Thursday, December 31, 2009


Had scrambled eggs for dinner tonight. They were awesome! I chewed and chewed and it went down great. I also had some scalloped potatoes, very moist and it also went down quite well. It feels so great to have moved into the next phase. I am excited to try a few more things in this next week. Yippee for mushies!

Shoulder Pain?

Anybody else had this phenomenon of shoulder pain. I have been reading several lapband resources that say it is rather common and has to do with referred pain from the phrenic nerve by the diaphragm. Anyway, I am feeling quite a bit of pain today and meds don't seem to help much. From what I read it's pretty normal. Anybody else dealt with this?

I should clarify...this isn't the post-op pain from the gas used during surgery, this happens when I eat. Did I eat too much?

Goodbye Soup...Hello Mushies!

I officially begin Phase 2 today of my post-op diet today! As the Soup Nazi would soup for you! I am done with soup for a while, except for after fills of course. Today for lunch I had some ham salad and cottage cheese, it was delicious! It was so nice to be able to chew again. Eating without liquids is a bit of a challenge, as I am so used to swigging liquids that it is hard not to do it. Just another habit to break.

I am also unsure about eating enough but not too much. My dietitian talked about eating until you are full and then stopping. I have yet to know what full, but not too full feels like. I have also been tracking my calories, and I think I am in the right ball park around 1200 calories per day. But my dietitian also said that eventually the goal is to not track calories, instead you are better off listening to the clues your body gives you. So I am still trying to figure all this out. I am so afraid of having too much that I might be having too little. It's a fine line between the two. Tonight I am going to try some scrambled eggs and I am so looking forward to some new choices for the next two weeks before transitioning to Phase 3, solid foods!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Number...Again!

Wow, this is really going quickly...maybe too fast? (Who would think that would be a problem?) I saw a glimpse of 269 on the scale this morning. I am eating the suggested amount of calories, so I don't think I am skimping too much. I am not hungry and feel satisfied so I guess that's good. I suppose my metabolism is catching on to the fact that there isn't more food coming in and took a look around and said..."Hey, lets use all this fat for energy instead!" I am still working on getting the right amount of protein every day, but I am getting closer to my daily goal all the time.

On another subject, my sleep has been improving the last few days. I am still tossing and turning a bit at night, but at least I am not up at 4:30 AM like I was some days. Actually slept until 6:00 AM this morning, that is an improvement. Well, this year is almost done and I am ready to start the New Year completly fresh!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Follow Up with Doc

I have been noticing one of my wounds was not healing as well as the rest, and the more I looked at it I realized that there was a little piece of string or bandage or something glued into it. I tried to pick it out with a tweezers but didn't want to tear anything. So just to be safe I am going to the local clinic today to have a professional dig around in it. I don't think anything was sutured, I think I was all super glued so I don't know if it something that belongs there or not. Anyway, I figured that before it festered I would have someone take a look at it. So I am sneaking away from work for a little while this afternoon to take care of that.

Update: I had some sutures snipped today. I didn't know I had any! Apparently two of the holes I had were sutured rather than glued and they were poking out a bit. I didn't see my regular PCP, but instead a med student at the clinic got to clip them a bit so that wounds could heal a little better. Everything seems fine for now, and I will see my surgeon again in late January. I was happy to see that I had lost about 12 pounds since my last doctor visit--a little different from my records since I am fully clothed at the office.

Monday, December 28, 2009

New Number and an NSV

Breaking tradition from previous holidays, I am pleased to say I lost another 2 pounds this week, so I am down to 270 on the scale this morning. I am so happy to see it is still dropping. I am going to celebrate every pound, because I know there will be plateaus and gains, ups and downs. I am ready to creep right into the 260's already! That's amazing. I am down a total of 33 pounds so far, 15 pounds in the month of December alone. I am really surprised at how quickly I have lost weight and for the most part I have not felt hungry or deprived.

Here's my NSV. My sister made fun of me yesterday saying my pants were really baggy. I may be ready to give up that pair of jeans, as my size begins to shrink. This morning I put on a pair of pants (size 24) that was always really tight and they fit just right today. Awesome!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cheated a Little

We celebrated a second, snow delayed Christmas with family today. Again, with all the favorite holiday foods. It was hard not to over-do. I will have to go back to my full liquid diet again until I am actually supposed to move into Phase 2 of my diet on Thursday of this week. I had my splurge, now it's time to behave again. In some ways, I was just testing my new plumbing. I tolerated everything pretty well, but probably shouldn't test it much more for a while and let myself heal well this next week and continue to follow the plan until my first fill. It's a lot of rules to follow and I really think that this was a good test of what I will have to deal with in the next weeks and months to come. So much to learn! It's hard to know what "normal" is now and as I continue to move through my phases and what it will be like after fills.

Haven't Seen a Scale in Days

I've been away from home for several days, so I have no idea what the scale might say. I have been trying a few new foods here and there, but have still been pretty good on calorie restriction overall. I am curious to go home and see if the scale moved, or if it just stayed in the same place. My family is celebrating Christmas today, a few days late because of the snow storm. So I am sure I will be tempted to try a few semi-solids again. I am finding that I can't have tempting foods around. If I only have good choices around I know I can stick to my new lifestyle. Just another lesson to learn...I have to live my own life and not be worried about what other people are eating. Just a reminder to keep the big picture in my, I choose this to change my life. As I have heard from many people before...nothing tastes as good as skinny feels!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Enjoyed Some Holiday Foods

Well, I was about a week ahead of schedule, but I decided to try some "real" food for Christmas dinner. Things went pretty good, didn't eat too much and was able to eat them without any trouble. I will say that I had some oatmeal this morning and that did not feel so good. I really felt a tight, slightly painful sensation after I got done eating. So oatmeal may not be a good thing to eat, may have to keep track of those foods that just don't sit too well. Otherwise, I was SO excited to be able to eat some potatoes, yams and a little bit of ham, chopped up and chewed up very well. It was nice to know that the system still works. In a way I was a little afraid to try more solid foods as I just don't know how my body will react to anything. Just a whole new learning experience.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! I have given myself an awesome Christmas present this year! I am excited to see what changes 2010 will bring. I am doing well, healing and getting used to a new way of eating. It has been a little bit of a challenge to deal with the temptations of lots of holiday foods around, but my will power is strong and I just keep filling my belly with all sorts of good foods that are allowed on Phase 1 of my diet. It is definitely mind over matter, just goes to show that if you don't have those temptations around you aren't tempted by them. So filling my fridge and cupboards with good choices is a very necessary step to a good life.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wonderful Lazy Day Today!

