The Morning After

Its almost 12:30 on my first post op day. If I had talked to you 12 hours ago I never would have thought that I could or would feel this good. No joke.

Last night was rough. A lot of gas pain in surgery pain and I ended up sitting in a chair at 5:30 this morning because it felt better. I’ve been in the chair most of the time since then except for when I went down to radiology for my swallow test. No leaks!  Shortly after, I received a tray with jello, broth, lemonade and cranberry juice. I have to take in 4 oz of fluids an hour, and I’ve had 8 ounces so far. My goal to be discharged is 40 ounces. If I start at six tomorrow morning, I see no reason that I won’t his 40 by early evening!

I asked them to D/C my pain pump, because I was hardly using it. 4mls out of 30 in the syringe. Now I’m down to just one IV – a bag of ringers. The port in my right hand infiltrated last night, but no harm done.

The staff here has been amazing. Each and every one of them has gone out of their way to prove they are in the right professions. Special thanks to Michele, Jeff and Jamie. Last night was Jamie’s very first night here, and I teased him relentlessly. I told him he’d never forget me, to which he replied “you never forget your first” , and winked at me. He’s going to do fine!

Well I guess it’s time to get off he phone and back to the business at hand; breathing exercises, sipping, and walking!

Take care of yourselves,
Linda ❤


One more wake up….

Tomorrow is the big day. I feel like I have so much to say, but I don’t even know where to start. This may be a little rambling at times; sorry.

I can’t believe it’s been seven months since I started this blog. Since I started the journey. And now here I am, on the eve of the day that will certainly change my life forever.  I’m overwhelmed with so many emotions right now that it’s hard to get them all out, but I’ll try.

To my girls – I love you. You three are far and away the very best thing I’ve ever done in my life. Thank you so much for everything you’ve done and everything you are. I’m proud of each of you.

To my Mom – Thanks for coming up today. I know you would like to be there tomorrow, but I’d rather you stayed home and took care of yourself. You made enough trips to Erie over the years; I don’t want you to make it again. I love you for wanting to come, though.

To my brother and sister – I love you both, even if I don’t say it so much. I know we’ve had our ups and downs over the years, but I’m glad we’re okay now, and that if anything ever happens to me, I know my girls have someone to look out for them.

To my friends, coworkers, and fellow bloggers – Thank you all so much for unwavering support, encouragement and guidance. Before I started all this, I never knew how many people I had in my corner. I’m truly overwhelmed. I love you guys.

One last thing, and I’ll get to packing my hospital bag. There is one person who isn’t here who I know would be very proud of me. My dad. He worried about my weight for years, and I know he would be so excited that I’m having this surgery. When my Mom came to visit me today, she said that my brother had sent something for me for good luck. It was Dad’s badge, from when he was the Police Chief of Lawrence Township. My dad helped build it from two part time officers to a full time police force, and that’s always been one of the many things Dad did that made me proud of him. Carl, thank you so much.Badge.jpg

So, I guess I will see you all on the flip side.  Here’s to seeing less of me very soon.

Linda ❤

We’re almost there…

Let me preface this by saying I’ve been a terrible blogger, and for that, I apologize. With that said…

Today is a big day for two reasons. First, we are moving! When my daughter Mariah told me she was going to start graduate school, she asked me if she could move in with me once her lease was up (the plan all along was for her roommate to move out after a year), saying that it would be financially difficult to have an apartment by herself, and more importantly, because she thought she would need my emotional support to work the hours she works plus get her schoolwork done. With Tori living with me now, and her boyfriend essentially doing the same, there wasn’t room where we are now. Since Mariah’s apartment is three bedrooms, it made sense to move in there. So back in late September, we talked to the super who gave us the OK. Yes, it’s the second floor, but I reckon the stairs will be good exercise for me. At least I keep telling myself that.  Fortunately, we have a LOT of help moving today, so I think we can handle it.

Secondly, today is Day 1 of my pre-op liquid diet! From today on, I’ll be on a liquid diet until the day before Christmas! Tuesday, I meet with Anesthesia at Hamot, and sign my consents at Bariatrics. I went last Saturday to have my pre-op bloodwork and UA, which showed that I had a UTI (UGHHHHH) and low potassium. I’ve been amazing compliant with my meds, so I’m not sure why my K is low, but oh well. Jackie told me at my last appointment to stop all my meds except the Protonix and Ibuprofen (which I’m supposed to take as sparingly as I can manage), however my PCP doesn’t like the idea of me being off my blood pressure meds for almost two weeks, then having surgery, so I’ll continue all meds until I meet with the doctors on Tuesday, and I’ll do whatever is decided then.

In addition to everything else, I have to finish our security risk analysis before the end of the year, in addition to getting all my work done prior to surgery. Looks like I’ll be doing lots of work while I’m off work recuperating! I’m a little stressed over it. No, I’m a lot stressed. But when am I not ?

So, I’m getting ready for my first shot of protein for the day, and getting back to packing!

Wish me luck!!

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!


Today; It was a good day…

So, today was my last weigh in at Bariatrics.  Jackie, the PA, told me at my last appointment that this time, in all likelihood, we would be cleaning up the loose ends to submit to Highmark. Consequently, I didn’t sleep much last night, and I was totally unfocused at work this morning. But I got through it, and Mariah, Victoria and I went to Erie this afternoon.

We arrived at my appointment early, as usual. I have this weird fear of being late, so I’m ALWAYS early. We sat in the waiting room, watching patient after patient get called back. It was so frustrating, because my adrenaline was on overdrive! The time since this process started has absolutely FLOWN by! After about fifteen minutes of waiting, I was called back by the sweet weigh-in nurse to get on the scales.

