counting down...


size wise...

Hubby and I were sitting at home bored of TV, bored of computer and wii games on a weekend so off we go to window shop at Kmart as it was open late. Wandering the store we were going past the shoe section where I laughed and said to Michael “ha watch this!” and with very small hope that the high heal would fit I picked up the widest pair I could find and ‘bam’ they fitted, well they were to big in fact as they were a size 10. I have been a size 10 in ladies dress shoes since i had been wearing ladies dress shoes. I put the 10 back and tried a size 9 with great success and knowing that not only now am i going to go down in dress size i may even drop another shoe size, but still I got thrown back a bit having this style of shoe fit and thought that, that was just to easy so I got a different style and then a different one until I found my self searching for the skinniest pair I could find whilst giggling on the way, others walking the shop would have thought I was a little odd. All Michael could do was laugh at me shaking his head and even thought he got a little embarrassed at one stage, but he was also so very proud of me. The funniest part was although ALL the styles fitted there was no way that I could walk in them, but that didn’t stop me trying on more. For days after I would try on more and more, God help Michael and his hip pocket when I start to be able to walk in them.

I was my fortnight duty of paying bills and paying off some Christmas lay-by’s when I wandered into the woman’s clothing section in Target where I grabbed a few items to try on. I had no intention on buying any as we all know out of any time of the year, Christmas is the worst time with having a few extra dollars to buy your self a treat, but I thought “hey, Why not. Lets just see what I can get to fit me!” I looked around the Dress rack that had a range of about 12 styles, of which I picked up ten. After handing the sales lady 4 of the dresses (as I was only allowed 5 at a time) I walked into the first change room and away I went taking off and putting on, taking off and putting on with each and every time my face lit up with joy, shock, excitement and then tears. Target has always been the smaller size and least likely to fit right up to size 26, but EVERY dress fitted and with a couple I could of gone a size 24, and then I did this again for the other 5 and once again they ALL fitted. I then returned the dresses to the rack and continued on my way with a smile from ear to ear feeling on top of the world.

I completed my bill paying and lay-buying tasks and was heading out of the shopping centre where I got side tracked into Autograph, (I mean come on they ran out and twisted my arm to go on in, they MADE me do it…) The sales woman behind the counter was more than happy to look after my parcels I had just got a target for Christmas presents, as I picked up just about anything I thought looked nice and things that iv wanted but have not fitted for as long as I can remember including a short (but not to short) denim skirt, some tops and a pair of board shorts, then off the to the change room to try on. Well I got all those emotions that I just had in target come flooding in once again but this time I was in tears when I saw that the board shorts actually fitted, I could do them up and still breath. I stopped and lent on the wall for a minute to remind myself this is just the start, this is really the beginning of the end. The end of the stores telling me what I have to wear. The stores limiting my choice of style. It just going to get better from here on in. Once I got myself together I put all the items back except for the denim skirt, there was no way I was going to leave that behind, I stopped for a moment and thought of getting the size 24 instead of the 26 as the size 26 fitted just perfect at that moment and not wanting to waste money on something that will only last a short time but decided on the 26 as I wanted that look good feeling and I thought I deserved that now not in a month time or more. I walked out of there one proud woman and have not regretted that choice once. You see any item of clothing I am buying at the minute is universal that I can take with me as I go down in size’s. PJ pants have draw string, short’s have no pockets so I can just take in easy on sides, skirts that have flare so taking in is easy but this skirt is something I have hoped to buy for a long time. This skirt is a wardrobe essential, and I finally have it and I plan on wearing the heck out of it too.
click here to see - snap shots...

dim-witted choice...

 Just 17 days post op (that’s 2.5 weeks for those who are counting) I woke late in the morning but clearly I had not woken my brain. I followed my morning routine, well I had woken anyway. I watched a few mindless Saturday morning TV shows and wandered about the house wondering what to do as I was bored and didn’t feel like house work just yet (I tend to get my cleaning bug at night, its nothing unusual for me to be cleaning and vacuuming at 11pm or even 1am, ask my hubby he thinks I’m crackers). I noticed that Michael (my hubby) had eaten 3 crumpets for breakfast before I got up, (this is where I an AWAKE brain would have been nice) So I decided hell why not, so far I hadn’t felt restricted and I had heard that a few weeks post op some people were able to eat anything until they had their first fill and even then some could still eat most foods, so why couldn’t I? I’ll tell you why, 1. It was to soon. 2. It is a bread type of food (a hard one for anyone with a band). And 3, well keep reading 3 is everything else. I put 1 crumpet in and turned it as high as it would go, as I knew that if I were to eat this it would have to be cooked WELL. I asked Michael that if I couldn’t eat it, would he. (Um, dur first sign I knew this was a hard food) Of corse he said yes. I stood by the toaster waiting for it to pop up. The crumpet came out nice and golden, cooked just right so I put a smidge of margarine on it and the drowned it in honey and then I cut it in half, it was a pull apart square one but cutting it is less messy. I went a sat myself at the computer as I knew sitting up right is best for food to go down right, (um, dur this is the 2nd sign it was not the best move). I got carried away reading things on the internet and ate away, and before I knew it I was getting a little uncomfortable but still ate the next bite thinking ill just finish this half (um, dur this is sign number 3), Just as Michael walked inside from out the back I started to feel a little pain in my chest (um, dur STOP NOW) so I handed him the plate with the other half of the honey drowned crumpet and said “here, this is not a good idea, I cant eat this” ok so you would think that that was it right? WRONG? I still had one last bite in my hand so as Michael walked away with the plate I put the last bite into my mouth. (HELLO…. ANYONE HOME? Clearly NOT) Before I knew it I was up walking around with the worst chest pain, and thanking god I had read other people stories and have had the people who I know with the band explain that when something gets stuck and “it is stuck good and proper”, it will feel like a heart attack. So I paced up and down the hall pounding my chest hoping it will help, but to no success, Next stop was the toilet as there was no way it was going down the hole. Rex just said a stern NO.
While bringing it up, I looked (as you all know you just cant miss it) and thought that there was no way I had even chewed this enough anyway, and I also stoped and thought of how fast I had even eaten it. I had eaten this crumpet like I would have BEFORE the band; half chewed and scoffed it down like someone was about to pinch it, How stupid? How dumb? How idiotic? How Dim-Witted?
I paced up and down the hallway some more as I wasn’t able to evict any more at the time. I sat back at the computer but sitting at the computer up right lasted not even a min and I had to visit the toilet again, by now I was so peeved off with myself I wanted to leave it to make myself feel the pain as I had brought this upon myself, but whether I liked it or not, it was coming, Rex wanted it out. After a few trips back and forth like this I finally relaxed in the lounge and just rocked till the pain eased. I had thoughts running through my head, “What if this IS a heart attack?” but I was sure it was exactly what I had just done ½ an hour ago, it was that darn crumpet. After resting for an hour I had some water with caution as I didn’t know if I had done any damage, because in the first few weeks you are meant to be so careful not to be sick as it can dislodge the band or cause other complications in the band settling period. The water worked ok so later on I had a 100ml optislim shake and still it was ok then at about 10pm when we started to watch a movie I had some jelly and still all good so I was happy thing were all ok. The next day again I treaded carefully with shake, Jelly, soup, and ice cream through out the day and still everything was ok.
The dumbest thing is the fact crumpets are not even a favorite of mine!
Lesson learnt I think.

prehistoric grumbles...

