Tag Archives: cat

Meet Grady

For the past couple of days, I have been cat-sitting for a friend.  My friend Andy went on vacation with a couple of friends and I have been in charge of taking care of his cat Grady.  I stop by, check on the food, water, litter situation, give the cat a treat or two, spend some time petting Grady and listening to his complaints.

He does not seem like a complainer cat in general, but he is a rather particular cat.  Please see his list of “concerns” below.

grady

  • What have you done with Andy?
  • What?  He’ll be gone for how long?  That is unacceptable.
  • You only gave me four treats.  I need more.
  • By the way, I knocked some of my cat food out of the bowl.  Clean it up.
  • I have used the litter box since you’ve been here.  Scoop it again before you leave.
  • You’re a good petter, but you’re not here nearly often enough nor long enough and Andy does it better.
  • That’s enough petting for now.  I’m done with you.  Come back tomorrow.
  • You have my permission to withdraw.
  • Tell Andy I have a special surprise for him when he returns. hehe.

 

Yet Another Closet Purge

Now that I have lost over 100 pounds, I feel the need to purge my closet again.  I am already up to three garbage bags of clothes that I need to get rid of.

I have to get rid of nearly all of my pants.  That means I am down to one pair of jeans that are too small.  My sister insisted that I buy a pair of size 14p jeans.  Not quite to a size 14 yet, but getting there.  I also have a couple of pairs of stretch pants and one pair of shorts.

I am going to get rid of all clothes, mostly blouses, that are a size 24 or above.  I’ve purged my closet of all sizes above that, I think.  Now I’m going to concentrate on the size 24s.  I want to get rid of size 22s as well, but I’m a little bit concerned because I will be running out of clothes soon.

Yes, my sister did just buy me $350.00 worth of clothes and I supplemented with another $100 or so, but still, my wardrobe is thinning.

I almost bought three dresses and a skirt at Macy’s yesterday, but that was another $150-ish.  I really cannot afford that.  I need to save my money for when I drop out of the plus size clothing, which I see approaching rapidly just on the horizon.  Now, my wonderful sister is going to be giving me a bunch of clothes that she has purged from her wardrobe, but they are a size 6-8.  I’m not quite in that size range yet.  Some of the blouses are a large size, which I may be fitting into soon, but still, not quite ready.  Not to mention, I don’t think I was ever a size 6.

I haven’t added a cat picture in a very long time.  Here is an adorable picture of my sister’s adorable kitty Oscar.  She is a Ragdoll and is so cuddly and cute.

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Feeling Good After A Rough Week

I had a very rough week.  I had a lot of problems, from stomach problems, feeling bloated, stress at work, headaches, feeling tired, and blood pressure spikes.  I had to take my blood pressure medicine a couple of times.  The stomach problems were mostly early in the week, but persisted in a small way through Friday.

I decided that it was all due to stress from work.  This week, work was quite stressful.  Fortunately, I do work from home.  If I worked in the office, I do not know if I could have handled the stress.  Part of the problem is that I am kind of a supervisor.  I have no actual power, mind you, but my co-workers do look to me for answers and support.  I also manage the phones, the time off schedules, and the vacation calendar in addition to my regular duties.  Therefore, my phone is always ringing and my instant messenger is forever blooping at me.

I also talk to our customers on top of all of this, so it can get quite crazy at work.  I went back to work a month after the surgery because we are moving into our slow season.  And since I work from home, it is easier for me to manage the stress and deal with my meals.

This week wasn’t so much busy as it was stressful.  Everything seemed to happen at once.  For example, I was on the phone with a client who was calling from overseas on Skype and he was upset about something.  My other line kept ringing the entire time I was on the phone.  My co-workers were calling me, either to ask me questions or to transfer calls to me.  Plus I had a bunch of instant messages.  I ignored all of these interruptions tried to deal with the customer on the phone.  Then I had one person who, because they could not get through to me any other way, starting calling my cell phone over and over again.

Seriously?

Granted, the person calling my cell phone had a relatively serious personal emergency earlier in the day and was calling to give me an update.  OK, that was kind of important.  And many of the other interruptions were things that I did have to take care of.  My co-workers were simply doing their jobs.  They are all good, hardworking people.  But the stress can sometimes be overwhelming.  It’s mostly my fault that people call me over and over.  I’m usually very responsive and answer people right away.  So, if they do not get a hold of me, they are not used to it.

