Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Quiet Afternoon

Today has turned out to be a rather nice day. I was finally able to go back to church this morning, which started my day off on a good note. The sermon was a great one for where I'm at right now and it really got me thinking.

Health wise I'm feeling pretty good today. I've done a lot in the last couple of days, so I'm kind of glad that the hubby and I decided to just have a lazy afternoon...I think it's just what I needed. I've done pretty good with the eating today as well. I had my usual breakfast of cottage cheese and applesauce, and for lunch I had tomato soup and a couple of crackers. Such a nice lunch for a cold day! Now that I've had a nice lunch I think it's time to settle in for a nice Sunday afternoon nap!

Until next time...Hugs, Prayers & I Love Sundays!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Victory....Even Though A Little Disappointing

Today was my dad's 72nd birthday. To celebrate there was a get together at my parents house. Only a few snacks were served, but everyone decided to go out to dinner later in the evening. I had a great time visiting with my parents and my sisters family. Unfortunately my brother and his family were only going to be able to make it for dinner. And here comes the dilemma. I was enjoying the time with family, and wanted to see the rest of my family....but.....that would require going to sit in a Mexican restaurant without being able to really eat anything they serve.

I knew the smell of the food and watching everyone else eat was not going to be a good situation for me. I knew it would be by far the most tempting situation I've been in since surgery. I briefly thought back to how proud I was at my 2 week check-in when I was the only one that hadn't cheated. I didn't want to ruin that...but I wanted to socialize with my family.

After a little back and forth in my mind I knew that it was best to avoid the restaurant. I knew that was the best thing to do, so I declined. I still enjoyed my day, but on the way home I was kind of bummed out to be missing out on the rest of the family time.

Oh well, I just keep reminding myself that this is temporary. In a month or so I will be able to go out to eat with them and make a good choice from the menu. I won't be missing out on these things forever, and for today it was definitely the best decision for me.

Love & miss you "brothers family"!

Until next time...Hugs, Prayers & I Did The Right Thing!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Tired, Tired, Tired

OK, I think perhaps I've overdone it today.

My kids didn't have school today so I kept them busy doing housework and laundry. Even though I wasn't doing all of the bending and lifting I still followed them around and helped as best I could. I also showered, got dressed, and made my bed. After lunch I took a short nap, but then it was on to menu planning and creating a grocery list. I cooked my family dinner and had some cottage cheese and tomato soup for my dinner. Unfortunately we were out of milk and a few other staple items, so I had to go to the store.

So at 6:30 off I went with my youngest child to the store. We had someone help load groceries into the car and he helped me unload at home.

So with that said........

Until next time...Hugs, Prayers & Sleepy Time!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Midday Checkin

Well, I'm today I seem to have writer's block. I've been wondering all morning what I would write about today, but my mind is apparently on other things. So today's blog is short. Very short!

Just saying hello while I wait for my egg to boil so I can make my egg salad sandwich! I'm excited about dinner too! Tonight's dinner for my hubby and kids will be baked chicken, and I'll also put potatoes and carrots in with the chicken for all of us. Mmmm....more flavored potatoes and well cooked carrots!! It really is nice being able to eat a little again!

Until next time...Hugs, Prayers & Have A Good Day!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Potatoes & Egg Salad, Oh MY!!!

It's funny how satisfying eating just a couple of ounces can be after you've been on a liquid diet!! The doctors appointment went great yesterday, and I'm moving onto the "pureed diet". How exciting to add some different tastes into my diet again!!! Not to mention how nice it is to have something to chew on a bit!

I was really surprised though in the waiting room. There were about 6 patients there for their follow up visits and dietary class. I think I may have been the only one there that hadn't cheated! I felt sooooo proud of my hard work! But on the other hand I felt really bad for these people, that they would go through the process leading up to now, and then cheat on the diet. Now don't get me wrong, I don't feel like I am any better than the rest of them...but I've had to dig deep, I mean really deep to find the will power not to go off of the diet, and I'm sure they could have too.

Anyway, we all weighed in and went into the conference room to go over the new diet. I won't list everything here, but some of the highlights for me were egg salad, vegetables (either mashed with a fork or pureed), pureed fruit, and sugar free pudding. We are also encouraged to start eating about 2 oz of a high protein food, and a tablespoon of a "side", like the veggies or fruit. Of course we have to start with the protein, that way if you get full before your finished you've eaten the most important nutrient on your plate. After the class we went to individual exam rooms to see the nurse and have our staples removed.

I left the clinic excited as could be and went directly to the store to pick up my new foods! It was good exercise walking around the store, and even though I was tired I was pretty excited about all of my new stuff. When I got home I was quickly reminded of a kind gesture a friend had made earlier in the day. She came by in the morning and started a roast with potatoes in my crock pot. When I came in the house smelled wonderful, and I was ecstatic to know that I could eat a couple of the potatoes in that crock pot! I think they were the best potatoes I've ever eaten in all of my life! lol All kidding aside, it was awesome to eat something with a little substance to it, and they really did taste great being cooked all day long with the beef broth!

