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About this blog

My life and times through weight loss surgery and beyond

Entries in this blog

 

Made It Through Thanksgiving!

Well Fellow Sleevers, I have made it through my first major holiday and have to say I did pretty darn good!!! I was a little worried going into Thanksgiving because it is one of my favorite holidays in which to overeat. I was worried I would be a Grumpy Guss because I couldn't, but you know what...I was able to enjoy all the foods that I normally would! I had turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberries, rolls, pumpkin pie, etc. I just ate a WHOLE LOT less of it. I didn't feel deprived or anything. All in all I had a wonderful holiday and felt so good that even with the holiday I was still losing weight!!! That is a first for me. I am really looking forward to Christmas now that I know I can get through it successfully!!! P.S. for those of you following my blog, I'd also like to add that in spite of the typical holiday stress, my anxiety is still steadily improving!!!!

phoenixgen2

phoenixgen2

 

Things Are Looking Up

Howdy fellow sleevers!!!! It has been quite some time since my last posting and I have a bit to say. If you have been following my blog you have seen my ups and downs, my struggles with anxiety and other emotions, my issues with being able to eat and getting nauseous when eating, and my early morning troubles. I am here today to tell you that things are finally starting to stabilize!   I had my 6 week check up with my doctor a while ago and told him about how hard it is for me to eat or drink in the mornings, how I feel like crap in the morning, and how it takes me hours to get going. He assures me the by between month 3 and 4 that should stabilize. Well...It is finally starting to do just that. I am starting to feel better in the mornings and eating or drinking in the morning is getting easier. I am even doing better at work in the mornings and have improved mental clarity and focus! I still have some normalization that needs to happen, but given my current pace, I am sure that by month 4 I will be feeling 100% better.   My emotional state is improving as well. I have not required an anxiety pill for almost a month now and was able to work through my stress and anxiety by myself. I had a death in the family that caused me to begin to have a panic attack, but I managed it without drugs! I am feeling more confident, happy, and healthy each day!   I am able to eat more normal foods and enjoy the company of others when I eat. It feels so good now that things are starting to get normal. I still cannot eat soft (untoasted) bread, but that will come at around the 6 month mark along with pasta. I was actually able to eat sushi the other day which made me sssssssssssoooooooooooooo happy!!! I love sushi, it was one of my favorite things before my surgery and I am so glad that I can still enjoy it! I am trying new stuff daily and finding it getting easier and easier to eat. I still struggle with eating 4 ounces in 20-30 minutes, but I know that that will happen in time as well. For now I take about 45 minutes to eat.   Things are really starting to happen for me and I am filled with joy, relief, and a positive outlook. For any of you that are struggling, hang in there...it will get better. You will have ups and downs (I still do from time to time), but this was a good choice and soon you will be thinner, happier, and above all healthier!!!   Ciao 4 Now!

phoenixgen2

phoenixgen2

 

The Woe Of Anxiety!

Good Morning Sleevers!   As I have mentioned in previous entries, I developed Anxiety after my surgery and now 6 weeks out it is still prevalent in my life. My largest problem is the hyperventilation. Even with the Xanax the doctor prescribed, I still deal with hyperventilating even though sometimes I don't realize I am doing it. I am going to talk to both my doctor and psychologist as to why I am still felling this way even though I am adjusting more and more to my new stomach and life. I am also trying to figure out what it is that I am having anxiety over. It is not the healing aspect anymore, which is what triggered it in the first place, so I must have transferred the anxiety onto another trigger. I am sure I will figure it out. Until then, I have found a breathing technique that seems to help with the hyperventilation.     The 7-11 Breathing Technique: When you get stressed out and anxious, it can feel as though someone is sitting on your chest. Your mind starts to race and your breathing becomes shallow and rushed. Anxiety can be caused by a range of factors, from a psychological condition to daily stresses like being held up in traffic. Most people will feel some form of anxiety at different points in their lives. Using breath-control exercises like the 7/11 technique will help get you through the panic and feeling at peace again.   Step 1 Sit comfortably in a chair, or anywhere you can if you are feeling strong anxiety.   Step 2 Breathe in through your nose to a count of seven. Breathe deeply through your diaphragm, so that your stomach pushes outward with the breath. Hold the breath for a moment if you can.   Step 3 Breathe out through your mouth for an eleven count. Your out breaths are important because they will lower your heart rate, dilate your pupils and decrease blood pressure.   Repeat this breathing technique about 6 times and/or until you are feeling better.   Tips and Warnings You can modify the count if you can't handle 7 and 11, as long as the out breath is longer than the in breath.   Place your one hand on your stomach and one on your chest.   As you breathe in and out, your chest should hardly move.   As you breathe in, your stomach should push out and when you breath out it should move inward. This is called diaphragmatic breathing.     I hope this is helpful to you.   Ciao 4 Now!