Today will be a wonderful day spent with my mom and brother. I have my most comfy clothes on and plan to do absoluetely nothing--well except eat and drink all day on schedule. Feeling really good, lost another pound today! I am so excited to see the pounds just slip away. I am thinking it will slow down in the future, but for now I will take every one I get. Now my next challenge is to really start working on my protein intake. I know I need to start tracking that better. Well, waiting for some laundry to dry and then I am off to my brother's house. Have a wonderful Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Impending Snow Storm Changes Plans

My surgeon's office called this morning, asking if I still planned on coming to Sioux Falls, since there is a major winter storm headed for the area. Well after some phone calls and decision making, my brother and I decided it would be smart to postpone the trip. So now my next appointment will be later in January for my first fill instead. Everything seems to be healing well and I am feeling good with the exception of some slight shoulder pain, the nurse and I decided I would be OK to skip the appointment. She did say I could visit my PCP, but I think that since everything seems to be healing quite well, I may skip that as well, as I really don't think they would tell me anything new. In preparing for the snow storm, we went on a grocery run and stocked up on soup and other liquids so that I would be all ready to just snuggle in for a few days.

New Number Again!

This one was a quicky, so I hope it sticks. Drum roll please...273! That means that the number on the scale today is 30 pounds less than my high of 303 this summer. Woo hoo!

I am feeling good, just a little shoulder pain so I am still on a little ibuprofen, but I am trying to wean myself off that slowly. I am headed to Sioux Falls later today in preparation for my follow up appointment with my surgeon on Wednesday. I am staying overnight with a good friend and I am looking forward to our time together.

Still struggling with sleep a little bit, but it is actually finally back to way it was prior to surgery, so I guess that is OK. One of the meds I take has been waking me up between 4:30-5:00 AM since about September. I am not groggy or tired during the day, so it isn't bothersome that way. It just sucks to be awake so early every single day.

Monday, December 21, 2009

More Goodies!

I got another card today from a co-worker, Darah and a surprise gift from a good friend. My friend Karen sent me a little care package including a card, a Christmas story from our past and a cute little copper plaque that says...With courage greater than your fear, jump into the unknown and you will fly. sweet, made me tear up a bit. So nice to know that people care!

New Number!

Scale said 274 this morning! Woo hoo! That means that I am in single digits to meet my goal weight of 175--just 99 pounds to go! So far I am down 29 pounds from my high of 303 earlier in 2009. I am anxious to watch the pounds continue to melt away, and I am also aware that sometime in the future I will stall and plateau. That's OK, as long as I know that my life is improving in a thousand different ways.

Gotta celebrate the successes when you can!


Well, good news! After I stopped taking that metoclopramide I had a much better day and night. I was able to sit still and I stayed up until 10:00 PM and slept through the night until 4:30 AM. That's an improvement! The 4:30 thing has gotten to be a pretty normal thing lately because of my other med, so this was a near normal night. I still wish I could sleep until at least 6:00 or 7:00, but I will take what I can get. Perhaps a little nap later!

So since I was up I had some breakfast and popped a few pills. I have been having a little shoulder pain, which apparently is from the gas added during the procedure. I was trying to wean myself off the ibuprofen, as my belly doesn't really hurt, but then the shoulder pain became more prominent, so I am back on it. I am also lying in the position they suggested; butt in the air to help the gas go the opposite direction. Rather interesting, think of it like a yoga position, LOL.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Like Night and Day

Well, I skipped my final two doses of the medicine that was driving me crazy. I feel like a completely different person this afternoon. I actually had the patience to help my brother decorate gingerbread cookies for several hours this afternoon. Although it was odd not to take a bite of cookie, I must admit I did lick the frosting off my finger a time or two. Even now, just sitting in my chair this afternoon I feel like I am so much more calm.

Sort of makes me mad that either the docs or the pharmacist wouldn't think about that drug interaction, I found the information readily available on several trusted websites. Oh well, guess it goes to show that you need to listen to your own body, you know best when something doesn't feel right. Perhaps I will actually get a decent night's sleep tonight. I'd do anything to sleep in until 7:00 or 8:00 AM.

Medication Side Effect

I think I figured out the whole restless feeling. I looked up the common side effects of one of the medications I have been taking the last few days, called metoclopramide or Reglan. It's prescribed to stimulate your bowel, but apparently several of the side effects include restless leg type symptoms, irritability restlessness and anxiousness. I think I may not finish the last two pills that I was supposed to take today. I just hate that feeling. Hope that will help things, if not I suppose I will have to figure out what else may cause it. I literally can't sit still for more than 15-20 minutes. Hope that feeling goes away soon.

Also found a recommendation on the Mayo Clinic website about not using metoclopramide in conjunction with one of my other medications, escitalopram. I think perhaps these two were working together to give me that crazy feeling of not being able to sit still.

More Screwed Up Sleep

Sigh...another night of messed up sleep patterns. I was so tired I went to sleep at 7:30 PM, so now I am wide awake at 1:00 AM. Can't seem to find a happy medium. I hope I can get this figured out soon, this sucks. I was going to try really hard to stay up until at least 10:00 PM, but that was impossible. Then I tried to negotiate with myself to stay awake until 9:00 PM. That didn't work either. So here I am in the middle of the night.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Nice Visit from a Co-Worker and Flowers

Had a nice visit from one of my co-workers, Ruth today. She delivered flowers from my work crew along with a gift certificate from a coffee house here in town. She chose a beautiful Christmas centerpiece that will look great on our holiday table next week. I feel so loved! It's hard sometimes to feel appreciated and worth someone's love and caring and it's always a nice lesson to learn to accept kindness from others. :)

Went for a Walk

Walk, walk, walk is what I have heard from lots of lap band patients and the docs. I couldn't agree more. I feel better when I am active and walking around. I have this overwhelming urge to fidget. It's better than it was the other day, but it's still rather annoying. I just get this feeling I like I can't sit still or find a comfortable position for more than about 15 minutes. Must be my body telling me something, like get up a move.

Otherwise, each day I am feeling a little better, like things are healing well. I am making small improvements each day. As of today, I am on Phase One of my diet, which means that I can have a full liquid diet. I think that as I can eat more my energy level will improve, even though it is a very low calorie diet. I am glad the surgeon suggests that you do the liquid diet before hand, as it really helps you to feel normal about your eating now. That was you don't have to go cold turkey on food. Feeling pretty good, hope that trend continues!

Sleep Patterns Are All Messed Up

My sleep patterns are all screwy lately. Last night I was so tired I went to bed before 8 PM, woke up at midnight then I have been awake since 4:00 AM. I think part of it is my meds, but whatever it is, I wish that I could just a have a normal night's sleep. There isn't much to do at 4:00 AM. Not much on TV and no one to talk to at that hour. Makes for a long day.

