The Big 100!

I am currently 3 months post op, almost to the day. I can happily stop taking the Carafate, Protonix and Pepcid. I have considered continuing the Protonix, because I was taking it prior to surgery, and still have some, but I’m happy I can stop the Carafate. That stuff is pretty rancid, and I hate the aftertaste it leaves. Ick.

I feel good. The nausea is still a problem, and as are my stubborn bowels, but all in all I’m feeling pretty good. I have very little knee pain now unless I overdo, compared to constant pain even at rest back when all this started. I’m holding off on going back to the orthopedic surgeon. The more weight I lose, the easier rehab will be. And if it isn’t bothering me as much now, and I’m able to postpone, I will!

Mariah’s best friend, and lover of all things Avett, John from Alabama, has been visiting the last few days.  He’s a really sweet kid, and it’s been fun getting to know him. We talk a lot when Mariah is at work, and he’s gotten a real education about the history of our part of the country. He’s leaving for his return trip home tomorrow, so we took him to the Casino at Salamanca, NY last night. He was like a kid in a candy store. It was fun to watch.

I let Mariah do my make up and we took selfies before we left.

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Smoky eye – En point!

Oh yeah, and as of this morning, I’m down 100.2 pounds.  That’s right;

I’VE LOST 100 FRICKIN’ POUNDS!!!

I think I’m still waiting for the reality and gravity of it to hit me. I mean, yeah, I read the number, but it still hasn’t really sunk in yet.

100 pounds. 100. The guy in the cage at the casino last night did a double take when he looked at my license, and congratulated me on my weight loss.  Total victory! And that license picture was taken in December!

I need to get my sorry butt out of bed – I hate daylight savings time – and get motivated. I hope everyone enjoys their day.

Be good to each other.
Linda ❤

6 Week Post Op- Good News and Bad News

So, I had my appointment on Thursday with Jackie the PA at UPMC Bariatrics. The weather was kind of shitty, so I was fortunate that they had some cancellations and I was able to go up early, and was back in Warren by 4, before the real snow started in earnest.

It was the first time I had driven myself to one of my appointments. Usually Victoria would take me, or once in a while Mariah or my Mom would go, but this time, I went alone. It was nice to sing as loud as I wanted to the radio, or talk to myself on the drive. It helped calm my nerves.

I’m not sure why I was so nervous. Yes, I do. I’ve been in a stall almost since I hit 400. I’ve been hovering in the same 7 or 8 pound span for two weeks. I was nervous that I wasn’t on track with my weight loss because of it.

When Fely, the nurse who does the workups at Dr. Ali’s office, saw me, she threw her hands in the air and said “you’re disappearing!” She’s a sweetheart, and I figure she probably says that to all the post-op patients, but it still made me laugh out loud.

She took me back to the workup room. I took off my boots, and stepped on the scales. Now the good news; I had lost 21.5 pounds since my previous appointment, and over 50 since surgery. Frankly, I was a little disappointed, but she told me I had done great. She took hold of my dress and said “No more wearing these!” I was wearing one of the thin dresses I always wear (regardless of the weather) to my doctor’s appointments. They weigh next to nothing, and that’s why I wear them, I told her. She told me that she could see how much weight I’d lost and said I need to treat myself to some new things. I explained that I had bought myself a couple of pairs of jeans smaller than my old ones, but there was no way in hell I was wearing them to get weighed in! We both laughed, and continued bullshitting while she got my blood pressure and heart rate. We were laughing so hard, it took four tries to get a pressure!

Next, I went to the exam room and waited for Jackie. I only waited a minute before I heard her knock. The first thing she did was congratulate me on my weight loss. I thanked her, and relayed my concerns about the stall, and told her it was hard for me to gauge how I was progressing. She said I was doing amazing! I explained that I was doing well with my fluid intake, but had a tough time getting my calories in because of my nausea. It hasn’t really gotten any better since the last time I was there. In fact, sometimes it’s a lot worse. So it was decided she would send a script for Phenergan to my pharmacy. I can take it in between doses of Zofran when I need it. She then broke the bad news to me; this could last up to six months! To say I was discouraged is an understatement. She told me not to get too down about it; some patients have a tougher time with nausea than others, but to remember that eventually it WILL go away. My fingers are crossed that it’ll be sooner rather than later. She did tell me that I need to try to get 800 calories a day in whenever possible. It takes 800 calories for day to day function of your body, so I will continue to try.

