Saturday, March 30, 2019

WLS 6 month anniversary, a recap of the last year and PICTURES!

Be warned, this post is going to be long and detailed. So, grab a snack, get comfy and take a trip down memory lane with me. OR...say forget it and move on. I'll forgive you. Maybe. 😢😉
It has been one year since I decided to get weight loss surgery, so I wanted to start from that time and journal about this WHOLE experience so far. Mainly because, when I get old and senile, I'll forget and this will be my memory. Plus, when I was researching weight loss surgeries, I liked reading other blogs explaining their experiences. It was helpful for me to understand what to expect.
I have been overweight my whole life. Lots of ups and downs...way more UP's by far. Weight loss surgery was always looming over me, but never an avenue I wanted to take. In my early twenties, I was in the 200's mostly. In my late twenties to my early thirties, I was in the 300's. At 37 years old, I hit 400 lbs. By age 40, I weighed in at 450 lbs...my highest recorded weight. You see a pattern here??
In January 2018, I saw a general doctor about an umbilical hernia that I needed repaired. This doctor was very upfront and honest with me...which I appreciated. He said he wasn't comfortable doing surgery on me because of my size and health problems. He referred me to another doctor that also does weight loss surgery. He asked if I had ever considered getting that. I said no because I knew the surgery was only a tool and that my head is what the root of the problem was. The surgery could not fix my thoughts regarding food. I left the office with an appointment to see the other doctor and a new thought in my head. "Is it time? Has it come to that point?" I had a lot to consider. What are the pros and cons? I'm rapidly getting more health problems and losing my ability to do everyday tasks. I know I need to fix my mental issues with food, but will losing weight quickly help with that? Will seeing the weight drop and regaining my independence help motivate me to change my bad habits? I just don't know. I DO know that something needs to change.
In February, we got together with all our other families to celebrate birthdays. All the boys and kids went downstairs to hang out leaving all the ladies upstairs. It was my mom, aunt, 2 cousins and a dear family friend just talking about our lives. My health got brought up and I told them I was considering getting the surgery. Every one of them thought that would be a good idea. It kinda surprised me, especially how on board my mom was. I mean, it's a major surgery and I'm her only baby. But, they all explained that the surgery is what I need to drop a considerable amount of weight quickly in order to get all my other health problems under control. Then I can address the mental issues with therapy. So, with all that love and support, it gave me the green light and courage to make that big step.
I didn't end up using the doctor I was referred to...I wasn't very impressed with him. Luckily, one of my other aunts just had the Gastric Sleeve done and she really liked her doctor. So, I had a consultation with him and liked him a lot. We decided to do the Gastric Sleeve for me as well because it was less invasive and safer due to my size and health issues. 
Next step, insurance. We have fantastic insurance, so I wasn't worried about coverage. What I was wondering about was what they would require to be done before they'll cover the surgery. I had to see a doctor to go on a Medically Supervised Diet for 6 months. This was very relaxed. No super weird diet to follow, the only requirement was to lose 5% of my weight...22.5 lbs. No problem. 😉 I weighed in at 450 lbs and I had been on insulin for a few months by then. This doctor took me off insulin and put me on Victoza bc that drug would help supress my appetite...which it did. He advised me to go on a very low carb diet. I did that, which helped me lose 16 lbs in one week! But...I slowly started to eat carbs again so my weight loss tapered off some. I was still able to lose enough weight within that 6 months to be approved for surgery. Thank goodness. I never gained at weigh in, but my losses weren't as fantastic as that first one.
