Sunday, January 5, 2014

January 2014 Update

At church, Christmas Eve 2013, with the family

It's cold here in Kansas City.  We just ran a couple errands and the car thermometer told us it was 12 degrees outside.  Wowsa.  They've already called off school for tomorrow because it won't be safe for kids to wait at bus stops.  I just updated our family blog and thought it might be a good time to update this one, too.  That sounds like more fun that writing a lecture, which was my goal for the day.  Procrastination is a way of life.

Lots of administrative changes at work since last I blogged. They don't really affect me that much.  I think it is all good for students, so most of us are just going with the flow.

We have switched clinic locations to a federally qualified health center that is just a couple blocks from our campus.  While I am thrilled to be serving the community that lives close to where we teach our students, the cultural learning curve has been huge.  The patients there speak 36 different languages.  We have 10 full time interpreters, but often they are busy and we must use the a language service by phone.  Like most clinics, we see a lot of people with chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes and hypertension.  Understanding their cultural issues and diet, especially for the recent immigrants, is very important for me.  I found a great site that talks about what a lot of these folks have been through.  For an example, here is the site with all sorts of information about the Karen people.  To be honest, I didn't know the Karen people existed until I started seeing them come through my clinic.  For a relatively educated person, there is a lot I need to learn.

I'm happy to report that the weight loss surgery was a success in terms of improving my health.  I'm currently waiting  on a replacement part for my scale, but as of 12/23 I'd lost 118 pounds.  Here is a before/after comparison.  I took this on 12/16, exactly 5 months post-op, when I'd lost 116 pounds.

More than halfway to goal after 5 months

While I've not started a real exercise plan, I do take the steps at work (up to my third floor office) and have increased my daily activity considerably.  Walking is no problem.  My back pain is gone.  Not just improved, but gone.  My doctor stopped all three blood pressure medicines, both cholesterol medicines and my pre-diabetes medicine.  All of the chronic meds I take now are not weight-related or are vitamins.  That being said, the holidays were extremely difficult.  All of the food, the drinking at parties - I'm almost afraid to step on the scale once I fix it.  But I will, because I'm committed to this process.  Still, I'm checking in at a support group tomorrow night.  I need to talk to people who are walking this same path.

Church remains a huge part of our lives.  All four of us sing in choirs.  Husband and I will audition to sing with the chamber choir at Helzburg Hall in April (Haydn's Creation).  Husband got the chance to sing there last year.  I couldn't because I would miss the last three rehearsals due to work-related travel. As I sat, listening to the beautiful music in that acoustically exquisite venue, I knew that I would do anything for the opportunity should it arise. Wish me luck as I audition in the next couple of weeks.  I really want this experience.

Life is busy always busy for our family.  Husband travels a lot, though it seems he won't leave the country until March this year.  The kids are involved in choirs, sports and scouts.  We hope to put both kids back in swim lessons and enroll the boy in piano lessons.  He's in third grade.  It's time.

That's all I got this time around, folks.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Beautiful Day

Today we've done nothing.  It's been beautiful.

I had a great time trick-or-treating with my kids on Thursday night.  They were a bit wimpy, asked to go home after only an hour and a half, at most 50 houses.  I remember wanting to be out for at least 3 or 4 hours when I was a young kid.  Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy.

Tomorrow is church, an appointment at the nail salon and then we all have to clean house.  It's really, really bad and the housekeepers are coming Monday. They can't find the counters to wipe or the floor to vaccuum at this point.  We definitely have our work cut out for us.

That's all I got, folks.  Enjoy your November!

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Seems I haven't posted in about six weeks.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Things are perking along with my weight loss.  I weigh every Monday and last week was down 86.6 pounds.  I have been "cheating" a bit and I'm aware of the damage I can do if I slip back into bad habits, so I'm trying to stop that nonsense.  The good thing about losing all this weight? Everything.  I have more energy, I can play with my kids, I can walk, I can stand.  I don't feel like going to bed all the time.  I feel I look "OK" in clothes now.  Yes, I would like to lose 80 more, but if for some reason that doesn't happen, the surgery still will have been a great success.

Husband has been a traveling fool.  India in July, Zurich in August, Mongolia for two weeks in September, then Ghana/Copenhagen for two weeks in October.  He doesn't have any more international trips scheduled yet, but I know they are coming.  I pray my mom continues to be willing to move in while he is gone.  I can't get the kids to and from school most days with my work schedule, so having her here is a lifesaver.

