Monday, May 23, 2016

Counting the Hours

Yep, that's right -- surgery's tomorrow.  I have to be downtown on the early side, but that means surgery will be over earlier and hubby will be able to get home to our furbabies so they don't wither away to nothing (yeah, right -- spoiled kids).  My first call this morning said to be there at 11:15, but later got a call that there was a cancellation and asked me to be there at 8:45.  While we'll be in rush hour traffic ( which seems extra horrible around here with construction, lane closures, and roads not built for the amount of traffic traveling them daily... this area has been built-up beyond belief), hubby will be able to get home that much earlier.  Casey (the big pup) will be in charge and will eat anyone who tries to enter unauthorized!

So, it's the ol' gastric sleeve, attempt #2.  Same surgeon, same hospital, same anesthesiologist (I hope!) and same pacu nurse (I hope!).  I know I'll get top quality care and then the real work begins.  They want me sitting in a chair shortly after I get to my room (I imagine they'll let me take a snooze first) and then walking the halls by the end of the day.  I hope I'm up for it because all I've heard from anyone is walk, walk, walk.  Not only does it help prevent blood clots, but it helps with healing.  I don't understand the ins and outs of most things medical, but I suspect that if I'm in one position too long, my "pouch"/sleeve will get too comfortable there and it will be more painful to move when I finally would get up.

As far as the failure and my blood pressure:  I've been working with my PCP to stop one of my bp meds (first in half with 2 bp checks the following week, then stopped altogether with another 2 bp checks).  I saw my pulmonologist today and they said my bp was "just right" (or perfect, or something to that effect) to them.  In my eyes, it was a little elevated, but I was told by the surgeon's office not to take my other bp med today and that they'd prefer to handle high bp in the OR vs. low bp.

So, as it stands now, the plan is:

  1. Arrive and go to the admission area (assuming that we got through traffic without being killed)
  2. Put on the oh-so-fashionable hospital gown (and the paper one; I don't get the more comfy cloth one until after surgery)
  3. Head to pre-op and hope for the wonderful anesthesiologist to find a good vein
  4. Speak with the surgeon, who will tell me that he got a good night's sleep (he did last time)
  5. Enter OR and go night-night
  6. Wake up in PACU, hopefully to the smile of the wonderful nurse from last time.
  7. Head to room and have ice chips  (hopefully)
  8. Wednesday:  have a barium swallow test (which is as delightful as it sounds, although this one will be far less complicated than the one I had in the past because they are looking only to make sure the pouch is proper.
  9. Sip water.  SIP.  WATER.
  10. Thursday, if all goes according to plan, HOME!


Hubby will be working from home on and off Wednesday-Friday and is off for Memorial Day on Monday.  Then our problem child will go to daycare.  I won't be able to bend at the waist, so I can't put her leash on.  I also can't get them water if they need it and a number of other things.  I have my enormous shoe horn - again, not being able to bend at the waist.

Keeping prayers on my heart for a positive outcome and that my anxiety doesn't take over.  I'd love if you could do the same.

Over and out...

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Long and Short of It

Fact: I did everything asked of me between 12/30 and 4/26, including blood work, a drug test, a nuclear stress test, an echocardiogram, a psych clearance and more.
Fact: I've had countless conversations with the nurses and dietitian at the surgeon's office.
Fact: I did 2 weeks pre-op of a liquid-only diet (which is nothing shy of torture).
Fact: My husband took a day off of work the day of my surgery.
Fact: My attempt at a vertical sleeve gastrectomy on 4/26 failed due to dangerously low blood pressure and oxygen levels.
Fact: I had multiple checks of my blood pressure at my PCP's office after finally discontinuing one of my blood pressure medications

Now that we have that out of the way...

I am back on the liquid diet, but true to his word, the surgeon is only making me endure one week of liquids (oh, and FYI: don't bother plain broth unless you have no interest in taste).  Thanks to a dear friend from church, I was introduced to a whole new world (is anyone else singing the song from Aladdin?) of sugar-free coffee syrups and no longer limited to the 3 options at Target.  Don't get me wrong, but they were getting a bit dull.  So I discovered that there is an entirely separate brand of these syrups and it's life-altering.  Ok, that may sound extreme to you, but please know that I am not exaggerating.  Keith would have long-since killed me had I been limited to chocolate and vanilla.  I can also enjoy sugar-free Jell-O!  Who would have thought that would warrant a WOO HOO?!?

So, what does all of this mean?  It means that I am scheduled for surgery this coming Tuesday, 5/24!  I admit that I'm having a hard time getting as excited this time around.  I fear something else will go wrong and I'll be destroyed again.  Let me make it clear that LOGICALLY and INTELLECTUALLY, I know that I did everything I was supposed to, to the letter.  However, there is part of me that feels like, had I done something different or better, I would have a month's jump on my recovery.  I should be beyond another 2 weeks of liquids AND the dreaded 2 weeks of pureed food.  I should be adding in "human" food now.  I should be trying foods, a little at a time to see what the sleeve will tolerate.  As one of my doctors would say "I'm should-ing all over this situation."

Now that it's almost the weekend and then there's only one day left of Keith being at work, we'll be headed to the hospital... well, now I'm starting to get a little cheery.  I pray that will turn into outright excitement by Tuesday morning.

For now, I'll drink (sugar-free, non-carbonated, and while I rarely do, non-alcoholic) and I'll enjoy some Jell-O.  I think I should get a royalty for that one, but for now, I'll just enjoy it.

I have been consistent (since my initial junk food pity party), I have been on that exercise bike.  I'm up to 15 minutes and doing about 5 miles +/- .  In fact, I bought a TV for Keith to mount on the wall in the room where the bike is.  Right now, I spend the first part of my ride ( varying) praying, but after that, there is little to do but watch the numbers: the seconds tick by, the distance trudges along, and the calories... well, that's just downright depressing!  I know the TV will help and with Amazon Prime, I'll have a choice of non-daytime television options.

For now, let the countdown continue.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Short and Sweet: my Failed Attempt at Weight Loss Surgery

Ok, ok, I can hear it now - it wasn't your fault, you aren't a failure, you didn't fail, the doctors did what was in your best interest.  Yes, logically I know all of this.  Emotionally, well that's a different story.

And it begins.  April 26th, the day ingrained in my whole world.  I had a countdown clock on my phone and could look at any point how many days I had left until my life would change.  Yes, I've made plenty of positive changes since my first visit with the surgeon on 12/30.  Between then and 4/24, I lost 40 lbs!  Granted, I was on the mandatory 2-week  liquid diet, which certainly helped matters, but still - 40 pounds!  I'll tell you right now that I've gained about 14 of those lbs back since the infamous failure day.

I arrive at the hospital and am almost giddy with excitement.  I may have been the only person in pre-op who was joking around and happy to be there.  I was PUMPED!  The doctor came in, telling me he had plenty of sleep the night before... whew!  My mind was at ease on that one (not that I even considered it a factor).  I was there for one reason: to start an irreversible journey.  Yes, before I move on, I know several people who have taken this journey and wound up gaining some or all of the weight back.  Here's my reality, though.  I HATE to vomit.  While I've always had weight issues, I have never even considered (even as a dancer) purging.  I know life after this surgery will be radically different.  I know my relationship to food will forever be altered and that there are foods I won't be able to eat ever again (without the whole puking thing).  It's sort of very hard to fathom right now, but the thought of never having gnocchi or my Mom's red velvet cake again may be a reality.

