Monday, December 21, 2009

Do not ignore the pain...

Well, it's easy for me to say that now!  For three weeks I had been experiencing some pretty significant pain.  I didn't blog about it because I thought "TMI" and that nobody would want to hear about it.  But then I realized that I really SHOULD blog about it so that everyone realizes that this process isn't always sunshine and rainbows, and that it definitely ISN'T the "easy way out" like so many seem to think.

At first I thought the pain was due to constipation which has been an issue from the beginning.  When you're eating so little, and most of that is dense protein, you're going to have issues.  Miralax is my new best friend, and I have to use it at least three times a week just to stay regular.  When the pain I've been experiencing didn't go away even after good "results", I knew it was something else.

It is common for someone with rapid weight loss to experience problems with their gall bladder.  I knew this, but guess I was in denial.  I didn't want to have to admit I needed another surgery and would have to miss more work.  So I put off going to the doctor.  I did call my surgeon last week to get my 3 month follow-up moved up so he could see me.  I never made it to the appointment.

On Thursday (Dec 17th) I went to school as usual even though I was in considerable pain.  It was so bad that I didn't eat anything even knowing that I HAVE to eat.  I just had a protein shake.  I managed to make it through 2 classes but couldn't fool my sister (she's the teacher for period 3) who insisted I go to the ER.  I'm so glad we work together.  If she hadn't made me, I'd probably still be suffering through this.  So she had me call mom and I drove as far as TI to meet dad.  He took me on up to Wilson.  Paul met us there.

Well, seems everyone in the triple cities needed the ER that day, so we sat there from 10:30 to 3:00 before I even saw a nurse.  Then another 2 hours and finally saw a doctor.  I asked them to consult Dr. Tvetenstrand, and then things finally started moving along.  Dr. T admitted me and ordered a hidascan (I think that's how you spell it... it's a nuclear imaging test anyway).  He said I had the classic symptoms of a bad gall bladder and would most likely remove it Friday afternoon.

So off I go to spend the night in the hospital.  THANK GOD for pain medication!  You never realize just how much you hurt until the pain is no longer there!

The next morning around 10 am they take me down for the scan.  It took 1 1/2 hours.  I have to admit I was really nervous that they wouldn't find anything wrong since the pain meds were working.  I thought for sure the scan would come back negative.  I had nothing to worry about though, because Dr. T said when he came in later that my scan was "very abnormal" and that he was taking me to the OR.  So at 4pm on Friday I had my gall bladder removed.  After I was back in my room Dr. T came in to discuss the procedure and said I didn't have any stones, but it was full of very tiny crystals.  He said he didn't know how I managed to function as long as I did with the obvious pain I must have been in.  Told y'all I have a high pain tolerance and when I say it hurts, it HURTS!

Funny how having surgery for something like that didn't make me nearly as nervous as the bypass itself.  The only thing I felt was relief that my pain would soon be over.

The surgery went well, and I spent an additional night in the hospital.  Came home at 4 pm on Saturday.  I do have to say that I am pretty sore from the procedure.  Maybe it's because I don't have as much fat padding my insides and the instruments bruised me more.  Not sure but it HURTS.  I can't lay flat in bed yet, something I was really proud of myself for after the bypass.  But then again, this is the second major surgery in 3 months and my body has changed a lot over that time.

Each day gets a little better as far as pain goes, so I'm sure by the time school starts again after Christmas break I'll be more than ready to go back.  It was actually pretty good timing.  I'll only miss 5 days of school, and got it taken care of before the huge increase in out of pocket insurance expenses with Paul's "new" insurance plan.  Gotta love Corporate and their "it will be better in the long run" approach... better for them maybe, but I can't even imagine what our bills are going to be like if anything major happens next year....

 I just went back and looked at my last few entries and realized that I didn't post recent pics!  These are from 12/12/09 at my hubby's Christmas party.  I'm down 102lbs since my high weight (I've gained back 4 of that post op, but mostly fluid and swelling... should be gone by next week)..

Also, Devan and I were in a car accident on 12/4/09.  We're both ok, obviously, but my "Flower Power" van is no more.  I do want to share a pic with you though that shows just how durable the Decor Elements are!  She (the person who hit me) wiped out the entire driver side of my van, but didn't rip the decor element!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dormant sets fixin' to retire!

Dormant Stamp Sets Discontinued on January 4, 2010

December 2, 2009 As promised, many of the stamp sets currently on our dormant list have been available for a year and now it is time to say goodbye. The following stamp sets will be discontinued on January 4, 2010.
 Item Number
 Stamp Set
 Back Woods  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 102
 Beautiful Baby 2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 208
 Birthday Wish  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 208
 Branch Out  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 100
 Celebrations  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 208
 Central Park  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 106
 Classic Sketches  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 119
 Classy & Fabulous  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 51
 Flowers in Silhouette  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 208
 Font of You  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 46
 For the Bride  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 61
 Forever  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 208
 Friend by Definition  2008 Fall/Winter Catalog pg. 135
 Fun Flowers   2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 208
 Garden Greetings  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 55
 Glad Friends   2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 208
 Grand Soiree   2008 Fall/Winter Catalog pg. 126
 Hit the Road  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 103
 Lexicon of Leaves   2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 101
 Man's Best Friend  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 72
 Ocean Commotion  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 97
 Playful Petals  2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 99
 Polka Dot   2008 Fall/Winter Catalog pg. 135
 Putt Putt    2008 Fall/Winter Catalog pg. 81
 Quilt Quips   2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 53
  Really Retro   2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 132
 Sip by Sip   2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 51
 Sweet Stems   2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 99
 That's Funny   2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 63
 Wonderful Watercolors   2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 85
  Para la novia
 Acuarelas Maravillosas   2009 Spring/Summer Catalog pg 85
If any of these stamp sets are on your wish list, make sure to purchase them before they are gone for good!  Don't forget during the month of December pay no tax or shipping on any order placed through me!

Made it through Thanksgiving without a hitch....

Last week I wasn't so sure I was going to make it through.  Monday and Tuesday were terrible eating days.  NOTHING was setting right.  My pouch was definitely grouchy!  Even got nauseous and threw up after eating eggs, something I've been able to tolerate since starting soft foods.

I was really nervous about how Thanksgiving dinner was going to go.  I spent a little time crying in the bathroom thinking I wasn't going to be able to handle anything.  I was pretty snappy with my family before leaving.  This is the one thing that I do hate about the surgery.  It's not their fault I self medicated with food for 40 years.  They've been wonderful though and understand what I'm going through.  Hopefully in the end it will all be worth it.  All I can do now is apologize when I get in the hormonal dump slump and they'll continue to stand by me.

So anyway, we leave for mom and dad's.  Still very nervous but putting on a brave face.  I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to try everything and not have any pain or reactions.  I was so happy!  I had 1.5 oz turkey and a teaspoon of everything else (green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, squash).  The only thing I didn't have was the corn and dinner roll.  For dessert I brought some fresh pineapple instead of the pies everyone else had... and you know what? They were EYEBALLING my delicious fresh fruit LOL!

Friday my mom, sister and I got up at 2a.m. to brave the Black Friday crowds.  We were on the road at 3:30! It was so much fun!  I talked them out of hitting McDonald's drive through for breakfast, saying I was still full from my cottage cheese and apple sauce at 2:30 and needed to wait.  We headed right for the city.

