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About Martee

  • Rank
    Senior Member
  • Birthday 11/30/1973

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  • ICQ

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Allegan, MI
  • Age


  • Surgeon
    Dr. Scholten / Dr. Schram
  • Hospital
    Spectrum - Blodgett
  • Height (ft-in)
  • Start Weight
  • Current Weight
  • Goal Weight
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Surgery Date

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  1. My surgery started around 9:30 AM, and I was back home by 6 PM. I'm not in any real pain but rather a little achy across my lower back. I've been able to keep down a few crackers and UNJURY chicken soup. Let the healing begin! I don't have a lot of details about the surgery itself, but I'll get the specifics next Thursday at my follow-up appointment.
  2. This past month has been a whirlwind. I have experienced an array of emotions, but none quite like the past few days. I have had several sleepless nights, despite my constant positive self-talk about how everything will be fine and that whatever the result, it will be better than what I look like now. So, today is the day. I found myself waking up every hour or so to check the time. It took me back to the night before my gastric bypass. I did the exact same thing. In fact, I am feeling the same way right now -- cool, calm, and SUPER EXCITED! Please think good thoughts for me today. I know that the next few weeks will be painful, challenging, and tiresome, but I expect good things. Because of the journey I took nearly 3 years ago, I feel prepared for the next few weeks, even though I have read that plastic surgery is a completely different experience. My alarm just went off, so I better get ready to go. I have to be at my surgeon's office by 8:15 AM, with surgery beginning around 9:15-9:30 AM. I will post am update as soon as I am able to do so. I feel so blessed to have all of the support I have right now. I know I am in good hands. I know I'll get through this long as I remember to take one day at a time! Deep breath... Smile... I'm on my way to a better and sexier body! I can't wait!
  3. If I can run that distance, so can you! I ran a 13.1-mile course three times last year. I have never entered an official half marathon race. For me, it's always been "Can I go the distance?" I really wanted to try for a full marathon distance this year, but I am having plastic surgery in 28 days. It still may happen, but it depends on how well I heal. I wish you the best with your training. I think it's great you found a program to follow. I just added a mile or two every week until I worked my way up to 13.1 miles. You can do anything you set your mind to, so accept the challenge, believe in yourself, and go out and grab it. Keep us posted on your progress!
  4. I'm nearly 3 years postop, and I'm in the same boat as you are in. In fact, I recall thinking the same thing a few months postop. I remember telling my surgeon at my one-year postop visit that I was fairly certain I had broken my tool because I never felt full. He tried to reassure me that I had apparently not tested the limits, but I was fairly confident I had. I religiously measure and weigh my food, but it would be nothing for me to eat a 6-8 ounce steak with side salad, a 6-8 ounce grilled chicken breast with vegetable, or something of similar size or consistency without any ill effect or ever feeling full. I might even be able to eat more than that, but I physically stop myself. When I saw a new surgeon for my two-year postop visit (my original surgeon retired), he told me that it could be that my stoma had stretched but that my insurance wouldn't pay for a revision until my BMI had increased significantly (I think he mentioned 35 or so). I'm not about to allow that to happen, so I continue to be diligent about watching what I eat and staying within my dietary parameters given to me by my dietitian (1200-1400 calories, <30 g fat, 80-100 g protein, <1500 mg sodium, <135 g carbs) and exercising on a daily basis. I find this incredibly frustrating because my "tool" really isn't a tool. I swear all my original surgeon did was cut me open and then sew me back up immediately. I do feel blessed that I can eat anything and everything without ill effect; however, I truly wish I had a sense of restriction. I'm not saying I expected this to be easy or that restriction would make it easy, but it likely would have done wonders for my brain to begin to associate small amounts of food as "enough." It's something I still struggle with to this day. Follow your surgeon's / dietitian's guidelines...and expect good things!
