A-Weigh We Go

LilySlim Weight loss tickers

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Thanks for Sharing

I usually love when the boys share.  Really I do.  But when it's the stomach bug, I'd appreciate it if they could keep it to themselves.  Ok..ok...so I know they don't have full control over it, but ugh!  I could have really done without this!

On a different note, I took my bug with me (though I did ask if it was okay to be there and they assured me it was fine) to my appointment at [bariatric center] today.

I spent just over an hour with the LCSW - which was really good.  Not that she can share her life story with me, it is WAY obvious that she's a Christian.  Not only were there tons of knick knacks around the room with various Scripture on them, but K-Love was playing on the radio when I walked in.  May seem silly to some, but I find it comforting.

We got to talk a lot about the Genogram, the self-evaluation and the Top 10 reasons I'm committed to this process.  As I've mentioned before, diabetes is prominent in my family, as is heart problems and various addictions.  No, I didn't inherit the gambling addiction or alcohol addiction, but it's very obvious that my addiction is food.  It's been my "go to" when I'm stressed, lonely, bored, happy and everything in between.  Interestingly enough, LCSW has been an addictions (12-step) counselor for years.  I talked about the trigger place I identified as well as not really knowing what "small sustainable" changes look like.  Below are a couple of things from the homework that stood out to me as we talked through it today:

As you reflect back on your Genogram as a whole, how does your family, work, culture, and spiritual life affect your development?  This is a really tough question.  I think I am still "developing" after years of being in a stalemate - or plateau.  I can see a lot of trends in my family medically.  Diabetes, especially, as well as heart disease is rampant.  I do think that my spiritual life and trust that that God has given me the courage to get through this is part of my ongoing development.
Identify the negative symbols in your Genogram and write how the negative aspects have affected your life.  How are you part of the negative cycle?  How will you change history and show how you can effect change in your life.  Negatives are pretty easy to see.  Obesity/diabetes/heart disease are the obvious negatives, but there is also a pattern of addiction.  My addiction of food has been such a negative in my life for YEARS.  It's easy to call gambling or alcoholism an addiction, but to say that I'm addicted to food is more difficult - though it is just as detrimental (if not more so) to my health as if I had one of the other addictions in my Genogram.  By gaining control of my weight, I will be able to help my children identify and overcome the potential food addictions that have plagued all of my family. 
The self-evaluation was tougher.  It addressed how my eating/weight has affected my relationships with: spouse, children, other family, friends, work, daily routine, education, practicing cultural customs/traditions, participation in organized religion, spirituality, finances, sexual intimacy, sense of well-being.  Yeah, these were those, "I can't believe I wrote that" moments. [and way too personal to put here]. All-in-all, though it's difficult to address some of these things, it's been really good too.  

I also met with the MD today.  I was down 8.7 lbs.  I'm sure it's a combination of "not knowing how to do it differently" and the bug the boys shared with me.  Next time, I'll be meeting with the RD again and will have more guidelines on those small changes.  The MD was nice.  I always snicker on the inside when they look at the chart and see that I have no obesity-related issues.  BP is good (120/74), no diabetes, etc.  My blood work did show that I am Vitamin D deficient and though my B12 levels are within the "normal" range, they're at the low-end of normal.  So he is starting me on those vitamins now.  He talked a lot about the procedure not being the end all of weight issues.  He stressed the education aspect of the surgery and eating patterns, not thinking that this was the only thing I had to do for this journey to be successful.  And of course he discussed exercise and alternatives for me because of my knees.

I've got to schedule two additional evaluations.  First the exercise evaluation to determine what regimen is best for me.  The second is a scope thingy (yeah, I'm a medical terminologist...not!) to go into my stomach to make sure there are no polyps or ulcers that would make the surgery a problem.  So that's next on the agenda - get those scheduled.

I left there feeling pretty good at how it went, even if the bug had the best of me.  Spent the rest of my afternoon in bed (or bathroom) and ate my first bites of food for the day about an hour ago.  Hoping it stays down/in and that I don't share it with anyone else!
"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I Didn't Lie

Do you ever write (or say) something and go, "wow...I can't believe I actually admitted that."  I've just had several of those "wow" moments as I was finishing my homework for my appointment on Tuesday.  I guess that's the point of some of this and why part of this program is working with a LCSW.  Still..it's hard to put to paper.  I wanted to lie on some of it.  It did cross my mind.  "She won't know if I'm not honest about that."  But I would.  "You can water this down some so it doesn't seem so extreme."  But it is.  "If I don't admit it, it didn't happen."  Lie.  

