Thursday, January 24, 2013

Guess Who's Back!?

Has it really been 3 years since I last blogged about my ordeal? Has it really been almost 5 years since my surgery? Insane.

Lets do a quick update of where I am at today.

When our hero last appeared, she was 50lbs down after having her port site moved due to tearing in the abdominal wall. When you start at 260 lbs, 50lbs may seem like a lot, but it took many more pounds for her to be happy.

2011 - Initial Surgery
2012 - Port Move Surgery - School for Paralegal
2013 - Down 50 lbs, plateaued at 200 lbs - DIVORCED

Now, I know you must be thinking and wondering how my weight loss is going. It is a long, tough ride, but it is going (more on that later). I also became a paralegal for a small, 1 man firm and have been running the show ever since.

In 2013 I became the recipient of a divorce, which only made me lose more weight! I went from 200lbs, down to 180 and met the ABSOLUTE love of my life and soul mate (I wont gush about him right now, but he is the real deal).

After therapy and overall self healing, I realized that I had been mentally abused for 10 years. I never saw the signs until I was out of a relationship that was poison. When you find someone who treats you like an absolute gift from GOD, you look back and realized how unappreciated and tormented you were in the past by others. You don't have to be physically hit to be abused.

After starting my life over from scratch with nothing to my name, the only place I could possibly go is UP. I had so much time for myself, I cooked very healthy meals, ran every day and did racquetball. The weight fell off. I was in the shape of my LIFE.

Early 2014, Age 27, 160lbs. This is the lowest I have ever been. Size 12, on verge of size 10, wearing a medium in most things (UNHEARD OF, I used to have to do XXL). Band was working perfectly, I was not overly hungry, ate small meals and was satisfied, only a couple issues here and there with getting stuck.

I fell in love, and we fell hard. A slow and steady, healthy relationship developed and of course, I got comfortable and gained some weight back. Another reason I gained weight back was because I got lots of fluid removed from my band.  I was getting stuck almost every meal, every single thing I ate would get stuck. Fluid out - weight on.

May 2015, Age 28, 186lbs.  A rude awakening occurred when I was asked to be a bridesmaid in a wedding for August 2015. There was no way I was going to fit that dress now that I've gained close to 25lbs. Time to crack down. Not wanting to have the issue with my band being a restrictive problem, I decided instead of getting a fill, I would do it the hard way. Pure diet and exercise.

June 11, 2015, Age 28, 176lbs.  20 minutes of yoga every morning before work, 9 mile bike ride or 2.5 mile jog/walk/crawl and lots of arm/chest weights every day. 10lbs down and 15 more to go. I know I can do this, the willpower inside of me is just burning to get back to that 160 mark.

Now, here are some pictures for your entertainment.

My heaviest at 260lbs.

A good 40-50 lbs down

Another 10

The lowest I've ever been 160

And here is me today at 176

Friday, June 8, 2012

Suck it Karma...

It has been 8 months since my initial surgery but so much has happened between now and then! Let me just say that I have the WORST LUCK EVER. My surgeon has done over 600 surgeries… the same surgery mind you over and over again and he has NEVER had a complication. And so the story continues…

I fully recovered from surgery about 2 ½ weeks after it. I had some "shank wounds" as my sister would call them on my stomach. It looks like someone just stabbed the crap out of me 5 times. I tell people I was in prison and you should see the other guy. I lost maybe 7 pounds within the first 3 weeks and then I started doing water aerobics. Now I love the water and swimming so I love water aerobics but I started having this odd pain… If I would jump or bend weird my port site would have almost a pinching pressure pain. This went on for about a month until one night…

I was in the pool with my friends working out and my port site hurt more than normal. We finished our exercise class and went back to the locker room. I bent over to pick up my gym bag and I felt something give. A horrible shooting pain was at my port site and I could not bend, pick anything up or do anything at all! My friends (god bless them, and sorry for scarring them for life) had to dress me because I could not. They got me into my car and drove me home. One of my friends rushed in the house and got my roommate and they came out and saw me in the car bawling my eyes out. I could not get out of the car to get into my house so they just got in and drove me right to the ER.

