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I'm writing a LAP BAND BOOK!!!


Thursday, April 30, 2009

4/30/09 I'm Domestically Disabled

Today and tomorrow morning are my last days to prep for the graduation party. DD is now home from college and (sorry to ask her) will be helping me prep for her own party. DH has moved most of the heavy things and did all the laundry and the boys have been helping out too. We've really only have vacuuming, dusting/surface cleaning, fridge, bathrooms, and some food prep to do. Hoping we'll get things under control today. I wish I could close off the upstairs, but I'm always working on home improvement projects and no one has seen the latest decorating reno. I completed; the Master Bath decorating (nothing major; paint, new trim, some added tiling, curtains, and lots of accessories). I'm feeling pretty good if I'm sitting and am on meds…problem is I need to be up cleaning and I don't last long; we'll work it out.

Everyone is staying at hotels (I just can't sleep 20 more people here, but some of the cousin kids will probably stay over). I'm also enjoying the fact that I'm having this catered for the first time so this one should be a piece of cake! Oh, DEAR LORD! I forgot to order the cake!!! I'll be making that call soon! D#*N these meds…I'm brain dead! We also have to prep some meals (Fri.- Dinner, Sat.- Breakfast, Lunch, Appetizers and Desserts for Dinner, and Sun.- Breakfast).

My Mom called yesterday because they've left a thousand messages for my birthday. They don't know about the LB and I was back in the hospital on my birthday (I thought about calling back from there, but on the cardiac floor there were so many beeps, hospital noises, nurses taking blood all day, and that silly 'no cell phones on this floor' rule that I thought better of it...I'm sure my roomie who got a pacemaker appreciated that). Mom was "WHERE have you been? I've called your house phone, your cell phone..." She also wanted to know if she could come early to help me get ready for the par-tay, so I told her about the catering and how easy this party would be). Complete silence, then "You're doing what?!!" I was expecting this. Remember my mom is a great cook and shows her love for us with food. So this is pretty much food blasphemy in her book! DH's family have all catered, so no big deal. We don't need to spend the extra bucks right now with another kid off to college They should all just be grateful 'the bad cook' isn't cooking for them. I'm just going to enjoy it (not the food, remember I'm on liquids, the 'having it catered') as I'll be working my bum off for DS1's party coming up. Wish me luck that no one notices that I'm not eating.

Back to work! Why am I so tired?
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*In response to Comments:

-I fell asleep for 2 hours while taking a break...and I NEVER have been able to take naps. Rest: 'check' LOL! Thanks! -BG

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

4/29/09 One Week Bandiversary

*Post Deleted for Lap Band Book


 





Monday, April 27, 2009

4/27/09 A short update

*Post Deleted for Lap Band Book

4/27/09 Birthday Wisdom

It's my 5Oth birthday today (DH's too, sort of). Age isn't really important to me, but I haven't been embracing this one; it just sounds…old. Don't give me that c*@p about it's not our Mother's 50 anymore…the only thing that's changed about 50 is the clothing sizes are much more generous so it's easier on us to go through our mid-life crisis'. I've made the conscious decision to embrace all the good things that come with being 50. For one, I'm now officially allowed to dispense advice as an 'elder with wisdom' and I plan to. Oh, com'on, suck it up, it's my birthday. I know it's a little hard to take after my day of gloating and being Lord of the Ring (that didn't last long), but I'm feeling a little 'deep' today so bear with me!
After eight years as a Teacher (art) and before my career in Business Process Improvement, we spent one year in Cincinnati where I was the Activities Director at a large daytime activities based Senior Center. I learned a lot from 'my seniors' that I can share.

Maybe it's the pain meds talking but here's what I've learned in my 50 years. I'm not anywhere near perfect at any of these, but they're the things I strive for. I should have started working on this before today, but you're stuck with my rambling mind…my true friends will suffer through this (or at least tell me that they did).:

· Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself- Several generations in one part of my family have been consumed by 'wrongs done to them', never learned to forgive, and it was detrimental to them. I learned that forgiveness isn't about the other person (or maybe yourself), or the 'wrong', it's a gift you give yourself in order to move past it and not let it determine your path in life.
· Life is about choices, and the results or consequences. My kids know this 'Momism' by heart…it works when they can't make a decision, or when they don't make the choice, but leave it up to someone else..also when they've done great or when they made a poor choice. Don't leave the choices up to someone else…learn to make good choices, but a consequence isn't necessarily a bad thing as long as you learn from it. I tell my kids that I make mistakes every day. The road of our life is just one choice after another, so hone this skill. It's the choices we make that show us who we truly are.
· Take risks. My seniors didn't regret the things they'd done as much as the things they hadn't. Some of my best memories are from risks I took; learn to recognize an opportunity when it comes and take it. Physical things like; rafting on a class 5 rapids river, spludunking through a treacherous cave system for 11 hours, completing a 40' up high ropes course. Experiences like; my first trip abroad being by myself in Paris for an entire week (DH in other cities), being the architect for our current house…the house is basically a rectangle, I got a small tattoo with some sorority sisters, or even going on a blind date (met DH).
· Laugh and cry every day. The crying may be harder for some of you than me. Not a day goes by where I haven't had a hearty laugh or felt tears running down my face (usually TV). I'm the mom that hugs every kid (and adult) who comes in our house. It's important to wear your emotions on your sleeve especially around those you love and trust. They need to see your love, not just hear it.
· Be the kind of friend/mom/spouse/daughter *or male version* you want to have. Show up. Be present in people's lives. Go the extra mile for them. Drive 3 states away to your friend's dad's funeral. Don't just send flowers when your friend is sick, take them yourself or make a meal for their family. Hold your friends hair when they've had too much to drink and they're puking.
· Don't take your health for granted. I was in my 20's and teaching aerobics classes at night. I thought some of the older ladies were 'falling apart'…one came up and asked for help because she had incontinence and couldn't jump…now I'm her. I remember going to the PCP for a CU and not having a thing to talk about; now I take a list. The healthiest seniors I worked with were very active. Most of the disabled seniors could trace their major health problems back to one single fall. Taking dance classes one day, and never driving and using a cane forever after…one moment changed the quality of their life. Appreciate your health and constantly work towards improving it (we're all doing it now).
· Never be too embarrassed that you forget how to play. My Mom will still sing and kick her legs to her high school fight song on request. I've be the audience volunteer for the Disney Show and danced with my sister on stage. Play video/board games with your kids. I crank the music when I'm cleaning and dance around singing (badly). You get old when you forget the joy of playing.
· Learn something new every day. I can't go to bed unless I've learned something new that day…I recently bought a set of French language CD's. I didn't know what a blog was 6 months ago. Keep setting new goals. When you stop learning your brain stops too.
· Keep learning who you are. It took DH and I many years of experiences to realize what we're best at (just in business). Most things we excel at can be traced to one basic skill. Mine is 'Creative Change' and DH's is 'Finding Things'. He's been an Oil and Gas Geologist finding where/how deep to drill, to Director of Product and Market Development for a new joint venture that he 'found' the different pieces of and brought the right people and products together. Find your passion and indulge it. It's an ongoing process to keep learning who we are in life as well.
· Find a way to give back. Use a skill or something you're interested in and give back to your community. You're the one who will reap the real benefits. Start with easy 'random acts of kindness'. The active seniors drove Meals on Wheels to the shut-in seniors daily. Learn how to ask for help too. Remember the person helping you is getting the pleasure of giving.
· Find the silver lining. I'm a cup is half-full person…DH calls me the eternal optimist. If you make an effort to find a silver lining there always is one and you'll go through life a happier person. You may have to look long and hard, and it's not always easy, but it's there. And stop sweating the small stuff…learn that there are things you can't change and let it go.

