Julie's Journey

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008


Just can't get to that 40!!!

I was hoping I would be to 40 pounds by week 8. Well. that didn't happen. I am close at week 9. i just can't seem to reach it.

I am going for my third fill tomorrow. I am going to see Dr Metz. This will be the first time seeing him since Dr Mel left. I am hoping he will take over the care of my wound from the abcess surgery too. I have to take Kayleigh with me, since my appointment is at 10, and her preschool starts at 12:30. She is really good when I get blood tests, she also gets right up on the bed to watch when the visiting nurse changes my bandages, so she should be just fine with it.

I am wayyyy too loose, in my opinion. We went for rides into the mountains yesterday and today. Both days we stopped at McDonalds, and I was able to eat a chicken sandwich (bun and all) both days. I want restriction!!!!!

I will post about my fill tomorrow....

posted by Julie's Journey @ 7:46 PM 1 Comments

Wednesday, August 27, 2008
no post last week

I didn't post or add my weight loss (or should I say gain?? ;( last week. I decided I needed to quit drinking protein shakes and switch to all food meals.

I gained 2 pounds!!!

I just didn't want to post it...even though it was a fact. I am back down again and will be posting more tomorrow. I went ahead and posted my before and 9 week pictures. I can really see the loss in my back end!!!

More tomorrow...

posted by Julie's Journey @ 3:20 PM 1 Comments

Friday, August 15, 2008
Shar-pei and other wrinkled things

I had. my second fill on Monday. I now have 6 cc's. It was fairly traumatic, it took 3 or 4 pokes, but at least I did not PB all over myself this time. I told Dr Mel I had told my husband while we were in the ER that I have decided that after I lose my weight I will just have to have super loose skin, and look like a shar-pei. He looked at me and said "You will need a tummy tuck,,, no doubt about it" I know seromas are very common after tummy tucks. I know it is a couple of years away, but I am stressing about it already.

I am also starting to worry about when I start living a "real" life. By that I mean working, going out, being exposed to food. It is fairly easy now, since I rarely leave the house. I feel I have much better control of my food intake here. I will absolutely need another fill before I go out "into the world". I guess that is when the real work will begin...

posted by Julie's Journey @ 7:49 PM 2 Comments

Sunday, August 10, 2008
More craziness

Well, I had been in pain since my fill last Monday. I figured it was just from Dr Mel poking a whole in the seroma, or putting on the vac wrong. So...I just lived with it! Friday the pain got significantly worse, and I had Ron take me to the ER. They stuck and stuck and stuck me til they got in an I.V. started Then they took blood!!! They were giving me I.V. diladud. I went in for a CT scan. They said my seroma was still quite big. They called the surgeon who had done the surgery 3 weeks previously. He only works a couple days a month, and he was 100 milles away in the mountains. So.... they called his associate that was covering the ER. They decided to admit me (big suprise, with my luck lately!!! NOT ;) Yesterday we were just in a wait and see thing. The surgeon told me he may have to go back into the OR and cut big and deep over my belly button!!!

He came in today, poked a long, thick needle into the seroma three times!!! He got out about 50 cc's of fluid. Luckily it was just what you expect to find in a seroma... no infection. Yayyyyyy.

He told me I could come home, he also said the vacuum wasn't really helping any...so he took it off. Double Yayyyyyy.

I had to wait around for a couple of hours, it was no problem with them. I am feeling better already. I was able to stand up in the shower as long as I needed to wash and condition my hair. It has been weeks since I could do that!! It felt great to be able to do that.

I go tomorrow for my second fill. I am hoping I get some restriction from it. I will write more tomorrow after the fill....

posted by Julie's Journey @ 6:20 PM 2 Comments

Monday, August 4, 2008
my first fill

I went to see Dr Mel today. Before we left the visitng nurse called and said she was on her way. I told her we were on our way to the surgeon. She suggested I take some supplies, in case he wanted to change my vacuum. He did want to change it. He was none to happy since the girl who changed it on Friday (from the visiting nurses) put the black filter directly on my skin, as opposed to over the tape you use. Evidently, this is a big no-no. He said my skin was already beggining to break down from the filter material.

He decided I no longer needed the higher smaller wound on the vac (yayyyyy..that was the one causing most of my pain) He also agreed I have another seroma. He actually went in the wound and made a hole between the two. (the seroma is right above my navel, and the wound is directly under it...down across my belly button.) It was quite painful, but I have had crap just pouring out of it since he did that.

Then we moved on to my fill. He numbed me up (thankfully ;) and went for the gusto. It took 2-3 tries, and got somewhat painful at times. He put in 6 cc's (I have a 10cc band) He pulled out the needle, helped me sit up, and got me a cup of water. I was doing OK after my first 5-6 sips. He told me to keep drinking. All of a sudden I was in pain... a lot of pain. I could only say "too full" between pains. He told me to lay back and he would remove some. I couldn't. I knew I would choke if I laid back. Here it comes.... the big PB... right down the front of my shirt. (For those who are not lapbanders a PB is a productive burp. Basically bringing back up whatever you just ate/drank. It is not really throwing up... you have no bile come up and your stomach doesn't convulse) So, after the PB I laid back down, he stuck in the needle again and he took out 1cc. This time the water stayed down just fine. I go back in a week for another fil!!!

We discussed the need to log all my food. He reminded me nothing white (bread, potatoes, rice, tortillas etc.) He also told me not to use milk in my protein drinks. I used water today, and am drinking it as I type. It leaves even a bit more to be desired than having it made with milk... but it is doable. Right now I am using a scoop of high protein slim fast (7g protein + 1 scoop of extra high protein powder 20g protein + a teaspoon of peanut butter) I have been doing this 1-2 times a day, though I might have to make it 3 times... depending on what I eat.

