rain. 

Good afternoon, y’all! It’s been a while… I’d start by apologizing for being a slacker about my blog, but if you’ve been reading these last few entries, you know that my life has been a wee bit overwhelming.  Let’s review😃

First and most importantly, my husband DID come home from rehab on February 4th! Just in time for our daughter’s 18th birthday! Haley received wonderful birthday gifts from her family, but the greatest was having her Daddy home to celebrate with us.  We did kind of a low key celebration. Jason and I took Haley and her BFF to the Cheesecake Factory. It’s kind of becoming a tradition since she chose the exact same thing last year. We celebrated her entrance into adulthood, and also celebrated Jason’s Independence Day!  He was in the rehab hospital from 12/23 to 2/4, (due to his stroke) and was in ICU at Duke for a week before that. Each day was filled with 3 different types of therapy. Five days a week. Jason went from almost complete paralysis on his right side to walking out of that hospital just weeks later!  His progress has been a miracle. That same weekend, he was able to enjoy watching the Super Bowl from the comfort of his couch, rather than a drab and dreary hospital!

Each week since then, he’s gained more and more mobility, confidence, and strength. We started going to outpatient therapy 3x per week in February and have recently cut it back to 2x a week. His physical strength is improving. He’s really focused on occupational and speech therapies now. He’s been back to work a couple of days a week, though not at his former position. He’s not ready for emails, conference calls and spreadsheets. But each day he goes, he reminds his brain of duties he’s done in the past.  I tend to think of it as reopening a path that once went a particular direction but got suddenly,closed off when he had the stroke. But he’s trying to find a new path to the same distinction.  It’s wonderful to witness, but it’s not without challenges.

Now that Jason  home, I’d estimate he’s about 95% physically independent. He needs help getting shoes and socks on most days.  Getting showered and dressing himself is an effort for him that takes about an hour from start to finish.  It’s an exhausting process for him.  His right arm, hand, leg and foot are all still swollen, which we are told is normal.  He experiences significant discomfort in the nerves in the shoulder and leg. It is often difficult for him to sleep. His right arm kind of has a mind of its own and kind of floats about at times.  But all in all, he continues to surprise and amaze us with his fantastic recovery.  We continue to work on his communication abilities, which suffer more than the physical abilities.  Jason speaks very clearly…it’s just his brain telling his mouth what to say.  Sometimes it comes out backwards.  Sometimes he needs more time to process what he wants to say.  But all the while, he remains positive about his speech therapy and looks forward to strengthening his verbal and written communication.

Update on my mom-  I requested prayers and again, they were answered.  The recurrence of breast cancer was caught in time and did not spread to her lymph nodes! I feel very blessed to have made the call for prayers and to have them answered.  Mom is well.  THANK YOU to anyone who thought of her and prayed for her!

With these issues and their progression, I still am surprised by all of the people who have been touched by Jason’s story…my mom’s, too.  I am asked each day about one or both of them.  “How can I help?”  “What do you need?” are all questions I receive on an every day basis.

Friends of Jason’s, as well as friends of mine have followed our “story” on Facebook, since that is where I tend to post most of my updates.   All of this support from so many places feels like it’s raining on us…rain makes things grow.  And Jason continues to grow healthier each day.  We are showered each day with prayer, love, and guidance.  It is hard to describe, to be honest.  It’s a comfort.  Kind of like the rain you hear from the comfort of your warm bed on a day when you don’t have to rise early.  More than a drizzle, but less than a storm…the kind of rain that makes it easier for us to drift back to sleep.  That’s how I’ve felt these last few months.  And I am happy for the rain.

But there’s another rain I am also feeling at times.  The kind that makes you dread getting out of bed on a Monday.  Rain on a Monday morning tends to make us rushed to get out of the house. We end up dropping our laptop bag in the driveway en route to the car…or spill our coffee on a newly ironed white blouse in order to avoid getting wet. It’s a hard rain and the windshield wipers can’t seem to swish back and forth fast enough to make things visible. Unfortunately, it’s been raining at my house.  A lot. Haley (my 18 year old) and I have a code for this type of feeling.  We both experience bouts of depression at times. We will ask the other “Is there any sunshine today?”.  It could be sunny outside, but we may not be feeling the sunshine.  That’s where the depression finds us.  Cloudy days.   75% of the time, we both feel pretty good! But there days where the clouds are heavy and we just need to let it rain. And then we hope the next morning is really sunny.

I am kinda known for sugar coating things- or have been known that way in the past.  I’d rather not say something at all if it’s gonna be ugly.  Or if it’s gonna hurt another.  I find a way to deliver bad news but with good news somehow.  But since this has all happened, I find that I have no time to sugar coat and just blurt out what needs to be said.  That’s a surprise to my inner peacekeeper.  I am not going to lie, y’all….Even with the blessings abound, this season in our life is difficult for us.  The constant running here and there to appointments each week can sometimes be overwhelming.  Jason goes to his office a couple of times a week for therapeutic reasons.  I work from home on most days, so my environment changes very little.  When/if he returns to work on a more regular basis, perhaps I too, will get out of the house and return to my office.   There are so many unanswered questions about Jason’s recovery and our future.  Insurance will only pay for so many occupational and speech therapies, and we’re more than halfway through, but we feel he’ll need more of them.  We’ll likely have to pay for them out of pocket.  We’ll find a way.  What if the pain he feels in his right shoulder never goes away?  There are nights it is so painful that he cannot sleep.  And not sleeping makes everything that is already running a muck even more complicated. It is hard for his brain to “Wake” some days.  And on those days, I feel the bad/Monday rain.  I find I pray a lot more.  We didn’t get through this ordeal to not celebrate and thank the Lord for his Mercy and Grace. It seems every “little” thing is not so little to me or unimportant. Personally, my eyesight is terrible…but this life I live lately- is like seeing things with new eyes. As if our lives together have much more color and vibrancy  than before.

