Monday, March 31, 2008

"Normal" BMI

It's been since sometime in 1999 that I had a BMI that was in the "normal" range. This morning though, with my weekly weigh-in, I hit a BMI of 24.9. I'm still having that kind of "wow" feeling. What's more is I keep thinking "and I will always be keeping it in the 'normal' range from here on out." I know that folks struggle with regain and such...I'm not in denial about that possibility, but I am refusing to accept that possibility for myself because that is within my control.

It's Monday. I'm sleepy and tired. I stayed up too late watching the end of a movie and now I'm paying for it today. It will definitely take every ounce of motivation I have to get my butt down to the gym today, but I know that I'll feel better afterwards for having done it. I just have to stay focused on that. And it will likely help my energy level this afternoon too...maybe I'll even go down as early as 11 and then be done by 12. :)

I saw both of my neurologists last week. The neuropathy in my foot/ankle has improved/stabilized. I still have pain, but it isn't really keeping me from being active at this point, it's just a nuisance more than anything. So, I won't see that neuro unless I need to. My other neuro, for my migraines, I see him once a year at this point because things are pretty stable there as well. I still get migraines, but they have stayed much less frequent than they used to be. We talked about my dosage of the propanalol and he said I could try cutting it back to once a day if I wanted and see how that worked. What I opted for instead was to split the tablet in two and take half in the a.m. and half in the p.m. and see how that goes. If the migraines stay at the same level they are now, I'll stick with that dosage. They were both really very positive about how healthy I am now (one said "this is the healthiest I have ever seen you"). That felt really good.

Oh, and my bum surgery is scheduled for April 15th. Yes, all kinds of jokes can be made about pulling things out of my bum considering it's tax day, but I don't owe the IRS any money so we won't go there. :)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

More Pictures

I took these today...I just really liked the outfit and how I felt in it. I felt normal in size, proportion, body, and I felt like I looked casually good. I haven't really felt very put together sometimes, and I did feel that way wearing this. So, here are the pics. :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I Really Do Love Dr. B

And Annie. I haven't talked about something here because, well, it's kind of embarrassing. I've talked about it (what seems) endlessly on OH's RNY forum because I know from people's posts and replies that they too have endured what I've been experiencing for the past 7+ years. I have a chronic anal fissure (a tear in my rectum). There, I said it. And suffice it to say, it just bites. It was diagnosed shortly after my son was born (and probably came into being because of my efforts to push him out during childbirth). We've tried all kinds of non-surgical treatments, and it would heal, and then re-open, and heal and re-open.

When I was about 6 weeks post-op, I had a really bad bout with constipation. I saw Dr. Buckley and that is when I got started on Enulose syrup (in addition to daily Colace, 100 oz. or more of water daily, regular exercise, a very high fiber diet, and yogurt and probiotics daily). We agreed that the fissure couldn't be dealt with until the constipation was resolved. I'd like to say that I've been pretty "stable" with regards to pooping since that time. However, even with regular bathroom habits, the darn thing has re-opened after trying to heal at least 3 more times. About 8 weeks ago, it re-opened badly and has bled rather profusely after every BM every single day since. It has gotten to the point where I am in pain for 8 or 9 hours after a BM. If you can imagine what it feels like to pass shards of glass through your rectum, well, that's how this feels to me, or how I imagine it would feel since I've never actually passed shards of glass. So, I bit the bullet and went back to my GI guy. He wanted to re-evaluate the fissure just to make sure it wasn't really colitis or Crohn's. I had my third flexible sigmoidoscopy last Friday. My colon is very healthy...pristine, he declared. But, there is the problem of the fissure and the scarring that has developed as a result of healing and re-opening so many times. He referred me for a rectal surgery consult. The rectal surgeon he recommended is in the same practice as Dr. B. However, his schedule made it impossible for me to get in to see him in less than 2 months.

