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Monday, December 22, 2014

Looking Ahead: 2015

I'm part of a group of bloggers that are doing a 12 week blog "challenge" with 12 weeks of suggested topics. I'm pretty excited, as it gets me blogging more - and blogging a bit out of my norm.

The week 1 Topic is "Power Word" - choosing a power word for 2015. I had to think long and hard about this. Hence why I'm technically writing this in week 2...oops! I went over this a few times in my head. It was hard to pick just ONE word. I know others have chosen more than one word, or phrase, but I wanted to keep it simple for once. So I settled on:

Merriam-Webster defines Trust as:


 noun \ˈtrəst\
: belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.

So why did I pick Trust as my word? It's an area I struggle in. Trusting people, trusting the process, trusting myself.

Right now, my biggest issue is in trusting the process. Trusting the surgery process. Ok well, the surgery was a great success (I can't post any pics until after I see my family in a few days... They want to be "surprised" to see my progress in the past 5-6 weeks since they saw me last). I've had very few complications - and up until this weekend, nothing I ate bothered me. (Except green beans... ). But it's the after process. Following the plan is fairly easy - but my brain has yet to catch up to the fact that my body has shed close to 100lbs (weighing in at the surgeon's office today or tomorrow ...hoping that last 6lbs is GONE!). But it's an interesting mindf*ck to not SEE the changes unless I put pics side by side most of the time. I can't seem to TRUST that it's happening. Last night, I DID see my collarbone "dips" and a hint of collarbone sticking out in a "normal" stance... so I DO have moments that I realize it's happening, but  mostly...not so much. I know it's common, but I don't like it.

I have an even bigger issue trusting this whole running process. I do it. I literally put one foot in front of the other, at a pace faster than a walk...yet I can't believe it. I'm learning that I don't know how to pace myself. I'm learning that I can run much longer in time/distance than I thought I could, especially when I remember to pace myself ... but the whole thing? Mind boggling. Not a clue why. I know what I need to do...I know how to do it, I just can't seem to trust the process.

And trusting people? Well yeah. We'll get into that later, maybe.

SO... for 2015, my word, my mantra and my focus is on Trust. I'll probably need a few reminders along the way.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Fix You (4 Months)

Fix You - Cold Play
When you try your best, but you don't succeed
When you get what you want, but not what you need
When you feel so tired, but you can't sleep
Stuck in reverse
And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone, but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

This song, for a long time, has been a favorite of mine. Various reasons for that, but lately, it keeps creeping into my mind. I realized, I think I wanted to be the one I was fixing. And finally, we're there. As 4 months creeps firmly into view, I'm starting to feel like maybe this is working. Yes, I had my doubts. I still do, then I look at side by side pics. Less doubt there. (And a lot less doubt when I look at the money I've spent on workout stuff lately... )

Ever so slowly, this is getting easier. Most days, I think. Ok well, we're going with "it's getting easier". I'm starting to forget to eat. My sleeve doesn't always remind me - so there's that. Water? We're getting there, especially when I wake up with dehydration headaches. (And friendly reminders "did you drink your water???") Maybe I'm just figuring out the groove of "different".

I successfully navigated my birthday - dinner with my amazing friends (Mexican... duh) and then a night at the corner bar. Much debauchery, laughter and fun - it was exactly what I needed to ring in 38! Someone asked me that night what my most memorable birthday was. I really had to think - and by the end of the night, my answer changed to "This one". It really was awesome. Inside jokes (I'm a chicken!), singing at the top of our lungs to the Juke Box, laughing, lots and lots of laughing, The next day I went shopping and spent the day by myself - just what I needed. Happy Birthday to me... I got a new Kate Spade bag - hooked!  Finishing up the weekend of birthday, was a Jewish wedding with my friend Sheila. Navigated dinner at a wedding (beef!) and did good. It's getting easier, and better.

Birthday Pic

A few days after my birthday, I got a call my Grandmother wasn't doing so well - and I was in the car the next day, driving to Vermont. Navigated that well, too! (10 hours, 10 minutes, my best time ever! Not having to stop to eat was great!) I was a little worried about the drive post op, but it was fine. I made sure to pack my snacks, shakes, water etc. I did fine. Spent a few days in VT with family and was back in the Beach by the weekend. Gram and I did take her first selfie, too!

