Tag Archives: weight loss surgery

What I Think About While I’m Biking (Hint: Not you!)

I have been biking quite a lot recently. I try to get out at least 3-5 times a week. I have even biked to work, although I do not do that often. I’m often hot and sweaty after I get there and the ride home, while primarily downhill, is mostly on city streets and is kind of brutal and scary.

A few months ago, a friend of mine, or maybe someone I know only slightly posted this meme oh Facebook:


I think the person was trying to be encouraging by showing how judgy they are not by posting a meme on Facebook. I was slightly offended by it and became more so the more I thought about it. I’m not upset with the person, just the idea. The idea that there are good fat people, those who exercise or do something other people deem to be healthy. And bad fat people. To me, this is just another form of fat shaming.

The idea that my health, my appearance somehow belongs to other people is offensive to me. If I do what you think is the right thing, I’m worthy of praise, and if I do not, I deserve derision.

Now that I am biking myself, I’m here to tell you that while I’m biking, none of that matters. Here’s the secret. Fat people bike for the same reasons skinny people bike…because they love it. Yes, it is exercise and helps to build muscle mass and burn calories, but that is not my primary motivation.

So I thought I’d share some of the things I actually think about while I’m biking. (hint: those thoughts have nothing to do with you or what I think you think I look like!)

  1. Balance! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa Whoa! Don’t fall! Don’t fall!
  2. I put my feet not the pedals! Whoo hoo!
  3. OK, pedal, pedal! Don’t fall!
  4. I’m biking! I’m biking!
  5. OK get to bike trail…
  6. Big hill! It’s downhill, you can do this!
  7. Holy crap here comes a car! It’s OK! It’s OK! They’ll go around me.
  8. Whew, they went around me. Catastrophe averted.
  9. I made it to the bike trail! OMG, it’s uphill! At least it will be downhill on the way back.
  10. On the way back: How can the bike trail possibly be uphill in both directions?? Seriously? Who designed these trails?
  11. OMG, my legs.
  12. OMG, my butt hurts.
  13. OMG, I cannot breathe.
  14. Just breathe!
  15. OMG, I think a bug flew up my nose!
  16. Now my nose is itchy!
  17. Can’t take hands off handlebars to scratch nose.
  18. I have to scratch my nose.
  19. Scratches nose. Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Don’t fall!
  20. Making bike trail part of the sidewalk…not a good idea!
  21. Case in point…who decided to put a lamppost in the middle of the bike trail/sidewalk? WTF? img_1858
  22. Bike around lamppost by railing and risk running into the railing and possibly tumbling down the embankment and into the creek? Or bike around lamppost street-side and risk tumbling into traffic? Nice.
  23. Preparing to bike up a short, but sharp hill. I can do this. I can do this. Uh oh, someone is coming downhill fast in my lane! He’s not looking up. Look up, look up look up! “Hey, look up! Coming towards you!”
  24. He moved, thank God.
  25. Lost momentum. Great, now I have to walk up the hill.
  26. OMG, I didn’t know I could sweat this much.
  27. Family with kids, “I’m on your left!” Please, God, don’t let the kids run out in front of me!
  28. Did the runner I just passed going downhill just pass me as we are going uphill? Holy crap, I’m slow!
  29. When does this get easier?
  30. Does it have to be so hot out?
  31. When does this hill end?
  32. Breathe! Just breathe!
  33. You can do this!
  34. Home at last!
  35. I so totally rock!

I do not think about what other people think I look like. Not at all. I think about safety and the other people I see on the trails. I do not want to put myself or anyone else at risk.

A friend of mine recently asked me that since I live in an urban area and I bike on the streets a lot if cars scare me. The answer is, they terrify me. I have a healthy fear of cars. Every time I have to cross a street or bike on the street, I’m terrified. I know most drivers are cautious and do not want to hit me, but in that moment, all I can think about is trying to avoid being hit. I yield to everyone.

But here’s another secret, I spend most of my time on my bike being terrified. Terrified I’ll fall. Terrified I’ll run into a pedestrian. Terrified of going uphill. Terrified of going down hill. Terrified of going too slow. And terrified of going too fast. Still, I get out there.

So, why do I do it? I do it because I have to. Not because I’m required to, or that the doctor told me I must. I do it because I love it. When I’m on my bike I’m not concerned about what I look like or what anyone else thinks of me. It is the only time I feel free from the judgment of other people; free to just live in the moment. I think that more than anything gets me out there on the trails as often as possible.

