Sunday, August 24, 2014

One Month Surgiversary

I'll begin by saying that, if you've considered the surgery at all, don't put it off.  Start going through the process.  I feel like six months of waiting while learning, however beneficial it was, was the hardest part so far.  I know I'm only one month out, but I can tell you that this is the best gift I've ever given myself in my life.  And my only regret is that I didn't do it sooner.  For the first time in my life, I feel in control.

The Negatives
I thought I would get the negatives out of the way first.  But I can't really think of any!  Maybe next month that will be easier, but at the moment, I don't feel there are any negatives -- except, of course, I would kill for a salad.  But it won't be long now.

Yeah.  Having the scale not move for two weeks wasn't the easiest thing in the world, but I took heart in my nutritionist's advice.  And I knew my clothes were feeling bigger, anyway.

Are there people who have lost more than me in the first month?  Probably.  But I have been able to keep food down, my energy level is great, and that is worth a ton!  I suppose I should be honest and say I did have one "bad" day, but it was all my own fault.  I went several hours without eating or drinking, and when I finally ate, I ate too much too fast.  It was not fun, but it was a good learning experience.  And if I stick by the rules, everything will be fine.

The Positives
1.   I'm in control.
2.   I've lost 23 pounds!
3.   I've lost 15 1/2 inches.
4.   I LOOK FORWARD to exercising!
5.   I have the energy to deal with 24 four-year-olds.
6.   I'm happier than I've been in a long time.
7.   I'm off almost all of my meds, and my blood sugars are still improving!
8.   The grocery bill is down. 
9.   I'm eating to live, not living to eat, and filling my body with good things.

10. Do I really need a number 10?  But if I must have one, shopping for smaller sizes has already become more fun!

I want to thank each and every one of you for reading, supporting, praying, and commenting.  You'll never know what an impact you have had on this journey so far!  I can't wrap this post up without thanking my two incredible boys for their constant support and encouragement.  I love you with all  my heart, and cannot wait for the adventures to come!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

It's Actually A Good Thing

I am sorry it has taken me so long to update my blog.  It is actually a good thing, I have been feeling so good that I haven't taken the time to stop and blog! 

On Wednesday I went to see my favorite doctor (not!)  My labs were great.  The scale was way down. I have done everything he asked me to.  One would think this would provoke positive comments from him.  Oh no.  He proceeded to tell me that he has seen many people start out positive like me, but after a few years fizzle out.  Are you kidding me?  If I was backsliding I could understand this rant, but seriously?  Why would anyone do that?  I have GOT to find a new doctor.  Any suggestions? 

On Thursday I had a bit of a meltdown.  I had my first moment of, "I can't do this.  Why did I have this surgery?"  I had no idea where it came from.  Then I talked to my friend Toni.  She said, "I know why....your doctor put doubt in your head!"  She as exactly right.  What a jerk. 

Friday I was very proud of myself.  I went to an Early Childhood conference.  I dealt with the drinking and eating without any problems at all.  I lasted all day!  I walked around campus all day and didn't wear out.  The only hitch was sitting by strangers while my tummy made all of it's crazy gurgles.  I call it "speaking whale."  LOL!  I felt the need to explain to each person I sat by what was going on!  I hope this doesn't last forever!  I even ended my day by working in my classroom for a few hours!  I felt very accomplished! 

I have been walking more and it feels really good.  I don't know when I have looked forward to going out for a walk.  I am trying to walk a bit more each day.  I look forward to the day when I can start swimming! 

All in all I am very pleased.  It has not been as painful or difficult as I had expected.  There are a few difficult parts.  For instance, I want a salad or fresh fruit SOOOOO badly.  I am not craving junk!  I just want a salad!  I hope that someday that will be possible.  Some people can have them, and some can't.  

Also, the scale has not moved since about  a week out!  I was told this would happen.  For most it happens at week three.  I know I am doing what I am supposed to.  I can feel my clothes getting bigger.  I am only consuming 500-600 calories a day.  I just have to trust what they say and not let it get to me.  They say your body is just freaking out and it will catch up sooner than later.  Sigh.  I hope it is sooner and not later :0)  

It is getting easier every day to get everything in.  Eating has gone well.  I had an omelet on Saturday.  I wasn't sure how my tummy would handle it.  It went so well and tasted great!  I have been pretty agreeable with everything so far.  I just look forward to being past the mushy stage! 

