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ThriftyTheresa

I went to a different OA meeting this weekend and it was a completely different experience. The OA meeting I have attended a few times has been a very small group of just 4 people in total. I travelled to a different neighborhood Saturday to try out another group and it was HUGE! 40+ people! Slightly different format but I enjoyed it.

Other than introducing myself as a newcomer in the beginning of the meeting I chose not to share more about myself and that has been bothering me ever since. Perhaps because it was my first meeting this this huge group I was a little intimidated, but I'm NOT a shy person. I can talk to anybody and everybody, I just chose not to share and, in retrospect, I really should have.

I've gone to enough meetings now to feel comfortable with the program but I'm not sure where I fit in as a WLS patient and a Compulsive Overeater. I've been hesitant to bring up WLS because it can be such a polarizing subject. Everybody and their mother has an opinion about WLS whether they have had it themselves or not. Also, it hasn't been brought up by anyone else and hasn't fit in with any of the topics we've talked about in the groups. People have shared deeply personal stored about binge eating, seeking food for comfort, and all the usual traps of compulsive overeating. One of my issues I'm dealing with is NOT feeling hungry. How many eyes are going to roll when I say "I forget to eat." when everyone else is talking about eating constantly? But, we're all here to get help, right, so I shouldn't care what people think. Maybe there are others like me and I just don't know it. WLS it's part of me now and it directly affects my relationship with food and eating so I need to be open about my WLS or I may not get any benefit of going to these meetings if I continue to neglect the topic.

It's coming to the point where I need to look into finding an OA sponsor and it would be wonderful if I could find a sponsor who has also had WLS. I'm never going to find the right sponsor unless I put myself out there 100% and be honest.

ThriftyTheresa

The bad news is, I feel like I have a hernia. 

I went to the surgery clinic yesterday after work to have a checkup. For the past week I've had some uncomfortable feelings on the left side of my abdomen just a little lower than my incisions, to the left side of my navel. It hurts every time I sit down, get up, bend over, turn over in bed, or even just adjusting myself in my chair. There is no obvious bulging like a hernia, but something is moving around in there and it tweaks, twists, tugs, and hasn't gotten any better in an entire week.

The PA I saw poked and prodded all my belly areas and ruled out an internal hernia and decided that it is a buildup of scar tissue and possibly some internal stitches that are sewn into the muscle tugging around. She said to massage the area to help break up the hard tissue but it could take months before the feeling will go away. When I press on it and massage it like suggested it basically feels like pressing a huge bruise. But there is no bruising on the surface.

Thankfully it's not painful. Just uncomfortable. As long as my guts aren't going to burst through my navel when I bend over to feed the cat I will be just fine.

ThriftyTheresa

I'm only 2 months out from my surgery, but I am feeling some emotional ways about food lately. 2 weeks ago I went to an Overeaters Anonymous meeting and went again this week as well. I figured this would been a good weekly supplement to my monthly support group meetings at the hospital. I love our hospital meetings and look forward to them every month. But then there's the 3-4 weeks between meetings where I feel I could use a little support.

Sometime last year I briefly looked into seeing a therapist, outside of the psychologist they have on staff at my clinic, but I never felt comfortable with the place I tried and the therapist didn't have much background with eating disorders, let alone weight loss surgery, and I never went out of my way to try another therapist. Mostly due to laziness, and I wasn't struggling very much so it really would have been a waste of money.

So what's going on in my head? I mentioned in my last post that I'm feeling the need to grocery shop and buy a lot of things for variety in my diet. That happened big time this weekend. My freezer and fridge are packed full of yummy, healthy, protein-rich food. What's the problem? I can't eat it all so why am I buying it? I am becoming a food hoarder. I'm not binging on the food, it's just sitting in the fridge. I can only eat tiny portions of anything so why am I buying all this food in bulk? Most of it is frozen food so it will last a while, but there's no reason I need to have this much food in my fridge and every day I think of something else I'd like to buy - it just popped into my head while writing this that I'd like to get some ground turnkey to make taco meat. But I have too much food already! I don't need to buy more! Before surgery my fridge and freezer were mostly bare because I'd eat out, or pick up something from the deli, occasional fast food. Now I have more food than I can reasonably handle.

So far Overeaters Anonymous is not really helping with my shopping frenzy. After the meeting on Sunday I went to church and after church I went to Trader Joe's and bought more stuff. I don't go to Trader Joe's very often so it was exciting to see all the new stuff they have. I went in there to get ONE THING and I left with a full basket and an almost $50 bill. Ridiculous.

I don't know if the Overeaters Anonymous thing is going to be something I will stick with, but it's pretty clear I have some compulsive behavior with food so I'm hopeful the meetings can assist.  But, just like with finding a therapist, I need to find a meeting that is right for me. The two meetings I went to were at an easy location for met to get to, but it has been a very small group of just 4 people each time. We take turns reading out loud from the OA books and we can briefly comment on what we are readings. We're only allowed to "share" our issues for 3 minutes and we can't "cross-talk" which means you can't comment on what another person is saying. So there's really no support/help being offered by the participants. You just say what you want to say and everyone says "thank you for sharing" and that's it.  I haven't even brought up this topic of food hoarding yet because it's never been close to the topic we are talking about. It's a very ridged structure and not as free-flowing as I would like a group-therapy-type thing to be. I've been told there are other meetings in other neighborhoods which have different formats so I need to try those and see if there is something that I am looking for. Thankfully it is free.

So that's what's going on at the moment.

ThriftyTheresa

Thank you to Jen581791 for sending me a message checking up on me. I hadn't realized it had been so long since I did an update. It's been almost 2 months since my surgery and everything is going well. I have gotten into a good groove of working, living, eating.

As far as victories go, I have lost 28lbs since surgery day. I've gone down 2 pant sizes and just gave a big clothing donation to a local charity shop. I haven't purchased any "new" clothes yet. I'm swimming in all of my blouses/tops and I am on the tightest settings of my bras so I will need to bite the bullet and get some things that fit soon.

