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Friday, February 26, 2010

I had to run to the mall earlier to pick up a gift for my daughter's birthday. She will be 9 on Sunday (happy birthday Caelyn!). I had decided that I was going to use a gift card that I got for my favorite store, CJ Banks, as a Christmas gift to get myself a couple new shirts. My wardrobe has become very drab with lots of black and brown. So I took a leap of faith and bought two shirts in a size 2X which is one size smaller than I have been wearing. One of the shirts is teal and the other is off-white. I've only lost 15 lbs. so I'm probably not ready for a smaller size yet, but I hope I will be soon.

While I was there, I got a piƱa colada Orange Julius drink. I've been eating really bland foods for the last couple weeks so that first taste was incredible. I had it for breakfast and went to the Orange Julius website to figure out the calories and everything. Yum!
I am really sick and I’m pretty sure it is because I haven’t rested enough since my surgery. I have a horrible cough – the kind where you hack uncontrollably and generally feel like crap. Unfortunately I have to work since I took time off for my surgery. I am the main breadwinner in my household so everyone is relying on me. It is totally typical of me to overdo it and not take enough time for R&R. I did it with the birth of both of my daughters. I’ve worked for the same company for 8 ½ years and I’ve never called in sick. Anyways…thanks for coming to my pity party!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I had my first experience with something getting stuck last night while I was eating dinner. I was having cottage cheese and I guess I took too big a bite because all of sudden I felt like I was going to get sick. I went in the bathroom and stood there for a couple of seconds waiting for something to happen. Finally I went into the kitchen and took a drink of water which must have cleared the blockage because I felt fine then. I was even able to continue eating dinner. I have seen people post questions about wondering if they had something stuck and others that have answered that if you have something stuck, you will know. I must agree with this assessment. It was kind of scary when it was happening and afterwards I felt kind of silly because I know that I haven’t been chewing the soft foods enough.
Since I’m only eating soft foods now, I haven’t felt much restriction. I’ve wondered what it will be like when I am eating regular food again and this experience has given me a sneak peak. They weren’t kidding about taking small bites and needing to chew, chew, chew everything thoroughly!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I hope you'll check out my very first "follower" Diane's blog.

She had her lapband surgery last Fall and has already dropped two pants sizes. I really enjoy her blog and hope you will too!


Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re full. It seems so simple and easy and natural. Why does eating for me have so little to do with actual hunger?
I get that good food is a special event for kids – even if it comes several times a day. All of the children I’ve ever interacted with love sweets and seem to always be hungry. Some people feel like their mothers loved them as children through food. Even if they were loved in more normal ways, I think that most moms (and dads) enjoy preparing nutritious, delicious meals for their kids. I know I do. And of course food is always a big part of celebrations and holidays – but it is for everyone, not just those with weight problems.
So how did eating and hunger become so disconnected for me? It seems completely counter-intuitive when you think about it logically.
I’m waiting for the hunger these days to signal that it is time to eat. Sometimes I get impatient while waiting. I prepared my breakfast this morning and stuck it in the fridge because I wasn’t hungry yet. I dropped my husband off at the bus stop and ran to the store for cough drops and then dropped my daughters off at school. Then I came home and walked the dog. Still not hungry, I carted my bowl of yogurt to work. Finally about 10:00 AM I was ready to eat. Since I’m only eating soft foods, I know it won’t be long before I am hungry again which I guess is nice since the waiting is so annoying.
I know that if I don’t wait for the hunger to signal that it is time to eat then I won’t hear my body telling me that it is time to stop. I want to listen to my body and finally start living an authentic life.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Yummy chocolate hearts

