Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: The End

It's been a whirlwind of a year.  I can't believe how fast yet another one has flown by.  I just went through my blog to find my weight at the end of 2013 and had some awesome reminders of things I did last year and where I wanted to be this year.

I was sad to see that at the end of last year I proclaimed that my resolution for 2014 was to be at my GOAL WEIGHT by my 2 year bandiversary and that did not happen.  In fact, on my 2 year bandiversary, I was preparing for revision.  Things happen and I guess I can't kick myself too hard considering I had no control over the device in my body beginning to malfunction.  So I'm not at my goal weight, but I am in a SLIGHTLY  better place (weight-wise) than I was at the end of 2013.  VERY SLIGHT, but still, better.

At the end of 2013, I weighed 241.2.
Today, I weighed 236.8.

That's right folks, I lost a total of 4.4 pounds in 2014.  lol, sad.  But a lot happened in 2014, I gained weight as I fought REALLY HARD for my revision approval, and I lost that weight again.  My only resolution for 2015 will be to again be in a better place when the year ends than I was in 2014.  I do want to win my dietbet as well, which will put me at 222.2 by June 21.

In 2015 I'll also be running my first obstacle race, which scares the shit out of me.  And I intend to run more throughout the year.

I'll leave you all with some of my favorite photos from 2014:


I began 2014 with my cousin Jenni and friend Leyton at a downtown Raleigh nightclub.
My birthday was crazy fun with lots of friends by my side.

I got to go to Disney for the FIRST TIME!  Happiest place on earth, for sure.

My nephew visited in June, and in 2015 he'll be making a move to NC for good, and that is probably what I'm looking forward to most.

I had a lot of good times with good friends!


I got to meet a big group of the Sleeve Sisters from instagram several weeks ago.





Monday, December 29, 2014

Update, Races, and Recipes

Hey guys!  I'm still here!

I hope you all haven't forgotten about me.  I can't believe it's been so long since I've blogged.  Quite frankly, I've had a lot that I've wanted to keep private, so I just haven't come here because I knew I'd have the urge to write about things that I'm not ready to write about yet.

On the weight loss front, not a lot has been happening.  Thanks holidays!  I haven't even weighed myself in about a week, which is scary and I need to get on that, which is even more frightening.  For the sake of my Diet Bet, I need to do it though!  I'll bite the bullet tonight or tomorrow morning.

Last Monday I had my gallbladder removed.  It was a easy peasy.  No problems, not much pain.  I'm really fortunate to have a very high pain tolerance.

I recently learned of a beautiful thing.  Have you all heard of VIRTUAL races where one can earn medals?  Let me be honest and say that I'm a bling whore, and I have already purchased my first entry.  I'm not cleared to exercise from the gallbladder removal for another two weeks, however I fully intend to run this 5k before 12/31 so that I can earn my medal! Check out http://www.willrunforbling.com/ or http://www.fullmedalruns.com/ to learn about virtual races where you can win medals.  I think this is good motivation for me to begin running again.  I love some neck bling, especially when it represents an accomplishment.  Maybe my first half marathon will be a virtual race...

Christmas was good, but now that that's over, I need to REALLY buckle down with food.  Over the weekend I made my high protein Chili and high protein Mexican Chicken soup.  In the chicken soup, I generally put heavy cream to tone down the spice, but this time I didn't have any so I just omitted it.  I didn't miss it at all, so I won't be adding it anymore.  Including the recipes below, because they're both wonderful and healthy :).  Both recipes make a huge pot of soup, so I generally freeze half and eat the other half for 1.5-2 weeks or until I'm sick of it, then freeze whatever is left.  If you all have larger families, this will be great for them, especially with the cold weather.

High Protein Chili

  • 2 pounds fresh ground beef
  • 1 quart tomato juice
  • 1-2 cans diced italian tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained
  • 1 medium-large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chili powder (use less for milder chili)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (use more for real flavor)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar/artificial sweetener
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    Cook hamburger in large pot.  Add all other ingredients.  Cook on medium for 2 hours, or until vegetables are tender.

    Mexican Chicken Soup
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 can Rotel (hot or original, your preference)
  • 1 taco seasoning pack (or 1/4 cup taco seasoning)
  • 24-30 oz chicken broth, depending on how brothy you want it
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans
  • 3 (15-ounce) cans navy beans
  • 1 (15-ounce) can corn
  • 3 cups cooked chicken breast

    Cook the onions in the olive oil until translucent.  Then add all other incredients.  Cook until warm, done :)

  • Thursday, December 11, 2014

    Gallstones

    Womp Womp....

    As suspected, the ultrasound came back positive for gallstones.
    At least that explains why I've been in such pain.

    Gallbladder will be gone soon.  

    Monday, December 8, 2014

    3 months post-op....Already?

    Has it really been almost 3 months since my revision?  Time flies!

    Today I have my 3 month nutrition follow up.  The nutrition appointments have felt kind of pointless to me in the past, maybe because I've been doing this for so long and everyone else in the classes have been new, but now that everyone is 3 months out, maybe I'll be able to get more out of it.

    Wednesday I have an ultrasound scheduled to check out my gallbladder to see if that's what's been causing my pain.  I'll update you all.

    Next week I will have the follow-up with my surgeon's PA.  I am curious what she'll have to say.  I don't know if I'm where they expected me to be.  I'm definitely not as far along in the weight loss as I expected.  But I happily don't have all of my lap band problems, so that's great.
    -No more stuck episodes.
    -No more PB episodes.  (Do you all remember that time I PB'd down my shirt to hide it from a date?!)
    -No more fear of food.
    -No more fear of just drinking WATER!
    -No more painful port.

    I do have acid reflux, but I manage it pretty well.

    In other news, can you all believe that BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD is now trying to deny paying for my surgery?  Truthfully, as difficult as the approval process was, I'm not shocked or surprised, but I'm just disappointed.  I will never by choice have them as an insurance company again.  They are horrible!

    Friday, November 28, 2014

    Unbanded Thanksgiving

    I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with friends and family ....and not too much food!

    This was my first holiday since the revision, and it was great!  There was more than one remark about how nice it was that I didn't spend half of the time in the bathroom trying to get food 'un-stuck' from my band.  I didn't get sick once.

    I am beginning to wonder if I have gallstones though, from this stabbing pain I sometimes get on my right side right under my rib cage.  I have my 3 month follow-up appointment in a couple of weeks, but emailed my surgeon today to see if he'd like me to come in earlier.

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

    Diet Bet: Round 1 Results


    I forgot that heart ache is a really good weight loss plan for me.
    It's been quite some time since I felt true heartache like this.
    When I found out that my last ex was married, I couldn't keep food down for several weeks and lost about 30 pounds in that first month.

    So I thought there was no way I was going to make my DietBet goal last week.

    The round 1 goal was 3% loss...which put me at 239.4.

    I weighed in Friday morning at 237.4.
    Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

    It still sucks that I'm going through this hurt from losing Mr. Banker, but at least I'm losing weight.  My eating and sleep patterns are all off.  I hope I can get them under control soon.  I can't sleep, it's hard to focus, and food isn't that appealing to me right now.

    I really miss him.

    Friday, November 21, 2014

    Colorado and Texas

    Colorado will never be Texas.  It doesn't matter how long I wait for it to be, or how much I want it to be, Colorado just can't ever be Texas.

    And Texas is so much better than Colorado ever could be.