Today I ventured on to egg salad. It was good too, and I'm feeling very encouraged!! I can do this!! In two more weeks I'll move on to the "soft food" diet, at 6 weeks I go onto the "bariatric diet" and at 8 weeks I'll be able to add foods at my discretion.

As far as the bowel problems...they suggested that I make sure that I am getting enough water and start to do a little walking. Otherwise I'll need to just take the Milk of Magnesia as needed. :( They did say that this isn't too unusual after the surgery, and that as I add more foods into the diet bowel movements should become more regular. So, today I did a bit of walking inside, tomorrow if the weather permits I'll start walking down the driveway and maybe to the neighbors house and back!

Until next time...Hugs, Prayer & Puree Away!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Don't Read This One If You Don't Talk About Poo...

Alright, the purpose behind this blog was to keep record of everything for myself, but also to hopefully help someone else going through (or considering going through) this process. Well, it isn't going to help much if I don't get real about the changes going on with my body, which yes...obviously deals with the digestive system. Afterall, I did just have major surgery that reconstructed the whole thing! lol Anyway, this is the point that I put out my warning....if the subject of farting or pooping is not your thing, don't read any further in this post.

So I'll back up just a bit. When I left the hospital I didn't have to have a bowel movement to leave, I just needed to pass gas. That was no me! But when I got home a week went by and I still hadn't pooped. I called in to the bariatric clinic. They told me to switch from water to juice for a day, specifically apple. I did, but still nothing! So the next morning I got up to take the horrible Milk of Magnesia. My clinic told me to just take 1 tablespoon in the morning, and if that didn't help take another tablespoon in the afternoon. Well, after standing in the kitchen for about 20 minutes staring at this little cup of liquid chalk I finally drank it. YUCK! It was gross and I could only sip on a drink to get rid of the taste. I chose SF Kool-Aid because it had flavor to it. Within a matter of hours I was relieved of my pain!! It worked like a charm, and out came a week's worth of poo!

That was last Wednesday. Here I sit on Monday morning, with a tummy ache, realizing I haven't gone again since last Wednesday. :( I know why my tummy hurts...and once again I had a showdown in the kitchen with the little cup of liquid chalk. Now this time I hope it works as quickly, because I have a doctors appointment this afternoon!! I really don't want to be out in a public place when it does it's magic, that's for sure!! I do plan to ask the doctor today what I can do differently though. Once a week bowel movements, and only when induced by MOM just isn't going to cut it for me! I'll be sure to let you know as soon as I find out!

Until next time....Hugs, Prayers & Hoping For Quick Relief!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Ho-Hum Kind Of Day

Well, the title kind of sums it up for today. Haven't felt bad, but haven't felt real great today either. I'm very tired of eating (well, technically drinking) the same crap over and over and over. I'm ready to move on to the next phase, and luckily for me I will be soon!

Tomorrow I have a two week follow up with the surgeon and bariatric office. We will start with a dietary class discussing the next phase of eating, followed by a consultation and staple removal. :(

I was happy to find out today that a friend of a friend knows someone who is about my age and had the same surgery not too long ago. She apparently found a very active and helpful online support group and I'm anxiously awaiting the web address. I'll share it once I get it!

Until next time....Hugs, Prayers, & Mmmm....more liquids

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Tired Day Today....

As you've read in the last post it's been a busy week. I've held my own pretty well this week, but I think it's caught up with me a bit. Today I slept in later than I usually would, even on a Saturday, and I just can't seem to get any energy. I've had the kids clean house and work on laundry, but still...I feel sleepy. So I've decided to quit fighting it, I've settled in on the couch to watch Runaway Bride. After this I'll get a shower and dressed, but I'm sincerely thinking that may be it for the day today!

I went yesterday and had my blood taken so they can retest for my potassium level, but I won't hear anything until Monday. I'm rather convinced that it is nothing, but we'll see. My sister-in-law had this surgery several years ago and didn't take her supplements like she was supposed to which caused her potassium levels to drop dangerously low. Unfortunately for her this has caused some problems with her kidneys, and she is now on dialysis. Don't get me wrong, I'm jumping to no conclusions....but it's a quick dose of reality of how important it is to keep up with the supplements, and doctor appointments and blood work.

Until next time....Hugs, Prayers & Zzzzzzzzz

Friday, January 22, 2010

What A Difference A Week Makes....

Well, I can't believe that I've been home a week and that I've blogged so little since coming home. It was rather uncomfortable to sit with the computer on my lap, and my brain was doing the bare minimum for a while! But I'm back, and I'm recommitting to posting at least once a day. :)

Last time I posted I got to the point where I had come home from the hospital. I really want to share what happened at home over the past week before any of it gets too far from memory.

So Friday I was a bit worn out by the time I was discharged and got home. I settled in with an ounce of water, and some very nasty liquid Lortab. After a short nap on the couch I realized it was about time to have a protein supplement. And this is also when I realized I had never bought any before surgery! Thinking fast I called the bariatric clinic to find out if it would be ok to use the supplements that I used prior to surgery now. Sure enough they said that would be fine. Now, in my infinite wisdom I decided to be "smart". Since they told me prior to surgery that some people didn't tolerate milk well after surgery I thought I'd mix my supplement with Light Soy Milk. Um......BAD IDEA!!!! No, not a bad idea....A HORRIBLE IDEA!!!