I realize that people may be thinking "well, you've had the thing for 7 years, what's 2 more months?" Understand a little about who I am...I will go as long as I possibly can before I seek help for a physical ailment. I'm a single mom without a lot of family support locally. The idea of having to deal with this and likely schedule another surgery, even a quick day procedure, is somewhat daunting. For me to have gotten to this point, well, I am already at the point where I just can't take anymore and waiting even 2 more months is inconceivable to me. That's 2 more months of passing shards of glass out my bum. No thank you.

Gratefully, Dr. B. was able to see me much sooner, and so I saw him tonight (thank you Annie!). He has such an easy manner; he explained what would need to be done, what I could expect for recovery, and of course he asked about how I was doing with my RNY and such. He talked with my son, and helped him look for what was "wrong" in the picture of the Highlights Magazine my son was looking at. You know, it's not just that Dr. B. is a doctor in this area who performs bariatric surgery. He's a great doctor. I was just reminded of all the reasons why I felt so confident putting my life and future in his hands with my RNY. He hasn't let me down. Ever. He's the best.

Can I just say how excited I am about the prospect of pain-free pooping? :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Long Term Support Group...a Milestone For Me

Since I first started looking into surgery, attending the Long Term Support Group was like this mile marker in my mind of how far I had come. Last night, I attended my first monthly Long Term Support Group, now that I am 8 months or more post-op. I have to say, I loved it. It was a much smaller, more intimate group, and I was pretty pleased/impressed with the longevity of the folks who are there still attending. I felt kind of silly mentioning it to Martha and Kevin later after the meeting (and yes Kevin, mentioning you by name is payback for you mentioning in the general support group that I have a blog here, I know you'll read it! :) ). But, well, this is second longest I've ever maintained positive eating habits and lifestyle changes. I've done it once before, for about a year and a half. I have it in my mind that my next "milestone" will be making it to two years and still living a healthy lifestyle. I know I can and will do least that's what I keep telling myself because negativity will get me nowhere. Yes, I have those little thoughts that creep into my head about failing, yet again. But I have to remind myself that this is different, I have the help of the tool to get through those rough patches. I just have to remember to use it. We tried some new yummies last night that Melinda brought in. Some would be very dangerous for me to have around the house, but others were really nice changes of pace from what we have as staples here. Zachary loved them all too...always a plus. He's become such a healthy foodie. :) He reads labels, asks what's good in terms of nutritional values, etc. I'm glad he's learning early on about healthy nutrition.

Zachary and I pulled into our parking lot and as I got out of the car I said "don't forget your backpack" to which he looked at me horrified. The backpack had been forgotten at the conference room at the hospital. I thought he was joking. I looked at him and said "you're kidding me, right?" Nope, he wasn't. So off we raced, back to the hospital to hopefully retrieve the backpack which contained his markers, his notebook, his homework, his Nintendo DS Lite and his library of games. On our way there, he's crying and telling me how much he hates himself for forgetting it. So we had a chat about how EVERYONE makes mistakes, forgets things, and of course he asks when I ever do that. I do it all the time...could I remember a specific instance to give him? I think I created one that is very viable and probably did happen, but I think I do stuff all the much so that I take it with a grain of salt. This little boy is very, very hard on himself. Sounds like someone else I know. The doors were looked to the building when we got there, and the tears started to flow for Zachary. But a security guard was walking by just then, and asked what we needed, so I explained the situation and he said "well, let's take a look and see." We went inside, and in the conference room on the chair, right where we had left it, was Z's backpack. :) All was good and right with the world, though it still took him a few minutes to settle down.

