Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It's been...

One week since you looked at me,
Cocked your head to the side and said I'm angry...

(Barenaked Ladies, "One Week")

One week since the start of my pre-op diet. One week of emotional ups and downs. One week of good days and not-so-good days. One week and almost 5 pounds.

Start of Pre-Op Diet (10/24): 263.8 lb
One Week In (10/31): 259.2 lb
Loss: 4.6 lb

So I super duper hate the pre-op diet. It sucks. It's not sustainable for me, but then again, I don't guess it was meant to be sustainable anyway. I have had days with "fuck it" moments where I've cheated a bit, (not entire "fuck it" days, mind you) and then days like yesterday, where it was nothing but protein shakes and stick-to-it-iveness. Obviously I need to work on channeling the latter for this last week before surgery.

My goal is to get down to 255 by surgery day, so that's another 5-ish pounds in this last week.  I would appreciate any extra "you can do it" vibes that you've got just laying around. Send them my way, sisters!

As far as THE LIST goes, tomorrow I stop all medications and replace ibuprofen with Tylenol. I still need to get to a drug store to purchase the Hibiclens, but I don't have to start that until Sunday, so there's still a little time there.

In other news...

If the weather isn't too horribly crappy (they're calling for cold and rain, fun!) we're going to take Bubbers to MFN's (My Friend Natalie if you're new 'round these parts) neighborhood to hand out candy. We live in an apartment and haven't gotten one single trick-or-treater in the 5 years we've been here, so I thought it would be fun to go to her house.

The kiddo is not a huge fan of his costume, but I think he's monkeylicious!
"Haven't you always wanted a monkey?!" Oh, BNL...
And also in other news...

Hugs to you if you've been affected by that bitch, Sandy. We have just had some rain and light snow here in Cincinnati/Dayton, so nothing near what has happened in other areas. Hope you're all doing okay if you're in those parts!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Weighty Matters...

  1. Blood work
  2. Fitness Consultation
  3. Nutrition Consultation
  4. Sign Pre-op Paperwork
  5. EKG
  6. Start pre-op diet (10/24)
  7. Pay in full (10/24)
  8. Pre-op physical (10/26)
  9. Stop taking all medications (11/1)
  10. Start Hibiclens (11/4)
  11. Pick up post-op meds (11/5)
  12. SURGERY DAY (11/7)
  13. Post-op Follow-Up (11/14)
  14. First Fill (12/7)
Slowly crossing things off up there. I had my pre-op (read: pointless) physical this morning with my regular doctor. She asked me all the normal questions about my diabetes numbers and my back flare-ups and general health and then she gave me the go-ahead. 

Two awesome things from this appointment, though - 

(1) My blood pressure was AWESOME. Like, awesomer than awesome, for me. 116/74, which is the lowest reading I've ever gotten. I've never been diagnosed as hypertensive, except for when I was pregnant, but my numbers have always fallen in the "pre-hypertensive" range. 116/74 is sitting pretty in the "normal" range, which is totally deserving of a "woot!"

(2) Not so awesome was that I found out my highest weight was actually higher than I thought it was. I had thought my highest weight ever (non-pregnant, of course) was 278, but it turns out that they have my recorded weight back in March at 281. The good news is that when I weighed in today (in jeans, mind you), I weighed 261! Twenty pounds down! Also totally deserving of a "woot!"

As happy as I am with that 20 pounds, it doesn't for one split second make me think that I don't need the surgery to help me lose the rest (and keep it off). I had some help with these 20 pounds that isn't always going to be there. 

First, about 3 months ago, I had my IUD removed. I instantly - and by instantly, I mean, within about a week - lost about 8 pounds from that and have kept it off. LURVE being back on the pill again, and as a bonus, thanks to Mr. Obama, my birth control is free every single month. Whether you like him or not, ya gotta love free medicine! 

Secondly, my primary doctor put me on a diabetes medication called Bydureon around the same time. It is a once weekly injection in the belly, which sucks, but it's nowhere near as bad as the 2-3 times daily insulin injections I was having to do while pregnant. Bydureon helps with all the diabetes related stuff, of course, but has the added bonus of appetite suppression. There have been days where I couldn't eat more than a couple bites at each meal without feeling completely stuffed to the brim. 

The downside to Bydureon is that (1) it's an injection, which is no fun, and (2) unlike my birth control, it is NOWHERE NEAR free. Each injection would cost me more than $100, which is more than $400 per month, out of pocket because of my employer's crappy insurance. 

