Monday, December 27, 2004

Random Thoughts

Just wondering what would happen if you collected random thoughts throughout the day, sort of like some of those emails I keep collecting:

1. Why do convenience stores that are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week have locks on their doors?

2. Why are their Braille dots on the ATM at the drive-up window?

Weight Loss

Sometime in mid-January 2004 (unknown)

A little about me, I am married to the most wonderful person in the whole wide world now for a little over 22.5 years (23 years in October). I have three of the best kids in the world (just ask me, I'll tell ya). One of them has left the nest and the other two are in college and high school. I am super blessed to have such a fantastic family. I've been somewhat of a world traveler thanks to my thirteen year stint in the Navy (Independent Duty Hospital Corpsman). I've been to Japan, Korea, Persian Gulf, Thailand, Hong Kong and a few others.

I currently work as the "computer guy" for a law enforcement agency and have been with this agency for almost 15 years. My actual title is Admin Clerk, but have been working so long with computers and with their computer systems, I got my present position running the Computer Help Desk and absolutely love it. I am a Computer Tech in everything but official title and in my paycheck. I'm currently looking for employment in the Information Technology arena after having completed vocational school for Network Systems Engineers here in the Central Valley. If anyone out there is looking for a network administrator with tons of practical experience, but no MCSE (as of yet), just drop me a line and I'll gladly send you a resume. I will even re-locate at my expense.

Let's see. What do I want to say? I'm 46 years old, 5' 6", 288 pounds and the BMI of 47 says it all. It's not the worst I've ever been (I started Phen-fen when I was at 315 pounds), but for me it's bad enough. I didn't stay on Phen-fen for a long time, as I didn't like what it was doing to my moods and my family suffered as a result. They didn't even know I was taking the medicine, because I kept it a secret (bad me). I always was at the upper limits of my weight when I was in the Navy. I never have been in any "formal" weight loss program other than those in the military where they were trying to "help me". I never could afford any of the Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers or similar programs. I was too weak (fortitude) to ever stick with any diet plan. Food rules me. I eat because I'm hungry, I eat because I'm bored, I eat when I'm stressed out (I quit smoking last November). Just too much of my life revolves around food.

I started considering my options for weight loss over the last couple of months. I talked with a couple of friends and acquaintances through work and church who I know had the surgery. With the gentle prodding of my "better half,"(she truly is the better half of this relationship), I finally made the appointment with my primary care physician in late January and asked for his recommendations. He agreed with me and said I was making correct, long-term approach to the situation.

My primary care doctor was all for me having the surgery and started making the arrangements right away with writing my referral letter, which my insurance requires. At this point, I'm apprehensive, wondering still if I'm doing the right thing. My mind says I am, however, small voices of indecision creep up every now and then telling me I can still do weight loss in a conventional manner. I'm glad that I've finally made the decision to do surgery.

On my present co-morbidities, I have been flirting with occasional asthma. It usually gives me more problems when I have a cold or upper respiratory infection. The thing that bothers me the most are my knees and ankles, creaking and cracking with arthritis and condromalacia. They have been hauling around too much for too long. It's gotten to the point that I don't want to walk or dance any more, because they kill me the next day. My wife and I used to square dance a lot, but my weight and embarrassment over the simple things I do (or can't do) and break out into a sweat over a little bit of dancing kind of drove me away from it. She still dances, but I don't. I am planning on joining back up with our Square Dance club after I'm back in the swing of things after this surgery and can ease the load on my body from the added weight I'm lugging around.

I'm surprised that it's taking so long to get into seminar. It seems I just missed the last one. Valley Surgical sent me a packet before attending the seminar, in order to fill out a few things such as medical history and insurance forms.

They gave me a checklist of things to complete, with a note at the bottom saying that if these items were completed by the seminar, it would speed up the process. This included several items which were marked, being a psychological evaluation, a nutritionist's evaluation, and a blood test for thyroid function and physical/letter/recommendation from family physician (already done). The date I'm scheduled for the seminar was set for March 17 (the February seminar was full).

I took the checklist to my physician's office and they gave me the lab slips and the names for a couple of local people who could do the nutritional and psychological counseling.

