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About this blog

Daily account from newbie to loser's bench

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nestingdoll

About 6 years ago, I joined this community and became HOOKED on the fact that I could use the gastric bypass as a tool to help in the extreme battle of the bulge.  I had my surgery on 3-19-12, and it was a complete success. 

I'll go ahead and answer the burning question:  At my heaviest documented weight, I was 397lbs.  When my surgery was scheduled, I was down to 268lbs.  My goal weight was 145.  The lowest I ever got was 147. Today, I'm weighing in at 161(and not too happy about it). Will I battle for the last 16lbs to be gone??  Of course!!  What's 16 lbs when you started at 397?? 

Let's get real:  life is messy.  Gastric bypass doesn't make it any less messy.  Since my last blog, I lost down to 147lbs, then gained some back.  However, I survived my hubby's 2.5 year deployment, infidelity in my marriage, a long pause then restart to my math degree (I feel your cringes from here), moving across the country, complete separation from half of my family, hospitalization for viral meningitis for one month and subsequent detox from fentanyl over the span of 2 months, AND 5 years of growth for each of my girls. 

I decided, however, that it's important to continue my blog on thinnertimesforum.  Along the way, I will post about real life, real food, and the real challenges that I face daily.  I promise to document every achievement, shortfall, and swan dive off of the wagon. 

Last November, I started becoming frantic, frankly.  I knew I was losing control, again.  I started looking WAY too much like 397lb me. 

Here are my personal warning signs that I'm reverting:

1.  Avoiding the scale or making excuses like, "That's not 'real' weight; I'm about to start my period in 2 weeks.  Or, my favorite, "It must be water weight from the salt I had yesterday."  No sweetie, it was the fries that the salt was on. 

2.  Daily decisions to "start a new lifestyle."  In November, I decided to do the 5 day pouch. It was "ridiculous this far post-op."   Then, I decided I would live and Atkins lifestyle.  Reality check:  Atkins plus carbohydrates isn't Atkins.  It was "too hard while I'm in school." 

3.  I suddenly have a larger stack of "goal" jeans in my closet than I do of current fit jeans.  That's okay, self, "you'll get back into them after the holidays.  The hubby must've shrunk them in the dryer." 

4.  I keep telling myself that "I'm a health foodie. I wrote a wholefoods blog. I don't eat like that" as I'm eating a burger or handful of chips. 

5.  My house is suddenly bursting at the seams with junk food and chocolate and I lie to myself, "it's for the hubby and the kids."  Yeah, honey?? Then, stop eating their food.

6.  I KNOW deep down that I'm letting the food monster creep back in...nay, the food monster is here, bigger than life.  But, if I cram the food into my mouth super fast, the calories somehow won't count.....  There's not even any logic in that one.

I'm done with that version of myself.  Done.  So, I've spent several weeks reflecting on my journey.  This is a fork in the road, a pivotal moment in my life.  Will I be a success long-term or will I become one of those people that everyone's co-worker warned you about----that lady everyone knows that had gastric bypass and ended up bigger than before. 

Here are the truths that I've written down to remind myself what's at stake:

1.  "Living to eat" only leads to one place.  Weight loss surgery is like playing a game of chutes and ladders.  All it did was set me back at the beginning.  If I take the same footsteps I did before, I will get to the exact same place. I used to say, "If I had it to do over again, I would have.......(never stopped running, fallen in love with nutritious food, said no to every second helping, etc...)"  I got a re-do.  I'm calling my own bluff.  Am I strong enough to do it differently this time?  Every step counts.  I will make the most of each one.

2.  Maintaining my spoiled-brat food attitude means failure.   Eating to live means prioritizing my health TODAY, not starting tomorrow.  If there's anything we should all know, it's that being healthy is freedom and being unhealthy is a prison of flesh.  So, why have I been choosing things that are unhealthy to put inside my body?? Isn't it about time that I give it what it needs instead of what I want??  Is it only in America that we whine about eating fresh fruits and veggies while other parts of the planet don't have any??  Is it only in America that we whine about how fresh food doesn't taste good enough because we don't get the taste of cheesecake with every bite?  Are we a nation of fist-pounding toddlers refusing to eat our green beans and wanting to move straight to dessert?  Attitude is a decision.  Changing it is as easy as changing my mind.  "Do or do not, there is no try--Yoda"

3.  There is NO cheat code for this game.  There is NO way to live a life of food splurging and NOT gain all of my weight back.  There is no magical combination of foods that will allow me to "eat the foods I love and still lose weight" unless I learn to love foods that are healthy for my body.   If my plate holds the same foods that it did when I was 397lbs, I should run, terrified, to the garbage bin, scrape it frantically, and start over.  We all know the combination to weight loss.  This is not rocket science.  Eat an appropriate amount of foods that are dense in nutrients and lead an active life.  LIVE.

4.  I am not "cured." I will always be a food-aholic; I should never let my guard down.  Food is not a reward.  Using it to celebrate is dangerous.  Do alcoholics give themselves a pass on their birthdays or holidays?? I sure hope not.  Rewarding myself with dangerous food reinforces my food addiction and makes it easier to make excuses for the next meal...like "I've already blown "my diet" for the day, I'll start again tomorrow."  I have had enough fried and sugary foods for a lifetime.  Eating them did not make me happy.  In fact, eating them made me miserable.  I will remember that this is not my "diet," this is my life.  This is not my lifestyle.  This is my life.  This is a life that "blowing it" with a plate of food means walking back toward being a mommy that couldn't bend over to tie her own shoes.  This is a life that is worth more than trading it for a piece of cake or a slice of pizza. 

 

BACK TO MYSELF:

The last 16 lbs will be reached by becoming again the best version of myself, not by further depleting my body.  I'm currently on day 8 of going back her.  She wrote a daily whole foods blog and was a serious health foodie.  Every bite of food that went into her mouth was for one reason:  TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY of her life.  She believed in the power of nutrition to heal and that foods should be eaten as close to their natural state as possible.  She didn't need to count calories, fat grams, carbs, etc... because when you're living the right way, your body balances itself.  And, the greatest part of all.....I'm still her.  I just need to remind myself of that. 

 

 

nestingdoll

This morning, my 7 year old daughter woke up, ran to a little pink jewelry box, flew open the lid, and gasped. Instead of the tiny, little baby tooth that she hid there the night before, she found a silver dollar. Magic. She instantaneously donned the cap of the town crier and floated about the house, excitedly explaining to my 3 year old daughter the steps with which to attain this magical tooth-alchemy. The look on her face was contagious. My three year old was wearing it moments after her first glimpse of the "doubloon." (She's into pirates in a big way.) As a matter of fact, it's the same look they get when Santa Claus has left their presents under the tree or the Easter Bunny has left goodies in baskets outside of their bedroom doors. Want to know a secret?...grown ups get it, too. I wore the exact same expression last night.

It all started with my realization that I really wasn't going to do my homework until the last minute on Sunday night...so, I gave up clock-watching and went to the bathroom to draw myself a bath. The kids were snugly nestled in bed and a cup of post-bath sugar free Apple Cider was calling my name. So, I stripped down, threw my clothes in the laundry basket and all but sprinted to the tub (the house was unusually cold). When I reclined in the water to warm up, I reached for a bar of the hubby's soap (he's gone again, so I use his soap to keep that smell alive in the house). I placed it on my thighs to wet my hair with both hands....and....it....fell....through.

Thinking to myself that I didn't remember spreading my legs apart, I fished the bar of soap out of the water and repeated. Again, it fell through. Ladies and gentlemen, for my first act, I will now make soap disappear??? Have I become some wicked thigh magician? No. But, there is evidence of a magical being that is sadly left out of every fairy tale and folk lore book I've ever read.....in fact, I don't know her name. In the middle of the night, she graciously took some of my thigh cellulite and left, in its place......a SPACE! You can see through them.....WITH MY KNEES TOUCHING!!!!!! Yes, I called it a "she"...I'm convinced it's a female creature...after all, who else would understand the agony of thigh cellulite?? That, or the Sand Man has some sort of leg fetish and is now using his powers for much more good?? Either way, I'm positive that my usually pessimistic/realistic expression was traded, if only momentarily, for the starry-eyed, jaw dropped expression of a child looking at tooth fairy doubloons. Magic....pure magic!