He was not really specific on what to do post fill. I tried to pin him down. He was kind of casual about it...wouldn't give me actual instructions. He basically told me to go to liquids today (though I can have something soft tonight... like cottage cheese or yogurt, if I feel like it) then move onto soft and work back to regular foods. I wish he was more specific on a schedule. I will stay on fluids today, also possibly all day tomorrow. Then I will go to mushies for a day then soft. I figure by Thursday-Friday I can start on some thin sliced turkey or something. I am soooo anxious to see what kind of restriction I have ;))

So... that is my story. More later...

posted by Julie's Journey @ 2:14 PM 2 Comments
Julie's Journey

About Me
Name:
Julie's Journey
Location:
aurora, CO, United States
View my complete profile

Previous Posts

MY WEEK BY WEEK LOSS week 1 - 5 pounds week 2 - ...
comparison photos_ preop and week 9

Just can't get to that 40!!!
no post last week
Shar-pei and other wrinkled things
More craziness
my first fill
vacuum pic
Archives
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008


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Posted by Julie's Journey at 4:26 PM 0 comments
Thursday, July 31, 2008
vacuum pic

This is what the vacuum looks like on me. It is right over my belly button. The black is just a filter material (sort of lke you would find in your air conditoner or vacuum cleaner) They pack the wound with this material (Youch!!!) and attatch the suction cup. This is the main wound, it is not that painful. I have another one up higher (under my left boob) It is on the lap wound that did not heal. That one is quite painful (though a fraction of the size of the belly wound) I can't wait til these things heal!!!!

posted by Julie's Journey @ 10:23 AM 2 Comments

Wednesday, July 30, 2008
kinda pissed

My husband was off work today, so we did a little running aroud before my doctors appointment today. Our truck lease is up, so we went to a Ford dealership, and that really wore me out. I have NO stamina right now...walking a couple of feet makes me feel like I am going to pass out. I guess that's what a week in a hopital bed does to you. Also... this machine is on a strap I am wearing around my neck ( I tuck most of the tubing into my pants, and have some of it looped around my neck, as well as the vacuum strap) and my neck and back is killing me.

We left the Ford dealership and rushed to make my 3PM appt. As we were walking into the building the office girl called to say the doctor was still in surgery, and it would be a minimum of an hour. I was quite angry. I was feeling crappy, my neck and back hurt, I could barely stand up, and it was 95 Freaking degrees outside!!!!. I had her call him in the OR to ask if he was going to give me a fill when he saw me...I told her I am not going to come in "just to be seen"...I have been seen by enough doctors in the last couple of weeks. He told her he did not know if he was going to fill me or not...he would have to see me first!!! I rescheduled for Monday at 11AM. I am going to go ballistic if he does not give me a fill.

And would you believe it... when I look down I am seeing the seroma fill up again I just don't know what to do. I feel like this freaking thing is never going to get better. While we were heading home the visiting nurse, Heather, (who, btw, I really like) called to ask what the doctor said. As if he is going to do anything about this stupid thing. She told me if it gets significantly larger to call and let her know... she will call the surgeon (not Dr Mel... the trauma surgeon from the hospital) and let him know. She said the doctor is more likely to listen to a nurse, than a patient. That is a call I really don't want to have to make... I am hoping and praying the vacuum does it's job and pulls the fluid out of it.

Tomorrow is week 5. I can start "real" food. I have been looking forward to having some shaved turkey, so we went grocery shopping (I had to use a scooter) and got a pound. I had some of it tonight. It was sooooo good.

Confession time....

Now that I am on real foods, I am wondering what I can go out and eat before my fill. I probably won't get anything... but it is so tempting. Subway is looking better and better. I gues this is what they call Bandster Hell? The time between being able to eat and having some restriction?? I don't like it.

Tomorrow is my offical weigh in day. I will post my totals tomorrow.

posted by Julie's Journey @ 6:30 PM 1 Comments

Saturday, July 26, 2008
Feeling somewhat alive today

Made it through my first night at home. It was tough, my back gets so sore from laying flat on it. My husband had brought out my recliner to the living room. I tried sleeping in it, but the back doesn't stay reclined. I finally climbed onto the couch, put my feet up and the back down. It was not all that comfortable at first, but I was finally able to fall asleep.

I'm not sure if I mentioned it..but I had a PIC line put in while in hospital. They pulled it before I came home, but my arm is still quite sore. I also developed thrush from all the antibiotics. I have this swish and swallow stuff I am supposed to take 4x a day. My throat hurts, and everything tastes crappy (not that I am eating, mind you)

My MIL lives with us, and she is one of the biggest drama queens (not to mention outright liars, you would ever meet) She has been crying sick for a month or so. I was supposed to take her to the doctors on Monday...but I was otherwise occupied. Ron took her yesterday. The doctor wanted her to go to the hospital for a CT scan for a possible stroke. Ron basically dropped her off at the E.R. and picked me up upstairs. They kept her overnight. Looks like no stroke, but some of her blood tests were off (mainly, from what she said..her potassium) It is hard to know what is going on with her because she is such an exagerator as well as downright liar. It has been a somewhat trying day, since Ron is at work and I am taking care of Kayleigh. Good thing she is such a good, self sufficent little thing.

I did manage to get dressed and we went up to Walgreens to pick up my Rx's. I got one for Keflex and one for Vicodin pills. I am going to try to onlt take the pain pills M,W,F when the visitng nurse comes to change my vacuum pump, cuz that is really, really painful. The rest of the time I am going to just try to grin and bear it. At least the pills don't make me as woozy and surreal as the liquid.

