Tag Archives: post-surgery

The Scale Says What?!?…27 Months Does Not Erase the Mental Tapes…yet!


As one goes on a the journey of transformation and changing a lifestyle to better health there are obstacles that get in the way sometimes.  For me, one of those obstacles is what I “see” when I look in the mirror, pass a window and see my reflection or look at pictures.

Of late, here is my battle:  I have successfully lost over 135 pounds.  I have dropped 14 dress sizes.  I no longer need a cpap machine to sleep soundly at night.  I no longer take high blood pressure, anti-anxiety, high cholesterol, thyroid or pain medications – yes that is 5 – count them 5 – medications gone!  With all of these successes one would think that I would be floating on air and happy as a lark!  YET, I battle with myself as I see the person who started on this journey 30 months ago, counting pre-surgery months – taking all the medications, not sleeping through the night, not able to sit in an airplane seat without a belt extender and so many other things!  So I have been doing some thinking about why … why can’t I get rid of the mental pictures, erase the tapes – why can’t I see what others tell me that they see….

Here is my analysis of this part of the process…

  • I lived with these real images for more than 40 years – so they were my friends.  Losing this much weight is like a death – there is a process – much like death – that one has to go through.  I believe I was so wrapped in the excitement of the success that I didn’t properly grieve the loss of “my friends”.   I am now grieving them and so I have had a few moments.
  • For many years, I identified myself with my work instead of finding hobbies or other interests outside of work.  When one is fat, you bury yourself in work and work hard to be successful so no one thinks that you are lazy or not able to perform the job that you are assigned.  I am now finding new interests…in fact, I am walking in my first half marathon ever!  I am so excited and feel empowered in a way I can’t explain! And when it is over, I will find another one to focus on…who knows what I will accomplish before I turn 60 (several years from now :))
  • I am in transition in my career.  When transition happens, it causes upset to our routine.  And for me, I need a routine to keep me on track.
  • I have started eating more carb-laden foods which I wish I had not learned that I could still eat because they give me comfort. I still have not eaten rice or pasta (yes that is about 27 months without these two comfort foods).  However, I have convinced myself that good bread is not bad for you…guess what…not true.  While I need to increase my carbs due to the training, I need to find the right carbs to eat.
  • I started allowing foods that I thought I could ignore to be brought in the house again – cookies, chips, breads, unhealthy snacks.  I am not as strong as I thought and need to go back to keeping things out of the house that are too tempting.
  • And finally…it is a journey that is one day at a time!  And these few weeks of set back are giving me pause to re-focus and get back on track!  Besides, I refuse to buy larger clothes!

While I continue to work on erasing the tapes – both mental and visual – I am forever a different person than I was 27 months ago.  Today at my check up with Blue Point Surgical, I heard phrases like…’great blood work – your numbers look amazing’; ‘you look great’; ‘keep up the good work’; ‘you are in tune with what you need to do to keep on track’; ‘you are an inspiration’…so while I have had a bit of mental set back, I know that I have come a long way in two years and have no regrets of having surgery and becoming healthy, which was my #1 reason for having the surgery done.

What are your battles when it comes to making a transformation in your life?  What have you done to overcome the obstacles and declare success?  How do you deal with setbacks?

A visual reminder of how far I have gone in 27+ months…

Donna with Tjay Spencer at Starwood Academy Awards Event

Donna with Tjay Spencer at Starwood Academy Awards Event – March 2014

Who is the girl in pink?

This is where I started – Sept 2011



The Scale Says What…Holy Cow…It Says What?! The first month…


December 14…home from the hospital. Running a race was not on the list. Nor was eating. Nor was walking.  In fact there wasn’t much on the list for a couple of days after getting home except trying to get 64 ounces of liquid in my body so I wouldn’t dehydrate and 50 grams of protein (in liquid form).  It also meant starting to take some vitamins that I wasn’t crazy about taking.  Liquid ones that certainly didn’t taste like coffee, orange juice or vodka. Came home with a pain pump inserted directly into my surgery site that was in a little black bag and a drain.

