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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Started the Process

Last night I attended Dr. Naaman’s weight loss seminar. My supportive friend, Melissa went with me. When she had her surgery, they didn’t have the seminar. She even walked away learning something, she said.

All I can say is, "I'm sold!" without even being "sold" to.

It is plainly obvious to me that Dr. Naaman and his staff are the real deal; they're there to truly help. And true, it doesn't hurt that Dr. Naaman is noted as one of the top surgeons in the Nation for Laparoscopic RNY, but if he was a butt-head, or doctor advertising on the nearestbulletin-board, I wouldn’t be interested. I’m told some people find him direct. I find him to the point, and there’s a difference, to me anyway. Why mince words when we're talking about a life-altering procedure? This ain’t no time to be foolin’ ‘round!

I really liked how he impressed upon everyone the importance of aftercare. If I had a dollar for every time he stressed walking 30 minutes a day, maintenance, follow-up care and support groups, I could self-pay! He's right though -- why go through this to only go halfway? He was very forthright and showed us stats on all the different types of weight loss surgery, along with their complication and success rates. After his hour long presentation, he took nearly 30 minutes of questions; showing patience and caring throughout. To top it off, his office staff was there to help with insurance questions -- a very informative and thoughtful seminar.

I found out at the seminar that BC/BS of Texas is one of the hardest to get approvals through. The good news is, our plan is company funded, so Dr. N’s insurance folks feel like they might have different ways to approach – at least there’s a choice. I’m already starting on a letter to our Plan Administrator.

My biggest fear is if I have to hold to the 12 Month MD supervised diet, by the time I’m done with that, the company has a flat-out exclusion for weight-loss surgery.

The best part? I feel like I have just a tad of hope.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Another Day

So another day has passed, and I am either just a couple months or more than 365 days away from being able to have WLS.

I called Methodist Hospital yesterday, and am registered for their seminar on Thursday, February 2nd. I go to Dr. Naaman’s seminar on Monday, January 30th, and between all that, on February 1st I see my Endocrinologist for my blood work results.

The Methodist program could run me anywhere from $3800 to $4000. The good part is, it covers all areas of the required pre-certification; medically supervised, behavioral modification and support. The cost is higher, because you meet with an MD each week to have your progress clinically monitored.

Since I seem to be a woman of Pros and Cons lately, why not one more time!

Pros
Learn and practice the new lifestyle required after surgery
Learn how to cope with the emotional issues after WLS
Feel better each day, and feel “hope” because I am working towards something
Loss of weight will make WLS easier and slighter safer for the surgeon to complete

Cons
Cost $3800 to $4000
May not lose all the weight, but enough to have WLS denied later
It may not be something I can commit to voluntarily, whereas you’re force to with WLS

Here’s a scary thought: Insurance could change and totally exclude!

I could take the “easier” way out and just visit monthly with my doctor for my “medically” supervised program, but even then since it doesn’t have all the modules the pre-cert said could be requested, I could really be making my wait longer, as they are very clear on what is required.

Gastric Bypass:

  • History and physical with co-morbidities, height and weight

  • Initial evaluation

  • Letter of medical necessity from 2 physicians

  • Documented failure of 12 continuous months of non-surgical weight management program supervised by an MD, DO or NP

  • Procedure codes
The weight management program should consist of:

  • Nutritional or medical nutritional

  • Therapy

  • Behavior modification or behavioral health interventions

  • Supervised increase in activity

  • Pharmacologic therapy (unless contraindicated)

  • Maintenance support to continue to encourage good nutritional choices and reduce health risk factors and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

What’s most important is that I stay positive, and regardless, continue moving forward towards my goal.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Insurance Obstacle Course

I've been trying to figure out exactly what my requirements are for BCBS-TX to cover my WLS. I definitely qualify on BMI, and my doctors agree it would be fine for me, however I'm not sure if my 4+ years of Weight Watchers books will count as a "medically supervised diet."

I called Dr. Naaman's office and spoke to Bernie. I asked her if she thought BCBS would take my 4+ years of Weight Watchers. She said it's fairly subjective to the reviewer on your case. Great! She said the best thing to do would be to call them and ask them what the requirements are.

