Saturday, June 21, 2014

In about 72 hours...

give or take a few because life tends to not be set in stone, I'll be waking up in a recovery room ready to start an incredible new journey towards a healthier life.

I can hardly wait.

I know that there are some people out there (not my friends and family, of course, but some) that think having weight loss surgery is a cop easy way out.

Well, it's not.  It's scary and it requires a ton of commitment to be successful.

I've been struggling with my weight on and off since my kids were born.  That's over TWO DECADES of battling this crap with every diet and exercise plan out there.  I had moderate amounts of success and maintained a relatively healthy weight until shortly before I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.  Since then, it's been a one step forward two steps back process.

Weight loss surgery is a tool.  I'm not trying to justify my decision (except maybe a bit to myself).  I've made that.  I'm just trying to explain it to those who might not understand.  There are LOTS of tools available for weight loss.

Quick Weight Loss Centers
Jenny Craig
Weight Watchers
My Fit Foods
Personal trainers
Gym Memberships
Exercise DVDs
Two aisles in the book store filled with different diets - low carb/high protein - low fat - high fat/high fiber - blood type - body shape type...and so on and so on
Diet pills (prescription and OTC)
Meal replacement shakes and bars

I could go on and on.  I have tried nearly ALL of these different "tools" with the exception of a couple newer diets that have hit the shelves recently.  I have always been successful for a time then, for various reasons, the success comes to a grinding halt.  For me it's usually due to an illness or injury from overtraining because I love to exercise...but, as my orthopedic surgeon says, "fat people shouldn't do jumping jacks."

I've been in the hospital more times than I can count with slipped or herniated discs.  I just had surgery to repair one and with my weight where it is, I'm looking at another surgery down the road.  I have torn the meniscus in my left knee TWICE.  I'm looking at a total knee replacement in the future if I'm not careful.  My podiatrist describes the ligaments in my left ankle as "over-pulled taffy."  One more injury to my ankle means surgery and replacement of my ligaments with cadaver ligaments and a minimum of a 8 week - non weight bearing recovery.  Every time I have one of these setbacks, I lose all the ground I'd gained and then some.  This list could go on and on too.

So, I've decided to try another tool.

I read a book recently - The Sleeved Life - by Penny Nicola   She describes this surgery as a tool like any other.  She mentions our use of washing machines vs. banging our clothes on rocks in a river...of driving cars instead of hooking up a horse and buggy...and so forth.

I like her analogies.

This surgery is an amazing tool.  Many, many, many people have been incredibly successful with it when everything else failed them.  Check google images for before and after pictures and you'll see what I mean.

I intend to be one of them.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I'll be heading down...

to the hospital tomorrow to do my pre-op labs.

Considering the fact that I've been pondering this surgery for a really long time, it sure does seem like things are moving FAST!

At about this time next Tuesday, I'll be waking up in a recovery room with a new teeny tiny tummy.

I'm excited.

I'm nervous.

I'm hopeful.

I'm full of butterflies!

I want to thank all my friends and family who have been extremely supportive of my decision.  You guys are all awesome.  I love you all and appreciate your support.  This part of my journey is only just beginning and it's good to know I have a huge team of cheerleaders behind me.

I also want to thank the few of you that were worried or concerned or even told me this is not what I should do.  I know that you care about me and want me to be safe and healthy.  I love you guys too!  Please know that I took your words to heart, but in the end I am making my decision based upon my own knowledge of my own body, advice from multiple doctors, and with the support and approval of my husband, children, and parents.

My pre-op diet has been going well.  I've lost about six pounds so far.  (Hopefully, it's mostly from my liver!)  It would be great to drop another 4 or so before surgery.

You know what?  I think I'm MOSTLY excited!!  I think my ASS is mostly afraid!  :)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

My two week pre-op diet...

starts on June 9th .  My surgery is going to be on June 23rd.

In the meantime, I've got quite a long "to do" list to get myself and my home prepared for this journey.

I've got to get back in the habit of logging my meals so I can make sure I'm getting enough protein and such.  I've done this on and off for ages, so it shouldn't be too hard to get back to it.

I also need to develop a habit of keeping track of how much water I drink.  I'm so used to being able to guzzle big 32 ounce cups of water.  After my surgery, I won't be able to do that so drinking enough water each day will take a little more effort.  I'm planning on buying one of those "flavor infusing" pitchers for the fridge.  I can add herbs and fruit and such to it, but mainly I'll know when it's empty that I've had at least as much water as my body needs.

