Is it all about you?

Today I was indulging my need to get lost on the net for a while & I went to twitter, where I was led to a friend’s blog to enter a give away (http://afterbedtimeblog.com/blogging/blog-to-business-freebies/) and then I read few some of the past writings I have missed out on. Vanita, the author got me thinking. How often do I actually leave a comment on the blogs that I read? Hell, how often do I leave feed back on much of anything?

We all participate on the internet with the hope of having our voices heard. A large majority of us share information as we seek and find new knowledge. Those little comments that are left, be it on a bulletin board, facebook, a photo, a group or a blog can really make somebody’s day. I know that with every little comment I see, I perk up a little. *Perk… somebody likes me… or paid attention to me… or hates me… but noticed me… perk perk**

Sure, I go through facebook and hit the friendly little like button to let somebody know that I was on their page or post or photo. Its easy and effortless, and as I sit and type this I can’t help but think.. its RUDE! Its bad etiquette. I wouldn’t go to a party and simply glance at the host with a smile and a wave as I rushed on to the next party! Is it too much to simply stop and say two words or more?

Which brings me to the thing I have noticed as I reflected upon my own poor internet/social media etiquette. You know those people… ya know THOSE people who are all over, telling everybody about all of their drama and their momma’s drama and so on. They write every stinking day about all the crap in their lives, and everybody falls all over them. Sure they get the attention, and they are seeking the attention, but how often do they venture off of their own page/post/blog/photo/note/etc to comment on those that support them?  Often? NOT REALLY. Oh yeah, they are full of the advice of what to eat or not to eat, what to wear or not to wear. How to avoid or conquer this or that… but it all happens to be on THEIR own posts!

While I may sound like I’m pointing a finger there.. believe me I’m not. I’m guilty of the very behavior I’m speaking of. I have made it a point in the past few weeks, to try every day to find one positive thing to post out there in the interwebs. Tweeting or facebooking, a blessing or observation about my kids, my friends, my life. Because frankly when it rains it pours and I didn’t want to be completely wallowing in self pity.. but somehow I was still completely self absorbed. HA! Go figure!

The funny thing is, in this community, we are all on a journey to find ourselves. Right? And so, part of the goal is to be self indulgent and self absorbed. Its a time for us to pay attention to ourselves for once! RIGHT? RIGHT… BUT rules still apply.

The GOLDEN RULE: Treat others as you yourself would like to be treated. Do you like to have comments made on your posts? Of course you do. So comment on other’s posts as well. Especially to those who are ALWAYS commenting on yours and showing you support! These are your people! This is your team! Show some respect!

Share! Don’t be a glory hound or a drama queen. If you are, they’re talking behind your back! “OMG… have you noticed that WOMAN who is always. blah blah blah blah” Yeah… because you get a lot of attention… its not always going to be to your face.

Help your friends! See a great blog? Link to it! Share their words! Its awesome to be noticed! Love somebody’s tweet? Retweet it! Give credit where credit is due.

I’m going to make an effort here to do more than have a simple blog roll over there ——> I’m going to make an effort to comment more often, share other’s blogs more frequently and participate on the forums that I find helpful more often. I started this blog for a reason, and I never want to lose sight of that reason. I want to share, and help, give support and find support in return. So today I turn it around. Its no longer ALL ABOUT ME.

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Thank you all

The outpouring of support and advice I received about my blog yesterday really helped.
We talked last night & I told him that he would find his own things that work for him, but vitamins and proper proteins are not areas that I will sit back and watch him be misinformed about.
I armed him with websites like Former Fat dudes Former Fat Dudes & Eggy The World According To Eggface and I invited him to learn from the best as to why a Flinstones wouldn’t work for him.
I have every intent to visit the surgeons office and ask questions, ask for the science behind their advice. Hell, one of the post op proteins is calogen based. So unacceptable for a newly post op body.
But, with out strong arming him, he seemed to understand that I have spent years researching and living this life, and maybe, just maybe, I have something to offer.
Again, thank you all!

Planning to start again…

How often in life do you get to plan a fresh start, with the knowledge of what lies ahead? In less than I week my husband will have his weight loss surgery. He will start his journey with is VSG. And he has the benefit of living with me and sharing my knowledge. While I’m excited to share my knowledge with him, I’m meeting resistance!!! WHAT? yep! I am! REALLY!

