Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Catching up

We have been on vacation to Central Oregon.  Of course the Gynecologist did not fit me in for an appointment.  I promptly decided enough was enough and called another one recommended to me.  They fit me in right after my vacation and I jumped.  Then while on vacation I got a phone call canceling this appointment but…they rescheduled me with an unknown doctor a day earlier.  I can live with this.  Since when did there become a shortage of good gynecologists??  It sure wasn't such a hassle when I was having babies.

Now onto my tummy troubles.  They have been REALLY bad.  After every meal I have to get up and walk around holding onto my left side.  After a great dinner last night for the first time since I had the unfill I had no pain at all (and I did overeat for sure!).  Then today I got all cocky thinking the tummy troubles were over and had a burger and fries for lunch…I didn't even get halfway through the burger and whammo I was in agony.  I left the restaurant and tried to walk it off to no effect.  The pain lasted for at least an hour and started to improve a bit.  In the past a nice warm coffee eased things up so I stupidly stopped for one.  The pain ramped up even more and as I stumbbled around a store in agony it didn't improve.  I finally asked David to take me to the emergency room.  On the drive there of course it began to get better.  After we arrived I walked around a bit and after two laps around the parking lot it shifted to just shoulder pain again.  I really did not want to go to an emergency room in a small town-much preferring one in my home town and at the University hospital that installed the band int he first place.

I have decided to stick as much to liquids as possible until I can get into see someone.  I bought some gasx to try too!!

On a positive note-other than irritating everyone with my side aches vacation has been fun!
 We met up with some friends from home for drinks and dinner!
 We took two canoes and paddled for 3 hours.

 Grace resting
Grace and her friend racing ahead
 I was the rudder-David was the power paddler
dinner with two camera shy girls

Thursday, July 24, 2014

I am Hangry!!!

This band stops nothing.  It is so weird because I distinctly remember when I had surgery that I felt different right away.  Obviously that was swelling because I've got NO restriction and I am HUNGRY and have a bottomless Pit.

Things I have been thinking about:

1.  I am super excited to eat again.  Last night we went out to an Italian dinner.  This was no cheap chain meal either.  This was FINE Italian.  The bread was DIVINE and I ate some.  We had an antipasti plate and it was good.  I had some lasagna with home-made pasta and sausage and eggplant.  It was delicious.  We then chased on a little Cannoli love.  I had no problem eating all of this (not all mind you) but oh so much.  I loved it while I was eating and savored each flavorful bite.   However when I was done and full and driving towards home guess what reappeared?  you got it-the post binge self-loathing. :(  I haven't had that feeling in a while.

2.  On my last visit to DR. Wolfe he said that he was finding that band patients who were able to self-monitor and stick to meal sizes (not relying on feel) seemed to be the successful ones.  Now I felt like I did rely on feel.  My band does not appear to be the stomach pain problem.  and without restriction I am not able to stop nearly where I should be.  I want to know if he is wrong or if somehow my powers to stop rely on something else besides the band??

3.  The tummy pain is definitely not the bands fault.  About an hour after our meal last night I had agonizing pain again.  it shows up on my left side, hurts like a mother…$#@!# and shoots lightly up to my shoulder.  With the band the shoulder pain was stronger but otherwise similar.   At times I have wondered if it is some weird gas thing but then that would be really stupid eh?

4.  I am calling the gastro people to make an appointment to discuss these questions.  The gyno stuff will hopefully be in hand tomorrow (I was assured by a nurse I would have a new appointment tomorrow).  Fingers crossed it actually happens.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

And the Fat Returneth

The scale showed a gain today.  Only about a pound overall but my clothes are not comfortable today.  I am feeling bloated-but the bloat has been a problem on a daily basis for the lat four months since this womanly fun began.  I am slowly drinking a tall with no whip peppermint mocha and will chase it with a vente water and iron pill.

Still waiting on a gyno appointment and debating whether I should call the gastro. people and tell them the pain has not gone away.  It is definitely better but gone it is not.