There is a big, red box of chocolates in my office desk drawer. They are Dove chocolates so they are not the cheap crappy kind either. I got them as a gift for Valentine’s Day which happened to fall on the third day after I got my band. I’m not mad at the person who gave them to me (my mom). Actually I think my feelings would have been a little hurt if no one had gotten me chocolates. I mean, just because I am choosing to have a lap band doesn’t mean that I never get to have a chocolate candy again. It really bothers me to be told I can’t have something – to the point that I usually pig out on it just to show them. So thank you Mom for the chocolates and for treating me normally. I am sure that when I do get to enjoy them, they will be lovely.
I went to the movies on Friday night with my two daughters and their two friends. I had four girls with me, ages 6, 7, 8 and 9. I ordered a large popcorn for them to share and two sodas for them to split. Normally I would sit and munch popcorn through the coming attractions and the movie, but since I don’t think buttered popcorn qualifies as a “soft food”, I didn’t. When the movie was all over, there was at least half of the tub of popcorn left that the girls didn’t eat. I realized that had I been eating the popcorn, I would have eaten as much as all four girls put together. Wow!
I really think I overdid it with activity yesterday. I took my usual walk in the morning with my dog – about 30 minutes. And then after church the weather was so fine that I thought it sounded fun to go for a bike ride so my daughters and I rode to a nearby playground. I didn’t think it would be a big deal since it was a flat ride and only 8-10 blocks. Later I went to visit my mom and she and I walked our dogs around her neighborhood. By the end of the day, I had some pretty serious pain around my port, especially while standing.
I’ve also been getting really hungry and I’m afraid the soft foods are not especially satisfying. I’ve been eating lots of cottage cheese and soups. I had my first protein shake yesterday and also ate more calories than I’ve had since the surgery – in no small part because of the shake. With milk it was 220 calories. At the end of the day, however, I’d had over 70 grams of protein which exceeds my RDA so for now I’m not going to worry about the protein shakes, I think.
I’m looking forward to my next weigh-in on Thursday and am having to fight the urge to weigh sooner. I know that I can get too obsessed by what the scale says so I think it is best to stick to once a week for now.
I’ve heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Most dieters can relate to this idea as we’ve gone for years and years trying to lose weight by doing the same things and then feeling horrible when it doesn’t work for us. Congratulations to this “band” of brave souls who have had the courage to actually try something different. We recognize that our poor results in the past were not the result of our lack of effort but were instead the result of engaging in a futile and ineffective activity. Yeah lap bands!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lap-band Surgery at Hospital Angeles in Mexico

It was perhaps a month ago that I did some research on the internet about lap band weight loss surgery. I’ve long felt that this was going to be my best hope since all my other efforts had failed in the past. I found a site that described the Hospital Angeles, a hospital in Tijuana, Mexico that could do the surgery for $6,000.00. Since I’d recently received a small inheritance that would cover that amount, I initiated the process.
My surgery was scheduled for February 12th, a date that was only about two weeks away at that point. A hospital coordinator helped me book a flight to San Diego and made all of the arrangements.
The surgeon did not require any special diet prior to surgery so I pretty much ate as usual until 9:00 PM Thursday night when I was supposed to stop eating. My boyfriend and kids and I went out to Mexican food that night for my last meal. My flight left Eugene, Oregon at 6:16 AM so I had to get up at the God-awful hour of 3:30 AM. I’d decided to take this trip on my own since my boyfriend was such a pain in the ass when I was in the hospital having our two kids. I have also traveled a great deal in Latin America and even lived in various parts of Mexico for short periods of time previously so I was pretty comfortable making the trip on my own.

