Today marks one year since I had my gastric sleeve surgery. It's amazing to see how far I've come, and I know that the journey is just beginning. I updated my video blog, so there's a link here:
And here's a link to the video blog that I created a year ago today, the morning of my surgery:
Today I reached a couple of important milestones, so I wanted to make sure that I wrote a little about it this morning: I have lost 75 pounds (which I can hardly get my head around!) and I got past a number that was kind of out there, stalking me: 186. I haven't seen that number since I became pregnant with my oldest son, more than 18 years ago. The lowest I've been since that time was 187, and that was for a brief time about 15 years ago. While I felt confident that with the help of my sleeve I would get past that number, it was still a major emotional and mental hurdle that I had to jump. There was a tiny part of me-- a little voice in my head, if you will-- that kept asking, "Can I really get past that? Maybe that's as far down as I can go." But now I know that I can go all the way.
I'm now 36 pounds away from my doctor's goal for me, and 46 away from my own personal goal. And I completely believe that I meet and perhaps even surpass those goals. I'm so happy right now, it's obnoxious! But I'll take it!
I haven't blogged as much as I had hoped I would. Tonight, though, I can't get to sleep, so I thought this would be as good an opportunity as any to get some of these thoughts and see what they look like on the screen. I've seen a number of threads where people make their confessions or things like that. I don't know if I'm these will be as dramatic as all that, but as I'm approaching 5 months post op, a lot about me has changed, and a lot has stayed the same. So here's where I am tonight:
1. Losing weight changes so much in your life, but it doesn't change everything. This is obvious, yet something that I need to remind myself of from time to time. I'm extremely lucky-- I am, and was before surgery, very happy with my life in general. I have a great husband, great kids, a great job, and I'm meeting many of my professional goals. But the peripheral problems are still there, nagging: worries about work, paying for my son's college, questioning whether or not I'm doing the right thing going back to school in the fall (I'm getting my doctorate). Stress continues. It's not unbearable, but man can it back up.
2 I'm terrified of gaining weight back. When I go to the support group or read stories on the message boards about people who have reached their goals and then slowly start putting it back on-- it just makes me so scared. Hopefully that fear with keep me focused. I also don't want to be totally obsessed about my weight for the rest of my life.
3. I'm hung up on certain numbers. I've lost 70 pounds and I should be so thrilled, but a big part of me simply won't believe that this is actually happening until I reach some major goals. I'm 4 pounds away from one of them now. 186. I have not seems 186 in more than 18 years.
4. The more weight I lose, the more my husband's weight bothers me. I adore this man; there's simply no doubt about this. But I feel like I'm working hard to make myself the best I can be and to be a healthy role model for our kids. And I'm watching him get bigger. He's picking up my slack. If I make the same amount of something that I used to, he eats his share and the part that I can no longer eat. I'm worried about his health and his self-image. I'd kinda like to keep him around for a while.
5. I'm really, really proud of myself. I am. And I'm not good at being proud of myself. I'm running, for God's sake. I've never been a runner, and I ran a 5k two weeks ago, and I'm jogging 2 or 3 miles on the treadmill 3-4 times a week right now. I want to scream it from the rooftops because I NEVER THOUGHT I COULD DO THIS. I wore a pair of size 12 jeans tonight. I haven't done that in more than 18 years.
6. Some of my friends are getting weird about it. Most are extremely supportive, but others seem uncomfortable with the thought of me no longer being the fat friend.
7. I'm uncomfortable with the compliments sometimes. Especially at work and that kind of thing. I always tell people I had surgery, and I find myself saying it as though that discounts the hard work that I've done. And I feel like the people I work with are constantly looking me up and down, assessing me. It's weird.
8. I'm so worried about extra skin. I've always had great boobs, and they are definitely deflating a bit. My arms are getting flappy, too. I'm terrified that I'm going to look like Jabba the Hutt's skinny sister.
9. Did I mention that I'm terrified about gaining weight? I don't want to look like Jabba the Hutt's fatter sister, either.
10. I still enjoy drinking wine, and I always will. Maybe that's why I'm losing 1.5-2 pounds a week instead of 3, but I can deal with that. I plan on living my life. If I don't work out some kind of balance, I won't be able to do this long term. And I must do this long term.
Last weekend I ran my first 5k and I rocked it! What an amazing experience this has been. It's so cool to find out that I can do things that I never dreamed I'd be able to do. I feel like I'm going to break my arm patting myself on the back, but it's nice to be proud of myself again!
I've posted a link to my video blog here. It's nothing earth-shattering, but these were really helpful to me as I was learning about the surgery, and I promised I'd keep a record like this for myself and anyone else who is interested. Be well!
