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Caribear

Gastric Sleeve Patients
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Blog Entries posted by Caribear

  1. Caribear
    We all have different triggers that cause us to overeat. For some people, it's celebrations. For others, it's stress. Or boredom. But for me it is depression, and everything that entails.
     
    I would regularly just get into a "funk" where I had super negative thoughts. I got very depressed, and sometimes really angry. I would pout and feel bad about myself, and bad for myself, and eventually end up deciding that nobody cared. And if nobody else cared, I didn't care either. And inevitably, this would end up with me binging on whatever I could eat in the highest volume. The more, the better. That little voice was telling me that I wasn't good enough, and I was trying to shut it up with food.
     
    A few years ago, I started to realize that this is what I was doing. I worked with my therapist to try to stop the behavior, because I knew in my head that it was bad for me. But when I would get in that mood, I would get to the point where I just didn't care. My emotions would override my sensibilities every time.
     
    And then I suddenly got a revelation. I realized two things - one, that just because my stomach felt a certain way didn't mean that I was hungry; and two, that even if I was hungry, that was ok. It was like someone flipped on the light switch and suddenly I could see clearly. It's not that these ideas were new - in fact, I had been talking about them with my therapist for a year and a half. I honestly can't tell you what it was that did it, but it just suddenly made sense. It went from being words to being real. And I was able to stop binging almost completely.
     
    Almost.
     
    Yesterday, for whatever reason, that all-too-familiar funk came back. I don't know why. It started out a pretty good day, but as time went on, that little negative voice started getting louder and louder. And before I knew it, I was brooding and thinking about how nobody cared about me. I tried getting myself out of it, but I just couldn't make that voice shut up no matter how hard I tried.
     
    And so shortly after my son went to bed, I baked and consumed an entire roll of flaky butter biscuits. With jam.
     
    Not all at one sitting, but over the course of several hours. It was as if I couldn't stop myself. I knew it was the wrong thing to do, and I winced at the idea that I would have to write this in my food journal. I imagined the disappointed look on my nutritionist's face when she found out. And I felt awful about that as I licked the jam off my fingertips.
     
    It is just amazing to me that such things can happen to a person. How in my head I can know something is the wrong thing to do, yet somehow my emotions put me on auto-pilot and I end up doing it almost against my will.
     
    Let me say for the record that I am not crazy, so far as I know. And I am not schizophrenic or bipolar. But every once in a while, my emotions just hijack my body in such a way that I could never explain to someone who had never experienced it.
     
    Today I have huge, painfully swollen feet because those biscuits had something like 500 mg of sodium each, and there were eight of them, so that puts me up to 4000 mg just from the biscuits. And because of this, I have vowed that I will not buy those biscuits again.
     
    But on the positive side, I do finally realize that this is not the end of the game. All I have to do is clean up the mess and keep moving.
  2. Caribear
    Hi all, long time no blog.
     
    Sorry it's been so long, things have been super busy and drama-filled here at home. My boyfriend and his dad have been renovating the business they just bought, so he's been gone all day, every day since the beginning of this month. Then he comes home and works on the computer until I don't know when. He's been under so much stress that it's starting to become a problem for all of us. They've been working frantically to try and open by this weekend, St. Patrick's Day. But unfortunately, today he found out that the previous owners pulled some not-so-funny business with the liquor license, so now that plan has to be scrapped. I've been pretty good food-wise, though, despite all the stress and chaos. I will fully admit that I have had several episodes of stress-induced sugar indulgence, but nothing that has been so bad that it's affected my weight. Thank the Lord.
     
    But that brings me to the confounding question. The question that I've been asked about a half-dozen times this month. Every time someone finds out that I'm losing weight, they smile and say "Great, now you don't have to worry about having surgery, right?"
     
    It would be frustrating enough to hear that from anyone, but especially so because I've heard it from my mom, my nutritionist, and even my family doctor. And it makes it even more hard for me to get excited about losing this weight. I already have that little negative voice in the back of my head saying "So what, you've done this before! You've lost more than this before, and look what happened! You gained it all back and then some! So you might as well give up now because you're going to fail anyway. Why suffer any longer, just go to the store and buy yourself a bag of Reese's cups and forget about this nonsense!"
     
    I guess this question bothers me so much for two reasons. The first reason is that I feel it's too early to decide that I can do it myself this time. My gosh, it's only been 22 pounds. Let's not jump to conclusions. And secondly, if anyone is going to decide that I can do this myself, it should be me! I don't want to be pressured out of surgery just because I've lost 22 pounds! I've got six more months to make up my mind, and then I will decide. Not before then, and not because somebody else thinks I should or shouldn't.
     
    In the meantime, I'm trying to focus on the positive. I'm working on my food issues, my eating habits, and my emotional relationship with food. And it's hard to believe it, but it's getting easier to ignore that little negative voice. I don't think it'll ever go away, but it is getting quieter, and for that I am incredibly thankful.
  3. Caribear
    I've been doing a lot of thinking about one particular habit that dies awfully hard - eating what's on your plate whether you like it or not. I know that there are times when we should choose to eat certain things because they are good for us, but if they're bad for our health and we don't like them, why should we be eating them? And by we, I mean me. Does anybody else do this, or is it just me?
     
    I really started to think about this a few weeks ago at dinner. Every Wednesday, the church down the street from us holds a community meal that is free to everyone. We always get it, because it is a nice break from cooking for me and something different every time. That day it was spaghetti, garlic bread, salad, and fruit. I was eating the spaghetti when I suddenly realized, hey, this doesn't taste good at all. It was greasy and salty and not at all the way I would choose to have it. But I kind of mentally shrugged and thought, oh well, it's free (well, we did put money in the donation jar, but it's not like we went out to a restaurant.) But here's the thing - even though it was unpleasant, and I knew it was bad for me, I still continued to eat it. In fact, I finished it. Then I sat there staring at the grease at the bottom of the styrofoam container and thought, now why did I just do that?
     
    It was then that it occurred to me that all those years of my grandparents constantly scolding me to finish what was on my plate has really ingrained itself more deeply than I imagined. Between that and the years of mindless eating, I had stopped being picky about what I put in my mouth. I realized at that moment that it was something I had to change.
     
    Over the next few days, I watched how my son ate his dinner. If he liked it, he would put a bite in his mouth, put down his silverware, chew it thoroughly, talk a little bit, and then eat another bite. If he didn't like it, he would refuse to eat it. On those days I would push him to eat at least three bites, and sometimes that was all he would eat. So I have decided that from now on, I will try to eat more like my son. After all, those are the habits I will need after I am banded anyway, so why not start learning them now? I will make my best attempt to do all of the following at every meal:
    pay attention to the flavor of the food I am eating
    put down my fork and have some conversation between bites
    chew thoroughly
    if I don't like it, I won't eat it (within reason)

    I hope that by doing these things, I can start to develop those good eating habits that I will need to be successful in losing and maintaining my weight.
     
