2007-09-17-wii-zapper-unicorn-box

Mystery Diagnosis + Positivity Button Installation

Good news?  I have pain, for a legitimate reason!  Positive!  Real, honest-to-dog pain!  I'm positive!  Happy!  Look!  I'm positive that I have pain!  Happy, shiny, MM!  Smiles, happy, sunshine!  Unicorns, rainbows!  

2007-09-17-wii-zapper-unicorn-box

"I love my WLS.  I love my surgeon.  "Nothing feels as good as thin feels."   I've lost weight!  Oh my goodness I feel so fabulous."

190612_1738465816101_1072296476_1948561_765285_n

So I wait.

190612_1738465816101_1072296476_1948561_765285_n

I knew I would get use out of this tee shirt.  

I'm at the hotel across the street from the hospital, as I just finished my pre-op labs, EKG and Chest XRAY.  I am staying here tonight for surgery tomorrow, since we live an hour away and getting here two days in a row with kids/school/buses/work is very difficult.  Parking alone tops $40, so it's not really a big deal., I'm bored.  I can't really "enjoy" the quiet time because I have pain, you know?  

My first thought — honest to dog — "I should go get my nails painted."  I haven't had a manicure since November. When I am kid-free, I tend to hit the salon first thing.  It's such a rare occasion.  But, the conceirge said fifteen minute walk, in the freezing rain in Chinatown, and broken gut said nothankyou.  

So here I is.  Laying in the Doubletree bed, wondering where in the hell the Kardashian's came from, and why don't they work and how are they so stinking wealthy?  And, now they're fighting on TV.    Ugh.

Anyway.  Until later.

 

Cnn.trust.gut

Dear Medical Center –

I know it's a holiday, but bodies don't go on holiday.  

Cnn.trust.gut
My LLQ and mid-chest- "pancreas" – still hurts.  Is this a surprise, no.  But I don't have anything to do than to sit with the pain and stabbing and now?  

Not sleeping.  

I waited Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and yesterday, in anticipation of a phone call today, to let me know when we could schedule the poking of my belly to see if I am rotting internally.  I want to fix what's wrong, if I knew what it was I would!  

Give me a coat-hanger, and one of those Amazon surgical kits, and I might try, you know, if I get desperate.  In through the belly-button with a spy-kit camera, find what's wrong, and rip it out?  We could do this?  

Let's start that BBGC Inpatient Unit.  There are too many of us sick right now.  

Anyone want to front the cash?  I'll advertise the shit out of it.  Fix me – I'll love you forever.  I think I offered this for my brain as well.   Guts and brain.  All for sale.

 

“Woman nearly dies after WLS in Mexico” – IT COULD HAPPEN ANYWHERE.

I don't claim to know anything of this woman's story, as others do.  

Let me share one thing:  WLS or ANY SURGERY can go WRONG ANYWHERE.

It's not a geographical concern.  We are quick to blame "Oh!  It's because it's Mexico!"  No.

I live in Massachusetts.  My hospitals are TOP-RATED for Bariatric and Plastic Surgery — and guess what?  PEOPLE DIE FROM THINGS LIKE THIS HERE.  My plastic surgeon lost his license to practice!  This stuff happens!

The concern is, that she did not get anyone to listen to her complaints, as I see it?

"Hi, my name is Beth, I am seven years post weight loss surgery, and I've had abdominal pain for more than TWO MONTHS, have been to the hospital three times, and still I sit with no real concern from ANYONE."  

I get it, as I may very well end up being a news-story, case-study or lawsuit.

This ONLY UNDERLINES THE NEED FOR SELF-ADVOCACY.  And, the need for others to HELP someone when they CANNOT ADVOCATE FOR THEMSELVES.

Enter the BBGC.   Okay.  I'm over it for the moment.  Raar.

 

2331450274_a049a3a8e7

Surgery is always “fun.”

2331450274_a049a3a8e7
I had an appointment with my former bariatric surgeon today to discuss my gut.  Last Friday, I underwent a CT Scan with contrast in both ends (try it, fun!) and today we were to talk about Why I Was Sitting Like A Pretzel.

I suppose I was a little more than surprised when first, the surgeon asked if I'd changed my name.  I actually did.  In 2005.  I hyphenated.  I took my maiden name BACK and added it to my name.  In 2005. 

Because, they couldn't find my chart.  O-O  However, I seem to recall a conversation about my chart having been purged (last year?) when I went back for a check up, as they "did that with files over five years old," or something.  This was when I asked for files to be "sent" to another hospital, I was told that they were totally off-site.  This was likely last winter?  (I could look back into my archives, I know I posted about it… this was when I was seeking a new surgeon for revision last year!)

