Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I Made It!

Today marks 18 weeks since I was banded. I went to the Rec this morning and Thomas weighed me. I weigh less than 200 pounds (well .5 pounds less). I was so pleased that I accomplished my first major goal. It still seems hard to believe that if I eat right and exercise, the pounds just keep coming off. That has never happened before.
On August 13th when I went for my bariatric surgery class, I weighed 243.6 pounds. That was 20 weeks ago and during that time, I have lost 44.1 pounds or about 2 pounds a week on average. That is just about perfect as far as what the doctor wants.
I have so much for which to be thankful. I feel so much better. Thomas laughed today and noted that I was jumping up and down with excitement. I couldn't have jumped six months ago. I am especially thankful for the loss due to having the holidays in the middle of this time period and also that last surgery which was a setback.
Now I need to set my second goal. I believe I have an appointment with Dr. Glatt in February. I would flat blow him away if I had lost 50 pounds on his scale by then. I think that it would have to be 60 pounds on any other scale to be safe. I think they have those hospital scales rigged. Any thing less than 195 pounds should cause a smile on his face. So for the time being, I think I will shoot for 188 by Valentine's Day. I also want to plan to exercise 6 days a week.
Happy New Year to all and may 2009 be a time for losing for all of my friendly bandits.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Home From the Holidays

Well bandits, I made it through my first full blown holiday! I learned a few things and I think I better write it down so I remember.
First, if I am going to eat cold shrimp, I must chew even though they are bite size. Our Christmas eve feast tasted so good but after the meal, I thought I was having a heart attack from the pain in the chest. I realized that what seemed like chewing probably equated to buzz sawing through the pile of shrimp on my plate and that if I ever (and at that point I doubted I would) ate shrimp again, I must chew them thoroughly!
Second, I can't eat rice. The literature says you can't but I have to try things. We went to a pleasant little oriental restaurant in Northfield and I ordered my entree. Of course, it came with rice. I put just a couple of teaspoons under the bed of chicken cashew and chewed slowly. The rice wouldn't stay down. Let that be that lesson.
Third, ice cream goes down with no problem. So it is best to measure a reasonable amount and eat it slowly as it goes right through the pouch and those calories can add up quickly. My brother and I take after our dad who loved ice cream. Vanilla in a bowl is a happy time.
It is a fact that food is an integral part of a family holiday. As a bandster, I just have to think about what and how much I plan to eat and participate with reasonable sensibility.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Sorry I took time off

Oh my, it has been a long time since I have posted to my blog. So much has taken place. First off, Allison got strep throat so I took off on the 16th to drive to Waconia to help with my grandsons while she got back to normal. After three days in Minnesota, we zipped back to South Dakota and put in a marathon evening wrapping gifts so that we could celebrate Christmas with all on the 20th as that was Kevin's weekend off. It was a wonderful day with all of our family and we had so much fun with the grandsons. Of course, Zachary gave me his terrible cold so when we headed back to my brother's on the 23rd, I had the runny nose and sneezes. I have tried to be most careful with hand sanitizer and Kleenex so as not to give it away.
We had a wonderful Christmas eve and day with my brother and his wife at their home here in Minnesota. I have been very careful to drink lots of fluids and we have been eating sensibly so I ventured onto their bathroom scale on the 24th. That would be 18 weeks since banding and on their scale, I weighed 200 pounds. Now I am not certain how that equates with the scale at the Rec Center but it feels good to be in that range. Linda weighed a five pound bag of flour and it read 6 pounds. Needless to say I am hoping it says 200 when I weigh in at the Rec in five days.
Linda had to work today so I left the boys and went to the Eden Prairie mall to meet Allison with the Christmas presents they couldn't get in the Jeep last Monday. I just had to go into Talbots and look around. Actually, they have a large petite department and I love their slacks. No need to shorten them. I was a bit disappointed when I looked on the rack and the largest size were 16s. However, I found a grey wool lined pair of slacks to replace my old favorites and I decided to try them on. I have always hated trying on clothes. I think it is because nothing ever fit. Well, I went in and pulled those slacks up and buttoned and zipped them up. A bit snug but who would have believed I could wear a size 16?! I was psyched and they were an additional 40% off to day so I bought them and danced out of the store.
I have really let down on the exercise since the 15th. I didn't specifically exercise while at Allison's and so finally yesterday, I used my sister-in-laws' "gazelle" in the pole barn for 50 minutes. It felt good. I won't be able to reach the 750 mile goal at the bottom of the page but I have done remarkably. I read a really great article in this month's O magazine about taking better care of yourself. Poor Oprah fell off the wagon. I think it is reasonable to say that just because I didn't exercise for nine days doesn't mean I won't exercise regularly for the last four days of the year. I can get another 96 miles on the ticker before the 31st.
It has been a much needed break and I am feeling better today. As Vince said, I should be better by the time I have to go back to work. I hope to get some quilting in this next week. I want to have my friends over to play with my birthday, Christmas and anniversary gift, my new quilting machine. We will make merry and have fun. I guess I should call this to a close and go pick up the knitting I brought to Minnesota, a readers shawl. It is going to turn out quite well and I will enjoy the warmth.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Support Group Not Hose

I drove to Sioux Falls tonight with Vince to go to the support group at the hospital. It is so worth it to sit down and have a discussion with others who are dealing with the same life experience. Each person is so unique and each has a story. Tonight's meeting was about "paying it forward". I said, from the very beginning, that the reason I am writing this blog is to share my story and perhaps give someone the push to take a step in changing their own life.
I did share about this blog tonight and I also mentioned my Australian friends (not by name) that I have begun to feel akin with as we wander down this path of bandsterhood. I just read one blog and she calls them the bandits. I think that is so cute. About the time one feels like they are slipping, along comes a new bandit to help one refocus. That happened tonight at the support group. A beautiful young woman shared that she was banded in October and has lost 33 pounds. I reminded her that is 11 cans of Crisco. That is so great! It isn't that one wants to compete with her to lose more, but rather, it just compels one to continue the journey with a bit more ATTITUDE!
I am still having the wretched dents in the ankles when I take off the wool socks at night. Some one recommended green tea as a natural diuretic but I so hate the taste of tea. I think I will just try to drink more water and really watch the sodium content of foods.
I do believe there is a real benefit in having a support group. Not that misery loves company but rather, it is good to hear others talk about some of the same feelings and experiences and give their take on it. I believe we are never to old to learn something from others. I especially like to learn from others who have positive attitudes and this group is full of those kind of people.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Add four sticks of butter

And I am not talking about a recipe. I finally faced the day when the scale went the wrong direction. I know I was exercising each day while I was gone but I also know I am retaining fluids. I have big dents in my ankles when I take off my socks each night. I was bummed but I refuse to get discouraged about it. I will just have to kick it in the rear for the next few days if I want to reach my goal of 200 pounds on December 31, 2008.
We went to a house party tonight and I had to practically run to the bathroom to keep from making a rousing embarassment of myself. I didn't chew the little meatball long enough and it got stuck. I tried to PB but it didn't work and the next thing I knew I was racing to the bathroom. That will teach me to try foods at parties.
I will weigh again on Tuesday to make certain I have taken off that pound. I then weigh on Thursday as Thomas is going to Oregon for Christmas and I want to check in with him before he leaves.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Taxis - Read this and weep!

I think you all know that I have been at an educational meeting in Washington DC this week. Actually we have been staying the Gaylord Nation on the Potomac. Wow, it is beautiful. Anyway, today we drove down to the mall and parked at the wrong end of Independence Avenue from the Holocaust Museum. The museum was absolutely a most emotional experience. I have wanted to visit it for years and today was the day. Well, it got to be a little later in the afternoon and I knew we needed to get the car and I sorta wanted to miss rush hour in downtown DC. So I walked the 1 mile plus back to the parking lot and was back to pick up the gals in just 24 minutes. Now I know that is not moving out but it is for me. I just started walking and before I knew it I had worked up a sweat and was done with the mile. Never would have happened four months ago.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I have managed to go down and exercise every morning we have been in Washington DC. We have also walked a great deal and I am handling it quite well. We went to the FDR memorial tonight and it was an absolutely beautiful walk.
The food at this conference has been healthy and when we have gone at night, I have tried to eat right. The real problem in restaurants is that the portions are so large. Tonight I was able to order a baked potato and that was just enough.
Sara and I just listened to a web report about Oprah and how she has gained all of her weight back. That is a really scary thing to hear. The reporter talked about her yo-yo struggle with weight. I can so identify with that. I wonder if she has ever considered a lapband. I wonder if it would work for her. I must say I still fear it won't work for me. . . forever. I wonder if the scale will go down every time it gets close to a weigh in. It is just so hard to believe in myself.
It will be 15 weeks tomorrow since my surgery. 105 days and I am hoping for 41 lost pounds on Friday.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday Fill Ins from Washington DC

I am taking Tracey's lead and doing the fill in. Around the globe with the same ideas!
I give myself permission to feel good about my progress toward my goal.
Christmas with my children and grandchildren is
what I am looking forward to right now.
If I could change one thing about someone I love
it would be to encourage my husband to relax and laugh with me.
I have exercised and then walked and climbed the steps to the Lincoln Monument today.
Tomorrow I am planning on exercising and walking without pain at a conference.
I am going to decorate my house this week and begin to do some baking for Christmas.
I feel badly that we don't have any decorations outside on our house..
One of my favourite things to do is to spend time with Dillon.
I want to weigh 200 pounds before the end of 2008.
Attending church on Christmas eve is one of my best memories.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