· Surround yourself with others who have similar values. No, you can't pick your family, but you do choose others whom you let into your life. Surround yourself with those that uplift you and are going the same direction. This might not be popular, but I've already told DD that there are a lot of men out there that she can fall in love with. You don't know who YOU are going to be (let alone your spouse) 5, 10 or 50 years on down the line. Spend your life with someone who's got the same values and wants the same things out of life, as those are the things that rarely change and bind you to the same path. I married my DH for his sense of humor (and other values); and he still makes me laugh. I enjoy helping people…I've learned that this isn't always the best criteria for picking a friend…I've gotten pickier.
· Be true to who you are. There's nothing more important to me than family, but I've learned that I need to be the person that I've become, not necessarily the role I had growing up. I had an epiphany (or maybe it's that mid-life crisis thing) heading into the last year or two. These past few years I've become more philosophical, more sentimental (my family would say that's not possible) and more thoughtful. I thought I was becoming self-centered, and selfish. What I'm learning is that I'm just more confident in who I am and what I want. I know my real motivations for things and I've learned I can be selfless and still contribute to the world in a way that ultimately gives me pleasure as well. I've learned to say 'no' (I was always a 'doormat'), not because I'm selfish, but because I've learned that I can't be all things to everyone, no matter how hard I try. I've learned that it's better to say 'yes' with conscious purpose. I've learned to 'put myself on the list'. How can others be happy with you if you're not putting any time into making yourself happy (and healthy). That's what brought me to the LAP-BAND®.

Happy Birthday Me!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

4/26/09 Domestic Dominatrix

Well today is my last day to get help around here getting ready for DD's graduation party. DH is traveling to San Francisco Wednesday through Friday (dinnertime), which is exactly when his family arrives (they're coming a day early, but at least everyone is staying at a hotel this time). The boys have pretty full schedules with track, work, and other lessons this week, so if I want anything moved, packed up, leaves put in tables, in other words anything that weighs more than a few pounds, then today's my chance to order everyone around…umm…I mean…ask for help. Like most busy families we have a few piles of unfinished projects laying around (shelves of Stars Wars toys my DS1 collected as a young child that he wants to box up and put in the attic before going off to college, piles of too small clothes, etc.). I'm waiting for my pain meds to kick in and then hopefully I'll get busy like my usual OCD-tendency superstar-cleaner self.

This morning I thought I'd turned the corner. I held off my last daily dose of pain meds until right before bedtime last night hoping I'd sleep through the night for once. It worked and I slept until 5am…not exactly all night, but I was happy. I came downstairs for about 3 hours then got very drowsy so I decided to go back to bed. Then I got cocky. I saw how well some of my band buddies banded this week were doing; heck some of them are sleeping on their sides already. Well that sounded wonderful to me (I'm a side sleeper), and look at me I'm doing well today…and heck, I'm LORD OF THE RING now aren't I? So I had DH help me and I got back into bed and slowly turned to my right side as my hugely swollen belly tried to flop down toward the bed. HOLY *Insert Catholic school girl curse words here* (we don't really know how to curse so things like 'Holy Sister Arcangela' come out)!!! OK…I…can't….breath!!! What happened???!! Did the surgeon sneak back in and start cutting me open again just for grins??!!! Must…turn…to…back…NOW!!! *more CSG cursing* Whew! More…pain…meds…NOW! I felt like someone was ripping my left rib out through my abdominal muscles! Pain meds…sweet relief…I was almost breathing normally when I fell asleep.

Two and a half hours later I'm up…back to being super sore, but up. Now I know why people keep posting that they just know they've done something to mess up their band surgery. I'm NOT a worrier, especially about me, but for the first half-hour I was up I was convinced that I dislodged those stitches that hold your band to your stomach and now it's slipped. The next half-hour was devoted to; I ripped the stitches off my port and now it's flipped over so I proceeded to prod my very sore left side where the port is…smart I know. I'm over it now. While I'm pretty sure I 'disturbed something' (DH's words), the chances that I caused permanent damage are slim and there's nothing I can do about it now anyway. See, again I'm my own worst enemy AND my cup is always more than half full. No more Lord of the Ring for me…I back to being a minion of the ring and I obviously still have a lot to learn.

