Dr. Oz weighs in on Gastric Bypass Surgery

DR OZ

DR OZDr. Oz has been a very big advocate for Gastric Bypass Surgery. He has had a couple shows on Gastric Bypass, as well as written some good articles about his thoughts also.

I can remember watching one of Dr. Oz’s shows he had on back in 2011 about Gastric Bypass Surgery. At that time I was already going through the motions, but I can remember being so happy that he had only good things to say. I can also remember looking up some of the articles he had written online after the show.

I had read one that he wrote for Prevention Magazine 8/2011 and there was this part that really stuck out to me and I have never forgotten it. This is what Dr. Oz said: “Yes. Listen, if you’re one hundred pounds overweight at age fifty, you have the same mortality rate as if you have a solid cancer. Would you operate for cancer? Yeah. So if you cannot lose that weight, get one of these procedures. You have to do it with counseling and full awareness of what you’re doing, of course. But if you get people to start losing 5% of their excess body weight, you’re really taking a big whack out of the two-thirds of Americans.”

I mean come on – how much sense does that make? A lot. Something you should think about if you are considering Bariatric Surgery. If there is a treatment out there that can make you well – then why pass it up? That is what I said.

Ironically on January 23rd, 2012, the same day of my Gastric Bypass Surgery, Dr. Oz aired another show all about it. He called Gastric Bypass the Underperformed Surgery and states that only about 1-2% of those who qualify for the surgery get it done. I was so surprised at those numbers – I really thought it would have been more.

So why do you think the numbers are so low? Well because for one people are scared of the surgery. One of the reasons I had hesitations at first. Many have heard horror stories about it. You have to remember that Bariatric Surgery has come a long way and the risks are there as with any surgery, but they are rare. You also have to keep in mind that the horror stories always get way more attention then all the success stories out there.

Maybe another reason may be that you think it is a cop out. This is another thing I thought as well, but I came to realization that it was not at all. Having surgery is a very big decision and life long commitment – so it was not a cop out at all – it was me taking control over my life – I just needed help. Don’t be embarrassed by your decision – you have to own it !!

Another very exciting thing about Gastric Bypass that Dr. Oz wanted to get across is the fact that if you have Type 2 Diabetes – that 80% of those will be cured overnight after surgery. That means those patients will go home free of all meds and shots – can you imagine? That alone is amazing and the weight loss is just a bonus if you ask me.

How do you know if you qualify for Gastric Bypass Surgery? Here is a checklist that was shared on Dr. Oz’s show:

  1. Do you have a BMI over 35 and an obesity related disease? such and Diabetes, Sleep Apnea, High Blood Pressure etc..
  2. Have you been unable to maintain significant weight loss through diet and exercise?
  3. Can you commit to life long change?

If you have answered YES to those then I recommend talking with your doctor about the first steps to having the surgery.

Why live your life not living your life?

I am still in the beginning stages of my Gastric Bypass Surgery being just at my 2 week post op as I write this, but I know I made the right decision for me. I also hope I can help others take control of their lives in the same way.

Way to Go Dr. Oz for using your platform (TV) to let others know that Bariatric Surgery is no longer the last resort and more should take advantage of what is available for them.

My first week after Gastric Bypass Surgery

My first week after Gastric Bypass Surgery

My first week after Gastric Bypass SurgerySo now I am home from the hospital and on my own. You go to all the nutrition classes for months prior to the surgery, but yet all of a sudden your mind goes blank. You just want to get it right and not have any complications. I was so nervous, but ready – or was I?

I got home from the hospital on Wednesday January 25th at around 12:00pm and first on my agenda was to get a shower. It felt so good to be clean, but let me tell ya that sticky stuff from all those heart monitor leads and tape they used is a real bitch to get off. I got some of it off, but not all – I hate that.

Now every doctor has different rules and time frames when it comes to what you are to eat after your Gastric Bypass Surgery so be sure to follow the plan in place that was given to you. I am going share with you what my rules are and go from there.