I decided to go and get these done prior to the seminar in order to "speed things up". I called my insurance afterwards and found out that even though these will be required, I wasn't supposed to get them done until after the surgeon's consultation, even though my primary care doctor referred me. Looks like I'm going to end up paying for them out of my pocket. It was money well spent, but I'm disappointed that insurance isn't going to pay for it. I guess it couldn't have hurt me to make a phone call, but thought there would be no problem since I was referred by my primary physician. The order I was supposed to do this in was to go to the seminar first, then get a date for an initial consultation with the surgeon. After I have that date, call into my insurance company for pre-approval for the consultation and the rest would be covered. Anything after initial surgical consult, has to stand the scrutiny of the pre-approval process. I'm glad there are people who understand this insurance stuff.

Anyway, I'm now waiting for the day of the seminar.

March 27, 2004

Hmmm, been a while since I've posted. I went to the seminar that Valley Surgical Specialists have once a month. A lot of my questions that I had going into this seminar were answered in the well-prepared presentation they had. Turns out, the one doing the presentation will be the surgeon I hope to have doing my operation. I turned their paperwork in one the things I had previously done (nutritionist, psych consult & TSH bloodwork). I was told to call the next day after the seminar to get an appointment to see the surgeon. I was also told by the nurse at the seminar to expect leaving a voice mail message, as a lot of people are usually calling the office the day after the seminar (she was right, I left a message).

I eventually got a call back from the office. Lets see, I attended the seminar on Wednesday and the following Monday, someone from the office called. My appointment for consultation with surgeon will be on April 13th. Have to bring an up-front fee ($300) even though my insurance said they would pay for it. Weird. Anyhow, I'm sure by then, there will be more questions. Don't know what's going to happen there. The office told me to plan for 30 minutes.

April 1, 2004

Well, in a week I'll be 46. I'm looking forward to discussing the surgery at the consult on the 13th. I've lost a little weight since the seminar and am flirting around with going below a 40 BMI (don't know if they disqualify me or now if below 40). I found a couple of other people here at work that have had the bypass surgery done. I want to surround myself with a support network after my surgery. I haven't told my employer yet that I'm going through with this. On a down side, I haven't told my extended family that lives in another state, but it appears that my wife had discussed it with one of my cousins, so in spite of it, if a certain few know, my family will eventually know. I'm figuring on telling them after the fact. My sister-in-law is a nurse and I know if she found out, she would try to talk me out of it. She has a few horror stories she's told me about and the fact that she would never do it.

April 14, 2004

Well, consultation has been completed. I had a very good session with Dr. Boone. He explained the whole program, taking his time and answering all my questions. They provided me with a booklet regarding obesity and WLS. There was a test at the end of the booklet and I was told that I should fill that out. They said that when I got to the pre-op stage, I would be coming into the office and taking that test again. Glancing over it, it appears that the test was just to show that you have read through the booklet and are aware of the surgery and the complications. Dr. Boone put me through a mini-physical and poked around my belly. I was a little surprised to find that I'm shrinking! I always thought I was 5' 8" as noted on most of my previous physical exams when I was in the military. Well, I went in for this consult and it turns out I'm 5' 6½".

I am now waiting for turn around time for Dr. Boone on his dictated report to get back and then the whole thing will be submitted to my insurance company. I have been talking with others around here at work, it seems like it only takes a couple of weeks of review/approval. I could have a date for surgery in the middle of May.

I have also been talking to a friend of mine. Several different things going through my head right now. Part of me feels like I'm a failure at any traditional weight loss methods, another part of me says I haven't tried hard enough, that I could have definitely put forth more effort to exercising, then another part says my whole family struggles with weight problems and heredity plays a lot in this matter. A lot of things swimming/going around inside my head right now. Trying to get motivated to exercise.

April 23, 2004

Still waiting. I called the doctor's office today. They are still waiting for my dictated report to come back from the transcription people before sending the "package" to the insurance company. I'd like them to get the show on the road. I told them I could probably come in and do transcription for them, because I did that for about 14 months here as a part-time job. I had fun doing transcription and the money was good, but I couldn't put up with the 40/hr/wk job and add another 32 hours a week part-time. June is going to be a big month for me personally, so I would like to do this in May. Lots of stuff (daughter's high school graduation and family flying from back east) planned for June and surgery will have to be planned after those.

