44 Year Old Mom of 3-Time to Take Control! - Portland, OR

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I am 44 and the Mom of 3 boys, my youngest is 16....

I am 44 and the Mom of 3 boys, my youngest is 16. I am 5'9" and weigh @ 280. I am relatively healthy, no diabetes, high blood pressure, ect. I have tried just about every diet under the sun. I lose a good amount of weight, but it always comes back (and brings friends). The last 5 years have been brutal. It has gotten so much harder to keep the weight off. I am losing the battle. It is time to take control... I have been researching weight loss surgery for the last 6 months. I have read literally hundreds of reviews. I have decided that I want to get the sleeve. I finally worked up the nerve to spring my idea on my husband. I was so nervous what his reaction would be. Surprisingly, he listened to my song and dance and asked a few questions about safety and recovery. He then told me that he didn't think I need it but if I really want it he would support me. He knows I don't go into anything without a lot of research and would not make a life changing decision impulsively. I cannot describe how good it felt to have finally have it out there and have his support. I have also confided in my best friend and have her full support. I've decided that I am not telling anyone else (not even my kids or parents) for now. I may change my mind in time but for now I'm good with just these 2 knowing. I have my first appointments on Thursday. I am excited. I meet with the nurse practitioner first, then I have an appointment with the dietician immediately after. And then a physical therapy evaluation. My I insurance will not cover the surgery so I will be self pay. I am hoping to be able to have surgery in 3 mths or so. My goal is 150-160. I am hoping to be well on my way before my 45th birthday in December. I will post more after my appointments on Thursday.

The ball is rolling now...

I had my first consultation today. Actually 3 appointments. The initial consult with the Nurse Practitioner. We went over all my options. She agreed with me that the sleeve is probably the best option for me. I think I need to get a new scale. I weighed more at the clinic than at home. ???? and I'm pretty sure I wasn't wearing 10 lbs of clothes. I weighed 292. I have never weighed that much. I wanted to cry. So the good news is I don't have to do a lot of extra exams because I luckily don't have a lot of health issues that tend to go hand in hand with weight. I have to lose 15 lbs. As long as I get my psychological exam, EKG, mammogram, labs, and nutrition classes done I am good to go. She said I could have surgery by early June. YAY!!
I had my first meeting with the nutritionist after the first appointment. We went over both the pre-surgery and post surgery diet. Gave me a sample of the Unjury protein powder, and some tips on vitamins. I have another meeting in about a month and then one more in May.
Then was the physical therapy assessment after the nutrition appt. She gave me some strength building exercises to start doing now to make recovery easier.
All in all it was a great experience. I feel even better about my choice to take this step. The staff is so nice. They are quick too. Before I even left the parking lot I got a call to schedule my psychological evaluation. All set for Monday April 25th. Feels like June is so far away, but I'm sure it will go fast.
Has anyone dealt with Prosper Health lending? Just wondering if they are easy to work with. They are who the clinic suggests.
I also could use any suggestions or tips for preparing for this journey. Thank you in advance.. ????

This is really happening...

Things are moving along much faster than I ever imagined they would. At my initial appointment I was given "homework". This consists of losing 15 lbs, getting lab work done, mammogram, 2 nutritionist appts, psychological evaluation, and EKG. I have lost 4 lbs so far and got my lab work and mammogram done last Friday. I am scheduled for my 1st nutritionist appt on 4/11 and my 2nd one on 5/9. My psychological eval is set for 4/25. I am in the process of scheduling an appt with my PTP so he can order the EKG.( Hoping my insurance will cover it if he orders it, since they won't cover anything related to or ordered by bariatrics. I am paying out of pocket. ) My doctors office says I am possibly looking at surgery mid-to end of May.
I ordered a sample pack of protein powders from Unjury that should be here any day now. I am going to start trying different protein drinks to see what I like. Any suggestions would be great! And I just bought a new Ninja blender for Smoothies and such.
I am SO excited.. and a little (lot) nervous. But I know this is the right decision.
I am downloading a picture that is the catalyst for me starting this journey. It was taken last fall on a trip to the beach. When I saw it I was mortified. It was a very defining moment. Whole I hate this picture with a passion, it is also one I am grateful for because it pushed me to do something to take my life back. ????

Green light from Psyche Consult

I had my Psyche consult this morning. It went great. He said he would be submitting his clearance by tomorrow. He told me he was impressed with the amount of self preparation I have done and he feels I will be successful. It was nice to hear. So now I'm down to the last few things on my homework list. I have an appointment with my primary care doctor on Wednesday for my annual exam. I am hoping to get the remaining lab work done and at least schedule my EKG. I have my last nutritionist class on 5/9. And 9 pesky pounds left to lose.. time to ramp up the weight loss efforts.. my scale has been stuck on 287 for a week. ???? As soon as I get these last few things accomplished I can schedule my surgery.. I am getting so excited and nervous that this is really going to happen.