phoenixgen2

phoenixgen2

 

Another 3.5Lbs Gone!

Happy Monday Sleevers!   I am pleased to announce that I have lost another 3.5 pounds bringing my total loss since surgery July 10 to 28.5 pounds!!!   This makes me very happy, but I do have to admit I was a little disappointed that it wasn't more. After losing 25 pounds in the first 4 weeks I was hoping for a bigger loss than 3.5 pounds. I know that once you get to more solid foods the weight loss slows down a bit and in my mind when it comes to losing weight any loss is a good loss.   I have heard some of you mention a stall early on in the weight loss and that may have been the case with me...who knows. I am still psyched that I lost 3.5 pounds in the two weeks since I last weighed myself. Like many of you, I had to lose some weight before the surgery and losing even a pound was like pulling teeth, so losing that much weight in two weeks is amazing!!   I think I am going to up my cardio to more than once a week (not including all the walking I do for work) and see if that can help in the weight loss. Plus I've heard that a regular workout can improve your mood as well, so I am totally game.   I would love to hear from you about any early weight loss stalls or slowing of weight loss.   Ciao 4 Now

phoenixgen2

phoenixgen2

 

Old Bad Habits Creeping In

Howdy Sleevers,   It has been a while since my last post so I thought I'd chime in and give you an update.   So far I am a little over 5 weeks post op and doing pretty well all things considered. Physically I am feeling better and better each day and am enjoying soft solids like fish, cheese, ground meat, crackers, pretzels, etc. I have tolerated everything pretty well, with the exception of some warm quinoa salad I had Wednesday which almost made me yack.   Emotionally I think I am doing better as well. I am getting more focused at work and not feeling so tired in the mornings. I am back down to only needing 1 Xanax a day. Today I have not even needed to take one in spite of a very stressful situation happening at work this morning. Yeah me! I feel as though I am coming to terms with my new body and new life and I am for the first time really looking forward to what the future holds for me.   I have been keenly aware of my own mortality of late. I don't know if it is because I have a renewed outlook on life or that I know now that my weight is coming off that I have a much better chance of living a full, long, and happy life, but it has been on my mind. Not in a negative way, but I have this desire to make the most of every day.   But I digress...the reason for my entry today is to talk about some bad habits that I have noticed are trying to sneak in now that I am eating more regular foods.   First and foremost, let me tell you that I have yet to experience true hunger. All the hunger and cravings I am about to talk about have nothing to do with being physically hungry.   I have been craving junk food like chips and crackers. I really want some salty goodness, which is odd, because I never used to be all that interested in salty junk food. I was more of a sweets girl. That being said, all I can think about is having Doritos, french fries, Cheetos, and other stuff like that. I know it is all in my head, but the cravings are pretty powerful!! I picked up some pretzel thins which are crunchy and salty and give me a little bit of protein too, but having them on hand has led me to another bad habit that is trying to worm its way back into my routine.   SNACKING!!!!!! This is the most dangerous thing a person can do which will sabotage their weight loss and in the last three days I have snacked. Some pretzel chips before dinner or a bit of sliced ham in the evening. This is most often happening when I am bored, watching TV, or surfing the net. I DO NOT want this habit coming back after being good for so long. I want to make the most out of this drastic change I have put myself through and to start snacking feels like I am letting myself down. I believe the snacking is a result of the cravings I mentioned earlier because I am snacking on all the salty stuff. I wonder if part of it is because it feels ssssssssssoooooooooo good to be eating more normal foods again and I want more than the three meals a day. Whatever the reason behind my snacking I know that it must stop!!   Since I know that I am not physically hungry I am going to employ a new tactic. Whenever I want to snack, I am going to try a change of location and activity. Maybe I will go for a walk or do some chores or do something creative that keeps my mind off the snacking.   Have any of you experienced this? Do you have any suggestions?     Ciao 4 Now!

