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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.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

     Time flies when you're having fun!

I really intend to post more than I have been.  Here's what is happening and has been keeping me from posting more.  For the last 3 years or so due to a surgery that didn't go as well as hoped, my diabetes being out of control, fibromyalgia kicking my butt and a couple other things I got to the point where I wasn't even leaving the second floor of my house.  I had been working from home before my hip replacement (2 years ago today!) and since my dinner breaks were so short, the family would bring me a meal at the designated time.  As my health declined it gradually became all of my meals.  I was becoming an invalid and it wasn't pretty.  Well, now that things are changing so rapidly I am becoming the cook in the family again.  Yesterday I took the 1/2 of a 14 pound turkey that we had left and cubed up all the white meat and made a healthy Turkey Waldorf Salad with celery, green onion, grapes, apples and plain Greek yogurt.  It was awesome and the family loved it.  Then I cut all the dark meat into cubes and put it in the freezer.  Then the bones (and a lot of meat) went into my stock pot with onions, carrots and celery.  Today I finished up and made a big pot of turkey soup!  Just 3 short months ago I could literally not stand for more than about 2 minutes due to lumbar stenosis.
My back is screaming at me now but I feel so good about starting to get my life back and you can imagine how happy my family is that mom is back in the kitchen, lol!

I can't recall the last time I posted my weight but it is now 181.  That is 64 pounds down.  I can recall vividly how excited I was to get out of the 200's and now I can see the 170's!  From a size 22 to a 16 and can almost squeeze into a 14.  It almost doesn't seem real at times.  I am go grateful that this surgery has worked so well for me and I am committed to making real, permanent changes in my eating habits and unless family members want to start doing the cooking again, they are along for the ride too! DH has lost about 22 pounds since I began this journey and I believe my daughter has lost a little bit too!  Bipolar son does not have a weight problem but has the worst diet in the world.  Mostly eats junk and fast food and tons of coffee and soft drinks.  If I can get a little healthy food in him it will be a good thing.  Last night he ate a bowl of my waldorf salad after adding a ton of mayonnaise to his and he did the same for lunch today but at least he got some lean turkey, grapes and apples into his system!

I will try to post more often.  I am truly grateful to the people who come in here and read this blog.  I know who some of you are but there are a lot I don't know.  Thank you for taking some time from your busy day to read my ramblings!

Friday, November 29, 2013

             I survived Thanksgiving!

Wow!  I wasn't quite sure how it would go to try to have the Thanksgiving feast with my extended family and not indulge as I used to.  My modus operandi for holiday meals was always this...see how much food I could cram on a plate while trying to make it look like I wasn't taking any more than anyone else.  I was brilliant at it, always cleaned the plate, usually had seconds on some things and then when dessert time came I often had a piece of everything.  I have read that the average person consumes about 4500 calories in their Thanksgiving meal.  I often wonder if I consumed even more than that!

Well, here is how it went.  I got a plate, went to the buffet line, got about 3 ounces of white meat, no skin, and a small sliver of ham, took a deviled egg half and some raw veggies; jicama, peppers, celery, and carrots.  That is all, no sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, scalloped corn, stuffing, gravy, frog-eye salad (which I made) or pie.  And you know what?  I was fine.  I ate slow, chewed well, enjoyed what I ate and noticed it took me longer to eat than most people with all the goodies.  Had good conversations, looked at all the black Friday ads and all in all did just fine.  I chose not to feel deprived and really realize it is a choice.  Is that cool or what?

So this morning I did something I am pretty sure I have never done in my entire 63+ years on this planet.  I got on the scale the day after Thanksgiving!  And guess what?  I lost a pound!  Thank you, Lord, that was a big blessing to me and energized me to look forward to Christmas dinner the same way!

The other interesting challenge I am going to have is my annual cookie exchange.  I have been hosting it for about 20 years now.  A friend is going to have it at her house this year but I still plan to participate which means making around 10-12 dozen cookies of one kind and coming home with the same number but all different kinds.  My plan is to have my hubby and my daughter take a good amount of them to their respective work places for co-workers to enjoy but I also won't be putting my new choices on my hubby and 2 grown kids who live with us.  They have to make their own choices about what they put in their mouths.  It may be tough because cookies are one of my downfalls but I believe I am up for it, after all, I made frog-eye salad and didn't taste it, nor did I try any of the ingredients, i.e. marshmallows, cool whip, coconut, etc.  I have not experienced dumping syndrome yet and I don't intend to if at all possible!  And in case you don't know what that is or need a refresher course, here is a good link.

Friday, November 22, 2013

                   A Red Letter Day!

a memorably important or happy occasion.  I had to look it up to see exactly what it meant to make sure it fit what I am feeling and I believe it does so this is a red-letter day.

It has been a really great day!  First off, when I got on the scale this morning the dreaded plateau or stall had finally ended.  I was down 3 pounds or so.  I am at 185 even and that is exactly 60 pounds lost.  Yay, me! 

On Wednesday I had my 3 month follow up appointment at the bariatric center and I got to see everyone!  I didn't realize that I would see them all and since I love them all to death it was great.  First Dr. Long stuck his head in Erica my nut's office, (nut,short for nutritionist).  He jokingly said, "I understand there is a patient here today that nobody even recognizes anymore!"  He is such a dear man and chatted with me for a few minutes.  Then I spent time with Erica going over what I am doing, looking at my blood work (which was great except a little high for B12)!  Then I met with Kristie, Dr. Long's PA and went over vitals, talked more about blood work and just had an all around great visit.  Then I met with Elisabeth, the counselor, and we talked about how I am doing mentally with all the changes and she just kept on and on about how great I am doing!  Then she asked me if I would be willing to speak at the class they hold each month for the people who are looking into bariatric surgery or are on their journey with the insurance companies to get approved.  I went to classes for 3 months but many, if not most, people have to attend 6 months worth of these classes.  I told her I would love to and so I did that this morning.  I have to say it was great, at least for me.  I really want to be a help and a support to other travelers on this journey to health.  I just basically told them a little about me and how poor my health was and then some of the pros and cons of having this surgery as I see it now at 3 months out.  They were very kind to me and even gave me some applause.  No one looked too incredibly bored and I got a few questions.  I stuck around after the class was over and a few people stayed around to talk to me.  I gave them all this blog address and I do hope some of them will visit. 

