Tag Archives: bariatric surgery

The Scales Say What?!?…. A Choice to Make!

Standard

Since my last post life took a turn that was not necessarily part of my life plan – I was laid off from a job that I love.  HOWEVER, when life hands us a “bump” in the road, we have a choice to make.  We can either choose to rise above it and move forward OR we can choose to wallow in self-pity and depression.

Prior to having lost my weight, I would have went the route of self-pity, depression, “woe is me” and figured that I was doomed.  That is not to say that I didn’t feel sorry for myself, wish it hadn’t happened, said a few choice words or felt sadness – I did all that and then some!  BUT, the difference this time, for me, was that as a result of having starting the journey of being healthier and happier being well on its way for me – I was able to stay focused on what I needed to do – find a job and keep moving forward.

Just prior to the job loss, I had signed up to be part of Team HOPE, a community-based group of individuals, who were raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  In fact, they were attempting to raise $100,000 to fully fund a blood research grant to help eradicate blood cancers.  By signing on to the team, I was committing to personally raising $1,800 – scary now that I didn’t have a regular income.  It also meant taking on training for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon.  Something that I had NEVER, EVER done before.  So the choices continued…stay the course, raise the money, support my friends – or drop out and quit.  Oh I thought about the later more times than I can count but…I also had committed to myself that this was the year (2014) that I would identify an exercise that I would enjoy to help me keep the weight off.

Here is how I tackled what seemed impossible:

  • Job front:  I emailed every person I know in my network and sent them my resume along with a short snippet of what I was looking for and asked them to share opportunities with me.  I applied for jobs that didn’t make sense just to put my name out there.  I met with anyone that was recommended either by phone or over coffee.  I listened. Stayed engaged on LinkedIn.
  • Fundraising front:  When you ask people to give to a great cause, it is amazing how generous people are – I did team events, sent personal emails, posted on social media – and gave people a reason to get involved.  My uncle has CMML, a blood leukemia, and a I asked him to “borrow” his story to put a face to my fundraising efforts.  We had to meet a $1,800 minimum by April 14 – scary to say the least – but I met it and exceeded it by more than $500.  As I write this post, I am at $2,378 with one outstanding corporate donation!
  • Race training:  I made myself get out of bed every Saturday, except one, and went to training – cold weather and all.  I scheduled time to train during the week with other teammates.  On the one day that I missed team training, I trained by myself.  Found out quickly that training with the team was more fun.
  • Weight control:  To keep the weight in check and not fall back into bad habits was a challenge for me during this time. I found that it was easier to grab something on the run instead of planning meals which I allowed to happen on certain days ‘just because’ but was quick to put myself back on a protocol of eating more protein than carbs.  I used my Unjury and Body by Vi products to help me stay on track.  I put a few pounds on; however, I was moving much more and didn’t allow the scale to get out of control.

I committed to completing the half marathon with a smile on my face.  What happened was much more.  As I rounded the 12th mile and headed into the finish line all I could do is let the tears roll.  Walking 13.1 miles was and is a HUGE accomplishment for a girl who couldn’t run stairs just 27 months ago without feeling like she was going to have a heart attack.

Here are some fun pictures of the half marathon that will be forever my reminders that I simply need to stay focused and keep moving…

 

Nike Wall imageTeam ready - Race day

Advertisements

The Scale Says What?!?…12 Months Makes a Difference

Standard

Where does the time go?  Didn’t realize I have been so remiss in posting updates until I started sharing my blog this weekend with a friend.

Thanksgiving 2012 has been a bit challenging for me.  It was a year ago that I shared with my family and friends that I was having my surgery.  I am back with them a year later a much healthier, happier person.  However, it was a difficult time for me.  While I have learned new habits, changed my food habits, tastes have changed – in part because of the surgery – and in part because they had to in order for me to be a success…the worlds that my family live in have not changed.  So I worked with what I had…added what I could…and made the best of it.

What challenges could there be?  I can hear that question loud and clear.  Carbs were the worst.  Recently I have been feeling challenged by the excess carbs that are being added to the menus in my home since my husband has retired.  And it was no different this weekend.  From freshly baked dinner rolls to more than seven pies (but I did contribute two bean pies to try to introduce a new taste to the family) … it made for difficulty in navigating the Thanksgiving buffet.  Selecting turkey over the ham loaf wasn’t hard but walking past the dinner rolls was like slicing my wrists.  I was dying to dive in and never look back.  But I didn’t.

