Monday, January 26, 2009

PATs Today!

I passed PATs today! Surgery is for sure scheduled for Feb. 11th! I'll write more later about today's adventures but right now I am really tired. It was a long day and weekend and a long drive back home today. But it's a relief to have this step out of the way!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ankle Continued: Three Weeks & 2 Days til Surgery!

I kept that cast on for two or three days and ended up with snow in it. Bob & I decided it was not good to have a wet foot and get sick right now so close to my surgery so I took it off for the time being, although it did feel better. It's starting to hurt again now. My Physical Therapy place is getting a new equipment system that they are sure will help my ankle. I went to the podiatrist today and he wrote me an Rx for PT, so we'll see. I just hope the machine arrives real soon so we can get started.

I have been drinking some protein shakes and although I don't crave them, they aren't too bad. I also have been trying out various protein bars. I can't believe how filling they are. But they do say that your taste preferences may change quite considerably after surgery so we'll see.............I can't imagine not liking ice cream! But who knows?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ankle Cast/Brace

I went to see the orthopedic doc yesterday. He confirmed Posterior Tibial Tendonitis. He put me in an ankle cast/brace. He wanted to do a real cast but I balked because of my surgery coming up. I'm supposed to be in it for 6-8 weeks but I can already tell it is goofing up my knee, hips and back. He also looked at my knee and said there might be a miniscus tear which is causing it to lock. He wants me to get through my bypass surgery before we do any MRIs on either my ankle or knee. Maybe this brace will train that tendon to get into the right place. They are getting an ankle/foot surgeon on their team in August and so he said that might be what I will end up having to do. He said there is no hurry for any of this; other than my discomfort. It is much better than it was almost a month ago when this started with my ankle. But I'm on celebrex which I can't take after surgery nor after two weeks before surgery.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Visit to Midland

I am sitting at the computer with my Dad to show him my blogspot. We are just down for the day to visit for a little while and then we will be going back home.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

More Ankle News

I went to the podiatrist today. Cortisone injection into ankle. Feels so much better although I still have the ankle brace on now and so that is fairly normal for it to feel better. Rx for Celebrex although I can't take that or any NSAIDs after 1/26/09. My uric acid level is high so that would be indicative of some gout problems but doc today said there is lots of inflammation, labeling it Posterior Tibial Tendonitis.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

35 Days until Surgery

I am guessing it is common to get jitters when the time gets closer. It seemed so far away until 2009 actually got here! I'm worried that January 26th at PATs, that they might find something wrong that needs to be corrected before surgery and my surgery will be postponed....hopefully not cancelled. Truly, if there is something wrong, I want them to find out about it then and NOT when I am on the table on Feb. 11!!!!!

I've made reservations at the MicroTel Inn in Ann Arbor, about 15 minutes from the hospital both for the night before PATs and the night before surgery, the night of surgery (well, not for me...) and the night after surgery!

I'm wearing my ankle brace now and that helps my ankle pain immensely. Tomorrow, I will go to my foot doctor per urgent care today. He insists I do have gout also because of my uric acid level being so high at 6.9.

I rejoined Weight Watchers yesterday to help control my mutiple feedings of "The Last Supper." So far, I have not been able to get into that program though. It was probably not the best idea but I did and signed up for and paid for six weeks. Last night, Bob thought I had gone out of my mind! Oh well.......................hopefully, I will get on that program and lose some of the Last Supper weight I have gained since my initial consult in September!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Nearly Gout-Pain-Free Day

Yesterday, I woke up with very little, if any, pain in my left ankle and left knee. It was so wonderful. There's always hope! Most of the day, I didn't even use my cane. Friday, I went to PT and had it kinesio taped. I also called Urgent Care and was put on a different anti-inflammatory drug but it can cause stomach ulcers and bleeding so I was worried about that with my upcoming surgery. It also totally made me a zombie. Saturday, I woke up to take the medicine with food and proceeded back to sleep with my overhead bedroom light on! I slept for another five hours!

