Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Today was a day of temptations. There seemed to be good tasting (but bad for me) food everywhere. We had a birthday celebration at work today with two different cakes. I would have normally had a small slice of each. You know, you have to try them both! Then, I went to H.E.B. to grab a few things and it must have been sample day or something. They were giving out samples of Chicken Lo Mein, Strawberry Pie, and some other lovely goodies. Obvisously I refrained (as I can't eat solid food).

So, my goal is to eat 700 calories, 70 grams of protein and drink at least 64 ounces of water each day. I know it sounds crazy but I am struggling to reach that goal everyday. I think because of that I felt kind of wimpy and puny today. I guess it's time to chug some beefcake shakes. I've been feeling kind of hungry, but when I do eat I think I feel full. It's a totally new and different feeling. I'm currently on the full liquids phase but can also eat pureed food. I have been eating lots of soup lately. Central Market makes a lovely baked potato soup! I am scheduled for my first fill at the end of April, so it's lots of soup until then. I pureed some chili the other day and let me tell you - not quite right. Obviously the flavor is the same, but the texture is WEIRD. Perhaps I'll just put that chili in the freezer and save it for when I can have solid food. I can't wait for solid food. But then again, I'm going to have to learn how to eat all over again!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Back To Work

Today was my first day back at work. It went pretty well and the soreness is getting less and less. I just move a little slower than usual.

Some lovely ladies at work gave me a goody bag filled with all sorts of stuff as well as lots of words and cards of encouragement.

Thank you guys! I am so grateful for your support!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Surgery Day Photos

Here are some photos that Lisa snapped with her phone on the day I had surgery. The first one is pre-surgery. She wanted to get one from a few minutes before where I had a hot blanket around my head. They did that to warm me up so they could find a vein. They found one, took off the blanket and Lisa was left with this picture.

The other picture is me after the surgery. I was really quite doped up in this picture and wanted to lay back in bed, but they wouldn't let me. I sat in that wheelchair for about an hour and drifted in and out of sleep while waiting for the radiologist to read my x-ray. Pretty, huh?

When the nurses were prepping me for surgery there was a lady next to me who was having her breasts enlarged. Lisa whispered to me what would happen if they confused me with the lady next to me. Oh, no. That would not be good!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Soreness, No Infection, & Beefcake Shakes

I'm still feeling pretty sore today too. I think Dr. Ganta punched me in the ribs when I was knocked out. For some reason I am still having shooting pains in my left side in the rib area. Funny thing is there is no incision there. I have no idea why this area hurts. He said that most people aren't sore at this point but for some it takes a few more days. Of course I would be the exception.

Yesterday I went to Dr. Ganta's office because I thought one of my incisions was infected. It was kind of red and puffy looking. He took off my steri-strips, cleaned the big incision and said that he didn't think it was infected. Thank God! He gave me a prescription for some antibiotics just in case.

I told him that I had been doing the clear liquids part of my post-op diet and that it really sucked. I asked him if I could move on to the full liquids phase, which includes the protein shakes and soup, and he said yes! Yea! No more broth! I went home and had a peanut butter and chocolate protein shake for dinner. It was pretty tasty.

Today Lisa and I are having a day of pampering. We are getting our hair cut and she is treating me to my very first facial. I can't wait to see what that is like.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tong Bath

I started typing this one on Wednesday but never finished typing it or posting it. So, here it is...

Today was actually a little different... I had to wake up early and go back to my apartment because Lisa had to go into the office today for meetings and plus the maids were coming, so we had to get out of their way. So, I went back to my apartment.

On a side note... I didn't tell y'all the other day that in order for me to take a shower by myself (and spare Lisa the horror) I needed something like a sponge on a stick in order to get to the places I couldn't reach. Lisa went to Walgreens and didn't exactly find a sponge on a stick, but rather found a brush on a stick and a long loofah thingy. So, using her MacGyver-like skills, Lisa attached the loofah thing onto the stick brush with cable ties. And voila! I had a sponge on a stick. It wasn't pretty, but it worked fairly well.

