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Reach for the Sky!

Dreams can come true...You got to want it, fight for it and most of all believe in yourself!!

Jim1967

Jim1967

 

I will be forever humble and never forget my past...

This is really a repost of something I said yesterday but thought it was worth a blog entry   Watching my 600lb Life on TLC can be inspirational, aggravating and downright annoying. Many times I want to reach through the TV and slap patients but more importantly the non-supporting people in their lives. I will admit I have only seen a handful of episodes.   One thing I can tell you from being a 5'6 488 pound morbidly obese person is it was just a struggle to wipe my butt and it was to a point where I showered after to make sure I was clean and the shower alone was a task because of the aches and pains in my muscles and joints. Walking from my car to my office even with the use of an elevator took a lot out of me. I would last 10 minutes walking the grocery store with my wife and would end up going out to the car and wait for her to finish because I was out of breath and legs ached so bad.   I don’t recall eating food and gaining weight simply because I was lazy or didn’t care about myself. I didn’t eat with the intent of becoming morbidly obese to a point where I couldn’t do those simplest of daily life tasks. I have a serious junk food addiction and I loved it. I ate from the moment I wake up to the moment I went to bed.   I am not making excuses for myself or anyone else but keep in mind you’re watching an edited reality t.v. show. Do we really know what is going in these people’s lives? They edit the crap out of these things to create the draw and because everyone loves a train wreck and more often than not they will put those things front and center.   One thing I am certain about is I will always remain humble and will make sure I never become like the people who used to judge me. I was a terrible mess physically and eventually mentally and I am lucky to be where I am today. I absolutely refuse to forget my 488lb self. Sometimes I wonder why me? Why was I successful? Just because someone doesn’t care about themselves doesn’t mean they don’t WANT to care about themselves.   Hope is a very powerful emotion and it can make or break you

Jim1967

Jim1967

 

Latest Follow Up Appointment

This morning I had my first follow up appointment in 6 months. I had been struggling the last week or so deciding on whether or not to get a fill. I got some good advice and some suggestions and after talking with the PA today we decided there is no need for one right now. I am eating 3 meals a day with no snacking or cravings. I am going anywhere from 3 to 5 hours without getting hungry and I have found for me I tend to get hungry sooner after having the shake but with real actual food I can go 5 or 6 hours.   At the end of the day I do believe I was factoring my fill needs on 1. Getting hungry at times sooner than what I was months ago. 2. Scale is not where I wanted it to be.   So....# 1 is OK as I have narrowed it down to why I get hungry sooner and I can adjust.   #2 is definitely not a good reason for a fill. Getting a fill certainly has nothing to do with the scale and getting a fill will not help the scale move any faster. Thank you to Missy for reaffirming that for me. I mean I knew in the back of my mind it was not a valid reason for fill but hearing it from someone else just made more sense.   I also found this morning that my last fill was not in April it was actually back in January when I got .5cc. I had it written down in a notebook but hadn't actually looked it in a while.   Lastly, my PA is going to work on getting insurance approval for a new sleep study. 240lbs later it is obvious an adjustment is need on my CPAP.   Other then that I am living the dream and enjoying life. Happy 5th Anniversary to my beautiful wife Kelli (Kelli1016).   If you read this then I wish you a happy Friday and I hope you're doing well and rocking your band or preop diet!!

Jim1967

Jim1967

 

5K Walk for Breast Cancer and Band Surgery

This past Week or so has indeed been a busy one. Last Saturday (9/14) Kelli and I along with our friends participated in 5K Walk for Breast Cancer Awareness. Walking a 5K is pretty much a breeze for me...or so I thought. I finished no problem but I did learn along the way that walking a 5K on the public streets is not the same as walking a track or a treadmill. I did end up finishing with a pretty decent time of slightly over an hour. We had a great time and it was for a good cause. We were walking in honor of our friends Mom who had passed roughly 8 months ago.   We called our team Bosom Buddies and on the back we had his Mom's initials.     Almost to the finish line...styling in my pink shirt..   Kelli (knick1016) and I   Finish line!!   Sunday was busy day as well between Laundry, Grocery shopping day to day stuff. Kelli had band surgery Monday. She got the Realize band. She was in surgery for about an hour and everything went great. As with all patients she stayed over night at the hospital and came home on Tuesday afternoon. She is on the mend but is dealing with the usual gas cramps and fighting some nausea today. I am excited for her as her journey is just beginning and she is inspiring me to keep on keeping on....   I am sure she will post in a day or so if she hasn't already. Her screen name is knick1016

Jim1967

Jim1967

 

