The Surgery Attack Plan: Part 1, Volume 1

by on Monday, April 13, 2009 21:05
This entry is filed under: Jpouch Surgery

May 11th. That’s my surgery date. Now I know what you are thinking: “But Brevin, you accredited rocket scientist slash professional gunslinger, isn’t the Lost Season 5 Finale on May 13th?” Why yes, yes it is, but my priorities are shifting around. May 11th also gives me enough time to plan everything I need to address, like flying my mom out, taking care of the teams at work, and breaking up my 27 year old love affair with Kentucky Fried Chicken (it’s not you, it’s me. Although, you really let yourself go when you dropped the TransFats. Just saying.).
I had my surgery consultation this past week at UCSF and I was fully prepared going in. I had medical records, a collection of color-coded questions broken down per category, you name it. But the thing that helped me out the most going in was doing research and getting support from this community. The surgeon super squad pretty much told me everything that I thought I was going to hear and yeah, while it’s still overwhelming and scary as hell, the preparation lessened the shock value. I received a lot of pamphlets on what to expect, what the surgery entails, how to care for it, etc. I haven’t read all of it yet, but I’ll bet money it’s better than Twilight fan-fiction.
I’ll try to summarize as best I can on what they plan on doing with me. I’m still digesting the details, but this is what I gathered so far regarding the first surgery:

I’m Getting a Loop Ileostomy:

Poop comes out here!

Poop comes out here!

I’m not quite sure why some people get an End Ileostomy and others get a Loop Ileostomy, but I’m getting the Loop one. I bet they explain in my information booklets, and Eric mentioned that it’s usually based on the patient’s health and urgency. I doodled the two types for review (and conveniently did not include poop in the drawings, free of charge).

Where The Scars Will Be.
It seems that I’ll get a few lapro incisions with a 4 centimeter horizontal slice right above the pubic bone, similar to what Mark had. I’m amazed how medical technology can remove five feet of organ with these tiny scars. The more I think about it, the more I get creeped out by the mental image. The more I get creeped out, the more I appreciate the fact they can actually pull it off. My biggest concern was the already-present scar on the right side of my stomach (had it since I was a baby), but the surgeon said it shouldn’t factor into the surgery since I’m male (I guess this might have been a slight obstacle if I were female). I don’t know where the ileo-baggy will be placed yet, but at least I mentally blocked in the surgery scars:

I'm glad I remembered to wear pants.

The J-Pouch in Surgery One.
I’m set up for a two part surgery. The first will remove my large intestine and create the j-pouch, with the loop ileostomy configured for my ileo-baggy. I then heal up for three months and go for the second surgery, which should be the Take-Down.

What’s Next.
Pre-op is May 5th. That’s when they will check my tummy to see where the ileo-baggy will fit best. I’ll also be going for a CT scan of my small intestine to confirm that it’s not Crohn’s. Until then, I’m still shooting for my 2,500 to 3,000 calorie diet and trying to increase my protein intake. I’m allergic to peanuts so I can’t eat most of the protein bars, but I did find a giant box of chocolate chip Cliff bars at Costco. I also found an industrial size tub of mayonnaise, got some jerky samples, and regretted both 10 minutes later.

These posts might also help out:

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72 Responses to “The Surgery Attack Plan: Part 1, Volume 1”

  1. avatar

    Lizz says:

    April 13th, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    I had a three-step surgery. Step one: Remove diseased colon, and fashion girl with end ileostomy. Give girl 8 months to get better, get off Prednisone, and come in for step 2: Fashion girl with Jpouch and loop ileostomy. Two months later, Jpouch “reversal” or “take-down”. Get rid of loop ileo, get girl’s J-pouch working. Bye, bye shit bag! So, that’s why some get the end ileo. Congrats and nice bod! Dayam!