Luckily, my doctor is awesome and has been giving me samples of the Bydureon for a while so that I don't have to spend the money. Really, if she hadn't been giving me the samples, it wouldn't even be an option because of the cost, so I'm super grateful for her/that. 

And the third thing helping with my weight loss right now is this stupid, horrible, no good, very bad pre-op diet. (Can you tell I'm loving it?!) I made it through the day at work on Wednesday just fine, but had a breakdown that night. No matter how prepared you think you are, you're never going to understand how few 800 calories is, and how limited your food choices are, until you get there. 

I have slightly modified the diet by adding in 2 oz. of lunch meat, which meets all the diet criteria of low cal/low carb/high protein, and as long as I'm staying under 800 calories per day (which I have!), I think I'm doing just fine. According to my home scale, I've lost more than 4 pounds since Wednesday morning. 

My official weight at the surgery center was 270.0, and they want you to lose 10 pounds before surgery, so technically, I'm already there. Not that I'm not going to do the diet, but it's good to know that I don't have to stress about meeting the requirement so they'll approve my surgery. 

So now, it looks like I'm clear on THE LIST until 11/1 when I have to stop all my meds. All of the big requirements have been met, and the surgery is officially paid for (eek!), so now all I have to do is finish out this diet, wash up with the Hibiclens for 3 days, and wait. 

It's getting real up in here, folks. Who's excited?!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Well, hi there, LB!

Just a quick note to say "Howdy do!" to Charming Shoppes, Lane Bryant's parent company. Thanks for visiting my blog...

I hope I didn't hurt your feelings with my previous post about your wonky sizing techniques. In all seriousness - if you want a girl to give you a few pointers, I'd be glad to help you out.

Thanks for visiting, and feel free to leave a comment next time! :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Prelude defines prelude as "a preliminary to an action, event, condition, or work of broader scope and higher importance." I think that's pretty fitting here. 

So this is it - Day One of my pre-op diet. Eek!

I had a tiny OH SHIT moment yesterday when I was heading out to lunch and realized that it was my last "old" lunch. I had Olive Garden, which is kind of symbolic of the life I used to lead that got me here. Then last night, we had Applebee's. Not as a "last meal", because it's not even an absolute favorite of mine, but I did enjoy a variety of nutritionally void foods.

Since I hadn't seen my adorable kiddo for a few days, I was jonesing for some fun time with him, so we worked on our Halloween pumpkins for a bit before bedtime. I bought three Mr. Potato Head pumpkin kits for us this year because I figured they were more age appropriate for Bubs than carving. Plus, WAY less mess. Score!

Can I just tell you how ridiculously fluttery my ovaries get when I see my husband do things like this:

Men with tools. Serious concentration. 
After we got Bubs to bed, I went to work on a plan of attack for my pre-op diet. I knew I had a hodge podge of protein shakes and mixes hanging out, so I went about organizing them.

Being unsure = Shopping spree
Then today, I made a spreadsheet to try and keep everything making sense.

Hi, my name's Anna, and I'm a spreadsheetaholic.
I packed a bag full of everything I would need today: 
  • Crystal Light Energy mix in Wild Strawberry
  • GNC Total Lean RTD shake in Vanilla Bean
  • EAS AdvantEdge RTD shake in Chocolate Fudge
  • Sugar Free Jell-o in Strawberry
  • Kroger Brand "Vitamin Water" in Tropical Splash
I wish I would have thought ahead and sliced some mini cucumbers to bring as a snack. I didn't think about how much I would want to actually chew something. Womp womp. But, as Scarlet O'Hara says, tomorrow is another day, and I will think to pack cucumbers then. 

Well, Scarlet didn't say that last part, but if I remember correctly, she did have a thing for radishes. Wait, was it radishes or turnips? I don't know, and I'm too lazy to ask Mr. Google, so argue amongst yourselves on that one, and somebody let me know what the consensus is.  


I couldn't sleep last night for thinking about today. But I'm doing okay so far. I have spreadsheeted all I can spreadsheet, including a form to keep track of my intake, which was really nothing more than a gratuitous attempt to feed my Sharpie addiction:

Any excuse to feed my spreadsheet/Sharpie addiction...
But I think it will actually be handy to have. And so far, my coworkers are playing along nicely by not cooking anything yummy smelling in the microwave. Although, in about half an hour, I will be accompanying a colleague to lunch. She is literally the only work-related person who knows about my surgery. (She does contract work for my company and we work closely together. She isn't an actual employee of my company, and doesn't actually work in my office every day.)  Luckily, she is bringing her lunch, so it's not like we'll she'll be eating at a yummy restaurant and completely torturing me. 

