Monday, December 15, 2008

Moving this Blog

My new residence is Laughter Through the Storm

I have stopped writing about weight loss and weight loss surgery. My life over the past year has changed dramatically. So, my focus was no longer on the was on surviving. I can say that the surgery from a medical stand point was a success. However, my body did not appreciate it. I have been in the hospital (as a patient) at least 12 times since last October. That does not include ER visits and specialists. They are not all related to the Bypass. I suppose some of these things were going to happen anyway. Regardless, my life has not been the same since Oct. 11, 2007.

So, I have chosen to focus on the positive, and finding laughter in the middle of a raging storm. That could be in the form of health, family crisis, any crisis.

I pray for you all out there that are going through the surgery or thinking about it. I wish you all nothing but the absolute best!!! Please come and visit me over at my new home!!

Happy Holidays everyone!!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Wearing Fat as a safety blanket

I enjoy reading some of the blogs who bash the weight loss community, or make judgments. My favorite line has always been "they should just stop eating". Oh wow...I never thought of that one:)

What a lot of people don't know is that we wear our fat as a blanket, a way to keep people away. Especially if you are a survivor of sexual abuse like I was. I was a teenager, and I went through the whole "it is my fault, why me". With a lot of therapy, I worked through that piece of it. However, instead of turning to drugs and was my unconditional lover. It never let me down. It was my place of safety. I would eat and think if I was a bigger girl, then no one would ever try to mess with me again. I would wear baggy clothes to hide who I was. So many women especially suffer from our pasts and then food becomes our present.

So, if it were as easy as putting down that extra piece of pizza...I would have. But, it was so beyond the food making me fat. I made me fat by hiding behind it and then suffered the consequences of the yo-yo dieting. I ruined my metabolism and then diabetes, high blood pressure/cholesterol entered my life like an unwanted guest.

I just wished that people didn't judge so much. It is so much more than "bon-bons"

The blanket has been hard for me to take off. I feel exposed to the world and I don't know how to handle my new body. The same fears are still there, but, talking to someone about it helps tremendously.

If you are looking into Weight Loss surgery.....please don't use it for vanity sake. It won't matter if you are a size zero if you haven't resolved your inner issues. I heard so many women in some of my support groups say that they did it to get into a dress like Beyonce. That stuff scares me to death for them. Do it for you, for your health. I don't recommend it to anyone, because I believe that each person has to do their own research and do a lot of soul searching as to why you are getting it done. What are the true motives? It sure as heck is not a quick fix. It is a lot of work. And that is if you have no complications. If you are like me, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOO much work.

Do your homework internally first......being smaller isn't going to help that fat blanket come off. You can either carry it, or drop it at the door. Those are your two options. I choose to leave it at the door.

Who knew this would ever be an issue..

I used to love food. I loved the good old fashioned casseroles, or a thick juicy steak, or better yet...PIZZA!!! I wasn't the kind of person who could sit in their room and eat a whole box of Oreo's though. However, I have been known to eat a whole thing of cookie dough. Food was pretty simple for me growing up. If it tasted good, I ate it.

Then, when I would hit really tough times in my became a friend. It was an drug of sorts. Then, after a rough pregnancy and matter what I ate....the fat followed me wherever I went. The health problems followed suit.

Now...I have to be forced fed. Food is not on my mind anymore. In fact, it is so much of an issue that I have to be constantly reminded to eat protein or drink my protein shakes to get what I need to get in. Food no longer interests me. Something happened, the cravings stopped. The weirdest thing that has happened is that I look at food in a different light. I am being forced to be retrained in my thinking...that food is my medicine. Medicine to get better. Not the kind of drug that would numb my feelings.

I am adjusting to my new life. I think this is going to take a lot to get used to.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Why I have been absent from writing...

I was reading Beth's blog (melting mama) and I was so proud of her for talking about her health issues since bypass. She is 4 years out. I am not a year out yet. But, I stopped writing because people seem to only want to hear the stories of "I went from a size 24 to a size 12", or all the good stuff. No one wants to hear anything bad. So, I figured that I wouldn't even write about it.

But, the fact is....this is my life. 6 out of the 9 months, I have been in the hospital. I just got out of being in the hospital for almost 2 months. I am 5 weeks out from that surgery. My body completely rejected the RNY. The surgery itself seemed to have been perfect or so i was told. But, my body has had a major reaction to it. I have had real problems from the surgery. Yep, it was my choice and yes, these are the consequences. I went into it with the right reasons....trying to reverse my health problems. Now, I have more serious health issues.

I am not even a year out and have severe drops in blood sugar and blood pressure. To the point, that I can black out easy. I have 3 kids that I have to take care of. I know that I will be spending a lot of time with specialists now to figure this all out.

