Martee

Two years out -- What I'm happy about!

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It's hard to believe that it has already been two years since I underwent open gastric bypass, but here it is.

My first year out, I was on cloud 9 for most of it, as I witnessed the drop of a majority of my excess weight! However, the second year was a whole different story. While I have never experienced common issues postop (constipation, food intolerances, dumping, et cetera), at one year postop, my body struggled with a major hormone imbalance (estrogen low, progesterone barely detectable, and testosterone undetectable). I was eating a very well-balanced diet, exercising daily, and taking all of my vitamins and minerals, but for some reason, my body decided to stop functioning hormonally. Since identifying this, I switched from regular candles to soy candles, I switched all of our household cleaners and laundry detergent to organic products, I switched my foods to organic, and I have begun bio-identical hormone replacement pellet injection therapy. I've seen some improvement, but my levels continue to drop after the pellet has worn off. They say it takes some time for the hormones to build up in the system. While I realize I am close to the age when a woman normally experiences hormonal changes, it wasn't what I was expecting after gastric bypass. I had secretly hoped I would be able to conceive a child. With having had no menstrual cycles for the past 17 months, I'm thinking that is completely out of the question. I'm 38, no cycles, and no boobs. I feel like my feminity has been stripped from me.

While my energy level has been majorly depleted over the past year due to my hormone imbalance (at least that is what my doctors are suggesting), I fight my way through it every day. Since my surgery, I have had the mentality that nothing will get in my way of meeting my goal weight and/or exercise, and it hasn't...not even low energy or decreased exercise tolerance. This past summer, I increased my distance with running, and I successfully ran 13.1 miles on two separate occasions (2:10 and 2:24, respectively). After the second time, I hit some sort of wall (as if my energy levels could get any lower!!) and had to lower the distance. I even underwent a month of PT (hip impingement issue). It was also at the same time that I was dealing with the loss of a close friend who passed away from kidney failure (he had underwent the sleeve procedure a year prior to his passing and had lost an astonishing 260 pounds). While I never got to run an official half marathon, I know I could have done so if I could have found the energy. Perhaps that will happen in the next year.

This past year, I also started a new job outside of my home. For the past 17 years, I have been hidden inside my home as a work-from-home medical transcriptionist. However, I now work as a part-time librarian at one of the local elementary schools. While it is only a 15-hour a week position, I am there more like 40 hours (it's a lot to learn and I'm doing a lot of catching up from what wasn't done last year). I'm enjoying my time reading to the students, as well as the remainder of the job responsibilities, much of which requires a lot of movement with reshelving books...things I would have struggled with preoperatively.

One thing that the staff at the school comments about is that I am always smiling. I didn't even realize that. While I still have yet to see my goal weight (and I'm starting to think I never will), I am quite happy with where I am at right now weight-wise and clothing-wise. This past year, I did see a slight increase in my weight, but with a small calorie reduction and carb reduction, my weight dropped 10 pounds in a month. I'm back in my size 4 jeans, wearing Small and Medium tops, and sporting a new funky hairdo! I've once again hit a plateau, so it seems that my body likes being at 154. I keep contemplating changing my goal weight to 154 or 155, but it still seems like cheating. And there's a great part of me that doesn't want to quit fighting for 145. It's 9 pounds, but mentally it's much more than that...it's getting away from the edge of "overweight" on the BMI scale, it's no more judgement from health or life insurance companies, it's a source of motivation, it's my comfort number. I do have to admit, the number on the scale doesn't really bother me much anymore because I know I am so much closer to my goal weight than I was two years ago, but I still weigh myself every day on my body composition analyzer scale. It's my way of keeping things in check.

I'm still a food addict. I still have cravings up the wha-zoo. I still want to eat my emotions. I'm just a plain normal person (okay, so I've discovered I have OCD, too, over the past year, so perhaps not so "normal!"). However, I now follow a set of rules -- I eat a sensible diet (1200 calories, <30 g fat, 80-100 g protein, <1500 mg sodium, <75 g carbs), I take my vitamins and minerals (Celebrate), I abstain from drinking fluids for one hour after meals, and I exercise daily. And do you know what? Those rules work. I continue to learn balance. I'm finding it easier and easier every day to make better choices.

I've never been one of those people who would tell someone else that I would do this again in a heartbeat. For me, it isn't easy. The food addict in me wants me to change my mind and go back to my old way of eating. My hormone imbalance wants me to slow down and not do so much. I still won't tell you I would do this again in a heartbeat, but I am grateful for what I have accomplished over the past two years. I'm so much happier in life.

Here are my photos from two weeks ago...

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Here are my photos from today...

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I think this next year is going to be even better. It is my intent to undergo plastic surgery (circumferential tummy tuck, inner thigh lift, and breast implants) after school is out next June. I have the money saved, thanks to my husband!

In case you are wondering what I do...

