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.

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

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.

I’m Here! .. wait… what?

Today a fellow sleever asked for a show of hands on facebook. Specifically he aksed for “over a year veterans”.

There are many times in my life where I have looked a situation and thought ‘it seems like yesterday..’. Often times when I look at one of my children, my husband, my parents. Sometimes when I open the front door of my home, or visit my old town. But never did I ever expect to feel that way about being a baby op. I mean, when did I become a veteran? I didn’t think I was. In my mind, I’m still green at this. I’m a newb. A babe, a fresh op. Careful, don’t scare me away!

Perhaps the fact that I had another surgery just three months after my WLS, I feel as though weight loss is still fresh, still progressing, still honeymooning. I know, logically that 18 months is the “magical” number assigned by “THEY” who write the books. “THEY” say that the majority of weight is lost with in the first 18 months after surgery. “They” also say a person who undergoes a vertical sleeve gastrectomy should expect to lose approximately 65% of their excess weight. Uh, yeah… that would have left me at about 215lbs…and I should have been happy with that? I don’t know who “THEY” are or where they get their numbers, but I think they may want to do some other research with in the community. Perhaps some updated studies. I don’t know.

Either way, being called a veteran is sort of like having somebody guess my age five years older than it is. It sort feels similar to the tick tock of the biological clock ticking in my chest. Its kind of like looking out the window and realizing that the big kid on the skateboard is my baby.

Lets slow down, take a breath, reassess the situation. Yes, I’m here for support. I am still in need of support. But by no means would I consider myself any kind of veteran. I’m in my surgical toddlerhood. I’m just ready for the equivalent of potty training. I still have accidents!

Disclaimer: The person who called forward the veterans did no wrong. He called forward those who seemed to be missing with in the support community. He was not looking to offend and I have no issues with him. 🙂 Its all rainbows and unicorns.

Appointments abound

I followed up with the caffeine nazi, err.. Neurologist. My legs are getting stronger, this is good!
As I was on my way, a headache snuck in. In office the light sensitivity began. I was cranky. Had taken imitrex last night and still this came on. But he saw it, and now I start low dose topamax. I’m pleased with small doses.
Verdict on leg issues and labs? NORMAL! Thank God! Possibly a virus, but nothing to worry about. Hooray!
Now, no more excuses! I need to move my ass! Doc suggested the 3 miles with the dog should start at 1.5 miles to be sure to not makes the muscles angry. Also, given the clear for caffeine, which I have been drinking anyway.
Well this was a lame post.
Tomorrow morning starts with Click Baby!

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I went home….Part I

As my previous post stated, I traveled from Georgia to New York with my kids. I use to live in NY. It is where I was born and raised. Some of my family is there, my best friend is there, my past is there and its always going to be home to this Yankee chick.

When we first arrived we drove past Long Island, past Westhester and toward Poughkeepsie NY where we met up with my friend Hope and her clan Olen, Reid, Eliya and Lincoln. Hope and I became friends back in the days of my pregnancy with Kailey while on a baby board for February 2002 babies. Olen and Kevin are the same age, about a week apart. While we have not seen each other in years (actually 4 children or so ago), we have always kept in touch. Hope and the Feb mommas (both 02 and 03) were my life line, when I had little hope left in the world. It was a calm, comfortable meeting while the kids all ran a muck around Chuck E Cheese! Love you Hopey!
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Later that afternoon we traveled another hour south east and arrived at my sister Suzanne’s house. The kids hopped out of the car and almost immediately made friends in the neighborhood, and began playing outside. I know I have made mention of this before, but I am so proud of the fact that my kid play outside! They are not drone children, attached to electronics and sitting on their butts. They are active and happy and living the type of childhood that I had, and that many kids their age only see on TV!

Suzanne came home and we were instantly comfy, entertained, fed and loved. We set the kids up in one room, and shuffled their tired little butts to bed, with hopes of having a nice quiet sisterly night. There were whining kids, but the night still ended up with sisters, sushi and martinis. Ahhh… creature comforts!

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The following morning we herded the children, including my beautiful niece Kristin (Krissi, as she prefers to be called, will never cross my lips), who happens to be a 25 yr old child in my book. Yes, herded them all into the car and off we went for a trip to the Bronx Zoo. Face painting, animals, lunch, rides, butterfly gardens and a 4D movie later, we headed to the store to gather some things for dinner. Suzanne and I walked into the grocery store as well as a foodie boutique looking like this:

Embrace the day, love your inner child

There were small debates as to how sane it was to walk into such places, in my sister’s town, looking like we just escaped the circus, but alas, we embraced the inner child and said “fuck it!”! We all know, very well, that you only live life once! These are the moments to remember, and I’m pretty sure the kids as well as a few locals will remember us walking into Susan Lawrence looking like this!

Sunday arrived and we went to a beautiful park on the Hudson River. Suzanne packed us a great picnic lunch, and we instantly soaked up the day with smiles, and laughter, kids looking out over the water, and everybody doing their best to climb a tree!

On the Hudson

When we left the park, we headed home to have a lovely dinner with Kristin and Lamar. Lamar was introduced to the children, and he didn’t run in fear, as they climbed on him like he was a human tree. They adored him, as do the rest of us.  I promised Lamar no photos of him on facebook. This is not facebook. Here is the mystery man being adored!

Sunday was my last night at Suzanne’s. Monday morning we headed to Christina’s in Long Island. I will write more about that leg of the journey later.

To end this post I want to point out that 140 + pounds ago, I would have struggled with a trip like this. I would have struggled to keep up, have energy, be comfortable, and the joy would have been overshadowed by the unhappiness. That unhappiness was captured in many photos over the years. These photos, this time around, do not shadow anything. There is joy, there is peace, there is fun, and there is pride.Most of all, there is love. And its quite clear.