So, returning to the hospital.  The anesthesiologist comes in and puts in an IV.  She said that she didn't really like the vein (especially considering I'll be on IV fluids for a few days and it needs to be a strong vein), but it was good enough to put me under so she doesn't torture me while I was awake - I sincerely appreciated that, since I know I have horrible veins.  She gives me a muscle relaxant, to which I'm nearly immune, given that I used to be on something like 2 mg three times a day of Xanax.  I remember them wheeling me into the OR and putting the mask over my face.  After that, the next thing I know is that they're rushing me through the hallways telling people to get out of the way.  I wasn't really alert to know what, if anything, this meant (I mean, it could have been people on break having lunch or talking on the phone for all I knew).  I am slightly conscious and am asked if I'm in any pain, I'm shocked to be able to say "no."  I mean - major surgery brings with it some discomfort - at least - and I felt ok.

When I'm awake enough someone (either the anesthesiologist or the Fellow working under my surgeon) says "you don't know yet, do you?"  Ummm... know what?

Well, I woke up to needle sticks all over my body - from my foot to all over my hands and arms.  I don't think twice about it because the anesthesiologist said she would try to find a better vein.

So, here's what I didn't know.  They didn't do the surgery.  You read that right.  It turned out that when they put me under my blood pressure tanked.  I can't remember how low it went, but I think hubby said something about the bottom number being in the 60-range.  I was also told that when they took the oxygen away, my O2 level dropped to 80.  They tried for 40 minutes to increase my levels, but to no avail.

Everyone in the Operative Waiting Room was getting calls that their friend/family member was done with surgery, because they would get up to go to the PACU (post-operative care unit).  Then hubby saw my doc.  In person.  Coming to speak with him in the waiting room.  No other doctor did that.  First he said that I was fine and took him into what has come to be known as the "bad news" room.

I spent the day sobbing, and the rest of the week crying on and off when I'd think about it.  The Fellow came to see me often.  They ran a chest CT to make sure I didn't have a pulmonary embolism and a blood gas (I can't remember what that was for, but they had to get blood out of my artery -- in my wrist - OUCH!  That thing still stings if I hit it the wrong way).  They wanted to make sure they ruled out all life-threatening causes.  It seems that it was probably because I was on 2 bp meds and the ace inhibitor (not the beta-blocker) likely kept them from upping my bp.  Just FYI: I'm working with my GP and we think we have it figured out -- that I lost the weight to the point where it affected my need for as much medication to lower my bp.  One time when the Fellow came in, she asked if I was ok.  My typical answer for the day was "physically."  I said, through my tears, that I felt like I was over-reacting.  I have to say, she was wonderful!  She assured me that I was not...that I was truly expecting something life-changing to happen...something I'd prepared for since 12/30 by getting clearances and doing testing.  She thought my reaction was normal.  This conversation happened after I had the CT.  Prior to that one of the nurses in the PACU got an order from my doc to have lunch.  When the doc came in, he explained again what happened I sobbed to him that I could NOT do the 2-week liquid diet.  That just about killed me!  He said that he's done it and wouldn't make me do it again.  I would later find out that he'd only require 1 week.

People were coming and going and absolutely not eating in that unit, but as soon as I got back from the test, I ate (somewhat differently than had I had the surgery!).  Hubby had gone to get lunch during this time, so my conversation with the Fellow was private.  I was on that unit for the entire day!!!  The protocol/rule is that there can be 1-2 visitors at a time for up to 15 minutes.  Hubby was there nearly all day and we had a friend there who stayed for probably an hour into the PACU, but there were no seats and he was getting uncomfortable.  When my nurse came back from lunch (she rocked, by the way - hugely rocked!), she made the "isolation" room available to us.  Rather than being surrounded by curtains, it was a private area with 4 walls so I could be with hubby (and he could sit) and it could all be very private.  I'm sure anyone who was there heard the sobs, despite how discrete they were (and they really were).  I was told that the doc said he'd re-arrange things to get me in asap, which I thought was incredibly thoughtful and kind.  I found out that he did feel guilty that it didn't work out, especially since I was so excited in pre-op.

It was up in the air if I'd be admitted for the night or go home.  When they left the decision up to me I made it clear that I was in no shape to make decisions.  My depressive symptoms had reared their ugly heads and decisions weren't my "strong" suit.  The Fellow came back a bit later and said that the doc would release me if I wanted.  Somehow when she put it that way, I felt free to say that I just wanted to come home -- see my furbabies, sleep in my own bed, wake up in my house in the morning (and avoid hubby having to drive downtown again, paying another $25 to park).

I called the office the next day and the nurse said she'd have the scheduling people call me.  I heard back from them and the woman said she could schedule me sometime in June.  JUNE?  HUH?  I asked if that was the first and went into a bit of what had happened before; she said she'd talk with the surgeon.  They could fit me in on 5/24.  It is two weeks from tomorrow.  While I'm not required to do the 2 weeks of liquids, I'm going to try to do as much as I can.  I am mortified at the amount of weight I gained from my post-failure-op emotional eating.  I can't even write it down.  Hubby and I were talking on the drive home about what I wanted to eat.  Trust me, I had a good long list.  Spaghetti and hoagies from a certain place topped the list!

So, I had spaghetti for dinner tonight (with pesto - yummy!).  I've been trying to do 2 shakes a day.  Now that hubby is going to the gym at night (since there is no pressure to cook for the both of us), I'm more free to do a 3rd shake.  I'm supposed to have one within the first hour I'm awake and then every 3-4 hours later until I go to bed.  This is in addition to my 64 oz of water.  Well, with my previous overnight incontinence issues, I've tried to stick to stopping any food or drink in my body within 3 hrs prior to going to bed.  It leaves me lacking and will be especially difficult after surgery when I'm forced to take only sips of a beverage.

Ok, that was my not-so-short-and-sweet surgical failure.  I find myself less excited this time around.  I guess I'm just more aware that it's not guaranteed.

On the good side of things, we had some great coupons and rewards dollars so went shopping and I got some 1x and 2x clothes.  I held up one of the 1x shirts and thought, as I teared up, is it possible that I might fit into this?  It was surreal.

And I'll leave it at that.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Just a Few Days Left

Well, here we are.  Surgery is in 5 days!!!  Ahhhhhhhh!

I've been on a liquid diet since last Tuesday and have to go through next Monday (obviously I can't eat or drink the day of surgery).  Let me tell you - this is HARD!  The first few days I was cranky as cranky gets!  I needed to CHEW something.  NOW!  My poor husband :(  Well, I went back to the paperwork and saw that I can have Jell-O!  Now there's something I can sink my teeth into - literally!  Let me tell you, I've gone through a lot of Jell-O, but it has kept me from causing anyone physical harm.  Ah, the power of Jell-O!

I had my pre-op appointment a few weeks back and loaded them with questions.  They say that they love it, but I can't help but question what it's like being burdened down with questions and if that hinders their schedule, etc.  It's me, being an idiot, being overly sensitive, being overly considerate.  I've been told that I have to take care of me and that I'm worth their time.  Now that's a hard pill to swallow. Haha ( you'll see why I laugh at that soon enough).

I've learned so much about nutrition and reading specific things on food labels in the past few months.  This will be an uphill battle.  I'm not ignorant to that fact.  We will be taking a LOAD of stuff to the local food bank because I'm not strong enough to have it in the house and not eat it.  I can't go to the grocery store at this point because even the smells from the bakery will have me wanting to give up on the whole surgery (ok, so maybe that's a bit extreme, but you get the idea).

