The Morning of My Gastric Bypass Surgery

The Morning of My Gastric Bypass Surgery

The Morning of My Gastric Bypass SurgeryAfter all the waiting The Big Day was finally here. January 23rd, 2012 is the day I would have my Gastric Bypass Surgery. I was so excited to go and get it over with, even if I had to wake up at 4:30am in the morning.

The Friday before my surgery I called to get the time I had to report for surgery on Monday and was told 6:00am. While that meant I had to wake up quite early I was excited to be the first surgery for my surgeon on that day. I was also excited because you were not allowed anything to eat or drink after midnight.

On Sunday I spent my entire day cleaning my house and getting everything done that I knew I would not be able to do once I got home – like the never ending piles of laundry. OMG I even organized my food pantry shelves so it would make life easier on hubby when he took over all the cooking – they look like a grocery store isle – I know pathetic right? but that is how I roll. If my house is not clean and organized I would not be able to relax going in. I even laid out the kids clothes for a few days so they did not have to worry either – awww what a great mom I am – lol. I wanted to make sure everything was done so that my hubby would not have to worry about much right away, but to take care of me – lol. Let me just say I have the best hubby in the world – he is so supportive with everything and anything I do. I am so lucky to have him in my life and to think I have been with him since I was 17 and could never picture my life without him in it. ♥

By the time I finished polishing my nails (I was allowed to have polish on for surgery – BooYa) and taking my shower it was almost midnight. I was still a bit wired from being so busy, but found the time to shove some last minute food into my mouth before midnight. Of course it was nothing good – I was on the liquid. I ended up having a Chocolate Protein Shake so that it would fill me up and maybe I would not be so hungry in a few hours when I had to get up. I ended up in bed about 12:30am and set my alarm for 4:30am. We had to leave the house no later than 5:20am to get there in time.

Hubby and I were laying in bed – he was tired and I was wired, but we chatted a bit. For a moment the nerves set in a bit – I had to ask him if I was doing the right thing. I had a few tears, but knew I had gone over this a million times and there was no backing out now. Then as in my fashion I had to lay down some rules if I did not make it out of the surgery. Yup I always think the worst, but ya never know right? So I gave my verbal will to my hubby who was not at all amused by it. I personally found it amusing and quite funny and if he did not follow I promised I would come back and haunt him.

I think he fell asleep around 1:30am and I watched some TV for a bit until I did too. Then BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ – my alarm goes off and as if I had slept for 8 hours I was up and out of bed. I guess I was excited now. So I went and got dressed, then I did my hair and paced until it was time to wake hubby and go. At 5:25 am we were in the car driving in the dark to the hospital. I made my hubby go through the McDonald’s drive thru to get himself some coffee as I took in the smells of the breakfast cooking in there and saying my goodbyes – lol.

When we got to the hospital we were sent to a waiting room until we were called back. So I did what I do and was texting on the phone and putting up some FB statuses for my friends and family. Once I was called back I went to what I call a cattle line up – it is where everyone goes to get prepped for their surgeries, stuck with IVs and asked lots of questions. Then you just sit in your little area until it is your turn to go.

So while I was waiting I called my kids to make sure they were up and ready for school and wish them a good day with hugs and kisses.

Then it was time to get my IV – one of the things I hate the most – Needles. BUT I was so excited and just drained from all the work I had been doing and being up so late it was no big deal. I have very hard veins to find, but this nurse who was a god send found the perfect one on my forearm and it did not hurt a bit. I didn’t even feel the IV in my arm at all – I was so excited. I had another surgery back in November 2010 and that IV was in my hand and hurt the second it went in till the day I left – I hated it. So this was awesome !!

OH I was also given a anti nasuea pill that I had requested prior to my surgery. See I have had 2 C-Sections and a Hysterectomy and each time while I was recovering that first day I would puke like crazy. Could be from the anesthesia or pain meds – or both combined, but I did not want to go through that again – so this time I was prepared. They were also going to be pumping me with some during surgery as well. So it is a good thing to ask your Surgeon to put on the list for you too if you will be having this surgery – would not hurt.

At 7:45am they came to take me away and I was really excited to go. I gave a big smooch to my hubby and off I went…..

