18 months

Today marks 18 months since my RNY. Somehow in my mind, I imagined weighing 155 on this day. I’m at 165, and that’s fine. That’s 20 pounds over “normal,” and that too is fine. It’s all good. It will come off or it won’t. And that’s fine.

But let’s be honest about why those twenty extra pounds are still here–food. End of story!

So a rundown of life as of now. Three major things:

  • I got a fabulous new bike! My Trek 7.2 was awesome, but she didn’t quite cut the mustard for rides upwards of 50 miles. It was time for a road bike. Behold the Trek 4.7 WSD! There is one word to describe her: smooth.

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  • I’m having some anxiety about the upcoming Fall semester. I passed my first-year review in the PhD program, but this year is going to be ridiculously difficult. Not only will I finish my full-time coursework, but I’ll also have to teach for my fellowship funding. That’s no problem, except that I already work full-time. It pans out like this: take 3 classes, teach 2 classes, teach 2 classes as part of my regular job, plus all the other duties of my regular job. That’s a heck of a lot. So much, in fact, that my counselor said I should take a leave of absence from work. And that she’d be willing to write a letter stating that its “medically necessary” for my mental health. I’m not sure I’d go that far, but she’s the expert. I’ll talk with my boss in 2 weeks to work out my fall schedule. I’m hoping to cut down to about 20 hours per week, and make up the rest with vacation time. Fortunately, I have enough saved up to account for the fall semester at part-time. We’ll see!
  • As far as post-surgical healing, I’m doing great! I don’t look very different from the pictures I posted, except that my abdomen is a much less swollen. Everything feels good!

And that just about covers everything in my world. Where on earth did summer go?!

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Lonely Lab Rat

I mentioned that my University has a psychology lab that’s running a bariatric study and I was joining. That first meeting was yesterday and let’s just say that it was a little… uhhh… lonely. And weird. Shall I enumerate the weirdness?

  1. This “group” being studied consists of me and 1 other person. Just one!
  2. I expected questionnaires and tests and experiments. Instead, it’s “group” (two people!) talk therapy. So it’s me, Subject #2, and our two therapists. 2 researchers, 2 subjects. Weird.
  3. When I signed in, the receptionist asked for my payment. Payment? To participate in a research study? I thought I was doing you the favor here? Oh well. $5 seems reasonable for the attention of two psychologists for 90 minutes, right?
  4. The “lab” was strange. A room full of computers, couches, and a mini-kitchen. I know it’s about eating, health, and what-not, but the little play kitchen was odd. Should I bring plastic food next time?
  5. This is a 6-week study. But we may have another person join next week and a fourth person join in two weeks. So I guess it’s a come-when-you-can thing? I don’t understand how that works in terms of research information (or group therapy dynamics for that matter), but whatever.

So considering the strangeness, why am I doing this? The answer is simple: because I like taking 90 minutes a week to be mindful of my body, my weight loss, my journey, and all the changes I’ve been through. It’s not what I expected, but it’s a nice short-term commitment and it helps me maintain focus on my health. It can’t hurt. Plus it’s all for science. Study me, I’m yours!

All that said, can I just tell you how much I don’t jive with subject #2? Here’s why:

  • Lady’s my grandma’s age. There’s no problem there, except that we are really, really different in terms of our lifestyles, influences, etc. For example, she talked about the challenges of growing up in the meat-and-potatoes post-depression food paradigm. The Great Depression? Is relevant to you? Holy crap, that was ages ago!
  • We have different surgeons. Hers is odd. He calls gastric bypass “surgical anorexia” as if that’s a good thing. My surgeon, on the other hand, sees this as a way to eat normally. Not like a bird.
  • Lady sees this as a cure for life, which I think is DANGEROUS. She said “It’s like they did a lobotomy! I just don’t want bad things any more. I’m cured!” Whoa. She also said, “I know I’ll never be fat again!” Whoa. Big, red, flashing lights. Have you not read about post-op weight gain?! I see this all as very non-curative. I’m a work in progress. Always will be.
  • Related to the previous point, chica’s only FOUR months out. It’s all daisies and roses for her right now. Of course she doesn’t want ice cream. Give it time.
  • She introduced herself first and talked about her highest weight of 280, and that she was huge and miserable. I bust out with my 364 and she looked like she might pass out.

She’s sweet. I like her fine. But I don’t think we’re on the same page. Maybe that will change, maybe it won’t. Maybe we’ll just be a really good contrast for the researchers. Time will tell! In the meantime, my assignment for next week is to imagine what it would feel like to be more open with people about my surgery. To just tell people how much I’ve lost and how I’ve done it. We all know I’m weird about sharing this info in my day-to-day life, so I have to visualize myself being more open about it.