I'm having protein drinks every 3-4 hours and trying my darndest to get in my 64 oz of water.  The thing is, I'm trying to perfect the art of "sipping" pre-op so it won't be such a transition afterwards.  Who knew sipping was an art?  I'm thankful that my program allows the use of straws, which is a variable among programs.  My doc's program told me (I asked specifically) that there is no definitive research to prove they provide a risk.  I know there are other programs who prohibit their use.  While it's going to make it difficult to get in 64 oz (which doesn't include the protein shake... BOO!), sipping also makes it very difficult to get down all of my meds (the list seems endless) and supplements/vitamins.  Some of the supplements are ordered by the bariatric surgeon; others I take because they're healthy or one specifically I take to prevent or slow down macular degeneration which is now in 2 generations of my family.  Well, my psych meds are a must - I absolutely, 100%, no question cannot miss those!  There are also my meds for blood pressure.  The cholesterol med isn't necessary for the day of surgery, nor are many of the others.

So, I guess that's the latest in the wonderful word of the hippopotamus.  Now, as the world of bariatrics says: I'm getting ready to climb onto the loser's bench.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Drum Roll, Please......

I have a surgery date!!!!!  As soon as I scheduled my endoscopy, it prompted a call from the surgeon's office to schedule surgery and pre-op testing.  It turns out that the pre-op testing is just a few days before the endoscopy.  I'm easily amused and find that slightly humorous.

So, the big day..... April 26th!!

I remain excited, anxious, terrified... it's so emotional.  My life is going to change forever.  I wasn't this nervous on my wedding day (or night, since I was a virgin when I got married)!  In one simple surgery, my entire way of eating, foods I can eat, portion size.... they all go out the window and it's like I'm a baby starting from scratch.  In essence, I guess that's what it is.  I have to be on a liquid diet after surgery and then pureed food and then it's a matter of testing out foods and seeing what doesn't make me sick, and what I like.  I understand from others that food tastes differently after surgery.  Maybe I won't crave chocolate anymore.  Hmmmm, is that even possible for someone who has a vagina?

It's pretty late, but for the 3 people who read this, I wanted to let you know.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Pre-Op Work-Up

Oh my word, this has been one heck of a journey so far and I'm only just starting.  It is required for all bariatric surgery candidates to have a list of clearances before surgery.  I needed a psych eval and my psychologist of nearly 16 years could provide far more information than any psychiatrist they would have me talk with for a couple of hours.  I needed a sleep study.  Well, I already use a C-Pap, so I just had the doc print out a report of recent use.  I needed some initial blood work, which I had done from my primary a few weeks prior.  I mailed all of that out to them.  Finally is my cardiac clearance.  He wanted me to have a nuclear stress test (since I can't go running on a treadmill - if I couldn't I likely wouldn't need the surgery in the first place) and an echo.  I received calls after each of these to say that the results showed no abnormalities.  I see the cardiologist on Monday and assume I will have that clearance then.  The surgeon's office also ordered a number of labs, but when I went to have them done, I found out that my insurance wasn't going to cover those tests under the diagnostic code they used, which had added up to well over $500 and they hadn't run all of them through.  I called the nurse at the surgeon's office to see if there was another code they could use (of course without committing insurance fraud).  She called the lab and there are hoops she needs to jump through.

So, the next step is an endoscopy.  The doctor is willing to allow me to do it in the hospital out here in the suburbs (usually all of this is done downtown and I don't drive downtown).  He is going to speak with my GI to coordinate something.

I'm drinking protein drinks one meal per day (at this point) and am having high protein yogurt at least once a day.  I'm testing things out and figuring out what works.  I got a special bariatric surgery cookbook and it is providing a ton of information!

We joined a gym, although my membership is suspended for now.  They offer aquatic classes and I plan on doing that.  I don't know when I'll be allowed back in the pool and right now, I'm just waiting to see when surgery is.  In the meantime I am riding my exercise bike.  I'm losing - slowly but surely, I'm losing some pounds.

I am going to see an additional therapist to deal solely with my food and eating issues.  I mean, obviously I have some, since I am a hippo.  I can't go back to eating the way that caused me to become this.... well.... fat.  I am an emotional eater and did find a book which deals with this topic, too.  Perhaps it will be a jumping off point for that therapy.  We'll see.  My OCD has had me create a binder of information, printed from the computer and in page protectors, divided by topic.  So yeah, I'm well-versed and ready to tackle this!

When's surgery?  Everyone asks and I have to explain the above process to them.  Hopefully soon I can give a solid date!  Excited and Terrified.  That's where I stand.  And I think that's normal.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Bariatric Update

Hey all!  I figured it was time for an update, so here it is :)

My psychologist has written a letter of support and approval for me to have the surgery.  When I met with the cardiologist he wanted to wait until I had a few tests before giving his ok.  I had a nuclear stress test two weeks ago and an echo last week.  I see him on the 15th and expect full go-ahead.

I've been testing some protein drinks/shakes and went through what the dietitian sent with a highlighter and pen.  I have studied my little heart out.  I'm also setting up a consult with a therapist simply for eating and food issues.  I've seen her before when my psychologist was gone and she was his student.

The next step is to have an endoscopy.  The nurse said that they typically wait until later in the process before scheduling this, when I called and asked it to schedule since it will require some coordination (using my GI doc with the surgeon in the room).  She called and said that the surgeon will be in touch with the GI doc in the next couple of weeks.

The nurse called to tell me that she received the information I sent with my C-Pap report and most recent blood work.  She expressed some concern over my triglycerides and is sending me a script for new labs (which they run anyway).  My sugar levels are elevated and there is a slight debate over if I should have a diabetes diagnosis or if I can be considered pre-diabetic assuming that my levels will decrease post-op.

After the endoscopy, I was told that the surgery is scheduled about 6 weeks out.  In the meantime, I'm having a protein shake for breakfast and working to keep my sweets and carbs in check.  The latter is HARD!  I was so cranky yesterday because I fought the urge to have some Skinny Cow chocolates.  I have to at least start to make big changes and not wait until after the operation.  I will be on a liquid diet for both the 2 weeks pre- and post-op, then 2 weeks of pureed food (I refuse to eat pureed chicken!).

My husband and I have joined a gym, at which I will use the pool - possibly taking an aquatics class.  My membership is on hold for now until I know when surgery is.  I'm sure I'll be limited after surgery and will likely not be in the pool for some time.  I did speak with the location nearest to me and she said that I can always activate my membership now and then freeze it again when I have surgery.  I loathe the thought of squeezing myself into a bathing suit, but the exercise may help me lose some weight and get into a routine.  For now, we'll see.....

I am both excited and terrified, but I have to do it.  I'll try to post more often, or at least as I have updates.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Sorry

I just want to apologize for the nightmare that is the font from my last post.  I didn't see that it was SO tiny and then when I went to change it (numerous times), it decided to do what it wanted.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Taking the Plunge - Here's the Skinny

So it's true.  I've decided.  I'm going to have bariatric surgery!  I know there are a couple of choices offered by my doctor's office and that the lap band isn't one of them.  I think they were finding issues with it being a foreign body and slipping, but I'm sure that's not the case for everyone.

First, I should offer some info on the two procedures my doctor does.


Gastric bypass is the more drastic surgery, as it re-routes your digestive tract.  It is also a longer surgery.


There are two steps during gastric bypass (emphasis mine) surgery:

  • The first step makes your stomach smaller. Your surgeon uses staples to divide your stomach into a small upper section and a larger bottom section. The top section of your stomach (called the pouch) is where the food you eat will go. The pouch is about the size of a walnut. It holds only about 1 ounce (oz) of food. Because of this you will eat less and lose weight.
  • The second step is the bypass. Your surgeon connects a small part of your small intestine (the jejunum) to a small hole in your pouch. The food you eat will now travel from the pouch into this new opening and into your small intestine. As a result, your body will absorb fewer calories.