    [Reply]

  2. avatar

    Elise says:

    April 14th, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Brevin, I am crying my eyes out right now, thank you so much for writing your post yesterday. I am terrified and going to University of Virginia Hospital on Thursday to talk about my surgery options. I have Indeterminate Colitis, I want the same surgery as you I guess, but there is that small Crohn’s question. I am so scared to have a stupid bag and how to adjust to that and what the world will the new guy I am seeing think of all this? Are you on prednisone still? I so want off the prednisone, I am tired of having a circle face etc…. Are you afraid of infection or pouch failure? I cannot imagine going through all of this just to have more and more problems – when you have IBD, it seems like all is always wrong, I simply can’t imagine that it might actually all go well. I would be thrilled though!! Please keep in touch, I admire your approach, your strength and all the information that you have found. I will be thinking of you on your surgery day, please let us know the truth of recovery!!

    Elise

    [Reply]

  3. avatar

    Megan says:

    April 14th, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Hey Elise, I’m sorry you are so scared and understandably, we dealt with the indeterminable Crohn’s/Colitis issue too. Did someone run the Prometheus test on you? There is lots of question regarding that test. I can point in the direction of info and others who have been at the point your at now (Including Mark at one time). In fact, if you look at the post I just wrote about Wonderful Healthy weekend, I mention in the 1st paragraph “You know, to cope with living sick for so many years, I learned to just be present because if I tried to look at the big picture it was too overwhelming at times, especially in those sick stages where it seemed hopeless to get him healthy (i.e. repeated failure of medicines prior to surgery decision, temporary and incorrect diagnosis of Crohn’s/colitis blood markers when prepping for surgery, health insurance complications, etc…). ”

    Just keep fighting and getting good information and ask TONS of questions!
    Megan

    [Reply]

  4. avatar

    Marianne says:

    April 14th, 2009 at 10:28 am

    Brevin, You are too funny…it makes it so much easier to go through challenges with such a great sense of humour! And wow great abs you have, it still astonishes me to see how good we can look on the outside versus the terrible turmoil in the inside. You sound as ready as you can be and very well informed so you’ve done all you can, soon it will be in the hands of the trusted surgeon. Like Liz, I had the 3 step so I also had first the end ileo and now loop ileo. My loop ileo is very tricky to manage, I am so looking forward to the takedown (2 more months to go). Wish you all the best on May 11th, eat eat eat before then, you may lose some weight after surgery so go in as strong as possible. Keep us posted.

    [Reply]

  5. avatar

    trish says:

    April 14th, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Wow Brevin! Thanks for your post. This community has been amazing. I’ve been following for a couple of months. I’ll be having my colon removed (with the loop ileo) on March 13 and I although I am confident that this surgery is overdue and necessary (I’ve had ulcerative colitis for 14 years (I am 34) and have been on Remicaid, 6-mp, mercaptopurine, steroids…nothing works for long and the side-effects are horrible), I am getting nervous now that the date has actually been set. I am a full-time student and will finish finals on May 12. I also have 4 kids and they’ll be in school for another month after my surgery so the sooner I get in, the better….Thanks for your humor, Brevin….I figure laughter always helps. Wish me luck….(I’m having j-pouch construction w/ this surgery too…am sooo grateful cuz 2 months ago they thought my steroid use would make it a 3 step procedure)…..The best to you, Brevin!

    [Reply]

  6. avatar

    trish says:

    April 14th, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Oops….my surgery is May 13th…..I can blame the typo on my meds, or the kids, or….Ha! Anyway…It seems too soon but its been a long time coming! It will be nice when my world doesn’t revolve around my health.