phoenixgen2

phoenixgen2

 

Meeting With Peers Pays Off

Howdy Sleevers!!!! I haven't chimed in for a couple of days due to the fact that I was trying something new.   My company provides probably one of the best weight loss surgery benefits I have ever seen. Granted you have to pay a $5000.00 deductible, but you get that money back over the course of 3 or 4 years provided you meet the doctor's weight loss goals. And to top it off, if I hit 40% of my goal, my company will give me a $5000.00 cosmetic surgery benefit to help address any "skin" issues that could potentially arise.   They did have a couple of pre-op goals that I had to meet beyond the traditional 6 month diet and weight loss. They required attending a 12 week course on mindful eating (which they paid for), 1 pre-op psych eval, and attendance at a surgical weight loss support group.   Post-op they require 5 meetings with a psychologist at certain intervals and that I attend 6 support groups in the first year. Being a student of Psychology myself, I didn't mind the requirement of the psych visits; it was the support groups that I was dreading. Well...I went to my first 2 support groups this week and my opinion of them has completely turned around.   The first group I went to was for people who had the sleeve or bypass and it is run by the surgeon himself, with a stand-in when he is unavailable; which is rare. The room was packed!!! I am glad I got there early. There were people in all phases of their recovery and subsequent weight loss. I got to hear them talk about many of the same issues I had been having or could potentially face in the future. They talked about their successes, roadblocks, stalls, changes, etc. Nothing was taboo and I felt reassured that I was not alone. I know that I have my family and friends who support me 100%, but sometimes it is hard for them to understand just what I am going through and being able to talk to a group of people, face to face that have or are going through the same things as me...well it made me feel really good about my decision. In this group we mostly talked about the physical elements of the surgery and even though I found the group engaging, helpful, and motivating, I wanted more.   The second group I went to was held the very next day by a psychologist. It was the emotional support group. Now I know what you might be thinking...a bunch of people crying, hugging, etc. Well it was nothing like that. We sat in a circle and talked about the emotional impacts of the surgery and weight loss on our lives. I talked about the fact that I was unprepared for the emotional roller-coaster I experienced (and am still experiencing though it is much better). Others talked about their partner’s reaction to the change and how some of their relationships had become strained, how they were unsure how to address questions from people about the surgery and dispel myths, and several talked about struggling with the decision to tell people at all. When I talked about my issues, I was reassured to hear that I was not alone and that many in the group had experienced the same emotional impact that I have been dealing with.   My overall experience with the two supports groups were so positive that I fully intend to attend both on a monthly basis.   One other thing I have done differently that I didn't anticipate I'd do is get a Sleeve Buddy. I met a fabulous lady during the 12 week course who ended up having her surgery the day before me and we hit it off right away. We call ourselves Sleeve Buddies, but it is so much more than that. We motivate each other, talk to each other when we hit a rough patch, we work out together, and much more. The best part is that she lives in the same city so we are close enough to get together whenever we want. Aside from the support groups, the relationship I have developed with her has been so helpful. She has become by sleeve confidant.   I guess the moral of the story gang is that the more support we have the better chance we have of succeeding. I strongly encourage you to try out a support group and see if it helps you as much as it does me.   Ciao 4 Now!