I was nervous about the surgery and also excited about hopefully excising my demons once and for all. I got to San Diego about 10:30 AM and wandered around for 45 minutes or so looking for the driver who was supposed to take me across the border to the hospital. I had just decided that the whole thing must be a huge scam and I’d just given all my money to a Mexican con-artist when I finally saw a man holding a cardboard sign with my name on it. There was another woman traveling from the airport to the hospital with me to have the same surgery. She was coming from Canada since their national health plan doesn’t cover lap band weight loss surgery except in cases in which it is deemed medically necessary. I felt better knowing that I was traveling the last bit with another person. She also knew two other ladies who’d had the surgery at the same hospital and who’d had a great experience.
We arrived at the hospital and they whisked us off for pre-op tests including a chest x-ray and blood work. Then we were taking to our rooms. My room was very nice and comfortable and had lovely private bathroom, a hospital bed, a TV and DVD player as well as a bench-bed for guests and a reclining chair. Everything was very clean and new.
A beautiful Latina joined me in my room and identified herself as a psychologist. She talked to me about my plans and eating habits and apparently determined that I wasn’t too crazy for surgery. She was a little condescending, especially when she examined my regular diet and scolded me for having things like potato chips. But overall she said that I shouldn’t have to make too many changes and that I should do really well.
Throughout the rest of the day I met my anesthesiologist and surgeon. I liked both of them very much, especially the surgeon who was very reassuring. Nurses came in and out and I read and prayed and watched TV until they finally came and got me around 7:30 PM for surgery. They took me into the surgery area and the anesthesiologist came over and asked me if I wanted something to relax. I said something like, “Hell yes!” and he shot something into my IV. My next memory is of sort of waking up and being really, really uncomfortable lying on my back in the post-op area. The nurse kept telling me not to try to move, but I cannot lie on my back comfortably under normal circumstances so I kept trying to shift to my side to get more comfortable. I vaguely remember them taking me back to my room and coming into the room a few times during the night to check my IV.
I woke up the next morning feeling pretty good considering. I wasn’t aware of any pain in the incisions, but the gas that they fill you with during surgery made moving painful. I felt like I’d done about 100 sit ups – my stomach muscles were pretty sore. I got really uncomfortable if I stayed in one position so I had to make myself move from side to side periodically. I also had pain in my chest, neck and throat which I attribute to having been intubated.
Not long after I awoke, they came and took me downstairs for another x-ray. This time they had me drink something really nasty so they could make sure everything seemed in order. I felt kind of sick from the walking and standing and had to sit down while I waiting for the x-ray. A while later, they gathered all six of the lap band patients in at that time to meet with a nutritionist. It was nice to talk a bit with the other ladies. Three of us were from the US and the others were Canadians. One woman had come down for her first fill as she was six weeks post-op. She said she’d lost 22 lbs. at that point.
That first day I showered in my fancy bathroom and spent most of the rest of the time watching TV and reading. I also napped off and on. The nurses came in from time to time and gave me more pain meds. The surgeon also came in and said that everything had gone well and that my morning x-ray looked fantastic. He also said they’d found a hiatal hernia which they’d repaired so I shouldn’t have anymore issues with heartburn (that alone would make this worthwhile).
They served me two meals that Saturday – both of Jello-O, apple juice, tea and for lunch, broth. I wasn’t very hungry.
By the end of the day I was pretty tired and sore. No nurses had been around for awhile and I knew I couldn’t lie down comfortably and I also couldn’t sleep sitting up so I finally called the nurse and asked for some pain meds. She gave me some and a dissolvable sleeping pill.
I woke up the next day feeling wonderful. Much of the gas-discomfort was gone (not gas like burping or farting, but gas from what they put inside the patients during surgery). They took my IV out and I took a shower. They changed my bandages and the hospital coordinator called me to say that a driver would be there by 10:00 AM to take me to my hotel.
I’d talked to someone who’d had this surgery at Hospital Angeles prior to finalizing all my arrangements and she said she’d wished she’d stayed an extra night and not traveled on the third day so I took her advice and stayed in Tijuana. The hospital paid for the cost at a beautiful hotel down the street. I asked the driver to stop at a pharmacy so I could fill my prescriptions and spent a lazy day at the hotel.
I was finally able to use the internet in my room at the hotel so I spent some time goofing around on Facebook and reading my email. I also watched a couple of movies and took two long baths in the huge tub. At some point, I walked across the street to the grocery store and bought a bottle of ice tea and a bottle of water as well as three things of Jell-O and some trinkets for my kids. It was really very nice to relax and spend the day like that. I’m really glad I stayed the extra day. Although I was still sore, it really wasn’t bad. I could lie on my side and curl up in the blankets and as long as I didn’t move, I felt no pain at all.
I had to get up really early again the next morning for the driver to pick me up at 5:00 AM. He drove me back to the San Diego airport. Crossing the border took a bit of time, but I was at the airport by 6:00 AM. My first flight was cancelled so they put me on a flight that was boarding by the time I’d gotten to the gate. They also upgraded me to business class which was so nice since it gave me more room. One thing that I found with this trip was that the seatbelts on the older planes (I was on five planes overall between the two travel days) barely fit across me. I literally had to struggle to get the clasp closed. On the newer planes, there was room to spare seat-belt wise, but when I put the arm rest down, I was literally stuffed into the seat. I am also tall (5’8”) so my knees barely fit behind the seat in front of me. Plane traveling is not very comfortable to begin with, but I really felt like I had to check my dignity with my baggage at the terminal. I hope that the next time I travel, I am considerably smaller.
I was home by 2:30 PM and my boyfriend picked me up at the airport. We picked up my youngest daughter at my mom’s house and went home. I spent the rest of the day catching up with my kids and boyfriend and overall feeling pretty well. I was back to work the next morning at 9:00 AM. I felt so well that I even took my dog for a walk first. I usually walk him every morning for 25-30 minutes between the time I take my kids to school and when I leave for work. I was moving kind of slow, but it felt good to be back in the routine.
It is Friday today – one week after the surgery. I feel great. My incisions are healing well and really don’t hurt much although they are looking pretty bruised. I have left them uncovered since Wednesday and haven’t taken any pain meds most days. Overall I am so glad that I did this! I am really optimistic about the future and hopeful that this powerful tool will finally allow me to live my life the way I want.

