Easter Victory

prideSo, I was completely nervous going into this holiday weekend. Why? Because Easter was my first holiday that celebrates with food since my weight loss surgery. Well, there was St. Patrick’s day, but it was easy to forgo the potatoes and focus on the protein. Oh, but yesterday’s spread, let me tell you, there was so much delicious smelling and looking foods that I wanted to dive into…but I didn’t, and I am SO proud of myself. It might not be that big of a deal for most people, but today I am totally holding my head a little higher and feeling more confident!

Last week I met with my counselor and she kept drilling it in me that FOOD IS FUEL. Yea ok, that is not an easy thing to retrain a fat girl mind to believe. Food is supposed to taste good, be delicious. Food is fun, food is social, but fuel? That’s boring LOL. She told me that the celebration is the people around the food, NOT the food itself. All week I kept reminding myself this, over and over again. I honestly believe that is what helped me get through yesterday. (but DAMN that baklava sure did look amazing)

DadsLily.pngEaster service was amazing. The music was beyond uplifting and I absolutely LOVE my Church! This year I decided to have one of the Easter lilies they use to decorate the Church dedicated to the memory of my Dad. It made me feel like he was a part of the service. They printed his name in the bulletin along with the other families who honored their loved ones. I’ve decided that I’m going to plant it next to the lily of the valley we planted this year that remind me of my Grandmother (his Mom). It will be a nice tribute I think, having them planted together.

I have been slacking with going to the gym the past couple weeks, so I have decided to make sure that I do a walk today, and get my butt back into the gym. I want to make sure that I make it there a minimum of twice a week. Ideally I’d like to go 4 times a week, 2 classes and 2 separate workouts, but for now I would be happy with actually going twice a week over not going at all.

I did get some good news when I went and saw my Endocrinologist last week. She performed a series of blood test earlier in the week to test my diabetes and my thyroid. She had given me a C-Peptide test about a year ago and determined that after all these years of thinking I was a type 2 diabetic, I was actually type 1. At the time it was discouraging news because it meant that even after my WLS I would probably never get of diabetic medicine. The positive side was that almost immediately after surgery I DID get off insulin and was only on Metformin. I spoke with my surgeon and he explained that he has seen many a patient’s pancreas recover and heal itself after WLS and to not lose hope. I went back to my ENDO and relayed the info and we both remained hopeful. Well, she redid a C-Peptide test and after only 2 months from my surgery, it is back up and I am now considered a type 2 diabetic again! This means that there IS hope that someday I WILL be able to be off my diabetes medicine!  WHOHOOOO!

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I did however get two bits of discouraging news from her during that same visit. First, she informed me that she is leaving the practice. Ok well, THAT SUCKS! I really grew to like her. Let’s face it, we bonded. She helped me get my A1C down from a 9.7 to a 6.2! She has worked with me when my thyroid issues ping ponging between hyper and hypothyroidism. UGH, I mean I wish her all the best, but I hate starting over with someone new if I’m going to be completely honest.

The second icky thing was that my thyroid decided to become hypothyroid again from hyper. What does that mean? Well its another medication adjustment and it’s also probably why I haven’t been losing weight as quickly as she thinks I should have been based on how my diet is and the surgery. I have been averaging  a loss of 2-4lbs a week when some lose 1-2lbs a day. Hopefully with the medication adjustment and my getting back to the gym it’ll get me back on track. (not that I’m complaining about my progress at all.)

ProgressSpeaking of progress…Yesterday after Church I took Ma to my friend Barb’s house and then we went over to her friend Phyllis’. Both of whom are like family to us. Now I haven’t seen Phyllis or her family (with the exception of her daughter and son) since my surgery. When I walked in the door, I was shocked when I was greeted with dropped jaws, looks of astonishment and compliments on how great I looked. They had me spin around and walk in the living room showing off my progress (50lbs so far) to everyone before I could even set my bags down!  LOL Talk about a confidence booster. I felt like a star! Now I know I have lost weight but I don’t see major changes in the mirror so it felt AMAZING to get greeted like that! To be honest I’m kinda grinning while I’m typing because it’s still a feel good story for me.