We arrive at the ER and my roommate goes inside to tell them what’s up. The orderly’s come outside and ask me if I can move and I said no. They tell my roommate to pull around to the ambulance entrance so that they can help me out of the car and into a wheelchair. So we pull around and they get the door open and are attempting to help me out. I may burn in hellfire for so many swear words that came out of my mouth in the next 2 hours… 2 full grown men had to pretty much lift/shift me into a wheel chair *insert lots of swear words and crying here*.

They got me to the bed I was assigned to and the nurse was asking me questions, where the pain was and things like that. I told her when I had surgery and where the pain was and what not. She called another nurse over to help me change out of my clothes and into a gown. Most painful undressing experience of my LIFE. It was pretty much like ripping of a band-aid really quick… but the band-aid ripped back kind of deal. They tried going slow but that hurt so she said "well we are going to try to just pull off your shirt really fast". Great… FML… Well they got it off and a few choice words later and more orderly’s lifting me into a bed I was laying down.

The pain in my abdomen was very very very painful. I cannot express how much pain I was in. It was the WORST pain I had ever felt in my life. The nurse taking my blood pressure asked me if I had any pre existing conditions or if I took any medication for blood pressure. I looked at her like she was dumb and said no... "Ok well I’m going to try to use a different cuff then because your BP is extremely high right now" "THAT’S BECAUSE I'M IN EXCRUCIATING PAIN!!"

Finally they tossed and IV in me and pumped me full of sister morphine. Oh. Happy. Day. *drool* *pass out* The minute it hit my bp lowered, I stopped crying and all was right in the world… other than the fact I had to hold my abdomen in to make it stop hurting. They took x-rays and pumped me full of drugs and sent me home so I could go see my surgeon the next morning because they were not experienced with Lap Bands and didn’t really know what to look for.

The next morning we hit the road for an hour to go see my surgeon. I can barely walk and I’m very very drugged up. Roommate loads me into a wheel chair and takes me to the 3rd floor where my nurse is waiting to see me. We have a quick chat and my surgeon comes in, pokes around a bit and says "I have no idea what is wrong but this is not normal. I am going to admit you to the hospital here so we can do further testing and possibly surgery to remove your port". Eh? *shakes head* wait what? You want to keep me? Ugh... alright let me call work *ring ring* "hello?" "Hey it’s me... its bad… they are keeping me" "we already got your shifts covered for the week don’t worry about it". It’s surprising how much they can predict these things right?

New hospital room. Different hospital. Different town. Drugs, x-rays, pain, drugs, CT scan, pain, more drugs. Finally after 9 or so hours of tests they figure out that my port site has cut into my abdominal wall and tore it. I have torn my abdominal wall. Da fuq? All from bending over. It apparently does not require surgery, it just has to "work its course" because there is a hematoma under my port site. I asked him about how long. His response, "A month".

November 7th. We make our way back home and work is informed that I will be out for the month. The doctor recommends AT LEAST a month of strict bed rest. I can barely walk to and from the bathroom without passing out from the pain. Almost the entire month of November consisted of me taking my meds, reading, passing out. Rinse and repeat. I don’t watch TV so I read a LOT of books. Every once in a while roommate would make me some food but my diet mostly consisted of water, lemonade and soup.

Thanksgiving rolls around and I am almost back to normal. Minimal pain, I can walk but now I have to wean myself off of the pain meds. I don’t know if any of you have ever had an addiction problem, alcoholism or anything like that but I sure never did. Coming down off these meds after a month straight of being on them was HELL. Constantly shaking, sweating, itching, twitching, can’t sleep, can barely eat, nauseated. Hell. But it had to be done. I was not going to be dependant on these medications for that long of a time because I for one am very against pain medications and the affects they have on your body.

End of February 2012. The pain came back. Crap. *beep beep beep*. I tell my surgeon and he decides just to go ahead and schedule surgery for the next week to move my port to a new location. Same deal as my first surgery except 1 new scar and I got to leave the hospital the same day I went in.

As of now I am down 49 pounds and loving life. I feel so much better, confident and just... well happy. It is slowly coming off, maybe a pound or 2 every couple of weeks and I am fine with that. More to come when I don’t feel so lazy.