I was inpatient in this same hospital, what, two weeks ago?  My brain stabbed at the thought, but I am in a state of "I don't really give a shit at this point, I will be Jane Doe if we don't figure out what's wrong, so I am whoever you want me to be."

Obviously, I haven't been a very-often-seen patient at this practice, to see a bariatric surgeon, my visits have been limited to a few follow ups: an emergency endoscopy last winter, and endocrinology referrals for hypoglycemia after gastric bypass.  I haven't been there for any routine "stuff" at all, because I deal with hematologists, neurologists, endocrinologists and whathaveyou outside of them, I didn't really need a surgeon.  Actually, my last visit to the surgeon ended with a suggestion to see a nutritionist.

I weighed in, and gasped at the number on THEIR scale and sat down.

The surgeon hadn't seen my CT Scan.  He pulled it up in front of me, I squinted to read as much as I could, though I wish I asked for a copy because I know what it's going to take to GET A COPY of it from their medical records department.  "We can't find you."

I saw "Possible Petersen's Hernia."   SCORE!  ANSWER?

He scrolled through my guts, filled with contrast.  He suggested that the CT Scan is not a definitive way to diagnose a Petersen's Hernia, so don't think much of that. 

The surgeon asked if I was aware that I had fibroids.  Uh, maybe I did? <shrug>  Do those hurt?  'Cause, OWWWWWWW!

I was recently told I had a ovarian cyst, so why not!? 

Let's have all the gynecological issues we can find!  MORE FUN!

Upon reading the signs and symptoms NOW at home, "Hey, that fits, too!  Thank you Dr. Google, please forward a hysterectomy!"

And then Beth stops, and plays with Google and researches the history of HYSTERIA!

Tumblr_kuldybQ1by1qz9qooo1_r1_500

I told him that I've been pretty much sitting in a pretzel-fashion and holding my guts up on and off for two or more months.  (Yes, the pain started after the alfafa sprout binge in December?)

I mention that I am simply waiting to vomit blood or lose my bowels.  He says that "not necessarily," that you don't HAVE to be very sick to have a problem like this.  I am actually pleased to hear this, because the hospitals have made me feel quite ridiculous since I wasn't retching if something abdominal was the cause of my pain.

He first mentions that if I am to feel anything worse, I should go straight to them, skipping the local hospital next time "because they have no idea what they are looking for."  I agree.

Then, he gets the paperwork prepared for exploratory surgery, to dig through my gut and either prove or disprove that their is something intestinal causing this.   The plan is to be explored, surgically, within a reasonable time frame. 

I hope there is a trigger easily found, and that I'm not going to become a constant cycle of gut pain with no diagnosis, because I don't need that plus my malfunctioning brain.  One or the other HAS to go.  I was actually giving the brain surgery some consideration, but I can't even think about making the appointments for follow-op for the testing and surgery for my seizures when I'm SITTING LIKE A PRETZEL!  How do you screw holes in a head of a person that's squirming into a pretzel?

127-mc_196_01

January07PT_60_f1

Choose a Number from 0 to 10 That Best Describes Your Pain.

 

January07PT_60_f1

I was just sitting here in a pretzel-fashion as my gut twisting fun has decided to amp up again, and I was, well, pondering.  I see the surgeon tomorrow in regards to the CT Scan I had last Friday.  

I am prepared to HEAR,

"You have a hernia, it needs repair, let's schedule that, okay?"

or

"You have an ovary that's decided to implode, twist, but do it ever-so-slowly that you're feeling every step, let's send you to the GYN and fix that!"  

I'm even prepared to hear,

"Well, it's bad news, it's broken, there's a tumor, you've been colonized by aliens and you need to take your guts out and place them on the table."

Annaleader-of-the-V
But, my concern is that "There's nothing we could see on the scan.  Go home."

 This is what happened in the ER after my XRAY.  "You're full of shit.  See?"  I couldn't really… see, I was half-doped up on morphine.

LLQlabled

I avoid doctors, I avoid issues, I hate feeling sick.  I've been in a fog of neurological-brain-numbing drugs for the seizures with no diagnosis for so very long, that a new symptom is often ignored.  

"What's this new problem?  Must be from the drugs.  Just read the side of the bottle!" 

Have you ever read about the side effects of neurological drugs?  Just saying.  You didn't need that liver, nor to feel awake, or to not jump off the side of a cliff at any given moment, right?  Medication is EVIL.

