Friday, September 13, 2013

Feeling FANTASTIC!

 Now I see where my kids get it from.  Me.  They get it from me.  I hate to it admit it, but yes I procrastinate. I really meant to keep at least a week to week update on here about my lap band surgery.  Really I did.  Honestly.   Somehow I kept saying "in a little while"  or "I'll do it first thing in the morning"  or something similarly along those lines.  But, I'm here now and I'll try to do a little background leading up to today.


I think the last hoop I left you all with was waiting on insurance approval.  Actually, the approval went fairly quickly once I got the office staff to get all my paperwork in.  Getting those "procrastinators" in gear was one of biggest hurdles.  That, however, is not a story I wish to rehash for fear of getting my blood pressure to the boiling point again.  Once I got approval from insurance we were "go for launch" and I was ecstatic albeit a bit scared.

My surgery  was set for July 15, 2013 at 9a.m.  I had a preop class that I had to attend two weeks prior that left me with so much information my head was spinning.  I realized at that class that I was in no way prepared for this surgery.  I thought I had done so much research, but turns out I had only skimmed the surface.  It was mind blowing the amount of information but I was prepared to muddle my way through it all.

On the morning of July 15, 2013 we showed up at the hospital at 6 a.m.  I was taken care of by two wonderful nurses.  We had a bit of chit chat and they did so much to help alleviate my fears and assure me that I was making the right decision with this surgery.  As one of the nurses, Lauren, and I chatted, she asked where I worked etc.  As the discussion went on I asked her "did you know Lydia?"
(Lydia was my wonderful sister in law that we lost to malignant melanoma in 2000).  Lauren's face lost all color and she turned to look at my husband then back at me and said "I named my daughter after Lydia".  I thought Ken was going to lose it.  I thought I was going to lose it.  I thought she was going to lose it.  But, in that very moment a peace came over me.  A peace that I can not even describe in words.  I had prayed and prayed about this surgery.  Praying for God to take care of me during surgery.  Prayed for God to take care of the surgeon and the staff during my surgery.  Prayed for God to take care of my family should something happen to me during surgery.  Prayed for God to give me a sign that this, what I felt was my last resort, was the right thing.  I was so anxious, so fearful, so many emotions I can't even describe.  But, this one sentence out of Lauren's mouth gave me a peace. What are the chances of having her as my nurse, someone connected to someone I loved and miss so much, to be my nurse on the day I felt like was my last chance?  I believe that everything in our lives happens for a reason and a purpose.  I believe that our lives are a well orchestrated symphony of events and I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that God put Lauren in my life that day.  I knew then that it was all going to be okay.  Ken even said to me as Lauren left the room that it was a sign and he now had a peace he had not had until that very moment.  It still gets me teared up even now thinking of that moment.

Surgery went well.  I had a para esophageal  hernia that had to be repaired along with my lap band.  Ken said the surgeon came out to talk to him and said it was the worst he'd seen and he was shocked I was not hurting worse than I was and it would only have been a matter of time before I was very sick with it.  So PRAISE GOD I decided to have this lap band done or who knows what might have happened.

I felt great going home, was in moderate pain that night.  The next day, the nausea started.  I'm not going to lie there were about 4 days of so much nausea that I thought "what have I done" and "I want it out".  However, after an email to the dietitian who changed
my protein shakes and my vitamins and I was good to go.  I've felt fantastic since then.

This past Monday marked 8 weeks post op.  I am down 32 lbs since surgery and 57 lbs from my heaviest.  My clothes are baggy, I'm able to walk up my steps without taking 5 minutes to get my breath, and I feel like I've got a little pep in my step.  Thank you to everybody that has supported me on this journey so far.  It means the world to me that I have so many people that love and support me and I'm learning to love myself.

This is a whole new ballgame for this ballparkmom and I feel FANTASTIC!


March 8, 2010
September 8, 2013 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My new love affair

    I have a new love.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm still in love with my husband, my kids, our life.  But, I have discovered a new love.  Well, two actually.  I'm in love with power tools and spray paint.  I've discovered the joys of both of these things over the summer.  I blame it on Pinterest.  Have I mentioned I'm also in love with Pinterest?

     I'll start by saying that I was really really jonesing for some new bedroom furniture.  Our current bedroom furniture Ken bought in 1989.  Everything about it screamed early 90's with the end of big hair and the beginning of boy bands.   I was needing something fresh, something new, something spa like, something without a price tag of  several thousand dollars.   Because let me tell you, being a ballpark mom does not allow one to go out and just plop down several thousand on a brand new bedroom suit and call it a day. No, no.  I mean I have batting lessons to pay for, pitching lessons to pay for, new bats, new cleats, new batting gloves and those all elusive Nike Elite socks at $15 a pair that my 13 year old covets so much.  Sigh.

