Saturday, May 29, 2010

Bone Scan Results

Dr. Jalkut called me today (yes, on a Saturday) to let me know that the results of my bone scan were "perfect".  That is a huge weight lifted from our shoulders.

So what does this mean?  Well, combined with the fact that my pulmonary CT scan looked clear it means that whatever this mass is - it looks like it has not spread of metastisized.  Dr. Jalkut also said that the abdominal CT scan did not show any enlarged lymph nodes - also a good sign.  Removing the kidney and the mass that has attached itself to it should be the only treatment I need. 

Thank you very much for all your prayers.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hump Day Blessings

So here are my blessings for today:

  1. A neighbor - who I hardly know at this point mind you - friended me on Facebook after hearing of my recent troubles.  She sent me a lovely note and I really appreciated it.  But on top of that - today she dropped by with baked ziti and fresh salad for my family for dinner!  What a huge blessing! And hopefully the start to a great new friendship.
  2. My upper endoscopy went on without a hitch!  I did not wake up - I got a great nap and even dreamed.  I can't remember what about for the life of me - but I do remember I was enjoying it.
  3. The anesthesiologist at the endoscopy center was a huge blessing to my life today.  Very kind and compassionate and took a moment to pray over me.  He even came back around after the endoscopy to see me and let me know that he would be thinking of me and praying for me and was sure I would do just fine with all that is ahead of me.  The kindness of strangers has been huge in my life today.
  4. My surgery is scheduled.  It is not as quickly as I would like it to be - but it is scheduled.  And now I can get on with making plans for that time, etc...
  5. And while I have been on the war path regarding scheduling my surgery - I have to say - I love my doctors.  They have taken time out of their very busy days to make personal phone calls to me and my husband and have helped to re-assure us and console us.  Not many doctors really care that much.  Mine do.  I am blessed.


So I think we have some explanations for why the surgery is not as soon as we would like it to be.  My darling husband made some phone calls today and threw a few hissy fits with a few people (I have trained him well).

First he called Dr. Jalkut's office and talked to the scheduler.  He was nice about it, but he voiced his concern about telling me I basically have cancer, but then pushing surgery out 3 weeks.  The scheduler understood his frustration and offered to pass a message along to Dr. Jalkut. 

Dr. Jalkut himself called Daren back.  He was very understanding of our frustration and explained that the reason he could not do it until June 15 is because he really wanted a particular partner in his office to be in the surgery with him.  He is concerned about my previous surgeries - particulary my gastric bypass - and the challenge that will present to him to remove my kidney.  He really wants another surgeon in the OR with him to assist him with the unique challenges that may present.  With that being said - coordinating his schedule with his partner and the OR - this was the quickest they could get that scheduled.  He even recheduled all of his clinic appointments for that day so that he could do this surgery.  He could get me in sooner, but would only have a PA to assist him in the OR - and he very much wanted his partner in there.

So really - how can I be upset with that??? 

Hubby also called Dr. Bloom to "chat".  :)  Dr. Bloom and Dr. Jalkut talked and then Dr. Bloom called us.  We go the same story.  We also got reassurances from both doctors that this tumor has probably been there a long time and while they realize it's hard to wait and upsetting - it won't change much in that time and neither will the prognosis.

So I guess it is what it is.  I've never been very good at patience.  It appears I need another lesson in it or something.  Whatfrekinever.

So my bone scan is in the morning tomorrow.  Really wishing I had a kindle right about now to help me pass the time while I wait around.  :)  May have to smuggle my mom's MiFi gadget so I can at least surf the web while I wait.  Maybe I'll catch some of you on FB tomorrow!  :)

Surgery is scheduled

So Dr. Jalkut's office called right after my EGD this morning with my surgery date and details.  June 15.

Yes - that is pretty far out.

No - I'm not happy about it.

She asked if that date worked for me.  I said "Well, I was really hoping it would be sooner and was led to believe it would be."  She said this was the first available and Dr. Jalkut reserved it specifically for me because they had a cancellation that day - so he put my name in there himself.

It looks like hurry up and wait is the name of the game.

I have pre-op appointment with Dr. Jalkut and at the hospital on June 10.