I took off my shoes; I told her I wasn’t screwing around today. I stepped on the scales and she told me I’d lost 9 pounds since last time! 447.0. I’d met my pre-op goal, officially!! I was grinning; it was such a relief! I peed twice before my appointment to make sure I was going to be under 450, so to be at 447 was miraculous to me! After that, she checked my blood pressure; it was 124/74! Thanks, 39 lb weight loss (and lisinopril)!  I asked her for the initial measurements she’d taken at my first appointment, which she happily gave me, then she escorted us to Room 3 to wait for Jackie.

The girls and I chitchatted for a couple of minutes before we heard a knock on the door. It was Jackie and her laptop. I swear, she was excited as I was! She said that she thought we had everything we needed to submit to Highmark, but just needed to go over a couple of things, and then we’d look at potential surgery dates. SURGERY DATES! My mind was racing, and I was talking a thousand miles an hour. She went over all the testing I’d had and said everything looked great, that I’d worked very hard and there was no reason we couldn’t submit today. I asked quite a few questions, as I’m apt to do, but I could tell they were the kinds of questions everybody asks, because she had all the answers. When I told her I was concerned about what I’d read about total weight with VSG compared to Bypass, she allayed my fears, saying that the weight loss is comparable, and if I’m willing to do the work, which I’ve proved I am, there’s no reason to believe I won’t achieve my goal. That was such a relief!

Once I’m approved, I’ll have to go up to see Dr Ali once more to sign the consents. Apparently, it’s a big deal, because I’ve got online videos to watch BEFORE I go to sign them. She also said that I’ll have 12 days of liquid diet pre op. Four protein shakes a day, and a gallon of water. This is the “liver reduction diet” portion of our program. This shrinks my liver, making it easier to get under it to my stomach. We went through my med list; once I start the pre op diet, I will stop taking my Lasix, lisinopril, HCTZ and Klor-Con. That’s over half my meds! And I won’t restart them after surgery! Post op, I’ll take the Protonix twice a day, as well as an anti-nausea med (Zofran or Phenergan) and possibly a liquid med for my stomach similar to the Protonix, and a liquid pain medication. I asked her about my Ibuprofen, and she suggested I talk to Dr Ali at consent signing about it, as well as whether or not I will need to inject myself with Lovenox post op, like I did after my hysterectomy. Those injections are twice a day for 30 days, and are self administered. I’ve done it before, so it’s not a big deal at all.

Then she went to get the surgery book. She said that he will want to use the da Vinci robot for my surgery. I was so excited!! I’m such a Grey’s Anatomy nerd!! Apparently, Jackie could tell, as she told us she understands how exciting all this is, when Mariah told her that it’s more than that. [On Grey’s, when Webber was trying to keep Miranda from leaving, he bought her a da Vinci surgical system to entice her to stay]. We all laughed about that. She said that it should only take a couple of days for an answer back from Highmark (a couple of days?!?! SERIOUSLY??!?), so taking into account the 12 day preop diet, the first available surgery day is November 4th. NOVEMBER 4th!!! That’s less than three weeks away!!!

With that, she walked out to checkout, and I was given an order for labs (to be done once I hear I’m approved, but before consent day – CBC and Diff w/Platelets, UA, UC, APTT, Protime/INR, and a Basic Metabolic Panel – nothing like my FIRST labs), and the sheet with the instructions for viewing the educational video presentation about my surgery.  I thanked the staff, told them to have a great evening, and walked out of the office on a cloud.

So now we wait….

Alexis, Finances and Appreciation

I’m not sure what to title this, so it’s untitled. For now anyway.

One of the women I’ve met through this blog, who has become an amazing friend, is Alexis. She’s in her early 30s and an attorney that lives in Vegas. She’s also preparing for the sleeve gastrectomy. Except hers is the day after tomorrow!!

I am so excited for her, I could almost pee my pants. (I kind of feel like that most of the time, thanks to Lasix, and my hysterectomy.) I feel as though I’m living vicariously through her all the time now. Most of my blogger friends have had their surgeries already; I was late into the game. But I can’t wait to have mine!

I have less than three weeks until my next appointment (Weigh In #6) with the PA, Jackie, and then we submit to Highmark! I am ridiculously excited about it! It’s all I think about these days. That and the financial part of it. That’s a little more overwhelming.

My GoFundMe Campaign Link

I started a gofund me campaign. As much as I wish I had the money socked away that I’ll need for the time I’ll have to take off work, I just don’t have it. But the idea of waiting until next year, with another deductible to meet, just makes me sick.  Apparently when I joked about not being above panhandling to have my surgery, I wasn’t really joking. Part of me kind of feels like a dick for making the campaign; like I can’t take care of myself. But you know what? I don’t have a husband to financially support me. I pay all my bills myself, plus I have my daughter and her boyfriend living with me as well. I’m a good person, and I deserve to have this surgery, and if this is what it takes to have it, so be it! So if you’re inclined to share the link, I’d very much appreciate it. At this point, every little bit is going to help.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone who has shown their support over the last five and a half months. Can you believe it’s been that long since I took my first steps toward surgery? I sure I can’t. The messages of support and love have been truly overwhelming. I have found that there are people who read this blog that I never expected, and their support has been wonderful. I promise to keep all of you updated in the coming weeks about where I am in the process, and thank you all again, so very much!

Take care of each other, and say love,

Linda ❤