Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's official I am a Vampire

Being someone who loves to be up all night and sleep during the day and avoid exposure to the sun, I have often thought of myself as a pseudo Vampire. That and the fact I love a good bite now and again. Today I found out I just might be more vampire than I thought.

I got the results of my blood tests and everything is fine except for one thing. Turns out I am Vitamin D deficient. A normal level is 3500. My level is 10.

Come to find out it's from lack of sunlight. I have never been one to spend much time in the sun do to my sun allergy and the fact I have that Irish blood coursing through my veins. I am a strawberry-blonde and very, very fair skinned. I guess I was too good at avoiding getting too much sun.

This could explain all the joint pain I have been having over the past few years. One of the major side effects from lack of Vitamin D is joint pain. Now I'm sure this didn't happen over night but no one else ever thought to check it. This could be a little light at the end of that tunnel.

I now have to start a heavy dose of Vitamin D until my surgery and after that start letting myself get some sun. I just hope I don't dry up and turn to ash.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

And so it begins...

It's taken me half my life to finally be able to feel like I have a handle on things. I finally feel like the future is going to be a better place and not just the same feeling of entrapment.

I have struggled with my weight all my life. I am pretty sure I was born fat. At least I was cute. But that cute, chunky baby turned into a cute, chunky toddler and then into a cute, chunky kindergartner and so on. I never did lose my "baby fat". It managed to turn into teenager fat and then adult fat.

I can remember being in Kindergarten and having to wear ankle socks because knee socks wouldn't fit over my calves. That was just the beginning.

So began my life of dieting. Always trying and never getting very far. The constant pattern of Yo-Yo dieting. Lose a few pounds and then put it all back on plus a few.

I'll go into more of the fascinating details of my life in future posts. But, for now lets fast forward 40 years and here I am still fat .. but finally doing something about it. I had no choice but to reach out for help. That in itself is a huge step for me. I have avoided Doctors like the plague over the years. I have a phobia about hospitals in general. I'm always afraid once I go in I won't come back out. But, I had a long talk with myself and realized I just can't fight this on my own anymore and lets face it, the older I get the worse things are going to get unless I do something now.

I'm not sure why but, I feel like what I am doing now is a pretty big event in my life and needs to be documented. I don't care if anyone reads it or understands it. But I want to have a timeline to look back on as things progress. I suppose I could keep a diary but, I can type much faster than I can write ... and it's legible. In this day and age everyone has a blog so I thought I would give it a go too.

The last five years of my life has been stressful to say the least. I lost an ovary, a husband, had two hernia operations and had to go on disability because my legs decided not to work so good anymore. Well I didn't lose the husband - he left of his own accord.

As of September of this year I had pretty much given up hope of ever being a healthy, vibrant woman. I've been disabled for the past few years and with the added weight I have been in a great deal of pain in my lower extremities. I was pretty much at my wits end. I think my Doctor picked up on that and suggested that I look into Bariatric Surgery.

That is just what I did. On October 2nd, I went to a seminar on Bariatric Surgery. Finally hope was restored. I knew this was something I could do. It certainly isn't an easy choice and it's not a magic pill. It's not the answer for everyone but, for me I knew this was the right decision for me. Now the question was ... would my insurance cover it. A week later I got my answer. I was covered and was set up with my evaluation.

November 12th:

I met with the Physicians Assistant who would be evaluating me for the Surgeon. He gave me the thumbs up and agreed this was a good choice for me. Along with his approval came a list of other Doctors I now needed to consult with and get approval from. Now my head hurts ... More Doctors! But, I was determined not to let my phobias beat me and face all these new challenges head on.

In the next week while I was waiting to get my list of consults. I was called and given my surgery date. My surgery is scheduled for February 23, 2009. Now that my surgery is set I have to start on what is called Medifast. It's a drink/shake that will help me lose some of my weight before surgery. This is to make things easier on myself and the surgeons. I will recover quicker and the Surgeons will have easier access to all my vital parts. I could go in to all the medical details but that would bore you. But it boils down to the fact that just losing a small amount of weight will reduce the size of my liver just enough so that it can be easily moved out of the way to access the stomach area.

December 1st:

My first consult was with a Neurologist. It all went much better than expected. He saw no major nerve dysfunction with my legs and is quite sure that as I lose weight I will regain full use of my legs. Well that had me in tears. The thought of being able to walk more than 20 feet at a time or stand longer than a few minutes was something I never thought I would be able to do again. Now I had even more motivation to see this through.

December 11th:

I met with the Psychologist for the Bariatric Center today. Another on of those consults I mentioned. All standard procedure. He just wanted to evaluate me to see if I might be prone to a bout of depression after the surgery. He is pretty sure I will be ok. Since he didn't lock me up I guess I'm not crazy. That's a relief!

Today is also the day I start Medifast. I have to drink 4 shakes a day and eat one "lean and green" as they call it. That is a meal that consists of 4 to 5 oz of lean meat and 3 cups of veggies. I also have to have 2 teaspoons of oil daily to keep my Gall Bladder working right. I no longer can drink my Diet Pepsi. I have lived on that for years, but no more. No carbonated beverages at all after surgery. And for now no bread, potatoes, carrots, peas, rice ... basically little to no carbs.

One bright note is since I was weighed on Nov. 12th I have lost 20lbs.

December 12th:

First full day of Medifast and I don't feel too bad .. hungry but not too bad.

December 13 and 14th:

These were not so good days ... I felt like death warmed over. My head hurt and I was so hungry. It took every ounce of my willpower to keep going and stay on target. I cried a lot and I slept a lot. Sleep was about the only thing that helped my headache.

December 15 and 16th

Did much better these days. I think my body is starting to adjust.

That brings us up to date.

Today I went for a refill on my shakes. I have to go every week now for a refill and to check my loss status.

11 more pounds down the drain bringing my total to 31 pounds gone forever.

To show how determined I am I drove an hour and a half in a snow/sleet storm and back home again. I can't go without my drink and I was dying to know my progress.