Several more hurdles have been crossed on my journey to weight loss surgery and I’ve had several successes in the process. I want to document now, before I forget any of it, what has happened over the past month.
On June 29th I did the physical catchup. It had been about 5 years since I had taken time to actually see the doctor for me instead of one of my daughters or my grandsons. After the initial visit with the doctor at the Weight Loss Center I was armed with a long list of tests that needed to be done. Fortunately they were good with having Dr. C do those test along with my physical exam. Without going into detail, other than my blood pressure, everything else was sort of okay. My blood pressure was still pretty high, even on medication, so he again increased my BP medicine. When my lab results all came back they looked almost okay. Vitamin D and Vitamin B-12 levels were on the low side of normal so I was put on a 50,000IU dose of Vitamin D once a week for eight weeks and 1000mg B-12 once a day for 30 days. I am also taking Biotin to improve the overall health of my hair, nails, and skin. These three things seem to be the first things that are neglected when you have the surgery as they are the last things to receive nutrition. I want them to be as healthy as the rest of me so I don’t end up bald, with hangnails and horrible skin after my surgery.
On July 7th I had my initial visit with a registered dietician. Super sweet lady and she spoke frankly with me about eating habits and dietary habits. She kept using toddlers as examples. She said that if adults would follow a toddlers eating habit we wouldn’t have the worry of obesity that we have today. It really did make sense. Babies are born with the knowledge of eat and hunger. We feed them when they are hungry and when they are full they refuse. As those babies grow into toddler-hood they still have the knowledge of eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. WE as adults are the ones who teach them bad eating habits. We insist they clean their plates, even though they are refusing and telling us they are full. For me it comes from growing up being made to clean my plate. We are all guilty of labeling our child as a bird eater or a picky eater when in fact they are perfect eaters. It’s our job to provide the healthy and it’s their job to eat it. If they don’t like it they will move on to something else but we should still offer their dislikes as they grow their taste and affections for different types of food. I took this information home with me and have practiced the change at home. When the boys stop eating I ask if they are finished, have them clear their place, and they go about their business. When they ask for snacks I make sure they are healthy and give them one. They eat when they are hungry and what they eat is healthy. When they are full their done, nuff said! I’m trying to do the same thing with my eating habits and it’s working in my favor! I’ll explain more later.
Yesterday, July 14th I had the dreaded Psychological Evaluation that is one of the requirements before having Gastric Bypass. I was concerned that it was a pass or fail test. If you fail then you wouldn’t get to have the surgery. Fortunately I didn’t ‘fail’ anything and the test doesn’t set a precedence of the status of your surgery, only as part of the recovery. It helps determine if you may face some struggles post surgery and need some ‘help’ to get through the rough spots. The morning started out early. I had to be in Asheville by 8:15am for the evaluation. I arrived a little early and they had my room all setup and ready for me. Dr Carr came in and we chatted for about an hour. I had heard different things to expect from him and was a bit worried that our personalities would clash. Fortunate for both of us we meshed and our personalities got along just fine. During the hour spent with him we did the formal paperwork for confidentiality purposes then the test started. He first asked me a series of about 12 questions/statements and I had to define what they meant to me or what my answer was. Sort of like the questions asked during the Miss America pageant. He seemed amused by some of my answers and interpretations. The next part of the evaluation was the dreaded Ink Blot test. He showed me a series of about 12 cards with various colors and shapes and I had to tell him what my first impression of each was.
That finished, he then gave me the LONG part of the evaluation … The fill in the dot section. It reminded me of those horrid end of grade test where you had to color in the circles on the answer sheet. This part of the evaluation was in two parts.
The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory – 2 was the first part. This test included 567 questions and took about two hours to complete. It is full of some of the most outlandish and insane statements I have ever heard. Every answer is either true or false. The answer sheet is attached to the inside back cover. The first page of the statements flow out the the last line of circles to be filled in. Each page of statements gets more narrow so that they line up with the next column on the answer sheet and the sheet works from right to left. You read each statement, fill in the circle, complete page one and turn the page, wash, rinse, repeat until you have finished the last sheet. When you flip the last page you reveal the entire answer sheet which can then be removed from the book and put through a scanner that scores the completed exam. The answer sheet, completed, looks like:
The second fill in the circle part of the evaluation is called Duke Health Profile (The DUKE). It is made up of 17 multiple choice type questions, 36 true/false statements, 16 select the one that best describes you statements. This part of the evaluation took about 25 minutes. By the time I had finished everything and delivered it back to the appropriate lady in the office I had given them 3 1/2 hours of my morning.
This left just enough time to make a quick trip to Dicks Sporting Good, grab a bite of lunch and head over to the Mission Weight Management Center for my second medical visit. I was worried about this one because I just wasn’t sure that I would show any great success with weight loss or anything else for that matter. When I had visited last week for the dietary consultation I had actually gained .2lbs and since my birthday was the day before and I had just had lunch I knew I was going to show more weight gain and just down right hate myself for it. BOY WAS I SURPRISED!! I stepped on the scales and I had LOST 4.2lbs!!! That in itself was enough for me to be excited. When the nurse took my blood pressure, instead of being 190/98 like it usually is, it was 120/70! I can’t remember when my blood pressure was that low. I was so excited I almost cried.
I’m required to lose 17lbs before my surgery so that leaves the magic number at just under 13lbs left to go. While talking with Dr. Hathaway I asked her to give me a conceivable time frame for having my surgery. We talked a minute about insurance requirements and with my not being as stringent as most she said that I could possibly have my surgery within a 6-8 week time frame. I have to complete two dietary classes, one more medical visit, and have to be within 5lbs of my required weight loss in order to be referred to the surgeon. Once I see the surgeon then my insurance will be filed for approval, pre-op testing setup, then I’ll have a surgery date.
For the record my first dietary class is August 1st, the second one is August 25th, and my next medical visit is August 18th. If by the 18th I have lost 8 more pounds I can be referred to my first surgical visit which would most likely be after the 25th so I’ll be ready for insurance filing, pre-op, and surgery.
If you have read all of this and you are following me along this journey – Thank you! I appreciate your support. With the long medical stuff over I will entertain you with a few cute little boys that I love and hold so very dear to my heart…