Exercise needs to become a daily task

Every now and then I get a PM asking me how I have lost so much weight so fast and what do I do for exercise. Let me tell you honestly I have lost a significant amount of weight just by simply doing things that I couldn't do for a very long time. Things that most people do daily.   When I was 488lbs I could hardly stay on my feet for 10 minutes at a time without sever muscle cramps in the back of my legs. I couldn't even walk the grocery store with my Wife. I used to sit in the car and wait for her to do it and then I would get out and help her load the car. We would get home and carry the groceries into the house and I would have to sit and catch my breath, rest my legs before helping her put stuff away. It was no way for a 45 year old man to live.   So to say I lost a lot of weight with no exercise is not completely accurate but the exercise I was getting is stuff that some folks may take for granted and I never will again. At my heaviest everything but sitting and lying down was a task. I was a home body as much as possible and even going out to a movie was a task. I even reached a sad point where taking a shower was a real chore but I did it every day because not taking one is just unacceptable not mention gross.   So as my journey has progressed so has my physical activity but yet I am still having a problem getting in actual exercise and sometimes just a simple walk is hard to get in. Last week I committed to 10 hours of cardio and came up way short not even reaching half. This week same thing I committed to 10 hours of cardio and I didn't get the walk in yesterday. Today I am going and this time no excuses.   Exercise needs to become a daily task just like taking a shower is a daily task....   So far my weight loss has not really started to slow down but I am starting to see the signs that it might. I figure as I am inching closer to goal it will only get more difficult/slow. My initial goal that I was shooting for was to weigh 220lbs. That would still put me into the obese BMI but I can accept 220. I am on track to hitting my goal of 250 for Christmas which I set last Christmas.   Starting to wonder if 199 is possible. Excess skin is really becoming noticeable but there is not much I can do about that. Insurance is not going to cover plastic surgery. So you choose to live with the excess skin or be fat. I'll take the loose skin just as long as I don't start having problems.   Anyway if you read this far then thank you. I hope your day is going well and that your scale is being friendly to you!

Jim1967

Jim1967

 

Finally a moment of self awareness....

Had a fantastic weekend but as usual my only wish was it didn't fly by so fast. I was in my friends wedding this weekend. Probably for the first time in many years I felt really good about myself. I felt I looked decent and I was confident. I am so thankful to my new best friend of 15 months (My band).   It is truly amazing what proper fitting clothes can do for your psyche. Even standing outside decked out in a tux with it being 95 with a heat index of 105 I was quite content. 15 months ago I would not even have been able to stood long enough to be in this Wedding and finding an actual tux that would fit would've been a tremendous challenge.       This first pic was taken with my IPhone which obviously has a dirty lens.              

Jim1967

Jim1967

 

New Bandsters becoming extinct?

I've been banded for a little over a year now and I can remember when I attended my first seminar in October 2011 there was so many potential band patients. As time went on and I attended support meetings and gastric patients always far out numbered bandsters but there was still a lot of people. So now my Wife has begun her journey and is using the same center I used but a different Doctor. Doctor who was giving the seminar discussed all three option as they now offer the Sleeve along with the band and bypass. As I was taking in all the information it became quite clear that the band has fallen out of favor with the Doctors in the center. They'll still do Bands if that is what the patient wants. At one point the Doctor said "On average our patients lose 30 pounds in year one where the other surgeries have a higher success rate".   Needless to say I disputed those numbers and then privately told the Doctor I believe she was being unfair with her assessment and then I questioned her that out of the number she is using how many were due to non-compliance vs actual complications/failures? Her answer was bluntly "That is why I like to push for the Sleeve over band as it requires less attention". Sounds pretty bias to me!! I then said so what you're saying is getting the Sleeve means it is successful regardless of the effort of the patient? And her reply was "Well there will always be guidelines and good choices to be made in order to be successful". .At that point I had enough and it sounded like she was blowing me off.   I continue to follow up with my Doctor and I still attend certain support meetings but I can sadly see band patients being a thing of the past. I attend as a patient advocate in what is called a Panel of Experts which is made up of post op patients with at least more than 9 months of experience. I sit on this panel with bypass and sleeve patients. It is designed for preop to ask anything they want to the post ops without any presence from the Center. Basically a patient to patient candid talk. I will tell you the last one I had been to consisted of about 20 people and 2 were potential bandsters. I think I ended up answering 3 or 4 questions while listening to the Sleeve and Gastric speak.