So, I did.

Mary from BCBS was just as sweet as can be too; not at all what I was expecting with all the horror stories I've heard. I could tell she was really trying to find the information for me, but was having no luck. She said, if it were up to her 4+ years committed to anything should get me covered, but the case reviewers don't always see it that way.

I found some documentation on the provider website that said if a pre-certification was requested, BCBS could ask for a 12 month, medically supervised, diet. Then, later, to corroborate that, Paul on Obesity Help said that BCBS does not waiver on their pre-cert requirements for wls, citing the same document I had found. Great... Not!

I'm trying not to stress about it though. There is such a long haul ahead of me, and everyone's insurance experience seems to be different. The worst case scenario is that I have to wait a year, to meet the requirement of a 12 month medically supervised diet.

I've decided to write a letter to BCBS on my own behalf. In addition to that I'll have the letters of 2 physicians, as wells as two obesity survivors who know my dedication towards living a healthy lifestyle. I knew them both when I was on Weight Watchers.

I wasted no time and found a Medical Weight Management program at Methodist Hospital. Hell! If this works they way they say it will, I might not need surgery. Seriously! It sounds like you follow the diet as you would after bariatric surgery. They start you out on liquids and then transition you to food. Later, you move on to maintenance. They say 2 to 5 lbs. a week. You are medically monitored weekly, so it would qualify for pre-cert.

Of course though, insurance does not cover it. :c(

Why is it they'll cover $25K surgery, but won't cover a weight loss support program at a fraction of the cost?

Regardless though, I will look into it anyway. I mean, if I have to meet the requirement, I may as well do something that may bring me benefit.

If I have to wait a year, and I lose weight in that time, I'm just making things easier on my body for the surgery. That's how I have to look at it, otherwise I'll go nuts!

Here's to meeting my first challenge.

Monday, January 23, 2006

She Makes The Call!

I had my appointment with my new PCP. We talked about everything; she's on board with me having weight loss surgery, and will support my effort towards getting insurance coverage.

We talked bout Xenecal and Meridia. She said Xenecal won't really do anything for me since I don't eat a high fat diet. Meridia is simply a Seritonin booster, like an anti-depressant. I don't want to be dependent for the rest of my life on pills. Especially as we age, pills are pretty much going to be necessary -- why throw something else in the mix?

I was very candid with her, telling her what my issues are, and being accountable for my behavior. Most of all though, I emphasized that in order for me to have long-term success and be the same person on the outside as I am on the inside, I need help.

Make no mistake, I am not thinking weight loss surgery is going to solve every unwanted issue in my life. Clearly I need an MD to help me overcome my emotional issues with food. With the help, I know I will succeed. The surgery alone will not make me a success.

In talking with Melissa, she made a really good point. She said I was like her (I'm flattered she thought so!). We've have been blessed with so many successes in our lives, but that weight loss has always been a ongoing losing battle for both of us. She would hate to see me defeated yet again.

Well, it's no news flash, but: I won't want to be defeated again!

It is ironic, how the tables are turned. I am inspired by Melissa's consummate dedication to her lifestyle changes and courage to move forward with RNY. I remember about 4 years ago when I met her doing Weight Watchers, she was telling me I was motivating to her!

After writing down the pros and cons, weighting them individually against my ultimate goals, I'm now headed towards Laparoscopic RNY -- though it seems each day I'm on the other side of the fence. It's more than a challenge embracing the RNY procedure when you hear the horror stories; it most definitely is an invasive procedure, and I respect that totally!

So, to really try and understand the basis of the negatives, I have found if you research outside of the Internet you'll find some of the negatives and myths dispelled. I feel even more myths will be dispelled after the weight loss seminar with Dr. Naaman next week.

To be frank, after writing it all down, the risks outweigh the chance of impacting my daughter's self esteem and her healthy lifestyle issues because she has a morbidly obese Mom. It has been said, "The genes load the gun; the environment pulls the trigger." I'm part of her environment. I will do WHATEVER it takes for her to live in a healthy environment, and be surrounded by healthy rolemodels.