I've successfully navigated eating out with friends twice. It was nice having a bill less than $10 when everyone else at the table had bills of $20-30 because they were eating full dinner servings, alcohol, and dessert. I was a little taken aback when having a 1-on-1 dinner with a friend that she ordered and ate a dessert dish right in front of me. I was triggered with envy to say the least but I didn't let it get to me, I didn't even address it with her. I can't be food-police to other people. I can only police myself. When she offered me a bite I said "No thanks" and that was very hard to do.

My other victory is I am officially off my blood pressure medication. About 3 weeks ago I started getting dizzy spells and almost fainting when standing up. I stopped taking my blood pressure pill for a couple days and went to the doctor. She said my blood pressure was no longer high enough to warrant the high-dose medication I was on. She decided I didn't need a lesser dose, that because I am still losing weight she didn't see the need to have me take anything. I'll follow up with her again in a month just to make sure I'm still good.

I'm struggling with a few mental things but nothing terrible. Mostly I am obsessing a little with food variety. I know I can only eat tiny servings of anything, but I have a full freezer and refrigerator of food because I don't want to eat the same things all the time. I feel the need to go grocery shopping all the time. But in my defense, I am buying and trying a lot of new things including vegan protein options which I have started to really enjoy. I have also cooked some "large" meals for my father. I've eaten my portion, kept a portion of leftovers, and sent the rest of the meal home with Dad. He's appreciative of the extra food and I am appreciative for eating something other than yogurt.

So that's what's been going on with me. I'm feeling good. Happy with my progress. I have my 3-month appointment with my surgeon next month. I'll try to get an update out around then. Thanks for reading!

ThriftyTheresa

Sorry it's taken this long for me to get an update out. Let's just say it's been a difficult and exhausting process to get myself back to "normal" since my surgery on 7/10. This week I can safely say that I am feeling good. The last 4 weeks though have been hard.

Surgery itself went well, according to the surgeons. I was at the hospital Monday-Wednesday, released late Wednesday afternoon. I don't think I was taken care of very well in the hospital and that caused problems for me when I got home. At the hospital I was rarely given the opportunity to walk around the halls. During the daytime, my assigned nurse only checked up on me when I called him to use the bathroom and he would complain constantly about being so busy, so busy, so busy. The printed message on my room's wall said daytime nurses should check on patients every hour. He'd drop off pain meds and change my IV bag every 5 hours. He wouldn't let me walk the halls by myself and was too busy to walk with me. The nighttime nurses were better and I was able to walk a few times before bedtime. Trust me, I have complained to the hospital about this daytime nurse and his lack of assistance for me.

Because I wasn't able to get up and walk while in the hospital, when I got home Wednesday I weighed 30lbs heavier than the morning I checked in for surgery. THIRTY POUNDS of gas and water and swelling. My belly was distended so far out I looked 9 months pregnant and had painful stretch marks that I never had on my body before. With all this swelling and distention, it was impossible for me to get comfortable anywhere - bed, couch, chairs. That first night at home was one of the most painful and uncomfortable experiences of my life. Honestly, the only comfortable sitting place I could find was my bathroom toilet. During the night, I sat there for a long time and slept a few minutes without discomfort.

I had a hard time getting fluids in. I felt (and still feel) a lot of restriction in my pouch. Taking more than 1 sip every 5 minutes was difficult. Because I couldn't get much water or much protein drink in I was very weak. Feeling weak and dizzy did not help when it comes to getting up and walking. So the rest of the week and the weekend I just tried to stay comfortable and pray that the swelling in my abdomen would go down. Wednesday of the following week I was feeling a little better and sent my Dad back to his home because I thought I was doing better and could take care of myself.

Then Thursday evening I started vomiting and had severe diarrhea. I was only drinking water and protein water (not milky protein) but it would all come up. I would have a round of vomiting and toilet time then I would fall asleep for a couple hours. I'd wake up, drink some more, vomit some more, go back to sleep. This routine continued all through the night. I thought about going to the emergency room but the idea of going back to the hospital was terrifying for me. When my Dr's office opened in the morning I called and spoke to my surgeon's PA. Since I did not have a fever it didn't seem like I had any infections. She prescribed me some anti-nausea medication and I was able to get my father to go pick it up and come back to help me. Once I was on the anti-nausea meds the vomiting stopped. The diarrhea also stopped because I didn't have anything else to give. The medication came with the side effect of sleeping so I continued my cycle of sleeping and waking up to drink a little but I really couldn't sit up more than 20 minutes or so. My eyes hurt like I had a migraine. It's obvious I was seriously dehydrated. I wasn't getting enough in and couldn't stay awake long enough to drink more. So for 3 days I basically stayed in my dark bedroom sleeping.

On Monday the 24th I was determined to get out of bed. I had my post-op appointment the next day, Tuesday, and I needed to get some strength back in order to go to that appointment. My Dad was really helpful during all this time. I wouldn't have been able to do it without him. When we saw the Dr. on Tuesday I was back down to the same weight I was when I checked in for surgery. The swelling in my abdomen greatly reduced during all that sick time.  We talked about the situation with the vomiting and how I'm not staying awake long enough to do anything. And I was supposed to return to work the following week. I didn't think I would get able to get the strength. They gave me the go ahead to advance my diet to soft foods and ordered me to get up and walk more. Starting to eat foods really helped increase my energy. I also stopped taking the nausea pill because it was making me sleep too much. Walking was so hard because I was so physically weak but me and Dad took little walks around the block and each day I was able to walk more and more. I spent the week trying my best to drink as much as possible and eating yogurts, cottage cheese, and eggs. I felt stronger each day.

Monday the 31st I had to go back to work. That was the end of my "disability" time at work and I would be penalized if I did not return. That day was a huge challenge. I packed all my foods and drinks and made my way in. I was still very weak, tired, and my brain didn't even want to function. But thankfully I have a desk job so once I got to my desk I could just relax a little, breath, drink, and breath some more. I'm grateful it was a relatively slow day at work so I didn't have a lot of calls to handle, and I could just take my time with the work I needed to do. When I got home that day I was exhausted to the max. I had some more cottage cheese and went to bed almost immediately. Each day at work got a little better. I actually think having the routine of work helped me a lot with my eating schedule and that helped me a lot with building up stamina and strength.