Thankfully,  most days, I feel the good rain. Because PEOPLE are good and they seem to know when I need a good dousing of friendship. A couple of weeks ago, our very good friend Chuck arranged a party at Jason’s favorite brewery to celebrate his health and recovery.  There were a couple of hundred people there.  Not all of them were there for the party, but a good number of them were! Even some from Jason’s childhood, which was amazing to see! Chuck arranged for an awesome rockabilly band (The Rusted Rails!)  to play, and the weather was magnificent! I don’t think Jason realized how many lives he’s impacted over the years.  He is a laid-back, very quiet, kinda shy person.  I don’t think he envisioned his circle of friends to be as large as it really is.  To have all of those kind, giving people in one room, to celebrate his “homecoming” was an amazing experience that neither of us will forget.  Whether you were there in spirit, or there in person, THANK YOU for your thoughts and well wishes.

Now I am just rambling, so I probably need to wrap this up.  Last thing- some have asked about how my weight loss journey is going now that I’ve surpassed the first year after weight loss surgery (VSG). I wish I could tell you I’ve progressed more, but I have not.  I find it is hard to care for yourself when someone you love needs a different kind of care- a more valid, more prolific care.  I’ve not given up, but have not been exercising enough and making “pour”  habits.  (See what I did there?!) Now that Jason can enjoy a beer here and there without it messing up his INR checks, I find that I will enjoy a glass of wine with him.  Wine is not out of the question after VSG, but for months I didn’t really indulge that often.  We’re not talking “she has a problem” indulgence, but more so a “maybe you should go to the gym more even though you pass 2 breweries and 2 taverns along the way.” LOL. I am still stuck around 165-170.  My goal was/is 145-150.  I am out of plus-sized clothing and have been for some time now.  The best lifestyle for me is a ketogenic diet, which is very low carb/high fat….but I fall off the wagon too often to say I am following any diet except the see-food diet. And I know it’s partially because of my time constraints and sometimes depression.  But I also know when the time is right for me, I will pick it back up and hit the goal. I mean…if only 20 pounds separates me from my life long goal, it would be silly for me to stop!

There you have it, folks.  After reading all of that, you likely think I am a little loco.  And I don’t mind it because life is loco for me right now.  But I’d take a little crazy over the alternative any day of the week.

Thanks for stopping by to read.  We are incredibly blessed and have never been more certain of how GOOD our GOD IS.

Love Much,

DMG

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Overdue 4 month VSG progress update and reacquainting with an old friend

It’s been OVER four months since my Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy and I am a bad blogger for not updating sooner.  I feel like I am currently experiencing 5671275 “WTF’S” per hour:) This time of year is a really busy time for me in my work life.  I don’t have a whole lot of stress in my professional life, but when it comes to months May through July, I am a little over the edge.  BUT- even through the busy times, this year has differed from years past and I’ll tell you why.

In the past, I’d sit down at my computer with a drink and a snack and work until wee hours of the night prepared for my late-July deadline.  Sometimes I’d eat dinner at my desk.  Sometimes I’d not eat at all.  It just depends on how busy I am.  Right now, I am preparing for the deadline and do not feel the need to mindlessly eat and drink while I work.  I find I get up from my desk more to move around…where in years past, I’d sit so long my back and behind would be sore.  My right arm would be so tense from using the mouse and my shoulder would lock up because I had not gotten up to loosen it up.  This year I feel very different, and I mean that in the best way possible.

My mind feels healthy and so does the rest of me:)

I’ve mentioned before that my VSG journey has been pretty much non-eventful with no complications.  I’ve also mentioned before that my progress is MUCH slower than I think other WLS patients experience.  To date, I am about 45 pounds down since mid-February when I started my pre-op, liver shrinking diet. Don’t get me wrong. I am HAPPY to have lost 45 pounds!  I am more than half way to my goal.  I think we generally think that if someone has WLS, we expect huge weight loss numbers in record time.  Lots of people do experience that.  I am just not one of them.  LOL.

As I lose weight, lots of things are happening.  Good things.  I have explored a new area of my closet for smaller clothes! I am no longer in “plus” size clothes, though I probably have a few items of that size because they are comfortable.  But generally, I am in Missy sizes now.  Even my feet are changing…my shoes don’t fit the same anymore, but not so much that I can’t wear them.  It’s just weird.  Good weird. Due to the vitamins I take, my hair, skin and nails are all pretty healthy.  I am moving more fluidly, and more confidently. I can’t say I LIKE ALL the activities I do at the gym, but I find myself choosing more adventurous classes than my typical DREADmill routine.  I find myself sleeping better, eating less, and moving more.  And most importantly, I am remembering what health and fitness feels like.  I still have a long way to go.  But I feel like I have really accomplished a lot these last four months.  Somebody asked me if I am proud of myself.  I wouldn’t say proud…I’d say pleased with my progress.  I’ll be proud when I reach my goal.  I am hoping I reach it by my December birthday.

With weight loss surgery comes some not so fun things, too.  I mentioned having healthy hair- and it is healthy, but I am losing it like crazy.  VSG patients typically lose hair between months 3-9.  When it didn’t happen at 3 months, I figured it wouldn’t happen.  Was I ever wrong!  Now I can really sympathize with my sister and cousin, who both experienced hair loss during their journeys.  It is a good thing I have ridiculously thick hair because it’s working in my favor during this loss stage.  And since I am losing it, I shouldn’t color it.  If you know me in real life, you know that Miss Clairol and I are BFF’s.  I’ve been coloring my hair since I was 13.  My first gray hair appeared and subsequently was dyed when I was 22.  I am 60% gray.  I color every 3 weeks.  Can’t do that now for fear of losing even more.  So…I reckon I’m just gonna go Au Naturale!   Can’t say as I like this.