I see people of all sizes on the bike trails. Some a much smaller than me, some much bigger. One girl in particular stands out. I saw her this weekend and I think she was biking with her boyfriend. She looked like she was struggling. Still, she was faster than me. The two of them whizzed by me without a problem. I later caught up with them as they had stopped for water. She saw me coming and smiled. She looked just as hot and sweaty as I felt. I smiled back and gave her the biker nod – the nod many bikers have given me. A nod of recognition; of camaraderie; a welcome to the club. I hope she sticks with it and loves it as much as I do.

What Do You Want To Know?

Lately, I have not been blogging quite as much.  I was on quite a tear there for a while blogging every day or nearly every day.  I seem to have run out of ideas lately.  My weight loss has slowed down.  I have been walking a lot more, exercising a little bit.  And in many ways, my life has become much busier recently.  And I seem to have run out of ideas to keep the daily posts going.  I fear that I am repeating myself a lot.  Still, I feel guilty about not blogging every day.  I feel that I should at least say something, because after all, the struggle to lose weight and make healthy choices continues every day even after weight loss surgery and losing a huge amount of weight.

I know that I have lost a lot of weight, I have purged my closet of big clothes several times.  I have bought some new outfits.  I even bought some used clothes.  And I inherited a large number of t-shirts, etc from my sister.  Even after all of this, I am still not done losing.  To reach my goal, I have 63 pounds to go.  If I never reach that goal, I’m OK.  I have achieved a lot thus far and I am happy with what I have achieved.

I can walk.  I can breathe.  I can walk and breathe at the same time.  I have a lot more energy.  My blood pressure is controlled without meds.  I no longer use the c-pap machine.  My cholesterol is under control, and my triglycerides are normal.  That last one makes me very happy because heart disease runs in my family.

I love the blog and I do not see an end to it, but I guess I need to find some more topics to cover.  I have written about a lot of different subjects.  I have tried to be as truthful as possible about my experience with gastric by-pass surgery, the good and the bad.  I have described the surgery, the recovery, what it is like to be fat, what it is like to feel invisible, what it’s like to no longer feel invisible, all kinds of subjects.

So, I am going to turn this blog around a bit and I hope this experiment works.  I want to hear from you guys, my readers.  I know most of you are friends and family and I have talked to you guys endlessly about the surgery.  But I also have a couple of readers I do not know personally.  In either case, I am looking for questions from all of you.

Tell me what you want to know.  Is there a subject that I haven’t covered that you want to know about?  Do you have a question about weight loss surgery that I have not answered?  Are there things in my life that have changed that I have not shared with the blogosphere that you want to know about?  Ask away.  I will use your questions as new subject matter for me to explore and write about.

I will answer any serious question about weight loss surgery or changes in my life as honestly as I can no matter how personal.  I know that opens up a can of worms for people to ask all kinds of ridiculous things, but I trust my readers.  If I come across questions I feel I cannot or will not answer, I will address that as needed.  I also reserve the right to mock people who ask questions that are intended to insult fat people, women, me, or otherwise corrupt what I am trying to do with this experiment.

So, tell me…what is it you want to know?

Fighting Back My Own Demons

I know that I have a lot to celebrate and be thankful for since my WLS surgery.  I have lost 108 pounds.  I have come down in size from a 30/32 to a 14/16.  I can walk.  I can breathe.  I can walk and breathe at the same time.  I have many new cute outfits.  I can fit into old cute outfits that I have not worn in years.  I have a lot to be grateful for.

And yet…

I still find that it is a daily struggle to fight back the demons that took me to that awful place where I weighed over 300 pounds and felt that my life was not worth living.  I still have to struggle against the same self-doubt and fear; the same desire to fill that void inside of me with all the wrong things; the paralyzing thought that I have wasted too much of my life; the fear that I have already done too much damage to my body and that no matter what I do now, it cannot be repaired; the fear that no matter what or how much I change, I will always be unloveable; that I will always be alone; that I will never progress any further in life than where I am now; that the evil voice inside my head and the people in my life who reinforce that voice are right, that I am nothing and not worth the effort.

The intellectual side of my brain knows that none of this is true, but some days it is harder to believe than others.  I know tomorrow I will feel differently, but today the struggle continues.