On Friday, I also asked two prayer chains to pray for my ankle/knee. It definitely felt like a miracle when I woke up on Saturday; the pain was not entirely gone but it was definitely down to a degree where I could live with it. Last night and this morning, the pain has returned slightly more but it is still manageable and I think if I took some Tylenol, it would pretty much go away.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Wrapping It Up for Today--PATS: 1/26/2009

January 26th is PATS (Pre-admission testing) when I will also talk to the nutritionist and find out what I have to do prior to surgery and post-op as well. This post gets into my faith walk a bit so if that is offensive to you, I apologize. But there is more information about my journey to a healthier me in this too, so please do read on. If you've gotten this far, you don't want to miss this part! LOL!

I hit Judy's car.............and then God took it from there. Now, I don't know as God planned for me to hit Judy's car and give them that misfortune too but it sure seemed like it was part of His plan to get me to have this surgery and if so, then, at this point, I am sure glad that I did hit her car! (Sorry, Judy & Bob--her hubby's name is Bob, too! I have a Club of Bob's: my boss' name is Bob also!)

Had we not parked at Fletch's the way we did, I wouldn't have noticed the molding falling off his car. Had I not mentioned it, they wouldn't have fixed it right then while we waited. Had we not waited, we would not have talked to Herb in quite some depth about WLS. Etc. Etc. Etc.

I really had hoped my letters from my docs would be off to Barix Clinic that same week as the last appointment but He had other plans, I guess. Maybe had that happened, I would have had surgery scheduled before the end of the year but after our trip to Las Vegas to see our daughter. That hope was because our out of pocket maximum for me was already met for 2008. For the life of me, I couldn't even DREAM of why God would want me to wait. Well, in Las Vegas I came down with a NASTY case of gout in my left ankle, which is STILL bothering me today, New Years Day. I don't even know if they would have done surgery anyway with this horrendous pain, but had they gone ahead with it, I think I would be MOST miserable because I am pretty miserable with the gout already.

Of course, it appears that our out of pocket maximum increased by $1,000 effective today so it will cost us out of pocket another $1,000 for my surgery but that's okay. God will provide. He always does, even when we can't imagine how that might be. It will be worth it in the long run. We will probably save that much money just in food for me alone! The pouch Dr. Nunn will make out of my current stomach, will only hold about a half cup! You learn to choose wisely what you might like to put in that little bit of space, or so I am told! I would tend to think I would agree!

Has Been the Season for Eating or Do I NEED an Excuse to Eat?

Well, now it seems like everything to me is "The Last Supper"...the last time I can have this or that and this and that. I have gained weight instead of losing weight. The paperwork said to try not to gain; yeah, right! I plan to start Weight Watchers again on Tuesday (meeting day here) to help lose some of the recent gain if not all of it. There is a four week pass.......and there are six Tuesdays up until surgery! That makes it sound so soon! The sixth Tuesday is the day before surgery, so I will go for five Tuesdays. In my online WLS groups, they say if you can lose before surgery, it helps to reduce the size of your liver, giving the surgeon more room to do what he has to do with less possibility of nicking the liver.

Early October Visit to the Shrink

I was able to move my regular appointment with the shrink up about a week to early October. He would do the psychological eval for me per the office gal. We had been working on assertiveness training and his first question to me was how is the assertiveness going? Well, that was my foot in the door and that had been my plan of attack anyway! I said, "That's exactly what I wanted to tell you about." So, first I told him about asking for a pay raise at work--not my forte at all. That was generic enough to tell him to start. Then I said, "And now I am going to practice my assertiveness with you!" He looked a bit startled by that, not knowing what to expect. I had guessed right that the office staff had not told him why I was specifically there--for the psychological evaluation for weight loss surgery. I told him my plans and what I needed. I showed him the format of what he needed to determine and what he needed to write up. He approved and we did it and as my previous post said, Thanksgiving week, Barix Clinic finally had all my paperwork.