Stay Tuned to see what happens next – coming in my next post

The Months leading up to my Gastric Bypass Surgery

Calendar

CalendarIt seemed like forever for my Gastric Bypass Surgery date to get here. Actually it kinda was forever – how about over 1 year of going through the motions. What a crazy year it was, that is for sure… Sorry this post is gonna be a long one – well it was a year ya know !!!

So as I have stated in my previous posts I started my journey by going to the Weight Loss Surgery Seminar in December 2010. That is what is required by my surgeon before you can go any further. The seminar was a combination of videos and people speaking about the different kinds of surgeries they performed. They also answered any questions we may have had. It was kinda like a live infomercial of sorts – horrible to say, but true.

From there if I was interested in continuing I signed up and gave them my name and number and filled out a couple other forms. From that point I had to wait to get a call with a date that I would get to meet with the surgeon. Of course I filled it all out and I was so anxious for that call.

Well I got that call about 1 1/2 weeks later and met with my surgeon on January 20th 2011 almost a year to the date of my surgery. When I met my surgeon I was shocked at how young he was – I mean he is no Doogie Houser, but younger than me and making me feel old. My hubby says we have to get use to it since we are getting old – whateva !! So my surgeon explained all the different types of weight loss surgeries he does. I was debating between the Lap Band and Gastric Bypass leaning toward the bypass. There were things about the Lap Band that did not sit well with me such as the constant adjustments and the fact you can feel it inside you – that would freak me out.

My surgeon thought I was a much better candidate for the Gastric Bypass as did my hubby and I. So that was it – I was going for Gastric Bypass !!! But not so quick… my insurance required me to go to 6 nutritional classes (1 per month), a psychological evaluation and get cleared by my cardiologist and a respiratory doctor. Holy overload !!! I had to wait 6 months? Are you kidding me? I am not one to have patience and wait for anything, but what could I do. Every insurance company has different requirements – some may only require 3 months of nutritional counseling – mine just sucks and of course would require the most. But on the upside I should have just been glad they covered the surgery at all – so many insurance companies still do not cover it. ( I am sorry if yours is one of those)

So I went through the motions did the classes and each month weighed in. I had my psychological evaluation – that was fun, they just want to make sure you are mentally prepared for what the surgery entails and that you are not crazy. I knew all about the surgery which was good but I am a bit crazy – I was surprised to hear I got a thumbs up from that – lol. I went and got my release from my Cardiologist – I have Tachycardia so they wanted me cleared. Then I had my Respiratory Doctor visit who added on a Sleep Study and a Pulmonary Function Test to make sure my lungs were good. My Sleep Study showed I have mild Sleep Apnea (not a surprise when you are overweight – I now get to sport a lovely mask while I sleep, oh joy). My Pulmonary Function was great even considering I smoked for years and still was at the time. I did not do so well with the weigh ins at my nutrition counseling sessions – surprise surprise. My very first weigh in I was up, next one down, then up, then down – this happened all 6 months. I was not happy with that, but did not give it a ton of thought at the time – stupid me.

So the months passed – very slowly of course. I had also missed a couple of my nutrition classes which set me back – so now I had to wait even longer until I could have the surgery. Well the time came in September when I finished my last class and I was scheduled to meet with my surgeon for my pre op visit and surgery date. I was soooo wicked excited. So we met and I was given a surgery date of October 12th 2011.Yahoo I was done with the weigh ins – or so I thought. My surgeon wanted me to do one more since my weigh ins were not that good over the time I was doing the classes. URGH !! He wanted me back in 3 days for another weigh in before he submitted it to insurance. He told me to do a liquid diet, exercise and add in a laxative too. I know not very healthy, but it was just a quick thing.

So I did that – it was sooooo hard because at the same time I was quitting smoking. I literally locked myself in my room for those days and slept and watched TV – either that or I would have ended up on the news for murder. Oh and food commercials seem to be on even more when you cannot eat -just sayin’ !! I think I ended up losing 6-7 lbs. So now it was a waiting game and the ball was in the insurance companies court. Did I mention I hated waiting?

So I tried to keep myself busy preparing for my upcoming surgery by cleaning my house and getting things in order. I was mentally preparing myself and I was ready to go. It took the insurance company about 1 1/2 weeks to make a decision and guess what? DENIED. What? When the call came from my surgeons office with the news it was like waking up as a child on Christmas to find no presents under the tree. I was completely devastated.