April 29, 2004

Unknown what my status is. I talked to the office staff on the 23rd of April and was told all they were waiting for was the transcription of my consultation to come in and it would go off to the insurance company. Called yesterday and left voice mail to have them update me on where my "package" was. No reply as of yet. I know things will come in good time, but waiting is a pain. Anyway, I'm going sailing this weekend. I'll worry about it next week.

May 5, 2004

I had a great time sailing. An acquaintance of mine here at work (who is at her one year anniversary of WLS) has a 35 foot sailboat. Very relaxing. We have been invited to go back up there (Rio Vista, CA) again sometime after my surgery. We had a good day out on the water, got a little sunburned, the kids had fun, the wife asked a lot of questions of our host regarding her surgery and how it has changed her life. This was also a chance my wife had to talk to someone on a personal level about the surgery and its effects.

On another note, I got a call from the surgeon's office and they said that my "package" has been sent to the insurance for approval. Said that if they don't hear something back in a week, they will check up on it. Getting closer!!

May 14, 2004

Argh!!! Crazy insurance company! Sometimes I think they do this just to aggravate people. Seems they just sent a letter to my surgeon requesting additional things. The surgeon's office faxed it over to me, as I wasn't going to wait for a reply from insurance to work its way to me through snail mail.

Apparently the person I went to (as recommended by primary care doctor) for psychological counseling does not have the proper credentials. She was referred to me by my PCP and they stated they have used her before for bariatric counseling. The insurance says the consultation has to be done by a licensed PhD or Psychiatrist and the lady I went to didn't have the proper credentials. According to her credentials on the letterhead, she has a doctorate in Psychiatry and LMFT (licensed marriage and family therapist). In addition to that, I have to get a Cardiology consultation, Pulmonology consultation and additional blood work. Plus, I need a statement that I am free from liver disease or alcoholism (even though I haven't had a drink of alcohol for seven years.

I called my primary care doctor and he feels that this is a delaying tactic on their part. Stating that it is so hard to get in to see a Pulmonologist around here, there would be no way I could get an appointment within their 30-day time frame. He also stated that with my complete Cardiology workup and the fact that my EKG done in his office has not changed, should be enough for my insurance. Time to do some calling around and see if I still have to do this.

I left additional voice mail(s) with Nurse Reviewer at my insurance and after talking with the person who did my psych consult, I asked if she would call my insurance company. I have to try and salvage what I've spent or it's gone to waste. I will be going for the EKG this coming Tuesday and referral for all the other stuff the insurance company is asking for, if need be. Why would they ask for an EKG when they're also asking for a cardiology workup? It would seem, that I would get one of those during the cardiology workup. At least this time around, since they are requesting it, they'll pay for it. I may even have to re-do the psychological consultation if the person who did my psych consult can't seem to convince them to take her assessment of me. Honest, I'm not crazy.....well, not too crazy.

June 2, 2004

I ended up having to do the psychiatric evaluation again. I went to see the psychologist yesterday. It seemed like everything went fine. He stated that he would write up his report and have it out in about a week. This guy is a PhD (I checked the diplomas on the wall). Seemed like everything was okay. Filled out a ton of paperwork (didn't have to take that stupid MMPI) and we talked for about an hour about everything, family, friends, diets, what has worked and what has not.

It doesn't sound like anything will happening very quickly, but I'm putting that aside. I refuse to become negative. I am going on vacation for two weeks, with family coming out for my daughter's graduation. I will be going for the Pulmonology consult during vacation. The only question remains is whether I am going to have to do the cardiology consultation.

June 24, 2004

Well, I ended up seeing Pulmonolgist on the 7th (while on vacation) and the Cardiologist on the 14th (also while on vacation). Pulmonolgist wanted me to get chest x-ray and pulmonary function tests. I already know what the x-rays will show (that's why insurance is sending me there). So, after pulmonologist, they set me up for Pulmonary Function Tests. Gasp - I have asthma (I knew that). He said it would be okay for surgery.

Same thing happened at the Cardiologist's. My first visit there, they had me run on the treadmill and did an echogram of my heart (both before exercise and after) looking at my heart. The tech said nothing appeared to be wrong that would warrant an immediate talk with the cardiologist. They ended up scheduling me to come back in on the 29th to "discuss" the results. I went back a few days later and they told me I have some mild enlargement present and some evidence of mild left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH). According to the cardiologist, all of these things I have would probably go away and WLS would be beneficial to me and they cleared me for surgery.