There Really Is An App For That! A Cool Diet App

I have been using this App on my iPhone called My Fitness Pal.  I typed in my current weight, my height, and my goal weight and it tells me how many calories I need each day to achieve that goal.  Not only that, as I lose weight, I can update my current weight and the app will adjust my expected caloric intake appropriately.

You can enter any profile information you want; your measurements, your height, weight, goal, gender, date of birth, and activity level.  Then each day, you enter the food you eat and any exercise you do. 


I think this is a great app.  Not only does it track your calories, it gives you a nutrition breakdown as well.  You can see how much fat you are getting each day, protein, vitamins, minerals, cholesterol, sodium, and potassium.  It’s pretty cool.  It is also a social networking app.  You can connect with other friends using this app and comment on each other’s progress and offer encouraging support.

I mostly use it to make sure that I am getting at least 1200 calories per day and to track my protein intake.  I’m not so concerned with tracking every gram of fat or every calorie.  I just need to make sure that I am getting enough per the goals set forth by my surgeon.   The doctor wants me to get between 1200-1400 calories per day.  Sometimes, that is difficult to do.  My stomach just cannot handle that much food at one time, so it can be hard for me some days.

For instance today my goal is 1480 (per the app).  I already have taken in 717 calories.  I still have one more protein snack and dinner with 763 calories remaining.  My protein drink is 170 calories.  That will leave 593 calories for dinner.  I doubt I will eat 593 calories at dinner.  I plan to have spinach and chicken.  I did a quick calculation using the app and that will end my day having consumed 1099 calories with 381 calories remaining.  Then the app will yell at me that I am not getting enough calories. 

I’ll be honest though, I have been having some stomach problems today, so if I do manage to eat dinner, I will consider it a good day.  I think my tummy is still in rebellion over the hell I put it through last week.

That aside, if you are trying to lose weight, I definitely suggest this app.  They have it for iPhone, iPad, and Android, so no excuses people!  Get busy…and if you want to connect with me, my user name for this app is morgaine84.

Re-Evaluating My Life

OMG I have been trying to post for days, but it seems life just happens sometimes! 

Big news…I’m down to 190.  As my baby sister tells me, I’m in One-derland!  She put that on Facebook when I announced I was down to 199.  She simply said Onederland!  So, of course I called her and said, “What’s Oneederaland?”  She cracked up.  (If you didn’t get this, stop reading and go watch “That Thing You Do” right now.  Seriously.  Go!  Now!)

And I’ve lost 108 pounds!  Wow!  I feel like a completely different person.  I really do.  I caught myself running across the street today to avoid being smooshed by oncoming traffic.  Me.  Running!  I could barely walk before. 

I have also been taking walks at night after work.  On purpose!

Who is this person I have become?  I feel like I do not even know myself anymore.  More than that, I have found myself contemplating what I want to do with the rest of my life, now that I seem to almost have one again.

When I started my journey more than a year ago, my goals were simple.

  • Lose Weight
  • Be Healthier
  • Not Die

Dressing better, having a more active life, etc. I pretty much viewed to be ancillary benefits, but not really the focus of why I was doing the surgery.  I wanted these things, yes, but more than that, I wanted to be healthy and not die.

But now that I have lost 108 pounds and I am only 65 pounds away from my goal weight, I feel like I have kind of achieved those three simple goals I set for myself initially.  I have lost a lot of weight.  I am much healthier than I was.  And I’m still alive!  But I find I want more.  A lot more.

So, I have spent my non-blogging time thinking of new things I’d like to do now that I am thinner and healthier.  Kind of my own personal bucket list of sorts, I guess.

  • Travel – While I have been to many states within this country, I have never really been anywhere outside of the US.  I have been to Toronto and the Bahamas and they barely count as foreign countries even though they technically are.  I’ve always wanted to go to Europe – London, Paris, Rome, Madrid, etc.  But I also want to see places like Mumbai, Beijing, and Tokyo as well.  I’m a travel agent for crying out loud.  What the hell have I been doing all of these years?
  • Write – Yes, I write now.  I blog.  I write short stories.  I write essays.  I have a couple of novels in various stages of incompleteness.  But I mean, I really want to write.  I want to finish something.  Be successful.  Sell some books.  Make some money writing to finance the rest of my dreams.  I’m tired of sitting behind a desk booking other people’s fun vacations. 
  • Spoil my niece – I kind of do this already, but it’s ridiculously easy to spoil a five-year-old.  Her expectations are pretty low comparatively speaking.  Stuffy (OK, Doc McStuffins has her own Wiki? WTF?) , a Llama Llama t-shirt, and a balloon for her birthday made her day.  What happens when she becomes a teenager?  Or graduates high school?  She’ll need a car.  Summer abroad.  A trust fund.  I don’t know how getting thinner and healthier helps me provide these for her, but there’s gotta be something I could do.
  •  Fall in love – Let’s face it, it’s been a long time since I’ve really fallen for someone or even really crushed on someone.  Or better yet, had them crush on me.  ❤  I think a good romance would do me some good and go a long way to boosting my too long neglected self-esteem.  Failing that, however, I wouldn’t mind having one or two…
  • Torrid affairs – I haven’t had nearly enough of these in my life, either.  I think everyone needs a few under their belts, so to speak, to keep them sane.  Now that’s a character building experience I wouldn’t mind having.  🙂

