Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I would consider my life to be fairly normal at this point. I can eat a relatively normal diet, I can walk, I can run, I exercise, I buy clothes at regular and not plus size stores, but two problems have remained: I still struggle with acid reflux and insomnia. Tonight is one of those insomnia nights, I guess on a positive note I've gotten quite a bit of cleaning and organizing one. Insomnia is a post op problem that I have heard many other post op patients talk about, however it is not one that they tell you about when you are preparing for surgery. I would still take insomnia and acid reflux over the everyday struggle to exist I was living before surgery, but for those of you struggling with insomnia seek medical help, the insomnia may have a clinical cause.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Tale of Two Tables

Ten years ago I moved to NC to start law school, I moved into my first apartment and filled it with hand me down furniture from various family members. My mom gave me two tables, the oak kitchen table that sat in our kitchen as I grew up, where we did crafts, ate family dinners, decorated cookies, where I did homework and my applications for college. It was scratched and scarred and I vowed I would replace it as soon as I had my first real lawyer job, I covered it with a table cloth and tried to hide what I perceived were the flaws. Ten years later I still have that table and I've made my own memories at that table. Dinner parties with friends, scrapbooking with my friends, arts and crafts with my nieces, it is now even more scratched and scarred and stained, but has no tablecloth. I have come to appreciate the scars, and the stains and I keep finding new uses for that table. The table is just like me I'm scarred, and stained and flawed, but my foundation is strong and I will always continue to find new ways to make my life important and make memories that will last a lifetime. I look at the tiny scars on my belly that are the only outward evidence of the journey I have been on and they help me remember how far I've come.

The second table was one made by my grandfather, a simple wooden table with three legs and stains on top. Another table I couldn't wait to get rid of, I tried to sell it twice and give it away once. I tried to leave it behind when I moved but somehow this table just kept coming along and every time I would be ready to take it to the dump and get rid of it I would find another way to make it useful, just today I found just another use for the table I was finally going to get rid of. Learn to appreciate the things in our life that aren't always perfect and that don't seem to always fit, because they can become useful in the most surprising ways.

Sometimes at table is not just a table.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Flag

I bought an American flag today. I was standing on my front porch the other day just listening to the rain and I noticed, for the first time since I moved into this house three years ago, that I had a holder for a flag pole on the front of my house. My grandfather was a war veteran and his birthday was Flag Day, it was a family tradition to proudly fly the flag in his honor. Those of you that know me know that I don't believe in heaven or afterlife, but I do believe my grandfather's memory is with me now when I need him the most.

So I bought a flag. I am going to use it as a reminder to myself to stop rushing from one thing to the next and start slowing down and living life on my terms. Enjoy what I've got now and stop trying orchestrate my entire life in one day. When the flag comes I will fly it proudly, in honor of my grandfather and me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Mundane

What can I eat:

I can eat pretty much what I want, I try a little of everything and if something doesn't agree with me I usually don't eat it again. I cannot eat fast food, I have tried but it does not sit well with me. The only fast food I can eat (if I'm forced to eat fast food) is a Filet O Fish or shrimp from Long John Silver's. I still cannot drink plain water, at this point I may never be able to again. I am surviving on my beloved Teavana, my new obsession Tang, flavored water and whenever I can Starbucks.

Lately I have been having trouble eating, this could be due to the major changes in my life, or I could have another stricture, I see the doctor in a few weeks to follow up about this. I continue to take my vitamins and supplements that I will have to take for the rest of my life. I recently discovered Calcet Creamy Lemon Bites and I think I may be in love. I have to lock them away from myself or I would eat them like candy.

I continue to have issues with my hematocrit and hemaglobin and have been referred to a hematologist to see if they can figure out why my numbers are off, all of my other numbers seem to be good, but we'll see how my labs are after this latest round of eating issues.

I joined a gym and I can work out for an hour at a time and not leave feeling like I want to die, I have discovered the reason people rave about exercise endorphins, they really are an awesome thing.