Then there’s the loss of things we as women really don’t wanna lose.  I gave away 2 brand new Victoria’s Secret bras to my sister, who is already well-endowed.  I did not get those genes.  Teresa got all the boob genes! LOL.

I’ve shared some of the good and not so good.  But I am pretty excited to share with you one of the better things to happen in my post-VSG life. I have reacquainted myself with an unlikely former friend.  And that friend is Sobriety.

At least one of you reading, who knows me and my relationship with beer, has already assumed I am drunk as I type:)   I assure you, I am not.  

Weight Loss Patients are encouraged NOT to drink for at least a year after surgery.  Some will tell you it is because there’s a dependency transfer.  People who are addicted to eating large quantities/bad types of FOOD are food addicts, right?  Well, since our tummies are so small, we cannot ingest those big quantities and bad foods will likely make us sick.  So the food addiction gets transferred to alcohol in SOME patients. (That is not the case for me)

Another reason is that some of our organs, like the liver, are traumatized after WLS and need time to recover.  Adding alcohol to an already-small-as-a-banana-stomach and a traumatized liver may result in damage to those organs. I have not found this to be harmful to me personally, although my doctor did recently say my liver enzyme counts were slightly elevated.  it could be due to medication, though and nothing to do with alcohol.  I would say I have 2 glasses of wine or a cocktail one night a week.  And 2 will do me just fine.  That’s my new limit. Anything more than that will leave me with a splitting headache the next morning. AND alcohol slows down the loss process, in my opinion, so I don’t have much.

In real life, you know that I LOVED beer.  I loved beer like I can’t even describe.  And I live near 4-5 breweries.  My husband and I loved to spend an afternoon tasting different kinds of beers.  He’s an IPA guy.  I am a Hefeweizen kinda girl.  or I was:)  Beer is a no-no due to the carbonation and the carbs.  I was prepared for this when I decided to have the surgery.  so far it has not been hard to comply.  I did have a tiny taste of a blueberry blonde ale a few days ago.  A little taste was heavenly!

Admittedly, I am kinda digging this stage of my journey.  I know my limits now.  That doesn’t mean I won’t test the limits now and again as my body changes.  Don’t worry, my Hot Tub Mermaids, I’ll still be able to have cocktails with you on the beach! I just have to sip them a little slower than usual! But I don’t think I will ever revert back to the frequency of drinking like before.  I have not missed the next-morning headaches or sluggishness.  I have embraced the clarity I feel.  My to-do’s get DONE.  I say all of this now, but my work deadline is coming up and I may just say the hell with it all and drink a bottle of vodka.

LOL.  No, I won’t. For real- I feel strong, and healthy. And I love that so many people in my life, whether we’ve met in the weight loss community, or we’ve been friends for years, the outpouring of support I’ve received has been nothing short of amazing.  If you’re considering WLS and need some guidance, I would love to tell you more about it, and if I am not one to help, there’s a whole WLS community out there that is incredibly helpful.

Thank you so much for coming by to read my little update.  Four months into the journey and it’s not been that difficult.  Who knew I could live without beer or carbohydrates in general?  Who would have ever thought?!?

There’s some crazy stuff happening in our world right now.  Sometimes it is hard to find the silver linings….sometimes it is hard to recognize our blessings.  If you can’t find a blessing….go be one<3

 

XOXOX,

DMG

12 weeks out from VSG:My first F2F Friday

It’s been 12 weeks since my weight loss surgery. Time is really flying! About 35 pounds down and lots of inches lost. Off food restrictions now. I’ve indulged in strawberries and a Kind bar with pecans in it- and no problems. WLS folks are told to wait about 3 months to try nuts/seeds/stuff with kernels. (At least that’s what my surgeon suggested)

Being off food restrictions does not mean I can have a food free for all, though. I can just add things back in that are still low carb and packed with protein.

It took me a while to learn different weight loss surgery acronyms and lingo. Like NSV (non scale victory), WIW (Weigh in Wednesday) and F2F (face to face) Friday.  That last one is where you post side by side pics of yourself before and after surgery. So I’m playing along . (Speaking of NSV’s…I have one.  With the biotin that I take, I have the healthiest skin, hair and nails that I’ve ever had.  I had my gel nails removed shortly before surgery, which left them really brittle and nasty looking.  Not anymore!  Other NSV’s… wearing 2 sizes smaller and able to move more.  I am more and more agile each day.)

The left side was last Christmas 2015. The right is earlier this month.  I’m just now seeing differences in my body. I didn’t realize how full my face was! I’m feeling really strong and healthy. On my way to finding comfort in my own skin.

Do you have a F2F photo? Show me!

I hope everyone has a fantastic Memorial Day weekend. Hug a veteran this weekend! We’re FREE because of the BRAVE!

Be blessed-

Dawn

Post Op: week 11. Milestones and Mayhem

Hello Again:)

I feel like this might be a rambling session today since my thoughts are all over the place, hence the mayhem reference in the title today.

Lots of things going on in my world.  Yesterday was week 11 post op Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy.  It was also the day for my check-in with Dr. Bruce. I wasn’t scheduled to go until my actual 3 month post op visit on 6/3 but we scheduled some time last month for a weight check since his staff knew I was concerned about how slow I am losing.  Since the visit lasts month, I only lost THREE pounds.  Yep.  Their scale yesterday showed only a 3 pound loss. I was heartbroken.  Not surprised, but still heartbroken.

I am losing far slower than anyone could have guessed.  Many VSG patients lose double digit numbers in a month.  I try not to compare myself to others, but it is really hard not to do that when I’ve seen with my own eyes the good this surgery can do on an obese person.  When Dr. Bruce talked with me yesterday, I jokingly said “Last month when I was here, you told me you had only 3 patients out of 900+ who were resistant to sleeve surgery.  I think I may be your 4th.” He replied and said “It looks like you might be.”

