Another Hill to Climb

I thought I was just tired because of the packing up of the entire back of the house and the mental energy required in figuring out a plan for how we’re going to pay for construction.   It turns out there’s a medical reason why I’m tired.  I’m anemic.  My doctor assured me I’m not ‘transfusion’ anemic (uh, reassuring, I think?) but I definitely need more iron.  I’ve been on the fence of anemia for years because the lovely menses, (AKA the monthly time when Aunt Flo comes to visit) has become heavier and that, coupled with my body’s need for absorption of iron at a different rate post gastric bypass, has made the perfect storm of anemia.   I’m exhausted and now there’s a medical reason.  I’ve been continuing to walk, almost daily, but I’ve felt like I’m totally dragging. I just chalked it up to typical mom exhaustion— March Madness, teaching grades 3rd and 5th, managing the lives of 3 children, you know, just, too-much-on-the-plate.  I’m relieved in some ways, to know that hopefully once my iron levels are in check, I’ll feel a little more spunk.

In other news, the saga with the house continues.  We’ve basically packed up our bedroom and the music studio into a storage pod and put everything else in the front of the house.  We’re definitely in close quarters.  It looks like we may be doing this for 3 months.  I’m hoping that’s a realistic timeline.  Meanwhile, we’re considering litigation against Zero Energy.  It’s a hot mess.  Now you feel anemic, right?

The picture is a hill that I used to avoid.  It’s quite steep, up Allen Avenue toward San Dimas Canyon.  I dreaded that hill before and I’d walk a different path.  Now I cruise up that sucker several days a week.  I thought I’d share my accomplishment.  It’s hard to see how steep it is from the photo.  IMG_1549

I will conquer this construction hill, this anemia hill, and the 2016-17 school year hill, one day at a time, with lots of naps.  Thank God for naps.  Anyone?  I give you permission to nap.  Let’s make a nap revolution.  I’m in.

I’m just too tired to write more.

Until next Friday.  Love you loves.

Countdown Day 6

So, my new favorite treats are these ah-maze-ing calcium supplements called, Adora.  I adora them.  Ba-dum-dum.  When you can’t have chocolate OR chew anything all day, this lil’ sucker gives me just what I need. Like, a little prize for taking my calcium.

Speaking of little prizes, whenever I meet with a dear friend, I feel like I get special insights into life.  Talking to this dear friend I acknowledged that  I’ve come to place of acceptance about he way- I- am.  It’s okay.  I’m okay.  I love me now. (I must tell you it’s taken a whole lotta therapy, prayer, and rethinking insane cultural beliefs to get here.) So part of me is a little sad to lose weight.  I’ve accepted this independent, loving, wild at times, belly-laughing me.  (By the way, my middle child has told me on a couple of occasions that my belly shakes like Santa when I laugh. I always think, lovely.  Santa’s cool, right?)  Anyway, back to this sad part of losing weight.  I’ve come to feel protected by heaviness.  There’s a certain amount of invisibility that comes with being overweight.  Often, people look past you.  And when you’re an introvert, this isn’t a bad thing.  I don’t want to be the center of attention.  So, I’m grieving my current self even before I lose weight.  I feel like there’s a sense of comradery amongst women, when you know you’re not perfect and you love each other anyway.  I don’t want to lose that. On some level, I know I won’t, but on another level, I feel like I’m more approachable because of my weight.  I clearly look like I don’t have it all together.  Does this make sense to anyone else?

So, today, in preparation for the walk with that dear friend, I shook the new shoebox-clean off those 2-year-old tennies.  Walking with a friend is one thing, but I actually despise doing any sort of exercise out on the street in the hood by myself, because I just don’t want people looking at me.  It makes me feel vulnerable.  I can’t describe it any other way.  It’s just one of my weird quirks.  I will walk with a friend since I have someone to talk to, but walking by myself is just, ‘ew’.  (If you haven’t seen this Jimmy Fallon video it’s hilarious.)  I often say ‘ew’ just cuz it makes me laugh and then think of my friend Jimmy.

Grieving has many forms when you’re losing weight: a loss of the idea and way of indulgent living.  I miss nachos right about now and chips & salsa with guacamole, carne asada, mashed potatoes, coffee and chocolate.  I miss chewing and escaping into a hearty bowl or plate of food.  Relearning how to eat at 43 is tough. As I made the family dinner tonight, it was all I could do not to take a bite.  I’ve been spending a lot of time AWAY from the kitchen.  I’m grieving that too.  Cooking for my family and making them foods they love gives me a sense of pride.  In a few months I’ll get to eat again solid foods again, so at least this isn’t forever. It’s just feels that way now.

I’ll leave you with this: A not-so-perfect story of losing 180 lbs. Real life isn’t a fairy tale. Jen Larson’s book: Stranger Here scroll down to view the video advertisement for her book.





Countdown Day 9

Exhausting day today. Became distressed when I realized that the only source of excitement in the food department, the bone broth with tons of flavor that my mom made this weekend, is not on the list of foods I can eat.  Everything must be noncaloric except for the protein shakes. Oh my, this is tough.  I’m hanging in there, though.  Being busy working actually really helps keep my mind off of eating.  Confession: I did rummage through my desk drawer for some two year old coffee sugar free candy, because I knew it was there, and I needed something with flavor!  Des-per-a-tion.  That’s what that was. My stomach is making all sorts of unholy noises.  Noises that I’ve not heard, well, ever?

