Holiday…. this one is blue.

“A Holiday is a day designated as having special significance for which individuals, a government, or a religious group have deemed that observation is warranted. It is generally an official (more common) or unofficial observance of religious, national, or cultural significance, often accompanied by celebrations or festivities.” wikipedia

All of my life holidays have been a big deal. I am the youngest of a large, loving, fun family. Sundays alone were special occasions and often a day to gather and be together. Holidays were special. We would all participate in cooking and cleaning, talking, celebrating. There was always laughter, silliness, joy.

As the years went on, my family slowly started to find themselves relocating. First Robyn to Florida, then Chris to California, Jack to Maryland, Sue to Westchester, Mom & Dad to Florida, us to Georgia. The holidays windled a slowly. BUT… we always continued to  celebrate the way Mom & Dad had us do. Brian would have Christmas Eve, Suzanne Easter. When we moved to Georgia we fumbled to get our own traditions in place. We wanted our children to feel that holidays were special. I wanted my children to feel that they were surrounded by love, just like I felt growing up.

Sometimes we would drive down to Florida to be with Mom and Dad, and some of the siblings.  This year a bunch of them are together, but we can’t be, as Kevin just had surgery and we need to be here to allow him to heal.  We have made an effort to have a celebration with family and friends for every occasion that deems celebratory. Birthdays and Holidays. We gather our nearest and dearest. We laugh and smile and watch as our children soak in the love and the smiles as well. Thats what its all about.

 

This year is tough. Kevin has just had surgery. We felt that hosting a holiday would be too much this soon. So here we are, for the first time, wondering how to make a holiday special with out company. How do you make it a special day, when it will be just like every other day. Just the six of us.

Back in 2002 I had the worst Thanksgiving of my life. I was a week out from my poor prenatal diagnosis. I was floundering with finding joy or appreciation. But I had my baby, my first son who was only 9 months old and I knew in my heart that if we didn’t start tradition THEN, holidays wouldn’t be special EVER. So, we had my inlaws and we decided that on Thanksgiving we would put up our Christmas Tree. We Laughed as my nephews hung ornaments all over one side of the tree and my niece hung them all on one branch on the bottom. I left it that way. It was my happy every morning.

I have planned to make Grandma’s Christmas Cookies with the kids on Thursday. I will roast a chicken, mash some potatoes, bake some asparagus and make some protein packed Banana pudding (thanks Melissa).

 

At some point in the day I will drag out the tree and the decorations and I will put on my happy face and we will adorn our tree with love.

 

This is going to be a difficult holiday for me. I don’t know how to make it feel like a holiday with out being surrounded by more than just us. I just hope that it isn’t a disappointment to my kids.

Got Slimpressions??

NO? WHAT do you mean NO!?!?!

Okay, look, this is the thing…. body shapers are a must have. No, really.. a MUST have, for just about every BODY. Let alone a post op Weight loss surgery body!

I have done the spanx, not made for the WLS folk. Really, they just aren’t. They roll, they pinch, and lets just be honest…. panty hose suck with or with out feet. Sorry spanx. you sort of really suck as a product.

I had/have the kymaro body shaper. It was on clearance at Kroger for $10. Its worth $10!! no doubt about it! Totally! I would buy more at that price. $40? HELL NO! uh-uh! why? Because for $40 I can get MORE!!

So, my eyes were opened. I tried on Slimpressions and my loose skin was pulled in, with out pinching. I could breathe. I didn’t sweat (hello, I’m menopausal, at a meet and greet and didn’t sweat!), I never do wearing them, I could sleep in these things! I am in love and really do love this product! Not only do they pull my skin into place, they smooth me out with out making me look like a barrel, they pull me up (hello boobs!), and they do not roll! I’m not even kidding!

So, until October 15 you can get 25% off of your slimpressions order with the code: SLIM25WLS for 25% off!!

Okay girls, go shopping!

www.slimpressions.com

Ideals…

This photograph was floating around Facebook yesterday. A bunch of my Weight Loss Surgery friends had shared it on their walls. Each time I saw it posted I clicked on it, looked at it and thought about it. Each time it left me a little unsettled, because I know that my own ideals have changed with each goal I have reached.