I will officially be at 3 months post-op on November 27th.  A part of me feels like it has been much longer since so much has changed but another part of me says, "Wow!  It has only been 3 months!!"  That really isn't a long time.

Another thing that made today great was I tried something new for my lunch.  I have kind of been in a rut with either tuna, or my made up chili or a black bean burger.  I took a Mission Low-carb tortilla (the small one) spread 2 T. vegetarian refried beans on it and put it in the oven on a Pam sprayed cookie sheet at 400.  While it warmed up I cooked a link of turkey sausage, chopped some red onion and some yellow bell pepper and a mini babybel light cheese wedge.  I pulled my tortilla out and put all of that on top, chopping the sausage first.  Then back in the oven for a few minutes while the cheese melted.  I added a couple teaspoons of salsa to the top and voila!  Mexican Pizza!  It was really good and a nice change.  I seem to want everything spicy and my little pouch doesn't seem to mind at all, lol!

Hope you all have a super weekend.  It is really cold here in Colorado and I am hoping it will warm up! It snowed Wed. night and yesterday and now it is just freezing!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

                                    Pictures, pictures, pictures.

So I haven't posted in over a week because I promised the next time I posted there would be pictures and I didn't know how to do it!  I am sure all you tech savvy people are rolling your eyes right now, lol!  But I got hubby to sit down and work with me and now I know how to do it.  If you want to see them you will have to click on the archives on the right and go back into August.  I posted before and after pictures of all 3 of my major weight loss adventures as well as a picture back in October when I was down about 40 pounds.  

I am not losing very fast but I am losing.  Today I weighed in at 187.6.  When I get to 185 I will have lost 60 pounds which is the most I have ever lost on any program or diet I tried in the past.  I have set my goal as 145 which will be 100 pounds lost and I don't think it is an unreasonable goal.  I think 130 would be just too thin for me.  I am not a dainty little girl even when thing.  I wear a size 11 shoe and am pretty big boned.  I will never be a size 4 or 6 or even an 8 but a size 10 might be achievable.  I just had to get some more jeans.  They are a size 16, down from my 22's.  I saw my grand kids earlier today and I was wearing a new outfit, had make-up on and expected a real double take from them.  After quite a while when no one said anything I said to my grandson, Connor. "Hey, can you tell grandma has lost weight?"  He looked me over and said, "No, you just look like grandma!"  You just gotta love it!  I guess grandma's are just perfect no matter what they weigh, lol! 

I hope everyone reading this blog is doing awesome or at least hanging in there.  Losing weight is a tough road, it is not for wimps and even having bariatric surgery does not make it a cake walk.  I wonder why so many metaphors we use are food related.  Cake walk.  I used to always participate in those at school fairs and I won more than my share of cakes, just as I always ate more than my share of cake but I digress.  Anyway, I think of those of you who come and visit as my friends, and when I pray I offer you all up for whatever your need is because I believe God knows each one of you and your needs.  

Friday, November 8, 2013

                   A New Low

And by that I don't mean I am depressed, lol!  I hit 188 on the scale yesterday.  Went from 193.6 to 188 all of a sudden.  Weight loss is so strange, you can do everything you are supposed to be doing and it doesn't move and then suddenly, woosh, 5 pounds gone!  I'm not complaining,  in fact,  I am very happy.  For some reason this new number has excited me more than moving out of the 200's did.  I stood on that scale for the longest time just staring at that number, having a hard time believing it.  So that is a grand total of 57 pounds lost.  The most I have ever lost on all the weight loss programs I have participated in is 60 pounds but when I reach my goal I will have lost 100 pounds.  I wonder if there is a club I can join, you know, something like the Mile High Club, lol!

On another note, I am beginning to experience the dreaded hair loss.  I think I had myself convinced that it wasn't going to happen to me.  I take all my supplements, extra biotin, get in lots of protein but I guess it is just an inevitable part of this journey.  My son's girlfriend, who had this surgery about 5 years ago says it is at it's worse about 6 months out.  So I am only 2 and a half months out now.  Oh, happy, happy, joy, joy, is all I can say!  I will deal with it but I don't have to like it, right?  The same could be said for all the saggy, baggy skin I am beginning to see.  I promised myself in the beginning that I would focus on all the positive changes in my health and that is what I am trying to do but it is hard!  I guess I need to start shopping for my Spanx, LOL!

You may recall me telling you about a young man I know who had wls in September.  Clay has had extreme complications, nearly died and is still in the hospital after 6 weeks.  He just got out of ICU this week and is finally getting to try a little bit of clear liquids after passing a leak test.  It just boggles my mind that a young (30) person would have so much trouble while someone my age sailed through it all with no complications.  Is it the surgeon, the hospital, the patient?  We'll probably never know but it is a very sobering situation.  We take a risk any time we have any surgery.  Make sure you check everything out that you can about your doctor and the hospital he operates in.  Make sure you tell them everything, any underlying condition you may have has to be taken into consideration.

Gonna try to hijack hubby this weekend and get some pictures posted.  Don't hold your breath but I will try!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

                    Time Flies

Where does the time go?  I mean to post at least every couple of days but time just gets away!

Interesting week with Halloween in it, lol!  I have seen so many people post how hard staying away from all the candy has been for them.  I was with my grandkids for Halloween and while everyone ate pizza, Caesar salad and chips and dip, I had some white meat chicken, some grape tomatoes and a low-fat string cheese.  The only thing that looked a little tempting was the chips and dip but not so much that I would have some.  Then while the mom's took the kids out trick or treating, the other grandma and I did what has become a tradition for about the last 12 years.  We sat behind a long table in the driveway with 2 big buckets of candy, our big pump thermoses full of hot chocolate, and a bucket full of mini marshmallows.  The kids love it and the adults love it!  We had the hot chocolate right at drinking temperature and it was so cold that almost no one turned down a cup.  The hot chocolate didn't tempt me, the marshmallows didn't tempt me and the candy didn't tempt me.  I am sure it is because I am still pretty much a newbie at 10 -11 weeks out from surgery and next year may be very different but for now the idea of dumping syndrome, getting back into sugar or weight gain are not on my agenda!!

