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Friday, December 29, 2006

YOU: The Owner's Manual


I started reading this book by Drs. Mehmet Oz and Phillip Roizen. It is awesome!
It's an easy-to-understand guide to the physiology of our bodies. It's factual, yet infused with humor, which makes the concepts easy to remember. I highly recommend it! Everyone should know how their body works!
Not that I'm trying to make this one huge advertisement, but Dr. Oz has a show on XM Radio's channel 156 . I have leaned so much from listening each morning. I think I learn something new about health and how the body works each day.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

6 Week Post-op Visit -40 lbs.

Today was my 6 week post-op visit. The great news is not just the fact that I've lost weight, but I no longer have any symptoms of Diabetes. Of course we'll follow-up again in 3 months to make sure everything stays as good as it seems right now, but it's a start. My total Cholesterol was 152 (previously it was 230-something), my fasting blood sugar was 90, and my triglycerides were well within normal range!

I'll get my before measurements on Saturday when my trainer measures me again, but for right now I've gone from wearing a comfy size 26 to slipping on a pair of size 20 slacks today! I can't believe it!! Not only that, but a pair of jeans I ordered right after I gave birth to my daughter which didn't fit then, finally fit today. I'm glad I never sent them back.

I didn't lose even 1 oz. this week. I know my metabolism has dropped to a crawl, wondering why the heck I'm starving my body. I know it's trying to save everything it can, but I'm really trying to show it who's boss! I've been to the gym everyday this week in an effort to keep it up, at least a little! I know it will pass and the losses will begin again.

To be frank, despite knowing full-well what is happening, it's still a mind-f*ck when you don't lose. I immediately wonder if I'll be one of the few the surgery won't work for! Like I said, I know better... it's just a momentary lapse of reason.

When I look at the pictures the only difference I see is in my face and neck. I know I've lost in the stomach and hips, otherwise the smaller clothes wouldn't fit! LOL

11/15/06
3 hours pre-op
Thursday, December 28th
6 weeks post-op (and after a workout!)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Work is a total drag this week. To top it off, it's physical inventory time; the hap-hap-happiest time of the year. NOT.

I have an entry for the "Believe it or Not" category today. I made Ventians, they are cookies my Gram used to make at Christmas every year. They are little Italian pieces of heaven; delectable layers of green, pink and white with apricot between them, topped with a thin layer of bittersweet chocolate. I nearly decided against making them, but I had to. The season is not complete with out remembering Gram while making her holiday cookie recipes, so I surrendered.

Once done, I quickly gave them out to neighbors, but had to save some for a guy here at work who loves them. He's Italian... he's Grandmother used to make them too! In any case, I brought them in yesterday and he wasn't here, so I put them in the fridge here in the office.

SOMEONE ACTUALLY ATE THEM! Now they did leave a few behind, so I guess for that I should be grateful. My goodness though, some people!

Ahh well, warm holiday memories... shattered. LOL

The scale did not move at all this week. Not one ounce. I know it's bound to happen, and I'm okay with it. But I swear, each time it does, in the back of my mind I still feel like I'll be part of that miniscule percent for whom the surgery doesn't work.

I know better. I just keep reminding myself of that.

I found a great yogurt. Fage Total 0% It is Fat Free Greek Yogurt. For a 5 oz. serving it's packed with 15 g. of protein and only 80 calories! It doesn't have that nasty yogurty bite either. I mix it with a touch of vanilla, defrosted frozen berries (I love cherries) and some Splenda. Oh, and the yogurt certainly does not taste fat free. If you ask me, it tastes fully leaded!

/end advertisement for FAGE USA.

I need to get motivated to get on my bike again. I think I am going to choose a few cycling events to get my groove back. I really haven't ridden since before I had my daughter, more than 2 years ago. While the though of me in cycling shorts isn't the most appealing, I know it will be good exercise. Some possibilities include:

February 3rd
Bike through the Forest- Benefitting the Kingwood Phillies

March 18th
The Great Escape -- Benefitting the Texas Bicycle Coalition

April 1st
The Space Race - Benefitting Ronald McDonald Hosue

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Well, it's been 5 weeks (and a few days) since I had my surgery on 11/15. As of this past Wednesday morning I was down 40 lbs.; I can hardly believe it! I've gone from a size 26 to a 22. And in spite of looking like a stuffed sausage, I can even get my 20's on and buttoned -- and those were my "skinny pants!" LOL I wouldn't dare wear them in public yet, but it was a major "wow" moment, when I could pull them up over my hips again!

And before you e-mail me, yes, I know I need some comparison pics. I'll get around to it! Hahaha :)

It really goes without saying (but you know me, I'll say it anyway), I know I have been extremely blessed in that I have not had any problems and very little to no discomfort. I go back to the surgeon for my 6 week follow-up on Thursday.

The best part of all is returning to my formerly active lifestyle. I don't feel like I am avoiding living life nearly as much because I feel so much better. I have so much more energy! It's just amazing!

I know it's 40 lbs. and I have so much farther to go, but it has made such an incredible difference already! At the end of the the day, nothing beats the tackle-mommy-to-the-floor hugs I get from my Daughter or the joy I see in her eyes because Mommy can do so much more physically.

I must sound like a broken record, entry after entry, but I can't change how I feel!

In other news, that no longer pisses me off, is that my Daughter's kitchen finally arrived. I'm very happy, and that E-bay seller should be thankful it showed up when it did.

As for being ready for the holiday, we are. In fact, I don't know when I've had quite this much downtime on the day of Christmas Eve; I think I might just head to the gym this morning and get in my "last chance" workout. LOL

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

So today I am down 38 lbs. It seems the scale started moving in bigger increments the last 2 days. Whatever, how ever... I'm just glad it's moving.

I picked my Mom up from the airport on Sunday. Granted I haven't lost a ton, but she just can't get over my face. She said, "...even your complexion is healthier." I find her staring at me every once in a while. I guess that's expected. She looks at what I eat and can't believe I'm full. I even chuckled when she ate twice as much as me, and I always thought she ate like a bird!

The quiet season is beginning at work and I like it that way. The flip-side is physical inventory. Ugh. That part is a PIA -- this company is pretty jacked up when it comes to process and procedures with regard to asset management. /end bite-sized rant.

In the "Other things that piss me off" category, is a particular Ebay seller who refuses to acknowledge my e-mails. She is the keeper of my Daughter's Little Tikes kitchen, which Santa is supposed to bring ON TIME! I hope she doesn't underestimate the power of a mother to a toddler.

And with that, "Happy Holidays!"

Friday, December 15, 2006

My heart goes out to signgrl's friends. Not that that there is any good time of year to fall into dire straights, but this time of year, least of all. I will pray that somehow this negative experience results in some kind of opportunity for them.

*sigh* doesn't feel like I have anything of importance to write compared to that. :(

On a happy note, I'm down 34 lbs. It's a little slower, but again, it's all good! Next week will be my 6th week, and I can start soft foods... yeah!

My Mom is coming to visit on Sunday; she'll be staying through Christmas Day. Cassie has quite the social calendar this weekend, with birthday parties on Saturday and Sunday. As for me, I have dates with the gym, a ton of Christmas errands to run and prep for the arrival of "The Mom." (Does every daughter go through this? LOL)

Nothing else is happening, and I guess that's good. I think I've decided that April will be my first cycling event. I think I will have enough weight off in the near future to train for the 40 mile ride... maybe even do the 60 mile ride, if my weigh permits. Baby steps I know, but I just want to ride my damned bike again! :)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I have been remiss in updating, most because there's not much going on. Work is work and home is busy, getting ready for the holidays and such. If I'm not at work, I'm at the gym. If I'm not at the gym, I'm home :)

As for the weight loss, The scale hasn't moved since Thursday -- I truly am okay with that though since I lost so much up front. I know my body is just catching up with itself. 30 lbs in 3 weeks and a day, is enough to make anyone's body go into shock! Energy-wise I'm feeling really good. Food-wise, I'm so sick and tired of soup! LOL

Our 2006 Family Xmas Card...


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

3 Weeks post-op today and I'm down 29 lbs. :)

I've been attending off-site training all week, so there's really not much going on. I'm eating as I should, and haven't had any issues to speak of or write about. I'm a boring post-op.

Of course my clothes fit better, and that's always nice!

12 days until I'm cleared for full activity. I saw my trainer on Saturday and he stopped to chat. He said he was really proud of me because he's known other clients who have the surgery and they never see them again. He said I'm motivating him to get his "rear back in gear." :)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Well, peoople at work are starting to notice -- and I'm starting to notice my loss too. Its amazing just how much better I feel, losing what I have. I haven't used my CPAP since I've been home. My Husband says that I'm sleeping so quietly that he can't even hear me sometimes!

As for the eating, 26 days left of full liquids. It's really not as hard, as it is boring. I know my surgeon does this for 6 weeks to make the emotional disconnect from food -- and that's one of the things I know I needed, and one of the many reasons I chose this surgery.