If you are considering having your Lap-band surgery at Hospital Angeles, please tell them I referred you so I can receive a $50 referral credit.  Here's my patient coordinator's information:

Thursday, February 18, 2010

First Weigh In

I weighed in this morning for the first time since my surgery last Friday and I am down 10 lbs. since then and 13 lbs. overall! Too bad I won't lose like this EVERY week.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

So hungry!

I am five-days post op from my lap band WLS and today I am soooooooooo hungry. I really haven't been hungry until the last couple days. Yesterday I was hungry and I had some soup for lunch and I was completely stuffed for the rest of the day. Today I had the same soup about an hour ago and now my stomach is growling away.

I liked not having to eat. I liked feeling full and not needing to eat. I felt great and had plenty of energy. If I start eating regular food again, it could take control of me again.

I have come to realize that my life is really out of balance when it comes to food and my relationship to food. I guess eating too little is just as out of whack as eating too much, but can't I have a little more time to live without being crazy about food?

Please tell me that the lap band is going to work! I know it is a tool and not a solution on its own, but isn't is suppossed to make me feel full by eating only small ammounts? I also realize that I am only eating liquids right now so they can just slip right down through the opening. Can anyone relate?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Surgery DONE!

I had my surgery on Friday and I feel really, really good. Hardly any pain. I am back to work this morning. I even took my dog for a walk this morning. I didn't walk fast, but we made it around the track twice before I had to get ready for work.

I am processing a lot of things, but I am not quite ready to write them down yet, but I wanted to post that I came through okay.

I'm not having any trouble with the liquid diet except I keep thinking of certain foods that I'd like to have for dinner or whatever and then I remember oh yeah I'm not eating. It's kind of like several years ago when I quit smoking and I walked around for two weeks feeling like I forgot something.

Actually I've long felt that if I could just quit eating, it would be so much easier and it really is. I'm afraid of starting regular food again. I'm afraid I won't be able to stop again once I start. Hopefully the band will work as designed and help keep me in check when I do resume eating.

