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Sunday, March 9, 2014

           No, I haven't disappeared, lol!

Hello, everyone!  Some of you have asked me if I quit my blog.  No, of course not, this blog means a lot to me and I wouldn't just quit with no notice.  It has just been a very crazy time of ups and downs which made me not even want to talk about anything much for a while.

So very much has happened and I will try to fill you in chronologically.  On 1/27 my youngest was broadsided driving my husband's car.  We have been really blessed in many ways by this accident.  Corey was okay, a little sore for about a week but seems to have no lasting injuries.  The teenager who hit him was well insured.  We had a nice rental car for about 3 weeks while it all got sorted out.  They totaled our car and the check from the insurance company paid for a "new" car for Steve.  He had a 2004 Toyota Solara and it was starting to have some issues.  He now has a 2004 Toyota Avalon, slightly larger and in beautiful condition.  We ended up about $300 out of pocket but now have a nicer, larger car. 

Remember the female issues, biopsy, etc.?  Well, as a result of that I had a complete hysterectomy on 2/26.  That was only a week and a half ago and already seems like an eon.  I had what is called the DaVinci procedure.  No, Leonardo did not do my surgery but my surgeon, Dr. Mary Jo Schmitz performed it using a robot!  Let me introduce you to my friend, Leonardo, lol!

The surgery went really well and I spent less than 24 hours in the hospital afterward.  Amazing where modern medicine has gone.  My mother had a complete hysterectomy in 1969 and spent about a week or so in the hospital.  I was glad to be able to do my recuperating at home.  I feel pretty much back to normal except maybe on the energy front but that will come.
On the weight loss front things have gone pretty well.  The nurses told me not to weigh myself for at least a week after surgery, that I could be up as much as 10 pounds.  Of course, I did not listen and was on the scale Friday morning the day after coming home.  Yep, I was up 8 pounds and kept thinking, "How could that even be possible?  They removed several of my "parts", I didn't eat anything for 2 days and almost nothing for 2 more."  Let this be a lesson to all of us.  The human body reacts to any kind of trauma.  Weight gain is not fat gain.  Fluid retention can be many pounds and you don't have to have done anything that would seem to cause it.  By the end of the next week all of that 8 pounds was gone and I am moving forward to my goal.  I am currently 162 pounds, down a total of 83!  Woo hoo!  I am 17 pounds from the goal I have set for myself and I do know from past experience and from everything I read that this 17 pounds will take a lot longer than the rest has coming off.  That is okay.  I am a different person than I was a year ago.  It is about 10 months since I first sat in my surgeon's office and began this journey.  I tend to be really anal about doing things right.  A little OCD, I guess.  I have always been Miss Perfect when it comes to dieting.  That is why I was able to lose 60 or more pounds 3 other times in my life.  But I always reverted back to my unhealthy eating choices in the past.  This time has to be different.  I am under no illusions that it is going to be easy.  This surgery did not make tempting food go away from my world, my family has cookies, candy, chips, etc. all over the place and so far I haven't been tempted but that will change after I reach my goal, therefore, I have to figure out some new goals and new strategies to keep myself healthy. 
I have committee to reading wls blogs, to getting involved in some things to help keep me focused and supported online, to going to the support group meetings my surgeon's staff hold monthly.  One of the things I just started is called the Living After WLS Project 2014.  I have been receiving the email newsletter from this site for a while and when I got an email about this project I jumped in with both feet.  I am a firm believer that you need help and support to keep this weight off more than you did to lose it.  Here is the link to the website and if you subscribe to the newsletter then you will be able to see the info on the Project 2014.  I highly recommend it.
Keep yourself motivated and informed by reading lots of weight loss blogs.  You will soon settle on some that are your favorites and they will help you stay on track.  Take advantage of all the information that is out there about bariatric surgery and eating after bariatric surgery.  Lots of the things available would be helpful to someone who has lost weight through other means also. 
Here's to just keeping on the journey to being healthy one day at a time!!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

              Moving Right Along!                 

