Saturday, December 12, 2009

Will I Ever Learn?

Today we had plans. Ray and I am mostly hermits, so a day with "plans" is a big thing for us. We had invited my Mom, a niece and a nephew, out to lunch and then to a local production of The Christmas Carol. I had reserved the seats.

They arrived to pick us up for lunch at a local Chinese restaurant. This was going to be my first time trying to eat out since my surgery. I didn't order anything, instead I just got an extra plate so that I could just pick a couple of things from others plates, since I wouldn't be able to eat much. 1 small piece of bbq pork, 1 bite of beef teriyaki, the inside of a crab rangoon, and I pulled the skin off a chicken wing to get a few bites of chicken. The meal was nice and everything seemed okay, at first.

We all piled into the the car to head to the theater, when the pressure from my pouch started. Very quickly it progressed to nausea, and I begged Mom to get me home quickly. I barely made it the 1/2 mile home, got out of the car and lost it. It's a good thing I can't eat much, so there wasn't much to lose.

Mom and the kids went to the theater, afterall, the tickets had already been paid for. Ray refused to go without me, so we stayed home, as usual. Within about 30 minutes I felt back to normal and like a complete fool. When will I ever learn? How do people eat out after this surgery? Obviously, I still have a lot to learn. Until I figure this out, my meals are going to have to continue to be at home only.

Live and learn.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Life is good.

Hi everyone! Thank you for the wonderful comments that are left for me. The support I have gotten has been overwhelming and I really appreciate it.

I have been enjoying trying to eat some "normal" foods. I haven't have much trouble at all. I did once get a piece of meat stuck uncomfortably, but by stopping eating immediately and breathing through it, I got through it. It took about 30 minutes for the discomfort and pain to pass. I realized that it was my fault, of course. I had been eating while at the computer and wasn't being mindful about my chewing. I hope I don't make that mistake again.

I won't get weighed again until I see my primary care on Dec. 28th, so I don't have a weight update. I do feel a little lighter though, so I hope that I am doing well.

Since I don't have much to report, I thought I would share this wls mantra that I came across in a forum:

The Four Mantras of Life Post WLS:

1. Sip, sip, sip. Need your fluids.
2. Walk, walk, walk. Exercise and prevent blood clots.
3. Any problems - CALL YOUR DOCTOR!! 'nuff said.
4. Never, and I mean NEVER, trust a fart! You may find yourself experiencing a "laundry emergency"!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

2 Weeks Post-Op

I went to see my surgeon and my dietitian today for my 2 week post-op check up. I had 2 main goals for these appointments. I wanted my diet advanced to soft or pureed foods and I wanted permission to get back in the pool at the YMCA.

The first appointment was with the dietitian. She had me get on a special scale that calculated body fat percentages, lean muscle and all that stuff. I don't know how it works, but it was difficult for me to balance on with my hip problems. She told me that I lost 12.5 pounds since my surgery so my total weight loss to date is 74 pounds! She told me other numbers too, but I don't remember them all. Then she told me that I can start on soft and pureed foods. Yippeeeee!

When I got home this afternoon, I had 1/4 cup of low fat cottage cheese lightly sprinkled with pepper. You would have thought I was eating lobster the way I was savoring it. As I type this I am trying a single slice of deli roast beef. The flavor is incredible. I am chewing it obsessively to make sure that I don't have trouble with my pouch. It is amazing how long 1 oz of roast beef can last when you have to eat it in tiny bites and chew it forever.

The second appointment was with my surgeon. She was pleased with my weight loss and with how well I have healed. She had to remove one stitch from one of my incisions that had started poking through the skin, but that was it. One of the things that I was worried about was that she would put me back on many of the medications that I had been on prior to surgery. I was told that I would be temporarily off them while recovering from surgery. The only one she put me back on was the vitamin D supplement. So I am only taking 3.5 pills per day now, instead of the 16 I took before! She also approved me to go back in the pool, so tomorrow morning I will be in the water! I am so looking forward to that feeling of weightlessness and pain relief for my joints.

I want to thank all of you who leave such wonderful comments for me to read. Your support means so much to me. If you have any questions, I hope you will feel comfortable asking. I will do my best to answer. Take care!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Wow Moment

I forgot to tell you all that I had a wow moment on Thanksgiving day! It occurred as I got into my sisters SUV. I always have to lift up the arm rest because my butt needs extra room, so I lifted it out of the way. I got myself in and was putting on the seat belt when I realized that the arm rest was in the down position. I must have bumped it or something, but it was freaking in the down position....comfortably!!!!! Little things mean so much along this journey. I hope you take time to recognize the wow moments in your life.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I Hope Everyone Had A Happy Thanksgiving

Should I go? I went. I didn't cry. It wasn't easy.

This morning, I was vacillating about going to my mother's home for Thanksgiving dinner, because I was feeling very unsure about my ability to watch everyone else eat it when I still can't have any of it. I decided that I was going to be depressed either way. If I go, I can't eat the meal and if I stay home, I would miss my family plus I would have the added guilt of Ray eating a Lean Cuisine for Thanksgiving dinner.

So, I grabbed a light yogurt from the fridge and went to mom's. I didn't sit at the table with all the food and family. I sat off to the side a bit with my yogurt. I dipped the tip of the spoon into the yogurt so that only a little would get on the spoon and tasted it. Good, but not what I wanted. I took one more tiny taste and thought, my pouch feels funny. I read the nutrition panel and this isn't light yogurt! 25 grams of sugar! I can't eat it.

Now, I was at a sumptuous feast and couldn't eat anything at all. Nada. I wanted to cry. I kept biting the inside of my lip. Once the meal was over and the kids ran off to play, I moved back up to the cleared tables to talk with everyone. I started to feel better. It didn't even bother me when a little later they started to pass out slices of pie. It was the dinner that was really my thing.

I am glad I went. I need the time with my family probably more than they do with me. I kept reminding myself that this will be the only Thanksgiving that will be like this and that is only because my surgery was so recent. Next year I will be able to eat reasonable choices of small amounts of what is always a wonderful meal.

Also, I learned a lesson about preparing better. It was my fault that I didn't check the yogurt label. I need to be more prepared for Christmas, because I don't know how far along I will be in this journey at that time. I will make sure that no matter what is served, I have brought something that I know that I can eat.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

One Week Post-Op

What a difference a week makes! I think that I am doing remarkably well. Now, that doesn't mean that everything is perfect, but better than I personally expected by this point based on my previous surgical experience.

I am practically pain free, as far as the surgery goes. I always have to add that qualifier on the end, because my arthritis never lets me be totally pain free. There are some tender spots on my belly, but since I make a point of not poking them, they don't bother me much. I stopped taking all pain medication on this past Friday.