    I'm sure you're all wondering what I'm talking about, and wondering if it's Mr. Banker, and in some ways it is, and in some ways it isn't.  This is someone else's story.  I'm not going to link her blog, but if you have read other Banded Sisters blogs, you may know this story already.  This blogger gave her time and affection to Colorado for a very long time and he never wanted to be more than friends.  I know that feeling... Mr. Banker is my Colorado.  When she decided to give up Colorado, she met Texas.  And Texas was better in every way than Colorado ever could've been.  My dearest blogger friend married her Texas after 5 months of dating and they became parents a little over a year after marriage.

    This story reminds me that no matter how much I want Mr. Banker to be right for me, he just isn't.  And the happiness I've felt with him will not compare to The One, when I find that person.

    I hope My Texas comes along soon.

    Tuesday, November 18, 2014

    Frustrated

    I'm feeling very frustrated, so I'm taking my 15 minute work break to get it all out, and hope that's the 'woosa' I need to get over it.

    I had a great weekend... much better than I anticipated by any stretch of the imagination, so I thought that meant it was going to be a good week too.  ha.  I was wrong.

    1.  This week is the end of my Round 1 of DietBet.  I have been doing pretty good, however the last 2 weeks of stress have impeded my progress.  I decided to have a few 'no chew' days (liquid protein only) to jump start me to the finish line, but it doesn't seem to be working.  I'm starting to think this round of the DietBet is just a wash and I won't win no matter what.  I have been working out much harder in the last 2 weeks than I had since before my revision surgery so it kind of pisses me off that I'm not making more progress.

    2.  On the lack of progress note, I'm starting to feel really unhappy with my sleeve and anger with BCBSNC for screwing up my revision to RNY.

    3.  Yesterday morning Mr. Banker emailed me.  Why does he have to be such a selfish son of a bitch?  I told him I want to be left alone.  He doesn't want me, so let me go.  Please!  Proud of myself for not emailing back, but it has completely detroyed an entire 24+ hours for me now.

    End Rant.

    Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer, I'm just really struggling with things right now.

    Thursday, November 13, 2014

    "Home" less

    I'm really struggling with losing Mr Banker right now. The thought that I'll never hug him or laugh with him again is really sinking in. And worst of all, that he chose to never spend another moment with me over giving me 100% effort. I mean he could've tried for a week or two to see if he could do it..... But he didn't even do that. That's very hurtful. Unrequited love has got to be one of the worst feelings. I would've given the world for him, and he couldn't give me a title. I feel certain he didn't really believe me when I told him he had to choose all or nothing, but I meant it. I know I deserve ALL. But that doesn't mean it isn't hard.

    I went so far as to change my phone number Monday. I hope that he is happy with someone one day. I guess I just wasn't "it" for him. When people asked what made me feel so strongly for him, I often told them that he just felt like home to me, so naturally I feel very lost right now. My "home" is gone.

    Wednesday, November 12, 2014

    Weight and Life update

    Although slow, my weight loss is still continuing.  This morning I stepped on the scale before going to the gym and saw 239.4--which happens to be the weight I need to win my Round 1 of DietBet.  Then I came home from the gym and was up to 241.2.  Gr.  I wish I had documented my weight this morning before the gym for the contest.  Oh well.  I have 8 days left in this round, so I feel confident I can do it.

    I feel pretty shitty in general though.  I'm not sure if it's from my weekend travel to San Francisco (being tired and on a plane with stuffy air) or from days of crying over the end of Mr. Banker.  Either way, I feel horrible- headache, stuffy nose, hoarse, and coughing.  The way I currently feel, I'm proud that I even got up for the gym.  I'll go back after work to get another workout in.  I do really well if I do 30-45 minutes of weight training in the morning and an hour of cardio at night.  I just don't have more than an hour at a time to spend at the gym, so it works for me to split it up.

    I need to get involved in some type of yoga or meditation to help me deal with life right now.

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

    New Things

    Monday began a new adventure for me.  I began my new job at Duke Clinical Research Institute.  As a Tar Heel fanatic, I'm sure some of you are surprised, but I do respect Duke as an academic institution.  I think this is going to be a fun adventure. 

    Above is my 2nd day of work outfit, after waking up at 5am to work out.  I have felt really good about how I look regardless of the fact that the scale hasn't given me great feedback.

    I also decided Monday that it was time to kick my work outs into high gear.  And by high gear, I mean that I went Monday night, Tuesday morning, Tuesday night, Wednesday morning, and Wednesday night to the gym.  Today I need a rest day.  I have never hurt from working out the way I currently do.  A friend offered to give me some free personal training which has been AMAZING.  I've worked parts of my body that I have never worked out before (lower back, OUCH)!

    I hope you all are feeling as good and motivated as I am!

    On October 21, Jessica (or @JessicaVSG if you're on instagram) convinced me to join DietBet.  We are doing a 6 month 10% transformation bet.  WHEN I meet my DietBet goal, I will weigh 222.2 :)  And then I'll keep going!  Exercising really helped this week, and I lost 2.2 pounds since last week.  That's my biggest weekly loss in quite some time.

    Current weight: 241.6

    Wednesday, October 29, 2014

    Goodbye Mr Banker

    I thought things with Mr Banker were going so well. Since surgery he'd been everything I needed him to be. He had been sweet and more attentive. He even mentioned marriage and having children briefly so I thought for sure it was a great sign of things to come.

    But Monday morning all that hope came crashing down. It's a small world and apparently he's been also dating a fellow WLS girl I know of through Instagram. She posted a photo of them out of town Sunday. I spoke with both of them and got enough information to know that his recent effort really want much effort at all.

    I can't even lie and say I'm okay. I'm not. I'm crushed. But life will go on.

    Friday, October 24, 2014

    5 Week Weigh-In and Diet Bet

    Good morning!

    Unfortunately I don't have happy weigh-in news this morning.

    Today's weight was 244.6.  That's +1 pound since last week.  I'm not horribly surprised, I haven't worked as hard this week walking or being accountable for food, so that's what happens.

    In happier news, I've joined a DietBet 10% challenge.  The goal is to lose 10% of my weight in 6 months.  There's nothing I hate worse than losing money, so this should be a good motivator!  Tomorrow I'm going back to Bootcamp for the first time in months for a free Saturday session, and I intend to re-join once I start my new job.

    Oh yeah, about that...For those of you who don't follow me on IG.... I was offered an amazing opportunity at Duke University.  It was the kind of opportunity one doesn't turn down.  I wasn't at all on the job hunt, but I was recruited and I couldn't say no.  I've job hopped a lot over the last year, but this is one I intend to stick with for as long as possible.  It's the kind of offer that I don't believe can be topped. :)

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014

    Fried Foods at the Fair

     Last weekend was rough.
     
    Look at what I had to look at for two days straight:
     
    Seriously?  A hamburger between TWO Krispy Kreme doughnuts?!
     
     
     
    I volunteered to help my friend's shoe company at the state fair.  Every year they set up a booth to give people the opportunity to try on their lovely shoes.  I try to help when I can, so I volunteered my time Saturday and Sunday evenings.  Weeknights are just too difficult with work.
     
    Here's a picture of Rebecca and I showing off our Fan Feet kitten heels:
     
     
    Even though I stayed away from the friend foods (go me!)  I still somehow gained weight over the weekend.  I'm back to my normal, so I won't be too hard on myself.
     
    Proud of myself for not having any frozen chocolate dipped cheesecake though.
    It's my FAVE fair food :) 

    Friday, October 17, 2014

    Friday Weigh-In: 4 weeks Post-Op

    Today's weight: 243.8

    That's -1.4 pounds from last week.  I saw a lower number earlier in the week, but won't count it since I didn't see it on the official weigh in.

