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About Zen_Steph

  • Rank
    TT Master
  • Birthday 07/23/1977

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Northern California
  • Age


  • Surgeon
    Dr. Pierce
  • Hospital
    UC Davis Medical Center
  • Height (ft-in)
  • Start Weight
  • Current Weight
  • Goal Weight
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Surgery Date
  • Surgery Type
    Gastric Bypass

Recent Profile Visitors

11,742 profile views
  1. I did the 5DPT because I got back into a vicious carb addiction issue and it worked really well. It went by fast, I just kept myself distracted during the liquid phase. I dropped about 6 lbs and kicked the addiction. I'm probably going to do it again, though I'm back on a downward trend again. I never topped above 180 lbs again and now, I'm almost back under 170. My biggest issue right now is the lack of exercise. I've had major back issues since I injured it in April. I was running quite often and doing some distance running and dropped down to the low 140s and was stable for the most part. I got lazy with my eating and creeped up into the mid 150s, but stayed there. It was okay...not the best, but manageable. But, my back got hurt and I haven't been able to go out for even walks without pain (long story short, after x-rays and an MRI, plus physical therapy, I was told I have two bulging discs, osteoarthritis, and stenosis in my nerve canal in my lower back....good times!). I currently live in a hilly area and the first time I tried to go out for a walk when I had a good day with minimal pain, I was back at square one and could barely move. I was told I should avoid inclines for a while. Okay, so there goes walks when I got home. Next week I get the keys to our new house (yay!!) and will be back in my regular city, where it's quite flat with very slight bumps along my usual routes to walk. I'm hoping to get back into running. For me, I think that's what kept me lower in my weight. I didn't really change my quantities and levels, so the weight crept back up. I'm not happy with it, but once I can manage getting in walks, then back into running (hopefully soon...my back flared up again last week and I've been back to minimalist activity again), my weight will come back down again. Weight gain happens. Recognize what happened, how it got there, then go back to basics or 5DPT. It does work and you have to stick to it for it to work. The restriction is there still, you just need the reminder.
  2. I do vape now, but I'm also almost 3 1/2 years post op and started up a little over a year ago (I smoked for a very long time before my surgery). I agree with delila: wean yourself down on your nicotine content. I wouldn't start with any more than about 6 mg, then cut down to 3 mg, then 0 mg for at least a full week before your surgery. If you could quit, that would be optimal, but as a long time smoker prior to my surgery, I totally get how tough that actually is to accomplish...compiled with the stress of post op and potential emotional issues that often arise in the first six months. Yeah, it's easier to just wean yourself off. If you need a fix, you need a fix. Don't go back to cigarettes, though. I haven't had one since 2013, surgery in 2014 about a year later. It is what it is. This is a good route if you want to avoid cold turkey. Good luck!
  3. I had insurance pay for mine, but I think the claim was for around $30k that went to my insurance at the time here in Northern California.
  4. I haven't been on in a while just because life and the lack of free time. My back in a continuing saga of annoyance. I went for a walk with my husband and the dog. Nothing intense, just a walk. Where we live currently has some hills, but didn't think anything of it. Well, going downhill, I messed up my back to where it hurt again. I was feeling fine, but took many steps back with it. It was frustrating because I wasn't doing anything other than walking, but I strained it and it hasn't gotten back to where it wasn't hurting anymore since. Dumb hills... I went through 8 weeks of physical therapy, three medications, an x-ray, and then had an MRI a few weeks ago. The MRI showed mild to moderate stenosis (degeneration) in my lower back, two bulging discs that were compressing my nerves, and arthritis. Wonderful. I am now going in to the spine center to the specialist there to see what can be done at this point. I think the only things I haven't done to correct or ease this problem are spinal injections and surgery. I just want the constant pain to go away. It would be really nice to remember what it was like. And I miss running! I wish I could start easing into training for my (hopefully) planned half marathon in March. But, at this rate, who knows if I'll ever do distance running again. I had a great time doing it and I would love to, but if I have surgery, I don't know if it will happen again. I guess I'm glad I at least got three half marathons under my belt. Look at the positives, right? I took on a second part time job for some extra cash to hopefully get a second car this spring. I've been there for three weeks. It's not too bad, just cuts even more into my already sparse free time. So it goes. I'm frustrated about the new house. We were told a few months ago that they were ahead of schedule, which was amazing to hear. We even got excited that we were starting to enter the home stretch of this whole "commute in horrible traffic and have to get up super early without being able to 'run home really quick' for anything anymore" that we've been doing since mid February. But in late June and last month, it seemed like things stalled in the home construction. Hardly anything was done until a week and a half ago or so. Then electrical and data went in, fire suppression went in, and we got to have our scheduled framing walk to look at all of it to make sure it was right (they put one data plug in a bedroom at the wrong