28 Yr Old Reclaiming Herself - Burlington, VT

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Backstory: I've always been an overweight person....

I've always been an overweight person. I'm 5'7". I struck gold when I was 20 and went from 220 lbs to 180 (-50 lbs) while doing weight watchers. At the same time I had lost all my weight, I met my future husband. He's a line cook. He was showing me love and cooking delicious fried meals for me. And I wasn't complaining! In one year I had gained 60 lbs. :( I was heartbroken. Following the wedding we purchased a restaurant and did work our asses off there. Unfortunately I LOVE food and I had non-stop "free" food available to me 24/7. Not to mention I tend to cope with stress by eating my emotions. My husband and I had gained more weight as time progressed. In the course of 4 years we opened two more restaurants. My stress level was at an all time high. I was depressed because all I did was work. I joined a bootcamp work out group to hopes to help with my weight. I LOVED it. I hadn't done anything physical since high school. I missed it. I lost 30 lbs in 2 months. I continued until recently with personal training. Then there was intense family drama. I was basically kicked out of my extended family. Which hurt me deeply. My family was so close. My aunts were like second mothers and my cousins were basically my brothers and sisters. That drama lead me to EXTREMELY feed my emotions. With being more active and "watching what I was eating" I became 300 lbs.

I decided that working in the food business just wasn't giving me personal satisfaction. So I started my secret passion, nursing school. I started taking 2 online courses each semester while working 60 hrs/week. God heard my prayers and I got accepted in a nursing program last winter. I took a brake from school and working out to just enjoy my summer without having to stress about anything. My grandmother who was part of the family who "black sheeped" me died in May. I ate again to suppress me guilt of not patching things up with her before she passed. I still battle with grief but I'm getting better. I started attending school full time it at the end of August this year. I absolutely LOVE it!

Any who, I'm upset that I've allowed myself to get at my current weight, 325 lbs. I went to my primary and got a referral for a surgeon. I sent all my info into the surgeons office and have my first appointment. It's an "Informational Meeting." Im a little disappointed that I don't really get to speak with a surgeon but oh well. It's a step in the right direction. :) Hopefully this process will be speedy. None of this 6 month diet crap. I understand losing a certain amount of weight before they'll schedule a date.

I want to walk across the graduation stage much smaller than I'm at now. I can do this!! I know I can. I'll keep you all updated!

Informational Meeting

Well I went to the informational meeting and it was fantastic. The staff seems super friendly! They went over the different procedures they offer and gave the ins and outs about each of them. It helped solidify the procedure I had in mind which is the gastric sleeve.

They also discussed the timeline until surgery. It varies from 3- 12 months physician instructed weight loss plan depending on insurance and the weight loss goal the surgeon sets for you. I'm not sure what my insurance requires but whatever it is I'm okay with it. That time will fly by in no time. In that time period I'll have many visits with the medical staff and the nutritionist along with different pre op tests being performed.

Later in the the week I had my psychological evaluation done and it seems I'm not crazy! Ha ha. I was approved to go forward in the program. Yay!!

I scheduled my appointment with the surgeon to meet with him for the first time on January 25. I was a little disappointed that it was so far away but again, that time will fly by.

In the mean time I have to watch the EMMIs before my appointment and begin a food log. One step closer guys!! Feeling good!

EGD & Upper GI Testing

So I had my EGD and upper GI testing done. Did the upper GI a couple of weeks ago and the EGD last week.

For the upper GI I was ordered NPO past midnight. My appointment was at 8am. I drove 2 hours with no coffee, water or breakfast. I always have water with me and consume quite a bit throughout the day, so it was a little strange for me. I was quickly brought to the changing room to put on these lovely pants and gown. I freaked out a little because I didn't have faith that the pants would fit me. The person explaining where the clothing items where reassured me that they would and if they didn't, don't wear any. So I went digging for fancy hospital pants and found 3x pants. They were so tight on me. I was so embarrassed and ashamed but reminded myself that this is WHY i was getting this testing done. So it made it easier. I was promptly ushered to to the fluoroscopy (live X-ray) room. The barium that they made you drink was surprisingly not that bad. A lot like pepto-bismol. The tech and radiologist had me flipping and turning and chugging various barium left and right. I was SO happy when they gave me water to drink. The radiologist said everything looked good from a quick look but the final report would be up by the end of the day. The report came back saying there was no sign of GERD and I have a few small polyps throughout my stomach.