Jim1967

Jim1967

 

For Me the Band is not just about weight loss...it's a state of mind

I became the proud owner of a Realize band on April 16, 2012. My band and I have had (like most) a love/hate relationship at times but even at the rockiest of times I've had no regrets. As time has gone on the 'novelty' of having the band has worn off. Worn off in a sense that we have become one.   I have lost a ton of weight so far but honestly as happy as I am about that it is not what amazes me the most. What amazes me is the way I look at food now. I am 46 years old and have been overweight since I was a little boy. I use to plan my binges. I was never one for eating huge portioned meals but I was a severe junk food junky. I would eat my dinner with anticipation that I had Cheez-its, ice cream and soda waiting for me as part of my nightly ritual. I wouldn't be satisfied until the 1 pound box of Cheez-its was gone and the half gallon of ice cream heavily dented if not empty. Next day or every other day I would be going to the store to replenish.   For the first time in my life I felt I wasn't controlled by food. I have had some strange moments in this journey where I felt like something was missing....There was times when I would be sitting there while watching t.v or whatever it was I might be doing and thinking 'I am bored and I don't recall every being this bored before' and I would get up and go do something. This was my AH HA moment..that moment when you feel liberated, that moment when you think my god what happened? My band had released me from years of food imprisonment.   As time has gone on my appetite is almost non existent. I am amazed that I have not battled head hunger at all. I hope this is not a fluke.   I still battle with my laziness but at least food is not a factor. Most of my weight loss has been with minimal exercise and it is something I am working on. Now that the nice weather is here I have been going out for 1 mile walks during my lunch hour. I remember a time when I couldn't walk the grocery store for 10 minutes and now I easily do a mile in 20 minutes. I am going to work on increasing the distance. I am doing a 5K Walk for Cancer in September.   So was the band worth it? (in my best Adam Sandler voice) Hell yeah!!

Jim1967

Jim1967

 

How sweet it is....

the sweet spot that is known as the green zone. Some are lucky and never have to worry about it and some of us have to figure out if we are really in it or not or if it even exists. Since my last fill on Jan 29th I can certainly say it exists. I can easily go 5 hours with need to eat and I never have the cravings or desires to snack. Jan 29th I weighed 346 and this morning I was 313. Today I also had my one year follow up visit and the Center was happy with everything they seen and heard and they feel I am in a very good place right now. They decided that they only need to see me every 6 months but if I have any problems at all with anything or think I need adjustment then call sooner and get in.   I still have a long way to go in my journey but sometimes it is good to take a step back and look at the big picture. My Doc took all my measurements this morning and then gave me this print out for a little perspective.         I am 93lbs from my personal goal but I am more motivated then ever.   My advice to all the new folks considering this option. Patience...this trip requires a lot patience but if you're true to yourself and follow your Docs advice and guidelines you can be successful. With anything there are ups and downs but you have to grind through the low points. Lapband surgery one day and weight loss the next does not happen. It can take some time for the ball to really start rolling.

Jim1967

Jim1967

 

Since my last fill..wow!!

I was going to wait on making a blog entry until next month as April 16 is my one year mark of my surgery. Today I stepped on the scale and I was 321. I had a sudden realization of how thing have changed in just a short month and a half. I'll explain shortly.   Since I was banded in April of 2012 I always had this thought that weight would slide off seeing that I was so big and typically big people lose quicker. As time went on I realize that is not how it works and I begun to accept that. Even though I understood slow and gradual movements on the scale I never seemed quite pleased. Now before you scoff or judge me because yes I have lost a ton of weight in a short time it still didn't seem quite right. It seemed I would lose two pounds then the scale wouldn't budge sometimes for like 3 weeks. Sometimes even longer. I often times got really frustrated in the beginning but slowly I adjusted to it.   So going back to today. Today I weighed in at 321 and when I got my last fill on Jan 29 I was 341. I have lost 20lbs since my January appointment. My food intake changed drastically as did my attitude. Eating a cup of food is more of a chore then ever as of late. I thought before this latest fill I was in the green zone but as I crept closer to January not so much. Now since this last .5cc I am actually there and for the first time I am seeing the weight move like I originally expected. I am hoping it keeps up for a little while but I know the more I lose the slower it will become.   So take it from someone who is someday hoping to become an actual veteran bandster that the green zone can be very allusive but once you find it...WOW.   Missy (Mis73) told me time and time again that .5, yes a just half of cc can make a whole world of difference. She wasn't kidding!!   I hope the downward trend continues and I hope you're all losers....just like me.   Have a wonderful healthy day and weekend!   -Jim

Jim1967

Jim1967

 

