Wednesday, December 31, 2008
One thing I was told would happen was that I would come home from surgery weighing more than when I went in simply because of all the fluids they pump in to you through your IV, etc... Well, they were right! I had gained almost 10 pounds when I got home! A little discouraging to say the least, but I know it's just temporary.
So now the challenge is getting in all of the liquids that I need to get in a day! My instructions are to take in 1 ounce every 15 minutes. That is just much harder than it sounds. Not to mention my vitamins, supplements, and medications - all either in liquid form or crushed. Yuck. Liquid Vicodin is my friend, but it sure tastes nasty!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
So now I am just waiting for my barium swallow test. It's an contrast x-ray that they will do to ensure that there are no leaks. I am not allowed to have anything to drink until this test confirms that there are no leaks. I have only been able to use a small sponge on a stick (think lollipop) to coat my lips. No swallowing any of the water in it. Once that test is done I will be able to start back on clear liquids. I need to have 1-2 ounces every 15 minutes as long as I'm awake. Honestly, at this point, that sounds like an awful lot. When I went off to surgery I was SO HUNGRY. I had never been so hungry. But I am so NOT HUNGRY now. It's true what they say - it's like a switch - I'm not hungry.
The nutritionist just came in to see me and see if I had any questions about my transition. She was very informative and helped me with a few questions about my vitamins and medications. I have my multi-vitamins in liquid form, as well as my calcium and B-12 in liquid form. I had my current prescriptions changed so that I could crush them.
I'm going to take a little nap while I'm waiting to go to XRay. Thank you to all of you who have been checking in on me! It means more to me than you will ever know!
Check in with y'all later!
Monday, December 29, 2008
The past couple of days have been difficult with the clear liquid diet, but it has given me a bit of a head start on the weight loss that is for sure. I am so hungry - I have been totally avoiding the kitchen at all costs. My mom just came to get the kids before we leave and I can hear her in there cleaning. YIKES!
I am a mix of weird emotions right now. I'm so excited and can't wait to begin this new journey, but I'm mourning a bit as well as I divorce myself from some of my favorite foods. For some reason I'm a little weepy - can't quite put my finger on that one.
Thank you to everyone who has so graciously offered me well wishes, good thoughts, and most importantly prayers. I covet them all. I will try to update this blog as soon as I can.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
The first was a radio piece that I was listening to on the way to church this morning. It was about Mike Huckabee, former governor and presidential candidate. They talked about how he had lost over 100 pounds a few years ago and how he had to confront a few of his own demons regarding his faith and how he had mistreated his body which is considered a temple. Specifically looking at the sin of gluttony - you know - that one no one wants to talk about? :)
Then I had church this morning. I do video projection for our church and whenever I am on for video projection I have to do all 3 services. So I had a chance to ruminate over the message 3 times! :) It was about Pressing on in 2009. As the new year approaches lots of people are prone to making resolutions. I've never really been one to make resolutions - I can't take the guilt when I fail! But seeing as how I am having WLS and I have been feeling like 2009 would be my year - the year to make the changes I have been struggling with for so long. But I am struck with the knowledge that these changes have to be complete and total. I can't just have WLS and eat less and exercise - building those new physical habits without addressing the other vital part of my being - my spiritual being - would just be a recipe for failure.
The sermon was based on Philippians 3:10-14.
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Pressing on Toward the Goal 12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
So taking the outline of the sermon - this is some of what God was laying on my heart. First are the four goals outlined in the above text.
- To know Jesus more - For me to turn my focus more to Jesus and less on myself - especially as I face the next few months and re-evaluate my relationship with food. Instead of turning to food I need to be turning to my Lord for my satisfaction.
- To experience His power - God still works in miraculous ways. I want to be an open vessel to Him - not only to experience His power - but to help others see it.