This is almost the end of my 2nd week back at work - and my 1 month anniversary of having the surgery. I am 20lbs down from surgery day. That makes 62lbs down since I started this process last September. I do feel almost completely "normal" again. I have not had any more vomiting. I still have bowel problems from time to time but it's easier to figure out what causes that based on what I am eating. I'm still mostly living off yogurt and cottage cheese. I can't believe I'm not sick of those yet. But I have been trying to introduce new foods each day and have tolerated most everything. I can eat chicken, tuna, chili, lunch meats and cheeses. All in very tiny portions, of course. This is my new "normal". Now that I am out of the woods, the worst is behind me, and I can focus on the happy and healthy future.

ThriftyTheresa

Sunday I will begin my 2-week "diet" before surgery. My clinic does not require an all-liquid diet, just super low-carb - under 20g a day. This past month I have been working and lowering, and lowering, and lowering my carb intake. I haven't had any alcohol for over a month and I haven't had any sugar in a month except for fresh strawberries and a small squirt of whipped cream once a week. I know this is the final prep to shrink the fat around my liver and make surgery safer. I am taking this very seriously. Sunday is the final stretch toward this goal of getting surgery. It's been a hell of a 10 months to get to this point.

Saturday night, however...

I've planned for one final night of indulgence. My best friend and I are going to have a party night together. Have lots of alcoholic drinks, lots of greasy food at our favorite dirty diner, sing karaoke, and a final indulgence of Cheesecake Factory. She's not interested in surgery but she is interested in improving her health and losing weight. This Last HURRAH is for us both.

I have already picked up the Cheesecake slices for us and I will say that I almost didn't. I had some very intense feelings of embarrassment about going to the restaurant just to order from the to-go counter and take the big bag of cheesecakes on the bus home. I wanted to order the slices online using a delivery service app but the slices my friend wanted were both limited edition and only available in the store. I couldn't order them online. I work exactly 2 blocks away from Cheesecake Factory and walk by it almost every day on my way to the bus. In the 15 years I have worked here I have only been there probably 5 times. It truly is a rare indulgence, and that is 100% due to the shame I feel whenever I go there. I even felt shame about it the ONE time I ordered online to eat in the privacy of my home because a delivery person would had to bring it to me. The place is just so over the top with large portions and once slice of cake has the caloric intake for 2 whole days of food. The last thing I want is for someone to see me, the morbidly obese person that I am, buying 4 slices of cheesecake. The judgment of strangers shouldn't matter to me, and it normally doesn't, but I was really struck with the realization that I was judging myself. I was buying 4 slices of cheesecake with the full intention of pigging out on them this weekend. It's disgusting. I'm disgusted with myself. I don't even want to eat the stupid cheesecake now.

So me and my best friend are going to go out and have one last party night. I may or may not eat a greasy cheeseburger. I may or may not drink a lot of alcohol. The cheesecake might end up in the trashcan. I don't need it. I don't need it ever again.

ThriftyTheresa

Now that I've let everyone know my surgery date, people have been asking me "Are you getting nervous yet?" I always answer "No, I'm excited!" I've had abdominal laparoscopic surgery before when I had my tubes tied and fried. I know what to expect on surgery day and I know what I will feel like waking up from the anesthesia. I don't fear any of it. At least that's what I am saying to myself.

I woke up this morning from a very bad dream about the surgery. In the dream I was on what appeared to be a TV show being filmed in the hospital. There were bleachers of people watching the live filming. I was there as a "surgery success" patient and had lost a lot of weight. My tummy area was flabby with loose skin. I was wearing a very unflattering "dress" that looked more like a long T-shirt which clung to my flabby rolls, my hair was a mess like I just woke up from sleep. I had the distinct feeling I wasn't wearing a bra or underwear under this ugly gray t-shirt dress. I looked terrible but everyone was cheering and praising me for my great weight loss. There was a another woman there who was larger than my starting weight and she was fresh out of surgery and walking for the first time. She walked to me on the other side of the stage and we hugged and the audience cheered for us. All the while this is happening I keep thinking to myself "I don't understand. I just had surgery yesterday. How did I lose this weight? Why do I look like this?"

Then I was talking to someone at a control panel-type desk in the filming studio and noticed a piece of paper, or a newspaper type thing, and saw the date was in February. My mind knew my surgery was in July but the date is telling me an entire 7 months had passed. I didn't remember anything past going to the hospital and going under. How had all this time passed?

I couldn't find my father or any friends. I was back in my hospital room talking to a nurse asking why it was February. Was I in a coma all this time? What has happened to me? Why am I here? Where is my father? The nurse just stared at me for a long time while I was crying and asking these questions. Then she said "I don't know why you're so upset. We're taking care of you. Why don't you just take some more drugs and go back to sleep."

Around that time I woke up. It's been a long time since I've had such a vivid and upsetting dream.

So obviously from this dream I must be more scared than I realize. There are clearly feelings of not being in control of my health or my body. When the nurse told me to take more drugs sounded accusatory like I had become a drug addict. There were feelings of vulnerability being exposed to an audience and the ugly, unflattering dress I was in reminding me that I may be less heavy but I am still unattractive and I don't want people looking at me.

So what I take away from this is - sure I am probably a little scared of the surgery, but I am more scared of what will come after the surgery.

Or maybe it was just a dumb meaningless dream. I'm not going to let it bother me anymore.

ThriftyTheresa

Last week I had an interesting experience and it was very helpful for me as I look forward to my own surgery. I visited a patient who just had Sleeve surgery with my surgeon and got to help her be discharged from the hospital.