Now on to my domestic dominatrix duties...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

4/25/09 Lord Of The Ring!

*Post Deleted for Lap Band Book




Friday, April 24, 2009

4/24/09- Part 3- The Rest of the Story

*Post deleted for Lap Band Book

4/24/09 Part 2- Bandlandia!

*Post Deleted for Lap Band Book

4/23/09 Part 1- At the Gates!

*Post Deleted for Lap Band Book

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

4/22/09 - Blast Off!!!

This is BG's DH.

She made it though surgery without any problems. Surgery took just under two hours. The drugs are working well but she hasn't slept all day so she is a bit groggy. Her drawing was almost too good since the surgeon thought it might be a tatoo. He figured it out and all is well.

Thanks.

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*In response to Comments (I replied once home):

-WEBCAM! LOL! Thanks my pickly friend...I was looking lovely about then...he did get some pics, but I'll have to review them first.

Thanks for the support gals. Good to know 'Houston' and Mission Control were back here for me!

- I've been walking and resting a lot. (And giving directions on 'ridding up' before the big par-tay!) I'll certainly pass on your words to DH, friend! I know he's hoping I'm back on my feet soon!

((hugs to all)) -BG

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

4/21/09 Pics and Countdown...5! 4! 3! 2! 1!

We had a nice meal out for our early Anniversary last night (my ‘Last Supper’). Don’t worry, I picked the fish and a salad (OK, and a piece of the soft gooey herb bread…the kind that would for sure get stuck) and had 2 protein shakes the rest of today. It’s a fun filled day today of clear liquids. I did another anti-bacterial scrub down as ordered and have finished packing. I just called in and I need to be there at 5:30am…I hope that means I get to go first…getting excited.

OK, now here comes the reminders…remember my 5th post? WHAT you don’t remember? You know…when I went to the initial seminar…the ONLY time I’ve met my surgeon…and I (accidentally..it just came out!) blurted a joke out in the back of the class that might have insulted the doc…so if I’m not back here my doc must have heard me…and I’m holding you to your promise LOL.














Last item…I drew my porthole. I decided to add the words “Port Site” around it, lest the doc not get my little joke and think it’s a tattoo that he needs to avoid (that’ll be my luck). OK, NO WAY would anyone think it’s a tattoo as it’s so roughly drawn. Add to that my stomach is no longer that tight hard taunt canvas I used to have and it’s like trying to draw on pudding (yeah, I thought about using the word Jell-O, but even that is firmer than my tummy...trust me, I’ve had lots of Jell-O today…blech). Now add to that the fact that I need to breath…oh, yeah!...forgot about that didn’t you…so my stomach is going in and out. Good thing my boobs aren’t huge or it would have been impossible (I should have picked a lower place for my port!). Why the heck didn’t I pick a free form picture…and I HAD to do 3 circles inside each other? I DOUBLE-DOG-DARE YOU to try to make a drawing on your own stomach while the picture looks backwards and upside down…common just try to make a smiley face inside a circle…hey, I’ll even let you use a washable marker unlike my permanent one (but no do-overs)…now go look at it in the mirror (hee-hee-hee). I’m sending a pic now because it will probably look (as if it’s not shaky enough) even worse tomorrow after my shower/abdomen scrub I need to do. Here’s the fatal flaw…I forgot about the “blow up your abdomen” part…you know how cute those little puffer fish look with their fins sticking straight out to their sides twirling around as they float along? Then they BLOW UP and they look all sorts of scary!!! I wonder what my poor porthole will look like when it’s all blown up and distorted LOL! I think I attached the PIC BELOW. I've never uploaded or attached...only took me three hours from taking the pic LOL (kept me from getting nervous about tomorrow)...and there's me today...No makeup...not sure I even brushed my hair...oh, well...I wasn't wasting my first attachment on one pic!..just don't ask me how to do it again LOL.














Thanks my friends for being so helpful along this journey. Bandlandia here I come! See you on the other side.
Countdown...5! 4! 3! 2! 1!...

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*In response to lots of Comments that escalated into suggestions of selling my porthole pic for others to use:

Thanks guys! ...temporary tatoos, hmmm, I wonder if those are sterile! -BG

Monday, April 20, 2009

4/20/09 Countdown... 5! 4! 3! 2!...

*Portion of Post Deleted for Lap Band Book

I called my bariatric coordinator this morning because I noticed the post-op diet I received in class didn't jive with what the NUT gave me. Apparently they just revised it and took off fruit and vegetable juice. So, for the first 2-3 weeks post-op the only calories I'm allowed are broth (almost no cal...but the homemade stuff I made is probably got more nutrients than the canned, thank goodness!), and 3 8oz. glasses of skim milk (how many calories could possibly be in 3C of skim milk...I'll have to look that up). I was about to complain that I'll be fainting on only a few calories a day when she said I can add some very low cal SF powdered drink mix to the milk, like SF Carnation (we still can't find that one, so DH just found me another one). I know I won't be hungry the first week, but I'm going to be starving after that...I know...it's all pay-back for the no pre-op diet. Ahh well, I’m not complaining…yet (LOL).

DH and I are going out tonight for our 27th anniversary, since I certainly won't be up to anything but broth on our actual anniversary this Friday.

I've been wildly getting things ready today; called my insurance to make sure the home prescriptions are covered (apparently Nexium sometimes isn't covered, but it is on ours), I started packing for the hospital, made a list of info. for DH, scrubbed my body with anti-bacterial soap as instructed, shaved my stomach and I can't tell the difference...my tiny blonde hairs were almost invisible, but now I can say it’s already done when they come at me with the dull dry razor (thanks for cluing me in that it's better to do this at home…and I’m coming after you if I sprout dark stomach hairs this summer), and I drew up my porthole (thanks Lena) picture on paper…those in-the-know will remember I have a choice on my port site. I still haven’t come up with whether I need words or not, but I’m a little afraid he won’t get it or think it’s a badly done tattoo and avoid that area completely. I’ll have to do this upside down on myself as DH can’t trace a straight line to save his life. If it turns out badly I’ll scrap the idea, but if I go for it I’ll take a pic for you. Off to finish packing...