I attended the "Obesity Course" put on by the American Society of Bariatric Physicians in Phoenix.  I'm now a member of this group and look forward to more conferences.  I hope to be a board certified medical bariatrician in 3-4 years.  I learned so much and want to make helping obese people the main feature of my practice.

Speaking of life as a dokter, the university moved me from my suburban clinic to an urban clinic in the heart of downtown.  It is a "safety net" clinic that serves uninsured and Medicaid patients as well as a few insured folks.  The patients there speak 36 languages.  It has been an adjustment (understatement), but I am bound and determined to make it work.   The facility is beautiful and new and 3 blocks from campus, which is very handy.  Several of my "old" patients followed me, so it is great to see some familiar names on my schedule.

Teaching remains my real passion in professional life.  The med students stun me with their insight and dedication.  I remain in awe that I survived med school. As Perri Klass titled her book about med school, it is A Not Entirely Benign Procedure.

Speaking of books, I'm reading a book called Infidel.  Go ahead.  Click on that link and see what it is about.  This story is well-written,  riveting and makes me very, very glad I was born in this country.  I'm about halfway through it and it helps me understand to some degree the culture of Somalia.  I have a lot of Somalian patients now, so this is quite helpful.

My house remains a source of misery for me.  I can't keep it up and we've lately been living in a way that is just plain embarrassing.  I've finally reached my limit, so today I invited 20+ people to join us for Thanksgiving dinner.  It will force me (dare I to clean up this unholy mess.

The kids are great.  Boy child, now in 3rd grade, is well behaved in class according to his teacher, and girl child just learned to tie her shoes.  They both play basketball in the fall, so our home lives revolve around practices and games.  My friends, if you've never been to a Bitty Basketball (preschool age) game, you are missing one of the best things in life.

Tonight, a friend and I saw Enough Said, starring James Gandolfini (RIP) and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss.  It is a gentle romantic comedy and I loved it.  Julia Louis-Dreyfull, best known for Seinfeld, is a comedic genius but she does very well in more serious scenes, too.  Go see it.  You won't be sorry.

So that's it for my brief update.  I'll try to get back to this blog on a more regular basis.  Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Baby Steps

I'm driving again.  That made for a busy Wednesday afternoon and Friday morning of errands.  In between, I crashed.  Couldn't leave the house Thursday during the day but had a healing session of choir practice in the evening.  Today is "hair day." I'm getting mine cut and then taking my daughter to her four hour (every three weeks) session for take down, cleansing, conditioning and put up again.

Seeing doc on Monday - hoping to get back to work soon.

I've lost 57.4 pounds since July 2nd.  That is amazing to me! Sorta worth all the dry heaving and puking and not being able to eat.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Two Steps Forward, One Back

Felt a little ill when I went to work last Wednesday.  Abdominal cramps, figured I'd picked up a virus. Went to various meetings, stayed fairly busy.  Was teaching 40 minute small groups from 1-5 when the vomiting started.  Left work at 3 (thanks to an understanding department chair who took over for my teaching duties) and by 9pm I was admitted to the hospital with a small bowel obstruction.  That's obstruction of the small bowel, not a small bowel obstruction.  No, there was nothing small about it. And while I try not to whine too much when I'm sick, I drew the line when I started puking flecks of poop.  That was definitely worthy of loud whining.

Anyhoo, surgery went well and (SCORE!) they repaired my hernia with mesh.  Here I thought I'd have to lose a bunch more weight to have that happen, but apparently the "temporary" hernia repair contributed to this obstruction, so I got a "permanent" repair.

Husband was able to delay his trip to Zurich, so when he left, he knew I was going to be OK.  I'm sure it was horrible for him traveling with his wife in the hospital, but I forced him to go.  New job and all.

Yeah, there were a couple of postop happenings that resulted in my being there for six nights, but it's all in the past.  Mom brought me home yesterday afternoon and there had been a transformer issue in our neighborhood, so we gathered up the kids from their schools and had a campout at Grandma's house.

Before I end this post, I have to give a big huge shout out thank you to my colleagues.  They looked at my schedule and divvied everything up so I don't have any responsibilities through the end of September.  My chair said that if I am cleared to come back earlier and want to try some teaching, I can do that, and then if I only go 15 or 20 minutes, the "back up" will take over.  I feel very supported.

