I heard back from the team at the surgical center on Tuesday. They'd received the form from my GP and gotten the go ahead from the anesthesiologist. So now the super nice patient advisor there just needs to finalize the good Doc's schedules and then we can book a date. It sound like I'm looking at a day sometime in March, hopefully no later than the beginning of April.

Unfortunately while my brother was here for his super quick visit he figured it out. After my father's comment on the Sunday after he commented me on his wait and him taking the message from the clinic (they just asked that I call) he figured it out. I'm kind of upset about this. Mostly because of his reaction. He wasn't completely against it, instead he wants/told me to get a referal to Ontario so that the government will pay for it but they won't pay for a Lap-Band I told him. His response was "I know, I'm talking about a gastric by-pass."

Is he out of his flipping mind?!?! There is no way that I'm going to have a gastric by-pass. Yes I am overweight, yes I want to have weight-loss surgery, but no I do not want to have my stomach physically cut in half (or less) and re-routed to just a portion of my intestine leaving me unable to properly digest and absorb nutrients. His view probably comes from the fact that his wife's cousin had a GB done about 8 years ago I guess and she has lost the weight. Great for her, she's probably lost 300 pounds. But I have about 70-80 to lose, not 300. I think for him he believes that the GB is better only because the government will pay and therefore saves me money... Uhmm... I can't put a price on my life, health and happiness. Can you? So no. I will not have a GB. I will however continue the process of getting a Lap-Band happily, healthily, and most importantly safely (much much safer than a GB as far as I'm concerned).

That's all for me today. I'm going to crawl into bed with my book, try and get the dog to lay on my feet to keep em warm since Grey's Anatomy was a repeat tonight :(

Lots of Love - Les
So my biggest brother flew in from Toronto this morning to go to a funeral service tomorrow. Despite the terrible circumstance that he's here for it was really great to see him. I think I last saw him in September?? I can't quite remember actually. Either way it is nice to see him. I miss both of my brothers so much sometimes.

Bless his heart though he said "It looks like you lost some weight," if he only knew. Then my father had to open his big fat mouth and say "Oh, have Les and Mom told you what she's going to do?" At which point he was promptly told to mind his own business and that when I was ready I would tell people. Besides I don't even have a surgery date yet. This little incident though gives me some incite that it might be a lot harder than I thought to keep things a secret. It's not that I don't want it to be a secret exactly its just that I don't think that everyone needs to know, there are somethings you keep to yourself and I don't think I need to publicize my weight loss surgery to my friends and family and announce my intentions.

Back to work tomorrow and the regular routine. I made the mistake of checking my work e-mail though and there are 3 e-mails from the boss about experiments he wants me to do. I guess I will be clearing my schedule again this week to do his stuff. But hey if it keeps me in a job I can't complain!

I've been trying to imagine what it will be like to be full after only bites of food. Needless to say, I can't imagine. I had two salads for lunch today cause I was starving and some KD for dinner and I'm still not totally satisfied. I should really be making a better attempt right now to eat healthy. I seem to have adopted this new attitude that since I'm 99.9% sure I'll be having the surgery what I eat from now until then does not really matter. Bad attitude, I know better. So I'll have to work on that.

So have a great week everyone, its almost the end of January can you believe it! Me neither!

Lots of Love - Les
Well, I just had myself a good cry. I missed Grey's Anatomy last night since I went to the Sam Roberts concert. The show was amazing, it reinforced that belief I have in the power of great live music being able to lift you and heal your soul. There is just something about seeing a great musician perform that makes my heart ache with passion. Maybe I was a musician in a past life or something. Anyways my crying comes in with me watching last nights Grey's online. And as usual I got myself so wound up in the plot and characters that I ended up crying. But hey sometimes you just need a good cry to get things you didn't even know you were upset about out of your system.

I dropped off the form at my GP's yesterday for him to fill out. Hopefully he'll do that soon so I can continue progress and book a date. I'm kind of worried about it. I guess because I personally don't have a lot of trust with my GP and I'm not happy with the care I've been receiving.

Despite the start of my week and some super stress at work the rest of the week turned out just fine. I was able to pump out some results for the boss on short notice and learn several new techniques in the process. I got to try out some gel column separation, digestion of plasma and adiponectin, as well as some new antibodies and a multi screening western blotting apparatus... I realize that to the non-science geek lab tech nerds out there that probably means nothing so sorry all!