Dropped mom off at AC Moore, and my sister and I headed for Target.  Couldn't believe the line already!  I was very impressed once we got in the store, however, and saw how organized Target was.  I found everything I wanted within 15 minutes, and stood in line for only 2.  Headed over to the Starbucks to grab a table and wait for my sister.  She ended up paying for my nephew's "gotta have" and then hitting the regular toy aisle, so I headed back over to pick up mom across the street at AC Moore.  My sister was already through checking out by the time we fought the traffic.  Kudos to Target for their speed, efficiency, and excellent customer service!

After Target we went to IHOP for breakfast.  Their lighter side menu is awesome.  My mom and I split a meal, and both had plenty!  She's been doing weight watchers since August....

After breakfast we headed to Best Buy.  Gotta say, Target set the standard for the day and Best Buy fell WAY short of it.  VERY disorganized (they tried, points for that) but they had regular shopping aisles blocked off for checkout control.  I couldn't even GET to an item I wanted because of the line.  Then they overcharged me at check out so I had to go to customer service for a refund...  not too impressed with them at this point...

Next was Walmart.  I love going to WalMart after the initial rush/doorbusters.  The store was busy, but no more than a normal weekend.  We spent an hour there, and found some great buys.

Next was my favorite stop of the day... Old Navy!  I never really shopped there before because I never fit in their clothes... Well, NOW I CAN!!!  I bought 4 tees, 2 camis, and a tee-shirt hoodie!  OMG I never thought the day would come when I would be able to shop there!!

After ON, it was time for lunch.  Applebees was the choice because of their WW menu for my mom.  I ended up getting the Steak Quesadilla tower and just eating the inside.  Very good and more than enough food.  Even took some home!

Next it was on to Kohl's.  I have a few stamping friends who work there.  I ran into three of them, two of them didn't recognize me!  What a great feeling!

Ended the day at Toy's R Us.  By this time I was feeling the effects of the fatigue, so stayed in the car and watched Alvin and the Chipmunks LOL!  Just enough of a rest for the last stop of the day, Christmas Tree Shoppes.  LOVE THAT STORE!  I stocked up on the acrylic frames for next year's calendar camp.  My apologies to my stampers that I didn't get one organized for this year, but the combined camp with Cathy really took a lot of planning that I normally spend on the calendars.  Next year for sure!!

This weekend I even had the energy and ambition to rearrange furniture and deep clean.  Haven't set the tree up yet, but that's the next on the list.  For the past 3 years the tree has stayed in the box.  My excuse was it was too big for the house.  Reality is I was too big to care, too big to put out the effort.  Not this year.  My kids deserve a tree and not excuses....

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Two months post op!

It's hard to believe it's been two months already.  I returned to work 3 weeks ago, and the time has just flown by. 

I am still very tired at the end of the day.  Hopefully that will change soon!  I haven't updated this in so long because I've been going to bed by 8pm most nights.  That's unheard of for me!

I'm happy with my weight loss so far.  As of today I'm down 36 pounds in the two months following surgery, for a total loss of 87 pounds.  I've had a few issues with food, but think it was more trying to push the envelope a little bit and not being able to tolerate textures.  I've had the "stuck" feeling and ended up sick a couple times because of it.  I think I know what the culprit is, so I'm staying away from it for now.

Here are some progress pictures.  I still can't believe the difference!  I'm going to post the ones taken at 2 weeks out as well so you can see the side by side without having to go to other posts in my blog....

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Proof of Invisibility

We've all felt it.  That feeling of being completely alone and ignored even in a room full of people.  It was one of my biggest challenges with my job.  I am a para-educator (teacher's aide).  I am part of the special education team.  I am part of a group of other para-educators.  But because I follow a single student, I am often "forgotten" or overlooked when there are department meetings or trainings.  My contract runs differently from the other aides.  If my student is absent, I am sent home.  I fought endlessly to be recognized and included in meetings and trainings.  I am required to have 20 hours of continuing education, yet my contract reads that if my student isn't in attendance, I am not to report to work.  I've had to be my own advocate and demand that I be paid for mandatory inservice hours.  I've had to demand to be compensated for working through my lunch break because the administration didn't see it as a priority to find coverage in order for me to have my mandated break.  My many requests for coverage went ignored so eventually I finally stopped making them, and insisting I be paid for the half hour break I was denied.  You can imagine the resistance I encountered.  A gentle reminder about labor laws and mandatory breaks changed their minds about paying me.  It's been a struggle....

I was delusional and convinced myself that the reason I was "ignored" was because I wasn't a regular classroom aide.  I didn't have the same schedule or duties as a typical aide, therefore I was often overlooked when memos and information was shared.  I even had to have not one but two meetings last year with our new principal just to be put on his staff email chain for daily updates.  It took him 3 months to do that.  I was never informed of department meetings.  What makes this worse is that my own sister is a teacher in my department! 

My surgery was on September 10th.  I came back to school in August in order to prepare my student for the transition into the new school year, get her comfortable with her new schedule and teachers, and ease the switch to a long-term substitute aide.  I had already lost 50 lbs at the start of school, and had my once long, curly hair cut short and straightened.  I saw almost every teacher at our small school at our back to school inservice meetings.  I passed many of them in the hall when classes started.  I spoke to many of them individually before taking my leave of absence.

Only 3 people bothered to call/check in with me while I was out.  My sister did say many would ask her about me, but only THREE bothered to call/email themselves.

Imagine my shock when I returned from surgery having lost another 25 lbs and these same teachers whom I had seen just 5 weeks earlier were coming up to me and commenting on how "good" I looked.  Many of them were aware of the surgery so it wasn't unexpected.  The biggest shock, however, was how many of them commented on how much they loved my hair cut!?!  I had the same hair cut for the two weeks I was here before having the surgery.  At least 4 of the people who commented on my haircut were ones I talked to EVERY DAY before leaving.  Did I miss something?  Obviously THEY did. 

So that is my proof of invisibility. Nobody even noticed my haircut until I came back and they KNEW about the surgery.

Makes me wish I was still invisible....

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bronchitis: Knew it wasn't "just a cold"

Two weeks ago I went to the doc with flu-like symptoms.  He said it was just a cold, and gave me cough syrup with codeine.  Worked for a while, started feeling better.  Went to the gym one night and the next morning I was worse.

Monday I went back because it just wasn't getting any better.  Saw the new doc (my PCP is leaving the practice) and she called it "double ear infection, sinusitis, and URI".  Gave me amoxicillan elixir to try. 

This morning I woke up and could feel the congestion in my chest and the rattle when I cough.  Called for another appointment...

Saw the new doc again.  She did a flu swap and strep swap, both negative.  She decided this time to call it "severe bronchitis".  Gave me a breathing treatment which helped.  Ordered a chest xray to rule out pneumonia (will have results tomorrow but I bet it is positive, I've had it before). 

So I am out of work for the rest of this week as well.  I was supposed to go back last Friday after my surgery leave, but that never happened...

I hope I still have a job after all of this! 

I just want this to go away so I can enjoy how good it feels to have the RNY!  I was feeling great until I got sick two weeks ago!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A size WHAT?!?

