Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Weathering Thanksgiving and the weather

It was a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We spent it in Albuquerque with all of our children, grandchildren, parents and Paul's sister and boyfriend.  We (meaning me) ate too much but God is gracious and I still managed to lose a pound at the doctor today.  We had a wonderful 80th birthday party for my mother the Sunday before Thanksgiving and saw many old friends as well as my brothers and their wives, a niece and her children and a great nephew.  So good to see everyone.  I am working on Christmas Day but will have family here so am looking forward to 2 days before Christmas and 2 days after Christmas off.
There is a new doctor at the bariatric center.  She is very nice but is still learning where the port is placed.  She tried today but after all was not done she knew when to stop and let the more experienced doctor put the fill in.  They only put in one ml so now I thing I have 5.5 ml in.  This is the point we had problems before so I am praying everything will be okay this time.  On liquids again but at least I usually lose on those.  Just for two days, then mushies for two days and then regular food.  I find that I can eat my salad at work and then I don't have to keep some in the house that Paul can't eat them.  He is allergic to lettuce and other fresh fruits and vegetables so we cook the ones we eat at home.  We make it work.  All in all a good several weeks and the future looks wonderful.  May  all have a great week and more and may God bless you in all ways.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Same song, second verse

It actually could be the third verse but I've lost count.  After three weeks with no saline, I had gained 4 pounds.  However, things seem to have healed so we added 3 ml of saline yesterday.  So far, so good.  I'm on liquids until Friday, then soft foods until Sunday.  I hope they had something soft at the wedding I'm going to in Phoenix this weekend :)
Had a great time today.  Went with a friend to "Shop Hop".  What this entails is going, in a week's time, to 9 quilt shops in the Tucson area.  We drove from Northeast Tucson to Green Valley to Sahuarita to Benson to Sierra Vista and back to Northeast Tucson and then home.  I had already gone to the three shops on my side of town which my friend will hit tomorrow.  The last one I'll go to on Friday on the way to the wedding in Casa Grande.  Then my name goes in a drawing for 9 big baskets (1 from each shop) and also for the grand prize of a Brother sewing machine.  I got some fabric I'd been looking for and lots of goodies from the shops.  I'm tired but it was a good day, despite having liquids all day.  Back to work tomorrow........

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Back to Square One

So we are back to Square One. Paul told me that at least it isn't Square Zero where we've been before.  I spent the last 3 days throwing up so when I went in to see the doctor, he said that there was too much inflammation so he took out ALL of the saline in the band.  It has to stay that way for three weeks and by then the inflammation should be gone and we start over with the fills again.  So, I've been on liquids for several days and at least today everything stayed down.  At least I'd lost another 3 pounds.  I'll have to watch my intake closely because it will be easy to over eat.  At least, the band is still in.  I read that they have recalled this particular band because of a problem with the tubing stretching, however, they are not replacing any that have been put in already.  It seems that they do not believe that there is a problem with leaving the ones in that have already been put in.  More things to continue to think about.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ups and Downs and Downs and Ups

We had a great time in Massachusetts visiting my brother and his family.  We went and saw the change of the leaves (amazing how that happens up there) in New Hampshire and Maine and saw the ocean harbor in Newport, RI.  It was too windy to take a harbor tour so instead we went shopping.  Got some great fudge and some souveniors to bring hom.  In New Hampshire we went to Keepsake Quilting, a great quilt shop, in an area that is beautiful with a lake that has a name I can't pronounce (Lake Winne?????).  We went to a Shaker village and got lunch, the chicken and dumplings were awesome.  Checked out the museum/shop and was amazed at the workmanship of the items they made.  Then we went to Kennebunkport, Maine and found Mabel's Lobster Claw where I ate an entire lobster (just the meat, really) and shared a piece of peanut butter ice cream pie with chocolate sauce on it (four of us shared it so by doing that we scared away the calories :)).  Had a wonderful time.  Had no problem with eating.  Stopped when I could tell I was full.  THEN....I came back to work on Monday.  I'm not sure if the stress of work and pace is so fast but I ate lunch (soup and cornbread from home) and I guess I did not chew well enough but it did not stay down.  Monday night I stuck to small stuff and some cereal well soaked in milk and everything was fine.  Then again on Tuesday at lunch, I ate a few bites of fish and squash and realized that it was not going to stay down.  I was right.  Tried to drink a smoothie and it didn't work too well.  Drank a Starbuck's Vanilla Frappacino very slowly and it seemed to be okay although my chest was hurting some.  Tried some jello and that was the end.  It all came up.  I managed to keep my medication down before going to bed.  I'm taking it slow today and thinking that the esophagus is very irritated by all of this up and down activity and so I'm going to try small amounts of liquids today.  Luckily I'm off work and plan to sew and quilt today so that is possible.  Hopefully I don't have to go back and have some saline taken out.  It is definitely interesting the issues that having this lapband can bring.  I'll just deal with them in the quest for the land of the lost weight.  God bless your day today.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Let's try again

Went in to the doctor today and had gained a pound.   I knew that I did not have enough constriction and we talked about it so the doctor added one ml of saline.  That give me 5.5 mls in.  So far, so good.  Big bummer tomorrow as I will be on a plane most of the day going to Boston to see my brother and his family.  Having just liquids all day may be an interesting feat.  We'll see how it goes.  I can see it now, "Could I have hot water please, hold the tea bag, I don't need it."  Then I put one of these soup packets in and I have soup.  Should be a fun time.  I'm really looking forward to going.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sometimes you fill and sometimes you take out!

