Onmywaytobeauty's Blog

Challenges…

May 17, 2011
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Well, it’s been a *long* while since I’ve updated here.  Sorry about that, my few readers.  Since my last post, I’ve had a few challenges.

Let me tell you something that I don’t think many people know.  I certainly didn’t know it… Anyway, when you’re sick, like head cold sick, sinus infection, whatever–your stomach lining gets inflamed!  Who know, right?  Well, back in January, I got a stomach bug and some sort of cold/flu thing.  Needless to say, I was puking my guts out (hard to do with the band, let me tell ya), plus coughing and having inflamed lungs, sinus pressure, etc.  And I couldn’t eat.  Every time I put something in my mouth and swallowed, it just got stuck, and I had to throw up.  Fun times.  So, I called up my bariatric surgeon’s office and made an appointment.  He took out 1cc of saline from my band, and I quit looking like one of the Olson twins.  A few weeks later, I went back and he put it back in.  I got down to 140 pounds!  Woo hoo!!!  I’d been fluctuating between 138 and 140 for several months and was starting to think that I was finally going to be be able to maintain my weight.  5 pounds below my goal.  Awesome!

About a month and a half ago, I started coughing at night.  A dry, hacking, take-my-breath-away cough.  I took over the counter medications, used a humidifier/vaporizer… nothing helped.  It kept me up all night.  But it was just a cough.  A few weeks ago, I started coughing during the day.  Still not a big deal.  Just a cough.  Around that time, I started to just not be hungry anymore.  I was still maintaining my weight.  I just wasn’t hungry.  Then, I started to not be able to eat.  We’d sit down to dinner, I’d fix my plate with about 1/4 cup of food, and take a bite or two, then have to go throw up.  What the heck?  The coughing got worse, the food consumed got less.  About a week and a half ago, I couldn’t keep down liquids.   I finally broke down and went to the doctor, which was a hard choice, since we don’t currently have health insurance.  He gave me an inhaler, some antibiotics (which helped a ton with my sinus infection), and some cough meds.  Nothing stopped the coughing, and over the weekend I really got sick.  The meds made me lose what little appetite I had, and I started throwing up even more.  I went back on Monday.  He said I had a stomach bug and gave me a shot for nausea and the same medicine in pill form.  Well, let me tell you, that shot knocked me on my butt.  In about 30 seconds.  The receptionist had to get me a wheel chair and my mom had to push me out to the car.  Good thing she was with me, because I never would have made it home.  Oh, I forgot to mention that between my appointment on Thursday afternoon and the one on Monday morning, I lost 5 pounds.  I still couldn’t eat or drink anything.  Tuesday afternoon, my sister dragged my butt to the ER.  I called my surgeon’s office (Dr. Monash) from Tucson, AZ (I really miss that office), and told them what was going on, and my surgeon called me himself.  When I told him what was going on, he told me to have them take all of the saline out of my band.  Apparently, when you have a stomach bug and a sinus infection, your stomach really gets inflamed!  So, they admit me to the ER, I go and get a gown on and sit on the bed, waiting.  The doc comes in, I tell him what I need, and he tells me the ER isn’t equipped to do that!!!  WHAT?  I told you what was wrong and what I needed when I checked in, again when I went to Triage, and you admitted me, knowing there was nothing you could do?  Remember, my friends, I have no insurance.  I was mad, and I was scared.  By this time, it’s been about 2 weeks since I’ve had any real sustenance.  The ER doc told me to call and make an appointment… gee, thanks.  Because I can wait another week to eat.  So, near tears, I told him that I couldn’t wait that long, and don’t they have a bariatric surgeon in the hospital?  Of course, they did.  He went and made a call, and my darling hubby came and sat next to me and just prayed that, somehow, I could get the help I needed.  About 10 minutes later, the doc came back into the room and told me that the doctors up in the bariatric ward were getting ready to leave, but they would wait for me.  I was discharged and wheeled up to the 6th floor on the other side of the hospital.  Filled out some paperwork.  Oh, I forgot to tell you that my sister went to Sonic and got me a shake.  I drank it, most of it, but it took me over an hour, and I felt so stuffed.  This is a couple hours later, and I still have that stuffed turkey feeling… So, anyway, I’m laying on the exam table, the doc took out 1cc of saline and had me sit up to drink some water.  Danny pipes in that my surgeon from Tucson (whom I miss!!!) said to have them take it all out.  He has me lay back down and pulls the rest of the saline out of my band.  11cc’s.  As he does this, I feel that shake, and probably the rest of the water and fluids I’d tried to consume throughout the day, go gushing into my stomach!  It was the strangest feeling!  Like a dam had burst.  It was crazy.  So, I was sitting there while he filled out some stuff on the computer, and there was a poster on the wall about symptoms of the band being too loose, just right, and too tight–one of the symptoms of it being too tight: night cough.   The doc told me that most people who have all the saline taken out will gain 10-15 pounds in about 2 weeks.  My mentality, at the time, was I could use 10-15 pounds… I was skin and bones.  Seriously.  Not well.  Now, a week later, I’m up 10 pounds.  Trying to not freak out.  It was necessary.  And I look healthy.  I don’t think it would kill me to lose a few more pounds and tighten/tone my muscles (which will probably make me drop another pant size or two–woohoo!), but not by starvation.  I *like* food!  lol  So, I’m going to give it a couple of weeks and see how I do on my own before making an appointment to get a fill.  We’ll see.  I’ll be posting pictures soon.