I had to see other specialists too...a sleep specialist being one of them. So, I got a sleep study done because I have Sleep Apnea. The insurance company needed an updated test for their records. This test is difficult because the technician scheduled to watch you sleep attaches wires all over your head, face and body to monitor everything that is happening during your sleep. Super uncomfortable and so hard to actually fall asleep in order for them to get the results that they need. 
Next specialist...a Cardiologist. This one SUCKED! I had to get a stress test and an ECHO done. I think that's what the tests were called. 😕 All I know is that it was painful and it pushed me to a near panic attack. I had to be injected with a drug that would elevate my blood pressure...A LOT. During which, a technician would be giving me an ultrasound to watch how my heart was doing. No treadmill test for this 450 lb body...thank you. I choose this method, which I'm not sure I would do again. Anyway, the elevating blood pressure felt like I was suffocating and ready to explode. The ultrasound was super painful because due to being a large woman, the area under my breasts gets rashes due to sweating. I try to keep it dry with powder, but that only works so well. The technician had to use the ultrasound wand right on the tender areas under my breast in order to get the pictures she needed. An hour of digging, twisting, turning in the same spots OVER and OVER again...and not always aware of when the gel had wore off was almost more than I could handle. By the time she was done, I was bleeding, in tears and SO done with this test! Thank the Lord they got what they needed and this test was marked complete. ✓✓ 
Those 2 tests were the worst. I also had to take a super long written test given by a Psychologist to make sure that I was in my right mind. This test was dumb and kinda stressful. A lot of the questions were duplicated but worded in a different way. So, I kept second guessing myself wondering how I answered the other question, the whole time driving myself crazy. Mission accomplished. I'm nuts. 😵 Somehow, I passed that test. LOL
Ok...so now it's October. My 6 month waiting period is done. It's showtime now. First step to my cutting day is...the LIQUID DIET. Two weeks before surgery... but I ended doing more than that. And then 2 weeks after surgery. That's right...ONE MONTH of NO real food, no big bites of anything, no chewing of anything other than popsicles. Thankfully, by the last week, the nurse took pity on me and let me eat applesauce, Greek yogurt and Cream of Wheat to help with swallowing the nasty tasting crushed medication and chewables. That was much appreciated! The 2 weeks before surgery, by following this diet, I lost 26 lbs! 😲 Note to self...liquid diets are awesome. This brought my total weight loss to 47 lbs. I ended up gaining about half of that back after surgery due to fluid retention. 
It's the week before surgery and the big thing on my mind right now is...Pampering. Yep. I'm going to be out of commission for a while, so that calls for a much needed pedicure and face waxing. I mean, come on, if I'm going to feel like shit, I should at least have pretty toes, nice eyebrows and no mustache, right? Not to mention, a relaxing massage to take the edge off. No guilt. 😎



