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Friday, August 26, 2011

South Florida Drug Clinics and Transfer Addiction

I know it is all over the news!!!!

http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/08/15/v-print/2360442/oxycodone-purchases-are-dropping.html

Governor Rick Scott is combating oxycodone abuse in Florida!

About 6 months ago, my spinal pain became immense and I sought the help of a pain management specialist.  A real doctor, not the pain clinics they talk about in the articles.  He put me on oxycodone for my Multiple Sclerosis pain.  I thought to myself, well I have lived with this disease almost 19 years, I must need it.

Well, I quickly needed a milligram increase and went from 10 mg. to 15 mg., my mal-adsorption  from the gastric bypass made it impossible to get relief from the drug, I thought.  They drug test you to ensure that you are not taking other drugs, if so, they drop you like a hot potato and refuse you service. Problem was that my tests were showing that I wasn't taking the oxycodone, my body just wasn't adsorbing the drug due to the gastric bypass and low body mass.  Keep in mind that I now weighed 118 pounds and was beginning to look emaciated.  The drugs made me not want to eat.  My appetite was gone and the pills made me nauseous, but by that point my physician had raised my milligram to 30.  I was hooked and didn't know it.  My personality changed, I dosed off and I wasn't living a real life.  I was just hiding from the pain, anyway I could.

I had talked to the doctor about coming off the pills and was informed that it would take months to get off them.  Months, are you kidding me? Oxycodone isn't something you easily stop taking.  The physician and I discussed another treatment option and I had three spinal blocks in three weeks.  The spinal pain subsided, but I was still on the drugs.  When you come off the drug, they add Zanex to help with the withdrawal, and believe me it's a bitch!  In my head though, I'm thinking, great another addictive drug. The withdrawal is terrible, I thought I was dying.  I cut myself off from the Oxycodone abruptly and withdrawal hit me like a Mac truck.

The Center for Substance Abuse Research describes it well:
There is a high risk of experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms if a patient discontinues oxycodone abruptly. Therefore therapy should be gradually discontinued rather than abruptly discontinued. People who use oxycodone in a hazardous or harmful fashion are at even higher risk of severe withdrawal symptoms as they tend to use higher than prescribed doses. The symptoms of oxycodone withdrawal are the same as for other opiate based painkillers and may include "anxiety, nausea, insomnia, muscle pain, muscle weakness, fevers, and other flu like symptoms."

Personally, I can tell you it is like hell!  I thought I was losing my mind and I was sick as a dog.


I tried to ask for help and none of the local "mental" help facilities would touch me, except one that I would rather die than go to.  I went to the emergency room where I had my gastric bypass, just in case I needed hospitalization.  I was vomiting and had diarrhea for over a week and was down to 113 pounds.  I thought I was losing my mind.

The ER doctor was wonderful, he reassured me that I wasn't an addict, that this was just bad medicine.  He wrote me a prescription for Lyrica for the leg pain, which was terrible, and a small prescription for Percocet.  The best was the conversation we had, in which he told me that I may need a pain killer and that didn't mean I am an addict.  I needed those words to be said.

I, like many others who have had weight loss surgery, have this fear of transfer addiction.  I am being as honest about the situation as a precautionary tale.  I could of easily continued taking the drugs instead of seeking alternative treatment, but fear took over.  I have addiction issues all over my family tree and I didn't want to be another statistic within our family.  I have family members who have chosen pills over family and I didn't want to end up like them. Obviously, my addiction to food was the reason for my choosing to have weight loss surgery, so I already have an addictive personality.  I have battled codependency for years and now I needed to face the fact that I am afraid.  What if I do need a pain killer?  Does that make me an addict?

I am wrestling with a real issue that I know others have faced within our community.  Alanon never covered this!  I feel like I am on uncharted territory and don't want to make a miss step.  I am doing my best to survive.  I continue to work my 12 steps and take things one day at a time.



Friday, August 19, 2011

Coral Springs, FL Police Violated My Rights!!!!!!!

