Super Morbidly Obese

I am not obese. I am not morbidly obese. I am super morbidly obese. That title comes with a cape and tights. That no one wants you to wear.

#SuperMartha

I think superheros who are super morbidly obese have a hard time flying. My powers are eating. And being funny. Except now my Kryptonite is food. Can’t hardly eat anything any more. That’s okay. I still have that being funny thing.

I AM super morbidly obese, but just so. I am on the cusp of becoming just regular, old morbidly obese. Super morbid is 50 and above and I’m just at 50. That shouldn’t feel so good, but it does. I was at a 76 BMI. So, yeah. Lost 26 BMI points. Phew.

I’m about to lose my super. Then I’ll just be a plain-old hero. Right?

I’m okay with that.

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! NO! It’s Super Martha! Duh-tuh-ta-da! :*

 

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Twisted, Sister

I am eating healthy. I am exercising (stairs/cleaning/non-stop unpacking/moving boxes/cooking/laundry/beach walking/shell hunting–does that count?). I am doing all the right things. And I’m not losing weight.

We just moved from KC to Florida. It’s been hectic and my eating hasn’t always been what it should be, but! I am not eating too much. I can’t. I get very full at the drop of a sandwich and I just can’t physically put much food in my stomach. My stomach is still so tiny after surgery. So, why no weight loss?

I ran out of my furosemide. Generic Lasix. Water pill.

We lost our insurance at the end of May. My husband left his job and we just don’t have insurance yet. I was too busy to call the doctor or see someone before I left Missouri. So, I’m out. I know, I know! But. I had good reasoning for this decision. Let me explain.

I went on furosemide almost 5 years ago. It was a miracle drug. It helped me drop massive chunks of weight. The first week I lost over 30 lbs. I was full of juice. I was at 513 pounds and I dropped like a rock as soon as they gave it to me.

I was in the ER, diagnosed within hours, “Ms. Maggio, we think you have congestive heart failure.” They immediately gave me an IV. Pumped Lasix in and the juice came out! Immediately! I almost did not make it to the bathroom it was so fast. I lost over 10 lbs. of liquid (probably more) the first 3 days in the hospital. I felt like I could fly!

So I was released with a dose of generic Lasix that I have taken steadily since 2012. I was even put on two pills in 2014. After weight loss surgery last December, my surgeon took me off furosemide. No dose. Not sure of his reasoning, other than he knew I wouldn’t be getting the water intake I needed, at first. But I wasn’t losing like I should. So his partner put me back on one dose. That seemed to do the trick.

I can usually tell if I’m retaining water. My feet swell. I’ve learned to keep an eye on my feet. That’s typically the first sign. Obvs. It’s the lowest point in your body. That’s where liquid is going to go. Thanks, Gravity. Plus, with poor circulation (Thanks, Heart Failure!) that’s where most of the liquid is going to stay. I usually have cold hands and feet, too.

So, since I’ve run out of my furosemide, I’m retaining more water. It’s nothing like ER Martha at 513 lbs. My feet had ballooned to 3 times their normal size. Scary! That’s one reason why I headed to the ER. Nothing like that. I can just tell, I’m a little squishy.

So, I’m going to call one of my Missouri doctors today and see if they can help me out until I can find a primary care physician here. Without insurance yet, that could be tricky.

Thankfully! I am doing okay. Still have great energy. More than ever. I still have all my other meds. I was trying to get off the furosemide anyway and my doctors agreed. Plus, I have not gained any weight! That’s the great part. I’ve just stalled. I thought I was losing, but no. Every day I wake up and it’s the same.

True, I could be in a plateau. I hit one before. It happens. But I am doing everything I can to break it. Eating even less than what I’m hungry for (usually never hungry, but I am lately more hungry at night due to more activity during the day). I want to break this plateau, if that’s what it is. I want to only drink water. Working on it. I mostly do, but I like an occasional low- or no-calorie soft drink. Like half a mini Coke or Crystal Light.