As I was saying I hit up the Sam Roberts concert last night and if you haven't heard of him I highly suggest checking out his music. He's a great rock musician based out of Montreal. His music is great to just sit back and chill out to. It's catchy with some great lyricism. While I was at the show though I was struck with a huge pang of guilt. There's another Canadian band I adore, Matt Mays & El Torpedo, that I didn't go see in the fall simply because I didn't want to go alone. I need to start pushing myself out of my comfort zone more often. It's one of those confidence type issues where I'm nervous to do things without friends. There was absolutely no other reason for me not to go to that show, tickets were only $20. If I had gone I'm sure I would have had an awesome time. So I've got to work on that, keep telling myself that I don't need to have a buddy around to do everything. So I decided that if Matt heads back into Peg city this year, regardless if I can find someone to go with me I will go. I won't miss him for something like that again. Didn't I say earlier that I had to stop spending so much money on concerts though? What's wrong with me? It's a sick obsessive compulsion. So lets try to make a better resolution. No big ticket concerts. Smaller venues with tickets no more than $50. I will not buy anymore $300 tickets (Elton John anyone?!?!) and if I must absolutely see that artist I will settle for the cheaper ticket even though it won't be floor :( It hurts to say but I need to set my priorities right. Lap-Band... Concerts... Lap-Band... Concerts.... LAP-BAND!!! DUH!

Alright all I leave you with my Music of the Moment: Sam Roberts Band - We Were Born in a Flame

Lots of Love - Les
So I met with the surgeon today... Dr. Andrew. He was really great. All of my questions were answered and more. Having my Mom with me there was a great idea since she asked things I hadn't thought of. She also said later that she was happy she went so that she saw who exactly would be operating on her "baby girl." She felt relieved to see what kind of a person it was and to learn that he is also a practicing surgeon at one of the hospitals in the city and that the lap-band job is not his primary focus (I guess that makes him a good surgeon in her eyes?)
Dr. Andrew went over my medical history, my weight loss attempts and then popped me on the scale (which was a scary four pounds meaner than mine and my GP's) and then prodded my belly for a bit. It was interesting he said that the way I carry my weight would actually make it easier for them to perform the operation. Right now I need to get my GP to fill out a form and return it to them. From there we can look at booking a surgery date. Once its booked its a waiting game except that I will have to do the dreaded Optifast for two weeks prior to surgery. Interesting cause I thought that I had heard of every diet product out there and had never heard of Optifast until I started reading the lap-band blogs. I sincerely hope that it isn't as terrible as everyone makes it out to be.
In other news... I have my very first follower! Hi Tracey! I look forward to keeping in contact with you and learning from your blog also as I continue along this path.
As of today I am for sure a go ahead with the surgery. Just need to tie up some loose ends (Dr's forms and money) and book. Hopefully within the next 6 weeks I myself will be a "bandit".
Lots of Love - Les
And what a Monday it was. You know how you hate Mondays and always dread how they just seem to keep happening. Whether it's back to work or long-standing appointments everyone has something they hate about Mondays but at the end of the day it usually doesn't turn out nearly as bad as you seem to think it should be. Most of the time. I today had a true Monday where everything was turned upside down and topsy turvy and reminded me that sometimes I don't love my job. I do for the most part love my job and have it scheduled and worked out to a tee that keeps me sane. That is until the boss shows up monday morning in his own state of panic because there is a grant due in two weeks and experiments must be finished this week and whatever work and experiments I had planned need to be shuffled off for another time. I love consistency. I thrive on organization and planning so needless to say this morning when this happened I entered this zone of complete anxiety and therefore stupidity. All of a sudden the things I am so good at I can not even comprehend. I walked back into the lab with what I'm sure was a look of sheer terror on my face and attempted to do some calculations but ended up staring at a blank piece of paper, pencil in hand until one of the graduate students woke me out of my panic coma and got me a cup of tea.
Once I got past all of this, the day was fine. It did however remind me that no amount of organization and preparation will ever keep me from experiencing a true Monday.
And on more lap band related news tomorrow is my consultation! I decided instead of trying to rush back and forth from work I would just use my overtime hours to cover the whole day. So my appointment is at one o'clock, my Mom is going with me for support and act as an extra set of ears as well as another "interogator" acting in my best interest.