     Anyway, moving along.  I had seen on Pinterest the joys of painting furniture and thought, why not?  How much could it hurt?  I mean the furniture is a mess anyway, I'll give it a go.   So, I went to Home Depot, got some gray spray paint and a little sandpaper and I was off to the races.  I decided to do the bedside table first because it was small and in the far corner.  And if I messed it up, it wouldn't show too much and I'd leave the rest of the furniture the way it was.   I also decided that I would "rough it up" a bit and give it a Pottery Barn kind of look.  Hey! might as well go for the gusto, right?  Well, whadda ya know?  I think it turned out beautiful!  It looked so good, I proceeded with the other pieces.   I did throw the huge hutch that went to the dresser out, no way to make that thing look more modern.  I'm so proud of my pieces.  I've much more practicing to do.  But, it gave me such a feeling of accomplishment and quite frankly I found it very therapeutic.  My "new" furniture cost me roughly $20 total.   I'm loving the whole set.







*all opinions in this blog are my own*

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hoops so far

     It's been very helpful reading blogs about where folks are in their insurance approval processes, what they've had to do, and what they've done so far.  So, that is what I'll talk about in this post, insurance approval.  Needless to say, there are a lot of hoops.

     I'm very fortunate that our insurance is going to pay 90% of the surgery if I'm approved.  Calling the insurance company was my very first step.  I wanted to make sure that it would be covered, the deductible, my total out of pocket expenses and that sort of thing before I got too excited and too deep in this planning process.  After talking to the representative and looking at other financing options such as Flex Spending, I decided that yes, I could and should move forward.

    After deciding that the financing wasn't going to be a big problem, I made an appointment with my personal care physician.  He has been so supportive of each and every weight loss endeavor I've tried, helping me any way he could.  And this decision is no different.  He and his staff have been wonderful making sure I got the right documentation to the right place and getting approval to see a bariatric surgeon. I can't say enough great things about them!

     My next step was choosing my surgeon.  I did a lot of research online and looked at many different surgeons, their success rate, their testimonials from patients, and so forth.  After much research, I decided I would give Atlanta Bariatrics a call.  The staff was full of information and never hesitated with any question I had, no matter how trivial.  At the end of that phone call, I reserved a spot for the Weight Loss Surgery seminar at Emory John's Creek.


   I was very nervous about this meeting.  I was going to have to have to go by myself because my daughter had a softball banquet and my husband needed to go with her.  I felt bad about missing the banquet, but the seminars only happen once per month.  I knew that if I waited, I might very well  not ever go.  I had to pull the trigger.  My daughter was so understanding and agreed that I had to put myself first so that I would still be around for her.  She's such a great girl!

     As, I mentioned in another post, I've got some great supportive friends!  I've told everybody about this surgery.  I mentioned to one of my friends at work  that I was nervous about going.  She was so supportive that day and the next day, I got a text from her saying that she would go with me to the meeting that she had my back.  Man am I blessed gal!!!!!!  I'll tell all about that meeting in another post.

     After the information seminar, I made an appointment to meet with Dr. Johnson and the dietitian.  Both of those appointments happened the next week. I really liked Dr. Johnson in the seminar so I decided that meeting with him one on one was my next step to make sure he was a right fit for me.  He was just as personable in the appointment as in the meeting.   I also met with the office manager and she went over what was expected of me by my insurance policy.  Insurance will require  6 months of supervised physician weight loss. During this 6 month supervised plan, I have to either maintain or lose weight for them to approve me.  It kind of seems like an oxymoron, but I guess they want to make sure that you can commit to a weight loss plan and stick to it.   I'm currently in my 4th month of the supervised plan.  I started November 1st with a weight of 287 lbs.  The next visit with the surgeon and dietitian I was at 283 lbs.  The next month I was up 1 lb to 284 lbs.  This past Friday, I weighed 278 lbs.  So, I'm down a total of 9 lbs in 3 months and it was the holidays.  I'm not overly excited about that, but I'm not devastated either!

  I have 4 things left to do besides two more months of supervised weight loss.  I need a psychiatric evaluation, I laugh and tell everybody, "that will take a while, I have TONS of couch material.", another visit with the surgeon, some preop work and lastly a support group meeting.    If I've got it all figured right, we will apply for approval in late April early May and hopefully I'll have the surgery by June.

     So, that's the plan.  If it works out in my time table, great.  If it doesn't that's fine, too.  I believe that when this surgery is meant to happen, it will happen.  I've got faith that how it's meant to be, will be.  Faith, trust, patience, and His timing are all things I'm learning on the new journey of mine.

 

Friday, February 1, 2013

We all have a little history.

  We all know, we all have a little history.  I have TONS of history, so I'll give you the cliff notes version.  Do they even still have Cliff notes?  Anyway.   I guess I should start back a couple of years ago.  Well, lots of years ago.  I've always been overweight, always, always, always.  I went to a "pay as you go weight loss center"  for the first time when I was six years old.  I can remember sitting in the cafeteria eating my dried beef sandwich on Melba toast while my friends were scarfing down homemade vegetable soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, and those sinful peanut butter cornflake bars.  Man, do I love some cornflake bars! I found a recipe about 2 years ago and we have them only at Christmas, but they load on the LBS!  Anyway, I digress.   I wasn't athletic, HATED sports, and would rather hang out watching TV and playing piano.( It's comical to me now how much I hated sports as a child, yet now at the ballpark watching is where I am happiest.  I'm not sure how I got these athletic children of mine.)  Years went by, weight went up.