Today was a take out day!  Not food, saline from my lapband.  The doctor put an additional 1.5 ml in last week and from Saturday until today, I have spent 2 out of 3 meals throwing up what I just ate.  Today wasn't bad but I didn't eat much.  I've lost another 4 pounds in that week which is too much so he took 2 ml out because it appears the restriction was too much.  Hopefully all will soon be good again.  I absolutely hate throwing up. All of my life I have been this way and so this has been terrible for me.  Anyway, it's not good to do it because you can have the band slip that way and they can only fix that with surgery, which I don't want anymore of!  I'm back on liquids for a few days and hope that the inflammation will go down and I can eat again.  I know, whine, whine, whine......

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sigh....part of what was lost is now found.....

I have found that sometimes the lapband still allows me to eat more than I should.  It showed by 1 pound on the scale at the doctor yesterday.  They didn't think it was a big deal because I've only had one fill.  So he added more to the band yesterday which meant yesterday evening and today, I've been on liquids.  Now I'm on soft foods, more or less, but am not having a problem.  I can tell it is different though and that is good.  All is getting better.  I think......

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Too much food can be bad

As my title says, too much food can be bad.  Bad in that it makes you throw up when you have a lapband in.  I have discovered that, when I'm at work, I tend to eat too fast because of a lack of time.  I have thrown up at least 4 times in the last two weeks because of this.  So, I am having to relearn how much to eat, how fast to eat and how to chew things up completely.  You would think we would all learn this as children but obviously, the lesson was lost on me.  I'm working on this.  I actually suspect that if everyone did this type of eating, we would all lose weight and be healthier. 
I have an appointment next week with the bariatric doctor and I think we are going to need to put in another fill.  I am able to eat too much and not have a problem.  We'll talk about it.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Home from the Mountains

I've just spent a wonderful four days in the mountains of Northern New Mexico in a place called Casa de la Vega in Blue Canyon near Las Vegas, New Mexico.  Yes, there is more than one Las Vegas.  This Las Vegas is a small town that has a small university (Highlands University), a WalMart, McDonald, Wendy's and several other fast food restaurants and a charming downtown area with a cute little quilt shop called Threadbare.  I managed to find some wonderful material there before we went to Walmart to buy groceries for the cabin.  Our family has had this cabin (or has been building it) since I was six.  It is a lovely place to go and relax.  This weekend was relaxing and hectic as we had 11 people there on Saturday and Sunday and celebrated my granddaughter, Lily's, 1st birthday.  Lots of fun and family.  I was so glad to see all of my children and grandchildren and my husband's parents.  We spent Sunday morning on the cabin porch worshiping God surrounded by the beautiful nature that God created.  It was so great to sing with my family, as we manage to get all four harmony parts in, most of the time.  We fixed 2 meals a day and I didn't have a problem with the lapband at all.  I was anxious about eating chicken as I'd had problems for a few days with it but Emerald's chicken salad was great and I had no problem.  Chew, chew, chew, that was my mantra. Eat slow and enjoy the company and that is what I did.  When I get back to Tucson, I shall check the scale and hope to see a loss but if not then I will continue on down this path until I get to the weight I need to be.  In the meantime, I have had a great weekend and hope everyone else did too.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

To Fill or Not to Fill

Not to fill.  I saw the doctor today again (lost another 2 pounds)  and we decided that I am not hungry and can tell when to stop eating so we decided to wait a month and see how things are.  As long as I don't eat too much or too fast, I'm fine and I don't eat as much, that much I know.
I have lost a total of 42 pounds.  My lab tests look pretty good, all of my lipids are great.  It's exciting to have some good lab work for once. 
I am looking forward to some time off work and going to New Mexico to the cabin.  We are meeting the kids and grandkids there for the weekend.  It will be fun to be together and I really hope that I will be able to hike better this time than the last time we were there.  Last time, I got tired really fast.  Maybe with less weight I can hike and enjoy the canyon.  Life is busy but very good right now.  Thank you Lord for your goodness!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Changes in Meds

I saw my primary care physician yesterday and he changed my meds.  I am so glad.  He took me off the iron, the Vitamin C and the Magnesium, all of which can cause intestinal distress (for you non medical types, that means my belly hurt a lot :)).  We'll see if this helps that problem.  I hope so.  Mostly I feel pretty good but am definitely aware of a different level of constriction from the fill.  We'll see how that goes.  It's difficult to eat sometimes and somethings don't work at all (chicken, for instance) without feeling nauseated.  Something to work on and habits to change.  I thank God for briging me through all of this so far and pray that I can continue.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

First Fill (Finally)

I finally got  healed ( all in God's time) and they were able to put a fill in the port.  It wasn't even painful.  No big deal.  I'm noticing a little difference in how much I can eat (that's the point of the fill).  However, I'm on liquids until tomorrow and then mushy food for a few days and then regular food.  Hopefully all will go well.  40 pounds gone and I am almost half way there to my goal.  I'm grateful to God for all his healing.  I pray it will continue.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

38 pounds

This is how much I've lost since January.  I have more to lose but sure did feel good to fit into a 2 sizes smaller dress for the wedding.  Itu was a wonderful wedding but I'm glad it is over.  I'm sure that Marnie and Toph are too.  All of the people who came to visit are gone now and the house is mighty quiet.  I miss Lily and Taevin the most but I do miss their parents too.  That's what happens when you let your kids go away.  I think that's the way God meant for it to be too though and it sure is nice having a conversation with my hubbie.  The PA at the doctor's office won't do a fill until the incision site is completely closed but it is getting there so probably in a few weeks.  I hope so, I feel like I've been eating way too much and probably have.  It'll be nice to be back to losing again.  In the meantime.......Yokohama Rice bowl is waiting.  Have a great evening to all.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Once again.....Cautiously optimistic

Well, I finished the second antibiotic so I am hoping we have beaten the bug.  It does appear to be healing so I will leave it alone and see the PA next week.