Countdown...5! 4! 3! 2!...
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

4/19/09 Countdown...5! 4! 3!...

Almost there! Say it with me...Countdown...5! 4! 3!...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

4/18/09 Another NSD (yes it's not a typo) and Countdown...5! 4!...

*Post Deleted for Lap Band Book
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Friday, April 17, 2009

4/17/09 Countdown...5!...

I can't believe I'm only five days away *jumps up and down giggling*. The 6 months took forever, but now everything is speeding up...super fast motion!!! SOMEONE PLEASE PUSH PLAY ON THE REMOTE BUTTON! OK, that's better...I'm getting a little panicky (go figure!)...I don't think it's the surgery so much (probably way more than I know), as it is about everything else like; 'not' telling the kids (they'll just know it's a stomach/hernia type surgery...I think I'll tell them this weekend), and then there's getting better in time to get everything ready for all the company coming for the graduation dinner on the 1st...you know how it is...I'll scrub the house before surgery, but then there's a week and a half for the family to trash it again (it's a boys club here right now, remember?)...and DH is out of town the 3 days before the event...yikes! My OCD tendencies to have the house spotless for company will be kicking in long before then.

OK, so in 6 months you think I could have come up with something more clever than the countdown of the space-shuttle to send myself off...phallic symbol and all that...well, it's big and heavy and it needs this giant 'Crawler' to get to the launch pad (at least it fits on it...I'll probably be hanging off the gurney), and it sheds unneeded sections!! It was either that or the New Year's crystal ball...and that's a 'downer' (hee hee)...it's the best I could do this week...I'M FLUSTERED, remember?!! Get used to it peeps...more space shuttle on its way! I'm finally on my way to *Hits the high note 'AHHHHHHH'* Bandlandia!!!!! I wonder what it looks like 'on the other side'? No, don't tell me, I want to be surprised! Now, countdown with me...

5!...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

4/16/09 Where the Sidewalk Ends

I was at my pre-op physical downtown at the hospital by 8am this morning (I’m so glad I don’t have to drive in rush hour traffic daily anymore…poor DD will be doing that route soon). The physical was basically a huge list of questions and a short bit of the usual listening to your heart, say ahhh stuff.

Oh, and I did find out that the overnight hospital stay is because of a law here...interesting. I asked how the office was holding up under the stress of their Dr. leaving. Well, of course that opened the floodgates…they’re all really hurt that he left without a word and many of them had been working closely with him for a decade (they really loved him and are both mourning his loss and are upset at how it was handled). Apparently, they did have to reschedule some surgeries last week, but my doc is now handling the load just fine. We chatted about all this for awhile and I’d made another new friend in the office by the time I left.

I went on to give my gallon of blood (had to point out my best vein as usual...I have 'bad veins')...

...and then on to another department for a chest x-ray (didn’t have to do the EKG since the cardiologist had already done one).

So, as long as ‘no news is good news’ from my pre-op physical, this long and winding road has finally come to an end and I'm all set for next Wednesday!!!

(Tell Shel Silverstein I finally found it!)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

4/15/09 Off with her head!


I’ve been working on getting down another 10 lbs. before banding. I actually went down 1 ½ lbs. below the 10 lbs. last Thursday, but I knew I’d have to face a weekend of big meals and Easter candy with my family back home so I didn’t want to celebrate my goal too early. As I told you yesterday, I ate pretty healthy and had NO candy (very hard for a chocoholic), but I still gained a pound with all those family (high calorie) meals.

There were many temptations ‘Drink Me!’ ‘Eat Me!’ and I only faltered once.

I ate a sliver of the ‘Tart’ and I paid for it with a one pound gain.

I’ve been back on my pre-op plan and after three mornings back home I feel confident that I can report I’ve officially lost my second ten pounds.

So, I’m screaming ‘Off with her head!’ and knocking another Ten Pound Head off my Ticker.

Go to the Head of the Class-Trivia Question:
What movie is coming out March 2010 that relates to my post?

Tim Burton is making Alice in Wonderland with live action and animation mixed. Stars: Johnny Depp plays the Mad Hatter, Anne Hathaway plays the White Queen, Helena Bonham Carter plays the Red Queen, Alan Rickman plays the Caterpillar, Crispin Glover plays the The Knave of Hearts, Stephen Fry plays the Cheshire Cat, and even Christopher Lee is in it, too. Let’s hope it’s better than Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (not my favorite version).

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*In response to Comments:

My banding is a week from today, April 22nd. As far as what you're supposed to lose, well that is a loaded question, because it depends on your insurance, your current BMI, and your Dr. Here's a parts of 2 responses I gave to other posts and this should answer this (sorry that the information overlaps some). Oh, and I lost 9 pounds in the 6 mo. before approval, I've lost more since then. PM me if you have more questions as these pieces of posts might be confusing. Good luck!

*In response to someone who wanted to know if they could go below the min. BMI (either 35 or 40), and how much to lose:

You can try, but you probably won't get a straight answer from your insurance co. on this (and you're going to have to figure out a clever way to ask 'what happens if I fall below my minimum BMI before approval?' either 35 or 40). I've found that the insurance person at the surgeon's office is the best source for an answer to this, as they deal with your insurance co. all the time (hopefully, if you're local). Be aware that even they are not legally allowed to tell you directly not to lose weight, so just ask the question so it's worded correctly, or pay careful attention to their answer.

My theory is better safe than sorry. I attended 3 seminars and 2 of them actually put in their handouts that the expectation for the diet is not to gain any (people get denied for gaining even one pound) but they don't expect a huge WL. My surgeon's sample PCP letter includes the phrase "was unable to lose any significant amount of weight". My PCP 'gets' this as she's had other WLS patients.

