Thursday, November 20, 2008


This may come as a surprise to some of you, but I am a bastion of good mental health! Woohoo!

I ended up having my psych evaluation earlier than I planned and with the doctor that wasn't the one with whom I'd originally scheduled an appointment. Remember? Turns out that honey really works well, because Leslie called me yesterday and offered me an appointment for this morning. The doctor with whom I actually had the appointment has never called me back to confirm I have an appointment, so I decided not to risk saying no to this opportunity. Plus, I had already filled out Dr. M's hour-long questionnaire, which felt like a big waste of time when I realized my appointment was with Dr. C from a totally different practice. By the way, because we'll be talking about the questionnaire in a bit, I want to say for the record that I was absolutely as honest as humanly possible on it!

I arrived before my appointment, in case I needed to fill anything out, etc., which was good because they took height and weight measurements (I've lost 6 lbs since Oct. 28th!) and took my blood pressure (a tad high, but not too bad). I sat down and my cell phone showed 8:28, my appointment was for 8:30. I'm not a very patient person and am at the height of impatience when people are late, so imagine how not happy I was when I called my coworker at 9:25 to tell her I'd be back to work later than planned because I was still waiting to see the doctor. Yeah, not very happy at all. Fortunately, I only had to wait 5 minutes longer.

Fortunately, Dr. M is a really cool guy. AND he had lots of nice things to say to me - that always puts me in a better mood! He told me that the questionnaire contains 5 pysch tests and I passed all of them. He said that one of the tests shows that I'm a passionate person - dependable, loving, independent. Passionate! I've always wanted to be passionate! The tests also indicate that I'm not prone to depression, delusions, or anxiety disorders. Wow, I exclaimed, the good new just keeps coming! He laughed. I also don't have eating disorders (except for the obvious one that made me overweight), personality disorders, or anger management problems. Woohoo! And, here's the kicker - no signs of OCD! Awesome! I was kind of worried.

We chatted about my job, family, life goals, and some other stuff. We laughed a lot. I had him in stitches, quite honestly. I wasn't even trying that hard! Towards the end of the appointment, he checked something in my file then verified that I'm single. I nodded enthusiastically and he said, Are the men up there (I had to travel south for the appointment) crazy or what? How are you not taken, you're absolutely delightful! I blushed and beamed at the same time, I'm sure. (And, before you start thinking what you might be thinking, he was married and in his mid to late 40's.)

We talked about my expectations for life after the surgery and he said he feels confident telling the surgeon that my expectations are realistic and healthy and that I am a good candidate. I asked why a psych evaluation was necesssary, and he told me that one of the major reasons is to check for potential depression. In gastric bypass there is a 30% rate of depression after the surgery. The percentage is a lot lower for lap band, but it's still possible. So, I asked him if I should expect to feel kind of down afterward. He assured me that after looking at my results and talking to me that I should feel just fine. He said he'd be really surprised if I wasn't. No pressure. He laughed. We also talked about my support system and I was proud to say that I have a wonderful support system - lots of loving family and friends who are super supportive. (Thank you!!!)

I've never been psycho-analyzed before. It was kind of neat (probably because my results were so positive and happy!) but it was also a little disconcerting. I have self-diagnosed restless leg syndrome and halfway through the appointment my right leg started bouncing. When I realized it, I stopped it, wondering if the doctor would think it was a nervous twitch that meant I was lying. I wondered if he was analyzing my posture and body language. It was kind of weird to know I was being analyzed even if it wasn't to the degree I was imagining.

The end conclusion is that I'm mentally healthy and am clear for the surgery. Woohoo!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I'm kind of proud of myself.

Tonight, leaving work and contemplating the lack of food in my kitchen that belongs to me, Arctic Circle - which is right next door to my office building - tempted me almost to my breaking point. Lately under these circumstances I would have given in and turned into Arctic Circle. I almost did. I slowed considerably as I passed the turn and was thisclose to turning, but I decided that eating fast food tonight would completely cancel out this morning's fabulous exercise.

I had worked hard this morning. I got out of bed earlier than normal - my warm, comfortable bed - to ride my stationary bike for 20 minutes and 4.7 miles. I love this time of day; the bike is in front of my east-facing window and I get to watch as the horizon lightens and the sun finally peeks over the mountain. It's lovely. It's also a good workout for me. My legs start to ache and I have to work to keep going when it would be so easy to quit. So, the thought of this hard work becoming null and void just because I hadn't gone grocery shopping was unacceptable. I came home and ate cereal and swiss cheese and crackers.

