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After today, I only have one more pre-op class to attend before I can have my surgery scheduled! FINGERS ARE CROSSED FOR NO HICCUPS IN THE PROCESS!
The Pre-Op Classes thus far have been amazing. I know I haven’t kept up with letting you know what the classes are like, but it has been fairly hectic for me with job interviews and running errands.
At any rate, I love these classes! They are super-informative and kind of fun. Although, I will say this, I was weary of the whole exercising thing, but it’s not that bad. The first two weeks I walked on the tread-mill. Today, I tried this new machine. It’s like a step machine, but you’re seated and have to use your arms as well. It was probably the most intense workout I have ever had. And it made the time go by quicker — and I’m a huge fan of that!
The first week’s lesson was pretty straight-forward. It was just explaining what to expect the two weeks before surgery and after surgery, which was very enlightening. There are a lot of changes for me!
The second week talked about stress and how to change your life-style. The nurse gave us some really great tips on how to manage stress. We even did a breathing relaxation at the end of class. I’ve never realized how much breathing can effect your body. I had a headache and was kind of tense in my shoulders. After the breathing activity, I felt much better!
Today was a great class. I left feeling as though I learned a lot. The nutritionist showed us what to look for in food labels; she showed us how to read a food label as well as what to avoid. Definitely the most informational session by far!
When I started the program, I weighed 263.9 lbs. I’ve made sure to wear the exact same things to the classes so that the weight can be as accurate as possible for me to make a comparison. Today, I weighed in at 261.9! Super excited!!! I know it’s only 2 lbs in 2 weeks, but hey, it’s a start!
I’ve been keeping a food journal, which has definitely helped me become more aware of what I’m eating during the day and what I need to eat more of. There’s this app you can get on your smartphone, too. It’s called myfitnesspal and I’m in love with it! It also syncs up online, so you can totally access the benefits of the website/app even if you don’t have a smartphone. I’ll post a link for that for anyone that is interested.
Also, as a part of the program, I get to use the hospital’s gym near my house, totally free of charge! EXCITING STUFF ALL AROUND!
Overall, I’m feeling good. I can’t wait to make more progress!! I hope those reading this are making great progress too. And what’s important to remember is that even though you mess up today, doesn’t mean you have to mess up tomorrow. Take it one day at a time. No one is perfect. Don’t beat yourself up. Just start again the next day.
Thanks for reading,
Okay, so I confirmed with the NSMC Program Administrator that the Pre-Op Classes do waive one of the support group meetings, or at least will allow them to schedule the surgery. SUPER EXCITED!
My first class is this Thursday at 4:30 pm. Now, I wasn’t sure what to really expect from this whole class, but I ended up receiving this little welcome letter and schedule for the class.
The letter outlined the things that I need to bring with me and what to expect:
- digital food scale
- measuring cups and spoons
- a nutritious snack to eat after exercise (fruit or yogurt)
- wear comfortable clothes to exercise in as we will be exercising each session
- water bottle
- refrain from smoking or ingesting caffeinated beverages 2 hours prior to exercise (this should be easy since I don’t really drink caffeinated beverages or smoke)
Tomorrow after work I need to pick up some of this stuff (workout clothes, measuring cups and spoons, digital food scale). Super excited about that!
Now, the schedule is as follows,
Every class the first hour is devoted to intake and exercise. I’m not sure what intake is referring to, but I’ll let you know as soon as I find out this week.
Class 1, June 14
5:30 - 7:00 Nutrition Overview (Introduction)
Class 2, June 21
5:30 - 7:00 Stress & Overview of Life Style Change
Class 3, June 28
5:30 - 7:00 Meal Planning for Life
Class 4, July 5
5:30 - 7:00 Nutrition - Stress Exercise
In addition to bringing the things they outlined above, I’m definitely bringing a notebook so that I can take notes. I can’t wait for Thursday!
Thanks for reading,
- evvy <3
I met with my doctor last Thursday just to follow up on some of the things the nurse practitioner was concerned about — namely my thyroid levels and my liver levels.
Now, I just have to say, I love my PCP. She is awesome at what she does. She is very thorough and explains everything to you. I think it is extremely important for you to like your PCP. If you’re not comfortable with your PCP or don’t like the person, it’s best you change them.