I think after you've had the discussion with your surgeon's insurance/billing person, if the expectation is not to lose much, then I'd have a frank discussion with my PCP. I'd ask my PCP to focus the time on helping to educate me on the changes that will be needed after the surgery (we discuss exercise, diet/protein, no liquids with meals, things like that). If your PCP doesn't know much, see it as an opportunity to spend a few min. each month educating them.

*Another post answer:
- Personally, I've found the insurance person at my surgeon's office to be the best source of information since she deals with my ins. co. all the time. Call that person with a list of your questions...ie. your ins. co. will never tell you or spell out in their policy that they expect you not to lose below the minimum BMI, and the ins. expert at your surgeon's office can't legally tell you that either, so word your questions carefully and listen to what they DO say
- Make sure you're well over the min. BMI you need (35 or 40) at your first weigh in.
- Make sure you know if you are allowed to fall below the minimum (35 or 40) BMI during your 6 mo. (see second bullet point above). None of the three hospitals I intitially looked at expected you to lose more than a few 5-10 pounds and not go below your min. BMI. I've seen so many complain about how counter-intuitive this is (I did too), but some people have to go through so much more than this to get ins. approval that it's laughable to complain about this. I should say that I've seen some ins. co.'s that want to see a certain % of weight loss (5-10%, or sometimes it's a specific # of pounds the surgeon gives you to lose) and they do want you to succeed. Those stories are less common, they seem to be mainly people who are well above the 40 BMI and I'm not sure even then if you can go below your min. BMI.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

4/14/09 Foodie Family

*Post Deleted for Lap Band Book

Monday, April 13, 2009

4/13/09 Go To The Back Of The Class

I’m home from our long weekend. I took DD back to college this morning and I’ve got an hour here before I start running the boys places. I typed this up on our way to Ohio, but couldn’t use my computer there, so here’s my blog from the pre-op class last Thursday.

4/9/09

Class was interesting, to say the least (read the end paragraph for the interesting part). It was evenly split with LB and RNY patients. We (bandsters) picked up literature depending on which type of band we had chosen (LB or Realize, I’ve chosen LB). I’ll only list the key things I learned that are different between my procedures and what I’ve seen from most others.

Pre-op
--Diet: There is no specific pre-op diet although they do ask you to cut back on fat and sugar for one-two weeks prior. Others here were interested so I did ask why there is no ‘shrink the liver diet’ and if it only pertained to those of us with a low BMI. Apparently no one (regardless of BMI) is required to do a specific pre-op diet and they have never cancelled anyone’s surgery (or closed them up) because their liver was too large. They’ve had no problems with large livers, but she did mention that if you do eliminate most of the fat and sugar for liver shrinkage before that it can help with reducing the post pain/trauma to your body later...smaller liver is easier to move. She couldn’t believe that some docs refuse to do surgery if your liver is too large (I asked this). They are getting ready to implement offering Bariatric Advantage products including the shakes and vitamins, but this is geared more for right after surgery and will still probably be optional before.

--Day Before: There is no enema. Only procedures are using antibacterial body soap for two days prior in the shower and the clear liquid diet/nothing after midnight that everyone else seems to do


Surgery/Hospital Stay

--Catheter: There is no catheter for the LB procedure (it seems like many others do have this).

--Fill: My doc does not put any fill in the LB at surgery (I was bummed about this, but apparently they do this because some never need any more restriction than the LB itself being placed; no fills ever).

--Incisions: Mine will be closed with glue and steri strips (no stitches or staples like some have). The strips can come off at one week at home.

--Gas X: It’s fine to bring this and use it at the hospital, but again they say that it does no good for the air that’s pumped into your abdomen, it will only help the gas in your digestive tract (I’m bringing it anyway even if it’s a placebo, it can’t hurt).

--Overnight: My docs require a one night stay for the LB procedure and insurance covers this. The only bad part about this is that you don’t get to do the barium swallow/x-ray test until the next morning…so only the ‘wet swabs’ (blech) in your mouth until the next morning. I will get a Doppler test on my legs the next day to check for blood clots. I’m not sure if I’ve heard anyone mention having this done.


Post-Op
--Meds.: They’ll send me home with Rx for a pain med (liquid Roxacet (sp?)/like Percocet) and Nexium for the stomach, no anti-nausea meds. unless you have a problem in the hospital (I’m going to insist on getting something I know my stomach, if anyone will puke it will be me).

--Schedule/Fills: Mine’s a little different than some. I see the doc post-op at 2-3 weeks and then the first fill isn’t until 6 weeks. Then every 4-6 weeks as needed for fills.

--Diet: Liquids only for 2-3 weeks/until post-op visit (this sounds like the longest I’ve heard, but I guess I’m paying for the no pre-op diet LOL). I’ve stated this before, but I will again since it’s different than most docs plans; my diet past the first two weeks is never to include protein drinks (protein should come from solids and that’s the purpose of the band to keep you full with food, not sliders. She did mention adding whey/protein powders to your food if you need extra protein.). The 2nd phase got a little confusing as she said that we are not to make/use pureed foods. The doc would rather we chewed soft foods to an almost liquid stage ourselves. I had to ask several questions to get to the bottom of this, but apparently they feel pureed stuff will slip through too fast and leave you hungry…hmm (I get this in the final stage, but mushies?). Pulverize with your mouth or a blender, I don’t see the difference. I told her I’d already made some pureed/froze them and she said to go ahead and use them (hey it’s 2 weeks, no biggie). After that, the diet is the same as others except you can drink black coffee as long as you compensate by drinking extra water, and you can drink diet pop as long as it has gone flat.

--Exercise: No lifting, pulling, pushing or treadmill (hadn’t seen anyone mention no treadmill before) until you’ve seen the doc post-op.

