Monday, December 30, 2013

Post-op 5 months + 15 days

Hello there friends!  I has been a long time since I’ve checked in here…but that doesn’t mean anything other than I have been B-U-S-Y finishing my first semester of grad school.  And I made it out alive!  Better than alive really.  I thrived this semester in ways I hadn’t in a long time.

Onward!  My progress has been great so far as far as my doctor is concerned I’m doing really well.  This makes me very happy.   I think I'm doing pretty great too!
Drum Roll please… to date I have lost 117 pounds.

WHAT IS THAT??  That’s crazy really.

It’s great, but it’s crazy too.

5 months out from surgery and my brain is still trying to keep up.  I’m doing better, but it is still a struggle to see myself as I am.  Here’s the problem.  I don’t feel like I look any different, but I do ( I mean maybe I do a little bit seeing as though I chopped my hair off and bleached the shit out of it—love it!).  The thing is-- MY BRAIN is telling me “This is what you always looked like” when I look in the mirror.  Guess what…I DIDN’T.

We took the picture on the left in May 2013, the one on the right this month-Dec 2013.

Looking at old pictures I’m actually shocked at how fat and unhealthy I was.  I am doing so much better now, so much.  
+ My high-blood pressure is under control with the help of one medicine, not three.   
+My sleep-apnea has become more manageable (I even fell asleep the other day without my mask on…and did not gasp).  
+I am able to walk for as long as I need to.
+My husband and I have begun hiking again, and not just the really easy ones.  

At Mary's Rock Summit in the Shenandoah National Park

+We have been riding bikes in a few local-ish places, trails near the quarry in town, and in the battlefields.  In fact, we went on a ride Christmas day and decided that was a new tradition for our little family!  (my husband & I)
Me riding (and almost running my husband over as he took the picture) on Christmas day 2013

+++We are having more healthy fun than we have had in years…all because I am ABLE to participate again.+++

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Post-op 3 months +1day

I can hardly believe it has been 3 months. This is a good thing!

So far---
+I have lost 61 pounds since surgery.
+I have lost 87 pounds total since January.
+Today I bought jeans 4 sizes smaller than last time I bought any.
+My husband surprised me with a fancy new mountain bike to celebrate, and we have been going on big rides each weekend together, we have been hitting trails and doing between 6 and 16 miles.
+Everything is more comfortable, my knees, my back, my feet, sleeping, walking, riding, everything!
+I continue to measure and weigh everything which is really helpful, because the few times I haven't I've had...lets say bad experiences, about 3 times.

OH!  I have been so excited about all of this I completely forgot I set some goals and rewards for myself!   Too funny!  The only reward I need is seeing those pants get too big!
Okay, okay, I'll skip the massage but get sneakers and a new talked me into it, twisted my arm!

Here is a picture from about 10 days ago.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Post-Op day 49

It has been 49 days since my surgery.

How did 49 days go by so quickly?  Kinda nuts really.

I have lost 39 pounds since surgery and  65 pounds since my first visit to my surgeon.

Let's look at that again....39 pounds in 49 days!!!!!!!!!  What is that?  How does that happen?  Well, I guess we know how that happened, but man my head just can't keep up!

I can't SEE a difference in the mirror, but I can certainly feel it.  My husband and I were able to do some hiking 2 weeks ago that I would have never been able to do before this.  That was such an exhilarating experience!  I am beginning to feel like the real me again!

I can tell a difference when I look at pictures side by side, and I can feel a difference in the way my clothes fit...I am down 2 dress sizes.  THAT IS HUGE.

I hope that I will continue to lose and feel well, but even if I don't lose another pound, I feel 100% better than I have in years.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Post Surgery Days 4 thru Today

19 July
Post-op Day 4

I get to go home!

That's all there really is to it, after figuring out how to get into my abdominal binder, put a dress on, a little mascara and sunglasses-- I was out the door.

I walked around a bit with my husband but the meds made me suuuuper sleepy, so I slept a lot today.

20 July-today

Everything has been going pretty well, I have some good days, and some not so great days.  I have only had 2 bad days and most of that is due to the incision and dealing with that, not the actual surgery.

Let me just say--MY HUSBAND IS A TROOPER.  Like- really amazing... but I knew that already!  He has done everything for me, lifting, cleaning, nursing, supporting, and just being plain awesome.

Enough of these booooooring post-op surgery posts, time for some UPDATES!!

Energy: Feels pretty normal again, still no lifting anything heavier than a 1/2 gallon of milk, bending is really hard, and still pain around my healing wound, but no real pain at any ofthe incision sites, except for the instrument entrance site, that one is sore.

Weight Loss:  I am weighing in on Mondays because my surgery was a Monday.  As of two days ago, 5 August 2013 I have lost 26 pounds.  THAT'S APPROXIMATELY A POUND A DAY.  Whaaaaaaaat?  That is fantastic in my book, especially because all I can really do right now is walk for exercise.