Patience...Band requires much patience especially at the start of it all

So before I climb onto my soapbox let me start by saying this is in no way directed at anyone in particular.   It seems lately there has been an onslaught of folks either pissed off or discouraged and some even wish they didn't have the surgery because of lack of scale movement. I cannot recall how many posts I've read over the course of the week from someone 5 days to 20 days post op who are just downright frazzled over the fact that the scale has not moved.   Again, this is not directed at anyone in particular and as I think back when I was first banded I kind of had that moment of frustration where the scale didn't move and I questioned whether or not I chose the right surgery. I was in the same place a lot of you might be now. I did a lot of research on this surgery for about year before finally going through with it. Out of all things I wish I was more prepared for was the actual weight loss. See I had this assumption that because I had the surgery I was going to begin pulling big numbers immediately. Because I had surgery I was going to see large drop in weight very fast. It never happened...and 11 months post op I can tell you it never has happened...or maybe it has. You see I am obsessed with the scale and have been since my preop days. So I will step on the scale far to often to be able to see big numbers. I finally made peace that this is the way its going to be and I am OK with that now.   Everyone loses weight differently and what may work for me may not work for you. Our bodies are so different. So comparing yourself to someone else is not very realistic.   If you are due to have surgery or just had surgery I suggest you do yourself a favor and avoid the scale. You will only torture yourself with it. First month post op is all about healing. Even though this may have been the easiest surgery you ever had there was still a substantial amount of trauma to your stomach and digestive system and it needs time to heal and for the swelling to reduce. Swelling alone with play havoc with scale enough to drive someone bonkers. Just do yourself a favor and leave it be.   As for the pre and post op "diets" your Doctor prescribed. I really don't believe he provided those guidelines as a sense of torture. Liquids and mushies is all about letting your stomach heal for a few weeks before trying to eat solids. Remember you have a new version of your stomach now and it has to be treated like a newborns. Milk, baby food and then on to solids.   I wish you all well and much success. Try not to be hard on yourself and do keep your expectations in check. Remember Rome was not built in a day. Band one day and skinny the next is for dreams only. It takes hard work and determination. Like my friend Carolinagirl always says, You have "want power" and you just have to used it.   Being 488lbs I had a tough time deciding if the band was the right me. I was so worried because I had so much weight to lose. I spoke with my Surgeon and said he thought I would do well with the band but he was more than willing to do gastric if that's what I wanted. He was right about the band. I am not at goal yet but it is very reachable now and all doubt is out the window. Work with your band and become one with it and possibly good things will come.   Cheers!!  

Jim1967

Jim1967

 

"When are you going to have babies of your own?"

I never thought I would find that question so offensive. I am guilty of asking such a question when I was younger to my own Sister. I do believe people have no malicious intent when they ask such a question but yet it can come off so offensive. My Wife and I have tried for three years to get pregnant with no luck. We both went through extensive testing and seen numerous specialists. It was determined I was the problem. I was not producing viable sperm. I under went Surgery last February to determine if I had a blockage and to see if they could extract viable samples to be used in conjunction with IVF. They got a little and we had it frozen until such a time we could move forward with the IVF. We were warned by both my Doctor and My Wife's that we should be prepared for back up options such as a donor as they had little to work with. My wife and I decided donor was not something we wanted. If we could not have them biologically then maybe we would consider possible adoption down the road.   My surgery was in February of 2012 and the IVF cycle was in May. Even though we were told the odds were not favorable but yet possible we had very high hopes and less than 24 hours later after the IVF cycle our world came crashing to a halt as we were notified it didn't work. We both cried for two days and I personally took it harder than I expected I ever would. I guess part of it is because even though I did nothing wrong I felt like I failed us both.   Now 8 months later we talk about it less but the memories are fresh. I still blame myself and haven't really moved on. This past weekend we were visiting my Wife's cousin who has 16 month old twins who we simply adore and love to spend time with. My Wife posted the below picture on facebook which lead to a lot of "When are you going to have babies of your own?"   Naturally, it is our own fault for posting the picture but I cannot help but be annoyed. One of the people who asked is an Aunt who does not have kids herself due to medical complications. One would think she would've been more tactful.     Next time you consider asking someone when they are going to have kids take a moment to consider that there maybe more to the story and that it could be a sensitive subject!! I guess this is my payback for asking my Sister and Brother in law many years ago. I am however a proud Uncle of a 22 and 15 year old!

Jim1967

Jim1967

 

Hurricane Sandy...

So Hurricane Sandy passed us by yesterday and last night. All family and friends accounted for and safe with minimal property damage. Lots of down trees and wires. Here in New Hampshire as bad as it was we were certainly lucky unlike our friends to the South. NY and NJ are a mess. We have been without power since 5:30pm yesterday and estimates for restoration stand at about 8pm tomorrow. I couldn't imagine what this would have been like if it were combined with a snow storm.   My Wife said she doesn't understand how people in the "olden days" survived without electricity. LOL. I told her it is the only life they knew. You cannot miss what you've never had.   So until we get power back it looks like I will be commuting to the Office in order to work. Here is a pic from the down the street from my office.

