01/04/03 - Pre-surgery = 451 lbs.
01/21/03 - Day of surgery = 443 lbs. = 8 lbs. lost
02/03/03 - 13 days post-op = 427 lbs. = 24 lbs. lost
03/04/03 - 6 weeks post-op = 397 lbs. = 54 lbs. lost
04/15/03 - 12 weeks post-op = 369 lbs. = 82 lbs. lost
05/11/03 - 04 months post-op = 350 lbs. = 101 lbs. lost
06/21/03 - 05 months post-op = 329 lbs. = 122 lbs. lost
07/21/03 - 06 months post-op = 315 lbs. = 136 lbs. lost
08/21/03 - 07 months post-op = 291 lbs. = 160 lbs. lost
09/21/03 - 08 months post-op = 277 lbs. = 174 lbs. lost
10/21/03 - 09 months post-op = 275 lbs. = 176 lbs. lost
11/21/03 - 10 months post-op = 269 lbs. = 182 lbs. lost
12/21/03 - 11 months post-op = 248 lbs. = 203 lbs. lost
01/21/04 - 12 months post-op = 237 lbs. = 214 lbs. lost
07/21/04 - 18 months post-op = 227 lbs. = 224 lbs. lost
08/15/05 - 2 1/2 years post-op = 255 lbs. (having trouble with portions, I no longer get full quickly)
01/01/06 - 3 years post-op (I've allowed myself to gain by making poor choices...NO MORE! I'm back on track!)
4/26/06 - 3 1/4 years post-op = 238 lbs. (working hard to lose the remainder of my weight - I've lost 30 pounds since Jan. 06)
9/15/10 - 7 1/2 years post-op = 290

What a roller coaster I've been on! I am 5'7" tall, 32 years old and I weigh 451 pounds! I've been fat since childhood. At times, not as fat, but never thin.

The old cliche "big bones" really rings true in my family...the skinny family members are actually the minority and the butt of all the jokes. :-)

On February 23, 2002, I married Don - my soul mate and the man of my prayers and dreams.

In late 2001 I received a letter that changed my life. A close, sweet, Christian friend took a big risk and wrote me a letter to tell me how concerned she and her husband were about my weight, how much they loved me and how a friend of theirs had undergone WLS and done really well. Her letter was full of God's love and not at all judgemental. She took a big risk, and I was super upset the first time I read it. BUT, I read it over and over and the Lord worked on my heart more and more with each word. I realized that I'd been in this weight battle my whole life and the only thing I was losing was the battle, not the weight. So, I met with my doctor to discuss WLS. He was completely dismissive. Because I was enrolled in an HMO and he was employed by the HMO, rather than a contract provider, he wouldn't even discuss the surgery with me. He said that though WLS was not excluded by the HMO, there was "no way" they would approve me because they had approved and paid for several other expensive procedures, such as transplants, for other patients that year. Can you believe that?? I told him that was outrageous and he said, "Well, we can try a dietician again." I reminded him that I was able to lose weight, just not keep it off. I'd done it over and over. 40 lbs here, 50 lbs there, always gaining back a pound or 10 more than I'd lost. Then, he actually offered to prescribe Meridia for me. I wanted no part of drugs! That was one of the the last times I visited that doctor!

I was really defeated. I didn't completely put the surgery out of my mind, but I had no clue how my life would change over the next few months.

Not too long after that I began suffering incredible pain from a buldging L5S1 disk in my back. Doctors prescribed several different pain medications, all of which made me a zombie. They also ordered me to undergo physical therapy, but I was so huge at 450-ish pounds that the therapy was agonizing.

I was also have a lot of trouble sleeping, so I was just becoming miserable... I managed to get through it, mind over matter, but now that I look back, my life was become more and more limited and I was starting to avoid social situations and my work attendance was suffering.

Then quite suddenly, in Late June of 2002, my husband and I were offered the chance to transfer our jobs and move back to my previous home of Orlando. We jumped at the chance.

Shortly after moving in August 2002, we visited a new family practice physician to establish services, have my back looked at and begin the referral process for all the physical therapy I was supposed to be having for my disk problem. We were bummed because the doctor who had been recommended to us by friends wasn't accepting new patients, so we were scheduled with his colleague. What a blessing that turned out to be!! Dr. Jason Lohr instantly connected with us on that first visit. A young, Christian, it was immediately clear that he was willing to go the extra mile for his patients and though I hadn't thought about Gastric By-Pass for a couple of months after being discouraged by my HMO doctor, I felt led to ask Dr. Lohr what he thought. Without skipping a beat, he perked up and asked me to get him all the information I could and he would support me in my pursuit of the surgery if he felt it was safe and effective. I sent him information from a local bariatric surgeon later that week and he called me that same day to tell me that he would like to refer me to a surgical consult and start the ball rolling to get me through the insurance approval process. After doing all the pre-request footwork, and with a remarkable amount of help from Dr. Lohr, the request for my surgery was sent to my insurance company (AvMed State of Florida Employees' Plan) by my surgeon's office on 12/13/02. It was approved the SAME DAY!!!

Now, I'm on the count down to surgery... I'm scheduled for 1/21/03...

12/29/02
Well, I've been reading this site every day! I'm completely consumed with my surgery countdown. I'm finally more comfortable telling select extended family members and close friends about the surgery and I find myself dreaming of each milestone. My husband is so helpful and supportive. We have both arranged all of our leave time at work and I have planned to work from home via telephone and laptop starting post-op week three, which should be really helpful. I would go crazy just being in the house all day, otherwise.

1/6/03
Ahh, wouldn't you believe it?! 15 days from my surgery and my husband injured his ankle on a ski trip this weekend. He is confined to cruches and has been ordered to put no weight on his ankle for two weeks. That's exactly how long I have before surgery. I do really worry about him being ready to help with my recovery. He swears he is, but I don't know. I know his desire to be ready is there, though. So, in that, I am blessed.

