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.

Advertisements

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!

20110828-031943.jpg
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.

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!*

20110804-072124.jpg

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.

I went home part II

So, I headed off to Long Island and arrived at my friend Christina’s home by late morning.
Christina is my best friend, my soul sister. We have a bond like none other in my life. Christina and her husband Huge are incredible friends and their children are adored by me, as if they were my own. I know each one’s personality as well as I know my own kid’s personalities. Best yet is that their kids and my kids fall with in years, months, weeks of each other age wise. They fit like a puzzle, never a missing link.

20110731-102048.jpg

Walking into Chris & Hugh’s yard was like coming home in and of itself. Filled with ghosts of babies crawling, boys peeing in the yard, potty training, barbecues, beer, good times.

I stole away a bit of time here and there. I drove by my family home, down the block I played on, around the block to check out the park, the Matthew’s house and wondered if the yards were still connected like they were when we were kids. I never had to walk around the block. Loving neighbors had a gate between yards, to keep us lil people safe & in view.

We spent time with my brother Brian, my nephew John, and sister in law Tracy. Sometimes you take for granted that family is family & they will always be there. We have not seen nearly enough of them over the years, and I didn’t know how much I
Missed them till I was there.
My kids were water rats, I wore a bathing suit and was water logged myself. I soaked up the fact that Brian is a one man show who can entertain 7 children with out trying. I also can’t thank him enough for having my clan and Christina’s clan, so I was able to enjoy the best of both worlds.

I drove through Lindenhurst and Wellwoid ave broke my heart. Where is Carvel? The flower Shop? How is Friendly’s a friggin 7-11? Where is my town? My tween years were spent there. My first job, first crush, and the sense if freedom I had by merely being permitted to walk there to meet up with friends.
Amazingly, a trip to NY did not awaken my sense of food nostalgia. Well, other than Linzer Tarts. I really didn’t do the food tours that most former NYers do when they go home. No bagels for me (but for the kids) Brian got them pizza too. No deli heros, no Italian pastries, I even avoided the Italian butcher. No Chinese, no Zorns, no zeppolis.
Crazy right? But, this is a non scale victory. Before surgery I would have binged for a week straight.
The ghosts of my childhood, my teens, my early parenting years are all around Long Island. I was homesick for this place that will always be my home.
Packing up my babies and heading back to Georgia was physically painful. My heart broke. I miss my people. Christina and I belong close by. It’s a strong connection and it’s resilient, but 900 miles may as well be different continents. I miss my brother, my family. I even got to see my cousin Jamie and her beautiful boy Hudson. Jamie and I were polar opposite as kids. She out going and independent, me a momma’s girl. Now, we’re two strong headed, crazy momma’s ourselves & my kids are thrilled to know that there are more cousins to meet.
Next year we’ll tackle this trip earlier. We will make time for the beach, for a meeting with Scheiner Family, & hopefully the hubby will come along to spend some man time with Hugh & Brian.

My NY peeps, I love you. I’m sorry if I missed you. I was ghost hunting, finding pieces of myself in memories long gone.

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!

20110704-045933.jpg
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:

20110704-052644.jpg

 

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.

20110702-051220.jpg

20110702-051318.jpg

20110702-051409.jpg

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.

The MOM part of VSGMOM

I am a proud, albeit often exhausted and out smarted, mother of 4 . My babies range in age from 9-3. They are so much more than words can describe. I have made mention of them here and there, more Kailey than the others, because well, she is unique unto herself and has traveled a journey of her own. So, I shall share with you a little about my babes. How my surgery has impacted or not impacted them, and how my life revolves around them. They are my “job” my passion, my hobby, my pride.

Kevin Jr. is 9 years old. He was named after his daddy, but he was also named after my brother Kevin who passed away at the young age of 16. I have never met a Kevin I didn’t like. Ever.

Kevin is a very sweet, very concerned child. He didn’t have very long as an only child, and the glory that should be only childhood was cut short when he was 9 months old and Kailey’s diagnoses came to light. He was just a babe, but it affected him. Momma was suddenly not the center of his world, Nana and Pop and Grandma and Daddy were. Momma shut down.

Kevin is needy, looking for attention and always wanting to be loved. He is both a people pleaser and a skootch. He is brilliant, really he is. This kid can get down and dirty talking politics and geography. He knows populations in random states. He loves maps and astronomy, loves family and wishes I had a better family tree to study, and sometimes he quietly thinks about things for quite a while before hitting us with the big questions that send me to google for answers.

At age 4, he got on a two wheeler bike and took off, never needing training wheels. He can skateboard, and caster board, inline skate, and do stunts with his scooter. He is amazing on these type of things. However, if you throw a ball at him, he will DUCK!

Kevin on his caster board. Only kid on the block to rock one of these.

Kevin's bike, some snot wad stole it, but still... it was as awesome as he is.

At his age he has seen far too much sadness and worry. He understands the fragility of life, and has witnessed his sister’s struggle with life enough that even when she is healthy, it weighs on his heart and his mind. He is a very good big brother, and a very darling loving little boy. (another time I will tell you of the day he painted the back door with grape jelly and broke a dozen eggs in the bay window).