  In the meantime, I have a daughter to marry off and lots of people to see and enjoy being with.  I am so grateful for the wonderful son-in-law to be that Paul and I are getting.  She has chosen well, we believe.  Now to get through the chaos of the next few days, and the fun of it all and the few days after when the other children and our grandchildren will stay for a few days. 

May you all have a wonderful night and day and may God bless you all.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

No Fill

Poo!  I went to see the PA (Physician's Assistant) today and he cleaned the incision out, etc and re-steristripped it.  It is not healing right and so he's hoping with the cleaning etc. it will heal properly.  It is only the bottom half of the incision that is a problem.  He said that the fluid was not pus but just serous fluid that wounds like this make.  So I get to finish the cipro antibiotic and continue on.  Only thing is they won't put a fill in and so it is like I have no constriction.  And I feel really hungry all of the time.   I wish I knew why it won't heal.  I'm not a diabetic and have never had trouble with things like this healing properly.  Oh well, another question to ask God when we all get to heaven, boy is my list of those getting long.
Getting ready for Marnie's wedding in a week and a half.  She and Toph will be here on Saturday and I think I have most things done except her veil.  I'm going to take it with me to the Quilter's Guild meeting and work on it while I listen to the speaker.  It's hard to find time to sit and sew on it.  It will be finished in time!
Hope everyone has a good day1

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Frustration Abounds

Just as I thought that the infection in the incision site for the new lapband was healing, I found that I was wrong.  This morning I had gross stuff coming out the incision.  So back to the doctor I went.  Put me on a new antibiotic that we will see if it will work.  I asked to look at the susceptability testing for the Staph aureus that they did a week or so ago and we chose a drug together.  He wanted to put me on Kelflex which did no good the first time, the Bactrim that I just finished was on the high end of sensitive so this time we are trying Ciprofloxacin.  I hope it works.  I'm tired of this and would really like this to heal.  I can't get in the pool and the dumb thing leaks on my shirts and I could continue whining but it is getting dark in the room.........
(for those who don't understand the last sentence, a joke.  How many mothers does it take to change a lightbulb?.......That's okay, I'll just sit in the dark.)

Anyway,  I go back to see him again next week and if all is well, we may get to do a fill.  We'll see. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

18 days

Not referring to weight but to when my daughter, Marnie, gets married.  Only a few more things left to do: finish the satin covered wagon, make 2 more cheesecakes, finish the bridesmaids gifts, make the flower girl's dress and finish beading the bride's veil.  A little at a time and it is getting done. 

I believe the incision infection may be gone.  I'm not seeing a problem today but I am taking it one day at a time. 

Take time to check out my grandchildren's blogs.  Of course, i think they are the cutest and you can see them now too.

Have a great evening.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

yes, I was right!

Got the culture report back today and I was right.   It is Staph aureus, not the dreaded MRSA (methacillin resistant Staph aureus) but plain old, plain old, skin contaminant Staph aureus that is senstive to Bactrim, which I am taking.  Part of the incision looks okay now but one part does not seem to be clearing up.  We'll see what they say next week at the doctor's office.  I'm glad I'm right, at least one time :).

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Good, the Bad and the Skinny(er) than before

So good news and bad news.  The good news first, I'm eating real food. Yeah!!  I'm not eating lots of it but it's real! Not shakes!  Yea!  I'm also skinnier than before.  Total lost since last August is about 36 pounds, since January 30 pounds.
The bad news is the infection is back in the new incision.  It appears that after the steri-strips fell off (like they are supposed to), I hit my stomach on a table ( I remember doing this as it really hurt) and popped two places open in the incision.  Those two places are now infected.  However, after much discussion and some crying on my part, the PA agreed to culture the incision and then he put me on an antibiotic.  He only wanted to do the antibiotic and I wanted to make sure the  antibiotic was the right one.  Anyway,  I am cautiously optimistic that the antibiotic is working.  I won't say definitely gone until after the course of antibiotics is finished  and the new steri-strips come off and everything is healed.  Do I sound pessimistic?  I really am just because I don't want to get my hopes up.  I am asking everyone to pray that this will heal and life can go on.  After all, we have a wedding in 3 1/2 weeks.  I have too much to do for this kind of problem :)  Everyone sleep well tonight and have a wonderful day tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New and ?different? shakes

