My Weightloss Journey

Monday, August 2, 2010

Happy Dance!

Holy moly!!  When I discovered this, I literally did a Happy Dance (dramatically enough for my hubby to give me the "you're crazy" look).   Haha!

Who would've thought that someone would be interested in reading about me?   I know this may be a minor detail to some, but to me, this makes this journey all the more real.  I've been reading lots of bandsters' blogs and I'm following their milestones.  The reason I wanted so badly to join this blogging community was to receive the same love and support.  It seems to me that what helps others get through their good and bad days is the constant support of their followers.  Now, I have some!  :)   I feel like now I can truly take on this new challenge!

So, Welcome to my followers:  Debi, Grace, Michelle and Jessica!  I'm excited to read your blogs and to share my experiences with you!  Thank you for your support!

(click on each of their names to check out their blogs!  Jessica, I can't seem to find your blog.  If you give me your blog address, I'd love to visit your site!)

 ** Update:  I believe Jessica's blog is here (Jessica correct me if I'm wrong).  I didn't realize it, but I'm already following her blog and I recommend you check it out, too!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Patience is a Virtue... right?

I've never been one for patience.  I'm the type of person that when I make a decision (after reasonable research and knowledge gathering), I'm ready to act on it.  I guess you could say I'm not afraid of change, so I tend to not need a period of indecision.  Most times I'm just willing to trust my gut and in a driven fashion, am willing to jump feet first in any way necessary to get what I want (within reason).  I know that I want to have the Lapband surgery.  I know that this is the best decision for me and will only result in me having a healthier and happier future.   That being said, I'm now stuck in the holding pattern of patiently jumping through hoops to make it happen.

After months of reading blogs, researching and contacting my insurance company, I knew that the first step was to meet with my PCP to get a referral to the bariatric surgery program provided by a reputable hospital in the area.   I was so nervous for this meeting because I wasn't sure if my doctor would look at me and tell me I was smoking something.  Actually, being the nerd that I am, I had gathered a bunch of information and put it in a binder.  I had called my insurance company to find out their requirements and had a list of questions ready.  In addition, I had information I printed out from both the Realize® band and Lap-Band® websites, as well as printouts of the information provided by the website for the bariatric surgery program I was hoping to be referred to.  My binder was a beautiful production and I probably looked like the an overachiever!  :p  

So I met with my PCP on June 24th.  Needless to say, I worried too much for nothing!  As soon as I told him what I wanted to do, he was immediately supportive and excited for me.  In fact, he must have put a rush on getting the referral in, because the next day, the hospital called to set up  a consult with the bariatric surgery program.  He was impressed with my research and was confident that I was making an educated decision which he said was a positive move towards a healthy future.  I was speechless. 

I believe what is meant to be, will happen (probably why I don't have too much trouble jumping when a decision calls for a change that others would shrink away from).  That being said, it must have been meant to be, because when the hospital called, they said they had a cancellation and could see me on June 29th.  Normally, their appointments are booked for months!

It was a quick turn around, but still enough time for the nerves to develop once again...  I was so worried that when I went to my consultation they would reject me as a candidate.  Instead, I showed up (with my handy dandy binder of information) and they welcomed me with open arms.  That day I officially started my 6 month journey and the program I'm part of is quite impressive.   The doctors, nurses, PAs, nutritionists, etc. have come together to provide a 6 month educational program that meets the typical insurance needs while providing their patients with a supportive system for learning about the journey they are about to embark on.  Then, after surgery, the support system continues with followup appointments and classes.

Each month, I have a consult with a PA, doctor, etc. followed by a class or medical evaluation.  I can also participate in support group meetings twice a month, as desired.  The first meeting was just an initial consult and distribution of reading materials on the program and nutrition tips to follow.  On July 22nd, I went for my second meeting, which included a quick medical consult and participation in a nutrition class with a nutritionist.  The class was pretty basic and really it didn't provide any information I didn't already know (from years of dieting).  However, it was like a refresher course on what to do and not to do.    The only complaint I really have so far is that the classes seem to be for both gastric bypass and lapband patients, so I'm not necessarily getting information specific to my particular surgery and situation.  Also, I found out pretty quickly that I was the only lapband patient in the room!

