Monday, June 20, 2016

Day 27 and Moodiness Abounds (Not to Mention Some Serious Anxiety)

I won't be weighing again until tomorrow, but I felt like I had to write.

I don't know if this is a common experience among bariatric patients, but I'm moody as all get-out.  This has been happening for weeks now, but the past 48 hours have been especially difficult.  I'm not exactly sure why.  I know that I'm frustrated trying to figure out what to eat as I'm back on "human" food.  There is a question about what came directly from the program with my doctor and dietitian and what I may have printed out from other sites.  I really thought I'd only printed info from the program I used, but now I'm questioning myself and it's driving me crazy!  I've been through my hospital's program over and over and can't even find what I know came from them!  I'm losing my mind and getting more frustrated along the way.

I'm anxious about starting on real food, about what my pouch will tolerate and about leaving the house when I'm trying new foods.  I made my final batch of pureed food today; just 2 meals left.  But AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!  This is scary.  I haven't had real food since the middle of last month (and then there was only a few weeks prior to that when I did 2 weeks of liquids to prep for the failure).  Can I eat veggies?  Will my pouch allow meat?  What about eating out?  Keith's birthday is this week and we'll be going out to eat.  I'm now supposed to have 3 oz of a high protein food and then 1 oz of veggies.  But what can I eat?  What should I eat?  What will I eat?  Will it be accepted by my sleeve?

I had gone through my bathing suits and found 2 or 3 which currently fit.  I was all mostly ready to go to water aerobics.  Yesterday Keith and I went and checked out the gym so I knew where I was going, etc.  I got halfway there and realized that I didn't have the lock for a locker.  I wasn't about to leave my keys and wallet in an unsecured locker.  Well, I got home and was SO frustrated.  I admit that I was angry, thinking that Keith was the last one to touch it and he must have put it somewhere and that I didn't know where it was.  Please, forgive me Keith.  My anger was unfounded.  I went again to check the bedroom and found the lock tucked in the quilt folds.  I felt like such an idiot.  My anger was for nothing and had I looked closer, I would have found it and been able to start water aerobics.  Wednesday I know I won't be able to go for the class (which is fine; I can always go and walk the pool).  The days I have afternoon appointments will be difficult to do the class, but somehow I have to make it work.  Hey, I'll (probably) be starting at the 4 week mark.  That's not half bad, huh??

That anger has really affected my mood, making it worse than it was already.  I'm so ticked off!  I can't handle going deeper into the darkness.  I have worked so hard to make this surgery successful and I don't know how to separate the two.  I started out with this stupid mental illness.  I know that losing weight wasn't going to make the depression disappear.  I've felt pretty good for the better part of the past several months (minus the week following the failure).  Now I feel like I'm back where I started.

What the heck is going on?  I'm totally unmotivated as far as the exercise is concerned.  I have no interest in even getting on the bike, in spite of having the TV up there and some cool amazon prime streaming shows/movies.  I've said all along, I worked so hard to make this surgery happen.  The doctor visits.  The tests.  The clearances.  The liquid diet - twice.  The pureed diet.  Now, the fear of returning to real food tomorrow.  If my emotional state gets in the way of that, I'm not sure how I'll cope with that.  I so desperately want to go off my meds, especially those which have weight gain as a common side effect.  I NEED to be successful.  This is the final attempt to get this fat off.  I weigh myself tomorrow and have to have lost weight or I think I'll lose my mind (even more)!

Thanks for taking the time to read this.  I know I've rambled about this emotion thing.  It's just such a big part of who I am.  I return to my food/eating therapist this week.  We'll see how that goes.....  Thanks again!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

23 Days Post-Op: All in Due Time

For the sake out housekeeping, I know you've been chomping at the bit to find out what breed Casey is.  So, drumroll please..... he's primarily Siberian Husky and somewhat less Chow Chow.  Crazy, right?  Crazy!

Also, I felt like the old blog needed some updating so enjoy the new, fresh look!

Ok, now down to business.

I saw the doctor for the first time yesterday.  I was feeling so discouraged after having lost only 2 lbs between weeks 2 and 3.  I have the LRNP's voice in my head saying "...20 pounds the first month" and while this wasn't a full month, I was super disappointed.  What had I done wrong?  I'd followed the diet to the letter, I'd gotten on the recumbent bike as much as possible, I'd taken my vitamins.  I'd done it all right.  What happened?  The only real change is that I added pureed food into my diet.  But, Jen, everyone does that, yet that number was in my head.  It was eating away at me (no pun intended).  I went into my therapist's office on Tuesday feeling incredibly down and we had a discussion about how each person is an individual and everyone's body is going to react to surgery differently, etc.  I still couldn't get that 20 lbs out of my head.