The man went to his pre-surgical meeting at the doctor’s office. He met with the surgeon’s team, the surgeon and their nutritionist. Now, I have to tell you, I love our surgeon. I do. I love the office and the support there. BUT… I do not agree with certain things that they teach. For instance… two flinstones vitamins a day? Really. Somebody please tell me how a child’s vitamin in a 400lb male body is sufficient? Now break it down to a post WLS body and tell me how it even begins to match up to what is needed. It doesn’t. Its dangerous information.  While I won’t pick apart every single aspect of what I disagree with, I will say that I have lived this life, done the research, met the experts and pride myself on the knowledge that I have. BUT… this man has gone to ONE meeting and is telling ME how things have to be.

I should sit back and not argue. I should let him take the lead in his own weight loss journey. I should let him find his own way. Right? Or… should I step in and beg him to listen?

I’m honestly a little befuddled. I don’t want to come across as strong arming the boy. I don’t want to come across as knowing better… but uh, I KNOW BETTER. Hello! I’ve struggled, I’ve lived it.. I am living it. YOU have MET my people! This man has been talked to about nutrition, about post WLS life, about just about everything… in a manner that has been casual and not about him. So why can’t he apply what he already knows to be true to his own life? UGH! I’m frustrated! I’m going to sick some of my folks on him!

So, ladies and gents….. your advice? Do I approach this as if I were approaching one of you? Do I tell him what I know to be true and tell him what I know is bad advice and what has been helpful? Do I STFU and let my friends do it? Or do I just let him fumble his way through the first few post op months on his own? (I wish I knew then what I knew now. He has the chance to have better knowledge than I did. Better insight. I wish I had a first hand perspective back then. I wish I knew.)

The face in the picture.

I was updating the photos of my journey tonight, and as I scrolled through the edit page I was actually taken aback by the face in the first picture.

I remember the day as if it were yesterday. I was in Florida celebrating Thanksgiving with my family. I had just told my siblings and my parents that I was going to have weight loss surgery. I knew then, that I was going to make major changes in my life. I was looking forward to living. I was excited about the prospects. I know this all to be true. Yet… I see that face and there is no trace of anything but pain.

Once again, I’m going to comment on the role that the camera plays in this journey. It not only helps me to show you where I have come from, but it helps me to see where I was. It helps me to look back, and acknowledge that maybe I wasn’t as “okay” with being fat, as I thought I was. Maybe I wasn’t as “content” as I told myself I was.

I’m sad for the woman in that picture, but I don’t know if its because I know she was miserable then, or if I am judging her now. Perhaps its a little of both. Admittedly, it is NOT easy to see myself that way. As much as people show their before and after photos off, there is very little pride that comes with the before photo. Its painful to embrace. I was that person. That person IS who I am now.  Its hard. Really it is. That doesn’t go away. Regardless of how much weight you lose, you will always have been obese. You will always have been a statistic of the disease. And obesity is a disease. Its physical as well as mental. Its not pretty. It doesn’t go away.

So, thats my truth for tonight. The camera plays a role. Its important. The reminders are  sometimes difficult to reflect upon. The hurts can be covered up with clothes and new photos… but they are always going to be there. You can’t escape where you came from. You don’t get to out run your past.

http://vsgmom.com/pictures-of-my-journey/  it is NOT always pretty

It’s a Conundrum.

co·nun·drum/kəˈnəndrəm/

Noun:
  1. A confusing and difficult problem or question.
  2. A question asked for amusement, typically one with a pun in its answer; a riddle.

I feel like I keep dancing around this whole body change/dysmorphia/weight challenge. But I guess that’s what weight loss surgery/rapid weight loss is all about. Right?

So, this week I went back to that place that sends me into a cold sweat. I went to the fitting room. I knew that my size 12’s were loose and baggy, especially where my ass was. If your jeans don’t fit JUST right, you risk having noassatall or a massive wedge. Neither is attractive, but I guess noassatall is more comfortable.

