Tag Archive | health

Under 150!

The progress pics:

Latest FB profile pic:

IMG_20170805_170532

The stats:

  • Seven months, two weeks since surgery
  • Total weight loss: 69 lbs.
  • 33 pounds to goal

Physically I feel great.  Psychologically, I feel a little like an imposter.  I mean, I look at myself in the mirror and barely recognize me.  On the other hand, I feel attractive again for the first time in years, and have noticed men noticing me.  (Not that my husband has anything to worry about on that score, but you know, after all these years, it’s nice to be noticed.)  More than one person at work has commented on how “skinny” I am becoming.  They’re going to think I’ll blow away in a stiff wind when I reach my goal weight.

Speaking of “skinny”, virtually every item of clothing that I wore prior to surgery has now been removed from my closet.  Some of the first round of clothing I bought at the thrift store to see me through this transformation is also on its way out the door.  I need to go through the stuff in the dresser again. Some of it — such as the exercise clothing — still fits, but I know there are tees and other casualwear that does not.

I really wish I had taken measurements before we started.  Oh well. Here’s the progress in inches lost since March.

March 18, 2017 May 7, 2017 August 10, 2017
Bust 43 42 39.25
Waist 40 39 36
Hip 45 43 41
Thigh 25 24 22
Calf 17 16.5 15.5
Upper arm 14 13 12
Neck 14.5 14.25 14

I’ve started to have some loose skin: a little on the underside of my upper arms and on the inside of my thighs.  Some sag around the lower belly, too, but that could be stubborn fat deposits.  I think it will all eventually regain elasticity and snap back.  Exercise and improved muscle tone should help, too.

I still have trouble with meat, unless it has been boiled/processed to a fare-thee-well in a canned soup. Fish is okay, especially shellfish. Diced ham is good in a salad. So I eat a lot of vegetables and salads and fruit and soup.  And shellfish.  And of course, the protein shakes, multivitamin, iron, and calcium supplements.

I go back to the nutritionist and the surgeon for a follow-up on Monday. I hope they are as pleased with my progress as I am.

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50+ lbs down!

Yesterday morning, I weighed in at 165.6 lbs.  That’s a total loss so far of 51.4 lbs.

Measurements in inches:

March 18, 2017 May 7, 2017
Bust 43 42
Waist 40 39
Hip 45 43
Thigh 25 24
Calf 17 16.5
Upper arm 14 13
Neck 14.5 14.25

I had to buy new bras last week.  Because my bra size will continue to change, I bought several inexpensive ones at Target.  They’re comfy, but I don’t expect them to last more than the few months I’ll need to wear them.  Today I went through my closet and tried on every piece of clothing hanging there. About half went into the donate pile, including nearly all my pants and jeans. Of the remaining half, I expect most of it will be too big by the end of May.  I have enough dress clothes to wear to work and just enough casual clothes for everything else.  But it’s time to start thinking about digging through the racks at the thrift store.

Next weekend I’ll go through the dresser and try on all the T-shirts and leggings and other casual comfies stored there.

As far as food goes, I’ve involuntarily become nearly vegetarian.  I’m unable to tolerate most meats except fish or shellfish, so my protein comes mainly in the form of shakes and bars.  My nutritionist said the intolerance will probably resolve itself within the next several months, and it’s okay to use the protein shakes, etc., in the meantime.  She also suggested that I try eating dark meat chicken instead of white meat because the white meat tends to be too dry.  And she liked that I eat fruits and vegetables for snacks.  Much better than my pre-surgery snacks of chips or chocolate or donuts (although I did confess to the occasional small bag of Fritos or a single Rolo).

Weight Loss Progress

And it just keeps coming off.  As of the time of this writing (several days before the blog entry will be published), I’m down 44 lbs.

These two pictures were taken quite some time apart, as you can tell by the length of my hair.  The blue photo was taken at the beginning of my last major attempt at weight loss, in November 2014, so about two years before surgery.  The pink photo was taken March 31, 2017.  (Yes, I should have done photos right before surgery, but I didn’t.  We’ll have to make do with these and whatever candid or yarn-project-modeling photos I can find that were taken shortly before surgery.)


Front view.  I can see the beginnings of a waist again.  That makes me happy.  I still have the shirt and cropped pants I’m wearing in the blue photos.  I’ll do my best to wear them the next time we take a set of progress photos.

In clothing news, all but one of the items that had been banished to the upstairs closet because they didn’t fit have been retrieved.  Because now they fit.  The one item that doesn’t fit is a velvet dress suitable for holiday parties and dress-up occasions.  It’s still too tight.  Unfortunately, it’s doubtful that it will fit at the time the holiday parties and dress-up occasions roll around again, but at that time, it will be too loose.  Maybe I’ll ask my husband to take me out to a fancy dinner when it fits again, just to wear it one last time.  I’ve started weeding out the clothes that are now too large and too much trouble to have altered; they’re being sorted into piles to go to Goodwill, to bariatric support group clothing swaps, and to the business-appropriate clothing drive for women in shelters.

