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.

Broke, Broke and Mad

My husband is our soul income. Work has been slow. I planned on finding a job as a waitress for weekends, but I have been a neurological mystery and am not fit to apply for a new job as I am right now.  We are broke, I am broke, and it is driving us mad. As in crazy. As in, we need income so that I can continue to see doctors and still be able to be home for my children, especially my medically fragile child. We need income to do these things so that we can stay sane.

BROKE: AKA lacking funds. AKA poor.

by_WelissaM

deviant art by WelissaM

I am broken (headaches and leg pain, cranky gut  issues, cranky ass husband syndrome), my laptop is broken (the connector to it is cracked.), this is driving me insane therefore I am mad.

this sucker is the bane of my existance

The insanity is running rampant as the hubby is home more often, and funds are low. My normal escape route is my laptop, which I apparently have an addiction to. Addicted to the laptop? But Michelle, you have an iphone and TWO desktops in the house. Surely you can connect?!

Yes, yes I CAN get connected. BUT… clearly I am spoiled. Sitting at a desk top is sort of claustrophobic. I feel like I’m in the corner. Wait, I sort of AM in a corner, facing a wall, with my back to the world. How did I live like this for so long prior to the laptop?

So, I am cranky, the husband is home and cranky, the majority of the children are in school. We can sit in the house and stare at each other, while anxious and annoyed or we could GO OUT. So, we go out. Where do we go? To stores, where we have little funds to purchase anything other than groceries. Which adds to the stress, which makes me want to eat, which makes me panic, which makes us go home. And when I get home? MY FREAKING LEGS ARE KILLING ME!

Wait! They make a pill for that!

we can just go numb, right?

Oh wait, my pill for that is codeine. I prefer to be cranky, weak and nervous.

I am admittedly a whiney mess. I have not talked to many people these last few days, because all that comes out of my brain is WHINE WHINE WHINE. This is not fun, nor is it who I am. But I am blogging about it, because it is me and this is my reality. <— those two sentences are an oximoron.

As always I will remind myself and you, that there is a bright side. Kailey didn’t get admitted to the hospital on Saturday. Her brain is fine, although achey. My children are fed, happy and bright. I have a roof over my head that is much easier to keep afloat than the old house would have been in similar times.

My husband being home has its upside. We get to spend some time together, discussing options, forming plans of action, bonding. He will be having his WLS soon, and we are able to get a little more in depth when discussing that, because I’m harping on him about it. Because I’m bored. But these things need said and discussed, so.. bright side… they have been.

VSGMOM confesses to being absolutely bat shit crazy. Thanks.

huh?

 

Embracing the Taboo.. BBGC

Two days ago I received a package in the mail. I wasn’t expecting anything, however, my memory is not the sharpest these days. I opened it up and let out a very loud “OH YAY!” which captured the attention of the whole family. Momma likes packages. Momma especially likes packages that she has forgotten she would be receiving, and when that package contains my latest Bariatric Bad Girls Club tee shirt, momma is down right gleeful!

My proud display of my “badness” got me thinking about my friends and a recent interaction I had with my neurologist.

I went to the neuro because of the migraines and the clumsiness. The neuro suggested ordered that I quit caffeine. My jaw may have hit the floor. There was a very distinct four year old type tantrum that followed. “No Caffeine? What? No REALLY? You’re trying to kill me? Why do you hate me?“. The neuro sat looking at me with a big ass grin on his face, asked if I was done yet and I said NO! “Look, this is not funny. Did my husband put you up to this? Am I being punked? DO YOU REALIZE THAT COFFEE IS MY TRANSFER ADDICTION?!?!!!!”

Now it was time for the neurologist’s jaw to hit the floor. Wide eyed he looked at me and said, quite seriously “You are the FIRST bariatric patient that I have had, that admits there are transfer addictions. While they know it, admitting it openly is very taboo. They do not like the suggestion that food could be an addiction and that its not all genetics that lands them in the obese category”

I explained that my obesity was certainly not genetic, and while before surgery you would have found me very much anti food is an addiction, I am now of the mind set that the habit is the addiction. When I am unhappy, angry, sad, feeling anxious I want to shove something down my throat. I want my taste buds to send happy little bits of dopamine to my brain to push the ugly out and give me a moment of bliss not so ugly. After my surgery, shoving food in my face would give me a moment of “not so ugly” right before the pain from pushing too much food in gave me a “God please don’t let me die”. So, to replace the motion of eating, I began the motion drinking. My hands are occupied with a nice, heavy, warm mug. My mouth is filled with tasty warm goodness. It hits my belly and it doesn’t hurt. Its warm and comforting. Then… the dopamine kicks in with a little help from the caffeine. WIN WIN… right?