I went in to the appointment a bit ambivalent, but my doctor is wonderful and put my mind at ease right away.  As always I took my recorder with me.  This is the first appointment I've been to alone, but even when there's someone with me I take it.  With my brain being that of dirt, it's important to make sure I don't remember something incorrectly.  With this, it could make a MAJOR difference, and not in a positive way.

At the downtown office, they have a scale.  In the suburban office, there may be inconsistencies, so he sticks with the weights I give him from my scale here at home.  While I lost only 2 lbs between weeks 2 and 3, he wasn't concerned.  If memory serves (haha), I have lost about 12 lbs since surgery.  I've also lost almost exactly 50 lbs since I first met him on 12/30/15.  He's pleased with my progress.  He also said something that really struck me.  He said that I'm with myself everyday so I don't notice the change, but he can clearly see it.  I expressed my frustration at not being able to wear clothes that I have fit into at this weight in the past.  He essentially said "all in due time," but I wasn't offended.  I guess when the person who monitors your weight says something like that, it doesn't come across as trite.  He really means it.  He knows it for himself through other patients.  All in due time.

There are some areas which have puckered, specifically the two he used to do most of the work.  I wasn't concerned.  I figured that after losing the weight they'd go away anyway.  But he assured me that it's because in those areas which were used the most and suffered the most "trauma" the dissolvable stitches are attached to pretty deep tissue, hence the puckering.  No biggie.  I've had enough surgeries and have enough scars that these things don't bother me.  Heck, if that's the worst that comes from this surgery, I'll be thrilled!

I start "real/people" food next Tuesday.  On the same day, all restrictions will be removed.  The biggies are my lifting restriction and being able to get in the pool.  The lifting: tonight, for example, is going to be pure chaos.  Keith had to take Bert to the vet so they could do a day-long blood sugar monitoring (a bell curve test).  Then, tonight, we have to take both dogs for their annual appointments and to update their vaccinations.  I'm neither allowed to lift Bert nor "walk" either dog; given their sizes and the fact that they pull, there is a danger internally that they could do some damage.  Even after my restrictions are lifted, I am to take it easy as far as walking them is concerned.  Shoot!  I will have the pool and I have my bike, but left to walk by myself I wind up too much in my head and then start to think about the pain or "I've walked 'x' far and will have to walk it back" so I'll go easier.  If I'm walking the dogs, I'm focused on training them not to pull (it's an uphill battle!).

So, food.  I am a bit confused by some of the papers the dietitian sent me.  I am not really supposed to snack - and I get that.  If I start to snack and it becomes a habit, I just set myself up for failure, even if they're healthy snacks.  At the same time, some of what is listed on the paperwork sounds snack-y.  But, I am allowed to do some vegetables now.  3 high-protein meals (with a total protein intake of 60-80 grams, so 20-30 grams each meal).  I can do 3 oz of protein and 1 oz of veggies, which I think is where I'm getting the idea that some of those foods are snacks, because it's things like roasted chick peas or certain veggies with hummus.  For maximum weight loss, they have found that people who continue to do one shake daily have the most success.  It's also an incredibly easy meal!

I saw the EOB (explanation of benefits) from my primary insurance company the other day.  It's absolutely insane!  Granted, they took extra precautions because of the first attempt, plus there are oodles of bags hanging from my IV pole,
(crazy, right?), the 2 nights in the hospital, doctors, a test the day after surgery, blah, blah, blah.  You can imagine how the list goes on and on.  Also, it's a teaching hospital and I'm not sure how that works as far as billing for services of residents - I'm assuming it's ok since they're not interns, although I have no idea if they can bill for interns... all irrelevant.  Let's just say the bill is monstrous!  Praise God that I will have to pay less than $1500 and while that's not chump change, it's a tiny percentage.  Now, my secondary said outright that they do not cover bariatric surgery.  I don't know if that includes everything that goes with the surgery, like the hospital stay.  Whatever happens, Keith and I are SO thankful that insurance is picking up the majority of it.

So, all-in-all a very positive visit with the doctor.  Next week I'll be pushing the exercise as I test out foods and see what my pouch can tolerate.

And the journey continues....

Monday, June 13, 2016

Something Light-Hearted

First let me thank you for the outpouring of support.  I love reading any comments and knowing that there are people praying for me and that I am successful in my journey.  Most days I think you have more confidence in me than I do in myself.  For that, please know that I am so appreciative.