I simply pray that God will not take me from my family, and if he does, then so be it. You can bet if he tries, I will fight it every step of the way.

I want to move forward, get it done, and start living the life I was meant to live!

Some will disagree, but it seems many of the negatives hold their roots with folks who had undetected pre-existing conditions, had inexperienced surgeons, or did not follow the lifestyle changes required to stay healthy after the RNY surgery. Also, more negative reports have been associated with the Open RNY procedure vs. the Laporascopic RNY.

You cannot uncommit and recommit to RNY at your leisure; you just went under the knife and re-routed your digestive system to force a behavioral change! You must follow the post-op procedures, behavioral modifcations will be foreced upon you. If you don't change, you'll have trouble. Sounds extreme; because it is!

So, there you have it, RNY for me.

Wow! That has got to be the toughest decision I have ever made!

Abra-ca-dabra! NOT!

As silly as it sounds, the Weight Loss Surgery for Dummies book has been a tremendous help in my decision making The following is an excerpt from Weight Los Surgery for Dummies:

"Weight loss surgery is in the news almost daily. You may hear everything from glowing reports of saved lives to horror stories about surgeries gone wrong. No doubt you know people who have had the surgery or you know someone who knows someone who has had the surgery. And like the game of gossip, reports get distorted. Here are some myths about weight loss surgery that you may have heard — and that are ripe for righting

You'll never regain your weight:
Weight loss surgery is only a tool — the amount of weight you lose and how much of that weight loss you maintain is up to you. Most patients do regain some weight — some as much as a 20 to 30 percent, and others even more than that. When you go through weight loss surgery, you have no guarantees that you'll be thin your entire life. But if you eat a healthy diet and follow a good exercise routine, your chances of not regaining weight are greatly improved.

You'll never be hungry:
After your weight loss surgery, you will experience hunger — but not right away. Soon after surgery, many patients experience what is described as head hunger, which is like withdrawal symptoms from food. After your body adjusts to eating such small amounts, you'll feel only very mild sensations of hunger for many months. A year or two or more after your surgery, you'll definitely experience hunger. But unlike before your surgery, you'll only need a small meal to satisfy that hunger. You'll definitely be able to eat more at one sitting than you could eat right after your surgery — but try to eat for only 20 minutes and limit your snacks.

Weight loss surgery is the easy way out:
Nothing angers a weight loss surgery patient more than hearing someone say that weight loss surgery is the easy way out. There is nothing easy about it. Consider the following: You have to go through rigorous physical and psychological testing to ensure that you're an appropriate candidate for surgery. - You may have to fight with your insurance company so the surgery is covered.
  • You may face complications from the surgery.
  • You have to endure about four weeks of liquids and pureed foods fun!
  • You have to learn a whole new way of eating and there are consequences if you don't follow the rules. You may throw up, suffer dumping syndrome, experience nausea, and get food stuck in your stoma (the opening from your new small pouch to your small intestine) and that hurts!
  • As your system adjusts to the surgery, you may have a real problem with nausea.
  • You may lose a lot of your hair for a three- to five-month period after the surgery.
  • When you realize that you can no longer use food for comfort, you have to adjust psychologically and find new ways of coping.
  • You can't get pregnant immediately after weight loss surgery- Many patients have trouble getting pregnant prior to surgery and find that they're very fertile following surgery. This is good news if you want to have children, or it may be bad news if you don't. Contrary to popular belief, pregnancy following weight loss surgery is very possible. Patients are much less at risk during pregnancy because their other health problems have lessened or disappeared. After your weight is back to normal, and assuming you don't have any other health problems, you can expect to have a normal delivery. If you're a woman of childbearing age, use two forms of birth control for one year following surgery. During that first year, you aren't eating enough to nourish yourself plus a growing fetus, so you don't want to get pregnant then. Besides, you want to concentrate on your own weight loss during that first year. Better safe than sorry.

You'll be happy after surgery:
Unhappy people come in all shapes and sizes. Losing weight does not guarantee happiness. That said, you will find many rewards — both physical and emotional — when you reach a normal weight. You'll have a stronger sense of self-esteem, and your health problems will be much more under control. But weight loss surgery won't solve all your problems, and you don't want to go into it thinking it will.