If I called a doctor every time I had a "concern," I'd never leave their office.  I have a hard enough time getting to an appointment as it is — it's only when I am serious about something wrong.  I probably wait too long for many things.  I know that.  For example, I am overdue for my iron infusions.  I know this, I'm bad.  Slap me.  I actually didn't know I was super anemic again until I was in the ER.  But things take precedence in order of pain, you know?

If it appears that there isn't "anything wrong" when I get the results tomorrow — then?  What?  More waiting, more phone calls, more pain.  "Fun."  I'm left feeling like a hypochondriac with the heating pad on my gut.  Which makes me want to avoid going to a doctor until blood appears in a dramatic fashion from a bodily orifice.  I can do that, but it hurts in the meantime.

{7338F609-126D-4A60-B935-FB93D2DC81BC}Img100

A sign.

Mr. MM and I have spent some extra quality time in the health-care system in the last three months after a long stretch of quiet.

{7338F609-126D-4A60-B935-FB93D2DC81BC}Img100 Between Mr. MM's broken gut which was adhesions and hugified gall-stones and surgery, and my undiagnosed broken gut, we have racked up some serious bills with our health insurer.   (Sorry about that, but is this not why we pay for private health insurance, and have done so since the age of… 17?)

We have also apparently incurred some unpaid bills, which are now starting to trickle in.  

In the mail yesterday, our local hospital sent one bill for insurance unpaid fees from Mr's gall-bladder surgery.  

He owes several hundreds of dollars for the procedure, after our insurer paid their portion.

Along with this bill, which is one of many, came this little slip of paper from the hospital:

171893_1839719478227_1397747537_32092466_7645740_o
Sure.

We're supposed to blindly take your demand.  Okay! Let me go get the check book!  No.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Wait.  We file taxes tomorrow.  We don't GET a refund this year.

In fact, I likely owe money to the State and Federal Government.  You want me to dig $850.00 out of my "tax refund?" when I've got to pay?   I was not planning for a broken gut.  Had I?  Maybe we would have planned better — but who does?

Now, this is just one bill, from one visit.  

I've been to this hospital twice, and to my hospital twice, SINCE his two visits.  *does the math* And, if I also require a little "maintence" surgery on my gut in a few weeks?  Oh. Boy!  We are going to be rollin' in bills.

Oh.  Welcome back to the black hole of DEBT!

PS.  Will sell my gut, brain, and what-have-you for medical bills.

Today's mail:

175646_1718322472530_1072296476_1914454_1367399_o

172159_1715093031796_1072296476_1906873_1211389_o

This is why I fail.

172159_1715093031796_1072296476_1906873_1211389_o

(Pink, Tequila, with a built in, well…)

Rachel, (Sleeve Pixie) and I had a miniature road-trip last night and today, to go see Taunia (Diva Taunia) and her Burlesque show up Nawth.  

What you don't know is that FIRST?  I got to get up at 5am, and go to Boston for a CT Scan of my broken gut, which involved a quart of barium to drink, and a barium ENEMA!  This was FUN FOR ALL!  I made it up in one piece, with no answers (yet), and I did not implode from the 4,000 grams of sorbitol in the barium drink.  (OMGTHATISAWFULWHYDOESANYONEHAVETODRINKIT?)  But, if you're really looking for a good time, get it up the butt.

I fail at healthy.  No, I did not "get any answers."  In fact, I was shuffled out of the CT room, with barium leaking out of me arse!  I cleaned up and got the heck out of there, and Mr. and I went to the mall while I held my guts up and in, and got a hair trim.

DSC_5696

(That says "Chunky.")

Rachel came and picked me up, by way of Lawn Guy Land, and we took off to the longest-ever-drive-to-Lowell-Massachusetts that you ever heard of.  (She clearly does not mind driving, this is not the first trip from NY to MA she's taken.)  The combination of bad timing with traffic and diversions to pee, made us, well, slow.  One diversion took us off track and into a Kitchen Nightmare in which I bought a mozzarella sandwich in order to use the "facilities."   We tore into a mozzarella and fresh basil wrap, and failed to finish 75% of it.  

DSC_5698

(MM!)

We arrived to Lovely Lowell, got us a hotel room and king-sized bed.  The Courtyard Marriott was lovely, clean, and EMPTY.  In fact, I might have suggested that this building was a former psychiatric facility converted to a hotel, completely gutted and reopened as a cute $85/night hotel, could I be close?

And at nearly 9pm, we avoided getting jumped while we found the event (separate post for that) …  

IMG_0032
But this is why I fail.  I'm not "bad."

Number one.  When a bartender takes your credit card and license away and "holds on to it," I don't like this.  I bought one pissy Light Beer, because I was there, and I had to meet a $15 minimum to USE my debit card, blah blah blah.  But, she kept my card.  

