Mar 28, 2012

A trip to my Favorite Hospital

I know that kind of sounds like a crazy title.  Let's be honest, who really has a favorite hospital?  But, when you have been to as many as I have, you tend to find the one you like the most.  

This morning I had an endoscopy scheduled at LDS hospital in Salt Lake.  I have a very fond spot in my heart for this hospital because I spent over a month there in 2009 when I almost lost my life.  Today was just a quick visit with my favorite Doctor (who just happened to be the doctor to save my life at that hospital).  As I was sitting in the waiting room with my darling husband, a nurse came in to put in my IV.  I recognized her instantly, but I couldn't place her name.  She smiled and I knew where I remembered her from.  This sweet nurse was one of the many nurses who spent what seemed like endless nights chatting with me while I was having my "vacation" on floor 6 at that hospital.  :)  She would come into my room to check on me and make sure I was okay, and she would end up staying there for hours with me.  She will never know what those nights meant to me.  I will never forget the love that I felt from her, and a few other very special nurses at that hospital.  They not only took care of me, but became my friends.  They were some of the last people that I believed I was going to spend my life with.  Those nights when I sent my husband home because he hadn't slept in days, I was alone in that hospital room, and those nurses were my family.  They cared for me like I was their sister.  They loved me like I was their friend, and they touched me so deeply that they will be in my heart forever.  

After she was done doing my IV my husband and I looked at each other to make sure we both knew that it was her.  I looked down at my arm and smiled as a tear fell from my eye.  Those nurses on floor 6 of the LDS hospital in June of 2009 will never know the love that I have for them.  Nate, Paul, Patrick, Cheriee, and so many more I can never thank enough.  

The nurse came to get me to take me into the room to do my endoscopy and my nurse happened to be standing there looking at me.  She kind of smiled and said, "I think I know you."  I looked at her and told her how she knew me and gave her a hug.  I told her how much she meant to me and how much I loved her.  She was truly one of my angels at a very hard time in my life.  She spent moments with me that I will treasure forever.

As I kissed my hubby goodbye like I always do before I go into a procedure, I told him how much I loved him and that I would see him in a few minutes.  Then he smiled at me and went into the waiting room.  I walked into the room, got settled into the bed and was a little nervous until my doctor came in.  Instantly my nerves calmed and I was able to focus.  I know this doctor.  I know that he knows me inside and out, and that he would make sure I would be fine.  He walked in, smiled, and said hello.  I felt peace come over me as I knew that he had just prayed in my behalf and his, before he came into this room.  There were many occasions where I talked to this doctor about his process before doing any procedure no matter how big or small.  I knew he had prayed because that is what he does before every one of his procedures.  I always feel calm in his care.  As I laid my head down before they gave me the medicine I said a quick little prayer, and knew everything would be alright.

Everything in the endoscopy turned out great.  Well, I guess as great as it can be.  I haven't been able to eat the last 2 weeks and have felt really nauseated (luckily I could still drink!)  I knew something was wrong, just like I do about every 4 months when it starts to happen.  Sure enough my doctor went down and found that my little tummy had closed up on me again.  He stretched it open for me and I was good as new!  :)  

On my way home with my sweet Davey I was watching the people outside walking, riding their bikes, and going about their daily activities.  We passed the LDS temple and I saw people walking around the square and downtown shopping.  I suddenly felt a little sad because there are so many things that I can't do.  There are times when I feel like I have held my husband back because I can't go for bike rides, I can't walk as far as I once could, I won't be hiking in the gorgeous Utah mountains anytime soon.  I have come to face it that there are just somethings that my little body is not strong enough for anymore.  As I started to tear up I looked at my husband.  He looked at me and smiled.  I looked down at his hand holding mine and it was all I needed to see to know that I have never held him back.  He is exactly where he wants to be.  He's sitting right next to me.  I instantly fell more in love with him then I was the day before, or the day before that.  I have my life, I have my husband, and he has me.  I'm as happy as I could ever wish to be.  I may not have all the strength in the world, but I have all the love that I need.  I have my sweet husband who loves me, and as long as he keeps wanting to be with me I think my life will be totally complete. 

