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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pre-op Work Today!

Today brings me yet another step closer. I have my pre-op work-up this afteroon.

I need to get out of there and get to the gym by 5, 'cause I have a lil' "Minnie Mouse" waiting for me at home to go "trick-a-treatin".

I won't be around for a few days as we're heading to Alabama to visit my mother-in-law. I hate the drive, but I totally appreciate the time to decompress. It's a simple place, it leaves you with no other choice than to take advantage of the time to relax.

Until next week....

Monday, October 30, 2006

This is the reason why...











Friday, October 27, 2006

Just Killing Time... For the Next 19 Days


I guess I'm just going to be killing time for the next 19 days. I've been busy enough at work to keep from dwelling on the surgery date, so that's a good thing. The few people at work who do know, are so excited for me -- it's like we have this silent countdown going. Ironically enough my surgery date is the same day as our Annual Thanksgiving Potluck Luncheon. Hopefully, by the time they're done stuffing their faces at work, I'll be happily in recovery. :)

My quads are burning today! I had a training session yesterday. It wasn't so much the training session alone that killed me, it was the full 30 minutes of cardio BEFORE the session started that hit me! My trainer called and said I could come in early. I did, but he was wrapping up with another client and ran late. It didn't bother me much at the time, but this morning as I walk around like an old lady, I'm cursing him under my breath!

It was a good session. He taught me some core exercises on the Swiss Ball. I was somewhat familiar with them, as I used to take a class where that's all we did; worked with the balls. He was impressed I managed the positioning so well. He's good for my ego -- he tells me I'm one of his more apt clients, and that he really has fun working with me. That's cool, cause he's alright in my book too.

He brought up the surgery again. He wanted me to know that after thinking about everything even more, that I have his full support. He said, "Right now you need support, not me getting on your case for your choice. I can tell by your attitude you're going to rule this, that you're not counting on the surgery to just magically work for you. I can see your determination."

He's absolutely right. :) 1
19 days! Whoohoo!


Thursday, October 26, 2006

*Sigh*


It is a sad day for me today. My favorite Barista, who makes my "Triple Venti Nonfat blah-blah" has been promoted and is leaving. :( Damn Starbucks -- promoting him like that.

In honor of Darrell, I will introduce you to the mystery that is the Starbucks Oracle
As for this freakin' oracle, here's what it has to say about me and my Venti Triple Sugarfree French Vanilla Nonfat Latte Extra Hot (aka Venti Blah-blah):

Personality type: High MaintenanceYou pride yourself on being assertive and direct; everyone else thinks you're bossy and arrogant. You're constantly running your mouth about topics that only you would find interesting. Your capacity for wasting other people's time is limitless. Your friends find you intolerable, that's why they're plotting to kill you.
Also drinks: Water. Bottled, chilled, with four ice cubes, a twist of lemon, in a crystal glass.
Can also be found at: Trendy martini bars

Another last was my last pre-op visit with Dr. Weinstein -- Yayayy! I could tell he was excited for me. Neither of us expected to get approval so fast. He said that right after the surgery he wants to get me on the bone density machine, because it also measures body fat; then a year from the surgery date we can get on it again, and he can see just how I've done.

I got the word that SignGrl is doing well and recocvering nicely. :)

That is about all. I have a pesonal training session tonight.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

(Insert Witty Title Here)

Okay, so I started watching Oprah from yesterday: "Life After Weight Loss Surgery". I didn't make it through the entire episode because I was stressed out about some automotive issues I am having. My stress coupled with Oprah's coverage of the issue had me at my wit's end, so I just had to turn it off.

What I did see of it, covered addiction transference. This particular mother is now in denial of her alcohol addiction after having Gastric Bypass surgery. She was so obviously a functional alcoholic. Evidently she has some unresolved childhood physical and sexual abuse issues that are causing her this addiction transference.

I can see where she feel like she's just having fun and being social, but she was contradicting herself, saying, "I don't drink during the day." only to be caught later on video saying she was drinking in the middle of the day. She feels that she's dedicated the last 17 years to raising her kids and tending to her family's needs, that now is the time for her to have fun. And she really sees this socializing and drinking as just plain ol' fun. Unfortunately it's coming at a cost to her family. The same family that never really saw her as fat to begin with -- it wasn't until she lost weight with the surgery that they realized how big she was.

