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God is great, but sometimes life ain’t good…

Hello Friends.  It’s been a minute or two since I updated last.  I usually use this blog to update every month or two about my #VSG progress, or lack thereof…but this is a different kind of entry.  It’s pretty much a copy and paste of what’s happened in the life of my family over the course of the last 10 days.  In a nutshell, my 46 year old husband, Jason, went to Duke Medical Center in Durham, NC, for a fairly routine heart-related procedure called a ventricular tachycardia ablation.  It’s pretty much where a surgeon uses a laser to clear the scar tissue in the heart so that the electricity can flow freely again.  Jason has a 2 year history of “VT” or vertical tachycardia…AKA a very high heartbeat that will not slow down unless his pacemaker/defibrillator shocks it back into corrected rhythm.

Friday, December 16 we went in.  I posted this on my Facebook on the morning of December 17 @11:14 am after our first night in ICU:

Dear Family and Friends- I come to you with an urgent need for prayer for my family.
I debated on whether to put this situation on Facebook or not. It’s well known I am an over-sharer, but I am also an over-feeler and over-lover and teaching myself to reach for help when I need it and I have never needed it more. It has been hard for me to keep up with texts and emails, and informing people that want to know about Jason, so I am hoping this reaches all of the people that care about him. He will get mad at me for making a fuss and posting all this on facebook, but let him get mad.
My husband, Jason, is in the Neurosciences ICU at Duke. We came to Duke Friday at 6am for a normal, routine procedure called a ventricular tachycardia ablation. As you may remember, Jason had his first VT episode 2 years ago and has since had an ICD (pacemaker/defibrillator) put in his chest. When his heart rate gets too high, the pacemaker shocks his arrhythmia back into regular rhythm. The purpose of the ablation yesterday was to use laser technology to pinpoint the areas of the heart that were blocked by scarring. The good news is that the ablation procedure was a success and Jason did great throughout the surgery, which took about 4 hours.
The bad news is that he suffered a stroke during the process. An ultrasound taken 4 months ago did not show a blood clot that was in his heart. The ablation surgeon did not know there was a clot, and while he was doing the ablation, he provoked the clot and it went to his brain. After he came out of ablation surgery, we at first thought he was just over sedated and just really loopy, as expected because he needed a good deal of sedation for that surgery. It became clearly very quickly that he was not responding to commands, couldn’t speak, and had no use of the right side of his body. Within the hour of one procedure ending, a new one began. The Duke Neurosurgeon team did a CT scan that showed a clot in his brain and soon after did an angiogram to retrieve and remove the clot. They actually retrieved 2 clots, while one remains in his heart.
Due to the stroke, he has limited vocabulary and no use of his right side to date. BUT- since he came to the ICU yesterday, he has already made huge improvements. He knows he’s at Duke, knows his name, mine, his daughters, and our pets’ names. Even the damn cat he doesn’t care for much- Daphne. Yesterday he knew none of that. He can resume normal diet today, which is awesome since he’s not had anything to eat since Thursday night. Can say small sentences. Yesterday when our kids visited him for the first time in ICU, his eyes welled up with tears and he couldn’t speak. He was overwhelmed with emotion and frustration but at least it was a reaction to seeing them and it was both wonderful and heartbreaking at the same time. Baby steps. We’ll get there. Funny things that have happened since last night….he farted and giggled about it….when I kissed him on the lips, he kissed me back…and I said “Even after all that has happened, you’re still a good kisser!” He instantly said “YES I AM!” quite proudly! Keeps talking about Green Eggs and Ham….and potato chips. LOL.