So I fought the urge to run, the urge to flee and I tried on the size 10’s. Truth be told, I carried a number of 12’s in with me also… because well… maybe I wouldn’t fit in the 10’s and maybe a different cut of 12’s would be better. Hey, this is what it is. Its the way MY brain works. The 12’s were ALL too big, regardless of cut. The 10’s all fit, although one cut (the boyfriend cut) was NOT bariatric/loose skin friendly. Special thanks to those jeans for letting me know that I also have loose skin on my ass cheeks. Thanks for that!

So here I am wondering out loud… WHERE does one set their goals? REALLY? A BMI chart doesn’t tell you what size jeans you should be wearing. A tag in your jeans doesn’t tell you what weight you should be. So, what happens when your brain tells you that a size ten should LOOK 20lbs LOWER on the scale than it actually does? If I were to get to where the blasted BMI calculator tells me I *could/should/wish-to* be then what would the tag of my jeans read? 4? 2? 0? SERIOUSLY? Its ridiculous, isn’t it? I mean honestly… am I REALLY wasting my time wondering about this crap? BUT the answer is

I AM damn it! I fully ADMIT that a year ago, I would have been giddy to get my fat ass into a size 16, let alone a 14… 12 and a 10 was UNIMAGINABLE! SERIOUSLY! I KNOW! A ten! BUT.. BUT BUT BUTT….. I don’t feel like I LOOK like a TEN… most of the time anyway. And if you took away the camera and the mirror and simply gave me the scale… NO WAY IN HELL would the number on the scale translate into a size ten to me. NOPE, nay never!

So, while I don’t see myself as I ten USUALLY, I do take a LOT of pictures and there is a reason for that! When I was fat, I looked in the mirror and didn’t see myself as obese and as miserable as the camera saw me. I would get up, get dressed, check myself out in the mirror and say “Self, you look pretty damn cute for a big chick”. Then a week or two later I would see a photo of myself from that day and  much to my horror… there would be no trace of the cute big chick, simply frumpy cranky momma. AND NOW… well NOW… I look in the mirror and I don’t SEE thin, not fat, normal. I SEE loose skin, big girl. I don’t necessarily see obese. But I do see big. SO, I take pictures, because again… the photographs see more than what the mirror shows. The camera captures what the scale doesn’t give me, what the mirror hides, what the brain denies. The camera gives it to me straight. Be it tired, sloppy, or NOT FAT! The camera gives it to me for real. So yes folks, there are lots of pictures and there will be lots more. If I take a picture and I see fat, despite what the scale or the jeans say… the photos will keep me honest with myself.

The question, however, still remains. WHAT DETERMINES the beginning of maintenance and the end of loss? The number on the scale? The number on the jeans? The stupid freaking BMI chart? The photograph? Will there ever be a point where I will be satisfied? Will I ever it ever be ENOUGH? I just got into a size 10 and already I’m thinking about a size 8. HELLO BRAIN FUCKED! My constant friend. SIGH.

Body Morphing, its just a strange thing

Here I am 13 months post vertical sleeve gastrectomy. The honeymoon phase is waning. The need to make a conscious effort is apparent. A few days of bad choices equals a few numbers increased on the bitch of a scale. Damn that scale.

So, anyway, its a funny thing, the way a bariatric body changes. We have a body type. Those of you who are bariatric know what I mean. We morph in stages. Top first, melt melt melt. WHOA.. look at those cheek bones just days/weeks/months out. Then the neck, collar bones. Around 8 months out my waist changed, then I had to really work to get my legs to slim down… they were just hanging on to weight like potato sacks. Now here I am, slimming down again, and my waist is slimmer, my legs are slimmer and suddenly my face and neck and collar bones are slimming again.

There is amusement in this. I admit to being fascinated by the bari-body. The pre-pastics bari-body. We are identifiable. While we are proud of our weight loss, the way our bodies morph is often a bone of contention with many of us. The loose skin, the areas in which it hangs, the way the excess settles in areas such as our hips or lower belly, thigs, batwings, ankles, toes… what ever. Ahh thank the universe for the joys of the digital camera, the ability to take a photo and delete a photo, edit a photo and play with a photo. Thank the universe for the ability to connect with other body morphing freaks like me, who totally get it when I pinch the flap of skin on my hip and ask “What in the hell is THIS? What do I do with THIS?” and for those who laugh at me when I joke that “If a hurricane were to hit right now, at least we could all deploy our loose skin and parachute to safety” Its our super power. Flexi skin FTW!

