My 60th Birthday Present to Myself-Getting Healthy. Grand Rapids, MI

I had a breast reduction in November 2012 and...

I had a breast reduction in November 2012 and tummy tuck in March 2013. I've tried every diet possible to lose weight, but find myself heavier than before the above 2 surgeries that cut and sucked probably 20+ lbs. off me. My weight is approx. 240, BMI 39, I'm 5'5" and will be 60 years old January 20, 2015. I need to get healthy. This year my doctor told me I'm pre-diabetic. In March my A1C was 6.3, thru some dieting and exercising I was able to get it down to 6.0 which is still prediabetic. I have had high cholesterol for probably 30+ years (I take medication), non-alcoholic fatty liver (which will eventually attack my liver just like liver scerosis), vericose veins, tingling in hands & feet, high blood pressure, sleep apnea (never diagnosed but I wake up gasping for air), short of breath, lots of arthritis in my joints that hurt more due to obesity. I tell people during my adult life time I've lost about 1,000 lbs and gained 1,100 lbs. I'm sure I've screwed up my metabolism and it's time to do something to get healthy before I find myself taking insulin shots and all the complications that come with diabetes and the other chronic ailments I have. I mentioned to my Dr. that I was seriously thinking about the Gastric sleeve procedure (after my diabetic class in his office) hoping he wouldn't think I'm lazy since I can't lose the weight. He totally surprised me when he told me he agreed 100% that it was the best option out there for me to lose & maintain my weight for the rest of my life. I was gifted some money from my Mom which will pay the $18,000 I've been quoted by St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Rapids, MI so I can have the surgery 30 miles from home. I have friends who have gone thru them and are extremely happy with the outcome. I have filled out the paperwork, have had many of the required tests done, my insurance will not cover this surgery so no waiting there. I'm going to their free seminar on Aug. 9th (1 week away) and hope to be able to move ahead quickly. I've asked my husband to go with me and hope he will to understand the process. After my TT he said "no more surgeries" so I want to get him involved and excited for me. I'm sure I'll be blogging alot like I did with my other 2 surgeries. I don't anticipate having nearly the pain/problems with this that I did my TT 16 months ago.

Before pics

I've never minded having my picture taken, even thou I've been a big woman most my life. I know many big women hide from the camera and wear dark clothes-not me. I believe big women can dress well and carry themselves proudly. Hope that self-confidence comes thru in my pictures. I'm looking forward to having my pictures taken after I lose weight.

Raring to go more than ever.......

My husband & I attended free seminar regarding gastric surgeries. I was the first person thru the door to register (after sitting in front of the building 30 min. waiting for them to open), I sat in front row (the only one) in front of our speaker Dr. Foote who is one of 4 bariatric surgeon at Grand Health Partners. With 4 partners there is always a bariatric surgeon on call. There's no need to go to the ER with complications. He went thru the different procedures and explained they take out more gastric bands than they put in since gastric sleeve works so well. He said he can complete gastric sleeve surgery in 1 hour and 17 minutes. The practice has done 8,000 gastic procedures. He had graphs showing the patient satisfaction percentages for each procedure. He gave me alot of confidence. They have before & after support classes. They will not do surgery on anyone who has mental issues or who smoke (they do nicotine testing) since this hinders healing and can lead to a host of health issues. Their practice does require the 2 week liquid diet before surgery. They will have follow-up appointments with me 3, 6, 12, 18 mos. and annually for the rest of my life. I can also continue to attend any of their support classes that I want. I like having support after my surgery 30 min. from my home. This is one of the reasons I'm not willing to fly off to Mexico for this procedure. They complete their surgeries at St. Mary's Hospital where each person has a private room and will stay 1-2 days. He said in our area 99% of their surgeries are covered by health insurance once you jump thru all the insurance hoops. I'm definantly the 1% minority doing self-pay. My husband attended with me and is on my side to have the surgery since my general practicianer endorsed this weight loss surgery 100% to help with my co-obesity chronic health issues. I've been ordering my supplies: 2 different kinds of whey protein, biotin, liquacel, torani syrups, gummy vitamins, vitamin D, calorie-protein-carb book and high protein/low carb protein bars. I'm calling Monday morning to start lining up the psych test and to review what medical tests I need before I can have the surgery. I would like to be on top of everything and be scheduled for surgery with in 1 month. That would give me 4 mos. to lose as much weight as possible before I turn the BIG 60.

Pushing forward....