I haven't experienced any nausea or difficulty eating/drinking so far, but I have been extremely mindful of not pushing it too far to fast. I do not want to have gone through all this in vain. I can consume approximately 2 oz. of protein rich liquid at a time and it takes me about 25 minutes to do that. I am sipping water almost continuously at all other times.

I have not been very adventurous in what I am consuming either. My current food list consists of Unjury, SF Carnation Instant Breakfast, fat free milk, strained cream soup, and Yoplait Light yogurt. Safe = yes. Boring = yes. Nutritious = I sure hope so.

I have not felt hungry at all. But the smell of Ray's meals cooking can still make me drool and a 30 second food commercial can be drool worthy too. Edict: The Food Network is off limits until further notice. Exception: Anthony Bourdain on the Travel Channel. Woohoo, the bad boy of gastronomy does something for me, and it ain't about the food.

I have been feeling too weak to do anything. Taking a shower has been exhausting. I can't help with the chores. I can't even craft or spend time online. I seem to just run out of steam and lose my breath, and it happens all of a sudden. I will feel that I am finally feeling normal and will attempt to do something, like fold clothes, then suddenly feel like I better find a place to sit down very quickly. This is slowly improving and I am sure I will gain more strength with time.

IBS-D warning: That stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome with diarrhea. I have suffered with it for years. When I told the surgeon and the support staff about this, they told me that this surgery may be able to change that since many people suffer with constipation afterward. Well, no luck here. So far, the surgery has just exacerbated my problem. I don't know if this is just because my intestines have been shortened and rerouted, so they need some time to heal or if it is just my usual anxiety based trigger, since surgery did have me feeling very anxious. Perhaps with time, this too will improve.

Well, that is it for now. If anyone has any questions, I would love to answer them. Just leave a comment for me. Take care everyone!

Friday, November 20, 2009

I'm Home!

Hello everyone. I actually came home yesterday, Thursday, 11/20/2009. I was supposed to have come home on Wednesday, but the doctor decided I was too lightheaded and dizzy to be safe to go home on Wednesday as I was supposed to. It turned out that I was getting too large a dose of percocet for my pain and it was causing my dizziness. Once the dosage was cut in half, I was much better and sent home on Thursday.

Today, I have been sleeping most of the day. About mid afternoon, I realized that I felt best when the percocet had mostly worn off, so I called my doctor. Her nurse called back and told me that I could stop taking the percocet and start taking liquid Tylenol for my pain. Now I feel so much better, like a fog has lifted. My pain is slightly increased, but I feel better. You know what I mean?

I have 5 little incisions in my big ole belly. They seem to be healing well, but the bruise on my belly is quite impressive. In all the post op shots I had seen before I had this surgery, I had never seen any as bruised as mine so I thought I would post a pic here for the brave of heart. It only shows one of the incisions under the tape. The yellow is not some dye or other substance, it is just part of the bruise. Don'tcha just love how my stretchmarks make little road maps in my bruise? LOL!Also, I got a delivery from today. It has the food scale and some other items for my future food program. I haven't quite felt up to examining the contents, but I will soon and I will blog about them if I think they may be of value to others. I will blog again soon. Thank you all for the wonderful comments that you leave!!! I just wish blogspot would let me send responses to each of you in thanks.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day 14....Ta Da!

Tomorrow is D-day. I am ready...I think. I have edited my packing list a dozen times and I have briefly considered backing out of the surgery several times. I even had a dream of waking up in recovery only to discover that instead of gastric bypass, they amputated my right leg! Yeah, I am ready. Let's get this surgery over with!

I should be back home by Wednesday, and I will post as soon as I feel up to it. Thank you all for your kind well wishes, prayers, and support. I am blessed.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Day 12

Wow, am I tired. I simply have no energy. I think that consuming between 500 - 600 calories per day is catching up with me. I will be adding an extra protein shake to my usual routine today.

I went to the pool at the YMCA this morning for the arthritic swim program and started feeling lightheaded by the end of the class. I had an Unjury shake as soon as I got home and that relieved the lightheaded feeling, but I still feel like I can't get out of my own way. Thank goodness the surgery is right around the corner. On the up side, the life guard at the pool came over to compliment me on how much weight I have lost. Go me!

I received a call last night from my surgeon to check on my progress and confirm that I am not chickening out. Then this morning I got a call from the hospital confirming the time of the surgery and how early I need to arrive for processing and to be prepped for surgery. My surgery is scheduled for 11 am and I am required to be there 2 hours early, so I have told my mother to pick my up at 7:30 am, to avoid being late. Is it time yet?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Day 7

It is near the end of Day 7 of my pre-op liquid diet and things are much better. I am not feeling hungry that often. I am tired of what is available for me to consume. Most of the protein shakes have a sickening sweet taste to them and that is just not my thing. I love savory flavors.

I am hanging in there. I wasn't sure if I would be able to do this without cheating, but I would only be cheating myself. I would be cheating myself out of the results that I desire. I would be risking my health and the possible outcome of the surgery. I remind myself of these things several times per day and it seems to be working.

Only one more week of this preparation and then I will have my surgery. It seems like it took forever to get a surgery date, but since I got the date, the time has been flying by. Before I know it I will have to pack my hospital bag. Of course it will have a few yarny projects in it too!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day 4

It is day 4 of the pre-op liquid diet and things seem to be going a little bit better today. I have felt very weak for the past 3 days and my brain has been in a complete fog.

This morning, I actually went out for a very short walk around the parking lot while the snow flurries drifted down to earth around me. It was refreshing and I didn't feel light headed afterward, so things are definitely improving.

I think the best tool I have found to use during this time has been the website, Calorie Count. It has enabled me to easily track what I am eating and calculates more than just calories. It keeps track of how much protein I am consuming, which is very important for weight loss surgery patients.

I am getting very excited as I count down each day to the surgery. November 16th is quickly approaching. Ta ta for now.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pre-Op Liquid Diet

The final count down! It is finally here. I start the 2 week pre-op liquid diet today. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Blood Test Results

I received the results of my pre-op testing in the mail this weekend. They found me to be vitamin D deficient. This isn't really a surprising result since I live as a hermit in sun deprived Maine. Along with the test results, there was a prescription for 50,000 IU of vitamin D to be taken once per week. Every time that I reduce the number of prescriptions that I have to take, I get a new one to add to my regimen. I will have to hope that it is all for the best.

Soon, November 2, I will begin my 2 week pre-op liquid protein diet. I will let you know how that goes, of course. Thank you all for your wonderfully supportive comments!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Not much happening.

Not much has been happening. I have just been biding my time until it is time to start the pre-op liquid diet. I did go to the hospital lab yesterday to have the pre-op blood work done per my doctors orders.

My sister came over today to take pictures of me so we would have some before pictures to compare to, since I don't tend to pose for pictures often. I have lost 43 pounds so far, but I don't see where it is missing from in the pictures below. Well, truth be told, I have noticed that I can't fill out my bra anymore. TMI? Ha ha! I had the picture taken in front of the door for size comparison. I mostly fill up the space here.