I've been horrible about blogging-- can I say that first? When I started this process I thought there would be nothing I'd rather do than write about my experiences before and after weight loss surgery. Well, I still would LIKE to, but life and all of its obligations have continued, so forgive.
But I had to write today. Today, I got under 200 pounds for the first time in. . . I don't know. . . 14 years? That's before I started teaching.
I can't believe how amazing I feel. I've lost 63.4 pounds total, putting me at 196.6 this morning. (I always record my official weight on Fridays.) I knew that I was right about there, but actually having that number pop up on my weigh in this morning was amazing. (My surgery was 12/11/12, btw.)
Let's see. . . what else. Protein bars are my friend, eggs are not. Which is too bad because I used to love eggs. I'm averaging about 3 pounds of weight loss a week, and I'm working on my running. Last night I ran the most I EVER have, going about a mile and a half in 20 minutes of continuous jogging. I'm not very fast, but I'm getting stronger. The biggest challenge I've had on that front is that I'm having trouble switching my runs to the outdoors. I'm not as successful, but I'm trying to stay positive. I have a 5k scheduled on 4/20. I don't know if I will run the whole thing, but I should be able to do most of it, hopefully. I just hope my knees cooperate.
So that's where I am! What a wonderful day, and I'm looking forward to blowing all kinds of goals right out of the water! My next goal is to get into the 170s by the end of May for my son's graduation. Piece o' cake!
I had my surgery one month ago today, and here are my basic stats so far:
1. I've lost 30 pounds from my highest point this fall
2. I've lost 14 pounds since my surgery date
3. I take in 700-900 calories a day
4. Two weeks into working out again-- about 4 times a week
Overall, this has been a really positive experience. I was very lucky and had no complications and very little pain after surgery. I'm tolerating food pretty well-- I'm just not hungry! (Which was the point, right?)
Maybe I've been reading too many astounding weight loss stories from all of you, but I am a little disappointed that I've only lost 14 pounds since surgery. I had hoped to lose 20 in the first month. But, I truly can't complain. That's not too bad considering that I had a 2 week stall in the middle of that. (I literally lost 2 pounds weeks 2 and 3 post op.) I would not have lost this weight without the sleeve. And as everyone says, it didn't go on overnight, and it's not going to come off that way, either.
On another note, I signed up for my first 5K. It's 4/20, and I've started a 10 week couch to 5K program. I'm currently on week two. Working out is harder than it had been before, though, I have to say. I think it's because of my diminished calorie intake, but it takes a lot out of me. But I'm working through it, and it's starting to get a lot easier again. And, the loss of 30 pounds has really been good for my knees. I don't have as much pain as I used to after working out.
So my next goals?
2. size 16
3. Enjoying running (I really, really, really want to enjoy this. So far, not so much.)
I am 4 weeks and 1 day post surgery, and today, I made a wonderful re-discovery. I have butt bones!
I thought I may have felt these mythical creatures one day late last week when I sat down on a desk at the front of the room to give my students directions. But then, as quickly as they came, they were gone. But today, as I sat in my chair trying to get comfortable, there they were! I actually thought I might be dreaming, so I reassured myself by rocking back and forth a number of times, sure enough, I could feel them.
I'm ashamed to say that I announced their presence to at least three co-workers.
What a difference 29 pounds makes.
Hello, everyone! I'm just checking in to see how everyone's doing? I lost almost 7 pounds the first week post op, and this week? ZERO! What is up? Now, I'm no longer on the liquid diet, but I'm starting to panic a little. Has anyone else had a similar experience? Help!
I am really lucky because I feel awesome. I've pretty much been back to normal (other than a little weakness) since yesterday. If there wasn't a huge snow storm coming in tonight, I'd be going back to work tomorrow. I don't have a lot of time right now, but I did sit down a bit ago and update my video blog on youtube. It goes into more detail about what the past week has been like, if you're interested. Here's the link:
Have a great day, and I hope all of the sleevers from last week feel as good as I do!
Well, here I am just 24 hours out from surgery, and I'm feeling pretty good. Everything has gone very smoothly. I'm now drinking water and had a tiny bit of broth and Jello after lunch. I had a lot of nausea yesterday evening, and had dry heaves. That was extremely painful. But the nurses tweaked my pain meds and gave me something for the nausea, and while I've had very mild feelings of nausea, I haven't gotten sick again. I'm sore around my incisions, but not as much as I expected.
I know this is super-short, but I need to get another walk in before they bring me more broth for dinner.
I hope all the rest of you are having a possitive experience as well.