  5. A date with my plastic surgeon, that is! I am scheduled to undergo a total abdominoplasty with liposuction and bilateral breast implants on July 24th! I have been waiting (and saving) for nearly 3 years for this moment. I was surprised by his recommendations for me. I thought I would need a circumferential body lift with medial thigh lift, but he almost laughed at me when I suggested this. I still struggle to see myself as I really am now. He told me all I needed was abdominal body contouring, not necessarily a tummy tuck, because he won't have to touch my muscles since they are in such great condition. Liposuction is an automatic part of the deal to help ensure the best appearance. I opted to have breast implants because my breasts were the first things to go when I started losing weight, and I'm tired of feeling like an "it" (no boobs, infertility, no cycles since April 2011 / menopausal?). I want to look and feel like a thin, healthy, and sexy woman as I turn 40 this year. I have to admit, I don't know what to think right now. I don't seem scared, nervous, or even excited. I'm completely calm and complacent. Perhaps I've been waiting for this opportunity to complete this part of my transformation for so long that it all seems a bit surreal at the moment. All I know is that I am relieved that I completed the attendance game with Jazzercise and earned my shirt already (I completed 150 classes by last Saturday). I wanted that done and out of the way before my surgery. I plan to journal my experience here on TT for those interested. I am going to ask my surgeon's office to take a lot of pictures for me preop, during, and postop. I need pictures to help me see the changes. Hopefully he will be able to provide them for me. If anyone reading this has undergone similar procedures, feel free to share your experiences or direct me to your postings here online so I can read more about them. I really want to know what I am getting myself into and what to expect.
  6. Cutie -- I am still struggling with my hormone imbalance; however, I am now working with a different provider for hormone replacements. I now use Vivelle Dot estrogen patches twice weekly and prescription bio-identical progesterone pills, as well as an antidepressant (Wellbutrin SR). Many of my symptoms improved (brain fog, irritability, insomnia, vaginal dryness), but I sort of tipped the other way in terms of sleep. I could sleep all day, every day if my life would allow. I still experience low energy/exercise tolerance, but I'm still very driven with exercise. I just take one class at a time. It probably doesn't help that I am now up to 10 Jazzercise classes six days a week, as well as running anywhere from 8-15 miles a week. I alternate whether I use weights or not during class, and I opt for lower impact, if necessary. I have also started a new product by ItWorks! that seems to be helping with my energy levels before class -- Greens mixed with Lipton Diet Green Tea. Many people in my support group think I am doing too much exercise and continually suggest I back off from so many classes. I tried that for several months earlier in the year, and my weight increased. I am now up to 167 pounds and struggling to get my weight back down. This is the whole reason I increase my exercise, but it doesn't seem to be making a difference. I just keep working at it...because I know it's the right thing to do, it's healthy, and it's good for me (it keeps me from eating!). Also, I do not count the calorie count from my vitamins and supplements. I had asked my nutritionist about this a long time ago, and she told me it was not necessary. However, it sure makes me wonder if I should be doing so. I just read another post where someone dropped 100 calories from her daily dietary intake and she lost weight. This might be something worth considering. Good luck with your journey! Keep us posted on your journey with a hormone imbalance. I haven't met anyone post-bariatric surgery that could relate to me and what I have been experiencing....that is, until now. We're in this together, and we'll fight through it. Thank you for your comments. I tell everyone there is nothing easy about being a bariatric patient. For me, this is hard work...EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. It has gotten easier, and I'm slowly starting to accept this way of living, almost as if it has become second-nature. I fought the necessary changes from time to time over the past nearly 3 years, so please don't think I've been perfect at this. I just take it one day at a time. I have also learned to accept myself for how I am each day. I may not be at my goal weight, but I am closer than I ever have been in my life, and I feel better and look better now. I still have to pull out my biggest pants and shirt that I ever wore every now and then to remind myself where I started. I do the same thing with pictures and inspirational posts I have written here on this site in commemoration of special events/milestones because, quite frankly, I still struggle to see the difference from where I started. It's so strange how warped our minds can be. The only thing I know for certain are these rules of bariatric living. I continue to believe these rules will save my life. Without them, I would have ended up right back where I started. If you haven't done so already, take a moment and write down your reasons for undergoing bariatric surgery and all of the milestones you've achieved. Keep taking pictures of yourself over time so you can see the physical changes. I can't see the changes with my own eyes when I look down at my body, but I can see it in pictures or in reflections of myself in storefront windows or my own shadow when I run. Expect good things!
