Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Surgery Update

My surgery was on 12/20 and I'm sorry it's taken so long to post an update.

Hubby & I arrived at the hospital bright and early on 12/20, where I registered with them, got my sexy armband and then headed up to the same-day surgery waiting room to check in with them. I didn't even get a chance to sit down before they said that the nurses were ready for me. Thankfully, a couple of friends were there to sit with hubby so he'd not be waiting alone. I was taken to the holding area, where I changed into a gown, put a net over my hair and put on non-skid socks. The nurses then asked me 8 million questions, several times. I'm glad I'd be pre-warned about that because it would have gotten annoying, quickly, otherwise. The nurses also put the things on my legs that inflate and deflate to prevent blood clots. Then the real fun began because it took three tries to get my IV started. *sigh* They finally got it started and started some fluids and then the anesthesiologist came and talked to me. I was still concerened about the cold I'd had all the week before, but I had no fever and she listened to my lungs and said they sounded clear to her so we were good to go. My surgeon came in a little while later to see if I had any last-minute questions or concerns. Then they came and put the sedative into my IV. I have vague recollections of the OR, but only vague ones. When I came to in recovery, I was told that I'd done great and the surgery went really well! Unfortunately, I was stuck in recovery for three hours longer than usual because they were having trouble getting me a room. I felt terrible for my friends and hubby because I was sure they were worried something was wrong. I was a bit nauseated so they gave me something for that, but no real pain to speak of. Granted, there was so much pain meds in my system, that I didn't figure I'd really feel anything until it was time to go home.

I finally got to my room, and got to see my hubby and my friends who told me that the nurses had been really good about letting them know what was going on, so I felt better. I got changed into an actual gown instead of the paper one I'd worn in surgery, and got to see my incisions for the first time. My thought was that I'd gotten worse from my cat! They are so teensy! The Durmabond is off all of them except the one in my bellybutton. Since that was the largest, I'm just letting the Durmabond peel off as it will rather than trying to force it. Of course, I see my surgeon tomorrow for my first follow-up, so he may just yank it. But that's his perogotive. In my room, I was given a pain pump that I could press every 5 minutes, but that also gave me a gentle, steady stream of the pain meds. I didn't have to hit that pump at all. I did need some nausea meds, even when I was just doing ice chips, but not much. I got up and walked everytime they came and told me I needed to, and they were impressed that I went as far as I did each time.

The morning after surgery, I had my swallow test. That stuff is the nastiest stuff on the planet!!!! I'd rather drink a gallon of barium. Seriously. That's when I really needed the nausea meds. But they said it all looked good, and I got to see my new tiny stomach, which was really kind of kewl! My surgeon came in around mid-day, and told me that the test looked great and that, if I could keep down some water, broth and jello, I could go home! So they brought me a tray and I was able to keep a few sips of water, a spoonful of jello and two spoonfuls of the nastiest broth in the world down. So I got to go home! I slept off and on the rest of the afternoon, and did have a bout of nausea and vomiting later that night. I used some phenergren and sipped some water and that was the end of the nausea and vomiting.

I've not needed ANY of the pain meds my doc prescribed prior to surgery, and only one dose of the phenergren. I'm sipping, sipping, sipping and have progressed to full liquids. Assuming all is on target, I should be progressing to mushies on Monday. I'm so tired of liquids!

I attribute my success so far to being faithful to my liquid diet pre-op and to following my doctor's orders 100% post-op. I'm optimistic that he'll let me go back to work on Monday, on light duty. I feel up to it, though I've warned hubby that I may have to come home and nap for a couple of weeks.

All in all, I'm doing REALLY well!

Friday, December 17, 2010

On the Downhill Side

First, a school update: my semester is over, finally and grades are in. For IS 520: Organization of Information, I earned a B+. For IS 585: Information Technologies, I earned an A. I'm really happy with both grades and am even happier that I've got almost a month before the spring semester begins.

Now, a surgery update. My cold definitely seems to be getting better. I'm continuing with treatment and was successful in getting nasal rinse through both sides. This morning's rinse had some really gross results, but, as Hagrid says in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, "Better out than in!" Assuming I can actually get some sleep over the next couple of days, I believe it will be gone by Monday.

*gulp* Surgery is Monday. When I started this process back in April, it seemed like December (when I'd hoped to have it all along) was a LONG time away. Even when I finished my requirements and got my approval it seemed like December was far off. Now surgery is in three days. o.O I'm so excited to start my new life and actually LIVE my new life and get off some of my meds and have the energy to do all the things I want to do. Am I nervous? Yes, a bit. I mean it -is- major surgery with life-altering consequences. But any one of my co-morbidities could kill me and they are certainly not improving my quality of life. I've researched and read and talked with people who've had the surgery and read the forums at (go there if you are considering surgery, there's lots of good stuff!). I feel comfortable with my surgeon and his entire practice. I'm at peace with my decision. I've done REALLY well with the liquid diet. The only two "cheats" in the whole two weeks have been a splash of vanilla caramel coffee creamer and an orange. Considering all the desserts I was around last weekend, I'm considering those passes. :-) In fact, I went into the kitchen to heat up water for my chicken broth protein powder and looked at the desserts. None of them even looked good to me. Later, I had my sugar free pudding, and I was perfectly content. I've actually been surprised at how well I've done. Of course, it may be because I'm a chicken and don't want anything to make my surgery any more difficult than it has to be. :-)

Right now, I have a pretty proscribed set of foods to "eat". I admit some nervousness when it comes to making my decisions once I'm cleared for "real" food. Of course, that's almost a month away, so I'll have had a bit of time to make friends with my Sleeve. I am hoping that after a month (2 weeks pre- and 2 weeks post-op) of liquids, then 3-4 weeks of mushies, that food will become the non-issue that I need it to be. Once I get used to what my portion size is and can get into a routine, I'll be good. One of the plus sides to OCD, I guess. ;-)

I don't know how much I'll update between now and getting out of the hospital. It'll depend on whether I'm allowed my laptop. :-) The hospital has WiFi, so maybe... Still, in an ideal world, I have my surgery Monday AM early (have to be there by 6AM). I'll be there at least Monday night. I am hoping to come home Tuesday, but it might be Wednesday. I'm not sure what the magic combo is for me to be releasable. So, I hope to be posting by Wednesday, at least, that I'm on the loser's bench. So, scooch over everyone and make room!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Why now?

I've been diligently trying to prevent getting sick. I'd done a good job of it, too, until Monday. My hubby and I braved the snow and cold and went to the hospital early Monday morning for my pre-admission testing, which went well. The college was closed so we went home and took a nap. When I woke up, I knew I was getting a cold. :-( I've been pushing fluids and I even cheated on my liquid diet and had an orange. The cataloging librarian at work gave me some Airborne, so I'm doing that. I've emailed my surgeon's office to see what they recommend and to see if it will cause my surgery to be postponed. I'm already feeling better, but I'm worried that I won't be all the way better by Monday. Gah!!!!!!

I have faith that everything will work out the way it's supposed to but it's frustrating to have come this far without getting sick only to get sick the week before surgery.

ETA: Received email from my surgeon's office. He said to treat the cold like I normally would and that it shouldn't cause any reason to postpone or cancel. Yay!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Pre-op Consult with Surgeon

It's kind of amazing that the surgeon I met at my initial consult and the surgeon I met today at my pre-op consult did not seem like the same man. Initially, Dr. C was quiet, reserved and almost stand-offish. Today, he was gregarious, calm, and assured. Friendly, even. Weird.

Anyway, I weighed in, of course, to see how much more weight I had to lose before surgery. His scale loves me more than mine does because it weighed me almost 4# lighter, putting me at a total of 16.5# down from my initial weigh-in. I still have 10 days left on my liquid diet, so I feel pretty comfortable about how I'm doing. During the consult, he went over the test I had to take to make me understand why I missed the ones I did. I only missed two and one was due to a decimal point. I never said that math was my strong suit. ;-) The other one had to do with nausea & vomiting. I said that it was true that VSG patients suffer from nausea and vomiting. Dr. C said that it was false because most of his patients don't even need the phenigren he prescribes them. Otherwise, thanks to my paying attention to him, to the book we had to read and to other books I've read and other web research I've done, I knew what I needed to. Yay!

He told me that my endoscopy showed a small hiatal hernia that he'll repair while he's in there so I don't develop reflux. All of my other tests show that he shouldn't have to take my gallbladder. He showed me where my incisions would be, the largest of which will be through my bellybutton. The other four will be about 5mm long. That's TEENSY! I know they'll sting like papercuts and I'll be sore, but at least they should heal quickly. The news that made my day is that I shouldn't leave the hospital with a drain and that he tests for leaks before he closes, so I may or may not have a leak test post-op.

So, now, I just keep on with the liquid diet and go for my pre-admission tests on Monday.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Counting down & various frustrations

I started my liquid diet on Sunday. It's not been as difficult as I thought it would be, but I do miss sugar. Hell, I miss fruit. But I want to make the surgery as safe and free of complications as possible and I know this will shrink my liver to do just that. The first couple of days, I lost almost 4 pounds, but then yesterday my energy level dropped to near non-existent levels and this morning, my weight is back up again. I did use some salt on my cucumber (I'm allowed raw veggies) and I am guessing that it may be due to too much sodium or not enough water. It may even be PMS for all I know because I've stopped my BCP at least until after surgery. We were hoping that DH could have his vasectomy tomorrow, but funding and timing conspired against us so that he'll have to wait until after Jan. 1. I'm not excited about that because our insurance changes Jan. 1 and I've no idea if it's even covered on the new plan. I'll have to look into it. Still, I'm hoping to not have to go back on the Pill post-op if I can at all avoid it. Even if it means three different forms of non-hormonal birth control until we can get his vasectomy, I'd rather not go back to taking the Pill. I'm grumpy today, and really tired, but I know that if I perservere, my energy will come back. I've got to walk some, regardless of how tired I am, so that will help.

Monday, DH & I went to the Post-Op Survival Skills class. It was basically a class of 6 or so pre-op patients meeting with the nutritionist but started with the RN who is the Bariatric coordinator for the hospital talking to us about the day of surgery and how things would be after surgery while we are in the room. DH seemed to be reassured with how organized the process is and that he'd be kept in the loop the whole day. Then, the plastic representations of food that the nutritionist had helped us visualize what I'll be eating once I transition to real food. I'd been trying to describe to DH what my portions will be, but it wasn't until he saw what 1/4 cup of "cottage cheese" looked like or what 6oz of "fish", "green beans" and "rice" (all together 6oz, not 6oz each) looked like did he really get it.