It would be uncomfortable.

Liberating.

Easier than worrying about what people think.

Most of all, I think being more open about it would give me opportunities to help people or share what I’ve learned, even if it is just my own situated knowledge. I do want to be an advocate for health, no matter what that looks like for each individual person (WLS or not, “normal” weight or not, fat activism or not). It’s hard to be an advocate for health when I’m hiding what I’ve done (or skirting around it, or keeping it private, or whatever). I want to take an activist’s stance, but I have to put my story–my whole story–out there to do it.

Batwings begone!

At a meet-the-baby shower this weekend:

  1. Lee made a friend. Baby Micah immediately took to Lee and wouldn’t let anybody else hold him!
  2. My flabby jello arms ruined all the pictures. I mean really. Gross.

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But!

Six weeks from today, these batwings will be laying on a surgical table detached from my body. Halle-freakin-lujah!

I totally fainted

I want to write about this mainly for documentation. I *hope* it doesn’t keep happening!
So I’ve noticed that sometimes when I’ve been sitting awhile and I stand up, I feel a little faint, as if blood is rushing away from my head. I have to kind of stop, wait a second, and then walk wherever I’m going. This is my new normal, no big deal, I’m used to it.
Last night, Lee & I went out to dinner with some friends. Before dinner, I was trying not to snack, so I made coffee in the afternoon. I had 3 cups of coffee between 3pm and 6pm, and I knew I’d be over-caffeinated.
Dinner was at 8 at Kiku, a Japanese steak house. I had a few bites of rice, veggies, chicken, and steak and got full. I brought the rest home and munched on leftover rice while I was packing Lee’s lunch for today. Then I had a banana because I was dying for something sweet. (Hello high glycemic index: rice + banana!??)
So I finished watching CSI and went to join Lee in bed. Since I was so hyped on caffeine from earlier, I started reading in bed to fall asleep. Once I was sufficiently drowsy, I stood up to turn of the lamp.
And that’s all I remember, until Lee came rushing to my side. I woke up on the floor. I could see that I set my book on the night stand, so I remembered I had gotten up to turn off the lamp. I could feel that I must have hit my head on something because it hurt like crazy. I fell so that my face was actually touching the carpet! This was not a graceful fall! I still have no memory after standing up.
I guess I fainted?
Then all could do was laugh about it. So as I lay there in bed, all caffeinated, I started wanting to write this down. But now I was feeling sweaty and shaky, as if I was on the verge of fainting again. I’d sit up, wait to see if I could stand, and have to lay down again. If I stood up, I was going to pass out.
Eventually, I woke Lee up and asked him to bring me an apple and some paper so I could write (the caffeine was making me want to write to-do lists!) When he got frustrated with me because I kept waking him up, I felt bad and started to cry. Then I couldn’t stop laughing again. I have no idea if the emotional state of this whole incident is relevant, but I don’t do a whole lot of giggling or crying over stupid stuff, so it seems relevant to me.
So. I ate my apple. I had my paper. And as started writing, I noticed my handwriting was ridiculously shaky. Like kindergartener-style. Obviously, I was in worse shape than I realized. After the apple, I felt a bit better and was eventually able to stand and turn off the lamp.
I slept like a baby the rest of the night.
So. Is this low blood sugar after rice and banana (STUPID me)? Does that make this reactive hypoglycemia? Is this a “swoosh”? What the crap is happening to me? (Beth, what do you think??)
I’m suddenly feeling the urge to get in to see my primary doctor and have some labs done to see if anything substantial is “off.” But if it’s just low blood sugar, maybe I can just prevent it by eating how I’m supposed to and all will be well?
Can you imagine if something like this happened right after my brachioplasty? I could seriously burst my arm stitches! I’m not having any surgery until I know I’m 100% healthy!

14 Reasons I Love Lee

Because I’m a copycat! Here goes:

1.       Lee is the most giving person I know. He always puts my needs above his own.

2.       Lee always tells me the truth, even when I don’t want to hear it.

In 2002

In 2002

3.       He gives excellent massages!

4.       The way he irons his clothes. It’s so cute how everything has to be creased just so.

2004

2004

5.       Long hugs in the kitchen when we get home from work.

6.       I am amazed that even as a child living under horrible circumstances, Lee knew what he wanted for his life and worked to make it happen. Lee is the embodiment of being “pressed but not crushed, persecuted not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed” (2 Corinth 4:8-9).

n1321527849_228526_41687.       I love Lee because he gets cranky when he’s hungry, but he returns to his normal sweet self within twenty seconds of getting food.