Now I do have to admit to more hunger this last week or so.  I am eating very healthy, mostly turkey, chicken and fish for protein, edamame, grape tomatoes (love) cottage cheese, beans, and still some protein shakes.  I have gotten bad at eating too quickly and maybe not chewing as well as I need to and I have paid the piper.  Twice I have gotten food stuck and it caused me to have to throw it up and a good case of the dreaded "foamies".  In case you don't know what that is I will copy and paste a description here from the web.  "When you get food stuck (either from not chewing well enough or from eating something that's too dry) -- your body reacts by trying to slide the food through your pouch with extra lubrication. That lubrication is saliva.  But since the food is stuck, the saliva can't go down -- and it ends up pooling in your mouth instead. So just grab a tissue and spit (as lady-like as possible).   Sometimes when you vomit from stuck-food, you won't actually get the food but just a bunch of saliva that's all foamy looking. "
Mindful eating is essential for us and what I did was mindless eating, it doesn't work and it is one of the things that made me obese to begin with.

How's my weight doing you ask?  I was 191.4 this morning.  That is only 3 more pounds in a week and a half but hey who's counting, lol!  Seriously, it isn't super fast but hey I did pray it wouldn't be, didn't I?  I am losing lots of inches and am going to have to head over to my fancy boutique (thrift store) soon for a smaller size pants.  These 18's are starting to hang pretty loose on me.  It is crazy but I am a little sad because the 2 pair of jeans that I bought are really nice ones.  I hope I can find some cute ones in a 16 or I wonder if I should try to squeeze into a 14 so they will last me longer?  Nah, I doubt I could do that just yet and I don't want to be uncomfortable. 

I hope all of you are doing really great and any journey you are on is moving along.  It won't always be a smooth road but it is your road and you need to enjoy travelling down it as much as possible. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

                  Good Changes Revisited

So let me finally wind this long story down, lol!  I spent 13 days in the hospital recovering from the whole thing.  And for the last 15 years my health has been going downhill.  I was put on blood thinners after the embolism, I started having problems with my blood pressure and went on medication for that.  I just never felt well and began to deal with a lot of depression.  Then a couple of years later I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which explained the lack of energy and the constant pain I was dealing with.  I was already on some meds for diabetes and as I wandered through this world of pain and depression I ate and I gained and I ate and I gained and everything became worse.  Then the docs determined that I needed oxygen so that added another level to the mix.  Having to wear oxygen is the pits.  It is like always being on a leash, your nose gets sore, you get deep, ugly lines in your face and it drives you crazy causing dryness and tickling in your nose.  Then my diabetes got worse and worse until I was finally on 4 different meds trying to keep it controlled.  I was getting to the point where I just wanted to give up.  My quality of life was nil.  I just wanted God to take me!  I had talked to my doctor about bypass surgery but she was very negative and discouraging, saying I just had too many health problems, I wouldn't survive the surgery, etc.  Then 2 years later at my hubby's doctor visit they ended up discussing my health rather than his issue and the doc said, "I think maybe Colleen should consider bariatric surgery."  When he came home and told me that I was like, "Hello!  I talked to her about it a long time ago!"  But never mind that, I was on the phone and making my first appointment before she could change her mind!

So what are the good changes I have been alluding too these last few days!  I have mentioned some of them in previous posts but I am going to list them all here.

  1. I am off of all my diabetes medication!  Insulin, Victoza, Glimeperide, and Metformin, all gone!
  2. I am off of Coumadin (blood thinner) a medication I so wanted to be rid of!
  3. I no longer require oxygen during the day time.  And soon, after a sleep study, I may get off entirely!
  4. I no longer take Celebrex (you can't with this surgery) and my joint pain is manageable without it!
  5. My evening blood pressure meds were cut in half and if things continue I will probably be able to drop it completely!
  6. My cholesterol is 120 so I will be able to drop that medicine soon I think.
There are probably many more things I am not thinking of but the reason I started this particular post about GOOD CHANGES is because on Sunday I went with my hubby to Costco and managed to walk the whole time we were there.  The poor man has done all of the shopping for the last several years because I could not manage a long shopping session.  He said it was the most fun he'd ever had at Costco, lol!  And today, after getting our hair done, my daughter and I did a long shopping trip to Walmart buying Halloween stuff for my grandkids and the kids a friend of ours just adopted!  I was on my feet for over an hour and I survived!  Yay! 

This may not seem like a big deal to some but for me it is an awesome improvement to my life.  My family has had to take care of so many things for me and to even be able to take back some of those things is incredible.  WLS is not the answer to all my problems but it has been the catalyst to get me to a place where I can take on the challenges that confront me every day.  I am looking forward to many, many more nsv's (non-surgical victories). 

I hope and pray that there are people reading this who feel encouraged to move forward in their own struggles.  WLS is just a tool, as you know, but we need tools for just about any project we take on in life.  Use this tool to help yourself change and create good things in your life, too.  I am rooting for you!

Monday, October 28, 2013

              Good Changes continued...

Continuing on with my story so I can then explain why I've titled this "Good Changes."

After I was given the TPA, which by the way, did not dissolve the clot, I was moved into the ICU.  There I lay for a couple of days being constantly monitored, taken for VQ lung scans, MRI's, X-rays and ct scans.  The big event that occurred was my mom coming to see me.  Mom was in an assisted living home a good distance from this hospital.  She felt like she wasn't being told everything by the family and somehow she managed to get a taxi to pick her up and bring her to see me.  I was shocked when she rolled into my room in her wheelchair.  She basically said she had to see me for herself to know I was okay :(  It was kind of sad, she thought I had died and no one would tell her.

Finally I was moved from ICU to a regular room.  A couple of days went by and it was a Sunday morning.  Hubby, of course, was spending all of his free time at the hospital and we were just talking when the hospital Chief of Staff came in, can't remember this doctor's name but Steve was just waiting for someone to pounce on.  He told this doc that we had not been given any real info since the night in the ER and that since they had done a ton of tests on me there must be some news.  This doc seemed surprised and said, "You have the absolute right to see and know the results of any and all tests that have been performed.  I will go round up all results and be back in about an hour."  When he returned I was on the phone with my eldest brother, Walt, who was in Mexico helping to set up churches.  I told him to hold on and laid the phone down.  I then heard again words you do not want to hear from any doctor.  The doc said, "Well, we have looked at all of the films and scans and it is not good news.  There is a mass in your chest unrelated to the blood clot and from the way it presents we are pretty sure it is cancer.  I have scheduled you for a bronchoscopy first thing tomorrow and we will go down the throat and biopsy the mass."  I was in total shock.  I kept telling God I had only signed up for a minor scope of my knees and that He must have my file card in the wrong slot!