So now I'm trying to get caught up on charting I should have done two weeks ago.  Or maybe I should take a nap first. After that, I'll probably need another nap.  Good day, dearies.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Finally Getting Somewhere

Today marks 4 weeks from my surgery.  Since I started the "liquid liver-shrinking" diet two weeks before surgery, I've lost 45 pounds.

Let me state that again...I'm 45 pounds down in only 6 weeks.  It's absurd and I feel great.

Y'all know I struggle with food addiction.  A couple weeks ago I learned hard way that eating like I used to is a very, very bad idea.  I chose to eat a couple of those grocery store deli sushi rolls (California rolls - basically avocado and rice).  I was in pain for nearly 3 hours.  While I didn't vomit, I certainly wanted to. Dealing with any emotion, even happy emotions, without the ability to distract myself with food is difficult.

The school year is back in full swing.  Son got the teacher he wanted, but one of his good friends was assigned to another classroom.  I called this other kid's mom and we agreed to compare calendars for a playdate.  Daughter has one more year of preschool before kindergarten.  We were so pleased with Son's preschool that we put Daughter there, also.  She, too, will be reading by the time she gets into the public school.

I've given 3 lectures this year.  During the intro to the second year class, I told them that I'd had gastric bypass surgery since they last saw me and the entire class burst into a round of applause.  It took my breath away.  I've had immense support from my colleagues, each of  whom seems to understand what a difficult choice surgery was and how my life now is not always so pleasant.

Unfortunately, the clinic medical director, a wonderful man, told me that I can't keep seeing patients until my stool is lab-verified clear of C. diff.  (Click here for details on C. diff). I take handwashing super seriously, especially now, but he pointed out a lot of other doctors' patients are immunosuppressed.  When he put it that way, I really don't want to kill someone with my bug.  I completed my first 14 days of treatment but am not sure it's gone.  I feel better overall but have occasional bad abdominal cramps followed by a BM that has a characteristic smell, so we'll see.  I visited my doc today and they are going to test my stool again.

Overall, my energy level is WAY up.  I'm able to stand for long periods or time, walk greater distances and stay up with my family when I get home from work rather than going straight to bed like I used to do at least 3 times a week. The main issue now is my middle back pain.  My colleagues who specialize in OMT have treated me and I think it will get better soon.  We all agree that my muscles and fascia have to get used to what they are supposed to support when I stand up.  They'd gotten used to me at 345, but now that I'm 300 I walk differently and the back hasn't quite adjusted to that change.

So what's next?  One of the administrative assistants in my department and I are meeting at 6 a.m. in the exercise room the first week of September.  We want to exercise early, to get it over with, but neither of us feels we can do it on our own.  I'm very excited to have an exercise buddy and will work on getting stronger over the next couple of weeks in preparation.

I hope your late summer is pleasant, too!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Here, Piggy Piggy

I said hateful, hurtful words to my family this morning. 

Friday night, a friend dropped by unexpectedly.  I would have loved to have invited her into my home, but instead stook out on the driveway, apologizing that I can't let her see my house in its state of disarray.  But honestly, when is my house ever in a good state?  When could I ever invite somebody in without warning?  And why can't I live the way others live?

Saturday, as I stepped out of the shower, I failed to notice the turkey sandwich on my bedroom floor and plunged my foot into a clammy gob of white bread, turkey and mayonnaise.  My daughter, who had put the sandwich down "just for a minute" didn't understand why I was so upset. 

The house cleaners were scheduled to come today after 4 weeks away.  We worked on the house yesterday, but there are some "morning of" details to be accomplished (change the kitty litter box, scoot the dirty clothes hamper into the walk in closet). It was during the rush of the morning (my first day back at work) that I lost it and just stared spewing venom at my family.

So I sit in this quiet office, where I have a ton of work I should be doing, and all I can think of is my home, which is not a comforting environment for any of us.  I long to know that when I put something in it's "spot", it will be there when I go back for it.  In our home, things just aren't respected.  They are moved willy nilly.  I long to have a place to do paperwork, but my dining room table is completely covered.  Again.  I have to bring paperwork to the office to get it finished.

To be clear: We live like pigs.  I am sick of it.  As I feel better and can't just distract myself with fast food, I'm going to have to tackle the mess.  It's overwhwelming.  My family will just have to adjust.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Early Days Ups and Downs

Post surgery day 8.

