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Six weeks

Howwww!? Week 6 already. So here's what's been going on.    Finally feel I've gotten a hang of water and protein. Being able to hit 64 oz+ of water and 60 grams of protein finally got the scale moving again too (or the rain dance, or praying to the scale gods, yknow, whichever). This week I'll be adding in actual dedicated exercise rather than lapping the house or going to target to lap (which is horribly dangerous for my pocket).   I have a crazy craving for onions. Never been a major onion fan, but I'll be darned if I didn't cook at least 3 different dinners this week involving them because I just love the taste suddenly.    Went to see the surgeon for my 1 month, and instead saw an NP who didn't listen to a word I said and was not at all familiar with my case. When I checked out, I told the girl for my two month, I expected to see the surgeon, and I wanted my case changed to a different NP (we follow with an NP starting normally with the six month one). She initially tried to say it wasn't possible, and I told her I wouldn't return for any further appointments unless I was reassigned. Magically, it became possible   Saw the nutritionist as well, although a different one than normal, and she also didnt know what was up and didn't know I'd been on Step 3 for a couple weeks, and even on telling her this, she didnt seem to know what to do except spend 30 minutes reviewing step 3 with me. Right now, I'm wholly not amused with the post-op program.    I'm getting ready to return to work. I bought the bento that eggface recommends, because it's the only one that really has removable containers, and I want to be able to pack stuff that can be heated and stuff that doesnt need heated. It'll make getting 3-4 mini meals in during work so much easier. I've been testing a few things that will be easy to take (italian and deli rollups, all manner of leftovers, frittatas, etc) this week to make plans for what to take. I have one of the old style giant hospital insulated cups (most hospitals here stopped carrying them because theyre too heavy for older patients, but they sell them in the gift shop for 5 bucks, ha!). It's 32 ounces, so I feel it will help a lot in getting in fluids at my desk.    They want me to eat through the day and take in a protein shake in the evening if Im not at goal, but the last couple days, I've discovered starting with a shake has been the key difference between me meeting goal and not meeting goal. I can't talk myself into a shake in the evening - the thought of even milk by then makes me cringe. So for now, I'm sticking with what's working. I know when I can fit a little more solid/soft in, I'll be able to go it without a shake, and hopefully my aversion to eating later in the day will wane, too.    I also was told to restart vitamins this week, and to add in B12. I ordered off celebrate, and besides the price, am pretty pleased. Their calcium chews beat swallowing big pills by a long shot.   I took pics the other day and was surprised by how noticeable the difference in my belly and chest is. Definitely motivated to keep that tradition up.   Last but not least, I'm biting the bullet and going back to using MFP. I've been using loseit, and I like it a lot - I feel the interface is a lot cleaner - but it really only lets you track breakfast/lunch/dinner and one snack, and it's driving me batty. I also can't edit or create recipes from their desktop site, only from their app. I'm using a notebook to kind of plan my water and protein for the day, but the specifics of calories and macros I prefer in an app. If you have it, add me My username is delilish.    ANYWAY. That's my update and Im sticking to it. <3 

delilas

delilas

 

Six weeks out

Happy New Year! I have been busy with the holidays and haven't been on here much. Sorry about that! I figured I'd update how things are going, though.  I've lost a total of 45 lbs since I walked into the surgery clinic August 30, and 31 of those pounds were since surgery 6 weeks ago. I'm not sure at what pace I'm supposed to be losing, but I'm losing steadily, so I'm not worried. The holidays have been very difficult, both in terms of eating and in terms of the emotional difficulty my family has experienced with the loss of my sister. But it has also been a time when I have been given immense support from my family for my weight loss efforts. My mother made a small Christmas lasagna just for me, with peeled zucchini in place of the noodles. It was delicious! She also served a turkey mainly because she knew I could eat it. My husband has taken care to adjust our Christmas and New Year meals so that I can have a portion of them easily. Tonight I'll have some smoked pork loin and collard greens with mushrooms - and one single black-eyed pea (I can't have beans yet). 

I have found some foods that could prove "dangerous" for me if I'm not careful. I ate some parmesan crisps - which were a lot like crackers and SO GOOD, but they are too easy to eat too many of and they are just something I'm eating because I want crackers, so I'm probably going to set those aside for now. Cheese in general is something I find that I tolerate well, but will need to be careful with. It's higher in fat than other options, so I will sometimes eat cheese when I really could eat something higher in protein and lower in fat. I will not give up cheese (I LOVE IT SO!), but I'm trying to be careful about when I eat it and how much I eat it.  My set diet from my nutritionist/surgeon is VERY strict, but I have bent the rules a bit. I am not a fan of artificial sweeteners in general. I can tolerate sugar-free popsicles because they're tart enough that the artificial taste is overpowered, but I HAAAAATE artificially sweetened yogurt. I found Siggi's yogurt at Whole Foods, which is very lightly sweetened with agave nectar and sugar and has a little bit of fruit in it (which I'm technically not allowed yet). BUT a 5 oz container has 11 grams of sugar, about the same amount as 8 oz of milk, and 15 grams of protein - with no weird artificial sweetener aftertaste. So I'm eating it, dammit. Haha! I haven't had any issues with it and it's practically the only carbs I get in a day, so I feel pretty ok about it. The black cherry is my favorite. If The Curry Incident of '17 (which I blogged about) was dumping, then that's the only dumping episode I've had. I have not vomited. There have been a few things that didn't settle well and gave me a little digestive turmoil (just gurgling and slight pain), but nothing serious. I haven't started exercising yet because I'm still struggling to get all my fluids and protein in (the thought of a shake makes me gag a little - but I've been putting unflavored protein in Fairlife milk and that's pretty ok). BUT I got all my protein in yesterday and I'm on track to get both my protein and fluids in today, so tomorrow is when I start my workouts! SOOOOOO typical to start a workout plan on January 2. Haha! 

I hope the new year is good to all of you. I'm hoping for a much better year than our last. 

Cardamom77

Cardamom77

 

8 weeks out!