In [sleeve gastrectomy, aka: gastric sleeve]
Your surgeon makes 2 to 5 small cuts (incisions) in your belly.
  • The scope and instruments needed to perform the surgery are inserted through these cuts.
  • The camera is connected to a video monitor in the operating room. This allows the surgeon to view inside your belly while doing the operation.
  • Your surgeon removes most of your stomach.
  • The remaining portions of your stomach are joined together using surgical staples. This creates a long vertical tube or banana-shaped stomach.
  • The surgery does not involve cutting or changing the sphincter muscles that allow food to enter or leave the stomach.
  • The scope and other tools are removed. The cuts are stitched closed.
(from: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/007435.htm)

First I have to say - Praise God for laproscopic surgery!

I have chosen to have the sleeve procedure.  Of course there are a plethora of tests before I am fully approved, but some of them I've had and others are simple.  I do not drive in the city.  Period.  I saw the doctor in a satellite office and would like to see other docs in the general area.  Hey, I'm open to 4-5 counties but not, I repeat NOT the city!  While he operates in the city, my husband will be taking me and bringing me home (I'll be in 1-2 days barring any unforeseeable complications), so no city driving for me!  My doc is so fabulous and is willing to work with me.  For the psych eval, he will take a letter from my psychologist (an eval with their doc will offer far less in depth information.  I have already had a sleep study and use a C-Pap machine.  I can use an affiliated cardiologist here in the 'burbs.  For the endoscopy, he knows my gastroenterologist and said he'd like to coordinate that so he can be in the room and view the procedure.  I've had phone consults with both the nurse and the dietitian, who have encouraged me to call with questions and they will be in touch on a regular basis to ask if I have questions and to guide me through the steps both pre-op and post-op.

Certainly, as with any surgery, there are risks.  I have researched them extensively.  I know how my lifestyle MUST change after surgery.  Not only will I be incredibly limited with what foods and how much food I can eat, but I know I will get sick if I go against the set regimen.  Right now, I am trying different protein drinks to see what I like and what I don't.  That way, when I get to the time where I am limited to only those drinks, I won't have to mess around with them and learn that some are downright disgusting!  I am prepared to follow the plan and to exercise as soon as I'm medically cleared and have lost enough weight that the strain on my back is minimal.  I'm not so much focused on the scale, but as a self-proclaimed "fat chick" the scale will always be a tool in gauging where I stand.  Of course the way clothes fit and the ability to do more and more exercise will be huge indicators as well.


Because I take so many meds and drink intake at one sitting is limited, I am concerned about that, but have already alerted my doc to that concern.  I'll speak more with the dietitian and RN about that.

That's all for now.  If you've had the sleeve, please let me know what your experience was.  If you have questions, I have a huge binder full of information!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Title-less

It's January 1st and here I sit at my computer.  I have no "resolutions."  I don't care.  Maybe because it's the fact that I'm stuck in an incredibly deep depression and my marriage is a mess.  Maybe it's because I'm super cynical find resolutions to be ridiculous.  I mean whatever we say today is usually broken by the end of the week or the month.  Very few of us actually do those things we resolve to do.  Whatever it is, I don't make them.

Ok, I got that out of the way.  I want to share that I've seen a bariatric surgeon.  He believes I'm a good candidate for a gastric sleeve.  Here is some information about the sleeve, but the site also includes oodles of information about bariatric surgery, including an hour-long webinar which offers a lot of information.  It's basically a doctor talking while you stare at Power Point slides.  It's not the most interesting of things, but it gets the job done, plus I had to watch it before my appointment.  It's not anything that's inserted, nor do they re-route any part of your digestive system.  They simply staple off part of your stomach.  This both makes your stomach smaller, but releases your body from experiencing the hormone that makes us feel hungry.

The doctor was wonderful.  He spent nearly an hour with me!  I recorded it so that I can refer back to it.  The city where the doctor will perform the surgery is in the city.  I saw him at a local office (30 mins, which is local for this area) and during the course of the appointment, told him that I don't drive in the city and he is totally willing to work with me.  There are a number of tests and evaluations necessary for the surgery to be performed.  One is a sleep study - already had one done and I use the C-Pap; one is a psych eval - since I've seen my psychologist for nearly 16 years, he will take a statement from him (who is the one who brought it up in the first place).  They also need an endoscopy.  I had one several months ago, but despite me telling them that I vomit with Propofol (they said it is the med of choice for those who do experience nausea and/or vomiting after a procedure), they gave it to me and the doctor couldn't finish the procedure because - guess what (?) - I vomited in the middle of it.  The bariatric doc wants to be in the room so he can watch the screen and know what to expect if there are anything which would interfere with the surgery, since my upper GI tract is involved.  Additionally I need a cardiac eval and he is comfortable with me seeing one locally.  I saw one many years ago and know that he's in the same practice as my husbands doc, but may wind up seeing whoever has an appointment available.  There is also a consult with a nurse practitioner and a nutritionist/dietitian, but he said those can be done over the phone.  I love this guy!  It doesn't hurt that he is the husband of one of the docs in the practice where my Mom (an RN) works.  It makes trusting him easier.

When we talked about the psych eval and my doc, he said that I understand the procedure and have done my research (I have a very full binder with tons of info, using page protectors, of course!).  He also said that I was asking all the right questions, so he feels comfortable with my psychologist covering that end of things.  Oh, and I have my entire medical history and a bunch of other things typed up since I'll never remember it all - it's too long and complicated, plus I'm on so many meds there's no way I'd know them all, especially if they want dosage and times!  He can see that I am "together" mentally, especially after seeing my OCD paperwork.

I asked how long it usually takes from the initial appointment.  I expected him to say 6+ months, especially after all of the testing.  Granted some of my testing is already "taken care of" but his answer was 6-8 WEEKS!  Ahhhhhhh!  That's soon.  While I'm excited, I'm also terrified.  This is an enormous lifestyle change and I guess it feels like that's a fast time to prepare mentally.  On the other hand, the sooner the better, right?

In other news, I became a consultant for Thirty-One.  My timing is pretty terrible as I'm dealing with the surgical stuff, but hopefully I can get something out of it, even if it's just a good group of Christian women supporting each other... and hopefully there are some close to me.

Well, "life" calls, so I have to say good-bye for now.  I'll try to write again sooner next time - I know I say that every time, but if I'm going to be down for a couple of weeks I expect to be online more.  So, happy new year!  I wish you all the best.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Dear Fat People (link), Followed by My Musings....

I'm going to just post the link to this video and a response.

I am one of those "obese" people.... I am super obese or morbidly obese.  You may have seen this video already.  In fact, since I've been gone for a while, I missed all of the hoopla surrounding this.  I'm glad I did.  I'm in a pretty vulnerable place right now and hearing all of this (I'm sure it was all over Facebook, too!) may have done me a lot of harm.  I am not a fan of the language they use, but I think it gets the point across.

I'd like to know who got together and decided what BMI is and what weight/height determines your BMI.  Several years ago I was trying to determine my BMI and came across these numbers (I'm sorry, I've forgotten the site so cannot reference it directly):

>18.5 = underweight
18.5-24.9 = "normal"
25-29.9 = overweight
30-34.9 = obese
35-39.9 = severely obese
40-49.9 = morbidly obese
50-59.9 = super obese

Another stat I found at that time was that the CDC says a person who is 5'5" and 180 lbs has a BMI of 30.  Yes, that is heavy, but obese?  I think we're putting ourselves in these boxes that force us to reach a certain number, be it weight or BMI.  We're trapped by that number, as if it defines who we are.  I am fat and it is the first thing people notice about me, making it the last thing sometimes.  Hubby and I switch between 2 different eateries before we go to the grocery store.  We often have the same servers.  They often won't recognize us until they see me.  I am fat.  I am memorable because of it.  That is truth.