It struck me today that I have a dress sitting in my closet for my daughters wedding in September-Not good…not good at all.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

More Gyno Love

I called hoping to sort out the gyno issues.  My bleeding has increased again (just what I needed given the low Iron already). I was given an appointment for August 6.  I guess two more weeks won't make a difference?  I kind of think it will but either I really pissed off the office or they just don't care.

I called my GP and she said she cannot put in a progesterone IUD but she can take them out (ahh if that were only my problem).  She has recommended someone else who might be able to see me sooner.  WHile I had her on the phone I asked for my iron numbers form my last test but they made absolutely no sense.  I am guessing the nurse assistant did not know which number to tell me??

On the band front:  The eating is fun but still scaring me to death.  I am super hungry now!  The old food porn feelings are back in full force.  I watch what everyone is eating and savor its foody goodness.  today was just plain old weird.  I was very busy in the shop so ate a series of snacks (some good and some NOT).  I have not gained yet but fear it is in my future big time.  I am trying to take my iron tablets and drink as MUCH water as possible.

Yes..the store was super busy-that is a good thing.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Two Days on Empty and doing OK

The Scale:  so far holding steady (phew)
The sugary drinks: I had coffee but only one small one and I am chasing each one with a large water and iron pill.
The food:  Eating a lot more but mostly making healthy decisions:  1 chicken tamale for lunch, 1 big for me serving of taco salad for dinner.  2-3 cups of kettle corn at the farmers market!!

The stomach issues are still here but were better yesterday.  Perhaps things are healing?  Definitely a pain in my side whenever I eat and shoulder pain after.

I got a phone call from the lab on Saturday morning.  My iron tests were in and they are down to 6 (apparently that is red flag call the patient worthy on a Saturday).

The only real symptoms of the anemia I have is tired-took naps on both Saturday and Sunday and occasional dizzy when I get up too fast and climb stairs.  I did read something that said anemia can cause intestinal issues?  Perhaps it is one culprit after all.

I am calling the gyno today. After a weekend think and discussion with hubby we have decided to try an IUD with progesterone 1.  to see if it works and 2. to try and give me a break and bring the iron up before a hysterectomy surgery.

Friday, July 18, 2014


Last night was not pretty.  I developed some sort of freakish pain in my side and shoulder.  I have had this before but never has it lasted so long or hurt so much.  I called first thing this morning to see if I could move my appointment with my nurse practitioner. up.  Thankfully she did.  I did not eat or drink anything as I was pretty afraid to.  Of course one has visions of slipped bands, an exploding esophagus etc.

The office called back at 10am and said come in right away.  I jumped in my car and drove straight down there (with knitting in bag).  I sat in the waiting room until 1pm.  Maggie (I have seen her before but she is my new band person) decided-after a cried a little and explained what happened that it was a good idea to empty the band----COMPLETELY.  I cannot say that I have not thought about this, or even desired it as I was writhing and walking the floor in agony last night.  When she said it though and those nebulous thoughts became a reality is scared the bejeeebies out of me.

She did it-took out all 7. something cc's of fluid and of course i started crying again.  Visions of the 300 pound me that used to be came flooding into my head.  what if…She calmly handed me tissues and went through the following list:

  • I needed to go up for a barium upper GI to have a look at the gear
  • This might not even be band related but until we pull out the fluid we won't know
  • All my gyno issues need to be in hand and having some space to eat better sources of iron would be a good idea.
  • If the barium upper GI shows nothing we will do a scope at the same time we do a colonoscopy (saving me a round of anesthesia.

All of these were of course correct but it doesn't make it any less scary.  I went downstairs for the upper GI.  They got me right in and I even SAW the doctor while the procedure was being done.  The results were explained AT THE SAME TIME I had the procedure.  She did say that Maggie needed to make final assessments but she saw nothing bad on any of the scans.  At one point the doctor even handed me a horse-pill sized chunk of barium.  This scared the shite out of me but..I took it, swallowed with a swig of water and viola not only did the pill go right down but it beat the camera!!!  

