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


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.