    Everything is good.  As of today, I'm allowed to start exercising again.  I plan to do that tomorrow!

    Thursday, October 16, 2014

    Ten Things Thursday

    1.  I was just thinking how thankful I am for the friendships I've made through my WLS blog and through WLS hashtags on IG.  Thank you for all the support and kindness you've shown me.  Some of you I will never meet in person, but know that you matter to me.

    2.  I'm exhausted.  I took a week to work from home since I think I went back to work too early after surgery.  It was such an amazing help.  But I came back to work Tuesday and I am just not 100% yet.  I'm tired and cranky.

    3.  I'm not a patient person.  I'm waiting for an answer on something big right now.  Something that would be life changing, and it's killing me! 

    4.  I've been watching a lot of HGTV lately and I have the urge to remodel my kitchen.  It's a tiny kitchen but would still be expensive.  And I need to put a fence up for my pups.  I need to start a 'house fund' savings account.

    5.  I bought the cutest blue jean dress the other day and I'm going to be Rosie the Riveter for Halloween.  I don't know where I'll be or who I'll be with, but at least I know what I'll be dressed as!

    6.  I don't have one regret about having revision.  At least not on my end anyway.  I do wonder how things would be different if I had gotten the RNY approval, and kind of wish that had happened, but I can't change it.  I truly hate Blue Cross Blue Shield NC.  They're horrible and don't care about their customers.

    7.  Have I mentioned I'm lactose intolerant since surgery?  Milk is not good to my tiny tummy.  It makes me dizzy, have a racy heart, and nauseated.  Sometimes that feeling eventually turns into a torn up tummy.  Sugar does the same thing.  So why the other night did I decide to have a few bites of ice cream with Mr. Banker?  I learned quick... ice cream is a No No!

    8.  I love Mr. Banker.  Like head over heels, when I see him nothing else matters, I want to shout it from the rooftops type of love.  I hope one day he feels that for me.

    9.  I am planning to go on a trolley pub tour tonight with a couple of friends.  I've wanted to do it for a long while, and when this opportunity came up I was excited.  But part of my post-op WLS diet is no alcohol for 3 months.  I broke it last time, and I'm really trying to be a more compliant patient this time.

    10.  Tomorrow makes 4 weeks since surgery, so I'll be allowed to begin exercising again!  I'm excited for that, but at the same time, dreading it!  Especially as exhausted as I've been.  But I'll fit it into my schedule somehow.

    Friday, October 10, 2014

    Friday Check-In: Week 3 Post-Op

    Last week's weight: 246.2
    Today's weight: 245.2

    Loss of 1 pound.  Slow and steady wins the race, I guess?

    When I saw Dr. Y last week, he told me not to get discouraged by slow weight loss.  He said my body has already gone through the WLS 'shock factor' where people loose 30 pounds in the first month, so I shouldn't expect that.  He told me my journey will be very different, because I'm not the same as the typical newly sleeved patient.  He's right, but sometimes it is still tough to deal with watching the ladies sleeved around the same time as me shedding the pounds so quickly.

    I told Dr. Y that even if I don't lose another pound, I think this was the right decision for me.  I have not had even ONE PB episode?  I still kind of fear it.  I had a group lunch at work earlier this week and I ate sooo slowly, afraid each bite would come back up.  BUT IT DIDN'T!  And it hasn't happened even once since surgery, that's such a relief.  I really spent a lot of time scared of food.  I know that sounds silly, but I threw up so often it was just something I expected to happen every time.

    Dr. Y's response to my comment about 'even if I don't lose another pound' was that he is glad I'm happy with the decision to revise to fix my complications, but he doesn't believe I won't lose another pound.  He said I've been so successful already that he's sure I will get to where I want to be.  It was so nice to hear that from him.  Sometimes I feel like needing revision is a sign of failure, so it was nice to hear from the authority on such matters that I didn't fail.

    Sunday, October 5, 2014

    Ricotta Bake Pizza Muffins

    I made the most delicious dinner last night and it's quite healthy so I wanted to share with you all.

    Each "muffin" is 80 calories and 8g of protein.

    Mix 8 oz cottage OR ricotta cheese, 1 egg, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning to taste. Spray muffin pan. Fill cups with the cheese mixture, then top each with a teaspoon of pizza sauce and cover with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Bake at 450 for 20-25 mins. You can add whatever toppings you want, and you can line the cups with prosciutto if you want to make a little crust. :) it's so heavenly and rich, especially if you love cheese like I do!

    Friday, October 3, 2014

    Two weeks post op

    I wrote it last Friday on my weigh in, and I knew it was going to happen....but that doesn't mean it doesn't suck.  As soon as I started eating real food, the weight loss hit a wall.

    Last week's weight: 247.2
    Today's weight:  246.2

    Loss of 1 pound.


    I know, a loss is a loss, and I expected a stall, but I'm disappointed.

    I see Dr. Yoo today and plan to ask him when I'm allowed to start really exercising again.  I'm dead tired, but I know I need to move more.  My cousins are having Yoga day on Sunday and I don't think I'm allowed to participate quite yet, but I'll ask.  I'm only 2 weeks out and I was originally told 4 weeks.  It doesn't hurt to ask though right?

    I have a tendency to be stubborn and hard headed and over do it, if you can't tell.

    Friday, September 26, 2014

    One Week Post Op

    I've been a bad blogger.  I know, I know!  Sorry guys, I've just been plain lazy.

    I was converted from lapband to sleeve last Friday.  It really wasn't bad.... I had little to no pain.  Those first few hours upon waking up... yeah, they sucked.  It hurt.  But then that subsided.  They were able to use my same incision scars from the lap band.  This photo was taken just an hour or two after surgery:



    My lovely instagram friend Cindy who was sleeved 10 months ago and shares my surgeon was my first visitor just a few hours after surgery and I was ready for a walk!  The nurses joked that I must've wanted to get outta there, but really, I was just sick of laying in bed already.

    I know, I know, I looked rough, but cut me some slack.  I'd just had surgery!
     
    I was promptly discharged barely 24 hours after surgery and I've spent most of the last week just lounging around my house.  I've felt kinda crappy.... literally.  This is a TMI topic that I refuse to post about on IG, and am slightly embarrassed about... but since revision everything that goes in, comes out... almost immediately.  I finally broke down today and emailed my surgeon about it, and he cleared me to move to soft foods a week early to see if that helps.  I had a few bites of zucchini 3 hours ago and I haven't gone running to the bathroom so that is great news!
     
     
    So... what I know you all really want to know.
     
    HW: 344.4 pounds (2012)
    Surgery Weight: 260.2 (9/19/2014)  .......yes, yes, I am ashamed.  When Dr. Yoo told me to gain 3-4 pounds, I was a bit of an over achiever.
     
    Todays weight: 247.2
     
    Loss of 13 pounds since surgery!  I'm expecting a slight stall now that I'm starting foods again, but it won't linger for long :)
     
    Thanks to everyone for worrying about me and checking in on me!
     
    Today.  I believe I already see my loss in my face :)
    

    Thursday, September 18, 2014

    Change of Plans?

    I'm almost afraid to write this post after Tuesday evening, but here goes...

    Tomorrow morning at 8:15am, I will be revised from my lap band to the VERTICAL GASTRIC SLEEVE.

    No more RNY Gastric Bypass.  Apparently it wasn't approved by my insurance company and when they submitted to request it, it was denied.  Fuck you, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.  I mean, they approved the Sleeve based on a letter I wrote about why I need to have Gastric Bypass?  Really?

    Whatever...

