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6/3/05 Hi all, I have been lurking here for a few days and thought it was time to fill some of this in. First some general info - I am a 31 year old mother of two children. Joshua 14 and Elizabeth 12. I have been married for 15 years and have struggled with my weight most of my life. I was always a big girl (pretty plus clothes from Sears most of my childhood). I did thin out a bit in high school but was never average. I gained 60lbs with my first pregnancy and have never dipped below 200lbs since then. I have done all the diets - Weight Watchers, Diet Workshop, Slimfast, Atkins, The Zone, Body for Life. I think in the past few years I have become complacent - I felt because I was married and a mom that as long as my weight didn't interfere with my daily life then I would just live with it. I guess that what I didn't see was - even though I have very few weight related medical problems, it was still getting in the way of living. I had thought about gastric bypass in the past but the thought of having my insides arranged in a way other than what I was born with scared me. I wasn't aware until very recently that there was another option. I made my reservation to attend an informational meeting on the LapBand at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston on 6/8/05. I'm very nervous - I probably do not meet the criteria for "medically supervised diets" so I doubt I will be able to have surgery as soon as I would like. It is kind of funny to think that I will have to spend another 6 months doing what I have done for most of my life before I can receive the tool that I believe will save my life; but I am committed and will do what it takes to get there. I guess that is enough for tonight - I will add more as I begin this phase of my life. Good night!

6/25/05 2am - Yes I am a night owl. I didn't realize that it has been so long since I've updated. I went to the info meeting on 6/8/08 and fell in love with Dr. Jones and Angi. I felt so comfortable with both of them that I am really excited about starting this process. I left v/m on 6/16 because I had not heard back from them on what I should do next. I then sent email on 6/21 as I still had not heard back from anyone. On 6/22 I got a call from the office. Everything looks good I need to call on Friday and schedule my first Dr. meeting (2.5 hours long). Wasn't I surprised on Friday when I called to schedule my first meeting... they can get me in on Monday 6/27/05. WOW. Now I am starting to get nervous. There is a $500.00 fee to join the program....they wouldn't tell me to start the process (blood tests, EKG, etc....)and pay the fee if they weren't pretty sure that I am going to be approved? Right? In the mean time I have given up soda and the majority of my coffee (I still have one or two a week). I have also given up smoking for the most part - but that has been hard!! I have had a couple of slips but I keep trying. I cant wait to see what Monday brings...I will keep you updated! TTFN

6/27/05 I had my first meeting today with the nurse and MD. 6 tubes of blood, a review of my application and a physical with the programs MD. Everyone seems to think that this will go smoothly and quickly for me. Next on my list - July 11th meeting with the dietician. July 21 - gallbladder ultrasound and psych eval, I think I will stay in the city after my tests to attend my final support meeting (another requirement done). So if all goes well with the next two meeting I will be setting a surgery date and having my meeting with the surgeon. I was aiming for surgery in September but if all goes well and dates are available (with the surgeon and my work schedule) I could be looking at late August. Oh I forgot - all pending that pesky ins. approval. Wish me luck!

7/15/05 The nutritionist meeting went well, I did find out that I a B12 deficient and will be following up with my PCP but everything else seems fine. They gave us guidelines for eating after surgery and the preop diet. I have psych and gallbladder ultrasound on 7/21/05. I will keep everyone updated on how it goes....getting close.

8/6/05 Hi, It has been a while again. I should update more. Let me see - Psych and gallbladder ultrasound went fine and I now have a meeting with the surgeon scheduled for August 10th. I spoke with Debbie in the office and she said that by the time I get to pick a date they will be scheduling for mid to late September. Kind of what I expected but as I went through all of the testing I started to get my hopes up for something a little sooner. Oh well....Good things come to those who wait...Right? I will check back in after my surgeons meeting. TTFN.