phoenixgen2

phoenixgen2

 

A New Day...a New Week

260... It is hard to believe that in less than a month I have lost 25 pounds! Just before my surgery on July 10th I weighed 285 pounds. It is all a bit surreal! I struggled to lose 10 pounds in three months so to have lost 25 pounds in less than a month is crazy!!!! I love it. It has been a real boost to my confidence seeing the weight come off. For several weeks, I struggled with doubt about my decision to have the surgery and as mentioned in previous entries, I even had some buyer’s remorse, but seeing the loss has helped to remind me why I made such a drastic and life altering decision. I know that I still have a long way to go on this journey, but it is nice to see a little pay off! I think I am going to incorporate some exercise and also start tracking my body measurements not just my weight. Ciao 4 Now!

phoenixgen2

phoenixgen2

 

Struggling To Find Balance

Hello fellow sleevers! It's your friendly neighborhood VegasBusby checking in. Today marks my second full week back to work since having my surgery. I took 2 weeks off post-surgery and am now wrapping my second week at work. I do not have a physically demanding job, but it is very mentally demanding and I have to admit, I am struggling. First of all, I am in a new position. I was at my job 1 month before my surgery and did not have a ton of time learning the ropes, and then I was gone 2 weeks because of surgery. Now I am back, but I find that while I can physically handle the job, I am having a really hard time focusing back on work. My mind seems to be all consumed by my new life/body/routine post-surgery. While at work I find myself thinking (almost obsessively) about the phase of healing I am in and what I am going to do next phase and so on. I tend to Google, read the news, and Facebook instead of working. This is a huge change for me because usually I am obsessive over my work and even though my boss doesn’t seem to think so, I feel like my performance is slipping and it is driving me crazy. What to do... I know a part of it is because I am so very tired in the mornings, until about 10:30 - 11:00am so focusing is much harder during that time. I am hoping that next week will be better. I am going to make a list of everything I need to accomplish for the day and the week and slowly tick off each item until I get back into the swing of things. Keep your fingers crossed for me. Ciao 4 Now!

phoenixgen2

phoenixgen2

 

Three Weeks Out...

I had my surgery on July 10th. I had three full weeks of thin and thick liquids and am moving into the pureed stage (FINALLY). For me the physical aspect of the surgery has been going very well. I am healing great, my surgical glue and scabs have all fallen off and I am starting vitamin E oil to minimize the scarring. I do have some problems in the morning. I am tired, a bit turned off of eating or drinking anything, and feel yucky overall. I have been told that it is my body adjusting to my new smaller stomach and that it will pass. I did feel better this morning than I have in the past week and a half. My biggest struggle is the emotional rollercoaster that followed the surgery. The day after I was released I was sent to the emergency room with as it turns out...severe panic attacks. I only found this out after 18 hours in ER and another trip via ambulance the next day. Three weeks out and I still have mild panic attacks, but they get better each day. Xanax helps a lot. I went from taking 3 a day when first diagnosed to just one a day (yeah me!). The other side of this for me was the sadness and depression. I was depressed before my surgery due to the emotional trauma of being obese, but after the surgery I started to have depression spirals...bad ones. I would cry several times a day, I couldn't think positive to save my life. I went to both my doctor and a psychologist and they said that emotional turbulence is normal the first couple of weeks to a couple of months. Part of it is due to the fact that I just hit my life physically and emotionally with a big Mack truck, my relationship to food which had been a security blanket to me had changed, and as fat is consumed by the body the stores of estrogen in the fat is released causing more moodiness. The biggest hurtle I have faced is dealing with "buyer’s remorse". Knowing that my life will NEVER be the same again can be very scary, but I know in the end it will be wonderful. I just have to get past what I am calling "hell weeks" After upping my antidepressants a little bit; I am getting better at focusing on all the benefits that are heading my way as a result of the surgery. It will be a long road, but I know that the emotional turmoil is perfectly normal, and above all...temporary. I just take it one day at a time.