We have a FB group made specifically for patients at our hospital. No Drs or Nurses are involved, it's just for patient support since we all have the same clinic guidelines and education we can help each other. A woman posted Tuesday morning that she was getting her Sleeve surgery that afternoon and she was all alone. She travelled from a different part of the state to be here - about 300 miles. All of her family are in another state even further away and she was going to be completely alone for a week and staying in a hotel. That broke my heart.

I live very close to the hospital (less than 2 miles) and I reached out to her and said I would be happy to come visit her on Wednesday afternoon. No one should have to go through this alone. When I arrived it  turned out the lady was ready to be discharged and was already packing her bags. Since she had the sleeve it was just one overnight for her and she was good to go.

She was staying at a hotel that is just a couple blocks from the hospital and they sent a shuttle to pick us up. I carried her bags. She had already checked in to the hotel before the surgery and had the room filled up with protein drinks, water, soups, broths. The hotel had a little refrigerator for her and a microwave. She was all set up.

After getting back to the hotel she was still feeling really good so we took a walk down to the drug store and got her prescriptions filled. Returning to the room we chatted a while until she was eventually ready for a nap.

She spent a couple days recuperating and I visited her again on Saturday and she left Sunday to finish her recovery staying with a friend in another city further away. She will have her 2 week post-op check later this week and fly home after that.

All in all I found it very helpful for ME to see what my experience might be like. I will have 2 nights in the hospital because I am getting RNY and she got the Sleeve. It was a nice way for me to see the behind the scenes action from the view of a patient. Seeing the recovery room, the location we would be in the huge hospital campus, met a couple nurses who were assisting her. Seeing how well she was feeling the very next day was amazing! I could not believe how good she was feeling and ready to walk to the pharmacy. She wasn't feeling nauseous or in pain so that really gives me hope I will have a good experience myself and will not be completely incapacitated. Talking to her the next few days was good to hear about the liquid diet, the things she was enjoying and not enjoying drinking. Hearing about her sleep and sleeping positions. She had a really good attitude and I think that also makes a lot of difference.

Overall it was a good experience for me to help her and I hope I made her recovery a little easier being in a strange city all alone. I now feel more prepared than ever for my turn on the Losers Bench!

ThriftyTheresa

After 2 weeks of waiting for insurance approval I hadn't received any phone calls with confirmation. I had a check-in appointment yesterday and got the good news that insurance has approved the whole shebang and we chose a surgery date of July 10th.

It's another 6 weeks of waiting - and preparing -  but I am ready!

Part of the appointment yesterday was a group class with other patients where we went over the 3 diets we will be on. 2 week low-carb "Atkins" diet (staying under 20g carbs a day), 1 day clear liquids before surgery, and the 2 week post-op liquid only diet. 2 weeks after surgery I will have another class to take on diet advancement to pureed and soft foods.

I loaded up on protein and vitamins at the clinic store. We go to sample a lot of the drinks and chewable vitamins before we purchased so that was very helpful. I was surprised to see the prices were a good $5 cheaper than Amazon for most products. The Unjury chicken soup might be the best medical grade food product I have ever tasted! Funny because the Unjury protein powders are absolutely vile!

Anyway...it's happening! Now I just need to get all my ducks in a row at work and contact the powers that be regarding time off.

I'm almost there!

ThriftyTheresa

I thought 2 weeks ago the hospital was going to send al my info to insurance but that didn't happen. Instead they gave me another appointment for a "Final Review". So yesterday I had my final review with the surgeon and signed all the paperwork permitting him to poke holes in me and play with my guts. My Case manager at the clinic is NOW submitting everything over the insurance. She told me it could be 2-3 weeks for approval. I called and spoke to my case manager at the insurance company and told her to expect everything this week. She thinks it should only be 2-3 DAYS to get the approval so I am hoping she is right saying DAYS instead of WEEKS.

I'm already scheduled for a pre-surgery checkup and a couple pre-surgery classes on May 24th. After taking those classes I will be clear to have surgery anytime in the next 30 days.

The journey to get to this point seemed to fly by - been working on this since September last year! This last little bit of waiting and hoping and praying and waiting some more is driving me insane. LETS GET IT DONE ALREADY!

ThriftyTheresa

Had my last appointment for my supervised weight loss yesterday. Since September I have lost 29lbs. I have lost 39 lbs from my highest recorded weight in 2015. I'm happy with the results and my medical team is happy with me too. Now I have to wait for the call from my nurse coordinator about submitting to insurance and choosing a surgery date! So happy that this 6 months is over with. It's been up/down, good/bad, but overall I am grateful for this period of time to lose some bad habits, start some better habits, try out new foods, become more active and educate myself about the surgery and what my life will be like post-surgery.

So excited to go forward and get this done!

ThriftyTheresa

Feb 28th was the end of my 4th month of the Supervised Weight Loss required by insurance. I did not lose any weight - however - I did not gain any weight, either. I weighed in at exactly the same (give/take a few ounces) as I did at the end of January. I am still at 35lbs under my highest weight. I am not celebrating and I am not upset, either. I still have 2 more months of supervised weight loss before surgery and I am focused on losing more between now and then.

February 3rd was my birthday and I allowed myself to indulge this month without guilt. I had cheesecake multiple times during the month, I had friends take me out for drinks, nachos, brunch throughout the month. My father and I went to Las Vegas to see Cher on Valentine's Day. We ate mostly convenience/fast food and I had cocktails in the casinos. I splurged on Chinese food, Indian food, and Pizza at home. But every time I ate/drank something I tracked it on MyFitnessPal. All the good and all the bad. I tracked it all. I still had "high protein/low carb" on my mind every time I make my food choices. I allowed myself to splurge on certain meals and I would balance that out with healthy choices for the rest of the day/week.

The nurse who I met with for my appointment did not shame me for my "bad month" but actually commended me that I did not gain. She reviewed my entire month of food - all the bad and the good - and she says it shows I can do "maintenance". I don't quite agree with her, because frankly there were times where I was a complete hedonist and binged without abandon. That is something I don't want to do again.