I need to say "goodbye" to caffeine and carbonation.  I rarely have any, so this shouldn't be difficult....but I think one last Coke might be in order.

I need to start cutting out all the simple carbohydrates and increasing my protein intake.

I need to keep my ass moving.  I've been using my awesome new exercise bike a lot, but it's time to get back in the pool (it's finally warm enough - almost!) and WALKING.

I've got to start cleaning out the junk in the pantry and fridge.  I don't get into it much now, but I don't want to be tempted later.  My poor hubby is going to have to make some changes too!

I've got to go to the store and buy TONS of protein powder and low sodium broth.

Lots to do...little time to do it.

I've got to get BUSY!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

In about 30 minutes...

I have to get in the shower and get ready to head down to the medical center.  Today is my pre-op appointment.  My surgery has been approved by my insurance company and now I just need to find out when they can do it and see how that coordinates with my family's schedule.

I'm glad my husband is going to be able to come to this appointment with me.  He'll remember to ask all the questions that I've forgotten.

I don't know whether to be anxious or excited about the beginning of this new journey.  I think I'm a little bit of both.

I was back and forth on my decision a bit until last Friday.  I'm still in physical therapy from my back surgery and my knees have been a little tweaky, so we're working on those too.  On Friday, we did several sets of walking lunges and in the middle of the second set, I felt something in my left knee go, "POP!"  It hurt hurt more later.  By Saturday, it was hugely swollen and very painful.  I went to my knee doctor's office on Tuesday and got a couple more shots.  He knows about (and APPLAUDS!) my decision to get sleeved.  He's letting me hold off on an MRI and such for my knee until that happens.  Hopefully, I'll evade knee surgery this one last time and will lose enough weight with the sleeve that I won't be at risk for it any longer.

That "POP!" was the last straw.

I'm doing this.

My ass better start packing.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Six weeks after...

the last time I wrote a blog post, I had to have back surgery.  It's been something I was avoiding for nearly two decades, but this time I had to face the inevitability of it.  I had a severe L5/S1 herniation and the disc was impinging upon my sciatic nerve so much you could have stabbed me in the foot with a fork and I would not have known you did it.

The surgery (laminectomy and microdiscectomy) was successful.  Within four hours of waking up from the anesthesia, I was looking for my underpants because I was out of pain and ready to get dressed and go home!  It took another month or so to recover from the surgery itself and I'm still in physical therapy to regain the strength and flexibility that I lost, but all in all I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to have it done.

As most of you know, I've been struggling with my weight more on than off since my kids were born.  My oldest will be 21 next month and my little one will be 20 in November.  It's definitely not "baby weight" any longer.  As I've mentioned before, I had things mostly under control until my thyroid cancer diagnosis and subsequent total thyroidectomy in December of 2005.  Since then, it's been a constant battle with low energy levels, a rapid resting heart rate, and injury after injury (back, ankles, feet, knees, etc.)  It's been a constant repetition of the one step forward - two steps back regime.

Which brings me to a decision I've made and want to share with all of you...

I am going to have weight loss surgery.  I am planning to have a procedure done that's called a vertical sleeve gastrectomy.  In a nutshell, my surgeon will make one little hole in my bellybutton and remove a good chunk of my giant, pizza and fried chicken craving stomach through it.  That big piece of stomach will take with it a lot of my body's ghrelin (that hormone that makes you hungry!) production.

When everything is all said and done, it should become much less difficult to lose weight.  It won't be easy, mind you, but definitely less difficult.  As I lose weight, the likelihood of injuring and reinjuring myself exercising and the risk of having to have more back surgery or knee replacements or heaven knows what I'd break next decreases dramatically.

So, I have made a pretty big decision to help me on the path towards health and fitness.

I hope you all don't think it's a cheat or a cop-out or a bad decision in general.  I have thought all those things through for myself and still come to the conclusion that this is the right choice for me.  I would love your support for this new phase in my journey.  In lieu of your support, I appreciate your silence.

Love, N

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

It's the first day...

of the rest of my life.  It's the first day of 2014.  It's NEW YEAR'S DAY!

New Year's Day is the day that is typically used by most of us for making RESOLUTIONS.  We make big plans and set enormous, generally unattainable, goals.  We set ourselves up to fail.

I didn't do it last year and I'm not doing it this year.

Last year, I made a simpler resolution.  I resolved to work on being "better."  I worked towards being a better wife, a better mother, a better friend, a better ME.  I worked on smiling more and whining less.  I worked on helping others more.  I worked on being more appreciative of simple joys.  Of course, I worked on eating a little less and exercising a little more too.  I worked on all these things and they worked on me.

