Hi everyone!

This post may be a bit on the scattered side because it’s been one of those weeks and I’m still trying to process everything that has transpired over the last couple of days.  I figured I’d start this entry on a not-so-good note and end on a positive, because I’m trying to stay positive, considering the circumstances.  So it’s been almost 24 hours since I posted anything on my facebook page (for those of you who follow my updates there).  Mainly because I just needed to unplug from everything for a bit and just get through this day and collect my thoughts.

On November 17, my boyfriend of only 4 months, proposed to me!  I was so happy and so excited about our future together.  We had planned to get married on June 2, 2012 and by December of 2012 we had plans to start our family.  That was, until yesterday.  My world literally came crashing down as I had discovered that the person I was planning to marry was certainly not the person who I thought he was, nor fell in love with.   To protect all parties involved, all I am really going to say about this is that I called off the engagement, the wedding, and the relationship.  Only those very close to me know the details and I am not going to share the details on here.  Yes, I am embarrassed about the whole thing and I feel like such a fool.  But I know deep down, that it was better that things ended now than after marriage.  I am without a doubt heartbroken, sad, angry, upset, and everything in between.  I have just been in a numb state the last 24 hours and like I said, still trying to process it all.   It’s going to take a lot for me to trust {any man} again after this.  But then again, I know I just need some time to heal from this, too.  So please forgive me if I don’t seem my cheery self in person.  This one is going to take some time – Jesus knows this too – and I have been having several conversations with Him.

But I do want to say thank you to everyone that has either texted me, called me, messaged me on facebook, or left kind words on my facebook wall.  Even though I didn’t respond to them – they did not go unnoticed.  It’s nice to know that despite my foolishness, my mistakes, that people still care and do care.  I wish I could hug every one of you in person and thank you tirelessly, but I know that’s not possible, so please accept my virtual {hug} and thank you.  I will be okay, it’s just going to take some time like I said.  But with wonderful people like you, you make this difficult journey just a little bit easier and comforting.

So now onto some positives – the real reason I started this blog – my journey to a new creation.  I’m now almost four weeks post op – that’s hard to believe!  I have graduated to solid soft foods.  What does that mean?  Well, I can now have foods that are soft, easy to cut like canned chicken, finely ground pork, beef, turkey, etc.  I’m still only eating about 4 oz each meal (which equates to a 1/2 cup).  I have no problem getting my protein intake in – but it’s the fluid intake that I’m struggling with.  I’m supposed to get 64 oz in a day, and it’s a good day if I can get to 30 oz.  And I’ve been feeling the effects of not getting my fluids in.  I have been nauseous a lot this week and somewhat fatigued.  I have spent a lot of time in bed this week.  I did call the doctor today because there was some concerns about my incisions being red.  They just told me that they were just irritated due to them being so itchy.  Oh my word are they itchy!!!  I feel like at times that I just soaked in poison ivy leaves I itch so bad!  It’s ridiculous!  I try not to scratch but wow!  It’s insane!  Usually I just take some pain medication to knock me out and it will settle down for a while.  When I had my hernia surgery a year and a half ago I never experienced this when my incision was healing.  Anyway – they told me though that I definitely need to get my liquid intake up so that I don’t get dehydrated and that it will also help with my nausea.  So that’s my short-term goal – more fluids!  And if you see me rubbing my belly – no I’m not practicing for the rub your belly pat your head trick – it’s my way of not scratching!  lol.

Today, I needed to (or actually forced myself to) get out of the house.  I knew I had to eventually go to the shoe store before Monday to get some new work dress shoes because all I had in my closet were summer shoes.  And if you’re anywhere close to Indiana right now, you know it’s pretty darn cold here (even though I did wear flip-flops today – rebel!  lol).  So I took off by myself (well Jesus was with me too) and that’s what I did – I bought some new shoes.  But much to my surprise, I did NOT have to buy wide-width shoes this time!  I got my foot in several pairs of regular sized shoes!  I’m starting to like shoe shopping again – although it’s still not my favorite – but it’s getting there.

Secondly, I knew I had to get a new pair of jeans because the jeans I bought just before surgery are officially too big and I look sloppy in them, or they look sloppy on me -however you want to look at it.  I’m trying not to buy too many clothes right now because my size is changing constantly.  So I have to do laundry around here frequently (I think I’m keeping the makers of Gain laundry detergent and fabric softener in business, lol) because my choice of clothes are limited, lol.  So I went in to Dress Barn (love that place, my budget however doesn’t lol). and picked out several pairs of jeans in different sizes because I had no clue what size I needed.  I tried on one size and much to my surprise again – they were too big!  So when the lady asked me if I needed a different size, I wasn’t embarrassed to say yes, please I actually need a size smaller if you have it.  Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve actually had to say something like that???  Wow it felt good!  So I got my smaller size jeans and to top it off, I got a coat in a size I don’t think I’ve ever seen in my life and it was half off, plus a pair of knit pants that were 70% off.  I hated to spend that much money, but I think it was well deserved after what I’d just gone through this week.  And I justified buying the coat because I really don’t have a heavy winter coat that fits – the ones I do have are way too big.

So here are the stats:

Shoe size – 9.5

Pant size – 20  (20??  oh yeah!  in a few more weeks I’m hoping for a 16 lol)

Coat size – 14/16 baby!!!!  Now I will say though – I don’t think I’m in that size in regular shirts yet, but I can guess that I might be getting closer than I think.  I didn’t try on any shirts today – had to have some self control somewhere, lol.

Weight – 243 (That’s a total of 15 pounds since my surgery and SEVENTY-TWO pounds since I began this journey in March – holy Moses!!)

