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Questioning which surgery is right for me

I know quite a bit about the different bariatric surgeries - the healing, the side-effects, the challenges, the upside.  As is usual, sometimes the things with the most upside also has the biggest side effects.  And vice versa - the thing with the least side effect sometimes doesn't have the biggest bang when it comes to results.  It's all about what you can handle and what you can't/don't want to. Yesterday I was chatting with an online friend of 20 years.  I mentioned that I'm currently clearing hurdles for my Lap-Band surgery.  She responded by telling me that this past June, she'd gotten a bypass.  That the only Lap-Band surgery anyone in her area will perform is removal of the band.  She claims it's from complications - slippage, mostly.  And that people just don't experience the same amount of weight loss with the band as they do with the sleeve or the bypass.  Well, of course not - it's not as big of a surgery.  But the Lap-Band also doesn't tend to have dumping syndrome, or the big struggle with getting enough protein every day.  But of course.... no one wants to go through a drastic life change of any sort without some good-sized results. It was my doctor who recommended the Lap-Band.  And he's done thousands of bariatric surgeries. He still says that Lap-Band is his preferred surgery of choice for bariatric weigh loss surgery.  And for the very reasons as I've mentioned above - less issues with healing, dumping, etc,. other complications.  How's it possible that in different parts of the same country, one doctor is recommending it, and others are supposedly only taking them out? I did look up some statistics last night, and found a study where they compared recipients of the Lap-Band vs. the bypass - all completed by the same surgeon.  And yes - the people who got the bypass had better results - especially short-term.  But it also says that Lap-Band recipients experience fewer complications - especially after the 2-year mark. How do I know I'm listening to the right information???

raising3monkeys

raising3monkeys

 

I have a few answers

Today I talked to my surgeon's office - making sure they're receiving all the reports and clearances from my other various doctors/tests.  Some came to them - others did not.  I will need to chase down the EKG/release from the cardiologist, and the report/release from the pulmonologist, and my pap smear results.  I have my Upper GI scheduled, and I'll need that report to get over to the surgeon afterward, too.  Then I'll need to make an appointment to see my primary care physician, and get his clearance/release for the surgery.  After that, my surgeon's office submits all the data over to the insurance company.  It takes them a good 7 business days to give an approval for the surgery or ask for more information. Once that approval comes through, we set a surgery date, and then I see the surgeon 1-2 weeks before the surgery, for a pre-op appointment.  I'll receive all sorts of info at that appointment - the pre-op diet, the post-op short-term diet, and this doctor's particular diet.  I've been told by this surgeon that he doesn't want any of his patients to follow any other instructions other than his own.  And they won't give me any of the diets until that pre-op visit.  Because it's "too overwhelming".  But well, I'm not sure how you're supposed to decide if you want to commit to something fully for the rest of the forseeable future when you don't know what you're committing to, ya know?  But it sort of doesn't matter - I'm done with this lifestyle and the resulting body. I did look up the post-op diet for a lap band online: Days 1-4: Clear Liquids only! Days 5-14: Full Liquids only. Day 15-29: Soft mushy phase. These are foods that you could chew if you didn’t have teeth. Day 30: Back to a regular diet. This includes solid foods! Then I looked up what the "Lap-Band Diet" looks like - just to get SOME idea of what my future looks like: low-fat proteins (lean meats, fish, skinless poultry, eggs) fruits and vegetables healthy, whole-grain breads and cereals dairy products (good source of calcium, but choose non-fat or low-fat) heart-healthy fats It doesn't sound like a blast, but it does sound like what any person wanting to lose weight SHOULD be eating.  So that's okay. Some high-protein foods (protein content and serving size): Lean red meat, fish, poultry (21 grams per 3 ounces) Cottage cheese, low-fat (15 grams per half cup) Tofu (9 grams per 4 ounces) Beans & peas (8 grams per half cup) Yogurt, regular, low or non-fat (7 grams per 6 ounces) Yogurt, Greek, low or non-fat (17 grams per 6 ounces) Eggs (6 grams per large egg) Oats (3 grams per half cup) Non-starchy vegetables (tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers) (2 grams per half cup cooked) The diet should include a variety of protein sources to provide the body with a balanced intake of nutrients. Planning high-protein meals is a priority. Many LAP-BAND patients continue to use liquid protein supplements (12-15 grams of protein per packet, on average) in their daily diet as a balanced source of protein and nutrients. Other things I found: Eat only three small meals a day - this is all you need. Do not snack between meals. Eat only solid foods at mealtime - this is how the LAP-BAND® works to restrict food. Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly, about 15-20 times a bite, until it reaches a liquid consistency - this will help to create the feeling of fullness and make it less likely for food to get stuck in the new stomach pouch. Stop eating when you feel full - eating too much can result in pain, nausea and vomiting. It can also stretch the new stomach pouch. Choose healthy foods - make sure you are getting enough protein and nutrients. Do not drink while you eat - this will wash down the food and you will not reach the feeling of fullness, defeating the purpose of the LAP-BAND®. Do not drink for 30 to 45 minutes before or after meals. It is important to drink plenty of fluids during the day in order to stay hydrated and replace the fluid that is lost due to weight loss. If you become dehydrated you may experience a loss of energy, lightheadedness, dry skin, and nausea. You should choose low-calorie liquids and try to drink about 6 - 8 cups of fluid a day Water is a good choice, but other drink options include low-calorie, non-carbonated liquids, such as artificially flavored drinks, broth, tea, and black coffee (without sugar). Avoid drinking fluids within 30-45 minutes of a meal. You do not want to drink before, as it will fill up your pouch with liquids and not leave room for food. You do not want to drink too soon after a meal, because the liquids will move food through your LAP-BAND® pouch too quickly. I can't imagine my surgeon's diet plan is going to look TOO different from the above.  It's not like he's going to deter me from eating high-protein, low-fat foods.  Or tell me to drink high calorie or carbonated beverages.  Lol.  He may be no carb, though?  God I hope not.  I crave those like nobody's business.  But, it'll be whatever it is.  And I'll just need to be fine with that. In the meantime, I'm going to have to start looking up ways to start shopping, meal planning and cooking the new way.  At least I have a starting point now. I'm satisfied with today's answers.   

raising3monkeys

raising3monkeys

 

My mind is whirring away......

