I'm super excited! I mean, not to have surgery, per se. This will be my ninth surgery in the past 25 years, and I'm a pro at them. I think the part I hate most is getting up so freaking early to get to the hospital, getting the IV in my hand, and having a super dry mouth afterwards. I can usually handle the rest. Lol. I'm slightly nervous about the pain, but I've had bigger surgeries before (including a complete knee replacement), so I'm confident I can handle it. This is a different pain, though - stomach. Anxious, but I'm okay.
Just finished making my to-do list for today and tonight. That includes what to pack for the hospital, what I need to do before going to bed tonight (like showering with an anti-bacterial soap), and grocery shopping for some items for the following week (food). The surgery itself is outpatient and will only take about an hour. I'm the first surgery of the day, scheduled for 7:30 am, so I need to be there by 6:00 am. Up at 5 (having already showered and picked out my clothing), and out the door by 5:30.
I'll be gone before my kids wake up in the morning (they're all teenagers, so that's not an issue), and likely be home before they are back from school. I plan on heading up to bed for some rest, and then hopefully I'll be felling well enough to have some broth for dinner.
Right now I'm 320 lbs. The last time I had weight loss success was with WW when I started at 250 lbs. and reached 225 lbs. a few months later. I felt and looked WONDERFUL. I'm remembering today how different I felt about my appearance and some of the differences I experienced that made that time period so enjoyable. One was that I was getting exercise daily. I was walking to and from the train to my job, which was about 1.25 miles each way - twice a day. I remember starting out lagging behind the rest of the crowd, and then eventually keeping pace. I walked unless the weather was terrible. I remember seeing fat people along the way, and wondering why they didn't just DO something about it. Now I walk around and wonder if people think the same thing as I did. I know it's not as easy as simply deciding to just start chugging along when you can barely move without hurting. I can remember the day I realized that although my thighs were rubbing against each other, they were no longer 'stuck" against each other, causing chafing. They smoothly glided past each other, which was easier to prevent chafing.
I also remember going to get new clothing, because my old ones were way too loose to fit anymore. I went into the plus size store alone, not knowing what size I was any more. I'd started out at a size 22, so I tried on a size 20. Too big. Tried on an 18 - too big! Tried on a 16 - it fit! I was a size 16?!? I hadn't been a size 16 since I WAS 16 - and here I was, nearing 40, and a size 16? Maybe it was just these pants. Tried on several more - they all fit. Not only that, but I stood there, thinking that these pants were really flattering. Same with the next pair, and the next. My GOD - was THIS my body now? Did it actually look this good in clothes? It did! I started wearing form-fitting clothing - wrap dresses and slim skirts and tops that cinched at the waist. Knee-high boots and heels and flattering jewelry (which always seemed to just look awkward before). Every day was fun when dressing.
I noticed when I sat in my office chair that my belly was practically flat. I never had to "hike" my pants up. Nothing ever got stuck in a roll. That was at 225 lbs. I can't WAIT to be back to that body! I'd love it if I were able to get down even lower than that, but I'd be SO happy to be there again.
I was able to run! Not well, and not a lot. But running through the train station didn't make me feel like I was going to die. Now going up and down half a flight makes me pant for 5 solid minutes! It'll be so nice to get back to where I was. I had more energy, too. And I wasn't hungry in the evenings after dinner. I had stopped coffee and was drinking water and was happy that way.
Getting in and out of the car didn't require hefting my body up and out. Getting up off the couch was no big deal. I didn't lie around all evening - I took long walks, enjoyed my life more.
I'm getting really excited about where I'm going back to. I do believe I've already lost a few pounds just from my pre surgical diet these past 5 days. I got on the scale today. I haven't done that and recorded it in a while. It said 309. I could SWEAR it was 328 just a week or so ago when I stepped on swiftly. My pants felt less tight at work yesterday. Almost imperceivably so, but still. I don't think it's my imagination.