Day 1 and 2 (which were in the hospital) is a Full Bariatric Liquid Diet – I had Broths, Decaf Tea and Sugar Free Jell-O those days – oh and a Sugar Free Italian Ice

Days 3 to 9 Bariatric Full Liquids – This is food that can pour off a spoon like soup. They should also supply protein and other nutrients too. You should be sent home with a list of things that your doctor says is allowed for you to have at each stage of your new diet. Protein Goal is 60 grams and they want you to try and get in 64 ounce of fluids.

I did not each much my first day home and I was still taking some pain meds which was Vicodin in liquid form (so gross). I am so not a fan of liquid medicine at all. One thing I did wrong on my first day home was to take my vitamins – yup – I had already screwed up. I totally forgot my doctor did not want me to start until I got to the pureed stage which is at day 10. Oops – no harm done hopefully.

I have documented everything I have eaten and the time I have had it in a notebook I keep in my kitchen. This is important to do for many reasons -1: So you can total your protein intake and 2: If you have a reaction to a food you can easily pinpoint what may have caused it and 3: it is a good thing to bring to your nutrition appointment to see if there is anything they would like to change. I also write down when I take my meds – I do not have a great memory so it really helps me a lot to do that too.

Here is what I ate so you can see each day for the first week:

(I am not gonna add the times on – just the order in which I ate)

January 25th (the day I came home)

1 Cup of Chicken Broth with a 1/2 scoop of unflavored protein powder mixed in

1 Sugar Free Jell-O

Got a headache – may be from the aspartame in the Jell-O – happened in the hospital too

Pain Meds

1 Cup Chicken Broth – only ate 1/2

Gas X – I had gas which is normal, but the Gas X is so helpful so have some on hand.

2 SF Fudge Pops – soooo good !!

I felt pretty good my first day home – just tired and still sore. I did a lot of pacing around the house to help move out any of the gas and it felt good to be up. If you are having this done remember to walk walk walk. I am telling ya it has helped me a lot. One thing that drove me nuts was that my new vacuum arrived this day. I had finally caved and bought a Dyson and there it was in a box and I was not allowed to touch it. See I have a vacuuming fetish – I love to vacuum and go through many each year. I have 8 pets in my home and I hate all the fur so I vacuum a lot. Yes once again I have issues – lol. I could not take it so I made hubby open it up and vacuum for me – it was nice he did so, but just not the same for me. Soon enough.

January 26th (My son’s birthday !!)

Crystal Light Iced Tea (drank over the course of the day)

Pain Meds

Chocolate Protein Shake

Dulcolax – this is a stool softener which is a good thing to start taking after surgery to help in the – you know.

Liquid Tylenol – at this point I felt I was not needing the heavy pains meds anymore so hubby went and got me liquid tylenol to take

Strawberry Protein Shake – Only drank 1/2 – that flavor was making me nauseous

1 Cup Cream of Chicken Soup

Liquid Tylenol

1 SF Fudge Pop

1 SF Ice Pop

Gas X

I felt pretty good this day and woke up early in the morning to see the kids off to school. Also being it was my son’s 14th birthday I could not miss making him a fun breakfast that morning. So I made him some heart shaped pancakes with red food coloring and a side of sausage (Yup I am a cool mom like that). I was surprised that I had no problems doing it. I would do anything for my babies – although my baby is not a baby anymore – whaaaaaah !!

Later I also baked him his birthday cake which was a carrot cake – his favorite. Now that smelled really good and I had to be so careful not to lick my fingers when frosting it. It is little habits like that which can cause problems. Again I did great.

I was a bit gassy this day, but nothing some Gas X was not able to handle – oh lots of walking around the house.