    I'm not a particularly religious person, but I do believe in God, and I think this is all in His plan.  I believe God made sure I was having the right surgery for me. 

    So here we go again.

    I've been on this clear liquid diet again today and it SUCKS!  I'm sure you all remember from when you had your surgeries.

    I'm not sure I'll believe it's actually happening until I'm at the hospital tomorrow, but cross your fingers and send me your prayers please!

    Tuesday, September 16, 2014

    Approved... Denied.... Emotional turmoil

    Did you all know that the insurance company could rescinded their approval mere hours before a surgery?

    I didn't. Unfortunately, I learned that this evening. No revision surgery in the morning.

    Not Alone

    How did I think I was alone?  I have such an amazing support system.

    So many of you have reached out to me through texts, facebook messages, and phone calls.  I'm so appreciative of you all, you make a difference in my life.

    I can't believe it is almost here.  Tomorrow is the big day.

    Tuesday, September 9, 2014

    Hospital Bag List

  • A hard pillow to put against my tummy when standing (I'm planning to bring the one the hospital gave me in 2012 with a photo of a Lap Band on it lol)
  • Gas-X strips
  • Toothbrush/paste
  • Mouth Wash
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Clean undies
  • Pajama pants
  • Chap stick
  • Lotion
  • Body spray
  • Phone/Tablet
  • Phone Charger
  • Slippers with grippers


  • Any suggestions would be much appreciated?!  Thanks!

    One Week Away

    Yesterday was my pre-op appointment.

    It began with a 3 hour pre-op class with 7 other RNY patients and one DS patient.  This class was miserable for several reasons.  First, I have already taken it before.  Second, the questions/comments just REALLY annoyed me.

    "How long do I have to take these vitamins?"

    "When will I be able to drink sweet tea/eat fried chicken again?"

    "I don't have a problem with food, I'm just fat.  Will I still lose weight?"

    "How much weight am I going to lose?"

    The questions were really endless and it frustrated me because I felt like these people had not done their research at all.  Maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe I'm just being a WLS snob...idk.

    Then I had an appointment with my surgeon.  I hugged him and thanked him for all of his help and for fighting for me.  His personality though.... think....a brick.  But, it's not his personality performing my surgery, so it'll be alright.  He did inform me that if he gets in there and finds a lot of scar tissue, the band will be removed and RNY will NOT be performed at the same time.  Fingers crossed that is NOT how it goes.  He thinks I should be okay since my band is theoretically "normal" but he won't know really until he gets in there.

    My PA will be helping with my surgery, although she doesn't typically do surgeries at that hospital.  She has rearranged her schedule and I will go first that morning so that she can be there.  I truly love her and hope she knows how much I appreciate her.  It means a lot to me that she will be the one helping with my surgery. 

    Then I had my pre-registration with the hospital.  When I got there, we went through my medications, medical history, etc.  Then the Nurse Practitioner informed me that I was scheduled at the hospital for the wrong date!  WTF!!!  I was freaking out, but it is now all fixed (24 hours later).

    So I'm all set to have my lap band removed and RNY gastric bypass performed on 17September 2014.  Fingers crossed all goes as planned!

    Yesterday made this all feel so real.

    Wednesday, September 3, 2014

    Gwynnie Bee (unlimited wardrobe) in review

    I was SOOOOOO excited Saturday when my very first Gwynnie Bee order arrived!
    It only took 4 days from the time I signed up to receive my first package, really not bad at all.
     
    So here are my first 3 garmets:
     
    1.  There is NOTHING redeeming about this dress.  It was too big, the pattern was horrible.  The colors looked faded.  All of these things were written about in the reviews.  Not sure why I closeted this, but I was trying to give it a chance on my own.  HATE!  It went back already without even wearing it.
    2.  This is a beautiful dress, and so very comfortable.  I wore it yesterday and received several compliments.  Unfortunately, I seem to think I'm bigger than I am, because it was at least one, maybe two sizes too large.  I would've looked better had I gotten a smaller size.
    3.  This dress is okay.  The reviews said to size down, so I got a Large, and it still feels too big.  I'll wear it once and then return it.
     
    Annnnnd, thanks to one of my lovely blog readers signing up using my referral link (click here), I got a 4th garmet this month!
     
    4.  When I saw the dress below, it was love at first sight.  I was so sad it wasn't in my first order, that I emailed asking them to include it in my next.  It arrived two business days after I was notified of a referral bonus garmet, not too shabby!

     
    This dress is EVERYTHING I thought it would be.  If I weren't about to start my weight loss journey over again, I would buy this dress from Gwynnie Bee right now!
     
    So... in review, I highly suggest trying Gwynnie Bee.  If you try it for a month and don't love it, you've really lost nothing, as it is free for one month.
     
    When adding garmets to your closet, be sure to read the reviews.  They give a lot of insight into the sizing and length.  After receiving these items, I went through my closet and changed the sizes on EVERYTHING to size down.  I guess I'm not quite as big as I seem to think I am.

    Tuesday, September 2, 2014

    Alone

    My head is in a really messed up place right now.

    I'm going to be honest, it could be going off of my antidepressant in preparation for surgery.  Or it could be a whole host of other things going on.  Maybe a combination.

    Surgery month is here.  As I write this, my countdown calendar says I have 14 days, 21 hours.  And I feel so alone.  I did this alone once already, and I did okay, but it wasn't nearly as scary.  I thought it would be nice to have the support of someone who cares for me this time.  I thought I was going to have that, but now I don't think so.

    Mr. Banker and I were doing really well for a short time, but then he became distant again.  I don't understand it.  I thought he would want to spend time with me before surgery, but he hasn't seen me in 2.5 weeks now.  I was depending on him to help me through this.  He has always been so supportive of the weight loss surgery in the year and a half we've (not) been together. 

    I guess I just need to adjust my mindset and realize I'm in this alone again.

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

    Unlimited wardrobe?!

    Losing weight can be EXPENSIVE when it comes to replacing clothes.  I'm sure it comes as no surprise that NOTHING I owned pre-surgery fits now after losing 100+ pounds.

    I've bagged my clothes and donated them many times, and replaced them with hand-me-downs and loads of purchased items, only to turn around and donate those.  I always thought a clothing swap would be an awesome idea, but I just don't know enough people around to do that with.

    This morning I discovered Gwynnie Bee and signed up immediately, especially after realizing the first month is FREE!!  (and you can cancle at any time in those first 30 days to avoid being charged for the second month). 

    You can choose 1, 2, or 3 items to be sent to you at a time, but those can be swapped out at any time, as often as you'd like.  I chose 3 items of course.  (after the free trial, you can choose up to 10 for various prices).  Shipping is free, and if you damage an item, that's okay- you aren't charged.  I can't wait to get my first shipment so that I can model some items for you and tell you what I think of the experience!

    You all should go check out Gwynnie Bee... first month is free, so what do you have to lose!?  Sizes 10-32 available :)  Have fun shopping!  I put 16 things in my cart already and have hardly looked through the site.

    Here's just a little look into my "closet"....obviously we know I love dresses.....

    Monday, August 25, 2014

    Food addicion and the Brain

    Have you ever stopped to consider how food addiction is different than any other thought you have?  I know some people like to think that they eat 'mindlessly', but I completely disagree.

    There are only 5 things the brain is capable of processing in 'real time'.  Five.

    Sight.
    Sound.
    Touch.
    Taste.
    Smell.

    EVERYTHING else our brain processes is based on the past.  We aren't capable of processing non-sensory information in real time.  For example, you're doing a math problem-- that isn't real time.  It is all based on thoughts you've had before, things you've learned before.

