danelle919

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About danelle919

  • Rank
    Senior Member
  • Birthday 09/19/1972

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Not Telling

Information

  • Surgeon
    Dr. Bettendorf
  • Hospital
    Essentia Health-Duluth, Minnesota
  • Height (ft-in)
    5-09
  • Start Weight
    263
  • Current Weight
    122
  • Goal Weight
    145
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
    19
  • Surgery Date
    11/23/2011
  • Surgery Type
    Gastric Bypass
  • Surgeon
    Dr. Bettendorf

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  1. I do live in Duluth too! Its such an amazing city for recovery, health care, job opportunity and of course landscape and serenity if you're not familiar. The 4th of July events were amazing last night.
  2. A quick update.... I actually did accept a new job position mid-June. I work as a corporate manager for a local restaurant entrepreneur organizing formal events, helping with bands, doing inventories, and focusing on quality assurance. I love my new job and I'm working hard on time management! Life is good! I don't intend to go back to teaching. I love working in the hospitality industry and having creativity and independence. Ideally, my goal is to start some sort of consulting business based on my experiences post-surgery to discuss my successes and failures with the procedure. My ability to keep the weight off is of course a huge success, however, there are many things I would do differently in my six year journey. My ultimate goal is to help others reach their full potential post-surgery at a much quicker pace than I did! With that said, I can't believe the personal and professional doors that have opened for me in the last few months now that I have finally dealt with food and alcohol addiction. I surround myself with positive people, focus hard in therapy and finally listen to my body.
  3. I do intend to get my Minnesota teaching license. I have a job interview today for serving at a busy restaurant. I actually love serving and the big income it brings in! Honestly, I am exhausted from twelve years of teaching. Ideally, I'd like to serve part-time and have time to start writing more of my experience in-depth.
  4. June 24, 2011 My wedding day…well, let’s be honest….my third wedding day. Relationships until that point seem to have eluded me. Here is was marrying whom I thought was an incredible man and would provide for my three young children and myself. We had known each other nearly two years and I had no reason to doubt our love was the real deal. We went to a beautiful down just outside the Wisconsin border in Galena, Illinois with just his mother and brother and tied the knot overlooking the hills and a pretty little lake. We had rented a beautiful honeymoon suite complete with Jacuzzi and a swimming pool just outside our door. People snapped pictures of us with abandon. As soon as the ceremony ended, I could not wait to escape and don my comfortable clothes. We jetted off for a romantic wedding dinner and to collect some photos of our simple affair. When I quickly pieced through photo after photo, I was horrified by the vision staring back at me. How had I become this obese person staring back at me? Where was the sparkle that belonged in my eye? All I saw was tired sagging shoulders and swollen ankles. My heart sank with each picture as I looked down at my reality; a body that had seemingly changed overnight. Sure, I had struggled with my weight before. Four speedy pregnancies in less than five years had blessed me with three beautiful children. I had logged endless hours on a stationary bike and meticulously logging my food entries to drop every bit of the post-baby weight eight years earlier. Slowly, over the years, the weight crept back on. All one-hundred pounds found their way back to my older and less deserving body. The result was I could not even make eye contact with my new husband on what should have been such a romantic occasion. I spent most of those tranquil honeymoon days fighting back tears wondering what to do. I had previously researched gastric bypass surgery, but now I was determined this must be the right answer for me. I was gambling with high blood pressure, decreasing self-esteem, puffy ankles that never wanted to vanish and a body that resembled someone ten years older. With new-found resolved, I signed up for the requisite weight-loss seminars, attended my counseling sessions and earned myself a surgery date the date before Thanksgiving in 2011. Any surgery is a gamble of outcomes. My surgeon was a kind, family man and a genius of all things intestinal. I felt prepared beyond failure. My husband and I knew the grim statistics for marriages undergoing the enormous strain of a partner experiencing such a physical and mental transformation. We were confident we had the ability to knock the statistics out of the ballpark and beat the outcome. Someone in the universe was laughing at us from a distance. I worked as a