Lisa's Diary reveals the emotions and day-to-day experiences of a real patient in Fort HealthCare's Bariatric Program.

 

December 26, 2010

Merry (Belated) Christmas!

It’s about time to get down to some serious winter. So far, I’ve enjoyed the winter. Not too cold (which, to me, means not below zero), and some pretty snowfalls. I love the hush after a big snowfall. It makes me think that I should be whispering outside, because nature is.

Enough waxing poetic for the night, and down to the big question:

DID I, OR DIDN’T I?

Well, not exactly — but pretty close! As of Christmas Day, I weighed 197, only one pound short of my goal! I’m okay with that, considering I ate a bunch of garbage before Christmas, but I also exercised a lot — that probably helped me to not gain any more weight over the holidays.

The best part of having the LAP-BAND® during the holidays is that even though I probably ate things I should have, at least I couldn’t eat too much of it! No more “bottomless holiday pit.” I found that having a bite or a small portion of my favorite holiday foods satisfied the urge for them, but I didn’t overindulge because I got full. Oh, happy day! :)

At my last appointment, I didn’t think I was going to be able to get to my goal because I had gained a pound. Actually, I gained five pounds in a day, but there was nothing I could do about it (get it, girls?).

I was feeling like a failure and really beating myself up, but then Dr. Erickson and Patrice set me straight, and I got on with life. It made me so mad because I was working hard, but then I gained weight. Sometimes I’ll lose a couple pounds without trying, but when I gain after working hard and eating right, it really gets my dander up!

I haven’t set a new goal, although it was a great incentive for me. Maybe we should bet!

Any takers? How hard do you want me to work?

I’d like to have 100 pounds off by March, but I’m not sure that’s realistic. I’m at 69 pounds lost right now, and what a difference in my clothes! I’ve gone from size 22 to size 16, and now my jeans are starting to get loose.

That’s not the only thing getting loose… My skin is getting a little droopy as it doesn’t have the elasticity of youth anymore. My double chin has taken on the appearance of double skin. Wouldn’t it be nice if the bariatric program offered free skin de-bulking with every hundred pounds lost? Unfortunately, most plastic surgery is self-pay and that’s not an option for someone in my line of work.

Oh, and it wouldn’t be Christmas without a story about giving. A friend bought me an outfit from Under Armour to work out in, because she knows I don’t like to sweat. Does she know me, or what? Now I’ll have to keep exercising. It’s still not my favorite thing to do!

Until next time,

— Lisa

November 28, 2010

Greetings, all!

Yesterday I ran into someone who is thinking about LAP-BAND® surgery, and it reminded me to check in with all of you. I’m still holding at a total weight loss of 60-64 pounds, depending on the day. I’ve made a goal to lose 10 pounds by Christmas and, come hell or high water, I will do it. I’ve been coasting for far too long.

We are just wrapping up Thanksgiving, which was no big deal because the food didn’t thrill me. Yes, I know, I must be crazy! That’s not the first time I’ve heard that, and I hope it’s not the last :)

I’ve never been a big fan of turkey and all of the trimmings — with the exception of warm rolls and butter (which, if you’ve been reading my blog, you know that bread in general was not in the equation this year — it’s just not worth the pain). I had some mashed potatoes with butter, a small portion of dressing, some corn and a very small piece of dark meat.

I didn’t have pie for dessert, but a small dish of ice cream made me happy. That was that; I had made it through the first big “food holiday” since my surgery. Woohoo!

I am still walking my dogs every day, but I’ve been slacking on the treadmill. I wish there were something that could inspire me to exercise more. I don’t want to hear about “endorphin rushes” and all that — it doesn’t happen for me. Oh, and anything that someone says you’ll “learn to love” is usually something I have an intense dislike for. I guess I’ll just keep plugging away…

As for the person I ran into, when he asked me if I would do it again, my immediate response was, “absolutely!” When he asked about the hardest part, I was honest: Giving up bread and not having beverages before, during and after meals. Don’t get me wrong — I still think this is a great tool for losing weight and maintaining weight loss, but it’s not magic. A lot of people still have that misconception, and for them, it probably wouldn’t work.