Well! Wednesday I went to Salvation Army to take advantage of their half price sale. I needed new clothes to go back to work. Found some great buys in several different sizes. Bought some 22's and some 18's.

This morning I decided to try on some of the smaller sizes just to see how far away I was... OMG the 18s FIT! Granted they are super tight, but I got them over my butt, buttoned AND zipped without straining!! Too tight to wear yet, but they were on! How the heck did I go from a 26W to an 18 in a month???? OMG I am SO EXCITED!!

Yesterday was my one month surgiversary. I'm down 26 pounds since the surgery! Five of those just the past few days! Definitely broke that stupid stall!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Frustrated aka the 3 week stall

Pre-op I sat here reading all these posts on OH about the "3 week stall" and told myself I wouldn't let it freak me out.  Well, no matter how prepared you think you are, some mind games still aren't preventable.

I lost 20 lbs in the first two weeks following my surgery.  I was SO excited!  The third week hit, and NADA.  Well, not exactly nada, but I've managed to gain and lose the same stupid 2 pounds for the past two weeks.

I know in my head that it is normal, and that my "monthly friend" has a lot to do with it, but it's still frustrating. I've also been fighting an "upper respiratory virus" for the past two weeks, so haven't been able to exercise like I want to.  I've only been to the fitness center once in the past two weeks, and felt terrible the next day.  I had thought I was completely over the virus, but guess not.

So this morning I weighed 257, which is 22 pounds less than what I weighed a month ago the morning of surgery.  In one way I am thrilled I lost that much, in another I am frustrated feeling the last two weeks have really derailed me.  I'm frustrated thinking that this is it, that's all I'm EVER going to lose, even though I know it will start back up.  I've read so much info on what to expect and what to do to break the stalls, but it doesn't seem to be helping.

I do go visit the nutritionist today for my one month follow up.  Hopefully she'll have some words of wisdom for me.  There is also a support group meeting at Dr. T's, but I don't think I should go and infect anyone.  The last thing I want to do is give this to anyone who is pre-op or newly post op!

If anyone has any tips or words of wisdom, please kick me in the butt!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Three weeks since surgery, down 20lbs!

I still can't believe it.  I'm down 20lbs already! 

Went shopping the other day to kill time while my son was at a birthday party.  Decided to try on some clothes just for the heck of it.  I actually got a size 22W on, but they were tight so I didn't buy them (even though I know they'll fit soon enough.)  I did, however, find a pair of stretch knit pants on clearance in an 18W/20W that did fit and will fit for a while, so bought those.  I also bought a shirt in a 2X.  I started this journey out at a 26/28W pants and a 3-4X shirt depending on the cut!

Here are some progress pictures... the one with the tie dye shirt is from the summer of '08 right before convention.  This was at my highest weight of 330lbs.

And this is me 68.2 pounds lighter wearing the outfit I bought the other night.  Current weight is 260.2...

I am so happy with my Roux En Y!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Surgery update!

Ok, I want to go back and update on what all happened this past week, so let's rewind to Thursday morning, Sept. 10th... my "re-birthday"....

Mom picked me up at 6 to take me to the hospital.  Paul was just getting off work and met us there.  We checked in at ambulatory surgery at 6:50.  Of course you're never just rushed through anything, so we were in a holding room for a while.  My dad came in about 8:30 after getting my nephew on the bus.  About 15 minutes later, they came to get me.

They wheeled me down the hall and showed my husband and parents where they could wait. I said good-bye and told them I loved them.  I wasn't a bit nervous until that point.  What if I didn't wake up?  Was Paul ready to take over on his own?  Would he know what to do about Devan's medications and routine? What if.... what if.....

So the trip back to the OR was made in tears.  They put me in yet another holding room all by myself.  Soon the anesthesiologist and his tech came in to explain what they were doing and ask me some questions... typical, textbook stuff.  Anesthesiologist left me with the tech.... Poor kid knew I was scared, and kept walking to the door to see where the nurses were.  I could tell I was making HIM nervous, too. 

Finally one of the OR nurses comes in, and the tech makes a hasty departure.  Can't say as I blame him!  The nurse is looking at my chart and says... "Tina Jesse".... Well, I was a bit taken aback because I KNEW my chart had my married name on it, yet she had just used my maiden name... Low and behold I looked up to realize it was an old school friend I hadn't seen in over 20 years!  I was instantly put at ease.  She was going to be with me the entire surgery!  I had every confidence in my surgeon, but there is just something about feeling like you're going through this alone!  With Erin there, I felt SO much better!

The tech comes back with the anesthesiologist and off we go to the OR.  I remember getting into the room, and the gurney being pushed up to the table, but don't remember anything after that. 

Next thing I know, I'm waking up in the recovery room.  It's just after noon, and I was taken in around 9, so not too bad! 

The first 45 minutes were agony, but Jim, the recovery RN, was FABULOUS!  He talked to me the entire time, told me exactly what he was doing, swabbed my mouth before I even said I needed it... what a great nurse!  I was beginning to feel better, and the pain wasn't as bad as I expected.  I did end up down there for 3 hours, though, because the room they assigned me to was still occupied.  They needed to have it cleaned once the patient finally left.  I was fine where I was, Jim took great care of me.  My husband and parents were kept informed about my progress and the delay, so all was good.

Finally get up to my room and get settled.  I won't go into all the little details, but I will say that I was very impressed by the staff at Wilson Regional.  They were superb!  The first day was pretty rough, but that wonderful button every 15 minutes was great!  The first day all I could have were ice chips.  DO NOT eat ice chips post RNY.  I knew this ahead of time so I was prepared.  Let them melt in your mouth before swallowing, otherwise your new pouch will cramp. 

The morning of day 2, I was pretty much getting around very well.  I had already walked the unit, and positioning myself in bed was uncomfortable but not awful.  The radiologist came to get me for my swallow study to see if I had any leaks....

Well, if you've read my blog, you know the funny story about the first swallow study, so I wasn't too concerned about this one.  Let me tell you though, it's a whole 'nother ball game when you're post op.  First, that table is SO high and HARD.  Then they want you to drink a mouthful of that gross stuff (this was different than the barium from the pre-op tests).  Let me tell ya, after not being allowed anything but ice, and having a stomach the size of a golf ball, that was the worst experience I've ever had!  THEN they have you roll on your side and try to drink another mouthful.  First of all, you're not really supposed to drink more than an ounce every 15 minutes (think medicine cup size) so I was already feeling like my pouch would explode.  Second, I couldn't bend my left arm because of the IV, and the X-ray tech kept spilling the stuff down my face and neck instead of getting it in my mouth. 

Well, I finally get it all down and the pictures taken, and they move the bed again, making me sick to my stomach.  So I'm trying desperately to get out from under the machine so I can sit up.  I barely got upright and threw up.  Luckily I warned the tech and she had a basin ready for me.  I was so scared I was going to pop a stitch in my new pouch and have to go through the whole process again!