Other than that, I am feeling a little better each day. I was even brave enough to go for a small outing yesterday. But that was plenty, I was worn out by the end of the day. Incisions seem to be healing OK. I have an appointment next week to check on things, hopefully it will all go OK.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Great Care at the Hospital

I got some really great care from my nurse at the hospital this past week. In particular, there was a nurse named Kari that was there during the two days of my stay. She was so caring and really did everything she could to make me feel better. Just wanted to make sure I remembered her name here. I also had a guy named Paul who was the over night guy, he was OK, but he was no Kari!

I also had a great gal who was a patient care assistant, I think her name was Jen. But she helped give me a sponge bath and took care of all sorts of jobs I wouldn't wish on anyone. Great, caring people!

Shout Outs to My Peeps

I have such great people in my life. I am so thankful for them! I got several calls, texts, e-mails, cards, flowers and gifts from some really great people in my life. I don't want to miss anyone, but I do want to take a moment to offer the following shout outs:
  • My brother, Steve: For driving me to Sioux Falls and taking extra good care of me for a few days, including a stool to step into the truck, being a crazy blog videographer and overall keeping my spirits high. What a sweetie!
  • To my sisters, Janice and her family for phone calls, e-mails, prayers and hugs.
  • To my sister Susan for e-mails and texts and lots of prayers and well wishes.
  • To my mom for phone calls, prayers and good thoughts.
  • To my friend Lavonne, for a visit in the hospital, phone calls, a great gift from Barnes and Noble and for just listening to me over these past months.
  • To my friend Patti, for lots of good wishes, lots of hours listening to my hopes and fears and for the beautiful flowers she sent.
  • To my friend Karen for the e-mail she sent via the hospital website and for lots of chats and e-mails.
  • To my many co-workers and friends for cards, e-mails, prayers and good thoughts.

I am so blessed. I know I am probably forgetting a thousand people, but I just want to say a huge thanks to everyone, who helped me get through all this. Last but not least, thanks to my blog readers for lots of good thoughts too!

Belly Pictures...Caution May be TMI!

This may be too much information for some, but I thought I would include some belly pictures of my incisions. There are no staples, just super glue! There are a total of four small incisions, sort of at north, west east and south and then the large incision where the port was placed.

You can see the port incision and two of the smaller incisions. The small red dot to the left of the port incision is a small blood blister from wrangling around during surgery apparently. So there's my gut. Everything seems to be healing as it should be so far. The port incision is pretty lumpy, not very smooth. I suppose there will be a small scar there, but the others will disappear easily. All in all, things are going OK so far.

Feeling a Little Restless

Not sure why, but I am feeling very restless today. Like I can't sit still for more than a few minutes. Not sure what is causing that. I feel a little better after I eat something so it makes me wonder if I am just getting a little hypoglycemic. Been trying to eat a very regular intervals and even added in a little yogurt today since I felt like I needed something in my belly. I had broth at breakfast (I know that's weird) and also at lunch and that seemed to help a bit with the "fidgettyness". Hope that goes away soon.

Went to therapy, but cut it really short today, only about a half hour. But that's a good thing, since I just had good things to say. Won't have another appointment until January, so that will be OK. I think I am nearly ready to wean myself of that in the next month or two. Things are headed in the right direction in my life...I hope.

Day 3 of Recovery

Feeling a little better today, still a little sore but getting less tender each day. Recovery sucks a little, I am feeling a little restless and wanting to be able to get back to normal life. But I know this is an important time to just spend time taking care of me. I am going on a very short outing today for my therapy appointment and maybe a very quick trip to the grocery store if I feel up to it. More than anything, I think I am just bored and needing something to do to help the hours pass by more quickly. Not much else to report, just following the rules and trying to feel better.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Plumbing Problems...Not Me, My House

OK, here's a problem I did not need today! I was using the bathroom, a pretty frequent experience around here. I accidentally knocked my hair dryer off the vanity, and all the sudden all hell broke loose! A pipe apparently came undone inside the wall and away from the shut off valve. Good grief! I don't need this, so I had to "run" downstairs to the main shut off valve to the house, eek!!! Called my brother, called my landlord, called a plumber. So now I am waiting patiently for the plumber to come over. This is not a good situation for me today! If ever I needed the plumbing to be in good working condition, this is the day! Calgon, take me away!

The Surgery Update

Surgery is done and I am back home recuperating! I am feeling pretty well today, just a few aches here and there. We arrived in Sioux Falls on Monday night about 5:00 PM and I started my magnesium citrate...that was not much fun! My brother went out for supper and shopping and left me to take care of business, LOL. I brought a few creature comforts; a candle and matches and some moist wipes. Those helped for a while, but eventually the process was pretty tiring.

On Tuesday, we were up at the crack of dawn and at the hospital for check-in by 5:00 AM. I was taken to the admitting area, and my brother got to come along. I put on a gown, got an IV and got ready to be taken back to the OR. I remember laying on the table, a flurry of activity of sticky things being put on and that was about it, and I was out like a light. Next thing I knew I was awake in the post op unit and being moved to my room. Felt pretty sore and groggy, and that lasted most of the day. Tuesday night I got a bad case of the queasies, and it took a long time to get that under control.

Wednesday was much better. I had to do a swallow test in the morning and passed with flying colors. I was able to try a few liquids by noon. I continued to get better throughout the day and was released at about 5:00 PM. It was a long drive home, but we stopped several times for walks.

Today I am doing well, just handling pain with a little liquid motrin. All in all, I feel OK, just sore and hard to find a comfortable spot to sit for any length of time, but I am sure that will improve. I have been eating and drinking on schedule today with lots of juice, jello, water and some broth for lunch. So far so good!

Surgery Pictures

Here are a few surgery pictures from my camera phone. They aren't the best quality, but thanks to my "videographer", my brother Steve, taking pictures!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Travel Day!

My brother, aka my chauffeur and I leave for Sioux Falls today! This is it! We are leaving at noon. I am spending the morning packing my things and trying not to freak out, LOL! Today I am on clear liquids only and this afternoon at 4:00 PM I start drinking the magnesium citrate. I hope I have everything all figured out. No turning back now.

December 15th will be like a new birthday, a new lease on life. Everything will change from here and I hope I have prepared myself both mentally and physically for the changes to come. I have battled my weight much of my childhood and all of my adult life up until now. If I am successful, I will change my life 180 degrees. I am ready to find the new me.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

New Number and Patience

Saw a new number this morning on the scale...277. Woo hoo! I am trying to be patient today, it's hard to find ways to pass the time. Tomorrow morning I will pack my bags and my brother and I are leaving around Noon for Sioux Falls. My mind is just racing with all sorts of thoughts--mostly good. Just getting impatient is all. I am trying to keep my expectations realistic and I am trying to go into this with a very positive attitude. I think that will help in handling the pain and helping me heal. I think that there is a lot to be said for your mental state and doing things from your brain to help you manage pain such as deep breathing, meditation and relaxation techniques. Of course I will gladly accept pain meds too!