middle school English teacher at the time of my surgery in 2011. It was my first year in a new building with new co-workers and a new boss. I had a shaky start to the school year when I fell and injured my leg right before school started and had to miss a few weeks fighting an infection in a deep skin abrasion. It was my worst nightmare that I was seen as weak in a new position. The confident woman I wanted to be had to be put on hold. That experience was nothing compared to returning to work just before Christmas in 2011 as a new gastric bypass patient. My entire life revolved around my angry stomach. I could barely tolerate a teaspoon of peanut butter or a spoonful of yogurt. My emotions were a wreck, and I felt frazzled. Fortunately, life evened out and my confidence in my new position grew after the New Year in 2012. My love affair with food and all things processed came to a screeching halt as soon as I had my surgery. I assumed the only battle I’d face would be accepting that food was now the enemy unless it was protein or a fruit of vegetable. In March of 2012, I quickly found the opposite to be true. I was enjoying a quiet Saturday at home, when I doubled over in pain and realized with certainty a kidney stone must be trapped in an awful fashion. I screamed my way to the emergency room where the only choice was to remove said stone. That stone was followed by another and a subsequent kidney surgery that had me down and out for a few weeks recovering. During these unplanned hospital visits, my physicians were surprised to discover an uncooperative heart as well. Suddenly, medications were changed, EKG’s were ordered and I was diagnosed with sick sinus syndrome. My heart had stopped beating as quickly as it should the majority of the time and the only solution was to implant a pacemaker into a 38 year-old woman. I found myself shocked and saddened by this turn of events. Previous to gastric bypass surgery, I had been relatively healthy. Suddenly, I was preparing for heart surgery and a lifetime of cardiology care and a need for follow-up surgeries to have a declining pacemaker battery replaced. Sadly, I did not have a great deal of choice as I was tired, light-headed and feeling faint most of the time. As I was adjusting to my upcoming heart surgery, unbeknownst to me, my marriage was already beginning to crumble. Someone forgot to supply my husband with the mantra, “in sickness and in health.” His mind and eyes were already straying. I successfully had my pacemaker implanted in July of 2012 and had lost 100 pounds at that point, but my husband had rekindled an old flame. I started the new school year back at an old school I had taught at and my medical problems multiplied. In November of 2012 a simple backache resulted in an appendectomy. In December, I had back-to-back surgeries. In the first, part of my small intestine was removed for chronic digestive problems. Ten days later, one of my parathyroid glands on my neck was removed that had grown a benign tumor. I made frantic phone calls after that surgery trying to locate my absent husband. He was busy having an affair. By March of 2013, my husband’s infidelity was no longer a secret. I uncovered the truth and left him two months’ later. That summer, I was homeless, staying in a friend’s extra bedroom and began to experiment with alcohol. I underwent two hernia repairs that summer. The school district assigned me extra help in the classroom. My divorce was final November 1st of 2013. I have not seen my ex-husband once since that time. I began to date someone shortly after my divorce who I had been communicating with online since August of that year. He often worked out-of-town and I would drive to visit him on the weekends. We dated for nine months. I was very unfamiliar with the world of drugs having been a teacher for nearly ten years. Sadly, during the course of our relationship, I became very familiar with how quickly drugs could be a problem. My drinking also became a bigger issue. I found myself compromising my values on a more frequent basis. Our relationship was toxic from the start. It came to a halt in September of 2014 when he confessed he had been seeing his ex-girlfriend for months. He married her and has since had a child. I sincerely hope he is well and clean today. In early 2015, I faced my biggest health hurdle to date. I was diagnosed with severe anemia. I began receiving iron infusions in the hospital weekly. After the third infusion, I noticed I was running a fever and feeling flu-like. The fever got worse over the course of a week. In the middle of the night on a March evening, I awoke to a 105 degree fever and knew something serious must be happening. That began a two-month battle of fighting a bacterial salmonella infection. I thought I had fought it off once and it returned. I was in the hospital for over thirty days and at home with a PICC line inserted in my neck for another two weeks’. The school district was furious with me. I spent four days in the ICCU fighting for my life