As you all know, I am not much for going on a rant, but today you will have to bare with me!

I want to tell you about an incident that occurred on 8/17/11.  My daughter and I had gone to have her birth control put in (yeah, no more babies for 5 years).  On our return home, my daughter received a call from her fiances' mother informing her that he was with the police and they where calling her and she wanted to know why.

Of course, we had no idea why.  We were informed by her that the police were at my residence.  Upon returning to my home there were two police cars in front of my home, one was a cruiser and the other was an undercover car. They had blocked my driveway almost completely and we almost hit the mailbox pulling in.

Upon our returning home and seeing police cars, I expected to find them somewhere outside my dwelling and we began to look for them.  Keep in mind, we are in tow with a 9 week old infant.  At this time, my daughters phone rang again and it was his mother again, she informed us that they were inside my house.  I was appalled and shocked when I opened my front door to be screamed at by two police officer, "Coral Springs Police Department".

At that moment I asked the officer, "Why are you in my house?"  With no reply, my daughter got slightly nasty and asked if they had a search warrant?  The response from Officer Eric Walsh, "Shut up or your boyfriend is going to be arrested."

At that moment, mom jeans kicked in and I immediately began to cooperate with them, and put a muzzle on her.  Apparently, the tale is that there is a slew of burglaries in my neighborhood going on.  There was a burglary that afternoon and the only description they got was that there was a teen running from the house. 

Now her fiance purchased a hooptie, you know they type, a cop magnet!  Apparently, they ran his tag and it came back stolen.  At this time, they pulled him over and questioned him about the tag.  He had no idea that while at an expo event that he and my daughter attended last Friday there was some idiot switching people's tags. 

This same officer that was in my house later, Officer Eric Walsh, grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and ripped him from the car through the window.  Yes, I said through the window.  Keep in mind the door was fully functional. He proceeded to drag him around to the curb and throw him to ground and shackle him! 

Even after this, he still cooperated and gave them permission to search his vehicle.  Now, he and I ran an errand that morning together and I forgetfully left my purse in his car.  MS strikes again. As most of you know, I have suffered with a progressive form of MS for approximately 19 years now.  I see a pain specialist and I was prescribed Oxycodone.  This medication was in my purse.  At that point they began to harass him and informed him that he was "never going to see the light of day again" and that his bond was going to be 1.5 million dollars, thanks to our new Governor. 

He explained to them that my number was on his cell phone and that all they had to do is call me to verify.  Instead of calling me, they came to my home apparently "found my back door unlocked".  I don't believe that statement, because my daughter's fiance remembers locking the door before he left, just after putting the dog in his cage.  I, honestly, believe they popped my sliding glass door open to gain entry into my home. They then began an illegal search of my dwelling to find "evidence that he lived here".  One of the officers said, "We can only find one faint picture of him in that back bedroom."  Mind you, there is an 11 X 13 of him, my daughter and the baby on one of her shelves.  How do you miss that?


Finally, her fiance had the tag confiscated and returned home.  I was enraged at the treatment we received!!!!  I called the Chief of Police and asked for a meeting.  I was informed he "didn't do that" and I needed to speak with his Lieutenant  or Captain.  I am sorry, but I find that appalling, that the Chief of Police won't speak with me.

Then we received a call from one of the officers informing her fiance that they had had his tags in property all along and would he like to come and get them?  WHAT????  How convenient!!!! Am I suppose to be grateful?

So, I called the Mayor and he had the city attorney call me to tell me that he wouldn't be speaking with me.  I informed Mr. Hearn that if I didn't speak with him, I was going to the press.  He responded by telling me to do that then and hung up on me.

I then received a call from Captain Perry of the Coral Springs Police, in which he called me "closed minded" and I informed him that obviously were not going to agree on anything and what recourse was there for me.  He then informed me that I could come down and file a formal complaint against the officer at the station.