I am hoping to take some pictures along the way to add to my blog and help me remember the experience. Just a few more hours to wait...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Need a Project Today

I am going to need some projects to keep me busy this weekend! I have so much nervous energy that I think I'm going to burst. I do need to clean the house in preparation for Christmas guests. I wake up so early anymore that it makes for a long day if I don't have something productive to do. It's 7:15 AM and I have already had breakfast, done the dishes and I am on my second load of laundry! That's ridiculous. At this pace, I will run out of things to do by mid-morning. I think I need to find some ways to relax and quiet my mind. Well, better go find some projects to do!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Soon-To-Be Former Fat Girl

Crazy! I can't believe I am just days away from a brand new life! I am feeling rather introspective tonight, thinking back on my 25+ years as the fat girl. I think it's going to take a while to make the inside and the outside mesh together. I am really ready for this. I don't feel nervous, I really feel like I am making the right decision. I have done everything I can do to prepare for this and I feel at such peace with my decision. I am so anxious to see some results and to feel my life really changing. I am ready to shed myself of the fat girl once and for all.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I am officially off work for a while! Technically I have a staff meeting/Christmas party tomorrow, but that hardly counts as work. Then I have taken a week of sick leave and will likely take a few more days of a mix of annual leave and sick leave before Christmas. I am accompanying my brother to one of his doctor appointments in Rochester, so those days off were planned quite some time ago. So I get a long recouperative period.

I spent some time today organizing all my papers. It was getting to be quite a stack of bills, letters, instructions and such and I decided to put it all into a little accordian file. I have so many things to keep straight, I think that will really help me. I stopped at the drug store to pick up my bottle of magnesium citrate...the bottle says it's "the sparkling laxative" in a lovely lemon flavor, LOL. That will be quite an adventure I am sure. Gotta start drinking that by 4:00 PM on Monday as part of my prep for surgery.

New Number and Another NSV!

Woo hoo! I saw a new number on the scale...drum roll please...278! I met my goal of being in the 270's before surgery. Yippee! I also found some old clothes in my closet that I stopped wearing because they were too tight and they fit today. I am so fidgety today, a bundle of energy. You know how they say pregnant women start "nesting" right before their baby is born? You know, they start cleaning the house, tying up loose ends and preparing for the big day. I feel like I am in that stage, LOL. In some ways I am also "expecting" a new life to begin, ha ha! Hopefully that energy bodes well this weekend so I can clean my house before Christmas company comes.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

One Step Closer!

Just got home from a long drive--not looking forward to that, but made it safely despite the weather hassles of yesterday. Had a good pre-op class and a very short and sweet appointment with my surgeon. I felt well prepared and have all my ducks in a row for next week. Holy mackerel! Next week, not even a full week. Just a mere 5 days, 8 hours and 4 minutes. Slight change of plans, since my sister is still a bit under the weather, my brother is going to be my chauffeur instead. Can't believe it is just a few days away.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Winter Weather...Ick!

I drove in crappy weather for about 200 miles to try to get to my pre-op appointment tomorrow. The first of many trips. I finally decided to call it quits about 45 minutes from Sioux Falls and got a hotel room to stay the night until morning. I can start my day fresh tomorrow, although the forecast says blowing snow and bitter wind chills for tomorrow. Hopefully things look better in the daylight.

In the mean time, I got to my hotel room in time to watch most of The Biggest Loser finale. Wow! What inspiration. It was so awesome to see Shay--and she got offered $1000 for every pound she loses by the next season finale in early 2010. Wouldn't that be an awesome motivator! I wish! So if there is anyone out there that wants to pay me $1000 a pound, you can start with a down payment of about $23,000. LOL!

I am excited about my class tomorrow, hope it answers a lot of my questions. I am getting so close to the big day--this time next week I will be banded and in recovery in the hospital! That's crazy to think about.

Yippee! An NSV!!

What's an NSV you ask? It's a non-scale victory! It's all those aha moments that aren't scale related that tell you your body is changing. So yesterday I was working at my office and I got a new storage cabinet I had to put together. While I was working, bending, stretching, lifting etc. I complained because my pants were falling down! Ha ha! I literally was showing off my bright purple undies and tugging my pants up every time I moved. My co-worker said, my pants looked longer--which is true because they were hanging about 2 inches below where they used to sit on my waist. Losing your pants is a good thing! Might have to search my closet for a few smaller sizes, or perhaps a trip to the thrift store for some "in-between" sizes. (Thanks for the idea Sarah!)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Last Minute Instructions from Surgery Center

Got a phone call today from Cherish, a nurse at the surgery center. She had lots of questions for me and several instructions for the pre-surgery class and the day of surgery. Her phone call really makes things real! I can't believe it is getting so close. But of course there are a few potential glitches--life wouldn't be normal if there weren't some things to stress me out! The weather is threatening to make my travels to Sioux Falls a bit treacherous, but I guess that's life in the midwest. Second thing is my sister, who was going to be my chauffeur is ill, so I am not sure she will be available (sure hope it's nothing serious!), so for now I am still counting on it but thinking about a plan B just in case, which would be my brother instead. But we have a week to sort all that out, it will all work in the end.

Another Pound Down

Saw a new number again on the scale, down to 282. I am hoping to be in the 270's before surgery. I have about a week to do it. Of course I think my scale will differ from the doctors office, so I will have to take that into account too. This time next week I will be packing my bags for the trip to Sioux Falls. This week is going to fly by.

I am surprised by my diet, in that the longer I am on it the easier it has become. Amazingly 1000 calories doesn't leave me feeling hungry. In fact there are some times that I actually feel full. I think for the first time in many, many years I am actually listening to my body. I think that drinking a lot has helped to feel full and eating smaller meals, more often has helped to keep the cravings away. The only thing that gets me is seeing food on TV, or smelling someone cooking actully makes my mouth water. It's a crazy brain trigger. It's not hunger, it's just a craving. The body and mind are a complicated, strange thing.

Tomorrow night I am headed to my mom's house to stay the night so that I am a little closer to Sioux Falls for my pre-op class and appointment with Dr. O'Brien. I hope everything goes well and he sees that I have been making acceptable progress before surgery. The days just keep ticking away!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

8 Days...23 Hours...and Counting

Wow! It's getting closer. I am doing much better on my liquid diet. Of course a little more variety would help, but the more I have been doing it, the more I am getting used to it. It's also encouraging to see the scale keep dipping down little by little. Makes the mushy stuff worth it. It's also good to know that I have strong enough will power to stick to something too. I know that these two weeks are preparing me for living with the lap band.