- To share in His sufferings - Pastor Ben said today that Any time there is suffering - there is a call to intimacy. I'm fairly certain that the next week or so will bring me some suffering as I sever my relationship with food. In replacement I need to drawing nearer to God. Pastor Ben also said that if you are not willing to go through the pain - your vision or dream is not very big. I have a big dream and I am finally willing to do the hard things required to achieve it.
- To strive in eternal life - Keep your eye on the ultimate prize - what's truly important - when Jesus is at the center all other things fall in to place. You must have long term goals to keep from being frustrated by short term failures. I must remember I'm in this for the long haul.
But besides goals, Paul gave us ways to accomplish those goals in his letter to the Philippians as well.
- Have a humble attitude - all I could think was "Pamelot"! Yeah - me and humility - I got some work to do there.
- Maintain a singular focus - In Christ alone I place my trust.
- Remember God's claim on your life - my calling is to worship God with my life. If I am worthy of His calling - why have I been treating my body this way?
- Do not be imprisoned by your past - whether it's bad and you are stuck in guilt, or whether they were better times and you wish you could bring them back. Don't look back - don't rest on it - rest in the Lord.
- Run the race today as if it were your last - no more excuses - no more postponing what I know needs to be done.
So as I sit here eyeing the cookies my kids are having with their lunch while I am surviving on clear liquids, I am encouraged by all that I have heard this morning. God is working on me - changing me from the inside out - literally and figuratively! I need to learn to subsist on Him!
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
I have found some very interesting and educational articles recently. Here is one by National Geographic:
The National Geographic Channel is also running a show called The Science of Obesity on this Sunday at 3pm. I haven't seen the show myself, but I have heard it is very interesting and educational. Here is a link with more about that show:
Another show that I really like to watch is Big Medicine on TLC. Here's a link to that as well:
But the most interesting information I have found on gastric bypass and the difference between it and say the Lap-Band is regarding the Hunger Hormones in our body. I had no idea that our body had hormones that control our appetite, our hunger, our physiological reaction to dieting or conversely - over-eating. I can't explain it as well as the experts - so here are some links to some very well written articles on the subject that you may find interesting:
Thursday, December 25, 2008
If it wasn't for the fact that I am having my surgery in 3 days - I would have cried. Even though it was just my family around - I felt totally humiliated. I wasn't even sure if I could post the picture of me in the chair - it disgusts me. I can't wait to be done being fat.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I also got a call from Dr. Enoch's office today. There was a cancellation on the day of my surgery, so my surgery time has been moved up from 5:00pm to 1:45pm. That is good news for me since I will not be allowed to eat much of anything for a couple of days before (on a clear liquid diet) and won't even be able to drink anything on that day.
I also had a group of friends from work take me out for one last "work lunch" today. That was very nice. I feel like I need to have a few "last" things that I won't be able to have for a while. My co-worker, Lori, made these fantastic buckeyes and brought them in to work. Peanut butter and chocolate are God's little gift to me I think. I treasured the two I got in a little package from her. They were so good. But I'm also trying not to over-indulge too much - if I gain weight Dr. Enoch's could pull the plug and cancel my surgery. He has been known to do so. I was encouraged when I got on the scale at the pre-op appt. today that I had actually lost 3 pounds since my last appt. with Dr. Enochs a couple of weeks ago.
A lot of people have been asking me if I'm excited about my surgery on Monday. YES I AM! I am very excited. But today I had my first twinges of nervous-ness. That's not like me. Surgery doesn't make me nervous - I've had a lot of them over the years. But the reality of the changes I am about to endure are starting to hit me. Don't get me wrong - I'm on board - I still want this and I'm still very excited, but I'm nervous. What if I'm not good at this? What if it's hard? What if my tastes change? What if I can't find protein drinks that I like? What if I don't loose weight? What if I'm a failure? What if the recovery is more than I am anticipating?
But I am so ready for a new me. I am ready for some big changes in my life. I can do this. As my wonderful husband has said "You're Pam! Go big or stay home!" So let's do this!