I went to the station and they informed me that there is no "form" you have to meet with Lieutenant McHugh first.  Keep in mind, he informed me that he is the media contact as well.  I thought,"Alright, we are finally getting somewhere".  We told our story in detail and he told us that he would look into the incident and get back to us. 

At that moment, I see Officer Eric Walshs photo posted on the wall stating he has been named "Officer of the Year".  I just about died!

Oh, I received a call alright!  Only to be told that he believed the officers involved were within procedure and as far as he was concerned, he was proud of their actions.  Oh and by the way, "he wouldn't be taking my complaint any further".

If you were treated this way by your municipality, what would you do?  Let me know.  The media has not returned my call, by the way.  I wonder why? hmmmmmmm  I truly believe that we where treated unprofessionally by everyone involved.  They were rude and hostle and I have lost all confidence and willingness to cooperate with them in the future.  What a shame!



Tuesday, April 19, 2011

BBQ Brisket without the Smoker

Ever wanted that BBQ Brisket, but don't have a Smoker?  I have the easy solution.

Items Necessary:

Brisket (As much or little as needed for the crowd you are feeding)
Onion Powder
Salt
Pepper
Liquid Smoke (I prefer Wright's Hickory Liquid Smoke)
Aluminum Foil
BBQ Sauce (I recommend Gates Original BBQ Sauce)

Be sure that the excess fat is trimmed off by yourself or ask your butcher to remove prior to purchase.  You want some left on, this adds flavor and moisture to the cooking process.  However, you don't need excessive amounts, it will only add calories and unnecessary fat.

Start by preparing the aluminum foil, the end goal is to create a pouch to seal in the meat and juices and roast the brisket slow and low.  I start with two long sheets and fold them into each other at the seams to make the bottom layer.

Place the brisket on the aluminum foil and begin seasoning.  Liberally apply onion powder, salt and pepper to brisket.  Then apply liquid smoke to brisket, covering all of the brisket.  I use approximately 1/2 a small bottle to 1/2 of a brisket.  Do not be afraid to apply liberally, this is what gives it that "smoked" flavor.  Take a piece of aluminum foil and finish the pouch to enclose the brisket.

Place in the oven at 250-275 for 4 hours.  Remove from oven and check for tenderness.  At this point, the meat should be starting to easily be punctured. It is at this time that I apply the BBQ sauce.  I was born and raised in Kansas City and I like my sauce on the spicy side.  Gates sauce is a little on the spicy side and only contains 3 grams of sugar per 2 tablespoons of goodness.  I prefer to have my sauce cooked, due to the spices become more mellow after cooking, but it is fabulous without being cooked. I continue to cook the brisket with the sauce for at least 1 more hour.

When the brisket is complete, remove from the oven and let it sit for at least 5 minutes.  Cut this meat against the grain or pull it apart for the best BBQ beef sandwiches you have ever had.

I hope you enjoy!

Jill xx

Monday, April 18, 2011

What is an Obesogen? And how do they affect us?

The technical definition is "Obesogens are chemical compounds foreign to the body that are hypothesized to disrupt normal development or homeostasis of metabolism of lipids ultimately resulting in obesity.
Obesogens may be functionally defined as chemicals that inappropriately alter lipid homeostasis and fat storage, change metabolic setpoints, disrupt energy balance or modify the regulation of appetite and satiety to promote fat accumulation and obesity." (1)  But, in lay-mans terms it is any toxin, chemical or pesticide that we put in our body that disturbs our bodies chemical and hormonal make up that disrupts the endocrine system.  Obesogens include plastic based chemicals, pesticides, hormones and chemicals fed to cattle or livestock, naturally occurring chemicals relating to soy products and our prescriptions and chemicals in our tap water.  Obesogens can trigger an unnatural increase in fat cells, therefore interfering with the body's ability to process leptin, the hormone that triggers the feelings of satiation.(2)

I know that prior to the weight loss surgery, I did not feel full. I ate processed food.  Since the surgery, I try to eat as clean as possible and have significant changes in my appetite.  I do believe it is due to the theory of obesogens.  The theory was coined by Stephen Perrine with Heather Hurlock in The New American Diet.  The author got 400 volunteers to go back to a diet that was based on eating environmentally conscious meats, fish, produce and dairy products.  Those who stuck with the plan for six weeks reported an average weight loss of 15 pounds.