Weight loss surgery is very risky:
Many people associate weight loss surgery with a very high risk of death, but that is just not the reality. The death rate associated with weight loss surgery is considered to be one-half of 1 percent, when an experienced surgeon performs the surgery. Also consider the health risks of staying morbidly obese. You may be at far greater risk staying that way than you will be having surgery.

You'll have a great body:
Following weight loss surgery, you'll lose a lot of weight in the form of fat, but you won't necessarily have a great-looking body. As you lose weight, your skin won't necessarily shrink along with your body, which may leave you with lots of sagging skin. Exercise will tone your muscles and help you lose even more weight, but it will do nothing for your skin. You may need to resort to having plastic surgery to deal with excess skin — this just depends on your own body and how it responds after surgery. You may not have the perfect body, but you'll be healthy!

Weight loss surgery will save your marriage:
Actually, the opposite is true. The divorce rate among couples in which one has had weight loss surgery is higher than the average. Many couples are not able to weather the drastic change that happens when one spouse loses a tremendous amount of weight. Your spouse may become jealous of the new attention that you're receiving. Or you may find that with improved self-esteem, you're no longer willing to endure treatment that you don't find acceptable. Or, with a whole new appearance, your personality may change and your spouse may not like that new personality.

You have to pay for weight loss surgery yourself:
You may have to pay for your own weight loss surgery, but weight loss surgery is often covered by insurance. Even though, in recent years, insurance companies have become more demanding in their screening of patients, the vast majority of surgeries are covered. If anyone where you work has had weight loss surgery, check with him about what experience he had with insurance coverage. You'll get a sense of what, if anything, you may be up against. If you have the same insurance company as one of your friends but you aren't on the same plan, your insurance could be entirely different. One company may list the surgery as an exclusion for its employees, while another company that uses the same insurance company may not. Just be sure to talk with your insurance company beforehand so you know what costs, if any, will be involved. "

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Just The Facts, Ma'am...
















As everyone's goals are personal, I've done my best to research those facts which are important to me, and success with obtaining my goal.

My goals:

a) Get the weight off, and start a full, active life, before I have suffer from co-morbidities or other unrelated issues.
b) Get the weight off before my daughter is cognisent my weight struggles. I want to be a role model for her, demonstrating the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. I DO NOT want her to think that her weight should be the all-consuming battle it has been for me for the past 20+ years.
Both surgies have associated risks, and I'd be happiest never experiencing them. However, I'd be remiss if I did not make them known.

Friday, January 20, 2006

It's All About Attitude

Attitude
Wynonna Judd

I've been up an' down, sideways, crossways,
Outside in an' inside out.
I took a rocky ride across the sky,
Couple times, till the fire burned out.
Well, I hit the ground a time or two,
But I got back up an' I found the truth.

An' said: "Hey, ol' Wynonna got somethin' to say."
Oh, whoa, you know I know what I'm talkin' about.
There's two ways to take what this ol' life's gonna throw at you:
You can choose to win or lose:
It's all about attitude, yeah.

Well, this world has tried to break me, shake me:
Tried to take the fight outta me, ha ha.
But I've always come back bigger, badder, better,
Always land on my feet, ha, that's right.
Well, I coulda given up, coulda got down, down, down, down.
Well, I kept on swingin' an' I went another round.

Hey, ol' Wynonna got somethin' to say.
Oh, whoa, you know I know what I'm talkin' about.
There's two ways to take what this ol' life's gonna throw at you:
You can choose to win or lose:
It's all about attitude, yeah.
That's right.

Well, you can lay down, (Lay down.)
You can roll on over. (Roll on over.)
Get outta the way, (Get outta the way.)
Or you can move that mountain over.

Say, hey, well, this redhead's got somethin' to say.
Whoa, you know I know what I'm talkin' about.
There's two ways to take what this ol' world's gonna throw at you;
It all comes down to you;
An attutude.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Lean On Me

What did people do before there were online support groups? I mean it,seriously! I have met so many motivating and inspirational people, that I contribute a lot of the success I did have to them.

