Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Puree all day

It's time for another update from yours truly. The last time there was exciting news to share. This time it's a bit more pedestrian. I am down another 5 lbs which should make me happy but it feels kind of..meh? I certainly didn't expect 16 lbs but maybe 7lbs? It just seems like 5lbs over 2 weeks isn't that fantastic. Especially for someone like me who has so far to go. I know that I will need to step back and find some perspective.

The awful truth is that this "journey" (stealing from the Bachelor franchise on this one) is a million times harder than I ever imagined. The longing for food is so intense at times it can feel like I lost a limb. It has definitely improved with moving to Stage 3 of my diet. Purees. Get excited everyone! Haven't you wanted to relive your infancy or have a flash forward to your old age to experience food without having to chew it?? My favorite food right now is whipped cottage cheese (Friendship Cottage cheese is the only brand I can find and I got it at Stop and Shop) with salt, pepper and a little bit of olive oil.

I know what your thinking "But, Lynne, I like my cottage cheese with fruit".  I say expand your mind my friends because this combo will blow your mind. It's so savory and creamy and it has a great protein count. I will continue to eat this even when I am not in this stage. Next stage starts Thursday and I can add tuna with mayo to the mix and egg salad as well. I will be on that for two weeks. That means for Thanksgiving I can attempt to have solid food. I don't know how that will go and may just stick to mashed potatoes which sadly doesn't really meet the protein requirements. I will probably also bring my cottage cheese with me since it's just family.

Overall, I am doing alright. Physically I am fine but mentally I am not doing great. I am sad a lot. I have been on anti depressants for years but I am still prone to days of extreme sadness for no real reason at all. My birthday is coming up and I have no desire to celebrate. What do you do for your birthday when you can't eat? The idea of putting a candle in my yogurt is the most depressing thing I can think of. Even if we went out to do something non food related I will have tote around a cooler bag full of my provisions. I know I should be excited about a future with more mobility and a longer life span but honestly I don't care right now. I know many people think me brave or someone worth celebrating but I don't and honestly doubt I ever will. I put myself in this situation and had to resort to surgery to fix it. It's the depression talking but it's my comfort zone and when everything else is making me so uncomfortable, it's where I naturally go. I didn't want to sugar coat what I am going through because I know I am not alone. I know that many others who have spent a lifetime being told by society and individuals that they are worthless or less than. Changing that mind frame is the real battle, not the weight.

I don't want to end on sad note because I know that this phase of sadness will pass. So instead let's end with some positives.

My clothes fit better and most are huge on me already
I can walk a little faster than before
I am sleeping through the night for the first time in years
I am craving food less (physically)
I am done with my injections of blood thinners (post-surgical protocol to reduce the chance for blood clots)

Until next time my friends! 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

That time I lost a toddler

It's been another week and another week of ups and downs. The downs have been a lot of trips to the bathroom which were unpleasant to say the least. Let's just say I have never been so relieved to see a McDonald's bathroom in my entire life. My brain isn't quite back to normal yet in that it has a hard time "waking up". I am not back to drinking coffee yet as it doesn't really appeal to me but it's also just lack of energy overall. I have also been emotional which they say is not surprising since we store a lot of estrogen in fat, so as you lose weight that estrogen gets released. It's been a fun roller coaster of emotions!

The ups have been finding unflavored protein powder so I don't have to suffer through drinking shakes anymore. They are just so sickeningly sweet now and I can't handle it. Now I can get my protein in with yogurt and creamed soups which is much better. I am counting down the days until 11/2 when I can move to stage three. The pureed stage where I get to pulverize the crap out various sources of protein. My food processors is about to get a workout!

The other up has been a bit of weight loss! Before surgery I lost 21 pounds, 4 of which I lost over the months and the remaining 17 I lost in the 3 weeks before surgery. At my first follow up after surgery I had lost 6 pounds which was fantastic! I had heard a lot of people don't lose anything right after surgery since you are still bloated with all the fluids and air they pump into you ( makes you feel a bit like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade balloon). I went back in this week because I wanted to make sure my fun trips to the bathroom were normal (which they are!) and guess how much weight lost in 1 week? Go on, guess.....Close but no cigar! I lost 16 pounds. You read that right 16 pounds. I nearly fell off the scale and had to have the assistant read me the number again to make sure I wasn't seeing things. That's like Malaria level weight loss, people. The doctor said I was above average (awww doc you're so sweet!) but that I shouldn't expect to see that kind of number again, which is fine by me because slow and steady wins this race. In total, over 5 weeks I have lost 43 pounds. Ummm say what? That's actually insane to me and I have a hard time believing it to be honest. I thought to help me visualize it I would bring back an old feature of this blog, called What does it look like? So what does 43 pounds look like?