    Things have been changing quite a bit here over the past week or so. I haven't been blogging nearly as much because my boyfriend has been on the computer every night. He had quit his job driving the Amish construction crews because they weren't paying him (yes, the Amish can be jerks too, lol) and things were pretty tight here for a while. But last week, his dad bought a local business and has hired him as the general manager (woohoo!) so he has been pretty busy. It's going to be crazy for a while until we get settled into a routine again. And another super bonus is that I will be doing some cleaning on their closed days, so I can finally have some income of my own and have a reason to get out of the house! I would be doing cartwheels with excitement if I weren't so achy and, well, 360-pounds-y. (lol)
     
    I hope you all had a great Valentine's day! <3
  4. Caribear
    I had my second of nine supervised diet visits today. I wanted to go in anyway because I have been having trouble with my feet swelling. Not just regular swelling, but the kind of swelling that makes the skin hurt because it is being pulled so tight. I spent almost all day on the couch Saturday because my feet were so swollen and painful that I could hardly walk. So today I went in with my food and exercise logs to get my visit done and over with.
     
    I got on the scale without taking off my shoes or coat, and so the number showed that I had actually gained a little since my last visit. My scale at home says I am holding steady. My doctor looked over my logs and said he was pleased with what I was doing. I told him about the swelling and he poked at my ankles a little bit, then said he would order a blood test to make sure that my kidneys were functioning normally. He also said that my blood pressure was a little high, and that if it was still elevated at my next visit, he would put me on a blood pressure medication and a diuretic.
     
    I guess that the elevated blood pressure is both good and bad. Bad because, well, nobody needs high blood pressure. But good because it will probably indicate more of a need to the insurance company for the surgery - another comorbidity. I mentioned to the doctor that my blood pressure is usually normal unless I am in a fair amount of pain, which I was today and have been for the past few days. He agreed but said that he would still put me on the medication if it was still elevated next time. I noticed on the receipt that he also ordered a test for my thyroid hormones, probably because I haven't lost any more weight despite eating less than 2000 calories per day and burning from 300 to 600 per day with exercise (numbers from myfitnesspal.com) So they will call me with the results sometime later this week and we will see what they say.
     
    Two down, seven to go. The goal is coming slowly but surely. I think I can, I think I can!
  5. Caribear
    I have heard many people on this board getting so upset about weight gain and lack of weight loss. And don't get me wrong, I completely understand. I have gotten on the scale myself and had that sinking feeling in my stomach when I saw the number. I have wanted to scream and cry when I saw the number go up. Trust me, I understand. But there is something that I was missing, and that was Godly love.
     
    I accepted Jesus into my heart when I was four years old. I don't remember if I even understood what that meant at the time, but it was what the grown-ups wanted from me, so I did it. I went to church with my mom until my pre-teen years. But then things started to fall apart in our family and we all lost our way. I don't want to get into it all right now, but there were many things that happened that were emotionally painful, and I felt like God had turned his back on me. I felt lost and abandoned. So I gave into the world's way of living, doing basically whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I still felt like I was a good person, and I believed in God, but felt like he didn't want much to do with me.
     
    After years of living this way, I noticed that He was showing up in my life more and more. Little things that would happen, little comments that people would make. I felt the need to go back to Him, but I didn't. I thought that after all of the bad things I had done, all the commandments I had broken, that there would never be a church that would accept me. After all, you can't be a Christian without going to church, right? But God kept insisting, kept calling me. Eventually I went out and bought myself a Bible and started to read.
     
    It took me a while, but it finally dawned on me that I didn't have to go to church to be a Christian again. I didn't need other people to accept me to be a Christian. I didn't have to be perfect. I didn't have to have a perfect past. Jesus did most of His work among the people who the church considered "undesirable," like prostitutes and tax collectors. If Jesus could accept them and love them, maybe He could love me too.
     
    Several months later, I was watching a television show on Daystar network, a Christian station. The woman who was speaking was talking about God's love. She said something that changed the way I looked at myself forever. "God loves you just the way you are," she said (paraphrasing.) "You don't have to lose ten pounds, you don't have to do anything different for him to love you." The woman was Joyce Meyer, and I have watched her regularly ever since. But that message really opened my eyes.
     
    It's really true. God loves you exactly the way you are right at this very moment. He loves you just as much as he loves anyone else. You are His child, and he made you knowing that you would be just who you are right now. He knew you would do everything you have ever done, good and bad, and he loved you just the same. When you feel the most unloveable, He still loves you just as much as He ever did. Even if you don't believe in Him, He still loves you! How wonderful!
     
    If you take anything at all from this blog, I want you to know that you are loved. You are loved more than you know, more than you could ever believe possible. And this love is not dependent on how much weight you lose, what kind of clothes you wear, or even how you act. You are loved simply because you exist, and you are important simply because you were born. God does not do things by mistake, and He would not waste time creating something that He was not proud of. It is important to take care of your body and make sure that you stay healthy, because our bodies are our home until we are done with our journey on the earth, but your weight is not everything. It is part of you, but not the thing that defines you. Even if you never reach your goal weight, God sees you for the beautiful creation that you are. And I hope that you do too.
  6. Caribear
    Hi all!
    I am subscribed to an email newsletter called Godvine. Every weekday they send me an email with a verse, several video clips, and a story. This story was in the letter from yesterday, 2/3. It really warmed my heart, so I had to share it with you all.
     
    "Get Off The Scale
     
    Whether weight is a 'problem' in your life or it's some other single factor, this can apply to everyone. Never forget it!
     
    You are beautiful. Your beauty, just like your capacity for life, happiness, and success, is immeasurable. Day after day, countless people across the globe get on a scale in search of validation of beauty and social acceptance.
     
    Get off the scale! I have yet to see a scale that can tell you how enchanting your eyes are. I have yet to see a scale that can show you how wonderful your hair looks when the sun shines its glorious rays on it. I have yet to see a scale that can thank you for your compassion, sense of humor, and contagious smile. Get off the scale because I have yet to see one that can admire you for your perseverance when challenged in life.
     
    It's true, the scale can only give you a numerical reflection of your relationship with gravity. That's it. It cannot measure beauty, talent, purpose, life force, possibility, strength, or love. Don't give the scale more power than it has earned. Take note of the number, then get off the scale and live your life. You are beautiful!"
     
     
    Source: Something I Just Had To Share
  7. Caribear
    It's times like these past few days that make me question whether I can actually do this or not.
     
    The past several days have been really rough. Thursday through Sunday were high pain days, the kind of days where I really didn't want to do anything but curl up on the couch and cry. I have tramadol to take for the pain, so I went ahead and took it for the last two days. Then Sunday I woke up with a migraine so bad that I couldn't keep anything down, including water. After throwing up for six hours, I decided to go to the emergency room. I really dislike going in there for pain, but I didn't want to end up getting dehydrated and become really sick. They gave me fluids and a few shots, and I came home feeling halfway human again.
     