So it is official.  I have a wide open slippery stomach opening again.  I drank water.  A full 8 ounces of it.  It went down but didn't feel that easy at first.  I then stopped off at the downstairs cafeteria (it was 3pm by this time) and had a look.  Sandwich? Yogurt?  a baked good i figured was a known entity.  I got a scone and a cookie (rationalizing to myself that I would share what was left with Grace when I got home)…Um no..I drove…I ate both baked goods on the drive home.  NO problema.

This scares me even more to a certain extent.  There are some REALLY bad habits I have adopted because i could not eat much.  The biggest of these is the sugary coffee and lots of slidy desserty items.  These MUST StOP….What I can now have is salad, veges, fruit.  I am going to have to take full advantage of these and reintroduce them after I cut out the bad for me stuff.

Now..back tot he pain thing.  It isn't gone.  my side still hurts off and on and I keep having shoulder pains.  The difference now is they seem to dissipate a whole lot faster and often with a quick little burp or change in body position.

So..with my new open band I decided dinner should be a celebration of sorts and boy did I live it up:

Pot roast, a bit of bread, asparagus and potatoes.  I had at least half of what was on my plate.  then home I had a small half cup serving of vanilla ice cream with blackberries.  I am now enjoying a small version of hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps.  I am working really hard to shrink the sweet stuff or eliminate some of it as the healthier stuff expands.  

I am also going back to a daily weight in..it might kill me to watch but I am going to try and keep the same weight as much as possible.

As far the the gyno issues go I had a bit of a break through there too.  Yesterday I was feeling really down and the tummy pain issues were not helping.  I decided to just let the whole bleeding problem go and forget dealing with the gynecologist issue entirely.  One of those ostrich in the sand decisions.  Well I felt pretty good after the whole band issue decision when the gyno called (finally).  I did not lose it and start bawling as I feared.

I firmly told her about my displeasure and indecision as to how to proceed.  She is willing to give me a hysterectomy but she is also now well aware of the cock up her office and even she herself made of the whole biopsy thing.  She frankly has done so many damned biopsy's that it did not even occur to her that I was worried about results BECAUSE no one would leave a message and then when I spoke to receptionists who could not even find my results at all that I had just had a week of unnecessary worry..she seemed clueless.

I left the conversation with..instruct your receptionist who was unwilling to make the appointment I requested at the beginning of the week to allow me to make one (if I decide to) tomorrow.  However..I might just look for another gynocologist.  She ended the conversation by offering to help me find someone.

So..on the band front I am starting back at the beginning- 2008 (eek) and with the Gyno..I found a back bone instead of a shepy crying angry phone call.  Not bad for a days work.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

More Phone Drama.

I got the call back from the lapband department.  I am good to go there and will see them on Monday.  They suggested that if I need and upper GI they can just send me upstairs for it right away.  I should probably round up some bloodwork-I have results from one doctor but you know they won't be sharing.

Now back to the GYNO hell.  I called the office again this morning at 10am.  I got the receptionist on the phone who asked me for my name.  I gave it.  She then asked me for my date of birth.  I gave it.  She then proceeded to tell me that they had no record of test results for me.  WTF???

I informed her that I spoke to two people yesterday who said indeed yes I have results but that they needed to be read by the doctor.  She then said well you know we have data from people from three states and there are a heck of a lot of Tina Johnstons.  None of them on my list has your birthday.  This really helps me my confidence right??  Did they lose my specimen?  Did they lose my results?  I am sure has heck not getting another biopsy that is for sure!!!

Tonight Grace informed me that the doctors office called after I left the house this morning apparently to tell me my results.   I told the doctor to provide my results to anyone who answered the phone (that all persons were fully aware of the situation).  I repeated this on two visits and this statement was met with a yes and a head-shake.  Apparently they had no intention of actually doing it.

