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About this blog

A daily record of the weird things that only your "inside voice" says...from newbie to new life.

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nestingdoll

I may as well have written "Lions and Tigers and Bears," actually. Let's look at the data, shall we?

Today's count:

300 calories (yep, that's it)

50 (at least) instances of having daydreams during which I lust after a bowl of applesauce...

30 minutes before the shake I've just swallowed imitates Houdini and disappears without a trace...

10 hours before I get to rest tonight

2 hours of calculus, during which people could hear the songs of the humpback whale (aka my tummy)

3 hours of chemistry lab, during which I will try not to light myself on fire due to lack of concentration

2 protein shakes, after which I feel as if I'd eaten bowlfuls of snow

and one woman, as feral as a lion, deadly as a Tiger, and aggressive as a Bear intent to survive the last 5 days of hell. :)

Guess it could be worse, right? After all, the climax of hell is upcoming...and my count of the day will begin with (2 cups of jello, 1 bowel prep, and 7 hours before surgery) *darn ominous music again*

Oh, T-T-F people, I hope you will set me straight. Lay it on me! Everyone who has had a day worse than mine, please please please tell me to STOP WHINING. Pretty Please. (with anything edible on top)

nestingdoll

Last night was a life-changing moment. Ever have those moments where you don't expect anything to happen, then your perspective is altered by something that can only be measured with the Richter scale. That metaphor is actually kind of perfect....the earth moved, my feet were swept out from under me, and I was TERRIFIED.

(for you dirty minds....nothing kinky. Shame on you...it's not that kind of blog)

I curled up, grouchy and hungry, on our 100-lb bean bag in front of the television after class last night. The 8-oz protein shake that I had consumed about 5 hours before was gone, gone, gone. And, I was audibly hungry. SOUNDS OF THE HUMPBACK WHALES hungry. (like this is something new, right?) Anyway, I was determined to distract myself with the boob tube, and for once, I was in possession of the remote control. ME! The odds of this happening are probably a little worse than catching a leprechaun in my backyard.

I flipped grouchily, while my stomach attempted to have a conversation with someone on the East Coast. But then, I landed on "My 600-lb Life." Suddenly, I wasn't even aware I had a stomach, anymore, because I was too busy talking to the television.....I found myself saying things like, "Really??? DRINKING at the club when you were just unable to get up off of the floor???" or "Where is their liquid diet?????" or "That mother needs to be charged with attempted murder....how do you bring your child 10,000 calories a day when he can't MOVE??"

Anyway, I went through this roller-coaster of emotion.....I fluctuated from being certain that I would never allow myself to backslide like that to being scared to death of gaining all of the weight back. Why did it seem soooooo easy for them to gain 200 lbs back?????? I wish they had shown their actual intake of food per day, just to get an idea of how far they must've leapt from the wagon.

Then, once the "fear" dam was broken, other fears started coming out....like fear of my tummy looking like Deputy Dawg's jowls after I lose the weight, and fear of dying on the butcher block, and fear of having other complications that deteriorate my health. I went so far as to give my husband a list of promises that he has to make to me, just in case the worst occurs. (like letting my girls color outside of the lines and keeping my tradition of having one "backwards" day a month)

After about half a box of Kleenex was soaked in my lunatic tears, I came back full circle....back to ok....then back to excited about the upcoming surgery. The show: good. The timing: bad. In hindsight, I should've been more aware of myself and my present vulnerabilities before turning on something like that.

It certainly was the cure for my hunger....you can't exactly watch people's entire stomach removed and weighed and still be DYING for a grilled cheese sandwich. But, the insomnia side effect is still taking its toll. Long story short? Don't do it. It tends to strip the faith and make doubts slap you in the face.

nestingdoll

DISCLAIMER: I never claimed to have a "normal" sense of humor.

I have a new obsession, and I'm not sure that I like it very much. Plans. Plans of what I will "do" in certain circumstances after surgery. Example? You asked for it.....

My oldest sister, aka "I-got-kicked-out-of-Weight-Watchers-for-losing-too-much-weight," has been thin and ridiculously beautiful her entire life. We (my hobbit sister and my hobbit self) say that mother must've fooled around with the milkman....MUST'VE! The skinny one has one horrible habit that has just irked me for years. Once I hit puberty, my sister began putting on my much-too-large bra, stuffing it with socks and prancing around the house to make her equally-magnificent friends laugh. (picture Dee Dee of Dexter's Lab) I would joyfully excuse the irritation, if it had stopped at age 17 or 18 or 20, 25, 30.....but it didn't stop....ever.

Any time that the two of us are in the same house, for a family reunion or a holiday visit, our suitcases are in the house. (we live almost 2000 miles apart) You guessed it, I get to watch Barbie tie my utilitarian bra around her tiny body and go through the house, looking for enough socks to fill now obviously gargantuan cups. And, then she struts like Dolly Parton for a while, wiggling her J-Lo cheeks, making sure all of the children in the family laugh at the silliness of it all. Well.......last year, Trophy-Wife Barbie got a boob job..... :) (insert evil cackle here)

And, suddenly, a plan is forming.....oh, yes, it is. I often close my eyes and smile broadly, thinking of taking one of Barbie's bras, putting it on, and doing the Dolly show for the kids! Oh, I would love it even more if, by some small miracle or genie wish or by the grace of God, I could be so much smaller that I'd have to tie those two ends of that dainty bra around my much-shrunken self. :) This, mind you, is a sister that puzzled me with how TERRIFIED she seemed of my losing the weight. After several calls and questions about exactly how much weight I will lose after the surgery, then confirming and re-confirming my goal weight, etc....I realized it's not about me being small... (Say it with me) it's about me being smaller than she is. Oh, and that may just be the side-effect of my quest for health. "I'll get you, my pretty, and your little ego, too." LOL

So, still knowing that my primary reason for having surgery is for my health and well-being, longevity and happiness.......I continue to have these "small" plans that pop into my head every now again and give me a good chuckle. It would be very "small" of me. Very. But, funny! Karma will be upset. I will reap what I sow. But, it may well be worth it, after, oh, almost 2 decades of this. For now, at least, I'm laughing my enormous boobs off!