Anywho, I forgot to bring that to my apartment today in order for me to take a shower. So, I used my MacGyver-like skills and used the loofah thingy that I already have at home and held it with some tongs. Yep, I said tongs. Kitchen tongs. How ingenious am I? Yeah, well, you gotta do what you gotta do.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Stupid Gas

Today started off well - I was able to get out of bed all by myself today! I nearly fell out of bed, but I made it. My sister was amazed to hear me up and about in the morning, considering I had to yell for her to help me out of bed yesterday.

Later on in the day I finally took a shower! I also had to take my bandages off. I didn't really want to do that. But there are still steri-strips underneath the bandages. So, I have five incisions all around the upper part of my belly. One is about an inch or so long. I don't like looking at it. But I suppose they look pretty good as far as incisions go.

The big thing today is the stupid gas pains that I am having. I was told this would happen. It is terribly uncomfortable. Also, they told me that walking would make it go away. So far that hasn't worked, but I keep on trying. I also had some lovely heartburn yesterday too. It's almost like my body is revolting.

Eating isn't really fun right now. Hell, I don't even think you can call it eating! I have been having about a half cup of beef broth for each meal or so. I'm already getting sick of it. I tried some chicken broth and it wasn't very good. Perhaps it was the fact that it was free range, organic broth. Perhaps I like my chickens cooped up, not running around free on the range. Who knows? Lisa got me a can of chicken noodle soup this evening and she blended the heck out of the noodles with this handheld blender thing that looks like (and she calls) a boat motor. I only had about a half a cup, but it beat the hell out of some beef broth. I'm supposed to be on clear liquids for two weeks, so I probably shouldn't have had the chicken and noodles so soon, but I don't think I can take broth much longer. I actually can't wait until I can drink my beefcake shakes!

As for Bruno, my dad reports that my mom carries him around the house darn near all the time. It's quite possible that all four of his legs will atrophy from non-use! Talk about spoiled!

I would like to thank all of you who have called, emailed, texted, or commented here on my blog. Thank you all for your well wishes and support!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I Survived!

Well, I made it. I'm pretty darn sore though.

Yesterday was the big day. My sister, Lisa was there with me all day and she wrote this play-by-play as things progressed -

[0545 – arrive and ready to check in

0700 – officially check in after running back to K’s house

0800 – K went into surgery

0943 – Dr. Ganta advised the surgery went well and K’s in recovery, nothing out of the ordinary, no complications

1105 – nurse came in to get K’s glasses since they are having her get up/around and she advised that it would be about another ½ hour before I could go back

1144 – asked for a status and went back to visit her in recovery, they are waiting on feedback from the radiologist from her xray

1200 – called all the old people (parents) with a status update

1225 – xray was clear and went back to hang with K

1252 – Green light heading out]

We made it home and I went right back down. I had a lovely little nap, took some more drugs and went walking around the neighborhood with Lisa.

I slept like a baby at night but getting up in the morning was another story. I had to have Lisa stand on the bed on top of me and pull me up. You should have heard the Tourette's I had this morning as Lisa was pulling me up! I was really sore!

I haven't been doing much besides taking my drugs, eating broth, walking around the neighborhood (very slowly) and napping. That's about all I can handle at this point. I can't wait until this soreness goes away!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


After reading numerous blogs and forums about protein shakes, I went out and bought a Cooks 5-in-1 Power Blender from JC Penney last week to make my protein shakes. It is just like a Magic Bullet but half the price. It works pretty well so far to make frozen shakes in a single serving size.

