Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mr. Mac is a trooper

I have been thinking about getting plastic surgery. I go back and forth on it and Mr. Mac isn't too thrilled about the idea either -- mostly because of the money.

But I realized the other day -- when some women on OH were bitching about their husbands bitching about their shrinking boobage -- that I had never actually told him that I am looking into getting a breast reduction.

Last night I sprang the news -- hey, I waited until after Christmas so as not to spoil it -- and asked him if he'd be upset. His immediate, uncontrolable reaction, was this sad pout. But he manned up and said "No, of course I won't be upset."

Liar! But, believe me, I appreciated the effort.

I also showed him what I was thinking in terms of size and he agreed that it wasn't THAT small. Plus, they should be much perkier. So maybe he won't be too disappointed with the actual results.

The thing is, I really need to do this. My back is killing me from being so top heavy and that part of the body shows no signs of leaving me any time soon. As attached to them as he is, Mr. Mac understands that. He really is a sweetheart.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Barney Stinson and Food Choices

I'm a big fan of the TV show "How I met your Mother" and I think Neil Patrick Harris' Barney Stinson is one of the best characterizations on tv. What does this have to do with weight loss surgery? Well, aside from the fact that (I assume) Barney doesn't "do" fat chicks, a lot.

But first, some background. The other day I was reading a post online somewhere where a person said something to the effect of "I used to be one of those people who lied to themselves -- I'd have a Diet Coke and a Cheeseburger."

Perhaps this isn't how she meant it, but the implication I got is that if you have a cheeseburger, you should have a regular Coke and anything else is just "fooling yourself" about your food choices.

I've seen this attitude a lot and, quite frankly, it gets on my nerves. It's based on the premise that food is either Good or Bad and so are people.

So Diet Coke is Good and if you drink one, you are Good. But Cheeseburgers are Bad and if you eat one, you are Bad. So if you are going to be Bad, you need to be 100% Bad or you are just lying to yourself.

See how ridiculous that is?

The reality is that food is just fuel. Some choices are better than others and some days we make better choices than others. It has nothing to do with Good or Bad and it's definitely not all or nothing.

Which gets me back to Barney.

Next week on HIMYM is a repeat of the Crazy Girl episode where Barney unveils his Crazy Girl scale of deciding if a woman is "worth it" to date. Seeing the Crazy Girl scale was an 'aha' moment for me, because it articulates an approach to food that I have been working into my life for some time. Only now it has a name and cool graphics - whee!

The Crazy Girl scale works something like this: Plot how crazy the woman you are dating is against the X axis. Then move up the Y axis based on how good-looking she is. The crazier she is, the better looking she has to be in order for dating her to be "worth it."

I imagine Barney's scale looks something like this:



With possibly a little shoutout to The Bro Code worked in there somehow.

So now let's apply this to food. Okay, food isn't exactly the same as a dating partner. It won't slash your tires when you dump it, for example. But it does have a calories/nutritional value and it does have an enjoyment factor (usually measured by taste) and you can plot one against the other.

So how do you decide if a particular food is worth eating?

Plot the calories against the X axis and taste against the Y axis. The higher in calories a food is, the better it has to taste to be worth it. Take a lesson from Barney and never date eat women food, that isn't "worth it".

My own personal Tasty Food scale looks something like this:



Since I've adopted this approach to food, I enjoy it more. I'm not beating myself up about eating "bad" food because there is no such thing. I also don't eat junk that I don't really enjoy that much just because the rest of the world thinks of it as a big "treat." When I do have a "treat", it's something I really enjoy and when I stop enjoying it (usually after a bite or two), I stop eating it because it's fallen below the line.

But the best thing about this approach is that food has less power over me because I'm not casting it in the role of moral arbitrator. It's no longer a measure of my own worth, but just something I put in my body to fuel it in an enjoyable way.

Or at least that's goal.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Neither High Nor Low

and it's a good thing!

I just had some labs done. I was supposed to have my three month follow-up visit about now, but it got postponed until January and the labs were for that. After my last set of labs in the ER with their little Ls and Hs everywhere, I was worried. But my labs were actually great, with one or two exceptions.

My potassium, which I've been struggling with since I went on the blood pressure meds two years ago is now completely normal, right in the middle of the range. Yeah!

My Vitamin D, which I began serious supplementation of when I got my pre-op labs done and saw how low it was, is right up where I want it to be, higher than I was aiming for, in fact.

A lot of stuff that has been L for a while, but my doctor said is often L and not to worry about it, is no longer L. (It's all this stuff that starts with MC and I can't figure out what half of it is. But it's normal, whatever it is.)

All the stuff that was H when I was in the ER is now normal. All the stuff that was L is now normal too, except my protein levels, which are still slightly low. Darn. I am so sick of pushing protein. I never did get up to 100 g a day, but I was up to 90 g. So now I'm going to try harder to get in those extra 10 grams.

I would like both my magnesium and iron to be higher, though. They are within normal range, but at the bottom of it. I was taking a chewable multi-vitamin before and it was low in magnesium. I am now able to swallow a regular multivitamin and it has about 10x the magnesium in it that the chewable has. So I'm hopeful that will be enough.

For the iron, I am going to switch around and take my calcium first thing in the morning with my protein shake and my multi at lunch when I'm not consuming gobs of calcium. I have a feeling the iron in my multivitamin was being clobbered by the calcium in my shakes. I may also start supplementing the iron, but I'd really rather not do that since you can get too much iron and supplementing it does tend to constipate you.

So overall, I'm happy. I figured my labs would be much better, but I didn't expect them to be this much better.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Why am I hungry?

This week I have been so hungry. I don't understand it. I thought I wouldn't feel hunger again until at least a year out. Now it's not horrible, crippling hunger like before. But it's still annoying.

I hope it's because it's *that* time of the month. I like to blame things on hormones anyway, so why not?

There is also the theory that it's because I'm working out so much more ... longer and more intensely and back to 4-5 times a week instead of three. But, still, that goes against the "you won't be hungry until around 14-18 months" that I was told originally.

I guess I can talk to Dr. Awesome about it, but if he says "it's head hunger," I might have to kill him. And that would be very awkward, what with having to go to prison and all.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Just call me a Triathlete

Last night I signed up to do a triathlon. It's in April at Folsom Lake. I'm not 100% sure where Folsom Lake is, but it appears to be local. I think that should be plenty of time to get ready. I'm already done with Week III of "Couch-to-5k" and should be able to run a 5K by the end of January. I'm up to about 6 miles on the bike in just 30 minutes so that's going well too.

The only snag is that I have nowhere to swim. There is no pool at the free gym at work and gyms with pools cost lots of money. Not to mention the gym I want to join cost even more money. But it's awesome (she whines).

The place has EVERYTHING. They have a lap pool and an "activity" pool and a wading pool and a jacuzzi. And that's just outside. The woman's locker room has a jacuzzi too. Plus some saunas. There are 4 studios, one for spin classes, one for "Pilates Reformer" and 3 for free-form stuff. They have over 100 classes of various kinds a week. The upstairs has an entire room of cardio machines -- ellipitals, stairmasters, treadmills, bikes and all sorts of other things I've never heard of. There is another room with weight machines and another with free weights. They also have a kids section where they will babysit your kids and let them do fitness things. You get three free hours of babysitting a day.

There are also gyms and racquetball courts and tennis courts and all sorts of other courts with tournaments and classes and leagues. There are trainers available too. You get a certain number of training sessions and nutritional consults with your membership and then you can choose to purchase more, if you want.

Oops, I think I'm drooling. Again.

Not only is the equipment awesome, but the place is friendly and family-oriented with lots of social activities going on too. I really, really, really, really want to join. But Mr. Mac says we can't afford it. It's true that 24 Hour Fitness is slightly cheaper but only slightly and they SUCK. Plus our local Y hasn't even got a pool! (I thought all Ys had to have pools, but apparently not.) But, he's right that we can't afford it, or even 24 Hour Fitness. So I will have to find another way.

Oh I also haven't got a bike yet. I had a bike, but it's a mountain bike, not a road bike, and, anyway, MacBoy was using it and someone stole it from the local BART station. But I'm going to buy a bike for Christmas. Once I figure out what kind to buy.

I'll need a wet suit too but I want to wait until right before the race so the thing still fits me on race day.

Part of me thinks I'm crazy and is scared to death that I did this. But part of me is super excited. I've always thought triathlons looked like a lot of fun (until you got to the running part). I love to bike and swim. Running is just okay, but there was a time when I absolutely hated it so "just okay" is a major attitude shift for me.

Happy Holidays

With the holidays upon us, I've been going to parties like crazy. I'm going to another one tomorrow. The first big one was for work. It was at SF City Hall and was, as usual, quite the extravaganza. There was food everywhere and an open bar. I had decided beforehand that I was going to have one or two bites of everything that looked good, even dessert, with no regard for carbs or calories. And I did.

It was great. I had one small appetizer beforehand (waiters were running around with plates of food offering them to us all night), a small plate of food as "dinner" and 5 bites of dessert. Every time I ate something that wasn't as good as I thought it looked, I stopped eating it after one bite. If it was really good, I had two. I didn't feel different from anyone else -- my plate had just as much food as theirs -- and I was completely satisfied with what I ate. I thought about eating more, but didn't want to.

Then, when I logged my food for that night, I hadn't gone over my carb allowance or my calorie allowance for the day! All of this made me much happier about life and much more secure that I can do this and keep the weight I lose off without being "on a diet" for the rest of my life.