I am supposed to be keeping my stress level low to help my stomach heal after such a huge surgery.  As I have discussed in previous posts, I do have a problem dealing with stress sometimes.  I have not done enough to retrain my coworkers to deal with my new reality.  I will have to fix that.

I did tell my boss, who is very understanding about everything I have been going through, that I need to slow down and reduce my stress.  I told him about my stomach problems and blood pressure spikes.  He was great.  He told me that I need to take care of myself and to only do what I can.

I’m currently out of vacation time until the first of the year.  I cannot afford to take anymore time off this year.  Any time I take off from here will be without pay.  I can go back on medical leave and get short-term disability, but I really do not want to do that.  I know that the week before Christmas through the second week of January will be painfully slow.  I cannot take Christmas off, but I’m thinking of taking the first two weeks of January off.  After the second week of January, our busy season begins.  I will need to be at work.  I feel if I rest up and do what I can to decompress, I will be ready.

I will still need to make sure I do what I can to manage my stress level, but I feel I will be better prepared if I take some more time off.

Now, that was the worst of it…onto the good news.

I lost two more pounds!  I’m down to 256.  That’s a total of 42 pounds.  I am feeling better.  My blood pressure is back down in normal ranges.  Yes, I’m still taking my medicine, but I do not want my pressure to spike again.

So, in the spirit of reducing stress…here is a kitten!

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This is Annabelle.  She is my step-niece’s kitten.  My step-niece found Annabelle on the side of the road and nursed her back to health.  Took her to a vet.  Made sure she had all of her shots.  Paid for a surgery, which is why Annabelle has a cone on her head.  The cone is gone now, but this is the most current picture I have of Annabelle.  She’s a pretty laid back kitten and will sit on you endlessly for petting and she loves treats!

 

First Weigh-in

Today I went to the doctor to have the staples removed from my stomach.  I was so happy to get rid of them.  They were very uncomfortable.  I’m still dealing with some minor pain and discomfort, but I am feeling much better.  Eating has become easier as well.

I’ll be honest, the first couple of days were a lot harder than I thought they would be.  The pain was incredibly bad and I had a lot of problems with nausea and discomfort.  I found it hard to create an eating/protein shake/water drinking schedule.  I definitely had days where I know I did not eat nearly enough.  I tried to supplement food with protein drinks, but I know I did not get quite enough of those either.  The past couple of days, however, I have had a much easier time.

Today, the nurse removed my staples and put tape across my scar to help keep the scar closed.  I have to keep the tape on for ten days.

OK, now the big news.  While I was at the doctor’s office, they weighed me.  Today, I weighed 281 pounds.  I started at 298.  That is a 17 pound loss in 10 days.

WOO HOO!!

I was surprised honestly.  I was not sure if I had lost any weight.  I was so focused on healing, walking, eating properly, that I have not focused on the weight loss yet.  It feels good to see some results.

Today I am sharing a picture of my friend Guin’s cat.  The cat’s name is Shelly.  Shelly reminds me of my sister’s rag doll cat., except my sister’s cat has beige markings instead of black.  I think Shelly is a beautiful cat.

 

The Surgeon Appointment Part 2

Don’t look for Part 1 for this post.  It does not exist.  This was simply my second visit with the surgeon’s office.

Before I could see the surgeon a second time, I had to do these things to qualify for that appointment:

  • Psych Review.
  • Nutrition Counseling.
  • EKG
  • Pre-op clearance from my doctor.
  • Sleep Study followed up with C-Pap machine.

Now that I have completed all of these, I have to get more tests!

  • More blood work – the list of blood work tests they gave me is very long.
  • Urinary test.
  • Chest X-Ray.
  • PFT test – Pulmonary Function Test.
  • Another EKG.
  • Pulmonary consult and clearance.
  • Bariatric education class at hospital.
  • Nurse interview at hospital.
  • GI Consult.
  • EGD – that’s where they stick a camera down your throat all the way to your stomach to take a peek inside.  Fortunately, I will be unconscious for this.
  • Last pre-op visit with Surgeon’s office the week before the surgery.