Once I got back to my room, I was fine.  Went in and got cleaned up.  Back in bed and snoozed.  When I woke up, the nurse told me everything looked fine, and they were advancing to clear liquids.  I called down to room service (isn't that cool??  You can order what you want, WHEN you want instead of waiting for the trays to come around.  What a great thing THAT was!).  Anyway, I ordered sugar free jello and chicken broth...  It took me an 8 hour shift to eat one ounce of jello!  I couldn't finish one ounce of water in 15 minutes.  The restriction is THAT good!

Spent a couple more days in the hospital just to make sure I was feeling up to being home.  Came home Sunday...

The past week has been pretty uneventful.  Had a crying spell on Tuesday, I just wanted to CHEW something.  Talked to some of my support buddies and they said to get sugar free Popsicle's and fudgesicles.  What a relief!  I was never fond of popsicles, but they've been a blessing!  AND they count in my fluid intake!

Tuesday I drove the kids to youth group.  I haven't been using Vicodin except at bedtime, so was ok to drive.  Went for a walk to visit my sister, and had to have a ride home.  After 2 blocks I was done in.

Wednesday I attended a support group meeting and saw some great friends.  Everyone was so helpful and encouraging.  I'm so happy I have such a wonderful support network!

Today, Friday, was my first post-op visit... I took the boys to school and went in to say hello.  Everyone was shocked to see me, and telling me how great I look.  It was so nice to hear! I do feel wonderful.  Very little discomfort, only when I drink something too cold or too fast.  I get very tired very easily, so have to watch it.

Off to the appointment... Dr. Tvetenstrand's nurse, Lin, calls me back and tells me how great I look.  We chatted for a bit, and she weighs me....

I'm down 11.5 lbs since surgery!!  That makes a total loss to date of 62.5lbs!

Dr. Tvetenstrand said everything looks great, can't believe how fast my incisions have healed, and wants to see me in another month.  I can start back at the fitness center next Friday!

Stopped to see my mom and share the good news, and her co-workers (my second family, I've known them my whole life) were all saying they could see the loss already, how great I look, etc.  I am just over the moon happy! 

I wish I had done this 10 years ago!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Pre-op liquids day 3...

Well, so far so good, but I am HUNGRY today!

Last night we had our yearly fish fry at mom and dad's for the holiday. I was completely amazed at how much was on my plate after weighing it! Six ounces doesn't sound like a lot, but when you have fish fillets it is! It was delicious! Had 4oz fish and 2oz asparagus. Stayed away from the fries and hush puppies. For dessert I had sugar free jello and watermelon, both allowed in any quantity because it's considered a clear liquid.

Today I think I am hungry for two reasons.... this may be TMI, but my monthly visitor is here. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm actually relieved she's early! Now I won't have to deal with it immediately post-op.

Another reason is that I've been cleaning out my closet. I can't believe how many clothes I had. I have two huge garbage bags for Free Cycle. I also found many items that I'll still be able to wear for a bit post-op. Shouldn't have to buy much of anything for a couple months until I get below the plus sizes... being a hoarder finally paid off LOL! All of those "I'll fit back into this eventually" items will now be put to use!

Tomorrow is my last day at work. I'm really excited, but worried about my student. She cried all day Friday. She knows what is going on, and is more nervous than I am I think. I promised her that I would call her Thursday afternoon so she knows I'm ok. Luckily she has my sister 10th period at school so I can talk to her then.

Her mom is also a very good friend of mine, and has also had the RNY. I keep reminding her that her mommy had the surgery and did fine. That seems to help. Poor kid! I know she'll be fine once she gets into the new routine with my long-term sub. I still don't know who that is going to be yet.

I also applied for another position at the school. The health clerk position opened up, and that is what I originally wanted to do. It is what I did when I lived in Colorado, and I absolutely loved it. We'll see what happens. I stated in my letter of interest that I hoped they wouldn't disqualify me from the selection process based on my leave of absence. Since I have 2 years past experience and am already an employee, here's hoping they do the right thing... unfortunately we have a new administrator and sometimes his version of the right thing and ours doesn't always mesh.

Well, back to the sorting and cleaning. I haven't had the "nesting" instinct like this since my youngest was born 12 years ago!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Pre-op liquids start tomorrow!

I saw my nutritionist yesterday for pre and post op instructions. Starting tomorrow I am supposed to have a protein shake for breakfast and lunch, and no more than 6 oz. of solid food for dinner for the 5 days before surgery.

Wow, is it really only 5 more days?? I can't believe it! Some days it feels like it will never get here, others it feels like the time is flying by.

I placed my first order with for some unflavored protein powder and vitamins that I couldn't find locally. I have to add protein powder to my liquids, purees and soft foods for the first 6 weeks at least, then can introduce more "natural" forms of protein. I know it's going to be rough the first few weeks, just hope I can at least reach the lower end of the requirement.

Well, I think I'm going to head to bed. Might be going to bed really early for the next 5 days to make the diet a bit easier LOL! Can't eat or even think about food when you're asleep!

Oh, forgot to mention that my parents gave us a very nice recliner the other day. It is an "overstuffed" chair, and OMG is it comfy. Will definitely be a Godsend right after the surgery for sleeping. They say it's much easier to sleep in a recliner for the first few days home until your incisions heal a bit. And as uncomfortable as our old box spring is, the recliner will definitely be where I will sleep. Paul's on 3rd shift now anyway so it's not like I'll be abandoning him at night!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Updates after a busy couple weeks....

Well I haven't updated in a while since the fair was last week and school started this week. I thought I'd take a minute and jot some things down...

I had several WOW moments since returning to school. The first one was at the inservice on Tuesday. One of the fitness teachers who was here during the summer while I was working out came over and commented on how great I look! I hadn't been to the fitness center for a few weeks due to vacation and the fair so hadn't seen him. I had been doing other activities, just not the fitness center. Well, I tell ya, what better wow than to have a gym teacher tell you that you're doing great?? I was so over the moon happy! I finally told him about the surgery (hadn't said anything previously, just that I was trying to lose weight) and he was so supportive. He offered to be my workout buddy once released by the doc to resume exercise! AWESOME! So I'll have my very own personal trainer!

Next wow... I fit in a student desk!! Last year it was a tight squeeze and I dreaded having to get back out of it to help the student I'm assigned to. Now I can pop right out and the desk doesn't groan!

Next wow.... tried on a pair of white capris today that were too tight last year... they are baggy! VERY baggy! Wore them with an extra large shirt that I bought thinking it would fit after surgery. Now I'm thinking I need to buy an even smaller size! It's our "official" school spirit shirt the staff is allowed to wear on Fridays....

next wow... one of the teachers came up to me and asked me who I was. I was sitting in the desk behind my student... She didn't recognise me with shorter hair and smaller hips!

I'm down a total of 51 lbs since Christmas....

Ok, back to work!

Congrats Theresa!

Awesome news about getting your surgery date! Keep me posted!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Decor Elements Special Offer!

Let It Grow On You
Our Growth Chart special offer is off to a great start! From now until September 31 you can purchase this darling Growth Chart for just $24.95!

We’re excited to share with you some photos and tips from a few of the demonstrators that have fallen in love with this new, limited-time Décor Elements piece and are sure they’ll help our Growth Chart “grow” on you, too!

You Can Take It With You!
Mom and demonstrator, Anne Warman from Barrington, Illinois, has her house on the market, but that didn’t stop her from using the Growth Chart! Her husband trimmed and painted a piece of plywood to place the vinyl on so when they sell their house they can take the Growth Chart wherever they go!