He was in a lot of discomfort last night and was vocal about it. He could only say to me “GOOD GOD”. As if to say “Good, God, woman! Can’t you help me?!” He couldn’t communicate in words what he needed. He had to lie still for several hours due to the punctures in the groin area for the procedures, which makes his back ache. He’s got all kinds of tubes and cords coming off his body and it pisses him off. But all the while, he still gives me a smile and his ornery tell-tale wink to me. That’s when I know he’s ok.
It is hard to know what the future holds for Jason. We are told recovery is most important from now until the next 6 months. The progress that is made between now and then will be very telling. If I know my husband, he’s going to work like hell to resume a long, healthy life with our family. I am incredibly proud of how hard he has worked. Since I met him in 1995, he’s been my life. We are just 2 months shy of celebrating 20 years of marriage. We’ve had bumps in the road of life and this is just one of them. He’s been there for our daughters and me as our head of the family, provider our needs and wants, giver of hugs and kisses when they are needed, walker of sick babies in the middle of the night. Bank of Graham when little girls have a need. Proud Daddy of awesome daughters. And often the sole source of reason at times when I am unreasonable. But most of all, the keeper of the key to my heart. I can safely say that barring the death of my Daddy, yesterday was the second worst day of my life. I had a long chat with Jesus yesterday. Hospital floors are dirty and full of nasty germs, but I still got down on my knees in the ICU and asked for guidance. And if you ever wondered, even for a second if prayers are answered- the progress Jason has made in less than 24 hours is all the proof of an answered prayer. God is good, ya’ll!
We’ll be at Duke for the next week most likely. He will leave ICU tomorrow and then we’ll move to another room for the week, and then to rehab. Not sure where that will be just yet. But no matter where we are in this journey, he needs your prayers. Prayers for healing and recovery. Prayers that I know how to take care of him when we get home. Prayers for patience during pathology and physical therapy. Prayers for the medical staff who are helping him find his way back to us. Please, please, please keep him in your prayers.
Big thanks to my neighbors and friends who have helped with transportation for Haley and the care of our pets. And those who’ve been letting me send random texts and let me cry on your shoulder. Jason’s Mother, Brother and Father have all been to see him and are staying with us as much as they can. But if you can spare a few extra names on your prayer list, please add them to it. It’s hard to watch someone who was once vibrant, strong, and stubborn no longer be themselves even temporarily. Sending a shout out to both of our co-workers who have already started picking up our duties while we are on the road to recovery.
Thank you all so much! XOXO Dawn (Haley and Hollyann, too!)
Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future!”

