Saturday, February 20, 2016

Special Weekend Edition

I hadn't heard anything from the doctor since Wednesday morning. Friday, our amazing company closed early to celebrate some jobs well done. I left work planning to hear nothing until at least Monday. BFF & I left work and headed to downtown Grapevine to do a little shopping. While I was there I noticed that I had a voicemail on my work phone from the doctor's office. Yay for the technology!!

I called and talked to my coordinator who I adore. On Tuesday, I have a gall bladder ultrasound at 9:00, an appointment with the PA at 9:30, and my pre-op education appointment at 10:00. Thursday morning, I get my blood drawn. I start my two week pre-op diet on 2/29 and the big day is Monday 3/14!

My biggest goal over  the next 3 weeks is to get work ready for an extended absence. I'm only taking a week off, but the next week I will be working from home some. I work with a lot of different areas of the company and interact with many people, so I have to make sure that my team is ready to deal with that. They are awesome so I know it will be fine, but some preparation will help make it smoother.

Medifast is done. One week, well actually, five days in the books. Not going to lie, it was terrible. But now I only have 10 days until my liquid diet, so I'm not going to spend it miserable. At least I can keep the rest of the "food" for post-op. They will make good snacks and on the go meals.

Last night I met up with my Rio travel mates. The trip is getting more and more real.

Have a great weekend!

Hugs!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Happy

Good morning! I'm in such a happy mood today. I had a great surprise yesterday. Something made me think of a couple of friends from long ago yesterday morning, so I sent them an email. They had both moved away a long time ago, but it just so happened that one of them was in town for work. She, BFF & I got together for dinner and had the absolute best time catching up.

We had seen each other a couple of times over the past 7 or 8 years, but we had left things a little awkward. Turns out that we all wanted to tell each other that we had no ill feelings, but weren't sure how to do it. It was cathartic and joyful and warmed my heart like I can't even explain. I don't know what made me send that email when I had only emailed her a couple of times over the years. I had never emailed her just to tell her I was thinking of her. God, fate, coincidence...whatever you want to call it, it has made me happy today.

Medifast update: yesterday's meals...
  • Breakfast - coffee & Medifast berry cereal (dry)
  • Lunch - I had an off site work lunch. I had 1/2 of a "breakfast bowl" that had sweet potato hash, ground beef, egg, avocado & salsa. It was the most amazing thing I had in days.
  • PM Snack - Medifast S'mores Crunch Bar (Again, a surprise because I don't typically like bars, but this one was pretty good.)
  • Dinner - This was a hot mess because we impromptu met our friend at a bar, I ended up drinking two drinks...but just a club soda mixer, so not terrible...but then I got some sort of chicken and pasta dish. It was freaking delicious though. AND I only had half even though I was still hungry. 
This morning I was down another 1/2 pound so I'm not going to get too bent out of shape. The whole point of this is to keep control until I can have surgery, so anything I lose is a bonus.

I did gift my boss with a bunch of Medifast food today. He does it off and on when he wants to lose a few pounds. I gave him the ziti marinara soup stuff along with chicken noodle soup and oatmeal raisin bars. I told him I would rather be fat. He laughed and said he wanted credit for actually eating the stuff. He deserves huge kudos. Bleh. I will say that over the last 5-6 years, I have learned to eat pretty clean so all this processed stuff is for the birds.

Yesterday's comparison picture got me to looking at old photos. Here is a timeline collage:


Top left was the beginning. Yeesh. I barely remember her, although I do remember how horrible I felt both internally and externally. Not my favorite time. Top right was my lowest. Not only had I lost over 95#, I had started CrossFitting and working out hardcore. I felt awesome!!

Bottom left was about 25# heavier and where I settled in for about 3 years prior to having band issues. I was still working out hard and even though I was heavier, a lot of it was muscle and I still felt good all the time. This particular picture was October 2014. Bottom right was yesterday which is about 20# heavier. Let me be clear...this extra 20# is NOT muscle. Heh. So still 50# down overall and just feeling better about myself in general.

While there is no question that I would like to lose weight, my number one priority is to feel better so I can start working out again. There is no question that is when I feel my best. I'm starting to feel like that time is actually coming which is contributing to my happy mood.

No further news on the surgery yet. I think I'm just waiting on them to contact me to schedule, so cautiously optimistic!

