Sunday, June 22, 2014
east to raise money for me to have bariatric surgery when our insurance refused, despite letters of medical necessity from several of my doctors. Feel free to like the page, no one is asking for funds, it is now just a page to keep up with me on my journey before, during, and after my Vertical Gastric Sleeve surgery. It's a place to watch me bloom!
It was anticipated that it would take about a year to 18 months to get the money raised, starting this past January. It's been such a whirlwind of activity! There was direct gifting on one funding site in January and February, a humongous rummage sale that so many San Antonio sparkers, friends and family donated to and worked in April, and the selling of Save the She Beast t-shirts in March and June. One beautiful Spark member, GOLDENDOMER00, donated all of the profits from one very successful Premier Jewelry party in February to the cause. Another friend who sells Avon did a fundraiser. A local musician who went to high school with my husband donated all of the tips from one of his gigs to us. What took us to our goal in only five months were two extremely generous gifts from benefactors who wish to remain anonymous. All together it equaled us getting the $15,000 needed for the surgery.
Melissa (GOLDENDOMER00) and some of her gorgeous jewelry from the PremierJewelry Fundraiser, and Melissa and me!
We were invited to appear on a local tv show, Great Day S.A., to talk about the campaign:
Me and my daughter goofing on the set:
Our group of San Antonio Sparkers and family with some of the cast of GDSA:
Here's some folks in their Save the She Beast t-shirts:
Pics from the rummage sale:
These are some of the volunteers at the rummage sale: Debra (HEALTHYHABITGAL) holding my granddaughter, Heidi (HEIDIJUNEBUG), me, Sarah Marie, my son-in-law Colin, and my daughter Carly. There were a lot of other volunteers, as well!
As soon as all of the money was pledged, I got busy scheduling what I needed to have done before surgery could be scheduled. I got clearance from my cardiologist and my primary care doctor. Here is my awesome heart guru and life saver after my heart attack, Dr. Kuri, signing the release:
I think my primary care doctor was as happy as me to find out I would be able to get the surgery soon. He's by far the best PCP I've ever had. My husband and I went together to see him (we are both his patients). Dr. Jaafar told us the doctor who will be performing my surgery was THE man to do this particular procedure and that he was the best of the best. That was incredibly reassuring. Here's a pic my husband snapped of me and Dr. J.
Tomorrow I have the first of several dietary consults, as well as a bone scan. On Tuesday I have an endoscopy to ensure that I have no active ulcers, gastritis or H. Pylori bacteria in my stomach. I also will have a psychological evaluation so any pre-surgery psychosocial factors are identified and dealt with. A person who has bariatric surgery is going to face permanent changes in eating and dietary habits, altered body experiences, changing body image issues, new feelings and a new lifestyle. There are a lot of unexpected changes in relationships possible as well. This evaluation should help pinpoint both my concerns as well as what a skilled professional might see as areas of concern such as unrealistic expectations so they can be worked on.
After all of the testing, I need to pay the anesthesiologist, hospital, and of course the surgeon. When I take care of this my surgery date will be finalized. Surgery has been tentatively set for July 28th. That's just FIVE WEEKS AWAY! I'm excited, scared (which is normal), and READY. I have a lot of faith in the bariatric center I'm working with, BMI of Texas, and with the doctor who will perform my surgery. Dr. Duperier comes highly recommended, not only by my own physician, but by three people I know, one of whom is a San Antonio Spark team member! Dr. D's associate, Dr. Seger, did the procedure for another friend and fellow SA Sparker. All of these folks are doing well and their results so far are wonderful.
I hope everyone reading this understands and believes how grateful and appreciative I am for what I've been given. So many people pitched in with money, purchases, and their time, love, good thoughts, and prayers for this to happen for me. I will never, ever forget for a minute. When I struggle, I will remember how many people had faith in me and loved me enough to make this happen for me. When I am finally in less pain and able to move more I will feel the gratitude anew. As the amount of medications I take get less and less I will be giving thanks for all that has been done for me. When I climb the stairs to my bedroom at night and don't have to pause to catch my breath several times I will be mentally sending love and praise to everyone who cared. When I can finally get down on the floor and roll a ball back and forth with my grand baby, tears of appreciation for what was given will flow. For every milestone, big and small, I will remember and be grateful.
I am especially grateful for my beautiful, talented, driven, and dynamic little fairy princess hippie child, the mother of my two littlest grandbabies, and the force behind the Save the She Beast campaign. Without her determination and hard work, this wouldn't be happening. Thank you, Carly. I love you so very much.
