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About pinkpeonies

  • Rank
  • Birthday 07/05/1966

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Greater Boston, MA
  • Age


  • Surgeon
    Dr. Andras Sandor
  • Hospital
    Winchester Hospital
  • Height (ft-in)
  • Start Weight
  • Current Weight
  • Goal Weight
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Surgery Date
  • Surgery Type
    Vertical Sleeve
  1. Who's Getting Wls In April?

    Am I the first one? I got put on the schedule today--April 23rd--for the Vertical Sleeve. I thought there was going to be an insurance application, denial, and appeal (x however many times it took) but both my surgeon and the scheduling nurse told me BCBS of Massachusetts has been approving sleeves since Jan 1. I have not confirmed this with them myself but feel like jumping for joy anyway. The nurse she'd call if she could get me in sooner but this is the first date she could make a definite for me. It seems a looooong way away but it gives me plenty of time to prepare for the week off work (thinking positive and quick recovery, lol). Hope someone else comes to hang out with me soon!
  2. Favorite Shakes?

    Good grief. I placed an order with Bariatric Fusion on February 1st and received notification not 10 minutes ago (7:45pm EST) that my order has been completed and shipped. FIVE business days to process? Wow. I didn't pay for express shipping so it'll be a few more days before it gets here. Best to plan waaaay ahead if I order from them again. I'll try to report back on how they taste when I get 'em.
  3. Hey, just noticed on one of your posts that you're going to get your sleeve tomorrow (it's 11:44pm in Boston right now so it's probably "today" for you already!). Just wanted to wish you well--an easy surgery, quick recovery, and as little pain and discomfort as possible! Looking forward to hearing from you from your new spot on the loser's bench! :)

  4. Thank you Addict and Pokey. I must have my notification settings turned off because I had no idea anyone had posted a response. Oops! Must go change that. It's good to know the sleeve seems to work--at least in the beginning--whether you exercise a lot or not. I WANT to add more exercise to my life and hope that once I get the surgery (thinking positive here--my insurance doesn't currently approve of the sleeve so I'll be going in with as strong an argument as possible) and lose weight, it'll be easier. My arthritic knees aren't too happy with me now. Hopefully when there's less of me, they'll be happier and I'll be able to do more. It would be so depressing to have the surgery and later realize I should have gone for an RNY for the malabsorptive part. I really want to avoid that if possible so need to continue working to make exercise a a regular part of my life.
  5. Favorite Shakes?

    I love all these ideas for adding flavor to the shakes. Will have to try that at some point. I'm always in a hurry to mix them so usually I just dump the powder into some water, shake it up (I use a Tupperware shaker cup with the wagon-wheel shaped thingie at the top, then the domed lid) and go. The HMR vanilla shakes are truly yummy and I'm happy with them that way. Bariatric Advantage is the one I think I hated last time so I ordered a sample pack of the Fusion drinks along with their multi-vitamin chewable--the nutritionist said that one has enough calcium that it can be used as an all-in-one (vs. multi-vit pill plus calcium pill). Haven't found citrate chewables in any local stores so figured I'd better order some before my next appt with the surgeon. I also ordered the free sample from Spirutein and am thinking about ordering the Syntrax sample pack too. Isopure...I had a friend selling Iso-something-or-other but this doesn't look like the same stuff. Gonna look into this too. Someone on another group also suggested adding Mio flavoring or Crystal light powder to these. Mio leaves that same weird, dry-ish aftertaste in my mouth so I have to wonder about that. And since I love the plain old vanilla so much I might just stick with that...although once I get down to the wire and have to do nothing BUT liquid for the 2 weeks leading up to surgery I imagine the vanilla will get a bit old. Better stock up on some flavors. Thank you everyone!
  6. Hi Dr. Callery, I am pre-op with a BMI of 45.2(ish), a history of gestational diabetes and grade IV arthritis (or chondromalacia--my doctor has mentioned both) in both patellas. Current overall cholesterol numbers are good although "bad" cholesterol is elevated. Not sure of current blood sugar levels but they have been in the pre-diabetic range in the past. I've had two c-sections, a laparoscopy to remove an enlarged ovarian cyst that ended up being infected, and two additional open abdominal surgeries: TAH/LSO through bikini incision in January 2005 and RSO/appy through vertical incision in July 2006 due to persistent ovarian cysts, endometriosis, and adenomyosis. The surgeon for the TAH/LSO and RSO/appy is a gynecological oncologist--went to her for a 2nd opinion when my regular ob/gyn couldn't give me a straight answer about why I was having persistent pain and low-grade fevers. He never told me that I had endometriosis. The gyn/onc specializes in open surgeries and felt that was called for in my case due to the endo and my previous c-sections. She worried about scar tissue, hernias (apparently the 3rd bikini incision had a hernia that she repaired during the vertical incision surgery) working so close to the intestines. I saw her surgical photos. There's lots of scar tissue in there. There were adhesions too. This is one of the reasons I'm leaning so strongly toward the vertical sleeve--the surgery can take place higher up and not mess with the remains of a "battle zone." At the same time, I can't help but wonder if the RNY still might not be a better option for me. I have trouble losing weight when I do nothing but restrict calories. I have to add a LOT of exercise to really see results. But now because of pain from the arthritis/chondromalacia, the forms of exercise I can do regularly are limited. I also take NSAIDS every day to help with the pain. I know those aren't allowed after the RNY; not so sure about after the sleeve...but if reflux is a potential issue with the sleeve, I can't imagine NSAIDS being okay for that either. I have not had a chance to discuss this in depth with my surgeon (although I have an appointment coming up on February 15th) and would greatly appreciate your thoughts, please. Thank you, Meri
  7. Favorite Shakes?