Time that is, it just keeps moving along and I just keep getting older as I move along with it.  I have really been struggling with exercise.  My issues with lots of pain in knees and hips did not go away with the weight loss as I had hoped.  I guess there are only so many things losing lots of weight can fix :(  You will all get a kick out of this; I have been perusing Youtube for exercise videos to try.  All last week I did The Leslie Sansone walk 1 mile video and even got my daughter to do it with me twice.  Then I looked up Richard Simmons and found this video that was made in 1986 called, "Richard Simmons and the Silver Foxes" so even though I haven't yet decided to let the silver in my hair win I decided to check it out.  He does a low-impact aerobic work-out with the mom or dad of some famous celebrities.  They include, Farrah Fawcett's mom, Dustin Hoffman's dad, Al Pacino's dad, Sylvester Stallone's mom and Richard Simmon's mom.  It was still a little hard for me to do but I persevered.  Most of them have passed on by now but they were my age or older when they made this video so I figured it was tailor made for me.  Even though it hurts I have to keep moving and do the best I can.

It's been a crazy week here at the White house.  On Monday our youngest son was on his way to pick his dad up from work when he was hit by a 16 y/o boy making an illegal left turn.  Blessedly, our son is okay but the only working car we had is totaled. Then we found out from our mechanic that my car, which he has had for 2 weeks, is just not worth fixing.  The interesting thing about this whole situation is that I have just not been stressing over it.  I keep remembering a bible verse, Romans 8:28 which says, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." I don't know what God has planned for my family through all of this but I am expecting a blessing somehow through it all.  I will keep you posted.

Tomorrow is my 47th anniversary and you may recall that my goal was to get out of the 170's by then.  This morning my weight was 168.4, woo hoo!  My scale is a Tanita Body Fat Monitor scale.  After you weigh you have to stay on the scale a few more seconds and then it shows your body fat percentage.  It has four ranges at the bottom of the display.  A - sign, a 0, a + sign and a ++ sign and below those in the same order it reads, Underfat, Healthy, Overfat and Obese.  It gives you a number that is your percentage.  When I first started this journey I was in the Obese range and the number was 50.  That number has gradually gone down and eventually moved into the 40's and the Overfat range.  In the last week it has moved to 34.5 and is in the Healthy range.  I still feel like I need to lose a good 20-25 pounds but at least I am in a much better range for fat percentage.  Still cannot believe I was 50% fat!!  My BMI was 39.5 and is now 27.1 which is still considered overweight.  So many different guidelines out there for how we should be.  For me, I just want to be healthy and I think I am getting there!

You may recall the story of my friend, Clay, who had surgery on 9/24/13 and is still in the hospital.  Well, today, after 4 months in the hospital, he was moved to rehab and seems to be really on the upswing.  He had a stage IV wound which means it went all the way to the bone and wouldn't heal.  I am so glad he is finally starting to improve.  I can't wait to hear the entire story behind what happened because what he has experienced is not the norm for weight loss surgery patients.

Well, it is starting to snow here in Colorado again.  The mountains are supposed to get about 30 inches!  That will make the skiers very happy!  Down here on the plains we are supposed to get 4-8 inches.  No matter where you live it seems to be crazy weather so everybody be safe out there!

Friday, January 17, 2014

                    What's New?

Okay so I am probably the most inconsistent blogger in the blogosphere but here I am only 10 days since my last post. 

I have been a little bummed, worrying about my health.  If you will remember my post about the issues going on with the cyst on my ovary.  On the 10th I had a biopsy and at that appointment discovered there were 3 different things on the ultrasound.  The septated cyst that I was so concerned about was not the cancer specialists biggest concern.  I have a polypoid mass in the uterus and that is what she biopsied as well as doing a long overdue pap test.  Let me tell you, that little biopsy hurt like the dickens!  She cut out a good sized chunk of me, lol!  The 10th was a Friday and the doc told me she would call me on Monday but if I didn't hear from her to call the office on Tuesday.  So, of course, I did not hear from her on Monday so Tuesday I waited til just before noon and then called whereupon I was told that since they did a pap in addition to the biopsy it was sent to a different lab and it would take longer.  Late on Wednesday the doctor called me and let me know that everything was benign, no cancer!!  Hallelujah, I was thanking and praising the Lord and thanking all the people who were praying for me!  It looks like I will probably be having a hysterectomy but hey, that means there is no chance of ovarian cancer, no chance of uterine cancer and no chance of endometrial cancer, all of which they were concerned about.  I figure I am really not using any of those parts anymore so I won't miss them and as a bonus I will just about bet they will net me a couple of pounds lost, LOL!!