I weiged myself last night and was really suprised. The scale said I was down 7 pounds!!! This morning it was only down about 1.6 pounds. I feel this is quite good since eating in the hospital was a challenge. They had room service, the food offered looked awesome... NY strip steaks, pastas, make your own sandwiches and pizzas. I had tomato soup. LOTS of tomato soup. The dietician came in and we talked about my need for protein. She put in the computer I should have Boost with every meal, and I was supposed to eat up to 6 times a day. The Boost was diabetic and quite gross. You can either drink it or take it through a feeding tube. Let's face it...anything you take through a feeding tube cannot be that great. I got to the point I would just send it back on the tray. Finally one of the nurses mentioned they could puree anything on the menu, so I started eating cheese tortelini. It was better than tomato soup!!!

So, other than the yeast infection in my mouth, as well as the one ahem.... down lower... from the crappy TP they use...I swear I got splinters!!! I am healing. I just want to get better. I am hoping in a month or two I will be feeling great, up to speed and loving my band!!!

More later...

posted by Julie's Journey @ 3:08 PM 2 Comments

Friday, July 25, 2008
Finally home

Well...it has been a helish week. Last Saturday I finally went to ER. Friday I was running a temp of 101. Dr M was not overly concerned. Sat it went up to 102.5. We decided to go to ER. I figured they would do a CT scan, drain me and send me home. How wrong I was. They did the CT and said the seroma was about 13 cm. They took LOTS and LOTS of blood. After about 4 hours they informed me they were keeping me.

They told me I was going to be on the 1st floor. I knew I was in trouble when they decided to put me on the 2nd floor because "It's closer to the O.R." I ended up having surgery on Sunday. They took out 750 cc's (about a litre) of pus. As we were coming out of the O.R. I heard the nurses talking it went about like this "How the HELL can someone have 750 cc's of pus in their belly??" They told me I was very close to sepsis. I was put on 3 different antibiotics.

I had to have a PIC line put in (how fun..not) It's not that painful...just really scary. They were taking huge amounts of blood at a time. At least the PIC line made it easier.

I ended up having a vacuum pump put in to pull out the infection. I took a look at the "incision" I was horrified, I thought I was going to barf!!! It was so bad.

While in surgery they also took a look at my still open incision. I was happy to find out it is not my port, at least. They cut it open and debrided it while in surgery, so I have a vacuum on that one too.

Needless to see I am feeling quite crappy right now. I will say bye for now. If I remember anything else, I will post it next time.

posted by Julie's Journey @ 7:55 PM 2 Comments

Thursday, July 24, 2008
Been MIA

Went into hospital Sat night. Still here. Will update when I get home. (hopefully tomorrow )

posted by Julie's Journey @ 10:38 AM 2 Comments

Saturday, July 19, 2008
A bad night... and a small confession

First the confession..... When you get your pre surgery meds they give you a big ASS bottle of liquid Vicodin. I used my first one, and asked for a refill. I don't believe I was abusing it. I was only taking it once a day (right before bed). But, still, I just haven't quite been "all there" I having been walking around the past 3 weeks in a slight surreal fog. I believe this is part of the reason I have not been eating. I didn't say not hungry...just not eating!!!

I went out and put it in the kitchen yesterday. I did not take it last night. It was one rough night!!! The number one thing the meds were doing was help me sleep through the night. I was up about every half hour. But I made it!!! I'm still a bit fuzzy headed, but a bit less today.

I did spike a fever last night. I was a bit over 101. I called the doctor and he was like... "Well, you could go to the hospital for a CT scan, and maybe a drain" but he didn't seem to feel it was imperative. I told him I would wait and if my temp went another degree up, I was going to go. Luckily, it didn't come to that.

The doctor just called to check on me....I told him my port incision is still open, he seemed quite suprised. I am hoping it closes up enough to get my first fill on Thursday.

Oh, well, back to my moist heat compress...

posted by Julie's Journey @ 1:36 PM 1 Comments

Friday, July 18, 2008
It's official..

I have an infection in the seroma. I have all this thick, blood tinged fluid coming out of my belly button. Dr Mel called me in a Rx for a antibiotic. He wants to see me on Monday, too, to see if it needs to be drained. He also told me that if he had put in "regular" mesh, and not the special biologic mesh he used, he would have to go in ASAP and take it out.

Gee....finally, I caught a break...

He told me to use moist heat this weekend, and perhaps we can get more fluid to leak out.

posted by Julie's Journey @ 3:44 PM 2 Comments

Thursday, July 17, 2008
kinda gross pictures

Sorry, but I wanted to show my seroma. This is what I see when I look down.... pretty big, huh??

Other than the pain from the port incision..which doesn't seem to want to heal, and the constant pain from the seroma (I think it may be pushing on a nerve.) I don't know how long the doctor is going to expect me to go on like this

Yesterday I went downstairs for the first time since surgery. What a suprise...Ron built shelfs (which I knew about, of course) put all the crap up from the last couple of moves, as well as making a nice play area for Kayleigh. There is also room for me to walk a whole circuit around the basement. I also had Ron dig out my 3 lb weights to use!!! I figure I will set up a VCR so I can exercise with Richard Simmons for awhile. I actually got back upstairs with no more trouble than usual (stairs have not been my friend for years!!!)

More later...

posted by Julie's Journey @ 8:12 AM 1 Comments

Sunday, July 13, 2008
Not feeling perfect, but starting to feel a lot better

My pain level is still at about a 4....going up to a 7 on occasion. This is soooo much more comfortable than what it was before ;) I have decided I need to start pushing myself a bit more. I set up a playdate for tomorrow at Kayleigh's twin friends...Billy and Katie. I just hope the kids don't try to jump on me. They are both quite affectionate...and really like me ;))

I am also thinking of going to one of the local pools around here and get in some swimming. I figure that way I can get my exercise in, get my blood moving and not get too overheated. It has been hot as Hades around here lately, and I just have not been able to get out and walk (afriad I will pass out half way...really...no kidding)

As you can see, I have started listing my week by week losses. I have been updating my weight loss ticker,(hence, the vast difference between the two) but I am only doing an "official" weigh in on Thursday mornings.

posted by Julie's Journey @ 6:25 PM 1 Comments

Friday, July 11, 2008
seroma description

Seroma; A tumour-like mass or accumulation of serum in a tissue or organ that often occurs following surgery. The serum is a clear fluid consisting of cells and plasma from nearby blood vessel damaged during surgery. This accumulation can cause localized swelling at the site of the surgery.

