6 weeks VSG post op: Bikes, Body Flow, and Bacon!

I can hardly believe it’s been SIX weeks since my weight loss surgery!  Time really has flown by quickly.  From previous posts, you’ve probably read that I have been frustrated because my weight loss has been really slow.  But – I’ve come to grips with it.  Losing slowly is better than not losing at all.  Since my pre-op diet mid-February, I’ve lost nearly 24 pounds.  That didn’t feel like a great number to me.  Especially because I read different forums from patients who had the surgery around the same time as me and they dropped some crazy numbers the first month.  I kept watching the scale and would always feel like I was doing something wrong because I didn’t have huge losses.  Finally, I  shoved the scale under my bed.  We are only going to see each other on Fridays! And then, back under the bed she goes!

Since my last update, I’m still going strong with exercise and food choices.  I get about 30-60 minutes of exercise in about 5x per week.  And since this week is week six- I am cleared for core exercises!  Whoohooo! So, I celebrated this next stage by stepping out of my comfort zone a little.

BIKES

Sunday my husband and I loaded up our bikes in the back of his truck and went riding along the American Tobacco Trail. The ATT is an old railroad track that is now a riding and walking trail.  It’s 22 miles long.  It is nice and wide.  parts of it are flat, and then others not so much.  The end that we entered is pretty flat.  Runners, walkers, horses, bikes, scooters and everything you can imagine use this trail.  Jason and I had long been wanting to get into biking.  He wanted to try it because when he quit smoking in January 2015, he gained a little weight.  And for me, for obvious reasons, I wanted to try biking and really lucked out recently when my sweet neighbor sold me her bike! So, I have a new-to-me bike.  That day we rode 9.25 miles without incident.  It was a gorgeous day, we were together, and we finally did what we had hoped to do for months.  Here’s a selfie from the day.  Because as you know, if there are no pictures, it didn’t happen!

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But first, let’s take a selfie!!!
I came back from that ride SOOOOOO SORE.  I mentioned to Jason that I hoped we had some frozen peas or carrots at home.  He thought I was asking so I could coordinate the veggies with our dinner.  NO! I needed the frozen veggies for an ice pack for a very delicate area…yes, it was that bad.  That night we ordered some fancy padded bike britches for our next venture on the bikes.

Because I had such a great time Sunday, I wanted to duplicate those efforts and get acclimated with my bike since it is still new to me.  Today I thought I’d ride in my neighborhood.  Friends…I didn’t even make it out of the driveway:( ON my bike, shifting gears DOWN is done with my thumb.  Shifting UP is done with my forefinger.  Unfortunately I got the 2 mixed up and tried to take off in high gear.  That did not work.

(this is kind of similar to my mixing up the gas pedal and brake during a driving lesson with my dad as a kid where I slammed his car into a building.  But no biggie.)

I lost my balance and fell smack into my driveway and messed up both knees. I cried like a baby:( Meanwhile, my 17 year old daughter was in the back yard, saw it happening and came to my rescue.  I pouted and said I was DONE with bicycling forever.  She said “OH no you are NOT! You are gonna get back up on that bike and do it AGAIN! You can do this, Mama! You just don’t have to do it today.”  It was like hearing me talk to her when she wrecked as a little girl. See evidence of said incident today.  Look at my poor knees:( I had grass in my hair, all over my back and as I am pouting at Haley, the damn cat came over thinking it was time to play.  (if you are not aware, I do not love this cat!) I am a hot mess in this picture. You’ve been warned!

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BODY FLOW

In between my new-found-but-short-lived cycling hobby, I ventured into something new Monday night.  I tried a Body Flow class at my gym.  I have enjoyed many Les Mills classes at my gym prior to my ankle injury a few years ago.  I used to love Body Combat, Body Attack and Body Pump.   Body Flow is described as simple yoga moves and embrace elements of Tai Chi and Pilates.

Simple moves my ass.

I walked into the large studio and immediately felt the urge to run like hell.  First off, there were no people of “size” in this class.  There were several women of different ages there, and one guy.  They were all very fit looking people.  Then I saw the instructor.  My goodness, she had such gorgeous, toned, HUGE muscles in her arms.  Lovely blonde hair pulled back and really elegant way about her.  She explained that the regular instructor was off that night and she was just filling in.  Lucky me.  I’d later find out that this instructor is rather advanced.