Seriously, though, what I really want more than anything is to live and really experience all that life has to offer.  I’m just so happy that I now feel well enough to try to do it!

Wagon? What Wagon?

So, reading my blog might leave one feeling that for the most part, I am having a pretty easy time dealing with life after weight loss surgery.  For the most part, I’d say that is pretty true.  You wouldn’t know it from this weekend, however.

Somehow, I have managed to get myself upset over a situation that I created.  It is all in my head.  I know this, but still, I have allowed it to control my moods.  With a couple of exceptions, I pretty much moped around all weekend.  In the past when I would get like this, I would over eat.  I have not really been able to over eat since the surgery since my stomach is so small.  I have manged to get my diet up to about 1200 calories per day.  This means that my stomach pouch is a little bit bigger than it was shortly after the surgery.  This is as it should be and I am right where the doctor wants me to be.  That also means I can eat a little bit more.

Since the surgery, I have for the most part, been able to manage my stress level and keep my emotions in check.  I have been much better about dealing with life.  Friends have commented on the changes they see in me.  They say I am more confident, I speak with more authority, and I carry myself differently.  But for some reason, this weekend, I allowed something that has been bugging me to really get me down.  That and some poor meal planning really left me struggling last night.

I have a hard time when my meal schedule gets thrown off track.  Most of the time when it is time for me to eat, I do not actually feel hungry, or more to the point, my stomach doesn’t feel hungry.  I just start feeling the effects of not having eaten enough.  I get light-headed and cranky and eventually, my stomach starts to hurt.  This usually means it has been probably six hours since I have eaten something and I have missed my protein snack.  Bad Colleen.

I had been out yesterday and had not eaten for quite a while.  I stopped at the grocery store because I knew I did not have anything that I could just eat right away.  I was going to have to cook, which would mean another 30 minutes or more.  I could not wait that long.  I bought some food for the week and I bought a rotisserie chicken.  This was the beginning of my downfall.

Pre-surgery, rotisserie chicken was one of my trigger foods.  You can also include chips, pretzels, pizza, pretty much anything that was salty, crunchy, or savory would do the trick.  And I didn’t just eat a little bit of it.  I could eat almost an entire rotisserie chicken in one go.  Same thing with chips.  All or nothing.  The bigger the bag, the better.  Pizza, pretty much the whole pie. 

For anyone not familiar with the terminology, this is called bingeing.  Want to know what a binger looks like?  Look it up in the dictionary and you will see a picture of me.  Anyone who has suffered from bulimia is also familiar with bingeing, the difference is they follow it with some kind of “purge”.  Purging can take many forms, vomiting, exercise, or laxatives are a few.  I didn’t purge afterwards, unless you include tears of guilt.

The drive to binge is overwhelming and uncontrollable.  Sometimes the binge starts out as hunger, just a meal.  I tell myself I will buy the chicken and just have a little bit, combine it with a potato or rice and some veggies, bam – dinner.  What really happens after I have the chicken home is something else entirely. 

This is what happened to me last night.  I was hungry.  I was stressing out over my own self-created mellow-drama.  I bought a rotisserie chicken. 

Now, in my defense, I have bought rotisserie chickens since the surgery and had just a drumstick and some vegetables, put the rest in the refrigerator and was fine.  That is not what happened last night, however.  And it is really no excuse.

I put together my dinner, which was a piece of chicken and some fruit, and I sat down to eat in front of my computer.  I knew I was having a hard time dealing with my emotions, so I decided to write about them.  I started a word document and just started writing down everything that I was feeling.  What I was not paying attention to was my eating.  I just kept right on eating.  I ate until my stomach started to really hurt.  It hurt so much that I thought I was going to vomit.  Fortunately, I did not.