When I decided to have weight loss surgery, I was 330lbs, a size 26 and my goals were not in numbers or sizes but simply to reach healthy and normal. Achievable, right?  Yeah, well not so much. I’ll tell you why. “Normal” is in the eye of the beholder. As an extremely obese woman I would have been giddy to reach 225lbs! A size 18 was a dream come true to me at that point. But when I reached a size 18, I immediately set my sights on a 16 or a 14, because 18 wasn’t normal enough! Then I reached a size 16 and I was unamused. It was not a celebratory state. There was no WOOHOO I’m a size smaller. It was more of a “shit, I’m only ONE size smaller?”.

From very early out post WLS I relied on the scale to tell me my success, my worth, and to give me my rewards or punishments. Those numbers dictated the day. They still do, but not nearly as obsessively as they did a few months ago.

So, here I am at a size 12, and probably able to squeeze into a size 10, but avoiding the fitting room for fear that putting on a 10 will be a failure (hello insanity, take a seat, get comfy, I know you’re here to stay. Bitch). Once upon a time a size 12 wouldn’t have been an attainable goal for me. So having reached it, and now possibly having passed it, I should be content and proud. And I am proud. There is pride in this. There is NOT contentedness. NOPE. Not at all. Because, I want to be a size 8. I want it, I can taste it. I can fantasy shop for it.

I have heard time and again int he past few months “you look beautiful” and “You’re HOT!” from my husband, my friends, my family. I love it. It makes me smile. So why? WHY WHY WHY am I not content? Why am I not satisfied? Why do I want to continue pushing for smaller and smaller and smaller? When I reach an 8 will I want to try for a 6?

If that happens, if I get my ass into a size 8 and I am not satisfied and ready to maintain and settle for that, somebody had better come hunt my ass down and give me a serious smack down. I see the slippery slope in front of me. I want to put the breaks on, and yet I want to free fall down that hill as fast as I can.

I feel as thought my clothing sizes are a game of whack a mole. I’ve got the hammer and I’m slapping those critters down. 26, 24, 22, 20, 18, 16, 14, 12….. WeeeHeeee I’m winning, you can’t stop me now! I got this. No… I’m crazed and obsessed. So, I will allow myself to strive for an 8. I hope I get to ten and find comfort and acceptance with in myself.

Decompressing

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When the world gets to be too much for me, I often hide.
This morning I told Kailey that she will have some big surgery on October 21. She was sent home early from school after the smell of rubbing alcohol triggered an anxiety attack.
This is how she spent her afternoon. Folded between the ottoman and sofa, on the floor, out of sight, with the IPad. She sat there, in her space, decompressing and happy.
She is her mother’s child

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Momma and baby, a moment shared.

I found myself standing there, in the dark, dank silence of the garage, soaking in this moment…. she had her arms around my neck, her tiny head resting on my chest, her head below my chin, her legs draped over my arm, as I cradled her like I use to not so long ago. It was a quiet moment, a calm at the end of a stormy day. She was exhausted and so was I. It was just a moment, and I think we were both painfully aware of how incredibly rare and special that moment was. We were just still, deep breaths, strong grips, and silence.

It was only 3PM, the boys had not even gotten off of their bus yet, and here we were, 13 hours into the day from hell. We expected a rough day. We know that any day scheduled at the hospital will suck. We didn’t expect it to start at 4am, we didn’t expect the emergency room as an entrance. We didn’t expect the pain and anxiety.

Kailey is 8 years old. She is a tiny little bit of a girl. 30lbs and not even 3 feet tall. Kailey has a number of medical conditions, and I choose the term medically fragile when speaking of her, because above all else, the fact that her life is fragile is the most important fact I can stress. She is handicapped, she uses a wheelchair. She is a cardiac child, she has a mechanical mitral valve. She has a rare disorder called haywells syndrome, which amazingly enough is considered to be a random mutation. Any one of these things in and of itself would be bad enough, combine them together and well… you just don’t know what you get from day to day. We didn’t expect to see our girl celebrate her fifth birthday. She is now eight. At some point, we stopped projecting on the “but when” and decided to enjoy the “right now”. This way of life suits us well 99.9% of the time. Every .1% reality swoops in and gives us a really mean reality check.

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Kailey was scheduled to have a cystoscope to check out her bladder at 11:30 on Wednesday. At 4Am on Wednesday, Kailey came hysterical into my room, in pain. Her bladder was full, it hurt. Because of her spina bifida, she has a mitroffanoff to access her bladder. We catheterize her through her belly to get the urine out. We have been having a hard time lately, thus the reason for the appointment later in the day. At this point, I was unable to get her cathed. We tried and tried. Ultimately we ended up at the Emergency room.

