Medical Alert Bracelets for Gastric Bypass Patients

So you’ve had your gastric bypass surgery.  Your diabetes is in remission; your high blood pressure is coming down; and some of the other co-morbidities you worried about are no longer a problem.

Why do you need a medical alert ID bracelet now?

As a gastric bypass patient, you are aware that you are surgically altered – at least abdominally speaking.  If you are unable to speak for yourself and medical personnel need to insert an NG tube, there is a chance that if they do this without the benefit of a scope, they could perforate or damage your pouch and cause further medical complications.  You may not always be in a position to alert doctors, nurses, or other medical personnel that you’ve had gastric bypass surgery, and for some of us, this is not only important, it’s crucial.

Another thing you might want medical professionals to know is that as a gastric bypass patient, you should not be treated with NSAIDS.  Prolonged use of NSAIDS isn’t good for anyone, but with someone that has very little stomach acid to dissolve these medications, there is a greater risk of stomach ulcers.

Some gastric bypass patients also include on their medical alert bracelet “No Sugars”.  This helps to prevent medical treatment using sugar from adversely affecting those patients that have severe dumping issues.

You can find a style to suit your personality, so don’t think you’re stuck with a tacky piece of jewelry you wouldn’t have bought on Halloween at a Dollar Store to round out your costume.  You can find a wide variety of colors, metals, crystals – even Pandora style bracelets.  Some, like the one I wear, have an ID plaque that you can remove and put with a different bracelet as you wish.  Stylish, no?

What should the bracelet say?  Something like this:
Jane Doe
Gastric ByPass
No Blind NG Tube
No NSAIDS/ No Sugars
555-555-1212 (Dr.)

Mine has my name on the front, and the other information on the reverse.

So go ahead and get one.  Better to be safe than suffering with a perforated pouch!

You can find an enormous selection of bracelets at www.laurenshope.com

Reebok EasyTone – the beautygirlsmom sneaker

beautygirlsmom is standing in panties and sneakers just like the supermodels – you have been warned

This is NOT beautygirlsmom – I know, you’re shocked

OK, you saw all the supermodel sneaker pictures, now its time for the beautygirlsmom sneaker pictures.

DANGER: Take small children by the hands, and remove all men with unrealistic expectations of woman, well I guess would be all straight men, but anyway, ladies, this is for us.

Seriously, did you think I’d show my butt here?  At least not unless I got the Photo Shop expert that makes the super models look as good as they do.

But anyway – we bought these fabulous sneakers that are not only going to improve my calves, thighs, and butt; but they are going to make my life fabulous.  I will be able to wear super short skirts and short shorts and never once worry that I have camel toe, shop only in stores that place my items in brightly colored shopping bags, and not have to worry about going to the tanning salon for my Snooki special spray tan – I will be naturally a beautiful shade of Not Ghostly White (the above photos have been retouched so you do not have to wear your sunglasses from my blinding white skin while you read my blog).

I’ve not had a lot of opportunity to wear the shoes yet, but so far, they don’t seem to be doing a whole lot.  The shoe sales woman claimed I’d have aches and pains in places I didn’t know existed on my body after my first wear.  My first wear was in Disney World – the Magic Kingdom – and the most I got was a small blister on my baby toe.

Maybe I’m wearing them wrong?  Maybe you have to already be walking to the stores with the fabulously colored shopping bags in order for these sneakers to work?

I’ll keep you posted.

Macy’s clothes shopping

Tip number one about going clothes shopping?  Make sure you are wearing the appropriate undergarments so everything doesn’t have panty line.  I went in wearing a baggy, broomstick skirt (you know, the kind I’m trying to ease out of), and you can’t see any panty line under that.  Not so the fitted skirts I tried on.

This was the only one I marginally liked, but honestly, I didn’t see that many “casual” type of skirts in Macy’s today.  Most of them were career oriented, business like skirts for people that have a Jay Oh Bee – which is not me.  I just want to look good when I get dressed in the morning, not look like I’m out to conquer corporate America.

Shopping is way too frustrating for me.  I found very few things I liked.  This blouse I LOVED, but they only had it in a 4 and a 16.  I tried to convince Jim to stop for a banana split on the way out so I could get the size 16, but he wasn’t hearing any of it.

AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH

Then I found a few cute skirts in the Michael Kors section.  Cute, but I’m not in love, and if I’m going to pay Michael Kors prices so the man finally has enough money to buy himself some new duds (is anyone else tired of the black on black look he’s had going for, like, EVER??), I want to get engaged to this skirt.
AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH

Oh wait – a rack of black denim – I can wear black denim!

WHAT?  Black denim for $100 a pop?  Have these people no shame?  I am destined to be a People of WalMart forever.
AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH

So the end result of today’s journey out to the mall is that I came home with some autumn scented soap for the bathrooms and the kitchen.  And a latte.

It wasn’t a total loss.

Say Yes To The Dress: Big Bliss…

Say Yes To The Dress: Big Bliss – next Friday at 9 on TLC – someone remind me! Thrilled that shops carry samples bigger than a 2!

I was not a fat bride.  On the day I went to try on my wedding gown, I was a size 12, which I thought, since I had lost weight, was a pretty svelte version of me.  Imagine my shock when I went to the bridal shop, and not only did they not have samples I could try on that fit me (the dress shop attendant held the flapping pieces in the back still so I could get an idea of what I might look like dressed), but when they ordered my dress, they had to order a size 18.

Had I waited a while to get married (like after I had been married and had three children), I’d have had to get a wedding gown that fit my size 24 body.  That means it would have had to be a size gazillion in bridal gown size.  And going into a bridal shop at size 24 would have had me in tears, as I think I would have died not to be able to try on any gowns.

I’m so thrilled that this isn’t the case anymore, and I’m so glad there are shops that are giving big girls their due.  Big girl, you are beautiful.

Slider Foods Will Make Me Fat

I struggle on an almost daily basis over what to put in my mouth.  I know there are gastric bypass patients who pretty much eat whatever they want at some point after surgery, and some are fortunate enough to have learned a lesson and can do it without gaining weight back.  There are two things that frighten me about food.  The first thing is I will eat something and it will make me sick.  The second thing is I will eat something and it will NOT make me sick.  So I have come up with a list of “safe” foods that I feel comfortable eating, that fill me up, that make me feel like I’m not depriving myself.  I do veer off of the safe foods when I go out to eat, although I admit that since soup is typically a safe food for me, I usually look at the soups on a menu first.  But my one daily staple, no matter what, is pretzels.  I eat a LOT of pretzels.  I probably eat more calories in the form of pretzels than all the other foods I eat in a day – easily.  And then I got this emailed to me through my support group:

What are slider foods?
Kaye’s Answer: In a malabsorptive procedure the pouch is made and the stoma or outlet is attached to the lower part of the middle intestine called the jejunum. The majority of caloric absorption takes place in the jejunum, so depending upon where your surgeon created the outlet the level of absorption can vary. Skilled surgeons will adjust the length of intestine bypassed according to their patient’s projected needs based on dieting history and pre-op psychological screening.

Slider foods slide right through the stoma into the jejunum. My first test of the slider foods was graham crackers and coffee for my after work snack. Now imagine, I could eat a stack of graham crackers and wash it right through the pouch with the coffee and never feel any satiation. What resulted was an easily absorbed slurry that my jejunum sucked up like a sponge – it didn’t have to do any work to absorb this simple carbohydrate slurry. Of course, weight gain resulted and I had to give up this little indulgence. Another popular slider food is pretzels. I speak with post-ops all the time who are addicted to pretzels – again, this is a simple carb that your jejunum is very happy to receive and convert to fat. Traditionally dieters are encouraged to eat pretzels or popcorn – fat free and fiber, right? But that doesn’t work so well for us. Giving our re-routed bodies these simple carbs is dangerous because our bodies have spent years perfect the art of fat storage – slider foods are to the body a great big lottery win.

By the way, in my example I spoke of a slurry from graham crackers and coffee. Simple carbs, however, will slide right through without the added benefit of a liquid. And several others can talk about cheese nip crackers, popcorn, mashed potatoes, ice cream/yogurt etc.