Tomorrow I start back at work.  We go to a conference. Tuesday and Wednesday are staff meetings.  I am getting excited to see all these darling 4-year-olds!  Prayers for an uneventful week would be appreciated!                         

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This

Tomorrow marks two weeks since surgery, and inevitably, I have had a not-so-great day.  First of all, I see this as a blessing, because I realize that I'm so lucky not to have had bad days prior to this.  It appears I may have overdone it a bit.  (I know...big surprise.)

My left side has crazy pains when I bend or move in certain ways.  I've attempted to take it easy most of the day.  I write this, not to complain, but if any of you end up having this surgery, you may know what to expect.  I'm sure it will clear up soon.  I just need to be gentle with myself.

The few hours today that I didn't spend reclining, were spent with my mother visiting her doctors.  Unfortunately, it appears that her Multiple Myeloma has returned, and she will resume her chemo regimen soon.

Step One will be on Thursday when she receives two units of blood.  I have been present during every transfusion, but this week I will have to take a pass.  I'm pretty confident that sitting in their chairs for six hours would not be a good move.  It will be quite difficult for me to not be there.  Please keep her in your prayers, as she begins treatment.  Thank you so much; it is greatly appreciated!

I'll end with a quick positive.  My goal for protein intake in the first month is 60 grams a day.  In the months to follow, the goal is 80-120 grams.  Today, I consumed 92 grams!  Woo hoo!  A week ago, I would have told you that would never be possible.  What a difference a week makes!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Is This Real Life?!

In two days, I will be two weeks out from my surgery.  It seems like decades ago, but in the same breath, it is flying by so quickly!  I feel so great, both physically and emotionally.  My general state of mind is: giddy.  It feels so wonderful to be freed from the hold that food had on me.  Some days I just don't think it is even real.

Physically, I am probably feeling too good.  I spent my weekend out and about, grocery shopping, going to a concert in the park, taking a mile-long walk, and watching Shakespeare in the park, in addition to going to church.

Today it appears that I may have overdone it a bit.  My muscles are sore, and after spending five hours at school today, I think tomorrow is going to have to be a much more relaxing day.

It is amazing to me how quickly my clothes have outgrown me!  My friend was over last week, and we had to take pictures of my jeans.  I currently have jeans that fit better, however they don't agree with my sensitive midriff.

I am thankful every day that God provided me the strength and courage to follow through with this procedure.  I am confident He will continue to grant me the gift of strength as I travel a road that I am sure has hills up ahead.  I thank all of you, also, for caring enough to read my humble posts and encourage me.  I am truly blessed!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Oh My Goodness, I Found My Ankles!

If you don't see me often, you may not know about my ankles.  They are often quite swollen.  It is hereditary, or that is what I always tell myself.  No, my mom's ankles swell terribly as did my grandmother's.  However, I know my weight did not help the situation.  I tell Rich all the time that I would like to have a foot transplant!  In my opinion, my feet look like hippo feet!  

This morning when I woke up, they looked so small!  So much better!  So less hippoish!  If this makes me have feet that look halfway normal, then that makes everything worth it in itself.  Please though, when you see me next, don't look right at my feet, just sneak a glance.  It will be an issue for me for quite some time :0) 

Another victory is that I talked to my ever so pleasant doctor.  You know the one.  Anyway, prior to surgery I was on 5 pills a day and 36 units of insulin to combat my diabetes.  As of yesterday, the only thing I am taking is 8 units of insulin!  That won't last forever!  This was my major reason for the surgery, and it is already happening!  Praise God! 

Finally, the joys of the last two days include eating mushy food.  I had cheddar cheese and green beans for supper last night, and I am having refried black beans with cheese and also green beans for dinner tonight!  It has all gone down quite well.  I am also getting MORE than the 64 oz. of liquid in, and almost all of my protein.  By next week I think I will have that kicked too. 