I was sitting doing my Mum's nails one morning when i had just finished saying how the noises were very funny that i had coming from my tummy. I had a huge range of noise levels from the quiet tiny hunger type noise that i wasn't sure if it made noise or had i just felt and thought it made noise to the loudest grumbles that I'm sure the neighbours could hear with every other tone in between. We had a great laugh at comparing our funny noises from the deep when my tummy was on a roll, i swear i could sit there and have a conversation with it at times (and yes its sad, i know but i do...). The sound went on for ages and boy can they linger with one lasting about 10 seconds once, god i had a laugh, but all of a sudden the noise i got was so deep down and had a small linger i reminded me so much of Jurassic Park, the distant but distinct sound they used for the Tyrannosaurus Tex so all i could do was laugh and named her Rex. I'm not sure why the band is a she but i figure that on the 22nd of September i got given my new instant best friend. I have then just referred to her as a she.

im a bandit...

Mum and Dad came to stay the night before my operation so they could take me as we were now left with just one car and it was not a very reliable car to take Michael and I, besides mum and dad were going to meet us there anyway. My admission time was a later one than last time but let us do things at a more relaxed pace as the admission time was 9am. We headed off at about 7.30am to allow for any problems and also for Michael and Lilly (my niece) to get McDonald's for breakfast and Mum and Dad to get the McDonald's coffee too, funny enough it didn't really bother me.

We arrived at the hospital at about 8.45am and i paid my $400 access again and we waited just a couple of minutes until a nurse came to collect me. I was taken and shown my bed where i then waited about an hour before i was weighed, then my blood pressure was taken and i was given the horrid, dreaded pre op meds, and no they were not better than last time, they were YUCK to the max, after that i was then sent for my shower to wash with the betadine wash and change into my hospital gown, i was so excited this time getting into the gown as i only needed the one. 16 weeks before hand i needed two as just one didn't come close to covering up much so i was stoked when one worked for me, i felt normal, i didn't feel like the extremely fat chic that wont fit anything specially made for the overweight.

I laid in my bed with the stockings that pumped air to prevent clots and waited and waited. I meet the lady across from me who also was going in to have the same thing as me, She was going in before me and her operation was also pushed back a little as there was a day patent in the operation rooms first. I got feeling hungry at about 11.30am as lunches were getting delivered to other patients and it smelt so so yummy, plus oh my was i thirsty as i hadn't been allowed to eat or drink anything since midnight. It was my time at 12.55pm when they came and wheeled me down to the theater where i was greeted by Tamaris and her assistant, i used this moment to express my feelings on the needle that i had inside me, I told her i really wanted it to go at almost any cost, it just scared me being in there no matter how many times i was told it will be ok i still hated the idea it being there, it had already caused problems in the bedroom as i was to afraid that bedroom activities would cause the needle to move around and cause damage and then the fear i had when i thought about the future and what if i got pregnant and it caused problems then. Tamaris understood my feelings and told me she will get it. After that any nerves i had all went, seems they were there only because of the needle and my hang up on it.

In the small prepping room in theatre i was greeted by Des the anaesthetist who did checking of his own then his assistant who also did her preparations on me. I was then wheeled into the actual theatre where i had to once again slide across to the operation table cut without the thought that i wouldn't fit as i fitted last time. This time everything seemed to go much quicker with getting me in the right position and getting the gas on me along with the sedation needle. I tried my best to focus on the things above me to see if i could remember going to sleep with things getting darker or blurrier but no all i could remember is focusing on the things above and then waking up, hmmm darn that.

I remember coming in and out of consciousness trying to wake but my eye lids were just to heavy, but i do remember hearing my mum and husband talking, telling me all went well and the band was in, at some stage i also remember Tamaris telling me but to be honest i don't know which way around it was as i was pretty out of it. My brother Craig, niece Lilly and my Dad left not long after i woke but before i was aware of things properly as they had things they had to get done back at home but they stayed until they knew i was ok, so that was great. Mum and Michael left after they assumed i was with it and fully awake but turns out i was still high as a kite with me complaining of a sore hand and some other weird things. My hand was sore as i had my drip in it and i was trying to bend it backwards, i mean come on why should it be sore with a long needle stuck under my skin that dose not bend the same as my muscles, who knew??? Apparently after Mum kissed it better i smiled and went back off to sleep, aww what would i do without my Mum?

It was a while before i do remember waking properly at about 8pm when i had massive pressure around my calf muscle on my right leg, it turned out to be the blood pressure monitor cuff because i wouldn't play the game for them in my unconsciousness to put it in the right spot on my arm so that's where it ended up, it kept feeling like a nasty cramp that i just had to stretch but only lasted seconds so i managed it ok. I called the nurse over to ask if i had heard right or if i was just dreaming that the band was in and the needle was out, but the nurse could only confirm the band was in and i couldn't trust myself to believe that what i had heard was right as i remember from last time that i was the nurse who told me it was all ok and it wasn't but i understand she was not allowed to tell me anything different. I thought id wake up a little then ask to call home and speak to Michael or Mum to see what they had to say but with Mum and I having this weired connection in knowing when to call each other Mum called me, and to my relief she was able to confirm i was not dreaming, that i really did have the band and the needle was gone, i felt like i was on cloud 9. After speaking with Mum and Michael i managed to go to the toilet and i was amazed on how little pain i was in, i was able to push myself up out of bed and walked upright to the toilet and was able to move any way i wanted, i even managed a small walk up the hall with the nurse right beside me. The nurses were great and kept asking me if i was sure i had an operation as i didn't seem to be in much pain apart from some horrid shoulder pain from the air pumped into me for the operation. I think in my memory bank i still had the pain from that last operation 16 weeks before where walking upright was not even possible nor getting myself out of bed so i was stoked to not have that and so i felt normal. Sleeping was not so bad that night but was very broken but i had slept allot in the day so it was to be expected. Tamaris came to see me in the morning at about 7.30am and she explained how the operation went and what each hole was for as i ended up with 6 hols again. That confused me as i was told it was a straight forward procedure so i should only have 4 for the band placement and 1 more for the removal of the needle, but the extra one was because i had lost so much weight (24kg) Tamaris needed to try a higher up spot to get in right, i was a little excited about those words to be honest. I then got up and went for a shower before the nurse changed my dressings and i could go home.

Once Mum and Michael picked me up we didn't go straight home, instead we went to a couple of shops as i felt i needed to move around and it felt great. Even after Mum dropped Michael and I off at home i had a little nap but later i was back up and at it, heading off to do a few hings down the street and then visit Sally one of my best friends who i shocked walking in her front door after she saw me in so much pain last time. Still i only had the shoulder pain and a little discomfort from air bubbles getting trapped up in my chest but still nothing i couldn't manage.

For dinner i ended up having a treat of Yo-Go, i know it's not the best choice but after having so many shakes for so long and i hadn't gotten any soup ready i was defiantly not going to kick myself for it, but oh boy was it nice, funny though as i took my 15-20 minutes to eat a small tub of Yo-Go where before i could have that gone in less than a minute and id have two not just one.

So at the end of it all i finally became a "Bandit" one step in the right direction, one giant step at that.

its ok to ask for help...