Remember the day after you got your engagement ring? When you couldn't stop looking at your hand, twisting it in the sunlight and almost wrecking the car? Yes? Then, you can imagine what today has been.....so far, I have proven that a remote control, my deodorant bottle, and my skinniest coffee mug can all occupy that new mystical thigh space with my knees miraculously together! So, whether its name is the Midnight Thigh Bandit, Leg Slimming Gnome, or the Cellulite Vampire........THANK YOU!!!!! (and PLEASE tell me that you have a buddy called the Panni-poofer, Tummy-Tucker, or Lipo-Leprechaun!) I know, I know.....it might be silly to believe in the panni-poofer.....but on the day after your thighs no longer touch.....anything will become possible to you, too.

nestingdoll

In honor of losing 101 lbs as of this morning, after being stalled for 2 weeks at the -98 lb mark, I have to do it... Prepare yourself for the mandatory (though perhaps trite) listing of random things that weigh 100 lbs.

15 Random Things that weigh 100 lbs:

1. 1 baby hippo

2. The average 13 year old child

3. 50 large tubs Country Crock

4. A 2-month old foal

5. A hellfire missle (HAL-3)

6. 10 bags of flour

7. 10 medium sized bowling balls

8. 12 gallons of drinking water

9. 50 pairs of shoes

10. 5 giant Thanksgiving turkeys

11. 5 average car tires

12. 1 semi-truck tire

13. 3 cinderblocks

14. $45,359 in single dollar bills

15. Miley Cyrus

Today, another goal has been met, and it feels FANTASTIC! Sure, I'll strut with a little more attitude. My chin will be in the upright and locked position, and I might even wear that Vera Wang size 10 tunic I found at a vintage shop for $5. BUT---today is also the day that I reconfirm my commitment to the process and not let myself forget where exactly I came from and how easy it is to go back there. I'm choosing not to wake up from the fairytale.... and in doing so, I'm choosing to obey the pouch so that baby hippo doesn't conveniently come back home to settle in around my midsection.

nestingdoll

With the drastic changes that have kept my life in quicksand since the surgery.....Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you change number 4,589,222 and a half. We will be heading to Louisiana mid-December, instead of February.

This means, mind you, that the Army has siphoned another couple of months away from me....thanks, Uncle Sam. And, the clincher.....my finals will be the Wednesday before our weekend move. YIKES! CALGON!!!!!!!!

"They" warn that life goes on after WLS.....and "they" are, alas, correct! In fact....I'd kinda like to take Mr. Murphy de la Murphy's Law out back and smack him around a little bit. That being said, this change is yet another reminder of how important it is to make food a routine instead of a reaction. Can I claim a little NSV.....I didn't have a food response to the news. :) (Nor, I might add, did I have a cigarette behavior.)

The stress continues, but my resolve remains. I WILL be successful. I WILL meet my goals. I WILL continue to redefine food until I eat to live. And, I WILL NOT give in to the stresses of life that have caused me to abandon hope in the past.

Louisiana, here we come! So, here's hoping that the pace of life down there is as slow as I remember. I could use some porch swinging, fire-fly catching, music-listening, friend gathering, family hugging time. :)

nestingdoll

This week, I was assigned a self-portrait as my end of year project. It's a daunting proposition for anyone, I suppose. BUT, for me and those like me, it's a bit terrifying for a couple of reasons:

First, the assignment is to draw myself "with the aid of a mirror, not a picture." Don't get me wrong.....I often look at my body in the mirror....but this assignment is a head shot. It's odd, but the idea of making eye contact with myself in the mirror makes me a little nervous....it makes me wonder who that girl is that's staring back.

Second, as the self-portrait progresses, we must display it and stand beside it for critique. My first critique was, shall we say, telling.

I can't stop my hand from giving myself chipmunk cheeks, double-chins, and quarterback shoulders. My classmates actually thought it was hilarious that I "made myself fat." It was the closest I've come to utter humiliation since I can remember.

The biggest challenge, I think, is going to be actually seeing what's in front of me, instead of allowing my insecurities to end up on my page. And, the biggest problem with this is that I have no idea when I'm doing it. I draw, thinking that I've finally accomplished the task....and I get feedback like, "that girl weighs 300 lbs." My first instinct, to be honest, is to say, "yeah? so do I." On Wednesdays, I weigh in and tell the hubby the weekly verdict.....but the majority of the time, I slip up and report my weight as 270 instead of 170.

I'm foreign to me. I still see myself as clay, if you know what I mean. I'm not "done," yet. I'm not finished. I'm cake batter, not a cake.... The only way I can think of to word my feelings is, "I'm not ME in the mirror, yet," as weird as that sounds. I'm not familiar with that person I look at in the mirror....I'm strangely taken aback by her. Like looking at the funny mirrors at the circus. Her eyes look like mine. She's not real, yet. I don't think of her as permanent, yet. She's a "could be," a "wish," a "mirage."

Strange, isn't it, that I don't recognize myself? I remember catching a glimpse of myself in a random reflection in the mall when I weighed my heaviest....I was horrified that I actually looked like that. Reality hits hard. I hardly recognized myself, then. Seems like I'm pretty good at hiding myself from myself. It's kinda scary to be forced to peel back those protective layers and try to figure out what I really look like. What if I don't like what I see? After all of this?

nestingdoll

Okay, I've done it....I've begun getting that hyper paranoia that goes hand in hand with the unflinching NEED to succeed at this surgery. Now, I'm wondering (after my itty bitty weight gain this week) whether my stoma is stretched.

I haven't felt as much "restriction" lately when I eat. So, the natural question: Is this because I've learned to eat the appropriate amount of food for my pouch or is a stretched out stoma the culprit?? I read a post from a WLS patient who happened to be a physician....he was responding to someone else's paranoid stoma-stretching rant. He wrote the words that have been HAUNTING me for the past couple of days, (I'll try to write them as exact as I read them, but don't quote me.) "If you begin to feel satisfied, take one more bite and you're well on your way to a stretched out stoma."

ONE MORE BITE??? OH.MY.GOD. What are the odds that I've had one bite too many?? Pretty high, actually. Don't get me wrong, I don't eat by the restriction method. But, there are times that I haven't measured, and there are times that my 1/4 C of food left me satisfied BEFORE I finished it. So, the "one more bite" thing is a pretty substantial warning, for sure!!!

The very last thing that I want to have happen is to become that statistic.....the one that regained all of her weight after 2 years of losing it all. The theory that I've heard repeatedly is that most of these "failures" are caused by stoma-dilation. So, the questions are mounting:

How easy is this to do?

Surely, that kind of damage would hurt, right??

Are there symptoms that it's happening before it's too late?

Can we get testing to find out if it's happening to us?

Basically, HOW CAN I AVOID BEING BLIND-SIDED BY A COMPLETE WLS FAILURE IN THE FUTURE??

I've read about the injections that some people have done via endoscopy to create scar tissue to restrict the stoma. And, I've read all about the Rose procedure. Both articles brought me HUGE amounts of relief, BUT I'd still like to be fully aware of the signs and symptoms of stoma dilation LONG BEFORE any repair work is necessary.

Does anyone have info on this? I'm simply not finding any clear-cut facts....and I'm the kind of gal this is reassured by cold, hard facts, regardless of how cold and hard they are. Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

Uber-paranoid plan: Slow meal times back down to 30 minutes. Turn off all distractions so I can fully tune back in to my pouch. Limit ALL intake to 1/4 C. Stop drinking 15 min before eating. (a rule that some people have in their plans but is not in mine....I do wait 1 hour after eating to drink)

nestingdoll

Wednesday mornings, I can hardly finish peeing before I begin stripping out of my bedclothes to step onto the scale in my bathroom. On most Wednesdays, I do a victory dance while still on the scale, then make like the Town Crier and skip down the hall, announcing my new weight. Today was not one of those days.

There was no groggy-eyed half smile when I peeked down at a new, lower number. There was no naked victory dance on top of my scale. There was no town crier imitation. There was no skipping down the hall. In the Wednesday morning celebration's place, instead was a 2-lb increase in weight.