Thankfully, I met someone at my class who'd already had the pre-op consult and pre-op testing so I could ask what to expect. I always like to know what to expect. :-) Tomorrow is my pre-op consult with the surgeon. I'll weigh in and he'll tell me how much more I need to lose prior to surgery. He'll also answer any other questions we have and will show me where my incisions will be. I have to take a test showing that I understand everything I need to understand.

Monday, 12/13, I go for pre-op testing which consists of meeting with the anesthesiologist, having a chest X-ray, and EKG and bloodwork. I expect, given my pulmonary issues this time of year, I'll go home with an incentive spirometer. I'm doing my darndest to not get sick, too. I should also get the time I'm to arrive at the hospital on 12/20. 12/19 at 1PM I have to drink magnesium citrate (yum, yum) to clear out my bowel. Considering last year I had a colonoscopy and had all the prep for that, 10-12 oz of magnesium citrate should be a piece of cake. :-) I go NPO at midnight the morning of surgery. I wonder how much sleep I'll get...

This weekend is the first of the holiday parties I'll attend prior to surgery. I'm still on liquids and hope I can get people to understand that "one bite won't hurt you" is the biggest lie since "We're from the Government, we're here to help you." I don't mind other people eating in front of me. What I mind is them feeling like they have to keep offering it to me. I'll be on liquids two weeks post-op, as well, meaning I'll be on liquids a total of a month when all is said and done. That first bite of mushies will taste like HEAVEN.

Prayers towards a text-book, complication-free surgery and recovery are gratefully accpeted. I may be babbling incoherently before it's all said and done, so bear with me. :-)

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

I have a date!

Apparently the Divine Hands that have been helping my process this whole time have continued! I knew They would, but I'm human enough to have been nervous. :-) After a whirlwind of appointments for Post-Op education, pre-op consult with the surgeon and pre-op testing, my surgery is on 12/20!!!! I'm so excited! And I just can't hide it! (Apologies to The Pointer Sisters.) I start my "liquid" diet on 12/05, which means I need to get out to the office and get the shakes & instructions. 12/06 is my Post-op education class, 12/09 is my consult with the surgeon and sometime the week of 12/13, I have my pre-op testing. I'm not sure what all testing I'll need to have done. I had an Upper GI in May, along with bloodwork and an EKG. I had an abdominal ultrasound done last October. I know I have to meet with the anesthesiologist and I expect more bloodwork. Beyond that? Dunno.

Now I need to figure out what to tell my Mom. She's a worrier, so I've kept her kind of out of the loop until I was approved and had a date. I guess I need to call her now, huh? :-)

Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm Approved!

Well, I was one of the people who gets quick approval! After submission late on Tuesday, which meant Wednesday, maybe Friday and today, I got a call from my surgeon's office telling me that my insurance had approved my surgery! Now we are playing phone tag to try to schedule my post-op education class (which I have to take prior to surgery) and the surgery itself. Woot!!!! While I may be able to get the rest of the 15 pounds off, "may" is the operative word so I told her I'd go ahead and do the liquid diet so we can go ahead and schedule my surgery. She's trying very hard to get me a surgery date before the end of the year, so keep your fingers crossed for me. :-)

In the meantime, I'm keeping on keeping on and am following my pre-op behavioral plan. I'm so excited!!!! (as should be obvious by my mis-use of the exclamation points)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

*tick tock*

Had a voicemail from the insurance specialist at Dr. C's office yesterday evening telling me that she'd gotten my file off to the insurance company yesterday. She followed up by answering the email I'd sent on Monday. (Have I mentioned how much I ♥ this practice???) In the email, she gave me more details in that she said she'd gotten my psych eval from the psychologist, which I'd assumed otherwise she would not've been able to send my file to insurance. :-) Unfortunately, this email left out the number of days the insurance company says they have to give her a decision but based on a previous phone call, it's 30 business days. *gulp* Thankfully, she said she follows up every two weeks until she gets an answer. I'm wearing out my knees praying that I'm one of the people who gets a quick approval because we are rapidly running out of year and 30 business days pushes us into January, when I won't be with that company anymore.

So, please join me in prayers that I receive quick approval so that I can get scheduled and start my liquid diet so that 2011 will be my losing year!

In regards to school... almost done. I've got some playbacks to listen to this weekend and a paper to write and a final to write and that's all she wrote... as it were. ;-)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Updates 'r' Us

School Update: This morning I had the presentation for my individual project in my Information Technologies class. I think it went well. It is more difficult than you'd think to give a presentation over VoIP where you can't see your audience. :-) Now, I just need to write the paper (due December 3), which I'm going to work on over the Thanksgiving holiday. Hey, if I'm working on a paper, I won't be as likely to eat leftovers, right? ;-) Our group turned in our last assignment for Organization of Information on Saturday, so all that's left for that class is our take-home final (due December 9). I still need to make a couple of discussion board posts. I hate it when discussion board posts are required and have a required number of words. I'm usually good at posting things, but when I have to? Not so much.

Surgery Update: I received an email this morning from the insurance specialist at my surgeon's office. She told me that she'd received the documentation from my Internist's office so now all she was waiting on was the report from the psychologist. She also told me that it sometimes happens that he forgets to copy them on the report. While I'm a little grumpy that he forgot, I'm glad I'm not the only person it's happened to so that she was able to re-assure me. :-) She's put a note on his desk for him to get it to her tomorrow. Once that's done, she can submit to the insurance company. Hopefully I'll know by Thanksgiving that I've been approved and what my date is! That would truly be something to be thankful for. :-)

Have a good one, y'all!

Friday, November 12, 2010

I'm comin' to join you, Elizabeth!

Seriously, it's the big one! My Internist's nurse actually responded to one of my phone calls, on the same day I left the voicemail! She told me she'd actually already sent off the 6-month diet paperwork to my surgeon's but to let her know if they didn't get it, and she'd send it again. So I emailed the insurance specialist again and told her to be on the lookout for it, and if she hadn't received it, to let me know and to give me the appropriate fax number. So NOW all we're waiting on is for the psychologist to be in the office to sign off on my psych evaluation and she can send it off to my insurance company. I did ask her if it were unusual for him to not have signed off when our visits were in July. I'll keep you posted.

Now, to learn Access... Okay, scratch the surface of Access. :-)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Real Update This Time

Finally! After playing phone tag for a while, I decided to take one more stab at calling the insurance specialist back. She happened to be the one who answered the phone this time! What she was calling about was a follow-up to an email that I'd sent after my last 6-month visit. Apparently, she'd sent me an email that is now floating in cyberspace somewhere because I've not received it. She wanted to let me know that she'd not yet received the documentation from my Internist regarding my diet, so I have left a message with his nurse to get that sent ASAP. She also gave me my options regarding pre-op requirements for weightloss. She said that, based on my BMI, I can keep trying to get the weight off on my own or I can do the liquid diet. I'm planning on trying to lose the weight on my own until we have insurance approval, and if I've not got it off then, then I'll do the liquid diet. She said that, if I decide to do the liquid diet, then I purchase the stuff from them upon approval from insurance and she schedules my surgery, and I start the diet 2 weeks before the date. My only concern now is that the psychologist hasn't yet signed off on my evaluation. I saw him back in July and he -still- hasn't signed off? Is that weird? He's out of the office this week, so it'll be next week at the soonest before she can get the paperwork sent off to my insurance company.

So, I'll really stay buckled down for the next two weeks (hopefully we'll hear something by then) and see if I can get the rest of the 15# off (I have about 5# left). I'd like to have a good cushion, so I'd like to do 20+# if I can in case my body decides to hold on to some fluid when I get weighed. :-) My body? Surely not. ;-)

Keep your fingers crossed for me, everyone!

Phone Call Update (or Lack Thereof)

Still no word from my surgeon's office. I don't know if she called me by accident or what. :-/ I left her a voicemail on Tuesday morning. Her greeting says that all calls are returned within 24-48 hours, which means I -should- hear something back today. As an added precaution, I emailed her to let her know I left her a voicemail. :-) Paranoid, who me? As soon as I hear back from her in any regard, you all will be the first to know.

In the meantime, I'm just keeping on, keeping on. The semester is rapidly winding down and I have an exercise due on Saturday in one class, my final individual project presentation next week (paper due 12/03) in the other class, and the final for the 1st class is due the week after Thanksgiving. Then classes are done for a few weeks. I'm ready for a break, though I'm still loving the heck out of being in Grad School. :-)

Next semester, I'm taking Resources and Services for Young Adults and Public Library Management. That should be fun, especially the YA class since we get to read a lot of YA fiction. I don't know how fun I'll find PL Management especially since I work in an Academic Library, but I know that some skills will translate. Enough about -next- semester. We'll discuss that more in another month or so. :-)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Phone calls sans messages

You know what I hate? People who call me and then don't leave a message. Especially when I get "missed call" notifications. I know you called me. Why don't you tell me why? In normal circumstances, this is an annoying enough process. When I see that the missed call is from the insurance "guru" at my surgeon's office? Nerve wracking! I tried to call her back to see if she could elaborate on why she called me in the first place, but she was on the phone when I called. I left a message. Which she has not yet returned. Grr. Now I'm left with wondering if that was the "Congratulations, you're approved!" call, "You're denied, now we ____." call, "We need more information" call or what.

In the meantime, I keep on keeping on and hope it gets worked out soon. *gnaws nails*

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Gah! Why can't we all just get along?

By "we", I mean me, my scale and my doctor's scale. *le sigh*

Doc's scale had me at 287 this morning. How in 9 kinds of hell does my body know when I'm going to the doctor? Why did it decide after three weeks of mostly behaving itself to hold on to that much fluid? Blargh.

Regardless, I'm finished with my 6-month medically supervised diet. I don't know if finishing it with 4-ish pounds to lose before I hit 15# means I'll have to do the liquid diet regardless of how much I'm able to crack down and lose between now and insurance approval, or if my cracking down and getting the rest of the 15# and then some will mean I don't have to. Either way, it's fine. I just would rather prove to my self that I can, in fact, banish 15 measly pounds. Gorram it!