                                              I lost a toddler. Like a legit small human.

I lost a baby dolphin. I am sorry, what? That seems insane and also adorable. 
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I lost a microwave. I am shedding household appliances like a rock star!
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I lost a drug busts worth of Marijuana. 
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All in all I have to say it's pretty impressive. I know as the weeks go on I will lose less but I will get to eat more kinds of food and by me that's just fine.  Until next time, when perhaps I will give you that glimpse into my average day that I keep talking about. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Dirt...Part 2

I'm going to take a moment to reflect on this past week before I dive back into the dirt as it were. It's been a week since my surgery and boy what a week it has been. I am finally starting to feel like myself again which felt impossible a few days ago. Surgery really throws you for a loop. Not that I didn't expect it but I didn't expect it ,you know what I mean? Your body isn't your own. You don't know it anymore and it is fucking angry. Things hurt, you can't sleep in your own bed (some people could after surgery, but of course, not moi), you have to eat but you can't tell if you are starving or nauseous, the list could go on. However, every day, was a little bit better, until finally, I could sleep in our bed again, I wasn't nauseous and everything doesn't hurt. It's hard in the throws of it to emotionally know that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. I am still tired but getting better. My biggest hurdle right now is figuring out the difference between hunger, thirst and boredom. It's not easy for someone who never really learned the difference or really cared to know. It will take time but I am sure I will get the hang of it. For now, I am counting the day until I can eat real food again.  I think I might even have a ritual burning of a protein shake when I am done. I used to love them. I have been drinking them for months now but not anymore kids, not anymore. Now on to the dirt that lead me to my current state.

So where were we? Ah yes, the info session with Dr. Ahmad. It was an evening long session, filled with people sharing their triumphant stories and then Dr. Ahmad coming in to give you the nitty gritty. Brian couldn't get enough of all the pictures of surgery (He even stood up and moved closer to the screen to get a better look). The next step is to have a one on one with Dr. Ahmad. This appointment came a few weeks later. It was there that we got to ask Dr. Ahmad any questions we had to our particular situations. He discussed the options and ultimately we decided that we would both have the Gastric Sleeve Surgery. Yes, both Brian and I were going to have the surgery. I was going first and he will have his sometime in March 2018. After meeting with Dr. Ahmad we felt confident that he was the man to do our surgery and that it was our best option at fulfilling our promise to one another to live a long life together.

Fast forward to the next appointment which is what they call a 5 in one. This place is a well oiled machine, let me tell you. They have a tight system down that is really quite impressive. This appointment you get a ultrasound (to check for gallstones or other issues), blood drawn, see the patient coordination team, have a psych evaluation and meet with Dr. Ahmad again. It was about 3 hours total but it felt like a whirlwind. Everything was moving along.

A week or two later, Brian and I both got a call that took the wind right out of our sails. Dr. Ahmad's office called to tell us that we both had Type 2 Diabetes.


It was quite the shock and yet not totally unexpected. Not everyone who is obese get's diabetes. You have to have a family history of it in order to get it which we both did. Now the good news for both of us was that we had not yet blown our insulin producers out of the water and were not insulin resistant. This meant that we could turn our ships around with diet modification, weight loss and drugs. I started taking glipizide metformin right away and within 2 months my A1C ( your blood glucose number) went from 10.5 to 6.9 which is incredible. Mind you, normal range is 5.6 or below so I started off at a very scary place. My doctor said that in a year or two I would have been insulin dependent the rest of my life. Now, it is my hope to be off drugs by the new year and no longer be a diabetic. I wish that my friends with Type 1 diabetes could be so lucky, I truly do.

So with the diabetes and my weight, it was a no brainer for me to have the surgery. It was going to save my life. The next couple of months were a blur of doctors appointments, getting clearance for surgery from a cardiologist, my primary, the hospital and my surgeon, all while going to the surgeon once a month for my mandatory weigh ins. Now I would like to say that I was really dieting and getting ready for surgery and lost a ton of weight before surgery but alas that is not the case. I did change some habits and cut back on carbs big time but I wouldn't call it a diet. The diet really began 3 weeks before surgery. That diet would consist of 2 protein shakes, 2 apples and a salad with 6oz of lean protein and 2tbs sugar free dressing.