Other than that, everything was pretty much the same as everyone else. Now here’s the interesting part. She finished with the presentation and took a few questions and then said “I’m sure that you’ve all heard that Dr. XXX has left the practice.” WHAT? HUH? There was a unanimous “NO!” She meekly comes back with “Yes, we were all surprised too, apparently he just turned in a letter on Monday and has gone to (competitor).” (She was obviously not happy and somewhat stressed by this).Dr. XXX was the senior partner of the 2 man practice and is very well known in the area. They scheduled surgeries side by side and did them together for more difficult cases. Like I’ve mentioned before, my docs get a lot of the cases that the other hospitals (competitor hospital sent them patients all the time) in the area won’t take (i.e. Hard revisions, super M. Obese, etc.). Pittsburgh is well known as a strong medical city and I had 3 Bariatric Centers of Excellence within a few miles of each other to choose from (and there are several others in the surrounding area). (competitor) is the big conglomerate in the area though that has been buying up the smaller hospitals…apparently they offered him a bundle. Well, all hell broke loose at that point (quietly, but it was so tense you could feel it), it was a mixed period of stunned silence and occasional questions blurted out. I’m perfectly comfortable with my doc (the 2nd doc, and I met him at the seminar), he’s been doing laparoscopic procedures for many years and has done hundreds of bandings, and he’s well know as pioneering some of the cutting edge laparoscopic procedures (like the DaVinci robot that is run from a different room…actually more precise laparoscopically than by hand, so they use this in difficult cases). But I’ll have to tell you, that even I was thinking through…What if he needs help? There’s no one there! Then I’m thinking, what if they postpone my surgery…how can one guy handle the surgical load of 2? The worst part was that we didn’t know this before the class…poorly handled. Some people were asking tons of questions (had never even met the other Dr. and especially with an RNY, I’d be worried too!). She offered to set up meetings with the other doc for people who hadn’t met him. Here’s hoping my surgery doesn’t get postponed! The class left on a pretty uncomfortable note…not the way you want to feel a few weeks before surgery when you’re already nervous.

Friday, April 10, 2009

4/9/09 The Continuing Saga of a Woman and Her Bladder

DD found a ride home from college (saved me a 4-5 hour trip tonight, whew), so I’m back from the track meet and all packed for the trip tomorrow, so onto my day…

Stop reading if you don’t want to read about my incontinence issues, yes…again (it never ends). I went in this morning (after taking DS1 to get blood work and to school) to get my ultrasounds done for the incontinence Dr. (Urology Specialist). After drinking the prescribed 32 oz. plus some an hour before the appointment, I arrived 15 min. early as instructed, full and ‘ready to go’. My appoinment time came and went...then I sat for another 15 min., then another 5…my back teeth were floating by then and my eyes starting watering…I crossed my legs and said a prayer of thanks that the good Dr. had put me on Vesicare, or it would have been all over by now. 5 more min…I’m in some serious pain…and then I gave up…I walked up to the receptionist (with my knees locked together) and asked politely for the bathroom key. ‘Oh, but I think they need your bladder full for this procedure’. I glanced around at the men sitting in the quiet waiting room...OK, I'm way beyond caring. I nicely said ‘I understand that, but they are late for my appointment and I have to go NOW!’ (Do they understand that I am here for an incontinence issue??!! What about a full bladder and having to wait longer than expected don’t they understand??!!!) She saw the desperation in my eyes…or maybe it was the tears of pee streaming down my face…either way, she showed me right in.

The tech lady had a ‘trainee’ gentleman with her, so I tried to be brave. The rest was textbook, well sort of…ultrasound of my bladder (yeah, push on my bladder a little harder with that thing…I dare you), then kidneys, then ovaries (do you know your ovaries move around with age, yes, even without a hysterectomy…I thought that was interesting). Then she handed me the lubed up ‘probe’ and asked me to place it up the vajay-jay (Oprahism). She sought out the ovaries internally…all I’ve got to say is that I’m glad she knows what she’s doing…looking for a baby on an ultrasound is a piece of cake compared to finding ovaries that are no longer where they are supposed to be (I think mine were touching...awww, cute). Even looking at the screen it all looked like fog to me…no dark spots, no light spots. Don’t you always try to read the tech’s face just to know that they didn’t find something bad? Am I the only one who thinks I’ll be watching the tech’s face and they’ll gasp when they find the 70 lb. tumor (that’ll explain the weight gain anyway). Sometimes I can even get something out of them…this one wasn’t budging, not a thing…I even pulled the ‘I’m having abdominal laparoscopic surgery in less than 2 weeks.’ Nothing…no indication…I’ll get the results by Monday. I’ll try to post about my pre-op visit today this weekend…it was…interesting.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

4/8/09 On The Road Again!

Well, we finally got everything straightened around, work schedules covered, and we're off Friday morning to Ohio (to see my family) for Easter and for the boys Spring Break (they don’t ever have a whole week here, it’s just a long weekend…where days disappear if we have snow days…crazy). I’ve decided since I’m not on a Dr’s. pre-op diet (just my own self imposed one) that I can swing being around the family without telling them about my surgery. I’m taking some of my shakes and I’ll just tell them I’m doing Atkins again…2 of them have been on Atkins before with me, and several of them are doing Weight Watchers now, again. I’m probably either the ‘lighter’ one/same as my 4 siblings, so it’s going to be hard not talking about something that has to do with weight loss, but like I've said, I don't want to have to defend my decision now or talk about it all the time, and the timing is bad with the graduations.

I just realized I need to get my act together because, other than candy, I don’t have a thing for the baskets yet. If you weren’t around for my Christmas festivities, let me explain that holidays are a huge deal in my family…and Easter for my Catholic family is a biggie. There will be several trips to church, eating of fish, caravans to people’s homes for lots of meals including Easter brunch and Easter dinner. Then there are the Easter bunny things. Not only does everyone (my Mom still insists on doing these for the adults too...yes, even my 43 yr. old bachelor brother still comes over for his basket hunt...you're still a kid when you go home) have to hunt in the grandparent’s house for their basket, but then there are several egg hunts. As the teens have gotten older we’ve increased the number of eggs (but not the total amount of candy) they have to find (or it would be all over in minutes). We’re up to 60-80 eggs for each and they each get their own room…they still love doing it. Then a little while later we do an easier hunt for the little ones. The Easter baskets are filled with goodies and little gifts and I’ve just realized I’ve forgotten to start collecting things for these…yikes!! All that shopping for Lap Band stuff got me sidetracked from life…how dare I think about myself first (I have the Catholic guilt too). DD’s BF is coming with us, so I’ll have an extra basket to make for him now…my Mom has set the standard and turned this into a monster LOL…I’ll be making up baskets when I’m 90 for my kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. At least with the LB I will have a chance to live that long!