    You're having a really bad day, feeling crappy, stressed, upset, etc.  All of those thoughts and feeling are based on something that happened five minutes ago, yesterday, last week.  A reminder of how you felt when something simlar happened before.

    So when you're experiencing sensory input, that is real time information, and it has the capability to block out almost any and every other type of input.  So... bad day... let me grab that ice cream.  The brain processing associated with taste can block out (according to reseachers) almost 80% of any other intellectual processing.

    Of course, we're not all food addicts based on coping skills, but if you think about it, food addiction is a VERY efficient way of coping, based on how the human brain works.  Now... how to change it is the struggle.

    It's unfortunate that candles and music aren't nearly as effective for me.

    Friday, August 22, 2014

    I'm ready!

    My head is in upcoming surgery land.

    I can't focus on much of anything other than surgery.

    My mind is swimming with vitamins, and to-dos, and what ifs....

    I'm excited and nervous and ready to start over.  I need a fresh start with this weight loss thing.  I've been stuck around 250 FOREVER!  I was feeling a little bit of a failure over that for a while, but I have to remember that I've lost 100 pounds (+/- 5 depending on the day) and that's not something to sneeze at!

    But I get a new start, and that's exciting and scary all at the same time.  Before getting the band, I watched the procedure online.  I tried to watch RNY online and couldn't do it.  I may try again before surgery, or I may leave well enough alone.

    25 more days.

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

    I have a date....

    I was banded on September 17, 2012.

    I can't help sensing that it is a good sign that my surgeon randomly chose September 17, 2014 as my revision date.  I will have my lap band removed and be revised to RNY gastric bypass on my 2-year bandiversary.

    I did get approved for the sleeve when they reversed my decision, however I have thought about it A LOT.  My surgeon feels strongly that RNY is the best option for me due to the amount of weight I still have to lose and my acid reflux, so I should listen to him.  I didn't listen to him initially, which is why I'm in the situation I'm currently in. 

    For the band I will not grieve, RNY will be my reprieve.

    Tuesday, August 12, 2014

    APPROVED!!!!

    I will have a surgery date in the morning!  OMG, I am so ecstatic!

    Monday, August 11, 2014

    Thoughts on the Lap Band... and regrets

    When I first started "thinking about" weight loss surgery, I wish I'd done more research.  But I'm the kind of person that once I get something in my head, I am all in.  I don't test the water with my toes, I dive in head first.  Someone told me that I couldn't succeed with the band, and damn it, I was going to prove to her that I could.  Except I'm not sure how that worked out for me really.  I worked the band, and it worked for me.  Until something happened.  We call it a leak, but there is really no 'proof' of a leak.  If you've been following for a while, then you know what all has gone on, so there's no reason to re-hash that part.

    But there are days where I have bursts of anger.  Anger that I did EVERYTHING I was told to do, and now I am going through this anyway.

    Days that I am angry that I thought I could have the band removed if I ever needed to and it would be like surgery never happened.  I am an intelligent female, why didn't it occur to me that the band would cause scar tissue in the stomach?!

    Days that I am pissed that I didn't listen to my doctors when they did explicitly tell me that someone with 180 pounds to lose would do better with gastric bypass.

    Why didn't I consider those things then?

    Well, I didn't consider them then because I thought as long as I followed the rules, I would be successful.  I did follow the rules.  I worked my ass off.  I shouldn't be dealing with all this shit now begging for insurance approval.

    But here I am.  I guess life isn't fair.  I've always known that and I shouldn't expect it to be.  Still, I can't help feeling a little bitter at times that I am struggling now after all the hard work I've put in.  I know there is no point in feeling bitter, it is really out of my hands until I get the next decision from my personal appeal.  After that, I will either be scheduling surgery or gearing up for a battle again.  I hope it is the former.

    I'm not sure I have the emotional capacity to keep pushing forward.  I say that, but I know if I have to, I will find it.

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

    Optimistic

    Just a quick update that I'm feeling very optimistic about my most recent appeal.

    Yesterday I got the letter from BCBS acknowledging receipt of my appeal.  It included in it the name and telephone number of the person handling my case.

    So this morning I called her and in my sweetest voice I told her that I was concerned because I couldn't find documentation of an ER visit from March 2013 but BCBS was my insurance company then.  She located it, but stated that she had looked through my case and I had "more than enough" documentation and this one ER visit wouldn't make a huge difference.

    She took my phone number and said she would be in touch if there was anything she needed.

    It very much sounded like she is going to approve me. 

    24 more days to wait for an answer....

    Friday, August 1, 2014

    My Personal Appeal to BCBS

    For my 300th post today, I want to share with you all my appeal to my insurance company, which I will be sending to them today:



    To whom it may concern:

    Please accept this letter as supporting evidence for an appeal to BCBSNC’s decision to deny coverage for revision of bariatric surgery from my current Lap Band to roux en Y Gastric Bypass.  It is my understanding, based on your letter of denial dated 02June2014 (initial submission) and again 22July2014 (peer-to-peer review between Dr. Jin Yoo and Dr. Lawrence Woo), that this procedure has been denied because “there is no perioperative or late complication of previous bariatric surgery per coverage policy AND there is insufficient serial records that there has been post-operative compliance with diet after the previous bariatric procedure, 9/17/12”. 

    In summary, I refute that there has been no perioperative or late complication of previous bariatric surgery, as I have been diagnosed and received treatment for GERD only post-lap band placement.  Other post-operative complications include polyphagia, dysphagia, excessive aggressive lap band adjustments, and failure to reach a healthy weight through no fault of my own.  I also refute that there are insufficient serial records to demonstrate post-operative compliance.  I have submitted 30+ records of adjustment/clinic visits.  However, despite this, my weight loss alone of over 100 pounds should demonstrate irrefutable proof of compliance.  The rest of this letter will serve to explain the medical necessity for revision surgery and disprove the reason for denial from BCBSNC.

    As you know, my Lap Band procedure was performed on 17September2012.  My highest documented weight in the months leading to surgery was 344.4 lbs., and my weight on the day of surgery was 327 lbs.  In the months following surgery, I followed my post-op liquid diet fastidiously, transitioned to soft foods, kept my diet between 1000-1200 calories and protein between 60-100g by tracking my food intake on the myfitnesspal phone app and slowly began exercising.  Over the first 18 months, my lowest weight was 238 lbs.  The first months were not easy but the tool was perfect initially.  The Lap Band helped me control my hunger and as I lost weight, it became easier to exercise.  I did not realize how uncomfortable I had become in my body until I began to feel better.

    Around March 2013, I began to have problems with my band.  One day it would feel like I could eat as if I didn’t have surgery and then the next day I would experience severe dysphagia causing me to get sick just from drinking water.  There were certain triggers that I knew would cause the dysphagia and make the band feel tight, for example: allergies, stress, and menstruation.  Other times the sources of the tightness and dysphagia were unexplainable.  This complication lead to frequent visits to the have my band filled and unfilled.  In addition to clinic visits for unfills, I went to the Emergency Room at Durham Regional Hospital in April 2013 for an unfill of my band due to dysphagia.  I was unable to swallow my own saliva by the time I arrived at the ER that day.

