Endocrinology Report

Despite having some major issues with the driver there and back, I had a really good appointment this morning at my endocrinologist!

My random blood sugar was 117, and my blood pressure was 120/78. The nurse also took a sample for a random A1c number. When the doctor arrived, he said it came back at 5.5, and that he no longer considers me diabetic!!! I only have to check my blood sugars at home a couple times a week, or if I don’t feel well. And, he said to stay on the metformin as it helps with metabolism.

Thyroid level as of mid-February was 1.46, so the doctor said to stay on that medicine for now, and to have it rechecked in about three months before I see him again.

I mentioned about my low blood pressure last week, as well as a home reading yesterday of 101/52. He said that is getting pretty low, so I can cut my one medication, amlodipine, in half daily!

The weight loss is great, but really, my health and quality of life improvements are making me ever so grateful for this surgery and my new lease on life! It is amazing the difference only a few months has made!

One last thing, I will decide by this Friday whether or not we will definitely be doing the 5K walk on May 6. Jenny and I have talked, and I don’t want to push myself too hard training that I risk injuring myself. We can always put it off a little longer, there is no shame in that. I will let you all know when the decision has been made.

Love you all, you make my life better by being here for me!

Wounds and Other Updates

I wanted to take a few minutes to write on this blog since it’s been a little while, but I know most of you are following my Facebook updates.

I went to wound care today, and both are progressing slowly but surely. The shin wound from the bike incident is pretty much completely healed. I just have to keep a bandage on it for two more weeks, and only change it once. The groin wound is pretty much status quo, as can be expected. I did ask her about using a different covering, as the 5×9 pads we use tend to fall out more often with the weight changes 😀. Unfortunately her solution is to use tape. I am trying it now but it will depend on how easily it comes off as to whether or not I continue the tape or just take my chances. I go back in five weeks.

While there, I stepped on their scale, as well as checking on my scale at home. Different numbers, but they actually both showed an increase of one pound from last week. I am not stressing out at all. There are so many factors that go into weight (exercise, water, salt intake, bowel movements, etc), that I know better than to be concerned just yet. I think this time is probably due to the increase in arm exercises and maybe building more muscle.

The other interesting thing this morning was my blood pressure check. The nurse put it on my left lower arm, and it came out as 104/43!! It has never been that low for me! I am seeing my endocrinologist Monday and will talk to him about reducing or eliminating more of my BP meds. It’s still amazing all of the positive changes that are coming at such a rapid pace.

As most of you have seen, I am loving the gym. Yesterday’s 50 minutes on the treadmill did wear me out a little bit more, but I was not on my usual machine. When I go back Friday, I will do another 50 minutes and see if I can go more or wait until the next time. Music has been a huge help during these workouts. Last week was Michael Jackson’s greatest hits, and over the weekend I discovered a playlist on Amazon Prime called Never Give Up, with great songs from Kelly Clarkson, Pink, Katy Perry, and of course my Fight Song. Awesome music that kept me pumped and singing along (to myself LOL).

And, not sure how many saw this, but I have penciled in my first 5k walk for Saturday May 6! I am not concerned with speed, just going as far as I can go and crossing the finish line. If you would like to join us, or come out for support, let me know and I will give you the details.

I love you all! Have a wonderful day, and as always, thank you!!

Twelve Week Post-Op

I still can’t get over the fact that I just wrote that title.  After all of the preparation and struggles last year, the three months since the surgery have pretty much flown by. And, despite some of my self-confidence issues in the first few weeks, the staff today said I am a model patient.

I was not able to see everyone today. I had to reschedule with the psychologist for April 11 as yet another transportation company dropped the ball this morning. I was supposed to be there for 9:00, but reserved for 8:30, giving myself a cushion. I received a call last night from the company saying they would be here between 7:00 and 8:00.  So I was down in the lobby by 7:00. The hour passes by, and nothing. So I call Reservations. She checks, and says the driver is about 15 minutes away, okay. After 8:30, the company calls and says the driver is running very behind, but they will call the doctor to see if I can arrive late. No problem, the office says that they will try to fit me in to everyone today if possible. Well, the driver does not pick me up until 9:15, and after a couple stops, I reach the doctor after 10:00. Luckily, the office made accommodations for me where they could. One of these days things will go smoothly!!