    Yesterday I laid on the couch for most of the day, being harassed by my three-year-old. I don't usually do that, so he just assumed that I was doing it for his own personal enjoyment and tried to use me as a jungle gym. To help me feel better, he put his praise CD on his radio and turned it up really loud so I could hear it. He danced and sang for me for a little while, but then he got bored and went to play on the computer with his dad, leaving me to listen to the music on repeat. It was very sweet of him to try and help, but let me tell you that one can only listen to the Veggie Tales cast sing "This Little Light Of Mine" before one seriously considers chucking the CD out the window.
     
    Of course, with all this pain competing for attention in my head, my healthy eating plan backslid quite a bit. We had takeout twice, and the other days were mostly high-carb convenience foods. I know that it probably didn't help me feel better, but when I'm in pain I don't care too much about healthy - it's all about what I can make with the least amount of effort. It's this very thing that makes me wonder how I will do this after being banded. I try very hard to keep fairly healthy stuff around that I can make quickly, but when that runs out I'm willing to get almost anything as long as it's not ridiculously unhealthy. And sending my boyfriend to the store to get "something good" for supper is not necessarily a good idea either. I guess next time I need to specify "good" as in "healthy," and definitely NOT pizza rolls. I guess this is something I will have to talk to my nutritionist about when I see her next week; maybe she will have some ideas that I can use for the next time.
     
    I am proud to say that I won the battle with the leftover chocolate cake in the refrigerator, though. My boyfriend ate most of it, and left the last slice for me. I was determined not to eat any more of it, so I just ignored it until it went stale and then I actually threw it away!!!
  8. Caribear
    Is it just me, or are more and more food commercials starting to look more like food porn? Granted, I am probably a little bit more sensitive today because of the leftover chocolate birthday cake in the refrigerator that I have successfully been avoiding all day. But really, today's food commercials are getting a little out of hand. It seems like the two main types that are airing now are the "look how happy you can make your family and yourself by eating our food" commercials, and the "food porn" commercials.
     
    If I stop and think back, I can remember food advertising going through several different stages in recent history. The first one, which was several years ago, was the "we know how busy you are, so why not make it easy on yourself and buy our food?" movement. They basically played on the fact that most american families were two-income households, and seemed to be trying to do us a favor by taking care of the meal preparation. Never mind the fact that the food was loaded with fat, sugar, and salt.
     
    The next phase I recall is the "healthy options" movement. This is when americans started to wise up to what they were putting in their bodies, post-Super-Size-Me. Instead of featuring fries and burgers, most commercials featured salads or some sort of "fresh" options. Unfortunately, after not too long people began to realize that even their salads and other "healthy" foods were not nearly as good for you as they would have you believe. You can make anything fattening if you slather it with enough ranch dressing.
     
    The current type of food commercials running are the "happy family" commercials. Example: The Little Caesar's commercial that talks about how making your family happy is as simple as spending five measly dollars on their pizza. Another gem: Arby's new slogan. "It's Good Mood Food." This type of advertising really irritates me. I understand that the job of advertisers is to make you want to eat their food, but by exploiting the issues that so many people have with emotional eating? Really? Are they that desperate to sell me a hamburger?
     
    But the latest generation of commercials seems to be the "food porn" commercials. You've seen them, I'm sure. The announcer talks seductively about how toasty, cheesy, melty, or chocolaty their food is while Barry White-esque music plays in the background. And it seems like there are more of them every day. It does make me laugh, though, that almost every time I see one of these it is immediately followed by a Weight Watchers commercial.
     
    I realize that the purpose of these ads is simply to get you to buy what they are selling. They are not at all interested in your health, how you feel, or whether their food will actually contribute to your happiness and well-being. The motive is profit. But it is amazing how well they are able to get under your skin just enough to get you to say "oh, that does look good. Maybe I'll go there..." But I have discovered my own secret weapon against these commercials: DVR. I will record my shows, then when I am ready to watch them I will fast forward through the commercials. Now I don't have to be worried about being tempted by anything that isn't already in my refrigerator.
     
    Did I mention there was chocolate cake in my refrigerator? Shoot, now I want cake. Where's my hunger tool box...
     

  9. Caribear
    Yesterday Dr. Oz did another show about WLS. This one was about gastric bypass, and whether it should be available to more people (mainly diabetics.) I just happened to come across it, and my mom just happened to be over visiting me. Like I mentioned before, my mom has been very anti-WLS (for me anyway) because of what she saw on the Dr. Oz show about lap band. I was going to change the channel, but she said that she had wanted to watch it and asked me to leave it on.
     
    We watched together in silence until Dr. Oz started talking about who would currently qualify for bypass. He said that a woman of 5'4" and 200 pounds would qualify. After the segment ended, she looked at me and said "he just described me. I'm 5'4" and (a number close to 200) pounds." She was absolutely shocked that she would qualify for gastric bypass. After talking about it for a while, she finally said that it would be a good idea for me to go ahead with the lap band. I felt like a thousand pounds had been lifted off my shoulders! What a relief to finally have her start to be okay with this.
     
    Lately I've been throwing myself into this physician supervised diet as much as I can. I've been eating much more sensibly, tracking my calories, working through my emotional issues, and exercising. That last one is no minor thing for me, either. Because of the fibromyalgia and the bulging discs in my back, I haven't been able to exercise like I used to. I have been doing tai chi and yoga, but was really longing for pilates. I love pilates - it was the main contributing factor in my last large weight loss success. I love the way it makes me feel, how it improves my posture, and how quickly it trims me down. But I thought that with my issues I would never be able to do it again.
     
    Thankfully, I found a program called Classical Stretch on PBS. It is a combination of pilates, stretching, tai-chi, and ballet-like moves. I watched it for quite some time before I decided to go ahead and try it. I have been doing it every day for several days now and I have to say it does not aggravate my fibromyalgia nearly as bad as I thought it would. My back, though, is not happy, and that is my fault. Instead of going slowly, I decided to go ahead and dive right in to the moves where you are required to bend at the waist and hang your head to the floor. I should have known better. My back popped, and I have been hurting since yesterday. But I do have to say that it doesn't hurt nearly as badly as it has in the past. At least this time I can walk, and it is manageable with the prescriptions that I have. So I am soldiering on. I figure if I'm going to hurt, I might as well hurt and do something instead of just sit around and be depressed about how much I hurt.
     
    I've also been practicing amazing restraint when it comes to sweets lately. Today is my boyfriend's birthday, and I bought him a frozen cake a few days ago. I made it until today without eating any, and today I have only had one piece. Now it is sitting in the refrigerator calling to me. I have the feeling that I might have to white-knuckle it until bedtime, but I WILL NOT EAT MORE THAN ONE SLICE. I have already done a fair share of prayer and gotten out my hunger tool box. Did I mention that the cake is chocolate?
     
    Oh well, off to do some sudoku...
  10. Caribear
    Isn't it funny how our brain can cause us to think we feel things when we really don't? One of the hardest things I have been dealing with is trying to sort out when I am actually hungry and when I am not. Someone without food issues would probably think that this sounds really easy, but for someone like me who is trying to untangle food and emotions, it is far from simple.
     