Overall, though, the process has been relatively painless.  My next meeting is on August 16th and will include a medical consult with distribution of more materials, a behavioral class and a support group meeting.  I'm counting down the days...

Now, none of that sounds too unreasonable, right?   Let me get to the frustrating point... I am 5'4 1/2" tall and my starting weight was 245 at the first consult.  I believe this put my BMI roughly in the 41 range.  So, I'm relatively close to the typical cutoff (aka BMI of 40).  My insurance does cover surgery for someone with a BMI of 35-39, but you have to prove 2 or more co-morbidities.   I have high cholesterol and PCOS, but the PA that I talked with seemed to indicate that I don't want to have to try to prove this is enough.   I do have a family history of diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, but I don't personally suffer from any of these.  Also, sleep apnea is not an issue at all for me.   So, long story short, I fall into the category of patients that have to complete the 6 month program without losing too much weight and drop below a BMI of 40.  To be exact, I can lose at most 5 lbs.   This 6 month program is an educational program for me, but is probably best described by LDswims as the "unweightless program."  Thus, I seem to be stuck in a holding pattern for now.

Soooooooo... patience is a virtue, right?  I have never wanted time to fly by so much before.  But I am patiently completing each step and each task that is asked of me, so that when the time comes, I'm ready to start my earnest quest for a smaller, healthier me.

I can learn to be patient...
I can be patient...
I will be patient...

(but I want it NOW!)

- Brie

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Let's get this Party started!

Every new journey has to start somewhere, right?

I have been researching and reading blogs for months about the Lapband. Frankly, I have been overwhelmed with emotions from shock to happiness to find a community of people who seem to truly relate to my own personal struggle with food and the ride on the weightloss rollercoaster. My story seems to be the typical - I've tried every diet under the sun and while I can lose the weight, it always comes back plus a few extra pounds. Actually, I think my problem lies in an all or nothing approach to weightloss. This attitude has let me be gung ho on so many diets, only to find out later that I couldn't sustain the obsessive approach. The thing I truly love most about the Lapband is that in reading about others' real life experiences with it, it seems the Lapband is a tool to make a lifestyle change that lasts well after the gung ho phase of any other diet fades and disappears. I think the Lapband will work wonders for me, mainly because it will be a tool that doesn't go away. Good days, bad days, stressful days, sad days, happy days, etc. The Lapband will be there to control my urge to reward any emotion with comfort food (usually sweets and carbs). I know this will not be easy and I know that there will be days when I struggle. But, I'm up for the challenge...because I want to be a healthy woman when I grow up!

Now, for a little more about me. I'm 26 years old and I live in Northeast, US. I'm married to my wonderful husband and best friend. We've been together for 10 years (as of 7/22/2010) and happily married for a little over 2 1/2 years. My husband and I have practically grown up together and he has seen the good, the bad and the ugly sides of me. AND he still Loves me! :) I also have a very good relationship with my family, especially my Mom. She's more like a sister or best friend, and she is always ready to go to bat for me.

It was my Mom who first suggested the Lapband to me. I remember thinking, "no way, Mom." I thought it was an invasive surgery, and actually I had it confused with gastric bypass. Basically, I was freaked out by the unknown. Fast forward a gain of 30 lbs and she suggested it again. This time, I googled it. From there, I read and read and read. I read the sales pitchy company websites, I read discussion forums and I started reading blogs from real-life Bandsters. In fact, I became addicted to the blogs. The more I read, the more I realized that this is an option for me and may be the best thing I ever do for myself. I am still reading and still learning, but the difference is that now I am counting down the days until I can become a Bandit myself.

I don't want this first entry to be a book, so I'll end with a final thought. I have been reading some blogs for months now, never commenting because I thought that I first needed to create my own blog to truly be welcomed into the "club." However, I have learned and grown so much from reading others' stories that I just want to say Thank you. I'm ready to put my story out there and hopefully inspire someone else the way I've been inspired myself.

- Brie