Lots of posts for one day I know. To keep me motivated some of the women we see all the time I find to be very beautiful and aspire to have just one ounce of their charm. And I apparently seem to think that all women named Kate or Katherine are beautiful... strange.

Just thought I would post some pictures. Kind of a then and now thing. I'll take pictures pre-banding and all through my journey to keep everyone updated.

September 2008. At the lake with my baby Summer. ~195 pounds. This is the most recent picture but not the most accurate of where I'm at.

January 2008, last day in Cuba, 218 pounds.

January 2008 in Cuba. 218 pounds.

When I finished college February 2007. I'm probably at 210 pounds here.
I've been thinking quite a bit the last couple of days about who I will tell if I do get the band. Like so many other people I find that everything socially inevitably is food associated. Even at work I find that food is a problem. There are 16 people in our lab so obviously more than one birthday a month to contend with cake and ice cream. Monthly meetings where lunch is provided usually is pizza or thai food and lots of people who just like to cook or bake and bring food for everyone to try. It can be a lot to deal with and no wonder I have difficulty with my weight. When ever I do something with my girls there are some staples: dinner, movie (must have popcorn with M&M's and licorice apparently), coffee, or the bar (liquid calories). So it seems that I will be adjusting my life style habits quite a bit. But do I tell anyone whats going on?
I know for a fact that at work eyebrows are going to be raised when I say "No thankyou" to food. And coupled with the fact that I will hopefully be losing weight people will become suspicious because they won't see me eating a whole lot. Do I tell them or do I keep it my personal business. It's tricky because I few of the people in the lab I am actually really close friends with.
I don't have a problem telling my family. We are all pretty close. I have two older brothers and a sister-in-law as well as two nephews. I know for a fact that both of my parents are very supportive and are willing to do whatever it takes to help me through this. I am sure that the rest of my family will be just as supportive. As a matter of fact my sister-in-law has a cousin who underwent gastric by pass several years ago and I know that she was very supportive of her.
So I guess until I know for sure what will be happening I can't make a definitive decision. Until then it's a wait and see.
The Deep Freeze that is. For those of you who don't know where I live, Winnipeg is pretty much located smack dab in the center of Canada in the province of Manitoba about 2 hours North of the US border. It isn't uncommon to hear our little city referred to as Winterpeg. We have two seasons, Winter and Warmer. Unfortunately I'm not joking. Right now we're stuck in a cold spell for the last week we've been experiencing temperatures around -49 degrees celcius with the windchill and it makes it a little hard to do anything. Maybe we're all just penguins disguised as humans cause I really do believe that people are not meant to live in these conditions.
Despite this I've been doing ok. Getting a little bit of cabin fever but I just keep reminding myself that there is an end in sight.
I had a great day today, better than I have in quite a long time. I was kind of stuck in a rut at work and I seem to be digging out of it now. I guess I should explain what I do.
I work as a technician in a research lab. The funny part is that the particular lab I work in is mostly nutritional based. We look at how different components found in food, or just general food types help obesity and cardiovascular diseases. For example we've researched CLA (found primarily in dairy), omega-3 in flax and fish oils, as well as pulses (beans, lentils etc) and our latest is buckwheat. We conduct our research on both a basic level working with animal models of obesity and diabetics as well as on a clinical level having patients with pre-existing conditions consume food items. How did I end up researching nutrition when I myself seem to have such trouble managing my own diet and well-being?? I have no idea.
Anyways, for a while I was stuck not getting any good results for my boss and was feeling the tension from him. This week things seem to have changed. I almost wonder if it's one of those if you have a positive attitude it works situations. Since I've made my decision to get a consultation about the band I have noticed my attitude and outlook has done a 360. I have struggled with depression for quite some time and the last week I feel as though a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. I can attribute this to nothing except for my taking the first step towards a better me.