It is neat how God has begun giving me complete peace about this surgery. I have begun making my neat, efficient little "to do" lists and household instructions for Don and our families. That's me, ever so organized. Don says if I could make a database to catalog our bathroom schedule I would! :-) I am the girl who organizes the grocery list by store aisle and I have the price listed by each item so I can budget how much each trip to the store will cost - most of the time within $5. We make a menu every two weeks and only buy what is on it. Maybe I have a slight obsessive tendency! :-) I think that's a trait that will come in quite handy after surgery, though. Right???

1/9/03
Went to Gainesville for all of my pre-op tests today. Had to be there by 7:30am, decided to just stay at home last night and leave at 5:30am!!! Boy did I regret that by about 11:00am. Everything went smoothly and quickly. I had a respiratory function test, ABG (Arterial Blood Gas - not fun, but not horrible), blood draw, chest X-ray, EKG, and Upper GI. The Upper GI was hard only because of all the rolling from side to side. My injured disk made that quite painful. But, as I was waiting for my chest x-ray, I met a new friend. Brandi was sitting in the same dressing room after changing into her hospital gown and while we sat there alone for 15 minutes, she just kept her head down, thumbing through a book she was clearly not reading and shaking her leg feverishly. I could tell she was horribly nervous. After about 15 minutes she let out a big sigh and I asked how long she'd been waiting. That started us talking and we hit it off instantly. We discovered that we were both having WLS (her's is scheduled for 1/16/03) and our surgeons are partners. But, the x-ray tech soon came and it was time for me to go, so we quickly exchanged names again and promised to look each other up on www.obesityhelp.com.

I knew right away that Brandi was scared about her surgery and, though she is a young, healthy woman, she was afraid of pain and complications. So, I e-mailed her right away when I got home today. I hope she gets my message tonight. What a sweet girl.

1/12/03
I've been talking to Brandi a lot. It has really helped both of us. She is quite scared, but I hope I've calmed and reassured her a bit. As for me, I'm just doing my best to get things done at work at around the house to prepare for the big day.

1/17/03
Brandi came through her surgery well. Don and I sent her a nice plant to tell her we care and I'll call her later. She's been sleeping a lot, which is good. It was comforting to know she is ok.

1/20/03
It is the night before surgery and I decided to write letters to my husband and my parents, just in case something does go wrong and I don't make it through surgery. At first, I told myself I was silly and that I shouldn't be negative, but I wanted to make sure there was one last note to tell each of them how much I love them and how much they have given me. I have not told them about these letters, but my best friend, Tamara, knows where they are and will see to it that they get them if necessary. I honestly don't feel scared, but I just thought it was the right thing to do. They are all supporting me so much while I plan and prepare for my new life.

Don has even begun cutting back on his food portions, fats, starches, and sweets in an effort to lose weight and get more healthy. It's been tough. He is a big guy who loves food, loves cooking, loves dining during social events, and LOVES baking. He can do it, though. We will do it together. He is basically eating the kinds of things I will eat once I'm back on regular food. So, looks like we're both embarking on a new life. It feels great.

Sunday we were in church and told a few friends and our pastor about the surgery. We had lots of prayer and uplifting comments and I felt energized and completely supported when we left.

We are leaving at about 6:30 tomorrow morning. I check in at the hospital at 8:30am, surgery is scheduled for 10:30am.

My mother somehow came down with bronchitis and strep throat three days ago, so we are not sure if she'll be coming with us. She is pretty sick and feels horrible. It is not wise for me to be exposed to those illnesses right now. We'll see how she is in the morning.

Next time I post, I will be on the other side. My thanks to everyone who has e-mailed their support over the past two weeks. You are all angels!

1/27/03
Ah, 7 days later, I am HOME! The surgery went exceptionally well. All I remember was kissing Don goodbye outside the surgical ward doors, being wheeled into the operating room, laying on the operating table, the Anethesiologist telling me he was starting my meds and THEN waking up in recovery! I actually had to think for a second to remember where I was and what had occurred during the time lapse. Then I started feeling some pain and chills. I remembered feeling the same way after my gall bladdar removal, so I quickly let the nurse know I was awake. He asked what my pain level was and quickly gave me some morphine. It worked instantly. I still had the NG tube in my nose and going down my throat, so I wasn't able to say much. My mouth was also super dry, so he offered me ice chips. I really wanted to see Don and be able to hold his hand, but nobody was allowed in the recovery room. I was a little whiny about that, but they stuck to policy. :-(

Soon a tech came to take a chest X-ray and that was no fun! They had to push a panel under my back to take it. The movement was pretty rough, but it was over quickly.

After an hour or so, I was transfered to the ICU. My surgeon told me before surgery that he puts pateints who weigh more than 300 pounds in the Progressive Care Unit overnight for observation as a precaution, but since there were no beds available in the PCU, I went to ICU. I was also told I would stay on a ventilator overnight, but apparantly I did well enough in surgery to avoid that. I was extubated before I even woke up in recovery. That was a BIG relief because I didn't have to feel that nasty tube being taken out of my throat.

The care in ICU was awesome. Each nurse had only two patients which allowed my nurse to really help me when I needed her. I was up and walking that evening...NOT fun! But, my sweet nurse had a nice recliner brought in for me to sit up in so it wouldn't be as hard to get up as it was when I was laying in bed.

Don, my mother-in-law, and three of our closest friends (Kelly, Nikki, and Jason) were all there waiting to see me when I came out of recovery which I really, really needed. Eliza (she's like a 2nd mom to me) also came to visit. She drove 3 hours from Tallahassee. What a doll.