Apparently the soy milk was a bit too rich for my new little tummy. I felt sooooo bloated. My stomach felt like there was a rock in it. I felt horrible! Then I started to feel kind of achy and wanted to take some more pain medicine, but I was so full I didn't know that I could handle anything else in the tummy. After a few hours of trying to get comfortable on my couch I finally headed to the bedroom for the night around 6:30pm. I felt rotten and just didn't know what to do about it. Feeling very uncomfortable and somewhat defeated I headed into bed for the night, hoping and praying that I would get some well needed rest as that this feeling in my stomach would pass quickly.

I only woke up a couple of times through the night and I did sleep pretty good. However, much to my dismay, I woke up on Saturday still not feeling well. And for whatever reason that started the emotional roller coaster! I laid uncomfortable in bed wondering what I had done to myself! I kept praying not to throw up and for this sick feeling to pass. I kept thinking that I had ruined my life and I would never eat again!! I tried praying. I tried crying. I tried talking to people on the phone, but that just led to more crying. After a few hours I decided it was time to pull myself out of the bed and go down stairs to face the day and whatever it was going to bring.

When I was talking to my mom I told her that I didn't know what I had gotten myself into, and that perhaps this was one of the worst decisions I had made. Well, she recruited the help of my Auntie M, who had the same surgery about 8 years ago. Later when the phone rang and she said "Hi Grace, it's Auntie M, what's going on honey???" the flood gates opened. Finally, someone to talk to that had been here and is way past this point! We talked for a bit and she reminded me that everyday was going to get a little better. She reminded me that this part of the diet only lasts for so long, and that I'll be eating regular in about 6 weeks. She also gave me the idea of watering down my protein drinks. and just to do the best I can to keep up with drinks and protein everyday. It worked like magic! Just talking with someone who had done it helped a ton!! During the hours that followed I took it a sip at a time, and decided that it didn't matter if I regretted doing this or not, it was done and I would have to learn to live with it.

In the hours that followed on Saturday my attitude slowly improved, as did my tummy ache. Once my body felt better my mind quickly followed and by bedtime I was in an ok mood, and my body didn't hurt too bad. By Sunday morning when I woke up I felt back to myself. I was glad that I had my surgery and was back on the road to recovery.

Sunday was a nice quiet day around the house. I didn't really do much other than watch tv and movies. I worked hard to make sure that I followed my liquid diet, did my breathing exercises, and got up every hour to walk around the house. I had a couple of good friends drop by to visit and it was a very nice day! By the end of the day I decided that it was time...I was ready to get out of the house!

Monday morning my husband went out to breakfast with some friends and when he came home we were going to head out to the grocery store! I got up and showered, got dressed, and put together a grocery list. I was happy to realize he wasn't home yet, so I sat down on the couch and rested while I waited for him to come home!! Finally we headed out. We got to the store and I opted for the motorized cart so I wouldn't overdo! I felt kind of proud when I went past all of the pastries and nothing even jumped out at me! On the way home my husband wanted to get something to eat, but he didn't want to upset me. I told him it was fine, that it would be ok. They decided on Arbys (which was my last meal, and one of my favorite fast food places!). The food smelled good. But, I didn't want it! I didn't want the food, it didn't make me feel bad to smell it, but I didn't want it either! I was pretty surprised that it wasn't tempting. When we got home the boys all unloaded the groceries, and I supervised them putting everything away. And when it was over, I was EXHAUSTED!

Luckily for me, Tuesday everyone would return to work and school! As the week went on I continued to feel better. Everyday I could drink a little more, get up a little easier and stay awake a little longer. Friends and family commented on how good I sounded, and that they could hear the energy in my voice.

To end the week I went to a follow up appointment with my family doctor on Thursday. She said I was doing rather well for a week out of surgery! She checked the incisions to make sure they were healing well, drew bloodwork requested by the bariatric center, and of course weighed me. Since the last appointment with my family doctor I had dropped 21 pounds! With a clean bill of health I headed home to rest before the kids came home!

Today has been a quiet day, until the doctors office called me back. Apparently my bloodwork showed that my potassium level was high, so they wanted me to go in and have blood drawn right at the lab to test my potassium again. Sometimes when blood is moved from one location to another it can break down something in the blood and cause a false reading, so it may be nothing, but they definitely wanted to look at it again.

Until next time...Hugs, Prayers & Here's To Hoping It's Nothing!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I'm Back!

It's a better late than never I guess! I fully intended to jump right back on the computer the minute I got home from the hospital, but I quickly realized that I grossly underestimated the way I would feel after surgery! But we'll get to that, let me back up and catch you up since I signed off on the morning of the 13th.