I'm about 15 minutes from going into an all-day training (complete with catered lunch), and I'M PREPARED! Yay me! My pre-surgical diet is super restrictive, but I'm over halfway done already, and I can definitely make it a few more days. But it's amazing how the environment can sabotage you if you're not strong. After a good 6 months of my high rise building's lobby being closed, it's re-open today after construction, and there are free donuts and goodies for one and all. Nope! Just kept walking. Come to my floor and there's Halloween candy everywhere. The department over from me gets a weekly delivery of fresh fruit, and that's never looked so good (I can't have fruits or veggies). But I just at the bacon and hard-boiled eggs, I brought with me, and it was delicious! I've got my packed lunch (with snacks) with me. AND my trusty water bottle, which is already half gone. Gonna re-fill that and head off to this meeting. I'm excited that I'm doing so well! Maybe I'll stay awake better in this meeting without my typical sugar crash.
Two days ago, I went to see my surgeon for the last time prior to surgery. He gave me a whole packet of information, including the one-week pre surgical diet. It's very restrictive! Here's what's allowed:
Meats (beef, pork, chicken and turkey
Fish and shellfish (not breaded)
Cheese and cottage cheese
eggs, nuts, seeds and nut butters (such as peanut butter)
Tuna, chicken, or egg salad
Here's what I CAN'T have:
Seriously - I can't have anything else
This diet is meant to shrink the liver, because it's directly next to the stomach, and it needs to be lifted up in order to gain access to the stomach - kind of like the hood of a car, but sideways. The livers of people with weight issues are usually larger than normal. By eating no sugar or carbs whatsoever, the sugar stores in my liver become depleted, and my liver shrinks as a result. It's also to give me a jump start on weight loss, incorporating and understanding the post-operative diet.
Now,.... my wonderful husband, who's also a big guy, and SUPER supportive, has decided to go on this diet with me until surgery. Because he's done super low carb before (although admittedly not THIS low carb!) and he says it's difficult to do alone. And he doesn't want me to feel alone. So he's done it since Friday with me. Because of this, I've been perfect on this diet so far! It doesn't sound like that big of a deal, but it's an enormous difference for me! Meals and snacks require planning and forethought, and that's a big change for me. So is having REAL FOOD instead of just junk. I was always reaching for a donut or Ding-Dong before whenever I felt a craving. I'm still thinking about them, but I'm not picking them up now. If I feel munchy, I choose a piece of string cheese, some almonds, or some lunch meat. And that staves me off until the next meal.
It's amazing how good a salad can look after days with no fruits or vegetables. You would have thought the salad was the Ding-Dong the way I was looking at it tonight as others ate it in front of me, Lol. It's also amazing how much water I'm drinking. I'm not sure how I've done all this time, but I've rarely drank anything during the day. I'm not a huge soda drinker, even when it's available. And we rarely have it around anyway. I am a sucker for sweet tea, though - cold in the day, and hot tea at night. And I LOVE my morning coffee - full of flavored creamer and sugar. So I've gone cold turkey on all of that. And I am SO thirsty all the dang time. My hubby says this is what happens when you deprive your body of the sugars. I also occasionally get a mild headache, which I think is sugar withdrawal. But it's nothing big enough to change my day much.
Tomorrow I am in training all day at work for a new computer system. They are catering lunch, and I know it's sandwiches and salads. I know that the meat on one sandwich isn't going to be enough to see me through the afternoon. So I have my breakfast and lunch all packed for tomorrow. Two hard-boiled eggs and some cooked bacon for breakfast. For lunch, several cold cuts and pieces of cheese, along with some cottage cheese, almonds and string cheese. I'll also be drinking water all day again, and I'm hoping the training will be intensive enough to keep me focused and not thinking about food.
