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.

trek_madone_47_wsd_2009_silverwhite

  • 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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Happenings

So here’s what’s up.

Four of us girls at work started a new bible study / interest group on the topic of health, wellness, the body, and the Bible. I led our first meeting yesterday and we talked about our goals, what keeps us from those goals, how we can hold each other accountable / encourage each other in pursuing those goals, etc. There are two of us who want to lose 20 pounds, one who wants to lose 50 or more before trying to get pregnant, and one who is already at an ideal weight but needs help with meal ideas and eating well on a budget.

Once we had our goals mapped out, I focused on vegetables and shared recipes for really yummy veggie dishes. Despite how well it went, I left our meeting feeling frustrated. Our group member who needs to lose 50 pounds talks about wanting to lose weight all the time. But throughout our session yesterday, she was making excuse after excuse–real sugar is better than artificial sweeteners, and she can’t have unsweetened coffee, so she must put sugar in her coffee. (My suggestion for raw cane sugar was scoffed at.) Then came excuse after excuse about needing to indulge every now and then, not being able to exercise, blah blah blah. And all this? With a Dr. Pepper and potato chips in hand. That was her food choice for a health & wellness bible study snack! Suffice to say, I find this all very annoying… not because she eats non-diet foods… I say eat whatever you want! But to eat crappy food and constantly whine about not losing weight? Seriously? And she isn’t the kind of person you can just be “straight” with and be like, “dude, don’t you think an orange juice might be better than Dr. Pepper for the same amount of calories?” She cries at the drop of a dime. I’m at a loss for how to help her–she thinks she has it all figured out. I guess if she really wanted help she would ask for and accept it, so I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and hope she can learn something as we go.

So aside from all that, I’ve “assigned” everyone the task of creating a health & wellness vision board for our next session two weeks from now. I’m actually pretty excited about doing this… I think it will help me think through what I really want in terms of a healthy & balanced life, what kinds of things I need to work toward, what a well-banced, maintenance-phase ME will look like. So that should be fun!

Other than that, I just finished my 3rd conference of the semester last weekend in Rhode Island–my sister went with me and we had so much fun! She took all the pictures and I’ll post some as soon as she emails them to me.

Aaaand my body is still all out of whack from stopping birth control. I finally did take a pregnancy test just to be triple-sure, and thankfully I’m not pregnant just yet. Just waiting for my hormones to get into a groove again!

Surgery just over 4 weeks away. I’m super-excited to get it done and over with!! And I’m actually very much looking forward to my new boobs! 🙂

Family pictures at the beach on Sunday (clothed of course). That should be fun!

Shoes Ahoy

I’ve walked from my bedroom closet to the car. And then from the car into 7-11 and back. And then from the car to my office. And then from my office to the Secretary’s desk and back.

And it’s going to be a very, very long day. Why?

shows

You see?

Decision time!

I heard back from USF after leaving a voice mail from their scheduler this morning. She got a quote for using one surgery center, and another surgery center may actually cost less but she doesn’t have an answer back from them yet. I’ve attached their quote and Dr. Hartog’s quote in case you want to see them.

Hartog’s price $9,884 includes:

  • implants
  • board-certified plastic surgeon
  • local

USF’s price $7,142 includes:

  • no implants (they rebuild boobs using side and armpit fat they say)
  • surgical residents
  • about 2 hours from home

Let’s assume 4 trips to Tampa should be factored in: another pre-op visit, surgery day, and 2 post-op visits. Mapquest says with my vehicle’s miles per gallon that’s a $26.52 round trip. Let’s say $30 with tolls. So we’re talking $120 in transportation costs. That’s a revised Tampa cost of $7,262.

That’s a difference of $2,622.

Dr. Hartog’s price without the implants was $8647. So comparing apples to apples (or boobs to boobs?), USF is a savings of $1,385.

This comes down to implants guys. If I know I want implants, it makes sense to go to Hartog who will place them at the time of my lift and pump them up a week later through a tube, because I’m sure I’d spend more than $2,622 to get them placed later.

The question is whether I need implants if they can pump up my boobs with my own fat (assuming I have any left by the time I reach a weight of 155, which is what I estimate at the time of surgery. I’m already at 167.2 today).

I called Lee and he automatically leans toward Hartog because he has experience and he doesn’t want the “kids” (i.e. residents) working on me. He also thinks implants are worth $2,622. In his words, “do you want the V6 engine or the V8? When I bought my car you said get the GT. I’m saying get the GT.” But then he finished with, “Talk to your family and see what they think.”

You’re my blog family. What do you think?

Happy 2009!

I tore into a fortune cookie last night and it read:

You have had a good start.

Work harder!

Uh, little cookie, you are beyond wise! Now I must eat you.

But isn’t that exactly what this year is for me? The final lap, the big push, the grand finale? Time to go for the gold.

I know everyone is excited during New Year’s, but it’s always a tiny bit sad for me. I loved 2008. I made excellent decisions in 2008. I had an awesome year! Let’s review the successes of 08:

  • I had gastric bypass surgery on January 22, 2008. It wasn’t a hard decision or a trying experience; it was totally and completely the right thing to do and I knew it.
  • I presented at my first professional conference just a few weeks after surgery.
  • I started the year at about 307 and ended the year at 177. This is exactly what I had hoped from the surgery: to get me through the 200’s so I can fight this battle in the 100’s.
  • I got a job offer at another University and used that to secure a substantial pay raise in my current position. I went to a 4 day workweek. Said goodbye to a boss who wasn’t liked.
  • I started a PhD program. I started a PhD program. On a fellowship. On a fellowship. This is a huge life-long ambition being fulfilled right before my very eyes!
  • I became aware of how much I really can trust my husband. With me, these things are only built over time. I’m amazed by how he has loved me no matter what I look like, how he’s always honest with me, and that he’d give anything he could to make me happy.