In spite of a particularly stressful week back to work, I found I wasn't even thinking about eating in response to feel better. It just didn't even come to mind. I haven't had an official *mourning* for the loss of food yet, but I'm not really focusing on what I might missing out on, so much as I am focusing on the end result.

I really to try to visualize me at a healthy weight, and it's so hard to do. I can almost see it in my mind, but not quite -- how strange is that?

I had a meeting with our Managing Consultant yesterday, and it was good. In general, I am a fairly confident person, but when I get to meeting with some of the top brass in our firm, I seem to lose the ability to articulate. Anyway, he is new to our office and I haven't had much interaction with him, so I was unsure how things would go. I was pleased we were able to connect and have a productive discussion.

One of the things I wanted to start focusing on after the surgery was behind me, was the idea of a career change. I am really interested in two totally different fields: communications and physical therapy. Both would mean returning to school.

I'm not so much worried about the long road of hard work for me, and I know my Husband will totally support me in this effort (he is amazing!). Knowing they will have to sacrifice sme, I don't want my family to sacrifice too much. I've been burned-out for a very long time and am pretty much just existing at work for my paycheck. My work is no longer exciting. I am stagnated in my position and really have no where to go unless my boss leaves.

Who knows, I might find that things change for me in the next year as I shed the weight. Despite that though, I don't want to sit around and let time pass without making any effort towards change.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Not Bad... Not Bad at All

I'm doing fine. I'm rarely thinking about food during the day at work, and I haven't been tempted by anything.

I do wish however my surgeon wasn't such a stickler for this long full liquids phase. 27 more days.... 27 more days until soft foods.

It's really been a couple sh*tty days at work this week. I'm thankful for the short week. If I haven't blown it with emotional eating by now, I'll make it the 27 more days!

I meet with our office's managing consultant tomorrow... maybe some of my issues will get resolved... just maybe.

Thanks for all the supportive notes - I appreciate the thoughts and kindness. :)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Back to Work

Well, today marks 2 weeks post-op for me and I'm headed back to work. I'm down 24 lbs. as of this morning, and overall I feel great!

I'm blessed that it has been remarkably easy to stay in control while at home, so it leaves me wondering, "Where was this resolve pre-op?"

This is such a challenging time of year at the office, as there's all kinds of junk in every breakroom and every office you visit. I guess I feel like my resolve might be a farse; that when I get to the office, I won't be able to stay in control.

Although I could just lock myself up in my office. LOL

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Post Op - Day 11

I had a real good day yesterday. No particular reason. I just felt good. :)

I hit the gym in the morning and did 2.5 miles on the elliptical in 31 minutes. I started off with an 11 minute mile -- I haven't done that in forever! That being said it is easier to do a mile on the elliptical trainer, than in it is to run on the ground. After the 1st mile, I spent the next 10 minutes doing sprint intervals, then the last 10 doing resistance intervals. 22 days until I'm training again!

Darren I got the lights on the tree. We've yet to hang the ornaments -- hopefully we'll get that done today. I also trim my stairwell railing with Poinsettias, which also needs to get done -- hopefully today.

I can't believe I go back to work next Wednesday! The good thing is, my first week back is a short week and the following week I have a 3-day project management class, so that makes for a short week once again. Nice way to ease back into things.

I have to admit, if I'm uneasy about anything, it's going back to work. I'm in total control at home. I know that I can be at work too, its just easier at home.

Tried some no sugar added Carnation Instant Breakfast yesterday. I'm not sure if I drank it too fast, or if it just upset my tummy. It was the Malt flavored one -- maybe that wasn't a good choice? Yesterday's menu also included a homemade yogurt (Kefir) smoothie, butternut squash soup and some grits for dinner.

Guess that's it. I'm off to take my vitamins and have my smoothie. Gotta get my day started.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Post Op - Day 9

Today I woke and my stomach felt practically normal! Either I'm getting used to how it feels, or everything is starting to feel the way it used to.

Eating-wise I've been doing fine. Haven't really been hungry, but I did eat 4 times yesterday between 5:00 am and 9:30 pm. Homemade yogurt smoothie, homemade split pea soup and some cream of wheat.

It was a quiet Thanksgiving. We introduced Cassie to the Macy's Parade and Charlie Brown. :)

I'm off to the gym. I've been cleared for the elliptical and can return to Jimmy (my personal trainer) on December 18th!

Most importantly though, I'll be able to pick up my Cass-a-frass again!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Plenty of Thanks

With the sharing the news of my recent surgery, you wouldn't believe what the number 1 response is: "Right before Thanksgiving!?!"

Well, first the BIC (big insurance companies) don't let you be very picky, so you do it when you must. I'm ever so thankful for the life-redo, that it is beyond words. And to have such a skilled surgeon and staff pull me through in a fashion that I can actually enjoy my Thanksgiving more than comfortably, is a gift in itself.

We'll be spending today at home. I'm making a small, smoked turkey breast for Darren and Cassie. Some mashed sweet potatoes, green beans, and cheddar-broccoli wild rice casserole. For me, I'm having some homemade split pea soup. Truth be told, it's really not bothering me one bit not to be indulging. Where was this resolve at other times? This surgery is amazing!

We'll watch the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade, and I Tivo'd Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving.

Tomorrow we're going to the Christmas Tree farm and will take a hayride to get a tree. We'll do it, even though I still have a problem with hayrides in 75 degree weather. LOL

To you and yours, I wish you a blessed Thanksgiving, and that you are reminded of what is truly important to be thankful for.

:)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Drain is Gone...

...along with 16 lbs.! Everything is great. I'm cleared for full liquids and and can use the elliptical instead of walking. In 3 weeks I'll be released to return to the trainer.

Now, becasue I don't be all *faux* about it. I think they used my initial consultation weight... I was like 303 - 304 ish, I think. I weighed right after lunch, in full clothes, with boots, so the weight is definitely skewed.

The problem is, when he said 16 lbs, I was so stunned, I didn't catch my weight for today. I think it was 288.

On the day of the surgery, I weight 299 at the hospital and 298 at home. So really while the gross loss is 16, the surgery netted an 11 lb. loss so far.

That's the scoop!

Pictures: They Don't Lie!

This was taken just 3 hours before surgery!


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Post Op - Day 6

I'm having a decent day. I feel pretty good -- just wish my allergies would subside! I get my drain out tomorrow -- I'm so happy!

I went to the gym this morning and did my treadmill, a moderate 3.0 mph, with a 3.0 incline for 30 minutes.

The Bariatric Program Coordinator for the hospital asked the online support group what was their "ah-ha" moment was, when they made the decision to have the surgery, so I thought I would answer the question, because it wasn't just one moment. It was a sequence of events that led me here.

I grew up in a family of professional dancers. Mom was a Rockette and in the Metropolitan Ballet, my step dad was on Broadway and is currently a professor of dance. Even my sister is now a reputable dance teacher as an adult. You might see where weight was a constant issue in our home while I was growing up, and I always had challenges with weight.

I spent my life doing things that overweight people wouldn't ordinarily do. I excelled at any of the sports I tried in high school. I also danced on and off for many years. I was actually good, which used to upset my Mom to no end; she used to say I had the "natural ability, but not the body." As an adult I did a triathlon at 242 lbs and was taking tap dance lessons at 30 years old and over 300 lbs.

Beginning in 2002 I went through several different life-changing events: Relocation, new job, new home, engagement, marriage and high-risk pregnancy. I had my Daughter in 2003, and while I did awesome with little weight gain during the pregnancy, I didn't do so good after. I totally forgot about taking care of me, and began eating out of stress and emotion. I was a Gestational Diabetic during my pregnancy, and the Diabetes didn't go away, so my eating was not helping my disease.

I saw my endocrinologist who followed me through my pregnancy and we talked about approaches to weight loss; medications surgical procedures. I was really against them all. I knew I had done it before, but why couldn't I do it again? Then my former PCP made mention of the surgery again. A friend of mine (Melissa Deaver) had had lots of success with surgery, but I still couldn't embrace the idea I needed that kind of help. It was fine for others, and I would support them, just not for me.

Despite trying to ignore them, there were signs all over the place.

It seemed like in the snap of a finger, I found myself becoming physically limited. My knees started to hurt and I found myself saying, when I lose 20 lbs. I'll get back on my bike or when I lose 30 lbs. I take my Rollerblades out of the closet. The summer came, and I wouldn't take my Daughter to the pool -- In short, I was no longer living life, I was avoiding it. To top it all off, I was began treatment for for Diabetes.

The more the scale rose, the more I felt my self-esteem drop, and it was affecting the people I love around me. And of course, the main focus of my life, my Daughter. How on Earth could I keep her from having my issues with food and weight, if I could not learn to be a good role model for her?

Food was a constant source of strife. I don't care if I was counting, points, calories, fat, protein, or deciding what to eat, not to eat, where to eat, or when to eat. It was all just more overwhelming than I knew it was supposed to be. I knew I wanted a healthy relationship with food -- one where food was fuel for my body, and nothing more.

Since no one has time to waste when it comes to living their life to the fullest, I finally woke up and acknowledged the signs and explored WLS as an option. I knew I needed the restriction, the disconnect from food, and the re-training of my thoughts about food. I took my time making my decision, but when I did, that was it. I knew it was the right thing without question.