The morning of my first operation i was at 165kg so with the 20kg Tamaris asked me to loose before the second operation on 22nd September i needed to weigh 145kg. The two weeks after the first operation i gained just over 2kg due to the fluid intake, lack of exercise and even movement, eating things that i ate when i was down in the dumps, and the after effects of the anaesthetic along with the pain medication i was on it all seemed to bind me up. So this meant not only did i have to loose 20kg any more i had to loose 22kg now and 2 less weeks to do it in.
Just 5 weeks after my first operation i had my follow up appointment to make sure i was doing ok and the scars were healing the way they should. I walked into Tamaris' office more nerves than the firsts day i seen her as i was weighing 165kg the same as the morning of my operation, i still had the whole 20kg to loose and instead of 16 weeks i now only had 11 weeks. I had mentioned to Tamaris i had heared of a weight loss drug called Duromine and was interested in giving it a go. Duromine is a pill prescribed to obese people to help them lose weight, it works by blocking hunger signals to the brain, by stimulating the central nervous system, triggering the brain to release chemicals like adrenalin and dopamine, which then suppress hunger and cravings. But should only be taken short term and can have some serious side effects, but i was at a loss and did not know how i was going to manage to lose so much in such a short time, and i refused to postpone the operation as i needed that as the past 5 weeks had proven even more. Tamaris was more than happy for me to give it a go after she checked and had no problems with my blood pressure levels and my previous blood test results along with questions on possible past or present mental health issues.
The first two weeks on Duromine had me amazed with the energy levels i had and the lack of drowsiness even after a 5hr sleep's. In that two weeks i was visiting family for a week and discovered playing Bingo was a dangerous activity to participate in while on a pill that turns out to be the closest form of legal speed you can get, I'm proud to say iv never had any drug that has not been prescribed to me let alone something as strong as this. I got down to just 1 number at Bingo and the adrenalin just raced around like wild fire, and after BINGO was called by another player the room spun and i had to hold on for a moment. A few moments passed and i was fine but oh boy what a ride, the funniest part is the prise i had myself so worked up over, it was a whopping... hold on... you ready... it was a big $20... yes that's right, $20. But hey a win is a win, i would have gotten my money back and then more, could you imagine if this was the last game of $1000??? I'm sure 000 would have been called.

I check my weight regularly but I only record my weights on a Wednesday so it was two weeks after i started the Duromine that i recorded my first weight loss, and wow was i excited i had lost a total of 8kg in just the first 2 weeks, what was the next 9 going to do? if i was lucky to keep that up id be down around the 120kg mark by the time the 22nd September came. Not being so naive though i knew that the weight loss would slow down but this was a nice chunk gone.

I had to make an appointment with Tamaris at that stage too as i had a stitch that wanted to show up poking out of my tummy from a scare and i was not able to remove it myself, it also had caused a small infection that weeped. In the appointment i managed to get Tamaris was amazed of my 8kg i had lost in those 2 short weeks, she suggested i try taking the Duromine every 2nd day to see if that worked just as good or good enough. Tamaris got the stitch out for me but not before she dug deep into the scare to try and remove the knot that was preventing me from pulling it out on my own, i swore she thought i was on her operating table knocked out of it. It turns out i was having a slight reaction to the stitch she had used so Tamaris said she will use a different one next time, unfortunately Tamaris was not able to get all of the knot out so a drawing out cream was used to help over the next few days.

About 4 weeks after i started Duromine i started to have a bit of trouble breathing that had me a little worried so i sent an email off to let Tamaris know and to see what she wanted me to do.

(iv included the email for you)

Hello Tamaris,
It's Catherine Metcalf, I'm just following instructions to contact you about a possible side effect from Duromine. I seem to have a little trouble breathing, not really bad enough to feel i need to head to the hospital just yet, information in box just advised to let my Dr know ASAP, (if it gets worse and i have not heard back i will go to the hospital but not that bad at the min) it seems like I can't get enough air in or out and taking a nice deep breath is a struggle, It's as if i get most of the way and just stop. Sometimes when i try i can do a full deep breath, but minutes later i will want to do another one, I also seem to want to yawn a lot, not sure if I'm yawning because my body wants me to yawn or if I'm telling myself to yawn, trying to get that nice big deep breath... Now i can still exercise as normal and i don't have any other symptoms like chest pain, or pain anywhere else, no fever, no dizzy spells or fainting just NOTHING else that i can think of, just the odd breathing. The only 3 side effects that i myself am aware of and to me are good ones, i get a little fast with my speech, i don't feel the need for a afternoon nanna naps like i needed everyday since god knows how long, and i get one hell of a dry mouth but that part is great as it reminds me to drink more and when my body cant swallow anymore liquid i just suck on ice so I'm still getting the fluid. Now i noticed the breathing issue last night just after shopping, yesterday was what i call a "duromine day" a day that i simply forgot to eat, but this was my day's pattern yesterday. Wake at 7am to take tablet, doze back on the couch after a sleepless night (but nothing unusual for me), woke again at 11 had a shake for lunch (was kind of breakfast i guess), did my 10min on the exercise bike, played a little on the computer, did house work, watched a little TV, went shopping around 5.30pm, felt a little jittery in the supermarket as i forgot to eat, so i ate a banana plus a chicken snack wrap from McDonald's then kept shopping till 8pm as i felt fine after that... Throughout the day though i did drink water, not 100% confident it was enough as i ended up with a little head ach, the tiny one i get to tell me i haven't had enough fluid for the day. I didn't feel the breathing problem until around 11 just before bed time... woke this morning at 7 (good sleep) head ach gone, had lots fluid, had 2 toast for breakfast just incase i was my bodies way in telling me i was starving myself as my usual routine is breakfast = shake, lunch = small light snack, dinner = portion size plate of normal dinner, no snacking in between and i do need to remind myself to eat, thanks the Duromine... I also must add that i did a week of taking the Duromine every 2nd day but found it didn't work for me that way, was hungry all the time and never even lost 100gm in a week so i went back to everyday and i lost 2kg in this last week (just 10kg to go to reach your ask of 20kg)...
SO with thing's so mild, still as they were last night.
Do you think its anything to worry about at the moment?
Regards Catherine

I got a nice reply the very next morning

Dear Catherine
Thanks for your very detailed email. From the day's description of your
routine it doesn't sound as thought the breathlessness is significant.
The other symptoms such as dry mouth and rapid speech are pretty well
normal and you seem to be managing those quite well. If the
breathlessness is interfering with you ability to exercise then it does
become significant and you need to stop the duromine and let me know
immediately. Otherwise you sound as though you are doing extremely well
and I am very proud how you have been handling everything so well. Look
forward to seeing you again soon.

Things all cleared up within a week with each day better than the last so there was no need to take it any further.

In the time between my operation that didn't work and the new operation i had the task to loose 20kg for my Dr who was not able to get in far enough to place the Lap-Band the first time around. 13 weeks after the first operation i had a total of a 20kg loss which was great, it was something i never thought i could achieve without the band in place, 7kg of that though was before the operation and dose not count towards the 20kg so i still had 7kg to go with just 3 weeks to do it in. I became unhappy and lost, i had a number of people who were saying the right things and assured me they were their for me, but i just could not shake the pain and anxiety i had towards the thought i was not doing enough, that the band wont go in again. It was a feeling i didn't want, it was different from last time where i had no worries or concerns of the chance it was not going to work.

(this is copy of a post i put on an Australian Lap-Band forum i am a member of)

Carefree but very lost

"Hi all, i was replying to a post in another topic and finally my thoughts finally came out unconsciously and after reading what i typed i thought i might just have to suck up my pride and admit im human too... I'v always been known for the person who lends an ear and/or a shoulder when needed and absorb the woe-is-me moment of all that are in need of it (and i admit i know this is one of the things about me i like and i do really pride myself on it), maybe this is the time i need to have a woe-is-me moment (even if i do feel im just being silly...) so i thought i needed a whole new topic just for it...

I do try to take on bored what people tell me but i dont feel im doing to great even after i get told by everyone that i am... to be honest im crapping my pants of the thought of going under and it still not work cause i haven't lost enough but bloody hell this is hard, with just 3 weeks to go now and for my Dr's ask of 20kg loss after the last op at 165kg, i still need to loose 7kg (just over 2kg a week from now, and im on a 1kg per week track at the min and have been for a while now...) this part is the part that sucks cause i have a dead line so i feel this is the reason im not enjoying the weight loss as much as i should, im normally happy-go-lucky with a lot of carefree chucked in there too but for the first time since forever i am actually starting to stress and can not wait till the band is in for real, i am hoping my appointment next Tuesday with my Dr will ease the stress (hope it wont add to it though)... I want to show support to all who need it but cant get back in the right head space to connect my head & heart with my focus, so im sorry to all for that but please, please know i really do care and do think of you all going though tough times at the min... AHHHH im so annoyed with myself for even feeling this way. I was just about to delete what iv just typed but i need to keep true to myself as much as i can or it will just be hiding away and eating me up even more... i am keeping positive as much as i can but grrrr im just so frustrated and lost..."