Next time I  post a picture of myself and you wonder why I often post face pics, understand that the answer is this…… There is NO loose skin in my face, my neck or my shoulders! It is easily photograph-able with out needing to suck, push, roll or hide anything. When there are full body shots, I assure you that they are carefully selected, there are slimpressions worn to pull in the excess hangage, and they are shared painstakingly.

Stages of morphingI was recently asked if my brain is finally catching up to my body. I had to think about this for a day or two. I suppose it is. When trying on clothes I still grab one or two sizes too large. I still have anxiety trying on smaller sizes. Mind you, there is VICTORY in getting my ass into a size 12  and more so in the need to go try on a size 10… but there is also anxiety that comes along with going to grab those 10’s and carry them into the fitting room. But yes, my brain is there. I know I need the smaller size. I DO see it. I DO like it. I’m totally NOT bitching about it! YEEHAW to cute jeans! WOOHOO to skinny jeans! And YIPPY to the fact that this fall I will get myself a pair of boots because my calfs are thin enough to wear them! SO there! LOL

I digress, the point is… we are constantly in a stage of morphing. I don’t know that it matters how far out we are either. We just change shape every few months, bounce back to a shape, then revisit another shape. We are shape shifters, body morphers… we have super powers so watch out!

Sick Kids + Insurance = Its not all taken care of….

I have never taken the time to write about the financial aspect of having a sick child. Its a personal thing, its a difficult topic, its a sensitive issue for many people. That all being said, I have watched friends struggle, my family has struggled, and the vast majority of the public assumes that either insurance covers everything or the government steps in to help.

The majority of middle class families who have a sick child have a primary insurance company. Primary insurance covers (for us) 80% of medical procedures with in network doctors. We have a maximum of $3000 out of pocket. After that is covered, insurance covers all procedures. They do not however, cover all medications. Our monthly pharmacy bill alone is upwards of $300 a month. Laboratory Billing is separate,  Imaging billing is separate, medical equipment is separate.. and so on and so forth.

We do not qualify for SSI because my husband, our sole provider makes too much money for a family of six. Applying for a deeming waiver for medicaid has proved to be exhausting and loathsome, and difficult. We have been denied. I need to reapply because the time in which I had to appeal has expired. I let the ball drop. What ever.

Why am I telling YOU this? Well… heres the thing…. I have a friend, who has a sick child. This friend holds fund raisers to raise funds for his family and other families like his. Every few months they hold a small comedy show or event, something fun, a nigh out, nothing asking for large donations. Just something that can happen with in the most basic of circumstances.

It is my observation that when a child is initially diagnosed with an illness, a family is showered with support from well meaning friends and family. They are loved, and people are eager to show it.  But childhood illnesses such as leukemia, take YEARS to fight. And eventually the child who is fighting for their life, becomes well, not so sensational. And people go back to their every day normal, while the sick child’s family struggles to hold on to any semblance of normal that they can hold on to.

Finances dictate normalcy to a child. Siblings want to play sports, take dance classes, and when physically strong enough, the sick child would like to do the normal things other kids his age are doing as well. Do you know how much it sucks to tell your kid “Sorry honey, you can’t play basketball this year because we just can’t afford it.”? I do. It sucks. A lot.

So, my friend Tommy saw a way to gather friends, gather support, help his family and other families like his own. He has asked people to come out and show their support. And well… 2 years into his son’s battle with leukemia, he is seeing the support slowly trickle away. He is disheartened and disenchanted. It breaks my heart to see another parent feel jaded by the outside world. I chose to distance myself from the world when I had Kailey. Tommy chose to put his faith in his friends and his community when his son was diagnosed with leukemia. I know that Danny has had tremendous support so far, but he deserves support all the way through. He is a little titan! His story should be one with an ending as big as its beginning! Danny deserves an entourage the size of a stadium.