I have a busy week this week, both at work and personally. Wednesday is the big day in Sioux Falls, going for my pre-op class. Then the days will fly by even faster and before I know it I will be back in Sioux Falls for surgery. There is such hope for the New Year! I hope that I can make it the best time in my life.

Friday, December 4, 2009

One Step Closer

I have an appointment with my shrink today, lol. I think going to a therapist is one of the smartest decisions I ever made for myself. I had so much garbage in my brain that led me to my 303 pounds and I just kept going in the wrong direction in so many areas of my life. I feel like I am at the best place mentally than I have been in a long time and soon hopefully the physical and mental me will match up much better.

Saw 283 again on the scale today, that's awesome. I know I should weigh myself less often, but for now it's encouraging, not discouraging. Later on, I may choose one day a week as my "official" weigh in day so that I don't get wrapped up in numbers. I also need to remember to look for non-scale victories (NSV's) when the going gets tough. I need to do my measurements before I forget too, so I can write them down here.

10 days and counting!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pre-Op Tests Are Done!

Just got back from the clinic. Blood work was good, had my x-rays and EKG. Had a good chat with my PCP, Dr. Marciano. He has a very different bedside manner, kind of a hard ass, lol with a caring touch. He will definetly give it to you straight, yet you walk away knowing that he really does care about your well being--physically and emotionally. I wasn't sure about him at first, but the more I see him, the more I like him.

So now the tests will all get sent to Sanford and hopefully I will be all ready to go. One step closer. The one thing he did ask about was my diet, as my iron was a little low. I just started taking the multivitamin yesterday, so hopefully that keeps it in check. I am sure I will also have occasional bloodwork done at the surgeon's office over the next few months. Life is good...just a few more days to wait.

New Number

Just a quick update, actually saw 283 on the scale today...not sure if it's ready to stick yet though, but I actually saw the number! Woo hoo, 20 pounds!

Getting Closer

Today I have the final pre-op tests at my local clinic; x-rays, EKG and blood work. I am feeling good. I keep seeing a little progress on the scale, but more than anything I can feel the difference. Scale is around 285, which is 18 pounds down from June 2009, when I started all this. My pants are looser, my stomach isn't its usual bloated, full feeling. I am peeing like a race horse from all of my liquids, lol. My countdown ticker says 11 days, 23 It is still sinking in. Next week it's off to Sioux Falls for my pre-op class with the dietician and final pre-op visit with my surgeon. I am also going to visit one of my good friends while I am there, so that will be a bonus.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Moving Right Along

Tomorrow is the day of my pre-op tests at the clinic. Each appointment I have brings me closer to my surgery date. Less than 2 weeks to go. It's all feeling very surreal. I am tiring a little of my liquid diet. It is so limited, it's just hard to find things that are satisfying. I started taking a multi-vitamin today. Since I needed chewable ones, I figured I might as well get the fun ones. So I got Flintstones Complete. Reminds me of my childhood, lol. I used to love them back then.


This is tough! I am trying hard to fight this feeling of hunger. I really miss having something chewy or crunchy. I am also trying to let myself not get ravenously hungry by having a snack or juice in between meals. But this is taking all of my mental strength to stick to my liquids and try to keep my calories for the day around 1000. Maybe I should try some gum or hard candy or something just to give my mouth something to do. I know that I just need to keep concentrating on the end goal and stay in the moment.

I am a strong person and I can get through this. It is building my character. I am ready to do something really big for myself. I am worth it!

Official Before Pictures---Again

*** I had to repost this one after I made some blog changes...

Well, it may not be pretty, but here are some official pre-surgery photos. In this picture I am 285 pounds--down from an all-time high of 303 earlier in 2009. I am wearing a women's 3X shirt and size 30 jeans. The jeans were a little loose, with no spandex. Otherwise, I would typically wear a size 28 pants, usually with some spandex for eased fit. Notice my right arm has gotten a bit of a folded flab over the past few years. Also note the full face and double chin. Hopefully the pictures only get better from here!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lots of Heavy Breathing

I had one of my first pre-op tests today at my local clinic. I had to do a pulmonary function test, so I had to do lots of heavy breathing, lol. On Thursday I have x-rays, blood work and and EKG and I have an appointment with my PCP, Dr. Marciano. Getting all my ducks in a row, hope everything comes back OK, so there are no delays in my surgery date. I think they should all be fine.

I am surviving my liquid diet. It's a bit challenging and it's hard to feel satisfied. But I think that a lot of it is head hunger rather than real hunger. Of course everything I see makes me hungry. For instance, this afternoon at break there will be popcorn--one of my favorite foods in the whole world. And I will just need to sit there and drool. Those are the toughest parts of this, but I just need to remember the big picture and why I am making these sacrifices now for big rewards later. Patience!

Monday, November 30, 2009


Sorry to any of my followers who I lost. I was making some blog changes and lost a bunch of info!

First Day of Liquids Went Well

Today was my first day of the full liquid pre-op diet. I did OK, but definetly felt the hunger--which is a good thing. I think I need to retrain my brain to eat when I am hungry, rather than eat when I am bored, lonely, happy, sad, at certain times of day, etc. Feeling hunger for the first time in a long time is a good thing and something to learn from.

I went to the grocery store today and stocked up on a bunch of liquid food options. My goal tonight is to clean out my cupboards and my fridge of stuff I won't be able to eat for a while. I am feeling excited and anxious but all in all, I am ready to tackle this. Just need to keep my eye on the prize, as one of my SparkPeople buddies wrote.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Feeling Overwhelmed

Tonight on TLC there are several shows about extreme obesity and the way food can be an addiction. It is hitting too close to home with me tonight. I am feeling tearful and just a little overwhelmed all the sudden. I think the reality of the coming weeks is really starting to sink in. I have a lot of fears about being able to change my habits and fight the addiction that food has become in my life. I know this is the right thing to do, but I don't trust my own instincts. Being heavy for so long has had a truly devastating effect on my psyche. I know I need to take a deep breath and keep things in perspective. It's all just a little bit scary--guess that's a good topic to discuss with my shrink this week. I am so glad I have someone to work through these issues with. I know that so much of this is a mental rather than physical fix. I just need to use all the tools at my disposal to make my own future.

The Countdown is On!

Tonight is my last meal of solid foods for quite some time. The countdown to surgery begins tomorrow and will become so much more real as I start all liquids for the next two weeks. I am really beginning to imagine what life will be like in the future. There are so many hopes and dreams. I hope I am ready for the changes. I have so many questions and I am feeling a few butterflies, which I know is totally normal.