    Hey all, I'm pre-op and have been strongly leaning toward the Sleeve. Regardless of my decision, I've made some big changes this year as I wait for my 2nd appt with the surgeon. I'm eating way healthier foods, exercising more, and tracking both food and exercise. I've started taking vitamins and adding protein shakes as meals. Because it was inexpensive and right there in front of me, I picked up a bottle of Body Fortress shake mix from Walmart. It's not great. It's rather chalky and leaves a weird, dry-ish aftertaste. I love the vanilla shake from HMR (medically supervised weight loss program) and may end up with that, but my surgeon recommends three shake brands that are specifically formulated for weight loss surgery. I'd like to try them and am hoping to get some opinions as to taste, texture, etc. The brands are: Metagenics BariatrX Essentials, Fusion, and Bariatric Advantage. Has anyone tried these? What did you like/dislike about them? Thank you! Meri
  8. Support Group Meeting

    One way to find support meetings is to look for other physicians in your area who do bariatric surgery, or look up bariatric centers in your area. Many will have support group information right on their web pages. I attended a support group the other night and really enjoyed it. Both my surgeon and his nurse/admin were there (both were there for the information session scheduled just before-hand). I got there early and sat outside the room chatting with the nurse and other people as they trickled in for the support group meeting. Both stayed for the whole thing. There was a guest speaker this time--Dr. Rhonda Hamilton, who wrote this book: She was wonderful! She spoke for the whole 90 minutes and answered lots of questions afterward. I'm looking forward to the next meeting. They had a speaker for the meeting prior to this one so it'll be interesting to see what they have on tap for the March meeting. Maybe a more roundtable approach? Not sure yet. There were other pre-op folks there, one of them was there to get a feel for the surgeon and his support system--I heard her speaking with him afterward and she was saying she'd definitely be calling to schedule an initial appointment. It was a pretty large group--probably a good 40 people in varying stages of investigation, pre-op, 1 month out, 1 year out, 5 years out. So a good range of experience to share and draw on. I'll definitely be back.
  9. I've been researching the sleeve for a while now and am convinced it is the right surgery for me. On another online forum, however, I came across a few posts that alluded to something I have noticed in myself: it seems that reducing the amount of food I eat is not enough to produce significant weight loss. I need to add a lot of purposeful exercise (beyond what I get just walking around and doing stairs every day) to kick things into gear. This has been the case with every "diet" I've tried over the years and seems to be proving true since January 5th, when I started a restrictive diet featuring really healthy foods and as much exercise as I can fit into my crazy busy life. I lost 4 lbs. the first week and have been stalled ever since even though I've been increasing my daily steps. I have trouble getting to the gym so have been walking at night and plan to research a workout plan I can do at home for the days when I can't get to the gym. Just haven't got that far yet. Anyway, these posts made it sound like if that is the case for you ("you" in general) then the sleeve probably isn't the best option for you, especially if you have a lot of excess weight. Has anyone else heard this? Has anyone else experienced this? Thoughts?
  10. Support Group Meeting

    What a disappointing session for you! I'm sorry it was such a bad experience. Maybe there are other support groups you could attend later on--my surgeon welcomes patients who had surgeries with other doctors. There must be other doctors who do the same--and hopefully someone in your area so that you can go after your surgery if you want. I'm attending my surgeon's support group meeting tomorrow night and think it'll be interesting to see what goes on. Will have to report back and let you know.
  11. Newbie In Greater Boston :)