I am not sure if any of you recall but I posted my measurements back in Aug.  Then I took them again in Oct. but I don't find that I posted them and then I took them today so I will do a comparison here.

Aug. 22 after 22 lbs. already lost:          Oct. 26                                     Jan. 17
Neck - 17                                                   15                                            14 1/2
Upper arm - 17                                          15                                            14 1/2                             
Upper chest - 44                                        40 1/2                                      37 1/2
Chest - 47                                                  43 1/2                                      40 1/2
Waist - 44                                                  40 1/2                                      35
Hips - 50                                                    45                                            40
Thigh - 27                                                  23                                            21
Knee - 19                                                   17 1/2                                      16 1/2 
Calf - 17                                                     14                                            14
Ankle - 11                                                  10 1/2                                      10

I sure wish I had taken them the day I first met with Dr. Long, before I had lost any weight but it is still amazing to contemplate.  I have lost 10 inches off my hips, 9 inches off my waist and 6 and a half inches off my bust.  To me, my measurements still seem pretty big but I think it is from growing up hearing people talk about having 22 inch waists.  Or watching "Gone With the Wind" and hearing Scarlet talk about her 18 inch waist.  Well, I'm here to tell you nothing close to those waistlines is ever gonna happen here but I am happy with my health and the great changes taking place.  I went to dinner last night with my good friend, Mags, before our weight loss support meeting and when she saw me and hugged me she just kept telling me I was "teeny tiny".  No one has ever used those words to me in my life and it felt so good!  Mags is about 3 months behind me in this journey, having had her bypass in November so it is fun to be her inspiration as she moves along.

The weight is at a little bit of a stall again.  I have been fluctuating between 170.6 and 172.6 for a couple of weeks.  My wedding anniversary is January 31st so my goal is to be in the 160's by that date.  Even if it is 169.8 it will count!  I remember when I was so excited to get out of the 200's!  In some ways that seems so long ago and in others it seems like yesterday.  So much has changed it is hard to believe it has only been 4 1/2 months since surgery.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

             Happy Belated New Year!

Well, at least I am consistent, I wished everyone a belated Merry Christmas and now I am late blogging to wish you a Happy new year. The really cool thing is; I am not going to beat myself up over it.  I have spent way too many years beating myself up for not doing things perfectly and that is one of my gifts to myself.  It is okay not to be perfect!

Since it is a new year many people are setting goals or making resolutions.  Last year I set a resolution to read through my bible chronologically and yes, I did it!  First time ever!  So that proves you aren't too old to do new things.  Anyway, I digress.  I have been subscribing to a video blog called "Clean and Delicious" with Dani Spies.  She mostly does healthy recipe videos but today she did a very good, very timely one on goal setting that I would like to share with you. 
I have never been very good with goal setting, I never understood why but just chalked it up to issues I have with ADD or focus or concentration, whatever you want to call it.  This video gave me some real insight into goal setting that I had never considered, maybe it will help you, too!

You are probably wondering how the eating and the weight is going since that is the reason I started this blog and for many of you the reason you began to read it.  I am at a crossroads of sorts with my eating.  I feel like I have been eating too much and that I am going to stretch out my pouch.  I was always a big eater and had a voracious appetite, in my mind.  I am still losing weight and I am still eating very healthy food but sometimes I go ahead and finish what I made even when I know I am full.  I think it is from so many years of being a premiere member of the "Clean your plate" club and the champion of not being wasteful.  However, I am learning to believe that it is just as wasteful to put the excess in me as it is to throw it in the garbage so why have I been overeating the last week or so.  Could it be because I was so "perfect" through the holidays that I am subconsciously rewarding myself?  I think that is a possibility and therefore, I have to look it in the face and stop!  I will keep you updated on my progress.