The scary part? Other plans are forming.....wahahahahahahahaha

nestingdoll

Today was my appointment with my PCP, to be treated for this raging sinus/throat/ear infection and to get a B12 shot. The B12 was a suggestion by my NUT, so I won't continue to be brain dead and listless...I already have a B12 deficiency. And, because my PCP would have his staff administer DAILY B12 shots, if I would just show up, I thought I'd kill 2 sick birds with one stone. The B12 shot....such a tiny needle, if any of you are thinking about getting one. Super tiny. My 2 year old called it a "baby" shot.

There's certainly nothing scary about the promise of more energy, to be sure. And, quite frankly, I've been feeling a bit STUPIDER since beginning the pre-op steps diet. Like having pregnant brain....I used to claim that the baby was eating my brain. Now, I'm working under the assumption that it's some sort of parasite that lives in the bottom of Ensure bottles. Kidding, all you Ensure-aholics. But, seriously, go get a B12 shot if you, too, feel like Ensure is dumbing you down a bit. After all, man cannot live by geriatric beverages alone.

BIG MILESTONE ANNOUNCEMENT: Tomorrow is the last pre-op appointment date...to get chest x-ray and labs. After that, it's all down hill from there. While that little evil voice...that nay-sayer in my head continues to question...I'm actually doing alright after a phone call I got yesterday.

The phone call was from Kathleen outside of San Antonio, Texas, letting me know that my daughter's piglet will arrive at the Reno-Tahoe airport on Monday the 12th. In summary, pigs are about to fly. Duly noted. Being a Saints fan, the concept of hell freezing over is not new to me.....but, it IS nice to be reminded every once in a while. Thanks, Kathleen from San Antonio, for putting a gag on that little nay-sayer in my brain and keeping the snowball's chances alive.

nestingdoll

I spent the morning in a PRE-OP/NUT class (which I paid $300 for) that should've been named "You could die, but if you don't, here's what you can eat." Before I was cozy in my chair....granted, that usually takes a bit of lap-fluffing....Rosie, an RN (I think) on the surgical team began going over the scary stuff.

Of course, anyone who's had any surgery before has heard all of this. The funny part, they handed me a 20-ish page consent form to read and initial during the "gory" part of the class. So, as she was talking, I had to sign saying that I knew I might never wake up, or could be mangled, or choked to death by my own teeth, that I could be swept away by a passing tornado and wake up in an ICU in a different state, could spontaneously combust, or could wind up having olfactory hallucinations starring rose petals and vinegar. Oy, what a list of "possibilities." Long story short, they'll do the best they can, but shiitake happens.

Then, the week 1, week 2, week 3, .......and on and on and on meal plans and vitamin regimen. These people are seriously organized----down to the time of day I should suck on a calcium lozenge. :) YAY for too much information. It's way better than its counterpart...known by its nick-name "No-Info Anxiety Attack." There's no such thing as TMI, at least where this surgery is concerned.

Then, I was whirled off to take my official "Before" photo, and pre-op weight. And, finally, my final pre-op appointment with Dr. Ganser. (Love him!) I cannot express just exactly how much confidence this guy has. Superman would only have that degree of confidence if he had just destroyed the last piece of Kryptonite in existence, then burned the molecular formula for it, too. Dr. Ganser----cool as a cucumber. Needless to say, his confidence is incredibly CALMING.......woooooosaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh. Love that guy.

Footnote: Since beginning my classes/groups/appointments at Western Surgical, there have been more men than women present at each of them. Not what I expected....but happy to have strategically placed eye candy. Especially eye candy with a newly discovered SWAGGER. :) Thanks, guys. Strut it!

nestingdoll

Ruts suck. Big time. And, today, I decided to forge a new path...one outside of my normal routine. Sure, I got up at the same time, had my same frozen banana protein shake for breakfast, then became suddenly bored.

So, I rifled through my WLS surgeon's packet, ripped out the 7-day trial membership for the new-fangled Health and Wellness Center in town, threw the girls in the car with my gym bag, and drove the 20 minute commute to fitness heaven.

I've been a member of Gold's for about 5 years, now. It was fine. Clean. It did the job. Then, last year, the gym (and my contract) was sold to Fitness Connection. Stop this crazy train, I wanna get off! Yuck. I suspect they fired the locker room janitor....and while I won't go into great detail, I'll just say this: the floors are muddy, the equipment is broken, and I REFUSE to use the restroom there. Thankfully, this month was the final month of our membership, and I get to shop for a new gym. My needs are simple: a pool and the ability to use the restroom.

Needless to say, the trial membership to heaven is WELL WORTH the additional $10 per month. It comes complete with mouthwash, an unlimited supply of fresh towels, and a plethora of other spa-like amenities. The equipment is state of the art, there's an indoor running track, a kid's gym, and salt water lap pools with tons of weights/lap equipment on site. (not to mention the computer lounge, juice bar, and on-staff masseuses) It's pretty hoity-toity, and I'm not what you would call "high maintenance"....but I could seriously get used to it. Seriously. I'd bring a sleeping bag, maybe. I worked out for 2 hours. 2 HOURS! Ah, loverly.

And, when I got home, STARVING!, I decided to get off of the sweet protein shake regiment and go savory. I mixed 2 scoops of non-flavored protein powder with 10oz of chicken broth and a dash of black pepper. It actually tasted like really bad yankee gravy. (Sorry, yankees, I'm still southern at heart and your kind traditionally makes horrible gravy, although there may be a few exceptions.) So, if any of you miss gravy and get the craving for a cheap knock-off, there it is. :) It could be WAY worse......

nestingdoll

I'm an extremely competitive person. Extremely. Therefore, gaming is totally in my lane. The hubby and I are x-boxers. Don't get me wrong, we don't have a shrine dedicated to gaming, and we don't sit in chairs all day with headsets on playing Halo with teenage boys across the globe. It's more like our family's game night device.

Last night was impromptu game night.....woo hoo! And, the hubby and I chose Kinect Adventures----an ignored game that came with the Kinect device.

IT.WAS.SO.MUCH.FUN. (yes, I'm doing the all-caps, with periods between each word for drama and added impact.) :)

Both of us, Sergeant Runner and I, were pouring sweat, panting, dancing jumping, running, ducking, reaching. For almost two hours. I wonder how many calories we burned...but, frankly, I don't think I care. It's the morning after, and my whole body hurts. I usually don't hurt like this after a workout at the gym!! I highly suggest it to anyone who wants to multitask playing with the kids/hubby and exercising. At the very least, it's a really fun substitution for family movie night. It lures you off the couch and tempts you to move like a kid....an active kid.