I stood for myself and asked to have unsweetened tea made.  I did enjoy asparagus wrapped with bacon and baked.  My brother-in-law didn’t realize that he was helping me have a bit of enjoyment with his addition to the menu. Thank you Dan!  And my sister, Janell, added fresh broccoli to the menu.

Okay, enough whining.  I am keeping my eye on the prize of being healthy and it is one day (well in this case,  a weekend) out of the big picture.  When I look at pictures from last year compared to this year – I have made great strides.  Over 110# gone forever.  I am drinking my Body by Vi shakes while I am traveling to help keep me on track.  It has made a difference between caving in totally or not.

During my trip back to Ohio, I was able to catch up with some friends.  To remind myself how far I have come, I stopped in to see Lee Kelly and take a picture in the same spot where we took one last year.  This my friends, is my measure of success….

I am thankful for the success that I have had the past 11 months.  I am pleased to see that the closet is starting to fill with smaller clothes and that the fat clothes are gone.  I am having fun finding new clothes and new looks.  It is an amazing feeling to walk into a store and buy “pretty” clothes that make me feel pretty.

So for the quick comparison – I re-created a photo with my dear friend and wonderful supporter, Lee Kelly on Thanksgiving Day this year.

With Lee Kelly on Thanksgiving 2012

With Lee Kelly on Thanksgiving 2011

With Lee on Thanksgiving November 2012

With Lee on Thanksgiving November 2012

So my friends…as I approach my year anniversary of the surgery that has changed my life, I leave you with this thought.  When you want something bad enough, you can have it – simply put it out to the universe and begin living as if it is so – and it will come to pass.

If you are reading this blog and are considering one of the bariatric surgeries, I am very open to listening to your concerns as well as sharing my insights to help you make a decision that is best for you.

Watch for the annual update blog!

The Scale Says What…More Musings, Insights and a photo update

Standard

Wow! where does the time go?  I didn’t realize I hadn’t posted in a while and a LOT has happened since my last post.  So where do I start…accountability? new look (you are dying to see the pictures – don’t peek)? insights? new discoveries?

Recently, at the Journey’s Support Group, the surgeons came to our session – amazing how caring these guys are – and the time they put into helping us be successful.  They reminded us of how we have to do the work – they simply operated on our body  –  the work is ours to do to create real success.

Let’s start with accountability (that is the most painful sometimes in this journey)…I strive to keep exercise at the forefront of my schedule…and it is difficult when it was never a priority before.  However, I see the results when I do make it so it is becoming more and more important.  So I am not making it to Zumba every week like I want to.  But I have recently tried a yoga class and signed up for six weeks.  I am convinced more and more that exercising must be, like many things in our lives, convenient and easily accessible.  So I found a yoga class that is 5 minutes from my office, is designed for baby boomers and beyond, the instructor works with bariatric patients regularly and I can do it over lunch!

As I approach my six month anniversary (13 June), I look back with amazement with some of the “walls” that I have climbed over, through or walked around.  I was having issues keeping solid food down and I constantly felt as though my system was irritated.  The doctors suggested and did an endoscopy to check for scar tissue from the surgery (this is commonplace) and no scar tissue.  They discovered a slight irritation that was caused, most likely, when I transitioned from mushy foods to solid foods.  This caused some acid reflux – they put me on Nexium and the symptoms have been erased and I am able to keep solid foods down.  This was probably a wall that I broke through once  the issue was resolved – it was aggravating not being able to eat solid foods.

Guess what happens when you lose a lot of weight?  Your shoes get too big – can you believe?  Now what shoe size do I wear?  Not sure but I know it is a pain in the tush (oh yeah that gets smaller also LOL)!  Recently, I wore a blister on my heel as a result of my shoes rubbing from walking.  Dressy Birkenstocks out there anyone?

So the update is 80#…and counting.  Wearing dresses (yep!  dresses!) and looking at clothes in the regular sections of the store.  Daunting for sure.  I’m not used to looking at the clothes of “normal” people (whatever normal is) – other people wear those clothes.  I know you are dying to see it — my new photo!

2012 May photo

I’m still amazed when I look at this photo!