Now, the heated battle ensues between the logical part of my brain and the, shall we say, immature foot-stomping side of my brain. My logical side KNOWS that weight fluctuates, I'm due for my period, and I haven't been getting all of my water in. The child-like victory dancer and skipper doesn't care. The logical side remembers that I've been a little lax in logging all of my calories (usually the last meal of the day) and it's possible, though highly unlikely that I've been going over my 1200 cals. I'm not overeating on portions, not eating the wrong things, not drinking while eating, not grazing, etc.... I'm following the rules, just breaking my commitment to document every bite of the entire day. (But let me add that I have been logging all but the last meal of the day and I go into that meal knowing I have calories to spare.) The petulant side of me wants to fling herself face first onto the carpet, kicking and screaming, terrified that the honeymoon is over. The logical side of me knows that I've been stealing gym hours to prepare for midterms and that my B-12 injections have been on back-order for almost a month, now. The foot-stomper is trying to convince me that I need to get used to the size I am now.

So, in the mind game that is Thunderdome-esque.....two men enter, one man leaves.....the proverbial jury is still out. And, sadly, it will probably remain out until I weigh in next Wednesday. The difference, hopefully, will be to give my logical side a few less reasons why it could be legitimate weight gain and not just a WLS fluke.

Hey, it could be worse....I could be freaking out that I dilated my stoma or that I am one of those that just stops losing around the 170 mark. NAH.....one week does not a life choice make. I simply need to buckle back down and prove to myself in writing that this is merely a stall, not a rebound. So, I'm redoubling my efforts to document every morsel and giving myself a bit of leeway at the gym until midterms are over. After that, a redoubling there, too. I WILL push through, without sabotaging my efforts so far. Repeat after me: there is no such thing as napalming this path!

PS: My cigarette behavior is officially over. I've been 4 days without one, now, and the thought of one is enough to turn my stomach. Don't know what happened, but I can't tell you how grateful I am that the mood has passed.

nestingdoll

Oh, where, oh, where have my soapboxes gone?? Oh, where, oh, where could they be??? For those of you that have happened across one or two of my blogs, you know me to be a rather mouthy gal with a crude sense of humor and an ever-ready opinion already aimed carefully at moving targets, ready to let fly at any moment someone may even hint that they wonder what I'm thinking. Who am I kidding...I don't wait until someone asks....I let the opinions fly and land where they may. Who was it that said, "Never explain yourself. A friend doesn't need an explanation and an enemy won't believe you anyway??"

Now that I'm officially on anti-anxiety medications.....I'm noticing that my sometimes overwhelming urge to inform any passersby of my opinions.......is lacking, lately. While this might seem a noticeable IMPROVEMENT to those around me.....I think it may be starting to bother me. Maybe.

After all, I'll have no idea who I am without my opinions.....but the house IS much more quiet. And, I guess I really should acknowledge the fact that I feel like I'm more at peace with the planet. Usually, I'm either overwhelmed or underwhelmed. Lately, I'm just.....um.....whelmed. I guess it's not a bad thing. Should I be worried that I don't even have a strong opinion about no longer having strong opinions??

Oh well.....I'm thinking maybe a vacation from the soapboxes is okay for now. Quiet moments without worry are becoming more frequent....even in the middle of the calc II semester. Hmmmmm....peace. Whoever thought I'd be feeling that???

It's nice, I think. And the only down side I see to it is that the bats in the belfry may be getting lonely without my opinions to keep them company. :) My only response to that remote possibility is IF YOU'RE CRAZY AND YOU KNOW IT, SHAKE YOUR MEDS! *shake shake*

nestingdoll

Alright!!!! THAT'S IT! After several weekends in a row shopping in person (vs. online, my usual), I've come to the conclusion that there is a serious problem, here.

I ventured forth in the Reno-area shopping malls after a couple of snide remarks from my hubby's GI buddies, like "hey, honey, you know they actually make jeans that don't look like hammer pants." Thank you for your subtle alert that it is, indeed, time to purchase new clothing, sir. And, after the past couple of internet orders coming in already too big, I decided to suck it up and show my face at.....yes......a shopping mall. BLEH!!

If you're anything like me, you have a long monologue of reasons why shopping malls aren't the place for you. My last experience went a little like this: Hubby wanted me to buy a sexy bustier, so I went into a "regular" store, chose one, and proceeded to the customer service attendant who scoffed at me, told me "regardless of bra size, the bustier needs to be able to close all the way down," then reminded me to save my receipt for when I wanted to return it. I left in a huff and went four doors down to Cacique (Lane Bryant's lingerie shop), where they were rude and informed me the they don't carry my size in their store. Ah, shopping....the coliseum of the drama biotch gladiators. And, coincidentally, a place I can no longer avoid....

So, pushing these thoughts as far as I could out of my mind, I marched onward to "try on clothes" to determine my size. I only have one question:

WHY, LORD, DO PEOPLE THINK YOU WANT TO DRESS LIKE A TEENY-BOPPER HO-BAG IF YOU'RE UNDER A SIZE 14???

Still no success. Are my only choices in wardrobe identity a) old lady in black with random pleating over the boobs or :cool: teenage HO-bag.

WHERE ARE YOU GUYS SHOPPING????

nestingdoll

SAY CHEESE!

I have a mother-in-law that does the unthinkable.....she frames AND hangs AND gives as gifts the world's worst pictures of me. They're all over her house, on her calendars, and because she gives them as gifts....they're now all over MY house. Yeah....unthinkable. Dusting my house yesterday, my horror was renewed as I realized that in each of the photos....I was (brace yourself).....doing what can only be described as "The Asian Freak." Let me explain....

Close your eyes and pretend that you're in a group of people and someone a few feet away is telling you to "squish together" for a photo. I'm not sure what goes through your heads, but it's all too obvious (as evidenced by the photos) what goes through mine.

"Squish Together, Everyone"

Now, there are a few things automatically wrong with this picture, no pun intended. Squish together? I'm already "squished" into my clothing and my muffin-top is already fighting my shirt so it can bask in the sunshine. You want me to squish next to other people? Who cares if they're family....if someone touches the blumps (aka fat rolls) down either of my sides, back, or stomach, I'm going to start swinging. Game plan: SUCK IN REALLY HARD AND FLINCH IF ANYONE COMES TOO CLOSE. Remember, no breathing. Now, of course, this game plan has serious consequences....like an odd posture, a bluish tint to my lips, and a paranoid expression in my eyes.

"Okay, Everyone, on the count of three..." God, please let this end quickly and please no do-overs.

"One" Oh, no. I don't want anyone to see my chins. Quick, chin out, head tilted to the side, mouth slightly open. Now, I look like a big old weirdo, trying to catch flies. Lips still blue. Posture still odd.

"Two" I'd better smile so it doesn't look like I'm trying to be a weirdo with my mouth open. Big smile. Grinning pushes my cheeks up into my eyes, so I take on a decidedly Asian appearance. Head still tilted. Breath still held. Lips more blue. Posture still odd.

"Three" Open eyes wider so I won't look Asian and try to hide my jelly rolls by bending my arms and placing them directly on top of the biggest blumps. Breath still held. Lips more blue. Posture still odd. Now, I look like a super perky Asian freak carrying an invisible baby while holding her breath and grinning like a buffoon, head tilted.

"CHEESE." I can't say "cheese" with my breath held and trying to maintain a suitable open-eyed posture that is sure to be "the only good picture of me." So, I think "cheese." And, frankly, there is nothing quite as cheesy as a super perky Asian freak carrying an invisible baby while holding an invisible baby while holding her breath and grinning like a buffoon. Trust me. I have the pictures to prove it.

My reason for posting this? I notice that there are many of you, TONS OF NEWBIES, that have yet to post a picture of yourselves. And, I wanted to say two things:

One: We all have pics that we hate, but post one anyway. That way, when you start losing weight, we can all oooh and aaaaahh over how much your face has changed!

Two: If the reason that you hate all of your pics is that you also do the Asian Freak, you are not alone.