We talked about my meds, and she told me that I can stop the Protonix, Carafate and Pepcid at 3 months post op. That’s two weeks from now! However, I do need to continue the gall bladder medicine for three months after that, and the vitamins indefinitely, so that I will keep on doing.

One last thing she told me before I left was that I have been dieting my entire adult life, and even before adulthood, and need to make sure I don’t allow the stalls to get into my head. She reminded me that I will see in my losses in the way my clothes fit before I do on the scale, so I shouldn’t let it get me down. She gave me an order for bloodwork to have done prior to my next visit, and I don’t need to come back until the end of May! I’ll be just around a year from the start of my weight loss journey then, so I’m excited to see where I’m at then. All in all, a pretty damn good report, I think.

In other news, I ordered tickets for myself and Mariah for The Avett Brothers show at the Chautauqua Institution on July 8th. Her birthday is the 10th, so for her gift, I bought a pair of preferred seating tickets for the show, which is only about an hour or so away from where we live! I think for my first Avett Show ever, and my first concert in almost 20 years!

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All in all, it’s been a pretty good couple of weeks since my last post. Oh, except about the boy with whom I’d been talking. We met, and had a great time. Two days later, I found out he has a girlfriend. He’s been living with. For five fucking years. Needless to say, he’s toast. So, we soldier on…

For the most part, a good couple of weeks. I had a dinner/movie date with Mariah last week (Deadpool is a great movie), with Tori on Thursday (new Chicken Power Bowl at Bob Evans was wonderful!) and I introduced Joie to “Downton Abbey” (“Mom, that Mary is a bitch!”) last night.  I continue to stay as positive as I can, which isn’t the stuggle it once was. I’m very fortunate to have family (and even ex-in laws) who love me very much, good friends that pick me up when I am fading, and some amazing coworkers I am fortunate to call my friends.

Finally, for those keeping track at home, I’ve lost 92 pounds so far!

Take care of yourself and love each other,

Linda ❤

 

 

So long, 400!

Wednesday, I stepped on the scales, and for the first time since 2012, I was under 400 lbs. I still think I’m in shock. It doesn’t seem real yet. Regardless, my oldest daughter, Mariah, has been hounding me about taking photos to document my weight loss journey, and I haven’t  done it. I told her I would when I was under 400. Consequently, she took it upon herself to take a picture a couple nights ago. She then posted it side by side with a picture that was taken the day we decided to submit to Highmark for approval.

 

I am so lucky to have such a great kid. Her support and encouragement has been amazing, and I don’t know what I’d do without her.

Honestly, in the pictures, I don’t see much difference, but feeling how my clothes fit now, I KNOW there’s a difference. My clothes are MUCH MUCH looser; I’ve gotten to the point where some of my shirts are too big to wear. So I broke down and bought myself a few new things in smaller sizes.

That was difficult for me. For one, I’m not a big fan of buying clothes anyway; never have been. I’m sure it’s because fat clothes cost more to buy than “normal” clothes, but also because I always hated how I looked in them. I’m feeling much better about that now. I’m no size 5, but I’m becoming more comfortable. I ordered the new clothes online (I’m still too big to buy most things at a brick and mortar store), and most all of them fit. I bought two pairs of jeans a size smaller than the last jeans I bought (which were so tight, I couldn’t wear them for six months, starting back prior to surgery), a size 4x henley (the purple one from the photo above), and a black and white striped button up shirt in size 4x which I wore to work yesterday. I also bought a size 24 bathing suit which with any luck will fit me once the weather warms up, and another 4x button up that is still a little tight around my upper arms/armpits. I know it won’t take long to get to a point where it fits, so all in all, I feel really good about my purchases. On top of that, everything I bought was on sale. Yay me!

The nausea is still hanging around, unfortunately. It’s not quite as bad as before, but it still lasts several hours a day. I burp, and get hiccups all the time, which is extremely frustrating, but it’s getting a little easier to eat. So that’s something…

Oh, and I’ve been talking to a boy. We’re seeing each other tomorrow, on Valentine’s Day. Cross your fingers for me. 🙂

Til next time –

Linda ❤

 

 

A Non-Chipper Post

So, Mariah tells me that I post too many shiny, happy blogs, so here’s one that’s not so shiny and happy.