Made it through all the graduation and subsequent things after that. I took my family up to Sequoia and over to Pismo while they were out. We all had a good visit. Too bad the wife had to work (she doesn't get vacation days) and my one daughter was doing the "graduating senior" thing. Still, we had some good evenings sitting around the pool of the hotel they were staying in.

June 30, 2004

Well, I believe everything is done now. I called Valley Surgical to let them know everything the insurance company asked for has been completed and to expect the reports in due time. It appears that although everything's came out okay, I'll still have to wait two weeks or so for the time it takes to type up the reports. (I never had a two week window to transcribe a report.) So, hopefully I will soon have approval from insurance soon.

July 13, 2004

Okay. What a headache. I called Valley Surgical to try to find out if everything had been sent to my insurance company. They told me they had one report and didn't have another (with all the rushing around, I can't remember who had what). It ended up that my primary care physician had some of the reports the insurance company needed Valley Surgical had some others.

So I got off work at 4:00 p.m. and stopped by the cardiologist's to pick up that report, then went to the PCP's office to give them a copy of that. I also gave them a copy of my pulmonary function test (which I had the frame of mind to ask for at the time and kept a copy for myself), but my PCP didn't have a copy of the psychologist's report. I called the Valley Surgical and they had a copy, but did not have the cardiology report. I copied what reports they had and then drove back to the surgeon's office to give them copies of what they needed and have them fax the reports they had back to PCP's office (you get all that?). I'm confused also.

As far as I know, that takes care of everything. All doctors have copies of all the reports and I'm just waiting for it to go to the insurance and waiting for their reply.

July 20, 2004

Yes!!!.... I just confirmed with the surgeon's office that all paperwork is complete and was submitted to my insurance people on the 14th. Just have to be patient. I am normally a patient person, but the wait for approval is killing me.

July 21, 2004

Hooray!!!.... I called my insurance company this morning and left a message with my reviewer. She finally called back (a first for them) and told me I was approved. Now all I have to do is check with the surgeon's office and scheduling. I will post more later, but I just had to get this post out. I'm approved for surgery, but have no date scheduled as of yet..

July 22, 2004

Sheesh. I can't believe it (it's happening so quickly now). Someone from Valley Surgical called me at work and I have a date for surgery. It seems that Dr. Boone only does surgeries at Clovis Community on Wednesdays and after some checking, they gave me a date of August 25th for surgery. I have to complete that test in the booklet (already have) and report to their office on August 20th for pre-op stuff. I will also be given slips for bloodwork (again) and have to go up to the hospital and do all their stuff they want.

July 28, 2004

Well, I'm four weeks away from surgery day. It hardly seems like that will be very long from now. I think I have everything in order. I finally submitted paperwork to notify my supervisors what days I will be gone. I really wasn't too specific on the details of my surgery, other than I will be out for surgery. I have told a couple of my friends here exactly what I'm having done. My wife has told everyone at church. I'm not sure why I won't be too specific with them. I just figure that it is none of their business. I mean, if I was having surgery for hemorrhoids, I would only tell my closest friends about it, why should it be any different about WLS? I'm kind of stressing out a little bit right now. I have a couple of good leads on a job back east (in Pennsylvania) and I really want this one job. It just feels right, but I know it will come in God's good timing. I'm kind of stressed that they will call and ask for an interview and I'll have to make a decision about new job or surgery. I'm still going through with surgery, so it's only a minor stress situation.

August 2, 2004

Hmmmm, promised myself I would be a faithful "updater" of my website with details. So many of you out there have answered my questions in an indirect way by leaving detailed websites that all (well most all) my fears have been set aside. I would like to spruce up my website a little, as I have seen very nice sites out there. I've flirted around with programming in HTML, but this is just seems a little different. I tried to put a JavaScript countdown clock on my site and it didn't work. I have also been lurking a little and posting a little on the message boards. My surgery is scheduled for August 25th at 11:00 a.m. Pacific, a little more than three weeks away. Will be starting to train my replacement sometime this week. I hope he doesn't take over my job completely.

August 4, 2004

Three weeks away. I still need prayers for my family and me. My wife lost her job due to circumstances in her client's home. Right now, we have enough finances to last us through August, but September is going to be another story. We have been going through the budget and looking where we can cut corners and eliminate things. We cancelled the cell phones as they were at the end of their contract and we cancelled the paper delivery. I either need another job that pays better, or she picks up a new client (she works in-home care for elderly as a private contractor).