So, this is me, cracking down. Prepare yourselves for a whiney Winter Wolf. There's a cranky storm a'brewin'. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Nerves are setting in

I probably shouldn't already be nervous, but I am. I go tomorrow for the last of the appointments for the 6-month medically supervised diet. I've not lost what I would've liked since I've had some gains here and there. I only hope those don't cause me to get denied. :-/ The past few days, I've been really working on getting my protein and my water and on walking as much as I can. Unfortunately, I'm in a bit of a flare this week thanks to the multitude of sleepless nights over the last couple of weeks. Unless my body has an overnight WOOSH!, I won't hit the 15# mark tomorrow, but I feel pretty comfortable that there won't be a gain. I'm beginning to think that having to do a liquid protein diet for a week or so wouldn't necessarily be the worst thing, as it would get me used to how I'll have to "eat" post-op for a few weeks. It would also help me start getting used to the much-reduced amount of calories I'll be able to ingest. I don't know. I guess I'll just have to see how I do in the AM. I'll HAVE to have be below 280# by the time my surgeon's office goes to schedule my surgery. If I don't (and I likely won't) hit it in the AM, I will do everything I can to hit it in the next week or so. I'm soooooo close! I'm back up a smidge due to fluid, but I'm still within 5# of making my goal. If I can keep my carbs ultra low, push my liquids and make sure I'm getting my protein, I'll get the 15# off, and then some. But this up-and-down nonesense is getting on my nerves - especially since I know it's mostly fluid. You don't gain three pounds of fat overnight. Darn it.

I boxed up a bunch of library surplus today, so I burned some calories. Since it's cool out, I'm going to walk some after work. If I feel up to it, I may walk all the way home from the transit center (about 2.5mi). That should help.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


BREAKING NEWS: my group in IS 520 -finally- earned an A on an assignment! I knew we were capable of A material. We've each done it on our own in other classes and we've worked our collective tushies off on each assignment only to earn B+'s on them. To be fair, our professor has told us that the first two assignments are extremely difficult and that we have plenty of time to make up points. So, I don't feel so badly about B+'s. :-) Still, I'm excited about our A and hope that our MidTerm, Final and the final two exercises also conspire for us to earn an A for the course. It would make me grumpy, but if it were only my grade I'd settle for a B+, but it makes me cranky to think that I've contributed in any way to someone -else- earning a B+ (unless, of course, they are used to earning C's...)

I now return you to your regularly scheduled blog reading.

Monday, October 25, 2010

[insert witty subject line here]

Apologies for the lack of subject line. I'm just really tired and didn't want to come up with anything witty or interesting. :-)

I just mostly wanted to share an update regarding surgery and the mad dash to get it done before the end of the year. As I may've mentioned in a previous post, my insurance carrier is going to be changing in January. I really want to get the surgery done before the end of this year for a couple of reasons. Thing 1: changing carriers would mean jumping through another set of hoops that, while likely similar, still would be a new set of hoops. Wolves hate jumping through hoops just to jump through hoops, so doing that would make me cranky. Thing 2: (this is the big thing) my insurance will be going from an HMO to a PPO, meaning I'd have to come up with the deductible and co-insurance making surgery nearly cost-prohibitive for me. So, it behooves all involved to get this done before the end of the year. Because said end of the year is rapidly approaching, I emailed the insurance "guru" at my surgeon's office to see if this is even a realistic possibility.

I told her that, basically, all I have left is my last "6 month" visit and getting off the 15 pounds. She responded by saying that, once she has all the documentation in hand, she sends my file to my insurance carrier. She then has to give them 30 business days to respond, but that it usually doesn't take that long (people on my message boards have said that the same insurance carrier has responded with an approval in three days, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed). Once we have the approval letter (and I -love- how she's just assuming it will be approved), they'll check my weight and either go ahead and schedule the surgery if I've gotten the 15 pounds off or have me do the liquid diet and then schedule surgery. She said she'll do everything she can on her end to get me scheduled so I can have the surgery before the end of the year. She seemed pretty optimistic, so I'm taking a page from her book and will be optimistic, too. I'll keep doing what I'm doing and hope that my body doesn't hold out on me and have a gain again.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Support Group that is actually supportive? Is that allowed?

So, I went to my support group meeting last night. I was a bit hesitant because the last one I went to was basically a re-hash of the exercise class I'd already been required to attend. But, as I told the hubby, if I keep having to sit through the lecture, maybe there is something in it that I've not yet integrated. :-) In any case, we went and the chairs were in a big circle. We had to go around the room, introduce ourselves, tell which surgery we had/are having/are thinking of having and how much weight you'd lost to that point if you wanted to. I was AMAZED at how much some of the folks had lost in such short amounts of time. I also got to see how people looked in person after having lost that much weight. I understand I was seeing them all fully dressed, but there didn't seem to be as much hangy skin as I was afraid of so I'm hopeful that I won't have that much, either. I do have about half my body weight to lose, but I'm still not as overweight as some folks who have WLS and not as overweight as some of the folks in the group started out being.

Some other things came up in the discussion that really helped me feel a LOT better about the post-op period, though I'm still nervous as bloody hell. Many suggestions came out about the biggest bang for the protein buck, which was good.

So I found a supportive support group. And that kind of sucks.

Lucy, let me 'splain.

See, during the spring semester next year (from January to May), I'll be working Thursday evenings. Unfortunately, the only day my practice has it's support group meetings is on, yep you guessed it, Thursdays. So I asked the coordinator if she knew of any other meetings that I could attend after surgery. She didn't know, so I'm going to be researching that. The other option is to see about trading nights with someone one week a month. I'll look into that, too. I know that I'll definitely need a support group after surgery and my "contract" says that I'll attend them, so... That's why I frustrated that the support group I've been attending is so supportive. I can't guarantee that I'll find that anywhere else. Thankfully, my SparkTeam on is also really supportive, and I think I'd get a lot out of hanging out at Neither of those are the same as an in-person group, though.

I've sent an email to the Patient Advocate/Insurance "guru" at my surgeon's office to see what all I need to do to ensure that I'll be able to have the surgery before the end of the year. Getting my butt back in the gym or walking more everyday would certainly not hurt. ;-)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Up the hill, down the hill

Oh, I wish it were walking to which I am referring in my subject line.

I am walking, and I am attempting to stick like glue to my eating plan. Unfortunately, my glue more resembles rubber cement this week. I expect it is the mondo combo of the flu shot plus this evil antibiotic (remind me to ask the doctor if Bactrim is -really- the only choice next time). But carbs have been creeping in this week. :-( I've been journaling about it in my paper journal, and that has helped some. [Note to reader: if you think I lay it all on the line here, you have no idea.]

So, yeah, my weight is back up a bit this week. But since my rings are tight again and my feet hurt from the swelling, I know it's fluid and that it will come back off again quickly. I just need to stick to eating protein first, then veg, then whole grains. Oh, and let's not forget the gallon+ of water. :-)

It really is kind of too bad that fighting a weight problem is like Sisyphus rolling his rock up the hill. Of course, my Daddy used to say that anything worth doing was worth a bit of a struggle. Guess he was right. I don't know why I'm surprised. He usually was.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Post-Flu Shot ickies/Comments from the peanut gallery

As happens when I take a flu shot, I had a day of ickies for about 24 hours after I got jabbed. Thankfully, they are short-lived ickies and I'm feeling tons better today. I stepped on the scale this morning to see another new recent low: 282.6!!!! That means I'm down about 12 pounds this week. A friend expressed her concern regarding how fast I lost 12 pounds and I reminded her that A) it's the first week of my buckling down and I lost a LOT of fluid and B) I'm under a doctor's supervision. She calmed down after that. :-)

But her comments brought up an interesting point that I'm going to have to do some pondering on. After my surgery, I'll be losing a LOT, especially in the first 6 months or so. In fact, other people who've had the VSG have lost 100+ pounds in the first 6 months. That's a LOT. I've been pretty open about my decision to have weight loss surgery. I am not the type of person who is easily swayed by other people's pontificating. I also make ample use of my [delete] key and am certainly not above blocking people, even IRL - just ask my mother. ;-) Regardless of my openness, I expect people will prove to be just as much in denial about the surgery as they are about a lot of things I've used little words to explain to them and they'll constantly be saying "are you sure you should be losing weight so quickly". I figure that responding with the reminder that "I am under medical supervision" will be enough for most people. I hope.

All in all, though, things are going well and I believe I'm still on track to having the surgery before the end of the year. My last 6-month appointment is on 11/03. If I've not heard from my surgeon's office (they are supposed to call me) regarding surgery approval/post-op education (that you have pre-op), &c, but 11/10 or so, I'll give them a call so we can have as much time before the end of the year to get all my ducks into a conga line. I'm hoping for a surgery date of 12/17 because of the way my Christmas break falls. People have looked at me like I'm nuts because I'm actually -wanting- it so that I'll not be able to eat solids at Christmas. If solids are off the table, it'll be very, very hard for me to give in to stress eating. Surviving a holiday being unable to stress eat will help me avoid it in the future. At least that's how I'm thinking about it.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Hoo ya!

That's what I'm talking about! If you sneak a peek over <--- there, you'll see that I'm now down to my lowest weight in about two years. That's what my scale at home said. I weighed at the doctor's office and his scale decided to declare a truce or something because I was down a total of 9# since my last weigh-in on his scale. :-) I attribute this success to the protein mini-meals/low in refined carbs diet that I'm doing that is a sort of hybrid between a diet that my sister sent me and what my psychologist suggested for me as a pre-op behavioral plan. I'm also walking about an hour a day now, which can't hurt.

Now, to keep up the momentum with the temps going back up to near 80... that's the trick.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Just an FYI about me

In case you haven't been reading my blog very long, I thought I'd post a sort of PSA about its content. :-) I will have times where everything is clicking along like clockwork and life is rosy in the Winter Wolf's world. Then something will happen that causes a bump in the road and I'll probably vent about it a bit. In most cases, the venting lasts for all of one post (like the last one) and then I can move on once the negativity boil is lanced and the poison is drained from it. If I'm negative for several posts in a row, please call me on it because it may be indicative of something else besides frustration.

That being said, things are clicking along once again. I've been very good with my diet the last few days and I'm already down nearly 7 pounds. I know that most of that is fluid, but I'll take it. Fat loss will come soon enough. Thankfully there really is a protein powder out there that doesn't taste like something old and diseased crawled on to my tongue to die. ;-) That makes things MUCH easier. I'll be adding some longer walks in this week, so that will really help with wringing the fluid out of my tissues and show a better loss at the doc's office on Wednesday.

Hopefully the detox period won't last much longer. I'm pushing through it, but it'll be awesome to be on the other side of the sluggish-headache-bitepeople'sheadsoff period. :-)

Believe it or not, I actually said no to cake yesterday!!!!!! There may be hope for me yet. :-)

Friday, October 01, 2010

Now that -that's- out of my system...