Here is the NIH BMI calculator.  Frankly, I find it absurd.  I once found myself getting excited that I was severely obese.  I had lost enough weight that my BMI made me slightly less likely to die from the effects of being a fat chick.

What are your thoughts?  How do you determine when you've reached a goal you have in mind for losing weight?  Personally, I want to walk up a flight of stairs without getting out of breath.  I'd like to take my dogs for a long walk.  I'd like to fit in a bathroom stall comfortably.  I'd like to take walks with my husband.  I'd like to not squish my husband in an airplane - I mean you have to admit that you or someone you know is thankful they aren't next to the fat girl on an airplane.  I'd like to be comfortable in my clothes (being comfortable in my body is too far off to be realistic; I've spent 43+ years hating myself and my body so that won't get fixed by losing weight).  I'd like to go into a medical appointment and be told that I have to lose weight - some docs have gone so far as to say that I need to lose 150 lbs, as if that will solve all of my problems.  I'd like to shop in a store and not be limited to clothes in a catalog, hoping they fit.  I actually hit the last one about this time last year, but both my husband and myself went on some binges.  My emotional eating came out in full a lot and I gained back all the weight and more.  Now I have to lay on my bed and suck my stomach in after putting on jeans or shorts and sitting in them for a bit to stretch them out so they will hopefully button and zip.  Even then, it's quite a chore to get them on again.

So, those are my musings immediately after hearing of this video and watching it, as well as the response.  I do want to add that I accept the responsibility for each and every bite of food I put in my mouth.  It is my doing that I can't walk well.  I also want to say that my age (43), my medications, and both of those add in to a horrible metabolism, making it even more difficult to lose weight.

I'd really love to hear others' thoughts.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Please...I Need Some Advice

I'll keep this short and sweet.  If you are a person who is overweight, who is an emotional eater, who is bulimic, who is anorexic, who eats beyond to the point of being full, who thinks about food more than just at mealtimes (see other questions below).... what are your thoughts and feelings about OA (Overeaters Anonymous)?  Have you gone to any meetings or know someone who has?  Was it a good experience?

I have taken the following from their website:

Is OA For You?

Are You a Compulsive Overeater?

Now that you have found Overeaters Anonymous, you may want to make sure our program is right for you. Many of us have found it useful to answer the following questions to help determine if we have a problem with compulsive eating.
  1. Do I eat when I’m not hungry, or not eat when my body needs nourishment?
  2. Do I go on eating binges for no apparent reason, sometimes eating until I’m stuffed or even feel sick?
  3. Do I have feelings of guilt, shame, or embarrassment about my weight or the way I eat?
  4. Do I eat sensibly in front of others and then make up for it when I am alone?
  5. Is my eating affecting my health or the way I live my life?
  6. When my emotions are intense—whether positive or negative—do I find myself reaching for food?
  7. Do my eating behaviors make me or others unhappy?
  8. Have I ever used laxatives, vomiting, diuretics, excessive exercise, diet pills, shots or other medical interventions (including surgery) to try to control my weight?
  9. Do I fast or severely restrict my food intake to control my weight?
  10. Do I fantasize about how much better life would be if I were a different size or weight?
  11. Do I need to chew or have something in my mouth all the time: food, gum, mints, candies or beverages?
  12. Have I ever eaten food that is burned, frozen or spoiled; from containers in the grocery store; or out of the garbage?
  13. Are there certain foods I can’t stop eating after having the first bite?
  14. Have I lost weight with a diet or “period of control” only to be followed by bouts of uncontrolled eating and/or weight gain?
  15. Do I spend too much time thinking about food, arguing with myself about whether or what to eat, planning the next diet or exercise cure, or counting calories?
Have you answered “yes” to several of these questions? If so, it is possible that you have, or are well on your way to having, a compulsive eating or overeating problem.

I am giving serious consideration to this (with "encouragement" of my therapist)  He has gone to the extent of researching which meetings are good and which are flops (like the one and only one I've ever been to) and finding me a contact he knows.  There is a Saturday morning meeting about 35-45 minutes away, but UGH!  However, I get up with the dogs at 7:00 am anyway, so I'm not really missing out on any sleep - except for the occasional nap after I feed them.

I am totally an emotional eater - good or bad - celebration or mourning/depressed/drowning my sorrows/etc.  That is something I need to address.  I'm terrified and simply want to know anyone else's feelings, thoughts, etc.

Their general webiste is oa.org; the above link came from here.  The site is jam-packed with information and is worth just browsing if you feel like you fit into any of these categories, or know of anyone who may - just don't push it on them.  They/I have to be willing to go independent of being told to do so.  Oh, I guess I should be clear here: my therapist isn't forcing me to go, but really is encouraging and helping get past the anxiety.


Any advice???

(PS: sorry for any typos or weird sentences, if I've gone to change something and didn't fully remove what I thought was a better way to say something; my wrist still hasn't totally recovered so typing is pretty painful.  I'm also exhausted - 11:30 pm and the depression gives me no energy to review it.  Thanks for your understanding!)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Pondering

I've been pondering this blog post for awhile now.  In fact I'm not entirely sure what I want to say and what not to say.

My health has gotten out of control, but I don't want to be all whiny about it.  I will say that I had surgery 3 weeks ago for carpal tunnel.  Surgery went well and the doc was pleased at my 2-week check-up.  I'm far less bandaged than I was and in a couple of days I will start rubbing cocoa butter on my wound for two minutes daily.  It sounds odd, but I did use Medi-honey on my wound-clinic-necessary wound following ankle surgery in 2013.

Weight related it's not pretty.  I am such an emotional eater that I weigh the same, if not more than when I started Weight Watchers almost exactly a year ago (53 weeks, 1 day... but who's counting?).  It's a frustrating battle.  This food thing?  It's HARD!  My Mom knows that hubby and I are working to lose weight.  My father has been in a rehab following a hip replacement.  We went to visit him on Father's Day (I let myself be guilted into it).  Once others arrived Mom pulled out a cake and sliced a piece for everyone.  Now she knows and she still does this.  It feels like sabotage, although I know it's not intentional.  She needs to lose weight herself.  I've never asked, but I am guessing that her BMI falls in the obese range also.

We've had things going on with all of our critters.  I wrote about it all in my last post, so I won't repeat myself.  I will say that the lump on Poly's neck hasn't grown since the doc removed some of it.

For those who didn't know, my brother, his wife, and their two kids were living in a very dangerous area of the world for the past two years.  Well, all are back now.  My brother had to stay to finish up some business there, but everyone else - especially the kids - could not have gotten out of there faster if they tried!  We were informed that my brother will not be living with his family and is now setting up his own apartment.  We're all pretty upset about it and it blind-sided us.  It seems that it's been coming for a couple of years now but that's all we know.  Is it really anyone's business?  I don't know how to answer that.  I don't know what to say (on the off chance) when my nephews ask about his parents?  They are nearly 15 and 13 and unlikely to talk about it... perhaps even told not to talk about it.  Who knows?  I'm just really upset.  I barely have a relationship with my nephews as it stands (granted they have been out of the country for the last 8+ years) and fear how this will impact that.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned before that I don't have a great relationship with my father.  He abandoned us when I was 13.  He married the reason for the divorce.  On their wedding day, I was 13, my brother was 16, "she" was 22 and my father was 44.  Needless to say, that didn't last long.  Let me add in here that there were never weekend visits or one night a week arrangements.  It was my Mom and that was it.  Before they were officially divorced, he still had a key to the house.  For my  birthday during that time, he came in and dropped a tennis racket on the kitchen counter.  Do you remember when I've said that I've always had a weight problem?  How I was always last in gym class, be it running the 600 or being chosen for a team.  I was not active outside of dance.  Who on earth would think I would appreciate a tennis racket?