I am not a fan of the "everything in moderation" mindset because I certainly don't want to talk myself into destructive behavior after I have surgery. I don't want to look back on my "last hurrah!" and my "food funerals" had this month and think to myself that it would be OK to go back to poor eating habits with the false bravado that I could "cheat" and not gain. And the nurse said it was OK to cheat from time to time. That false feeling of security is how other WLS patients get regain. I don't want to even entertain that idea that cheating is OK.

I'm a food addict. You don't tell a drug addict that it's OK to have a little heroin from time to time just to treat yourself.

My eyes are firmly on the goal of losing more before surgery. So March 1 I am back on track and so excited to be in Month 5 out of 6!. February is now over and I am back on track. Packed breakfasts, lunches for work. I have healthy dinners planned all week. Anyway...onward and downward!

 

ThriftyTheresa

I've been pretty secretive about this weight loss stuff. I have only told 5 people so far; my father, 3 close friends, and 1 coworker. I keep all of them up to date with my monthly weigh-ins and they have been very supportive of me. I am hesitant to share this process with anyone else - specifically my coworkers because of how judgmental and gossipy they are. I'm wondering at what point people will start to notice my weight loss, my dietary changes, or anything else.

Right now, at a 35lbs loss from my highest weight I can see the differences already in the mirror. My double chin is going away. My clothes are baggier and loose. I don't want to spend money on new pants yet so I have to wear a belt to keep my baggy jeans up. My winter coat is at the point where it is so big and baggy it's not keeping me warm anymore because it puffs out like a tent because it's not touching my hips or waist anymore. I know I am changing, but I am also actively looking to see my changes. No one looks at me like that. To the world, I'm just fat.

10+ years ago me and my best friend worked really hard together and we both lost a lot of weight. We were cooking together and working out together. She lost 60lbs and I lost 50lbs. We were both wearing clothes 3+ sizes smaller. We were feeling great, looking great, and so happy with our progress. We planned a lunch to meet up with a couple of friends we hadn't seen in a long time. We were so excited to see them and excited for them to see our great weight loss. We were both expecting a WOW moment when they would walk in and say "You guys look great!" but that never happened. Neither of the women commented on our appearance for about 2 hours. So we started talking about how we had both lost a bunch of weight and both of the women were all "Oh! Wow! Good job! That's great!" but neither of them realized anything was different when they saw us or hugged us. We were both still fat. We were fat, lost a bunch of weight, and were still fat. All these women saw was me and her were fat. Not as fat as before? They probably couldn't tell the difference. It was very discouraging for us both. We both left that lunch feeling sad that our friends did not have the WOW reaction we were expecting. And not long after that we both started slipping on our healthy eating and we both stopped going to the gym. We both regained all our lost weight plus more over the years.

I've talked about my coworker situation before. I'm not friends with these people. I'm not planning on telling them a dang thing except I am taking time off work for medical reasons. But when will they notice? I've lost 35lbs in 3 months. Has anyone noticed? No one has said anything. On one hand, no one is gossiping about me to my knowledge. If they were gossiping like they usually do I would have heard about it by now. On the other hand, they didn't bat an eyelash when I severely sprained my ankle back in September and was wearing a brace on my leg for 6 weeks. I still limp from time to time and no one ever asks me if I am OK. So what would it take for them to notice me losing weight if they are not even going to notice I have a leg brace on for 6 weeks.

When I lose 100lbs I will still be 253lbs. I will sill be clinically Obese. The closest I have been to that weight was 275 which is where I was when me and my friend had that lunch with those blind ladies. That's only 22lbs different. So if no one noticed my weight loss when I was 275, will they notice when I'm 253? Could I lose 100lbs and not have anyone notice?

Keeping this a secret feels safe to me because I'm safe from judgment, but not being acknowledged for my hard work will be discouraging. I wish I had more people that I felt comfortable sharing this with. I guess that's why I come to forums like this and write blog posts to get my feelings out because I really don't have many safe outlets for my thoughts and feelings, especially with this sensitive and controversial topic of weight loss surgery.

 

ThriftyTheresa

Monday was my 3rd pre-op weigh-in - I lost 5.2lbs in January. That makes 25lbs lost since October and 35lbs lost since my highest weight in 2015. Yay!

Not as great as last month when I lost 10lbs, but I am happy with 5lbs. That's more than 1 pound per week so I am pleased. That is healthy, normal weight loss. I met with the dietician again for this appointment and she was super happy with my progress. Went over my month of food that I printed out from MyFitnessPal and she liked what she saw. She was proud that I was tracking everything, even the "bad" days where I splurged and went over my calorie count or carb count. We discussed vitamins and I got some samples of the chewable vitamins I will need to use after surgery.

Still waiting for my first counseling session. It took 3 weeks for the counseling center to call me and make an appointment. And now I get to wait another 4 weeks to have the appointment. I'm glad I don't have a mental health issue that needs immediate attention because this place is freaking slow to get anything done. I'm trying not to regret my decision to stick with them and wait for my appointment instead of saying "forget it!" and finding somewhere else to go. The location is convenient between work and home. Hopefully the therapist they assign me to is a good fit and it will be worth all this hassle in the end.

Onto Month 4! February is my birthday month and I have a trip to Las Vegas coming up around Valentine's Day. Hoping Sin City doesn't suck me in and ruin my healthy eating. I'm going to bring protein powders and healthy snacks with me. I'm only travelling with my father so the alcohol drinking will be minimum but I will be sure to log it if I do have any. And I'm sure I will burn a lot of calories walking around like I always do on vacation. Looking forward to it.

ThriftyTheresa

I have never been a cook or interested in cooking. Funny enough, I love watching cooking shows and food videos online. Probably because I am a food addict rather than a chef. With my life so far I pretty much only cook when my Dad is coming over to visit. I rarely cook for myself because I live alone and hate the cleanup afterward. Why dirty the dishes when I can grab some fried chicken at the deli or a bowl from Chipotle? This is the kind of thinking I am trying to get away from.