I’m off to stuff several hundred plastic eggs, finish the laundry and start packing. Tomorrow is a busy one, routine blood work for DS1 and drive him to school (1/2 hr. away), my abdominal ultrasound (for the incontinence Dr., not LB), afternoon at the pre-op class (3 hrs.), and then pick up DD over at college (4 hrs.). I’ll try to let you know about the pre-op class before we leave town (and I’ll take the laptop, but my parents don’t have wireless, so who knows) so if I’m not back…have a great weekend all!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

4/7/09 Bull Market

*Post Deleted for Lap Band Book

Friday, April 3, 2009

4/3/09 Approved!!!!!!!

Woot! As if this week could get any better! Break out the champagne for everyone...oops, all you pre-banders (won't be drinking that after Lap Band). I got my approval in about 48 hours!

I couldn't believe insurance gal at the Surgeon's office called me at 5:05pm...stayed late to call me, and get this she was laughing at my screams of glee and said 'You've been such a pleasure to work with!' (Does she remember me- the April Fool with the fax machine screeching in her ear on Wed.?) I kissed her behind on the spot...made my weekend. I'm off to do my April Bunny hop dance!!!

4/3/09 I'm a Bunny!

Hef finally called! I'm officially a Bunny!

Me and about 150 other hardworking "Girls Next Door" just trying to get in shape.

Yep, I'm an 'April '09 Bunny Bandster'! Our April Group has about 150 members. Sorry, I said girls, because if they're any guys I haven't found them out yet, but I'm sure they're there (Hey, I think the Easter Bunny is a boy!)...not sure if the guys were part of the name vote or not LOL as I came in late. The Bunnies are multiplying daily...so if you're a Bunny, join us!

The first of our hutch have gone off to surgery this week and I've been gobbling up their experiences so I can be prepared. Most are doing very well, but there's still some pain, as expected.

Hang in their Bunnies, keep your ears up...

...you'll be doing the Bunny Hop soon enough...you put your backside in, you put your backside out...! Ooops that's the Hokey Pokey....line up Bunnies...da da da da da-da...hop hop hop...

Pretty soon we'll all be eating healthy...

...and training for Bunny Jumping Shows (yes, this is a real sport).

It's great to have a group at the same point you are for support!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

4/2/09 The Nitty Gritty

Well, as you know, yesterday was one awesome day! I want to capture the details of what happened here (and there are some ‘points for learning’ for you newbies…if I didn’t scare you off yesterday). Let me unravel my story...(K)nitty gritty...unravel....moving right along....

First, my ‘many messages’ I left at the surgeon’s got through finally and I received a call Tuesday (saying the ins. gal was in clinicals all day). We went through my papers again and I asked again if the Pulmonary paper (from my visit in FEB.!) showed up and it had (take matters into your own hands…I’m glad I called them directly). Suddenly, the Sleep Lab results weren’t in my file (I faxed these myself in March and I had already confirmed they were in my file). So it pays to go through the whole file more than once, as this was the third time. We hung up and I got a call back from her saying the ins. gal had just dropped in and she was to tell me if I got all my papers in tomorrow, then she’d call me with a date (so she got that phone message too…I’m probably on the ‘favorite patients’ list by this point).

So on to yesterday. I was at the PCP office a little after 8am and was taken in. I had a new smiling nurse! She weighed me (about 10# above the BMI min.) and I’d lost 3# since the last visit for a total loss of 9 pounds over the 6 months, which was perfect (they asked me to lose about 5-10#).

Then something amazing happened! The nurse turned to me and said “Are you getting excited for your surgery…do you have a date yet?” I told her I’d get my date today and she said “You know I had the same thing done?” Holy Cow…not a big deal for most of you I’m sure, but it dawned on me that she was the very first person I’d met in person who has the Lap Band! I was SO excited! She told me her experiences and must have said 10 times “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done!” Without asking, she lifted her shirt and showed me her tiny scars (the only one that you’d even notice is the port one). She was babbling on and I was lapping it up when another nurse knocked for some help from her and she left me with well wishes, an offer to call her if I had any questions or needed help, and a big hug! Those few minutes made my day!

My usual CRNP I’ve been seeing for the weigh in’s was next and she was over-the-moon excited for me! She had one piece of bad news…the Letter of Medical Clearance and Necessity wasn’t ready. Yes, the letter that I’d given a sample of with my information already filled in to the other CRNP at my 5th visit…then called 2 weeks later to make sure this CRNP knew about it and would have it ready for me at this visit (and she said it was already in my file). Well, the letter had been done, but they used their own form letter for this and my name was at the top, but they’d left another ladies name in the body. She was so apologetic as she told me there weren’t any doctors in until 9am to sign it. No biggie, I’ll wait the 40min. (NO WAY was I not getting my date today!). Well, 9 came and went (I tried not to pace in my head) and about 9:30 she brought it out whispering apologies and that the doc was late…I didn’t care, I was so happy! Newbies…I should have had her fax me a copy when she told me it was in the file. Oh, and anyone who gets migraines, I got a non NSAID prescription just in case.

I flew home and sent my fax to the surgeon with the three last attachments (monthly form, the PCP letter, and the sleep study-again). I called there to just to make sure it came through, and she told me that the ins. gal just came in to get my file so she must have it. A torturous hour later I finally got the call from the elusive ins. gal….my heart was beating SO FAST…and then it happened…..