Now...it's the day of surgery! I am more excited than anything. I am a very optimistic person, so I don't overly fret about things I probably should. Mike and my parents were worried enough for me. I can't express enough, the love I have for all those who wished me well, prayed for me and checked in on me. I am so blessed with such a huge support system of family and friends. 💗

                                          




 Surgery is done. SUCCESS!! I did just fine. I remember going into the operating room and a team of people moving me from one bed to another. There were lots of nurses and such doing a variety of things in that room...lots of chatter and movement. The nurse was comforting me as the Anesthesiologist was getting ready. The nurse asked me if I'd like to hear music, she said another patient liked that. Music always helps me, so of course I said yes. She put on Phil Collins...which, thankfully I find soothing...and in a few minutes, I was out. I didn't come to until several hours later, after the recovery period even. I don't remember anything after Phil Collins until I was going to my hospital room. I didn't have much pain because the doctor injected a pain medication in me before closing me up. The only thing that really bothered me was my dry mouth and thirst. I wasn't allowed water until the next morning. It was actually pretty funny because my lip kept sticking to my teeth when I talked. They gave me these minty swabs that I could get wet and suck on and wipe my lips with. I guess it's better than nothing. That next morning, I was SO excited to drink my little medicine cup full of water. It tasted incredible!
YUM!! Bottoms Up!
The next couple of days I was doing very well. Nausea was really the only thing that bothered me the first day, but that was short lived. I was up and walking around soon after surgery, not for very long, but I was doing it. The worst part about these few days in the hospital was the headache with my IV. The first IV started to give me a burning feeling when the fluid was running through, so they took it out and brought in the nurses to start a new one. None of them could find one, so they brought in a UV light to help locate a vein. They finally found one, but not long after, the fluid began to pool under my skin. That one needed to be removed. This time they called an oncology nurse to help find my impossible veins. 6 HOURS! It took 6 hours without IV fluids till this nurse showed up. He brought in an ultrasound machine. By this time, I had been poked and dug into so many times, I was just praying for a miracle. He started on my left arm and at one point while he was digging in my arm, my fingers started to tingle and feel numb. 'Umm. Could you move on please? 🙏' He moved to the right arm. Finally, he found a winner! That lasted the rest of the time. Thank YOU.