I will say though that I’m a bit jealous seeing all of these posts on facebook of friends who have already signed up for the mini-marathon for 2012.  While I won’t be able to participate in 2012 – I will be there to cheer you all on!  But watch out – 2013 will be my year and I fully expect you all to sign up again – lol!  just kidding……kinda.  😉

Well I think I’ve rambled on long enough.  I’m about to have me some chocolate pudding with peanut butter – it’s the highlight of my night anymore, lol.  And after that, call it a night.  Oh one more thing – I go back to work on Monday and while I have enjoyed being at home the last four weeks and I’m going to miss it, I am glad to be going back to see all of my coworkers again.  The hardest part will be getting into a regular schedule again, making sure I’m getting up and walking every two hours, and getting my liquids in.  But I’ll manage – I always do, somehow.

I hope everyone has a great Friday, a great weekend, both of which I hope are full of blessings.

Love you all!

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Hello everyone!  I hope your weekend is off to a great start!  I just wanted to take a few moments here and check in with a quick update.

I am now eleven days post – op and things are going well, for the most part.  On Tuesday of this week I finally graduated from a liquid diet to a pureed foods diet.  On Tuesday and Wednesday, my meals consisted of the following:  Breakfast – 1 scrambled egg with a slice of cheese (melted); Lunch – 1/2 cup of cottage cheese; Supper – 1/2 cup of refried beans with shredded cheese and for an evening snack a 1/2 cup of pudding with 2 tsp of peanut butter (um this stuff is yummy!!!!).  Last night I had probably the worst experience I’ve had so far with this whole new diet and way of eating – call it a “growing pain” if you will.  For supper yesterday evening, I fixed my usual refried beans with cheese and I thought I would add some flavoring to it.  So, I had some packets of mild Taco Bell sauce (which I LOVED pre-surgery).  I read the ingredients and thought I would be safe in putting one packet on my ever-so-small helping of dinner.  Unfortunately, whatever was in that sauce made me feel horrible the rest of the night.  I had THE WORST stomach ache ever known to man, I think.  I actually had to take some pain medicine to settle my stomach and repeat again after four hours.  I was doing so well trying to get off the pain meds, until that happened last night.  Oh my!  I can’t even describe the pain I experienced – but it was horrible!  I think about midnight last night I started feeling a tad better – but all thanks to the pain medication for knocking me out for the night.  So now I know that I can no longer handle TB Mild Sauce.  😦  I am in mourning in the death of some of my favorite foods.  It’s all starting to become a reality now about what I can and cannot have anymore.  I don’t ever regret my decision to have this surgery because I’m already seeing results.  So this is a slow process and retraining your mind on what to eat, how to eat, when to eat, etc.   I just hope that I don’t experience that type of pain ever again!  Unfortunately, until I figure out what my body can and can’t handle, I have a feeling I’ll experience it a few more times.  It’s all part of it though.

There is a possibility that I have become lactose intolerant – even though pre-surgery I LOVED milk too.  Tonight, my mom and I went to the store and I bought some Silk Soy Milk to try to see if that too would help the yucky feeling I have been getting in my stomach.  I also bought some Quaker Instant Oatmeal Weight Control to try as well.  I didn’t used to be a big oatmeal fan, but when I saw the flavors on the front of the box, it just sounded good.  So this evening I had Banana Bread Instant Oatmeal made with soy milk and I must say that my stomach hasn’t hurt once since having dinner.  Which reminds me, I need to take a break here, and get my third round (of four) of vitamin supplements down.  Be right back………..Ok I’m back.

I did have my first follow-up appointment this week.  The doctor (or the physician’s assistant rather) is super-impressed with my progress so far.  All of my incisions are looking really good and she is pleased with the amount of protein I’m getting a day.  She is already challenging me to do a marathon and has already said she’ll be hounding me, so to speak, about it too.  LOL.  Great!  Bring it on!  I need to be pushed like that.  It’s one of the reasons why I love IU Health – the people really do care about me as a patient.  I’m not just another number.   Anyway, they did say that it looks like I will be headed back to work in a couple of weeks.  As of this coming Tuesday, my 10lb weight restriction will be lifted and I can start doing activities as usual, well as much as I am able/comfortable with.  I still am having to build up strength and stamina, but I’ll get there.  My next appointment is scheduled for December and I hope to have lost quite a bit more weight by the time that day comes around.

Speaking of weight – I know I posted in my previous post what my starting weight was and where I was at.  However, I left out a couple of details.  First of all, my clothing size.  When I was at my heaviest, I was wearing a size 30/32 Women’s (4X).  And today I’m down to a 20/22 (2X).  It’s been a great feeling being able to clean out my closet and bless someone that could use them.  But I noticed today just how small my ankles are getting.  It’s a big difference!  Eight months ago, my ankles were probably twice the size they are now and they always hurt at night and my feet were always swollen.  It made shoe shopping a dreadful experience.  I hated shoe shopping!  The other night I tried on a pair of regular shoes (as in no wide-width) and THEY FIT!!!  The other thing I’ve noticed physically is my fingers aren’t as chubby either.  They’re still chubby, but the fact that my ring on my right hand slips off VERY easy is definitely a sign that I’m getting smaller.  Oh and this whole surgery has made me stop biting my nails too!  lol  I don’t know, but it just has.  So now I’m starting to get some length to my finger nails and my hands might actually look nice for a change.  It’s little things like that are becoming a reality and it’s hard to not get excited about it.  Some people may think I’m weird in that I get excited because my ankles are smaller.  But I personally am starting to see what weight loss is doing to me.  But for those of you who want a visual of just what eight months have done to me, take a look:

As of today I am down SIXTY-SEVEN pounds!!!!!  Only 33 more pounds to go and I will hit the 100 mark!  Oh what a day that will be!  Right now I’m losing about 1-2 pounds a day.  So hopefully by New Year’s Eve I will have hit a HUGE milestone!  🙂

Well, I think that’s all for now.  It’s about time for the love of my life to call me for our daily evening chat.  He has been such a trooper through this and I fall in love with him more and more every day!  ILYKLS!  I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and if I don’t write before next Thursday – have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  🙂

 

Well hello everyone!  So a lot has happened since the last time I wrote.  I’m going to try and get my thoughts put on here before my pain medication kicks in and knocks me out.  LOL

So Monday was the big day!  My surgery was scheduled for 11:00 a.m. and I think it was around 12 or 12:30 before I went back to the operating room.  I was there at 9:00 a.m. for all of the prep stuff they had to do before surgery.  There was a point though, I almost backed out.  I had thoughts racing through my mind of “What was I doing?” and “Did I make the right decision?”  and  “Am I ready for what’s about to happen?”  But then I realized just how far I had come in 8 months and I was not about to take the easy way out.  I’m in this thing all the way!  That demon was NOT going to win this battle.  So, off to surgery I went.