If it weren't for meeting 1 friend in particular, I would not have done a triathlon! Okay, so maybe some friends are best unmade -- unless you enjoy that kind of punishment, as I do. LOL

Truly, though, I have made so many online friends via Weight Watchers online, and have been blessed that some of those online relationships carried over to real-life, and for that I'm grateful beyond words.

One of my best friends, Melissa, underwent Gastric Bypass surgery in December of 2005 -- she has made an amazing transformation, and is truly a poster-child for Dr. Naaman -- and I mean that in the most positive way possible!

Since I finally "came out", so to speak, and told her what I was contemplating, she's been awesome! She's arming me with knowledge, almost daily, so I make the best informed decision possible. I am so lucky to have her to lean on right now. She's even offered to accompany me to Dr. Naaman's seminar.

Then there's Beth, known lovingly as the "BBIC" - the Big Bitch in Charge. Although now I guess she'd be a NSBBIC (Not So Big...!) She was banded about a year-and-a-half ago, and has lost about 80+ lbs. She is very candid about her experience, and readily admits she's taken things slow and did not commit 100% of the time to her band. She would give herself a "break" every now and again. Still, though, she's successful. I think secretly Beth knew I might do WLS surgery one day. I know the day I called her and was going to tell her about my choice, she guessed it. So

If this ride gets a little bumpy, and I go a little crazy, I wanted to make sure I took the time to let you know how much I appreciate you being there for me.

Melissa said, "It will all work itself out in your mind. Just immerse yourself in this new world and it will all come to you. And please - lean on me."

I will. *hugs*

"...step-by-step", he said...

You know, when I did the Danskin Triathlon, Sally (the Danskin spokesperson) said "The hardest part of the race is not crossing the Finish line, it's getting to the Start line." That quote can be used in so many aspects of life, and this is no exception.

I managed to work myself up into a terrible frenzy on the drive to the Endocrinologist. First, I was worried he'd have something to say about the fact I'm only 10 lbs lighter than the very week I delivered Cassie. Of course being the way that I am, I hate disappointing anyone -- one of the reasons I think Weight Watchers worked for me is that I had to be, or felt, accountable to that person weighing me on the scale each week.

Of course he was concerned about my weight and we talked about the life changes required and the how I impulsively eat when I am emotional and stressed. I explained it's not even like I gorge on a bag of cookies, or pint of ice cream. More often than not, I'm over eating on "healthy" snacks. Having said that though, I'm not pretending that I have never given in to my sweet tooth either, just not as often as one might suspect.

So, back to the appointment... He made me feel really good about having breastfed for as long as I did, as it was good for me and good for Cassie. He laughed when I told him I was hungry all the time and "ate like a wrestler" while doing so. He also commended me on making it a point to come back, and that it showed my commitment to me.

I explained further all the life changes and stress inducers me and my family had been through, and that I felt I really needed some kind of help with weight loss. I think he could tell I was anxious. He simply said, "we'll move step-by-step". "We'll draw blood, run labs, and make sure there are no underlying conditions." My blood pressure was great at 118/72, but not as great as it was back when I was getting in 3 to 4 hard hours of cardio a week. I reminded him of the last conversation where he suggested Meridia and weight loss surgery, and that when he had originally brought up weight loss surgery as an option, I didn't think it was the right thing for me. I explained to him that I've done some research and understand that WLS is not a cure, but rather a life-long tool; I would be open to it now. He immediately said I would be a good candidate for Meridia, Xenecal or gastric banding, but that we could talk about all the options including bypass later. He did imply somewhat that he thought the bypass might be too much for me, but that we would talk about it later.

I go in for a fasting blood draw today. I'll have the labs back in 5 to 10 days. We talked about lifestyle changes, and that's the next step. Over the next couple weeks I will journal and get back to the gym. In other words, I have to prove to him I'm ready to move forward.

Lord knows I am.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Mind Rush

Ever since the day I decided to do this, I go through what I call "mind rushes" -- I can't seem to stay focused on much else, and thoughts of going through WLS, pre-of and post-of, literally rush through my mind; there are already two nights where I got little sleep because I was dwelling on these thoughts...