I AM SICK OF BEING NAUSEOUS.

Barf

How I’ve felt since I went off liquids.

Seriously. When is this shit going to stop? I can’t even raise my head off the pillow in the morning without feeling like I’m going to hurl. I’m eating Zofran like candy. (Not really, but I am taking them 3 times a day.) Until about 6 or 7 everyday, I feel like I can’t keep anything down. And when I do eat, most of the time it feels like it’s making the express trip back up. Most times it doesn’t, but occasionally, I get to see dinner a second time.

On top of everything, I got some sort of viral stomach bug that hit me Thursday night, so I spent Thursday night and Friday down for the count. And by down for the count, I mean REALLY sick. At least it seems to have passed. I am still feeling weak, but I felt weak before the flu hit.

I know this is all just temporary, and will pass in time. But for right now, this is really no fun at all.

Rant over. Continue on with your day.

 

Linda ❤

#SleeveLife:The First Five Weeks

To say it’s been interesting would be a HUGE understatement. And I’d like to thank everyone who has been so insanely supportive of me over the last few weeks. You’ve been a godsend!

First, the good news. As of this morning, I was 410.0 pounds. That’s down 76 pounds since I started this long strange trip back in early summer. 76 POUNDS! I lost a 4th grader!  I did experience a couple of brief stalls, which scared the shit out of me, but for the most part it’s been fairly smooth sailing, weight-loss wise.

The unending nausea is another story COMPLETELY! I was pregnant three times and never had nausea that TOUCHED what I’ve had the last three weeks. If it weren’t for Zofran, I don’t know that I would’ve gotten through the last few weeks.

I had my first surgical post op appointment on Tuesday. Fely, the nurse who weighs us in and works us up, told me she was proud of me. When Jackie, the PA, came into the exam room to see me, she had a huge smile on her face and said my weight loss was amazing! I thought I was doing a good job, but to hear it from the both of them was extremely gratifying for me! Jackie said my labs looked good, and she asked me how I was doing. I told her that since I started introducing real food (not liquids), that I’d been nauseous almost all the time. She told me that I am on a Rapid Fat Burn, and that will often change the way things smell and taste, causing nausea. She suggested I take the Zofran like a pregnant woman with morning sickness, and hopefully in a few weeks it will pass. I have to say, it really sucks. But I’m hopeful the end is near.

I’m currently on soft foods, although I must admit, because of the nausea, soup has been my friend.  As long as I feel like I’m going to barf all the time, it’s probably going to be a diet of protein shakes and tomato soup for the time being.

I feel pretty good, aside from the aforementioned barfiness. Knee is a little sore some days, mostly corresponding with either super cold temps or very rainy days. However, it’s NOTHING like the last few years. I haven’t needed the cane for months.  I don’t wake up in pain everyday anymore. It’s such a great feeling.

So, that’s what’s going on for now. I know I say this every time, but I’ll try to be better about updates.  PROMISE!

Stay safe and warm and love one another!

Linda ❤

December 10th!!

I’ve spent the last two weeks, since my last post, freaking out. I’ve been convinced that Highmark was going to say “tough darts, Linda”, and not approve my surgery. The PA had gotten me totally pumped, saying that it usually only takes a couple of days for Highmark, there’s a spot on November 4th, etc. So I’ve been freaking out. I don’t think I’ve slept more than a couple of hours a night since my last trip to Erie. I had called three times over the last week, trying to find out SOMETHING, ANYTHING about my case. Jen, the scheduler, was awesome. I left a voicemail for her Friday, and was concerned that she didn’t get back to me. I called again Tuesday, and the receptionist sent me right back to her. She relayed to me that she’d called Highmark on Monday, and after being on hold for almost an hour, she was told that I was still in Medical Review. That’s the last step before “yeah” or “nay”. She said she would wait until Friday, and if she hadn’t heard anything she would call again, even if it meant waiting on hold for another hour.