Last year, I followed through on my resolution.  I can't say that I was "perfect" but I certainly didn't fail.  It feels good to say that.  It feels good to be satisfied with my accomplishments - both small and otherwise.

This year, I resolve to do the same.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I'm going to keep...

a journal for the next three days.  Please be patient with me.  This is going to be a looooooooooong blog post.  It's not like you actually have to read it or anything though so suck it up!  On the other hand, if you've ever considered doing a juice cleanse this might be interesting to read on!

I just started a JUICE CLEANSE.

For the next three days, I'm supposed to drink water and fresh pressed vegetable juices.  I tried something similar a while back, but I was trying to manage making my own juice and failed miserably.  I kept having to go into the refrigerator to get apples and kale and whatnot and kept coming back out with frozen pizzas and such.  This time, I've left the juicing to the professionals at Green Seed Vegan.  I bought their Innerg (I think that's supposed to be a cutesy way to say inner energy or something but it sounds like an evil sci-fi robot name to me) 3 Day Cleanse.  It's supposedly created out of roughly 60 pounds of the extra most super healthy organic fruits and veggies.  (If it actually takes that much produce to make the amount of juice I just bought, I got a helluva bargain!)

I have 18 bottles of red, green, and white juice  waiting for me in my fridge that are, hopefully, not so gross I can't choke them down!

Day 1:

I've already cheated and I haven't even started yet.  Well, I haven't exactly cheated...I'm just not following the instructions to the letter.

I was supposed to start the day out with something called a "Salt Water Flush."  I was supposed to get up this morning and drink a 32 oz. glass of warm distilled water with 2 teaspoons of salt mixed into it.

I can't do it.

I read too much about it online last night. ("Where'd you read that? - The internet.  And you believed it?  Yes...they can't put anything on the internet that isn't true.  Where'd you read that? - The internet.")

But based on what I read, a salt water flush isn't such a great idea for someone who is already prone to edema.  I swell up like a balloon if I have too much soy sauce with my sashimi.  I also value my kidneys and the fact that they are currently doing their job with no complaints.  So, I'm skipping that part and starting the day with my standard 32 oz. glass of water with a tablespoon of Bragg's raw apple cider vinegar.

This will be my first, last, and only deviation from the instructions.

Wish me luck.

9 a.m.:

I'm slowly working my way through my first bottle of  "Leafy Green Juice."  It's a combination of kale, romaine, collard greens, cucumber, celery, parsley, apple and lime.  I can definitely taste kale (not my favorite veggie) but it's not as strong as I'd feared.  I can drink 8 more bottles of this stuff over the next three days.  It's not brisket, but it isn't awful.  I'm grateful that my youngest child is having a bowl of cereal for breakfast instead of making himself eggs and BACON!

10 a.m.:

I am, surprisingly enough, NOT starving.  I was starting to get a bit of a "where the hell is my caffeine?!" headache, but it went away about 30 minutes after I had Juice #1.  I definitely did NOT need the salt water flush.  I'm happy I don't have to go anywhere this weekend!  (Sorry - TMI!) 

11 a.m.:

I am procrastinating....trying to wait until 11:30 to have my next bottle of juice.  By the time this is over, this Juice Fast Journal is going to take about 2 hours to read.  Suckers!

My dear husband was just informed that he probably ought not to eat solid food anywhere near me until this is over.  I think he'll be heading out for a burger or something within the hour.

11:30 a.m.:

I made it.  I was expecting the bright burgundy colored "Root Veggie Juice" to taste like fruit punch.  It doesn't.  It's good though.  I sort of wish it wasn't quite so good because I'm having a harder time making it last!  This one is made out of beets, carrots, celery, apple, ginger (it could use a LOT more ginger) and lime.  I was getting a headache again in the last few minutes and, once again, it's starting to go away as my blood sugar levels come back to speed.


I think it's time to take a nap....a really, really, really long nap.  I think that a more ideal juice fast would involve a medically induced coma.  I also think that the next person that posts a picture of anything chocolate or relating to "National Fried Chicken Day" on Facebook is going to get a swift virtual fist to their nose.

3 p.m.:

That was the best nap I've had in AGES.  I think I'd still be asleep if I hadn't knocked back a big glass of water right before I closed my eyes.  Time for Day 1 - Juice #3 (green.)  Then chores.  I sure do love our dogs, but I really wish they'd learn to shed OUTSIDE.