I arrived at the hospital and the nerves finally kicked in when we got to the registration desk. It became very real that I was going to do this! I was already pre-registered, so they sent me straight over to pre-surgery waiting. When we got to pre-surgery they took me directly to a private room where I was to undress and get into a hospital gown. The room was nice, and had a tv to help keep my mind off of what was going on. The nurse came in and went through my medical history, had me sterilize the surgical area again, and took my c-pap mask and tubing. At about 10:00am my pastor came to wish me well and pray with me prior to going down to surgery. Then transport came and rolled me down to the holding area, where you wait for your operating room and surgeons to be ready. My husband was allowed to come down there with me, and I'm so glad because I waited there for about an hour. Finally right around 11:00am they told him to give me a kiss and I was off to surgery. I kind of remember going into the operating room. There was no countdown, I just remember them telling me to have a nice nap.

The next thing I remember is waking up in the recovery room. I was freezing cold, and I couldn't believe how late in the day it was. I kept asking if my husband was there and they wouldn't ever answer me. Being the mom that I am I kept telling the nurses I needed to know if my husband was here or if he went to go get the kids off of the bus! LOL He was still there, and had already let the kids know that he'd be home shortly, just to let themselves in the house. :)

Once I got up to my room things were clearing up a little for me. I was still extremely groggy, and I was getting all of my food through my IV. I also had a catheter, an NG tube (goes down the nose into the belly), and another tube coming out of my side going into the abdomen. Oh, and I had a morphine drip set up with my IV. The rest of Wednesday I just slept off and on. My hubby stayed for a bit, but left to get home with the kids and get them to their Wednesday night activities. Even thought I was tired, I did get up and go for a walk or two on Wednesday night because I know how important that is to the healing process.

Thursday morning began with a bariatric swallow test. For this test they take you down to radiology and feed you some barium through a syringe. You swallow it and then they take x-rays to confirm that you don't have a leak in your new stomach. The radiologist looks at it right then and lets you know if it is ok or not and then you go back to your room. Luckily for me it was fine, and I have no idea what they do if you have a leak.

Thursday they also took out my catheter, the NG tube (which burned like crazy!), and took away the morphine drip. I continued to get up and move through out the day. My rule of thumb was if I was getting up to go to the bathroom, I might as well take a walk at the same time. The nurses were very happy with me for this! This was also the day that they started to have me begin to drink some of my own fluids. They brought me a big cup of water and some 1 oz medicine type cups. I was to pour the water into the cups and keep track of how many cups of water I drank. Prior to surgery I thought I'd have to fight the urge to gulp down a whole ounce at once, but I didn't. I didn't really feel hungry, so I had to kind of fight myself to do it. At lunch and dinner time they brought me a tray of Sugar-Free Kool Aid, Sugar-Free Jello, a protein supplement drink, tea, and broth. Then I could drink whatever I chose, but I had to put it into the 1 oz cups and keep track of how many I drank.

Now that the morphine was gone if I wanted pain killers I would have to take liquid Vikodin. YUCK!! I knew that it would not taste good so I held out as long as I possibly could. Finally in the middle of the night though I couldn't get comfortable, which meant I couldn't I asked for something to help me sleep. The nurse brought it in and boy was it gross! But I took it and it helped served the purpose, and I finally got some zzz's.

One note about the pain itself...even on Thursday afternoon I felt like more of the pain was in my back. I believe this was a combination of 2 things. First, all of the air that they pump into your stomach during surgery rises and can cause back and shoulder pain. Second, the hospital beds were HORRIBLY uncomfortable! When I was talking to a friend of mine about this she said when she went into the hospital to have her second child she brought a mattress pad and had her mom remake the bed for her with it on. I wish I would have thought about this before surgery, because I think it could have made a big difference.

Friday morning they came and drew blood to make sure I was taking in enough of what I needed and said that I was ok to go home if I felt ok to go home. I did! I wanted out of the hospital sooooo bad! My back was killing me, I missed my kids and husband, and my roommate was driving me absolutely crazy!! The last thing to do was to remove the tube in my abdomen. :( I was kind of nervous about this one! A friend of mine who had already had the surgery told me to take a deep breath and exhale as they pulled it out. I had a plan, but....the nurse didn't really give me enough warning to do this. It was the weirdest feeling! You could feel intestines or something move as the tube went past. It didn't really hurt, it was just uncomfortable and took my breath away. I wish I could describe the feeling better, but I just can't. By about noon or 1:00pm on Friday I was discharged and my hubby was bringing me home! We made it home before the kids got home from school and he went to get my prescriptions filled.

OK, that's all for now. I need to get up and move, and drink something for breakfast. I'll pick up where I've left off either later today or tomorrow. :)

Until next time....Hugs, Prayers & An Ounce At A Time!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Here It Goes!

Well, here I go!

I leave for the hospital in about an hour. The kids are getting ready to leave for school and I will be saying my goodbyes shortly. Feeling really sad that I won't see them for a few days and praying that everything around the house will run smoothly while I'm away. :'(

This morning is definitely a mixed bag of feelings. Mostly excited, but definite case of the nerves. This is huge. This is such an opportunity and I don't want to screw it up.

But I'm not the only one having surgery today and anxious over what comes after. If anyone is reading this please keep my friend in your prayers who is having back surgery, and the little girl who is having surgery for kidney problems. And all of the others I don't even know about. May we all come out better, healthier people.