    [Reply]

  7. avatar

    Elise says:

    April 14th, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    Megan, Thank you so much for writing, I read through Mark’s story today and am so grateful that you have shared all that you both have. Still scared and really really wish I could just jump a year ahead in time and not have to go through all that stuff! Overwhelming! Mark is so lucky to have you. I am single and live alone, so I am now worried about all of that too, it sounds like Mark really has needed you. My parents live close by, but I know I will be on my own most of the time. I actually took notes from your blog! I am so glad that he is doing better. I have had the promethius test done – last year and it did lean toward UC. The prob is that I had a fistula in 1998. I guess that is supposedly only a Crohn’s thing, but it has never happened again and doctors all say it looks and acts like UC not Crohn’s. I was also told that the Promethius test is only 80% accurate, which still leaves the question. I wish it were definitive. I am so grateful for this site, I just discovered it today – I don’t feel quite sooooooooo alone. Was Mark on Prednisone at surgery time??? I am on 40mg and can’t get off of it. I was taking Humira also until a few weeks ago – I kept ending up in the hospital with infections from that. What else to do but get rid of the darn colon! By the way I love you all and hope there is a day that scientists figure this out and stop the madness.

    Elise

    [Reply]

  8. avatar

    Brevin says:

    April 14th, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    Hi Everyone. Thanks for the comments and for not mentioning the KFC breakup (It didn’t go so well today: even though I tell myself to be strong, I ended up with the three piece meal).
    Lizz, I can only guess you were sentimentally attached to the baggy after all that time :)
    Elise, please tell me you are crying because of the over-exaggerated body hair on the abdominal wall in my ileostomy drawing. In my defense, it was fun to draw so it was hard to stop. As for the new guy, he will be supportive and you’ll end up falling in love and living happily ever after. If not, he wasn’t nearly cool enough to comprehend the awesomeness of a J-Pouch (the “J” stands for “Jealous, much?”… can we trademark this?). I am on Prednisone, but not for my colitis. I’m on a small dosage of Prednisone for my mouth (side effects of immune suppressants). I can’t be on Prednisone long because years of dosage gave me a Prednisone-specific cataract in the right eye. As for fear of the surgery and infection: of course! But I’ll be miles ahead of where I currently am, and at that point it’s treatable and not chronic :)
    Megan, what’s a Prometheus Test? It sounds very Matrix-y!
    Marianne, I’m eating as much as I can. I might resort to food eating challenges (like Man VS Food on the Travel Channel) to pick up the slack. Sunday night was 4 pork chops, an entire serving of Potato Au Grautin, a carrot, two candy bars, and a lot of shame.
    Trish, best of luck! I totally blame the typo on my pork chops. It seems we shared the same prescriptions, and the same results: nothing worked. And yes, the world shouldn’t resolve around our health. That’s a concept I’ll be glad to learn :)

    [Reply]

  9. avatar

    Elise says:

    April 14th, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    Hey Brevin, The Prometheus test (Prometheus is the company that performs the test), is a blood work test that looks at certain markers that are supposed to be able to determine which disease you have. It is called the Prometheus IBD Serology 7. http://www.prometheuspatients.com

    By the way I loved your drawings, very professional and I really love that you are so inspirational, I am an emotional wreck!! Thank you for all your encouragement and even dating advice LOL, Jelous, Much how funny :) Why does everyone have to eat so much before this surgery?? I eat all the time cause of Prednisone, but I don’t get the other. Also, why do you have to give up KFC?? Is that forever? What’s the deal?? I don’t have a KFC thing, but I do love me some Chic-Fil-A. What the world?? I also love me some Starbucks, is that gone too?? Also, wondering if anyone has had the surgery done at UVA (University of Virginia Hosp)?? Thank you Brevin, I think you are fabulous :)

    Elise

    [Reply]

  10. avatar

    Elise says:

    April 14th, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    How can I get my picture on here instead of a little decorative square??

    [Reply]

  11. avatar

    Brevin says:

    April 14th, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    Elise, to clarify: Please don’t take dating advice from me. I’m the guy who is planning on proposing to the first nurse that doesn’t stab me with a needle.
    I was told to boost my calorie intake because chances are I’ll lose weight after the initial surgery and I need the nutrients. My blood work also showed I’m low in protein (which is crucial for recovery).
    I won’t give up KFC forever, but I know I should stay away from it before, during, and in between surgeries. At least, it sounds like common sense. I have to be very picky with my diet, since every little bit helps. Everything in moderation, but I have to at least attempt to give up KFC (and other questionable food choices) now.
    I’m now off to google prometheuspatients!