That's all for today. :)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Post Op - Day 5

My 2 post-op friends, Melissa and Liz invited me to go to a local WLS support group meeting tonight. This morning, I really wanted to go. I had been trying to psych myself up for meeting a bunch of new folks all day, but I just could migrate to a proper mindset. These 2 women are super special, making arrangements to pick me up and take me home. I feel bad bailing on them, but I just need to rest. I love you girls for thinking of me and giving me so much encouragement and support.

While I might be "hibernating", I still think a lot of how I feel mentally during this time immediately after surgery is improved (not erradicated) by positive and focused thoughts about the larger picture and potential outcome. Physiologically I can't change what is happening to my body, but at least I can give myself a shot at managing my mental disposition. :) It sounds hoakie, but I think meditative thoughts on the postive outcome of this each and every night.

By the time I got around to finally posting today, I'm a little tired -- I went to the gym for my walking, to the store to pickup some last minute needs for Turkey Day, and then made some homemade potato soup for Wednesday! I'm planing on making split pea too.

I got some great tips from Liz this morning on suggestions of things to eat for 5 weeks subsequent to this Wednesday, for which I was thankful! If I can get it through a straw and it meets nutritional guidelines, it's probably okay. That doesn't mean I can liquefy a cheeseburger!

I had planned on making Cream of Sweet Potato Soup, but then she told me her problems with the fibers in the potatoes. I mention it here so that others might consider what happened to her, but her Mom was ready to take her to the ER. Liz knew it would pass, and it did, but she learned a lesson. I just chose Sweet Potato over White Potato because of the nutritional content and it's Glycemic Index.

She also told me tomato soup was really hard on her stomach with the acidity of it.

The plain broths from-the-box were killing me. Eeeeyuck! So Liz told me to check-out the Campbell's clear broth based soups and strain all the stuff out them. What a difference!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Post Op - Day 4


Goals... I don't want to set any expectations, other than achieving a healhty BMI.

So, at 66", my 'Normal' body weight should be between 118 lbs. and 148 lbs.

I can't even fathom 118 lbs.right now!

I guess I will shoot for the middle of the range, 133 lbs.? I don't know; just seems so unimaginable at this point! But it will happen. I will make it happen.


Once again, I'm feeling better today than yesterday. I'm going to venture out with my family to the food store (Mommies never get a break!), do some laundry and get my morning walk in.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Post Op - Day 3

Well, as for right now I'm feeling pretty good. I've been walking 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night -- and yes, sip, sip, sipping as the day is long.

It's not nearly as bad as I thought, but I'll be glad when the the clear liquids phase is over; I'm having my drain removed next Wednesday. After the drain is gone, I can move to full liquids and I'm sure it will feel like world until I tire of them too! Pre-op I used to do homemade yogurt smoothies all the time, so being able to have them for breakfast again will feel somewhat "normal."

I use plain lowfat Kefir, friut, vanilla extract and Splenda. The Kefir is a probiotic -- it's like yogurt, but it's the consistency of buttermilk. Thin enough to get through a straw.

I also have cream soups, cream of wheat, malto-o-meal and grits to look forward too! Whooohooo! ;)

Today I actually went to the gym to walk. Up until this morning, I had been walking around my neighborhood. I did 30 minutes at 3.0. It felt good to know that now when I exercise, my efforts will be rewarded.

Thanks everyone for the well wishes. I'm off to take some meds and rest. :)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Home!

Discharged at 12:30, and got home by 2pm. My pain was really a 6/7 -- I'm not that tough.

I'm coming down off my last shot of Demerol now, so I ought to go.

Thanks Melissa, for updated --- thank everyone for the well wishes. Will update more later!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Welcome to your new life, Beautiful Butterfly!!!

Hello all -

I am pleased to report that this is the first day of Donna's new life!!!

That's right -she made it through surgery just fine and is recovering as I type. I spoke with her wonderful hubby and he said she is groggy and her pain level hovers around 5 or 6. Man, for me, it was a pain level of 11. But then again, I knew Donna was a lot tougher than me. This only confirms it for me without a doubt!

I am just so excited for her - I can't even write about it without crying! I've been on the verge of tears all day just thinking about how happy I am for her to be able to do this for herself! I love that woman so much - she is just so amazing and I want nothing but the best for her!

You all will never know how deserving Donna is of this miracle. She will make the absolute most of this re-do in life, no doubt about it. Never have I met anyone who is so disciplined, dedicated and determined. I've always felt that it was so unfair that she had to struggle so much with weight loss when she truly gave it her all. Now, she will get the rewards for the effort. I know she will cherish this tool with all her heart and never take it for granted.

It will be so exciting seeing her world open up in ways she can't imagine. There will be so many things for her to experience and celebrate - she has no idea. I wish I could tell her about it all but these are things that are best left for her to discover on her own and enjoy when they happen. I know she will definitely share them here when she does! :-)

Well I need to close this out. I am about to go see her. Darren said she has been doing her walking and breathing treatments. I expected nothing less than total compliance from her. :-) I cannot WAIT to see her. Plus, it's always good for me to go back to that first day in my mind. It reminds me of just how far I've come and makes me treasure this tool even more than I already do.

God has blessed me abundantly in this journey and I know He will bless Donna as she now travels down this path of transformation. Thank You God for protecting Donna. Please bless her abundantly as she begins her new life by giving her a strong, healthy and capable body to match her incredible and beautiful spirit.

I love you Butterfly!!!!!!

xoxo
Melissa

"I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for."
Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tomorrow is the Day!

I really feel like I should have something insightful to write today -- maybe a letter to my fat, bidding it a not-so-fond farewell? I guess not... or maybe later.

The strange thing is, I don't have anything to say that I haven't already said.

As I've told more than a few people, I'm nervous and excited all at once. As when I had my daughter via C-Section, I was extremely calm the night before. So much so, my mother had to comment on it -- especially since I am an undeniably the most emotional person in my family. It wasn't until I held Cassie for the first time, that I really lost it. If that was any indicator, I'm sure that it will hit me some time tomorrow.

Arrangements have been made for everything and I just have a few things to finish up at home tonight. Hopefully I'll be home by Friday... that would be great!

I have my last training session tonight, and they're going to re-measure and weigh me. I know they'll seem my hard work by my measurements. Unfortunately, being off my Glucophage for nearly a week shows a 4 lb gain on the scale. Every time I go off it for a period of time I gain, despite any honest effort. My PCP has told me to stop taking it, and we'll just see how things go. Since the surgery is malabsorbtive, I most likely won't need it! We're just going to have to watch for twilight syndrome.

Just a few more hours until I can leave for the day and I can't wait!

Guess next time I post I'll be on the losing side. :)

Monday, November 13, 2006

This Weekend....

This weekend was a busy one for me, but it was good. It definitely kept the time from dragging.

My Friday night, girls night out, started off slow. There was awful weather and a lot of the group had to work late. By around 10, we still hadn't gone out, but I was bored and went ahead anyway. We were all texting one another with logistics as I waited.

I got to the club and found a seat. I like to people-watch, I wasn't terribly bored waiting on everyone. In fact, while sitting there a guy introduced himself to me. He was taller than tall. If I had to guess, I know he was taller than my brother, who is 6'6", but I digress...

Anyway, we got to talking. After about an hour he was asking me, "What's your deal? Why are you here alone?" I explained the night's events to him, and for some reason told him we were going to celebrate both my birthday and re-birthday; that I was having weight loss surgery on Wednesday.

He said, "No kidding?" "I had it 5 years ago!"

So it was kind of cool that of all the people that could have talked to me, he did. We talked about his experience and it was good -- at the least it passed the time away until my friends showed up. When they did, we celebrated and had a great time!

On Saturday, Darren let me sleep late, and I had a training session. Date night was nice. We went to dinner. I didn't go nuts, but I did have a nice steak. We were going to go for ice cream, but I passed. :)

Sunday was a support group meeting. They had a personal trainer from one of the hoity-toity gyms in Houston come and talk to us. It was good, despite his presentation being appropriately geared toward getting people who were once sedentary to move. He did explain some biological body mechanics, which I found interesting. After he spoke, a post-op named Gina, did a presentation on her progress and shared her experience through a slide show of pictures, it was very well done. Yay for you, Gina! Actually, they asked Melissa to be the speaker for next month!

Anyway, I'm just going to spend the next 2 days getting things in order. I'm trying to keep Cassie's routine as normal as possible. I'm hoping to come home by Friday morning, if not sooner!

I have a ton of work to do, so I had better run.

Friday, November 10, 2006

5 DAYS!

I'm not really sure where all the time went! It seemed to get here so fast! I've made arrangements for my friend Melissa to post updates to my blog while I'm out of commission.

I haven't officially weighed or measured with the trainer, but after 3 1/2 weeks I'm down 6 1/2 lbs and am at 297. I know the core workout he's giving me is already changing my body shape, because my clothes just fit better, and I've only had 6 sessions so far (I'll have 2 more before the surgery) . At the least, I'm achieving my goal of not gaining anymore before the surgery!