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To prepare for that hell I did have a week long "last supper" where I indulged in all of my favorite foods, culminating in an official "final meal" at Teller's in Bay Shore (Their Filet Wellington is..gahh..I can't even it's so amazing) . It was perfect. By the time the diet was getting starting I was kind of sick of all the indulging I had done. Then just 3 weeks later, there I was, in the hospital and walking into the OR to lay down on the operating table.

So there you have it, folks. The dirt, in all it's glory. Next up, a day in the life post surgery but for now, it's shake time (Yayyyyyy). Happy Friday, y'all!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Dirt...Part 1

Let me start off by saying, wow! The amount of support I got over my first post is really spectacular. It's one of the hardest thing for me, to let in praise and support but it's hard to keep it out when it keeps pouring in. I appreciate it more than my meager words could express.

Now for what your really here for...the dirt! The dirt on why I decided to have a someone go into my body with a robot (it's called the DaVinci Robot ...super classy y'all) and shave my stomach down to a thin line and remove the rest of it through my belly button. I mean I had nothing to do on Thursday the 12th so I figured, meh, why not.

All kidding aside, this has been a long time coming. I had looked into Gastric Bypass ( a much more drastic procedure with far more potential pitfalls) about 10 years ago. I went through all the pre testing but when it came time to schedule the procedure I couldn't go through with it. At the time, they weren't going to be able to do my procedure laparoscopic (aka with a robot) and I would be cut open. As much fun as that sounds, it would also have involved them implanting a mesh filter in my veins that I would have had to live with the rest of my life. That really made me second guess everything and I never went back.

Cut to Christmas time 2016. My husband and I had been trying for a while to lose weight together. We tried but honestly we both love food sooo much that it made it so impossible for us to stay on top it. Not to mention, we both hate to be the bad guy so stopping one another from poor choices was not our strong suit. I was feeling incredibly depressed by all the weight I had gained back. I was back at almost the beginning, 357 pounds. I couldn't fit into booths, I couldn't ride the rides, I couldn't walk up a flight of stairs without feeling like my heart was going to pound out of my chest. It was feeling quite bleak. Then, as with most things in life, random things began to happen.

The first was a study had come out stating that the best way for obese people to lose weight and maintain it was through surgery. I was shocked. It wasn't by a small margin either.  (here is the article I read if you are interested ). It made me think about surgery as an option again. The second was two amazing co workers of mine had had the surgery done and they were such an incredible source of knowledge and first hand experience. They both had it done with Dr. Arif Ahmad at Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson, NY. They were so open and honest about what they were going through that it made the idea of surgery a possibility. I am forever going to be grateful to my two guardian angels, Robin and Yvette. They helped saved my life, of that I have no doubt.

After months of thinking and watching my friends go from miserable to happy and full of energy, Brian and I finally made it to one of Dr. Ahmad's seminars. The seminar is your first step. You go, get weighed in, and then listen to people who have been through the procedure tell their stories, answer your questions, and then Dr. Ahmad comes in with more specifics about the surgery itself and the various options. From there you make a follow up appointment with Dr. Ahmad and his staff to have a one on one consultation.

I will take a breather here and let you soak all of that up. I will pick up where I left off to get to the real nitty gritty of the past 6 months. For now, I am going to be good to myself, talk a little walk, then sip the hell out of some water, baller style.

Monday, October 16, 2017

5 years later...

What can I say about the last 5 years? They have been, without a doubt. the best 5 years of my life. I married my best friend on November 1st, 2013, have gone on amazing adventures, gotten to be an aunt 4 times over and witnessed the growth of my friends families with millions of babies.
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So why start this blog up again, you ask? Well, despite it being the best 5 years of my life, I have managed to lose my way in the health department. Happiness has a way of letting you forget about things like eating healthy and exercising. Perhaps it doesn't for other people but for me, well those things go right out the ole window. Getting back on track has always proved difficult for me and this time has been no different. Despite being surrounded by a huge support system, losing weight and keeping it off has been an eternal struggle. It's time for something drastic. It's time to do something that has proven to help people who have been obese their entire lives like I have. It's time...to have Gastric Sleeve Surgery...
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That's right, I am having Gastric Sleeve Surgery.  In fact, I've already had it. I went in for surgery on 10/12/17 and am home writing this blog. After speaking with a few friends who expressed how much they loved this blog my first time around, I decided to come back to it to keep anyone interested updated on how I am doing. The background on my decision will come in future posts. As of today, I am in less pain but still having a really tough time post surgery. It's so much harder than I ever imagined it would be. The nausea, the headaches, the lack of sleep, the strange sounds my remaining stomach now makes. It's all sorts of fun!! (Haha jk). Stay tuned for more insight and updates. For now, I am going to rest and try to get down the rest of my protein shake for the morning. The struggle is real folks.... 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

OA & Me, Not Meant to Be

This image perfectly sums up what I looked like after getting home from the OA meeting I (finally) attended. A mixture of rage, sadness and just ugly, ugly crying. Why such rage? Why such overwhelming sadness? Lemme explain.

