17

My Epiphany

Before you ask, I will tell you how it came about that I decided AGAINST the bariatric sleeve after all I have done to pursue it.

WELL, a week ago, I had a follow-up visit with the Nutritionist. I came armed with my food journal that they’d made us keep for several weeks. And to be honest with you, I felt a bit smug. Smug because I felt that I have done so much RIGHT. Each day, I had completed all the categories: the day of the week, the time of day, the exact name and portion size of what I’d eaten, the caloric and protein values, how much water I’d drunk, how much exercise I’d done, what non-eating activities I’d done, AND the daily personal reflection they asked that you write. I congratulated myself that I’d stayed away from carbonated drinks and caffeine and that I’d almost always chosen single-digit fats and sugars, as they suggested.

Did I stay inside the 1000-calorie limit that they had recently imposed? HELL NO–excuse the expletive. But when you think about it, the changes that I’d made had been so comprehensive that I began to feel like a new person; I DESERVED to be congratulated. And yes, I did lose weight despite the fact that my daily calories at first were around 1400, and later closer to 1200. I was certain that the Nutritionist was going to give me a pat on the back and release me to have the surgery that the surgeon had told me he’d be glad to give me the first week in August so that I’d have time to recover before the new school year begins.

Just imagine my shock and dismay when the Nutritionist said the complete opposite. She said that I’d done okay, but that in her opinion I had not PERFECTED the goals to the extent that she could feel confident that I would not sabotage my own surgery after I’d had it. PERFECTION????? So, all this time she was looking for PERFECTION? Something that she did NOT say in the original group meeting we’d had. Long story short, she sent me home for another month to PERFECT this new eating life-style.

I already know what you want to ask and believe me when I tell you that I addressed your question to her, so that you will not have to. I said–very calmly, I might add–“Forgive me, but is it possible that it’s just ME? Am I the only 300-pound person who wants to know how you expect us to PERFECT all this BEFORE we have the surgery? I mean, if we could do that, then why on earth would we be asking to have the surgery in the first place???”

I would like to bet you seven thousand dollars that you CANNOT guess what her wide-eyed response was. Go ahead. Guess.

HAH! You are wrong. Her actual response was—brace yourself for this please—“EXACTLY!”

WTF? How could she say “exactly” as though we were saying the same thing? As though we were on the same side of the fence. As though she were not the only obstacle standing in the way of my much-dreamed-of and sought-after surgery?!

When she saw that I was nonplussed by her response, she continued, “I mean, that’s what I ask myself every day! I want all of our clients to see and understand that if you don’t get this right, you are going to end up weighing exactly what you weighed before the surgery and then all of this will have been for nothing! Why would you sign up for a surgery without knowing how to maintain your weight loss?”

Okay, so I’m not ignorant. I realize the total validity of what she said. BUT IT STILL DOES NOT ANSWER MY QUESTION!!! How do you expect me to do PRESURGERY what I have to do POST SURGERY?! Because if I could, then I would not NEED surgery. It would only be a matter of time, and I would lose weight, slow as a snail though it may be. But I WOULD lose weight.

And suddenly it hit me like a ton of bricks. Surgery or no surgery, I will HAVE to demonstrate the willpower, the grit, the persistence to consistently do the right thing, eat the right thing, stop eating the wrong thing, stop eating when I’m satisfied, nourish myself with wholesome foods and not junk, stop all emotionally based eating, etc., etc., etc. So there was my answer. That was my epiphany.

If they were going to make me do all this perfectly before the surgery, then the surgery is just a quicker, more costly route with potential complications and recovery time that I can’t afford to miss from my job. At the very least, I can thank them for helping to reestablish my feet firmly on this path. When I signed up for the surgery, I honestly thought I no longer had the ability to control myself. Well, they helped me prove myself wrong.

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4

Let’s See What Happens

Weight: 287 (per the scales at Planet Fitness)

I’m not doing very well. But I don’t want to gripe. I hate it when people gripe, especially ME.