Feeling:  Excited about my progress, feeling good about my future success (although I still sometimes think I'm gonna screw this up).

Monday, August 5, 2013

Post- Op Day 3

18 July
Post-op Day 3

Again, the pain this morning was awful, so bad that I really didn't sleep even with the drugs I was taking.  Most of the night I sat sitting on the edge of the bed hunched over the rolling table in the room with my amazing nurse Amelia and sister rubbing my back, trying to help make me comfortable.  

In the morning my surgeon came, checked my sites, and the area that was hurting so much.  He was concerned about it this morning.  Thinking there was an infection he immediately had the room prepped for a bedside procedure to check for infection and release fluid and pressure.  About an hour later the procedure began.

I was so nervous, tense, and anxious.  I was reassured it would not hurt.  My on-Q pump was numbing the surface of my abdomen, and a lidocaine shot was used for deeper tissue.  I put my eye mask on, and told the doctor and my mother to NOT tell me what was happening.  I felt nothing.  He had made about a 4 inch deep incision...yuck.  It bled a lot even though it was packed with gauze, but no pain.

About 20 minutes after the procedure my debilitating pain was gone.  I was up and around much easier, moving was comfortable, and I felt so much better.  The pressure below the bruis was a build up of blood and fluid, but there was no infection.  YAY!

This meant I had to stay in the hospital one more night.  Augh.  I wanted to go home, I missed my bed, I MISSED MY PUPPIES, I missed snuggling with my honey at home!

I started to have thoughts like--
what if this doesn't work...
what if I fail...
what if I can't do this...
what if everything was for nothing...

I had to get out of my own head, I walked and walked and walked.  I walked till I couldn't handle one more step. in fact I went so far that my lo-jack (whatever the thing that was attached to all the monitors on my chest set an alarm off on my nurse's phone...and people were looking for me.  Oooops.)

I walked until I felt better, calmer, and more centered.

This was strange day.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Post-Op Day 2

17 July
Post-op Day 2

I woke up in so much pain.  Like so much.  I couldn't get out of the bed on my own that morning.  Like 14 on a scale of 1-10.  I wasn't sure what it was, but it was certainly near the instrument insertion site, above and beside it on the front of my abdomen.  When my surgeon visited he looked at it and thought it looked pretty normal but would check it all again the next morning.

Again lots of walking.  But today was also filled with LOTS of visitors.  Some of my favorite people were there, with smiles, laughter, jokes, encouraging words, and even some flowers!  I have some really great friends that are really more like family; supportive, loving, concerned, and thoughtful.

Great day.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Post Surgery Day 1

16 July
Post-op Day 1

Waking up after a pretty restful night (thank you drugs) even though I took a few late night strolls was nice.  Having my mom there was even nicer.  Growing up I was a pretty crappy kid (and still am a jerky adult to my mom sometimes).  I can't remember being more grateful for my mom than I am right now, having her with me through this.  She has been totally supportive and really helped me like crazy at the hospital.

The day went pretty well, I was sore, but really pretty good.  I had the best. nurse. ever. during each day I was there.  Richard was my day nurse.  There is no better nurse out there.  He was kind, accommodating (even when I was difficult), on top of EVERYTHING, and never, not even once left me hanging.

My surgeon visited twice that day to check up on me.  The first time I was sleeping so he chatted with my mom.  The second time he dropped the bomb on me.  The reason I had felt like it was late getting to the PACU was was.  There had been a complication.  He had made a mistake.  A pretty significant one apparently- according to him.  He explained the problem, but also explained how he has caught it.  I was thankful he saw the mistake before there was a REAL problem.  He fixed everything carefully and thoroughly.

I was upset.  I cried.  I was angry.  I was confused.  This was one of the best surgeons out there, he studied under the best, learned from a pioneer in the bariatric surgery community of doctors, he has completed hundreds of surgeries and has an amazing track record of successful surgeries, he is a partner at the premiere bariatric office in hundreds of miles.

I was confident that everything was fine after the surgery, even after hearing this news, and thankfully I have had no complications due to this.

I walked, I rested, I dozed off taking to my parents and sister.  NOT because they were boring, but the drugs I was on really made me drowsy.

Pretty easy day.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Surgery Day

So...I start a new blog to journal my experience living my life.... and then I drop off the face of the earthfor two weeks.

What is that?

That is me taking time to heal, learn some of my new limits and generally focus on taking care of myself 100%.

Guess what?  I'm  ready to share what's been up!


15 July
Surgery day

I was lucky to be my surgeon's first surgery of the day, and I guess my doc likes to sleep in because I didn't have to be at the hospital til 9:50a (ha ha ha).  That was kinda nice, because I was able to spend the morning with my husband and pups. 