IMG_0028
I was so concerned that I would fail to get it BACK that I failed to remember to think about much else.  "Give me back my cards.  Why is she holding my stuff?  I don't want to buy anything else."  I got it back after some coercing, but I guess this is common procedure.  

I fail at the Buying Of The Libations.

Today, on our trip to meet the needs of addiction, ie. "Find caffeine or we are going NO-WHERE," we found the big-ass New Hampshire Liquor store.  This place is insane, and of course we went in.  This is where I fail my "bad"-ness, or else totally redefine part of it.  I read bottles, noted label designs, loved on pricing, and took photos of a few Extra Cute bottles.  

176406_1715087591660_1072296476_1906850_399881_o
I bought nothing.  Rachel just talked about the days of old, like we were two old biddies, and alcohol was from the "good old days."  Then I remembered how young she is, and I sort of laughed at us.  

We fail at being "bad."

ATT00025
In a plaza, my curiousity was piqued by a "Smoke Shop" with it's blacked-out windows.  I had to look inside.  I love the smell of sweet cigars, though I HATE smoke.  We went into this Smoke Shop FULL OF PARAPHENILIA and a huge sign on the wall exclaiming that "the products sold (there) were not for the use of … well… what they are really for."  The sales clerk stopped us from using the real words for the products sold there, or he'd have to make "you leave."  While we were there sniffing incense, at least five people came in to buy products not for the use of smoking herbal remedies.  I bought about 30 sticks of incense, and Rachel's car now smells like a Smoke Shop.  Uh, sorry.

This is why I fail at "bad." 

 176548_1715177073897_1072296476_1907005_2466203_o 

Because, what DID I do?  I went to a Bariatric Store, and spent $75.00 on protein and calcium.  I fail at "bad."  I'm a really GOOD, Bariatric Bad Girl.  Sorry to disappoint you.  (And, yanno, I am a lot shorter than you'd thought I'd be.)

175852_1715171633761_1072296476_1907000_7933817_o
That's BAD-ASS right there.

 

Binge-starve-cycle

Maybe it’s because I’m special, but I don’t get it.

Binge-starve-cycle

Maybe it's because I'm special.  Or in pain.  Or just not understanding because maybe I am in a different head space.  I am voting that I again, am not normal.

I'm watching online conversations about "food addictions" and  "binge eating" after weight loss surgery and I am awfully confused.  

For example — a post WLS patient describes herself as a binge-eater, going through the steps of sobering up or breaking this addiction. 

Eating disorders happen after weight loss surgery, I know it can be a serious complicating issue.  I have several online friends who DO have diagnosed eating disorders post weight loss surgery, and a few that are definitely suspect, and who don't know they suffer.  It happens, it's reality.  So be it.   

I do not discount her experience.

However, what she describes, doesn't sound so dire.  

It doesn't sound anything at all like what my friends have suffered at the hands of their eating disorders.  At all.  

Again, I realize symptoms differ from person to person, and can be entirely different for each person suffering.  Unless there are major factors that she's not discussing, I am concerned that the behavior she is trying "break-free" from is quite normal, well, very normal… within the realm of a weight loss surgery patient.   In fact, they sound quite normal for lots of people who might absent-mindedly "go-to" food as a coping mechanism.   But, all out ADDICTION?

But, my sense of normal is obviously off the charts, I drink 1.5 pots of coffee per day and break half of the "Rules Of The Pouch."  That probably makes me certifiably insane by some of your post WLS standards.  Lock me away.  Just allow me coffee and cheese.

Why do I care?   Because many of us are reading about these issues — and wondering —  no, I know they're wondering, because I'm getting the emails —

"WAIT A MINUTE, I DO THAT.  I didn't know it was WRONG!  What, do I have an eating disorder too?  Do I need treatment?  OMG.  Somebody tell me if I am okay?"  

And, to be honest, this reminds me alot of that scary window salesman who pushed Overeaters Anonymous on myself and my husband when I mentioned that we had weight loss surgery –

"You must admit that you have no power over food."

YOU!  OUT OF MY HOUSE!  

We're doing alright, WHY THE HELL are you scaring the newly UNFAT?  SHOO!  GET. OUT. OF. MY. HOUSE.

Get your God out of my crackers!  I happen to ENJOY eating.   Just, in Very Small Amounts!  I'm not going to hide my crackers, don't TAKE THEM FROM ME.  You do not want to mess with a hypoglycemic's snacks.