New Meaning for Love Handles

Those of you who follow my blog know that I am at educational conferences for 9 days. Today I put on my favorite brown wool skirt. It is straight and has always been soft and comfy. It is a size 22 but Allison and I decided I should keep it for this winter as it has always looked nice. Right length and pretty stylish. Well, I can grab a handful of fabric on both sides and hold what should be a straight skirt is rather FULL. Nice problem to have but I don't think I will wear it again this winter. I am afraid I might lose it. I brought a red wool skirt to wear tomorrow and it is a size 20. Both are from Talbots and I really love to wear them. Guess I will stick with mostly slacks this winter and buy new skirts next fall. Haven't exercised yet today but will get it in. Didn't eat everything on my plate at lunch either. So far, so good.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

19 days left in Autumn

Since I was out of town on Friday, I weighed in with Thomas today. 204! That is a 3.5 pound loss in 10 days but better still it included a holiday. I can't begin to tell you how anxious I get when it is time to step on a scale. I just can't believe it is going to go down. I know the day will come when it will go up, at least I have seen that happen on almost everyone's blog. I know I will be devastated! Until then, I will continue to exercise everyday and eat right. The next 9 days are going to be a real test.
My goal for autumn was 43 pounds and with today's loss, I am at 39.6 pounds since August 13th. I have 3.4 pounds to lose in 19 days. I am going to make this goal. I need to. I have to. I am glad I didn't go for 50 because I would be disappointed. I am also adding a picture that Vince took on December 1st. Not only can I feel the difference, I am beginning to see it as well.
Would I do this again? Yes! Can you see the 13 cans of Crisco piled up?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

21 days left in autumn

I have 21 days to lose the 7.5 pounds that was my goal set in August. I will weigh in with Thomas on Tuesday the 2nd of December before I leave for 9 days on business trip. It is going to be close. I wanted to lose 43 pounds in the autumn.
For some reason, I craved chocolate today so I bought some sugar free chocolate to pack in my suitcase. I ate one piece and that was OK. I also had a latte today with sugar free white chocolate. I guess I am still normal. I hope planning ahead will benefit my goal.
It is snowing and I am listening to Christmas music. This is my favorite time of the year. I think it is for all of us born in December. I guess I will sign off and write our Christmas letter.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

ANew Meaning for Fill

I am up waiting for the kids to come home and have been reading an Australian favorite blog. She suggested adding a fill-in once in awhile to our blogs. Thought I would do it.

1. My stomach can actually be sucked in again!
2. Squash is what I ate the most of today.
3. Outside today it was sunny and cold.
4. Reading a book with any one of my five grandsons is where I'd rather be at any given time.
5. The smell of warm applesauce makes me melancholy. My grandma always made it for me.
6. To know that I have lost two more pounds is what I need right now!
7. And as for the weekend, I had a great time with the Waconia family.
8. Tomorrow my plans include getting out a few Christmas decorations before I have to leave on my business trip.
9. This week I really want to maintain healthy eating and control my portion sizes while I am traveling.
10. That I am still awake at this hour is a big surprise to me right now.

Dessert has two ss

I have decided that dessert has two ss and they stand for smaller and smallest. How in the world does one make it through holidays without a bite or two of the yummies? Today I helped Allison bake some cookies and although they smelled so good, I only had one broken piece. I can see how difficult the next few weeks are going to be with everyone baking and celebrating with food. I will just have to take hold of my goal and exercise all the harder. This is not a diet, it is a life change and attitude is part of the plan.
I was reading two of my favorite blogs today and decided I should like to weigh in kilograms. It is the only way I could ever consider my weight in double figures instead of triple digits. I currently weigh 94.1 kilograms! I have lost 35 pounds now and that is how much my three year old grandson weighs. When I picked him up tonight at the fitness center I realized how much I was carrying around on my frame.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Well, this is the first holiday that focuses on food since the surgery. Actually, it is 3 months to the day since surgery. We had a wonderful dinner prepared by my daughter and her husband. We started the day by going to Lifetime Fitness and I biked for 25 minutes and walked on the treadmill for 15 minutes. Thomas boosted me to 40 minutes of exercise each time. The place was full of health conscious human beings who were anxious to start their day in a healthy way. I was careful to take small portions of each of the wonderful dishes and I then I focused on chewing each bite to mush. We ate slowly and enjoyed each other's company. It was a great meal but when I was finished I felt comfortable but full. I did enjoy some pumpkin pie filling at dinner and again tonight. It was not as bad as pecan pie would have been in the past. Allison fixed a cold salad with green beans that might not be a bad dish to add to my menu cards I need to prepare.
The next few weeks are really going to be a test of my commitment. I will be traveling, eating conference food, and responsible for my own wise choices. I really want to weight 200 pounds on or before December 31, 2008.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

That Brain!

I feel so much better each day. I went for my appointment today with a Geriatric Psychiatrist! Now don't jump to any conclusions - I don't feel geriatric and he shared that he sees patients of all ages but he is a specialist in the region. He really shed some light on my depressive feelings. He brought up menopause and I was surprised that I could be having symptoms after 30 years since my surgery. He reinforced the stress of five surgeries. He also advised that bariatric surgery can have an effect on brain chemistry and that he clears all patients for gastric bypass surgery because of this. Then he shared that I would probably need to take my medication the rest of my life as the brain needs certain chemicals and some individuals have a natural imbalance. I struck out again. Seriously, I was quite relieved to hear that I was going to be back to normal in a few weeks. I was so high after the banding and I felt so good. I hope I can get back to that energy level and natural high. It helps to have so many people in my corner.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Two Weeks after Surgery

I started the day visiting with CNP Tracy and Dr. Glatt. The port is where it should be! Tracy said they actually dug a tunnel for the port and anchored it. I wasn't planning on a fill but Dr. Glatt took 2ccs out and put 4ccs in. I weighed 212.7 on their scale which is a total of 33.6 pounds in 14 weeks on hospital scales. That is an average of 2.4 pounds a week. Sorry, I didn't believe you couldn't do the math, I just need to write it so I believe it. When Dr. Glatt got ready to leave the exam room he turned and said, "I am so proud of you, Sylvia." I wonder if he knows how much that means to his patients. I stayed in Sioux Falls for the day so that I could go to the support group meeting at 7 PM. Another great experience! The session dealt with grocery shopping and it was quite good. I learned something about a high calcium diet from dairy products. High calcium suppresses the hormone calcitrol which causes fat cells to stop producing and thus burns fat. All in all it was a better day. I really enjoyed the sunshine.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It Is Saturday

I went to weigh in with Thomas yesterday and I am back down plus 1.5 pounds to 208. As close as I can figure I am averaging 1.5 pounds a week. That is very good! So when I begin to think about that I immediately jump to multiplication and start thinking that means 15 pounds in ten weeks etc. I need to concentrate on short term goals however and I remind myself that my first goal was 200 pounds by January 1, 2009. I may beat that but that was my first goal. The mind state I am in, I need to stop making new goals and then get disappointed. I am exercising at least once a day and if I get the time and feel like it, I try to get in two times. I do want to make my 750 miles by January 1, 2009 as well. This last surgery caught up with me. I have had a real emotional roller coaster of a week. Feeling really down and out of control. I go to see Dr. Glatt on Monday and I intend to talk to him about it.
On the bright side, I was able to eat a sandwich of wheat bread tonight for dinner. I ate really slowly and took very small bites. Bread hasn't been working so well so it was good that this went down and stayed down.
I have started wearing cuddle duds under my clothes for extra heat. I am so cold. Even when I exercise I wear a sweatshirt for warmth. It isn't even winter yet and I have started to chill down. It is a good thing I can knit. I have started laying a blanket over my legs at the office to keep me warmer. Guess I will need to make a lap quilt for that as well.
I watched a lot of football today and cuddled under the warm throw Allison gave us. Sorry Illinois didn't win. Kevin will be bummed.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

This is no rut, it is a ditch!

I guess five surgeries is a bit too much. I sorta broke yesterday. I can't explain exactly how I feel but I know I am not in control and I am pretty anxious about things. I cry easily, am quick to anger, and just generally feel out of sorts. For those of you who know me, I hope this doesn't fit my normal behavior. I can't focus on things to get them done. Consequently, I have many unfinished items laying everywhere in my home office as well as my other office. This is not a comfortable feeling for me. What I would forgive in others, I can't forgive in me. What I would advise others, I can't apply to myself.
This is not a new problem for me. I accept others and meet them where they are. I never measure up to the level of perfection I expect. And to compound the dilemma, I don't feel I measure up to the level of behavior a certain individual very dear to me, expects. I am not regimented, organized, task-oriented, responsible, frugal, ordinary, or focused. Oh, I know those of you who know me in a professional way, would find that hard to believe. It is hard for me to always make a plan and work the plan. I tend to be an all or nothing thinker and I really can beat myself up for not doing what I think others want me to do.
So, here I am in the middle of a real breakdown. I have continued to exercise this week because that does feel good when I do it. I haven't eaten anything bad for me and am trying to make good choices, wondering if I am getting enough protein and vitamins. I just really want to get back to where I was four weeks ago. I know in my head this is a new way of thinking and acting for myself, I guess I just need to remember, behaviors don't change overnight and most importantly, I am the one responsible for the behavior change.
I don't know who said this but I need to think carefully about it. "Don't let the victories go to your head nor the failures go to your heart."