Now for the light-hearted part.  All of my writings have been sooooo serious lately.  I decided it was time for something amusing (at least to Keith and me).

This is Casey (you've already "met" him):


And in case you've forgotten or are new to the blog - and because I like to brag on my furbabies, here are some more, although this one is about Casey specifically:






 Silly Casey








<------ One of my favorite pictures of the big guy.






Sorry the pix are so disjointed.  Blogspot won't let me move them around much to be all even and equal..  Oh well.  C'est la vie.

Anyway, Keith and I decided to do a DNA test for Casey.  Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but everyone who sees him sees something different.  The rescue told us that he was a shepherd mix.  We got the results over the weekend.  If you're not friends with me on Facebook, take a stab at what breed you think he is.  While you're at it, feel free to use the "join this site" opportunity above.  I make no promises that this will always make it to Facebook - I am a bit distracted, if you know what I mean...

THANK YOU again!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Day 17 - in the Depths of Pureed Food

Part of me can't believe it's been 17 days since surgery.  Part of me can't believe it's only been 17 days since surgery.  It has been a rocky road, for sure.

I haven't need any pain meds since my last post - YAY!  I've been able to get on the bike and am up to 11.5 minutes.  It's a slow ride, but I'm moving.  I would love to take Casey for a walk (since Poly remained at daycare this week; with me still unable to bend at the waist we felt like we had no choice, plus she's happy there).  I specifically asked if I could take Casey for a walk.  She asked how big he was (ehem, 90 lbs....) and if he pulls (most definitely).  With those two answers she said it wasn't safe and I could do damage to my sleeve.  I've worked too hard to do anything risky!

So I've been sitting around, mostly avoiding everything that's on my to-do list.  Most of the stuff has basically been copied from one day to the next with little accomplishment.  I've also spent most of the week debating what this post would look like.  Unlike most of my sleeved online friends, I have no picture from the day of surgery.  I also have no pictures from my highest weight.  When you're a hippopotamus you tend to avoid the camera at all costs.  I do have a picture from a cruise last September which gives you a good idea of what I looked like.  I think this is even more than I weighed when Keith and I did the photo shoot.  I have to say, I'm still undecided.  If I'm going to post it, I might as well put the number out there, right?  All or nothing?  I'll avoid that for now and decide as I near the end of this post.

I did pretty well with the liquid diet, although I started to get hungry by the end of the 2 weeks.  I hadn't had anything solid in a long time!  At the same time, I feared the pureed diet more than I can express.  "What am I going to eat?"  "Surely they can't expect me to throw chicken in the blender?"  "I can't bear the thought of eating protein-high baby food!"  As you can imagine, there were many more thoughts along those lines.

I had my post-op appointment and both the nurse and the dietitian were pleased.  The nurse based my weight loss (just a little over a week post-op) on my 1st pre-op weight.  That may or may not be accurate.  Honestly, I have it all recorded in a calendar, I just haven't looked at the numbers.  Based on that she was pleased, but I know that between my pre-op and my 1st attempt, I lost a bunch of weight from the liquid diet.  Then I did my famous emotional eating and gained most of that back.  I worked hard to lose enough so I was, thankfully, not as fat as my 1st pre-op number.

I talked at length with the dietitian with all of my anxieties.  She said it's normal and proceeded to give me a sheet with a bunch of suggestions.  The one I assumed was egg salad (which isn't half bad, even pureed), but she had a number of suggestions.  I was still skeptical, especially given that I have to do this for 2 weeks.  The good news is that one idea is actually pretty good - and high in protein (the main goal - forever).  It's using chicken (I bought Perdue Short Cuts), plain Greek yogurt, and ranch dressing (or I could use mild taco seasoning also).  So, it's a protein drink for breakfast, 4 oz of a high protein meal for lunch and another for dinner, with another protein drink sometime during the day.  I usually save it until nighttime and then make one of the sweet ones from the cookbook I have.  There is apple pie, banana bread and a number of others.  It's pretty scrumptious... at least as far as protein shakes go.

At my first post-op, I met with the dietitian (who gave me the instructions/pureed food ideas) and the LRNP.  Everyone seemed pleased with my progress.  They told me that they anticipate a 20 lb loss in the first month.  I think that I'll be near that, but my 2nd appt, which is supposed to be a month from surgery will only be 3 weeks (so I can see him in the 'burbs).  I'll have a little wiggle room as far as loss is concerned.  I am following the post-op orders to the letter and have increased my exercise daily.

