Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Struggle Is Real!

Hello Readers! I'm sorry for the late post. This last week did not go as I hoped. That's what happens in life. Murphy's Law does exist, and my personal motto has already been "Life is how you handle Plan B." I definitely feel like I'm in Plan B mode, and I'm going to handle it like a boss.

I'm finally in week six, and this week I'm allowed to go back to the gym and I can start with light weights. Sadly, I only worked out one day, and I did Zumba. I did great, but I didn't have the opportunity to do more than the one day. I'm a bit disappointed in myself that I didn't make more of an effort to go, and based on what happened later in the week and yesterday, I think I have bigger fish to fry than getting 3-5 days of activity in at this point.

My 41st birthday was Sunday, and overall I had a good birthday. I spent time with family and friends, which is how I like to celebrate. I didn't eat much. Had the opportunity to eat cake, had a smidgen of a bite, and didn't like it so I gave it to my husband. I'm still trying to wrap my head around that. I don't like cake. Matilda was like "Uh-uh!" It just doesn't taste the same. I wonder if it's more of a mental thing. I hope it means I'm fully embracing my new lifestyle. When I do crave something sweet, I have two Gerber Arrowroot Cookies. Low in carbs and sugar, it's the perfect treat. Plus, they are easy to eat and Matilda enjoys them very much.

So, back to my Struggle. I'm in the soft diet food stage. According to my dietary guidelines provided by my nutritionist and surgeon, I should be eating between 800-1200 calories a day and getting in 60-80 grams of protein, along with 48-64 ounces of fluid. I'm really having trouble getting everything in. If I focus on getting my calories and protein in, I fall short on my fluids. If I focus on fluids, I only eat two meals a day. It's starting to take it's toll because I've hit it.... THE STALL!

Weight loss stalls happen. I was expecting it a lot soon than now. Most patients hit their stall around week three... where the scale just won't move. I've had stalls before, and they can definitely be discouraging. This one, not so much. I'm very careful not to use the scale as my ONLY measurement tool because it's deceptive. I actually gained 2 pounds over the last week, but we all know there is no way I could have eaten enough to gain two pounds. But, lacking proper nutrition can reek havoc on the body, and that's now my focus. Proper nutrition.

I need to find a way to hit my protein and fluid goals. 48 ounces is not enough water for me. My body runs best when I can get my fluid in the upper 60's to 70 ounces a day. Right now, I'm skating by on around 48 ounces, and I'm feeling it. This week I plan to be more diligent with my drinking. It's difficult because I can't drink 30 minutes before or after each meal, and if each meal take 15-30 minutes, that's 90 minutes of not drinking 3-4 times a day. It adds up.

What happened yesterday hit home and showed me that I really need to try harder to reach my nutrition goals. I had to get blood work done for my next post-surgery appointment. A full blood work up - vitamins, minerals, protein, sugar - will all be measured. I usually go to ACL/Quest to get my blood work done because it's a walk in clinic, and it's pretty quick. Yesterday, they pissed me off by making me wait almost an hour because someone skipped over my name (yeah, right!). Then, one I got called back, the girl said she needed a break because she had morning sickness and was afraid of needles. Excuse me, but what the ever flubbing flub!! You in the wrong job sweetheart. So, she pokes me twice. No luck. Then another old broad tries and she's bending my arm all back and forth, and I

said "STOP! I'm out of here!" I was almost in tears by the time I left because I get hella anxiety when I get blood drawn because I've had some awful experiences. I had my first panic attack in March when I got my upper endoscopy done in March because they couldn't get the IV in.

Matilda wants a do-over!
So, I has to go to the hospital to get my blood drawn. It took three different ladies, four more picks,  three hours and 4 warmers to finally get ELEVEN vials of blood. By then, I was shaking because my blood sugar had dropped so low. I eventually made it home, cold and shaky and just pretty much passed out for the rest of the day.

My blood work results just reinforced what I knew to be true. Protein low. Iron low. Sugar too low, but A1C was great. Diabetes is in full remission.

Weight loss surgery is no joke, and it's not for everyone, but it is for me. Struggling is just another method of growth. Matilda is still brand new. She's unsure, just like I am, but somehow both of us need to find a way to make sure we feed our body what it needs to be strong. Time for Plan B. I'll let you know next week how it goes. Until then...

HW: 361 (circa 2006)
SW: 278
CW: 256
GW: 160 (?)

Monday, August 21, 2017

I Gotchu!

"Girl! Do yo thang! I gotchu!" -Matilda
Hello again! Matilda sends her regards. She's going quite well five weeks out. Time is certainly flying by, and it's also time to advance my diet to stage 3 - Soft foods, and it's just like it's described. Foods soft in texture. Avoid fruits and vegetables with skin along with raw vegetables.  Today I'm planning on having some salmon and broccoli. Wow, sounds exciting right? Well, I'm totally pumped because I haven't had anything but liquids and pureed foods for about 6 weeks so we are definitely ready.

