Talking to myself…and still on the struggle bus.

Hi.  Last time I blogged, it was for my five month post-weight loss surgery update.  I was on the struggle bus then…and I am still on it.  And until today, I was really, really letting myself get down about my slow progress.  I decided to change my tune and sing a different song.

The last part of August and into mid-September was a really difficult time for me.  I found it difficult to stay on track because I let myself derail from the track.  I have never once gotten sick from food, and am able to eat most things.  I feel fortunate that I have not had anything bad happen, especially when I read about VSG folks who can no longer tolerate specific foods.  BUT- just because I CAN eat them does not mean I SHOULD.  I struggle with carbs.  Most days I keep them under/about 50 grams per day.  But admittedly, there are days when I eat more.  Not by a huge amount, but more than 50.  I also struggle with portion sizes.  I can eat a 1/2 cup of food or more now.  That might be normal for some, but most folks can’t eat that much at the six month stage from what I am gathering.  Add these struggles to a TERRIBLE mistake I made at work that caused a downward spiral into a hole of sadness and frustration and what did I make?  I big ole-heaping-helping of cry-baby-pie.

Pie is not on my diet.  So I am not eating it anymore.  Like ever. Thankfully, the issue I caused at work can be rectified.  I wore the guilt around me like a ball and chain.  I cried for days.  But, being the awesome employer that I have- they knew it was just a mistake and wasn’t characteristic of my typical work.

But damn, those weeks were awful.  And the scale showed it, too.  Right before I left for vacation September 10th, I had gained about 5 pounds due to the bad eating and drinking choices for those 2 weeks.  I was so busy trying find/fix the issue that I was working 12+ hours a day and not exercising.  Exercise for me is like medicine.  I took the medicine away temporarily and my body reacted.

When I came back from my wonderful, much needed beach vacation, I was certain I’d have a higher gain, but actually weighed a pound less.  I’m still trying to get to the weight I was in August and get my butt back on track.  I don’t feel good.  This is not me.  I can do better and I will do better.

I am going into my office tomorrow, so I have to wear business appropriate attire.  Since I work from home a lot, my wardrobe is usually shorts and a t-shirt.  Tonight I tried on some clothes I recently purchased to make sure I had something appropriate to wear into the office.  I came across the black pants you see in the picture below.  Those are the pants I wore last March prior to surgery.  I put them on just for giggles and giggle I did!  I will not badger myself anymore about this slow loss.  50-ish pound loss is slow for a VSG-er but it’s what it is for ME.  I know I will lose more.  I just have to refocus and get at it.  I have about 30 to go.  It is PROGRESS. It is not the finished product and I need to stop telling myself that I suck because I am losing so slowly.

This is a terrible picture.  I had just come back from a walk.  I wasn’t exactly photo-ready.  Instead I was a hot mess and asked my husband to take this picture.

The next time I get down on myself, I need to look at this again.  Size 22 pants on a now 14/16 size me.  And I am not done.

fullsizerender

I got this.  And if you are struggling with your weight loss and beating yourself up about it, STOP it.  NOW.  It is counter-productive and it steals the joy you’re allowed to have. Talk to yourself like someone you love.  Give yourself a pat on the back, but also kick your own ass if you must to get it in gear.  That’s my focus.

Thanks for reading.  I will check in again soon, I promise ❤

DMG

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5 month post -op VSG update!

I can’t believe it’s been five months! And I can’t believe I’m struggling to get to even a 50 pound loss:(  patience is not something I have an abundance of, so this slow progress is really working my nerves. But- even slow progress is better than no progress. I have to rely on pictures and the way my clothing feels. And it feels pretty dang good! 

Here we go on the stats. Yes, I’m putting this out here on the crazy interwebs for all to see. Who cares?! 

Starting weight 1/15/16: 230.5 (which isn’t even my highest! That was 236 in 2009!)

Height: 5″3

Weight on surgery date/after 2 week pre-op/liver shrinking diet hell: 219

Today’s weight:182.2

Goal weight:145-150

Total loss:48.2 pounds. 

I swear next week I’m getting OUT of the 180’s! 

Dress/pants size when I started:20/22 women’s/plus

Now: 16 misses bottoms and 14 or Large shirt:)  NO PLUS SIZES! can I get a hell yeah?!?!

To date, I don’t have any food intolerances but dairy products are not always my friend. Yogurt in particular.