I have definitely had my battles emotionally with food over the past couple months, but my victory yesterday and the reactions I received have given me a boost that I think I needed to kick it up a notch. I know this is going to be an ongoing journey, just as much mentally as it is physically, sometimes even more so, but I know I am up for the challenge!

 

 

Best decision of my life

It’s been almost 2 weeks postop and although I’m still a lil sore, I feel great! Going for rny gastric bypass was the best decision of my life. My only regret was not getting it done 10 years earlier. 

I am sure many of you are curious how it was so let me take you on a walk of my surgery day and immediate recovery. Like I said in my previous blog, I had no real reference point to measure the level of pain against, so I was going into this pretty nervous. My surgery time was at 8am. I do remember my anesthesiologist and surgeon coming in the room to talk to me. Last thing I remember was my nurse saying it was ‘that’time. I said bye to my Mom and and friend Tina that were with me, and don’t remember a thing after that. When I woke up I was in recovery. I had abdominal cramps, was cold, was totally out of it. All I wanted was something for the pain. “GIMMIE MORE” I kept groaning. My poor nurse. I remember her giving me some kinda good foo foo juice through my IV and feeding me ice chips as she covered me with a heated blankie. AHHHHH, off to la la land I went. 

I woke up a lil while later as she was feeding me more ice chips, asking me how I felt. I told her it hurt. She put my dilaudid pain button in my hand, taught me how to use it and I thought the gates to Heaven had been opened! RELIEF! Sweet glorious relief! 

She informed me there was a wait on my room upstairs, but that she’d allow my Mom and friends to come back allowed see me if I wanted. Mom, Barb and Tina came back for a little while to visit and Barb took over feeding me ice chips. I wasn’t too coherent or the best conversationalist, but Ma did manage to pop off the pic of me giving her a thumbs up. Ma spoke to the surgeon that informed her I did great. He told her I was swearing at everyone. I guess I had a whole comedy routine while under anesthesia that I don’t remember one bit of, but apparently everyone loved it. Go figure, me cussing and cutting up, nahhh not me!  πŸ˜‘  Oops! I guess anesthesia is like alcohol, your real personality leaks out.

Later that night I was taken up to my room and I just rested. Dr. Lahmann’s nursing staff at Silver Cross Hospital was absolutely AMAZING! Accommodating, nurturing, efficient, patient, gentle, professional. I simply can’t say enough nice things about them. The patient’s rooms are like hotel suites complete with sleeper sofas, chair/ottomans, picture windows, 42″ flat careen TVs, recessed lighting. Amazingly comfortable! 

My surgeon, Dr. Lahmann, is the BEST! I can’t stress how important it is to research your doctor. I have researched this surgery since 2002. When I found him, I knew he was the one. He cares. He informs. He nurtures his patients. I belong to various boards on Facebook and it amazes me how many docs out there do this procedure and leave their patients to fend for themselves. They tell them what they need and leave it up to them to go get it, or more importantly, not get what they need. Dr. Lahmann educates you every step along the way. He has his own vitamins and protein powder that you can take so that malnutrition is never an issue. He never fat shames you. Never makes you to feel like you messed up your life. He stressed that you’re you’re a team. I simply adore him and the way he empowers me and the rest of his patients!

Thursday morning I woke up to the most amazing sunrise outside of my hospital window. It was the day I was going home. My discharge day. I was leaving with my new pouch, a new outlook on life, and this gorgeous sunrise solidified it all for me. I laid in my hospital bed, holding on to my bears (I got 2 teddy bears from some of my girls, 1 named Chip, after all the ice chips I ate, and the other named Bari, short for Bariatric) staring out, watching the colors change as the sun came up. Thanking God for getting me through this and for such a beautiful scene. I have a second chance, and I’m not taking this lightly. 

Since I’ve been home I’ve been sore, but each day has been better than the previous one. I still can’t sleep on my stomach or fully on my left side, but that’s ok. The incisions are all healing and closing fine without issue. I’ve decided to only weigh myself once once a week. So far I’m down 22lbs. as of 2/15/17. 