Now that I say that....a group pic would be HILARIOUS! HA!

nestingdoll

Confession: I've been neglecting my blog. Not such a big shocker, is it?

UPDATE:

Weight loss continues, miraculously, in spite of all of the stress that currently lives in the house. Slow and steady. But, the doughy bleh skin on my lower tummy seems to be growing disproportionately large compared to the few pounds here and there that I'm losing.

The house hunt in Louisiana continues....you wouldn't believe how few homes there are for rent in the area where we're looking. I'm finally working with two different property management companies down there to try to get first dibs on the right place. Wish me luck.

Anxiety meds......oh boy. Daily headaches for a little more than a week have finally given way to what can only be described as a lessening of my moods. If I'm happy, I'm not as happy. If I'm sad, I'm not as sad. If anxiety is the culprit, the final straw doesn't seem so heavy. I promised I'd give the meds a chance to work, so I'm hanging in there.

Classes and semester projects are becoming the focus of my life for the moment, with the hubby's work hours extending and the girls finally playing nicely together. Study, study, and more study hours. I wish I was one of those people that simply hoped for a passing grade instead of being neurotically stubborn about keeping my A's. I'm thinking that I need to rethink my priorities a bit, sadly.

Food has actually been less appealing, perhaps the unexpected result of the anti-anxiety meds??? I've been struggling, once again, to get in all of my calories. So.....I've been adding some ground beef back into my diet to try to boost my calories at regular meals. Fluids are dwindling, too....I just don't want it. Any of it. Food. Water. Tea. Bleh. It all suddenly seems a chore, when it used to feel routine. Eating and drinking have lost their luster.

And, an ugly thing has begun to happen....I've been sneaking cigarettes during art class and here and there at home. I can't even put my finger on why I want them so badly right now. Not sure if I'm craving the smoke or craving a few minutes to myself. This is NOT GOOD.

I know I'm guilty of a hit and run, but I have a quiz tomorrow that I'm not quite ready for.....

NEW GOAL: BLOG THREE TIMES A WEEK MINIMUM!

nestingdoll

It just dawned on me, as I was prowling Facebook and looking at the random pics that some of my high school chums posted of us..... SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! I'm THAT size NOW! I'm my high school weight?! It's a little startling for someone who judged how old I was in a picture by how fat I'd become in the picture.

So, this marvelous realization comes a little more than 3 months from the big move back to my home town....small town Louisiana. For those of you that aren't from a small town, let me just say that I have only been back once in the 10 years that I've been gone....and everything is exactly the same. Same people, same traditions, same families....the only new thing will be the generation to which I belong in the town. As b-o-r-i-n-g as that sounds to some of you....I am soooooooooooooo looking forward to being submerged in the familiar. I'm a bit tired of new places, new houses, new landlords, new schools, new neighbors. I can't wait until I can walk into the local butcher store and say hello to the same exact face behind the counter that I saw as a kid. I can't wait to put away my GPS and just know my way around town.

I don't have to say why I have avoided going back, do I? You all know. You're the only ones that get it. I didn't want to see the ripples of recognition then shock sweep across people's faces. I didn't want to be that girl from high school....the "have you seen so-and-so? she's let herself go" girl. Somehow, in my head, I wasn't only sparing myself, I was sparing them from having to see me like that. Yowch. And, the one time I did visit for a few weeks, I avoided public places and kind of became a hermit at my sister's house. My outside voice reasoning? "I'm here to visit my family, not to see old friends." My inside voice reasoning....we all know why.

Browsing those pictures, I finally felt like I wouldn't be terrified to see people I used to know. So, I announced my move back home and made plans to make plans with old acquaintances. If I'm doing my math correctly, I might even be close to goal weight when I see them. (10 months post-op) Can't wait.

nestingdoll

I can't exactly put my finger on the moment or even the year that it began, but as I piled the pounds onto my frame, a fear of falling appeared. Maybe not so much the fear of falling but the fear of seriously injuring myself or someone else if I did fall at that weight, from any height. If you'd known me for years, you'd be shocked. As a kid I loved hiking, climbing, anything associated with heights....loved gymnastics. For the past decade, though, I've been afraid to stand on a step stool.

Immediately after my first daughter was born, I was at my heaviest weight ever....397lbs. I remember laying a blanket on the carpet so she could coo and kick at the ceiling fan. And, then, I remember never allowing myself to walk into the room. At the doorway, I would literally get on all fours and crawl to her to avoid, at all costs, tripping and falling on top of her. For the ceiling fans that I can't reach with my vacuum extender, I beg the hubby to climb onto a chair to dust them. Ladders? No. Public staircases? Only while gripping the rail, to avoid squishing unsuspecting strangers below me like a bug.

Even bigger than my fear of falling while standing or perching is this giant fear of falling while....sitting. Confession: I do the chair shake test before I sit in any chair anywhere. You know, where you grip the back of the chair and wiggle it to see how sturdy it is? Every single chair, desk, bench. Every one. Because, no chair can possibly hold me...it's just a matter of time before one leg begs for mercy then surrenders, sending me careening to the floor below, bruised hind end parts and bruised ego. So, to estimate how long a chair could possibly hold me, I'd do a quick shake test. I can't imagine what people must have thought....but I'd rather have them see me wiggle a chair than break the darn thing with my lovely lady lumps.

Last night I caught myself....I caught myself NOT WIGGLING. In the art studio, there are "drawing horses"---thin wooden benches that you straddle with your drawing board in front of you. They are old. Ancient. And, they are moved constantly....we all know the dangers here....CRASH BOOM OUCH! Last night, I pulled one from the stack, eyeballed a good place to view the model platform, put it down......and sat! LIKE A NORMAL HUMAN BEING! No wiggle. No gauging it's max capacity. I. just. sat......like it was no big deal!

This, lovelies, is a major deal for me. It means that whether or not I see my weight loss in every picture.....something inside of me gets it! My completely irrational fear of falling has dwindled.....camping chairs? yes, please. plastic lawn furniture? sure! Home made benches? ok!

....maybe later, I'll grab a chair and dust the fan in my toddler's room. (the one that I've just left on because I can't reach it and the hubby keeps forgetting to dust it) Maybe.

nestingdoll

Let me first say that my no stress day yesterday was FANTASTIC! I painted my toenails, shaved my legs (I know you guys are proud of that one), drank my protein shakes leisurely in front of the computer, and most importantly didn't touch my school books or cook dinner. I even made a bargain with myself to leave the daily kid mess until 4pm, when I would clean for one hour only and make no excuses for what was left. Guess what? IT WORKED! It felt like a day off, and my hour of cleaning actually put things back in order. Normally, my cleaning process is like Dr. Suess's "Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?"....where poor Ali Sard's job is "to mow grass in his uncle's backyard...and it's quick growing grass and it grows as he mows it. The faster he mows it, the faster he grows it." After my one whole hour of housework, I sat down to once again have a leisurely glass of tea while I tried to decide whether I wanted to sit on the back patio.....until the phone rang.

Again, another woman from my husband's work. (Is my number listed, now?) Another woman desperately seeking the elixir of weight loss. Oy! Again, another Army woman who needs to lose 15 lbs (IF that) before her next PT test in a few weeks. She wouldn't even qualify for this surgery in a third world country. So, she absolutely doesn't meet my qualifications for outing my personal medical records. Something she said, though, tipped me off that one of the women at the battalion had gotten my number from my husband....and then gave it to someone else that gave it to someone else that gave it to her. NICE! Maybe I should start answering my phone with, "Thank you for calling the Magic Diet Hotline. How can I help you further your delusions?"

All I could think of was, "Oh, so now I'm the fat whisperer?" Me? Talk about an ironic twist of reality.....I've been fat the vast majority of my life. No one in their right mind would've asked me how to lose 15 lbs a year ago, back when I had lost 130lbs on my own. In fact, they may have looked at me as an example of what not to do. Now that I've had weight loss surgery, women are coming out of the woodwork and jockeying to be the one to be sprinkled with my magic weight loss dust that I apparently stole from some Anorexia Leprechaun within the past 6 months. Let me just add a catty footnote....these are women that wouldn't even make eye contact with me at military functions in the past. They treated me like I was invisible. Now, I'm the belle of the diet ball?? Now that I won't be in a plus size formal gown, I'm worthy of being in the clubhouse? Well, guess who doesn't want to be a member of the club. I was really close to saying as much, but desperate note in the cracking voice on the other end of the line made me bite my tongue...for a minute.