I explained to my neurologist that some of the very best people I have met in my life are bariatric patients that do not play a role in the stepford bariatric community. We embrace the taboo. Shit happens. Its not all rainbows and unicorns. The faster you accept that your behaviors landed your ass on an operating table the quicker you will find your way to support, knowledge and answers to some of your issues. Coping isn’t always pretty, but it doesn’t have to be judgmental either. Any “life coach” who suggests that they can guide your through your weight loss journey with grace is full of crap. There are issues that follow this procedure. You are learning to live again, new, differently and change hurts! Change gets resistance from us. Our habits, our brains demand keeping to routine. Retraining your brain is not easy, it is not pretty and it is certainly not something that will ever be graceful.

If there was grace in finding your way through life changing events, reality TV would not be successful.

So, back to the Bariatric Bad Girls Club. Support with a solid dose of reality. We celebrate victories, we do not judge when you stumble, we admit our failures, and find support in picking ourselves up. We are not bad at all. We are real. And because the bariatric community is so filled with “TABOO” our reality makes us appear to be “bad”. We take our vitamins, we eat properly, we admit that indulgences happen and are OKAY (from time to time, not every day)! We are not robots, we do not hide the truth, we do not try to sell you products, we openly discuss medical issues that may be a result of our surgery. We discuss the frustrations. We tell newbies that you will lose weight, you will gain loose skin, you will not be a bikini model and most of all surgery doesn’t suddenly fix the universe. Some people take offense to that view. Some people prefer a less in your face approach to support, and thats okay too. Find it. But know this. The BBGC is a strong community. We embrace Taboo, we speak truth, we offer support, we admit to cross addictions, we do not claim to be perfect or graceful. We do kick ass! We are not bad because we eat poorly, or drink with straws (many of us do drink with straws, we have not died), we are bad because our balls to the wall approach on honesty has been tisk tisked by many.

I love my BBGC tee shirt. I love my BBGC support, and I am honored to call so many of those men and women close personal friends. With in that group of “bad” I have found all kinds of beautiful and I have found so many hands willing to reach out and help me through some of the most ungraceful moments of my post op life.

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.

Migraines… they’re what I’ve got.

After a week of seriously screwy brain pain, my husband urged me to get my ass into the doctor. Knowing that I have seen her about headaches in the past, and her suggesting I see a neurologist…. I made an appointment with a neuro first, then went to see her.

“Tell me about your symptoms….” she said. I rattled off… dizziness, light sensitivity, nausea, insane head pain, worse when I bend down. Did I mention that I’m on day six of this? Oh, yeah, and uh.. I passed out in the shower once and I keep falling because my balance sucks. When the pain lets up and is more tolerable, there is ridiculous ringing in my ears, and on occasion, when I walk outside, I get spots in my vision.

Now, I admit, when writing it all out and admitting it out loud… I was an idiot to not go to the doctor before. My doctor, God love her for dealing with my entire family as often as she does, was unamused at best.

I am scheduled for an MRI next week. The week after I see the neurologist. My doctor gave me a beautiful gift in the form of a prescription for Imitrex and I took it at bed last night. I was afraid to sit upright this morning, for fear that the heavy head sensation would greet me as it has every morning for the past week, but alas, I sat up and my head didn’t feel like a bowling ball encased in skull. HOORAY!

 

 

This past week I have been a slug. I mean, really, beyond doing the hike on Saturday with the hubby and Ruby, which was pretty low key, low impact, slow moving…. I have NOT done a whole lot of moving. I have been quite content hanging low at home. A few days I didn’t get out of my PJ’s.  My husband made remarks about “who is that woman? Is my old wife back? My new wife wouldn’t be caught dead with PJ’s on and no make up. Are you OKAY?” Uh, yeah… not so okay, but still not excuse enough to slip back to old ways.