Matilda and I certainly has quite an eventful week. We went to a Bruno Mars concert - which I was a bit nervous about. We also went out to dinner with family and did a 3K walk. So, lets debrief.

I've been waiting for this concert since January when I got the tickets. I went with my hubby and my parents - my mom is a quite a fan as well. I was a bit apprehensive because the last time I was enjoying music, I became ill and needed to leave. I certainly didn't want that to happen here.

We also went out to dinner, and I know that can be particularly challenging for weight loss surgery patients. I just approached it practically. My family loves Mexican, and I love it as well so I knew I tolerated refried beans very well. So we went to a Mexican restaurant. I ordered refried beans and one taco. I decided to be adventurous and take the ground beef and cheese from the taco to add to the beans. This could explode in my face because I've never eaten ground beef yet, but I also know that Matilda loves ground turkey so I'm hoping ground beef would be the same... And it was. Matilda was super happy, but I didn't each much because I didn't want to overdo it before the concert.

Treasure! That is what you are!!
At the concert, Matilda was quite content. She rocked out! We were dancing and wiggling, and yes, we were told to chill a time or two, but it's Bruno Mars! You don't sit down. We drank plenty of water because we were working up a sweat. In all, it was a great night. She got a bit grumpy later because she was empty, but I told her to hush and went to sleep. She got some eggs and grits the next morning, so she was happy again.

Add caption
I also signed up for a Erie Mayor's Cup 3K walk. If you've followed me in the older posts, you'd know about my journey to complete a 1/2 marathon, which I did complete. I don't have a desire to do that again, but I'd like to make running a part of my fitness goals. I'd like to complete 3K, 10K and 15K's.  My goal this time was to complete the 3K within 60 minutes, which I did with no problem. It was a hilly route, which is great for endurance so I made sure to keep my pace as quick and comfortable as possible. Matilda handled her biz, and was happy to get plenty of hydration afterward.

It was definitely a great week. Work went well. I feel like I'm getting myself back on a schedule. I'm going to pick up my activity this week because next week is week six - and that means I'm cleared for lifting again. I plan on getting back to my kettlebells next week. I won't do it more than twice because I still need to take it easy, but I'm ready to get back to picking up heavy things. I want to get back to my level of activity I had in the past. I loved it, and I miss it. It's time to pick up the pace.

For those of you reading, please let me know if you have any questions about my process. I don't want weight loss surgery to have a negative stigma. It's a tough decision to make, and I want people to know what I went through, and my recovery after surgery.

HW: 361 (circa 2006)
SW: 278
CW: 254
GW: 160 (?)

Monday, August 14, 2017

A New Reality

Wow! It's been four weeks since surgery. Time has really flown. I was also release to go back to work today. I'm very fortunate to work from home, and my employer is very supportive and gave me the time I needed to heal. I'm actually back two weeks earlier than scheduled.  It was a good day!

I really took it easy this week per Doctor's orders. I mainly cleaned up around the house and started cooking again. I really enjoy cooking - especially trying new recipes. I use Pinterest religiously, and I was happy to pull out one of my favorite recipes to bring to a deck party with some friends. They love Almond Butter Cups and cornbread so I made both.

I hadn't made items like this in a while, and I'm a huge fan of cooking from scratch since that's how I was raised, and I feel it's a wonderful, healthy option. When I had lost a good amount of weight earlier in the blog, I made so many good meals. I was flirting with clean eating. I completed a Whole30, and fell in love with the power of Paleo eating and sweet potatoes. I now realize as I gained weight, I lost a lot of passion for cooking in the kitchen because I had gotten so big that it was physically taxing to cook.

Cooking from scratch requires lots of work - prepping ingredients, chopping and slicing, shopping at various stores. I stopped a lot of that and mainly focused on items I could quickly get to the table, which did both me and my husband a disservice.  With the weight I've lost so far, I've found my passion again. I contemplating returning to Paleo/Keto as a food methodology.

Eating is such a large part of our social functions. My family always celebrates birthdays, anniversaries, and just being together with food. When I get together with my friends, we always bring a dish to share and we enjoy noshing as we catch up with each other. My husband and I enjoying dining out. As a bariatric patient, I'm entering a new reality where I must be comfortable with my limits.

I've eaten out since I've had my surgery with my husband. We had Mexican (my favorite) and I thoroughly enjoyed the $2.00 refried beans I ordered and took home to eat for the next few days. I've eaten with my family and small pureed dinner with them. I had a ball at the deck party and happily ate a tablespoon or two of Buffalo Chicken Dip and Hummus (Yes, please!) My friends are wonderful and asked specifically what I could have. Luckily, those two dishes are common at our gatherings

My fork wasn't that big!!
I ate with my tiny utensils and tiny bowl and laughed the night away. Of course, they were curious about my surgery, and I happily told them my steps. My friends are amazing and supportive, and I appreciate the interest they showed because I know they are concerned for my health and well-being.