Monday, December 22, 2008
D was the first guy I met when I moved to Massachusetts. I even wrote about it in my diary. It was my first entry into that diary. "I met the cutest guy today!" My family had invited his family over for Sunday dinner to thank them for helping us get situated in this new town. A few months later when school had started I became totally disenfranchised with him. My diary continues "He is such a show-off! He is such a flirt! I can't stand him!" We developed a bit of a love-hate relationship. We would fight and argue - all the while with a smile. We eventually became friends and could be found together a lot. We went to youth group together all the time. I found myself living for youth group - I couldn't wait to see him again. He was a basketball player and I was a cheerleader so we were together a lot simply because of being in the same place at the same time. I found myself looking for even more ways to run into him - at school or at other outside activities. Yeah - that's me - his stalker.
So after being high school sweethearts and dating for 6 years we got married. This summer we will have been married for 15 years. We have weathered a lot - more than I could have ever imagined. I certainly never thought our lives would have turned out the way it has. So much I never bargained for to be sure. But I know in my heart of hearts that I was put here to be his wife, lover, friend. I wouldn't change a thing.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Twas The Night Before Surgery
'Twas the night before surgery,
when all through my gut
not a morsel was stirring,
not even a nut."
The suitcase was packed
by the back door with care,
in hopes that a new me
would soon return there.
I lay nestled, snug in my bed
while visions of calories
danced in my head;
And me in my plus size
pajamas and wrap,
had just settled in f
or a long restless nap.
When deep in my mind
there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my dreams
to see what was the matter.
Away to my fridge
I flew like a flash,
ripped open the door
and drooled at the stash.
The moonlight reflecting
off the beautiful snacks
gave a luster of radiance
to all on the racks.
When, what to my
wondering eyes should appear,
but an array of the comfort foods
I hold so dear.
With a familiar feeling
of all those I'd pick,
I thought in a moment
I just might be sick.
More lovely than angels
their voices they came,
and they whistled and shouted
and called me by name;
"Now pizza, now french fries,
now chocolate galore
on cheescake, on ice cream,
on donuts and more!"
From the tip of my tongue,
to the bottom of my toe,
I will miss you all more
than ever you'll know.
As an addict that shakes
and stirs as he sits,
I'll mourn the loss
of my delectable hits.
So back to my bed
I went with great haste,
and settled back down
with nary a taste.
And then in an instant,
in pre-op I sat,
to no longer be fat.
As I sat deep in thought
and adjusted my gown,
in came my surgeon
in one single bound.
He was dressed all in scrubs,
from his head to his feet
and he seemed very calm
as he eyed me like meat.
He looked at my chart,
with his scope gave a listen;
I don't think he noticed
my eyes start to glisten.
He was chubby and plump
he could lose some himself,
and I laughed when I saw him
in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye
and a twist of his head,
soon gave me to know
I had nothing to dread.
He spoke barely a word
as he prepped for his work,
he paused for a moment,
then turned with a jerk.
And laying a finger
aside of his face,
and giving a nod,
out of the room he did race.
He checked in the next day,
to his students gave a whistle,
and away they all flew
like a down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim
as he walked out of sight,
"speedy thinness to you
and a healthier life!"