Well...I better stop typing and finish getting ready to go!

Until next time...Hugs, Prayers and This Is It!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Leaving for the hospital in 12 hours!!!

Well, here it is...the night before! Everyone has asked me today if I'm nervous, but I'm not. I guess the best way to describe it is that I feel like a 3 year old on Christmas Eve!!

Today I've had to drink really nasty drinks all day. They stink, and they taste even worse! Almost like a watered down Pepto Bismol. And needless to say...these drinks have caused me to spend the greater portion of the day on the toilet. :( Luckily I only have one more to go!!

Tomorrow is a huge day. I am making a final commitment to a better lifestyle. I can't wait! I'm ready! This week on a liquid diet has been a great week of learning for me. I am anxious for the next part of this journey!!

I will not be taking my computer to the hospital, so I won't be posting until I'm back home. Hopefully Friday or Saturday.

Until next time...Hugs, Prayers & See You After Surgery!! woohoooooooo!

Monday, January 11, 2010

#2. The Psychological Exam

After the initial consultation I had a list of things to do in order to qualify for surgery. Number 2 was a psychological exam.

I seriously think the hardest part of this step was working with my insurance company to understand how the exam would (or wouldn't) be covered and what my copay would be! To get moving on my psych exam I called the insurance to ask if it would be covered. They said it was covered. OK, then I wanted to know what my portion of the bill would be...a regular doctor office co-pay since it was required for a medical procedure, or would it be paid as a mental health bill. After several phone calls and a lot of aggravation I found out it was covered under my mental health benefits, meaning it wouldn't be a $20 co-pay, but a $150 bill I'd need to pay myself. I have a $200 deductible that hadn't been met for mental health benefits.

I was a little nervous about going, I wondered what exactly they would ask, and what if I answered wrong and they turned me down!?!?! Anyhow, I found a pyschiatrist in my area that was a preferred provider for my insurance and scheduled my appointment. She was very friendly and told me that I should plan on being there for a couple of hours because she would need to meet with me, and then I would have to take an MMPI 2 test.

When I arrived I had to fill out a personal history packet. The questions asked about my childhood, marriage, relationships with family, history of alcohol or drug abuse, and family history of mental health. When I sat down with her she went over the packet with me and then asked why I wanted to have surgery, and what made me feel that I'd be able to keep the weight off after surgery. Once this step was done she gave me the answer guide and booklet for the MMPI2 test. It's 567 questions!!!! They are all true and false questions. Some of the questions seemed to repeat over and over and over...but I'm assuming that is in order to catch liars.

Here are a few of the questions I remember:
1.I like mechanics magazines (this one made me laugh!)
2.I have a good appetite (this one I thought - seriously??)
3.I wake up fresh & rested most mornings
4.I think I would like the work of a librarian
5.I am easily awakened by noise

The psychiatrist told me that this test is widely used and that police/forensics use these alot with suspects. They can apparently tell a lot about you based on your answers.

After I finished the test she said she would gather the results and send a letter to the bariatric clinic and a copy to me of her summary. Within about 2 weeks I received the information and she said she thought I would be a good candidate for the surgery. However, she did highly recommend that I seek a support group afterward.

I was happy as could be! I had already planned on attending the support group meetings that my clinic has, and figured if that didn't work out I could always look online to find support of some sort. I called the clinic to make sure they had received the documents and updated my file. Sure enough they had, and we were ready to move on to the next step...go in to see my family doctor for surgical clearance!

Until next time...Hugs, Prayers & Yeah, I'm Not Crazy!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I Didn't Eat My Emotions!

I did it!

Yesterday was a pretty rotten day. It started with someone trying to scam money out of me on the phone, followed by cub scouts and a very moody 9 year old, and a trip to the grocery store (in the middle of my liquid diet), making pizza's or should I say smelling pizzas made for the kids and their friends, watching the kids decorate and eat cookies (I just wanted to use up what was left of the candy!), major teenage drama from my 13 year old, and a sad sleepover buddy who needed to go home.

Typically I would have consumed MASSIVE amounts of junk food over the course of the day! And after the sleepover went awry I probably would have sat up for another hour eating, just because I could. But today I realized that I didn't.

I shopped quickly off of my list at the grocery store, I took a deep breath before dealing with emotional children, I prayed about my problems and I hid in my bedroom when I was ready to explode for no reason! I did it! I did it! I dealt with my emotions instead of eating them away! Score 1 for Grace!

Until next time....Hugs, Prayers & I Can Deal With Emotions!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Checkin In Before Bed..

When I decided to do this blog I made a commitment to myself to blog every day possible. It's 11:52pm and I hadn't posted today.

Today's been a cranky/irritable kind of day. I'm not sure if it's circumstances/stress or the liquid diet. I am pretty sure it's a combination of the two.

K - I'm grumpy and tired, so that's it for today!

Until next time....Hugs, Prayers & Ugh!

Friday, January 8, 2010

#1. Provide documentation of weight loss attempts/failures

After the initial consultation I had been left with a list of things to do and number one was a big one. (no pun intended!)