 

Measurements

HomCom 34 x 27 x 35 Fashion Mannequin Female Dress Form w/ Base, White

As of March 18, 2017:

  • Bust 43″
  • Waist 40″
  • Hip 45″
  • Thigh 25″
  • Calf 17″
  • Upper arm 14″
  • Neck 14.5″

Before anyone freaks out about the bust/waist/hip ratio, I always had a fairly straight figure.  Not too many curves,which is why dress mannequins never worked for me when I sewed my own clothes.  If I remember correctly, my measurements in my early 20s were approximately 33/27/35.  When I gained weight, most of it was gained in the belly, and there were times when my waist measurement exceeded my bust measurement.  Believe me, this is progress.

Weight loss check in

two-color-lace-cowl-7

Picture taken December 3, 2017

The stats:

  • Eight and a half weeks since surgery
  • Total weight loss: 34 lbs.
  • 68 pounds to goal

I never took my measurements before surgery, so I can’t tell you how many inches I’ve lost anywhere.  Next time my husband and I are in the same room with a tape measure, we’ll remedy that situation and have inches to report in the future.

What I can tell you is most of my weight loss has been belly fat, so several pairs of pants now fit that previously I couldn’t even button.  Some of them I haven’t worn in three or more years.  More clothes await me in the upstairs closet.  Drop another 10 or 15 pounds, and I’m in.

me-at-alcove-3

Picture taken February 25, 2017.

What’s funny about that is every single item of clothing that I can now wear, including virtually everything I’ve been wearing for the last year or so, is labeled size 16.  And so are the clothes in the upstairs closet that I can’t wear yet.  Okay, there are a couple of 16W labels in the mix, but come on.  How can I have gained 40ish lbs. since moving to Atlanta over four years ago and STILL wear a size 16?  Vanity size inflation by the clothing manufacturers, that’s how.

Here’s another odd thing.  I don’t seem to have lost any in breast size, which is totally unexpected.  Ordinarily, when women lose weight, the boobs go too.  But my bra cups still fit just like before, although the bands are less tight.  That probably won’t last long.  We’ll see how it goes.

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Notes from the hospital

A quickie catch-up: surgery was on Tuesday morning. Both spouse and mom in attendance. Mom went home as soon as I was awake enough to talk to her.

To paraphrase Paul Simon, I have enough wristbands to get me through the door.

Yesterday was spent dosing myself with morphine. Once the upper GI showed no leaks, they switched me to liquid Norco. 

I’m sore and cranky and can’t wait to get home so I can take a shower. They’ve told me I can go; now I’m just waiting for the paperwork.

Turn and face the strange

Me in Harlem

Me at 54 — April 2016

I’ve been debating with myself about making this public.  Not that this blog gets a lot of traffic, but entries are open to everyone, including folks who wander this way from Facebook and know me IRL, and I never know who might be stopping by based on a Google search.  But I finally decided that since it’s such a major thing, and will affect everything I do from this point forward, it’s best to just put it out there so future blog entries have context.

I am scheduled to have bariatric surgery on December 27.

There.  Said it.  Whew.

People are always surprised if I tell them how much I actually weigh:  for good or bad, I don’t really look like I weigh more than 200 lbs.  But I do.  And I’m only 5 feet tall.

I’ve struggled with my weight for years: decades, really; and over time the pounds just kept creeping up and adding on, no matter what I did.  Several years ago, I had to go on high blood pressure medication, and blood tests over the last two or three years show my blood sugar levels are increasing to the point that I am now considered “pre-diabetic”.  Here’s the thing:  I can lose weight.  I’ve done it many times.  I’ve read all the books, tried all the diets, and lost weight on all of them.  But I can’t keep it off.  No sooner than I stop the regimented food plan and go back to my admittedly not terrific but not entirely unhealthy normal way of eating, the weight jumps back on.  I can’t keep it off without stringent adherence to a severely rigid food regimen.  And that’s no way to live.

age19

Me at 19 — 1981ish

I had been considering weight loss surgery for a couple of years, but hesitated.  I even went to a seminar offered by a respected local surgeon late last year; when the seminar was over, they asked me when I wanted to schedule an appointment.  I said I wanted to think about it a little longer.  It’s a major surgery that rearranges your insides forever.  That’s frightening.

And surely the next diet would be the one that worked.

Six months later, having lost 10 lbs and regained 15, I read this article in the New York Times.  Go read it; then come back.

Okay, yeah,  it’s long, so for the TL:DR crowd, the gist of the article is if you are heavy and have been heavy for a while, your brain has reset your “normal”, and any diet and exercise attempt to lose weight and fall below that “normal” is doomed to failure.  Neuroscience, not willpower, baby.

That did it.  I called the surgeon the next day and scheduled an appointment.

In the doctor’s office, while talking about why I was there, I started sobbing.  She looked at me and asked, “Why are you so sad?”