So we start. With some stretching and breathing exercises to get us loose.  Then we start with these crazy positions that have silly names. Like what the hell is a downward facing dog….I have 2 dogs. They don’t do this pose! This woman has me stretching parts of my body I didn’t know I had.  Parts of it felt really awesome, but most if it felt like hell.Especially when I had to get on the floor with my mat and get on my knees.  Even though I doubled the thickness of my mat, it was still painful on the knees.  The class started at 7:40.  I noticed about 40-45 minutes into it, that some of the class put on their shoes and left.  I wondered what happened?  Why are you leaving? I wore deodorant! And didn’t fart in the class , so I know I didn’t stink up the room or anything?!

Turns out, you can leave after the exercise portion is done and then you go onto this wonderful meditation situation.  The instructor turns the lights off and plays really mellow music for about 15 minutes.  I don’t know what her exact words were, but I remember her saying “be one with the mat.” Let go of all of your tensions.  And I did.  But then I hear….

♪Ding……♪ding….♪ ding…

I heard bells?! In  Yoga?  Is there a meal included in this class?!?!?!? Bells ringing where I am from means dinner’s ready!  But sadly, no.  There was no snack happening.  It was just part of the meditation.  Crap.  LOL.

So, I made it through the hour long class and immediately feel like my legs are jello.  One of the ladies pulled me aside, presumably because she noticed my lack of coordination.  Imagine a bull in a china shop, folks.  That’s how subtle my yoga moves are.  Michelle pulled me aside and said this instructor was one of the more advanced ones and that I should come back on a different night.  Gee.  wonder why! LOL.  I texted a couple of friends who knew I was going to try the class.  The synopsis of my experience was : I don’t think I ever want to do that shit again.  As time has passed, I WILL go back for another class, but I need the YOGA FOR DUMMIES class! And if I see that instructor again, I will listen to my internal voice that says run like hell.  Even today, 2 days after the class, my abs are KILLING ME!

BACON!

Since my surgery, I have been trying out new recipes at home.  If you know me even a little bit, you know I am not a fan of cooking. But I vowed when I had surgery that I would do a better job of cooking at home, making low-carb recipes that my family could eat along with me.  Last night’s recipe was chicken breast wrapped in sour cream and BACON!  I didn’t even think about the fact that bacon is not on my list of things to eat right now. All I was thinking is that each ingredient is low carb and I wanted to try something new.  Luckily, the bacon did NOT upset my stomach and it tasted SOOOOO good! VSG’ers have to be careful with crunchy foods at this stage, and also rubbery foods.  I simply didn’t think about it.  But I am glad it worked in my favor.  I will try it again soon!

Bubble Wrap is not on the title of this blog entry, but I swear I need some.  For my body.  For my life.  An injury happens to me every time I try something new.  When I got into kickboxing, it was tennis elbow in both arms.  With running, it was the achilles. With biking a couple of years ago, it was falling and getting a huge purple/blue/black bruise the size of my hand on the inside of my leg.  It was awful.  I am accident – prone for sure.  And I hate it.  Might really need to think about some bubble wrap for my next venture?!

Lastly, I want to show my first progress picture.  The photo quality is not great and I took the photos myself in my messy room.  The weight loss is not coming off quickly.  I got down and depressed about it until this week.  I am starting to see changes and I like where I’m going.  If I lose 10 pounds a month, that’s great.  I’ll be within my goal in 7 months.  But if I only lose 2…or 4…I still remind myself that this is a new journey.  I am doing all the right things.  It’s just taking my body a little longer to figure out what’s going on.  I am losing INCHES quicker than pounds.  I’ll take  it!

  
Thank you so much for reading.  I hope if you are on this journey, you’ll share your successes, AND your challenges.  We all learn and gain knowledge as we go about this change in our lives.

Namaste, yall! 

Dawn

 

 

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Going slow, but still going!

Finally, the Achilles surgery is over! It’s been 9 days since the surgery.  It’s been a little slow going since the procedure, but at least I am still going and plugging along.