Also December 17: 9:35pm:

I’ve often thought the best sounds were little girl giggles, melodies , harmonies, rain on a tin roof, or waves crashing into the ocean. They are all sweet… but today I declare the sound of my own name from my husband’s lips to be the sweetest of songs I’ll ever hear💛💗 been listening to him say it all day and never gets ol

December 18 10:33pm

Hi Family and Friends. Many have texted/called/emailed me and asked for a status. Hard to keep up with what I have told to whom, so I think this way is best. Again, sorry for over-sharing but it’s the only way I know.
We are still in ICU. Day 3. We are still here because Jason is getting an IV drip full of Heparin, which is a blood thinner. We need to achieve therapeutic levels, so we started with a small dose and keep increasing every 6 hours. We need these meds due to the clot still in his heart. But we get the meds in stages because we don’t want to have bleeding on/around the brain, either. I saw my first ever CT scan images last night with our nurse. She asked if I would like to see them so I could better understand his situation.
Seeing them was mostly a blessing, but kind of a bummer. These last few days have been filled with huge highs and lows. I feel euphoria at times when I see the progress Jason has made since we arrived in ICU Friday night. When he got here, he couldn’t talk at all. He can now carry on sentences with me, knows what the month/date is, knows who people/objects are. He knows his name, my name, our relationship to each other…our kids, etc. He knows where he is and why. Looking at the CT Scan, the nurse showed me that the big gray area I saw was the area of the brain that is affected. It’s a huge area on his left side and a small area near the base of his head also on the left side. While I had been so joyful all day about the progresses, seeing the scan brought me back to reality really quickly. The injury to his brain is huge. I kind of lost control of my emotions seeing the scan. We know it will be a long road to recovery. I wiped my eyes and went back into Jason’s room. Immediately, he said “you’re crying.” I said I wasn’t. He reached for my hand and said “We are going to be ok” incredibly clear. Even Friday night in the wee hours of the morning, he said “we will make it.” And I told him each time I believe him. We WILL be ok.
He has had the speech pathology people visit each day to work on communication. He sometimes gets confused and says something he didn’t mean to say and gets frustrated. For example- speech folks asked him if the utensil in his hand was a fork or a spoon. It was a fork, but he answered spoon. And he knew it was incorrect. Brain is sending a delayed message. We wrote the 2 choices on the white board and asked him to point to which utensil he was holding, and he pointed correctly to the fork. We just have to ask him in different ways. He can use utensils in his left hand, which is not his dominate hand. It’s difficult for him, but he can do it. We try to make him do as many things independently as we can right out of the gate so he knows not to depend on us all the time. That is difficult for me to do because I want to nurture and care for him.
We should be getting to go to a step down room tomorrow and out of ICU. We had hoped for that today, but the meds need to do their work. We get 1 to 1 care here in ICU, so I am not complaining. The staff here at Duke is excellent. Jason complained of a slight headache tonight, so he’s been given some Tylenol to help ease the pain. He’s been able to tell us his pain level on a 1-10 scale. It was a 4.
Still no movement on his right side. We show him his right hand and put it in his left hand so he can SEE his own hand and help move his arm/hand for circulation. That side is swollen and stiff due to non-movement. Same for his right leg. Each hour, we move his leg for him just to get a good range of motion to prevent swelling and stiffness. Every hour, the nurse comes in and asks him questions, checks vitals, helps him wiggle his toes and such to make sure he keeps his brain and body active. Jason is not a fan of when they come in and pinch the leg, foot, or arm of the right side. He can’t voluntarily move that side, but he CAN FEEL on that side.
He’s been in good spirits and even a bit of a jokester. He and Haley had a really good visit today. Jason’s mom, nephew, brother, and father all visited today, as did my mom and my sister. He was out of the (damn) bed for most of the day and in the reclining chair in his room. The nurse used a sling type thing to get him from bed to chair. I say it was the damn bed because that’s how we refer to it since lying there so long causes his back to hurt. Sitting in the chair also makes him sleep less in the daytime, and promotes better rest in the evening. He has been really uncomfortable at night due to the bed.
I must brag on Haley a bit. She’s having to do some big girl/grown up things that she’s not accustomed to. She’s holding the household down while I am at Duke or running back and forth to get necessary things. She stayed with her dad today from about noon to six so I could go home and grab a shower and a nap. Many people have asked how I am, which baffles me since this is not at all about ME. But for those of you who’ve asked, I did get a good 2 hour nap in my own bed today, which made a world of difference. I was starting to get a little punchy and cranky this morning due to sleep deprivation. She and my Mother-in-Law stayed all day together while I went to recharge. Since the nap, I feel stronger and less weepy/sad. Haley is like Jason in so many ways. Though I would say she is a Mama’s Girl, she is definitely her father’s daughter. She asked me if her Dad could read messages. I said I think so, and if he couldn’t, I would read it to him. I hope I don’t embarrass her by sharing this, but her message to him was:

“Hi dad, I just wanted to write this to you because I don’t know what’s going on in your head, I’m sure there’s lots goin on up there buddy. I just wanted to let you know that I love you so much, I will always love you, I would love you even if you couldn’t speak another word. But I know you can 🙂 you’re still my guy, you’re still my best friend. I can’t even begin to understand how difficult it must be for you to say what you want to say right now. You’re still my hero. I just want to bury my head in your chest and hug you forever. I also know you’re not yourself right now, and that it might be difficult to get back to who you were or who you’re going to be, so just come back to me when you can dad 🙂 I’ll be here. I love you to the moon and further buddy See you soon.”

