Saturday, July 17, 2010


In my mail today, I received a letter from DownEast Orthopedics! I was so excited to finally hear from them. It is my referral to Dr. Walsh, a surgeon who specializes in difficult hip and knee replacements.

Now, for the bad news. They can't see me until November, 11th. I guess I should be glad that it is during this year. Ray pointed out that this will give me time to lose even more weight before I see them, hopefully making me a better candidate for surgery. Thank you for finding the silver lining for me darling ♥

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Hello everyone. I have been told that I need to update this blog. I have been trying to decide what I need to tell you all. The thing is, that this has become so much a way of life for me that I don't really think about it that much. Nice huh? :-)

It has been seven months since my gastric bypass surgery. I have lost a total of 141 pounds so far, which includes the weight I lost prior to surgery. The blood work at my 6 month follow-up was perfect.

I rarely have trouble eating anymore, as long as whatever I eat is low sugar and low fat. Eating slowly and chewing thoroughly have become ingrained habits at this point. I listen closely to the feedback from my pouch to know when to stop eating. This is just a way of life now.

When I started this process, my ultimate goal was to lose enough weight to be able to get my hips replaced. Well, I recently saw an orthopedic surgeon to determine if I am ready for the surgery yet. This time, the x-rays showed much more than previous x-rays were able to, because I weigh less. Apparently, how thick you are affects the quality of the x-ray.

What we could see is that my hips dislocate in certain positions and then slip back into the socket in other positions. My left hip does this more than the other. The doctor said that my hip sockets are too shallow and it is a congenital condition that has worsened with time, wear and tear. There are little shards of bone and bone spurs through out both joints. He is referring me to another orthopedic surgeon, because he said that he is too old and my case is too complicated for him to handle. So now I wait for that referral to come through.

Well, that is where I stand now. I will try to update at least once per month or when I get some big news. I hope you all are doing well out there. Keep the faith in yourselves!

Friday, April 16, 2010


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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Family Easter Dinner

Yesterday, my family had it's Easter Dinner. It was yummy and I was able to easily eat within my guidelines. I had a few ounces of ham, 3 baby carrots, a tiny amount of cabbage with onion, and half of a dinner roll. I used a few sprays of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Spray.

It was my job to bring the cake and rolls. My sister-in-law's birthday was also on Easter, so I got a spring/Easter themed sheet cake that wished her a happy birthday with lots of thick, sweet frosting on it from the local supermarket. Along with it I got a sugar free angel food cake to try. The nutrition information stated that 1/6 of the cake is a serving which is quite a large, airy slice and it only has 60 calories! Plus there are 4 grams of protein, since it uses lots of egg whites.

I ate it plain and it was delicious! My boyfriend, Ray, is a diabetic and he liked it too. My brother-in-law had some but I don't know what he thought of it. My brother had some, but he put frosting from the other cake on it. (ha ha ha.) We have 2 servings left which will be served with strawberries tonight. I found a recipe online for Sugar Free Angel Food Cake so that I can make it myself and I am thinking that melting a small SF chocolate in the microwave and drizzling it over the cake would be fabulous too, and only add 20 calories.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Day In My Pouch

I thought that I would show you what I typically eat in a day. I use the site Calorie Count to keep track of what I eat and make sure that I am hitting my targets. Unfortunately it doesn't tell you what the serving sizes I am consuming are. For example, I had half a packet of oatmeal and I had half of the Smart Ones Santa Fe Rice and Beans. I love that I get 2 meal out of what is normally one serving.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Nutrition Class

It has been about 4 months since I had my gastric bypass surgery, so it was time to see my dietitian again. This time it was in a nutrition class with 5 other patients. The class was mostly a review of information that we had been taught prior to having surgery, but they find that refresher courses can help keep us on the right path.

I did get weighed in and I have now lost 117.5 pounds. The surprising thing is that not only have I not lost any muscle mass, I have actually gained 2.5 pounds of lean muscle mass. I really need to commit to exercising even more so that I keep as much muscle mass as possible.

Previously, I had told you that I was being treated for an ulcer. The medication that was prescribed for me has helped immensely. I am symptom free now, but I have to continue taking the medications for 3 months to ensure that the ulcer has time to heal completely. In an unrelated note, I am now also being treated for a UTI with antibiotics. If it isn't one, thing it is another!