For the past few days I've been all about questions.  BIG ones - like how I intend to embrace lifestyle changes, how that will change my life outside of the weight loss (like the "hobby" of eating being gone), etc.  Today continues along that theme, but different.  My mind doesn't seem to be getting more answers as much as more questions.  That's typical of me - it means I've gotten past the initial phase of researching, and arrived at the "I've decided I want this" phase, and I'm trying to prepare for the reality of life after the event/decision.  Sort of like how an engaged person is thinking first about a date for the wedding, and maybe about where to honeymoon.  Then it's about the budget and what they think they want the wedding to look like.  But closer to the actual wedding, it's down to what the flowers on the tables look, what time your cab is coming to take you to the airport, and making sure you have the tickets in your pocket.  The big stuff is long gone now - you're no longer concentrating on the big picture, but on the small details that make up the big picture. So here I am, no longer wondering about the insurance, the procedure, the day of surgery, etc.  Now it's down to the rest - the stuff that happens afterward.  What's food consumption supposed to look like short-term, after the surgery?  And I going to be prescribed a diet that's all protein and no sugar?  My cravings aren't just going to go away because my stomach's smaller.  How will I need to change my menu planning, grocery shopping, cooking and consumption after the surgery?  Does the diet change after a certain time period?  If I couldn't do a high protein, low carb diet before, what makes me think I'll be able to magically do that after the surgery?  I'll get full faster, yes.  And I'll presumably lose weight from portion size reduction alone. I'm reading through peoples' stories and it's..... scary how many of them feel that their stomach isn't reduced in intake size.  I realize that it's a trial and error process in putting saline into the band to tighten it / reduce the stomach size, etc.  Will that greatly affect how satiated I feel?  Does it take months and months to get to the right size for the saline? What's the rest of my real life look like after this surgery - the day-to-day of eating?  Will I feel bereft without my old friend, food?  I don't use it to comfort me - I use it because it calls to me.  It's not going to stop calling to me, is it? I'm already looking for support groups in my area.  I don't see any that appear to be active for years now.  Will I feel all alone after this surgery, or like part of a community?  Where others can help guide me on my path? I'm kinda lost right now.  I realize that I can (and I will) ask my doctor all these questions.

raising3monkeys

raising3monkeys

 

Lots of Questions

The closer I get to completing the hurdles before surgery, the more I start to wonder about the rest of my life after I have the surgery.  What am I going to be eating?  Will I need to do a complete lifestyle change, or just build on the lap band as a kick in the ass?  Will I have to re-vamp my entire eating practices, or will the reduction in caloric intake from a much smaller stomach push my weight loss ahead until I'm ready to be more serious?  I don't mean to imply that I'm NOT serious about making lifestyle changes.  I mean,.... do I need to start off almost immediately with tons of exercise, water, clean foods, etc., or is calorie reduction enough for a start, and then I build?  Also, what's my diet going to look like the first few weeks after surgery?  Is it liquid? Mushed foods?  Solids?  Do I need to concentrate on tons of protein, and have no carbs?  These are all questions for my surgeon at my next visit. I'm also feeling like my time is almost up.  A lot of us do this before a "diet" - practically gorge ourselves, as if we can somehow feel less deprived later knowing that we have had more than enough of what we wanted before the diet.  It doesn't work that way, I know.  I feel like I should be dieting now.  And yet, I don't want to.  It can all be very confusing.  It doesn't seem like it should be, but it is, just the same.  I've often watched shows like, "My 500 Pound Life" and watched the people gorge themselves on burgers and fried food as they drive cross-country to get to their bariatric surgeon.  I've wondered why they do this.  Now I know why.  Because they will shortly be losing the ability to eat this way - this way that they love.  And they're trying to say goodbye at the last possible moment.  Considering how dangerously obese these people are, it seems counter-intuitive - and it IS.  But here I am, following suit.  People seem to understand more than I think they should, though.  I've had several people tell me not to get my surgery until after Thanksgiving - so I can enjoy that holiday.  I'm not listening.  I'd love to be losing weight during the holidays for a change. Will I still be able to enjoy my food later?  Will my habit of using food as a form of entertainment (going out to dinner) be gone?  Will I find that there's a gaping whole in my life where that "hobby" used to be?  Or will I still be able to be excited about food, but just have leftovers for days?  It's as if I want a magic pill - I don't want anything to change, but I want my body to look different than it does now - and feel different.  Will I need to learn how to shop different, cook differently, change my entire world.  Part of me wants to hear "no".  The other part of me really wants to hear that yes - everything will change.  Because I know I'd feel better if it did. What will I look and feel like a year after surgery?  18 months?  Two years?  Will I wish I'd just gotten it all done sooner?  Will I feel like I've given up enjoying food, but not had that result in as much weight as I'd wanted it to?  Will I regret this decision to get the Lap-Band?  Or will I be full of energy, have my knees hurt less and be able to move more and enjoy new things I haven't been able to do happily for years now?  I guess it's not just a surgery - it's an adventure.  One with an as-of-yet unwritten ending.

raising3monkeys

raising3monkeys

 