As of yesterday, I'd lost 36.2 pounds in 3 weeks.  That just amazes me.  Whenever I question why I did this surgery, I remember that little fact and I walk a little taller.

Yes, I spent most of yesterday and today wondering why I did this to myself.    My biggest complaint is that I am so sick of these stupid protein shakes.  To a WLS (weight loss surgery) patient, fluids and protein are vital.  At this stage of my recovery process, I have to get in at least 64 oz of water PLUS four 8-oz protein shakes PLUS 6 Tbsp of pureed food (cottage cheese, greek yogurt, etc.) served in 2 Tbsp "meals.".  Now, I can't drink anything for 30 minutes before the pureed meals, during the 30 minutes I'm supposed to take eating the pureed food or 30 minutes after eating the pureed food.  (See YouTube video on sidebar for excellent explanation of this). That's a combined 4.5 hours that I can't drink, so getting in all those fluids is very difficult.  I can't guzzle anymore, so I must be constantly sipping.

During some of the sips, I'm trying to work in all of my meds.  Besides "normal" 8 pills a day, I've added 6 more that are specifically because of the surgery I've had (Protonix for acid reflux, calcium, multivitamin and vitamin B12 which melts under my tongue).  Because my absorption is down, I don't want my body to have to face a large clump of those pills, so I'm trying to take one every half hour or so.  This is a lot of time and attention just paid to what I'm putting in my body and truth is, all I ever want is the water.  All the other stuff just makes me feel bloated.

Add to that our home A/C is not working to its ideal and I'm a grumpy grumpy gal.  Poor husband...he can do nothing right today, it seems, but I know he is really only doing whatever he thinks he can to make me feel better.

Yesterday I asked my surgeon's nurse to please show him the photo I'd taken of my hernia repair area.  I understood there might be some bruising, but holy begoly - this is a lot of bruising.  A lot a lot.  He asked her to get me an appointment for today, so today I went in for a late morning meeting.

my big ole bruise at what used to be my belly button, where they did the hernia repair -
we marked the edges to check for growth

He told me that the amount of pain I'm having is normal for a laparoscopic hernia repair and reminded me that he had to do a lot of pulling and tugging and pushing.  He said it could go on for another six to eight weeks.  Oh my.  The bruising is also normal.  He noted that I had a mildly elevated temperature and said it might be a bacterial infection common after hospitalization or that I might have an infection in the fluid surrounding that hernia repair.  They drew some labs to sort that out.  Mostly, he reassured me that my frustration with the fluids and diet is very, very normal.  It makes it somewhat more bearable.

So tonight I had some cheddar cheese for dinner (which I chewed until it was the consistency of applesauce), I'm watching Big Bang Theory with my hubs and probably will go to bed soon.  Tomorrow, I drive for the first time since surgery.  Then, on Monday - I'm headed back to work. Woo hoo!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Surgery Story

When I woke up, I felt really giddy.  I remember refusing to get off the surgery cot and climb into my own bed until I'd walked down the hall and back.  Mom, my friend Judy and my nurse spotted me.

Bill told me that Dr. Sorenson had to repair my hernia.  Apparently, I had this less than 3" opening near an old surgical scar and my transverse colon, much of my small intestine and a great deal of omentum had slipped through that hole.  The doctor later told me it was a challenge to rescue that tissue and he was surprised I'd never had an obstruction.  He wasn't able to use mesh, so he just sewed it up and expects it to break within 2-12 months.  But for now, it feels amazing.  I was so used to having that weight hanging off my front and to the left.  Walking is already easier.

The second year resident on my surgeon's team is one of my former students.  It was great to see her doing well.

Judy, a retired nurse, stayed with me the first night.  She picked up on the fact that my O2 sat went down to 84% when I slept, so she put oxygen back on me.  She and my nurse recognized that my IV had infiltrated, so at midnight it took three people to start a new one.

The hernia repair pain and the back pain hurt a lot more than the five incisions made for the gastric bypass.  My first meal, however, (chicken broth yesterday morning), was quite painful.  It sorta felt like my innards were exploding.  I tolerated the recommended six teaspoons but that was all I could do all day.  I needed a few doses of compazine for nausea.

Yesterday, the nurse practitioner for the surgery team changed my dressing over the hernia repair and it looks NASTY.  There is a large macerated area that I'll have to take special care with.

