Sunday, May 24, 2009

Swing For The Fence

Today I was driving along and heard a phrase. “Take that homerun cut. Swing for the fence.” If our goal isn’t for the best we can attain, then we are playing for 2nd best. No one likes to be 2nd best. We sometimes have to settle for 2nd and know we gave our best. Even when we sacrifice for the other player and bunt we are playing to our best ability for that situation. Team work is as important as working alone at 100%.

Who and what are your team players? Are they positive influences? Do they encourage you to perform at 100% yet accept you at less? Some days 100% is too hard and we need to take a breather and bunt. We have to lean on our team players to help carry the load. Yet, we must continue to have structure and discipline. Swing for the fence.

"Every great leap forward in your life comes after you have made a clear decision of some kind."
~Brian Tracy~

Monday, May 18, 2009

Check-up Results

Today I had my 3 month check up with my primary physician in Salina. We discussed medications. I had blood work done last week to prepare for this discussion.

My Cholesterol results were fantastic.

  • My good cholesterol is up 5 points. My bad cholesterol is down 14 point (8%).
  • My Glucose was at 86 which 70-110 is within normal range so no sign of diabetes!!!!!
  • My B-12 count is 1500. Normal range is 180-914, but anything over 914 is great. He says you can never actually have too much B-12. Part of this surgery can affect the process of B-12 and people often have to take B-12 supplements and B-12 shot. I have been taking B-12 shots for a couple of years now. So my body is processing B-12 wonderfully.
  • All my liver functions / protein count is great!

When the doctor walked into the examination room he stuck his hand out and said, “Hi, I’m Dr. Richards.” We laughed. He has been my doctor for over 20 years.

I was taking 9 medications before surgery.
Today I will be taking 4

**One of the medications is for my thyroid. I will probably have to take it for the rest of my life because I am a low thyroid producer. Weight loss surgery does not affect this.

**One medication is for my neuropathy. We are going to monitor it & decrease the medication and see if I can get off of it over time.

**One medication we are going to cut in ½ and finish off the supply I have and discontinue taking it (6 weeks). This is my anti-depressant.

**One (blood pressure) medication we are going to take ½ a dose and monitor it and possibly get off of it.

Of course I will continue to take my B-12 shot monthly for now.
I will take my multi-vitamin and calcium daily.
I no longer have to take my B-12 daily supplement.
I no longer have to take my Nexium for acid reflux except as needed. I have not had any acid since the day before surgery. I have not been taking Nexium since May 3rd. I have had no acid!!

So as you can see, my progress is fantastic. I am tickled!

He said, “I think you should be the poster child for eliminating health issues through weight loss surgery.” Boy that felt great!!!!

He also said the next time he sees me I will probably have to wear a name tag.

I used to have a check up every 3 months because of my health issues. Well, today he said, “I don’t need to see you for a year unless you have some problems.”

Once again God’s blessings shine through!

"Every great leap forward in your life comes after you have made a clear decision of some kind."
~Brian Tracy~

Sunday, May 17, 2009


This week between some conversations with friends and a graduation at my alma mater (AbileneHigh School), I have been reflecting on life. As I sat in the gymnasium of the high school I attended, I looked around at the familiar sights. I looked at the walk-over where today the pep band plays. When I went to school there it was just a walk-over. As I sat across from the section where the pep band sat when I attended, I remembered the many games I sat there too. I wasn’t in the pep band but my best friend was. I thought about the good times we had at those basketball games. As I reminisced I thought life was carefree then. Although at the time it was happening I sure didn’t think so much of the time. I struggled as a teenager. I struggled with shyness and self-concept. Then I looked down a section or two and saw where I crushed a tooth. I was standing on the pushed in bleachers talking to my boyfriend when the gym teacher yelled, “DeAnn, get over here.” So I jumped down but failed to jump out at the same time and “bit” the concrete wall that the railing was fastened into. My front tooth crumbled ¾ of the way up. Needless to say I didn’t make it to gym class, but I did get the rest of the day off, visiting with the dentist. I still have a ¾ false tooth in the front. As I sat there I thought about how much has changed and how much has stayed the same.