I was at work this afternoon when I saw an 814-877 number calling my phone – I immediately recognized it as a “Hamot” number, and answered. It was Jen.
“I just got off the phone with Highmark, and knew I had to call you immediately. You’ve been approved, so now I can schedule you!”

I was so excited!! She said she was sorry she couldn’t do it sooner but the next available daVinci day is December 10th.  At first, it felt like it was months away, but it’s only six weeks!

Here is the timeline for the next six weeks:

November 5: I have another follow up with the sleep doctor, and I’m going to cancel. I’m tired of forking over $40 a month to be talked over and ignored.

November 9th: I have an appointment with my PCP, Dr. Popescu. I can’t wait to tell him I’ve been approved for surgery. He’s going to be so excited for me!

November 28: I start my 12 day liquid diet of protein shakes and water. This is to shrink my liver prior to surgery; it’s something that my bariatrics surgeon does for every pre op patient, for at least a few days.

December 1: I go to Erie for two appointments. At 2pm, I have to be at Hamot to meet with the anesthesiologist, and at 3pm, I have an appointment to sign my consents at bariatrics.

December 10: Surgery Day!!

Add into the mix that we’ll be moving across town to my daughter Mariah’s apartment, and you have one very busy few weeks!!

So, it’s nose to grindstone to make sure everything is good with work before I take off a week and a half.

Have a great one! I know I am!

Linda

Back to the Grind

I’ve had a pretty crappy week or two. First, an update on what’s going on with THAT.

I was perusing my chart on the local hospital’s patient portal, and read my ultrasound report. It said my pancreas, kidney and gall bladder looked normal, but my liver was full of diffuse fatty tissue. That got me to thinking, and reading. I had no idea what fatty liver disease was (but leave it to me get something that REINFORCES that I’m fat!), so I did quite a bit of reading about it, and I think that might be the culprit. Lots of the symptoms are similar to gall bladder/gallstones, including the nausea and upper abdominal pain. If it IS fatty liver, then I’m already doing the things I need to do to reverse, which kind of came as a relief. No surgery for fatty liver unless it’s really advanced, which I don’t believe mine is. Bear in mind, this all me. I haven’t heard anything from either of my doctors yet.

I spent the weekend running to Erie. Saturday, I dropped Mariah off to catch a ride to Cooperstown, NY with some friends from Ohio to see the Avett Brothers and John Prine. (My dream double bill, btw. I introduced Mariah to JP, and she introduced me to AB. :)) We were supposed to be there by 8, but didn’t make it til 8:15, which worked out okay, because they ran into bad weather on their way from Kent. I drove right back home; I pulled in my drive way before 10am.  I hung out at home and watched Orange is the New Black most of our dreary Saturday,  then went back to Erie Sunday afternoon to get the kid.

In the meantime, it appears I got myself a nice, shiny chest cold. Just in time for my EGD on Friday. I reckon I’ll see how I’m feeling on Wednesday and give UPMC a jingle to see if they want to reschedule me or not.

Speaking of Friday, this is an exciting week for me! And busy! I have my first weigh in on Wednesday, after work, the consultation for the sleep study on Thursday morning and , of course, the good old endoscopy on Friday.  I don’t know which thing I’m more nervous about! It’s all exciting stuff, and now that I’m a month in, I feel like it’s really happening!

I’ve struggled with my meal plan a little the last few days. When I don’t feel well, I just want comfort. And when I’m running around, fast food was always super easy. So I have had some fast food, but I tried to make more informed and intelligent choices. The girls and I ordered chinese last night, and I ate about a quarter to a third of my portion. I’ll probably have the same amount for dinner tonight.

Tomorrow is “Food Day” at work. Ugh. Everybody brings in food. And we have 28 people working tomorrow, so it’ll be a veritable smorgasbord. Thankfully, a couple of people are bringing in veggies, and I’m taking in some roasted red pepper hummus, so at least I can eat something. I’m really tempted to have a little of Cheryl’s pulled pork, but I’ll behave myself and not overindulge. I’m trying to maintain portion control and not lose my mind. So far, so good.

And Bob is calling me every day. He’s more and more dependent on me as someone to talk to and keep him grounded. I’m still not sure if that’s good or bad.

So that’s that for now. I’ll more to report later this week. Cross your fingers for Wednesday!!

Be kind and love each other. ❤

Linda