No matter what I put on paper, the truth would still be the truth.  

I wouldn't deal with it if I lied.  I remember the words of a friend who said, "I'll support this if you meet with [counselor] too."  Meaning: get healthy emotionally and spiritually as well as physically.  So I didn't lie.  I just didn't like what I had to say.
"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Holy Diabetes, Batman!!!

I began my homework this evening.  I haven't intentionally procrastinated doing it.  Truly, I haven't.  This afternoon, I decided to dive into some of it, starting with the Genogram.  

A Genogram is a pictorial map of a family through three generations or more that captures family history by noting:  births, relationships, family roles, patterns, losses, occupations, professions, supports, communication patterns.  Familial links are recognized regarding health:  cancer, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, obesity, addictions.  The genogram is a tool that can help a family identify new supports, strengths and possible limitations, recognize patterns that can change, provide useful information for caregivers.

The Summary page of the instructions for the Genogram has insightful points - some of which are below:

  • Our health, for the most part, is the result of genetic factors, along with lifestyle factors.  The first step is to become aware of the patterns themselves.
  • List medical history, lifestyle factors, strengths and causes of death for individuals within your family system.
  • Look for patterns such as chronic disorders like diabetes, allergies, hypertension, alcoholism and other addictions that could put you and your children at risk.  Don't overlook events like broken bones that could indicate osteoporosis.
  • No matter what you find, talk open and honestly with your family.  If there's a history of alcoholism, depression, cancer, heart disease, or other health or emotional problems, this could be valuable information for your children to help with prevention and lowering risks.
  • The next step is to intentionally effect change within the family system. Staying healthy is a personal commitment.  It requires motivation and a positive attitude to stay on a healthy path.  (I liked this one!!!  Says a lot!)

I was on the phone with my parents for almost an hour gathering some of the information.  Most of it I knew, but what I didn't realize is the number of family members that have/had diabetes.  Mom's side: Mom and her twin brother both have/had diabetes.  Their biological father wasn't part of their life after they were 7 so she doesn't really know much about him or his history.  Mom said that at a family reunion for her father's side of the family she found out that the "majority" (I don't know how many) all had diabetes.  Dad's side:  Dad and all three of his siblings plus both my grandmother and grandfather.  Holy diabetes, Batman!  That's a whole lot of family with diabetes!!  (Heart disease is another common factor - especially on my Dad's side.)

Could you guess that the majority of them were also obese or at least over weight?  What an eye-opener for me.  Yes, I think I always knew that would be a possibility for me, but to see the numbers makes it seem more real.  At the very least, diabetes was definitely in my future if God hadn't given me the courage for this journey.
"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Lucky Number 17

Seventeen (17).

Apparently that's my "lucky number" (and for the record, no, I don't believe in that kind of stuff...).  Seventeen pounds to lose.  Seventeen tubes of blood they took from my arm today!  S.E.V.E.N.T.E.E.N.  

I knew there must be a reason I had been ignoring the calls from the Red Cross this week!  

"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

Friday, January 20, 2012

It's Official...I'm Insane.

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results."  ~ [not] Albert Einstien

By that "definition" I. am. insane.

I've been logging my food intake this week and realized today that I have already fallen back into the pattern of behavior that helped me "fail" all the other attempts at losing weight.  I have not made small sustainable changes.  I did it like I've always done it.  I wrote it down.  I didn't pay attention to the labels.  I didn't weigh/measure/count with any accuracy at all.  And though I like the app for my phone, I'm still guessing at some of nutritional value.  The app did help me realize that even if I were "dieting" I am not getting enough calories in a day (making me feel famished at night), but am averaging high on carbs, average on fats, and way (WAY) low on protein.  I know it's early in this, and I'm glad that I am already seeing the careless pattern, but yeesh!  I'm not sure I know how to make small sustainable changes.  