8 weeks already?!?! First of all, I can’t believe I have reached 8 weeks, where did the time go?  I have no pain, and haven’t for weeks so that is great I don’t even have pain when I eat or anything.  I did have an issue with my incision (the bigger one that had the stomach pulled through)…it had a “piece of suture” sticking through it at my last surgeon’s visit (12/8) and it occasionally bleeds in the center but it hasn’t for a few weeks.  However, I woke up the other day and it was bloody around it so I took a shower and washed it off, but then it was bleeding again after it.  What is up with that?  It never hurts and when it does bleed, I just put Neosporin ointment on a Band-Aid and it heals up but it has never quite seemed to stay sealed in the center (it never looks opened, it must just have the tiniest opening).  Has anyone had issues with theirs?  I am not worried about it because it is never infected etc but it is odd.  Here are pics of it when I woke up 12/23 and then after I showered….you can see a small opening but it isn’t opened looking now).  Anyway, enough of that….as for food, I am “allowed” anything (except for bread, pasta etc which I have to wait until I reach goal or one year out, which I could really care less about, I haven’t had them in months and am fine w/o them and nuts which I can’t have for a year but I’d like to!)  I was posting today that I can’t really do salad well…I’ve tried two times but it just fills me up and I don’t get enough protein out of to benefit from it….so I am going to wait a while on that again.  I haven’t had anything hurt or come back up or disagree or anything….which is great but then again it makes me nervous since I was hoping for more “restriction”!  Silly that I worry about it because if I did have a bunch of things I can’t eat or that get stuck or I throw up, I’d certainly be complaining about that! So today is the beginning of a new year….2018 has arrived and do you know what one of the nicest things about it is???  For the first time in decades I am not making a resolution to lose weight!  That is the most freeing feeling ever! I was just talking to my husband about that yesterday….I finally don’t have to make that resolution.  Funny thing was last year on this day I had no idea what this year would bring…I had no idea I would decide to get WLS and then have it done and be fully recovered by the time January 1st rolled around again! It is amazing to me!  I WILL lose weight this year, I HAVE to!  Next year I will have to resolve to keep it off, but this is my easy year….yet I don’t want to squander it.  I want to work at it so that I get the most of it and the most weight off that I can!  I have started to do weird things….like doing squats when taking something out of the dryer, and bun clenches while folding!  All things that utilize the new muscles that have found their way out of the layers of fat that once covered them!  I challenge myself to how tight I can hold my stomach while doing certain things and I do twist the whole time I am brushing my teeth.  It’s become in interesting game with my body and its newly discovered muscles!  Oddly enough the fronts of my shins hurt from how many toe raises I do while sitting (like right now I am doing them!).  I figured it can’t hurt so I’ll just keep doing them all!  I have no real tangible idea of what I will look like next year.  I was at Walmart yesterday and saw a cute Christmas shirt on clearance for $4…..and I stood there so long looking at the Large and it looked SO small, but then figuring I would probably be a Medium then, so I pulled the medium off the rack and thought “there is no way on earth that would fit me”!  I should have just bought it to see next year! J  But my used to being fat self can’t fathom it at all!!!  So, I left it on the rack walking away trying to imagine the new me! I had a dream last week….I was in a pageant and I was mortified because I hate being the center of attention….but then I realized I looked nice and was dressed nice in a pretty dress that was very slim.  I stood in front of the mirror before going out on the stage and thought “it’s not so scary, I am presentable”….I didn’t see the face on the mirror, but my face has never been what’s held me back, it’s always been my weight and my appearance in clothes that made me want to fade into the background. I woke up feeling very confident (never did finish, but the feeling was there that I COULD go out on stage and not hide).  I kept thinking of it all day….it wasn’t anything concrete, it was just a feeling it gave me that the fear and shame of hiding from the public is going away!  I like that! Clothes have become easy for me.  I have lost 39# and I am easily out of my “fat clothes” (sz 22) that I had to buy this fall since last year’s fat clothes didn’t fit me!  My last year’s clothes that were 20s fit nicely though there is no need for buttons/snaps and zippers, I can pull them down w/o using them so it won’t be long till they are too big but for now I am enjoying that I don’t have to make sure the shirt is long enough to cover the fact that they look too tight in the front or I don’t have to wear a tight cami underneath to try to control the muffin top!  I tried on a new pair of 18s that I never wore and they were snug but zipped right up….I have a feeling that next month they will be ok!  I am loving this! I have so many more clothes to choose from now.  I used to rotate the same 5 outfits every week….and by that I mean 2 pairs of pants, 1 pair of jeans (Friday dress down day) and 5 shirts (fortunately on Friday we wear school spirit clothes and my school has given me at least 10 shirts so I have plenty to rotate through, but the 3 that were clingy so I never wear them, I just might dig out soon and wear!!!)  Now I have so many clothes that USED to fit that fit again so I am “shopping” in my own closet...saving money AND feeling good about myself!!!  One interesting thing is I have lost so many inches under my bust that all my bras are too loose…already!!! It is awesome and thank goodness I saved some on my way “up” because I had to get rid of my good bras already.  I have read about bra extenders but I need bra shorteners!  The other interesting thing that I LOVE is that losing all those inches there make my shirt do what women’s shirts are supposed to do (you’ll understand, ladies) and actually glide over my bust and then just hang down!!!  In the recent year(s) I have looked like I grew a second pair of bosoms and they fell just beneath my first pair and my shirts had to accommodate them along with the third set that was less like bosoms and more like a spare tire roll under my waist!  (that by the way is still there just someone is letting the air out of my spare! Amen to that!)  So I am feeling more feminine having a more normal (one bosom!) shape! (you get what I am saying, right girlfriends?!?!) Another thing different in me is that I am looking for another job…and I have the confidence to go for interviews….I love my job and I make a big difference with the special needs kids I work with but I am not crazy about any other aspect of it.  I was out for 5 wks and got no paid time off. (I actually got approved by the state for 5 wks short term disability at half pay but haven’t seen a dime yet).  Everyone loves what I do but I am grossly underpaid for it. I talked to them about a raise but it is out of everyone’s hands so I am told.  Plus I don’t get benefits, and my husband’s job was dissolved and his severance package ends this month and then we have no benefits, so I am thinking I need more money and benefits for my new job.  I wasn’t thinking a career but now I am thinking “why not?”  I am 51 now and I can get back to my FT career I had at the university I worked at before (I took the school job because it allows me to be close to my kids while in elementary/high school and one is out, one is a sophomore and the other (my one I worry most about bc he is autistic) is in 8th grade and heading to high school next year).  I debate about this all day long but I am getting a peace about it.  I pray about it every day and I wonder what God will have for us this year, but I also know He will provide for us and take care of us, and I am so thrilled He let me get this surgery 100% paid before our benefits ran out!!!  And now I have the confidence to go where ever He will lead me to this year.   anyway, here's my biggest incision...no, it's not T shaped, that is just where the blood dripped down...and in the center is the little part it bleeds from.    