I got back on the phone with my brother and after filling him in on the turn of events, he told me he would start a worldwide prayer chain with his many contacts.  Steve got on the phone with church members and family members and did the same.  I believe that within hours hundreds of people were storming the gates of heaven on my behalf!  Next morning at 7am I was wheeled into surgery for my biopsy but when I woke up I was told that they were unable to reach the mass and they had scheduled me for a thoracoscopy at 3pm.  By then it was about 10am so Steve decided to go to the cafeteria and get some breakfast.  As I lay there alone pondering the situation I suddenly had a very strange sensation in my chest.  The best way I can describe it is an effervescence similar to Alka-Seltzer fizzing except this was inside of me.  It tickled a lot.  Out loud to myself I suddenly said, "Well, there goes their cancer!"

That afternoon they did the thoracoscopy which is the insertion of an endoscope, a narrow—diameter tube with a viewing mirror or camera attachment, through a very small incision (cut) in the chest wall. When they got to where they needed to be they found nothing there!  So they performed a thoracotomy where they cut a very large incision, spread the ribs, and collapsed the right lung only to find - NOTHING!  Now don't get me wrong, I believe it had been there but I believe God chose to heal me.  The next time I was able to speak to my pulmonary doc and the thoracic surgeon they basically said, "We don't know what to tell you, we have reviewed all of the films and it is there!  We even flew in a specialist from CA and it is there but as you know it is not there."  They also mentioned that they imagined we would want to sue.  Steve told them, "No, we are not litigious people and besides we believe without a doubt that God healed her."  They responded with, "Well, we do not have a better explanation!"

Now this was a very major surgery.  I had a tube in my side to remove air and fluid from the pleural cavity.  I had some major recovering to do and recover I did, however, I have never been the same physically since that day.  It is now 15 years later and that surgery has caused me lots of breathing problems and I have always had a spot in the middle of my chest that is very painful.  For a long time I really believed they had left an instrument inside me but later tests proved me wrong :) 

This is again a very long post and I am going to finish it up tomorrow.  Hang in there with me, I am telling it in as few words as possible! 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

                      Good Changes

I wish I could really express how my life has changed in these last few months.  It is hard to explain how bad, how sad my life had become these last few years.  Actually if I am really honest the changes began about 15 years ago.  I was 48 and having problems with my knees.  I went to an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Richard Evans.  He told me that he would do arthroscopic surgery and fix both of my knees at the same time.  He was highly recommended and I decided to go for it.  My surgery was on a Monday and Dr. Evans assured me I would start therapy on Wednesday and I would be driving within 2 weeks.  Sounded good to me.  I awoke from surgery to hear the words you never want to hear from a doctor. "Honey, I am really sorry but things were so much worse than we anticipated.  You are going to be non-weight bearing for 2 months."  "You mean 2 weeks", I said.  "No, I mean 2 months." 

I went home, we got a hospital type bed and put it in my living room.  I was strapped in a contraption called an immobilizer that pretty much kept my entire right side from the hip down from moving.  My sweet husband began to sleep on the horribly uncomfortable couch in our living room.  I had an adult potty chair IN MY LIVING ROOM! And so the waiting to heal began...

About 2 1/2 weeks into this drama, a really good and wonderful friend, Darla, came over to my house to cut and color my hair.  We got me into the wheelchair and through trial and error and a  lot of laughter, managed to get my hair washed in my kitchen sink.  Just after she had finished my phone rang and it was my mom.  I told Darla I could get myself into bed, hugged and thanked her and then proceeded to talk to mom.  Part way through our conversation I started having this really bad, sharp pain in the right side of my lower chest.  I felt just like when you get a stitch in your side from running.  I told mom I was going to have to get off the phone and I rolled myself into the living room and got into the bed.  Lying down hurt as bad as sitting but I got myself into a half sitting/half lying position kind of on my side and it wasn't too bad.

A couple of hours later another good friend, Teresa, stopped by on her way home from work to visit, bringing me a beautiful gift of 2 little candleholders and candles.  We visited and she could see I was in some serious pain and asked if I wanted her to take me to the hospital.  I declined, telling her I would be fine.  She kept trying to talk me into it and about then my hubby came home from work.  He wouldn't listen to my protests that I was fine and he called my PCP, Dr. Greta McClaren.  After he explained the entire situation she said, "Get her to the emergency room, immediately!!"  I could not climb up into our big van and I could not get down into our little Dodge Charger.  I managed to get into the back seat of Teresa's car kind of on my side again.

I kept protesting about the need to go to the ER but when we arrived at St. Joseph's hospital they took one look at me and moved me to the front of the triage line and then after a pulse ox of 57% suddenly they were running me back to a room and there was a doctor standing on either side of the door.  At that point I began to think, "Hmmmm, maybe something is going on!"  They immediately sent me for an MRI, x-rays and a ct scan.  Turned out I had a massive Pulmonary Embolism.  I was given a drug called TPA and we were told it was extremely dangerous and could cause a bleed in the brain.  We spoke with our PCP, whom we greatly respected and she told us we really had no choice.  The embolism could kill me as easily as the brain bleed so we chose to go ahead with it.

I am going to stop here and continue this saga tomorrow.  What you have read so far is the easy part of what happened to me during my 13 day stay in the hospital.  I promise I won't leave you hanging, I will continue tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

                         Real Food!

I guess that title is a bit of a misnomer because I have been eating real food all along but when you are on the soft diet phase there are lots of things you really can't add.  So last Thursday I met with the nutritionist, Erica.  We went over lots of stuff, like am I still staying away from straws, yes, am I still not drinking caffeine or carbonated drinks, yes, do I still wait 30 minutes before a meal, during a meal and 30 minutes after to drink anything, yes, am I chewing my food very, very well before swallowing, yes, am I making sure I am focused on the eating and not distracted, mostly yes, am I still making sure I take 20-30 minutes to eat my meals, resounding yes!  Why would people stop doing these things, they work! ! I lost over 20 pounds before my surgery by following these rules, my hubby has now lost about 17 following some of these rules (and he is not eating diet food!).  Apparently a lot of people stop doing these things after surgery.  People, that is not a good idea.  You are trying to make permanent changes to how you eat!  This surgery is a wonderful tool but you can still gain back all your weight.  Some of these little changes may seem silly but think about it.  The reason for no drinking before, during and after meals is because all that liquid washes the food out of your stomach quicker and you can eat more and you feel hungry sooner.  My brother has been trying to do just that one thing and he is amazed that he is eating less and not getting hungry so soon.  I tend to be a little OCD and when I am given a list of things to do I do them faithfully. We must change or we will eventually find ourselves right back where we were.  I quoted this before but here it is again, "Just because you got the monkey off your back does not mean the circus has left town forever."  That monkey is just waiting to jump right back on!
I'm melting!