Symptoms of Seroma:
Bulging of surgical site and fluid-like movement under site on touch/compression
Read more about symptoms of Seroma

Treatments for Seroma:Removal of fluid with a needle and syringe if marked bulging
However in most cases your body will reabsorb the fluid over time


AND...Oh Yeah....it hurts!!!!!!!

How do I know all these things?? I now have a seroma. When I look down all I see is a HUGE bulge over my belly button.

I just can't catch a break


I developed one of these after my last hernia sugery, the doctor had a drain put in. Dr Mel does not beleive in that. He lets it take care of itself naturally. I understand his point...it is a sterile area, once you start sticking in needles and tubes, you have a chance of cooking up an infection. It really hurst, but so do having tubes stuck out of me for 10 days. I guess I just can't win....

posted by Julie's Journey @ 9:39 AM 1 Comments

Tuesday, July 8, 2008
I'm beginning to think the light at the end of the tunnel is NOT a train

I am still feeling really badly, physically, though I am feeling a bit (very small bit) better emotionally.

The itching is still here (I don't think it has let up at all) I have tried about everything. Today I am using the Dermaplast spray they gave me in the hospital after I tore and need stitches after having Kayleigh.

I went out to the grocery store yesterday and today. Yesterday I grabbed a cart and walked the length of the store. When I got to the pharmacy I had to sit, since I felt like I was going to die (or at least pass out!) I sat for about 15 minutes, got up and walked around a bit more. I went over and got a scooter to finish the little bit of shopping I needed to do (I just KNEW I was not going to make it out to the car)

Today I went to the store, then realized my husband had taken my purse out of the car (I have a bad habit of leaving it in the car while in the garage) I had to come home and get it. I was so miserable from the driving, as well as the ins and out of the car. I went in and got a handicapped scooter to do the small amount of shopping I needed to do.

I am close to 20 pounds down!!!! My "official" weigh in will be on Thursday (2 weeks post op)


That is all that has been happening with me.... I really want to give a big Thank You to the people who have been supporting me. Sheila (the best sister ever), Donna,( my best friend who keeps up on me...thanks God for infertility websites!!!)) Melissa (always willing to give me a call to check on me, or give me words of encouragement...You are doing great!!!! You are a such a good example) and Diz. Diz even though we have never met...I consider you a good friend, and I am wishing you the best in your journey also.

More later all....

posted by Julie's Journey @ 6:09 PM 2 Comments

Saturday, July 5, 2008
LOTS of pain

I am still having what generally people call "gas pain" Dr Mel insits it is not gas...that is is the band trying to settle.

I ended up with 9 incision sites..and everyone of them has a rash around it. Also have a rash on the underside of both boobs.

To say I am miserable would be an understatement...between the severe pain (that somethines causes severe pain in my neck and/or sinus on the right side) and the intense itching.

The good news is the fluids seem to be working...I peed all night last night and am now down 12 pounds!!!!

Please, oh please let me feel better soon.

posted by Julie's Journey @ 2:40 PM 2 Comments

Tuesday, July 1, 2008
I'm now 5 days post op

I am finally up to writing, I was in surgery about 4 hours. Turns out I did not have a new hernia, it was the one I had repaired 4 years ago. The mesh they used had balled up and needed to be removed. It took the surgeon quite a while to get that loose and repair the old hernia.

I am having a lot of pain. I thought it was gas pain, but Dr Mel told me it is not, he told me it is the band trying to adjust. I am so afraid I am rejecting the band (if this even happens) If there is something bad going on we cannot afford another surgery. One of the real drawbacks of self pay is if you have some sort of complication, your insurance most likely will not pay for it.

I'm not sure if I lost any weight yet or not. I went to the surgeons office for a blood draw yesterday and I was actually UP .4 pounds!!! I really have to push the water. I am not too upset about this, I know I am still quite full of fluid and gas.

I ended up spending the night at the hospital (actually a medical center) When I talked to the anesthesiologist, he acted like I was going home after surgery. I told him I was under the impression I would be staying, since Dr Mel told me the predominance of hernia repairs spend the night. I went into surgery not sure if I would be staying or not. After surgery they did the dye swallow and told me they would be taking me to my room. I was quite happy about this. They took fantastic care of me. They only have 2 rooms there, and I had my own nurse and helper. Caroline and Andrew. They were right there anything I needed anything. They kept my pain under control (as much as possible...considering) they got me up to walk every 2 hours. I told Caroline I definitely would not have moved around that much on my own (boy, was that true!!) It was a long, painful night, but they made it a lot easier on me. I felt quite bad for Caroline, though, I had to have my IV put into the underside of my right wrist, so my hand was unusable. I couldn't even wipe my own butt. She had to do that for me.

I go see the surgeon in 2 days. I am hoping I see some weight loss by then, also praying the pain stops soon (I was expecting a certain amount of pain, but this debilitating pain is getting to me) I am hoping in a month or two this will all just be a bad memory and I am thrilled with my decision to start this lap band journey.

posted by Julie's Journey @ 12:33 PM 1 Comments
Julie's Journey

About Me
Name:
Julie's Journey
Location:
aurora, CO, United States
View my complete profile

Previous Posts

MY WEEK BY WEEK LOSS week 1 - 5 pounds week 2 - ...
comparison photos_ preop and week 9

Just can't get to that 40!!!
no post last week
Shar-pei and other wrinkled things
More craziness
my first fill
vacuum pic
Archives
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008


Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted by Julie's Journey at 4:24 PM 0 comments
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Todays the day

I will be heading to the hosital in an hour or two. I'll update when I get home.

posted by Julie's Journey @ 7:21 AM 2 Comments

Wednesday, June 25, 2008
tomorrow is the day

I have been doing a lot of soul searching these last couple of days, and although I always knew I had a unhealthy relationship with food, I guess I never really realized to what extent.