Jason could see the letters and read some of her words by himself but the text was a little too small. I read it to him and at the end, I saw him smile. I asked him who he thought sent it to him. He immediately said “Haley.” I asked if he could reply to her, what would he say? “I love you, Haley. I’ll be back soon.”
Just stick a fork in me because I was DONE. DONE DONE DONE.
I am sure I am leaving a lot out but that’s what I have for now. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS. We love them and feel all of your love and support. We’ll move to a different room hopefully tomorrow, and be there for about a week, and then to a rehab facility. Some have asked about visiting Jason. Unfortunately, he does not want visitors yet. I hope you understand that it is not that he doesn’t want to see friends. He just doesn’t want anyone to see him in his current state.
Many have asked what they can do for us. Right now, all we really need are prayers for his healing and recovery. As for me, I wish I knew what I needed. I haven’t had time to think about it, but I promise when I figure it out, I WILL ask for help.
We love you and appreciate the outpouring of support for our family. I will try to update every few days on his progress. God is good and is in control. I know He makes no mistakes. Healing is on the way.
Feeling Blessed,
Jason and his family

December 19, 6:35 Pm:

Finally- some positive news -Jason is out of ICU and in a regular room now, still in the Stroke Care Unit. Will be here for the next few days- maybe a week. Then to rehab center. Every day is better than the one before. God is good, y’all. We feel your prayers. THANK YOU for raising him up – he’s still got a long road ahead. Keep ’em coming🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻❤️

December 20: 11:08AM:
I don’t know what kinda crazy prayer acrobatics y’all are doing out there- but they are WORKING! Please don’t stop❤️ will post later tonight but this morning has been full of so much GOOD!

December 20: 9:57pm

Good Evening, friends and family! Are you ready for a post full of GOOD?!?!?!? You prayer warriors have been at it big time! We feel every single one of them and know how blessed we are! Here is a recap of our day at Duke.
First off, I didn’t think it would start off as such a great day because Jason did not sleep at all last night. He told me this as soon as I woke up from my sorta-kinda-sleep on the twin size couch-bed thingy in his room. His discomfort is from the bed and his back, but also because he has an orthotic boot on his weak foot to hold his foot in an upright position. This will help with circulation and keep the weak foot from drooping in a downward position. Luckily, our nurse took the boot off for several hours so he could rest.
The day quickly took a turn for the better! Soon after this, I was massaging his weak foot to get the circulation going. The nurse had asked him if heat or ice would help the foot feel better. Jason said “rubbing” the foot would help. I told the nurse I’d rub/massage his foot, while inside I was telling myself that I’d KISS his foot if it meant he would feel less pain. Thankfully I didn’t have to. And if you know me well, you know I don’t like feet! LOL. While I was rubbing the weak foot he said “WOW! That was a big one!” I thought he was playing fart games again. He wasn’t. I was looking at him, he was looking at me and showed me he was MOVING HIS RIGHT THUMB! He couldn’t do that 3 days ago! We consider that to be quite an accomplishment! SO. That was good thing number 1 for today. (Good thing number three if you count I didnt have to kiss his feet and that he didn’t fart and giggle about it.)
Right after the awesome thumb-wiggling episode, the neuro doctor came in for his exam. He did many things during the visit, but most notably, he asked him to try to squeeze his knees inward towards each other. And again, that right side moved just a weeeeeee little bit in toward the left,. But he DID IT!!! He couldn’t do that 3 days ago, either!