I am still on pureed foods and can’t wait to eat something that crunches! It’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be though. I have been creative with the recipes, luckily I haven’t lost my desire to cook or play with foods. Even though I can only have 4oz…which works out to about 3-4 tablespoons HAHAHA! The brightside is that I no longer have that nagging hunger or constant need to snack feeling. I am so glad that’s gone. My blood sugar has leveled off and I haven’t used insulin since I started my preop diet, so WHOOT WHOOT! 

I definitely recommend this to anyone who’s on the fence. I even went with a friend to my doctor’s seminar last Wednesday because she’s considering the surgery. It is life changing. Hell, it’s life saving!!

I Got My Surgery Date!

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My laparoscopic gastric bypass with Dr. Lahmann has been scheduled for February 7th 2017. It will take place at BMI at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, IL. I attend my class on January 17th and get my  lab work done the day after my birthday on Jan 25th. Looks like it’s a liquid diet for my birthday this year….and not the alcoholic kind either LOL What a phenomenal birthday gift!

There must be a thousand emotions coming over me in waves. Excitement, anxiety, anticipation, fear, sadness, happiness, relief, frustration, overload, panic…I am completely overwhelmed!!!

I sat alone in the living room tonight and felt a sense of panic come over me. 2 1/2 weeks until I start my liquid diet and 2 weeks from then until my surgery. 4 1/2 weeks until my life changes….FOREVER! I felt my stomach sink. Eyes welled with tears. Next thing I knew I had a plate of mac n cheese and 2 chicken thighs in front of me. What if I can’t do this? Lets face it, I’m fat for a reason. Diets have never been a strong suit of mine.

emotionalconfusionI really wish there were support groups similar to AA, but for weight loss surgery. A place you could go, and talk, and be around other people who feel the same way just do, so you don’t feel alone or so awkward with your emotions. Even if it were online, maybe through Skype. I did create a group on Facebook for my area but it is just getting started. We have a whopping 7 people right now.

It seems as though some people in my life don’t get the emotional connection to food and some people wanna talk me out of having the surgery all together. It’s very frustrating.

I’ve done extensive research on weight loss surgery since 2010. I’ve met with doctors and spoken with people who have had the surgery done. I’m gonna be 44 on January 24 and between my arthritis and other health issues I just know this is the route I need to go. I need to get the weight off so I can move easier and make going to the gym a more viable practice.

I know I can do this. I know this is last minute jitters. But its scary. I’ve had people come and go from my life. Money, jobs, cars, pets, anything I’ve loved. But food…food has always been there. That’s the sickness. That is what fit people…skinny people don’t get. They eat to live. They are able to pass a discounted cheesecake at the grocery store and not think twice. NOT ME! I’ll not only buy it, I will buy every last one they have! I mean c’mon people, it’s discounted cheesecake, what’s not to love, DUH! Sitting here typing this out I laugh, but I’m shaking my head because it’s true. Food, cooking, it’s a part of who I am. Will this surgery change that? Change me? It’s just so deep and some people just don’t get it. They can’t grasp it.

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Gramps & me play talking on bis new cordless phone; Christmas 1985

You know, its a good thing that nobody can see me as I do this blog…This is a pretty emotional one for me tonight. I’m on a total roller coaster ride. From the highest of highs being so excited of what’s to come, to crying in some pretty low lows doubting myself and being terrified of failure. Just a minute ago the song ‘Grandpa’ came on by The Judds and I fell apart. That was my song with my Gramps. I called him my Boompa. I always felt like he was my angel, my knight in shining armor when I was little. He was the man all others were to be measured against when I grew up. As soon as I heard the first note of the song the waterworks started. It was as if the gates were thrown open and there was no closing them now! I couldn’t stop the tears even if I tried. My poor lil dog Louie looked up at me, jumped up in my lap and tried to console me. I just sat there petting him, crying and singing…slowly coming to the realization that everything is going to be just fine.

You see, I got this. I know how to do this. I’ve been doing this for awhile already. It’s nothing new. I made up my mind a long time ago that this is what I wanted. What I needed.

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2017 is gonna be my year. I’m grabbing it by the balls and squeezing. I got this shit!