I LOVE food. I love to eat, hungry or not. I have always thought about food... a lot. If I am not eating, I am planning my next meal. Invitations to parties or trips out with my friends are all about the food. At night, before I went to bed, I would think about what/where I was going to eat lunch the next day!!

I am very commited to getting this band, and making it work. I know this is the right thing to do for me. I just know it is going to be an uphill battle. I feel I will be fighting my own mind every day.

posted by Julie's Journey @ 8:55 AM 1 Comments

Tuesday, June 24, 2008
2 days left, and I am.....

HUNGRY!!!!

They warned me yesterday at the Upper GI to drink lots of fluids, since the barium can turn into "cement" in your intestines. No chance of that here! I feel I should start paying rent on the bathroom ;)

All this clear liquid and no fiber is not being too kind to me. Took Kayleigh to a park today..they had 1 bathroom there... and a outhouse type bathroom at that. I was sure it wasn't going to be too pretty (but I did manage to make it ;)

Today I have had 2 popsicles and a bottle of water. Guess I will have some bouillon later. Yummy.

posted by Julie's Journey @ 12:42 PM 0 Comments

Monday, June 23, 2008
3 days

Went for my upper GI today. It wasn't too terribly bad. The barium was quite yucky, but I managed to get it down.

Started my pre op liquid diet today... bouillon, Popsicles, jello, and water...yipee.

More tomorrow...

posted by Julie's Journey @ 7:35 PM 1 Comments

Sunday, June 22, 2008
4 days and counting

Went out for a moms night out last night. We went to P.F. Changs. I had chicken lettuce wraps and mongolian beef. OMG, the beef was the best thing I have tasted in a long time. Figures...I find something that good the day before I can't eat it anymore!!! I got an order of wraps and beef to go. Kayleigh and I shared it for lunch. Had steak for dinner...now I am going to go in and make my sugar free jello (yummy...NOT) But, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do...right???

Gonna have my husband take a few "before" pics of me tonight.

I'm getting excited (but scared ;)

posted by Julie's Journey @ 6:48 PM 1 Comments

Saturday, June 21, 2008
5 days left

I took my first shot today. It took a minute or two to get my nerve up. I did it 6-7 times a day while I was pregnant, but that has been awhile. The first time today was the worst...I'm sure it will be easier now ;))

posted by Julie's Journey @ 1:38 PM 1 Comments

Friday, June 20, 2008
6 days

I went to pick up my Rx's today. $125 for 6 prescriptions. Not too bad considering the blood thiner shots were over $840 for 20 shots. I guess my insurance is good for something after all!!!

I need to start the injections tomorrow (oh, goodie)

More tomorrow...

posted by Julie's Journey @ 8:51 PM 0 Comments

Thursday, June 19, 2008
7 days to go

I made my appointment for my upper GI early (and I do mean early) Monday. I start my blood thinner injections on Saturday, and my 3 day liquid diet Monday (gee...I wonder if barium is considered a "clear liquid"?? ;)

Now the countdown really begins...

posted by Julie's Journey @ 3:25 PM 0 Comments

Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Todays preop appointment

I saw the surgeon today, I was with him for 2 hours!!! He wrote me about 5 prescriptions, we went over what he will do, and he gave me a quick exam.

I was a bit suprised... when I asked him how long the surgery will take, he told me he does not want to go over 3 hours. I asked him how long the average lapband takes and he told me 45 minutes!!!! He told me he wants me to have a upper GI (Oh, goodie!!!) before surgery. He suspects I have a hiatel hernia, and said it will need to be repaired before doing the lapband. He said if I do have one he will most likely repair it and do the lapband, saving the umbillical hernia for a later time (this does not thrill me, since it is getting painful) but, I really want this lapband to get done.

I asked him if he was going to look around while he was in there, and told him if he finds any other hernias in the lower belly area I didn't want him to fix them. He told me that is a good idea, since I will need a tummy tuck (and an extensive one, at that) He said insurance is more likely (yeah, right) to pay for it if there are multiple hernias.

Since I have had 2 prior surgeries, he told me he is not sure what he will find when he gets in there, maybe scar tissue or mesh (from the repairs) in the way. I tried to pin him down on what he will do first. I am afraid he will get in there and have so much work to do on hernias that he does not do the lapband. I have seen too many people who got into surgery and did not have the band put in, for whatever reason. That would really suck!!!!

I got a bit of a suprise when I first got there, and they told me the surgeons fee is $1075. I had to break out the credit card and pay that today. Well, It's more frequent flyer miles!!!

I am really geeked and excited today!!!!!

posted by Julie's Journey @ 6:14 PM 0 Comments

I'm getting nervous

8 days before the "big day"... the day that will change my life (for the better) forever. I go see the surgeon tomorrow. I need to start taking injectible blood thinners 5 days prior to surgery. I need to verify with him that I will be staying overnight. This is usually an outpatient procedure, but I am considered slightly higher risk due to blood clotting issues (hence the blood thinners 5 days pre and post op) I had a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot to the lung) almost 5 years ago, while 8 weeks pregnant with my beautiful little girl. We had a major power outage (from NY to MI..including Canada) while I was in the hospital with my PE... 90+ degrees, no air, no flushing toilets, no fresh water....if I had been able to, I would have taken my IV, pole and all, and headed home.

I am getting quite nervous. I know this is a safe procedure, with a very low mortality rate... but, still, it is surgery and general anesthesia. I worry most about something happening to me and leaving Kayleigh motherless. I know from reading posts on Lapbandtalk.com (my new, favorite addiction) that this is a very common fear. It is just not this surgery either...the woman 2 doors down had to have surgery last week. She told me she was concerned about the surgery (even though she had had quite a few surgeries previously) because of her boys.