Lots of times I hear, “But I don’t like that uncomfortable tight feeling of solid protein in my pouch.” But the very purpose of the pouch is to signal fullness, which often comes by way of slight discomfort when we are eating in compliance with our bariatric owner’s manual. The slider foods will never ever signal fullness. They are dangerous and in most cases non-nutritional. When I feel that full-pouch discomfort I try to mentally psych myself up, “YEAH-BABY! The pouch is on the job!!” Silly, but whatever works.

I’m one of those people who does not like the uncomfortable feeling I get when I eat solid foods.  I have never in my life been really full.  I could go to a buffet and know to stop eating because I could hear John Pinette echoing in the recesses of my brain doing his Chinese buffet skit (“you’ve been here four ow-a!  You go now!).  But I’ve never had that feeling where you wish you had worn stretch pants.  Until I had surgery.  And it’s not a good feeling.  I’ve also had the feeling where food is backed up.  I wish I could describe it to someone who has not had surgery, but it’s a feeling like the stuff I have eaten and swallowed has gotten down to the mid-chest area and stopped.  And it’s not going to move until the rest of what I ate moves along first.

Pretzels have been my friend.  They are a “snack” – something I thought I had lost forever when I had gastric bypass surgery.  They taste good – especially after a protein shake or bar or a cup of steaming hot vanilla latte.  The salt complements the other foods.  And I don’t get that full feeling from them.  They do slide right down without any difficulty.

And that’s why I can go through 4 pounds of pretzels in a week or so. 

So after I finish the bag and the tub I have, no more pretzels for me (said as I reached under my desk for the tub of peanut butter filled pretzels).  Apparently, pretzels will slide me right back to obesity.  I will have to learn to deal with the discomfort of a full pouch.  Starting today.  Munch.  Munch.

Super Bowl party tips for Bariatric surgery patients

Super Bowl XLII Party tips for Bariatric Surgery PatientsSuper Bowl XLII is upon us, and I know what you’re thinking.  What the hell did I do to my intestines, and how is it going to prevent me from having fun at my Super Bowl party?  Well, get over it.  The fun is in the company you invite, and I’m here to save you from crying in the beer you shouldn’t be drinking with some tips on enjoying some gastric bypass friendly party foods.

When planning your Super Bowl party, there are some foods that just naturally make their way to the top of the list.  If you are inviting intestinally intact guests, you don’t want them to feel deprived of any of their football food favorites, but you can make foods that they will recognize as tail gating must haves, only slightly altered for those of us who are gastrically altered.

One thing your Super Bowl party can’t be without is chili, and that’s a GREAT food for bypass patients.  Loaded with protein packed beans, choose a lean meat in making your chili, like a lean ground beef, ground ostrich, or a ground WHITE MEAT turkey (you may have to ask for this specifically at your grocery store – don’t assume ground turkey is all white meat, and if it isn’t, you are getting a lot of fat from the dark meat).  Use toppers to your favorite chili recipe that include fat free shredded cheese and fat free sour cream.  Your guests won’t know that you’ve chosen this because it’s gastric bypass friendly, they’ll just know it’s a Super Bowl party must have.

I have a terrific recipe for chicken that your guests will think came straight from Buffalo.  The difference is, in regular Buffalo Chicken wings, you are consuming close to 70% fat.  Check my recipe blog to get a recipe that cuts the amount of fat by more than half.  You can enjoy a small portion of the wings, and your guests can go hog wild (or is it chicken wild??) and not know the difference.

Some snack foods easily lend  themselves to gastric bypass patients, but having them at your party won’t make your guests feel like they are eating diet foods.  A nice tray of cheese (stick to low fat varieties), veggeroni (tofu based pepperoni) or turkey pepperoni, and most dips made with fat free sour cream are excellent snack options for a weight loss surgery patient, but they will all be welcome additions to your selection of party food.  You can even do something that looks really fattening and decadent, like a baked mozzarella cheese (purchase the fat free cheese sticks, dip in egg, roll lightly in Panko bread crumbs, bake in the oven until cheese is warm), with a sugar free tomato sauce.

Do a web search for fat free dips, and add things you know you can eat around them.  Most gastric bypass patients can eat pretzels and crackers, although you want to watch how much you eat of these types of foods.  The key to enjoying the dips with the pretzels or crackers is to take a spoonful of the dip on your plate, a few of the pretzels or crackers, and then move yourself away from the dip bowls. 