location and didn't install our exterior outlet that we requested, but that's not bad considering - both are easy fixes). When we went in, they were putting up the insulation, which is pretty cool. The superintendent said that she was going to have insulation finished and her insulation inspection today, then they start putting up sheet rock, then schedule for texturing. Once texturing is dried, they are about 45 days out. Okay, cool. Except that it may take about two weeks to get to texturing at this point. Not a guarantee and heck, they could start texturing by the weekend and then be 45 days out by early next week. But that added two weeks, plus 45 days. I asked her where that put us for being done and getting the keys. She said that if she had everything scheduled out, we're looking at October. But, our house is on their "year end closing" list, so we are guaranteed our keys no later than September 30th. A week after they originally told us we would close and this put them behind, not ahead, of schedule. It is so irritating! I am so fed up with our current living situation. I want our own house with our own space with the 2/3 of our house that is currently in storage back to be available for use. Like our couches. And oh, how I am SO SICK AND TIRED of sleeping on a mattress on the floor in our bedroom! Especially with my back issues, it is not helping at all. Half of my daughter's toys and books are in storage. I can't hardly use any kitchenware because we just don't have space for it in our kitchen right now. I hate having to have my office space in the living room and compete for noise levels with my daughter, who plays in the living room and will occasionally watch television. My daughter's dresser is in storage and we've been using a very small chest for her in the interim. I have zero closet space and half of my clothes, again, are in storage. My desk is a folding card table at present, as is my husband's. We've been in this situation for almost 6 months and we're both just done with it. Oh, and the house has no real insulation, so in the blazing hot summer temperatures we've been having, it's also hot in the house. Fans don't do much good, so we're sitting in sweat, waiting for the outside temperature to go down enough so we can open the windows for air to circulate and cool the house. Anyway, long rant in shortened form: we are ready to move. Like, yesterday ready to move. So when we're told we'll have our keys no later than the end of September when we've been led to believe that it would be early September...well, three weeks is a long time to have to tack on to an already frustrating situation. And I understand why and I'm not mad at the super or anything because she is doing the best she can, but this is the story of our whole experience. It would have been nice to be able to just live in our old house until, maybe June, then move and sell it so our temporary housing situation was maybe a few months. But, no. It'll be almost 8 months by the time we move. The stress has done a number on me, that's for sure. At least right now, my son's swim season has officially ended as of this past weekend, so there's no more of the taking him to and from practice after work, getting us home by 9:15 pm so we can go straight to bed after a quick bite for dinner and get up at 6:00 am to start the day over again. I don't mean to lay this all out there, but it's been a challenge for me to not eat my frustrations. It truly has. I did go up in my carb intake for a few months, which probably contributed to my slight gain in the late spring and early summer, but I curbed that and am actually starting to lose weight again. With the mobility at my second job, that's gotten me more exercise during the day that my back can handle for short spurts. So, with the eating addiction not being something I can or will do, it's been spending (to a much lesser extent than it was a year or two ago) and lots of wine. It is what it is. On another note, my kids start school next week, so they'll have to deal with early mornings (earlier than they ordinarily would if we lived in the new place) and full days of school. I'm hoping that they transition well. I'm hoping that the next few months go by fast. This has been a difficult year in many different areas. What started out as a "hey, let's move into a new house that gives us more space for the kids and corrects the issues we have with our current house" has ended up being delays and commutes and issues that can just stop making my anxiety and stress levels go through the roof. I need to cut back on my wine consumption, which is something my husband has noted. But, there is an end to the tunnel at least. Or at least I hope there is. Hope you all are well in your journeys. And I hope to come back with good news about my back and better news about my blasted house getting finished and finally moving in.
  5. Definitely glad it wasn't worse! Yes, this is definitely a good bit of advice to not try to push yourself too quickly after surgery. You may be feeling fine, but you are still healing internally. And boy, if you pull your incisions a bit, those suckers hurt pretty bad for a while. Take it easy, you'll get there. Glad things seem to be getting better after your incident and you are on the mend.
  6. I didn't have plastics done after WLS when I hit goal because I don't have the overhead money to pay for it. I lost 130 lbs and have a good deal of excess skin. I was overweight starting at about 21 years old and I had surgery the year I turned 37 years old. I can get a panni covered by insurance and I've considered it, but I've got other things I'd like to have done, too that cost probably $15-20K. Nah, I'm financing a buying a house instead. But, if I happen to finish paying off all of my student loans and credit card debt (should be done in about 5 years or so), then I'll think about saving some up in a medical savings plan through work that I have access to.