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday Monday

It is not a blue Monday but I just believe I should end the day with some attitude adjustment. I guess the soreness on my belly is getting to me. I got up this morning and put in 25 minutes on the bike and then put 35 more minutes on the bike after dinner tonight. I must exercise twice a day. I also find myself eating some of the wrong things like a few nuts, a cookie, and then apple crisp with ice cream for dessert. I CAN NOT do that if I am going to succeed. I do believe I need to add some variety to my selection however. I tried toast with peanut butter this morning instead of yogurt. I didn't have a latte today either. I just know that what goes in must be necessary for nutrition and not for taste. That is so hard for me because I do like the taste of some foods. I think I may also have lost some personal momentum with the recent hospital visit. I really didn't need a setback or stumbling block. It seems like what I called a bump in the road, has turned into a rut. That is attitude. So as of this morning, I decided to kick this again with a vengence. Two a day biking and eating less and right! If I snack it has to be protein! That seems really simple. I am not eager for the Friday weigh in if I don't act now.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Just Like a Turkey

I feel like a juicy turkey. Yes, you noticed the weight gain. I went to the Rec this morning and couldn't resist asking Thomas to get out the trusty scale since I hadn't weighed on his scale since the Wednesday before I went to Michigan. 213 I just stood there and stared at the numbers. I should have known better. After all, it is Thursday and I had abdominal surgery on Monday. They pumped me full of fluids and when your body has had trauma and is trying to heal, it retains fluids. Yup, I know all of that but goodness, I didn't want to see the numbers go up. I biked for 25 minutes with the seat back reclined. It felt good not to jam my sore spots everytime I turned the pedal. Thomas said that was all the exercise for today, however. He is convinced I can still make my goal of 200 by December 4th. Not sure why I have thinking about turkey but I can just see the juices running out of a nicely cooked bird. Must be getting close to Thanksgiving. Oh well, eight days and we will see what results I can have. I don't need to be a juicy turkey, I need to be a leaner weiner!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Walkin Real Slowly

Vince drove me to the Rec this morning so I could walk on the treadmill. The thought of pushing pedals on my bike is more than I can handle. My tummy is so sore! I didn't get a chance to talk to Thomas much so I suggested that I walk again this afternoon. I will try to put on another mile. The slightest bounce and I really feel the soreness. I made Vince some lentil soup for lunch and he was happy. It was quite good. I think I should post the recipe as it is soft and would be a good choice for meals. I made it with V-8 juice, pepperoni, and some of our dried roma tomatoes from the garden. I think I will fix chicken and mashed potatoes for supper. I have so many projects on my work desk right now it is hard to focus. Seems like the only steady thing in my head is exercise. I have to do that twice a day.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Moving On

Vince and I returned home last night about 6pm from Sioux Falls. As usual, the people at Sanford were wonderful and other than having to wait a little longer than expected to start the surgery, it was pretty much predictable. Melanie greeted me with the same wonderful smile at the admit desk. The anethetist was the same as one of the other surgeries. And then, Denise was the same nurse I had when I was dealing with thyroid. I can't say that recognition of a surgical staff if on my list of priorities, but I can say they are an excellent team. I didn't get to see Dr. Glatt but CPN Sorensen had the same beautiful smile on her face. Essentially, Dr. Glatt explained to Vince that the tubing was acting like a spring attached to the port as it was coming up to the surface and then down to the port. He said he hadn't seen this condition before. He has done alot of bands so does it surprise you that I have to be an exception?
So. . . they moved the port off center to anchor it down. From the soreness, I think they might have used nails and a sledge hammer to do their work. I have one sore belly today. Of interest, the hospital scale showed 214 pounds which is four pounds less than the day I visited Dr. Glatt's office for the fill. I am most curious what the rec center scale will show. My stomach appears very large and I know from the pain in my shoulders the gas hasn't dissipated yet. So I am not sure I want to venture to the Rec to weigh. I slept in the chair last night as the thought of laying on my back all night in bed was not positive. Enough complaining, time to move on. Would I do the band again? Of course I would.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My New Goal

Not sure what the scale at the hospital will say tomorrow! My new motto is this: "A tenth of a ton of fat and fun and still just 61!" I want to weigh 200 pounds by December 4. If that is possible then my driver's license will be legal for the first time in 20 years. Yeah right, you think I should have admitted that I weighed well over 200 pounds on that little card that gets checked everytime you fly? I don't think so! If I needed to be identified, I would rather they would just go with the mug shot and blue eyes. Anyway, a long time ago in Muskegon there was this radio guy who always referred to himself as a tenth of a ton of fat and fun. Now granted that is NOT my end goal but I rather like the sounds of my motto. I can always change it to 142 and 62 later. In the meantime, I will shoot for 200 pounds. I have been starving all weekend what with my eating just liquids to be ready for surgery. I do recommend chicken broth and egg beaters. It makes a great egg drop soup. Loads of protein and tastes great also. I really crave warm liquids over cold. I will post tomorrow when I get home from Sioux Falls. I will have a current weight and hopefully news that the repair work was simple. Vince has my quilting frame all set up and I can hardly wait to get the machine and set up the quilter. Crafting is better than eating.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

It is good to be home. I did get my exercise in on this trip to Yankton. Twice a day even. School hot lunch did not agree with my band at all. I am pretty certain I didn't gain any weight as it didn't stay down. Oh well! I had my pre-op conversation this morning with a surgical nurse from Sanford. One of her questions made me laugh. "Have you purposely lost any weight in the past month?" DUH - like maybe 34 pounds since banding. I must admit I am edgey and not real happy about current events. I won't weigh until Monday morning at the hospital. I plan to start liquid diet tomorrow just in case they have to fiddle with my liver again. Since it is the last day of October, I need to set a new exercise goal. 354 miles isn't bad! Never would have believed I could do that. I guess I will set one for the next 60 days which would take me right up to New Years Eve. I wish my knees would let me jog as I would like to "run" a 5K in January with Allison. Maybe I could run the first block and the last block so that I look confident. I think I will load some moderately fast music on my player and try something on the treadmill at the Rec tomorrow. Can't hurt since I won't be running after Monday. Can you tell I have an "attitude" tonight. Guess I will go do some quilting to shake this mood.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Back to the Grind

We had a great time in Michigan! If shopping counts toward walking, then I was OK. However, I only took one opportunity to really exercise while I was gone so today it was back to the grind. I really did notice that I wasn't formally exercising and I guess I could say that it didn't feel right. I hope the scales don't show that result. Most of the time I was mindful of what I chose to eat. I so miss Lake Michigan. There is something about the sound of the waves and the open water that invigorates my soul. I rode my bike this afternoon when I got home from work. I will finish out the week with two a days and try to finish off my exercise goal with a bang. Since I am having surgery on Monday I don't know what restrictions will be put in place. I will start a liquid diet on Saturday so that I have a ready liver if they need to get into that area. I really wish i didn't have to do this again. Oh well! I did take my 24th day of the month picture and will post it tomorrow.

Friday, October 24, 2008

What a Difference

I know yesterday was Thursday but the lurking scale was used because I was leaving on a jet plane for Michigan and would not be able to weigh on Friday as usual. Six days and two pounds! Of course I was pleased. The real test though was sitting in those airplane seats and using the seat belt. If truth be known, I always feared that someday I would have to use one of those extenders and I always worried about my flab invading the personal space of the next person. NOT NOW! I could sit comfortably and actually cinch the belt. What a great feeling. May seem like a little problem but really not. I remember flying just this past summer when the flight attendant met a very obese woman at the door of the plane with the dreaded extender. I remember feeling so very embarrassed for her. I even sat in the middle seat of three on the flight out of Chicago and was not worried at all about the invasion principle. I had the opportunity to talk to a very nice Azusa Pacific student. He is a cross country runner. On the flight to Chicago I had just read about a 5K held in the St Paul duing the Winter Carnival. So I asked the young man how many miles that was. I will be jogging/walking a 5K soon. I plan to make that a new goal!