This picture really doesn't show how badly my arms were bruised up. Both arms and hands were covered.

One of the biggest worries going into this surgery was the fact that I'm on a blood thinner because I have had two episodes of Pulmonary Emboli (blood clots in the lungs). My Hematologist did a "bridging" technique to get me through surgery without bleeding out. I was prescribed a new medicine that was to be be used after surgery till I could swallow the pill of my normal medicine. On the day of discharge (Friday), I noticed a weird bruise on my leg. Bruises are common with being on a blood thinner, but this one was big and I don't remember hitting my leg. The doctor said it wasn't a concern, but he did notice that the blood thinner medicine dosage seemed high. He ordered a test to check what dose I should be on. He wouldn't get the results till Monday, so I was sent home. Over the weekend, this bruise spread like wildfire. And, a lot more bruises were beginning to form. 









This is my belly bloat from after the surgery.

 Monday comes along...keep in mind, I have been on a possible too high dose of medicine for about 5 days now. The doctor calls, at the end of the day and confirms that I was on too much blood thinner. He lowered my dose, but by this point my body had already started going through the damage caused by this without my knowledge. As far as pain is concerned, I was fine up till this point. Monday is when I started to feel it. I knew that gas was going to be an issue, I knew that the internal pain medicine had probably wore off and I hadn't had a BM in almost a week. Given all those issues, I didn't think much of the pain. I took my Hydrocodone and Tylenol as scheduled and realized they were not providing much relief. The nurse instructed me to walk around to get the gas out and take over the counter stuff to help with having a BM. I finally did, but that didn't help the pain. Each day it was getting worse no matter how much a tried to walk. I was doubled over in pain, crying so hard I would hyperventilate. Mike would have to talk me down to slow down my breathing. The pain would shoot through me suddenly causing me to wail out. I never do that. Mike and the kids would just watch me, helpless with worry. Nothing helped. Moving and getting up was excruciating. I would even get pains while I was sitting. By Saturday morning...yes, this went on for 5 LONG days, my body was done. I had noticed I was getting more pale through the week, but I didn't really think much about it. By this day, I was near passing out when I got up, I got a flood of heat through my whole body and I was beyond exhausted with little effort. I knew I needed to go to the ER.
We called the surgeon to inform him of how bad my condition had gotten. All week, we were calling the nurse to see what more could be done, so they were aware of what I had been going through. But, just like me, they didn't know of the brewing blood thinner problem that had taken over my abdomen since the week before. They were advising me, each time we called, based on a normal Gastric Sleeve surgery recovery.
So, I get to the ER. Miserable. And, to make matters worse, I could tell I had a UTI in addition to everything else. I was in so much pain all over. They wheeled me to triage, started an IV and took me to a room. Moving from a wheelchair to a bed was so hard and painful. They were doing all kinds of tests while I was just praying for some kind of relief. And of course, the nurse tried to put pain meds through my IV and what a surprise nothing was going through. Really. Come on! I'm dying here! My nerves were shot, I had reached a point in my mind that I have never felt before. The nurse was twisting and turning my IV trying to find that 'sweet spot' to get the fluids to move through. Nothing. She called another nurse. Nothing. What was probably just minutes seemed like an eternity. 
Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. I needed air or something. The walls were caving in, my level of anxiety was through the roof. I sat up suddenly which startled the nurse and concerned Mike. He told me to sit back. I didn't listen. I HAD to get up. I HAD to strip down because I was so hot. I began to hyperventilate. I walked towards the door to the chair. I didn't know what I wanted, I just needed to move. While I was heading towards the chair and could not catch my breath and then a thought went through my head that terrified me. I thought 'this is it. Is this it?' I honestly was afraid for my life at that moment. Mike, God bless him, was able to calm me down, telling me to take deep breaths and focus. I sat in the chair and was able to regain my composure. After a couple minutes, two other nurses that have a better track record with starting