~ Author Unknown
- I want my feet to stop hurting
- I want to be able to walk more than a mile without stopping because of my back
- I want to stop wearing my CPAP machine at night
- I want my knees to stop hurting
- I want to be able to cross my legs comfortably
- I want to be able to run around with my kids
- I want to feel like I don't have to avoid mirrors
- I want to be able to fit comfortably in a roller coaster when we go on vacation this summer
- I want to be able to fit comfortably in an airplane seat
- I want my blood pressure to go back to normal
- I want to be able to go to the doctor and not have my blood pressure go up just at the thought of having to get on the scale
- I want to shop in a "normal" store for clothing
- I don't want my kids to be embarassed by their fat mom
I had a discussion with my kids a couple of night ago about the fact that I was going to have surgery and what would happen in a way that they could understand. I told them that I was going to go visit the doctor in the hospital for a couple of days and that the doctor was going do something to make my stomach smaller. We talked about what your stomach is and where it is, too. I explained to them that it would change how I ate and that I would lose a lot of weight and I wouldn't be fat anymore. My son got very upset when I said that. He said "Mom, don't say that about yourself - you're not fat!" It's OK - I am fat - I know I'm fat, but I want to get healthier and lose the weight and not be fat anymore. "But I don't like it when people say that!" He was really upset. I said "Well, have people said that about me to you before?" He wouldn't answer me - just saying that he didn't like it when people said I was fat. It was very sweet, but at the same time disturbing to me. I am doing this as much for them as for myself - they deserve a "normal" mother - one they don't have to be ashamed of. Of course, when I said the same thing to one of my daughters and told her that I wouldn't be fat anymore - she did a little cheer - she was so excited. Not sure which end of the spectrum I appreciated more!
And I find myself having to balance myself a lot lately. I'm having a few "lasts" this week - and while I want to enjoy those, I don't want to over-indulge, either. I have a fun progressive supper tomorrow night with our closest friends. That always means good food! Then, of course, there is Christmas Dinner. And some friends at work are having "Pam's Last Lunch" for me on the 23rd at The Cheesecake Factory. I am excited and yet sick of myself at the same time. Such extremes trying to find a balance.
For the most part I am finding everyone to be incredibly generous and supportive when they find out about me having this surgery. There are still quite a few people who don't understand the extent of what will happen, but I guess I didn't either until I started researching it.
I have also found an incredibly helpful website that also has quite a bit of humor in it. It is two ladies who are "successful" WLS graduates. They give hints and tips and tricks to being successful in your WLS journey, too.
Hope you all are enjoying the Holidays!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
- Eat every 3-4 hours
- Drink and eat slowly. Take at least 30 minutes to eat each meal
- Do not eat and drink at the same time. Stop drinking 30 minutes to 1 hour before a meal and resume drinking 30 minutes to 1 hour after a meal.
- Take small bites and chew well (20-30 times minimum). A large piece of food may block the opening in your stomach and cause vomiting. This could result in a procedure to remove the food. Be especially careful 4-6 months after surgery. It is easy to forget to chew well at this point and problems could occur.
- If you vomit, you have overeaten or blocked the opening in your stomach.
- Dumping syndrome occurs with gastric bypass surgery. Do not drink or eat anything with a lot of sugar in it. Do not add sugar to foods. The symptoms of dumping syndrome include: weakness, sweating, a faint jittery feeling, nervousness, nausea, cramping, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Some patients may experience dumping due to milk products containing milk sugar (lactose). I really hope that isn't me because I love my milk.
- Protein will aid the healing process after surgery and keep you healthy as you lose weight. It may also help you avoid hair loss and muscle wasting that can happen after rapid weight loss. Consume a minimum of 45-60 grams of protein per day.
- Keep a diary of everything you eat and drink.
- The surgery reduces the size of your stomach, which makes it easier to become dehydrated. Sip small amounts of fluid throughout the day. DO NOT GULP! Do not use a straw. You need 48-64 ounces of water each day. DO NOT drink fluids that contain sugar, alcohol, caffeine or carbonation!
- First week after surgery - CLEAR LIQUIDS: broth, sugar free clear juice, water. You will only be able to consume 1-2 ounces at a time. NO SOLID FOOD under any circumstances!
- Second week after surgery - FULL LIQUIDS: protein content of liquids is important. Examples of high protein liquids: carnation instant breakfast, skim milk, tomato soup with skim milk and protein powders made with milk or plain yogurt. Avoid yogurt with fruit or yogurt sweetened with sugar. Also avoid milkshakes.
- Third week after surgery - PUREED DIET: "pudding consistency" foods. Baby food is recommended instead of pureeing your own to be sure you don't miss any lumps.