I can do all of the blood work, urinary test, EKG, PFT, and the pulmonary consult with my primary care doctor.  Since I have asthma and pulmonary obstructive disease, I chose as my primary doctor one who specializes in pulmonary illnesses.  So, that will make part of the tests easier.  I also just had a PFT test when I met with my doctor for the pre-op appointment.  I might be able to use those results.

I think I can do the Bariatric class and the nurse consult at the hospital on the same day.  And I might be able to do the GI Consult and EGD at the same time, but I’m not sure.  I have the last pre-op with surgeon’s office already scheduled for October 3.

This is an intense process.  The nurse I met with today at the surgeon’s office told me they want to make sure that I am as healthy as possible before the surgery.  This way, if there are any issues, they can be addressed and fixed before the surgery.  Also, I’m sure it covers them if there are complications.  They can say, we worked hard to make sure she was a good candidate for the surgery and medically able to handle it ahead of time.  This is a good policy as far as I’m concerned.

I would rather have everything checked than to have him open me up only to find a problem.

So, back to my doctor I go with a list of new tests in hand.  Goody-goody.  Wish me luck.

Today’s kitty-cat picture is one of my sister’s former cats.  Her cat had four gorgeous kittens, as evidenced in my previous post where she was seen nursing said kittens.  I took two, Yoda and Veruca Salt.  She kept her cat, Oscar, and also kept a kitten called Mogwai.  He is just beautiful.

So, why is he her former cat? Well, let me tell you.  She was living with a boyfriend at the time.  He kept calling Mogwai his.  He fed the poor kitty fresh turkey slices every day as a treat and the cat loved him.  My sister’s cat.  Loved the boyfriend.  When they broke up, she moved out and took both the cats.  He then called her every day crying about her taking his cat.  The cat in turn, destroyed everything and cried every  day.

Now this is funny because before she moved in with him, he was an avowed cat-hater.  He complained every day that she brought cats into his house.  Needless to say, she was confused on the insistence for the cat when they split.

She had to go visit him one day to pick up the last of her stuff.  She took Mogwai with her to prove to him the cat loved her best.  She walked into the house and Mogwai jumped out of her arms and ran to the boyfriend.  The cat sat on his lap and scowled at my sister.  He had made his choice.  She just looked at him and said, “I guess he’s your cat.”

So, here he is.  One of the last pictures she ever took of Mogwai…my sister’s ex-boyfriend’s cat.

 

 

Approval and a Date Change

I heard from the surgeon’s office today.  The surgery has been approved by my insurance company.  Just like they said, they were able to get the insurance company to reverse their position.  Also, because of the delay, my surgery date has been changed to October 9, 2012. Yay!

Now I have a follow-up appointment with the surgeon.  At that time, I have to pay their fee, which is $200.00. This will not be a problem as I have money on my flex-spending card for that.  Then they give me a whole new list of orders I have to do.  Here are some of the things I may need to do:

  • More blood work.
  • Another EKG.
  • Maybe a stress test.
  • Four hour nutrition class.
  • Buy supplements and protein drinks for after surgery.

I am not looking forward to a stress test, but I guess it is better safe than sorry.

On completely separate topic, I have become strangely nostalgic.  I’ve been looking at all of these old pictures of myself.  I am surprised by how thin I was in some of them.  The whole time, I thought that I was horribly fat.  In many of them, I was not.

It is funny what your brain makes you think about how you look, especially after a lifetime of being told that you are fat.  I guess if you hear something long enough, you just believe it too.  I am going to add a few pictures here of what I used to look like and what I hope to resemble as I lose weight.

OK, so I know there’s no chance I will ever look like this again, but darn wasn’t I cute? I think this was my first day of Kindergarten.

Here are a couple of high school pictures.  I think this first one I was in my sophomore year.  The last ones were from my graduation.

These next three were after I gained some weight.  I weighed around 200 plus pounds.

And for good measure, here is a picture of my sister’s cat just after she had her kittens:

Antici…pation

So, I just heard from the psychiatrists office today.  They just completed the review and wanted to send it to my doctor.  I gave them his name and address and they are mailing it to him today.  Once the surgeon’s office receives their report, they will submit to the insurance company.

I feel a bit like I’m circling an airport waiting for a runway to become available so that I can land.