I don't remember much from before he left, although some memories come up every so often.  I also find that there are some belongings I find as we clean up the house and I can't get rid of them, even though I have no idea if someone made them or gave them to me.  I just know they are a piece of my childhood and I can't bear to part with them.

It was this odd existence for a long time.  My brother left for college shortly after the "wedding" and I was left alone with my Mom who tried to pretend everything was ok - it was not.  I would go to my father's every so often and, per a psychologist's recommendation, I left a basket of toiletries there so I felt that I "belonged" in that house.  I did not.  I rarely used those toiletries.  He lived on a farm and was the groundskeeper before and after retiring from his job as a police officer.  There was a daycare center on the property and I worked there subbing during my college summers.  One summer, in addition to working 2 jobs, I was taking a class.  It seemed like I went to dinner there every night, although I'm sure it wasn't quite that frequent.  I just didn't have time to go home.

Question:  I've been told my entire life that I need to lose weight.  I was a dancer, so this caused added pressure.  I took dance very seriously.  Anyway, I now look back at pictures from my high school days and wish I could look like that again.  I was an average size.  I looked good.  I looked balanced.  But I was taken to program after program to take some weight off.  Am I the only one who has always been told "you're 'heavy' and need to lose weight?  Or have any of you done what I do - look back at those pictures and wish against all hope, that you could have that body back?

Ok, so I know this is a bit disjointed.  I am at the very furthest wrong end of my bipolar right now, yet my mind is going full speed.  I just throw things out there and hope they make some sort of sense.  Thank you if you have put up with this and gotten this far.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Now *This* Tugs at my Heart!

I found out about a new company, Makies.  I only heard of them a few moments ago, but felt strongly enough about them to make a point to call attention to them here.  Hopefully word will get out and travel across the web.

From their site (note that they are a British company):

Make the Doll of your Dreams!

Makies are totally customisable dolls that youcreate. Each one is guaranteed unique, and with an ever-growing range of accessories and looks, a Makie is a friend for life.

This is a concept that is long past due.  Get this: you can order a doll customized for your child's disability or that one a friend, or just in general to educate kids that not everyone is "perfect" like they see in most books and movies!!  I love, love, love this!
As I'm pretty sure I've mentioned on here, I had a service dog for about 18 months.  One of the customizations they show include a service dog, which is even customized to a specific dog.  Not only is this more "user-friendly" (dare I say) but it shows real kids - and not just as far as the obscenely impossible proportions on her.
At least take a quick look at this site.  The concept alone is amazing!  Maybe I'll ask for one for Christmas!

Monday, May 18, 2015

A Formal Introduction, 4 1/2 years too late

I'll start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.  Ok, so we've established that I love musicals, especially The Sound of Music.  But that's not even barely a snippet of my life.

I'm 43 years old.  I'm a Disney fanatic.... seriously, a freak about Disney!

I also have a mental illness.  I have suffered from depression on and off for 30 years.  Currently I am on disability for what has now been diagnosed as bipolar II.  It's been not quite 15 years since I last worked.  I was a social worker and one who was seriously burnt out at that.  I have a degree in psychology.  I switched over to working in HR for the same agency for the last 6 months, hoping I could keep up my pace.  I was referred to a psychologist and it was shortly after that when I took the HR job.  That was when I wound up in a psych ward for the first time.  To be clear, it was voluntary.  I wasn't tied down to the table and fed drugs and given IVs with all sorts of funky juices in them.  That, my friends, is the movie version of a psych ward/hospital.

Having been on dozens of meds and even more combos, I was running out of options.  So, I have had close to 80 ECT treatments (you may know it as shock therapy/treatment).  The first 7 kept me out of the hospital for 4 years after annual hospitalizations.  When I started to get really sick again, my therapist suggested I have a consult with another hospital which offers ECT.  The psychiatrist refused to do it, saying I had borderline personality disorder.  A few years later, after more meds, combos and hospitalizations, I went back to that same hospital and had another consult with the exact same psychiatrist.  He approved me for the treatment.  While I was inpatient, I did 3 treatments each week.  Outpatient I was able to do 1.  The doc would have preferred more, but I had no ride the other days.  I was receiving what is known as "bilateral" and was at the maximum "dose."

In 2013 I wound up in the hospital medically and had to cancel my scheduled treatment.  It gave me pause and I decided that the negative effects outweighed any benefit I was still receiving.  My last treatment was December, 2012.  It's hard to separate out what symptoms are from the depression and which are due to the ECT, plus I have a bunch of medical problems, including a stroke.  There is no knowing.  What is medical?  Psychological?  ECT-based?

My memory loss is significant, but like I said, what is the cause?  My therapist told me that the benefits of the ECT would be short-lived, but I kept plugging along.  Then I made that decision.  I had reached the point where it was time to move along in my treatment.  My treatment team was excited about the decision, but as much for the fact that I made it and there was no doctor telling me to stop.

It's hard to decide when to tell someone about mental illness and ECT - both have such stigma.  The way I see it, if everyone keeps quiet, the stigma will remain.  It's ok for people to ask questions because that's the way the word will get out that it's nothing like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.  I welcome questions about my illness and my treatments.  I would prefer people educate themselves than make ignorant decisions.  After all of my treatments and a dozen hospitalizations, I've gotten somewhat vocal.  I mean, when push comes to shove there aren't a lot of explanations for my not working since I appear healthy - and am incredibly good at pretending I'm fine, putting on "the mask" and whatever else you want to call it.

What else?  My mental illness seems to be such a huge part of my life that I wanted to take this opportunity to get it out there in a fashion that doesn't just say it in a casual way.  Other very important parts of my life...  I think I've mentioned that I'll be married 20 years in December.

<--- That's my love.





We have 2 cats and 2 dogs, all rescues.




The kitties are siblings.  We went to adopt one but couldn't bear the thought of leaving the other one, especially knowing how people are ignorant and won't adopt black kitties because of some silly superstition.






The dogs we're told are a shepherd mix (left) and a vizsla mix (right).  For the record, we didn't know either, but a vizsla is a Hungarian hunting dog. Note: hunting dog = we have our hands full!


One all-encompassing part of our lives is that we are born-again Christians.  Fear not, I won't be sending subliminal messages or preaching at you, so please don't give up on my blog for that.  We have a very strong faith and have recently begun a new journey with a new church family (after our former church dissolved).  We attempt to keep our lives Christ-centered in what we do, but are awful sinners and fail at every turn.  We try and that's all He asks of us.

Ok, so, my hubby is a computer systems engineer (with a chemistry degree - smarty pants), although I prefer to call him a computer geek.  It covers all bases.  He is such a blessing here at home.  Since I am too sick to work, he does so much around here.  If we had laundry on the same floor as where we dirty the darn stuff, I could pick up that chore (most of the time).  We'd love to get a ranch style home, but now just isn't the time.

I was a social worker, which covers a load of jobs.  For me, with my degree in psychology I first worked in a group home with 12 adults suffering from mental illness - sort of ironic, right?  I still have incredibly fond memories of many of those incredible men and women.  I credit one woman with helping me lose 40 lbs before my wedding.  She was on my caseload and one of her goals was to walk every day.  My daily time with her was spent joining her on those walks.  Another man was in a military academy when he got sick and had to end his hopes of being in the service.  The list could go on.  They were so special to me.  Heck, they even threw me a surprise bridal shower.  Extraordinary!  My next job was working with adults with developmental disabilities (I think there is now a new name, but that's what it was called when I worked) who were living with host families.  I put a lot of miles on my car and loved my clients and most of the families.  It all took a lot out of me.  The final 6 months of my employment with them was working as an HR coordinator.  It took off the pressures of one position, but added having to learn an entirely new and unfamiliar field.  You know what happened after that.