My weight this morning was 172.6. That is a total of 72.4 pounds down so I am happy.  I am going to have to make a trip over to my thrift store because my size 16 jeans are only fitting the first time I put them on out of the dryer, lol!  They are getting pretty baggy and I only have one pair of size 14's and they are kind of dressy.  My niece gave me a bunch of clothes but there are almost no pants except capris and the weather just isn't right for those yet!

A good friend of my youngest son's came by last Friday.  She had wls a few years ago before I knew her and she lost over 100 pounds.  She knew I had the surgery but hadn't seen me since she has been living in AZ.  They were just getting out of the car in my driveway when I pulled up.  When I got out of my car and gave her a hug all she kept saying was, "Holy s**t, holy s**t!"  My son, who knows how I feel about most 4-letter words said, "Tammy, watch your language!"  She said, "I am sorry but it is plainly a holy s**t moment!"  I couldn't help but laugh at her and she kept it up the whole evening and she gave me an adorable striped Billa Bong hoodie and it fits! **tears running down my face** It's the little things, people!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

           Merry Belated Christmas!

Just got so busy and so caught up in the preparations for Christmas that I haven't posted at all and so much has happened.

For anyone who has a weak stomach for talking about health issues you might not want to read this.  As you know from reading this blog I am a 63 y/o grandmother.  I have gone through menopause without too many problems or issues.  It has been about 5 or 6 years since my last period but about 2 weeks ago I had about 5 days of bleeding, which isn't normal.  Of course, I googled the situation and every website I looked at basically told me that this was not a good situation and that I needed to see my doctor.  I made an appointment for last Thursday (the 19th).  My doctor was not at all encouraging and said I needed an ultrasound ASAP.  So I had an ultrasound on Mon. (23rd) at about 3pm.  By 5 pm the lab had already sent the results to my doctor and she called me!  Turns out I have a septated ovarian cyst
and an endometrial polyp!  I am a little bummed because here I am working very hard to get healthy and now something new rears its ugly head but I am also thinking that perhaps the weight loss made it easier to find this.  To make a long story short I will be seeing a specialist after the 1st of the year and probably having biopsies and perhaps some surgery.  I will keep you posted and would request that those of you reading this who are believers would keep me in your prayers anytime I come to mind.

Wow, I can't believe how much food, especially sweets, are part of all holiday celebrations and get-togethers.  Since I am not partaking I am even more aware.  I have even been guilty of making it  harder for others because I have been making some food gifts.  I made peanut brittle and chocolate candy and of course, there was the cookie exchange last weekend.  It hasn't been real tough for me because I am in the early days still, I am in the zone but it has made me recognize that next year won't be so easy and that I need to spend this year working on my attitude about food.  Yesterday, Christmas Day, I had my usual oatmeal and apple breakfast and then at Christmas dinner at my eldest son's house I had some ham and some raw veggies.  I ate a little too fast and then couldn't even finish what I had taken because I think I got a little something stuck in my pouch opening.  I didn't throw up but couldn't eat anymore.  Later when everyone was enjoying some of the 4 pies that I brought I didn't have even a bite, my choice.  I kept reminding myself that rewarding or gifting myself with food wouldn't make my day any better.  I just focused on enjoying being with my grandchildren (whom I adore!) and we were also celebrating a birthday of twin little girls, 2 of the 4 sisters a friend of ours is adopting. 

I was also enjoying wearing my new sweater and black size 14 pants that I got for Christmas!  Getting into a size 14 was more emotional for me than any of the other sizes since leaving my size 22's behind.  I am not sure why but when I took them into the dressing room completely convinced that they would not fit and then they slipped right on with no problem I began to cry!  The only thing I can figure is that it has been at least 20 years since I have worn that size.  I got down to a 16 on my last weight loss venture but no farther.  I felt so slim in that outfit and my hubby kept telling me how wonderful I looked so all in all it was a great day.