I have been experimenting with protein shakes lately. I know that they will become a big part of my life after surgery, so I am trying to get into the groove now. They're actually pretty good. Of course, chocolate is my favorite flavor. There are all kinds of flavors out there - chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, banana, caramel latte, chocolate mint, cookies & cream, Dutch chocolate, summer melon, peanut butter cookie, ice cream sandwich, cinnamon cappuccino, and chocolate peanut butter fudge, to name a few. I haven't tried all of them, but plan on it to find some that I really like. I have been pleased with the whey protein in chocolate flavor from GNC. It's pretty good and I've made a lot of shakes out of it already. For lunch today I had a chocolate bliss flavored shake from Chike. It was really quite chocolaty. I used a Blender Bottle to make my shake at work. It is an awesome little contraption and worked really well. I can see myself using it for drinks on the go. I only have one. I may have to buy more! I also went to World Market the other day and got a number of sugar free syrups that I can squirt into my shakes to jazz them up a little bit. So far I have mixed the chocolate protein powder from GNC with Almond Roca, Irish Cream, and Caramel flavored syrups. Yum, yum!

T-Minus 2 Days and Counting

Holy crap! Friday is almost here.

I went to Dr. Ganta yesterday for my pre-op appointment. (By the way - I've lost a total of 10 pounds on the pre-op diet. Woo hoo!) He reviewed all of the testing I had done, examined my belly, and said I was ready for surgery on Friday. Oh my God, it's really happening! I am so nervous now. I know that this is what I want to do, but it's the surgery part that freaks me out. Incisions kind of gross me out. I know, I'm a weiner. At this point I just want it to be over and be on the other side.

I went to pick up my CPAP today. I am now the proud owner of a pig nose with head gear. What do you think? Gorgeous, isn't it?

Oh well, whatever keeps me alive in the middle of the night and helps me sleep. I just hope it's fairly comfortable and I can get used to it.

Tomorrow I am taking Bruno to San Marcos to meet up with my mom so that she can babysit him while I recover. I would love to have him around, but he "Riverdances" on my stomach when I'm asleep and he needs to go outside. I can't have Michael Flatley, Lord of the Dance, Riverdancing around on my incisions. I will miss him but will get him next weekend when I go to visit my parents.

Tomorrow is the day before surgery and all I can have is clear liquids all day. And I can't have anything red in color (apparently it looks like blood?). I can have broth, tons of water, sugar free popsicles, juice and Jell-O. I hope drinking a ton of water will make me feel full. And so with tomorrow being all liquids - today is my last day of solid food for a while. Good bye solid food. I will miss you.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Breathing and Sleeping

On Thursday I went to the hospital to do my breathing tests as requested by the pulmonologist. I had to sit in this weird bubble-type thing and blow into a hose while some lady cheered me on and told me what to do. She said my lungs looked pretty good!

On Friday I went back to the pulmonologist and he read my breathing tests. He said everything was good and he approved me for surgery. Yea! One more test down.

Also, I went back to the sleep medicine doctor and she read my sleep study. It turns out that I have sleep apnea. Lovely. I have to call some medical supply place on Monday to go get fitted for a CPAP mask and all that good stuff. Well, at least I should get a good night's sleep once I start wearing it.

More Appointments

March 10, 2010

Today I had an appointment in the morning with the pulmonologist. He asked some questions about my history, listened to me breathe, and scheduled a follow up appointment for Friday. He said he didn’t think there would be any reason why he wouldn’t approve me for surgery. Yea! In the meantime I have to go to the hospital to get some breathing tests done. That’s up tomorrow.

Then, in the afternoon, I met with the psychologist for my psychological evaluation. She was very nice and we talked for about an hour and a half. At the end she said that she didn’t see any reason not to clear me for surgery. She thinks I have a great support system and will work hard to stay on track and be successful. Yippee!

Pig Nose Attached To Head Gear

March 8, 2010

Well, I survived my first weekend of pre-op dieting. I definitely couldn’t live like this for long. I have been pretty hungry but I’m trying to get used to the empty tummy feeling. I’ve been doing my protein shakes and snacking on cheese. Thank God for cheese! I had a very tasty chocolate and peanut butter shake the other day. It tasted like a real milkshake. That recipe is a keeper!