Monday, February 6, 2012

So sorry! I havent been on in a while

So sorry that I have not given you any updates or let you know what happened during/after/before surgery! I will try to get it all out ... *deep breath*

Day of surgery had arrived and my driver and I got into the car at 6am to make it to the clinic at 7 (its an hour away). I checked in at the front desk while in my pj's and wrapped up in a blanket that i brought with me :) We proceeded to the surgery center of the clinic and they put me in a room that looks like an er, lots of beds with curtains all around them for privacy, dimly lit. It is the waiting area before they take you to the "other" waiting area before surgery lol. They gowned me up, put some socks on me and scrubbed my stomach with these pads with antibacterial stuff on it. My driver and i waited there for about an hour while they were prepping my operating room.

Then they came to get me. I said goodbye to my driver and they wheeled me into the room right across from the OR. The nurse came in and gave me my IV and pushed some fluids through for a little bit, then the anaesthesiologist came in to go over what he was going to do and have me sign a consent form. Then shortly after that my surgeon came in asking me if i was ready and he had his students with him who were going to be assisting with the surgery.

I'll tell you what its pretty nerve wracking to sit there waiting knowing you are going to be cut open soon! They did last minute preparations and then the nurse (who was extremely pregnant and adorable) came over and put a little something in my IV to help me relax. The last thing I remember was being rolled across the hallway into the operating room. It was stark white with stainless steel things everywhere and quite huge, and lots of people! There must have been 11 nurses/staff waiting in there. They put the mask on me and I was down for the count.

I woke up in a haze, very confused. I knew I had my surgery but I couldn't figure out who was talking to me. The nurse just kept saying "Sarah, its time to wake up" over and over but I did not want to open my eyes. I was not excruciating pain but there definitely was some. The worst part of it was not the incisions but the bloating from the gas they put into your stomach to inflate it. My entire body ached.

They had me hooked up to my 02 sensor and bp cuff, but i was so sleepy. I would hear the 02 sensor alarm going off 'BEEP BEEP BEEP' and the nurse would just casually say 'Sarah i need you to take some deep breaths please'. Apparently I was so tired and in pain when i breathed that i had made my breathing very shallow and my o2 levels were going down. I trained myself that when i heard the 02 sensor going off to take deep breaths because it meant i wasn't breathing very much.

I got rolled into my room and my driverwas there waiting, unfortunately i had to share a room but my roomie was quite nice :) The first day is pretty much a haze. Nurses trying to get me to wake up and take meds, pumping stuff into my IV, taking vitals. I mainly slept. I was having more issues than normal with pain because of the gas they put in. It rises to your shoulders and causes alot of pain in some people. I had tried to attempt to get up to pee but just ended up curling over in pain, clutching the nurse and crying. She was such a sweetheart to me. By night time the grogginess was almost gone. I sat up with my roommate while we watched Monsters Inc. on our TVs and gabbed. She was in for an erupted appendix and had a great sense of humor.

The next morning I was still in quite a bit of pain and we were having troubles finding the right medication for me. I am sensitive to oral pain killers because they make me very very nauseous. A nurse would come in with a couple pills, give them to me... wait a bit then BAM my face would turn pale/green and she would be putting some anti-nausea stuff into my IV. Finally through process of elimination we found some liquid roxicet that seemed to work.

I was in the hospital 7am tuesday and got to leave at 5pm wednesday night. It is a little big longer than normal but they couldn't let me leave without being dependent on ORAL pain killers instead of the IV. I even went for a couple walks (which they require before they let you out, to know you can move around and to get the gas moving around too)

Sunday, October 23, 2011


FINALLY!! So, after insurance battles and corporate BS I am finally scheduled for surgery!! Tuesday, October 25th 2011!

Now I know it has been a while but hey, I'm a busy lady...kinda... I had my pre-surgery appointment with my Dr on Thursday and he pretty much just went over the procedure with me again for the billionth time and told me what to expect. Then it was downstairs to the pre-admissions surgery department and they described how I am going to be taken care of, where we are going to go, what to expect, how long we will wait before surgery and everything like that.

I will let you know step by step what happens day of surgery, so its not a big mystery :)

So on a different note... my friend and I won first place costumes at a drag show last night... he was speed racer and I was Trixie, who looked like she ate speed racer :P with a cheap $5 wig, pink shirt/pants/shoes and a 20cent piece of felt shaped like an M, who can go wrong?

Words can not express how excited I am for surgery. I have gotten all my favorite foods out of the way this week so I dont have to worry about any last minute food regrets *lol* I also picked up at the store 2 cases of Ensure, 4 cans of beef broth, 4 cans of chicken broth, Popsicles and apple juice for my first week/2 weeks after surgery. I know the first week is clear liquid diet, so I dont plan on drinking the Ensure, only if I feel really malnourished, just to get some nutrition in my body.