Once at the ER, we were greeted by the lovely woman who works behind the desk at the CHILDREN’s HOSPITAL, who, when pulling up my daughter’s name stated “you’re scheduled for day surgery, you need to go upstairs.”. Here is how this goes.

Me “Yes, she is scheduled for surgery at 11:30. It is 8am, she is in pain and needs seen RIGHT NOW. The doctor’s service said to bring her into the ER”

her “So you’re coming from the doctor’s office?”

Me <GLARE, look at watch, GLARE> “Uh, no, I’m coming from home. This is not a child with behavioral issues, this is a child in agony. You have to admit her to the ER”

her “Oh, okay hold on.” .. picks up phone, dials and speaks “Uh, I have a mother here who refuses to take her child to registration, she is scheduled for day surgery, what should I do with her?”

At this point I walked to a nurse, explained again that the child who I have with me, that is screaming in agony, and demanding somebody help her RIGHT NOW… is not a child with behavioral issues, but rather a child who has not urinated in over 12 hours, and that the surgeon told us to come to the ER. The nurse went to the idiot at the desk and told her to check us in. There was a debate between the two. I took Kailey and sat down while the battle of wills went on over there. I had nothing to contribute. My heart was broken. My will was shattered. My baby was in so much pain.

Finally another nurse called us over to take K’s weight, temp and allergies. She gave her her bracelets, then told us to have a seat. Dumb struck I said “huh?” she said pointing to the empty chairs “Go there and sit, somebody will come and get you”. Uh, oh… well, okay.

Now, this is where I should let you all know that at our usual children’s hospital (CHOA has FOUR hospitals in a very close area all specializing in different areas. We usually go to Egleston, because of their cardiac unit) sees us walk into the ER, and Kailey’s chart must be flagged, because we have never, ever EVER so much as sat in a waiting area there. EVER. We have signed in, and been escorted straight back. Seas part for Kailey at that hospital. They are NO JOKE. DO NOT PASS GO! No no, straight to a room with a nice lil’ pulse ox, and telemetry monitor on you.

Being told to have to sit in an ER waiting room, while standard for the whole wide world, is not standard for Kailey, ever, especially when she is in THIS MUCH PAIN! I have never ever seen her hurt like this.

My advocate self, my take no crap self, my “don’t screw with my baby” momma bear self…. BROKE! I don’t know what happened to me, I don’t know who I was. I was completely swallowed whole by the words my daughter had spewed at me about wishing she could just die. I was traumatized by the world around me and how completely out of body this whole thing seemed. I was not myself and I was not doing my thing. So, Kailey stepped in.

Kailey started to yell at ‘She who sat behind the desk’. When I say yell, I mean… this child turned UGLY. She screamed “Im going to slam my head into the floor and MAKE MYSELF BLEED! Do YOU HEAR ME? I’m going to make myself bleed, so somebody HAS to come out here and HELP ME!” OMG, my 8yr old just had her very own, “terms of endearment moment” for herself! GOOD FOR HER, and yet, how sad that she knows that this is a way she should have to get herself help?

At this point I texted my sister, who called the doctor, who sent a nurse, who got us into the ER. From there the frenzy was fast and furious. There was the attempt to calm the child with versed. They tried to put it up her nose. She spewed it back at them. Not happening. The urology fellow came down and tried to get her catheterized. She failed. It was clear that this bladder wasn’t going to get tapped while this kid was awake. So, the next step was get an IV going. Once that was done morphine was given. The savage beast was calmed. She pointed her finger in a circular motion and said “THAT… that medicine makes me sleepy AND it makes me not care! I LIKE THAT ONE!” Yes honey, me too. As soon as Kailey got her “not care” on, she was shuffled up to the OR floor. Notes were taken, doctors were in and out, I just stood, answering questions, holding her hand, and feeling both apprehensive and relieved. At least she didn’t hurt, but soon I would have to leave her. That moment, that horrible moment when you kiss your child goodbye before any surgery, was looming closer and closer, and with it, the old “what if” started to whisper like thunder in my soul.

Then we were home and  there we stood, soaking in our quiet moment in the dark, dank garage. Both of us knowing. Both of us exhausted. A moment an 8 year old shouldn’t have to understand, but she does. A moment, like so many others we have had, but a harsh reminder… that I don’t take advantage of the normal moments nearly enough.

Kailey will have more surgery in the upcoming weeks. I will let you all know about it, as the time arrives.

STOP SUGAR COATING IT GEORGIA?!?!