My sleep study got moved up to last night. That was an experience. I have never been hooked up to so many things and had so many wires sticking out of my head and body. The sleep study technician, Susan, was really nice though. When I first got there she fitted me with a couple of CPAP masks in case it was determined that I had sleep apnea so she could put one on me in the middle of the night. Then she hooked me up with all the wires. There were about 15 wires attached to my head, two on each leg, one on my left side, a few on my chest, a few on my face, and a few on my neck. Oh, and some thing in my nose. Then I had a pulse monitor on my finger too. If you were guessing, yes, it was difficult to sleep with all of those wires. It took me a while to fall asleep and then I don’t recall much before Susan woke me up to tell me that she needed to put the CPAP on me. CRAP! I have sleep apnea. So, I put on the mask that covers my nose and mouth. I could breathe easier on that one but it woke me up a few times because I heard air leaking out near my chin. Then, about 4:00 a.m., I decided to try the other CPAP that only goes somewhat into your nose and doesn’t cover your mouth. I think this one looks like a pig nose attached to head gear. Very attractive! I breathed well on it but it is the weirdest feeling when you try to open your mouth or talk. Apparently I eventually fell asleep and Susan woke me up at 7:00 a.m. to disconnect me from all the wires. Then I had to go home and wash my hair because of all the goop left stuck to my head. I think I got it all out.

Here's a picture of the nice room that I did my sleep study in. That matress was sooooo comfortable!

Oh, and the good news… I weighed my self at the sleep doctor’s office and I had lost 8 pounds since I was there last Wednesday! I’ve told a few people and they are amazed. I told them “yeah, if you were starving you would lose weight too!”

I’m heading to the Brandi Carlile concert tonight in Helotes. Woo hoo! Too bad I can’t drink beer at the concert. Boooo!

Next up… the pulmonologist and psychologist on Wednesday.


March 5, 2010

Today is the first day of my pre-op diet. It’s 10:30 a.m. and I’m already hungry. I had a pretty yummy Unjury protein shake this morning that I made with a borrowed Magic Bullet from Jessica at work. Now I’m drinking some lemonade Crystal Light. It’s a little funky.

Also, today was not the best of days to begin drinking 64+ ounces of water today. The bathrooms on my floor at work crapped out. Actually every floor in our tower is affected. So, if I have to go, I have to trek it all the way to another area of the building. Well, I guess it’s exercise at least.

Pre-Op Diet

March 4, 2010

I start my pre-op diet tomorrow. I am so nervous. I might need to go to the grocery store and get some Atkins frozen dinners or something. I’m stocked up on sugar free pudding, popsicles, Jell-O, broth and soup for after the surgery but I didn’t realize I would need so much more meat for the pre-op diet. Off to H.E.B.!

Sleep Apnea?

March 3, 2010

I called the person for the psychological evaluation and the message said that she’s not accepting new patients. Hmmmm. I left a message and asked her if she had time for a one time visit or if she suggested someone else. Haven’t heard back so far…

Today I had an appointment with the sleep medicine doctor. That was interesting. It sounds like I may very well have sleep apnea. Great. Just what I needed. Another medical condition. Anyway, the doctor believed I probably do have sleep apnea just based on what I told her. I have a sleep study scheduled for March 13th.

I pigged out this past weekend at Fogo de Chao and also had pizza and breadsticks with my girlfriends yesterday. I know I should feel like it is my last supper, but I can’t help it. It sure was tasty though!

Tests, Tests, and More Tests

March 2, 2010

So, I have to have extensive testing done to get cleared for surgery. I am able to get insurance to pay for it if I have referrals from my primary physician. Here’s what I have to do: a bunch of bloodwork, a chest x-ray, EKG, sleep study, pulmonary function test, psychological evaluation, and of course, have my primary physician’s clearance.

Yesterday I met with my primary physician to get referrals to do all of the pre-op testing that is required. I had an EKG in the office, and was then referred out for blood work and a chest x-ray.

I’ve also been calling around to make appointments for a sleep study, pulmonary function test and psychological evaluation. Holy crap, I’m gonna go broke with all these tests.

Support Group

February 25, 2010

Tonight I went to a support group at for patients of Dr. Ganta’s. I had a really good time. I met some people that had surgery a couple of years ago, a month ago, and even a week ago. It was very insightful. This one lady really cracked me up. She had just had surgery last week and was saying that she wanted some pizza. She said she didn’t want to eat it, she just wanted to lick it! I can see myself being in that same situation. We’ll find out. The next support group meets one week after my surgery.