    For years I thought that whenever my stomach felt uncomfortable, it was hunger and I should eat. It has only been within the past few months that it has really sunken in that 1) not every feeling is hunger, and 2) even if it is hunger, it's okay to feel it. Funny how it has become such an alien concept that I don't have to run to the kitchen and fix something to eat every time I am hungry. My therapist has been trying to tell me this for several years now, poor thing, and as hard as she tried to tell me I just couldn't internalize it. I'm not sure what it was that really made it sink in, but now I finally get it. Sometimes my stomach feels "hungry" because I am bored or stressed. I have always been a comfort eater, so now the first thing my brain does when I feel unpleasant emotions is cause that feeling that I should eat. It's been a real struggle trying to remember that it's not actual physical hunger. I guess this is what they call "head hunger."
     
    My nutritionist offered me an awesome coping strategy for when I am struggling with that feeling and it won't go away. The best thing to do is make yourself busy with something else to take your mind off of that feeling. But what do you do, and how do you make sure to do it in times of stress? Her idea was to make a "tool box" of things that will distract you from the false hunger. She said that it could be an imaginary box, but personally I need a physical object that I can look at. The box should contain things that you enjoy doing that will keep your attention long enough to forget about being hungry. Some of the things she suggested were knitting or crocheting, puzzle books, craft projects, etc. In my box I have a sudoku book, a crossword puzzle book, and three guided relaxation CDs. I will continue to look for other things as well until I have a good variety of stuff. The box has already proven very useful, not only in helping me overcome those fake hunger feelings, but also just seeing the box gives me a sense of empowerment in knowing that I am prepared to deal with those feelings.
     
    I hope this post is making sense. It's getting colder, and that means I've been run over by the fibromyalgia bus. One of the worst symptoms of fibro (in my opinion) is the fogginess, which sometimes makes it hard to finish a sentence. Today my brain feels like it has turned to mush. Even though it is warmer today than it was this weekend, I feel worse because of the wind and the rain. My body hates any kind of weather that is not clear, calm and mild, but winter is probably the worst. My low back is on fire and my legs hurt so badly I can hardly think. But on the plus side, I found a DVD on Netflix called Healing Yoga: Aches And Pains that seems to be helping somewhat. It's a yoga workout designed for people with arthritis and other pain conditions. It's available as a DVD and streaming video as well, which is really convenient. It loosened up my hips and back enough today that I could get my household stuff done without wiping myself out.
     
    I am really praying that losing weight will help me become a little more functional on days like today.
  11. Caribear
    I have to say that I'm an information junkie. If I'm interested in something, especially if it involves making a major life decision, I have to research the heck out of it. I look for facts, opinions, and viewpoints from both ends of the spectrum. That's one of the major reasons why I love this forum so much - it has a little bit of everything in one place. But I have also been doing a lot of YouTube research. Reading someone's story is great, but there's something about actually seeing a person talk about their experiences that you just can't get from a written post.
     
    One of the channels I subscribe to is by a lady who goes by losingitwithrebecca. Recently she posted a video called "The Rules That Made Me FAT" which I think was a homework assignment from her nutritionist or therapist. In the video she lists some ideas and theories that she used to use to rationalize her eating habits before she had her band. A lot of those rules sounded awfully familiar to me. The video stuck with me so much that I finally decided to make my own list. I came up with twenty, but I'm sure there are more. It was an interesting experience. I had to be brutally honest with myself about some of the things I had told myself in the past in order to keep eating like I did. It helped me immensely, and in the interest of possibly paying it forward, here's my set of rules. Personally, I prefer to call them "The Lies That Made Me Fat."
     
    1. If I have a feeling in my stomach, it must be hunger and I have to eat.
    2. If I steal a bite off of someone else's plate, it doesn't count as actual calories.
    3. If I'm eating or tasting while I cook, it doesn't count either.
    4. Everything is better with bacon. Everything.
    5. Everything is better with lots of cheese.
    6. Liquid calories don't count.
    7. I can eat more because I'm big and I burn more calories naturally anyway.
    8. If it doesn't have nutritional information on the package, the calories don't count.
    9. All salads are good for you, no matter what you put on them.
    10. If it's a topping or sauce, the calories don't count.
    11. If I don't finish all of something, it's wasteful. I should eat it so it doesn't go in the trash.
    12. If my son doesn't finish his food, and it's not enough to put in the refrigerator, I should finish it so it doesn't go in the trash.
    13. I can trust my body to tell me when to stop eating.
    14. One can or bottle equals one serving.
    15. If the "hunger" in my stomach doesn't go away, I must actually be hungry and it's ok to eat.
    16. Eating at night is ok as long as I'm really hungry.
    17. Being fat is better than dieting and being miserable.
    18. I can eat just one piece of candy, one cookie, one slice of cake etc.
    19. If it was given to me as a gift, I have to eat it because throwing it away would be rude.
    20. If I'm craving something, it's ok to eat it because my body must need something in it.
     
    It's amazing how absurd a lot of these sound when I actually read them back. I have decided to post my list up on my refrigerator. Hopefully it will help keep me from accepting and rationalizing these things again, and so help me lose more weight.
  12. Caribear
    After thinking about it for a long time, I have decided to put all of my fears and concerns down here in writing, no matter how irrational or insignificant they may be. I like to imagine that a few years down the road I will come back here and read this and think "Oh, how silly I was for being afraid of that!" So, here goes...
     
    I am afraid of being one of those unfortunate ones who doesn't lose a significant amount of weight with the band.
    I am afraid of dying on the table and leaving my family to pick up the pieces.
    I am afraid of having too much excess skin after I lose the weight and having to battle the insurance company to have it removed.
    I am afraid of the pain of post-op and recovering from surgery again.
    I worry that even with the band, I will not be teaching my son to have a healthy relationship with food.
    I am freaked out by the idea that I may become attractive to other men, and that I will not be able to deal with any attention that I might receive from them (that one takes a lot of bold-faced honesty to actually write down)
    I worry that my band will slip or erode, and that I will have to have it removed or revised.
    I am afraid that I will sabotage myself subconsciously and consistently "eat around the band."
    I am afraid that my boyfriend will not know how to handle my weight loss and either leave or cheat.
    I am afraid that I will have to struggle so hard to lose weight even with the band that I will give up and decide to be fat and happy vs. thin and miserable.
    I am afraid that my fibromyalgia will get worse after I lose weight. (I have had several acquaintances with fibro and WLS tell me that this has happened to them)
    I am afraid that my fibro will keep me from exercising and therefore cause me to gain all my weight back.
    I am afraid that I will become so paranoid about gaining weight that I will become obsessive about tracking calories, and lose my joy.
    I am afraid of having the surgery, losing all this weight, and still dying of a heart attack at 50.
    I am afraid of being labeled as a "cheater" for having surgery instead of doing it the old fashioned way.
    I am afraid of being under the magnifying glass when it comes to people who I choose to tell, and that they will constantly be watching me and waiting for me to mess up.
    I am afraid of dealing with my bipolar grandmother once she finds out that I have had this done. She is super judgmental and can be very mean and thoughtless sometimes.
    I am afraid that some other family members might start getting passive-aggressive when I start really losing weight, as if I were competition to them instead of just being happy for me.
    I am afraid of losing my boobs. I know this is probably tmi, but they're already on the small side for my weight and I don't want to end up flat-chested.
    I am afraid of losing my promise ring. It is already starting to get loose and I have only lost 10 pounds.
    I am afraid of losing a bunch of weight, having my rings resized, then gaining back so much weight that they don't fit anymore.
    I worry about becoming seriously depressed again after my surgery. I did with the last ones, and nobody told me beforehand that it was normal to get that way post-op.
    I am afraid that I have already done too much damage to my body and that even after losing weight it won't heal.
    I am afraid of being denied by my insurance company and not being able to have the surgery in the first place.
     