The only thing I'll be cleared to do right after surgery is walk, and that's just what I'll be doing, until they release me to full activity.

I'm supposed to go out tonight to celebrate both my birthday and upcoming re-birthday with the girls tonight. I'm looking forward to it -- I just want to have some fun. :)



The whole "Devas" thing is an inside joke -- too much to explain, but really, we're not full of ourselves. From Left to Right is Toni, Liz, Me and Melissa. All of them have had Gastric Bypass. Ironically enough I met Melissa when I started a Weight Watchers Yahoo group years ago, and we've been friends ever since. Liz I met many years back when I was participated in the BBW scene back in Dallas, and now she lives here in Houston. I met Toni through Melissa; Toni was her co-worker.

Tomorrow night we're going to put Cassie in "Parent's Night Out" at school. Darren and I are actually going to have a date night -- maybe dinner and a movie. My daughter is 2 years old, and except for an overnight at a bed and breakfast when we were visiting my Mom, we've not had an adult night out since she was born --and man, do we need it! It takes so much time being being Mommy and Daddy that we have to remember to make time to nurture our relationship as Husband and Wife!



My birthday came and went without much fuss. I was out of town and most people forgot about it, which is fine. I can fool them all into thinking I'm going to be 39 next year, as opposed to 40. Darren bought me a lovely limited edition Coach bag (yeah, I'm a purse snot) that I would never have bought myself. I got some gift cards too, which I'll hoard until I need some new clothes.

It seems odd that for the last week, I've had little appetite. It's been surprisingly easy to practice restraint and self-control, eating my planned meals and staying away from the crap in the office. I'm not sure, but could it be my self-conscious is prepping me? Not that it bothers me, but all of a sudden it seems so much easier. Strange.

I guess that's about it for now -- I should get to work.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Back from 'Bama (no banjo on my knee!)

Made it back from Alabama. It was as relaxing as was expected, so that was nice. When there's not much around, there's nothing left to do but relax. We spent time down on the 100+ year old family farm and took Cassie fishing for the first time. Now granted it's a stocked pond, but she caught 4 fish! She was just so curious; it was exciting to see her interest.

I can't believe I have just 6 days. The trip really did keep my mind off it. We didn't even try to tell Darren's 80 year old mother about it. I mean this in the nicest way; she's very simple minded. If we tried to tell her about the surgery it would just make her head spin. Of course we'll have some explaining to do later, but we can brush pass some of the details (for her benefit).

I am concerned as to how to deal with her after though. She is a Food Pusher with a capital F! If we're not doing something at a particular moment, you can bet we're either talking about food or eating food. It's really bad. I'll have to think on how to approach this in a fragile manner.

6 days!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

No. Pre-op Work Today (For Real)

Okay, so yesterday was pretty much a diaster. Work was one challenge after another and I was drained. I left work late and couldn't remember if my pre-op appointment was at 2pm or 2:30 -- I had it all f'd up my my Blackberry (you know those digital assistants are only good if the data is entered accurately!).

I get on the road with time enough ahead of me to make it there by 2pm. As my luck would have it this particular highway is under construction AND to make matters worse it was down to 1 lane because of a car fire. I was ticked, but tried to relax by hoping no one was seirously injured. I called my surgeon's office, after I moved no more than 1/2 mile in 30 minutes, and warned them I might be late.

Of course they understood, but I got stressed when they said, "you have to be here by 3pm, or we can't see you." I'm leaving for vacation and having the pre-op work done when I get back was apparently too late.

I made it to the office by 2:45 -- waited until 3 before I saw the doctor. I rushed to the hospital for the pre-op work, and there was a 3 hour wait. Crud! I waited a while, but the receptionist motioned me to the desk and told me I could come back tomorrow -- so I took advantage of the offer thinking, "I could make it to my training session if I leave now."

I hit the road, get to the gym with 10 minutes to spare. I go to the locker-room and my phone rings. It's my trainer -- he's not there. Most of his afternoon appointments canceled, so he went home for the day.

See, I made the mistake of giving him the courtesy of letting him know I might be late. He said, no worries, that since I was his last appointment he'd wait for me, even if I was late. I told him to call me if he didn't feel like waiting on me, and I promised to call him with an update on my ETA. I called him and told him I'd be there -- like I promised. He did not call me and tell me he decided to go home. I was pissed.

Some days it just seems like everthing is a challenge. Argh... I'm done venting. :)

I just left the gym and got home to what is really important -- TorT'ing with my Minnie Mouse.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pre-op Work Today!

Today brings me yet another step closer. I have my pre-op work-up this afteroon.

I need to get out of there and get to the gym by 5, 'cause I have a lil' "Minnie Mouse" waiting for me at home to go "trick-a-treatin".

I won't be around for a few days as we're heading to Alabama to visit my mother-in-law. I hate the drive, but I totally appreciate the time to decompress. It's a simple place, it leaves you with no other choice than to take advantage of the time to relax.

Until next week....

Monday, October 30, 2006

This is the reason why...











Friday, October 27, 2006

Just Killing Time... For the Next 19 Days


I guess I'm just going to be killing time for the next 19 days. I've been busy enough at work to keep from dwelling on the surgery date, so that's a good thing. The few people at work who do know, are so excited for me -- it's like we have this silent countdown going. Ironically enough my surgery date is the same day as our Annual Thanksgiving Potluck Luncheon. Hopefully, by the time they're done stuffing their faces at work, I'll be happily in recovery. :)

My quads are burning today! I had a training session yesterday. It wasn't so much the training session alone that killed me, it was the full 30 minutes of cardio BEFORE the session started that hit me! My trainer called and said I could come in early. I did, but he was wrapping up with another client and ran late. It didn't bother me much at the time, but this morning as I walk around like an old lady, I'm cursing him under my breath!

It was a good session. He taught me some core exercises on the Swiss Ball. I was somewhat familiar with them, as I used to take a class where that's all we did; worked with the balls. He was impressed I managed the positioning so well. He's good for my ego -- he tells me I'm one of his more apt clients, and that he really has fun working with me. That's cool, cause he's alright in my book too.

He brought up the surgery again. He wanted me to know that after thinking about everything even more, that I have his full support. He said, "Right now you need support, not me getting on your case for your choice. I can tell by your attitude you're going to rule this, that you're not counting on the surgery to just magically work for you. I can see your determination."

He's absolutely right. :) 1
19 days! Whoohoo!


Thursday, October 26, 2006

*Sigh*


It is a sad day for me today. My favorite Barista, who makes my "Triple Venti Nonfat blah-blah" has been promoted and is leaving. :( Damn Starbucks -- promoting him like that.

In honor of Darrell, I will introduce you to the mystery that is the Starbucks Oracle
As for this freakin' oracle, here's what it has to say about me and my Venti Triple Sugarfree French Vanilla Nonfat Latte Extra Hot (aka Venti Blah-blah):

Personality type: High MaintenanceYou pride yourself on being assertive and direct; everyone else thinks you're bossy and arrogant. You're constantly running your mouth about topics that only you would find interesting. Your capacity for wasting other people's time is limitless. Your friends find you intolerable, that's why they're plotting to kill you.
Also drinks: Water. Bottled, chilled, with four ice cubes, a twist of lemon, in a crystal glass.
Can also be found at: Trendy martini bars

Another last was my last pre-op visit with Dr. Weinstein -- Yayayy! I could tell he was excited for me. Neither of us expected to get approval so fast. He said that right after the surgery he wants to get me on the bone density machine, because it also measures body fat; then a year from the surgery date we can get on it again, and he can see just how I've done.

I got the word that SignGrl is doing well and recocvering nicely. :)

That is about all. I have a pesonal training session tonight.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

(Insert Witty Title Here)

Okay, so I started watching Oprah from yesterday: "Life After Weight Loss Surgery". I didn't make it through the entire episode because I was stressed out about some automotive issues I am having. My stress coupled with Oprah's coverage of the issue had me at my wit's end, so I just had to turn it off.

What I did see of it, covered addiction transference. This particular mother is now in denial of her alcohol addiction after having Gastric Bypass surgery. She was so obviously a functional alcoholic. Evidently she has some unresolved childhood physical and sexual abuse issues that are causing her this addiction transference.

I can see where she feel like she's just having fun and being social, but she was contradicting herself, saying, "I don't drink during the day." only to be caught later on video saying she was drinking in the middle of the day. She feels that she's dedicated the last 17 years to raising her kids and tending to her family's needs, that now is the time for her to have fun. And she really sees this socializing and drinking as just plain ol' fun. Unfortunately it's coming at a cost to her family. The same family that never really saw her as fat to begin with -- it wasn't until she lost weight with the surgery that they realized how big she was.

I know when I went for my psych eval, the doctor dove deeply into the area of addiction. I just pray I'm not one of the 30% that picks up some other crazy addiction to replace food! Oiy!!

It's really scary stuff -- and unfortunately I guess you don't know until it happens. Like I said, I just couldn't watch any more of it -- maybe I'll be able to watch the rest of it tonight.