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You may notice that my stance is quite wide. That is due to how bad my hips are. I am unable to place my feet any closer together than what is pictured. However, I have been able to give up my walker! I can only hope that my mobility will improve even more with more weight loss.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I few weeks ago I informed you that I was told that per surgeons orders, I had to go off my arthritis medication....forever. I started by cutting out one of my two daily doses and replacing it with Arthritis Strength Tylenol.

At first it was agony and I became quite depressed, not only from the pain, but also depressed to think that the rest of my life I will have to endure this much pain. Then a strange thing happened. I forced myself to go to the pool, and found that even though I was in pain, I was happy. When I was happy I dealt with the pain better.

Once I realized this, I called my doctor and explained to her what I was experiencing. We decided together that my Lexapro (which I take for anxiety, but it is also an antidepressant) should be increased. She doubled my dose from 10 mg per day to 20 mg per day and I have been able to handle the increased pain levels much better.

Actually, as of this past Sunday, I am completely off my arthritis medication, only taking 3 doses of Arthritis Strength Tylenol per day for my pain. It isn't comfortable, but it is manageable. This means that I have succeeded in conquering yet another hurdle in getting my weight loss surgery!!!! Nothing is going to stop me now!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Have a Date For Surgery!

Finally, I have a date for surgery! I knew it was coming yesterday, because while I was at the pool, Ray took a message from the surgeons office for me to call them back. Unfortunately, when I called back, the scheduler had gone home sick, so I had to wait for her to call back today. You can imagine how antsy I have been with anticipation! I didn't dare tell anyone that I might be getting my surgery date today, in case she was still sick today.

This morning I was awoken by the phone ringing. It was better than caffeine for giving me instant alertness. I was told that my surgery would be scheduled for November 16th. I asked if there was a cancellation list and if I can be on it. She said there is, and she will add me to it. This means if anyone cancels before that date, I could be contacted to have my surgery even earlier. Since I am not working, I don't have to be concerned with requesting in advance for time off. I can be ready anytime!

Now I will wait for the packet to arrive from their office with my pre-op instructions and a lab request for blood work to be completed approximately one month before the surgery. I will also start acquiring the protein shakes and other accoutrement that will be needed for the 2 weeks of pre-op prep and post-op lifestyle.

I am so excited. It all feels so real now. It's not just a dream anymore. My life is about to change in such a drastic way. I just want to be healthy and regain my independence. I have had drastic changes before, but they were out of my hands. This time, I am orchestrating the change in my life. I am taking charge.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pain and Stiffness

When I saw the surgeon one of the things that she wanted me to do before I have surgery was to stop taking the nsaids that I take for arthritis pain and stiffness. I knew that she was going to ask me to do this. It was part of the education materials.

So, in anticipation of this request, I had brought this up with my PCP a few months ago and she told me to discuss it with the surgeon instead of her. When the surgeon brought it up, I asked her what I should take in place of the nsaids and she told me to discuss it with my PCP.

Where does this leave me? Very frustrated. I am not going to let this keep me from having surgery, so this weekend I took it upon myself to start the process of weaning myself off the Etodolac. I normally take 2 doses per day. As of Friday, I have only been taking the morning dose and I have added in 2 doses of acetaminophen. One is at dinner time and the other is at bed time.

So far, this has left me aching all over and very stiff. I had expected that my hips, knees and back would give my grief. However, I was very surprised by how badly my hands have begun to ache and throb. I have noticed that the higher my pain level gets, the more depressed I am getting. I think I will have to request a higher dose of Lexapro from my PCP.

I am hoping that by next Friday, I will be able to stop the remaining dose of Etodolac and substitute 2 more doses of acetaminophen in its place. Please keep your fingers crossed for me.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Great news!

I had my first meeting with the surgeon today and she has given me the go ahead for the surgery! She wants me to continue to lose weight prior to surgery and to work with my PCP to get off my etodolac and find a different class of medication to control my arthritis stiffness and pain. The etodolac can cause a lot of problems with the new stomach pouch and the rerouted intestines.

Also, I lost another 2 pounds so I am now down 43 pounds!

I asked how long I would have to weight for the surgery and was told that they are currently scheduling in November, so I could possibly have the surgery before the end of the year. I am so excited, that my mother could hardly keep me from bouncing off the walls of her vehicle on the ride home. I should be getting a call from the doctor's staff on Tuesday to start the insurance approval process, but they said that they don't foresee any problem with Medicare approval.

As always, I will keep you posted!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


My favorite blog to read every day, even when I don't have time to read any others, has become The World According To Eggface. She is a food genius, IMHO. She provides the most incredible recipes that are wls friendly, nutritious, and they taste fabulous!

On her blogs August 31, 2009 blog post, she announced a give away. Scoot on over to sign up for a chance to win a giant 5 lb. tub of Max Protein Powder. This supplement can become an important part of anyone's post-op diet and Eggface features it in many of her recipes. If you don't want to wait to see if you are the lucky winner, you can go to their website and order it for yourself:

Good luck!


Monday, August 24, 2009

Just a Quick Update

I just saw my primary care doctor and I am now down 41 pounds. I know my weight loss is slow, but it has been steady. I am anxiously awaiting my Sept. 4th appointment with the surgeon. I will blog again then to let you know how that meeting goes.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Down a few more pounds

On Aug. 5th, I saw the behaviorist for the last time. We discussed how pleased we both are with my progress and that if I feel I need more counseling in the future, I can call for another appointment. Unfortunately, any future appointments will have to be with her replacement, because she is retiring. I wish her well, as she has certainly changed my life for the better.

I did have a loss, so I am down a total of 38 pounds now. My next appointment is with the surgeon, Dr. Toder, on Sept. 5th, to start the process of getting medicare to approve the surgery. This may be the biggest hurdle of all. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I received a letter in the mail today from the surgeons office with a date for a consultation to determine is the doctor believes me to be a good candidate for the surgery. If she does then her office will start the insurance pre-approval process. Once insurance pre-approval is confirmed a surgery date is set.

I am so excited to have received this letter today. I have been working so hard since February to get the appointment with the surgeon and now I have it, Sept. 4, 2009. It all seems to be finally becoming a real possibility. Now if I could just fast forward to that date.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

One More Appointment

I saw my behaviorist this afternoon. The first thing, of course, is to weigh in. I lost another 5 pounds for a total of 33 pounds lost so far. If you are interested, there is a weight loss tracker at the bottom of this blog that I update each time I weigh in.

Next, we discussed how things went over the past month and I let her know how amazing the rephrasing of my thoughts and speech with positive words has been. Mostly, I recognized that when I thought or said that I can't have something I was actually making a decision to abdicate. I was making a choice even though I felt I had no choice. Now, when I hear me say, "I can't", I stop and think about what is the decision that I am really making and is it something that will help me reach my goals. Amazingly, this has really helped me to feel better about the weight loss process.