    That's all I can think of at the moment. The rational part of me says that most of these are silly, and that the rest of them won't be as big a deal as I think they will. But in any case, I have them written down now so that I can look back at them in the future.
  13. Caribear
    Today I went to my family doctor and started my first supervised diet visit. It went pretty well.
     
    The nurse asked me some questions, updated their files, filled out some of my paperwork, and checked my vitals. When the doctor came in, he said that he has done quite a few of these supervised diets. His way of doing them is to have me journal all of my food, exercise five times a week for 30-45 minutes, and meet with a nutritionist to discuss the actual diet aspect. I told him that I have already put myself on a diet and lost 10 pounds, so it shouldn't be a problem. I don't know if I came across as being contentious or what, but he seemed to get a little defensive and said that the nutritionist will make sure that I'm on the right diet.
     
    He seemed pretty surprised that I have to do nine months - he kept asking me "are you sure?" until I showed it to him in the packet that I got from the surgeon's office. I guess six months is the usual amount of time, but not for my insurance company. I called the nutritionist when I got home and scheduled an appointment for Wednesday, so everything is moving along pretty smoothly.
     
    The only problem I have with his instructions is the exercise part. Normally I would have no problem with this. In fact, I used to love to do pilates and kickboxing. But since I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, exercise is a little bit of a balancing act. I get fatigued very easily, and if I push too hard I will send myself into a "flare." I already go to the YMCA three times a week and do their aqua program for arthritis, and that seems to be just about what my body will handle. Flares are not fun, and a bad one can put me in so much pain that I can barely walk for about a week. But I will try to push a little harder and see what happens.
     
    One down, eight to go...
  14. Caribear
    At the advice of my doctor, I went to see a nutritionist this past Wednesday. Well I guess technically she's a "wellness nurse" but my doc called her a nutritionist, and that's basically what she does. I was nervous because I didn't know what to expect. I guess all these years of being treated as sub-human by health professionals because of my weight has really taken a toll on me. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that she was very nice, supportive, and upbeat. Almost a little too upbeat. I think of myself as a generally positive person, but the people who wake up spouting sunshine just drive me a little bit crazy.
     
    In any case, she seemed very optimistic about my chances for success. It surprised her that I have already been making so many positive changes, and she was pretty happy with the diet I put myself on. I agreed to start seeing her twice a month to do weigh-ins and some tweaking to my diet. She mentioned in passing that she thought everything I had done so far would be a sign to the insurance company that I am really serious and committed. But she also said that phrase I keep hearing, "Maybe you'll do so well you won't need the surgery!" I would love to not need the surgery, and I'll definitely stay open to the idea that I might not need it, but since all of my past efforts have only gotten me to 370 pounds and frustrated, I have my doubts. There were many times that I have been serious and committed to losing weight, and some times that I did lose a fair amount, but obviously that didn't stay off. But we will see.
     
    On a more positive note, I am beginning to gain some ground in my battle against overeating. For a long time now, I have been one of those people who will clean my dinner plate, then eat whatever my son didn't finish because "I don't want to be wasteful." I've been fighting hard to break that habit, and I can say with some measure of pride that I have gone almost a week without doing that. I realized that by eating that leftover food, I am not doing a good thing. It's not all that wasteful to throw out a few spoonfuls of food. Not to mention the extra calories I was "wasting" by eating it! So that has finally begun to sink in. Can I have an NSV before I've been banded?
    And I've also been sticking to the rule that I set with my nutritionist - no eating after 9 pm. Period. Which was rough that first day. My stomach felt like it was turning inside out, and my brain was screaming at me to go find something to eat ASAP or I would die. I did the emotional equivalent of sticking my fingers in my ears and yelling "I can't heeeeeeear youuuuu... lalalalala" and I survived!
     
    So yay for small victories, because sometimes they're the most impactful ones.
  15. Caribear
    I had my informational seminar on Wednesday. My mom and boyfriend came along with me, which was awesome. The seminar was really interesting. One of the surgeons did the presentation, and he talked about some of the history of obesity and the reasons why it's so hard for us to lose weight. I did not know that eating only an extra 200 calories per day can add up to gaining 100 pounds in five years ( !!!). It was really eye-opening.
     
    After he went through all of that, he started discussing all of the surgery options they offer at their practice. The four he talked about were lap-band, gastric sleeve, traditional bypass, and biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch (BPD/DS). He was very thorough and did not seem to be favoring any one procedure over another; he discussed both the advantages and disadvantages of each type. At the end he had some of his existing patients come in and share their success stories. It was very inspiring.
     
    When the seminar was over, the surgeon stuck around to answer any private questions. I came up and asked him about my fibromyalgia and if it would cause any specific complications. He said that it would not be a problem and that I would be ok to go ahead and proceed with any surgery I chose. I then mentioned that I was interested in the lap band. He told me that in general, they tend to discourage people with a higher BMI from choosing the band because it has "limited average loss of excess weight." He had mentioned earlier that most of the higher BMI patients choose the BPD/DS because you can lose up to 80% of your excess weight vs. 60% with the band (average). But he also told me that it would be something we could discuss at my first consultation.
     
    Personally, I still know that the band is the right decision for me. It is the safest of all the procedures they discussed, with the lowest mortality and short term complication rate. Plus there is hardly any risk for malnutrition because the stomach is not removed, just restricted. I know from previous surgeries that it takes me a long time to recover, so I can not imagine choosing to have the BPD/DS. It is an open procedure, not laparoscopic, and there is a lot of cutting and rearranging involved. Neither can I imagine doing the bypass. I would consider the sleeve, but since it is a fairly new procedure, my insurance will not cover it. Plus my boyfriend quit his driving job yesterday, so there's no way I can do self-pay either...so that only leaves the lap-band.
     
    Yesterday I called my mom to discuss the seminar with her and see if it changed her mind at all. She first said that it had encouraged her to decide to lose some weight this year, and that we could do it together. Then she said that she still didn't want me to do it. She really feels that God will heal my fibromyalgia, and then I can work out more and lose the weight on my own. But she is forgetting something. The fibromyalgia is not the problem. I have been obese for most of my life. I have lost considerable amounts of weight in the past, but it has ALWAYS come back. I have never been able to lose any large amount of weight and keep it off for any reasonable amount of time. I'm not bad at losing the weight, I'm bad at keeping it off. That's why I feel I should go ahead with the band. It will help me keep my portions small and remind me to keep my choices healthy.
     
