Tag Archives: asthma

Happy Surgiversary To Me!

Who can believe it has been a year since my surgery?  Not this girl!

One year ago today, I was under the knife!  Actually, at this time (10am-ish) I was already in recovery.  Wow!

This will have to be a short post, as work is already getting ahead of me, but I just had to write one today.

To date, I have lost 127 pounds.  For me to get to my ultimate goal, I need to lose 46 more.  I am very happy with where I am, and whether I reach my ultimate goal, or just get a lot closer does not really matter so much.  The important things in my life have changed.

  • My breathing has improved.
  • Food allergies are nearly nonexistent.
  • My blood pressure is normal without medication.
  • I can walk.
  • Back pain is nearly gone.
  • My overall health is greatly improved.
  • My outlook for my life as a whole is much more hopeful.
  • I do not live in fear every day that this is the day I will have a stroke or heart attack.
  • I feel like I am fully participating in my life and not just barely getting by day by day.

So, happy surgiversay to me!


December 2011

Aug 2012

Aug 2013


I Walked A Mile!

photo (3)

I know it is not such a big deal to walk a mile for most people, but considering 5 short months ago I could barely walk to the corner and back this is a big deal for me.

Yesterday, my new employer took a bunch of us to a National’s baseball game.  I stopped going to games and such years ago because of my inability to walk around.  I am doing much better now with my walking, so I decided to go.  Another friend of mine was there also.  She lives across the highway from me in Arlington.  I spent time hanging out with my co-workers and time hanging out with her. 

After the game she said she would give me a ride home.  The caveat was that she worked about a mile from the stadium and we had to walk to her office to get her car.  She asked me if I thought I could make it that far.  I confidently said yes, but secretly I was like, OMG can I do this?

I was kind of worried, I have to admit it.  I thought about it and really, I have probably walked a mile or more recently without even thinking about it.  I have walked laps around the malls here in DC.  I have walked around the museums.  I have walked around the National Mall.  But I have never really said, “OK, I am going to walk a mile now.”  

My friend knew me pretty well before the surgery.  She knew what kind of trouble I had walking.  The whole time we were walking she said stuff like, “Look at you!  You’re walking great!”  No back pain.  No gasping for air or even struggling to breathe.  It totally awesome!

I know it’s not much, but for me it was a big emotional milestone.  I can now say confidently that I walked a mile!

Commuting in DC


So, now that I am able to walk some more, commuting to DC is not the hassle it was a year ago.

When I used to work in DC at a client site, my office was located about a block and a half from the nearest Metro station.  I also had to walk across the street from my apartment building to catch a bus.  I did not have to walk a lot, but it was still more than I could handle.  I had to sit when I arrived at the bus stop.  After I got off the Metro in DC, I had to stop at least twice to rest my back before getting to the office.  It was awful.

Now, I am back to working in DC and no longer working from home.  My office is nowhere near a Metro station.  It is at least 5.5 blocks from the nearest station. Well, OK that’s not entirely true.  There are two stops that are about 4 blocks from the office, but then I have to go two stops out of my way and take another train, and the stop where I change trains is still adds another two stops to my trip.  It’s worth the extra block to not have to change trains and keep my metro stops down to three stations.

Five blocks are really not that far.  Normal people walk this much all of the time without even a thought.  I used to before I became so morbidly obese.  Now that I have lost 81 pounds, (OMG 81!!!!!), walking this much is easy.

I am also standing pretty much from the minute I leave my apartment until I get to the office.  I stand out in front of my building to wait for the bus…OK that’s not true.  I sometimes sit at the bus stop.  But once I get on the bus, I stand until I get to the metro station because there is often not a seat.  Then the metro train is so full, I stand for the three whole stops until I can pry myself out of the train.  There is not even time or quite frankly the room to read anything on my kindle app.  Seriously, some days you need a shoe horn to get people out of there we are packed in so tightly.  Then I fight to get up the escalators and out of the station before I begin my hike to the office.

Sometimes, I go to the little French café (where they play middle eastern music, btw…not that I mind middle eastern music, it’s just that Americans have fanciful notions that every French café should be playing Edith Piaf singing Non Je Ne Regrette Rien all day long, but I digress), that is next to my office to get a cup of decaf.  There I sit and enjoy my last moments of solitude before entering the snake pit.

Honestly, the three stops are not bad.  Even the 5.5 block walk to the office is not bad.  I just hate being crammed on the train with about 10,000 other people with nowhere to move or breathe.  I am convinced with every jerk of the train that I will lose my balance and fall into the person next to me.  There is no real room to fall, so I would probably just body slam into the person next to me and cause people to tumble into one another like dominos.  Then there is the constant stopping and waiting for no reason without explanation.  And I haven’t even mentioned the broken escalators and elevators.  The train ride is stressful.  I thank God I only have to go three stops.

I am also thankful that I can do it relatively pain-free.  I still have some pain in my feet.  And occasionally my knees and back hurt a little.  But for the most part, I am enjoying the fact that I can do this.

Two other points…I lost 81 pounds!!!!  Omg I can hardly believe it!

The other thing I wanted to mention, I kind of put on my Facebook Page yesterday.  Yesterday, upon exiting the Metro station in DC, I ran into a friend of mine whom I have not seen in about two years.  She had a gastric by-pass 9 years ago.  We used to work together.  She looks great.  I also did not know her before the surgery.  She told me over and over again that she has no regrets.  I thought about her often before and since my surgery.

Well, I saw her and walked right up to her and made eye contact and she looked at me like she has never seen me before.  Then I told her who I was and seriously, her jaw dropped.  She asked me what I had been up to so I told her that I had the surgery.  We only had a moment to talk because we were both in the mad-commuter-rush-to-work mindset, but she told me that I looked great.  I have her email address, so I am going to send her an email.  I need to tell her how her experience really helped me make my decision when I reached my breaking point.  I may not have been ready to do it when she and I talked in the past, but I thought of her often through everything I have experienced.

Six – Incentive Spirometer

Six days until my surgery.  Getting close.  Today I wanted to talk about one of the things I am doing to get ready for the surgery.

This is my incentive spirometer:

What is that you ask?

An incentive spirometer is used to help you with breathing and increasing lung capacity.  Basically, it is used to practice deep breathing and exercise your lungs.  The goal is to take slow deep breaths keeping the indicator on the right between the two arrows.  At the hospital, they said that average people with normal lung capacity can reach about 2000.  An active athletic person can reach up    to 4000.  I can usually get between 1500 and a little over 2000.

I received mine when I went tot he hospital for the nutrition class.  I practice this ten times in the am and ten times in the evening.  I have to bring this to the hospital with me for the surgery.  I will have to do this after the surgery to help my lungs recover from the anesthesia and the surgery as a whole.

I actually use this more than is required.  I like trying to increase my ability to breathe.  I hate having asthma and struggling for every breath.  I am ready to strengthen my lungs as I lose weight.   If I can return my breathing to normal levels, I know losing weight and exercising will be much easier.