Thursday, January 28, 2016

pH Probe Test

I woke up a little anxious this morning and ready to get the pH probe and the entire day over. I'm still not sure how I feel. I thought my symptoms would be worse without my medication for a couple of days. I don't know if:
  • All my symptoms are actually from my hernia and aren't acid reflux at all.
  • I'm so used to it that it doesn't feel really different.
  • After my band slip, the acid spiked but has now settled a bit.
Regardless, I will know the answer soon enough and I can continue on with whatever will fix me!

I headed to the hospital while it was still dark. The facility is huge so it took me a while to park, get to the building, and get registered. I waited for a bit in the lab lobby, but soon enough someone came to get me. The tech and nurse were both super nice and talked me through the whole thing.

First, they had me blow my nose. Then they shot a syringe of Novocain up one nostril and I sniffed like I was doing a line of coke (I assume.) Then they did the same thing on the other nostril even though the tube would only go in one nostril. It started to burn a bit but nothing too bad. Then they had me gargle a small amount of a foul tasting liquid to numb my throat.

Then it was time for the insertion. The tube is about the size of a piece of spaghetti. The insertion itself was fine until the tube hit the back of my throat. Then they gave me some water to swallow as she continued the insertion. It was uncomfortable, but not nearly as bad as I had imagined.

Once it was done, she taped it to the side of my face. The tube is attached to a monitor that I wear on a strap around my neck. I look ridiculous.

I'm so glad I'm able to work from home!! Just walking to my car then up to my apartment, I got all sorts of stares. Not unkind ones, more sympathetic, but still. They advised me to eat, drink and otherwise live as normal. The only "no"s were medication, gum (or hard candy) and throwing up. There is no  way I'm going to Jazzercise as I had planned, but I MIGHT try and get myself to go on the elliptical or treadmill for a bit this afternoon. We'll see.

They did encourage me to eat food that will promote acid reflux. That feels weird but I get it. I stopped by McDonalds and got a sausage biscuit and coffee. I figured that should do it. When I tried to eat/drink, I realized the tube was in the way, but I was able to fix it.

Eating is a tad uncomfortable. I liken it to a contact lens. The first time you put them in your eyes, they water and feel scratchy. The tube is like that. It makes me want to swallow a lot and it is a tad scratchy, but I'm a tough girl. It will be fine.

When I hiccup, burp, cough or speak loudly, it moves around a bit and I can feel it. I would say bottom line, it is annoying. But blessedly, I can work from home so that's great. I've already had two conference calls and shortly I will have a third.

It will definitely be a day of delivery and hiding out. I look forward to tomorrow!!


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

pH Test Pending

I wanted to give a little update for those following my insurance process with interest. After my post yesterday morning, I got impatient and called the doc I was referred to for the pH probe. They said that they had gotten my referral but they no longer do those tests and would be notifying my doctor.

I really wanted to call the doctor right away, but I told myself to be patient. Happily, I was contacted today by a local hospital that will be doing the outpatient procedure. I go in Thursday morning at 6:30am which is really stinking early. BUT...since I'm going to have a tube sticking out of my nose all day, I decided to work from home. So I won't have to get "work ready" or anything.

Apparently, I'm supposed to just have a normal day. I can have a decently normal workday at home, so that's fine. But I'm not 100% sure about working out. My biggest concern is that I'm not able to take ANY reflux meds (PPI or H2) until after the test is complete. Not sure I will be able to workout after 2 days with no medicine. I guess I will wait and see.

I take 80mg of PPI and typically one H2 per day. Thank goodness I bought a bed that allows me to sit up and sleep. But I figure if I can get through the next few days and get the definitive diagnosis, it will be worth it. It should save me at least $15k dollars. That is a lot of freaking money.

I suppose that it might come back negative. I don't want to entertain that thought because if this isn't GERD and the endoscopy ruled out cancer and all of those types of things, I have NO idea what it could be. No use in being concerned about that. I feel confident that my doctor has made the correct diagnosis, I just need it confirmed for the insurance people.

I will check in with you all on Thursday and let you know how the insertion went. I have the extraction at 6:30am Friday morning. And then, blessedly I'm guessing, I will be able to take some medication.

Fortunately, I have a couple of busy days ahead of me, so it should pass quickly. Wish me luck!!


Monday, January 25, 2016

Let's get the week started!

Good morning!

Insurance Update

I finally got an update from the doctor. They said that they received a response from the appeal and insurance denied again. However, the carrier told them to resubmit using a different code. They did that and insurance denied again saying that I needed to prove that I have GERD before they would approve the procedure. So, now I'm waiting to schedule a pH test. Has anyone done that?