It's hard to concentrate sometimes. There are so many ideas swimming in my head right now. What will next year be like? I hope that a year from now I can say, "that's the best thing I ever did for myself." I hope.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Getting Ready for the Liquid Diet Phase

Just a week form today I will need to start on my full liquid pre-op diet. So I decided to write down a few ideas for my grocery list. Gotta think about getting ready and I wanted to give myself some different options. Thought I'd write them down here:
  • Chicken Noodle Soup (strained)
  • Vegetable Beef Soup (strained)
  • Potato Soup (strained and diluted)
  • Tomato Soup
  • V-8 Juice/Tomato Juice
  • Fruit Juice
  • Pudding
  • Jell-O
  • Applesauce
  • Milk
  • Popsicles
  • Sherbet
  • Plain Low Fat Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt
  • Yogurt (no chunks)
  • Cream of Wheat
  • Carnation Instant Breakfast
  • Boost
  • Crystal Light
  • Special K20 Water

New Number on the Scale

Saw a new number on the scale this morning. Down to 284, hope it sticks. That means I have lost 15 lbs. since my initial surgery consultation. I feel good about that. Sure it could have been a little better I suppose, but I still have about 3 weeks to drop that a little more. It would be great to get down to 20 lbs. pre-surgery. But at the very least the scale is headed in the right direction. My surgeon also said that the low calorie diet/liquid diet would help shrink my liver to make surgery easier. Hopefully I have done what I could to make that happen. I am excited to see the changes. I know that even 15 lbs. has made my pants fit better. Just imagine what a few more pounds will do. I am in a good frame of mind right now, really trying to work on my physical and mental well-being.

Taking a Little Inventory

I thought it might be a good idea to list some reasons why I am choosing to have a life changing surgery. When I am having "one of those days" which I know will come, I can look back at the list and tell myself...this is why you did this.

I originally wrote this down in July 2005, the first time I contemplated weight loss surgery but didn't follow through. These were the list of reasons why I was thinking about WLS. Warning...This could be a particularly long post, but I think it will provide some clarity later on...

Gastric Bypass July 26, 2005

Want to start the insurance pre-authorization process. Need to find out more information about the procedure, costs, doctors, etc. Get a consultation, find insurance providers.

Reasons to have it done:

300+ lbs.
Insulin resistance
Increased blood pressure
Breathing problems
Acid Reflux
Back and knee pain
I don't want to die (risks for stroke, heart attack, diabetes, etc.)

More Pictures

Here are some pictures, at various weights over the past 3-5 years. I think most of these are from about 2006 to present. In that time I was anywhere from a low of about 255 to a high of 303.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Days Keep Ticking Away

Less than three weeks until surgery! I can't believe how fast this next month or two is going to go. There are so many milestones, so many things on my to-do list. I am feeling good about my current diet. With the exception of 2 days, I have been doing really well with the 1200 calorie diet. The two days I was off, were only over by about 100-200 calories. I hope that I am doing enough.

This week is Thanksgiving, and as tempting as it may be to pig out, I know that I need to really try to stick to my 1200 calories. I can still have the things I like, I just need to have small portions. I can do this!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

22 Days and Counting

Waiting is like torture. My mind is racing with all sorts of thoughts. I have so many questions about what things will be like post-surgery. I have been trying to read up on things and understand everything that is involved. I have done some preliminary grocery shopping to prepare for the liquid phase of both pre-op and post-op. I wish I knew more, like how much pain I will be in, what the hospital stay will be like and things like that. But I suppose until I actually experience it, the best I can do is wonder.

I'm also a bit anxious about what the results will be like. I have read lots of stuff that says most people lose anywhere between 30-100% of weight. I'm not sure if I have a goal weight in mind, but I suppose under 200 would certainly be a start. I haven't been under 200 since high school for sure. So here's where the disconnect is...I felt "fat" in high school, so to be back at that weight seems both good and bad. It's a hell of a lot better than now, yet I wonder if those same feelings of insecurity and low self esteem will still exist. That's where I feel good about seeing a therapist right now, to help me work through those emotional issues. So many changes to come, I suppose I just need to take it one hurdle at a time and live in the moment.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Well, I am wide awake in a recently all too familiar fit of insomnia, so I decided to check in here...I am hopeful for the future and also feeling a little unsure of myself. I have watched/read the prep materials from my surgeon's office a dozen times, but I think until I am actually living with the band, I won't really know what life will be like. I have no idea what to expect. I am excited to see how fast and how much weight I will lose. I know that it may take a while to relearn habits that have been ingrained in my brain for three decades.

This has been such a long road. I have never really known a healthy weight. I think I need to tackle this in a very methodical way, to break it down piece by piece so that it doesn't seem so overwhelming. I need to work on a go-to grocery list of new foods and I need to work on planning my meals ahead of time. I think that will help me be successful with these big changes.

November is slipping away, and December will be here in a flash. I am trying to soak up as much information as I can. I am being religious about sticking to my 1200 calorie diet and I am hoping that it shows on the scale. I want my surgeon to know that I am serious about things. I have a hotel reservation made for my sister and I and we have our travel plans all set. I need to make some lists and figure out what to take with me. I think I have the financial part figured out too, so that I am ready for the up front out-of-pocket costs. It's all coming together. So much anticipation...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

26 Days and Counting...

I am consumed with too much information right now. It's nearly overwhelming to try to read all the "rules" and suggestions. The next few weeks are going to fly by. I have so much stuff to do. I think I almost need to start making some lists of things I need to do to prepare. This is such a big change, it is a lot to take in.

My sister has agreed to accompany me to the hospital, and I am so thankful for that support from her. To be honest, it is hard to accept help sometimes (Don't worry, I'm working on that with my therapist). It's been a long time since I have allowed myself to dream and hope for the future and it is a little overwhelming at times. I just have to keep staying in the moment and just take each day as it comes. This is a big investment in myself and I pray that it will all be worth it.


Since I have been cutting back on calories, I am actually feeling hunger. For so long I have been trained to just eat at certain times and haven't really listened to my body. It will be a whole new experience to really get in tune with my physical and emotional thoughts and feelings. I made an appointment with my PCP, Dr. Marciano and am scheduled to have the pre-op physical on December 1. I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that this is really going to happen. The more days that pass, the more it really starts to sink in. This is going to drastically change the way I live my life. I almost don't even know what to hope for. It has been so terribly long since I felt physically able to do so many things in my life. What will life be like a year from now? I can't even imagine.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sticking to 1200 Calories

I have been using Sparkpeople again to track my foods. Today I knew exactly what I was going to eat and actually entered my food at the beginning of the day. It really helped me to stay on track. In fact this afternoon at break, they offered popcorn. I passed up on it, knowing that my supper had the rest of my calories already spoken for, for the day.