Then we had a small potluck at work and again I felt like I was eating normally. I had less choices of food -- there were a lot of carb-based entrees -- but I had what I wanted and did well on the calorie and carb front. Plus my Banana Protein muffins were a BIG hit.

Tomorrow I'm going to make "bites" for the potluck I'm going to on Sunday. I am working on perfecting my "Italian Garden Delight" bite recipe. Yes, I'm cooking these days. It's fun and -- cross your fingers -- I haven't had to go the ER due to a cooking episode yet. (Yes, I have sent myself to the ER while cooking in the past.) I had to throw out an entire batch of White Chocolate Fruit Dip because it sucked big time, but no injuries or cooking fires to date. I may get the hang of this cooking thing yet!

If I can get my Italian Bites to come out this time (too much oregano last time), I'll post the recipe.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Where my head is at

My head is in a weird place. I haven't been blogging about it because I can't even figure out what to say.

One second I'm so happy I had my sleeve. Maybe I can put on a pair of pants that didn't used to fit. Or someone at work complements me on my weight loss. Or I realize that I haven't felt hungry all day except at meal times in an appropriate amount.

The next second I am annoyed with myself. Maybe I only lost one pound this week. Or I look at a picture of myself and realize I'm a lot bigger than I think I am. Or I skip going to the gym and suffer the consequences on the scale.

Then, a second later, I'm wondering what the f*** did I do to myself? This usually happens after I eat too fast or too much. But the other day I felt hungry all day. WTF? I'm not supposed to feel hungry like that. I didn't have this surgery so I could feel hungry all the time! Oh wait, I forgot to take my PPI again, didn't I? Oops.

Then, whatever it is passes, and I'm happy again. For now.

Am I going nuts? Supposedly as we lose fat we release estrogen into our system and that can cause mood swings. But I've lost weight before without getting on such an emotional roller coaster.

Maybe I'm just impatient. I do know that part of me wants to be done with weight loss and on to maintenance. So anything that reminds me I'm not done, that I'm only a little over two months out and have a ways to go, does tend to piss me off.

The other thing that I'm sure is a factor is that I really like to be normal. Not boring normal, but not someone who had a childhood that could be made into a Movie-of-the-Week. Now this is the silliest of them all because the average middle-aged woman doesn't dye her hair blue or listen to The Killers or breastfeed her kids past letsjustsayitwasalongtime or do half the things I do and wouldn't change for the world.

So first of all, I will never be normal and, secondly, I'd be horrified if by some miracle I could manage it. But that doesn't stop me from being unhappy every time my sleeve asserts itself and reminds me that I have medicalized myself in my quest to control my weight.

And I think that may be the bottom line. I tried to pick the surgery that medicalized me the least while still being effective, but I did have surgery. There is no getting around that. I had surgery and I wouldn't change that because having surgery is the only effective treatment we've got for morbid obesity. I had to do something and I just couldn't go on one more diet knowing that it wouldn't work in the long run.

But I that doesn't stop me from wanting to live as normal a life as I can and not be a freak of nature.

I guess I need to learn to embrace my freakiness just like I embraced my blue hair and all the other things I do that are right for me, but make other people scratch their heads. So I will try. But I think it might take a while.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Dec. Edition

The Good; my size 14s are getting loose, I wore a size Medium jacket this week, and this feels like a big pounder week vs. yet another one pounder week.

The Bad: I had 75 g of carbs today without even realizing it. Plus I missed two doses of calcium.

The Ugly: Another really stupid article trashing WLS. Luckily for my sanity, I have lost the link to it so I can't post it here. The ironic thing is that the author's blog is supposedly about exposing fraud in science. Too bad she doesn't expose her own fraud.

I have always thought that if you have to lie make your point, you don't have one. And this article as full of lies, rumors and faulty logic.

One particular lie:

In the more than forty years that bariatric surgeries have been performed, there have been no randomized, controlled clinical trials that have shown any long-term improvements to actual health or that lives are saved or extended by these surgeries — not any of the dozens of types and variations being performed, and certainly none of the new procedures claiming to be better and safer.

Really? So I guess all the randomized studies I've read that showed long-term improvements in health were just a figment of my imagination.

Bah.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

OH in San Ramon

Yesterday I went to San Ramon for a WLS conference put on by ObesityHelp. I had a blast!

I got my RMR tested -- as suspected, my metabolism is slightly lower than average for my age, weight, height and gender. But not by a lot.

I sampled a lot of food, both yummy (protein bars) and bizarre (some weird "health" drinks). Oh and the organizers always had WLS friendly food available so I never had to dip into my beef jerky stash. I even got hard boiled eggs for breakfast. Yum.

I met a lot of people, both new to me and somewhat known to me from the OH forums.

I came home with lots of samples including a new protein powder that I really liked and a lot of vitamin samples.

The talks were great, too. Ramon gave an inspirational talk and made me cry. Damn you, Ramon. The OH fitness expert Jeremy Gentles gave a talk about exercise and its place in your weight loss program, with a big plug for strength training. I'm going a lot of cardio now because I'm training for a Triathlon, but I really need to start the strength training and this was a good reminder of why.

They also had a Plastic Surgeon talk and then afterwards I had a consult. It was mostly good news. He thinks I'll need a bi-directinal tummy tuck which will get rid of my yucky gallbladder scar and replace it with a nicer one and it will get rid of my c-section scars too. Then, if I need a breast reduction, which he seemed to think I would, insurance might pay for it. Which would make the cost much more affordable. The only bad news is that I have underarm fat that will look bad if I get the breast reduction/lift and so should be removed too.

I am more hopeful about the whole thing though now. It's good to know I'll be able to afford it, which was a big fear for me. Now I just need to start researching Plastic Surgeons.

The event ended with a dynamic presentation by Eggface and Melting Momma. They made all sorts of food for us and we got to sample it and learn some techniques. One of the items was a protein shake that had been put into an ice cream maker to turn it into ice cream. Since I have trouble with the protein shakes, I thought a new way to make them was good to know. I particularly liked the Pizza Bites. "Bites" are these things that Eggface invented that are like a crustless mini-quiche. The rest of the stuff was more of the sweet stuff that doesn't appeal to me these days. Not that I let this stopped me from trying it all; after all, if you don't try, how do you know?

After the event, I went home and ran over to Bed, Bath and Beyond and bought an ice cream maker! Then today I made some more Chocolate Pumpkin Protein brownies and my = own attempt at Italian Garden Veggie Bites. The Bites weren't bad but I put in too much Italian Seasonings. I also used cheddar cheese and I'm thinking maybe mozzarella would be better. I'm going to try again tomorrow.

I think I might be turning into a ... GASP ... cook!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Two Month Pix - 1 week late

Finally got around to posting my 2 month pictures. I think part of why I put it off is that I feel thinner than these pictures show.



Guess it's time to hit the gym again!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

2 Month Stats

So two days ago was my two month "surgiversary" (I hate that word, by the way). I still haven't found my two tape measures, but I'm at MacSIL's house and she has one. So I've got measurements!

Before I unveil them, I will give you my impression of how I've been losing. It appears that I am losing from the outer extremities in. My arms and neck and face are positively tiny. My legs are also getting visibly smaller, but are still muscular so will probably never be tiny. The middle is smaller, but until a few days ago, not proportionately so. For a while I had no waist, either, at least as judged by how my pants fit. Also, the last time I bought bras, I had gone down two sizes in the band but actually went UP a size in the cup, leading me to conclude that my chest and back are losing faster than my tube socks, er, breasts.

So did my measurements also show this picture? Here goes:

Bust: 42" difference: 6
Chest: 34.5" difference: 8.5
Waist: 36" difference: 6
Stomach: 45" difference: 8
Hips: 48" difference: 6
Thighs: right: 22", left: 22.5" difference: 3/2.5
Calves: 14.5" difference: 1.5/2
Arm: right: 12.5", left: 12" difference: 2.5/2

So it looks like I'm losing more off my stomach than I thought, but otherwise this is about as expected.

The grand total lost: forty-eight inches! Woot, woot!

P.S. Pictures to come as soon as I can grab someone to shoot some.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

131!

I just got my cholesterol test back from giving blood. It's 131!!

It's never been that low before. The lowest it's been on a low-fat diet was 157. When I started this blog, it had crept up to 195 and that was scaring me.

But my high protein and low carb diet is kicking my cholesterol's butt!

I wonder if it can get lower and still have enough good cholesterol? I also wonder what my good cholesterol level is (since the blood bank never tells me that).

Friday, November 21, 2008

I hate to shop for clothes! (Part II)

I hate to shop for clothes!

I wrote a really long diatribe about this about a year ago on my Family blog. In response, some moron posted a comment to the effect of "why don't you lose weight, you fat slob". (Naturally I deleted it. Morons don't need a platform.)

So here it is, a year later. I have lost 55 pounds. I still hate to shop.

Maybe I'm just doing it wrong?

Anyway, last weekend, armed with a 30% off coupon for Banana Republic, The Gap and Old Navy, I took Mini-Mac to the mall. I have plenty of clothes right now, but they aren't my clothes. That feeling you get as you age, when you look in the mirror and you see your mom looking back, is very much heightened when you are wearing her clothes!

I wanted a pair of comfortable pants with pockets. This does not seem like too much to ask for.

So I started at one end of the mall and worked my way down. First I went to Pac-Sun. I liked the music. Plus I like casual, fun clothes. But they only carry Junior sizes and I have breasts and hips. I tried on an XL jacket and couldn't even zip it up even though I'm almost in a Medium in Misses sizes. So I bought Mini-Mac a jacket instead.