My understanding is that a doctor places a (very uncomfortable) tube in your nose down to your stomach. You wear that tube for 24 hours and whenever you have symptoms, you push a button that causes the device attached to the tube to record your pH level. I actually have no problem with this requirement and kind of think that it is something that should have happened as soon as we started talking about surgical treatment for GERD. I think my symptoms are so acute that the doctor is sure without this test, but I get why insurance needs it. My big concern is that I have to go without my meds for days prior. That is going to be awful, quite frankly. BUT, there are people out there living with cancer, chronic pain and other issues, so I can deal with this.

I hope they get it scheduled soon. I'm starting to get (only slightly) concerned about being healed in time for Rio.


Speaking of Rio! BFF & I got swimming tickets! There are two things that stress me out about it:

  1.   Someone else got them for me and I don't know them all that well. It is a trusted friend of a trusted friend so I feel sure that it will work out, but I don't think I will truly believe it until the tickets are in my hands this summer!
  2.   The tickets are for our first night. We get in at 7am and the event is at 10pm, so there should be no problem. However, last night a flight from Miami to Milan had turbulence and stopped in Canada overnight. I know the odds of something like that are very small, but again, until I'm in my seat watching...I'm sure I will have a little anxiety. 
But overall, I'm just so excited about the trip. 196 days until we leave!!

In the meantime...

I haven't been eating badly, but I have not been working at it either. My workout schedule is not bad. I'm averaging over 20 minutes a day for the year so far which is great considering I was sick the first week.

It has been hard to really focus on my food intake for a couple of reasons. First, since October, I thought I would be having surgery in January. No alcohol or caffeine for months, no solid food for weeks. Whether I'm having the surgery specifically for weight loss or not, there are eating/drinking rules that will have to be followed. It is hard to self-impose when you know that is coming.

Additionally, I'm freaking hungry. For the last four or five years, I have had what I assume is normal hunger. Now that the band is no longer functioning, I'm having hunger like I did for most of my life and honestly, it sucks. It is really hard to make good choices when you are that hungry. Also, when it takes more food to satisfy you, you are more limited on what you can eat. As many of you know, you can only take so much chicken and broccoli.

That being said, I can't just wait until the surgery comes about. I have to take control of the situation. I'm not going to lie...even as I sit here and type this, I feel like I'm going to fail. But last night I tried to walk through my triggers and challenges and come up with a reasonable way to combat them:

  • Busy week, when do I work out? Okay, I like working out so I started with the easy one. I walked through the week and found time for 3 workouts. That is not great for me, but as long as I get in all three, I will take it.
  • How do I combat eating out Tuesday night? We are going for Thai with a friend on Tuesday. So I read up on good Thai choices. Additionally, I will offer to drive and will skip the alcohol.
  • My work serves meals three days a week and they aren't usually healthy, what to do? This is tough because it is hard to turn down free, easy and decently tasty. Also, it is served buffet style so it is WAY to easy to oversize your portions. But for this week only (I will worry about following weeks later), I'm bringing my lunch. I won't even go into the lunchroom today. I brought my amazing homemade tortilla soup and it will be delicious. 
I put my mind to absolutely anything else and I KNOW I would succeed. I don't know why this is so damn hard for me, but I know I'm not alone. I just have to keep fighting.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Back on Track

This week has gone much more according to plan than last week! I was able to work out Monday, Tuesday, & Thursday. I had my monthly dinner with the girls. I would post a picture, but my phone died this morning. I really hope AT&T works with me on it. That thing is brand new.

I also met my CrossFit girls for dinner which was nice. We ate right next to the gym and I got a little nostalgic when I passed it. I really can't wait until I stop feeling like I'm going to vomit pennies so I can go back!

Right now I'm most excited about my Rio trip. Four or five months ago, we were able to secure our event tickets along with flights and accommodations. This week I started working on tours. We have two full days with no event tickets.

For the first open day, I'm trying to line up a rain forest hike followed by hang gliding. I still have weight to lose in order to hang glide, but I'm taking the chance. On our other open day, I'm booking a private tour guide. He will spend the day driving us to all of the sites in Rio. I think it is going to be so fun!

We have several half days of time and those can be spent shopping, at the beach or whatever we decide to do at the time. Knowing me, I will have a list of ideas we can choose from each day. :) I seriously could come up with itineraries all day.