I sat and thought about my own graduation. I don’t remember much about it. I don’t remember if it was in the gym or on the football field. I guess I could dig up pictures and see. I thought about the fact I do not remember the ceremony at all. I don’t remember what was said, what was done, who was valedictorian or salutatorian. I don’t remember who was there. I don’t remember if it was humid, hot, cool, rainy, cloudy or sunny. I just remember I didn’t really want to be there. I wasn’t part of the popular crowd, but I wasn’t shunned by them either. I wasn’t part of the “socially rejected”, but I didn’t shun them. I was in the middle populous. I was an “athletic star” in Middle school, but in high school I lost interest in it. I had limited friends and didn’t feel I was missing much, yet didn’t feel I was part of anything either.

Now I look back at those days and compare them to today. I compare myself to 20 years ago and 15 years ago and 1 year ago. I have always been very shy. I have always been a loner in the sense I don’t mind spending time alone. I don’t “shine” in a crowd. Actually I hate crowds. I avoid them. I am more of a one on one person. At times even that is a struggle. Well, as I said I look at myself and compare myself between today and a year ago. I am less shy and more out-going. I am consciously working on being open to new things and doing new things. I consciously think about how I approach people, situations and why I am there; what is my purpose. I think my relationship in Christ has encouraged that growth. As I grow closer to Him, He gives me more peace in who I am because of whose I am. My self-confidence has improved. Yes, I am still shy at first, but I am certainly more open to talking with people I do not know at all or may only know slightly. I am more comfortable in a situation that is far from my comfort zone. I don’t have to search out that person I know and “tag along” to feel okay with being there.

Part of this transformation is due to my weight loss surgery. I will shout from the rooftop that the best thing next to accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior is having gastric bypass surgery. It has allowed me to view myself in no other way before. It has given me the courage to open up to others. It has given me energy like I have not had since those volleyball and basketball days of middle school. It has given me a positive attitude I have not recognized for so many years I’m not sure I ever had. I have always been fairly positive, but the sky is blue and the grass is green. I don’t have to jump over the fence to the neighbor’s yard. I can be me and feel comfortable being just that. God provided the means financially, mentally, physically and emotionally to have this surgery. He has also provided the growth spiritually. I truly believe if I hadn’t had this surgery I would still be where I was over a year ago; sad, frustrated, lonesome, spiritually broken and seeking in the wrong places. It is through God and his love and my willingness to seek him that I have rounded my whole being. It is through the surgery I have been able to find my footing in this journey called life.

The people I have met through this journey called life have been such a wonderful support; IWLS Ronda, Pam, Jennifer, Dr Hachem, his nurses and staff; my friends in my church cell group, the gals at water aerobics, the church family at New Community Christian Church, etc. I find it just as important to mention the people who have been in my life for many years; my friends Merelyn, Laura and Shawna. They are 3 of my best supporters. My dearest supporters are my parents and my family. I can’t go without mentioning other friends not specifically mentioned yet. They know who they are and how they have played a part in my life. One such friend signed me up for a service at the time of my surgery called “Someone Believes In You!” Every day I get an inspirational story in my email. It was so special of Nancy to tell me how proud of me she was and support me basically daily. I would be amiss to say that encompasses everyone who has supported me. I can’t begin to name them all. I can only say, thank you for helping me grow personally, emotionally, mentally and shirk physically.

As I continue to change and grow in many areas of life I have to look to many people who are friends from years past that aren’t actively present in my life today. One taught me how to be a friend and that there are different types of love and one of those types of love is friendship love, one taught me how important God is in my life, one taught me to be strong and be steady in friendships. I have teachers I can think of that taught me many things. Being shy and lacking in self confidence was hard growing up, but all these people saw something in me that was worth their investment, even when I didn’t believe it. Even my family who are no longer with me physically have played an incomprehensible role in my life.