By the next day I actually felt better than I could have ever expected. I even combed my hair and put on make-up!! How silly! I wear make-up during missions trips (that's why they call me Missions Barbie), camping trips (Camping Barbie), and trips to the Beach (Beach Barbie). Does this make me WLS Barbie?? :-)

The "feeling GREAT" part soon ended... Two days after the surgery I was transferred to a regular room. That's the day the surgery caught up with me. I was just uncomfortable in every way. I hadn't worn a bra in three days. That, coupled with the position in which you lay on the operating table, made my upper back and ribs feel as if I'd been kicked by the biggest horse on earth. I had a headache from the morphine and I was itching all over. That is apparently a side affect of morhphine that some people have. I had to have Benodryl to counteract it. I thank God for my precious Don. It's so profound to think how the Lord gave me a husband who loved me enough to look past the 450 lbs AND so caring and supportive of my WLS that he stayed in the hospital with me every minute and made sure I had help when I needed it. The nurses assured me that feeling horrible on Day 3 was normal and that I would steadily get better. I was finally allowed to sip on water instead of just ice chips and that was nice. Thank goodness for Chapstick, Mary Kay Lip Balm, and Mary Kay Visibly Fit body lotion, too. Don't leave home for WLS without them. Dry lips and skin stink!!!

I had a couple of great nurses during those 6 days, but overall, the hospital care was less stellar. I waited over an hour and a half one night for someone to come put new tape over my central line tube. It was practically hanging out of my neck. After Don gave the Nurse Manager an earful, someone came. But when she removed the old tape, it tore huge pieces of skin from my neck. Horribly painful!

On Day 4, they brought me some clear liquids and told me to start sipping them slowly. I did and at first it felt pretty nice to actually taste something.

Over the next 12 hours something started to change, though. I started feeling a lot of pressure in my mid and lower abdomen. My aunt Lillian, who came to visit from Ocala every day, and Don suggested it might be gas pain, so I tried to walk as much as possible, but it wasn't going away. It just got worse. When Dr. Thoburn visited on rounds that day he asked if I wanted to go home. I told him I was feeling odd, so he ordered me to stay another day. As the day progressed I felt more and more pressure and became really lethargic and irritable. Tiny things, even the sound of people talking made me hurt. My abdomen was clearly distended and VERY painful. When the nurse came to check on me I told her again how bad it was. I couldn't stand it anymore. She felt my abdomen and saw that it was really swollen. She grabbed a wash basin and unclamped my Gastronomy tube (which had been clamped off the day before). Imagine my shock as a huge gush of bile and waste came pouring out of the tube. It filled the wash basin nearly two times. I noticed the nurse's eyes get a little big, but she didn't react verbally at all. As soon as the drainage tapered off, she said she wanted to hook me back up to the gastronomy bag and call Dr. Thoburn. She also told me to stop liquids and go back to ice chips. After speaking with Dr. T, the nurse came back to tell me that he said I was ok, but it appeared my old stomach had not yet started functioning and passing liquids through via it's new connection to my small intestine, probably due to swelling, which is normal. So, all that fluid was just been building up in the old stomach and the tube, therefore causing swelling, pressure and pain. In all, about 1.75 liters of fluid came out through my G-tube. So, I stayed hooked up to the bag and limited to ice chips for another day, then they allowed me to start back on clear liquids. Don't use a surgeon who doesn't give you a G-tube during WLS. If I hadn't had the tube, I would have been taken into emergency surgery to open me up and release the fluids... IF they caught it in time. Otherwise, something would have ruptured and leaked, which could have killed me. I'm very happy that Dr. Thoburn believes in using the tube!! One of his partners does not, so be sure you ask if your surgeon inserts a G-Tube!!

The entire ordeal really frightened us. I was so scared that something had gone seriously wrong and that I would be hooked up to a bag for the rest of my life. But, Don and I just prayed and prayed, begging the Lord to heal things and make them work as planned. It was a very intense time. So much so that Don and I both had a emotional melt downs that night. He was terrified and EXHAUSTED after being there non-stop and helping me for 5 days with little sleep. I was terrified, in pain, and snippy, too. We just needed to have a good cry, pray and regroup.

But, just as quickly as the problem started, all the pressure stopped and my abdomen was no longer swollen. So, this morning, two days later, as soon as Dr. Thoburn saw that I had been able to handle the clear liquids and had no additional pressure or pain problems for a couple of days, he released me to go home. He sent a gastronomy bag with me to hook up to my G-tube and capture any liquids if pressure builds up again.

So far, no problem, though. The 2 hour trip home was rough. Every bump and pot hole seemed enormous, but we made it.

God is still answering prayer. I feel so relieved to be home! One problem. I have nowhere to sleep. It is too painful to lay in bed and I can't sleep on the couch. Don is renting a recliner for me tomorrow. A couple of weeks should be enough. Just to give me a place/way to rest.

1/28/03
My dear, sweet husband found the most awesome, comfortable, ELECTRIC recliner today. I just have to push a button to recline. It's so much nicer and more comfortable than dealing with the up and down from the couch. Don really, really has taken care of me. He even had a hand bidet installed in our bathroom before we left for surgery so I wouldn't have trouble reaching down to keep clean after using the bathroom. He's just the best.

I took a shower on my own today and it wore me out. But, it felt soooo good! I stood there, sort of leaning against the wall of the shower, for a good 10 minutes letting the hot water hit my sore muscles. I had to rest afterward, it really winded me and made me slightly dizzy.

The staples look horrible and they tug and pull at the worst times. Sitting and standing really make them pull, but I'm learning how to manage.

2/3/03
Had my two week check up today and I'm down 16 pounds since surgery, 24 total (I lost 8 the week before surgery). Got those horrible staples out, pinched a bit, but not that bad. Got the G-tube out, too. Now, THAT was painful and yikes did it oooze! But, it was over quickly and now I don't have that thing hanging out of me. It was really, really starting to be a pain. I'm so excited about my progress. Got advanced to soft foods, so I can start trying eggs, yogart, cottage cheese, saltines, beans, and Wheat Thins. Everything has to be low-fat. I also have to start drinking protien drinks.