    The discomfort from my band began to get worse when I started experiencing reflux.  I did not have issues with acid reflux prior to surgery, but I began to realize the reflux could be the reason for my band feeling ‘tighter’, or for food/water coming back up after eating or drinking.  I have been taking Nexium OTC to help control the discomfort but it is not always successful and I still find myself coping with the discomfort frequently.  On 03July2013, I woke up unable to drink water in the morning.  I thought this feeling would pass; it is often difficult for me to drink anything in the morning without vomiting since having my Lap Band placed, so this has become a new normal for me.  Later in the day I could not eat, drink a protein shake, or even keep water down without it coming back up within a few seconds of swallowing.  This continued until 08July2014 when I went to Dr. Yoo’s office to have a complete unfill of my Lap Band.  I was so relieved after having the band loosened to be able to drink water again and eat, however the problems didn’t end as I was admitted to Duke Regional Hospital on 13July2014 for pain in my chest which was diagnosed as GERD.  It was the most painful experience to date dealing with my band.

    In addition to the physical pain associated with the band, I have experienced excessive hunger.  I was first put on Phentermine to help the hunger, but this is not a long-term solution due to health risks associated with Phentermine.  I began to have more aggressive fills, which somewhat helped the hunger, but irritated the reflux.  It seemed to be the only way to control the hunger and continue losing weight or even maintain my weight loss, so I thought I would cope with the reflux.  However, the reflux has become intolerable over the last few months.  Due to the pain and dysphagia, I have gotten fewer Lap Band adjustments (once every 4 weeks, which is normal for the average patient but not enough to control my polyphagia) and my weight has drastically increased.  This morning I weighed 260.2—a 22 pound increase from April 2014 when the reflux began to get worse and I began seeking fewer adjustments to help control the reflux problems.

    It is incredibly frustrating that after being such a compliant patient with food, working out diligently, joining a running group and running three 5k races, joining two gyms (Burn Bootcamp in Durham, NC and East Coast Boxing in Cary, NC) that I am still struggling with my weight and pain associated with this band.  I have worked incredibly hard over the last 22 months, and the idea of gaining the weight back that I have lost causes me more emotional turmoil than someone who has never been morbidly obese can possibly understand.  I lose sleep over it.  I go to therapy to talk about how to deal with it and the depression, anxiety, and anger that accompany struggling with this experience.

    I have a lengthy family history of obesity and diseases associated with obesity.  My paternal grandmother was so obese that her weight prevented her from walking.   I am terrified of meeting the same fate.  With a family history of obesity, I know the future health complications that I face if I don’t get my weight within a healthy range.  For example, all four of my grandparents and my mother suffer (or suffered prior to death) from diabetes.  My paternal grandmother lost a kidney due to complications of diabetes.  I have a family history of heart disease, hypertension, and sleep apnea.  I am trying so hard to get this under control while I am young, before I have a chance for these obesity related diseases to develop.  That’s why I had the initial Lap Band surgery, and I am not ready to give up on myself or on my health! 

    At this point, I strongly believe that surgery to remove the band is unavoidable to cure my current complications--reflux and dysphagia, and I do not want to lose the progress I’ve gained by completely losing any form of a Weight Loss Surgery tool.  The desire to achieve a healthy weight is why I have requested revision to RNY gastric bypass in addition to the fact that gastric bypass is the best surgery option to help my acid reflux.  At 260 lbs., I am not close to a weight that any doctor would consider healthy for a 26 year old 5’8” female.  I know I am at risk of developing the prior mentioned complications due to my current weight, much less if I gain any due to these continued issues with my Lap Band.

    I want to continue working hard to get to where I want my health to be.  I just feel that I shouldn’t have to either suffer with polyphagia, dysphagia or acid reflux in order to get there.   Even when I do not have my band tight, the reflux comes and goes.  The episode of reflux that sent me to the ER on 13July2014 was during a period that my band was completely unfilled.  So then, if I chose to keep my band tight because it appears I will have some form of reflux anyway, I require adjustments every two weeks.  That is a lot of time away from work and money to receive an adjustment bimonthly.  It is also a lot of exposure to radiation to receive an adjustment under fluoroscopy every two weeks, but since my aggressive fills require greater amounts of saline than a typical Lap Band patient, it would not be safe to do them without the fluoroscopy component.  The average Lap Band patient receives around 0.5 CC at an adjustment every 4-6 weeks, while I’ve continually needed anywhere between 1.0-2.0 CC saline at each adjustment every 2 weeks.  If we did the adjustment without the fluoroscopy machine and I received the usual 0.5 CC adjustment, it wouldn’t be nearly enough to help the polyphagia, and if Dr. Yoo were to give me 1.0-2.0 CC of saline without checking the adjustment under fluoroscopy, the chances of ending up with an overly tight band in the emergency room is much higher.  The only solution for my aggressive adjustments is for them to be performed bimonthly with the use of the fluoroscopy machine to ensure my band is tight enough to treat my polyphagia but not too tight. I often fear how that is affecting my reproductive organs and my future ability to have children at only 26 years old by continually exposing my body to radiation every other week under the fluoroscopy machine.

    I have done everything Dr. Yoo has asked me to do to be a successful patient.  I’ve counted calories.  I’ve exercised on top of more exercise.  I’ve come in for my adjustment appointments at a rate that is TWICE the normal Lap Band patient.  It baffles me that BCBS can make the assertion that “there is insufficient serial records that there has been post-operative compliance with diet after the previous bariatric procedure”.  I would truly like to know how an individual loses 100+ pounds without compliance or how 30+ follow-up appointments in 22 months fails to provide sufficient serial records.  If this is NOT compliance, how then does BCBS define compliance?  I have a copy of the current Coverage for Bariatric Surgery policy, and nowhere does the policy define what compliance is or is not.  In addition to my records of follow-up visits and Lap Band adjustments, a letter was included from a nutritionist, Ellen Michal, stating that she had no nutritional concerns for me and Dr. Yoo vouched for my compliance in the peer-to-peer review.  I feel that BCBS is just looking for a reason to deny my case, and cannot find a valid reason, as ‘insufficient serial records that there has been post-operative compliance’ is certainly not legitimate.

    When I changed jobs in March, I looked at my benefits information and realized pretty quickly that the insurance offered through my new company would not fulfill my needs as a bariatric surgery patient.  It was not a hard decision at the time to choose BCBS as my insurance provider, because BCBS was the company that made my initial weight loss surgery possible.  I even read through the benefits for bariatric coverage and came to the conclusion that BCBS would be the best option for me to correct the issues I have struggled with while having my Lap Band.  I had confidence that my health and wellbeing as a patient would be taken best care of with your company, but I am beginning to wonder if I was wrong.  I did not have a problem paying $332 per month for health insurance through BlueCross BlueShield, as opposed to the $42 per month for the insurance offered by my work, when I thought it was in the best interest of my health.  However, I no longer believe BCBSNC is putting what is in my best interest first. 

    I have been obese my whole life, so perhaps I should be accustomed to being bullied about my weight.  But, the fact is that I am not used to it in a professional setting.  It is true that fat shaming is one of the last socially acceptable forms of discrimination, but it’s something that after losing over 100 pounds I am faced with much less frequently.  After receiving a denial for revision from Lap Band surgery to RNY gastric bypass, and then a denial from Dr. Yoo’s peer-to-peer review with Dr. Lawrence Wu with no credible explanation for the denial, it occurred to me that BlueCross BlueShield is practicing this form of bullying because the reason for alleges that I have been non-compliant, therefore the issues I am experiencing are through my own fault.  When I am told no, and the blame is placed on me, BCBSNC expects me to give up like I would’ve in middle school when I was picked on for being fat.  Two years ago at 344.4 lbs. and with a lot less self-confidence, I might have given up more easily, but today I realize my health and quality of life is worth fighting for.