Before I went to surgery though, a cool thing happened.  My doctor came in just before my surgery to talk to me, answer any last minute questions, and give my boyfriend and parents a run-down of what the “schedule” looked like for the day.  My dad asked the doctor if he minded if we prayed over the surgery and without hesitation he said absolutely.  So there we were – my boyfriend, my parents, and my doctor – all joined in a circle as my dad prayed.  I think it was just so neat to see just how great of doctor I had.  I think that whole experience is what calmed my nerves and I went into that operating room full of confidence.  I was at peace with my decision.

So fast forward to after surgery – my doctor met with my boyfriend and parents and told them that everything went great and even showed them pictures of what he did and answered any questions they had.  My boyfriend was supposed to be able to come back and see me for about 10 minutes while I was in recovery but that didn’t happen and I think I know why.  It was not a fun ride coming out of the anesthesia and I can remember how painfully horrible it was!  I felt like I was being ripped out from one side to the other, I was nauseous, and apparently I did puke everywhere and they had to clean me up.  I was not doing well so I think that’s why they decided not to let anyone come back.  But they got my pain under control and before I knew it I was in my own personal room and everyone was in my room.  And so my recovery began.  Within two hours after getting to my room, they had me up walking.  I think I walked like 10 feet but that was about all I could do.  So for the next 60 some hours that what my life was – walking every two hours along with a potty break when I was awake, sleeping {well} after pain meds, getting two shots a day in the stomach which was a blood thinner, and numerous times of getting my vitals checked.  I had hoped to get on here and post an update, but I instead kept my updates short and on Facebook.  I was able to come home on Wednesday afternoon, and boy was I ever so glad to be home.

I have to say though that I am highly impressed with IU North hospital and IU Health in general.  I had the most wonderful nurses the entire time I was there and I had the same nurses the entire time I was there.  So it wasn’t like I had a different nurse every 8-12 hours.  I had three nurses that knew my “history” and took excellent care of me.  My doctor came in twice to see me as did the head nurse (I think that’s what she is).  There were a few other people that came in to my room with different information all at different times during my stay.  Overall my experience there was fantastic and I am so happy with my choice to go with IU Health.

So now here’s where it gets a bit {more} personal.  When I started this blog back in March, I never told anyone what my starting weight was.  The only ones that knew that information were the people at IU Health and myself.  I intentionally wanted to wait until after I had my surgery before I revealed that information.  My weight is something that is a bit personal to me and I was so ashamed to admit where I was because it was the highest weight I had ever been.  But you know what – that number is gone….for good.  I want to share this information for a couple of reasons.  One because I know I will never see that number again – I won’t let it happen.  Secondly, I want people to understand just how close I was to having a lot of health issues as I got older.  I don’t think people truly understand just how bad I was until you see the numbers.  So without further ado – here is there person I was and where I am now and where I hope to be in about a year:

Where I was:  March 2011

  •  Height: 5ft 3in
  • Weight:  315 lbs
  • BMI:  55.8

Where I am now:  November 2011

  • Height:  5ft 3 in
  • Weight: 258 lbs
  • BMI: 45.7

Where I want to be a year from now:  November 2012

  • Height:  5ft 3 in
  • Weight:  140 lbs (or less)
  • BMI:  24.8 (or less)

So according to today’s standards I am morbidly obese, basically a walking time bomb before something major medically could have happened.  I’ve dropped 13.1 “points” in just 8 months with another 21 points to go.  Yes, I was exceptionally healthy even at 315 but I could tell that my health was starting to go downhill just by the way I felt.  I’m still in the obese category, but I know it won’t be for long.  It was a wake-up call when I saw those numbers 3-1-5 appear on that scale.  It was mortifying to say the least.  It was not a shining moment for me, it was more like rock bottom.  I had hit a lowest point in my life at the highest weight I’d ever been.   But the old Stacey is going away and the new, healthier Stacey is on her way.  It’s baby steps and I know I’ll get there eventually.

This journey is just beginning, really.  And now I can say that I am excited to see what happens over the next several months.  I AM going to persevere even on days when I want to give up.  IU Health’s motto is “The Strength It Takes” and lucky for me, I get to see that every morning on my way to work.  And it’s true – the strength it takes to get through this journey is a lot.  It’s not for the weak.  But I have a great support system in place both at home and at the bariatric center.  I’ve purposely cleared my calendar for the next several months so that I can focus my energy on my new life.  And I really cannot express just what I feel inside – but I know I am excited.

I want to again thank everyone for all of your prayers, thoughts, well-wishes, text messages, visits, and everything in between for not only my journey before the surgery but during my surgery and hospital stay as well.  Before I started this blog entry, I was just reading through my wall on Facebook and I got a bit emotional to see how my supporters I had out there.  I know it’s just Facebook and all, but it’s just so encouraging to me to see all of the support I do have out there.  Saying thank you just doesn’t seem like enough.  I love you all!

Well, I am about done for, for the evening.  I’ll be taking some more pain medication here soon after I get up and walk again and I’m sure I’ll be out like a light for a while, lol.  I hope that everyone has a great weekend!  🙂

“I’m not gonna miss out on something that could be great just because it might also be hard.”