It has taken a lot away from me emotionally. It is hard to think that you made this life altering decision and then for me to be in that "percentage" where things go wrong. My surgeon is great....however, as great as he is...he doesn't really want to hear about how things are not going so good. Sometimes you are led to believe that you have a mental problem or you are imagining the pain. I have been neither one of these.

I want to start writing again and talking about my life. Because I have totally been censoring myself. Thank you Beth for giving me the strength to talk about what can really happen and if you don't want to hear it, the good news is that you don't have to read it. But, maybe somewhere, it can help someone else.

I hope all is well in internet land!!!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Almost 90 lbs. gone!!

I am a few weeks away from my 8 month anniversary. It is so hard to believe. I hate to say, but, I have been back in the hospital again. A lot of abdominal pain. They did a laproscopic "scope" and I had yet another internal hernia and adhesions. Good lord, I had that done in February. The bad thing that has come up is that I have to go to Duke to have yet another surgery done. Something is screwed up with my bile ducts, so, it takes a special machine to check them out. This is not because of the Bypass, but, unfortunately, since I had the cannot do this test the normal way. The normal way is to just do a scope down the throat, check things out and do a snip, snip here and there and you are good.

NOPE...with me, they will have to go through my stomach and put the scope all the way up and pray to God that they do not knick my pancreas (this procedure has a 30% chance of Pancreatitis). So, I am really disappointed and upset about this set back. I was doing so well and moving and grooving and feeling pretty great!. However, now I am back to the bed and having a hard time getting anything to stay in my body. Which is making me incredibly weak.

Please pray for me and my family that we will get through this.

Would I have the surgery again? I think so, still can't feel a 100% about it. But, I would definitely not recommend it for others. I absolutely, positively feel it is an individual choice. It has done what I wanted it to do....take care of the diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol. All that is gone. However, my body did not like the surgery, so, it is rejecting a lot of things that I have no control over. I was supposed to be the "easy" surgery.

I have lost almost 90 lbs. Crazy thought..... I don't care about the weight as much as I care about being able to gear up for these charity walks that I want to do so badly!!

Hope everyone is doing well!!


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

60 miles for Cancer....

I know this is pretty aggressive. But, I am a big goal setter. This year, I plan on doing the Susan Komen 3 day walk. 60 miles!! In fact, my goal is to do two of them. Crazy....really crazy. But, somehow, I feel that I have been given a chance to do something physically for someone else. I have had an aunt die from Breast Cancer, and another Aunt survive it. I feel that by the year end, I will be in the condition to do this extreme challenge. It motivates me that I can do something positive from this surgery.

Check out the video....I hope you will want to join me too!!!

Finally, a turning point.

It has been 4 1/2 months since my gastric bypass surgery. I had been in the hospital 5 times, 3 ER visits, 2 ambulance rides, another surgery after the gastric bypass and weekly doctor visit every week until last week. I had a second surgery 3 weeks ago for a hernia and adhesions.

Last week was my true turning point. I finally feel better and alive. I feel blessed. Although my whole family, including me has the flu this week (and yes, we all got the flu shot)....I can still say how grateful I am that I have come through and am on the other side.

I have lost 70lbs. and have gone from a 26 to a 16. But, it is not what I have lost that I have focused is what I have gained. I was (and still am to some degree) knocked down to the ground with this surgery. I have been crawling on the floor trying to get up. But, this surgery has kept kicking me down. But, now, I believe that I am winning this fight. My relationship with God has been strengthened beyond belief. I have had to totally rely on Him. Which is what I thought I was doing before...but, life has a funny way of showing you that "No", you really weren't walking all that close. Physically, I love to walk now. I can do Pilates without killing myself, I like to be outdoors now. I know that it has to do with my body not having to carry so much weight around. But, the kids have noticed my activity level and so has my husband.

I had a friend come into town and completely give me a new makeover. She came in about 3 weeks ago. My best friend from college came in this weekend and we (she) got rid of the majority of my clothes. I am having a Head vs. reality issue right now. I still think that I am a 24/26. I wear baggy clothes, maternity clothes. Needless to say, between two of my friends...I have been set straight in that department!!! New hair do too!!

Am I ready to say that I would do it all over again? Give me some more time. I don't know what I could have done differently though. Except, if I could turn back time and have a genie come down with wishes (which I can't), I would have chose not to have been sexually abused and eating my way through the pain. I would have chosen to be kinder to my body during my late teens and early 20's. I would have been a vegan, and so on and so on. But, life happened and this is the road that I went down.

