Sunday, July 29, 2012

Some New 'Firsts'!

    So this weekend brought about some new Firsts for me:
       I ate at a restaurant for the FIRST TIME SINCE SURGERY. I purposely avoided a restaurant that offers bread or chips before a meal. I ordered the Tortilla Soup, and enjoyed a lovely meal with my son! Also for the FIRST TIME EVER IN MY LIFE I actually left some food in my bowl. An 'angel's share' so to speak, but still a first.
       And I went to a social function for the FIRST TIME SINCE SURGERY. I enjoyed a home-cooked meal at the home of a new friend with our Book Club. I enjoyed caprese salad (mozzarella and tomatoes), and then some spaghetti casserole. I avoided the garlic bread. I also did not try the steamed broccoli, only because I haven't progressed to solid foods yet, and I don't want her first impression to be me PB'ing in her bathroom all night!!! Now, the old me would have filled my plate to the rim with everything, and finished this all before everyone else, and gone back for seconds, and then dessert. What a refreshing change to actually put my utensil down between bites and be able to talk without food in my mouth. Yep, I'm liking the New Me!

Friday, July 27, 2012


    The results are in! I am down 14 LBS since start of diet. Seven of those pounds have been since surgery last Friday. 'WEIGH' TO GO!!  Very encouraging!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lessons from this week...

Some things I've learned this past week:
  •     Surgery was more painful than I expected. But only until day 2.
  •     I have the best brother in the world. (okay, I already knew that!)
  •     I like protein shakes more than I thought I would.
  •     My friend lost 54 lbs in the 5 weeks since her LapBand surgery. (!)
  •     I like going to the gym. (Never thought I'd say that!)
Tomorrow (FRIDAY) is weigh-in day. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Feeling Great!

    So it's been four days since my surgery, and I feel great! I can breathe deeply now. I only feel sore if I bend over or go from a lying to sitting position. Yeah, it's like I've done 1001 crunches.
    Fortunately, I haven't had much nausea, no throwing up. I've been tolerating my liquid diet, but honestly, I'm hungry. LIQUIDS SUCK!  I've been averaging 500 - 700 calories per day. This seems unfathomable to me. I used to eat meals that were 800 calories.
    The hardest part is cooking for my son...but I want to do this for him. I want to thank him for how well he took care of me immediately after my surgery. And, honestly, I need this challenge for myself. Let's face it, the temptations will still be there. And I need to know that I can face them head on and succeed. Each meal, each day is a notch in my belt of success.
    I've been working out at the gym. Again, another challenge is to push through the soreness and get my butt moving.
    My incisions are still closed but I've had to wear BandAids because I keep finding little, tiny blood spots on my t-shirts. Especially at the top incisions, where my underwire kind of digs into them.
    My first post-op appointment is August 2. I return to work tomorrow. I think I'll do okay, I do seem to tire easily, but we'll see how it goes. I won't know unless I try.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Post-op Day One

    What a difference a day makes. Everything is a little better today. Less sore, I'm able to be more mobile. I slept remarkably well last night, waking only once to pee. The hardest transfer for me to make is from lying in bed to standing. But I'm doing better each time. I instinctively support my incisions when I make this transfer, either with a small pillow or just my arm.
    I started using my food diary toay. I'm jotting down everything I eat (or drink, I should say), its caloric content, protein content, and fat content. So far I have able to tolerate tea, Crystal Light, clear broth, protein shakes, sugar-free Popsicles, and even sugar-free pudding. Sometimes I feel 'bloated', but I've been using Gas-EX strips (recommended by my surgeon), and they are remarkable!! They really help!  I've also taken my pain medication (Lortab elixir) a few times.  It still hurts most when I take a deep breath. But, considering they stitched up my diaphragm to prevent my hiatal hernia, I'm sure this is to be expected.
    I only felt nauseous once, last evening, but I broke my Phenergan pill into four pieces and swallowed one at a time. The nausea subsided within 15 minutes. Hooray!  The last thing I want to be doing is gagging and/or throwing up. I cannot imagine how painful that would be. Thank the Heavens for modern medicine.
    So here is the picture of my five incisions!
The big one in the middle on bottom is where my 'port' is located.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Big Day!

    So today was my Big Day. Everything went really well and I am recovering. My belly feels full/bloated, and it hurts to take a deep breath, but these symptoms are normal. My five incisions are closed with DermaBond glue. I take naps, and wake about every hour or so to walk around as instructed. This is to help clear the extra gas that is in my belly/around my organs. I was given Rx of Lortab (hydrocodone) elixir, which is a narcotic for pain, and Phenergan which will help relieve any nausea I get. I've taken the Lortab and it is effective.
   My brother and my son took me to surgery and have been with me the whole time to help me. My son makes a great cup of tea! I've gotten lots of texts and shout-outs from friends and loved ones.  I even got a beautiful plant & balloon delivered from my co-workers. These well-wishes are by far the best part of the day! What a girl will do for a little attention around here....
    I'll post pics of my incision tomorrow. I'm really tired from the surgery and also from the fact that I was up until 4am because I simply had to see The Dark Knight Rises (Batman) movie at midnight last night!! Yes, how fitting for me that my last 'meal' was movie popcorn!! Goodnight everyone!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

48 hour countdown...