That’s all I’ve got for tonight… see you minus 10 pounds in December!

— Lisa

October 6, 2010

Well, a couple of weeks ago I got greedy and I paid for it.

I was slowly losing weight — one or two pounds a month — and decided that needed improvement. At my monthly appointment, I decided I wanted more saline in my band because I felt I was eating too much before getting full. I discussed this with Dr. Erickson and Patrice, and we decided to “tweak” the band. He put in two-tenths of a cc — not much at all.

The next morning, I could barely get my yogurt down. I spoke with Dr. Erickson, who felt we needed to take the saline back out, so we did later that afternoon. I thought it was going to be okay, but my stomach must have been irritated and swollen — for the next week or so, even drinking water was a chore. I thought this was good because I DEFINITELY couldn’t eat much this way! When I couldn’t drink my Diet Pepsi and it took all day to get my morning medication down, it dawned on me — this wasn’t good.

(Plus the fact that I was REALLY cranky didn’t help much!)

Finally, I threw in the towel and called Patrice on a Sunday* to see what she thought, and she agreed that some saline needed to be taken out. On Monday, Dr. Erickson took one cc out. While I stood up to drink some water, it still hung around in the back of my throat. :(

I laid back down and he took another cc out, but when I sat up to drink more water, it wouldn’t go down again. Out came another half cc and the water went down — a good thing, right?

It was a great thing for me, because I felt like I had no restriction at all. I could eat and drink with impunity — but that doesn’t promote weight loss. I actually only gained one pound, because I decided to use restraint instead of just eating whatever I wanted. Still, I could eat nothing like I used to.

Now, it’s a slow process to get things back to where they were, which is perfect for me. I’ve had one cc put back in, and we’ll probably go up from there in two weeks.

THE MORAL OF THE STORY IS:

If you’re losing weight (even slowly) and things are restricted but still comfortable, don’t get greedy! It was like a little vacation once they let it down, but was miserable when it was too tight. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

I’m down between 58 and 60 pounds, depending on the day, but my clothes are fitting differently. I’m not setting any records, but they tell me it’s not a race. You should expect to reach your goal in 12 to 18 months — which might seem like a very long time. I’m still walking my dogs every day, and I’ll go on the treadmill three to four times a week. Love it (not!).

So long for now…

— Lisa

September 7, 2010

Whew! Just got off of the treadmill after two hours!

Okay, maybe it was more like 21 minutes and 34 seconds, but who’s counting?

Time is relative, but I will say I wasn’t sure I knew that toenails could sweat. Maybe they are crying tears of joy since the workout is done, but who can tell? In case you haven’t caught on, I really don’t like exercise — but it’s so much better than hot weather! Finally, some nice temperatures.

First of all, I have been meaning to do some of my entries on video, but I keep forgetting to get the camera. So, I thought I would write something tonight while it was in my little head.

I’m still holding at 55 pounds and am none too pleased. All I can do is continue to do what I have been doing and increase my level of exercise. It has been some time since my last appointment, but I’m thinking of making one soon because, for some reason, I’m starving all the time. Maybe my body is insulating itself for winter? That’s definitely what it’s used to this time of year.

Oh — I was in the grocery store tonight, and the five-gallon buckets of ice cream looked lonely. I’ve been known to take a stray ice cream home at times, but these didn’t look that lonely — yet.

Sorry if I seem long-winded tonight, but I had kind of a stressful day at work — and writing this has been keeping me away from the lonely refrigerator! ;)

Time to face reality,

— Lisa

August 31, 2010

If you live in the Fort Atkinson area and listen to WFAW, you may have heard Patrice, Dr. Erickson and me on the air recently talking about bariatric surgery at Fort HealthCare. It was a little daunting to us but, of course, the good doctor always takes everything in stride. Patrice and I were going to play the laryngitis card and let him do all the talking, but we found out it doesn’t work that way.

Michael Clish, the host, decides who is going to talk and when. He’s a pretty funny guy — after the first couple of minutes, he had us laughing pretty hard. He claims he heard Dr. Erickson say that we do “lap dances” instead of LAP-BAND®, and if you know Dr. Erickson at all, you can imagine the look on his face!