Only 6 days until my consultation now and I'm very excited. My Mom is going to go with me as a second set of ears and for moral support. Since we're both taking the afternoon off to do this we're going to go do a little retail therapy down in that area of the city after. I've recently gotten into leather crafting and there is a Tandy Leather Factory out that way I love to visit. I've got some great ideas but need to pick the brain of the shop owner and pick up some supplies. We're both also avid knitters and there's a great local yarn shop out that way we can stop into. I'm kind of stoked to have a girls afternoon out too, it has been a while since my Mom and I have had some bonding time without Dadder around.
I was reading the Skinny Biddy's latest entry and she was saying how she feels like no one could ever be attracted to the fat her and since she still feels like the fat Bridget no one could ever be attracted to her now. I've faced this same fear so many times myself. I often wonder if I lose the weight how comfortable I will be in my own skin. There is no doubt that the "fat" person is perceived and treated much differently than the "skinny" person. How will I adjust to the way people talk to me, look at me and treat me? It is something I don't know, but I am sure that it will take monumental adjustment. I often feel like Bridget and wonder if it even matters if a lose the weight. Cause I'm ugly fat so won't I still be ugly skinny... why bother? But then I need to remind myself that I'm not doing this so that people will think I'm beautiful, I'm doing this for me. My health and wellness is more important that others opinion and perception of my beauty. I have lots of great friends that love me the way I am. I'll just be Leslee 2.0. Vamped up on the outside but the inner strength that makes me who I am today will always be there.
So if you're reading this Bridget I'm with you girl! We'll find our prince charming when we're least expecting it but your inner beauty really does need to be appreciated first and foremost.
Lots of Love - Les (hopefully 2.0)
I'm still sure about my decision so that is a good thing at this point for me. I sometimes tend to make great plans and then as the date approaches I back out. Such as spending two months looking for vacations to Cuba and then just 3 weeks before the actual date of departure decide that I really don't want to go alone after all and would rather spend my money else where.
I had a call from the Dr.'s office yesterday and they have changed the time of my appointment from 4:15 to 1:00 which actually works better for me so that's great. I did not post yesterday since I was not feeling very well.
I kind of had this weird nauseated feeling all evening and all I could think was "Here we go again!" As a kid I consistently would get sick anywhere from two to three times a week. No warning or anything and could sometimes go months without an episode. The worst part was that I would actually vomit in my sleep. I do not remember ever doing this just waking up afterwords and obviously being very upset. As I got older the episodes have become much less frequent and I at least wake up feeling the onset and am able to make it to the bathroom. The funny thing is that I always felt better the next day. Despite my parents attempt to get some sort of diagnosis they were never able to determine what it was so I'm just left knowing that I've mostly grown out of it. Today I'm at the point where I maybe have 5 to 6 occurrences of this a year. Something to me that is manageable. I do wish however I knew what it was or is, and I also pray that this will not be a concern of the surgeon's and effect the final decision.
And completely unrelated stuff. I've been reading so many people's blogs and can't help but notice how everyone has their own customized templates and such. I'm not really ecstatic about my generic one but don't know any HTML and haven't been able to find a free template I liked. I was talking with a guy at work whose wife is part of the blogging world and she uses square space since you don't need any HTML knowledge for it. Only thing is you can't combine blogger and square space :( Since I've already started here and found a few people that I would like to keep in contact with throughout this journey I don't really want to move to another system. Any suggestions out there?
I've been reading so much about the band and everything I read just further confirms that I really want to get this done. Having said that I do have some concerns and questions to ask the Dr.