Crushed Curry Creativity
Grandmother and demonstrator, Gail Beezley from San Antonio, Texas, recently bought a new (old) house with a separate studio. In true Stampin’ Up! style, she even painted the walls Crushed Curry! Gail says, “I fell in love with the Growth Chart and had to have it for my studio. I can’t wait until my granddaughter comes to visit so I can take a picture of her with it.”

This Idea Really Measures Up
Lisa Clark thought beyond the traditional use of the Growth Chart and created a ruler for her craft room. She cut out the ruler, then cut out the inch marks and adhered just the measurement marks to the edge of her counter. She then added the foot and half foot markers back in. Lisa uses this unobtrusive ruler to trim ribbon lengths, make quick measurements of scraps, visualize layouts, and more.

When asked about the other pieces of the Growth Chart that she didn’t use, she says, “I may use the tree and birds elsewhere in my craft room for fun.”

Remember, the Décor Elements Growth Chart is only available through September 30, so place your order today by visiting my website at

Friday, August 14, 2009

September 10th!

Yesterday I got the call I've been waiting for! Dr. Tvetenstrand's office called to let me know my surgery will be on September 10th! I am so happy and relieved!

I spent this morning writing my formal leave of absence request. I don't know why I stress over these things, especially now that we have the "internet". It's so easy to look for samples and combine different elements to create the perfect letter.

Next week I go see Mickey (the psychologist) for my pre-op head shrinking session. After I see her, it's across the street to the hospital for the PAT's... (Pre-admission Testing). EKG, chest X-ray, blood-work... then off to the fairgrounds. Special shout out to Cathy for switching shifts at the fair with me! Love you girl!

My last pre-op visit to Maureen (the Nutritionist) is on September 3rd. She'll give me the pre-op diet and guidelines for after the surgery.

I can't believe it is so close! In 3 weeks my new improved life begins!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Harford Fair Time!

It's hard to believe the summer is almost over. Heck, we just recently started getting decent weather!

With the end of summer means Fair Time! Once again Cathy and I will be manning the Stampin' Up booth at the Harford fairgrounds. This year we are in a brand new location! Look for us right off the midway in the Founder's Building!

You're going to love the display Cathy has made! We're actually moving her craft room to the fair! Come check out how awesome our Definitely Decorative items, Designer Series Papers, and other wonderful products transform ordinary objects into a WOW!

Stop by the booth Monday through Saturday from 10-5 for an awesome special exclusive to my friends. Every person who stops by the booth and mentions this post will receive a free ticket in the Grand Prize drawing! Also, place an order, mention this post and receive 20% off your entire order!! Remember, this offer is only available while I am at the booth, so stop by during the day to take advantage of the savings!

Can't wait to see you all at the fair! August 17-22!

Edited to correct: On Thursday I will be at the fair from 5-close due to pre-surgery testing scheduled that day! So stop by Thursday evening if you can't make it during the day!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

New hairdo!

Well, today I bit the bullet and had all my hair cut off in anticipation of the upcoming surgery and inevitable hair loss. I already lose tons of hair every time I shampoo and brush it, so figured it was time to do something pro-active about it.

It was also pretty damaged from repeated perms and the recent bleaching/coloring episode for Kingdom Bound. Every year we dye our hair funky colors to match our group shirts. This year I decided to bleach it first so the color would show up better. The color was awesome, but my hair looked like straw...

Here is the before pic right after the bleach/color:

and here is the NEW me! Lovin' the hair cut, but can't wait to lose that double chin!

Friday, August 7, 2009

I had my mind erased and my face melted off!

No, I wasn't the victim of torture, but rather spent 5 days at Kingdom Bound Christian Festival at Darien Lake Theme Park!

Last year I was so embarrassed when I went to ride the Mind Eraser roller coaster with some members of our youth group. The ride attendant made me get off because I was "too fat" for the restraint to close properly. This year I am back down to the weight I was 2 years ago when I did fit, so we decided to try it again.

We entered the theme park and made a bee-line for the coaster. I was nervous as all get out all the way over! I was so afraid of being embarrassed again. My stomach was doing flip flops and twists and turns even before getting on the ride...

We decided to ride the front car so we were the first the attendant strapped in. He lowers the bar and CLICK CLICK CLICK! It clicked the mandatory 3 clicks it needed to in order for the restraint to be properly secured! I was instantly calm and SO STINKIN' HAPPY! I started crying! I was on the ride with one of our youth members, and he grabbed my hand and squeezed it. He knew what was going on, and was so happy for me!

We got off the ride and skipped all the way down the ramp! What a great feeling! He promised me NEXT year we were going to ride the Ride of Steel very first thing! I can't wait until next year!!

Kingdom Bound was so amazing for so many reasons. Saw some awesome concerts. Monday I camped out at the park stage all day to see some of my favorites. Skillet was the headliner. They have a new album coming out in a few weeks. They played one of their new songs. When they introduced the song, they said "If this song is rockin' and melts your face off, you have to share the word!"

So Skillet melted my face off after my mind was erased!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Imagine my surprise...

when I checked the mail on Thursday and there was an approval letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield! When I first saw the envelope I didn't think anything of it. I've been getting "explanation of benefits" letters all along detailing how much the insurance was billed, what they paid, and what my portion/copay is. We have an 80%/20% policy so the copays are always different.

Anyway, I opened the letter and it said:

Dear Doctor/Provider,

This letter is to inform you that procedure code XXXXXX for diagnosis XXX.X is covered based on the documentation received......

So!! Yes!! Dr. Tvetenstrand's office had already submitted the forms to the insurance!! I didn't even know! I thought they would do that after I met with him on Friday and we'd have to wait for the approval. This is so awesome!!

So I got my approval for the surgery before I even met with Dr. T.

I met him yesterday. What a nice man! I had heard so many horror stories about his bedside manner. I didn't get that vibe at all!

I didn't even have to "fight" for the Roux en Y procedure, either. All through this process his team has been "pushing" the Realize Band... I know with my habits, large amount of weight I need to lose, and potentially looming diabetes, the RNY is the way to go for me. I thought for sure I'd have to really talk him into letting me have the RNY. He seemed ok with my decision, told me the risks of both procedures, and that was it!

I talked to his insurance/office manager after Dr. T examined me. I gave her my copy of the approval letter. She needs to call BCBS to change the procedure code, so didn't give me an exact date for the surgery. But she did say that it should happen during the first week of September! I'll know for sure sometime next week!

So I'm approved and "sorta" scheduled!

I'm so happy, excited, scared, and just plain READY to start my new life as a "skinny person!"

Monday, July 20, 2009

Latest adventure in the journey aka "Barium doesn't suck"

Man was I nervous. Paul and I left the house this morning and headed for Binghamton. We dropped his car off at work and took mine to the hospital. He's working second shift this week so thought it would be easier than rushing home. We didn't know what to expect at the hospital, and didn't want to risk him being late.

We get to the hospital and check in. The wait wasn't very long. One thing I can say about Wilson Regional Medical Center is that I've never had to wait for my appointments!