We were a few words into the call and….SCREEEEEECH! HUMMMMMM! I’m thinking ‘What’s that sound?!!....a fax machine?!...Why won’t it stop?!’ She tries to talk SCREEEEECH! HUMMMMMMM! Oh, Dear Lord! I LEFT THE FAX MACHINE PLUGGED IN!!!! As I’m running upstairs and down the long hall I’m trying to yell ‘HOLD ON!’ between all the screeches. I hear little words from the other side that make me think she’s getting irritated when I yank the plug. I tried to make a small joke…something about not obviously not using the fax machine often…nothing, not even a peep (I’m thinking now I’ve made it to the ‘Patients Hall of Shame’ bulletin board in her office). After a pause she goes into her schpeel as I’m frantically running back down the hall and back downstairs (trying not to pant too loudly…didn’t know I could still run that fast) where I’d lain out my calendar with all the events and dates DH is traveling (I was wondering why the fax machine didn’t go off when the other asst. called back that second time…probably because it was only a few seconds call…and why did I forget to unplug that stupid thing for an important phone call…then I slapped myself back to focus on her words). She asked “When do you want to get this done?” I wasn’t prepared for that (I thought she’d just give me a date and I’d say whether it worked or not). So I stammered something about “How long is the pre-op diet?”…pause, she must be so done with me…“or isn’t there one?” “No, there’s no pre-op diet.” OK, why don’t I give you the dates that don’t work and we can start there.” I mentioned the bad dates the next two weeks (which left me with 4 dates) and she came back with a date in the third week…well it worked, so I’m thrilled! She told me she’d send to the insurance today and told me the nurse would call me to set-up a physical. She was about to hang up when I asked about the pre-op class. “You haven’t taken that yet?” “Well, no.”…they told me I couldn’t until you set my date…no, I didn’t say it…didn’t want to press my luck. So she told me when/where to come next week and I didn’t let her get away without profusely thanking her until she was laughing…probably a little over the top, but…my approval is still in her hands.

So the rest you can guess…there was dancing and merry-making involved on my part! I called the only person I’m telling, DH who was so thrilled, but also told me he’s not really celebrating until the insurance approval…party pooper (he just doesn't want me to get dissapointed)…God love him, he’s a worrier. So I called my friends right here! Party at my house!!!!

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In response to many Comments:

Thanks SO much gals! Yea, this was my detail that I wanted to remember, I did the fun & excitement blog yesterday...I'm still doing the happy-dance!

MIGRAINES: I take Amitriptyline daily as a migraine preventative, but I've had a few in the last week for the first time since I started the preventative in Nov. (do you think it's the stress of this week LOL?). When I get them I just use an OTC like Excedrin Migraine. I can't take that anymore once I'm banded as no NSAIDS are allowed (I believe most/all docs follow that rule because they can cause stomach ulcers). NSAID = Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug, which includes things like Ibuprophen (Advil, Motrin), Aleve, Asprin, Motrin and there are others. Yours I'm guessing is a preventative, and I'm guessing is not a problem, but it's good to know what you can/can't take if you do get one.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

4/1/09 I'm an April Fool!

HELL

Yes, it's frozen over. Have you seen my 6 mo. Diet Ticker lately? Well, I’m done! DONE I TELL YOU!!! The 6 months of the insurance 'dieting' is so over!!!!!! Newbies, cover your ears just a sec….All you LBers who posted that “The 6 months goes so fast!” I want you to know I have all your names and I learned how to Google Earth my way to your houses and yes, I’m letting this one slide, but if I find out this ‘restriction thing’ that you also posted about is yet another LB Urban Legend I’m coming after you!!! This has been the l—o—n—g—e—s—t 6 months of my life!!! Well, it didn’t help that I started looking at this last May, and it took me most of the summer to decide, and until September to get in to my PCP, and then I blew September and October because (I’m an idiot) and had to start again in November…and then I couldn’t do anything constructive to make the time fly by, like say, do Atkins…and so I past the time by (whining about) blogging every gory detail of my (dys)FUN(ctional) life and bored all my new friends on until they were so tired of my incessant (whining) blogging about my 6 months of (misery) dieting that they too, (wanted to throttle me) were counting down the days until my 6 months was over, (Just so they didn't have to listen to me anymore) but it was still a LONG 6 months! OK, my friends, here’s your reward…yes, I said reward…you’ve earned it…you were always there for me laughing, crying, ranting, (whining), and yes, peeing. You’ve come along on my magical ride and now here’s the pay off…

…the 6 months are over.

APRIL FOOLS!!!

No, I wasn’t lying and now you have to suffer through more months with me, the 6 months ARE over, but that’s NOT your reward…bet you can’t guess?..........time’s up!!!

I got my Band Date!!!!! (No, NOT April Fools!) Isn’t that great!!! What a reward!!! You were just calculating how many weeks of (whining) blogging about waiting to get my date you’d have to suffer through, and there will be NO (whining) blogs about that!! Good news for everyone! Here it is, served up on a silver platter just for you….drumroll please……my Band Birthday is April 22! April is going to be the best month ever…April 22, my new shiny band…then that same week, our 27th Anniversary (guess that won’t be a wild night)…and my big 5-0 Birthday (Broth for everyone!), and the next day DH’s 50th Birthday! Wow, all within 7 days! Then I have the two days to get the house cleaned, party decorations up and meals made (maybe catered now) for all the company coming on May 1st for DD’s Graduation!

Now here’s the ‘cherry on top’…wait for it…………..there’s NO pre-op diet! Yep, I won’t be (whining) blogging about that either! Just a pre-op class next week and a physical with the nurse there sometime before banding and I’m golden (oh, and that approval thing…I should know within 72 hours, submitted today…she said ‘no worries’, so I’m not).

Let the ROASTING begin…. I can hear it now….
BG- Thank GAWD it’s over!
BG- If I had to hear one more word about your suffering with not having to lose much while we're all out here sweating and counting every blessed calorie…
BG- Whine, whine, whine...
BG- I thought you were banded years ago!

OK, maybe not that last one…I’m off to blog the (boring) nitty-gritty about my day.
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