I have that quote pasted on my desk at work where I have to look at it constantly.  It’s my frequent reminder of this journey I’ve been on and it’s my motivator for what I’m about to endure.

I’m 9 days away from having surgery – NINE!  I only have five more days of work left and that’s it!  Holy Moses!  I feel a bit of anxiety setting in.  I can’t believe that I was merely THINKING about having this surgery done 7 months ago…and now, it’s almost here!  Everyone keeps asking me if I’m excited about the surgery.  It’s kind of an odd question to ask – no one is really ever excited about surgery.  I’m “excited” in the fact that I know my life is about to change a whole lot.  I’m “nervous” because there’s always a risk of complications.  Now, before everyone gets worried – please know that there is always a risk with ANY kind of surgery you have, not just bariatric surgery.  What I don’t need right now is people being worried for me.  I just need positive reinforcement and prayers that everything goes well.  🙂

It helps to know that I have a GREAT team of nurses and a top-notch doctor that’s behind the procedure, so I’m not so much worried about that.  I have been highly impressed with my choice of doctor and I have every reason to believe that everything will be just fine.   On Monday, I went in for my plethora of tests.  I had bloodwork done, a breath test, a chest x-ray, an upper GI (yuck!!), an ultrasound, an EKG, and a breathing test done.  I was wore out by the time I got home that afternoon!  But, I met with the onsite doctor there at the hospital and he said everything looked great for the most part and that I’m exceptionally healthy and he cleared me for surgery.  He just had one area of concern and that was I was showing low on iron.  So I do have to go back next week and re-test for that, but he wasn’t too overly concerned – it’s definitely not stopping me from having surgery.  My mom and I attended my pre-op surgery class on Tuesday (thanks Mom for going with me!) and we got all of the ins and outs of what to expect during my surgery and my stay at the hospital as well as the diet plan.  I’m not so crazy about the whole liquid diet two days before surgery, but hopefully I can keep busy enough those two days I won’t notice it too much, lol (yeah, right!).   I also weighed in at my class and I had only lost a pound, which isn’t great, but at least I didn’t gain.  So it took me 7 months to hit that plateau….and I’m okay with that – I know what’s coming.

So what’s about to happen?  Well, in short form here’s the scoop.  Like I said, I will be on a liquid diet two days before surgery.  I will arrive at the hospital around 9 am, check in, and get prepared for surgery.  My surgery is scheduled for 11 am and the surgery itself will take anywhere from 2.5 hours to 4.5 hours.  Definitely the longest surgery I’ve ever had done.  Then I’ll be in recovery for probably a couple of hours, so it will probably be early evening before I get to my own room.  From there, I’ll be in the hospital approximately 2 nights if all goes well and go home sometime on Wednesday (probably early afternoon).  It just depends on what happens over that 48-hour period.  If there are any complications, then of course I could be in there longer.  Again, I’m thinking positive here.  🙂  Once I go home, I will be on a liquid diet for a week (by then, I’ll be doing good to get any liquids in me, lol).  Weeks 2 and 3 I will be on pureed foods and hopefully by week 4 I can introduce solid foods back into my diet.   From there, hopefully it just gets better and I get smaller!  🙂

I know that some of you may be wanting to come visit, or hopefully want to come visit to help me pass the time away.  However, I do have one request for any visitors outside of immediate family.  Because the first day will be a long one not only for me, but for my boyfriend and family, I am requesting that everyone please wait until Tuesday to come and visit.  I can’t guarantee I’ll even remember you being there if you were to come on Monday, lol.  There are no set visiting hours, so  you can come anytime and stay as late as you want – which is nice. 🙂  I will be asking my boyfriend to post updates on my Facebook page the day of surgery, and as soon as I am able I will post a blog entry on here too.  My boyfriend will have my phone too during my surgery, so feel free to send me text messages to read after my surgery!  And if you are unable to come visit because you know, you live in California or Texas or Kansas or anywhere else in the US (lol), feel free to send me text messages anytime, lol.  My boyfriend is staying with me the entire time, so if I don’t respond right away, I’m probably out of it and he probably has my phone.  (I love him and am so grateful that he’s sacrificing three days of work to be with me, man I am one lucky girl!! I love you KLS!)  So there’s the logistics (yeah, I’m such a planner, lol)

It’s hard to explain just what I’m feeling right now as my surgery date gets closer and closer.  I have fears, not going to lie about that.  And my fears really have nothing to do with the surgery itself.  It’s more of the after surgery.  It’s the first experience with the “dumping syndrome” that scares me.  It’s the fear of getting dehydrated because I can’t get my 64 oz of liquid in everyday.  It’s the fear of pain, or better yet – taking that tube out of me that’s going to be giving me pain relief.  And it’s the fear of what is my body going to look like.   When someone asked me the other day about whether or not I was excited about the surgery, it was all I could do to not get emotional about the thought of becoming skinny.  I have never in my life had that feeling.  I’ve always been a chunky kid.  I hated school as a child because I was always being made fun of.  But now, in a few days, that’s all about to change.  I’m really about to say goodbye to the old Stacey, the Stacey I’ve always known and that demon that has always controlled me.  I don’t know what it’s like to be a skinny Stacey.  I’ve watched youtube videos over and over and have watched the transformations that happen with other women who have had this surgery, and I’m like oh my word – that’s going to be me in a few months.  My dear friend TK has a picture on her Facebook page that was taken back in April of this year.  I looked at the picture and wanted to cry – I looked disgusting!  I even posted on there about how horrible I looked in that picture.  I can’t believe how much dropping 60 pounds has made a difference.  I just can’t even fathom what dropping another 100-120 is going to do to me.  I seriously don’t think I’ll look like the same person.  I don’t know what it’s like to shop in skinny people’s clothing department.  Shopping for clothes is going to be a whole different experience for me.   This IS going to be a life-altering experience in every aspect.