It made me think about how hard we can be on ourselves in some ways, and yet in denial in others. I can look at pictures of myself at my heaviest weight and feel like that's not even me...even though I can remember how it felt to lay down at night and feel like the fat around my neck was choking me, making it difficult to breathe and sleep. I could ignore or deny something so obvious as my eating and my size...yet be so hard on myself in so many other ways. I think the lesson I'm trying to take out of this experience is that there is a great need to be honest with oneself while being kind to oneself as well. They don't have to be mutually exclusive things though, at least I don't think so. I have counseling tonight with Pat, so I think I'll mention this to her as something to talk about.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Meanness of People...Starting With Kids

My son went to a friend's birthday party today at a laser tag place. And the packs the kids wear are really quite large and heavy...way too large and heavy for a 7 year old who is on the small side. Zachary is about 45 inches tall and weighs 41 lbs. He ended up leaving the first round of tag just before it was over. As he came out, I could tell he was fighting the tears and basically said that he just didn't feel well. I knew there was more to it than that but he wasn't opening up about it at that time. He chose not to go in for the second round of tag with all of his friends, even though I offered to wear the pack and go with him.

On the way home in the car, he asked me if he looks like he's in 1st grade. I said "well yes, you do." He said that he doesn't think he does, because he's so small. I asked him what on earth would make him think that, and he said that other kids tell him he's small all the time, tell him he's too little to do things that he CAN do. As he's telling me this, his voice is starting to crack and I know he's trying not to cry. Apparently, he's being teased at school in his class and in the after school program about being so small and little.

We had quite a talk about how people in general can be mean about the dumbest things, like a person's size or color or other attribute over which they have no control. We talked about how his uncle (my brother) was also really little at the same age and how he would likely understand exactly how Zachary feels. I shared with him how people have treated me differently based on whether I was thin or fat. And I shared with him the story of how when I was in 1st and 2nd grade, there was another little girl in my class who used to tease me and call me fat and tell me I was a pig until I was reduced to tears, and then she would go and tell the teacher I was crying and had no idea why. She tortured me for 2 years this way. The bottom line was that regardless of my size or weight, I was still the same person heart and mind were still the same, and I didn't treat people any better or worse or differently just because of the size of my body. So anything they could say or do to me doesn't speak to the heart of who I am. But to say it doesn't hurt? That would be ridiculous.

He is such a sensitive little soul. I want him to realize that other people who do this are really just not being kind and that the things they say have no real bearing on who he is as a person...his heart and mind are still just as good as anyone else's. How do other parents handle this stuff with their kids?

My mom and I used to have these talks about how much I build him up. She was always afraid that somehow it would make him arrogant or egotistical to be bestowing "too much" praise upon him. I told her "the way I see it, the rest of the world will do it's damnedest to tear him down at times, so it's my job to build him up enough that when that happens, he still stands tall and knows that who he is is wonderful." I believe that now more than ever.

Momma bears are fierce. Don't mess with their cubs.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

My H&W Appointment

We reviewed my 8-month labs and all is well. My labs overall look really good. My iron isn't "low," but it's on the very low side of normal, and because I've been feeling so fatigued we're going to try upping it to every day and see if that helps with the fatigue I've been feeling/fighting. There are some other minor things but overall they said I look good on paper. And after much discussion with Melinda about my bathroom habits and difficulties, we are upping my vitamin C to 1000 mg daily, as well as adding 50 mg of zinc daily in hopes it will help with some of my bowel troubles. Melinda also called me later and said after reviewing my food journal, I may want to back off of some of the insoluble fiber in my diet as that could be irritating the fissures I have. I've had them for over 7 years now, and for the past few months I have had daily bleeding (not just a teeny amount) and horrible pain with every bowel movement that persists throughout the day well after going to the bathroom. As Melinda and I both agreed that "pooping should be a joyful experience that you just kind of go "ahhh" afterwards," what I'm experiencing will just not cut it long term. I've had enough of this. So, we agreed that I will try the zinc and vitamin C, as well as backing off the insoluble fiber, and if that means needing to use the Enulose syrup daily for a little while to get these things to heal, so be it. I also have a call in to the GI guy I saw many years ago who first diagnosed the fissures to see what he suggests. I just really have had enough of the pain and bleeding.

