When the Dinner Bell Rings, I’ll Be There!

My husband says his grandpa used to sing this silly song, “When the dinner bell rings, I’ll be there…” That’s me. I always looked forward to supper. Meat, potatoes, gravy, bread, butter, veggie. Look Ma, I ate all my peas! I gotta big mouth. 😀

I had a corn-on-the-cob eating contest with my brother one day before the age of 5 (but now I realize with myself because I was the only one participating). And at the end I said, “I gotta big mouth!” I was proud of my accomplishment. My brother heartily agreed with me. “You sure do!” LOL

I’ve always had a big mouth and a big appetite. But last night, for the past few days, I’ve hardly had anything. AND, I haven’t been hungry. Like, I’m skinny-girl eating and I feel like a dainty little flower. I stopped solids two mornings ago. My stomach was sore and bloated. “I better cut back,” is what I told myself. So, then it was hot broth and hot tea. Then the following day, yesterday, I had nothing before 5 pm because I had to get an ultrasound for gastric pain (no food or drink for 8 hours). I was nervous about that because I thought, “I’ll starve! I’ll kill someone or myself before 8 hours is up!!” But I was fine! I ate dinner around 7 pm.

According to that ultrasound, turns out, I have gallstones! Eeek. Still don’t know what they’ll do, surgery or meds. I hope, I really hope, they’ll take it out. It’s full of stones. I’m sure it has been for a while. I’m thinking now that I had an episode in March this year.

On my art front…
The above painting is something I’ve been working on for a while. It’s not finished but coming close. I started it several years ago when I was in art school and had an extra blank canvas that I thought I needed for school, but ended up abandoning that project, or changing it for time’s sake. So I started with old utensils and black spray paint. I’ve added some other media and now it’s a sort of multi-media collage of sorts that’s turned into a therapy piece about my weight loss journey. I’ll post when I’m finished. I just thought the plates and knives were fitting for my post today. I like the shadowy effect on some of the forks and spoons.

Weight loss=40+ lbs!!!
WEIGHT=415.0 😀
3 LBS AWAY FROM MY LOWEST WEIGHT TO DATE SINCE HEART FAILURE IN 2012! WOOT!

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Gut Buster!

Hello.

I am having a ton of stomach pain today. I don’t know if it’s my stomach or gallbladder. Could be either. My stomach is still swollen (typical) after gastric bypass. So, no way of knowing where the pain is coming from because your gallbladder, stomach and liver are all very close together. But I am having some twingy pain in my back and under my ribs. Sounds like GB. Plus, a few other symptoms that I won’t go into, mainly color of stool, and other things that make me think I’m having an attack.

I’ve read and been told that many weight loss surgery patients lose their gallbladder after their initial stomach reduction. Most common cause for gallbladder loss is excess fat in the abdomen region. Which I have plenty of. So, I’m thinking I just might lose my gallbladder.

What does your GB do??
It produces bile in cahoots with the liver. The bile helps get rid of digesting fat. If you eat too much fat? The bile can’t keep up and the excess fat is turned into a lump and absorbed into the gallbladder as a stone. So when you’re GB fills up with stones or you try to pass these lumps/stones, it can cause an attack. Ouch. (This description may be inaccurate, but it’s close and I should clarify that I do NOT have a medical degree. I’m not a doctor, but I play one on WebMD, in my mind, on my tablet.)

Also, because I had an episode in March that led me down this WLS path to begin with, that’s why I’m thinking I might be having an attack. Really bad pain in my upper left quadrant in the abdomen. I thought it was like a hernia or something in my stomach. They never tested my gallbladder and they never found the source of pain. Hm. I’m thinking I had a gallbladder attack!

Anyway, I have an ultrasound at 4-ish today to find out if I have anything going on and where. Phew. That will be a relief. On the poundage front…

Freakin’ FINALLY! Got on the scale today. After starving myself (or what felt like starving myself) 418.4 lbs!!! Plenty of fluids yesterday and no solids. Hot broth and hot tea. I don’t think my excursion to Habanero’s was well received by my new tummy. It was delicious. I didn’t have much, but I don’t think I’m ready for soft solids yet. Oh well. Loss of 2 lbs after two days of killing myself is good. The scale is constantly moving in the right direction and I have not gone up! Win-win! I’ll take it.

Stats:

13 lbs since surgery which was 17 days ago

Total since Thanksgiving=over 37 lbs.

0.76 avg. lbs. per day since surgery

Weight=418.4

2 lb. loss since Monday

Not quite a pound a day, but I’m trying.

I know this all may seem highly neurotic and super detailed but! I have a finite window to lose as much as possible and this time (0-6 months after surgery) is the most important and the most rapid weight loss I can enjoy. So. It’s super important to get as much as I can off now. This is hard but worth it. I don’t like paying this much attention to food and weight and the scale and my digestive system, but this is what I have to do. This is my job, sort of. It would be a shame to spend thousands of dollars to fix my problem and then leave some of my game on the field. Or fat on the body.

I do keep encountering little obstacles here and there, but I just gotta try, try, try. It’s not over ’til the fat lady sings and I’m just warming up. La, la, la! Mi, mi, mi…

Merry Post Ex-mus!

