Saturday, June 21, 2014

In about 72 hours...

give or take a few because life tends to not be set in stone, I'll be waking up in a recovery room ready to start an incredible new journey towards a healthier life.

I can hardly wait.

I know that there are some people out there (not my friends and family, of course, but some) that think having weight loss surgery is a cop easy way out.

Well, it's not.  It's scary and it requires a ton of commitment to be successful.

I've been struggling with my weight on and off since my kids were born.  That's over TWO DECADES of battling this crap with every diet and exercise plan out there.  I had moderate amounts of success and maintained a relatively healthy weight until shortly before I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.  Since then, it's been a one step forward two steps back process.

Weight loss surgery is a tool.  I'm not trying to justify my decision (except maybe a bit to myself).  I've made that.  I'm just trying to explain it to those who might not understand.  There are LOTS of tools available for weight loss.

Quick Weight Loss Centers
Jenny Craig
Weight Watchers
My Fit Foods
Personal trainers
Gym Memberships
Exercise DVDs
Two aisles in the book store filled with different diets - low carb/high protein - low fat - high fat/high fiber - blood type - body shape type...and so on and so on
Diet pills (prescription and OTC)
Meal replacement shakes and bars

I could go on and on.  I have tried nearly ALL of these different "tools" with the exception of a couple newer diets that have hit the shelves recently.  I have always been successful for a time then, for various reasons, the success comes to a grinding halt.  For me it's usually due to an illness or injury from overtraining because I love to exercise...but, as my orthopedic surgeon says, "fat people shouldn't do jumping jacks."

I've been in the hospital more times than I can count with slipped or herniated discs.  I just had surgery to repair one and with my weight where it is, I'm looking at another surgery down the road.  I have torn the meniscus in my left knee TWICE.  I'm looking at a total knee replacement in the future if I'm not careful.  My podiatrist describes the ligaments in my left ankle as "over-pulled taffy."  One more injury to my ankle means surgery and replacement of my ligaments with cadaver ligaments and a minimum of a 8 week - non weight bearing recovery.  Every time I have one of these setbacks, I lose all the ground I'd gained and then some.  This list could go on and on too.

So, I've decided to try another tool.

I read a book recently - The Sleeved Life - by Penny Nicola   She describes this surgery as a tool like any other.  She mentions our use of washing machines vs. banging our clothes on rocks in a river...of driving cars instead of hooking up a horse and buggy...and so forth.

I like her analogies.

This surgery is an amazing tool.  Many, many, many people have been incredibly successful with it when everything else failed them.  Check google images for before and after pictures and you'll see what I mean.

I intend to be one of them.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I'll be heading down...

to the hospital tomorrow to do my pre-op labs.

Considering the fact that I've been pondering this surgery for a really long time, it sure does seem like things are moving FAST!

At about this time next Tuesday, I'll be waking up in a recovery room with a new teeny tiny tummy.

I'm excited.

I'm nervous.

I'm hopeful.

I'm full of butterflies!

I want to thank all my friends and family who have been extremely supportive of my decision.  You guys are all awesome.  I love you all and appreciate your support.  This part of my journey is only just beginning and it's good to know I have a huge team of cheerleaders behind me.

I also want to thank the few of you that were worried or concerned or even told me this is not what I should do.  I know that you care about me and want me to be safe and healthy.  I love you guys too!  Please know that I took your words to heart, but in the end I am making my decision based upon my own knowledge of my own body, advice from multiple doctors, and with the support and approval of my husband, children, and parents.

My pre-op diet has been going well.  I've lost about six pounds so far.  (Hopefully, it's mostly from my liver!)  It would be great to drop another 4 or so before surgery.

You know what?  I think I'm MOSTLY excited!!  I think my ASS is mostly afraid!  :)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

My two week pre-op diet...

starts on June 9th .  My surgery is going to be on June 23rd.

In the meantime, I've got quite a long "to do" list to get myself and my home prepared for this journey.

I've got to get back in the habit of logging my meals so I can make sure I'm getting enough protein and such.  I've done this on and off for ages, so it shouldn't be too hard to get back to it.

I also need to develop a habit of keeping track of how much water I drink.  I'm so used to being able to guzzle big 32 ounce cups of water.  After my surgery, I won't be able to do that so drinking enough water each day will take a little more effort.  I'm planning on buying one of those "flavor infusing" pitchers for the fridge.  I can add herbs and fruit and such to it, but mainly I'll know when it's empty that I've had at least as much water as my body needs.

I need to say "goodbye" to caffeine and carbonation.  I rarely have any, so this shouldn't be difficult....but I think one last Coke might be in order.

I need to start cutting out all the simple carbohydrates and increasing my protein intake.