So as I look back and reflect on my life so far, I think of how much I have to be thankful for. I think of the long way I have come and who is ultimately responsible for that—God. He has placed these people in my life and the circumstances of growing up in my path. He allowed me to think through the benefits of surgery and see they outweighed (pardon the pun) the fears, my own conception of the surgery itself and see the outcome for health. My dear friend Shawna said a couple of weeks ago she was so scared for me because I was killing myself. I never knew she felt that way. I certainly didn’t think that way. I am so sorry for her worries and wish I could take that away. I love her for it!

You see you can’t make it through life without affecting others. So as you reflect on your life, search where you’ve been, where you are now and where you want to be. Remember you are worth the effort you put into life. Live it to the fullest!

Innovative Weight Loss Solutions (Geary CommunityHospital; Junction City, Ks 1-877-260-3064)

Look at life through the windshield not the rear view mirror.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wrestling with the old way

Today was one of those days that I wish I could eat what I want, how much I want, as I want! I went to work planning to work 10:30am-6:30pm. When the 6:30 gal didn’t show up I looked at the schedule. She was down for 4 hours vacation and it wasn’t covered. So I called the boss and he didn’t realize he didn’t have it covered. So I had no choice but to stay until 10:30pm. I already have vacation time this week on Thursday, so I had to work at straight pay instead of overtime rate. I was mad and wanted to eat, eat, eat and eat something greasy, salty and sweet. Not all the same thing either!!!!! The Hostess Ding Dongs came to mind and I thought about how they would look exceptionally wonderful in the vending machine. I also knew there was Suzy Q’s down there and some Nacho Doritos. There is usually a Rice Krispies treat and I’m sure a carton of whole chocolate milk. Then we can move onto the Snickers, $100,000 bar (my favorite). Then there are M&M’s and some Oreos. I thought about ordering a pizza, a greasy hamburger, Spangles fries and a Wendy’s Frostie. Well, I stopped and thought to myself and said, “DeAnn, just who is that going to show, what?” Well, no one would have cared if I had eaten any or all of it. So I got a hold of an officer and asked if he was going somewhere to eat. He said Arby’s. So I settled on a Ham and Swiss cheese sandwich. That encompassed my supper. I didn’t even go to the vending machine and get the Doritos! As I said it was a tough day at work!!!!

Look at life through the windshield not the rear view mirror.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Another Season / Another Reason

It has been 16 months since I decided to have gastric bypass surgery (Feb 14, 2008) and a year since I had my consultation with Innovative Weight Loss Solutions staff and the surgeon (April 23, 2008). I have faced a lot of decisions, changes, challenges, opportunities, hopes and dreams. There are things I have lost and things I have gained (outside of the weight itself).

I look at the things I have lost. I have certainly lost the love affair I had with food. I used to love to eat sweets, eat salty, eat potatoes and carbs, eat large, eat, eat, and eat. I lost the comfort it often brought. It brought comfort from loneliness, boredom, sadness and that persistent pity party. It also brought a way to celebrate, pass time and give to others. Now I must mourn the loss and move on. I have found alternate ways to cope with all these emotions and actions.

I gave myself permission to grieve the loss. Once I mourned, I chose to pick myself up, dust myself off and move forward. Self-pity equals self sabotage. Most of my mourning was done before surgery. I “practiced” what I would have to implement as a new lifestyle months before actual surgery. This made the transition after surgery so much easier. I am not saying not eating when bored or sad or lonely is easy. But I am saying it is part of the new lifestyle I choose to live. It is a daily choice.

I had to make a decision to face forward instead of staying in the “status quo” or looking back to the past. By facing forward rather than backwards, I’ve found that change offers new hope and opportunity. The “status quo” and the comfort it brought wasn’t healthy for me. The decision to face forward, move forward and live forward takes courage. Courage I must rely on with every decision to turn away from the old and live with the new. This new means I must deny the desire to eat the wrong stuff, do the wrong stuff and have the wrong attitude. I have found that attitude is 90% of the battle. It takes courage to face forward. Courage is a choice.