I definitely tell everyone that it is such a PERSONAL choice. If you go looking, you will find a million websites that totally rip you a new one for having gastric bypass. I find so many blogs now that seem to come across as "holier than thou". Even though it is under the guise of self love and how you should be proud of yourself at whatever weight. I agree on those points, they are exactly right. I agree 1,000%. Weight Loss Surgery will NOT, repeat NOT change what is going on..on the inside. In fact, it seems to make it worse. This is 99% emotional, and 1% physical.

What I don't agree with is the amount of judging that is out there. For God sake ladies (sorry guys usually aren't so caddy), why can't we all cheer each other on? Why do we have to sit here and judge so and so for the way that they lost weight, or whom they choose to have sex with, or if they wore white after Labor Day. We are women, strong women who yes...need to be proud of themselves for who we are on the inside. But, please don't sit there from your computer and judge everyone as if you are God Himself. God is the ONLY one that sits in judgment of me. I don't judge these ladies on their view points. I just wished that they could walk a minute in someone else's shoes and maybe...just maybe, they wouldn't be so judgmental.

One more thing while I am at it.... I read on someone's blog that they thought it was so effortless to lose weight with this surgery. That "they" think that people who have weight loss surgery don't deserve respect like those who lose it the "real" way. Ok...that is your view and you can have it. However, I can tell you that it is not effortless. Not for me anyway. They gave me a tool (which, the tool and I are still trying to make friends with each other) and that is a very small part of the equation. The rest is all "Head" stuff, exercise and healthy eating. I tried that before and it didn't work. Why is it working now? I am assuming it is the tool. Because nothing worked before.

Anyway, I didn't mean to go down that road. I just wanted to celebrate the fact that I am now in the land of the living. I pray that if those who do choose this surgery plan for any and every outcome. I was supposed to be a simple surgery...but, my body didn't let anything be simple about it. I am just grateful to be here and to be writing again.

Talk to everyone soon!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

It is not how you fall down, but, how you get up.

That is what I have come to learn in my life. It is not how you fall down, but, how you get up. I have been knocked to the ground with more things than most people go through in their entire lifetime. And recently, I feel like a soldier in war making it through the battle on my belly crawling to get out of the line of fire.

I still get up. I dust myself off and believe that it will get better. I keep getting knocked down. But, there is great news about getting knocked down. That is where you learn most of your life lessons from. Humility, grace, patience, understanding, faith, amazing generosity from others. You realize that from the ground....the world is a much bigger place and there is still so much to do. Then, you get back up.

I know I don't talk a lot about the actual medical procedure from gastric bypass, nor what I am eating, or doing for exercise. I focus a lot on feelings. This kind of surgery is not a miracle wonder that I fear so many people do. It is a great tool to help us to get our lives back. For some, the road in getting back is on your stomach and on our knees crawling through the trenches. Trust me, just because you see that skinny model on the billboard saying you should try getting surgery... it is not as glamorous as that. I know the majority of people reading and even my doctors don't want to hear the bad stuff. We all want to hear the good stuff. But, I think it is good that I talk about what it has been for me. I hope and pray that everyone goes through it without a problem. But, sometimes... it may not.

My best advice to anyone that is considering this surgery..... have a great attitude. Most people have no trouble whatsoever. That is probably my surgeons dream. I am probably his nightmare :) But, if you believe that you will get better and you keep your mind sharp, I believe that you can get up each and every time that you get knocked down.

So, dust off the dirt and get back up.

Patient/Doctor Relationship

I am going to write about a few things that have been on my mind. There are two sides of the story when being a patient and being a doctor. I, fortunately am very understanding of what doctors must go through. Having been in pharmaceuticals, I became great friends with many and learned about the struggles that they have to go through in the medical "political world". The insurance hoops, malpractice suits. We are now living in a world of CYA (cover your ass) syndrome. And I hate that it has become that for them. There are a lot of patients out there who go in seeking drugs, or truly have something mentally wrong. The Medical Community becomes jaded. I can certainly see why.

However, as understanding as I am. Truth be told, I am their patient and I have to put my life into their hands and a LOT of trust goes into that. Sometimes, I don't speak up enough for myself.

Maybe it is the Southerner in me that I am not as outspoken as I should be when it comes to what is going on with me. My family always says that I could have a leg cut off and bleeding profusely, but, will still smile and try to crack some kind of joke with the nurses and doctors. They get mad because they think no one will take me seriously. I am like "why do I have to be rude to someone even if I am hurting?" I actually understand now after being in the hospital SOOOO much lately.