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Is there a doctor in the house?

January 12, 2011
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I’m not talking about a general practitioner, here.  I’m talking about the head-shrinking kind.  (Every time I say that, I think of when I was a kid and would put my thumb and index finger in front of my eye, so it looked like it was framing someone’s head from across the room, and I’d bring the two fingers together and say “I squish your head”.  Every time.)

I used to think that I was depressed because I was fat.  Yes, I *was* fat.  Since I started this blog (which I’ve been extremely unfaithful to–I apologize), I’ve lost 107 pounds with the help of the Realize band.  107 POUNDS!!!  I topped off at 257 on December 22, 2009.  At the time, I was on anti-depressants and had told my sister on at least 2 different occasions that she’d never been “slit-your-wrists-depressed”, that she couldn’t possibly know what I was going through.  Thankfully, she still doesn’t.  I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.  And that was my reasoning for going through with the surgery–I didn’t want to be depressed anymore.  I didn’t realize then, and have only recently come to the conclusion, that the depression wasn’t a symptom of my weight.  It was the other way around.  My weight was a symptom of my depression.  I’m currently off all of my medications, which makes me feel good, and also terrified, because I want to stay off of them.  I’m a healthy 150 pounds (still wanting to lose a few more, but I’m pretty sure I can do it on my own), living close to my family at the current time; I have 2 wonderfully beautiful kids and a great, supportive husband.  There’s no “reason” for a girl to feel depressed, right?  Well… I do.  It’s uncontrollable.  And what do I want to do right now?  I want to snuggle up on the couch with a bag of tortilla chips and warm queso and watch a movie.  Alone.  Of course, having the band, I’m unable to do this, which is a good thing.  I need to find a new outlet for my anxiety and depression.  Probably, I should have been seeing a therapist the whole last year.  Too late for “should-a, could’a, would’a”, I guess.  People who have never suffered from depression tell me to “get over it”, that it’s “mind over matter” and I just have to decide to be happy.  I’m not sad.  I don’t have the “blues”.  I suffer from a chemical imbalance in my brain.  I would love to see you control your hormones.  Really.  Do it, right now.  Please.  Change your progesterone levels.  Testosterone, maybe?  No?  Didn’t think so.  I thought I could make myself be happy.  I thought I could force my body to get thin, or at least not be a fat cow anymore, and that would get rid of the depression.  But, like I said, the depression wasn’t a symptom of my weight, like I had thought.  My weight was a symptom of my depression.