I was told that the insurance company thought I did not follow the diet restrictions during the 6 months and my weight fluctuated too much. (oh crap I thought – I did this to myself). They did say, which was unusual, that if I did 3 more months of nutrition counseling they would reconsider, but I was not able to send the paperwork in until January 3rd 2012. At the time I was not at all happy, but I ended up coming to terms with it after a full fledged depression.

I had the holidays to get through and maybe that would help the time pass. Well during that time I started to smoke once again – after I worked so hard on quitting not long prior. Damn Cigarettes and Food – both were killing me. I knew I would have to quit all over again because I had to sign a paper with my surgeon stating I would quit 6 weeks prior to surgery – it is important to do that.

So here I went all over again – 3 more weigh ins to go. I tried to eat well and I did watch my intake which was hard during the holidays. What I also did each time before weigh in was that Liquid/Laxative 3-4 day diet. I know I know once again so not healthy, BUT I was not gonna get denied again. It was torture I am not gonna lie, but I did what had to be done. One time the night before weigh in I put on layers and layers of clothes and went on the treadmill for about an hour or so and sweat like bullets.

So I got to have yet another pre-op appointment with my surgeon on December 22nd which I thought would be my very last weigh in and then I would be home free till my new surgery date in January. WRONG again !!! My surgeon scheduled me in for a new surgery date of January 23rd, but he wanted me to come back for one more weigh in on January 3rd. Are you kidding me I thought. Not only do I have to get through Christmas, but I have to weigh in right after New Years. For the first time I was having a party and planned to make some yummy food and snacks.

So my head was spinning of course thinking about all the food I would have to give up to do another weigh in – DUH what is wrong with me – isn’t this why I was going through this??? Food has a hold on me. So I got over myself and did what I had to do. Oh and on January 1st it was right back to liquid. On January 3rd I weighed in for my very last time and in the 3 months I had dropped a total of 11 pounds. Not too bad and I was happy with that. I had a weight loss at each weigh in.

So after I left they submitted my paper work to my insurance company and the waiting game began yet again. I did not stress this time – I had a feeling they were going to take a while before I heard anything. I also told myself what ever happens happens – if I am denied again then it was just meant to be so.

On January 5th my phone rang and I saw it was my surgeon’s office calling (gotta love caller ID). I thought it is way too soon and I must have been denied again. So I pick it up and say “Hello” – the voice on the other end “Is this Nicole?”, “yes it is” (I am thinking just say it already !!!). She then went on to tell me they approved me. Shock set in. I hung up the phone and screamed. Hubby did not appreciate that since he was sitting right next to me – oh well. I got up and did my happy dance.

Next I was like – urgh I have to wait almost 3 weeks. Then I thought OMG I can eat !! No More weigh ins. See how my sick food addicted mind worked. So over those weeks I did not go crazy eating like a pig every day, BUT I did make sure to enjoy those foods I knew I would not be able to eat for a long time if ever again. The doctor’s say not to binge eat prior to the surgery, but are they stupid??- of course we will.

Some of the things I ate:

Steak – I know steak is so hard for bariatric patients after surgery

Entenmann’s Chocolate Donuts – Bought a few boxes

Hard Sourdough Pretzels and Cheddar Cheese Slices eaten together – my guilty pleasure

Gryo and Greek Salad

and a trip to the Chinese Buffet where I filled up on lots of Sushi and everything else – lol

So 4 days prior to my surgery date I had to be on a Liquid Diet. Every surgeon is different with what they require. I got to have Protein Shakes, Cream based Soups (strained), Yogurt, Broths, Jell-O. Decaf Tea & Coffee etc…

Ok so Decaf Coffee – I am a big coffee drinker so I had to give that up too. So now I was breaking up with food, I had already broke up with cigarettes (still struggle), I stopped biting my nails (forgot to mention) and now coffee. I am out of vices so now what? I guess we will see and I can only hope for the best. Maybe a new hobby or two huh?

And so the big days approaches – January 23rd, 2012 – the day that will change my life for the better. My 2nd Chance, my New start. Am I ready?

I had waited just over a year to get to this day.