I have one more session with her on Aug. 5th, and she said that after that she can't see any reason not to let me proceed on to surgery! Yippee!

Ida asked a question in the comments of my last post about whether or not the Mirapex that I am taking is still working for me. It is, but I do have occasional break through spasms and ticks that require an extra dose from time to time. If it becomes more frequent then I will be put on a higher dose. Thank you for asking!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sleep Study Results

I saw the sleep specialist today to get the results of the sleep study that was done over a month ago. I was told that I slept a little under 6 hours. I awoke an average of 33 times per hour and that meant that I slept for less than 2 minutes at a time! (No wonder I fall asleep at the computer.) I knew that I awoke frequently, but I had no idea that it was that often.

He told me that the usual reasons that they see for that frequency of awakening is either sleep apnea or limb movement. I was taking Mirapex to control my RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome) so I knew it wasn't that and he confirmed that my limb movement was normal during sleep. He said that I don't have sleep apnea, so that wasn't the reason for me to keep waking up.

He concluded that the cause was discomfort, probably from pain. Well, duh! I told everyone that without a sleep study. It only cost approx. $3500 for them to determine what I already knew.

My next appointment is tomorrow afternoon with the behaviorist. If she says that I am ready to move on then, I think my next step will be to meet with the surgeon to start the insurance approval process and then ultimately get a date for surgery. Let's all keep our fingers crossed, unless you are knitting.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Cardiologist

Yesterday, I had my cardiology appointment. I was finally told that what showed up while I was in the sleep study was that I occasionally have a few extra heart beats. The doctor said that this is not all that abnormal, and that the only reason that I was referred to him is that I am up for major surgery so they are being overly cautious.

An EKG was performed in the office and he said it was completely normal. Of course, he listened to my chest sounds and said that my heart and lungs sounded perfectly normal. The final test was an echo cardiogram. The technician said that she didn't see anything abnormal or worrisome. (She was a lap band patient, so we had lots to talk about while she performed the test!)

I was told that I will receive a letter within a few weeks that will either tell me the doctors final determination, and sign off on my weight loss surgery, or it will give me an appointment for follow up if after reviewing the echo cardiogram, he feels that there is something that needs more attention. After all that I was told, I feel confident that I will be able to proceed without further delay. What a relief!

My next appointment is on Monday, July 13th, to finally hear all the results of the sleep study and see if I need to be treated for sleep apnea. On Tuesday, July 14th, I will see the behaviorist to determine if she thinks I need more counseling or if she will sign off on my weight loss surgery. Keep your fingers crossed!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I sat myself down for a talk.

On June 19th I posted about my meeting with a behaviorist to address some of my eating issues and anxiety. At that time, I don't think I could completely fathom the power of the use of positive words.

Today, I realized that I have begun to have conversations with myself when I desire to eat something. I ask myself if I am really hungry? Do I truly need this? If yes, then why do I think I need this? Is it a good choice for my goals? That last question is a big one for me. "Is it a good choice for my goals?" This question is usually followed by me listing the goals I have for my future that are so important to me. My future goals of losing weight so that I regain my health, so that I can have my hips replaced enabling me to walk normally, and ultimately enabling me to get back to being a productive and independent person.

I think the reason that this conversation that I am having is so powerful for me is that the desire to eat something is just an impulse, but previously, I never considered the long term consequences that yielding to that impulse would have on what I ultimately want for my future.

I have been following up these questions and answers with the "I Choose" statement. Whatever my decision is, to eat or not to, I choose it. I take responsibility for it, instead of feeling like it has power over me. This has been amazingly effective and freeing for me so far. I have noticed that I don't feel deprived when I choose not to eat, nor do I feel guilt when I decide to eat. Moreover, when I do choose to eat, it seems to take less to be satisfied. Wow!

I am curious to see how these conversations with myself will evolve over time. How will my next meeting with the behaviorist build upon this? Only time will tell.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I have been waiting for quite a few weeks for my PCP's referral department to set me up with an appointment with a cardiologist because they told me there is something wrong with my heart! I don't know about you, but to me, that seems like it would be important. Apparently, I am delusional.

So, I made some phone calls. I was first. Then I was a little assertive. Finally I became down-right rude! In the end, I got my way. I guess it really is true, that the squeaky, cursing wheel gets the oil.

I have an appointment with a cardiologist on July 8th at 12:30 pm.

I offer no apologies for my actions. I had waited and inquired politely for long enough. I am determined to be my own advocate and take charge of my health. I hope they understand.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Blog to Share

I have come across a wonderful blog that I would like to share with you. The World According To Eggface is by Michelle, who had her innards rearranged by gastric bypass surgery 3 years ago. She has a writing style that I truly enjoy and best of all, she provides some amazing recipes that she has adapted for post-op. She has even won some blue ribbons!

I hope that you will enjoy her blog as much as I do!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Mulling things over...

I know I said that I would post after I saw the behaviorist, but I needed to mull things over a bit. The session was not what I expected at all. I still am not sure that I really know how to best convey what I got out of the session, or if I really understand all of what I got out of it yet.

I thought that she would just be giving me some techniques to use to redirect or change eating habits that are bad. Instead, her focus was on the thinking behind the behaviors. Why do I give myself permission, or feel that I have to do ______?

She helped me to see that I have some rules that I live by, that I didn't recognize. Such as, I must clean my plate, and don't waste food. I get appalled by seeing food being thrown away. I have rewritten some of those rules for myself. Now, I must leave at least a bite of food on my plate.

For me what seems to be the most affecting me is the negative, restrictive words that I use or think, and then rebel against, especially "I can't have" or "I'm not allowed". If I am not allowed to have something, then I want it more. When she asked me to change it to "I choose to or not to, because..." I realized how much more empowering that statement felt. "I choose to have an apple instead of cake, because I want to reach my goals." That it is my choice and it really always has been.

She asked me to try to recognize negative thought patterns in the coming month before our next session. I think that I am seeing a pattern of self sabotage, because I have some anxiety about the unknown future. I am not happy about my current state, but I am afraid of what all the changes will result in. Sort of, better the devil you know scenario.

I am a work in progress and I will keep trying to sort this all out for myself. As always, your wonderfully supportive comments have been appreciated. I hope you will feel free to ask questions if you have any.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Explanation

I saw my PCP this morning. The primary reason was to discuss the psychologist's recommendation that I be put 0n anti-anxiety medication. We decided that I should go back on Lexapro, a medication that I have been on before for my anxiety issues, but I had to stop taking it when I lost health care coverage. Thank goodness for medicare.

Next, I asked her about the call I received about her referring me to a cardiologist. She explained that after my sleep study, she was contacted and told that I need to "urgently" (their word, not mine) see a cardiologist due to abnormal heart episodes while I slept. Well, you wanna bet that my heart was having an abnormal episode after those words were said, but then I remembered to breathe and things got better.