Mmmmmmmmmm Propofol

So Propofol is my new best friend!

I had my upper endoscopy this morning.  Apparently they now use propofol when they do the EGD.  So less chance of you waking up or of them needing to wake you up.  And I dreamed!  I have no idea about what - but I know I dreamed and it was pretty cool.  And then I woke up and I felt fine.  I wasn't hung over and after about 30 minutes I wasn't even that tired.

It went well.  Dr. Hutzenbuhler didn't find anything she was concerned about.  She took some biopsies, but expects them to be fine.  I even got some really cool pictures!  Yeah!  (I think that is the propofol talking.)

As they were prepping me for the procedure you have to answer all those medical questions.  That always takes forever for me.  Yes I have had previous surgeries ... ready?  No really ... ready?  And we list those.  Any family history of ...?  Yup - ready?  And today we had to add the whole discussion of  "Oh, yeah, and by the way - I have a renal mass that I'm waiting to have removed."  UGH.

And, of course, I had to have this conversation with several people.  First the nurse, then the anesthetist.  The anesthetist asked me about the note about the renal mass.  I gave him the run down.  He was very nice and re-assuring that renal cell carcinoma (if it hasn't spread) is very treatable.  Then he grabbed my hand in his and closed his eyes and said a silent prayer for me for just a few seconds.  I smiled and said thank you.  He left my curtained area.  And then ... for the first time since I was told about Elvira ... I cried.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Wrath of Pam

I'm so frustrated.  They still have not scheduled my surgery.  I called twice yesterday and this morning my husband called.  Today we got two excuses: one was that Dr. Jalkut has my file and has to write something up for the surgery before they can schedule it, and the other is that he wants to see the bone scan before he schedules the surgery.

Whatever - both of these contradict what he told me in person on Monday.  He said if he could do it on Tuesday - he would.  He said that surgery would be scheduled quickly.  Two days later is not quickly in my book.

And thus ... The Wrath of Pam.

So I called Dr. Bloom and told on him!  :)  So now Dr. Bloom and his nurse have both called over there to inquire about when I will be scheduled as well.

If I don't hear from them in the morning tomorrow - all hell will be breaking loose. 

Well, kinda.  I have my upper endoscopy tomorrow morning.  I have to be at the endoscopy center at 8:00am.  So I will probably be quite out of it tomorrow morning and well into the afternoon.  HHHHMMMMM .... The Wrath of Pam on versed ... this could be interesting.

But I am going to be persistent ... cause that's how I roll.  You've basically told me I have cancer.  You know when the bone scan is - and you know that you will have the results the same day - so put me on the freakin' OR schedule!  The trick is how do I do this with some level of decorum - seeing as how they do hold my kidney (damaged as it is) in their hands.

And speaking of the upper endoscopy.  I would rather have my kidney out than have another upper endoscopy.  Why?  Because the last time I had one they had to wake me up in the middle of it.  So instead of not remembering the procedure - I have very vivid memories of it - not fun to be awake while they stick a camera down your throat and into your stomach.  Hopefully, because I have lost so much weight and because I have a different doctor, this time will be a much better experience.

So I wish I had a better update to give you - this is today's update.  Watch out - Pam is on the warpath until she gets this surgery scheduled.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bone Scan

OK - so I have my bone scan scheduled for Friday morning.  My understanding is this scan can take several hours - a lot of that waiting around time involved in that.  So there goes my Friday.

So, obviously, not going to have surgery this week.  Still waiting for that to be scheduled.  Apparently, Dr. Jalkut needs to write something up for the surgery before he gives it to the scheduler.  He has my file in his office and is working on it is what I'm being told.

So I still have an upper endoscopy scheduled for Thursday morning.  We are keeping that appointment because I am still having pretty persistent chest pain and we want to get to the bottom of it.  I'm beginning to believe it really could be stress or anxiety ... so bring on the Xanax baby!  :)  To be honest, I would rather have my kidney out than have an upper endsocopy.  The last time I had one they had to wake me up in the middle of it because I was gagging too much and they couldn't get the camera down far enough - so they had to wake me up with the camera half way down and get me to calm down (yeah right!) and breath through my nose so that they could progress the camera.  Most people don't remember their EGD's - I remember almost my entire EGD with vivid memory.  Not fun.  But I do hope to get some answers to this chest pain.