I listened while she detailed just how "super fat" she'd gotten and how she was going to lose her job...(what? Pull my heartstrings, and I'll give you my treasure map? what kind of logic is this? Darn female manipulation techniques. When do the tears start?) ...then I started to feel bad, even though I still outweigh her "super fat" self by about 30lbs. What if they actually believe that I have the key! What if they believe that I can tell them, over the phone, some instant lose-weight-quick recipe? ....You've got to be kidding me, right? Step right up, folks. I have it....the super secret key to losing up to 30 lbs and 20 inches in only 30 days....but wait, there's more! Okay, now I feel like an infomercial. At this point, my disbelief has completely taken over my thought process....and I felt sorry for her...momentarily. Poor, misguided, naive thing. So....I took a deep breath and tried to be sympathetic to her needs. (while trying to push from my head that I still have 40-ish more pounds to lose while she's only needing to lose 15....IF that) *sigh*

I started asking questions....like this...."are you going nuts with food?" Answer: I don't eat a lot, but I do eat candy bars and drink tons of diet coke. "Do you work out?" Answer: I used to. (Do I really have to say it, Sweetie? Or, are you paying attention?) YES, I was snarky. I was a growling, disgruntled b-word.....but I kept it to myself. I said, "Well, you might want to start there."

Then, the totally unexpected thing happened.....a response I couldn't have predicted. "Can't you just tell me what kind of pills you're taking so I can lose this weight fast??" I expected the diet pill question, but not the hysteria...not the level of pure panic I heard behind her words. So, I told her the truth....I was taking a multivitamin. Silence. "So what else are you doing?" Limiting my calories, fat and carbs....and eating high protein and exercising. "Oh. No pills?" Nope. "Thanks, anyway." Dial tone. (So RUDE!)

If there was a miracle pill out there, I promise I would know about it by this point. I've dabbled in every diet you can think of, then graduated to diet pills, both prescription and non prescription. Wanna know what I found out? There is no Loch Ness monster. Santa does not exist. The Easter Bunny doesn't bring eggs. Aliens didn't make the crop circles. And, most importantly....people that have ongoing food issues that they refuse to face aren't successful on any diet long term. If we don't face them, it's kinda like the sinking rowboat metaphor....handing them a Dixie cup to bail water with doesn't fix the gaping hole under their feet. The hole will win.

Part of me is very aware that she doesn't believe me. Part of me is very aware of the talk that must be happening at my husband's office. Then again, there's this new part of me that doesn't give a damn. That part of me is getting stronger. This is my journey. Find your own, naysayers. No stowaways! I don't owe you an explanation for my weight loss, and I don't care what you think about me. Frankly, it's none of my business. Have fun talking while I'm getting healthier and my resolve is getting stronger. Hope those candy bars taste as good as the crow you'll eat a few years down the road when I prove you wrong.

So....I smiled, sat back down, and languished in the decadence of my no-stress day, purring the whole time.

nestingdoll

Since my lurker days, when I stumbled on CassMoxie's recipe to get my surgery approved by Triwest, I've been reading the blogs and the advice of the WLS vets on TTF. Weight stalls and protein and how-to's...OH MY! I never thought, though, that I'd soon be needing and seeking the advice of the vets on regular, non-surgery-related topics that have arisen since the slice....The last two chapters of my post-op life...."Oh my God, I can't stop crying like a wee baby" and "I'm freaking out, do I need a straight jacket".....have been serious wake-up calls.

Life picked up a bullhorn and made an announcement, "Attention....the floor will now fall from under your feet...have you found new coping mechanisms and who will you turn to for advice. Ready, Set, Go!" The funny part is that I never realized how TERRIBLE I have been in the past about asking for help or advice. I've been too....arrogant, cocky, egotistical, and embarrassed to need help. My how things have changed! These days, I drag my blubbering self to the lap top in the office, swallow the ego, and type my life...the good, the bad, the really wrinkly, the embarrassing, the shockingly embarrassing, the catty, and yes, the humbling.

The past few weeks have been a climax of stress in every compartment of my life, as I've well documented in previous blogs. BUT, while boo hoo'ing in my own blogs....I've been true to my past addictions.....reading other TTF bloggers. :) Bugdocmom, whom I've been reading since lurkerhood, posted a blog about stress that has haunted me since I read it. It lends a metaphor to the stress situation: the weight of a glass of water. Basically, the longer you hold onto it, the heavier it becomes, etc... You see where this is going.

Here's the phenomenal part....the part that should've been a logical first step in its childlike simplicity and, ironically, the part that is the hardest to do....put the glass down. I heard a chorus of "Huh?" from all of you worry-warts out there just like me. Yes. Put the glass down if it's too heavy. Even if it's only for a moment, give yourself a break. Sounds simple, doesn't it?

Normally, if I'm completely honest, I'd laugh at that advice, brush it off, and say "Easier said than done." But, then....if I were to pass someone on the street, moaning and groaning about the weight of the glass of water that they'd been holding over their heads for days a la Statue of Liberty, what advice would I give them? Yep. Note to self: Hey, dummy, put the glass down. Like I said, childlike simplicity.

Agenda for the day: none. In fact, I'm thinking about locking my school books in the boot of my car, brewing another pot of coffee, and staying in pajamas for a beyond reasonable amount of time. I might even ignore the length of the grass and bask in the sunshine or watch an old movie...or maybe do whatever I feel like doing in the moment....without looking at bills, worrying about tests, fretting over assignments, or cooking dinner. Today, I'm gonna float, without guilt.

Today, I'm putting it down....like the master from whom I've stolen this page....thanks,Bugdocmom! I owe you.....again. :)

nestingdoll

After doping up on Immodium for the weekend's stomach flu curve ball....oy!....I showed up to take my Calc II test this morning. Let's just say that I've never failed a test....but there's a first time for everything. OUCH! I've already sent the professor an email request to pick my exam up tomorrow instead of waiting until Wednesday. The last thing I want to do is to burst out in tears in front of all of the 12 year old boys in my class. (And we're all now keenly aware of how out-of-the-blue the tears can come, aren't we, post-oppers?)

So, now, I'm a bit brain fried, tummy still woozy...unknown whether its the remnants of the stomach bug or the calc test...and wishing I had a valium to stop my heart from doing those darn flutter kicks. The pouch is definitely a tiny, writhing, hot ball of ouch!

Today, I am definitely the statue, not the pigeon. LOL! And, today, I'm going to put down that darn glass of water until another time (If I'm sounding a little psychotic in this paragraph, please refer to Bugdocmom's most recent blog).........so.......in lieu of sleeping with Prince Valium, which I unfortunately do not possess......

....I'm thinking I'll go and rape the bald guy. He's off today!... :)

nestingdoll

Major Disclaimer: This post will have WAY, WAY, WAY too much info for many of you. This blog may not be suitable for people on the delicate side of the spectrum. Read at your own risk. But there will be no apologies.

Those of you who read my random blogs know that I like to take note of the shifting body shapes that greet me in the mirror post-op. I've said often that we're a bit like balloon animals....when you squeeze on one side to make the rump look smaller, somehow the nose gets bigger. In short, our proportions change...like a hallway of wacky mirrors.

Here's what I've noticed lately......I have a bit too much, uh....cushion for the pushin'. Not with me? If I was sporting a camel toe, it would be extra large in proportion to the shrinking body around it. With me yet? I hope so. I'm running out of supra-pubic idioms. So, in the effort to avoid graphic detail at all costs here, I'll leave it at that.

Anyway, what gives? We lose weight on our knuckles, our knee caps, our elbows.....why is it not going away...there? I have a really nice view of that territory with the loss of several of my tummy tires. Trust me, no shrinkage. In fact, the amount of cellulite there is quite impressive.