This is a detour in my journey toward weight loss surgery, but I guess it is better to know now, than to find out too late. Now I know why they lengthened the estimate of how long it would take for me to get surgery. In my head I know that it is for the best, but I must admit that I am a little disappointed. It is a good thing that I get over things quickly. I really dislike negative emotions, as they tend to give me a headache.

I would like to thank everyone who leaves such wonderful and supportive comments on my blog. You truly make me glad that I am posting about what I am going through. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to post them in the comments and I will do my best to respond. Thank you!

Next appointment is with the behaviorist regarding techniques for dealing with stress and anxiety without food. It is on June 16th. I'll post to you after that.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I received a call from the PCP's office telling me that they are working on getting my referral to a cardiologist set up and just wanted to update me on their progress. My response was, why? I had no clue that I was being referred to a cardiologist. What has prompted this action? The person who called had no information on the why.

I am now left wondering...and of course, worrying. I have an appointment to see my PCP tomorrow morning, so hopefully I will get some answers then. There goes my anxiety levels again.

Friday, June 5, 2009

2 More Appointments Down

Friday I had 2 appointments. First I saw the Physical Therapist. We discussed what is available for devices to assist with everyday living, such as putting on socks when you can't reach your feet. I let her know that I have almost every type of assistive device there is just to be able to take care of myself, so we moved on to what to expect after surgery and how to deal with it. None of it was news to me.

Then we proceeded to discuss exercise. She was, of course, surprised that I actually exercise. Everyone always is surprised by that. She was very happy that I participate in the arthritic pool program at my local YMCA. Then she added some exercises with resistance bands to my routine. Many of them had to be modified for my physical limitations, but I was pleasantly surprised by how many exercises that I am actually able to do after she customized them to me. She emphasized that I am not to do anything that causes me more pain than I already have. I really appreciated that.

The second appointment was with the dietitian. When I arrived I was weighed in and I am now down 27.5 pounds! Then I had to pass in my "homework". My homework had been to complete a packet of questions regarding my weight history, diet history, and eating habits. Also, I had to write an essay of my weight history outlining diet successes and disasters along the way. That was quite a trip down memory lane. They asked that it only be 2-3 paragraphs long so I made them very long paragraphs, after all, I have been dieting since I was 9 years old.

While she went over my answers and essay, I had to take a quiz over my knowledge of weight loss surgery, how to eat after surgery, and the consequences of my choices. Then we discussed the results of everything. She determined that I understand everything they look for and that because of this and that I have already proven that I am losing weight, I don't have to see her again prior to surgery.

That said, our discussion turned to my psych eval. She said that based on the evaluation, I must have my PCP put me back on an anti-anxiety medication and have her send a note to them that it has been done, before they will allow me to advance to having the surgery. Also, I must see a behaviorist, for counseling on night eating and that the behaviorist will have to approve me for the surgery. (I am still waiting for the sleep study results so that they can approve me too.) Her primary concern being that after surgery I might turn to food for comfort if/when I get anxious, so she wants it under control before hand.

Now do you want to guess how much all this triggered my anxiety?

So as it stands now, I must call my PCP on Monday to set up an appointment for anxiety treatment and a referral to the behaviorist, then see the behaviorist on June 16th @ 1:00 pm, and go for the sleep study follow up on June 29th @ 2:15 pm to find out that result. Perhaps, after all this (fingers crossed) I will be able to have a consult with the surgeon. Perhaps. Can you say an-xi-e-ty little girl? I knew you could.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Psychological Evaluation

This morning I went for my psych eval for weight loss surgery. It is to ensure that I understand what I am about to go through, with all its risks and possibilities, and also, to make sure that I am able to make the behavioral changes necessary for the surgery to be successful.

I was determined to be brutally honest in my answers, no matter how difficult, so that I could get the most out of this. The first thing I had to do was answer 567 true or false questions on a computer. When I completed that I was given a written, 91 question multiple choice test. When that was done I met with the psychologist for an interview and finally, the results.

I'm nuts. Okay, I know that we all suspected it, so I thought I would just get it out of the way. But seriously now. I was told that I am slightly depressed with anxiety issues, which is nothing that I didn't already know. I have been on anxiety medication in the past and it looks like I am going to be on it again. The really interesting thing that I learned was that what I thought was a binge eating disorder is really just a night eating disorder. I don't eat enough or in an out of control way for it to qualify as binge eating. What happens to me is I try to go to sleep, but am unable to sleep because I am thinking of food and as long as I try to avoid eating, I won't sleep, but if I just get up an eat a little something, then I can fall asleep soon after. I will be seeing a behaviorist to learn techniques to over come this issue.

My next appointments are on Friday afternoon with the physical therapist and the dietitian. Back to back appointments, ugh. I shall be exhausted that day. I will let you know how it goes.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I thought I had blogged!

I came to see if there were any comments that I needed to address, and found that I hadn't blogged about the sleep study, at all! I really thought that I had already posted about this. Then I found a draft that I had started, but only had a couple of sentences, so I must have gotten interrupted and forgot to get back to the post. Sorry for making you wait if there is anyone out there who actually checks this blog.

Last Tuesday, I went to the sleep lab a little before 8:00 PM. I sat around reading until almost 10:00 PM. Finally, they attached enough wires to computerize me, plus a few other gadgets that I can't explain and then told me to sleep well. Yeah, right. Surprisingly, I fell asleep quite quickly, as I had stayed up very late the night before and got up early hoping that it would help me sleep during this test. Unfortunately, the tech came back in the room for something and opened a drawer that squeaked loudly and startled me awake. I couldn't go back to sleep for a few hours after that.

At 6:00 AM the tech came in to remove the wires and I asked her how I did. She said it was a good sign that she hadn't had to come in and put me on the cpap machine. She then said that I was incredibly restless and didn't sleep much. I asked her if I had sleep apnea and she said that the doctor would contact me after he examined my test results. That was it.

Yesterday I received a card from their office telling me that my follow up appointment had to be changed to a different date and time. What follow up appointment. I hadn't been notified of the appointment to begin with. Apparently I have to wait until June 29 at 2:15 PM to find out the results of the sleep study. I am hoping that since they are waiting so long that it means there isn't anything seriously wrong with my sleep. I mean, I would think that if I had sleep apnea, they would want to address it in a more timely manner. Maybe that's just me.

If anyone has any questions about the process I am going through to get this weight loss surgery or anything else, please post the question in the comments and I will be happy to address it. I know that this can be a scary prospect for anyone considering it and I thought about it for a few years, but it can be the right decision for some people. If I can help you to understand more, then I am glad to do it.

Monday, May 18, 2009


This morning I got a call from my PCP's office letting me know that the bloodwork that was done on Friday came back with my cholesterol as too high. They had told me previously that they thought it was a little high due to my thyroid being off and that a few months of thyroid replacement would fix that. Apparently they were wrong. Even losing weight didn't bring it down.