The day of the surgery was a non-event…I was prepared and looking forward to the surgery.  I knew recovery would be long, but I had been suffering with this injury for a few years.  The pain in the right heel was getting so bad that I couldn’t walk to the end of my driveway without pain.  And at age 45, I knew the pain would gain as the years progressed.  My doctor was Dr. Reinke of Cary Orthopaedics.  He did a great job.  He made a single incision at the back of my heel, detached my Achilles tendon, shaved down the horrid bone spur from hell, cleaned up some huge swelling/bursa situation, reattached the tendon, and stitched me up!  My mom and husband were with me that day.  And my sweet friend Mandie came to visit me shortly before I went in for surgery.  A surprise visit from a wonderful friend really did my heart so much good.  She’s been a friend for 10+ years.  So sweet of her to come by and wish me well! Then…I’d had a nerve block in my right leg, so I didn’t feel a thing.  I had an IV full of silly sleepy juice.  I remember trying to get comfortable face down on the table with oxygen tubes in my nose.  That’s all I remember until…

The morning after.  After the block wore off.  It was a pain I cannot describe and hope I never feel again.  Dr. had prescribed OxyCodone.  I’d started taking it the minute I got home to stay ahead of the pain.  I also had some anti-nausea meds in case the Oxy made my tummy upset.  the night before, I slept well and woke at about 3am noticing that the block had worn off.  Took more pain meds and back to sleep.  About 9am Thursday, I was begging for more drugs and my mommy. LOL.  Jason, my husband, called the office and they prescribed a couple of days’ worth of OxyContin.  A couple of doses of that stuff and I was able to cope.  I took 1 every 12 hours when needed.  I gritted my teeth when the pain would get too hard to endure and just tried breathing through my nose and exhaling through my mouth.  I am not too proud to tell yall that the pain I felt made me cry like a baby.

The next couple of days weren’t too terrible.  I am able to work from home while I recuperate, so I was able to catch up on work tasks, from my bed and with my foot elevated.  My family would bring me breakfast in bed and make sure I had all I needed.  My teenager gets home mid-afternoon, so I was really only alone for a few short hours per day.  I did experience one episode while trying to get back to my bed from the restroom.  My crutches got away from me and lost my balance for a second.  I put my toe down and it was horrendous:(  Let’s not do that again, I told myself.

Jason helped me get a shower every other day.  I am no prima donna, but girls, you know if you don’t LOOK good, you don’t FEEL good.  I already didn’t feel good, so I could at least make an effort to look good.  Here is how we set it up…

Put a plastic (empty) square-shaped cooler in the bathtub so I could sit on it. Hey- we don’t have one of those benches, so we made due with what he had!

Prop my bad leg up over the side of the tub and onto a lawn chair. Doesn’t EVERYONE have a pink lawn chair in their bathroom?

Tuck shower curtain between my knees so I didn’t get water all over the place. Our shower head is detachable, so I was able to sit, enjoy a nice hot shower, wash my hair and shave my one leg.  LOL.  Getting out was a chore for the first bath because I was still so incredibly sore!But the baths after that just got easier as the soreness went away.

Progress along to Day 7 and then the terrible awful happened.  I fell.  The bathroom floor was wet from previous shower my dear daughter had taken.  We didn’t see water on the floor:( My right crutch flew out from under me and I caught myself with my bad foot, that at the time, was still in a splint, wrapped by an ace bandage.  I was good at getting to and from restroom by myself, so by this time, I felt pretty good.

I am fairly sure I woke up dead people with the sound and pitch of my scream of terror.  I caught myself and put ALL of my weight on the bad foot.  ON a scale from 1-10 with 10 being worst, the pain was a 7million. And of course, my poor daughter felt horrible  She was home with me when I fell.  She heard the screams from hell and experienced the crying meltdown as she helped me get back to my bed.  Besides the pain, I was worried I’d damaged something.  How could that kind of fall with that level of pain NOT cause damage?  I don’t know, but it didn’t cause any! I took some pain meds, called it a day and rested the entire rest of that Wednesday.