January 27th

Crystal Light (drank over the course of the day)

Liquid Tylenol

Gas X

Went back to bed feeling sluggish today – ended up getting up then at about 10:30am

Chocolate Protein Shake

Dulcolax

Liquid Tylenol

1/4 Cup Cream of Rice (I added a tiny bit of I cannot believe it is not butter and salt) – was not crazy about this

1/2 Chocolate Protein Shake

Liquid Tylenol & Gas X

One thing I can remember from this day, because I wrote it in my food diary, is that my hubby had bought some of those roasted chickens they cook at the store for their dinner. Those are my favorite. When he was stripping the chicken off the bone the smell was unreal and it was the first time I was envious. I was so sick of soups and liquids already. So later in the day I walked past the chicken in the kitchen and guess what I did? Nope I did not eat any, but I took a piece and sucked on it for a quick moment to get the flavor and then spit it out. I cannot tell you how hard it was not to chew it up, but I didn’t.

January 28th

Chocolate Protein Shake

Crystal Light (drank over the course of the day)

2 tsp Part Skim Ricotta Cheese (this was a cheat – explained below)

2 SF Ice Pops

1/4 Cup Part Skim Ricotta Cheese (explained below)

1/2 Cup SF Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream (spit out the cherry chunks)

I took it easy this day – I was feeling kinda blah. Maybe it was the withdrawal from the heavy pain meds, not sure. I took a long hot shower and got dressed in real clothes and that helped a bit. I still had no additional motivation to do much of anything else – so I took a couch and TV day. I am finding it hard to get in my fluids and the thoughts of any soups at this point now just completely gross me out.

Now lets talk about my cheating – “The Ricotta Cheese”. No that is not a liquid is it? This is an item allowed on the pureed diet which comes at day 10 and technically I had 4 days till then. Well my dreams of being the Gastric Bypass poster child went right out the window – I broke the rules. I just had to have a different flavor in my mouth and let me tell you it was beyond amazing for me. I tried out 2 tsp first to see how I would handle it and then a couple hours later I had 1/4 cup. I did wake up at midnight that night needing some Gas X -could have been from that – who knows.

NOW let me say that I do not recommend you cheat like I did – your pouch is still healing at this point and I could have caused issues for myself. Thank god I did not. It really was good though. OK shame on me.

January 29th

Crystal Light (drank over the course of the day)

1/4 Cup Part Skim Ricotta Cheese (still cheating)

Chocolate Protein Shake

Gas X (from Ricotta Cheese ???)

1 Laughing Cow Low Fat Swiss Cheese Wedge (cheat)

Lit and Fit Yogurt Vanilla (cheat)

Gas X before bed just in case

Ok so I had lots of cheats on this day. Seems like I just jumped to the pureed diet huh? Well That is because I kinda did. Guilt set in even though I was doing fine. I told myself I had to call my nutritionist tomorrow (Monday) to confess my sins. OH and guess what? I had my first Poop since surgery. I know gross why did I have to share that – well because to know your parts are working after this is a celebration I think. Hail the Poop !!! OH and this was also the day I decided to create this blog – hmmm Poop and Blog ???

January 30th (1 week since surgery – wow)

Crystal Light (drank over the course of the day)

Chocolate Protein Shake

1/4 Cup of Part Skim Ricotta Cheese (still cheating)

1 Laughing Cow Low Fat Swiss Cheese Wedge (cheating again)

Cream of Asparagus Soup Strained – did not eat – soup grossed me out

Chocolate Protein Shake

Cup of Coffee with SF Coffemate Hazelnut Creamer – maybe 20 sips

Holy cow – I week post op – I made it !!! Woooo Hooooo. So I called my nutritionist today and confessed my sins. She said that she could not tell me it was Ok to do that and I should go back on the liquids until Wednesday. Really? At this point what was one day I thought. I have always been known to break the rules – so would I do it again? I was good after the call and tried to have cream soup – which grossed me out and then I had a protein shake. You will have to read my next post to see if I was able to control myself.

So overall I had a great first week after my Gastric Bypass – so much so that I have started to question if he really performed the surgery on me at all. I keep telling my husband that maybe I had a placebo surgery to see if it is really a mind thing.

