Tag Archives: vertical sleeve


12 Nov

I’ve reached the time in my weight loss journey where stalls start to happen. It’s the first but certainly won’t be the last. It’s times like these when it’s important to find NSVs or Non-Scale Victories that encourage and motivate you. NSVs are a great way to really evaluate the impact of your efforts. So, I’ll start with my first and list a few smaller ones. 

The first HUGE NSV is the dress I’m wearing to work today. I haven’t been able to wear it in TEN YEARS. 10 years!!! I carried it from place to place hoping to one day lose enough weight to fit in it. Not only have I not been able to wear it in 10 years, but it is a REGULAR SIZE FROM A REGULAR STORE! Ok, as regular as XL can be. But, without further ado, my Merona XL wrap dress from Target!



I look at the difference between my lumpy former self from last summer and my much more smooth self from today, and I can truly count it as a victory!

A few other NSVs I experienced the past week or so:

  • My hubby noticed he could wrap his arms all the way around me (felt amazing!)
  • Effortlessly walked 5 miles at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival
  • My rings completely flew off my hand while getting something out of the fridge
  • I am throwing too-big clothes in my ThredUp bag like crazy
  • My size 22 fat jeans that I’m keeping for my after picture are WAY too big to even try to wear
  • I’m hovering between a size 16 and 18
  • I’m excited to fit in an airplane seat for my 10 year anniversary trip next month 🙂


1 Nov

There’s some amazing things that happen to your body post-sleeve. In addition to the obvious movement on the scale, your body starts to reshape and reconfigure as it works to accommodate the new and improved version of yourself.

Sometimes, those changes might be evident to everyone else but you. In fact, more often than not, other people will notice how great you look before you do. You will be grumbling to yourself because in your scale obsession you discovered you gained 0.4 lbs overnight, meanwhile other people are watching your transformation in awe.

But at some point, when you least expect it, you will see it.

It happened today for both me and Allison. We had been complaining about the trivial things like gross-tasting protein shakes, lack of appetite and getting in all our water. Then a colleague suggested we take a picture since we “look so great”. We obliged, obviously not excited as obesity tends to make you a little camera shy! But what we saw in the picture was incredible. It was this shocking, new, intermediate version of us that looked completely different from the us we photographed last month. We pulled a picture of us from last month and finally, we saw the changes.


Allison and Lindsay 09/27/2013 and 11/1/2013. Amazing what can happen in 35 days.

So this is our advice. Take pictures, and take them often. Throughout your entire journey, even before you start losing weight. You won’t be able to see the changes from day to day, and that can get discouraging, so these pictures will become treasured snapshots of your progress. Rejoice in the small victories, and embrace your changes, because they all add up to the new you.

Post-Op Day 1: I made it!

17 Oct

So I made it. I’m being discharged from the hospital today and I’m really glad to be going home. I wanted to share some of the good, the bad and the ugly from surgery, so people would have an idea what to expect.

The Good

As soon as they stick that mask on your face, you forget everything you were worried about
The bariatric nurses are amazing at finding creative ways to manage your pain and nausea
For the first time in probably your whole life, you wake up NOT FEELING HUNGRY!

The Bad

You may have an NG tube and it will cause horrible gagging and nausea
You will have pain, especially in the incisions where your stomach (and in my case gall bladder as well) were removed
You may have a JP drain which will cause all kinds of discomfort
You will have HORRIBLE dry-mouth (chapstick, ice chips, and frequent rinsing will help with this)
If you have staples, it will make you more uncomfortable than just the surgery

The Ugly

For the first few hours after you wake up, you will definitely regret having done this, but the buyer’s remorse will pass by tomorrow
The day 2 leak test liquid is the most disgusting tasting stuff on earth and will turn your lips and mouth blue and your pee green
You will need to force yourself to eat and drink something in order to go home, tip: the broth settles better than anything else
That JP tube is WAY longer than you had imagined, and having it removed feels like pulling a tapeworm
You will feel like your intestines are falling out of your body anytime you stand up (use a pillow to hold it all in)
You may vomit lots of blood, freaking yourself and your spouse out (sorry babe!)

Despite all of this, you will survive, and you will be so thankful you made this choice!


Day 6 Preop: Thoughts and Advice

9 Oct

I threw this video together in the Ikea parking lot because I felt like there’s a lot of things I wish people would have told me about preop and how to manage it better. I learned by trial and error, and I wanna pay that labor forward. So here it is, folks!

P.S. I HATE watching videos of myself…I realize I have a lisp, my face is uneven and I make bizarre faces…BUT I know how much videos have helped me, so I’m going to keep doing them for YOU 🙂

Pumpkin Steel Cut Oats

9 Oct

I love fall, even though we live in Florida.  Our clothing and leaves don’t really change but my yearning for fall color, seasons , smells and food are all about FALL right now.

What I dream fall should look like:









What Fall looks like in my back yard 😦










So how to eat yummy Fall food with this new “better” way of eating?  I am on a quest to find new recipe choices and I will post along the way.

First of all my favorite smell, flavor and food during this season is pumpkin.  Pumpkin pie, pumpkin curry, pumpkin ravioli.. etc.