I called Grand Health Partners when they opened at 8:30 this morning. I was able to schedule my Dr. White internalist appointment for Monday Aug. 25th (2 weeks from today) and also schedule Fri. Aug. 29th for my Psych test & Surgeon Dr. Foote for that day. I would gladly schedule my surgery date but guess I have to do these meetings before they will move forward. I would of like to get into the internalist sooner but Dr. Sandy the 2nd internalist is on vacation this whole time. Oh well I need to practice patience.

Waiting & planning.....

I'm getting the supplies that I've been ordering since starting this journey. I have my chewy vitamins, biotin, vitamin D, protein power, liquaCel and Isopure-160 calories, zero carb, 40g protein drinks, zero calorie flavoring for my protein drinks and new pj's for the hospital. Today I went shopping with my daughter to get school clothes for granddaughter who will start school in less than 3 weeks. Since we had the day out alone we also went to Lane Bryant. I didn't plan to buy any new clothes since I won't be wearing 20-22W for much longer. So to give me motivation I bought new clothes in size 14-16. I even bought a new cinch waist little black dress in size 16. I know none of it will fit me right now, but I'll keep trying everything on until they do fit me after my surgery. I also bought new sexy bras in size 38C & 40C, I currently wear 44C. Only 8 days until I meet with the internalist, and 12 days until I meet with psych & my surgery doctor. This is real and time is moving on. I'm more than excited to put this behind me and start losing the 60-70# that has gotten too comfortable riding around on this body.

More before pics & (too small) Size 18's

I'm going to include some new before sleeve photos with better lighting. I also ordered 2 size 18 (regular womens sizes not W) dresses and a size XL top. I thought I'd take my 'before' photos with these very tight clothes then some of my 'after sleeve/weight loss' pictures when these clothes actually fit me, instead of my 'big' (before surgery) clothes as I loose weight. Hope that makes sense.


I went to the internalist today. They performed the EKG in their offices. I was so anxious & nervous I thought I'd have a panic attack (had a tight chest) and my heart was racing. So the internalist thought my heart murmer was loud and said I'd need a new echocardiogram (the last one was 2 yrs ago) and gave me an order for a bunch of bloodwork tests. So now I'm doing my fasting bloodwork tomorrow and waiting to get an appointment for the new echocardiogram. I see the behaviorist & surgeon on Friday. The Dr. today thought my surgery would be scheduled soon since I'm a self-pay.

Moving-Moving-Moving forward.....237.5lbs & 39.5 BMI, 49.3% fat

My official "before" numbers are: 237.5 lbs, 39.5 BMI, 49.3% fat, 117.0 fat mass. My goal weight will be 150-160, I have to be 150# (max) to get to the very high end of "normal" body weight. Desireable range for fat is 23-34% (mine is 49.3) with 36.0-62.0 lb fat mass (mine is 117.0). The real numbers will be when I have A1C of less than 6% (no longer prediabetic), and can quit taking pills for other health issues.
I did all my fasting blood/urine tests today. The results will be sent directly to the internalist (Dr. Dawn White) who ordered them. I have my echocardiogram scheduled for this Thursday with results also sent to Dr. White. Friday is behaviorist & surgeon visit. I'm hoping all my tests will be with the internalist this week or 1st of next week. On Friday I'm going to ask to set a surgery date. Wanna keep moving forward.

I'm getting sleeved and starting my new life on 9-15-2014

Met with behaviorist today and he didn't see any reason I wouldn't be a good candidate. Then met with Dr. Foote and we were able to set surgery date for Monday September 15th (17 days away). He could of actually done surgery on Sept. 8th but I have a mammogram & need to be at the hospital with my Mom on the 10th. On Monday Sept 8th I go into their office for a 4-5 hour training class. Since my BMI is (barely at 39.5) below 40 I only have to do 800 calorie/per day pre-surgery diet for 1 week. Also I do not have to do all liquids like some people report. The sugeons office had my blood/urine tests results and should have my echocardiogram (I had done yesterday) in their office by Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. My blood/urine tests were all within 'normal' range except my A1C was showing 6.3 again (was 6.0 in July) which is a measure of my blood sugar. I'm hoping after surgery to have this below 5.7 which is 'normal'. I need to hold off diabetes for a few more years. This will give me 4 mos. & 5 days to get off as much weight as possible before I turn 60 years old on Jan. 20, 2015. Dr. Foote explained post-surgery my diet will be liquid for 2 weeks then soft food for 4weeks. Also great news was I can continue my water aerobics right up until the day of surgery and get back in the pool 2 weeks after surgery. I'm so excited I think I'll burst!