Oh, I’ve had people tell me that I’m not right with God; that if I trust in Him (as if I don’t), that I wont be depressed anymore.  That I’m “back slid”.  God is my refuge, my constant help.  He gave this to me for a reason.  I don’t know what it is, but I’m trusting in Him to see me through it.  And if God chooses to have me use medication again to overcome it, then that’s what I’ll do.  But I’m trusting in Him, always.  I thought that I could handle this on my own, that bariatric surgery would cure me of my depression.  I was wrong.  Not that I have any regrets–I’m healthy and strong and fit.  I can chase my kids and play with them and carry them up the stairs without feeling like I’m going to die by the time I reach the top.  But I was wrong to think that I could force myself out of depression.


Could my life be more frustrating?

July 21, 2010
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(Think Chandler Bing from Friends when reading my title!)

So, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything.  What can I say?  I’m a busy part-time working/stay at home wife/mother… I don’t have time.  🙂  BUT I’m taking a moment now to let you know how I’m doing–my weight loss success or failure, and what all is going on in my life right now–believe me, it’s a lot!

As of this morning, I FINALLY got past the 190’s.  Not by much, but finally.  I got on the scale at 189 even this morning (my scale is digital and gives me the closest tenth of a pound).  I’ve been fighting with the low 190’s for weeks.  Finally, I’ve had a breakthrough, and I’m relieved and satisfied.  Weight loss to date: 68 pounds!  That’s since Christmas.  58 since my surgery on January 27th.

Now, as for the rest of my life… it’s been crazy.  My husband is getting medically retired from the Air Force.  We’re moving from Tucson, AZ, to Dayton, OH, and don’t know much of what we’re doing.  Probably will be staying with my parents for a while until we get settled.  My hubby’s going to be taking a principal/teaching job at a very small school that can’t afford to pay him enough for us to live on.  Therefore, I’ve been spending the last several months looking for a job for myself.  I’ve found a prospective house, but chances are we wont be able to get a loan, because we wont be able to pay for it…  I’m heading out next weekend with my kids and the dog to try to find myself a job.  If I have a job, we’ll have the money we need for a mortgage payment.  Hopefully.  Trying to pack and clean and organize my life while looking online for jobs half-way across the country and trying to not get scammed by all those evil people out there… more often than not, the responses I’ve gotten from prospective jobs have been scams.  It’s frustrating and discouraging!  How’s anyone supposed to find a REAL job, when the only responses are from scammers looking to steal what little money you have??  Anyway.

It’s a 3-day drive to family.  Glad I don’t have to do it by myself.  Having my big ol’ Copper with me will probably be a bother at times, but he’ll definitely make me feel safer.  Ain’t nobody gonna mess with us when we’ve got my monster.  🙂


The Search for Protein

April 20, 2010
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When I first got the gastric band, I was told that I need to consume 60-80 grams of protein per day.  I asked my surgeon if he had any that he recommended, and he told me to try Protein Shots from Walmart.  I did, and I about puked in my van…  Sure, it had 28 grams of protein in one little vial, but if I couldn’t keep it down, what was the point of drinking it?  It was disgusting.  The thought of it makes me gag a little…  So, I kept searching.  I was supposed to have only 5 grams of both sugar and carbs per serving of food in the beginning, which is NOT an easy thing to accomplish!  And most of the protein shakes out there are chock full of carbohydrates and sugars.  So, I did a little research and found something awesome.  Syntrax Nectars.  Zero sugar, zero carbs, only 90 calories per serving and at least 20 grams of protein per serving, depending on which flavor you get.  And here’s the best part–THEY’RE GOOD!!!  20 grams of protein, but they don’t have that overwhelming protein smell and flavor.  There are a bunch of different flavors, too.  Plenty to chose from, so there’s something for everyone.  Man, I feel like a spokesperson for the company!  But they’re GOOD, so I don’t care!  🙂  My favorites are the cappuccino and Caribbean cooler flavors.  I mix the cappuccino with milk, but the rest I would use water with.  They mix completely with a spoon, so you don’t have to have a shaker or put them in the blender.  You can order samples of each of them for $1.99 at http://www.vitalady.com.  I haven’t been able to find them in stores yet, but I know you can order from vitalady or from Amazon.com.  I haven’t checked, but I’m sure there’s a website to the company, as well.  I’ve tried other protein drinks, and they’re either high in calories/carbohydrates/sugars, etc., or they just taste disgusting.  The GNC 100% Whey Protein shakes are bland, and they have sugar in them.  The Syntrax drinks are sugar free and so flavorful!  It’s amazing.  I don’t know how they do it.  I do suggest that you order samples and try them to see what you like before you go and spend $30 on a 2-pound container and risk not liking what you bought.  And, if you’ve had or are having bariatric surgery, keep in mind that your tastes change after surgery.  So don’t go and buy a ton of stuff before hand, because you may end up not liking it after you have surgery.