Anyway, back to the more important news.  My first stop, weigh in. I am officially at 388, pounds, exactly 50 less than at surgery! And 170 pounds total!!!

Saw Jessica, the dietitian, next. She said that she liked where I was at in my calorie intake, 700-800 daily, and recommended increasing to 900-1000 on gym days. I am still reaching my protein and liquid goals every day, and still focusing on about 3 ounces of protein, and then if I have room some veggies. She also said that now I am at the stage where I can add a cup of vegetables or fruit daily if they fit into my goals. She likes the protein supplement choices I am making as well. I had one question, mainly because I still have some in my apartment, and she said that sugar free hard candy is okay, and just not to overdo it. I said I would only do one a day if any, and she said that is perfect. She only cautioned on being careful not to accidentally swallow a piece, as that would not be fun on the new stomach. She mentioned again that she wished I could make it to one of their support groups, as I am doing all the right things nutritionally.

Up next was the exercise physiologist Valerie. She was also very happy with how much I have grown in my activity since my last visit. I asked her about the heart rate issue, and she had good news. She says that there is less and less concentration on the actual number, and that now it is very subjective. I told her that while I was on the treadmill, I definitely felt my body working, but was not short of breath, winded, or fatigued. I also said that I have always heard that you should be able to carry on a conversation while exercising, and since I am by myself, I sing along (quietly LOL) to my headphones and kind of dance my head to the music. She said that is perfect, so just continue to do what I am doing, with working on increasing speed some, and if not that, incline. And, I have noticed in the past couple weeks that I am getting a nice size set of bat wings, so I asked about arm exercises. She recommends concentrating on the cardio and fitness still, but starting to incorporate some dumbbells and machine exercises for this. My homework is to investigate whether Planet Fitness has a machine where you can do a one-arm pull (row) and one-arm push, while standing.  She said they may also have a tricep press down machine to sit down at. Also start some arm curls and lateral raises with 8-pound weights. It’s a little overwhelming at first, but I am going to ease into it, and maybe see if I have some heavier jars or cans at home that I can use here to start with.

Before I saw the doctor, the nurse checked my blood pressure, and it was 122/61, very happy about that! Now I am going to start monitoring it more often at home to watch out for low BP. I had not seen this doctor since about September in the other office, so it was good to catch up with him. He showed my a chart that says average weight loss at this time is 40 to 60 pounds, so I am right on target! When I reminded him of my heaviest weight, he said, “you’ve lost two of my kids!” Still unreal! He said I might want to consider staying on the metformin for a while as it helps with weight loss, and that I may want to stop taking that trazadone that I started in the fall for help sleeping, as it acts like an antihistamine and makes people hungry, leading to possible weight gain. As it does not seem to be helping me much anyway, I have stopped that. I will look for another solution, because I can’t tell you the last time I got a full night’s rest. He didn’t realize that I was living on my own now, and said that me accomplishing all this (mostly) by myself was amazing. I told him how much this blog and the support from all of you has helped.

After that, I got another B12 injection, and that was that for the day. As much of a pain it can be to get to and see everyone back to back like that, the office is so wonderful. Everyone on staff is incredibly friendly and supportive, I really miss it after a while.  I will see all of these same people again May 10, and they will probably do some lab work then as well.

Well, I hope you are all still reading this after today’s novel, but I will let you go for now! Tomorrow morning is my eye appointment, which is the third attempt at seeing this doctor, so hopefully the third time is the charm. I love you all, have a wonderful day! Continue being the best people around!

A Quick Non-Scale Victory

I started using the lymphedema pump in September. When I started, the device company took measurements of both legs. They actually come and take them every three months, so I saw them in December and then again this past Tuesday. I asked the tech if my measurements went down, and she did not have my previous numbers.

However, the office just called and told me that indeed the numbers have dropped. She said the left leg has significant loss, and the right leg is lower, just dropping more slowly. She also said that in a few spots I have lost as much as six inches!