I recognized a "trigger" situation (oh gosh, I can't believe I'm about to admit this publicly!!): I am BAD about eating when under stress (work stuff) when no one is around.  I found myself rummaging through my cabinets and fridge multiple times the other night.  Yes, I was hungry (results of not getting in all the calories I should), and yes I chose "wisely"(?), comparatively speaking, when I did finally make up my mind.  But I can't tell you how many different foods I picked up and put back before I decided on a bowl of cereal - and by bowl, I mean I don't know how much I had...because why?  I don't measure!  Since I can't avoid the trigger of being under stress AND being home alone some nights, I've got to figure out another way to deal with it.  A dear friend of mine sent me an encouraging email today about losing the 17# - it said  "pray when you're hungry."  I'm going to do that!  But I don't want to pray for me.  I want to pray for those who are hungry on a daily/weekly basis. Hopefully that will help me deal with that trigger.  (Thanks, friend, for that idea!!!)

So what have I learned from 4 days of journaling my food intake?

  • I need a food scale.
  • I need to follow my checklist more closely.  Especially: plan ahead and read food labels.
  • I am not getting in all my water.  I'm sure that is another reason to cut back on coffee.
  • I am not on a diet.  I need to figure out what small sustainable changes look like for me.

The first few days of this new routine haven't been the easiest.  Lots of "life" happening that can get in the way.  However, I ran across this Scripture that encouraged me to continue seeking and working on the changes.  I love how His Word feeds me!!!  :)

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. ~ Hebrews 12:11


"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

Monday, January 16, 2012

Step by Step

I survived my appointment!  I got to meet with the registered dietitian (RD),  and the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) as well as talk with the lady who is in charge of the insurance side of things.  Below is a LOT of information that you probably don't care to know. I need to blog it so I can make sure I remember what I was told and to help me process it all.  Feel free to read or skim or just keep praying!  :)

The RD was really sweet.  That's a plus since I'll see her more than anyone throughout this process.  She gave me the overview of what the after-surgery eating schedule will be as well as talked with me about making small-sustainable changes starting now.  Keyword for me was "sustainable".  She noted (as I already knew) that I do great at losing weight.  I've had a lot of success...over and over and over.  So small "sustainable" changes, ones that are permanent, are going to be key for me.  Between now and the time I have surgery, they would like me to lose about 17 pounds - through small sustainable changes.  That's no magical number, necessarily, but a percentage of my current weight. (Nope, not yet comfortable listing that here.)  And if I'm being perfectly honest, I know that I could lose that in the next couple of weeks if I wanted to do what I've done in past.  So I'm really having to concentrate on the word "sustainable".  I don't just want to get "thin" - I truly want to be healthy in all aspects of the word!  To help with that, I'll begin keeping a food journal and watching habits over the next several weeks to figure out what I need to change.  I've also got a "checklist" of things to do:

  • Do not skip meals. Skipping meals leads to overeating later in the day.  If you do not eat a meal, try to eat a healthy snack or meal replacement.
  • Make healthful food choices.  Read food labels.  Choose whole fruits, vegetables, low fat protein sources, whole grain breads and cereals and low fat diary products.
  • Make small substitutions. Limit high sugar foods.  Try sugar free and low fat alternatives when available.  Beverages should be water or sugar free drinks.
  • Servings count.  Be aware of high calorie, high sugar, or high fat foods in your daily meals.  Be conscious of portions when you are eating these foods and use lower calorie versions when available.  Pre-portion your foods to control the amount.  When eating out, share an entree or take half home for lunch the next day.
  • Plan Ahead.  If you know you will be out for long periods, plan your day ahead.  Unhealthy and unplanned snacking at visits at vending machines or fast food, plus added calories can be the result.
  • Avoid situations and places that trigger eating.  Change daily activities.  Do not eat in front of the TV, while driving, surfing on the computer, etc.
  • Sip fluids.  Begin to drink 64 ounces of fluids per day.
  • Keep food records.  Keep records of activity.  Keeping records allows you to pay attention to what and how much you are eating.  Bring your journal to all visits to the center.
  • Exercise. (Discuss with physician).  Even fifteen minutes three times a day will improve your health. Walking will help to improve the circulation in your legs and pulmonary status, both of which can be major complications during potential surgery.  If you cannot tolerate more than five minutes of activity at a time, do it several times a day.
  • Begin taking a multiple vitamin and mineral supplement daily.  Note:  I'll be taking at least 2x the recommended vitamin dosages after surgery. That's new for me!
  • Do not pursue pregnancy until 18 months post-op.  Note: This is the easiest one on this list!!  w00t!  I can cross this one off!
  • Don't smoke.  Note:  This is as easy as not getting pregnant!  Cross two off the list!  w00t! w00t!
  • Attend 2 hours of nutrition classes prior to surgery.  
I was also given some information on "Healthy Eating Balance" of carbs/protein/fats.  And she gave me some good links to online sites to help calculate these things for me as well as an app for my phone!  (fitday.com or sparkspeople.com or "daily burn" app - if you were curious) Cool!  

