Itty Bitty’s Moving


Hello my friends, I am in the process of transfering my wordpress.com blog to my new website www.ittybittyboomer.com – please check out the new website, and register there to continue following me while I’m in this strange time of transition!

With any luck within a week everything here will be there …

Thank you!

The Itty Bitty Boomer

Head Battles – WLS Journey – 10 years and 6 months later


 

Yeah, it’s been a while, but as I recently read on one of my favorite blogs, life happens.  And life has been happening.

It’s a never ending – obesity and head battles.

2005 - 225 lbs
2005 – 225 lbs
March 2006 - 135 lbs
March 2006 – 135 lbs

And I am now half way in between the two weights.

I often contemplate how I got my head into that  place of commitment and action – that place that allowed me the strength to make the decision to have weight loss surgery.  I would like to get back there – I know that place is still inside me, somewhere in my brain.

And I remind myself daily that this tool I have was not brain surgery – it was stomach surgery.  Funny how I still know all the right answers.  And I also know all the triggers to the emotional eating that is occurring at this time in my life –

  • 2 adult children with bi-polar/anxiety disorders and other chronic health issues
  • going through a divorce (however currently amicable) due to husband’s inability to cope with the issues my kids have. We have been married just 4 years, so he has no emotional  investment in them and their issues (understandably).  He also has no desire to understand mental illness.  He is an acknowledged alcoholic.

I thank my higher powers that I currently have a good job.   I am self-supporting, which allows me to provide a home environment for the time being for my son.   That being said, it is a bit of an unanticpated burden and I live pay check to pay check  Son and I are hopefully working through this and building some parameters and expectations on both our parts.

The “UN” mindfulness part?

  • Too much comfort food and too much wine.  My self-medicating.  I’ve tried therapy for stress and anxiety – anxiety meds and anti-depressants are not my cup of tea.  I still have unused Zanex from 2 years ago.
  • No exercise
  • Insomnia – and yes I know, lack of exercise and alcohol are major contributors.

The plan? I refuse to call it a “resolution” because I don’t want to set myself up for failure.

  • Returning to food choices that I know are appropriate and supportive of a WLS lifestyle
  • Reducing at least if I don’t eliminate the alcohol
  • Exercising if only walking and stretching to start to get back into the routine
  • Finding and participating in support programs for caregivers for family with mental illness and an al-anon type of group.
  • Allowing myself to grieve the loss of what I thought would be my life partner and cheerleader – not that I ever expected him to fix my problems, but there was a hope of him standing beside me.
  • Reminding myself to set personal boundries for self preservation
  • Engaging in my relationships with my women friends – rather than sharing and relying on them, I tend to do the opposite and isolate – I get tired of hearing about my problems, how can I expect them to?  Yet I know I would be there for any of them in a heartbeat

It’s mostly remembering to take care of myself ahead of everyone else.  I am the first one to tell people to “take care of you so you can take care of those who need you”.

I’m looking in the mirror – saying those words.

Do you need to say those words to you?

Namaste – I honor you and your head battles.

Itty Bitty

Mommy’s Advocacy, Inc.


Or it seems like that should be my profession …. at least this last week.

So I think we are settling down with the boy child’s needs – we have him enrolled in a MediCal managed health care plan and it should fall into place tomorrow. We will call so he can choose a primary care physician.  We also finally found a source for an interim script for his meds till he receives a referral to a psychiatrist for medication management for his bi-polar disorder. He got one of his meds yesterday and the other one today. We are hopeful that he has fond employment, albeit part time.  At least he will have some income to take care of his life and car insurance and his cell phone and a little left for spending money.

We moved forward this week with applying for SSI disability and engaged a friend’s son who is an attorney specializing in SSDI.  He’s giving us guidance at this point pro-bono, and if we get an initial denial he will step in and file an appeal for us.  If we don’t get a denial, he is kind enough to just help us through the process and review forms for completeness. Soon now hopefully we can get him in a program for his dual-diagnosis. One day at a time.  His mood seems to have stabilized a little and he is laughing a little more and showing affection.  Baby steps.

Take A Number ….