I've made several good decisions lately. Small decisions, but together they add up to important changes. I'm going to do something very drastic to lose weight but that doesn't mean I'll be able to sit back and watch the weight melt off. The surgery is a tool. I use it to remind myself why I want to make good decisions. Once I have the surgery, it'll be harder, but not impossible, to make unhealthy food choices. Tough choices will still have to be made time after time after time. You might say that once I'm on the right path, I'll have to continue to work hard and endure to the end. (I love the gospel analogy game!) Small decisions, like waking up to exercise and eating cereal instead of french fries, are even more important, more necessary, than the big decision of having the surgery.

You might say that by small and simple things great things can be accomplished. :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Honey, Vinegar, and Humble Pie

No, these aren’t the ingredients for some fabulously odd Thanksgiving dish I’m planning to make next week. You wish you were that lucky!

Today, I should have used honey, but instead used vinegar, so my slice of humble pie was even more difficult to eat.

I had a message on my cell phone from a psychiatrist’s receptionist informing me that they had received the medical history form and questionnaire I had filled out. She said their next available appointment was in January so I should call quickly to schedule an appointment. I already have an appointment! I said to myself, so I called her back, figuring she’d overlooked my appointment and all would be well in no time. Nope.

She looked in her book at the date I said I had scheduled for the psych evaluation and said my name was nowhere to be seen. She looked on the days before and after and still my name was not written down. I started to panic, and I don’t always function at my best when I panic, unfortunately. You see, December 23rd is really the best day for me to have the surgery and if I waited ‘til January to have the psych evaluation, I’d have to have the surgery some time in January. PANIC!

Leslie (not her real name) kept saying she wasn’t the one who I had spoken to because she wouldn’t have made this kind of mistake. It frustrated me that she wasn’t trying to come up with any solutions, just absolving herself from any wrongdoing. Finally, my voice dripping with vinegar, I asked her if she was willing or able to do anything to help me out of this predicament. She said she couldn’t think how she could. I asked if the doctor was willing to come in early or stay late at all. She wasn’t sure. I was really close to losing it, so I said I’d call my surgeon’s office and see if they had any suggestions. I didn’t mask my frustration as well as I could have.

So, I called my surgeon’s office and informed the receptionist of the problem. She was very sympathetic and gave me the name and phone number of a psychiatrist they don’t use very often but who is capable of doing the evaluation. I called his number and got the answering machine, so I left a message pleading with them to call me back.

I have a piece of paper in my bariatric surgery folder that lists the steps I need to take before I have the surgery. On this sheet, I have the names and phone numbers of the doctors and nutritionists that my surgeon’s assistant recommended I call to complete these steps. The doctor for whom Leslie works was on that list; next to his name was a notation I made after calling them in October, which reads, “Appointment avail mid-December, they’ll send packet, but calling somewhere else to see if earlier appt avail.” I looked at the other psychiatrist and found this notation next to her name, “Set appt for December 2nd, 9am”.

Two words: humble pie.

I called this psychiatrist's number to confirm the appointment, but no one answered, so I just left a message. I’m positive my appointment is with her, though, because at the bottom of the page I wrote her address and directions to the office. Yeah, I felt kind of stupid.

After basking in my foolishness for a bit, I called Leslie and explained what had happened and apologized profusely for getting frustrated earlier. She said she totally understood why I had become frustrated and apologized for not being more helpful. She informed me that they had some spots that had opened up due to cancellations and did I want to see the doctor tomorrow? I was tempted. I had already spent an hour filling out the mental health questionnaire (for the wrong doctor!!!) and it would be really nice to have this evaluation over and done with, but the open spots were around 3pm. My coworker would have to work late and she really doesn’t like to, so I thanked her and said I’d have to pass, explaining why.

Which led me to wonder if I had handled the situation better the first time I talked to her, would she have offered those open spots right then? Would the honey really have attracted the fly better than the vinegar?

By the way, have any of you actually tried this experiment with real honey, vinegar, and flies? I’m assuming the honey really does attract more flies, because it’s such a “tried and true” expression; however, I wouldn’t be surprised if flies liked the vinegar. I for one really enjoy vinegar, especially salt and vinegar chips or as a dip for French fries, so maybe flies like vinegar, too. Odder things could happen.

To sum up: in the future, I need to remember to express my frustration in a better, sweeter, way. Not only may I reap immediate rewards (the other person’s increased willingness to help) but the slice of humble pie will be smaller if it turns out that I play a part in causing the frustration.

In other words, not only does it attract more flies, but honey also makes a tastier humble pie than vinegar.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Support Group - November

Last week, I attended my first weight loss surgery support group. It was one of the requirements I had to complete in order to have the surgery. I'm glad it's a requirement because it was really helpful! And, since I have to travel 45 minutes to get to it, I needed the motivation. Now that I know how wonderful the group is, I'll be more likely to go.