Then I went from store to store. All the stores that had clothes I liked only carried Junior sizes. The rest had stuff I'd never wear. Victoria's Secret had my band size, but their cup sizes only went up to a C in that band size. That's 3 sizes too small for me.

We finally ended up, exhausted, at The Gap. The Gap claims to have jeans in three lengths. But "Ankle" length (Ankle? Whatever happened to Petite or even Short?) were not actually carried in that store. I would have to buy online and I really need to try on my clothes before I buy, which makes online buying less than convenient. So I bought Mini-Mac four pairs of jeans instead.

By the end of the day, Mini-Mac had a new pair of boots, four pairs of jeans, a cute t-shirt and a new jacket. I had a .... new necklace.

I think part of the problem is that my local mall sucks. It sucks so bad, I have decided to call it the New Park Mall of Suck. I might have had better luck at the Not-so Great Mall in the next town down. Or if I'd gone across the foothills to Pleasonton. There's a good mall where my kids go to school, too, but it's an hour away from the house.

But even if I'd gone to a mall with a better selection, I think I would still have this problem. Part of it is that I like youthful, edgy things and those kinds of clothes don't tend to come in Misses sizes. Part of it is that I don't know how to shop so there are probably stores and items in stores that could be great for me, but I don't know how to find them.

Case in point: there is actually a decent Plus Sizes store in the New Park Mall of Suck that I never knew about. Of course, I'm too small for it now and now is when I finally realize that a store called Basics Plus is not a store that sells Basics, plus some other things, but a store that sells Basics in Plus sizes. Silly me.

The other problem is that I'm a weird shape. I'm losing weight from my outer extremities in so I have a big pot belly and big breasts. But my arms and legs and shoulders are tiny. So if something fits over my big boobs, it is too big in my shoulders. Jackets that fit me on top, don't button across my stomach. Pants that fit over my stomach, bag in the arse. And so forth and so on.

This state of affairs will improve, of course, but even at my thinest, I will still have narrow shoulders and wide hips. I will have more of a selection though. So I guess this shopping thing will get easier.

I'm just disappointed that technically I'm in "regular" sizes and yet I can't shop at "regular" stores.

Monday, November 17, 2008

WOWs for the Week

I had a good week this week.

First, I lost five pounds! That's the max I ever lose in a week so that's great. Plus I'm now in the 160s. I only have to lose about 10-15 more to be where Dr. Awesome wants me to be by Dec. 24th. I think, even with Thanksgiving coming up, that's completely doable.

Then I got out my boxes of size 14 clothes to see if there where any more I could fit into and I fit into almost all of them! There were only a few shirts and some pants I couldn't get into. But -- unlike what I was expecting -- I could wear at least half the pants including these sharp Liz Claibourne pin-striped pants that are truly a 14P. Whee!

Then today I decided to wear a dress to work. It's one SusieWong gave me when I was in Vegas. It's black so I dug out my black heels. The ones I bought to wear to MacMIL's funeral and never fit me right because they always squeezed the top part of my feet. Well, today they fit! In fact, one's a bit loose. So it looks like even my feet are skinnier! Dare I hope to go back to a size 6 in shoes? Probably not after two kids, but maybe I can get back to a 6 1/2.

Also, when I got to work, people wanted to know if I'd been interviewing -- which is Engineering Talk for "you don't look like a schlubby engineer."

Finally, I'm doing much better at getting in my fluids and my protein. Given that I have to get 100 g of protein a day now, that's been quite challenging. I haven't quite got to that point but I'm averaging around 95 g a day and I do get 64 oz. of fluid most days. Now I just have to do that every day and maybe even go over some days and I'll feel truly out of the woods in terms of kidney stones.

On the negative side, I had a bad experience with shopping yesterday (how I hate to shop, especially at the New Park Mall of Suck) and also I'm dealing with a lot of head issues over not being able to eat what I want. But let's keep those for another post on another day as this is my Happy Post, so no negativity is allowed.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A glimpse of my future

Last weekend I went to Las Vegas (a.k.a. Vegas, Babee) to meet up with the "Lightweights" from Obesity Help, a message board I kind of live at. Everyone there, except Mini-Mac, has had weight loss surgery. More than half were at goal, or close to it. We had a lot of bypassers, one DSer and me, the VSG girl. No lap banders though. Maybe next time.

Anyway, it was a very, very interesting experience! I got to see how people at goal eat, including ordering at restaurants, go shopping in an outlet mall, hike Red Rocks Canyon and even scored some new clothes! I also learned something about myself.

The first thing I learned is that, as crazy as my restriction drives me, I really need it. I am so glad I got the sleeve and not a band or bypass. With those surgeries, if you are eating out with friends and someone brings out a really great desert, but you are full, you can drink something and wash the food out of your pouch so you have room for more. There were at least three times during the weekend when I totally would have done that, if I could.

Not so I could eat gobs and gobs. In most cases I really only wanted one or two more bites -- bites I'll be able to take in a few months when my stomach is more healed. But it's a slippery slope. I don't know how people with those surgeries do it. I clearly haven't got that kind of self-control.

As it was, I ate a lot more than normal anyway. If you take an hour to finish your meal, you can fit more in because the stuff you ate at the beginning is already through by about 20-30 minutes. Plus, there is nothing to stop you from eating every hour. Not that I did that, but I did eat more "meals" than normal. I did still lose weight (1 pound) that week but it was a very timely reminder that weight loss surgery is not a magic bullet and that I'll always have to watch myself to keep from slipping back into bad habits.

The other thing I learned is that I still have a lot of weight to lose! I had trouble keeping up at times and, at the Ann Taylor outlet, I couldn't fit into any of the petite pants because they only went up to 14P (which I can sometimes where, but usually not in pants). Plus in the pictures, you can see I'm much heavier than the rest of them. I've lost so much weight (50 pounds!) and I tend to think of myself as smaller than I am anyway, so I was thinking I looked a lot better than I do.

Finally, I learned how to make a decent protein shake! I had to go out and buy a Magic Bullet to do it, but it's been totally worth it. I'm now not choking the things down hoping for the best and taking an hour to finish 4 oz. I also picked up a great recipe for these chocolate muffins that I'm going to make for Thanksgiving and I got to try shirataki noodles and they were yummy. I will now proceed to inflict them on my family even though they will probably not appreciate it one bit.

Friday, November 7, 2008

ER Follow-up

So I went to see Dr. Awesome today to follow-up on my ER visit.

First, the good news. All the exercising I've been doing has kick started my weight loss and now I'm back on track.

The bad news? My labs looks AWFUL. I'm malnourished which is "unheard of" with my surgery type. (Trust me to do things the hard way.)

I can't believe how much they've deteriorated over the past eight weeks, in fact. It seems like most of it probably happened last week when I was having trouble getting in my water and then I started having trouble getting in my protein. Then, it didn't help that I gave blood. And went to my hip hop class that night.

Put like that it sounds pretty stupid, but at the time I was feeling pretty good and kind of proud of myself for being so strong. Hey, last weekend I swam 24 laps! It's amazing how good you can feel when behind the scenes it's all going to pot.

So Dr. Awesome thinks almost passing out in class was just because I gave blood that day. That sounds reasonable to me.

The pain though was probably passing a kidney stone. Yikes. There were some signs of that in my lab reports. Interestingly enough, when I was in the ER last night I commented to Mr. Mac that I felt like I was in labor -- only less pain -- and I've heard people describe passing a kidney stone that way, so it makes sense.

To get back to healthy, I need to continue to get in my fluids like I did so far this week and I need to get even more protein. I'd been aiming for 70-100 but now I have to aim for 100 grams a day. That's pretty hard to do. It means pretty much every fluid I put in my mouth has to have protein and every meal, too. No more hot tea or plain water for a while.

I'm also supposed to add more dense protein and vegetables to my diet. I can get behind that. I miss vegetables. The dense protein scares me a bit, but I do think it's time.

I also have to take these enormous horse pills to supplement my potassium. Twice a day this week and then once a day from that point on. I can cut them in half, which is good, because there's no way I can choke them down whole.

Finally, no more giving blood for at least six months. Alas, the February drive will go on without me.

All I can say at this point is that my instincts that I was not a good candidate for the gastric bypass or duodenal switch because they were too much surgery for me is looking pretty good. Can you imagine what state I'd be in right now if I was adding malabsorption to the picture?

This does reinforce to me that this is a big surgery even if you pick one of the safer ones though. Sometimes it's easy to lose sight of that. I see this all the time on the boards. People are afraid of bypass so they decide to get a lap band because it's "safe" and then are shocked when things go wrong.

If you are reading this and haven't had your surgery yet, be sure to take the complications seriously and follow what your program says to do to prevent/minimize them or you, too, can be in the ER giving "birth" to a hunk of calcium.

Back from the ER

After the incident in my Hip Hop class where I almost fainted and Securitiy had to be called, I figured I'd sleep it off and feel fine n the morning.

But it didn't quite work out that way.

It started around 11 am when I decided to bail on my yucky protein shake and just drink a glass of milk. As I was drinking, I felt this kind of spasm and then a sharp stabbing pain under my left breast. Then, over the course of the day, it got worse. The pains got sharper and it became easier and easier to set them off. I also got a corresponding pain in my back that was more throbbing and chronic that the pain in front.

So around 1:00 pm, I had someone from work drive me to the ER at El Camino Hospital. I picked that one because it was close to work and they have a bariatic department. Later on, I realized I should have gone to Stanford because my family doctor has privileges there. I guess my brain wasn't quite working.