   Now, we are in high school.  Again, still overweight.  I did the rice diet, the grapefruit diet, the cabbage soup diet, the mayo diet.  You name it, I've  tried it.  After high school, I tried another "pay as you go weight loss center", different from the 1st one, and have good success.  I lost 71 lbs and was at my lowest weight ever at 131 lbs.  Then, I started dating, and eating out, and getting married, and having babies and the weight went up and up and up and up.

   A couple of years ago, I stepped on the scales just to have a look/see.  I  was mortified!  The scale read 298.8 lbs.  Almost 300lbs!!!  How did this happen?  There's no way.  I only weigh 120 lbs, I'm sure of it! At least that's what I see when I look at myself from the chest up.  But, after lots of tears, I decided to once again hop on a weight loss wagon.  I would lose 15 lbs or so and think, "I'm skinny now"  and go back to my old ways.  Last year, I went back to a "pay as you go weight loss center" and did well. I got myself back in the gym and loved it.  However, I got tired of it, life got in the way, every excuse I could think of, and eventually quit once again.
 
     I thought all summer about getting banded.  I researched it in private, I prayed about it in private, and thought a lot about it in private.  And when I say private, you all need to know that is speaking volumes.  I'm normally very open about all that I do, say and think.  But, I  knew this had to be for me.  I didn't want anybody else to throw their 2 cents in.  I've always done things to please everybody else, but this time, it's all about me.  It's my body.  If my loved ones support me, fabulous!  If they don't support my decision, then that's fine, too.  But, what I do know, is that if I don't do something I"m going to die.   My husband, my children, and my loved ones need me too much to let that happen.  Plus, I still have lots of things that I have unfinished business with. One is a certain Disney 1/2 marathon, but that's a whole different blog I have planned.

   When I finally discussed my decision with my husband, tears swelled up in his eyes and he said "I'll do whatever I can to support you, because I love you so much!"  Have I mentioned I have THE BEST husband in the world?  Yes, I am his queen.  My kids were also excited for me.  I think they don't see me as a fat mommy most of the time.  But, I'm embarrassed for them as I waddle around the ballpark with my shorts riding up because of the chub rub and my belly hanging to my knees while all the other moms look like they are heading out for cocktails in between games.  Yes, I think when I lose this weigh, I too, shall wear stilettos, booty shorts, and tank tops to the ball park.  OK, maybe not, that was just a scary image. Back to the support.  My friends have also been very supportive with only a few nay Sayer's here and there.  All in all, everyone is being very supportive and for that I am grateful.

    So, that little synopsis is what has led me to deciding that yes, the lap band is for me.  In coming posts I'll tell you all about the hoops I'm jumping through with insurance, what I've done so far, and what I have yet to do.  I'm thinking that I can apply for insurance approval in May and have this surgery by June.  It may or may not happen that way, but that's what I'm planning on and I'm super excited!



*all opinions in this blog are expressly my own*

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Everything Old is New Again

  It's been 4 years since I've blogged.  I've been on the mountain top and in the valley.  "Sometimes high, and sometimes low.  Sometimes yes and sometimes Oh HELL NO" as the Train song goes. (Which I sing to the top of my lungs in the car every time it comes on, I'm happy to report.  It's so cathartic)  But, with all the mountain tops and valleys I'm taking a path in self discovery and realized there are a lot of things to change and a lot that works just fine.

  The first thing that is changing is after much prayer and thinking and even more research is that  I'm in the process of getting approved to get a lap band.  One of my last blogs here was a quest for me not to be "fat and 40".  Yet, here I sit "fat and almost 43".  That will all be changing this year.  I'll be talking quite a bit in this blog about the journey I'm on. I've read many blogs of bandsters and they have been so helpful that I want to share my journey because it is one that I'm so excited about!  So, that is the first thing that is changing in my world.

    Another thing that is changing in my world is updating my home from 1993 when we bought it, on a SHOESTRING budget.  And I do means shooooooestring!  But, with this wonderful thing called Pinterest and some very helpful home improvement blogs, I'm realizing it can be done.  And it's fun!  Little changes at a time make a big difference.  So, I'll be sharing some of those with you from time to time.

     Things that are working just fine include being a  BallParkMom!  I continue to spend weekends at the ball park watching softball or baseball or at the gym watching basketball.  Seeing my children work hard and excel gives me more pleasure than anything else I can think of.  So far, we're doing that right.

    This morning, my E got an award for academic excellence.  He's so smart and so handsome and works so hard at all he does.  It doesn't always come easy to him, but  as I told him this morning, that is what makes it all the more special.  Hard work and determination go a long way and will take him far.  I'm so proud!



   So, there is my starting back point:  everything old is new again.  My old body, in the course of an exciting journey is going to be new again.  My house, in the course of many DIY projects and a shoestring budget is going to be new again.  I hope you enjoy the ride.  Buckle up!