I feel pretty good today. My incisions are closed! Still losing. I have lost over 35 lbs since the Monday before Thanksgiving. I am officially at 420.4 lbs. I am averaging a pound a day. Sometimes 2, sometimes 0. For two days, I was stuck at 421.2, but did not go up!!! Finally dropped a pound today. Zero lbs. lost doesn’t feel awesome, but losing 35 lbs. feels awesome.

Having tacos today withOUT the crunchy. 🙂 Still on soft foods. Mainly seasoned meat and guac and cheese. Stick to protein! Carbs are the devil. I am totally off of soda and carbonated drinks, have been since before the surgery. THAT is tough for me. Trying to get my 64 oz. of liquid a day. Almost there.

I AM GOING TO WALK ON THE TREADMILL TOMORROW!! At our apartment complex clubhouse gym. Made a workout playlist on Youtube for my tablet and headphones. Gotta wow these doctors when I hit the scale. I want their little doctor scrubs to fly off when they see my weight loss. I’m gonna blow their hair back!!! I would like to hit 370 by the end of Feb. but we’ll see. Wish me luck!

I worked out for 2 years and lost 100 lbs. But. I gained 40 back with thyroid cancer. Starting back to working out after being unsuccessful for so long feels a little weird and sad, but I can do it again. I did it once, I can do it all over. Knowing that I will never go back up because of the surgery, IF I follow the rules, that makes it a little easier to start again.

Happy New Year!!! This is gonna be a really good year. I am going to be a rockstar. 🙂 Mainly because I don’t give up and I believe in myself. 😉

I don’t have a tree this year.

I don’t think I had a tree last year either. It was damaged by a burst water pipe above our storage unit. The year before that? I had half-a-tree. Just put up the top as a mini tree. So what?

I tend to reject any commercialization of Christmas. It’s not that I’m a Scrooge. Quite the opposite. We watched Disney’s A Christmas Carol last night and I was moved to tears when Ebenezer donates a very large sum to the charity collector. When he said, “I am obliged to you…bless you.” I just lost it.

To hear Scrooge say those kind words, those generous words, those humble words, I just can’t even…

I reject the commercialization of Christmas because it’s disgusting to me. I don’t shop on Black Friday. I don’t buy presents. I don’t like trees and lights and ornaments. Well, I do, but I don’t like what they have come to represent. Who doesn’t like shiny, colorful blinking lights? But I could go to Vegas on Christmas and be satisfied. I don’t think Jesus had a beautifully adorned pine tree in the manger. That’s a northern European tradition. I guess I just don’t get it. Why don’t we decorate a palm tree instead?

To say pine needles, lights, presents and all that glitters represents the spirit of Christmas or Jesus’ spirit is kind of offensive to me. Maybe I am a Scrooge to begrudge? A Bescroodger? Idk. But I can’t help throw up in my mouth a little when I see posts of trees and presents and tidings of joy espousing the love and spirit of Christmas. Sorry. And yes, I fully acknowledge this may be an attack on Christmas. It might be an attack on your very heart. Maybe I feel all the things I feel about Xmas because of my past. Okay. But. Attacking Christmas as we know it? Is that a bad thing? I mean, my biggest worry about Christmas is not what cup I am going to purchase at Starbuck’s.

What I feel deep down in my heart? I feel that we should all be walking the streets, trying to find the most in need, the loneliest, the hungriest souls on the planet who need a small bit of care. That would be the true spirit of Christmas. Not safely snug in our homes, exchanging elaborate gifts with people who need nothing. And I know, children want the magic of Christmas, the wonder of the holiday, but what are we teaching them with these empty traditions? Not what Christ was about. I can tell you that. Not the real wonder and awe of Christ.

I am recovering from surgery, so I don’t think I could wander the streets today, but honestly, I don’t know that I would have the courage or comfort to wander them at full health. But my heart wants to. I know it’s right, but I’ve never started this tradition for myself. We have moved away from gift-giving and tree-pimping. Thank God! But we haven’t made it out of the house yet. Hopefully, next year! What an amazing Christmas it would be to help people who were just like Mary and Joseph? Amazing.

This year, I am remembering the sacrifice Mary and Joseph made. And the sacrifice that Jesus made for all time. Merry Christmas to all. Not just those who can afford it. Sorry to personally ruin Xmas for anyone. I mean, have your fun and gifts and stuff. Just don’t forget others who are in need. That’s Jesus’ spirit. Tiny Tim was the smallest of all and needed the most. Don’t let Tiny Tim fall. (Shameless, I know.) God bless us, Everyone.

A Moment Alone

I wrote this poem several years ago for those who are in the process of grieving. It was a hard time in my own life when I was not in good health. The picture I took in 2009 in Sarasota, Florida on Siesta Key Beach. Best beach and sunsets in the country IMO. You are welcome to share with those who may be mourning an important woman in their life.

Heart Full of Art

There is always a darkness we agree to hide.
A terrible, small voice from deep inside.
Calling the suicide to leave the ledge.
Begging for blood on a sharp knife’s edge.