I let the pain get ahead of my yesterday and ended up needing Norco (hydrocodone and acetaminophen), Toradol (an IV anti-inflammatory) and, to finally help me at bedtime, just a whiff of IV morphine.  I told you - no pain tolerance whatsoever.

Last night, my mom stayed with me and rubbed my back for quite a while.  I slept from 8 to 1, then we walked in the halls for a bit, then went back to sleep from 2-8.  I was a new woman today.  Pain is controlled with staying on top of meds, I was able to walk and pack and came home.  My own bed has never felt so good.

It's great to see my kids again and I've done all of my fluids and food well today.  Here was a my dinner: Two tablespoons of cottage cheese.  It took me 30 minutes to eat it.

I'm looking forward to this just becoming a "fact of life", not a huge focus, but I don't want to mess up, either, so I'll spend whatever time thinking about it that I need to spend.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Big Day

I'm so excited for this second chance at health.  I feel such support from my friends and family and am not scared.  Surgery is scheduled for 9:30.  I'll update as soon as possible, most likely in the comment section of this post.

Meanwhile, here's a brief animation of the type of surgery I'll be having:

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Summer Vacation 2013

This year we again traveled to the Outer Banks with my mom to see my sister's and brother's families.  We spent 8 days on the road and it was a lot of fun.  I saw two movies (woohoo!) and maintained faithfulness to my 500 calorie/day pre-surgery "liver shrinking" liquid diet (not as bad as I'd imagined).  Seeing my kids have a blast with their cousins (on my side) was the best part.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Not the Easy Way Out

I never thought I'd do turn to weight loss surgery (WLS) because it seemed to me to be the "easy way" and I'm not the type of person to choose that route.  What I've learned in the past three months that I've been preparing myself for gastric bypass is that this is not easy.  In fact, it may well be the hardest thing I've done.

Trust me, I've done some hard things.  Because I had no real goals during college and worked up to 30 hours a week, I graduated with an unimpressive GPA and no math or science classes beyond General Biology.  Somehow, I turned things around enough to get into medical school.  Getting through medical school definitely stressed my intellect and psyche, but I made it to graduation day.  My first month in residency was in the ICU of a large teaching hospital.  I was definitely out of my league, but I worked hard and learned the ropes and made it through that month.  I'm certainly no surgeon, but I put in time on my surgery rotations and made good contacts during the process.  

After I'd set my career in place, the personal life grew challenging.  Premature delivery of my son followed by a monthlong stay in the NICU. Miscarriage. Strokes. Adoption. Layoff.  Causing a motor vehicle accident that resulted in hurting an innocent person.  All of these things were hard to overcome, but I persevered.  Similarly, I know that with enough motivation and dedication, I'll beat this morbid obesity.

I'm following a couple of Facebook groups for the type of surgery I'm going to have and am learning a lot.  I feel like I've memorized the thick booklet the surgery office gave me.  I devoured the informative book Success Habits of Weight Loss Surgery Patients on my Kindle during our drive to North Carolina and am working my way through two books written by successful weight loss surgery patients.

Here is what I've decided: I'm investing too much money (my insurance doesn't cover this, so we borrowed $25K against my retirement account), time and (probably) severe pain to this procedure to sabotage myself and abuse the tool that this surgery affords me.  Protecting my pouch, the egg-sized portion of stomach that will process my food, is my ultimate goal.  Like any tool, this pouch can be ignored.  It can be stretched, filled with crappy foods that taste good and ulcerated.  I must protect my pouch, because that is what will get me the new life I desperately crave.  

I want to ride a bike.  I want to ride a roller coaster.  I want to shop in stores rather than online for my clothes.  I want to walk with my kids around the block.  For our next beach vacation, I want to go down to the beach rather than stay in the motel room blogging because I'm too unsteady on the sand to join my family.  

This day 8 of a 14 day pre-surgery liquid diet.  I'm drinking 4 low-carb, low-fat, high-protein shakes a day.  They aren't particularly tasty, and on 500 calories a day I'm a bit irritable. Because I'm at a family reunion, I'm surrounded by food.  The family members are so supportive and all of them have offered to do something else with me at mealtime, but mealtime is when we are all together.  I don't want to miss that.  