One week ago today they put the band back in.  I've had no problems, thank you Lord,  and hope that will continue.  I was getting tired of the protein shakes with fruit,  protein powder and whatever else you can put in them.  You can't have more than 350 in one of these shakes and sometimes I come close but once this week I went over.  I decided I wanted a chocolate one.  I took 2 Schwan's low fat frozen chocolate bars (100 cal), 1 scoop protein powder (100) calories, 1 cup of non-fat milk (80 cal) and decided I needed to add just something more.  Now I'm already at 290 calories.  So, without looking at the calorie content, I put in a tablespoon of peanut butter,  but I couldn't taste the peanut butter so I thought to my self, "Self, you can afford to add a little more, this peanut butter can't have too many calories." So, when myself agreed with myself, I added another 1/2 tablespoon of peanut butter, mixed it up and it was good.  THENNNN, I looked at the peanut butter container.  Ooops, 90 calories per tablespoon, so we had 290 + 90 + 45 = 425 calories.  Oh well, I was short a few calories the day before........
Sure was a good shake, though. 
I saw the PA today (that means Physician's Assistant, for all of you non-medical people out there).  I had lost 9 pounds in just over 2 weeks, so if you look at where I started in January, overall I've lost 29.4 pounds and if you get even pickier, you can add the 4 pounds I lost since the previous time I had seen my primary care doctor so I've decided to count it at 33.4 pounds.  Hopefully a few more will come off before I'm forced to buy the dress for the wedding as it appears I'm between sizes and that is a pain.  I'll start looking in about 2 weeks for that. 
Now I get to eat soft and mushy food.  I had tuna salad for lunch, only 3 oz though and no liquids with it.  You don't get to drink for 30 minutes before or 45 minutes after you eat because it will flush all of the food through the pouch in the stomach and you will eat more than you should because you still feel hungry.  How's that for a fact for the day....more than you bargained for, I know, TMI. 
All in all, I'm happy with what has happened.  But praying for the healing to continue with no nasty bugs is requested.
Have a wonderful day  full of God's blessings.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Home Same Day of Surgery

I had the surgery again on the 15th and got to come home the same day.  The surgeon was able to use the laparascope and was also able to take out the scar tissue and close it up to look like one long scar.  I'm pretty sore but am home so hopefully there will be no infection.  So for a week it's liquids only.  I'm branching out and adding protein powder to cream of wheat and potato soup.  Not bad and very filling.  I'll have to have the rest of the potato soup later this afternoon as I need the protein but am full. 
I'm so grateful to everyone for prayers and especially to God for getting me through this.  And to Paul for being there.  He's a great husband!
I'll check back with you later.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Another Beginning tomorrow we hope

Surgery is set for tomorrow.  I have decided that God must eradicate all bacteria that are not good bacteria so that I will have no infection.  Now I do not truly expect this to happen because I know the ways of bacteria.  I used to grow them for a living.  However, I think God can make it to where those little silly bugs do not decide to use me for their home.  They have to find other homes now, sorry, I am not a motel (besides they never pay their rent!). 
If all goes well, I'll be home tomorrow evening.  If there are issues, then we will see what happens.  I like the first alternative best.
And another wonderful thing will happen tomorrow.  I will be a great-aunt again.  My niece, Kathryn, is having her son, Levi, tomorrow.  God be with you Kathryn!
I think I'm ready for this.  I'm down a total of about 28 pounds between losing and gaining back and losing again.  I have a long way to go and with God's help, I will get there.  Thanks for all of your prayers.

Friday, June 4, 2010

And we begin again.....

So the knee is doing great.  I'm going back to work on Monday with a few restrictions. 
We have permission and a surgery date to put the lap band back in.  A different surgeon is doing it this time but he has said that I have gone from low risk to high risk because of the scar tissue from the infection.  I am praying that the scar tissue will not preclude him putting the band back in (it is a possibility).  He didn't downplay the risks but he is willing to go ahead with it.  At least he was willing to talk.  Too many doctors don't talk about all of what you need to know to be informed.  I've learned that sometimes I have to (figuratively speaking) nail their feet to the floor of the exam room to get the questions answered.  I don't feel that is a problem with this doc.  Only a little more than a week and we go back to surgery.  So we start the protein shakes tomorrow and go from there.  Keep praying,ya'll.  I need it. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

So far, so good....

The knee surgery went well and I am doing great.  I'm only using one crutch and can probably lose that one in the next day or two.  I'm so grateful that the doctor was able to repair and not remove the meniscus.  He found two tears that he fixed and that was all.  Less chance of arthritis later down the line.  Woo, hoo!  I'm very thankful to God for this.  Now we just need it to heal well. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Another Battle to Fight

So, while waiting patiently (not!) to hear if the insurance is going to allow a new lapband to be put in, I am taking care of another medical matter.  You would think that, as a health care professional, I would have my fill of medical things, but no, I get to have knee surgery.  Just a minor menisectomy.  I like to use big words, this one means, Dr. Tucker (very good looking doctor :)) is going to take out the torn portion of the meniscus in my left knee.  He won't give me any assurances that it will be better but if all goes well, it should cut my possibility of having to have knee replacement surgery down from 5 to 15 years from now.  I'll take the odds.  I believe that all will go well and God will make all of those icky, yucky bugs that can infect incisions die before they can get into my knee :) and I'll be back at work in a week and a half.  I hope I can get my daughter's wedding veil beaded while being forced to sit around.  I really need to get that done.......