Anyway, I had blood taken to re-check my thyroid and liver levels. This was to verify what the surgeon’s tests found.
I just got an email from my doctor today saying that my thyroid levels are back down to 3! Which is bizarre because they were 7.43 about a month and a half ago! She did run an antibodies test which came back positive, which she explained meant that there was a 50% chance that I would have an underactive thyroid in the future. But for now, we wouldn’t have to treat with medication. YAY!
My liver levels weren’t as high as they were a month or so ago, but they were still a little elevated. So, I’m having an ultra sound done in another week. My PCP is also setting me up with a liver specialist to follow up on my ultra sound and liver levels.
So, there are still some concerns, but I feel a little better about the whole thyroid thing. Thyroids are tricky and medications for them have a lot of side effects. Not to mention they are quite a task to manage because the levels change so frequently.
I will definitely keep you posted about the whole liver thing and let you know how it goes! Fingers crossed!
Thanks for reading,
- evvy <3
Okay, so I’m making some progress! On Tuesday, May 29th I had my health & wellness appointment.
To prepare for the appointment, I had to keep a 3 day log of everything I ate, and when I say everything, they mean everything. Every little sip and cracker you eat needs to be logged. They stress that you shouldn’t try and change your eating habits for this log, but eat as you normally would.
I arrived about a half-hour early to make sure I had enough time to fill out all paperwork and whatnot. I also had to make sure I had payment for the $400 fee that is not covered by ANY insurance. The fee covers the following,
- Body composition analysis
- 141 page Resource Manual
- Relaxation tape
- Food used during nutritional classes
- Extra handouts
- Use of the gym at the hospital
Also, you don’t get these things the day of your appointment. You get these things when you complete surgery and begin your post-op program/classes.
So, my first appointment was with the Nurse Practitioner and it was pretty straight-forward. She did ask a lot of questions, but they were easy ones. Some questions overlapped with questions the psychologist asked. But there were more in-depth ones and she did perform a mini physical. She also went over the labs that the surgeon had done with me back in April. She was concerned about a couple of things,
- my liver levels were quite high
- my thyroid levels were also a little high (normal range is 2-5 and mine are at 7.43) indicating that my thyroid is under-active.
- I’m also vitamin D deficient
She prescribed me vitamin D pills at 50,000 units to take once a week for 8 weeks. As for my liver levels, she explained that they could be elevated due to my thyroid being elevated. In the end, we decided that I should meet with my doctor to discuss these things and have tests done with her to confirm. I meet with her on the 7th of this month.
After a lengthy hour with the RN, I met with the nutritionist for a half-hour. We discussed my log and my day to day eating habits. She noticed that my diet was pretty high in fat (evident by 3 day log). She also discussed that there was a Pre-Op Class that I could sign up for which would knock out one of the support group meetings (I would only need to go to one support group meeting rather than two). I asked that she sign me up for it.
After meeting with the nutritionist I was asked to get an EKG done. NOrmally, they ask candidates for bariatric surgery to participate in a stress test, but since I was young they only asked for an EKG to monitor my heart. The EKG literally took 2 minutes to complete — I thought it was going to take much longer than that, but it was quick.
I don’t really have much more to comment on these two appointments. They were pretty straightforward. Feel free to ask me any questions you might have about either one of the two appointments.
Thanks for reading,
So, I just wanted to address the picture that I had posted a whiles back that says, “Yes, I’m trying to lose weight. No, I don’t hate my current body.” I definitely believe that this describes many people trying to lose weight.
As I said in my first post, I’m not pursuing this program as a means to get skinny or look better. I don’t have a problem with how I look. I love myself no matter what I weigh. My beauty and my sense of worth is not determined by how much I weigh. It’s determined by who I am as a person. What my sense of character is. It’s determined by how I feel about myself.
The reason I bring this up is because on Friday, I mentioned to a friend of mine that I had the psychological evaluation done that day. Her immediate response was “Why are you doing this? Because I feel like you haven’t really tried. And I know a girl who did this type of program who looks horrible now. Some women are just meant to be big and beautiful.” Now, I know she thinks she was being supportive and trying to advocate for me in the sense that I am beautiful despite my size. Which I completely agree with. But this has nothing to do with beauty. This has everything to do with my health. I don’t feel healthy.