I have a feeling this whole process is going to be mind over matter. I don't really FEEL hungry, but it's just what you do around lunchtime, you know? Plus, I usually need that hour away from my desk in order to refresh for the afternoon and not totally want to kill myself by 2 pm. Do I drink my second protein shake while I'm with her just so I have something to do with my hands? That's probably not the smart answer. Maybe I'll take a flavored water with me. 

So here's where we stand on THE LIST:
  1. Blood work
  2. Fitness Consultation
  3. Nutrition Consultation
  4. Sign Pre-op Paperwork
  5. EKG
  6. Start pre-op diet (10/24)
  7. Pay in full (10/24)
  8. Pre-op physical (10/26)
  9. Stop taking all medications (11/1)
  10. Start Hibiclens (11/4)
  11. Pick up post-op meds (11/5)
  12. SURGERY DAY (11/7)
  13. Post-op Follow-Up (11/14)
  14. First Fill (12/7)
Oh yeah...number seven. Ho-ly Jeebus. After The Hubs gets off work this afternoon, he's driving over to the surgeon's office and handing over $9, 550. We are financing $8,000 through Care Credit, and handing over $1,550 in cold, hard cashola. (Well, "debit cardola" doesn't quite roll of the tongue.)

After that, it's officially official and there's no turning back. Not that I want to, of course, but I'm still slightly wigged out about the big dealiness of all this. It's just how I roll with change and new things. Maybe getting it paid for will help me kind of just give in to it all. Accept my fate. LOL

Oh, and some stats: At my first visit to the surgeon's office (9/27) I weighed 270.0. This morning, I weighed in at 263.8. 

And, randomly and sadly, I got an email that my surgery time has been changed from 10 am to 1 pm. BLARGH. No food or water from midnight on. Tons of fun, but oh well. 

So this is where we stand. I've had a protein shake and a sugar free jell-o so far. I've got 615 calories to go for the day, and 13.5 days to go, so let's get to it. 

Hey, there are worse songs to get stuck in your head...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Awesome Anniversary

A wee bit o' background for ya - October 21/22, 2006: The Hubs and I had been dating for less than 4 months and decided to take an impromptu day trip to Bowling Green, Kentucky to tour the Corvette manufacturing plant.
Ah, six years younger and 50 pounds skinnier...
Since we were already half-way to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, we decided on a whim to just head down for the night and come back the next evening. We had very little money, no hotel reservations, and the time of our lives. 

Smoky Mountain Pit Stop
Fast forward two years, and you're at October 20th, 2008 - two days after our wedding and the first day of our week-long honeymoon in...Gatlinburg, Tennessee. 

(Pretend you see pictures here of us, just two years older and a few pounds heavier.) 

Fast forward four more years, and you're at October 20th, 2012 - the third time The Hubs and I have been to Gatlinburg together, and also, somewhat coincidentally, the third time we have been to Gatlinburg on that EXACT SAME weekend in October. I now consider it our lucky weekend. The weather is always fantastic, and things just kind of seem to fall in place for us there and then. 
Yep, it's hanging off the mountain.
We arrived at our chalet around 3:30 pm on Saturday. See that gorgeous 2013 Chevy Equinox? It's not ours, but we wish it was. The Hubs and I have had our hearts set on one for a while now, and he jumped through a thousand hoops to find one for us to rent for the trip as a surprise for me. One Thousand Awesome Husband Points for him! 

We settled into the chalet and changed clothes for dinner/sightseeing around town. Remember how I had said I had been waiting for a steak from The Park Grill for months? It TOTALLY didn't disappoint. I had a combo 5 oz. filet mignon and pineapple moonshine grilled chicken - mouth orgasms all around.

After dinner we did a little sightseeing around Gatlinburg. Bought some fudge, which is a requirement down there, and also visited a moonshine distillery. They were offering free tastings of their 12 flavors of moonshine, so The Hubs and I gathered all the courage we could muster and saddled up to the bar.

They started - STARTED - with 100 proof White Lightning moonshine...
Seriously, The Hubs and I thought we were gonna die, y'all. After a too short recovery period, the next sample was White Lightning marinated cherries. Yum, cherries! This can't be bad!  