So..... I guess this makes me normal.

More tomorrow after I talk to the surgeon.

posted by Julie's Journey @ 12:27 AM 0 Comments

Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Just heard from doctors office

I cannot freaking believe it. They want a 2 year medically supervised diet before they will pay for the surgery.

I can't f****** believe it

2 years???? are they kidding me????????

I am so mad about this...I can't beleive it. I have never heard of this before.

posted by Julie's Journey @ 3:21 PM 1 Comments

Sunday, June 15, 2008
Still waiting....

Have not heard back from BC/BS yet. My surgeons office sent the request last Tuesday. I am hoping for a positive answer...though not expecting it!! I guess the pressure is off for me, since I am having the surgery either way (we will just self pay if need be) I hate putting out that kind of $$$, but I don't want to have to go through 2 rounds of general anesthesia.

I went for my medical clerance at my GP Friday. She sent me for a chest X-Ray and EKG. I am hoping they do not find anything there that holds up my surgery.

I am starting to get quite excited and nervous...

posted by Julie's Journey @ 11:55 AM 1 Comments

Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Surgery scheduled

I scheduled my surgery today. It is June 26th at 1PM. I am hoping BC/BS comes through....but I'm not going to hold my breath. The hernia is quite painfull... and getting worse each day. I need to get this puppy repaired. I am really excited. 3 weeks from tomorrow. WOW.

posted by Julie's Journey @ 7:55 PM 1 Comments
Julie's Journey

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Julie's Journey
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Posted by Julie's Journey at 4:23 PM 0 comments
Julie's Journey

Thursday, May 29, 2008
Hating cameras and mirrors

It's funny. I know I'm fat. But, I tend to "forget" it. Then I look in a mirror, and it all comes back. We are staying at my grandmas here in MI, and the room I am staying in has mirrored closet doors. No hiding from those babies. I look at myself, and feel like I am going to be physically ill.

Took my daughter to a playdate/birthday party a week or so ago. One of the moms took and posted pictures from the party. I am so embarrased. I look HUGE (probably because I am. of course) Wish I had a way of going in and erasing her pictures... not that that will change reality. I will still look like this.

How could I allow myself to get here?????

posted by Julie's Journey @ 5:24 PM 1 Comments

A little frustrated

We are currently in MI (finally sold our house here after almost 2 years) My daugther and I flew out May 13th. Talked to the surgeons office before we left. She told me she got the psychologists report, as well as the records from my doctor here in MI. She told me she would send them to BC/BS and call them on Mon/Tuesday (this would be almost 2 weeks ago) and check on it.

Dummy me....I didn't want to bug her...so I didin't follow through with things like I should have. Finally called her today...and she ws like... "Oh, I'm just waiting on the letter from your Preffered Provider" WTF????? She could have told me she needed one....not just wait around for it to magically fall from the sky!!!!

I got a bit upset, she got short, mild words were exchanged. She basically told me she has too much work to keep up with everyone. I asked her to call my doctor in CO, as well as the one in MI and see what she could do about getting this sent in. I want to get this denial process over (real positive thinking, huh???) and get this show on the road. This hernia is causing me a significant amout of pain. Not all the time...I will lean against the counter doing dishes and Owwww..pain all the way across my middle. Sometimes if I lay wrong in bed it hurts, also bending over to pick anything up causes pain.

We are flying back to CO June 4th. I am hoping to have the sugery done around the 18th or so. Just hate shelling out over 5 grand, but I hate even more the thought of having to go through 2 surgeries.

I just want this over.

posted by Julie's Journey @ 5:12 PM 0 Comments

Monday, May 5, 2008
a song that says all there is to say for me

I have always liked this song by Travis Tritt...but now it has more meaning than ever:

The lyrics in italics are the part that really pertain to my life and feelings right now.

*********************************************************************************

Written by Michael Peterson & Craig Wiseman

As a child I was told that I was destined to be nothing
Growing wild as I got older I fulfilled what had been said
Hiding ignorance and fear I prayed nobody saw me bluffing
But I was laying the foundation for a future I would dread
Yeah

Seems like every choice I made would somehow leave me second-guessing
'Bout the green grass I was passing racing toward the other side
I thank God for the blessing
That I finally learned this lesson:
One Step in the right direction's worth a wasted mile behind

Chorus:
Singin'
No more lookin' over my shoulder
No more hangin' on to the past
No more filling up my tomorrows
With yesterday's sorrows
No more lookin' over my shoulder

I could chill a room with reasons why I would not give forgiveness
To the people who had selfishly left me a wounded soul
I kept dragging 'round those memories
Like a ball and chain behind me
Wonderin' why my troubles followed me wherever I would go

Oh, but one night, sick and tired of being sick and tired
I realized forgiveness was the only open road
I swear I heard those shackles snap
The moment that I took that path
I never have one time looked back since the morning I arose

Chorus

I'm singin'
No more lookin' over my shoulder
No more hangin' on to the past
No more filling up my tomorrows
With yesterday's sorrows
No more, no more, no...

No more lookin' over my shoulder
No more hangin' on to the past
No more filling up my tomorrows
With yesterday's sorrows
No more lookin' over my shoulder

posted by Julie's Journey @ 3:14 PM 0 Comments

Saturday, May 3, 2008
Spent most of yesterday crying

The day before yesterday I talked to Dr Mel a couple of times, by phone. One time for almost an hour!!!

He basically told me thatn if BCBS demands a diet, they are not going to waive that.