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A New New Beginning

I started this blog with a post called A New Beginning.  That was several months and a lapband in and out ago.  I saw the surgeon (a different one than before) today to reassess the possibility of replacing the lapband.  I do this with some trepidition.  I have never been scared of surgery, maybe a little nervous, but I am scared of the possibility of another infection.  Some people have told me I'm nuts.  I agree with them of course.  However, I have thought about this a lot and have come to the conclusion that in order to lose the weight, keep it off and be able to maintain a stable cardiac status, I need to have it put back in.  In the small amount of time I had the lapband in, I found that it really helped me to control how much I was eating.  I came to a screeching halt at a banquet when I found that if I took one more bite, the pain and threat of throwing up was definitely real.  I need that, I believe, to lose and maintain my ideal weight.  That said, I went to see the surgeon  He is the one who took out my lapband when it was infected.  I evidently am at a higher risk now than last time due to having had the infection.  He will have to not only put the band in but will have to take out some scar tissue and may have to do an "open" procedure.  This would entail a large incision and several weeks off work and a longer recovery.  Despite all of this, I want to go ahead.  Now we just have to see if the insurance will approve it.  God is in control, God is in control, God is in control......  As you can see, I keep wanting to take back that control but God will take care of everything.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How to find some more weight

While many of you would probably be glad to loan me some extra weight, I really feel I have plenty of my own.  However, the insurance company believes that your BMI must be at a certain level to have lap band surgery.  They don't look at the fact that my BMI WAS at that level before I had the surgery and then I lost weight and then some because of the infection so now I'm below that BMI.  I must gain 4 more pounds (have already gained 5) in order to qualify for them to put a new lap band in.  Silly, I say!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Back at Work and Disturbing news

I'm back at work and boy do I feel tired at the end of the day.  I know it'll get better and everyone at work is great about letting me do the paperwork (which they don't really want to do anyway) and not have to wander from machine to machine too much. 
I have had several discussions with several of my fellow employees in the last few days.  It seems that after I came down with the infection, several other employees told them that the surgeon who I used did not have good outcomes with his surgeries on a regular basis.  Interesting news.  I don't know that it would have changed what happened but it is somewhat disturbing.  I find it interesting and disturbing that I can search the Internet and find nothing about this particular doctor.  No sanctions, no real complaints, other than that he has no bedside manner (lots of docs are that way as are lots of other people).  But in the small community of nurses and those who work together in a hospital, the information is known and very closely guarded.  Makes it scary to be a patient.  I think when I have the lapband put back in, I will request that his associate do  the surgery.  I have no proof, no way to know that the infection was anything other than a fluke but I still don't want to go there again.  At least I know I have God on my side and all will be well.

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lions, Tigers and Work, Oh no!

I've been really wanting to go back to work and now that they say I can, it's a bit scary.  I still get tired easily and they are really picky at work, they won't let me stop and take a nap.  Those silly doctors, thinking their patients need that blood now :)
Anyway, I go back tomorrow, so we will see how well I hold up.  Maybe the census will be good to us and it won't be too busy or have too many antibodies. 
It reminds me of something that happened at church many years ago. A child was in trouble with her daddy and he was taking her out of the auditorium and as they went through the back doors, she yelled, "Ya'll pray for me!".. ...I think that's what I need, ya'll pray for me!

Friday, April 16, 2010


When will all of this be better?  I'm exhausted from going to the grocery store today and the fabric shop (that's probably what did it).  I go back to work next week and I'm exhausted thinking about it.  Surely it will get better with time.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I have changed, size that is.  I am so excited. I went shopping for dresses for the graduations and I did not have to go to the PLUS sizes.  It was so fun.  Found a more conservative dress for the Abilene graduation and one that is bright colors and remind of Malibu.  I also found one I can where here for this or that and a pair of sandals to wear with them.  Now I just need a pair of hot pink sandals to go with the Malibu dress and I'll be in good shape.

Hape a blessed day!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Alas, it is gone :)

The wound vac has been taken off.  I am so glad.  I was very tired of carrying it around for the last three weeks.  I told Paul last night that I felt like I felt when I was pregnant with the girls, I wanted to be able to sleep on my stomach again :).  Soon....

Now we do a week of wet/dry dressing and I can go back to work next week.  None too soon.  We have one guy working using a brace and a cane and another tech managed to break her leg while practicing to get her license to ride her Harley.  Oh well, job security. 

I'm in the midst of discussion about what I will have to do to get the lap band put back in and when.  I'll talk with the surgeon in two weeks about it.  It depends on if the insurance is going to make me gain some of the weight back to be at the right BMI.  Maybe not, according to the Physician's Assistant.  We'll see.
Between graduations coming up, going back to work, a new grandbaby soon to be born and getting ready for a wedding, I'm not sure what I have time to do.  I keep telling myself that God is in control and to let go and it will all happen in His time.  I thank God that He is in control because I'm not and never really will be.  It's His job!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Another Day Tired (but not sick :))

I spent today mostly doing errands.  Marilyn came and changed out my wound vac packing and we did it without any drugs, yeah.  Then I had to go to the post office to mail packages (the baby was born two months ago, glad the blankets are big.  Then went over to St. Joe's to talk to the people in Occupational Health about what they need for when I can finally go back to work.  Then talked to friends at work and on the return things at Old Navy.  Then the appointment of the day, the eye hcheck up.  Everything going good until the doc says, "have you had to take any steroids?" and I said, "yes, for my asthma and they injected my knee".  Well, little known fact, at least to me, is that steroid treatment can cause cataracts to form in the eyes.  I have them in both eyes but they are small and he doesn't want to do anything for now.  Going back in six months.  So, getting old really, really stinks!  I'm sorry, boss, I don't have time to go to work, I have to take care of medical issues.  I'm sorry, creditors, I don't have the money to pay you as I have to take care of medical issues.  I think I'll have to let God handle all of this, but it is hard.  I think I can do it but I can't.  I just have to let him do it.