  7. Have you tried Greek yogurt? If you can drink milk, try adding non-fat powdered milk to double the protein. I have used Unjury ( since day 1 postop, and I'm 2-1/2 years out now. To me, they don't have the typical protein powder smell except for the Unflavored. Adding 1 scoop of their powder to 1 cup of milk provides around 28 g of protein. I think it's great and still drink 1 to 2 drinks a day (breakfast and after exercise)! Their products can be mixed with water or with milk very easily simply by shaking it. I primarily use the flavor Chocolate Splendor (it can be heated in the microwave for about 1 minute to avoid protein clumping to be enjoyed as hot chocolate -- delicious!), but I also purchase their Chicken soup flavor, as well as the Unflavored -- I add 1/2 scoop to Greek yogurt, a full scoop to fat-free, sugar-free pudding mixes, to soups, and to high-protein peanut butter balls. Some people even add other flavors of unflavored protein powder to their coffee (just remember, it can't be too hot or the protein might clump). If you go to their website, they do sell individual packets for you to try all of the flavors before investing in the full tub. I tried the Syntrax Nectar products, but I couldn't get past the colors of the drinks! They tasted so-so, but as others suggested, it's worth buying their sample pack so you can figure out if you like the product and which flavor. It's difficult for anyone to get in that much protein so early out. Just keep doing your best! I was on liquid protein for the first three weeks and then gradually progressed to food, only to be recommended to go back to liquid protein at my 3-month postop check because my surgeon thought I wasn't absorbing enough protein. My blood protein level was on the low side despite taking in around 60-80 g of protein. I was recommended to take in 80-100 g at that point. I couldn't do that with food alone and had to rely on the protein drinks. By my 6-month postop check, my protein levels were good, and I was about 10 pound from my goal weight. I still drink protein drinks to help me reach my daily protein goals, especially since I work to take in 120-150 g a day to keep up with my active lifestyle/exercise. Hang in there! You will progress to different foods soon enough and it will be easier to get in your recommended daily protein. And as far as the scale goes, I think you did a good thing by giving away your home scale. Weighing yourself all the time can drive you crazy (says the person who has weighed herself every day, if not twice a day, since her surgery 2-1/2 years ago...LOL!). Measure your success in your good dietary choices you make each day, by the number of glasses of water you drink a day, by how much exercise you do each day, and by all of the NSVs (non-scale victories -- things you couldn't do before that you can do now). I've always recommended keeping a journal of all of your NSVs. It's important to reflect on them from time to time. I still do to this day. Sometimes not reaching my goal weight gets the best of me, but going back and reading through my journal and being able to see how far I've come, both in my writing and by pictures, helps me remember I am a success, even if I haven't reached my goal weight. My life is far better than it was 100 pounds ago. It is common to stall within the first month, but your weight loss should pick back up soon enough. Your body is adjusting to surgery. Another thing to remember is you might not lose weight but you may lose inches from time to time. My surgeon told me to expect to lose around 10 pounds a month. The 1st month, I lost 11-1/2 pounds; 2nd month, 8 pounds; 3rd month, 16 pounds; 4th month, 14 pounds; 5th month, 3.5 pounds; 6th month, 8 pounds; 7th month, 6 pounds, 8th month and since then, 0 pounds (okay, up or down 1-5 pounds). Keep a positive attitude, do what you are told to do in order to create lifelong, healthy habits, and expect good things!
  8. I feel that way now, but I'm a little over 2 years postop. I can eat anything and everything...and in any quantity...without ill effect. I keep waiting for a letter to arrive from my surgeon explaining that he didn't actually perform the surgery, only cut me open and then sewed me shut. This surgery has done nothing for me in terms of limiting how much or what I can eat, which I thought it would. It has been my own effort (keeping a food journal, weighing/measuring my food) and hard work (exercise) that has gotten me to where I am today. I fight for my current weight every single day. During my active weight loss phase (the first 6-9 months), I followed my dietitian's handouts in terms of food choices and how much to eat. I had tunnel vision back then, and I suggest you find it, too. It is the only suggestion I have for you right now. Believe me, you won't get another chance like you have right now to lose your excess weight. You must find a way to push aside your "head's" desires and do what you need to do to learn a healthy way of eating and living. I don't know if anyone has ever truly professed that this way of being is "easy," but I know they profess that it is worth it. Also, remember, soft foods are sometimes considered slider foods, so they may pass right through your pouch, leaving you feeling like you are still hungry. Stick with your measured amounts of food, follow your surgeon's rules with regard to when you can resume drinking, and keep hydrated with fluids. It's more of a mind game at the beginning, but you can get past it. This part of the journey is about retraining your brain. Believe me, I can eat a lot, but I choose not to. I have to tell myself I'm done eating. My brain doesn't like it, but, much to it's surprise, I'm still alive and doing just fine. Read the handouts your dietitian / surgeon gave you and follow them exactly, keep a food journal, drink plenty of water, take your vitamins and supplements, and make positive choices with regard to exercise. This journey will expose all of your weaknesses, but just know those are merely opportunities for growth. You can do it, but you have to want it more than anything else. You're stronger than you know. Merry Christmas!
