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Sunday, February 20, 2011

wild fantasies

Get your mind out of the gutter.  Not those kind of wild fantasies.

I'm counting down the days until I see the "diet doctor" at my bariatric office.  Technically she's an internist who works at the bariatrics office so I have no idea what she can possibly offer me, I've never met her before.  She's the person who will decide whether or not my case will be resubmitted with the correct BMI....the dietician said this doctor "has some options for me."

Cryptic...don't you think?

So...you know me.  I'm a dreamer.  I've been fantasizing.

About clinical trials.

Yes, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is currently recruiting for two studies although I don't meet the criteria for any of them.  One of them is looking for type 2 diabetics.  Another is looking for people who've already had WLS and still have a BMI between 35-40.  The third study is no longer accepting participants---but it was looking for people to get the intragastric balloon inserted into their stomach for six months.  If you are interested in looking at those clinical trials you can see them here.

So then I thought, well, there have to be more clinical trials going on other places.  Maybe I can find one of those!

I came across this site listing lots of clinical trials here.

Because I've already lost weight, there aren't a whole lot of studies who are looking for people in my BMI category but there are a few.  I'm going to print out a few of these clinical trials and take the information into my doctor's appointment when I see her on March 8.  In my fantasy, this is her idea---to find me a free way to get surgery.  But if not, I'll suggest it myself.  I'm even willing to get the gastric sleeve.  I just want a permanent solution.  I'd prefer to avoid gastric bypass (the malabsorption issue just seems harsh to me) but I'm open to something other than lap band.  It was my number one choice but something is better than nothing.

My red balloon is still flying you guys!  This balloon is now almost two months old.  Isn't that crazy?!?  I still have faith.  Yep, I cried myself to sleep on Friday night, but I'm over it now.  As Judi says, ONWARD!  Thank you all SO MUCH for all of your sweet comments on Friday.  You really brighten my day.  With you guys all behind me, I don't feel alone.  And my balloon keeps me going.  I think it put these clinical trial fantasies in my head.  Maybe something will come of it, who knows?

Friday, February 18, 2011

me so sad.

So so sad.

I just spent another hour of my life on the phone with the insurance company.  Calling about my appeal. Spent the first 15 minutes on hold.  My heart was racing.

The lady came back on the line and said I was denied.  She read excerpts of the letter I will be getting in the mail.  Basically, since my BMI fell below 35 while on the six month diet as REQUIRED by insurance, they are telling me to "stick with it."

WTF!!  Before I even started the "diet," my bariatric office sent me a letter stating I'd be required to lose 1-3% of my body weight PER MONTH basically to PROVE myself a worthy candidate in the insurance company's eyes.  I did that---and that's why they are denying me.  WTF?!?!?!  I went from 215 on their scale to currently 176 on mine.  Well WHATEVER.  It's not over.  The next level of review is a panel of people to hear my case.   Oh and get this!!!  The panel is just a random bunch they round up!  They aren't doctors.  They just round up members of the insurance plan to make the decision.  This might work in my favor.  But what the heck?!

In the meantime, it won't ruin my weekend.  :)

But I have a little song to dedicate to my insurance company.  I think you'll like it.  If the F*** word bothers you though---don't click.  :)  This song cracks me up.

fashion show

Here I am modeling my new jeans for you.  I wore them yesterday when I met up with Judi & Band Groupie.  Ummm, yeah I look awkward standing there, because I didn't know what to do with my arms.

I had to set the camera on the window sill, set the timer, and run over there.   

Hmmmm....I have this nagging feeling Next Top Model will not be calling me.  No matter, I can't walk in high heels and have no idea how to "look fierce."  Please note, this is *not* an empire waist top, that seam is supposed to run underneath my boobs, yes, but.....well, mine are just big.  And I'm still nursing a baby.  SOoooo, that seam doesn't fit where it should.  Right now I'm thankful (for once!) to have a big chest...they are useful for pushing my shirt out past my gut, lol.  And my gut is huge.  But the girls are BIGGER.  But once the belly is gone, they are getting reduced.  They must go---they make my back hurt.  But yep, these are my new jeans, and please ignore my son's ugly gender confusing room.  It was an office until recently...thus the rainbow rug & seemingly random bulletin boards in the background. 

I need fashion help!  I need decorating help!  I think I know just who to call (Band Groupie & Judi, lol). 

mini-BOOBS of the 'Burgh

Yesterday I got to meet Band Groupie and Judi!  It was so much fun.