My Story Continues in the next post with My Surgery Day, stay tuned…..

Why I chose Gastric Bypass Surgery vs. another Diet and Exercise Plan

Decision Making

Decision MakingMaking the decision to have Gastric Bypass Surgery did not come easy at all. It was probably one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make for myself. Gastric Bypass Surgery is not the easy way out at all and you have to know that going in.

I have struggled with my weight for ever and have been on most diet plans. I know what I am suppose to do and eat and how important exercise is. It is a no brainer, BUT for me I have never been able to focus long enough to get to the point of maintenance. I would lose the weight to where I started feeling good and thinking – hey it is ok if I eat this donut and the rest is a downward slide each and every time. Something tells me you know exactly what I am talking about, right?

Yup I lack drive and motivation and on top of it all I suffer from depression. I noticed as I have gotten older it has gotten worse – almost as though I have given up altogether and maybe I had for awhile – at least that is what it felt like. Gone were the days of turning heads and getting whistled at cause I looked good to not wanting to leave the house cause I felt like a fat cow. It was my new reality, but deep inside I did not truly want to accept that. I have always felt like a beautiful butterfly inside, but I am stuck in this thick cocoon (aka – FAT) that I want gone so I can fly again.

I had never thought I would ever be making a decision to have Weight Loss Surgery. I was always one to think that surgery was a cop out and I had always heard such horror stories about it. Back in early 2010 I had an appointment to see my regular doctor and we were talking about my health and weight. He brought up to me that I should consider Weight Loss Surgery because my weight was getting out of control and I was over 100 lbs overweight. I was shocked for a moment – Really? Surgery? He gave me some information about going to a Weight Loss Surgery Seminar to just listen to what it was all about.

I thought about it that day and all the stories of people having complications and dying from it (that was what you would hear back when it was new and it stuck with me). Could I put myself through that? I have a family. What if something happened to me because I chose to take an easy way out to lose weight. What would people think… Well I never went and just put it in the back of my mind and continued doing what I do – comforting myself with food.

In November 2010 we took a family vacation to Florida to visit family and friends (oh and to celebrate my 40th birthday). I can remember the plane ride and how excited I was to not have to ask for a seat belt extender like I did on a prior flight. Well it was a different airline and I think the seat belts were a tiny bit longer and it was super tight, but I made it work. And why do they make those seats so damn small and narrow – I mean really. So my vacation was getting off to an uncomfortable start already.

We did a lot of different things on vacation and every day my weight was an issue. One of the things we did was go to Universal Studios and visit the Harry Potter section. My kids were super excited to go on the ride in the Hogwarts School. So hubby, me and the kids waited on line for over an hour. My hubby was gonna go with my son and I was gonna go with my daughter. So we get to the ride finally and my hubby and son go in their seats and my daughter and I go in ours. This ride had the bars that came down above you and I pulled mine down, but it would not snap in. All of a sudden I heard a buzzer go off and the next thing I know is a worker stopped the ride and came and told my daughter and I we had to get off and go through a door he pointed at. I felt like the bad egg from Willy Wonka – it was so humiliating. I think the worst was having to explain to my daughter what just happened. After that I just broke down, that was horrible.

During our trip we went to visit some old friends we made when we lived in Florida who we had not seen in years – Pete and Yvette (love them!!). When I saw Yvette she was just a 1/4 of the person I knew – I was like where the hell did she go – she looks AMAZING. Well I always thought she looked good, but we were always battling our weight and doing all kinds of diets back in the day together. Funny when you look back and to think that we thought we were so fat, but honestly I would give anything to go back and be as fat as I thought I was then. To think of the days when losing only 30 pounds was the goal to now when it is more like 150.

Anyway – Yvette had never announced she had Gastric Bypass Surgery to anyone and being I only saw few pictures on Facebook over the years I had no idea. It took me quite some time to scrape my jaw off the floor after seeing how thin and beautiful she looked. And here I am double the size I was when she last saw me – talk about feeling like a cow- Moo Moo.

Yvette came clean to me about having the Gastric Bypass Surgery and talked to me about it for hours. She told me everything she had gone through – the ups, downs and in betweens. She made me see the surgery in a much different way then I had ever before. Having the surgery is not a cop out at all – it is a lot of work, it is a tool to help get your life back. I had told her that my doctor had mentioned it and wanted me to consider it, but I was too afraid. Yvette gave me the confidence to take the first step to getting my life back.