After my appointment with Tamaris i was back up on top of the moon when Tamaris told me that the 20kg she wanted me to lose was from the first time i saw her. So i made it with 20kg exactly from the first time Tamaris weighed me. Tamaris was so pleased with me making me feel better about thing's but still testing me by asking if i still wanted the operation or just continue with the tablets and shakes, but she got my very Stern and truthful "NO thanks, i WANT this operation, i NEED this operation" and with that Tamaris seemed to be pleased also. I spoke to Tamaris about my concerns about it not working again with, ''What if the tools are still not long enough?'' and "What if the band wont fit?" but again Tamaris put my mind at ease assuring me with her very confident and straight line answer of "They WILL be and the band WILL fit" Tamaris has this kind and caring nature about her and speaks the truth and wont beat around the bush. Tamaris also told me she would do her best to make sure the needle is out but if she is not able to i was reassured it wont cause any problems if it remains in place. This time i was not so truthful with Tamaris with saying ok that's alright, cause what i really wanted to say is "No please don't leave it no matter what, Open me right up if you need to, I want it gone, it scares the crap out of me" but i didn't i let Tamaris believe i was happy with this.
The next two weeks seemed to just fly by as i did my best to keep busy, i went and helped my brother and sister inlaw clean and pack for their big move from Seymour (middle of Victoria) to Newcastle (just out of Sydney). On the way there though i stopped off at Wangaratta to get a cup holder for my car as it was not equipped with one. I went to leave the car park of Supper Cheap Auto (yes i know i seem to like this place) all of a sudden my car had smoke leaking out of every crack and joint in the dash area so i quickly grabbed my bag and tool the key's out of the ignition and seeked help from one of the staff at Super Cheap Auto. The car had stopped smoking but it wouldn't start, so my Mum and Dad came to pick me up who lived an hour and forty minutes away and then the car was taken the next morning by an Auto Electrician who ended up asking for me to get my insurance company out to assess it as it may be classed as a write off, and it was. So back down to one car for now but an unreliable car we were left with that had its own demons. Still i wouldn't let this effect me and my determination to go ahead with the band on the set date. Nothing and no one was going to stop nor put back my new life.

unorthodox test run...

The morning came for my operation, but i still had no stress, worry, fear or doubt. For day's leading to my this operation i had a number of people ask how i was feeling, i couldn't give them any answer they were after as all i could say was that i was excited. People's face's gave me the look of doubt, the look of sympathy thinking i was to scared to admit i was scared, but the truth is i was not scared one bit. I did have that 'just clearing things up talk' on the way to the hospital early on that Wednesday morning. I was so focused on what that day meant, that it meant i was going to have another chance at life, i was getting a tool to help guide me to a healthier lifestyle. I was also fascinated as i had never had an operation before, my fascination was more for the fact i would be cut open and things inside would be pulled, poked, shoved stitched and id have a foreign object put inside me and i would not be aware of any thing happening at the time. Would it be like the dentist where you feel no pain but can feel something going on? Would i dream? Would i be an angry lash out type or a happy funny one coming out of the anaesthetic? I also admit i was happy from getting full attention, a day about me, feeling like i mattered. I have always felt like i mattered but it was kind of nice having 100% focus on just me getting something i wanted. The 45min drive seemed to take less than 5. We pulled up out the front of the hospital having free choice of car parks as it was way to early for anything else. We had to be at the hospital by 6.45am at the latest, so me being the wife of a soldier and the daughter of an ex-soldier we were there at 6.25am, then just a few minutes later mum arrived to be there for the day as well. Dad was meant to come too but he was at home resting his leg after a small operation on it because of a nasty fall just a few day's before that caused a blood clot and just about saw the loss of his lower leg, but luckily i just ended up with a gaping hole that he describes as an eye socket, yuck i know its to much information but that is what it looked like before it all healed over.

We headed in to reception and i paid my admission cost of $400, the excess for my privet health fund that i had over looked and had it sprung on me just 2 days before my operation. After i took it in i had a freak out thinking how the heck am i going to get that amount before Wednesday? In tears i made a few phone calls and i had an unexpected knight in shining armor come to the rescue as long as it was returned as soon as i could, so that was a done deal but not without hesitance from my behalf. All i can say is if i had any doubt before i certainly don't anymore that i have people who love me and believe in what i can do, so thank you once again to my knight.

After doing all the official signing in i get taken to the High dependency ward where i was shown my bed and then sent straight to give a urine sample then have a shower to wash my belly with an iodine wash and change into the hospital gown, this part was not so fun as the gown didn't quite fit so i needed to get another one to wear the other way around. I then had to get on the bed and have special stockings put on that would be hooked up to a machine at the end of the bed that pumped air through them and massaged my lower legs to prevent blood clots (boy i wish i could have taken that machine home), Also i was put under a special air filled heating blanket to ensure my body temperature to be at a safe level for the operation. The nurse soon returned to give me my pre-meds, stupidly thinking these would be a tablet i was handed a half full cup of clear liquid and one other was sat on the table next to me, the nurse asked me to drink these and warned she has heard they were not very nice, sculling was allowed so i got stuck into the first one and YUCK so i did the same with the other just as quick as the first cause if i didn't it wasn't going to go in. If i had to pick my worst taste i had ever had this was it, I promise you it was FOUL.

Michael and Mum were then allowed to come in because i was all prepped ready to go. Expecting to only have Michael and Mum there before i went in, i then get a nice surprise of Melissa one of my sister in laws tagged along by Lilly one of my beautiful nieces who was 2 years 8 months. My Brother Craig was also there but as there was no more than 2 allowed due to being a high dependency ward and a room with 3 other people who were recovering from their own surgery. So after some people shuffling i got to see everyone and had lots of cuddles and best wishes from Lilly.

9am came and it was finally my turn to get wheeled off to theater, this part was funny as it was bringing back childhood memories of being wheeled around in the wheel barrow from my brothers. I also pictured myself in a TV show on 'All Saints' or something like that, i was trying to take everything in, the roof pattern, the water stains, the nurse wheeling me, the way people would move out of our way as we had some sort of priority in the corridors, even the flapping of the double doors after we passed through. I had a short wait just inside the first part of the theater rooms where i was greeted by Tamaris who asked one last time if i had changed my mind at all or even had any doubt about the procedure at all, with me responding a very definite 'NO WAY' plus i had great delight telling her i had lost 5kg because all loss was a big loss to me. From there i was wheeled into what i call a theater prepping room or something like that, but it was small and i had my blood presser taken, my temperature taken medical questions asked and lot more, Des then came to great me and do his part on making sure i was ready for the operation, one thing that i remember was Des asking me to niff in and out to see if i had a clear nose, then asked me to actually check, so with a horrified and puzzled look on my face thinking well i guess he IS a doctor so I'm guessing in a situation like this i guess i just have to do it, so i put my finger up my nostrils to feel, only with Des giving a quiet chuckle and a big grin on his face showed me he meant. He didn't want me to put my finger up my nose to check, he wanted me to squeeze my nose from the bone down to the tip. Red faced me then did this. Just before i was left for a little longer Des sprayed a nostril clearing spray in my nose that ended up running down the back of my throat and numbing it giving me a feeling my throat was swelling up and i was having trouble swallowing, i then stared to worry as i had no one in there to tell, but just a few minutes later Des returned who assured me i was OK it was the spray doing its job. At 9.20am a short time later i was collected and taken into the actual theatre where i was to shuffle from my bed to the operating table. I processed this fairly quickly in my head as the operating team didn't look like they were willing to wait long but my head was thinking how do they expect me to fit on THAT? this operating table was only about half my width and shorly it cant carry my weight, but then figured that they have done this before many times so it must work some how. So i did what was asked and well it was all good, i fitted/balanced and well the table didn't collapse in a big heap underneath me. I had nurses all around me following instructions from Des and someone else who could have been Tamaris but I'm not sure as they all wore the masks and it seemed to go so fast i was trying to take it all in at once, but i do remember getting a nice huge cool jelly like lump put under my knees, my arms positioned on the arm extensions, my head being tilted back and the table being tilted to the right angle. Not long after that i was told they were going to start to put the Anaesthetic into my drip and i would just relax then moments later i was out of it.