Hugs!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Updates...

Day #2 of Medifast:

  • Breakfast - coffee & peach yogurt 
  • AM Snack - Medifast berry cereal (ate it dry. Wasn't bad. Nice and crunchy.)
  • Lunch - shrimp & veggies
  • PM Snacks - First I had the Medifast Pretzel Sticks which were tasty enough, but later I was still hungry so I had a Medifast sea salt popcorn snack. A little later, I was still hungry so I had some Medifast spicy black bean veggie chips which were really good.
  • Dinner - I got home late, so I ended up eating Medifast beef stew. I thought it would be terrible, but it was fine. Almost good!
  • Late Snack - Finished the night with a Medifast popcorn snack.
Lost another couple pounds of bloat so my pants zipped a little easier this morning. I will say that this diet has helped decrease my appetite immensely BUT I have no energy. If I tried to work out at all, it would be terrible. This is definitely not a long term solution for me, but hopefully I can keep some semblance of control while waiting on a surgery date.

Speaking of... I heard from Doctor #3 late yesterday and they confirmed that they had everything they needed and would be sending my file to the nurse for review. I received another email from her first thing this morning saying that there were two items from the nurse. First, I would have to do two weeks of liquid diet instead of one. No biggie. And second, they wanted to know if I wanted to a gall bladder ultrasound first.

Apparently for $50, they will do a gall bladder ultrasound to see if you have stones or any other issues that might indicate it should be removed. For a couple more thousand dollars, they will remove it at the same time they do the other procedures. I decided to go ahead and do the ultrasound, but wait on any action unless it appeared to be an emergency since my insurance would likely cover that 100% later.

She and I talked back and forth a couple of times answering my questions and deciding. I almost didn't know how to handle all that communication!! I believe the next step is to start scheduling things. She said likely I could schedule the ultrasound on the day of my pre-op meeting. Hopefully I will be able to actually see dates in the next few days!

Monday I went to my for my lab work for my annual exam. I'm proud to say that everything is normal except that my cholesterol was 2 points out of normal range and triglycerides were high. Not terrible for 4 months of questionable nutrition choices. It will be interesting to see how they compare next year.

On the subject of updates...I used to be better at update pictures, but I haven't been good lately. Here is me the same size several years ago on my way down, and here is me today.  The chicky on the right is happier anyway!


Hugs!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Medifast...

So...Medifast. It is about what I expected. Yesterday's recap:

  • Breakfast - Medifast oatmeal (powdery and slimy at the same time which is actually kind of impressive if you think about it. Taste was okay and it did feel like there was some substance to it.)
  • Snack - Medifast shake made with milk (a little gritty, but not horrible. As with a lot of shakes, just doesn't feel like there was a lot of substance.)
  • Lunch - sauteed shrimp with mushrooms, zucchini and asparagus. (I made this myself and it was delicious.)
  • Snack - Medifast crisps (these were chili cheese flavored. Pretty tasty actually.)
  • Snack - Medifast Ziti meal (I changed my mind and had a cookie dough protein bar instead. As a rule, I think protein bars are disgusting and the devil's work, but I thought I would give it a shot. I put it in the microwave for 15 seconds and I could almost convince myself that it was warm cookie dough. It is a stretch, but it did help to have a little sweet.)
  • Dinner - Salad (I changed my mind and had roasted vegetables with white beans from True Food Kitchen. It was served cold so I guess it was a salad. It wasn't something I would have normally, but it wasn't bad.)
  • When I got home I had a sugar free popsicle. It was good, but did nothing for my hunger.
Not going to lie, went to bed hungry and woke up hungry. I got my blood work done this morning for my annual exam next week. It will be interesting to see how it reads after eating whatever (for the most part) for the last four months (and little exercise.) It will be a good baseline to compare to next year.

I was three pounds down on the scale this morning. I was obviously bloated and it is was good to shed some of that quickly. There is no way I can do this long term. Did I mention that I'm starving constantly? Once I have a surgery date scheduled, I can figure out how to move forward. In the meantime, Medifast it is.

Speaking of surgery, I had my post-op nutrition class yesterday. It was boring, but in all fairness, this is not my first rodeo. They taught us to read food labels. I pity the person that is having weight loss surgery that doesn't know how to do that. I've been on a diet since the 4th grade. That stuff is second nature to me.