8/13/05 Well, my surgeons meeting went well. I love my doctor!! I have a date - I will be banded on 9/12/05. Yaaaaay. I also found out that I have gallstones - grrrrrr. I will be having my gallbladder out on 8/18/05. I guess it can be a practice run for the band as I have never been under general anesthesia before. It is funny...I am more nervous about the gallbladder surgery than the band. I guess I am worried about having parts removed - it doesn't bother me to have them added. I keep thinking, "what if something goes wrong with the gallbladder that prevents me from having the band surgery...then everything that I have done up until now has been for naught. I guess that is just normal pre surgery jitters-I hope. Well wish me luck, I will update when I have more news. Lynn

8/21/05 Hi all, I'm back from having my pesky gallbladder removed. It wasn't as bad as I thought (don't get me wrong - I wouldn't sign up to do it again just for fun). So for those of you who may need to have this done I will chronicle my day. Arrived at 10am on 8/18 for a 12:30 surgery - it turned out the my surgeons first case of the day was a bit more involved than anticipated so I didn't end up going to pre-op until about 6pm. I was a bit crabby but I understand that we can not control all aspects of life. So, I go into pre-op, chat with the anesthesiologists, get my IV and my hat, booties and rear air conditioned gown. Right before we go to the OR my anesthesiologist give me a "cocktail". We roll into the OR and switch tables and then everything goes real fast. I had people bustling around but mostly I remember the two anesthesiologists, one on each side adjusting my IV - attaching electrodes, etc.. Then on with the mask - "take deep breaths". Well I think I fought them on this because after the first few breaths I couldn't exhale anymore and I panicked. The good news is I don't remember a thing after that until I heard someone say "OK she's responsive" (I'm glad they thought so because I don't remember responding to anything.) I was wheeled down to recovery about 8pm. I wasn't in any pain but I was dry and fuzzy (good for club soda not for me). I would say that I felt myself or as close to it as I could around 11pm but the nurses had decided that it was to late to send me home so I would have to spend the night (my wonderful Mom who came with me spent the night in the family waiting room of the hospital on a couch and the liaison got her some pillow and blankets - she was more comfortable than me I think). I was in my room at 1am and got no sleep - partly because I couldn't sleep and had really wanted to go home and partly because there was always someone in and out of the room for either me, my room mate or the trash barrels. The nurses were wonderful and brought me Jell-O and tea at 1am - I was starving as I had been "nothing by mouth" since 7pm on 8/17 and here it was 1am on 8/19. I was discharged around 10am after a lovely breakfast of eggs (I think), tea, oatmeal (I didn't chance it), sausage and cranberry juice. I have been home for two days now and all systems are operating within normal parameters (no colace for me - yay). As for meds I had one percoset at 9:30pm the night of surgery and have been fine with Tylenol since. Hopefully my band goes as smoothly! Time for a nap - I'm giving work a shot tomorrow so off to bed early tonight. TTFN