We had lunch at a place right across the street from the hospital where my Bariatric office is (and Judi's too!).  While I was waiting for them I noticed several doctors, nurses, and plastic surgeons that I recognized.  Both of my babies were born at this hospital, my husband did a 3 month clinical rotation there, plus he occasionally picks up shifts there now, aaand my next door neighbor is a plastics fellow and I've met a few of his friends, so yes, I know me some hospital peeps.  Anywhooooo....as I sat there waiting to accost Band Groupie and Judi as soon they walked through the door---that's when I got a CRAZY IDEA.

I bet, if I sit there at Panera LONG ENOUGH, I might run into my surgeon, or my PA, or someone from the bariatric office.....yeah, and if I can catch them there at Panera on their lunch break and tell them my whole sad pathetic sob story, maybe they will listen and........and......uh.............ummmmm.

Yeah.  It was a crazy idea.  Just a fleeting thought.

I am not a stalker.  I am not a stalker.  I am not a stalker.

But oooooohhhhhhhhhhh it was soo fun to sit and chat with the two ever-so-lovely Judi and Band Groupie.  They are just as delightful in person as they are to read, so if you aren't following them yet, you totally should.  And they paid me 50 cents each to say that.

We could have talked all day and all night without stopping to breathe, I'm pretty sure of it.

Before I knew it, it was 12:40 and I had to rush off and go pick up my little boy.  While I was driving over there, my phone rang.  My heart skipped a beat, thinking maybe it was the bariatric office calling to tell me I'm approved.  Noooooope!  Wishful thinking.  It was the preschool director calling to let me know my son had jumped off the stage with a toy in his hand and she wanted to warn me before I saw him.  He had a nice size bruise and cut under his eye.  :)  Here's a photo of that for you too, but it looks worse in person.

And I didn't want to leave Rex out because he was such a good boy at lunch yesterday.  He is so sweet and mellow---all the time, I have to say, I'm not bragging or gloating, it's just the truth.  We are so blessed.  Yes, I fear it won't last forever, but for now he is just so sweet and good-natured.  Last night he started in with a fever and his cough worsened to wheezing so...... I took both of my boys to the pediatrician this morning.  Just a secondary bacterial infection from a cold they got about ten days ago.  No worries, antibiotics and they'll get better soon.  :)

As for my Lap Band, I'm hoping to hear ANY DAY NOW.  I opened my "grievance," or appeal, or whatever they want to call it, on January 18.  They are supposed to issue a decision within 30 days of January 18----so according to the calendar that was yesterday!  After I got home from running around all day, I called the insurance and the lady on the phone told me she could not see anything in her computer, but reassured me they would put something in the mail within 5 business days.  So that means I'll call again later this afternoon.  :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

went jean shopping

On Friday my husband got us a babysitter and took me to Nordstrom to spend the gift card he gave me for my birthday (which wasn't 'til today).

Desperate for a new pair of jeans, I headed straight up the escalator to the Encore (the plus-size) department.

Jean shopping is right up there with bathing suit shopping.  I hate it.  But it's an evil necessity.

Sidebar:  I don't understand why Nordstrom calls their plus-size department Encore.  When I hear the word "encore," I envision rock concerts with masses of people cheering until the band comes out to play one last time.  After all, it does mean "repeat performance," or "again."  So why is the plus-size section called Encore?  Is it because plus-sized gals made repeat trips to the buffet?  Is it because I ate yet another cupcake?  Or are they just patronizing me with the rockstar insinuation?

Sadly, all they had were black jeans.  I was hoping for a dark denim wash, but hey, when you're shopping in the ENCORE section, you take what you can get.  So, I tried on the 14WP jeans and they just didn't fit...sniff sniff.

Too big...I know, I know.  Cry me a river.

My husband reminded me I didn't even want black jeans.  Oh yeah.

But when he said, "Let's go over to the Petite department and see if they fit better over there," I was terrified!!

I mean, what if the little sales girls stare at me and think, "What is this fat chick doing over here in our section?"

Oh, the horror!!

I haven't stepped foot in the petite department in at least five years.

So, we crossed over to the *Regular* section and grabbed some 14's.  They fit a little better, too LONG obviously, but that's what tailors are for, right?

I walked out to show my husband.  The tiny little sales girl saw me and said, "Oh, let me go get you some from Petites.  What size do you take?"

.....................Uh.......um.   Well......she asked.....so I felt obligated to answer.  "14."

She ran off to get some.  I held my breath.  I was scared!!!  Of what, I don't know.  Rejection I guess.  From a pair of frickin' jeans!!!