I also feel my carb addiction creeping back in. I love carbs. Pasta, flour, cereal. I don’t really eat these, but I have a weakness for bread. I take little bites of a roll and I only have one, especially if we are eating out and they have free bread or something. But it’s so tempting to eat the whole friggin’ basket. I couldn’t even if I said, “Yes, more bread please!” as I wiped the crumbs from my very-full cheeks. I would totally throw it up or have to find the nearest bathroom and be miserable for hours. No, thank you. Plus, it would just stop up the whole works for days! So, I can limit, but I shouldn’t have it at all! AT! ALL! NEVER!

I am back on the straight and narrow. Mainly because I want to see that scale keep moving. I have a finite window here to lose most of it and I am very aware of that clock. It’s 12-18 months. It’s different for everyone. I went through hell to get that surgery and I’m not going to waste it.

Over the past few days, I’ve been back to salads, eating lean and limiting portions. It’s not hard, I just had to get my head back in the game and really focus. Moving just spun my head around like a Twister dial and my brain landed on all four colors.

This morning I am right back where I was when I left KC, 338.2 lbs. THAT is nothing to sneeze at! It used to be, my weight fluctuated drastically from day to day. 10 lbs. or more. So THIS is good. Not great, but okay! πŸ™‚

Back on the very strict wagon! But glad to be here.

Superior Mother

The pic above was from my childhood home. I gave it as a present to my mom this morning for Mother’s Day.


Went on a day trip today with my mom. It was fun. As a surprise for Mother’s Day, my husband, daughter and I took my mom down to her hometown of Aullville. We took pictures and stopped at a local eatery for some unusual dining, The Belarussian Bakery.

Aullville, MO has a current population of 100. In its heyday, my mom said 200. πŸ™‚ Small town.

It was adorable. Mom showed us her old house and the two churches in town.

It was a great day with lots of memories for her and history for us. We stopped back in Higginsville on the way home. Home of the Huskers! lol We took pictures of the old movie theatre where she saw pictures for a nickel! Then we spotted lunch.

We ate at The Belarussian Bakery, a unique find in Missouri. The food was delicious and extremely flavorful. Home-cooked and savory with a Russian influence. We would definitely go back. An old, large brick home with many rooms. It has that old gas smell of a home from the 19th century, but it’s so cute. And once the kitchen is going, you can’t tell. It has a well-kept interior with reasonable prices. If you’re out that way, stop in. If you like old-timey cooking and houses.

What a great day. It was a successful surprise. We didn’t tell her until she sat down in the car. She was a good sport to let us kidnap her. πŸ™‚ It was an honor to hear Mom’s stories and see where she spent her formative years. Hope you like the pictures.


aullville.jpg
Aullville Exit! 45 minutes out of KC.
aullville grocery
Used to be the bank.
bw aullville baptist
My grandmother attended church here. Aullville Baptist Church
bush
I think she said this was honeysuckle? Is that right, Mom?
chrstn church
My mother had her first picture taken here at the age of 5. This my daughter on the side of the same church. Aullville Christian Church
church
Same church. West side. So beautiful. Caught a lens flare.
bw truck
Pickups & Peonies–Cool, old truck on the other side of the street. Made it black and white in Photoshop. Love it!
bw house
Mater’s homestead. They lived here in ’38-’44? Is that right, Mom? Still standing. But vacant.
country road
Beautiful country lane.
fence
Love a good fence line.
davis theatre
Old downtown Higginsville movie palace. Movies were a nickel? Shot this, did not crop, did not fix the color. Love this shot. Love the angles and the wonky set up.
belarussian flowers
Flowers at The Belarussian
belarussian table
Photo Credit: Lillian Maggio, Vibrant colors at The Belarussian
belarussian two lillies
My two Lillis. Lillian, my daughter was named after Mom.

Matthew 6:28-29 NASB
“And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.

These Lillis are beautiful!