CheeringCJ

CheeringCJ

 

S - I - X

S - ickening eating habits I - ntegrated tool X -tra room Wow have I been absent from Thinner Times for the past few months.  I have been overwhelmed with a terrible work situation and then the holidays hit.  BAM!  And here were are, at month six.  Actually past my six month-iversary.  I have no idea on my weight or measurements (haven't weighed or measured in a month but clothes fit the looser so at least there's that). I traveled and will travel more for this holiday.  The first was for my grandfather's 90th birthday.  My parents came to the airport to pick me up and they didn't even recognize me.  It's been surreal at 100+ pounds down.  I've gone from a size 28+ (because I wore stretchy cottony things and who knows their actual size) to an 18.  I recently bought a pair of jeans at the thrift store that were a size 16.  The sweatshirt I am currently wearing is an XL.  SURREAL! Sickening eating habits.  There is no other way to describe my thoughts as I watched my parents.  I spent the holiday with them and there was bread and butter with everything.  And so many, many snacks between meals.  So many, many sweets.  I'm not going to lie, I was completely revolted by it.  It's hard not to respond when I see them doing all the bad habits that I know I had pre-surgery and lead to my max weight of 370 lbs.  I am concerned for their health, obviously.  So I would make lots of salads in the hopes of filling them up before they ate the main meal.  And fruit salads in the morning.  But they love their carbs.  I'm such a midwest girl from a midwest family.  I was sickened by it all and just went for long walks around the neighborhood to distract myself. Everyone said how good I look but how do I *not* harass them about eating better.  Both of them know they have gained weight over the years and want to improve.  I feel almost like I'm part of a pyramid scheme and I'm trying to recruit others into the VSG lifestyle but I SWEAR!! this works!  But wait, there's more!  If you act now, you'll also get a set of Ginsu knives that will cut through cans! Integrated tool  During all of these family events there were a lot more dinners together where my eating habits were heavily scrutinized.  There was also the issue of me not even feeling like eating most of the time (still no appetite at 6 months out and focused only on getting to 80g protein).  Perhaps they weren't as heavily scrutinized as I felt, but I was aware that I was eating approximately a cup of food to their very full dinner sized plates.  There were also some very judgemental dinners with family where they felt the need to weigh in on my unmarried, athiest 'lifestyle' and did not want to hear about the new homeless initiative I started with my Humanist group.  Le sigh.  Family drama, eh?  But I felt like I integrated my tool well.  My VSG tool is something I am still getting used to but I shipped protein bars and protein chips to where I was staying in advance so that I could have them with me.  I did NOT eat a single Christmas cookie or bread/pasta/empty calorie food and managed to find decent offerings at quite a few restaurants.  So is my tool fully integrated into my life? Not yet but it did feel more integrated with the additional family challenges.  The dating challenges are still just that, challenges.  But I'm finding a way around those too.  Salads really are key. Xtra room!   YES!!  Allow me some leeway with that spelling - how else can I use an X and part of my fun with these posts are finding things to fit the letters.  HOWEVER, during this holiday I flew for the first time since surgery and there was XTRA room in the airplane seat belt!!  I won't say there was extra legroom because I really am too tall for these seats but there was extra seat room and I was even stuck in the middle seat for one flight!  What an amazing feeling to know my extra large body (rather than 4x body) could fit in the seat without ending up with bruises on my hips from the seat rests, without crossing my arms over my body and hoping/praying/swearing that if I could will myself or squeeze myself smaller so I didn't 'spillover' to my neighbors, I gladly would.  It was a great feeling. So as we all get ready to celebrate the end of 2017, which I have to say has been a remarkably terrible year for me in many ways but also already a new beginning, I want to say thank you to all of those who have gone before me and gave me the courage, and give a huge, squeezy hug to all of those who go after me in order to give you comfort.  There will be terrible times, there will be times when you may not regret the decision but need a break from thinking or writing about it on this forum, but to know this community is here....well, it makes me smile, gives me continued comfort and  keeps me coming back. Cheers!

CurvyMermaid

CurvyMermaid

 

Day 12 Post-Op

Blood sugar: 88 Weight loss: 0.4lbs (total lost: 20.4lbs/13 lost since surgery).  Pain level: still about a 1, mostly around the one incision where they removed my stomach Protein consumption: only about 40 grams yesterday. Goal is 60-80 grams daily. As far as the pureed foods go, I've tried homemade chicken salad, diced ham, and a poached egg (which I was told is often well-tolerated). None of them have gone down really smoothly. The only pureed food I can get down with ease is small curd cottage cheese. I'm not going to push it. Otherwise, it hurts or just feels uncomfortable swallowing down those other foods.

pandygirl

pandygirl

 

One freaking month down.