My weight is doing good, not losing so fast anymore but I am just a pound away from hitting 175 which will be 70 pounds lost.  I can hardly believe it. Tomorrow is my 4 month surgiversary.  In some ways it seems like it has been longer, in others not so long.  I will just keep plugging away as I head towards my goal of losing 100 pounds!

Here are the most recent pictures taken that has been downloaded from the camera.

Monday, December 16, 2013

                Cookie Exchange

So yesterday, Sunday, was my annual cookie exchange.  A group of friends and I have been getting together to do this for just about 20 years.  The last 2 years due to my health issues we have not had one.  I decided that I want to have a life.  After all, didn't I name this blog "Grandma's Journey Back"?  And what I meant by that is my journey back to being me and having my life.  So the cookie exchange went forward.  On Saturday I made dozens of bars that contained M&M's, chocolate chips and peanuts in a sugar cookie dough.  I have to admit it was a little tough.  I kept licking my fingers because of melty chocolate getting on them.  It was an automatic response from years and years of doing it.  I finally got smart and wet some paper towels to keep wiping my fingers on!  I was so afraid that the taste of the cookie dough was going to send me into a craving frenzy but I was okay! 

One of the things we do at our party is have sort of a potluck also.  Everyone brings a dish of some sort and no desserts because of all the cookies.  I took some turkey meatballs in a bbq sauce and a little veggie tray.  I figured if there was nothing else at least I could have what I brought.  Someone brought some cold shrimp and cocktail sauce and there was a tray with some cheese cubes on it.  My niece made a dip with cream cheese, grated mozzarella and spices so I tried a teeny bit of that with the raw veggies.  I did just fine and pretty much didn't really notice what else was on the table.  Now I have dozens of different kinds of cookies in my kitchen.  Cookies are one of my former binge foods so here is the plan.  Hubby and daughter will be taking some to their work places, I will be making a pretty plate for several neighbors and the family will enjoy the rest.  I feel strong right now and it isn't a big issue.  I pray that by next Christmas I will be in a much better place with my sugar addiction.  But this has me thinking about everyone getting through the holidays and I found a really great article at bariatric eating I would like to share to help give some ideas and some strength during this tough time of year to those of you reading this blog.

I found it very helpful and informative and I hope you will, too!

The best part about the whole event was seeing people I really love whom I haven't seen in a couple of years, one in particular moved to the Western Slope of Colorado a few years ago and I miss her so much that I don't want to skip this event ever again!

Friday, December 13, 2013

                                                Still Cold in Colorado!!

Actually it has warmed up a lot in the last few days here in our Mile High State but I am still freezing most of the time!  Yes, it seems it is finally happening to me.  I have been hot my entire life it seems like (my husband thinks so anyway, lol!).  Seriously, I have a fan (or 2) blowing on me day and night, summer and winter.  It is not hot flashes because it does not come and go, it is constant, however, in recent days I have begun to feel so cold much of the time.  I have lived in Colorado nearly my whole life and I have always had to put up with people asking me, "Where's your coat?" I very rarely wear a coat no matter how cold it is outside.  I just never felt the need for on because I carry around an internal furnace of my own.  But now my furnace seems to be on the fritz and it can only be because of the lost weight.  I have read that this could happen but I really didn't believe it because other times I lost weight it didn't seem to have this effect.  Now granted, it has been much colder than usual in the past week or so, down in the single digits and I even think it might have gone below zero at some point but that never used to make a difference.  I can't decide if I am happy or sad about this new occurrence.  I was miserable when I was so hot, hence, the fans going all the time even with air conditioning on but now I am just as miserable trying to warm up.  I am layering!  At least with being cold you can do the layering thing and just remove a layer if you warm up.  I guess I'll quit whining then and enjoy it!!!