Still, I will say that computer problems have prevented me from blogging regularly. I took my computer to Staples and they confirmed that it had a virus. Then, 5 days later (although they said it would be 3 days) I went to get my computer (even  though they said they would call me when it was ready; which they did not). Since I’m griping now, I bet you can guess that in spite of the fact that they said my computer was “cured,” so to speak, IT WAS NOT. I got home and had the same issues as before: pop ups all over the place and freezing screens with automated voices telling me my computer could be infected with malware. Yes, you already know that I took my computer back and asked they do the job they had already charged me $160 to do.

Since I am blogging now, I bet you think that all is well. It’s not. Even though no page froze when I tried to open this one, a new tab did open up by itself and I had to quickly attempt to shut it down before it shut me down. This is crappy. And YES, I will be taking my computer back again.

Meanwhile, I seem to have lost a few more pounds which is sort of cool. Why am I not more excited, you ask. Well, from all the hard work I’ve been doing I swear I would have expected to lose about twice that by now. I feel so discouraged, in fact that I have been at the point of saying the unthinkable, “Forget all of this! God made me this way, and I will be like this until I die.” Well, I haven’t said it yet, I’m just admitting that I’ve been close to it.

FINALLY, I have an upcoming appointment with the Nutritionist again. I have done all the food journaling they expected of me, so hopefully they will approve and release me to have the surgery. When they give the OK, then I will be put on the Optifast Diet for 3 weeks and VOILA! It will be time for my surgery. Well, that is as long as the original guy who gave me the psych eval releases me based on the psychiatrist’s notes from my visits at the Mood Treatment Center. My appointment with the Nutritionist is scheduled for Wednesday, the 15th.

So, let’s see what happens…

5

A Visit With the Exercise Therapist

Current weight: 287 (I think)

Okay, so we all have to go to an exercise therapist who is part of our weight loss team. They talk to you about your weight loss goals and how to come closer to achieving them by physical activity. But first they have to check your resting heart rate with this little machine. We had to come “4 hours fasted” to the appointment, and having not done any exerting physical activity. I can tell you that it was not hard to NOT do any exercise because after a week on about 1400 calories, I still didn’t really feel like exerting myself.

So there was HORRIBLE news…yet very enlightening. I had to weigh-in before the appointment officially began and then they clamped my nose and had me bite down on the little white tube-machine into which I had to breathe for about 10 minutes. The results were incredible and disheartening. According to them, a woman of my age, height and weight should be burning about 1900 calories a day just from sitting still; hence the 1400-calorie diet they had put me on last week to jump-start my weight loss and begin to teach me a new way of eating. Brace yourself: I only burn 1520 calories. I could have cried. Not because I have such slow metabolism; but because they now understood completely why after a week of so few calories, I had only lost 2 freaking pounds. I had already wanted to cry after I got on the scales, which I had expected would say something great, considering how constantly hungry I’d been throughout the week. But then, to hear this!

And here is the worst news: Since my metabolism is so jacked up, they say that I should never have been eating 1400 calories. They have now restricted me to a mere 1000. I’m certain that if I have any fat readers that you already know how I reacted to this. I went directly to Dario’s and ordered a Number 1, with the hotdogs all the way. (A  #1 consists of 2 hotdogs and a million French fries and a soft drink.) And THEN I went to Dewey’s Bakery where I ordered two white on white cake squares AND a chess tart. I admit that I could not eat all the food at once, thank God. But I still ate every crumb before the end of the day. SO THERE!

Right after that, I went and joined Planet Fitness Gym. And I week later, I have lost 4 pounds–according to the scales there. So, at least that’s good.

3

Two Ninety-WHAT?