VITAMIN REGIMEN

  • Celebrate Multivitamin (chewable), 2 a day
  • Celebrate Calcium Citrate (chewable), 3 a day
  • Celebrate Iron + C 30 mg, 2 at night
  • Celebrate Vitamin D, 1 a day
  • Celebrate Vitamin B-50 Complex, 1 a day
  • Vitacost Magnesium Citrate 540 mg a day
  • Coromega Omega-3, 1 packet a day

EXERCISE

  • Jazzercise, 5-8 times a week (check out their website for a location near you!)
  • Run 3-5 miles, 1-3 times per week (spring/summer/fall)

FLUIDS

  • Water with lemon (I very rarely use the drink sticks anymore...I don't care for the artificial coloring or sweeteners)
  • Organic skim milk

FOOD

  • Organic eggs
  • Chobani Greek yogurt with half a scoop of unflavored Unjury
  • Fage Greek yogurt with dry ranch dressing mix to use as dip with raw organic vegetables
  • Chicken breasts
  • Steak / ground beef
  • Brown rice (when I am running)
  • Organic fruits and vegetables
  • Whole wheat toast (1 slice a week, if that)
  • Cheese (only melted on things, like chicken breasts with organic marinara sauce)
  • Profuse (liquid hydrolyzed collagen protein, as recommended by my bariatric surgeon)
  • Unjury (whey protein isolate mixed with 1-1/2 cups organic skim milk)

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You look amazing. I love jazzercize too! I hope you are able to get your hormone imbalance straightened out, it sounds like you've mad progress.

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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.

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Martee!!!!!! OMG you look AMAZING! I can't believe it's been two years for all us 10/10ers - It's so amazing to see how well so many of us from that group have done. So many determined women. I can't get over how tone and fit and muscular you look. You're such an inspiration. Congratulations and Happy 2 year Surgiversary!

2nd.jpg

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Oh and I think it is hilarious we are BOTH chasing our Goal weight by 9 lbs right now! LOL

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Martee,

I've said it before and I still mean it...........you are my HERO! I could no more fit into a size 4 or 6 anything than I could a size 5 shoe (I shrunk shoe sizes from a 9 to a 7 1/2, lol)!

Your journey is amazing and inspirational! YOU GO GIRL!

Nancy :D

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You have achieved an enormous amount of success with your WLS Martee and I have to tell you, you look absolutely stunning.

I'm truly sorry you're dealing with hormone imbalances though - I know that can be a difficult road. Have you researched using Maca - it's certainly something worth exploring: http://macatalk.com/faqs/womens.html

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Happy Surgiversary Martee. You are truly one of my major motivators through this whole process. The scale is just a number and it should not determine your self worth. I am sorry you are going through the hormone issues and I do wish you the best of luck. I LOVE your hairdo!

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I'm soooo glad I popped back in briefly! You look flipping amazing!! I seriously am so jealous and happy for you at the same time.

I, unfortunately, have fallen off the wagon. I'm back up to 152 and struggling just to hold it there...even with ungodly amounts of bodypump, kickboxing, and cycling classes. That's because I'm stuffing everything in the world into my mouth.

But this isn't about me, it's about how fantastic you look--and fit and lean--with some kick-butt hair! You're rockin' it, lady!!

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You are just adorable! Congrats on your weight loss. I'm sorry things have been rough for you as far as your hormones go. I hope that it all works out, and you are feeling 100% in no time. Your attitude is amazing, and you are my inspiration that my surgery and outcome will be a success.

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You look fabulous!! Love the hair do as well.

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You look amazing!  Thank you so much for this post!

 

 

I am about to see a doctor regarding hormone imbalance.  I was wondering how you are doing with that several months after this post?  I am so tired.  I am working out too.  I know if I didn't the fatigue would be much worse.  I am so nervous to mess with hormones since I am trying to reach goal weight.  I have been diagnosed with endometriosis and estrogen dominance.  I have an appointment in May.

 

Do you count vitamins in your overall calorie count?

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Wow - what an inspiration - I want to be just like you when I grow up!!!  I'm amazed how driven and focused you are with your food choices and exercise - that is fantastic!!! Thanks for sharing this post - it really made me want to be and STAY compliant with my WLS journey!!!

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You look amazing!  Thank you so much for this post!

 

 

I am about to see a doctor regarding hormone imbalance.  I was wondering how you are doing with that several months after this post?  I am so tired.  I am working out too.  I know if I didn't the fatigue would be much worse.  I am so nervous to mess with hormones since I am trying to reach goal weight.  I have been diagnosed with endometriosis and estrogen dominance.  I have an appointment in May.

 

Do you count vitamins in your overall calorie count?

 

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.     

 

Wow - what an inspiration - I want to be just like you when I grow up!!!  I'm amazed how driven and focused you are with your food choices and exercise - that is fantastic!!! Thanks for sharing this post - it really made me want to be and STAY compliant with my WLS journey!!!

 

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! 

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Martee....I'm 38 and have hormonal issues as well for YEARS....I am on compounded progesterone cream and as they just doubled my prescription, I pray it will help with my energy, moodiness, pain and hypoglycemia. In regards to the hypoglycemia...I have also been taking magnesium twice a day....and incredibly enough, it has helped to stablize my blood sugar WAY better than my not taking it. Anyway, great to see you in here! It's been quite awhile for me..I'm still running as well and hope to do my first half marathon in Jan!! Take care!

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