I am certain that once the insurance company gives the approval, things will move faster than I am prepared for and I will be complaining that everything is happening all too  quickly.  For now, I wait.

On a separate note, I went to the eye doctor this weekend.  For the first time in my life, I need glasses.  Everyone in my family wears glasses or contacts.  My brother needs glasses for reading, as did my mother and father before him.  Both of my sisters have worn glasses most of their lives.  I was hoping to escape wearing them altogether myself.  Now I need glasses for reading.  Also, I have developed an astigmatism, which makes seeing at a distance a little difficult.  I pick them up on Wednesday.

Today I am including a picture of a cat I had in the 90s.  She was very old when I took her on.  She had been a breeding cat.  The breeder was going to put her down, so a friend of mine took the cat and gave her to me.  Her name is Precious.

She did eventually have to be put down as she turned out to be quite sick, but I loved her very much and tried to give her a good home for as long as I could.

Let the Purging Begin…

Slowly I open the closet door, trash bags firmly clenched in my fists.  I turn on the light and let out a shriek of horror as I realize the amount of work I have in front of me…

Yes, that’s right, time to clean out my closet.  I have a lot of clothes.  As I put on weight over the years, I bought bigger and bigger clothes.  I also held onto my “skinny” clothes just in case.   Of course, I was already pretty big, so “skinny” is relative.  Nonetheless, I have a ton of clothes starting at my current size of 28/30 down to a size 14.

Now that I am going to have the gastric by-pass surgery, I am glad that I never threw anything away.  I will be needing these clothes over the next few months. 

So, why am I cleaning out my closets now?  Well, partly because after the surgery, I will not be able to do any lifting for quite a while while my stomach heals.  But I also because I want to have my clothes organized for after the surgery. 

I will be at my sister’s for the first month after the surgery.  I will take some smaller clothes with me, but I want the rest to be ready for when I return home.

I know my sister’s will be glad I’m cleaning out my closets.  They are both purgers.  They throw out stuff they no longer use regularly.  I hold onto everything. 

A few months ago when I was sick, my sister Sandy came over to check on me. She helped me hang up some clothes that I had washed.  From my closet I hear her say loudly, “Oh my God!”

“What?” I asked her

She comes out of the closet holding an old tye-dyed t-shirt that I had on a hanger.  She waves it in front of me and repeats, “Oh my God!”

“What? It’s a tye-dyed t-shirt!  You know I love those.”

“Well, let’s start with it’s MINE!” she responded, “And it’s from 1985! Look at it. It’s falling apart.  Throw it away!”

In truth, the t-shirt was not quite that old, maybe from the mid 90s, but I think it illustrates well that I do not like to throw out clothes.

So, here’s the plan.  I am going to start by throwing clothes that have holes or are stained.  Then I will move on to clothes that I simply do not like.  If they are in good shape, I will put them in a bag for Goodwill.  If not, I will pitch them.  Then I will put the clothes in order by size.  As I lose weight, I will either pitch or donate the clothes that I shrink out of.  When I reach the clothes in size 14-16, I will start making plans to buy some new clothes.  I have a long way to go before that happens, but at least by then I will have the space for new clothes.

Today’s cat belongs to one of my co-workers.  After her cat died, she and her husband adopted a new kitten.  This is Mia.  I think she’s two months old, but I could be wrong.  She is the cutest little black kitten and from what I hear, she rules the roost. 

She apparently, came into the house, sat in that chair and the chair has been her throne ever since.  She fetches and plays and drives their other cat nuts.  From what I hear, he is unimpressed by her cuteness and enthusiastic playfullness. 

I think she’s adorable!

Doctor Update

Yesterday, I had a follow-up with my primary care doctor to review the results of my physical, to review my high blood pressure meds, and to get a referral letter for the gastric by-pass surgeon.

First a note on my bp meds.  I take three medicines for my blood pressure.  The one pill, Norvasc, is great a lowering bp, but it can cause you to retain water and cause swelling in your extremities.  I did really great on Norvasc for a long time.  The past couple of months though, my feet and ankles have been swelling up out of control.

Now, I have had my feet swell as a reaction of eating something I’m allergic too.  That can sometimes be much worse than what I have been experiencing the last few months.  The pain from anaphylactic shock is extreme to say the least.  The tops of my feet would swell.  The bottom of my feet would swell.  Ankles. Legs.  It is terrible and very painful.