2/10/03
Doing really well on the soft foods and protien. It's hard to stay on schedule. I'm never hungry, so I forget to eat unless I really watch the clock. Nothing has made me sick yet. I thank Jesus for that. I've read horror stories about people's first few days on soft foods. Don has been tremendous! He is such an amazing partner in this. He says he can see my body changing slightly, which is nice. When you're THIS overweight, it takes a lot to start noticing the loss.

My dad and step-mom came to visit for 4 days. It was nice to have them here. But, I had to cook for them and that was hard... made me really crave food. I figured out, it wasn't hunger, I just had to deal with those nasty food habit issues. So, my way to deal with it is just remove myself from the room for a moment, pray, ask God to kill the urge and I let it pass. Then, I can resume what I was doing. We made it out to a movie and drove around a bit. Still tired a lot, but I knew it would take a while to feel normal again both because of the surgery itself and lower calorie intake.

2/15/03
Major goof today! Don and I attended a friend's wedding. It was the first time I've had to eat away from home since surgery. We found out they were serving twice-baked potatoes with dinner, so I figured I could just eat the filling since it was just mashed potatoes, which are allowable. BUT, I forgot to stop sipping my water at least 30 minutes (an hour works best for me) before dinner. Soooo, I ate about three bites of my potato and began to feel as if I was going to die. It dawned on me instantly that I'd not allowed time between water and food. In a matter of 3 minutes, I knew it was all about to come up... so to the bathroom I headed where I proceded to throw up like a mad woman. Not much volume at all, but boy was it intense. I don't plan to make THAT mistake again, I assure you!

2/21/03
Feeling really good. My energy level is getting better every day. I had one small bout with eggs. Though I've had them before, this morning they made me sick. I didn't eat too quickly, I didn't eat too much. They just didn't sit well and up they came. I'll try them again in a couple of days.

I started using Maderma on my incision and staple scars today, let's pray it helps a bit. I also called Dr. T's office and got his "OK" to start going to the gym. They said I can as long as I don't lift weights or overdo it. So, off we went to the gym, we are blessed to have a GREAT facility right in our building. How pathetic, I was only able to walk for about 5 minutes on the treadmill and ride the bike for about 3! But, I'll keep at it.

2/28/03
Been going to the gym every night with Donald. He's so good to me. He goes when I feel up to it, trying to stay on a schedule of 7pm every night, though. I've been able to increase my duration on both the bike and the treadmill, which feels good. I still feel like a wimp sometimes, though. But, I know I just need to keep with it.

Though I started working via computer and phone from home last week, I've still been going a little crazy at home. So, I've really focused on preparing nice, healthy meals for Don. I'm so proud of him. He has completely changed his eating habits and he's committed to losing weight and getting in shape. He weighed 312 on 1/14/03 when we were at Dr. T's office. When we went back for my two week post-op on 2/3, he was down to 299. 13 pounds in three weeks... and he didn't have to get cut open! I'm sure he's lost even more now, because I can see the difference in his body. His clothes are a bit looser. What a blessing he is. We are doing this as a team and I love it.

3/1/03
OK, looks like eggs and I are NOT meant to be friends. I decided to give it another shot, so I scrambled an egg this morning and WOW do I regret it now. I have spent the last six hours throwing up EVERYTHING, the egg, my vitamin, water, EVERYTHING. I couldn't even keep my saliva down. I've read about this happening to other people so I'll just talk to Dr. T when I see him Tuesday. Otherwise, feeling good. Working out on the treadmill and bike everyday. Feels so good to do things that are good for me.

3/4/03
The big day, my six week post-op visit. I was so nervous, wondering if I'd be the only person NOT to lose any weight after leaving the hospital. So, as I stepped on the scale and watched the digits change, I thought it was broken because it stopped at 397!!!!! So, I stepped off and back on again to see what I REALLY weighed and it stopped on 397 again!! I almost fainted. That's 54 pounds gone forever. In just SIX weeks! I'm under 400. Yeeehaaa! Dr. T cleared me to start trying fish, pasta, cereal and some other things, so we'll see how that goes. AND, Don's lost 28 pounds since he started eating right and working out.

4/15/03
I'm walking on air! Had my 12 week appt. today and I'm down 82 pounds in under three months! Over the next two weeks I start adding fruits and veggies back into my diet. I'm not sure how since I'm not hungry for anything and I'm still not even eating the quantities I was allowed to before this appointment. I just have no hunger at all!

I ate out at a restaurant for the first time this weekend. We were traveling and went to Olive Garden with friends. I knew I was allowed to have pasta, cheese, and tomato sauce, so I ordered cheese ravioli from the children's menu. The plate came and it contained 4 ravioli, each about 2 inches in diameter. I was only able to eat ONE and a HALF and I was stuffed!!! How funny! Not quite worth the time it took to go out. So, that's cool. Restaurants and their menus no longer matter to me.

Don has lost 41 pounds. He's hit a bit of a stand-still, but he needs to watch his portions. He'll do better, it's been tough because we've been traveling a lot and he has to eat out.

What an awesome feeling knowing 82 pounds are gone for good!

5/7/03
Rough couple of weeks, but things are still going really well. I finally HAD to buy some clothes! I was beginning to look ridiculous walking around in all my old stuff - SO baggy! I've lost three top sizes, two bottom sizes, three bra sizes, a shoe size and a ring size! Now, as for food, I'm kind of hit or miss... I think it's more about pace than food in particular. Every once in a while I get super sick and just have to vomit, but I'm learning to watch my speed and chewing more thoroughly. I've also had a lot of trouble with bowel movements for about 2 weeks. I only have them every 4 or 5 days and by that time, they are HUGE, almost the size of a cucumber...which is horribly painful. So, I'm taking Milk of Magnesia every day and it seems to be working. No hair loss to speak of so far. Getting all my water and most of my protien supplements in. Some days I just don't want anything. I know I'm not supposed to skip, but my hunger is ZERO!! Very cool, but also hard when you're SUPPOSED to be eating a certain amount every day.