Future health issues without GSV surgery

A couple health issues that are going to be bad if I don't get this weight off. My non-alcoholic fatty liver will attack my liver and destroy it like liver scerosis. My Dr. has told me this is extremely painful and can/will eventually kill a person. Also, with all the heart problems in my family carrying all this weight in my middle will definantly affect my heart in the future, if it hasn't already. When I talked to Dr. Foote 3 days ago he told me that the abdomon/middle fat responds very quickly after gastric sleeve surgery and should be some of the first fat that is gone with surgery & weight loss. This was very encouraging to me since I want this middle fat gone-gone-gone. My surgery is 2 weeks from today.....can't wait to join the (weight) losers! I also found a new website with lots of pictures:

Debbie Downer or Gym Addicted?

I run into a acquaintenance today. She had heard I was having gastric surgery & asked me why. I tried to explain to her (she's probably 30 yrs old) that I'm having health issues and need to get the weight off permanently. She told me she knows several people who have gastric surgery and put it back on. I understand that. Most days she spends 3-5+ hours at the gym working out. I give her alot of credit since she's lost around 120# just with diet & exercise. At almost 60 years old I'm too tired, old and hurt all over to spend 3-5 hours at the gym and I want to have a life after I do my water aerobics. I wished her well and walked away. She hasn't worked in many years she receives disability checks for her croans disease yet has the energy to spend countless hours working out. Why do people need to put down a decision we've made to better ourselves? If I could lose my weight and keep it off I would.

6 days to sleeve

I spent 4 hours at surgeons office doing pre-surgery appointment. My head is spinning with all this info. I have to have last minute blood tests done to make sure my levels of everything are good. My weight was down to 234.8 today. I immediately start my presurgery diet of 600-800 calories per day. I'm thankful I only have to do this for 6 days and not 2 weeks like those with BMI above 40. My post-op 2 week & 6 week appointments were set. I have to quit taking all supplements plus my premarin, aspirin & celebrex for the next 3 weeks since they are afraid of blood clots. I can use tylenol for my arthritic hands but not looking forward to them getting worse like they did when I went off celebrex before a previous surgery. I'm now thinking that most of the supplies I've already bought (probably $400-$500 worth) are worthless since my surgeons office had me buy their products since the calorie & protein levels are what they require. I have 6 days of presurgery meals & 14 days post surgery meals and the cost was $348.75. I did some extra supplies for variety since some items come in boxes of 7 and I don't want to eat the same thing everyday. The doctor suggested we start taking biotin immediately to help prevent hair loss. Also, taking their vitamins & iron. So before you start ordering protein powder, vitamins, etc. see what your surgeon suggests. I will continue with my low calorie meals until Sunday at 6PM, then only liquids until midnight, then nothing until my surgery at 3:30 on Monday. I was glad to hear that Michigan is the gold standard (among all states) regarding gastric surgeries. Everyone in my class is part of a survey group (along with 5,000 other patients who have this surgery every year) where our information is sent to University of Michigan where they review all parts of the bariatric procedures & processes to make it better. We were told that bariatric doctors from all over the U.S. come to Grand Health Partners to learn how to do this procedure. Glad I'm being operated on by the experts.

For comparison...

3 days and I'm going to get VERY hungry before surgery.

I've done my last minute blood/urine tests and had to answer questions to surgeons office why my urine was clear on Aug. 26th & Sept. 11th but showing an infection in between. I went to my family Dr. with urinary tract infection, took antibiotics and now it's cleared up. I Did my registration and everything I needed with hospital. The scheduler at the hospital called today and gave me my surgery time of 3:50 on Monday. The hard part is going to be NO food Sunday after 6 only clear liquids until midnight then NOTHING until after surgery. Can you say 22 hours between last light meal and surgery??? I'm thinking of setting my alarm for 11-12 and having some high protein clear soup. I'm already waking up at 2-4AM every morning starving and can't sleep, how will I get by another 12 hours without food or water? Not excited about this part of the process but will get by I know. Maybe I'm getting a bit nervous (and hungry on approx. 1,000 calories per day) now. Keep strong my gastric sisters!

1st meal after sleeve.

The little cups are my breafast. I'm doing so well I may get to leave this afternoon. That would be less than 24 hours post surgery.
Dr. James A. Foote

I've been given a great review from a friend who had this surgery. She loved her surgeon Dr. Baker who is with Grand Health Parnters weight management team. After looking at their 4 partner doctor reviews I know they are all very, very qualified in this procedure. My free seminar was conduced by Dr. James A. Foote, M.D.,FACS-General Bariatric Surgery today and I have decided on having him do my surgery.