Monday, October 20, 2008

I Guess I Am Hooked

Today was a very busy day. I had to be in Platte by 7:30 so that I could meet Dan and drive to Andes for a meeting at 8:45. After work I needed to get a flu shot and then it was off to quilting class. I totally enjoy that experience even though I need to be more precise in measuring and cutting! When I got home after 9:15 pm, I just knew I had to exercise. I couldn't go to bed without putting in the time necessary to see results. That's why I say I guess I am hooked! I just know that each day is a gift and I need to take advantage of this opportunity to do what is healthy for me. Exercise and eating right are the two important things I need to remember.
Also, I know I have many friends and family pulling for me. You can't imagine what a morale booster that is! I so believe in the power of encouragement and the gift of caring about others. I need to reiterate my reason for writing this blog. Without a doubt, I need to write about this experience in order to sort out how I feel and what I am thinking. But also of importance is the good that might come to someone else who is contemplating this surgery. It is almost eight weeks and I am facing another surgical experience, yet I have to say, it is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Well, I have to admit, being a wife, mother, and grandmother are probably the best things. I so want to succeed!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What I Love About Me

Deep! This might get a little deep as I just returned from church and God is speaking to me. For, oh so many years, I have tried to love myself but to no avail. From my degree program, I learned that if you want to be OK with others, you must first love yourself. But try as I might, I have always allowed the louder tapes (from others I might add) to dominate my thinking about what is/was wrong with me rather than what is right. I need to shake this stinkin' thinkin'! I am reading a delightful book right now, Nora Ephron wrote, I Feel Bad About My Neck and other Thoughts on Being a Woman and I laugh until I start to think about the text. I am having some better thoughts these days in response to me. First, I feel really good about exercising at least once every day and with the primary goal of exercising twice every day. I feel good about the sweat and the burn that sharpens my thinking. I feel good that I take the initiative to go do it and when I am finished with the 35 minutes, I have done it! It is not a habit and I am not certain it will ever become a habit, but for now, it is what I do and I feel good about it. I have several young friends who are running marathons and I applaude them for their efforts. My marathon is exercising every day for the rest of my life. By the way, today I will break the 300 mile point in my exercise goal for August 27 - October 31.
I also feel good about my legs. I have great legs. They are not cross hatched with spider veins like some of my peers. They are not covered with hair. I remember that about my age, my mom stopped shaving her legs. Gross! And this morning when I was putting on stockings I did some further investigation. I have always had well developed calves. I started dancing when I was four and didn't stop the lessons and performances until I was 16. In order to put the pounds "on point", I had to have strong muscles in my calves (don't really like the plural form cause it alludes to cows-oh well). Back to this morning. I can now take two hands and keep my fingers touching all the way up to the knee. Now granted, I won't insure my legs like Ann Miller, but I love my legs.

Friday, October 17, 2008

16 Sticks of Butter

Oh my goodness, my life is a roller coaster. Yesterday I scheduled surgery to fix the port on November 3 and today Thomas's scale showed 211.5! My BMI has moved to the bottom most spot on the morbidly obese chart. I am less than 12 pounds to legal on my driver's license and I now wear a size 8 shoe. Numbers are a constant on my mind. I think I should post a picture taken last weekend as even though the top is white, I do look so much healthier. No, I will wait until next week and then that will be my two month shot.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Bump in the Road

Just got home from Sioux Falls and my appointment with Dr. Glatt. It was my day to get my first fill. The good news is that I weighed 218 on the scale in Dr. Glatt's office and that is 8 pounds since September 17 (28 days or an average if 2 pounds a week). That is just great. The bad news is that my port is trying to flip over or according to the X-ray, be as elusive to the needle as it can be. Tracy tried to get it and so did Dr. Glatt in his office but they worried the port had flipped and the tubing had a kink. So Dr. Glatt said he wanted to get a floroscope (real time X-ray) so he knew what he was dealing with. I prayed all the way over to X-ray and when he inserted the needle again, he said " that little bugger" and announced that he was able to insert the needle and take out fluid and insert 3 ccs of saline. He had me sit up and drink water to see if all was OK. It was and he was going to add a bit more but when I laid back down, the port started moving again and he couldn't inject the needle. Now all of this sounds horrible but really I only felt the pressure and the nerves were far worse than anything. So the conclusion is that Dr. Glatt doesn't want me to have to go through this experience again. I will be scheduled for surgery to open the incision where the port is, they will push the tubing back into the cavity where it has worked its way out, and re-attach the port so that it doesn't move around. If I didn't have so much flab around that area it wouldn't be so difficult to feel but all I can do is work on that. I am lucky to have such a fine surgeon and will await the call from Nurse Tammy to schedule one more operation this year. I think I jinxed myself by telling Vince a few weeks ago that I was not having any more surgeries. We laughed on the drive home about having something to "blog" about.

A Week with My Family

I guess I have to admit that spending a week with the family comes before writing on my blog. I have eaten right (while watching others eat a variety of previously loved morsels), exercised all but one day, and had a delightful time with all. Allison really helped me with the closet issues. I sent my best "too big" clothes back to the cities with her in hopes of recouping some cash from Craig's list. The ladies went shopping at the local clothing store and I went in just to be sociable. To my great surprise, I can wear some of the togs now. I bought a size 18 winter coat that fits but will be even better with a few months. Again Allison, Vicki, and Gayle were finding things and I was trying clothes on and getting their expert opinon about the "looks". That was fun. We had family pictures taken while everyone was in town for Dayton's baptism. I can tell I don't look as chubby and it was my idea to wear white shirts and jeans. I know white isn't the most flattering but the pictures are so nice. It has been 49 days since my surgery (seven weeks ago today). I have an appointment with Dr. Glatt today so I suppose I will be writing again this evening about that. I forgot to write my loss for last week was two sticks of butter (that sounds more than 1/2 pound). I had an appointment with Georgia that was so enjoyable. She and I talked about food issues and she also gave me a newspaper article from the New York Times on bariatric surgery and what it takes. I weighed 220 on her scales. Then I had a follow-up appointment with Dr. Barth, the endocrinologist. He was happy with the thyroid marker he takes for the post cancer observation. He said we needed to lower the dosage of my thyroid because of the weight loss. I will have more blood work in six months as the dosage might need to be modified as I lose more pounds.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Even My Shoes Are Getting Sloppy

I can't believe what is happening. My dress (work) shoes are getting to feel too big! I know my pants are baggy and my shirts are beginning to droop, but shoes? I wish I knew someone who wears an 8 and 1/2 that could use some shoes. This is a great problem to have because for the past 20 years, I loved to buy shoes. It is was the department where I didn't have to pay more for a product than other people and there isn't a separate department for shoes for obese people. I used to say things like "the fat lady store". My first experience with clothes that were different was when I was a young (notice I didn't say "little") girl and I had to find HUSKY jeans. I can remember the volume at which the clerk would say "husky". It seems like I have number games going on in my head all of the time. If I have 110 pounds to lose then I can celebrate losing one fourth of my weight when I reach 27 1/2 pounds which could be this week. That doesn't seem possible. I get chills when I think about that remarkable accomplishment. Six weeks from surgery today. It makes 55 pounds seems attainable as well. "I can do all things through Him that strengthens me."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

It is only Tuesday

It is only Tuesday and it seems like a lifetime since I weighed last Friday. I am finding that is harder to eat cold food (like leftovers) than it is to eat the same item warm. John and Linda were here visiting us this weekend and after a wonderful drive around the area, we ended up at Ruby Tuesday for a late lunch. I asked for a "to go" box when she brought my sandwich and carefully cut it in half. I ate slowly and really enjoyed the hamburger, half of the half of a bun, and the lettuce, tomato, and cheese. No problem! However, four hours later when I tried to eat the rest for supper, I couldn't get it to go down. The same thing happened with an egg wrap last week. Warm fine, cold later just not going to happen. Interesting. I can't believe that I have gone almost 250 miles exercising. It adds up when you do it twice a day. I will see the nutritionist on Thursday and I hope it is Georgia! It will be fun to celebrate my successes with her.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Fear of Mr. Scale

I had an overpowering fear walking into the Rec this morning. For what reason? I have followed the diet (what I really mean is I have been eating healthy), exercised every day at least once and twice all but two evenings when my knee was really hurting, and drinking the amount of water needed. So, in I went on this beautiful fall morning. Thomas set up the scale and the digital numbers flashed and low and behold it read 216! I was pumped and quickly said 1 and a half pounds but when Thomas went to the chart, he said, "No, 2 and a half pounds!" That is ten more sticks of butter. I can't really express how happy I am. I feel great and my body seems to be cooperating. It truly is a new life for me. Twelve weeks until Christmas and 16 pounds to lose. I wonder if there is any chance that I could weigh 200 pounds by my 62nd birthday? That is nine weeks away. I have blown my exercise goal away. I will have to change that in November. I pray I never lose this desire to be healthier.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Five Weeks Out From Surgery

It doesn't seem possible that five weeks have gone by since my surgery. People ask me how I feel and I have to say "I feel like a million dollars." That's not saying much when you consider the economic crisis our country is facing. I went to a meeting today and the candy, snack bars, and soda sitting on a nearby table didn't even bother me. I only exercised this morning as I have so much work to catch up on. I have reports, grants, a presentation, and just general everyday things that are pressing. Normally I would eat my way through this time but instead, I am choosing to take a break and write in my blog. I wore a new pair of cropped pants today that Allison picked out for me. I felt quite slim in them. I can tell the inches are coming off. When I went to see Diane yesterday she decided to do some blood work on me. My total cholesterol was 156 and my tricylcerides were 93. Wish Vince could have these numbers. Hoping to lose at least a pound on Friday.