I must be open to change. I can’t compare new opportunities to old opportunities. Instead, I must recognize that new opportunities sometimes have very different benefits from old ones. New opportunities often fulfill different needs in different ways. I have to be open to alternate ways to be successful in my journey. Those alternate ways have brought about the gains I mentioned above. They bring me joy in ways that I was missing before. The joy of doing things I was no longer able to do such as walk longer, walk with more confidence, get up and down, tie my shoes with the bows on the top, look at life more positively, talk without losing my breath, and be more open to activities and people. The list can go on and on. Being stretched in ways I have avoided because of my weight issues. Not necessarily because I was obese, but because I didn’t have the energy to do things. I didn’t have the desire to be with people. I’ve learned change has allowed me to embrace the challenges with anticipation and desire; with energy and pride. Change is never easy, but it is a choice I’ve made on a daily basis and within an hourly time frame. Each choice I make directs me in the path I will walk.

I must walk through the open doors. Doors with new life, new opportunities, new hopes and new dreams are open to me on this path. Doors that are open through perseverance, desire, God’s guidance, support from others and self-imaging. Doors that didn’t exist before. Oh they existed, I just couldn’t see them. I was blinded by the insecurities of emotions, feelings and actions that my weight and my health entrapped me in. My positive attitude grew in ways I didn’t remember existed.

I was asked this week how I was doing and I said, “If I were any better I would have to be twins.” I truly feel like a new person with new goals and new hopes. I find new confidence in talking with others regardless of if I knew them before or not. I was at a function and a spokesperson had to be chosen in my group. Everyone pointed to me. A year ago this would not have happened because I would have been to “shy” to make the impression that I would even be a spokesperson. Also I wouldn’t have accepted the “position” of spokesperson. But through my growth via this journey I have found myself more comfortable in the role I was placed in. God has given me the confidence. So as those doors have presented themselves, I have chosen to walk through them!

Just as the seasons change from fall to winter; spring to summer, I must change. Often, doors close because we never should have walked through them in the first place. Other times, they close because they were meant only for a season. As I learn new lessons and walk through changing seasons, I must live with courage so I can enjoy the journey.

As my one year anniversary or as I see it, birthday approaches (July 21st); I am excited to plot my journey in this new lifestyle. I am anxious to see where God plans to take me. I am anticipating the new opportunities, the fresh ideas, the new people brought into my path and the growth I know is awaiting my arrival.

I hope as another season in your life presents itself, another reason for embracing it will develop.

Look at life through the windshield not the rear view mirror.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Special Announcement

I have activated my new website/blog. With much encouragement from Ronda at Innovative Weight Loss Solutions I am trying to reach a wider “audience”. My blog at reaches just those people I tell it exists or if someone stumbles upon it. It can also be accessed via the Geary Community Hospital website with the link they have to it. By developing this new blog it can be “discovered” by people visiting a well know weight website. So with this encouragement from Ronda and others I have developed and activated the blog at This will take you directly to my blog. It has the ability for me to post more than one picture in the album section. So you can go to it and see my progress. My goal for this new blog is to reach people and hopefully inspire and encourage. The postings starting from tomorrow (Sunday May 3rd) will be the same postings as I put on my blogspot blog, which is the same update you get every week. So you will not have to go to the obesityhelp site if you don’t want to. As I said, I am able to post new pictures to show my progress through obesityhelp. The following is the 1st post I have on the new site beyond my introduction on it. From here on the post will be identical to my regular updates to you. Thanks for you support and prayers! I pray God will bless my efforts at DeAnn :0)