  9. Not that this will be helpful to you at all, but know you are not alone. I, too, am suffering this holiday season with staying on track and being in the holiday spirit. I probably could have written your post word-for-word; however, my parents are only 15 miles from me...and treat me more like an acquaintance than a daughter (and I'm the only successful child to exit their home, in terms of being college educated, married, working, and never asking them for money). Try to remember you have within you a great spirit and strength to overcome anything that comes your way, even days when you make poor food / health choices. You battled your way down to your current weight, and you will find the fight in you to stay in control. Also know that sometimes you need to allow yourself some freedom every now and then. A day or two of poor food choices isn't going to undo everything you've done so far...unless you allow it. Most often, days when I really blow this new way of eating are the days when I feel the most restricted, those times when I feel like the world is judging me for not being small enough just yet, days when I am not happy with myself. I'm still learning how to battle these difficulties in a positive way. My newest vice has become shopping, but I know that is getting out of control, so I'm overly frustrated right now. I'm also struggling greatly with a bout of depression right now (out-of-whack hormones). For me, I've learned for every poor choice I make, I need to make sure to create balance by making a good choice. It has become customary for me now to go for a run before I attend a family gathering, so that is on my agenda for tomorrow, even though I really don't want to do it (if I could have my way, I would not get out of bed). I know it will make me feel good and hopefully will help me be mindful of my eating at the get-together. I'm sorry that you will have to spend this holiday away from your mom. Try to focus on the fact that you are together in your heart of hearts, remember Christmases past, and look forward to the time you get to see her next. Perhaps write a letter from the heart tomorrow after the day's events are over, letting her know all the times you thought of her and how much you missed being with her. It can be a way of staying real, experiencing this pain but finding a way to rise above it and stay connected with her, even if you are 3000 miles apart. Give yourself permission to find joy on Christmas day, remember the reason for the season, think of those who you love and let their love for you inspire you to be your best,...and expect good things! Merry Christmas!
  10. It's so cool your passion for running is becoming a family affair! Best of luck to all of you!
  11. The most often-prescribed solution is to go back to basics. Go back to keeping a food journal, measuring/weighing your food, eating protein first, getting your fluids in, and daily exercise. Many people find success with following the 5-day pouch test. You can do a search for 5DPT or 5-day pouch test. I have tried it twice now, and it does nothing for me except intensify my carb cravings, so I've decided not to do it ever again. It's a mental thing with me. However, similar to you, I lost a little over 100 pounds and managed to gain 10-12 pounds back over a six-month time period. I was able to drop 10 pounds by cutting my carb intake from around 150 g a day down to less than 50 g a day. For me, my carb intake has always been comprised of dairy, fruits, and vegetables, but I was apparently overdoing it on the fruit. I switched liquid protein sources, lessened my fruit intake, and ate more solid protein. I switched from Unjury, which I mixed with organic skim milk, to Profuse (recommended by my bariatric surgeon, who just so happens to be the person who formulated this product; it is hydrolyzed collagen protein -- it's already broken down, so it is easier for our bodies to absorb). I was drinking two to three Unjury shakes before I lost these last 10 pounds. I think the reduction of carbs was the most beneficial thing I did. Try not to feel bad about this weight gain. It's more common than you think, and it's great that you are thinking about what you can do to keep your weight under control. Little changes might make a big difference. Maintenance phase is much more challenging than one would think. It's learning to find balance, what works for your body. There are some people who can eat higher amounts of carbs with little to no effect and others who can't get near them without gaining weight. You might already know the culprit in your diet that needs to be lessened or eliminated. Take a look at your before photo, and it might scare you enough to get back on track. You've been committed to this way of living for 16 months. In order for this to be successful, you have to be willing to adopt this way of living for the rest of your life...or you will end up back at square one. It's what I'm facing these days. I'm a self-professed food addict, and I'm finding it a whole lot easier these days to say goodbye to certain foods, things I thought I could "never live without." I love the reflection I see in the mirror these days, and I'm learning that no food is worth any weight gain. I've worked too hard for this. I'm too proud of myself for coming this far. Expect good proud of your accomplishments...and believe in yourself! You can get yourself back on track! Remember, this is your make it what you want.