Monday, April 5, 2010


That is the appropriate term for today.  I spent the weekend with 319 3rd-12th graders and all of their associated family members at Leadership Training for Christ Southwest in Phoenix.  It was a wonderful exhausting weekend made more so by having only been out of the hospital for two weeks and having to carry around a wound vac.  I'm glad I went but I have taken today off to rest.  Will start back on problems and quilting tomorrow.  I still can't go back to work.  But the wound is healing and I may be off the wound vac in about a week. 
I am finding it interesting in my eating habits.  If I lose any more weight, I will not be eligible for a new lapband.  In fact, I have to gain 7 pounds to be eligible.  It will all work out I'm sure.
The doctor says that all is healing and that the knee surgery that I need should be done before we put a new lapband in.  My only problem is that I do have to work sometime.  Hmmmm..... then there is there are graduations and weddings.  God has blessed me with all of these wonderful opportunities.  I have to stay positive and I know it will all work out.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Night to Remember

Gotcha with the title, huh?  First night without heavy duty pain meds.  Just two acetaminophin and I slept great.  Of course, I hadn't slept hardly at all the night before, up and down for five or six hours until I gave up but that doesn't count.
Got my hair cut on Thursday with a short trip to the bank and the drug store, thank you my friend Susan.  Got a little quilting done yesterday, quilt a little, rest a little, quilt a little, rest a little, (kind of a catchy tune, huh?)  Anyway, I thought that today I would clean out the refrigerator/freezer, then take a shower and go to the store (hey, no pain meds to keep me from driving, right?).  Well, Paul has other ideas.  He said, "Yes, officer, I see the lady weaving down the street, yes that is our car, she is just tired, she'll be okay........ " and the conversation digressed to he is taking me.  So I get to go on an outing with my hubby, fun. To the grocery store and to Joann's and maybe Gospel Supply.  Depends on the energy level.  Right now, I'm just resting from cleaning out the refrigerator/freezer.  God bless you today.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Going Out on the Town!

Well, not really on the town but I did get to go and get a pedicure.  My friend Susan took me because driving while taking Percocet is a bad idea.  I got to go to church last night and was exhausted by the end.  And today I get to get my hair cut.  The pain pills are going to have to go away for most of the time I think.  This little vacuum device is portable as long I'm not away from the electricity for more than 12 hours so I should be okay. 
God works in interesting ways.  I'm not sure that I could have gotten all of the things done for the Leadership Training for Christ convention if I hadn't been off work.  Now the downside is that there is not as much money coming in but life is full of trade offs, like chocolate now, chocolate later or chocolate now and later, I like the last one.  Anyway, I digress.  I have spent many hours on the computer and phone with last minute details for this convention and have been leaning heavily on the chairman who has done this job for years than we can count.  I am the hotel liaison so it's been fun putting together what goes in which room, trying to explain to people that the deadline for reservations was a month ago and that's why you have to pay more, figuring out the food for the banquet and how we are going to cram 750 people into this room.  I figure that most of them are teenagers and everyone knows how many teenagers will fit on a church pew.........one more!  Same addage applies with food and people in rooms. :)
More ways that God works.  The home health nurse who comes in and changes out the dressings is such a sweetheart.  She is willing to come at odd times if we need it and is so sensitive to whether she is hurting me.  I was talking about the convention and how we could get the dressing changes for the wound vac dealt with and she is willing to come early before we leave and come on Sunday when we get back.  She asked what church it was and I told her church of Christ and she got quiet.  Then  I asked if she went to church anywhere and she said, well, I should tell you that I was raised in the church of Christ and my dad was a minister and he taught nothing but "hell, fire and brimstone" and did not understand why none of his children continued in church later in life.  I do not know if she believes in God but I have invited her to come to a church where we are willing to accept people and where we believe that to show God's love is not to shout and preach but to do and listen and try to heal hurts, like Jesus did.  She seemed surpised that we are that way but Jesus did it that way and it worked for him so I guess I should do it that way too, don't you think.  Anyway, I just wonder if all of this infection happened if for no other reason than for that conversation to take place.  Interesting thoughts!  God bless your day today.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Land of the Living Room Chair and Bed

These a seem to be the places that I am living lately.  I'm tethered to the wound vac so I can go to the end of the tubing and then to the end of the electrical plug in.  It is just long enough that if I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, it will reach between the two of them, if I hang the unit itself on the door of the laundry cabinet in our room.  :)  Life is so interesting.
I did get out for an hour or so.  My good friend, Susan, took me to get a pedicure and that was nice.  She's going to take me to get my hair cut on Thursday. 
The wound vac is an interesting device.  It feels like it is suctioning by skin but instead it is cleaning out the wound.  Of course, it looks like I have a HUGE second belly button up high but that will go away, I hope!
I am praying this will heal quickly.  Lots of other people are praying for that too and God hears our prayers so I'm going to add in one more prayer and say, Lord, make it soon.
God bless you all in your pursuit of weight loss.  I hope to begin mine again.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Next Adventure