I had two drumsticks and was working on a wing.  I had also started to pick at the larger pieces of chicken.  I was sitting on the edge of my bed in pain and ready to cry.  I felt like I had really slipped up and felt guilty.  I could not believe I had done that.  I knew it was a mistake when I bought the chicken.  I could feel it.  But I thought that I had all of that under control.  Clearly, I do not.

I did not save the rest of the chicken.  I threw it into the trash can and then bagged up the trash, took it down the hall, and threw it into the garbage chute in my building.  I then went back into my apartment and put my shoes on, grabbed my sweater, and took a good long walk.  I had to leave the scene of the crime. 

I took a book with me.  I walked around my neighborhood for a very long time.  I thought about everything that had just happened.  I thought through my problem.  I analyzed why I had allow myself to fall down that pit again.  Then I stopped at the coffee shop and had a good hot cup of tea while I drowned my sorrows in the fantasy of a novel for a while.

When I finally returned home, I deleted the word document and cleaned up my mess.  I did not really come up with any good solution to my problem.  And there may not really be one other than to just let things be for a while. 

There are some things in life I just cannot control and I need to accept that.  What I can do is take charge of the things that I can control.  I can control what I eat, the food I buy, and whether or not I allow this one incident to completely throw me off track.

I have had small mishaps since the surgery, accidentally having too much sugar, eating a little bit too fast, eating protein bars that made me a little sick, etc.  I have paid the price for those mistakes, and I have learned how to handle them. 

This was the first time I have really fallen completely off the wagon since October.  I thought that I was beyond all of this, but I guess not.  I learned something about myself last night and it was not pretty.

Re-Evaluation 104 Pounds Later: Why Gastric By-Pass? Why Now?

I’m not sure that I have ever gone into a detailed account on this blog as to why I finally decided to lose weight through surgery.  I want to try to do that today.

Now that I have lost 104 pounds and my goal does not seem quite so far away, I have been thinking a lot about what I have been through this past year and how my life has changed.  That had me thinking about what finally motivated me to take such a drastic step.  And that had me re-evaluating my life as a whole.  Needless to say, I have had a very emotional week.

I have been dieting all of my life.  When I say all of my life, I mean every day, every hour, every minute I have worried about food and being fat for as far back as I can remember.  That obsession with fat and food had a very deleterious effect on my life.  I never felt good about myself with the exception of a few times.  As a result, I gained more and more weight over the years until I topped the scale at 315 pounds at my heaviest.

I have tried so many different diets, weight watchers, the cabbage soup diet, I have worked with doctors, nutritionists.  I have exercised.  I have walked endless miles.  You name it.  I have done it.  But after each failed attempt, I just kept gaining more and more weight.

People have tried to talk to me about weight loss surgery for years and I was never open to it.  I knew I could just lose weight if I just put my mind to it.  The problem was, I was not losing weight and after each failure, I became more and more depressed until I just gave up.  I went on for years like that.  I buried my depression in more food, video games, I withdrew from the world, I stopped doing things I loved.  My health got worse and worse.  I could not walk much.  I could not breathe well.  The less I could go out comfortably, the less I wanted to go out.  It was a perpetual never-ending cycle.

So, what changed?  Why was I suddenly willing to consider surgery when before I would not even talk about it?

As with most things in life, it was not just one thing.  There were several events over the past few years which made me really want to make significant changes to my life.  I found new interests and new reasons to live.  I wanted to let go of the past, but I did not really know how.  And it became increasingly apparent to me that if I did not change my life, I might be on my way to an early grave and I would not have a chance to really do anything.

The first thing that changed in my life  was the birth of my niece.  When my brother and his wife brought her home, and let me hold her for the first time, I was hooked.  I knew in that moment that nothing in the world was more important than that little girl.  I never knew that I could love another person so much.  I have heard it said that parents feel that kind of connection with their child, but I’m here to tell you, Aunties feel it too.  She turned a collection of related adults into a family.

My whole life centered around seeing her smile when I walked into a room.   I forgot what I was doing with my life before she was born.  Nothing else was important anymore.  I want to be there with her through all of her major life events.  I want to help her know how wonderful she is and how much we love her.  And most importantly, I want her to grow up knowing her own self-worth and never feel the insecurities and worthlessness I have felt in my life.