Jim1967

Jim1967

 

Rough Weekend....rough Start To The Week

Been a rough few days around here. Friday was the type of day that made me realize I'm really not a young kid anymore. You watch the generation ahead of you deal with the struggles of their own mortality and reality sets in that there is nothing you can do to change the cycle of life. All you can do is try and make the best of every situation and lend them a smile and cherish every moment you have with them...   Yesterday we said goodbye to my Uncle who lost his battle with brain cancer at the age of 68. He fought the good fight and remained optimistic right up until the very end. It was very hard to watch my Father come to terms with this and pay his respect. My Father and my Uncle have walked similar paths. My Father had part of his lung taken due to Cancer and when he was being treated for that they discovered he had bladder cancer. After months of preparation and chemo they took the bladder. He was pronounced Cancer free for a short time but the lung cancer came back and he is just now finished 6 weeks of chemo and radiation. Now we wait for him to heal up and let his body recuperate then they will do another scan and hopefully he will be clean of cancer. My Father had 7 brothers and he is now 1 of 3 that is left. I can't even begin to imagine how he feels.

Jim1967

Jim1967

 

One Year Later....

Tomorrow marks 1 year since I started my journey. Oct 12, 2011 was the day I walked into my Surgeon's office and introduced myself and told him I was ready to make a change and a life long commitment to myself. I had at this point been researching the band for about 6 months off and on and had attended an informational seminar a month earlier. That day I was weighed in at 488lbs and they took all sorts of measurements and pictures along with a thorough physical. They sent me on my way with no promises of surgery until I met all the requirements and criteria. One of those requirements was to lose minimum 5% of my weight. They explained the need to shrink the liver for a safe surgery.   I hit that 5% goal which was 24lbs in less then two months. Weight Center was surprised and impressed but I told them that losing is not hard. Keeping it off is hard.   I was also given a laundry list of testing that had to be done along with meeting a 3rd party Doctor who had to clear me for the surgery. Also on that day I met with the in-house Nutritionist and was given a pre-op diet to follow along with a schedule for Nutrition classes. It was at that appointment they confirmed I needed to complete a 6 month mandatory monitored diet due to insurance policy.   November 28, 2011 the first Monday after Thanksgiving I spent a good chunk of the day at the hospital for the following tests Upper GI
Abdominal ultrasound
Cardiac Echo
Chest X-ray
EKG
Blood work
On December 1, 2011 I returned to the office for a Psychological Evaluation and another follow up with the Nutritionist.   Between January 9, 2012 and February 13 I attended a 6 session (we met once a week) class called the Hungry Head. Hungry Head program is to help one distinguish the differences between head hunger and real hunger and to develop skills to manage urges to over-eat. This class also allowed me to meet my mandatory requirement of attending 6 pro-op Support Meetings. I found this class to be an eye opening experience and it really allowed me to take a long honest look at myself. I was a binge eater. I would plan binges. I would go to the store on the way home from work and buy soda, cheese its and ice cream. I would finish a meal and wonder when and what my next meal would be. Eating in front of t.v. was just plain bad for me.     I am the one in the Patriots shirt standing with my Dad. We were just wrapping up a fishing trip. This picture was taken in August of 2011. I have no real idea how much I weighed in this picture but it was taken two months before my consult appointment in October. So if I wasn't 488 here I was darn close.   This is a more recent picture. Weighing 364lbs down 124lbs.   I seems like it took forever to get to Surgery day but wow what a fast year it has been. It was well worth it..wait strike that! I am worth it and I would do this again in heartbeat. Even at 364lbs I have a new lease on life and it can only get better from here.   If you read this far I thank you i know I tend to ramble. I will close with a quote posted by Chris Powell from ABC's Extreme Makeover: Weight loss Edition   "You will never change your life until you change something you do daily". - John Maxwell   Words to live by and I'm still trying....

Jim1967

Jim1967

 

What I Think Are Keys To A Successful Journey. Just My Opinion And So Far It Works For Me

Everyone has opinions and advice and that is what makes us different individually. I am not one to sugar coat things but for someone to come and tell another "you are giving out bad information or advice" is just dead wrong. That is the opinion bad information or advice is being given.   Keys to a successful journey in my opinion is: Patience
Education
Following basic guidelines set forth by a Doctor and/or Nutritionist
Making good food choices
Develop good eating habits such as eating slow, smaller portions and chewing up food very fine
Analyze your hunger to ensure it is really truly hunger and not head hunger
Patience
Ongoing Education throughout your journey
Constant follow up with Doctors and Nutritionists throughout the journey. This is a must should band adjustments be needed.
While I understand is is perfectly normal to read up on the manufacture website on the product I think I would put more faith in the experience others have had with the product and that goes for both patients and medical professionals alike. I read up on Realize band on the manufacture website but in the end they are trying to sell a product. I want to hear from the 'end users' and the medical professionals who work with the product.     Just my penny worth of thoughts   Oh and Fen-Phen said they could help people lose weight as well but in the end the drug was pulled for causing serious health issues along with deaths and they ended up shelling out $13 billion in settlements. Anyone who just takes the word of a manufacturer as FACT or word of law is not a wise person.