    Acting on an idea I got from another brilliant member of this site, I went out and bought a cookbook for weight loss surgery patients and have been eating from it for almost a week now. The food is yummy, easy to fix, and my family likes it too. Plus, I have lost another five pounds! I told my mom about this and she said "See? You don't need the surgery! You're doing great on your own!" *sigh* But at least I know I will actually be able to cook something after the surgery that will taste good and that my son will actually eat. Monday morning I will head to my family doctor to start my nine-month supervised diet, and hopefully he will let me stay with this since I have had some success with it already. And hopefully my insurance company won't deny my surgery because I've lost weight.
     
    All in all, I'm pretty excited and cautiously optimistic.
  16. Caribear
    One of the most confusing and frustrating internal road blocks I have come across in regards to getting lap-band is how to reconcile my faith with the need to have this surgery done.
     
    Within the past few years, I have re-committed myself to my faith and become saved for the second time in my life. Don't get me wrong, I won't beat anybody over the head with my Bible (lol) but I don't hesitate to tell anyone who will listen about God's love for them and Jesus' ultimate sacrifice. I think it's amazing how God, who made every single thing in the universe, still cares about each and every one of us. It also blows me away how Jesus loved us all so much that he died to save us. There aren't enough words for me to tell how much I am deeply moved by this, and I spend time each day in prayer thanking the Lord for everything he has done for us.
     
    The problem is this - there's a little voice in the back of my head that says "You know, if you were a better Christian, you wouldn't need surgery. If your faith were stronger, you would be healed by the grace of God, not need to turn to surgery by the hands of a man. It's just because you don't pray/believe/give/whatever enough that you have to do this." It's a hard thing to ignore.
     
    How do you reconcile the idea of having surgery with God's promise to heal His children? Jesus healed many, many people, and he always explained it by saying that it was their faith that caused them to be healed. So what does that mean for people like me? Can it be that I simply don't believe strongly enough in my God's ability to heal me? I know that He can do all things, because He has created all things. Don't get me wrong, I am not the perfect Christian. I don't read my Bible every day. I'm not always as patient as I should be. I don't have a church home. I even swear on occasion (*gasp!* ) But I do love Him and seek Him out, and I am trying. And so far as I can tell, that's all that we can do. We are not God, we are human, and no human is perfect.
     
    One day I was in the midst of one of these "doubting sessions" and beginning to think that maybe it was true, maybe I was just an awful Christian and not worthy of healing. Just as I was beginning to entertain this idea, a thought came to me: Who do you think gave the surgeon his gift? Who do you think made the surgeon to begin with? How do you think this surgery was even thought up in the first place? And then I realized that maybe it was not surgery vs. faith; maybe my healing will be done through this surgeon because this is how God intends to heal me. It's not a question of turning to modern medicine and away from God, because it was through God that modern medicine came to be. He gave us an inquisitive nature, He made people who aspired to help others, and He gave us the ability to create technologies that can improve the health of many.
     
    I think we tend to compartmentalize "God over here, science over here" as if they are two different and opposing things. I believe they are not. I hope that anyone reading this with the same problem that I had can be comforted by the realization that not all healings are of the "miraculous, out-of-thin-air" type. There are all kinds of different ways that God can manifest healing in your life. Don't beat yourself up over a problem that doesn't exist. In the words of my son's favorite animated tomato, "God made you special, and he loves you very much."
  17. Caribear
    OK, this entry is a little long-winded, but bear with me. I will get there eventually.
     
    The day my rheumatologist first brought up the idea of bariatric surgery was a hard day for me. Not so much because of that particular appointment, but because of the one after it. I had to drive to Dayton, see my rheumatologist, waste several hours, then go to my first appointment with a pain management doctor. Dayton is quite a drive, and for me to come all the way home only to turn around and come back right after would have been ridiculous. So I spent some time eating lunch, playing on my cell phone, and looking at the clock every two minutes until it was time to see the PM doc. In the meantime it had started to rain. Anyone who has fibromyalgia will tell you that the rain usually makes you hurt worse, and I'm no exception. Plus all the time spent sitting in seats of varying softness and comfort levels had really put my back in severe pain. When it was finally time for my appointment, I was ready. Really, really ready.
     
    The nurse spent about an hour taking a full medical history and asking all kinds of questions about my pain. My fibromyalgia is fairly well controlled, but the sciatica from my slipped discs is not, and that was the reason for the visit. My rheumatologist suggested injections to help make me functional again. Anyway, I had included information about my fibromyalgia in my history because I felt it was only right. Fibro has its own set of complications, and if they didn't know about it, that could alter my course of treatment. But I did make sure to tell the nurse that I was there for the sciatica, not the fibro.
     
    I waited another 45 minutes for the doctor to see me. When he finally came in, he flipped open my chart, scanned through it, and started talking about my fibromyalgia. He suggested I start taking Lyrica for the pain. I had already discussed this with my rheumatologist, and she had decided against it because it has a high tendency to cause people to gain weight, and I told him that. The next drug he mentioned was Savella. This is the only drug I am allergic to. I had tried it and was hospitalized twice because of rapid heart rate, sky-high blood pressure, and uncontrollable vomiting. It stated this clearly in my chart. It was then that I realized that this guy really didn't give a crap about helping me. Somehow we came around to discussing the fact that my rheumy had suggested WLS, and he gave me a long lecture about how it "wasn't an easy way out" etc. etc. and how I should just basically buckle down and try Weight Watchers. Then he told me that he thought I would be better suited for a different pain management program and that he would refer me, and left the room.
     
    Immediately I started to cry. I couldn't help myself. I had spent all day in pain, waiting for this man to help give me some relief, and all he did was lecture me and walk away. I tried to hide my tears from the nurse who came to give me my paperwork, but she could tell I was very upset. I made it out of the office, out the door and to my car before I broke down in uncontrollable sobbing. I texted my boyfriend about what had happened. He texted back some expletives about the doctor, but didn't call me. I was glad he didn't because I was crying too hard to talk anyway. I literally cried the whole 60+ miles home.
     
    When I got home, I called my mom right away. She could hear the hurt in my voice and started asking me all kinds of questions. I told her all about the PM doc and my awful experience while she aww-ed and poor baby-ed me until I felt a little better. Then I briefly mentioned the rheumy bringing up bariatric surgery. That set her off. "No. No. No. I'm sorry, the answer is no. You are not doing that." I was a little bit shocked by her reaction. I couldn't handle any more emotional upset, so I quickly got off the phone and went to bed.
     