Dang it. It had been cool to go see the physician a few weeks ago and weigh in at 290.5. Not that it’s a good number. It’s just that I thought I weighed even more. So what a bummer it was to get weighed at the first Nutrition Class the other day and be told I weigh 293.5. Not cool. I realize that we woman have a normal tendency to fluctuate in weight during the month just because of hormonal stuff and the moon and water retention. But at the same time I wondered if I hadn’t sort of let the reins loose a little once I knew I was a candidate for this surgery. You know, saying “goodbye” and “so long” and “adios” to a number of foods that I know for sure I won’t be able to eat again any time soon after the surgery. Is THAT why I gained weight without knowing it?

Not too worry though, little did I know that we would be put on a calorie-restricted(and fat-reduced and protein-enhanced) diet beginning on the very first day of the class. 1400 calories. I kindly raised my hand and told the young woman conducting the class that if I could successfully refrain from eating more than 1400 calories a day on my own, THEN I WOULD NOT HAVE SIGNED UP FOR THE SURGERY!! Some smart-a$$ fat girl (yes, I know we are ALL fat) interrupted to “encourage” me not to fret at all. She says that she has been doing this for a week and lost 6 pounds and that after the first 2 days she found herself eating far more food than she ever ate in her life. She said that she is now never hungry and that this it totally do-able.

Okay, good for her. My story is different. Although I can say that the first day was a true success, the second and third day, my body completely revolted. Like, “Woman are you out of your mind?! Do you think that a body that has become accustomed to about 3000 calories a day is just going to sit back and allow you to take all it’s energy away???” So I had headaches that ranged from mild to REALLY BAD for that time period and I couldn’t do any work or go get any exercise. And my stomach was always growling, begging for food and making other weird and loud noises that I don’t ever remember hearing before. And I felt faint and irritable and listless. And that’s when I decided that they don’t know what they are talking about, trying to give us all this one size-fits-all requirement. I told myself that I was just going to eat more calories whenever I felt that I needed them and furthermore that I would eat every single time my stomach or my headache signaled that I was starving.

And that’s what I did. I have ended up eating sometimes every 2 hours or so, but it’s usually only enough to stave off the gnawing hunger. And something miraculous happened: in the end I have still abided within 100 calories of the limit! And best of all, after a week of no energy whatsoever, I was able to get up and go walking for 30 minutes. Yay! AND, I was so upset that my son had not cut the yard, that I grabbed the lawn mower and cut the front lawn for 30 minutes. Woohoo! So the smarty-pants fat girl was right. This IS do-able.

So when I successfully demonstrate by turning in my food journals that I have totally cut out all carbonated drinks, that I can live off 1400 calories a day that mostly come from protein and non-starchy vegetables and that I get about 30 minutes of exercise daily, then I will be given a date for my surgery. And then the REAL trial begins: Optifast for 3 weeks.

And then, the surgery…

7

Upper GI Test Tomorrow

Oh my goodness. Just a month ago, it seemed like this whole weight loss surgery thing was going to take forever, but now things finally seem to be moving along.

At 8:30 a.m. (when I am supposed to be at work for the last week of teacher workdays) I have to be a Baptist Hospital so they can check out my upper gastrointestinal region and make sure everything is okay. That means I can’t have anything to eat or drink for the next 12 hours. The no eating will be okay…but NO WATER after midnight?? What about my nightly tendency to go to the kitchen for a drink of water? Even the THOUGHT of not being able to drink water makes me thirsty. Ugh.

I hear the test will only take about 45 minutes. Then I will go to work for a few hours. And THEN the fun starts: At 3:00 p.m. I go see “The Prescriber” at the Mood Treatment Center. Doesn’t that title sound ominous? THE PRESCRIBER. I don’t know why they refer to the psychiatrist that way. (Which reminds me that I really need to post about my recent visit to the Mood Treatment Center and the wonderful encounter with one of the psychologists there.)

And as if THAT were not enough for one week, tomorrow I go to the 2-hour Nutrition Class. Woohoo! So this whole process is really moving along, right? But if that’s the case, then can anyone please tell me WHY I get so creeped out worrying that something is going to pop up at the last minute to keep all this from happening?