I want to quote the doctor when I say this next part. He was telling Jason that the progress he is making within the first few days is important and amazing. And that most patients who show this kind of progress do walk again. He said to Jason: “YOU WILL WALK AGAIN. YOU MUST BELIEVE THIS.” and Jason nodded his head in agreement. We both believe it. Good thang #2!
Ready for good thing #3? After Neuro doctor left, the physical therapy tech came in. Courtney worked with us yesterday and today. She uses this tall crane looking thing with a sling on it to get Jason out of the bed and into the chair in his room. Before getting to the chair, she will get him to the side of the bed in standing position so he can stretch the back muscles and help him find his “center” as he tends to lean on one side during the day. While this PT session was happening, I had gone downstairs to grab lunch. HIs mom, brother, and father were there, so I felt comfortable leaving. Little did I know what would happen while I was away for 30 minutes! Jason walked about 15 feet from what I understand, with Courtney’s help! She supported his right side and nudged his right foot along, but he still walked, yall! I was so sorry I missed this! But I told him again for the t67687698004 time in the last 4 days that I love him and how incredibly proud of him I am!
IF that were not enough good for one day- get this…I got to come home about 1pm today, courtesy of Jason’s dad dropping me off at home. I was able to take a wonderful, glorious, 3 hour awesome nap in my own bed (On Jason’s side of the bed!). Doesn’t it always figure that right when you’re getting settled and comfy that the damn phone rings? Grumpily I answered. Turns out it was the case worker from Duke. She’d gone to visit Jason in his room while his mom/brother were there. We are moving to a rehab center within the next 2 to 3 days! He’s progressing so well that they feel he is an excellent candidate for acute therapy and will be moved ASAP. We had 3 location choices: UNC, Duke or WakeMed. Obviously we chose WakeMed due to the proximity of where we live. Case worker asked Jason first which one he preferred and he chose Wake, just as I would have. Jason is keenly aware of EVERYTHING that is happening around him. He knows why he’s there, what happened, who people are, their relationship to him…is cell phone number, the date, upcoming events like Christmas (and my birthday ’cause you know he’d never live it down if he forgot that!). He knows where we had our first date. He knows our anniversary. He tells me daily he loves me. And on a funny note, when the nurses ask him yes/no questions, and the answer is NO…he automatically says “No thank you” because even though he’s in the hospital, I won’t let him forget his manners:) LOL. He feeds himself with his left arm, which is hard because the right is dominant. SO. MUCH. GOOD!
So. Once we move and he gets stronger, I will let yall know when and if he wants visitors. Right now he prefers no visitors, but he is aware of your love and prayers for him! I am going back in the morning, and should hear more tomorrow or Thursday about rehab. I am so hoping we get there before Christmas so we can decorate his room a little for the holiday and share family time with him. Christmas has a whole new meaning to us this year. It is about Jesus’ birth. It is about family. It is NOT about gifts. We really feel blessed to receive your thoughts and prayers. I can’t thank you enough. How else do you explain this magnificent progress? Jason’s strength combined with his faith and your prayers! That’s what it’s all about, friends! God is so good and so are YOU! I swear, if I get the chance to hug your neck sometime throughout this process, I promise you I will.
For tonight, I am defying the no-dogs-on-the-bed ruling and gathering Bo, Sugar, and my sweet Stinkerbell and we are gonna talk. Or not talk. Watch something mindless on tv. Or not talk at all. Whatever she wants.Tomorrow morning I will go back and resume my support for Jason but tonight I will be a Mommy to my Haley. And Jason’s Mom is getting to mother her 46 year old ‘baby” and I know she’s happy to do it!
Please keep the prayers coming. We hear/feel them all and to say thank you will never, ever be enough. We are keeping the faith!
XOXOXO, Dawn, Hollyann and Haley!