... I can move on to becoming fit and fabulous! :-)

I've cracked down hard on my diet and, though it's just the first day, I'm doing well. I'm being very strict with myself because that'll get the detoxing over quickly and get me on my way to feeling better through eating better.

Let's just say that the combination of drinking my quota of water and cutting back on the refined carbs has me not so worried about retaining fluid. ;-)

I'm getting a lot of protein and just a few carbs, mostly in the form of veggies. I've had no soda today, but I have had unsweetened iced tea. Cutting back on the caffeine will have have to happen after I've detoxed from the sugar. Perhaps it would be easier on me if I did it all at once, but it would definitely not be easier on those around me, so...

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Warning: Whiny, Self-Indulgent Post

I've tried really hard to not be whiny and self-indulgent on this blog. I don't know how many people are reading me beyond the public followers, and I've tried to be upbeat and motivational.

That's so not happening today.

Granted, much of what I'm going to be whiny and self-indulgent about are excuses. Not reasons. Excuses. I'm just tired and achy and sick of a lot of things right now. Just remember that I warned you that there were no promises regarding my sanity and I'm having a bit of a crazy moment.

All that said, I've not been doing the greatest with either my diet or my exercise. I've had to buy lunch in the cafeteria because our fridge is currently not working and I'm limited regarding what I can bring to frozen dinners and canned goods. We're stalking the maintenance guy in hopes that this issue will be resolved SOON because this is really getting old. Exercise, well... I just don't know about this. Trying to work full time and go to school part time AND exercise has been difficult. Not impossible, mind you, just difficult. I'm working on this, too. I've created a paper schedule that has a week at a glance on it with time slots from 8AM to 11PM and I've color-coded school and work things. I now need to color-code exercise things. I just haven't yet. Part of the problem is that I'm aching pretty badly from the change in the weather and that's sapping my motivation. But if I can't get a measly 15 pounds off, I'll never be able to have my surgery and I'll feel like an even bigger failure than I do right now.

I'm retaining fluid again, but I'm not going to let it be a problem for my doctor's visit next Wednesday. I'm drinking LOTS of water and I'm limiting my carbs & sodium. If that doesn't work, then I just don't know what else I can do. Maybe walking more would help. I'll try that. I can't walk for long stretches yet because of the plantar faciitis, but that shouldn't stop me from walking 15 minutes at a time. All I can do is all I can do. Lectures won't help. Cajoling won't help. I just need to find that place within me that will flip the motivational switch. If you can help with -that-, I'm all ears.

I suppose that what it all comes down to is feeling like I have way too much to do in way too little time. I keep telling myself that it's just for 2 years (the school part, anyway). I can do this. Really. I just need to do it and quit bitching. Or, as one of my favorite people in the whole world says, I need to put on my big girl panties and get it done. And if I do that, my big girl panties will come in a smaller size. :-)

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


<---- Over there! Look at my ticker! I'm down to 285.6 this morning. I took some advice and pretended that the water weight didn't cause my doctor's scale to go up. I stayed the course and managed to lose weight over a holiday weekend, even though I went to a cookout. Of course, I followed my pre-op guidelines at the cookout for the most part. I did have some dessert but I stuck mostly to protein and made sure that I chewed everything thoroughly. I'm sure that will get annoying to people, but they'll get over it. :-)

Since DH gets off work at 2pm today, I asked him if he maybe wanted to go work out with me this evening and he said he will. I really hope he does! Hopefully we can get his venous stasis ulcers healed so that he can get in the pool with me, too. Until then, it's the exercycle and some walking for us both. But Tues/Thurs are my weightroom days, so he'll either do weights with me, or do cardio while I'm doing weights.

DH & I got to talking about how cooking in our household will change post-op and he said that he's actually looking forward to it. He admitted to me that he's watching with great interest to see how I do with my surgery because he's been thinking about it, too. I love being a guinea pig. :-) Seriously, though... I think that, if he starts working out with me or on his own and if he follows my diet (albeit in slightly larger amounts), he'll lose enough weight that he won't need the surgery because he loses well, when he puts his mind to it. I think that part of his problem is that he doesn't eat enough and he certainly doesn't eat the right things. So, we're working on it. I know that my MIL is worried that family gatherings will change completely after I have my surgery because they won't center around food. I've tried to tell her that they don't, now; there just happens to be food. I told her that I would get her a bariatric cookbook so that she and my BIL (who is a chef) can work on learning bariatric surgery-friendly recipes, though I'm not worried about it. If there's a protein source, I'm good to go. :-)

Friday, September 03, 2010

Month 4

Of all the gorram days for my body to decide it is going to go into competition with the Hoover Dam over who can retain the most water, it would have to be today? Why?!? So, even though my scale at home has had me as low as 286# in the past week, I showed a 2# gain at the doctor's office this morning. Grrrrr! But, have I mentioned how much I ♥ my doctor? We talked about what I've been doing and he's happy with that so he told me to not get so frustrated with myself. Just keep doing what I know I'm supposed to be doing and not stress about it. Stressing will just make me hang on to fluid and will pump cortisol through my system. So, I'm going to go with that and not worry about it so much... or at least try to.

He checked my feet and said that what I'm experiencing sounds like plantar faciitis to him, too. He told me that what I was doing was what I am supposed to do for it and he refrained from prescribing steroids, which is good. He told me that there is a strap that running stores sell that holds your foot in a flexed position while you sleep to help keep the ligaments from contracting overnight, resulting in the "OMG, WTF" pain upon rising in the morning. So, I'm going to look into that.

My flare seems to be on the way out, so I'm going to get back to the gym next week. Darn it. :-) I also was very careful today to not get anything overly gluten-y. While very few oats are gluten free in the US, I stayed away from anything with flour/wheat in it today. I know that eating GF (or near enough) is the key to feeling better and feeling better is the key to exercising consitently and exercising consistently is the key to getting and keeping this weight off. So... GF for me! My friend S. says "Don't be a glutton for gluten". :-)I think I need a t-shirt. Hopefully the eating the pre-op diet sans gluten will help me acheive the 15-30-pound weightloss I'm supposed to have prior to surgery.

School is threatening to eat my head, so I've got to get on track and get some stuff done this weekend so that it doesn't have a chance. :-) I've got a 3-day weekend, so I can do homework & housework and still get a little rest. Have a great one, everyone!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Just another manic Monday (with apologies to The Bangles)

Happy Monday morning, all. And by "all" I mean the three people who are actually actively reading my blabbers. ;-)

Anyway. Class on Saturday was interesting. Thankfully, it didn't involve a phone call to Centra tech support like my Wednesday class did. I managed to get through it without caffeine - dunno how. I woke up Sunday with severe pain in my right foot and realized that the plantar faciitis is back. So I got right on my treatment for it. I'm hoping I can manage to ease it off with my home treatments so we don't have to resort to steroids again. That's the -last- thing I need. Because of that, I'm doubly motivated to work out in the pool today rather than walking on the treadmill. I -did- go & do my morning walk break and it was OK, but I don't want to push it. So, weather permitting (i.e. no lightning), I'll water walk/swim when I get home. If it's storming when I get downtown, I'll ponder a trip to the Y rather than risking the weather will hold and keep me from getting my workout.

It's really strange. Since I've started really getting a handle on my emotional eating & my eating out of boredom, I'm simply not all that hungry. I guess that's a good thing. But, as such, I'm eating when I'm hungry and stopping when I'm full. I'm also drinking a LOT of water. I'm hoping that eating moderate amounts of food, massive amounts of water, and exercise will show a significant loss on my doc's scale on 09/03. I have to lose 15-30 pounds before my surgeon will even think about scheduling surgery, so... As of this AM (according to my scale), I'm down 7.3#, so I'm nearly half-way there.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Best laid plans of mice and men

I fully intended to go to the gym on Wednesday and do a lower body workout, but a migraine de-railed that plan. :-( So I went yesterday as planned. I've decided that, for the time being, I'm going to do a full-body workout on the weights on Tuesday and Thursday, and concentrate on cardio on Monday and Friday. I'll play it by ear and see how I'm doing in a couple of months. Until Labor Day, I'm planning on making Mon/Fri pool days at our complex pool then switching to the pool at the YMCA after that. Maybe by then I'll feel a bit more confident in wearing a bathing suit in semi-public. :-)

Both yesterday and Tuesday, I walked from the new transit center to the Y, which takes approximately 15 minutes. As it cools down and I get into better shape, that might change, but I don't think the change will be appreciable. I've already babbled about Tuesday, so I'll babble about yesterday now. ;-)

I'd decided after my nap on Wednesday (trying to get rid of the migraine) that I'd switch to full-body on Thursday. So, I went to the Y, weighed myself (up a smidge because of fluid retention) and went to the weight room. I did two sets of 12 reps on each of the machines I'd done Tuesday, and added 2X12 on the hamstring curl and quad extension machines. I tried the rotary calf, but couldn't make it work for me so I settled on 2X12 of calf raises using my body weight (which is plenty enough weight, thanks). I need to figure out how to work my hip adductors/abductors because I'll need them strong for when I start dancing and/or skating again. I'm sore but not in pain today, but only slightly, so I can probably stand to go up on the weight on some of the machines. I frequently underestimate how strong I still am from years of lifting weights, dancing and skating. I'm gonna be one hot mama when I get the fat burned off. ;-) I just hope that the toning and the fact that I'm not yet 40 will help me not have a crazy amount of loose skin after my weight loss. I'll worry about that when the time comes, but am doing what I can to prevent it as much as possible.

I have my IS 520 class in the AM, which should prove interesting. I'm not sure there's enough coffee to get me awake by 9:30AM on a Saturday, but I'll fake it as best I can. :-)

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Yay me! I did it!

I keep a notebook in my locker at the gym where I record my workouts. I was very saddened to see that my last entry was in May 2009. But I was also heartened by the fact that I made a plan to go to the gym yesterday and I followed through with it. I was a good girl and I only did 1 set of 15 reps on the weights (did upper body yesterday, will do lower today) just to re-introduce my body to the concept of working out again. I'm hoping that the routine I've designed will be enough for the time being. I may add a couple more core exercises in a month or so, when I've built some strength, but I think I'm okay for now. I'm actually more concerned about hitting all of my lower body muscle groups, honestly. Especially when the machine they have at my gym for the hip flexors/hip adductors/hip abductors looks more like a medieval torture device than a piece of exercise equipment. ;-) I'll figure it out. When in doubt, I'll ask one of the staff to show me how to use it.