    Hi everyone! I've been lurking a bit and am really excited to be part of this group. Another support site I've been lurking on seems to be imploding and completely lacks the warmth of the atmosphere here. I hope to make this my new "home." I've been considering WLS for four years now. Four years ago, I found a surgeon I liked and went through all the pre-op testing required while my marriage slowly fell apart. Because my mind and heart were truly elsewhere, I wasn't able to lose weight between my first appt with the surgeon and the after-testing appt...or the month after that. We were getting divorced, having to sell our house, and I realized it would be foolish to embark on this journey from such an unbalanced position. A lot has happened between then and now and I'm in a much better place. The ex and I have a great relationship. The kids are doing well. They live with me and we live with my mother. I have a great full-time job. Mom helps me with the kids and I pay the bills and take care of the house. It evens out in the end. After many years of taking care of everyone else, it's time to take care of me. Saw my surgeon on 11/21, went through all the required testing again (saw the pulmonologist almost exactly 4 years after my last appt with him and weigh the same now as I did then, lol...I guess it's good I haven't gained at least). I see the nutritionist again on 2/8 and the surgeon on 2/15. I will be applying to my insurance company for the sleeve. They do not currently cover the sleeve but the surgeon said he's done four sleeves for patients with the same insurance I have, so it's not impossible to get approved. I think I have a pretty good case--five prior gyn surgeries (2 c-sections, 1 laproscopy, and 2 open abdominal gyn surgeries related to complications from severe endometriosis and adenomyosis). I have no reproductive organs left but I saw the pictures and know that there's plenty of scar tissue down there. Probably some adhesions too. To my thinking, it would be best to avoid a surgery that messes with anything in that general vicinity. And based on all that scar tissue I worry about having a lap band installed--with my luck I'd be the patient whose stomach grows to engulf the band. Also, I have grade 4 arthritis in both patellas and take NSAIDS every day to help control the pain. I'd like to keep taking those NSAIDS, which also rules out the lap band and RNY. I was hoping my gyn surgeon would write a letter about my previous surgeries and the scar tissue and propose the sleeve as a better option for me but she doesn't know anything about the RNY or sleeve and is not comfortable writing anything more than a letter saying she fully supports the idea of WLS for me and that I would benefit greatly from it. Hopefully my orthopedic doctor will write the letter about using NSAIDS. I called and asked on Monday; they're supposed to let me know this week. I figured it wouldn't hurt to take some pre-emptive action in that department. It's tough waiting but I need the time--I gained 5 lbs over the holidays and need to weigh LESS on 2/15 than I did on 11/21. So far I've lost 4 of the 5, giving me 3 weeks to lose the last 1 lb and then as much more as possible. I think even 1 or 2 lbs. would be enough, although another 5 would be better. Not sure that's do-able but worth a try. If I explain the gain (and the pulmonologist AND nutritionist weighed me at that 5 lb gain) and subsequent loss, hopefully that will suffice. My favorite tools right now are my new Fitbit and The two sites link and communicate with each other. I've never been so excited or positive-feeling about getting more steps and exercise in each day and with eating healthier. I started on January 5th and lost 4 lbs. in the first week. Been stalled since then but man, I feel so much better just from the changes I've made. Maybe it's the prescription vitamin D the surgeon put me on too. I've got more energy, it feels like I'm walking lighter, my clothes seem to fit a little looser, and overall I'm feeling really positive and charged up and READY. Mom supports me. The ex supports me. The kids (boys, ages 12 and 8) don't know anything yet but I will tell them when it's closer to being a reality and they'll be okay. Work...I may not tell them anything. One person knows my plans. Several others know about the Fitbit and my work toward getting healthier and losing weight. I may have to spill the beans at some point and should probably tell my boss what I'll be doing on my vacation (ha-some vacation) week but I don't know yet. I'm hoping to take just a week off. Since I'm an executive assistant, most of my job involves sitting at a computer all day. The surgeon didn't have a problem with that when I mentioned it. Sorry for all the babbling. I'm excited and nervous and having trouble being patient. Overall, just very glad to have found this site and forum and can't wait to be a real loser here!
  12. Hi From Boston

    Hi Jennifer, I'm new here too, and had been wavering between the sleeve and RNY. My insurance technically does not cover the sleeve, but my surgeon has done four sleeves on patients with the same insurance. So they WILL approve and I'm hoping I have reason enough for them to approve me too. The RNY is appealing because of the fact that it's been around so long and has a proven track record. Two of my friends have had it and are doing very well, except that one had a life-threatening complication recently and although she's home and recovered, it was scary as anything. Two others have had the duodenal switch (several years ago and doing well) and lap band (very recent and losing weight although she says she hasn't felt the effect of her first fill yet). I am uncomfortable with the idea of the RNY for myself, mainly because of the whole messing around with the intestines thing. I've had two c-sections, a laparoscopy, and two open abdominal surgeries, all related to gyn issues. I've seen the surgeon's photos and know that there's a ton of scar tissue inside my lower abdomen so the thought of someone else working down there and making MORE scar tissue makes me very nervous. I've been fine so far and would prefer to keep it that way. I like the sleeve in that it removes the part of the stomach that produces grehlin, the hormone that causes hunger. That might just make up for the lack of the malabsorptive factor of the RNY. Once it's gone, it's gone. Others who've had the RNY say that the calorie and fat malabsorption lasts about 2 years, then sort of fades away. The vitamin and mineral malabsorption stays. The decision has to be yours, of course. I'm going with my gut feeling (haha) on this and have decided on the sleeve. If insurance says no, I might just wait until they come around. The governing body of Medicaid will be reviewing the case for supporting the VSG in February this year. If they decide to approve it for their patients, I'm sure others will follow. Wishing you the best! Meri