Not that it would've swayed my decision for the surgery, but is this a situation like the loose skin that is a problem for a plastic surgeon to fix. Have any of you had plastic surgery in that area? And, if the answer is yes....how would one go about asking for liposuction....there? (Talk about a potentially embarrassing consultation, even for a mouthy one like me.)

But, as my husband said once pre-op, "Honey, if you go through with this and lose all of the weight you want to, you're not gonna be happy unless you look fantastic naked." I second that motion. So, with that as my final goal, shall I tell my husband that there's a lot more to landscaping in the future than a waxing? Or, is it too early to make that determination? (6 months out)

Come on, vets, please chime in. How do I avoid looking like I'm smuggling a pillow down the front of my pants in the future?

nestingdoll

If only there was a proper anxious font....one that would effectively show the jitters that I've been feeling lately....I guess the point to all of this is: LIFE STILL HAPPENS AFTER WLS. It doesn't stop. It doesn't slow down. In fact, I'm finding myself a bit more, shall we say, reactionary? I think it's time I call the doc before my hubby calls the men with the white jackets. :) As much as I 'd like you to take my word for it....here's the dirty details of the week.

Step one: Pre-heat the oven with a looming Afghanistan deployment

Step two: Add a heaping spoonful of unreasonable expectations

As many of you know, I've begun the fall semester at a local college to continue the pursuit of my "hobby engineering degree." I'm in no rush to graduate, putting being a wife and Mommy first until my youngest goes to school in two years. And, I've reached the upper level math courses for my degree. No problem....I've always been a math nerd. But, anxiety has recently become a serious issue. Let me paint the picture for you. The Calc II professor announced last Wednesday that we'd have a quiz the following Monday. Besides the obscene amount of studying I did, I also dreamed about the test for days beforehand. Then, after I took the quiz two days ago, one of the problems haunted my brain. I re-calculated and re-calculated innumerable times, finally realizing that I made a slight substitution error on one of my integrals. I stewed and stewed and literally had physical stomach pains over this error....then, went to the professor's office to pick up my quiz....only 2 points off. Now, I'm stewing over the 2 point loss.

I'll be honest...I've always been a bit OCD about my grades. I like my 4.0. I love my 4.0. I'm happy with it.......but I've never been so obsessed and anxious about it. The logical part of my brain will tell you that no one will die if I don't make all A's. I will still be awarded my degree with lower grades. In fact, no future employer will ever know about a lower grade. BUT....I am literally frightening myself with the amount of anxiety I'm having over a potential lower grade....and we're only in week 4 of the semester. This is not good.

Step three: Mix with ongoing health issues

Hubby is still not feeling better, and they're threatening him with a hospitalization and an operation for a possible fistula! This is becoming a hole in the bucket situation, Dear Liza!

Step four: Sautee in a house with a very challenging 3 year old.

Now, I know you've all heard me refer to my 3 year old daughter as my Mini-Mussolini.... The ongoing battle for total domination has now progressed to violence! With the stress in the house, she now smells blood in the water, and her behavior has escalated to the extreme. This past week has actually been one of the hardest I've ever had as a mother. During her rampages, she has now begun to hit...me....in the face. So, we've battened down the hatches, posted the rules of the house, re-established positive reinforcements and negative consequences. We're on the mend....but, it's still very hard.

Step five: Add copious amounts of flammable morality.

I faced a moral dilemma this week....to tell or not to tell about academic dishonesty of almost my entire Calc class. They had discovered how to download applications to our calculators in order to not only derive the correct answer, but all of the middle work that is required on the tests. They offered to show me how. Big mistake. I refused. Then, I told the professor that it was possible to download the solution apps to the new calculators. She was horrified, and made the announcement this morning that the calculators weren't to be used on the tests. They screamed at her, cursed at her, and denied that it was possible! She was armed with a power point presentation that showed exactly how possible it was and lower-model calculators for them to borrow. They didn't back down. And, although I feel like I did the right thing, it was hard to watch her be attacked by the class because of something I was involved in. She didn't rat me out to them....apparently, it was obvious by the quizzes who was doing it. (formulas and tricks that we hadn't been allowed) Hard day.

Step five: FLAMBE! in limbo with large splashes of doubt...

Odd things are happening with the military. One of the units in hubby's battalion recently deployed. Shocking news came this week....they're downsizing the deployed unit, sending several people home now. ??????? Um, okay....so, this is a possibility? When we're paying about $5000 of our own money to move me and the kids back to LA for the duration of the deployment? If it happens to the hubby, we'll be in the middle of a lease and have no money to move back with. Then, with the added question of his health, will they clear him to deploy at all? The state says yes, but they don't have the final say. He could get to his mobilization site and they could send him home. Again, we'd be in a lease in another state with no money to move back to Nevada. Either way, we have to tell our landlords something....so they can plan for a probable empty rental property. This is getting complicated.

Finally, serve in a bowl, with a fork...and (of course) a box of Kleenex!

I'm feeling a little ill-equipped for this....I'm not handling the stress very well. I think about it all day, dream about it at night. Thinking I'm going to ask the doc for some anti-anxiety meds. Something has to give, here. Being able to cope with stress without melting into a puddle of tears has always been a talent of mine. I was a 911 dispatcher, for goodness sakes! (notice I didn't say "without food") Not anymore. Those days are gone. New motto: better living through modern chemistry! I'd rather be a calming presence to my children than be too proud to get help while rocking in the fetal position in the corner.

nestingdoll

TODAY is the DAY of DAYS....at least until the day that I meet my next goal (which is, ironically, 2 lbs away). Anyway, because it's vital to celebrate even the tiniest of battles if you want to win the war....TODAY is a celebration day!

After a 4-lb weight loss this week (down to 182), I'm officially "only" OVERWEIGHT! It's so nice to be out of the OBESE category, even if it's only by .5 BMI points. My weight loss pattern is getting pretty steady. 2lbs week one, 4 lbs week two, 4 lbs week three, stall on week four. It's been that way for the past couple of months, now. So, with an average of 10 lbs per month, I'M THRILLED. It might not be as much loss as some people see, but it's still progress. And progress=success!

My weaknesses:

1. Not eating regularly on days when I have class....I've GOT to get better with this one.

2. Forgetting to get my calcium in at two different sittings. Remember, it's not a late-night dessert, it's a supplement.

3. Kashi granola bars. I have one a day, but I WANT about 6 a day. I'm allowed 2 servings of whole grain per day, and they meet all of my "okay" food requirements, but I don't know if I like the way it feels to eat them. I'm thinking of giving it up.

4. Coffee oz are inching upwards. I've now exceeded my allotted 20 oz for the past 3 days in a row. Plan: will add water to my morning coffee protein, if it seems too thick.

5. Exercising too much?? According to my calorie tracker, sometimes I burn more at the gym than what I'm eating. Plan: pull back some on the number of hours I'm working out until I can ask my NUT what to do. I DO NOT, repeat, DO NOT want to up my calories.

6. Not taking enough post-op pictures, regularly. My last one was at 5 months. I'll take another on the 19th...my 6 month surgiversary!

7. Starting to crave cigarettes. What is wrong with me?? (no worries, guys. I allow myself 3 during finals week and that's it!)

Strengths:

1. My measuring cups are my friend, after a period of temporary neglect.

2. Water, water everywhere...My Brita filtered bottle is with me at all times...and I actually drink it!

3. I'm working out like a maniac. (One of the instructors recently asked if I was training for something....me? he he)

4. Seafood is UP! I've broken away from turkey and chicken and branched into shrimp and scallops for more interesting protein options. LOVING IT so far, although it makes my Louisiana heart break to buy it frozen in the Nevada desert.

5. Less gassy, although I'm eating more raw veggies. YAY! Some pouch changes really are improvements!

6. Average weight loss: 10 lbs per month

7. Staying within 1000-1200 cal per day (except for 2 back to back off the wagon days since the surgery)

8. Only weighing once per week. Scale anxiety is not good for neurotic people like me!

9. Post op labs are great! Everything is now within normal ranges. No need to change supplements!

Recent Changes:

1. Only eating one serving of whole grain per day....I don't like the feeling of carbs...I feel like I'm in a Soma Coma.

2. Aqua jogging! WOOT WOOT! (up to a mile and half in the pool, now...105 laps in under an hour)

3. Insomnia! (maybe I should be eating carbs at night?) joke.

4. Back pain/neck pain/headaches....UGH! (and numbness in my pointy hips when I sleep on them)

5. Now in a jeans size 11/12, though they're getting a bit loose. Medium tops. :)

6. About 3 inches of loose skin on my panni area. BLEH! But, my arms and legs are looking much better, the more I work out.