February 16, 2010

Today I had an appointment with my primary physician. I had recently had some bloodwork done to test my thyroid, which is usually an ongoing problem. She had also checked my Hemoglobin A1c, which determined that I was pre-diabetic. That was not what I wanted to hear. Hearing that only solidified my decision to get the Lap Band. I definitely don’t want to end up a diabetic. After that I told her about my decision to get the Lap Band. She was very supportive of that idea. She said that she was going to put me on Metformin but decided not to since I told her I was having Lap Band surgery.

The Beginning of Beekcake Powder

February 15, 2010

Today I had an appointment at Dr. Ganta’s office. I had a nutrition and exercise consultation with Emily and Pamela. Emily explained what I would be able to eat after the surgery as well as the two week pre-operative diet. The pre-op diet consists of a high protein, low carbohydrate diet which is meant to reduce the fat on my liver. This makes it easier for the surgeon since he has to pick up the liver to get to the stomach. My post-operative diet is liquid for the first two weeks after surgery, then pureed foods for weeks 3-4. Then, after that, soft foods for a while. And finally, real food again.

I learned that protein is a very important part of the diet of a Lap Band patient. Since Lap Band patients eat such small meals, they aren't always able to get all of the protein that their body needs. Therefore, they drink protein shakes; or as I call them - beefcake shakes (it's from an episode of South Park). I told Emily that I called it beefcake powder and she absolutely loved it. (Now I am known around the office as the beefcake powder girl.)

I also met with Pamela, a gastric bypass patient of Dr. Ganta’s. She also did my exercise consultation. She had surgery about 18 months ago. She weighed about what I weigh now and is now a size 10. She looks awesome. And she had the surgery when she was 60 years old! She was very nice and offered to exercise with me if I ever need a buddy for motivation. It was nice that she did the exercise consultation because she has been in my shoes and understands what is it like to be my size.

They also offered me a lovely discount if I decided to self-pay. I planned to use insurance, believing that my insurance would cover the procedure in September, but I decided to call ERS (Employees Retirement System) and Blue Cross Blue Shield to make sure the surgery would be covered in September. I didn’t get the answer I wanted. Someone at ERS told me that the Legislature had passed a bill last session that allowed ERS to research the idea of finding a way to cover weight loss surgery in a cost-effective way. They expect to have the results of the research in September, then they would present the results to the Legislature next year when they meet. When the Legislature meets around this time next year, there is no guarantee that they will approve the coverage. Last month we got an email about how the state is experiencing a $148 million shortfall for employee healthcare. They were talking about raising co-pays and deductibles and things of that nature. I think that if they are that short, there is no way in hell they will approve weight loss surgery for state employees. And even if they did decide to cover it, it probably wouldn’t be available until September 2011 at the earliest. So, that’s how I came to the decision to pay for the surgery out of pocket and accept their lovely discount.

Consultation with Dr. Ganta

February 5, 2010

Today I had a consultation with Dr. Ganta and we talked about which surgery I preferred. I told him that I had originally planned on the Lap Band and since the informational seminar, I was still dead-set on the Lap Band. Since I planned on going the insurance route I needed to show proof of a 3 or 6 month medically supervised weight loss program. He suggested that I use their services because they are accustomed to the requirements of various insurance companies. So, I scheduled an appointment with the nutritionist and exercise consultant.

Lap Band! Woo hoo!!

I finally decided to get a Lap Band!

In early January I went to an informational seminar at the office of Austin Institute of Bariatrics and Laparoscopy. Dr. Ganta, the surgeon, conducted the seminar himself. He explained all of the different procedures and answered a ton of questions regarding the procedures. After the seminar I spoke with Dr. Ganta, and gave him my information so that his staff could call me and set up a consultation. They called the next day. I believed that my insurance was going to start covering the procedure come September, so I figured there was no big rush and scheduled my consultation for February 5th.