What Happens When You Spend Your Life Carrying Around 100 Plus Extra Pounds

Your knees go to pot.

I had a follow up with my ortho to go over my MRIs and the progress from my PT.  Sigh.

I have severe arthritis in my right knee (well, duh).  It came from favoring it for years while my left knee walked around dislocated.  Plus, an additional 136 pounds on my frame didn’t help.  The arthritis in my right knee is going to require surgery.  I’m to continue PT until my surgery date (July 13).  Then my ortho is going to do a sugery which requires a cartilage grapht.  This means he’s going to open my knee up, take out my knee cap and turn it over.  Then he’s going to clean it off, attach a cartilage grapht to the back, and put it back in.  I admit, I kind of stopped listening when he said “Take out the knee cap” and had to get him to repeat it.

I asked if he couldn’t do the sugery he did three years ago on the left knee, but he said this sugery will last longer and stave off the knee replacements a little longer.

I’m going to spend my summer in a knee immobilizer.  Four to six weeks without being able to bend my knee.  Which to me, seems excrutiating.  I had to deliver this news to my boss (we are trying to work out the details of my disability).  I plan on taking two weeks of short term disability (at least) and then working the rest of my rehab at home.  I don’t want to leave work high and dry and I don’t want to screw up my chances at a promotion this year.  So sad that I’m considering that.  But I won’t be able to go to work.  I don’t see how I can.  I won’t be able to drive, and the thought of navigating the mean streets of Baltimore through public transportation while having my leg in an immobilizer squicks me out.  Getting on the train will be a bitch.  And Bob will not be getting up at 6am to drive me too and from the train station.  But even then, once I get downtown, I’d have to rely on the bus system…and walking to the bus station in the afternoon up one of the steepest hills in Baltimore.

I’m also worried about putting weight back on.  Terrified in fact.  I won’t be able to exercise except at PT.

And the fact that I know already that this is going to hurt like a mofo.  When I had my left knee operated on, they did a lateral release of the knee cap which involved cutting the tendons that hold it in place.  That hurts.  A lot.  Bending and straightening your left is painful.

So, send me some prayers.  I won’t chicken out, but the thought of this surgery is mindbending for me.  I guess it will prepare me for my eventual knee replacements.  Which I already know I need but no doctor worth his salt will to them on someone my age.  I did find out that I had bad knees when I was 18.  I have degenerative cartilage disease, which would have happened whether I was overweight or not.  Unfortunately, years of being obese sped up the knee problems.

So, if you are considering bariatric surgery, I say do it now.  And do your knees a favor.

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Another Wow Moment

Seven years ago I was sitting in a hospital ICU recovering from a heart attack.  At the time, I weighed roughly 250 pounds – about 250 more than I weigh now.  My blood sugars were well into the 300s.  I had high cholesterol.  I had high blood pressure.  I had one artery that was 100% blocked (Hell-o stent) and one that was 50% blocked.  I was 30.  It didn’t help that at the time of my heart attack, I had been on Phen-fen, was smoking and taking the pill at the same time.

The cardiologist who treated me when I first went into the ER was Dr. Barry Wohl.  He was an angel of God as far as I was concerned, and I’ve seen him as my cardiologist ever since.

On Monday, I saw him for my normal six month cardiac check.  In his opinion, not ONLY have I erradicated my high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes, BUT he feels that my Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is in REGRESSION.  YEP – RE-GRES-SION.  Going Away.  He feels that more than likely, the blockages in my arteries are actually reducing themselves.

When I had surgery 8 months ago, I was on high blood pressure medication, two cholesterol meds, a beta blocker, plavix, and a host of diabetic meds.  Today – nothing.  All I take is Protonix (and that is for acid reduction due to the surgery).

I am healthier at 37 than I was at 30.

I’ve truly gotten my life back, and it is amazing.

Thank you Dr. Wohl for saving my life then.  Thank you Dr. McKenna for saving my life and saving me from myself.

Non-Scale Victory!

I just got my cholesterol test results from last month – this is on no cholesterol meds, by the way –

Total cholesterol is 105 (was 149 before surgery on crestor everyday)

Triglycerides – 99

HDL – 42

I LOVE my RNY!

$2,025

That’s what I pay per year for the co-pays on my prescription mediciations.  $2,025.  Here’s what I take:

Metformin (diabetes), Levemir (insulin), Novolog (insulin), Metoprolol (heart), Plavix (heart), Norvasc (blood pressure), Diovan HCT (blood pressure), Crestor (cholesterol), Zetia (cholesterol), and Lovasor (cholesterol).  I also have a prescription for my diabetes testing supplies (test strips) and the needles for my insulin.

On top of that, I take 81 mg of aspirin per day, two multivitamins (in preparation for surgery), 1200 mg per day of Calcium with Vit. D, and fish oil for an added cost of approximately $324 per year.  That’s a grand total of $2,349 per year.