I was getting woken up in the recovery room and all i can remember was a dark haired nurse talking to me and all i could manage though my drowsiness and the oxygen mask was "Is it in?" its all i wanted to know, i didn't think of anything else just that. The nurse then told me "Yes, Yes its in" and out of it i went again full of happiness that i finally had my band. I'm not sure how long it was after that they wheeled me back to my spot in the high dependency room but i do remember getting wheeled there and seeing my family just around the corner from the High Dependency room but couldn't work out why they had the disappointed look on their face's, especially Mum. I didn't have much of an idea on time as i was in and out of conciseness but in an attempt to be with it Tamaris was there to see me to tell me how it all went. First i heard was "I'm so sorry but i couldn't get the band in" and she briefly explained why, but then that was followed by "but also i have lost a small needle in you that popped off and we could not find it, i will have to be remove it next time". To start with i thought Tamaris was just joking, trying to have a sense of humor, but she wasn't laughing nor did she even have a smile on her face. I told myself "No this cant be right because that nurse just out of the theatre said its in so it is, but then i guess she had to tell me that as she was not allowed to tell me news like this". What seemed like minutes was just seconds and the realisation on what Tamaris was telling me was true, I didn't have the band and i had a needle inside me somewhere, all i wanted to do was cry but that didn't seem to want to work properly as i was to weak and my throat was rough from the tube but i still cried. I'm not sure if they were there while Tamaris was telling me this but i then remembered Mum grabbing one hand and Michael the other then i fell back to sleep still crying. This iv been told was around 11.30-mid day.

Michael sat with me all day and was there when i woke up properly at around 5-5.30pm pulling at my mask wanting it off. The nurse reluctantly swapped me over to the nostril tubes that sit just under the nose and said if that wasn't enough yet she would have to put the mask back on, but i managed it well. Michael gave me a kiss on the head and said mum not long called. Mum left about 2pm i think Michael told me, as there was not allot she could do now and Craig and Melissa left not long after i came back to the room from theatre. Not allot was said about what Tamaris had told me but i did ask Michael if that was true? Did she tell me that or was i just dreaming it? but Michael confirmed she was there and did tell me the bad news. I didn't cry, I'm not sure if it was me all cried out, shock or just numb that once again life threw me a curve ball, but i just laid there staring at Michael who i could tell had a few tears for me but not while i was awake he stayed strong, i was so proud of the way he cared for me. I gave Mum a quick call to let her know i was awake and feeling OK because i knew she would be waiting along with Dad, i hung up to relieved parents. I told Michael he could go not long after that as i was feeling very tired and he had been there all day not eating much and Sally had offered him to join her Chris and the kids for a roast dinner, so he kissed me goodbye and headed off.

I managed to get out of bed after a process of unplugging me from a number of machines, with help out i went to the toilet before they used alternate options, wearing only a top and my nickers, something i never thought id do in a million years in public but was to sore and week to care, i felt like a little old crippled lady not being able to stand straight and I'm sure if a turtle was there it would have run laps around me, but we managed.
It was a quiet night watching TV as i couldn't manage the magazine Melissa had bought me with a nice bunch of my favorite flowers (Australian native). The nurse checked on me regularly and kept up my pain relief in my drip and ice for me to suck on from my very dry mouth. I didn't have a solid sleep in the night but was not sleep deprived either. I gave up at 6.30 and got the nurse to help me out of bed for a shower before it got busy, only to be rushed out by the nurse letting me know Tamaris was on her rounds and i didn't want to miss her to ask questions. So with that advice i then moved from a snails pace to a turtles pace and was on the edge of my bed when Tamaris came in.

Tamaris explained better what had happened and what was going to happen now. The equipment Tamaris was using was not quite long enough for her to get the port in and i had 2 extra insertions where she tried hard to get in there but it no go and i would be sorer than most as the 2 extra incisions she made were done diagonally into muscle on my side. (well that explained why i looked like a wimp compared to the other lady who had her band put in just hours after me, as she seemed to have allot more mobility that I)
Tamaris then explained i was like one in a million with the needle. Trust me to be different, to do things a little unorthodox, to be the odd one out. Dad said it could only be me wanting a test run first.
The needle was a tiny fine fish bone size needle that was lodged in a fat pocket and how they searched the floor with a magnet to double check before they x-rayed me to discover it was there in my belly. Tamaris said there was little to no chance of it moving or causing problems and would remove it when she went back in to try and do the band again. This was great news, she would try again in a few months time, but i did need to lose 15-20kg first so Tamaris would be more confident it would work.

After Tamaris left i managed breakfast but couldn't help thinking it was rubbing salt into the wounds having been served the breakfast i was to get after getting the band put in, all liquid. Then to top it off i was given an information pack on my first few weeks after Lap Banding. Michael arrived around 8am and ready to take me home, so the nurse changed my dressings and let me go. We had to wait around till just before 9am to see the receptionist to make my follow on appointments and get my new operation date.
September 22 would be my new date.

not alot of movment...

shaking it...

After my appointment's to see the 'Yes Man' & the 'Diet Lady' i started to really watch what i ate, i still ate chocolate, biscuits, chips and really fatty dinners like chicken parmigiana and lasagna with extra cheese and putting way to much butter and cheese on things that didn't need it in the first place so when i say i watched what i ate i MEANT i watched what i ate. but giving myself some credit, it wasn't quite that black and white. I did cut down on the portion size's and i made an effort to cut out as much fat as my will power let me meal by meal. See eating foods full of the oh so yummy but oh so bad stuff is an addiction like alcohol, smokes & drugs, so if anyone of you have one or more of these addictions I'm sure you will understand going cold turkey is not something that any tom dick and harry can do so i decided to take it one step at a time, I felt doing things this way was going to help me betting in the long scheme of things.
I had just 1 week to go before i had to start my 2 weeks of pre-banding shakes to reduce the amount of fat on my liver for the operating team to be able to get under it to get the the stomach. I had been having a shake each morning for breakfast before this as I'm not a breakfast eater but as everyone knows breakfast is the most important meal of the day especially for people trying to lose weight, this was my little kick start into the shakes and breakfast eating. Now with just 1 week, 7 days, 14 real meals to go before i had to stick to this shake diet i stoped and REALLY looked at my food. Not knowing if this would be a food i could ever eat again, everyone with a Lap-Band was different with the foods they are able to eat so i chewed every last bite so slowly, taking in every smell, every taste i possibly could just in case this was the last time i was ever going to be able to enjoy that combination of tastes. It was quite an eye opener for me realising i had been abusing the power of taste? the food i was eating i would say i loved it but after that week of TASTING my favorite food i think labeling it as yummy was a total underestimation. That week to me the food was simply amazing. While having my possible last taste at my favorite foods in that week i also said goodbye, not an out loud looking like a physio, but in my head i was closing the door behind each meal. Doing this was my way on making things easier to hopefully not miss or crave these again (so far so good). Day 1 of the shake diet i had chosen OptiSlim over the OptiFast that most surgeons and dietitians recommend as it worked just as good for my family when it was their turn as well it was allot cheaper to get. I found myself hungry all day even after snacking on the allowed 2 cups of selected fruit and 3 cups selected vegetables, but it wasn't hunger or craving's i was having it was just simply habit. Boredom used to be filled with entertainment of food for me. I always thought it wasn't the amount of food id eat it was what i ate that contributed to keeping the FULLER figure i maintained and added to over my life, but that I'm still learning and cant answer truthfully so it was most likely a mix of both. Days 2-4 were pretty much the same so i did my best to get out of the house during the day walking around shops or visiting, I just tried to keep myself as pre occupied as i could. Somewhere in around day 5 i started to really enjoy the taste of the shakes, looking forward to having one, people thought i was mad as they are not a chosen desire to have but i figure my taste buds were changing as well as my mind set as i also found i was not craving food all the time, that i was satisfied with the shakes and my 4 vita wheat with Vegemite i took a chance on eating around day 3. After that the next 9 days seemed easy with a meal routine of:
Breakfast - Shake
Snack - Fruit
Lunch - Shake
Snack - 4 Vita Wheat
Dinner - Vegetables
Desert - Yogurt or Icy Pole
I was so proud of myself sticking to this diet as i had tried the shake diet in the past and just failed, i cheated every chance i took, i skipped days here and there so it was never going to work but this time i had an achievable goal, taking on the words from Tamaris my Dr. "The shakes are great for weight loss but we mainly need you to do it to reduce the fat on the liver" so I'm not sure what part gave me the drive, the feeling it was the fat on the liver reduction rather than my weight or the idea of having a fatty liver could mean after they got inside they couldn't do it because my liver had to much fat so it would be a waste of time plus doing anything to make the operation just that little bit safer was a big drive too.
Day 14 came and day 14 went so so fast, the eve of my operation the eve of the band, the eve of changing my life for ever.