After I arrived at the hospital, they took me immediately to the pre-op area-- no waiting around at all.  This is when I started to get nervous, like in tears nervous.  My mom had come back with me, and the only thing I really remember about those first few minutes is asking mom if she REALLY, REALLY thought I was doing the best thing for me.  I knew I wanted to do the surgery, but some how still wanted my mommy to tell me yes!  And she did.  The critical care nurse inside her was supportive and SURE this was the best move.

After a barrage of nurses, anesthesia, and Doctor's questions, as well as prodding, poking, needles and an I.V. filled with relaxing drugs, it was time to go in.  11:50 on the dot.  I kissed my husband, hugged my mom and dad, and squeezed my sister's hand.  They wheeled me away, I was asleep before we even entered the operating room.

I woke up in the PACU around 5:30, I thought, man it's late, I really slept, but had no real concept of time in the whole scheme of things.  I stayed there for about 2 hours, and got to my room at 8p.  My husband stayed late into the night, but before I had the surgery I told him I wanted him to go to work as usual, and then just take a half day the day I was released.  My mom and sister took turns staying at the hospital with me at night.

(The dogs needed to be loved on by him, although my sister took great care of them during the day, they needed to snuggle with daddy at night.  Plus he works about 5 miles from the hospital so he was able to come for about 2 hours at lunch every day, and right back after work.  Love that man.)

So I met my nurse, and slept till 11p.  That's when I took my first walk.  One circle around the floor, Amelia (my nurse) said that was great.  I felt okay, sore, but okay.  I slept till 230a and my mom and I took another stroll.  Not as far this time but at least I got going. I slept some more.  I was given pain meds. every two hours via I.V. so my pain was well controlled and I was able to relax a bit.

Okay, more tomorrow.

Friday, July 12, 2013

WLS Pre-op

Monday is the big day!

I was sick to my stomach this morning thinking about it, but after meeting with my surgeon one more time I'm feeling better.

He has done hundreds of these things.  Everything will be great.
I am getting prepared, packing an overnight bag with stuff I think I'll need, as well as a few things I wouldn't have thought of if it weren't for other folks in the WLS community.
  • PJ's
  • Slippers or flip-flops
  • Toiletries
  • Gas-X chewables (for the gas post-procedure everyone talks about from being pumped full of gas before the procedure)
  • Lip-balm
  • Laptop
  • A Chance in the World (The author just spoke at my graduation...AMAZE-BALLS.)
  • iPhone
  • Headphones
  • Baby wipes (cause I don't think I can shower exactly)
I can't think of anything else really...
OH!  MY pillow and CPAP machine.
Now I just need to finish "nesting" at home so everything is super easy when I get back.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

My Journey to Date | Part 4

So, here I sit.  Four days until surgery.  Monday, July 15, 2013.

A huge range of emotions are washing over me right about now.

  • Happy that my health will be improving.
  • Sad that I am in this situation to begin with.
  • Excited to do the things I used to do and love so much!
  • Nervous about recovery and learning my new "parts".
  • Anxious to get this thing going.
  • Worried that this a HUGE change to be going thru right before I start Grad School.
  • Hopeful this will be the tool that will lead to lifetime success.
  • Frightened I will be a statistic, the girl who couldn't loose with WLS.
  • Optimistic about the future, and that I am prepared for the journey ahead. 


You can Read the rest here:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My Journey to Date | Part 3

Okay, lets take a look at the minutia of this journey... you know, the facts.

I started thinking about WLS in late 2011, my weight had been getting out of hand, but I didn't feel like I was in a place to get WLS.  I would try ONE. MORE. TIME. to lose and keep off the weight.

I lost about 40 pounds....and gained about 60.  That was it.  I couldn't keep doing this.

My husband came home one day and said:   Did you listen to Howard Stern today?
Me:  No, why? (an aside...I love Howard, but that's for another day)
Him:  Oh, well Lisa Lampanelli ( love her or hate her, I LOVE her too) was on, and she had some sort of WLS, I think she said she lost like 80 pounds, it's crazy.
Me:  Whaaaaaa?  I need to see the pictures!

After Googling L.L.  I found some images and an article about her, and the procedure she had.  Lisa had the Vertical Sleeve surgery.  She looked amazing.  I mean, she was always adorable, but now she was beaming, happy, and even more vibrant than ever.

I listened to the segment, and after hearing her talk about the surgery, recovery, ups and downs, I decided to investigate this avenue. (Thank You Lisa.)

I contacted 3 doctors in the area, and after meeting with each I decided to jump in, Working with Dr.'s Halmi and Naim at Bluepoint Surgical group (Stafford, Woodbridge and Fairfax VA).  The entire process has been seamless.