August 5, 2004

Praise God.....someone at church just called and stated that there were some vouchers for us to pick up that would provide some groceries for the family. I shouldn't stress out too much, God provides. I know He is guiding the whole process (life) and no matter what, He will provide to those who are faithful.

August 9, 2004

Well, made it through another weekend. Trying to tie up loose ends here at work, getting my replacement trained for when I'll be out of the loop. Still haven't told very many people about my surgery, much to the dismay of my wife. Does seem kind of weird. I'm posting like crazy to the message boards and update my website (anyone with internet knows), but why don't I tell anyone and everyone about it? I've always been kind of reserved about my health conditions. I mean, if I was going in for something like hemorrhoid surgery I would just tell them that I was going in for surgery, not giving them any of the details. Why should this be any different? My best friends know and my immediate family living here and, of course, the friends who helped me along the way in making this decision.

August 11, 2004

Well, two weeks to go. Have run into a little snag along the way. The surgeon's office sent me a letter to tell me they wanted the surgeon's fee up (my 20%) and I have to come up with another $200!!! I've already paid them three hundred and now they want more. This is going to be a great crunch for us, as this last $200 is going hurt to the point of draining the extra savings account. We're already relying on the assistance of some in order to put groceries on the table. On another note, I have been invited to take an exam for a position at another law enforcement agency on Monday. Another thing to add to my list of things to get done. On top of that, the same agency has something available in Information Technology that I'm applying for also. Got an additional email today from some place called TEK Systems saying there was a Help Desk position in Fresno, something I'll be checking on also.

August 13, 2004

Huh, Friday the 13th. Can't be all that bad, it's the end of the week. My daughter is coming home tomorrow and I will have a long day of going to San Francisco to pick her up, getting back and having to turn around to church on Sunday. Good news, my wife informed me that we have the additional $$ for the surgeon, but not a whole lot more.. I'm just hoping the hospital does not require anything "up front." We have nothing left.

August 14, 2004

Who said Friday the thirteenth was unlucky? As seen in some previous posts, we are not well off in our finances at the present time. The bills are paid, but have little else. But, yesterday I was told that my work needed people and was willing to pay some overtime. I got 2.5 hours in yesterday and I'm back for a little more this morning. Still going to San Francisco this afternoon. God is so good. Why should I worry? He saw our need and provided us a way to supplement our income. More later.

August 16, 2004

Well, I made it back from San Francisco. What a trip. Got up there and back, then four hours sleep until church. I went and took a test this morning for another law enforcement position with another agency. I hope this comes through as it will mean a raise for me. Only nine more days to go and I'll be on the other side. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I will get one of the two positions I recently applied for.

August 18, 2004

Wow, only one more week to go. There are so many thoughts going through my mind right now. Am I doing this because my wife wants me to, or am I doing it for me (my answer = both). I'm trying to tie up loose ends here at work and getting ready for my pre-op appointment on Friday.

As I look back through my previous posts, it seems like I was very impatient, usually out of character for me. But then, it seems like it has really has flown by. I'm at peace with my circumstances, what's going on about surgery and things going on with our finances. Everything just feels right and I feel I am doing the right thing by using by having this done.

August 20, 2004

Okay, pre-op appointment is just over with. We walked into the office and there was hardly any room or empty seats. Thought we were in for the long wait, but seemed like we were in a room in no time. I've lost ten pounds since I last visited with Dr. Boone. He went over everything with us and did a mini-physical again, just really poked around the stomach area and that was all. He spent more time answering any questions I had and also fielded questions from my wife.

After that, we took our paperwork over to the hospital. They reviewed everything and got me pre-admitted. I then went back and talked with one of the admitting nurses and answered a bunch of health questions around my previous surgeries and experience with anesthesia and family history. Will be in the hospital at least one night, possibly two nights. Surgery is at 11:00 a.m. on August 25 (Wednesday) and I have to check in two hours early. Dr. Boone does not require bowel prep (hooray), but does require me to be on clear liquids at least 24 hours before surgery. I think I'm all set. I'll update soon before I leave. I'm nervous right now, but not scared.