IV's took over that job. They were both so compassionate and kind, it helped calm me even more. The second nurse was able to find a vein. By this point my surgeon showed up. He saw me sitting in the chair barely dressed and visibly shaken up. He instructed me to get back in bed, so I did. They started administering fluid and pain meds through the now functional IV. The doctor told us that the CT showed 2 belly bleeds and the blood work showed my Hemoglobin (blood level that carries oxygen through the body) was half what it should be. So my surgeon ordered 2 units of blood for me, by the end of my stay I received 3 units. After all that drama, the nurse came back to drain my bladder (that was SUCH a relief) to check for a UTI. Sure enough, I had that too. Lovely. 
After all day in the ER, I got admitted and taken up to my room. I ended up spending 5 days in the hospital getting my body back to a stable place.
So, let me explain what happened. Because I take a blood thinner, I bruise easily with any kind of rough handling or fall or bumping into something, etc. During the surgery, the surgeon makes 5 incisions to use laparoscopic tools to perform the procedure. I am sure he is not able to be too gentle with all the work that needs to be done in there. One incision is for the tool used to cut the stomach and pull out the section removed. In this area (based on the CT images) there was a large hematoma that formed (big internal bruise). I also had an umbilical hernia that was repaired, which required a 6th incision. This is where a second large hematoma was formed. As everyone knows, bruises hurt. Especially large ones. That is why I was in so much pain that whole week, I had two huge bruises on the inside of my abdomen that I didn't know about. To make matters worse, I was given too much blood thinner...remember that? Well...bruises are blood suckers, they absorb blood. So, here I have two big bruises in my abdomen surrounded by really thin blood. Those bruises are having a field day soaking it up all that blood. Hence, my hemoglobin level plummeting, causing me to become anemic.   
Luckily, the doctors figured this out, got me the help I needed which allowed my body to recover. It took several weeks for my levels to get normal, but they finally did. I am so thankful for how wonderful everyone at the hospital was during this time. It still took me awhile to not feel like crap though. 
All this happened in the beginning of November and really put a kink in my weight loss progress. By the beginning of December I was back down to the weight I was right before surgery. 
I was finally seeing the light and feeling better and ready to get things going!! The surgeon instructed me to start exercising, so I joined the YMCA to have access to a pool. Nothing better than moving this body in water. It felt so good to stretch and twist and do some cardio with the ease of being weightless. Apparently, I was twisting and stretching so much that I injured my knee creating an extremely painful Baker's Cyst. The cyst finally healed up but then I began feeling a new pain, which turned out to be a torn meniscus and some strained ligaments. Great. This whole period with my knee was so frustrating because I had finally recovered from the other crap and was ready to rock this weight loss.
So, because of all the issues after surgery and dealing with the pain of my knee, I haven't been able to get the maximum results of the honeymoon phase of the surgery. The first 3 months are the best for big time weight loss. I'm really bummed about that. What really has me worried is that I deal with stress with food. This month, I have noticed some of my old habits creeping in. So, I have made plans on how to address this and nip it in the bud before things get worse. 
My knee surgery is done now and I'm darn near normal working condition. I got an extra special and much needed boost when I started seeing weight loss on the scale again. The whole month of March I have been yo-yoing the same several pounds. Yesterday I finally weighed less than my lowest weight which was in February. I hope that I can continue on this journey with no more setbacks and forward motion. I am so tired of obstacles. I would like a clear path for awhile
Here are some pictures of me before surgery and some now to show the progress so far. They are not flattering at all. The before pictures were actually 2 years ago. For some reason, I didn't take pictures when I started this process. I was probably a little heavier before surgery than what these before pictures show. But, there is still a difference. And, I can move so much easier now and I have a lot more flexibility and energy.
My starting weight was 450 lbs. I am currently 358.5 lbs.  91.5 lbs gone so far!! 😃
Before