Protein goal: 60-80 grams per day (80 is my target when I’m working out extra hard!)

Water goal – at least 64 oz per day but usually it’s more. 

Activity: I either walk, do the elliptical, hike or ride my bike 45 minutes to an hour 5x a week. I REALLY want to return to kickboxing but I’m enjoying this pain-free/injury-free time in my life and don’t wanna ruin it! 

Carbs: MOST days I keep them under 50. Occasionally I go over but not by much. 

I’m sleeping better than I have in years. 

I really have no complaints other than the slow pace of the loss.(and losing my hair!!!)  Sometimes I think I don’t eat enough. My stomach can only hold 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of food at a time. My calorie intake has never exceeded 1200 in the last 5 months. So what the hell?!?! 

I’ve made some wonderful friendships through this VSG journey and am so inspired by their progress;)  shout out to you ladies and gentlemen kicking ass on this journey! 

I hope when I write my 6 month update I can tell you I surpassed the 50-55 pound loss milestone.fingers and toes crossed! 

Thank you for reading. I’m thankful for the cheerleaders with me on this trek! 

Xoxo,

Dawn 

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

Progress

Hi! It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve written an update. This is the busiest time of year for me at work, so I don’t have much time until August. This time of year is for me what the Christmas shopping season must be to retail employees! It’s very stressful. And I’ve noticed this week more stress eating since surgery. Not good- but I’m trying to fight the urge to eat bad foods. 

The weight loss is going slowly, still. But it’s going. I’m a little over 40 pounds down with about 40-45 to go, so almost halfway to my goal! Since it’s a slow process and I sometimes find myself discouraged, I have to rely on victories that have nothing to do with the scale. I’m sharing a progress picture. The left picture is from March 1, 2016, the night before my weight loss surgery. The pic on the right was last night. 

The scale doesn’t show how much better or stronger I feel. But this picture shows a  healthier me. Sometimes I just need a reminder that the scale only reflects a number. But that’s all it is. Just a number, and not descriptive of how much better I feel.

Thanks for reading. I’ll write more when my life slows down😀

Kindly and Warmly, 

dawn 

Anniversary of my life as a D-Mom

Tonight, my husband, Stinkerbell, and I went to get a quick bite to eat at Kickback Jack’s.  Go figure, nobody in my house wanted me to cook ever tonight!

As we were leaving, it occurred to me that we were at the scene of the crime, per se’.  We had been to that very restaurant four years ago this month when Haley (aka Stinkerbell) had been complaining of not feeling well.  That night at dinner, she guzzled 4-5 Pepsi’s with her dinner.  Finally, we made her switch to water, which she also downed in no time…she had been telling us that her muscles were sore, that she felt like she had the flu…couldn’t stop the constant need to pee…and finally, she called from school and told her Dad on the phone that she was having blurred and double vision.  That entire weekend, the child went through an entire case of bottled water by herself.  Because the following Monday was Memorial Day, I knew I couldn’t get her into her pediatrician’s office, but I had planned to take her first thing Tuesday. Her appointment was made in the afternoon hours.  But we had to revert to plan B and take her to urgent care.  The urgency in her voice that morning on the phone is one I had never heard before, but have heard several times since.

Haley was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes 4 years ago today.  She was in DKA and was really hurting.  We spent 3 nights in the hospital, with 2 of them in ICU.  We came home on June 1st with a “new” kid.  It was like bringing a new baby home from the hospital. Learning how to manage her blood sugars with diet and insulin was incredibly overwhelming for her…and for me.  And doing it as a teenager?! Lordy- those were tough times. (If you look back into the archives of this blog to June 2012, you can read more about our T1D journey.)

BUT- with four years comes a lot of experience and a lot of wisdom.   We still ride the blood sugar roller coaster every day, but we are masters at the peaks and valleys…sometimes we don’t master the speed in which highs and lows occur- but we are really well-versed on what to do in emergencies. And she’s had an Omnipod insulin pump for a year and a half now.  WOW, what a better way to manage sugars with a continuous insulin drip, than with insulin injections from a pen!  Technology makes this easier to manage with each year that passes.