My first Fall recipe I will share is Pumpkin Steel Cut Oatmeal.

Pumpkin Steel Cut oats

Pumpkin Steel Cut Oatmeal


1 Cup Steel cut oats (I purchased in bulk section of Whole Foods, but Quaker has them as well)

1/2 can pure pumpkin

1/4 cup half and half (or any milk, I like half and half because it gives more protein and is creamier)

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp cinnamon ( or just shake until you have what you want)

1-2 tsp splenda or sugar substitute

dash of salt.


3 cups of water and 1 cup of steel cut oats with a pinch of salt to a boil
turn down to med-low and simmer for 45 minutes
If consistency is too thick or water is evaporating , add a little bit more water and stir frequently
stir in 1/2 can pure pumpkin,  pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, sugar substitute and 1/4 cup of half and half cook until warmed.

Serve immediately

1/4 cup (1) serving

Calories: 135

Carbs:       11

Fat:              3

Protein:     5

Sodium:    10

Sugar:          4

3 weeks Post Op

25 Sep

HI Team!  It’s Allison, here is my first Post Op Video.

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Intro to My Journey

19 Sep

Just a quick webcam introduction to who I am and why I’m here.

My hope is to chronicle this journey through weekly videos in addition to posts, so this is the beginning of a looong journey, my friends. Only 3 weeks 5 days til I get sleeved, but who’s counting?

Step 4: Embrace Protein

2 Sep

At first I was annoyed, but now I’m glad that my Drs office requires patients to start a high protein,  low fat diet as soon as surgery is scheduled.  So I gave myself the weekend and decided that today would be the start of my diet.

I’m looking forward to it for several reasons. First off, it gives my body plenty of time to wean off refined sugars and simple carbs, which is just good eating anyhow. Second off, it gives me a good month to start experimenting with protein and figure out what I like. Finally, it gives me the opportunity to lose a significant amount of weight before the liquid diet even begins. The nice thing about my liquid diet is that its simply replacing two of my three high-protein meals with protein shakes each day, so again, not a super huge adjustment.

I lost a good amount of weight (25 lbs in 3 weeks) on Atkins back in January,  so I’ll just modify it to eat less fat and more lean protein. I’m gunna have to do a lot of reading on meal ideas and  options so I can fully embrace my new way of eating. Had a delicious egg and veggie scramble this morning along with some iced coffee with FF half & half and splenda. Here’s to embracing protein!


My delish low carb breakfast.

Step 3: Get Approved

30 Aug

I completed all the requirements on Friday, August 23 at 4:30 pm. John at Dr. Jawad’s Office submitted my claim on Monday, August 25 at 9 am and yesterday, Wednesday, August 27 at 5pm I received my confirmation that I am APPROVED TO GET SLEEVED!

For anyone who is wondering, both Allison and I have Anthem BCBS through our employer and they are just PHENOMENAL about insurance approvals and all that jazz. I also have to give a shout out to the amazing staff at Dr. Jawad’s Office because they are a well-oiled machine and really have their stuff together.

The insurance gave me a tentative date of 9/17, which would be AWESOME because our family lucky numbers are 7 and 17. I’m still waiting to hear back from the surgery scheduler to get a definitive though. Here goes everything!

Step 2: Make Lots of Appointments

25 Aug

So, I had posted earlier about my initial consult with my weight loss surgeon. (If anyone is wondering, Dr. Jawad at Orlando Bariatric Center is PHENOMENAL).  Then the real fun began, wherein I spent the next month rushing from appointment to appointment. For those of you considering this procedure, these requirements may be different for you depending on your surgeon’s preference and insurance requirements. However, I will share all the dates and an overview of each appointment to give you a good idea of what this looks like. Hopefully it will help someone plan and prepare.

July 19, 2013
Initial Consultation-Dr. Jawad
3 Hours
$35 Specialist Co-Pay

I think most offices probably do this a little bit differently, but my Dr likes to do the seminar, education session, and initial consultation all in one visit. He usually hosts these each Friday at his Orlando office. Basically I went to the office and (having previously filled out all the new patient paperwork) sat in a small classroom with about 7 other people considering bariatric surgery. The Dr. came in and explained obesity, why it’s difficult for obese people to lose weight and keep it off, and the specifics of each procedure on the whiteboard. There was a short Q & A and then we were free to go to the waiting room. We were seen one by one for vitals and each taken to do H&P with the nurse practitioner. ***Important point I should mention here: If you are on hormonal birth control, STOP. You cannot be on any type of hormones prior to surgery. They looked it up and determine my Copper IUD was A-OK. The Dr came in shortly thereafter to review medical history and discuss the surgery options. He agreed that the sleeve was a good option for me, and wrote orders for all the tests. I got my 5 scripts and proceeded to John, the insurance guy who told me what I’d need to do (5 tests, no waiting period) and he handed me off to the receptionist for appointment scheduling.