5/21/03
Today it's been 5 months since my surgery and I'm on top of the world... and not crushing it as badly. :-)

I weighed in and I've lost 122 pounds - GONE FOREVER!! The best part is that I had set a personal goal for myself of losing 120 pounds by my 6 month post-op anniversary. Imagine how thrilled I was to see myself UNDER that already today!

My awesome husband has lost 53 since December and we're both feeling GREAT!

I've also conquered my food. I can eat three meals a day now, plus one snack on some days and almost always get my 60 or more grams of protien. Every third day or so, I may use a supplement, but not daily like I had been until a few weeks ago.

Feels really good. I still don't eat much variety. I love my Boar's head chicken, turkey, and cheese. it has lots of protien, minimal calories and fat, and tastes good. LOVE cheerios and skim milk for breakfast. Still, won't, don't, and can't touch eggs. Starting to add veggies more and more. I don't do much rice, pasta, or potatoes... no room for them. I'm really intent on sticking to about 600-700 calories a day.

Found www.fitday.com. GREAT site! Totally free, helps you track all your food intake, exercise and activity, weight loss, everything. Check it out!

Taking 2 Hair, Skin, & Nail vitamins a day, one chewable vitamin, one iron supplement, and one Vitamin C supplement. I also take a B-12 shot once a month. Though I've never been afraid of shots, I can't manage to give myself one. So, once again, it's Don to the rescue. HE has been injecting the shots for me! I love him and his devotion SO much.

I started having a good bit of hair loss. Well, it SEEMS like a lot, but I'm not bald, so it must not be too bad. Nothing 122 pounds lost won't make you feel better about. :-)

I've been going to the gym as much as I can. Don goes with me and now my cousin is living with us to go to college, so she's been going, too. She's got a great figure, just needs to tone and lose about 10-15 pounds so it's all a family affair in the gym these days.

7/21/03
I can't even believe it's been six months since my surgery! I feel like a new person. As of today, I've lost 136 pounds! I weigh 315 now. By this time next month, I want to be UNDER 300. Still horribly heavy, but soooo much better than my starting weight of 451.

I still have a long way to go, about 150 pounds and then some nips and tucks to remove excess skin, but I know I can do it.

We traveled to Philadelphia a week ago and it was so much fun. I fit in the plane seat, the seatbelt fit, the tray was able to come down all the way. That's awesome. We walked around, touring Philly every day and I had no trouble keeping up and I didn't feel like I'd pass out. It really made me happy to be able to have that kind of fun with my family and not burden them.

I'm down to a size 26 in most things. Still bigger in my lower body than in my upper body, though. I guess that will balance out eventually.

I started taking calcium supplements last week... 1200mg of Citracal a day. I'm feeling really good. I'm able to eat and get all of my protien, rarely using protien drinks anymore. I still try to stay around 600 calories a day... that's what I'm comfortable with. I eat fat free cottage cheese every morning. A cup only has 180 calories, but 28 grams of protien, which is almost half of my daily need, so it's great. I have Boar's Head deli meat and cheese (low cal, low fat, no preservatives) for lunch and then just a small bit of whatever I've made for Don and Elizabeth for dinner. It's not a lot of variety, but food just doesn't matter and this method is working really well for me. Life is good!!

8/8/03
Wow! It's hard keeping up with postings...seems I just have so much more energy and, therefore, so much more going on.

I'm doing amazingly well... sometimes it's hard to believe how well.

We just returned from a medical missions trip to Nicaragua. I turned 33 while we were gone (8/3) and my team had a nice surprise birthday party for me, complete with a Nicaraguan pinata, a pit fired BBQ, and beautiful homemade cake (which I didn't eat). The best part was how wonderful it felt to be able to go away and serve God on the mission field again. This time I felt incredible, just so much more capable of keeping up with the rugged pace. I still can't believe it when I see pictures, I don't stand out as much as I used to and I don't look miserable.

One small glitch, we returned from Nicaragua and the next night I wound up in the ER with severe pain in my lower abdomen...I was terrified that I had eaten something and injured myself on the trip and something surgery related had gone wrong. After several hours and tests, the ER doc discovered three kidney stones and a kidney infection. One of the stones is in the duct, that's what's causing the pain. OUCH!

I have to see a urologist and figure out what's causing the stones and the infection. I'm on Cipro and pain killers for now. As soon as I pass the stone they will be able to analyze it and see if it's calcium or something else. Not sure if all my calcium supplements could have caused the stones, but I'm sure going to ask.

Other than that, I feel great! I weighed in today, just to find out if having to eat different foods, like rice, beans, tortillas, etc. in Nicaragua had caused me to plateau and, believe it or not...it DIDN'T!! I've actually lost 11 pounds in just 2 1/2 weeks. So, I'm now 304!! That's a lot more weight loss than I've been averaging. I guess all the work we did helped balance out the heavier food! I was proud of how I was able to just nibble to fuel my body and not go overboard with eating. I took all my supplements and focused on lots of water and the trip went fine. Isn't God good?!?!