The very next day (yesterday) I had a scheduled checkup.  Dr. Reinke said all looked well and I couldn’t believe the size of the scar! And I couldn’t believe my foot wasn’t more swollen.  Because in that heap of dressing/splint, it felt swollen.

I’ve graduated now to a hard cast.  I will wear this for 2 weeks and then will get a boot! Like an aircast thing.  I’ve had one of those before.  That means I can WALK!!! Praise Jesus. Walking without crutches will be such a joy!

So that’s where I am now….enjoying having a tiny bit more independence.  I am able to put 25% body weight on it, still with crutches.  Every bit of progress is a positive step in regaining my full independence and re-entrance to getting back on the fitness regiment. Not being able to exercise for several months has really resulted in some packing on some pounds.  Carrying ALL of this weight with me and on crutches is really difficult for me.  I am up quite a bit.  Depression had set in and when that happened, I lost sight of all my goals.  Now that I am progressing, I am incorporating some upper body exercises into my days.  Nothing crazy.  Just some 5# hand weights  and lifts similar to these in this video:

And since I can’t really get TO the floor, I have tried some v-ups and leg lifts while on my bed.

when I am cleared for exercise on lower extremities, I think I am gonna have a party.  LOL.  What a glorious day that will be….but first I have to go to physical therapy.  Not sure when that is happening yet…but I’ promise I will go SLOW when I CAN go.  Running is not ever going to be in my future.  I’ll be glad to walk my dog…walk with my family…bike a little, swim a little.  NO boxing for quite a while.  I am so afraid of kicking the bag and injuring myself that I just can’t fathom boxing or kickboxing for a long, long time- even though that particular exercise was my main weapon in my weight loss journey.

A few pictures from this fun time in my life… these are pics of my incision site and stitches.  Ouch!

office helper

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This is how I started my day last Monday and up to this past Thursday.. propped up foot, icepacks, hospital tray/table with my laptop and my phone to my left.  My cute puppy would join me most days, too.  I can’t sit at my desk yet, so I work from my bed.
IMG_2664IMG_2677New Cast I got yesterday.  I’ts already working my nerves at night.  I still have to elevate it most times.  No letting it dangle in seated position too long.  It’s better to elevate so that the swelling goes down.  I haven’t had pain meds in a couple of days.  Feeling good and looking forward to gaining strength!

I’ll update again when I get my aircast!

My family and friends have been fantastic sources of help during this time.  From sending flowers, bringing food for dinner, just a call, text, email, or visit, has meant so incredibly much to me.  I am blessed beyond measure.

Happy Halloween, y’all! If you and your kids are trick or treating tonight, please enjoy and be careful!

Kindly,

Dawn

“against my better judgement”

hi:)
My half marathon is in 26 days. TWENTY SIX DAYS, I tell ya! And unfortunately, I am not prepared. But I am still doing it! Read on. I will explain.
A lot of my facebook friends, neighbors, co-workers and family have asked about the status of my weight loss journey, and my participation in the Tobacco Road Half Marathon next month. So I thought I’d write it up- share it, and hope that it answers those questions.

I finally went to have my elbow injury and old Achilles injury looked at. The pain in my elbow was getting to be unbearable. Imagine grabbing a drink at a drive through window, Even to lift OUNCES would send sharp shooting pain into my elbow and sometimes, I’d drop stuff. It was affecting nearly everything. I stopped boxing, stopped Body Combat and Body Pump- even using the arm things on the elliptical would hurt!

The Achilles gets no rest because well- quite honestly, I am stubborn, and if I can’t do the fun fitness activities, I could at least walk/run, right?

NOT.SO.MUCH.

How about I have something called Haglund’s deformity on my heel. They call it “pump bump” because many women get that pointy looking thing from wearing high heels. I assure you that was NOT the case with me:) LOL. Lots of women get it from running on an incline. BINGO! DING< DING< DING! That’s probably what did it.
If you wanna know what it is all about, here’s the wikipedia version of it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haglund’s_deformity

In addition to this bump on the heel, I have a bone spur. Fun times, huh? It is not impacting me so much that I cannot walk and it doesn’t really bother me so much right now. But as I get older, and if it continues to bother me, they recommend surgery.
Oh.hell.NO.