1. What percentage of patients have their bands slip?
- Most of what I've read this is caused by vomiting after surgery, which I don't know if I'll be able to control. For as long as I can remember I've kind of had a weak stomach and never having had any sort of surgery before I don't know how I will react to the anesthetic. In the last year I've spent a lot of time at the Dr.'s trying to get answers to this 'indigestion' problem. It isn't my gall bladder, celiac disease, or colitis. The latest he's come up with is IBS. I also think it may be a food allergy but I don't even know where to begin that one. I am concerned that this might influence whether or not I can get the surgery.
2. What is their post-operative support system like?
- Do they have dietitians and therapists available to help patients afterword or am I on my own except for fills after.
3. What would be my expected weight loss?
- Are we talking a healthy 2-4 pounds per week or something more drastic.

Now that I've started typing this I'm suddenly forgetting everything I was concerned about.
I do know that I need to start curbing my spending habits. I have an addiction to live music and last year spent... well a lot on concerts. I suppose that I need to decide what is more important. My health is, so I've purchased my last concert ticket for a while :( It will be a great show though, I will be seeing Taylor Swift in July with a girlfriend who used to be in the lab. I'm digressing though. This isn't going to be an inexpensive endeavor. In fact I will be going into quite a bit a dept to do this. It is 2/3 of my yearly salary. As great as people seem to think the Canadian health care system is they do not cover any portion of weight loss surgeries unless you are extremely obese (to the point that death is just around the corner). It is kind of disappointing that the government won't help to pay any portion of this when in the long run I will be saving them more money the the actually cost of the surgery since I will be avoiding future co-morbidity's such as my mother's joint replacements and cancer treatment. Who knows maybe once this is said and done I will have enough self confidence to become an advocate for weight loss surgeries to get the government to wake up!

Shout out to Skinny Biddy for the comment! I've been reading your blog from the beginning for a little while now and it has actually helped me quite a bit so thanks! One of your comments near the beginning said that all you had left to get was a man, I'm in the same boat!

Music at the Moment: Air - Moon Safari
In a little over a month I'm turning 24 years old. I always thought that 22 would be my year but things out of my control such as my Mother's struggle with Breast Cancer prevented that. I decided that 23 would be my 22 instead. I was going to accomplish things I'd always wanted to do and become my best self. In January of 2008 I made my first real trip on my own to Cuba to attend a friends wedding. I had a great time... if I ignored the fact that I was extremely ashamed of the way I looked and the weight I had let myself get to.
In the past I've tried several different diet/weight loss programs. I successfully lost weight with the South Beach diet but puck it all back on plus more. I've done Weight Watchers but without any real success. I thought it was time to start something new. In Cuba I watched my friend walk down the aisle 50 pounds lighter and happier thanks to U Weight Loss. It was expensive but can you put a price on your health and happiness so upon my return home I signed up. It was fantastic at first maybe because with any new program you are extremely motivated. I lost 28 pounds, almost halfway to my goal at that time. I visited my brother for the first time in 3 years and was proud of the way I looked except I was hungry! Eventually I became disenchanted with the program and the staff. Who were these people that kept telling me exactly what to eat, how much of it, consume upwards of 15 supplements a day and to devote all of my spare time to meal preparation and exercise. I wanted to scream and tell them to leave me alone! I was suffocating under the strict food preparation and exercise and hungry all the time. I could not do it anymore. I wasn't happy. I did not have time to do the things that made me happy despite the fact that at one point I thought losing the weight alone would fix that.
At my most recent weigh in (23Dec08 at my annual check-up) I'm sitting at 206 pounds, a heavy load for my 5'3" frame. I am still down 12 pounds from my all time heaviest but in fact according to the BMI I am extremely obese, and I feel this way too. I am afraid that if I keep on this path I will be back or above my heaviest. I will encounter the same problems as my Mother in years to come: diabetes, still obese, multiple joint replacements due to stress on joints from weight, and potentially having survived (or not) cancer. I CAN NOT LET THIS HAPPEN!
Enter the Lap Band system. I had been reading about it for months now and finally got over myself and talk to my Mom about it. I suppose I was expecting an adverse reaction mostly because I myself kind of thought it would be the easy way out... but is it? I'd already spent thousands of dollars trying to fix this problem without any results. I'm young and not living my life to it's greatest potential because of this so how is this the easy way out? It's not! It will still be a struggle to overcome my eating habits and self image issues but I will have the help of the lap band to get me there.
With my parents encouragement and support I've booked a consultation. It is scheduled for the 20-Jan. I truly believe that I am a good condidate for this and hope that the surgical team agrees. I can't wait to have the appointment, get all of the information and hopefully book a surgery date so that maybe I can make 24 and the rest of my life what I really want them to be.
If anyone is even reading this feel free to leave comments! And there will be more to come soon as I approach the consultation date and hopefully the surgery. I would really like to commit to this blog as a way of dealing with/vocalizing my feelings surrounding this. I've never been fantastic at communicating but have always kept a journal and a blog seemed like the natural thing to do.
Lots of Love - Les