8/22/03
Another amazing milestone!! Yesterday was my 7 month post op anniversary and I weighed in today. I wanted so very badly to be under 300 pounds. I was 304 two weeks ago and I just prayed that God would allow me to just get to 299. Well, He DID!! I am 291... that's an even 160 pounds gone forever, in just 7 months. I feel like a new woman. Tonight we attended a big Celebration dinner for World Hope, the missions organization we support, travel with and serve with, and we looked and felt great. So many of our friends commented on how different we look. One of our young guy pals walked up to me, did a double take and said, "Whoa!! Vickie you're HOT!!" I don't recall ever being told that in my life by anyone but my husband, even when I was thinner. It felt so amazing and I just give all the glory to God for the work He has done in my life since this surgery.

I'm eating anything I want now, but I still really try to restrict myself both in calories and content so I can make the most of my first year. I go for my protien first, then veggies, starches last if I have room. They are still my weakness. I love rice, potatoes, etc. But, they don't really satisfy me and they make me feel too, too full. Eggs no longer make me violently ill, thank goodness! I hardly ever use a protien supplement anymore, either, so that's nice.

AND, I've never been happier. Don and I are growing stronger and stronger in our relationship. He's doing fabulously on his weight loss, too. He's lost nearly 70 pounds now. He has about 45-50 more to go, and I'm thinking those pounds will be the toughest to get rid of. He's already eating pretty well. Every now and then he splurges (don't we all??), but all in all, he's doing fine. So, without kicking up his workout schedule to 5 times a week, his weight loss will slow down more and more. Looks like we are both going to kick it into gear in the gym more often.

I've gone from a size 36W (plus) to 22 top and 24 bottom. My shoes are all loose again too, which is so bizarre. Who knew I had fat feet?? I was so blessed, though. A friend of mine recently cleaned out her closet - all perfectly good (and expensive) clothes. All sizes 22 and 24, so I have clothes for the next couple of months without spending a bunch of money. Again, the Lord providing for every need, even the ones I didn't ask for. We have the money to buy clothes, but He chose to give me new ones.

9/21/03 Well, another month has come and gone and another 14 pounds are gone! I now weight 277. Not quite the 270 I wanted to reach, but I knew that was a pretty agressive goal, so I'm happy with the 277. I've been SO much more consistant in the gym also, which may be adding some muscle. As we all know, muscle weighs more than fat. That may be making my pounds shed slower than I expected. But, I can now do 45 minutes on the bike instead of the 10 I used to struggle to finish, so that feels great. I go at least 5 times a week, sometimes 7 or more. Just depends on my schedule. I may try increasing my daily calories a bit, too. Maybe my metabolism is rebelling against the 500-600 calorie limit I set for myself. At any rate, I feel amazing. I get so many compliments on a daily basis. I'm singing in church and loving it. Life is grand!

11/21/03
Two more months of loving life and working hard at everything we do. I'm now down to 269, so I've lost 182. I actually weighed in a little lighter before we went to the Philippines on a missions trip this month. It's so hard on those trips to work out consistantly and regulate my food. I'm not sure if I actually gained or it's water weight from the long plane trip. Who knows. I've heard you can fluctuate as much a 6 pounds from one day to the next with water weight, etc. If I did gain, that stinks, but it's the first time since my surgery and I know it's all part of the process, so I'm not going to beat myself up. I just need to learn from it. I've still lost a whole person (and then some), so things are great. It's just harder and harder now because I'm ABLE to eat anything. It's now ALLLL up to me to control what (and how much) goes into my mouth. Sure, I can still only eat small portions, but lots of WLS patients start grazing on high calorie stuff when they figure out they can eat anything. So, that slows down progress. I refuse to do that.

I'm having surgery Monday morning (11/24) to remove a large mass in my ovary. The doctors found it back in August when I went to the ER for kidney stones. Surgery and recovery may slow down my progress because I'll be off my feet for a few weeks. No working out for six weeks and less activity all together for two or three. Kind of stressing me out.

Life is still grand, though!! I still feel like a new woman. The Philippines trip was amazing. The plane seat wasn't horrible, I didn't swell up like a balloon, and I wasn't exhausted all the time. God's good.

12/2/03
I had surgery to remove the mass in my ovary last Monday. Once again, the Lord was right there, blessing us all the way through it. The mass was benign and my surgeon was able to save my ovary and only remove the mass. So, I'm thrilled. I was able to come home four days later, on Thanksgiving. I was a little upset that I caused Don to miss Thanksgiving with family. He refused to drive home to Ocala to see his family - he didn't want to leave me. But, our friends here in town invited him over after he got me home from the hospital, settled and sleeping. So, he went and had a nice time. I slept like a baby (on pain meds) while he was gone.

It's been a week and I'm up and about lots more now. We went to church Sunday, sang in choir and enjoyed it. I was beat by the end of the day, but glad I went.

I decided to stop for a weigh-in today just to see what all this laying around/recovering had caused and I'm amazed. I've lost more weight. I weigh 253 now!! In just two more pounds, I will have lost 200!!! I feel so free.

I went to our Ladies' Ministry Christmas Party tonight and had a great time. I was tired and in a bit of pain by the end, but what a nice way to spend an evening. We sang, played games, exchanged gifts and ate (well, THEY ate). :-)

1/21/04

ONE YEAR POST-OP and 214 pounds gone forever!!!

I cannot believe a whole year has passed since I took the greatest step I've ever taken to improve my health!!

Sometimes I have to laugh at how fooled I was into thinking I was a happy person at 450+ pounds! Sure, I'm a positive thinker, but who allows themself to be that blind for that long. I did. But, no longer. I feel great, I look better, I'm happier, MUCH happier! I know the God never gives us more than we can handle and I'm so greatful that the Lord gave me the struggles and successes of the past year.

It's still funny to run into people who haven't seen me in a while or since before WLS. Often they don't recognize me at all until I look them directly in the eye or speak to them. Then, the "OH MY GOD" starts! It's great.

I gave up my 1 year appt. with Dr. Thoburn today because he was overbooked and needed to see 2 week and 6 week post-ops. They surely needed their appts. more than I did, so I'll be visiting him on 2/3. That's ok.