And I felt as if each word went directly to my soul and stabbed me.  Immediately, the tears started pouring. I recounted all the pre-op testing, the lifestyle changes I’ve made, the financial burden I’ve put on my family…and the tears just wouldn’t stop. And what’s worse, is that there is no rhyme or reason that a person is sleeve resistant.  You’d think cutting away 2/3 of your stomach would make anyone lose weight, right?  Not so much.

But even though it is POSSIBLE that I am resistant to it, it’s also possible I am not.  Maybe I am just losing slowly and steadily.  Maybe I am being impatient.  Maybe I am doing something wrong with my diet.  I have been very comfortable in this food stage.  I’ve had no issues reintroducing new foods into my diet. Have never really gotten sick…have had no complications.  I weigh my food.  The only time I’ve colored outside of the lines is when I had a cocktail and that has only happened 3 times.  I realize alcohol can slow down weight loss, but I don’t think 3 cocktails at different times is gonna halt it.  I think I got carried away with how comfortable I was and though I log my food in MFP, perhaps I ate too many carbs too often.   I don’t know.  But I DO know I’d rather lose slowly than have complications and lose quickly.  And losing slowly will also help prevent sagging skin and losing my hair.  Those are 2 things commonly associated with rapid weight loss.

The doctor and I talked about next steps to jump start the loss again.  I am going to try to do the protein shakes during the day with a lean/green meal for dinner, much like I did with the pre-op diet.  I did that yesterday and am following it today.  And I am HANGRY.  That is another oddity in this journey.  Most people who have VSG do not feel hunger.  But I do, and I have since the surgery.  I am really reeling in the carb situation.  I thought I was doing really well since I often am under 50 carbs per day.  But I am examining the types of carbs I eat and really trying to eat the good ones.  We’re also trying something I said I’d never do again.  I am back on Phentermine again for a few months to jump start the loss again.  I had tremendous success with it a few years back when I lost 80 pounds. I gained it all back, though….because I didn’t wean myself off of it.  I will follow the rules this time.  It’s for the short term.  I will have to go back each month for a check of my vitals and make sure my blood pressure doesn’t rise. Phentermine gives me a lot of energy, which I love.  But it makes me quite thirsty, which isn’t a terrible thing since I am supposed to have a lot of water anyway:)  I just never thought I’d have a NEED for it again, certainly not after a life-changing weight loss surgery. So, I’ll take my 3 pound loss and move forward.  I was really very upset yesterday.  For a lot of reasons, but that appointment was at 9am and set the mood for the entire rainy day. And I so want to dislike Dr. Bruce.  But each time I am there, he makes a faith reference- almost as if he knows I am really digging deep and finding strength in my faith. I let him know that I’ve been chatting a lot with Jesus about this situation lately:)

There’s another situation at my house that the Big Man and I have been in talks about, too.

There are 2 topics I always talk about.  Weight loss progress (me)  and Type 1 Diabetes (my daughter).  Haley’s 17 and has been a T1D for nearly four years now.  May 29th is her Dx anniversary.  So, we’re not new to T1D but we still learn something all the time.

At her checkup last month, her doctor asked us to try to be more vigilant about taking Metformin, which is actually a drug used in Type 2 Diabetes, but is really helpful for Haley, as it helps break down carb digestion and helps drive her blood sugar down.  We’ve done as the doctor asked.  Unfortunately, Metformin works a little TOO well.  She prescribed 2 pills with food each day.  When Haley takes 2 and also does insulin, her blood sugar plummets to unhealthy numbers.  We have had a series of “lows” in the 40,s, 30’s and even once in the 20’s.  I was with her a couple of years ago when she crashed into the 20’s and I never want to visit that again.  I was losing her.  Haley lost her ability to speak, her eyes were rolling back in her head…her vision was blurred.  My girl was simply checking out on me.  I never ever wanted her to feel that way again.  But it happened again last night because she is still trying to find the balance with Metformin and her insulin pump dose.

When she is low, she starts to feel shaky.  Haley says when she’s in the 40’s, she’s shaky and starts to sweat, and feels sick to her stomach.  In the 30’s or below, she said it’s like a slow, easy, calm drift to sleep.  She loses functionality.  She checks out.  During this time, we guzzle juice and wait for it to come back up.  We have a glucagon kit, which is also nicknamed the “oh shit kit.”  If we’re breaking out Glucagon, we’re past the need for juice, cake icing, etc.  We’re in trouble and a Glucagon shot in her hip/behind area is intended as a last resort before calling 911.

Luckily, the juice (and a PB&J sammich!) did the job because in just  a few minutes, she was laughing and joking with me again.

It is still amazing to me that she can come that close to danger and a few minutes later, she’s completely normal. It’s scary. Amazing. Exhausting.  After a low like that, her body needs time to recover.  She feels terrible for the day.  Kind of like recovering from the flu. I asked if she’d like to lay down with me for a little while and just relax.  Maybe take a nap.  I expected her to say no, to go play video games or watch TV.  Instead, she crawled up in my bed beside me and chatted with me for a few minutes (after she’d drank all the juice and her blood sugar was good) and then drifted to sleep.  My five foot 9 inch , 17 year old “baby” was lying beside me in the guest room.  I laid there with her and played with her hair while she slept.  And a million memories instantly poured into my brain. My husband kept texting me, asking what our plans for dinner were going to be.  I think I texted back and said we’re skipping it because I didn’t want to move from my cozy spot with my girl.  The house would have had to be on fire for me to move.  I wanted to breathe her in and the comfort having her beside me brought me.  I am hoping that she, too, found comfort while she slept next to me.  Sleeping is an issue for me and has since really elevated since her DX.  It is my greatest fear that the “low” will not wake her from her sleep and I will come to find her gone.  It is such a morbid thought, but any parent of a kid with a life threatening illness knows this fear. We’re trying to get a CGM for her)(Continuous Glucose Monitor)  that will show trends in her sugars- whether they are going up or down…and alarms that will be sent to my phone when she’s too high or low.  It’s a pretty penny, but it is needed and will help alleviate some stress in her life…and in mine.  Later when I told her goodnight, Haley said “Hey mom, thanks for saving my life today.” I giggled a little bit and thought…whew…that was a close call today! All a little too overwhelming.