eventful afternoon...

While in Wangaratta on 16th April for my appointments to see the "Diet Lady" and the "Yes Man" we had an eventful afternoon starting in the morning eating our macca's out the front of the hospital before my appointments.
After turning the car off we sat for a little over 5 min before i realised the headlights were still on after Michael my husband used the car the night before and had left them in the on position, the car has the feature that you can leave the lights in the on position and all you need to do for them to go out is turn the car off AND open the door. Well guess what i didn't open the door (but Michael was the one who left the light's on in the first place... ill hold onto any blame i can use thankyou very much) so i opened the door then turned the lights to the off position. (no idea why i did both but i did!) I then tried to start the car just to see if it would start, and... nothing it wouldn't start. We didn't have a chance to look into it any further at the time as i had to get in to my appointments so we figured we would try again once we got out of the Dr's, not thinking there was a need to stress out just yet as it had happened a month or so before picking up our exchange student Lisa up from school, (again Michael left the lights in the on position) But the car ended up started after a 10min wait. Why we didn't think to atleast get the battery checked after that, i don't know but ill stick to my argument and blame Michael for that too *insert cheeky smile*. After finishing with the "Diet Lady" and the "Yes Man" i thought id give the car another go before we headed over to the pathology for the tests, but after thinking it would be ok and it would start again, it soon became apparent i was wrong, so Sally and i being the independent women we are with a little motor mindedness (Sally more so) had a look under the bonnet to check what we both thought of (and hoped because this was the cheaper and easiest solution) the battery and i wasn't in any road side assistance. We were confident in the end this was the problem, so we figured we would try to call a mobile battery company to get a new one brought out or if that wasn't going to work we would taxi over to super cheap auto hope they had the right one for the car, and get a couple of spanners then taxi back and fit it. So we didn't waste time as Sally had to go pick up Kait from school at 3.30pm and i had to get Lisa our German exchange student we were hosting for 5 month's, but i figured i could just let 17 year old Lisa know to walk home if i was late but we couldn't do that with Kait as she was just a 6 year old and both our husbands who are in the Army headed out bush on an Army exercise that morning for the weekend and we had no way in contacting them as phone's are a no go zone, so while i was getting my tests done i left Sally with the mobile phone to get a few quotes. The cheapest Sally got was $114 from RACV including the call out for non member and a 10-70 minute wait, so after thinking wow that sounds a little cheap for a non member but Sally did tell them that and that's what the Sally so we thought bonus and i called them back as Sally needed to check with me as it was my car. I then get told it would be at least $220 and over a 2 hour wait but in that time and for less money than that i could get my father to come from Seymour with a new battery, after a moment really considering it, we worked out there was just no way we would get back in time to get Kait from school so i was going to taxi to Super Cheap Auto.
Out of desperation just before i called the Taxi i tried the car once more and still no go but had a little more hope this time round as there seemed to be a little kick in the effort, so Sally had a thought, if she could get the leads off the terminals we could clean them a bit and see if that helped, so after being able to just simply slide the leads off the terminals (thankyou to whoever didn't put them on properly) we cleaned them with a McDonald's napkin after a wet towel from red rooster i had as an emergency in my purse, then we put it all back together and tried the car one more time. After just 2 tries it worked we got it going so off home we go 45min down the Highway, to scared to stop even for the toilet. Poor Sally with her bladder at 8 months pregnant and a baby using it as a head butting tool. We decided to go straight to Sally's so if the car didn't start again we were somewhere with another car plus Sally could not wait any longer as the baby was winning the head butting competition with her bladder. We then headed over to Super Cheap and bought a battery $100 cheaper than RACQ wanted to charge me all up. Got back to Sally's and fitted it ourselves with just enough time to get back into to the cars and go get the girls from school. Feew what a day...
Us Girls rock...

All i can say in the end was thank god payday was just the day before and i waited till after my appointments to pay the bills...

new hope...

The 16th April 2010 came for my appointments to see Dr Desmond Burke the Anaesthetist and Lisa DiStefano the Dietitian, i was due to meet one of my best friends Kylie who had given me one very special 30th birthday present of not only a Pandora bracelet and charm but an extra few hundred to go towards the operation, as being a bandit herself understood how hard it was to come up with the money for the operation. I was excited to share the Anaesthetist appointment with Kylie as this was the man who gives the final 'YES' or 'NO' on the whole thing and knowing that he dose say 'NO' on a regular basis i needed a hand to hold. Half an hour before i was to leave to meet Kylie in Wangaratta i got a call from her to say she had just been called into work as one of the girls due to work that shift had been in an accident. Crap now what? I cant get Mum as she is picking up my Auntie and her friend from the airport two and half hours away. To late to get one of my sister in laws as they wouldn't make it in time either. Sally??? "hmmm its a long shot" i thought because Sally was heavily pregnant and having a few complications at the time, but i thought i can only ask. Expecting a 'no' and prepared to have to go on my own Sally said 'yeah why not' few such a relief i had a hand and a shoulder if i needed it.

We made it to Wangaratta 45min down the highway with 20 min or so to spare so off to macca's for some breaky for Sally as it ended up being a rush for her. We did drive through then went and ate it in the car outside the hospital before we went in, but oh boy little did we know this was just the start of an eventful afternoon...

