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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!