I do not have blind faith. In order to "work the program" you have to have blind faith. In God, higher power or a group of total strangers. Ain't gonna happen here kids. I never thought I was this cynical but it turns out when faced with a group of people, praising God/Higher Power I want to run as fast as I can in the other direction. So to sit for an hour and half with a group of people who do was excruciating. I had to bite my tongue and swallow the feelings of disbelief, which exploded out of me in a shaking rageful venting session (Thank you Brian for letting me sound like a complete asshole and  not judging me whilst doing so). I need time to trust people and this group wants you to just hand it over the minute you get there.

The sadness came in this overwhelming feeling that I am never going to find the answer. Even with my doubts about OA, I had hoped I could find what so many others have found there. A sense of belonging or something. How can you feel you belong somewhere when the people there don't seem real? They don't talk about their issues or problems, they just talk about the healing power of OA. They repeat the steps and positive little mantras over and over again like some sort of cult. They couldn't explain why.

The ugly, ugly crying came as a response to the feeling that I am unfixable. That my mind works in a way that can't be fixed. That is forever doomed to run in circles but never settle. I feel broken inside my own head. I want to push everyone away because I don't want them to have to deal with me because I don't want to deal with me. I feel like I'm too much. My stubbornness is insurmountable. How can you reason with someone who can find a way to get out of doing just about anything?

I've always wanted to fix my problems on my own. No medicine, no groups, no therapy. I believe there is something wrong with me that I can't do it on my own. The truth is that I'm wrong. You can't do something like this alone. The first step has been therapy. The next step for me I think is medicine. I need something to make the circles stop. Perhaps once the circles slow down I can find a way out and actually move forward.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Twelve Steppin

Therapy was interesting. It's strange to be back again after so many years away from it. The jury is still out on the therapist. I liked her but I didn't feel an immediate connection with her. However, just like dating, you have to give people a chance (unless they are total lunatics and ask you to take your shoe off in a Starbucks to see what brand it is and to see your feet...yeah, that happened). I enjoy the feeling of being able to unburden myself somewhere other than at home (Brian is such a great man but even he can break under the weight of my round about thinking).

I promised myself that whatever my therapist offered up as treatments (exercises, meditation, group therapy) I would give it a chance. In my former therapy days, I was beyond obstinate. I would only do the things I was comfortable with. I just wasn't ready then. To challenge my ideas or to leave my comfort zone. While my instant reaction to most new things is a tightening of my stomach and a steel-like resolve in my head to not do it, I am just saying yes.

Of course, her first suggestion was Overeaters Anonymous. Way to bring out the big guns of uncomfortability for me lady therapist! I went right to my trusty answer which is "I'm not sure that's for me". She was pretty adamant about it and after a few minutes I realized I have to do it. Not because she told me but because I have never done it. How can I be so sure I am going to hate something without ever trying it (this rule does not apply to anything involving birds though...I will ALWAYS hate anything to do with them so no dice).

I have spent some time this morning taking a look at the OA site and what it's all about.. For those who don't know OA, its pretty much Alcoholics Anonymous but food is in place of alcohol. The twelve steps are there and everything! Here's the thing, the main reason I have never wanted to get involved in this group is their heavy referencing of God. An example of this is "Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity". I don't think I can ever get on board with thinking like this.

Do I believe in a higher power? Yes. Do I believe that it can restore my sanity? Hell no. It doesn't work like that. At least not to my thinking. I have never seen any evidence to support such a theory. It seems to me like your saying "I have no control over these things, so I am going to put my faith in this higher power/God, to make me better". It takes the onus off of you and onto God. My belief in a higher power does not include a "plan" or any answering of prayers. I believe that there are mysteries out there and that something as awe inspiring as this planet could not have simply risen out of the mud. That's where it stops though. I just think, that if this higher power was going to restore some sanity, it might be to those nut jobs who kill people, or use it's name to hurt/repress/disadvantage others. That's a bit more important than my eating habits.

All that being said, I am still going to go. I will see what they have to say and if I feel like it's something I can get into. I just needed to get it off my chest I guess.