Um, not so much. We are total losers! I couldn't get my 1/2 cherry down, and The Hubs suffered through his. From there, we decided that we are not cool enough to be moonshine junkies, and gave up on the tasting. But, I have to say, I am dorkily proud of the fact that we both even TRIED the White Lightning. I bought us a magnet and Christmas ornament to commemorate our bravery. LOL

Sunday, we had a train excursion from Bryson City, North Carolina, which is near Cherokee. To get to Cherokee, you have to drive through (up, down, around, into, etc.) the Smoky Mountains. Great views, hell on the inner ears.
How do you like his $3 sunglasses we bought during an emergency WalMart run the night before? LOL
The train excursion was through the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, and was a 4.5 hour trip through the mountains. The Conductor walked our engine to the front of our train and we boarded our swanky first class car.
I think I can, I think I can.
First Class, y'all. It's how we roll. 
Our first class ticket came with lunch and desert aboard the train, a free souvenir tumbler with free pop/tea/coffee for each of us (which you can see in the above picture), and a free embroidered tote bag each. We rode about 1.5 hours out and had a layover at the Nantahala Outdoor Center, where we watched amazing kayakers make the river their bitch. 
No kayakers here, but you'll just have to trust me. They. Were. Awesome.

Then we took the train back to Bryson City and did a little shopping there. I got The BFF some Pumpkin Butter and we got ourselves some Sweet Potato Butter. So delish! 

After leaving Bryson City, we went back to Cherokee to the Harrah's Casino on the Reservation. No pictures of this, but I totally won $70 on a 30 cent bet on penny slots. Boo-yah! I ended the night up $40, Jack ended down $15. Not too shabby for us novice gamblers! Then we drove back through the mountains (much more scary in the pitch black night) and ended the night with wine (me), beer (him), and cigars (both) in the hot tub on the chalet deck. 

Monday, we partook in a Gatlinburg tradition - the Sky Lift. 
One cable and one tiny little yellow bar protecting you from sure death.
We did some shopping and looking around, and then we hit up another Gatlinburg tradition for us - going to the Thomas Kinkade Gallery. Ever since that very first trip to Gatlinburg, we make it a point to go into the Gallery and drool over the expensive beautiful-ness. Back in 2006, we literally fought over two paintings that we couldn't have afforded in a million years - Evening Majesty (which is now sold out unless you want a gigantic one for $2200, btw), and Mountain Paradise

The Hubs pulled me aside in one of the gallery rooms and told me, very sweetly, that he knows how badly we've both wanted a Kinkade, and that he doesn't do enough nice things for me (not true!), and that he wanted to surprise me and purchase which ever one I wanted as an anniversary gift. 

I was floored. My husband is frugal. My husband handles the finances and gets upset when I eat out for lunch. My husband wears underwear until you cant figure out which hole the legs go into because he doesn't "need" to spend the money on new ones. (TMI? Sorry 'bout that.) But the point is - here was my sweet, sweet man, telling me that he doesn't do enough for me, and offering to buy me any incredibly expensive painting I wanted (within our pre-determined budget, of course.) Seriously? Tears. At the art gallery. In public. But I don't care. 

We had an awesome dealer working with us, who was able to help us figure out a way to stay within our budget and accomplish two things: (1) Get the Mountain Paradise Kinkade that we have been wanting for so long (24x36, and framed), and (2) Get another painting that we had seen in the gallery this trip and fallen madly in love with. This one is by an 18-year-old, self-taught artist named Abraham J. Hunter, and it's GORGEOUS. And all mine in an 18x27, also framed. 

The Hunter piece will be arriving this week, but we have to wait until December to get our Kinkade. The piece has to come from the warehouse, which takes 3-4 weeks, but our gallery is hosting a highlighting event with a Kinkade Master Highlighter (a painter who was taught by Thomas Kinkade himself, who highlights certain areas of the paintings with an additional layer of paint, adding value to the piece) in early December, so they are going to keep our painting there so that it can get highlighted, then ship it to us. I can't wait!  

After dropping a redonkulous amount of money on artwork (how "adult" of us! LOL), we went to a few more places and then headed out of Dodge. We finally arrived home a little after midnight this morning and promptly passed out. All in all, my trip was fabulous. I love my husband, I love that city, and I love my life. :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Lane Bryant Can Bite My Ass

So I spent my lunch break partaking in every fat girl's favorite pastime - searching for jeans that fit.

Oh. My. Jeebus. Just shoot me now.

I currently have two pairs of jeans that I wear on a regular basis - a 26 petite Fashion Bug brand, and a 26 petite St. John's Bay from JCPenney. Both of these jeans are way too big and baggy now. Yay! Sort of.

Enter the frantic gotta-find-jeans-on-my-one-hour-lunch-break-at-the-ridiculously-busy-mall debacle.