Now I believe that weight loss surgery was my first key to living a healthy life.  But, now I choose to live and eat a healthy life style.  Yes, my food bill has gone up.  And yes I eat hormone and antibiotic free chicken and meat.  Most of my vegetables are organic.  But the more that I read and the more that I learn about my immune system and how compromised we all are, the more I wish to make sacrifices for myself and my family.  My family (my children included) struggle with their weight and I hope to not pass this disease on to them.  If I can give them a fighting chance then I owe it to them.

I encourage you all to educate yourself on obesogens and how BPA can make you obese.  93% of all Americans have BPA in there system (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and many scientists liken this to a national experiment on ourselves while we continue to use these chemicals.

Here are some ways to stay safe:

1) Eat well and exercise! Keep your immune system strong by not flooding it with obesogens and exercise to strengthen it further.

2) Buy fresh produce instead of canned or packaged.  Canned vegetables and products are lined with BPA most of the time and can leach into your food.  Try to buy fresh or glass items instead of canned.  Eden Foods and Pomi actually make BPA free containers, look on the containers.

3) Any time you are eating the skins, buy organic.  I know money is tight right now for many folks, but I highly recommend you buy organic when eating the skin.

4) Don't put plastic in the microwave. BPA will get released into the food you are eating and drinking, even a simple, "I am going to warm this up," will leach chemicals into the item that are poisoning you and your kids.  Don't buy any plastic ware that has the number 7, on the bottom of it.

5) Check the safety of your cosmetic.  Two recommended brands are Burt's Bees and Josie Maran Cosmetics.  Check Environmental Working Group for the efficacy and safety of the brand you use.

6) Use cleaning products that are frangrance free and no air freshners.  I have to admit this one is hard for me.  I love my house to smell fresh and clean.  However, using bleach and vinegar are cheaper and make my home smell just as nice.

7) Filter your tap water. Run off from farms can put pesticides into our tap water, it never hurts to filter your tap water, not to mention the amount of prescription medication that they are finding in our water now.


8) Leave your shoes at the door.  I live in sunny south Florida.  Our lawns are bright green and there's a reason, we all fertilize and spray for bugs.  Everytime you walk in your home, you are bringing those pesticides inside with you.  Leave your shoes at the door and lessen that exposure.


Scientists believe that these chemicals are linked to not only Obesity, but to Breast Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease, ADHD, Endometriosis, Infertility, Lupus, Polycystic Syndrome.


Resources:

  1. ^ a b Kirchner S, Kieu T, Chow C, Casey S, Blumberg B (March 2010). "Prenatal exposure to the environmental obesogen tributyltin predisposes multipotent stem cells to become adipocytes". Mol. Endocrinol. 24 (3): 526–39. doi:10.1210/me.2009-0261. PMC 2840805. PMID 20160124. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=2840805.
  2. ^ GrĂ¼n F, Blumberg B (2006). "Environmental Obesogens: Organotins and Endocrine Disruption via Nuclear Receptor Signaling" (reprint). Endocrinology 147 (6): s50–s55. doi:10.1210/en.2005-1129. PMID 16690801. http://endo.endojournals.org/cgi/reprint/147/6/s50.pdf. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Destination New York!!!!

A few weeks ago, I was invited to a conference on bariatric surgeon for bloggers.  This week I will be attending with multiple other bariatric patients turned bloggers.

The event is being sponsored by Obesity Action Coalition and Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc. to discuss blogging and online discussions about obesity and bariatric surgery.

We will be meeting on Thursday evening for a reception and then all day Friday for the event.