We took measurements today and both Melinda and Ellen were very happy with my progress. My next appointment with them is scheduled for 4 months from I'll be just over a year out then. It's hard for me to believe just how quickly these past 8 months (heck, the past year since I started risk reduction) have gone. I don't remember all of the numbers, but I've lost I believe somewhere around 25 to 30 inches between my hips and waist, my body fat percentage is obviously down significantly (it was 28 something today, and I can't remember what it was when I was there in January 2007, but I think it was in the upper 40s). Without shoes on, I weighed 139.1 on their scale.

Strangely enough, after such a good visit I feel like I should feel really good...and I do. But in all honesty, the fatigue I'm feeling today is just way too much. I have felt ready for bed since I got up this morning. I hope to get to bed early tonight. I know I've been dreaming a lot lately and last night's dreams were not particularly pleasant.

You know what really makes me laugh? People who look at me and say "guys must be pounding down your door." Um, nope, they aren't. And I'm very frustrated by that. And sad about it. Makes me wonder just what is wrong with me that I don't attract potential partners. I haven't been asked out on a single date since my surgery. Not that it should have changed everything in my world, but I would have hoped that my more "normal" body size and shape would at least not deter men from approaching me. I wonder sometimes if I will just be alone/partnerless the rest of my life. I think I could certainly handle that...but it would make me very sad.

I've always thought that was something inherently unlovable/unpartnerable about me. Over the years I've gotten lots of reassurance from people I trust and respect that no, there's nothing inherently wrong with me. But for me, it's like "the proof is in the pudding." And for me, there is no pudding, and there is no proof. I've heard "it will happen when you least expect it," I've heard "when you aren't looking," or "stop looking or trying so hard." Let me just say, I've tried it from every approach and I find it a miracle sometimes that I ever met someone and lived with him and conceived a child with shocks me that someone apparently wanted to be with me even that long. Yeah, I guess today I'm down on the whole topic of dating and men. I don't always feel this way. But lately it's wearing thin. I want to enjoy my life, I want to be out and active and doing things with old and new friends alike...and I am doing that as much as possible. But in some ways, the dating ways, I feel incredibly stagnant. I think regular nookie would do wonders for my mood. :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Silly Excited

Sometimes I feel ridiculously silly about this, but I get really excited for my visits with Melinda and Ellen at Heart and Wellness. They are both positive, understanding people who know what I've been through physically and emotionally and they help me keep a great perspective. They're also a huge source of support and positive reinforcement for all I've been doing and working on. I guess in many ways I'm still just an approval junkie and I thrive on getting their approval when I know I've been doing what I should be doing. It's nice to get those kudos...I need them and they give them. I'm also pretty eager to review my labs and hopefully get some insight into the fatigue I've been feeling. If there's some way I can adjust my eating, supplements or routine that will help, I'm all for that. I honestly feel like I could just sleep all the time lately. Maybe it's winter blahs, but I think it may be a little more than that. We'll see.

I'm also really glad it's "hump" day. Work has been a little trying this week. As my boss put it yesterday, I've been the "rubber band" this week in terms of changing priorities. From the time I walked in Monday morning and a coworker asked me what I was working on, A or B, and I said neither because I didn't know about either and was just learning then that A and B were competing priorities, to yesterday when we had our staff meeting where more venting went down about lip service from upper management, I'm ready for this week to be over. Really ready.

Tonight I take Zachary to see the new counselor. I'm feeling optimistic about that. I hope this is someone who can really help Zachary with some coping skills. Pat gave me some really positive feedback last night about how great it is to be addressing these anxiety issues with him productively, helping him get some coping skills, while he's young so it won't impact him as much. I hope she's right. I don't want him to have a childhood full of anxiety.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Stalls Are Normal

It doesn't matter how much I rationally understand this, it still annoys me that my weight has remained unchanged for two weeks now. Yes, I know it's normal. Yes, I know that it happens.Yes, I know that others have experienced way more stalls than I have during the course of 8 months so I shouldn't complain. But here I am, complaining anyway, reminding myself to "stay the course" and that the scale will start moving again. I also have to remind myself that if I didn't lose another pound from here on out, I've done amazingly well (repeat over and over Amy, over and over). Yesterday was my 8 month surgiversary. Even that is hard for me to believe. It has been quite an incredible ride these past 8 months. Gotta try and remember that so that my day doesn't go into the crapper before it even starts. :) And here are my pictures from 8 months out...about 113 lbs. down since my consult with Dr. B.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Few of My Favorite Things