Jim1967

Jim1967

 

Goals And Rewards Go Hand In Hand.

It is so true the title of this. Rewards are just as important as goals. Goals are nice but being rewarded and allowing yourself to live a little is what life is all about. Remember to have fun while you're on this journey and not focus too much on the numbers. I think I finally broke my scale habit. I haven't been on it in 5 days now. I will weigh in on Monday.   My Wife and I just booked a couple of nights stay at The Jewel at Rockefeller Center early December. I have never been to NYC in my life. I've traveled through up state a lot and have been to Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame but never the big city.   I have a long way to go in my weight loss journey but now I have a goal to lose as much as I can before this trip. This is not only a goal but also a reward. I have finally dropped enough where I can easily walk a mile without getting to tired. My Wife has been wanting to go every year since we've been married so now I can finally take her.   I haven't been this excited since our Disney trip in 2006 when I proposed in the Rose Garden at Magic Kingdom.

Jim1967

Jim1967

 

What Is An Experienced Bandster?

I haven't written in a while so.....What or who is an experienced Bandster? At nearly 6 months post op apparently, not I even though I have dropped 81lbs. Being an experienced Bandster is not all about weight loss....   This morning on the way to the Office I stopped at Dunkin Donuts for a sausage, egg and cheese wake up wrap and a large decaf coffee. I don't drink with my meal but I wanted to have it for when I got into the office. Well without thinking much about it I proceeded to head to work on the freeway and ate my wrap. Not paying attention I ate it too quickly. Stuck episode on the freeway in traffic is not fun by any means. I ended up pulling over to the side of the road and got out and paced back in forth for about 15 minutes until it passed.   With my last fill I am definitely in my sweet spot. I can eat almost anything if I do it correctly. Correctly seems to be a problem still. I am eating the right things for the most part but I am still eating too quickly and not chewing enough. I have spent my entire life eating junk food and binging at times and just shoving it in. I never thought learning to eat properly with the band would be this difficult.   I have had probably about 7 or 8 stuck episodes since being banded in April. One episode led to (and sorry for the tmi) vomiting.   So a couple of things are going to happen here. I am either going to get this straight and follow proper band rules or I am going to cause a slip.   Next week I have another support meeting and I am going to sign up and re-take the hungry head class again. That class focus on binge eating and eating habits. I don't think I need the hungry head class as far as binging but I think being around people and talking about experiences will help me keep focus. My next Doc appointment follow up is 9/25. I am not getting a fill. I am still getting the needed "restriction" from the fill last week.   In my opinion and I have said it before the word "restriction" sucks when it comes to band talk/terminology. It's not about restricting at all it's all about appetite suppression and satiety. I got that going on right now, no question about it. Now if I can only learn how to eat properly.   I also know my band is tighter in the morning. From now on protein shakes only in the morning even if I am running late.     ***

Jim1967

Jim1967

 

Losing Weight Is Such A Juggling Act...i Should Have Joined The Circus

I went in for a fill this morning. I am now 9cc in an 11cc band. I hoping this is it for me in the way of adjustments. I am getting a little concerned as I have so much in the band already that I worry about maxing it out. A few people along with the Doctor told me not to let this concern me. Still plenty of room in the band and I could only be one small adjustment away from the ever elusive sweet spot. Adjustment I got today could be it but who knows.   How do I really know for sure though? I seem to come out of a fill appointment feeling good. I hardly get hungry and when I do it's about 5 to 6 hours after my last meal. My appetite is so diminished. I am really starting to believe I am in the zone but my brain is waiting for some kind of magical light bulb to go off in my head.   Scale will drop 10lbs or so in the first week after my fill then I sit idle for the next two until my next adjustment appointment. I can eat any kind of food that I want or have tried I should say. I am yet to attempt a hamburger or sub roll. I haven't had an actual hamburger since March but I am not missing it.   For the last week or so I was really looking forward to this appointment so I could see the Nutritionist only to find out one called out sick and the other was on Vacation. Needless to say, I was disappointed.   After talking with my Wife and Mis73 it is determined that I am not taking in enough Calories and most likely putting my body into survival/starvation mode. My last 8 day average is 898 calories per day. I am going to work on increasing to at least 1200 a day with a goal of 1300. My next appointment at the center is 9/25. My appointments are typically three weeks apart. We'll see how it goes. I lost 11lbs during this past three week window.

Jim1967

Jim1967

 

Cancer.....