The hoops I've jumped through so far

I wanted to lay out just what I've had to push through to get to the bariatric surgery.  I don't want to scare anyone - because the list looks (and somewhat feels) overwhelming.  However, all the appointments are made in order to make sure that I'm healthy enough to do this surgery.  And I'll say that visiting each doctor - especially as I approach 50 - has wound up being reassuring, above all.  I've always been plagued with aches and pains my entire life - mostly joint problems.  Most of my physical issues aren't serious - just really freaking annoying.  Arthritis, cysts, bursitis, tendonitis, allergies, asthma, sinus issues, GERD, hearing loss, etc.  So, every day it seems like something, and sometimes it can affect my lifestyle.  But overall, it's nothing that makes my health poor in medical terms.  And even those things, I've tried to fix.  My point here is that hearing that my heart is in great shape and my lungs are perfect and my blood pressure and blood tests and my Pap smear and mammogram all look great - well, that's terrific news!  It means all the issues my body has right now are more inconvenience rather than dangerous.  And even the inconvenient issues I pay attention to - in order to keep myself healthy and my quality of life good. Anyway,..... here's the list of appointments and procedures I've had in order to get to point of being cleared for bariatric surgery: Primary Care Physician - for physical.  Also to get the referral to my bariatric surgeon.  This visit included blood work (CBC, CMP, TSH, PT/PTT) and urinalysis, which wound up being needed for the bariatric surgery anyway.  Two birds, one stone. Bariatric Surgeon - for discussion on surgery Mammogram Gynecologist - for well woman visit and Pap smear Pulmonologist - initial meeting Pulmonologist - giving them the chip to my CPAP machine, and taking a breathing test.  Resulted in clearance from pulmonologist for surgery Cardiologist.  EKG, cardiologist clearance for surgery Nutrition Assessment, 6 months supervised diet with hospital nutritionist* Upper GI with double contrast Primary Care Physician Clearance * The 6 months of nutritionist counseling was a requirement of my insurance I am currently working on items #10 and #11.  I anticipate that taking another few weeks - likely by the end of October.  Then I should be able to go back to the bariatric surgeon for review, and to schedule the surgery. The week before surgery, I need to go on a zero carb diet - in order to shrink my liver, which makes laproscopic surgery possible. Then it should be about a week or so off work (I'll just take vacation days), and then back to work.  Hopefully I'll have this done before Thanksgiving, although I'm fine with whatever date it's done by. And that's where I'm currently at!  I have two kids still living at home, as well as two that are grown and doing their own thing.  My one child in particular has a lot of my joint issues (and is a little, thin thing - which just goes to show that this stuff is hereditary).  She's had tons of doctor's visits and physical therapy visits during the time period I've been doing all my own doctor's appointments.  She also goes to counseling occasionally and also needs to see the orthodontist every 3-4 weeks.  That's a ton of time spent on doctor's visits!  The only way I can even see being able to get this all done is because I work 2-3 days per week at home, and can just schedule the doctor's visits on those days.  I have NO.IDEA how someone who didn't have that luxury would be able to get all these appointments in - especially if they were super heavy and had a difficult time getting around.  It makes me think there must be tons of people out there who would really benefit from this kind of surgery who can't get it - because they lack the time, ability, money and fortitude to keep going on this wheel for a while.  This has been hard for me - and I have all those things available to me.  But I guess where there's a will, there's a way, right?

raising3monkeys

raising3monkeys

 

So I visited a bariatric surgeon

I visited a bariatric surgeon a good 2 years ago now.  I'm in an ***, so he was the one in my networks that my Primary Care Physician referred me to.  I like him a lot.  He initially recommended a Lap-Band.  He said it was the only kind of weight loss surgery he did.  It made deciding between procedures easier for me.  He told me that my insurance (BCBS of IL) required me to go to 6 months of a formal weight loss program - or a nutritionist before they'd approve the surgery.  So off I went! I joined Weight Watchers in November.  By January I'd lost about 10 lbs.  In February I got knee surgery to clean up some ripped cartilage.  Then it was a few weeks of lying around with nothing better to do than eat, sleep, read, and watch TV.  Well, here come the 10 lbs. back!  I stayed on WW for another 9 months though - essentially getting nowhere.  Now, I love WW - it's great.  IF you can stop eating freaking Ding-Dongs like it's your JOB.  And I just couldn't get my mojo back.  Still - I made sure to stay on the program long enough to pass my 6 months required by my insurance company.  Then I went back to visit my bariatric surgeon again. What he told me deflated me greatly.  Weight Watchers didn't count as an organized weight loss program unless it had been supervised monthly by a doctor.  Well, that hadn't happened!  So I went back to my PCP and got a referral to go to a nutritionist at my local hospital.  I started 6 months of that and essentially did nothing but go to the sessions.  I knew how to eat.  I just didn't know how to STOP eating everything that I shouldn't eat!  Unlike prior attempts at weight loss, it wasn't just about cravings this time.  My stomach had stretched to the point where I was hungry after eating the proper portion size.  And I was heavily addicted to sugar in all forms.  Food is like a siren song to me at this point - constantly calling to me.  I can't just put in a vegetable for a snack - my brain wants that sugar, and it's going to keep thinking about it until I satisfy that craving.  I need help beyond just information at this point. I had lost my bariatric surgeon's name, but I knew I'd recognize it if I came across it.  And I did.  I saw his website and saw that he did many different kinds of surgeries now - including new ones that weren't even on the market when I talked to him a few years earlier.  I found out that he was sharing his practice with another doctor in the past that had since moved to another state.  That doctor performed bypass surgery, and as a professional courtesy, my doctor didn't perform those surgeries.  Now I had to go over whether Lap-Band was indeed the best surgery option for me. In the meantime, the hospital nutritionist had given me information at our last session from the hospital.  It outlined the information they give out to bariatric surgery patients, and some of what I saw scared me enough to make me re-think surgery altogether.  It said that I was to "go off and never again go on anti inflammatory drugs."  I am on two of those per day in order to help with my arthritis.  I know my knees won't hurt as much after I start losing weight.  But it's not only weight-bearing joints that are suffering - it's all of them - even my fingers and shoulders, etc.  The thought of being in constant pain from not being on anti inflammatory meds terrified me!  I'd had to go off those meds each time I'd had various surgeries over the years (because they act as blood thinners - which don't go well with surgery), and I was miserable after a few days.  Was this limitation worth the benefit?  I decided to go back to my bariatric surgeon and lay my concerns out on the table.  This took many months for me to do, as we were in the middle of buying a house and moving.  But as soon as that was settled a bit, I made the appointment to see my bariatric surgeon. I'm so glad I did!  He still did recommend the Lap-Band surgery for me.  He said he really preferred that surgery for its lack of complications.  There was no "dumping" syndrome, no probability of malabsorbtion, no refraining from anti inflammatories, no constant battle to get high amounts of protein in.  And he thought it would be plenty to offer me the benefits I needed. From there, I was given a list of doctors I needed to get clearance from and a number of tests/ procedures I needed to have done before surgery would be approved by my surgeon: Laboratory:  Blood panel - CBC, DMP, TSH, PT/PTT.  Urinalysis Cardiology:  EKG, Cardiac clearance from cardiologist Radiology:  Upper GI with double contrast Pulmonology:  Pulmonary clearance.  Breathing test, give them the chip to my CPAP machine. Routine Wellness Screenings:  Mammogram, Pap smear Radiology:  Upper GI with double contrast.  Misc.:  Primary Care Physician clearance, Psychological Evaluation, Nutrition assessment, Six months of supervised nutritionist sessions I'm almost done.  It's taken me months!  I counted the appointments today, and it will come out to 19 altogether!  Wow! As soon as I get the upper GI done, I'll be able to go back to my PCP and get surgery clearance.  Then I can go back to my surgeon for a visit, and to schedule surgery.  I'm probably less than 2 weeks from getting back to my bariatric surgeon. I know there is a one-week no carb diet I will need to follow prior to the surgery.  This shrinks the liver, making laproscopic surgery possible. The good news is that I've learned throughout this process that I'm actually very healthy!  My lungs are normal.  My physical and test results are fine.  My heart is doing well.  My mammogram and pap smear are clear.  My blood pressure and pulse are great.  My psych eval turned out well. I shouldn't be surprised, but many of the doctors questioned me about why I can't just lose the weight with no physical help.  "You should be able to do this by yourself.", "Can't you just go on a diet?", etc.  Ugh.  Maddening.  At least the bariatric surgeon gets it.  That's what's most important. I'm getting closer!