I can't believe it's my turn to post that I'm going under the knife in 1 day!
What a road it's been so far! I'm working today, but getting off a little early so I can go home and start preparing for tomorrow's big events. I chatted with my 3 and 5 year olds yesterday, explaining that Mommy would be gone for a couple of days, but that it would be a fun time because they'd get extra time with Grandma and Grandpa, which is always an easy sell!
I survived the liquid diet-- and actually it was a pretty good experience. I feel like I got to "break up" with food a little before the surgery. Plus, it's a good preparation for what things will be like in the weeks after surgery. I know some surgeons have patients go liquid for as little as 3 days, but I think the two weeks really helped me get in the right place mentally before the surgery. Oh, and I dropped about 7 pounds during the pre-op liquid diet. That was a nice jump start.
I really surprised that I'm not more nervous. Honestly, I keep having this horrible feeling that something is going to happen at the last minute that will prevent me from having surgery! That's my fear after all this time, and all this work. Other than that, I know I'm doing the right thing. Maybe that's the upside of this process taking almost 2 years for me. I'm so incredibly mentally and emotionally ready for this. Bring it on!
So, I plan on posting as soon as I feel up to it after surgery. Mine is the last one of the day (3pm) so I'm not sure if I'll be up to it Tuesday evening, but I'm going to try for Wednesday!
So here goes! I wish all of you who have procedures this week, good luck!
It’s day seven of my liquid diet, and today was the first time I really struggled.
First, let me say that today was a great day in many respects. My husband and I took our oldest on a college visit today where he and other students auditioned and interviewed for theater scholarships. I’m not just saying this because I’m his mom—my son did great! Some of the professors even told me so afterwards. He had such a great experience today (this was our second visit), that he decided to commit to the school, which is a huge load off of all of our minds. My son really shined today, and I’m excited about this new chapter in his life. He's going to do amazing things!
Okay, now here’s the crabby part. This, as many of you already know, is just a really hard time of year to be on a liquid diet. (Though I'm sure every time of the year has its own unique challenges.) While on campus today, we were treated to lunch in a recently updated dining hall that truly is more like a collection of restaurants. It puts my old college’s microwave eggs and frozen pizzas to shame! And it was a social lunch, one that was stretched out for an hour so that we could talk to the faculty and visit with other prospective students. I felt a little self-conscious about my tiny bowl of soup (which probably wasn’t even technically on my list) as people went back for seconds. Then, we were enthusiastically encouraged to hit the icecream bar. I got another diet soda—a no-no, I know, but at least it wasn’t the icecream bar, and it made me feel like I was having a treat.
After a very long two hour drive, we got back into town right around supper time and stopped to pick up my two younger kids from my mom’s house. When we got there, my kids showed off the frosted Christmas sugar cookies they made and everyone endulged—except me. Now, I can see this as a small victory, and I do, but I felt bad because my 3 year old daughter didn’t entirely understand why I wasn’t eating her special cookies. And I felt like my mom was disappointed in me too. Maybe it was in my head, but she kept looking at me like, “Come on, Jennie, just eat one, for your kids.” Then Mom continued to talk about how excited that she was that her favorite pizza place was moving back into our neighborhood. I got out of there as quickly as I could.
As soon as I got home, my phone was ringing. My little sis, who lives 3 hours away, is hosting a girls weekend at her place this weekend. It’s the first time she’s had many of the girls of the family down to visit since she moved there, and she’s especially excited because she has a beautiful new home and it’s all decked out for the holidays. Plus, she’s newly pregnant. If you haven’t noticed already—backing out of the trip is simply not a possibility. She is really supportive of what I’m doing, but in her defense, she’s been planning this weekend for a while, and certainly not just for me. So on the agenda for the weekend: a winery (and I LOVE wine—it’s kinda my thing), a local festival of fresh baked goods and Christmas crafts (the crafts should be cool), and then out on the town for dinner in Kansas City. Sigh. This is going to be a tough week, I can tell.
But, here it is: I have 7 days left, and A LOT to do. I have to get sub plans ready for the 9 days I’ll miss work, and I pretty much need to have Christmas shopping and wrapping done before I leave town Friday. I teach a college night class, and the grades for that are due next week, and I have to take my student group out to buy gifts for ten area needy kids that we “adopted” for Christmas. I’m hoping that I’m so busy, I won’t have time to lament the loss of real food. Though this weekend will be tough. I’ll just have to keep focused on my surgery. It will be here before I know it.