She came back and handed me two pairs.  Both were the color I was hoping for!  Super dark denim!

I thought of my red balloon at home (still flying high y'all, believe it or not!) and said a little prayer.


They both fit!

Decisions, decisions!  Boot cut or skinny fit?  I just loooooved having a choice.  

Plus, they were $20 less than the exact same jeans over in Encore!  What the heck???

Turns out jean shopping for my birthday was enjoyable and put a smile on my face.  I think my husband was thankful our shopping trip didn't end in tears.....That's a first!......in a long time, that is.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A little rewind.

This was my first post--published July 30, 2010.  No one was reading me then so I wanted to repost it because I thought it was kinda funny.  A couple AWESOME people *did* comment on it after they started following me though.  :)  


A few weeks ago I started looking into Lap Band surgery.

Over Christmas 2009, my husband, son, and I were celebrating the holidays with his family in Colorado.  We were setting up our Wii characters---you know, selecting hair color & style, eye color, outfits (etc!) to compose your "mini-me."

Blonde hair?  Check!  Hazel eyes?  Check.  Long lustrous girlie eyelashes?  Check.  Cute outfit?  Mmm...it's not real life, but I did the best I could....

Then my five year old niece chimed in, "You need to make it bigger because you're big."

[insert the sound of a record scratching!]


I was actually 21 weeks pregnant with our second child.

But still.


And for the record, I'll be damned if I have to bowl with a fat Wii character.  Being fat in real life is depressing enough.  I think I'll let my Wii character live in Fantasy Land.

And if that didn't hurt bad enough....

Fast forward a few months.  Our son was born on May 1, 2010 and my husband's family came out to visit in June.  I was sitting on the couch and my niece (the same one!) said, "How come your neck hangs down like that?"

Ummm, I believe she was referring to my double chin.

That's it.  I'm not pregnant anymore.  I've got no excuse.

These extra pounds must go before my own two sons can say something so hurtful about my weight.  Right now they are innocent and love me for me.  They don't see my size.  Eventually though, they will. The thought of them pointing out my size crushes me.

What was your 'that's it' moment?

Thursday, February 10, 2011


After realizing yesterday that all I ever do is bitch and moan on this blog about my Lap Band experience (or lack thereof, ha!) I decided to say something positive.

So here you go.

I did a spinning class today for the first time in seven years!!!

Wow, I'm really proud of myself.  So far, I've done Urban Iron, Muscle Madness, Triple Fit, and now Cycling.  It's by far the toughest.  The others are a good mix of strength training and cardio.  But cycling is all cardio.

Luckily for me, I unwittingly chose a bike sitting directly underneath a ceiling fan.  Divine providence!

Despite a steady flow of air, my face still turned ten shades of red.

A few days ago, Drazil wrote about achieving her runner's high and how, before getting there, she hits a wall first.  She hits her wall after 20 minutes and then suffers for 10 minutes.  After that, she's as high as a kite and everything's peachy.

I had faith.  I believed her.

Boy, was I stupid.

First, my wall hit me like a freight train at minute 15.  Five minutes sooner, my friends.

But I had faith in this so-called "high."

So I kept pedaling.  

And pedaling.................

Wellllll, to make a long story short:  it never came.  The remaining thirty minutes nearly killed me.

To be clear:  I did not get high.  But thanks, Draz, for giving me hope.  That was something, I suppose.

I did, however, feel elated when our time was up and I skipped out the door.  Just kiddin'.  My legs felt like lead.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

damn you iPhone 3G!

I woke up this morning and emailed my nutritionist (Dave)---he works with Melissa* and he seems to have a soft spot for me.

My email was basically asking if he could give me a head's up as to what my "options" were...if he could pretty please tell me if he knew.

Around 4:00 my phone rang.  I recognized his number.  "Hello?"


[More silence].

Sh*t!  Before I could figure out what was wrong with my phone, he hung up.

This happened 4 times.

Each time, I tried holding down a different button---it looked like my mute button was locked.  And the "hold" button too!


I tried unlocking both of them.

Nothing was working.  He kept hanging up on me.  Argh!!!!

This happened last week but I fixed it by rebooting it.  Didn't work this time.

I called a friend.  I could hear her.  She couldn't hear me.  Bah!!

What a PERFECT time for my phone to crap out on me.  Damn you iPhone 3G.  Damn you!

Now I'm cursing myself for giving up my landline.  Whose stupid idea was that anyway?  Then again, this is the first time in three years I've missed it.....