raising3monkeys

raising3monkeys

 

Why I'm getting this done

Hi - I'm Kel.  I'm 47.  I'm happily married with 4 children age 14 to 22.  I've been heavy my entire life, and I've always hated it.  In my late 30's, I lost about 25 lbs. on Weight Watchers in preparation for attending a beach wedding.  That was a 10% body weight loss - from 225 lbs. to 225.  I was ecstatic!  I never thought those 25 pounds could make THAT much of a difference in my life, but they did.  I was in a dead-end marriage at the time.  My weight loss didn't do a thing to change that, but it wound up being the catalyst on a lot of life changes. About 2 years after the initial weight loss, I got a long-awaited tummy tuck and breast reduction surgery.  WOW did I feel great after that!  And still - hubby didn't notice me.  Turns out my husband was gay (although he didn't admit that until later).  So the weight loss didn't do anything to increase his attraction to me, but did exactly that for random men in public.  It made me feel that maybe - just maybe..... I wasn't going to be all alone if I called it quits on my marriage.  Maybe this wasn't the best man I was capable of landing.  I no longer felt resigned to unhappiness - I saw hope on the horizon. While I didn't keep all the weight off, my confidence had learned to sustain itself.  After we separated I began dating again.  I grew up in the 80's - when Christy Brinkley's body was the ultimate; slender, tiny butt, long and lean.  But now, I was being let out into the dating pool as Kim Kardiashian's ass broke the internet.  As Nicki Minaj and Demi Lovato seemed to have a competition going for most curvy.  Curvy women were being embraced in the media, and men were embracing their bodies with their hands.  I'd hit my stride at 40!  And the men I dated at that time had were weathered enough to have learned that looks aren't everything.  They now valued personality, conversation, femininity, and a myriad of and other qualities that I possessed in spades.  I was on top of the world! I met my now husband during this time period.  I was closer to my original 250 I'd been, but still confident.  We fell in love quickly and married within a year and a half.  It's been over four years now, and we're happier every day.  But my weight has slowly crept up.  He's a larger man, and we enjoy eating as a form of entertainment.  We aren't healthy eaters.  He still treats me as though I am as beautiful as the day we met, despite the fact that I've gained over 60 pounds since then.  I am now at just why of 320 lbs.  I feel loved and cherished, and even beautiful to him.  But I don't like the way I look, and I like even less how I feel.  I hate that I get winded walking up a flight of stairs.  My knees (one of which has already been replaced) and ankles are killing me after a long day.  I often have to stay in the car if we're running tons of errands at once.  I have to heft myself up off the couch with great effort.  The arms of chairs often dig into my thighs when out and about.  I'm just tired of it all.  I want to feel great and have energy.  I want to move freely.  I want to stop hiking my damned pants up all the time because the waist is all stretched out after a few hours from my gut.  I want my fat rolls to STOP TOUCHING EACH OTHER.  I want to see a photo of myself and not cringe because I don't recognize that person.  And I want to wear clothes that flatter me and make me feel confident rather than being worn mostly to cover up my biggest flaws. There are million more reasons to lose the weight - too many to list here.  But I'm DONE with being this person.  I'm done with every New Year's resolution list starting with "Lose weight".  I'm done with feeling defeated in this area.  I'm done with accepting my fate in this area.  I'm ready for change.

raising3monkeys

raising3monkeys

 

Like a small boat.. On the Ocean.. Sending big waves into motion

I keep hearing that Rachel Platten song on the radio, and I know that i need to start working on my inspirational playlist to get me through the next few months, or maybe even years. But each time I hear one of the songs I want to add to my playlist i start to cry, ugh, why am I so emo? I am pre-op, 4 months in to my 6 month appointments quota for insurance approval. Nutritionist and Psych eval booked. Cardiology work up done, and A-ok, and no sleep study needed. I am genuinely huge. In my eye, I am an exceptionally large woman. I know that most times I am the largest person in a room. I get anxious now when i eat out, what if there are only booths?  Its so cliché to say that I have been fat my whole life, so I wont say that. Specifically I have been fat since the 3rd grade. I changed schools and was genuinely and cruelly bullied for 4 years. I was molested by a neighbor when I was 7-8 years old, and he liked to remind me of it once and awhile when I played with my friends in the neighborhood, my parents didn't believe me. I had a mental breakdown at 12, and was nearly hospitalized. Instead they opted for drugs and a child Psychiatrist. I tried to live on cucumbers to lose weight, it worked for awhile. When I was 13, I actually looked cute in a bathing suit. That was the last time lol, I ever looked cute in a bathing suit. Home life was terrible. I had a Mother, who was morbidly obese, with severe untreated mental illness (it was very taboo in the 80's, and hard to get treatment for regular people), and a father that was an enabler to her abusiveness. Her depression and food addiction left her ill equipped to be a parent, and my father worked all the time to put food on the table, so he couldn't really step in. I grew up quick, taking as best care of my little sister as I could, working as much as I could (had a job at 14), and trying to be positive. I knew there was a better life for me out there, in the great unknown. I lived in a bustling metropolitan area, where opportunities abounded! So I thought.... I fell in love with Mr. Completely wrong at 18, and messed up college. Got an office job, that eventually evolved in to a position at a bank, where my met my ex husband and baby daddy, who was in the Navy at the time. My insecurity, and low self worth permitted me to overlook major flaws and marry him. We divorced, and I moved back to the East coast, my home. I am now remarried, and in a much healthier relationship.  I have always been big, but in the last 4 years I have gained upwards of 70 pounds. My mobility is shot. I have fallen twice spraining my ankles, tearing ligaments and tendons, which makes my ankles tender and sore when I walk.  My hips and plantar fascilitis in feet make walking like walking on coals. So pain = sitting, and sitting = weight gain, and you multiply this by my age, and add a few more comorbidities, you die in a chair, connected to an oxygen machine, like my mother. I don't want to die in a chair, after wasting away for years. My insecurities are like a cancer. It eats away at everything. I know having WLS isn't a panacea for all my life's challenges, but perhaps if I am not largest gal in the room, and I felt like I belonged in this world, somewhere, I could be on a pathway to happiness. I just want to fit. Fit in a chair, fit in clothes from a regular store, omg, i want to fit in a kayak so bad, hee hee. I get stared at, looked up and down, and the worst, simply ignored.  I just know that a picture of my @ss is going to show up as a graphic image on one of those local news segments on morbid obesity, or some video clip of me walking down the street (from shoulders down of course), because I don't have a face, I am not a person anymore in society's eye. Its not going to be easy, its already not easy, but it's time. I pray for the strength to use this tool the best I can, and heal myself of my hurts and find hope in a new life.....