All-in-all that part was a refresher of things I've heard before.  Now to apply it...for good!

The LCSW had a young intern with her.  Both were very nice and very supportive.  I couldn't help but notice the intern's walk.  I wanted to ask her if she had CP or if it were something else.  I didn't want to embarrass her myself though.  Anyway... this was definitely the longest part of the appointment.  We spent almost an hour just chatting and going over some of the answers on my preliminary paperwork (remember, Hand Cramp 101??).

Interestingly enough we spent a LOT of time on my first marriage.  The circumstances leading up to it.  The verbal, emotional, physical abuse.  The alcoholism.  The numerous things that led up to it's demise.  How I handled that...or didn't handle it.  I admitted that there are still signs of the effects it had on me.  The conversation turned to my girls and how they have responded to all they saw back in the day.  Sometimes the guilt of not leaving the situation sooner hits me.  I wonder how life would be different for them if I had...-shrug-

We talked about my current marriage and I kind of chuckled when she said, "Does he (CME) deserve you?  You're such a sweet person.  He darn sure better deserve you!"  And I said, "Yes.  I think we deserve each other."  :)

We discussed other family history and my definition of a "good childhood."  I think I summarized it something like, "We had everything we ever needed and most of what we wanted.  We traveled a lot, we had game nights, had involved parents and were a close family."  Yes, I had a good childhood, so nope that's not why I'm obese.  LoL  (My take-away, not her comment.)  I got to talk a little about Grandmama and the closeness I had with her and that I still miss her.

Then it was on to a wonderful 150 question psych evaluation.  Most of them were no-brainer true or false questions for me.  I had to think about a couple of them and really wished there was a "sometimes" answer, but it was only T or F.  There were a couple of questions that made me laugh, like, "Some of my answers today are because of being in a bad mood." T or F  or "I travel across the Atlantic more than 30 times a year."  T or F  or "I like to flirt with the opposite sex."  T or F.  I think some questions were in there to see if I was paying attention and not just randomly answering them.  They were funny, nonetheless.  I did like the fact that the questionnaire also included questions about faith and God in my life.  It made me wonder how people get through this without God.  Seriously.

LCSW also left me with some homework to complete over the next couple of weeks.  I've got to complete a GENOGRAM which is basically like a family tree of sorts - but adds the things like health issues, addictions, etc.  Then I've got complete worksheet after I've been keeping a food journal for 7 days.  Next, I have to complete a 4-page self-evaluation of how my weight has affected various aspects of my life; relationships, daily activities, education, religion, etc.  Finally, I have to list the 10 Reasons Why I am Committed to Reach my Goal Weight.  All this to be done by my next appointment on 1/31/12!!

This Saturday, I have to go the lab at the hospital to have the following labs run: (for all my medical friends - you'll know what these mean more than I ever would!) TSH, CBC, B-12, 25 OH VITAMIN D, THIAMINE (B1) CMP, AMALYSE, MAGNESIUM, PHOSPHORUS, HIGH SENSITIVE CARDIAC CRP, TYPE AND RH (plus antibody screen), PT, PTT, TOTAL IRON BINDING CAPACITY, IRON, URIC ACID, INSULIN, HGB AIC, RBC FOLATE, SERUM FERRITIN LEVEL, INTACT PTH, LIPID PANEL. How much blood is that going to take???  Plus urinalysis, chest x-ray and EKG.  The nice thing about it is that I can do this on Saturday and not have to take miss work for this part.  They were very sensitive to the fact that I'm missing work for the appointments so they did everything they could do to schedule appointments to take as little time away as possible.  Another positive.

My future appointments look like this:

  • Jan 31 - 1 hr appt with  LCSW to go over my homework/.5 hr appt with RD/1 hr appt with  MD (not surgeon)
  • Feb 8 - 1/2 hr appt with MD & RD/1 hr Behavioral Modification Class
  • Feb 23 - 1/2 hr appt with MD & RD
  • Mar 14 -  1/2 hr appt with MD & RD/1 hr Behavioral Modification Class
What I know is missing is the exercise evaluation as well as meeting the surgeon - which I told is usually 2x prior to the actual surgery itself.  Right now I'm just going to focus on the 1/31 appointment and then take each one thereafter as they come.