My insurance requires
6 months supervised diet, exercise, and nutritional classes
A full blood work-up
& a Psych eval.

I thought in the beginning "Holy-Mary 6 months?! That's F.O.R.E.V.E.R.!"
Well that was a little more than 6 months ago, and here I am... Jan 2013-June2013, and I have a date.  July 15th.

It's on Y'all.
I just said y'all.  <--- there I go again.

You can Read the rest here:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4 

Monday, July 8, 2013

My Journey to Date | Part 2

Here is the thing.  I love life.  I love my life.  I love living.

I just want to be able to do it to a fuller extent.  The past couple of years I have been missing out on things I would LOVE to be doing, but have cloistered myself more than I would like.  The other big thing is I am not as able to do things with the confidence I previously had, I am worried I will hurt myself jogging around, break an ankle hiking instead of just twisting it, fall out of the canoe or kayak and not be able to get back many things.

Like I said to a friend recently when I was telling him I was going to have the surgery "While I realize my value as a person doesn't depend on my weight, my health does."  My health is the main reason for this.  But you know what?  As much as I'd like to say I'm as self-assured as ever, it's just not true.  I don't worry too much what people think of me, but I'd be lying if I said that I never think about it.  I do.  I think about it.  And really, I don't believe anyone out there really doesn't care in some way how others perceive them.

While it's not the end all be all of how I act or do things, it permeates my mind at times.  I still laugh out loud, dance, and act the fool (I don't think anything will ever stop that)!  But do you know what the worst time it gets me?  When I walk in a room.  I'm serious.  When I walk in a room with people I don't know, or some place as mundane as a grocery store...and don't even get me started on a restaurant (because obviously fat girls aren't supposed to eat. at. all.)

Oh, I put on the brave face, suck it up and take the looks in stride, I know the people who look at me in disgust are really just sad themselves...that is their problem, not mine.  What I CAN do is "control my 4 walls"  and by that I mean, I can't control anyone else's actions, but I CAN control my reaction.

You can Read the rest here:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4 

My Journey to Date | Part 1

Now, I'm not gonna go into all the reasons I am fat.  They are probably a combination of  things every.single. fat person has been thru, struggles with, and won't admit (me included).  What I am going to tell you is how I came to this MAJOR life changing decision.  (And it's not just 'cause I am fat)

It is all mainly hinged on my health.  I have been lucky enough to be fat but basically healthy--no cholesterol problems, great HDL numbers, no blood sugar problems, no diabetes, or other major health concerns (aside from mental health of course, ha ha that area is debatable, ask anyone!).

But last year, everything changed.  I started getting headaches...enter--->High blood pressure.  I was also having trouble staying awake during the day, sweating at night, headaches woke me every morning, I would wake up 5,6,7 times a night to pee...enter--->Sleep apnea.

Over the last year my weight climbed and climbed.  I had not been doing, eating or exercising any differently than in the past, but I reached my highest weight, and by weight I don't mean weight, I mean dress size, I don't weigh myself, and I refused the scale at the Doctors office until I really made the decision to change something.

Even now I don't look at the scale or my chart, I just ask how many pounds, if any have I lost?  (24 since January 4, 2013) That's just shy of a pound a week (go me).

You can Read the rest here:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4 

Friday, July 5, 2013

What Am I Gonna Do About It?

What am I gonna do about it?  Well, first-- what haven't I done about it, what haven't I tried to do about it, what haven't I thought about doing?

Really there isn't anything I haven't tried.  Except what I am about to embark on in 10 days.

I've tried every "diet" under the sun, I've tried every exercise routine, fasting, eating only nuts and berries, the grapefruit diet, the master cleanse, low-fat, high-fat, low-carb, high-carb, NO-carb, weight watchers, oh my word I could go on and on!

I have been unable to lose and maintain the loss.  I have lost HUNDREDS of pounds over, and over, and over again.  I have yet to LEARN how to maintain the loss.

The only thing I haven't done is bariatric surgery. 

That's not for me.
I could never do that.
I'm sure I can figure out some other way.
That can't be healthy.
That's disturbing.
That is too drastic.
I can do this on my own.
That would be the easy way out.

That's what I have told myself in the past.

Now, I have a different view, a different mind-set.

That just might be the tool I need.
I could do that.
I have tried every other way.
That might be the only way I CAN be healthy.
Is it disturbing to get a cast if your leg won't heal itself?
That is drastic, but not unheard of.
I need help.
Nothing about this is easy.

This is what I am gonna do about it.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

I am Fat

That basically sums up where I am.

I eat, sleep, and breathe fat.

There is no way I can get around it.
There is no way to hide it.
There is no way I can deny it.

IT is me.  I am IT.

All of that is changing. 
This is where I am going to tell you all about that journey.