Bump in the Road

Well.. looking like I probably won't make it to surgery by the end of this month like I had hoped. I have completed all the original requirements with the exception of my weight loss. I have 6 more pounds to go. But now it seems I have to go see a Cardiologist for a consult. My ECG came back abnormal. Something to do with non specific T abnormalities. My doctor said it is probably nothing but still need it checked out before I can have surgery. Hopefully they aren't scheduling too far out. I have never had any problems with my heart. I hope they are right and it is nothing. Fingers crossed I can get in fairly quickly and get cleared. I am so anxious to get to the other side of surgery. Patience has never been my strong suit. ????

Cardiology Appt scheduled

I called the Cardiologist office first thing this morning and they have me scheduled for next Wednesday the 18th. So relieved it is so soon. My surgeons office also called to talk with me about the results. She wanted to make sure I wasn't panicking. She said the test showed that electricity passes thru my heart a little differently than what is considered normal. She said it could just be due to my weight issues, or it could just be "my" normal. Especially since I have never had any issues with my heart. I hope it is as simple as she explained. Either way this just makes it even more clear to me that I am making the right choice in having this surgery.

More testing needed....

So went to my Cardiologist appointment yesterday. Didn't get a clear answer as to why my EKG was abnormal. They said they don't know what causes the result I got but they suspect it is related to my weight. However, because my mom has a history of heart disease at a fairly young age. (30's) Also, when asked if I ever get short of breath I answered yes when physically exerted. (I mean.. hello.. I'm not in great physical shape.) So she ordered blood work to check for indicators of heart disease and chest xrays along with and echo cardiogram and a stress echo cardiogram. I took care of the lab work and xrays yesterday. Scheduled for the echos on 6/8. Pushes my timeframe back a little but better s a few than sorry. Hopefully I will be cleared for surgery before the end of June. Fingers crossed.. I should have known things we're going too smoothly.. lol.

Stress Test today.

Today I have my stress test.. Fingers crossed that this is the final hoop to jump through. I am so anxious to be on the other side of surgery. I am only a few pounds away from my required loss of 15 pounds. I've been trying to lose it the right way and not my usual crash diet way. Does anyone know how long it takes to get the report back for the stress test?

Echocardiogram/Stress Test Results..

This was quite an experience.. I've never had to have anything done in relation to my heart. The Echo was interesting. Kinda weird to see your own heart at work on the screen.. For the stress test thankfully I had a great tech and nurse. They made me feel very comfortable and kept me laughing which in turn kept my nerves from getting the best of me. Anyway on to the important stuff.. I left there at noon today. I had am email from my doctor by 1:30 letting me know everything looks great. My heart is very healthy and I am in the lowest risk level for my surgery.. WOO HOO!! I am so relieved! Now praying I can get my surgery scheduled soon... 5 lbs to go to goal. Better get a move on... ????

SURGERY DATE SET!!!????????????

Wow!! Got a call from my surgeons office that they received my clearance from cardiology and they are ready to schedule me for my surgery. My surgery is set for Tuesday June 21st!! I have a preoperative class and appointment with my surgeon on Monday the 13th then a preoperative appointment with anesthesia on Wednesday the 15th.. Holy cow... suddenly it's going very fast.. I'm extremely excited and very nervous.. it's not just a notion anymore.. it's happening.. now to break it to my boss that I need 2 weeks off... ????

Final countdown! 4 Days and counting..

I had my pre-op with Dr. Mattar on Monday. He's very nice. I am all set for Tuesday morning.. I was concerned because I have only lost 11 of the 15 lbs I was told I would need to lose. He told me not to worry I was good. Just don't gain. He said I showed him I am motivated by not crash dieting to take it off but by changing my habits over the last couple of months in order to lose weight. ???? I was very relieved. I had my pre-op with Anesthesia on Wednesday. I am good to go.. Next stop surgery. I am both excited and nervous. This has all been just a 'dream' up until now. I am having a hard time imagining really being on the other side of surgery. 4 more days it will be reality. I cannot wait to be on the losers bench!!

Today's the Day!!

On my way to check in at the hospital. Check in is 7:15 am surgery around 9 am. I am very nervous to say the least.. After all the hoops I have jumped through its hard to believe it's finally here. I will update everyone as soon as I am feeling up to it. Today marks a new beginning!

I'm sleeved!!

I had my surgery yesterday at 9:30 am. I'm told it was textbook.. I got discharged today and am home settled in the recliner for now. I've been able to get most of my fluids in and ate a bowl of chicken broth with no problems. I did however have the gas hit my left shoulder last night... Let me tell you that was miserable!! My nurse was amazing and went out of her way to make me as comfortable as possible. For the most part that has passed. I still get twinges once in a while but nothing like last night. My husband has been wonderful. He is waiting on me hand and foot. I'm sore but looking forward to getting to my normal.. My first follow up is next Tuesday.. will update more then.

Pleasantly surprised!