8/22/05 I just read an inspiring post and have included it below. "The Easy Way Out" Original Post by Bette Blackwell at 11:46 AM PST on 08/22/2005 Bridgeport, CT - Lap Band (12/02/2003) I've sent this along to some of you who have asked, but I thought maybe I'd put it out there for everyone. I wrote this about a year and a half (and many, many pounds) ago, after hearing one too many people in the press refer to WLS as "the easy way out." It was my way of dealing with the rage, since I was unable to punch the offender in the face through the radio. Agree or disagree, but here it is. Feel free to use it if you need ammunition against those who disagree with your choice. Or, just punch 'em in the face. It's a win-win. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Easy Way Out “Well, you’ve lost 69 pounds. How do you feel?” I must have looked at the doctor like he was speaking Swahili. How do I feel ? Lighter. Overjoyed. Smaller. Happy. Healthy. Exhilarated. Terrified. Doubting. Is weigh loss surgery a “cheat”? Is it “the easy way out?” That, unfortunately, seems to be the opinion of a lot of people, probably more than anyone realizes, since most people with that opinion seem to be smart enough to keep their mouths shut. "Hell, if you had any balls, you’d lose weight the old-fashioned way!" "The rest of us are toughing it out with exercise and the ability to push ourselves away from the table!" "If you had any willpower, any self-restraint, you wouldn’t be fat!" "Jeez, try a salad once in a while!" "All you had to do was get some doctor to staple your stomach a little and, voila! Instant thin person! Anyone can that! " I can’t imagine that two dieters would say to each other, “You’re doing low-carb? You’re taking the easy way out!” “Oh! Weight Watchers – that’s taking the easy way out!” “Jenny Craig? Hell, you don’t even have to COOK! That’s the easy way out!” But what damn difference does it make HOW anyone loses weight, as long as the result is the same: better health and a better quality of living. “The Easy Way Out.” I wish I could have been reminded that I am taking the easy way out five minutes ago when I was throwing up my dinner. Again. You know what I ate? Two baby shrimp and two strips of chicken that, together, were the size of my little finger. Folks, this IS the hard way. It means that I’ve tried a lifetime of diets: Slim Fast, rice diet, high-carb/low fat, high-fat/low carb, cabbage soup. Hell, I even tried those diet candies called “Aids”. Remember those? Yeesh. What a publicity nightmare that product name turned out to be after about 1985! But they sure were tasty! The diets never worked or, rather, they worked for a while, then they didn’t. I lost weight, and gained it back. Lost weight, gained it back. It’s like the instructions on a shampoo bottle: lather, rinse, repeat. Diet, gain, repeat. And those returning pounds never came alone; they always brought a bunch of friends with them to take up residence in my ass. To make the decision to have weight loss surgery is to face the realization that this is it: the end. I’ve heard people call it “the last house on the block.” Your options are gone. You’re never going to get any thinner. You’re certainly not getting any younger. Those knees, hips and ankles are going to need replacing sooner rather than later. And chances are, you might not live much longer. The short time you have is going to be filled with can’ts and don’ts and never agains. Stares, giggles, comments. “We don’t have anything in YOUR size here.” “Wideload.” “Fatass.” “Orca.” The short time will be full of big things like diabetes and high blood pressure, of osteoarthritis and edema and congestive heart failure. Of annoying things like recurring yeast infections and skin ulcers. Of little things, like not being able to cut your own toenails or wipe your own ass. Then, finally, it’s resignation; it’s just giving up. You reach the point of living the rest of your increasingly short life in discomfort, pain, illness and depression, or reaching out and praying that there is one last hope. It’s reaching the point of being willing to subject yourself to dangerous surgery, pain, and possibly even death. It should be given a scenic kind of name, like “Desperation Point”. They could sell postcards: “GREETINGS FROM DESPERATION POINT!” This IS the hard way. Every meal has to be as carefully and scrupulous studied as if you are on a diet: because you are. Not for a month, or until your vacation, or until the wedding. For the rest of your life. But it is so much more than just a diet. There is the missing element of eating as pleasurable as it once was. Instead, there’s constant worry. Is that food, which you always loved, going to “agree with you” still, or will it make you sick? Have a couple of bites of your half-cup sized dinner before your last meal has cleared your new stomach, and it’s coming back up. Have one tiny, pencil-eraser sized bite of food too many and it’s coming back up. One chew too few and it’s coming back up. Too much fat or sugar and you’ll get “dumping syndrome”. Not enough protein and your hair will fall out. Not enough iron and you’re anemic. Not enough potassium, and your heart will stop. This IS the hard way. It’s living with the terror of gaining the weight back and knowing that there will be NOwhere else to go. There are NO other answers. This is it: the last house on the block. It’s there, every minute of everyday. And it’s not “the easy way out”. This is the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do. THIS is the hard way. And is it worth it? Hell yes. The joy is overwhelming. To be able to buy clothes in a regular store. To tie my shoes. To be able to walk even a block again. To lose the painful edema in my feet. To sit comfortably in an armchair. To wear my cowboy boots again. To know that my blood sugar levels are down and that I don’t need to take as many meds. To know that I’ll be able to spend even a few extra years with the husband I adore. Worth it? Oh, yes, yes . . . YES!