The topics to be covered will be:

  • Insights into the state of obesity in the United States and the importance of patient advocacy; led by the Obesity Action Coalition - The leading US patient advocacy organization
  • Hear from a prominent US surgeon on the lastest trends in bariatric surgery
  • Join your peers to discuss current trends in blogging and online media coverage of obesity and surgery; hear from industry experts
Experts in attendance:
  • Joe Nadglowski - President and C.E.O. of Obesity Action Coalition
  • Robin P. Blackstone, M.D., F.A.C.S. - Incoming President of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS)





Please note that all travel and accommodations are in accordance with the FTC  and WOMMA.

The event itself is by invitation only but a few of us are getting together Friday, April 15th. If you are in the area and would like to join us. Or are looking for an excuse to come to NYC? Please come hang out! Rumor has it that there are approximately 16 "bad girls" coming to hang out for the evening.

When: Friday, April 15 at 6:00pm till ?
Location start: Lobby of the Mondrian SOHO Hotel
9 Crosby St, New York, NY 10013

And some of us are planning to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge Saturday morning, just because we can.  The more the merrier!  Please join us!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Reduced Sugar Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Warning!!! This is not a low calorie snack.

Ingredients for the cookies include:
2 cups all purpose flour (I used wheat pastry flour and they came out fantastic)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (I grated 1/2 of a nutmeg)
1/ teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of butter (you could use applesauce to lighten the recipe)
1 1/4 cups of Whey Low Granular (sugar substitute)
2 large eggs, let them sit at room temperature before adding
1 cup of pumpkin, not pie filling
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Filling:
4 ounces of 1/3 reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons of butter, softened
1/2 vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of Whey Low Powdered Sugar

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your baking sheets with parchment paper for the best results.

2) Combine all dry ingredients on a piece of parchment for ease in adding later.  Cream all wet ingredients together, adding eggs one at a time.  Slowly add dry ingredients until well combined.  Drop by heaping teaspoons on to lined baking sheets.

3) Bake for 11 to 13 minutes.  Cool on baking sheets and them remove to a wire rack until completely cool.

4) Cream the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a small bowl on medium with a mixer until fluffy.  Gradually add powdered sugar until light and fluffy.

5) When cookies are completely cooled, spread a heaping teaspoon of icing onto the flat side of one cookie and close with the flat side of a second cookie to make a sandwich. Repeat with remaining cookies.  Since these have cream cheese in them, store in an air tight container in the refridgerator.

To all you weight loss patients, I was able to have one without dumping.  Keep in mind that they maybe low in sugar, but they are still rocking in carbs......LOL

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Facing Facts After WLS - Matters of the Heart!

The facts are that 80 - 85% of all gastric bypass or weight loss surgery patients divorce within 2 years of their procedure.  That is a sobering statistic. 


Why is the divorce rate so high?  Does the rise in our self esteem threaten our partners?

A common belief among professionals is that obese patients tend to "settle" for relationships in which a "normal" individual would not.  I am not sure I believe in a fairy tale version of "normal".  I truly believe that everyone exists with a certain amount of dysfunction in their lives.  I believe it is those differences that make us special and unique.  I don't wish to be like my neighbor.  Now, do I believe I tolerated more when I was heavy to avoid being alone?  More than likely. 

As a weight loss patient who has lost half of her body weight, I can tell you that my self esteem has grown expeditiously.  I also know that my husband is 145 soaking wet and has a hollow leg!  He has never, nor will he ever understand what it is like to struggle with his weight. And as I have struggled to recover, there is very little sympathy.

Some couples may experience issues with jealousy and trust.  Suddenly, their spouse has gone from a size 24 to size 4 and the other sex is paying attention to them.  Your spouse may not know how to deal with their emotions and insecurities.  Also, as the individual that is going through the transformation yourself, you may quite enjoy the attention.   Promiscuity may even become an issue within the marriage.

