at this point and i just have no energy.

Alright im done whining, i think being stuck in the house for two weeks is making me blah...back to work on Friday so getting out and feeling half normal will help.

Down 29lbs!


Left work early today, feeling very bad. I really thought i would feel better by now. I'm getting increasingly weaker and weaker, just walking across the room is difficult. I'm having a hard time getting ANY food in, i take like one bite and start gagging or dry heaving. Concerned im getting dehydrated and the surgeon is threatening to admit me to the hospital for fluids. Just tired of feeling this way...trying to fight through getting in fluids and some jello so i can save myself a night of sitting in the ER.
Down 34lbs.
Well Tuesday i had my 1st follow up appointment with my surgeon.  The appointment was at 9:00am and i was in the hospital by 9:30am.  He told me i was way past being able to re-hydrate myself at home and that i needed to be admitted for 23 hours for observation, treatment for dehydration and tests. 
Once at Crestwood Hospital i was quickly registered and back on the short stay floor where i originally had surgery.  Getting the IV hooked up was terrible, apparently when you are dehydrated your veins just arent very strong, everytime they tried my veins would blow.  After 4 people tried we finally got a good one and they started the fluids. 
After a few hours they took me to do a leak test.  That was disgusting i really struggled to drink the barium, lukily i only had to take about 3 drinks and the leak test came back fine.  Since the Leak test was completed i was allowed to have some water again but i was still nauseous and gagging on water.
They kept assuring me that once i was better hydrated the nausea would subside.  My potassium was too low so they gave me a bag of that through the IV, which burns!  Someone would come take my blood about every 2 hours to check my levels and the evening was pretty much spent switching between bags of potassium and fluids. 
A little before 8:00pm they came in to take more blood and had a really difficult time finding a vein, i also started to notice that i was getting a really uncomfortable sensation in my right forearm where the IV was located.  I lifted up my arm and it was about the size of a football.  The IV had infiltrated and the fluids were just going into my arm and not the vein.  They assured me that the fluids would just be absorbed by my body over time and it was nothing to worry about but then it took almost an hour to find another place to put the new IV, i think they stuck me about 13 times.
They gave me some Phenergan and i drifted off to sleep, i awoke at about 1:30am with the sensation that i needed to pee, RIGHT NOW!  So i hit the nurses button and got them to come disconnect me from everything so i could rush to the bathroom but nothing happened, i still felt the urge but nothing was coming out....sorry TMI.
I went back to the bed and the nurse reconnected the IV and left.  Within about 5 minutes i realized something was very wrong.  I was beginning to have severe abdominal pain that was wrapping around to my lower back on the left side.  I hit the nurses button again and explained what i was feeling she thought i might have a UTI but i knew that wasnt it, they suggested possibly a bladder or kidney infection and she mentioned that the doctors orders included Demorol for pain that they could give me.  By the time she arrived with that i was in such severe pain that i could barely breathe.  I was dry heaving so hard i couldnt catch my breath and i couldnt sit still because the pain was so horrible.  They have me the pain medication and another round of Phenergan but it didnt even take the edge off the pain. 
I have a pretty high pain tolerance but i have never in my life felt something like this, it was brutal.  I was begging for them to do something, anything...knock me out, just do SOMETHING!  They came in and did a bladder scan to see if my bladder was full and that was causing discomfort and that wasnt it.  The head nurse came in because mine was so distraught about not being able to ease the pain and the head nurse said she was going to call my surgeon because they had given me the maximum amount of pain meds they could.  This went on for about 4 hours, apparently when my surgeon called in he told them just to continue fluids and that he would be at the hospital in about an hour.
Sometime after 4:00am i started to feel less discomfort and drifted off to sleep.  I believe it was about 5:30am when Dr. Facundus came in to find out what was going on.  I expained what happened and he said "it sounds like kidney stones to me."  He asked if i was ever able to urinate so that they could get a sample and i told him i had tried many times and couldnt, so he asked that i get up and try now.  They disconnected me and i shuffled off to the bathroom and to my relief i was able to go but it looked like gravel, sure enough kidney stones were the culprit. 
I can not believe something so small can cause so much  Dr. Facundus wanted me to be seen by a urologist before i left the hospital.  The urologist finally came around in the afternoon and wanted me to have a kidney scan to make sure there was nothing blocked.  I did the scan and waited for hours to hear something.  I was getting really frustrated by this point, i realize the nurses were busy but i had sat there for over an hour not hooked up to the IV with machines beeping, asking for an update and they just ignored me.  It was almost 7:00pm when they finally came with my discharge paperwork. 
So long story short, Dr F thinks that the kidney stones were probably there before i had surgery and helped lead to the dehydration, which made me nauseous...when they began giving me fluids it knocked the stones loose and wham, so now that they are gone im hoping the nausea will be over with and i can keep myself hydrated. 
March 8, 2007
They are admitting me again for severe dehydration and tests. I'm so upset.