9/11/05 3am Well, it is offically the "day before" and sure enough I can't sleep. I am not nervous more like excited with nerves on the side. I am forcing myself to go to bed now so that I am not a mess when I go to the hospital tomorrow. See ya'll later.

9/16/05 Well I am home and banded - Yay!! It is day 4 and I am feeling soooo much better. Here is my story 9/12/05-10:30am Arrived at BIDMC, waited about a half hour before being brought into pre-op, one of my anesthesiologist came and started my IV (BIDMC is a teaching hospital so although he got my IV in with no problems you could tell that he needed to practice more - he almost forgot to put on gloves - but he did a good job). 2pm still waiting to go into the OR - they were cleaning the room - must have been the cleanest one around when they were done. The anesthesiologist came and wheeled me into the OR - My main anesthesiologist is also my surgeons wife - Stephanie Jones, she was wonderful - she went out and talked with my Mom after surgery and told her that I wake up very well. 3:45ish Surgery went great - no problems, I lost 25lbs before so my doctor was able to fit me with the smaller band. Recovery - my first though "What in the hell have I done" I was in pain but that was quickly remedied. 5pm Into my room (my room mate had been taken to brain surgery and did not return until the next day) I rested comfortably - had a morphine pain button that I could dose myself with - Wonderful. Nothing by mouth until tomorrow but the mouth swabs are great for getting that dry feeling in your mouth and throat to go away. Vitals ever hour or so - I don't remember what time I got up for my first walk - it must have been around 8pm. One lap down the hallway and back - the nurse said that was enough for day one. 9pm-7am I don't sleep well away from home and this was no exception I was away every hour and the night crawled by but I wasn't in any pain. 9/13/05-9am my IV stopped flowing - I was getting back in bed from a walk and bent my arm and that was it - no more IV. A nurse tried to start one in my hand but couldn't get it - no fluids and no morphine - but still OK. 10:30am Transport came to take me down to have the barium swallow done - still no IV but my nurse got me a couple of Morphine injections - oww. Fluoroscopy was awesome (barium is not as bad as the clear stuff they make you drink first - gag) I got to see my port and all my plumbing - pretty cool! Back to my room - more walking - went to the solarium to read. Got to have my 1oz of water by mouth - it was sooo good. 12:30ish tolerated water well so I got to have 1oz strawberry CIB per hour. Not bad. Walking & resting. IV nurse came to start an IV - tried two additional locations with no luck - said that they should put a long line in my whole arm (I think not) - feeling like a human pin cushion. Got my catheter out - Yay. 1pm another IV nurse arrives - told her to go away that I was leaving in a few hours and she wasn't poking me anymore - she left. 3pm Peed - cleared to go home!!! 5pm Chocolate CIB for dinner - Yum. 6pm My surgeon stops by to check on me. Told me I could stay and leave tomorrow. I had to convince him I was good to go (I needed to get some sleep and it wasn't going to happen there). He reluctantly agreed (Dr. Jones is so over protective - I like that in a doctor) Home by 8pm exhausted, sore but happy. (all times are approximate as morphine has a way of making you a little fuzzy) More to come....

9/24/05 Time to update - My BMI has gone from 51.5 to 45.4 since surgery so I am no longer super morbidly obese! My unoffical weight at this time is hovering around 265. I have a follow up on 10/5/05 at which time I will get my offical weight. So it has been 12 days since surgery and I am finally feeling about 98.2% myself. I no longer have insicion pain and can easily get out of bed or in and out of chairs with no problem. I am still having trouble bending over to pick stuff up off the floor but it gets better every day. I can sneeze and cough with no pain. I have gotten my hunger back but I am so disgusted with all of the foods on my list that I am struggling to down my protien shakes. Just 10 more days and then I should be on to mushies - what a relief. I'll check in as I have more to share.

10/5/05 Had my first follow up appointment today and everything is going well. I have lost 34lbs and been advanced to the stage 4 diet (mushies/soft foods). My incisions are healed and looking great according to the Doc. So far I can't complain about anything except the liquid diet. Boy that was rough. Well I'm off to try some Tuna.....wish me luck!