Love this therapy, and definitely still love my tool!! All these little things are adding up BIG TIME!!

Milestone Moment

I have been sitting on this news since Wednesday because of the windstorm of the century leaving me without cable and internet. But I saw my surgeon Wednesday afternoon, and I have officially said sayonara to the 400s!!! According to his scale, I am at 397!!!!!! That is 41 pounds in nine weeks, and an unbelievable 161 pounds in 14 months. I can’t get over it. It has been 10-15 years since I have been in the three’s.

The surgeon is very pleased with my progress with reduced medications, more exercise, and how my incisions are healing. He also said I am losing at a good pace which is great to have that positive reinforcement. Also, I don’t go back to him for three months.

The gym is continuing to be successful as well. This morning I did 26 minutes on both the bike and treadmill, and I increased my speed on the latter. The hardest part is just getting up and going, but as soon as I am there I enjoy my time. And I figured out my key to not feeling so awkward on the bike: do not wear shorts. So I will be a little warmer but ultimately more comfortable. Still going three days a week, and so my total exercise time there is two and a half hours a week, right at the recommended guidelines. And I am just getting started!!

I am continuously noticing changes in my body more than the pounds. That 3x Fight Song shirt that i got (and fit in) recently is already fitting better on me! I am practically swimming in my winter jacket, even while sitting down. And some of my 3- and 4x pants are comfortable and sometimes a little loose!

For the most part Gaston has been behaving, although I did have an incident the other night that was my own fault. For my evening snack I wanted something a little different, so I made a dip with nonfat Greek yogurt and some spices (a great source of protein) and had some mushrooms with it. It finally happened that I ate a little faster than I should and took bigger bites than usual. I guess I could blame it on being tired. Anyway, not even five minutes after eating, I got an intense pain in my upper stomach. It was as if the food was just stuck there and I wasn’t sure if it was going to go down or come back up. The only thing to do was just sit still, take some deep breaths, and wait it out. Fortunately it went down after a little while. But boy that is not a fun feeling, and a mistake I don’t plan on making again.

That has been my only complication recently, so I definitely consider myself blessed. I spend a lot of time in disbelief that I am even on this journey, and that I have been so successful. But I am also finally getting more confident about myself and my strengths. I think it was all the surgeon. His affirmation really changed my whole dynamic.

By the way, myMedicaid transportation issue seems to be resolved thankfully. I go to wound care next Wednesday, and my eye doctor the following week. And I go back to the weight center on March 28.

Al always, thanks for reading and supporting. You are the best family and friends anyone could ask for. Love you all!

Eight Weeks In

Hello everyone! A couple of quick things and then I might ramble for a bit. I thank you ahead of time for reading.

I saw my PCP yesterday for the first time since November, and things continue to look good. According to her scale, I am down to 406, so I have lost 152 pounds total and 32 since surgery. She eliminated one of my blood pressure meds, and then when I see her next time we can probably begin weening off of the others. I am going to stay on metformin for now, though that might change soon too. Blood work from yesterday shows my non fasting a1c at 5.4! It also shows my cholesterol is a little high, but I have not been on that medication for a month and so hopefully it will stabilize. I don’t see her again until June.

Tomorrow I go for an eye exam, the first in a few years. I always hate them as I feel like I am failing the tests lol. But I know it’s important, and maybe I can get some sexy new specs to go with the new me!

As most of you have seen, I started at Planet Fitness last week. It was a week between my first and second visit due to a cold, but I went this past Sunday and back today! I am up to 20 minutes on both the recumbent bike and the treadmill! I never thought I would like the treadmill so much. I go at my own pace, but it is movement and I am getting my heart rate up. I like this gym because most everyone keeps to themselves and I have not felt stared at or in the way. I even figured out the best way to use my headphones today, and that helped tremendously. I had to of course listen to Rachel Platten first, and when my theme song came on I got emotional again. Silly I know, but today the lyrics”losing friends and chasing sleep, everybody’s worried about me, say I’m in too deep” really hit me hard. It reminded me just how much love I receive, and how much you all have worried about me, rightfully so. I am so sorry that it’s taken me so long to take control of my life and health, but so happy that I am doing it at all! Definitely better late than never!