It is me now that is starting to get jaded.. Now, I simply don't trust the medical community and that is not a good thing. Unfortunately, I have had some really bad experiences in the past with ER. 3 years ago, I had horrific pain. 2 ER visits and was told it was stress and acid reflux. I all but laughed in their face. I knew that my pain was not that. I made it through another few days and got to my gastro's office and he was about to do an endoscopy on me. But I was so weak and in so much pain, that he sent me straight to the hospital. HIDA scan showed I had a dead gallbladder. So much for stress and acid reflux.

Second bad experience was when I was pregnant with my second child. Around 28 weeks, I started having horrific migraines. Blinding ones. I was hurting and in a lot of pain. I assumed that it was from being pregnant. One of the rotating doctors came in and I told him what was going on. He told me that it must be stress and I needed to relax.

2 weeks later, I am in really bad shape and thank god saw my normal OB. She checked my urine, and kidneys and all of that. Well....diagnosis...eclampsia. Almost died in the hospital because of my blood pressure being so high and my sweet little girl had her lungs collapsed. She spent time in the NICU, while I spent time on heavy medication to keep my body from shutting down. Well, sir Dr. NOW, I am stressed because of this.

Third bad experience, chronic pelvic pain. ER...finds nothing. Sends me home. I know something is going on. Finally, get a diagnosis....ovarian tumor.

Now, I just had the gastric bypass 3 1/2 months ago and have been in very bad shape for all of that time. My surgeon (who, honestly I think is a great guy) basically tells me this is all in my head and it must be from fibromyalgia. A trillion visits to my Gastro and Kidney Specialist later, plus numerous ER visits. I have acute colitis which was causing the bleeding and a kidney obstruction.

I honestly want to be a good patient and take my surgeon at his word. But, with so many bad experiences, how do you begin to trust again? I am being serious. I want to know. Because, I know that now I am either having another pancreas attack or hernia. But, I refuse to go to the ER because I absolutely am not going to spend anymore money on being told that it is in my head.

How can two jaded people (the surgeon and the patient) come together and find a solution? Can it happen? You tell me...

Monday, January 28, 2008

How much have you lost?

That is probably the biggest question that I get asked. Truth be told...up until a few days response would have been.. " I have lost 3 months...3 weeks and 15 hours and 20 seconds" But, I have come to realize that focusing on all that has gone wrong has not done me any favors.

I have lost 60 lbs. and have gone from a size 24/26 to a 16. That is good and am off blood pressure meds, cholesterol meds, and blood sugar meds. So, for that...I am grateful.

I have spent my 3 1/2 months in a hospital, or a doctors office every single week. Sometimes the physical pain has been incredible to endure. I have had a lot of GI and kidney trouble. Unfortunately, I am in a situation where I am dealing with so many specialists that each are terrified of me because of my surgery. They don't know what to do with me really. They always differ to my surgeon. Unfortunately, the surgeon can only do so much. He is a surgeon...not a specialist for the GI, the kidneys, the liver, etc.

The emotional part has taken its toll. I went through a tremendously ANGRY phase. Especially with myself. I am a Type, for me that means that I had high expectations that I would get through this. And my body would not cooperate. I became frustrated with the lack of help that I have gotten from my surgeon. I think he is an awesome guy and great surgeon. But, I feel like he left me in the dust and left me to my own devices after surgery was done.

The part that angered me the most was 2 weeks ago, I was back in the hospital for severe kidney pain. Thought I was going to absolutely lose my mind. My surgeon and his nurse said everything looked great and thought it was because I had Fibromyalgia. I did get a little sarcastic and say "Really? So, the blood that has been coming out of places that it shouldn't be, and coffee looking grounds coming out of places that shouldn't be is Fibromyalgia? Wow..I will have to check that out".

But, I have calmed down since and after going to my kidney specialist...I know part of the problem. Serious crystallized obstruction of the kidney that cannot be picked up on a CT scan. He said that I was having serious problems with my kidney. Then the GI doctor did a colonoscopy and there were ulcers there. So, sorry that I will have to tell my surgeon that it is not Fibromyalgia. It is exactly what I thought it was. Now, I am a total believer in being a HUGE advocate for yourself. You have to with this life altering surgery.

My spirits are good now. I am coming to terms with my very angry body. We are trying to make peace together. My faith is strong and I am getting better as days go by. With help from family and friends and people that I don't even know have come to my aid. I am blessed. I am so grateful to be alive and know that no matter what is going on or how bad it gets....God is with me. He has been this whole time.

I will start writing more because I feel better and am able to get myself into the functioning world again.

I hope all of you are well..... I have to say that Heath Ledgers death bothered me really bad this week. I realize that all the pity parties that I have been having pales into comparison to the grief that family is going through. I am truly blessed to be alive and to be with my family. God is good.