7. Hair loss has stopped!

8. I've given up on whey protein....my pouch does NOT tolerate it, even though I found some that my taste buds will tolerate. Back to soy!

9. UBER sensitive! What an emo roller coaster! I'm a CRYBABY! (since about 5 months out)

I'm going to try to post UPDATE blogs every once in a while so I can keep track of major things that have happened in the month.

Next goal: 180 lbs---the weight on my driver's license, which, incidentally, I have to get renewed in December! Cheese!

nestingdoll

I remember being a little girl and going to Sunday school in fancy dresses and patent leather mary jane shoes. When we were released to go to "big church," we'd run across the street and hand the store clerk some of our offering plate money for little bags full of penny candy that we'd hide behind our hymnals during service. But, while we were waiting for the service to begin, we'd pluck a bible from the back of the pew in front of us and use it to make "Magic 8-ball" predictions. Here's how it worked....we'd ask a question aloud, then open the Bible and put one finger on a verse....and it could inevitably be twisted to come up with an answer. If it was a good "prediction," we'd all cheer and be as happy as 8 year old's can be. The minute after, if we got a bad "prediction," we'd oooh and aaaah and make scary faces and pretend to get shivers up our spines. The split-second roller coaster of emotion is something that I haven't experienced that often...but, I'm finding myself doing this more and more, lately, on the TTF forum page...

Of course, I don't close my eyes and ask a question to the universe, then point to the forum posts in search of my cosmic prediction....that would be silly. But, I DO read the titles of the posts and have a sort of auto-response, complete with emotion, before I even know what the post is about. (It's probably best that I remind you that I called myself a weirdo in the beginning.)

Here's what I'm talking about:

If a post is titled, "I cried yesterday." My auto-response is, "Me too! But of course that's every day...damn hormones!" Then, I read the post and find out that it's tears of joy because she's finally in one-derland after over 10 years. The excitement and joy was so tangible that, in turn, I cried....damn hormones.

There's post called, "I just need someone to talk to." Every time I see it, I think to myself....ME TOO! Military island is so lonely sometimes. So, I'll call my sister, temporarily fill that void, and, inevitably cry....damn hormones.

I know you've all seen the notorious post, "This surgery is not a blessing..." I cringe every time I stumble across those words, as if they could possibly make me change my mind. I know they can't. It IS a blessing for me, but it hurts to feel someone else struggling so dearly with this life. You can only imagine how the tears flowed when I read the post for the first time, especially when I got to the update comment where things had finally taken a positive turn... Box of Kleenex, sniffle, blow.

Not unlike my childhood future-telling escapades, reading the posts on this forum allows me to ride the ups of excitement and the downs of disappointment in an instant. As fast as you can read is how fast the emotional climate changes. And, it's not just an up...it's the highest high you can experience. It's not just a low...it's the heart wrenching pain of a wounded soul. Isn't it funny how little lines typed onto a screen can evoke so many different things, instantaneously? More than just emotion for me, it often generates a response, whether it's tears or a phone call or more tears and nose-blowing.

With this in mind, I just wanted to say that the tiny glimpses and snip-its from your lives have made me feel a lot less alone in all of this. It makes me feel that, from the second I click on the button to post my own issues, there's someone out there, reading my ups and downs and maybe reaching for a box of Kleenex or another cup of coffee. Can't imagine another group of people I'd rather take this journey with. Thanks, guys.

nestingdoll

Is it inevitable?

You know that old adage, "Some things seen can not be unseen?" Well, I did it to myself. There is no one else to blame. I read a thread in the long-term gastric bypass forum called, "Three years out and gaining." The author of the thread had gained 20 lbs back in two months. I'll say it again, 20 lb gain in 2 months. This, needless to say, is literally a nightmare for most of us, and I can't imagine a more terrifying thing to write or experience. How crushing it must be to feel it slipping through your fingers, knowing that you'll be proving that doubting voice in your head right....not to mention the nay-sayers that tried to discourage you in the beginning when you were so excited.

I'm worried about this mythological weight gain monster, waiting on the fringes of the honeymoon phase...waiting to reach in to our stomachs and dissolve any procedure performed by our surgeons, packing on the dreaded weight in the process. I was so terrified after hearing these tales that I asked my surgeon before the slice to give me a guarantee. I said, "If I follow the rules that you've given me, will I be successful with the surgery long-term?" Without blinking, he said "Barring some sort of mechanical problem that surfaces down the road, yes. But, those I can fix. I cannot fix your eating habits. I'll be responsible for 50% of this weight loss. You'll be responsible for the other half. Deal?" I took the deal, but the shadow of the monster still rears its ugly, pouch-eating head. And, it was no different last night, reading that thread. The terror crept up my spine and I heard my family recant stories in the attempt to get me to rethink my WLS decision.

I'm sure that all of you have heard the same campfire stories I have heard when I first mentioned my interest in this procedure....They all go something like this: "So-and-so had her surgery about 2 years ago and she got REALLY skinny, then started eating nothing but bon bons and she's heavier now than before she began her surgery."

Really? Eating nothing but ________ (fill in the blank with anything like Twinkies, Ho-Ho's, Snicker bars, Fritos, etc...)??

I don't think I slept for an hour total last night. What makes someone take this chance and throw it to the wind?

My EUREKA! moment came minutes ago, while I was pouring my first cup of coffee and my three year old asked for marshmallows for breakfast instead of the wholesome meal I had already cooked. I gave her my standard "no" before realizing that, 5 years ago, I would've eaten marshmallows for breakfast.

Then it occurred to me...I've never heard anyone tell this story: "So-and so had her surgery about 2 years ago, she followed the rules, exercised regularly, and STILL gained all of her weight back."

My surgeon promised me a re-set button. I get a do-over, a mulligan....I get to be placed, once more, at the trail head. But, where ever I go from there, is up to me. I just pray I'll have the strength and determination to stay on the path. I hope that, in 2 years, I'll feel like I'm worth the effort and stay committed to this challenging but rewarding lifestyle.

nestingdoll

Sometimes I find myself...

...Wondering why everyone is shocked at my weight loss. The diva inside thinks she's always been fab!

...Wondering how much I'd weigh today without my sparkly new tool. 300? 350?

...Wondering how people can eat SO MUCH in one sitting, then remembering that I used to beat them all hands down!

...Wondering if my pouch is stretched out, then hearing it whisper that it's full after my 8 bites of food.

...Wondering what my next food stumbling block will be, then reach for my scheduled protein shake.

...Wondering if I can do this forever, then realizing that I'm not miserable, even though I'm not reaching for Twinkies.

...Wondering if my weight loss honeymoon is over, then remembering that my tool doesn't disappear one year out.

...Wondering how I let myself get so heavy, when eating healthy makes by body feel so good.

...Wondering if the competitor in me gave up when it found out that it was heavier than everyone else in the room.

...Wondering what I look like behind the fluff, will I be pretty? more feminine? dainty? graceful? willowy? well-shaped?

...Wondering how different I'll be "at the end of this," then remembering that there is no end to this journey...

...Wondering what size clothes my goal weight translates into, then giggling at the thought that I'll live to see that day.

...Wondering if I could've done this without WLS, then remembering that it doesn't matter if I had help. I still did it.

...Wondering how many skinnies I pass on the street have had this surgery, then realizing I'm making eye contact.

...Wondering if anyone at the gym is a post-op, then being proud of them for being there regardless.

...Wondering how far I can eventually take my new love for exercise, then being shocked that I'm talking about ME.

...Wondering how I made it through life so long without loving myself, as I stand up for my own goals in my daily life.

...Wondering what how broad the horizon will get. Now I can "see" myself doing things I'd closed the door on long ago.