Oh god.

“Because I’ve tried so hard, and failed so many times. I’m tired of living like this; I’m afraid of getting diabetes; I hate the way I feel; and I just don’t have anywhere else to turn.”

“It’s not your fault,” she said.  But it was.  It’s always been my fault.  That’s what my head tells me.  That’s what society tells me.  That’s what all the articles in all the women’s magazines tell me.  That’s what the sideways glances and rolled eyes from strangers tell me.

Excuse me, I need a tissue.

~~~~

Okay. So.  I leave the surgeon’s office with a plan.  Lots of pre-op clearances to secure: cardiologist; nutritionist; pulmonologist; psychologist; support group attendance; sign-off from my GP; blood work; upper GI — I’ve had more doctors’ appointments in this past six months than I think I’ve had in the past six years.  And there were delays.  Starting the process in May as I did, I expected to have everything taken care of by August or September and have surgery by late autumn.  But noooo.  First, I had to have more nutritional consultations than they told me the first time around.  Then the pulmonologist wanted to do a sleep study.  Turns out I have sleep apnea and they wanted me on a CPAP machine for several weeks before they would issue the clearance.

When I finally got all of the appointments out of the way and every provider said they had issued my clearances, I called the surgeon’s office.  The patient coordinator said she didn’t have the note from my GP.  I called the GP’s office.  They faxed it over.  A few days later, I called again.  This time they didn’t have the pulmonary clearance or the clearance from my GP.  I called the pulmonary clinic and my GP again.  They faxed the clearances.  A week or so later, I called once more.  “We don’t have the clearance from your GP.”  “For crying out loud, woman, my GP has sent that to you three times!  Do I have to hand carry it in?”  I called my GP one more time; they faxed it while I was on the phone; I called the patient coordinator and said,”It’s sitting on  your fax machine right now. Go get it.”

That was the middle of November.  They called me the first Friday of December and said surgery was scheduled for December 27.  *HUGE sigh of relief*  I was afraid it wouldn’t be scheduled until January and I’ve have to meet my deductibles all over again.

Last week I told my supervisor and boss, who were aware this was an upcoming thing, that we had a definite surgery date and we began the process of getting approval for me to take a month off work for recovery.  I bought all the vitamins and protein drinks I’m going to need for the initial week or so of the recovery process, and started planning out the very particular eating regime I must follow for the first several weeks.

Today I had a pre-op appointment with my surgeon to go over some paperwork and pre-op instructions; and a meeting with the anesthesiologist to go over some more paperwork and more pre-op instructions.  It’s really happening.  It’s really happening.

It’s really happening.

I’ve spent the last six months convincing myself to believe that my weight isn’t my fault.  That’s hard to say, much less take to heart, when I’ve spent the last 20 years telling myself it is.  And while I don’t expect to get back the figure I had at 19, I do expect to lose enough to see my collarbones again.  Eventually.

This is how I will do it.  I’ll keep you posted.

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Don’t tell me to calm down

Don’t even think about it, because I will smack you upside the head so hard you’ll wish you never learned to speak.

Do you know what happened Wednesday?  After the nation learned that the Orange Narcissist will become our next President?  I’ll tell you what happened.

One of my friends posted this on Facebook:

Good lord, this is nerve-wracking.  List of reasons to be concerned:  I’m a woman, a bisexual, married to a trans person, and I have mental health issues.  Many of the people who mean the most to me in the world are POC, LGBT, or have mental illness or developmental or physical disabilities.  All of us struggle, but many of them struggle with poverty-level income and serious unmet healthcare needs.  Many more have healthcare thanks to one provision of ACA or another, which they could lose.  So very much is at stake.

She later hid the post from view and told me she’s pretty scared of everything right now.

Another friend told me his mother had been verbally accosted while shopping in a Tennessee Wal-Mart:  “We won!  Now all you fucking niggers have to go back to Africa!”

Still another friend, with a longstanding health issue, has been unemployed long-term and relies on her health plan through the Affordable Care Act to pay for lifesaving medication and the frequent doctor visits she requires. She’s so terrified the ACA will be repealed that she’s suicidal.

A fourth friend, also with a pre-existing medical condition, and who recently lost her job, is in the same predicament.

A fifth friend, Hispanic, married to an African-American, with three mixed-race children, worries how she is going to explain to her daughter what happened, and is frightened for her teenage sons’ safety.

Each of these wonderful beautiful vibrant people lives in a different part of the country.  Each of them lives in a “red” state.  Each of them is now afraid to be who they are in their own country.

Those of you who voted for the man?  This is what you have wrought.

He is a racist.
He is a xenophobe.
He is a sexist.
He is an Islamophobe.
He is a homophobe.
He is a self-confessed sexual predator.

That’s what you voted for.  That was what you wanted in a leader.

But wait.  There’s more. 

His vice-president thinks electrocution will shock gay people into being straight.

May the gods help us all.