Anyway, after the almost 3 hours, I have a little more information; I know when my next appointments will be and what they consist of; I have homework.  My insurance allows 2 visits/month and the way things are going it looks like my surgery could be as soon as mid-April!  I still don't have a set date, but each day is another step closer.

"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hair! (Not the Musical)

I did a quick Google search to see how may songs were about "hair".  For the record...there are lot!

I know that may seem like a really odd thing to Google, but thoughts of hair - more specifically, MY hair - have been on my mind lately.  One thing that I feel like I have some control over is my hair.  How it looks, the color - the style - the way it's worn - those are all things that I usually take pride in. It's also one of the things that I hear a lot of compliments about.  "Oh, your hair is so pretty!"  "You've got such nice hair."  "Your hair is so soft."  Not to mention that my hair is something that CME likes.  Hair.  It has become my security blanket over the years.  Something to almost hide behind.  

The other day, the thought hit me.  "I'm going to lose a lot of hair!"  And though I don't think I'm usually vain, I'm really kind of dreading this part of the process.  I have read a lot about how to minimize the loss - make sure to get my protein in; make sure to take the vitamins.  Basically, do what I'm suppose to do anyway.  But even those site say it can be minimized, not prevented.  

When trying to find how many songs, the ones that show up are silly.  But the silliest that came to my mind was without the help of Google.  It was this children's song that I've sang many times to the boys.  Larry worrying over not being able to find his hairbrush...when he really has no hair for his hairbrush anyway!  And THAT, my friends, is disturbing for me!  LoL!!

I know, I know...it's silly.  But it is something that really has crossed my mind.  Any recommendations on how to significantly reduce hair loss are more than welcome!!

"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Stupid Reality TV Show!!!

I'm not even sure how to feel right now.  I just read this article about a British film crew in town because Evansville was designated as the "fattest city in America" by some Gallup poll conducted last Spring.  We're now going to be featured on a British reality show called "Supersized vs Superskinny".  Lovely.

I'm sad.  I'm mad.  I'm FURIOUS at some of the comments on the article.  And then I go back to being sad when I realize that I am a contributing factor for Evansville's designation.  

With CME being a paramedic, I know the toll obese patients take on his back.  I know what it means when he talks about "Medic 30" - it's the bariatric ambulance.  That's right, folks.  Evansville has a special ambulance just so we can respond to those patients that won't fit in normal ambulances (with normal size equipment, etc.)  I know of the pain it causes him when he has to try and lift an obese patient off the floor...or help them onto the cot and then load the cot into Medic 30.  I know obesity is a growing problem in our town and even with our children.  I am not ignorant to that fact.  I know.

The whole idea of the designation, reality show, news article and comments brings on a flood of emotions.  It's both embarrassing and hurtful and yet, it's insightful. (Seems so strange to add that adjective!)  It has become another way to degrade and bring more ridicule to obese people - to me.  It opens up words from my past that sting like crazy.  Even if some of the people weren't out and out saying it, I hear the words unspoken.  Things like these are why I don't see "beautiful" when I see me.  What bites is realizing that not only have I been a contributing factor, but I, too, have had thoughts about other people.  "I know I'm large (my preferable word to fat or obese)...but how on earth do you let yourself get THAT big?"  or  "I hope I don't look like THAT!"  I'm ashamed to admit that I've ever thought those things about others.  How incredibly hypocritical!!!!  God forgive me!

I'm thankful that God has given me the courage for this journey.  But I am incredibly sad about this whole situation.  I'm sad for others out there that want to lose the weight and be healthy, but for whatever reason can't.  I'm sad for those who would go down the path I've chosen, but don't have the means.  I'm sad that so many people in this world use such hateful words and automatically assume things about other human beings.  I praise HIM for reminding me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made - even when I may not feel like it.
"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

International Dilemma

As many of you know, I have a LOT of Internationals in my life.  One common thing we've always been able to share is food.  Silly as that may sound, it makes me wonder how I'll deal with some of that after the surgery.