Gram's First Selfie:

Thanksgiving was uneventful. I stayed in bed until 3p (I got up, did a few things here and there but lounged in bed) and finally got ready for Black Friday (Thursday) shopping. Beads, workout gear, a few presents...all was good! I had to return most of the running clothes I got b/c they were... too big. What? Yeah... really. And it was such a good deal, I had to go back and get the next size down just to have. The "next size down"? Women's large. Um. what?? It still blows my mind. I don't even have the words.

The question everyone wants to know, how much have you lost? My (first) goal? Is 100lbs (total, including pre-surg) by Christmas. That goal, is firmly in sight. I see no reason why I won't hit it, and possibly be on my way to my 2nd goal. It's also time to admit that my hair is starting to thin. Not as bad as I've heard some say - it's not falling out in clumps, but it is definitely coming out when I brush it. I'm knocking on wood it's not "bad' yet, but I'm fully prepared to chop it off, if need be. I'd like to not have to - I'm digging the long hair, but it's just hair, it WILL grow back.

4 Months (less a week - the pic was last week....close enough?)
Week before surgery//last Saturday after a run (in said XL running tights)

So what else. Life...it's just passing by. New friends, old friends, they all make this so much fun. I'm so happy to have some fabulous friends that "get" this whole journey in my life. It makes things easier to understand, and to bounce things off of. I'm an open book to MY friends, but I love having those friends who truly understand it.

Oh right. And running. One day I'll like it, Well, enough to run 5 miles, right? I'm getting used to it, and start a full training plan on Jan 1. I'll get there... mind over matter at this point. I keep telling myself that. Surely it will work.

So... that's life 4 mos post op. I'm fixing me, and loving (most) every second of it.

And this last pic - I had meeting in NYC last week - and snapped this before I headed out. Felt amazing! I logged over 5 miles that day/evening in NYC. I asked the cab driver to drop me off a few blocks from my location, I walked to catch a cab 5 or 6 blocks after our event in Central Park, and was on my feet all night during event. It felt amazing to feel that good!

Monday, November 10, 2014

3 month update

Time flies... I had my 3 month post op appointment last Wednesday. There are still days that my post surgery time seems like a lifetime ago, and others it really WAS just 3 months ago. Lately it seems I can't shut my brain and thoughts off, but yet I can't seem to get them into a blog. I guess it's best summed up by saying that I let shit bother me, that shouldn't have. I had a bad day last week thanks to those things, but I really have amazing friends who made my day so much better. And I hit a raccoon. That was the end of THAT day.

Life seems to be a lot of working out, working, sleeping, hanging w/ friends, and kind of repeating that. I follow my sleeve blindly now, too. I've stopped trying to figure it out, figure out trends. She leads, I follow. And so far, we're doing really awesome.

1 week before surgery vs. 3 mos post op (79 lbs lost - 64 since surgery, 15 in the month leading up - hello stress!)

And ... 3 mos "head shot"

I'm feeling great. I've started running intervals and training for the upcoming Shamrock 8k. Really, 5 freaking miles? Lovely. But, I'll do it... I have amazing friend who will be by my side. 

Tomorrow is Veteran's Day, and I'm proud of all the Veteran's in my life. They all continue to amaze me, and I'm grateful that they've all served so we can all have the freedoms we choose to enjoy. There is, and always seems to be that one Veteran on my mind, more so as we lead up to tomorrow. While it's far from perfect, I hope he knows that I'm so very proud of him, despite the not-so-perfectness.   

I wish this update was more exciting - the thoughts swirling around will continue to keep me up at night, until I can get them out, I guess. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

10 weeks...

10 weeks.... it seems like a lot longer than just 10 weeks ago I had surgery. It's still very surreal at this point. I have to do side by side pics to realize the actual changes going on. And when I do that, I'm actually shocked. I also realized that until this journey started, I only put up pics of my jewelry. Odd.

So this happened....

Outside of that... life is kind of just...moving along. I've come to the reality the ONLY med I can take for stomach acid issues is Prilosec. That was a fun learning curve. And by fun, I mean it wasn't at all, but hey, lesson learned.

Every day is still a learning experience, and not always when it comes to my Sleeve. Learning how to live without feeling like I'm failing at something. Learning how to live for me, learning how to be happy, truly happy.  Learning that the past shouldn't define me, and that too is just a learning tool, it's nothing to live for and from.