I also asked him why the change of heart as he wouldn't approve it previously. He said, "I'm not a scalpel kind of doc. But you understand what you are getting into, you understand what will be expected of you, you have done your research, you have been assertive in going for the initial consult, and you are doing it for the right reasons, #1 to become healthier. You've tried other ways. I think Weight Watchers is the best program but you have tried that more than once and not succeeded and so I think you need to do this." (Note: this is not at all a slam on W/W; I think it is a great program and can work for many; but others have more of a physical/emotional problem with eating that WLS (weight loss surgery) helps with that other programs may not.)

Visit to My Family Doctor

Well, wouldn't you know? About this same time, I received a letter from my doc that he is retiring. Oh great! I went to him and told him the news and he congratulated me and told me he thought it was great and that he was all for it. I asked him why the change of heart? He said, "You are getting no where after all these years and you have to get the weight off and it isn't happening in other ways." He would write the needed letter; I gave him the template. Of course, I know how long my TO DO list is and that I should be doing things on it, instead of blogging but here I am nonetheless. So, I patiently waited for the letter to be written. Fast Forward just a bit: by
Tuesday of Thanksgiving week (a long wait that I persevered through), Barix Clinic had all of my necessary paperwork from the two docs.

On Our Way Home: 9/22/2008 after Barix Clinic Visit

We discussed what we had seen and heard and decided there was no reason to go elsewhere. This place is only about bariatrics. They know what they are doing. They have fat people chairs even! With arms on them! I could have almost sat two of me in that chair! They also know how to push through insurance approval. I knew other places make you pretty much do it yourself and I know people who have been denied by their insurance and I think the big reason is because they didn't know how to get the insurance approved--the magic words they had to use to get approval. This is what Barix Clinic does all the time. I'm not a paid advertisement; I'm just impressed with their management style, etc.

I had all the paperwork with me for what I had to do with my docs: regular family doctor and my psychiatrist. I needed a psychological evaluation and I needed my regular doctor to write a letter of approval stating he had medically supervised my weight loss efforts for at least six continuous months. However, BOTH of them had told me that I should not have weight loss surgery. I figured I had my work cut out for me, but I was determined and I was going to persevere until I found who I needed to do what I needed done.

September 22, 2008--Initial Consult

I had my initial consultation at Barix Clinic with Dr. Nunn. What a very nice gentleman who I am fully confident with. We had a group meeting first and then he met with each person individually after one of his nurses took stats, etc. He took his time with us and answered all of our questions. He asked me what I wanted for surgery, whether it be Roux en Y or lapband and I told him definitely Roux en Y--if he was going in there, we may as well go for the gold! He said, "Good!" I asked if he thought he could do it laparospically (sp?) since I had had a hysterectomy and he was sure he will be able to -- much easier and quicker recovery. Only one night in the hospital! But a five hour drive home. Maybe he will want me to stay overnight in the area. Don't know...will know more after PATS (pre-admission testing) on January 26th, but I am getting ahead of myself.

Study, E-mails, Phone Calls, Etc.

I read online; I e-mailed; I asked questions; I joined weight loss surgery groups online. I checked my BMI (Body Mass Index) which was hovering right around 40...under 40 and Herb had told me you had to have co-morbidities to be approved and with my issues of sleep apnea and hypertension, I was definitely a candidate for surgery.

Barix Clinic called me and scheduled an initial consultation appointment. I figured they would be scheduling out at least three months or so for these and she asked me, "Would Monday, September 22 work for you or is ________ better?" I said, "September 22 is GREAT as we will be half way to Ypsilanti that weekend already since we have tickets to a show in Midland on Friday, September 19." This was great since Bob works every other weekend and actually he is off for six days in a row when he is off so I knew he would be off that Monday, too! I would have to take that day off work but that was fine.

Things were moving FAST! I couldn't believe it. They assured me that if my doctor wouldn't agree that they would figure out a way to get me approved through their doctors--which I now can interpret as they would have put me on a six month medically supervised diet and then I would qualify with the insurance.