- What if I choose the wrong procedure?
- What if the procedure doesn't yield a useful tool for me?
- What if something goes wrong, and the worst happens?
- What if I suffer complications after whatever procedure I choose?
- What if I never feel full?
- How will my Mother take the news?
- How much will my family suffer during my recovery?

Today I go see my Endocrinologist. I'm a little nervous. I had hoped to be closer to my pre-pregnancy weight before returning to him. I can't play games though; I don't have time. I have to get the ball rolling in some direction.

While I was pregnant he suggested Meridia might help me later on; that I'd be a good candidate -- I will ask him about this today.

I've been journaling my food, and this week got back to the gym after nearly 6 weeks away. Even though I'm pursuing the path of WLS, I'm going to focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle again. In a way, focusing on the WLS has re-motivated me for staying on track food-wise. Ironic, huh?

Having done Weight Watchers for so long, I found my self consumed with planning my meals, when was my next meal/snack (not cause I was hungry, but for planning). I was always thinking about good/bad or low/high point foods that it just consumed my thoughts all the time. I don't think it's healthy to be worrying about food like that.

I want a healthy relationship with food. Not a relationship that I fear or mistrust. I want to be in a place where I eat because I am hungry. I want to know what it "full" feels like, after eating just a half plate of food. Right now, unless I gorge myself and clean my plate, I never feel really full.

Ugh! So much on my mind. I feel like a BB ricocheting from wall-to-wall!

Good thing the Weight Loss seminar is at the end of the month. I'm not sure I could wait much longer to get to the heart of the matter.

"Heavy History"

A little about my 'heavy' history...

I've had weight issues the majority of my life, pretty much since puberty. Growing up in a family of professional dancers, weight was a constant source of strife between my Mother and me. She'd put me on diets, try to motivate me with money, or take away the things I enjoyed, or enjoyed doing. In her mind, nothing really seemed to work. In my mind I just grew more resentful feeling the repercussions of my weigh loss failure.

That being said, I do have remember being 14 years old and a size 12, but I also remember living on tuna, yogurt, grapefruit and salad. What’s really said is, I don't ever remember see a thinner me. I often think, "Only if I had, would things be different now?"

Gosh, was my self-image that bad?

So in my adult life I remember being well into the 200's, thinking, "I never want to see that 3XX number". Well, you know how self-fulfilling prophecies work right? If you think your fat, and call yourself fat, you just get fatter and fatter.

The day came when for some reason I decided to buy a scale -- this was in June 2000. I stepped on the scale and I exceeded the 300 lb. limit. Holy shit! I returned that piece of crap, white platform which had just brought my life to a screeching halt, and purchased a newer, friendlier (in an ironic way) scale. The new scale showed me at 347 lbs. I’ll say it again, “Holy shit!”

I got on the ball and joined a gym, for the first time ever, with some of the guys at work. I was doing well, losing 35 lbs. At 313 lbs., I stagnated. To keep up my motivation, a friend of mine told me she was doing Weight Watchers and wanted company. I said, "Sure!"

Weight Watchers was good to me. I went from 313 lbs. to 242 lbs. by May 2003 -- that was a total loss of 105 lbs.

Well, at 242 I just plateaued again... I had never worked out more: Step 3x a week, spin 1x a week, and strength training all along the way. Nothing was moving. And when it did move, it was up. I even trained for and competed in a triathlon, why wasn't I losing?!?

I speculated many reasons... I thought maybe I wasn't eating properly to fuel the level of activity I was thrusting my 240+ lbs. into each day. I tried modifying things, educating my self, and nothing... no desireable change. Over the course of the next year I would creep up to 275 -- all the while attending Weight Watchers. It wasn't innocent gain, and I knew that. The emotion and stress felt from the common plateau would send me eating impulsively. Mindlessly.

275 scared me. I started doing a modified version of the South Beach diet and it worked. I immediately got down to 252 lbs., and was thrilled and motivated. Once again I felt comfortable doing the activity I loved.

In December of 2003 I was blessed with the news that Darren and I would be expecting a baby the following September; our first child, Cassandra Rose.