Here's a picture of Carly at Halloween before she cut her hair short. She was a midnight fairy.
There are so many others I haven't mentioned who were so helpful and instrumental to the cause. If I didn't mention you, please don't hold it against me. You are so loved and appreciated!
Stay tuned. There is a new, improved, twice as loving and just as fierce She-Beast in the making! As always, I love you all.
Monday, May 19, 2014
I'm realistic. I know I'm a big'un. I also know I am amazing, smart, beautiful, loved, caring, generous, loving and a whole lot more. What I didn't know is just how bad I looked when not really posing and just sitting around being silly with my 4 year-old grandson. He picked up my phone and said, "Smile, Grandma!" so I made a kind of silly face at him. I wasn't cleaned up. Hadn't even brushed my hair. I didn't have a bra on. No make up. Didn't angle my head to hide the super-sized chin. Didn't straighten up my clothing to look as smooth and sleek as humanly possible at my size. Didn't suck in my gut. Didn't sit straight. Didn't do any of the things we do when we are trying to look our best and hide all of our flaws.
When I saw the picture, I sat there in shock for a moment. Since the beginning of the year when I weighed my all time high of 272 through mid April I had lost 17 pounds. Since mid April until Saturday I hadn't been eating badly, but I had stopped tracking again and I had stopped subsisting on less than 1200 calories a day. I averaged around 1000-1100 when I was losing, because anything more than that gave me no loss at all. Anything above 1500 to 1600 and I gained. My endocrinologist is tweaking my meds and running test after test but nothing is changing, so far. ***NOTE*** this kind of severe caloric restriction is not the norm, and I am not advocating it because most people do not have metabolism disorders to this degree!*** Anyway, I've probably been eating closer to 2000 calories per day for a month. I've ignored that my pants are a bit snugger and I am a bit more winded when I work out. So, after I could pull my eyes away from the picture, I walked to the scale. Deep breath. Step on it. 270.2 pounds.,,on all four foot ten inches of me. That's 4.66 pounds per inch when there should be 1.98 pounds per inch. That's 2.35 times what I should weigh!
So, back to what was working and dealing with the hunger pains and not getting complacent while waiting for enough money to be saved and raised for my gastric sleeve surgery (which will remove the part of my stomach that signals hunger). If I start gaining again, or if I'm getting lazy or lackluster in my attempts to live a healthier life...This picture will be right in front of my face as my computer wall paper. Confirmation that complacency does NOT look good on me!
Never give up. Never give in. I love you all.
p.s. So that we don't end this on a negative note - I got my birthday present from the Animal Defense League shelter/rescue yesterday. Meet Khaleesi, Khali for short. She's 7 months old and I am totally in love already!
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
May we all have this much humor, this much stamina, and this much self-esteem and joy for life. May we all be so non-conscious of our bulging bellies and jiggly arms and thighs that we never forget to get out and have some healthy fun. I could watch him all day long. Makes me want to join in with him!
Tell the truth, what did you notice the most after the first 60 seconds...his big 'ol belly or how much fun he was having and how much fun he was bringing those around him?
Fun! Go get you some!
If for any reason the link doesn't work, just go to youtube and type in fat man funny exercise and it will take you to the video.
Monday, April 21, 2014
I have about eighty or more pictures from yesterday, but am only posting a few I thought you might like to see. It was a day of family, traditions, fun, and love - aren't those some of the most important reasons we are on this journey? Here's wishing you and yours many years of love, health, fun, family, and memories. May we all attain health and wellness on this journey that we never miss a moment of living life fully and enjoying all this world has in store for us.
Never give up. Never give in. As always, I love you all.
I may not be a Playboy Bunny, but I'm a Funny Bunny!
Grandson David and Grandniece Riley ready to hunt for those eggs at my sister Gale's house.
Searching for those eggs!
Handsome hubby, grandbaby Robyn, and me.
My daughter Carly and her youngest, Robyn.
David sprinkling gently sprinkling confetti on his baby sister and then smashing a cascarone on his own head.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
I haven't written a blog in over 7 weeks. I rarely go this long without touching base about my journey and what's going on with me. It's about time for a Save the She Beast campaign update, too.
For those of you who haven't been following the story, I have been turned down a number of times by my insurance carrier for gastric sleeve surgery, despite now having submitted 4 letters of medical necessity from 4 different doctors. I do not have $15,000 for the surgery. My knees and hips are nearly destroyed from arthritis, injury, and my weight bearing down on them, but to replace them before I lose the weight would be worthless. I can no longer walk without pain. I work out every day nearly, and I watch my diet and am CLOSELY monitored by two doctors, but I don't lose unless I am on a HIGHLY restricted diet. The surgery will remove that part of my stomach where the fundus that produces the hormone ghrelin is produced. Ghrelin is what signals hunger. With the fundus removed, I won't feel the pain of hunger and the overwhelming desire to eat that I get when eating such a small amount of calories. My insurance policy has a disclaimer against paying for anything related to weight loss surgery.