Take it from me.....as the hilarious workout guru on one of my exercise videos says......."GOOD LORD, I FELT THAT IN MY CARDIO!" Long live game night!

nestingdoll

I've been stewing over my last blog entry...where I ramble on about cleaning out my baggage...having thoughts about my thoughts about regrets and how they've affected my waistline....but I'm thinking, now, that I was really wrong. (or at least I left out a key step). I said that being saddled with regret translates directly to having saddle bags.......let me rephrase that...

For me, having regrets leads to what I may have only now defined as "emotional eating," which leads to larger than life rear end parts. No matter how you cut it, there's a simple, undeniable truth:

FAT IS AS FAT DOES.

And, at least for me, I can tap into my Rolodex of memories and prove it... For a venture like this one, we'd better have an appropriate name for the expedition, right? Here goes

"10 Things I have done in my life that (I presume) no skinny mini ever did"(former chubbs are the exception)

1. I cannot count on two hands the number of times that I've eaten an entire large, deep dish pizza, alone.

2. I have eaten every single oreo in the box...and in two boxes of the white fudge covered ones.

3. During Girl Scout cookie season, I have eaten one box of Coconut Delights daily for a week.

4. I have eaten an entire box of Popeye's Chicken...again, by myself

5. I have been cold to a thin waitress while polishing off my weight's worth at the local casino buffet

6. I have gone through multiple drive thru's, ordering different meals with different drinks....all for me

7. I have hidden what I ate from my spouse. (I used to be famous for stacking burger wrappers before crumpling, so it would only look like I had eaten one.)

8. I have gone to the gym, then stopped for a giant order of Chinese food on the way home as a "reward."

9. I have dieted for weeks at a time, then again "rewarded myself" with a "free day" that ruined the week's loss. (so many times)

10. I have avoided the scale at all costs for years at a time, so I wouldn't have to know how bad I'd gotten.

I'm not stopping there. That list looks shocking, but excusable, if you try hard enough to find an excuse. Trust me, I've made enough of them. But, today, I'm going to do the unthinkable.....I am, basically, planning to hold myself down, and pry my own eyes open so I can "see" what I've been doing. And, you got it, I'm doing it publicly........in other words

I'M HOLDING MYSELF ACCOUNTABLE.

How, you ask? What is the big revelation that I'm about to have from a blog? Well, I'm going to do a little experiment with my list....and replace the food items in my list with alcohol....just to get the full impact of my actions and the full extent of my food abuse. It may just be a blog, but delving into the dark, shadowy places inside yourself is pretty scary. (But I know that you all have my back.).......*big gulp*

10 Things that I have done that a non-alcoholic has never done:

1. I cannot count on two hands the number of times that I've drunk an entire fifth of vodka, alone.

2. I have drunk every beer in a 12 pack...and in two 12 packs of Octoberfest at one sitting.

3. During winter ale months, I have drunk a 12 pack a day for a week straight.

4. I have drunk an entire keg of Bud....again, by myself.

5. I have been mean to the sober barkeep while becoming toxic at the local pub.

6. I have gone to multiple liquor stores, collecting different kinds of booze...so no one would know it was all for me.

7. I have hidden my bottles in the neighbor's garbage.

8. I have been to AA, then stopped at the bar on the way home as a "reward."

9. I have been sober for weeks at a time, then rewarded myself with a weekend bender.

10. I stopped looking at my bar tabs, so I can lie to myself about how much I've really had.

OY..... there's actually no exclamation that has the ability to carry the full gravity of what I've just written. I'm actually stunned at the extent to which I had to go, to make myself see what kind of food addiction I've had over the past.....lifetime.

That, my friends, is a large hurdle. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. (That's not experience talking, it's just a metaphor.) I've taken the first several bites.....it's just going to take a while. There is no magic cure. Every bite of this elephant is going to be it's own challenge....and the motivation to keep going will sometimes run low.

This is the journey. This is my challenge....to overcome this. And, guess what? IT'S POSSIBLE. ONE DAY, ONE CHOICE, ONE BITE at a time.

nestingdoll

Cleaning out.....

Having just read a post about a few brave T-T post-op butterflies cleaning out their closets, it occurred to me.......cleaning out is the general theme of this journey, isn't it? (go with me on this for a minute, feel free to call me bonkers later) :)

I'm a collector, sort of. Not the knick-knack thingies that you buy on vacation or receive for Christmas....those I consider to be "just something else I have to dust." You will neither find butterfly wings pinned to backings or a priceless assortment of baseball cards. No post cards, thimbles, or shiny rocks. No spoons, coins, or shot glasses here...

But, I'm still a collector.........of junk.....bad memories that are soldered to my self esteem, clothes that used to fit, a relentless need to "clean my plate," a few of should'ves, would'ves, and could'ves....... tons of those,actually. Being saddled with regret, I've found, translates directly to saddle bags. I've spent too many years wishing that I had done things differently, that I forgot to do much of anything except regret. Regret is, indeed, a full time job. There's a word for what I collect. We all know it. I know that I'm guilty of having used the word when describing others but wince at the thought of it being used with me. Baggage. Eww. Leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Baggage.

Thinking forward, now, it's interesting to consider what the surgeon's office keeps telling us.....weight loss surgery is a tool. Maybe that "tool" is a little more like a broom, rake, or even a toilet snake than a magic wand??

Why else would we begin the surgery with a pantry cleanse, then colon cleanse, progress through a baggage cleanse, and end up with a closet cleanse??? Each step has the same intended outcome....crap removal.

19 days to go....

nestingdoll

WOW! That's all I have to say. (To which, in unison, all of you who have read ANYTHING of mine say, "liar, liar, pants on fire!") Okay, so it's not all I have to say....

This semester and the pre-surgery tilt-a-whirl all kind of began at the same time....let's just say that it does not make for good study habits. Usually, I'm a focused person. I get things accomplished. I check them off of a little list.....