Not to mention, she doesn’t know what I have tried and haven’t tried. For the past 4 months, I have seen her once a week. I was a little taken aback that she would assume she knows what I am doing on a daily basis. But neither here nor there, this is a decision I am making to bring myself to a healthier place.
Another comment she made later was that no one would be able to talk to me once I’ve lost weight. As though I would become a conceited person and forget my friends. And this really bothered me. That’s not my personality at all. I know a lot of people comment on how they thought I was a bitch when they first met me, but that’s not true. I sincerely care about others feelings and try my hardest not to hurt them. However, that is not to say that I don’t stick up for myself when I think people are being rude to me or are disrespecting me.
I was also puzzled, because when I was lighter in weight, I didn’t have a lot of self-confidence. I thought there was always something wrong with me. However, after years of changing my perception, I have become much more confident in myself. Despite being a large woman, I have more confidence now then I have ever had when I was weighing 150/160.
I guess what I’m trying to say to you is that don’t let other people’s reality become your reality. I don’t think my friend is in a good place right now and really wants to change how she looks. I believe that she thinks that if she were only 15 pounds lighter, that she would be happier. But what she doesn’t realize is that all those problems she is having now, are still going to be there when she’s skinny. They don’t just disappear because you’re now what society deems as an ideal weight.
To whomever is reading this right now, just know that you are an amazing person. That you are beautiful inside and out. Your worth is not determined by what you look like, but who you are as a person. By your actions. Don’t let anyone try to tear you down into their negativity. Just keep on shining and moving forward. As long as you know you are doing good by yourself and by others, you have nothing to worry about.
Thanks for reading,
- evvy <3
So, I had my psychological evaluation done on Friday, May 25th. I was pretty anxious about the appointment because I wasn’t sure what to really expect. So, of course, I googled what to expect in a bariatric surgery psychological evaluation. And what I found online was actually pretty true to what happened. The goal of this evaluation is to determine whether you have a risk of being unable to succeed at this bariatric program (you can’t drink/smoke/do drugs and it is not recommended for those who suffer from depression).
First, the psychologist conducted a mini interview that lasted about 10 minutes. The types of questions he asked were pretty straight-forward ones,
- Who do you live with?
- Do you have the support of your family & friends?
- What do you typically eat in a day? What times?
- Have you ever been treated for depression?
- Have you ever wanted to kill yourself?
- Do you or did you ever smoke? And for how long?
- Do you use drugs?
- How often do you drink?
These are all to help the psychologist spot any red flags that may deter him/her from recommending that you get the surgery. This part was really easy — fortunately, I don’t suffer from depression, or any type of substance abuse.
After documenting my answers, the psychologist explained that the next part of the evaluation would be my filling out several questionnaires. Several was quite an understatement. I probably answered about 1000 questions in 8 surveys.
What was nice was that the psychologist put them in order that had me filling out the longer ones first. Which I really appreciated.
The first survey had about 200-250 questions. It was meant to evaluate my personality — for the most part it was pretty straight-forward. The survey was formatted with a bunch of statements. I had to mark whether the statement was False, Slightly True, Mostly True, or Very True. Some of the statements were about whether I was happy, social person. Others were about my ability to get over things that worry me. And every now and again, there would be several statements randomly placed regarding drugs, alcohol, depression, and suicide. I think these were meant to try and trip up people who were lying.
There were a couple times that I had to catch myself and really read the statement. For instance, one said “I have never had a problem with drugs and/or other substances.” Now I immediately circled False because I disregarded the never had and thought it was saying I have a problem with drugs. I immediately changed it, but you have to be careful and make sure your reading the statements thoroughly.
The next ones weren’t too bad, I think I spent the most time on the first one. The others were maybe about 2-3 pages long and as I got further into the pile they were shorter in length (1-2 pages long). The whole thing probably took me about an hour or so to complete.
At the end, the psychologist commented that he didn’t think there were any red flags while glancing at the reports, but that he would go over them more thoroughly and write up a report and recommendation. I’m not really expecting to hear anything about the report/evaluation until I meet with the surgeon again and he has all my evaluations in front of him.
I hope this helps those that are apprehensive or anxious about a psychological evaluation for bariatric surgery. Feel free to message me if you have any specific questions about the process that I didn’t answer.
Thanks for reading,
So, I just got home from having my initial visit with the surgeon for the bariatric surgery. I have to admit, I was quite nervous, but excited.