After surgery, I am hoping to get off of most of my medication.  I’ve discussed it with my doctor, and we are hoping that eventually, in the next couple of months, I will get off of everything except the Plavix and the Metoprolol.  I will need to take the multivitamins, calcium citrate, b-12, and iron post surgery.  I will need to see if I can still take my 81 mg a day of aspirin – at the very least, I will need to take a chewable instead of what I take now.  All my vits have to be sub-lingual or chewies.  So lets see –

Plavix – $75 every three months for $300 a year

Metoprolol – $12.50 every three months for $50 per year

I’m expecting my vitamins and stuff to stay around $325 per year, for a grand total of $675.  A total savings of $1,674 a year.  That’s our dues at Trails End.

Come on surgery – with what I save on my drugs, I’ll be able to buy my first pair of skinny jeans and boots, and new underwear, and bras, and the list goes on and on and on…

Update on the Itch

Well, it’s the most interesting rash I’ve ever had…according to the PA.  He said it is symptomatic of both a fungal infection (skin yeast infection) and a follicular infection – an infection of the hair follicles as a result of the yeast infection.  It is not related to anything else I have.  Which is good.  It is not a result of laundry detergent, soap, fabric softener, dryer sheets, or my medications. 

So, I’m loaded up with both an antibiotic and a tube of perscription strength lotrimin.  14 days and we’ll see what happens.

I Hate Mail Order Pharmacy

Can I just tell you how glad I will be if this surgery results in remission of my diabetes, and I don’t have to rely on morons two states away sending me my fricking insulin when I need it????

I reordered my prescriptions with Express-Scripts last Friday.  Of course, as always, there’s a problem.  And they aren’t busting their humps to get me the meds, or work with me at all.  I found out yesterday they were trying to contact my doctor – after I’d already run out of insulin.  So, an emergency script for ONE INSULIN PEN that will last me THREE DAYS and $35 at Target later, they STILL haven’t called my doctor…and now once they finally do get in touch with them, I’ll be out another $60 on top of the $35 I already spent for the emergency supply.

I hate mail order pharmacy.  For crying out loud, please let me go back to Target.  They know my scripts.  They know how to fill them.  They know me and my allergies.

The Force Is Strong With This One

Yesterday saw my full circle completion of Sleep Apnea testing.  I went yesterday afternoon to pick up my dreaded CPAP machine.

I have hated this entire sleep testing process.  Then come to find out that I have to take my machine with me to the hospital when I have my surgery, so I not only have to get the damned thing, but I have to know how to use it.

My appointment with James, the CPAP guy, was an adventure in What The??? if I ever saw one.  He was one of those chatty guys – the chatty, rednecky variety.  Yay.

So, I go into the dreaded sleep clinic, and they take me back to the “hotel” rooms they use for sleep testing.  I was in the big room this time – the one I did use when I was sleep testing – and they put me in the recliner.  James goes about talking, and talking and talking and talking with his Western Maryland accent, but he’s not said anything yet about the actual machine.

Finally, he pulls it out (this was after a 15 minute tirade about the liberalson CNN) and begins to set it up.  He’s slowly showing me how to use it (this is the on/off button – see?  On?  Off?), how to fill the humidifier (use distilled water only – distilled – you know what that is?), how to change the filter, how to clean it, etc.  It was not an intimidating machine.  Everything was well labeled.  The humidifier said right on it “use only distilled water.” 

Then came the business of choosing my mask.  Of all the things on my body that aren’t petite and tiny, my nose is.  My nose is one of my favorite features.  It’s tiny, and shaped well.  So, James looks at my nose, and picks a mask that is meant for someone with Jamie Farr’s nose.  This damned thing covers my entire face.  I looked at him like, “You’re kidding right?”

“How does that feel?”

mumble mumble too big smurfle

“Looks like it might be a bit too big.”

So he goes back into his bag, and pulls out the 407.  I have no idea what this means, but hey, I’m doing what I gotta do.  “This here’s the 407.  It’s for people with itty bitty noses, like you got.”  Yep folks, that’s a quote.  “Let’s see how this rascal feels.”

Sigh.

This one is better – and it only covers my nose.  The full face mask made me feel like I had a racoon sitting on my face.

So, I’m finally hooked up, and it’s all good.  I take the thing home, and get it all set up.

And I instruct Mr. G that there was to be no teasing.

Yeah, right.

So, last night, I get ready to use it.  I strap the stupid mask on, and turn on the machine while he’s in the bathroom.  I think it’s the easiest form of defense.  Act like I’m asleep before he can even come in the room.

Except, not.

He gets in bed behind me, snuggles up close, leans his head over my shoulder and whispers in my ear, “Luke, I am your father.”  And then starts breathing like Darth Vadar.  Which I knew is what would happen, because the mask, does in fact, sound like Darth Vadar.  Long, low, loud breathing noises.  Behind a mask.  I’m doomed.

So, I made it through the first night of the CPAP.  I took it off a few times.  I felt a little closterphobic.  But eventually, I bucked it up, and put the thing on.  All in all, I think I had it on about 5 hours.  I asked Mr. G before I left this morning if I snored last night.  He said he didn’t think so, all he heard was me making plans to build my Death Star.

He’s a comedian.

So, I have my Darth Vadar mask.  I pray that after surgery, I can ditch this stupid machine.  Until then, I’ll practice my jedi mind tricks.  Maybe I can get Mr. G to take out the trash.

You want to take out the garbage.

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