1. Provide documentation of weight loss attempts/failures. Wow...yes...they actually said they needed documentation of my weight loss failures! That was a tough pill to swallow. The insurance company requires this, and my word isn't enough. I had to provide something in writing showing that I had tried other methods of losing weight, and how I did on the other plans.

OK, no problem I had only been about a year or so since I last attended Weight Watchers meetings, so I'd give them the passport. (For anyone who isn't familiar with Weight Watchers, they give you a "passport" that you bring in every week to have it stamped and your weight recorded. The insurance company said this would be sufficient proof) Oh wait...I got upset when I started putting weight back on and I threw it away. Well, I still figured it would be fine, I would just call Weight Watchers and have them send me copies of my records. When they stamp your passport they also write it on the bigger card, so I figured it shouldn't be a problem. Well....think again. Because they are not a medical facility they do not have any legal obligation to keep the records, so...if you don't attend for more than 6 months they destroy the records. I personally still find it hard to believe that they don't have any record of my attendance or weight loss, but it quickly became evident that they were not going to help me. Luckily for me I had signed up for Weight Watchers Online and never canceled the membership. So I was able to print a chart showing my weights and use that. (hmmm....speaking of which, I better cancel that now before I get charged for another month!)

I also requested records from the local Curves that I was a member of before, but they never followed through. Last but not least, I got records from the personal trainer I had been working with at a local gym and added those to my file as well.

It seems like a simple task, but it took me about a month to gather all of the required documentation. My insurance company felt that there was sufficient data, but every insurance company is different and I've heard that some require 6 months working with your doctor for weight loss before they will approve the surgery.

Next up would be the psychological exam....

Until next time...Hugs, Prayers & Moving On From My Previous Attempts/Failures!

Another Day, Another Drink

Today's been another good day. Overall still feeling well, although I've felt kind of "off" all day. I've had a couple of times that I had the shakes, and I was very irritable for a short time this afternoon/evening. Not only is everyone in my household still alive....we are all still speaking to each other!

Big news of the day: I'm down 5 pounds!

Until next time....Hugs, Prayers, and I've Drank So Much I Think I'm Floating!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Initial Consultation

I wanted to back up a little bit today and fill in the missing pieces. In my post "Getting to Know Grace" I gave you my weight loss history, and explained how I came to the point where I would consider weight loss surgery. That was in June 2009, and a lot has gone on between then and now and I want to share the whole now we hop in the time machine back to July 2009!

I started to get serious about the surgery by telling my husband that I was thinking about looking into weight loss surgery. I wasn't sure how my intentions would be received. Luckily I have a great husband who truly wants me to be happy. We were in bed when I finally broke the news that I was thinking about it and I cried. I remember him holding me and telling me that he loves me just the way I am, and if that is what it takes to make me happy then he would be completely supportive.

Over the next few days I started researching local weight loss surgeons and gathering information. My husband knew a couple of people who have had weight loss surgery, so he got names of doctors and started giving me even more information. As I mentioned before, one of the best resources that I found was a friend of his that had the surgery and his wife.

Once I decided where I would like to go for my surgery I called and set up a consultation. The receptionist got me in to the next available slot, and told me to be prepared to be there for about 4-5 hours for the initial appointment. I really had no idea why I would need to be there for so long, but went ahead and scheduled the appointment.

The day of the appointment I got there and sat in the lobby with all of the others coming in for an initial consultation. First they took all of us in to a conference room where the nurse taught us about the different types of surgery that were available and the pro's and con's of each one. The three options are a lap band, roux-en-y, and the sleeve gasterectomy. If you want information on each of these procedures webmd is a great place to start.

After the nurse finished talking, the dietitian came in to go over the changes you must make in your eating after weight loss surgery. She explained how much smaller your stomach would be which would cause you to fill up quickly. Therefore, after surgery it becomes very important to eat good foods, and eat them in the "right" order during a meal. For example, if you sit down for dinner with a piece of chicken, potatoes, vegetables, and a dinner roll...what should you eat first? Well, first you need to eat the chicken so you get your protein. Then the vegetables. Then the empty calories, such as the starchy potatoes and dinner roll. That way if you get full before you've finished the meal, you've already given your body the nutrients it needed! She also explained the need for vitamins after surgery and how incredibly important it is to take the vitamins as directed to prevent serious health problems in the future.

Next each patient was put into a room of their own to see the surgeon and determine if you still wanted to have surgery and if so, what procedure you would be interested in. After your consultation with the surgeon, in comes the insurance specialist. She quickly reviewed my insurance coverage and was able to tell me what the requirements were for insurance to cover the surgery and what documentation I would need to gather for my file.

So, by the end of the appointment I left knowing which procedure I would like to have, and with a checklist of things I needed to do to proceed with the process. Here's what I had to finish in order to schedule surgery:
1. Provide documentation of previous weight loss attempts and failures
2. Psychological exam
3. Obtain surgical clearance from my family doctor
4. Verify procedure/diagnosis codes and their coverage with my insurance company

Once these things were complete I would need to schedule my surgery, attend a nutrition class, and have a surgical clearance by their doctor within 28 days of my surgery.