So you take her near-death experience yesterday, combined with the disappointing doctor’s appointment and very little sleep and that’s a yucky day.  My old friend depression showed up yesterday for a little bit….but.  To use the verse from Lamentations 3:23, “God’s mercy and grace are new every morning.”

And a new morning it was.  I reached a new milestone today.  My first in this journey! I weighed myself today and I am happily writing to you from “Onederland.”  Don’t know what that is?  If not, you must not have a weight issue LOL. ONEderland is where you find yourself when your weight begins with a ONE instead of anything else.  That’s right…I just sorta put my weight out here on the crazy internet for all to see.  it’s not like ya’ll were blind to the fact that I am a heavy girl.  SOOO- since my pre-op phase in mid-February, I’ve dropped 31.4 pounds. It’s a little less than 3 pounds a week.  I still call that a win. 31.4 down.  54 to go. Easy, right? Pffffffffftttt.  No, it’s not easy.  But I am doing it.

Thanks for reading and letting me get the emotions out.  Whether 1 person reads or 100 read, it is nice to be able to document my journey and pour my feelings somewhere that people may be able to understand.  Weight loss is super hard.  If it were easy, we’d all be skinny!

I hope everyone has a great evening.  Thank you again for spending your time with me today ❤

Be Blessed,

Dawn

 

 

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!

File Apr 13, 8 05 38 PM
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!

File Apr 13, 8 14 24 PM

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

 

 

5 Week Post-Op Update!

Hello!

I’ve been wanting to update since last Wednesday, which was 4 weeks after my VSG surgery- but life happens.  The busy season for me has begun in my professional life and I’ve had my hands full at home, too.  Haley had a minor outpatient surgery 3/24.  As minor as it was, the recovery and pain she had afterward was not minor at all.  Bless…

So, at five weeks out, I am both delighted and discouraged at the same time.  Delighted because my allowable foods has increased by so much!  I am pretty much eating items from this list:

IMG_0488

I’m able to go out with my family from time to time and order something from the menu (sometimes even the kids menu!).  And I am full after about 1/4 of a cup.  That’s pretty much the standard size of a meal for a sleever at the beginning stages.  I started this journey drinking LOTS of protein shakes.  I still have one for breakfast most days since I am not a breakfast (or morning!) person. I keep some ready to drink shakes in my fridge for days when I am on the go. When I am planning my meals,  I like to have a little egg salad, chicken salad, chili,  for lunch. For dinner, it’s usually  shredded chicken or  flaky fish, and sometimes a beef recipe.    I’ve learned to make a great Ricotta Bake dish that is low carb and really delish. I’ve made cauliflower crust pizza that cures my pizza craving.  Now, it’s no Domino’s pizza, but it’ll do! I am really loving this stage and stay here until I go back to Dr. Bruce in June for my 3 month check-in.  Seems really weird to be waiting so long to see him again.  But at that time, I will probably be able to eat things like fruits, veggies, and nuts. Right now I have to avoid things with seeds or nuts.  And as sleevers must, we avoid all carbonation and high carb foods.  I dig this stage.  I have lots of options! The protein goal per day is still between 60-80 grams.  64 oz of fluid per day.  I am reaching both of those goals daily, which is an improvement.  I can remember in the first 2 weeks it was impossible for me to drink that much during the day!

Further reasons to be really pleased about this path is that I have not had any real reactions to foods as I introduce them. Some patients find they can no longer tolerate certain foods after surgery.  I’ve been able to tolerate most everything.  AND! I’ve lost 3 inches in my waist, and 2 in my hips.  YAY! My clothes are fitting a little looser now, and I’ve even raided my last year’s spring/summer wardrobe and will be able to wear some of my favorite sundresses.  If you know me, you know summer=sundresses. Not because I am a girly-girl, but because they are comfortable!

Other positives- pretty soon I will be able to do other exercises besides WALK.  Friends, I really DO like walking, but it’s getting very boring.  And I think my neighbors are probably tired of seeing me walk by their houses each night.  Sometimes I walk at night with my dog, which makes their dogs bark.  I am sure I’m their very favorite neighbor these days 🙂  When I go to the gym, I usually use the treadmill, but have started slowly using the stationary bike and elliptical.  Technically I was supposed to wait until week 6 to do those things.  But I did a few minutes at a time with no repercussions, so I will try to add a few more minutes per session.  It’s nice to feel some strength come back!

But there’s one area that I find that discourages me.  Please don’t read and construe this as me whining, because it’s not meant to be.  The dreaded scale does not show a significant loss yet.  I am stuck at about 12 pounds lost from surgery (and additional 10 from the pre-op diet).  So a total of 22.  Which is wonderful and I am thankful.   12 pounds in 5 weeks is about 2.4 pounds per week.  If you’ve read my past blog entries, you know I lost weight and a bunch of it eating 1200 calories a day and a really rigid exercise routine. PLUS, I took phentermine (boo!) at times during my prior journey for a jump start.  Back then, I would lose 2-3 pounds a week without surgery.   I need to stop comparing this journey to my past efforts. I must stop weighing myself so much and just trust that I am doing the right things.  It is difficult to see a small loss when I read about these wonderful transformations from sleevers who’ve lost crazy numbers per week.  I gotta get it out of my head.  Their journey and mine are not the same.  I wish for those huge numbers….but need to be thankful for the success I’ve had.  I did this to become healthy.  Healthy just doesn’t happen in 5 weeks.  It might take years.  The first year after WLS is where the loss really happens and I know I have plenty of time. I am just impatient and want this transformation party to get started!