I'm also constantly reminded that perspective is everything. At the gym the other day, after sharing my latest 4lb drop for the week, and the total, Joe decided we needed a pic of me doing lunges w/ the total lost. (66lbs... but you can't really do that w/ 5lb increments in weights, so we went w/ 70lbs). I picked up 2-35lb dumbbells to lunge w/ and said "OMG Joe, this is freaking heavy..." and proceeded to warm up with a few lunges while he was doing something. I had to put the weights back down before he came back..... Then, we did the lunges, he took a pic and I re-racked them. I said "those were freaking heavy" and it hit me. DUH... I just shed about that much. Holy crap. I guess it really WAS heavy... Also.... I need new workout clothes as it looks like I'm about wearing a dress in this pic. Right.

People always ask what I eat, or how much I eat. I admit, on that front I'm pretty boring lately. I'm kind of stuck in a bit of a funk - mostly b/c food isn't fun. It's fuel. And I'm learning I can't do bland any longer. I'm always spicing things up. Sometimes a bit TOO much - that's only a problem when you realize you can't drink w/ your food. I have to wait for 30 mins after eating to drink. AWESOME.... But - look for a blog post soon for recipes and my "hacks" on good stuff. I think I've pretty much convinced my gf to try out gluten free, low carb, non-dairy whoopie pies with me. I dunno, it sounds good. What that really means is we'll make them, I'll have one, and leave her with the rest.

Next week is my first vacation in a long time. And not a working vacation in Vermont. I'm getting on a plane WITHOUT any laptops...and going to visit friends in South Florida for an extended weekend. I can't wait! (Sorry Mom & Dad, I love visiting, but ya know... there's no beach and warm weather there!) I think I might have clothes to wear on said vacation. They fit last week. Wonder what next week will bring, hah!

So...that's 10 weeks. Time is flying. I'm learning. Life is good. Now ...for that running thing. Blah!

Friday, October 3, 2014

8 Weeks

Today marks 8 weeks (plus one day) since my Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery. Most days, it seems like it was either just yesterday, or a lifetime ago. I feel an oddly zen-like most days. Work is stressful, this whole process post-VSG is a learning experience, but none of it bothers me. Even the bad days aren't that bad. A lot of negativity seems to have been left at the doors of the hospital the day I walked in. It's weird - but so true. I wish I could explain it, but my only explanation is that for once, I decided it was ok to be selfish and take care of me, and no one else.

So ... 2 months. I'm back at the gym w/ Joe, and loving it. So far, 2x a week, but I'm hoping for 3x a week by November ...or so. On top of that, the running training has to start sometime soon. I can't lie, I'm dreading it. I hate running. I really, really, hate running. I guess I'm going to have to figure out how to like it for 6 months and an 8k, huh?

The big question I'm asked ALL.THE.TIME is "how much have you lost?" followed by "how much do you want to lose?" At this time, unless I volunteer the info, I'm not answering those questions. It is the ONLY question I find incredibly rude. I understand it was my choice to make my journey public, but that doesn't mean I don't find certain things rude. The numbers on the scale also, don't always show the actual inches lost, either. Now, there ARE people I'll tell and share the loss with, because they are genuinely interested in the entire process, not just the numbers on the scale - and they are champions for me. But I can assure you, if you ask me in a public forum, I won't answer.

That being said, yesterday I got dressed to go to the chiro... and didn't realize JUST how big my clothes were... oops!

Every day, I learn something new. Lately it's been that my sleeve (Lucille... as she was affectionately named in a bad auto-corrected text to my bff) really, really likes protein drinks in the morning, or really anytime she's unsettled. I on the other hand? Really, really don't like protein drinks. The sleeve is slowly winning this battle. And by slowly, I mean ... I'm grudgingly opening a protein drink in the morning and drinking it throughout the day as I need to. But it's all a learning process. The other day I went to eat some rotisserie chicken - which I eat often. Tried one bite.... gagged it down and gave up. Got a cheese stick, some marinara sauce, and some cashews. Tried a bite of cheese...no go. Warmed it up...no go. So... cashews (and protein drink), it was. Dinner that night? Non-rotisserie chicken, and it was fine. She's finicky some days!