They admitted me pretty fast and started some tests. First they had me pee in a cup, took a bunch of blood out, gave me an EKG and a chest xray. All that went reasonably fast, well, ER fast, anyway. Then I got moved out of the "Fast Track" section of the ER and into a regular room. They told me a nurse would be in to see me and then abandoned me for almost an hour.

During that time, my pain became quite intense. In fact, at one point I was curled up in a little ball, crying. I had to tried to get someone's attention to get pain killers before (there was no call button in the room) without success, but this time when I went to the doorway, I must have looked like crap because suddenly people appeared out of nowhere to help me.

They started out giving me really good drugs -- toradol and something I never caught the name of but they said it was stronger than morphine. At one point they said my potassium was low and I had to choke down massive quantities
of liquid potassium (about 12 oz.). Then they came back and said my D-Dimer was "elevated". This could mean I had a blood clot or it could be that my D-Dimer is always like that. So I got sent for a CT scan.

It came back fine so they discharged me with some prescriptions for percocet and reglan. I never even cracked open the reglan I got when I came home from the hospital so I only filled the percocet scrip. Then I waited to see what would happen.

Oh wait, first I called Dr. Awesome. I don't think I fully communicated how much pain I was in and I definitely forgot to tell him about almost fainting at Hip Hop class. Because he seemed to think it was just that I recently started on solid food. But there isn't anyway that half a protein bar could be causing all this. He told me to come see him tomorrow just in case, though, and at that point I think we'll be able to get to the bottom of this.

Then, the pain meds from the hospital started to wear off, so I took some percocet. It took about two hours to actually start working. At which point, the nausea kicked in. That's such a rare reaction to pain meds for me that I almost forgot about the reglan. But eventually my brain did kick in and I did take some. And threw up anyway. Just water though, not the pain pills.

Then the itching intensified. Next I felt woozy whenever I was upright, but when I laid down, I was wide wake. Which is why I pretty much didn't get any sleep all night. The pain stayed a way until almost 6:00 am, though, so that's good.

I hope 8:30 am comes soon so I can get my appointment and get up to San Francisco to see the doctor.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Giving blood

When you give blood and they say not to do anything strenuous for 24
hours, apparently they really mean it.

I'll write more when they are done running all the tests.

Sent from my iPhone in the ER.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Yacked at work

They say not to try new things in public. There is a REASON FOR THIS.

Dummy me was desperate for veggies and so had some at lunch in the cafeteria with a friend. They were probably okay but I also had some chicken salad and the combo or the quantity or something was just too much. I tried to wait it out, but I could feel everything rising. So I ran to the Women's Room and YACKED! Then I felt better.

At least the person I was with was understanding and not judgmental.

But I'm definitely having trouble with portion control. I can't really feel my full signals. Or maybe I ignore them because I feel like I *ought* to be able to have 1 to 2 oz. of whatever it is even if my sleeve says today it only can take in 1/2 to 1 oz?

The veggies were good though. I want to have them again. But without yacking. Because yacking is gross.

Random notes

I know I have TWO tape measures in my house. One I've had forever and one I bought to do my measurements for this blog because I couldn't find that one. So now I can't find either!

I guess I'll have to buy a third and this time remember where I hid it.

In other news, last week was a bad week. I couldn't get my fluids in and everything I tried made it worse so by the end of the week, I wasn't getting my protein in either. But this is a new week and I feel better about everything. I can drink pretty fast now without getting that pain my chest so it's just a matter of keeping at it and not getting distracted. I also just ate a scrambled egg and I got the whole egg down and could probably have room for more. But I think I'll go vote instead.

Plus, I was getting queasy every time I drank a lot of water and I think that's because I'm also constipated. Last night I was in a lot of pain, but was able to get through it. (And that's all I'll say about that!) So now I have one more thing to try to get more of in my diet... fiber!

Yesterday I decided to have broccoli cheese soup for dinner. I was really worried about the fat in it so I was very glad it was the 98% fat free kind. I had Mr. Mac add skim milk instead of 2% as well. Then I'm looking at my totals for the day and I see it: 49 g of carbs! How did that happen? It was all the soup. Between the milk and soup, it was 33 g of carbs and only a very small amount of protein. At least the soup helped me make my fluid goals.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hid my scale

I hid my scale Tuesday night.

Okay, Mr. Mac hid it. If I hid it, I would be taking it out again on a regular basis. He's supposed to bring it out Sunday night/Monday morning before he goes to work so I can do my weekly weigh-in on Monday morning.

I was driving myself crazy weighing myself every day, moaning over how "little" I was losing and decided I had to stop. Hopefully I will get used to it, but it's been hard and it's only been two days of not weighing.

I never used to be this bad. I would weigh more than once a week when I was on structured diets like Jenny Craig. But as long as the scale went down one pound a week, I'd be happy. In fact, as long as it went down at all, I would be okay with it.

This time I am weighing myself like crazy and if the scale isn't going down half a pound a DAY, I am miserable.

I guess that proves it's all relative. Plus I've started watching that horrible "The Biggest Loser" show and one of the woman on there -- Colleen -- was my weight when I started watching and this week she passed me by a pound. Bitch. (Just kidding. I love Colleen -- she's the only one who makes that show watchable.)

Anyway, being without my scale has been harder than I thought it would be. Hopefully I will adjust to it since my head believes weighing more than once a week is bad.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Frustrated and Emotional

So today I weighed myself for my official weekly weigh in. I really only ought to weigh myself once a week. But I find myself weighing the day before Monday (to get a sneak peek) and the day after (just to make sure) and then a few other times in the week to see how it’s going. I can't seem to help myself even though I know I'm driving myself crazy, particularly on weeks like this past one that did not show weight loss every time I got on the scale.

Yesterday I was at 177, down two pounds for the week. Not happy about it, but not sad either. I also had a secret hope that I'd be down another half pound today for a total of 2.5. I only count the whole pounds (scales aren't accurate enough for more than that in my opinion) so it wouldn't have appeared in any of the places I'm tracking my weight. But I would have known about it and that would have made me happy.

Get on the scale today and what do I see? 177.5. Half a pound gain since yesterday. Which rounds to 178, which makes it a whole freaking pound lost all week instead of two.

Now I'm upset. I am sitting in my cube tearing up like a big baby. Because I "only" lost one pound instead of two. Geez. I'm really losing it, aren't I? Maybe it's the hormones being released out of my fat making me freaking emotional for no reason. I’d love it to be that, because it means I’m not crazy.

But more likely it's because I thought this would be easier. Other "lightweights" lose 20-30 pounds the first month and sometimes they aren’t even exercising very hard. I fully expected to be one of them. I like being a star and I was always a weight loss star before.

Now I've cut myself up (okay, Dr. Awesome cut me, but I paid him to do it) and made permanent changes to my anatomy and I'm not a star. Even though I swear that I am following all the rules as best I can. Yesterday was Mini-Mac's birthday party and I didn't have cake. I had a protein shake. I've been really, really good about my food. I’ve been working out. My step count is back to what it was pre-op.

Then again, I am not drinking all my fluids. It's not for lack of trying. I am even making myself stay up until 1 and 2 in the morning trying desperately to get in at least 48 oz. so I don’t dehydrate and end up in the ER. But I don't think I've hit 64 oz. in over a week and that's bad.

I also didn’t work out four times last week, like I promised myself I would. I didn’t go to the new gym to check out the pool and see if I want to join either. I made appointments at two different gyms with pools and didn’t get to either of them. My step count still isn’t up to 10,000 a day either.

So I can say I'm following all the rules, but but I'm only at about 80% right now and there is definitely room for improvement.

I'm kind of dreading my next check-up too. I need to lose another 15-25 pounds between now and then to be “on track” and I’m scared it won’t happen. Which is dumb, because it's not for two months and who knows what will happen between now and then.

Not only that, but obsessing over this and the frustration of being a "slow loser" is robbing me of real satisfaction at what I have accomplished so far and I have accomplished a lot.

Instead of feeling good about it, I feel rather overwhelmed. I didn't get much done this past weekend and I've got a lot to do at work now and I still am having issues concentrating and being focused. I still have orders to fill for my failed business and we still haven't filed our taxes for 2007.

Add in the fluids and finding time to exercise and only being able to eat 1-2 oz. at a time and sometimes I think my brain is about to explode.

One thing I do know ... anyone out there who thinks this is the easy way out isn't paying attention.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Scars - 1 month out

Another pictures of my scars. They are healing rather nicely, I think. I'm not ready to take a bath yet, though. But I am going swimming this week.

One Month Out

I was at one month on Friday. Took some pictures, or rather Mr. Mac did, but for various reasons they all had to be redone. So he took some more yesterday. I'm still not happy with them, mainly because I look a lot fatter than I feel. But that's a recurring theme with me. I'm down at least a size since a month ago but I don't think there is a big difference visually.



I thought I was doing better about not listing to the side too. I guess I need to go back to the balance games on WiiFit.



I'm wearing my 16Ps in these shots, by the way. Whee!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My latest goals

I posted this on another site and decided to make a permanent record here.

1) To give my inner "skinny bitch" a body that matches, just like she deserves.
2) To live into my 90s as one of those cantakerous little old ladies with 10x as much energy as the youngsters I run circles around
3) To get off my BP meds (completed)
4) To go swimming with my daughter and stop making excuses every time she asks because I don't want to deal with the bathing suit in public
5) To start ballroom dancing, get a partner and compete on the amateur circuit
6) To get rid of my plantar fasciitis once and for all (not just put it into remission as it is now)
7) To be at least a size 10, maybe smaller, and to shop in regular stores and not just the fat old lady department at Macys
8) To get rid of my GERD (completed)
9) To get down to 175 (mini-goal)
9) To get down to 135 (re-evaluation goal)
12) To walk 10,000 steps a day at least 4 days a week

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Non-Scale Victories

-I am now in a size that is small enough that I can't take off my pants unless I take off my shoes first. (Yes, Virginia, size 20 pants have legs that are so wide that they are wider than my feet are small.)