During this pre-op weight loss I am re-learning the types of food I should eat, specifically protein rich and low carb. I've done low fat, low sugar diets before. Having the emphasis on the high protein is new for me. I never realized I was not getting enough protein in my diet, but it makes sense once I think about how much pasta and rice and potato and breads I would usually gravitate toward. Meat was an after thought. But that is changing. I've been reading a lot of blogs and watching a lot of videos for food inspiration and recently I have been trying to cook some stuff at home that I can take to work for breakfasts and lunches.

My favorite thing to make, thus far, has been a chicken crust pizza. Very good and satisfied the pizza cravings while packing in the protein. Last night I tried making cauliflower cheesy breadsticks - dipped in marinara. Those were good too for a pizza craving. I will be trying both of those again because they were very easy to make. I tried making a cauliflower fried rice a couple months ago and I need to try that again. I wasn't happy with the flavor, but flavor can be changed with better spices and ingredients so I don't want to give up on that. Try, try again.

My other favorite thing to make is ANYTHING I can put in a muffin pan. Great portion control. Easy to refrigerate and heat up. I've made 3 different types of egg muffins - a savory Chinese-inspired egg foo yung cup, a fresh crab , spinach & egg cup, and a basic Ham, egg, veggie and cheese cup. All of them great for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners! I also made cheese stuffed turkey meatballs/mini-meatloafs. Those were fantastic.

Last weekend Dad was over and I baked some salmon filets. I forgot how much I love salmon! And it's SO easy to bake. I need to have more of that in my life.

I've never cooked for fun before. Cooking always seemed like drudgery but I am changing my mind about that. And as long as I do the dishes while the food is cooking/baking then I don't worry about the mess(I have to wash by hand, no dish-washer machine). And I mentally count it as activity points because I'm in the kitchen on my feet for a hour or so and not laying on the couch being a potato.

Ugh...don't think about potatoes. I miss potatoes. Is there such thing as low carb potatoes? I'll have to research that.

 

ThriftyTheresa

Saturday I attended my 3rd WLS support group meeting at Swedish First Hill in Seattle. The topic of the day was GOALS and setting SMART goals.

The acronym SMART has several slightly different variations:

S - specific, significant, stretching

M - measurable, meaningful, motivational

A - agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented

R - realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented

T - time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable

Right now my first goal is to lose at least 5lbs per month for the next 4 months. That would put me at 40lbs down, and under 300lbs, before we schedule surgery. I am already at 20lbs down and I am confident this 40lb loss is achievable. The last of my 6-month supervised weight loss appointments is on April 26th, 2017 so that is my deadline for this goal.

Seems reasonable and achievable. More goals will be set up post-op, of course.

In other news, still have not seen a therapist. Had the initial assessment/intake appointment 2 weeks ago and they have not contacted me to meet with a counselor yet. Kind of peeved about that. After we talked about Goals at the support meeting the ladies who run the classes asked us for suggestions for future groups and the overwhelming response was that everyone needs more emotional support and would like the Psych team to present some topics - most classes are run by the Nutritionist team. Most of the attendees are post-op and they are struggling with a lot of emotions. This is why I really want to get a grasp on this emotional stuff while I am still pre-op, to get some coping skills to help me once I become post-op. If I don't hear from the Counseling center this week I am going to get some other referrals from my insurance and find another place to go.

ThriftyTheresa

Friday Dec 30th was my Month #2 Medically Supervised Weight Loss appointment. I lost 9.6lbs in the month of December! That's amazing considering I had a Las Vegas vacation where fast food was the daily routine and I splurged on having wine every night. So almost 10lbs down from last month - that's nearly 30lbs from my highest recorded weight in 2015. I'm so pleased with myself! And yes, I did eat that Indian food on New Year's Eve and it was delicious!

The nurse went over - in HUGE detail - my blood work/labs from September. Pointing out things we want to watch for in the future. I have never had someone explain lab work so completely and really help me understand those numbers. For example, my thyroid numbers have always been "within acceptable range" but she pointed out that the number I have, although within range, is something to watch. Also my cholesterol, even though I have never been told about this before. We will do bloodwork again in February and be able to compare between September and now.

She also provided me with an awesome printout of all my stats from my 3 appointments in October, November, and December to show how EVERYTHING has gone down - weight, measurements, fat %, BMI, and even blood pressure. She says since October I've lost 3.95% of my weight. They like to have at least 5% weight loss before doing surgery and at this rate I will be a star patient. YAY!

So now I am officially in Month 3 of my 6-month plan toward surgery. I'm so happy with what I have accomplished thus far. Onward and upward (or is it downward?) Happy 2017 everybody!

ThriftyTheresa

Nothing much to report this month. I actually have my 2-month weigh in later today at the surgery clinic but felt like blogging now instead of waiting until afterward. Haven't started therapy yet either. Due to holidays, et. al. they couldn't get me scheduled until Tuesday Jan 3rd. So next week I imagine I'll have a pretty big update.

This year has been pretty average. That's a good thing. Nothing terrible has happened to make it bad (other than the Presidential Election) and nothing amazing has happened to make it good. Average is acceptable. No news is good news as they say.

Earlier in the month I took my Dad to Vegas for a short trip. We went for a bingo event and had a really nice time. Not only did we both win some money at Bingo, but Dad also had several large wins on the slot machines and came home with pockets full of cash for the first time in nearly 10 years. Usually he doesn't have a single dollar to his name by the end of the trip. Since we both came home with money we have already booked our next Vegas trip for February. Our Christmas presents to each other were I bought the airfare and he bought tickets to go see Cher. That will be a great time. We have a blast together - he's my favorite travel companion.

Diet-wise, I feel like I am doing OK but know I could be doing better. The numbers are going down on the scale at a decent pace, but I have to admit that I am not 100% complaint. This is something I plan on fully divulging to my nurse later today at the appointment. And something I plan on taking about with the therapist when we get into that as well.