kellys77

kellys77

 

EX CHEF GETS LAPAROSCOPIC SLEEVE GASTRECTOMY

My Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy was performed on Wednesday 9/2717. Post op I had my wife Ellen and family with me. I spent the day just recovering in the hospital. Thursday morning, still groggy, I did a swallow test with contrast in hospital; all looked good. Later that morning, the PA brought me three 1 oz cups of water and asked I take 30 minutes sipping them.  Then three more over the next 30 minutes. Vitals were normal and IV removed later that morning. Prescriptions sent to my pharmacy and went home early afternoon.  Going back to see the surgeon next week in office as a follow up. I am now following Dr. Garber's first month meal plan. Goal is 64 ounces of water sipped throughout the day and 60 grams of protein a day. Guidance was if I got heartburn or pressure it means slow down. Sip, not swallow, and try to stay at 1 oz per ten minutes before taking more water. Thursday my protein intake was all basically Muscle Milk - strawberry - I hated the chocolate. Friday, most of the morning and afternoon, I again stayed with strawberry protein and either Fiji water or Lipton diet decaf iced tea. Last meal Friday I braved three ounces of poached chicken breast, a pinch of salt and white pepper, chopped fine with an immersion blender with a touch of cottage cheese for creaminess and enough chicken broth to get the finer texture I wanted. Wasn't that bad. Guidance was pureed food or chopped super fine.  Took pain killers as prescribed and nausea meds too just to keep any pain or nausea at bay Thursday and Friday. Popped a Gas-x chewable when the heartburn reared its head.  Looking forward to Saturday. Three meals daily   4oz low fat yogurt or cottage cheese, or a scrambled/poached egg 3 ounces chicken or fish. Guidance was go with dark meat it is more likely to be more tender and moist than a breast 3 ounces chicken or fish. My wife Ellen poaches the chicken in chicken broth which I can also drink as part of my 64 ounces of water. If protein is under 60 grams add protein drink to the day. Guidance was to always wait 30 minutes after a meal before returning to sipping hydration liquids. What are you eating, cooking your first weeks post surgery?

ExChef-Matt

ExChef-Matt

 

Update on a semi-failed weight loss success

Today I am back on the blog after four years! I lost a total of 87 pounds and about 2/3 of that weight came off after the gastric sleeve in 2012.  i wanted to give an update, a cautionary tale and maybe a not-so-depressing perspective of one who has not been a weight loss success.   Busyness and stress has always been my enemy when it comes to weight loss.  It often takes me by surprise and whisks away any structure and success I have built into my life.  One day I am doing well and eating and exercising and then BAM! It all goes out the window.  Even my house gets messy and cluttered during those times of extreme stress and time pressure.  I work a job that is not just 9-5 so I take much of my work home, I work from home often and get extreme deadlines like grant applications etc.   Before I initially lost weight before surgery, was a very busy time, but I put the accountability of a structured weight loss program into my schedule.  This is the only way I initially lost 30 pounds at the beginning.  I also started working out with a trainer. Although it is the cost of a vacation every year, I need it to be successful. When I had the weight loss surgery, I had quit my stressful administrative job and was in a window of time less busy (even though I was working).  All went well with my weight loss after surgery (even though  slow as was my history of weight loss) until I started a new job.  Once the stress of the job was getting to me, I stopped the morning walks and began to eat more frequently and less clean.  A bad case of pneumonia and 40 days of steriods, further put me back and I gained weight. Now,  I am facing some serious foot pain from plantar fascitis, nothelped by weight gain. All this downhill trend happened as my career has blossomed.  However, if truth be told, I prefer a healthy body to work success.   Looking back, I am humbled by the setback and have felt moments of panic.  However, something in me has shifted as I ponder my failure.  All in all, I am still down over 50 pounds from my initial weight (228 from 282).  Although the failure of weight gain from 194 hits me in the face, I have come to a gentler self-assessment and I like myself better than ever.  I can now look in the mirror and feel okay about my curves.  I lost a bit from my highest weight regain (240) although it has taken a year to take off.   So, all this to say, count your blessing and jump back in.  Love yourself in the process and never give up.  If I had given up, I would easily be 300 pounds.  I am now concentrating on getting back to the losing mode and it is workomg...slowly.  Limiting to 3 small meals and 2 small snacks if needed, drinking a lot but separating from food, doing some exercise every day and finding joy in the process. For me, finding joy includes time with my loved ones and having quiet time as I pursue God in my life...I am even going back to some ballroom dance classes.  Dance on everyone! I wish the best for all of you!  Tell me your story...I love to read them.  

mambomama

mambomama

 