My Turkish daughter is a wonderful cook!  Her dolma (stuffed grape leaves) were some of the best I've ever eaten!  In addition to some other yummy goodness, she also makes a wonderful pasta salad with fresh dill and garlic.  When I'm with my Yemeni friends, food is always part of our time together - sabaya bread, za'atar bread, pita bread (see a theme yet?), hummus, baba ganoush, rice, baklava...the list goes on.  Not to mention the wonderful Yemeni tea that's super sweet or the chocolates that they may serve.  Yes, food is part of those special times with my International friends (and family).  It's also something that we, as Americans, seem to use to celebrate (or mourn) any event.  

I know my Turkish daughter will understand when I turn down her delicious cooking.  I know my American friends and family will understand.  But how will I explain to my Yemeni friends (whose use of the English language is usually VERY limited) that I really cannot eat what they've prepared?  How will I let them know that I'm not trying to insult them by passing up on these wonderful treats?  One friend did mention I could say something like, "My doctor says no sugar at all."  And that will work for some of the foods, but not all.  This might be a tricky one to navigate.

I'm going to have to really pray about what that's going to look like for me.  I will need God to translate for me...for there to be an understanding that crosses the language barriers.  I will need Him to put the words together for me so that I can politely decline.  ________________________________________________
"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

Friday, January 6, 2012

Perfect Candidate

I can check another thing off in the list of things to do to prepare for the surgery.  My PCP has completed the medical history and recommendation paperwork and faxed it to bariatric center.  YAY!

I had sent the information to my PCP and got a call on Wednesday from her nurse that went something like this:
     Nurse:  Hi Deedra.  "Dr. PCP" got your fax requesting her to complete the paperwork for your surgery.  You haven't had an actual physical in over 2 years.  She wants to see you first.

My first thought was, "Really?!?  Can't she just fill out the paperwork based on my records?  She has proof I need the surgery!"  Then my brain took me to, "What if she says no?  Then what?  What if she doesn't believe in gastric bypass surgery?  What if..."

Luckily, my appointment today went nothing like that at all.  Dr. PCP was very supportive!  We talked about my history with hypertension and how it's been under control without medication for a few years now (120/72 today).  We talked about my family history - which she had on file already.  She reassured me that if I didn't get the weight off, that I would be in the same boat as my parents - diabetes, heart disease, etc.  I even got to share with her that I really feel God has blessed me by not having the other medical issues that usually go with obesity!  She told me that the hospital I chose (both of our local hospitals have bariatrc centers) was really good about making sure the patient is very ready before the surgery.  She talked about how a few years ago she would be afraid to recommend that her patients even have the surgery, but that the procedure has come a long way and with the advancements she no longer has concerns.  She told me I had a good outlook and she could tell that I hadn't rushed into this decision.  (I guess I talk a lot for her to pick that up after not seeing her for over 2 years!)  She smiled at me when she said, "I think you are the perfect candidate for this surgery."  I know it's silly, but to me that was so reassuring.

For me, well, for me it's another testimony to God's goodness - one more fear dispelled. 

"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

And so it begins...

I got the call today.  “Hi Deedra, this is insurance person, from bariatric center.  I was wondering when we could set your first appointment.”

This is GREAT news!  That means my insurance company acknowledges that I do have the coverage for the surgery and am eligible.  Insurance person proceeds to tell me a little more about the next steps in the treatment plan:

  • I need to contact my Primary Care Physician (PCP) and get 2 years of medical history from her.  (Call has been made, just need to get the two talking.
  • I have the option of meeting once or twice per month – with a minimum of 6 required visits.   (My impatient brain tells me 2x per month means I can do this sooner…hmmm)
  • The visits will be with both the dietitian and the physician.
  • In addition I will meet with a social worker / counselor and must attend at least 2 behavior modification classes.
  • I must engage in an exercise plan prior to the surgery.  (I did learn an interesting fact from my own dietitian friend.  Why does the doc want you to lose weight before the surgery?  To shrink the size of your liver to help with the surgery being done laparoscopically.)
 Due at the first visit is that ugly fee that will cover part of these:
  • Psych evaluation (that should be interesting!)
  • Pre-Op and Post-Op meetings with the social worker
  • Pre-Op and Post-Op meetings with the dietitian
  • Exercise evaluation
The question looms though if the above will be approved to be reimbursed from my Flexible Spending Account.  It’s not billed to insurance so I’m not certain if it will be covered or if this will be the first true “out of pocket” expense that we are going to encounter.  I know this is just the start of the expenses.  Just a small portion.  My insurance is paying for the majority, but like I said on my initial paperwork, the financial impact is going to be felt.  It is going to be (and has already begun to be) the biggest stressor – for me…for CME…for us.  It’s the part that is actually causing a lot of guilt right now.  I’m not the one who works the extra hours to help with financial burdens.  I’m NOT good at spending money on me for what I would consider “big-ticket” items.  THIS is a big-ticket item!!