As I sit here tonight typing my blog, and my sweet little hubby is sitting right outside studying I feel whole.  No matter what sickness overcomes me, no matter how many surgeries I have to have, and no matter how many trips or dates or hiking trips I miss, my life is great.  Dave loves me, and that's all I really need.  I truly am the luckiest girl in the world.  I never knew how great my life could be.  Today is a reminder of why I chose to live that day in the hospital.  Today is the reason that I asked God to give me one more day.  As long as I get another 24 hours with my husband, all the pain and suffering in this world is worth it.  So I guess I'll just keep trucking along, and if I don't get to run on the beaches of Hawaii anytime soon, at least I get to walk around the block holding my sweetheart's hand.

Mar 14, 2012

A fun FUN day!

I had a fun little photo shoot with my family and friends the other day and here are some of my favorite shots that I wanted to share with my friends!  Love you all!

3 of the BEST Years of my Life

Happy Anniversary my darling David.  I know you're going to kill me for putting this picture up, but this is one of the many reasons that I LOVE YOU!

I just had to take a moment on my blog and SCREAM from the tips of my fingers how madly in love with you I am.  I'm so thankful you are mine, and that I will have you for always.  You make me the happiest woman on the planet, and I feel like the luckiest girl in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD that I get to share this great Adventure with you.  I don't know how I stole your heart 4 years ago, but I'm so thankful I did.  You're the cutest thing on 2 legs and I love EvErY SINGLE thing about you.  I don't know how I would go on living in this world without you, so let's never make me try.  Thank you for always being by my side.  I can do anything as long as you're holding my hand and there to guide me.  The world is a little brighter when you smile, so keep on showing those gorgeous teeth.

Thank you for working so hard for me.  Thank you for busting your butt to become a doctor for your family.  Thank you for taking care of me when I'm sick, for holding my hand and letting me know that it will all be okay because we're together.  Thank you for making me realize that anything is possible as long as you're on my right side.  I feel like I can fly with your love.  I feel like I can run across mountains, jump out of planes, and swim across oceans just because I know you love me.  Our love is like a Fairytale and I never want it to end.  I can't believe that I'm the girl that got Prince Charming.  I can't believe that you were there waiting for me with my glass slipper exactly in my size.  I can't believe you came and slayed the evil dragon, ran up those stairs and kissed me out of my long sleep.  Waking up to your shining face was the greatest day of my life, and I feel so lucky that I get to do it day after day.

I can't wait to grow old with you and every second in between.  Thank you for being all that you are to me and so much more.  I can't believe that I'm the luckiest girl in the world.  So babydoll, Start Spreadin the news, I'm leaving today, I wanna be a part of it....NEW YORK! NEW YORK!  Here's lookin at you kid!

Mar 8, 2012

Gastric Bypass Q&A and Utah Valley Mag

I got an email yesterday that my article in the Utah Valley Magazine has come out, and after reading it I was so pleased.  They portrayed the most important part in my life so well....the fact that my husband is everything and more to me.  Thank you Kylee for being so great to work with.  If my readers would like to read the article click here for the link.

Oprah 2005 302lbs
I've been getting a lot of phone calls, people just stopping me while I'm grocery shopping, and random emails on FB from people who are genuinely interested in why I had gastric bypass, about if they should get it done, and what my experience was.  I wanted to write a blog post and answer some of my "Most asked Gastric Bypass questions" so I can maybe help some of the public who are asking themselves some of the hard ones.  

First off I want everyone to know because it's the #1 question that I get, that I would absolutely 110% do gastric bypass again even if I knew all that was going to happen.  I know a lot of people get mad when I give them that answer.  They may think I'm vain, arrogant, stupid, or they could agree.  Everyone is entitled to there own opinion, and that is my opinion on that question.  The reason I would have it done again is because it gave me the life that I have, and that I am so grateful for.  It gave me the confidence that I needed to put myself out there and meet new people, try new things, and have an amazing life.  Most importantly it lead me to my amazing husband.  I know for a fact that I would never have met Dave if I wouldn't have had the surgery.  So would I have it again?  I would do it tomorrow if I needed to.
Oprah 2006 150lbs

The next question I get is how much weight did I lose.  Originally I lost 150lbs.  I went from 302lbs to 150lbs.  Then I got sick where I could no longer eat and I went down to 123lbs.  I'm now back up to 137lbs. and have maintained that for over 2 years.  It has been 7 years since my surgery and since the first year was done I have never gone above 150lbs.  I went from a women's size 28 to a women's size 4.  I'm extremely happy with my results, and although I know my results aren't typical I'm glad that I have been able to keep the weight off.

