Tag Archive | fat

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

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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

Getting There ~

I’m tired.  Still.  At almost three weeks post-surgery, I thought I would be a little farther along in my recovery than I am.  My months of research didn’t tell me that, in effect, this is a major big deal for my body to handle.  I mean, I knew that in my head, but nothing can prepare you for the reality of living it.  I’ve been out of work for almost three entire weeks, and able to do… nothing.  Nothing of substance anyway.  I look at all the things around my house, inside and out, that need to be done (cleaned, rearranged, organized) and I can do none of it.  I try.  Sometimes I can accomplish small, menial tasks, but most days no.  Anything that requires lifting, bending, stretching ~ is extremely painful.  So is daytime television!  Just this week I’ve gotten back into my sewing room and have been able to do a little bit of cutting and sewing.  I get exhausted quickly and easily.  My insides feel like they’re falling out.  Gravity is currently my enemy.  The pain to stand and walk is stupid bad, and the only relief I can get is from wearing my Spanx – like 24/7.  I have faith that it will get better.

Maple Leaf 8-18-18

My new way of eating is settling in, however.  Thankfully.  I’m taking these mega-vitamins in the morning, they’re specifically for bariatric patients and our “special needs”, as well as a probiotic from the same company.  I’m able to eat about 2-4 ounces of semi-solid foods now and keep it down.  My diet currently consists of:  Sugar free pudding, sugar free popsicles, scrambled eggs (1 per meal), Spam (minced and usually eaten with an egg), pureed carrots, minced chicken (Tyson packets), and I’m hoping to add in some cheddar cheese and maybe some other vegetables this week.  I also drink Premiere Protein “shakes” and Clear drinks, to help me get all the protein in that I can.  I drink on those all day… well, except for the “30 Minute Rule”.  Bariatric patients are supposed to drink all day long, pretty much constantly, to keep hydrated.  But we have to stop drinking 30 minutes before a meal, and cannot drink again until 30 minutes after the meal.  You don’t drink before the meal to ensure the best chances of protein/vitamin absorption by having an empty stomach when you eat.  You don’t drink after your meal because the liquid will wash all of the vitamins/minerals/protein out of your stomach before they’ve had the chance to be absorbed.  You also are at greater risk of dumping either way.  Just “everyday eating” takes a great deal of planning, concentration and conscientiousness.  It ain’t easy!

So anyone who would think these past 3 weeks off work has been enjoyable, think again.  It’s been anything BUT enjoyable.  It’s been hard work trying to assist my body to heal, learning an entirely new way of eating for life, and adjusting to my “new best friend”, my “pouch” that is my stomach.  It only holds 4 ounces at a time, BTW.  About ¼ cup or ½ cup.  Think about that if you want to know what I’m going through.

Almost forgot… I’ve had my first “dumping” episode on Sunday.  What bothers me most is I don’t even know why I dumped.  I’ve been so careful to follow all the rules and safety precautions, but it happened anyway.  I had a scrambled egg for lunch, nothing else, and went outside to try to do a small task.  Task was completed, I was breathless and came back inside and it began.  Cold sweats, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea and weakness.  Fortunately, I did not actually vomit.  But the rest was violent enough to put me to bed for several hours.  From that I’ve learned that you can and should take all measures necessary to avoid dumping, but it can and will still happen at random, with no notice.  No rhyme or reason.  I just need to know that this will be a part of my life, for the rest of my life.

Stats:  I lost 63 lbs PRE-SURGERY since last fall, then another 27 lbs since surgery August 2nd.  I’m currently at a standstill for about 3-4 days.

Thank you for stopping by and checking in.

Blessings,

Tamara

The “Easy Way Out”?

I’ve been on this journey towards weight loss all of my life.  I’ve been on the journey towards bariatric surgery for six months.  I know others who has experienced it, I’ve talked to people on Facebook and even joined some bariatric weight loss surgery support groups online and locally.  I feel pretty well-educated and informed on most positives and negatives relating to bariatric surgery.

Many, many post-op patients have commented the same revelation over and over:  when they share the news of their surgery decision and experience, the person they tell (usually a good friend or family) comes back with “What?  You took the easy way out?”  And with that disrespectful and awful statement, they often crush the patient’s dreams and ambitions to lose weight and move towards being healthy.  With just that one statement they also show their own ignorance

So, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the “ease” it takes to have bariatric surgery, and live the completely new life afterwards, let me give you a quick taste of what it’s like.