On a happy note, the already beautiful Signgrl is having her surgery today! I'm so danged excited for her. Happy re-birthday Signgrl!

Monday, October 23, 2006

To Tell... or Not to Tell

I overdosed on Zyrtec (allergy meds), and that's not a good thing. I'm so incredibly sleepy, it's unbelieveable. I feel like I'm in a fog -- Oiy. I felt my allergies coming on strong last night when the cool winds came in, so I figured, "I'll take 2 -- I'm going to bed anyway." Well, I'm paying for it today! Stupid me. I don't normally do that kind of thing with perscription drugs - but after feeling so miserable with the Strep, I didn't want to feel sh*tty again!

To totally shift gears without a clutch, I don't want to be a farse, but I also don't feel like sharing the fact I'm having surgery with the whole world -- well, the world at the office anyway. I just don't want to deal with potential negative energy I might receive from someone before going under the knife. Does that make sense?

I want happy thoughts, flowers and sunshine! :) I can come up with enough bad scenarios in my own mind!

I'm certainly confident with my decision, but I don't want to waste one breath trying to convince someone that what I'm doing is acceptable, despite associated risks.

The bottom line is, it's my choice. It's my body.

Therefore I've asked the few people at work who do know, to keep it on the QT. After the surgery, when I come back to work, I will share.

New Adventure

My friend Melissa received this and forwarded it on to me...

Daily Word — Sunday, October 22, 2006

New Adventure

I am “prayed up” and prepared for positive change today.

I may be stepping outside my comfort zone to begin a new adventure in life; however, my first step is to be prayed up and ready for a positive change.

I pray to be divinely guided, and I also use my imagination to set the scene for the good that I am about to experience. I see myself going about my day confident in whatever I am doing. I envision my new surroundings personalized for me with pictures and colors, people and activities that invite me to feel at home and comfortable.

Most important, I affirm that the spirit of God goes before me to make my way safe and secure. There is a holy preparation going on for my new adventure. I know I will meet people who are open to supporting me and being supported by me in love and faith.

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”—Deuteronomy 31:8

Friday, October 20, 2006

Friends in Supportive Places

One of my best friends, Melissa, sent this messaage out -- she had been dying to announce my surgery to anyone who knew me through her. I love her for her friendship, support, knowledge and constant encouragement. She's has a beautiful soul.

Although it could just be that I like her because she says nice things about me! I don't know. LOL (kidding). Here is what she sent out:

That's right!!!! One of the greatest friends I could ever have will soon be joining me on the "other" side.... I am so, so, so happy to announce that Donna will be having her gastric bypass surgery Nov. 15, 2006, at 7:30 a.m. with Dr. Naaman!!!!!!!! YAYAYA!

Although she heard yesterday from the insurance company that she was approved, she wanted to wait on announcing it until she received the official word today.You cannot imagine HOW HARD it has been for me not to shout it from the mountain tops!!!

I've included a lot of people - some who have never met Donna in person - on this mailing list. However, each person here "knows" her and knows how much I love and admire her. I have never met a more dedicated person to exercising and weight watchers in my life. I am just so happy that she will now finally be given the tool that will give her the results that equally match the amazing efforts she has put into being healthy. I know each of you are excited for her and will send her your positive energy.

Donna - I've said it before but I'll say it again: You are my hero! I wish you nothing but all the wonderful things you deserve in life! You've worked sooooooooo hard - and I know you will continue to give your all to being as healthy as possible! You've amazed me as a size 18 tap dancer - and you will no doubt blow me away as a size 8 athlete!

All my love to you, Butterfly, as well as to your amazing husband Darren and your sweet little baby girl Cassie. I am just so happy for you all that I am crying!

xoxoxo
Melissa

Melissa (Melissa's Transformation) has been so instrumental in helping me through my thought process. If it wasn’t for seeing up close how well she did with her surgery, I’m not sure I would have entertained it as a viable option. She's had so much success, how could I deny the possibility it might work for me?!? I’m just a little hard-headed when it comes to making a change of heart. LOL

Truly, it wasn’t until my Endocrinologist suggested it that I really started to contemplate it – couple his suggestion with Melissa’s success, and I knew what I needed to do.

I met Melissa many years ago when I used to moderate a Weight Watchers support group. At that time I lived in Dallas and she lived in Houston. Several years later, my then fiance' now Huband brought me to Houston. Melissa and I have remained friends through the course of time... and of course Weight Watchers, and now to come, surgery.

I'm so sure this is the right thing for me. I'm so blessed to have real-life friends, not to mention my bloggin' friends, to be with me on this journey.

I am so blessed.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

It's Officially Official

Amanda just let me know CareFirst called them today to confirm approval.

It's a done-deal!

Whooohoooooo! Just 27 days.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Big News!

I hesitate to say anything until everything is firmed up, but I can't contain myself.

I am approved!

I called BCBS CareFirst today to find out the status on my Pre-auth. I actually called yesterday, and the rep told me that oddly enough it had been "pending" for entirely too long, and that she was going to transfer me to a case worker.

She did and I was disheartened when I got voice mail. I left a message, feeling pessimistic that they would ever return my call in the 24 hours that they promised.

Lo, and behold, today Mary called me! First she apologized for the wait, that it should have been approved 2 weeks ago, but that I am indeed approved. I was dumbfounded.

I said, "Are you sure?"
She said, "Why wouldn't you be, you meet all the guidelines.
I said, "Can anything change the decision?"
She said, "Not unless you don't want to have the procedure done."

I started crying and she asked if I was crying because I was happy. I told her I was, that I just couldn't believe it. She said believe it, you are approved.

She's going to call the doctor either today or tomorrow morning to make it final.

I called the doctor and told them. I have my preop work scheduled for 10/31 and surgery scheduled for 11/15.

It seems so surreal, I can't even explain it.

I turn 39 on Novmeber 5th -- November 15th will begin my journey to becoming 40 and fabulous!

Oh... one more thing. She told me that she reviews cases like this all the time, and never has she seen 5 years worth of Weight Watchers books where a membership has never lapsed! She wished me well with this second chance. :)

Having started with the new gym and personal trainer, I kept asking God to give me a sign; to let me know I was doing the right thing by having the surgery, or if I should tough it out with the personal trainer and give it one last hurrah. Getting my approval after just 5 months is my sign. Thank you, thank you, thank you God, for giving me this 2nd chance at life.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Inspi(red)

After jumpin' through hoops to get my physician's letter of release to train with the trainer, you'll never guess what happened.

I had to cancel. Lucky me, I have Strep.

I have watched more TV this week than ever I think. But I did find some useful information from the boob-tube. I was watching Oprah yesterday and Bono was on; they were introducing the (Red) Project.

Essentially retailers have partnered up with the (Red) Project, and if you buy a (Red) product or sign up for a (Red) service, at no cost the consumer, the (Red) Partner donates a portion of its profit to buy and distribute anti-retroviral to those living with HIV Africa. And no, not all the products are red in color.

It costs just .50 a day for a pregnant mother to take the medication necessary to keep from passing HIV to her unborn child. .50! Being a Mom, I can't imagine not being able to afford the medicine necessary for my unborn child -- so it hit home with me.

So it's Gap's Inspi(red) tee-shirts for my Christmas shopping this year! Oh, there's actually a blogspot for them -- Join Red

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

EKG Resutls

I almost forgot! I had an EKG done yesterday. It was necessary in order to get a letter of release to work with the personal trainer. I never had one before. It quick and nothing I expected. LOL

Bottom line is my heart is good. I admit that even in spite of not having any symptoms that would conclude otherwise, I was a little worried they might find something to be worried about that would warrant more testing.

My heart is good to go. I start training on Thursday!

Calcium, Folate and Iron, Oh My!

Well, I attended the support group meeting on Sunday, and it was the best session I have attended to date.

Dr. Weinstein, spoke about the importance of supplements and vitamins for Bariatric patients. It was very informative. I’m posting a little of what he said coupled with some information I've found, for my reference only. This is not intended as medical advice. Each person should consult their own Bariatric-friendly physician for nutrient care.

One of the points he really stressed is the need to work with your medical professional to determine your individual deficiencies. Symptoms of various deficiencies overlap, so you run the risk of thinking you’re low in one thing, but it’s really another, or worse a pre-cursor to something altogether different.

Bloodwork coupled with symptoms should be used to determine deficiencies. And know that just becaue the local lab says a number should be in a certain range, the same does not always hold true for a Bariatric patient. A Bariatric-friendly physician will know what your ranges should be.

Also, even after all your follow-up appointments are completed with your surgeon, you should see a physician once a year for a full workup/physical. If you can find a physician who has expertise in Bariatrics, that’s a plus (and what you should look for).

So the biggies are Calcium, Vitamin D, B-12, Folate/Folic Acid and Iron. All of these vitamins and minerals participate in our body’s physiology. When one of these is deficient, it makes sense that body function becomes inefficient. Given the fact most WLS patients live with an 800 calorie diet, it’s a pretty good chance they’re not getting all the vitamins and minerals they need without a little help. Dr. Weinstein also warns that one should never take more vitamins/supplements than necessary. Yes, you do pee them out for the most part, but there’s no valid reason to take them randomly.