I have a few "favorite" places on the web since my WLS journey began. In addition to Pat Basile O'Hearn and my bypass buddy Annie (how did I get so lucky with these two ladies as my personal support???), the folks at Heart & Wellness, Dr. B., and the wonderful people I have met through support group, I've also learned so much and made some awesome friendships with folks through the message boards on Anyway, one such friend and I live in different parts of the country and so, we have different foods available to us. In chatting with her, we've decided to have a swap of some of her favorites post-WLS and some of mine. Things I can get here, she can't get there, and vice versa. I am so stupidly excited!!!! I can't wait to send my goody package off to her and to get hers. I have connected with some really incredible people as a result of my surgery...and I don't think that's something I ever would have expected to be a benefit but it has been. People who understand the feelings I had being obese, and people who understand my needs both physically and emotionally now, post-surgery. Another awesome place for food finds and reviews as well as and recipes is Hungry Girl.

I also have a few favorite food items post-op. 'em (yes, I posted about them before in my yummy breakfast post). Along with those go fat-free cottage cheese mixed with a little Splenda and cinnamon. For butter spreads, I love Olivio. For a high protein, low fat snack, I simply adore jerky (turkey, buffalo and beef) from Trader Joe's. It's a lot less salty than others I've tried and just tastes better, softer. Fiber One products in general I simply adore. I am a huge fiber junky because of my very lazy bowel issues, so just about any bread or cereal type product has to have a high fiber content before I will even consider putting it into my body. I won't waste the carbs on something that doesn't benefit me in all ways. So I eat Fiber One Cereal every day with Dannon Fit & Light Yogurt. And I love the new Fiber One English Muffins and Chewy Oats Bars. They're my "selfish" little sweet treat that I feel zero guilt about. Another great tasting fiber booster is these Gnu Foods Flavor & Fiber Bars. The texture is a little strange sometimes, but the flavor is awesome. And locally, I love the Danvers Butchery and their marinated skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Easy, affordable, and great on flavor and nutrition. Yes, I'm becoming a brat that way. Oh, and after my chat with Melissa today, coffee. I was in heaven when I was given the go-ahead to have decaf coffee again. And so I started ordering from my favorite coffee company, 8th Sin Coffee. Loved them before, and still love them now...even in decaf only. I also really love the Smart Forme Bari 15 Cold favorite is the Wildberry Passion. I got a sample of that when I was in the hospital after my surgery. I have had a really difficult time finding protein drinks that I can stand the taste of and this fruity drink really works for me when I need it. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Peanut Butter & Co.'s Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Peanut Butter. YUMMM! Two cookbooks that I just love because they are focused on healthy eating and have nutritional info for every recipe are "The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life" by RD Ellie Krieger, and "Recipes for Life After Weight-Loss Surgery: Delicious Dishes for Nourishing the New You" by RD Margaret Furtado and Lynette Schultz.

As for other things going on, I was able to speak with one of the counselors that was recommended to me for my son and we have that appointment next Wednesday evening. I liked him a great deal on the phone, and I think that he will probably be really good for Zachary. He and I talked last night as he was drifting off to sleep about how mommy used to get really homesick feelings too. And that seemed to surprise him but also opened him up a bit and he started talking about how he gets that way at school sometimes. I explained to him that this new counselor is someone who will be able to help him find ways to make those feelings better so it's not so difficult. He seemed relieved. I also spoke to our advocate at the Big Brother Big Sister Program, and she was able to connect with Zachary's dad. She was able to determine that he is very supportive of Zachary's participation in the program and so, he's now enrolled and just awaiting a match with a Big Brother. I'm very excited for him!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I Just Want to Cry