-My BMI is now less than my husband's and I gave him some of my old sweatshirts and unisex shirts that don't fit me any more. (I don't think he was as happy about that as I was.)

-My plantar fasciitis seems to be in remission. (Crossing fingers that it doesn't come back.)

-My blood pressure was 110/84 the other day -- without blood pressure meds.

Apparently, I'm IT

I got tagged. Or something. :D

So I'm supposed to list eight things no one knows about me. That's going to be hard because I tend to tell everyone everything about me. Maybe I should be less free with the information so my secrets wouldn't be do dark. I'll try to think of some fun ones though.

1) If you've ever played the Mac game "Beyond Dark Castle", when the little hero-dude stops running around to pant and catch his breath ... that's me doing the panting!

2) I think shaving your legs is stupid, but I do it anyway because sometimes I'm a sheeple.

3) I was born in Hawaii, but never lived there until I was an adult.

4) I lost my virginity at age 17.

5) My two least favorite holidays are Valentine's Day and Thanksgiving; my favorite is Christmas and I'm not even a Christian.

6) My father molested me when I was 13. When I found out about five years ago that he was dead, I was happy.

7) My favorite movie is Blade Runner.

8) I've never owned a cat or a dog for a pet.

Now I'm supposed to tag eight more people. Except all the other bloggers I know are already tagged. I'll have to think about this.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Disappointing Check-up

So today was my first follow-up visit. They weighed me and said I was 181. Well, okay. My scale says 182 and it's not Monday so in my book it doesn't count. They are also tracking my weight from the day of surgery so that squirrely, not real, 191 is considered my start weight.

That means by their records, I've lost 10 lb. since surgery. By mine it is 11. Big difference, right?

Anyway, Dr. Awesome is disappointed. Says if I keep going like this, I'm in danger of not losing all my excess weight. He asked me how I felt about it and, honestly, I've been a bit disappointed too. But I know people who have lost even less in this timeframe, my post-op bible says to expect 10-20 lb. the first month, which I've already hit 10 lb. with one week to go, and since Feb. I have lost 40% of my excess weight. So I was telling myself not to be silly. Apparently I was wrong.

Now I'm depressed.

I got the big speech after that. About calories in and exercise. There was nothing mean about it and nothing I didn't agree with. It was just depressing to get The Speech when I thought I was doing so well.

Also, Dr. Awesome doesn't believe I'm eating as little as The Daily Plate shows, but I am. That pissed me off a bit. I'm very good about writing everything down and about rounding up whenever possible to make up for any unknown errors in the other direction. I've been weighing and measuring my food like crazy too. So I don't think that's the problem.

On the other hand, I am definitely not exercising as much as I'm supposed to. I was really happy that I hit the gym TWO times this week. That's a record! I really worked that bike too. But I'm supposed to do this four times. Plus I was doing around 7000-8000 steps pre-op instead of my 10,000 goal and now I'm doing even less.

So tonight, even though we had mashed potatoes for dinner, I didn't eat with the family and had my bariatric high protein food instead. I also made Mr. Mac go for a walk with me around the neighborhood. He didn't want to go as fast as me or as far but I didn't want to be out after dark alone so we compromised. I added about 3,000 steps to my count for the day!

I need to do more though.

I made Mr. Mac get me a Wii Fit for my birthday and I've only used it once. It's rather embarrassing, in fact. Both Mr. Mac and Mini-Mac have used the program way more than I have. Maybe I need to incorporate that into my schedule too. I'm definitely spending too much time lying in bed watching TV and when I'm not doing that, I'm on the internet. None of this "activity" is particularly active.

In other news, I got my surgery report and my pathology report. My stomach was fine. I'm still working my way through the surgery report. It has lots of terms I have no idea what they mean. The pathology lab over-charged me for my biopsy though.

Oh, the problems I've been having with gurgling and the sore throat and feeling stuck and all that? Dr. Awesome doesn't think it's acid. He says it's from eating too fast. I'm not 100% convinced of this, but I can't deny I'm eating too fast. Drinking too fast too. So I will give slowing down a try and see if that helps.

Dr. Awesome also said I will probably find myself moving on to real food at a slower pace than someone who didn't get the hiatal hernia repair. Pills too. (I still can't swallow any of my vitamins.) He recommended another 3 weeks of soft food. Which means I'll be on soft food when Mini-Mac and I go to Las Vegas to join the Lightweights from Obesity Help. That should be fun -- not. At least we've all had WLS so they will understand. It might be harder around Thanksgiving when the family is going to Disneyland and San Diego. But I digress.

In other news, my hair loss is not surgery related. It's too soon for that. (That's what I said!) He recommended their hair loss hand-out that I forgot to get. Plus there is a cocktail in the bible. But it also says I can use the GNC Hair formula which is what I've already got so I think I'll stick with it.

Then I met with Amy and we talked "softs". I can have string cheese! But only if I chew it good. (Which right now I am not doing with much easier food than string cheese.) I bought some more "bariatric" food just to give myself more variety and we talked about a plan for the Disneyland trip.

So here are my assignments between now and my next check-up:

1) Drink more water
2) Exercise more
3) Eat and drink slower; chew better

You know, earlier today I was feeling overwhelmed by all this. But that's actually a pretty short list. I can do it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Going Bald

I knew that hair loss was somewhat inevitable with weight loss surgery and that there isn't much you can do about it. It tends to happen three months out and I was prepared.

But I wasn't prepared for it to start falling out at the 3 week point! Bah humbug.

Hopefully it's not a bad sign. It's not coming out in clumps, at least.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Size 16 - Whoot, Whoot!

Good lord, I'm wearing a size 16 pants and top right now. I can't believe it.

Now I can't fit into all 16s - pants with zippers and waistbands aren't quite there yet. But give me an elastic waistband and they fit like a charm.

I lost five pounds last week and five this week, too. This is much better than the first week where I spent so much time getting rid of all the fluid I picked up in the hospital that I only lost a pound of "real" weight.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good: I'm on mushies! (Soft food)

The Bad: I'm on mushies! My stomach is fine with them but it is really, really easy to eat too fast and they fill me up fairly fast. Sometimes, if I'm not paying attention, I eat too much and too fast and it's painful. Also, I had a good system for getting all my protein and fluid in with liquids and adding mushies has thrown everything off.

The Ugly: The first time I had cottage cheese, I wasn't paying attention, ate one or two bites too many and ended up worshiping the porcelain throne getting some of it to come back up so I wasn't in so much pain.

I really need to learn that it's okay to sit down and eat and do nothing else but concentrate on eating. Eating has never been that important to me ... I am always doing something else when I do it ... but I need to cut that out.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I ate oatmeal!

I had oatmeal for dinner last night and again for breakfast this morning. It wasn't very good and I didn't eat very much of it, but I guess I'm officially off "thin liquids" and onto "softs". I think I'll try cottage cheese next.

Work is going better. In hindsight, I think I should have taken a full two weeks off since I had both the sleeve and the hiatal hernia repair. But I survived the first two days and yesterday (day 3) I didn't put my head down on the desk once.

I've started looking into my bugs and I might even fix one today once I figure out what the problem is. Today is the first day I have any confidence in my ability to think clearly enough to actually change code. Actually I did okay yesterday in the meeting I had, but fixing bugs requires way more concentration than running a meeting.

I plan to work out today for the first time too. My pedometer says I'm really slacking on moving around compared to pre-op and even the first week post-op. Unfortunately I lost my workout partner to a hernia so I'm on my own. There is good and bad about that. I will concentrate on the good even though I know how hard it is for me to force myself to go to the gym without company (the bad).

I still haven't talked to Dr. Awesome about my acid. I need to do that because I don't see him in person for another 9 days and it's not getting better.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

First day back at work

Yesterday was my first day back at work. Yikes!

First, I didn't even get out of the house until about 10:30 am. I had to go back at least once for things I forgot. Then, I almost fell asleep driving in. I think all those nights of insomnia followed by days of napping took their toll on me.

When I got to work, I was so tired and out of it. For example, I got my plant back from the colleague who was minding it for me and when I went to put it back on my shelf, I missed! So now there is potting soil all over the floor of my cube.

I didn't do anything too brain intensive but even what I did do tasked me. Today I want to actually fix a bug. We'll see how that goes.

I was also a lot hungrier and it felt like I was eating a lot more, but when I got home and checked off what I had eaten for the day on The Daily Plate, I hadn't even made it above 400 calories. I'm not sure exactly what the difference was. I did get in more plain fluids -- I had some tea with no protein in it -- but I thought I was having the same amounts of protein supplements as I had at home. Obviously not.

After dinner, I also had a major bout of intestinal distress. Not pleasant at all. I feel asleep afterwards and then found myself awake again at 1:00 am. But I made myself go back to bed this time.

Hopefully, today will go better.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Stupid Acid Reflux

Man, I am full of acid. It's the pits.

The first couple of days I was okay but it's gradually gotten worse. Tonight I really want to go to bed (since I go back to work tomorrow) but I still have to choke down 8 oz. of water and a sugar free jello in order to meet my protein and fluid requirements. But it's really hard to eat/drink anything when you are full of acid and it's rising up into your throat.