I know that the weeks following my surgery are going to be difficult.  And I’m sure I will have breakdown moments and they could be ugly.  But you know what, I won’t miss out on something great, just because it’s going to be hard.  (btw – that quote will be posted in my hospital room, lol).  It’s temporary pain, for long term gain.  It’s going through the bad to get to the good, no, the great.  I’m doing this for my future husband, my future kids, and for me.  It’s going to be worth it!

Again, thank you to each and every one of you that have encouraged me over the last several months.  I couldn’t have done it without you.  But this is only the beginning.  I’m still going to need a support system in place after the surgery.  I’m undoubtedly going to have to days where I’m ready to give up.  I need people like you to come alongside me and do this thing called life with me.  And even on my good days, I may just need someone to work out with or talk to.   I’m cutting a lot of things out of my life so that I can focus on the next year of my life.   I always been on the go and overbook myself, and as of 10/31 that’s coming to a complete stop.  Not only do I have a relationship that’s leading towards marriage, but I also have a house remodel project going on, and I have a whole new lifestyle that I need to adjust to.  So I’m not going to be quick to fill up my calendar.  But I still need people in my life, like you, to walk alongside me.  🙂

Love to you all!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” {2 Corinthians 5:17}

That was my theme verse that I posted on my very first entry on March 24, 2011.  I was just re-reading over my first post on here and I can’t believe how far I’ve come.  I’m down about 55 pounds (with about another 100 to go), I have a great man in my life, and I’m about to become that “new creation.”  And as someone pointed out to me today – in exactly 3.5 weeks it’s all going to be happening.  <insert a huge gasp here>  My surgery is scheduled for November 7!  I can’t believe it!  Seven months ago it felt like it was going to be an eternity before I’d have my surgery, and now it’s almost here.  I’ve been reading online and watching videos on youtube on the “after surgery” life and it became a bit overwhelming today.  I am trying to picture what my life is going to be like just five weeks from now.  Will I be down another 20-some pounds, just two weeks post-op?  Will it be more?  Will it be less?   What is my skin going to look like?  Am I going to lose my hair?  Can I handle drinking the barium that I have to drink in a couple of weeks?  Will I have any complications after surgery?  A multitude of questions keep going through my head.  But you know what, this is a journey – and not only have I been blessed with a great man in my life who is with me every step of the way, and a family who is supporting my decision to do this, but I have a God who is BIGGER than any of this and I KNOW will see me through this every step of the way.  It’s all in His hands, and what happens, happens.

But in the mean time, I simply ask for grace over the next few weeks.  I have found myself going through a lot of emotions and if I come off grumpy, stand-offish, or I may be mad – please know it has NOTHING to do with you.  Until you’ve walked this same journey – some people don’t really understand what an obese person goes through mentally with something like this.  Yes, part of me is a tad stressed with trying to get everything wrapped up for the year, planning and preparing those who will be taking over my roles at work and at church for a while, on top of working on a house and the other 500 things I do a week.  Don’t get me wrong – I have my good days too more often than not.  But on my bad days, please just love me through them.  I’m human still and I do have feelings/emotions just like the next person.  They’re just a little intensified right now as I try to process everything that’s about to happen.

I go for my pre-op testing on October 24th and they will do a chest x-ray, a pulminary function test, tons of bloodwork, an ultrasound on my gall bladder, and maybe one or two other things (sorry, can’t remember everything).  And then on October 25th, I will attend an all-day pre-op class.  Then all of the “fun” pre-op stuff begins to prepare my body for surgery on the 7th.  So it’s going to be a crazy next few weeks, but in about 4 weeks I’ll be able to look at the past, say good-bye to the old me, say hello to the me, and look forward to what God has in store for me – what was, what is, and what’s to come…..

Love to you all!

KLS – I love you dear!  I’m so glad God brought you into my life to walk beside me and love me the way that you do!

Hello friends!  I haven’t forgotten about you all.  Life as I know it has just been absolutely crazy (but you knew that already).

So where am I on this journey?  Well, it’s been a month or so since I’ve been back to the doctor and this leg of the journey has not been the most pleasant piece of the journey.  I had my last visit back in August and it just seems like I’ve lost sight of everything, momentarily.  I have been going back and forth between my doctors’ offices about getting the necessary medical information needed for insurance requirements.  I FINALLY got the info I needed and it was submitted to the insurance company and it was from that point, a wait and see game.  I tried not to think about it too much, because it would just drive me crazy wondering if I’d get final approval.  But then again, maybe I should have thought about it a little more and I may have not fallen off track like I did.  Anyway, I received a letter last week from my insurance company that said they had received notice that I was requesting to have surgery – but there was no “Hey, congratulations, you’re approved!” sentence in that document.  So I was like, great – glad you got my information, but am I approved?  So I just decided to wait it out again.  This is just part of the process, right?  Well, today as I had stepped away from my desk to go heat up my lunch, I came back to a missed call on my phone and voice mail from my doctor’s office.  And I am happy to report that I have been fully approved to have my surgery as scheduled!!!  I was overcome with emotion and even teared up a little, even now as I type this I’m a bit teary-eyed.  It’s been a long 7 months and I am now on the other side of this hill in this journey.  I’m almost there!  I now go for my pre-op class, then my pre-op testing, and I should have a scheduled surgery date by the end of this week.

Satan has been all over me like flies on flypaper the past few weeks.  At one point this past weekend, I was ready to just give up on everything.  I felt beat down, tired, disconnected and empty.  I know part of that was that I did not feel good at all last week – but it was all in satan’s  plan to steal, kill, and destroy me.  I believe satan knows that God is up to something big over the next couple of months and satan wants me to lose.  Our church’s retreat is coming up this weekend and it’s a pretty big deal.  It’s our first one ever, it’s for women only, and I’m the coordinator for this thing.  So yeah – satan is trying to get his grubby hands on it and find every way possible to keep it from happening – including messing with my head.  Guess what satan – YOU lose!  Take a hike!  And thanks to Pastor Ryan for bringing it this past weekend with his message about not giving up.  I was……at that point.