Fashion Bug went out of business, so I can't go back there. JCPenney had NOTHING that fit or flattered. At Elder Beerman I found an awesome pair of Ruff Hewn jeans that were the perfect length and a very good fit. Score! And then I looked at the price tag...


For one pair of jeans.

Nope. Can't do it. Don't really want to spend three days alone in the Tennessee mountains with a mad husband.

So then I did the thing I swore I'd never do. I went to Lane Bryant.

You see, years ago when the geniuses at LB lost their ever loving minds created their mind bending new sizing method of mixed colors, shapes, and sizes, I swore that I was done shopping there forever. You are a shop that is supposed to make it EASIER for larger women to find cute clothes that fit and flatter. Now suddenly I needed an advanced degree in heiroglyphical analysis AND five hours of free time to navigate your new and "improved" sizing methods.

Nuh-uh. Not gonna do it.
I created this myself! Woot!

But today, against my better judgement, I went anyway. It's been years since I had tried to buy pants there. Surely they had refined the process some by now, right?

Why are you sideways?! :(
I tried on every single Red Square/Yellow Triangle combination from size 22 to (get this!) size 28. What ended up fitting me best there? (And I use "fitting" and "best" VERY loosely) A Yellow Triangle 28.

I shit you not, my friends. I went from a well-fitting Ruff Hewn 22, to an ill-fitting, tight in all the WRONG places 28 at Lane Bryant. At the fat girl store! Say it with me now:




Needless to say, I left there pantsless. 


I left there with pants. Just not new ones. That would be embarrassing. And I was late getting back to work. Why does this process have to be so hard, my peeps? 


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ten Things Thursday

It's time for Laura Belle's Ten Things Thursday:

1) Thank you all for your kind and thoughtful comments about my freak out yesterday. I'm feeling much better and reminding myself that it's okay to be scared, but more important to be brave and give myself the chance to succeed.

2) Today is my 4th wedding anniversary. It feels like it has been two days and two decades all at the same time. Time is flying, and I don't like it. But I do love that husband of mine.

3) Here are 10 wedding day pictures, because I'm feeling nostalgic.
Best. Day. Ever.
The Dress. 
Me and my MOH, The BFF.
The Hubs and his boys.
During the ceremony.
He's mine! 
Our first dance. (Michael Buble: "For Once In My Life")
Getting the garter. The Hubs is an ex-racecar driver. 
Cutting the cake. That cake was AWESOME a year later, too!
The rings.
4) My kiddo is heading to his grandparents' house today and I won't see him until Tuesday of next week. Sadness.

5) The reason he's at his grandparents' house is because The Hubs and I are going on a little getaway to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Happiness.

6) I have literally been waiting for months for the steak I am going to get at The Park Grill on Saturday night.

7) I start my pre-op diet next Wednesday. Eek.

8) Ten things are hard to think of. I was doing well until number eight here.

9) I started my second term at WGU at the beginning of October. I finished 13 credit hours last term and I'm signed up for 14 for this term. Math, Science, History, Classroom Management, Human Development and Learning. Fun times.

10) The BFF started her first term at WGU at the beginning of October. I am super excited for her to be on her way! If all goes as planned, she and I will graduate at the same time, even though we are in different degree programs.

And that is all! Happy Thursday, my friends!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Struggling with Skepticism

I really don't know if this is all a coincidence because I'm getting so close to surgery, or if it is something that I should really, truly be concerned about, so your advice is much appreciated, dear, smart, Bloglandians.

It seems like all is not bunnies and unicorns and roses in band world, and it's starting to make me worry that the band isn't as smart a choice as I once thought it was. I know that there are many good stories and that people tend to believe the bad easier than the good, but it just seems to be creeping into my consciousness lately. 

First, I was talking with my step-mom, who is INCREDIBLY supportive of my surgery, and she casually mentioned that one of her friends had the band, lost a lot of weight, and then gained it all back. 

Then, I was chatting with another good friend, who is also supportive, who mentioned that she knew a guy who had the surgery, lost a lot of weight and then gained it all back. 

And then, remember how I mentioned that almost everyone in my surgeon's office has had the band? I have since found out that one of the nurses has had a revision, one of the office workers had a dilated pouch and has gained all her weight back, and the billing/scheduling lady that I have been working with has gained A TON of weight (compared to the associate pictures that were taken early last year).  

And, apparently I wasn't paying attention, because I was catching up on Dawnya's blog and saw that she's completely unfilled after band issues. 

