Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gastric bipass and diabetes...

So I was shopping, the other day and ended up at the nail salon.  I was only there for a minute, but when I stepped in, I saw part of this clip on the ABC news.  And as a nurse I was amazed. 

I have watched patients (and loved ones) suffer and die from complications related to diabetes.  Seeing how much a gastric bipass can help is so exciting because I'm sure it can save so many people. 

Take a peek at the clip if you have time! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Answers for Chrissi...

The Fact that people find my story interesting still makes me feel a little weird.

Don’t get me wrong, though!  I’m glad that what I’ve done or what I’ve said has helped or inspired people to go make positive change in their lifestyle.  The effect I have apparently had on people has been a consequence of having this surgery that I never expected.   But, when I really think about all the people who I don't know, who know all about just makes me chuckle.  

That being said, I LOVE getting comments from you guys...telling me what you are doing or asking me questions.  It really makes me feel like I am doing this for a reason…and keeps me writing.

So, I guess this is another reminder to feel free to ask me questions, or leave me comments...and I will always do my best to try and help you out!

Anyway, this is a comment that was left on my last entry by Chrissi.  Since she posted these questions publicly and they may be relevant to other curious readers, I figured it would be OK to answer her questions here.  

Hi Kristen.

Thank you for sharing your experiences. My husband and I enjoy reading your blog. I've been doing a fair amount of research on the surgery an I feel your blog has given just what I was looking for....information from a real person I can relate to about the surgery.

My husband's doctor is recommending the surgery and he will be meeting with the psychologists soon.. Also, my doctor has been recommending me to see a nutritionist and I think the surgery might be in my future too. I am nervous because it is major surgery, as you know and I sometime find that I dwell on the complications more than I should.

I am sure you must get a lot of requests for information. Would it be possible for you to share the name of your surgeon? Also, did you meet with more than one surgeon before making your decision on who would do the surgery? How long was the process from the doctors/insurance ok until you had the actual surgery? I know you are busy with your life. Congratulations, you look amazing. I don't think I mentioned that yet. 

I would appreciate any information you are willing to provide me with.




I had my surgery done at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  Check out the Weight Loss Center's" website here.  

My surgeon's name is Dr. Benjamin Schneider, but there are a few surgeons @ BIDMC that perform bariatric surgery.  He was the only surgeon I met with before my surgery and because I liked him so much, I didn't feel the need to meet with anyone else.  Dr. Schneider was phenomenal and (if you live in the Boston area) I would recommend him 100%.   

The process to schedule my surgery from start to finish took a few months.  (I got my referral in October, scheduled my surgery in January, and had my surgery in February.)  The first thing I had to do was to go to my primary care physician to get a referral to the weight lost center.  There were then several appointments with medical doctors, nutritionists, social workers, and psychologists.  Once I was approved by all of these people, I then made an appointment with the surgeon.   As soon as he approved me, I scheduled my surgery.  

In the beginning of the process, the center gives you a list of questions to ask your insurance company to see if you qualify and to find out how much of your surgery will be covered.  The entire cost of my surgery was covered, minus some doctor visit co-pays and a one time fee required by the center.  (I called it the "make sure you are serious" fee, but they said it covered costs of things not reimbursed by insurance.  It was 400-500$.)

Depending on your insurance your timing and coverage may be different.  The center seemed to know the different methods with the different insurance companies.  I was actually shocked at how easy it was.

I hope this helps!  Thanks for the compliments and good luck on your journey.  I hope you will keep me posted on how it goes!  : )


Monday, March 7, 2011

Confessions of a skinny girl...

I know a lot of people have been wondering why I haven’t been writing…asking me if falling in love has replaced my desire to write.  

Well, yes…I do have less free time on my hands now that Chris is in my life.  But this is not the main reason I haven’t written in awhile.  Basically, I’ve been bad.  And I didn’t want to tell everyone about it. 

But, in order to try and fix it, I think I need to write about what's been going on….so here we go.  