Before ever going under the knife, you need to find out if your insurance will pay for such a surgery, and what part they will play.  If you don’t have insurance or money in the bank, you may opt to head to Mexico to have it done – reportedly less expensive by thousands of dollars.  Then you need to find an accredited bariatric surgeon in your area – they most often come as a “group” with their own nutritionist, psychiatrist, labs, access to special testing.  It’s an all-in-one adventure if you’re lucky.  Don’t forget to find out if they accept your insurance… or back to Square One.

Got your doctor in mind?  Go to one of his/her info-sessions, and once you decide, the process begins.  Now, the process can take anywhere from three or four months to over a year, depending on what state or country you live in.  For those in countries with unified health care, it’s usually well over a year of waiting.  Typically it’s around 6-8 months from info-session to recovery room.  Again, different states/countries have different results.  You will be asked to see a nutritionist multiple times, a psychiatrist multiple times, extensive blood work, an endoscopy, a cardiologist,  and possibly be tested for sleep apnea, go to required surgery support group meetings and several visits just to the surgeon.  You need to have your primary care physician’s clearance and approval in writing that they support this choice.  Chances are good that you will also be required to lose some weight “on your own” prior to surgery – some insurance companies require it, some surgeons require it.  Once you jump through all of these hoops, the surgeon’s office will submit your paperwork to the insurance company.  Then the wait begins for the approval… usually takes 3-4 weeks.

Once approved, more tests, pre-op education and surgeon visits as well as nutritionist visits.  The insurance company may give you a “window” of 2-4 weeks to get everything wrapped up and the surgery DONE.  If you can’t accomplish all in that time span, you start over.  But usually you are good to go, and you feel elated that it’s finally going to happen.  It didn’t seem real until approval was received and the final hurdles scheduled.

Still think this is the “easy way out”?  More to come in my next post.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look.

Blessings,

Tamara

Full Steam Ahead

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted on my blog.  I’m going to try to fix that and begin posting regularly.  I’ve been on this weight loss journey since las December 2017, and it has now become “real”.  First, let me say that I’ve lost 66 pounds on the Keto diet since then, and it’s working.  That has been an exciting realization for me.  It has not been without its difficulties, believe me, but I muddle through and take the bad with the good.

The good is that with the weight loss, I’ve also lost clothing sizes.  I’m down from a 26-28-30 to a 24-26.  I also notice that I can now “do things” that I haven’t been able to in such a long time… like touch my toes!  I can stand and/or walk more than before on days that the arthritis isn’t ravaging my legs and feet with pain.  One odd, noticeable thing is that I don’t see any change in myself in the mirror.  I know I must look different, 66 lbs is a lot of weight loss, but I cannot see it.  When I look in the mirror, I see the same fat face, bulging cheeks and triple chins that I’ve always seen.  Yet, my husband says there is a noticeable difference all over.  I think that’s the only “bad part” about the journey so far.  Well, that and not being able to just eat anything I happen to pick up.  I have to be very conscious about what I buy for groceries, what I eat for each meal, and very careful about what I do/don’t eat.  It’s been hard, and I have given in here and there ~ a little ice cream before bed, a slice of rye toast with my eggs a couple times a week, the soda (diet/sugar free).  All that has to go again, starting now.  Even though I have still continued to lose weight with those no-no’s.

Tammy 8-20-17 (3) ipiccy

So, I have been going through the motions to have bariatric weight loss surgery.  Yes, I’m losing weight through diet, but not fast enough.  My knees, legs and feet are giving out rapidly.  I need to lose the weight so I can walk better without so much pain, and then maybe have knee replacement surgery later.  But it needs to happen faster.  So I went to an info session at a local hospital in February and decided to pursue WLS (weight loss surgery).

It is an intensive and expensive endeavor.  Fortunately for me, my insurance covers a good deal of the expense.  The process to even get approved is approximately six months filled with appointments and group sessions.  I’ve met twice with my surgeon, so far… a nutritionist, a psychiatrist, my cardiologist, had tons of labs, and endoscopy, gone to support group meetings, and there is more to come.

My husband, Al, is right there beside me backing me up and being supportive.  That in itself is motivation enough.  Yesterday I received the approval from my insurance company to go ahead with the surgery.  As they say, “It just got real.”  Am I ready for it?  I can say, yes, I’m ready ~ but honestly, I’m scared as hell.  This is not something to take lightly, and it effects your life – your entire life – for the rest of your life.  More to come…

Thank you for stopping by.

Blessings ~  Tamara