Called Dr. F this morning left a message for the nurse, she called back and asked a few questions..i brought up my concern about this possibly being a stricture. Meanwhile i had a doctors appt scheduled with my regular family physician who had wanted to see me one month following surgery. While waiting in her office i got the call back from Dr. F's office saying its most likely just another kidney stone. I argued that maybe they should scope me to see whats going on and she said no its the same symptoms so either call the urologist or go to the ER.

I explained all this to my physician and she did a urine test worried that i might have a urine infection and said that my dehydration was off the charts, that i need to be admitted again and this time they need to give me antibiotics and a proper kidney scan not just the ultrasound they ordered last time. i go
March 18, 2007
Finally home, my one night stay for observation and dehydration turned into a 9 day hospital stay.  I will try and give a re-cap but the days really blended together.  When i first arrived the surgeon felt it might be another kidney stone so they did a abdominal scan and EDG (i think) which came back clear.  Check kidneys off the list!
My regular family physician came by to discuss my bloodwork and all my electrolytes were out of whack and once again my potassium was dangerously low.  The finally were able to get an IV going without blowing the vein and we started all my fluids.  Through-out the night i kept having dry heaving episodes without even ingesting anything, my nausea was getting worse. 
The next morning my physician came by again and informed me that she just didnt feel comfortable discharging me, they were going to move me upstairs as a full admit.  She explained that i couldnt go home when i obviously cant sustain myself, i'd just end up right back in the hospital, also they wanted to check my gallbladder because my lipase levels in my blood work were extremely elevated indicating acute pancreatitis. 
Somehow in the blur of a few days and tests the hospital got mixed up and kept swearing that i had already had a HIDA scan done on my gallbladder, which i had not, but it was in my file with my name (and im sure on the bill too ha.)  An ultrasound showed i had sludge and a polyp in the gallbladder but the surgeon didnt feel that would warrant removing it or the nausea i was experiencing while my physician disagreed. 
Somehow i started World War III between the doctor and surgeon, no one could agree on a gameplan or what was going on.  I kept bringing up to the surgeon that i felt like he should scope me and see if it might be a stricture, he kept saying the symptoms just didnt match up but finally by Sunday he agreed.  The took me for the scope and he found an ulcer right below the staple line, apparently he told me this while i was out of it from the anasthesia so i didnt recall any of it.  My family doc was getting really frustrated with the surgeon because he didnt come back around for a few days to discuss the ulcer or a plan of action and she called in a GI Specialist which pissed off the surgeon, it was drama. 
To make a very long story a tiny bit shorter, they ended up treating for the ulcer but i was still not able to take anything by mouth.  Everyone was starting to get very worried because i wasnt improving at all.  Also after another very painful experience with an IV infultrating into my arm and the lab complaining because they literally couldnt find another place to draw blood from because my veins were so blown they inserted a PICC line. 
I think around Thursday they made the decision to start me on TPN (total parenteral nutrition) through the PICC line and it started to help with my energy level.  The doctors finally agreed that even if the gallbladder needed to come out i wasnt strong enough for the surgery unless it was dire.  The surgeon was still standing by his theory that the placement of the ulcer was what was bringing on the pancreatitis, where as my other doctors were still unsure that the gallbladder might be causing it. 
They allowed me to go home Saturday since most of my blood levels had stabalized.  Home health is going to continue to come out on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for several weeks so i can continue 24hr TPN through the PICC line.  My family doctor still isnt convinced that the gallbladder might need to come out soon but until then im finally improving with the treatment of the ulcer and i can sip water and take my meds by mouth without getting sick. 
My weight has bounced up and down due to the fluids so i have no clue where im at right now and unfortunately i've been too sick to care.  I'm just ready to get over this major bump in the road, i've tried really hard to remain positive but i've had my moments of breaking down.  Being out of work for so long is certainly causing a financial hardship but i am thankful that my insurance is covering the home health and most of the complication issues other than my deductibles. 
The home health nurse noticed some bruising and swelling on my arm with the PICC line this morning and after i complained of some tenderness she decided to consult my doctor.  They sent me for a scan and i have a freakin blood clot!  The tech described it as in a vein that was not life threatening, it wouldnt move to my lungs etc and that they would send the radiology report to my doctor. 