December 21: 6;42pm

Day 5 update from Duke. We continue to feel the power of your love and prayers.
The world sure looks different after 8 hours of continuous sleep! The combination of a very bad sinus/ head cold thing plus the stress of the past few days was making me feel particularly tired and really rundown. My mom in law stayed with jason last night so I could rest and I’m SO thankful! I’m well rested, and happy to be in a better mood to help and enjoy the progress Jason continues to make!

Highlights from the day include Jason being “off the line,” meaning he’s IV and cord/cable free. He’s got so much more mobility since he’s not “attached” to anything. I was able to take him for a short ride around the 8th floor in a wheelchair and he didn’t even complain about my driving! Fear not, friends- I obeyed the speed limit:)
Just as he did yesterday, he walked with assistance down the hallway. Courtney, our physical therapist, is amazing. Jason continues to build his strength and endurance.
He did not sleep well last night. Too hot/too cold and general restlessness kept him awake. Tonight they are giving him a little melatonin to help ease him into restful sleep. I could see how tired he was during speech therapy. He seemed to get frustrated more easily. But still- he’s doing well with speech, too. His responses are quicker and more expressive.

Still no word on when we can bust out of this place and head to WakeMed. I’m hoping its before Christmas Eve. Fingers crossed!

Thank you for continuing to pray for him. When this is all over I hope I can hug yall’s necks in person, and I’m aware that this sentence is grammatically incorrect but don’t care:)
Jason’s strength+faith+God’s love + your prayers! His recovery is not without struggle but is genuinely amazing to witness💜
Love ALL y’all!
Xoxo, Dawn

 

December 21 9:11pm:
#WLS was over 8 months ago. I often beat myself up because I haven’t had typical weight loss as other #VSG patients at this point in my journey. My 57 pound loss did not seem important or significant until tonight when I was able to lay my body beside Jason‘s in his hospital bed and help him fall asleep after several restless nights at Duke. If that’s winning, I don’t know what is. Gone are the days where I question the weight capacity on stuff. #worthit #sweetdreamsbaby

December 22 @ 11:17am:

So listen. Literally:) I realize my choice in music isn’t interesting to everyone, but wanted to see if you’d take a listen to one of my favorites from David Nail. I think when you love music as much as I do, there’s a song for every situation in life. Like when we first start dating “the one” you have a favorite song. Or when you have a child, there’s a particular song that describes that miracle. Or your first kiss..there’s a song that immediately takes you back to that time.

I came across this song when David’s album came out earlier this year, and it coincided with a situation that Jason and I struggled with just a few months ago. It’s called “Fighter.” Marriage is full of wonder and beautiful moments. But it can also be filled with bumps in the road. Small speed bumps and also huge sinkholes! Luckily, our marriage has been filled with more good than bad. More happy than sad. More ups than downs. I don’t think Jason expected me to be a “fighter”. I am fighting for him. And he’s fighting for himself…for me….and for our family. And I couldn’t be more proud to be his wife.
“Don’t think I don’t see the way you struggle, watching me struggle
Don’t think that I dont feel you turn away, everytime I turn away
Please believe that I believe when I’m praying
That your right beside me prayin’ for the same thing”
Give a listen if you have time today. This has become our fight song. Our personal anthem♥
I give you…Fighter from David Nail.

December 22 at 12:22pm ·
I usually wait until the evening to post about the events of Jason’s day, but the morning has been filled with so much joy that I have to share early!
1. he slept well and is well rested, more alert and generally happier.
2. Eating well.
3. I just watched him walk down the hall with the Courtney, physical therapist/angel a couple of times. She has to help him kick the weak foot out, but he’s WALKING, Y’ALL!
4. He practiced getting up and down at least 20 times and many of those without her assistance!
5. He’s more vocal about what he wants/needs and continues to follow “thank you” when he says “no” ’cause just ’cause we are in the hospital doesn’t mean he can slack off on the manners.LOL. He is full of yes/no/please and can also manage sentences about 3-5 words.
6. The biggest one today is this: He’s ready for acute rehab. And as long as his insurance approves today, we’re moving to WakeMed Rehab tomorrow, most likely before 1pm BUT we need BCBS to approve today. And from what I am told, they are of the most difficult to work with on approvals. SO, prayer warriors, we need some extra prayers…mojo, good ju-ju, whatever you want to call it…we need them to approve today so we can bust out of this place tomorrow and ROCK some REHAB!
I love ALL Y’ALL and your prayer-sayin’, good vibe thinkin’, sweet lovin’ hearts. XOXOXO! Dawn
GOD IS SO GOOD!!!!!

December 22 at 11:23pm ·
Night 7 from Duke. Our last night here. So thankful for the progress Jason has made in the last week! We came here for a routine procedure that was over by noon last Friday. Within an hour of that procedure ending, another one began. I signed a document to give doctors permission to remove a blood clot from Jason’s brain and save his life. Signed my name, closed my eyes, fell (literally) to my knees and asked Jesus for guidance. He heard my prayers, and the prayers of all you prayer warriors. Although I am super excited for tomorrow’s transfer to Rehab, I am sad that tonight is my last for a while with my husband. Tomorrow night I will sleep in my own bed while he sleeps in one foreign to him. But that bed will become a place of comfort for his tired body at night after days of rehabilitation. I know he has work to do! Progress to make. Strength to gain so he can find his way back to me and our home. Uncertain times for us ahead. We may be apart temporarily, but neither of us will be alone ❤
Isaiah 41:10
Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand
December 23 at 1:06pm ·
See ya, Duke! We are outta here! Looking forward to rocking rehab at WakeMed. God is so good! Merry Christmas, y’all!
December 23 at 8:25pm
Not the best photo of us but might be the best day of my life. If you are looking for a miracle – Christmas or otherwise-look no further. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR LOVE AND PRAYERS! This is the best Christmas ever.