After. I look so old!

Before

After

Before

After. My butt. UGH!
Before

After
As you can see, my hair is so thin now! I HATE it. For the past few months, it has been falling out in handfuls!! NO JOKE! HANDFULS! It has finally stopped, but I haven't noticed any regrowth yet. I'm praying that it'll grow back! My nails are so weak now too. I used to have great hair and gorgeous nails and now they both suck. SIGH. 😞
Here are a few other pictures to show the progress...
Yesterday

A couple years ago
July 2018

Even with all the setbacks I've had, I have NO regrets!! I feel SO much better now than I have in a LONG time!! I can't wait to lose more weight and feel even better. I know I will always deal with the mind games and emotional torment, but we all have our struggles and this is mine. It could be WAY worse, so I'll take it. The rewards of overcoming challenges are priceless. And so is fitting into a chair with arms without my hips being squeezed to death. 😉

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Recovering from complications after weight loss surgery.

Well...weight loss surgery is done. The actual surgery itself was no big deal to me. I was pretty calm the whole time leading up to it. I got to the hospital with Mike bright and early, they did all the pre-op stuff. No problems. As they started to wheel me away and I looked at Mike and saw the worry in his face, that's when it set in what is about to happen. I get to the OR and the whole staff was awesome. The nurse put some Phil Collins on and set it by my ear. By the second song I was out and didn't come to until after the recovery period. I have NO idea how long that was. I just remember getting to my hospital room at some point.
The couple of days in the hospital after the surgery went better than expected. I was walking around not long after. I even had the energy to take a shower the next day. I couldn't drink or eat the day of surgery so I was super thirsty and my lip kept sticking to my teeth which made for some pretty funny pictures. The day after I could have clear liquids which was awesome to be able to drink water and drink some warm chicken broth, that was so soothing. Mike and I would take small walks around the floor to help keep things moving. I had lots of visitors which was so nice to feel the love. The biggest headache while I was there was the drama with my IV. The first site did fine for a day then it started to burn real bad when the fluid would push through. In order to find another vein, the nurse had to get one of those ultraviolet light gadgets to help locate a vein. This took forever with lots of unsuccessful pokes, but he finally got one. The next day this location started to pool the fluid under my skin, so this IV had to be removed. Now, the pros had to be called in. I was without an IV for about 6 hours, which meant no fluids. This guy brought in an ultrasound machine to locate a vein. I apparently have small wavy veins that are deep and roll around. Lovely. Again, this attempt took forever with lots of poking and at one point causing numbness in my fingers. Ummm. I don't think that's supposed to happen. Finally, he found a winner and that one stayed put till I was discharged.
The biggest worry with having the surgery was my history of  Pulmonary Emboli (blood clots in my lungs). I had 3 clots in January 2016 and then 4 clots again in August 2017. After this episode I was put on a blood thinner medicine for the rest of my life. Before the surgery, my Hematologist was managing my blood thinner medicine. I did what was called a "bridge". I stopped taking my normal medicine on Sunday, gave myself an injection of a different medicine on Monday, no medicine on Tuesday and then surgery on Wednesday. After the surgery, they resumed the injection medicine (not my normal stuff) because I couldn't swallow pills. The dose they gave me was based on my weight. When my Hematologist came by to check on me he thought the dose was too high, so he ordered a special blood test. It was a Friday so he wouldn't get the results till Monday.
I went home on Friday and the next 2 days went just fine. The only thing that worried us was a small bruise that was on my leg on Friday had spread like wildfire all over my thigh over the weekend. We called the on call doctor and they ordered an ultrasound to rule out infection. It was just a deep bruise, no infection detected. At the end of the day, the blood test came back and I was prescribed too much blood thinner. So, the doctor called in the correct dose and I started taking that.
Little did I know, this extra blood thinner was creating all kinds of problems internally that I had NO clue was brewing.
Over the next few days I was struggling with pain of what I assumed was gas pains. I knew the gas pains were no joke and all apart of the process. But, this pain was nothing like I've felt before. And, I'm usually pretty tough and have a high threshold for pain. We called just about every morning and walking was what I was directed to do. I did my best to do this and get up and move around. Everyday I was doubled over in tears leaning against the kitchen counter from the overwhelming pain. I was getting piercing pains that made me wail out in pain. Mike and the kids were terrified and just stood there staring at me not knowing how to help. I was dependent on Hydrocodone, which only helped partly for a couple of hours, I took Tylenol and tried ALL kinds of gas medicines. Nothing was helping this pain go away.