The last thing I need is for my former doctors to send in paperwork to the new doctor. I spoke with Doctor #3 (new doc) office and they said that they are missing the original lap band report and the EGD report. On Wednesday, she had said specifically that the pathology report was in the packet, but not the actual EGD report.

So yesterday I called both doctors. Doctor #1 (band doc) said that they faxed it on Friday (hmmm...) Doctor #2 (first opinion doc) said that they also faxed over on Friday (double hmmmm...) So I emailed Doctor #3 again and gave that information. She said that they did not get Doctor #1 info at all and for Doctor #2, they got the EGD report, but not the pathology report that they needed. Wait, what?

So again this morning, I talked to both former doctors. Doctor #1 said that she would gladly fax the documents again today (within the next 10 minutes.) Doctor #2 said she would gladly send again as well but reiterated that the pathology report was in the original documents sent and the EGD report was sent on Friday. I really think that my new doctor's office is the confused party. I emailed them with all of this information this morning, so we will see. My only choice is to be patient. (Good luck with that. Ha!)

One of the things that makes me happiest about all this is that recovery is so much shorter with the sleeve surgery that there should be no problem being ready for Rio even if it continues to get pushed a bit. That was a real concern for me.

Anyway, it is almost time for Medifast meal #2 today. I will keep you posted. :)

Hugs!


Monday, February 15, 2016

Clarification and Realization

My upcoming surgery will be a revision to gastric sleeve with a hernia repair. I'm sorry I wasn't clear on that in the last post. Honestly, my mind was racing for days after my second opinion appointment and I was still a little all over the place.

When I mentioned it to BFF, she said "well, yeah, you were selling the bypass pretty hard." That stopped me in my tracks. It was a rather innocent thing for her to say and yet it hurt my feelings tremendously. I had to make myself stop and think why that was, because I generally find when someone says something that is not meant to be hurtful but is...the problem is typically on the receivers end.

It hurt because she was right. I wasn't really able to admit that to myself until this morning. I'm the rational one that does all my research. I'm methodical and work to take the emotion out of decision making. The irony (and problem) is that is exactly  what I was doing! I didn't want to have gastric bypass. I originally went to the doctor in October to have my lap band removed. Full stop. But this doctor looked at me and said how lucky I was that I went to him. That all of these other doctors would try to sell me on the newest thing, but the only thing that would fix me long term was gastric bypass. I mean, he didn't use those exact words, but that was the pitch. He even told me what to google so I would find supporting research (and I did!)

I was willing to have this surgery that would change me for the rest of my life because I was all but guaranteed that it would fix me. Now that I know curing acid reflux with bypass is far from certain, I'm no longer willing to go down that path. Don't get me wrong, bypass is right for a lot of people and I support them in their journey. But cost/benefit, risk/reward for me in my situation, it doesn't make sense. My new doctor gave me additional information and I was able to find more online and understand that there isn't really enough data yet to support or refute the sleeve's effect on acid reflux.

I'm upset that I allowed myself to be misled. I don't think I was lied to or anything that egregious...I just think that the pros and cons were not presented equitably. I thought that I was taking the emotion out of it by listening to the doctor that said bypass was the answer and you will handle it no problem. But the thing is, when it comes to your health, sometimes you have to listen to your emotions. Maybe that was my lesson to learn?

I also wonder what would have happened if I would have gone to the second doctor from the beginning. I wasn't thinking revision then. It is possible I would have had the band removed and the hernia repaired without the revision. After four months of fighting my weight and remembering why I got the band in the first place. As annoying as all this is, at least I can learn some things from it. :-)

 Sidenote: there are other factors I haven't gotten into on this blog, like how all the doctors (except for the named doctor) have now left the original practice. (Red flag!!) The lack of communication with the case workers and even more worrisome, their questionable dealings with the insurance carriers. (Definite red flag!) My point is that there were many issues that just screamed "get out of there". It took me a while, but I did!

Bottom line, I feel good about moving forward with my new doctor and my new surgery choice. As I mentioned before, the anxiety of all this process has melted away. I didn't realize how tense and irritable I have been for months. My friends said they noticed a difference almost as soon as I was done with my appointment. I think I knew the right answer, I just needed a doctor to give me all the facts so I could make sure. 