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12/25 9:07am

Jason couldn’t come home for Christmas, so a little Christmas came to him at the hospital! Merry Christmas from our family to yours! This is the best Christmas of my life❤️🎁

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12:26 12:54pm

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! Jason’s family and mine have been burning up the road to and from WakeMed since he was transferred on the 23rd! We celebrated Christmas together yesterday, complete with his mom’s fantastic home cooking! We spent a couple of hours in the rehab dining room all together. It was wonderful and weird all at once, with more wonderful than weird😉
This week we find our temporary normal schedule. Jason has an hour each of occupational, physical, and speech therapy. He has breaks in between and is usually done by 2 or 3 each day. Thanks to my wonderful employer and manager, I’m able to work remotely from anywhere. I’m hoping to start early morning and be done by 3 so I can visit Jason after his therapies and stay into the evenings. The rehab staff said I’m welcome to work from there as well. That way I can see him between therapies and also see what they actually do! What a blessing to have these opportunities!
While Jason works to get stronger and find his way back to us, I am admittedly having trouble with the guilt I feel for not being with him more. The worst feeling is leaving him in the evenings and not seeing him in the mornings… sometimes not seeing him until the next afternoon. His communication skills are building but he still cannot manage a phone call or text. I know it will get easier. The other guilt is not being with Haley as much as I need to be. She’s had to “adult” way too often this past week. But she’s also been a great source of help and strength. Unfortunately, she’s experiencing ALL THE FEELS, too. Mid week last week she was driving my jeep and during a Daddy-related tearful meltdown, she rear ended a lady in front of her. She is fine, and my jeep only needs a new bumper, but the lady she hit was 4 months pregnant and had 3 kids in the back seat of her sedan. Haley feels awful. We have a court date in early February for the 2 moving violations associated with the accident:(
Who has time for that?!?! LOL. but the jeep is just an unimportant, tangible thing. People are more important and never replaceable.
I also feel guilty that I’ve been terrible with my diet and have been a very bad WLS patient. I’ve not reached my water/protein/ exercise goals -and not sure when I’ll find that again. Hopefully my guilt is a normal feeling and will subside as we travel through the recovery process. There’s no standard operating procedure manual for this process and I’ll simply just do what I can to support my husband and daughters❤️
Jason is now able to use his right hand so much more! While holding his hand yesterday, he gave mine a tight squeeze! We find delight in the small things. Small things have become big ones! I continue to be proud of his strength and willingness to work hard in his healing! I’m blessed and lucky to be his wife.
Some of Jason’s friends have reached out to me on FB, with private messages or friend requests. Please- feel free to “friend” me if you like. Any friend of his is a friend of mine. Well… 99% of you, anyway. Based on what he’s told me, the other 1% are sketchy. LOL. Kidding!
Wishing all of you holiday blessings. Hug your loved ones with hard hugs!
Xoxo Dawn

 12/26: 9;04pm

Today was Jason’s best day yet! I hadn’t seen him since last night, which was making me sad. He was well rested, and very happy to see Haley and me. He was so much more articulate and FUNNY! His quick wit is coming back and so is his ability to speak. Today was a GOOD day! First day in the last ten that I didn’t cry:) Even though I found out it’s gonna cost $832 to fix my Jeep, I STILL didn’t cry:) Woop Woop!

 

 

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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 

beer, diabetic, gym, love, low carb, Sleeve, Surgery, T1d, Uncategorized, VERTICAL SLEEVE GASTRECTOMY, VSG, weight loss

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

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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 

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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!

F2F Friday, low carb, Memorial Day, Sleeve, Surgery, Uncategorized, VERTICAL SLEEVE GASTRECTOMY, VSG, weight loss

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

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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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diabetic, diet, insulin pump, love, low carb, Sleeve, Surgery, T1d, Uncategorized, VERTICAL SLEEVE GASTRECTOMY, VSG, weight loss

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

 

 

Uncategorized

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