I also learned yesterday at the chiropractor ...that since I met my deductible and my out of pocket max, I no longer have co-pays for the rest of the year. SCORE! My neck has been a trouble spot for the past few months...so w/ no co-pays, I'll be going in for regular adjustments and sessions w/ their PT/massage therapist. Yes please. They also told me a TENS unit and orthotics are covered. I'm likely going to see an ortho for orthotics - mostly b/c I have some fun, fun bone spurs on my heel and Achilles that always seem to flare up when I run... but still. I'm rather excited at this news!

So ... 8 weeks out...I'm feeling good. My energy is back - it came back around week 5.5/6. I hit a stall in weight loss for 2 weeks that was frustrating but getting back to the gym kicked that into gear quickly. I should amend that. I feel GREAT. I really do. I find myself getting tired a bit more easily in the evenings, but that's ok. I'm running on 500 calories a day or less, I'd say I'm doing pretty good!

We're headed into fall in the Beach - my fave time of year. I love the cooler weather and everything fall. It also means it's beading weather again and last weekend, I made some new pieces! So excited about that! My fave piece... I made it for my dear friend Melinda who's been by my side through this whole journey... and ummmm...had to make myself one!

The last thing I want to address. Please, please don't feel sorry for me. Please don't act like I'm missing out on ANYTHING b/c I can only eat a few ounces at a meal. This choice, when I finally made it, was the best choice. It took me years to get here, but this time I knew it was right. I was totally at peace with the decision. I never once thought about backing out. I knew all the risks. Even the day I signed my consent form with all the "possible complications", including death, I knew I was making the right choice. In pre-op, I had a total sense of peace. In fact, from the day I decided I knew I was making the right choice. Just b/c I don't eat as much as you, maybe ever again, doesn't mean I'm missing out. It means I'm NOT missing out...on life.

I'll leave you with .... Day of surgery vs. 8 weeks out!

For reference... Day of, 1 mos, 8 weeks...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Still I Rise

Still I Rise - Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history 
With your bitter, twisted lies, 
You may tread me in the very dirt 
But still, like dust, I'll rise. 

Does my sassiness upset you? 
Why are you beset with gloom? 
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells 
Pumping in my living room. 

Just like moons and like suns, 
With the certainty of tides, 
Just like hopes springing high, 
Still I'll rise. 

Did you want to see me broken? 
Bowed head and lowered eyes? 
Shoulders falling down like teardrops. 
Weakened by my soulful cries. 

Does my haughtiness offend you? 
Don't you take it awful hard 
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines 
Diggin' in my own back yard. 

You may shoot me with your words, 
You may cut me with your eyes, 
You may kill me with your hatefulness, 
But still, like air, I'll rise. 

Does my sexiness upset you? 
Does it come as a surprise 
That I dance like I've got diamonds 
At the meeting of my thighs? 

Out of the huts of history's shame 
I rise 
Up from a past that's rooted in pain 
I rise 
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide, 
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. 
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear 
I rise 
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear 
I rise 
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, 
I am the dream and the hope of the slave. 
I rise 
I rise 
I rise.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Transformation Tuesday

I was chicken to post this... but decided I needed to. For me.

Left - day of surgery. Right - about 3.5 weeks later. (The 1 mos pic was really not a good one lol)... some days I see it. Some days I don't. Most days the "don't" is in my head.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

One Month Check In

Wow, it's been one month (plus a few days) since I had surgery. Time really does fly. Some days I actually wonder if I'll feel "normal" again, or if this is the "new normal" and I just have to go through it with a smile and grace. Other days, I feel pretty great. Today, not a great day. Yesterday wasn't so much either. I was feeling good good into the week and had a busy week ... Worked all week, went to see Kings of Leon Wednesday night (and got home well past my bedtime!), hung out w/ a friend Thursday, and attended a fundraiser on Friday night (in the heat/humidity). Pretty sure Friday put me over. I drank plenty of water during the day and quite a bit during the event, but I'm still feeling the affects of being a bit dehydrated today, 2 days later.

It's all a learning experience. I think every day, I learn...or figure out something new. Yesterday I felt "off" - with a bit of an upset stomach. Although lately I've realized "upset" is really "feed me" most of the time. Hung out w/ my gf in the pool (Finally cleared for the pool!)... and was just blah. Got home, and pretty much went to bed. This morning, more blah feeling, and I realized that the upset stomach feeling was more than likely the gurgling of stomach acid ... oh right, and I hadn't taken Prilosec in 2 days. Note to self. Let's not do that again.