I left the appointment feeling good, and pretty confident that I wanted to do it. Over the next couple of weeks I continued working on the process, and making the decision to go through with the surgery. Even though the list doesn't look that long I had no idea just how long it would take to complete!

Until next time....Hugs, Prayers & Know I Know What I Have To Do!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

One Step Closer!

Well, I think I'm over the worst part of the liquid diet already. At least I hope it stays this way!

I took 2 Advil last night to take care of the headache and got a good nights sleep. When I woke up this morning I was happy to realize I didn't have a headache, and I wasn't feeling too incredibly hungry.

Today I went for my pre-admission testing at the hospital. It made for a long day, but the good thing is, it's done! My appointment was at 9:30, but I got there around 9, and luckily they went ahead and started me early. First they sent me down to the lab for a urine sample (which is easy when you're on a liquid diet! lol), and a blood draw. From there it was down to radiology for a chest x-ray. Then it was back to the pre-admission testing area for an EKG and breathing test. Once all of the testing was done I met with a nurse, then the doctor for my final surgery clearance. I didn't get to leave until about 3:00, but the good thing is I'm done with all of my appointments before surgery! Oh - and I paid my bill in full! I don't think I can get much more official!

So here's what I've learned today about being on a liquid does get better, I can do it, and beef broth is actually really good on a freezing cold day, and when everything in is liquid...everything out will be too. (So, ah.....don't assume it's just gas!)

Well, I'm pretty much zapped for energy, so I think this is it for tonight.

Until next time...Hugs, Prayers & I'm Paid In Full and Clear!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

1 Day In....

I'm over 24 hours into the liquid diet. It's not unbearable...yet. I'm typing this blog entry while my husband and kids eat their dinner. Preparing everyone else a meal is definitely turning out to be the hardest part.

Today I've learned that vanilla protein supplements are probably best made into pudding rather than a shake, using a straw to drink fiber drinks is a must (thanks to the my sister-in-law for that idea!), and sodium filled frozen meals in a bag look and smell 1000x's yummier when you haven't eaten real food in over 24 hours!

I'm not in a bad mood, but I'm definitely beginning to feel the effects of no caffeine and greatly reduced calories. I have a headache, a little on the achy side, very tired, and definitely wanting to eat food.

I'd like to type more about the procedure I'm having and share the info I've gotten from the surgeon, but tonight the headache is winning. I'll try to get back on later (after my soup and 3rd shake) to post some more information.

Until next time...Hugs, Prayers, & Hungry!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Ha Ha...Now We Are On The Upside Already!

Well, I guess my "reward" for looking at this situation with the right perspective is the next phone call I received!

Per the nurse at the bariatric clinic I'm going to I am on my liquid diet as of 2:59pm today! That's when she called to let me know that the Dr. said my BMI is "low" enough that 9 days on the liquid diet would be sufficient and he could do my surgery either Wednesday, Jan 13th or Tuesday, Jan 26th. I opted for the earliest! :) :) :) :)

Until next time....Hugs, Prayers & Only 9 Days!!!

First Dose of Disappointment....

Well, I suppose I knew going into this that there were going to lots of ups and downs. I didn't expect the first dose of disappointment to find me so soon though.

Since my last post I happily went to the grocery store to stock up on all of my sugar free goodies (jello and popsicles) and drink mixes, then it was off to a counseling session. I had a great session that addressed my need for control and perfectionism as it will relate to my time on the liquid diet and weight loss in general. After that I decided to squeeze in one more fast food run, and made my way over to an Arbys. Just as I sat down with my food my cell phone was the bariatric center. The surgeon I have chosen had just confirmed with his secretary that he will be out of town for a conference the week I am scheduled for surgery. Of course she can't move it up sooner....She is going to have to shuffle some people around to try and fit me in the following week. Now we are looking at January 26th instead of the 20th. I know, I's only 6 more days. Unfortunately to me it seems like forever!

As I fought back the urge to cry over my lunch I kept thinking, "but this was supposed to be the last day. I was supposed to be moving on to a healthier me tomorrow." Then it dawned on me! I guess it really doesn't matter if I start a liquid diet tomorrow or not. I can still be in control of food instead of letting it control me. Even though I 'm disappointed, I'm still moving on tomorrow.

Until next time...Hugs, Prayers & Tomorrows A New Day!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The "Last Supper"

Today's the day...the final day of eating as I've known it all of my life!

After today, eating will only serve the purpose of sustaining life! It won't be the focus of a celebration, it won't be a comforter on a bad day, it won't be the thing I turn to when I'm bored.

I've planned a dinner out with my husband and kids for tonight. I'll enjoy one last meal that will probably be a ridiculously large portion (aren't they all in restaurants?), and most likely I'll over indulge with a dessert as well. Why? I don't know why I want this ritualistic farewell...but I do. My hope is that this will help me close this chapter of the romance between me and food.

The good news is I know that this whole experience is going to require major changes and commitments on my part. So instead of eating my way through anger, sadness, loneliness, boredom, and happiness. I will have to commit to exercising on a regular basis! It's a bit scary, but even more so - it's exciting!

