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

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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!