By weeks, yesterday was week 4. By day-to-day, my surgery was the 29th, so tomorrow is the official month mark. Regardless, I'm so excited to be here.  It's incredible how much I feel my body has changed. I'm down 20 pounds. I've been doing a better skincare regimen while I've been off work as well, and between the two, I can kiiinda already see a future where I'm not just dumpy and thick.  I attended my works holiday party and got more compliments than I think I've ever received at once. My parents were thrilled when they came over for Christmas Eve, although I felt my entire family was watching every single bite I took (and there were a few snarky comments from my cousin - who is considerably larger than me - about how I "made all this food for everyone that I won't even eat").  It's surprising to me how much of a fight it is to still tamp down bad habits. While my taste buds have changed somewhat, I still have a strong preference towards salty/fatty foods. Sweets just don't taste good to me, which is fairly fortunate, but I've never been much of a sweet tooth person. So far, my sleeve has handled pretty much everything I've thrown at it. As long as I go slow and chew thoroughly, it's a champ.  I learned a valuable lesson Tuesday when I went to see the new Star Wars with my DH. We intended to eat prior, but every place at the mall was so busy there was no way. We ended up sitting at Starbucks, me sipping tea, but because of the crowds they were out of most food that wasn't bread. I did drink a small tea, but I'd been a bit short on fluids otherwise. Our theater is one that serves food to you, and we mistakenly thought we had tickets for that, but we ended up on the "other side" where its still a concession stand. Which would have been fine, it serves food, but again, the lines were astronomically ridiculous and I had doubts about my ability to eat the "grilled" chicken they were serving, so we just found our seats. By the end of the movie, I was dizzy and nauseated with a hollow feeling that felt like a drill through my stomach. I had tears in my eyes just trying to walk out of the theater and I gripped my DH's arm the whole way. When I thought back, I realized it'd been ~7 hours without eating, with several of those hours being us walking around an outdoor mall, and one small tea was the only fluid I consumed. We sat down on the stairs and he ran to get a bottle of water, which helped considerably after about 15 minutes, and then we ate a bit and the worst of it finally passed.  Lesson learned. I can't go that long without eating, and I certainly can't go that long without drinking - at least not this early in the process, for sure. It's easy sometimes to 'forget' to eat, or honestly, to not feel like shoving another 2 ounces of protein pudding in my mouth, but I'll need a plan in place for any long outings from here out.  Overall, my meals right now are a mix of super soft things like pudding (I add unflavored unjury to it) and things that are a bit more substantial, like deli meat or even small pieces of carved turkey or a low fat hot dog. When it's pudding or yogurt, I can manage 4 ounces, but anything with meat, I max out at 2 ounces.  My birthday is Monday and I'm excited to welcome in the ripe age of 33, knowing that this age is going to be a huge change from 32. New job, new body, new habits, more hiking (gosh I'm so excited for this bitter cold to end and for clearance from my surgeon so I can hike).  Happy New Years to all if I don't see you this week. <3 

delilas

delilas

 

Day 10 Post-Op

Blood sugar: 87 Weight loss: 0.2lbs (total lost: 19.6lbs/12.2 lost since surgery) Pain level: about a 2 Protein consumption: about 42 grams yesterday I've been cleared for pureed foods! Woohoo! I've literally been starving for the past week and a half, so I'm hoping this will curb some of that. My surgeon's PA said that, unfortunately, around 1/3 of their patients experience true hunger from day 1 and I seem to be one of those lucky individuals. Otherwise, the PA is very pleased with my progress so far. I told her how the skin surrounding my incisions has been a bit itchy. She said I can try a very small amount of Benadryl cream or hydrocortisone ointment, but I have to be careful not to get my incisions too moist yet with creams and lotions, because my incisions can split open. That would obviously be bad. I ordered these little hors d'oeuvres dishes from World Market that are 2" squares that hold one liquid ounce. I also ordered a set of cocktail forks and spoons. Those are what I use to eat. They've come in very handy for measuring out an appropriate portion of cottage cheese or chicken salad (which I made homemade from a rotisserie chicken this afternoon and am enjoying now for my first pureed meal). I felt like the chicken was a little bit difficult to get down, so I'm going to hold off for a bit before eating it again. My next experiment will be with eggs, I think.

pandygirl

pandygirl

 

Day 9 Post-Op

Blood sugar: 94 Weight loss: 0.4lbs (total lost: 19.4lbs) Pain level: about a 2 most of the time, although when I hiccup it hurts my entire belly cavity. Also, sipping down my first shake of the day today is hurting like crazy and I don't understand why. Even the teeniest, tiniest sip feels like I swallowed a whole pretzel log sideways in my stomach. Protein consumption: only about 26 grams yesterday. I need to do better today. 

pandygirl

pandygirl

 

Day 8 Post-Op

Blood sugar: 84 (now I have to worry about it going too low)
Weight loss: 0.4lbs (total lost: 19lbs)
Pain level: hovering between a 2 and 3
Protein consumption: about 52 grams yesterday! I'm getting there. Goal is 60-80 grams. For the past two days I've nibbled on small curd fat free cottage cheese, a little at a time. I just felt like I was ready for it and wanted it. I don't even like cottage cheese, but it tasted so damn good in light of all the shakes and sugar free popsicles I've been having. I just made sure it was a toothpaste consistency before I swallowed it down --- and the teeny bit that I ate each time barely fit on the tip of a cocktail spoon. No adverse reactions. And 1/2 cup contains 11 grams of protein. I had about 1/4 cup yesterday. Again, it took me about an hour to eat that 1/4 cup, but I did it and felt well afterwards. I also tried about a tablespoon's worth of unsweetened applesauce last night, just for something different. It took me about 20 minutes to eat that tablespoon, but again I had no issues. I have my first post-op appointment this coming Thursday with my surgeon's PA. I'm hoping she'll give me the go-ahead to move on to pureed foods, because I feel like I'm ready to. Normally, they want you to be on full liquids for 14 days, but I feel like my body is telling me it's time to move forward. Fingers crossed.

pandygirl

pandygirl

 

Day 6 Post-Op, Part II

Oh, a revelation last night. I only have 6 incisions, after all. There's a spot on the left lower side of my belly that's had a yucky scab and bruising. Since I've taken a few showers since my surgery, it's become clear that's it's not an incision, as I originally thought...and the giveway should've been the fact that it doesn't have any glue on it, but it was hard to tell initially. I finally figured out it's where they gave me a needle in my stomach with the medicine that prevents blood clots. I have a smaller, less hideous matching spot on my right side, because they gave it to me upon admission on my left side and then again on my right side upon discharge. So yay for colorful contusions that aren't incisions.

pandygirl

pandygirl

 