Then, Dr. Erickson’s phone rang (with his “Crocodile Rock” ringtone) not once, but TWICE! How can you not laugh at that?

The best part is, it wasn’t a life-or-death emergency like you’d think it was — it was his golf partner calling to find out the tee time! Ha!

I guess we’re all human, right?

All in all, it wasn’t the frightening drama I’d dreamed up in my head. I was a little concerned when Patrice asked if she could spin a couple of tunes on the radio.

Thank goodness our time was up ;)

Next time,

— Lisa

P.S. The proof is in the pudding — I’ve gone down in scrubs sizes at work!

July 28, 2010

Wow, this summer is flying by! Wish I could say my fat was flying off… but it’s not. :(

I had more saline injected into the band last night, and my official weight loss is at 47 pounds. Not too bad, considering the amount of time (about four months) since my surgery.

However, if you’ve ever dieted and lost weight quickly, only to come to a standstill, you know how frustrating it is. I’m keeping my head up, though.

I haven’t gained weight, so I’m doing OK.

I went to a family reunion last Sunday, and had a GREAT time! There were about 100 people there, and TONS of food! I have to admit — I ate some pretty decadent stuff. Had this event been a year ago, I’d probably still be there eating. I was careful and ate slowly. One plate of food with about a tablespoon each of three or four dishes, and a cut up brat (no bun, of course). After that, I was totally stuffed. My brain wanted to eat, but there was no place for the food to go.

The whole “no liquids before and after meals” thing didn’t work so well, because I always had a beverage of some kind in my hand — it WAS a party, after all! I did ‘fess up to Dr. Erickson and Patrice, and they didn’t seem to be too concerned about it — this time, anyway. It’s not like I do that every weekend!

The people who knew about my surgery kept asking me if I had the band let down for the party — of course that’s a big, fat NOPE. It wouldn’t have made any sense; this isn’t a tool of convenience. If you have that kind of expectation after all the education you go through, then this probably wouldn’t be the weight-loss solution for you. It’s a commitment that needs to be taken seriously.

Speaking of commitments, I have to be truthful with you regarding WHY I’m not losing a lot of weight. I am lacking in my ambition to get off my butt and exercise. I’ve kind of taken a little (OK, big) break from all of that. Just last week, I got back on the treadmill, not as much as I should — but baby steps, right? (Say, “yes!”)

My newest goal is to lose 20 pounds by October 1. An unlikely goal? Perhaps, but it’s worth a shot.

I previously mentioned that I got more saline, and it seems to be making a difference already. Usually it takes a couple days for me to feel the effects, but I really have to concentrate on chewing well — otherwise things don’t want to go down, or it’s a little painful. Not bad, but just a reminder of why I had this done. It’s exciting when you can feel that it’s working, but it can sometimes take a while to reach the correct fill. I’m hoping this is the last one for a long time.

That’s about all I’ve got for tonight.

Oh, wait! In other news, my 16-week-old puppy went from 19 pounds to 34 pounds in ONE month. I finally found someone who can gain weight faster than I can! ;)

I’ll check in again after five pounds. Hopefully, that will be soon.

— Lisa

June 16, 2010

I would like to write about all of the fantastic accomplishments that I’ve had in the past couple of weeks, but I can’t. I’m kind of in a holding pattern right now. Since May 2, I’ve lost just over 43 pounds. Overall, that’s not too shabby — but I can’t help but think I should be down more than that. It’s not like I don’t know what’s happening. Can you guess what it is?

Complacency, that’s what!

I’ve really fallen off my exercise program for a few reasons including laziness, the weather and my new puppy. I could go on and on about Stella (my 9-week-old yellow lab puppy), but I’ll leave it at this — she takes a lot of time and energy. She’s actually sleeping through the night now, but for a while I wasn’t getting any sleep!

On Tuesday, I saw Dr. Erickson and he filled me in a little bit. I think I’m doing OK in that respect, but as I’ve said before, exercise plays a big part in this. The band is a tool to help — but I have to do the leg work, so to speak. Of course, he reassures me that everything is going to plan.