I’m being reminded (even in the craziness before me this week), that I am blessed to have God as my Saviour even when I’m ready to quit, that I have my earthly partner in life standing beside me and loving me even through my worst days, I have friends and family who love me and keep pushing me on, the beautiful weather this week, a new home (another sun stand still moment), and so many other blessings that are too many to list.  God is already working even before this retreat is getting started.  So please pardon me if I’m a little emotional this week.

It’s a beautiful day – how have you been blessed today?

Love to you all!

Fall is definitely upon us.  Can you believe this weather?  It’s hard to believe that less than a week ago, we were in 98 degree weather, sweatin our behinds off and now we’re in sweatshirts and holding umbrellas.  You gotta love Indiana weather.

Well, I finished up my 6th visit with my doctor a few weeks ago.  He was super impressed with my progress and couldn’t believe how well I’d done.  We had a lengthy discussion about my options.  As I figured he’d say, he’s ultimately leaving the decision up to me about whether or not I should have the surgery.  With that said, I have up to a year once the final approval from the insurance comes back to schedule my surgery.  So, I have some options.  I can continue on the diet I’m on for another 6 months and see how much I lose, or I can go ahead with the surgery as planned in the fall.  So, as some of you are wondering, RIGHT NOW my decision is to go ahead with the surgery.  Winter sounds like a good time to spend getting back to normal so that by the time the spring rolls around, I’ll be ready to get out and enjoy the nice weather.  So, there you have it.  Everything is a go for now.

I want to take a few moments and thank a very special person who came into my life a couple of months ago – my boyfriend.  You know, one of the reasons I wanted to have this surgery was so that I could “get skinnier” and find a potential mate – one that would appreciate my inner and outer beauty.  He and I have had several discussions about my decision to have this surgery.  He has never once told me that I shouldn’t do it.  Instead, he is choosing to stand by me and my decision.  He understands why I want to have it done and I have forewarned him that the months after the surgery there is the potential that I will look horrible as my body adjusts to this “new life”.  He just simply says that no matter what, he sees me beautiful on the outside AND the inside.  I am BEYOND blessed to have him in my life and I know that he truly loves me, no matter what.  I am simply in awe of what God has done and who He has brought into my life.   I KNOW I don’t need this surgery to be beautiful – because I have a real love that appreciates beauty in all aspects.  Thank you love for standing beside me, walking beside me, being my support person, and loving me the way that you do.  ILYKLS.   Love is a marvelous thing – and I’m so glad that God brought us together, forever.

So, where am I otherwise?  How is the diet going?  How is the exercise going?  Well, I’d love to say everything is peachy-king – but it’s not.  I’ve fallen off the exercise bandwagon, and the diet – well it has its moments too.  It seems like ever since the weekend before the holiday I have had a revenge of the sweet tooth.  I CRAVE sweets something fierce and 9 times out of 10, I’ve given in to those cravings.  I know I HAVE GOT to get back on track ASAP!  I love the feeling of accomplishment I get when I put on clothes that were once small and now too big.  So, I think if I can re-focus myself on getting back on track and hold onto that feeling of accomplishment that I can get myself straightened back out before my surgery.  Because once my surgery happens – it’s no more sweets for me.  (Btw – I’m hoping after the surgery, I lose my cravings for sweets, lol).

I am playing softball again this year, which I love!  I can already tell that just by losing 50 pounds what a difference it’s made in me running to first base.  I love to run!  lol.  After October though, softball season is over, my water aerobics will be over until the spring, and that leaves me wondering what I’m going to do for an exercise regimen.  Guess I’m gonna have to cash in on that gym membership that I’ve been paying for for the last 18 months and actually USE it, lol.  Any fun ideas though that you have for exercising during the winter months?  I’m all up for options!  lol

Well, I do believe that’s all I have for now.  I have about a million photography projects going on right now and suppose I should focus my attention to those over the next couple of days.  I’m looking forward to spending the weekend with my love and doing absolutely nothing for a change.  🙂

I hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend and as always thanks for stopping by and taking time out of your day to see a glimpse of mine.

Love you all!

 

Greetings everyone!  Well I’m back from a wonderful sunny California vacation!  Two of the best compliments you can receive after a vacation is “You look refreshed!” and “We missed you!”.   I knew I was at a point that I needed a vacation – but I didn’t realize how desperately it was needed until after the fact.  I was able to just unplug for a whole week, clear my mind, and enjoy the company of a very near and dear friend of mine.  Oh and let’s not forget – take in some absolutely beautiful scenery.  Truth be told I didn’t want to come home.  I fell in love out there!  But, by the time I hit the Denver airport with a 3-hour layover, my mind quickly changed about that.  I was ready to come home.  I hate being stuck in an airport and with both flights home filled with screaming children, it made for a long day!  lol

Anyway, if some of you may remember me posting about my flying experience earlier this year and how mortified I was – let me just tell you.  I was NOT about to keep that from me going to California.  I forked over the extra money for extended seating so that I would have plenty of leg room and such.  And I was prepared to ask as soon as I boarded the plane for a seatbelt extender, which I did so on my first flight.  When I went to board my second flight, I did the same exact thing.  Except, the flight attendant forgot – again.  Now here I am, in a plane much larger than the plane I was on in February – more people, more embarrassment.  So I was like ok – let’s just see if I can fit without an extender.  So here goes nothing – CLICK!  What?!  Are you serious?!  I FIT!  No extender needed thank you!  LOL  All was right with the world again and I was on my way to enjoying a week of pure bliss! So flying is no longer an issue – another hurdle conquered!