My pain has never been truly pain at all – just soreness. I have had no reactions of feeling ill from anything I have eaten. The only thing I have gotten was gas in my tummy. Yes I have farted a lot this week, which I am sorry to say is nothing new for me since I had stomach issues prior to surgery. My poor family – lol. I made sure to walk around the house a lot which I think has made a difference. On the days I felt blah – I just chilled out.

I have been just fine around food and the family eating and I did tell them they are not to hide from eating around me. If I felt uncomfortable I would walk away. The good thing is that at the time I did the surgery my hubby and kids made some huge changes themselves. They are living a much healthier lifestyle with food as well. My hubby took over the cooking – bad snacks are no longer in the home and portions have been cut down. So everyone is adjusting to a new lifestyle which is fantastic.

I have felt myself shrinking and my face already looks thinner – I always lose it there first. Yes I have stepped on the scale, BUT I will only be posting my weights in the My Weigh Ins section on a weekly basis. At the end of each month I will put up photos taken at each week to see the changes.

I am beyond excited to melt away !!! Hope you continue to follow my story and watch too.

Stay Tuned for posts on Week 2, What I purchased prior to surgery, What Protein Shakes I drink, Vitamins I use and more…

The days in the hospital after my Gastric Bypass Surgery

My stay in the hospital after my Gastric Bypass Surgery was not very long at all. I went in on a Monday and went home on a Wednesday. I did make the best of my stay and made sure I felt good enough to go home.

So the night after my surgery I slept on and off. I think the nurses coming in so much to take vitals and give me my pains meds woke me up a bit. At this time they were alternating the Dilaudid and Toradol pain meds. I can remember being up and ready to go walking at about 5:00am and asking the nurse to come help me. I just had to get out of the bed. The nurses kept telling me how good I was doing and looked – that made me happy.

When I got back into my room I was able to brush my teeth and get a glimse of myself in the mirror – not a pretty site at all. But I quickly got over that since I was not in the running for a tiara or anything. I brushed my hair and washed up – it felt good.

At about 8:00am my surgeon came in to see how I was doing. I had a list of questions I typed up in my phone for him and he was happy to answer each and every one of them. He also told me there was no need for any additional testing since I was doing so well and that he would order me breakfast. Breakfast I thought – OMG I was so excited !! He also told me that if I felt well enough I could go home early that evening. I decided to stay one more night just to be sure I was good to go. Plus it was much quieter in the hospital vs going home with the kids and the pets etc…

A little while later the nurses took out the catheter – I was free to pee on my own. Yippee !! Yes it was nice to not have to worry, but it was one less thing I had to drag around on my walks. Good thing was is that I was able to go right away – not a lot, but I did it. That is also very important to do after surgery. They also measure how much you go (u gotta pee in a cup that attached to the toilet) and then they scan your belly to see if you are emptying your bladder all the way. I only needed 2 scans over my stay. I must add in it was still a pain in the ass to pull all the equipment to the bathroom and even worse when you had to pee. I had a heart monitor hooked up to me that connected to a box that was a real pain to juggle and then an 02 sensor taped on my finger. Then there was the IV and the stand and the drain coming out of your belly with the container hanging. Just crazy, but you manage and say quite a number of curse words at the same time when you get all tangled.

At about 9:30pm my breakfast arrived – My very first meal after my Gastric Bypass. I was starving !! So on my tray I got a bowl of Chicken Broth, a Sugar Free Jell-O and a cup of Decaf Tea and some fakin’ sugar packets on the side. I could not wait to eat my soup and I dug right in. It tasted like heaven !!! I ate it very slowly which kinda stunk because it got cold by the time I was 1/2 way through it.

I was able to finish the whole bowl, but then I was a bit full and that is all I had at the moment. I ended up eating my Jell-O later and that too tasted delish. The Tea I ditched.

Later in the day I had some visitors – my Mother in Law came and so did my good friend Vicki. I felt a bit bad cause my mother in law got their first and I was passing out mid conversation – I was sleepy. Must have been my big lunch (which was the same as above) – lol. It was nice that they came to see me even if I was not the most coherent company. I also got a headache and was thinking maybe it was from the Jell-O – sometimes the aspartame will do that to me.