Since I will not have had my surgery by this weekend - I'm thinking I should really send Elvira off with a bang!  Ride this kidney hard while I have it!  :)  We'll see what I can conjur up!

Birthday Blessings

In the midst of all this ....  well it's not appropriate for me to use the words I am really thinking at the moment to describe what all "this" is ... but in the midst of all of it - here are my blessings.

  1. Have I mentioned the great team of doctors I have?  Dr. Bloom, Dr. Jalkut, and Dr. Hutzenbuhler.  I think I hit the jackpot here.
  2. Have I mentioned that I have some really kick ass friends?  RAMP in particular - you know who you are.  As Rebecca has said - I need RAMP time like I need air.  But it's not just RAMP - I have some great friends who lift me up in prayer, lift me up with encouragement, just lift me up in general.  Some old - some new.
  3. My family - I am fortunate enough to have my parents living in my yard. Their support and encouragement is tremendous.  Then there's my sweet husband.  It's all OK.  We'll get through this together.  And my children - who keep me grounded and humble above all else.
  4. I have been told by each one of my doctors to be thankful for the chest pain I have been having.  So as annoying as it is - I am thankful for it.  It led them to discover Elvira and she had been very quietly just waiting in the wings for her chance to shine.  I would still like to find out the source of the chest pain - cause it's still there.  Listening more to the theory that it's anxiety than I had before.  It may be that my body is anxious and my head has not caught up yet.  :)
  5. Facebook.  Yes, I'm addicted.  But I'm also thankful for it - for a way to reach out to those in my life - past and present.  And also a way for them to reach out to me.  The words of encouragement that I have received the past few days have been like a salve to my soul.
So I am focusing on my blessings today.  Happy Birthday to me.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Accepting Help

A lot of people have been asking how they can help.  I am so bad at this question.  I hate asking for help and I just don't know how to answer when people ask how they can help.  I know that people want to help and I know that I probably could use help - and I'm just bad at this - just so plain bad.

So I have a couple of names of people you can contact if you do want to help out in any way.  You can contact my mom, Pat Dempsey (click on her name for her email), or Marsha Daniel (click on her name for the email).  They are also on Facebook and you can contact them through there as well.  I have a feeling these wonderful women will be more knowledgeable about what my needs are than even I will.

So I apologize if you have asked how you can help and I've blown you off. I just don't do this well.

The New 90/10 Rule

OK - so Dr. Jalkut is one of my new favorite doctors.  :)  Let's see if I can recap my appointment with him this afternoon.
  • 90% chance that this is kidney cancer - WHOA!
  • I will be having surgery soon - haven't gotten it scheduled yet.  He said if he could do it tomorrow he would.  Kinda glad it's not tomorrow - that's my birthday.  But it will probably be later this week or next week.
  • He will remove my entire kidney. 
  • He will not biopsy the mass as he has seen where during a biopsy they actually spread the cancer from the tumor and the person died of kidney cancer.  So no biopsy - just be done with the kidney since my left kidney looks very healthy.
  • Need 2 things before surgery - a pulmonary CT Scan (which I just had done in the ER a few weeks ago - so they will just get that one) and a bone scan to see if the cancer has metastisized to either the lungs or the bone.
  • Will try to do the surgery laproscopically, but with my history of many abdominal surgeries - that may not be possible.  If the surgery is laproscopic - 2-3 days in the hospital with 2-3 week recovery.  If it's open - 5-7 days in the hospital with 6-8 week recovery.
I think that's it.  Just waiting for the office to call with the appointment for the bone scan, surgery, and my pre-op appointment with Dr. Jalkut.

Named the "thing"

So, in keeping with my theme of naming body parts or things in my body - I have name "it".  It shall henceforth be referred to as .... Elvira.

I am thinking she won't be with me long.  She will have to get to stepping pretty soon.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I haven’t talked about this much – but have alluded to it a bit on the blog. So let me give some history to bring everyone up to speed.