I've got to say, I feel different already even after only a few days of eating differently. I'm already back in the swing of choosing good foods, and planning ahead. Two of those things were massively successful the one time I had great results in losing weight years ago. I'm going to try to do some yoga this week, too (I have a few DVD's, two of which I've never even tried). I'm looking forward to seeing how much weight I may have lost when I check in on surgery day (I was weighed on my consult day). I'm already on a roll. I'm feeling really positive! And I'm already half-way done with my super low carb diet.
Today I meet with my bariatric surgeon for my pre-surgical visit. My surgery is one week from today. Today I got up and at a super low carb breakfast of eggs and bacon and milk. Weird for me not to have my coffee laden with sugar and cream. But the hearty breakfast took my mind off of it. I didn't even remember the coffee until just now.
I'm about to shower and head over to the surgeon's office. I have so many questions, and I hope he's patient with my answers.
I got my last doctor's visit in yesterday - my primary care physician's surgical release, as well as a flu shot and one blood test that I had missing. Now I'm all set to go!
I'm getting excited!
It's booked for Nov. 10th - 9 days from today! I can hardly believe it's going to be so soon!
I meet with my primary care physician tomorrow to get surgical clearance and to get one more blood test (for clotting). Then Friday I see the bariatric surgeon - and start on my no carb diet. I'll get more info at that time too about what to expect.
Here are the questions I have for my surgeon on Friday:
What brand of Lap-Band is this?
What time is my surgery scheduled for?
How long does the surgery actually take?
What happens if you run into issues in my belly with scar tissue adherance from a prior tummy tuck?
What do I need to stock up on prior to the surgery?
Is there anything you can tell me to make my ride home from the hospital and sleeping at home more comfortable / less painful?
Can I have my pain meds sent to my pharmacy prior to the surgery - so I can have them at home when I return?
How many days do you think I'll need to have other people take care of me? What kind of care will they need to give me?
Do I need to buy protein shakes? What brand do you recommend?
How long after surgery will I be visiting with you again?
What is the typical amount of band fills it normally takes for a person to get to the right place?
I've heard I'm going to be tired for a while - no energy - because my body has so much less fuel to run it and my body's still big. Is this true?
What kind of issues are typical after surgery? What kind of issues should I call you immediately for? What kinds of issues should I go to the E.R. for?
Do I need to take vitamin supplements?
Is there a support group you recommend that I connect with?
OMG - my surgery's been approved by my insurance!!! Oh.My.God!!! I have one more pre-surgical thing to do, which is to get my primary care's clearance for surgery. I have that visit scheduled for the day after tomorrow. So I thought my surgeon wouldn't be putting in the submitall of all info to my insurance company until after that. I was looking to hear from them in another 2 weeks or so. They still do need my PCP's surgical clearance, and I guess I'm missing a blood test called PT/PTT, which is a clotting test. But that's for them - not the insurance. But I've already been approved!!! They say I can pick a surgery date already - anytime after Nov. 10th! Whaaaaaaat?!?!?! I'm.... floored!!! I was expecting to receive the approval, so I'm not surprised about that. But I AM surprised it came this quickly!
I can choose to have my surgery on or after November 10th - that's TEN days away, for God's sake!!! I could literally visit the doctor this Friday (three days from now), do the pre-surgical diet for a week, and then have the surgery a week later. I can choose Wednesdays or Fridays for surgery. I'd like to do it on a Friday. If I don't choose Nov. 10th, I'll have to wait until December due to Thanksgiving and the doctor's schedule. So,.... do I do it 10 days from today, or wait until Dec.? I don't know!!! I wish I understood a bit more about what the post-surgical diet is like. Will I be eating mush at Thanksgiving? Maybe I'll call the doctor's office back and ask, so I can make a decision.
I can't believe it's happening!!!!! I feel like I have butterflies in my stomach!
Does anyone read these? Because I feel like this is more of a diary than anything else. Which is okay. It helps me have a place to pour things out and organize my thoughts.