So, now I have to take Simvastatin. This is the 7th prescription to make it into my daily routine. Eleven pills per day, plus multi-vitamin/mineral supplement, calcium with vitamin D chew, and fish oil supplements. I can't begin to express how tired I am of all this. A palm full of pills every morning is not the way I want to start my day. I just hope that the weight loss surgery will take some of them away.

Tomorrow night is the sleep study. Wish me luck in getting to sleep.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Nutrition Class and PCP

Wednesday, I went to my nutrition class. It seemed very redundant, as it went over a lot of the same things that were covered in orientation. I was a bit surprised at how many of the people there didn't seem to be aware of some of the basics that have been stressed at orientation, and in the literature. Perhaps it is just me who is obsessed with knowing as much as possible about this surgery and what to expect after.

I did get home work to do. I have a questionnaire to fill out about my lifelong weight history so I can bring it with me to my dietitian. Also, I am required to start practicing the eating techniques and acquiring the items that I will need after surgery, such as measuring cups, spoons and scale, as well as protein mixes and supplements. I purchased small salad plates so that I start eating my meals on smaller plates to better control portion size. I have a timer on the table, because I am supposed to take a full 3o minutes to eat my meals. The most difficult one of all is that I cannot drink anything for 30 minutes prior to a meal, during the meal or 30 minutes after my meals. Also, I have purchased chewable supplements, such as chewable multivitamins and Viactiv.

My to-do or to-change list:

  • Eliminate carbonated beverages. (done)
  • Chew food better to prevent blockages after surgery.
  • Eat Slower. Meals should take 30 minutes. (using timer)
  • Reduce portion size. (smaller plates)
  • Stop drinking fluids for 30 mins. before meals, during meal, and 30 mins. after meals.
  • Good posture while eating.
  • Stop eating in front of the television.
  • Exercise every day. Start slow and build up endurance.
I am sure that this list will be amended as time goes on.

This morning I saw my PCP (primary care provider). I think she must have a magic scale because it said that I have lost another 6.5 pounds this month! That is a total of 21.5 pounds lost since February 20th. I know that it is slow weight loss and I have a very long way to go, but it is progress and I am happy with it. My PCP says that she is very pleased with my progress. I had blood drawn to recheck my TSH and cholesterol levels, and I will get the results on Monday.

If anyone has any questions about anything I am doing or going through, please ask. I am glad to help.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sleep Consult

Yesterday, I had my sleep consult appointment. The purpose of the appointment was to determine if I need to go through with a sleep study to see if I have sleep apnea. They have decided that I do need to participate in a sleep study, ugh! The date for that little slice of hell is:

May 19th at 8:00 PM to May 20th at 6:30 AM

I have trouble falling asleep in my own home, so I can just imagine how difficult it will be to sleep in a lab with wires and other monitoring devices attached to me and people observing me (yes, I know it is via camera). The creep factor in all this is really high for me and triggering my anxiety. Also, I haven't slept in a bed for a few years. I sleep in my lift chair, because it allows me to adjust the position with the push of a button when I am in pain and it assists me in standing up. Fortunately, the specialist I was speaking with informed me that I could have an adjusting bed or a recliner to sleep in, so that may help.

What bugs me the most, is that I had to go to this "consult" appointment at all. They had me fill out a questionnaire before hand and then simply confirmed my answers at the appointment. They could have just made the decision from the questionnaire, but nooooooo. They had to get the hundreds of dollars from medicare, by requiring me go to an extra appointment. I suppose it keeps someone employed, but the money and position could be better used elsewhere. Health care costs are so outrageous and the health care system either doesn't get it, or just doesn't seem to be willing to change. Consequently, many services are denied or unavailable to many people who truly need them. I wish I knew the answers to this problem. I'm sorry for the rant.

I would like to let you know that giving up my diet soda went surprisingly smoothly. I have missed it a few times, like when I was eating out, but I got water and that was it. I have not, however, been good about what I eat, especially at night. I have made more than a few after midnight raids of the kitchen and I am sure that it will be reflected on the scales. I wish I could get Ray to padlock everything in the kitchen for me. I will try harder. Where have I heard that before?

My next appointment is tomorrow morning for a nutrition class. I will let you know how that goes.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

They Are Going to Find Out I'm Nuts.

I received another appointment in the mail today. It is for my Psych Evaluation for the weight loss surgery. I know that a lot of people have suspected that I am at least half a bubble off, but now I am going to be to be certified! LOL!

June 1st @ 9:00 am and it will last 3 hours!!!

Also, I am down to my last 4 cans of diet soda. YIKES! I have been informed that after the surgery I will not be allowed to have carbonated beverages, so I am going to stop drinking diet soda (the only carbonated beverage that I consume) once these last 4 cans are gone. I thought that I was doing well because I only drink one can of diet soda per day, but the thought of giving up that one can is almost heart breaking. I look forward to it as a treat.

Next month, I am hoping I can screw up the courage to give up Caffeine. Heaven help me! I only drink one cup of coffee per day, with breakfast. Occasionally, I have a cup of tea in the afternoon. We'll see how the soda deprivation goes first.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Today's Mail

I had a nice surprise in the mail today. An envelope from the SWLP (surgical weight loss program) letting me know about appointments that they have set up for me to see a dietitian, a nutritionist, and a physical therapist. These appointments are prerequisites to get my surgery. If these professionals don't pass me on in the program, then I don't get to have the surgery.

Yesterday, I also received a phone call to set up a consult about a sleep study. They will decide if I need to have the study done to see if I have sleep apnea. I was told that they would be sending out a questionnaire and information to me and that packet of paper work arrived today as well.

I am very surprised at how quickly things are moving along once they got started. I know that I was told to expect this pre-op process to take between 6 to 9 months to complete. I am trying to keep that in mind, so I don't hope for this to go faster than it really will.

My appointments so far, are scheduled as follows:

  • May 11th @ 2:30pm- Sleep Study Consult
  • May 13th @ 10:00am- Nutrition Class
  • May 15th @ 9:15am- PCP
  • June 5th @ 2:00pm- Physical Therapist
  • June 5th @ 3:00pm- Dietitian
I will post after each appointment and I will update as new appointments are scheduled.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Yesterday, I went to EMMC's surgical weight loss program (SWLP) orientation, followed by a support group meeting. I wanted to post about this last night when I got home, but the long ride to and from the meetings and the 4.5 hours of meetings that I sat through were very difficult on me physically, so I have been resting (the pain made sleep a bit elusive). I have extreme stiffness and pain in my hips and lower back this morning, but I just couldn't wait any longer to post to you all about how it went.

First, I have been through this orientation once before, about 2 years ago, before I had any Medicare coverage. A few things have changed, or been updated, but most of the information was very familiar to me from the previous orientation and my 2 years of internet research.