I spent ages 2-16 as a dancer.  First was ballet and at age 10 (?) I added in jazz.  My hope was to go to Julliard (ok, let's make that a dream... a far off dream), but those hopes were dashed when, after many, many injuries, I broke my knee and needed surgery.  I was told any further dancing would be out of the question.  I also played violin, starting in 3rd grade and through the first year of college.  I also played clarinet, starting (late) just before 7th grade and all the way through college.  In high school there was marching band and concert band and at the time, if you were in one, you were in the other.  It was very time-consuming.  The Fall held football games weekly and practice two weeks a night, plus competitions for all of October and some other weeks.  I was able to participate in the Miss America parade one year and my senior year we marched in the 3:00 parade in Disney World!!!!  It was like a dream come true.  We went to competitions annually, including Virginia Beach, Myrtle Beach, and Toronto.  High school orchestra was small, but I do remember us going to a competition in Toronto (because it was the week after the band one!).  In college, it was simply concert band and we did one performance at the end of each semester.  College orchestra consisted of basically a quartet or sometimes a quintet, depending on who showed up.  It wasn't worth it for me, so I left it go.

As you can see, music is an enormous part of my life.  It is also for the mister.  He is a drummer.  We lived in neighboring towns and our football teams competed, as did we compete as bands each weekend.  We were on the same fields a lot and never even knew it!  We actually met at a Hallmark shop.  I started working there when I was 18.  He was an established employee.  We worked there until we got married.  After about 6 months of that we couldn't take so much togetherness and decided we'd stop working at the shop.  I'm still partial to Hallmark cards, though ;)

I love to write, as you can probably tell and am considering putting some of my journal writings into a book.

Hub and I love to travel.  It's not only Disney, although Disney World and Disney Cruise Line are our favorites, we enjoy doing most travelling.  Keith grew up going to Ocean City, NJ every year and we kept that up for a bit.  We'll now go down for a day, maybe his birthday.  This past summer we were financially forced to re-schedule our Disney cruise and went to Ocean City, MD and loved it!  We had been there once before but this experience was different - not better or worse, just different.  Now, it was Cycle Week - and no, it wasn't bicycles.  It was LOUD down there and we'd certainly chose another week to go.  We went down to the barrier islands several times and were able to see a bunch of wild ponies.  That was pretty incredible.  We're headed on another cruise to Bermuda soon and are headed to Alaska on Disney Cruise Line later this year.  Like I said, we LOVE to travel!

I'm pretty sure this is long enough without me blabbering on and on about stuff - I'm sure I'll keep doing that as time goes by.  For now, if you made it through this, thank you!

Question

For the few but faithful who read this blog:

I am a realistic person.  My life isn't of much interest to many and I've been pretty personal on this blog as opposed to the one about my critters.  I've been considering making this one public and posting my entries to Facebook.

Here's where you come in.  If this was your life, would you want this much information "out there?"  I know people can access it if they really want to... blah, blah, blah.  But I'm being serious here.  Have I put parts of myself out there that maybe shouldn't be?  Is this too personal?  Have I shared too much?  If my Mother reads it, would she be embarrassed that her friends who are on FB also see it?

It's a fine line.  As far as the mental illness is concerned, I'm not ashamed about it.  On the other hand, I don't want to go around with a sign around my neck telling the world.  If someone had diabetes or heart issues or any other illnesses for that matter, they wouldn't have the "scarlet letter" shown for all to see.

I really, truly want your opinions.

Thanks!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Day After (from the eyes of someone who can't have kids)

Mother's Day is a bear for me and for thousands of other women.  I have a Mom and she is AMAZING!  I don't want to discount that.  I just want to point out that there are women from all walks of life who are unable to bear children.  Yes there are fertility treatments, but they didn't work for my husband and me, and they aren't successful for many couples.  I am absolutely an advocate for adoption and have a very dear friend who is adopted.  My husband and I attended a seminar on adoption and we spoke with the director before putting in time (on both our part and the agency's) and was open about my mental illness.  At that point, I was in remission, but she essentially said that we'd be rejected because of my bipolar and it would be more difficult to be approved when we applied later.  So yeah, I am incredibly sensitive to Mother's Day.  I cannot and will not ever be a mother, other than my furbabies.  My husband and I will not have anyone to pass down antiques which have been in the family for generations.  Our lines will be the end.  So yes, while I'm sensitive to many things, this is an exceptionally difficult season for me.

I am taking an excerpt from this blog.  The entire blog post is really worth reading.  I also posted it to my other blog but felt it was something that should be put out there.  Too many women are pained by Mother's Day and it's due, in part, from ignorance.  I hope to use this arena to hopefully make some changes in that ignorance.  So, please read this and please don't hesitate to share!

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To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you
To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you
To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you
To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you
To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is.
To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you
To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you
To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children – we sit with you
To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you
To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your experience
To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst
To those who have aborted children – we remember them and you on this day
To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children – we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be
To those who step-parent – we walk with you on these complex paths
To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren -yet that dream is not to be, we grieve with you
To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you
To those who placed children up for adoption — we commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart
And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you
This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.

5/12/15 Addendum: I am so sorry that the font was so small and have corrected that problem.  Also, I apologize for the annoying background from where I pasted from the other blog, but I have no control over that.  I hope it wasn't too bothersome.

Monday, April 27, 2015

When is Enough Enough?

So, my appointments have been somewhat scattered and for that I am thankful.

As for the past few days:
Friday: migraine
Saturday: migraine hangover (which you understand if you get these monsters)
Sunday: left in the middle of Sunday school to head to the ER with what turned out to be kidney stones (which had, thankfully, already passed)
Monday: kidney stone hangover day

On a better note, a friend posted this blog entry to her Facebook page and with summertime nearing, I just had to share.  She is a woman I inspire to be; a woman who is comfortable in her body and accepting who she is.

I want to be a woman who accepts who she is as she is, even while trying to make changes.  We are all on a journey and if we can stop at any given moment and say "hey, I'm ok exactly as I am," well, that's success.  I know that God accepts me.  The problem comes in when I enter the picture.

Who else is touched by this blog?  Who can relate?  Who is accepting of yourself, regardless of height, weight, brain power, disability... and the list can go on and on...  Who respects themselves?  Where are you on your journey??

Monday, April 20, 2015

Make it STOP!

Medical update: some of my medical stuff has been moved around and moved to later dates.  This is a good thing!  I did see the physiatrist today and she ordered some x-rays (which I did downstairs from their office) and an MRI as well as wanting me be back in aquatic therapy.  Ugh!

In other news, you can check out my other blog: taleoftwodogs.blogspot.com where I picked up a feeder for one of our pups.  She tends to inhale her food... literally.  But today, all of that changed.  We got her this thing which makes her "fight" for her food (not the right word).  There is a video on the blog and you'll see what I mean.

In other news, I've been falling asleep in front of the TV.  Sitting up and falling asleep.  I had attributed it to one of my meds, but now that I'm off that med and it's still happening I have to come up with a new theory.  That will take some work.  Haha

Good news is that I am up to chapter 14 in Genesis.  Most days I do it when hubby isn't home.  On these days, the dogs get to hear a Bible reading.  I wonder if any of it is sinking in.  In any event, one chapter at a time - at least while the chapters are of reasonable length, in which case I read part of a chapter at a time.  It'll all sink in, however fast I read it.