Calcium:
Natural sources of dietary calcium: Dairy foods are very high in calcium, especially milk, yogurt and cheese. Other good sources include calcium-enriched fruit orange, rice beverages, and soy beverages.

There is continuous movement of calcium between our skeleton, blood and other parts of the body. Calcium also plays a role in cell biology. Calcium is important in nerve impulse transmission and muscle contraction. Calcium is also needed for blood clotting, activating clotting factors.

Vitamin D (D2 and D3)
Natural sources of vitamin D2 are fish and fatty fish oils. There are fortified food sources available, including beverages like milk, soy drinks, Fish, liver, and egg yolk. Vitamin D3 is only available through sunlight – chances are most of our society is deficient in this area because of the lifestyles we lead.

The major biologic function of vitamin D is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Calcium keeps your bones strong and Phosphorus helps maintain good teeth and bones, and also keeps muscles and nerves working properly. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, helping to form and maintain strong bones. Without vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle and soft.

Vitamin B-12
Natural sources of B-12 include liver, meat, egg yolk, poultry and milk.

B12 is important in maintaining the nervous system and plays a vital role in the metabolism of essential fatty acids. Prolonged B12 deficiency can lead to nerve degeneration and irreversible neurological damage. Vitamin B12's primary functions are in the formation of red blood cells and the maintenance of a healthy nervous system. B12 is necessary for the rapid synthesis of DNA during cell division. If B12 deficiency occurs, this results in anemia.

Folate/Folic Acid
Natural sources of Folate include Leafy green vegetables (like spinach and turnip greens), fruits (like citrus fruits and juices), and dried beans and peas.

Folic acid is also referred to as the B9 vitamin and plays an essential role in the formation of DNA & RNA. It also Assists function of vitamin B12, as well as the formation of 'haem' (the iron content of hemoglobin'). Folate is necessary for the formation of red and white blood cells

Iron
Natural sources of iron include meat, liver, oysters, poultry, fish, legumes, dried fruits, green leafy veggies, wine and whole grains.

Iron enables the transport of oxygen from lungs to the tissues and stores oxygen in muscle tissue. It is essential for hair growth, contributes to a healthy immune system and aids in mental function

After Dr. Weinstein finished, we heard from Corey Graham. Corey had RNY 2 years ago when he was 17 years old. Evidently MTV followed Corey on his journey through their reality series “True Life: I’m Obese”. He fully acknowledges that having the surgery and subsequent abdominoplasty, now allows him to realize his dream of becoming a Police Officer. He would have never achieved that dream before. He shared with us his story and what he's doing now.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Like Buying a House!

Okay, so like when did buying a gym membership seem like closing paperwork on a home? While everyone was nice at this particular 24 Super Sport we signed up at, it took forever! I'm totally pumped though (no pun intended). I have my first training session today, and this girl is going to be building some muscle. ;-) I want to be ahead of the curve when I am threatened with losing muscle mass before surgery.

So in other news, I kind of read in a few different places where some were speculating that Blue Cross Blue Shield of TX is changing their requirements for bariatric surgery. I went out to the provider side website and indeed found the policy change that was effective 9/1/2006. Now it requires a 6 month, instead of a 12 month medically supervised diet. Of course me, being who I am, won't allow myself to get too excited. I sent an e-mail to B, the surgeon's office manager, and she said it was good news, but that each employer will still use a case-by-case basis. Ugh.

For anyone using BCBS of TX, here's the policy change from their website:


Title: Surgery for Morbid Obesity
Number: SUR716.003
Effective Date: 09-01-2006

Contract: Each benefit plan or contract defines which services are covered, which are excluded, and which are subject to dollar caps or other limits.

Members and their providers have the responsibility for consulting the member's benefit plan or contract to determine if there are any exclusions or other benefit limitations applicable to this service or supply. If there is a discrepancy between a Medical Policy and a member's benefit plan or contract, the benefit plan or contract will govern.

Coverage: Each benefit plan or contract defines which services are covered, which are excluded, and which are subject to dollar caps or other limits. Members and their providers will need to consult the member's benefit plan or contract to determine if there are any exclusions or other benefit limitations applicable to this service or supply.


The following criteria and guidelines have been developed to judge eligibility for coverage of bariatric surgery for the treatment of morbid obesity.

To be considered eligible for benefit coverage of bariatric surgery for treatment of morbid obesity, the following three criteria must be met:

A. A diagnosis of Morbid Obesity, defined as:
* Body Mass Index (BMI) of greater than or equal to 40 kg/meter squared; OR
* BMI greater than or equal to 35kg/meters squared with at least two (2) of the following co-morbid conditions which have not responded to maximum medical management and which are generally expected to be reversed or improved by bariatric treatment:
* Hypertension,
* Dyslipidemia,
* Diabetes Mellitus,
* Coronary heart disease, and/or
* Sleep apnea.

[Note: A BMI formula can be found in the description section of this policy.]

AND

B. At least a five-year history of Morbid Obesity supported by medical
record documentation.

AND

C. It is expected that appropriate non-surgical treatment should have been attempted prior to surgical treatment of obesity Non-surgical treatment of morbid obesity appropriateness criteria:
Medical record documentation of active participation in a clinically-supervised, non-surgical program of weight reduction for at least 6 months, occurring within the twenty-four (24) months prior to the proposed surgery and preferably unaffiliated with the bariatric surgery program.

[NOTE: The initial BMI at the beginning of a weight reduction program will be the "qualifying" BMI used to meet the BMI criteria for the definition of morbid obesity used in this policy.]

A program will be considered appropriate if it includes the following

components:
* Nutritional therapy, which may include medical nutrition therapy such as a very low calorie diet such as MediFast or OptiFast OR a recognized commercial diet-based weight loss program such as Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, etc.
* Behavior modification or behavioral health interventions.
* Counseling and instruction on exercise and increased physical activity.
* Pharmacologic therapy (as appropriate).
* Ongoing support for lifestyle changes to make and maintain appropriate choices that will reduce health risk factors and improve overall health.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Race for the Cure and Other Thoughts

This past Saturday was the Susan G. Koeman Race for the Cure. 5k of Houston's infamous heat and humidity! It was yucky. I captained a team here at work -- we had a good time.

Here are some pictures:

Angels for the Cause


Can you see how far ahead the people stretch?
It had been a reported 25,000 participants.


The hardest part of the race is not crossing the finish line...
it's making it to the starting line.

There was a whole crew of these folks...
They call themselves the "Breast Cancer Tsunami"

I've also decided I will be changing gyms and hiring a trainer for at least 10 weeks. I want 2 things out of this; 1) Learn the proper way to progress in strength training, and 2) build as much lean muscle mass as I can (without looking like the Hulk) before the surgery. I have read too many times that you loose so much muscle mass early on. I don't want to suffer a hiatus with the kinds of exercise I enjoy because I'm losing muscle mass so fast. Plus, the more lean muscle mass, the more calories I will burn. :) So it's a win-win.

Some of the events with the group moderator have unfolded. She has been retained by University General Hospital -- it is a new "luxury" hospital facility -- as their Director of Marketing. I knew she couldn't leave the cause. As to receiving any other explanations to her commentary, it just won't happen.

I continue to do my research. Still haven't found anything monumentally negative on my surgeon of choice yet -- I really don't think I will.

Happy anniversary to me and my hubby tomorrow. We'll be married 3 years, together for 8.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Correction

My bad! Here's the rundown -- it's not 6 in one year -- it's 6 over the course of 23 years! I was looking at the "Date Retrieved" column, not the "Date Field"

1982 (1)
2003 (2)
2004 (2)
2004 (1)

I have a friend in the legal field doing some footwork for me today -- so far she's not found more than I have. I hope it stays that way.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Investigative Reporting

Okay, so I have some issues of concern which are going to require some investigative research. A few entries back, I rant about our online supprot group moderator. I shared my frustration with her lack of details and innuendo which has left pre-op support group members wondering if our doctor of choice is the "wolf in sheep's clothing" she keeps referring to.

I used Lexis/Nexis, a leagal research system available to anyone online, and ir found 6 malpractice suits, in 2006, against my surgeon. Of course I know we live in a letiginous state; people sue for everything. This doctor has such an awesome reputation that I'd hate to fall into believing there is anything substatial.

So, now at least I have the docket numbers. I guess a trip to public records is in order. I messaged the moderator and asked her if I was on the right track, and she could only respond "I think so" and "there is more".

I hate that she's making me question my surgeon at this point in the game, but I have to do the due diligence. I have to.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Starting Month 6

Yesterday I had my appointment with my PCP, and so it marks the start of my 6th month on my medically supervised diet.

I verified that my papers were submitted to BCBS of TX on the 18th; no word yet -- just have to wait.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Vermont Addresses Obesity...

Nice to see that ieven if the Federal Government is not taking a stance on Obesity, that the local state governments are.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

September 24, 2006
By JAMES TASSE,

Director of the Rutland Area Physical Activity Coalition.