In addition to doing my weight circuit, I walked for 30 minutes on the treadmill. If I add my commute to/from the bus, from the bus to the Y, the AM walk break, the 30 minutes on the treadmill and my weights, I got almost an hour and a half of movement in yesterday. Yay me!

My fall term starts today, so wish me luck! I'm determined to manage my time a bit more wisely this semester so that I can get all I need to get done for school, work and at home and still be able to work out and attend to my spiritual life.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ta da!

I have now survived my first semester in graduate school. I have also survived my first semester in graduate school while also preparing for WLS. My sanity is still mostly intact. :-) The group project in the class on whose grade I was waiting was given a score just high enough for me to keep my A. I've filed away my prof's comments and will definitely seek out more information on projects in the future because I think that the reason we did not do much better is because the assignment wasn't clear enough in our heads. Oh, well. Lesson learned. Still, buried in this paragraph is the fact that I've finished my first semester in grad school with a 4.0!!!!

Semester #2 starts tomorrow. I am, again, taking two classes (6 credit hours) and I'm hoping the extra month in the semester will feel a lot looser. I've already downloaded my syllabi and it doesn't look as though they are trying to simply cram more into the term, which is good. This semester I'm taking Organization of Information and Introduction to Information Technology. I think they'll both be pretty kewl classes. I'll keep you all posted, of course. ;-)

On Thursday, I was actually able to attend my first support group meeting for Foothills Weightloss patients. The topic wasn't anything really new, but it still felt good to have gone. The hubby is going to do everything he can to be able to continue going with me. We took a test on Thursday, and we're supposed to get our results back next month, so that'll be good. It's an eating behavior test and it was really kind of neat to see that my behavior and thinking towards food has really changed in the last few months, which will definitely help me be more successful in the long run.

I'm actually going to the gym tonight for the first time in a LONG time. Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

All Over but the Shouting

I've turned in all my assignments and am waiting on one more grade (and my class participation) in one class. So far, I've got a 95% in the class so my group and I will have had to completely bomb the group project for me to get less than an A in the class, but I'm not assuming I have an A until I see it on my official grade report. My other professor has reported my grade and I -do- have an A in his class. So, yay!

Now, the "boo". I've developed another UTI. I'm not entirely sure why I've gotten more of them in the last 5 years than I have in the entirety of the rest of my life, but... this makes 3 in the last 5 years. I guess that's not the worst odds, but it's still darn inconvenient. I've just been thanking my lucky stars that my body waited until the semester was ending so I have a week or so to get better before having to get up and at 'em again. I went to the clinic on Tuesday (& spent nearly 3 hours there) and got an antibiotic and the lovely dye stuff that helps with pain & other symptoms. I'm now on day 3 of the antibiotic and I'm feeling a bit better. I still have no appetite, which I guess is a good thing. :-/ Unlike other times when I've not had an appetite, I'm actually losing, so I'll count it as a positive for now. Hopefully when my appetite returns it'll be satisfied with less and less so that I'm prepared for the less and less I'm able to eat post-op.

The way I'm feeling with this does confirm the possibility that it was an infection that was causing all my problems last year. Might not've been a UTI, necessarily, but an infection of some kind, though one never showed up in blood work, &c. Still, I will be glad when I'm able to get some pool time in. Hopefully I'll be up to that tomorrow afternoon - assuming the weather cooperates, of course. :-) I'm in orientation until 6PM, but that still leaves plenty of daylight. I'll just have to see how I'm feeling. I may give myself the rest of the week and just hit it on Monday, like I'd planned to. I'll be nearly done with the antibiotic by then, so... I'll just see how badly orientation wears me out.

Hope all are well!

Friday, August 06, 2010


While I still have an assignment due today and our group project due on Monday, I'm still glad that today is Friday. It's been a long week, mostly because it's been so gorram HOT! But I missed my bus two days this week; once was my fault because I really was running late but yesterday, the bus passed by the stop (I saw it) early. According to the published schedule, it's supposed to hit the timepoint before my stop at 6:55AM. Since that's about 5-6 minutes away, I still try to be at my stop at 6:55-6:56AM (basically, I try to be at my stop when the bus is scheduled to get to the stop before, if that makes sense). Well, yesterday AM, it hit my stop at 6:56 (as I was waiting to cross the street to get to my stop). There is NO way it hit the timepoint, as they are not supposed leave them early, and made it to my stop in ONE minute. I know that the timepoints will be 10 minutes earlier after the transit center opens on 08/16, but they are supposed to be going by the current schedule until then. I abhor getting anyone into trouble, but I asked the transfer point supervisor if they'd already switched to the new timepoints, and she said no, and I explained the situation. This morning, I tried my darndest to be at the stop by 6:50, just in case (was there at 6:52, so that wasn't horrible). Bus got there at 6:56, so I was glad I was there early. I guess I should just prepare to be there on time for the new timepoints. Hopefully not having to be up until all hours of the night will facilitate my getting up a smidge earlier.

Next week I've decided to swim at our pool at home in the evenings, or walk home (basically not go to the gym), and take the week I have between semesters to catch up on some housework that I've let slide this summer. I need to get the fridge cleaned out because I think we're going to have to tell the manager that "it's dead, Jim." I put a bottle of water in the freezer two days ago and it's still water. That's not right. So... Hopefully it won't take them long to get it repaired or get us a new one. The fridge wasn't new when we moved in and that was 15 years ago. I may get them to look at the AC while they're at it.

Starting on Monday, 16 August (when the transit center opens), I'll get the trolley to the gym and start my as-of-yet-undetermined workout routine. I'm really thinking of upper body two days/week and lower body two days/week + stretching everyday and walking home or swimming as my cardio. According to my surgeon's office and my pre-op behavioral guidelines, I'm supposed to concentrate on strength training and flexibility, so that's what I'm going to do. So long as I get a minimum of 60 minutes of movement (exercise + non-exercise)/day, I'm good.

I hope all are well and staying hydrated in this heat!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Woosh! There it is!

So, okay... I got up this AM and got dressed and ready to go to the doctor for my third of 6 visits on this 6 month thing. I figured that, if I weighed myself on my scale fully dressed, including my shoes, that I'd have a good idea of what to brace myself for at his office. My scale read 295.6. That did -not- make me happy, especially considering I walked home 1.5 miles in nearly 75% humidity, lugging my laptop. I've been sweating. I've been eating, if not 'right', then better. I've been drinking water like it's going out of style. And I step on my scale to a GAIN? I don't -think- so. So, I'm bracing myself for the lecture that will come -this- month.

Then I get on my doctor's notoriously evil scale. The one that hates me so much that it usually weighs me 2-3 pounds heavier than the one at home. And I'm at 292#. Not only is that 3.6# lighter than at home, it's 6# lighter than last month's weigh-in. Yeah, I'll take it. :-) Thankfully, my schedule opens up next week, so I can start really working out and swimming every night until the pool closes on Labor Day. After that, I'll need to start going to the pool at the YMCA. I'll figure out my workout plan this week and hit it on Tuesday. My class on Monday is only an hour long, so I might actually be able to fit in a 30-45 minute swim on Monday, too. I'll just have to see how the weather is doing.

Anyway. I'm supposed to lose 15-30 pounds pre-op. If I can get 6#/mo for the next three months, I'm golden.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

I can has Fall nao?

Sorry for the LOL speak, but... there you go. I am so gorram tired of this heat. It should -not- be 80 degrees F at 8:00AM. Seriously. Even LA is supposed to be cooler today than it is here, and that's just not right. The heat has me really frustrated because, with my schedule, I've not been able to get into the pool like I'd like to and the heat is making it nearly impossible for me to walk without courting heat stroke. Even if I were to suck down my body weight in water, the humidity makes it very difficult for the body's sweat to do its job: to cool me down. If my sweat can't evaporate, then it just makes me feel even hotter, which overheats me to the point of nausea. Gah! Thankfully, my semester is over as of Monday, which means my schedule switches to my Fall term schedule, which will allow for more evenings/week that I can actually go to the gym. It's not my favorite thing, especially if it means doing cardio at the gym, but at least there is AC. Frankly, I'm planning two days/week of weight training and then swimming the other days as long as weather permits (and our pool is open). I've thought about doing upper body two days/week and lower body two days/week, but I'm not sure if I'm that hard core yet. ;-) I'll ponder that some more.

For the time being, though, I need to ponder getting the rest of my assignments done before the end of the term. Sleep? Who needs it? :-) Oh, yeah, I kinda do...

Monday, August 02, 2010

Love-Hate Relationships

I'm in a love-hate relationship with my scale right now. Actually, it's probably more of a hate-hate relationship ATM because I hate that it's not showing that I've made any progress (unless you count -gaining- as progress) and it hates me right back. I don't know if I'm really retaining fluid or what but I'm not able to get below 290 again. :-( This weekend's weigh-in had me at 290.4. Is it too much to ask that I'm actually down when I go see my doctor on Wednesday? Sheesh.

I didn't find the handout with my pre-op behavioral guidelines, but I -was- brilliant enough to copy them into my journal, so that's something, at least. I am frustrated, though, because Saturday was National Dance Day and I didn't feel up to doing more than "dancing" in my chair while I watched "Footloose". Next year, though. Darn it.

I'm so glad that the summer term is over as of Monday next. That means that, starting Tuesday, I'll be able to work out like I'd like to and get myself into the habit of exercising. Weather permitting, I'll be swimming as much as possible until Labor Day, when our pool closes. I will also be doing some strength training a couple of days/week and flexibility every day. I know that I'll have some loose skin to deal with after surgery, but I'm hoping that staying hydrated, making sure I'm getting my protein and doing weight lifting will help keep it to a minimum. Otherwise, Spanx will become my friend. :-)

I'm tired today, but I did want to make sure I posted -something-. I'll be sure to report on my doctor's visit on Wednesday.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Please tell me it gets better...

I have to say that, right now, I am so gorram sick of chicken. I've made a pact with the husband that we will go to the supermarket this weekend so that I can start bringing my lunch again. He's (finally) come to the realization that following my program, especially with regards to the protein requirements, will assist with the healing of his leg ulcers. So, we're both going to be switching to a protein-heavy diet. I've got to figure out -some- variety because eating the same thing everyday gets old. I understand that I may just have to deal with that, but it's my blog and I'll whine if I want to. :-) The reason I'm currently so tired of chicken is because I've been eating in the cafeteria here at the college, and protein choices are limited. So I've been getting a veggie from the hot line and a grilled chicken breast from the grill line. I'm also getting tired of broccoli for the same reason. You wouldn't think that a variety of low-carb veggies would be that difficult a concept, but it apparently is.