I am also trying to learn to chew and chew and chew. It really does take concentration. I hope that I can learn all of these new skills. I read through my pre-op packet today and I think I have a pretty good handle on what the expectations are for the next weeks and months to come. I will change my life for the better.

Time is Flying By!

Just got my pre-op instruction packet in the mail. Tried to read through it, but there is so much to take in, it's a little overwhelming. I am also trying to arrange travel and who is available to come with me for support and as a driver. I need to learn to be more assertive. It's not my nature to ask for things for myself. I am almost feeling guilty for asking people to have to help me. I need to get rid of that thinking.

I have been trying really hard to keep to the suggested 1200 calorie diet. It's been helping. Today the scale read 285, unclothed. I think my weight at my surgery consultation in July was right around 300. So hopefully that shows my commitment to change and helps with surgery. I'm crazy nervous and excited. There is so much to take in.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Trying Some New Liquids

Well, I thought I would ease myself into my upcoming liquid diet by trying a couple of protein drinks. I bought Special K2O Protein Drink mix, a pink lemonade mix with very low calories and about 10% RDA of protein. Tastes pretty good. I also bought Boost, a nutritional meal replacement type drink. It's chilling in the fridge as we speak, so we'll see how that tastes. I am a little leery of the texture on that one, but I am trying to keep an open mind.

I am trying to prepare both mentally and physically for the month ahead. I think these next few weeks are going to go fast!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Surgery Date Scheduled!

I can't believe how quickly things have happened this week. I scheduled a surgery date today! Dr. O'Brien's nurse will be sending a packet to me with all the details but as long as everything lines up, I am scheduled for surgery on December 15, 2009. It is absolutely surreal. I have so much to do before then. A surgery pre-op appointment with my primary physician, a 1200 calorie pre-op diet, a pre-op appointment with Dr. Brien and a mandatory prep class a week before the surgery.

Then it's a liquid diet two weeks prior to surgery. I would like to take some before pictures too. So much to think about. I need to reschedule some work things and get ready for all this to happen. I am so ready for my life to change. Gotta clean out the cupboards at home, get ready for a new way of eating and shopping and living.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I Can Schedule Surgery!

After nearly half a year of waiting and wondering, I finally got the go ahead to schedule surgery! I can't believe it. I thought I might have to wait. Instead, they said that as soon as my surgeon's office receives the approval letter, I can set a date that works for me.

I am excited...nervous...scared...hopeful...and wondering what a change this will be in my life. My mind is spinning right now. I have a thousand questions. I want it to happen right away, and yet I also want some time to get my head straight. I want this to work so badly. I want to be proud of myself and the changes I am about to embark on. It's a big day!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Call Back from HCMTI's CEO

Got a call back from HCMTI today from the CEO, Jack. He said that I have been APPROVED and that Troy will call me tomorrow to get the ball rolling. He stated that some of the problem might have stemmed from a lack of activity, or starting and stopping. Technically, I had inquired about the program several years ago but never actually went any farther than receiving the paperwork, so I see that as a bit of a cop out.

Anyway, I think my pushing worked in the long run. So we will see where things go from here. I still don't really know what "approved" means. Does that mean, I am approved to start the 12 months? Does that mean I am approved to set a surgery date? I suppose some of my questions will get answered tomorrow. I hope I am ready for this!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Progress? Maybe.

Well, I got tired of dealing with the crap from HCMTI and I went above their heads. After Troy's voice mail in late October and still no action a third of the way into November I decided to be a squeaky wheel. I had recently inquired to my insurance company why they hadn't paid my the claims for my pre-authorization evaluation appointments. They said they hadn't received any information from HCMTI that I was working on approval so that the claims could be approved, so as soon as they got the information they would re-run them. Another ball dropped by HCMTI. So after more placating from Troy about "we'll get you an answer soon" and "it's on my medical director's desk" I had enough.

So I called our HR department at my employer who then referred me to the assistant director of benefits at the Bureau of Personnel, Mary. She promised me she'd look into things. I provided her with a written account of my dealings with HCMTI over the last six months. She promised to follow up on it.

Well today, after months of hassle, I received a call from the head honcho, the CEO of HCMTI, Jack. He apologized and told me that there was no excuse for the things that had occurred. He promised to call me tomorrow after he had a discussion with the medical director, Dr. Luther. Maybe now I will finally be able to move forward, whatever the decision.

I can't believe that it had to come to that. But I hope that I have been decent and I don't think that I was asking for too much. I hope that doesn't affect my relationship with them in the future as I have to work with them for quite some time through this process.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Voice Mail from HCMTI

Got a call left on my voice mail today from Troy saying that my file was on the medical director's desk and I should be getting an answer very soon. He apologized for the delay and assured me that he would be getting me an answer from his boss any day now. So I guess we will see what that means. Anyway, I guess at the very least that is progress. So I keep waiting and then I suppose we will go from there.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Follow Up with HCMTI Again!

So here's the latest...called HCMTI on Wedenesday of this week and left a voice mail. No one called me back, so I called again on Friday. It talked to Troy, who I had talked to a few times before. He was the one I talked to in mid-September that promised and answer by the end of the month. That obviously came and went. So I asked him the status again, and he gave many excuses about the company changing hands in October and he said some not so nice things about his former employer. Something to the effect of "they had their head stuck somewhere it shouldn't be." Or something like that.

Anyway he promised an answer again soon and said that everything in my file looked good and that it was just waiting to be signed off by the director. So I told him that I wanted to voice my frustrations and to tell his superiors that they are dealing with people's lives here. He said he would pass on the message and I tried not to be a bitch, but just to calmly tell him how the waiting really sucked. So I am sitting and waiting again. I don't know where things will go from here or what my recourse is if I don't get an answer within a reasonable amount of time.

I am still a little torn emotionally as I hope I am ready to tackle the potential changes that could be ahead for me. I am seeing a counselor/therapist about some depression and self esteem issues and I hope that will help me to work through this process both physically and emotionally. I also have some concerns financially as I know there will be some out of pocket costs and I am not sure I prepared for that. But perhaps if I get to that stage of things I can make some arrangements with family to borrow money if needed. Lots of things are up in the air yet. I just don't know how to feel. I should be happy I suppose, instead I am feeling a little unsure. Maybe that's normal? Who knows what "normal" is anyway?