Saturday morning at 3am I got up to go to the bathroom and was able to pass a lot of gas (TMI 😉). I went back to my chair and got up at 6am needing medicine for the pain again. I went back to my chair and rested till Mike got up. I got up to go to the bathroom and this is when everything hit me SUPER hard. I was lightheaded to the point of passing out, beyond exhausted and winded and I kept getting a flood of heat through my body. This was NOT normal!! Mike took me to the ER. By this point I was experiencing a flood of different things. I was miserable, in pain and scared.
This whole day was the worst day of my life!
The wait and multiple doctors, multiple pokes and OF COURSE the headache of finding a vein. Not to mention I had a UTI to top it all off. Every inch of my body was under stress!!
I got into a room and they got the results of the blood work. I was severely low in the hemoglobin count. It is supposed to be 12-14 and mine was 8. The hemoglobin is the red blood cell count that carries oxygen through the blood. They sent me in for a CT scan which showed that I had a belly bleed. Two large hematomas (big bruises) in my abdomin. These bruises were causing the pain in addition to soaking up my too thin blood (remember my medicine dose was too high for several days). While in the ER room they started treatment to help me. BUT...I was at my wits end by this point. It was a small room and I was in pain and stressed out. When the nurse tried to put an antibiotic into my IV and couldn't get it to pass through, she kept trying and twisting and asking another nurse to help. I couldn't take it anymore. I LOST IT!! I got up and sat at the side of the bed experiencing what I call a nervous breakdown. I got up.., Mike told me to sit down. I didn't care. I needed air!! I literally wanted to strip down to nothing! I made my way to a chair in the room to sit down...with no pants at this point or hospital gown. I ripped off the pulse ox thing attached to my finger and all the heart monitor wires and just sat down in that chair in pain, in tears and heat flooding through my body. I could not calm down, I was hyperventilating thinking "this is it! I'm a goner" Mike was finally able to get through to me to slow down my breathing. I slowly came to and settled down.
Now...time to find a vein again. Three different people came in to look. They were all so kind and compassionate and understanding with my breakdown. They each did the best they could to find a vein without a ton of digging around and knew when it was time to pass me off to the next nurse. After several minutes, one of the nurses picked a winner and it lasted the WHOLE hospital stay!! Thank goodness!!
My surgeon showed up, made me get back in bed and explained what was going on and ordered 2 units of blood to give me a blood transfusion, along with meds to help with the UTI. I was then admitted and sent to a room to continue treatment. By this point, I was beginning to feel better and able to relax. Mike...not so much. For him to witness all of this and not being able to help was terrifying for him. He was an emotional basketcase too.
So now, it's all a waiting game. Every day and night I got blood drawn to check my hemoglobin level. Which was no picnic because depending on which phlebotomist I got I could end up with a blown vein, a big bruise, a very painful poke in my knuckle or wrist or on a rare occasion no pain at all. I never knew what to expect. I also had to get my vitals checked on a regular basis, so sleeping all night was not a luxury I had. I also still had the pain and bloat in my belly. I was uncomfortable ALL the time!!
I was in the hospital for 4 days. My blood level was inconsistent, it would raise then it would drop. I ended up getting 3 units of blood. My blood sugar numbers skyrocketed again, so I got put
back on insulin. Finally, I had several tests in a row where the numbers began to stabilize. My surgeon and Hematologist and the hospital doctor checked on me everyday to watch my progress and once everything looked stable they agreed to start me back on my old blood thinner medicine. I was off all blood thinners during this hospital stay.
I'm back home now. Slowly recovering. I'm not out of the woods yet because they are still checking my blood level to make sure it continues to raise. The bruises in my belly make it hard for me to bend, I'm still exhausted with little effort and my legs have swollen up big time again,  so that adds more weight to lug around. I'm trying to gauge how much activity I need to get better, but also how much rest I need to heal. Each day is different. My flexibility is getting better because the bruises are healing. But, my body looks like it's been used as a punching bag because the internal bruises are surfacing.
I haven't lost weight yet because of all this extra water weight. I'm getting used to the new way of eating and understanding the signals my stomach gives me when I'm done.
I am excited to get past this and start feeling better again. I can't wait to see the pounds and inches drop and live life in a smaller and healthier body.
I am so grateful for all the medical staff that took such good care of me. I am grateful for all my family and friends that checked up on me AND Mike to make sure we were doing ok. I am grateful for parents that give me kisses and tell me they love me and just sit with me during those long days. Most of all, I am thankful for my husband that has been my rock and nurse and has had to take care of me in ways that no one likes to ask for. True love.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Countdown to weight loss surgery. Goals and dreams of a fat girl.