August 23, 2004

Well, I think I have everything ready. The only thing left is to pick up my post-op prescriptions from the pharmacy. I dropped off the prescription from my pre-op visi on Saturday and told them I would pick them up today. Still nervous, but giving it all to God. Had an excellent guest speaker at church yesterday. His name was Chris Simning and he has an excellent presentation and is quite a motivational speaker.

August 25, 2004

Well, today's the day. I'm ready to cross over to being a big loser. Strange, I was up at 4:00 a.m. this morning and couldn't sleep any more. Watched the news, took an hour-long shower. Supposed to check in at 9:00 a.m. for surgery at 11:00 a.m. That's all for now.

August 30, 2004

Well, hopefully not to spare anyone a lot of gory details, I finally made it home yesterday (Sunday) at around 1:00 p.m. I'm doing okay for now. I still have a gastrostomy tube in place. I was told that this was placed because during surgery, he did a check for leaks and somewhere in the mixed of things (new stomach or old) there was a slight leak. He over-sewed the staple line and placed this tube as a precaution. I will have this in place for three weeks or so, until he feels that it should be coming out.

I don't remember much of the first day after (was pretty drunked up), but steadily gained footing and was up and walking a little that night. The first time, all I did was sit up, then stand up and that was enough for them for the time being. About an hour later, they got me up again and I completed about a half lap around the nurse's station. That was enough for my wife to decide to go home for the evening. By my calculations, a full lap around the nurses station consisted of about 125 of my post-surgical steps). I steadily got better over the course of the next few days and was home after four days. Each day they withdrew a tube from me, I knew I was better.

Still on clear liquids right now (jello and broth) and growing to hate it. Will still be on that for another week or so before I progress a little more. I have just been walking back and forth and today was actually down the block and back.

Been doing only a little computer work and will check email frequently on walks to and from where I need to go. I would appreciate your prayers. At this time, I am off this week and next week from work.

September 2, 2004

Woohoo!! First post-op visit today. This appointment was to see the Nurse that works there. She checked the dressing around my gastrostomy tube and changed it to something less bulky. She also reviewed what I had done so far. One week out and I'm almost up to a mile of walking per day. I've been thinking about getting me one of them pedometers to measure accurately. I have lost 20 pounds of the former me from the pre-op visit. Moved to soft foods for a week, fruits and vegetables for the week after that. Went home and had four teaspoons of mashed potatoes and they tasted fantastic. That's all I wanted. Also got to drive home. Next appointment is in a little over three weeks (9/24) and this is going to be with the doctor. The nurse said that they will probably remove the gastrostomy tube. They gave me a little chart showing my progress. Has my original weight at 267, having lost 20 pounds and in 8 days after surgery, I have lost 16% of my excess weight.

September 6, 2004

Not much else to report. Still getting up and walking, today for about 1.5 miles. I'm taking the dog with me each time, he loves to go out for a walk. Goes crazy when I put my shoes on. Going kind of stir crazy. I want to go back to work, but will probably do that next week on an experimental basis. Haven't weighed myself, I have no desire to. Others can start to see a difference in my face and I can tell because my watch is fitting looser and I'm about ready to hitch up my belt another notch. I still have my tube in place and it will probably be there until my doctor's follow-up on the 24th. Tomorrow I will be starting my three week foods, I can add a salad. I'll post later when there's more to update.

September 9, 2004

Starting my "third" week post-op foods today. Can add salad, fruits and vegetables. Tried a bite of cantelope this afternoon and it was great. Little scarey though. I wanted so bad to weigh myself at my mother-in-law's place this afternoon, but I'm sticking to my vow of not weighing in unless I'm at the doctor's office. I know its coming off. I'm getting ready to lose my shorts here soon if I don't put another notch in the belt and my watch is really loose.

September 13, 2004

Well, this is the first day back to work. They (the doctor's nurse practitioner) wanted me to stay out until the 24th, when they would take this gastrostomy tube out, but for my sanity, I had to go back. You can only walk so much, and see the same shows on television for only so long. My wife wanted me home longer and I could have probably, but really ready to do something.

All the clothes are loose, the watch is really loose around the wrist and my dress boots are really loose. I don't know how much weight I have lost since the post-op visit, but won't weigh again until my next visit on September 24th. More information after that.