I need to keep my ass moving.  I've been using my awesome new exercise bike a lot, but it's time to get back in the pool (it's finally warm enough - almost!) and WALKING.

I've got to start cleaning out the junk in the pantry and fridge.  I don't get into it much now, but I don't want to be tempted later.  My poor hubby is going to have to make some changes too!

I've got to go to the store and buy TONS of protein powder and low sodium broth.

Lots to do...little time to do it.

I've got to get BUSY!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

In about 30 minutes...

I have to get in the shower and get ready to head down to the medical center.  Today is my pre-op appointment.  My surgery has been approved by my insurance company and now I just need to find out when they can do it and see how that coordinates with my family's schedule.

I'm glad my husband is going to be able to come to this appointment with me.  He'll remember to ask all the questions that I've forgotten.

I don't know whether to be anxious or excited about the beginning of this new journey.  I think I'm a little bit of both.

I was back and forth on my decision a bit until last Friday.  I'm still in physical therapy from my back surgery and my knees have been a little tweaky, so we're working on those too.  On Friday, we did several sets of walking lunges and in the middle of the second set, I felt something in my left knee go, "POP!"  It hurt hurt more later.  By Saturday, it was hugely swollen and very painful.  I went to my knee doctor's office on Tuesday and got a couple more shots.  He knows about (and APPLAUDS!) my decision to get sleeved.  He's letting me hold off on an MRI and such for my knee until that happens.  Hopefully, I'll evade knee surgery this one last time and will lose enough weight with the sleeve that I won't be at risk for it any longer.

That "POP!" was the last straw.

I'm doing this.

My ass better start packing.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Six weeks after...

the last time I wrote a blog post, I had to have back surgery.  It's been something I was avoiding for nearly two decades, but this time I had to face the inevitability of it.  I had a severe L5/S1 herniation and the disc was impinging upon my sciatic nerve so much you could have stabbed me in the foot with a fork and I would not have known you did it.

The surgery (laminectomy and microdiscectomy) was successful.  Within four hours of waking up from the anesthesia, I was looking for my underpants because I was out of pain and ready to get dressed and go home!  It took another month or so to recover from the surgery itself and I'm still in physical therapy to regain the strength and flexibility that I lost, but all in all I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to have it done.

As most of you know, I've been struggling with my weight more on than off since my kids were born.  My oldest will be 21 next month and my little one will be 20 in November.  It's definitely not "baby weight" any longer.  As I've mentioned before, I had things mostly under control until my thyroid cancer diagnosis and subsequent total thyroidectomy in December of 2005.  Since then, it's been a constant battle with low energy levels, a rapid resting heart rate, and injury after injury (back, ankles, feet, knees, etc.)  It's been a constant repetition of the one step forward - two steps back regime.

Which brings me to a decision I've made and want to share with all of you...

I am going to have weight loss surgery.  I am planning to have a procedure done that's called a vertical sleeve gastrectomy.  In a nutshell, my surgeon will make one little hole in my bellybutton and remove a good chunk of my giant, pizza and fried chicken craving stomach through it.  That big piece of stomach will take with it a lot of my body's ghrelin (that hormone that makes you hungry!) production.

When everything is all said and done, it should become much less difficult to lose weight.  It won't be easy, mind you, but definitely less difficult.  As I lose weight, the likelihood of injuring and reinjuring myself exercising and the risk of having to have more back surgery or knee replacements or heaven knows what I'd break next decreases dramatically.

So, I have made a pretty big decision to help me on the path towards health and fitness.

I hope you all don't think it's a cheat or a cop-out or a bad decision in general.  I have thought all those things through for myself and still come to the conclusion that this is the right choice for me.  I would love your support for this new phase in my journey.  In lieu of your support, I appreciate your silence.

Love, N

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

It's the first day...

of the rest of my life.  It's the first day of 2014.  It's NEW YEAR'S DAY!

New Year's Day is the day that is typically used by most of us for making RESOLUTIONS.  We make big plans and set enormous, generally unattainable, goals.  We set ourselves up to fail.

I didn't do it last year and I'm not doing it this year.

Last year, I made a simpler resolution.  I resolved to work on being "better."  I worked towards being a better wife, a better mother, a better friend, a better ME.  I worked on smiling more and whining less.  I worked on helping others more.  I worked on being more appreciative of simple joys.  Of course, I worked on eating a little less and exercising a little more too.  I worked on all these things and they worked on me.

Last year, I followed through on my resolution.  I can't say that I was "perfect" but I certainly didn't fail.  It feels good to say that.  It feels good to be satisfied with my accomplishments - both small and otherwise.

This year, I resolve to do the same.