  12. When something gets stuck in your pouch, your body will produce an amazing amount of saliva in an attempt to wash it through. The one thing I've learned is to spit the saliva out, and eventually the food will pass. If I swallow the saliva, I can guarantee that it will pass down into my pouch, get agitated in there like a washing machine, and come up as foam. While it is relieving, it isn't a great feeling to experience if you are out in public, especially if the restaurant has only a one-stall bathroom and it is occupied. The first time I experienced the foamies, I was at such a restaurant. I was pacing the entryway, wondering if I should go outside and try to throw up. I have never liked throwing up, but I was hoping and praying it would happen. The pain in my chest felt like an elephant was sitting on it. I have been fortunate to only have this happen three times, all within the first six months (live and learn process as to what your pouch will tolerate), and my episodes lasted no more than 10 minutes. I've heard from others that their episodes have lasted hours. Walking and jumping up and down helped me out in the past (okay, I don't know that the jumping did anything really, but mentally it seemed like a viable thing to do). Another suggestion for relief is to take several Papaya Enzymes tablets. They are small chewable tablets that can be found with the vitamins and minerals in a drug store. They help breakdown protein, just like meat tenderizer. They never did anything for me, but others swear by them.
  13. When I underwent gastric bypass two years ago, I wasn't in touch with the fact that I was a food addict and had issues with eating. All I knew is that I wanted to lose my excess weight. It was frustrating beyond belief for me to try and lose weight and never find success preoperatively. Luckily, I was able to maintain that tunnel vision through the active weight loss phase and dropped a considerable amount of weight; however, I struggled with it every single day. And I still do. I don't have issues with dumping. I can eat anything and everything...and in any amounts I want...without ill effect. It's scary to me that my pouch does nothing for me in terms of limiting what I eat. A lot of times, I feel like I am back at square one with what I need to be successful at being healthy -- will power! Am I successful every single minute of every single day? No. But now that I've lost a considerable amount of weight, I find it easier to say no. I've seen the effects of adding in too many carbs (fruit of all things!) because my weight increased by 10 pounds. When I reduced my carb intake, those pounds fell off. I won't lie to you, I hate the fact that I eat such limited items of food. I hate that I can't enjoy a pop here or there. I hate having to say no to sweets, chips, pizza, and sphaghetti (this is the only food that makes me feel "full" after a bite or two; it just sits heavy in my pouch). However, I LOVE slipping into my size 4 jeans! I LOVE trying on clothes and having them look good on me. I LOVE having a normal blood pressure, normal cholesterol levels, and normal blood work overall. I LOVE knowing that I can keep up with my three young children. I LOVE that I smile when I look in a mirror. If you give this a chance and you simply follow the surgeon and dietitian's plan, the weight will come off. The rest of the work is up to you. I've fought this entire process, but honestly, it's mainly because I didn't know how to be or think healthy. I had to be taught these things. It's been a lot of trial and error on my part, but I'm proud of where I am at today. It's still not easy, but let me tell is SO worth it!
  14. Thank you, Sonsie! It's so great to meet another fellow Jazzerciser! I'm not so sure I would love exercise if it weren't for Jazzercise. It's fun, always changing, and never boring. And the best part is I get to hang out with a great group of women (and some men!) who inspire me to keep going and fight for my goals. As far as the hormone imbalance, I'm taking it one day at a time. It's the same philosophy I've had to take with controlling my weight, as well. I meet with a gynecologist at the end of this month. I can't wait to hear what they have to say. I have had all the symptoms of menopause, but my labwork doesn't support it. I have been told time and time again that a woman who goes 12 months without menstruating is menopausal. Not so in my case, apparently. I've always been an anomoly of sorts, always opposite of the norm. So perhaps I'm normal after all.