So for all the loyal people that have been reading my blog for the past year, what do you want to know? Ask me and I'll post it up for everyone to read (anonymously of course).

Update on me

It has been one year and nineteen days since I had my surgery. My starting weight was 367 pounds I now weight 194 lbs. If you had told me this time last year, when I was in the midst of my post op liquid diet and regretting my decision, that I would head into 2010 171 pounds lighter and with a whole new outlook on life, I never would have believed it. This surgery has led to a lot of changes in my life, changes I never anticipated. When you meet with your surgeon before surgery they say, we operate on your stomach, not your head and it is up to you to make a change in your habits in order to keep up the weight loss. I thought the surgery would be as simple as cutting me up, sewing me back together and in the end I would be skinny. Well I'm almost skinny, I'm all sewn back up, but I'm a different me. I walk into a room with confidence, I'm not embarrassed to tell people I had the surgery it makes me proud, that I did something just for me and that I have followed through, followed my rules and shaped a totally new person.

Most people have reacted positively to my weight loss, but the dynamic in some of my relationships has changed. When you were always the overweight one, some friends don't know how to handle it when you aren't anymore. Some of those friendships will survive and some of those friendships will not.

I thought I would start the new year trying for a baby with my husband, that was the goal of the surgery. Instead I will spend the next few months learning to live on my own again, finding the single me that has been overshadowed for a long long time, and finding new goals for myself. I know that I will survive and time and dedication heal and conquer all wounds. So I find myself, sad, scared, angry and excited all at the same time. My possibilities at this point are limited only by my imagination.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Has it really been a year????

I haven't posted in two months, in fact I skipped my eleventh month update. My last post was on August 29,2009 and on August 30, 2009 my husband and I separated. It was at the same time, expected and shocking. The specific details are private between me and my husband, but I think its fair to say that we both started going in different directions and weren't able to find our way back to each other. It has been a year of constant change, and this is the beginning of another chapter in my life. MY new, you didn't want it, but here it is single life. I'm coping using more change, I got a kitten, I'm painting several rooms in the house, I've moved the furniture in my house, I've joined a gym. I wish I had profound words to say here, but I don't. There are good days and there are bad days and I hope that soon the good will out number the bad. I am grateful for the support of my friends and family, not just for their support in the last two months, but for the last year.

The bad news is the stress and the change have led to difficulties eating. Most of us are familiar with the "break up" diet, this time it has sent me 25lbs down instead of up. I am tired and I lack energy, but I'm hoping as I adjust and my appetite comes back I will level off my weight and my energy will come back up. Even now I can run circles around the girl I used to be. I'm happy to leave her behind.

A year out I find myself a different me, different in ways I never thought were problem. I have more self confidence, I never thought I lacked that, but I feel comfortable walking into a room now, I don't feel uncomfortable being the center of attention, though there are those who know me that would argue I've always enjoyed being the center of attention, I would argue that I'm pretty good at faking it.

For the first time this decade I weigh less than two hundred pounds, I don't have my one year pictures with me yet, but I promise to get them up soon. In the meantime, here's huckabee for your viewing enjoyment.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

10 Months Out

It snuck up quickly on me this time and I cannot believe I am ten months out from surgery. I still wish I was smaller around the middle and I will continue to work on it, but over all every day is better than it was nine months ago.

Friday, August 28, 2009


I went to the Biltmore Estate this weekend. It was somewhere I had been dying to go for quite a while and I finally planned a trip. This weekend they had a flower carpet display. I know my backyard will never look like that, but I do with we could have some green grass.

I did some wine tasting and after about seven tiny sips I was feeling giddy. I wasn't drunk but my days of drinking are over. Though I sober up quickly the smallest amount of alcohol makes me very tipsy, very quickly.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Little Things

Before surgery I rarely wore jewelry, getting through the day was enough of a struggle that I didn't bother with extra's. I'm sure I portrayed an image to other people that I didn't care about myself, but I did it was just a tremendous effort to do what I was already doing; I wore makeup once a month or so, I always wore my hair up, my neck was too thick for necklaces and even the ones that did fit ended up bothering me. I also did not wear earrings, they bothered my ears, my holes had closed long ago and anything that dangled drove me nuts.