I am trying so hard to remember that everyone has a different experience and that sometimes band failure is due to "operator error" (totally not saying that's the case for you, Dawnya!). And I'm also trying to remember that there are people out there like Lap Band Gal and Catherine who have been, and continue to be, incredibly successful. 

I just don't want to spend $10,000 and have surgery if the odds aren't in my favor that I will be continually successful in the long run. 

Am I just being a fear monger? Am I worrying over nothing? Should I focus on the fact that my band experience will be my own, and could be completely different from the experiences of those who have had trouble? Or is there something that people aren't really saying when it comes to the effectiveness of the band long-term? 

I don't know. I'm exactly 3 weeks from surgery today, and I'm a paranoid freak. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

One more thing...

  1. Blood work
  2. Fitness Consultation
  3. Nutrition Consultation
  4. Sign Pre-op Paperwork
  5. EKG
  6. Pay in full (10/24)
  7. Start pre-op diet (10/24)
  8. Pre-op physical (10/26)
  9. Stop taking all medications (11/1)
  10. Start Hibiclens (11/4)
  11. Pick up post-op meds (11/5)
  12. SURGERY DAY (11/7)
  13. Post-op Follow-Up (11/14)
  14. First Fill (12/7)

Dear EKG Technician Lady, 

I sincerely apologize for the 4 months of unshaven leg hair that you had to navigate to place two of your leads. I was unaware that a heart test required the use of my cactus legs, but in the future, I will be more prepared. 

You deserve a raise. Especially for helping me with hair removal when you ripped off the stickers and took a nice square-inch-sized spot of hair with you. 


Monday, October 15, 2012

Making Progress, Drowning in Paperwork, and Pre-op Diet Shopping

  1. Blood work
  2. Fitness Consultation
  3. Nutrition Consultation
  4. Sign Pre-op Paperwork
  5. EKG
  6. Pay in full (10/24)
  7. Start pre-op diet (10/24)
  8. Pre-op physical (10/26)
  9. Stop taking all medications (11/1)
  10. Start Hibiclens (11/4)
  11. Pick up post-op meds (11/5)
  12. SURGERY DAY (11/7)
  13. Post-op Follow-Up (11/14)
  14. First Fill (12/7)
This morning I had my fitness consultation and also went to the surgeon's office to sign all my pre-op paperwork. 

My fitness consultation was supposed to be at 8 am, but signals got crossed and the trainer didn't show up until about 8:45. She then rushed me through what was supposed to be an hour-long consult and I walked out at 9:10. Basically, she tested my strength ("Try to push my hand up with your leg", "Try to push my arm away with your arm", etc.), showed me some exercises to do around the house, gave me a resistance band and showed me some exercises to do with that, and then told me I was good to go. Man, I feel like I really got my money's worth on that one! Blargh. 

Then I drove over to the surgeon's office (they're all in the same hospital complex) and signed my life away on a bunch of forms. 

Lap Band Paperwork. So far. 
In this folder, I have:
  • A map of the hospital complex showing where I have to be, and for what
  • My orders for my blood work and EKG
  • My final financial agreement, which shows how much I'm financing, how much is left, and how the remainder amount needs to be broken down (i.e., one check for anesthesia, one for hospital, etc.)
  • A copy of my signed Consent for Photo Use (I did not consent, LOL)
  • "                            " Informed Consent for Surgical Procedure/Sedation
  • "                            " Authorization for Lap Band Surgery/Acceptance of Risk 
  • "                            " Consent for Blood Transfusion if Necessary
  • Notice of Patient Privacy Practices
  • Supplemental Informed Consent for Lap Band Procedure
  • Two documents regarding my pre-op diet requirements
  • A document describing the Hibiclens product I have to bathe with for three days prior to surgery
  • A document describing Surgery Day procedures
  • A copy of the Discharge Instructions
  • A document showing the dates for my post-op eating phases (i.e. Start Phase 1 day of surgery, Start Phase 2 November 15th, Start Phase 3 November 22nd, Start Phase 4 November 29th)
  • A document describing my post-op diet requirements by phase
  • A document re: "Points for Success", (i.e. Bandster Rules)
  • A document re: Long-Term Follow-Up Care Policy, (i.e. 10-day post op visit, and come in for adjustments regularly)
  • A huge packet on nutrition and fitness
  • Several documents showing exercises/stretches and giving exercise guidelines
  • My official Lap Band Surgical Information Kit (the yellow thing)

I did get an official surgery time of 10:00 am, and I have to be there at 8:30 am to prep. I am super happy I have a somewhat early surgery time so I'm not sitting around all day waiting (and not being able to eat or drink anything!)