December 15…Chris arrives from Ohio for 10 days and Christmas. I am not allowed to drive nor do I feel like being out and about.  However, I am finding that I have been able to manage my pain pretty well.  Only taking pain medication at night.  Christmas tree needs decorated but I can’t lift, do much reaching, etc.  So I implore with all my might to get Chris and Jerry to decorate the tree while I supervise.  I want to get on the scales so bad – but the hospital advised weighing for a week because typically you come home weighing more than when you went due to the fluids they put in you during surgery – so I resist.  But I can tell that things are changing and happening.

December 16 – Uncle Doug came down and took Chris out to lunch.  I was quite content to stay home and work on some projects.  Simply being quiet was a beautiful thing!  Bentley and me – was just fine.

December 18 – Early morning and off to Costco with Chris and Jerry in tow to do all the lifting, pushing, etc.  Since I needed to walk it was great exercise.  Funny thing – I wasn’t even tempted or interested in the samples as I walked by them.  By the time we got home I was pretty tired and slept most of the day.  But also felt really good.

Today was the day I got to take out my pain pump.  If you know me, you know I’m a wimp when it comes to these kind of things – as I was to take it out myself…well, Dr. Wright to the rescue.  Dr. W. lives in the neighborhood and had offered to help where needed.  So off to her house I went on Sunday afternoon to have it taken out – talk about feeling small – didn’t feel a thing when she did pull it out.

December 19 – Ventured into DC for a meeting with Bridge Conference Education co-chairs.  Chris drove me and that was an experience.  (I hope he figures out driving here  when he arrives). Then went to my first support group at INOVA.  Being just six days post surgery, I was excited to see how others were doing that had had surgery about the same time.  As they tell us – we will each have different experiences with the same surgery. That was very evident at support group.

December 20 – wiped out!  Oh yeah, I had just had major surgery  a week prior and rest was much needed after five hours of activity the day before.  I did some emails and rounded up friends for a fun, festive Christmas Day potluck.  Jane and I figured out who was cooking what…it was nice to have someone who understood my food dilemma while preparing for a fun dinner.

I did have my first month check up with Tiffany (PA) and Courtney (dietician).  I was down 20 lbs and was shocked!  I knew pants were getting bigger but I didn’t realize how quickly I was losing.  Needless to say they were very pleased.

Remember the “little black bag” I mentioned earlier?  Well, when Tiffany was removing my drain pump, she asked if I wanted to keep it for a souvenir.  My response – what would I do with it?  Be dazzle it and wear it with my new dress to the Kennedy Center?  No thanks.  The only souvenir I was planning on was a new wardrobe and new body shape.  So into the trash it went.

AND I was allowed to drive – thank goodness!

December 25 – Christmas Day – Friends arrived to celebrate the day.  Chris had given me a “Bentley’s Official Walker” t-shirt for Christmas that was already too big.  So I decided to show off my weight loss and take it off to have friend celebrate with me.  Yep, I took my clothes off (well – just the t-shirt and I had something on under it).  But it was fun to celebrate the season with Jane, Faye and Paul, Clancy, Jim and Michelle, Chris and Jerry.  I was able to eat a very small amount of turkey, some mashed potatoes and that was about it.

December 27 and 28 – went back to the office for a few hours each day.  It was tiring.  But felt good to be back to work.  I also started phase two of the healing process by introducing mushy foods.  Okay the first couple of days was not good ones – but eventually I started to get the hang of it.

December 29 – 31 – Went to PA with Jerry to see his family.  Interesting traveling and eating very little.  Learning how to speak up and say it is time to eat – even if it was two or three bites.  While in PA, went shopping and bought slacks that were 4 sizes smaller – YES, I said 4 sizes smaller than I was a month earlier!  I cried!  Here is a picture showing off a new top that is MUCH, MUCH smaller than a month ago.


Jan 1 2012 - New size!

So I close this update with this thought…Believe and it is possible.  I am beginning to believe that I will be successful.

Happy New Year!  Here is to a wonderful year ahead and to dreams becoming realities!

Until next time….