  I see how easy it is to fall back into habits. Its much easier to get out of bed and transplant myself from bed to sofa. Head in a pillow, letting the kids run a muck. Its easy to ignore the things that need to be done around here, especially when I know my husband will pick up my slack with out saying a word. Its easy to say “it’s too hot outside to go out” and its too easy to say “my head is killing me and so I won’t move because I don’t feel like it.” Even when the headache was a dull roar with ringing ears, I just laid around. BLAHH!

So today I hold myself accountable for the past week of excuses, and now that the pain in the brain is gone I have NO excuses. I’m going to get the kids out and pick some blackberries, then I’m going to catch up on housework. When the man comes home, I will see where the exercise will happen, dependent upon time, heat index, and weather I will either be down by the lake or up on the elliptical. Today the excuses end.

 

Confessions of a bariatric foodie

First off, let me point out my blog roll and the fact that there is a WHOLE blog dedicated to being a bariatric foodie. So yeah… stealing an idea here, but simply because I am inspired and frankly, I’m a self declared foodie.

I come from a family of foodies. My family has some of its very best moments in the kitchen, creating meals for each other. My dad, my sisters, my brothers, my husband, and even me… we’re all quite adveturous, and we all have amazing palates. My husband of course is beyond a foodie. He is a chef, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. His skills have been put to good use through the years, my family has no problem using him to their full advantage.

Having had weight loss surgery did not alter my taste buds. It has altered the amount of food I can consume, it has even made me apathetic toward food on occasion, but my love of new things and my palate has not changed!

On Saturday we went over to Whole Foods and we stumbled upon a tasting of peach infused balsamic vinegar. They served it over watermelon, with a bit of fresh basil. They had me at “fresh basil” so I went ahead and gave it a try. OH MY, holy peach loveliness! I am not a peach fan. Nope, just not. But this… the heavens open, a choir sang, and my brain immediately went to the endless possibilities that this product could create.

We had friends coming over for dinner, and Saturday night friends + dinner is usually finger foods. Delicious divine finger foods, made with love!

Our favorite stand by is the grilled Angus rib-eye with caramelized onions and horseradish sauce, served on a garlic Parmesan crustini. YUM!

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Then, Kevin made an amazing chicken salad with fresh grapes, pecans, and of course the peach infused balsamic vinegar. It was amazing! Sadly, there is no awesome way to capture chicken salad. Its just sort of ugly, but here it is anyway:

Chicken salad

Finally tonight, the 4th of July, we wanted simple and delicious. There is nothing as wonderful as Caprisi Salad. NOTHING! Some fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella cheese and a drizzle of some reduced peach balsamic vinegar:

And while confessing about the glorious things we created this weekend, here is a photo of the mocha chocolate chip cake I made for our friend’s 4th of July party, it was a hit:

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I brought them to water…

and they had a blast!

I have been making an effort to get out and hike as often as possible. It usually happens on the weekend, and lately we have been busy, so my favorite place has been neglected. I normally take Ruby and head down to the lake. There is a park there that is rough terrain, wooded trails and they lead to different parts of the lake.

Ruby loves this time together, although she is not a fan of the work out. She does love the water. I have never let her run free though, because of leash laws and the fact that she would totally go home with somebody else. Anybody who had a car would be suitable. She isn’t picky. Her leash is a standard 6′ lead. She never gets to really get down and dirty in the water.

This morning Kevin surprised me and told me that his mom was coming by to watch the kids and that we were going to go for a hike! WE as in BOTH of us! Now, this is sort of a mind blowing phenomenon for multiple reasons. FIRST: Saturdays = my husband’s day to sink into the couch and watch REALLY bad TV (hello swamp people, World’s Dumbest, Cops). Second: Its July, in Georgia and its HOT AS HELL, while my hubby can work his way around a 150 degree kitchen with no problem, getting him outside in the summer is damn near impossible. Finally, its the WOODS, NATURE and there are BUGS.

I didn’t dare question it. I quickly got dressed, threw on my running shoes, threw the hair up and popped downstairs just in time for the mother in law to arrive! A quick hello, a speedy “see ya later” and we were off. Kevin, Ruby and I.