They call me back, and I ask if Paul can come with me. They said yes, but he'd have to wait in the hall during the procedure. As we're walking down the hall, the X-ray tech says "You look nervous".... Well, that was the understatement of the century! I told her I was scared that they didn't sedate, and that I have a very active gag reflex. She told me "don't worry, we'll have a bucket and towels ready." Didn't exactly make me feel better!

So we go around a few corners in this maze of hallways. They show me to a tiny room, and have me "gown up". Now, I was a CNA for 10 years, but had never seen the types of gowns. It took me THREE TRIES to get the thing on. Then I noticed the "instructions" taped to the wall... DUH! I should have noticed them before... maybe they should move them to the back of the door where they are more noticeable... LOL!

After struggling with the gown, I head into the procedure room. The tech starts explaining the process. I had to swallow these "air crystal" things, then some Barium solution...

Um, what?? No scope?? Silly me! I guess I've been out of the health field too long, or else I've been reading too many threads on endoscopy on, but I seriously thought I was getting scoped today!

I was instantly relieved and started laughing. I told the tech that I thought I was getting scoped, and she said "no wonder you were nervous!"

They send Paul out into the hallway and have me stand on this platform at the end of the x-ray table. That thing was so cool! It rotated to a "standing" position so you could take upright pictures. The tech hands me the "fizzy lifting drink" and tells me not to burp... HELLO! That was easier said than done! Holy cow! Total bubbles!

Next they had me stand a little sideways and fill my mouth with the barium. I have to tell you, this was NO WHERE NEAR as disgusting as I've heard. It wasn't bad at all! It wasn't even as chalky as I expected... in fact, I later told Paul it tasted better than Greek yogurt!

All in all I only had to swallow 3 mouthfuls, 2 while standing, and one when I was lying on my side...

It was so cool when they put the bed down! Here you are standing on this little metal platform, and all of a sudden you're rotating back. I told the tech (whose name was also Tina) that it was like being at the amusement park! She laughed. She had a great sense of humor and put me right at ease.

So all in all it wasn't a bad experience. MUCH better than what I was expecting. I did feel a little nauseous afterwards, but I think that was more from the "fizzy lifting drink" and the bubbles and not eating before the test.

It was all over by 10:15, so Paul and I had a lot of time to kill in the city. We went to browse an antique store for a while. Some very cool stuff in there! The place was HUGE! And since it was right next door to our favorite Chinese place, we had lunch. It will be the last time for a VERY long time I'll be able to eat out so we took advantage of it. It was amazing, I couldn't eat nearly as much as I normally do. Funny how 2 months of only eating 1 cup of food per meal makes your stomach shrink!

After lunch we went to the mall and checked out GNC and Vitamin Shoppe's prices for liquid vitamins.... we also got tickets for a B-Mets game on the 31st after I see the surgeon....

It was a stellar day!

Flower Power!

When I saw the Ginormous Flowers Decor Elements at convention last year, I just knew I had to have them. With three teenage boys and paneling in every room of our house, I just didn't know where I was going to put them.

Then I started seeing people using them on their cars. A-ha! My silver mini van is now known locally as the "Flower Power" mobile. People wave and beep every time I drive by.

Unfortunately even with the recognition, nobody had really approached me to ask about them. Well, this weekend I changed all that! Our church holds a "Cruise In" every summer. Local car buffs bring out their cars to show off, we have food tents, a band, and lots of fun. This year the youth group talked me into entering the "Flower Power" in the competition in the "open" class. I didn't even have time to wash it, just a spur of the moment type thing.

I WON! I have a nice ribbon! But the best part was I had my Decor Elements on display and able to actually talk to people about them.

So enter your cars in the local car shows, drive them on "cruise night" down main street, park them at the local hot spot for cruisers and let everyone take a look! You just never know when that next contact is going to be looking!

Friday, July 17, 2009

On to the next step!

Today I got "the phone call"! The phone call from the surgeon's office that I've successfully completed the nutritionist and psych phases of the pre-op stuff!

Lin from Dr. Tvetenstrand's office called me to set up the upper GI appointment. I go in next Monday! I also have THE appointment to finally meet with Dr. T to discuss which procedure I want and go over the surgical phase.

Once I see Dr. T, the paperwork will be faxed to Blue Cross for approval!

It's possible that I'll have a surgery date when I get back from Kingdom Bound!

I just hope it's not until the middle of September because of the fair and starting back to school, but if it is, that's ok! This is more important!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wanna win some cool Big Shot stuff?

Stampin' Addicts Visit the site! is having a contest! Grand prize is an amazing pack of the latest and greatest Big Shot dies featured in the just released Stampin' Up Idea Book and Catalog! Check it out! Click here for details

Included in this prize package are the following items:
  • Stampin’ Up! Thanks (Embosslits)
  • Stampin’ Up! Final Press (Embossing Folders)
  • Stampin’ Up! Perfect Details (Textured Plates)
  • Stampin’ Up! Two Tags (Bigz Dies)
  • Stampin’ Up! Fancy Favor (Bigz XL Dies)
No purchase necessary to win these wonderful new products, simply spread the word on your blog!

See the above link for more details!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Journey to a Healthier Me: The RNY Rules

Journey to a Healthier Me: The RNY Rules

What a great resource! I'm adding it here so I can find it again! Thanks Pam!


If I could do cartwheels, I would be out doing a whole bunch of them!

I had my NUT visit today. We went over the post op lifestyles of the two surgeries my surgeon does; the realize band or gastric bypass. We talked about surgery options, and my progress. I showed her my labs. She wasn't as surprised as I was about the cholesterol numbers. She told me that I was doing great with the pre-op diet and the numbers reflect that. Major compliment!

She also talked to me about the billing error. She is working on it herself with the hospital. She can't understand why I was billed double for her services, and was very apologetic. She even told me that today's visit was going to be billed as one cycle instead of two as a way to apologize for the mix up! So in other words she saw me for 30 minutes and only charged me for the 15 minute rate!

But best of all, SHE SIGNED OFF ON THE SURGERY!! I told her my insurance changed the requirements, and she said, "good, you're READY!"

So she's letting the surgeon's office know tomorrow, and it's now up to them to submit to the insurance. They'll notify me when they do so we can get started on the next step, the cardio/pulmonary clearances.

I'm so excited! I should know by next week if I'm approved!! I still can't believe it's actually happening!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Are you kidding me????

When I went through my initial psych consult, Mickey asked me if I had any health problems. I told her other than the weight, I was healthy as a horse. She looked at me and said "No, you're morbidly obese, you aren't healthy."

Well, ok, like I said, besides the weight I am healthy....

So today I went for the follow up with Nicole. She had ordered the echo and labs back on July 2nd. I have to admit I was REALLY nervous about it all. I had never had my thyroid tested, never had a cholesterol screen, etc.

Wanna know my numbers?

Cholesterol 167
Triglycerides 91
HDL 47

OMG are you serious?? I know people on cholesterol meds whose numbers aren't that good! You've got to be kidding me??

Fasting glucose was 85

thyroid was normal, sodium a little high but Nicole said that was probably due to the huge amounts of water I'm drinking.

My echo was perfectly normal, no issues.

So yeah, like I said, other than being morbidly obese, I'm healthy as a horse!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

So excited!