Okay, enough preaching! I finally reached that milestone of 50 pounds lost!  Yesterday morning I weighed in at 194.4!  I have been blessed to stay in the 100's since I reached them, so many people blog that they got under 200 and then bounced back up over, sometimes more than once.

Now to my original thought about real food.  I wanted to let you know some of the things I've been eating since last Thursday.  I made an awesome Turkey Chili that even my family liked.  I measured out 1/2 a cup and shredded a low-fat string cheese on top, then a teaspoon or so of plain Greek yogurt on top.  It was sooooo good!  Today for lunch I grilled a salmon filet from Costco, they are about 7 oz. so I cut it in half and will have the other half tomorrow.  I mixed some of that plain Greek yogurt and a teaspoon of spicy brown mustard together and spread it on top of the salmon, yummy!  I also have had a few of those little grape tomatoes with a couple of meals.  On the way home from the doc's office last Thurs. I stopped and shopped a little and bought some veggie burgers.  I have had a couple completely vegetarian meals and enjoyed them completely.  This is strange coming from someone who has always been a major carnivore, lol!  The biggest thing I am trying to be aware of besides the things mentioned above is portion sizes.  With just a little pouch for a stomach I don't need a ton of food to be happy and satisfied. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

                                                  Plugging along

So yesterday I was supposed to have my 6 week post-op appointment with the nutritionist at my surgeon's office but at 8am I got a call that they were going to have to reschedule because she is sick.  I am going to go tomorrow (thought I'd give her another day to recuperate) and I am really looking forward to it.  I am still on the soft food diet and with the doc's office blessing I will be moving to stage 1 of the regular diet after I see her tomorrow.  Having some extra time must be in God's plan because I suddenly found a bunch of healthy recipes I would like to try and printed them off to take with me and have Erica (the nut, short for nutritionist) take a look and give me some feedback about them.

My weight loss this last 2 weeks has been pretty slow.  I know part of it is a bathroom issue.  I have always been so regular you could set a clock by it but now it is every 4-5 days and it is very difficult for me to go.  I know my iron supplement may be contributing but hey, what gives?  Am I gonna be like this the rest of my life??!!  I sure hope not because it is not pleasant.  Maybe once I get onto a more regular diet and get more vegetables into my life things will change.

Had a birthday party Sunday for my daughter, Shannon, at Red Robin.  Shannon is 46 years old and she is developmentally disabled.  She lives with us and is a joy in every way.  When it comes to birthdays and Christmas, she is still very much like a child.  We had balloons and took her cake to the restaurant.  Red Robin has been really good to us over the years with our crowd of crazies.  They always give us an extra table to put the cake and gifts on and let us take all the time we need.  I cut the cake and had to be very conscious not to lick my fingers as I got tons of frosting on them.  I ordered the Chicken Ensenada plate and immediately put 1 and one half of the 2 chicken breasts in my to-go box.  It also came with salad and I got a balsamic vinaigrette dressing on the side.  I didn't eat much salad because it was my first time having some and I am so wary of upsetting my little pouch.  I've already done that twice (2 times because I didn't figure it out right away).  People on the blogs have talked about adding a little peanut butter to their diet and since I dearly love peanut butter I thought it sounded like a great idea.  On Sat. we were at Target shopping for Shannon's birthday and I bought a jar of natural peanut butter.  Sunday morning I put a heaping teaspoon in my chocolate shake in the blender.  A little later I wasn't feeling too great but it went away pretty quickly so I didn't think too much about it.  On Monday morning I made another chocolate shake in my blender and again added some peanut butter.  About 45 minutes later I started feeling so nauseous and my head began to ache.  I finally had to lay down for a while.  I finally figured out that my new stomach did not like peanut butter (too much fat I imagine).  :(  Oh well, perhaps I can try it again in a month or two!

The weight today was 196.6.  I need to get to 195 for a 50 pound loss.  Then I will be half way (weigh) to my goal.  Wow!  When I put it that way it sounds a bit exciting.

Several of you have posted comments here on the blog and I finally figured out how to respond and have done so.  So if you want to go back and look at your comment you will see I didn't ignore you!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

                Happay Happay Happay!

Okay, you would have to  have seen Duck Dynasty to get that title completely but I'm sure you get the point!

Went to see my PCP yesterday to see if there was any chance that my health has improved enough that I could possibly get off of oxygen.  They put me through my paces wearing the pulse oximeter and the good news is that my stats did not drop below 91% so I am now oxygen-free during the daytime except while walking on my treadmill or a long shopping trip.   I still have to use it at night for a month or so and then we will do an overnight test to see if I can get rid of it then too!  For those of you who have never had to deal with oxygen you can't imagine what a burden it can be.  At home you feel like you are on a leash, everyone steps on it and that makes them feel bad even though it doesn't really hurt anything.  When you go somewhere you have to always think several hours ahead so you can fill your portable tank.  The tank itself, even though not huge, is fairly heavy.  The strap cuts into your shoulder and it is very uncomfortable.  And then there is the cannula in your nose, making it sore, making ugly lines on your cheeks.  So hallelujah, I am halfway to being rid of it completely. 

The second good thing was my blood pressure.  It was in a really good range 118/74 so we are halving my medication.  I believe with more weight loss and more exercise I may be able to get off that medication completely.  I was on 11 medications that included a total of 19 pills a day!  As of now I am on 5 medications that include 7 pills a day.  That is a major change.  I am glad I had this surgery even though there are some things that are tough.

The weight is not coming off very fast right now.  I was at 197 this morning and I am happy to be staying in the 100's but that is only 1 pound this week so am a little bummed about that.  I am eating a little bit more but am still generally under 700 calories each day.  I still struggle getting all of my liquids in so that could be part of the problem.  I am remaining optimistic and expecting to have a loss of 2 or 3 pounds one of these mornings.  Maybe it will happen tomorrow.