3 weeks ago I had this really weird attack on my way to work. My chest started to hurt – really really really bad. It got so bad that I had to pull over. I was 10 seconds from calling an ambulance. I made it to work where my friends there convinced me to get it checked out. I went to my Primary Care Physician, Dr. Josh Bloom. He is wonderful and rather than have me to go the ER and sit all day he fit me in. He did an EKG and assessed me. He didn’t feel it was my heart – and neither did I. He felt it was GI in nature. So he gave me a GI Cocktail and sent me home to rest. I still had pain later in the afternoon so he had me go and get some blood work done. One of the tests he had done was a D-Dimer test. It came back elevated and could have been a signal that I had a blood clot – so he had me go to the ER for a cardiac workup. I went that evening to the ER and had a full cardiac work up. It was determined at that time that there was no clot – my heart and my lungs were fine. So as a follow up to that I made an appointment with a new GI Doc – Dr. Angela Hutzenbuhler. I went and talked with her – she poked around and asked lots of questions. Her diagnosis “You’re weird”. Yes, thank you, my name is Pam and I am the Queen of Weird. But she was wonderful and fantastic and was concerned about what the pain was and where it was coming from. She scheduled me for an abdominal CT Scan and an upper endoscopy.

This past Thursday I had the abdominal CT Scan. NASTY! I had to drink a berry “flavored” barium sulfate concoction an hour before the scan started. There were some subtle signs during the CT Scan that they had found something out of the ordinary, but I forgot about them quickly and went on with my very chaotic life.

Friday afternoon I got a phone call and I recognized the number as Dr. Hutzenbuhler’s office. When I answered the call it was Dr. Hutzenbuhler herself. I said “Uh – this can’t be good when the doctor calls me herself.” Yeah – it wasn’t. The CT Scan showed a 6x5cm mass on my right kidney. Huh? Crazy GI Doc say what? My kidney? That was so not even on our radar! The whole time she was talking to me I was laughing. She’s like “Well, everyone reacts to bad news differently.” Yeah – this is how the Dempsey’s do bad news – we laugh hysterically at totally inappropriate times. She informed me that I needed to see a urologist. There are lots of good ones in this area, and she didn’t have a strong feeling one way or another about who I should see – so she wanted to get Dr. Bloom involved since it would make sense to coordinate my care with him. She said she had called him, but that it was his day off so she wasn’t sure if she would be talking to him today, etc…

Well, about 10 minutes later I got a call from Dr. Bloom – yes on his day off. Have I mentioned I LOVE THIS MAN? He is a fantastic doctor. He informed me that he actually does have quite a bit of experience in this area and does have a strong feeling about who I should see. He wanted me to see Dr. Mark Jalkut at Wake Urological Associates. He said he is very good and very competent, etc… He is right across the street from my favorite hospital – Rex. So he said someone would be in touch with me to set up that appointment and that it would be ASAP. He was re-assuring and at the same time wanted to prepare me for what was ahead. The treatment for this mass would be surgical. Dr. Jalkut would be the one to decide if they remove the mass, part of my kidney, or my whole kidney. But his feeling was that the mass was large enough that my whole kidney would probably need to be removed.

In about 10 more minutes I got a call from Dr. Jalkut’s office and I have an appointment scheduled for Monday afternoon with Dr. Jalkut.

So that is where we stand right now. Don’t know what the mass is – just know it’s pretty big. Dr. Hutzenbuhler still wants to do the Upper Endoscopy to ensure we find what’s causing me that pain if at all possible. Words that have been thrown around at this time are radical nephrectomy (kidney removal) and renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer). Mass could be benign, but 85% of kidney masses are renal cell carcinoma. If it hasn’t spread then removing the kidney is the treatment and I will not likely need radiation or chemo. Don’t want to jump ahead too quickly.

This brings me to my blessings for the weekend.

1. We found a mass on my right kidney! No really – this is a blessing – we would have never known about it if I wasn’t having chest pain.

2. My friends and family – need I say more?

3. And since it bears repeating … my friends and family.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Fridayatits - I have it in a major way today.  :)

Better late than never - here are my blessings for today.