I was researching the different wls procedures out there, and was wondering if my insurance would cover a certain one (the duodenal switch). Unfortunately it isn't covered, so it looks like I'm sticking with plan A of having the Roux En Y (RNY) gastric bypass.

Well, I got looking closer, and noticed something had changed as far as the requirements for surgery. Originally I was told I had to do a 6 month supervised diet to even be considered for surgery. Well, BCBS of Texas (and many others) have changed that! They now only require THREE months of supervised weight loss! That means I am DONE with my supervised diet requirement and can move on to the next step!

I've already done the echo cardiogram that Nicole ordered. Have to talk to the surgeon's office and see if they need an EKG as well. Not sure if they're going to require a pulmonary clearance, so may have to do that. The labs Nicole ordered should be enough (except for the protime level to check clotting factors... will have to do that still).

So this means we can start talking about submitting the forms to the insurance company and getting an actual date for the surgery! I am SO EXCITED! Hopefully by the end of September I'll have had the surgery and well on my way to a healthier, happier THINNER me!

Friday, July 3, 2009

This is the last....

birthday I'll spend FAT!

I turn 41 today. For 39 years I've woken up on my birthday fat. Next year I won't! That is such an amazing idea to me.

Having a birthday on/near a major holiday has always meant PIG OUT CITY. Tomorrow we are having family over, but my husband and I have planned a healthier menu. We're still doing the traditional backyard bbq, but we're choosing low fat items. I'm still making my mom's famous potato salad, but the mayo will be fat free. Instead of baked beans with brown sugar and bacon, we're having Pecos Bill's chicken chili with great northern beans and shredded chicken.... for dessert we're having rhubarb cake with sugar free cake mix.

And we're NOT telling anyone about the changes in the ingredients LOL!

Now a progress note:

Yesterday I had my echo cardiogram. MAN that hurt! I swear the guy took it seriously when someone taught him that you had to put the probe between the ribs to see the heart. He left bruises! I know I'm still extremely fat, but the first place I ALWAYS lose the weight is around my ribcage. I've lost 5 inches already so I know there isn't THAT much fat in the way and no reason he had to shove the probe half way between my ribs LOL!

I also had some blood work done yesterday morning. Another painful experience. I'm of the mindset that "you gotta learn sometime" so I'm always willing to let students/new grads practice on me. Well, yesterday I got a brand new phlebotomist. YIKES! My veins are bad to begin with, and she decided she'd hunt for them using the needle. I finally suggested she try the back of my hand instead... another "seek and destroy" mission. Finally the girl helping her took over, and in seconds it was all over...

The left side of my body looks like some freak artists study in blues and purples....

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Moving right along!

Well, today I start month 5 of the required 6 month medically supervised diet. So far I am down 21lbs since March 26th, and down a total of 42lbs from my highest weight! I am very happy with that!

Yesterday I had an appointment with the nurse practitioner at the clinic. She signed off on all of my weight loss tracking forms for the insurance. She also ordered a bunch of lab work just to "cover all the bases." She also scheduled an echo cardiogram for me. I have had a murmur for decades, so she just wants to be cautious since I am undergoing major surgery in the near future....

So tonight I get to fast until 8:30 tomorrow morning when I get my blood drawn. They're checking everything from my cholesterol to my thyroid. I'm actually glad they're doing this now since I've never had it all done. They've always had a hard time finding a vein to do the draws. Hopefully with the weight I've lost they'll be able to find one this time....

I go for the echo at 2:30, so it will be a busy day running back and forth to the hospital for tests. In between I'm still keeping my scheduled fitness center visit since my youngest has summer reading tutoring tomorrow at 10:30. I've been lucky and most of my appointments have fallen into place with our busy schedules...

Speaking of fitness center, I'm attaching some pictures. I'm very blessed to have access to such a wonderful facility, and even better, it's FREE!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Baby Shower Invites

Here are some baby shower invitations I made for a friend's daughter. The patterned paper isn't SU, but I think they turned out cute. They are pocket cards. Cut paper to 4.25 by 10. Score at 5.5 then 1 inch from shorter end. Use Sticky Strip to form the pocket. Be careful to put the tape as close to the edge as possible to leave room for the insert. Insert is 5.25 by 3.25. The bows are done punching two holes with the Crop-o-dile and threading the ribbon through the front, across the back, and back through the opposite hole. (Criss cross the ribbon in the back and put the ends through the opposite hole.)

Soft Suede (New In Color!!)
Baja Breeze (Outgoing In Color)
Certainly Celery
Whisper White

Ribbon is all Stampin' Up:
Bashful Blue
Certainly Celery

Stamp set:

Hope you like them!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sticker shock!

So I check the mail today, and there is a bill from the first visit with my nutritionist...


OMG I feel like crying... When I first started this process, I was given a financial responsibility sheet that listed the "approximate" charges for the services required to have WLS. Well, the "Nutritional Assessment" was listed as $136, with 3 additional nutritional councelling sessions totalling $204. My insurance will cover the psych stuff, but not the nutritionist.

When I had the initial assessment, I asked the counter people how much the charge was, and the girl said it was "$34 per 15 minutes." but they'd have to bill me.

I am so angry! I was in the waiting room from 2:15 to 3:15 (appointment was supposed to be 2:30) and I was out of her office before 4 pm. So I was expecting a charge of $108 for the 45 minutes I was actually IN her office. Or at least the $136 that I was quoted TWICE, once in writing, and once verbally by the office staff. ($34x4=$136).

I called the financial office at the health center and they're "looking into it" and don't know why I was quoted $34 for each 15 minutes or $136 for the initial. The girl at the billing office said their charge is $64/15 minutes and there is a service charge for self pay. What I think happened is that they billed me for the entire time I was at the center, including the time in the waiting room! In the mean time, I have another half hour consult from last week I haven't even been billed for yet, and I'm already fast going over the "approximate" charges for ONE visit let alone all 4 together. My husband and I sat and worked out the financial aspect of this and were ok with the out of pocket based on the quoted info, but this puts us WAY out of budget!

I know what's going to happen... they've covered their butts by wording it as "approximate" and I'm going to have to pay the entire bill.

Really sucks considering I don't have a full time job in the summer! They better be happy with $20 a week!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Saw the nutritionist today...

And I'm excited!

Not only have I already met my 5% weight loss requirement, but she's SIGNING OFF ON THE SURGERY!! That means she's approving me to move to the next step, which is the surgical consult with Dr. Tvetenstrand!

I can't believe it! She was really impressed with my food logs and the choices I've been making. She did flag a few items, but we discussed the reasons I chose them, and she was very supportive and helpful this time. Things like the bowtie pasta with alfredo sauce I chose during our mini-shoebox stamping swap yesterday. I thought since the sauce was cheese based that it was a better choice than either the pizza or the ziti. She said the ziti was actually a better choice since the cheese/alfredo sauce is mostly fat. She did say that she understood why I would choose it based on what I've learned so far, and was actually impressed by the logic I used in making that decision.

She also said she hasn't seen anyone come through the program yet who has made the changes I've made in such a short time. She said she could tell that I am very motivated to do what I have to do to become healthier.