Friday was my 1 most post op appt. Cleared for the gym, cleared for more foods.... and doing extremely well. I'm already planning on blowing the 3 mos goal set by my PA for loss out of the water. I like to overachieve, what can I say?

Lots of people have asked exactly what Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) is, and my suggestion is to look online for a good description. However, I have 2 pics that illustrate things a bit better.

This is the procedure, in an illustration:

And this - shows the size of the bougie (tube used to form the new stomach, or sleeve), that my surgeon used. The 2nd pen down, the size of the pen cap, is approximately the size of the tube used to form my new sleeve. The doctor would have stapled around it, but gives the general gist of the size. Hint. It's SMALL!

I feel like there's a lot to say, but yet... there aren't any words. It's day to day ... learning, figuring it out, figuring life out even. I'm grateful for friendships, and grateful for friendships I never expected to blossom. Some days it feels like I left everything that was going on in my little world at some imaginary door the day of surgery and they're still at that door. Oddly enough, I don't want to deal with them still, so maybe they should just stay at that door.

Oh and lastly - and exciting for me - it's time for a blog redesign! Look for it soon!!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Things I've learned....

... And things people will say to you.

I can't believe I'm almost 3 weeks post op. I meant to do this post at the 2 week mark, but I went back to work, then had a really, really crappy weekend. I had no energy, didn't feel good, and it wasn't very fun.

So here are some things I've learned, and then some things people say to you. I know they mean well, but it's really funny. I think a lot of people miss the fact that I have: A surgeon, a PA, a nutritionist, a General Physician, a personal trainer, and a support group all around me giving me the info and advice I need. :)

Things I've Learned:

  • You will forever be drinking water (or some sort of sugar free beverage) all. day. long. In order to get 48-64+ ounces in a day. Sip. Sip. Sip. Gulping down half a bottle of water is out of the question. 
  • You will be tired. All. The. Time. Not the kind of tired you can sleep off. The tired-to-the-bone tired that you think might never go away. 
  • Currently, I can eat about the equivalent of half a string cheese stick. No I'm not kidding. 
  • Full, is FULL. And it's usually after the last bite that I realize I'm full, and uncomfortably so. 
  • Eating with kids utensils is kind of funny - and helpful in bite control. (Yes, I eat with kids forks, and on a small plate)
  • Some days you win, some days you lose. Yesterday, I felt great - especially coming off a horrible feeling weekend. The days before that? I started to wonder if I was ever going to feel normal again.
  • Did I mention tired? 
  • I eat 400 calories a day or less. Yes, really. 
  • Sweet stuff is really not on my list of things to eat. YOU try eating pudding, yogurt and "liquids" for 2 weeks straight. You'd be sick of it too. 
  • Peanut butter = love
  • I'd kill for some Mexican food right now. 
  • Some days I wonder if I really will ever feel "normal" again
  • ChicFilA has an 8 piece grilled nugget option. I can eat exactly one. Nugget, that is. 
  • No matter how many times you wash and dry your shorts, they are going to get bigger, and forget putting anything in your pockets when that happens. 

Things People Will Say To You: 
  • "You really need to eat more" (I wish I could, but when they take out 85% of your stomach, then staple it ... there's really NOT room for more, right now... it's small AND swollen)
  • "Are you sure that's enough calories?" Nope... I'm not, but it's all I got right now, and I'm following doctors orders. 
  • "You should get a lot of exercise, that will help." Yes, it will. But right now? I'm so tired some days being one with the couch is about as active as I can be. (On that note, I will be walking more daily... )
  • "How much have you lost?" (I understand I made this journey public, but for some reason, I find it off-putting when people ask me that. When I'm ready to share, I will share.)
  • "It's really not healthy to only weigh in once a month, you need to do it weekly or more." Oh really? Because my doctor was totally on board with my plans at my 1 week post op, not to weigh in again until I saw him for my 1 mos post op. And after that... it's up to me. I don't own a scale, and I'm not sure I'm going to get one. I can weigh in at the gym ... It works for me. 
  • "You're going to be so skinny..." Or healthy. That's what this is about. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Surgery Story