My doctor says this race is against his better judgement because I haven’t properly trained. AND I have this injury. 13.1 miles is a ‘lil too far in his opinion. And in any other case, I would agree with them. But- this race is more than 13.1 miles. It’s for my daughter. My T1D rockstar!
You can read more about that here:

http://www2.jdrf.org/goto/dmgraham

She puts her body through SO MUCH. All T1D’s do. It’s all for her. I can do this. It’s gonna hurt. I know it is. But she fuels my passion to push myself to do this. Every day is a struggle for her. I can struggle for a day for HER.

Moving on- back to the elbow thingy.
Dr. Wonderful gave me a cortisone shot in my elbow and prescribed 6 weeks of physical therapy. I’ll  admit- I am really skeptical about stuff like that. I immediately doubted that a little stretching and exercise would alleviate the pain in my elbow…Which turned out NOT to be an elbow thing! It is actually a neck injury and that muscle is some kinda JACKED UP! But with various muscle manipulation, exercises and some fun procedure they call dry needling- I am ALMOST as good as new!

I have never been so glad to do even a modified push up in my life. I did 30 today in the PT’s office.
We do exercises with resistance bands to build strength in my shoulder, elbow and arm. Right now, I love my physical therapist about as much as I love JESUS. He has really helped me feel so much better! I am not done with PT yet. We are working strength right now and then we will work on…..
you guessed it- striking! punching! Praise BE! I am gonna get to go back to boxing in the immediate future!!!!

In other news- if you were not already aware, I stopped boxing/kickboxing due to said injury last May.
Subsequently, the combination of stopping my favorite activity PLUS losing my way in my fitness trek has cost me about a 25 pound gain. I got very lazy.  Very fast.

Yes, friends….25 pounds is about 2 jeans sizes and I am not a happy girl. I am currently on the “lose as much weight as possible in the next 26 days so I don’t have to haul ALL that ass across the finish line” diet and fitness plan! But I will continue long past finishing the race. I know what it feels like to feel strong and proud of myself.

I know how I feel right now ain’t a happy feeling.

I have been so incredibly hard on myself. The things I say to myself in my mind and to my reflection are horrible. I wouldn’t say those things to an enemy, if I had any, so why do I say that sh*t to myself?! I KNOW that happiness and beauty are not defined by a number on a scale. But part of feeling strong and healthy, and beautiful IS defined in part about how we feel about ourselves. I loved that feeling last summer and I MUST strive to make my way back there.
Plus, if I don’t. I have a closet full of clothes that are too tight right now…and I am determined not to buy new stuff.

I think I need y’all to physically come to my house and drag my ass to the gym more.  Really, I think that’s what it’s gonna take to get myself moving like I used to!

So, I am still doing the race. I have to do it. I committed to it. The team I am running with are all JDRF supporters. They’ll be running. I’ll be walking/jogging/skipping/dancing or even crawling across the finish line. It’s important to me.
If you’re a friend reading, I would so love to have your support in whatever way you would like to participate- whether it’s a donation, if it’s running or walking with my team…or even if it’s a high five as I hurl myself over the finish line, I would love to see friendly faces there for my girl. Even a prayer for my daughter- or for me that I don’t further injure myself, which is my fear- and is very, very possible.  I could be doing so much more damage- but am willing to take the risk.  I’ll keep doing the stretches and exercises that “PT /almost-Jesus”  wants me to do.
I am so proud of how Haley’s handled her diagnosis, which has almost been two years! I want to show her how proud I am of her:)

Part of making her proud of me is to stop beating myself up about this gain and be kind to myself. I am not showing her how to properly deal with mistakes and disappointments by shaming myself. Picking myself up after admitting to setback, and then kicking it’s ASS is a much better way to show her a strong, confident, smart Mama. Gonna turn my setback into a comeback and be as healthy as I was.

She and her sister make me want to be better. So no more of the nasty talk to the mirror. More kindness to myself and realizing I am human…realizing that the scale does not define me.

Thank you for reading:) I will have another post soon about Haley’s progress as a T1D. We had our 90 day checkup yesterday that woke us up and is steering us in the best direction. I will write more about it later:)

In the meantime, I hope to see you on race day!

Kindly,
DMG