I saw this silo today. It had SUPERIOR at the top.

silo.jpgI have a superior mother. One of the best. We haven’t always seen eye-to-eye, but that’s pretty normal, right? God saw to it that I had what I needed. A mother who loved me all the way to here. Even when I was ungrateful.

I had a father who was rough, but a mother who was gentle and kind. Everything that I am? I owe to her. She made me, cradled me, cared for me more than any person on the planet. She wants to see me succeed and helps me to do that. Thanks, Mom. I know you love me. And I love you so much. Happy Mother’s Day.

Some days, you were all that I had. And that was enough.

Only Dogs Like to Eat Alone

My mom told me not to pet the cat or dog when they were eating.

“Why?”

“They don’t like it,” she summed up. “They’re territorial.”

Whatever that meant. I was only 5 or so. Just don’t do it. Got it.

I never really had a pet that I took care of. Our family had dogs and cats of the outside variety. No perfectly-quaffed poodles or sofa Shih Tzus. We had one indoor cat and one indoor dog before I turned 7. But Tiger ran away and Kelly the Collie up and died. The other animals?

We had a stray named Frisky. He was a tan, lean mutt from our country neighborhood. He stayed outside and my parents fed him scraps. He stuck around, occasionally let us pet him and hooked up with another pup. She was a mutt as well with doberman coloring. Black with brown brows and tips. She gave birth to over 27 puppies during her short life and we had an unintentional puppy mill under our porch.

The dogs got sick, some came down with Parvo (or that’s what I was told), some were shot because they teased our horses (One was caught nibbling at a run-down horse, meaning-some dog(s) or coyote had run the horse to death and then one of our dogs gnawed at its carcass. True!), some ran off. And at some point, we no longer had any dogs. I don’t know what happened to all of them. I really don’t.

We lived on a small farm. Dogs were expendable and unconsidered. Just a fact of life. I didn’t start caring for animals until I met my husband’s cats for the first time. I don’t mean to write so callously about these dogs, but I was a child and nobody asked my opinion as to the condition, well-being or healthcare of said animals. I can see now, it was a problem.

However, for their brief life, they ate well. Mom and Dad threw leftovers, scraps, meat, bones, gravy, dog food in their bowl on the hill. Also, there was an all-you-can-eat mouse buffet under the house for our cats; the occasional rabbit for the dogs. I didn’t understand or research the eating habits of domesticated beasts. That was above my paygrade. And in the 80s? No interwebs. Even if there had been, my parents wouldn’t have sprung for the luxury of computer connectivity.


Do you like to eat alone?


When it comes to eating, I get it, dogs and cats are in it to win it. The biggest mouth gets most of the food. And everybody knows it. You better be cool with that or risk a fight over vittles. Big dog on the porch always wins.

But thankfully, people are not territorial. We don’t push each other away from the bowl. We don’t have to eat shoulder-to-shoulder in a trough of slop. We all get our own individual portion of the beautifully-baked pie. But after weight loss surgery, my pie’s a little different.

Fixing dinner for your family after weight loss surgery kinda sucks. Knowing that you can’t enjoy what you’re preparing because you’re nervous about the outcome makes eating not as enjoyable as it once was. Whipping up a dinner or meal for others isn’t much fun if you can’t really taste it.

I try to make healthy meals, but it’s difficult. The flavor can suffer sometimes from a lack of salt or sugar or calories. That’s okay, but it is an unsatisfying task to cook for others and only provide a hot meal, not a delicious one.

I’m learning to accept it, but it’s so ingrained in my sex and culture. I am learning to eat on my own. Not share in indulgences. Eat my own menu. Savor my healthy cooking. Walk away in the middle of dinner. Allow others to prepare their own choices. Find recipes that satisfy taste and health. But it’s a lonely road to walk sometimes. I miss shared meals and food experiences. I miss connecting over food. It was a large part of my life. The biggest. Sad, but true.