    [Reply]

  12. avatar

    Elise says:

    April 14th, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Ok, will you propose to my little sister?? She is an RN!! LOL. My doctor hasn’t mentioned my protein, I guess with all the prednisone, it is obvious I haven’t been deprived lately hahaha.

    [Reply]

  13. avatar

    trish says:

    April 14th, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    I’m still on prednisone but my weight has dropped a few lbs….I weigh 113, still up from my normal 100 lbs (I’m only 5’1″)…am a bit nervous about weight loss after the surgery…afraid I’ll get too skinny too fast….I’m trying to do tons of protein too since the surgeon insisted upon it (not easy cuz I became a vegetarian 1 1/2 years ago cuz it was easier on my gut…now I’m doing chicken again…and soy shakes….and Naked Fruit makes a protein shake with 30 mg protein…kinda chalky but not too bad….any other ideas?????)…and 45 minutes of cardio a day (hard when the prednisone and methotrexate make me shake like crazy)…What bothers me is that I’ve tried to talk with my surgeon about some of the possible complications that I’ve read about on this sight…He told me to only believe half of what I read…Ticked me off cuz you guys are experts at best…real, live examples….I don’t want to be scared to death but I don’t want to be unwisely told that “everything will be better” either, even tho that is the hopeful outcome. I need to have a realistic expectation of exactly what I might be facing. I also do not get to have the laproscopic procedure and am in a bit of envy….but sooo ready to do this that a scar is not enough to stop me. Still, I have a friend who insisted that her surgeon keep the scar below her belly button and he was happy to accomodate. My surgeon says that he makes the incision “as large as necessary” because he likes to feel with his hands and has more control. I understand that but at the same time I was thinking: excuse me, this is MY body and I have been on high doses of prednisone for so long, won’t a smaller incision heal nicer???? Anyhoo, I have lots of questions, thoughts…..a few worries….tons of determination. Reading about your munchies, Elise and Brevin, makes me laugh….I’ve been sneaking my kids Easter candy even though sugar doesn’t like me….ooooh do I love it! Its not exactly protein but I figure its a reward for choking down yet another chicken breast…..

    [Reply]

  14. avatar

    Jamie says:

    April 15th, 2009 at 9:14 am

    Just a heads up about the Promethesus Test – it is very expensive so make sure your insurance covers it. I think it ran something like $350+ and i had to pay out of pocket. Fun times. Also, as previously mentioned, the test is only about 80% correct.

    The only way to 100% determine your diagnosis is to biopsy multiple sections and layers of the colon when it is removed. This is another reason why some people have an end iliostomy vs. a loop. I had an end iliostomy A) because i was really sick and on TPN B) I had indeterminate Pan-Colitis so they wanted to rule out the Chron’s possibility before constructing the jpouch as often people with chron’s end up loosing the jpouch. My pathology all came back as colitis, as did the promethesius test that i did when i was first diagnosed, so then my surgeon said we could do the jpouch in the 2nd step.

    Trish – complications from this surgery can be very terrifying but remember that 90%+ of patients are happy with their outcome. Full recovery takes up to a year and there may be tough times initially but ultimately that is a pretty good statistic.

    [Reply]

  15. avatar

    Elise says:

    April 15th, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Jamie, Good stuff – I didn’t know about the reasoning for the end iliostomy, I totally will die if they cannot reverse me! Thankfully my Prometheus test was covered by my insurance, I am sorry yours wasn’t. Yuck! Your history sounds soooo much like mine. I have been on all of the same drugs, except more recently Humira – I became allergic to Remicade. The Humira was AWEFUL!! I kept getting high fevers and infections that put me in the hospital twice this year already! So, I am 37, been dealing with this for 13 years also and it is time! I go to University of Virginia tomorrow to set the plan. Where are you having your surgery? I am so glad to talk to you guys that are in the same place I am and then all of you that have already blazed the trail.