I was sent to a vascular specialist today to find out how to proceed with the PICC line, they did another ultrasound and he feels the thombosis may be a little worse than was originally thought.  So the plan of action is...tomorrow i will be having a procedure to have a Hickman Catheter inserted into my neck and the PICC line will be removed.  They are also doing some other testing to determine how severe the clotting is and whether to give me blood thinners to dissolve it OR if it will be sucked out in another procedure.  Yikes!
April 13, 2007
I'm completely guilty of not updating my profile, i've been so overwhelmed with all my health problems it just seemed daunting to even come here and post about it.  I've received a couple of PM's from people wondering how im doing so i'll try and go back where i left off and update.  Thanks for checking in on me.
Okay so on March 21st i went in for the Hickman Catheter procedure and apparently if there is a complication available, im gonna have it!  They went in through my neck for the entrance of the cath and it comes out in my upper chest on the right side.  They removed the PICC line and the vascular surgeon determined the clotting was bad enough to do the "suck it out" procedure (sorry never caught the technical term on that one LOL) and i was told i would need to be on blood thinners for the next 3-6 months and due to the clot procedure that bought me a night in the hospital.
I woke up in the room and was in a lot of pain.  I kept thinking "wow they really didnt explain that this catheter would be so uncomfortable,"  i thought it would be like the PICC line.  I complained to the nurse that my neck was hurting very bad and i was even losing my voice and having trouble swallowing.  She explained that this vascular surgeon didnt order any pain meds for me and that they were paging him to straighten it out.  She kept saying "you just cant cut on people and not give them pain medication."
Finally the surgeon called back and gave orders over the phone for some pain medication and when the nurse came in to give it to me i asked if she could help me up to the bathroom first.  When i sat up she freaked!  She yelled "dont move, you have a bleed or a huge hematoma!"  She runs out of the room and comes back with about 5 other people.  I reached up and felt my neck and it was huge, also after sitting up the heaving started again and i was having trouble catching my breath.
The nursing staff really had me scared, i was crying and just wasnt pretty.  They got a marker and drew all over my neck to watch the edges of the hematoma and paged the surgeon again.  They called my husband and told him he needed to get back to the hospital immediately.  About the time my husband walked in the door they decided to move me to ICU and told him he couldnt come back there, so he got very upset. 
I was in ICU for about a day and a half due to the swelling in my neck and the pressure on my throat threatening my airway.  They had trouble getting my heart rate down also.  I hated staying in ICU, its like a glass box so you have no privacy and its BRIGHT, all the light from the nurses station comes in and its hard to get any rest.  They moved me at about 3am one night to a regular room and i was so happy to get someplace dark and sleep. 
I had to sleep sitting up to relieve the swelling.  The surgeon stated that my body would just reabsorb the blood and the hematoma would go away over time.  Still weeks later i look like a freak with this giant thing coming out of the side of my neck.
I had to start taking Coumadin and blood thinner injections in the stomach twice a day for about 2 weeks.  As time passed i was starting to feel like finally im on the road to healing, i went a few days with no nausea and then it would hit me again.  I was still feeling uncertain that an ulcer could still be causing all these problems but my gastric surgeon was taking the "watch and wait" approach. 
Then about a week or two ago i started running a high fever.  The home health nurse did blood cultures which showed a staph infection in my blood so i was put in the hospital again for major antibiotic treatment.  My family doc stated she wanted to make this hospital stay worthwhile and get as many tests done as possible.  We decided to bring all brand new specialists on board, new GI doc, new Vascular doc, now an Infectious Disease doc, and i asked for the consult of the other Gastric Bypass surgeon in town, Dr. Malipur.
After a few days and lots of tests everyone came together and decided that my gallbladder needed to come out, so Friday Apr 6th Dr. Malipur removed it.  We are crossing our fingers that this is what caused all the nausea from the beginning and that now i'll just improve.  Im honestly scared to eat and push myself, im afraid i'll start heaving again and we'll realize it wasnt the gallbladder afterall and i'll be back to square one.  So that's where i am right now, recovering from another lap sore and my bellybutton hurts.  I'm cautiously eating my popsicles and sipping water.  I'll be on the TPN through the catheter for awhile still until i can prove that i can sustain myself with eating by mouth.
As for weight loss, it just hasnt been a priority.  I've been too sick to care and they want to keep me steady and stable so they have the TPN with so many calories that it wont let me lose right now, which is okay.  I have no doubt that after the TPN infusions are over i'll start losing again.  This has been a scary journey.

About Me
Hazel Green, AL
Jun 04, 2006
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