Day 6 Post-Op

Blood sugar: 94!!!!
Weight loss: 0.2lbs
Pain level: fluctuates between a 3 and a 4
Protein consumption: about 30 grams yesterday. Goal is 60-80 grams. Yesterday I had a good long walk around Target, where I had to pick up a few last-minute things. The venture wore me out, though, and I was happy to get home. For dinner, I treated myself to some Campbell's cream of potato soup mixed with skim milk, of which I was able to consume 2 oz. I had to pulverize the chunks of potato so that they blended in with the liquid part of the soup. Basically, I dunked my spoon upright into the cup and just sipped off the residue that was left on the spoon when I lifted it up. It took about 45 minutes to an hour to consume those 2 oz., but it felt like a gourmet meal compared to all of the water, popsicles, and shakes I've been having. I felt very satisfied after eating it, which was nice. I'm finding that already, I'm able to take slightly bigger sips of liquids than I was just 4 days ago. That's been helpful in getting down my couple of medications that aren't liquid or chewable. My surgeon's office says that for the next 3 to 6 months, I will need to remain on chewable or liquid medications that can't be consumed in a pill or capsule that is smaller than an M&M.  My incision and stomach muscle pain is alleviating more each day. I can now get into a sitting position without too much agony. Standing or walking for long periods of time can make my incisions start to hurt and just make my belly ache. You don't realize how much you use your core muscles for simple everyday movements, until they're sore. My weight loss has suddenly slowed, but based on an article about weight loss plateaus that I read earlier this morning, I completely understand why and I'm not worried about it. I have an obsession with the scale anyway, so that's my own issue to work through.

pandygirl

pandygirl

 

Day 5 Post-Op

Blood sugar: 105 (not a true fasting blood sugar reading, because I was up at 5am to have pain medication. I'd gone to bed without any and made it through almost the entire night without it. I think it probably has a little bit of sugar in it, plus I had a sugar-free popsicle afterwards because I was thirsty and I hate the taste of the pain med, so the combination probably affected my sugar reading a bit.) Weight loss: 1.4lbs (bringing total lost to 17.2 since NYC, 7.2 since surgery) Pain level: still a 4 Protein consumption: only about 24 grams yesterday. Goal is 60-80 grams.

pandygirl

pandygirl

 

HALFWAY to GOAL (#1!)

So, today I stepped on the scale and it had gone down (after a week of nothing, which I am coming to grips with that being the normal journey!).  When I put it in my weight loss tracker, I see that I am halfway to my goal weight already!  That is AMAZING to me since it has only been 7.5 wks!  (actually I could say just under 10 wks since starting my presurgery liquid diet).  And yes, I know there are tenths of a pound, but I decided to let @Kioinfluence me to not count them today! haha!.  So, I am not letting up, I am inspired to keep pushing onward and see when I can make my dr given goal.  Once I hit that, I will celebrate, and then push on further!  I have no intention stopping at 170, and it wouldn't be a bad place to be,  I just feel that I can go lower....especially w/ my support group here!!! I am feeling differences every day at this point.  My arms were feeling dry, so I rubbed lotion on them today and I thought "these feel smaller, is that possible?!?"  The fat jeans I bought in September bc my previous fat pants had worn out (where the thighs rub...you all know the embarrassment of that, I am sure!)....anyway, I wore them today and had to pull them up constantly....in fact I don't even have to unsnap/zip them when I take them down, I just pull them and down they come!  It is time to dig through my old stuff to find the next size (or two) down!!!  This is pretty cool, right those who have been here before me?!?!  

CheeringCJ

CheeringCJ

 

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL!