So, I’m writing to remind you, that we, the parents of sick kids, we rely on you… our friends, our family, our community… to continue to show your support, year after year… because the battle continues long after the initial diagnoses. The battle continues and gets worse, and sometimes gets better… but it continues and we are not “so strong”, we are along for the ride. Our children are strong, our children are amazing, we, the parents… rely on you the outside world to lend us strength… because sometimes we are running on empty, and facing tomorrow seems impossible.

Donations can be made to :

Friends of Danny

10 Highland Ave

West Islip, NY 11795

 

Perception, the way you’ve changed

Those of us who have had bariatric surgery have read many a story about the post op patient who has lost their weight, lost their mind, and found their mid life crisis. We have also heard many a story of those who have been there, done that, come back, found level ground and who live a happy sane life.

From MY personal perspective, there is a whole lot of unearthing of crap when you go from this:

to this:

Outwardly, it is easy to look at an image, or a facebook page, or a blog and think to yourself ‘Wow, she must be so happy!’ or proud or whatever. And to be clear, as for the weight loss, I AM! I am thrilled! Lets not be vague about that! Not for one second! I am happy and proud and giddy about the fact that I am no longer swallowed up by layers of my own fat.

However, those layers of fat gave me shelter. A reason to hide from the world. In my mind, I didn’t want to be exposed to judgment or hurt, harsh words, looks, etc. I didn’t want to feel the let down that I had felt in the past when I had let people in. And so my fat protected me. It was my shelter.

I recognized that my unsocial behaviors were neither who I use to be or healthy. I realized that my unsocial behaviors impacted my children. And just as my tendencies to feed my fears with food were slowly killing me mentally and physically, so was this hermit lifestyle. I was simply a fragment of the person I use to be. I didn’t know who I was anymore.

Sadly, those behaviors quickly defined who I was. The perception was that I was this person who didn’t have an outside life. I was the person who threw herself into her children and her husband, her family and nothing more. This perception is not incorrect, but this is not who I was. The vibrant girl I was before, was lost and the memory of her was lost as well. But she was still there, inside of me.

I decided to make these changes. I knew that with the change that weight loss surgery offered, there would be social changes too. I knew the statistics, I knew the crisis that hit damn near every one of us. I read and reread and thought I was prepared. Really, I thought I could handle it. I did.

Here I am 13 months post WLS. I have a whirlwind around me with fragments of two worlds spinning around. I am grabbing what I can, and trying to piece together, redefine rescue, the person I know I am!

I don’t have my shelter of fat to protect me. My guard is down. There is a ton of hurt, while I dig through this rubble. Accusations of “I don’t even know who you are anymore” and I understand that, because for 9 years I didn’t know who I was anymore either. I had to learn to trust people, and in doing that, I had to accept that sometimes people let you down, and sometimes people hurt you. And I fight myself, to not crawl back into that hole. I fight, and I reach, and I struggle. Because I KNOW who I am… or at least I know who I am not! I am NOT that person who sat by herself in sorrow for 9 years. I am NOT that person who guarded her wounds like badges of honor! I am NOT that person! That person was unhealthy and not somebody anybody should ever strive to be! EVER.

I am trying to grow from the damages I have caused myself over the past decade. I am trying to plant my feet firmly in the aftermath of the storm that I created in my own life. And I accept that people who knew me when I was fatter and more sullen are confused as to the changes they are seeing. I understand that this may seem sudden, awkward, manic, or out of the blue. I get where it will be perceived as a side effect of rapid weight loss, but I assure you, this is simply one of the steps I have to take, for myself, in addition to the weight loss. This is part of my process, and I hope you all make it through this with me.

“Nobody loves me, nobody cares,
Nobody picks me peaches and pears.
Nobody offers me candy and Cokes,
Nobody listens and laughs at me jokes.
Nobody helps when I get into a fight,
Nobody does all my homework at night.
Nobody misses me,
Nobody cries,
Nobody thinks I’m a wonderful guy.
So, if you ask me who’s my best friend, in a whiz,
I’ll stand up and tell you NOBODY is!
But yesterday night I got quite a scare
I woke up and Nobody just WASN’T there!
I called out and reached for Nobody’s hand,
In the darkness where Nobody usually stands,
Then I poked through the house, in each cranny and nook,
But I found SOMEBODY each place that I looked.
I seached till I’m tired, and now with the dawn,
There’s no doubt about it-
NOBODY’S GONE!!”
Shel Silverstein

I’m sort of excited!

