Will There Ever Be A Time When Medical Isn’t On My Mind?

I had gastric bypass surgery nearly 5 years ago. Well, it will be 5 years in November. At my very highest weight, I was 330 pounds. I lost really well until my cancer diagnosis in 2012, and got down to 185 or so, but just as I was getting sick, I put on 15 puonds, and then the chemo and radiation caused me to gain another 30 back. Terrifying. I didn’t have bypass to get skinny (althought it is a fantastic side effect). I did it to resolve sleep apnea, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes. It has done all of that AND resolved my heart issues. Sadly, it may have also been the thing that triggered my cancer (release of so many hormones can do that), but it is what it is.

I was stuck at 230 pounds from the time I finished chemo until this past January when I decided it was time to finally get myself to goal. I went back to Weight Watchers and as a bonus it has reminded my pounch of its job, and the weight is falling off pretty well now – in fact, at the same speed it was coming off about 6 months post op, 2 to 3 pounds a week. I had a big old “whooshie” this week and lost over 8 pounds, which means I’m officially down to 179, a loss of 51 pounds since January, and my lowest weight ever. I’ve lost a total of 151 pounds in nearly five years. I feel good, I’m healthy, and I have bat wings.

As a weight loss surgery patient, you know going in that you are going to have flappy skin. It is inevitable. You were big to begin with, lost a lot of weight quickly, and at my age, elasticity was a thing of the past. I have extra skin. From what my doctor things, probably 10 to 15 pounds on it (so if I had plastics, I’d weigh probably 160). I have a panis that hangs, extra skin on my tights, butt and calves, and huge bat wings. I mean, my arms are bad y’all.

When I first started having issues with extra skin (back before cancer got in the way), I considered plastics. Mind you, plastics are hugely expensive and often are not covered by insurance UNLESS there is an underlying medical condition. I didn’t have $50,000 lying around to get surgery done, and couldn’t do it until I was well within my goal weight. Now that I am, I see my extra skin, and I am not going to lie, it bothers me a little.

But, I am not having any medical issues (no infections, skin rashes, no broken skin) and no one is going to pay for it for me (sigh, Extreme Weightloss, help!). And I’ve seen the surgeries on TV. They put your panis (the extra skin on your belly) on a meat hook while they cut it away. They start the arm surgeries down near your wrist and go all the way up to your armpits. And there is scarring.
I’ve always considered having my arms done, they are unsightly, but I’m not sure I want stitces in my armp pits.

This weekend, I was talking to my husband about this. He told me that I’ve been through enough. I’ve had a heart attack, cancer, treatments for cancer, RNY, and he looked at me and told me flat out, “You need to be done.” Mind you, I’ve never considered my husband’s feelings about my body. Don’t need to. He loves me, fat, thin, wrinkly, smooth, whatever, he loves me. And his statement (as I stood there in a bathing suit that I knew would fit better on the bottom if I had a lower body lift) really resounded in me.

Who cares if my skin is floppy? Is it inhibiting me getting dates? Well, no, I’m married. Is it in the way? Well, kind of, but it is easily hidden with spanx. Do you care if other people see your floppy skin? Well, honestly, no. I no longer Give a Damn about what other people think of me. Too much water under the bridge. Do I want to have very complicated expensive painful surgery? NO. Done Being Cut Open.

Sometimes I suppose my vanity gets in the way. Would I love to have the body I thought I deserved growing up? Well sure. Do I want to have to go through more surgery and expense (and pain and drains) to do it? No.

So the plastics train ends here folks. Only surgery I’m having is if something is rotten inside me.

Flap away BatWings. Just Call me BatGirl.

Someone Up Above Has a Sense of Humor

So, it’s going to take me forever to type this out, because my right arm is in a sling. As a result of this, by the way, I have managed to lose a set of keys and drop by skirt in the toilet here at work. Joy.

So, I think I noted somewhere here along the way that I may have torn my rotator cuff. It became unbearable over the weekend, so yesterday, when we got back from VA, I went to the Medical Aid unit. I learned a valuable lesson as well – never go to the medical aid unit on a Sunday. 3 hours of waiting for exactly 8 minutes with the doctor. They examined me, and it turns out I either have a torn biceps tendon, or burcitis. Either way, treatment is the same – steroids (for 12 days), Immobilization (2 weeks in a sling), valium and ice every two hours.

Now, I am right handed. And I do a lot of writing. I stood outside the door to our office building this morning for five minutes trying to figure out how I could carry my stuff, and use my badge to open the door. In the process, I dropped my desk key (which was thankfully still there when I went back). I have nearly chocked myself three times with the sling, and going to the bathroom is not easy when you only have one hand to hold things out of the way.

It’s going to be a long two weeks folks…a Long Two Weeks.

Nothing to See Here

It’s been a week since I posted, but honestly, there’s not much to see here. I’m feeling good, and that’s a good thing.