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Congratulations on making it safely through surgery. I hope you enjoyed your breakfast.
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Yeah for Judy!
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Just waiting to go back and get set up for surgery- less than 2 hours to sleepy time.
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Judy ~ I'll be waiting to hear from you....Good Luck, Godspeed and the most wonderful thoughts from your friends!!!!! It will be over soon. Kim
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Judy, been thinking about you all day! Prayers going strong!
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Hey Girl....It's 7:00pm and IT'S ALL OVER :) Can't wait to hear from you. Kim
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Hey Mari...YOUR NEXT :)
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Kim, I'm so excited! But I want to hear from Judy...
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I can't wait to hear from her as well.. Us 3 MOUSEKETEERS (we're from that Disney generation).... ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL.... My 1st consultation with the surgeon is tomorrow morning. I'll check in with you girls when I get home. Probably sometime after 1:00 Kim
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Kim I've been enjoying my t-bone steak in a bag and champain (ice chips) and very good pain meds. Had a walk down the Hall and made applejuice (pee). I'm trying to be funny at 1am probably won't work.
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Good luck! Get your list of questions ready and don't be afraid to ask everything you need to know. I was thinking about the Mouseketeers, because our group is growing-three is just not enough! Be sure to ask exactly what brand of supplements you need, their required amounts and if they are for Bariatric patients. Let me know what they tell you. So far, I have been recommended Unjury, Bariatric Advantage, Celebrate and Opurity. I'll be waiting for your response. I have started a binder with all the info they give me and all I have found on the web that has tips on how to keep on the straight and narrow for success.
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Oh, I'm so happy to hear from you!!! It's over, yeah! Thanks to God and all the angels. How's the pain? Keep walking and the healing will go faster. You're funny, whatever time it is. I'm elated that you are out and now on the road to recovery! Thank you Lord for hearing all our prayers! We'll be in touch tomorrow-sleep tight. Mmmm, I can already taste the Jello-it will taste like a black angus steak! Eeeeehaaaa!
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She's out and walking! Yes! Thank God!!!
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YEH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Judy I'm so happy to hear from you. Steak and Champagne ~ wow, you lucky girl be treated so well...Your tooooo funny. I can hardly believe the worst part is over already. Now your on your way and I'm so tickled for you. You have a restful day. Remember sleep is good for the body. Take care Friend and I'll check in with you this afternoon. Kim
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Morning Mari... I'm getting ready for the Dr. Just got Judy's msg. I can hardly believe the worst is over for her. Now all the good and happy stuff is on it's way. I'm loaded with ? I should be home early afternoon and I'll check in with you and Judy. Kim
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Good luck at doctor's visit. Will look for your post!
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Well I will try to write a little. I was HOT when I got out of surgery. They took blankets off and brought me a fan. Everyone is super but in and out of room all night so I'm whipped. I had to go for walks with IV pole at midnight and 4 AM. I planned to be here 2 nights but one nurse came in and said no reason for me to stay since I'm tolerating my proteins and drinking a lot. I quit administering the IV pain meds around 4 am because I had no pain. I'm drinking everything slow and have no pain or digestive problems. We are waiting for prescriptions and final OK from doctor so I can go home to sleep.
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I didn't head back to surgery until after 5, my surgery time was 3:50 supposedly. My husband said 1 hour and 20 min. after they left him in waiting room and hauled me to surgery the doctor came out and told him everything went perfectly.
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All is well (so far) in Sleeved Judy land.
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Judy.. I'm so happy to hear from you. You sound wonderful! I'm so proud of you! I can't believe it's all over. Seems like just yesterday that You and Mari and I started our conversations. Just got back from the Dr. They did a Chest x-ray & an abdominal ultrasound. Saw the dietician, the exercise physiologist and the Dr. It turns out he was the teaching physician at the Cleveland Clinic for the Sleeve and that's what we're going to do. YEAH!!!!! So Judy and Mari ~ Our sisterhood will be complete on Monday, Nov. 17th. SURGERY DAY!!!!!! I'm so excited I could bust. Pretty soon for you Mari :) 2015 is going to be a glorious year for us all. Kim
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Good luck tomorrow - sending best wishes your way from across the pond.
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You see Judy-got that prayer chain from all over the world!
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Thank you I'll post Monday night if I feel up to it (since my surgery is 4PM I don't expect to be out of recovery until after 7) or Tuesday for sure. Having to hang around the hospital ALL DAY on Tuesday will get boring I'm sure so I'll be glad to have my friends to communicate with.
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Mari: Thank-you so much for all your well wishes. You won't be long now yourself.
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