Friday, January 24, 2014

Changing the Course of History

My older daughter had an appointment with a Pediatric Endocrinologist the other day. Her Pediatrician was concerned about her elevated cholesterol levels and insisted she needed a specialist.

Well, it turned out to be a huge waste of time and money because the guy just sat there and smiled (probably dreaming of how much he's going to bill us), told me we were already doing everything we could do, said we were his ideal patients, and keep doing what we've been doing. She's fine.

I'm guessing that little piece of validation will cost us in the ballpark of $300. Have a nice day.

However, I did get something out of the appointment.
Apparently it's a HUGE deal if someone in your family had a 'cardiac event' prior to age 50. When you tell doctors that your mother had a heart attack at 42 (ahem, the same age I am right now!), and that your father died of heart disease a week after his 52nd birthday, eyebrows raise and alarms go off.

It's a big deal.

When doctors hear my family history they want to take a giant step backwards, because that ticking in my chest just might be a time bomb about ready to go off.

This is why I exercise every day.
This is why I get out of bed when it's -20 degrees and I'd rather stay under my warm covers.
This is why when the arthritis in my knee is acting up, I slap an ice pack on and keep moving.
This is why even on my days 'off' from the gym, I do yoga and cardio at home.

I will not be my mother.
I will change the course of our family history.

One day my daughters will be all grown up and  go to the doctor for a physical. When that doctor asks if anyone in their family has had a cardiac event prior to age 50 they'll laugh and say "Are you kidding me? My dad still runs marathons, and my mom still does kick boxing classes!".

That is the legacy I want to give my children.
I will change our history.
This is my promise.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Let's Focus on the Positive, Shall We?

Since having my band removed, I'm struggling. Actually, that's an understatement. I'm fighting an uphill battle and I feel like my chances of winning are not good.

However, if we focus on the positive, it might not be so bad.

The scale is up. My pants are tight. I feel super fat.

As much as I had myself convinced that I could handle this without the band, it's HARD, and only getting harder.
But if I compare my weight today to the weight I was before my band slip and surgery, it's only a few pounds. Not really so bad in the grand scheme of things.
I'm trying desperately NOT to compare todays weight to my 'super sick/slipped band/unable to eat anything' weight. That's just not realistic.
I know very well that there's no way I could go from not eating at all, to eating normally, and not gain weight. It's just not possible. Even though I'm eating tons of veggies and other healthy things, it's still food, which equals calories, which my body needs, so I try to accept that and not freak out.
That in and of itself, is a daily struggle.

I'm trying to tell myself that a few pounds of healthy eating is way better than being sick, with my body starving for nutrients.
That's focusing on the positive.

In other positive news:

  • I haven't had a drop of alcohol since the week before Christmas. I was never a big drinker in the first place but I've cut it out completely for now because I don't want the empty calories.
  • I've only had chocolate once since the week before Christmas, and that was a handful of M&M's. Chocolate is a big trigger food for me so I'm staying away, for now, until I feel more in control of my life and my weight.
  • I haven't eaten any of the junk that is provided to us at work. My employer has a kitchen stocked full of very dangerous convenience foods that is free for the taking. I bring my lunch and avoid the goodies like the plague.
  • I still don't eat bread, pasta, or rice. Those were the things I couldn't eat with the band because I couldn't tolerate them. Even though I can eat anything now without a problem, I figure I've lived without those things for 3+ years, why add them back in now. 
  • Well, we did go out for sushi as a family on Monday night and of course my sushi roll was wrapped in a thin layer of rice, but that's the one and only time I've had it, so I might be a liar if you count that against me! Sushi is super healthy. I ordered the same amount of food as my kids, and was completely satisfied.
  • I'm doing a Family Fitness program at the gym with my kiddos. Hubby joins us during the Saturday sessions, and I take them by myself during the week. A few of us members with young children were asked if we were interested in getting involved in a new group fitness class for families. It's brand new and still in the pilot stages, so they want us to take it for 5 weeks and then report to corporate what we thought of the program. I jumped at the chance! 
  • Not only could I always use more exercise, but my oldest daughter has super high cholesterol and needs to incorporate more exercise into her daily routine. Win-Win.
  • That means on the days that we have this class, I'm doing 2 workouts. I go in the morning for my regular classes, and then go back at night with the kids. A little extra cardio never hurts. And let me tell you, the family class is INTENSE. It's no walk in the park.
  • I'm doing a yoga DVD almost every morning at home. The sessions are only 15 min. each so sometimes I do 30 min. eliptical first, then the yoga DVD. The movements seems so simple and gentle, but that first week my shoulders were so sore! It's definitely doing something.