Binge eating, as described by the Weight Control Network:

Most of us overeat from time to time, and some of us often feel we have eaten more than we should have. Eating a lot of food does not necessarily mean that you have binge eating disorder. Experts generally agree that most people with serious binge eating problems often eat an unusually large amount of food and feel their eating is out of control. 

People with binge eating disorder also may:

  • Eat much more quickly than usual during binge episodes.
  • Eat until they are uncomfortably full.
  • Eat large amounts of food even when they are not really hungry.
  • Eat alone because they are embarrassed about the amount of food they eat.
  • Feel disgusted, depressed, or guilty after overeating.

It's pretty easy for anyone to slide into those categories, especially if we qualified for weight loss surgery.  You could probably qualify for many of these as a pre-op, and you didn't even think about it.  Many WLS patients were compulsive overeaters prior to surgery, and the surgery only partially helps.

I suppose the difference is — post surgery — DOING SO CAN CAUSE DISTRESS.  Over-eating can physically cause PAIN, discomfort, dumping, nausea or any number of things.  That's a big impetus for many post ops to quit overeating to begin with — to avoid the pain.  They aren't thinking about the emotional causes, triggers, to overeating, they just don't want to throw up.

We're not really thinking about being POWERLESS, we are thinking, "Holy shit, I don't want to break my pouch!"

I knew going in to roux en y surgery that overeating or eating the inappropriate foods would cause a physical reaction, and would put me in time out for being "bad."  That was part of my reasoning for choosing roux en y surgery, I wanted to know that I would PAY DEARLY for messing with Ben + Jerry.  

And, I do.  Pay Dearly.  Not, mess around with Ben + Jerry.  I have other vices.  Hello, caffeine!  But, on that thread, do I think I require 12 Steps Away From Coffee?  Maybe two.  One – STOP.  But, you know what TWO is?  MEDICATE.  There's always something else.  

I guess what I am trying to say is — if we qualified for weight loss surgery, we sort of went in to this game with an eating problem, no?  It shouldn't come as a big surprise that later on — "How did that stack of crackers disappear?"  Oh.  That was me.  Uh.  Sorry.  The crackers aren't holding Supreme Power! over me.  I'm stupid and I eat them.  I'm not saying YOU are, I am saying I AM.

We are aware that we have a problem when we go under the knife, that's why we're doing it, to "gain control," because we failed every other method.  (Or at least we pretended we did to get insurance coverage.)

But — this?   Perhaps before weight loss surgery, but do you still do this now?

Compulsive Overeating/Binge Eating Disorder

  1. Fear of not being able to control eating, and while eating, not being able to stop.
  2. Isolation. Fear of eating around and with others.
  3. Chronic dieting on a variety of popular diet plans.
  4. Holding the belief that life will be better if they can lose weight.
  5. Hiding food in strange places (closets, cabinets, suitcases, under the bed) to eat at a later time.
  6. Vague or secretive eating patterns.
  7. Self-defeating statements after food consumption.
  8. Blames failure in social and professional community on weight.
  9. Holding the belief that food is their only friend.
  10. Frequently out of breath after relatively light activities.
  11. Excessive sweating and shortness of breath.
  12. High blood pressure and/or cholesterol.
  13. Leg and joint pain.
  14. Weight gain.
  15. Decreased mobility due to weight gain.
  16. Loss of sexual desire or promiscuous relations.
  17. Mood swings. Depression. Fatigue.
  18. Insomnia. Poor Sleeping Habits.

I am concerned that we're not allowing ourselves to be normal, normal former morbid-obese girls, though.   Cut yourself a little…slack here.  The function of most weight loss surgeries prevents you from creating too much caloric havoc — you do have to work a little bit to break them.  (Want to learn how to gain weight with a gastric bypass?  I can teach you.  I'm totally writing an eBook.)

If we had surgery to "control" ourselves because we were out of control, and we then restrict our diets to a very limited intake to "control" ourselves, and then further "control" the situation by blowing up mostly normal post WLS food intake into sinful acts?  

We leave ourselves entirely out of control.  Nothing to eat, standing in front of the fridge recycling thoughts of what "I don't need."  Nothing like beating yourself up over a snack.  Is it worth it?

What is left to lose?   What are you going to do when you've villified all food and all food intake situations?  

If food is no longer an option — you may very well find another — "option."

Right.  It ain't knitting, honey.  (Well, for you it is.  But, you are weird.  <3)

Have you read Weighty Secrets?  Everybody done doin' something.  You just don't KNOW ABOUT IT.  

It's all too much.  

And, no, emailers, you don't appear to have an eating disorder, but if you do, so do I, and so do we all.  Let's book a whole wing someplace.  Wait, that sounds, appealing… actually.