One more item and I am not happy about this one.  I had the doc take a look at a spot on my right forearm.  I always thought it was just a big freckle or one of those "age spots" we old people get but the last couple of weeks it has begun to change. It has grown and become more red and has also become kind of rough textured.  My doc thinks it looks like melanoma (a type of cancer) so I am getting a biopsy on Thursday afternoon.  To those of you who believe in prayer, I would appreciate you lifting me up this week.  It is probably not much of anything to worry about but just to be safe...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

               Help!  I am not me!

So for the last couple of days I have felt so down, so depressed and there is no particular reason why.  Oh, sure, I have all the usual troubles and situations that most people,  finances, friends that need help that I can't fix things for them, kids driving me nuts (adult kids), etc. but nothing that should make me feel like this!!  The only thing I can figure is that I'm experiencing something that they call "Weight Loss Surgery Puberty".  Apparently most of the hormones in your body reside in the fat cells and when you lose weight fairly rapidly you experience a sudden influx of these hormones in your bloodstream.  I sure hope this is what is going on with me because I don't like feeling this way.  Even as I sit here writing this I just feel like crying and I have been doing just that for the last hour or so.  Yuck!  I want to be me!  I am usually a fairly positive, upbeat person but not today!

I am stalled again!  I wonder if this is going to be a pattern?  If I could just stop myself from getting on the scale every day then I probably wouldn't even notice but like last week I have stayed at 198 -198 -198!  Before it was 202 then a 4 pound drop.  I hope the 4 pound drop part happens again.  I think we kind of get spoiled after wls.  The pounds come off pretty fast in the beginning and then when it slows it is hard to deal with.  It makes me want to kick myself a little because from the beginning I have asked God not to let me lose too rapidly because at my age the skin is not going to tighten up like it did in my 20's and 30's.  I tell myself that if I  lose it slower it won't be so bad, lol!  Then when God gives me the desire of  my heart, here I go complaining! 

Monday, October 7, 2013

             Still looking at the big "Why"

A few days ago I was talking about why I overeat, why I let myself get so big, why food has this hold on me.  I have been thinking a lot about it.  I can't really blame it on genetics.  My parents weren't fat, my brothers are all normal weight.  We don't really know much of anything about my father's side of the family.  He was an abused child and he ran away from his home in Pennsylvania when he was just 12 years old and never went back and as far as I know never had any kind of contact with his father again.  His mom had died giving birth to him.  My father was an alcoholic since the day I was born. His drinking made for instability, fear, and sorrow. As changeable as he could be and as much as he was hurting us all by drinking himself into oblivion, I loved him so very much. When I was thirteen years old, he died of alcohol related problems, cirrhosis of the liver and other complications.  He was only 47 years old! I tell you all of this because I think it is why I used food as love for most of my life. I loved food and food loved me. Amid all the chaos and insecurity, I could control the food I ate. When I felt nervous, food was reassuring. When I was anxious food was soothing. When I was sad, food lifted me up. When no one was home, food was my babysitter. For every emotion I could turn to food.  I am just realizing this and remembering some things surrounding food when I was a kid.  I didn't have a weight problem til maybe 10 or so years after my dad died but the food issues started then.  I will continue to explore this.

Short one today, folks :)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

                    Day 39 Post-Op

Some days it seems like I had this surgery long ago and I have to remind myself that I am just a little more than a month post-op.  The reason I say that is because I tend to be so hard on myself and think I should be farther along than I am, mentally, physically, pounds down, etc.  I struggle a lot with worrying about the future and I think that is why I think I should be farther along.  I need to live more in the here and now!

In my last post I was telling you about my plateau, my stall at 202.  Drum roll...It finally broke, moved, quit stalling, whatever, lol!  On Friday morning when I got on the scale I thought it said 202 again but then I squinted my tired old eyes and realized the scale said 200.2!  Then Saturday morning it was 199.6 so I made DH come upstairs, got on the scale again so he could see it and I could have a witness!  Yes, ladies, he does know how much I weigh and loves me anyway, lol!  This morning I weighed in at 198.8!  I have been a little afraid it would bounce up over that 200 again and still am so I am going to wait a few more days before I officially declare myself in "Onederland"!

I have been sick for the last few days with a cold and/or sinus infection so I am a little surprised that I lost any weight at all.  I have been in bed, not eating much, no exercise.  Just trying to get in enough protein and all of my supplements.  Several people have commented that it is probably because I had this surgery, that my immune system is compromised because of it.  I am taking it in stride but it makes me a  little angry.  I mean, for crying out loud, it's not like I never had a cold before this.  My daughter was sick with this all of last week (really, really sick) and the odds were good that I would get it from taking care of her so I don't believe the surgery  has anything to do with it.  In fact I am feeling much better today and she was sick for a whole week.

I told you a few days ago about a friend of mine who had this surgery and it took 10 hours and he has 8 incisions.  Well, I found an update on him on Facebook.  Apparently he ended up back in the hospital and is now on a ventilator and they have been worried about his kidneys and bp.  He is 31 and I am 63.  I came through with flying colors in less than 3 hours.  Just goes to show you that you never know how anything will go in this life.  I am praying every day for him and his family.  I will keep you updated too.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


It's been a few days since I posted and it is partly because I guess I am having my first plateau or as everyone in wls land seems to call them, my first stall :(  I know I shouldn't weigh every day but I just can't help myself!  Sunday - 202, Monday - 202, Tuesday - 202, Wednesday - 202 and today, Thursday - 202 and just in case you missed that I am stuck at 202!  LOL!  I'm really okay because I know it will move, it has too because most days I am lucky to get in 600 calories.  Maybe I am in that boat where my poor body says, "Hey, if this is all you're going to give me then I am going to hold on to this fat for dear life!"  I have heard people say to eat more or drink more water but for right now I'm going to wait it out.  In fact I am believing that tomorrow will be the big day and I will drop into "Onederland"!  Hey, it could happen :) 

So Tuesday night my brother-in-law was in town from AZ for work and we went to dinner.  We went to Red Robin and I checked the menu out before hand and knew what I was going to have.  I ordered the Chicken Tortilla soup without the tortilla strips on it.  I asked them for a to go container when I ordered and I put half the bowl of soup in the container immediately.  It was pretty good, not hot enough for me because I like soup really hot and I know I was very light on my protein for the day because there were only maybe 3  little pieces of chicken in there but it felt good to go to a restaurant with family and have something to eat and do okay.  One of my grandsons was there and sat next to me and we played the games on the kid's menu which kept me distracted and not feeling deprived at all.  Anytime spent with a grandchild is better than eating anyway in my book.  Love, love, love my grandchildren!
I have a really goofy look on my face but if you look at the before picture at the beginning page of the blog you can see I have lost a substantial amount from then.