So, there’s my two cents on protein drinks.  If anyone else has found something that tastes good and is good for you, please let me know!  😀


And the Journey Continues…

April 2, 2010
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As of right now, I’m down 41 pounds!  59 to go before I see if I want to keep going.  Only 16 pounds away from being in the 100’s!  I’m wearing clothes I haven’t worn in ages.  I guess one good thing about never throwing anything away is that I have plenty to wear between now and my goal weight and wont have to waste money on the “in between” clothes.

My Emma just turned 4 at the end of March.  She amuses me.  When I first had my surgery, I wasn’t allowed to lift her or her sister for 4 weeks.  That was so hard for all of us.  Emma didn’t really understand and would get upset, and I decided to show her that I had “boo boos”.  She saw my incisions when they were still pretty fresh, and she understood that it hurt, and she had to be careful not to hurt me more.  Now, every once in a while when I lift her or squeeze her tightly against me, she’ll tell me to be careful not to hurt the boo boos on my belly.  She wants to see them to make sure that they’re all better, and when I show her the scars, she asks me if it hurts and if I’m going back to the doctor.  She’s such a sweet girl, very concerned about the plight of others.

For the record, I’m healing well.  Of course I have scars, but they’ll fade eventually.  I’m losing weight steadily.  Not as fast as I would like, but it’s coming off and staying off, and that’s really what matters.  I need to learn to have a little patience.  🙂

I still have a long road ahead of me, but I’m excited to see the progress I’ve made in just 2 months.  If I keep up this pace, I’ll accomplish my goal in another 3 or 4 months, which will be a miracle!


Update

February 7, 2010
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Hello, all! I just wanted to give you an update on my surgery and weight loss. As of yesterday, I have lost a total of 17 pounds since my surgery a week and a half ago. Since my appointment to submit my weight for approval to the insurance company on December 22, 2009, I have lost 26!!! Needless to say, I’m very excited and pleased with my progress!!! Incisions are healing well, and I’ll soon be able to start a vigorous workout regimine. As it is, I can really only walk right now, which isn’t all that exciting for me! I’m looking forward to doing some Turbo Jam! So far, I’ve had people tell me that my face looks thinner, and I’ve been able to fit into some clothes that I haven’t worn in a while. As for food… I’m currently eating “pureed” foods and drinking protein shakes. Scrambled eggs, ricatta cheese, unsweetened apple sauce. Stuff like that. I’ve also made some vegetable soup, put it in the blender and adding a teaspoon of unflavored protein powder. My mom gave me the recipe (minus the powder) from Weight Watchers, and it’s really good. Most foods I’ve been eating still don’t quite mask the taste/smell of the unflavored powder, but this is really savory and seems to do the trick, and it’s so easy to make!! It’s a can of diced tomatoes, a can of green beans, a can of corn, a can of old fashioned veggie soup from Campbell’s, a can of potatoes (drained–I use the already diced ones), a can of mixed veggies (like Veg-All), and 2 cans of Hormel chili–one with beans, and one without. You just dump them all together in the pot and heat them up. It’s so good! And even after it’s been through the blender, and it’s about the consistency of thick cream of wheat (I add some water) and the protein’s been added, it’s STILL good! It amazes me. I had it for dinner last night, lunch and dinner today…
Right now, I’m in the market for some good-tasting protein shakes. I’ve got the GNC brand of chocolate and unflavored, but the chocolate is getting REALLY old. I’ve decided to scoop out a serving of the unflavored stuff and put a little in everything I eat, because I’m afraid I’m not getting enough protein. Yesterday, my hair came out in gobs every time I ran my hands through it…
Any ideas for good-tasting protein drinks would be appreciated! I tried the one my surgeon recommended, and it about made me throw up. So gross!!! I need some variety or I’m going to go crazy…