Last Friday my daughter was laid off her job of two and a half years due to the company she was employed by (and adored her job) experiencing financial difficulties.  She is also diagnosed with bipolar disorder, as well as being epileptic, OCD, ADD/ADHD, has fibromyalgia, and suffers migraines on a regular basis (especially during summer).

So my overlapping project has been helping HER apply for MediCal for her and my grandson, who has developmental disabilities and behavioral issues from oxygen deprivation at birth.  Their monthly medication bill is over $3000 a month without insurance, so it is critical that they get assistance while she is filing for unemployment and seeking employment (which she started doing the afternoon she was laid off)i

She is also filing for food stamps on a temporary basis.  Yes, we are helping her – subsidizing her rent while she forges forward.

Sheesh! I’m exhausted!  But I know my kiddos will be ok … we have always hung together and supported each other in times of need – now is no different.  And the old saying that when you think your life is crap, just look around.  that is so true this week.

And on top of it all …

Two weeks ago a close friend of hubby learned that his 24 year old son had been murdered in South Carolina – shot in the back of the head and left in an abandoned trailer.  The memorial service is this Saturday evening.  Love to you, Drew  – and may your afterlife be free of the pain of substance abuse. And much healing love to your parents.

Then a few days ago, a dear friend of mine lost his darling husband to cancer.  They were together almost 15 years, and married in 2008.  They were wonderful together – Rick and Shawn – one of the sweetest couples I know.  Shawn’s memorial is in three weeks.  I know you are soaring pain free with the Angels, Shawn – God speed.  And dear Ricky …. my heart is always with you.

Yet in spite of it all …

We have reconnected with some old friends, found laughter and joy, and continue forward with open hearts.  We will continue to encourage my son on a path of healthy and engaged living.  My daughter will survive her employment setback.  We will love and embrace our friends who are grieving ….

We will continue on this life, well ….. lived.

Namaste – I honor you – and me …. live well …

Itty Bitty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Navigating MediCal Part II


A very long and frustrating day.   And another day of learning.

After completing enrollment (with the help of a Covered California consultant) for Kaiser Managed Health Care plan, the MediCal ombudsman’s office was kind enough to agree to expedite the activation of the insurance once we faxed them a “permission letter” from Kaiser accepting his enrollment. Enrollment in KP is possible  because I (as an immediate family member) am already a Kaiser member.  Three different MediCal people I spoke with at different offices/departments told us the same thing.   It’s the only way KP will take MediCal managed care plans.  Very true …. BUT the MediCal beneficiary must be 21 or under …. no one we talked to at MediCal was aware of this.  We found this out when we were at KP to pick up the permission letter from the membership services folks.

Go straight back to square one.

It literally took us four hours to get back in touch with a real person on the phone at the ombudsman’s office.  Oh yes, this new person says …. that would be true.  Only “adults” under 21 can be covered ….  BUT my over 21 child IS fully covered on “regular” (or straight, depending on where you read it or who you talk to) MediCal – he can go to an urgent clinic or a doctor who takes “regular” and get an interim/emergency script for his meds until he gets in to see a psychiatrist through ACCESS, county mental health agency that will refer him to a psychiatrist for medication evaluation.  The,n simply go to a pharmacy that fills MediCal  prescriptions and he will get his meds FREE OF CHARGE! Isn’t that awesome?

GREAT!  That’s easy!  We then spent a minimum of two more hours trying to locate an urgent care clinic that takes “regular” or “straight” MediCal.  They don’t exist.  None of them accept regular MediCal.  There is a non-profit medical clinic downtown – but it’s neither a walk-in clinic or an urgent clinic – you go in, fill out paperwork and they will make an appointment for you.  When we talked to them on the phone about their recovery programs a few days ago, they weren’t even taking phone calls till May 16.

S0 tomorrow will be Day 3 – getting him enrolled in Anthem/Blue Cross MediCal Managed Care insurance after which he will be able to CHOOSE a doctor from the participating providers.  Hopefully I will be able to get BACK in touch with the ombudsman office so they can expedite his plan activation and we can get an appointment with a doctor early next week.