My next appointments are on May 18th. First appointment of the day will be with the dietitian and the second appointment will be with the surgeon. I hope that your weight loss journey is going well and that you will share it with me. Take care!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Uh Oh

I had to call my surgeon's office this morning. The pain in my pouch has been progressively getting worse, despite taking the OTC acid reducers that my surgeon recommended to me at my last appointment. I was awoken in the wee hours of the morning today, with a volcano in the pit of my stomach.

I spoke to a nurse in the office, telling her my symptoms, and what I have been taking for it. She, in turn, spoke to one of the surgeons on call, who advised that I be put on Carafate and to double my dose of the OTC acid reducer. I am supposed to let them know next Monday, if I get any relief. If I am still suffering then a scope will be done to see if it is an ulcer and if it requires more intervention.

I am going to hope that medication alone will be enough to heal me. (fingers crossed)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday is a big day in our home. In the past, we have prepared enough food for an army, even though it was just the two of us. We were wondering what to do today, since I have had my surgery and he has changed his diet due to diabetes.

The first thing we decided was that the chili we always make was still going to happen. The only change we made in it was we purchased a lower sodium seasoning packet (we always add extra minced garlic) and got very lean ground beef. Chili can be very nutritious and protein dense, so we saw no reason to eliminate it from the menu. We are topping it with reduced fat shredded cheddar and fat free sour cream.

For dipping we decided to stick with salsa and baked tortilla chips. We made the chips ourselves from the multi-grain tortillas that we use for wraps. Just give a quick spray of butter flavor Pam to each side of the tortilla and then cut it into wedges. Season in what ever way you like. We sprinkled a tiny amount of garlic salt on them and baked in the oven at 400F for 5-7 minutes. It only took 5 minutes for this batch. They are amazing and are going to become a staple in my diet. I think they will be a great replacement for packaged crackers.

We are both very pleased that we are having some very flavorful foods that we can really enjoy, but not have to worry about busting our diets. I encourage everyone to find a way to make the foods you love work in your food plan so that you don't have to feel deprived. Instead you feel empowered. GO SAINTS!!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It has been a while

It has been a while since I posted and I wasn't really sure what to say, so I thought I would take a little picture of myself, so you can see if my face looks any thinner. I left my old profile picture up for now, so that you have a before picture to compare it to. I had to take the picture myself, by holding the camera out at arms length, so the quality isn't very good. The quilt on the back of the chair was made by my sister for me. Sooner or later I will try to get a full length picture to post so that you can compare that to my before pictures.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Wow Moment and Some Annoyance

Friday, I had an appointment with a new optometrist. I had my usual concerns: will I fit in the chairs in the waiting room and will I fit in the exam chair. Oh, and how outrageous is this bill going to be?

I arrived at the office, checked in with the receptionist, and then took a gander around the waiting room. All standard size chairs with arms on them, which I can't fit in unless I cause myself considerable pain squeezing into them.

I decided to try to squeeze into one and hope the wait wasn't too painfully long. I sat down and let out this gasp that startled the receptionist, so she asked if I was okay. I told her I was fine, just having a WOW moment. I fit in the chair! I mean, it wasn't like I had room on each side, but I wasn't in pain from sitting in it. I didn't have to wiggle my hips down between the arms. I just sat down. Ya normal people do!

When I got to the exam chair, that was a different matter. At least the arms swung up so I could have room. The tech felt bad and told me that she barely fit in the chair. I am sure she was just being kind because she looked very fit to me.

The optometrist was very nice, but she responded to all of the eye issues that I brought up with: These things happen when you get close to fifty. I was not happy to repeatedly hear this. Who needs reminders?

The ultimate diagnosis, I now need bifocals. I have to use drops for a dry eye condition. Plus, there were a couple of spots on my macular and with a strong family history of macular degeneration, I will need to have my macular mapped for a baseline so they can track changes. I guess these things happen when you get close to fifty. *insert annoyed look here.*

Okay, so it is time to pay. I have to pay my co-pay and for the bifocals, so they order them for me. I hand them my credit card. Sheepishly, this guy comes back and says it was denied. WTF? Okay, so I give him my debit card. Again, he comes back and says that it was denied. Um, no way! There are funds in that account. I couldn't believe that I actually had to write a check.