My only whine is that I am BORED!  I am just not good at sitting at home.  I know....craft, draw, plan for school, read a book, watch a movie..... that is all fine.  I have plenty to do, I just want to be out and about!  I did do my walk in Target today and it felt great!  So far I am not exhausted.  We will see how late I am up tonight!  

Thank you for all of your kind words and comments.  You will never know how encouraging it is!  I am blessed beyond belief!  I feel like the blind man when Jesus gave him back his sight!  I feel unstoppable!  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Who Would Have Thought?

I will begin by admitting that I am a little tired today. It is all catching up a little!  However, it was a big day! Showered, ATE breakfast, and went to see the nutritionist and the doctor!

Breakfast was exciting!  I had an ounce of cottage cheese and an ounce of homemade applesauce with no sugar.  It went down beautifully.  I was able to eat it all and in the 1/2 hour time period!  This was the feeling of major success!  I enjoyed it too! 

The doctor's office was all around amazing!  First thing was to step on the scale.  I have decided that I am going to try very hard to not weigh at home.  I want to only weight at my appointments, however my next one is in September.  I don't think I will be able to wait that long.  I would like to just judge things by how my clothes are fitting and taking measurements, but that is a LONG time to stay of the scale!  I don't want to get hung up on numbers though.  It isn't about that nearly as much as it is about being healthier.  

So.......the number on the scale.......I lost 14 pounds this last week!!!!!  I just cannot even believe it!  I was super excited.  What a boost!

Then I got to see Dr. Dreamy, I mean Dr. Benjamin Deschner .  Not only is he easy on the eyes, he is really funny.  He is my new best friend though, because he took the drainage tube out!  WHOOP! It didn't hurt it was just the weirdest feeling ever! Having a tube pulled across the entire cavity of your body and out of a hole is just plain bizarre!!!

Today I wore real clothes, jewelry, and did my hair.  I had a wonderful doctor's visit, and my liquids are going down nicely.  

I am continually amazed out how easily this has all been to adjust to.  Don't get me wrong, I have moments where I stress a little, but it is all working out, and this new tummy and I are getting to know each other better! 

Tonight, I can lay on my side!  Oh the glory! 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

For starters, this is a blunt post.  Putting it all out there.  There might be info you are not interested in, so read at your own risk :0) 

Today has been a bit more of a roller coaster day.  Lots of ups and a few downs.  I will share. 

The Good
I had lovely visitors today!  Several friends came and it was so much easier to suck down the liquids when you are a bit distracted. 

I put my pants on all by myself today! 

I had my first bowel movement, which can take some people forever. 

I took two great walks. 

I have no pain. 

I got 10 oz. of a protein drink down.  20 grams of protein.  

I ate a little mashed potatoes. 

Had my first vitamin with no trouble. 

My insulin is less than half, blood sugars have been amazing, and I am not taking any of the pills I took for diabetes. 

I have had no pain meds. for over 24 hours!

The Bad 
I should have gotten in 60 grams of protein

I am struggling to get in my last 8 oz. of liquid

I woke up nauseated, but it did not last long 

Have had my first brief moment of, did I really just do this permanently?

The Ugly
The antibiotics I got in the hospital have given me a yeast infection in some pretty annoying places.  It is driving me a bit crazy!

The draining tube is completely annoying and it needs to be gone!

Because of said drainage tube I have to sleep on my back, I hate sleeping on my back.  

So there it is people, keeping it real.  The good news is The Good outnumbers The Bad and The Ugly by quite a bit.  I need to remind myself of that as I try to get down these last sips while I am so tired and just want to go to bed!  

Saturday, July 26, 2014


In the past, I have avoided hurdles at all costs.  I put off things that are out of my comfort zone, to the point of forgetting all about them.  This I am trying to change.  Yesterday had several events that I would consider "hurdles."