For the past 4-5 months or so, I really haven’t had to worry too much about “what” I ate.  I could pretty much eat anything I wanted until I was full….which generally didn’t take very long.  I was always losing weight…no matter what.  But over the past 8 weeks or so, I’ve been dealing with something that has me really worried.

Not only can I eat way more than I’m used to….for the first time in over a year, I have actually gained weight.  

9 horrifying pounds. 

I think a lot of it has to with my new relationship with Chris.  Between the both of us, we have about a million friends and family.  And I feel like every time I meet someone new, it involves dinner and a bottle of wine.  It all adds up…mainly on my ass.

Most of the time, when it’s just us, we do try to eat at home with Chris cooking dinner.  And he really does cook some delicious, healthy meals.  But for me, this is completely different than my usual lean cuisine situation where I just eat everything in the little plastic dish and I’m done.  Since I really can eat more now, portion control has become a problem.  It often surprises me about how much I can actually eat now, if I really try. 

Another major problem is grazing.  I have reassumed this horrible habit and it frustrates me so much.  I picked it up at work, where grazing is a way of survival.  We have a countertop there that I have to walk by…mmm…maybe 100 times a night.  And we all like to cover this countertop with horrible (although delicious) snacks. 

Chips, candy, cookies, brownies, cheese, crackers…it’s all there.  And when you are running around without time to sit for a proper meal (while also trying to stay awake all night) you eat what’s fast or you drown.  So I eat it….one small handful at a time.  It’s just not good at all.

I have also been naughty about taking my vitamins and at my last doctor’s appointment, my levels were so low that they basically doubled my prescriptions.  Yikes. 

The good news?  I still go to the gym religiously.  But I can feel the difference in how I’m working out with how I’m eating.  Running is so much harder than it used to be and I really have to fight myself to stay on the treadmill for the 2 miles that I’m supposed to.  I know it’s how I’m eating…and so does Beth.

So…basically…I’m scared shitless. 

I was talking to my cousin about just this thing the other day.  Now that he can eat more food, he is scared too.  I am reassured by this…knowing that I’m not the only one to feel this way.  Gaining a little weight back is a normal part of this process, but some people can go further than that, gaining all of their weight back.  And that is what frightens me.  I’ve worked too hard to get to where I am right now…and I am so scared I will lose it all. 

I absolutely refuse to let this happen. 

So, what’s my new plan?  

Well,  I decided to cut out almost all of my alcohol intake.  I lived for almost a year without it and I survived.  These are calories that I just don’t need….and I’m pretty sure I won’t miss.   There is really no need to drink when I am at home, so I’m keeping alcohol just for special social situations …and I’m just fine with that. 

I have also resumed not eating and drinking at the same time.  When you eat and drink at the same time, food apparently washes through your pouch faster…making you hungry sooner.  So I’m nipping this one in the butt right away…and (unless I’m eating something really spicy) I hardly ever notice. 

Both Chris and I have decided to try and eat better.  I’ve been trying to pick healthier options when we are out at restaurants.  He already cooks so healthy at home, but I talked to him about the portion control isue that I’m dealing with right now.  He is going to try and help by not making and plating so much food for me.  I think this will be really helpful. 

The hardest part is going to be the grazing…mostly at work.  Although I do graze a bit at home, the food that I have here is really controlled and rarely bad for me.  But at work, it is a completely different story.  This is going to take some serious will power.  

Basically, I need to learn that I can’t feel full all the time.  I need to train my body to accept feeling a little hungry sometimes.  And when I do need to snack, it NEEDS to be on healthy things...and if there are no healthy options, I just can't snack at all.   

I’ve dealt with some seriously harder things than this throughout the past year and I made it.   So far I’ve gotten a couple of these “relationship pounds” off, but I still have a way to go.  I know I can do this.  And now that I "confessed" about it, I do feel a lot better.  

The new Kristen is going to embrace will power.  Let's see how she does.