Traditions

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As we get older, the people at our holiday table change. Sadly, the ones we love pass on and can no longer sit amongst us, but if we are lucky, they have left behind a special, signature dish. A recipe so significant, that when made, each bite transports you to another time, surrounds you with memories and envelopes you in comfort.
For me, one of those unique recipes isΒ represented in this Carrot Waldorf Salad.. It’s nothing fancy. It’s nothing complicated. It’s simple:

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CARROT WALDORF SALAD

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb bag carrots
  • 1 red apple
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup craisins
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans pieces (I prefer pecans, Ma likes walnuts)
  • 1 large jar cherries (no stems)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

DIRECTIONS:

  • Clean, trim tops and shred carrots. It’s important to do this and not purchase pre-shredded carrots as the juice is an essential part of the recipe. I use my food processor, gets it done in no time.
  • Core and cut apples into small, bite size pieces.
  • Combine shredded carrots, apples, raisins, craisins, nuts, cherries (with juice) and mayonnaise to bowl and mix thoroughly.
  • Store in refrigerator for up to a week. Tastes great when made the day before and has a chance to marinate.

May not even sound that good…but oooooh, believe me, it is! My Mom’s Dad made it every year. (It was his mother’s recipe and I’d imagine hers before that) It was his little contribution to the feast that my Dad and Mom put together every Thanksgiving year. He would carry it in the house with this proud grin on his face and watch everyone as they ate it.

Mom took over the reigns and started making it after he passed away, and I’ve been making it the past few years. Since taking over, I added the craisins and changed the walnuts to pecans.Β Β The recipe is flexible like that. It has also become a staple at Ma’s friend’s house where we celebrate all of the holidays. Her friend Phyllis loves cherries, so I also add an extra jar just for her!

Each time I make this recipe, it’s a pleasure paying homage to a man who gave me unconditional love. A man who was always there for me at the drop of a dime. A man who I miss dearly. My Gramps, my Boompa.

On your mark, Get set, GO!

Road Start!

My WLS journey has officially begun! Last Wednesday was my first appointment with Dr. Lahmann, my surgeon.  I really do like him. He is so straight forward but with a wonderful bed side manner. He gave me the checklist of what appointments need made and I’ve already tackled it with a vengeance. My breathing test is tomorrow. Chest x-ray was last Thursday, counseling starts tonight and cardiac clearance appointment is next Tuesday. (and exhale)

I don’t think I’ve been to so many doctors in my life! Get this; When I was in Dr. Lahmann’s office Wednesday morning, the girls were getting me all checked in, and she had me stand against the wall so she can measure My height. She says 59″. My mouth dropped and I felt my face get all scrunched up. WHAT?!? NO WAY!!! I’m at least 60″ I proclaimed quite loudly! She said, sorry Fran, you are actually an eighth of an inch under 59″, but I’m gonna give it to ya anyway. Oh gee, thanks! WTF! I shrunk! I’m 43, not 93! *UGH*

Which reminds me. Last week my endocrinologist sent me for fasting blood work. When I say blood work, I mean they took 7 vials. I was surprised I still had any blood left! I see the nurse practitioner in my endocrinologist’s office and she is very thorough. Yesterday I had a follow-up appointment with her to go over the results from the blood tests. in 2009 I was diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic. Nobody has ever questioned that diagnosis due to my weight and symptoms. She was the 1st person to run a test to see if my body produces insulin. The answer, nope it doesn’t. Which means I am a type 1 diabetic, not type 2. That’s the 2nd time this week I felt my face get all scrunchy. Kind of an out of the norm” diagnosis since most type 1 diabetics tend to be youths, and definitely not overweight adults like myself.

The other condition I see Alexis (my endocrinologist nurse practitioner) for is my thyroid. Again, you’d think being overweight, I’d have hypothyroidism, but you can take the odds to Vegas, I don’t ever fit the norm. Scrunchy face number three. I have hyperthyroidism. She is increasing my thyroid medication hoping to even my levels. She has also mentioned the possibility of graves disease. Unfortunately it’s it’s a waiting game. Increase meds. Wait. Draw blood. Wait. Change meds. Rinse & repeat.

It is the combination of my diabetes and thyroid that worry me about holding up my surgery. I know my heart and lungs will pass inspection. I’m just afraid that if there are issues getting my thyroid or A1C under control, it will prolong the surgery. Obviously, I want to be safe and have it done under the most healthy conditions as possible, but I am also anxious and don’t want to wait forever either.