- Fourth week after surgery - PUREED AND SOFT FOODS: You can now begin to include additional soft foods such as sliced cheese, cottage cheese and egg dishes. Avoid melted cheese and fried eggs.
- The fifth to sixth week after surgery: You may begin to add meats that have been ground after cooking, such as pork tenderloin, veal, chicken, turkey and beef. Vegetables must be cooked very well and chopped fine.
- After the seventh week point: You may begin to experiment with more foods.
- Recommended Vitamin Supplementation after Surgery: a chewable or liquid multivitamin supplement is recommended during the first eight weeks. A mutlivitamin, calcium, and vitamin B12 supplement will be needed for life following this surgery.
- Most patients experience a fairly rapid weight loss in the first three to six months following surgery. The greatest weight loss will occur in the first three months after the gastric bypass procedure. Most studies suggest that patients lose an average of 50 to 75% of excess weight in the first 12 to 18 months. Research has shown that weight loss surgery patients who exercise three or more times per week for a minimum of 30 minutes lose an additional 12% of their excess weight in six months compared to their cohorts who do not exercise as strenuously.
So as you can see - this is anything but the easy way out in losing weight. It is a tool that is used to help me put my eating habits back on track.
The name comes from one of my all time favorite movies - The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. If you've never seen it - go out and rent it NOW!
When I had finished watching it for the first time I went out to the web page that was created for the movie. It had a Ya-Ya name generator on it. So I plugged my name into it and voila! I was dubbed Queen Shakes Her Booty! I think it fits me quite well.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
But I suppose in order to have an after - I have to confront my before. That is something I have artfully avoided for some time. Those who know me well know that I enjoy my comfortable encampment in the land of denial. I can stay there for quite some time. But part of this catharsis and journey here is to confront just how bad things have gotten in this area of my life. I have made excuses for all of it for a very long time. Part of my artful avoidance has been ensuring that I hardly ever make it into pictures. No lasting evidence - nothing that I am able to look back on and realize just how huge I have become. What pictures are taken of me are carefully staged.
So here is the unveling of my awful before. It is painful to publish these pictures, but I think it's an important first step for me to do before my procedure.
Friday, December 12, 2008
So we'll start with Weight Loss Surgery, or more commonly referred to online as WLS. There are several different types of WLS. You can have gastric bypass, lap-band, duodenal switch, vertical gastric sleeve, and the list goes on and on. I chose gastric bypass surgery, or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. Gastric bypass surgery makes the stomach smaller and allows food to bypass part of the small intestine. You will feel full more quickly than when your stomach was its original size, which reduces the amount of food you eat and thus the calories consumed. Bypassing part of the intestine also results in fewer calories being absorbed. This leads to weight loss. I am having the surgery laparascopically. I will be in the hospital for 2 days and I plan to only take a week off of work.
I choose gastric bypass over the lap-band (which has grown in popularity a lot over the past few years) for several reasons. Lap-band can be easily cheated and I knew that if I could cheat it I would. The gastric bypass has immediate measures built into it to kind of give you a "hand-slap" when you eat wrong. If you eat too much sugar or carbs or fat you will get what is lovingly referred to as "Dumping Syndrome". I won't go into too much detail here (I may at a later time), but I think you get the idea. I also don't have a good history with having foreign object in my body. My body usually rejects foreign objects - pushing them out of my body. Don't ask me how or why I know this about my body - I just do. Also, the lap-band would require a lot of follow up visits with the surgeon to adjust the band and to do "fills". From past experience I know that I may not always have the incredibly great insurance I have now - so I can't be guaranteed that I would have the financial means to continue in that manner.