High fives all around! Happy dance! It happened!!!!  After waiting a couple of weeks, stalled out just above goal, this morning the magic numbers came up on my scale: 149.6   I took a triumphant lap around the house in my (fitting all the way around me) bath towel to high five the hubs and the cat. Yes! YES!!! First of all, I’d like to say thank you to everyone on this forum who has been supportive, informative, caring, questioning, and interested in what I’ve been doing for the past 10.25 months (11.25 if you count my pre-op diet, which sounds reasonable). This whole journey would have been a lot harder and certainly lonelier without you. Your reassurances that my momentary brushes with WLS insanity are normal and expected have been truly helpful to my mental state. Your willingness to share your food and exercise strategies has been invaluable. To those who are further out than me, thanks for your shining beacons of hope! To those who are in around the same place as me, thanks for sharing the road together as we learn to navigate past all the rough spots! To those who come after me, thanks for your cheering, and I sincerely hope to see you here in the Maintenance Cafe very, very soon.  One year ago, I was on a “trip of a lifetime” around the US, trying to figure out what to do with my life, but mostly making myself miserable because of my weight. I took a gap year road trip (see, adults can do those, too) and turned it into a pity-fest of “I can’t really enjoy myself because I’m uncomfortable all the time and self-conscious and I hate myself.” Truly sad. I was really beginning to worry about my health, too,  as I started to realize that being short of breath, having aching joints, and a sky-high heart rate while just walking around anywhere not absolutely flat were signs of impending health crises. Diabetes runs in both sides of my family. I was a ticking time-bomb. I had been considering WLS for a long time, but just couldn’t pull the trigger. I was torn between a few possibilities: 1) accepting that my life from there on out would be limited by my physical condition to that of a much older sedentary person, 2) trying to lose weight without surgery AGAIN and facing the overwhelming odds that I just couldn’t or would gain it all back plus more (oh, the mental agony of the regain), or 3) just facing the facts and getting WLS. I did a lot of soul searching. This was all wrapped up in my mid-life quest to figure out what I was doing professionally, as well, and I knew deep in my heart that my uncomfortable and overweight body was going to have a lot of influence on what I decided to do with my life and career, too.  I read a bunch of articles and studies about WLS and the reasons it works when nothing else does, and it was enough to tip the balance on the decision. I couldn’t face living my life as a prematurely old person, limited in my physical activities to what was comfortable and easy, and limited in my thoughts and actions by crippling self-consciousness and shame. I should have decades of life left to have fun, enjoy my time on earth, and see the world, not to sit on the sofa watching TV and running out the clock. Giving in to being overweight felt like giving up on life.  I needed to take drastic action, so I started looking into WLS in Mexico as my insurance didn’t cover it. I found a reputable clinic with a surgeon who’d done a lot of surgeries over the past 20 years (and in fact had surgery himself), and booked my surgery. From the moment I did that, it felt like I had already triumphed - like the burden of trying to do this on my own was suddenly shared by the surgeon and his team, who would be helping me do this. Someone was going to help me. It was going to happen.  I found TTF not long after this, and I thank my lucky stars. Some other forums I looked into were pretty vicious places, full of nasty judgmental people, or people looking to use WLS as a short-cut (how many posts about “I can get away with XYZ after surgery and still lose weight” can you read before you start to absorb that mindset?). So here I’ve stayed, and I’ve met some amazing and inspirational people here and gotten some very sensible and practical advice (none of which involves finding slightly-less-horrible recipes for deep fried stuff at Chili’s). Along the way, I’ve accomplished basically all of the “wishlist” goals I’d set for myself in one of my first blog posts - 50 reasons to get WLS, ranging from being able to shop in a straight size store (30 pounds ago), to wearing my wedding ring again (I have to get it resized now, it’s too big), to wearing jeans (I’ve got on a pair of too-big size 10s right now), to being comfortable with going swimming (yup, although the thigh skin is a bit sharpei-like at the moment), to being comfortable going to the gym (I’m in decent shape now and not at all embarrassed), to being able to hike (better than ever, I think), to just feeling good about myself when I look in a mirror and being proud of myself (hellz yeah). My life has totally turned around.  WLS gave me the confidence to go back to the Middle East where I had worked before and actually take the job I wanted to take - I hadn’t been able to face the idea of flying 20 hours in a horribly uncomfortable plane seat several times per year, so that had meant staying in the US doing a job I intensely disliked. Plane seats are no problem now. I mean, they’re not awesome, but my size isn’t the problem. In moving to a new country and starting a new job, my weight has not held me back - I can go do active things, I’m not embarrassed at my appearance or activity level, I know that people are (sadly) giving me the benefit of the doubt when they meet me because I look more socially acceptable now (that’s a hard truth to stare at in the eyes). I feel confident. I feel excited to do new things and go new places.  These psychological effects of weight loss are all ones I know shouldn’t exist in an ideal world - I should be proud of myself and feel confident whatever my weight is, and I should be able to pursue happiness at any size, but I just can’t. It’s not in me to do that. I’m totally happy with other people feeling good about themselves at a variety of sizes, but I just don’t. I’ve internalized the societal hatred of fatness, I suppose. I very, very purposefully work at feeling positively about the larger people around me, though - I want to make sure that my feelings about myself do not transfer to others.  So, what’s my plan now? Well, I think I’ll hold out for another 10 pounds and see how it goes (pretty anticlimactic, right?). I’m still losing now, so might as well see what happens. If I go too low, I can always gain a bit back. I was around 140 when I was 30, and I felt good then, so I think that might be where I end up if I have any say in the matter. I’m going to up my calories to around 900 per day for the moment, just to see what happens. I’ll be eating more of the same, though, I think: about 50% fat, 30% protein, and 20% carbs - so definitely still getting my protein goals in. A bit more fruit and veg, I think. If I’m still dropping, I’ll throw in some whole grains and up the calories again - I’ve essentially spent nearly a year in ketosis, I believe, so some carbs would probably shake things up. I’m going to increase my weightlifting at the gym (well, when my knee heals up from its sprain, anyway - it’s a lot better in the last two days) to see if I can rev up my metabolism a little. My skinny little arms could use some muscle, and that might help with the saggy skin there, as well.  I plan to continue tracking my intake like it’s my job. This keeps me honest, and is also very interesting to me - I like to track the data. I’m hoping that it’ll help me get a handle on how much I’ll be able to eat in maintenance, too - I’d like to be kind of sciency about that. I also plan to keep weighing myself every day. I’m fairly mentally OK with seeing numbers go up a little and down a little every day, so I’m good with daily weigh-ins. In periods of my life when I’ve gained, it’s always been accompanied by complete denial that my scale exists.  TL;DR: woman loses ½ her body weight in a year and turns her life around.  Here are my official Before and During and After pictures, as well as a picture of me in my regular clothes so you can see that I don't wear t-shirts and leggings on the daily.  

Jen581791

Jen581791

 

Week three

Sheesh. Week three ended yesterday. It's funny, I sometimes feel a bit surreal. Like nothing's changed, I totally didn't have major surgery. I feel like I'm eating all the time, which was, you know...my norm before, too. Nevermind that "eating all the time" amounts to 400-600 calories instead of a couple thousand, and that the time I ate 2.3 ounces of food instead of 2 ounces, I thought I was going to blow cookies - I just have a constant feeling since the pain has finally stopped, that I'm just chilling at home these weeks for a staycation and that life is as usual.   Of course, it's not. Every day is something of an adventure when it comes to food. I learned the hard way about chewing my food into mush this week (and similarly, about not letting myself get too hungry). The better I feel physically, the more I fight head hunger.    I've been trying out different foods. It seems every few days my taste buds flip around again. I ate the hell out of cottage cheese week one, so made sure when I went to the store this week to get more, and suddenly I can't stand it. For the majority of the first 3 weeks, I needed liquids room temp, and suddenly I need them ice cold.    I went to a Hannukah party on Saturday. We figured a party would have soft things like dips and stuff I could eat, but it ended up being mostly a deli platter. Technically I was supposed to stay on purees because of the pain, but the pain had been gone a few days, so I tried out an ounce or so of deli turkey and a slice of cheese. It sat really well, and I felt very satisfied for the next couple hours. I checked in with my nutritionist Monday, and they cautioned me to take it easy but gave me the green light for soft foods.    I've been eating out of ramekins, occasionally with toddler flatware. The toddler flatware hasnt actually helped me as far as smaller bites, etc - but its blue and has unicorns on it, so naturally its become my favorite spoon and fork in the whole place     Some days my activity is on par. Some days I crochet all day and take two naps. Overall, my energy is stable and I think I'll be okay to go back to work (Im not cleared until I see the surgeon again January 3rd).    I weighed in Saturday and had finally dropped a few ounces. It'll be interesting to see what it is this Saturday.   I'm trying to start planning on what to take to work to get through the day, although planning Christmas Eve dinner for 12 is the bigger "to-do" on my list. Also, my birthday is New Years Day, so this will be interesting! Normally, we go to my brothers on NYE, drink, and play cards. Drinking is definitely out this year, and my brother is stationed in Kentucky currently and likely won't be home for NYE, so this year will definitely be different.   I'm also going to hit the ground hard to find a new job once I'm back to work. I found out last week that my boss is leaving us, and between that and my new coworker (who gives a horrible name to being a nurse), there's no way in hell I'm staying.    On to week 4! I'm very likely to not be around much, as the next few days mean a lot of list making, a lot of cleaning, a few holiday parties, and a lot of cooking and baking. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you  

delilas

delilas

 