Goal Weights

So, today I changed my goal weight to 10 lbs higher than it was before. But ,I honestly don't know what my goal weight should be. If I base it off the BMI scale it should be between 125lbs and 140lbs based on my height and frame. The lowest recorded weight in my adult years after losing weight from being over 200lbs was 168lbs. I was still very overweight, people who weren't use to me being thin thought I was skinny- but I wasn't. I was just smaller than what they were use to seeing on me. I added the 10lbs because 125lbs I realize is my fantasy weight and I'm only thinking of it without the added weight of the muscle I want to eventually build. So maybe 135lbs is a good weight for me to look and feel how I want?     Ok, so here is what I am going for: I don't want to be fat. I want to be light and unbothered by possibly being overweight if I gain 10lbs. I don't want to be on the high end of my weight scale. I prefer to be on the lower end. I'm not looking to be boobalicious, bootylicious, or anything. I will lift weights and stair master the hell out of my body to get the muscular fit look I want. I also do not want to be sickly looking. As of now I don't even know how to count my success at my surgery. I am 22 days post op and down almost 20lbs... almost. I was 219.8 on the day of surgery and as of today on a (hopefully accurate) Sunbeam analog home scale I weighed 201.5lbs. I don't know if I am properly doing my puree stage. I eat mozzarella string cheese rolled up with prosciutto because it makes me feel better. I wasn't feeling good at all with just broths and soups. So I think I might've advanced myself. My surgeon said it was okay and everyone is different so I don't know why I keep comparing myself to others. I think its because I feel I'm overeating. Although I'm counting my protein, calories, etc on Myfitnesspal;  I barely reach 1000 calories in a day, but I'm so used to feeling stuffed by overeating and thats how it feels when I stuff my pouch with protein and or water. I haven't figured out my pouch ounce gauge and I tend to drink liquids to excess, as if I can. Ugh....I need work on this- I know. Portion size estimation is my weakness and I now know this. I have to now measure everything, but I keep forgetting when taking up my food. Thankfully I have a follow up NUT appointment soon to discuss these issues I'm having regarding portion size. I will also discuss goal weight with my surgeon or nurse practitioner so I can have a semi clearly defined goal for myself. This is more soul searching than I thought it would be. Thank goodness I have a bariatric therapist to discuss these things with too.    So now I'm curious to know,  what is your goal weight and how did you come by that number? How did you figure out your push gauge in the first month? Did it feel like you were overeating although you were barely eating anything? I really do hope someone reads this and chimes in, because this is something I'm curious about.       Till then....

120Cassy

120Cassy

 

Anxious

Tomorrow I go in for my labwork and EKG. I'm approaching the final steps of a journey that started 08/02/17. What hasn't been much time, sure seems like it has. When I started, I was doing it to appease my wife, my stepkids, and to give it a chance as numerous other diets and exercise regimens have come and gone. As I went through the process, the classes, support groups, etc. I find myself completely swallowed by the excitement and eagerness to get the surgery done and to get my life back! After every appointment, I'd always ask when the next opening was for the next step in the journey, would accept whatever time given to me, and never cancel or reschedule an appointment. No as I get to the final couple of steps, I'm hounding the bariatric department..."What's next?" "When can I see the nurse?" I'm excited, because at that time, I'll get a surgery date. Unfortunately I have to wait about a week to call the nurse to schedule my next visit, but I'm hoping for a surgery date soon. I'm following the 1200 calorie/day preop diet that was given to me, logging my foods, exercising, and moving around. I've spent countless hours reading blogs, forums, and watching youtube videos (cheers to @fighting400, you've been an inspiration). I just know that soon I'll have my life back. I'll be able to ride the rides, zipline, and participate in the treetop adventure courses my family loves so much. To see their smile as I can finally enjoy activities with them is all the reason I need to make this dream a reality. I'm prepared and ready for any obstacle, I will do this.

MG1776

MG1776

 

Approval and surgery date

I got my approval letter yesterday and a call this morning telling me my surgery is on Monday!  I'm so happy!  The fight was worth it.  Thankfully I never got off my pre-op diet and was ready. 

Tashah

Tashah

 

Approval and surgery date

I got my approval letter yesterday and a call this morning telling me my surgery is on Monday!  I'm so happy!  The fight was worth it.  Thankfully I never got off my pre-op diet and was ready. 

Tashah

Tashah

 

8 WEEKS OUT TODAY - FIRST SICKNESS

Morning Morning Bariatric World, Well I am 8 Weeks out today from my VSG on 07/17/2017. I'm down to 258.2 from my high of 315. Don't have a clue what my day of surgery weight was since I missed that somehow, but was around 286 I think. I'm feeling very good physical wise. Starting to notice some skin on my upper arms and definitely on my tummy. Needing to up my exercise with some weights now.    Other than that I'm doing very good. Eating well. No more than 1/2 cup 4 - 5 times a day. But Oh man - did I mess up Yesterday. I had waited a bit too long to eat since i was running around so much. We stopped and got a rotisserie chicken since it was getting so late. I was shaking so I knew I was needing to eat something. I ate too fast and too much since I didn't take the time to weight or measure my food. first up  -  i do note throw up - just never could  well. Usually had to be pretty bad for me too. Last time I did was in 2003 when I got the stomach flu while pregnant - not cool. But I was able to  last night. It took some work but I finally did. (I had to make myself) It felt like food was stuck up into my chest. Like it was all back up. Hurt to move, to talk, to even breath. I will so never do that again. I'm feeling good today and started off with just a simple shake this morning. Doing well  Lesson learned - -I keep handies in my purse now like the fantatic "Think turkey" on this site. Thanksgiving flavor is the bomb.  But other than that just going day to day, week to week. About all there is after you get to this point. I'll probably get on here every few weeks or if something different happens.  Hope everyone is doing wonderful pre or post-op. Many blessing to you all on your Weight Loss Journeys. LaTeR gAtErS 

mama3beartn

mama3beartn

 

UpDate on where I'm.....

Hello all I thought I would come on and give everyone an up date on where I am in my weight loss journey. I have had some up and downs happen in my life there  for I was not able to eat like I need to. But I am back on track and I just see my doctor and dietitian and I'm HAPPY to say I'm down 4LBS!!! I'm happy about that but  they had to add somethings to my check list that I understand why but still bums me out. I have to get my heart check and oked for surgery. So know I have three things let on my check list 1- loss the weight they want me to loss 2- Get my heart checked and cleaned from a Cardiologist 3-Get cleaned from my sleep doctor because of my sleepapna.  I'm hoping I can do this all by Nov 2017-Jan 2018. so I can have my surgery by the beginning of Next year 2018 and start the year fresh. well that's all for now.....     Take care and remember everything happens in GODS time and all things are possible through god! (See Philippians 4:13 my late Grandpa lived my that....)   

barb87

barb87

 

I did it!!! I'm sleeved my surgery.