Imagine if a third of the population of the U.S. had a life-threatening infectious disease. The government would be looking for evidence of a terrorist plot. It would be perceived as a crisis of epidemic proportions.

Well, that's the situation with obesity right now. Thirty percent of Americans are obese — not overweight, but obese — right now. These individuals are facing substantially elevated risk of premature death due to chronic health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Vermont is doing better than the national average, with only about 20 percent of the adult population classified as obese. However, the Vermont Department of Health reports that 56 percent of Vermonters are overweight, a condition which also carries significantly elevated risks.

The epidemic is costly not only to the quality of life enjoyed by Vermonters but to our wallets as well. According to statistics from the VDH, obesity costs the state more than $141 million. Each person in the state of Vermont pays out about $228 to cover the costs of obesity, whether or not they are obese.

The VDH has developed a plan to fight the obesity epidemic by helping Vermonters make better lifestyle choices and by encouraging folks to increase physical activity and improve their diets. The Fit and Healthy Vermonters Obesity Prevention Plan is a multi-pronged attack on the problem that seeks to achieve the following goals:

  • Reduce the prevalence of chronic diseases associated with those who are overweight and obesity
  • Reduce the proportion of Vermonters who are above a healthy weight
  • Increase fruit and vegetable consumption
  • Reduce portion sizes
  • Reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Increase physical activity
  • Decrease sedentary behaviors
  • Increase breastfeeding initiation, exclusivity and duration

The plan encourages communities to adopt a variety of tactics to pursue these goals, including doing things like building sidewalks, walking trails and bike lanes, coordinating activity programs and working to educate the public on the need to change behaviors and diet choices.

The Department of Health is launching a series of forums around the state to inform people about the Obesity Prevention plan. The goal of the forums is to bring people up to date on current initiatives to fight obesity in their areas and to mobilize new community-based efforts to achieve these goals.

One such forum is happening on Oct. 10 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Rutland Regional Medical Center Conference Room. To learn about other forums around the state, contact the Obesity Prevention Plan Coordinator, Susan Coburn, at 951-5151.

While we're putting dates on the calendar, you might also mark Oct. 4, which is International Walk to School Day. This is a great opportunity to encourage your kids to get to school under their own power and to help them develop the habits to keep them immune from the obesity epidemic.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Like Opening a Can of Worms

Now I know from those who have gone before me and have had weight loss surgery that this is going to be one heck of a ride emotionally. I'm a firm believer with dealing with things and moving on, so I really wasn't prepared for some of the emotional eruptions I have faced thus far.

That being said, I always, always, always have to say my peace, piece, peas... whatever. :)

I am sure like many others in my situation, I have spent the majority of my adult-life working extra-hard so as to convince others that my weight doesn't bother me; that I know who I am and it doesn't make me less of a person. I try to be confident, and am told I come off so, but never have I felt comfortable in my body. Everyday there is something to deal with -- even if it is just a dismissive glance from a stranger.

I've done things that people at healthy weights wouldn't consider doing. I love cycling and I enjoyed pushing my body, as I did with the triathlon... I even loved taking tap dance classes. I love doing these things, but it also sent the message that I don't fit the stereotype of being fat, dumb and lazy.

It is a fact that my weight is a long-time source of misery for me, despite any contrary behavior I may have exhibited over time. Is being skinny going to cure all of my life's problems? Hell no! But it will give me peace with this one area of my life I have not been able to conquer on my own.

While on vacation I had a breakdown of sorts. We had a busy entertainment itinerary for the kids, including Sea World, Wild Rivers, LegoLand... you get the picture.

Wild Rivers happens to be a water park. I have never, ever, ever, ever been to a water park -- and there's a reason for that. I don't feel like sharing my pannus with the rest of the world. At 240 lbs, I might have... but I would have had to think about it long and hard (I even had a hard time with cycling shorts then), but at 288 -- no freakin' way. It took me all summer to find a swimsuit that hid enough, but didn't leaving me look like Omar the tent maker made me a moo-moo swimsuit.

To make a long story short, it was terrible experience at first. After about 4 hours, I eventually I got to the point where I felt comfortable, noticing there were other sizable folks there. It just seemed like everything we did on that trip magnified my weight issues. I had problems keeping up physically as we walked around the amusement parks, I couldn't fit on rides with my daughter and then the whole swimsuit-in-public thing just ate my heart and soul.

I was miserable and it showed.

As if my misery wasn't enough, my Sister created challenges, making it difficult to deal with her inconsideration and overall lack of communication/planning

I was so miserable that it came to a head after my Sister left, and my Mother persuaded me to talk. I finally told her about the surgery. She was supportive, and just wants me to be happy with myself. I was a little surprised because I wasn't sure how she was going to take it.

My Sister on the other hand didn't quite get it. She thought my misery took root in some childhood resentment of her. This doesn't surprise me that she'd think it was her -- that's to be expected. She said she was confused and that since I never showed my insecurities before that she didn't think they existed. She was basically challenging how I felt telling me my problem was otherwise.

She said some other things which I took issue with simply because it proved to me:
  1. How little really know one another.
  2. She will always think it is about her... she's the "pleaser" in the family when something is wrong, she thinks she has to fix it.
  3. She didn't even try to understand one thing I wrote

She went as far as to tell me that for the sake of my daughter I should deal with my issues so that I can live my life without misery.

Thanks for pointing that out Sis, because I didn't know that I was unhappy. She has quite the knack for pointing out the obvious.

My daughter is precisely the reason my eyes were opened and changed my heart towards weight loss surgery. I know this is the one area of my life I need help in conquering, and I thank God that there is a way to get help -- I will never take this journey (the good, bad and ugly) for granted. Every single minute of panic, happiness, sadness, grieving, elation, etc is a learning experience.

That being said though, I thought the really emotional part would be after! LOL

After I got home from vacation I wrote a letter to her and I copied my Mom on it, because there were some things in it I couldn't articulate to her directly. 2 weeks later my Sister wrote back with her half-hearted attempt, making me wonder why she even bothered.

I wrote her for one last time on this subject, and decided that was it. Just let things be. We'll just have to agree to disagree on this, because she'll always see the root of the problem as something it is not.

It's starting already though -- I'm changing my role in their lives, and they don't know how to cope. I'm no longer keeping my feelings wrapped up nicely in a little box, tucked away in the corner of my brain, and pretending that I'm okay with my body anymore. I'm letting it all out. They can, as my friend says, "be part of my team" or they can warm the bench.

No one is going to stop me from making me the best I can be.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Prayers for our Pin-up Girl!

Oh my goodness! I'm so excited for Danyele. Today is her re-birth -- she's having her surgery.

Watch out world, here comes one hot Pin-up girly-girl!

By the time you see this blog Danyele, you'll be home recovering. It might get challenging at times, but keep focused on your end result and how good you'll feel later.

Truth be told, you strike me as a pin-up girl already!

Positive thoughts are of you today! I look forward to seeing an * by your name again!

*hugs*
Donna

Saturday, September 16, 2006

And We're Off!

Well, I finally made it to the point in my journey where I actually got to meet my surgeon one-on-one. I was surprised to find I had 2 messages from his office when I returned from vacation, because I thought we weren't going to submit to my insurance and just wait until January when I'm on my husband's policy.

My H. Pylori test was negative -- one less thing to worry about. Dr. Naaman was exactly as I expected him to be. He was friendly, professional and forthright. His office staff was accommodating, and seemed to genuinely care about getting me approved and to my end result.
So in less than a week (as of today) the surgeon's office will submit to insurance. I'm fairly certain I will be denied, but it's a step in the right direction. Denied only because I haven't completely satisfied BCBS of Texas' pre-op requirements. But, you never know, someone might look at my 5 years STRAIGHT worth of Weight Watchers books and say, "yes".

A girl can dream, right? LOL

To change the subject, I'm a little troubled. Not enough to change surgeons, but troubled nonetheless about some unexplained innuendo and overall change of heart by our online support group's moderator with regard to my surgeon of choice.

See, the support group moderator was the director of the Bariatric program at the hospital I will have my surgery done at. For whatever reason, she was very troubled at work with ethical issues and stress. Ultimately she had to leave.

Everyone knows that this woman's passion is fighting the cause against Obesity -- so when she announced she was taking a job at a posh advertising agency, we knew something was up.

She says she's taking the high road, and wants to remain professional, yet now she is making off-color, negative comments that implicate that there is more to the problem than meets the eye at the hospital. She's even said to beware of wolve's in sheep's clothing. Enough to make one nervous to say the least.

She's made a 180 degree change in supporting Dr. Naaman -- Dr. Naaman was always regarded as a highly skilled surgeon on the boards, but she's totally changed her opinion -- even eluded to the fact that we should check the courthouse for litigation suits against him. "Do your homework" If she really cared and he really was involved in some serious, why won't she tell us? Especially if life-decisions are at stake.

It is so bothersome that she obviously knows something terrible-- but she won't say what it is. She says little things here and there, but never explains it all. It's so frustrating.