Now, to focus on this week. Two weeks ago, when I was on the verge of full-fledged panic, I knew that I needed to take some control. While I did that on the surgical side, I did something else as well. I ordered a month of Medifast. I HAVE to stop the bleeding. I wanted to lose weight to hang glide in Rio, but I have actually GAINED weight. I know that I will be having the surgery and will likely lose enough through that process, but I can't wait. The anxiety is gone, but between my hernia and the added weight, I still physically feel like crap.

I've never done Medifast before, so this should be interesting. Today's meal plan:
  • Breakfast - Medifast oatmeal
  • Snack - Medifast shake made with milk
  • Lunch - sauteed shrimp with mushrooms, zucchini and asparagus.
  • Snack - Medifast crisps
  • Snack - Medifast Ziti meal
  • Dinner - Salad
I'm already regretting it, but what are you going to do. :)

Hugs!


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Second Opinion

I don't even know where to begin. When last I left you, I was beyond frustrated about my gastro-problems and pending surgery issues. But also, I was starting to lose my emotion about the situation which was good. I realized that something wasn't adding up. Things just didn't feel right. There were too many obstacles and not enough communication. I decided to seek a second opinion and I'm glad I did.

While I believe that my former doctor wasn't altogether incorrect, I do feel that (a.) all of the risks/rewards or costs/benefits of my options weren't presented to me equitably and (b.) there is something really wonky with their insurance group.

I spoke with several people in the office at length. Again, none of my options are ideal. I can do nothing, revise to sleeve or revise to bypass. I have gotten very different pros/cons from multiple sources. There simply is not enough data to give me a definitive answer on how things will turn out.

I prefer empirical evidence over anecdotal. The internet puts the world at our fingertips and you can find anecdotal evidence for just about every scenario in existence. When I was ready to have my LapBand surgery, I had many, many, many people (both well meaning and not) try and talk me out of it because "a friend of a friend" died from it or whatever. But it was one of the best decisions I ever made. So, this type of evidence can be faulty and shouldn't be relied on entirely. However, yesterday I spoke with someone that had gastric bypass and still has acid reflux. THAT? That would be a nightmare situation for me. The one and only reason I was considering bypass was to eliminate acid reflux. While it COULD do that, there is a chance (albeit half that of sleeve) that I could still have it. I realize that this is me using anecdotal evidence over empirical when I just said I don't. And I'm not saying that it drove my decision 100%, but also I can't say that it wasn't a powerful piece of information.

There is a lot of info out there associating the sleeve with GERD and that scares me. But it also seems to indicate if you fix a hernia at the same time, that could help. There are a few small studies and they conflict a lot. What is clear is that GERD is highly present in people who seek weight loss surgery. So, it seems possible that more people suffer from it after. Honestly, I think I'm just going to have to take a leap of faith one way or the other.

I'm going to choose the less invasive route and hope that fixing the hernia and proper diet and exercise will do the trick. If it doesn't, I'm not too much worse off than I am now. Just out the $$ and I will have a smaller stomach.

If I choose the bypass route and it doesn't work? I'm not sure where I would go from there. I know that a lot of you might have already come to that conclusion, but under my current circumstances...it took me a while.

At this point, I'm letting go. God/fate/karma put a lot of obstacles in my path to get me away from one doctor and put me in the hands of another. I can't say that I KNOW I'm making the best decision for myself, but with the information I have, I believe that it is the right decision.



It will still be a few weeks, but I will keep you all posted.

Hugs!




Thursday, February 4, 2016

Deciding not to be sad.

I think I'm over my recent pity party. I think. I believe I understand why I'm so sad right now anyway.

I'm both a pragmatist and dreamer. It is a bit of an odd combo. I'm also shy yet an extrovert. I have never fit a mold.Several years ago, I came to the profound realization that I cannot control everything. Heh. It seems so obvious, but once I realized that and started working on the person I wanted to be instead of worrying how other people felt about me, my life changed dramatically.

That internal transformation took place in the same time period that I decided to have weight loss surgery. So as I had this awakening of peace, love and happiness, I also got thinner. While I was starting to accept myself more, society was accepting me also. At the time, I didn't distinguish between the two.