Pizza is not as bad as you have been led to believe, and if you make it yourself, you can do a lot to make it more gastric bypass friendly.  Use a very thin pizza crust – one you make yourself, buy already made, or roll out from the Pillsbury tubes.  Top it with a brush of olive oil, crushed garlic, and fat free mozzarella.  Or you can top the pizza with crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, and the cheese.  You can even find sugar free pizza sauce – or make your own – and use that with fat free mozzarella.  You can add more protein to the top of your pizza by topping a white pizza with lump crab meat or shrimp (if you can eat shrimp – it’s still too hard for me), or top a tomato pizza with chopped clams or chicken.  This is something your guests will love and you can enjoy.  Cut the pizzas into smaller slices or even into strips, that way you can feel like you can indulge in two pieces!

And don’t dismiss a salad option.  Of course, if your guests are used to hoagies and creamy salads like potato and macaroni, you may not win them over with a green salad.  But offer a salad fixings bar, including gastric bypass friendly options like shredded cheese, chopped egg, crumbled turkey bacon, diced turkey, etc.  Offer a selection of salad dressings ranging from simple vinegar and oil to the thicker, richer thousand island or ranch.  You can opt for fat free versions of the dressings, or offer the standard dressings for your guests and choose your favorite fat free variety. 

For desserts, include a fruit salad that you can have with a chocolate sauce or a light cheesecake dip.  It sounds a little frou-frou, but your guests will enjoy it.  A sheet cake with your team colors on it is an option for your guests, and many bakeries now carry low carb options made with Splenda that you can usually have a taste of (Cheesecake Factory restaurant makes a low carb cheesecake that is terrific, just eat a SMALL portion). 

When picking up paper goods, make sure to pick up smaller sized plates so that you can have a full sized plate of food using the smaller sized plate, and feel like you are not denying yourself anything.  And invest in the Super Bowl themed cups so no one will know if you’re drinking water or unsweetened iced tea while they are guzzling down the Bud Lights. 

Most of all, enjoy your company.  Enjoy showing off the new you, and showing people that celebrating – even your team’s win in the Super Bowl – doesn’t have to be all about fattening food.

14 Things to consider when picking a Bariatric Surgeon

I will be adding to this as I go along, but I wanted to let you know my thoughts on this important lifetime decision you will make.

  • You must trust your surgeon
  • You cannot pick out a surgeon sight unseen
  • You cannot pick out a surgeon from a magazine
  • Your primary care physician who has treated you since you were born may try to talk you out of it
  • Your surgeon may have a private support group they want you to check out. These can be can helpful or pep squads.
  • Your surgeon may be part of a practice or alone, both has its benefits
  • Your surgeon must have experience, do not be their first
  • Your surgeon should specialize in this procedure. It has been going on so much, be wary of those dabbling in this complicated procedure that will alter your life
  • You may have to travel to the surgeon before the surgery, for the procedure, and for follow-up appointments
  • You may have a post surgery complication where having your surgeon close can be of great help and comfort
  • You may have an internal condition unrelated do bariatric surgery, but having your surgeon close can be of help to the treating physician in knowing what is going on inside your body
  • Some physicians do not agree with bariatric surgery
  • Some physicians are leary of patients who have had bariatric surgery
  • Almost no bairatric surgeons will take you after you have started treatment or surgery with another physician

What did you consider when you picked your bariatric surgeon?

Obesity Health Conditions to consider Bariatric Surgery

If you are diagnosed with Morbid obesity, you are at a greater risk to die. Plain and simple. You are at a greater risk to die sooner, work your organs harder, under exercise, over eat, under do and under life the one and only life you get. I do not want to scare you into having Bariatric Surgery. I want to let you know the real risks of being diagnosed with morbid obesity.

Once you have morbid obesity, you are at a greater risk for many life-threatening health problems, known as co-morbid conditions. These conditions are by themselves very serious. Many of them will sneak up on you and do their damage silently over many years before they every begin to exhibit symptoms. For example, a co-morbid condition such as type 2 diabetes may be damaging your kidneys. You do not have to know that you have type 2 diabetes, but the damage is still being done each and every day of your life.