I went straight home and there was a message waiting from my credit card company about a fraud alert. I called the company and it turns out the moron had entered the security code incorrectly so they denied it. I then called my debit card company and ditto! So, I call the optometrists office to let them know that this guy needs additional training and they just say that the card equipment is quirky like that.

Oh well, no one can take away my WOW moment. I can't wait for the day when I stop worrying about seating, like normal people, and just sit down.

Friday, January 22, 2010


I have been trying to add back foods to my diet very slowly. I only try one new food at a time, so that there will be no confusion as to which food it is that bothers me, if I have trouble. So far, I have been able to add some tasty stuff, like fat free refried beans, salsa, and even a quarter of a slice of toasted multigrain bread (untoasted can be a problem for me). I have the most difficulty with meat that hasn't been ground. Ground beef, ground pork and ground chicken are fine, but ground turkey seems to be too dry no matter how it is prepared.

Today I tried a whole wheat tortilla, or to be more specific, a quarter of a whole wheat tortilla. I slathered it with tuna mixed with low fat mayo, mustard, minced onion, dried dill and pepper, then topped it with zesty dill slices, fold and enjoy. It was yummy and no tummy troubles! I think I will be substituting the tortillas for toasted bread from now on. Later today I am going to cut a tortilla into chip sizes and bake it so I can have chips and salsa with melted reduced fat cheese. My favorite reduced fat cheeses are from Sargento!

My portion sizes are still quite small. The total volume of food that I consume at a meal is approximately 1/3 of a cup and occasionally I can't finish it all. I eat 4 times per day: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and evening snack. My meals are protein dense and each of these meals are usually between 150 to 200 calories.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Eleven Months to the Day!

February 20th, 2009, I went to a new health care provider, because I had recently moved and I had just been notified that in May 2009, I would have Medicare coverage. I told Kathleen (the afore-mentioned health care provider) that I was determined to have gastric bypass surgery and I needed her to document my attempt to lose weight in advance to qualify for the procedure. She was very supportive and helped to guide me to a 61 pound weight loss prior to surgery.

This morning, I stepped on my scale to find that I have lost exactly 100 pounds since that day! This is a big goal of mine. I have a lot more goals to meet, but I am so glad to have accomplished this one.

Please share with me a goal of yours that you are working toward or that you have proudly achieved. I love to read your comments!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Today It Was Oatmeal

Prior to having gastric bypass, I would eat oatmeal for breakfast 3-5 times per week. I love it. I grew up on it. I have missed it since surgery.

Today, I made old fashioned Quaker rolled oats for dinner. Yes, for dinner. My pouch has been giving me lots of grief lately, especially overnight and first thing in the morning, so I didn't want to try a food for the first time for breakfast. It was yummy! It seems to have settled comfortably into my pouch and filled me up with flavor too. I made it with milk instead of water so that there was more protein in it. Thank you Sis, for telling me how to do this!

This is how I made it:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1-1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup non fat milk powder
  • dash salt
  • 2 tsp splenda
  • dash vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
I combined the milk, milk powder, salt, and splenda in a small sauce pan, then brought it to a slow boil. I stirred in the oats, and reduced the heat to med-low. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly as the milk may scorch. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and cinnamon.

I ate a 1/4 cup serving just as is tonight and it was creamy and delicious. There is enough for about 3 more 1/4 cup servings left and I think tomorrow I will have it with a tablespoon of no sugar added applesauce mixed in. I used to love that.

Edited to add: Please read the great recipe for Pumpkin Oatmeal that Dani posted in the comments!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I Tried Bread!

Yesterday, my diet was advanced for the final time. I am now allowed to try many new foods and the first one I decided to try was bread.

I had read wls program notebook that toasting the bread makes it a little easier on our pouches, so I heeded that. I cut in half a slice of multi-grain bread and toasted it. Then I put approx 1/4 of a cup of low fat chicken salad on top of it. I nibbled at this very slowly, waiting for my pouch to react. Nothing. Nothing is good. After about 20 minutes, I sensed that there was no way I would be able to eat all of this, so I started to eat just the chicken salad, since protein is more important. Ultimately, I got about 1/4 of a slice of toast into me with no ill affects. I am very pleased.