September 21, 2004

Not much to report. Had a scare last week, went to the doctor with severe right lower abdominal pain, sent me to hospital for emergency CT scan, but found nothing seriously wrong. Sent me home and the pain passed. Don't know what really caused it, but glad is was over. Went searching through my dresser and found an old pair of shorts that were 44's. I put them on and they fit (a little snug though).....I went in the hospital for WLS wearing a pair of shorts that were 48's.

September 24, 2004

Well, good news and bad. Woke up this morning and put on my pants which I normally hang on the back of the bedroom door in the evening. Noticed that they were "different," but put them on any way. A little snugger than before. My wife had gone out yesterday and bought a couple of pairs of size 44 pants and they fit pretty good. Now all I have to do is get a better belt. Been a long time since that's happened.

Went for my second post-op visit at the doctor's this morning. Went in with the anticipation that my gastrostomy tube was going to come out. Doctor said that he wanted it there for at least a couple of more weeks (bummers). Anyway, now for the numbers. Today's weight 227. That is a total of 40 pounds since my pre-op visit on August 20th (five weeks ago). Discussed diet and I'm pretty much cleared for most things with the exception of red meat, breads and pastas. I'll be ready for my wife's birthday celebration this weekend.

September 28, 2004

Not much to update, other than we had a great weekend in celebrating my wife's birthday. We went to the local restaurant here where my son and his girlfriend work. Had a good time. I ate three small strips of grilled chicken in an Asian chicken salad with a couple of bites of greens and that was it for me. Everything's hanging on me as far as clothes and am going to have to get something new soon.

October 5, 2004

Nothing new to update. Still holding true to the fact that I am not going to weigh myself unless I am in the doctor's office. I refuse to be a slave to the scale. I know things are getting better. The pants my wife went out and bought (the 44's) are getting a little baggy and loose now. Still walking at lunch time here at work.

I went to my first support group meeting last night. Wasn't really much of anything, except I showed up ten minutes late and the veggie tray had disappeared. At least there was some melon slices left. A lot of the questions I heard last night were ones I have read/heard on the message board. Was nice to meet a few people in person though. Foods are going okay for me now. I had a good time at the church picnic on Sunday and made it through with just a little fruit salad and a little potato salad, although the tri-tip smelled wonderful.

Gastrostomy tube still there, not doing much of anything. Appointment on 10/15 for this crazy thing to come out (hopefully).

October 15, 2004

ALLLLLLL RIGHT!!! It has been 51 days since I have had my surgery and the following stats have been observed:

288 pounds at the start of this journey in January (45.8 BMI)
277 pounds at the first surgeon's consultation.
267 pounds at pre-op appointment five days before surgery.
247 pounds at first post-op visit (8 days after surgery).
227 pounds at second post-op visit (30 days after surgery).
219 pounds at third post-op visit (51 days after surgery).

So, however, you look at it, that's going to be 48 pounds since surgery, or 69 pounds since I decided I was going to do this. I have also dropped at least two pants sizes (tight 48's to loose 44's) and although there are no measurements, I am also wearing shirts that are smaller and I haven't worn in years. My dear wife can now hug me and grab her forearm on the other side of me. Lets see, I've had to buy another belt, because I can't put any more holes in the one I currently have to keep it tight enough.

More than that, I look to things I'm doing now versus what I haven't been doing. I'm walking more, I'm eating more sensibly, I'm back to dancing again with the wife, I'm not smoking any more. It truly has been life-changing. I should be walking more. Perhaps its time to dust off the bicycle and start pedaling more.

And.......they took that crazy tube out this morning. I no longer have to worry about it. It kept getting in the way and, well, needless to say......I'm free. The doctor has pretty much released me to do what ever I please. Still supposed to stay away from breads, pasta and rice, but can try experimenting with small amounts of red meat. He also said to pick up on my protein intake.

I'm looking forward to getting out of town next week with my wife to celebrate our 23rd wedding anniversary. Shhhhh, it's a secret....she doesn't know where we're going, but it's got sand and we can drive there.

October 27, 2004

Really not all that much to report. We had a great weekend for our anniversary and walked for miles on the beach. Nice dinner for our anniversary night consisted of grilled salmon with baked potato, salad and soup. We split the meal between ourselves. So much nicer on the budget now when we can get by with only one meal between us. Don't know if anything has changed in the weight department, because I have refused to become a slave to the scales. I will ONLY weigh in at the doctor's office and I'm not supposed to be back there until after the first of the year.