I had my surgery Wednesday I was scheduled for 1:00 pm but patient issues pushed me to 6:00 pm when they finally wheeled me away. I had 5 extra hours of am I really doing this to think about. Sitting outside my operating room listening to my anesthesiologist promise hes my guardian angel. (I really think he was.) It hit me, I am doing this for me 11 months of work no way I'm backing out now so I put on my brave face and with a little liquid brave from my angel I was drifting asleep.  I woke up groggy at 9:00 pm the rest of the night I just wanted sleep. I felt feeling pretty good, my nurses were dolls  and my pain  was totally bearable. I had asked my surgeon if I could leave by Thursday at 1:00 pm  to make it to my daughters surgery. He was willing to let me go if all the tests fell into place....Then I with my per-counted  chickens had an issue Thursday  my drain tube completely filled up with blood, they would empty it and an hour later it would be full again.  So I got an extra day in the hospital I would get sharp pains when I would get up to use the bathroom my doctor was very reassuring just making sure I'm fine and no reason to panic.  Were going to watch it ''he said'' so we did witch brings us to today. Everything I thought I would need in the hospital I didn't need at all. I needed rest and sleep and water. My daughter watched the six blood draws in 24 hours and the countless bags of fluid be emptied, and asked me if I would do it again answer: Hell yes the pain the blood work was minor. I have been home now for 5  hours  in bed and I couldn't resist the scale with my all liquid diet. Day of surgery 214  now 208

Nycole 81

Nycole 81

 

Pleasantly Surprised - Warning...Positive Blog Entry !!

I'm about a month post op now, when I think of how far I've come just in this month I am happy.  Before the surgery, I had thought of every negative thing that I'm sure everyone does...I had a ton of people telling me horror stories, mostly family members.  I even had some of them telling me these things immediately post op after I had come through the worst of it.  I shut it down and didn't let it get to me. I'm at the age where any kind of surgery is fairly scary.  My main thought was, "Will I wake up?".  I even said that to my surgeon who chuckled and reassured me everything would be just fine. I woke up after the surgery in horrible pain, I kept breathing through it and then I had to remind myself, "Girl you are not in labor, tell them you're hurting and get some of those pain meds!".  They took care of my pain and wheeled me to my room after recovery.  I got up and walked to the bathroom, walked to my bed and faced having to take that first sip of water.  It felt weird, it tasted terrible but I did it.  I did it because I knew it would make my recovery go smoother and I would be less likely to feel nauseous. The next morning I went home to face the dreaded clear liquid diet, and I got through that.   To be honest, I wasn't hungry so it wasn't a problem.  Then on to full liquid, yucky protein shakes tasted ok, but that lentil soup I whipped into a thin liquid tasted like heaven to me and I savored every sip.  Then on to pureed and now soft foods and still I savor every single bite.  Food tastes so good to me now, I don't really know why.  I used to eat pizza, slather everything with butter.  Now I eat healthy7 and nothing that I shouldn't and it tastes wonderful.  So happy and counting my blessings on that. Pre-op I had worried so much about giving all that up and also the tiny portions I would have to eat.  I had forgotten that my point of reference was my normal sized stomach, not thinking that my stomach would be tiny and those tiny portions would be just perfect for me.  I'm finding out, my perceptions are just out of whack and have been most of my life. I am having very good luck with my surgery, I think part of that is following the program that I am supposed to be on.  I feel blessed that I was able to have the opportunity to have the surgery, many of the health issues I had are already going away and for me that is the most important thing in my life.  I look forward to my new life of health and well being. 

TJnWA

TJnWA

 

this process is horrible

I don't know how to talk to anybody on here.  most times I write anything it gets ignored.  Other than being an voyeur I don't think this site is very good.  My VSG was scheduled 9/8/2017, I got a call from the hospital telling me that my surgery hasn't been approved yet, haven't heard anything from my surgeons office telling me anything.  SO I called my insurance and was told my surgery was denied.  I'm devastated.  I know I can appeal, but they said it can take 30 to 60 days to do that and I shouldn't plan on surgery next week.  I'd told my co-workers, bought all my post-op food, scheduled the time off.  scheduled my Mom to come stay with me, started my pre-op diet and have been working for months for this.   I've had to openly admit and talk about the worst thing about myself for months now, thinking it's going to be worth it.  everything is going to be fine.  IT'S NOT OK AND I'M NOT OK.   

Tashah

Tashah

 

