**Hit the Deck**!

I’m the primary lawn care person at our home, mostly because I’m OCD about keeping the property “manicured”. We have a really nice Troy Built garden tractor that I’ve named “Vengeance”. And because I like my grass shorter than most, we (meaning Al) ends up having to clean under the deck every time the mower is used… it just gets packed up with grass and dirt. Well, yesterday, for the first time, I cleaned Vengeance’s deck! It requires putting the front of the mower up on ramps, then crawling underneath and scraping and digging all that debris out from under. This is significant because, as early as last year, I was unable to walk from our house to our garage without being winded and having to sit down! Now I’m actually able to get DOWN ON THE GROUND AND get back up without much difficulty! Unless you’ve actually been obese and unhealthy, you just won’t get it. I have more mobility this year than I’ve had in two decades. It’s freeing. This is what we (in bariatric circles) call an “NSV” – non-scale victory!

**Okay so I’ve been honest about sharing my bariatric journey so I’ll share this too, even if a little embarrassing**
I went swimming for the first time yesterday (in my own pool) and was taken aback! First, I loved my cheap swimsuit from WalMart, even if my butt didn’t quite fill it out. But I was surprised by the way my loose skin floated and “undulated” in the water! It was so weird! Also weird was not being able to float so well ~ I’ve ALWAYS been able to float with ease! Lastly, while in the water, I was running my hands over my newly deflated body and felt something very strange in my low, low back just above my butt! Holy cow it was my tail bone! I didn’t actually know I HAD one, let alone being able to FEEL it! LOL! No wonder my behind hurts so much when I sit! There’s no padding around that tail bone at all anymore! Learning new things every day!

Thanks for stopping by and sharing my journey with me.

Many blessings ~ Tamara

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Paying the Price

I can’t believe it’s been 8 months since I last posted here!  Time flies when you’re sicker than hell.  I’m still losing weight, and I like that a lot, but it’s been ridiculously difficult ~ not the losing part, but I just can’t seem to feel well.

My new, diminutive size tummy hurts.  It hurts all the time.  Like 24/7.  I can’t remember the last time I felt comfortable enough to relax… well, except when I went to visit my brother and sister-in-law in Mesa, AZ back in April 2019.  I was taking prednisone, which made me feel almost superhuman!  That was great!  But when I got home and the prednisone  wore off, it was back to feeling like crap again.

I occasionally put posts on Facebook of my accomplishments, and often I get comments about how “inspirational”, brave, etc etc I am.  I don’t FEEL inspirational!  I feel like a miserable failure.  I can’t get to a point where I can actively exercise, which would help further my weight loss.  My entire existence right now is unpredictable.  My digestive system has complete control and a mind of its own.  I can never tell if I’m hungry, as it hurts all the time… whether or not I eat or drink.  I can never know if/when I’m going to have to visit a bathroom – public or not – or what the outcome will be.  Sometimes I only have a few moments’ notice before I just HAVE TO GO!  Or I may not go for days.

I used to have “safe foods”, no more.  All bets are off.  I’ve become sick from eating just about anything… everything.  And that has negatively affected my outlook on meals.  We really don’t even eat meals as a family anymore.  I never know when or what I can eat, and sometimes the pains get so bad, so quickly that I have to put something into my “pouch” really fast or I end up doubled over.

To be honest, although I look better and I smile a lot in pictures, this has been a living nightmare from hell.  It was so bad last month, that I called my surgeon and agreed to have yet another endoscopy AND added a laparoscopy!  Dr. Cooper found an umbilical hernia and – how to explain this – my intestine had become “attached” to the muscle/wall of my new stomach via scar tissue.  So I got that all fixed and felt pretty good for awhile.  It lasted about 9 days before the pain was back, and did I mention the gas?  There’s just no way to explain the incredible amounts of gas my body is creating on a daily basis.  And yes, I’m on prescription medication for it, as well as guzzling Gaviscon (which helps somewhat).  I’m headed back to my gastroenterologist on Monday, Dr. Edison.  It feels like we’re running out of options, which I find hard to accept because I just cannot live like this for the rest of my life.

But there you have it.  This is my life for now.  Maybe next time I’ll talk about my elusive post-surgery Bucket List.  Wondering if I’ll ever be able to realize any of those dreams!

Thanks for stopping by!

Blessings ~ Tamara  57377380_10213474460391685_7512428413848649728_n

THWUNK ~

You know that noise that comes from pulling a cork out of a bottle? Try imagining it is reversed, where you’re trying to stuff that cork back into the bottle. I had an after-hours work meeting last night, I typically have several each year, at another venue other than my work office. I’ve been attending these meetings for 10 years now, and the chairs have never been comfortable or conducive toward “wide-load butts” like mine. Frankly, by the end of the roughly 2 hour meeting, my behind is screaming at me “never again”.