Well today I did a few things that the old me never did, put on makeup, did my hair, wore a necklace and pierced my ears.

Here are a few pictures of the results:

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Things I've discovered since surgery

Its been nine months, it seems like I just wrote my 8 month update. My nieces were here this past month and the time just flew by. I have a lap, an actual lap perfect for snuggling nieces, resting papers, squeezing a coffee between my knees to put splenda in it (I admit the last thing is an act of stupidity, but we are all entitled). This was possibly the best summer I've ever had with my nieces, we left no activity undone. I am exhausted, but it is a good exhaustion, the kind that comes from having done so much you used up all your energy and not the kind of exhaustion that comes from being so overweight that every day is a struggle. Total weight loss 170 pounds.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Inspiration

I posted recently about missing my grandfather and how he was a big motivator for this surgery. My grandfather was a healthy and active man most of his life. When he was 80 years old he was winning chin-up contests at the gym. He was also a healthy and active smoker, it eventually caught up with him and he was diagnosed with lung cancer. The cancer changed him from a strong and vibrant man to a man who was physically very weak. We thought he was getting better and then he has a stroke, testing after the stroke revealed cancer in his brain, the lung cancer we thought was under control has metastasized around his body. It was three short and shocking weeks and then he was gone. My grandfather chose not to have drastic measures to save his life and when he was unable to feed or care for himself he went into hospice care. We spent seven days watching him breathe. The doctors told us they couldn't tell us when the end would come, but as his breathing slowed the end was getting nearer. We took turns sitting there for a week, counting his breaths, hoping for one more and wishing that he could be in peace. What I wanted more than one more breath was one more moment with him as the man I remembered. The day he died was really the day my weight loss journey began, I was angry with him for being a smoker, I saw every cigarette as a moment that was taken away. Slowly I began to see these extra pounds as moments, moments I was taking away from myself and from my family and I decided I wanted them back. With every pound lost I feel more vibrant and more alive and more at peace with the loss of a man who meant so much to me.

Idle Hands

Make for lots of recent pictures of me.

Monday, July 27, 2009

My WOW Moment

Flying has been difficult the last couple of years. I recently went to a children's museum with my nieces and they had a fake cockpit complete with airline seats. Not only did I fit in the seat, I buckled it with room to spare!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Walk down Memory Lane

My three nieces are visiting me right now. We have been having a blast and tonight we decided to have a slumber party. The girls wanted to look through my wedding album and watch my wedding video. I was a little hesitant to watch it because it is hard to see myself when I was heavy, but all I could see was how happy I was that day. My niece looked at me and said you look different now than you did that day. It was the first time she's mentioned it. There is no question that I am happy with the weight I have lost, but I was happy with my life before too. I don't want this blog to create the impression that my life as a heavy person was not filled with happiness, it was, but now I am more of a participant than an observer.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My 31st Birthday

I turned 31 yesterday and this past week has been like a walk down memory lane for me. I spent the last week at Virginia Beach with my mother, my nieces and my sister. I spent many summers at Virginia Beach as a child, my great grandmother has a cottage there and I went there every summer until I was about sixteen years old. I went back many summers while in college and law school to share the memories with my friends. Just after my husband and I got married the cottage was sold and my Husband and I went to the beach to clean it out. I hadn't been back to Virginia Beach since that day, I had mixed feelings about going to the site where so many of my childhood memories were made and seeing an empty grass lot where the cottage had once stood. On the way up to Virginia we stopped to visit my grandfather's grave.

My grandfather died three years ago. He is a major reason that I am the person I am today and each time I look at my progress I feel a small pang of regret that he never got to see me live up to the full potential he always believed was there.

