Tag Archives: wellness. weight-loss

Back On Schedule

Yeah, I seem to have fallen off the blogging bandwagon there.  After my stepfather’s death and my week in Pittsburgh, I kind of lost steam.  I want to get back to focusing on blogging and my weight loss journey.  I was blogging every day for a while there, but life has just been crazy the past couple of weeks.

So, health-wise, I seem to be doing OK.  I had my annual physical last week after I returned from my sojourn in Pittsburgh.  My blood pressure was slightly elevated, (140/85), but I’m sure it has to do with the stress I have been under.  My doctor didn’t seem too worried, but she asked me to monitor it on my own.  I have and it’s come back down to the normal range, (120s/70s).  We are trying to see how I do sans medicine for a while.  I am happy to do that since prior to the surgery I was on three meds a day just to keep it down below 225/125.  Yeah, I was that sick.

Today I joined my brother and my niece in DC at the Smithsonian museums.  She’s 5 and her favorite museums are the Natural History Museum and the American Indian Museum.  We took her to the American History Museum.  I think that one is a bit above her head at he moment, but she fared better there than she did at the Art Museum.  The guards near the Matisse may never be the same again.

She liked the Kermit the Frog at the American History Museum and was completely nonplussed by Dorothy’s ruby slippers.  In her defense, she has not seen the Wizard of Oz yet or she may have appreciated them.  I thought she might like them anyway since she has her own pair of sparkly ruby-red shoes, but no.  She just looked at them and asked if we could go see the bugs now.  Oh to be five!

We did take her to see the bugs and she totally fell in love with the bees in the bug room.  The Smithsonian has a pretty cool beehive setup.  You can watch the bees come into the hive through an entry they have on one of the windows.  The bees then make their way over to a hive which they have set up on a fake tree.  It’s actually pretty cool  My niece kept asking where the queen bee was.  I didn’t really know what to say to that.

I know I have talked about our treks into DC to the Smithsonian before, but it was so nice to get my life back to the new normal.  I love being able to walk around the city and then wander through museums.  I could never do that before the surgery and before my weight loss.

I have noticed something else recently too.  I’ve become much more confident on stairs.  I no longer have to hold the handrail and go down one at a time.  I still do sometimes just to feel more secure, but it’s not always a necessity.

Today for instance, I was walking down the steps outside of one of the museums.  I was holding my niece’s hand and she tripped.  I was able to stop, keep my balance, and pull her up before she hit the ground.  I was not even holding the hand rail.  If she was with the “Before Colleen”, she may have tripped down the stairs and hurt herself.  But the “After Colleen” had no problem making what could have been a big accident a non-event.

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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!

A New Choice A New Direction

I have struggled with my weight all of my life.  The struggle began long before I was overweight.  In grade school and high school I was not fat, but I felt that I was.  Worst of all, many of the people in my life told me that I was, just reinforced my already out-of-wack self perspective.  When I look back at my childhood pictures, I wonder not only why I felt that way, but why anyone would tell me something that was so patently untrue.

Throughout my teen years, my weight fluctuated between 120-135.  When I went to college, I think I weighed about 130.  When I left college, I weighed 160-180.  By my mid-twenties I was over 200.  

Recently, I weighed in at 298.  Wow.  I have tried losing weight, oh I don’t know…every day of my life?  Yeah, that sounds about right.  Part of me thinks that if I had never been so weight obsessed that I never would have gained as much as I did.  

Now I am beginning to feel some of he negative effects of being obese more than I ever have before.  I have high blood pressure, asthma, food allergies, and back problems.  Walking is difficult, standing in one place is excruciating, and I am very concerned about overall health in general.

I have spent the past two years really struggling to get my weight and health under control, I do not seem to be making much headway.  

November of last year, my sister came to me to tell me about a girl she works with.  This girl experienced extreme weight loss over the course of a year or so.  My sister finally asked her co-worker how she did it.  Her friend was surprisingly open about what she did.  

Apparently, she had something called a lap-band procedure done.  She had a small band placed around part of her stomach and part of her stomach removed.  And she exercised like a madwoman.  My sister wanted me to have this done.  I was wary, but with the health problems I had been having, I was pretty open to nearly any idea.  I talked to this girl and went to her doctor.  

I made the mistake of going to this doctor by myself.  I should have waited until my sister, a friend, or someone else could go with me.  But, I did not wait.  The people at the office were very nice.  But I left there feeling somewhat uncomfortable.  I was excited about the thought of doing something to help with my weight problem, but I did not really connect with the doctors at this office.  I felt as if they were more interested in selling me a particular program, and not so much interested in finding the right solution for me.  I felt as if I was being pushed into choosing the most expensive, most invasive, least healthy procedure they offered.

Now, I know several people who have either had a gastric by-pass or a lap band procedure done.  All of them are very happy they made the decision and say that they have no regrets.  One of the women even tried gently nudging me in that direction a few years ago, but I was not ready to consider it as an option.

After leaving that first office, I went to my primary care doctor.  I set up an appointment with her specifically to discuss my options.  She made a couple of recommendations of doctors nearby that I could talk to.  I still had concerns thought.  You see, they were connected to the hospital in my neighborhood.  I had a bad experience there recently and really did not want to go back there for any reason, especially an invasive, life changing surgery.  I’m sure the doctors she recommended were just fine, but I was wary.

Over the next few days, I thought about my options  I was sitting in my bosses office one day when a girl from a different department walked into his office and sat next to me.  I had been thinking of her recently because I knew she had the gastric by-pass surgery.  She now worked from home and came into the office very rarely, so I hadn’t had a chance to talk to her.

I don’t know how she felt inside, but I know that outside, she looked great.  She had lost a lot of weight, which was part of it.  But honestly, now she had a happy glow about her.  So, when she sat down, I stopped what I was saying to my boss and turned to her and said, “I’m glad you’re here.  I need to talk to you.  It’s kind of personal, so feel free to tell me to shut up if you don’t want to talk about it.”

Obviously, she knew what I was talking about right away with that kind of an intro and she just looked at me and said, “Ask me anything.  Nothing’s personal anymore.”

So, I told her everything I had been through recently and my thoughts and reservations and I asked what she had done.  She told me what procedure she had done, who was her doctor, and how she felt.  She gave me the name and number of her doctor and told me that I must go see him.  She loves him and everyone in his office.  She said they are the nicest people and absolutely changed her life.  She had no regrets and would do it again.  She was also honest about some of the problems she had experienced after the surgery and how she managed.

I went to see her doctor and my experience was exactly as she described hers.  They were very friendly and basically held my hand through all of the options and helped me pick what they feel would be the best procedure.  Of course, its the procedure this particular doctor specializes in, but I didn’t feel the hard-sell like I did at the other office.  But I also feel as if I would have chosen this procedure over any other because it negated many of the concerns I have about gastric by-pass surgery.  It is invasive, but less drastic than several of the other procedures I have looked at and, best of all, if I have serious complications, it is reversible.  

So, I have come to a decision.  I decided to have the gastric by-pass procedure done.  This was not an easy choice.  Nor is it an easy process.  What I have been going through is nothing like I thought it would be.  You don’t just meet with the doctor one week and prep for surgery the next. There are many steps and it is rather complicated.

I have decided to blog about my experience to help me explore some of the feelings I am having and to basically discuss the process I am going through.  I have not had the surgery yet, and probably won’t until closer to the end of the year.  In the mean time, I have a lot of preparation that I did not expect to have to do.  It is going to be a long journey from where I am now to surgery, weight-loss, and good health.  I hope you will join me.