I know when I went for my psych eval, the doctor dove deeply into the area of addiction. I just pray I'm not one of the 30% that picks up some other crazy addiction to replace food! Oiy!!

It's really scary stuff -- and unfortunately I guess you don't know until it happens. Like I said, I just couldn't watch any more of it -- maybe I'll be able to watch the rest of it tonight.

On a happy note, the already beautiful Signgrl is having her surgery today! I'm so danged excited for her. Happy re-birthday Signgrl!

Monday, October 23, 2006

To Tell... or Not to Tell

I overdosed on Zyrtec (allergy meds), and that's not a good thing. I'm so incredibly sleepy, it's unbelieveable. I feel like I'm in a fog -- Oiy. I felt my allergies coming on strong last night when the cool winds came in, so I figured, "I'll take 2 -- I'm going to bed anyway." Well, I'm paying for it today! Stupid me. I don't normally do that kind of thing with perscription drugs - but after feeling so miserable with the Strep, I didn't want to feel sh*tty again!

To totally shift gears without a clutch, I don't want to be a farse, but I also don't feel like sharing the fact I'm having surgery with the whole world -- well, the world at the office anyway. I just don't want to deal with potential negative energy I might receive from someone before going under the knife. Does that make sense?

I want happy thoughts, flowers and sunshine! :) I can come up with enough bad scenarios in my own mind!

I'm certainly confident with my decision, but I don't want to waste one breath trying to convince someone that what I'm doing is acceptable, despite associated risks.

The bottom line is, it's my choice. It's my body.

Therefore I've asked the few people at work who do know, to keep it on the QT. After the surgery, when I come back to work, I will share.

New Adventure

My friend Melissa received this and forwarded it on to me...

Daily Word — Sunday, October 22, 2006

New Adventure

I am “prayed up” and prepared for positive change today.

I may be stepping outside my comfort zone to begin a new adventure in life; however, my first step is to be prayed up and ready for a positive change.

I pray to be divinely guided, and I also use my imagination to set the scene for the good that I am about to experience. I see myself going about my day confident in whatever I am doing. I envision my new surroundings personalized for me with pictures and colors, people and activities that invite me to feel at home and comfortable.

Most important, I affirm that the spirit of God goes before me to make my way safe and secure. There is a holy preparation going on for my new adventure. I know I will meet people who are open to supporting me and being supported by me in love and faith.

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”—Deuteronomy 31:8

Friday, October 20, 2006

Friends in Supportive Places

One of my best friends, Melissa, sent this messaage out -- she had been dying to announce my surgery to anyone who knew me through her. I love her for her friendship, support, knowledge and constant encouragement. She's has a beautiful soul.

Although it could just be that I like her because she says nice things about me! I don't know. LOL (kidding). Here is what she sent out:

That's right!!!! One of the greatest friends I could ever have will soon be joining me on the "other" side.... I am so, so, so happy to announce that Donna will be having her gastric bypass surgery Nov. 15, 2006, at 7:30 a.m. with Dr. Naaman!!!!!!!! YAYAYA!

Although she heard yesterday from the insurance company that she was approved, she wanted to wait on announcing it until she received the official word today.You cannot imagine HOW HARD it has been for me not to shout it from the mountain tops!!!

I've included a lot of people - some who have never met Donna in person - on this mailing list. However, each person here "knows" her and knows how much I love and admire her. I have never met a more dedicated person to exercising and weight watchers in my life. I am just so happy that she will now finally be given the tool that will give her the results that equally match the amazing efforts she has put into being healthy. I know each of you are excited for her and will send her your positive energy.

Donna - I've said it before but I'll say it again: You are my hero! I wish you nothing but all the wonderful things you deserve in life! You've worked sooooooooo hard - and I know you will continue to give your all to being as healthy as possible! You've amazed me as a size 18 tap dancer - and you will no doubt blow me away as a size 8 athlete!

All my love to you, Butterfly, as well as to your amazing husband Darren and your sweet little baby girl Cassie. I am just so happy for you all that I am crying!

xoxoxo
Melissa

Melissa (Melissa's Transformation) has been so instrumental in helping me through my thought process. If it wasn’t for seeing up close how well she did with her surgery, I’m not sure I would have entertained it as a viable option. She's had so much success, how could I deny the possibility it might work for me?!? I’m just a little hard-headed when it comes to making a change of heart. LOL

Truly, it wasn’t until my Endocrinologist suggested it that I really started to contemplate it – couple his suggestion with Melissa’s success, and I knew what I needed to do.