My Mother in law and friend was also there to witness me having to take a liquid medicine. It was not pretty – or should I say I was not pretty with all the faces I was making. I HATE liquid medicine. My mother ruined me as a child with Triaminic cough syrup – hated taking it. But if I wanted to keep my soreness to a minimum I had to take it cause they were weaning me off the Dilaudid and switching me to liquid Vicodin since that is what I would be taking at home (oh joy). I was still going to be getting the Toradol until they took the IV out tomorrow.

My hubby came up later in the day with my kids cause they wanted to see me too. My daughter was so excited to walk around the hospital floor with me and we did a whole bunch of laps. It was funny cause I farted while I was walking and was like Oh Yeah – she says “Is that a good thing?” – Yes!! passing gas whether it be burping or farting is a good thing after Gastric Bypass (FYI). I also wonder if any of the other patients heard it – ha ha. While they were there my dinner showed up – this time I got Beef Broth and all the other same items – Jell-O and Tea. I tried the Beef Broth and it was soooo salty. I asked them to bring me Chicken Broth instead. So now I had to wait to eat. No Biggy.

So my family stayed for a couple hours and had to go so they could have their dinner, do homework etc.. A long while later my Chicken Broth finally arrived, but it was gross. Something tasted icky – it was like dirty chicken water. They must have thrown something together last minute. So I did not eat.

I was able to get up on my own now – I was a pro at dragging all the hospital stuff behind me now. So to pass time I did a lot of walking. 99% of the nurses on my floor were young so I had a lot of fun chatting with them all. Even the 1% older ones were just as awesome. They came and hung out with me in my room which was nice. Later that night one of the nurses brought me a Sugar Free Lemon Italian Ice – can I say O.M.G – that was truly the best.

Wednesday came and I was going home to start my new life. Now I had to wait for my surgeon to come in and release me. My hubby got the kids off to school and was on his way to the hospital to get me. My hubby arrived to the hospital before the surgeon came which seemed like it took FOREVER. He ended up coming in at about 10:00am and was happy to answer yet another list of questions I had for him and some my hubby had.

Next he had to remove the drain from my belly. First he cut the stitches holding it on. Then I was asking how long the thing was and if it was gonna hurt coming out – I was freakin’ a bit. He said it would not hurt, but just feel weird. What did that mean – weird???? So he started to talk to me to try and distract me and then he said are you ready 3…2…1… And there is me OMG – WTF !!! It took a couple seconds, but it was the weirdest feeling I have ever felt in my life and DO NOT want to experience it again. It did not hurt he was right, but it felt like there was a worm inside my belly crawling out. Totally the craziest feeling ever and I was glad it was over. Now I just had a gauze.

He told me the steri strips on my other incisions can just fall off on their own (which some had already) and I could shower. OH yeah – could not wait to shower. So he released me and now I just had to wait for the nurses to come un hook me.

So the nurse came in and gave me one more dose of Toradol in my IV so I had time until I could fill my pain meds. They unhooked me from the haeart monitor and pulled off all 1,000 sticky things one me – ok there was not 1,000, but it sure felt like there were. I was happy t have them off and now all that was left was the sticky stuff that is a pain to get off – oh well – I was FREE from equipment !!

While I waited for my papers I got dressed into some fresh clean clothes I packed along with some comfy pants. Hubby went to get the car and meet me at the getaway door. Finally I got my papers and my limo arrived at my room – ok it was a wheelchair. They wheeled me out and that was it. Bye Hospital – I’m Homeward Bound !!

First thing on my list when I get home – SHOWER !!!

Stay Tuned for my next post – My First week after Gastric Bypass

I would also like to send a BIG shout out Thank You to all the nurses at the Reading Hospital on the 3rd floor who rocked !! I could not have asked for a better crew to get me through this and the support and companionship they offered while I was there was top notch. Thanks ladies !!!

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 !!!