I'm hoping that the copy of the pre-op behavior guidelines that I got the last time I was at FWLC is in my "bible" (the notebook I'm to keep with all the paperwork for pre-op stuff). I -think- I was actually brilliant enough to put it there, but I guess we'll see. Otherwise, I've no clue where it's gotten to because it's not in my other "brain" (my day planner). Hmmm. I know most of them, but it would be nice to be able to have that list so I could refer to it if I feel like I'm veering off course. I did manage a 20-minute walk on Monday, which wasn't planned but still executed. Yay me.

Basically, I need to devise a menu that offers ~25g of protein at each of 3 meals (and protein shakes might become my friend), low sugar, low fat, and moderate kCal that are also high in fiber. I need to meet all of those requirements and still stick to my food budget. Yeah, no pressure. Thankfully, beans fit that bill quite nicely. :-)I also need to come up with a plan for getting my 60+ minutes of movement in per day. Once my summer term is over, that should become easier because my classes in the Fall are on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, leaving my evenings free, except for Wednesday because it's my late day. Wednesday may have to be a non-traditional movement kind of day. :-) I'll get it figured out.

Since I have three more months after next Wednesday for my 6 month program, I HAVE to average at least 5 pounds/month to be on track for my 15-pound loss before surgery. I'd -really- like to lose a bit more than that, but I don't know that I'll be able to. If I could lose weight easily, I wouldn't be considering WLS, right? *sigh* 5#/month = 1.25#/week, which is doable if I can get my eating/exercise balance. 10#/month (would get me 30# off before surgery) = 2.5#/week, which is still doable, but less so. I guess we'll just have to see if I can convince my body to give me a few wooshes and really commit to my eating/exercise/life balance.

Wish me luck!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rough day on Friday; rough weekend to follow

Had a pretty rough day on Friday. One of my friends is currently on my "I'm so angry at you because I'm so worried about you, but that doesn't stop me from wanting to pinch your little head off" list. He did yet another thing to light a candle on the shrine of his vilification and I responded badly. Not only did I break one of my cardinal rules, which is to NEVER respond to an email while angry, I ended up completely breaking nearly every one of my pre-op rules at lunch. I balanced it out by going home and getting in the pool. The weather held out and the pool was deserted when I got home, so I was out of excuses. :-) I didn't swim the whole time, but I did swim, run in place, do an upper body routine, and walk in the water for 30 minutes. I felt that was a good first outing. I was sore afterward and I probably should've eaten and waited to get in the pool so that my blood sugar would've been a bit more normal when I started. But, lesson learned. Saturday was the memorial service for the friend I called Brother, whose death I mentioned in my last post. It was pretty rough. It was an outdoor memorial because we're all a bunch of tree-hugging dirt worshippers. :-) So it was HOT. The heat index over the weekend was something like 101 degrees. So, yeah, it probably wasn't my best thought to walk from the downtown convention center to the Strip. At least I had water with me. I really hate exercising inside, but that's pretty much the option left to me because of the heat and humidity. The pool was OK and it's still an option. But I'm -so- ready for fall.

I have my next appointment with my internist on 08/04. I really hope that my body will actually cooperate and let me maybe have a woosh! so that I can really get on the losing train. It is my intention to go to the August support group meeting (and as many thereafter as I can) which will knock another requirement out of the way. After my August appointment with my internist, I'll have three more before the 6-month Medically Supervised program is complete. I honestly don't know where I go from there. I am -hoping- that will be when the Patient Advocate starts rattling the cage of my insurance company to try to get my approval. I'm still hoping for a surgery date around 12/17/2010 since I'll already have the next two weeks scheduled off. All I know is that I want the summer of 2010 to be my LAST fat summer. Next year, I want to be at a point where I feel comfortable in my bathing suit rather than mortified. Next year, I want to be hot and sweaty because it's nearly 100 degrees, not because it's 85 and I'm 150 pounds overweight. I want to be comfortable in shorts and tank tops when it's hot, and not swealtering in t-shirts and long pants because I don't feel comfortable showing my legs. Damn it.

I was at 290.2 on Saturday. I've sort of decided that's my "official" weigh-in day. I'll continue to weigh daily, but I'll only worry about what it is on that day. So, I went ahead & changed my ticker even though I'm back up today. :-/ I'm drinking lots of water and will hopefully flush sodium so that I'll be back on track. I -have- to go to the library tomorrow and get a draft of my paper written. Either that, or come home, swim, then lock myself in my bedroom with my references and write. I'll see how I feel in the AM. I may also be able to go to the library for a couple of hours, then come home & swim. I'm just going to play it by ear.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

RIP My Brother

Just heard that a man I consider a brother just passed away. This is the second person I know to have died from complications from a stroke -this- month. Granted, they both had underlying health conditions that made a stroke even more complicated than they would be in an otherwise healthy person. Still...

Everyone, take care of yourselves. I don't want to get yet another phone call.

Frustrated Beyond Belief

I'm having a very up-and-down week. I'm taking my anti-depressants, so I'm not sure what's up. I do know that I'm frustrated. Part of it is my fault, part of it is my reluctant-to-cooperate body's fault.

So, okay. I live approximately 2 miles from the library where I go to study. It's really probably closer to 1.75 actually, but I can't be assed to check for sure. Maybe later. Anyway, I'd been walking home from the library on study nights before I sprained my ankle. Yeah, it's been hot, it's been humid, I can't breathe, yada yada yada. Then I turned my ankle and couldn't even do the 20-minute loop around the pond here on campus for about three weeks. I walked home on Friday, and did OK. Saturday, I hit my lowest weight I'd been in a LONG time: 289.8. I was excited to put that into my ticker on Monday, but didn't because I popped right back up to 293.2 on Monday. Grrrr. I'm the first to admit that my eating habits haven't been the greatest this week. However, the fact that I'm back up to 294.5 this morning makes me a very unhappy girl. Especially given the fact that I walked home from the library Tuesday carrying not only my not-inconsiderable frame, but 40 extra pounds of books. I was sweaty, my ankle wasn't at all happy with me, nor was my right hip or knee, but I did it. And I gained weight for my trouble. All I can hope is that I'm retaining fluid because of the humidity and that I'll have a woosh! soon. I'm making sure to drink plenty of water, though it's really starting to taste like medicine these days. :-(

I'm really wanting to be down at least 5 pounds from my last visit with Dr. M before my next visit with him on 08/04. I've gained at my last two visits, which doesn't make me happy. So a loss - even of a pound - would really be good.

I got a bathing suit at Wally World last week, and it's still hanging at home, with the tags on it. I will get in the pool tomorrow. Someone check and make sure I did, OK? I'm supposed to be getting 60 minutes of movement every day. Between my ankle, the heat and my schedule, that's been difficult. But this is NOT the easy way out that many people think it is. So, I just need to sit down with my schedule and my handy-dandy colored pencils and carve out time to exercise/move for 60 minutes/day - even if that's 6 10-minute slots. So there.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Life as I know it... at this moment. :-)

While the sprained ankle has taken up quite a bit of my mental processing faculties, other stuff -has- been going on in my life. Shocking, huh?

School update: I've always been my own worst critic when it comes to my writing, so I was just -sure- that I'd turned in a horrible, no-better-than-a-C paper last week. Of course, I turned it in at 11:52PM when it was due at 11:59PM, so I suppose that I can blame part of the self-depricating talk to sleep deprivation. :-)I had also turned in the first assignment for the other class, which I also thought was kind of crappy, mostly because I wasn't able to collect the data I wanted. Anyway, the paper received a 30/30 and the assignment received a 9.2/10. Both A's, so I need to quit my worrying and just concentrated on doing as well as I can. I've another assignment turned in and awaiting marks on it. I am hopeful I did as well, or better, than I did the first one. My big paper in 510 is due in August, but I'm working on it little by little so I'm not left with writing it at the last minute. I'm also working on my "strategic academic plan" for ITRL, which is required by the grant. Thankfully Dr. M says it's a "work in progress", but the first version of it is due next week. We are now on the downhill side of this semester so I've officially got less than 5.5 semesters left. ;-)

Health Update: I already posted about that in the whining about my ankle post yesterday, so I won't belabor the point. :-)

Path-to-Surgery Update: I've now completed the two required pre-op psychologist visits. He didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know, but it was nice to hear that I am already that self-aware. Basically, the tests that I took show that I don't feel desirable and that I have a major caffiene problem. Yeah, no surprise there. He recommended that I try to find a counselor/therapist and establish a relationship with him/her before surgery so that when I need him/her after surgery - and I likely will - he/she will already know me and my history. It's not a bad idea, but I don't even know where to start with regards to finding a therapist. I may ask at the support group, as that's prolly a good place to start. I need someone with experience with bariatric patients who is also open-minded enough to allow for my somewhat ecclectic personal and religious beliefs. A fundamentalist Christian, unless it's an open-minded one & those are a rare breed, is probably right out. It's really a shame that Dr. C doesn't take long-term patients because he's so busy with the pre-op/post-op required counseling at the practice. I really like him. He did tell me I could come see him again if I felt like I needed to, so that's good. At the last visit, he gave me my pre-op behavioral plan. It wasn't all that surprising, though I'm sad that I will have to give up caffiene and even artificially sweetened drinks. :-( I'll do it, of course, because I want to be as successful as I can be, but I am the first to admit that it won't be easy for me. I went to Dr. M (different Dr. M than the one who is my SIS advisor) for the 2nd of 6 visits. I looked at my paperwork that I got from the practice, and it says "6 month diet visits/10% weight loss" so I wonder if I'd have to do all 6 months if I lost 30# in, say, 4. *shrug* Dunno. I guess we'll see. Anyway, after my visit yesterday, I'm 4 "6-month diet" visits, a support group meeting and 15-30# away from getting the approval for surgery. It looks like I'm on track still for having this done in mid-December, when I'm off for Christmas. We are scheduled for a week off through Administrative Closing days and Holidays. I'm saving up the vacation time to take the week before and the week after off, so that gives me 3 weeks post-op before I have to think about going back to work. I'm hoping to have enough time saved that I could take another week after that if I needed to and am also hoping that a month off will be enough that I can come back to light duty. If not, then I guess FMLA will have to kick in because I'll be out of leave by the end of week 4, I think. I'll have to re-calculate. I'm being very stingy with my leave so that I have it if I need it. I'm just grateful that I have it to take.

That's the news that's fit to print, I think. I'm still holding on to my sanity for the time being. :-)

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Grace, thy name is Woofie

Proving once again how talented I am, I managed to sprain my ankle rather badly yesterday walking on a completely flat surface, in loafers, completely sober. That takes talent, that does. :-) Thankfully I'd already had an appointment to see my internist for month 2 of the 6-month diet thing, so I figured I'd let him poke around on my ankle and see what he thought. He poked & prodded (ouch, btw) and suggested that we do some x-rays since that's the ankle I hurt so badly back in 1991. The x-rays showed no chips, fractures, breaks or anything but a pretty good looking ankle, he said. He didn't think there was any serious ligament or tissue damage, which is a good thing. I'm going to be stopping by the 24-hour Walgreens on the way home from work tonight to pick up the type of ankle brace that he recommended so I can hopefully get back to exercise. The good news from the visit is that he said my ankle is not broken and that he gave me an inhaler for days when the Air Quality (or lack thereof) makes it hard for me to breathe. The bad news is that I was up 3#. I know that part of it was because I ran out of my diuretic so I was holding onto some fluid. He wrote me a new scrip for that, so that will help. I've also not been exercising like I should because it's so gorram hot! I've come to the conclusion that I will just have to suck it up and say, yeah, I'm fat, but I need to swim or walk in the pool, anyway, and screw anyone who doesn't like it. :-) Now I just need to find a bathing suit which is always an exercise in torture. Still, exercising in the water - whether as swimming or walking - will be much easier on my joints and probably a bit easier to tolerate in the heat. Wish me luck.

I'm setting my own goal of being down 10 pounds when I go back to see my doc in August. Realistic? I think so. I guess we'll see.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Apostrophe, part 2

I made a comment to someone at lunch today that I think I've figured out the real goal of professors in graduate school: to fill your brain with so much information all at once that you do a core dump and forget everything you ever thought you knew. :-) I know that's not -really- the goal, but it sure does seem that way sometimes.

I'm working on getting my rhythm established so that I can get everything done that I need to get done and not go completely, quietly, irretreivably insane in the process. The major problem with summer classes is that we have a full month less in which to complete a not very truncated set of assignments than we'll have in the full semester. I don't know about any other University, but here we have a 10-week full session summer semester and 14-week fall and spring semesters. Thankfully I have my laptop now, so I can tuck in at the library and write as much as I need to with books piled all around me. In fact, that's the plan for tomorrow and for Monday and Tuesday next week so that I can corral raw data into something resembling a paper. :-) What I do this weekend will depend heavily upon how convincable my body is to get out of bed and leave the house. Of course, I don't -have- to leave the house to write.

After my class tonight, I need to see if I can find some sources for my next paper so I can get started on the research. Somehow, I doubt that my Undergrad strategy of waiting until two or three days before to do the research then writing the paper the night before it's due is going to cut it here. :-) Especially considering I have an entirely new citation style to learn... Gah.

Anyway, I'm happy to report that the stress from having so much due all at once has not had me running for the Cheez-its. Or the jelly beans, for that matter, which is an awesome thing. I think that the fact that I know I'm going to be living in a semi-perpetual state of stress for the next two years lets me plan for it in a way that I can still eat the way I should and not let the stress eat my head. It may not seem like a big thing, but usually by now I'd have completely given up and given in and just eaten an entire pie or something. As it is, a friend made the hubby a red velvet cake for his birthday and sent us home with the rest of the cake. I've had one peice of that cake. One. And I -love- red velvet cake. I'm probably getting too much caffeine, but I'll take my victories as I can and count them proudly.

One thing about it being so gorram hot is that I'm definitely getting my water in. :-)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Apostrophes and Oxygen Deprivation

If you don't know what an apostrophe is with regards to enlightenment, then you need to stop reading my blog right now and go watch "Hook" with Dustin Hoffman and Robin Williams. Go! Shoo! I'll be here when you get back. :-)

Anyway, I had a bit of an apostrophe this morning. Today is the second day in a row that Knoxville has had an Orange Air Quality Action Day. That means that the air ain't fit to breathe, in the vernacular. It also means that pollen, ozone and fine particulates have mixed together into an airborne sludge that makes it extremely difficult for anyone with asthma, COPD, bronchitis, or any other pulmonary impairment to breathe. Hi, that would be me. While I've not been diagnosed with asthma officially except as exercise induced asthma, I can usually feel an Orange Alert day coming about two days before... definitely the day before. Needless to say, breathing this week has been, uh, interesting. Yeah, we'll go with "interesting". It feels like I'd have an easier time if I'd just go ahead and grow gills. :-) Because of the heat, humidity and now the poor air quality, I'm not getting even my 20 minutes. :-/ So... I'm pondering how to do that without keeling over because even indoors my breathing gets labored. I don't even want to contemplate what a Red Alert or higher would feel like, and I pray I never have to.

Anyway, the apostrophe comes in when I realized this morning that even that meager 20 minutes was helping me stay sane with regards to my food choices. I've noticed that my choices aren't as good as they are when I'm walking even 20 minutes a day. So, yeah, I really need to find a way to get that movement in. I'm really not sure when, though. I've pondered going and walking upstairs in the stacks for 20 minutes and just ignore anyone who might think that's weird. :-) I've also pondered swimming in our complex's pool after my classes are over on Monday and Thursday, even though that means not getting in the pool until after 9PM. At least I wouldn't have to worry about sunburn, right? :-) I'm considering going to the YMCA on Tuesdays and Fridays before I go to the Library. I need to see what the hours are for the downtown library... I could maybe go there for an hour or two of studying. I believe they have Wi-Fi there... even if they don't, I could use the time to peruse print resources. I'll ponder and get my act together for next week... or maybe even for Friday. I'll look up the library's hours and see what I can do. That way, I can go to the gym a couple of days a week at least. In the Fall, I'll be able to add Monday and Thursday to the mix because my classes are Wednesday AM and Saturday AM. That'll work. M, T, R, F at the gym, then to the library. Which library will depend on the hours of each. :-) Four days a week at the gym -should- be enough, I'd think. For the rest of the summer, though, I'll have to figure out what I'm doing for the days I don't go to the gym. I need to have that built-in way of making better food choices. I think that, for right now, starting today, I'll go up and walk in the stacks. It's a bit warm and stuffy up there, but at least it's cooler than it is outside. :-)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday, How I do Love Thee! How I do Loathe Thee!

Now that I've started Graduate School and am taking classes during the truncated summer session (10 rather than 14 weeks), I am of two minds about Fridays. On the one hand, I love the fact that it's Friday because that means that I don't have to be up at the ass-crack of dawn in the morning to be at work. On the other hand, Friday means the end of the week, which means one less week in which to get done all the projects we need to get done. It's kind of a weird paradox, and I might come to grips with it about the time that I graduate. :-)

In class last night, my professor extended the deadline on the project that was due next week. I am glad about that. It's not like I needed the full week that he extended it... just another day or so should be fine. As he put it, though, extending the deadline on this project is sort of like "robbing Peter to pay Paul" because concentrating longer on this project takes time away from the bigger project due in a few weeks. I'm sort of concentrating on both, so it's not too bad for me. The project I'm currently the most concerned about is the assignement that's due on Monday. It's not a terribly long assignment, but it has caused me to totally re-think the idea of "Reference" in a library setting, and paradigm shifts usually take a bit of getting used to.

As an Undergrad at the same University I'm now attending as a Grad student, Reference was a totally different beast than it is now. To put a scope on this, I graduated with my BA in 1995, a mere 15 years ago. In that time, information technology has exploded and so much is done online now - including my classes - that would have been considered practically science fiction when I graduated in 1995. When I was in college from 1991-1995, HTML was new and exciting and always hand-coded. None of this Frontpage frou-frou nonsense. ;-) You didn't find graphical internet browsers; text-based browers like LYNX were the standard. I remember looking at the internet via Netscape in 1995 and was amazed, even if the images weren't the near-photographic quality they are now. If you wanted to find a journal article via an online search, you used something called InfoTrac, which was a pain in the butt to use and navigate. Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature would usually get you to your information a LOT faster and more easily. 20 years ago, Librarians were worried that TELNET Gopher would make them obselete, now it's Google. Getting back to my original point, the Reference Desk - which used to be in the Reference Service area in the mid-1990's when I was there - is now the "Research Assistance" desk housed within the Commons area. I wager that most of the reference questions they get are either via text chat/text message or e-mail. The assignment due Monday required me to observe the "Reference Desk" and report my findings. I observed this desk for an hour and a half, and there was only 1 in-person reference query. If that's not the changing face of libraries, I don't know what is.

This stroll down amnesia lane got me thinking... if I've noticed these changes in technology having taken place in the last 15-20 years, I have to wonder what it's like to live inside the mind of my Great Aunt who has lived from steam engines to space exploration.

I suppose that it's the height of irony that I'm having a discussion about the changes in information technology via a blog. Such is life.

Update on Yesterday's Post

The friend I mentioned in yesterday's post passed yesterday afternoon. I'm still not sure how I feel about it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Feeling Very Conflicted

I found out a couple of days ago that a friend (well, in the sense that a I know her pretty well and she's more of an acquaintance) had a stroke. Her husband came home after a day out with his son to find her unconscious and in a pool of blood from where she hit her head. She's not regained consciousness and the MRI shows that the damage was massive. She's been moved to Hospice where they're letting nature take it's course.

I should feel bad about this, right?

That's why I'm feeling conflicted: because I don't. Not really. I feel badly for her family, with whom I am much closer. I feel badly for her actual friends, with whom I am much closer.

I do feel badly for her because it seems like she's been trying to die for years. I hope now that she seems to be getting her wish that it's a peaceful passing, and I am praying to that end.

I do know that seeing her long, downhill slide has helped me to realize that I'm still young enough to reverse a lot of the damage I've done to myself and my health over the years. I hope that I, too, can be an example to people... just not in the same way she is.

To that end, I walked today for 20 minutes in the heat and humidity. I need to get a bathing suit so I can start swimming, too... in my copious free time. ;-)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What was I thinking? :-)

I'm not seriously doubting my decision to graduate school, but I have to question my sanity sometimes trying to do it and work full time. In any case, I'm caught up with all my reading and am trying to stay a little ahead (easier said than done, but I'm trying). I have two projects due next week, so I'm trying to get them done AND keep up with the reading. I think I'm OK and I'm really liking my classes.

So, how is going to graduate school and working full time interfering with my wellness program? Funnily enough, it's not. In fact, I think I'm actually benefitting from it in that regard. I'm walking home from the library, which is about 40 minutes, 2X/week, and I've been helping Circulation get books shelved. Since my classes are online and I've been getting online @ home, I've been thinking about setting my laptop to the side and using the pedaler when I don't actually have to talk. So far, I'm not stress eating, which is a novel concept, but I'm excited to recognize that I may be stressed out, but I'm not turning to food to salve it. This is a GOOD thing.

I go see the psychologist on 07/01 and 07/06. I had to change my appointments due to financial constraints and because my evening shift day changed. I go back to see my PCP on 07/07 so we can see how much progress I've made, if any. I've not lost a LOT according to my home scale, but I'll be happy with even 2 pounds since my last visit. I would, of course, be much happier with 5 or 6 pounds, but I'll take the downward trend over the upward trend, any day. :-)

I hope all are well! TTFN.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Holy Crazy Week, Batman!

I have had quite an intersting week. But, first, a report on the buffet. I think I did OK. I only went twice; once for food, and once for fruit for dessert. The first trip, I concentrated on non-fried food and I got tastes of many of my favorite dishes. The only thing breaded I got was coconut chicken, which is one of my faves. I ate slowly and savored the tastes of the food, which helped me realize that I didn't need more than what I got; I was plenty full.

Okay, my interesting week.

I came back from my lunch break on Monday to two voice mail messages, one on my cell phone and one on my work phone. They were both from my SIS advisor asking me to call him right away. As I was headed immediately to the Circulation Desk, I couldn't call, but I did check my email and saw that he'd sent me an email, as well. I responded to that email telling him what time I was done at the Desk and asked if that would be a good time to call. He must've been waiting for some kind of response from me because I got an almost immediate response saying that would be fine and the he would be waiting for my call. Of course the hour I spent at the Desk had my mind whirring on what he might want to talk to me about. Honestly, my first, fearful thought was that they'd changed their mind and didn't really want me in the Program. :-/

So, I called Dr. M when I got back to my office. He told me that someone who'd been awarded the ITRL (Information Technology in Rural Libraries) scholarship had to withdraw from the program citing personal reasons. He asked me if I were still interested in the program, as I was the first person on the waiting list. I told him that I was and accepted the scholarship over the phone. I then had the task of hurrying up and getting ducks in a row and my first class was Monday night. Unfortunately, UT classes actually began last Thursday, so I'm a week behind in one of my classes, but I'm diligently working to get caught up. There is a -serious- amount of reading, but it's at least interesting (to me) reading. Thankfully, the DE courses are recorded, so I was able to listen to the lecture from last week and can go into tonight's class not as far behind as I might've been otherwise.

When I said that this was my year, I do believe that the 'Verse was listening! My posts might prove a bit more erratic, but I am going to attempt to keep up with this blog.

Wish me luck!

Friday, June 04, 2010

TGIF... sort of.

I am really glad it's Friday, don't get me wrong. Why is it that four-day weeks always seem to be about 10 days long? Probably because we try to cram five days worth of work into four days. Anyway...

I'm cooking along with the mental work that I think is needed to get through this process and be successful on the other side. I do hope that the changes I'm making are lasting, because I kinda like the person I'm becoming. As I said in my last post, I'm nervous about the meeting with the psychologist. But something is happening tomorrow that I'm even MORE nervous about, if you can believe it.

A trip to the Chinese buffet.

I'm going out of town and the folks I'm going with have decided that's where they want to eat. One of my friends is a dialysis patient with a limited appetite, so when he decides he thinks he can eat something, that's where we go. I do try to make the best choices from what is available, but I've not tested myself at a buffet yet. *gulp* I'm trying to decide if I want to wait for the full test until my new habits are better ingrained and see if they have a menu I can order from or if I should just jump into the deep end and go for one trip and avoid the fried stuff and mounds of rice. I suppose I'll make my decision upon walking in the front door and it may depend upon how much the buffet is and how much an entree is. For once in my life, though, I'm more concerned about the cost of a buffet to my eating/mental decluttering process than what it might cost financially.

But, if ordering off the menu is a lot cheaper, I will probably go that route and leave more left over for the used book store. :-)

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The 6-Month Medically Supervised Diet Begins

I have re-set my weightloss ticker (look to your left) to show my starting weight for the 6-month medically supervised diet, which began today with a visit to my internist. Have I mentioned lately how much I adore my doctor? No? Well, I think Blogger puts a limit on my posts, so I probably don't have room here. Suffice it to say that I am extremely fortunate that my doctor is also a Healer. Do you have any idea how rare that is? Believe me. It is. I don't know if anyone out there remembers Richard Simmons' "Deal a Meal" but the first doctor I had as a newly insured person seemed to follow that approach. In his mind, he'd put my characteristics on cards: I'm overweight, I'm a woman, I'm (well was then) under 30, et cetera. Then, he'd just pluck one at random and that's what he'd hang whatever it was I'd come to see him on. Sometimes it was a weird combo and I wondered how he could even come to that conclusion. For example, did you know that more women than men suffer from plantar faciitis? You didn't? Me either. Okay, really we do, but that's not the point. I'm not a high heels wearing fashionista so blaming my plantar faciitis just on the fact that I have two X chromosomes is just silly, don't you think. Needless to say, just about any doctor would've seemed heaven-sent after that guy.

I think I'm edging a bit far afield here...

So, I met with the doc and he seems to think I have a decently well-thought out approach to this. He said we'll see how I'm doing when I come back to see him in a month and if it's working, we won't try to fix it. If it's not, then we'll tinker. I did find out two good things today. Thing 1: he'd already sent my surgeon's office a letter of medical necessity so that's one more check mark. Thing 2: my anti-depressant is one that has been shown NOT to cause ulcers, so I should be OK with taking it post-op. While I do hope that my increasing wellness of body AND mind will assist me in going off of all my medications, knowing that I can still take it if I need to is comforting to me.

Next week is my first appointment with the psychologist. Expect nervous rambling about that for the next few posts, especially as we get closer. I've never been to a psychologist, so I am a bit anxious. I think that I'm afraid that he'll tell me that I can't have the surgery for some reason. I know that thought is rooted in fear, but I can't help it. Maybe I need to get on the message boards and see what I can see about that.


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

I'm so proud... of myself!

I was hoping for a proud-of-me moment. I didn't know when it would come... how soon... in what form... how I would celebrate it. In some vernacular, these are called NSVs or non-scale victories. They are the best ways to measure your success when you are in this for the long haul, and not just to look great during swimsuit season. Sometimes, these come in the form of someone noticing for the first time that you are losing weight. Sometimes, it's the fact that you can no longer shop in the "big girl" section. Sometimes it comes when you are facing your food addictions down both barrels and you say to the food "hey, sissy, is that all you've got?" That's what my victory, what my proud-of-me moment is all about.

Yesterday, I made the conscious decision to finish off the remains of a package of Twizzlers (hereafter known as ropes of HFCS) so they wouldn't be in the house anymore. I planned for it in my food budget, so I committed the crime with complete malice of forethought, but I plead guilty to a minor offense, your Honor. I also had my planned supper and, at 9PM, I mentally flipped the "closed" sign on the kitchen. Right now, my eating cut-off time is 9PM. I'm trying to edge it closer to 8PM as we get used to not cooking so late, but right now it's 9PM.

Anyway, DH came home a bit after 10PM and offered me one of his dark chocolate Reese's cups. Anyone who knows me at all well knows that this was a recipe for disaster. Dark chocolate? Peanut butter? My idea of manna from Heaven. But you know what? I said that I appreciated the offer but that I'd already had those Twizzlers and I didn't really think I should over-do it on the sugar. Plus, it was after 9PM.

Woo frickin' hoo! That's a proud-of-me moment for the record books, I think. I actually chose not to have a Reese's cup because I'd already chosen to have the Twizzlers. Now, if I can just keep that mindset up, I may have a shot of getting the 30 pounds I need to lose before my surgery lost and then have a good liklihood of being really successful post-op.

Now I'm trying to find a Yoga class I like. I really think that is going to be the key to my losing a lot of the mental weight I'm carrying around, which can only help me lose the physical weight.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

I live!

I've been taking a self-imposed internet sabbatical which has been quite useful for me, but I will probably be back a bit more now.

Anyway, an update on the pathway to my surgery... I had my initial consult with the surgeon on 05/13/2010. He's very nice and extremely quiet. I had the feeling that he would have answered my questions for days if I'd kept asking them. The surgery we decided on, at least for now, is the vertical sleeve gastrectomy. It is similar to the Lap-Band/Realize Band in that it is a restrictive form of weight loss surgery. The major difference is that with the Sleeve, the surgeon removes about 80-90% of your stomach, making it totally irreversible. It will allow me to digest just about any kind of food once I'm past the first 6 months post-op, which is good. It will also allow me to take NSAIDs if necessary. The type of surgery MIGHT change, but I doubt it. I feel pretty comfortable about it. The sleeve used to be the first step in a duoedenal switch surgery or bypass because it allowed for super morbidly obeses patients to loose over 100 pounds, thereby making them safer to operate on. In the last few years, bariatric surgeons have discovered that it is safe to do as a stand-alone procedure and that it has similar weight loss projections as bypass without the risk of vitamin deficiencies because the small bowel is not bypassed.

The same day I had my initial consult, I met with the Insurance specialist at the clinic and we got my ball rolling towards fulfilling all of the clinic's requirements and all of my insurance company's requirements. Many of them overlap, so that's good. I've felt a Divine hand guiding this process because I've already (since 05/13/2010) had the initial consult; had an EKG, Upper GI series, and lab work; gone to the pre-surgery weight loss class; gone to the emotions and overeating class; and I've got my two psychologist visits next week and the week after. So, all I have left are those visits which are already pre-authorized, gettting a letter of medical necessity from my PCP, 5 years of records from him showing that I've been morbidly obese for a long time (duh), and I have to go to a support group meeting.

One of the insurance requirements is a 6 month medically-supervised diet. I was told that my PCP can oversee that, so I'm going to let him. That way, he can be as in the loop as I can make him, which I know he likes. I start that on Thursday. I don't know if I'll have to go the full 6 months or not. We'll talk about that then, I expect. As a State employee, they can go back 2 years in my medical records. I know that my PCP and I have discussed what diet I'm doing, what exercise, et cetera. Since my doc has sent people to this clinic for surgery before, I think he'll know what sorts of records he has for me will count towards this requirement.

So, really, the only appointments I need to worry about with regards to DH's schedule are my appts with the psychologist and then the monthly visit to my PCP for the diet. It's actually been a lot less difficult getting to everything than I feared it would be. Again, that's why I feel that a Divine hand is guiding the process.