Really? REALLY? Did I REALLY just see this damn campaign AGAIN, on my television, in MY family room, WHILE MY KIDS WERE WATCHING?

What campaign? Sigh, let me take a breath. Okay. Georgia, Children’s Health Care of Atlanta… is “leading the campaign to stop childhood obesity”. How are they “leading” the way? Well… it goes like this.

There is a beautiful young lady standing alone. A voice over describes how, sure she liked sweets, like any other kid. And “I just thought she was thick like her momma ‘” they then go on to say how they didn’t know that what she ate could make her sick. When she was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes…..

SO.. whats wrong with this? Well… from my perspective… A LOT!

What was your body image at the age of 12 or 13? How did you feel standing alone in a room, in front of your peers? I wasn’t obese, I still squirmed in my own skin at that age. NOW… put this “thick” child on TV when the family is sure to be watching, single her out.. call her thick… what do the other kids in the house walk away with? I’ll tell you what. A fat kid, alone on a TV screen, looking ashamed… MUST BE BECAUSE SHE IS FAT!

I’m ashamed that this is the best way that this subject has been approached has been with shame. WTF Georgia.

http://strong4life.com/

 

Sadly, while I have been preoccupied with my own children, doctor appointments and lack of computer, I have lost contact with Lindsay Bishop from CHOA, who was supposed to work with me, to discuss this very topic, and to get a Walk From Obesity going with in the Children’s community as well as the bariatric community.

I have trusted CHOA with my daughter’s life. I have been nothing but satisfied with the care given there. CHOA has been our home away from home. The heath care providers are incredible. So how is it that a public relations team can be allowed to drag them down this way? Its shameful.

This campaign is disgusting. I’m sad. Frankly, I’m pissed off.  There are better ways to address childhood obesity. In your face, in my living room IS NOT THE WAY!

Rationalizing the Irrational

Rationalizing the Irrational. Is it even possible? Worth while? Stupid?

People pleasing, its sort of a stupid trait. Many of us have it. Why the need to please, or defend or rescue? And do our efforts to defend and please help? Usually not. As a matter of fact, my hope to protect has done harm. More than once. I get caught up and I realize that people are human, imperfect, have their own shit in their own lives, and rescuing them, defending them…  not my job. I guess I need to STFU, and worry about my own life, my own self and my own very largely imperfect life.

Primum non nocere = First do no harm

Absit inuiria verbis = Let injury by words be absent

Errare est humanus = To err is human

Trying to please all, is fruitless. Defending somebody other than myself, not my place.

So for today, I take a breath, reflect and attempt to do better tomorrow. Luckily every day is a new day, a chance to start again.

 

One Year… I have lost and gained.

One year ago today I went in for my Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy. The picture above was a webcam photo, positioned just so, in attempt to hide my many chins. The smile, it was forced. Look at my eyes. Where is the joy?

I arrived at the hospital weighing about 300lbs. My pre-op diet paid off a little. 30lbs lost in 6 months. I was determined that I was not going to fail at this. I went in knowing that my life was about to change. I wasn’t nervous or apprehensive. I had my sights on living.

In this past year I have lost a lot of weight. I am proud of the weight I have dropped, proud of the sizes shed, proud to clear out my closet and proud to wear cute things. While I have lost weight, I have gained tremendously.

I have gained my sense of self. Pride I had lost years ago. I have gained friends, who I have formed bonds with that while heavier I never would have formed. I ventured to put myself “out there” and take a chance on leaving the hermit life style behind, and I was rewarded with people who both understood me and challenged me.

I have gained an understanding of food and nutrition. I have gained a desire to move. I have gained the ability to chase my kids and play with my kids. I can now not only walk up the stairs with out being winded, but I try to run up the steps every chance I get. Why? Because I CAN!

I really never imagined that at one year out, my life would have changed this much. I set my sights on realistic. initially I felt that 18 months would be the magical number that “normal” was achieved. Once I started to lose weight quickly I had it in my head that if I didn’t reach goal by 1 year, I was a failure. I now understand that “normal” is a mind set and I’m never going to have it. And goal is a goal, meant to be achieved at some point, not by a day on the calendar.

I am not at goal. I don’t know if I ever will be. I will continue to move forward, enjoying life and hoping to hit that magical number that will some how give me validation. But for now, I am simply going to omit the crappy things that have happened this year and enjoy my rainbows and unicorns moment! *glitter confetti!*

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This may not be the best photo, but it the most recent & my husband hates the head wrap. So clearly the best photo choice is the one that makes him twitch. Some things never change.