My husband gets off work tomorrow at 3:00 so maybe if I email Dave my hubby's # he can call that line around 4:00 and talk to me.....

Regardless, I think it's time for an upgrade.  :)  Which...makes me pretty happy actually.   :D

Here's a pic of my iPhone opening screen thing-a-ma-bob---my oldest son when he was younger.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Gym-WOWW and Insurance Update

I took a class called Muscle Madness today.  It's a strength training class.

My instructor was a character ripped straight from the cast of Jersey Shore.  This girl has to be related to Snookie and J-Woww.  She came complete with the tan and charming Juhsey accent.  And she was wearing legwarmers!!

During some butt lifts she was counting, "12!  Thut-teen.  14!  Fit-teen!"  (I can't even creatively spell how she pronounced 14).    

It was fun.  My butt is going to hurt tomorrow.

After I showered---yes, I showered at the gym!  I finally realized it's the best place to shower when you have two hours of on-site childcare.  The water is hot (unlike my house).  It's quiet (unlike my house).  And it's clean (unlike my house).  A no brainer!

Anyway, after I showered and got dressed, I saw that the nutritionist from the bariatric office called.  She left a message.  I got all excited because, as you may remember, I've been waiting for them to call me back and let me know if they will resubmit my case with my correct starting BMI (39.3 vs 37).

"Lee Ann.  This is Melissa,* the nutritionist.  I have some options to discuss with you and go over.  Call me."

So I phoned back.  No answer.  Left a message.

When she returned my call a few hours later she said that Dr. May* wanted me to come in and talk with her "in person" to discuss my options.

I said, "What are my options?"

Melissa* said, "Well, she's the doctor, you'll have to discuss that with her.  She wants to meet you and go over your history and talk about your case."

Hmmph.  I know Melissa* knows what they are!!  She's holding out on me!!

So I made an appointment.  The soonest I could be seen is......ANOTHER month.

Another month!!!!

My appointment is March 8.

I wonder what my options are.  I have a whole month to stew over it.  Fantasize is more like it.

I already have this fantasy that they'll offer to toss me in some Lap Band research study and give me surgery for free.

Another bizarre thought is... what would I do if they offered to throw me in some WLS study comparing Gastric Bypass, Lap Band, and The Sleeve.  I think, "Would I do it, not knowing which one I'd get randomly assigned to?'

Yeah, I'm seriously losing my mind.

But, this meeting is a ray of sunshine.  What is a month, really?  It'll go by fast.

This is my chance to recruit this "diet" doctor, Dr. May,* (her name is actually the other month of the year that starts with the letter M).  I didn't want to type it out in case she ever googles herself.

Anyway, I want Dr. May* on my side.  I'm going to print out the 3 page letter I wrote to the insurance company a few days ago and take it with me.  Not sure if I'll whip it out...but I'll take it with me.

So, I still have no idea what my options are.  Do these people know what they are doing to me?  They are driving me straight to a mental hospital.

Anybody have any guesses as to what my "options" are????

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

thankful this morning

Whew, this morning I woke up with a bit of a headache from a marathon of late nights.

But I'm not here to whine or complain this morning.  I'm here with a thankful heart.  :)

So it started last Thursday.  My husband graduated in December from Univ. of Pittsburgh with his degree in nurse anesthesia and he took his boards on Thursday.  He had studied and studied.  When he wasn't working, he was studying.  All I saw were books, books, and more books.  If he didn't have a book in his hand, he was sitting on the computer taking practice tests.  Some days it felt like it would never end.  I confess to feeling like a single mom a lot of the time.....but I can't imagine actually being a single mom.

As usual, I'm telling this story in my long-winded way......well, to sum it up, he PASSED!  He found out that same day.

He texted me with one word while I was at the gym:  PASS.  My heart nearly exploded in relief.  And JOY.

We celebrated with a trip out to lunch.  Then we hit the library so my husband could do something he hasn't done in 3 years---read a book for pleasure.

The very next day, Friday, while my husband was at work, our little guy started vomiting.  And vomiting....and.....times 8.  Yes, I'm psychotic and keep count.  Finally, he started holding down fluids late at night.  The next day day he started in with diarrhea, which is still hanging around as of today.  Lovely!

But he's fine.  So I'm thankful.  And luckily, no one else has gotten sick.

Then yesterday the Fit hit the Shan when I received that letter from my insurance company.  Thanks for letting me vent.  Letting go of that anger helped me focus on my letter.