Cold Turkey Countdown Day 13

Cold-Turkey-No-Chew-Diet-from-Hell, is what this pre-op diet should be called.  I like to chew my food more than I thought. There was very little chewing allowed, except for the popsicles.  I gave up starving myself long ago. Today totally felt like I was going back in time to my high school and college days of self deprivation.   Living with plenty is my way preferred way of living.  Some might say eating in plenty is gluttonous, and yes, sometimes it is.  However, the days of poring over a journal of calories and such is just…exhausting and drains the life right out of me.  Gastric bypass is the only way, for me.  I must have a near immediate consequence for eating this way.  Anticipating an outcome is all that is motivating me at this point.  Knowing there is an end in sight is all that challenges me to continue this cold turkey way of eating.

Today’s menu, if it can be called that: 2 commercial protein shakes (I use Pure Protein), Vitamin Water, Bai Cocofusion water, 2-8oz cups of chicken broth, 8oz cup of decaf tea, 2 sugar free popsicles, and sugar free jello.  Ugh.  So boring.  You may have noticed there are no real proteins, fruits, or vegetables allowed on Dr. Lamar’s pre-op diet.  I’ll be eating the same way 2 weeks post surgery.  The ONLY reason I’m sticking it out today is, as I’ve read, if you don’t follow this diet, surgery may be cancelled if your liver hasn’t shrunk to an appropriate size.  The liver must decrease in size prior to surgery to allow the surgeon to lift the liver and reach the stomach effectively.  This video is by another bariatric surgeon that explains why the liver must decrease in size.

Feelings check:  I have a terrible headache this evening.  No sugar and no caffeine have made today most unbearable.  I’ve been in and out of the house taking my kids to various activities and running errands. I’m marathon watching episodes of Downton Abbey and avoiding the kitchen.  If I knew I had to be this hungry indefinitely to lose weight and ultimately cure diabetes, I’d give up. I’d much rather be heavy and happy.  My heaven will be eating whatever I want, not gaining weight, and having no consequences as a result of what we eat.  I’m laying it bare here.  Did I say how much I hate diets?  12 days left until my surgery. 12 more days until the BIG DAY. Ba-dum-dum.

August 5, 2015

The Symposium

How did I get here?  It sounds like a symposium should be in a gradual slanted college hall with a panel of experts arranged on stage.  Actually it was a room of rectangular tables and cushy conference chairs filled with people who were as unsure as I was.  Some with knee problems & hip problems. Many much older and much heavier using walkers to balance.  All of us with struggles with food and many beaten down by this struggle we call not-so-affectionately, obesity.

Hard facts: I qualify for bariatric surgery because I have a BMI over 35 and I have sleep apnea and diabetes. Many insurance companies will not pay for the surgery unless you have 2 other health issues in addition to a BMI above 35.  For example, high blood pressure, arthritis and other diagnoses would also be approved as conditions for becoming a bariatric candidate.  All that to say, my Darth Vader mask and inability to control my sugar have made it possible for me to have this surgery.  Blessings do come in unexpected ways.

Dr. Troy Lamar began his presentation with a short video of testimonials of 3 people who have had success with Gastric Bypass and how it changed their lives.  His presentation continued with many facts and details about what to expect with either the Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RYGB) or Gastric Sleeve.  He does not perform Lap Bands, as the long term effects are not as effective for many reasons.

The fascinating and eye-opening fact that I did not know was how ghrelin, an appetite hormone, functions in our bodies.  “The normal response is that ghrelin levels are higher when you are hungry and they go down after a meal, but people who are diabetic or obese have the opposite response,” she said. “They tend to have lower fasting ghrelin levels and then after a meal ghrelin levels don’t go down like they should.” Ghrelin Article.  So basically, gastric bypass changes how this hormone functions.  This, in turn changes appetite and how your gut functions.  Over 200 gut hormones are altered post RYGB so the acid in the lower part of the stomach can no longer reach the top part.  Dr. Lamar referenced this article, Dr. Adams New England Journal of Medicine, on quality of life post-RYGB.  Another hopeful outcome post laparoscopic surgery is, many patients are back to work within the week.  I assumed the recovery time would be much longer.

How do I feel?  What are my feelings about possibly having this surgery?  I abhor before and after photos, especially the ones where the person is frowning at the heavy weight and smiling profusely in the ‘after’ photo. Sure, losing weight will help me fit in smaller sized clothing, but it won’t change my history with food, my feelings about often being the heaviest female in the room, or who…I…am.  I need to say this, my love for myself is not contingent on the number I am on the scale.  This has taken me MANY years to come to terms with how much I weigh.  I realized that navel gazing (literally and figuratively) is just that, navel gazing.  When you are constantly commiserating and wishing you could be something else, you’re rarely content.  I decided long ago to become others-centered rather than self-centered because that’s where the real ‘Joy’ is.  Another phrase that has always irked me is ‘letting myself go’.  “She let herself go,” you know you’ve heard it, or said it, or thought it.  Guess what, letting self go isn’t always a bad thing. The world might be a lot better if we let go of self.

That said, living longer and healthier is my ultimate goal in proceeding with RYGB.  I feel fine now, but I was able to look into a window of the future of what I might be in 20 years if I don’t have the surgery.

I’m on this path.  Symposium finished.  Next step, six months meeting with a nutritionist, following that a psychological evaluation and shortly after, RYGB surgery.