Cooking and eating have been my favorite things. Food and taste and savory meals, those are my bedrock of love. My husband agreed to marry me mainly for my ability to bake an authentic Italian lasagna. Ricotta, not cottage cheese. LOL

My meatloaf was once described as crack. Highly addictive. But I can’t make meatloaf like I used to. Secret ingredient: Dale’s Seasoning. Which has twice the amount of sodium found in regular table salt. Two times more sodium than SALT, which is sodium!

Bad, Meatloaf! Bad!

Salt is toxic. Salt lead to my first round of heart failure. Salt is consumed at 2 to 3 times the amount we should have daily. With my surgery, I am eating significantly less of everything, including salt. So I’m able to put back in some of the sodium I reduced over the years. But I don’t want my family to have it either.

How do I love my family without food?

I have to release the burden/blessing of providing food and find my worth as a mother or wife by providing other things. What are those things though?? LOL I am trying to allow my daughter to have some control over food choice and prep. That’s hard, but she’s ready and able. I have to let go of her apron strings because she long ago dropped mine. I can provide her with self-sufficiency and independence. Those things are much more valuable than meatloaf.

My worth is found in another bowl. A water dish of my own. The one with my name on it. And I don’t have to share it with anyone.

I know there’s a balance to strike. I know that. I’m learning. I’m finding that balance. It’s just hard to change your whole lifestyle on a dime. But I am learning to eat like a dog. By myself. From my own special dish of value and worth.

340s

Today, I am 347.6 lbs. I am still steadily losing weight almost every day. There are some days that I don’t lose anything. Those days, however, are few and far between.

I went in for weight loss surgery last December 2016 and since then, I’ve managed to lose 109 lbs. That feels great. Since August 2012, I’ve dropped 166 total. Plus, I’m only 4 1/2 months in. Can you imagine 1 year from now??

It may seem like a pretty standard thing to most people, but at my heaviest, I lost my ability to take a relaxing bath. I always take a shower every day, but occasionally, it’s nice to have a soak. And at 500 lbs, it wasn’t a luxury I could indulge.

So, this last Tuesday, after freezing my toes off most of the day, I thought to try a nice hot bath to warm up. My body temperature is hard to regulate with no thyroid and rapid weight loss. My extremely remote appendages are typically frigid. So, I could either vigorously exercise, throw on a pair of socks or relax in a steamy pool of life-altering suds. Bath it is!

And you know what? I fit. I fit nicely in the tub. With water! More than just a drop! Ain’t that great? I thought so. It was an ordinary achievement in a routine day, but it meant the world to be in the tub again. These small things are what excite me the most.

I can’t wait to fly again! If and when I can afford it. πŸ™‚ Until then, I’ll fly high on my little daily wins.

Don’t Mess with Success

So, the picture is a bizarre lithograph I made for printmaking at college. I ended up turning in something completely different for the assignment. It’s not my best (her lips are lopsided and her hair is on fire lol), but I like the party-girl-smoker, sleepy-eyed, end-of-the-night, boozy feeling. Like “the girl you wish you hadn’t…” from SNL. This post has nothing to do with my current situation, just a puff (of smoke) from the past.


I thought I couldn’t live without cigarettes.
I loved to smoke.
Then I quit because I couldn’t inhale without coughing.
Now I can’t imagine enjoying another drag.

I thought I couldn’t live without food.
I loved to eat.
Then the diet to end all diets because I was dying.
Now I can’t believe how good life tastes.

I thought I couldn’t live without you.
I loved you.
Then I lived one day without you.
Now it’s easy.

 

Rich with Lovers

Katharine Clifton (played by Kristin Scott Thomas, from The English Patient):
My darling. I’m waiting for you. How long is the day in the dark? Or a week? The fire is gone, and I’m horribly cold. I really should drag myself outside but then there’d be the sun. I’m afraid I waste the light on the paintings, not writing these words. We die. We die rich with lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we’ve entered and swum up like rivers. Fears we’ve hidden in-like this wretched cave. I want all this marked on my body. Where the real countries are. Not boundaries drawn on maps with the names of powerful men. I know you’ll come carry me out to the Palace of Winds. That’s what I’ve wanted: to walk in such a place with you. With friends, on an earth without maps. The lamp has gone out and I’m writing in the darkness.