Also, I went grocery shopping for my protein shakes and pre-op diet supplies. I found out that soups are super hard to find that fit the requirements! And since I'm still lost on protein shakes, I just picked up several kinds and will try them out to see what works. A friend of mine sent me chocolate and vanilla samples of Arbonne protein powder, and I bought EAS AdvantEdge pre-made shakes in chocolate and vanilla, a pack of Slim Fast High Protein shakes in chocolate, and a tub of Slim Fast High Protein powder in chocolate. I also bought a mixing bottle. I guess it's going to be a time of trial and error there. 

I also bought sugar free Jell-o, but forgot to get sugar free popsicles. I found the specific brand of sugar free/fat free salad dressing they require and bought one in Raspberry Vinaigrette and one Ranch. I'll wait until next week to buy the veggies, since they go bad so quickly. 

There is just so much to wrap my head around, I'm really struggling to keep everything straight and to make sure I'm getting everything done that I need to without forgetting anything. Oh, and remembering that my wedding anniversary is this Thursday and the Hubs and I are leaving on Saturday for a quick getaway that I'm nowhere near prepared for too. 

Stuff. Everywhere I turn.

But I will get through it all, and it will all be worth it and turn out fine. Right? Right.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Consulting the Nut (and other things)

So, I started writing this post and then it all kind of got jumbled and ramble-y in the end. I apologize in advance. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Okay, so if you've been following along, you know that there are five pre-op requirements that I have to fulfill:

  1. Blood work
  2. EKG
  3. Fitness Consultation
  4. Nutrition Consultation
  5. Pre-op Physical
Last night, I crossed the first one off the list by having a phone consultation with the Nutritionist. Originally, I was supposed to come to the office and do this in person, but they took pity on my extremely limited paid time off and the fact that I work about an hour and 20 minutes away from the office, and they arranged for me to have a phone consult. (Holy run-on sentence, Batman!) 

Aside from signals getting crossed and me expecting a 7 pm phone call which didn't come until 8:10 pm, everything went fine. She asked me about how much sleep I get, what times I eat normally, what "normal" meals are for me, how much pop I drink, etc. She walked me through the pre-op and post-op diet paperwork that I received at the office. She told me about two bandster rules, which I have heard about a zillion times so far:

Small Bites! Chew, Chew, Chew! Eat Slowly!


Protein First! Then Veggies! Then Fruits/Starches! 

All in all, I don't really feel like I learned anything I didn't already know from my two years of research and following so many amazing banded bloggers. Still, it was nice to have affirmation from someone else that the band is an amazing tool and that people do succeed with it, and that I can succeed with it too. 

At any rate, it's one thing checked off the list. My blood work will be done Saturday morning, my fitness consult (and signing of all my operation paperwork) will be done next Monday morning, my pre-op physical is scheduled for October 26th, which is a little later than I would have liked, but the earliest I could get in with my PCP, and I am going to schedule my EKG today.  

After that, all that's left to do is pay (ohmyjeebus!) and start my pre-op diet, both of which have to be done on October 24th. 

I'm kind of starting to panic a little bit because I feel like ever since my consult, things are just snowballing so fast. October is a crazy busy month for us in general - lots of birthdays and anniversaries, our anniversary on the 18th, our trip to Gatlinburg the weekend of the 20th, a wedding to go to, a performance of Dracula to see (a friend of mine is in the play!), and Halloween. Not to mention, crazy stuff at work. And then all these band requirements are thrown into the mix, and it just seems like a whole lot of juggling going on. It also seems like time is just completely flying and surgery day will be here before I know it, which just makes me feel completely unprepared. Blargh. 

I just need to get organized and make a plan. Oh, and I'm still completely lost on protein shakes! I almost wish the doctor's office would have required one specific one so that I didn't have to figure it out on my own. I could really use some bandster advice here, guys! Please help?

Monday, October 8, 2012


My surgery date is now officially less than one month away.


In Sickness and In Health

The Saturday before last, I was out with The Hubs and Bubbers and noticed my back was starting to get finicky. I have two herniated disks (disks or discs? Bueller?) that have a history of flaring up whenever they feel like they aren't getting enough attention, and this was the start of another episode. Freaking attention whores!

Anyway, they flared up, which means constant and severe pain in my lower back, down my hips, and down the back and sides of my thighs.  During these times, I can't stand up straight, can't walk straight, and the muscles in my abs, upper arms, and legs all start hurting from the compensating I'm doing to keep my balance. It's super fun!