Today I went and got my Upper GI with double contrast. First time I've had that test, and hopefully, the last. Actually, it wasn't THAT bad. But barium isn't exactly pleasant stuff to drink. But the results were good - everything was fine. That's my LAST test for pre-qualifying. I have to meet with my primary care doc for surgical clearance, and then my bariatric surgeon can turn everything over to the insurance company for review/approval.
Today brought a new wave of feelings as I sat in the little waiting room with my gown on for 40 minutes, alone. All this time since I've had my conversation with my bariatric surgeon the very first time, this surgery has been more of a fantasy. I've had eight surgeries of various types so far between the ages of 21 and 46, and I know that I handle them well. I'm less afraid of surgery than anyone I know, and unafraid to take risks to make huge, quality of life decisions for myself. I'm proud of that. That doesn't mean, however, that I'm just hunkey-dorey about surgeries - they still scare me a tad bit - mostly for the pain associated with them. When I think of the downside of having a surgery done, it always starts with thinking about the morning of surgery, and checking in to get prepped for surgery. GOD I HATE that. I hate the millions of questions, the constant verifying that yes, I am who I say I am, the cold room, the stupid garb, my husband looking kind of scared and yet bored, and most of all, GETTING THE IV PUT IN. GOD I hate that part! Like,.... I think I hate the IV placement worse than surgery. I also hate the dry, dry mouth that comes after I wake up. Usually they're encouraging me to drink, drink, drink. Not sure that this time will be the same.
This time though, it's a bit different. You see, all the other surgeries I've had were also elective. And like this one, they gave the promise of a better life. Some were little - clean-up of my knee, a bladder sling, and a tubal sterilization procedure. I say little because there wasn't THAT much pain associated with it. Two of those practically felt like I never had anything done. A few others were really large surgeries - a knee reconstruction, a complete knee replacement, and a tummy tuck/breast reduction. The knees HAD to be done - I couldn't walk anymore. So I wasn't worried about making a decision that I'd regret in any way. The tummy tuck / breast reduction was long anticipated, and I trusted my surgeon exquisitely - I wasn't worried that the job would be botched. I did have large complications from that which made healing much more challenging, but I got over it. THIS surgery though - this surgery is different than all of those. Those made me look better, function better, be in less pain. This can also do all those things. But this is the only one that requires me to make a lifestyle commitment. And I am trying to get my head around that. I mean, if I'm just fine with committing to a low carb, low fat, high protein diet with portion control, I don't need a surgery to do that, right? So,... what's going to change just because I can't put much in my stomach? I know the portion control will pretty much handle itself. So that's good. But craving the foods won't change ONE.BIT, with this surgery. So, what, exactly, am I committing to? I think it's a fresh start. It's a forced way of staying committed. It's almost like saying, "I swear I'm so committed to not using my right arm that you may as well cut it off - because I don't plan on ever using it again. It being gone will only help me stay committed to that."
I have made no lifestyle changes this entire time that I've jumped through all the pre-surgery hurdles. Not.One.Iota. Because I feel like I'm holding onto the right to eat the way I want right now - because that'll be gone soon. That thought both scares and excites me. Excites me because I don't want this big body as my shell anymore. But scares me because I already know I'm no good at eating the way I should in order to lose weight. So this isn't a magic bullet - I'm still going to WANT to eat the way I do now. But I won't have the luxury of ever doing so again. Maybe I'm looking at it the wrong way. I'm sure tomorrow will bring new realizations.
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???
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)
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
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!
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.
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.....
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?
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.
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.
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.
I believe in you I went through similar things I was 315 before I had my gastric sleeve surgery but I kept looking at all these bottles of medication I'm on and that what help me to do what I had to do ....
I love this! I am not buying anything either. When i was at my heaviest i bought a lot of beautiful clothes in much smaller sizes.. they have been sitting in my wardrobe for years, some of them. Now that i am finally on my way to fitting into them i am not buying a single thing until i know what actually suits me. All the clothes that fit me now i am getting rid of the second they are loose! I am saving a ton of money.. not buying so much food is also helping with that!