Work has been busy, and my stamina is now finally at about 95% of what it used to be. I was feeling exhausted there for a while, but I added back in my B-complex, and have added a protein shake back in every day, and that has helped.

My knee is coming along – the joint itself feels great – no clicking, popping or grinding, which is an indication that the graft took hold and I have new cartilage growing in there. Most of my pain now comes from the tendons and muscles that are healing from the surgery. I can deal with that. I think I’m coming to the end of my PT. At least, I hope I am. But, as is with my luck, I think I tore my rotator cuff in my right arm. The pain is not so bad right now, and I’m up to my ears with surgeries, so this may be one of those, “Suck it up and deal” situations.

I see my medical oncologist in two weeks. I feel a little less freaked out with this appointment since I just had a CT scan. I do, however, need to get a referral for my mammogram (hurray). I want to see if I can have it done closer than Baltimore though. In two months, I follow up with my gastrointerological (wow, big word) oncologist to see if I need a colonoscopy this year. The joys of a genetic cancer.

Let’s see…what else…

I took my great nephew last week to a Blue Rocks game (they are a minor-leauge division of the KC Royals). He loved it. We had a foul ball land between my niece and I (we were both ducking for cover). He has told everyone his mom caught it with her butt. My husband and I also babysat him last Saturday night. I let him use Mia’s little wading pool we use to wash her off after she’s been outside. It’s a small pool, and he informed me that I needed a bigger one. With a slide. He also didn’t have his trunks with him (he’s only 3) so I told him he could go naked in the pool. He looked at me with his big eyes and said, “I can go naked, everyone will see my weiner.” I was no more good.

We are going to VA this weekend to go camping. We’re taking my niece and her family with us. Fun times.

Not much else going on. Hope everyone is doing well!

I’m Going to Finish This

Way back before I had my bariatric surgery in 2009, I enrolled at the University of Maryland to work on my Masters in Management. (Mind you, I already have an MBA). It’s taken me forever to work on this because in the meantime, I’ve had knee surgeries and cancer. I’m about 7 classes away from finishing but in order to qualify for my degree, I’d have to finish by next September. There is no way that I will be able to take 7 classes in 13 months – I wouldn’t be able to pay for them ($2000 a pop), but also, there is no way physically I can do it. NOPE.

Every since I changed jobs and moved up here to Delaware (to clarify – same company, new job), I have been bouncing around the idea of getting my PMP (Project Management Professional) Certification. University of MD has a Project Management Certification program – 7 classes – no time limit. When I finish that class, I will automatically qualify for the PMP exam (as opposed to waiting until I had five years Project Management experience).

Today, I called my advisor to find out what I would have to do to switch from the masters program to the certification program. Turns out, all it took was an email to my advisor. All switched. I enrolled for the first class this September (Summer session started last month). I paid for the class (well, I made the first of 7 payments). I purchased my books. I processed my tuition reimbursement application (I have to take the class before reimbursement, but that would be a nice little payment right around Christmas for my next class which would start in February). And if I hang in there, I’ll be done by the Summer of 2016 (with the exception of the exam, which I have to take on my own).

It’s time to finish this.

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

We got back from Colorado last Wednesday (the 28th) at about midnight. It was a long flight and I was exhausted, and then I took the last few days to recoup, return to my Weight Watchers Meeting, and relax.

Colorado was beautiful, as usual, although the weather was wacky, and due to flooding, we didn’t make it up to the mountains. We flew in on the 21st, and our plane was supposed to get in around 4:45pm. We actually got into Colorado early, but had to circle Colorado Springs because there was a tornado going through at Denver International. Eventually, we landed at 4:35, but had to sit on the tarmac for 30 minutes until a gate was available. We picked up our rental car and drove out to Commerce City, and I said to Bob that it looked like the snow from the prior week hadn’t melted. Turns out it was hail from the tornado piled up 3 inches deep.

We had a lovely vacation, despite the crazy weather. We didn’t make it up to the mountains like we had planned because the Poudre was flooded, but it was a nice trip nevertheless. Even better, I managed to lose 3 pounds on vacation, and am now 1 pound away from 40 pounds lost since January. I had gained back about 30 when I was having cancer treatments, so I’m 10 down from my lowest. Inching closer and closer to goal weight. Amen and Hallelujah.

I finally got the results of my CT exam last week. I have some spots on my lungs, but I had them back when I was originally diagnosed as well, and they haven’t changed. 90% of the population has spots on their lungs and most of the time they are benign, so my doctors aren’t concerned. Now I have my medical oncologist follow up in three weeks, and then in August I see Dr. Greenwald, my gastroenterologic oncologist to follow up on the Lynch Syndrome. At some point, I have to have my mammomgram as well. Never a dull moment.

So, that’s what’s going on. Back at work today and trying to get over vacation brain, but thought I’d jump on here for an update. Life is as normal as possible, and I’m good with that!