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I have been diligently keeping track of my calories, weight, blood sugars, work outs, blood pressures and heart rates. I have already begun to feel my energy increase and dietary habits start to change. When it come to food, if I bite it – I write it. I try to go to the gym 3 times a week, but go at least twice. I’ve doubled my average daily steps and am also drinking more water. I know how important this is and realize it’s going to be a drastic lifestyle change.

A few days ago I made chicken fajitas with extra veggies. The following day, I came home from the gym starving. Went to the fridge, grabbed the salsa, sour cream and tortilla chips and plopped down in front of the TV. When I looked down, I knew I shouldn’t be eating it, so I got up, put a small amount of sour cream into a bowl with some salsa and sat back down. Feeling better that I had portion control I dipped a chip and ate it. Two seconds later, I got back up, still unsatisfied with what I was doing, grabbed my unflavored protein powder and mixed it into my dip. Convinced that I had now turned a bad choice into a good one, I sat back down, dipped and ate 2 chips and felt complete guilty. I actually felt guilt. I went back in the kitchen and traded the chips and salsa for baby carrots with light ranch. I couldn’t believe it. This was a monumental step for me. Wanna know what was even more significant? I actually enjoyed them more! They had the same crunch and I knew I wasn’t sacrificing my whole workout. It was in that moment, I knew I had this. I knew I could do it no matter what. With nobody watching I did the right thing on my own.

Look out world, Frannie’s growing up!

I know I have a very looooooong road ahead of me, but I am super confident that I can do this. I may be an inch shorter, but each day I am a step closer and a whole lot stronger.

Eat to live, Don’t live to eat!

Back in 2010 was the 1st time I went on a calorie counting diet. I remember 2 things my doc told me that I still use to this day.

  1. If you bite it, you write it. This got me in the practice of being accountable for everything that went into my mouth. I remember doc told me a story once. He said he ate a piece of his son’s Halloween candy. He didnt like the taste, and as soon as it went in his mouth, he spit it out. I’ll never forget that. HE SPIT IT OUT!Β I had never spit anything out. If it went in my mouth…hell, if it went on my plate, I was committed at this point to eating it. There were starving people in 3rd World Countries after all.This was huge for me. It meant I had choices. I could choose what I ate. Choose what calories went into my body. Choose what I swallowed.
  2. Would you rather eat or drink your calories? After my 1st week of writing down my foods, doc looked it over. He looked at me and asked, Fran, would you rather eat or drink your calories? I must have had a puzzled look on my face, because it seemed like stupid question…of course I’d rather eat them. *DUH* Once we calculated my liquid caloric intake, I could have had a cheeseburger and a slice of cheesecake instead! WOW!

These 2 simple lessons have stayed with me for years. They have helped me to not regain a truckload of weight that I lost, and have helped me build a foundation for a healthier life.

It just seems crazy to me that some of us seem to have this healthy gene and others don’t. I lived for years not realizing that my way of thinking about food was wrong. I didn’t become aware of it until my late 20’s. I was in a relationship with a guy who worked as a Personal Trainer. When I saw how differently he lived his life when it came to food, I was shocked. For example, he would eat Total cereal for breakfast…with NO sugar. (and liked it) A light bulb went off regarding what people meant when they said “You need you eat to live, not live to eat.”

I’ll admit it scares me. Will I be able to change this obsession I have? My never ending love affair with food. Will I ever be able to break up with it for good, or will it finally break me?

Take a break from the ordinary

Scoop of protien powder, some use water, some use milk, and shake. After awhile it can get monotonous. UNTIL NOW! 

Did you know that you could change up your protien shakes by adding a tablespoon of your favorite sugar free gelatin? Currently I use Six Star Pro Vanilla Cream protien powder (from Walmart) and so far I’ve made shakes with cherry and raspberry gelatin. It’s delicious. Guess what the best part is…the possibilities are endless: peach, lemon, lime, strawberry banana even. Use chocolate protien and make chocolate cherry, banana, strawberry or maybe try orange.

Let me know if you try this, and what your favorite flavor combinations are, I’d love to know.