We avoided it for a few days, but we took a drive past the place where the cottage used to be. There was nothing there but grass. Even though the cottage was gone, we still had a blast at the beach. It was comforting to know that even though the house was gone I could still make memories at the beach. It is a lame metaphor for my life, my former identity is gone, but I can make new memories the way I am now.

This weekend I walked on the beach in a bathing suit, and while I don't exactly feel like a Hawaiian Tropic model, I didn't feel like people were pointing and laughing at me either.

Here is a glimpse of some of those new memories:

Friday, July 3, 2009

A little story

I turn 31 next Friday, turning 30 was hard for me, all I could think about was how much I had wanted to accomplish that I had not yet done and all the things I felt I would never accomplish. Turning 31, is not nearly as bitter sweet. As a matter of fact this is the first birthday I can remember where I'm looking forward not back.

Five months ago, weighing 270 pounds I went to the mall with a friend and bought a size twelve skirt. It seemed like such a far away and lofty goal at the time. Today I took some pictures in that skirt, and it was exactly what I needed in the middle of this long and frustrating stall.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

8 Months Out

At eight months out from the surgery life is far more normal than I thought. My eating issues seem to be behind me and I can eat a relatively normal diet, just a lot less than what I ate before. I had my second round of post op blood tests and have been directed to follow up with a hematologist. My hematocrit and hemaglobin counts are low and the doctor wants me to follow up to make sure I am not developing a problem with anemia.

My weight is stalled, hopelessly and completely stalled. I have lost 152 pounds, but not a single pound in the last six weeks. I am trying not to frustrate, but I do wonder at what point a stall becomes the weight my body is determined to maintain. The truth is I would like to be thinner, now that I have come all this ways, visions of finally being thin dance in my head, but I have accomplished every other goal I set out for myself.

My niece is here for the summer and for the first time ever, she's wearing out before I do. It is uplifting to know that I can keep up with the often boundless energy of children.

I haven't taken my pictures yet, but they are coming soon I promise.

The one major change in the last month, my elusive collar bones have finally made an appearance and I am happy to see them!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ham Update

This post has gotten more responses than any other post I have made on my blog. I'm not quite sure what to make of that, but for those of you who are curious (and there were MANY) I still have not located the ham and no the trunk of my car does not stink. I will post additional ham updates as they become available.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My first post surgery outing.

In a lot of ways the recovery from this cyst surgery has been more difficult than the recovery from the bypass surgery. I think the recovery has been slowed because I am slower to hear now than before. So in all my infinite wisdom I decided to go to Target on my own the other day, the following ensued;

Went to the doc this morning, he insisted on seeing me before giving me a refill of my pain meds to make sure I didn't have an infection. No infection, just a swollen ass.

So I decide to go to target by myself to fill the prescription. He said I could drive whenever I was ready as long as I wasn't taking any narcs.

I'm leaving target and it looks like its about to down pour. So I run as fast as a person with sixty stitches in her ass can run. I'm halfway to the car and the sky opens up. It was like someone was dumping buckets on me. I throw the groceries in the trunk and then have a dilemma.

It is going to take me five minutes to get situated behind the wheel of the car. So I open the back door and dive in the backseat and lay there waiting for the rain to stop. After about three minutes I hear a knock on the window, I look up and see a police officer standing there in the pouring rain. I struggle to get up, I kneel on the floor of the car and open the door for him. He asks me if I am ok, I say yes, I had surgery on my butt and I'm sore. He asks me to repeat myself. Then he says are you sure you don't need any help. I said nope I'm fine just waiting for the rain to stop. He looks confused but walks away. He goes and gets in his car and waits for me to leave the parking lot, then he

When I got home I unloaded the groceries and somehow lost a three pound ham. I have torn the house apart and have no idea where it is.

Oh and the cherry on top, I caught rotovirus from the freaking hospital!! Nine years of working as a nanny, two years as a preschool teacher and I never catch it, I spend half a day in the hospital and whammo.