Lately, um, not so much. I'm like a kid, I've decided. But, instead of the usual "shiny object disorder" that plagues those little people, I have "Skinny Object Disorder." Any random thought that leads to any other random thought that leads to thinking about ditching the fat suit catches my attention. If, say, I look at a Windex bottle that reminds me of the time not too long ago that I didn't recognize my own reflection on a store-front, now I've flung myself down a rabbit hole....now, I must think about the next few months where I'll no longer recognize myself in the reflection but for GOOD reasons....then I must sigh and think about how great I'll feel...then I must smile and think about everyone on T-T "getting sick and tired of hearing the compliments"....then...well, thinking about getting sick leads to thinking about NOT getting sick as much, and that leads to thinking about not feeling out of breath as much....and that I'll be able to find my inner Forrest and RUN....and here we go, another rabbit hole....

However, somewhere between the Windex and Forrest Gump, I am responsible for wiping the yogurt from my 2 year old's mouth and finishing my Calculus homework.....this is the part of life that, at least for the moment, I seem to be floating through.....

Remember the scene from Disney's Cinderella where she hums and scrubs the floor on her hands and knees? My life: scrubbing....Skinny Object Disorder: humming. I can't even remember finishing the assignments that, somehow, miraculously appear before me. The up side: I just aced the first exam in calculus this semester. (yes, Jesus loves me, ... that's the only explanation) I'm on auto-pilot, dreaming of thinner times. (he he he)

No, no, I'm not complaining....just wondering when wonder-bubble will pop, and my feet will touch solid ground again. Until then, I'm some ultra-cheerful, super positive version of myself....that, of course, I don't recognize. :) (Funny how things circle back around, huh?) *SQUIRREL!*

nestingdoll

Maybe it's because this is a temporary diet or maybe it's because I'm counting down the days until the surgery, but.....this pre-op diet looks WAY worse on paper. I was a bit stunned when they gave me the booklet....4 weeks of graduated dieting instead of 2 weeks of hard-core liquid. Needless to say, I was not too thrilled. The metaphor that comes to mind is chopping off an arm....would you rather have it done little bit by little bit....or just all at once? I'm not a fan of graduated hell.....

That being said, it could be SO MUCH worse. The cabbage soup diet....way worse. Listening to those darn hypnosis tapes featuring a man that can only be described as speaking with the soothing accent of "The Situation" from Jersey Shore. Way worse.

This, I can do. "Liquid" is a bit misleading. I get to have 1-2 Cups of veggies with my lunch shake and another 1-2 cups of veggies with my frozen dinner. I'm a big fan of portabello mushrooms, brussels sprouts, asparagus, onion....I grill them on my stove-top grill and VOILA! yumminess that chases away the hunger that still lingers after the protein shake. I guess the trick is to focus on the "extras" instead of the word "liquid." In fact, I'm convinced they should rename the darn diet. Take the word liquid completely out. Maybe "meatless" would do better? Certainly not so scary, right? (Especially when you can have smoked portabello mushroom caps....they taste like steak!)

I begin the final stage of my diet on March 5th.....then it's ALL-LIQUID-ALL-THE-TIME. The good news?? My stomach is already shrinking, so by March 5th, maybe it won't feel like such a big deal. Maybe I'll have to change my mind about "graduated hell" afterall. LOL. NAH!

(Played catch today at the park with the bald man....so much fun....can't wait until I can run and run without being so winded.)

nestingdoll

Yet another thing that I hope will be solved with this surgery......hirsutism and PCOS.

I was diagnosed with PCOS in 2002, when everything just kind of stopped. Exhaused. Hot flashes. Moody. Strange pangs. It felt like what I can only imagine going through menopause feels like. On my way out the door, the doc handed me a pamphlet on hirsutism and prescription for the Atkins diet. (If any of you hasn't been to a doctor that will write anything on a prescription pad in order to be taken seriously, I highly suggest it.....he wrote "sex daily" on a prescription once. I kept that one.) Anyway, I should've taken it as a warning of things to come. I didn't, but that didn't keep it from happening....hirsutism aka "since when do I have a 5o'clock shadow?"

PCOS, not such a bad deal. Sure, the cyst pain is bad...sometimes. The other symptoms, for me, not too bad. You kind of get used to digging through the abandoned toiletries under your bathroom sink three times a year, looking for that abandoned box of kotex. But, the whiskers that you get in exchange for keeping that little box of applicators in the cabinet is.........well, it makes me feel like I'm turning into a dude sometimes. There. I said it.

I don't know how the rest of you in T-T land feel, but can I just take a minute to say that tweezing should last way longer than 2 days! Holy Handlebar, you sexy thing, you!

Every third day, I take a minute to envision myself as part of a sideshow, with shiny rich, lustrous, curling hair flowing down my ........face. That's right.....face. If left to its own devices, I'm convinced that my free-range facial whiskers would take a proverbial mile, surpass my current status of being able to grow a goatee better than a teenage boy, and aspire to reach a Bearded Lady status worthy of any quality sideshow.

So, added to my now GIANT hopelist for after the surgery: tweezing a little less.

nestingdoll

WARNING: growliness gets worse as you continue to read.

The adult part of my brain knows and has always known where the fault lies in my fatness----ME ME ME ME ME ME ME. I've never claimed to have a thyroid problem; in fact, I've often said that I earned every one of my stretchmarks. It takes an awful lot of determination and perseverence to gain 175lbs and only give birth to an 8lb2oz baby girl (twice), right? Yes, I did it twice. I know what my problems were, and I've overhauled my life in order to change them. Like we all do. But, so help me, there is one thing that continues to punch holes in my self esteem....mom. (If there was a growly, sinister font, I'd use it for that last word.) She has, somehow, managed to parlay my decision to have WLS into an excuse to say whatever she wishes----like those people who say, "with all due respect" then fire with both barrels.

She has taken her "FAT COURTESY" and flung it from a nearby cliff and/or overpass. Symptoms include: snarky, sarcastic disdain for any mention of weight loss (though the mention was in response to direct questioning about it), Persistent questioning about infection rates, death rates, and wills, Mean-girl descriptions of my entire body, and equally offensive suppositions about what I will eventually look like. Since when is it okay to comment on my entire body, uninhibited? No holds barred??