When I got home from that vacation I made an appointment for the next Weight Loss Seminar that took place December 2010. Hubby came with me too and we sat listened and asked questions. Weight Loss Surgery has come a long way from the things I knew about it. I left with a much different feeling about it all, a good one. Yes I could chose to continue Yo Yo Dieting which had obviously never worked for me in the past from my history or I could be given a tool that will help me get to a much healthier weight. The risks of the surgery to me were minimal compared to the risks of my health being the weight I was and could potentially get to.

Now don’t get me wrong I worried for months and continued to question my decision up until the day of the surgery, but again the surgery for me always won the battle.

I want to thank Yvette from the bottom of my heart ♥ – if I had never gone to see my old friend I may not have ever taken the steps to my new life. That is what friends are for !!! Yvette still continues to be my inspiration and support and I cannot wait to go back and see her again – this time looking thin and smoking hot myself !!!

How I got to be almost 300 Pounds – Yikes

How I got to be almost 300 Pounds – Yikes

So how did I get to be almost 300 pounds? Ok obvious answer here – I ate too much and I ate all the wrong things. Now I was never actually 300 lbs., but I was pretty damn close at my highest weight of 297 lbs. back in January 2011. I have battled the bulge for as long as I can remember.

I think it became evident I was getting a bit chunky at around age 8, not where I stood out but you can tell I was thicker than most other kids my age. That is the age when I lost my mother due to Cancer. So I wonder if at such a young age I turned to food to comfort myself. Very possible.

Heck my life revolved around food growing up. I come from a big Italian Family and food is what brought us all together and lots of it. And yes when I think about it I do drool a bit, just sayin’. Food made us all feel good and especially me – I love to eat. Back then there was no portion control, well at least not in my house.

I honestly feel that my biggest problem with food has been the comfort factor. Food makes me feel good when I feel bad and that is the same with most of us who are overweight. I was always amazed when my sister would get upset and she would not be able to eat – really??? For me I get upset and I cannot stop – so it is funny how we are all different when it comes to that.

I can remember all the diets I have been on starting in my tween years such as Weight Watchers, Nutri System, Jenny Craig, Cabbage Soup Diet, Starvation Diet (that one never lasted too long), Atkins, Fen-Phen (yup did those too), Richard Simmons Tapes, Alli, Gym Memberships, Nutritionist and many many more. I know if you are reading this you can relate and can probably make this list even longer. I did have success on some of these plans, but of course it was always short lived. My lowest weight ever hit was after doing Jenny Craig – I think that was in the late 80’s. I believe I got down to about 127 lbs.

The time in my life when my weight just went out of control was after I had my son in 1998. I gained a ton of weight during my pregnancy (it was an extra excuse to eat) and after I had him I was never able to take it all off. At that point I was around 180 lbs and I swore there was no way I would ever be over 200 lbs. I did pretty good with my promise to myself until I got pregnant again with my daughter. After having her in 2000 I was 220 lbs.

I can remember a time after having her picking up one of her fitted bassinet sheets thinking it was my underwear – at that point I knew my weight was bad. I sat and waited for Richard Simmons to call me, but the phone never rang. So what did I do? I ate of course. He should have called !!

I stayed close to that weight for awhile until I tried the Atkins Diet after moving into my new house back in 2002ish. I dropped a bunch of weight from that and I actually really liked that diet plan cause you can eat a lot of food, until bread won the fight. Well that was the end of that and the weight slowly but surely crept right back on. A vicious cycle we all know too well. Yo Yo Dieting – Urgh !!

So the years went by and more diet plans were tried all with the same results – lose some weight, feel good, eat and gain it back and then some. But in 2007 my husband had a work injury that was pretty bad and the stress from that really took a toll on me and I turned to food. Well look where it got me – to 297 lbs.

Now why could I not get comfort from hugging a Teddy Bear, think of the money I could have saved all these years.

I can stand up with no problem and say “Hi I am Nicole and I have a Food Addiction”

That is the first step right?

Stay tuned for my post on Why I chose to have Gastric Bypass vs. another Diet and Exercise Plan.