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 ❤

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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 ❤

 

 

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 ❤

A woman goes to the doctor. What they tell her blows her mind!

(Didn’t that headline read like one of those Upworthy posts on Facebook that is always way less dramatic and impressive than they let on?)

But I did go to the doctor today. Two of them, in fact.

My bariatric surgeon decided that for no other reason than I’m fat that I should go to the cardiologist for a cardiac clearance. When I scheduled the appointment, it took some wiggling, but I scheduled it and Official Weigh In #5 on the same day, so I could just take a whole day off work instead of dicking around and taking off more than one. Today was the day for both appointments.

Victoria offered to take me, which I very much appreciated. We took the scenic route (on 86, which we never do) and made great time, arriving 15 minutes before I was supposed to be there. (My appointment was originally scheduled for 1pm – they called last Friday and asked if I could arrive at 12:15 for a 12:30 appointment, which was fine by me.) I went over my personal information with them, filled out an ROS (Review of Systems) sheet, and was back in a room by 12:15. A quick work up from the nurse, and Dr. Kang was in the room by 12:30. Five minutes of talking, two deep breaths and a quick listen to my heart, and he told me that while I am a moderate surgery risk (because of my weight), I have low indicators and received the “OKAY!!” to have surgery!

We were out of the office by 1:00, which gave us almost 3 hours before my next appointment, which was almost literally across the street. Victoria was starving so we got her some grub (I try not to eat on weigh in days because, well, it’s a weigh in day!), and she asked if she could go to this cute little hippie store called Grasshopper. She didn’t know how to get there, so I talked her through it. She was in the store about ten minutes, purchased a couple of tie dyes to wear to work, then asked if we could go to their other location on the West Side. So we did.  By the time we were done there, it was about 2:30, so we decided to go to the bariatrics office to see if there was any way I could be seen early.

We walked into a FULL waiting room. My hopes of getting in to see Jackie, the PA, were almost gone when a woman walked out from the back and announced that the nutrition class would be held in the conference room, and anyone here for that should follow her. The room immediately emptied out, and in under a minute, I was called back for my weigh in.

I lost 5.5 lbs since my last “official” weigh in, which are the only ones bariatrics count. The tech that worked me up told me I was doing great, as I’m now, officially, 5.5 pounds away from my pre op goal. She took my blood pressure (which was higher there than at the cardiologist – Tori took credit for that, saying it was because of her driving!), then walked us back to an exam room, where we waited just a few minutes for Jackie to come in.

Jackie is a very sweet person. I was immediately comfortable talking to her. She said she was going to take a minute to go over my chart and then we’d talk. She congratulated me on my weight loss, and told me I was doing a great job. I reminded her that I’d updated all my meds and medical history via the UPMC portal last week, so everything was up to date, and she thanked me for that. (I am the portal queen for sure!) She went through the list of all my tests and procedures and whatnot that I’d needed to get done for surgery and was very pleased that it’s all been completed. I explained to her that the only thing I didn’t have done was my three support group visits, and that they can be difficult to get to as they are only once a month, and sometimes real life (work, kids, etc) make it difficult. I told her that I’d wanted to have them all done before my six months was up, but September was very difficult – Jamestown doesn’t have a September meeting (1st Monday is Labor Day), Bradford’s meeting was tonight and I couldn’t get there in time, and there isn’t a Warren meeting this month, because the leader is out of town. I told her that I’ve become part of a network of weight loss surgery bloggers, and that I’ve gotten some valuable insight and advice from them, as most of them have already had surgery or are almost to their surgery dates (I’m so excited for you, Alexis!!!!). She said that the reason for the support group meetings is to get that support from others that I’m getting from my blogging friends, so if I don’t make it to all the meetings, that doesn’t necessarily preclude me from being approved for surgery.

Jackie told me today that at my next appointment, THEY COULD BE READY TO SUBMIT FOR APPROVAL!! I about peed my pants! I told her that Dr. Ali had initially said that my surgery would likely be in February or March. She said that they don’t often get patients with weight loss like mine, so she figured he was giving me time to reach my goal. He hadn’t expected me to get so close to soon! I was thrilled!

So now, here is the problem. I have no more v/s/p days to take. I used the last one today to go to my doctor appointments. However, if I can rustle up the money that I would have made at work for the two weeks I need off, and my boss will allow it, theoretically, I could have surgery in November! NOVEMBER! Holy crap! Jackie said I am totally ahead of schedule, and she’s really proud of me! I was beaming!