No, I'm not saying that fat people deserve more courtesy than others. I'm simply saying that we deserve the same. Don't be rude. Questions are fine; bullying isn't. Reminds me of a movie line, "I may look like a hippopotamus, but I bruise quite easily." (Circle of Friends)

Before anyone asks: Of course, we can replace the words "fat courtesy" with "common courtesy" or "manners." But, personally, when you're fat, others tend to keep their manners with regards to everything EXCEPT weight-related topics. That's where they blow it. I'm certainly not one to walk on egg shells, and I would be last to suggest that others do that. There's a giant difference between looking for an insult and having your jiggly belly in the crosshairs of a purposefully insensitive person. Agreed? Good.

Here's the thing: it takes a lot of pride-swallowing to admit that you NEED this surgery. It takes soul-searching, life analyzing, and the removal of rose-tinted glasses. At least it did for me. Don't kick me when I'm down. I understand that my fat suit can now be considered a temporary condition, but only if I have the iron will to make it so. I don't know about anyone else in T-T land, but I'd rather not be surrounded by the petty, superficial perspective that made me question my worth in the first place. Your tribe has spoken, mother. Enough is enough.

nestingdoll

I've been getting this question a lot lately: "What are you going to DO now that you can't go out to eat anymore?" and "Honey, what will date night look like, now??"

Instead of arguing the fact that I would be able to eat, after readjusting to the post-op way of life. And, instead of pointing out that my minimal amount of food intake will probably bother them more than it bothers me.....I'm going to do the unthinkable....I'm going with the outsiders' assumptions.

Ridiculous. But, join me down this path......I can never eat with you again. WHATEVER WILL I DO FOR ENTERTAINMENT????? "What are you going to DO now that you can't go out to eat anymore???" Translation: "What will we do together if we can't eat, since that's what our friendship has turned into...lunchbuddies?"

For starters, we can:

1. Go rollerblading in the park

2. Go sledding

3. Meet at the marina, then walk the 2 mile circle around it

4. Go bowling

5. Go for a movie and have WATER, instead of 3 lbs of popcorn

6. Go to every Artown movie that's projected on the buildings downtown

7. Train for a triathlon

8. Learn how to kayak (it's on my to-do list)

9. Go camping in the Redwoods (a one-day drive)

10. Go white water rafting (so much fun)

11. Take the kids to the roller skating rink

12. Take a sculpting class

13. Go to the art museums.

14. Take a healthy cooking class

15. Volunteer at the homeless shelter

16. Go geo-cacheing

17. Hike every trail in the area.

18. Go for a bike ride

19. Take an aqua-fit class together

20. Go horseback riding

21. Go to the animal preserve

22. Get a mani/pedi

23. Search for and find awesome things at local antique stores

24. Take a yoga class

25. Take a spin class

26. Go dancing

27. Get our hair done

28. Go to the hippie poetry readings at the coffee shop

29. Go watch a ballgame at the sports bar (and have tea)

30. Go to the old-fashioned arcade and play air hockey

31. Take up photography and make our own calendars

32. Drive to Lake Tahoe and play "tourist"

33. See a different tourist attraction every outing

34. Find a "cause" in our area to get behind

35. Take the dogs to the dog park

36. Play catch in our backyards

37. Plant vegetable gardens

38. Go to apple hill and pick fruit for the day

39. Spend all of the remaining balances on our gift card collections

40. Start christmas shopping early (like we always plan to)

If I can name 40 things off the top of my head that we can do together that DON'T have ANYTHING to do with food, how can this be a scary thing? Social outings don't have to revolve around food.

The most important thing that we could try is: put something in our brains other than the day's menu. Once we do that, I have this funny feeling that the entertainment void will fill itself.

Thought of the day: How much brainpower have I wasted thinking about food? If I had concentrated those efforts on, say, science instead....I could've probably found a cure for cancer. Too much time lost. I can't wait to fill my days with other things to think about.

nestingdoll

For those that are unaware, I'm 32 and an engineering student. Objective: dream fulfillment. We (SFC Hubby and I) decided that we'd focus on family, his career, and raising kids until his retirement (T minus 1.5 years), when I would be able to go to school full time and finish my engineering degree.

Well, I hired a nanny for 6 hours a week and got a jump start on a few classes. One of them is a chemistry lecture/lab that I've been DYING to take for years. (yes, I am a dork)

And, here the nightmare unfolds. Day #1: our class is told to choose lab partners for the year. Ever have that dream where you're the last one chosen for kickball, etc...???? Yep, that dream had a head-on collision with my reality the first day. I'm outgoing, soooooo not afraid to talk to people, and I actually know what I'm doing in lab. But, who ends up without a partner?? moi. Trust me, if I was the least bit concerned about what idiot children driving their mommy's car and wearing designer jeans thought, I'd be crushed. Not moi. I did, however, overhear whispering that included the words "fat" and "lazy." So, I chuckled to myself and waited for the day when their ridiculous priorities would backfire. Yesterday was that day. *evil cackle*

Our class had a transfer student. Enter charming ADHD girl that has never cracked her book. (I'm serious about the ADHD part...she announced it to the class, and followed up with "but my medication makes me sick so I stopped taking it this week.") No problem that we can't deal with. Let's do this thing! She's adorable but her facial expression when she was introduced to "moi" was certainly not "excitement." The class giggled, so I chimed in, "guess you get stuck with the old lady. No worries. I'm smarter than I look." We aced our first lab....and the others (whom I hereby dub "the children") FAILED. How do I know? Our professor lectured the class, told us to drop out of it, and then singled the big o' fat lady and my lab partner out and announced our grade.

We had the chance to change up lab partners after that. I got several offers by the children to switch teams.....I stuck with the transfer kid. We're all set to ace our second lab. Happy ending. :)

The thing that strikes me about this is that though I choose to call them "the children," they are legally adults. And, by my looks alone, they judged me as lazy. Lazy. I can't get over the word. I had a full time job when I was 15. I bought my first car when I was 17. But, because I have a tighter fit in the classroom chairs than they do, I'm lazy. It's funny....the longer I go through this process, the more I find out exactly how I'm constantly being judged and not just by strangers, either.

Everyone seems to have a different label for me. To strangers, I'm lazy. To my family, based on recent statements, I'm grouped into the "unfortunate fat chick duo" that is comprised of me and one other sister aka the "shallow end of the gene pool." (the shallow end is also where the non-tanning gene resides)

But, my labels, surely, will change. And, taking what I've just learned from "the children," people get threatened when that happens. The swarm of children turned from a mouth-foaming pack of rabid morons in designer jeans into self-conscious feet shufflers asking for help. Based on calls from my family trying to talk me out of the surgery..."for my own good," they're threatened enough to abandon logic and use guilt trips to sway my opinion. What, dear God, is going to happen when I taint the shallow end of the gene pool with my new labels?? (Does anyone else hear ominous music??)