What else needs to be said? Cancer affects everyone and it is not prejudice. It will go after whoever it wants and whenever it wants. It doesn't matter who you are, what color you are, what religion you are. It does not care if you are an infant or an 80 year old senior. It will take you. Stating the obvious? I suppose.....   Three years ago my Father was diagnosed with lung cancer. While he was preparing for lung surgery they performed a full body diagnoses and found he had bladder and prostate cancer. October 2009 he had his lower lobe of the left lung removed. He then did 12 weeks of chemo. He needed the chemo for the lung and they hoped it would shrink the tumors on the bladder but it did not.   August 2010 (on his birthday actually) he under went major surgery and had his bladder removed. He came through the surgery fine but recovery was long and tough. Because of heart disease (heart attack, triple bypass in 2004) they kept him sedated for 5 days and slowly brought him out of it. Pain meds they given him had a done a number on him. He had awful nightmares of war.   Six months ago my father was pronounced cancer free...then within the next 3 weeks he developed a cough a bad nasty cough and no one could tell him what it was. He started coughing up blood and then they found the cancer had returned but this time in the top stem of the left lung and also in the lymph node. He is currently undergoing testing to see if the right lung can sustain him with or without oxygen full time. He is on the fence about surgery and the testing they are doing will be his deciding factor. Either way he is facing another 12 weeks of chemo with or without surgery.   In the last 8 years my father has endured a heart attack, triple bypass and his 3rd bout with cancer is about to get under way. He is a fighter and I can only hope when I encounter such adversity that I can attack it with same tenacity.   I haven't been around much and I have only managed to drop a pound but hey its better then nothing and right now it's not about me....

Jim1967

Jim1967

 

My Band And Me....

Considering I had to work Sunday I had a pretty decent weekend. Weather was great. My Wife and I stumbled on to a great deal at Sam's Club Saturday. IPhone 4 8GB model onsale for $48 bucks each and they were waiving the activation fee for this weekend only. We were due for an upgrade so how could we say no to two IPhones for just under $100. Who cares if they don't have Suri!! It's over-rated anyway. Going from an Android to an IPhone is a world of difference. I am not a Mac guy by any means as this is my first Apple purchase but so far I am impressed. So much more stable then our Androids.   I did have a two stuck incidents with the band this weekend. Saturday morning we went to breakfast and I got scrambled eggs with a little bit of home fries and wheat toast. It was near the end of breakfast I ate a half of slice of toast a little fast and it got stuck. I started hiccuping and finally I guess I made a face of some sort and my wife told me to go outside and she would pay the bill. It finally passed but wow I have done this to many times in the past week. Since my last fill on 7/2 I have had 3 stuck episodes. Two of them involving bread. So bread is now out of the picture until I learn to eat slower and chew. I know its not the bands fault. I did it each time by eating too fast and not chewing enough.   I really need to buckle down and pay serious attention to my habits or I am going to do some damage to myself or band or both. I don't want to cause a slip. Good news is, I think I am definitely in the zone now. I can eat a little and go a long time before I get hungry and I don't have any head hunger or cravings. I am really enjoying this. I am down another 2lbs this morning for a total of 90lb since October with 54lbs of it gone since Surgery day April 16.   I have gone from 6xl t-shirts to 4xl.   Here on out until it becomes habit I am going to eat only at the dining room table away from the tv and laptop so I can focus solely on the food and the chewing. Jean mentioned in her book Bandwagon to put the fork down between bites and I need to make sure I do that. Actually, Jean mentions all of that. Don't eat in front of the tv or computer, chew, chew, and chew and put the fork down between bites.   If any of you have not read Jean's book Bandwagon yet it is really a must read. Jean has so much valuable information and tips. It's a must have for Bandsters!! Link to Jean's blog and from here you can order the book http://jean-onthebandwagon.blogspot.com/

Jim1967

Jim1967

 

Eat To Live...no Longer Living To Eat.....