The full truth - On the weekends I kind of go wild with food and indulge in a little too much wine. I don't drink to intoxication, but the empty calories and carbs of 2-3 glasses of wine on a Friday and 2-3 glasses on a Saturday is not something I should be doing. I know this. Any diet I have been on has always had 'cheat days" and my weekends have been a free for all. I find myself pre-planning my weekend binging all week long. I eat clean during the week, have my protein shakes, track every morsel that goes in my mouth, don't go out to lunch with my coworkers, don't buy muffins and donuts in the cafeteria, but the entire week I'm thinking about how Friday after work I am going to treat myself.

This week I have bee completely obsessed with the idea of ordering Indian food. I have not have Indian food for a couple of months and have been craving it for weeks. My fat brain is justifying it by saying "You won't be able to eat this after surgery. Don't deprive yourself now." I want it SO BAD. And I am going to get it. I know it's wrong. I know it's not on plan and I'm going to eat it anyway. I'm probably not even going to feel guilty about it. My Catholic-brain tells me that this is the perfect definition of SIN, but I also know sins are forgiven when we are truly sorry. I just haven't gotten to that sorry part yet.  I'm a sinner - and it's delicious!

There have been several times in the recent months where I will pre-plan binge eating. I have never realized I was a binge eater until recently. I don't always act on these urges but I sure do think about them at a lot. For example, before going to the monthly Bariatric support group at the hospital, my fat-brain tells me that after the class I could walk 3 blocks down to the Piroshky place, or take the bus to Trader Joe's and get some treats. I did not do either of these things and instead I got a ride home where I had a normal, good meal and I was proud of myself for not giving in to temptation. But last week, after work I went to the grocery store and got a bottle of wine and a single serving of cheesecake. I ate a normal, good meal for dinner but I still had wine and cheesecake as a treat. Why did I do that? I didn't need to but I did.

Anyway, I'm not going to dwell on this. I don't sit around a beat myself up about my poor choices, but I want to acknowledge that I do see my poor choices, bad behavior, and hope to get better. That's why I'm entering therapy for food addiction and that's why I'm being honest with my doctors during this pre-surgery process. I have 4 more months before surgery. My New Year's Resolution is to learn from these mistakes and to better prepare myself for the future. Keep making good habits and priority and to lessen the food-reward system I have created for myself with the after-work wine and desserts.

I'm still going to eat that damn Indian food tonight. It's still 2016.

 

ThriftyTheresa

It's been a couple weeks since my Psych evaluation and ever since then I have been tossing around the idea of seeing a therapist/counselor . I have never entertained the idea of seeing a shrink in my life because I do not have a history of depression or other mental illness. But I also never entertained the idea of Weight Loss Surgery until this year...

After talking to the Psych at my surgical clinic I've come to realize how nice it might be to talk to someone, in depth, about my history of obesity, my relationship with food, relationships with others, and also help process my grief about the death of my mother which was directly related to her lifetime of obesity. I skimmed all of these topics with the Psych at the clinic, but overall the interview we had was about my readiness to take the step into surgery and if I was aware of what I was getting into. There's no doubt in my mind that I am ready for surgery - there was no doubt in the Psych's mind either. But the conversation clearly brought up some thoughts in my head that I have been mulling over for 2 weeks now.

I've checked my insurance and found a counseling service nearby that is not affiliated with the hospital and have sent them an "application" to find me someone to talk to. I decided to try this place instead of talking to the other psychs at my weight loss clinic because I want to do this mental health work as a separate thing to the physical work I am doing for surgery and doing them at two different clinics just makes more sense to me.

I like to think I have a support system in place, friends and family, to help me through rough times but I'm warming to the idea of speaking to a third-party who is not going to be an enabler or worry about hurt my feelings. Friends and family mean well but they're not professionals.

So...that's the nuts and bolts of it. Hopefully in the next few days I can have a meeting with someone at the counseling center and see if I will feel comfortable talking to them.

ThriftyTheresa

Officially finished my first of six months Medically Supervised Weight Loss. I was up 1 pound from the week before and will blame that on Stove Top Stuffing which is my Thanksgiving downfall. Me and the nurse went over my last month of food that I have been logging on MyFitnessPal. Her notes to me are that I am focusing too much on calorie restriction and I need to focus on high protein, low carb. I thought I was doing OK but she pointed out a few things that are probably preventing me from losing more on my own. She told me to stop thinking about calories completely - read labels starting with protein and carbs. Don't worry about high fat. Most high-protein foods have high fat but it's not all bad fat. Don't even look at fat. Try to achieve 100g-150g of protein every day. I have been getting under 100g, but usually between 80-90g each day. Try to stay below 100g carbs. This is the same info that the dietician gave me last month but I guess my mind really got caught up with calories so I was under-valuing my intake and not boosting it up with high enough protein. I need to eat more vegetables too. That's a no-duh. I hate most vegetables.

She also said I am eating too much tuna. She said to have no more than 3 servings of tuna a week. Mercury poisoning is a real thing  - LOL! I never really thought about that!

Overall I am pleased with my progress for this first month of doing it on my own. Using the info she gave me I hope that month #2 will be easier and I have my fingers crossed for a higher weight loss this month. But most of all, I want to get these new eating habits to stick and prove to them I will be a good candidate for the surgery.

ThriftyTheresa

I work in a 24/7/365 department and I had to work today - Thanksgiving day. I'm not too upset about it because it's the first time in about 4 years I've had to work today. I'm thankful for having a job and I am thankful for the health insurance that will be funding my bariatric surgery next year when the time comes.

Today I came to work prepared with a decent meal for lunch and snacks. The sugar free black cherry jello is a decent substitution for cranberry sauce. The apple slices are a decent substitution for apple pie. The frozen meal is pretty tasty and not overboard on the carbs. I'm still pre-op so I can enjoy this for now. Tonight I'll have a protein shake for dinner. Friday after work I will be cooking a small turkey breast with some veggies and potatoes for me and my Dad to celebrate Thanksgiving. Next Thanksgiving's meal is going to look a lot different than this year.