When I finished it, I emailed it to Judi.  After she got home (late at night! God bless her.) she sent me a thoughtful response and gave me a few tips of things to add, such as photos.  So I took all of her advice and emailed off my letter.

So the waiting begins.

Regardless of the outcome, I'm sincerely grateful for ALL OF YOU for supporting me over the last few months.  Your comments mean so much to me.

January may have started off a tad lousy with my insurance denial, but it ended on a high note with my husband passing his boards and with ALL OF YOU cheering me on.  I mean, what more could a girl ask for?


I'm ending this post with the two photos I attached to my insurance appeal.  The first one is last summer. It was taken when I was at my heaviest.  It helped snap me out of the denial I'd been in over my weight because it shocked me.  And let me tell you---I never wore those shorts again!!!!   The second photo was taken around Christmas time, after losing about 25 pounds and going from a size 18 to a 14.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

no problem lying now

Yesterday I felt guilty at the prospect of hiding weights on my body in the future.


I just got home from running errands all day and found a letter from my insurance company sitting in my mailbox.  Rewind for a second:  I opened an appeal on Jan. 18 in an effort to get the doctors at the insurance company to reconsider my request for Lapband.  The lady on the phone told me I had 30 days to mail in additional information.  So I started racing around trying to get my initial BMI corrected, yada yada, etc.  Well, NOW this letter I get in the mail TODAY, Feb. 2 is dated Jan. 24, says I have 10 days from the date of the letter (1/24) to submit additional information.


They wrote it on 1/24 and then held onto it and didn't drop it in the mail til 1/31.  So I got it with ONE DAY LEFT to write my appeal and get in any documentation.

I mean, really, WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

These people are slimy.

So if, in the end, they deny me after all of my appeals are submitted and I try every single recourse, like sleep apnea, etc.---I will have NO PROBLEM being a BIG FAT LIAR because they are slimy and conniving.

This insurance company is in Pittsburgh and the mail here has a one day turnaround.  There is no excuse for a letter to be dated the 24th in writing and then not postmarked til the 31st.  WOW, how convenient on their part.

Besides, I don't see how wearing weights is anymore dishonest than gaining the weight back on purpose.

If my office had gotten me weighed in a timely matter instead of making me wait 5 weeks to step on the scale I would have been fat enough.  I was fat enough!!!!  

This is outrageous.

Oh and have I mentioned my husband works for this company?  He works for UPMC and that's the same insurance we have.  I'm so disgusted I could vomit.

Okay, I'll stop fuming and go work on my stupid letter.  When I called the insurance company a few minutes ago I started crying and the lady told me I could email it tonight.

Judi, a fellow lapband blogger emailed me late last night and it meant so much to me.  The world really!  She offered to look over a letter if I wrote one to my surgeon so this morning I emailed her what I had already written for my insurance company so far and she said she'd look it over for me tonight.  THANK YOU JUDI, you are the best.  I mean it.  The best.  If it weren't for her and for all of you guys I would feel so alone and so overwhelmed.  Actually, I still feel overwhelmed.  But you all keep me going.  So thank you all for the love and the support. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

honestly dishonest.

What do you think?  Should I wait a couple of months and strap on some ankle weights and get my BMI up to 40 so I can qualify for this surgery?

I can't stomach the thought of regaining the 30 pounds I lost, plus 4 more to get to that magic BMI of 40.  I can't gain the weight FOR REAL, on purpose.  I just can't.  I can't go back to that place.  I'd have to stop working out all together and no telling how many cupcakes and brownies I'd have to shove in my face. 

But here's what I could do:  I could wear my skin tight workout pants under my jeans.  Put the ankle weights in the tummy part of the tights, so the weights don't fall out.  Then pull my jeans over the workout pants.  Then wear my thin fleece shirt looking jacket with inner pockets filled with weights.  The office has never once asked me to take off any single article of clothing or to remove anything from my pockets.

I'd have to "redo" the six month diet.  I could just "lose" an ankle weight every month.


My husband will not hear of getting surgery done in Mexico.

As for getting it done here.....He just finished a graduate degree so we just aren't in the financial position right now to finance it ourselves.  According to him anyway.  I think we can afford it.  But that's another post.  I'm tired of arguing with him.

So am I crazy?  Am I losing my mind?  I still have the one appeal that my primary doc submitted to the insurance company....no idea when I'll hear the outcome....it was submitted 1/17/11.  I'm still going to submit my own letter but in the meantime I'm concocting backup plans.  What do you think of this one?