What are the common co-morbid conditions of morbid obese people:

  • Type 2 diabetes, which can lead to kidney and liver failure, heart disease, eye disease including retina detachments and blindness, nerve damage, problems recovering from wounds and difficulty healing, nerve damage and amputation of the fingers, toes, feet or legs
  • Heart disease, such as angina, hardening of the arteries and heart attack
  • High blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, kidney failure, vision loss and stroke
  • Cancer
  • High cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease, kidney failure and stroke
  • Depression
  • Sleep apnea
  • Acid reflux/GERD, which can lead to esophagitis, esophageal cancer and Barrett’s esophagus
  • Osteoarthritis and joint pain which together with your weight can lead to loss of mobility
  • Stress urinary incontinence
  • All the above are for men and woman. Woman also have a co-morbid conditions of female reproductive health disorder, which can lead to infertility, and sexual dysfunction

If you are morbidly obese, or getting there and have any of the above symptoms, see your physician and get them under control or treated. Bariatric surgery can have an effect on all of these co-morbid conditions

As always, do not rely upon my success or posts to guide you down this lifetime decision. You must find a surgeon that you trust to help you make the right decision of whether or not surgery is right for you. But please comment here on your situation, I would be glad to hear how things are going for you and help you on whatever path you decide as a friend who has had to make the decision herself.

Do you have any of these health conditions now?

Qualifying for Bariatric Surgery

So you have made the decision to go ahead and have bariatric surgery. You are ready to undergo a lifetime commitment to transform your health and yourself? Do you meet the guidelines to have bariatric surgery? Knowing what the requirements are is the first step in the decision making process and putting you on the road to a new you.

Patients should have the following

  • 100 pounds or more of excess weight; or a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or greater
  • A Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or greater with one or more co-morbid condition

Other Common Guidelines

  • You must have an understanding the risks of bariatric surgery
  • You must make a commitment to dietary and other lifestyle changes as recommended by the surgeon
  • Your physician may require you to join a dietary program
  • Your physician may require you to join a support group
    • This may be a free or pay in advance group
  • Having a history of weight loss treatments having failed the patient
  • Be prepared to document this with receipts, dates, or exercise and diet logs
  • Undergoing a complete examination including medical tests
  • This initial tests are very important to get a complete set of tests to use as a baseline for your post surgery health

As with any surgery, there are possible complications and risks that are important to know and understand. As I have said many times, do not do this because of my success. This is a major lifetime commitment.

A Protein Drink that’s not so God Awful it Makes you Want to Hurl

On my recent visit in with my gastric bypass surgeon, they were kind enough to present me with a lovely bag of samples and goodies that they had saved for me from Christmas.  Most of it was junk and I threw it away, my kids took off with the water bottle and the bag itself, and I was left with a bottle of protein powder from Health Wise.  Unlike many of the other protein drinks I’ve had, this one is not vanilla or chocolate or milky or creamy in any way.  The sample I have is for the Pineapple Orange High Protein Fruit Drink – with the very catchy caption “Fill it*Shake it*Drink it. 

When you pull the plastic ring off the bottle and open it up, you definitely can smell that there’s something more than pineapples and oranges in this stuff, but I’m willing to try it anyway.  You fill the bottle with water – I used 8 ounces and then threw in a few ice cubes – and shake it (after replacing the lid).  The drink contains 60 calories and 15 grams of protein, but not much of anything else.  There’s no sugar, a little potassium, no fat, no carbs.  The protein comes from Whey protein concentrate, so you protein purists who don’t believe all protein is created – or absorbed – equally can feel fairly comfortable with the protein in here.

Now, I’m not a big fan of orange juice or pineapple juice, or any fruit juice for that matter, so it was a little dumb for me to go out on a limb and try to review this beverage.  However, after getting past the initial OH MY GOD THIS IS SO SWEET feeling, and once the ice kicked in and cooled it down, it really was a pretty refreshing drink.  You definitely know it’s a protein drink, but the orange and pineapple do a fairly good job at hiding it.  It definitely needs ice.  Definitely.

You can buy these delicious drinks on line for about $2 per bottle.  I found a sale on them – if you buy 3, they are $5 from this place:

http://cntr4weightloss.stores.yahoo.net/piorsshbodrm.html

This is a good alternative to the more milk shakey kind of protein shakes.  I think over the summer, these will work out just great.