Friday, September 26, 2008

200 pounds on Christmas

I must say I was a bit disappointed that I only lost 1.5 pounds on the scale this morning. When I told Vince he reminded me that is a half a can of Crisco and that made me laugh. I have said all along that I want to weigh 200 pounds on Christmas morning. I can do it. That is exactly twelve weeks away. I need to remember what they said was realistic and stick to the program. I went with Allison to buy some clothes tonight as I purchased a pair of size 18 slacks. Whoopee! Those will have to get me by for the fall as I refuse to buy clothes that will be too big next season. I just have to shop right. It was a great day. We went out on Lake Waconia in the Alstrin's new boat and I actually was able to climb in and out of the boat without any trouble.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I've Done My Best

Tomorrow morning I will meet Thomas with the scale. It will be 8 days since my last weigh in. I have done my best to prepare for it. I have exercised twice every day and I have eaten what I am supposed to and the right amounts. I really don't know what to expect. Will it be stuck again or will it move (hopefully down)? I must admit it is easier to bike thirty minutes if I can watch the Twins play!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Now I Know

Went to lunch with Sara today while we were doing a data retreat. I gave the group an hour to eat and I figured we would have plenty of time. We went to the HyVee grocery that has a broad selection of meal items with a cafe where you can relax and enjoy lunch. I looked at all the choices and decided to try eating broccoli chicken from the Chinese cusine. It looked so good and I thought it would be good for me. They served it with noodles or rice and I selected the noodles as we are not supposed to eat rice. I should have stopped and ordered just one thing but no, I selected the two entree meal. The other choice was sesame chicken. I figured the chicken picked out of the breading would be OK. What a fool I am. I did ask for a "to go" container thinking I could eat some at dinner tonight. I tried to eat slowly and I tried to chew! I now know what happens when you eat too fast, too much, and . . . I quickly left the table knowing that I had to do something. What a panicky feeling. I am not certain what it is called but if it won't go down, it has to come up.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Self Control

Today was a test. It is my first day on the road since my surgery. I started the day by biking for 20 minutes. I must admit I am getting addicted to waking up, working out and feeling energized when I am done. I ate breakfast before driving to Sioux Falls to check in with the doctor who did my rotator cuff surgery six months ago. To quote him, "he cut me loose". Then after driving an hour I visited a school and then it was time for lunch. I ate yogurt and applesauce while I drove to another school. The real test came tonight after I checked into the hotel. I searched main drag for a restaurant and then decided to go to Kentucky Fried Chicken. I prayed for self control before I entered the restaurant at 5:30. I must admit I was getting hungry and I knew I needed to practice self control while ordering. Of course I selected mashed potatoes, green beans, and then I decided to order three chicken strips. The meal came with a bisquit and I wished Dillon had been with me because he loves those. I picked the breading off the chicken. That helped take me longer to eat. I ate slowly and really tried to concentrate on when I started to feel full. I ate about 3 ounces of chicken. I felt so good about being able to throw away food and leave satisfied. I can do this. I came back to the hotel and rode the bike in the fitness center for 30 minutes. So it was a great day overall. I absolutely love Dancing With the Stars and the season starts tonight. Too bad watching the program does not burn the calories the dancers are burning. Who knows I may be able to dance a wedding in the future!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

24 Consecutive Days

The days just keep adding up and the miles at the bottom of my blog page do too. It is beginning to seem right to exercise first thing in the morning and then again late afternoon. Diane called me Friday night on her drive home from Mayo Clinic where she had workshops. She commented on hearing a doctor discuss a three year study about diet and exercise that Mayo is just completing. She shared that when you exercise for 20 minutes, the body continues to burn fat for two hours. If you exercise an hour, the body continues to burn fat for two hours. So, the advice is exercise two or three times a day and you will increase your fat burning time. Makes sense! I was going to go to the grocery store and stack up eight cans of Crisco and take a picture but my camera battery is depleted. I am going to do that but hopefully on Friday when Thomas weighs me, it will be nine cans of Crisco instead.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Weighing In With Thomas

I know you probably think the weight progress column is crazy. Thomas and I had agreed that we would weigh every Friday but tomorrow I have to leave town at 6:00 am to drive to a school 200 miles away. So Thomas weighed me this morning. Remember my goal was four pounds, but after only six days, I lost 3.5 pounds. Another 14 sticks of butter. By the way, I stopped in the baking isle today at the grocery store and examined a can of Crisco. Each can weighs 3 pounds. Now that conjures up another image for me. I have lost almost 8 cans of Crisco. The nifty part is that I can tell!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Three Weeks Past Surgery

I had my three week follow-up with Dr. Glatt, my surgeon today. It was great to see Nurse Tammy who had been so very helpful while I was trying to get things set up. She is most competent and was very enthusiastic about my progress. Then CNP Tracy came in to talk. It is so obvious that she loves her work. She was pleased with my progress as well. 226 pounds on their scale which is 17 pounds from the August 6. I know their scale is different from Thomas' scale and so I am more interested in the results on Friday when it comes to attention to scale. They asked questions about swallowing (no problem), reflux (no problem) and then she asked about how long after meals did I start to get hungry. I really haven't been hungry is I eat at 7:30 am, 11:30 am, and then by 5:30 pm. Last night my schedule was packed and I didn't get to eat until about 6:45 and I did want something to eat. I also noticed that when I had finished about 2/3 of what I prepared that I was full and I didn't venture the next bite. Tammy helped me find the port. It is above the center incision. I will go back in four weeks and probably will have a fill. It depends on my eating habits and how long I can go between meals. I really hope I have dropped 8 pounds when I go back. Oh, and I finally asked what my ultimate goal is. They would like me to have a BMI of 25. That would mean I should weigh 133 pounds. A total of 110 pounds from the get go. Tracy said that most patients lose between 50 and 70 percent of their excess weight with lapband surgery. 70% of 110 pounds is 77 pounds. 243 pounds minus 77 pounds is 166. That is just not good enough. Does anyone sense "compulsivity" in the air? I am in this for the long haul. I know I can lose 100 pounds I just have to set small goals and keep the faith. I really cannot express how thankful I am for the care, compassion, and competence of the staff working with Dr. Glatt and Sanford Hospital.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Easy Way Out

Something has been on my mind and I guess I should write about it. I wonder when I tell people that I have been banded if they think that might be an easy way out. This came to my mind when I recently asked someone about their significant weight loss and the person replied, "just good diet and exercise". Now don't get me wrong, I believe that is a good answer but it didn't work for me.
Should I feel like a failure because "good diet and exercise" didn't work for me? Did I honestly engage in good diet and exercise? Vince and I have had long conversations about this topic because quite frankly, this surgery was not appealing to me when Diane first brought it up. I really questioned why I couldn't conquer this weight issue like the majority of the population can. There are factors that are beyond my control: genes, early life hysterectomy, Hashimoto's Disease. There are also factors I could control like regular exercise, elimination of caffeine, and making good food choices. So why couldn't I conquer this?
Then today, at the Rec, I met some close friends and one of them shared that they knew two ladies who had been banded but didn't exercise and they couldn't figure out what wasn't working for them. Also, I think about what Georgia told me this summer when we met regarding nutrition. Georgia continued to say "the band is a tool you can use to be successful". In my head I have to remember that the way out of this, for me, is not going to be easy. No matter what! Exercising twice a day and making wise food choices from here on out will take every bit of will power I have. Those who know me and love me will know what the struggle means and how hard I will work to succeed.
By the way, the insurance statement for the hospital bill came today. This surgery cost $26,000!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Michael Phelps, I'm Not

It is 2:22 pm on a Sunday and I have already exercised twice today. I believe this is the 17th consecutive day that I have exercised twice in a day. I got up before church and biked. I decided to take a break from the treadmill this afternoon and instead I went to the Rec and swam. It takes 88 lengths of the pool to swim a mile, so I decided to tackle 1/2 a mile today. I did it in less than 45 minutes. It felt so good to just stretch out and kick and move my arms. I didn't have any pain in my shoulder that had rotator cuff repair just six months ago. I also ate some canned chicken today for lunch. Chew, chew, chew and it tasted so good. I didn't have any trouble with it. 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes and 1/3 cup chicken and it seemed just right. I am anxious to see Dr. Glatt on Wednesday and see what he thinks of my progress. I know what I think. I feel great.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Second Friday

I reported to the Rec at 7:00 am for my weigh in. I must say we were a bit informed because yesterday I found the scale (wasn't looking) and stepped on. When I went to exercise with Thomas he said OK get on this one. So we had a bit of a sneak peak. Well, our goal was 4-6 pounds. I weighed 223.5 this morning. Yup, your math is correct, 16 more sticks of butter. I am so happy. It is hard to believe that it just keeps going down.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Two weeks into this

It hardly seems possible that two weeks have passed since my surgery. I rode to work yesterday with two of my colleagues and was wasted by the time the afternoon rolled around. I am still trying to get enough protein grams each day. I think that bears on how much energy I have. I have exercised twice a day now for thirteen days. I am trying to do one time before work in the morning and then I do one more time at night. It has to be a priority. I must say it is good to be ingesting "mushy" foods. I fixed tofu for the first time yesterday. Vince has eaten it before, just plain and cold, etc. I seasoned it and roasted it in a frying pan with EVO and it was great. Loaded with protein and very tastey. Can't believe it! I found a tub of shorts that are all too big in the closet so I will be adding those to the garage sale on Friday. Life is good. I plan to buy one pair of dress slacks in Minneapolis when I visit Allison in two weeks. That will have to do for fall. I have plenty of sweaters and those can be a little baggy for awhile. I have always bought clothes on clearance with the anticipation they will fit next season. Now I don't know what size will fit next season. A great dilemma!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

60 Sticks of Butter!

I believe in football they call them "two a days". Well I have exercised two times a day for ten days. How do I feel? I have to say that when I am done it feels great to have spent the time working up a sweat. I think it might be even better when I am taking in some solid foods. I find I do get tired on this liquid diet.
Dillon, my ten year old grandson, called this morning to give me the details about church and he also announced that he had gotten up early and read my entire blog. I hope he knows that he is one of the most important reasons I want this to work. He is a remarkable young man and I know he is going to grow into a remarkable adult. I am so blessed to have such a remarkable family and so many friends.
It was so much cooler today and I think fall is fast approaching. I do get a renewed energy this time of year. I love the fall sky, the brisk air, and dressing in a cozy sweatshirt and jeans.
Dillon and I were joking in the car this afternoon that I had lost a Dayton. My youngest grandson, two months old, weighed 15 pounds at his two month checkup. I have lost 15 pounds, so we laughed that I had lost a Dayton. I like to think about it as 60 sticks of butter. That really conjures up a picture for me.