That is all for today, peeps!  Hope everyone has a great night!

Monday, September 30, 2013

         Wisdom can be found everywhere!

Found this online and it is much better than anything I have to say today.  I will aspire to not make these mistakes.  I hope this helps someone else too!

1st Mistake: Not Taking Vitamins, Supplements, or MineralsEvery WLS patient has specific nutritional needs depending on the type of surgery you have had. Not only is it a good idea to ask your surgeon for guidelines, but also consult with an experienced WLS nutritionist. Understand there is not a standard practice that all surgeons and nutritionists follow in guiding WLS patients. So, it is important to do your own research, get your lab tests done regularly, and learn how to read the results. Some conditions and symptoms that can occur when you are deficient in vitamins, supplements, or minerals include: Osteoporosis; pernicious anemia; muscle spasms; high blood pressure; burning tongue; fatigue; loss of appetite; weakness; constipation and diarrhea; numbness and tingling in the hands and feet; being tired, lethargic, or dizzy; forgetfulness, and lowered immune functioning. Keep in mind, too, that some conditions caused by not taking your vitamins, supplements, or minerals are irreversible.
2nd Mistake: Assuming You Have Been Cured of Your Obesity

A "pink cloud" or honeymoon experience is common following WLS. When you are feeling better than you have in years, and the weight is coming off easily, it's hard to imagine you will ever struggle again. But unfortunately, it is very common for WLS patients to not lose to their goal weight or to regain some of their weight back. A small weight regain may be normal, but huge gains usually can be avoided with support, education, effort, and careful attention to living a healthy WLS lifestyle. For most WLSers, if you don't change what you've always done, you're going to keep getting what you've always gotten -- even after weight loss surgery.
Mistake: Drinking with Meals 

Yes, it's hard for some people to avoid drinking with meals, but the tool of not drinking with meals is a critical key to long-term success. If you drink while you eat, your food washes out of your stomach much more quickly, you can eat more, you get hungry sooner, and you are at more risk for snacking. Being too hungry is much more likely to lead to poor food choices and/or overeating.
Mistake: Not Eating Right

Of course everyone should eat right, but in this society eating right is a challenge. You have to make it as easy on yourself as possible. Eat all your meals--don't skip. Don't keep unhealthy food in sight where it will call to you all the time. Try to feed yourself at regular intervals so that you aren't as tempted to make a poor choice. And consider having a couple of absolutes: for example, avoid fried foods completely, avoid sugary foods, always use low-fat options, or only eat in a restaurant once a week. Choose your "absolutes" based on your trigger foods and your self knowledge about what foods and/or situations are problematic for you.
Mistake: Not Drinking Enough Water 

Most WLS patients are at risk for dehydration. Drinking a minimum of 64 oz. of water per day will help you avoid this risk. Adequate water intake will also help you flush out your system as you lose weight and avoid kidney stones. Drinking enough water helps with your weight loss, too.
Mistake: Grazing 

Many people who have had WLS regret that they ever started grazing, which is nibbling small amounts here and there over the course of the day. It's one thing to eat the three to five small meals you and your doctor agree you need. It's something else altogether when you start to graze, eating any number of unplanned snacks. Grazing can easily make your weight creep up. Eating enough at meal time, and eating planned snacks when necessary, will help you resist grazing. Make a plan for what you will do when you crave food, but are not truly hungry. For example, take up a hobby to keep your hands busy or call on someone in your support group for encouragement.
Mistake: Not Exercising Regularly 

Exercise is one of the best weapons a WLS patient has to fight weight regain. Not only does exercise boost your spirits, it is a great way to keep your metabolism running strong. When you exercise, you build muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn, even at rest!
Mistake: Eating the Wrong Carbs (or Eating Too Much)

Let's face it, refined carbohydrates are addictive. If you eat refined carbohydrates they will make you crave more refined carbohydrates. There are plenty of complex carbohydrates to choose from, which have beneficial vitamins. For example, if you can handle pastas, try whole grain Kamut pasta--in moderation, of course. (Kamut pasta doesn't have the flavor some people find unpleasant in the whole wheat pastas.) Try using your complex carbohydrates as "condiments," rather than as the center point of your meal. Try sprinkling a tablespoon of brown rice on your stir-fried meat and veggies.
Mistake: Going Back to Drinking Soda 

Drinking soda is controversial in WLS circles. Some people claim soda stretches your stomach or pouch. What we know it does is keep you from getting the hydration your body requires after WLS--because when you're drinking soda, you're not drinking water! In addition, diet soda has been connected to weight gain in the general population. The best thing you can do is find other, healthier drinks to fall in love with. They are out there.
10th Mistake: Drinking Alcohol 

If you drank alcohol before surgery, you are likely to want to resume drinking alcohol following surgery. Most surgeons recommend waiting one year after surgery. And it is in your best interest to understand the consequences of drinking alcohol before you do it. Alcohol is connected with weight regain, because alcohol has 7 calories per gram, while protein and vegetables have 4 calories per gram. Also, some people develop an addiction to alcohol after WLS, so be very cautious. Depending on your type of WLS, you may get drunker, quicker after surgery, which can cause health problems and put you in dangerous situations. If you think you have a drinking problem, get help right away. Putting off stopping drinking doesn't make it any easier, and could make you a lot sicker

Sunday, September 29, 2013

                       This and That

Life is such a learning experience and having wls starts you off on a whole new learning curve.  One thing I have learned is that it is much easier to try to blog every few days rather than every day or even every other day.  I am a very interesting person (LOL!) but even I don't have that much to say that anyone cares to hear!

A few things to tell you though.  I have a guy friend that had wls last Tues. 9/24.  Turns out the surgery that should've taken about 3 hours took them 10 hours and he has 8 incisions.  Obviously  he had major complications of some sort.  I do not know what happened yet but will post more when I know more.  He is only in his late 20's so age was not a factor.