Okay, after three days in the hospital, I got home.  The lapband was infected all through the band, tubing and port.  They had to clean out a fairly large cavity and left the "hole" open because it must heal from the inside out. 
There are two places that have to be cleaned and packed so, because it was Friday, and because the company promised the doctor that the wound vac that we needed would be delivered to my house on Saturday, they sent me home.  That part mademe happy.  However, someone has to clean the wounds.  One's spouse is the logical  choice, however, we need to think about my spouse, who I love very much.  He works for a hospital but avoids hospital rooms.  When I'm inn the hospital, he comes to see me, but doesn't really stay a long time.  You get the picture, not a wimp by any means but get s bit wimpy in certain things.  So, he said yes,he could change this dressing and repack the wound as long as I talk him through it.  I give him great kudos for that!  So he did the small one and everything is okay, then we opened up the second one, took out the packing and he got light headed andhad to sit down.  Now I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to change this packing on myslef on my stomach area.  I tried to unscrew my head but I had a feeling that end result would be messy so I changed that plan.  However, in the end, Paul managed to change everything out and all was well.  That was on Friday night.
On Saturday, we waited and waited and waited for the vac to be delivered and it  didn't come so when the Home health nurse came, I called the company.  It turned out there was a delay in a plane somewhere at 2:00 am and it would not be here until Sunday.  My heart sank because I knew my hubby could not keep changing those dresses, oh I mean dressings :).  I asked if there was a way to get one there on Sunday and they said they could ship it and it should be here to day.  So here I sit waiting for the wound vac to arrive so I can call Marilyn that it is here.  This should cut the healing time in half.  Taking four more weeks off work will be problematical because I have 2 graduations in May, May 1st for my daughteer from Abilene Christian University and May 8th for my daughter from Pepperdine University.  Life just says inteesting!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Sad (and Painful) time

Yesterday they did emergency surgery and took out my lapband.  It was totally infected as was the abdominal cavity.  I guess I'm in for more adventures.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Problems, problems, problems

We all have different problems but mine seem to be following be or actually staying with me.  Great weekend with the quilt show and the meeting on Saturday.  The incision site for the actual port started to get infected on Friday night and so this morning I went to the doctor and he said "The incision is infected"  DUH!  So he's giving me pain meds and antibiotics and no work for another week.  Bad because the the  money is less but good because I can work on LTC stuff when I'm cognizant and off the pain meds :).  Hope ya'll have a good week.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Road Trip and the challenges

I took a road trip for my birthday to the Arizona Quilters Guild quilt show with the wonderful ladies from Quilter's Market, a quilt shop here in Tucson.  We went on a bus, played games and had a great time while on the way to Phoenix, about a 2 1/2 hour drive.  I drank a protein shake on the way there and ate some pear sauce (which is allowed now because I'm on "soft and mushies").  Went into the show and looked at quilts and spent money :) and enjoyed myself but soon I found myself a bit hungry.  So I thought to myself, "Self, surely among all of the food venders here, there will be some soft and mushy food to eat."  (We were not allowed to bring outside food or drink into the convention center.)  However, soft and mushy food is more difficult to find that you would think.  They had pasta with red sauce but it came with so much other food and cost $13 that I decided to opt out of that.  I finally had a soft blueberry muffin and ate about 1/4 of it very, very slowly and carefully.  Then I drank some apple juice.  Went back in and looked at more quilts, had a great time and boarded the bus.  We went to a quilt shop in Chandler and did some more shopping.  I didn't go with the bus back to Tucson as Paul picked me up at the quilt shop....well, almost.  He was still 45 minutes away and I was hungry again so I walked to the Burger King.  Did you know that you can smash french fries and make them mushy and chew them very carefully and not eat very many?  Icees work really well also.  Got through that and Paul showed up.  We went to the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort and checked into our room, met Bob and Patty Larson and went to eat.
Another challenge.  It was a Mexican buffet.  Hmmm..... what to eat????   They had a soft white fish that I put some green and red sauce on, some macaroni salad that I mushed up and some refried beans.  It worked but it wasn't easy.  The hardest part of eating out is paying full price and not being able to eat it all.  Guess I won't go to anymore all you can eat places.  Just not enough room!
But it's worth it.  I've lost 20 pounds since the 15th of January.  Go, Go, Go........ 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lesson number 2

In playing with different foods to see what can be puried, I have found that most of them are fruit and juice.  I have to watch the calories with those.  However, Cream of Wheat works really well for Breakfast with PLAIN protein powder, a few oz of milk and some artificial sweetner.  I have also found that Kefir works really well but you have to count the cost of the calories.  The protein powder that only requires one scoop for 25-30 grams of protein make the shake taste better and they are less gritty than if you have to use two scoops of powder.  I made some soup with vegetables and meat for a potluck and took 12 oz of the soup without the meat, put it in the blender, took 1/2 for myself at the potluck and put the other 1/2 in the refrigerator for lunch.  My hubbie is enjoying the rest of the soup. 
We had our potluck at our Life Group, where we have a group from the church who get together on Sunday nights to have a Bible study.  Once a month we have a potluck.  We also celebrate birthdays.  I caused a dilemma because I could not eat the cake this year.  So they got a very small fudge chocolate cake and I blew out the candles.  I took a very, very small piece, put it in some milk in the blender and that was my birthday cake.  Innovation, that's the word of the day.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Surgery Saga