My biggest fear was that I would die from my obesity before I could tell her how wonderful she is, how much she is loved, and how she changed all of our lives, particularly mine.

I also decided that I want to write.  I have always had stories and ideas floating around in my head, but I very rarely ever tried to write any of them down.  Mostly, I was insecure and afraid to write.  I was afraid that other people would hate my ideas and think I was a bad writer.  Who knows.  Maybe they do and maybe I am, but I no longer care.  I have to write, even if it is only ever for myself.

I joined a writers group and although I did not write much for years, I slowly began to develop some confidence and even more slowly became less and less afraid to write.   Now that I am doing this blog almost daily, I cannot seem to stop.  I am also doing a lot of writing apart from this blog as well.  I am writing short stories, essays, I’m working on a novel.  I love it and I do not want to stop.

The third that really compelled me to start thinking about surgery was my sister Jen.  She was married a couple of years ago.  I looked terrible when I went to her wedding.  I know what a disappointment that was for her.  She wanted everyone to be there and have fun, to celebrate the new life she was starting for herself.  I know that she had a hard time seeing me in that condition and I hated not being able to fully join in the fun the way I would have liked.

Then earlier in 2011, I started experiencing the symptoms of a kidney infection.  My other sister Sandy took me to the urgent care so that I they could do a test and maybe give me some antibiotics.  They took my blood pressure and it was 210/123-ish.  Pretty darn high.  I was on blood pressure medication already.  Clearly, it was not helping enough.  The doctor at the urgent care insisted I get an EKG and they found an irregularity with my heart beats.  So, he sent me directly to the hospital where the doctor there promptly ignored me.  When I saw my doctor that Monday, she made an immediate appointment for me at a heart doctor in the neighborhood.  They did a sonogram of my heart, another EKG, and put me on three blood pressure medications.  Fortunately, they did not find anything wrong with my heart, and the irregular heart beat cleared up when they got my bp under control, but that was very scary.

Sandy was very worried about me and tried to talk to me several times about doing something about my weight.  The heart thing was too scary for her.  In truth, I was afraid as well, but I was depressed, and not sure what to do.  I did not know what to do, but I knew that I had to do something.

One day, Sandy told me about a girl that she worked with who had lost a lot of weight.  This was maybe in October/November 2011.  She asked the girl how she did it.  Her friend had the lap band surgery.  So, Sandy had me talk to her friend and get the surgeon’s information.  She lobbied hard for me to consider this surgery.  She watched it change her co-worker’s life and she wanted that same thing for me.

I did agree to consider the surgery.  To me, the lap band sounded less intrusive and less damaging than the gastric by-pass.  I went to the surgeon and I was really unhappy with their office.  I really felt like they were trying to sell me a product and they were insistent on pushing me towards the most extreme, expensive surgery.  I left there feeling very uncomfortable, but a seed had been planted.

I decided to get a second opinion, which I did.  I did not like that doctor either.  One, that doctor was connected to the hospital where they basically ignored me after the urgent care doctor thought I was having a silent heart attack.  There was no way I was going to have anything to do with that hospital.  Let them cut me open?  No way.

Then in January/February 2012, I got sick again.  This time I started having excruciating pain on my right side just under my ribs.  I was in and out of the hospital for days.  I kept going to my doctor and she kept sending me back to the hospital for test after test.  The pain was so bad I could not breathe.  After getting a bunch of tests done at the hospital that were inconclusive, I was on the phone with my doctor’s office.  They were telling me they found nothing wrong with me.  I was crying and gasping for air because I was in so much pain.  He sent me back over to the ER.

One of the doctors there was afraid that I had a pulmonary embolism.  The best way to test for it was to give me iodine, which I was very allergic to, for a CT of some kind.  He tried several other tests that were inconclusive and finally told me that if I had an embolism, they would have to treat me for it immediately or it would kill me.  He was gong to have to give me the iodine and risk the allergic reaction.

He gave me a large dose of Benadryl and steroids to hopefully stave off an allergic reaction.  They then shot me full of iodine and did the CT.

Thankfully, I did NOT have a pulmonary embolism, but what they did find was still pretty scary.  My liver was enlarged and my lungs were crushed under the weight of my very large stomach.  My heart was also slightly enlarged.  And my spleen was pretty unhappy.

Now, because I was pumped full of steroids, some of the pain started to abate.  They also had given me some pretty serious pain killers.   They gave me the test results to take to my doctor and finally released me some 10 hours after I had come in for testing.