Day 3 Post-Op

I had a good day yesterday and a pretty good night. Each day I awaken feeling better than the day before. This morning I remembered to test my blood sugar before ingesting anything and it was 113. It keeps going down on its own and that makes me very happy. It's going to be challenging for me to get in all of my fluid and protein intake. Most of the time my stomach feels like it would feel when you eat way too much and you're so stuffed you feel sick...but I've also been feeling what I think are hunger pangs in spite of that. It's weird. My doctor said that often it's just the various adjustments my insides are making that make me feel like it's hunger, but when I read through these forums, many other sleeve patients have said they feel hunger, too. I don't know. It's so early in all of this, it's hard to tell what's what. I know my body needs time. My brain especially needs time. This morning when I got on the scale I'd lost more weight. We had a trip to NYC the week before I started my pre-op liquid diet. I lost 4lbs that week and I was at my highest weight. The following week, on full liquids, I lost another 6lbs. I gained back 3lbs in the hospital, then lost it overnight plus one additional pound. As of this morning, I've now lost another 4lbs, bringing me to a total of 15lbs lost since NYC (Nov 29-Dec 3) and 5lbs lost since surgery on Monday. Today I definitely have more energy. I'm going to get a lot more walking in today, even if it's just up and down the stairs numerous times. I'm hoping to get through the day without pain medication and only need it tonight to get to sleep. I'll play it by ear.

pandygirl

pandygirl

 

Day 2 Post-Surgery

I had a pretty rough night last night. I am hurting, but not so much from my incisions (I have 7!) as from the after-effects of the paralytics they used as part of my anesthesia. Oh my. My discomfort was pretty intense overnight. Every bit of my body hurt and I felt like I'd been hit by a car or had been in a really bad accident. I wasn't prepared for that at all. I'd been holding off on taking the Hycet painkiller they'd sent home because I'm scared of getting hooked on it, but eventually I caved and took it. I'm glad I did. I was finally able to get to sleep at around 4am. I thought sleeping in the recliner in our living room would be the best place for me since I could be mostly upright, but it turns out I was more comfortable in my bed with 3 pillows under my head. So after I took the Hycet I eventually dozed off reasonably comfortable. My surgeon sent me home with instructions to NOT take my Glucophage tablets for my diabetes. When I left the hospital, my last reading had been 119 (the lowest it's been in a couple of weeks) and the nurses felt confident it would go lower. I forgot to check my blood sugar this morning before I had a sugar-free popsicle, so I will check it again about an hour after I finish the decaf hot tea I'm having right now. When I got on the scale yesterday, I had gained back 3 of the 10 pounds I'd lost pre-op, but I was completely expecting that as a result of my hospital stay. When I awoke this morning, I got on the scale and those 3 pounds were gone along with an additional pound. Don't know where it all went, but it's gone. So the roller coaster ride begins. My incisions look yucky in a scabby sort of way, but normal. One of my incisions on my right side looks bloody awful, like a terrible contusion, but it doesn't hurt any more than the others. I don't know why that one looks so bad. I thought he took the stomach out of one of the incisions on the left side and therefore I'd be expecting one of those to look awful. Anyway, I feel a heck of a lot better this morning than I did overnight, but I'm still hurting. I'm up and walking around, though, doing laps around the first floor of my house. I've also been using my incentive spirometer to open up my lungs and help prevent pneumonia. I'm finding warm fluids are easier to get down than really cold or even room temperature fluids. Still, if I sip just a bit too much it hurts like hell. It feels like it would if you accidentally swallowed a whole piece of hard candy. It makes it a challenge, then, to get all of the liquid down that they want me to get down. The goal is at least 40oz of fluid a day, but they really want me to do 64oz. When I took my thyroid pill this morning it got stuck in my throat because I couldn't take a big enough sip of water or enough sips in a row to make it go down without the sips hurting. That was really fun. I know this will all get better with time. I'm only 2 days post-op. I'm swollen and my body is adjusting. It's challenging right now, but eventually things will get easier. I'm feeling well overall, all things considered.

pandygirl

pandygirl

 

Going Home?

I'm really hopeful I'll be able to go home this afternoon. The nurse said if I can give her another good hour of getting fluids down, she'll recommend me for discharge. I've managed most of the little bowl of sugar free Jell-O they brought me for lunch, along with some sips of chicken broth and Crystal Light lemonade. I've also managed to get down 330ml of water, which equals 11oz. It's been slow going, but I've done it. It does hurt if I take my sips too close together or if I take a bit more than a sip, so I really have to pace myself. I've also managed to take two good walks around the hospital floor today. I'm ready to sleep in my own bed. Fingers crossed I can go home.

pandygirl

pandygirl

 

Morning After Surgery

I had a good night. I've started my liquid diet today. They've give me the worst beef broth I've ever tasted. The dietitian came in and tried to tell me it's homemade here and I'm thinking BS. It just tastes like a bunch of boullion cubes mashed up and melted in water. It's sustenance, so whatever. My surgeon came in to see me about 7:00 this morning and I told him that I actually think I'm feeling hungry, which I didn't think I was supposed to feel, but he says it's probably just a sensation being created by all that's going on in my tummy right now and I just need to give my body time to adjust. We'll see.

pandygirl

pandygirl

 

Ten months update: Come ON! One more pound to GW! Seriously?!