I met Melissa many years ago when I used to moderate a Weight Watchers support group. At that time I lived in Dallas and she lived in Houston. Several years later, my then fiance' now Huband brought me to Houston. Melissa and I have remained friends through the course of time... and of course Weight Watchers, and now to come, surgery.

I'm so sure this is the right thing for me. I'm so blessed to have real-life friends, not to mention my bloggin' friends, to be with me on this journey.

I am so blessed.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

It's Officially Official

Amanda just let me know CareFirst called them today to confirm approval.

It's a done-deal!

Whooohoooooo! Just 27 days.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Big News!

I hesitate to say anything until everything is firmed up, but I can't contain myself.

I am approved!

I called BCBS CareFirst today to find out the status on my Pre-auth. I actually called yesterday, and the rep told me that oddly enough it had been "pending" for entirely too long, and that she was going to transfer me to a case worker.

She did and I was disheartened when I got voice mail. I left a message, feeling pessimistic that they would ever return my call in the 24 hours that they promised.

Lo, and behold, today Mary called me! First she apologized for the wait, that it should have been approved 2 weeks ago, but that I am indeed approved. I was dumbfounded.

I said, "Are you sure?"
She said, "Why wouldn't you be, you meet all the guidelines.
I said, "Can anything change the decision?"
She said, "Not unless you don't want to have the procedure done."

I started crying and she asked if I was crying because I was happy. I told her I was, that I just couldn't believe it. She said believe it, you are approved.

She's going to call the doctor either today or tomorrow morning to make it final.

I called the doctor and told them. I have my preop work scheduled for 10/31 and surgery scheduled for 11/15.

It seems so surreal, I can't even explain it.

I turn 39 on Novmeber 5th -- November 15th will begin my journey to becoming 40 and fabulous!

Oh... one more thing. She told me that she reviews cases like this all the time, and never has she seen 5 years worth of Weight Watchers books where a membership has never lapsed! She wished me well with this second chance. :)

Having started with the new gym and personal trainer, I kept asking God to give me a sign; to let me know I was doing the right thing by having the surgery, or if I should tough it out with the personal trainer and give it one last hurrah. Getting my approval after just 5 months is my sign. Thank you, thank you, thank you God, for giving me this 2nd chance at life.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Inspi(red)

After jumpin' through hoops to get my physician's letter of release to train with the trainer, you'll never guess what happened.

I had to cancel. Lucky me, I have Strep.

I have watched more TV this week than ever I think. But I did find some useful information from the boob-tube. I was watching Oprah yesterday and Bono was on; they were introducing the (Red) Project.

Essentially retailers have partnered up with the (Red) Project, and if you buy a (Red) product or sign up for a (Red) service, at no cost the consumer, the (Red) Partner donates a portion of its profit to buy and distribute anti-retroviral to those living with HIV Africa. And no, not all the products are red in color.

It costs just .50 a day for a pregnant mother to take the medication necessary to keep from passing HIV to her unborn child. .50! Being a Mom, I can't imagine not being able to afford the medicine necessary for my unborn child -- so it hit home with me.

So it's Gap's Inspi(red) tee-shirts for my Christmas shopping this year! Oh, there's actually a blogspot for them -- Join Red

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

EKG Resutls

I almost forgot! I had an EKG done yesterday. It was necessary in order to get a letter of release to work with the personal trainer. I never had one before. It quick and nothing I expected. LOL

Bottom line is my heart is good. I admit that even in spite of not having any symptoms that would conclude otherwise, I was a little worried they might find something to be worried about that would warrant more testing.

My heart is good to go. I start training on Thursday!

Calcium, Folate and Iron, Oh My!

Well, I attended the support group meeting on Sunday, and it was the best session I have attended to date.

Dr. Weinstein, spoke about the importance of supplements and vitamins for Bariatric patients. It was very informative. I’m posting a little of what he said coupled with some information I've found, for my reference only. This is not intended as medical advice. Each person should consult their own Bariatric-friendly physician for nutrient care.

