Monday, June 29, 2015

Decisions, decisions...

Well, as you read in my previous entry I have decided to have weight loss surgery. Which procedure has yet to be determined. The surgeon I have decided to work with provides three options:

1. Lap Band - which I do NOT want. I have been witness to way too many complications as a nurse in the ER. I don't like that a foreign object is wrapped around my stomach, which in a lot of cases, ends up eroded into the stomach tissue. Plus, the success rates for this surgery are very slim and most insurance companies will not cover the costs of your band revisions. So...take this one right off the list!

2. Gastric sleeve - Otherwise known as the laparoscopic vertical sleeve gastrectomy. This is the surgery I was the most sold on until I went to the bariatric seminar and have research more. This surgery involves permanently removing 75% of the stomach, which limits the amount of food you can eat and helps you feel full sooner. This is becoming the gold standard and has increased in popularity. The problem I am finding is that most patients complain of severe gastric reflux and the long-term results are not as good as the bypass. Quite a few patients re-stretch their stomach and can back the weight- which can happen with the bypass, but not as easily.

3. Roux-en-Y - Otherwise known as gastric bypass involves creating a small pouch out of the top of the stomach and rerouting the intestines to create a restrictive and malabsorptive component. Patients lose approximately 80% of their excess weight and the long-term effects are well documented. The risk is relatively the same as the sleeve. I am leaning toward this procedure, but I am still deciding.

However, I have time. Lots of time. The testing and time and energy that goes into this process is plentiful. So far I have had a gamut of labs drawn, which led to me being placed on 4 vitamins: Vitamin d, Vitamin A, Calcium, and a multivitamin. I also had to have an exercise screening and an upper GI to test for reflux. I am in the process of trying to schedule a psychological evaluation. I have a meeting with a nutritionist on Thursday and I go back to the surgeon on Monday to find out what is next on my list of pre-op work. 

I am anxious to find out what the nutritionist has to say. This is very exciting, and yet terrifying, at the same time. I appreciate everyone joining me on this journey. My family and friends have been nothing but supportive. It will be a long road and I am excited to share the journey with you all.

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Friday, June 12, 2015

Food controls my life.

A big focus of this blog was supposed to be weight loss and the struggle I have losing and keeping off weight. Well, for a lack of a better phrase - the struggle is real. People - men, women, young, old - have trouble with their weight. With all the processed foods and fast food options it isn't surprising the problems people have. 

First off, some honesty. I have lost weight, a significant amount in fact. I lost over 60 pounds in 2008. I gained it back...and then some. My highest weight (at the time) was in 2008 and that was approximately 280 pounds. As of Tuesday, I weight 307 pounds. It has been a gradual increase over the past seven years, however my weight has gotten out of control. Food controls my life. Food is supposed to be nourishing and be used to sustain life. It shouldn't control your life. Food shouldn't be constantly craved and sought after. 

Me, in 2008 after losing close to 62 pounds
Food controls my life.

This was a hard realization. It caught me off guard - to realize how much I loved food and how much I didn't want to give it up. The next realization? I am 30 years old and my body is tired. My back hurts. My knees ache. When I walk short distances, they feel long to me. My ankles swell and my feet hurt. I am carrying around another whole person with me. My body is carrying an extra 150 pound person. If I don't make changes, and soon, it could be too late.

My husband, Bob and step-daughter, Chelsea and me at her graduation a couple of weeks ago; at my highest weight of 307lbs

Once these realizations hit me full force, I had a melt down. In my doctor's office. He told me it's time to consider bariatric surgery. My instinct with weight loss surgery has always been to say "HELL NO". He convinced me to at least research it and since I am a graduate student, research is my forte, so research I did. 

My initial thoughts on bariatric surgery were: This is the easy way out. I can lose weight, I have done it. The problem? Keeping it off. Weight loss surgery to me appeared to be the easy way out for those who couldn't control themselves. I was wrong. Weight loss surgery is not the easy way out. It is easy to assume that because you have surgery and lose weight very quickly, that it is a magical, wonderfully painless solution to become thin and beautiful quickly. It isn't. It is a long and hard road. The decision itself to do it - not easy. Choosing which procedure is best for you? Difficult. Learning to eat a bariatric, liquid diet - I have yet to even fathom what that will be like. The tests that you have to do before you can even be cleared to have a procedure? Plentiful. Words can't even express how hard this process will be. 

But you know what? It's time to take my life back.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Happy Nursing Week 2015!!

To the past, present and future registered nurses: Happy Nurses Week!!

Being a RN is a very rewarding, stressful, fulfilling, and difficult career. I have been a RN since 2006. I can honestly say that nursing school is one of the most difficult experiences of my life. There is a reason that there are memes describing it as awful, comparing it to the Hunger Game and/or riding a bike while on fire. It is hard. Anyone who is currently in nursing school or has successfully made it through nursing school - I applaud your efforts. It's not easy.

Me @ nursing clinical - I was so excited.

FSU Clinical Group
FSU Clinical Group

Throughout my career I have met many great nurses. Nursing as a career isn't easy. Depending on where you work, it can be busy, thankless, and stressful. It can also be beautiful and filled with moments that you will never forget. I have been a witness to the start of a life. I can been witness to the end of a life. I have seen tragedy. I have seen happiness. As an emergency room nurse, it is likely that I have seen every emotion that humans can feel. Maybe in one 12 hour shift.

So, what is nurse's week? Do you know why we celebrate it when we do?

Nurses week is celebrated May 6th-May 12th. These dates were chosen to celebrate the legacy of Florence Nightingale (who I lovingly refer to as "Flo"... like we were besties, ya know?). Flo's birthday is May 12th, so we celebrate the week before and the days leading up to Flo's birthday. Typically hospitals will celebrate by providing gifts to their staff and having a special day were the RN's were their white nursing caps and caps. You see, Flo is a nurse who became famous for treating wounded soldiers during the Crimean war. Not only did she care for wounded soldiers, but she helped establish nursing as a profession. She founded the first nursing school in 1860, which was the first school for professional nursing in the world. Flo is also known as the "Lady with the Lamp" since she  carried a lamp through the wards of the hospitals. There's your history lesson for the day.

2015 Nurses Week Promotions and Specials:

Free Promotional Nursing Materials: Free coloring books, magnets, brochures, and pins

Cinnabon: participating Cinnabon bakeries will offer nurses a free Cinnabon Classic Roll or MiniBon® roll when they present their healthcare ID badge

NY & CompanyWe love nurses & teachers! As a thank you for all you do, we’re giving you 30% off everything! Shop Teachers and Nurses Appreciation Week now – May 5th in stores (with valid ID) and online using promo 9818 at checkout.

ANA 10% off all ANA books!

Uniform City: 20% off scrubs!

Uniform Advantage: 20% select brands

All Heart: Uniforms and medical supplies - sale on certain brands and items

Do you know of any Nurse's Week Deals??
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