    The next day, I called her again. I gingerly brought up the WLS again, and she explained that she had seen an episode of Dr. Oz about it and that she wouldn't have me doing that. I didn't see the show, but she told me about it. Apparently there were several women on the program who described "the horrors" of surgery. One woman showed a day's worth of food, which I guess was about 3 tablespoons of mushy stuff. There were mentions of huge amounts of excess skin and serious malnutrition. The woman's digestion was so disrupted my the operation that she had to take enzymes for the rest of her life just to digest her food. My mom had been so appalled by the show that she said she would not let me have surgery. I explained to her that I was actually considering it, and that the lap-band did not have all of those issues associated with it; some, but not all. She seemed surprised that I would even think about doing such a thing. "I would think that surgery would be your last option." Well, mom, what do you think it is? Have you not seen me struggle with my weight for all these years? Have you not heard me cry about how uncomfortable I am with my body? Have you not thought about how much pain I am causing myself by basically carrying around another full-grown person with me at all times? And did you not also watch my dad die a slow and miserable death brought about by the same thing?
     
    I have since given her a lot of information about the lap-band procedure vs. the other surgical options available. I have shown her how it is safer and equally as effective if used properly. We talked about how, since my stomach will remain intact, my digestion will not be altered nearly as much. She has begun to come around to the idea, but she still has huge reservations. I will be bringing her to my informational seminar in January so she can hear exactly what the surgeon has to say. She was relieved that I will have to do 9 months supervised diet per my insurance company. I think she feels like she has at least that much time to change my mind.
     
    In the end, it really is my decision. I am a grown woman and do not need my mom's permission to have the surgery. But it would comfort me greatly to have her blessing. I know she would support me no matter what, but the idea of making such a life-altering decision without her full backing is scary to me. I guess I have nine months or so to change her mind.
     
    Thanks, Dr. Oz.
  18. Caribear
    Recently one of the lovely ladies on the forum suggested using appetizer flatware to eat with, because it is smaller than regular flatware, yet more dignified than eating with baby silverware. I agree, I would not be totally thrilled with having to eat all my meals off of a fork with a cartoon character on it. I combined that idea with another idea from another lovely lady, which was doing a "trial-run" of sorts with an imaginary band. (The people on this forum are so creative and so smart!) So I went out and bought an appetizer set with forks, spoons, plates and bowls, and have been using them to eat with lately. Well, I have been using the forks and spoons. Well, when I have been able to eat, I have used the forks and spoons. I just got over a nasty virus that acted almost exactly like strep throat, and so was on a liquid-and-popsicle diet for over a week out of pure necessity.
     
    I know that it's pretty early in the process yet, but I want to make sure that I get used to taking things slowly. In the past, "slow" was not in my vocabulary when it came to food. I would wolf down a plate full of food before my brain could even register it, then go back and get seconds just so I could taste it. Through a slow process and lots of therapy, I started changing my habits and have now gotten to the point where I can eat like a "normal" person for the most part. When I am stressed, I still battle with the urge to eat as much as possible in the shortest amount of time. But I have so many reasons to change, and so changing I am. Slowly, but still.
     
    One of the biggest reasons I have to do all this changing is my sweet baby boy. He just turned three in October, and he is a little sponge. Everything we do, he picks it up, whether we think he is paying attention or not. So how does someone like me raise a child who doesn't have a seriously unhealthy relationship with food?
     
    I have come to the realization that I have to lead by example and change the relationship I have with food. I have been working with my therapist to try and change my habits, as well as deal with the underlying issues that caused me to form those habits in the first place. I try not to reward him with food or candy, but at the same time I don't make anything off-limits either. Don't get me wrong, I don't let him eat a bag of M&M's right before bedtime, but if he wants a few of them during the day that's fine with me. I also don't push him to finish all the food on his plate, which was a HUGE struggle for me. I was a product of the "clean your plate because there's starving children in Africa" mindset, and I don't want to pass that on to him. We just make sure to tell him that he doesn't have to eat it all, but he can't expect to say he's done with his dinner and then eat a bunch of junk food. So now he eats what he feels comfortable eating, and if he's still hungry later he can have a healthy snack. And now that I am going through the process of being banded, I am telling him about how it's important to stay active and be mindful of what you are eating.
     
    I sat him down and had a little talk with him about how our bodies are gifts that God has given us, and how it's important to take care of them. I said that I hadn't realized what a great thing God had done for me, and I didn't take care of my body like I should have. So now God has shown me a path to take that will help me make my body healthy again so that I can play with him and take care of him like I was meant to. I tried to make it as relatable as I could, but I didn't think he was paying attention. Until yesterday, that is. He came up to me while I was sitting on the couch, put his little hands on my belly, and said "Mommy, you going to go see the doctor God showed you and he going to make your belly smaller so you can play with me?"
     
    So now I have another thing to add to my list of reasons to have the surgery: I have the responsibility of having a little pair of eyes watching everything I do, and I am responsible for shaping his ideas about his weight and his body and how he takes care of himself. It is a heavy responsibility to bear, but I know that he is worth it.
  19. Caribear
    So how does one start a blog? I suppose I should just jump in...
     
    I'm 27 years old, and I live in Ohio with my longtime boyfriend and our adorable three-year-old son. I am a licensed massage therapist, but my physical condition makes it near impossible for me to practice anymore, so mostly I am a mommy. My boyfriend is back and forth between driving a van for Amish construction crews and taking care of his grandfather, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Our son is adorable, very friendly and smart.
     
    My journey up to this point in my life has been long and fairly painful, both physically and emotionally. I have always been overweight, so far as I can remember. I can very clearly recall being called an elephant in the third grade by another boy at school. My mom taught me to medicate myself with food, albeit unknowingly. My grandmother would go on and on about how I should lose weight, then offer me a plate of cookies. I remember tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night, being very careful not to wake my family, and sneaking food back to my room to eat. I can't remember if I was actually hungry, but the food filled some longing that I had within me, so I ate.
     
    The next period in my life was very difficult, full of lots of emotional trauma that is better saved for some other time. In any case, it all served to encourage me to pack on the pounds. I had done many different diet and exercise plans over the years, oftentimes losing quite a bit of weight only to have it creep back on. Fast forward to 2007, when I began school for massage therapy. I had finally found my calling, and was on my way to getting paid to do it. I lost weight fairly quickly then, being so much more active because of the massages and hauling around my portable massage table. Everyone was commenting on how good I looked, and I was sooooo happy.
     
    In February 2008, almost exactly halfway through my schooling, I found out I was pregnant. It was almost a shock, because my boyfriend and I had been taking precautions. I immediately quit smoking and found a good OB doctor. The pregnancy was borderline high-risk because of my weight (I was obese then) and the low levels of amniotic fluid around my baby. Then, in August, I fell while I was at school. I had been going to extra classes, creating my own "maternity leave" because I knew my due date was right around graduation. It was fairly early in the morning, and I was walking through the hallway to get a drink. The school had recently stripped and waxed the floors, and the mats and rugs were still piled up along the wall. I stepped on the edge of a mat and my feet came out from under me, and I sat down HARD. Two maintenance guys, who had been standing down the hall the whole time, stood there and watched me as I tested myself to see what hurt. After what seemed like forever, a lady in the main office stuck her head out the window, saw me sitting on the floor, and asked me if I was ok. The only thing I could get out of my mouth was "I'm pregnant!"
     