I lost almost 100 pounds in the first 18 months. It was exhilarating! I could work out like a beast! I was running! Life was AMAZING!! Plus, I was looking hot. I can't say for a second that wasn't awesome.

I remember almost the exact moment I thought I was "done". I had "fixed" myself inside and out. So now I can just live a "normal life". In the next 5 months, I gained 20 pounds. Just like that. That is when I came to terms with the fact that mine was truly a never-ending quest. I figured out that I would always have to fight this fight and whether I realized it or not, it was BOTH external AND internal. And that was okay. I could do that. And for four years I did.

I worked out hard. I would have to diet and focus on my food. I had to get myself to church to focus my head because that helps ME. I had to work on judging people. I had to continue to fight for peace within. But I did. Every day.

When my band slipped in October, I didn't really know how things would play out. I had this new philosophy, I was healthy, I was peaceful. But pretty quickly, I started losing the fight. I have gained 15 pounds in three months. I was ashamed. I am ashamed. When I started researching revision, I thought I just needed a fix to my reflux which I no doubt need. But I got a lap band for a reason and it is clear now that I need that help.

All that sadness and shame and the feelings of being out of control of my own body made me sad. What I'm starting to realize though is that I can't let my weight loss struggles affect my fight to be a better person internally. Just because those changes mirrored each other for a while does not mean they are the same thing.

This too shall pass... And when it does, I will come out the other side better for having faced my demons and slaying those sons of bitches. In the meantime, I will do my best to ignore the pains, the embarrassment and the frustration and instead I will focus on my intelligence, my compassion and my choice to be happy every single day.

I'm sure I'm going to need to give myself a few more pep talks before this madness is over. But that's okay. In the end, I know I'm worth the struggle.



Sidenote: read this blog post today and cried my eyes out. It is like I could have written the thing myself. I love reading Holly's blog and you might like it too.

Hugs!





Monday, February 1, 2016

Monday Refocus

Another Monday and another promise to myself that I will work at my nutrition and fitness this week. Last week went awry with the whole pH probe, so I'm getting myself "righted" again. Never ending quest, you know...

Regarding the pH test, I'm a little nervous. I didn't really feel like I had bad symptoms on Friday. But Friday and Saturday? Totally horrible symptoms. I'm concerned I wasn't off the PPI medication long enough. But honestly, there is nothing I can do. So I will just wait for the results and know that it is out of my control.


 Neighbor update for those that have asked: I made a smoothie one morning a couple of weeks ago and didn't have any issue. Since the smoothies weren't filling me up in the morning, I suspended smoothie making until I have a surgery date. Also, I may or may not have previously mentioned that I spoke with the regional property manager for my apartments. She doesn't work at the property, but she is the boss of those that do. I told her what had happened so far and she said that they would absolutely handle it if the knocking persisted. Now that I know that the management folks will support me AND I have had no knocking incidents since the original smoothie day, I have less of a concern.

I saw this on a Facebook friend's timeline the other day...


If I'm honest, right now I want to get bitter. I don't feel well. I'm gaining weight. I'm hungry all the effing time. I had gotten past all this, damn it. I felt good! I was in shape! My eating wasn't perfect, but it was really good! And it feels like almost overnight it was snatched from my little pterodactyl arms. This weekend, I started to really feel the scars underneath my arms start to pull. My skin is literally hurting. My fat clothes fit like sausage casings. I'm not proud. It is freaking embarrassing.

I win things. I'm successful. I DO NOT FAIL AT SH*T.

I don't think that I feel sorry for myself. I just get pissed at myself. I mean, just do it, damn it. Sigh. Anyway, just so you know, I know how freaking awesome my life is and I DO choose to not allow things to tear me down. That is what this blog is for me, a place to let it all out so in real life, I can focus on the things that matter.

This...

I'm not successful ever single day. But this is the spirit of my blog. Making myself take a long look and decide if I'm headed on the right path. Right now, I am not. But I'm not hiding or quitting. Just acknowledging it and assessing what can be done. Right now I think I need a lot of patience and some mental fortitude.


I will close today's mess of a post with this... just typing all of this out helps. It is like a burden lifts from me. Like the magic unwinding of a rope wrapped around my being. It's like I can take all of my thoughts and throw them into the abyss of the internet and they can no longer hurt me.

Now I can go Jazzercise in peace!

Hugs!