Tomorrow I will be requesting my records to be placed in an envelope and that I will be picking them up. I will expect to receive at this time the results of my biopsy.  I will then take these records with me and go find a new gynecology office as this one is apparently completely incompetent.

Fine I have a common name but really if they cannot manage to report results to someone I am not ready to trust them with a scalpel on my lady bits.

arghghghghggh extreme frustration.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Medical Care is Changing

This morning I have called two different doctors for two different reasons only to find out that our medical care system has no sense of efficiency anymore.

First the Gyno and after being put on hold for several minutes I got the receptionist who could tell me that my results were in but she couldn't tell me anything until the doctor looked at them.  I suggested that I would need to be seen either way and could I not just make an appointment?  She said no we needed to wait until I had my results.  Then I got a call from the nurse to tell me that the doctor had not yet read my results and they would call me soon?????  OK…

I then called the lapband doctor.  He has retired-like completely…gone.  He was also much older than I thought because they told me how old he was over the phone!!  The nurse practicioner that I saw a few times is still there thank goodness and I am scheduled to see her.  I will miss my doctor :(.  Now here is the makes no sense part.  I called was put through to a nurse.  Told her that I needed to have an upper GI scheduled , that I had frequent shoulder pain and that I was dealing with gyno issues that were making it all more difficult.  I asked if we could just schedule it all together and she said-no you need to come in and schedule with the nurse practicioner first and then perhaps to for the upper GI..then…said she would call me back to make the appointment!!!  WTF???  Does no one keep a schedule in front of them anymore???

How much work time is wasted on phone tag and call backs?

Monday, July 7, 2014

New News-

Hello hello-

There is news on the band front.

I have been ill.  The menopause junk that I was dealing with 6 years ago is all back and being a pain in my backside.  After treating the excessive bleeding, getting through hot flashes and going into what I thought was a year of menopause  I have been told I was apparently not experiencing it.

Last Fall my normal cycle returned right about the time my 12 year old went into puberty.  Over the last year-ish stuff has returned to my pre-menopause normality until April when the excessive bleeding returned.  I called and my G.P. She called in a new prescription for birth control (the hormones helped last time).  This worked for a couple of months and then whammo it all came back.  now after at least a few months of this on again off again bleeding my iron is way low and I am sooo tired all of the time.  I have gone into a specialist who wants to redo most of the tests they did 6 years ago (including a biopsy--eek).  Wish me luck for tomorrow-Last time this was the most painful test I have ever experienced and I have had some doozies.

Meanwhile my band has been very tight.  I am not sure if this is a hormonal reaction (it always tightens up during my period).  It makes sense that a never ending period might mean a never ending tight band.  This tightness coupled with my super tiredness makes for an unhappy Tina.  I cannot seem to get enough good quality protein in which cannot be helping the low iron  problem.  Eventually I get so hungry that I look for anything to fill the void--and that usually means poor quality sliders in the late night…which then means upset tummy when I sleep.  In the morning my band is already irritated from this. and the cycle repeats itself over and over.

I decided that I should probably go in to see my lapband surgeon and gave him a call.  When I made the call today I was told that HE has left the practice!!!  They said they could not tell me where he had gone or even if he had left the university hospital where I had my surgery.  They said they would send word to my doctor and ask him if he would see me.  I had heard a few months ago through the grapevine that he had given up surgery.  This is OK because i want to consult with him about my current issues not have an op…I hope I can find him.

The last time I saw my lapband doc. he said that I would need a full work up before I came in for another fill.  I am thinking it would be wise to do this anyway.  In addition at 50 I am supposed to undergo my first colonoscopy (oh joy).  Have any of you had one of those post band?  I am rather worried about how I can possibly get through the cleaning out process necessary.  I figured it would be wise to see my surgeon about all of these things.

Other than the pile of poo I have written above life is fine.  The term ended and I am transitioning to just running the yarn store (Who knows if I will ever be able to say no to offers) but right now…just the one job is suiting me well.