I am 4 Days out from surgery and I just have to say.. I am so happy I did this. I was so worried about being in pain after surgery, not being able to keep anything down ect. With the exception of the night I had surgery when the gas pain hit my left shoulder, which was extremely painful and thankfully short lived. I still get a twinge here and there in my shoulder but that is about it. And my first night home, I didn't feel very good because I was not getting enough liquids in. Once I realized this and concentrated on my fluid intake I felt much better. I have had no problem getting the 64 Oz in and the 60 g of protein. I feel really pretty good. My incisions are healing well. I get tired easy still and need naps, but each day is better and better. Looking forward to moving on to the next steps. My husband was very nervous right before my surgery, but is very happy with how well it all has gone so far. I haven't weighed myself yet because I have heard you actually can gain after surgery from all the gas they pump into you. My first follow up is next Tuesday the 28th. I hope I will see a positive change when I go in for that. ????

2 weeks post op

Tomorrow I am 2 weeks post op. I had my 1 week follow up last Tuesday. I was down 11 lbs since surgery. Was a great appointment. As of today I am down 18 lbs since surgery, 27 since the beginning of the process. I technically was given the go ahead to move to soft foods tomorrow. But since I go back to work the day after tomorrow I started about a day and a half early. Last night I had some refried beans. They went down fine. It's definitely a different feeling. This morning I had some scrambled egg. Again no problem. I have been very lucky to not have had any bouts of nausea at all. My major victory was I slept in my bed all night last night. I'm so happy to be out of the recliner. I feel great! So glad I took this step for my future! My next appt is on the 21st with my surgeon.

5 weeks post op

I am 5 weeks post op today. I had my 4 week follow up late Thursday. My surgeon is very happy with my progress. At the appointment I was down 20lbs since surgery. The scale was stuck there for about 2 weeks. Thankfully this morning it was on the move again and I am another pound down today. I am cleared to start exercising and can now move on to add cooked veggies to my diet. While I am thrilled to progress to more variety. I am still only able to eat between 3-4 ounces at a time so not getting anything besides protein in. I know in time I will be able to so I will be patient.
Even though the scale wasn't moving for a couple weeks, I have noticed a change in my clothes. They are much looser and I can now wear things that I couldn't before surgery, that were too tight and are now loose fitting. I am so happy with my decision to have this surgery.. it's been tough at times but so worth every struggle!

9 weeks post op

I haven't updated in a while. I am now about 9.5 weeks post op. I am down 27 lbs since surgery 35.5 lbs from my highest. The scale isn't moving as fast as I would like but I feel great. I'm trying to have patience. I need to start working out more. I started doing yoga a few times a week and enjoy it. My doctor wants me to join a gym, but I live in a pretty small town and not a lot to choose from and what's here is extremely pricey for what they have to offer. Instead my husband is taking me shopping tomorrow for an eliptical/crosstrainer. Eating has gotten a lot easier. I've settled into a routine and the new style of eating is becoming second nature. I haven't had any issues at all since surgery with any foods. I go in for my 3 month check up on 9/15. I am hoping to have at least 5 more pounds gone by then. I am so grateful to have had this option available to me. I have slowly been letting people know that I had surgery. So far I've had nothing but supportive comments from those I've told. A good friend of mine has even started the process herself since I told her about my surgery. I'm excited to help her along in her journey.


Here are a few photos.

3 month post-op

I had my 3 month post-op visit last Thursday (9/15). It went well. I am down 35 lbs since surgery and 43 lbs since beginning of the process. I wish the number was higher but I am losing at a healthy rate. My doctor is very happy with my progress. They did my labs to check my blood work . Everything came back great. I am noticing a change in my size. I am now in an Xl shirt from 2X. And in between an 18-16 pants from 20-22. I haven't noticed much loose skin. Hoping my loss rate will be helpful in that since it is not real rapid. Fingers crossed. I am starting to notice more hairloss. I have A LOT of hair so not real worried about it becoming a problem. Just a nuisance. It's everywhere. My next check up is 1/5/17 it's a little bit after my 6 mths but that's due to scheduling around the holidays. I have settled into a routine and am actually comfortable with my new tummy. I worried last weekend that I may have gained as we went on a trip with friends and didn't make the healthiest of choices foodwise. I was pleasantly surprised on Monday morning when I weighed myself I had actually lost a pound over the weekend. All in all I am very happy with my decision to have my surgery. It's one of the best choices I've made. No regrets!

BW: 294
SW: 286
CW: 251

7 1/2 months out feeling great!

I haven't been on in a while. Figured I better put on an update. I had my 6 month check up last month. My surgeon said he is very please with my progress. My labs are looking good. I did start taking Prilosec again because I started having some heartburn. I have had more NSV than scale victories. I am now wearing 15/16 in jeans and L or XL in shirts. Its so nice to be able to shop in the "regular" section instead of the very limited plus section. I'm down 64 lbs since I started the process and 56 lbs since surgery. I have not been real good about watching what I eat so my weight-loss has been slow. On the plus side I still lost and didn't gain even when I wasn't as vigilant. Now that the holiday season is over I am recommited to making good choices and ramping up my weight loss. We bought an eliptical which I am now using and going to be starting water aerobics soon. And once the weather warms up will be walking in the evenings after work. I want to have a 100 lb loss by my 1 year surgiversary. I will post some updated pics.
OHSU Bariatric Surgery

Dr. Mattar with OHSU Bariatrics. Wonderful doctor! The staff is kind and caring. Highly recommend OHSU Bariatrics for anyone in the Portland area.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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