It's surreal thinking that it's only a few days until my weight loss surgery day. 😲 I remember when our insurance said that there will be a 6 month required medically supervised diet along with several other specialist visits I'd need to do in order for the surgery to be covered, I thought, "SIX MONTHS! Ugh!! That is forever!!". But, honestly...it has flown by. And, I am so glad that I was forced to wait 6 months. I've went through a lot of mental growth and emotional reflection and acceptance over this 6 month period. Not to mention, I have been able to notice and feel how my body reacts to certain behaviors and habits. I never wanted to accept that what I eat makes all the difference. I loved eating unhealthy food and a lot of it! I kept going to the doctor for varies symptoms and ended up with another medication suited for it, which would bring on a different symptom...and then another medication. I was getting so frustrated and depressed at the decline of my mobility, endurance and independence.
My decision to get this surgery was actually brought on without me even questioning it. I had gotten a CT Scan for some chest and lower abdominal pain which showed that I have an umbilical and hiatal hernia. I was referred to a general surgeon to get them fixed. While speaking to this doctor he said that he wasn't comfortable doing the surgery on me because of my size and blood clot history, so he was going to refer me to another surgeon that specializes in weight loss surgery, but also does hernia repairs. After that conversation, I began to seriously think about this option. "Is weight loss surgery my next step??" I've always had the mindset that I wanted to lose weight the natural "no help" way because I was the one responsible for gaining it. Kind of a punishment to myself for my irresponsible way of living. One evening at a family get together, all of the women were sitting around talking and I brought up the option of getting surgery. To my surprise everyone thought it was a good idea. That was very comforting. We all realize that if I continue on this unhealthy path, that my risks of dying young are way higher than the risks that go along with getting the surgery. So...surgery it is.
The surgery I will be getting is the Gastric Sleeve. This surgery will remove 85% of my stomach including the part that produces the hormone that boosts the appetite. Originally, because of the amount of weight I have to lose, I wanted the surgery that involves bypassing part of the intestine because that increases the weight loss results by malabsorption in addition to a smaller stomach. But, my surgeon recommended I start simpler with the sleeve because of my other health problems. If I am not happy with the results of how much weight I've lost after about a year then he can go back in and do the rerouting part to get off the rest of the weight, if that's necessary. I am happy with that plan. I don't have a desire to be thin...I'm not built that way and I love having curves and being "comfy". The desire that I have is to be healthy, to feel better and to have fun with my family again.
In preparation for surgery day, I have been on a liquid diet for over 2 weeks now. This diet consists of protein drinks, broth, sugar free jello, sugar free popsicles and sugar free Crystal Light drinks. I am actually VERY surprised at how well I have done on this. I thought for sure, I'd be hangry all the time. I thought my moods would be awful. But, I have no appetite most of the time. I do miss the action of eating...biting into a big burger or burrito, chewing and swallowing. I miss PIZZA! I don't miss sweets. I miss the habits of going out to eat lunch, making popcorn and drinking soda during movie night and what I miss most is eating with my family.
The changes that I have felt in my body over the past 2 weeks is amazing. For years, my whole body ached all the time, walking was very difficult most of the time and my energy level was non existent. Lately, the tenderness and aches have decreased tremendously and my mind is alert and I have the desire to be productive again! You can't imagine what that feels like! I feel like I have been trapped in my body for a LONG time! This is beyond exciting for me!! I am getting my quality of life back!!! I have always been SO blessed with love and happiness in my marriage and relationships with my kids, family and friends, but there has always been a void because I was so limited with what I could do with them. I am seeing that void starting to diminish. I know in time my body will shrink, my health problems will start to fade and I will be able to do the things I've been missing out on very soon. I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
Thinking about the future and what it holds is a very positive thing for me now. I know in time, with hard work and dedication my world is opening up with possibilities. So...here is a list of things I have to look forward to...
GOALS AND DREAMS OF A FAT GIRL...things I'm looking forward to.
Some are simple things that are taken for granted to most, but all are exciting for ME.
1. Being able to climb a ladder so I can decorate my house by myself.
2. Being able to climb stairs without a handrail AND carry something.
3. Go to restaurant and be able to sit ANYWHERE. No more "A table with a chair please".
4. Being able to fit in a chair with arms and not get bruises on my hips.
5. Go to events and concerts and sports games and be able to sit in the stadium seat comfortably.
6. Not worry about parking and the walking distance to wherever I am headed. Or a vehicle parking too close to me.
7. Going shopping without getting tired right away.
8. Fit in ONE airplane seat without my fatness spilling over.
9. Play sports with my kids. Show them that mommy is actually a very good athlete.
10. Show Sydney that it really isn't so bad to look like me. 😉
11. I want to go on more outdoor adventures...maybe even go camping. 😏
12. I want to go on trips and see all around the United States and other countries and not be limited to our activities because of my size and stamina.
13. I want to shop in normal stores and not in the plus size section.
14. I want to wear cute shoes.
15. I want to start up my own crafting business and bring in my own income.
16. I want to grow old with Mike and sit on our front porch, holding hands, drinking hot chocolate with the firepit burning and reminisce about our life together and all the happy memories we have together.
17. I want to watch my kids get married and have kids.
18. I want to play with my grandkids and teach them how to have fun, be thoughtful, always look on the bright side and smile. AND...be silly and enjoy a good laugh.
19. I want to be there for my kids for a LONG time to hug them, encourage them and see all their accomplishments.
20 MOST importantly... I want to make my family proud. I want to make myself proud. I want to prove to myself that I can do hard things.

I have no regrets. I am where I am right when I need to be. I have enjoyed the positives because I have experienced the negatives. It takes failure to appreciate success. My heart is full with love for all those who have been by my side, wiped my tears, cheered me on and assured me that things will get better.
Onto the next stage of the weight loss journey to fat girl freedom. I AM READY!!