After about a week of eating nothing but chicken broth and saltines, the pain finally subsided.  My doctor did another round of blood work and kept an eye on me for a few months.  I also lost about ten pounds during that week.  My weight at the start of this debacle was about 315.  I brought it down to about 305 and eventually made it down to about 298.

The seed that had been planted when I went to see the doctor about the lap band surgery really started to take root.  I began to realize that if I did not do something about my weight and soon, I was on the road to an early grave.  If I died because of my weight, I would miss Emmy growing up.  She would only have vague memories of an Aunt who her parents say loved her if she remembered me at all.  All of these crazy stories flying around my head would evaporate into the ether.  My life would have no purpose and I would just be another statistic, another sad obese person who had no control and allowed their addiction to food kill them.  I could not let that happen.

I made up my mind to really have this surgery.  If I was going to die, it was not going to be for not trying.  I started researching other doctors when one day a former co-worker of mine came into the office to visit some of her friends.  I was sitting in my bosses office and she came in and sat down next to me.  She had the gastric by-pass surgery and she looked fantastic.  When she sat down next to me, I stopped talking to my boss and turned around and told her that I had to ask her a question.

She was very open and said,”You can ask me anything.”

Of course, I asked her about her doctor and the surgery she had done.  She gave me his number and I called him.  Once I met him, I knew he was the doctor for me.  Everybody in his office was great.  They walked me through everything step by step.  I felt very comfortable after I left the office and I started making plans.

The surgery has changed my life.  I have no regrets.  I am glad I did it. I know I still have a way to go before I have lost all the weight that I want to lose, but I know I will get there.

Most importantly, my health is better.  I feel great.  And I feel that I have my life back.

What I did over Christmas

I know I have not posted in a while.  The holidays were just crazy.  Many Christmas parties.  Many struggles with food.  New outfits I can now fit into.  A few new pounds shed.

The holiday parties were rough.  I will not lie.  But before I go into parties and food, there are a few new developments I want to discuss.

Pureed vs Soft Food

I am out of the pureed food phase.  Yes!  I ended it myself probably two weeks early.  I was so done having pureed food.  I moved onto soft foods a bit early.  The key for me was to make sure that I chewed everything thoroughly.  I did talk to the surgeon’s office after the fact and the nurse was OK with this decision, so long as I made sure I was following the rest of the program.

What do I mean by soft food?  Soft food is solid food that is soft.  So, nothing crunchy or chewy or tough to eat.  No raw veggies yet, still no bread or starches, and no red meat yet.  So, chicken, salmon, tuna, other soft fish, yogurt, and cheese are good for protein.  Green beans, avocado, sweet potatoes, and other soft vegetables for the veggie part of my meal.  Meals are still 2 parts protein, 2 parts fruit/vegetable.  Protein drinks are still required.

Also, within the next four months, I have to work myself up to 1200-1400 calories per day.  I’m not sure how I’m going to do that considering my stomach is still teeny tiny, but I will try my best.

Speaking of food, I can now have some milk products.  I am shocked, really.  I have been eating soft cheese and yogurt without an allergic reaction.  The nurse told me that some people with an intolerance to lactose can sometimes have it after the gastric by-pass surgery.  I do not have a lactose intolerance.  I am allergic to milk.  They are two totally different things.

Lactose intolerance is kind of the modern buzzword people use or all milk intolerance, but they are not the same.  Lactose is a sugar.  Lactose intolerance is an intolerance of the sugar in milk.  People who are allergic are allergic to the protein in milk.  That protein is casein.  Casein is found in both cow and goat milk.

Before I could not have many soy cheeses because even though they are made from soy, they use casein in them for protein.  This is why I was having Daiya cheese.  It is made with coconut milk, which I can have.

But now, it seems that I can have regular cheese.  The nurse suggested sticking to the white cheeses for now.

I have been buying my cheese at this little market down the street from me called Cheesetique.  Cheesetique has a little restaurant as well as a cheese case with all kinds of yummy cheeses in their cheese case.  My current favorite is the honey goat cheese.  I can tolerate the sweet in it without a problem.  It is so very yummy.  It’s a little pricey, but I do not eat enough to affect my budget too much.  And since I do not eat at restaurants since the surgery, I feel I can splurge a little on my honey goat cheese.