Should you want to try any of the low carb recipes, you can find them on Pinterest.  This is my favorite Ricotta Bake.  So easy!

https://greatgastrectomy.wordpress.com/2010/09/18/low-carb-ricotta-bake/

That’s all I have for now.  Hopefully, by about 8 weeks, I will be able to share some progress pictures!  I can tell a difference now, but the differences probably would not be visible to others.

Thanks for reading and riding along on my VSG journey.  Your support is appreciated!

XOXOXO,

Dawn

 

 

 

 

 

2 Weeks Post Op: Weigh-In Wednesday (posted on a Friday!)

Hello!

Well, I survived the first 2 weeks after Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy.  YAY!  It’s been challenging but in a good way.  Wednesday I had my 2 week check-up with Bariatric office.  Turns out I’ve been a good girl. I’m down about 10 pounds from the surgery and an additional 10 since I started the 2 week pre-op diet, for a total of 20 pounds.  That’s really not a big change from the last time I posted in terms of pounds lost.  At first, I was upset about not having lost more, and considered myself to be a slow loser.  Even when I was at it with traditional weight loss, I was a slow loser and I think that’s not going to change.  I have to fight for every ounce, every pound.  I read about all the remarkable stories from the support forums I belong to and was hoping for bigger numbers, but I must keep reminding myself that everyone is different.  My body is adjusting to a new stomach.  And, the only exercise I am allowed to do right now is walk.  I just know when I am cleared for more than walking, and my food options expand more, I will have great success!  I just need to be patient, which is not a virtue I possess. 20 pounds since this time last month is awesome.  I’m claiming it, saying thanks for it, and shutting up about it:)

During my check-up, of course I asked about returning to the gym.  Unfortunately the gym is a no-no right now. They want me to wait another 1-2 weeks before I do anything more than walk.  The incisions have healed wonderfully on the outside.  We just want to make sure I don’t do too much with my core muscles so that they heal just as nicely on the inside.  I try to walk 2-4 miles a day and they say that is quite enough at this stage.  The doctor also mentioned that she wouldn’t be surprised if at some point I experience some fatigue.  I think she jinxed me! Up until yesterday I had been feeling great with a lot of energy. Yesterday and today I have felt really depleted of energy and very, very tired.  My sister reminded me that I am living on very few calories and burning all that I eat and then some.  Today I am making sure I get all my protein and water in.  Yesterday I was able to get ALMOST to the protein and water goal.  I think that’s why I felt run down.  Maybe a little dehydrated and not enough food.  Today I am trying harder.

I went back to work IN my office Tuesday of this week to meet my teammates, who traveled to Morrisville from our Greensboro office.  I loved seeing all the faces of my co-workers.  Everyone is so supportive and excited for me about this journey.  And truth is, I miss them.  I’ve worked there for almost 10 years.  We are a tightly knit bunch and I miss seeing their faces! I’ll keep going back as I feel better.  I find I eat less when I am away from home, so I am going to be in the office more.

So, for anyone considering this journey, you know we do things in stages as far as food and exercise goes.  The instructions vary from physicians, but at this stage, VSG patients are generally on a diet of pureed foods combined with the liquid diet from weeks 1-2.  Now that I am entering week 3, I have eaten egg salad that I prepare myself and make it more of a whipped texture as opposed to chunks.  Yogurt (which I am learning my new stomach does not particularly care for!), Hummus, Sugar Free Pudding (I put unflavored protein  powder in mine to make sure I meet the 60 gram/per day goal).  I am eating pureed soups and putting small crackers in it.  I CAN eat tuna salad, chicken salad and such, but just haven’t tried it yet.  Next week I get to eat scrambled eggs and most things that are fork tender.  More cooked veggies like green beans and squash, flaky fish, etc.  I am excited about those options!

Next week I go for my nutrition class.  I had a class prior to surgery.  This upcoming class is where we receive instructions for solid foods since we’re eating semi-solids now.  If we eat the wrong things at this point, we could do some damage. I am looking forward to this transition. By this time next month (6 weeks out total) I should be able to eat all meats, veggies, poultry, etc that are low carb options. I can finally eat out with my family and make smart decisions while doing so.  And by then, I will be back at the gym and I simply cannot wait!

This period of time has been strange. Not in a bad way, though. Just different.  Since I started the pre-op diet a month ago, I’ve been pretty much a homebody due to the dietary restrictions.  I never realized how much time I was spending with food and drinks until I couldn’t do it anymore.  It’s been a very relaxed time for me.  I am sure the busy-ness of life will return soon enough.  For right now, it’s a time of taking care of me.  I kinda dig it. I miss the social aspect of things.  Miss seeing familiar faces that I was accustomed to seeing on a weekly basis.  I’ll see them soon, I tell myself- and to just enjoy the downtime and the healing process I am in right now.

So that’s it! Nothing really exciting to tell other than I am pain free, am able to drink more liquids without pain and my body is recognizing when I am hungry and when I am full.  My family is still wonderfully supportive.  I’ve got absolutely NO complaints except that damn Taco Bell Quesalupa commercial! I swear they are going to drive me INSANE! I don’t watch television all that much, but when I do, they air that commercial 5x a night!

Wednesdays are my Weigh-In days.  I will try to post on those days.  Maybe on April 2, I will post a progress picture to see if the changes are visible.  If you are reading, and you’re in the stage I am in, or around it, please feel free to post your comments and progress pictures! I would love to see them.

As always, thank you for reading and following my journey!
XOXO

Dawn

 

 

My Weight Loss Surgery Journey: Pre-Op week 2. Can’t say I am looking forward to this…

Hi Friends!

A week from tomorrow, my VSG (Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy) is goin’down! I am so flippin’ excited for this to happen…but not so excited about the final stage I have to complete before surgery.  It’s a doozie.  LOL.