I still find I have a flawed body image. I catch myself thinking how huge I am. I automatically migrate toward the largest clothes possible when I shop and I wonder if someone can get around me when I'm in a tight hall or corridor. And that's never a problem anymore, so I guess I just have to get used to my smaller size.

Don and I attended a campaign event last night for a friend who's running for U.S. Senate and we took photos with him. When I saw the photos this morning, I was shocked at how small I am next to two normal sized men. VERY cool!!!

Life is grand! I feel like the most blessed girl in the world and I can't wait to see what the next year brings... closer and closer to goal, more and more energy and exciting experiences. I'm thinking about going skydiving and want to ride in a hot air balloon. :-) We also want to begin trying to have a baby sometime late this summer or early fall.

1/26/04
What a weekend! I attended a big Republican Party of Florida meeting Friday night and Saturday. I haven't interacted with any of those people in nearly a year. VERY few of them know about my surgery. So imagine how funny it was to walk up to people I've worked in politics with for years, say "Hello!" and have them not recognize me AT ALL until I finally spoke and/or actually told them my name. The reactions were priceless. The most common reaction, after disbelief, was "OH MY GOD, you look amazing!" Several of the men joked and kidded with Don and told him how HOT I am. That's so funny. One of my friends, who knew I had WLS, but who we hadn't seen since I had it, said to Don, "Dude, as her friend, it's my duty to call Vickie and tell her you're cheating on her with this skinny, hot chick!" Needless to say, the whole weekend was quite the ego builder!

Another big event... I shopped in Express and The Limited for the first time this weekend. I can now fit into their XL size since I'm a 14 on top and 18 bottom. Awesome! No more Catherine's and soon to be no more Lane Bryant!

2/9/04
Well, in an effort to help Don kickstart his metabolism (he's been on a nasty plateau for a couple of months), I purchased Slim In Six and we're both starting it this week. We kicked it off this weekend with a two days cleansing phase fast. We ate NOTHING from Friday evening until this morning (Monday). We drank lots of water and had 8 ounces of diluted OJ in place of meals.

Now, we embark on a six day high protein, low/no fat, low carb, meal plan coupled with two workouts a day.

Last, we do five weeks of similar eating supplemented by some additional veggies and a wider variety of meats in addition to some additional workout options.

We'll see how it works. If it's successful for him, I'll post the plan here so you can take a look. The funny thing is, I didn't feel miserable during or after the two day fast, like I really thought I would.

2/13/04
It seems the Slim In 6 program has kick started both mine and Don's systems. He's lost 10 pounds in a week and I've lost nearly 8. Not bad! Now, let's see how we do over the remaining 5 weeks. I haven't stuck to it as rigidly as Don has because I can lose weight without even trying, right. It's been nice to see a few extra pounds fall off this week, though. In just a couple of pounds I will have lost HALF my body weight.

I really like this system of eating 5 very small meals a day. I've adjusted their suggested plan to suit me and I'm getting over 100 grams of protein, 10 grams of fat, and around 900 calories per day. It's great.

On their plan, Don is getting between 1300 and 1500 calories a day, 150+ grams of protein, maybe 15 grams of fat, and next to no carbs other than the fruits and veggies he's eating.

Now that the first week (the Fast Start) is over, we'll add a couple hundred more calories per day so his metabolism doesn't reset itself and go into any sort of starvation mode.

The plan has us working out twice a day for 20-45 minutes. We do aerobics in the mornings and aerobics plus resistance bands in the evenings.

It's great to work on this together, that's for sure. I'll keep you posted...

2/16/04
I woke up with my eyelid swollen and irritated today. It got really bad, so I went in to see Dr. Lohr. He's so terrific! He spent 3 minutes looking at my eye, prescribed some steroid cream (the swelling is some sort of dry skin reaction, no biggie) and them 20 minutes just chatting and catching up. He asked allll about my WLS progress and was quite impressed with my weight loss and the results of my last blood work. It was good to see him.

3/21/04
Wow, it's amazing how easy it is to forget to post updates when you're SOOOO BUSY!! Home, church, work, missions, POLITICS, oh my!

President Bush was in town today, Don and I helped coordinate his visit with the campaign team. It was awesome! Running around for two days, non-stop. Didn't huff and puff, didn't break a sweat, didn't fall over in exhaustion. It was such a gift from God!! All that, AND I had to re-introduce myself to more political friends who I haven't seen since losing so much weight. Even Governor Bush had to be told who I was... THAT was funny!

Anyway, all is GREAT. All is blessed and we are happy, happy.

4/21/04
Well, let's see, life is fabulous. The political season is in full swing, church is great and Don and I can't wait to get pregnant in a few months once I've passed 18 months post-op. We're also looking for a house, so that's fun (most of the time).

As for weight loss. I seem to be on a bit of a plateau. Some of it attributable to my body leveling out, some purely my fault. It's funny, as you get thinner, you get more active. As you get more active, you get busier. As you get busier you start pushing exercise lower down on the list of things you can fit into a 24 hour period. Additionally, the further out you get from WLS the easier it is to eat whatever you want. This is where a healthy eating program and new habits come into play. I eat SO much better than I ever have in my life, but it's still a daily struggle to make good choices. I guess it is for everyone.

Soooo, in the past three months I've lost about 15 pounds, that's it. But, I'm not complaining. I have to look at the big picture. I'm praying to the Lord that He will bind my lips, help me choose good foods, get enough sleep (hard for me), and help me be consistant with exercise. I know, with His help, I'll continue to be successful. I want to be down to 190 by the time I go for my 18 month check up. That will put my total weight loss at 261!! I have 3 months to lost 33 pounds... 11 a month. I can do that, right??!!! Time will tell. Please pray for me. I'll keep you posted each month.