  1. I absolutely love my primary care physician and family doctor.  Dr. Josh Bloom of Carolina Family Practice and Sports Medicine has got to be the best doctor I have ever had - period - hands down - end of discussion.  He is a wonderful man and cares for my family like no other.
  2. I have a new GI doc - Dr. Angela Hutzenbuhler.  She is also - quite literally - the bomb.  So is her nurse, Janet.
  3. At the risk of being repetative - I am extremely thankful for good health insurance.  I know what it's like not to have any or to have such crap insurance that I may as well not have any. 
I realize there seems to be a theme today.  :)  Let's just go with that for now.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Not Right

I just had to share this little note that hangs at my desk from a co-worker.  I love it.

That pretty much sums it up.  :)

Today's Blessings

Today's Blessings

  1. I know I've said this before - but I have to say it again ... School is almost over!!!  YIPEE!!!!
  2. Very little traffic on the way to work this morning - that is always a nice surprise.
  3. Great co-workers ... for the most part anyway.  :) 
So post back with your blessings for today!


This was too funny not to post.  I have stopped forwarding email - instead I post the really good stuff here on my blog.  Because as the title says - It's all about me!  :)

Friendship ~ None of that Sissy Stuff

Are you tired of those sissy friendship' poems that always sound good, but never actually come close to reality?

Well, here is a series of promises that actually speak of true friendship

You will see no cute little smiley faces on this ~ Just the stone cold truth of our great friendship.

1. When you are sad ~ I will help you get drunk and plot revenge against the sorry bastard who made you sad.

2. When you are blue ~ I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.

3. When you smile ~ I will know you are thinking of something that I would probably want to be involved in.

4. When you are scared ~ I will rag on you about it every chance I get until you're NOT.

5. When you are worried ~ I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be until you quit whining.

6. When you are confused ~ I will try to use only little words.

7. When you are sick ~ Stay away from me until you are well again.. I don't want whatever you have.

8. When you fall ~ I will laugh at you, but I'll help you up.

9. This is my oath .... I pledge it to the end. 'Why?' you may ask ~ because you are my friend.

Friendship is like peeing your pants, everyone can see it, but only you can feel the true warmth.

Thanks, Cindy!  :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Blessings of the day

So here are my blessings of the day.

  1. Good health insurance.  I think y'all know me well enough to know I need this.  I'm running out of "spare parts" to be rid of.  :)  My family could go broke just on meds each month alone.
  2. School is almost over.  We are so ready for a slower pace of life in our house.
  3. A somewhat slower pace at work - for the time being.  It's not as frantic as it has been - though I don't expect it to last very long - I want to enjoy it while it does last.


I follow quite a few blogs having to do with WLS (See the list of blogs I love on the side).  The Shrinking Titan is one.  Tony has been incredibly successful with his surgery.  I love his outlook on life and I love following him on FB.  (Side note - he is a GENIUS at Excel, too).  He recently posted a recipe for peanut butter crepes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese.  No offense to my DH - but Good Lord - I think I love this man.

Here is a picture of his nomalicous creation

And here is a link to the post on his site for the recipe.

I plan on making this ASAP.  I am positive it will give my taste buds a major party in my mouth.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Stuck In The Fat Me

So I realized something about myself recently, and I'm not sure how I feel about it.  I'm thinking it's not the best thing - and something I need to work on.

I have noticed that people I am meeting in my life right now - people who didn't know me before when I was fat - I feel this need to tell them I have lost 115 pounds.  It's like I feel this need to make sure they knew I was fat.  It's still such a big part of me and a part of who I am.  Why do I feel like people don't really know me unless they know that part of my story?  When will I start to look at this as just one part of my story - just like my fertility battle, or all the different places I've lived, or the premature birth of my children?  I don't feel the need to tell everyone I know about those things.  When will I stop feeling like that weight still defines me?  I am free of the 115 pounds but I feel at times like I am still living with it.  I am still surprised by what looks back at me in the mirror - I still don't recognize that girl I see in pictures.  When will I finally be comfortable in my own body? The body that I worked so hard for.

I don't have answers and I don't expect them.  Just ruminating and blogging.  :)

More Blessings

So, my co-worker, Cindy, just came over to my desk to give me grief over not keeping up with my "blessings" posts.  Thank you, Cindy!  Here's today's blessings ...