Hurdle #1: Upper G.I.
The first hurdle was having my Upper G.I.  I was actually terrified. How was I going to put that yucky liquid in my brand new tummy, without losing it.  My gag reflex and I don't have the best of relationships.  But I just kept telling myself, "You just had major surgery.  This is a small thing.  You've got this."  And I prayed.  And God and I made it through that Upper G.I. just fine.

Hurdle #2: Consuming Liquid.
It was rough getting started, and I could have easily gotten discouraged.  But I kept telling myself, "I don't have to be an over-achiever."  And so I took things at my own pace.  I didn't get much in (six ounces of water, an ounce of sugar-free Jell-o, an ounce of chicken broth, and an ounce of tea.)  Basically, it took about an hour per ounce.  But I did it!

Hurdle #3: Exhaustion
I woke up exhausted.  Yesterday's nearly-one-mile of walking had worn me out.  How was I going to do six laps today?!  Instead of looking at it as six laps, I looked at it as one lap at a time, and I got them in!

Today's Hurdle: Increasing Fluids
Today's hurdle is consuming a 32 oz. pitcher of liquid in order to go home (and another before I go to bed.)  To me, it sounds like eating an elephant. But you know what they say?  "How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time."  

So I will plug away and do the best I can.  And if it doesn't happen today, it will happen tomorrow -- and that's okay.  My psychologist was right: my perfectionist nature does get in my way.  So I'm throwing it out the window -- well, after I've cleaned the window, made new curtains for it, ... LOL!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hey, Kristi! Now That You Have...

"Hey Kristi!  Now that you have had Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass, what are you going to do next?!"

"I'm going to Disney World!"

Well, not exactly yet.  But this is one of my goals.  

I have many little goals that I look forward to reaching.  For instance:

1.  No more seat belt extenders on planes!

2.  Painting my own toenails, instead of "torturing" my husband to do so.

3.  Riding a ride at a theme park, and not wondering if I will fit.

4.  Buying boots that don't have to have Plus-sized calves.

5.  Never wearing those stupid compression stockings again.

The list could go on and on.  However, my biggest goal is to move.  I mean, really move.  Without pain.  I want to dance, and swim, and run.  I don't know when I've ever run.  So in two years, it is my goal to visit Walt Disney World and run a race.  That's my big, hairy goal!

Now, I must start my training, by doing my 10th lap around the hospital floor.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Baby Steps

The first question you may have is, "Why Gastric Bypass?"  It is so permanent.  I have to be really honest and tell you that I had always felt gastric bypass was an easy way out, a cop out, cheating.  I felt that having the surgery was like saying I was a failure.  I had often talked myself out of the surgery because of what people would think of me.  Funny, I wasn't concerned with what they were thinking about me and the size I was!  

My doctor explained that the surgery would not only help me to loose the weight that I tried to loose and keep off time and time again, but that in many, it ended the diabetes the minute they made the cut!  What?  Seriously????  

I told a few friends I was considering it.  I was anticipating frowns and questions, but everyone was so supportive!

First I needed to contact my insurance and find out what I had to do to be approved for the surgery and where I had to have it done.  I made the call about a week after my doctor visit.  My insurance required me to be on a weight loss plan managed by a doctor for 6 months.  I also found out that I had to have the surgery at a center of excellence, there were three in my area.  I chose Northwestern downtown.  

The next step was to attend an informational  meeting about the procedure at Northwestern.  Rich and I went together.  (Yes we are still together after the affair.....LOL)  I sat there among many large companions.  I tried to rationalize that I wasn't the largest in the room ,but I wasn't the smallest either.  What did it matter?  Who knows!  I had read most of what was shared.  The most valuable part was when people who were weeks to years out from having the surgery spoke to us.  EVERY SINGLE ONE of them said that it was not easy, but they would do it again in a heartbeat.  One lady said, "I have learned to Eat to Live instead of Living to Eat."  WOW!  That is what my new mantra needed to be!  I will decided right then that we would move on.  

Baby step number three was going to see a psychologist to see if I was deemed  "mentally fit" to be approved to move forward in the surgery process.  I hear your thoughts!  LOL!  It was, however, a very enlightening experience.  