I have not had that in a very, very long time because I am very careful about not eating allergens.  Occasionally, stuff slips through, especially if I eat at a restaurant or eat something someone else cooked.  A good example is the night my company took us to Fogo de Chao for a Christmas party.  OMG FdC is totally awesome.  It is a glutton paradise.  They literally bring you endless amounts of food, most of it in the form of some kind of really yummy meat.  Oh they do have an endless salad bar as well, lest you miss you veggies or not get enough steak.  But I digress.

When we arrived at the table they put baskets and baskets of rolls on the table.  I immediately started eating them.  I was like maybe on my second roll and I turned to one of my co-workers and said, “These rolls taste kind of yeasty, don’t you think?  I wonder if they cooked them all the way?”

At which point my co-worker, who knows of my milk allergy, said, “OMG Colleen you cannot eat that!  They have cheese inside!”

Yes, it had been so long since the last time I had cheese, I forgot what it tasted like when placed in bread.  Fortunately, my feet didn’t swell up that night, I just had an upset stomach.  But that also could have been from the vast quantities of meat I ate.

But back to my meds…My doctor decided to take me off the Norvasc for a while.  Just a month.  I also have to take my bp every day to make sure it does not spike back up.

The other thing we discussed was my cholesterol.  My cholesterol normally runs between 199-206.  That is a borderline high number.  Doctors have been bugging me for years to try to bring that number down.  As  I have discussed, I have been seeing a nutritionist.  I have made some changes in what I have been eating, how I have been eating it, and paying attention to my hunger levels.  I have not really lost any weight as a result, so I was pretty sure my numbers would be pretty much the same.  Are you ready for this?  My cholesterol was 155!  You heard me, (or read) 155!  Nope that is not a typo, 155!  I am so excited.

I have not made big changes.  I’ve added fruit to my cereal at breakfast.  I’ve included fruit or a veggie in snacks.  I have added more veggies at lunch and dinner.  And I have very nearly cut out all forms of junk food.  I say nearly, because I still eat a small amount of chocolate and the very rare small bag of chips or pretzels.  Those are not every day snacks, but very rarely, I will still indulge.  I have also cut back on my restaurant food intake.

That was the good news.  Now for the bad.  My triglycerides were 239.  Really, not good.  Yes, it could have been worse, but considering my family’s history of heart disease, this is not a good number.  So, my doctor and I talked about things I can do right now to improve that number.  I apparently have to bring it down below 155.

So, the last thing I discussed with my doctor was the letter she needed to send to the surgeon.  Done.

I also had the last counseling appointment with the nutritionist.  We went over the things I need to maintain doing.  We talked about my recent obsession with margaritas.  And she gave me information about the supplements and protein shakes that I will need for after the surgery.

I will still have pre-op sessions with both my doctor and the nutritionist, so this is not the last time I will see them before the surgery, but things are getting really close.  I am still working on getting the psych evaluation.  I thought I found a psychiatrist in my area, who accepts my insurance to do this, but we have been playing phone tag and the meeting has not happened yet.  I hope to get that done in the next two weeks.  After that, the surgeon can actually submit to the insurance company for approval.  Once they have the approval, they will schedule the surgery.  The office told me they are thinking late August, early September, which is what I am thinking as well.  OMG it is getting very close!

Today’s kitty pic is from my friend Wendy.  She is in both of the writer groups that I belong to.  This is her cat Kowi.  Kowi is a tough, resilient little cat.  They found her in the Florida everglades where I’m sure she took on many alligators.  She is smart as well because she can fetch.    So, here are several pictures Kowi, warrior kitty alligator slayer!

 

A Matter of Great Concern, etc

Today I want to talk about two things.  One is an update on Last Supper Syndrome.  The other is a very serious matter that has been weighing heavily on my mind recently.  Underwear.

I do not know why, but I have been inordinately preoccupied with the underwear supply I will need as I quickly lose weight after the surgery.   I am very worried about this.  I know it is silly.  I mean, it is simply underwear, but still I cannot stop thinking about it.