We got in to see Des before the appointment time which was such a relief as i just couldn't get the 'YES' or 'NO' soon enough, Des asked allot of questions and i asked just as many back, some silly and odd questions but sure enough Des answered them straight faced, having someone there that had not been through the procedure before was great as she helped me remember the questions i wanted answered as well as some i had not thought of. In the end having Sally one of my other best friends there was better in a way as it helped her realise exactly what the operation meant and how the band really worked. Before that day Sally assumed i would not be able to have a normal life with food again with getting things stuck and throwing up every meal, eating next to nothing or basically living on liquids, so now i have one less friend stressing and questioning me if i was sure i wanted to do this. After what i thought was hours with all the questions and information including the one they have to tell everyone is there is a risk especially in someone my size, but Des needed my opinion on that so i answered what was true to my heart "Yes i know i can die on the table but if i don't try I'm going to die early anyway, i feel don't have a life now, this is my only chance on living and living an actual life, I wonder every day if today is my last day or tomorrow, i don't want to die yet, i don't want to die without at least trying, i would rather die trying than not try at all..." I said so much more but i was so emotional with tears streaming down my face as i really did (still do) believe i would die soon without this life changing operation. I also had faith that Des knew what he was doing and bring me through it. With that Des didn't do what he would normally do and still push the subject but he agreed with me telling me he thinks that getting the Lap Band is also my only hope and chance to achieve a longer life. Des then also measured my neck and throat and i swearer my tonsils too he finally gave me the official "YES" as long as my blood test and ECG (Electrocardiography - monitor of the heart)that he was sending me for before i went home. woohoo i was doing back flips in my mind, i felt like i didn't need the operation anymore with the amount of weight that lifted off of my shoulders i felt like i was on top of the world within those few seconds of joy, then the tears came as the realisation things were going to happen. Once Des told me yes i didn't remember anything after that so I'm glad Sally was there, Des was checking his diary for the operation date i was given at the end of my appointment with Tamaris the 2nd June 2010 (just 47 sleeps away...) Des came back into the room and said that date was fine but he would book out the whole day for me as i was one of the biggest patients he had done he anticipated id take longer than normal, he would normally do at least 2 a day while he was still recovering from an operation himself.

After finishing with Dr Desmond it was now time to see Lisa the Dietitian, I didn't get much out of that appointment as it was all basically what i already knew but i had to go for Tamaris. Lisa did throw out a question that got me thinking. "What activities will i like to achieve with the weight loss?" hmmm it was tough as i hadn't given it that much thought after i had given up hope years ago and didn't allow myself dream as most thing's in life were a failure so by creating a guard i got on with enjoying life, looking at life in a positive way, taking each day as it came not looking into the future, i just wouldn't dream of things i didn't think were in reach. After sitting for a moment i finally could come up with two, 1 would be 'go for a bike ride' and 2, 'play the Wii Fit" i have already been able to play the Wii before but not the 'Wii Fit' as the Wii Fit board has a weight limit of 150kg. So there where 2 active goal's for me, there are plenty of other goal's now and i will defiantly share the stories with you.

The pathology rooms were just around the corner from the hospital entrance so it worked out well.
I had the blood test first but i was worried it would not work today because by this time it was after lunch and very warm outside but with all of the rush we were in earlier on and not expected i had blood tests on the same day all the water i had by this stage was just half a cup, this was not such a good thing because on the best of days my body dose not like to cooperate with any blood collector. As soon as i sat down i apologised to the girl who was about to argue with my veins, but taking me by surprise she go it first go. But good things always come to an end so after my veins gave in and gave up some blood they decided to quit with just 1 more tube to go, hmmm i knew it was to good to be true. Three more pricks and 2 other nurses they found another spot halfway down the inside of my forearm so they took a spare tube just in case. With that done i head out with 4 holes in me to head to the next desk to go for my ECG. I have had this done in the past a number of times having a family history of heart disease and a scare once myself so i knew what to expect which was handy. This test was a nice and quick one, only needing enough time to put the dots on me and hook me up to the machine, then record it for only about 15-20 seconds and it was done, all looking GREAT. All i had to do now it to wait a week for the 100% ok for the operation to go ahead on 2nd June... (a week went bye and i heard nothing so woohoo all was a go ahead...)

bizarre fixation...

While waiting for the phone call from the Anaethetist and the Dietitian i went on the hunt for some real scales so i could keep a record at home doing a weekly weigh in. i wanted ones that wouldn't count back on its self, ones that went up to my weight and beyond... The looks on the shop staff were looks i never want to cause again when i tell them i need scales that cater for my weight. I did come across a lovely girl at a chemist who suggested i try where she found some good ones that she was sure would go the distance at BigW or Kmart as i had already ruled out Target and Myers. For some reason i had ruled them out to stock the heavy duty ones thinking i needed a specialty shop, but then again the few specialty shops had already proved disappointing. Off to BigW i went... Wow i couldn't believe it they had a few to choose from (thankyou chemist girl...) it might sound odd but i was lost as i assumed when i did come across the scales i needed i didn't expect to get a choice as that is the life of a larger person, just take what you can get... I read the back of all the boxes, trying them out and reading again, i was at it for half an hr or more, i mean come on they are only scales for crying out loud. Finally i choose the Lifestyle Professional Bathroom Scales that went up to 200kg, the tipe that i had a fear of using because of the glass top. Holly cow i was crapping my pants thinking i was going to break them and cut the hell out of my feet at the same time but i stepped on them with caution in the shop and Ta-Da it was all good (apart from them telling me i was 172kg which was heavier that the Dr's scales by nilly 4kg... i had put weight on... ahhhh). What sold those particular ones to me was the wide part, these scales had the extra feature the other ones didn't, i could stand on them normal rather than stand with my feet together and off balance... Friends and family thought i was quite strange being over excited i got scales...

so many door's failed...

momentary fear...

The 16th March didn't come soon enough i was so excited but at the same time nervous as i had told myself the Dr would have told me it just was not possible while i was so big and to come back once i had shed a few kilo's, when i thought this the fear raced through me thinking i was doomed forever telling myself if i can loose a few kilo's on my own why would i even be going ahead with this. So i did my best not to think of that and stay positive reminding myself that i had seen bigger people on TV that have had the procedure done and all would be ok.

I turned up at the Wangaratta Privet Hospital with my Mum as a support person to help me remember all the questions i had and surly would not remember. We walked in to the rooms to be greated by the loverly ladies behind the counter who knew exactly who i was as my mother had told them all about me during her previous appointments, but it was nice as they made me feel right at home. I had a form (well ALOT of forms) to fill in about myself and family history. Not long after i filled in the forms i was called in by Dr Hoffman to her room, "big breath"...

Dr Tamaris Hoffman welcomed me with the best up most positive attitude, i was taken by surprise on that as most Dr's i see make me feel horrid and 10 times bigger than i am. I know Tamaris had clearly had allot to do with the bigger person but still i had my guards up...

Dr Tamaris followed on with her normal explanation's as she would for all, covering things like what the band will do, how they put the band in, what the band looks and feels like. She also explained how it was a huge lifestyle change but most of all she stressed to me the risks, the complication's for after the operation as well as the risks during the operation. I think if i had not researched the band for so long and never had spoken to other bander's she would have scared the hell out of me, but the only two time's i teared up was when she asked why i wanted to have the operation and when she said its not a problem she would be able to do it as long as i got a yes from the Anaesthetist... Then we asked the question on how much it would cost as people i know who have seen her have gone from $1200 out of pocket to $1500 the following financial year so i was expecting no more than $2000 but then BANG i was hit... $3000 now, but what could i do??? what could i say??? i need this or i could die!!! $3000 or my life so i just had to suck it up and deal with it...

taking the first steps...

I have been looking into getting Lap band surgery for the past 10+ years but had been talked out of it and hadn't been able to afford it... But were these just excuses of being just plain scared??? You see NO-ONE is able to talk me out of it now i WONT budge and the money thing well i probably could have afforded it if i really tried but in the end i AM ready now SOOOO ready you wouldn't believe... When i decided again to get Lap Banding done was early 2009 after my auntie had it done months before, as well as my best friend (who i might add was one that had been talking me out of it for years..) So i started to try and save some money but unfortunately i was sabotaging myself not making an effort saving, still not changing my eating habits, and not calling the Health Fund to get that on the ball knowing i would have a 12 month wait as i only ever had 'Top Extras" not "Top Hospital". Then early April came around and i got a call from Mum to tell me both her and Dad were getting the lap band done in May (again two more that had been talking me out of the operation for the past 10 years... hmmm). When Mum told me i was angry. Angry for two reasons, 1st was because it had been something id wanted where they clearly hadn't, hence the talking me out of it part, so they were getting what i wanted = annoyed, angry, upset, betrayed, you name it i admit was not happy. 2nd was because my Mum was just that "my Mum", its how iv always known her to be, cuddly mum with nice Teddy bear cuddles, but all in all she was just simply that "My Mum" i didn't want her to change, oddly enough i wasn't as upset for Dad changing but i think that was due to him having allot of health issues at the time that were scaring all of us in how down hill he was going and how fast he was going there... Just for the record though i am now over that and am SO happy for Mum and Dad as it has given them both a new lease on life. Mum who is now more active than ever despite her growing health issues, and her dress sense has come out leaping and bounding, dressing in LADIES clothes not dad's old daggy crap. Dad wow has it helped him, Dad is now no longer insulin dependent for his diabetes and no longer needs a walking stick but the lists go on for him...
But anyway this journey is about me so i leave Mum and Dad alone for now...