I'm still taking my vitamins and Actigal regularly and my life goes on. Such a blessing to be rid of 70+ pounds since the first of the year. I was able to wear shorts this past weekend when on the beach and they were size 42!!! Praise the Lord.

I will update this as I find out changes, but have pretty much resigned myself to keep on living life to the fullest and taking advantage of my inner self.

I have had only minor problems to date with this surgery and it it truly life-changing. Would I do it again? You bet. Would I recommend it to someone? No way......I will inform you right off the bat, is that my decision came down to what was right for ME. I can give you the facts and my experiences, but the choice to have WLS is entirely up to YOU. Gather all the facts, and pray about it. Then, when you've reached the point where you believe you should have the surgery done, and God believes you should have the surgery done.....then it's time to go forth and be active in getting it done.

November 3, 2004

Well, nothing much new to report. A couple of friends of mine are going in soon to have their WLS. I've been answering any questions they have. My 44 inch pants that were bought for me a little while ago are getting real loose. I don't believe I have lost much in the weight department, but still have been shrinking in my pants size.

It's amazing to meet others you haven't seen in a while and they look at you a little strangely and ask if I have been losing weight. Had a good weekend away (yes, this is the second weekend in a row that I was out of town) and had no problems eating. There were a couple of things they served at this retreat that I couldn't eat, but I just pushed them out of the way.

This may be my last post for a while. I will probably update after the holidays to let everyone know how well I did (yeah) through all the relatives coming over and eating and the like. I'm cooking the Thanksgiving turkey like I always do.

Happy holidays to one and all who are reading these.

December 3, 2004

Wow, what can I say. Here are some interesting statistics.

288 pounds at the start of this journey in January (45.8 BMI)
277 pounds at the first surgeon's consultation.
267 pounds at pre-op appointment five days before surgery.
247 pounds at first post-op visit (8 days after surgery).
227 pounds at second post-op visit (30 days after surgery).
219 pounds at third post-op visit (51 days after surgery).
195 pounds (December 3 - 100th post-op day)

Pants size last Christmas 50W x 30L
Pants size this Christmas 38W x 30L
Shirt size last Christmas 19 neck
Shirt size this Christmas 16-17 neck

I love the new look, people are noticing a lot, especially those I haven't seen in quite a while. I went to the blood bank the other day to donate platelets and people I haven't seen in five months are amazed. I still have the occasional flash backs in my mind when I look at my hands and think I'm becoming a skeleton. My wedding ring is at the point where it's almost falling off (I've got to be careful I won't lose it).

I'm doing well on my diet, have had no problems whatsoever. I'm still staying away from breads, pastas, rice and red meat. I'm doing well and making it through the Holidays. I cooked the entire Thanksgiving dinner and the only thing I didn't eat was my yummy cornbread dressing but had a little bit of everything else. (emphasis on "little" bit). I love everything and everyone and especially thank my family for their support for me during this ordeal. Ultimately, I did this for me, but I also did it for them and couldn't have gotten this far, this well, without their support.

December 15, 2004

Well, not much to add. This is becoming my montly journaling entry. I am determined to stick to my plan to weigh only on a monthly basis, unless in the doctor's office. I refuse to become a slave to the scale monster. I only weighed that one time out of sequence, because it was my 100th day since surgery.

I weighed in on an official-type medical scale this morning and weighed 191 (and a fraction that I'm not counting). This makes a total of 97 pounds since I started my journey. That reminds me, I'm going to have to ask someone about that "century" club soon. :-)

December 22, 2004

Just had to put on a quick post today. I have deviated a little bit from the fact that I said I wasn't going to weigh myself on a constant basis, but since I was so close to a milestone, I weighed myself today and have finally made it....Century Club.

I started this journey on January 28th with a visit to my primary care doctor. At that time, I weighed 288 the time my surgery came around, I had dropped 30 pounds on my own and since surgery (17 weeks ago), I have dropped another 70 pounds for a GRAND TOTAL of 100 pounds.

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Okay, back to the regime of not weighing on a regular basis and next weight check will be in January for my post-op check.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Then (1/28/04)

Now (1/14/05)

66.5 inches


288 pounds

182 pounds



50W x 30L

36W x 30L