The day or two before my EGD I contracted a upper respiratory cold. It was/still is a bad one. My sinuses were beyond stuffed. Again this was NPO past midnight and no painkillers and other various drugs a week before the test. That sucked. My back has been giving me problems so I was missing my Aleve big time, but I marched on. This time I had my mom with me to drive me home since I was going to be lightly sedated. I was nervous going into the procedure so my so that my BP was 150/112! But who doesn't freak out a little over someone about to shove a tube down their throat. Any who, everyone was nice and gave me a nice warm blanket. I think the worse part about the procedure was the puking reflex as the tube was going down. But everyone was super calm and told me to just focus on breathing and it was going to be okay (I wonder what my BP was at that moment). Side note, that lidocaine gel for your throat is disgusting to taste. I was wide awake for all of it and can remember it all. They were saying almost instantly, here's the stomach, now the duodenum and jejunum. It was very interesting to listen to. The procedure lasted 5-10 mins. Went into recovery like a boss being fully awake and chatting. Took some more vitals of me, my tongue had gained it's feeling back. Hooray! I knew my gag reflex had returned because I had been swallowing my spit since I was in recovery. I got some tea with LOTS of honey for my throat. It somewhat hurt to swallow but I wasn't sure if it was due to the endoscope or my cold. Did some window shopping after I finished my tea and then got some soup to eat. I had plans to do some homework when I got home but I fell asleep because I was pretty pooped and felt SUPER poopy from the cold. In my report it said I have chronic gastritis in the antrum portion of the stomach. They took a couple of biopsies. With all of that being said, I can assume I have chronic gastritis type B which is normally caused by H pylori bacteria. It's usually treated by antibiotics, so I wonder if I'll be put on those before the surgery. Having this condition would explain how sometimes I have heartburn and a sour taste in my mouth. Glad that will be fixed soon but have to wait I'll I see my surgeon again (3/14) until I find out if all my assumptions are correct.

I've been tossing back and forth of the idea of letting people know about my procedure. At first I said no way only my immediate family needs to know but now I kinda want to share with everyone what's going on with me. So I took a leap of faith with a group of my classmates and told them I was prepping to get the sleeve done. I was SO relieved to have such a positive reaction. They were all supportive and it meant the world to me. Following that they've asked me questions and are very interested in the whole thing. Which, when with a group of nursing students we are ALWAYS fascinated with medical things so that helps. hahaha. Now my classmates and I are going to start helping each other lose weight by beginning a biggest loser competition. We wanna look good for graduation. We haven't sorted out the details but the winner gets $100! I'm super excited to start especially since I've been on a "food funeral tour" as of late. But it's becoming real to me that I need to change my ways of eating for the better. I've tightened my belt so to speak and no more foolish eating! There's really only a couple special days until my surgery to tempt me into going astray so I can do this.

The nutritionist would like to see me lose 16 pounds before surgery. Not a problem. I got this. :)
I will update you all when I see my surgeon again.

Got my surgery Date!

Tried a couple of times to update my review but for whatever reason it would fail and I was too lazy to retype everything. Hahaha

My 6 months of this process have included: 6 nutritionist and Doctor meetings, psych evaluation, EGD, blood work, support group meetings, behavior class, and nutrition class.

I'm so thankful for all of the "annoying" classes. They were very informative and helpful for the future.

Due to my school schedule I'm not able to get the surgery until December 27th 2016. But that time will fly. I'm pretty darn excited to that date. Merry Christmas to myself! ????

FINALLY adding photos. I typically ban full body shots of myself due to embarrassment but last Xmas I didn't have a choice. ???? Soon it will all change!

I couldn't make this up if I tried...

Soooo basically in a nutshell about two months or so before my surgery was due I started to feel sick. Like coughing alllllll the time and becoming short of breath, and as an added bonus this never ending cramp in my calf. Due to the fact that I have asthma, respiratory illnesses tend to stay with me longer. I was really nervous that I wasn't able to get rid of the cold before the surgery. I went to my doctors to see if I had an pneumonia or some sort of other bacterial infection. They said no you're fine and sent me on my way. About a couple weeks after that and A few weeks before my one month pre surgery appointment my breathing became almost impossible I had to sleep in a recliner to even think about breathing while trying to sleep I couldn't talk or laugh without starting to hack up along and walking even a short distance was a A task in itself. the pain in my leg became horrendous and after talking with family members I finally decided I would go to the emergency room and see what's up with me. I explain my symptoms to the ER doctor and he did a bunch of tests on me (X-ray, CT scan, ekg) and it came back I had bilateral pulmonary embolisms!!! That were significant in size. I was hospitalized for a day and a half and eventually went home on blood thinners for the next six months. Needless to say I was pretty shocked that I was on the brink of death, but I was really upset with the thought of my surgery not happening. Long story short by the time I got to my surgeons appointment I felt much better, but def not 100%. They were asking me about your appointment with my surgeon came in for me decide to consent form for the surgery and it no one was asking me about have you had any hospitalizations since we've last seen you so I brought it up nonchalantly and was like oh hey I have two PEs and I have DVT is well. Dr. AJ hit the brakes hard after hearing that. (And in all reality I didn't really want to tell them at all bc I wanted it done SO BAD). So they said I could probably have my surgery in April but due to me being in school I can't have it done until June. (Grrrrr....) To make matters even more interesting my insurance that I've had during this whole process was discontinued at the beginning of the year. So now I'm not entirely sure if the new insurance Will honor the prior six months that I've done. With all the education classes, tests and all that stuff. Hopefully they will just allow me to get the surgery done without having to do it all over again. Fingers crossed. The Silverlining in all of this is I am healthier, I survived a very potentially deadly occurrence, and I'll be GRADUATING in may! Yaaaayyyyy!!!

I will keep you posted on what happens next. Keep me in your prayers that no other freak things happen to me lol
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