6:30 p.m.:

I've been trying to keep busy to keep my mind off of the fact that I'm feeling a little lightheaded and really, really, really want to CHEW something.  I just made my husband throw out the last remnants of our Fourth of July BBQ festival.  He seems to be happy enough to be eating a lot of cereal while I work my way through this fast.  Thankfully, I'm more than halfway through the first day.  I just popped the top on juice #4.  I'm trying to spread them out a little more so I don't have my last one like 6 hours before I go to bed.  If that happens, I'm pretty sure I'd cave and sneak out for a Blizzard.  Did you know that Dairy Queen's blizzard of the month is LEMON MERINGUE PIE?!  I wish I didn't!

8:00 p.m.:

I think I might have saved too many juices for too late in the day.  I barely choked down the last green one and I still have one more to go.  I set a goal to drink a gallon of water a day along with the juice and I've left just enough to take my nighttime medicine and vitamins.  I'll plan better tomorrow.

9:30 p.m.:

I'm washing down the last little bit of day one with my last juice of the day.  It's called "Sweet Nut Milk."  It's made from almonds, alkaline water, coconut nectar, and cinnamon.  It's delicious.  I'll definitely be looking forward to another one of these at the end of day 2.  I've officially lived through Day 1.  I'm beginning a collection of empty juice bottles.  I'm not exactly sure why. Perhaps for recycling purposes?  Perhaps delirium induced by lack of fried chicken and chocolate?


Day 2:

7:00 a.m.:

Last night I was thinking that I was really going to struggle through the last two days of this juice fast.  That was last night.  This morning I'm awake and feeling RESTED.  Drinking veggie juice = a good night's sleep?!  Who would have guessed?
Oh yeah...and I weighed in this morning 2.6 pounds lighter than I was yesterday morning!
I know you guys are going to tell me, "it's just water weight - don't get too excited - blah blah blah!"  The thing is, I don't care.  Weight is weight and I feel like I managed to undo all the damage I'd done with that brisket and then some in less than 24 hours.  I feel AWESOME and EXCITED to see how the rest of this goes!!

8:00 a.m.:

I just threw some boneless skinless chicken breasts in the oven.  I will NOT be eating them, but they needed to get cooked and I don't want my hubby to starve to death or anything so there you have it.  Surprisingly enough, the smell is not killing me.  I'm not even particularly hungry which is HIGHLY unusual for me.  I'm torn between waiting until I feel more hungry and chugging my first juice (green) of day 2 so that I don't get super hungry and cave when the chicken comes out of the oven.  I think it's a better idea to drink my juice now.

8:45 a.m.:

Making the chicken was a mistake.  I wasn't hungry until I smelled the chicken.  Now I'm STARVING!  I didn't touch it though....tempting as it was when I pulled it out of the oven and transferred it to a storage container for the fridge.  I just poured myself another giant glass of water and sat back down at my laptop to vent about it.  Maybe I have a smidge of willpower after all.


10:00 a.m.:


10:30 a.m.:

We just made plans to leave the house today.  I'm a little nervous about being more than a few minutes away from a loo, but I think I'll survive.  My hubby's going to eat lunch before we leave and we'll be back home again in time for him to eat dinner.  He's really sort of an incredibly amazing person to be so completely accommodating.  He has every right to complain about me not wanting to go out to eat, but he isn't.  He also has every right to complain and perhaps roll his eyes a bit regarding this new venture of mine on my bumpy road to health.  He NEVER complains.  He NEVER expresses any doubt in me.  He is NEVER condescending.  He is ALWAYS totally and completely kind and supportive.  I am, quite simply, the luckiest woman on the planet.

11:45 a.m.:

I'm not particularly hungry, but I'm going to go ahead and chug my next green juice before we head out for the day.  I'd rather have it now and, hopefully, avoid being tempted by the gazillion fast food places we'll end up driving by in our travels.  I'm packing a red and a green in a little lunch kit to have while we're gone.  This CAN be done.  It CAN be done by ME!  It is going to be a trick to get the rest of the day's water in though.  We've got quite a bit of driving to do and I don't want to have to stop at every gas station we pass to pee!  I'll have to finish off the rest of my gallon when we get home.  It's going to be a late night.

6:30 p.m.:

We spent the past few hours out running some of our standard Sunday errands.  I actually planned ahead and brought two juices with me.  Unfortunately, I didn't bring enough ice packs and the second one got warm.  Warm green juice is not something I can choke down.  I tried.  I got through about 1/3 of the bottle and gave up.  We just got home and I stuck it back in the refrigerator, but I don't think I'm going to bother with the rest of it.  I can't imagine that getting warm does anything positive for the nutritional qualities of fresh, unpasteurized, raw green juice.  Having just gotten over a bout of the stomach flu a few weeks ago, I think I'll skip it and avoid the potential food poisoning.