I pretty well knew that...it's just that I was all ramped up to go through with this...also I HAVE to have hernia surgery..soon! I just don't see why they won't authorize the lapband to be done the same time as the "medically necessary" hernia repair. BTW, this is my 2nd hernia in less than 4 years (3rd lifetime in the midsection...I know I have one or two more in the pannis (the hanging down belly area) hoping once I lose the weight I can get those repaired...and possible a tummy tuck. Anyway, the reason I keep tearing and herniating is because of the weight I am carrying in the belly. So.....they can keep paying for hernia repairs, they can have me jump thorugh their hoops, and ultimatley (hopefully) pay for a second full surgery in 6-7 months... or they can...dare I say it?? pay for the surgery now. Makes sense to me. Too bad I don't work for BCBS IL, huh?? I could save them some money. Nope...it's not going to happen

The doctor called the medical center, and told me he could do the lapband at the same time. It's going to cost me about $5.500 out of pocket. My husband was not thrilled about this, he wants me to jump through their hoops. I was sooo upset. I just want to pay it and move on. Not to mention...I really don't want to have to go through 2 surgeries. He had the attitude that "if you pay for it, the insurance co won..you are doing exactlly what they want you to do" WTH??? It is an insurance co..not a person..this is my life we are talking about here.

He told me "can't you just do Weight Watchers for 6 months" acording to what the doctor infered from the rejection letter..there is more than just going to Weight Watchers needed...you need to be in a "medically supervised program" And, they seem to be quite expensive.

I was so upset, I couldn't stop crying.

Last night we talked about it, and he told me to go ahead and schedule the surgery (we are going out of state for about a month) when I get back, and just charge what needs to be charged. His biggest concern is that if BCBS sees I had a lapband done at the same time, they may reject the hernia surgery (knowing BCBS of Hell, er..I mean IL) that could actually happen. Guess I will have to ask the doctor how is going to bill it, and if he will consider it 2 seperate procedures. So...hopefully I am on my (self payed) way!!!

posted by Julie's Journey @ 8:32 AM 1 Comments

Thursday, May 1, 2008
my sleep study, and the results are...

...mild sleep apnea.

Just spoke to Dr Mel, he told me my results said mild sleep apnea. The only reccomendation was for a 1 litre oxygen flow while sleeping. I will pass on that for now!

I discussed with him the letter from BC/BS stating one of the prerequisites is a 6month diet history. He told me even with all that, I could be denied at the end of the 6 months. I am so stressed about this whole thing.

I asked him if he can put the lap band request into insurance as a secondary procedure during the hernia repair I need. He said that might be an option (though no guarantee on that) I also asked him about my self paying the lap band portion during the covered hernia surgery. He told me the actual lapband hardware is $3400.00. Unbelievable!!!! Like he said, they will pay for replacement joints, but not something that can help towards not needing replacement parts down the line (less body weight = less stress on knees, hips, ankles etc)

He is going to talk to someone at the hospital and see what (if anything) can be done for me. I just want to cry...
Posted by Julie's Journey at 4:22 PM 0 comments
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Got a letter from BC/BS yesterday

And the frustration continues.....

Got a letter from Blue Cross yesterday, basically saying they are not able to make a decision at this point. It layed out the prerequisites, and one of them is a 6 month diet!!!! I am so angry and sick about this. I can't believe they originally told Josephina there were no prerequisites. Now, suddenly, everything changes. It is so annoying.

I did talk to Josephina today, she said she was suprised all the fuss they are putting up. Evidently, the doctor wants me to get all my ducks in a row... 5 yrs weight history, anything I can get from Weight Watchers (I went there about a year and a half ago..though not for 6 months...started doing it online, but don't have any proof), psychologists exam, nutritionist (something he didn't require before ins. started getting so picky), and, of course..the results from my sleep study (which they don't have yet). Once they have all this they will send in the request again.

I asked Josephina if it can be done secondary to my hernia repair, which should be considered medically necessary. I say should because who knows with this crappy insurance???? I also questioned if I could self pay for the lap band in conjunction with the hernia surgery.

As usual, I am so pissed and frustrated....

posted by Julie's Journey @ 1:13 PM 0 Comments

Sunday, April 27, 2008
sleep study = no sleep

Went for my sleep study last Thursday evening. For anyone who has never had one..it is quite an experience. They hook you up to about 20 diferent wires, you have wires on your head (glued into your hair) you have wires all over your face,wires attached to your legs, you even have 2 sensors stuck up your nose!!!

The tech explained to me she needed to observe 3 hours of REM sleep (Yep, they watch you sleep via a camera in the ceiling) she would count the number of "occurances" during my sleep. She told me if I had x number of occurances she would come in and put a CPAP on me.

I feel asleep fairly quickly (though I would have sworn I did not sleep) In no time she was coming in to put oxygen on me,,, great, something else stuck up my nose!! This was about 12:10AM. After that I just couldn't get back to sleep. I was so restless, I kept pulling the wires off my legs as I tossed and turned. She kept having to come in to retape them, finaly she just put practically half a roll of tape to hold them on. Time passed verrry slowly. I just layed there, worrying. I knew they needed 3 hours of sleep. She was going to wake me up (assuming I ever fell asleep) at 6:30 AM, and it was already 4!! Then 4:30. Then 5. Next thing I knew I heard her over the intercom telling me she was going to get me up. I figured they were sending me home early since I was not sleeping anyway. She came in and told me I actually did fall asleep, and she observed 1/2 hour of REM sleep. I asked her how I did, but she told me she wasn't allowed to say. Very frustrating, though I do understand. She told me the report will be sent to my doctor in about 10 days. She did kind of hint around that I did OK...she told me I do pretty well on my side. I am hoping that if they don't have enough time in to make a diagnosis they call me in for another one, rather than just say I do not have apnea, since I was OK when she observed me sleeping on my side. Again, I guess this is just a waiting game, too.

posted by Julie's Journey @ 9:32 AM 0 Comments

Heard back from the insurance company

Josefina called me last week. Told me the insurance wanted the results of my sleep study, as well as 5 years medical documentation of weight. She feels I should be OK, especially if my sleep study comes back showing apnea, since I have other co morbidities (high blood pressure, diabetes, high body mass index (BMI) ) I need to get on my doctor in MI to send my results. Soon it will just be a waiting game.

posted by Julie's Journey @ 9:27 AM 0 Comments

Monday, April 21, 2008
My Lap Band Decision

Years ago I tried to get insurance approval for gastric surgery, I wanted the gastric bypass (Roux-en-Y) done. My insurance denied me. I fought them for awhile, then just gave up. Since then I have met a wonderful man, married and had a beautiful little girl, she just turned 4.