I went to Pizza Hut on Friday night after my grandson's football game.  It was an interesting experience.  We were with the family of my 14 y/o granddaughter's boyfriend.  I looked at what they had on the salad bar and I looked at the menu and there was really absolutely nothing I felt I could or should eat at this stage in the journey so I just sipped on a large glass of ice water. The table was soon covered with pizza, calzones, breadsticks, marinara sauce and salad bar plates.  I looked at this couple that I just met and said, "Please don't think I am totally strange for not eating but I had gastric bypass a month ago and there is really nothing I can have and I am fine with just my water." Well, God works in mysterious ways and this young gentleman says, "Oh wow, I had the lap band done about a year ago and I have lost 140 pounds!" Suddenly I had a whole bunch of interesting things in common to talk to this couple about and it made it so much easier to sit there while they were all eating.  I felt a little bit sad and deprived but not majorly so and I got through it.  I had eaten my last little meal at about 2pm and it was about 10pm when I got home and I just don't like to eat that late so I didn't.  I was a bit light on my protein for the day as a result but I just figure if it doesn't happen often I will be okay. 

Then last night we went to my brother's for dinner and a movie.  They had spaghetti, garlic bread and a raw veggie tray.  I just figured I was not going to eat again but then my niece and my brother remembered they had some frozen meatballs and we nuked one for me and put a teeny bit of spaghetti sauce on top.  I cut it into about 30 pieces and it took me longer to eat my little meatball than all the rest of them to eat their plateful of spaghetti and bread.  I was completely satisfied, it was something new for me to eat and later when they broke out all the movie candy I pulled out my little sugar free chocolate pudding cup and slowly savored it.  Yay!  I can survive anything!!

Friday I went to the thrift store and purchased 2 pair of jeans and a really cute pink and brown warm-up suit in a size 18.  I was originally a 22 pants and 2x top.  I have found a few XL tops to get me by for a bit.  A size 18 may still be a big size by some standards but to me it feels like a size 6 right now!  That is kind of funny because I will never wear a size 6, I am just too large boned, just ask my size 11 shoes, lol!  But I will be ecstatic if I can get down to maybe a size 12 one day.  One day at a time, right??!!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

                      Why do I overeat?

I have been thinking a lot about obesity, why some of us choose to eat too much, whether it is addiction or addictive personality, etc.  And of course, that is leading me down the path of trying to figure out why I overeat, when I began to overeat, when I first realized I was fat.  I have 3 brothers and none of them are obese.  All of them have had short periods of time where they got a little overweight but they took control, lost the weight, and have stayed pretty fit and healthy.  Why am I different?

We grew up pretty poor and food was sometimes kind of scarce.  The food we did have to eat was not of great quality and our mom was not a good cook.  I was pretty skinny as a child and I don't remember food being much of an issue.  I was very active, always outdoors, always playing, running, riding bikes, you name it so I probably would've been skinny no matter what we had to eat.  I remember lots and lots of bologna.  To this day I don't like it, had enough as a kid I guess.  I remember being upset when dad butchered our rabbits and made Hasenpfeffer.  But other than those 2 memories I don't recall much surrounding food.

When I eloped with DH at 16 I was pretty thin.  We hardly had 2 pennies to rub together and ate cheap.  Lots of things made with ground beef, hot dogs, that sort of thing.  We were in the military and made very little money and had to stretch it between paydays.  I was still pretty thin and even after my daughter who was born when I was 17, I still didn't have a weight problem.  I guess it was after my eldest son was born when I was 22 that I began to pack on the pounds.  I was a stay at home mom and I didn't have a car so I guess I began to use food as a companion.  I would bake a lot, especially cookies and when the kids would nap I would get a big glass of milk and a plateful of cookies and watch TV while I scarfed them down without paying much attention to what I was doing.  Mindless eating...I think that has been part of my downfall and I am still struggling with it.  For at least 40 years I have been eating while watching television, reading a book or doing something on the computer.  It is hard to change habits that have continued for that long.  I still find myself doing it and it is a big no-no on the list of things I have to do for my success.

I don't have any answers for you as to what was making me overeat for so many years.  I am and will continue to explore and try to recognize what it is that causes me to do it and if I come up with any answers, you, my blog readers, will be the first to know!

Monday, September 23, 2013

                     Day 26 Post-Op

Coming up on 4 weeks since the surgery.  Some days it feels like it has been a long time and I have to remind myself that this is still new.  I kind of messed up but not in a  bad way.  I have been doing 2 weeks of the pureed diet but when I re-read my info it says I only do 1 week of pureed.  It certainly hasn't hurt me but I am ready for more normal texture and perhaps more choices.  I will be moving to the soft phase of the eating plan.  No more having to make everything the texture of baby food or applesauce, yay!

I have been struggling a little with some head hunger.  Just normal life situations, for example, yesterday DH made baby back ribs for the rest of the family.  Several hours of slow cooking with that wonderful smell permeating the entire house.  I caught myself imagining trying to eat some of them.  But after a few minutes and a little self-talk I was okay.

Then today we went to my grandson's football game.  Afterwards they all wanted to go to Cold Stone Creamery.  My oldest son, Eric, is dieting so at least I didn't have to be the only one not indulging.  It was a little bit hard.  My granddaughter, Kaitlin, had a Chai flavored ice cream in one of those chocolate dipped waffle bowls.  That would've been my container of choice back in the day.  My Kaitlin is a beautiful 14 y/o dancer and has that body.  It was interesting to watch her eat her ice cream.  I would've eaten every bite and also consumed the entire chocolate waffle bowl but she ate some of the ice cream and nibbled on the edges of the waffle bowl.  She left most of it for the trash.  I keep reminding myself that is how thin people eat.  The lesson I took away from the experiences is that this is still going to be really hard.  Up until now I haven't really thought that much about food other  than the things I can currently have but I have to live in the real world and figure out ways not to feel so deprived in situations like this.  Don't get me wrong, I was fine, I got through it but it was a wake up call for the rest of my life.

Today my weight was 204.8 so I have officially hit the 40 pounds lost mark!  What I am really having a hard time with is the fact that I don't feel so much better.  I guess that somehow I thought my fibromyalgia and my painful joints and my energy level (read that as, having no energy at all) would improve or maybe go away.  And they still might but I am sad that I don't feel a lot better yet.  I just thought I would.  I am getting all my vitamins every day.  I am getting at least  60 grams of protein so I don't know.  DH wants me to talk to the docs about it so I guess I will...eventually. 

I know this wasn't a very uplifting post and that is just not me.  Perhaps I am going through some of what the gals at call wls puberty.  Apparently your hormones are carried in your fat cells and when you lose weight you get a sudden influx of those hormones to your system.  I am sure feeling emotional the last few days so maybe that is what it is.  I  will keep you posted, my friends.