    [Reply]

  16. avatar

    Elise says:

    April 15th, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Jamie, I hope I didn’t confuse you, I blame it on the Prednisone!! Trish and I are the ones on the same meds right now and have very similar histories :)

    [Reply]

  17. avatar

    Brevin says:

    April 15th, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    I’m curious about this Prometheus test now. I just came back from another fun visit to the UCSF Oral Med department so they could take a look at my mouth. My tongue is a-ok now (aside from the fissures), but the interior of my lips and gums are overly sensitive. The doc said that this isn’t a common symptom of UC, but it is with Chrohn’s. She is curious about my CT Scan results when they check for Crohn’s on the 5th. So even though I’ve been diagnosed with UC for 7 years, I now have this lingering thought in the back of my mind that maybe it’s Crohn’s. I think all of the GIs would have caught this by now, but Crohn’s would explain my mouth discomfort. If it turns out it’s simply UC and I just have weird symptoms, I’ll attribute it to super mutant powers and will then audition for the next X-Men movie.

    [Reply]

  18. avatar

    Chaz & Lori Burton says:

    April 15th, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    I just had step 1 (of 2) surgery the end of March. I was diagnosed with Crohns 5 years ago, & then a few months ago they said it may be UC. I went into surgery not really knowing if they would discover it was Crohns or not. Either way, I was just ready for relief! It did end up being UC. I am healing well, although there are good days and bad. There have really been no “complications” to speak of. I have a loop ileostomy & it is really proving to be a pain because it is so flush to my skin. The ileostomy in itself isn’t bad…….I just have had issues with it leaking. I recently went to a “moldable” patch that seems to be working. Surgery is a big step, but it sounds like you are more than prepared. I hope all goes well & recovery is quick! Chaz http://mylifewithcrohns.wordpress.com

    [Reply]

  19. avatar

    Mark says:

    April 15th, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Back in July, I posted about “avoid the wrong diagnosis” and I talked about the Prometheus Test, plus I included some links to posts about the prometheus test on http://www.jpouch.org . http://www.jpouch.net/2008/07/26/avoid-wrong-diagnosis/

    This help you guys who are hearing possible Crohn’s before surgery, the webcast that is on that link above I put is really helpful too for dealing with confusing medical diagnosis about UC/CD.

    [Reply]

  20. avatar

    trish says:

    April 15th, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    Jamie, thank you for being honest that recovery may take a year or more. My surgeon acts like its a cut and dry procedure with 3 months recovery time…I know it could be otherwise. Elise, yes…we are on the same meds. I had a horrible reaction to Remicade and within 5 minutes of my second transfusion I was shaking uncontrollably and the bone pain was unbearable. I felt like a Mac truck had crushed the bones in my legs and my feet…Pain meds wouldn’t even help…only ice helped some…The pain lasted for a couple months…My doc doesn’t dare put me on Humira. I got pancreatitis from 6-mp and had to be taken off that. Rowasa was the drug that initially landed me in the hospital for 5 weeks last July/August. Before Rowasa I was on Asacol and only 13 cm of my lower colon/rectum was diseased….Not too bad for 13 yrs of living with the disease…but I believe that the aggravation from the Rowasa put me where I am today. In a matter of a few weeks I went from 13cm inflammed to my entire colon. Doc said it looked like hamburger. I still can’t believe they didn’t take my colon then. I was doing nothing but bleeding. I was on TPN cuz my esophagus and mouth were also inflammed. I had severe GERD. Dropped to 83 lbs. I actually thought, during the 4th week, after I was dealing with Heparin shots in my belly and heat pads, ice packs, morphine, that I might actually die in the hospital. The prednisone eventually got me home and I’m soooo glad to be out of the hospital but anyone on prednisone for long knows that this isn’t really living either. The moon face is aggravating but its nothing compared to the restless mind, the insomnia (why I am writing at 1 am), the bone pain, sensitive teeth, etc…..I have never been more ready for anything like I am for this surgery. I don’t even care that I’ll have an ileostomy for a while. Even a permanent bag must be better than not feeling like myself emotionally, mentally, physically….I hope you can find peace with your decision Elise. Remember, life IS mentally what we make it….even if it is scary. oooh, and Jamie: You are truly amazing! My heart goes out to you!