During the pregnancy I was a Gestational Diabetic. No doubt I am a walking Diabetes time-bomb, as both my Grandmothers had/have Type II Diabetes. I did my best to manage my weight and was incredibly conscientious. I managed my pregnancy well, and came out gaining 47 lbs overall. Not great, but it could have been much worse. More importantly though, I was working out until my 8th month and was managing my blood sugar/Insulin needs successfully.

Just 2 weeks after giving birth to Cassie, I found myself only 12 lbs. from my pre-pregnancy weight. Wonderful!!!!

“Wonderful” didn't last very long...

While breastfeeding I ate like a wrestler. What's worse is I let everyone give me license to eat. They would all say, "you'll lose it when you breastfeed; everyone does!" Well, the real truth is, if you are an impulse eater when it comes to stress and emotion, you will eat. I would reward my self each time was able to get Cassie to feed properly, or even to go down for a nap peacefully. I reasoned, "Well, who knows when I'll have a chance to eat again before she gets up?!?"

It really goes without saying, but adjusting to Motherhood, learning what my new level of “normal” is in our home, and the co-existance of both the husband-wife and mommy-daddy relationship, created mounds of stress.

Did I mention I eat on impulse when I’m stressed or emotional? (Just in case I had not made that clear.)

As a family, and individually, we have been through some stressful life events. We had a Cancer scare with Cassie in her first 4 months of life; they thought she might have Neuroblastoma and it took them several months to rule-out this life-threatening disease. I spend the summer knowing I was supposed to be laid-off, then it didn't happen (thankfully). And then Darren made changes to his career (making for more travel, and home less). And last, but certainly not least, we faced a mandatory evacuation with our infant child from our first new home when Hurricane Katrina threatened.

Each of these things became reasons for me to drop my needs to the bottom of the priority list. When you do that, you ask for trouble. You wind up where I am today... 292 lbs.

For instance, Darren just had knee surgery. His recovery has kept me from my routine gym habit. Being the weight I am, now I'm extremely self-conscious again. I unwillingly go, only because if I don't I'll be signing my own death-wish. I do know that once I start shedding the pounds I will enjoy it again. That's not me! Ask anyone who knows me... I LOVE going to the gym.

See, that's the thing about me. My inner-self is an active individual. I take cardio classes because I really enjoy it. I love pushing my body to see what it can do. I like walking out of class, sweating like a pig, knowing I did something good for my health. I love strength training because I like seeing the results of a body as it is sculpted. I love the freedom of outdoor road cycling brings. My idea of fun is going camping, hiking, or even doing an organized athletic event. Truly! Even at 242 lbs., I did the Danskin Triathlon with 2 of my friends -- that's my idea of fun!

Having the surgery will help the me on the inside come out to play, and I can life my life the way I believe I am meant to.

Coming to Terms

Hello new blog. :)

I'm Donna. Since I will be getting very intimate with you in future, I should explain what has prompted me to find a new place to journal...

It's the third week of the new year and I have finally come to terms with the idea of having weight loss surgery. Over the years I have had very mixed feelings about it. And while I thought it extreme and not the best method for me, I always supported my friends on their journey.

I can already tell this is going to be a powerful and emotional journey. I mean, from the very day I decided to consider it! In a way I almost feel like a failure to my body and as a role model to others. Today I was discussing it with my husband, and the realization that I need help brought me to tears.

I have yet to decide what kind of surgery. I want to keep my mind open and do what's right for me, though I'm leaning towards the lap band. I have known people who have experienced the glory of success with both the Lap Band and RNY, and those who have everyday challenges staying healthy after either surgery.

I'll use this journal to document my emotions and thoughts during the process. Some of it will be hard to write, and even harder for me to look back and read, I'm sure. I figure the more honest I can be about everything the better. I feel like starting this fresh blog will give me a 'clean slate', so to speak.

So, to explain my title... We go through life saying we don't have time for this, or time for that, or time for the things that are really important. The fact is I don't have time to not let my inner person out. She is active and fit, and wants to live a full and robust life. I just want my outside to match my inside, so I can feel good about me, be a good role model for my daugher, and love myself totally and unconditionally, so I can enjoy loving my husband even more.