(The maxi pad is taped to my bum to cushion the stiches, it was the doctor's idea!)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Home from Surgery

About two weeks ago I was diagnosed with a pilonidal cyst. For those of you who haven't heard of this it is a cyst on the my tailbone. A few weeks ago it flared up and was causing me quite a bit of pain. (For those of you who are curious about this I don't recommend google, the images are gruesome.) Mine was not nearly as inflamed as some others get but the pain was not going away. Ironically this is usually something found in people who are overweight. The pain from mine only became unbearable after my surgery. It is strange that this is now the second time I have suffered from something that theoretically should have gone away after the surgery. I still don't regret the surgery and half of me wonders if perhaps I am just paying more attention to problems that were always there. I had surgery this morning to remove the cyst and I am home and recovering. I have strict orders to avoid sitting unless absolutely necessary for the next two weeks, so I may be updating my blog every ten minutes.

My weight is still stalled, this marks week nine of my stall, however yesterday I noticed that my shorts were quite loose, so hopefully that is a sign that I will start losing again soon. When I met with the nutritionist he mentioned that it is not uncommon to stall at a weight your body was at for quite a while. The size I am now was the size I was at for most of college so that may be the explanation for the stall. It would be nice to see the scale move again though.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The nausea is gone!

It appears that my problems with nausea after eating were indeed related to acid reflux. After several days on a much stronger acid reflux medication, the nausea is all but gone. Words cannot express how happy I am about this!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Falling off the Wagon

Yesterday I didn't follow any of my eating rules. I think saying I fell off the wagon is an understatement, it is more like I ripped the wagon apart and set if on fire. If there was food there I ate it and the unhealthier the better. Nothing in particular set it off, except possibly the stress of building a new closet organization system. My bedroom and master bathroom look like a bomb went off, and I won't be able to get it put back together until this weekend. While I am handling the stress better than I normally would, it still has left me feeling out of sorts.

Normally something like this would have set off weeks of bad eating. But today I'm back on the wagon, no junk food, healthy protein, and eating only every two and a half hours. Like I've said before, you fall down, you get up. Its my new life motto.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

7 Month Checkup

I had my "six" month check up with my surgeon the other day. So far they are pleased with my progress and I am doing well. I have lost more than 50% of my excess body weight and so I am ahead of their expectations at this point. I mentioned that I am still having problems with nausea and they put me on Protonix, this is a much stronger acid blocker than I had previously been taking. If the nausea is related to acid reflux this should take care of the problem. I haven't been on it long enough yet to know if is working, but I'm hopeful.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Random things you learn after WLS

I don't know why it took me so long to figure this out, but I am sensitive to the Niacin in multi-vitamins. About the time that my pouch problems started I switched form my chewable bariatric vitamin to Centrum vitamins. Because of all the other issues I was having I didn't realize at first that these vitamins really upset my stomach. Not only do they give me pain in my pouch, they also make my skin flush, and give me a headache that lasts an hour or two. So needless to say I will not be using them anymore and my husband now has a years supply of vitamins. I don't know if this was a problem before the surgery because I never took a multi-vitamin until after I had the surgery. I will be going back to the expensive vitamins that don't make me feel like I want to die. If anyone out there needs Centrum coupons let me know :-).

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mini Wow Moment

There are moments when it hits me that my body is really different. We went out tonight and I had one of these wow moments. I used to have shirts that were perpetually stained in the chest area, I was always spilling food there. Today I sat down in a restaurant and put the napkin on my lap, it actually covered my whole lap. While I was eating I spilled food on my pants. The fact that I'm a klutz who spills her food may not seem like a real wow moment, but it indicates two things; 1. I actually have a lap now, 2. I'm small enough that there is room between me and the table that actually allows food to fall to my lap. So if the stain doesn't come out of the shorts it will be a reminder of how far I've come, and if it does come out, well there will be plenty more opportunities for me to spill food on my lap.

7 Month Update

No comparison this time, you all know what the old me looked like. Here is the new me. (The real reason is that photobucket hates me and messed up all my pictures, while I'm fixing that you can look at the new me.