  1. I started running again - got 5 miles in on Saturday.  It was hot and I was slow, but it feels good to get back to my running.
  2. I have one fantastic mother.  I am fortunate to have her living in my yard.  :)
  3. I got to see Wicked this past weekend.  PHENOMENAL.  And that feeds my next blessing ...
  4. My friends.  There are many fantastic songs in Wicked - but one in particular moved me to tears.  It's called "For Good".  Here are some of the lyrics ...
(Glinda) I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good

(Elphaba) It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend...

Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you

(Glinda) Because I knew you

(Both) I have been changed for good

I have so many friends that I could point to in this moment.  Friends that encouraged me - friends who are there to listen to me - friends who have challenged me to do and be better.  Because I knew you I have been changed for good.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday's Blessings

Here are my blessings today:

  1. My kids go to a fantastic school with fantastic teachers who love them and care for them and truly want the best for them.
  2. My husband turns 39 today.  We have our share of ups and downs, but he is truly the love of my life and I am glad to be his wife and the mother of his children.
  3. I feel blessed to have been able to have gastric bypass surgery and be down 115 pounds.
What are you blessed with today?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I have decided to be very mindful about identifying the blessings in my life.  It is very easy for me to focus on what is wrong in my life and dwell on that - so I have decided that each day I will identify 3 blessings.  They could be as simple as "no traffic on the way to work today" or "Caleb told me he loved me" to "I got good news from the doctor today" or "I didn't have a heart attack!" (that won't be funny to those of you who don't know me well - those of you who do - laugh on).

So I am not sure how successful I will be at getting my blessings on here each and every day - but I'm going to try.  Here goes my first one:

  1. I was able to get an appointment with a new GI doc for this coming Monday - yeah for not having to wait a month.
  2. My husband and I made up after having a fight.
  3. I got paid yesterday. (I tend to focus on how it's not as much as I would like it to be - I need to remember that in today's economy I am lucky to be getting the pay check that I do.)
Feel free to add your blessings in the comments below.  :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Runner's High

I had always heard about a Runner's High - but I never believed it.  Had you even told me I would be running when I had my gastric bypass surgery I would have said "Why?  Is someone chasing me?  With a gun?  Cause I don't run."  But I have discovered a lot about running in the past year.  One being that - it is great for my mood.  I recently found this article and had to pass it along:

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Full Circle

I had another 5K race today.  Not my best performance - but pretty good all things considered.  "All things" include not being able to run for the past 2 weeks and only getting 5 hours of sleep last night due to my twins birthday sleepover.  I didn't have a fantastic race - but it was better than anything I was doing even last summer - so I'm pretty pleased.

After the 5K race today there was a "Fun Run" for the kids and such.  Only 3/4 mile.  My daughters really wanted to participate in it.  Neither of them really run (they are only in first grade) - though they are always asking to go running with me. 

So the whistle blew to start the race.  My one daughter took off like a shot!  Marissa was out there keeping up with all the boys - blowin' her mama away (in all fairness I had just completed a 5K - but I digress).  I was more concerned about Megan running out of steam.  We ran it together - holding hands most of the way.  (Good lord I can't even type this without getting all weepy!)  She would start to peter out and complain that she couldn't do it and I would say "Megan - you are doing so great!  You are running with mommy!  You can do it!"  She would get a burst of energy and take off in front of me.  When we turned the last corner to get to the finish line I started yelling at her "Come on!  Go faster!  You can beat your mama!"  And she did - she took off sprinting the finish line.  And after she crossed she turned around with the biggest smile on her face - "MOM!  I did it!  I did it!  I didn't think I could do it - but I did it!"  And I couldn't find Marissa anywhere - a friend grabbed me and said "She took off to do another lap - you did 3 laps - she's determined to do 3, too."

They all got medals for running the Fun Run - probably the best part of the day for them!

And so here is my full circle.  I always said I had this surgery as much for my kids as I did for myself.  I wanted them to have a healthy and happy mommy - and I wanted to be a better example to them.  I feel like it's all coming full circle now.  Is this the mommy that they will have memories of?  Instead of "fat mommy"?  The one that ran with them?  The one that ran races and exercised and made that a priority?  Even my husband has been losing weight and his clothes are totally hanging on him.  Our actions now are changing reality for our family.