Another member of the group posted, mirroring how I felt. I took the opportunity to respond as well, however my post was banned.

I've certainly upset her by my response, and I've written her directly as well -- to date, I've received no response. I wanted to be direct, but also honest and forthright. I'm really not trying to be accusatory, but this is my life at stake!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

My Heritage...

In the words of Ellen, this "freaked my freak!" LOL Thanks Dagny and Shel for sharing!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Back to the Grind

Well, it's back to the grind for me today. We returned home from sunny, beautiful California on Sunday -- thank goodness we had Monday's holiay to recouperate. I still need more time; I am simply exhausted.

We did the pool, Wild Rivers, SeaWorld and Legoland. We also visited a friend's restaurant which just opened in May out in Oceanside.

I didn't bring much home with me, except for a case of sun poisioning -- ouch!

Much to my surprise, when I did get home, I had a message from my Surgeon's office. They want me to come in for my initial exam! They're going to try to submit based on what Dr. W has documented so far. I'm not hopeless, but I can't say I'm hopeful. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas is pretty stringent with their requirements.

More later.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

More Bribes Than a Maffioso

Doing a little “Blogrolling” this morning has inspired one more entry before I leave on vacation for next week.

I want to preface this by saying, I am accountable for the size that I am. I don’t blame anyone else, and it is up to me to do something about it -- me and only me. Some people have terrible childhoods, some don’t. Mine? My childhood was somewhere in the middle – but weight… weight was always an issue.

Both my Mother and Step-dad (and now my sister) are dancers, in the professional sense. My parents had a dance studio geared to teach future professional dancers. This studio wasn’t your run-of-the-mill competition school. Dance was considered a serious profession, more so than a recreational outlet. Because it was focused on professionalism, you can imagine how much of an issue weight of the dancers-to-be was. Weight was as much an issue at home as it was at the Dance studio.

I always knew I was overweight, but I never let it bother me, because it never really limited me. My limitations were made visible to me by my parents. I’ve said it before; I’m not sure if I tried so hard to excel at everything to prove my weight wasn’t an issue, or if I did everything well because I actually enjoyed what I was doing. When I think back to some of the things that I did, I really have the think hard to give myself and honest answer.

It was in my teenage years that my family presented me with challenges to lose weight. Shopping in the “Huskies” department at Sears was probably more embarrassing to my family than it was to me. I was never a fashion plate in high school. It certainly was not because I didn’t want to dress cute and preppy like the thin girls, but my ass would never fit into a pair of Calvin’s or Jordache’ Jeans. Hey, it was the 80’s… what can I say?

Then came the bribing… My parents bribed me with everything and anything they could to get me to lose weight; pulling me out of activities, promising money or shopping sprees, etc.

In my freshman year of High School, I wanted to be a twirler. I tried out, made it – even one of the mothers custom-made a uniform for me, so I could fit-in. Once again, when I didn’t lose weight, I had to quit.

I remember when I first started auditioning for musicals. My voice truly favors ballads and music that a typical ingénue role would sing. I remember my Mother telling me I had a great voice but that I would never land an ingénue role. Unfortunately she was right, but that didn’t preclude me from landing other character roles. When I first landed a lead role the first bribe was offered. “I’m sorry, but if you don’t lose weight, you have to quit the musical.” I didn’t lose weight, and I had to quit. How I hated having to tell the drama teacher.

The second year came around, and the same thing happened again. I landed a lead role – not the ingénue role, but a lead nonetheless. Mom did the same thing. I know she was trying to motivate me because I loved doing musicals, but maybe in some way (not that I can remember now) it was turning me off? Who knows?

The pattern didn’t have a chance to repeat itself my junior and senior years because the Drama teacher caught on, and now knew me as a “quitter.” She told me my junior year that she couldn’t give me the part she wanted because she couldn’t depend on me. You can imagine how I felt. From that point on, I was known as a “quitter.” That reputation wound up following me throughout high school – even into sports and band commitments. Advisors were afraid to give me anything for fear I would quit.

At the Dance studio, I took dancing, singing and acting lessons, and while I loved dancing, singing was my passion. As a teenager and young adult, my singing skills were in full-form. My parents were staging Pirates of Penzance, and they allowed me to audition. Though my signing was good, I was too fat to land a role – and that’s what they pretty much told me. I was just too overweight.

I also auditioned for a few other staged musicals they produced, but would never get a part in them… you guessed it. I was too fat.

Without my mother knowing I prepped to audition at Westminster Choir College. I worked hard to prepare two contrasting pieces and coordinated all the logistics of my audition without my family knowing. When I landed a scholarship, my Mom’s response was, “You’ll never find steady work in the arts.” You’ll never make enough money.” I knew what she was really saying was that I was too fat and would never be hired as a singer for the type of music I enjoyed.

I can remember another conversation vividly; my Mom telling me how it was somewhat of an embarrassment to her that I was so overweight. I often wondered if she saw me overweight for a Dancer or overweight for the average person on the street. She would get so frustrated because I had natural ability, but not the body. Conversely, my Sister had the body, but had to work harder at Dance. Despite my Mom’s sincerest efforts, she would continually explain how and why my weight made her uncomfortable, and how in some strange way it was damaging to her reputation. As if people would think less of my mother because she had a fat daughter.

I think for a brief period of time, when I was 14, I got down to a size 12. The scary thing is, I didn’t even realize it, and my It wasn’t for long. I quickly moved up the scale.

Still, today, I can’t really pinpoint where/how my problem started with food. I really wish I could, because I feel it will help me in the long run. I would love to think my problem is organic in nature, and not just about self-control.

This is about what I did to myself with the choices I made, and I am in no way placing blame on my parents. I truly do believe they were doing what they felt was best for me.

You know, after I had my Daughter, I was jut 12 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight (but still 90 lbs from my "ideal" weight). It was the emotional eating... the eating like a wrestler while breast-feeding… the eating to reward myself when I’d do something right as a first-time Mom that caused me to get even 40 lbs heavier.

It's my fault.

No one else's.

I am wholly accountable.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Good Sleep, Support and Needed Vacation!

Well, I haven't been by here to write in a while, mostly because there's not much to write. I'm moving right along and Jan/Feb is getting that much closer each day.

I've had my C-Pap machine for about 2 weeks now, and I really do feel a difference. I'm staying up later each night without realizing it! (I know, I should be getting more rest!) It used to be that by 8:45 if I'm on the couch, I'm out cold! I've been going non-stop the last couple weekends painting and decorating my master bedroom and bath. It feels good to not feel totally wasted! and my bedroom and bath look great!

I had another round of blood work done, so that I can just see Dr. W, instead of the Endocrinologist AND Dr. W to get my Diabetes Meds -- it makes sense since I have to see Dr. W. once a month anyway. Seeing the Endocrinologist for my meds is another trip, and waste of money.

There's some shake-up going on with the Bariatric Program at my hospital of choice. It has me a little concerned, as it would appear the program iis disbanding. They had such a terrific program director, and quite an amazing support system for pre-op and post-op patients. We'll probably never know what the real reasons are for the demise of the program -- a terribly sad thing for all of us who were counting on that venue for support. The hospital will still do the surgery, as will Dr. Naaman, but things are changing.

The last on-site support group meeting is on Thursday, and I plan on attending. The last meeting I went to had an OBGYN as a speaker, and he talked about pregnancy after RNY.

The deal is you should not become pregnant until 2 years after your surgery. This gives your small intestine a chance to mature and learn to do the job of the two-thirds of your larger intestine which is being bypassed via the weight loss surgery. Once the small intestine learns its job, it is okay to become pregnant.

Once pregnant, you have all the regular risks associated with pregnancy after 35 (which I know well!). You have to be closely monitored for vitamin and mineral deficiencies and after month 5 you must visit the doctor each week. Not really different than when I carried Cassie; at 35 I was considered "High Risk" and was seeing the doctor once a week after month 6.

All that being said, make not mistake, there is risks involved. For some, pregancy can exasberate underlying problems you may have had since the surgery. The rule of thumb is, do the right thing for you and your baby, and follow the doctor's orders. Plenty of women who have had RNY have healthy babies every day.

We're not sure we want another, but at least it's good to know it's possible if we decide otherwise.

I'm still doing Weight Watchers, but until either work slows down or I can make exercise a priority, my losses are minimal. Things at work have a potential to become a little more accomodating, as I'm interviewing for a different position on Thursday or Friday. Keep your fingers crossed. I know I have the qualifications, I just need to med with the existing team.

In other news, next week I'm headed to California for an actual vacation!!! We're going to do Sea World, Lego Land, Wild Rivers and the Aquarium. Cassie will have tons of fun. I'll get to spend time with my Mom, Sister and 2 nieces. Also Darren and I are taking an overnight at the Surf and Sand Resort in Laguna Beach. We haven't gone anywhere together as a couple -- not even a honeymoon! since Cassie was born!! It will be a good time.

Speaking of Cassie, she'll be 2 next month on the 24th! I cannot believe how quickly time flies. I've got to start planning her Miss Spider Sunny Patch Buggy Birthday Bash. :)