11/2/05 Got my first fill today - 1.5 cc's in my 4 cc band. It was pretty cool my surgeon had one of his fellows do it and it was absolutely painless. Then he had me chug some water to see if it was to tight - I'm chugging away and he looks at the fellow and says "You might not want to stand there" - Luckily the water stayed right where it belonged - in me not on the floor. Also got weighed - down to 257.2 so that is -42 lbs. Yippeee. My scale has been lying to me for weeks (tonight when no one is looking I am going to chuck it out the bathroom window!).

11/7/05 OK I'm 1 week shy of 2 months but I felt like taking pictures today so I have some new ones. I am starting to be able to see the loss now - My clothes don't fit any more. This is a size 22 top and my baggy 24 bottoms (I didn't fit into the bottoms 6 months ago) I have been wearing 26/28 's for so long that I forgot that I owned some of the stuff I'm wearing now.

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11/21/05 I haven't done a lot of self analyzing to this point but I read a good post this afternoon. "How do you change your eating habits". My response turned into a personal insight so I thought I would post it here rather than take over someone else’s post. My thoughts: Cool, I have been wondering the same thing lately. I have a 1.5 cc fill in my 4 cc band and I don't think that I have any restriction - I go back to the doc on 1/4/05 and told DH that I was going to get more fill even if I had to fight for it (I have a feeling that because I am losing at the rate that I should my doc will not want to give me an additional fill) But then I started asking myself - "what is restriction?" I don't want to be so tight that I can't eat the thinks I like - chicken, tuna, bread occasionally. But I have this mind set that says I need "restriction" - maybe we should change that word - to me restriction means a physical inability to do something. I follow the rules - eat how and what I should - I only eat when I am hungry (depending on what I ate last that can be 2-4 hours between meals), I don't drink with or right after meals and I eat until I am full (about 1 - 1 1/2 cups of food). I am losing 1-2 lbs a week on average. Funny - sounds like I may have restriction? I have had bad days where a bag of pita chips and hummus go down no problem. So I figure - oh well its not like I have restriction. Instead I should be saying "that was a bad choice - don't do it again just because you can". If I get tightened up to the point where I can't eat a bunch of pita chips and hummus chances are I won't be able to eat chicken at all and that is not what the band is about. Everyone is right - the band is a wonderful tool (I am down a total of 55 lbs since preop and feel great) but I need to wrap my head around the fact that the band will not do it for me - and that has been the hardest part. Just because I can eat like I did before - doesn't mean I should. And the band isn't going to help with that unless it is to tight - thus taking away my ability to choose what I eat.

12/12/05 Well it has been exactly 3 months since my surgery. I was feeling kinda down - didn't feel like I have lost much lately (gotta get another fill in 3 weeks) so I did my monthly measurements and pictures - now I can see it. Normally I wouldn't put these up on the web (me in a bathing suit....faints) but I couldn't resist - some day I will look back at these pictures and go - OH MY GOD, I'm awsome!! For now I just go.....Ok, I can see it, I think. Warning to those who are faint of heart and small might want to look away. Picture one is the day before surgery and each picture is at a one month interval ending with today -
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Image hosted by I can't believe I just did that.....argggggh (trust me they will just keep getting better!!) Sorry about the wardrobe change...the first suit doesn't fit anymore....the girls just flop right out and this is a PG site! Lynn

12/16/05 - Got a new hair cut yesterday - love it. I am going to email OH to have my avatar changed to this pic (so much better than the last one - and my eyes are open)!

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Weights and Measures275266250245 -30
My NSV's Down from a 26/28 to a loose 22. Took a link out of my watch - and it still fits. Wore high heels to work and kept them on all day. Wore a thong for a whole day (ewwww still scary!) Wore a ring that hasn't fit my ring finger since my first child was born (15 years ago....OMG). Took a bath and the water flowed all the way around me.