Unless, of course, we find another stone wall waiting around the corner.  I started working on this at 7:30 am this morning – it’s now 7:30 pm – I have just finished dinner – and that is about all I did today.  I am exhausted (didn’t sleep last night worrying about all this and finding a source for his meds and treatment – now going on 39 hours with no sleep) and have another day to go at least.

Don’t get me wrong, the MediCal people I have talked to have been awesome!  They have readily assisted me by expediting a process that under normal circumstances takes about two months.  I am truly grateful!

And it’s ok – I’d walk to the moon for my kids – he is participating and I want to keep him engaged in his recovery whatever it takes.

Namaste – today I honor all those souls who have no one to advocate for them and, as my hubby said tonight, it’s no wonder they live on the streets.

Itty Bitty

Weight Loss Surgery Post Op Stuff


I don’t know how time passes so quickly. Again, almost every day my intention is to post an entry. And then the day is gone. There is much going on in my life – things I want to share because I need to – some of those things I am equally hesitant to share, blogs being rather public forums and all. The two things most prominent in my mind are vastly different, so I will do two entries today then follow up as each progresses in the future.

Exciting news (for me anyway) is that Hubby and I did, indeed, transition to Kaiser Permanente health insurance on January 1. I have had Kaiser insurance on and off since 1969, before which I was a military dependent. I have always had positive experiences so was excited to be able to go back. I am not typically one to run to the doctor, but there are just now so many things I need to “catch up” on that I have had a string of appointments of varying nature over the last three weeks.

The first thing accomplished was engaging with the bariatric department locally and getting into face to face support meetings for weight loss surgery peeps. There is a meeting every week – one alternating in the early afternoon, and alternating in the later afternoon. I’ve already been to one – and am signed up for another on Monday late afternoon.

Through this department I also signed up for an annual follow up “group” appointment and had the suggested nutritional blood analysis lab work done. 10 vials of blood and 14 tests later, I am doing ok – within the normal ranges, except for ferritin, Vitamin D and Vitamin B1. Considering I have been really bad about not taking my vitamin supplements for the most part for the last four or five years, I was surprised. Then again, I surmise my eating (leading to 30 pounds regain) was enough to keep those levels up.

I also had my PCP do a fasting glucose (as there is a family history of diabetes that I have so far avoided) and cholesterol panel. Both of these are within normal range as well!

Yesterday was the “group appointment” – to update on best practices with respect to supplements and nutrition. I was originally scheduled for a morning appointment, which got changed late last week to an afternoon appointment. As it turns out, the morning group was overbooked, and there ended up only being three of us in the afternoon, one of which had to leave early to go back to work.

This was not a bad thing at all, as the other lady and I ended up having, for all intents and purposes, a one-on-one meeting with the Dr. that runs the program, and the nutritionist!

The two-hour appointment reviewed what we should be doing as post-ops (modified a bit on the spot as we were both 7+ years out), what nutritional supplements are currently the recommended best practice – and (because we both have about 30 pounds to lose) sample 1200 calorie meal plans. We were told we could safely (with our supplements) modify this down to 800-1000 calories a day to assist in losing our regain and getting our eating patterns back on track for our WLS procedure.

The bariatric Dr. also wants me to redo my blood work in 3 months (after taking my vitamin supps and modifying calorie intake) to make sure I am still doing ok and the low levels are where they should be. No worries!

I feel more confident now about being successful in correcting this regain knowing that support is readily available – either in face to face support groups (weekly if necessary) – or just an email away with the Dr. and the nutritionist if I have concerns or questions.

The important thing is to never give up the fight.

Namaste – I honor you and your journey …

Itty Bitty

Surgically Altered Freak … And Happy To Be


IMG_20140109_055835_103

This is the front of a t-shirt I got at a weight loss surgery convention a few years ago and is one of my favorites!  It wasn’t meant as a “dis” but a celebration of our success as gastric bypass post-ops.  It truly was the hit of the conference!