My son has a lot of anxiety issues...primarily, separation anxiety. It's been an ongoing problem for many years. He saw a counselor for over a year. Just after the Christmas break he started seeing the school social worker weekly. The past two weeks he has ended up in the nurse's office at school because he's "sick"...but he's not really. So today the social worker and I had a chat...and she has spoken to Zachary's teacher as well. And it would seem that some days, he's fine and dandy, and other days he's anxious, preoccupied and emotionally removes himself from interaction with others in his class. My heart is breaking that he is struggling with something and I don't know how to help him. I got the names of some other counselors that I am going to follow-up with as they feel it's time for him to see an outside counselor again. I have tried so very hard to give him a better home life than I had...and yet he still has some of the same issues I had as a kid. :(

Monday, March 3, 2008

Monday, Monday

I had a conversation with a coworker today who I just really enjoy talking to. We have these pretty deep conversations about the losses we've experienced (among other things). He has been incredibly supportive in my weight loss journey and one of the things we talked about this morning was about my thoughts last week with regards to my mom and my success and would I have been this successful if she were still alive. He lost his brother about 5 years ago to suicide. And so here it is, 5 years out, that he can vocalize a "thank you" to his brother for dying and relieving the burden from him and his mother. He is so much more content in his life because he was very involved in helping his brother with his depression and it was really quite an exhausting task. And without that burden he's been free to be content and happy and grow and explore other aspects of his life that he'd have never had time for before. There was actually a great deal of relief for me in this conversation with know that it's not awful to feel this way and think these thoughts. That it's normal, that it's ok.

The school nurse also called this 10 a.m. It seems that my son was down in her office complaining of a headache and said he was sick all weekend. He wasn't. I had a fear this would become a more regular thing (his going to the nurse) after last week when he went to the nurse on Thursday and I had to leave to pick him up. No fever either time, and last time was a tummy ache. I am so torn most of the time. I was like this as a kid as well. I had tummy aches all the time. I wanted to be home, mostly with my mom. My mom traveled just about every week for business...she'd leave Sunday night and return home Friday night. We had a nanny that lived with us Sunday night through Friday as a result. My son has had me home with him day in and day out since he was born. I can count on one hand the number of times I've traveled for business. All of these years I thought that my anxiety and homesickness came from my mom not being around much. I have been forced to recognize that there is a much larger biological component to this than I ever thought. My son's experience growing up has been so much different than mine, and yet he still has these feelings. I really hope that he can learn coping skills I didn't have...I don't want him to feel the things I felt about myself growing up. And sometimes, my greatest fear is that despite my best efforts to stop the cycle of abuse and damage, I will have failed with the person I love the most.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Weekend

When my mom died in 2006, me, my brother and sister-in-law had to sort through and pack up all of mom’s things within 3 weeks to avoid paying an additional month’s rent. My mom had a lot of really nice clothes. She was a tiny woman. At the time, there was no way any of her stuff was even close to fitting me. My sister-in-law is teeny and petite like my mom, and so she went through most of the clothes (with my blessing) and decided what to keep.