And do you know what the "cure" for herniated disk pain is? Weight loss. That's all. So even though I'm scared of the band surgery and still ever-so-slightly wishy washy about it, one week of this, and I'm reminded even more of why I need to go through with it.

Oh, and then there's also:

  • Acid Reflux (caused by hiatal hernia)
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Knee problems
  • Gastrointestinal issues (caused by Gallbladder removal and Diabetes medications)
  • Fatigue
  • Occasional Migraines

And to counteract all that crap, there's:

  • Metformin (Diabetes)
  • Amaryl (Diabetes)
  • Bydureon Injection (Diabetes)
  • Rx Zantac (Hiatal Hernia related acid reflux)
  • Percocet (Only during back flare-ups)
  • Flexeril (Only during back flare-ups)
  • 800 mg Ibuprofen (Only during back flare-ups/migraines)
  • 1000 mg Tums (at least 4x day for acid reflux)
And a partridge in a pear tree. 

Seriously, that's ridiculous. You know, they asked me at my consult why I wanted to have the surgery. And there are SO many reasons. But, really, what it boils down to for me is not a number on a scale, or a size in a store. I just want to be able to fully live my life. Without worrying about my knees or back. Without sticking a needle in my belly every week. Without paying out a ridiculous portion of my hard-earned money to drug manufacturers and insurance companies. 

While it will be awesome to see the numbers on the scale and the sizes in the store go down, the thing I'm most looking forward to is seeing these two lists disappear. Forever. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pre-Op Diet

I knew going into this that there would be some sort of pre-op diet I would have to succumb to. According to the research, your liver can be very fatty if you're overweight. Doing this pre-op 'crash' diet helps you lose fat off your liver quickly, which helps the surgeon reach your stomach and lessens complications during the surgery. (The nurse at my consultation explained that the liver is actually one of the first places in your body that you lose fat, which I didn't know.) My surgeon suggests a loss of at least 10 pounds before surgery. Ten pounds in two weeks. Wowza.

After reading a bunch of bandster blogs, it became apparent that the length and food options on pre-op diets varies widely. Some doctors require two-week diets, some one week, some three days, and some don't require a pre-op diet at all! (Lucky freaking ducks!)

Some diets allow for a Slim-Fast type plan of two shakes and a 'sensible' dinner. I've read about some 3 day diets that allow nothing but clear liquids for three days. (Sounds super fun!) My prescribed diet is somewhere in between. While I'm not thrilled, I knew that this was part of the deal, and it could definitely be worse.

Where do I find a holey spoon like that?
The Rules:
  • Start two weeks before surgery. (For me, that means October 24th.)
  • Maximum of 800 calories per day. (The sausage biscuit I get at McDonald's for breakfast some mornings is more than half of that calorie requirement! Peace out, buttery yumminess!)
  • Minimum of 64 grams of protein per day. 
  • 4/5 Protein shakes per day, any flavor, any brand. Any fruit, additives or milk I mix in have to be counted toward the 800 calorie limit.
  • 1 cup of broth, low-fat broth-based soups, or 98% fat free cream soups without pasta.
  • 1 cup of certain salad veggies (lettuce, cucumber, carrots, onions) with certain fat free dressings (any brand of FF Italian or Ranch, Maple Grove Farms Sugar-Free Raspberry Vinaigrette, SF/FF Balsamic Vinaigrette, FF Greek) (2 tbs)
  • 1/2 cup of certain raw veggies (carrots, celery, cucumber, broccoli, tomato.)
  • Sugar free Italian Ice or Sugar free Popsicles.
  • Sugar free Jell-o.
  • Water, coffee (yuck!), tea (yuck!) and other sugar free beverages are allowed. 
This is going to be so freaking hard. You don't get to 270 pounds by harboring a secret love for vegetables. However, I originally thought I was only going to be allowed protein shakes, so I'm taking the soups and veggies and sugar free Jell-o (which I already eat and LOVE, btw) and I'm going to make the best of it. 

I'm kind of looking at the two week diet as the first challenge in this long obstacle course of being banded. Can I make it through this? If I can, then everything else shouldn't be too hard. And I'll be able to look back and say, "Hey, remember when you subsisted on protein shakes and lettuce for two weeks? If you can do that, you can do anything!"

Okay, fellow bandsters. Help a girl out. Protein shake suggestions? I really have no idea which way to go on those! And what was your pre-op diet like? Was it the hardest thing you've ever done? Help!