   Okay, in less than 48 hrs I will be recovering from the LapBand surgery. I am so excited!  People ask if I'm nervous, but I'm not. Perhaps the morning of surgery I will be (my last surgery was a C-section in 1999), but we'll see.
   I have been doing good on my pre-op diet (high protein, low carb, low fat) and keeping busy with work and also working out at the gym. Damn, never thought I'd type that last sentence. Me, working out at a gym? Have aliens taken over my body?  Not quite, but my clothes do feel a bit looser and I have lost 7 pounds so far since starting the diet. I feel better too. I notice that I have less arthritis pain (in my knees, feet, and back.)
   These positive changes are very encouraging. I just know I've made the right decision. I really believe that this will change my life for the better. Here we go!

Sunday, July 15, 2012


    "NOOOOOOOOOO!"  My son found me crying at the end of aisle 3. "What's wrong, Mom?" All I could manage was to point to the TastyKake display.
    A little backstory: as a young girl growing up in Central Pennsylvania, I cut my teeth on TastyKakes. Fresh from the bakery in Philadelphia, those little cakes did more for me than anything else could. Mmmmmm the nights I spent with KandyKakes. Lunches I spent with Butterscotch Krimpets. The only way to escape their siren call was to move 1600 miles to South Texas. I haven't had a TastyKake in 7 years.
    So I ask you, what are the odds? Five days before bariatric surgery my local grocery decides to introduce San Antonio to the wonders of these Philadelphia baked goods!?! It's a CONSPIRACY I tell you!  At least, that's what I told Security at the grocery store when they tried to calm me down. 
    But I did resist. So far. I am T-minus 5 days until LapBand surgery and I've come too far to fall into this carbohydrate trap. Please wish me luck, I'm gonna need it. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Saying 'NO' to Cheddar Bay Biscuits, 'YES' to Planet Fitness!

    For the first time in 25 years, I went to Red Lobster and DID NOT partake in the Cheddar Bay Biscuits. This is a big 'first' for me, much like the moon landing was for NASA and winning the Emmy in 1999 was for Susan Lucci. I even watched my son devour three of them. All within arms reach of me. I am proud to say that I am doing well on my pre-op high protein, low-carb diet.
    I also reached another milestone when I walked into a gym for the first time since 2002. I joined Planet Fitness today. I simply walked on a treadmill for 30 minutes, but that was a huge leap for this couch potato. The gym is close to my house, another bonus.
   T-minus 8 days until my LapBand surgery. Woot woo!


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Who Shot JR?

    So what would a Texas blog be without mentioning Dallas? If you haven't yet seen the re-booted series, there's still time to catch up. If you enjoyed it in the 1980s, you will love it now. JR and Bobby and SueEllen will all be there to welcome you back to South Fork. If you're a new viewer, and you like intrigue, plot twists, family dynamics, scandal, and oil tycoons, then look no further. Nobody on this show has a BMI over 22, but this is fantasy, not The Biggest Loser.
    Episodes premiere on Wednesday evenings on TNT, and the channel replays older episodes throughout the week. Get caught up in your favorite characters again, while learning to love (or hate) a few new ones. A strong cast and great storylines will have you hooked (like me). Enjoy!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Pretty Toes!

    So my pre-op diet is going well. I thought I would have more trouble avoiding carbs, but fortunately the protein keeps me full. I haven't had any 'carb withdrawal' symptoms yet.
    I prefer the Unjury brand chocolate protein shakes over the True Results chocolate shake. For some reason, the True Result choc shake is a bit 'slimy'. But the strawberry and vanilla shakes do not have that 'sliminess'; they are more smooth, like a regular dairy shake.

    I gave myself a pedicure. I love the Kiss brand nail 'stickers'; they are easy to use, easy to remove, and they last forever on my toes.
    T-minus eleven days until my surgery! Can't wait!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Commencing Pre-op Diet!!

    Okay, I am ready to start my Pre-op diet tomorrow. My nutritionist explained the purpose is to "get some of the fat off the liver" because they have to go behind the liver to reach the stomach and place the band. It's essentially a high-protein, low carb, no-fat diet. I'm no stranger to this, as this is the basis for many diets. I know I'll lose some pounds on this, so I took my official 'BEFORE' measurements & photographs today.
    I have purchased a sample pack from Unjury, some protein shakes from True Results, and picked up a few Blender Bottles from Target. I'm also excited because tomorrow will start the two-week countdown to surgery. Let's go!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy July 4th!


This will be my last July 4th that I'll be able to eat all the hotdogs, potato salad, and watermelon that I want!  I actually considered entering the Nathan's HotDog Eating Contest, but alas, I don't want to put the other contestants to shame.

I hope you have a fun and safe 4th of July!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

How Much Does It Cost?