I did take a few of the cheeses to my brother’s house for his birthday celebration and our Christmas gift exchange.  I took the honey goat, a sharp cheddar, some peppered sausage slices and a baguette for a cheese tray.  Gone in 10 minutes.  My family could not get enough.

OK enough about my love of cheese.

Parties and Food

The Christmas parties were a bit rough.  The first one I went to was a party for my writer’s group.  They served wings.  I loooooove wings.  Before the surgery, I could have eaten every day.  There were wings made with a dry rub.  I had a couple of those and a side o guacamole for my vegetable.  I initially only had two wings.  But as the night wore on, I justified eating two additional wings by noting that I had only actually eaten one meal for the day before the party.  In total, I had 4 wings, a couple of pieces of cheese and a spoonful of guacamole over the course o 3 hours.  Not a lot of food in anyone’s book, but probably more than I should have had.

My stomach definitely got very full.  I was in a little bit of pain later that night when I got home.  But I got over it by the next morning.

The next party was a casual Christmas gathering with a few of my co-workers.  We went to one my co-worker’s houses and just had a small party.  It was fun.  For this party, I did make my own wings.  I also made two sauces that I put on the side.  I bake my wings, so it is better than deep frying them.  I also use fresh peppers, fruit, or vegetables in the sauces that I make.  I made one with sweet peppers and mango.  The other I made with habanero peppers, raspberry jam, and honey.  Sweet and mild, and sweet and spicy.  I make good sauce.

At this party, over the course of 2 1/2 hours, I had three chicken wings with a small dollop of spicy sauce, four tiny pieces of kung pao chicken with no peanuts, and a slice of cucumber.  Still a lot of food for me, but again, I had only eaten one meal earlier that day.  I did liquids the rest of the day and an extra protein shake to make up for missing a meal.  Not really the best choice I’m sure, but I survived the evening pretty well and did not get an upset stomach this time.

The third party I went to, I was very good.  I went to my brother’s as I stated earlier.  I did very well here.  I had some cheese as a snack and then for dinner, I had some baked beans, three bean salad and less than half of a chicken sausage that had artichoke in it.

Christmas day, I was invited to my sister-in-laws parents house.  They are always so nice in extending an invitation to me.  I had a small slice of turkey, a small slice of ham, sweet potatoes and whatever vegetable was served.  I did pretty good.

For the most part, I have been eating three meals a day, even when I do not feel like it.  Only in a few instances, did I reduce my diet plan to two meals.


OK, onto clothes.  I did buy two new pair of jeans in a smaller size.  I did a post on that already.  I have also been wearing tops and blouses in smaller sizes two.  The one I wore yesterday was a size 22, which is smaller than the 24s I have been wearing and certainly much smaller than the 26-28 sizes I fit into before the surgery.  I also have a nice party outfit that I wear at Christmastime to parties.  It is a pants suit that is very bright.  Before, I could only wear the jacket and the pants.  Now I can wear the shirt that comes with it as well.  I was also happy to note that this will be the last year I will wear this outfit, because i all goes as planned, this outfit will be far to big for me next year.

I also am down to a new low in my weight loss.  I now weight 242 pounds.  I’ve lost a total of 56 pounds.


I am so amazed by the amount of walking I am doing.  Before, I could barely walk 100 feet before my back hurt so much I had to stop.  Grocery shopping, any shopping was a nightmare.  Now, I can walk for a long, long time.

Christmas Eve I went to one of the art museums in DC with a friend of mine to see Michelangelo’s unfinished David statue.  It was awesome.  We had to park something like 3-4 blocks from the museum.  Then we went to see the Lichtenstein exhibit before we saw the David statue.  The Lichtenstein exhibit was extensive and that took us over an hour to walk through it.  There were benches in from of some of the paintings where we could sit, which I did.  But it was still a lot of walking.

I did make him stop once because I had to drink my protein shake and get some water in me.  I brought all that with me, so we went to the cafeteria so I could have my shake and my water.  Then we went to the other wing of the museum to see David.  Of course, it was at the furthest point away from us, but it was so worth it.  Then we walked back to the car.

For regular people, this is all normal walking.  For me, two months ago, this would have been impossible for me to think about.

Picture Time

I am going to put a new picture of me here.  A friend of mine took this picture just the other day.  I have just purchased a used car.  It’s a Smart Car.  I love it, but that’s not the reason for this picture.  The picture is a full shot of me, what I look like now.  I am also going to include another full shot from my sister’s wedding so that you can see the difference.  IMG_1255IMG_0587