So, for the past week, in an effort to keep shrinkin’ my liver as the doctor prescribed,  I’ve eaten only protein shakes 2x a day and  one  lean/green meal per day.  I also could have 2 healthy ketogenx snacks or stuff like a cheese stick, veggies, etc.  I ate out a couple of times and had a green salad with grilled chicken and vinaigrette dressing.  Not too terrible.  It’s very much the way I should have eaten all along, but didn’t.  One of those meals was with a terrific friend at my favorite pub.  Was definitely great seeing her, and definitely weird sitting in my favorite pub on a Sunday afternoon eating a SALAD and having water instead of beer!

During this past week, I HAVE been a little hangry at times.  You know…Hangry= hungry and Angry at the same time?! But in those cases, I’d have  small snack or have a couple of glasses of water to make me feel full.  I’ve tried to keep busy to keep my mind off food.  So, all in all, this past week didn’t really suck.  I’ve lost nearly 6 pounds this week, so there’s the silver lining in this week!

I ain’t even gonna lie.  This week is so gonna suck.  Here’s what I can eat this week:

IMG_0314

This lone bag of vanilla flavored protein powder is my new BFF for a WEEK. Five times a day.  NO FOOD.  Just liquid. Sigh…

I can use sugar free sweeteners like SF kool aid packets or drops like Mio in it to give it different flavors.  My sweet mama bought me some SF syrups in various flavors like Chocolate, Smores, Belgian Sugar Cookie, etc to make it tolerable for a week.

So, tonight is my last night of real food for a long time.  My husband is going to take me to dinner (YAY!).  I will get a healthy meal that I can actually CHEW for the last time until about the 3rd week in March.  After bariatric surgery, patients are on a liquid diet for about 2-3 weeks.  We can have protein shakes, broths, SF jello, SF Popsicles.  Around the third week is generally where we introduce our new, much smaller tummies to foods again. Like yogurts, puddings, applesauce, etc. This portion of the diet doesn’t suck so bad because I won’t be hungry.  Fun fact: the part of my stomach that is removed is also the part that has the hormones that tell my brain that I am hungry.  I won’t feel hungry AFTER surgery, but I am betting this upcoming week and until March 2nd I am gonna be one hangry bitch.

SO. My plan is to keep busy, busy, busy! Go to the gym…go see friends….go walk outside with my dogs…clean my house….just get out of the house so I don’t think about food.  And of course, on my outings, make sure I take my trusty shaker bottle with me to mix me up some protein shakes! If you have ideas on how to keep me busy, you just name it.  I have a lot of time to keep myself busy. I  will sleep as much as I can to avoid being awake to think about food:)

When my teenager says something is not fun, or she didn’t enjoy something, she’ll say, “Mom, that was not “lit”. That means it was horrid and she isn’t going again or doing again.  This stage isn’t gonna be lit!  But even though this stage will suck, it is still for the betterment of my health and I am gonna stick to it.  I see the bigger picture. I am still feeling strong and undeterred!

Through this journey, it has become so clear to me how much as a society, we place so much emphasis on FOOD.  Someone gets married= we go to a reception and eat/drink.  Somebody dies, we immediately take a casserole to their home. (nothing wrong with that!!) We meet up with friends, and we meet for lunch/dinner with drinks.  Everything we  do is about food. We go for coffee…ice cream…we go to the movies and gorge on over-sized sodas and popcorn.  Whether we are celebrating or commiserating, we incorporate food into each event.  That will surely be a struggle for me later, when I choose foods that apply to my new low carb lifestyle.

But I have an idea on how to celebrate with food.  For each pound I lose, I am going to donate a pound of food to a food pantry or food bank in my area.  For my local folks reading, if you volunteer at such a place, let me know! It will be a while before I get a good bunch of foods together, but I do plan on donating.  So, if I lose 80 pounds, a shelter/food kitchen/food bank is gonna get 80 pounds of food!  I think this is a much better way for me to celebrate with food as opposed to actually eating it!  So far, I have about 6 pounds to start off with! That’s like 6 boxes of 1 pound pasta. When I put it in a visual perspective, it seems like a lot.  I hope it’s a lot and benefits a lot of needy people/families! Not sure where I am gonna store all this food.  Maybe I’ll start an area in the garage and build from there.  SO exciting to share food in a different way!

As always, thanks for reading.  I hope you’ll continue to follow me on my exciting journey to a happy, healthy me.

Be Blessed,

Dawn

 

 

 

My WLS journey- phase 1: liver shrinkin’! 

2 weeks from today I’ll be having weight loss surgery! Yay! I have to follow a strict diet in order to shrink my liver. Most people have a fatty liver. People who eat not so healthy with a diet full of carbs and fat tend to have fattier livers. I reckon mine is fatty, hence the reason for this phase in my journey.

I went out with girlfriends last night for Mexican food as my last supper. And when I got home I drank my last glass of wine. All to prepare for this big step!

This week I must have 2 ketogenx protein shakes a day, 2 ketogenx snacks, and a healthy dinner with stuff like chicken, fish, veggies, etc.  The way normal people are supposed to eat!  Easy peasy, right?

NOT. The protein powder is nasty. I must mix it with water only. This morning I tried putting it my single serve blender. Gross. Even with a little PB2. This afternoon I put it in my shaker bottle and chugged it before I ever had a chance to taste it. LOL.

Here’s this week’s meal stuff… Plus dinner with protein and veggies each night.

Bon appetite! 

Wait until you see what I get to have the whole week before surgery….this week’s haul looks like a smorgasbord compared to next week!

But- a little inconvenience now is worth my good health later😄

Thanks for reading about my journey💜

I Wanna See You Be BRAVE.

“I wanna see you be brave.”