Friday, July 29, 2011

My milkshake brings all the...calories to my thighs

Seriously... i promise once i get all of the crap that has happened in the past these will be shorter since i wont have to fuggin back story everything i do. And ONWARD!

I played the waiting game with the insurance for about 4 weeks, then i called. I ADVISE EVERYONE IF IT IS TAKING MORE THAN 2 WEEKS CALL THEM. *cough* anyhoo I called them and they told me that they had received....NOTHING. No request. No papers. Nothing. Zilch....FML. I called the surgeon clinic back and they said they sent it, and i got the fax number they faxed it to and called back the insurance company. MY CLINIC had the wrong fax number. Awesome. Great. I love everything...

I proceeded to call my clinic back and give them the correct information to send my stuff to, and they did. I was told i will get an approval letter or denial letter in the mail after they have made their final decision (insurance company).....3 more weeks later I called the insurance company again and was assured it was in its final stages and i would be getting a letter within the next week.

I received my letter on July 22. The date on my letter read July 8th. W. T. F.? Fine. Whatever, i got my damn letter so I'm going to call the damn clinic and make my damn appointment and everything should go damn smooth right? RIGHT? ... Wrong...damn..
The clinic had not received an approval letter but i had, and they asked me to fax it to them so i did. Well apparently I have to call this 2nd part of my insurance where they send another verification of approval to? Whatever the hell that is. Ugh. Seriously. Cut me open already.

I have yet to call my insurance since I just received this phone call on Wednesday... Its Friday... damn. I will keep you updated!

The hand that feeds you... better be deep fried.

Wowza! Did i really write all of that crap? Sheesh... i even almost fell asleep. Well how bout I get down to the awesome insurance battle and other stupid crap Ive been having to put up with...

So October of 2010 I had heard from a friend about a seminar on Lap Band. I called up my mom and made her come with me to this joyful event. We learned a lot from the people who were there, a surgeon, FNPC, dietitian and an exercise specialist. We got packets of information filled with a ton of reading to do.

When we got back from the meeting i tore through the material. I was astounded that this could possibly change my life forever with minimal surgery! There were a lot of people there who were very weary about putting something foreign in their bodies but i chimed in and said " I would much rather have something put into my body then have something removed and/or re routed."

The main thing that made me really want to do the Lap Band vs Gastric is the surgery. In gastric they chop you up and move crap around, pretty much re routing your system. The thought of all of those stitches and things where they shouldn't be really gave me the creeps. There is just so much that could go wrong and i do not want those risks.

Lap band on the other hand simply adds a fun little plastic piece into you, and it wraps around the top portion of your stomach to limit how much you can eat at a time. Unlike gastric, you actually absorb everything you eat. With gastric you absorb some but most of it goes right through you and you get dumping syndrome (if you don't know what that is... trust me its gross). Yes the weight loss is going to be slower, but its so much safer and healthier for your body. All those foods you are eating (which are going to be healthy right...right!?) you body is going to absorb much much more of them and your body will be all smiles and friggen rainbows because of it.

*Deep breath* Okay. Enough rambling. After i tore through the packet i saw the application packet and immediately filled it out. You fill out all this information and have to have your medical records from the past 5 years sent to the facility. Everything went great, the clinic received my packet but guess what... the other clinics did not send them my records. Great. Fine. Whatever ill just re mail them and re fax them right? Wrong. After 2 faxes and 4 phone calls one of the clinics finally sent my records the other one.. not so much.

Thank god i worked at a clinic at that time, otherwise it probably would have taken a lot longer. About 6 months of battling with this clinic (you could only mail your request, and even then if it was a personal request it could take months) and me in tears about to sue them for my records I finally smartened up. I called the clinic from work because i needed to send a request for medical records to there office for work, not for me. Light bulb. On. They gave me a FAX NUMBER OH EM GEE A FAX NUMBER YESSS. No more friggen stamps and envelopes, these pricks are getting it in their fax machine x 100. The fax number is apparently for provider only inquiries... bwahaha i shit you not, a week later my clinic for surgery received my records finally. I win.