while they figured out it was indeed salmonella. I was alone and scared. My family was disgusted. I returned home and was able to teach for five weeks. The day the school year ended, I underwent a total hysterectomy to try to prevent the anemia from returning and deal with endometriosis. I was well enough to take a serving job at a busy bar/restaurant in July of 2015. It became normal to have three drinks after a shift. One night, I caved and had more. That became routine. I started drinking daily. I left that job in November of 2015 and had a second heart surgery in November of 2015 for tachycardia. The school district fired me for more missed work due to surgery in January of 2016. I was completely devastated to have lost the career I thought I would have for my entire life. I began to drink even more. I worked as a chiropractic assistant from February of 2016 to October of 2016. I was making 1/3 of what I made as a classroom teacher. I was frequently late for work. Often after drinking, I would forget where my car was or how I got home. I blacked out more and more frequently. I was exhausted all the time. My health actually wasn’t terrible. Morally and emotionally, I was completely bankrupt. I had no idea how to stop drinking. I was pulled over in August of 2016 for turning into the wrong lane; the officer should have given me a breathalyzer, he didn’t. I went to an AA meeting in September, but I convinced myself I didn’t really have a problem. The low point in my drinking is only remembered by my daughter. In December of last year, after going to see my friends’ band play, a stranger brought me home. I was blacked out. This vile man raped me in front of my daughter. The emotional damage he caused to both my daughter and I can never, ever be erased. Yes, I play a huge part in all of this pain by not dealing with my alcohol addiction to this point. I begged God after that day to give me the courage to kill myself. I couldn’t drink myself to death, I always blacked out before I could get too drunk. On February 15th, 2017, I reached out to an ex who had brought me to that AA meeting last September. I told him I was in terrible shape. He didn’t respond. I don’t blame him. What did I do? I went out and saw that same friends’ band. Then I got in my car and drove home, once again in a black out. I was pulled over for a DUI, driving 19 mph in a 45 mph zone. I blew a .22, nearly three times the legal limit. I was taken to jail and had to stay fourteen hours in regular population. It was a life-changing experience. I vowed never to drink again. I’ve been able to honor that vow for 119 days. Fortunately for me, when I left jail, I had family members waiting. In the four months since, I’ve lost about 15 pounds I can’t afford to lose. I just endured five more iron infusions for anemia again. I have reactive hypoglycemia. My BMI hovers between 17-18. I have constant problems controlling my bowels thanks to salmonella. I am searching for a new job. What do I have to look forward to? A life FINALLY free of food, drug and alcohol addiction. I do a lot of volunteer and service work through AA. Church and God are forefront in my life. My family is present and I am honest with them. I have a loving boyfriend that is also in recovery and working to clean up the wreckage in his past. I would definitely not have gastric bypass again, but as my six year anniversary approaches, I want to get there with dignity and grace and not be disgusted by the person that hits that mark! I also really want to find some way, whether it be through a blog or writing a book to use my experiences to help others that are struggling with life after bypass. I want my second half of life to be one of purpose. I attached a photo of my dad and I from two weeks ago at my sons’ graduation.
  5. I have been posting intermittently on Angela Marie's 5 years' out post as well. To be honest, I am so busy with AA and service work, I forget to check online at times if I don't turn the notifications on. I am happy to speak with anyone via email or phone who wants to know how horrific drinking after bypass can be. Towards the end of my severe drinking at the beginning of this year, I was frequently blacking out four or five times a week. I was also blacked out and DRIVING when I received a DUI on February 15th of this year. In December of last year, my lowest point in my life occurred when my daughter was witness to me being raped when I was blacked out. I never want to see another human being endure what our family has endured in the last few years. Today marks my 118th day of sobriety. I never picked up another drink since the night of my arrest. My charges were reduced in court to the lowest possible guidelines. I have attended approximately 120 AA meetings to date. I chair one meeting per week and volunteer with several organizations. I just met with a newcomer this week who is 20 years old and has seven days' of sobriety. Please, please if you think you may have a problem, reach out to me or someone that cares.