These are the words to one of my favorite Sara Bareilles songs. And it’s also my personal mantra for 2016.  My heart is really full today and I’d like to share why…

You’ve likely gotten my blog link from my Facebook profile.  I share things on FB about my family and my life in general.  I tend to keep it light and funny most days but as you know, in the last few months, I’ve shared my struggle with depression and how I’m dealing with it.  (Wonderfully, by the way!)  I’ve also shared with you my struggle with being overweight since I was a teenager. Being overweight is a very common bond that many share.  In my case, it has gotten to the point where the excess weight is affecting various parts of my life.  I was growing more and more detached from friends and family because I’ve been embarrassed of my size, especially because just 3+ years ago, I was almost to my goal weight, but gained nearly  every ounce back again because I got injured, lost my motivation.  My blood pressure has had a steady rise over the last year.  My body hurts as it hasn’t before.  The body weight has really taken its toll on my knees, ankles and feet. I find myself always fatigued in one or all of those areas.

“Mrs. Graham, you are Morbidly Obese.”  These are not the words one wants to hear from her doctor. But I heard them last year.  And I heard them again this year.  Not “you’re overweight”. Not even  that I’m obese.  Throw in the word “morbidly” and it the “obese” part takes on a whole new meaning and sense of urgency.

At 47 years old, I am heeding the warnings.

Exciting things are happening! My life changes on March 2nd for the better. A few of you know that I have spent the last several months researching Weight Loss Surgery. I’ve spent hours and days educating myself on the different procedures, and have chosen the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy, also known as VSG. My stomach will be reduced to about 25% of its normal size. I will follow a life long high protein/ low carb diet.  I’ve attended informational seminars from 3 different hospitals, talked to surgeons, joined online support groups- but mostly, I’ve been fortunate to have 2 excellent resources in my life who have had this surgery. My sister, Teresa- and my cousin, Regina. Both of them are younger than me…I thought the older sibling and cousin was supposed to be the wiser one?!?!?!? Not in this case! Both of these ladies have had wonderful results from this surgery and they’ve been fielding my 4654647874 questions for the last several months 🙂

Before you even THINK about saying the words “She is taking the easy way out.” I respectfully ask you to retract those words and let me tell you why it is anything but easy!

For the last 3 weeks, I’ve had test upon test. Psychiatric Evaluation, Sleep Study, EKG, Nutrition Classes, Blood work, Upper GI and an Ultrasound to name just a few. Next week, I will begin a strict, physician supervised diet that helps shrink the liver. Most people already have mildly fatty livers. People who are overweight tend to have more fatty livers- so before I have the surgery, they want me to try to shrink the liver so the surgeon gets around it easily when he operates on my stomach. I remain on that diet for 2 weeks. Week 2 of that diet is gonna be a real test of my willpower. Only liquid protein for 3 meals a day. Oy. When I come home from the surgery, I will go 2 more weeks of JUST LIQUID while my stomach heals itself. After that, I will introduce foods again. One by one.

My relationship with food will totally change. For the very first time in my life, I will be eating to LIVE as opposed to living to EAT. AND- I am paying for this myself because my insurance does not cover it. We are talking thousands of dollars. So all of that is the easy way out. Right? This will test my physical and mental willpower like nothing else.
Why am I doing this? I’ve lost weight dozens of times in the past. In fact, if you take all the times I’ve lost weight, it would add up to about 400 pounds lost. Unfortunately, with each time I lost, I also gained. That roller coaster of highs and lows is not just depressing, it’s terrible for my body. The Sleeve is a tool to help me keep the weight off. Secondly, I am getting older, and it’s not getting any easier no matter how I try to get the weight off of me. Other reasons….because there is a shame associated with obesity. There is a dark, lonely depressing side that you can’t truly understand unless you live it. I am tired of the dark. It’s time for my health to take a front seat in my life.

Quite simply, I want the rest of my life to be the BEST of my life!

The Sleeve is not a miracle. It is not a quick fix. It is a tool to help me with my obesity problem. Can I fail? Sure. If I substituted my protein shakes for milkshakes, yes, I can fail. Is it likely? NO. I can’t remember in my adult life ever wanting something more than I want this, even though for a short time it will be a huge financial burden. But it will be so worth it. My health is worth it. Look- this process is hard. But being fat is hard, too. I am just picking a different hard.

Before actually deciding to do this thing, I looked at myself in the mirror. There was NOTHING I liked in that mirror, so I vowed to change it. And the words that just kept coming to me were from the Sara Bareillis song, “Brave.”

“Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live. Maybe one of these days you can let the light in. Show me how big your brave is.”

And with that, I called Bariatric Specialists of North Carolina and scheduled my consultation! In 3 weeks, I will have the Sleeve and learn a new way of life. And I simply cannot wait! I have a list of things to accomplish along this journey. They are scale victories and non-scale victories. I hope you will stick around to read my updates along the “weigh.”

Until then, I want to show you pictures of my role models!
This is my gorgeous sister, Teresa. She’s four years younger than me but clearly a lot smarter:)  Sleeved in November 2014, she’s lost about 90 pounds!!

Teresa

To show you that true beauty really does run in the Barnes Family…meet my beautiful cousin, Regina! She was sleeved June 2015 and has also lost over 90 pounds, and still losing:)

regina

Aren’t my mentors terrific!!?? I love them so much!

For me, this journey is not about being thin.  It’s about being healthy.  And if Ilook better, then that’s just a bonus for me.

I know there will be doubters. I know there will be people who don’t think it is necessary.  My circle of friends has recently decreased and it may get smaller still.  The friends who know my struggle will understand and the ones who don’t care or want to sabotage my efforts simply won’t be in my circle. I’m serious about this lifestyle change.

With my faith, and the support of my family and friends, I know I’ll be ok and obtain the healthy goals that I want. I’ll update the blog with each phase.  I hope you will stick around to witness my journey- I’d be happy to have your company. And if I can support you in your weight loss journey, I feel I am a great cheerleader!

Chat with you a week from today.  Until then, I just might eat pasta with every meal and chase it with a beer.  LOL.

It feels good to finally be BRAVE.

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Love, Dawn

Watch and sing this with me ❤  How big is YOUR brave?