If anyone wants to know how I made my low fat chicken salad, in a food processor combine:

  • 2 oz cooked chicken
  • 1 tsp. mustard
  • 1 tsp. low fat mayo
  • 4-5 pickle slices (I used zesty dill)
I am sure that this recipe will change now that I have more food options to use. I can't wait to get some celery to put in it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Not Quite 100

I was hoping that when I saw my surgeon and dietitian today, I would have hit the 100 pound lost mark, but it was not to be. I have lost a total of 95 pounds so far. Great news: it is all fat, I have actually gained 1/2 pound of muscle!

The doctor suspects that the pain I had in my pouch the other day was due to excess acid and just told me to take Maalox in the future. So no big problem there. What a relief.

The dietitian has advanced my food program to phase 5 which is the final frontier with food. I am now allowed to try most foods, as long as they are low sugar and low fat. If I choose to try high fat or high sugar foods, then I must face the consequences and I assure you, I am not willing to go there!

She increased my workout goals to 200 minutes per week. Yikes! She also added B12 to my supplement list. Other than those 2 things, plus a wider variety of foods to try, I will be continuing to just learn how to live the best life I can with my new pouch.

I will be seeing the dietitian again in 6 weeks and I will see my surgeon in 4 months.

Thank you all for your supportive comments and helpful tips. You really do help me keep my spirit up.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Later in the morning...

I am feeling a little better. I was able to get a couple more hours sleep and I have had a protein drink for for breakfast. I am going to stick with very safe foods for my pouch today so that it can rest.

I wonder if I have been a little too adventurous with the foods I have been trying and that is causing discomfort and pain or if there is a medical problem. I don't want to be a hypochondriac, but I don't want to ignore the signals that my body sends me either. How do I balance this? I am glad that I have an appointment with the surgeon tomorrow. Of course, I will let you know how it goes.

Awake at 4 am.

My pouch is giving me burning pain. It woke me up and won't let me get back to sleep. All day yesterday, it felt a bit uncomfortable, but this pain is intense. I have a follow up appointment with the surgeon on Tuesday, so I hope this doesn't get worse before then. I just wish I could go back to sleep.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Post Holidays

I love the holidays, because I get to share them with my family, but I am sooooo glad that the holiday season is finally over. I'm tired. The tree and all the other decorations have been taken down. Now, how do I get rid of all this snow?

Last Monday, I saw my PCP and got weighed for the first time since Dec. 1st. I have lost 89 pounds in 2009. 61 pounds were lost before surgery leaving 28 pounds lost since my surgery on Nov. 16th, 2009. It seems a bit slow for post surgery weight loss, but I am just happy that I am losing.

I have had a few problems eating, especially at my families Christmas party. My sister cooked a succulent prime rib dinner, and I could only borrow a little of it. It came back up after I consumed about an ounce of it. I seem to be having quite a bit of difficulty with beef, unless it is ground beef. I'm sorry Sis. It sure tasted good going down.

The other issue that has cropped up is that breakfast has become very difficult to get down. I don't feel like I can swallow food well in the morning. My solution has been to have the only protein drink that I can stand: Click. Since it is a mocha coffee flavored protein drink, it is a good morning option and it can be served either hot or cold. If you are caffeine sensitive, please be aware that this product has espresso powder in it. I purchased mine from Amazon as I got a better deal than from the company website. Also, if you don't have a blender to mix it up with, then I highly recommend getting their shaker to mix it up, because stirring just doesn't work. I think that I will try their new Vanilla Latte flavor next.

Another product that has become a regular item in my daily life is Special K2O Protein Water Mix. Prior to surgery I was someone who drank 2 to 3 quarts of water per day. Now, water doesn't taste right to me, so I am flavoring it. This mix provides 5 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber per serving with only 30 calories. I drink 2 per day mixed in 20 ounces of water. I try to get at least 2 more glasses of water per day with this.

My next appointment is for my 6 week follow up with both the surgeon and the nutritionist. It is on Jan. 12th. I will be sure to let you know how that goes. If anyone has any questions, please post them in the comments field and I will be glad to answer them. Thank you all for your wonderful support!