    Within minutes, the ambulance was there. They took me to the hospital, where they strapped me in to a fetal monitor and told me that I had to wait until their OB doc showed up and cleared me. Shortly after, a representative from the school came by to apologize and smooth things over. Long story short, I sat in the bed for 7 hours waiting to be checked out, and the OB never showed up. Finally they told me that everything looked fine, so I could go home. When I got up from the bed I could hardly walk. The school rep took me back to the school building and I headed home.
     
    In October 2008, I had my sweet baby boy. He was happy and healthy, with a full head of dark hair. I had a c-section, and was in a lot of pain afterwards, but I pressed on and graduated from school with an A average.
     
    Unfortunately for me, the pain never really went away. It would get better or worse depending on the day, but not ever actually go away. I would wake up in the morning feeling like I had steel rods fused to my spine, and I wouldn't be able to bend over for up to two hours after I got up. The pain would keep me up at night and wake me up in the morning. My primary care doc didn't seem to think it was anything, so I just tried to push through it. In 2009, we bought a house with a room in it for my home massage office, and I was overjoyed. I started getting clients and was doing fairly well. I had almost lost the 70 pounds that I had put on during my pregnancy. But instead of getting easier, each massage was more and more painful for me. I bought a TENS unit, and I would place the pads on my back before I would do the massage; then immediately after my client left, I would hook it up to the unit and turn it on so I could get some relief.
     
    In December 2010, I started having problems with my gallbladder. I had surgery scheduled to remove it in January, and referred my clients to other therapists in the area so I could have some time to recover. It was about a week before the surgery that another healthcare professional told me that she thought I might have fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, she turned out to be right. My surgery went smoothly, but the recovery took about two months instead of two weeks. At that point I was referred to a rheumatologist.
     
    Thus began the downward weight spiral. I hurt badly, so I wasn't as active as I had been before. I also tended to use food to comfort myself, since none of my doctors at that point were doing anything for my pain. Add to that several different medications that can cause weight gain and fluid retention, and an MRI that revealed 3 herniated discs, and you end up where I am today.
     
    I have been doing pool exercise, which is the most I can do at this point, and had even done several months of Medifast, and I have still managed to gain weight. My rheumatologist was the one who suggested the lap-band, saying that she thought it would definitely help my back if I could get some weight off, plus it might even help my fibromyalgia symptoms. I am praying that she is right.
     
    I was shocked to see the scale say that I weigh almost 400 pounds. FOUR. HUNDRED. POUNDS. How could that be? I know I have to do something to get my weight down. Not only am I physically miserable, but the emotional effects of chronic pain and supermorbid obesity can really get a girl down. I have been struggling with depression all my life also, and feeling like a disgusting excuse for a woman doesn't help the situation. Medication has helped lift it somewhat, but I just plain need to lose the weight. If I don't, I will follow in my dad's footsteps. He was nearly 800 pounds when he died of heart failure at the age of 52. He had already had 3 heart attacks, bad cellulitis in both of his legs, and he walked with a cane if he walked at all. I don't want to do that to my family. I want to live to see my son grow up. I want to meet my grandchildren. I have so much to live for, and I feel like this is the step that will help me extend my life and improve my health. I have my informational seminar with my surgeon in January. In the meantime, I am doing all the research I can to try and prepare for the journey that lies ahead. I know it won't be easy, but it will be worth it.
     
    So here's to the journey.
  20. Caribear
    The story you are about to read may be hard to believe. It is the kind of story that would occasionally make it into my email inbox, and I would scan it briefly before clicking delete and muttering about how this kind of junk gets past my spam filter. If it hadn't happened to me, I wouldn't believe it. But it did happen to me, and I pray that you read this and consider what it says.
     
    A few weeks ago, I was watching my favorite Christian television station. The show was a talk show-type discussion about hormones. I almost changed the channel, but something (Someone) made me stop and listen. The woman on the show was named Dr. Barbara Hoffman, and she was talking about her line of bio-identical progesterone creams. They discussed how progesterone balanced estrogen, and how it was very important to choose bio-identical over synthetic. Synthetic progesterone can do all kinds of awful things in the body, because the body just doesn't always know what to deal with it. This includes birth control pills and shots. I began to think back over the past few years, about how my health began a downward spiral after I had my son. Then it occurred to me that it was after I had him that I started on the depo-provera shot. I started to research progesterone, and came across all kinds of literature that talked about how progesterone deficiency can cause all kinds of problems, including some that were hauntingly familiar: fatigue, weight gain, mental fuzziness, painful periods, cravings for carbs and sweets, and body pain, to name a few. And on other pages, I read that depo-provera will cause the body to stop producing its own progesterone, since it is a synthetic form of the hormone and causes the body to think it has enough.
     
    After about a week of research, I decided to go ahead and order the cream that I had seen on tv (Better Heath Naturally ProHelp Moisture Treatment Cream). I figured that I would try it out, and if it made me feel bad I would stop, but hopefully it would help me with some of my fibromyalgia symptoms. When the cream arrived, I went ahead and put it on as per the directions on the container. That day, I didn't feel any different. The next day, I used the cream again, once in the morning, once in the evening, as the directions suggest. I thought I could notice a little bit of a difference, but brushed it off as being psychological.
     
    The third day, I woke up, went downstairs, and started making breakfast for my son before I realized that my body didn't hurt. At all.
     
    I went through the day without saying anything, because I again thought this must be a psychological thing, or I was just having a good day, or something like that. But my boyfriend noticed that I was much happier and seemed to be in less pain than normal. And after a few days, I had to say something. I had almost no pain. I was able to play with my son for the first time without hurting. I had tons of energy, and I just felt good. It just felt so good to feel good again.
     
    Then I noticed that I was starting to go longer between meals without being so hungry. While before I was counting the minutes until the next meal, now I could go for hours past "meal time" and not even notice.
     
    But what really got me was when I passed up chocolate. My son brought home some Easter candy, and was trying to feed it to me, but it just didn't sound appetizing. When it hit me that I had just passed up chocolate, I had to run and tell everybody I knew about this stuff.
     
    I have gone about a week now with no cravings at all. When I eat, I actually feel full before I am done, and it has helped me cut down on some of the high-processed carbs that are so bad for me. I sleep better at night, even though I have stopped taking my sleeping medication. Plus, I am cutting down on the meds that were previously keeping the pain in check, and am still feeling great. I feel happier, and my son loves being able to play with me without being afraid of hurting me. The scale has been going down steadily, but I have noticed that my body seems to be changing a lot more than it was. However, I'm confident that it will start going quicker soon, since I am more active and eating less.
     
    I know that no single thing is a "magic bullet" for everyone, but I just had to tell you all about how this cream has helped me. I am including a link below to the site where I bought it, and also the site of the manufacturer where you can read a little more about it. If you are considering trying this, please do some research first. Some women do fantastic on this stuff, but some don't. But if you are one of the ones that are helped by it, then it is so worth it.
     
    http://shop.daystar.com/
     
    http://www.bhnformulas.com/
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