Friday, September 5, 2008

First Friday

Yeeeehaaa! I went to exercise with Thomas and we had agreed that this would be the time I would weigh in. He had the scale plugged in and was ready for me. I weighed 228 and the percentage of body fat number had dropped to 53%. Now we know that isn't altogether accurate yet as Thomas says it changes with body trauma and the surgery would cause the numbers to be inflated. He was so happy. Then we set a goal for the week. Exercise twice daily for 27.5 minutes and hopefully the scale will drop 4 more. I sat in a meeting this morning and with my feet together on the floor, my knees touched together. Such silly things make one happy. This is day 8 of consecutive exercising.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Start of Week Two

Exercised two times for the seventh day in a row. Thank goodness Vince hid the scale. I really felt hungry tonight for the first time in a long time. I didn't get enough protein again today. I will make a strong effort to do that tomorrow. I am noticing that my rings are becoming very slippy slidey on my fingers. All the water I am drinking and no fluid retention - could it be that diet coke is gone from the body.
I talked to my sister-in-law and brother again today and I am so thankful they are both going to quit smoking and chewing, respectively. I recognize how difficult that is going to be. I think my addiction has been with food. My sister-in-law is starting to exercise now to become healthier and when the day comes (September 17 according to the Farmer's Almanac) they will both begin to quit. It helps to know that I am not alone in the challenge to change bad habits. Another reason I want to live a long and healthy life - to share time with them.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Closure of Week One

Seven days since surgery, exercised six of the seven! I am thinking about how I can continue to be successful and not lose this battle. I tell district administrators if they fail to plan, they plan to fail. I can't fail so I guess I better spend time planning. Part of this relates to finding time to exercise or I guess a better way of putting it is making time for exercise a priority. I talked to Thomas today about meeting him at the Rec every morning at 7am. That way I could exercise for 40 minutes and come home and be in my office or where ever by 9am. Most mornings that will work. Then I will bike, walk, or swim after work. I know I have to exercise twice a day and I plan to try to exercise seven days a week for now.
I slipped on the scale this morning and it read 229. Now how can losing a pound be defeating. I didn't gain a pound. I have lost 14 pounds in three weeks. But I had to spend breakfast doing self talk about how it is going to be a slow process and I can't let the scale defeat me. In the end, I asked Vince to hide the scale. Thomas agreed that weighing with him each Friday was a better alternative. That way we can celebrate together.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I am just amazed at how I feel. No knee pain! I walked with Thomas today and he kept me at the right gauge so that when I had walked 25 minutes I had completed a mile. I told him I would exercise again today and I did. I biked 3.8 miles in 20 minutes. I had some soreness today in one of the incision areas, the one where they entered the band. It is really bruised so I suppose it makes sense it is sore. Georgia and I played phone tag but she finally nailed my questions. I do need to take in 45 grams of protein a day. More milk and more yogurt!! Exercised 5th day in a row!

Monday, September 1, 2008


Labor Day. I wonder how much I will weigh next Labor Day? I feel better each day. The glue is beginning to come off my incisions. I biked twice today and increased my time to 20 minutes each time instead of 15. I will stay at that for awhile and then increase minutes. The exercise person at the hospital who visited me on the second day stressed that to be really successful, one should exercise 5 - 7 days a week. She also implied that exercising more than once a day is helpful. Boy will I have to modify my priorities to get those times in. I know I can bike for an hour while I watch Greys Anatomy each week. I also plan to put some swimming in the mix with Thomas. I will see him five days a week and then maybe swim on Saturday at the Rec. So with all this thought about exercise I decided to keep track of how many consecutive days I could exercise. My goal is 60 days. That doesn't mean I will stop there, I just know I have to set smaller goals to succeed. The other thing I notice is that my knees aren't aching so much. I climbed the steps today by putting one foot in front of the other instead of stepping up with my good knee and raising my bad knee. I made Zuchini/Tomato soup tonight for supper. I should post the recipe on lapbandtalk it was so good. We had one last yellow zuchini in our garden and a bit of the homemade tomato juice the Kenkels had given me. Added some seasoning and milk and wow, I am a gourmet bandster. I am getting so much encouragement from family and friends and just want you to know how powerful that is.

Sunday, August 31, 2008


Another good day! I am having trouble getting enough protein. The dietition sheet states about 45 grams a day. Today I took in 23. I think I will try to call Georgia on Tuesday and ask about that.
I remembered something that I didn't write about my hospital stay. I had to stay in the hospital overnight and the next morning they took me to the Xray department to have a graffin swallow test to make certain the band was positioned properly and that fluids could pass through. It was interesting to see the picture as explained by the doctor.
I biked twice today as the rec was closed due to the holiday. I biked for 15 minutes both times and hit 2.6 miles each time. It doesn't bother my knees to bike and I have been working on this most of the past two months.
I tried some South Beach On the Go powder in water tonight. One pack has three grams of protein. I don't know if it was the temperature or the strawberry/banana flavor that didn't seem to sit well. They advise that if something isn't easily tolerated, wait two or three weeks and try it again. I guess I will have to do that.
I wanted to get on the scale this morning but I am afraid of what I see. I have decided to just be patient and weight once a week. That way I won't be disappointed if I don't lose the expected one to two pounds a week.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Following the orders from the dietician,today was the first day of two weeks of liquid diet. That means I could start to have cream soups, V8 juice, yogurt, milk. I have had a great day and have been quite productive watching carefully not to lift over ten pounds. I marked a bundle of clothes that are already too large for a city wide secondhand sale next weekend. This evening we went to visit our close friends, and the mom just happens to be my Nurse Practitioner, since I was feeling so good. They were canning beans and I must say they looked like candy in the jars. When I got on the scale this morning, it said 230. I broke into tears just thinking about this loss. When I at the hospital, the Case Manager had given me some materials from the maker of my lapband, Inamed Health, and so I filled it out and they will send me a pedometer. I also walked a whole mile today in one setting and felt good doing it. I am so glad I had started to exercise before this event. Tonight when we were driving home, Vince and I began talking about diet. Vince is a most healthy eater and he told about a time in his life when he got severe stomach cramps just eating rice. He told me about finding a book written by Luigi Cornaro, The First Discourse:On a Temperate and Healthful Life. Interestingly Luigi lived to the age of 102 in Renaissance Italy. I think there is much to behold in his two cardinal rules: 1) Eat what agrees with your digestion (quality); 2) Eat as little as possible (quantity).

Friday, August 29, 2008


Well I have been home for about 24 hours. No one tells you the bad parts. And I will try not to dwell on those but it is not a PICNIC! I checked in on time and nurse Kate took my vitals. The most vital to me was the scale. 234.8 Since you might not be keeping track, that is 8.8 pounds from August 6 which is the date when I really started modifying my diet to prepare for surgery. That paid off because CNP Tracy Sorenson said my liver was very small, easy to move, and see around. I didn't, don't have any pain except from gas. I was very bloated in the hospital and no amount of walking did the trick. The pain elevated my blood pressure and Vince was a bit jittery.
Once again Sanford provide an excellent nursing team from RNs to students serving as aides (they have a different title but I didn't get it). I had Sarah and Sophia, Amanda and Deb, and Rachel and Amy taking care of my needs. Alexis was my case manager. Of course, Georgia came by to give me some diet updates and provide her encouraging smile. The surgical procedure took one hour and 30 minutes. I have five incisions on my tummy. One of them is quite badly bruised because that is where the band was inserted. CNP Sorenson explained that she had to inject that area with numbing medication so that I would not hurt so bad after surgery and that caused the bruising. That incision is about two inches wide. The port incision is also in the center of my stomach area and is two inches wide. The other three incisions are only about one inch.
When I arrived back in the room, Vince was there to greet me. He had a gentle smile on his face and I knew it must have gone well. I was tired, a bit scared about what comes next, and somewhat relieved it was over. I had an oxygen nose gadget, I had a blood pressure monitor, and the IV feeding me liquids. I don't remember too much about things other than I didn't have to take that wicked H Pilori medication. All of the medications were given intraveneously except for an injection of heprin that was given right into the stomach to guard against clotting.
I tried to walk often because I knew I would be fighting the gases. I walked three times on the surgery day and four times on the next day. My shoulder had the gas pain from the carbon dioxide they inject during the operation to open the cavity so they can see better. They brought in a heating pad machine similar to the one I used for my rotator cuff surgery (only that one pumped ice water while this one pumped warm water). That seemed to help as I only remember that pain for about six hours. When I finally had the full intestinal gas attack yesterday afternoon, they started a medication or two that restarted the peristalsis of the intestines. I had pretty immediate relief. Vince also monitored the breathing aparatus (this plastic contraption that you take a breath slowly in to ward off pneumonia). He put it in my face every six minutes because the respiratory tech told him ten times an hour. Vince wasn't paid any extra for this care but it goes to show you what a great guy he is. He also took off and put on the leggings that massage your legs to prevent blood clots when I had to get up.
I seemed to feel really good for awhile and then really bad for awhile. That is when the famous expression they tell you about came up. "What have I done to myself?"
I also had a visit from the exercise specialist. I am so glad I had already started this routine as much of what she told me, I knew Thomas was ready to commence. We left the hospital at 4:30pm and I don't think I slept all the way home as I so often have done. I would have to ask Vince.
I slept pretty well in about three hours phases through the night. I would wake up and have to go to the bathroom. I had a little difficulty going back to sleep but would again wake up and find three hours had elapsed. Today I am still on clear liquids. The warm chicken broth really hit the spot. I went to the rec at 11:00 to meet my appointment with Thomas. He weighed me on his scales and I weighed 235 and this scale also gives you a body fat % and the reading was 71. Thomas said that was erroneously high because I still have a lot of bloating. I walked for 15 minutes on the treadmill and accomplished .57 miles. Thomas made me stop because my pulse was up to 143 and that is about my max. Vince and I went back to rec at 2:00pm and I walked again. This time I walked .43 miles so that is my first mile!
Remember my purpose for writing this is to get it all out and if I can help someone else, I want to do that. I so appreciate all my well-wishers. The encouragement really helps.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Guy