It's unfortunate that many bariatric patients hide their surgery because of the negative feedback and stigma applied that we are taking the "easy way out." People try to talk them out of it, or they won't be supportive of their decision. I've made it no secret that I felt that way at that point. Now, I feel it is my duty not to hide. If a person wants to know, I'll tell them. If a person has negative points that they want to share with me, they won't like my response. I don't deal in negativity so take that shit somewhere else. I don't care if people stare as I eat with my tiny utensils or ask for a take out box as soon as my food arrives. This is my new life. My new reality. And I welcome it.

HW 361 (circa 2006)
SW 278
CW 259
GW 160 

Monday, August 7, 2017

I Forgot

Hey everyone! Thanks again for reading the misadventures of Me and Matilda. I'm three weeks post-op today, and I at times I felt so amazing I forgot I had serious surgery three weeks ago, but Matilda let it be known who runs the show. Matilda runs this!

I am very happy that I am still on pureed foods. My favorites are beans, guacamole, hummus and salsa. I've pretty much been switching between these foods and sometimes combining them. My fav combo so far is 2 tablespoons of beans, 1 tablespoon of guac and one tablespoon of salsa. I've yet to get all of it down, but I can do pretty good in 30 minutes.

I also had my three week follow-up appointment with my surgeon's office. My blood work is very good, blood pressure excellent. Incisions are healing good. Next appointment will be in September and they will do a full blood work up to review my vitamin levels.
Matilda's first warning....
Now, about the tug of war between Matilda and I. Things were going great. We were getting along very well. I was feeling great and my energy was up so I decided to do more than I was supposed to... It was more activity that Matilda was ready for so she whispered softly "No!" On Saturday, I had more activity and was enjoying myself. Matilda got a little upset and said a bit more forcefully, "NO!" I still ignored her so on Sunday, she took me out. I was enjoying myself at the Jazz Fest with family and friends sitting peacefully in my chair, when all of a sudden I felt like was going to get sick and faint at the same time. I was hot and flushed. So, my hubby, the dear man he is, hustled me out of the park and back home where I could rest and get comfortable. I was very nauseated, but I never got sick. Matilda was shouting "NO!" and grumbling and huffing and puffing all day Sunday and didn't calm down until around noon today. 
Matilda's last warning!!

I spoke to my Physician Assistant about it today, and she pretty much told me I was doing too much activity, and I needed to rest for the next few days, and she's right. My right side is a bit achy and Matilda is still cussing at me for not paying attending to her message. I'm sorry Matilda. I hear you loud and clear. I'm only allowed to walk until 6 weeks post-op. At that time, I should be able to do more activity - and lift heavy things, which I really love to do and miss terribly.

Now, if any of you out there are considering weight loss surgery, there are many options out there. Luckily, my husband had a friend who has the gastric sleeve and was able to outline exactly what I could expect if I decided to get the procedure. I appreciate the guidance T.D. 

Once I made the decision to pursue surgery, I contacted my local hospital which has a bariatric program. I made an appointment to attend the informational, and that was my first step. Once I reviewed my insurance to make sure the surgery was covered along with the surgeon and hospital, I was good do go, but it doesn't happen overnight. Some insurance companies require 3-6 months of dietary documentation and review. My insurance required 6 months, and at first I was upset, but then I realized how much of a blessing it was because I really needed to prepare mentally for this life change.  My insurance plan required the following:
  • 6 dietary documentations from a medical professional. I was lucky that my surgeon performed these visits. For 6 months I met with him to review my dietary progress and along the way, we formed a bond. I'm so happy I chose him.
  • No weight gain from your initial starting weight. I'm sure there could be reasons why your insurance would approve surgery with a weight gain, but I didn't even want to go there.
  • BMI over 40 - or BMI of 35 with several co-morbiditites. I had a BMI over 40 along with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and mild sleep apnea, which was discovered during testing.
Now, my bariatric program had additional requirements:
  • Extensive blood work 
  • Sleep apnea study
  • Upper endoscopy
  • Attendance at three pre-op support group meetings
  • Psychological clearance by a mental health professional
  • Three dietician visits - two group meetings and one individual meeting
So, it's really wasn't a gut check decision. I had plenty of time to make sure this was the right choice for me. I couldn't have asked for a better bariatric program or a better surgeon. 

So, as I sign off and get back to relaxing before Matilda starts shouting again, thank you for reading. I will have pictures next week at my 1 month review.  You'll find my stats below.

Weight Loss Stats
  • HW 361 lbs (circa 2006)
  • SW 278
  • CW 264.4
  • GW 160