I have been the same size for so long, that I have built up quite a stock of panties.  I do a regular purge of old ones.  But I regularly buy a bunch of panties at a time.  Usually several packages of Haines Her Way at one time.  I generally have a pretty good stock of 2 months worth on hand so that no matter what the laundry situation may be, I always have clean undies.

Now I am looking down the road a couple of months ahead and there is a very real possibility that I may be throwing out the old and replenishing in rapid succession in smaller and smaller sizes.

I know it seems silly, but the doctor’s office has me making all kinds of preparaations and buying things in advance.  Vitamins, food, smaller sizes of clothes.

I have clothes, t-shirt, shorts, pants, blouses, that I can wear down to size 14.  After that, I will have to buy some clothes.  Vitamins will keep.  Most of the food I can buy right before the surgery, but I am buying things like chicken stock and sugar free jello now.  But I just don’t know how to prepare for the potential panty problem.

My sister and I had a discussion about this recently.  She has lost a little bit of weight herself (like maybe 10 pounds…I know…that skinny b%#ch!) and had to renew her own stock.   So, I shared with her my anxiety of buying new and tossing out the old.  We had a good chuckle.  OK, in truth, she laughed at me.  But she also made some suggestions of what I could do with them:

  • Use the old ones for cleaning rags.
  • Give them to Goodwill.
  • Make t-shirts out of them.
  • Make a quilt.
  • Donate them to a kite making factory.

 

When I told her these options were unrealistic and btw ewwww, she responded with, “Well, I guess we’ll just have to throw them away and buy new ones, crazy girl.”

If only it were that simple.

Now for the update on Last Supper Syndrome:

Recently, I had this crazy craving for margaritas.  I’m not a huge drinker.  On occasion, I will have one or two glasses of wine, but it is usually on a special occasion or when I go out to dinner with someone.  Mostly though, I’m happy to drink water.  I know, I’m boring.

I do not know what brought this current margarita craze, but I just had to have them.  I probably saw a movie or TV show where someone was drinking margaritas and I immediately thought, “OMG I have to drink margaritas before my surgery!”  Now, I haven’t had margaritas in at least three years.  In fact, it has been so long that I do not even know when was the last time I had them.

I contacted a friend of mine and we went out for happy hour last night.  There is a Mexican restaurant around the corner that has $3.00 margaritas at happy hour during the week.  That was pretty much perfect.

Now, Mexican restaurants are problematic for me.  I am allergic to milk, tomatoes, and corn.  Harry thought Sally was high maintenance because of the way she ordered food with everything on the side?  That’s nothing.  I go into a mexican restaurant and everything I order I have to say,  “I’ll have the (fill in mexican dish), no tomatoes, no salsa, no pico de gallo, no cheese, no sour cream, flour tortillas not corn, does your guacamole have sour cream or tomatoes in it? And white rice not spanish.  Pinto beans on the side no cheese on top. Thanks!”

Finally, my friend says, “She’s allergic to these things, please do not put them on the plate.”

The whole time the waitress is looking at me like I have three heads and I can see her thoughts scroll across her forehead as she thinks, “You realize of course, those are the ingredients in oh EVERYTHING we serve?  WTF are you doing at a mexican restaurant if you cannot eat the food here?”

Duh, $3.00 margaritas!  And I tip well, so shut up and bring me my plain steak fajitas.

Seriously, though, the waitress was great and we had a good laugh.  She brought me just what I wanted and many, many margaritas.  Well, 3 actually.  And now I’m good for margaritas for a while.

So now it is time for the obligatory cat photo.  Tonight I am featuring a cat that belongs to my partner in margarita crime, Andy.  Grady is his cat.

I went to high school with Andy.  He and my brother were/are friends and so me and Andy were/are friends.  We lost touch with Andy after high school when we attended different colleges.  Then we were reunited with him via Facebook a couple of years ago.  And as fate would have it, Andy and I live around the corner from one another.  Literally.  We grew up and attended high school in Pittsburgh.  Our lives went in different directions, and now Andy and I both live in the same town in Virginia.  I know, so strange.  I am glad that we are friends again.  My brother also lives in VA, but he lives like 25 miles from here.

Thank goodness for Facebook!  For all of Facebook’s flaws, I’ve reunited with several friends and this makes me happy.

So, thanks for the margaritas, Andy!  Here’s to Grady: