Three Months Post-Op Check-In

Oh, hi! Here’s the check-in for three months post-op after having Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG or a sleeve). I still feel really good! My energy level is good, I’m able to get in all my hydration and supplements, and I’m hitting my protein goals. My weight loss is slowing down a little, but I didn’t exercise much in March, so I suspect that is part of the slow down.

Here are things that I’ve noticed or new things I’m doing this month:

  • I’ve added fruit and veggies back to my diet to help with the constipation;
  • I’ve started losing my hair (although this is normal and I know it will stop in a few months, it’s not my favorite);
  • I’ve begun feeling what I’ll call “hunger.” It’s not what I felt when I was hungry before the surgery, but I can identify that it’s when my stomach is empty. It’s an odd sensation that I can’t really describe, so I won’t try;
  • My skin looks really good (this has been true since the second I had the surgery, but I forgot to mention it earlier); and
  • I’m really jiggly.  It might sound funny, but when you’re fat, you’re often really solid feeling, so when the fat goes away, you can feel how little muscle tone you have. I need to get swole, y’all (is that right? Is that how you use “swole”?)

I know everyone wants stats, so here they are:

  • Before VSG, I was 300 pounds and my measurements totaled 361.75 inches.
  • My 1-month post-op numbers were: 266 pounds and 330 inches.
  • My 2-month post-op numbers are: 250 pounds and  316.5 inches.
  • My 3-month post-op numbers are: 237 pounds and 289 inches.
  • So, I’m down 63 pounds and 72.75 inches!

This is what a typical day looks like for me:

  • 2 Premier Protein drinks,
  • 3 small meals,
  • 64 oz. of liquid (this includes the two protein drinks),
  • B-12, calcium, multivitamin, biotin, a prescription antacid (I’ll only take this for another month as my surgeon likes to have patients take it during the first few months of healing), and a stool softener
  • 60-80 grams of protein

Some non-scale victories this month include getting to buy a pair of size 18 pants (I was in a 26 at Christmas), wearing an XL t-shirt instead of a 3XL, sitting with my legs crossed, and having room left over on the seat of a conference room chair. I have a check-up with my surgeon and I’m getting blood work done at the end of the month, so I’m excited to see how things inside my body have changed.

My goal for April is to increase my exercise. I can’t believe how soft I’ve gotten over the years.

Let me know if you have any questions! I won’t give you medical advice, but I can share my experience.

Here is this month’s comparison picture:

Getting my shrink on!

Getting my shrink on!

Two-month check-in if you want to see how last month went!

Two Months Post-Op Check-In

It’s two months after my Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG or the Sleeve) and I thought I’d share how I’m doing. I feel great, which is the best part of this update! I hit my 50 pound loss goal (10 of which happened during the liquid diet portion the two weeks before the surgery). Can I get a Woot? Woot!

Since having the procedure, I’ve got a lot more energy, I’m able to move a lot more easily, and I’m not as tired.

So, this is what a typical day looks like for me:

  • 2 premier protein drinks,
  • 30 minutes of exercise,
  • 2 small meals,
  • 64 oz. of liquid (this includes the two protein drinks),
  • Calcium, multivitamin, biotin, a prescription antacid (I’ll only take this for another month as my surgeon likes to have patients take it during the first few months of healing), and a stool softener
  • 60-80 grams of protein

 

My small meals are usually things like a half a hamburger patty and a couple of bites of a vegetable, or some cheese and lunch meat. I haven’t had any sweets, soda, or caffeine (or carbonation at all) since Christmas Eve when my liquid diet started.

The biggest change is that I’m not craving anything and I am not hungry. I understand that those things come back for a lot of people after a while, but I’m loving the feeling right now.

I feel very fortunate that I’m not having some of the side effects that a lot of patients have so far. However, I can tell you that the ton of protein I’m having with very little fiber in the way of fruits or veggies can really stop you up. Like, sit on the toilet crying stopping you up. Like way worse than pooping after having a baby pain. So my surgeon had me start taking a stool softener every day and it’s been significantly better.

I know everyone wants stats, so here they are:

  • Before VSG, I was 300 pounds and my measurements totaled 361.75 inches.
  • My 1-month post-op numbers were: 266 pounds and 330 inches.
  • My 2-month post-op numbers are: 250 pounds and  316.5 inches.
  • So, I’m down 50 pounds and 45.25 inches! Can I get another Woot?

Do you have any questions for me? I’m happy to answer them. I won’t give you medical advice (I only play a doctor on TV), but I can tell you my experience.

Oh, and here’s a comparison picture! The picture on the far left is from last year, but I was at the same weight that I started at on Christmas Eve, so it’s pretty accurate.

Getting My Shrink On

Getting My Shrink On

Weight Loss Surgery or Why I Had My Stomach Cut Out

I’ve talked about it a little bit over the last couple of months, but in January I had weight loss surgery. I asked a surgeon to cut 80 percent of my stomach out and I am so glad I did.

I have been fighting my weight for more than half my life. I was lucky to be a physically active kid and teen or I would have been fighting it even longer than that. Thinking I was fat when I wasn’t is a whole other conversation. I’ve never done any real fad diets, I’ve always done medically monitored sanctioned by my physician “changes of lifestyle”. I’ve gained and lost hundreds of pounds over the years. I was tired.

Over the last five years or so (just after I had Tobin), I began researching my weight loss surgery options. I read, I talked to physicians, I watched videos. Two things happened that made me finally decide to have the surgery. I was done having babies after Tesla (you can have a perfectly healthy pregnancy after having WLS, but it wasn’t something I wanted to deal with) and I noticed that in the last year or so my self talk has become much kinder. In other words, I wasn’t a jerk to myself any more. I didn’t look at myself and think how gross I was. Because the brain part of this process is so important I felt like that was a good sign that I was ready for it.

After researching the different options, my surgeon and I decided that Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) was the right way for me to go. I went through the prescribed education for the bariatric program and continued reading (and watching videos) of people who had had the surgery. I began the process in August and had the surgery in January.

Things are going great so far! I began feeling better immediately, and my doctor and I are happy with my results.

I’m happy to share my experiences as I have them and answer any questions you may have. I know I had/have tons myself and it’s great to be able to get the feedback of people who have had the procedure.

In future posts I’ll share some specifics about how things are going. Until then, let me know if you have any questions!

 

 

 

My Life List

I like lists a lot. I like to mark items off my lists so much that if I do something that wasn’t on the list I will sometimes add it retroactively just so I can mark it off. It is possible I have a problem.

Anyway…I’ve been thinking of what I want to do in life and figured I’d make a list. Like you do. In no particular order…

  1. Write a book
  2. Collect Grandma’s stories
  3. Sell something I made
  4. Visit Oregon
  5. Take kids to Disney World
  6. Run a mile
  7. Organize Grandma’s pictures
  8. Host Thanksgiving dinner
  9. Donate money to my public library
  10. Donate money to PBS
  11. Donate money to NPR
  12. Say thank you
  13. Read Maya Angelou
  14. Dance every day, even if it’s in my chair
  15. Find my father
  16. Send birthday wishes
  17. Paint
  18. Volunteer for a political campaign
  19. Grow vegetables
  20. Write a letter a month for a year
  21. Own a home
  22. Pay off student loan
  23. Get out of credit card debt
  24. Take the kids to a concert
  25. Take the kids camping
  26. Do yoga
  27. Learn to meditate
  28. Take an art class
  29. Forgive
  30. Plant a cutting garden
  31. Visit North Carolina
  32. Learn to grill outside
  33. Learn/create/discover a signature dish
  34. Take the kids to a play
  35. Become a Librarian
  36. Learn to swim really well

There isn’t a “should” on the list. These are all wants and some needs, but not a single should.

Best Laid Plans: Postpartum Edition

I was really prepared this time. I knew the signs of postpartum depression, I know my own triggers for anxiety, and I know how I deal with both. I had plans in place to stay healthy after I gave birth because I didn’t before. This time would be different. I took good care of myself during this pregnancy. I never had to take insulin and I lost about 20 pounds. I wasn’t dieting or anything, it was just a matter of eating well.

I had a good idea of how much I would weigh after I had Tesla, and I planned to use that as a spring board for getting even healthier. I was going to eat good food every day, like oatmeal, good proteins, raw veggies. I was going to prep it and have it ready in the fridge so that when I was nursing I could grab a healthy snack and take care of myself while I took care of her. I was going to have a bottle of water full at all times so that I could drink plenty of water. I was going to start walking with the baby as soon as I was cleared with the doctor. My goal wasn’t to lose weight right after I had the baby, but to take care of myself. I knew from when I had Tobin that I needed to be prepared or I wouldn’t make any of my plans a reality. I also knew that if I were doing everything I could to take care of myself, my postpartum depression/anxiety (if I got it this time) would be easier to deal with.

I had so many plans on February 5th. Then Tesla was born on February 6th and the plans went out the window. Because I had the reality of the newborn and not the newborn in my head. Let me say how lucky I know we are because she’s a healthy baby. There is no reason, other than the logistics of having a newborn, that I couldn’t implement my plans. Except that I had a newborn. One who wasn’t a fan of being put down…and I’ll be honest, knowing she was my last newborn, I  *wanted* to hold her all the time. But, holding her all the time doesn’t leave much room for shopping or food prep.

I had planned to have an easy time breastfeeding. Nicholas was easy to nurse, Tobin was more challenging. Tesla had me in tears for two weeks. Nursing her was so hard the first few weeks, both physically and mentally. Physically I was hurting and my nipples were cracked and bleeding and I had thrush. She also wasn’t completely draining me so I was alternating between engorgement and feeling like I didn’t have enough milk.  Mentally, I was a mess because Tesla not only lost her birth weight, but also didn’t gain it back at a good pace. We had to supplement with formula, I had to pump, we had to give her bottles…you guys, none of that was in my Plan. My Plan had us surrounded by a soft light with me smiling down on my newborn as she nursed with a smile in her eyes and angels singing in the background as the baby let out a gentle burp and never spit up. That was my Plan. I cried while I pumped and watched William feeding Tesla formula. It broke my heart that I couldn’t do everything the baby needed. Because logic has no place in the mind of a woman with a newborn. We also spent time shuttling the baby back and forth to the pediatrician’s office for weigh-ins. It was hard, y’all. Really hard. William, my OB, and the pediatrician were all super helpful and supportive. My local La Leche League was also beyond helpful. And I can’t tell you how important my circle of friends was, thank goodness so many of them nursed their kids and could share their experiences with me. Tesla and I didn’t really get past the physical pain and in a good groove until Tesla was 7 weeks or so, and those were long-ass weeks.

Do I need to say that I wasn’t getting any sleep? Because I wasn’t (and still am not getting much, but it’s a lot better).

Despite all of this griping, Tesla has been a lot easier baby than Tobin was (because Tobin had wicked colic and Tesla hasn’t). And that made my mental and physical exhaustion even harder for me to deal with. Because I shouldn’t be so tired or have so much anxiety when my baby was a sweet easy-going baby. I *should* be hearing angels singing and enjoying my last-ever maternity leave. Instead, I was crying in the shower, trying not to yell at the older kids all the time, worrying about Tesla being kidnapped/turning into a zombie/dying in a freak accident, and walking around on egg shells with William so I wouldn’t lose my shit.

And then I lost my shit. It wasn’t anything dramatic. In fact, I knew I needed to talk with a counselor and visit with my OB about the possibility of medical intervention when I got my feelings hurt at work over an innocent event. Nothing that would have bothered me at all before sent me to my office in tears and thinking that everyone in the world hated me. Hated me. I work with amazing people who love me and would be sad to know how sad I was right at that moment. Anyway, it was the catalyst that finally made me contact a counselor and my doctor.

I also brushed up on the signs of PPD and anxiety. Shout out to Postpartum Progress!

I’m working on a different plan now. One that isn’t so rigid, one that cuts me a little slack. And one that allows me not to cry when I pick up a can of formula to supplement what I’m pumping during the day. I’ve gained back all the weight I lost during the pregnancy. It sounds great to say I’m two pounds lighter than I was before I got pregnant; but, it felt a lot better to say that I’d lost 20 pounds. My new plan cuts me some slack, right? So I have to just accept that I didn’t follow the plan, and all the weight’s back and now I need to get back on the bandwagon. Slack, I need some.

I feel better already.

More For 39!

It’s my birthday you guys! Today I’m 39 and am a little startled that I’m beginning the last year of this decade. I just don’t know how the last years have gone so quickly. I want to make sure I make the most of the year before I begin a new decade. I want more this year. More.

More Words. I want to write more words this year. In the last year, I’ve barely written here (did you notice?), and I’ve missed it. I want to read more words this year. I want to read good books and good online writing. Tell me what you read and what you think I should read.

More Movement. I am going to move every day. Walking, dancing, prancing (heh), every day will have some kind of movement. How do you move?

More Touching. We’re already a touchy family, but I’m going to make sure it happens. More snuggles with the kids, more kisses with my husband, and a self breast exam every month.

More Music. I love music, but I don’t listen to it as much as I’d like. I’m going to listen to stuff I already love and look for new-to-me music. And I’m going to share it with the kids. Tell me your favorite music.

More Watching. I want more movies and good television. I love being told a story and movies are one of my favorite ways for that to happen. What should I watch?

More Eating. I want more good food and food that makes me feel good. What good food do you indulge in and what food makes you feel good?

More Happy. All of the “mores” will, undoubtedly, help with this one. But! I’m going to search for happy. I’m going to facilitate it. If I’m not feeling happy, I’m going to figure out why and change it, or fix it, or live with it and move on. I want to know, what makes you happy?

If I can get more into my 39th year, I will be kicking off my 40s in a bad-ass place. I’d love for you to share what you want more of, and tell me what you think I should read, listen to, watch, eat, and do.

Coming Back From The Sad

I’m coming back. I’m working my way back from a wicked case of sad. It was the worst since just after Mark died. You can always tell when I’m feeling bad because I don’t write here. I have fun stuff to share, fun little projects I’ve done, a baby shower post, a book review, fun stuff. But I haven’t because it felt completely out of place with where my mind was and how my heart felt. And I couldn’t bring myself to write anything that took more than two seconds to get out. Depression is exhausting.

I thought I was handling the loss of the pregnancy…my pregnancy…well. There was so much logic – I knew what happened, why the pregnancy was never viable. I knew that there was nothing we could have done to save the pregnancy, the baby.  It would seem that all the logic in the world amounts to bullshit after all. Since I can’t think of any other trigger that might have caused a fall back into depression this time, I am assuming it was the emotional part of losing the pregnancy baby and the hormones that went with it. And what a trigger it was. I let the depression grow and thrive for a couple of months. I let it live inside me without telling anyone it was there.  I was exhausted but didn’t want to sleep because of the horrific nightmares I was having. I couldn’t concentrate on anything that wasn’t completely necessary to sustain life. I didn’t want to do anything that required any effort unless the boys needed something. There was a lot of crying in the shower and behind closed doors so nobody would see.

I don’t think anyone besides William even noticed. But William noticed and thank heaven for him. He made me talk. He made me call my doctor to talk about how I was feeling and what was happening.

I’m coming back though. And I’m so very glad for it. I’ve missed you.

 

 

 

 

 

Weight: A New Perspective

I don’t know if everyone is this way, but I have no real understanding of weight and how I feel at any certain weight. What I mean is that I assume that if I felt good at any given time (really pretty or sexy or confident), it must have been a time when I weighed less than now. I would have sworn, in court, that during those confident times I was 30 or 40 pounds lighter than I am now. It turns out that during at least one of those times, I was within three pounds of where I am now.

I went to the doctor today for a post-op check up and asked her to tell me some of my weigh-in numbers over the past few years. I was completely shocked by some of them. Because I truly thought I was lighter before. For example, I was within one size on my wedding day as I am now when I would have sworn I was pounds and pounds lighter. But, right this second, I’m within 15 pounds of where I was two weeks after having Tobin when I would have sworn that I am pounds and pounds heavier right now. It’s all very confusing.

It made me start thinking about perception and weight. I always knew that I wasn’t really great at telling how much I weighed at any given time, but seeing the numbers and knowing what was happening at that point in my life really shocked me.

I don’t know that they are connected, but I’m also completely flummoxed when I try to decide how much someone else weighs or what size a person should wear. And then you throw in the mix of different women carrying weight differently, therefore making someone who looks much larger than someone else wear the same size clothing. I’m completely screwed.

But why does it matter? It doesn’t. Obviously my weight doesn’t make an actual difference in how I feel. I just think it does. But faced with the reality of that weight versus how I felt at the time, I see that there is no real correlation. Logic doesn’t often enter into my thought process as it applies to my weight. It’s a new feeling.

I'm only about 10 pounds heavier now than then. But I felt 100 pounds lighter

I’m only about 10 pounds heavier now than then. But I felt 100 pounds lighter

Fitness Friday: Celebrating Success

I don’t know about you guys, but I need to celebrate every little success around my trying to get healthy. Every little success. I wasn’t really aware I did that until I posted a picture on Instagram earlier this week and my friend, Chris, commented on my celebrating. Because I am finding this healthy journey to be really hard, I need to celebrate every single time I do something well. I need to pat myself on the back, and there are a few other people who pat as well.

This week was different though. When I posted a picture of myself wearing a jacket that I wore at the same time last year (that I was able to button this year when I couldn’t last year) more than 100 people liked it and commented on it in either Instagram or on Facebook. For a couple of inches and not quite 30 pounds. I sometimes forget, because I have so much more to lose, that a few inches and not quite 30 pounds is a big deal. A success. I was just excited that I buttoned the jacket (with a little room to spare). But, when my friends and family celebrated that success with me, it was amplified. So much. I appreciate you guys cheering me on in this. Because it’s hard, you guys, and I want to give up, almost all the time.

I’m glad you’re there to help me celebrate the successes. Thank you.

 

 

That's a buttoned jacket right there

That’s a buttoned jacket right there

Fitness Friday: Removing Barriers to Exercise

Hi Fitness Friday people <said in the “party people” tone>! How was your week? Mine was okay-ish. I ate everything I could put my hands on had some food issues. I’m going to work on that this coming week.

I used the bike we bought! The stationary, recumbent bike. I have no excuse not to exercise with that big old bike right in the middle of our living room. Talk about removing barriers. My goal is to use it three times in the coming week.

I had some other interesting insights into my brain this week regarding weight that I’ll talk about in another post.

Did you go visit Deanna last week? We’re in this together, so give her some love too!

So, how was your health, fitness, weight, exercise week?