Yesterday I received a package from Fed Ex. This alone is an exciting event. I LOVE packages. Admittedly they are usually medical equipment, but I still love to receive them. Packing bubbles! Ohh fun! The kids love it and so do I!

Anyway, what was in the package you ask? Well, it was a PERK! A perk? A PERK! About a month ago I qualified for a Perk on Klout. It was from a company called Big Train® & their new product called Fit Frappe™. I did as I was asked and filled out my preferences, my address and whola… package to my doorstep. Not my mailbox, my door step. This sucker wouldn’t fit in my mailbox.

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So, first impressions being what they are, I was pretty damn happy that I got a full size tub of protein, let alone samples of all of the flavors. Then, when I read, and re-read and triple read that this product could be mixed directly with HOT WATER I was nearly giddy. I know, its petty being happy not having to nuke my morning protein, but it is what it is. Second impression was skepticism. “Is this stuff going to clump up and seize on me?” I almost couldn’t wait for morning to come!

So, 4:30 am arrived and I was up and out of bed! I came downstairs and I brewed a cup of coffee. Sleepy headed I forgot that I was going to try my new Fit Frappe™. I remembered reading the suggestion that baristas could mix it up to customize their customer’s favorite coffee order, so rather than half & half I threw a scoop of Fit Frappe™ into my donut shoppe K-cup and whola, breakfast was served! It was delightful! Really really good. A great cup of Mocha goodness!

I waited till this afternoon to mix it up with plain ol’ water. I used hot water, because frankly I enjoy a warm beverage and again I wanted to see what it did when I used piping hot water.

I had no blender bottle…. it is MIA (somebody please send blender bottle)

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Even still it is clump free!

CLUMP FREE PEOPLES! CLUMP FREE!!!! HELLO! YOU HEAR ME?

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So, yeah, it’s really good. I like it with water alone. With milk or hood it would be creamy mocha goodness, but honestly my beverage of choice is going to be a big ol’ scoop of Fit Frappe in my coffee!

You want stats? I got stats! I used it in an 8oz serving so those are the stats you’re gettting!

8 fl oz

10g protein (Calcium Caseinate)

0 sugar

11g carbohydrate

calories 60

What does Big Train have to say?

“Fit Frappe is our new product line. Big Train has been around 20 years making gourmet drink mixes- chais, blended ice coffees…  We took a long time to roll out or new protein line Fit Frappe. The challenge is making a protein mix drink taste good added by the complication of adding coffee to a protein drink without an aftertaste. Looks like we hit a homerun on this line—Fit Frappe is getting huge reviews in the health and fitness communities. We just launched this product. No stores carry it yet although we are selling sample kits and jugs on our Facebook page – facebook.com/bigtrain “shop now”.”

So kids, if you are interested in purchasing some Fit Frappe, you can go to Big Train’s facebook page and click on “shop now” http://www.facebook.com/bigtrain?sk=app_135607783795

 

Battling obesity doesn’t end with WLS

I think it needs to be said that while WLS helps us to lose weight quickly, keeping it off and maintaining the right lifestyle is a constant battle.
Learning to cope properly is not easy, and for me, food is the easiest way to squash my emotions. The portions are smaller, but eating around my sleeve is possible. Owning up to my behavior by being accountable to my support system helps me to stay on track.
The one thing that sort of surprises me the most at 1 year post op is this… Struggling to lose 30lbs is the same as struggling to lose 170lbs. The struggle is no different. The end is in sight, it’s more tangible now, but… The fight is the same!

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Had somebody tried to tell me that at 300+ lbs I would have smacked them. I use to roll my eyes at my “normal” size friends, who claimed they needed to lose another 20lbs or so. Now, I understand. It’s not easy to lose weight at any size.
Be aware, those of you going into this soon, you will battle obesity for the rest of your life. Long after you fall out of the obese category, it will follow you around. It scars your body and your soul. It is a part of you and you shouldn’t forget it. If you ignore it, you could easily fall victim again.