Packing on the Pounds as a Working Professional

My weight has been the one thing I can't really control in life.  I come from a long line of tall, big-boned giants in my family. (Seriously, my dad is a non-athlete and needed a knee replacement the size of a football player's.) I am 5'9 and have always had long legs and curves, even at my highest weight. I developed earlier than other girls when I was in my teens, and owned a size 12 (Between 165-185 lbs) until my sophomore year in college.  I've always loved my body and felt that it was beautiful even if I was more voluptuous than other girls in school.  During college I ate more. I discovered that beer and wine were good. (You know, before you realized they contained boat loads of empty calories?) My sleep patterns changed and the stress of tests, papers and social life added up-- and so did the pounds. By the time I graduated I was larger (Size 18-20, 240-260 lbs) but still had my curves. Dieting became more of a priority now, but the dieting almost made it worse. I would lose weight, regain. Cut carbs, try intuitive eating, then go to a doctor, go to the gym and try to get on a new plan, try the South Beach Diet, Eat Vegetarian... you get it? Right?  I felt like my energy was sucked up with trying to lose the pounds and it was discouraging thinking about it. I worked hard at my career while still trying to work out and eat less carbs. I was supervised by a doctor, personal trainer and nutritionist-- but somehow I just couldn't stop the lose and regain cycle I had started. Every time I stepped on the scale, I was more than 20 lbs heavier than the last time. I wore nice clothes to the office, but as my weight creeped higher and higher-- my heels got lower and lower-- because my sitting and walking posture were losing strength. I felt my muscles weaken and it was weird for me. (By this time, I was about 300-320 lbs.)  I added more time in the gym to help keep me active and to prevent myself from becoming completely glued to my office chair or in meetings. I gave up alcohol and only drank water.For a year and a half before my wedding, I worked out 4-5 days a week (cardio and strength). My diet was balanced, (whole grain, lean meats, vegetables, occasional treats) but between working out, going to work 40-55 hours a week-- I ate way more when I came home. Not out of stress, but because I felt HUNGRY. No fast foods, no crazy fried foods-- just balanced meals choices... but HUGE portions. I ended up losing 5 pounds in a year and a half for my wedding. Then gaining 15 while on my honeymoon-- my highest weight. (376 lbs.)  So let's fast forward to today: I am a successful profession in marketing. I have some competitive skills and work well with others. I am able to look people in the eye with the same confidence I have always had. I love myself, and I love my life. I just want to be a winner of my own health, too. I am working out in the gym still, eating a balanced diet, now reducing my portions and I weighed in today at 358 lbs. I am currently at a size high 24 and low 26. I still wear heels to work, but low ones. I am at a point where I can walk up and down stairs, quickly through hallways and to my car with a bit of a heavy breath-- but still doable. My chair is snugger than I would like it to be, but it works. I pass on the endless parade of employee birthday cakes, but still participate in the celebrations.  My struggle now is trying to control the urge to eat at night and keep my calories in check. It's hard. It's hard not to be tired after work. It's hard to be as focused on my duties, be a leader and ensure I take care of my body with the proper nutrients and exercise it needs. I have some aches that I didn't have before. My lower back gets tight and my joints crack more. This is a new development and one of the reasons I am moving forward with the VSG surgery. Working out IS HARDER at this weight, and it still feels like I am not getting anywhere. However, I am staying positive no matter what. I have decided that I am going to take control and apply this tool (the VSG, is a tool-- not a cure-all) to my gym routine and eat like my nutritionist instructs. Protein, small amounts, stay away from those starchy carbs. I only drink water and iced coffee with a little light cream in the morning. I am already learning to love my scale and thinking of it as a unit of measurement. (The same way I would measure success at work.) I can still be my big-boned, tall self at work-- I just need some help and taking these next steps will help me do that.  Anyone else struggle with the weight and work? (In the office or at home?) I'd love to hear about it. I will continue to write more. The good, the bad and the UGLY It's here we can all share these experiences and learn from each other.     

Carb Kitty

Carb Kitty

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    • Hi I had my surgery in April 2018 I had a lot of experiences like you. Before my surgery, I used to gulp down some water. That was my favorite drink. Since the surgery it's been really hard to get water down. My doctor said many have that problem because water is heavy. That's one problem I didn't think I would have. I'm not the one who like a lot of artificial sweet drinks. Definitely not drinks with aspartame. I would do some drinks with suraclose. like the zero calorie powerade. It's pretty good and goes down well. I drink teas and coffee as well and add stevia the natural sweetner to try to get in all my liquids. So liquids have gotten better for me after 7 months. Hope it gets better with you
    • I'm kind of surprised that only about 30% are diagnosed(?) with an ED. I personally think everyone who needs WLS has severe problems with eating/food - if one wants to call that an eating disorder or not doesn't matter in the end.
    • My team is so weird. Full liquids are their own thing, and then purees and soft foods are thrown in together. I'm on that stage, which starts with cottage cheese and yogurt and ends with ground meat and soup/chili. The most "advanced" thing I've eaten was a couple (1 and 3/4 :)) of Ikea meatballs, which sat really heavy, but besides those, I'd say I'm around the middle of the list. Very moist tuna salad is fine, as are scrambled eggs (I mean, those settled weird, but I digested them, so I guess they're OK). I'm thinking of trying thin-cut lunch meat next; that sounds really good to me. All I want in this world is the middle of a cheeseburger--I could let the bread and veggies go; I just want some ground beef, and cheese on it would be excellent--but I know not to push things that far, yet. The reward for going slowly is not getting sick, and that is a very compelling reward. :)
    • Thank you for sharing your experience! I haven't even thought of trying to get my fluids in any form other than plain water or at a temperature other than room temp, but I may have more success there, as you have. I'll give tea a try - thankfully I enjoy my tea unsweetened! You're probably right about the rollerskating - I don't normally fall, but it could definitely happen, especially since I haven't skated for a month. I just love it so much, I'm eager to get going, but it's more important to let my body heal. I could make a point of taking a short walk during my breaks at work. Have you started soft foods yet, or are you still doing full liquids/purees?
    • Just comparing notes, in case it helps... I still can't drink plain water. I'm getting 90% of my hydration with hot tea (mostly decaf--I don't count the caffeinated tea toward my total) and protein shakes. And it is close to 64 ounces per day, but it's not ever very much more than that. Besides hot tea, I can stand to drink protein shakes cold or at room temp. Room temp Powerade Zero is only a little bit harder than a protein shake, but room temp water hurts. Cold beverages also do OK, mostly--it's chilly enough out, now, that I just find myself gravitating toward the hot--and I definitely eat more sugar free popsicles than anyone should (even though it's cold, yes ... they seem to help when I start to feel nauseated from dehydration, though, and also they taste good 😁). I think not going rollerskating (or ice skating?), this soon, might be better than going, unless you're a lot less likely to fall than I am. (Who isn't, though? 😁) We're still pretty early on in the healing process. I do little walks most days, and since I'm still on blood thinners, I figure I also still need to be up and moving a little bit every hour I'm awake. But none of it is especially epic exercise, and I'm not going to beat myself up about that until after I've been cleared to go in the pool and lift weights and get out of breath. (Those first two happen at the 1 month post-op appointment, and the latter, I don't know? I have in my notes, from somewhere, that we're supposed to exercise only at a "moderate" pace until sometime after the 6 week mark, but that's not from my surgeon.) I don't know what to say about the food. I feel so bad if I eat too quickly that it's a pretty good policing mechanism. Like you, though, I wish I'd practiced more. The constant gurgling has gone away, and now I feel hungry 3-4 times per day, like you'd expect. It probably helps that very little of what I'm eating now is so appetizing that I feel rushed to eat it, lol. I think this will all get better with time. I hope you find a way to get your liquids in soon, though! ❤️
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