Once in every lifetime, each person needs a very special someone to share the moments of life with them. I have that person! Vince is my cheerleader and he so believes in me. I am so very fortunate to have his love and understanding. From the day I met him, I could sense his gentle manner and sincere caring. He has done the research, filed the insurance papers, picked up the medicine, and now kindly encourages me as I step into this new life. Vince is so positive about this decision that whenever I falter and question my abilities to succeed he is there to give me the encouragement I need. Someday, maybe within the year, I will be able to walk comfortably with him around whatever American sites he should choose to visit. I do believe in the expression, "grow old along with me, the best is yet to be".

Monday, August 25, 2008

Pedicure and Diet Coke

With less than 36 hours until the surgery, I have to reflect on this day. Rather than vanity, I would like to consider it "taking care of myself". I had scheduled a pedicure so that my feet would be soft and my toes would be pretty when they wheel me into that surgery suite. I decided that rather than a glass of wine, I would indulge in my LAST diet coke. Call me fickle, I drank it slowly and quite honestly, it didn't taste that great. Vince will be relieved to read this!Considering I have been drinking my calories the last few days, water and tomato juice have become quite appealing. I still have to ingest that nasty liquid antibiotic. Trust me, I have a new appreciation for children who don't want to swallow this stuff. It is horrid! I stopped by the pharmacy tonight to pick up my magnesium citrate (pre-surgery cocktail) and chided the pharmacist about the taste of my prescription. She offered to put in a flavor but when she checked her books, she couldn't do that to a generic. Sooooo, gives new meaning to "having to swallow your medicine". When I stepped on my scale this morning it read 238. That is 5 pounds in two weeks. I'm ready!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I Believe There are Angels Among Us

Vince and I were sitting in the sun room this morning admiring his tomato plants when the phone rang. Lo and behold, I recongized the voice immediately. It was a young woman, I won't share her name as you will understand, who worked with Vince at the cement plant. I met her first when Vince and I were dating and immediately loved her warm smile and gentle heart. She has gone through so much in life and we have watched as she celebrates 20+ years of sobriety and has found a gentle spirit to share her life. I don't think we had met him before today. As we conversed, I began to share my banding experience thus far and I made the remark that I have a fear of failure. This gentle angel walked over to my chair and knelt before me in prayer to our heavenly Father. The tears ran down both of our faces as we embraced. Now I ask you, did not God bring her and her husband to town today to come and visit us and touch my life with His spirit? If she has faced an addiction and walks each day in faith, then I believe I can also succeed. Thank you Lord for placing this person in our lives and sending this angel to enliven my spirit.

Friday, August 22, 2008

5 days until. . .

I will calibrate my scale on Wednesday by weighing before we travel to the hospital and then comparing to the hospital scale. This morning my scale said 239 which made me feel good. I have to say that I was really down last night over the diagnosis and then when Vince came home from the pharmacy without the medication I just lost it. It seems the pharmacist couldn't release the three antibiotics because the insurance had to approve the order. I can't believe a hospital that is so patient friendly can have the same name as an insurance company that constantly puts roadblocks up for its clients. I am inclined to write Mr. Sanford myself and tell him I think the insurance company could contaminate the reputation of his exemplary health facility. Enough ranting! I don't think hospitals should be allowed to have related insurance companies. Tonight I had my "last supper". We had friends over for dinner and I ate my last regular meal for awhile. I put some of the left over pork loin in the freezer and will grind it up when I am able to reintroduce solid "mushy" food. I also drank one last carbonated Diet Rite. Actually it didn't really taste that good.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Oh Good Grief

It has been a very busy week and of course, I forgot to plug in my phone to re-charge it. Thus, when I came home today, Vince asked if I had my phone turned off. It seems that Karen, one of Dr. Glatt's nurses called and my blood test for H Pylori had come back as positive. Borderline, but positive. Well, needless to say, I immediately had to do some research on this. I won't bore you with the details about this stomach bacteria, but suffice to say we heard about it at the baratric workshop and it can cause complications. Why Me? Well I have to take a two week regimen of antibiotics and the office had called my pharacist because of course, they have to be liquid, crushable, or soluble from next Wednesday on. And of course, because of my allergies to some antibiotics, they had to fuss about getting the right combination for this "testy" bacteria. It seems I will be taking three medications. The GOOD news is that this will not effect my surgery date. I was relieve to hear that. I must admit I am bummed. One thing to worry (think) about. I certainly have had no symptoms of this one! I have been drinking loads of water the past two days and feel really good about that. I seem to be very consious about what I am chewing. I think I will get on the scale in the morning and see if I had lost anything on this "less than 1200" calorie diet I have been following.

Monday, August 18, 2008

V8 juice never tasted so good!

I am having a great day. I am not hungry and seem to be doing OK on the liquids. Just have to allow more bathroom time in my day. I am also trying to sip and not guzzle. That is a challenge. I have been so cognizant of how rushed our days are. I am really going to have to slooooooow down. I have been able to stay below 1200 calories for three days now. When I went to exercise tonight I noticed that my energy was low. I only biked 7.6 miles in my 30 minute ride. Tomorrow will be more difficult because I have to travel to Pierre for a meeting. I am certain they will serve lunch at the meeting and I am really going to have to pick. I am ready for it.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

11 days and I am counting

I started my food journal again yesterday. I am trying to stay below 1200 calories this weekend and then on Monday I will start the liquids. Dr. Glatt doesn't ask his patients to do that but I want to be certain my liver is as small as it can get. You see, I am short! I used to be "five foot two, eyes of blue" but now I measure 5 foot 1 inch and I don't have a lot of inches between my neck and crotch. When I carried my children many years ago I can remember struggling to get air in my lungs. It won't be bad to be on liquids. Maybe I will drop a pound. I also exercised today. I rode the bike for 30 minutes and logged 8.7 miles. I was watching the Olympics so maybe I was inspired. I must admit it gets easier to bike for 30 minutes. I have been working up to more miles in that amount of time. Next, I will stretch the time to 40 minutes. That is the Doctor's goal for exercise everyday. Keeping busy on the weekend will be the key. I have quilting, knitting, and reading that I can do. Maybe I will get my Christmas gifts done early this year. I was thinking about Christmas today. I love Christmas. I love decorating our home, selecting gifts, and listening to all of the wonderful music. New Years Eve will be exactly 18 weeks from my surgery date. I wonder if I can lose 36 pounds by then? I would be very pleased to be able to do that. I also took time to eliminate all 3X clothing from my closet. Those clothes are getting a little baggy and summer is drawing to a close. I don't think I will advertise on Ebay again as those ladies last fall STOLE my clothes. One of the ladies at the meeting on Thursday said she had a rummage sale for her clothes and made $500. I guess I will have to put in the effort and do that. I know plus size clothing is expensive and I have some very nice professional clothing.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

13 days, but who is counting

While I was driving between meetings today, drinking my water, I noticed that Vince had called on my Blackberry. I quickly called him at home to see what was up. He calmly announced that I had received a letter. It was my approval letter from the insurance company! I must say my heart skipped a couple of beats as this is what we have been anxiously awaiting. I immediately called my GP's office to let her know we had succeeded. Then I called Thomas, my trainer, and it was so evident that he was excited. He will continue to be my lifeline to health. I have been reading and responding to a google blog called SD Bandsters and it seems that most of the participants had their surgery here in Mitchell. They meet as a support group at the hospital, so I decided to go tonight. A very nice group of people! Dr. Haley, the surgeon at the hospital, spoke with the group. He talked about issues with not having success. It was most interesting to hear what the participants were experiencing. This is a really big deal! One gentleman said it was the best thing that had ever happened to him and he would do it again. That was comforting to hear. I do believe talking to people who have had the experience and are going through the same things I am will be helpful. However, "misery loves company" does not fit my thinking. I feel like this is a privilege I am being given to get a second chance for health. I plan to do things right. Check in a month or two from now and see if I am still as optimistic. God give me strength!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More Information

I was looking for some of the resources they gave us today and I found this website that has a video of banding. Vince and I watched a live video when we went to seminar last January. This is animation and my port will be in the middle of my stomach, not off to the right or left as in the video. It is interesting.