  7. I second all of athenarose's post. I'll try to come up with five more that aren't overlapping: 1. Stalls happen to most of us. If you hit a stall, don't see that as a failure. The post-bypass journey of weight loss looks more like a stair case instead of a slide. 2. Follow your nutritional guidance from your bariatric team. All of us have varying schedules of when to eat what stage. Follow what is given to you and don't skip ahead, no matter how hard you will want to (see above comment about the liquid stage BEING ABSOLUTELY AWFUL and difficult at times). 3. If you are a slow loser, you're a slow loser. Losing weight is losing weight, no matter how fast or slow you do it. I've noticed that, more often than not, if you lose slower, loose skin is not as much of a problem as those of us who lost fast. Just a thought. 4. Body dysmorphia. You may experience it. I still do to this day and I am over 3 years post op from my bypass. You may look in the mirror after your scale/measurements say you've lost a lot and you'll still see the old person before your surgery. It may cause you to think that you really haven't lost the weight. The numbers don't lie, you have. You may come across times that you look at yourself and say "Wow, I'm still that same older big person, unhealthy and gross." (That's what I tell myself at least once a week before I catch what I'm doing.). It happens and if you start noticing it, talk to someone in your bariatric team or here on the forums. We are here to remind you that you have succeeded and your brain may be fooling you into thinking you haven't. 5. Once you lose the weight,that does not mean that you can fall back into your old habits and the weight will stay off long term. You will gain it back if you do not property maintain your weight loss. It is a lifestyle change that you have to keep up with. Once you get down to goal, it can be hard to keep it off. Don't give up. Always remember: lean protein/fluids first, veggies second, and fruits/good fats third. Low carbs, low sugars. And vitamins every day, even if you don't want to take them. They will help you out with malabsorption. They suck to take, but you need to. It is what it is. I think that's a good list, too. It's helped me. Good luck and welcome to the journey that will bring you to a healthier you. Keep with it and we're always here for you!
  8. The Bai non-carbonated drinks are good, but I stick to iced decaf tea and super cold iced water. Both settle really well.
  9. Most of my thoughts have already been in other posts. I lost 130 lbs and I have loose, wrinkly skin in my thighs, arms, and upper body (and boobs....whoa totally there). Does it bother me? Yeah, sometimes. Does it make me regret the surgery? Absolutely, positively not. I am still active (when my back allows me to be). I was regularly distance running until I got sick and had a knee injury a year ago. I started back up again in January, then decided to flip the table on life and sell my house/move/buy a new house. Then my back got hurt in April, so actual running has not happened since April. But, I can walk a lot (as long as it's not on much topography, else my back rebels in pain) and do yoga and swimming every week. It doesn't hinder my movement at all. I've got the idea of plastics in the back of my mind, but not until I can raise about $15K to cover all of the stuff not under insurance (panni is the only thing I can get covered). Not something I want to raise money for at the moment....there are other things that are more important, like a second car and my kids' college funding. Your diet isn't all that bad and I don't think it will hurt you at all post-op (except maybe the sushi with rice). You'll go through a progression of foods while you heal, so you won't be able to go right into the same diet on day one after surgery. And you'll be thankful for it. Your diet is not very dissimilar to mine right now, but I'm over 3 years out. Good luck!
  10. I waited until I was at goal weight and I had maybe two pieces from a roll and it stuffed me. I think I can count on one hand the number of times I've actually had sushi since then.
  11. I was prescribed Protonix (basically the same thing) and I took it for a year because I had reflux bad. I tried to go off after the recommended six months and my heartburn was bad, so I was advised to take it for another six months. At 11 months, I stopped taking it and haven't taken it since. Can't remember the dose, though...it was a prescription. They sell Omeprazole at Costco. Might be more reasonably priced and they probably have the 20 mg dose.
  12. I always try to go places that have a good grilled chicken or seafood selection (that isn't breaded). I eat out more than I should, but if I get anything other than a salad, I'm always splitting it with my husband and likely taking some of it home. I also love a great salad and will eat those every meal of the day, especially in the summer. I'm a huge fan of the Green Goddess Cobb with Chicken salad at Panera (I'm a Panera freak) and a half of one is two meals for me.