Unfortunately I still have to wait 4 months until I can submit to insurance. So the nutritionist is having me come back in a month just to satisfy the supervised diet component of my insurance coverage. She also wants me to start decreasing the volume of food I'm eating at every meal to train myself for life after gastric bypass. I'm now only allowed to eat 1 cup of food for each meal/snack. I still have to get in the protein first, then veggies/fruit, and lastly the starch. She was very impressed with the high protein bread I found, and wants me to share that with my support group.

I did ask her if she wanted me to eat a cup by volume or weight. A cup of chicken weighs a lot more than a cup of broccoli. She told me to try both ways and see how I make out... so I think I'm going to start with 8oz by weight and then see if it fits into a 1 cup measure.

Thank goodness I paid attention in Mrs. Klim's science class at work and was able to ask that question!

So here's to a great day, and the next step on the journey! I feel like dancing!

Monday, June 15, 2009

What a nightmare... literally!

I had the worst nightmare EVER!

Our local hospital is the pits. TRULY. I worked there as a nursing assistant for only 3 months and had to quit due to the lack of professionalism of some of the staff.

I REFUSE to take my son there for more than lab work. He needed IV antibiotics once, and I refused to admit him. Instead I drove him 2 hours away and had Geisinger take care of him. That is how bad this place is.

Now, having said that, my doctor (PCP) is awesome. Unfortunately he is affiliated with this hospital. So my chart and medical info is also affiliated with this place. Fortunately the medical center where he practices is no longer affiliated directly, but is now a separate entity.

Now for the nightmare:
I was at the hospital for something. I went into medical records, and one of the nurses was SHREDDING CHARTS! I walk in just as ALL of my medical history for my entire life is going in the shredder! She said that one of the doctors that I had seen on an emergency basis 25 years ago was being investigated for misconduct with a female patient (which is true btw) and that the administration ordered all his patient charts shredded!

I was screaming at the nurse as I'm trying to pull my chart out of the shredder saying "But my insurance won't approve my surgery without my chart!"

She looked at me and grinned and said "why don't you just go on a diet???"

I woke up crying...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Finally a stamping related post!

I promised to post these the other day, but just now got around to loading the images on my computer!

The Real Red card is embossed in Whisper White embossing powder using the Classic Stars wheel and the Varsity Numbers stamp set. The year element is popped up, and the corners are punched using the ticket corner punch.

The Riding Hood Red card is made with Shimmery White cardstock run through the printer. The font is the retired SU Journaling fonts SU Passing Notes. The Shimmery White was then run through the Big Shot using the Manhattan Flower Textured Impressions folder.

Hope you like them!

On a WLS journey note, I attended a support group meeting last night and got to meet a few people I'd been talking to on They were so sweet! It was nice to go talk to both pre-op and post-op people and get first hand information about the different surgeries. I am still "undecided" on whether I want the Realize Band or the gastric bypass (Roux en Y). There are some scary things about both of them. I have 4 more months to make up my mind, and it will all boil down to whether I feel the lifestyle changes I've made and will make will be permanent.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Down 12 lbs!

I can't believe it! I had my first appointment with the nutritionist on Thursday, and I'm already down 12lbs! That means I only have to lose 3 more to meet the surgeons required weight loss before surgery.

We went through my food logs from May 8,9, and 10. I have to tell ya, they were horrible. I had been on a "diet" prior to that weekend, but felt I should show her exactly what my real eating habits were. Not only that, it was Brandon's 12th birthday AND Mother's Day that weekend... So, you can probably imagine what the logs looked like.

She gave me an exchange book to teach me how to choose the proper foods. Some of it is confusing, but I'm sure I'll get the hang of it after a while. It took me a lifetime of eating the wrong things, I'm not going to "unlearn" those habits in a day. I just have to keep reminding myself of that.

There was one thing that happened during the visit that really made me angry. As part of the intake process, I had to list what my activities are.... so, of course, I listed stamping, scrapbooking, reading, and computer. She said I needed to change my activities, which isn't a surprise. I know they are sedentary activities, and have contributed to my weight gain over the past 5 years. However I HAVE made some changes. I've been walking anywhere from 2-3 miles a day with Buddy (our beagle). Sure it's not a fast pace, but most of it is hilly back roads. I was really proud of myself for doing this. Unfortunately it's not "good enough". The nut said I should be walking FOUR miles a day.....

Now seriously, my nut is MAYBE 140lbs if that. I'd like to see her walk 4 miles a day with an extra 150lbs on her! She's lucky I can even tie my sneakers myself let alone walk that far! Many of my friends who are going through this journey with me say they can't even walk from the car to the house without getting winded. So they are all very impressed with the amount of walking I've been doing...

I know I should just let it go like water off a duck's back, but all my life I've felt like I wasn't "good enough", and to have my nutritionist say that only made me want to binge...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

On my way!

Well, last Monday I had my first of many appointments to qualify for WLS. It was a two-hour class with a MSW and Nutritionist. This isn't going to be a walk in the park like so many people think. You have to change EVERYTHING you've ever done as far as food goes.

I've already made some significant changes that I thought would be very difficult, but weren't. First, I haven't had a soda for almost a month! Anyone who knows me KNOWS how significant that is! My dad said he couldn't believe it because I NEVER went anywhere without a bottle of Diet Pepsi in my hand... even to church!

Another is gum chewing. While I admit I still chew, I don't chew every day, and I don't chew all day. Usually pop in a piece after lunch at school to take away the "nasties" if you know what I mean?

Third, and the one I am really amazed at, is I've been walking Buddy, my beagle. Not JUST walking, but hiking! We're up to almost 3 miles a walk! Fortunately living out in the country, we've got some awesome back roads with little traffic, slight hills, and LOTS of gorgeous scenery! I think Buddy is enjoying it just as much as I am. He gets all excited when I put on my sneakers. He knows already that means WALK TIME! I wear slip on Crocs religiously otherwise.

Thursday I have my first solo appointment with the MSW. Hopefully she will not think I need more one on ones, and will recommend just the group meetings. She's basically going to talk to me and find out what underlying behavioral issues cause my eating. Am I a stress eater? Am I compensating for something? Or is it an addictive personality trait? Unfortunately I think it's a bit of all three...

So anyway, I'm off and running in the right direction to achieve my goal of a healthy life!

On the stamping front, I am almost finished with my bestest friend's graduation announcements! I'll post them when I finish them tomorrow!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Never thought I'd be a "blogger"!

I don't know why... I used to blog on Blurty way back before blogging became a "household word". Now it seems it is all the rage so here I am again!

My name is Tina. I'm a Stampin' Up demonstrator (currently more of a hobbyist than anything). I love to stamp. I love to share stamping with others. I hope my friends and family will visit my blog to see the latest things I've created (or CASED from others!).

I am also in the process of having gastric bypass surgery. There. I said it "out loud". Yes, I am finally going to do something about my weight issue that is PERMANENT. I have tried and failed every "diet" out there. Let me rephrase that... I have NOT failed, they've failed me... It had to be a LIFESTYLE change, not a "diet". A diet is a bandaid. It's like putting a piece of bubblegum on a crack in a dam hoping to keep back all the water on the other side. Sure it works for a while, but eventually everything breaks loose anyway.

So, this blog will have my journey both as a stamper and as someone seeking the lifestyle change to finally end her battle with morbid obesity.