14 days and counting

Today was my bariatric class at the hospital. It started with the one hour drive and I did a breakfast bar on the way. As usual we checked in with the wonderful staff at Sanford. I am so impressed with the courtesy and sincere caring manner each of them possess. I had an EKG, talked with the pharmacist about medications, blood drawn, and then a chest xray. About the time we arrived at the actual classroom where the other three patients were waiting, the nurse who had drawn my blood came in with some orange juice. My blood sugar was low. This surgery might be coming just in time. The bariatric coordinator led a discussion about the surgery, the risks, and the diet necessary to be successful. They had encouraged us to bring a significant person with us for support. I am certain I had the best person in the room. Vince was right there taking notes, nodding, and looking at me over his glasses to reinforce a point. After class I had my last visit with Georgia. She weighed me and wished me luck! I have been very tired today. Don't know why. I went to the rec center and rode the bike for 30 minutes and logged 7.5 miles in that amount of time. Now I am taking some time to reflect. The bariatric coordinator asked us to write three words at the top of a paper: STRESS, ANGER, BOREDOM. I think I would also add SAD. Those are the emotional triggers that cause most people to eat. Things like too many phone calls or interuptions in a row, too many meetings or appointments in a day, and not being organized cause me stress. I don't have too many anger issues. I become sad when I have had a disagreement with a family member or when I don't feel good about myself. Boredom sets in while I am driving in the car or watching TV with no hand work. She then said to list the foods that one goes for at these times. I would have to say: donut holes, bakery rolls, chips, diet coke, and at the very worst times, CHOCOLATE. In the last column we were to write some options of behavior we could do instead of eating. I had already begun to contemplate strategies for these events. Obviously, I could go for a walk (even at the office, I could walk around the block to clear my head). I mentioned that quilting has become a hobby as is knitting and I don't eat when I am doing these activities. Our great room where our large screen TV resides is part of my kitchen. Now that is nice when you are entertaining and everyone wants to gather around the cook. BUT, when I watch TV in that room at night I tend to graze. That's a no-no. We have a television upstairs and that is going to be my strategy for late night viewing. Away from the food! I think one other strategy I will employ is calling a friend. I have some (LOL) all around the country and so they may be hearing from me more often while I break the emotional eating habit.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Life Means So Much by Chris Rice

Every day is a journal page
Every man holds a quill and ink
And there's plenty of room for writing in
All we do is believe and think
So will you compose a curse
Or will today bring the blessings
Fill the page with rhyming verse
Or some random sketchings
Teach us to count the days
Teach us to make the days count
Lead us in better ways
Somehow our souls forgot
Life means so much
Life means so much
Life means so much
Every day is a bank account
And time is our currency
So no one's rich, nobody's poor
We get twenty-four hours each
So how are you gonna spend
Will you invest or squander
Try to get ahead
Or help someone who's under
Has anybody lived who knew the value of a life
And didn't He give His own
To show the worth of yours and mine?
Every day is a gift you've been given,
Make the most of the time every minute you're living

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Today was a beautiful day to be outside. My friend Sara and I ventured to a wonderful outdoor quilt show. My knees held up pretty well with the walking. It was slow and leisurely up and down the grapevines. I have always loved to knit but this winter I started quilting. As I just put the binding on a baby quilt I am making for one of my daughter's friends' son, I realized how much this hobby might help me in my effort to change my lifestyle. If one wants to make a beautiful quilt, one should not be nibbling on food. You don't want to wash it before it is finished. Also, quilting forces me to think about what I am doing and that should help occupy my mind. Speaking of mind, in many of the blogs and discussions about lapbanding I have read comments about the psychiatric evaluation. You know, I think that might be the most sensible task and insurance company could require of those considering banding. I say that because I do believe one has to be in the right mindset. Sanford Health refers their patients to a clinic where they use the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory as a screener. Coupled with the results of this 567 True/False question screener, the psychologist can assess mental well being. I know there have been times in my life when depression and anxiety have stimulated my eating habits. They are looking into a patient's coping skills and mental readiness. She asked me questions about any stressors present in my life at this time and my ability to adapt to new things. I believe being mentally ready is key to success. I also believe I have to want this for the right reasons. A positive attitude about the ability to succeed is one thing that I identified early on and have been working on to this moment. I have been reading a discussion where one of the participants did not have an eval nor any counseling before her surgery. She was contemplating if that might have been a good idea. I think anyone considering this surgery certainly needs the support of their significant other, at the very least. You need to converse about your doubts and voice your fears. Vince is my rock! He is my biggest cheerleader and he wants so much for me to succeed that he sometimes fringes on what Georgia called "babysitting". I have to be the one to make responsible decisions. This kind of support of family and friends is crucial. I also believe some individuals feel so much better when they are sharing with other people who are going through the same experience. I think that is why one finds so many lapband discussion boards exist.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Pictures are worth a thousand words

I don't believe most people know how hard it is to look at a picture of yourself when you are obese. After all, the purpose of a picture is to capture beauty or a special moment. Two years ago, I sat before a window and was looking at my toddler grandson watch the rain. My husband captured the beautiful moment. Later, I cropped the picture and captured the picture over on the left of the blog entitled "At My Heaviest". Just one month before that picture was taken, we had gone for a long walk in Minneapolis with my brother and his wife. I struggled to breathe. My knees were killing me. I stopped and looked at my husband and as I cried I declared I was going to start exercising. That was two years ago, and I have exercised. I have lost 22 pounds but we took this picture tonight in our home. Same shirt, same hair, a new scar on the neck from thyroid surgeries last February, and the same overall grief of obesity. So I say, here's to a new beginning. I will share another picture one year from today. We'll see how far I go. I want to take walks with Vince whereever he wants to travel (even though he won't fly) I just want to be able to watch my five grandsons watch the rain outside the window and play ball and open Christmas presents and graduate and walk their brides down the aisle and whatever other moments God grants to me in a healthier body! This picture is worth a thousand words in my head - You can do it! Believe in yourself! You aren't going to fail! You will be successful this time! I have a big heart but my body doesn't have to match! God give me strength.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Georgia On My Mind

I've said it before, "there is an almighty plan" and I so believe that when it comes to Georgia. When the insurance board directed me to see a clinical nutrition manager twice a month for six months, it happened that when I made the first appointment, Georgia was the one assigned to my case. From the first visit, I knew my experience with her was going to be positive. She is a delightful person who listens intently to your conversation and then gently nudges you to make some changes. It was quickly apparent she knows "her stuff". Her initial suggestion to begin to do better planning for my evening meal was the first challenge. Rather than just come in and grab anything I could find in the pantry or the refrigerator, it made sense to plan better, shop for good choices, and then select those items to eat. We have talked about chewing more and eating more slowly for six months. When I sit down to eat, I think of Georgia and her smiling face, telling me to chew, chew, chew and become more sensitive to when I feel full. We have talked about counting calories and quite frankly, even when I faithfully ate only 1200 calories a day, I haven't moved the scale. Georgia just looks at the bar and now we giggle and say "it doesn't matter". She has given me so many ideas about changing my behavior. She encourages me to select alternatives to "pop" so that I don't have to quit "cold turkey". I am almost there. Last week when I was sitting in the airport, I watched for obese people carrying diet coke. It is almost a 1:1 correlation. To think, I used to think nothing of drinking a six pack a day. Now I am sitting here with a fruit punch G2. There are people God puts in our life for a reason. I consider Georgia to be one of my angels. I hope to continue my friendship with this caretaker. I will miss my bi-monthly meeting with her as I believe these appointments have been crucial in my preparation for banding.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sign Me Up

I have been waiting for today. I had my pre-op appointment with the surgeon who will do my lapbanding. I first met Dr. Glatt in February when I was diagnosed with a large node on my thyroid and he was the recommended surgeon. I am a firm believer that God has a plan for us and late in January, Vince, my husband and I had attended an introductory seminar at Sanford Hospital on bariatric surgery. That seminar was conducted by Dr. O'Brien who also practices in the Surgical Tower at Sanford. Back to Dr. Glatt! When I met with him in February before my thyroid surgery, I told him I would see him again when I had insurance approval for banding. He said, "begin with Weight Watchers now, because it will take a year". Needless to say, we were both happy to be meeting today as it has only been EIGHT months. Today we talked about the choice I have made about lapband rather than the Roux-en-Y procedure. He explained how sweets (and that is my downfall) go through the pouch in both options. I must admit, the idea of becoming so sick that you decide sugars are not worth it, sounds tempting, but I really believe I am ready to make the commitment necessary to use the band as a tool and not a crutch. When I asked him when I had to make the final decision, he said "right now". I said, "the lapband is what I want to do". Now that I am scheduled for the 3 hour class next Wednesday with the Bariatric Coordinator, I have to say this whole thing is really becoming real. A year from now, I will look back and know that my belief in myself is the most important part of this whole experience. I am committed to being healthy and able to watch my children and their children grow older along with me.