I did hear from the doctor and allegedly I'm supposed to hear back about my appeal by the end of next week. They are super nice, but terrible communicators. If I didn't love the doctor, I would have gone somewhere else by now. If I don't have some good info by the end of next week, I might have to change tactics.


Monday, January 11, 2016

Happy New Year! - Take Two...

Good morning! Last week this time I was outlining my goals for the first part of the year. I started of the week strong and BAM...landed right into a killer sinus infection. Tuesday-Thursday is a bit a of a blur. But I'm almost back to par and I'm ready to be productive.

In the past, I have chosen a word to represent how I want to live that year. In the past, it has been peace, live, focus and other things. This year, my word is ADAPTABLE. I love a routine, but this year is going to have a lot of interruptions and changes and I'm not going to be able to control some of it. Mostly, I like my day to day to be very routine.

That is totally me. Anyway, my point is that I need to be adaptable. It isn't flashy or exciting, but it is the right attitude to help me achieve my goals.

Being sick isn't all bad, I guess. I did get some much needed rest. I got a new bed over the holidays and it is adjustable. Sleeping with my head up was great for being sick as well as for my acid reflux. I love it! Also, I ate pretty decent for being sick. Usually I use it as an excuse for comfort food and while not every choice was stellar, I did stay decently hydrated and still lost a pound. I will take it.

As for NeighborGate 2016, I put it on hold. I don't feel like dealing with it right at the moment, but I do have some recon going on. I have some connections to the management company so I can get some info about the person to best deal with it when it is time.

Saturday was a little sad. I had to go buy some fat clothes. I have a closet full of beautiful clothes that don't really fit and it was depressing me. Not only did I buy a few key pieces (thank you Cato for having cute but inexpensive things!), I tried on everything in my closet and organized. I may be heavier than my new norm (I have to keep reminding myself that I'm still way smaller than the olden days), but I don't need to constantly feel that way every time I look in the mirror. It was interesting because as soon as I got to Cato, I went to the plus side and picked up a bunch of stuff. I'm thrilled to say that while I did end up with a couple of plus side pants (that truly were probably too big, but my booty is in between sizes), everything else was from the regular side. It is the little things, people...

I'm sure I mentioned previously that I went on a cruise with my family during the holidays. It was great! We went to Belize and Cozumel and had the most awesome time. Since I had gained several pounds really quickly right before the trip, I was more lethargic and puffy than I had been in a long time. I didn't love how I looked or felt, but I did love spending time with my family. Those days that we spent together on this trip and last year's cruise are truly among my favorite times. I have so much love for them, my heart just wants to burst.

Plus, they make me brave. In Belize, one of the tour guides picked up a tarantula off the ground. I don't know what I was thinking, but when he offered it up, I took it!

My face says a lot there. (Chin out, Beth Ann!) On the same excursion, my brother and I ate live termites from under a log! Two things I have never done before. Check and check.

I don't have a ton of pictures from the trip. I guess since I wasn't feeling my best, I didn't take a lot. But I had this one of my beautiful niece and me on the boat in Cozumel.

I will close out this rambling post with my plan for the week. While I wait to hear more regarding my surgery, I want to be productive. I have scheduled my mammogram, dentist appointment and skin scan dermatologist appointment this week. Better to get all of that out of the way. I have my monthly dinner with the girls tomorrow night and dinner with my CrossFit chicas on Wednesday.

That leaves a small window for working out. Today and Thursday (and most likely Saturday), I'm going to Jazzercise. Tomorrow I'm going to workout on the treadmill or elliptical at lunch. My other big goal is to stay hydrated and get 100% rid of this sinus infection.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, and one last thing. They had another release of Olympic tickets last week. It was kind of a lottery system to get in. BFF was about 1090 in line and I was around 1650. By the time we got in, all of the swimming and cycling were gone, but we were able to get 2 tickets to gymnastics! There are four of us girls going, so hopefully we will be able to get 2 more over time, but you have to take what you can get. By the time I got in, everything else we wanted was gone. We will keep trying though! I can't believe with everyone I know, I haven't found a contact at one of the US Team sponsors that can help me get tickets. :-) Maybe someday!


Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year and an Apartment Dilemma

Super quick 2015 recap: After moving to downtown Dallas, BFF & I had a blast. I joined the local CrossFit and other than my never-ending fight against my weight (which I was strongly maintaining!), things were great. In October, my band slipped and wreaked all sorts of havoc. The biggest issue was that my hardcore acid reflux came back and medication (5 doses per day!) was not cutting it.