Writing this all down has really helped me get my head around where I am emotionally today. Maybe I wanted to eat more today because, even though it’s a really wonderful milestone, there’s something very bittersweet in my son’s final selection of a college. This is exactly the kind of thing that I would have celebrated by going out for a nice, high calorie dinner! And maybe it’s bothering me that I don’t feel as supported by my extended family as I wish I was. But on the other hand, I’m never going to change them, and I love them how they are. I’m sure I drive them nuts from time to time. And my husband has been amazing. He’s passing on food all the time just so that he’s not eating in front of me. He is even making all of the dinners for the kids right now, which allows me to make my shake/soup/yogurt/whatever and go sit and unwind a minute alone at the end of the day. So I have a lot to stay positive about—I’ve having the surgery, afterall. I’m only days away from something I’ve wanted for almost two years. So I just need to stay positive.
Today I went in for my presurg scope, so they can look down into my stomach and make sure all is okay. I'm day 3 into my liquid diet, and because of my scope, I was not able to eat after 10pm yesterday until about 2pm today (after the procedure.) My mom, who is pretty awesome most of the time, went with me today because I needed someone to drive me home after the procedure. (They put you all the way out.)
Anyway, we had to sit back in the waiting area for about an hour before the doctor got there, and what did my mom spend that time talking about? Food! She read me a recipe she copied down from out in the waiting room. She listed what he will probably make for Christmas, and she pointed out that they were having my favorite one of her dishes (homemade beef stew) that night for dinner. I finally had to tell her that she was allowed to talk about food for the rest of the day! It was funny, but a little sad at the same time. It kind of encapsulated my experience with my family during times I've tried to lose weight: they say they support me, but then their actions say something else. My grandmother is the same way. She's famous for handing you a cookie, letting you start to enjoy it, and then looking at you and shaking her head, saying, "Boy, we really need to start watching our weight."
You gotta love family! But it was a good day. I was nervous about the scope, and it went really well. I had my last official appointment with the surgeon's office until the surgery, and honestly, the liquid diet is not too bad. I've actually lost about 4 pounds in the last 3 days. So onward we go-- 12 days left!
It seems hard to believe, but after all of this time, we are underway. I started my liquid diet yesterday and so far, it's not bad. Tomorrow, I have a pre-op class, and then they'll be doing my scope, so they can take a peak down my esophagus and into my stomach to make sure there aren't any surprises. Then next week I have my pre-op physical, and then just days after that, it's go time!
While all of this is extremely exciting, it's happening at a crazy time of year. With my surgery on the 11th, I feel strongly that I should have my shopping done before I go in, so that Christmas is taken care of. I'm trying to get all of the wrapping and everything done. As a teacher, this is a crazy time, too. This point in the semester is very busy at the high school where I teach, and the night class I teach at the local community college is coming to an end as well. I also sponsor a student community service group, and they have all of their usual December activities. (This is their busiest time of the year.) Anyway, we're all busy, and I just feel like I'm on a roller coaster right now, barreling toward the surgery and everything else coming up.
There's not much point to this post other than me expressing the need to pull my hair out right now. But I'm trying to stay focused on my health and getting myself prepared for what's coming. I need to start exercising again, but finding the time is getting trickier and trickier. But if I'm doing this, I know I need to exercise.
Anyway, that's where I am today.
My surgery is now set for 12/11, and I'm so very excited. On Tuesday of next week I will start the liquid diet, and then I'll be counting the days until surgery.
Last night I decided to start organizing my closet. I'm a bargain shopper, so few of my clothes are terribly expensive, but I have a lot of clothes. As many of you can probably imagine, I also have many different sizes of clothes. Right now, I'm comfortable in a 20 and sometimes an 18. It's been many years since I've been less than a 16, though. Still, I'm not good at getting rid of my favorite clothes. I still have the size XL dress I wore to my college graduation in 1999. I found that last night as I sorted through my "I Have a Dream" section of my closet. My son graduates from high school this spring; wouldn't it be wonderful if I wore that dress to his graduation?
To save space, I always put my out of season clothes in a couple of rubbermaid tubs in the corner of my closet. Last night, my ritual had a strange element to it. Will I need those clothes in 6 months? I hope not! But I still couldn't find the nerve to give them away. So I compromised: I put some of the clothes that are big (or roomy) on me now in a pile for Goodwill, and then neatly folded the rest and put them in the tub. But before I closed it up, I took a moment to write myself a note.
Exactly what I wrote is kind of personal, but I was very aware of the fact that I will probably be very different-- at least in size, but I imagine in other ways as well-- when I open that tub this spring.
I'm glad I'm doing all of this, and documenting it. I've actually started loading video blogs into Youtube, but they are pretty amateur, so don't expect to be dazzled. Still, if you're interested, go to youtube and check out: NewAndImprovedJennie.