Kailey is a spit fire. She has strength, will, and sassiness. She is fresh, brilliant, a go getter. Kailey doesn’t take the words “you can’t” well, and will go out of her way to prove that not only CAN she, but she WILL and she will do it better than anybody else. Kailey is my child all things techy. She can hop on the computer and read the weather radar, find games and master them, pick up angry birds and get the high score after her Daddy has played all weekend long. Kailey loves musicals and dancing. Hair Spray is one of her favorite movies.

For many years she insisted that she was a princess, and was to be called one as well. Then one day she changed her mind and said she was no longer a princess, but some day she will be a ballerina.

beautiful Kailey

Rock Star fishing woman!


Kailey’s story is long and detailed. She was not expected to live one day. Today she is eight years old and lives her life to the fullest. She has changed people’s opinions of disabled children, and she has proved time and again that she is just a typical kid who happens to be medically fragile.

Her medical issues include spina bifida (she uses a wheelchair), hydrocephalus (has a vp shunt), was born with a deformed mitral valve (she is on replacement #2 and when the room is quiet you can hear her valve tick like a clock as the blood passes through the leaflets. It’s kind of awesome), and a double outlet right ventricle (her aorta was on the wrong side). She had a unilateral cleft lip and a bilateral cleft palate. She has a very rare form of ectodermal dysplacia called Hay-Wells Syndrome (AKA AEC Syndrome).  While these things all impact her life greatly, they do not define her AT ALL. Kailey is stronger than anybody you have ever met. She is incredible. A snot wad, but incredible all the same!
http://www.facebook.com/v/1024463964429

TJ is baby number 3. A major life decision. Do we try for another baby, after all of Kailey’s medical issues? Doctors assured us it was not genetic. A random mutation, and so we went forth and TJ came along!

TJ is short for Thomas John. He is not a Tommy, a Tom, a Thomas. He is a TJ. He is adorable, sweet, tough and funny! This past week he had a bunch of grown people licking their own arm pits. Why? Because he asked “Is it possible for a human being to lick their own arm pit?” and like a bunch of idiots, each time, we all tried it. Yep, go ahead, he would laugh at you, but go for it. You can. I promise.

TJ is a rough and tumble kind of kid. He can throw a ball and catch a ball, climb anything, ride anything. He is the play in the mud kind of kid that you use to see back when we were kids. He is carefree and happy as a clam. He is convinced that he is the best looking child to ever grace the face of the earth, and refers to his face as “the money maker”. We have not discouraged this behavior because well, he is handsome as can be, and it is quite funny… for now.

TJ is momma’s boy. He pledges his love for me 100 times a day. When he grows up, he wants to marry me. When I told him that was not possible, I’m already married to Daddy and he will want to go out an find a wife all his own, he told me he will never move out. He can’t stand to be away from me. For now, this idea has not been discouraged either. Someday I will be some beautiful girl’s worst nightmare. The mother who never cut the cord. Yeah, well.. too bad! I had to deal with it, somebody else can too.

TJ is all about being the cool kid. This has led to quite the debate with in the family. How long do you let the six year old call the shots? He, uh, doesn’t want to cut his hair. Like EVER. This battle will end soon, but here he is with his long hair glory:

Shaggy not for long

After a life changing move to Georgia, we decided that we had a 5 bedroom house, we were insane anyway, and what the hell! Lets have a baby!!

Enter Alison. The one and only baby to be born with colic! Came out screaming and cried for then next 4 months. I really started to question my sanity and the possibility that she would cry constantly until she was 21. I’m pretty sure that at some point in my years as a naughty child, my mother wished upon me a child who cried every single day. Somehow the universe misunderstood and I got one that cried every waking moment of every single day.

Then, one day it stopped. And she smiled! And she has not stopped smiling since! Alison is a diva. A princess, a shoe lover, an accessory queen. She is ultra girly and I’m not really sure where it comes from. For real. She loves music, loves to dance, loves to wear dresses. She loves make up and jewelry,  all things sparkly, and pretty much anything pink. At 3 years old she can identify Katy Perry by voice and sight, Ke$ha (lord help me) and Pink. She dances and dances and dances her butt off. If the room is quiet she is sure to be singing something or telling a story that ALWAYS begins with “One time…” < Yes I also think American Pie and “Once when i was in band camp”. LOL. Yep yep, that’s my baby.

Alison is home with me while the bigger kids go to school. She was born past the school cut off date and will be home with me one year more than the other kids were. I’m not disappointed by this. I love every second with her. She cracks me up. She is pushy and bossy with the other kids, but when she is home with out them, she is blissful. She is content to be the only child. She is so much fun, and I have no doubt that as she gets older, her heart will be in the arts.

The princess

It should be noted that upon sight of a camera, she will stop crying and smile instantly. Always ready to pose.

My weight loss has played a role in my children’s lives, although they may not realize it. Little Kevin has heard from his friends and his friend’s parents that his mom looks great. He realizes that I get out a lot more and together as a family we are out more often than not. Kailey is indifferent on my weight loss. She says she prefers me skinnier, but really she doesn’t care one way or the other. TJ has always thought I was super awesome and beautiful. To him, I am the same. He loves me and thats all that matters to him. Alison has become a make up enthusiast. She sees me get ready every day. She notices the simplest changes, from hair style to earrings. She tells me every time she sees me “You look buuuu-fuw momma” and she  makes me shine.

Last but not least, the fur baby. The walking partner, the hiking trail explorer, the lake lover… this is Ruby. She is my unconditional love. She is loved and adored and she loves us like no other.

Ruby getting comfy on TJ

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.