I’d like to say that I did great with my diet while I was on vacation, but well, I did okay.   I did better than I thought, but there were a couple of days I let my diet slip, greatly.  But nonetheless, I’m getting back on track now and that’s all that matters.  Fall off – get back on – fall off – get back on.   I’m still waiting to hit the 50lb mark, and I’m oh so close.  I WILL get there!  And then I’m going to strive for another 50!

I will visit the doctor in a couple of weeks and finish up my 6th visit before the final paperwork gets sent to the insurance company.  Then it’s a waiting game.  I have some major decisions to make in the next couple of months, as you know.  And I am seeking direction as appropriate.  I still don’t have my answer, and it’s not one anyone can make for me.  So I’m in this battle of  “well I’m doing so well, should I?”  vs “if you don’t do this, you will never be thinner”.  Being overweight is a vicious battle and until you’ve been there, you may never fully understand what I and others go through.   I will know what the direction is when I have a sense of peace – and right now I don’t have that.  So please bear with me for the next couple of months.  Who knows – my answer may come sooner than I think.

Speaking of answers – I have to say that life otherwise is going really, really well right now.   I recently put on my facebook status that sometimes we have to meet a lot of the wrong people to appreciate the gift of the perfect one.  And can I just say that I love love love how God works in mysterious ways!  I have a couple of “Sun Stand Still” moments in progress right now and I’m excited to see God move the mountains in these situations.  If you have NO idea what I’m talking about – perhaps you should check out the most recent series our church did (freedom-church.org).  I’m believing in God to do the impossible.  Everything is in the early stages, but I am really liking at what the outcome could be.   I will spare the details of everything until further notice – but just know this – sometimes opportunities fall in our lap that require God’s divine intervention and then sometimes love happens when you least expect it.  😉

Well, that’s all I have for now.  I hope that each of you are doing well!  And as always, thank you for taking time out of your day to see a glimpse of mine.  But most importantly thank you for the love and support you show.  It is true motivation for me and I will be forever grateful for that!  You guys rock!

Until next time!

ps…

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO MY PARENTS ON 8/3!  CAN YOU BELIEVE IT’S BEEN 43 YEARS?!  WOW!    I only hope that I’m blessed to be in a loving relationship for that long (or even longer) someday.  😉  Love you mom & dad!

*blink blink*  anyone still out there??  LOL

Well, hello there!  Glad  you could stop by again.  I tell ya what, it’s been a crazy last month or so and my life has been on the tilt-a-whirl and I’m ready to get off for a while.  *phew*  June and July turned out to be some incredibly busy months.  I’ve had several photoshoots over the last few weeks and have had to deal with my editing software crashing in the midst of a 1,000+ photo project.  I am still having issues with it, but I’ve found a work-around (a lengthy one, but I’m out of options at this point).  On top of shoots, editing time, and church, my real full time job has had me hopping as well.   So if I have seemed a bit on edge or spacey the last few weeks – you know why.

So where are we on this journey?  Well, I had another appointment yesterday.  And there were some good and bad points to the day.  But nonetheless, I’m still on track, which is good.  My loss wasn’t as great this time around – and I know why too.  I only lost 4 pounds but to my defense  – I only had three weeks in between appointments instead of four due to my schedule.  I figured I’d hit a plateau sooner or later, and it’s quite possible I hit it.   But then again, I did eat out A LOT this last month or so because of my crazy schedule.  While I did choose healthy things, eating out still isn’t the best option always.  Not only that, but I gave in to sweets one too many times again.  It’s hard when they are all around you.  I have GOT to work on my will power more.  But despite the not-so-huge result this month, a loss is a loss.  And I’ll take it.  On the flipside, I am only THREE, yes THREE pounds away from the 50 mark.  Give me another week, and I bet I’m there!  🙂  The other good news is that I meet with my doctor next month and that will be my final requirement for the insurance company.  It will be about 30 days from there for the insurance approval to come through and then another 30 days to get on the doctor’s surgery schedule.  So if everything goes according to plan and there are no hiccups along the way, I’ll be looking at having surgery around late October/early November.

I want to address something here about some feedback that I’ve been receiving.  I have had so many people mention that, “Gee wouldn’t it be great if at the end of your 6 months you’ve lost so much weight you wouldn’t need surgery?”   And yes I will admit that would be great.   Surgery is never really desired, in my book.  But if it’s going to help me maintain a healthy weight so that I live longer, then perhaps that’s what I need to do.   The other thing people forget is that even though I’m losing weight – I still have about 100+ more pounds to go.  So in a way it’s a catch-22 thing.  However, please know that when I meet with my doctor, I will be consulting with him about what direction I should go.  I know he’ll probably come back and say that it’s ultimately my decision, as it should be.  But, at the same time, I have to take into consideration long-term here and not just the short-term (the now, basically).    I appreciate all of the feedback and support that I have received over the last few months, and just know that I am not taking this decision lightly.  I am constantly thinking about it and praying about it, and I truly feel that I will get my definite answer next month.

Again, I want to thank everyone who has come to me over the last few weeks and has encouraged me and has given compliments on my success.  It really does keep me going.  I had someone tell me just the other day that I was gorgeous.    Seriously!?  I had to downplay it because “gorgeous” isn’t something that’s been in my vocabulary or vault of words that I would describe myself as, ever.   So to the person that said that just recently said that to me -honestly, thank you. Even though I may not have showed it, your kind words deeply impacted me.  (you know who you are)  I truly cannot get over just how blessed I am to have the friends and family that I do that are in my cheering section right now.  It’s because of your support and love that I’m starting to find a new level of confidence in me and the way I view myself.  Losing weight is not about the physical appearance.  It’s about the mental appearance as well.  It’s about success.  It’s about faith.  It’s about trust.  It’s about living.

On that note, I’m going to head out.  I have water aerobics this evening and then tomorrow is my last day at work until 8/1.  yay!  I’m soooo looking forward to my vacation out west and spending time with a very dear friend of mine who is like a sister to me!