Yes, I overdo it and yes, I pay for it that day and/or the next.  I try to not do too much.  I am also stubborn as all get-out and want to push myself.  I want to find my limit without passing it.  I want to take this opportunity and not screw anything up.  I can't screw it up.  I've worked too hard.  The thing is, for the rottenness of clearances leading up to the surgery and the pretty awful first attempt, this post-op regimen is incredibly difficult.  It's going to kill me to keep away from carbs until I get closer to my goal weight.

Goal weight?  When I asked the LRNP about that, she said what they use as a determination is an antiquated chart.  They anticipate a 55-60% loss of my excess body weight.  The rest is up to me - all me.  It's following the diet - the very strict eating plan - and getting my exercise in.  As soon as I'm cleared by the doctor to do so, I'll be activating my membership at the gym and begin water aerobics.  When I'm strong enough, I am considering working with a personal trainer, but that's not exactly free.  One thing at a time.

It's frustrating when people say that surgery is the "easy way out" because they have NO CLUE!  The prep and clearances were killer, but little did I realize (as much as I read about it) that the real work starts now.  It's HARD.  The "diet" is hard.  The exercise is hard (and can get painful when I do too much).  Meeting weight expectations is hard.  Having regular doctor appointments to follow-up is hard (1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year and then every year thereafter).  So yeah, the real worked started 17 days ago.

I've been writing this on and off all day and think I have decided (if so, you can see above) that I will post the picture.  Yes, it has a number on it, but I will never let myself reach that number again.  I will not screw this up.  I cannot!

As an aside, I saw the EOB for my surgery and including the upper GI test, all the meds, the 2 nights in the hospital, the anesthesia, etc., the total was over $78K!!  I am SO thankful for my primary insurance plan because I won't have to pay anywhere near that amount.  Praise God!  Truly, I left this in His hands and prayed for those 5 months between my initial appointment with the surgeon to the day of surgery.

The "incisions" weren't too big, although one of them, the largest - about 2"-3" - still had steristrips on it yesterday.  They had rolled upwards and downwards and the only part which remained attached I slowly removed.  That area is where they did all the work and the "incision" is about 2-3 inches long and my stomach sort of puckers in there (as well as one other "incision").  Today I felt a lot of pain in that area and my Mom (a nurse) gave a suggestion of how to cover it.

I try to only wear the binding document when I go out or at night.  I haven't taken any Tylenol.  I do the breathing device far less often.  And I continue to write down everything that goes in and out of my body, as well as documenting my temperature twice daily.  I don't know if that's still necessary, but, as you've read - I WILL NOT SCREW THIS UP!

So, you'll see that I posted the picture.  Like I said, all or nothing.  If I'm not going to be honest here, behind a computer, how can I be real in my offline world?

I know this will be a long hard road.  But it's a journey I have to take; that I have to continue.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Day 7 Post-Op

Alrighty then...  Where to start?

Surgery day was a long one!  After an initial call to arrive at the hospital at 11:15, they called later and asked if 8:45 would work.  Heck yeah!  The earlier the better.  It meant leaving the house super early because of traffic headed downtown, but that's not at all a complaint!  I got changed into the hospital gown (the paper pre-op one -- it does have cute little paw prints on it, though), my Pastor and a church friend who had come to the last "attempt" arrived and we sat.  And sat.  And sat.  I think they finally took me back to the pre-op area around 1 pm.  Certainly none of us expected that.  I was there for a bit as the struggled to find a vein.  Again, they found one good enough to put me under and poked, prodded, stuck and tortured my poor body before even beginning the surgery.  One interesting note: I had anesthesiologists on either side of me looking for veins.
One of them finally went and got a vein finder (image courtesy of http://www.qtechnologiesgroup.co.uk/local-community-fundraise-for-new-vein-finder-accuvein/) although I have no idea of the brand.  I was too busy watching this thing and sort of fascinated by it.  I've always had difficult veins.  Pretty cool, right?

Perhaps I should pick one of these up (for upteen dollars) and carry it with me!  Yes, so while the vein finder was keeping my attention to my right, the woman on the left found a vein good enough to get me under.  I'll tell you, when I woke up I found all sorts of bandages from failed attempts.  Hey, at least I was asleep, right?

The one thing  One of the things I wasn't expecting was having a jugular central line.  The doc wanted to be on the safe side and said it's the easiest way to get meds to elevate blood pressure, should that happen again.  Sadly, they kept it in the entire time and it was a bit annoying, but I survived.

Remembering that I am.... well.... me, things didn't go 100% as planned and the surgeon found adhesions from my gall bladder removal which he had to address.  Once that was out of the way, he proceeded forward.