On the 19th May i made the call to the health fund to up my coverage from just extras to full hospital cover as the operation is around the $15000 mark and no way known is that affordable to me in any way. So now i had a year of waiting, getting excited and was very annoying to my closest friends telling them over and over again that i was getting it done...
wake up call...
Wednesday September 2nd 2010 about 1.30pm marked a big turning point in my life. This day i realised i was literally killing myself. On this Wednesday i really do not know why my heart did not just give up. It was a warm and very humid day in Townsville and i wanted to go hand my resume in for a new job as all the hours were getting cut right back where i was working at the time due to sending a very large portion of the jobs to the Philippines. I planned to taking my resume in on the Monday after work but i just couldn't be bothered getting out of the car, and to me this was normal and i never questioned myself on this attitude i lived by at the time. I was then going to do it on the Tuesday after work but Michael needed the car that day and i had to go get a blood test done that i had to fast for the night before. That Tuesday was the start of my bad few days but was not the reason for what happened to me on the Wednesday. I got a taxi after work to the pathologist for my blood tests to get a diabetes test as i was feeling shaky just a few days into my shake diet i was trying, to try and lose a bit of weight before i went to see the Dr about getting the lap band done, (you know like the old clean the house before the house cleaner gets there so they don't see how messy you get it...) Well anyway i get my 2 hour tests done then go catch the bus home (remind me never to try and catch a bus on my own as that was a story and a half but I'm not going to go there). With everything that happened that afternoon i didn't get home till after 4.30pm and not eating since dinner the night before and only drinking water all day, boy was i hungry.
Wednesday was my day off so i thought i should get my resume in if i wanted a chance at the job at all. So after slowly getting ready, making myself look half decent i headed into the city.
After doing 3 laps i managed to get a car park near the building only to find out after i went up to the floor i was told to go to was not the right place, it turned out it was not even the right building. I was told to go to the old "Commonwealth Bank" building but seem i found just the old "Commonwealth" building. Whoops easy mistake to do. So back in the car huffing and puffing even know i was 4 car parks from the entrance of the building. I headed down the road to where i needed to go and started to really worry about car parking because the building i needed was in the mall and i would have to walk, yes walk. That word to me was a nasty horrible word, i didn't like saying it, thinking about it and i hated even more doing it because i had gotten myself so unfit from being completely lazy and refusing to park more that 100 meters from where i wanted to go, i had no one else to blame but myself. I drove around the block 5 time's, yes that right 5 times passing car parks on the street even 3 cheap parking lots that any normal human would have taken, but the thought of them being a massive 300-400 meters walk from the entrance of the building i had to go to scared me and i was just about to give up and not go for the job just because i was to lazy to walk that distance the is really not far nor should take me so much effort to do. I noticed on my last trip around that there was a sign behind the post office in the post office car park that said "Through to Mall" so i though excellent lets do that. After parking and then finding out that that is a no longer used entrance i bit the bullet and started walking around to the mall. 100 meters in and my back was letting me know it was there, 200 meters in and the sweat was trickling down my back, i walked a little further and i had to sit because of how out of breath i was and how sore my back was feeling. I had a 5 minute rest and went inside the building to see in the mirror all my makeup was running from the sweat that i had caused not the weather so i ducked into the bathroom to clean myself up, then into the lift i go. The lift only had to go to the 2nd floor and 2 ladies who walked in while i was waiting for the lift came out of the door leading from the stairs they had just used rather than taking the lift, the easy way i had. The desk i needed was just 6 steps from the lift and i mean 6, possibly 8 if you tried but me i was still huffing and puffing even after a 5 minute rest, a stop in the bathroom and standing still in the lift i was still so buggered. Putting on my happy face that i don't normally have to struggle to do, i was finished and had a trial to start in a couple of weeks so it felt worth it in the end. On my way back to the car really really slowly i ducked into a small shop to get a little of their air conditioning and to rest my back as i was in so much pain from walking i was holding back the tears and drenched the the extra sweat it caused me. While in there i found a cheap mortar and pestle, but something tells me this was not a good choice as this is a heavy item and the plastic shopping bag was not strong enough to carry by the handles so not only did i have my handbag and my resume folder i now had a heavy box that i had to carry like a baby. I managed to get up to the corner of the road only 50 meters away but by then the tears came the pain was bad but by then i also felt wobbly in the legs, shaky all over, and physically weak plus very thirsty. There was a shopping trolley next to the building i was next to so i grabbed it and put my thing's in that didn't warrant a trolley but i needed something to lean on. I managed to get to the car park driveway but it was a bit of a blur by this stage, leaving the trolley in the street i stumble down to the car still not sure how my legs got me the rest of the way let alone how i was still breathing. Black spots started to come across my eyes and just got worse the closer i got to the car, then sharp pains started shooting up into my head as if i got an instant migraine as quick as flicking on a switch. Getting to the car i basically threw my things onto the boot of the car as i landed against it myself, holding onto the edge to prevent collapsing to the ground as by this time i felt like my legs were made of jelly. I struggled with the keys in the bottom of my hand bag before managed to open the car tossing my things over to the passenger side then fall into the drivers seat myself. I sat for a bit to pull myself together, getting some feeling back in my legs and shaking off the black spots i was seeing not to mention the sharp pains i had in my head. Yes i did think to call an ambulance but somehow i convinced my self i would be OK, that it was not bad enough and i would just end up looking silly and a hypochondriact. I then decided to drive (i cant believe i did. I didn't have an accident or kill anyone but oh boy i could have... I'm still kicking myself for this) On the way home that i don't remember to much of, i did stop off at Super Cheap Auto to pick up the oil for Michael's scooter he desperately needed and wouldn't be home in time to get it himself. Even with sitting for 10 minutes then the shop another 7 or 8 minutes down the road my legs were still jelly and i was still out of breath. Before leaving the car park to go home i finished the 600ml bottle of powerade i just got in the Auto shop in just 3 goes. After parking the car in the garage i left all my stuff and went and collapsed onto my bed where i slept till Michael got home at around 7pm. All i could manage was a drink and a shower then back to bed at about 9 where i slept till 10am the next morning, sleeping through just about my entire shift that started at 7am and ended at 11.30am.
So that Wednesday September 2nd 2010 at about 1.30pm made me more determined to do something about my weight, it was the wake up call i wish i never needed.
That afternoon scared the hell out of me and to this day i believe i was inches away from dieing.
Mid November we got notice from the Army we were posting from Townsville Nth QLD to Wodonga Vic just 45min drive from where i wanted the operation so that was a BIG plus as i didn't have to wary about extra money for flights and the comfort of being in my own home while healing as well as being away from Michael for so long, this was just prefect...

March came and i celebrated my 30th birthday with family and a few close friends which was really great after being away from family for the past 2 birthdays. The next day on the 4th March i had an appointment to visit the local Dr to get a referral to the Lap Band Dr in Wangaratta Dr Tamaris Hoffman. For me this was the mark of my new life so i picked this date on purpose, and as expected i got the referral i was after with no problems at all, in fact the Dr was so pleased i was willing to have the procedure you could not have asked for a happier Dr...
My appointment was then made to see Dr Hoffman just a few weeks later.