That said, I wave a fond farewell to 2008 and look forward to 2009 when I will:

  • Reach the goal weight of 145 and maintain somewhere in that area for the remainder of the year.
  • Get my arms and boobies fixed, paid for free and clear through savings.
  • Continue surviving the work-life balance that is taking care of myself, excelling at my job, and managing school. Keeping all three going is a big enough goal for the year!

And I’m going to stop there. I’m  not resolving to do anything amazing this year, I’m not going to make myself a list of crap to stick to, I’m just going to take care of me and keep plugging along.

And if 2009 is anything like 2008, I’ll look back on the year with wonder!

A Few of My Favorite Things

I love working for a University. I love that we close between Christmas and New Year’s. I love this break!

I’ve been spending time with friends and family while Lee works. Today I’ve been all alone and it has been simply divine! And as I’ve relaxed, I’ve identified a few things I adore:

  • Torani sugar-free syrups. Yeah, I’ve had them before but I haven’t spent any time figuring out what to do with them. But now? I’ve got sugar-free raspberry (fav!), coconut, caramel, vanilla, and irish creme. It’s flavorful in my world, I tell you! (I buy them at my local World Market)
  • Gift certificates. To anywhere. I mean really. How fun is it to go shopping and not worry about how much it’s costing you? I love gift cards!
  • Coupons. Don’t you love it when you feel like you’ve cheated the system and gotten a totally rad deal? I know, I know–we’re all paying for it eventually, but seriously! Coupons make shopping exciting.
  • Crystal Light slurpees from 7-11. I know, it’s December. But it’s also 80 degrees in Florida today.
  • Also, The Daily Plate, which revealed that these crystal light slurpees, while sugar free, do have 120 calories and 20g of carbs for a 28oz. cup. Totally worth it.
  • Bike rides. Fast or slow, long or short, sweaty or not.
  • Brace yourself. I love Talbots. Yes, I do. I know I’m not a senior citizen, but I love that store! I can’t afford much there, but today I scored a great white button-down and a denim pencil skirt for a grand total of $26. I don’t even care of that makes me uncool.
  • I love wearing regular sizes. I’m firmly a 12 right now. Every 12 I try on fits. Sometimes I need a 10, but it’s very rare. I think sizes are more uniform in “regular” stores. Remember how plus sizes were all jacked up from store to store?
  • I love shoes! Because no matter how much my body changes, the shoes will still fit. My feet aren’t going to get any fatter or skinnier within the next 30 pounds. I love buying shoes! I’m building like a permanent shoe wardrobe! A permanent wardrobe! That’s exciting!
  • I still love New York & Company. Their pants are weird (cheap fabric and very strange notions of waistlines–hello, that’s more like my bra line!) but tops and dresses–watch out. I got a pair of purple pants, some black capris, and a cute black wrap dress for $3.99 each this weekend. I’m not even kidding.
  • I still love Ross. I know it doesn’t scream “classy lady!” but I don’t mind digging through racks of crap to find the rare gem. I just got a pair of zebra-striped pumps (YES I DID!), nine west shorts (ME! IN SHORTS!), a gray Worthington skirt, and a cute black turtleneck for about $50. That’s a deal no matter how you slice it.
  • I love Shelly/Eggface. I love her protein ice cream recipes. I love my sister for buying me an ice cream maker for Christmas. So far I’ve only made chocolate peanut butter ice cream, but YUM!
  • I love organizing things. I’ve cleaned out my office at home, my closet, the spare bedroom closet/storage, and I’m dying to get rid of a bunch of Lee’s clothes, but I know he’d hate that. I love organizing our stuff! Better yet, I love having time to organize our stuff!
  • I really really love my JOYS Household Organization System. I use my action center every single day, and it totally rocks. You should buy this when it’s no longer out of stock. Seriously. Ask for it for your next birthday. It’s a functional system that actually makes sense.
  • I love the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. It works. Easily. My shower sparkles.
  • I love aprons. Fancy ones, simple ones, funky ones. I need more aprons in my life.
  • I love my husband. He’s so generous and honest and easy to be with. He’s a good, good man and I’m happy I snatched him up. 🙂
  • I love Gerbera daises. I especially loved the ones I carried at our wedding, but I also love the ones Lee brought home for me yesterday! Yellow and orange brightens up the house.
  • I love doing laundry. I really do. I love washing everything according to it’s instructions, making everything fluffy and soft, and having everything folded, put away, and ready for wearing. Laundry is one of my favorite things!
  • I love my church. My pastor is a genius. I love the impact our church has in the community.
  • I love my job. I get to do what I like to do all day long! I get to work with Christians whom I genuinely like! I get paid a fair wage. I have a lovely office where I can think.
  • I love the beach. I love it during the summer when it’s hotter than hades, but I really love it in the off-season when it’s cooler and you can wear real clothes and it’s not crowded. The beach is instant relaxation.

I could go on and on (I already have!) but these pleasures are filling my time off of work and helping me give thanks for the year I’ve had. I’ve made good decisions this year, and I’ve had help, and I’m happy with the outcome. I’m far from perfect and could have done better in so many areas, but I like what 2008 brought. All good things. All better than before.

Staying Put

It’s official. The boss-man delivered, and I’m staying at my current job. They raised my salary, agreed to the 4-day workweek, promised me an assistant, and… voila! No change needed.

I suppose there is a reason God’s had me here in this place for so long. At first, I thought I’d stay until I finished my master’s. And then until we finished building the house. And then until after my surgery. And now until coursework for the PhD is done.

This place has been good to me. And it feels awesome to know they were willing to fight to keep me here.