I invited my mom to come with me. I felt like I need her more than anyone else to know what I'm going to be going through. We got into a little fight on the way down (we're too alike), but we cleared it up quickly and got along fine the rest of the time. We both learned a lot about what to expect and I know she'll be a lot of help to me after the surgery.

Here are some of the things I learned:

1. 4 oz = 1/2 cup NOT 1/4 cup. This was the best news! There was a girl my age sitting by Mom and me and I decided to become friends with her, so we did. When the group leaders mentioned that 4 oz is roughly 1/2 cup, Heather (my new friend) almost choked because she had just started to consider surgery and was appalled at how little food she'd be able to eat. I was THRILLED though! After a month or so of thinking I'll only be able to eat 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup seems almost like a feast! Woohoo!

2. One bite of vegetable/carb for every 3 bites of protein (mainly meat). I expressed my concern that all I'd be eating was protein and wasn't that kind of not good? What about fruits and vegetables (which I love)??? This is what I was told. They also said that the maintenance diet allows for fruit and more veggies. That's better, I guess.

3. Small bites (pea-sized) and chew each bite 20 times. I heard about the consequences for not following this and they are NOT pleasant! So, I've begun to practice. It's harder than you might think.

4. Tracking exercise and food intake helps you be more successful at weight loss. I've heard this so many times it makes me want to scream. I guess it makes sense, I just hate having to do it. To that end, I'm borrowing this idea and will have weekly updates on my exercise progress. I haven't figured out how I'm going to work the food intake part.

5. If you don't eat enough protein after the surgery, you'll lose hair! It's not like you go bald, your hair just gets thinner. And, they said that it comes back after awhile, but I'm not going to take any chances. I like my hair. I guess I'll be following that 3 bites protein, 1 bite carb rule after all!

6. To get rid of gas, walk! I guess gas is a bit of a problem after the surgery. Oh goodie! One lady felt it in her shoulder and chest! So much so that she went to the hospital thinking she was having a heart attack. Boy, the good news just keeps coming, doesn't it??? :)

7. My "ideal weight" is 135 lbs. There's a formula that supposedly tells what you should ideally weigh. The nutritionist said it isn't foolproof, nothing is. Yeah, I'm not aiming for 135; it may be a little extreme. I'd love to get to 170, maybe 165. 135???

It was really interesting to listen to people talk about their experiences and to get their advice for adjusting to post-surgery life. It was also really motivational! One woman had gastric bypass on Jan 2, this year, and has lost 105 lbs! She looked like a skinny person! I would never have guessed that she hadn't been skinny all her life. Another woman had Lap Band surgery a couple months ago and had already lost more than 30 lbs. One has lost almost 60 lbs in 4 months! Wow! It was good to see the positive results! None of them regretted having the surgery (maybe those people don't go to support groups) and all of them said they wished they'd had it done sooner.

Maybe next month I'll invite Dad and Paula to go with me.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Me: November 2008

I'm not going to tell you how much I weigh yet. I'm too embarrassed. Maybe someday.

Every time I post a picture, I'll include any weight changes.

This first picture is special - it was done by a professional! Ooooo. I had to get it taken for work. I was super excited. (please note the excessive sarcasm) I had just cut about 5 inches off my hair and was unprepared to see how it looked in pictures (I hadn't figured out how to style it yet), so I opted for curls. I rarely do my hair this way, so I didn't have the I-can't-believe-I -look-like-that-everyday! reaction. So, it doesn't reflect how I usually look, but it accurately shows me at my current weight.

Enough chatter. Here I am:

Starting Weight: not telling
Current Weight: starting weight
Difference: 0 lbs

Let's Get Started

I recently decided to finally do something to help me lose weight.

I'm having weight-loss surgery. Lap-Band, specifically. If I manage to pass my psych eval (fingers crossed!), the surgery will be December 23rd. I'm nervous and excited.

Not that I've done a whole lot to lose weight in the past, but the few times I've tried, I haven't done exceptionally well, mainly because I haven't stayed committed to losing weight. I didn't want to have to give up eating my favorite foods. I didn't want to walk in subzero temperatures (I kid, but it does get pretty cold!). I didn't want to have to wake up any earlier to exercise. I wanted to lose weight without trying, basically.

I need to be committed to this if I'm going to be successful in losing weight with this surgery. It isn't a free pass; it won't be easy. So, I decided to create a second blog (go here for my first) that is devoted to my weight-loss journey. I'll talk about the preparations before the surgery, what life is like post-surgery, and I how I feel about the whole process. And, I'll record my successes and failures, post goals and when I reach them. And, I'm going to be brave and post pictures of the journey so I can remind myself where I've been. Yikes!

Hopefully all this will help me stay committed to losing weight!