I feel bad that I am unable to run and play with my daughter, I also don't want her to grow up with a "fat mom", or ever be embarrassed by me. OK...I'm sure I'll do things to embarrass her...but I don't want it to be because the other kids are calling me names. I also want to be healthy and around for her.

Because of my daughter, I feel gastric bypass is too extreme. I have decided to have a Lap Band done. I feel this is the right procedure for me. There is no "cutting and pasting" of your internal organs, no malabsorption, and a lower mortality rate. The lap band is a flexible band that is placed around the upper portion of your stomach, it is filled with saline which can be reduced or more added as needed. I fully understand this is not a "magic pill", just a powerful tool that will enable me to make the life changes I need.

I called my surgeons office to make an appointment, at that time they took my insurance info. The girl at the office, Josefina, called back and told me bariatric services were covered..no copay, no deductible, no prerequisites. I was so happy, I went ahead and made the appointment. I went to my appointment, and was quite impressed with the surgeon, Dr. Melniczek. He told me what he would do, explained that morbid obesity (I just hate that term) is a metabolic problem, it has nothing to do with who you are as a person. He infomed me I have an incarcerated umbilical hernia he can repair at the same time, as well as he is pretty sure I have sleep apnea, judging by my symptoms.

He ordered a sleep study for me, wants me to see a psychologist (this he has everyone do), gave me preop labs to have done and informed me I would have to take an injectible blood thinner 5 days before and 5 days after surgery. This is because I am on coumadin therapy for a Pulmonary Embolism I had while 8 weeks pregnant with my daughter. I was so excited..I was really doing this. I was already thinking of "when I'm healthy/thinner" in terms of the future. "When I'm thinner I want to get a dog and walk it every day", "Once I'm thinner we can go on vacation where we have to do some hiking", etc.

Then, reality set in. I called and made an appointment for my sleep study. I got a call back from the hospital I am supposed to go to saying the insurance denied the test!!!! They want 12 months medical documentation about sleep problems. WTF????? Sleep apnea can be deadly, people with sleep apnea are at a higher risk of heart attacks an other issues. Here is a little info on the comlications of sleep apnea:

Complications

Sleep apnea is considered a serious medical condition. Complications may include:
Cardiovascular problems. Sudden drops in blood oxygen levels that occur during sleep apnea increase blood pressure and strain the cardiovascular system. About half of people with sleep apnea develop high blood pressure (hypertension), which raises the risk of heart failure and stroke. If there's underlying heart disease, these repeated multiple episodes of low blood oxygen (hypoxia or hypoxemia) can lead to sudden death from a cardiac event.

The more severe the obstructive sleep apnea, the greater the risk for high blood pressure. In contrast, central sleep apnea usually is the result, rather than the cause, of heart disease.
A study published in November 2005 in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that obstructive sleep apnea greatly increases the risk of stroke, regardless of whether a person has high blood pressure. However, effectively treating obstructive sleep apnea can lower blood pressure and the risk of other cardiovascular diseases.

Daytime fatigue. The repeated awakenings associated with sleep apnea make normal, restorative sleep impossible. People with sleep apnea often experience severe daytime drowsiness, fatigue and irritability. They may have difficulty concentrating and find themselves falling asleep at work, while watching TV or even when driving. Children and young people with sleep apnea may do poorly in school or have behavior problems.

Complications with medications and surgery. Obstructive sleep apnea also is a concern with certain medications and general anesthesia. People with sleep apnea may be more likely to experience complications following major surgery because they're prone to breathing problems, especially when sedated and lying on their backs. Before you have surgery, tell your doctor that you have sleep apnea. Undiagnosed sleep apnea is especially risky in this situation.

Sleep-deprived partners. Loud snoring can keep those around you from getting good rest and eventually disrupt your relationships. It's not uncommon for a bed partner to sleep in another room, or even on another floor of the house, to be able to sleep. Many bed partners of people who snore are sleep deprived as well.

People with obstructive and central sleep apneas may also complain of memory problems, morning headaches, mood swings or feelings of depression, a need to urinate frequently at night (nocturia), and impotence. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may be more prevalent in people with sleep apnea. Children with untreated sleep apnea may be hyperactive and may be diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Geez...even if I weren't having the lap band done I would still need surgery for the hernia. How can an insurance company deny you this life saving test?????

The surgeons office faxed my preauthorization request for the lapband surgery in today, I am waiting (none to patiently) for the answer. I have a terrible feeling it will be a denial, comsidering they don't want to pay for a less expensive, possibly life saving test.

More when I get an answer.

posted by Julie's Journey @ 2:22 PM 0 Comments

The F word

I have been overweight (OK.I'll say the word..Fat) my entire life. While we are on that subject, when did fat become a bad word? It is a description, nothing more. Unless you are fat. Then it can be used to hurt. Believe me...my feelings have never been hurt if a stranger has come up to me and said "Boy, you are a redhead" It is just a descriptive word. But being a redhead does not bring back feelings of insecurity, crueulty and teasing. Being a redhead doesn't make you feel less worthy, afraid you will not fit in restrarant chairs, theater or airplane seats. Being a redhead does not make you flinch when kids (or worse, adults) make fun of you, it does not make you accept unacceptable behaviour from others. It's just a description.

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