    Please take the appropriate action and reverse this decision in the best interest of my health in order to treat my GERD, polyphagia, and prevent future obesity related health complications. While I’ve been compliant and successful at losing 100+ lbs., I am still obese and I fear the repercussions of my obesity in combination with my poor family history.  I strongly feel that roux en Y is my only option to treat these medical problems.  This IS a medical necessity as I am having postoperative complications due to my Lap Band and am still obese.  If revised to RNY Gastric Bypass I will continue to be the hard working, very compliant patient that I have been since my initial weight loss surgery.  Please make my health a priority to your company.

    Kind regards,

     

     

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

    Peer to Peer

    Imagine that... I email the doctor about the administrator dropping the ball yet again, and I get the peer to peer scheduled pretty much immediately.

    It happened today at noon.  Below is the email I received from Dr. Y afterward.  Cross your fingers!  Now we just wait.  I should have some kind of answer in the next 7 days.

    Monday, July 21, 2014

    A Modern Day WLS Fairytale

    There once was a young girl who worked very hard to lose 110 pounds.  She worked out a few times a week, saw her WLS PA regularly, and --regardless of her food addiction-- tried really hard to eat the right things.

    But one day, her Lap Band started leaking.  This elusive leak was hard to prove, but she was willing to fight the insurance company to magically turn her Lap Band into a Gastric Bypass.  She went through her pre-op appointments and waited on a reply from the insurance company.  Alas, they denied her.  Luckily for the girl, her PA was secretly a fairy godsister who was willing to do anything in her magical powers to help the girl.

    Little did they know, there was a wicked wicked administrator in the office who didn't give a shit about the WLS patients in the office, even though she too, was once one of them.  She forgot to turn in paperwork, refused to answer emails to give status updates, lied about contacting the insurance company on multiple occasions.  It seems she was going to do nothing in her power to help.

    To be continued..........

    Friday, July 18, 2014

    22 Month Bandiversary

    Yesterday was my 22 month bandiversary.  I spent a lot of time thinking about how I've changed...and more importantly, how I haven't changed.

    9 days with a COMPLETELY empty lapband will really tell a girl what that lapband has been doing for her.  Loose or not, there was SOME restriction there, because once it was completely empty, it was like I'd entered a whole new world.  A world of bread and pasta and eating and eating and eating.

    Holy shit.  Revision needed or not, this band is doing SOMETHING for me.  I guess taking a vacation from my lapband was a good reminder that this band is just a tool.  It didn't change me.  If I don't use it to it's full potential, I can go right back to where I was 22 months ago.

    I often convince myself I'm not that same fat girl anymore.

    I'm better.  No I'm not.

    I don't eat my feelings anymore.  I just do other things to suppress them.

    I'm the same girl.  I have the same problems with food.  I just have a tool to help.

    I don't want this band anymore, I want revision.  If I don't get the revision though, I will be happy that I have this, because it really has changed my life.

    Monday, July 14, 2014

    Straight from the BCBSNC Guidelines

    I'm feeling frustrated, and like there's nothing I can do, so I just feel like copying some sections straight from the Surgery for Morbid Obesity Policy statement for BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina website.  Basically, I'm going to argue my case with you all, for the hell of it.  I should mention that these guidelines are slated to change tomorrow...so this is all going to be somewhat irrelevant.

    IV. Revision Bariatric Surgery -
    A. Revision surgery to address perioperative or late complications of a bariatric procedure is considered medically necessary. These include, but are not limited to, staple-line failure, obstruction, stricture, erosion, non-absorption resulting in hypoglycemia or malnutrition, weight loss of 20% or more below ideal body weight, and band slippage that cannot be corrected with manipulation or adjustments.
    [[HAS]]:  I hope Acid Reflux is a good enough 'late complication of bariatric procedure'.  My EGD on May 5 shows signs of reflux and I was admitted to the ER for a stomach spasm from reflux yesterday.  This could continue to happen if I don't have the revision.

    B. Revision of a primary bariatric procedure that has failed due to dilation of the gastric pouch or dilation proximal to an adjustable gastric band (documented by upper gastrointestinal examination or endoscopy) is considered medically necessary if the initial procedure was successful in inducing weight loss prior to dilation, and the patient has been compliant with a prescribed nutrition and exercise program.
    [[HAS]]:  I swear BCBSNC, I've been so freaking compliant.  I've tracked my food.  I've joined and actually WENT to gyms.  I've lost between 100-110 pounds depending on the day.  I'm doing everything I can, but I just had far too much to lose starting out to get to where I want to be now.  I'm currently requiring a Lap Band adjustment every two weeks in order to continue losing!

    Patients with a BMI greater than or equal to 50 kg/m2 need a bariatric procedure to achieve greater weight loss. Thus, use of adjustable gastric banding, which results in less weight loss, should be most useful as one of the procedures used for patients with BMI less than 50 kg/m2.

    [[HAS]]:  In conclusion, I should have never had Lap Band surgery by your guidelines.  My BMI was 50.8 at the time of surgery.  Please please please correct your error.

    Sunday, July 13, 2014

    Pain, Emergency Room, Acid Reflux....oh my!

    I woke up this morning to a pain in my upper abdomen that I have never felt in my life.  It went across my stomach at the exact area where my band sits right under my breasts and traveled slightly upward.  I could feel the pain under my chest so intensely that if I didn't know this lap band were in there, I would've thought I was having a heart attack.  I was crying and damn near screaming in pain and my skin had lost all of it's color, so I asked 4D to drive me to the emergency room.  By the time I arrived there, I had sweated so profusely from the pain that my hair looked like I'd just had a shower, I was drenched.

    They took me back immediately.  I guess that's the good thing when you're in that amount of pain, they don't like you sitting in the waiting room laying on the floor yelling "Fuck fuck fuck". 

    They checked for a slip.  No slip.

    The final diagnosis was that I was having a stomach spasm caused by acid reflux.  They gave me something to drink which took the pain away almost immediately.  It had something in it that made my esophagus and stomach numb until the spasm stopped.

    Hoping and praying it will help my revision case.  Dr. Y will be requesting the peer to peer review this coming week.

    Tuesday, July 8, 2014

    Off the Wagon

    I'm a food addict.  If I was not sure about this fact before, it is now blatantly obvious.

    21 months without bread.  Without pasta.  I stopped missing it.  Or I thought I had.  But oh man, did I find out I was wrong!

    So as soon as I got my band unfilled yesterday, I had that chick-fil-@ chicken, egg, and cheese biscuit.  It could've been worse.  560 calories for breakfast after not eating for 5 days isn't the WORST thing a person could do.  I justified it by telling myself that at least it had 28 grams of protein.

    I left work early because I can be more productive from home.  Stopped at cookout on my way home.... Barbeque sandwich with onion rings and hushpuppies.  What the hell, let's throw in a peanut butter banana milkshake for kicks.

    I wasn't really hungry by night time, so I'd decided I probably wasn't going to eat dinner.  But around 7:00, 4D offered to make me dinner.  He's been boasting about his cooking skills, so of course I couldn't turn that down.  It was the most perfect combination of pasta, sun dried tomatoes, and cream sauce... sweet, spicy, and heavy garlic all in one.  It was one of the best meals I have had in the longest time, and I have plans to get him to make me a homemade pizza before I get this band tightened up again next week.

    I waited until today to total all those calories up.

    2224 calories.

    And I don't even regret one of them.  There's a part of me that thinks I SHOULD, but I don't.  That's the bad part about it.  I want to go do it all again today.  Live it up a little for the 9 days I have "off" of the band.  If I get revision, I'll never have time "off" again.  I know this is the wrong way to look at it, but I'm loving every second.