I was banded in April of this year and I have certainly had my ups and downs. Good news is the ups and downs was all mental because physically I couldn't have wished for a better outcome. At 450 pounds I was certainly nervous about anesthesia and the actual surgery. My Surgeon absolutely rocked and he gave me kuddos during recovery about how good of a job I did preparing and shrinking my liver. We both had exceptional days that day.   So, I have been banded about 10 weeks now and I have lost 48lbs. First month after surgery was the roughest because my mind started playing tricks on me. I started thinking weight should be falling off of me instantly and it wasn't. I dropped a 172 lbs between 2003 and 2004 doing Atkins and some how I had it my mind that with the band I would drop weight even quicker (which is not really healthy anyway). Well, I am dropping it fast. It is really easy to get caught up when your stepping on the scale daily. Every morning I would step on the scale and then just get annoyed and start wishing I had bypass.   I am still not great with the scale as I am stepping on it every other day but now I don't get hung up on it like I was in the beginning. Rome was not built in a day and neither was the 486 pounds. My Wife often tells me I don't give myself enough credit for what I have accomplished both pre-op and post-op. I told her my problem is I am still hung up on the past and the dis-service I did to myself. In 2003 I was 393 pounds and I did Atkins so by Christmas 2004 I was in Disney World weighing in a 219 and I was on top of the world. 174 pounds gone and I thought it was forever...I started enjoying life and indulging. I never changed my habits. I went back to poor eating and gained it all back plus 93 additional pounds. For the life of me I don't understand how I got from 219 to 486 pounds. How did I let it go like that, I understand it is no fault but my own but why didn't the people around me not stage an intervention.   I am trying very hard to find peace with it and the fact I failed. It is hard. I hope maybe once I hit 393 again my mind might be a little more at ease. What has me the most concerned is hitting that 219 again and not falling back into my old ways that got me to where I was in October 2011.   Today, I have to say with the band and the 6cc's I got in it I no longer have cravings. I no longer desire to simply walk to the fridge or pantry and eat. My habits have changed as well as my appetite. I no longer live to eat. I eat to live and I only eat when I am hungry. I cannot explain in words how different I look at things. I used to sit down in front of the tv and eat a box cheese its and a liter of diet pepsi. Now, I have no thought for that stuff. No cravings, no mental arguments. I sit down now and watch t.v. I don't think about eating. Not even during commercials. It just feels "normal" to eat when I am hungry and that's it, no side eating...   Is this the way it supposed to work???? Did having this band "cure" my head hunger or am I just in the zone to a point where junk food and binging is just blocked mentally? Maybe I shouldn't try to analyze it and just enjoy the ride.   If you have read this far then thank you...I rambled on a bit but what the hell I find that to be therapeutic...

Jim1967

Jim1967

 

Troubling News From My Insurance Company

So I was one of the lucky ones who was able to get their insurance company to cover the banding procedure. In fact I paid nothing at all out of pocket because I had already reached my max year out of pocket of $1500 due to an earlier surgery I had in March.   Yesterday, I got home and in the mail I found a lovely letter from my primary care doctor who informed me as of August 1st I need to either find a new PCP or get a different insurance carrier. Cigna has decided to drop its affiliation with Lowell General Hospital. Cigna requires that PCP be on staff at a hospital they are affiliated with which was that hospital. So I said, great now I need to find a new primary care doctor after 10 years of being with the same one.   Now it gets even better as reality sets in and I realize duh, I was banded a Lowell General and my Surgeon is on Staff there. His entire practice is tied to that hospital. So now adjustments, routine visits and god forbid I need surgery again it is all going to be out of network!!   As a lot of us know switching Surgeons when it comes to the band is not always an easy task. I am just over 2 months of being in the banded ranks and have only had two fills and I know I need more. I cannot help but be discouraged here but the only bright side I can see is at least I am banded and this didn't happen a week before surgery......   I have contacted my HR dept this morning at work to see if they can look into this a little further..

Jim1967

Jim1967

 

Think I Am Closing In On The Green Zone

I got my 2nd fill of 1cc this past Tuesday. I now have a total of 6cc in a 11cc band. I can definitely feel the difference now. Last night I only managed 4oz boneless pork chop and 1/2cup of of broccoli and 1/2 cup of stuffing. Well I managed to eat all of the meat and veggie but after one scoop of stuffing I was done. I had I eaten any more I would have had an episode......I think I am close maybe another small fill or two. Scale finally moved some as well.

Jim1967

Jim1967

 

What You Haven't Lost All The Weight Yet?

Some how practically everyone who knows me know I have had this surgery. It is my own fault as I told so many myself and word of mouth especially around the office travels. Most of my relatives now know thanks to my Mother who loves to gossip. None of this would bother me if it wasn't for the fact I constantly get asked "how much you down", "how much you plan to lose". I even had a former manager ask me "what are you going to do with all the loose skin when you drop all the weight". I felt like tell him I was going to smother him with it....LOL   I had a buddy come into the office and because of travel he hadn't seen me in a couple of weeks and he jokingly said "what you haven't dropped all the weight yet".   I have a fairly thick skin (hehe no pun intended) but this is getting quite tiresome. Not only do I have to deal with my own thoughts of "why is the scale not moving", "Am I getting enough protein", "Am I consuming too many calories", "I thought the weight would drop faster". Now I have to have the constant reminder of it all because I did not keep my damn mouth shut!!   I wish I never told anyone aside from my wife....now in the back of my mind I am afraid of failure. To be known as the fat guy who couldn't lose weight after having weight loss surgery.   Today has been a rough day work-wise and scale-wise. I am a bit down on myself to the point where I gave up on work today to post this and try to adjust my attitude. My attitude just plain sucks today...today is one of those "should have I gotten the bypass instead."   I have my eating in check today just fine but the scale is toying with me again. I was 413 last Friday and today 415. I know it's only 2 pounds but seriously it's going in the wrong direction.   Sorry for the pity poor me story but I would rather post here and get it out rather then take it home to my wife. She deserves better....

Jim1967

Jim1967

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