Rich with lovers. I love that line. It is so full in one’s mouth and mind. It plays on the tongue and exercises all manner of lip movement and physical speech. I hope you have tried to say it. Out loud. You pretend kiss when forming the word rich. And the word with. It is a line for all time.

Rich with lovers. I think we all die rich with lovers. You may have only known your husband or wife, intimately. But we have all fashion of lovers. My family loves me. My friends love me. Strangers love me. And we love many. Sexually or not.

I have never been closer to another human being as I have been to my husband. I am so thankful for that. He knows everything about me and still loves me unconditionally. Even when he’s mad at me. He may not admit it. Or realize it. But if pressed, he loves me still. That–is nothing short of a miracle and nothing to take for granted.

My husband with all his faults and flaws is the most generous, kind and passionate lover I have ever known. And I have had my share. But I would trade my share for this one love. I count myself lucky to have found the one person who could fulfill my every desire and do it so well. He is smart, funny and oh-so lavish in his physical love for me. Some might look at my husband and wonder what I see in him, but he is a world-class lover. He’s Italian. Whatta ya gonna do? You can’t fight city hall.

I say all this, not to boast, but to demonstrate. Even with a rich, lavish love life? A love life beyond earthly compare? It cannot come close to my growing addiction to Christ.

If my love life with my husband was compared to the Earth-to-Moon distance (I love you to the moon and back), then my relationship with Christ would be the distance from the Earth to the Sun (Son). I love my husband with everything I have. And I truly believe after 17 years of marriage, he loves me the same way. But it doesn’t even touch how Christ and God feel for me. Not even my relationship with my daughter can come close to how God feels for me.

The Bible compares our relationship to Christ as a marriage and sometimes our relationship to God as parent and child. And those are wonderful examples of how He loves. But I don’t think we can perceive with our small minds how big God’s love is.

I hear people often scoff. (Scofften? LOL) Why would God create the universe, as vast as it is, for just our world? Why would a great God in heaven care about me? Why would God create man and play this simulation of Love?

Quite simply, God is love.

Not that He simply loves, but that He is the Love-being. We are built in His image. He is relationship. We are love as well. Love is not just a word or an act. It is a continuous chosen action, verb, noun, state of mind. Sacrifice.

He built us for love. To have relationship and fellowship with Him. We do life with the intention of being loved. We are born with a burning desire to be seen, to be loved, to be lavished. I see it in my daughter. I see her burning desire to be noticed and praised. But she has never known a day without love. We have heaped praise and love on her head and she still yearns to be known so intimately. She raises her voice, speaking her opinions into existence and wants so much to be heard. I pray that she learns at some point, God is listening. And if we listen back? He will reveal such profound love and understanding. If we can just quiet our minds enough to know, we are being loved so completely. So lavishly. So richly. So permanently.

The question in my mind is this: if God did create the universe and we do not acknowledge him in this, how can he feel loved? Even God wants praise for all that He has given, created, sacrificed. And he deserves it. What has Man ever done to compare with what God has done? Aren’t we born wanting praise?

I have chased all forms of pleasure my entire life. Food, love, sex, comfort, pain-relief. And it does not satisfy. It does not sustain. It does not last. In a moment, the satisfying fullness of achievement is lost in the pulses of light from the universe. No fullness lasts when relying on worldly things. But when I achieve some level of understanding or testament of love, or ability to withstand temptation, or fulfillment of biblical beatitude, it lasts. It is a taste rich with loving. A meal that brings wholeness, fullness.

All of my life’s true happiness and peace has come from obedience. Understanding and accepting those gifts that are set aside just for me. We must embrace what we are given, not envy what we can never have.