I began by telling him of my long term affair and my fear of one more failed weight loss attempt.  So many times I had been successful, would hit a stall, and end up heavier than I started.  And his response was, "So you are a perfectionist?  If you cannot do it perfectly why do it at all?"  Ummmm......exactly.  I always thought it was odd when people called me a perfectionist.  How could I be a perfectionist and be this big?  This part of me was not at all perfect!  Could my tendency to be a perfectionist be holding me  back from loosing weight?  I had only seen the man for a half and hour, and I felt so much better already.  Sadly, this doctor is not in my insurance plan, and I cannot afford him otherwise!  

And then I saw the nutritionist.  This visit was also very enlightening!  I am loving this center at Northwestern!  I was given given three challenges.  Just three.  I didn't have to keep track of points, weight or measure food, just these simple things? 

1. Journal my intake.  I use My Fitness Pal on my phone and love it! 

2. Eat 80-90 grams of protein a day.  (This will take more work, I am not a huge meat eater). 

3. Avoid foods with any form of sugar in the first three ingredients.  (Try it, you will be amazed!)

Finally, I felt someone gave me a simple plan that was not overwhelming.  I didn't believe it would be easy, but it was not too much to be on top of!  

The next 6 months involved monthly classes and weigh ins.  I have learned so very much.  I have not lost a ton of weight, my doctor says it is the insulin that is hindering me and that I would have actually gained weight had I not been doing what I was doing.  
So, finally, the time has come.  I will have surgery tomorrow.  I am super ready!  I know the weeks ahead will be challenging, but it will be worth it!  

I will post when I arrive home.  Thank you so much for your support and prayers.  This journey would not be possible without all of my wonderful friends! 

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Truth Finally Comes Out

So I was out of medication and my "favorite" doctor said he was no longer giving me refills if I didn't have blood work drawn and come in to see him.  Jerk! I was not a fan of this doctor.  He was practicing "tough love" with me.  He was far from the beloved Dr. Mike that we left behind in Indiana!  Dr. Mike was so kind and supportive, but was he too nice?  I was wishing there was a happy medium between him and my new, rather blunt physician.  Suppose blunt is what I really needed?  It would not be a lie if I told you I hated this new doctor.  I really did!  I am ashamed to say it.  However, he saw right through my affair and called me out on it!  How dare he!  He was not interested in being my friend and assisting me in continuing the elusive affair.  

In his defense, which I can only say now after the fact, I had not been to the doctor in over a year.  My clothes were tight, my sugars were high, and I was avoiding him.  I felt terrible and I did not want to face the truth and end my love affair with food. 

I was about to be delivered the truth, which slapped me in the face.  The doctor delivered it just like that also, as if her were slapping me.  My weight was at an all time high, and I cannot even type what my A1C was.  He told me flat out that he did not want to hear my excuses.  He needed me to hear the truth, that this affair was killing me.  

The dreaded moment had arrived.  I was going to have to go on insulin.  I had told myself time and again that if I ever had to go on insulin it would be the beginning of a downhill journey and that journey had just begun. 

His suggestion?  It was the same has he had been preaching for four years, I needed to have gastric  bypass surgery.  He was right.  The time had come.  I had been researching for years, and this was what I needed to do.  We talked about what I needed to do to get started.  I needed to go home and call my insurance and see which hospitals I needed to consider and make the first move on this journey to ending my affair and rebuilding my health.  And so it began.  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

An Affair to Remember

I've been having an affair.  It's true, this pastor's wife with the amazing doting husband has been having an affair!  It all came out about seven months ago.  My mom was ill and in the hospital and I no longer had the energy to keep up with all the lies.  It was destroying me day by day and I needed to come clean.  This affair had been going on for years, and things were just getting out of hand.  It was time to begin the journey of putting things back together. 

I suppose if I am going to share this part of my journey, I should full you in on the object of my affections.  This adulterer was pulling me away from being the best wife, mother, and friend that I could be.  It was actually taking my life inch by inch, literally.  

The object of our affections can come in many forms.  Mine was not some perfectly chiseled hunk that was not my husband, but rather came in hunks, as in chocolate, pound cake, etc.  My wild affair was with food!