It robs the notes from the bird that sings.
It steals the strain from the violin’s strings.
If you’re brilliant and sensitive and full of expression,
Luck would have it, you’re prone to depression.

We ignore the urging or we simply comply.
But we never solve the complexity of why.
One day, my darling, you shall find your smile.
Until then, keep looking, it may take a while.

Post-Op Wake-Up

Not gonna lie. Weight loss surgery hurts like a motherfather. I thought I would be able to document my post-surgery feelings and pain, but it hurt so much, I couldn’t even write. My mind was consumed by the simplest things: eating ice chips, walking and pain management. And God-forgive-me Bravo TV. (Only good channel in the hospital other than food porn and news.)

I’ve honestly never been in this much pain for a prolonged period of time. And I’ve given birth the old-fashioned way, vaginal with no epidural. So, to say that WLS is alot of pain is no joke. I feel that other surgeries, yes, are painful, but abdomen surgery is the worst. A good portion of your body, the part of your body that controls whether or not you can stand up straight or turn to look for approaching danger, when that is compromised…you’re at an extreme disadvantage. I can’t bend over. I can’t lay on my side in bed (my favorite thing to do). I can’t walk across the room without feeling as though my innards might come spilling out like the final scene from Braveheart. You know what I’m talking about.

So, I’m feeling a little out of sorts.

The drugs! Oh, the drugs. The drugs are nice, but oh-so temporary. Oxycodone is so tasty. Quick, floaty, highly addictive. But extremely temporary. The pain returns with little warning and most of the time, the oxy makes me sleepy. Which is good on some level. At least I can drift off to sleep on my back in bed with my CPAP mask on which would never happen without drugs.

When I came home from the hospital, I felt like I’d been kicked in the gut 20 times by a Colombian drug cartel with metal-tipped boots. I know that seems pretty specific, but I’m on drugs. I still feel that way. I’ve imagined their long, pointy cowboy boots playing soccer with my tummy. I know it’s the separation of my gut muscles and poking around my stomach, cutting it in half and reattaching my intestines. I know. But I feel that those cowboys could have been slightly more accurate somehow? Let’s just say, I feel butchered.

I know everyone feels this way after surgery. But no one told me that. It’s like having a baby, “Oh, yeah, there’s some pain! But it’s worth it!” I gotta say, the first day after surgery? And the next? And the next? Wasn’t worth it. “Worth it” was not what I was thinking.

Every day, by some miracle, I do feel better. In very small ways. Although, my back muscles are starting to ache from compensating for my stomach muscles AND I started my period. I can’t even comfortably bend over to successfully manage that situation. Some day, I will laugh about all that I’m feeling. But it will be a day when my laughing muscles aren’t so sore.

I am not down past my pre-surgery weight yet, but I am losing from post-op weight. They pumped me full of liquids, there was swelling and inflammation as well. Day 2 of post-op, I was 431. Today, Day 4, I am 428.8. So, that’s something. I’m barely eating anything, so I think it should start falling off any time. The more I can move around, the more calories I can burn. I anticipate, by month 2, I should be feeling almost back to normal. We’ll see.

If you’re considering WLS, just know, it’s a long haul and some days are not going to feel “worth it”. It’s alot of pain. But so is living with super morbid obesity. Pain can’t be the obstacle to being healthy. You’ll have pain one way or another. You get to choose which pain it will be. Good luck!!! At least now you’ll know what you’re in for. 🙂

WLS D-day!

Today is the day. In mere hours I will be undergoing weight loss surgery. I chose the gastric bypass based on the amount of weight I have to lose and upon recommendation from my surgeon.

I have researched this topic of weight loss, surgery, health and proper diet for over 11 years. I know this is the right choice for me and I have many people supporting me. I know it’s not right for some. I know that because it wasn’t right for me 11 years ago. I had to do some stuff first.

11 years ago I walked into the same weight loss surgery clinic I’m at now. Same doctor. I didn’t even meet him though because when I went in for my first consultation? They weighed me and told me, “You need to lose 55 lbs. before we can operate.” Gah.

This affected me so deeply I wrote a play about it called FAT. It even has a line about losing 55 lbs. to get weight loss surgery which seems totally ironic. Lose weight to get surgery to lose weight? Huh??!

I needed to write that play. (I won an award for it.) Start a journey. Start writing. Write a book. Start a blog. Be confronted. Face heart failure. Face life or death decisions. Face cancer. Face addiction. If I had the surgery 10 years ago? I would have failed! And I’d be right back here anyway.

I walked into the weight loss surgery clinic 11 years later, just this past August, at the same weight from 2005. I’d gone up and down and up, but I landed in the same exact place. Ironic!

I’m just finally glad to be here. Getting help. Moving forward. Losing weight once and for all. Please say a prayer for me right now or just send some positive thoughts my way.

I really do look at this as a rebirth, born again. Salvation. I’ve been baptized twice in the church. I always felt maybe it didn’t take? 🙂 I thought maybe 3rd time’s the charm? Why not? THIS is number 3. This is my baptism. By surgery. And I’ll stand up, wave my arms and thank God for my second, third, five-hundredth chance at life.

Wish me luck. No. Wish me a better life.