I said it four years ago, and I will say it now….I am so proud of that kid that sometimes I think my heart will explode.  Our care of T1D is not always exemplary.  We do the absolute best we can.  Haley is learning each day…and with any luck, her long term plans include helping kids with T1D someday.  Haley is hoping to enter a program at our local community college as a senior in high school and receive college credit in their nursing program.  This is a new development for us.  It is so great to see her enthusiastic about her plans!  She would like to be the nurse (or doctor) that she currently does NOT have.  She feels like she gets lectured from the PA she sees now. We sometimes feel like failures because we’re not perfect. Haley can relate to T1D kids because SHE IS ONE.  Being educated on it and actually living it are different things.  I know she’ll make a great care provider one day.

So, on this anniversary of the demise of Haley’s pancreas…. we say, so what! She is making a fine life without ya!

Counting my blessings,

Dawn

Proud to be a D Mom!

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

It’s Okay to be Honest

I post a lot of updates about my T1D. The good, the bad, even the really, really bad. Remember the DKA posts, anyone? Being a teenager is hard. Being a teenager with T1D is harder. It’s no walk in the park for sure. Thank you to the author of this blog for posting it. It IS ok to be honest!

Rare, Misguided, and Type Casted: Living and Thriving with Type One Diabetes

This past November during Diabetes Awareness Month, a campaign was started by JDRF with photos in blue of T1Ds that said, “T1D Looks Like Me.”

When the campaign first appeared, I loved it.  I saw all of these photos all over Facebook of children and adults with T1D that showed strong, beautiful people living their lives.  I had pride in who we are as a community, because we are strong, beautiful people.

After a couple of days, I started looking at the photos more closely.  I noticed that there were not any photos of people in the hospital suffering from DKA.  I noticed that very few showed injections or pump infusion sets on the body of the diabetic.  I also didn’t see the stress of families trying to figure out how to afford the medications, pump supplies, or doctor/hospital bills and labwork.

In short, I saw healthy looking people, not…

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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

 

 

Week 9: Stall-ville. Population: ME

Greetings  from Stallville.  Population ME.  My 9 week check-in….sigh…

When VSG patients hit a stall in weight loss, it’s sometimes a week, maybe 3.  I swear I have been on a stall for the last month.  And I hate it.  And I am not afraid to tell you that I am really very discouraged. When I began this journey, I said I didn’t have any expectations and that I’d be thrilled with any kind of loss.  Maybe I DID have expectations because most people who have this surgery have these wonderful stories to tell during the first few months of their life after VSG.  I did not assume I’d have huge losses right out of the gate, but I did really think I’d be able to share much more of a loss than I have at this point.  9 Weeks ago, I had VSG and I’ve lost only 18 pounds.   That’s 2 pounds a week.  Don’t get me wrong…I am thankful for EVERY pound.  And 2 pounds per week is a good loss for anyone.  I guess I just expected that having 3/4 of my stomach cut out would make my loss more accelerated.  Silly me. I lost 10 pounds on the pre-op diet, so I have a total loss of 28 pounds in 11 weeks.  That’s about 2.5 pounds per week.  Which makes me feel a little better.

After communicating via the patient portal with my Bariatric Surgeon’s office, my surgeon and his staff suggested I come into their office mid-April because they know I was getting discouraged.  I was armed with my MFP (myfitnesspal) records from the prior 30 days to show him my weight loss, protein and carb intake.  For protein, I need at least 60 grams and for carbs, I try to keep it under 50 per day.  I drink a shit ton of water. And I either walk, ride my bike, or go to the gym 5 days a week for at least an hour.

During the visit, we decided that I probably wasn’t getting enough in calories.  I’d average anywhere between 600-900 per day, so maybe my body was in starvation mode. He asked me to add some calories, ( I am up to about 1000-1100) and on days where I am working out, to increase the protein.  And he said to not change my carb intake because under 50 grams per day is good. He said I am doing ALL the right things! Yay, right?

That was mid-April. It’s the first of May and still I haven’t seen a whole lot of progress where the scale is concerned.  I keep it under my bed and try to weigh on Fridays.Seeing the scale each day in the bathroom makes me cranky, so I put it where I can’t see it. I was weighing almost every day and it was just adding to my anger at the scale.  OH! And when I was in the office that day, Dr Bruce mentioned that he’s done 900+ sleeves.  And only 3 patients were resistant to the Sleeve.  Immediately I said a silent prayer asking for me NOT to be the 4th resistant patient.  He suggested that there IS a revision to this surgery if I find that it does not work for me….but it would again cost me the same as my initial surgery.  No thanks.  there will be no revisions to this.  I will work with  my tool as I have it and accept the slower pace.