I think I am going to get a bathroom scale this week or next, mainly because I am not going to doctor visits as often now, and I can actually use home versions now! If anyone has any recommendations on which to get please let me know.

One thing I wanted to discuss is the full time job of thinking about and planning meals. This may sound petty but it really does get tiresome sometimes. Hardly a day goes by where I am not constantly thinking about if I eat this, then where does that put me for the rest of the day. Or if a food is really worth it. Some of the frustration come from my extremely high protein goal. Fitting 87-109 grams into 600-700 calories a day is not very easy. And no matter how much you prepare for this life, you don’t realize just what it entails. Don’t get me wrong, I have no regrets. The other part of this is the pain of cooking for just one person in very small quantities. I love experimenting with new recipes but then I have at least four meals with leftovers so it is easy to get tired of certain dishes. I sometimes miss the limitations of the liquid diet because there are more individual things to make and everything is simpler to prepare. Again, I almost feel like these are first world problems, but I want to be sure to include all aspects of this journey, and all of my thoughts.

You guys keep me going, I love you so much!! Talk to you soon!

Six Week Post-Op Appointments

Good evening. Sorry for the late entry but it has been a long day.

I will start off with the news you have been waiting for. My surgery weight was 438. Today I weighed in at 412. 26 pounds lost in six weeks, and 146 pounds lost in thirteen and a half months! Needless to say I am pleased.

My visits went well today. The nurse practitioner Erin is minimally concerned that the loss may not be as much as possible. I understand what she is saying. During the first year is when most weight is lost, so we want to make sure to take full advantage of this. But she just said we will look at results next time, and can then determine if anything needs to be adjusted. She looked at my incisions, and said the one is just in a different stage of healing and it is okay. She was thrilled I am off insulin, and said my blood sugars look good. I told her about one minor issue that I have noticed, that I have not shared with anyone. I have noticed, maybe three or four times a week, that a slight wave of lightheadedness comes over me. Usually when I am a rest, and it only lasts a minute or two. I know that my blood sugars have not dropped too low, but she thinks it may be related to that. I have to record when this happens again and bring it next time. It may be that, because of the new way of eating, my “low” blood sugar tolerance may be higher than what I am used to. I will keep you updated on this development.

I then met with Valerie, the exercise physiologist. She thinks that Planet Fitness may not have a nu-step machine, which he agrees I would still do well on. She recommended a seated elliptical, if available, or the recumbent bike. She said to do five minute warm-up, and then increase intensity and try for ten minutes to start. I have a short term goal of 20 minutes three times a week. Other days I will increase my steps about ten percent a week. We also discussed some at home exercises, and she likes the idea of wall push-ups and doing some things with resistance bands. I can do this!! Hoping to check out the gym Thursday or Friday this week. I really hope the staff there is as supportive as they are supposed to be.

Next was the dietitian Jessica, and she is like a little cheerleader. She said she is so proud of what I am doing, and that she wished I was able to make it to their support groups as I am such an inspiration! Still so weird to hear that!! I am officially on regular foods, and basically can try everything except bread, rice, and pasta. I also have to avoid raw carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli for a year. No problem, I loved cooked versions of these. I can still use one to two protein supplements a day, whether shake, bar, or powder, as my daily protein goal is so high (87-109 grams). We discussed different foods and recipes that I want to try, and she approved. She also recommended starting a daily dose of Benefiber, as the constipation issue can get worse the more solid food I eat, and I have a high intake of iron. I hope it works, I definitely don’t want to strain in that area.

Other than that, I had blood work drawn again, and another B12 injection. Also, I don’t have to go back there for six weeks! The office and staff are so great that I will actually miss it! So unusual to have such a welcoming group!

Speaking of groups, I don’t know if I could do all of this without you all! You probably get tired of hearing it, but your support, encouragement, and positivity mean more to me than you can ever know!!