On Our Way Home--Bob's Car Fixed--My Car in Body Shop

On our way home (the whole 3 minute trip), we briefly discussed what had just happened and I asked him if he thought I should look into gastric bypass surgery and he definitely agreed looking into it was a good idea. The choices as I saw it were going to Traverse City (1.5 hours from home), Grand Rapids (3 hours from home) or Ypsilanti (5 hours from home). They all had their pluses and minuses. I now knew people who had been to each place each of whom highly recommended where they had gone.

I said I wanted to remain open minded and wanted to find out more information about all three places and others as well. Bob agreed.

Waiting for Bob's Tracker Door Molding--Same Day as Hitting Judy's Car

As we waited, I noticed the name of one of the guys working there was the same last name as one of the guys who Bob works with who has lost alot of weight from having gone through weight loss surgery. So, I asked him if he was related to Bob's fellow worker and why I was asking. His name is Herb and he is indeed related, he is Bob's fellow worker's son! As we talked, he told me he had had Roux en Y surgery and lost (I think) nearly 200 pounds in about 18 months. I can't remember those numbers for sure but they are close. He told me about Barix Clinic and I had contacted them before but my doctor wouldn't approve it and without his approval, the insurance would not approve it either. So that had been a dead end, but this certainly seemed like God was opening a window if not an entire door!

2nd Fletch's Visit--Same Day as Hitting Judy's Car

So, after Bob got home from work, we each drove down to Fletch's and as I got out, I looked at the molding on his door and it was falling off. I asked him, "Isn't that the door Fletch's repaired after you hit the deer?" He said, "Yes." I said, "Then we need to have them fix that; that's not right for that to be falling off." So, amidst doing the paperwork for my car to be fixed, I asked them about Bob's car and they said they 100% warranty their work for as long as you own the car and they want to always make every repair right. They asked if we had time right then to wait for it to be reattached properly. (By the way, it's starting to fall off again.....................I wonder what God has in store for us when we go have it glued on again!)

Fletch's First Visit--After Hitting Judy's Car

Of course, I had just switched insurance companies so I didn't know how this would all go down with the new insurance (AAA) but they have some reciprocal agreement with AAA that they don't even need to turn in an estimate or anything, they could get the approval right there for me and they did. Then there's always the "is this going to cost me more in increased premiums for the next 50 years than it would for me to pay for this repair out of pocket." Well, it's amazing how fast those repairs add up to a sizable bill! Bob & I discussed it and decided we would have it fixed. I called them up and they said they could take it in that very day since they were not at all busy at that time of year.

Whoops! I Hit Judy's Car!

September 10, 2008, I was backing out of my friend's driveway and little did I know she was coming home just as I was driving out! She thought she could make it in past me with me in motion. Unfortunately, I didn't see her.....I heard me run into her car! You may wonder how that could have anything at all to do with my blog purpose! I soon found out they just got their car back from the body shop the previous day from having it fixed where it had been dented from a previous accident on the same fender! I headed right down to "our" body shop--Fletch's Collision Center. (Everyone should have that kind of relationship with a body shop--soon I will be going to a different type of body shop!)

I'm sure you think I've lost my mind but stay with me as I head into my next post....I don't know if when you are blogging a history like this, if it should go in many posts or one long post, but I think it would be easier to follow if it is in separate this was the accident I'll go to the first visit to Fletch's chapter.

Adding Photos

I decided to add some photos to my blog to give a short pictorial history of my journey of losing 1000+# during my 55 years on the planet! Bob, my husband, seems to take few photos of me--probably because I don't fit in the view finder anymore! No, not really, he sees me all the time!!!! He takes pics of things he won't see again or very often. The biggest reason is I just am a poor one to have my picture taken as my blog description explains: I blink or grimace, taking after my Dad!

New Years Day 2009

As the title of my blog states, this is a journal about my journey to a healthier me. I will post later and go back to the beginning, but I just wanted to get this started for now since I have never had a blog before and didn't really know how to create it! It was easy! (Hopefully, it worked!)