I guess the point is in the title. Sometimes, I find myself. And, people think this is simply about weight loss. :)

nestingdoll

Yesterday, I did my standard Thursday gym routine....9am aqua strength intervals, 35 laps of agua jogging (1/2 mile), then a Aqua Blast high intensity class. As usual, the 9am class was packed with the Tropical Flowers, with whom I've become quite chummy. But, as the first class ends and the flamboyant John arrives for the Aqua Blast class....the Little Granny Foo Foo's flee toward the exits as fast as their colorful water tutus will allow them to move.

The Aqua Blast class is HARD! Very hard. There are normally 5 of us that attend it on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but even we brave few have to modify the moves sometimes. Not me. Not anymore. :) So, during class yesterday, something happened....call it "drive" or "determination" or "divine intervention".....it was a burst of sheer willpower to accomplish every single move at Mach 10 energy level. John, the dancer/instructor showered me with lavish praise throughout the workout, which just fueled my determination. He announced that he would not wait for the rest of the class when someone was working so hard...."catch up"....and went at my pace! My pace! I have to say, I was LOVING IT! He made my self-esteem soar....and that doesn't happen often wearing a swimsuit in a public place, especially at the gym.

Everything was fine and dandy. I finished the class, then stayed to run the last few laps of my 1/2 water mile. Legs wobbly, I finally left the pool with exactly 4 minutes before I was due to pick up my 3 year old in the gym's daycare. No shower for me, until I got home. So, I threw on my clothes and flip flops and bolted out of the dressing room just in time, without looking at myself in the mirror.

When I finally got home, reeking of chlorine, I fixed Emma a quick lunch and jumped into the shower....again, without looking into a mirror. Getting out of the shower and reaching for my comb, I caught a glimpse of myself and was completely speechless. I, apparently, had exercised to the point of bursting a blood vessel in my right eye! No joke. Laughing, all I could think about was a modified version of that chant in the movie A Christmas Story...."YOU'LL EXERCISE YOUR EYE OUT! YOU'LL EXERCISE YOUR EYE OUT!"

I'm not exactly sure if that counts as an NSV......but I do know this: It looks like someone has dotted my eye, like I've been punched in the peeper by the school yard bully..... I don't know how I'm gonna explain it to anyone.....and I don't know if they'd believe me if I tried. But, I'm kinda loving the fact that it happened.

I'm having a bit of a Madea moment now, "Say I'm not working for my weight loss ONE MO' TIME." :)

nestingdoll

Has it really almost been 6 months? I feel like a newlywed or a new mommy, counting the weeks of this life. So, I'm typically shocked when I get the lab slip in my mailbox....really? It's time to go already?? No biggie....it's not like receiving that little postcard from your GYN's office with the lovely font that reads, "it's time for me to mutilate your lady parts, again, please call us or we'll call you." (I don't know about you guys, but I always emit some form of UGH when I see the oh-so-soothing lavender postcard.)

My follow up was yesterday late afternoon, so I started late morning off with a wardrobe changing party....trying to find the lightest clothing possible. I finally found a tank top, gauzy shirt, thin jeans, and sandals. Cute, but more importantly, the outfit, minus shoes, only weighed 3.6 lbs. SUCCESS! Because they don't let you naketize in the middle of their office hallway, it's important to optimize your weight loss through the appropriate clothing choices.....basically, cheat their scale to get as naked a reading as possible. (I sure hope I'm not the only one that worries about things like that.) Naked weight loss: 82 lbs. WOOT WOOT! Clothed weight loss: 79.8 lbs. Close enough, right?

My first question was, "So, am I on track? Did I lose enough?" Laurie laughed, loudly, and said, "What do you want? You've lost 80 lbs total and 30 since I saw you three months ago...you're doing fantastic!" You know me.....the Spock on my shoulder says, "That did not compute. Your answer was not specific enough. Exactly how much weight should I have lost by now." Humanizing that sentiment, I asked, "Is there some sort of chart that you guys have that shows a general weight loss trend for the patients, so they can set goals?" No. No there wasn't, and judging from her transforming expression as I was asking this question, some foreign looking insect was crawling out of my nose. "Just keep doing exactly what you're doing now." Now, THAT computes. Yes, ma'am.

Second question was, "I'm a clutzy, numbing weirdo with back pain and headaches. Is this normal." If you guys read my last blog about the neck/back pain I've been having, this question makes sense. I felt a lot better when she said that this could all have a pretty obvious cause. Possible thiamine deficiency could be causing the numbness and clutziness. And, apparently, it's common to have neck/back pain in the first year post-op....muscle changes, posture changes, and center of gravity changes. Well, that could explain my tripping and falling. More labs? No problem. Tricare loves the vampires! They always pay.

Her question to me, "You're just shrinking away, aren't you? Did you take measurements?" Oh, the dreaded question. No. No, I didn't. I have measurements from my highest weight ever. I have measurements from several points between that weight and my WLS "start" weight. But, it somehow escaped me to take "before" measurements the day of my surgery. BOO! She showed me my "official before picture." LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I DIDN'T EVEN RECOGNIZE THAT BLONDE-HAIRED ASIAN SMILING AWKWARDLY AT THE CAMERA WITH HER BACK AGAINST THE WALL! But the tramp stole one of my favorite shirts! I finally saw the difference in a photo! PROGRESS! *Hallelujah choir*

Labwork Review: YEAH! Every test they did looks great....cholesterol is within normal limits, all vitamin levels that they tested were perfection! I still get to just be on my multi-vitamin, calcium, and B12. My pocketbook not only gave a standing ovation but attempted to start a wave. (With just two of us "waving," it kinda looked like I had a leg cramp or back spasm. I don't suggest trying it.)

Dragging one in off the streets. In the waiting room before my appointment, I met the most charming woman, excitedly reading her liquid diet instruction sheet, her bag of brand new supplements at her feet. I remember getting that sheet and being so darn excited that I thought I would burst! So, I butted in to her world and introduced myself, and gave her the TTF website and my screen name. Really hope she turns up. How fun it would be to be in contact with a local WLS person, especially a particularly sparkly one with a ginormous smile.

nestingdoll

For the last few weeks, I've been trying to ignore the almost constant neck and back pain that leaves me wishing I could have Ibuprofen. I settle for heating pad and Tylenol, but it doesn't really cut it. This morning, I woke up to another "OH MY GOD, SOMEONE BROKE MY NECK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT" headache....I'm seeing a trend, here.

So, I'm gonna list a few things that are going on, and I'd LOVE some feedback from you guys. Common? Crazy? or Caused by new rigorous exercise routine? Dunno. Please chime in.

1. I've had to switch to all strapless bras, because the slightest pressure on my shoulders makes me have severe migraines after about an hour.

2. Most days, I have pain in my upper back area and neck (at the base of my skull), whether or not I've gone to the gym that day. Exercise doesn't seem to exacerbate it.....so, I'm left with a big question mark.

3. I'm a stomach sleeper, but no matter which side I put more pressure on, the hip and shoulder both fall asleep. ODD, don't you think? I've been SO MUCH HEAVIER, and now I can't sleep without cutting off the circulation to my joints??

I don't get it. At 400 lbs, I didn't have back pain and I certainly didn't have trouble sleeping. It was during this time that I coined the phrase "couch narcolepsy." Now, no couch is cozy. No pillow is good enough, and the added weight of the hubby's arm across my body feels like a hippo! Remember, I'm still at 186lbs, so it's not like I'm a dainty thing. I'm a chunk. I still have lots of padding.....

I have no idea what I'm doing wrong or whether any of this is related....going to see my surgeon's PA today for a follow-up and I'll ask her, too. If anyone out there has any ideas, I'd really appreciate the advice.

UPDATE: When I went to see Laurie yesterday, she said it is common to have back pain/neck pain in the first year, because your posture is changing and your center of gravity moves if you've lost a significant amount of weight. Now, I don't know if 82lbs is "significant" enough for all of that, but with the complaint of numbness and clutzy tendencies, she's ordering tests for Vit D and thiamine. (Thiamine only comes from plant life....I knew I should've still been taking my liquid cholorphyll)