The prilosec I'm taking in the mornings helps for a bit but by mid-afternoon, I can feel the acid. At first, it feels like I'm hungry. But as the evening progresses, I go from thinking I need to eat, eat, eat to thinking I couldn't possibly put anything more into my sleeve. If I haven't gotten in all my requirements before that happens, I'm a gonner.

I think I may just skip it tonight. I've gotten close enough an any more is going to just make me vomit.

I had hoped to be able to stumble along until my follow-up appointment next week but I think I'm going to have to email Dr. Awesome sooner than that because it just gets worse every day.

Post-op Hunger

Since I had the surgery, I no longer feel desperately hungry most of the time. I've noticed that I've gone from eating about every 2 hours to eating every 4 on average as well so that means I'm staying full longer. This is great!

I have felt hunger though. It's not the same as before, thank goodness, but I'd rather not feel it at all right now.

There seem to be three instances where I get "hungry" only one of which is true hunger.

1) Low blood sugar hunger - when I go too long without eating, I feel weak and shaky and "empty". It's interesting because if I was still mass producing ghrelin, I would probably also get the "EAT SOMETHING OR YOU'LL DIE" signal, but I don't. So there is this weird disconnect going on. It's not too bad though, because I just eat something and it goes away.

2) Restless hunger - this is when I find myself standing in front of the fridge and I have no idea how I got there. It tends to happen when I'm bored. When I'm working full-time, it mostly happens on the weekend as work keeps me pretty busy. Unfortunately, my computer desk is in the kitchen so I'm close to the fridge. Generally, when this happen now I go to another room or do something to distract myself. So far it's working, but I can see this something I need to watch out for.

3) Acid reflux hunger - since I got my hiatal hernia repaired, my acid reflux is much more controllable. But I'm still getting issues late at night. It's so weird how being full of acid mimics the hunger signs. Since I am having trouble getting all my fluids in, I generally drink some water when I get these signals.

Pre-op drinking water often turned off my "EAT SOMETHING" signals, but it doesn't seem to do much for the ones caused by acid reflux. I think I may need my PPI meds adjusted. Hopefully, the acid will die down soon as my stomach gets used to its new size and it will become a non-issue.

The main problem with all these "hunger" signals is that they totally throw me into a panic. I'm so afraid of feeling hungry because of my past experiences. To me feeling hungry equals being out of control with food. But so far, I'm managing. Hopefully, I'll get used to this new way of experiencing hunger eventually and it won't throw me into a tizzy so easily.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Can't sleep still

I was having trouble sleeping prior to getting "sleeved" but I blamed it on stress and excitement. Now I can't sleep after. I'm blaming it on taking naps and pain killers.

I am still on pain killers. My Post-op Bible says most people are off them by day 7, but I think it's going to take me a little while longer. I still have back pain from the hiatal hernia repair.

Even though I can't sleep, I'm so happy! Because of the hiatal hernia repair, a lot of uncomfortable symptoms are gone. I no longer go to bed at night feeling like a 10 pound cat is sitting on my chest. Plus the back pain that comes and goes where the hernia was will go away forever once it all heals.

I also feel like the hunger monkey is off my back. It's such a wonderful feeling not to be hungry all the time. I am sometimes still hungry -- I haven't figured out if it's "real" hunger or "head" hunger because it's an okay feeling. It means I need to eat something and then it will go away. It's nothing like the desperate hunger I had before.

Compared to these two things, all the other stuff -- the fussy tummy, the occasional gas, the loopiness from pain killers -- is nothing. Those are all temporary and get better every day. I'm a bit impatient to be totally better, of course, but the overwhelming happiness tends to wash those other feelings out.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A watched scale never moves (downward)

I was very curious about how my weight loss would go post-op and also how much fluid I'd take in from the IVs in the hospital. So I fell back into the habit of weighing every day and this was not a good idea. I started to get pretty discouraged about how much I gained in the hospital and how slow it was coming off.

I always tell other people not to weigh more than once a week but sometimes I don't follow my own advice.

Also, even though I'm back down to what I was when I checked into the hospital, I'm a lot more swollen and I'm worried the outfit I picked out to wear to my friends' wedding this Saturday won't fit. All my jeans that were falling off my ass fit just right now. I had not anticipated that.

Today I had to eat in a restaurant. It's MacBoy's birthday and we always go out on the actual birthday day. I ordered milk. Just milk. I brought my Blender Bottle with some protein powder in it, poured the milk in and shook it up. It worked pretty well and with my swollen tummy I could only drink about 4 oz. of it anyway. I could have just had water, I guess, but that seemed unfair to the restaurant.

My old lady role models

There are a lot of fiesty old ladies in my life. These woman have more energy than people half their age. They are also quite tiny, often underweight. This has lead me to believe that there really is something to the whole Calorie Restriction theory.



First we have my grandmother who tilled her garden for hours every day up to the day she died at age 80. She didn't get felled by any "old age" disease either. She died because she got hit by a truck while in the middle of a long distance road trip. Face it, as crazy as she drove me in many ways, she was a tough old bird and you've got to respect that. She also was very thin and short, around 90 pounds and 5'2" at the time of her death.

Another one I look to as a role model is my Great-Aunt Izzy. She was a big favorite with us kids because she was genuinely interested in us (and slipped us $5 bills -- a large amount in the 60s -- whenever she came to visit). She lived to be 98, which is nothing to sneeze at. She wasn't ornery like my grandmother, but she was short and thin like her.

Then there is my left-side neighbor who isn't nearly that old, but will be some day, I'm sure. She also leads an active life -- one more active than mine in many ways. She keeps her own house, gardens, teaches kids to read at our local school and is active in her church. I don't know how much she weighs, but I bet it isn't much more than my grandmother or my Great Aunt Izzy and she's not much taller either.

Let's not forget the tiny old Chinese lady who is at least in her 70s that one of my niece's bridesmaids met when she went down to Chinatown to do the touristy thing the day after the wedding. This firecracker took M all over Chinatown, wearing out her 20-something butt in the process. Afterwards M said to us "I couldn't keep up with her. She was so tiny but she had so much energy!" I said "that's who I want to be when I grow up!"

Finally we have all my ice dancing friends, who skate several times a week and are working on their Gold Dances just like the youngsters and will probably skate until they die. Yeah, they are all short and thin too.

That's pretty much what all these women have in common, in fact. Some are ornery, some are sweet as pie, some are religious, some are agnostic, some are well educated, some only graduated from High School. But they are all active and they are all thin and they are all outliving their contemporaries.

So that's what I'm aiming for. I've got the short part down. It's time to work on the thin part.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My scars

I thought people might be interested in seeing my scars. This is 5 days out and they are already pretty well healed.



The one for the liver retractor is on top of the remains of my gallbladder scar which runs from just under my breasts to right around my belly button.

Still at an acceptable weight - 1994

This picture was taken about five years after my wedding picture, when MacBoy was about 2.5 years old.



As you can see, I've started to gain the weight back but I'm no where near where I was when I started (207 pounds). I'm about 165 pounds here, so only 30 pounds heavier than my lowest.

At my tiniest since college - 1989

Here's a picture of Mr. Mac and I at our wedding.



I lost another 10 pounds on Nutri/systems after it was taken. This is about what I expect to look like at goal.

Mr. Mac looks so young and he is still skinny in this shot.

Return of the purple shirt



Here's another picture of me in the purple shirt. If you look closely you can see that it's slightly bigger on me, but again it's not a dramatic difference. It just feels dramatic, I guess.

Before & After - Pre-surgery pix

Mr. Mac took these the night before the surgery. You can kind of see that I've lost weight compared to my first set of "befores" but it's not as obvious as I'd been hoping.



Yes, I'm still listing to the side.

Weight Loss Surgery Requires discipline

According to this Jane Brody article Weight Loss surgery requires discipline.

To which I say "no duh". Getting WLS has been the hardest thing I've ever done and I've only gotten to the point of just having had it. I still have to lose all my weight and create a post-op life for myself.

I really don't understand the whole "easy way out" and "cheating" mentality that people have about weight loss surgery.

Speaking of "cheating", MacBoy had a birthday party today. I am on a liquid diet at this point because my staple line isn't healed enough to eat solid food. So I sat in the middle of the party and watched 15 people eat stuff I couldn't eat. Not wouldn't eat or chose not to eat, but couldn't eat or I'd die. If I had been on a diet, I could have "cheated" and had a mini Hershey bar. And I would have too.

This is one of the reasons that WLS is harder, in some ways, than dieting.

Once I've had it for a couple of years, I'll tell you if it's easier in the long run, but I'm guessing the only thing "easier" about it is that it works. Of course, that's a really big win for me, but it's not like the surgery does all the work and that's what I think people don't get.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I'm a post-op!

Hey, I’m home from the hospital! And what a long, strange trip it’s been. In fact, I’m pretty sure I dreamed most of it since a lot of what I’m about to report will seem unbelievable – I don’t even believe it. But I’ll let you be the judge.

We went up to San Francisco on Tues. evening because going up from our house during morning rush hour is iffy at best. Sometimes it takes 45 min. and sometimes it takes three-four hours. Having to be there by 6:00 am would mean leaving at 4:00 am that day to be sure to get there in time and even then, we might be late.

My husband drove us up and Mini-Mac, the youngest, went with us. MacBoy is a teenager — in other words, weird — and had been nursing a cold and fighting coming with us even before that so we left him home. I knew he was worried about me, but more worried about crying in front of me or some other behavior that would seem absolutely horrible to a teenaged boy, so I didn’t push him to come up even though I knew all the things he was dreading – like seeing his mom in pain – weren't really going to happen. Plus I didn’t feel like getting sick from him.