  13. See....time just creeps past you and then it's been two or so months. Things are moving along. My sister-in-law officially moved out on Sunday and she and her dog and cat, with my husband and son in tow, began their trip to her new home where here husband has been since January. They arrived a few hours ago, actually, and were unpacking the truck when I spoke to them. This week it's been quiet, just me, our daughter, and our animals. I'm going to start going through the boxes that have been upstairs with us and repacking them into boxes that go to specific rooms and finally moving them downstairs now that it's cleared out down there. I can't wait to have open space again!! I rearranged the living area on Sunday to open it up a bit, then I've been working on organizing with more shelf space for pet and cleaning stuff, then packing up things in the kitchen I won't use with the hot weather (like my espresso maker I use to make decaf lattes and hot chocolate for my boys) so it's ready to move in a few months. This was the one major hurdle to get past: my SIL moving out. Now, I feel so much more relaxed. If only it wasn't a million degrees outside this week. Stupid heat wave. The new house is coming along nicely. It is framed, the duct work is installed, electrical has started to be installed, the exterior wrapping has gone up, flat work poured and cured for the walkways and exit points in the backyard, and our doors (minus the garage door) have been installed. I think they did some interior work yesterday and it may have been installing our tub and shower units. And today, windows were installed. I'm hoping they aren't working on the houses when I get out of work today because I'd love to go walk around the house and see what all they did. I am anticipating that we will have our framing walk through by the end of next week or the following week. What is awesome about that is that usually indicates that we may be 4-6 weeks away from closing on the house, which is quite ahead of schedule. That makes me happy. I would love, love, love to move in at the end of August, but I'm thinking more the first week or so of September around Labor Day. But, it is awesome to see all of this work going on. The work on the next phases has slowed down a lot, but I'm at the point that I don't care one bit because my house is going up and that's where my focus is. Maybe 2 1/2 months and we'll be moving in! Happy dances all around! Our daughter is healing well from her broken collar bone. It looked great according to the specialist when we had our follow up, now it's just letting it heal. She is acting like it never happened and is back to her old self. Love to see her giggles and smiles again. Our son, though, broke his finger, which was fun. It was a small break where a ligament popped off and took a small bone fragment with it. It looks healed and the swelling went away. He has range of motion. I'm guessing it's going good. I, however, threw out my back on Easter Sunday and have been dealing with chronic pain ever since. I went in to get it checked out and got prescribed Flexeril. That took away the stiffness, but not the pain, so I went in for a follow up. After some x-rays, I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and early grade 1 degeneration in a few of my vertebrate (the discs looked great and the spacing is fine, which is a relief). They have me in physical therapy, which I started last week and have for two more weeks. It has helped a great deal and my pain levels are drastically lower than they were for those two months. I also started back at yoga and that seems to be doing its thing, too. I haven't gone running and I haven't done any high intensity workout at the gym, but I'll get there. I miss running, but gotta heal first. And besides....in this heat, running is not a good idea. Our son started swim season and he is doing well. That's kept me outside and active more outside of my regular routine. It's just made me incredibly busy and the little free time I had after work and commute time has been sucked up with swim practice and meets. But, there is only 3 1/2 more weeks of that and we're out of swim season. Yay! The doggo is doing good overall. Annoying at times, but she's a dog. She is just shy of 50 lbs and comes up to maybe my mid thigh now. She's a lot bigger than last photos...when I get home, I'll post a few to this post to show. She's my buddy, though. Can't fault her for that. I think that's it. My weight has stabilized. I had my 3 year follow up a few weeks ago with my bariatric team and everything looks good. They were concerned that I dropped my calories, but I told them I hadn't been working out or active as much as I was, so I dropped it along with my carb intake. They reminded me that when I do get back to work, bring it back up so I don't get sick. My blood tests came back really good. The only change I have is that I now need to take an iron supplement during my period (yay!) to make up for the blood loss. My Ferritin came up this time, but it's still low, so she's like to see the stores come up more to a normal level. Blech, iron supplements. Better stock up on the bran and fiber... That's about it. A lot has gone on, but nothing drastic other than my SIL moving out and me feeling less stress as a result. Oh, and she is also working with her husband to work the finances out to get their deck and roof replaced, so we can have access to a not rotting deck to sit out on during the evenings when our Delta breeze kicks up. I've loved having access to it because it affords some peace and quiet during the evening, but I'm not back to being concerned about it because there is rot and mold growing. I doubt I'll bring it down off the house, but my irrational fear sometimes gets the best of me. Still plan to grill some of the nights during this summer because it allows me the chance to cook something different than my normal fare. Besides, I love to grill. Hope you all are well. Cheers.
  14. Premier Protein seems to be the most liked one among bariatric patients I've heard of. Not everyone likes them, but a lot do. That said, don't stock up on a specific flavor. I used to hate chocolate because it was too sweet, but loved vanilla. My first vanilla shake once I was cleared for them post op...threw it right up. Tried it three separate occasions with the same result. But, the chocolate was great. Still drink them to this day. I've wanted to try the banana cream, but not enough to buy a whole case. I buy the 18 pack cases from Costco for $25 regular, sometimes a deal for less.
  15. I am cold most of the year. I used to not be, but it is consistent now. I use light sweaters and sometimes gloves. If I have to work, I take occasional breaks and go wash my hands in the bathroom under hot water to warm them up again.