That being said, I, as I’m sure many WLS post-ops and the people around them, get tired of thinking about … talking about … dealing with … being a “surgically altered freak”.  The fact is, anyone who has had a roux-en-y gastric bypass procedure is just that.  We have taken a perfectly normal digestive system (other than any dis-ease we have caused by being morbidly obese) and agreed to have it purposefully re-created into what amounts to a SURGICALLY ALTERED unhealthy one.  We have committed to spend the rest of our lives keeping this altered body healthy.

Because of that commitment, it becomes impossible for us to NOT deal with it on a daily basis.  There are times when I tell myself to stop talking about it … it’s just the way life is now, 8 1/2 years later.  But the fact is … it is always foremost in my mind – every single day.

Today, for instance, I had 10 vials of blood drawn for 14 different analysis of my blood to see if I have any nutritional deficiencies due to malabsorbtion.  That is one reason why I should take one of each of these (and some more than once) every single day …

Vitamins

It’s the first time in five years I’ve had medical insurance that would cover these essential tests that should be done annually, if not semi-annually.  My hubby and I have, as of January 1, returned to Kaiser Permanente, the insurance under which I had my surgery, and who in my opinion, at least in Northern California, has the most comprehensive long-term follow up for their WLS post-ops.

Next Monday I am excited to return to their bi-weekly WLS support meetings, and in early February to their group medical follow-up appointments, at which time the doctor will review my lab reports.  I will be able to review them myself in two days time!

I want to share my process and progress in returning to a solid support system – and how it affects my motivation, commitment and ability to return to using this very special tool to lose the 30 pound regain I have experienced.  Doing a daily journal simply doesn’t work for me.  Maybe weekly?  Maybe.

I still need to get my head out of this glass of wine.  But I shall never give up – and never go back to where I was 8 1/2 years ago and this is why:

This was me in February 2005 … 225 lbs

Before_thumb.jpgThis was me in March 2006 … 135 lbs

Gramaree.jpgThis was me in 2007 – 140 lbs – the “ginger” is my daughter

MeAndMo_thumb.jpg

And the weight I want to get back to. My happy place even though it is technically still  “overweight” for my 5 ft, 1 in frame.  We all eventually find our “happy weight”. I will find it again.

And happiness in being a “Surgically Altered Freak”!  For all of you considering weight loss surgery, or newbie post-ops – learn all you can, the good ~ the bad ~ and the ugly ~ about the procedure you are considering.  Commit yourself to following to the letter the keys to success your tool gives you.  Commit to keeping yourself healthy.  As they say in 12-step programs, it works if you work it.

Namaste – I honor all you Freaks out there!  Never give up and never go back!

Itty Bitty

Why do I love you? Let me count the ways!


Through my event planning contacts, I ran across this blog this morning – 365 Days Of Love.

The concept of this blog is that if you can find 365 things you love about your spouse, significant other, or anyone in your life for that matter, then you have an incredible chance of that relationship lasting forever. As it happens, at this time of my life, those around me about whom I care very much are in various stages of relationships and yet each scenario seemed to have the promise of benefiting equally ….

  • My stepdaughter and her sweetie are engaged and getting married in four months. A sweet way to begin their married life together!
  • My son and his wife are going through a very difficult time right – re-evaluating the very core of their 13 year marriage.  Maybe this would help them strengthen all the good things that brought them together and help them  heal the difficulties. Maybe … maybe not – but at a time like this, introspection and sharing is never a bad thing.
  • My daughter is at the beginning of a very new relationship – her list would definitely be different – or over the year evolving – a list not to share, but perhaps to build on and if the relationship grows, to share in a year or so.

And then there is hubby and me … and I am just so much in love with him as we approach the end of our 6th year together (this photo was from 2008 – 6 months into our budding romance)!

Image

I am compelled to make my list and then tell him one reason each day why I love him.

Can you list 365 reasons why you love someone in your life? Challenge yourself – and in the meantime, have a wonderful Christmas – Hanukkah – Kwanzaa – Yule – however you celebrate this special time of the year.

Yule

And here’s to another year – 2014 – with the hope and promise of love and peace – health and prosperity (in it’s many forms) – to you and yours!

Namaste – I honor all that is you.

Itty Bitty