Results: Good to go for the Sleeve, follow-up testing needed

July 22, 2013
Psych Eval-Dr. Jawad’s Office
1 Hour
$15 Mental Health Co-Pay

This appt is probably a lot of what you would expect. Tell a little about yourself. What do you want out of this surgery. There’s some fun true or false questions to gauge if you’re cray cray (i.e. T/F, you were on the cover of 3 magazines last week). There were some tears and a lot of emotions I didn’t expect. Be prepared for uncovering feelings you didn’t realize you had.

Results: Sane enough for surgery

July 23, 2013
Lab Draws-Quest Diagnostics
30 minutes
$42.99 towards $100 deductible

Pretty cut and dry. This was for a typical blood count, metabolic, and thyroid panel. Made an appt online. Showed up at the appt time. Filled out some simple forms. Was whisked back. Made small talk with the phlebotomist so she’d be nice. She was. 6 Vials. Band-aid. Off to work.

Results: Disease free

July 24, 2013
Gall Bladder Ultrasound-Dr. Phillips Hospital
2 Hours
$56.19 towards $100 deductible

Made an appointment 2 days before. Had to have nothing to eat or drink 6 hours before. Arrived at 730 am for an 8 am appt. I got unlucky and got the student sonographer. It took her about an hour and 20 minutes to scan 47,251 images of my gall bladder, and then the real sonographer came in and took about 30 minutes to take another 15. All in all it was uncomfortable and frustrating due to the time, but not terrible.

Results: If there’s any stones the gall bladder goes, no stones and the gall bladder stays

July 31, 2013
Manometry Study-Dr. Jawad’s Office
1 Hour
No Copay

Deep breath. This is damn near traumatic to relive. But I’m going to tell you the truth, because everything online is a lie. A LIE! I’m pretty sure manometry studies is how they invented water-boarding. You will feel like you’re going to throw up the entire time. You go in and they make you snort lidocaine gel and gargle and swallow some, for good measure. This part is gross, and sort of cringe-worthy, but you’ll live. Then the terrible part starts. The nurse practitioner will start inserting a tube about 1/8-1/4 inch in diameter into your nostril. Meanwhile a nurse will be giving you lukewarm water through a straw and telling you to swallow repeatedly. No amount of lidocaine will make you feel any better. It is practically torture. You will gag. They will stop and tell you to breathe. You will breathe and gag more. They will continue. Then it “goes in far enough” and you breathe a sigh of relief because it’s almost over. LIES! They will tape the tube in and MAKE YOU LIE DOWN. Then the mad scientist will remove 10 syringes of warm water from a secret compartment and explain the REAL procedure.

  • You MAY NOT SWALLOW unless you’re told to…even though every instinct in your body will tell you to swallow because there’s a tube down your throat
  • You will get a syringe of warm water in your mouth while laying down and you may only swallow once or you screw the whole thing up
  • You will screw the whole thing up…or at least I did
  • They will move the tube up a little with each swallow….and you will feel it
  • By the seventh syringe you will feel like you’re drowning
  • By the 9th you will ask for a barf bucket
  • By the time it’s all over you will sing praises to the Lord

Clearly, I’m exaggerating somewhat…but it was THE WORST most uncomfortable procedure of my life…so, BUYER BEWARE

ResultsI screwed up the test with my uncontrollable swallowing and my results were “low-normal” referred for an upper GI series

August 6, 2013
Nutritionist Consult-Dr. Jawad’s Office
1 Hour
No Charge

By this point, you’ve already had a tube shoved down your nose and been water-boarded, and there’s no place to go but up. The nutritionist visit is informative, beneficial and practical. If you’re an obsessive researcher and read everything on the Internet about VSG, most of this will be review for you. It’s still good. I received a packet of diet info for pre-op, post-op and maintenance. Basically, the 2 week preop liquid protein diet to shrink the liver, clear fluids for 1 day prior to and 3 days following surgery. 1 month of liquids post op (foods that don’t need to be chewed, including protein shakes) and 1 month of soft foods (foods that can be cut with the side of a fork) until you’re able to eat 60-80g of protein without supplements per day, with no more than 25-30g per serving. I brought my husband to this session since he’s the cook in our family. I think it was helpful to have him there and get a realistic picture of what our meals will look like post-vsg.

Results: I can do this!

August 12, 2013
Upper GI Series-Orlando Regional Hospital
1 Hour
$0.82 to satisfy remainder of $100 deductible

This is probably the coolest test because you get to see your insides. You go in, nothing to eat after midnight and drink some alka seltzer type stuff to inflate your stomach, then drink some white barium type stuff, then stand on a “wall” and BOOM! it starts moving and turns into a table…WHAAAAAAT? Yeah, it’s pretty futuristic. They spend about 30 minutes taking different pics of your esophagus and stomach, having you spin around to coat your stomach and taking more pictures. Fun times were had by all and I got a CD of my images for my scrapbook.

Results: I have a small hiatal hernia, but no GERD

August 23, 2013
Upper GI Follow Up and Consultation-Dr. Jawad
1 Hour
$35 Copay

Went to Dr. Jawad’s office and he reviewed my Manometry results and Upper GI results. He said he’d fix the hernia while he was in there and he didn’t foresee any problems with the sleeve. Phew!

Results: Ready to submit to Insurance

10.5 hours and $185 to change my life. Worth it!

So, now we wait!

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