I do realize that the number on the scale does not define me.  I am seeing a small difference in the way my clothes are fitting.  But even with a 28 pound loss, I *can* still wear some of my  pre-surgery clothes.  I kept a lot of my clothes from various stages of weight.  And my sister kept some of the clothes I’d once given to her when I was smaller and she was bigger.  Now, after a year and a half since her surgery, she is a tiny thing:)  She posted this pic this morning on her Facebook wall.  it had come up in her memories from 2015.  Doesn’t she look awesome!?  Her name is Teresa ❤  (the date is wrong on her “before” photo to the left).  She’s lost about 90 pounds.

Teresa May 2015

And if that were not motivation enough, my cousin posted this picture today!  Regina’s lost over 100 pounds since her June 2015 surgery.FullSizeRender.jpg

Between my cousin and my sister, I have wonderful examples of how this surgery is a success.  I have also joined a couple of Facebook groups where I’ve “met” others who were sleeved the same month as me…and others from all over the world who have been sleeved.  I just met one of them in person yesterday and am hoping to meet a couple of more ladies in my area soon:) While reading the posts in those groups, I am by far the slowest of losers and it frustrates me.  Admittedly, when I see pictures like the ones above, and ones in the FB groups, where VSG’ers have lost more in a couple of weeks than I’ve lost in 2+ months, it makes me the slightest bit depressed.

Like when is my body going to show up for the weight loss party?  Will it ever? Until then, I am just doing my thing, eating the things I should and going about my business and trying to NOT let it get to me.  But it is hard.  I promise, I am not whining. I am thankful and blessed to have had the surgery and 28 pounds within 11 weeks is a gift.  I just need to change my mindset.  I didn’t gain it overnight.  I’m not going to lose it overnight.

I swear my sleeve is broken. Defective. Asleep.  Something.  Because if I am doing all the right things with diet and exercise, then what the hell is the issue?

So- while I’ve pointed out the negative.  There IS some good news I can share.  I have a couple of NSV’s.  (Non-scale victories)

I’m pretty content with the diet I must follow right now.  The only thing I still shouldn’t have are things with seeds or kernels like popcorn and some fruits/veggies.  I have had pork, beef, fish, chicken, etc.  No intolerance to anything yet.I even indulged in a glass of wine last week.  It was wonderful.  But not so wonderful that I wanted another one.  I want to stay the course and drinking may set my weight loss back a little bit and Lord knows I don’t wanna slow down my snail pace!   The weird/good thing about how I feel about food right now is that I am eating to live.  Not living to eat like I used to.  Food cravings do not affect me now.  I DO feel hunger, and have since the surgery, which is not common for Sleevers.  I look at food now for fuel, not for indulging.  I will have a BITE of something to get a taste for it if it is now low carb.  But for the most part, I am still content with low carb eating and feel like I’ve defeated my sugar addiction.

I made a return to Body Pump class last week and am here, alive, to tell about it:)  It’s a strength training class that I used to love a couple of years back.  It was nice to make a return, even if I couldn’t walk for 3 days.  I bet we did 100 squats – with barbells across our backs.  That many squats with weights makes it hard to sit, or squat to go potty a couple of days later.  Just sayin.  I also went to water aerobics! It was great exercise and really good to give my Achilles a rest.  I’ll go back.  I just prefer water aerobics when we can do it in the outdoor pool at the gym vs the indoor.  And last, but certainly not least, my family and I have been going to a local trail and riding our bikes together.  It’s super awesome exercise and even more fun with my daughter and husband with me.  It feels good to be active again.  I recently bought a bathing suit top that did not come from the “size wow” section of the store  Don’t know what size wow is?  You know …like “WOW that is a big size for me.”  It was an XL from Target.  Also bought a maxi dress that didn’t have a W after the size:)

If any of you out there reading are Sleevers and have some advice for me on how to really kick this weight loss in motion, I am open for suggestions.  I’ve yet to read about anyone who’s slower at losing than me.  But I am trying to look at it like this…If I lose 2 pounds a week, x 52 weeks…that’s 104 pounds in a year. I have about 65 more to lose.  I’ll get there.

Thank you again for reading. It’s therapeutic for me to write about my journey.  And, I hope it helps someone reading in their journey.  I’ve been inspired by so many who share their triumphs and their challenges.  I hope to return the favor:)

Kindly,

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!

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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