The next one is by losing all that weight do I have saggy skin.  The answer is yes and no.  I was very lucky with this surgery.  Since I had the surgery at such a young age my skin was able to tighten back up by itself.  I have never had to have any skin tightening or skin removal surgeries.  I still do have the saggy arms that I can't get rid of, and I have stretch marks that will be there forever, but overall my skin has remained tight.  Exercise really does help keep my stomach tight, and even though I despise exercise it really does work.

Oprah 2011 136lbs
Who was my surgeon?  My original surgeon was a man named Dr. Hanafy.  He is no longer practicing in Utah and I hope he's not practicing at all.  Because of the screw ups that he made initially, those were the issues that caused my intestines to decay and twist up on me.  The surgeon who I owe my life to, who stuck with me through 13 surgeries and still helps me to this day is Dr. Roderick McKinlay from St. Marks Hospital in Salt Lake City.  His team of 3 doctor's are rated 1 of the top 10 gastric bypass surgeons in the nation.  He is amazing, and I truly owe my life to him.  He had never performed the surgery that he had to do on me to save my life, and he said he had never heard of any doctor doing this surgery.  He and his team of doctors were able to go in, take out 3 feet of my small intestine, detach my intestines from my liver which they had wrapped around, and basically rebuilt my digestive system from the inside out.  He is amazing, and I would send any family member who wanted gastric bypass to him.  I know he does a great job, and his patients have never had issues that I have had.  I was his first, and I feel very blessed to have had him on call the night my bowel perforated and I had to go in for emergency surgery at 3am.
Me today 136lb
4th how much does it cost?  Gastric Bypass is not a cheap surgery.  It ranges between $20-30,000 dollars.  You have to decide for yourself if it is worth it for you.  I have had to pay that price twice now, and it was worth it for me.  With the love and help from my parents, neighbors, and loved ones, I was able to get a new stomach which kept me alive.  Everyone has to go through there own soul searching process.  The reason I did it was because I knew for a fact that I would never lose the weight on my own.  I had been every diet there is since I was 5 years old.  I exercised my guts out, but wouldn't stop eating so I wouldn't lose weight.  I knew this was my only option.  I want to tell you though that the hour before I went into surgery I really didn't want it.  It hit me that I wasn't going to be able to eat and I had severe withdrawals.  I'm just glad I can say now that it was the best decision I have ever made for myself.

And the final question I'll answer are what are the risks?  I think I am the poster child of what can go wrong when you have gastric bypass.  I also want you to know that what happened to me happens to less than .25 percent of patients who have gastric bypass.  Most them will have the surgery and their life turns out great as long as they always, always, always follow the rules.  It is imperative that you follow the directions your doctors give you.  If you don't, your life will be miserable and unfortunately you will gain the weight back.  I gave up sugar, caffeine, carbonation, IB profen, really starchy foods, and my personal favorite, carbonation of any kind.  If you start drinking carbonation I will promise you without a doubt that you will gain the weight back.  A soda pop, can of beer, glass of champagne, is not worth your health.  I can promise you that.

Overall I want you all to know that I love my life.  Do I still struggle?  Of course I do, and I always will.  I have bad days.  Read my post below and you'll see that I cry.  Everything in your life is not going to be suddenly perfect because you're thin.  Your health will be better, but your overall health (mental, emotional, spiritual) has to be worked on continuously.  After I had my surgery I went to therapy for over 5 years.  It was the best thing I could have ever done for myself.  Gastric Bypass is not a cure it's a step in the right direction to get you healthy, but it's the hardest thing I have ever done, and it's the hardest thing that I still do to this day.  Gastric Bypass is extremely difficult, just as anything that is rewarding is.  You have to decide if it's right for you, and then you have to stick with your plan and make it work.  Gastric Bypass won't make you happy.  You make you happy.  Always remember that your attitude comes from you and not how you look on the outside.  No matter what you decide it's what's on the inside that counts.  Make sure you work on yourself mentally and emotionally before you decide to fix yourself physically.

Thanks to all of you who nominated me for the magazine.  I'm flattered and touched that you like my blog.  It is such a help to me, so I'm glad it can make someone else happy as well.