I've now completed everything in my pre-filing six month period, so all I can do is wait. While I'm not a good wait-er (see previous entries) I feel pretty good about it this time. The ladies that file insurance in my doctor's office seem to feel very confident that I'll get an approval right away. We're hoping to possibly get the surgery in before the end of the year, which would be wonderful for a number of reasons. But I'm still very nervous. For instance, there's still the esophageal scope that has to be done. If there's anything weird on there, they can't do the surgery. I think I might just be worrying now because it's in my nature. Either way, I'm just ready for some news. It's Monday, and I hope to hear something within the next week to ten days.
So fingers crossed! I'm so ready for this!!!
Yesterday was my second psych eval. The first one was 18 months ago when I first looked into the surgery, so unfortunately, it was no longer valid for this attempt. It went very well, and he approved me to move forward, just like the first one did. Now that that's done, I have my last D/E appt on Tuesday 11/6, and then on Thursday 11/8 I will sit down with the surgeon. Hopefully later that day or the next day, my insurance will be filed, and then it's time to wait. (Have I mentioned I'm not a good waiter? Well, I'm not.)
Though everything seems to be completely on track, I'll feel much better about this after I've gotten my insurance approval and there is a date on the calendar. It's hard for me right now because I'm excited about all of this, yet I'm afraid to get too excited. So, I'll just have to wait. (Sigh) And as I've said before, other people don't get it. Oh well, upward and onward.
I'm not a good wait-er. I never have been. In fact, my impatience may be one of my defining characteristics. And when I set my mind on something, I become extremely focused on it. This can be really useful, except when it has to do with something that I feel I have very little control over. And that brings me to my progress toward WLS.
And yes, I know, I actually have lots of control. My insurance requires 6 months of pre-surg diet and exercise counseling, and I am now 3 weeks away from my last appointment. In the coming weeks I'll have my psych-eval, I'll meet with my surgeon, and I'll have a diet/exercise class. Then, around November 10th, they'll submit my information to insurance. I'm doing everything that they want, but I know that's not always enough.
The thing is, during this pre-surg period, I haven't lost anything. In fact, I've gained a little. Right after my first month, I put on 6 pounds. Bam, there it was, even though I was working out and watching what I was eating. But that's the way my body has always been. I seem to have gotten that under control and now I'm heading in the right direction, but I'm going to be struggling to get back under that 248 mark for the next appointment. I'm exercising regularly and trying to stay under 1200 calories a day, so hopefully I get there. I just hope that the insurance company sees it as being enough.
I've started this process three times now. Here's how it's gone so far
1. I spent 3 months in early 2011 going to classes and meeting with my doctor. I even had my psych eval and met with my surgeon. At that point I was 263. Then, during one of many discussions with the insurance people at the office, we realized that I didn't meet criteria because I needed a BMI of 40+ for at least 3 years. This had only been 2. Extremely frustrated, I abandoned the idea and decided to go it alone. (With Nutrisystem. That didn't last long-- I lost 14 pounds that came right back on as soon as I stopped eating their food. I could only stomach/afford it for three months.)
2. One year later, I decided to start the process again. I learned that everything I had done the year before didn't count (I assumed as much) but my 150 dollar deposit would carry over. Two months in, the same insurance person in the office told me that my insurance was redoing their criteria and that it would not be in my favor. Frustrated and very sad, I decided that this was not in the stars for me. I spent 400 dollars to get hypnotized in June of 2012. It didn't work. I'm still fat.
3. In July, out of frustration, I contacted the WL Center again just to make sure that I understood exactly what the new criteria actually is. To my surprise, I found a new person was doing the insurance information for the office, and she seemed to have a better handle on what was going on. In fact, it turns out that I could have continued last spring because the insurance changes were actually IN MY FAVOR. So in August I started the six month process again.
4. Now, last week, I found out that I actually get to count the two months of D/E counseling that I did this spring, meaning that I am two months closer to my surgery than I expected. But that also means that I have less time to lose the weight that I gained at the beginning this time.
I have an appointment tomorrow for a Diet and Nutrition class, and I hope to sit down afterwards and go over all of this with the new gal and make sure it looks okay. I get it all comes down to this: My hopes have been dashed so many times so far that I feel like it's not going to happen. And I don't feel like I can talk to anyone about this because they just don't understand.
But I guess I just need to stay positive. I can't control it, but I can control how I feel in the coming weeks. I guess it would be silly to let my worrying ruin the coming weeks. So, I'm currently accepting any positive energy that anyone is willing to send my way.