I also believe that some weight loss patients believe that the sex has died in their marriage due to the obesity and when they lose the weight, it will return.  However, it maybe that your spouse just doesn't want sex and this symptom may have nothing to have to do with your weight and everything to do with your spouse.

Professional are quick to make the psychological testing part of the pre-surgical criteria; however, a huge part of the puzzle is realizing what we have been using food for.  Those realizations do not come until after the surgery and you're standing in front of the pantry door for no apparent reason other than an emotional one.
Weight loss surgery is not a magic bullet.  It will not save your marriage.  Please seek professional help as issues arise whether they be personal or with your relationship with your significant other. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Celebrations!!!

I wanted to celebrate my first surgiversary with with you.  I am 132 lbs. down and have met my goal weight, but more importantly is the major changes that have happened in my life.

I have finally put 2 + 2 together and realized that I have an eating disorder.  emm hmm :)


I have finally seeing myself as a beautiful, worthwhile, human being who is entitled to her feelings and emotions.

I am on a spiritual journey to heal myself.

It is ok to be me.

I had my first bout with Multiple Sclerosis when I was 23, I am now 41, I have lived with the disease for 18 years.  I have had times in my life where I was bedridden.  I have had times when no one could tell that there was anything wrong with me, but through it all I have learned not to take the little things for granted.  There are good days and there are bad days, but most of all more good than bad.  I celebrate that!  Walking upright, I celebrate that!  Getting the weight off to make my body hurt less, I celebrate that! My sick sense of humor....I celebrate that!

I challenge you today to celebrate what is unique in yourself and proclaim it to the world. Put it on your Facebook page or write it in your journal, but whatever you do, PROCLAIM IT!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bariatric Mean Girls

Remember what it felt like when people made fun of your fatness?  Remember how much it hurt when their comments and gestures penetrated your outer shell and pierced your soul? Do you remember the pain?  The tears?  Do you remember the "mean" girls in high school who wouldn't let you into their clique? I promised myself, I would never be one of "them". 

When I became a member of the WLS Club, I felt special.  When I first entered the membership, the online comradery was fierce.  If I had a question, I simply put it out there and got a mass of responses.  Further into my recovery, I started to face the emotional aspects of WLS, such as, body dysmorphia and self esteem issues.  Some online bloggers will discuss these subjects out in the open, they are honest that weight loss is not all peaches and cream.  WLS is not a cake walk.  WLS is not the easy way out!

I do believe that I was one of the lucky few, who had started my transformation (yes, it is a transformation) before the surgery.  I had been in therapy for years.  At the time of the surgery, I wasn't currently seeing a therapist.  I would recommend that if you are going to have this surgery, that you seek professional help. 

When the fat melted away, so did my armor.  The armor between myself and issues that I did not want to face up to.  An eating disorder that I needed to face and why I suffered from the eating disorder in the first place and a low self esteem. Most people whom have this surgery, have more to deal with than just weight loss and how to eat correctly after the surgery.  This is a life changing experience.

What I have noticed in our community lately is that there is a lot of finger pointing at each other.  As if we didn't have enough mistreatment from the outside, now we are mistreating each other.  I hear people stating that they wouldn't take advice from anyone that is only one year out and they have nothing to listen to.  I am the first one to say that the old timers in this game understand this fight longer than I do. However, I believe that everyone has something worthwhile to share about their journey.

I know that it pains me to watch people in this community to attack each other.  Perhaps I live in an ideal world, but when we came from such a self destructive place, have we just turned that self destructive personality trait on others.  Have we become one of them?  Are we now one of the mean girls?



Well this girl chooses not to be part of the clique!  I am confident and secure.  I do not need to lash out at others to prove my worth.  And I challenge you to do the same.  I had made a conscience decision to become "healthy".  That means all aspects of healthy, physically and psychologically.

I choose to work on my own issues and not lash out at others.  I choose to continue to speak about transfer addiction, body dysmorphia, eating disorders and the emotional side of WLS.  I will broaden my mind, spirit, eat right and share my recipes with the community.  Please join me in this challenge.