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Archive for December 4th, 2013

I hate to come back and say, well, I’m returning to blogging, because I might not. And for all I know, no one particularly cares. And yet, there it is. I’m here today. I’m alive.  I was a bit shocked to see that I haven’t posted since February 2013, although when I think about it logically, it makes perfect sense. I’ve been working crazy insane hours and trying to write a book, losing weight (over 50 pounds lost in 2013), and had surgery a couple of weeks ago.

But I really need the emotional release I always get when I blog, so maybe I can get back into the routine.

So here’s where I am today, December 4th, 2013.

I turn 50 on Sunday.  I personally think it’s cool, and kinda funny, because I so don’t feel 50. Frankly, after the weight loss I’ve achieved this year, I feel younger than ever. 50 going on 14? 13? I’m still a young adolescent boy at heart, and probably always will be.

I had some complications with my lap band crop up this summer, including a ruptured hiatal hernia and a massive food blockage that had me so messed up I was literally eating about 10 bites of food a day.  That’s actually NOT why I lost weight. My weight loss stalled out right then, as I presume my body was trying to hang on to what it had until I was able to start eating.  So two weeks ago, after jumping through all the insurance hoops, I had revision surgery. They removed the lap band, fixed the adhesions, repaired the hernia, did a liver biopsy to test for fatty liver disease, and converted me to a gastric sleeve.  I’m 2 weeks post surgery, and am down 12 pounds in the past 3 weeks. No complaints there. Well, about the weight loss part, anyway. I’m extremely unhappy due to the fact that I can’t eat anything solid for another week.  The first week post-surgery I subsisted on clear liquids, mainly Isopure protein drinks (most of which tasted quite unpleasant) and low sodium broths, with plenty of zero calorie Vitamin Water or Sobe water. Starting the day after Thanksgiving, I got to go to full liquids. This means I can have Atkins shakes (thanks be to goodness), protein powder shakes blended with skim milk (blech), and lowfat cream soups with all the solid bits strained out.  I find that if I get the lowfat Cheddar cheese soup and blend it with skim milk and some chicken broth, it’s pretty tasty.  I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, so it’s a fantastic change from all the sweet shakes and drinks.

I go back to work on Monday, December 9th, but will not be working overtime until I’m back on a full solids diet. That means it’ll probably be January before the OT kicks in again. I’m hopeful that we’ll actually get fully staffed (a promise that’s been being made for months, but has yet to materialize) and I won’t have to keep working such long hours.

I’m hard at work on The Great American Novel (ha!), and have made remarkable progress. I was hopeful I’d get a lot done while I was on leave, but I’ve actually spent most of my time sleeping, internetting (is that a word? it is now!), watching movies and Dr. Oz (I do like Dr. Oz), and making sure I get at least half an hour of activity in every day.

So, weight loss. How’d I do it? Weight Watchers. I know, I know. I keep coming back to it. But you know what? It freakin’ works, if you do it! One of the benefits Ally provides is a contracted lower rate for the monthly pass, and then on top of that, they pay half of it. So I’ve been paying $17 a month instead of more than $40. We’ve also been fortunate enough to have meetings at work as well, although we may have lost that as of the end of November, as we were having trouble getting enough regularly attending members to keep it active. If we have lost our at work meetings, then I will continue to go to meetings at the center near my house. I vastly prefer the work meetings–no time out of my schedule, no travel, and a small group of people that I know well and like well–but the meetings are one of the most important reasons Weight Watchers works, in my opinion.

People think–and I was one of them, pre lap band–that bariatric surgery is a magic key. I mean, I knew it wasn’t, but definitely thought it made it easier than it did.  But what I learned is that it’s still a head game. I had to learn how to manage my feelings and emotions instead of stuffing them, something I still struggle with. Joe thinks I’m the wicked witch of the west 90% of the time, and I am sorry about that.  So bariatric surgery was a tool, and a very helpful one. Weight Watchers is a tool, and a very helpful one.  Exercise is a tool, and a very helpful one. Writing/journaling/talking/all the other things I do to cope are tools.  And they all work together.  I’m very pleased to report that as of this morning, I weighed 214.0 pounds in my birthday suit. I weighed 272 when I started Weight Watchers in the spring. So almost 60 pounds, but as I say, the last 12 pounds are due directly to the surgery and the liquid diet I’ve had to follow as part of the healing process. The weight loss will slow down once I start eating again, but it’s all good.

I am no longer wearing plus size clothing. Every now and then I start to automatically veer to that section in the stores when I go shopping, but as I start rifling through the racks, it quickly becomes obvious that everything’s too big.  I live in leggings (size XL) and Old Navy jeans (tried on the size 14 boyfriend skinnies I got pre-surgery, and they freaking fit!). My shirts are now ladies XL, and I’ve even been able to get into an occasional oversized L. I went to Stein Mart this morning to use my birthday coupon (20% off one item), and tried on 6 tops. Three looked incredible, one looked so-so, and two looked awful. I bought two of the three incredible ones, and the kind cashier gave me 25% off one in addition to my birthday coupon off the other one. But they were all ladies XL, and they all fit. One of the ones I bought looked so good it blew me away.  I cannot tell you how much more self confidence I have, and how much more I enjoy shopping for clothes.

Faith, 6 days post-op. I actually look better than this photo suggests--the camera cut me off at the fattest part of my belly. Typical. lol

Faith, 6 days post-op. I actually look better than this photo suggests–the camera cut me off at the fattest part of my belly. Typical. lol

Post-op instructions include walking at least half an hour a day, building up to an hour a day. Six weeks post surgery, I will be able to work up to more strenuous activity. I’ve decided to do the Couch-to-5K program. I bought the app and loaded it onto my iPhone.  Definitely looking forward to it. I’m also going to get a bike helmet and start riding my totes awesome bike around.  I’ve been pinning some at-home routines to help with some muscle building.

I don’t think we had adopted Elvis when I last posted. Elvis is a puggle (pug-beagle mix, we think) with an overbite that gives him a very pronounced sneer, hence the name. He is a big old sweetie pie, and he is definitely a boobies man.  I cracked a rib a few months ago, and woke up one morning to find him sound asleep across my body, his head resting blissfully on my right breast over the cracked rib. Little putz. Emmylou is well and healthy and happy, and she and Elvis get along beautifully.

Elvis Presley Stencel-butt

Elvis Presley Stencel-butt and Emmylou Wriggle-butt

And that’s probably a pretty thorough update from me. Hope you’re all well and happy!

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