Itty Bitty’s Moving

Hello my friends, I am in the process of transfering my blog to my new website – 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

Surgically Altered Freak … And Happy To Be


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 …


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


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

Weight Loss Surgery – The Easy Way Out?

In my weight loss surgery “community” this week there was a huge (and not always so nice) discussion about “traditional” dieting vs. weight loss surgery, and whether surgical intervention for losing weight is the “easy way out”.   The discussion was spawned by blogger Ily Goyanes, Fuming Foodie for the Miami New Times basically stating her very strong opinion that everyone should be able to lose weight simply by cutting back calories and exercising.  Individuals who chose the “easy way out” by having any variety of weight loss surgery are cheaters and simply lazy with no self control. And, further, she is convinced that pharmaceutical and medical device companies as well as hospitals encourage weight loss surgery just so they can profit!  50+ responding comments from successful WLS (Weight Loss Surgery) patients about how surgery is anything BUT the easy way out and why, were incapable of swaying this person’s mind.  The comments continue to roll into her blog – bottom line is she is entitled to her opinion (as unsubstantiated, uneducated, bigoted and discriminatory as it is) but it would be so much better if she developed an educated, informed opinion.

Anyone who has gone through the process of qualifying for weight loss surgery knows it is 1) not a quick and simple process; 2) it is not always a given that one’s health insurance provider will agree to cover the procedure regardless of how medically necessary the procedure is; 3) the appeals process, when denied coverage, is not always successful; 4) while the surgical procedures make it EASY to lose weight, the lifetime commitment to maintaining a healthy body and mind can be overwhelming. We must diligently avoid malnutrition and a host of other potential health issues by dealing daily with vitamins and protein supplements. We must deal constantly with our “head battles” that lead to our obesity in the first place.   We must exercise regularly just like any one else trying to maintain weight.

The reality is that the tool of weight loss surgery to a morbidly obese person is almost always the absolutely last resort, last ditch, effort to lose weight and eliminate or minimize co-morbidities (all the obesity-related health issues that most people suffer from) after years, and sometimes decades, of seriously trying and failing with the traditional methods of diet and exercise.  WLS is a tool to give the morbidly obese back their lives and futures.  Close to 200 thousand WLS procedures are performed in this country annually because it works. And, unbelievably, 35% of deaths in this country continue to be related to obesity-related health complications.

The continuing unfortunate circumstance for some individuals whose doctors feel they would absolutely benefit from WLS is that there are still many health insurance providers who simply will not cover the procedures (though they will still cover decades of medical care costs for obesity-related health issues), or individuals who do not have health insurance and are unable to afford surgery.  These people suffer unnecessarily.

This will be my one-time only “promotion” – however, I so strongly believe in the following NON PROFIT organization, what it stands for, and what it accomplishes – to the point that I volunteer my time as a member of the Board of Directors – that I want everyone to know about it and what it does – look around our website!  We are the only organization of this kind that we are aware of.

The Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America (WLSFA) is a nonprofit organization, powered by weight loss surgery patients & their supporters, Bariatric Surgeons & their practices, Hospitals and Corporations. Together we raise funds and gather resources to “pay it forward” in the form of Weight Loss Surgery Grants to people denied access to WLS treatment of obesity.  Our 2012 grant application process has begun.

Are you, or anyone you know, recommended for weight loss surgery by your medical professional but either do not have insurance, or have been denied surgery by your insurance company and lost your appeal?  You are invited to apply for our Alice Neff Grant for weight loss surgery or to please pass on this information to someone you know that might benefit from this grant.

And if you are just thinking about having WLS, are a post-op WLS patient, a supporter of a post op, join WLSFA!  IT DOESN’T COST ANYTHING TO BECOME A MEMBER – but you will find 1300 people strong walking in your shoes … understanding your journey. It is the most incredibly supportive group of people with a common cause … ending obesity one pound at a time.  We offer you on-line peer support, educational opportunities, and the most fun and educational annual Mother of All Meet & Greets in Las Vegas you’ll ever attend!  Check it out! Or at least, spread the word.

Weight loss surgery is not for everyone – Each individual must come to their own conclusion based on their own personal and extensive research about the good, bad and ugly of having these procedures.  The mortality rate for people having weight loss surgery is less than 1%.  The success rate of losing and maintaining long term losses of 60-75% of your goal is 85%.

At 55 years old, and having suffered morbid obesity for over 20 years, it was the best decision I ever made for myself and in over 6 years I have never, ever once regretted it.  Even as a boomer, it’s never too late to change  your life.

I wish you all safe travels in your quest for a health life, whatever way you choose to pursue it – and Namaste (I honor you …)

Weight Loss Surgery and Regain

I’ve talked before about my adult-life long struggle with morbid obesity and my gastric bypass surgery six years ago and subsequent 90 pound loss … and my thirty pound regain.
As I did six + years ago in reaching “that point” where I could no longer continue being obese and was sufficiently motivated to take action, I think I have reached “that point” once again surrounding my regain.
First of all I am compelled to say that anyone who thinks that having weight loss surgery is “taking the easy way out” obviously has never been around anyone who has gone through the difficult decision to have WLS or followed them through the process that follows.
Taking a basically healthy digestive system and altering it to an unhealthy state and taking responsibility for the proper care and nurturing of that surgically altered system is a life-long committment like no other.
And as for wondering why that person who WLS over just simply cutting calories and exercising more, if that had ever worked for us over a life-time of trying and failing again and again, I think we would have done it.  There are many of us whose body chemistry is so altered that no amount of push-aways or push-ups alone are going to help.


So we willingly take the risk of an invasive procedure, surgically alter our bodies, commit to a lifetime of vitamin supplements and exercise, follow our food plans religiously for the first few years, lose our weight  … then some of us get cocky … 15% is a pretty average odd for regain … not 30% … we forget how important it is to continuing to follow our eating restrictions, vitamin regimens, exercise plans, etc.  We’ll never go back there, to that morbid obese person we left … not us … until we realize one day the pounds have crept back on to some extent.


And now it is time for 100% (or at least 90%) committment to what I know is right … in eating, in supplements, in water, in exercise … today is the day – the first day in many areas of my life, but particularly in this area. It boils down to holding myself  brutally accountable … privately and publicly.

Today’s weight – 165

No vitamins yet, not enough water

Will do a calorie/protein count at the end of the day.

1 hour exercise – 1/2 hour treadmill (1.5 miles) and 1/2 hour upper body/ab machines.  First day, minimum weights and reps …

Goals: 60 oz water, 70 g protein, 1000 calories at the most.

Supplements: multi vitamin no iron, iron, calcium, potassium, vitamin b-12 (sublingually), vitamin b-1, vitamin d, calcium …

Here we go! Anyone want to join me in a challenge!?!?!

Hugs to all who struggle with obesity and to you – namaste (I honor you ..)