  6. I remember you and you look beautiful!! Congrats on maintaining your awesome weight loss!
  7. I'll be four years out Thanksgiving week and what a journey its been for me. Physically I look decent compared to my former self of 263...I weight between 130 and 137. I have three great kids, 18, 16 and 14. I've been divorced and single two years tomorrow. I'm not in a good place for a relationship, and I just haven't met anyone that balances me, but I have worked diligently to improve my relationship with those that I love...my family. In three short weeks I am having my 12th!!! surgery since gastric bypass... I have had two hernia repairs, two kidney surgeries, a thyroid non-cancerous tumor removed, a bowel obstruction/small intestine resection, an appendectomy, total hysterectomy after trying a uterine ablation, a pacemaker implanted, and I think I'm missing one...lol. I'm having a heart ablation in November for SVT syndrome with is a wacky arrythymmia causing my heart rate to jump into the 200's when I'm at rest. It's crazy to think I've had two major heart issues already at 43, but glad they're treatable. In addition, I had salmonella poisoning in March and April this year and spent four weeks hospitalized. I was able to pull through after a week in the ICU, but that was a tough road to recovery. As a single parent, my greatest fear has always been losing my job, and as a teacher in Wisconsin, with no union representation, I was very close to being fired last year for being sick. I'm on "probation" this year, which essentially means don't get sick. It still might be best after 12 years with my district to look elsewhere in 2016 for a teaching job. I'm not a bad teacher, but my body hasn't taken to the bypass journey as I had hoped. I also still struggle with what I'll call "binge" drinking and am seriously considering committing to attending AA. I can go weeks and weeks without a drink, but when I get down about an event or coming home to an empty house, it can be so easy to have 2 or 3 drinks and that's all it takes me to black out, because of my body's hypoglycemic reaction to sugar. It's a disastrous combination. This is the ONLY transfer addiction I struggle with thankfully (non-smoker, apathetic about food, don't like to shop, gamble...). If I had it to do over again, I suppose I would still see surgery as a beacon when I was in such despair. I see my 400+ pound sister struggling with a new gout diagnosis. I am the "poster woman" for gastric bypass not being a quick fix though. It brings a host of potential side effects and life long consequences. I don't think I'll ever gain the weight back, but I also don't think my body will ever find true health. I feel like I gave up a host of problems for another host of problems. There is NO eating a bowl of ice cream or having a piece of cake for me. To this day, any carbs or sugar still make me violently ill. I can't have any dairy. My food choices are limited. There are days when I'm dying to have an ice cream cone to the point of tasting it. Still, I have learned I'm tough, I can fight back, I can recognize when I do have a problem and I still have a lot to offer at 43 years old. I also have the confidence I never had 4 years ago after beating my illness this spring. I've never been that sick before and I've used my time this year as a gift to work on myself. For those just starting in this journey, my best advice is to stay strong and don't stray from the diligence you have in the beginning. You CAN NOT fail at the weight loss if you follow the rules. Avoid smoking, drinking, medicines, anything extra your body doesn't need. Meditate, relax and listen to your body. Surround yourself with non-toxic people as well!! When my husband left me for another woman, I had one failed relationship, instead of jumping into yet another doomed relationship, I adopted a rescue dog. I've been in love with my pooch for a year now and its been wonderful for my soul. Replace those addictions with addictions that give back to you and enjoy the journey For some reason, tonight, I just felt like jotting my thoughts down.
  8. I struggled with this too....I got as low as 112, but eventually was able to pick up 20 pounds...it took well over a year and dedicated diet watching...
  9. I was just out in San Diego two weeks ago to see my oldest son graduate from Marines Basic training. I will be four years out in three weeks and have maintained a 130 pound weight loss. I've had a hard journey.
  10. Your ordeal is as painful as mine! Be kind to your body and it will reward you. I'm glad you're healthy.
  11. It's been almost nine months now that I've been single. I've tried the online dating experience and have yet to meet a man that is employed and has a career, has his own vehicle, can at least afford to go dutch on a meal, has a good sense of humor and likes to be outside.f Does that seem to be picky?
  12. You look amazing Jolls!
  13. Hi, I'm checking in to get some advice on Anemia and thought I'd share a picture from New Year's Eve. I stay right around the 125-130 pound mark now at 3 years out and 5'9". I'm thrilled!!
  14. Chaotic Life, I haven't posted on here in ages, but perhaps you can offer some advice? I started Iron infusions nine days ago and have had two. They have already scaled them back to once per week for the next three weeks. I'm due for my next one on Monday. Since I had the second one last Monday, I have been having awful stomach/diarrhea and nausea issues. I've got the yucky taste in my mouth and had to switch to hot liquids as nothing tastes good other than hot tea to drink and chicken broth. I feel like I'm back in my first few days post-op after gastric bypass in November of 2011. I don't know if I should phone in to the nurse on-line or just ride it out until Monday when I have my next appointment at the hospital for an infusion. My hemoglobin has been stuck at 9.0 for over a year now, so the infusions really are my last resort as I've tried the prescribed pills and liquid with no luck at reversing the anemia.
  15. Hi, I have fought anorexic/obsessing about weight tendencies for my entire postoperative period. For me there was a lot of power in saying no to food and not eating. I've also had nine additional surgeries since my bypass for a variety of complications. It takes a conscious effort every day to make healthy choices. I've been able to gain 15 pounds back and am happy to share my story with those who are also struggling. It's just as difficult being underweight as it was overweight.