There were many things of my mom’s (her furniture, television, etc.) that I didn’t specifically have a use for and neither did my brother. So with my blessing, many of these items went to my sister-in-law’s family (her mom, her sons, etc.). The television that my brother had planned to take (because I said “sure, go ahead, we already have one”—they already had 3) wouldn’t fit in the space that they thought it would. So, they decided to give it to his wife’s ex-husband. I was told about this after the fact…and it rubbed me the wrong way. Granted, I was told this on the same day that we went to pick up my mom’s ashes from the funeral home, and we were all supposed to meet there together to pick them up, and pick out our urns, and they got there 5 minutes before I did and picked up the ashes, looked at the urns, so when I arrived, they were all set to go. I said “well, could I at least take a look at the urns?” I felt like I had been completely left out of or bypassed on things which were important to me. Most of my mom’s things I didn’t really have a huge desire to have, but there were a few things that had sentimental value to me. When my brother asked me about a wicker basket my mom had (sort of like a hope chest) and I said that yes, I did want that he countered with “oh, well we wanted that.” And so I deferred and said that was fine, they could have it if they really wanted it, but please not to ever get rid of it if they tired of it…that before it was given to anyone else or disposed of, I wanted it. It came out from my brother that he didn’t really care about having it, but his wife wanted it IF I DIDN’T WANT IT. Well, I did. But in his mind, his wife wanted it and that trumped whatever I wanted. His wife was fine with me having it, but my brother wasn’t. And so that night my brother and I came to blows when he told me on the phone that they’d given away mom’s TV to my sister-in-law’s ex-husband. I told him that mom would not have wanted us fighting over stuff, and I wasn’t going to fight with him. It got uglier and uglier as the evening wore on, and my brother said some pretty hurtful things, and I voiced many feelings which I had always kept inside. He and my mom both have/had that tendency to fight very dirty…something that I aspire NOT to do. I actually have come to realize has been a huge source of my pain trying to stifle the urge. When I was younger, when I felt angry and hurt by someone in my family, instead of striking back I would turn on myself…and would cut. Yes, I was a cutter…among other things.

Anyway…things got really ugly and I told my brother that I didn’t want to ever speak to him again. We did eventually get things resolved, but it didn’t do much to further establish any trust I have in my brother as a “safe” person. Saturday night, they came over for dinner. And my sister-in-law had brought over a couple of coats and a couple of sweaters that had been my mom’s. She thought that I might like them now that they would fit me. Had she never offered, I would have been absolutely fine with that…the fact that she did though, spoke volumes to me and I was so appreciative. As she is handing me the bag of clothes, my brother is asking his wife “are you sure you don’t want those???” I winced inside because it reminded me so much of the earlier conflict and how I felt like I didn’t matter to my own brother in matters of my mom. I let the comment go because the bottom line is that my sister-in-law “got it,” she understood what it meant to me, and so there was nothing really to be resolved. But it certainly kicked up those feelings again of not mattering to the people I think I should matter the most to.

Oh, and dinner Saturday night? I overcooked dinner in the Crock-pot…how does one do that????? The pork was too dry and so two bites into it I knew I was done as it was stuck and about 20 minutes later I puked it back up. I think it’s been close to a month since I last got sick from something. It’s not a fun thing, but it’s weirdly reassuring that my stoma is still apparently quite intact. And later this week I will have my 8 month labs drawn. I’m actually eager to see how they are the following week with Heart and Wellness.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

My Story....Why I'm Starting This Blog

I'm a 39-year-old single mom to the most incredible and awesome 7 year old little boy...he is the best thing that has ever happened to me! Yes, I'm smitten with him. :)

I am starting this blog today in order to share the story of my gastric bypass surgery, which took place in July of 2007. I have kept a journal and taken photos throughout the months pre- and post-surgery, and want to share them in case anyone finds the information here helpful. So the first part of my blog is retrospective, as I pulled entries from email and my journal, and then the blog switches to real-time of my ongoing journey.

Me in the summer of 2004 in the pink shirt. Blech. And I gained another 40 to 50 lbs. from this picture before I started pursuing weight loss surgery. The striped shirt picture was taken in December of 2006. I had started the process of preparing for surgery...questionnaires completed, gathering medical history, attended the first of two info sessions, and I had my surgical consult. I'm about 254 lbs. in this picture. Lastly, the black and white picture is about 6 weeks into the Risk Reduction Program in April of 2007. I had lost about 10 lbs. from my highest weight.