8.       Lee is comfortable with himself. He doesn’t care if you like his clothes, the way he talks, or the same movies he does. He’s happy being himself.

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9.       Lee has an innocent spirit. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again—if I find out thirty years from now that he’s an angel living on earth, I will not be surprised!

10.   He’s big and strong but vulnerable, and he doesn’t hide that from me.

2008

2008

11.   If I tell him I’m sick to death of talking about cars (an obsession of his), he’ll give me a break.

12.   I love the way Lee keeps his feet touching together at all times. When he’s playing video games—his feet are crossed one over the other. When he’s sleeping—feet are crossed. Eating dinner? Feet crossed. I can’t wait to see if our kids inherit that strange habit!

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13.   I love how he puts toothpaste on my toothbrush for me.

14.   I love how sometimes we’ll lie in bed at night and sing. Dorky? Yes. But that’s us.

I’m a lucky girl!

Weight Weirdness

At one point last week, I weighed in at 167. Today I’m back at 171.6. I need to take stock and figure out what the heck is going on. Contributing factors could be:

  1. Exercise has been consistently inconsistent (ha!). I’ve never dropped below working out 3 days per week, but I’m not on a very regular schedule right now.
  2. I quit birth control about 3 weeks ago in preparation for plastics. Maybe my hormones are screwy?
  3. I haven’t been to a counseling appointment since 12/31/08. My stress level is definitely higher than normal. Maybe the discipline of going to my counseling sessions helps control stress and impacts weight and blah blah blah. The next appointment with Dr. Estill is Wednesday of next week and then I’ll be back to my every-other-week routine.
  4. Lord, I’ve been eatin’ some carbs. Popcorn, cheez-its, and my sister’s homemade carrot cake. BAD MEG!
  5. I’ve also been getting less than 64 oz of water. And I’ve noticed that sometimes when I’m thirsty, I reach for a snack instead of a drink. Duh.

So. As you can see, I’ve been lax in the “follow RNY rules for life” department. In a way, I’m not worried. I know how to get back on track. It’s really not that big a deal.

However. My plastic surgery is in less than 12 weeks. I have to buckle down to be at the optimal weight going into that surgery for the best results.

So it’s protein supplements, water, vegetables, fruit, and only then can I entertain thoughts of carrot cake (and we all know that after eating all the right things we don’t even want carrot cake). It’s also 5 days working out, no excuses.

And with that said, I’ll be back on track in just a few days! 🙂

Randomness

Since I’m refraining from the unmentionable subject, I shall proceed with my standard Bulleted List of Randomness.

  • If Jessica Simpson is fat, I want to be fat.

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  • Is it weird that I’m still upset that Nick & Jessica got divorced? Doesn’t it seem like a cosmic mistake? And I remember it was announced on Thanksgiving Day 2005. I was so sad. I’m still sad. Waaa.

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  • I am now obsessed with the OH board devoted to the unmentionable subject.
  • I am presenting at a billion conferences this semester. March 6th–Gainesville, FL; March 7th–Tampa, FL; March 28th–Kingston, RI; April 3rd–Lookout Mountain, GA; April 11th–New Orleans, LA. It’s like my world tour. Lord help me survive the next few months!
  • I love my bike, but I have my eyes on another. Lee gave me the go-ahead. We don’t have the money now, but it will be very, very difficult to restrain myself if the opportunity to buy this bike does arise. I’m drooling just looking at it!

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  • I would like to join the Bobbies. A group of women cyclists? Sign me up!
  • I’m getting tingling in my toes. I’m hoping this isn’t the beginning of neuropathy. I’m going to be proactive and get on a B-complex instead of just B-12.
  • I ordered Baby Love from my local library via books by mail. I love Rebecca Walker and her famous writer mother Alice Walker. I can’t wait to read about Rebecca’s decision to “choose motherhood after a lifetime of ambivalence.” Something always resonates with me when a Walker writes, so I can’t wait to devour this book.
  • I want to get my husband eating healthier. It wouldn’t be that difficult, since I prepare all of this man’s food! I feel so guilty when I pack his lunch every day with two Orange sodas (45g of sugar EACH!) because I’m too lazy to prepare him some splenda-sweetened tea in a thermos. Heart disease, stroke, and diabetes run in his family (like many african-americans) and I have a responsibility to do what I can to prevent it. I need to find alternatives to the teddy grahams, cheetos, and little debbies. I wouldn’t feed it to myself, so why am I feeding it to him? LAZINESS. Bad wife!

And that is all for now!