I am going to weigh myself once a week so I haven't done that yet, but I am already nervous about it. I am afraid that all the fluids and whatnot that they pumped into me at the hospital will leave me with dissappointing results from the scale. I will keep you posted!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Nemisis

I have a nemesis. There exists in my home a powerful creature that has the ability to change my mood and alter the very way that I think about myself. This creature is completely insidious. To others it appears a simple object with no more innate power than a toaster or a clock. They do not perceive the evil that lurks beneath the benign exterior.

My nemesis and I had a show-down of sorts this morning. After months of avoiding his poisonous presence, I approached him directly and challenged him to attempt to exercise his mind-controlling abilities. I looked him straight in the eyes. "You want a piece of me?", I drawled. He remained expressionless and didn't reply. "What's this?" I queried. "Don't you have anything to say?" By this time, I was feeling like the more powerful one. I interpreted his silence as an admission of defeat. I walked right up to him and stepped upon him. "Show me the number and don't try to make me feel worthless! It's just a stupid f-ing number, you jackass!", I shouted. "This number doesn't mean that I am stupid OR ugly!"

My nemesis displayed the number quietly, his cocky self-assurance gone. I looked at the number. It was pretty much exactly what I thought it was. Funny. My nemesis, the bathroom scale, had lost his power. Oh, it can still display my weight to the nearest 1/10th of a pound, but it cannot make me feel worthless. It cannot make me doubt my intrinsic value as a beautiful, powerful, smart human being.

My nemesis made a quiet, whimpering noise. I took another look at it, lying there on the floor. Maybe, just maybe, in time, we can grow to be friends.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A little history...

I have had issues with food and disordered eating since I was a child. I remember binge eating when I was 8 and stealing change from my dad to buy four or five candy bars to eat in my bedroom. I was never overweight as a kid, though, due to my child's metabolism and my high activity level. I did develop early, however, and I viewed my curves as fat. The other girls my age were small and child-like and I had the body of a woman. I was self-conscious. I was also treated like an older person - often in inappropriate ways. I looked 16 at the age of 12. I was over-sexualized. When I was 13 or 14, I began to starve myself for a couple days at a time and I dropped weight. I was skinny. My doctor even told me once that I shouldn't lose anymore weight. I loved it.

Living that lifestyle took a lot of work and after a couple of years I was more interested in my boyfriend and my job than I was in being so skinny. An unhappy relationship caused me to become overweight for the first time at the age of 17. I joined a commercial weight-loss program and lost 45 lbs. I was thin once more. The problem was that I lost weight by binging for three or four days and then starving for the two or three days before my weigh-in. I remember going through the McDonald's drive through and ordering enough food for two people and ordering a pizza delivered to my apartment and then shouting to the non-existent person in the back that the pizza was there. I didn't want anyone to know that I was going to eat the whole pizza myself.

This went on for awhile until I discovered a 12-step program for compulsive eating. I became abstinent from compulsive eating for the first time. I wasn't binging and I wasn't gaining weight. And then I fell in love.

I met Eddie in a meeting and I loved him deeply. But my feelings of insecurity and strong emotions brought about a relapse in my self-destructive behavior. For the first time, I began to actively engage in purging behaviors. I also stopped eating for the most part. I wasn't fat. Looking back, I don't know what the hell my problem was. I guess I just couldn't handle the idea that I was worthy of being loved. I reached the lowest weight I've ever been at as an adult during this time - 119. I am 5'8".

I went through a group-counseling program to pull myself out of this situation. I quit purging. I saw a therapist. When I was in group, all I could think about was how much I envied all the other skinny girls with anorexia and bulimia. Their neurosis fueled my disordered thinking. But Eddie said he'd leave me if I didn't knock it off so I finished the program and quit purging.