I've battled my weight since puberty, which kicked in early for me around age 8. I never thought anything about my weight, or what I ate until one summer when visiting with my grandparents and cousins in Texas. My grandmother cooked the most wonderful, fried southern foods...and all of us kids just gobbled them up. One afternoon as I was sitting down to some homemade French fries with my cousins, one of my boy cousins said "don't eat too much Texas food." I had no idea what he meant or what he was talking about. All of my cousins laughed. Apparently my mother, who was always concerned with weight, had forewarned my grandmother that she didn't want my eating to be uncontrolled. My grandmother took this to mean that if I ate too much and gained weight, my parents wouldn't allow me to visit with them again. All the cousins and rest of the family knew of this preoccupation with my food habits and weight...I was apparently the only oblivious one. In her fear, my grandmother monitored my weight by putting me on her scale every morning to make sure I hadn't gained. And so it self-consciousness about my body, what I ate, etc. Early puberty and the curves that go with it by 5th grade didn't help either. By middle school, I had become anorexic, and into high school I added bulimia to the list. I also became a much more withdrawn and depressed teen...home life was very turbulent for many reasons and I didn't really care all that much for my life.

I graduated high school, worked full-time at a major university in NYC and went to nursing school part-time. I joined Weight Watchers for the first time when I was 19. I did really well and lost 38 lbs. in a healthy way...for the first time in my life. Shortly after becoming a Lifetime Member, the urges to binge started taking over again. And I battled with losing and gaining and losing and gaining. And then a few months after that began, my father passed away from Multiple Sclerosis. I hadn't seen him or spoken to him in 4 years (long story but his much younger wife was threatened by me and was pretty verbally abusive, so I stayed away). I was pretty consumed with guilt and depression. As a result, I ended up hospitalized for my depression and I spent a good bit of time inpatient trying to get my life together. When I was 22, I was out on my own, working, and living with my significant other (we married, and divorced, unable to sustain a relationship because his own addictions were too difficult for him to overcome). By this time, I was 30 and life really started to get better and I started to care about myself again.

I had gained and lost many, many times. Many diets later, I bought Oprah and Bob Green's book "Make the Connection". And I began eating balanced and very healthy meals, and I exercised vigorously every day. I lost 78 lbs over the period of a year or so. For a while, I kept it off. Then, I started dating someone and I fell in love...and all of my urges to binge started to come up again. In the months we waited to close on a house we were buying together, he decided he didn't want a relationship (so he said) anymore. Truth was, he didn't want a relationship with me. I was 4.5 months pregnant with my son when he jumped ship altogether and hooked up with a 17 year old (he later married, had a child with, and divorced...he's actually on his third marriage now--he was married before he and I were together). Anyway...

I had my baby boy and I felt incredibly blessed to have this amazing little human being. I had no family near, but my mom moved up this way shortly after my son was born. And she really became his second parent. I gained weight, tried dating here and there but found my string of guys who decided (so they said) that they really didn't want to date someone with a child...too much responsibility. So I've been romantically alone for most of my son's 6.5 years. I lost and gained weight, and lost and gained many times.

In May 2006, my mother passed away very unexpectedly from a massive pulmonary embolism. It was devastating to both myself and my son. And I ate. And I gained. And the thought of another diet (and the thought of failing at another diet) was simply more than I could bear.

In October 2006, I saw a commercial for the Lap Band. I had considered gastric bypass surgery before but was too afraid of complications and malabsorption issues. I started looking into the Lap Band, got my information packet from the program I was going through, and I felt renewed hope...until I found out that my health insurance wouldn't cover that procedure, but would cover RNY. I had a lot of thinking to do...mostly about my son and how afraid I was that if something happened to me, he would be essentially alone. I came to the realization that I was going to either die from a comorbidity of my obesity or I would die trying to make my life better for myself and for my son...and so I decided to go for RNY.

I completed all of my consults, intakes and tests by January 2007. I was honest about my history and feelings every step of the way. I have continued in my counseling all these many years since I was first diagnosed with an eating disorder at age 12. I haven't had any kind of purging activity at all since my late teens/early 20s. The psych doing my eval felt that I still had too much depression and so wanted me to have a pharmacological consult. I followed through with a wonderful doctor who felt that my chronic insomnia contributed significantly to my depression and as such, getting me quality sleep would help tremendously. We tried various meds, and eventually found one that worked best for me. I began feeling much less weepy and more positive.

I'm now waiting to hear what the clinical team says about my case.