I was a little put off that the doctor was 15 minutes late to the appointment when I had showed up a half hour early for it — like they asked. Aside from that though, the visit went well. Here’s a breakdown of what happened,
- The nurse weighed me and took my blood pressure
- The surgeon came in and gave me an overview about what we would be talking about during the visit (my medical history, family history, my goals, and interested surgeries)
- After discussing my history and family history we discussed the surgery I was interested in — sleeve gastrectomy. The surgeon was very thorough in explaining the surgery and the side effects.
- Sleeve gastrectomies essentially turn your stomach into a tube like sleeve, minimizing the size of your stomach’s intake (makes you feel full faster). It’s in between a lap band and bypass, in the sense of it’s results - bypass will give me bigger results in a shorter amount of time, whereas the band would take longer and I wouldn’t get the maximum result.
- At the end of the visit, the surgeon expressed that I was a good candidate for the surgery. YAY!
- I scheduled a follow-up visit with him in 6 weeks to see where I am in the process of evaluations.
- Then I went down to the lab and had blood drawn — and I have to say, the nurse was AWESOME at taking my blood. I didn’t even feel the needle going in!!
Overall, I’m feeling pretty good. My goal is to schedule the surgery in the summer. Let’s see how it goes…
(I’ve added a page that explains the sleeve gastrectomy more in-depth for those that are interested)
Thanks for reading,
As you can tell, this blog is dedicated to my journey to health. I emphasize my because everyone is different and pursue weight loss in many different ways. The way I am jump-starting my weight loss is by getting laproscopic sleeve gastrectomy — in short, weight loss surgery.
Now before I get into the why and what it exactly means, I need to give you a little background information…about me.
My name is Evalynn and I am 25 years old. I weigh 260 lbs and stand at a tall 5’5”. My BMI is currently at 43. I have steadily gained weight for about 8 years.
I have a very interesting family history with various conditions and diseases. My father and younger sister have diabetes. My mother also had diabetes among many other conditions/diseases: congestive heart failure, osteosporosis, and numerous strokes. Unfortunately she passed away in December of 2010 due to these illnesses, but not before they claimed half of her right foot and two toes on her left foot.
She was only 46.
I don’t want that to be my future. I’ve tried diets. I’ve tried exercising (loosely using that term tried). And to no avail has anything changed. Oh, I’ll lose some weight — 15 lbs tops. But I gain it right back.
I actually just found out something that I thought was interesting. I went to a weight loss seminar at a local hospital that performs the surgeries with the actual surgeons in attendance, which was really cool. They mentioned that those with a BMI higher than 40 will typically lose weight but gain it right back or aren’t able to get all the excess weight off — they didn’t give a definitive reason as to why that is, but it would explain why I am so incapable of keeping the weight off and not being able to make a big dent in my weight.
So, I decided that I need help and more than just support. I need a jump-start and surgery is my choice. It’s not for everybody, and who knows if I’ll even be a good candidate, but I am determined to pursue this.
I’m going to be meeting with a surgeon on Tuesday of next week, April 24th. We’re basically going to be discussing the surgery options I have and what my goals are.
Now, this is a really big process. You can’t just call up a surgeon and schedule an appointment. It’s a program, really. It starts with meeting a surgeon for a consultation type of meeting. Then you would need to meet with a cardiologist, nutritionist and psychologist. Depending on their evaluations, they decide whether or not you would be a successful candidate for the surgery and program. Only after completing these evaluations can you schedule an appointment.
Post-surgery, you’re required to complete a 12-week program involving nutrition, support groups, and exercise. For the next year, you meet with the surgeon every month to monitor your progress. Even after that year, you need to meet with the surgeon once a year to make sure you’re not digressing. The hospital that I am getting the surgery done seems to have a great team and I like the idea of a support group for those who are just out of surgery to those who are months and years into the surgery. I think with these type of resources in place, I can be successful.
I want to be healthy. And I haven’t truly felt healthy for a couple years now. Something has got to give, and it’s me. There’s this quote from Albert Einstein that I love, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” And that’s what I’ve been struggling with over the years. I try diets, though they may be different, and to no avail. It’s just not enough anymore.
So, this marks the beginning of my journey to a healthier me.
Thanks for reading,
- jorani <3