Day One

January 28, 2010
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This morning was the Big Day!  I was up by 5 am, and ready to leave for the sugery center.  Got there aroud 6:30.  Signed some papers and sat down to wait.  When I finally got called back to be prepped for surgery, it still hadn’t sunk in… My blood pressure was lower than usual, which surprised me.  104/50.  You’d think, given the nerves and stress and excitement that someone in my position would have, that it’d be spiking, and not dropping… oh, well.  I did feel pretty relaxed.  Until the anesthesiologist came in…  Dr. Monash came in, too, and discussed pain meds options.  He usually gives either Percoset or Vicodin.  I told him I already have both at home from when I got my wisdom teeth out, but he said he’d give me some more, anyway.  And then he went on to tell us that Vicodin has a street value of aboug $5/pill!  That’s a nice piece of information for a doctor to give his patients!  Oh, well.  I’m pretty sure he just filled us in on that to lighten the mood a bit.  He’s a nice guy.  When he left the room, Danny looked at me and said, “You never told me he was good looking…”  I laughed, and then he said, “NOW I know why you kept going back and were trying so hard to get this sugery!”  Yes, folks, he’s that good looking.  haha
A little after 7:30 they wheeled my bed out of the pre-op room and down to the operating room, where I had to get on another bed… getting strapped down is the last thing I remember.  And then I woke up, and the first cohearant thought in my head was “dear God, what did I do to myself?”  I felt like I was choking… they must have just barely taken the tube out of my throat.  It’s still a little sore.  My stomach dind’t hurt much at the time, but I had (and have) a horrible pain in my shoulder/back and chest from where they injected gas (CO2) into me.  Aparently, it will take 24 hours to get absorbed into my system, and I’ll just have to suffer until then. 

We stopped to pick up our kids on the way home from the surgery center.  They had such a blast with Shelli and Jennifer last night.  I was so excited to see them and hug them.  I wont be able to pick them up for a month.  It’ll be hard enough for me, but they wont understand.  And I don’t know how to explain it. 

I got home and climbed the stairs to my bedroom.  Slowly.  Danny got me some water and a Vicodin, and I fell asleep for a couple of hours.  When I woke up, I called to Danny to come and help me out of the bed and back down the stairs so that I could be around people.  And I wanted to call my mom.  So, then the girls woke up from their nap, and Emma was running a muck around the house, and slammed into the couch where I was laying.  Danny cautioned her to be gentle because I have “boo-boos” on my belly.  So, then she wanted to see!  I lifted my shirt and let her look at my incisions and told her not to touch.  Looking at the 5 incisions, I wondered to myself if they are going to leave big scars.  Emma wanted to look at them several times during the course of the afternoon and evening. 

So, let me tell you what I’ve ingested today.  It’s not much.  The first couple of days are all clear liquids, so I had a glass of water (about 16 ounces, total), about a tablespoon of jello that I mixed with some liquid protein when I made it, about 3 sips of chicken broth, and about a third of a diet green tea snapple.  I’m trying to avoid the vicodin, so I’m taking some extra-strength tylenol.  It doesn’t seem to quite do the job.  My abs feel like I did an extensive ab workout, then did it again–super sore.  My back and neck and chest are what hurt the most, though.  So much pressure and a burning feeling.  But I don’t have any regrets.  I’m glad I did it, and I know it’ll be worth the pain and frustration and the work in the end.  So, now I’m ready for bed.  Sleep is so welcome, and I hope it comes!