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Project 250: The Adventure Begins With An Unpleasant Surprise

Jul 27, 2015 12:58PM ● By Bill Gilman
(Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of columns by Editor Bill Gilman, chronicling his journey to better health, involving gastric bypass surgery and significant weight loss.)

When you are as big as I am, you don't step on the scale very often.
The truth is, for lots of people, the scale is the enemy. You step on it, a number pops up, you groan, probably roll your eyes and throw your head back in frustration.
Needless to say, prior to embarking on this little adventure, it had been quite a while since I'd stepped onto a scale. So when I told you, in my last column, that I weighed 400 pounds, I was estimating.
Turns out I was wrong.
The first thing the staff of the Center for Weight Management and Bariatrics at Lowell General Hospital had me do during my initial intake session was step on a scale.
I weighed 426 pounds.
So, if you were wondering what the moment was that the last sliver of doubt was removed as to whether gastric bypass surgery was a good idea for me -- that would be it.
The intake process was fairly painless. Mostly, the session consisted of answering a ton of questions about my health, lifestyle and habits, as well as an overview of the next several months leading up to the surgery.
I'm pretty sure getting a job with the government is less complicated than qualifying for bariatric surgery.
The two big takeaways from that initial session were a goal and a plan.
My immediate goal is to lose 21 pounds. That represents five percent of my total weight, the minimum required to go ahead with the surgery. Simply put, they want to make sure I'm serious about the project and am willing to make the lifestyle changes that will be needed following the surgery.
The first part of the "plan" involved an initial consultation with a nutritionist, who provided me with a very specific eating plan, which is heavy on protein and light on carbs. She also provided me with some much-needed affirmation that my ultimate goal of getting down to 250 pounds was realistic and very attainable.
The rest of the plan involved scheduling a series of appointments for blood work and other medical tests, visits with a psychologist, the nutritionist, a cardiologist and the surgeon who will ultimately perform the surgery. They will all need to sign off on the procedure before it is scheduled.
The first round of testing took place at LGH Saints Campus a couple of weeks ago. To be more precise, MOST of the tests took place there. I had blood work done there, as well as an X-ray. But the MRI of my upper gastrointestinal tract?
Yeah, funny story.
Turns out there is a weight limit on the machine and attached table that they use to do the "upper GI" test at Saints Campus.
A weight limit. And apparently 426 pounds was a bit over.
I was at Universal Orlando all over again.
So with their apologies, they sent me to the main campus of Lowell General Hospital to have the needed work done there. The staff there was also apologetic and gave me a $5 Dunkin Donuts card and a $10 gas card as a 'thank you' for being so patient.
The first leg of my journey was completed last Friday, when I went back to the Weight Management Center for the first of my weekly weigh-ins.
420 pounds!
Down six pounds in a little over two weeks!
We're on our way!

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