My hubbie suggested that some people might not know the process involved in having lapband surgery.  It can be very involved.  I first talked to Paul, my husband, about this in December.  I also talked to my primary care doctor.  My doc was not totally for it as he had several patients who had lost the weight and then gained it back or had not lost the weight at all.  I can actually see how that can happen and will post about that later.  Paul and I attended a seminar that gave us more information and also checked out our insurance and surfed the net for as many sources and opinions as possible.  I also talked to my cardiologist who gave me a hardy thumbs up because of the weight loss issue for me and my cardiac health.  My PCP (primary care physician) really wanted me to lose the weight because of several health issues so he also endorsed the surgery.  I had to have a clearance from the cardiologist, a letter of recommendation from my PCP and then I went to see the surgeon.
A funny note about that visit.  The surgeon that I used was originally at the hospital that I work at and after several years switched his practice to the hospital that Paul works at.  This was a plus for us because Paul's insurance covered the surgery but mine at my hospital would not.  That was one of the reasons for this surgeon to move.  However, when he walked into the room, he obviously had looked at my chart and knew who worked where because he looked at me and said "Bad guys" and at Paul and said "Good guys".  We all laughed because we understand the hospital dynamics.
After seeing the surgeon, I had to go through a psychiatric evaluation.  They decided that I was crazy but I told them that they were just jealous that the little voices didn't talk to them, so they okay'ed me for surgery.  Then I had to have a nutritional consult.  We talked about how often I would eat after the surgery (6 times a day but no more that 4-5 oz at a time) and what types of food would be best.  I'm still working on that part since I'm still on liquids, then I go to mushy foods for a few weeks and then I can eat what I want.  However, good choices will be important because who wouldn't rather have 5 oz of M&M's rather than 5 oz of salad? 
After this I was cleared but we had to wait 2 weeks for the hospital and the insurance to get their contract in place (we thought it was already in place as of January 1).  They got their act together and Paul went with me to a pre-op appointment that gave us all of the information for pre-op and post-op.  Then they scheduled the surgery. 
My surgery was scheduled 2 1/2 weeks after this appointment so I had to start immediately on the pre-op diet.  I was allowed two protein shakes (had to have 30 grams of protein per shake) and a meal with no more than 1200 calories per day.  I was definitely used to eating more than this and I was very hungry but I stuck to it and wrote down what I ate and how many calories.  I had to go through the stuff you always do before surgery, blood work, EKG, etc. a week before the surgery.
The day of surgery we got to the hospital at 0630 with surgery scheduled for 0830.  I suppose they are used to people always being late because we sat for 45 minutes before anything happened.  Then they took me back, got me ready for surgery, asked a billion of the same questions and wheeled me into the operating room. 
Next thing I know, I'm waking up and having pain where you would expect, the abdominal area, but also having chest pain.  This is always disturbing to the nurses and doctors around you so they did all of the normal things, like EKG, blood work,  check the monitors, etc.  Then they said I couldn't go home but had to stay overnight.  Knowing that this was a possibility, I had all of the important accoutrements with me, like laptop, quilting magazines, other magazines, coloring to do and a book to read.  Did I mention quilting magazines?:)
  They put me in the CCU stepdown unit and I confused them there.  I was a cardiac patient who had just had lapband surgery.  I couldn't eat their cardiac diet, the hospitalist doctor thought I was there because I had sleep apnea so he ordered respiratory therapy to come in and hook up my CPAP machine (I don't have one!).  The nurse I had was one I had before and she is a wonderful person.  She straightened everyone out on what was happening and we settled in.  I had my computer so I surfed the net between sleeping from the pain meds and watched TV and checked out my quilting magazines. 
They made me get up and walk to try to avoid blood clots (I agree with that!). 
The food was interesting and actually good.  They gave me soup with protein powder in it for dinner with sugar free fruit drink and milk.  Interestingly enough, they gave me 2% milk so I asked them to trade it for non-fat milk (which I'm used to).  I had to eat very slowly but it was good soup.  For breakfast the next morning, they gave me a very runny cream of wheat cereal with protein powder. I had been warned that this tasted terrible but I guess I'm strange because I liked it and made it for myself at home.
I was very glad to get to come home but also very sore.  My energy level has been low since being home.  I'm off work for another week and am just trying to recoop. 
I hope this helps some of you thinking about this option for weight loss.  It has been a huge step for me and I have a very long way to go and will be doing this for the rest of my life.  But, as my dad used to say, the alternative is rather grim.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Lesson number 1 in the game of Lapband

An explanation first about what you get to eat for the first week after lapband surgery.  Liquids, liquids and more liquids.  You also must get into your liquids 90 grams of protein powder for the day.  While in the hospital, they gave me some really good soup with the protein powder in it so at home today, I thought to myself, "Self, you can make good soup, add protein powder to your good soup."  So I took a can of cream of mushroom soup, added water and a little milk, some garlic powder, some dry mustard and heated it up.  Then I put it in the blender with the protein powder and blended it.  Looked good and then I tasted it.  I forgot that the protein powder was Vanilla.  Did you know that vanilla and mushroom soup do not taste very good together.  I manage to eat about 1/2 of it before I gave up so I guess I'll add 15 grams of protein powder to a shake this afternoon to get the rest of that meal's protein in.  Just remember, check your ingredients BEFORE you put them together. :)  I think I need to go to the store to get some PLAIN protein powder today.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A New Beginning

A new beginning is where I am.  With the encouragement or was it the threatening of my primary care doctor and my cardiologist and with the blessing of my husband, I have chosen to have the Realize Band (a type of lapband) put in as a tool to assist in losing weight. 
I have always been overweight.  I think I weighed 50 lbs at birth (well, maybe not that much) but even as a child I was chubby and I just never really slimmed down.  Probably the summer I got married was the smallest I was and even then I was 20 lbs. overweight. 
I have tried a lot of different diets and have come to realize (pun intended) that I must change my eating habits.  The band will help me to do this.  It will let me know when I am hungry and when I am full.  The consequences of overeating are uncomfortable to say the least and not pleasant at all. 
I am grateful for the opportunity to change.  Without the insurance we have, I would not have been able to have this surgery. 
Some people have said, "well, just cut your food in half".  My problem is that I know the rest of the food is there and so I eat it if I want it.  Hopefully I will learn that I have the power over my body to eat what I need and will get my weight to a healthy place.
I hope to share ideas and recipes on this blog that will benefit others who are fighting this same battle.