phoenixgen2

phoenixgen2

 

Life Before Surgery

So I thought I'd begin my blog by talking about what my life was like leading up to the surgery. My story is probably quite similar to many of yours. I have been overweight since I hit puberty at age 11. In that same year I was molested by someone I trusted and there was never any resolution. All of that coupled with the fact that my family (especially the southern - Mississippi family) did not have any restrictions on how much or what we ate, I was doomed from the start. I ate my way through middle school and high school. I was always the fat kid; the girl picked last and picked on. During this time, I moved around a lot. My mom and stepdad (who raised me) were getting divorced, my mom was on Meth, and life at home was hard so I tried living with family in Montana, Oregon, and Mississippi. And through it all I ate.   High school was particularly troubling. I never had a boyfriend; I was ostracized by the other students at school. I was very unpopular due to my weight. I went to my prom...alone. All I wanted was to be accepted, but no one could see past the fat. My one saving grace was that I was smart and graduated with honors. I was now living in Las Vegas with my Step Dad Brian (who raised me and who I consider to be my Dad). He encouraged me to eat better, but after years of overeating, it was easier said than done. College made it worse. I started at community college and worked a full time job at the same time. Needless to say, my eating habits took a dive in college due to my busy and stressful schedule. I had moved out, took on a second job, and transferred to the university. In my desperation and loneliness, I started seeing a married man (one of the single biggest regrets I have in my life).   After college, I got a job working for the local cable company, but always felt like an outcast because of my weight which had spiked at 255. Then my doctor turned me on to South Beach. At first it worked great! I lost nearly 65 pounds. I started feeling better...but as with every diet I tried, I started to plateau, got frustrated and the rate of loss, and fell back into poor eating habits. To make matters worse, during the plateau I was out of work for 4 months due to the recession and gained all the weight I had lost back and then some.   I finally found a new job in HR at one of the casinos and tried to get back on track with healthy eating. I gave up eating from any restaurant with a drive through and gave up drinking soda. It worked at first and I got back down to 255, but it was short lived. My office was right across from the employee dining room and all the free lattes I could drink and brownies I could eat. In the course of a year I ballooned up to 268 pounds. My company started to offer onsite weight watchers programs so I joined up with my best friend of 14 years and we started to lose weight. She lost 60 pounds, I lost 10. Frustrating right? So I went back to good old South Beach which I had success on before. I didn't lose more than 20 pounds. I was getting very down and for a time completely gave up on myself. I started eating fast food and drinking soda again. I figured that I was one of those people who couldn't lose weight and why bother fighting it.   I had flirted with the idea of weight loss surgery for about 8 years up to this point but always had a reason why not to do it. Then I had 2 major wake up calls, the first is I developed sleep apnea as a result of my weight. If you have ever had this you know how terrifying it can be to be jolted awake in the ***ht, heart pounding, gasping for breath. My doctor said the only way to get rid of it was to lose weight. The second wake up call came when I had an appointment with my OB GYN. My period had gone from a 4 day light flow to a 30+ day light, then heavy, then light flow. As it turned out I had developed menorrhagia. To top it off, my ovaries had stopped regularly producing an egg. To put it bluntly, my weight was making me unable to have children. I never realized how much I wanted kids until I was told I couldn't have them...unless I lost weight.   My weight had skyrocketed to 285 pounds and I knew that if I didn't make a PERMANENT change that my life would be short and unhappy. Enough was enough. I started getting serious about the surgery option and doing a lot of research. Then after a year, I had sleeve surgery on July 10, 2012. It was time for a change. I chose the sleeve over the band because I knew myself well enough to know that I would probably chicken out at some point and have the band removed and balloon right back up to where I had been before. With the sleeve, I took that option away. I needed something permanent! I now have 2 birthdays, the day I was brought into this world, and the day my new life began…July 10th, 2012.

phoenixgen2

phoenixgen2

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