In 2006 when my neurologist said I had to have gastric bypass surgery I weighed my heaviest, 297 pounds. I was humiliated, felt hopeless and in great pain both physically and now emotionally. I remember crying, thinking; he doesn’t care and just wants me to feel bad. I thought; He can’t be serious. I can’t be that overweight. I surely have some other options. I can’t do surgery. There has to be another way! I remember reading my medical records I had obtained for an appointment with a specialist and seeing “Morbid Obesity”. I thought; What?! Are they serious? How can they be so cold? In that feeling of shame, I made a commitment to myself to do whatever it took to lose weight. I was determined that gastric bypass was not the road for me and I was going to show him and everyone. I knew I needed to face my problems with food, change my behavior and the long lived habit of relying on food for comfort and as my dear friend. I believed that I had choices available to me. Within the week I joined Weight Watchers. I stuck with Weight Watchers for over a year and never reached my 10%. It was extremely frustrating. Once again the feeling of humiliation and shame overcame me. I thought; why isn’t this successful? I know people have been successful on weight watchers, why can’t I be? It was at that time I realized I had to face the facts, bite the bullet and be honest with myself. I took a long look in the mirror and at several pictures. I literally looked myself in the eye and said, “DeAnn, you are morbidly obese. You have to do something about it or you are going to die.” It was at that very second I knew I had exhausted all my options and had been unsuccessful. That was unacceptable for me. So I began talking to my best friend, seriously thinking about what I was willing to do and what I was willing to give up or modify. I began my many hours of research on the internet, reading many books, magazine articles, watching actual surgeries on the internet, etc. I sat myself down and took an honest evaluation of myself, my life, and my surmounting health issues and admitted I had exhausted every other option. In order to save myself and live life to the fullest I would have to have the surgery. It was at that moment, for the 1st time in many years I truly felt hopeful about resolving my health issues. I honestly believed this route would be the tool I needed to love myself in the way I deserved. This was the lifestyle option I needed to live fully and not just exist in a state of exhaustion and routine. Deciding on surgery was an act of loving myself. I rarely put myself first, but I knew I had to do something or I wouldn't have a self to put anywhere. Since that day of decision (February 14, 2008) I have been a more positive, up-beat, enthusiastic, confident person. I went to a support meeting and then an informational meeting at Geary Community Hospital; Junction City, Ks. The Innovative Weight Loss Solutions weight loss program was in charge of the meetings. The staff was enthusiastic and helpful. Ronda is the director and very bubbly and encouraging. Pam is very sweet and knowledgeable. She is willing to help with anything. Jennifer is the dietician and is always there for me. All three are the best supporters of my life. They are all enthusiastic and caring. The website for the hospital is: and the website for the weight loss program is found on the hospital website under services; weight loss surgery. You will find all kinds of information there. If you want to follow my journey from 3 days before surgery up to this posting go to: The hospital actually has a link to my blog. This surgery is more than just a surgery. It is a tool to a new lifestyle. I have had to not just change what I eat and how much I eat; but how I think, what I expect, how I view food and life in general. The surgery is not a cure for obesity. It is as I stated, just a tool. I still have to do the work every day. I have changed my thoughts on exercising, eating, and on myself. I am a more positive, excited, happy and confident person because of the surgery, it's results and my outlook on life. I feel great and wish I had had this surgery 3 years ago. I have finally figured out that support of others is a must through this journey called life. You have to let others support you as much as you have to rely on yourself. That used to be hard for me to do. Putting myself and my health 1st wasn't an option or act I did very well. Within the text of this surgery and beyond, I have discovered the support of family, friends, co-workers, organized groups and sometimes strangers is the glue that keeps the plan together. I hope you will enjoy this journey I am on. I hope I can be an inspiration and encouragement to those of you who have had the surgery and those of you who are trying to explore and decide on the path your life is going to take. I'm glad my path has been improved and been repaved by health and happiness. Of course I would be amiss if I didn't credit that health and happiness to the one who provides everything and sustains me--God! Let's continue the journey together. Fell free is ask questions and share your comments. We can learn and grow together. Until the next post, take care and remember you deserve to feel good. Take the needed measures to do that. DeAnn :0)

My Suess Principle
Set your goals
Evaluate your motives and dedication
Use a step process to get to the goals
Support systems are a must (God, Friends, Family, Co-workers, Activity Groups, etc.)
Savor you success

"You must begin to think of yourself as becoming the person you want to be."
~David Viscott~