I requested a tripe to Home Depot first. I wanted to get Rubylicious a nice long rope, so that she could really enjoy the lake at the end of the trails. We found a nice, cheap, hot pink 50′ rope and a clasp. We were off and on our way. I was pretty giddy and Ruby was fairly worked up herself. She knew where we were going!

We hit the trail, and I brought Kevin on the shortest one first. We spent some time on the shore and let Ruby explore and play!

Gonna get those splashes!

Oh this is great!

Then, much to my delight, we conquered the entire hike, from one trail to the next, up hill and down, climbing down the rocks, and through the trees… my husband was happy because I was not connected to anything digital and I was thrilled because my husband was by my side! Even Ruby kept up the pace.

We came out to an area where the water is usually higher, and had an opportunity to get down on the rocks and out to the lake. It was beautiful, and blissful and for sure to be one of my favorite memories yet.

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And we all went home, happy and proud!

joy

Oh, and… I also got quite a few compliments on the shape of my uh, rear! My husband rocks.

Behaviors, Flaws, Cross Addictions R US

We have all read the facts, we have lurked the forums, we have listened to stories friends have endured. Cross addictions happen after WLS. Can’t stuff the face with food to drown  sorrow, so drink to numb the pain. Can’t eat when stressed, so  shop to make yourself feel better. Have a new body, sudden attention, and suddenly sex fills a void you never knew you had. Right? Shopping,  Drinking,  Inappropriate sexual behavior. Its out there, its discussed, its hard to come to terms with, and difficult to understand what makes us tick.

I think there are more cross addictions or behaviors than those that are commonly pointed out.  Personally I think we all deal with behavioral issues post WLS that were probably lurking under the surface pre-op. I don’t think that we were all addicted to food, but we did have behaviors that landed us in fat camp.  Now that we are post op, there are behaviors running rampant, and because they don’t make many people raise an eyebrow, we don’t pay much attention to it, or ask ourselves why.

Some people never really had a social life. As obese children, grown into obese adults, very many of our peers were wall flowers. As the pounds shed, the “normal” sized person is not only seen, but is glorified for all that they have lost. Showered with compliments “You look amazing!” “You are incredible!”, the wall flower begins to peel off the wall and is willing to throw caution to the wind. Suddenly the social butterfly, they may measure their value in the praise of others rather than for the incredible job they have done themselves. Despite all of the positive responses from friends and family, its still difficult to love themselves, unless of course, other people are telling them they are worthy. This is a COMMON behavior.

Other people shed the pounds, and suddenly find themselves surrounded by friends who are unsatisfied with parts of their life. The constant flow of discontent that they hear from their peers weighs heavy on them, and they become sympathetic and hopeful that they may be able to breathe some positivity into those friends who struggle. The savior complex is born. Poor savior is going to be emotionally drained by their friends. We are all broken and flawed. The person who hopes to save the others, has not yet begun to save themselves. This is just another behavior seen through out.

Fallen angel, first we must save ourselves.

It has been said time and again that WLS may fix your gut, but it doesn’t fix your brain. What we don’t really prepare for is all the issues losing weight reveals with in us. We had ideas that losing weight and being “normal” would suddenly fix everything. While it may fix physical health issues, and it may boost self esteem, it also reveals years and years worth of insecurities that we didn’t even know we had. What do we do to deal, when we have never had to cope with them before? What happens when our new behavior affects other people, and with out knowing it, we leave a trail of  hurt behind us?

WLS should come with a mandatory year of therapy. Really it should. And although we all seem to admit that the post op journey is a roller coaster, that we are learning more about ourselves every day, that we don’t know how to cope well with, uh.. anything… the majority of us, myself  included, do not seek therapy.

Personally, I know I SHOULD find a therapist.  I know that while my support system is phenomenal, they can not give me the tools I need to cope, nor should they be expected to. But, I struggle with the ability willingness to open up to somebody who has not lived the life. Who has not walked the path. How can somebody help me, if they have no idea of the mind blowing reality that losing 140lbs in 10 months can be. THEN… if I DID find a therapist who was a bariatric patient… would I believe that they could be objective enough, did they deal with all of their own crap?

Oh post op life, you really are a great big conundrum.

I am flawed. My friends, my support love me despite my flaws. I adore and love my friends despite their flaws. But boy oh boy, we are quite the community of flawed, scared, screwy folks. Don’t worry, come on, bring your flaws, you will be loved anyway.