    [Reply]

  21. avatar

    jamie says:

    April 16th, 2009 at 6:46 am

    Although full recovery may take a year +, i am 7 weeks post op and i feel pretty good and my jpouch is doing its job beautifully! I will not lie that the first 5 weeks were not pleasant; i had jpouch construction and takedown in the same step which is a lot of intestinal rearranging and was in pain and discomfort as i tried to teach my body how to use the jpouch. But now, I have complete control, go to the washroom 7-10 times a day (depending on what i eat), walk 1-2 miles a day, and off all meds except a probiotic! Even though i am not perfect and probably never will be this is the best i have felt before colitis hit. Mark documented his recovery really well if you want to check out his jpouch pages.

    [Reply]

  22. avatar

    Lizz says:

    April 16th, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    Okay, seeing as I am the resident Crohn’s+Jpouch expert, I feel required to chime in here. The tests are never 100%. NO medical test is ever 100% accurate. I had test after test to be sure it wasn’t Crohn’s, both before the surgery and after the step 1 colectomy. The pathology of my colon was “textbook UC”. Then I had MORE CD tests after I started developing problems like “pouchitis” that wouldn’t clear with antibiotics and strictures. The tests were always negative for CD. It wasn’t until they saw that the inflammation/ulcerations were above the pouch, still untouched by antibiotics, that they realized it was CD all along. These diseases are very similar and very complex, and even the experts will admit that they do not know much about them. This is not meant to be scary, just to clarify the great similarity between them and the difficulty in distinguishing Crohn’s from UC sometimes. Whether you have UC or CD, and this is speaking from my experience only, getting the diseased colon out of you will make you feel SO much better. Surgery is generally avoided in CD b/c it can cause what probably happened to me, which is for the disease to “activate” in areas where it was previously dormant, ie: your small intestine, now Jpouch. Now, you cannot go into these surgeries totally paranoid about what *might* happen. I never thought I’d end up with CD. It wasn’t even a blip on my radar screen,but here I am, and you know, it’s 100% better than before I had the surgery. ALSO, just b/c you have a Jpouch and are later diagnosed with CD does NOT mean you will lose your pouch. I’m proof enough of that:) Maybe eventually I will, but I’m on my 4th year, and still goin’ strong. Also a note about Humira. I realize the same drugs don’t work for everyone, but Humira has been a wonder-drug for me, so I just don’t want to frighten people away from something that may help them in the future. It, along with other newer drugs, have had me in the remission I was never in before surgery, and this is why I will probably be able to keep my pouch. Brevin, yes mouth stuff is more common with CD. I pretty much always have a canker sore on my throat, and in retrospect, probably had a lot of other CD markers, but these diseases are SO similar, that you really can’t bet your future on your mouth issues. Many docs always attributed my canker sore to UC. So, given MY scenario, if I had Crohn’s all along, and had the Jpouch anyway, I’d say I’m doing pretty darn well. So just be of the mindset that IF something goes wrong, that you and your world will not fall apart; rather that you will make informed decisions about how to best deal with it. Living your life with “what ifs” is no way to live, and it is unfortunate that these diseases kind of program us to think that way. Surgery is always scary. It’s a huge life decision, but it’s one of the best I’ve ever made.