Doctor suggested surgery to fix. Turns out, the best acid reflux surgery option for me was gastric bypass. I struggled with that for a bit, but now I'm on board and ready to feel better. So, I proceeded with the surgery option and have been stopped cold by insurance.

And now it is time for 2016...

I have been waiting for 2016. If you know me at all, you know why. Since I went to the Olympics in London in 2012, I have been eager to go to Rio this year. I can't believe it is finally coming! That is one of the reasons I want to have the surgery as soon as possible. I want to heal fully before I head out of the country. I still have a month or so before I start to worry about that so, I will just put a pin in that concern.

Patience while waiting for the insurance to be worked out is not my strong suit, however I know that getting upset about the situation or bothering the case workers isn't going to help. I told them I would check in with them on Wednesday afternoon. In the meantime, I want to think of things I can do to be productive.

1. My major overall goal is to not gain any weight before surgery. That would be counterproductive and ridiculous. However, right now it is difficult because working out is uncomfortable and one of the only times my reflux doesn't bother me is when I'm actively eating. Both bummers.

But I also know that it would be way more uncomfortable to work out if I gain weight. I can't CrossFit or run right now, but I can Jazzercise and walk. So my goal is to do those things on a regular basis starting with Jazzercise today.

My food goal is to not eat like crap. Is that fair? (FYI...I went to log my breakfast on My Fitness Pal and the site is under a "heavy load"...a heavy load of people with new year's resolutions!) 

2. My number two goal is to be ready when it is time. My parents are coming to stay with me during my recovery. I want to have a schedule set and everything (protein powder, recipes, vitamins, etc.) purchased and ready to go.

I bought a super fancy Vit@Mix. Post surgery, I have to eat pureed foods for a while and mushies for months. I will likely have to have smoothies in the morning for upwards of a year. The week before surgery will be an entirely liquid diet.

Today I made my first morning smoothie. I made it with orange juice, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, (2 slices of banana as I'm trying to slowly learn to like them), lemonade flavored protein powder, vanilla greek yogurt and ice. Not bad!

This brings me to the story of the day. I live in an apartment as I have my entire adult life. I strive to be a good neighbor and hope the same of other people. I know that living in an apartment, you have to give up some things that you wouldn't in a home. For instance, my unit is above the workout facility so sometimes I wake up at 3am to the vibrations of someone running on the treadmill or dropping weights. I overlook the pool and some evenings try to fall asleep to people partying outside. Sometimes dogs bark. Sometimes people leave their stinky trash outside the trash chute.

When I moved downtown to the higher density apartment building, I learned to sleep with a sound machine and occasionally ear plugs if I need them. Sometimes, you have have to just figure out how to make it work.

In the last few months, my neighbors have started knocking on the wall presumably when they feel I'm making too much noise. The first time it was when I was chopping potatoes. It was a Sunday morning, probably around 9:30am and I was preparing something for the slow cooker. I know that raw potato chopping makes a noise, but come on now. In order to be a good neighbor, I tried to chop quieter.

The next time they knocked, it was again on a Sunday morning, probably around 10:30am and I was putting away dishes. My plates are on the heavy side and they do clink and thunk when I put them away, but again...come on. Again, now when I put away dishes, I do it gingerly.

New Year's Day, BFF came over in the morning, it was about 9:00am and was frying bacon (so no real noise). BFF was talking to her parents on the phone in the living room so I called my parents on speaker in the kitchen while I cooked to say Happy New Year. During that, the neighbors knocked again. BFF suggested that maybe they aren't knocking for noise, that it has all been coincidence because this time they clearly couldn't be knocking for us.

This morning, I fired up my fancy new blender at 7:15am to make my smoothie. It had been going 10 seconds when I got the knock on the wall. I finished up, but I was so frustrated. I'm a good neighbor. Heck, I'm a great neighbor. I understand that the blender is loud, but it is only for a minute and I have to be able to live!

My parents suggested that I ignore it and just live my life.

My boss suggested that I leave them a note on what I was doing when they knocked to show them I'm not doing anything out of the ordinary.

BFF suggested I contact the management office preemptively and just let them know what is going on.

I'm never going to contact them directly. I'm way too non-confrontational for that. Plus as a single woman living on my own, I'm always worried about being vulnerable. I go back and forth between (1.) documenting when they knock and what I'm doing at the time so if I'm confronted by them or the office, I can show what is going on or (2.) sending an email to the office letting them know in a nice way what is going on in case they are contacted.

Let me know your thoughts on what you would do.