I hope you all have a great rest of the month.  Try to stay cool out there!

Love you all!

Hello everyone!  Once again it’s been a few weeks since I last wrote.  It’s been a very, very busy month.  Wedding season is upon us and I just did my third wedding in the last four weeks.  I’m done with weddings (for now) until the fall.  I do photography on the side and this year business has exploded!  It’s been great and I’m excited that it’s finally taking off, but it’s also been challenging trying to keep up with a busy schedule and making sure I’m eating the right things.

I guess that I should warn you that this post may be a bit lengthy.  I have a lot of ground to cover, lol.

The last week or so, God has been dealing with me on an issue that I have with this whole journey that I’m on.  I have an addiction.  I didn’t really consider it an addiction until our pastor delivered a sermon on it and then it was brought into light.  I am addicted to sweets.  There, I said it.  I have been fighting every temptation I’ve had about wanting something sweet (and unhealthy), until this last month.  I gave in to my temptation way too many times.  I had the thought, it’s only one and I won’t have any more.  Wrong.  One more led to another and then another, and well you get the point.

It’s never an easy feeling when you have your worst fault pointed out to you.  So as I sat there that Sunday morning attempting to run the computer, God was dealing me, big time.  And the question was asked, what has mastered you?  My initial response was, ha!  Nothing!  And then Pastor Shane went into sarcastic mode and presented these five points about how to become an addict:  1.  Never admit you have a problem; 2. Gratify you fleshly desires; 3.  Rationalize your behavior and make excuses; 4.  Always keep your addiction a secret; 5.  Depend on your own power and never Gods.

  1.  I just admitted to you, reader, that I am addicted to sweets.
  2. I admit that I have had way too many candy bars over the last month.
  3. I admit that I rationalized eating a candy bar because I waited too long to eat.  I also rationalized that I was only going to do it this time and no more.
  4. I’ve never really came out and told anyone that I am addicted to sweets, until now.
  5. I admit that I never asked for God’s divine intervention to help me resist the urge to make a choice to purchase and eat that candy bar.

So there you have it, the biggest challenge I’m facing with this weight loss.

“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) (NLT)

So this last week as I mulled over pastor’s message, prayed about it, I essentially put it to test.  A couple of times this week, I was craving chocolate – a Snickers bar to be specific.  So I purposely put myself in an everyday situation where I was presented with a choice to buy or not buy that candy bar.  I was in the grocery store and this particular store had a whole display of – you guessed it – Snickers bars – and they were on sale!  So I stood in front of that display, mulling over the hundreds of bars before me.  I just said “Lord – please give me the strength to walk away.”  Please give me the strength to resist temptation.”  INSTANTLY my desire for a candy bar was gone and I walked away.  I paid for my stuff and left.

But here’s the key.  Not only did God give me the strength to walk away, but I walked away with a sense of accomplishment and I didn’t crave that chocolate any more that evening.  The other thing too is that this is not just a one-time thing and I’m “healed”.  An addiction is a beast of it’s own and it never goes away.  Because an addiction is best friends with temptation.  Yes it is a choice and you can choose not to do something.  But overcoming the will to choose not to is not easy.  So every time that I have to go check-out at a store, I always have to say to myself, “Lord, give me the strength to not pick-up that candy bar.”  Sweets are my weakness.  I will overcome it, it just takes time.  And whatever you may be battling, you too can overcome it!

As many of you may know, I just recently celebrated my birthday.  I am now officially 32 and my new life is well under way.  I had the opportunity to take my birthday off from work and really enjoy the day.

I first treated myself to a few extra hours of sleep.  I then took a walk down memory lane and stopped by the college where I used to work and visited some people who are still there.  I haven’t seen these folks in almost seven years.  It was great getting to catch up with them and see the changes that have happened over the last few years.

I then treated my mom to a manicure and I got a pedicure.

It was great being able to sit down after that and have a long lunch with my mom and brother.  We ate at Sigler’s.

Of course mom and I had to stop at the store after that.  And I saw the cutest little car in the parking lot!  LOL

As I left town though I had to make a stop here:

After that I headed back to the house that I am staying at for a couple of weeks, and later that evening I met up with a friend from work and we had dinner at this wonderful restaurant.

This was our appetizer:  Fresh mozzarella topped with tomatoes and a balsamic vinegarette.

This was our main meal:  THE BEST steak I’ve ever had!!!

After dinner, I was treated to some good smelly stuff at Bath & Body Works.

And then we went to a movie and saw “Bad Teacher.”  Overall it was a spectacular day and was probably one of the best birthdays I’ve had in a long time.

Today was a big day for me as I met the psychologist and had my psych evaluation.  I was extremely nervous and I guess more fearful than anything that they’d find me incompetent of enduring bariatric surgery.  And I’m happy to report that that is not the case.  I am cleared for surgery later this fall!  I just have a few more months of the doctor supervised weight loss and then everything goes to the insurance company for final approval.  Realistically though, it will be here before you know it.

Also I had another weigh-in today.  And I have lost 16 more pounds!!  I am almost to the 50 pound mark – only 7 more pounds to go!  Can you believe it?!?!

I have an appointment on the 12th to meet with a fitness coach because I have decided that I want to run the mini-marathon next May.  But I am meeting with her first to make sure this is even possible since I’m having the surgery in the fall.  I bought my running shoes and as soon as she gives me the all clear I’ll be buying my ticket!  It’s going to be a day to remember – for sure!

Well that’s about all the news and updates I have for now.  I can’t wait to see what happens over the next few months.  If I stay on track and continue losing at the weight I am losing, by the time my 6 months is up, I will have lost almost 100 pounds!  Now THAT is exciting!!!

For all of you out there looking for inspiration – I know what you’re going through – but stay strong and know that you CAN do this!  I personally have faith in you that you can and you will!

Have a great rest of the week friends, and make everyday count!