7/21/04
Well, I'm feeling perfect, better than ever. My weight loss has really slowed and I don't pay the kind of attention to it I used to. I didn't meet my goal of being down to 190 by 18 months post-op. We bought our first home last month and we've just been on the go, go, go. I don't exercise nearly enough, aside from just being more active.

I went last week for a plastic surgery consult to remove my 15-20 pounds of hanging pannus/stomach skin. Dr. Jankausus says I'm an ideal candidate for the surgery and his office is going to submit paperwork to my insurance company for approval. He is confident they will give authorization. I struggle daily with horrible rashes and the occassional yeast infection under my hanging skin. It's exceptionally painful. The day I went in for my consult, I had one of the worst rashes under there that I've ever had and Dr. J got lots of pictures to include with the request.

I was shocked to hear that my pannus may weight tht much and I can't wait to get approval and have it removed. I'm a size 14-16 on top, but still an 18-20 on bottom due to the massive amount of skin hanging below my waist. My inner thighs have large amounts of sagging skin, too, but that's not covered by insurance, so I'll address them later. The other two things I'm considering having done are my upper arms and my breasts. But, I need to keep praying about that.

8/12/04
SW and Central Florida are bracing for Hurricane Charley today. It is about to make landfall in the next few hours and it's a big one. Don and I are supposed to leave for Kenya on Monday and we're praying that this storm doesn't change our plans. We're also praying for our home. It's so new for us and we've never had anything like this to worry about.

8/30/03
Got back from Kenya. Power was out for 8 days after we left due to Hurricane Charley. Kenya was amazing. It was so good to go back and get to see all the friends we've made there over the years. They were all in shock! Many of them didn't recognize me and they cried and hugged me hard when they say the NEW me. It was such a special missions trip. The Lord worked in mighty ways and Don, Luis and I got to speak on Abstinence in several groups. I felt great, didn't get tired like previous trips, and didn't dread getting on each plane on the way over and back. I don't know how I did it weighing 450 pounds before.

Got word on voicemail while we were gone that my panniculectomy is approved by AvMed!!! My surgery date is Monday, Oct. 4th.

10/09/04
Had my panniculectomy Monday. Came home Tuesday. LOTS of pain, but looks good so far, even with swelling. Dr. Jankauskus took off 12.5 pounds AND found a hernia while he was operating, so he fixed that. He thinks it came from the surgery to remove the mass in my ovary last November.

Now my middle section and butt look BIG because the lower part of my stomach is gone, but it will all even out. I'm thankful that it all worked out. I'll post updated pictures soon. Can't wait to be able to move around again.

11/1/04
Having a tough time healing. This surgery is VERY painful. Tore open a small section of my incision which has been horrible, but my fault.

I'm working half days from home. Very blessed to have supportive, understanding co-workers. Looking forward to returning to the office next Monday, but for now, I need rest. The pain is just too much sometimes.

11/8/04
Went back to work today. Went in early, stayed late. Probably too long for my first day back, but it was GREAT to be out of the house! Pain has leveled off and it's more just discomfort now, so I'm grateful for that. about 1/3 of the swelling has gone down, so I'm beginning to look a little more normal, but my mid section still looks big. I'll see Dr. J on the 19th at which time I'm hoping he clears me to resume exercising.

8/15/05
I've had such a hard time since the panni surgery. I went in weighing 229, they took off almost 13 pounds, but due to swelling I came out weighing 243!! And I've put on another 12 since. Making me 255! I eat well most of the time and still exercise on a regular basis. Maybe I'm not doing enough. One thing that worries me is I don't get full as quickly anymore as if my pouch has stretched. I knew it was supposed to, but I'm wondering if mine stretched too far. I should probably call Dr. Thoburn to discuss.

I haven't been to this site in over six months and reading back through this profile has re-energized me. I'm going to be to 199 by the end of 2005!! I'll keep you posted.

1/1/06
I didn't make my 2005 goal... worse, I gained more. We've managed to let our schedules and emotions get the best of us in the health and weight department. Just plain old bad habits. We get busy, we eat quick and bad, and sacrfice time in the gym. We love food and we're tired, so we don't exercise like we should. I can't believe I've gained. It disgusts me. Time to do something about it.

4/26/06
We are back!! Don and I are working hard, eating right, getting to the gym more days than not and just living life the best we can.

I have to work very hard. My metabolism is a wreck, my stomach has definitely streched and I get hungry every couple of hours, so I eat small bits, frequently.

Trying to stay under 1700 calories a day and trying to workout every day possible. Don and I are both seeing results. He weights the least he has since we've known each other!

I will keep posting our progress! Pray for us.

9/15/10
Got down to 227 from 450.  Had a couple of surgeries in a row, gained a little weight back.  Lost a bit of it.  Got pregnant THREE times in four years, wound up at 330 as of 3/15/10.  Smacked myself around, got back into the gym, started eating well.

Down to 285.  Having breast lift and augmentation, and brachioplasty in the morning.  Size G breasts and huge bat wings are making it really painful to exercise as hard as I need to!  Hoping I'm not having these surgeries too far before reaching goal! 

As soon as six week recovery is over, returning the the gym AND joining a triathlon training team to shed more weight and get ready for my first ever spring triathlon!!  It's the Disney Danskin Tri and I'll run it Mother's Day 2011.

 

11/4/13 - Failure.  Back up to 335.   Desperate.  Depressed, Anxiety Disorder.   It's horrible.  Considering Lap Band over Bypass.   Praying.  Pray with me.

About Me
Orlando, FL
Location
70.6
BMI
RNY
Surgery
01/21/2003
Surgery Date
Sep 30, 2002
Member Since

Before & After
rollover to see after photo
One year of weight loss - 451 lbs. to 237 lbs. in 12 months. That's 214 pounds GONE!!
451 to 237lbs

Friends 2

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