For the next several years, I managed to maintain a normal weight, but at times my eating habits were still pretty messed up. I didn't want anything to do with diets or being told what to eat. I was rebellious. I was tired of how screwed up my relationship with food had become. Mostly I ate what I wanted, but exercised regularly so I didn't gain weight. After four years, Eddie and I broke up. I gained a bit of weight in the next few months and jumped right through a new relationship and into a second new relationship. I married the second guy after four months of dating. For those who are wondering, I don't recommend this to others.

I got pregnant within six months. I gained 60 lbs. during my pregnancy. For the first time, I was significantly overweight. My daughter was born and I was yet again about 40 lbs. overweight. I went back to the weight-loss program when she was 10 months and was back at my pre-pregnancy weight by her first birthday.

I kept the weight off until I became pregnant again with my second daughter. I decided I wasn't going to gain so much weight this time around and I exercised as long as I could physically do so (until about two weeks before she was born). I gained 20 lbs, in the first six months of my pregnancy and 40 lbs. in the last couple months. Crap. I guess that is just how my body "does" pregnancy. Not discouraged, I went back to the weight-loss program right after she was born. I was 29 years and 9 months old. I dieted for two months. I didn't lose one ounce.

Beyond frustrated, completely exasperated, I quit the diet program and ate whatever the hell I wanted. I decided that it was too soon. I was still recovering from pregnancy. I was breast-feeding. Controlling my weight through periodic crash dieting had always worked for me in the past and now it didn't work anymore. I didn't know what to do. For the next six years.

I did have two periods of weight-loss during the ensuing time. The first happened when I spent a summer abroad. I walked a lot and the weather was hot. I was also sick from the dietary changes. I lost at least 25 lbs. that summer without any effort at all. It was awesome. But then I got a divorce from my husband and finished college and the stress was too much. I gained the weight back.

In 2008, I went back on that same diet program for six months and lost the 25 lbs. again. It was excruciating to lose so slowly and when I hit a weight-loss plateau, I became frustrated and quit. I've gained the 25 lbs. back since then. Maybe more.

I am at least 100 lbs. overweight. Although I hate being so fat, I am generally a happy person. I have a good job and two beautiful daughters. I am active in my church. I have good friends. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from college. I exercise every day. I seldom binge anymore. When I track my food intake, I usually eat about 1,800 calories a day. That's not a crazy amount.

What I really hate is that I am not a fat person on the inside. I value health and fitness. I have always exercised regularly. I have been a vegetarian for 17 years. I hate the idea that I take too much for myself, especially when there are people in this world who have nothing. I don't know how it is that my outsides so poorly match my insides.

So I guess this is my last resort because I have to do something. I am miserable being so fat. If I could just quit eating and never think about food again, I think that might be okay. I hate that I have to deal with it over and over throughout the day. Sometimes I make good choices. Sometimes I make bad choices. Why isn't there any evidence at all of the good?

Monday, February 1, 2010

WLS in 10 Days

I will be having the lap band weight loss surgery in 10 days. I am not sure how much I weigh right now, but I am guessing it is right around 280. I am planning to weigh myself before I check into the hospital.

I've got several reasons for having the WLS. I've tried to lose weight many times through various diet and exercise programs. Before I turned 30, it was pretty easy for me to lose weight. I was never more than 40 lbs. or so overweight and I could lose that in two or three months by following a diet plan. Since turning 30 and having my second daughter, my metabolism has changed, I guess.

I haven't told very many people about the surgery. My mom and sister know, my boyfriend knows, my kids know a simplified version of what is happening, my best friend knows and my pastor knows. I don't plan to tell anyone else. I'm not sure why it is a secret, but it is.

Maybe I'm ashamed. Maybe I think that I should be able to lose weight without WLS. Maybe I think that if I just tried harder, I could finally lose the weight. Maybe I'm afraid it won't work for me. Maybe I'm afraid other people will think these things.