Or do i? After they finally received everything I got my appointment for my evaluation. It is multiple doctors appointments pretty much all in the same day. First it was off to meet the FNPC that would set me up with the referral to my surgeon. Polite, friendly to the point. We just went over if i was a good candidate, what i like/disliked about it and if it was really the best option for me. Took like maybe 20 minutes. Next!

Dietitian lady! Yup that woman had stuffed vegetables and greeny stuff all over her office. Just what you would expect from a dietitian. Super nice lady, just went over my current eating habits (i had changed to a better diet already). Only thing she really had to add was that i needed to add more protein in the morning like an egg or some string cheese, other wise i was doing pretty good. She also wrote me out a customized diet plan for before the surgery, and then the weeks after the surgery (liquid, puree etc).

*Gasp* Exercise! Dun Dun DUNNN!!! This gal was awesome. I had to change into "exercise" clothes and do some range of motion crap then walk on a treadmill for 5 minutes, take some vitals then briskly walk/jog for another 3 minutes and take more vitals. She isn't there to give you an exercise plan or be your personal trainer, just to see if you are capable of exercising without injuring yourself.

Tell me your... SECRETS!! My psyc appointment was the last stop. She was really fun, and funny! She pretty much knew right from the start that i wasn't a crazy or anything like that... and we went through all the routine BS, "do you feel like you may go on a homicidal rampage" wait..WHA? yeah that was totally a question. Her ending question was after we had sat there for a while and just gabbed back and forth. I'm like "uhh maybe you should ask that question in the beginning of your interview" LOL

The next day.. Is FINALLY the SURGEON appointment. He just went over different types of surgeries, what they are what they do blah blah blah but i was pretty in the know on what they all were so he said it was one of the easiest visits he had ever done purely because i had knowledge and done lots and lots of research on all my options.

After all the appointments, they send out a letter with a recommendation from the surgeon and all the other people i had met with to my insurance company. Now the waiting game...

Please don't feed the animals...

Most of us have heard the infamous joke "Inside me, there is a skinny woman trying to get out. But I can usually shut the bitch up with chocolate." I like to take this quote very dear to heart, because the bitch really does need some chocolate.

Now for introductions and history. I am 24 years old and like most Americans, overweight. My weight gain started when I was about 14. My entire life I was always told how to look by my mom and "don't eat this or you will turn into me" type of attitudes in the household. I think the mental strain of always feeling like i have to cut back and exercise at a young age made me feel " no one is going to tell me what to do. It's my life and if i want to eat chocolate god damnit I'm gonna."

In high school I was probably a size 14, which compared to the other girls was bigger. I am really short, only about 5'1 so I always felt heavier anyway since my weight sits differently than the other girls. I remember shopping for my first prom dress in 10th grade. We went everywhere (that my parents could afford) and finally found a size 14 dress. Do you know how hard it apparently is to find a size 14 in juniors at JC Penny or DEB? I didn't have very many options to try on and I could not have an open back since i was so self conscious, so that limited it drastically.

When i look back on old prom photos and school pictures I hate myself for thinking i was HUGE. I wasn't, i was just a little bigger than the rest of the girls i knew. I was beautiful and i should have taken advantage of that instead of hiding myself from others. I think it was put into my brain when i was so young that i was fat and no one likes fat people. I was afraid of boys and what they would say about me, I would not wear a bathing suit around my friends unless i had something over it. I love my parents dearly but i feel as if i was brainwashed to think i was unattractive.

Which brings me to the age of 16. Size 16-18. Limited places to shop for a girl in a VERY small town that can make clothes to fit me but still express my youth. Fashion bug was the closest place and it was still a 2 hour drive. Don't get me wrong, i love fashion bug but my wardrobe hand turned into band t-shirts and pajama bottoms. Being in a small school with a class of about 19 was amazing for my wardrobe. I didn't have to have expensive clothes or fit in with he clicks because no one had those things, they just were not an option. And the "clicks" pshh we were too small to have a click so we all hung together. I miss my blue leopard pj pants and a pantara t-shirt :)

Don't feed it after midnight...Age 24 size 22-24. (jeeze my age just keeps increasing the same as my waistline)  I feel that at my young age that gastric is too heavy a surgery for someone my age. I do not want all the problems that come with it so i have decided to do Lap Band instead. I know that Lap Band still has its dangers but they are much less than gastric and it can be reversed if something goes wrong!

This is the beginning of my story and the process I am having to go through post and pre op so more people like me can know what to expect.