I can't help but wonder what my eventual labels will be, and do thinner people have more input in their categories than I do?? Will I be given gratuitous labels like, "energetic and hardworking" because I have a smaller jeans size?? There's something in me that wants to disprove this.

But, for today....I'll take being the "old fat lady" formerly known as the "old fat lazy lady." It's a start.

nestingdoll

Maybe it's because I don't like the idea of "pipe dreams" or "cloud castles," but I never did it until today. "It" being that thing that I hope I'm not the only one that has done....

That's right, standing in front of the mirror and pushing, nay...stretching my fat backwards to try to figure out what lies beneath. Normally, with my 2 year old and 6 year old in tow, I throw on lipgloss, sunglasses, and a beanie and head to class. Today, though, I had time to actually digest what I was seeing in the mirror and (dare I say it) wonder what I will look like in a year.

I've been thumbing through all of the "skinny mini pics" in the T-T gallery since I was a lurker, and although I was shocked and impressed and wowed...I never let myself get to the point where that kind of transformation felt like it was in MY near future. Today, as I was hurriedly applying gloss and making sure I looked "okay" aka not homeless.....my hands did something unexpected. I put the lipgloss down and used my hands to push my extra face fluffiness away enough to see the shape of my jawline. I have one, and it's not just theoretical anymore.

This intrigued me, and led me to look at the rest of me through this skewed lens. After going down this rabbit hole of crazy mental images of myself, I realized that I am but a soap sculpture. Remember those? You start with a chunky bar of soap and whittle your way down to something underneath...in my case, it was normally a three and a half legged horse-like creature. But, inevitably, you could whittle it into anything you pleased....

(I know that you all are probably expecting some deeply spiritual conclusion to this. But, knowing that my spirit has no idea that it currently resides in a fat suit, this thought process is pretty superficial.)

Here goes: I hope my end result will have thinner feet so that I can buy those shoes. Women will know what I mean...the ones that would be perfect, but they don't come in wide widths (what I lovingly call hobbit sizes)...the ones that you eventually find a knock-off for, but the heel looks orthopedic....those shoes. Don't get me wrong, here. Hobbits are lovable, adorable things.....but, I sure don't feel hobbit-ish. As we all know, "a respectable hobbit never did anything unexpected." And, since I don't want to be a hobbit, respectable or otherwise....I want vixen shoes. I think I will buy a new pair of lust-worthy shoes for every 30 lbs that I go down on the scale. They will be mine. Oh, yes. They will be mine. (working on an evil cackle to go with that)

nestingdoll

The hubby and I are having an unusually lazy Sunday afternoon, eating the right way and enjoying one another's company. The weekend, however, didn't start out that way.

I actually broke away from my diet on Friday night...after a marathon of studying/starving. Chinese food. If you're like me, right now, you're drooling. BUT, it didn't take long to feel the effects. #1 sugar coma #2. blood feels like molasses #3 soooooooo grouchy/sleepy/can't wake up the next day #4 swollen arms and legs from the salt and.....da du da....#5 a now-intimate knowledge of every crack and cranny of our bathroom. (we spent a lot of quality time together) And, I haven't even had my surgery yet! Just out to prove that my body isn't used to the junk that made it this way, anymore, I guess.

Saturday, I, of course, was a saint! Kind of like when you wake up with a wicked hang over and SWEAR that you'll never touch alcohol again. I meant it. Still do.

So, now with my swollen feet and hands firmly stapled to the wagon, I'm dutifully tracking my intake and feeling much better. The general's chicken has left the building, folks. THANK GOD! Other than being poisoned by Chinese food and ordering a potbelly piglet for my daughter's upcoming birthday, it's been a rather slow weekend. (Yes, a piglet in Reno) Now, I'm off to snuggle the bald man....can't resist.

nestingdoll

Much like Bobby Boucher, my mama, my mama, my mama says, "Patience is a virtue".....to which my brain always responds "that I do not possess." Call it turning over a new leaf or a new year's resolution or whatever other name, but I actually AM trying to be patient and gracious and understanding. And. I. Am. Failing. Miserably.-----almost compulsively, actually.

Here's the thing, though----I may not be the most impatient one on this block, anymore. Triwest is getting a bit impatient with the surgery scheduler at my doc's office. How do I know, you ask?? Well, seeing as how my ESPN is limited....they called ME. They being Triwest. Oh yes, Kris, my assigned RN with Triwest called this morning, irritated. It seems that she's been waiting for a surgery date from the doc as long as I have. Turns out, they don't possess the virtue of patience, either.

Small update....I got a phone call from my doc's office (FINALLY) to try to schedule my surgery last night at about 5:15PM. (I ducked out of lab to take the call). The scheduler was pretty snarky...sarcastically thanking me for my patience. UH OH...guess she had caller ID after all. :) I laughed and said that she and I both knew that I was likely the least patient patient (hmmmm) that she currently had, but my reasons for the calls were more about school than my hurry to drop my fat suit. I explained my Spring Break circumstances. She backed down after that. Long story short, in order to give me the most time recovering and still be in my Spring Break week, I'll have to change facilities to a different in-network hospital. And, because her phone call to me was so late in the day, the insurance folks were already gone. Guess who approves the facility change??? Yep, frustrated Kris, RN, from Triwest....sitting in her office, waiting most impatiently for the insurance people to contact her. BTW---when she growls, she sounds like a tiny little pocket dog or maybe Mowgli. I can just imagine the tap of her sensible nurse shoe on her office floor...Beware snarky scheduler, you have just put a quarter in the slot of a tiny little powerhouse with a munchkin voice that is likely to leave WAY more than 2 messages for you.

Something tells me I'll be getting my facility changed and my surgery date TODAY. :)

*the role of knight in shining armor will temporarily be played by Triwest*???????? never thought I'd type that one.

footnote: Triwest assigned me a nurse to help me with any questions, check up on my process throughout and after surgery, and to make sure that I'm well informed and that the doc's office is providing appropriate support. Nothing scary---her job is to make sure the process goes well. (They did the same thing when I was pregnant with my daughters.)

nestingdoll

Sometimes, there sadly isn't enough room for all of the exclamation points that are necessary! This feeling is pretty unbelievable. Like someone told you that your daydreams are now reality.