Sunday, October 4, 2009


I had called HCMTI in mid September, they made promises to contact me by the end of the month, but I am still waiting. We'll see if they contact me this week, if not I suppose I will have to follow up again with them. It's pretty frustrating. My initial appointments were in July and here it is October and I am still in limbo. I don't know if I am in a good place mentally anyway, perhaps this delay is OK.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Insurance Process is Very Slow

I called the third party health organization I have to work with to get lap band approval again this past week. It had been several weeks since I had talked to them and still hadn't heard anything. I talked to one of the people who sends the letter and makes the phone call. He made all sorts of excuses about being really swamped and getting a lot of requests all at once, and about some changes to the system. I don't care about all that, I just wanted an answer. He said he expected to make a decision before the end of the month. So we will see what happens with that. That will be nearly 3 months since my initial appointments with surgeon, psychologist and nutritionist.

I have decided that I have some emotional and mental issues to work through, including some of my eating triggers that I need to work on regardless of surgery or other weight loss plan. I know that my being alone and often bored and lonely add up to poor choices of shopping, eating and eating out. If I hope to be successful with this, this time, I need to work on body and mind, and probably soul too. I have an appointment to talk to a counselor/therapist next week and obesity along with some other quality of life issues are sure to be on the list of things to talk about.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Morbidly Obese

Morbidly obese. That's an ugly phrase. It just sounds awful. The clinical definition of a person who is morbidly obese is someone who is more than 100 lbs. over their ideal weight. That's a description of me. Another measure is having a BMI over 40. Mine is 48. That's awfully darn close to the definition of "super obese" or having a BMI of 50. To be just plain "overweight" by clinical standards I would need to lose 120 lbs. or about one average woman. The standard charts say that a person who is 5' 6" should weigh between 117-143 lbs. At my current 300 lbs. I have a long way to go to get to "ideal." This brings up the question of just what exactly will be a good weight for me?

I think that I have been seeing myself through such a warped lens for so long that I wouldn't know an "ideal" weight if it came up and bit me. Since I have always felt fat, I haven't really noticed the degrees of fat. There is a huge (pardon the pun) difference between the 200 lb. fat me in high school and the 300 lb fat me I see today. But in my mind, fat was fat. So I think I have developed a false picture of myself. I thought that I was the same fat girl of 20 years ago. Instead I failed to see how much I had really changed. I definitely have some body image work to do.

I am still waiting to hear from my insurance company. I called last week to make sure that they had received all three of the initial consultation reports, which they had. But they offered no information about how long the approval process might take. It is a long process, and I am finding that it takes quite a bit of patience. I need to think about a plan, whatever decision is made. If it is OK'd to go straight to surgery or if I am put on up to a 12 month weight reduction plan; I need to piece all of this together and prepare for the many changes ahead.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


One of the things the psychologist suggested was bibliotherapy, in other words reading books as a healing experience. When you read about other people's experience, it helps you identify with your own feelings. It's sort of in the same vein as writing as a form of therapy or understanding one's self. Since I know that I enjoy keeping a journal and blogging, I figured that bibliotherapy would probably be something that I would like. So I bought a couple of books; Anatomy of a Food Addiction: The Brain Chemistry of Overeating, Gastric Bypass Surgery: The Psychological Journey and Exodus from Obesity: The Guide to Long-Term Success After Weight Loss Surgery. So far, I have read the Anatomy book and the Psychological Journey one.

Of the two, I got much more out of the second one. The Anatomy book had some good things, but at one point it got really preachy about that "you must have had a traumatic event in your past" kind of thinking. Which really isn't the case with me. The Psychological Journey one gave some great insight on what to expect as your body changes after WLS. All three of the books were written by someone who was in the medical field, either as a social worker or nurse and all three are by women who have had weight loss surgery. So I hope to find some bits and pieces from each of them to help me think things through.

Working on Insurance Approval

In early June 2009 I contacted my insurance company about starting the process. Technically, I had contacted them a few years ago, but had never done anything more than get some basic information. At that time I decided I could do things on my own. Since that time, I have had both success and failure. I lost 45 pounds, going from about 300 down to 255 in 2006. By 2009 I had gained back all of those pounds, finding myself back at 300, or the dreaded "OL" on the scale.

Realizing that I had found my way back to 300 pounds and also a visit to my Dr.'s office in early June, got me thinking about weight loss surgery. I was actually there to refill my allergy meds, when Dr. M brought up things about my overall health, like my asthma and high blood pressure, it was 140/92 I think. He said he was willing to support me if I ever wanted to pursue weight loss alternatives. He asked about my history of being heavy and talked about the struggles his sister had. It was brought up in such a way that it was not preachy or negative, but a true concern about my quality of life, knowing that at 303 lbs. I was not living well and was on the verge of a lot more health issues in the next few years.

So from there things just sort of snowballed. While I hadn't been really thinking directly about it, I had been feeling miserable and struggling with moving, breathing and just living. So I got the ball rolling, I called my insurance company, or more accurately the third party company that handles these requests for my insurance company. I made the initial appointments for the three evaluations required to get insurance approval. I had appointments on July 1-2 with a surgeon, a nutritionist and a psychologist. After their evaluations, insurance will either be approved or denied and the surgery may happen either right away or they may make me go through a 12 month weight loss program. So now I wait patiently to hear from HCMTI on a decision.

I was filling out some paperwork and having to document my previous weight loss attempts. I hadn't thought about it but I have really tried several things over the years; swimming, walking, Richard Simmon's Deal-A-Meal and Sweating to the Oldies tapes, Walk Off the Pounds DVD from Leslie Sansone, 10,000 Steps a Day, pedometers, Sparkpeople, 2 different electronic food diaries, walking logs and who knows what else I am forgetting. I looked back at school picture and there was never a time that I was thin, even a a little girl I was that sort of cute cherubic, round kid. Then at about age 8 or third grade the round wasn't so cute anymore and you can see the first double chin. What was it at that time that switched on? Is it environment? Genetics? Is it mental, emotional or physical? Or a little bit of each?

I think at some point you start down a path as a child and that forms your life as an adult. I remember being teased as a child, being called the fat one. Knowing at an early age that I was different, having to shop for different clothes, with names like "pretty plus". Then it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. By the time I was old enough to make my own choices about food, I had always been the fat kid, the chubby one. I craved attention, I didn't fit in and food was the one thing I could count on. I always felt like I wasn't doing enough to be liked by friends, to be noticed by boys or to live up to expectations from parents, teachers and other adults. My self esteem and confidence were always measured by the fat suit I was wearing on the outside.

Now I find myself at 36 wondering how I let my life get here. As a kid you might have an excuse. As an adult, living independently for 15+ years the blame falls entirely on me. Anyway, I am trying to prepare myself emotionally and mentally for the potential changes ahead. It will be interesting to see what's next for me.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Creating a Lap-Band Blog

Thought I would work on a lap-band blog as a way to document the road ahead. Trying to come up with a cute background and header.