So, I know I'm doing many things that are good and positive. I'm healthier and stronger than I was before. It's just hard no to focus on the darn number on the scale. We're leaving for Florida in a month and I want to feel comfortable in my bathing suit!

I'm trying. Every day. It's just hard.
So, just for today, I promise to focus on the positive.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

TTT; Post-Op Edition

So, here I am about a week and a half after having my band removed.
What better way to inform you all of how I've been feeling than a good ole Ten Things Thursday.
Here goes...

1. When I left for our holiday vacation I weighed 165. During the band slip debacle, I got down to 157. After massive amounts of IV fluids and bloating from band removal surgery I was pumped up to 165 again.
Once I passed all the fluids and bloat I was down to a lovely 161 and stayed there for a few days.
Now that my appetite is WAY back to normal and I'm eating regular food, quite regularly, I'm back to my starting weight of 165. Well, kind of bouncing between 164 and 165.
I'll admit I'm not exactly in love with the number but it's in line with what I expected. I can't go from not eating anything, to eating normally, and not add some pounds.
I'm just hoping I can keep it in my current range and not go up any more.

2. I went back to the gym today. I was actually ready to go back on Tuesday but we had arctic temperatures and everything was closed down. I worked out. I did not die. I will go back on Saturday.

3. I bought a yoga DVD today for my non work out days. What the heck, it can't hurt.

4. When I was in the emergency room the doc there told me I was majorly anemic. Not a surprise since I wasn't eating or taking vitamins because nothing would stay down. Since band removal I can't get enough oranges or tomatoes. I eat mandarin oranges for snack every day and have tomatoes on just about everything else. I'm pretty sure it's because my body needs the Vitamin C in order to absorb iron and not be anemic anymore. Pretty soon I will look like a citrus fruit!

5. I'm regular now. All my Bandster buddies out there know that being able to do the glorious #2 every day is not something that comes easily or regularly.
With the band I could take Miralax every day, twice a day, and still maybe 'go' once or twice a week, and it was a chore.
Not anymore people! It is a wonderful thing to get up in the morning and get the job done!
Hallelujiah, Amen!

6. I have a huge stitch sticking out of one of my incisions. The glue has peeled off in parts but the stitch is poking through from under the skin. I'd love to pull it out but it seems to be attached to something or stuck in there pretty darn good. Sort of making me sick to be honest. Yucky stuff.

7. I know it hasn't been that long since surgery but I still get so darn tired in the afternoons. I'm not the sit down in the middle of the day and rest type of person. I'm ready to be back to normal with the energy level. Come on!

8. We've all been in a super deep freeze here in the midwest, and I'm ready for it to stop. I want to get out there and walk and take on the big hills again in my neighborhood. I'm ready for those super butt work out hills! Spring is what I need.

9. I bought cauliflower today for the first time in ages. I'm going to roast it with olive oil and garlic. Man, I totally missed vegetables!

10. Well folks, I'm running out of time and things to say, so I'll stop here.

Just know that I'm healing nicely and doing well since surgery. I'll try to keep everyone posted on the weight situation regularly.

Enjoy your day and stay warm!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Does Not Follow Instructions

That's what my report card would say if I was still in school.

  • Pleaure to have in class. 
  • Very sociable. 
  • Does not follow instructions.

So, my surgeon said if I was feeling OK and not on the pain meds, I could go about my normal routine. However, my husband said "Don't over do it today. You won't have me here to remind you constantly to rest, so please, don't overdo it!".

I think 'overdo' it is my middle name.
First I headed out to my favorite store (Tar-Get) for some awesome post-Christmas deals. I do this every year, it's a must for me. I love a good bargain and the week after Christmas is the time to get them.

Then of course, since we had been out of town for a week, I had to get groceries. I headed across the street to WallyWorld for that. Well, they also had TONS of great mark downs from Christmas. We're talking 75% off people! I couldn't pass those deals up. Especially since my kids are always getting invited to parties and we need presents to give. I don't pay full price for anything.

I was doing fine until my cart was filled to overflowing, and really too heavy for me to be pushing. Sure, I knew I shouldn't be doing it, and was thinking about how I was going to have to unload all that stuff once I got home, but that didn't stop me.

When I got home I was super tired and sore. I took a peek at my incisions and sure enough, I had popped one open. Just a teensie tiny bit, but still, it popped. Not cool. My first thought: Hubby will not be happy about this one!

I couldn't wait for the kids to go to bed so I could take a pain pill!
Feeling much better this morning. You know how I know I'm feeling better? Well, because I've already changed the sheets on 2 of the beds, done 2 loads of laundry, and am working on dusting the bedroom!
I must be stopped. I can't be trusted to take care of myself.