I had started looking into the LapBand in 2010. A friend and I went to an informational seminar about the procedure. Our first question was "How Much?", but of course we had to listen to the whole dog-and-pony show before they would discuss finances. And then we learned why. The procedure cost $15,000 and our insurance did not cover it. Yikes!  That was a whole lotta clams. I really was convinced that LapBand was the solution for me, but I simply could not justify that expense. My friend was in the same boat.

Fast-forward to 2012, when I'm sitting in my car and the radio commercial says, "Even if you've been told your insurance doesn't cover it, come and talk to our expert case managers at True Results..." I was intrigued (not to mention 20lbs heavier than my 2010 self), so I wasted no time in giving them a call.

My insurance still did not cover the LapBand procedure, so I was quoted an initial price of $9888, with offers of in-house financing and/or external credit plans. I had already agreed to that amount, but the amazing Patient Advocate says, "Wait right here..." She went to check on my insurance benefits, and came back and laid out a pretty clever plan. She explained that if I was found to have a hiatal hernia, my insurance WOULD pay for surgical repair of that. And during the procedure, all I had to do was pony up a measly $5500 and they would slip on a LapBand!

"What if I don't have a hiatal hernia?" I said. "You have a hiatal hernia,"she said confidently. "How on earth do you know that?" I asked. She explained that my history of reflux/heartburn was highly indicative of a hernia. Plus, she said, "about 90 percent of obese people have hiatal hernias."  I like those odds.

So I had an EGD done (paid my share of $120 for the test) and EUREKA! Hiatal hernia was found. I had never been so happy to have been diagnosed with an ailment in all my life! I promptly hosted a "Hernia Party", complete with TUMS and AlkaSeltzer hors d'oeuvres. That darn little bulge just saved me over four grand!

The experience also ingratiated me to my Patient Adovocate. I had already agreed to the $9880. I was not waffling. I feel she went out of her way to make the process as *painless* (in the wallet) as possible. I will always be thankful to her for this.


The countdown continues. I am T-minus 72 hours until I start my pre-op diet. And I have a confession to make.

I have been SCARFING DOWN FOOD LIKE THERE IS NO TOMORROW. Honestly, for the past month, I have been eating everything in sight. Ordering appetizers AND desserts. Even alcohol (I don't drink!) All sense of decorum at the table is gone. I dive in, head first, coming up for air only when necessary. I've been having a finger-lickin' good time.

For the past thirty years, so much of my life has revolved around food. I wonder how I will cope. I eat when I'm happy, sad, and indifferent. I eat when hungry, not hungry, I'll even finish a plate of cookies AFTER I'm stuffed. I eat when I'm alone, with a friend, and in large groups.

I will miss my friend, Food. She has seen me through the best and the worst of times. She travels with me, goes on every vacation, and never misses a birthday or holiday. She has never stood me up. She comes to every party, baby shower, Bat Mitzvah, wedding, and funeral with me. She goes to work with me, and then home with me where we curl up with a good book or watch TV. She loves to shop with me, and even helps me with housework.

I had my last Big Mac today. I took my time and enjoyed it. I almost cried. It was like saying good-bye to that boy who you know is no good for you but is just so darn cute. The one your mother and all your friends warned you about.

Thursday night July 5 will be my last day of eating without abandon. Will I chew slowly and enjoy every morsel? Nah, knowing me I'll probably just move my chair up to the buffet and eat straight from the trough.

Monday, July 2, 2012


I'd read on other blogs to beware of others who try to sabotage our efforts. Of course I thought, "none of my friends would say/do that!" 

Then it happened. I told some friends about my plans, and I was deluged with horror stories. Everybody apparently knows somebody who knows somebody who worked with/is related to/lives near someone who had the LapBand done and lost weight but then GAINED IT ALL BACK! PLUS SOME!! As if by hearing this cautionary tale, I'd suddenly 'come to my senses' and back out of the procedure!

When someone tells me they are going to buy a Brand X car, I don't tell them about my cousin's friend's co-worker who had THE EXACT SAME CAR AND WRECKED IT DRIVING IT OFF THE LOT!! Because honestly, what does one have to do with the other?

My response to the above argument: getting a LapBand is like getting a treadmill. If I don't use it correctly, I will not lose weight. If I don't follow the safety precautions, yes I can be injured. This is a chance I am willing to take. This is my body/my investment/my life and I will do with it what I want THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Another (plus-sized) friend was quick to say, "Gee, when you lose the weight, you'll stop hanging with the likes of me. You'll hang with the skinny folks"  Wow. I didn't quite know what to say to this one. But now I do.

My response to the above argument: if, in two years time, I'm no longer speaking with you, it's probably because you CONTINUE TO SABOTAGE MY EFFORTS OF LIVING A HEALTHY LIFE, and not because of some imaginary "I'm hot, you're not" scenario. I have friends of all shapes and sizes. I choose my friends because of what they do and what they say, NOT HOW THEY LOOK. I'm not that shallow.

Have you discovered some saboteurs in your midst? I'd love to hear about it.