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ThriftyTheresa

Ticking off another box toward the goal! Friday Nov 18 I had my psychiatric consultation.

I was not nervous about this, maybe I should have been, but it was a walk in the park. We mostly talked about why I wanted surgery and how I am learning as much as I can about my post-op life before I get there. She briefly talked about my family and my childhood. Nothing bad there. I don't have a history of substance abuse, or eating disorders (other than overeating) and no history of depression or mental illness. I'm grateful that I don't have the struggles that so many other people have. I'm just fat, lazy, and eat a lot, mostly when I'm bored.

I probably came off sounding like a complete know-it-all, which is probably a red flag for something, but the Psych lady told me several times she was very impressed with my knowledge and said that she sees no concern for me since I am preparing myself so well. I still have 5 more months of supervised weight loss to continue to educate myself and learn more and she was very enthusiastic that I will be a successful patient.

I will get to see her one more time before surgery. We made an appointment for March which will be my Month 5 and closer to surgery time. She just wants to check in with me and see how I'm doing on this long road. Right now I'm super excited, ultra motivated, and raring to go. 5 months down the road I hope I can say the same, but if I'm starting to struggle it will be nice to have another opportunity to talk to her if I am encountering any stressors or concerns.

Next Tuesday, Nov 29th, is my official Month 1 weigh-in. I had a very good weigh-in before the Psych appointment, but I'm not counting my chickens yet. Waiting for next week to have my official results. I will update more then. Until that time - Happy Thanksgiving to all!

ThriftyTheresa

BP down 10 points!

Had a quick check-in with my primary care doctor yesterday after work. So far I've only lost about 10lbs since I started this whole shebang in September but I have a week and a half before my official MSWL weigh-in so I'm hopeful for a little more off by then. But the good news is that my high blood pressure has gone down 10 points! It's still on the high end of the scale, but it's showing progress and I am very happy about that. Doctor was glad about that too. She praised me for the work I am doing on my diet and is very happy that I am taking the steps toward weight loss surgery. She signed my "Letter of Necessity" for the surgeon's office and said to check in again with her in February or March.

Tomorrow (Friday) is my Psych eval at the weight loss clinic. Not worried about this at all. I don't have any psych problems (that I am aware of) and feel confident that I understand the risks of the surgery and am prepared for the changes my life and lifestyle habits will face post-op. Let's hope that my next update will not be "I got denied by the Psych!"

ThriftyTheresa

Saturday morning I went to the monthly support group meeting at Swedish. It's the 2nd Saturday of every month and I am already looking forward to next month!

The group was comprised of both pre-op and post-op people. Some have been post op for just a few weeks and other have been post-op for a few years. A couple people were still waiting for their surgery dates and I was probably the newest person who still has a long wait ahead of them while I go through the MSWL.

The class was hosted by one of the dieticians and we had a guest speaker from the physical therapy group of the hospital to talk to us about exercise. We went over some basic stretching exercises and she gave us elastic workout bands for strength training to use at home. Dr. Sung was also there, but he was not conducting the class. He was just hanging out with all of us and answered a few technical questions for us. He is so funny and so passionate about his job. He impresses me more every time I get to talk to him. The fact that he wants to be there for his patients on a Saturday morning when he could be having a day off speaks volumes to his dedication. It was cool to see Dr. Sung right there with us using the exercise bands and getting in a good stretch.

After the exercise class we just did a round table discussion of anything and everything that people wanted to ask or share. It was fantastic having such a variety of patients there to learn from. One of the pre-op ladies asked how people made their decision between RNY and Sleeve and we got some answers from a few people. There was a gal who just had her sleeve surgery 2 weeks ago and she was super happy and feeling great. Very encouraging for us pre-op people who many be nervous. We talked about preparing for holiday food time and also talked about being prepared with food, snacks, and protein when you travel. I have a short trip coming up next month so that was helpful for me to think in advance of bringing some healthy foods with me, especially for the plane ride.

I have a basic checkup with my Primary doctor on Wednesday to see how my blood pressure is doing. And Friday I have my Psychiatric consult at the weight loss clinic. 2 weeks until my first 1-month weight check-in. Gotta keep rocking and rolling toward the goal.

ThriftyTheresa

Yesterday was Halloween. I did not buy any candy. We only had 1 knock on our door last year so I did not buy any candy this year. Not bothered by that in the least. I wasn't craving candy, I normally don't crave candy anyway, until November 1st with all the Facebook posts about freaking candy! People posting piles and piles of candy their kids picked up, or bags of candy they have left over from trick-or-treaters. Even people in the weight loss support groups are posting tons of pictures of candy and bragging about how they are not going to eat it. I wasn't triggered to want any candy until I saw all these stupid pictures of candy! And here I am eating my sliced apple pieces.

I am also being triggered into irritation and aggravation recently by fellow pre-op and post-op people in some of these forums and groups that I read - mostly on Facebook. I get so irritated by people who aren't educating themselves about this major life-altering surgery and then doing things to put their health in jeopardy. Asking basic knowledge questions that common sense should already give you the answer. For example, "I've never experienced dumping syndrome. Is it OK to eat this Halloween candy?"  I need to step back from reading these groups or I am going to lose my mind. I have another 6 months before my own surgery and I am taking every moment to read and learn about this procedure, but I want to bang my head against my desk with some of the things I read.

On Friday I actually came here to write a huge blog post about all the bad information I keep reading and the stupid questions people are asking and the disgusting bickering and jealousies I am seeing. I wrote out that blog post and it was LONG and full of swear words that this website filters out anyway. After writing it I felt better and I did not post it, but I still feel the same way.

So I'm going to step back for a little while. Read a little less group stuff, scroll past the of the "DUH!" questions and stick to the uplifting before/after pictures and NSV moments to concentrate on the positive. I'm going to eat my apple, drink my protein shake, log my food journal, add some extra steps to my fitbit, and try to ignore the ignorant folks who are making this journey less enjoyable.