One of the points he really stressed is the need to work with your medical professional to determine your individual deficiencies. Symptoms of various deficiencies overlap, so you run the risk of thinking you’re low in one thing, but it’s really another, or worse a pre-cursor to something altogether different.

Bloodwork coupled with symptoms should be used to determine deficiencies. And know that just becaue the local lab says a number should be in a certain range, the same does not always hold true for a Bariatric patient. A Bariatric-friendly physician will know what your ranges should be.

Also, even after all your follow-up appointments are completed with your surgeon, you should see a physician once a year for a full workup/physical. If you can find a physician who has expertise in Bariatrics, that’s a plus (and what you should look for).

So the biggies are Calcium, Vitamin D, B-12, Folate/Folic Acid and Iron. All of these vitamins and minerals participate in our body’s physiology. When one of these is deficient, it makes sense that body function becomes inefficient. Given the fact most WLS patients live with an 800 calorie diet, it’s a pretty good chance they’re not getting all the vitamins and minerals they need without a little help. Dr. Weinstein also warns that one should never take more vitamins/supplements than necessary. Yes, you do pee them out for the most part, but there’s no valid reason to take them randomly.

Calcium:
Natural sources of dietary calcium: Dairy foods are very high in calcium, especially milk, yogurt and cheese. Other good sources include calcium-enriched fruit orange, rice beverages, and soy beverages.

There is continuous movement of calcium between our skeleton, blood and other parts of the body. Calcium also plays a role in cell biology. Calcium is important in nerve impulse transmission and muscle contraction. Calcium is also needed for blood clotting, activating clotting factors.

Vitamin D (D2 and D3)
Natural sources of vitamin D2 are fish and fatty fish oils. There are fortified food sources available, including beverages like milk, soy drinks, Fish, liver, and egg yolk. Vitamin D3 is only available through sunlight – chances are most of our society is deficient in this area because of the lifestyles we lead.

The major biologic function of vitamin D is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Calcium keeps your bones strong and Phosphorus helps maintain good teeth and bones, and also keeps muscles and nerves working properly. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, helping to form and maintain strong bones. Without vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle and soft.

Vitamin B-12
Natural sources of B-12 include liver, meat, egg yolk, poultry and milk.

B12 is important in maintaining the nervous system and plays a vital role in the metabolism of essential fatty acids. Prolonged B12 deficiency can lead to nerve degeneration and irreversible neurological damage. Vitamin B12's primary functions are in the formation of red blood cells and the maintenance of a healthy nervous system. B12 is necessary for the rapid synthesis of DNA during cell division. If B12 deficiency occurs, this results in anemia.

Folate/Folic Acid
Natural sources of Folate include Leafy green vegetables (like spinach and turnip greens), fruits (like citrus fruits and juices), and dried beans and peas.

Folic acid is also referred to as the B9 vitamin and plays an essential role in the formation of DNA & RNA. It also Assists function of vitamin B12, as well as the formation of 'haem' (the iron content of hemoglobin'). Folate is necessary for the formation of red and white blood cells

Iron
Natural sources of iron include meat, liver, oysters, poultry, fish, legumes, dried fruits, green leafy veggies, wine and whole grains.

Iron enables the transport of oxygen from lungs to the tissues and stores oxygen in muscle tissue. It is essential for hair growth, contributes to a healthy immune system and aids in mental function

After Dr. Weinstein finished, we heard from Corey Graham. Corey had RNY 2 years ago when he was 17 years old. Evidently MTV followed Corey on his journey through their reality series “True Life: I’m Obese”. He fully acknowledges that having the surgery and subsequent abdominoplasty, now allows him to realize his dream of becoming a Police Officer. He would have never achieved that dream before. He shared with us his story and what he's doing now.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Like Buying a House!

Okay, so like when did buying a gym membership seem like closing paperwork on a home? While everyone was nice at this particular 24 Super Sport we signed up at, it took forever! I'm totally pumped though (no pun intended). I have my first training session today, and this girl is going to be building some muscle. ;-) I want to be ahead of the curve when I am threatened with losing muscle mass before surgery.

So in other news, I kind of read in a few different places where some were speculating that Blue Cross Blue Shield of TX is changing their requirements for bariatric surgery. I went out to the provider side website and indeed found the policy change that was effective 9/1/2006. Now it requires a 6 month, instead of a 12 month medically supervised diet. Of course me, being who I am, won't allow myself to get too excited. I sent an e-mail to B, the surgeon's office manager, and she said it was good news, but that each employer will still use a case-by-case basis. Ugh.