8:00 p.m.:

Thank goodness for the sweet nut juice.  After skipping most of my last green juice, I was really feeling ick but the nut juice got me through the rest of the day.  It would have been awful to doze off in the middle of Dexter, you know?

9:30 p.m.:

Sweet dreams.

Day 3:  I CAN DO THIS!!!!

7:00 a.m.:

I had a bit of a rough night.  The weather's changing and whatever is blowing in is giving me horrible allergies.  I kept waking up coughing and sneezing.  I hope it's not a sign that I'm coming down with some sort of cold again.  I planned this fast so I wouldn't have much to do.  Today, with the exception of some basic chores (that CAN wait if they must) I have NOTHING to do, so I'll rest just in case.
I lost another 1.2 pounds yesterday!!  That brings my total weight loss for 2 days of juice fasting to 3.8 pounds!!!
I realize it's mostly water weight but, if you remember from my last post, I was so puffy and bloated from my July 4th Brisket Binge that I'm really happy to be getting rid of it.  The app I use to log my weight almost blew a circuit.  It popped up a warning message that said something to the effect of, "Gee whiz - you're losing weight really fast - check for missing body parts."  (Not really - but close.)
I am NOT looking forward to the day's first green juice.  That warm one yesterday was really awful - aversion therapy quality awful.  Hopefully, I'll be able to get back on track with the cold ones today.  I think I might start adding a bunch of cayenne pepper to them.

8:00 a.m.:

I just knocked back my green juice with the help of a 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.  I chugged it as fast as humanly possible.  I'm VERY glad there are only two more bottles of this stuff to drink today.  Words of wisdom: do NOT let your green juice get warm.  Doing so will ruin it for you.

9:00 a.m.:

I'm chillin' out...watching an Extreme Weight Loss marathon.  All I can think is that if these people and the ones on The Biggest Loser can bust their asses for hours and hours every day and lose massive amounts of weight in ridiculously short periods of time, I should be able to exercise more, eat less and knock off a couple pounds a week.  I'm not in a big hurry.  I just want to feel healthy again.

10:15 a.m.:

It's time for my second to last red juice.  I was expecting the last day to be easier than the first two, but it isn't working out that way.  I. Am. So. Hungry.  The trick, when this is over, is going to be to NOT undo all this good and healthy and super CLEAN juicing by binging on a bunch of crap.


I couldn't choke down another green juice.  I tried cayenne again.  It didn't help.  I tried ginger.  It didn't help.  I tried to chug it and ended up nearly barfing all over the floor.  I'm not really sure why this stuff started tasting progressively worse instead of better over the past couple days.  I would have thought that I'd get used to it, but it's ending up being something I seriously never want to see again.  I gave up and had a protein shake instead.  I'm hoping that it won't completely defeat the purpose of this cleanse.  At least it wasn't a pizza!  The next time I do this, I've got to find a juice recipe that has less kale and collard greens in it.  This one doesn't work for me.

3 p.m.:

I'm saving the last red juice for dinner.  I'm not hungry at all after having that protein shake at lunch, so I'm slowly sipping my way through the last green juice of this 3 day cleanse.  If I only take a sip at a time and wash it down with a glug of water, I can get through it.  I feel like a little kid being forced to take castor oil or something.  Yuck.  Yuck.  YUCK!

6 p.m.:

It's almost over.  I haven't been "perfect" - (no salt flush - substituting one protein shake for one bottle of green nastiness) but I think this has been a success.  The fact that I was able to abstain from the REAL Swiss chocolate that one of our friends was sharing last night is miracle enough for me.  I'm having my last bottle of the yummy red juice right now.  I'm happy I never have to see another bottle of this particular sort of green juice again.  I'll definitely do another juice fast, but next time I'll either have INNERG substitute another variety of green juice or I'll just make my own.  I feel good.  I feel proud to have made it through this short journey.  I feel motivated to continue making healthy changes in my life.

8 p.m.:

The last one!!
I did it!!!!  Take that, ass!!


Day 4:


Three days - 17 fresh pressed raw bottles of juice (and one protein shake) - 4.6 pounds LOST FOREVER!!!!- Massively increased motivation - Best sleep in ages - Feeling great!!!

This wasn't easy, but it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be.  I successfully (in my opinion) completed a 3 day juice cleanse.  Knowing that I accomplished that SHOULD make it a lot easier to make healthier choices, one at a time, in the future.