That sort of covers it here.  I still have tons and tons of medical stuff keeping me busy.  Am I the only one living an insane life (especially with no kids and no job)?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Rare

Just to keep you in the loop (if anyone is actually reading this...) when I saw my psychiatrist this morning he is taking me off of one of my meds because of a few side effects.  He, who is in his 50s and very up-to-date with studies and the like, looked them up on the computer having not heard of them.

Guess what?  They are RARE occurrences on that particular med.  You read it right -- RARE!  If you didn't catch that the first few times.... my side effects are/were RARE!

Yep, that sounds about right....  Welcome to my world.

Warning: Medical Ranting, Venting, and Complaining Ahead

Don't say I didn't warn you!

In the next 2 weeks I am scheduled for something nearly every day.  FYI: last week wasn't much better.  But I digress...


  • We're talking aquatic therapy 3 times each week.
  • There is therapy once a week.
  • I saw my psychiatrist this morning (and traffic was a mess, so was taking some deep <fat girl> breaths as I made it to my appointment)
  • I have the CT urogram this week - where they catheterize me and inject a dye in my bladder, then follow it with a CT (hence the name LOL)
  • I had blood work to do before I could do the CT
  • I will be seeing the physiatrist for a follow-up
  • There is the oh-so-fun EMG at the neurologist's to evaluate my carpal tunnel
  • Then I see the hand specialist the day after the EMG to see where things stand, since I had the cortisone shots in both hands during two separate visits.
  • A week after the CT, I will see a urogynecologist who will do some sort of test requiring catheterization
  • I am on a committee for a seminar at my church.  I have a meeting for that tomorrow night.  The event is on Saturday.

I can barely breathe just typing it.

Now, I did contact the physiatrist this afternoon to let her know that I fell on Friday.  In the basement.  Onto the concrete.  I'm in some serious pain.  My back seems worse.  My right knee took a hit.  My right ankle twisted when I landed.  I think some damage was done to my left ankle, on which I had surgery that had me laid up for the better part of 2 months.

Yeah, I'm cranky.

I'm a stress eater.

I'm trying to get back onto the Weight Watchers program.

This does not add up.  But.... I won't be home very often to be tempted.  Oy!

As a PS: I know that most people would be envious of my schedule.  I just have to respond by saying that I am bipolar currently in a depression so severe the docs have talked of me being hospitalized.  Oh, and my agoraphobia has surfaced a little bit, so going out, especially by myself, is pretty scary.  So, I'll go back to working full-time if I could get rid of some of this junk!!!  I'll leave it at that.

I want to add Bible study to this list.  It's something I look forward to each week, but it makes life (and dinner!) more insane.

Thank you if you've made it to the end of this post.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Medical Update (so that doesn't sound as good as "Weekend Update" on SNL, does it?)

Well, onward and forward....

I went to the doctor on Tuesday and she found the same results as I had.  She said that there is this CT that would be the next test, but she wanted to speak with the associate from prior to this appointment to make sure she is on the right track (she's a young doctor, but like I said... she's amazing!).  My Mom is a nurse in the office and after seeing me, the doc said to my Mom that it's "unusual" (or a similar word) and Mom said "if it's rare, that's my girl!"

When I got the return call she said she is ordering the test.  Ugh.  Let me explain why:

OK, so I did a search online and couldn't find anything on my "go to" medical sites other than abstracts, which are by definition, pretty much less-than-helpful to a peon like me.  To start, three hours prior to the test, they want me to have 32 oz of water.  And hold it!  They will catheterize me (woo hoo) and put dye up into my bladder just prior to doing the CT scan.

If that isn't enough fun for you, I go to a uro-gynecologist (who knew?) the following week and he will catheterize me again to look into my bladder.  I have to question if this isn't a larger catheter so he can fit a small camera in it, much like a lower endoscopy or something similar.  In which case, OUCH and more than the first time.

I think this does beg the question: do people in the medical field really like catheterizing people that much?  I've had one catheter in my life and it was inserted while I was under anesthesia.  I asked my doctor if I was going to be awake (jokingly) and she said "no, but I can give you something."  I thanked her and said that I had plenty of stuff here.

Of course there is has been a lot of co-ordinating of services - there has to be blood work done at least 2 days prior to the test, the test needs to be pre-auth'd or pre-cert'd (I can't remember which) and after I was done with setting all of that up, I had to schedule with the uro-gyno and make sure that appt is far enough out from the test so the full results would be available.

There are far too many people "down there" - as if the annual gyn appt isn't bad enough.

For fun, in the midst of this, I've been doing aquatic therapy for my back 3x/week, seeing a hand specialist, seeing my neurologist for a hand-related test, and have my monthly psychiatry appt and my weekly therapy sessions.  I'm tired just writing it.

Anyway that's my Weekend medical update.

Any chance I can get on SNL, just for one update???  I didn't think so.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A Fistula? Huh?

To get this out of the way:
A fistula is an abnormal connection between an organ, vessel, or intestine and another structure. Fistulas are usually the result of injury or surgery. It can also result from infection or inflammation. (as defined by the NIH)
Now, getting back to the topic at hand.  I did a test this morning which would rule out a fistula.  I got the results (something required to be done on my end) and called the doctor.  She said "hmmmm.... let me talk with <another doctor in the practice> and I'll call you back."  Ok?  She called back and said it would be rare for me to have a fistula so far out from my hysterectomy (years!) and that she would like me to re-do the test (which is no fun, by the way) and go to the office on Tuesday for her to do the final part of the test so she can see the results for herself.  Gee, this isn't nerve-wracking at all!

It's important to understand that "rare" is the kiss of death for me.  With one injury alone:

  1. most people don't need surgery for this injury
  2. it's strange that PT didn't work
  3. surgery: finds 5 torn ligaments in my ankle when only one showed up on the MRI
  4. post-op I thought I popped a stitch, so call the doc.  I get his associate who says to go in.  It turns out I had a large burst hematoma (a pocked of blood beneath the skin)  It's uncommon in your situation and to be directly under the incision, says the doctor
  5. I go and see my doctor a bit later (I can't remember if it was no more than 2 weeks later, but I'd imagine it was the sooner part of that) who says that in all his years of practice he's never seen such a this happen (it was ugly, people, super nasty - I won't disgust you by posting a picture)
  6. There's nothing else I can do (says the surgeon) but it's odd for it not to heal by now so you'll have to go to the wound care clinic.
This was all in December 2013 when I had my ankle surgery and had the rollator, so that's why I'm saying it was within a shorter period of time.
You get the idea?  Rare = my world

So, I did some research.  I know, I know, the internet is a dangerous place for research, but I try to stick to the NIH, Hopkins, Mayo - reputable sites.  They all basically agreed with my doctor, although she is amazing and I'd expect no less.  There are some pretty uncomfortable tests which could be done after I see my doc on Tuesday.  Surgery is a possible cure.  Yep, rare.  Sigh....

Friday, March 13, 2015

There is no title.....

I'm at a loss.  Really, a total loss - and not the weight kind.  My emotional eating has taken me back up to the weight I was when I started Weight Watchers (and maybe a little more, but I haven't gotten on the scale in a couple of weeks).

Here's the thing:  I REFUSE to be a victim.  Yes, my metabolism has decided to not work to its full potential as I age.  Yes, I am not able to exercise outside of a pool environment because of money (I mean, how expensive is the Y these days -- it's outrageous!).  Yes, I am on enough meds to kill a horse, all of which have "weight gain" as a side effect.  But, when push comes to shove, I am responsible for what I put in my mouth.  I am the one not getting on the exercise bike in our spare bedroom (one of the few things I can tolerate without unimaginable pain).  It's me.  I was losing weight.  I lost 26 pounds without knowing how, then I lost over 30 pounds on Weight Watchers.  I can do it, which means I am NOT a victim.  It just may take me longer than most.