Something else I wasn't expecting was the level of pain and the amount of nausea.  Sure I knew there would be a ton, especially the first day, but when, by day 3, I was still having a hard time getting down the mandatory 4 oz of water hourly, I was taken aback.  Heck, once I had 5 oz and was sure I was going to lose it.  Yep, that's how small my stomach is - well, at least when it's all swollen and irritated from surgery.  While the surgery went (mostly) according to plan, I was given the option to stay at the hospital until Friday, while most leave on Thursday.  I was up and lapping the unit and was keeping up with my fluids so was ok'd to leave on Thursday.  I decided that I'll heal better with more sleep - because honestly, does anyone actually sleep in the hospital?  They gave me a special pillow to push against my belly when I cough or laugh or do anything else that puts strain on my core muscles and it has helped a lot.  So I know I'm super out-of-shape, but I had NO idea how often I use my core muscles.  Just getting in and out of a chair or (forgive me) on and off the toilet was downright excruciating the 2nd day (after they removed the catheter).

Sleep.  It's not as easy as one would think.  I'm not allowed to twist, nor am I to bend from the waist or lift more than 15 lbs.  It's absolutely better than being jabbed and poked all night long.  However, even sleeping in my usual position has me twisting a bit, which I never realized.  I have taken pillows and propped my middle section up a bit so I'm more aligned.  Bert, unfortunately, likes to lay there; it's his nighttime spot.  I've had to "encourage" him to move more than once since Thursday.

I'm keeping a book with everything that comes in (and goes out) of my body, as well as pain levels and I am supposed to take my temperature twice daily.  That all goes in my book.  I'm also keeping a general mood record in there for my personal record-keeping.  With my follow-up on Thursday, I don't want my horrible memory to kick in and wind up saying "I don't know" to a bunch of really important questions.

I'm still doing the liquid diet and am to get 4-6 oz hourly of liquid.  I started off with ginger tea when I first got home (iced it like crazy) and am now doing Crystal Light, and even doing some broth and consumee.  Some nights what Keith makes for himself smells delicious, but always simultaneously makes me nauseas.  That Thursday (although it may have been Wednesday -- it's so easy to lose time in the hospital) the nurse told me she was all-but prohibited from giving me anti-nausea meds.  This will be my "new normal" for a bit and I have to get used to it.  So, I've toughened up and done what I can.  Thankfully, all has stayed down.

I think I've mentioned before that I fear my depression meds will decrease my metabolism, hence slow my weight loss.  The surgery will absolutely affect my meds and how they are absorbed.  I don't know if that means I will have to decrease (hopefully) or increase dosages.  I also had normal blood pressure in the hospital and since I was being monitored 24/7 and not getting any BP meds, the doc sent me home not taking it.  My PCP was ok with that.  My sugars were also normal given that I was on a constant "sugar saline" drip.

I have essentially stopped pain meds, although did take a dose of liquid (i.e., kids) Tylenol for a headache.  There's no need to take narcotics for that.  I'll speak with the LRNP at my post-op appointment this week about what vitamins and supplements I should take.  I actually like the calcium - it's a nice sweet treat twice a day.

Poly was in daycare today (and all week).  Since I'm not allowed to bend over at the waist, I can't put her leash on and since she won't come when she's called (and will bark like a maniac), she needs to be leashed.  Casey has been bummed today, but he's good for me.  I just wish I could sit in the sofa with him so I could snuggle.  I think a good snuggle would do me good.

This evening, hubby had to rush home from work to pick up Poly from work so he could help me get Bert in the carrier so we could take him to the vet.  Just to add to the stress going on right now, Bert has to stay at the vet overnight (Tori isn't happy and will start howling/yelling at us when she realizes he isn't there at bedtime).  He hasn't been using the litter box to urinate; rather, he thinks the sofa in the spare bedroom is a better place.  Thankfully we have vinyl car seat covers for the dogs, so we put them down so there is no damage to the sofa.  He actually only ruined a pillow.  There were sheets covering some clothes I had there and the clothes on top were still in their bags - they never fit... that is not YET!

So, I know I rambled quite a bit and this is rather garbled.  Please forgive me.  I've been working on this on and off all day in the midst of a bunch of other things.  Any repetition is unintentional, as is any disjointedness.

I hopped on the scale yesterday - hubby was home and I can't bend at the waist, so I can't even get to it.  I've lost.... <drum roll please>...... 2.2 pounds.  Honestly I'm not upset about this.  I'm still swollen inside and my body is holding on to the liquids I'm consuming.  If it doesn't pick up in a month, that'll be a different story!

I think that's enough storytelling and drama for today.  Hopefully I'll soon be snoring away....

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.