The orientation meeting was filled with information about the 3 types of weight loss surgery that this program offers and the doctors who perform it. Because of the huge amount of information, they provided us with binders of information for us to take home and review. We were informed that as we proceed through the program we will be tested on our knowledge about the procedure we have chosen to have performed, because they want us to be so well educated that we become experts.

I loved that the presenter, didn't sugar coat things. She was very forthright about the risks of the surgery and the programs rates of complications and mortality. She explained the reasons that people have died during surgery and post-operative. That way we can go into this with our eyes wide open. Anyone who thinks that having weight loss surgery is taking the easy way out, doesn't realize how brave a person must be to put their life on the line by having this surgery. Although, the risks of not having the surgery are almost as great, since my life expectancy is drastically reduces and my mobility is steadily declining.

One issue I have that could not be addressed during either of yesterdays meetings, is Medicare coverage and its requirements. I was advised to contact the programs director for information about that, so I called her this morning. I explained to her that when I contacted Medicare they wouldn't really give me any information about what pre-qualifiers I need to have. She informed me that I would need a BMI over 35 (mine is 65) and one other co-morbidity.

Typically, a co-morbidity is high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or sleep apnea. I have not been diagnosed with any of these, so I was concerned that I wouldn't qualify. She read over the information that my PCP had sent over with my referral and found that one of my prior PCPs had written a perfect explanation of the severity of my osteo-arthritis and that if I did not lose a large amount of weight I would never be able to get the needed hip replacement surgery. The director told me that should be just the ticket to qualify me. She also said that based on a sleep questionnaire that I filled out at the orientation, I will have to go for a sleep study to see if I have sleep apnea, which she thinks is probable. This may not seem like good news, but if it is another co-morbidity, then it would not only seal the deal for me, but it is a dangerous condition that I would be better off knowing about and having treated.

Over all, I think that this was a very positive step forward toward my ultimate goal of better health and better quality of life. I will be reading and rereading the binder of information that the SWLP provided and waiting for them to mail to me my next appointment. I am aiming to attend one support meeting per month, because the people there offer more than just encouragement, they have lived this and really know better than even the doctors how it is to live this surgically altered life. Also, I will keep trying to lose weight, because that will reduce some of the risks associated with the surgery.

Please let me know if you have any questions, because I want to help anyone I can, and I can also learn from you! Thank you.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Better than gaining.

I saw my doctor this morning and I was filled with trepidation when I was led to the scale. I knew that I hadn't eaten the way I should have in the past month. I knew I hadn't been to the pool as often as I should have been in the past month. I knew that I was PMSing and feeling bloated. This was going to be a disaster, and my doctor was going to be upset with me.

I stepped on the scale and I lost 1 pound. HOW? It makes no sense. All I can think of is that the thyroid medication, that I started on 8 weeks ago, is still kicking my metabolism into gear and working despite my bad behavior. Just imagine how much weight I could have lost if I had stayed on track. What a wasted opportunity, but I guess it is better than a gain.

Bonus: My blood pressure came back down into the normal range.

This coming Tuesday, April 21st, I will be going to my orientation for the surgical weight loss program at EMMC. I have so many questions to ask and I am worried that I won't get them all answered. I have been trying to find out what to expect from support groups and Medicare, but all I get is generalities and told to ask some other department. I am getting very tired of misinformation, and avoidance. Medicare has been the worst. They really don't want to give out information. Can you tell that I am frustrated? I just hope that I will get more information at the orientation. I will blog again after that meeting.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I need to get back on track. Only 6 weeks into this attempt to lose weight and I have already fallen off the wagon. I am not being as careful about what I eat and I am not making it to the pool as often as I should.

I thought I should post that I am going to try to get back on track so that I would have some public accountability. Anonymity allows me to briefly think I am getting away with something when I consume food that I know I shouldn't. Who am I kidding??? Myself obviously, because the doctors scale is very objective and will show no mercy.

My next doctors appointment is on April 17th, and I will let you know then how this re-commitment has gone.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Already Losing!

This morning I went to my PCP for a follow-up appointment. I lost 15 pounds and my blood pressure came down 20 points! I am so happy. She said that I am doing wonderfully and encouraged me to keep up the good work. Additional blood work was taken to check my current TSH levels now that I have been taking thyroid meds for 4 weeks. I will get the results next week to see if I need any adjustments. My next PCP appointment is April 17th.

Earlier this week, I attended a surgical weight loss support meeting. The people there were incredible and eager to share what they had been through. I learned a lot and I am looking forward to the next time I can attend.

I have got the date for my orientation. It is April 21st. I am so excited to finally be on my way toward the healthier me. I feel that I am taking positive steps in hopes of the best outcome possible and I am ready for the rest of my life.

Monday, March 16, 2009


I have received a mailing from EMMC's surgical weight loss program letting me know that they have received my doctors referral into the program and requesting that I call them to set up my orientation class and to start attending support meetings. Yahoo! I called and the first available orientation class they had is on April 21st, so I signed up for that one. I will be going to a support meeting tomorrow afternoon. I have been told that a lot of practical information can be learned at the support meetings from others who have gone through this before me.

Also, I have my next appointment with my PCP on Friday, March 20th, to see if I have lost any weight and to check my TSH levels to see if they are better since starting this new medication. I am very optimistic, because I have been feeling so much better in many ways.

I will update after my PCP appointment on Friday. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


So, I have been on this thyroid medication for about a week and a half. It has me wondering if this is a miracle drug or is it just a coincidence that I am feeling better? A coincidence in that I happened to change my diet at the same time that I started the new med. so it may be a combination of the two things. Either way, I FEEL BETTER!

For starters, I am sleeping better. This has resulted in my daily brain fog dissipating, making it a little easier for me to think. Also, my chronically dry, flaky skin has been improving and it is a whole lot less itchy. Plus, the lymphedema in my legs has lessened drastically. Whether it is the improved diet or the meds, I am thrilled.

Now if I could just get some decent pain relief, weight loss surgery, and a couple of new hips, I'd be a whole new woman!

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Doctors Office Called...

About 9:30 am today, my PCP called with results of my blood tests that she ordered on Friday. She was very alarmed by my TSH levels and wondered why I had not been on thyroid medication before this. I explained that she is the first medical professional in my life who has taken an active interest in my health and actually listened to me. She actually did the tests that I requested, plus a few more! Imagine that. I have attempted to tell others in her profession that I have all the classic symptoms of hypothyroidism, as well as a sister with thyroid issues, but they all have just waved off my concerns.

All my life I have had the feeling that the medical profession believes that I deserve to suffer because I let myself get this fat. "Perhaps if we just don't help her, she will finally start jogging and stop eating." Hellooooooooo...I have to use a walker to get to the bathroom and back. They never hear me when I tell them that just walking to the car and getting into it can cause so much pain that by the time I am at the gym I can't do anything and when I get back home, my mother will have to lift my legs out of the car for me.