    [Reply]

  23. avatar

    Megan says:

    April 16th, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Lizz, great response. You should consider posting your above response as a post because so many people (I think almost everyone) goes through the UC vs. CDissue prior to surgery and your response helps make sense of it.

    [Reply]

  24. avatar

    Brevin says:

    April 16th, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    I agree with Megan. Too much info to simply hide within a comment on a post that mentions KFC this often.

    [Reply]

  25. avatar

    Elise says:

    April 16th, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Lizz, Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am actually comforted knowing I am not the only one with the UC/Crohn’s question. I was led to believe that this is sooooo rare. To find most of you on here with the same questions is amazing to me. I am sorry that you are having some issues and that it did turn out to be CD. I am glad though that you still feel that you are doing better than you were before, that gives me hope even if my disease turns out to be CD. My surgical consult is in a few weeks and my part one surgery should be end of May or beginning of June with reversal 6-8 weeks later they told me today. I have been so hung up on the pathology after the removal and oh God please don’t let it be CD. Unlike you, I have been told I have Crohn’s for most of my disease, but the last three years I have been told that it looks and acts more like UC. They still tried the Humira on me and I unfortunately have not had the results that you have. In the last three months I have been hospitalized twice because of MRSA infections and high fever along with the uncontrolled stomach, the Humira eliminated my immune system and did not improve my symptoms at all. So, I am 40 mg Prednisone dependent and miserable. Although I am terrified to have this surgery, I am so ready to stop the madness and get rid of my worthless colon!

    [Reply]

  26. avatar

    Elise says:

    April 16th, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    Brevin:) LOL KFC !!!!

    [Reply]

  27. avatar

    Megan says:

    April 16th, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    Hi Elise, To get your picture in the little square near your name you need to go into your wordpress account. See the top area that says “My Account”, then “Edit Profile” then find the area that says something like “Gravatar” or “Avatar”. You then can upload your personal photo and that will become your “avatar” (which means your personal picture).

    [Reply]

  28. avatar

    eric says:

    April 17th, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Elise, additionally, if you just sign up with us to be a blogger, I tend to add the images manually within the website, so either megan’s option of that one should work for you.

    [Reply]

  29. avatar

    J-pouch Life says:

    April 19th, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    […] I feel required to “chime in” in response to the many-questioned thread in response to Brevin’s very informative (always hilarious) recent post.  Many responders seemed concerned about the pre-surgery tests that would rule-out or possibly […]

  30. avatar

    Farrah says:

    April 27th, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    I must say you are too funny!! You do need a sense of humor for sure. I am going to be having step 1 on May 8th and I can relate about not eating something you really love. I am eating anything and everything because I feel like I might not have some of the foods for awhile. Good luck with everything. Keep us posted on your progress.

    [Reply]

  31. avatar

    Elise says:

    April 28th, 2009 at 5:35 am

    I have my first surgery date: drum roll please……………………………..

    June 23rd for my first surgery!! OH MY!

    [Reply]

  32. avatar

    Mark says:

    April 28th, 2009 at 8:16 am

    Elise, Congrats on making the date – that is a huge step, huge step. Now, be confident in your decision and know that you may have some ups and downs through the surgery process, but that the ultimate goal is time and patience to heal and get back to living a healthy happy life!
    If you ever want to document your story like Brevin is on this blog, let us know, we’d love to get to you know better through this process —

    [Reply]

  33. avatar

    Brevin says:

    April 28th, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Elise, that’s the day before the new Transformers movie comes out. Now you’ll have to wait and see if Optimus Prime will ever defeat the bad guys. Or we can all just visit the hospital room and re-enact it with home-made cardboard robot suits.

    [Reply]

  34. avatar

    cardboard box guy says:

    May 6th, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Thank you for the information. I found it very useful and look forward to seeing your posts in the future. Fantastic blog.

    [Reply]

  35. avatar

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