My largest non scale victory is simply the fact that surgery helped me to achieve a quality of life that obesity robbed me of.

 

Life is good when…

Today I had tremendous non scale victories. I wore a bathing suit, spent the day out doors, in July heat and humidity and was comfortable. I didn’t seek the shelter of the house. I enjoyed my family and my friends, with out worrying about what I looked like or what others thought of me. BUT… MOST OF ALL… I played with my kids, made memories and was that person that I had hoped surgery would help me to be. I was a mom who was able to not only keep up with her kids, but who was able to enjoy them too.

Life is good. I am blessed. These are just a few of my many blessings.

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Bari-Family

Once upon a time, a sort of big guy dated a sort of chubby girl, they got married, had babies and got obese together. The now obese wife decided that life was meant for living, and decided to have bariatric surgery to help her reach her goals of living.

A few months later, the obese wife, became a smaller version of her former self, and resembled her younger self more and more. The obese husband struggled with his emotions, trying to deal with the changes that were happening before his very eyes.

Eventually the obese husband discussed the possibilities of bariatric surgery for himself, first with his doctor then with his wife. While apprehensive to under go any form of surgery, he realized that at the rate he was going, he wouldn’t see his children graduate high school. Having lost his own father, much earlier than he should have, he decided to go forward with his plan to have weight loss surgery.

Today the obese husband has been under doctor’s care for  5 months. He went for all of his pre surgical testing, his surgeon consult and his nutritionist appointment. Today, it all became real for him, as he left the doctor’s office and the doctor said “next time I see you will be on the day of your surgery”

One month from now, he will hand in the last of his paper work and it will be submitted to the insurance company. With in the next few months we will be a bariatric family. Hopefully the changes we make in our lives now, will keep our children from struggling with obesity and poor eating habits and behaviors.

Up to this point, I was not sure he would go forward with this. In the past he has lost weight on his own.

When Kailey was born, the man was skinny!

As I have written previously, having a child with medical issues certainly contributed to both of our stress eating tendencies. It is very easy to fill the “helpless” feelings with food. I am hopeful that today marks the beginning of the changes my husband needs to live a happy life.

We're on our way... together.

 

The end of a week of SLACKING!

 

If there is a book about how to be a good wife, a motivated mother, Susie freaking sunshine… I may need to read it. Because frankly, this past week… I have not been any of the above!

"Slacker mom reality" Hi this is totally what my house has resembled this week, and that is the exact position I have had on the couch!

 

 
So much so, that I didn’t even take Ruby out for our hike this weekend. She was very content to slack with me though.

belly up, hanging off of my lap.

 

So, once again, I fess up to bad behavior. And once again, I tell myself that tomorrow is a new day. I will get up, I will move, I will not make excuses.

Tomorrow is nearly here, so I had better get some sleep. I will be accountable this week. I will check in with those who keep me on my feet, I will look at myself in the mirror, face the reality and buck up!

This past week has been chock full o’ drama! What drama you ask? Hubby with no work because things are slow, kid with scarlet fever… which, for the record is not the plague or a death sentence, a lightning bolt smacking into my air conditioner unit, children up all night because of said bolt, which my husband didn’t believe actually hit anything, A/C unit going electrically defunked, seizing up and the upstairs soaring to a high in the mid 80’s (I have a child who doesn’t sweat, this is very bad.), hot flashes, spousal arguments, and the saving grace of a friend who owns North and South Mechanical… who rigged the unit for the time being. I got to claim my very first home owners insurance claim, and now we wait to see what happens next. There has been a lot of time spent with book in hand, head in pillow, and fingers in ears. I saw my doctor and got diagnosed with migraines, ended a week long migraine, and still found 100 excuses to not do a damn thing! It ends tonight.

Tomorrow… yep…. that’s when I will put my best foot forward.

Tonight I’m going to bed, thankful that my house didn’t burn down, none of my children were hospital bound, heat stroke didn’t happen, my dog loves me no matter what, my husband loves me despite it all, only ONE of my children spewed out “I HATE YOU”, and maybe, just maybe I can still make it to NY by next weekend.

My main food groups

Time to fess up. My doctor is less than pleased with my eating habits. I’m sort of in a rut. While I enjoy food, especially creating it, the average daily routine is the same.

Dannon plain Greek Yogurt. 8oz is 120 calories and 22g of protein. THIS is my dream food. Easily digestible, yummy, high protein low calories. Hello, I live on this stuff!

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SPLENDA: dear splenda, I love you. With out you my daily eating would be miserable. I love how you sweeten my yogurt, my coffee and my fruit.

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If you’re thinking of yelling me all the ways splenda will kill me, save it. It has saved me! It’s even in my water via mio drops!

Fruit: I get in far more than the daily recommendations of fruit. Berries. Love them! Add them to my yogurt, with splenda, this is bliss!

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Coffee: yes, please, all day long! I love my keurig. Even when it acts up. I’d be lost with out my perfect cup… Many times a day.

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I’m the coffee/protein category is the shining star!!! CLICK! Yes! Please. Thank you! I love Click. It is a protein shake that is not a chore to choke down, but a pleasure to start your day off. Love my Click. I do, I do!

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I’m struggling with this food rut. I didn’t like being told I needed to focus more on “real food”. I am to try to eat this “real food” more than once a day. The above mentioned things do not count. Why? Because my eating habits are disordered.

I went from one extreme to the next I suppose. Although, the foods I’m stuck on are nutrient rich, the fact that it is all I consume is a red flag.

“dense protein” is the goal. More than once a day. Yesterday I had edamame salad, today some almonds and a bit of tuna.

I’m not a fan of being told to change. But I keep this blog to document it all, regardless of how silly, lame or concerning things are. So… There’s that.