I've been stalking the Triwest authorization site (as we all know), and suddenly, it CHANGED FROM "PENDING REVIEW" TO "APPROVED!" And, no matter how many times I refresh the page....it doesn't even budge. IT'S NOT A HALLUCINATION, FOLKS!

WOW. It's really happening. EVEN TO ME!!!

nestingdoll

It's Saturday, a day and a half left before my doc can fax paperwork to Triwest. Yep, this is what I've turned into this weekend....feeling the insurance roller coaster ride and feeling pretty isolated. But, at least I'm feeling snarky and sarcastic instead of hopeless. (We've just recently gotten over that hump, if you all remember.)

Sure, I'm going through the motions of being me. I even painted a new portrait of my little daughter. But, in the back of my mind, "what if they deny, what if they deny, what if they deny....." And what's worse is that even T-T can't offer any advice when you're battling the insurance giants. Why does it never feel like a "sure thing," even when you've met their requirements? They're pretty powerful, those lords of the gray area. :)

I don't remember if I said so or not during my last couple of blogs, but the guy that put my file into review and requested more info "doesn't take phone calls from beneficiaries." Ever see that commercial, I think it's for a credit card or an insurance company or something, where the guy walks up to the car rental counter and gets an automated response from a human...."for luxury vehicle rentals press 1. Goodbye." ???? I suspect that it was filmed on an alternate plane of reality where "customer service agents" don't have to serve customers.....also known as the Insurance Vacuum.

It's like limbo, or it's own deserted island. The minutes are eternities. AND There's no guarantee that you'll ever be rescued, no matter what you do. LOL. I don't have a tribe or alliances, and would LOVE to be voted off of this particular island, but..........again......

a day and a half until the second submission that will hopefully more than fulfill Tricare's needs.........

:) Do anyone else's pep talks to themselves include the mention of POW's ????

nestingdoll

After a HORRIBLE day yesterday, my PCP's office staff, PCP, and I came to an agreement. I would be allowed to transfer my patient record onto the bariatric surgeon's template myself, take them back to the office for review/signatures, and they would fax them to Tricare on Monday morning.

I picked up my records this morning, and LO AND BEHOLD....I believe I have found the culprit behind this entire misunderstanding with my insurance company. I was given a stack of 24 months of records (I can only use 23 because they forgot to enter a weight on the first month). On the very last progress note---the one that auto-generates a BMI and my PCP lists my necessity for WLS, the office staff accidentally transposed the final two numbers. The result? A whopping 30 lb weight loss in one month and a BMI below 40 with no co-morbidities. Perhaps, Triwest isn't a heartless, mindless, ineffective soul-sucking machine, after all. They do have to determine based solely on the information they're given, right?

So, with that ridiculous error fixed and 23 sequential monthly templates of medically managed weight loss program completed (they only need 6)...hope has been given critical life saving measures! The pages now sit on my PCP's office desk. He will sign them Monday morning, and his office staff has promised to fax them directly to Triwest before lunch! (yes, of course, I will call to make sure this happens).

The good news? I'm feeling a little better about my chances for approval, now. After pouring through the 1.5 inch stack of pages, I realized that I began with a BMI over 40, and I ended with a BMI over 40, throughout the course of 24 months. Indeed, this shows a failure at weight loss attempts. I'm more comforted, knowing that my PCP did take down what we talked about each month, so there's no grey area at all.

nestingdoll

This morning, I received a response from Triwest....kind of. They sent a brief blurb to my surgeon's office requesting "medically documented failed attempts at medically managed weight loss attempts."

HEY, TRICARE, WHAT IN THE WORLD DO YOU THINK WE SENT YOU IN 18 PAGES OF MONTHLY DOCTOR VISITS, DETAILING MY WEIGHT, DIET, EXERCISE, MEDICATION, ETC....????????

So, I called the Triwest customer service line to ask if they received the 18 pages of doctor's notes that detail the program. Yep, they did. Then, I asked what more documentation they needed. Response: "there are no specifics listed in the letter." DUH.

BECAUSE YOU ALREADY HAVE EVERYTHING YOU COULD POSSIBLY NEED, PEOPLE!!! Dana, the customer service rep said, "maybe your PCP should send a letter summarizing your efforts."

A LETTER? YOU HAVE 18 PAGES OF HIS HAND-WRITTEN DOCUMENTATION. YOU WANT HIM TO CALL YOU AND READ IT TO YOU, TOO?

My patient advocate at my surgeon's office now wants my PCP's office to spoon-feed the info to them, via a template that they routinely use. My PCP's office is confused about why the need more info and what info they could possibly want. They are playing phone tag between their offices. (and they're in the same building, by the way)

I even offered to go up there, transfer my own records onto the template, leave them to be signed by the PCP, then hand-deliver them to the surgeon's office for re-submission. I was told no. They want me to stay out of the process.

My suggestions for the office staff: FLOOD TRIWEST with every monthly PCP progress note for managed weightloss over the past 2 years. (I have them. promise.) That way, they can get the big picture, not just the last year's worth. It'll show loss, plateau, regain. And, it will show the extent to which I've really gone to try. My suggestion was given a, "hmmm, maybe."

I'm trying to be patient. Really. I am. But, the 5 day deadline (the PCP's office is closed on Friday's) doesn't exactly promote patience and calm. Breathe in blue, out red. Pray, pray, pray. I MUST cling to faith that, given all I've sincerely done to accomplish weight loss, AND having record of it will be enough. Seriously worried that either the full picture hasn't been given to Triwest, the full picture hasn't been received by Triwest, or that my records won't satisfy "failed attempts" because I did initially lose weight.

Today is day 1. I have 5 days for them to respond or else it goes into denial, and then appeals process. YAY.

nestingdoll

This week and last week have kind of been a blur of bariatric appointments and beginning this semester---THANK GOD I REALIZED THAT I'M NO SPRING CHICKEN AND DECIDED TO ONLY TAKE HALF A CLASS LOAD. PHEW!