On a somber note; I just read on another blog about a bariatric surgery patient who recently passed away.  It appears that her death was caused by an illness that is caused by getting deficient in vitamin B1.  It is called Wernicke's encephalopathy and here is a link to some info about it.  It is a wake up call for all of us to remember how very important taking our supplements each and every day for the rest of our life is.   

I also wanted to post some words of wisdom from this apparently amazing woman whom I personally never got to know but was a real mentor to many in the weight loss community. 

That's the sentiment (scenario) that comes to mind sometimes when I hear some of the comments from people who've already had the surgery. In case you haven't made the connection, that's a line Tom Hanks made famous in the movie "A League Of Their Own." Resorting to tears or just giving up every time the going gets tough. Or your sick of taking vitamins, getting in protein is hard, water doesn't taste good, etc. That kinda' thinking is NOT going to make you successful or keep you healthy. ENOUGH already! It's time to LOVE yourself enough to get "TOUGH" with your aftercare. Your long term health is worth it!! Success comes with a backbone, NOT a wishbone!

First and foremost, you have to keep it POSITIVE. As with everything in life, if you think you can't - you WON'T! Simple enough? I have to wonder when "we" (as adults) finally take ownership for our actions, our life and our health? We have been given a gift, a second chance to actually LIVE life again instead of merely existing on the sidelines. It's up to each of us to do that as healthy and productively as possible.

We're ALL statistics waiting to happen and the insurance companies are chomping at the bit. The bean counters are eager to drop Weight Loss Surgery ("WLS") from the policies; some already have. Don't you know that any negative feedback thrown into the mix only strengthens their cause? I may not be able to control every thing that happens to my body after WLS, but most things I can.

I CHOOSE to take control and I will be a positive statistic when the numbers get counted. We live in a spoiled society, expecting everything in life to come with a buncha really cool choices. Well, guess what? When it  comes to your health, you're not always going to get a choice. You either DO IT and stay healthy, or you DON'T and your body pays the price.

The way I saw it, I had a 90 day healing and adjusting period after surgery. My 'super morbidly obese' body had more than enough stores to survive the learning curve. In turn, it gave me plenty of time to heal, adjust and learn. For those of you OVER 90 days Post-Op, the probation period is over - its time to get serious and LIVE what you've learned.
* You say you can't get in enough liquids throughout the day, don't like the taste of water, or just keep forgetting? -- TOUGH! It's not an option anymore. Find a way to do it, get suggestions and tips from others in support groups, message boards, etc. Read, learn and JUST DO IT!! Why do you think there is a choice here?

* You say you don't like the big horse pill type vitamins, or the tart chalky chewables? ... it's just too many to bother with? Or maybe you just can't remember to take them? -- TOUGH! You gave up the option NOT to take vitamins when you agreed to have your insides rerouted. FIND a way to get them in; crushed, minced, chopped, liquefied, in a shake, etc. No exceptions, your health depends on it.

* Protein is a must. So you can't get it all in via foods and you don't like the way the shakes taste? -- TOUGH! Either get it through your meals (and there are a gazillion food choices out there) or supplement it with protein shakes and bars. Trust me, I don't drink my protein shake every morning because I think it tastes like a chocolate blizzard from Dairy Queen. I've tried many varieties over the last 2 years. I'd even venture to say 25 of the top sellers/flavors have crossed my lips. For the record? I've yet to find one that is as 'delicious' as boasted by the distributor. So what. I still drink one every morning. My HEALTH dictates that I need "X" grams of protein per day. If I'm not getting enough from my meals then I supplement a shake. 'Nuff said.

This surgery is a gift, I owe it to me and everyone else fighting the approval process, to do it right! I will continue to choke down my vitamins, my water and my protein every single day, for the REST OF MY LIFE. Some days will be easier than others, regardless, no days will be missed. It's all about discipline. Create a routine, set a timer, develop a pattern, tie a string around your finger, glue a note on your forehead, whatever it takes. You're an adult - take responsibility! If this surgery doesn't slap a back bone into you, not much will.

There isn't much I can add to that, she makes all the points we all need to take very serious so I will leave you to ponder and absorb what she said.