Well, apparently I am not thinking or doing much that feels novel at this point, because my last update was my 9 month update. I should write more frequently. I find that it helps me think. That said, I kind of feel like I’ve been waiting to update until I hit goal, which I THOUGHT was going to be in the last week or so. I am holding steady at 151 pounds, though, despite my efforts, which include donating blood, shaving off all of my hair, and trying to give myself a nasty stomach bug (just kidding, I’ve taken none of these steps, I’m not even doing anything to shake up my diet like going back to all shakes or anything - just doing what I’ve been doing). Come on, hit GW already. I know, it should be slowing down now that I'm close, but COME ON!   So, as a general check in, I’m doing really really well. My health feels great. I’m not hungry yet (come on, honeymoon, give me a few more months!), I’m right on track with my eating for losing (+/-800 calories per day, 50% or so from fat, 65-85g of protein per day), and I feel pretty happy with my body at the moment. I suspect it will continue to change quite a lot over the next year, but hopefully in a good way. I sprained my knee last weekend while hiking, so I’m not exercising at the moment. I think I’ll take a couple of weeks off and see how it feels before I try to get back into the gym in any way. It’s a bit painful, and just getting around means limping and being careful of it, but it is actually getting a lot better. It’ll be a week tomorrow, and I feel I can safely say that it’s healing. It’s funny because I actually miss going to the gym. It was really getting to be a part of my daily routine that I looked forward to, and not doing it now feels a bit sad. I guess that’s a good sign.  I’m still regularly visiting my tailor to get stuff taken in (some things are beyond the ability of a tailor now, but I’m hanging onto what I can). The tailor thinks it’s pretty funny every time I bring stuff in. It’s certainly nice not to have to buy a whole new wardrobe every couple of months. The closer I get to goal, the more quickly I move between sizes, so the more frequently I need stuff tailored. I guess it makes sense that losing 15 pounds when it’s 10% of what you weigh makes a whole lot bigger difference than when it's 5% of what you weigh... Sometimes when I try things on now, I look in the mirror and think, “Wow, I look really tiny!” That’s a nice feeling.  I did buy some new clothes in Dubai a few weekends ago - the selection there is way better than here. I bought three dresses and a pair of jeans. The dresses are really cute and I think they will last through 10 more pounds of losses just fine as they have well-defined waistlines (plus I suppose I could get them tailored if not). The jeans will not last through 10 more pounds of losses and I DON’T CARE. I never never never wear jeans when I’m really any heavier than I am now. They just don’t look good on my body - I have big legs: thighs, knees, ankles, the whole bit from top to bottom. Or bottom to ankles, I guess. I prefer to disguise them. When I was shopping, I thought, hey, I’ll try on some jeans and just see how things are going in that department. Maybe I’ll be thin enough to look good in them soon. I grabbed a pair in size 14, which I figured I had a fair chance of fitting into. In the dressing room, I pulled them up easily and buttoned them, and they fell down around my butt. They were way too big. I swapped them out for 12 and 10, and went straight for the 10s, thinking that way, I’d at least know which size was actually too small. The 10s were perfect. I probably should have gone for some 8s but I could not wrap my mind around the idea of even trying them on. Like it literally didn’t occur to me to even look at them. The 10s fit, and they’ll be too big soon, but I BOUGHT SOME JEANS! So fantastic. I’m wearing them right now. It feels like one of those totally normal things that thin people take for granted: Wearing jeans. Shopping for jeans. Trying on jeans. Fitting into jeans. Not feeling like I want to smash the mirror in the dressing room and run out crying when I see myself in the jeans. It’s a good thing that thin people don’t know what goes through our heads - they’re way too fragile to deal with that sh*t    I also was able to try on a bunch of stuff that, although it fit, didn’t look how I wanted it to, so I didn’t buy it. One dress fit great, but the sleeves were too short. Something that would not have deterred me before. That’s a real luxury! Normally if it fit, I would buy it because 1) Who knows when I’ll next run into stuff that fits, and 2) Who cares, it all looks bad. Oh, and 3) I hate shopping, get me out of here. Things are different now! Shopping felt like going to Disneyland, mixed with Christmas morning. I can shop in any store I want. So fantastic. I felt like skipping through the mall. Different from a lot of people I’ve read on here, I feel like my brain is quickly adjusting to being thinner and taking it for granted, like this is the real me and fat me was a bad dream or something. I’m not sure what that says about my psyche. My brain feels more shocked to see pictures of myself fat than thin. I feel like I could almost erase the fat years, somehow, which doesn’t seem very fair to my fat self, since of course life happens whether you’re fat or thin, and I’ve spent a lot more of my life at a weight I don’t want to be than a weight I do want to be. I seem to identify with the thin me better, though - it feels like it’s who I actually AM. Weirdly, I still look down at my body at times, and at certain angles, and think, “I still look fat,” or “My legs are still fat,” or whatever. I mean, I know it’s not really true, but my eyes do still see fat  in certain places at certain times. I think it has to do with being a lot thinner, but still being the same shape, if you know what I mean. My thighs are still the biggest part of me. Therefore I look at them and think “fat.” I read somewhere long ago about some psychological study where the researchers did eye tracking on men and women when they looked in a full length mirror, and when they looked at full body photos of people of both sexes. Women tended to look at specific parts and focus on areas they perceived to be flawed, and this was true whether they looked in the mirror or at pictures of others. Men tended to take in the whole package at once (and appraise more generously). I think this seems to be true for me, and my thoughts that go along with looking at those specific areas are certainly usually negative. I try to be nicer to myself. It’s hard, though. Too many years of practice with negative thoughts about myself.  That’s about it for this update. I hope I’ll be back with celebratory news about hitting GW soon. For right now, I’m going to have a camping weekend with plenty of healthy stuff to eat (camping used to equal permission to eat anything and everything, like what happens in the desert stays in the desert). There’s actually rain in the forecast for this weekend, which is amazing because it hasn’t rained since I’ve been here (since August). This is the kind of the place in the world where, when it rains, everyone goes outside and gets excited. I’ll actually be glad to see it if it happens. 

Jen581791

Jen581791