Anyway, I met with my surgeon last Tuesday (still love him), then Thursday: had my RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) test, hand-delivered them negative H-pylori results from an endoscope from December '11, took my Steps to Success class that afternoon, and finished up this morning with my Nutrition Eval. For the curious, here's what happened:

Thursday:

RMR test: After arriving by the skin of my teeth (darn Reno traffic) to my appointment, the nutritionist placed a fancy nose-plug on my nose and a tube between my teeth, through which I was supposed to breathe. After sucking oxygen through the tube and blowing carbon dioxide back in, the machine takes the ratio of the two gases to see how much energy I'm actually producing. Apparently, my metabolic rate is on the low side of normal. Low=not a surprise normal??? really? It only lasted an eternity of 10 minutes, during which I decided that I, indeed, never want to learn how to scuba dive. Such a weird feeling---bring something to distract you. The nutritionist then used my RMR to determine my goal caloric intake post-surgery. Score! Another tool to help me be successful!

Steps to Success Class: (aka...Come and Learn just how long your liquid diet will be session)

I arrived at my class with 4 other people. Waiting for us were file folders with personalized cover sheets. Mine listed my BMI, and had blanks for how long I was to be on the Step 1 diet, Step 2 diet, and Step 3 (full liquid) diet stages. I was to be on Step 1 for 1 week, Step 2 for 1 week, and Step 3 for 2 weeks. Gulp! (the weeks ranged from 1-2 weeks for the first two stages, then up to 6 weeks for stage 3) Silver Lining: during the class, I found out that I've been doing Step 1 for the last several months. So, maintain status quo until about 3 weeks before surgery.

Step 1 diet plan: 1 protein shake (no fruit), 2 snacks (boiled egg, string cheese, or piece of fruit), 300-cal frozen entree for lunch and dinner with 2 cups of veggies, then 1/2 of a protein shake before bed. (not bad)

Step 2: Now two shakes for meals and one frozen entree, with snacks between (mostly shakes).

Step 3: Every meal and every snack is a protein shake.

I think this is a surgeon-specific thing---I've not seen anyone post this kind of regime on TT before. Oh well, less weight I'll have to lose afterwards. (They also told me I have to lose at least 14 lbs before going into the surgery. YOU GOT IT! I'd probably learn to walk on my hands if it meant they'd schedule me)

Nutrition Eval Crazy easy! I brought my new obsession with me (ipad) so that the nutritionist could flip through my sparkpeople.com food tracker and get a better idea of how I eat. She asked me random questions like, "How often do you eat out?" and "Tell me about a typical dinner that you cook." and "Walk me through a day of eating for you." No biggie.

....finally, I got to meet with my patient advocate Jacky again. (so adorable). She told me that she FINALLY got my physician's letter of support (after I hand-carried one template to my PCP, then called a week later to give step-by-step directions to his front office eye candy) So, as soon as she has the completed Nutrition Evaluation in hand, (which the nutritionist said she would rush) she'll be submitting me to Triwest for my surgical authorization TODAY! *doing the happy dance*

Gotta say, I've been on such a high since then, I aced a pop calculus test and floated home to tell you guys all about it. Keeping my fingers (and toes) crossed and keeping an eye on the sky! (while obsessing over the authorizations section on Triwest's website.) Maybe it won't take long. Max: 10 days.

nestingdoll

My hubby, my 2 year old hellion daughter, and I went to my surgery consult yesterday morning. I came armed with an ipad, a snack, and a purse-ful of crayons to keep the little one busy....and a list of questions for Dr. Ganser.

First surprise? He came in, sat down, and waited for my questions, answering each one with patience and sometimes a diagram prop. I walked out much more educated and comforted. Yes, he would be fixing my hiatal hernia (sp?) during the surgery. No, adhesions from prior peritonitis wouldn't force him to go "open" with the surgery. Barring major complications, of which he has a track record of very few, he couldn't see a problem with me going back to school within a week. (YIPPEE). Yes, he thought gastric bypass was the correct surgery for me. Yes, he would be able to use some of the same incision points from my gallbladder lap.

Second surprise? He asked my husband if he, too, had concerns that needed to be addressed. Where'd they get this guy and is it possible to find one like him in every specialty??

After the consult, I met with my patient advocate Jacky. Love her, too. Where I was issued my "checklist," and told that they would submit for insurance auth after I completed it....leading to......

Surprise #3: After I show up for my final NUT appt. on the 30th, my checklist will be completel. *DOING THE HAPPY DANCE* She doesn't think that my March timeframe will be an issue AT ALL.

I'm really thankful that things (SO FAR) are going very smoothly. Next up: Insurance battle. TriWest, please refer to your notes where I've won against you in the past before picking a fight. En garde!

nestingdoll

Last night, I was cooking dinner (grilled chicken breast, fresh brussels sprouts, and roasted red potatoes). My 6 year old daughter asked me if what we were having was healthy. I told her that I was cooking in the healthiest manner possible, not adding oils, etc... but that how healthy it was also depended on how much of everything we eat. Thinking that I had seized the opportunity to teach her a little bit about things she needed to watch in the future, I was satisfied until I heard her response. "I'm glad it's healthy. I don't want to be fat like you."

Yowch! I'm a strong, confident, intelligent, well-spoken woman, wife, and mother.....and my daughter doesn't still want to be like me. Well, that was my first thought. The f-word is a no-no in my home, so I immediately sent her nose to the corner until I could work out how to deal with this one. I took inventory of the problems:

1. She'd broken a well-defined house rule: No "big" or "little" comments on others' bodies.

2. She'd need another talking-to about feelings...and how to try to avoid hurting them.

3. How often was she hearing me obsess about my weight/health lately? Uh oh.

4. At age 6, she's thinking about what she wants her body to be like. Isn't that a bit early?

This was not looking good, for sure. So, completing the inventory, I finally decided there were some good things about the situation, too:

1. She was aware that being fat was linked to food choice. YAY!

2. She was attempting to voice her CHOICE with regards to food and...

3. ....At age 6, she's thinking about what she wants her body to be like....healthy.

In the end, this reaction of mine was because of hurt feelings. But, if I had, at age 6, known ANYTHING close to normal about portion control, healthy food choices, etc... would I be itching to have a bariatric surgery now? I reinforced the need to consider others' feelings, and reinforced the mandatory compliance with house rules....then, I told her how proud I was that she was prioritizing a healthy life. Hard night.

I wonder, when I have lost the weight post-surgery, will I still react the same?

3.