Maybe his plan, but not mine! Ha! ;)

To get myself back on the wagon, I’ve set a goal to lose 15 pounds by July 15 — so I’d better get off my butt and start working!

I know the truth is that I’m the only one who can make this happen, so I’ll talk to you again in a week or so!

Later,

— Lisa

June 1, 2010

Hi folks!

Hope everyone had a safe, happy holiday weekend! I am so ready to go back to work. I had the Friday before Memorial Day off, making it a four-day weekend. Too much time off isn’t good for me; I tend to get in trouble (ha!).

It was a little too hot for me and my band; for some reason, I can’t get things done when it’s too hot and/or humid. I ended up eating a lot of ice cream, since that’s all that would go down!

I’m including some pictures with this entry (please don’t hassle my photography skills — I’m not trying to win any awards). This first picture was before surgery:

This one was from this weekend:

(I was forced to be in a picture and I have NEVER liked getting my picture taken!)

I can see a difference, can you?

Down 42 pounds and another 60 to go — I’ll keep you posted!

Later Tater,

— Lisa

May 25, 2010

HOLY MOLY, be careful what you wish for!

Three days ago, I had more saline put in my band — bringing the total to five milliliters. It wasn’t until two days later when I felt the effects. I was on-call for work and got out of my last case at 4:00 p.m. Since I’d had an early lunch, I was pretty hungry. On our table in the lounge (anything sitting on the table is free game), there was a big basket of chocolate, cookies, brownies and Rice Krispies Treats. After perusing the bounty, I decided that the Rice Krispies Treats had the lowest calorie count, and proceeded to slam it down. I say “slam” because up until now, I haven’t really felt any noticeable restriction, and thus have gotten lax in taking small bites and chewing thoroughly.

Bad thing to do.

I developed discomfort in my left chest area, and it felt like the food was at the back of my throat. I waited a couple of hours and had some pasta for dinner, and I just got more uncomfortable — but still felt hungry. This definitely kept me from having a snack last night.

The discomfort was still there this morning — but it was tolerable — so I had yogurt for breakfast. No problems with that, but it’s a strange feeling — the top part of my stomach can hold no more, but the bottom half feels hungry and growls!

I had probably a quarter of a Lean Cuisine–type thing, because that is all that would go down. I did talk to Patrice, and she suggested eating softer foods for a couple of days and, if I still felt residual food in there, some saline should probably be taken out. Of course that’s not what I want, because I’m finally like Pavlov’s dog — When I get uncomfortable I stop eating, which is the whole point of the surgery. However, I’m not sure how uncomfortable it should get before I do something. Patrice says I’m like every LAP-BAND® patient, because I’m sure I would really start to lose weight if it was left this way.

I decided that since I’m writing this diary for all of you to enjoy, I should take all the precautions that were explained to me to set a good example. I’ve already proven that I’m not unique with the bread thing! There is also another possible explanation as to why I’m having some trouble — those dreaded “female issues.”

Oh, by the way, I lost two more pounds… so my total weight loss = 35 pounds!

Yippee!

— Lisa

If you want to learn more, leave a comment below and we can discuss.

April 19, 2010

HEY FOLKS! I’m back again after a short absence. Today I am one month and three days post-op and I have lost 32 pounds!

Things have been remarkably unremarkable as far as recovery goes, and it’s been easier than I thought it would be. The biggest challenge I face is the liquid restrictions before and after meals. I have always consumed lots of liquids all throughout the day, so this has been difficult. With my job in the operating room, I never know when I’m going to get a break, so I have to decide which I want more: water or food. There was a little learning curve, but I’m learning to adjust. It’s easier for me not to think about how thirsty I am after eating — and eventually, my 90 minutes is up.

Dr. Erickson put some fluid in my band at four weeks because I was hungryall of the time. That worked for a few days — but now as I sit here, I’m hungry again. They have told me it may take a few fills until I reach that “happy spot,” so until then I try to stick to smaller portions.

Something to work on, though, is my exercise. We all know you can’t starve fat off, so I need to find what works for me. I see Patrice and Dr. Erickson again on April 27, so I’ll have a picture taken then to show you how I look — so I don’t just have to tell you how I look!

That’s all for now,

— Lisa