So now, I have to figure things out. I really would love to have surgery in 2015, because I’ve met my deductible. Waiting until ’16 means a whole new one, which I dread. So, now I do some math and figure out what I can do.  Jackie did tell me that once I’m approved, the approval is good for six months, so if I can’t have surgery until next year, they won’t have to resubmit, so that’s something.

If anyone has any input, or any dollars for that matter, let me know! I’m not above begging and panhandling at this point, if it saves me from another GD deductible!

Don’t worry, be happy!

Linda ❤

You’ll have to wait one more day…

I had an 800 word blog almost done, fell asleep typing, and lost the whole damned thing, so you’re going to have to wait one more freaking day.

Mental note – save the draft while you’re writing it.

In the meantime, here’s The Avett Brothers. Seeing them live is one of my post op goals (hopefully at Red Rocks-a girl can dream!).

The Avett Brothers – Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise

My daughter Mariah got a tattoo of a lighthouse (for my Dad – I miss you!) with the lyrics from this song “Decide what to be and go be it” incorporated into it.  That line means a great deal to me now. I decided to be healthy, and am taking the steps I need to so I can be.

And with that, I am away.

Be kind, rewind.

Linda ❤

1 to 10 in 7 days. Is that new math?

Let me preface this post with this – I’m having my EGD on Monday, so no ibuprofen until Monday afternoon. I HURT. I’m trying not to be growly, but sometimes…..it’s hard.

Back to the post. Today was busy. I had to go to our Seneca office first thing this morning to have a little meeting with the staff about some of our EMR Meaningful Use stuff, so I had my protein shake on the way. I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat a legit breakfast (and don’t most days) so the Breakfast Shake has become routine. Of course, I burped protein for the whole drive down, but I’ll live.

The doctor was late for the meeting (she forgot about it) but otherwise I think it went well. By 10:20am, I was on the road back to the main office (about 60 miles, one way). It was a beautiful drive, and I only got stuck in road construction twice. For those of you unfamiliar with Pennsylvania, we have two season – Winter and Road Construction.

I was back in Warren by noon.  I worked on a couple little things I had left from the day before, took care of some emails and spend the next couple of hours checking insurance eligibilities – 120 medical and 60 vision, give or take. Took me the better part of the afternoon. Then I opened our mail which was thankfully very light today. About a dozen patient payment checks and a letter for the ASC director. Easy Peasy. I deposited the checks, and started in on the next day’s eligibilities.

I had another visit with the nutritionist after work. This every Wednesday afternoon right after work thing seems to work out well for both of us. We went over the good, the bad and the ugly in my food diary (mostly good, but I do love a baked potato!) and chatted a bit about our kids and life in general. When we had our first conversation, she told me she was struggling to get everything set up with her new venture running her own business, because she just wanted to help people eat healthier. She doesn’t much care of the billing part of it. I told her that I would help as much as I could, and she thought that was great, until a week later, when she left a voicemail saying that she appreciated my offer, but she has gotten in touch with her dietician association and they were supposed to be helping her. I figured, no harm no foul, I’ll just go to my appointment. After last week’s one pound loss and my subsequent crying, she thought it would be better to meet weekly. That’s why I went to today. She told me that she’s still struggling with the billing part of it, and if I was still willing to help her, we could take it out in trade. That means I won’t have to come up with $20 a week to see her! Awesomeness!

So once we got that squared away, it was time for the scales. I told her I wasn’t going to get my hopes up. That I had done as well as I could with the groceries in my house.  I stepped on the scale and waited for her (the scale) to tell me my weight.

475  pounds.

I lost ten pounds this week! I am super stoked, and so was Pam! She told me I was definitely doing something right, and to keep up the good work! We made an appointment for next Wednesday, same time, same station.

10 pounds!! I felt soooo much better after this week’s weigh in. Friday is payday, so I’ll make a grocery list with some of the food items she suggested (garbanzo and white beans for protein, rolled oats to make my own granola, more fresh produce to use to make my pastaless primavera with summer squash and zucchini with cherry tomatoes and chicken that I love love love in the summertime!) along with a shaker and protein powder so I can try my hand at making my own shakes.

Also, I’m considering a Sam’s Club membership because I know the protein shakes/powder can be found much cheaper there. We’ll see what the bank account says once the bills are paid.

All in all, a pretty damn good day! Let’s hope next week’s weigh in goes as well as this one!

Have a great day, and don’t forget to be kind….always!

Linda ❤