The Cathedral Hill Hotel is very pretty. Our room was enormous. I couldn’t believe how nice it was for a downtown SF hotel under $100 a night. (Thought that is the special hospital rate. I think normal people pay more.) When we got checked in, I took my Milk of Magnesia and that meant I couldn't go over to the hospital to visit Ainjul from the ObesityHelp.com "sleeve" board as I had originally planned. I needed to stick close to the bathroom, if you know what I mean.

I think it was okay because her surgery got put off until 5:00 pm so at 8:30pm there was no way she’d be up for visitors. I know I wasn’t really up for them until about ten hours after my surgery.

I had some really weird dreams that night. Mostly about being late and everything going wrong. I got up in the middle of the night and realized that, when we flipped the switch to turn off the lights over the bed, it had turned off the clock radio! (Luckily I never trust the hotel alarm clocks and had also set an alarm on my iPhone.) I ended up giving up on sleep around 4:50 am and decided to take a shower. This is when I discovered that there was no hot water. Just freezing and lukewarm. I went for lukewarm.

So I guess Cathedral Hill is a more typical of $100 a night SF hotel room than I'd originally thought. It’s still a nice place though.

There is a shuttle from the hotel to the hospital, but the first one left about 45 min. after we were supposed to be there. So, based on the info that the hospital is six blocks from the hotel, we walked. And discovered it was more like 15-20 walking blocks and uphill almost the whole way! My daughter whined the whole time until the ground leveled out and she could use her Heelies, but I practically ran the whole way because I so excited.

We checked in and paid. Good thing my surgery was Wed., because Thurs. my bank failed. (Seriously, it’s WaMu. Failed and sold to J.P. Morgan.) They took me to different rooms and had me sign things and change into a hospital gown — which barely fit around me. This was bad because the Milk of Magnesia had really kicked in by then, so I made lots and lots of trips to the bathroom clutching my gown around my buttocks. I was surprised because I was expecting a bariatric-sized gown that would swim on me.

Between the day of clears and the MoM, I had dropped another three pounds – assuming that their scale and mine were calibrated the same.

Mr. Mac and Mini-Mac got to come with me for part of the prep, but then had to go to the lobby when I hit the “holding pen”/recovery area. I forgot to leave my glasses with my clothes so Mr. Mac took them. Being without my glasses is very disoriented to me so this increased the feeling of unreality.

While I was waiting in my little holding cell, I listened in to other patients. (I’m so nosy!) The guy next door was in for something completely unrelated, but when he listed all this previous operations, he had had a gastric bypass! Isn’t that weird how you can go for years without hearing about something but then suddenly it’s everywhere?

Most of the people talking to patients were anesthesiologists and didn’t impress me that much. I was starting to get worried – because the anesthesiologist is the one who keeps you alive. But mine came in and I really liked him. He gave me a lot of confidence.

He had a resident with him and he was explaining stuff to her and raving about my airways – both in the holding room and also, later, in the OR. Apparently my neck is an anesthesiologist’s dream. Who knew? I’ll have to tell my mom because she’s always telling me I have a pretty neck and mom’s appreciated stuff like that.

They walked me to the OR (to prevent blood clots) and I got on the table and they prepped me. At one point they said, “let’s call Dr. Awesome and make sure he’s here and not in traffic.” I was surprised he wasn’t already there. In fact, I never saw Dr. Awesome the entire time, which I thought was strange. But I did go out like a light soon after so he could have been there the entire time and I wouldn’t have known.

When I woke up in recovery, I had some pain, but not too bad. They had me hooked up to that machine where you give yourself a shot of painkiller whenever you felt like it. Here’s another weird thing – the LED panel said it was morphine. It’s not supposed to be morphine, right? But between the no glasses and feeling like I was dreaming, maybe I just misread it.

I took full advantage of whatever it was and, as a result, the next 24 hours had a very dream-like quality. But Mr. Mac says that everything I said that happened when he was there was true, so maybe I didn’t dream it all. On the other hand, if it turns out that I was dreaming the entire time, that’s totally believable too.

In the recovery room, I had to pee but I couldn’t use the bedpan. (Nothing came out.) I swear they let me walk to the bathroom because no one else was there. That seems questionable, doesn’t it? But later on they wheeled more people in and then I was stuck with the bedpan. So maybe I just had a rule-breaker looking after me.

My next memory was being in my room. It was a very tiny room. I had trouble getting my IV wheelie thing to move around with me because it kept getting caught on things. Plus it plugged into the wall. So if I went far away, I had to unplug it and it would go on battery power. Again, that doesn’t make sense and it part of why I think I dreamed the whole thing.

Anyway, the room felt a bit like a private room that had an extra bed shoved into it. Mr. Mac and Mini-Mac were there with me. Mini-Mac had read her card and really appreciated it so I’m glad she wrote it. She bought me a round stone that said courage on it in English and Chinese from the gift shop.

But I didn’t visit with them much as I kept falling asleep. Around 3:00 pm, they went home. I was unhappy to see them go, but couldn't blame them. I'm sure they were bored out of their skulls.

I walked the halls a lot, but pretty much never saw other patients there, just medical personnel. Again, that seemed strange and contributed to the dream-like quality of my experience. I expected a ton of bariatric people, but it’s an enormous hospital and we seemed to be scattered on different floors. During this time, my roommate was sleeping. At one point, Ainjul came by to visit me on her way out the door. She said she was on the fifth floor. (I was on the fourth.) Maybe I was on a non-surgery floor so all the patients weren’t supposed to be walking?

Then my roommate woke up and that’s when everything got very, very Fellini. She was making a lot of noise. Moaning and rocking back and forth and babbling incoherently and picking at herself. Her hands never stopped moving. It was distracting, but I thought the nurses were very mean to her in response and that put me on her side, whereas normally I’d be upset with the moaning.

They said she had to stop because she was disturbing the other patients, which she was, but how is yelling at a sick person who is clearly out her mind going to get her to stop? It reminded me of when I had my gallbladder out and the nurse in the recovery room was saying I was disturbing everyone with my crying and I was saying “but I can’t freaking BREATHE” until I made them give me more morphine and could breathe and calmed down. So this treatment of “Jessie” (I think that was her name) really pissed me off and I decided to adopt her.

I got some ice chips at some point and then later my first meal of clears. It had a Popsicle, some broth, some tea and some sort of Healthwise protein drink (with a little bottle of Arrowhead water to mix it up with) and jello. After I’d worked on it for a time, the nurses kept trying to take it away. But I wanted to eat/drink it all because of the protein. At one point when I wasn’t looking, they took everything but the protein drink and a pitcher of water. I was annoyed. I never even got to try the broth.

I also had trouble with the drinking. I was taking tiny, tiny sips but they still hurt. So it would be sip, okay, sip, pain, sip, pain, sip BRACK! (That last part was the belch-a big, loud one). I finally decided to use the straw from my water glass and that helped a lot. But it took forever to finish a drink and I don’t see how I’m going to get my protein in at this rate.

I also kept falling asleep while drinking and ended up spilling tea all over myself. The staff said they weren’t sure a bariatric-sized robe was available, but I told them the regular ones fit well enough. Besides, I had a robe with me to keep myself from giving the rest of the world a show.

I did eventually finish the Healthwise drink, which has a whopping 15 grams of protein. Yeah me! I would have been happier if I’d had the jello too, though.

Then I concentrated on my roommate who was still quite upset. Over the course of the evening, I pieced together her story — obviously the medical staff couldn’t tell me much because of HIPAA and she couldn’t tell me much either because she was out of it — but she was an elderly patient from a nearby nursing home and had dementia. (Though, I’m not sure if someone told me that or that was my homegrown diagnosis.) She wasn’t in for that, but I never figured out what she was in for.

Honestly, I think she was just old and everything was giving out and she didn’t much want to live either. She was on a catheter and also she never got up from her bed the entire time I was there.

She couldn’t really make herself understood to the staff either, but at some point, I got used to her special language (the Mother Skills never die and old people and toddlers have a lot in common) and could piece together what she wanted much of the time.

Mostly, it seemed to me that she was lonely because all of her friends and family her age were dead (she kept asking for various people by name and sometimes I could make out that they were an uncle or sister or something who had died and she missed them) and also, she didn't like losing her mind. I guess she still had enough of it to know what she was missing.

Several times she said something that made it seem like she wanted to die. I told the staff – because suicidal thoughts are not good – but they didn't seem to care. Of course, I was high as a kite on painkillers and kept losing my glasses, so maybe I only thought I had told them. Or maybe they didn’t take me seriously.

This is the same staff that delivered my spirometer but never really showed me how to use it. I was unimpressed with them. Note to afternoon staff on the fourth floor at CPMC: you suck.

The evening staff was much better. They showed me how to use the spirometer and were nicer to "Jessie". (I don’t think that was her name – it’s just what I ended up calling her.) They actually brought the earplugs for me that the afternoon staff said they'd get and didn’t. They said between the earplugs and my headphones listening to music, I should be okay, as that has worked for the gal in that room the night before. But I couldn't get the earplugs to work at all and it bothered me to just block “Jessie” out.

In the end, I spent a lot of time perched on the end of her bed rubbing her back and soothing her. She liked it when I held her hands too. This kept her quiet so the staff wouldn’t get on her case and it occupied me and kept her from picking at her bandages. It kept me off the Internet though so that's why I haven't checked in with anyone or answered any messages.

During this time, I kept waiting for Dr. Awesome to show up as I had questions for him. I’d hear he as “in the building” and did catch sight of him a few times, but he never came to see me. So I asked about it and the nurses said he wouldn’t necessarily come see me if there was no issues (again this seems iffy to me—maybe I just dreamed it?) so I put in a special request and around midnight he did pop in and answer my questions. Too bad I didn't take notes because my recollection of our conversation was hazy at best.