I fully intend to use the next year to not only lose weight. My healthy goal is much bigger than that. If I'm going to go through the work of becoming physically healthy, why leave the job partially done? To become truly healthy I need to be physically, emotionally, and spiritually fit. Surgery and the changes it requires tackle the physical. Emotional health will be a HUGE learning experience and I suspect this may be the hardest part! And for spiritual health...this will require me to recommit to regular study and worship time.

OK - so now that we know where I'm headed it's off to my last day of this old life! :) Today I will go to the store to be sure I have what I need and that there are ample groceries to feed my kids and husband. I'm excited....I'm going to the store, but it feels like an adventure! I'm preparing my home for a healthier me!

Until next time...Hugs, Prayers, & Last Day of Behaving Like a "Big" Girl!

Getting To Know Grace

I don't know who will ever read this, but here's what you'd probably want to know about me!

I'm in my 34 years old and a happy wife and mother of 3. My husband and I own a business that we just started in 2009, so I stay very busy between running our house and trying to help him launch a business.

I've never been a super skinny girl...but in the early 90's what 18 year old girl wouldn't think a size 8 or 10 is "big"? Even though I wasn't as thin as my sister or my best friend in high school it didn't really bother me too much then. I was active and could eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and I never really got any bigger. Then I started having babies..........

Baby #1 was born and I only had about 10 pounds to lose when I left the hospital. I stayed pretty close to pre-pregnancy weight after him. I went to water aerobics and fell in love with it!! I don't know what it is about exercising in the water, but it is easy, and sooooo much fun to me! I loved it, and I didn't look for excuses to miss it....I went every chance I had!! Until 2 years later when....pregnancy #2!

During that pregnancy the weight was a little easier to gain, and somehow a lot harder to get rid of! I don't remember how much I put on with him, or how much I needed to lose after the delivery...but I do know having 2 kids was a lot different than having 1, and now my husband was working at night. There was no money, no husband home, and no energy to go back to my beloved water aerobics! So what did I do you ask?? NOTHING! (Other than buy some new clothes so I could quit wearing all of my maternity clothes!)

Yet another 2 years and pregnancy #3!! After baby 3 the weight was getting out of control. I was still shopping in regular stores for clothes, but within a year that would change. My youngest child had asthma as a baby, and he was in and out of the hospital repeatedly. It was a very stressful time, and I found myself a worn out mommy of three...which led to fast food and comfort food ALOT!

In the 9 years following I would set up little "I'll never weigh" points along the way...first being 150, then 175, then 200, then 225...when I hit 223 pounds in June 2009 I knew something had to change, the roller coaster ride just wasn't fun any more! Now over those 9 years I was up and down on the scale. I did E-Diets, Weight Watchers, joined 3 different gyms, worked with a nutritionist, and learned LOTS about weight loss. It really isn't a difficult concept to appropriate sized portions and exercise. Knowing this I would head into weight loss mode and lose as much as 30 pounds...but it was a lot of work and a very sloooooow process. And when I'd given up, a month later the weight would be back, with friends.

So here I was in June '09, knowing that I was tired of the weight problem. I had sleep apnea, but pretty lucky other than that! My blood pressure was normal, my cholesterol was fine, and no diabetes....but I knew that these were all very real problems I could be facing in the near future if I didn't get my act together! Since every thing else I tried didn't last I was ready to try something drastic...and there were 2 possibilities that I could think of - hypnosis or surgery.

I did a lot of research on hypnosis at first. I couldn't really imagine myself as someone who would have surgery for weight loss. After wading through lots of information that I didn't know whether to believe or not I came across some info on the Mayo Clinic's website. ( According to their information hypnosis has a very modest result, at about 6 pounds. I decided that there just wasn't enough evidence to support trying hypnosis.

When I decided to delve into the world of surgical options I found tons of info! Again, I found myself trying to weed out all of the garbage...but still, I found a lot of good information. Probably the most helpful information I found though came from those people I knew that had already had the surgery. A friend of the family, Steve, had had surgery 2 years ago and he and his wife were a ton of help. After investigating several options and hospitals I had made a decision. I was going to go for a free consultation for weight loss surgery!

So there it is....everything you needed to know about what brought me to this point!

Until next time...Hugs, Prayers, & Glad to Meet You!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Why Blog It ? it is! My first post on my first blog!

I'm getting ready to embark on a journey, and it's going to be huge! I keep feeling a need to document, document, document...somehow that makes it official! I had thought about blogging my experience, then I watched Julie & Julia...thought a little more about it. Then a friend mentioned maybe blogging about my weight loss would be a good idea. Then another friend started talking about blogging and how much she enjoys it. Then my sister brought up blogging about my weight loss also. So, here I am! Don't really know what I'm doing, but I figure since I'm chatty by nature it shouldn't be too hard!

So to anyone who may be reading this, consider this your invitation to join Grace Logsin as she blogs away the pounds! I will officially begin preparing for my surgery on Tuesday, January 5th so between now and then I'll post information on the procedure I'm having done, and a bit about myself and my goals.

Until next time...Hugs, Prayers & Good Night!