Most of these doctors, who are being paid to diagnose and treat me, just preach to me about self control and motivation, but never listen to me. They don't even touch me. It's like I might be contagious. My last PCP was a nurse practitioner who, in the 1.5 years that I went there, never once laid a hand, a stethoscope, or any other instrument on me. When I asked how often she wanted me to schedule appointments or blood level tests, she said that I could just call when I want something. She was my pusher. I just called to get prescriptions refilled. She couldn't even be bothered to preach at me.

Now, I have a PCP who listens. She actually listened to my lungs, heart, and...well, she just interacted with me and listened to my concerns. I was stunned. It was like she cared about what I am going through and that I have a plan to get my health back. She wants to help. She asked meaningful questions and listened to my response. I know that she listened, because her responses or follow up questions, made sense with what I said.

So, now I am excited to see how many of my symptoms are relieved by this new medication. I will keep you posted. I have my next appointment in 4 weeks to recheck my levels. Wish me luck!

Friday, February 20, 2009

I Have a Referral!!!

Yes, I have a referral! I saw my new PCP (primary care provider) this morning. She is a nurse practitioner and I love her. She really listened to me, instead of preaching at me and didn't make me feel rushed. She seemed impressed with the amount of research and preparation that I have done on the subject of weight loss surgery and in investigating where the best place to go for it is in this area.

She told me that she would fax over the referral for EMMC's Surgical Weight Loss Program and that she would support me in any way she can. I can't tell you how excited I was at that moment. It just felt like I took a giant step toward getting my life back. I am positively giddy with the possibilities that the future holds. I know that this won't be easy, but it will be worth the work.

Now, I wait for the call from the program coordinator to tell me how they want me to proceed. More waiting. I know that it is said that patience is a virtue, but I have never desired to be quite this virtuous!

Thank you to all of you who have made supportive comments on this blog and elsewhere. Your support means a lot to me. I will post again when there is more to report, or when I feel the need to document anything about this journey.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Little Understanding Goes A Long Way.

I am so happy right now. I just got off the phone with a wonderful new friend. I won't disclose her name, because I don't have her permission to do that. I met her through a surgical weight loss support website, Obesity Help.

I have lots of wonderful, supportive, kind and generous online friends. So why is this new friend so important to me? Because she understands more than anyone else I know can. She really knows what I am going through, not only in trying to get approved for the surgery, but just in how difficult it is to get around around my home and to get out of my home. She too has to deal with pain everyday. She knows what it's like to feel like you are becoming a hermit or that you are a burden to everyone around you. Besides that, she is warm and sweet and has the cutest Southern accent that I have ever had the pleasure of listening too.

Thank goodness for the internet. Through it I have my Ravelry friends, and my Plurk pals who give me so much support and make me smile everyday. I may be stuck here in this apartment most of the time, but through this ethernet portal, I travel around the world, meeting the most amazing people along the way. I don't know who thought that the internet would be the downfall of society, but it has done nothing but broaden and enrich my world since the first day I logged on.

Friday, January 30, 2009


So, I have been waiting to see my primary care provider to hopefully get a referral into a weight loss surgery program. Unfortunately, I forgot to schedule the appointment for a time when I could get a ride to the office. My mother is my usual transportation provider and somehow I forgot that she is leaving the state next week, so I had to call the doctor's office and reschedule the appointment. My appointment isn't until February 20th at 8:30 am. This also means that I won't be able to attend the next 2 support meetings because I won't have a ride.

I knew when I started this journey that it was going to be a lesson in patience. I've had to wait over 2 years to get medicare, so I know that I can be patient. I will update this blog after I have had the appointment, unless something comes up before then or I just feel the need to say something about what I am feeling or finding in my research.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Let's Get Started

My name is Beverly and I am in the super morbidly obese category. I have to use a cane and a walker to get around, and even with those items, I am not able to get very far. I have lost my job. I don't feel safe to drive. I need a lift chair to get up and I sleep in it too, because I cannot get in and out of bed. Almost every week, I notice something new that I can no longer do as well as I used to, or at all. I do almost nothing without the assistance of others. I am in fear of what I will become and I want this decline to stop NOW. (wow, I didn't realize how painful this would be to actually share.)

My plan: weight loss surgery. I have dieted since I was 9 years old when my mother put me on my first diet, "Diet Workshop". I have spent most of my life on diets of one type or another. They work....for a little while. Then I gain it all back plus a little more. Over time that little more has really added up.

A little over a year ago, my doctor at that time, referred me to EMMC's Surgical Weight Loss Program even though I told her that I thought it was a waste of time since I didn't have any health insurance. She insisted, so I went to the information meeting and the support meeting and I learned a lot. Such as, I was right; there was nothing that they would do for me without some way to pay for it. So, I went home to wait out the rest of my 2 year waiting period to qualify for medicare coverage. A waiting period which I have never understood, since I qualified for disability due to a host of medical problems, so of course I don't need health care!

Recently, I received my medicare card with an effective date of May 1, 2009. I have hope! Receiving that card is what prompted me to think about starting this blog to document everything from the beginning. I have barely 2 months to lay the ground work to try to make this process go as smoothly as possible. I have heard and read of nightmare experiences in just trying to get approval for this procedure. Many people have an opportunity to slow down or completely derail the process. Insurance providers, surgeons, psychologists, dietitians, and probably more that I am unaware of, all have a say in whether or not I get to have the surgery that I so desperately need and want.

Taking the first step. Today, I called and spoke to Edith at EMMC's Surgical Weight Loss Program. She told me that I needed a new referral from my current doctor because the previous referral expired while I waited for Medicare to kick in. I was told that there had been some changes to the program since I attended a meeting. She also informed me that the future support group meetings are at the Mason Auditorium at EMMC and are scheduled: Feb. 6 @ 4:30-6:30, Feb. 17 @ 4:30-6:30, March 6 @ 4:30-6:30. I need to find someone to start taking me to these meetings as there is a lot to be learned from those who have gone through the procedure already. Probably Mom will take me, if she can. She is amazing.

Next, I called my new doctors office (I just moved to a new town) and set up an appointment for Feb. 6th @ 8:30 am, to get established at the office and to hopefully get a referral to the surgical weight loss program. I am aware that this is very optimistic of me, since the doctor will just be getting to know me and will probably not give me the referral at the first appointment. My records have already been transferred, but they never look over that stuff in advance.

So, that is where I stand. Waiting, researching, reading inspirational blogs and stories as well as the horror stories of surgeries gone wrong and post-op complications. I want to know it all. I know that there will be people who will make comments on here that may be very negative and I am prepared for that. I also know that I have some wonderful people in my life who are very supportive and that I will find a way with their help and support. Please feel free to leave me comments. I will read them all. Hang on tight now, cause this could be a bumpy ride!