And so my official journey towards WLS began in July. I had reached the height of feeling sick of myself. I had been feeling for quite some time that I was almost ready to make some changes in my life. But now I was finally ready and I did my first ever search on weight loss surgery. I researched surgeons in my area and accepted by my insurance. I was very impressed by Dr. Paul Enochs reviews and his internet presence. So I called his office to schedule an initial consultation. I was instructed to attend one of his weekly seminars on Weight Loss Surgery and I signed up for the first available seminar. I had broached the subject with my husband (who I shall refer to on this blog as D) and asked him if he would attend the seminar with me. We went and it was very informative. Dr. Enochs' insurance specialist spoke and gave a lot of information on what the various insurance companies would require before approving the surgery. I found out that my insurance, Cigna, would require a 6 month doctor supervised weight loss program in addition to all of the other tests and sign offs from various doctors. Then Dr. Enochs did a 2 hour presentation on weight loss surgery, the various types, as well as some information on him and his experience. He was incredibly easy to listen to. His voice was soft and gentle and comforting. He was very patient and gracious. He listened and responded to every question that was posed and never made anyone feel as though their question was stupid (and believe me - some of those questions were stupid!). By the time D and I left the seminar I felt that I had a good idea of which surgery I was going to have. I remember asking D what his thoughts were on which surgery I should have and his exact words were "You're Pam! Go big or stay home!" Allrighty then!
So I quickly moved into attack mode. The insurance specialist had said that the more involved I was in the process the faster it would get done. So I scheduled an appointment with my Primary Care Physician (the astounding Dr. Bloom) and got to working on everything. To make a long story shorter here is a list of all the things I have had to ensure happen in the last 6 months so that Dr. Enochs office could submit a package to my insurance company requesting approval for my gastric bypass surgery:
- 6 month Dr. supervised weight loss program
- 5 year weight history
- Chest X-Ray
- Upper GI
- Sign off from GI doc on my fitness for surgery
- Nutritionist appointments and approval
- Psychiatrist appointments and approval
- Labwork requiring 6 vials of blood
So after all of those doctors appointments (not all of them covered by insurance), an enrollment fee of $400 with Dr. Enochs office (to ensure that I am serious about committing to this life change and to cover a lot of the work of those in the office that can't bill insurance companies like the doctor does), and all of the poking and proding we had a package to submit to insurance requesting approval. I was approved pretty quickly and on the first try (did I mention I have great insurance right now?) and then was able to schedule my surgery. It is scheduled for Monday, December 29 at 5pm.
I will go into all of the changes that I have ahead of me immediately following surgery and beyond in another post.
So here's some background on me and my "weighty" issues:
I remember always struggling with my weight. I specifically remember hitting 100 pounds in 6th grade and knowing that I was the only girl in my class who was that heavy. I just always remember knowing that I was heavier than all my friends as I went through Jr. High and High School.
As I went to college I had more of the same. That was the first time that I tried dieting. I did Weight Watchers. It worked I did well with it, but eventually the weight came back and of course with a little more. When I was in college I had my first experience with ridicule because of my weight. I felt so ashamed and spent months yo-yoing in my weight after that incident. It would not be the only time that I was bluntly reminded of how heavy I was - not only by strangers but by "friends" and family as well.
I got married and kept putting on more weight. I had difficulty getting pregnant and went through years of fertility treatments. That, of course, didn't help matters either. I tried every diet out there - you name it - I tried it. I would loose a little and then gain it back and more. After my first child I went back to Weight Watchers and lost a good amount of weight there before I got pregnant again - this time with twins. Since their birth I have steadily climbed in weight - exceeding what I was even when I was pregnant with them.
I had a doctor about 5 years ago that was insistent that I needed WLS. She was relentless about it. I couldn't go to the doctor for anything without her asking me if I had decided to have WLS. It really made me mad - I wasn't ready to hear it and it made me stop going to her as my PCP. But her words always stuck in my head - was always something that pricked at my conscience.
And so it's taken me 5 years to reconcile myself to this decision. I have known all along that I need to make some HUGE life changes and I knew that I wasn't ready mentally, emotionally, or physically yet to deal with them. But I have made excuses for myself for too long. I need to get healthy again. I am really looking forward to this incredible journey I'm about to embark on.
Get ready for the new me!