On a more positive note, we had salad for dinner last night. SALAD! It felt so good to eat something green for a change, and have no pain afterwards.

It's the little things in life I tell ya'.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Phil

Hello all, and Happy New Year.

As many of you know, I call my band "Phil". He was with me for nearly 3 1/2 years, but on Monday, I had to let him go.

Over the past few months things haven't felt quite right. I'd have good days, and bad days, but the bad days were outnumbering the good.. Eating solid food was becoming more and more difficult. I was vomiting almost daily.
I had an Upper-GI done in October to make sure my problems weren't band related. The Radiologist said everything looked just fine.
Since the GI was fine, I kept blaming my issues on the loss of my gallbladder. In fact, my doctor said there's a small percentage of people who have what's called "Post Cholesystectomy Syndrome", which means they just never go back to normal eating habits after havng the gallbladder removed. I thought that was me.

Well, last Sunday we flew to NY to visit family for Christmas. I was able to get 2 protein shakes down and some juice, and that was it for the entire day. I remembered some people said flying made their band tight so I still wasn't all that worried. When I woke up on Monday morning I couldn't even get a protein shake to go down.

I called the local Bariatric surgeon's office, which is where 2 of my best friends go, and begged them to see me for an emergecy un-fill. The PA was great and let me come right in. She took all the fuid out of my band. I discovered that either myself or my doctor had miscalculated because there were 2CC's in there, and I had thought I had less than 1CC since my last un-fill. Anyway, the unfill really didn't give me any relief.

On Christmas Eve I had some hummus, and it came right back up.
On Christmas Day I had some mashed potatoes and it came right back up.

I knew something was wrong so I went to the local emergency room. I won't get into the long story of how awful the care at that hospital was, but they did give me another Upper-GI. The Radiologist told me my band was completely backward and I had a dilated pouch.

At this point I hadn't had any real food in 5 days so I was ready for them to say I could stay and they would remove my band. Nope. The stupid ER doc said that since I was from out of town and was not their patient, they were sending me home. They gave me a prescription for an acid reducer and sent me on my way.

Thank God before we left my husband thought enough to get my Upper-GI put on a disc so we could send it to my surgeon. We sent it to him overnight and he called the next day.
The surgeon said my band was so far out of place that he was shocked I wasn't admitted to the hospital right away. They should have taken my band out as an emergency situation.
He told me that I'd have to come to his hospital through the emergency room as soon as I got back into town, but that if things got worse, I'd have to go back to the local hospital and he would tell them to take it out for me!

We got home to Wisconsin on Sunday night, super late. I told the surgeon since I wasn't having any pain I'd prefer to wait until Monday morning, and he was OK with that decision.

So, after a week of nothing but liquids, and an 8 pound weight loss, hubby and I made our way before dawn to the hospital. They were expecting me since my surgeon had called ahead. They brought me right back and got me in a bed. Top notch service.

The surgeon came in to see me before his morning operation. He had them take one last X-ray to see what was going on with the band. He was shocked to see that the band had started to correct itself and was almost back to its normal position.

He gave me a choice: 
Wait it out and see if it goes back to normal
Just have it taken out now

I decided on immediate removal, and here's why.
I haven't been able to eat any fruits or vegetables in months. Even before this slip happened I was not eating a healthy diet because all the good foods would come back up, but all the bad things (like cookies) would stay down. That's not a good way to live. I'm tired of not being able to eat a meal with my family. I cook for them, and I sit there eating oatmeal while they enjoy the meals I make.
Also, I've maintained my goal weight for more than 2 years now, I'm not new at this, so hopefully I've learned how to do this and can do it on my own.

The surgeon agreed that it should probably come out, because it would likely slip again once I started eating solids. So at 1pm. on Monday afternoon I had Phil removed.

I'm home now and recovering nicely. I could have tried to eat some solid food yesterday but I still have no appetite and don't want to push it. I'm scared that I might throw up and hurt something in there! I'm getting plenty of liquids and protein down. I might try oatmeal today. We'll see how that goes.

I've read many blogs where people are sad about losing their band, and they actually grieve after the removal. I can tell you that is not me. I am actually relieved to have it out. Yes, of course I'm afraid of gaining the weight back, but I'm happy that once again I will be able to eat meals with my family and I won't be vomiting daily!

I've already come up with a food and fitness plan to keep me on track. The surgeon says I must weigh myself every single day, without fail. He told me not to let the pounds 'creep back on', because it's too hard to get them off once that happens.

So, that's the update on what's been going on in my life for the past week.
I'm hanging in there and hoping I'll continue to get support from this blogging community.

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and have a healthy New Year!