I talked to CME and coming off of Christmas is not a practical time to try to do anything expensive.  Yet, if I wait…well, I don’t want to wait.  Waiting scares me.  Waiting will make it where we’ll “hope” things are done and finalized by the end of the year so it doesn’t effect NEXT year…. So I’ve scheduled my (3-hour) appointment with the dietitian and social worker for Monday, January 16.  I’ll know more after that appointment. 

And since the appointments have started, I had to discuss it with my boss today.  Not the thing a fat girl wants to do...to talk to her male boss about having fat girl surgery!  But, I must say that it went very well.  He was very supportive and even talked about his brother-in-law who had the surgery 8 years ago and has kept the weight off.  He told me that he was excited for me and that he would definitely work with me on the appointments and surgery.  That is one relief for sure.

Since this is my blog I’m just going to say it.  My emotions are all over the board today.  I’m excited that it’s still moving forward, but I am stressed and feeling guilty.  Lots of embarrassment accompanied my talk with my boss.  I feel as if I could cry at any moment (though I am a crier by nature, this is different).  They say music soothes the soul, so I think I’m going to retreat to a quiet place tonight, listen to some of my favorite artist and read.  

"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Words of Wisdom aka Information Overload

I'm so excited about the prospect of what 2012 is going to bring that I've been on a quest to find out as much as I can as fast as I can.  I've used my stealth (ha!) Google skills to find all sorts of blogs and informational websites about gastric bypass, the surgery itself and after surgery posts.  I've probably viewed hundreds of "before and after" pictures of success stories.  I read a really good article by a post-op patient and how a lot of people are really excited about someone losing 100+ pounds...until they hear it was through gastric bypass - like it is the "easy" way out or the cheater's way out.  I've looked at some good bypass menu websites and was encouraged by what I saw.  

I've chatted with a friend who has had the surgery and learned a few interesting details that she said "isn't always discussed" in the meetings.  I've talked with my dietitian friend who gave me some wonderful advice (some even non-food related!).  I've had lovely emails with encouraging words and truths spoken. I feel like I've been a sponge...jotting down notes, tagging websites to go back to, making mental notes of time frames, etc. 

I've revisited some of the paperwork and realized a few things.  My parents are both obese (my father would be considered morbidly obese - like me, which is a subject for a whole other post).  Both are diabetic.  Both have histories of heart attacks, deep vein thrombosis (blood clots), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, as well as other medical conditions that aren't necessarily weight-related.  Then, for years I have "bragged" about the fact that my cholesterol is usually around 150; though my BP was high at one time (I blame it on certain life situations such as a bad first marriage, struggles with a rebellious child, etc.) it's now under control and I've been off medicine for almost 4 years; I have no "medical" weight-related conditions with the exception of having really bad knees that I'm sure the excess weight doesn't help, but didn't necessarily cause.  But what I've NEVER done until recently is look at the blessing of that fact.  My life is blessed - even when I don't realize it.

I feel like God giving me the courage for this surgery is almost like He's saying, "Come on, child!  I've got big plans for you.  Work with me, here, will ya?!"  LoL  

All that being said, I'm still looking for more to absorb - but specifically more spiritually.  (Feel free to share any scripture or thoughts with me!!)  A wise friend of mine reminds me that carrying this weight for so long also brings a lot of bondage.  Bondage from the lies that Satan has whispered in my ears for the majority of my life.  Bondage from the damage done through hurtful words or actions - whether from loved ones, acquaintances, or complete strangers.  Bondage from self-doubt (and sometimes self-loathing).  And I know that Jesus is the only true way to gain freedom for that all.  Though there will be "counseling" included in the surgery treatment plan, I am also planning on a couple of sessions with a counselor at church.  I don't just want to be thin, I want to be healthy - mentally and physically. I want to be freed from what has kept me down and held me back.  I want to utilize all the blessings God has given me to pour back out for Him!  I want to truly be "fearfully and wonderfully made."


"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14