EMSTAT chair

So I was not particularly looking forward to last night’s meeting, even though it had been 4 months since I’d attended one. Anyway, after all of my meeting prep was complete, I went to sit in one of those chairs that would squeeze my hips and make them ache for the next couple of hours and afterwards. I began my descent anticipating that awful moment when the width of the chair tries to make the wider part of my butt conform to its own shape, and the uncomfortable squish and splat as my behind adjusts into the space. Instead, I dropped unexpectedly right into the seat! No squish, no conform, no discomfort ~ except the one from hitting the chair hard because there was no resistance. It startled me so that I made a verbal exclamation that caused my work colleagues, and my boss, to glance at me to see what was going on. That few seconds of embarrassment was far overtaken by the joy I found in fitting my butt into that chair with no fat resistance! More than 12 hours later I’m still marveling at the thought that, after 10 years, I can sit in one of those uncomfortable chairs and finally be comfortable! Victory!

As of this morning, I weigh 255 lbs. When I started my journey in Spring 2017, I was at 365 lbs. per my cardiologist. When I went for bariatric surgery on 8-2-2018, I weighed in at 299 lbs. That’s a total weight loss of 110 lbs. over 1.5 years. Yes, no more “thwunks”!

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look.

Many blessings,

~ Tamara

Quilty Fundraiser ~

Some of you may/may not know that I’m a quilter.  Yes, I create works of art called “quilts”.  Most often I either keep them or give them to a friend or family member.  But on occasion, I have been known to raffle off a quilt as a fundraiser for a worthy cause.  This time, my granddaughter has an opportunity to go to California (from Alaska!) to perform with her cheer squad in the Holiday Bowl this year.  What an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime chance for Ashley!  Of course, each person has to earn their own financial way there, so I decided to help Ashley by offering up one of my favorite quilts as a raffle.

Raffle Quilt 2 10-2018

If you click on the GoFundMe.com link below, you can learn all about the trip and the quilt, and what to do to have a chance to own this gorgeous quilt by Thanksgiving!  There is no other like it.  Please check out the info, and take a chance!

Ashley’s GoFundMe Quilt Raffle

Thank you for stopping by and taking a look.

Blessings,

Tamara Eckstadt

 

Tomato Soup for Breakfast ~

I’m two and a half months out from bariatric surgery and things are going… not so well. The past 1 ½ months have been sketchy to a living hell. Every day is a new adventure in stomach pain and trying to figure out what I can eat to ease that pain without making me more ill. I did discover that I am one of the 7% of bariatric patients that suffer through post-surgical complications. Somehow, it feels anticlimactic and does not help me feel any better. My current everyday life is spent trying to find ways to make my stomach stop aching. Nothing I eat or drink helps… with the exception of tomato soup. There is no common sense related to this, especially since tomato soup is commonly known as pretty acidic. Yet if I drink about ½ to one cup of it, with a little butter melted in, it gives me some sense of relief, enough to make it worthwhile. I consider myself blessed.
I went to the surgeon, again, last Thursday. This time I saw the associate of my surgeon – the one who actually performed the Roux en Y procedure. He, Dr. Cooper, (the associate) listened intently and asked relative questions as to my pain, my state of mind (which is currently very depressed) and he offered hope by scheduling me for an upper GI the very next day, and then an “extensive” endoscopy scheduled for tomorrow (Monday, 10-22-2018). He did not tell me that “it’s normal” and that “it’ll pass” as I had been told by anyone and everyone to this point. I just cried. And he gave me tissues and held my hands until I could gather myself back together and gain composure.
So, I had the upper GI two days ago, and will be admitted into Crouse Health tomorrow morning for a 1:00 p.m. endoscopy procedure. Not looking forward to that “nothing to eat or drink after midnight” standing order. And I’m not looking forward to have the procedure done at all. The last time I was at Crouse, I left there scarred and with PTSD over the hour long issue of getting an IV line put in. I break out into a cold sweat now just thinking about it. I don’t scare easily, but the fear is real today.
Dr. Cooper suspects something called a “stricture” in the opening between my stomach and small intestine. It’s where the opening narrows, or sometimes even closes. After researching, I see it’s fairly common and is fixable through the endoscopy. I guess my biggest fear now is what if it isn’t a stricture? What if it’s something that can’t be fixed tomorrow? Will I come home as sick as I have been or possibly even worse? No one can possibly understand how awful this is unless you’ve lived it. The constant pain is physically and emotionally draining, and has driven me into a horrific depression that, fortunately, I’m very adept at hiding. Sometimes I just can’t hang on, and I break down in uncontrollable tears. Sleep is fitful, as the pain is 24/7 and sometimes I wake in the night several times. But mornings are the absolute worst when I wake up and am hungry and the pain is doubled or tripled, and I don’t know what to eat to make it ease, except tomato soup. So, this is where it stands right now. I will be having tomato soup tonight at midnight, knowing I won’t be having anything again until late afternoon on Monday. If you’re the praying kind, prayers are greatly appreciated. If not, just keep me in your thoughts and hope that something definitive is found and fixed tomorrow.
Thank you for stopping by.
Blessings,
Tamara