In my recent discussion with my wellness coach, the subject of fear arose.  I was describing how I am having a difficult time letting go of my plus-size clothes.  They are my friends. They are comfortable. I know them.  They are gone on many trips with me.  I know it sounds crazy.  So there are several questions that I ask – does letting go mean letting go of a part of me?  What if I need them sometime down the road?  Is my holding on to them setting myself up for failure?  I have so many clothes and they are beginning to pile up and bug me – part of my vision for 2012 and beyond is less and less clutter (more on that later).  So my coach and I agreed to a goal of me removing three piles of clothes and donating them over Memorial Day weekend.  Wish me luck and help hold me accountable!

I am participating in Kathleen Ronald’s deClutter U for the next 12 months.  In addition to decluttering my weight, I am learning that clutter can be in any part of our lives…it is not all about piles of papers, collections and stuff – it is also people, environment, schedules, experiences, etc.  As part of this bootcamp, I am discovering the “stuff” that is cluttering my mind, my vision and ultimately blocking my dreams.  If you haven’t thought about clutter in this way, I encourage you to do so.  It is very enlightening!

I could spend the next few hours rambling on about all the new-found energy I am discovering or the way I am able to focus a better but I must also sleep.  So I close with this thought – borrowed from my Mary Kay Director, Kellie Hammett – “I did the thing I feared the most, excuse me while I cheer! Now here I stand a braver soul and all I lost was fear” (EENSD Arlene Lenarz) … so the next time I post, I will have lost some fear (and clutter) plus a few more #!

What is it that you fear the most?

Until next time – stay healthy, believe in you and above all remember…it is a journey!

Happy Memorial Day and blessings to all our men and women who have given and are giving their lives for us to live in America!

The Scales Say What!?! The Preparation for the OR….

Standard

Measure twice…cut once – a favorite saying of those in the construction world and one I learned from my Dad at an early age.  I’m sure you are scratching your head now and asking…’what does this have to do with her journey to a better health?’  Well…the analogy fits in well with surgery.  We want our surgeons to check twice and cut once – just think if they didn’t...

As part of the 90 days leading up to surgery, I endured a heart sonogram, EKG and endoscopy exams, gall bladder sonogram, lung x-ray, blood tests, blood pressure and weight checks AND losing 20 pounds to help clear my liver.  Darn it, had to slow down the drinking a bit to make that a reality!  OMG…I almost forgot my favorite – the psych exam – where I was told that I had traits of being narcissistic (HARDLY…that one made me laugh outloud) and being bi-polar ( really?) but the therapist said they would recommend me for surgery as long as I agreed to continuing therapy after surgery.  Well, we’ll see about that one…so they do really ‘measure twice, cut once’ to prepare you for surgery.

Then there were classes on what to expect on surgery day at the hospital … what a great class and how comforting to know that there was a team of bariatric certified individuals who would be there to take care of me once I walked through the doors of the hospital.  A nutrition class about how to get the proper nutrients given a smaller stomach and how to keep hydrated (64 ounces required every day).  More meetings with the dietician and then the BIG meeting with Dr. Moazzez who explained what to expect once I arrived at the hospital and the surgery process, the overnight stay and getting up and moving after surgery.  By this time, I was so ready…but not nervous or anxious.  I really trusted the team at Blue Point and INOVA Fair Oaks Hospital.

Thanksgiving came in the middle of all of these final preparations…off to Ohio and to have a wonderful dinner with my friends, Lee Kelly and Dickie Switz, husband Chris and friends of Lee and Dickie.  It was one of the best dinners I had and knowing that in just two short weeks, my life would change forever – I enjoyed it even more!

In addition to the medical team, I also had a wonderful support group of friends who were cheering me on to success and offering to be there on surgery day…I can’t thank my friend and roommate, Jerry, enough for trekking with me to appointments when I wasn’t allowed to drive afterwards. To my sister Janell, your daily prayers and encouragement were much appreciated.  Plus many others that have been there through this journey.  AND my biggest thanks has to go to Jane D. who took me on surgery day and stayed with me well into the evening after a 3 hour surgery!  What a trooper and friend…Thank you Jane!

P.S. My surgery was 3 hours because they found a hernia and repaired it while they were in there – nothing like getting two for one!  But am very thankful that it was discovered and repairable.

Surgery date…December 13 (2 days after turning 53)….here is the surgery day photo….already 20 lbs lighter….

Surgery Day December 13

Stay tune…I’ll do month one update shortly – writing it now!