My daughter decided in January that she was going to start a facebook page called Save the She Beast and use it to raise funds for my surgery. I've been interviewed and my story has been published in print and online in words and in video.
On February 14th I posted the blog "Links to the Associated Press Article & Video of Me", which you can read if you are interested. www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
On February 24th I posted the blog " Writing a Book, Small TV Appearance, Big Hopes *pics*"
in which I talked about writing a book about these experiences. We were also given a spot on a local tv show called Great Day SA and a few sparkers and some family members showed up to be on camera with me. I got to meet AVIDWISHER (Elizabeth) for the first time and she was a doll. I also had a lot of pictures in there. Some of the pictures show me and another sparker GOLDENDOMER00 (Melissa) who is a Premier Jewelry representative. She held a jewelry party fundraiser at my daughter's home and gave the campaign all of her profits from that night. It came out to $500! The campaign has also run an online fundraiser which raised over $2,300 and a tshirt fundraiser as well. All these details and more can be read in that blog by clicking on the following link: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
This past month we've been gearing up for a massive rummage sale which was held this past Sunday at Braun Road Automotive's massive parking lot. Braun Rd Auto is owned and operated by Reiko, who is spark member TaMara6905's wife. So many friends and family members worked diligently to make this a success. I sold baked goods (I love to bake) and my brother grilled hot dogs which were sold with chips and sodas during the sale. We had a raffle for a donated electric guitar and a set of hand-etched wine glasses made by spark member MrsSuzStar (Suzan). HealthyHabitGal (Debra) was amazing, driving her van all over creation collecting donated items from her friends, as well as cleaning out her own closets because of the huge amount of weight she has lost. She helped set up and with sales and a willing lap for my 6 month old granddaughter to sleep on. TexasJenne (Jennifer), whom I had never met, arrived on the day of the sale with TONS of stuff from her home to sell, as well as tables for us to use. HeidiJuneBug (Heidi) helped with making signs before the event and was there from beginning to end helping out. AvidWisher and LMTorres came out in a show of support as well. I'm hoping against hope I haven't left anyone out here who is a spark member. There were literally dozens of people donating goods to sell, picking items up, helping to sort and price and everything in between. It was a VERY successful sale. We cleared, after expenses, just over $700. We are now at a grand total of $4,204 out of the $15,000 we need.
I won't put up any links which direct you to any fund raisers for our campaign as it is against sparkpeople rules. But since you know the name of the campaign you are free to go on facebook to find and like our page for updates and information.
Here are some pictures taken during a lull in the craziness of the day at the rummage sale. I'll point out some spark members for you.
In this first picture, from left to right, Debra (HealthyHabitGal) with my sleeping granddaughter on her lap, Heidi (HeidiJuneBug), The She Beast herself, Sarah (my daughter's best friend), My son-in-law Colin, and my daughter Carly.
Here is my granddaughter Robyn, being held by her other grandma, her Nana Elly:
Who wouldn't want to buy from my 4 year old grandson, David?
HealthyHabitGal Debra discovers she is smaller than she thought now that her weight is dropping off again!
My baby brother Woody (he's only 48!) taking a break from grilling the hot dogs to cuddle with Robyn
TaMara6905 flashes her famous smile
David demos the toys for shoppers:
My Dad, PawPawDon (also a sparker!), who will be 80 in July, gave great grandson David rides on his walker when he got a little worn out.
Random pics and folks. The Harley rider was such a fun guy!
The sky threatened to rain all day, but it held off. Even though most of the day was overcast, the sun came out a time or two. Several of us didn't get the sunscreen on in time and got a little burnt, but all in all we had a fun, busy, and exhausting day. I'm so grateful to EVERYONE who helped us out.
The tshirts you see so many of us wearing were offered for sale to raise funds. So many people wanted them AFTER the fundraiser ended that we will be offering them again in May, after my daughter finishes with her finals. Another friend works at a golf course bar which also offers food. She is working on getting a bbq plate fundraiser for this summer. There is a lot going on and more to come. I'm so blessed to have so much love and friendship in my life.
This WILL happen. If you never give up and you never give in, you will get where you want to be.
As always, I love you all.
p.s. I forgot to mention I've lost 14 pounds so far this year!
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