Surgery is next Tuesday.  Following that, I'll progress from a two tablespoons per meal of clear liquid to full liquid to soft/pureed diet in the first 6 weeks.  Then, for the next six months, my 1/2 cup meal sizes, three times a day, will consist of 70% protein and 30% vegetables.  This will fuel my body and allow my tool to do its magic.  

Nope, this ain't easy.  Not easy at all.  But it's the only hope I have of losing my extra 185 pounds and feeling like a healthy human for the first time in a long time.  

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sixteen Days Before Surgery

Since last I posted, I've been preparing emotionally for the gastric bypass surgery.  I've treated myself to a "Farewell to Buffets" tour, making sure I hit the Italian and Chinese food buffets I've befriended over the past few years.  I've joined Facebook support groups and and read books written by people who have gone through this.  I've told everyone I know that I'm preparing, because that's gotta help.

Workwise, things are going well.  There are administrative changes at the university that shouldn't affect me too much.  I'm concentrating on doing the best job I can for my students and patients and trying not to make too much eye contact with anyone, hoping to skate by unnoticed.  

The family is so supportive it almost hurts.  Husband is doing whatever I need him to do.  He knows I'm scared, but we don't talk about what could go wrong.  We talk instead about all the things I'll be able to do when I shed even 50 pounds.  When I start my liver shrinking diet Tuesday, he is starting a liquid diet too to support me.  Completely unnecessary, but I appreciate the thought. 

Tomorrow I go for my last visit before the surgery, which is scheduled 2 weeks from Tuesday.  I'll meet with the surgeon again, the nurses and talk about protein shakes and vitamins again.  I have everything I need.  I'm ready.

This afternoon, I posed for before photos.   The bottoms are swimwear size 4X, and the top is a size 50 DD jog bra. I'll be taking these every three months and can't wait to see the change this surgery will enable me to make.

(This is where I initially posted very revealing photos of my body - but then I freaked out and removed the photos.  Maybe someday I'll be brave enough to repost them.)

Here's to a healthy me!

Saturday, June 8, 2013


I'm preparing for the surgery.

Told my coworkers, who are very supportive.  Bought my vitamins that I'll take everyday for the rest of my life.  This isn't that big a deal, because I already take 18 pills a day, so what are a few more?  Bought about a 6 week supply of protein powder which I'll mix with milk after surgery but must mix with water (blech) for two weeks before surgery.

Talked to both my sister and brother, who seem willing and able to support my "all liquid" diet of protein powder mixed with water,  sugar free jello and sugar free popsicles for the entire time we are on our multi-family beach vacation at the beginning of July.  Told them I may not feel strong enough to join them at mealtimes and they totally get it.  My sister,  in particular, is saying all the right things.  She said her main fear is that I'll change my mind because she thinks this is such a good plan.  The fact that she's a physician put extra weight on that statement.

The benefits manager at work wanted me to fill out FMLA papers "just in case" something goes wrong intraoperatively or early in recovery.  Initially, I was pretty ticked off by this, because I really believe that if I think good thoughts and do everything I'm supposed to do, everything will be fine.  To be honest, I'm scared to death.  I've had many surgeries before and don't really worry about anesthesia, but any surgery is risky. This is my first surgery since my stroke, and I'll need to be off my antiplatelets for a week beforehand.  What if I throw a clot up to that stent in my brain and wake up decidedly not me? These are thoughts I'd successfully suppressed until the FMLA issue came up.  Husband, ever the voice of reason, pointed out that it is her job to watch out for me and she is trying to protect my job.  Hmmph.

This past week I went to my first bariatric surgery support group and had a nice chat afterward with a man who is 2 years postop (and has maintained a 100 pound loss) and a woman who is jumping her insurance hurdles and hopes to have a surgery date scheduled soon.  We are now Facebook friends and will see each other at future meetings.

The best thing I've done is ordering a jog bra and bikini swim bottoms so I can take very, very realistic before photos.  I'll never show them to anybody, but I want them for me.  By the way, in case you are curious, it's pretty difficult to find bikini swim bottoms in my size.  The only pair I found is leopard print.  That's another reason I'll not show them to anyone else!

You know how it is when you're excited about something so that's all you can think or talk or write about?  Yeah.  I'm there.  Sorry to be annoying.

Tomorrow we're singing one of my favorite anthems at church, and I will thank God for leading me to this decision.  Here's a link to a video of this song, though our choir director assures us that we sing it better.