One thing I did figure out – that horrible pain I’ve been having in my middle left back off and on for years that felt often felt like a muscle tear and, at one point, I thought was related to my allergies? It was the hiatal hernia! Dr. Awesome said all my back pain at this time was because he repaired it. He apologized for it, but I was so happy to have my heartburn disappear and to not have that localized pain that I didn’t care.

Most people tell their bariatric surgeon that he saved their lives because of the weight they lose. Dr. Awesome improved my quality of life dramatically in one day just by fixing the hiatal hernia. He's my hero!

Around 2:00 am, the night nurse (Henry?) came in and gave me a shot of something called Tramadol. It was AWESOME. No pain and I felt like I could paint my house. However, I was now wide-awake. This was good though because "Jessie" was not in good shape. In fact, I ended up crawling into bed with her. Again, this makes no sense to me that the hospital staff would let me do this. Think of the liability! But I'm pretty sure I did, in fact, do it because at one point her doctor came in and pointedly asked me if I was a family member.

I scuttled back to my bed and let him draw the curtains between us so he could poke at her and ask her questions she couldn’t answer. Then as soon as he left, I scuttled back.

I did question the staff at various points about what was wrong with Jessie because I was afraid I would accidentally hurt her by sleeping with her like that. They were tight-lipped, but never did anything to stop me. I think they were so grateful that I was keeping her quiet that they didn’t want to rock the boat.

At one point, I told them it wasn't fair to Jessie not to be in a private room – that all these strange people coming and going were upsetting her. They agreed, but said every hospital bed was in use (reinforcing my idea that my room was supposed to be a single). Plus, later the rational part of me realized that old folks who’ve been left to die in nursing homes don’t get private rooms.

Then, the morning staff came back and at this point I was really wiped out from not having slept since the anesthesia wore off. So even though I was in better shape than the day before, I was more out of it.

I actually remembered some of them from the day before, which made the whole thing seem like less of a dream. They were also nice so my goal at this point was to get checked out by 11:00 am (like the sign in the room said to) before the dreaded afternoon staff came back. I felt bad abandoning Jessie, but not bad enough to stay another day.

Breakfast came and was a repeat of the day before except my Healthwise drink was orange and not red. Because of what happened with dinner, I made sure to try everything on the tray at least once.

I got a visit from Amy, the LapSF nutritionist soon after. We exchanged paperwork (medical leave forms) and then I wanted to go some stuff in the book to make sure I understood it. She was happy I was working on the protein drink and said it looked like from my breakfast tray that I was going pretty well. I forgot to tell her about the pain when I drink though.

Either she or Dr. Awesome said I shouldn’t take my blood pressure medicine any more, but that I should monitor it. Also, since the Potassium Chloride is only being taken because the HCTZ is, no more of that either. Yeah, I’m so happy! Except I can’t find that in my release notes so now I’m wondering if I made that up too.

At that point, all I had to do was get a sponge bath from my day nurse and then I could go home. But Mr. Mac hadn’t shown up yet! I was sort of annoyed, but when he did show up – with Mini-Mac, who I thought was supposed to go to school – he said traffic was horrible just as we had feared it would be if we came up on Wed. There was an accident on the bridge among other things and it took two hours to get there instead of the one it should have taken.

They got me all packed, I had my sponge bath, and then I said good-bye to “Jessie” and went home. I did make sure to get one more shot of pain killer from the blue box before they disconnected me. Also, because I still felt kind of loopy, I had them take me down to the curb in a wheelchair so I wouldn’t fall over and be sprawled all over the payment

As soon as I left the hospital, and got out in the sun, I had a massive case of dry mouth. Of course my chapstick was in my robe pocket. But, I realized, so was my iPhone! I made Mr. Mac open up my suitcase and make sure the phone really was there before I left. (The chapstick was no where to be found though and later appeared in Mr. Mac’s pocket.) Then we were off!

I kept falling asleep on the way home and at one point thought we were almost home when we were still on the Bay Bridge.

At some point, I found out that Mr. Mac hadn’t called the people on my list. My angel, Janet, called him, and he called my mom. But not my sister or my friend Michelle. So I called Michelle. At least I think I did. That might have been a dream too.

When we got home, Mr. Mac set up a station for me in the bedroom and MacBoy came in and gave me a big hug. I could tell he’d been worried about me. He hadn’t read his card though so he went off to do that and then I didn’t see him again until I went looking for him. Teenaged boys are so weird. They live most of their lives holed up in their rooms playing video games and texting their friends.

While sitting in bed catching up on Dancing with the Stars, I got a massive case of the itchies. It was my incisions. The glue on them was flaking all over. So I scratched at them and picked at it until I was sorry. I couldn’t stop though. Eventually I had Mr. Mac cover them with first aide cream and band-aids so I couldn’t scratch them any more.

Then, I decided to weigh myself to see how much water weight I’d gained in being hooked up to IVs. Remember that 191 figure they told me in the holding area? Well I was 10 pounds heavier when I got home. Ouch!

I had Mr. Mac make me another protein drink for “dinner”. Between that and breakfast, I had 50 g of protein so that’s good. But I’m supposed to have more so I tried an Isopure ready-made drink later on. I didn’t get very far with it though.

I also got a fever. You are supposed to call if it’s over 100.5. Of course mine was at 100.5 exactly. But it went down and was only 99.3 at bedtime. I took off the band-aids at that time because they were making my scabs moist.

This morning I was down to 196 pounds so I assume that water weight is going to fall right off. I’ve sure been peeing enough. I still have slight pain when I drink but nothing I can’t handle. Some slight itchiness too, mostly on the top of my breasts. I have no idea why it’s in that particular area.

My incisions look great too. Dr. Awesome used the top of my gallbladder incisions for the liver retractor and now it’s in better shape than it was to start with. The ones around my waistline do hurt occasionally especially if I stretch to get something off a top shelf. So mostly I make Mr. Mac do all my reaching.

The really great thing is that my stomach feels entirely normal. I was worried about that the most. With some of these operations, you end up with stomas and other weirdness that makes it hard to judge normal and can limit what you can eat.

My main problem at this point is that it takes forever to finish a protein drink. I’m still working on the Isopure from last night. Also, I can’t suck hard enough on my spirometer. Related to that, when I tried to go to bed last night, I couldn’t lie down and had to use too pillows to prop me up.

So today my goals are to get in at least 50 g of protein – as least as much as yesterday – and to walk around the neighborhood and also to blow on the spirometer until I can get up to the 1500 mark every time. I don’t want to get pneumonia.

Mr. Mac is home to help me and the kids have no school because it’s Native American day. It feels like Saturday, but it’s nice.

I’m sure I’ll think of something I left out later on, but for now, that’s my sleeve story.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Calm before the knife

I woke up this morning with a sense of calm certainty, which over the course of the day has turned into excitement. After all my angst and drama, it's nice to be back to normal.

Clear fluids all day.

It started out good -- I wasn't even hungry most of the day. But then around 2:00 pm it all caught up to me. I was STARVING and also my heartburn was horrible because I stupidly only drank clears that were citrusy. Crystal Light Lemonade. Lemon sugar free jello. Orange Citrus sugar free popsicle. So then I tried to have some other jello and some other popsicles with fruiter flavors. It didn't really help. I cant wait to get this hiatal hernia repaired.

We're at the hotel now. Our room is fantastic. For $90 a night, we have an enormous room and everything is pretty, clean and quiet. This is not what I'm used to staying in downtown San Francisco! I'm watching the Biggest Loser. It seemed appropriate. Strange show though.

Anyway, I've taken my Milk of Magnesia and I'm just waiting for the big event so I can go to bed. That stuff is pretty nasty, by the way. I thought it wouldn't be a big deal because I only had to take three tablespoons and -- compared to the gallon of Trilyte for my colonoscopy last month -- that should be nothing, right? I swear, I was could barely choke it down.

Now I'm supposed to write my cards to my kids and husband, but I can't seem to get motivated. It seemed like such a good idea at the time.

Tomorrow's the big day and I can't wait.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

2 am. Can't sleep

I've been having trouble sleeping. It got really bad tonight. So here I am on the computer.

When I go to sleep and wake up I have the same thoughts "Have you lost your mind? How can you pay someone to cut off your stomach?" But during the day I'm excited, picturing my future and how I'll be able to do all these things that are hard now and not have to take so much medicine.

It's a scary kind of exciting though because the future is unknown. I could have complications and insurance might not cover them. I could be one of the people whose hunger comes back fast or who can't keep down a lot of different kinds of foods. I could lose a lot of weight, but develop some completely unrelated health problem and die prematurely anyway. Plus, even if everything goes about as perfect as it could possibly go, it's not like I'll never have any problems ever again.

On the other hand, I could go back to skating and actually get an ice dance partner this time. Or take up ballroom dancing and win lots of trophies. I could become a fashion diva and enjoy clothes shopping for the first time in my life. Or maybe I'll go in a completely different direction that I never would have thought of living my life as I was.

Someone asked me if I am going to write a letter to my loved ones just in case something happens. Apparently "everyone" does this. I guess I'm not everyone, because it never occurred to me. I know nothing is going to happen to me. That's not what I'm afraid of.

But then I think: what if it does and my kids are left confused and resentful.

So I think I will write them a letter. Not to be given to them if something happens, but to give to them no matter what. After all, it's never a bad idea to tell your family you love them and as specific as possible.