    Monday, July 7, 2014

    Complete unfill

    I got a complete unfill this morning.  It feels so good to be able to drink water without getting sick!

    Know what else I did?  I ate a chicken, egg, and cheese biscuit.  Don't judge- I'd gone 5 days with zero food.  Unable to even choke down a protein shake.

    So I'll stay unfilled for a week or so, since it's going to be a doozy at work this week, and then go back to tighten my band back up.  I won't lie, I'm looking forward to a week of "normal".  I'm sure my scale isn't though.

    Sunday, July 6, 2014

    Revision Update...another month gone

    Let me just get this out of the way-- I'm having a HATE/HATE relationship with my band right now.  It just cannot decide what it wants to do!  I've had ZERO restriction for 9 months and suddenly now, what, I can't even drink a glass of water without a PB episode?

    It's hormonal.  I was driving to my parents a few nights ago and felt so so crampy, and by the time I got there there was a tinge of blood (sorry, TMI).  And that's when this trouble with my band started.  Although the blood stopped, I guess the hormones are still there.  I haven't eaten solid food in 5 days now.

    All I want is my revision!

    And much to my dismay, the nurse at my doctor's office FORGOT to submit my appeal to my insurance company.  She FORGOT?!!!!
    IT JUST SLIPPED HER FREAKING MIND...

    I should mention that this woman is a fellow WLS patient and has been promising things she can't deliver for a couple of months.  Promising me that she's not going to let me get denied, and then denial came.  Then promising she was going to make sure they fought it with everything they had.  Well, I'd say my doctors have done everything they can, but when the administrator forgets to submit, that's a HUGE FREAKING PROBLEM.

    So what now?!  I've wasted a month for NOTHING.  If you all have forgotten, I have until the end of 2014 to resolve this because I can't afford to continue paying $334/month for insurance to have "better" bariatric coverage.

    So we're going straight to a Peer to Peer review between my doctor and the insurance.  Fingers crossed.  Tomorrow I'm going to go in for an "emergency unfill" because my  band is tight and it will be a stressful week at work.  My study is locking and I can't physically afford to continue depriving myself of healthy nutrition.  While I'm there, I intend to tell my doctor/PA that if RNY is my best chance of getting approval for revision due to the moderate reflux they saw on my last EGD, I will take it.  I will do whatever it takes at this point.  I need to do something.  I hate this band today.  I'm thankful for all of our hard work together but it's becoming really troublesome for me.

    Monday, June 30, 2014

    Why I Share My story...

    I was going to post about this a while ago, when the first story happened, but I guess I forgot or it didn't seem that important at the time.  But then this second story happened and I thought it relevant again.

    When I was in California in May at Disneyland, I decided to ask if I could order from the children's menu.  The woman taking my order was a short, heavy European lady with a heavy accent who told me I would still be starving after eating the child's burger with no bun, as it was smaller than a little sausage patty.  I told her I had weight loss surgery and would take my chances, and she allowed me to order it.  After I ordered though, she was full of questions.  She told me she had contemplated WLS because she was having heart issues and had diabetes due to her weight and I strongly encouraged her to speak with a doctor, because it was the best decision of my life.  She hugged me when I got my food and went to sit down, and at that moment I really felt that I might have made a difference in this woman's life.

    I guess that's why I share.  And it is "easier" for me to share with someone who is heavier.  I guess I feel that they can understand my struggle a little better.

    Then last week at my annual woman visit, as the nurse took my medical history, she was also bombarding me with questions about my band.  After she had finished her questions, she told me I had inspired her to finally make a doctor's appointment to talk to someone about her weight. 

    Thursday, June 26, 2014

    Been a while since TTT

    1. Happy Thursday!  My band is tight.  For the last 7 days, I'm not even sure there's still a leak.  I know that sounds weird, but I am so tight I PB everything if I'm not incredibly mindful when eating/drinking.  Yes, drinking.  I know it's going to sound weird, but I'm loving the restriction.  I love the feeling that this band is working for the first time since last September.

    2. Life has been mostly normal. Work, Home, Repeat. Work is busy busy busy. There are 3 phases to my job: 1. Study Start-up. 2. Maintenence. 3. Database Lock. The first and last are the hardest. Well, don't you know I have one study in Database Lock, 2 studies in Maintenence, and one study in Study Start-up. I am SWAMPED!

    3. Please don't take that as complaining though. I like being busy.

    4. The insurance company is supposed to let me know about my appeal for revision by July 7. I wish they would hurry!

    5. Last week I had some pretty intense port pain. We don't really know what it was. I'm still sore, but it's nothing like it was. We may do an EGD, but are hoping for approval before they can even get that scheduled.

    6. My work contest to win $500 ends next week. I was winning until recently. Now I'm a few 'likes' behind. If you haven't yet, go find me on facebook to help out!  I will be okay if I don't win though, because the girl who is on top right now says she is going to donate all the money to charity.  That's noble.

    7.   I'm still seeing the therapist that I had to see for a letter for revision approval. She is really good to talk to.

    8.  I have baby fever something serious after having my nephew visit.  All I can think about is getting to my goal weight and then getting pregnant.  With or without a partner to do it with.  I know that's a hot topic, but it isn't in the near future and maybe I'd change my mind when I get there.

    9.  This year is going by really fast, or is it just me?!  I can't believe it's almost July 4.  I am very much looking forward to having a couple of days off work next week!

    10.  Part of the reason my friend in my last blog has been so tough on me about Mr. Banker lately is because I met someone new.  My friend thinks I need to give this new guy a shot.  So I'm going to introduce the new guy as California.  I was going to call him Sunshine, but that seemed a bit gay, and I don't want to impose that on him.  So California is a 6'1 personal trainer.  He honestly seems too good to be true at this point, SOMETHING has to be wrong with him.  He's 27, owns his own business, owns 2 houses- one of which I have been to and it is REALLY nice.  He is very nice to me and tells me I'm beautiful.  On our first date, he told me I was beautiful three times. I guess we will see where it goes with California :)

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

    A much needed friend

    Sometimes the most profound relationships in our lives are the ones that are strictly platonic.  They are the ones that you should know will ALWAYS be there, because they love you and they don't have that added element that confuses things.

    I met 4D in April.  We didn't meet on the most platonic of terms, but within a month it became clear that I just wasn't his type physically and I respect that.  I'm not going to pretend I think he is a saint, I know the good, the bad, and the ugly about him.  But I can say with a fair amount of certainty that he's one of the few I've known in my life that I'd categorize as a "good man".  He doesn't always do the right thing, in fact, he screws up just as much as the rest of us, but he seems to do things with the best of intentions and treat other with respect that I haven't observed with many men in my life.

    At the same time, he's hard.  He's tough to get along with, and his friendship is often served with a giant dose of reality.  He tells it like it is and sometimes that can be difficult to swallow.  In our short 3 months of knowing each other, he's made me cry on a few occasions, but each time I know that he is, for the most part, trying to tell me what I might not want to hear, but need to hear.

    So last night, he told me that if I'm going to continue engaging myself with Mr. Banker I should "go buy dog tags, a collar, and walk around on all fours, because you're allowing yourself to be treated like nothing more than a mutt".

    Well Damn.

    Ouch.

    That was hard to hear.  But maybe he is right.  He said I need to respect myself more than I have been.  That I need to expect more from the people I allow in my life.  To surround myself with people that I can take from, that I can learn from, that I am better just for knowing, instead of always just being that person for everyone else.

    He's right.