7

Elated! Exuberant! Overjoyed!

Can you tell I’m happy?

I JUST GOT THE CALL from my doctor’s scheduler and she has put me down for May 21st at 10:00a.m. for my first consultation with him. I’m freaking ecstatic…or did I say that already? Now I just have to get a substitute for my classes that day, or at least one of my colleagues who has a planning period to check in on my students. Whatever, I’ll worry about that part later.

Okay, so she also scheduled me to go ahead to the nutrition class which she said will last about 2 hours. I can’t take another day off work in order to handle this process, so even though she initially put me down for June 9, we pushed it a few more days out to the 16th, when students will no longer be in school. [Oh, I just thought about the fact that if you’ve never visited my page called Career, then you probably don’t know I teach high school. Sorry about that. Also, if you don’t know that I live down in the North Carolina where we had a lot of winter weather that caused delays, absences, and early dismissals, then you are probably shocked to know that some kids will still be in school here until June 12. Sorry about that, too!]

Hah! I am so hyped. I am actually taking steps. I’m on the journey with the others of you who are already doing this too. Hurray for us!!

0

The “Weighting” Game…

2015-05-02 19.49.27

This is me, at the most I have ever weighed. But I am still smiling, because I have hope…

I have taken the first step, just as I said I would, but this waiting around is difficult.

#1 I have done all my research regarding the newest weight-loss surgery, the laparoscopic sleeve. I know the risks involved and the success rates, based on the average amounts of weight lost over time by clients. I have also chosen my doctor, which is where my first mistake may have come in–but I’ll explain that in a minute.

#2 The second step is to attend a seminar where they give you all the information I just mentioned: the various surgical options, along with the risks associated with each; the insurance plans they will work with, patient history sheets to fill out, and a list of lifestyle changes clients can expect to make once they have had the surgery. Okay, so NO, I didn’t attend the information session because I did that back in 2010, the FIRST time I made up my mind to have some type of bariatric surgery. However, I DID avail myself of the online information session, which–just as I suspected–had only a few minor changes. But anyway, kudos to Wake Forest Baptist Health for trying to insure that their patients are educated before making huge choices like this one.

#3 Once you have attended the information session, perspective clients are supposed to call the office for a consultation with the doctor of their choice. Well, I did…and I’m still waiting…and “weighting”… That’s what I meant when I said that perhaps I had made a bad decision in choosing a world famous doctor like Dr. Fernandez.

It just so happens that I am privileged to live in a city that is host to one of the nation’s preeminent medical facilities. But I tend to take that for granted because, well…I grew up here! I realize that people come from all over the US (and the world?) for treatment here, but I still expect to the attended to quickly!! And I swear I didn’t choose this doctor because of what it says on the website, “Led by Dr. Adolfo “Fuzz” Fernandez, our expert bariatric surgeons have performed over 1,000 procedures since 2003…” No, the truth is that his own wife (Dr. Andrea Fernandez) referred me to him just before she gave me an endometrial ablation back in 2006. No, she didn’t refer me for weight-loss surgery, but for a quick removal of what she figured was an umbilical hernia.

I called the office on last Monday and was told that someone would get back with me to set up an appointment. Tomorrow will make one week of waiting. Should I just try to schedule with another doctor on the team who is not quite as famous as Dr. Fuzz? It’s just that I have heard so many wonderful things from happy clients of his. And one of the nurses who works with him just happens to also be my beautician [she only opens her shop by appointment]. She only expresses the greatest admiration for his work and talks about how happy and successful his patients are.

#4 The say that as soon as the consultation with the doctor has been scheduled that you can go ahead and also schedule your appointments for a psychological evaluation, for a talk with the nutritionist, and for a consultation about exercise. Then I guess after all that you will be fully set up to have the surgery.