For anyone using BCBS of TX, here's the policy change from their website:


Title: Surgery for Morbid Obesity
Number: SUR716.003
Effective Date: 09-01-2006

Contract: Each benefit plan or contract defines which services are covered, which are excluded, and which are subject to dollar caps or other limits.

Members and their providers have the responsibility for consulting the member's benefit plan or contract to determine if there are any exclusions or other benefit limitations applicable to this service or supply. If there is a discrepancy between a Medical Policy and a member's benefit plan or contract, the benefit plan or contract will govern.

Coverage: Each benefit plan or contract defines which services are covered, which are excluded, and which are subject to dollar caps or other limits. Members and their providers will need to consult the member's benefit plan or contract to determine if there are any exclusions or other benefit limitations applicable to this service or supply.


The following criteria and guidelines have been developed to judge eligibility for coverage of bariatric surgery for the treatment of morbid obesity.

To be considered eligible for benefit coverage of bariatric surgery for treatment of morbid obesity, the following three criteria must be met:

A. A diagnosis of Morbid Obesity, defined as:
* Body Mass Index (BMI) of greater than or equal to 40 kg/meter squared; OR
* BMI greater than or equal to 35kg/meters squared with at least two (2) of the following co-morbid conditions which have not responded to maximum medical management and which are generally expected to be reversed or improved by bariatric treatment:
* Hypertension,
* Dyslipidemia,
* Diabetes Mellitus,
* Coronary heart disease, and/or
* Sleep apnea.

[Note: A BMI formula can be found in the description section of this policy.]

AND

B. At least a five-year history of Morbid Obesity supported by medical
record documentation.

AND

C. It is expected that appropriate non-surgical treatment should have been attempted prior to surgical treatment of obesity Non-surgical treatment of morbid obesity appropriateness criteria:
Medical record documentation of active participation in a clinically-supervised, non-surgical program of weight reduction for at least 6 months, occurring within the twenty-four (24) months prior to the proposed surgery and preferably unaffiliated with the bariatric surgery program.

[NOTE: The initial BMI at the beginning of a weight reduction program will be the "qualifying" BMI used to meet the BMI criteria for the definition of morbid obesity used in this policy.]

A program will be considered appropriate if it includes the following

components:
* Nutritional therapy, which may include medical nutrition therapy such as a very low calorie diet such as MediFast or OptiFast OR a recognized commercial diet-based weight loss program such as Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, etc.
* Behavior modification or behavioral health interventions.
* Counseling and instruction on exercise and increased physical activity.
* Pharmacologic therapy (as appropriate).
* Ongoing support for lifestyle changes to make and maintain appropriate choices that will reduce health risk factors and improve overall health.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Race for the Cure and Other Thoughts

This past Saturday was the Susan G. Koeman Race for the Cure. 5k of Houston's infamous heat and humidity! It was yucky. I captained a team here at work -- we had a good time.

Here are some pictures:

Angels for the Cause


Can you see how far ahead the people stretch?
It had been a reported 25,000 participants.


The hardest part of the race is not crossing the finish line...
it's making it to the starting line.

There was a whole crew of these folks...
They call themselves the "Breast Cancer Tsunami"

I've also decided I will be changing gyms and hiring a trainer for at least 10 weeks. I want 2 things out of this; 1) Learn the proper way to progress in strength training, and 2) build as much lean muscle mass as I can (without looking like the Hulk) before the surgery. I have read too many times that you loose so much muscle mass early on. I don't want to suffer a hiatus with the kinds of exercise I enjoy because I'm losing muscle mass so fast. Plus, the more lean muscle mass, the more calories I will burn. :) So it's a win-win.

Some of the events with the group moderator have unfolded. She has been retained by University General Hospital -- it is a new "luxury" hospital facility -- as their Director of Marketing. I knew she couldn't leave the cause. As to receiving any other explanations to her commentary, it just won't happen.

I continue to do my research. Still haven't found anything monumentally negative on my surgeon of choice yet -- I really don't think I will.

Happy anniversary to me and my hubby tomorrow. We'll be married 3 years, together for 8.