So ... the day of surgery... This was such a surreal day. I was afraid I wouldn't sleep well the night before as I hadn't the night before that. I slept great. I woke earlier than I intended, but got some final work notes sent out, and then... time. Nothing but time. I had to pack my bag still, and shower etc. I wasn't so much nervous as anxious. I was the last surgery of the day at 1:30p - and didn't have to be at the hospital until 10:30a. Finally the time came to leave. We got to the hospital, checked in and within minutes, I was headed back to preop. My parents had to stay in the waiting room for "about an hour". If I had any real complaints, it would be preop. I had to wash my stomach for 15 mins and then wait. And wait. And wait. I should have had an IV much sooner and my parents should have been with me. They waited almost 2 hours to see me, and were there when I got my IV. I'm not a fan of needles, but I'm used to blood draws now. The IV pole was to my left, and I noted that it was easy to get blood from my left arm (they try to use the arm vs. hand in case they need to give Phenergan for nausea), BUT I was ok with my left arm being used. I should have known when the  nurse kept looking over both arms and hands, and then put the tourniquet on me...and STILL had to tap my veins to "get one" that this was not going to go well. I was apparently holding my breath and making faces (there's a pic to this effect that I've yet to see) and my parents were highly amused!). She FINALLY got the IV in...and I almost passed out. I got clammy, white as a ghost and light headed. It passed, but I'd like to never go through THAT again.

IV in... and we waited a bit more. Dr. Fontana came to talk to me and my parents. As he was walking away, Dad said "please do a good job and take care of my girl", as he shook the doctors hand. Awwwww. Next think I knew, Anesthesia was there, they gave me a GREAT cocktail that hit me immediately and we were off to the OR. It was quick in the OR. they started putting electrodes on me, we were laughing a bit...and then  the doctor says "this is just oxygen, take a few deep breaths". The next thing I know, I'm in recovering and I'm moaning that it hurts. The recovery nurse worked quickly to take care of the pain, and I kept apologizing for being a wimp to her. She assured me I wasn't, and also taught me the ways of the PCA pump...full of Dilaudid. I'm sure I hit the thing a million times in between the 10 mins I could, but in my defense, I was pretty out of it and couldn't tell when it was "lit up" to be able to actually get anything. I spent about 3 hours in recovery - not because of me, but because my room wasn't ready.

Once I got back to the room, it was a bit of a blur. (That might be understating things...) My parents and Melinda were there - Dad left to go take care of Molly - and every time I woke up Mom and Melinda laughed at me. I'm pretty sure it was the effect of the Diluadid that made me funny. We'll go with that.

A doctor stopped in, I couldn't keep my eyes open and had no idea why he was there. I didn't like him though, that's for sure. I said something to a nurse at some point... and she must have passed it along because he came in on Friday to apologize - but I couldn't figure out who he was. He was upset I didn't remember him. Hi... Dilaudid, surgery, I pretty much forgot MY name.

So Friday was uneventful...lots of sleeping on my part. My parents and Melinda came in the afternoon ... and I walked some - slept some more... oh and Mel brought the BEST popsicles EVER. (Wylers Light Lemonade)  I really wasn't having much pain at all and wasn't hitting the pain pump must Friday morning. They took it away on Friday afternoon and I had liquid vicodin later in the evening - but my pain was really, truly, minimal. I couldn't believe it.

Saturday I was discharged around 1130a - and headed home. I took one dose of vicodin when I went to bed that night - but really, the pain was nothing. After that I managed it with (minimal) children's Tylenol. I lazed around on the couch trying to get in my water. You can no longer gulp..it's sip, sip, sip. I had some soup, pudding etc. My stomach can only handle about 3oz water MAX ...still.

My recovery has really been uneventful - in comparison to those I know who had surgery around the same time as me. I've had a little nausea - but I figured out that was because water and my sleeve first thing in the morning, not friends. I need something flavored. I have no idea... but I quickly figured it out. I've not had much pain, or soreness really. My incisions itched a lot (they still do now and then) but really... I'm just knocking on wood.

Friday I was cleared to eat "soft foods". I came home... craving a string cheese stick. I was all ready to do some damage...and damage I did. Half the cheese stick demolished... and I was done. Yes... half. Dinner was a piece of deli turkey with 1/3 piece of cheese on it, warmed up. I got through about 2/3 of it. Yeah... that little. My stomach can only handle about 1oz of "real" food still. Full is an interesting feeling now. Maybe not so interesting, but it always shocks me. One bite too much and I can totally feel it, and it's a little uncomfortable. It's an adjustment...slowing down eating, small bites, and learning what "full" for me is. Eventually I'll be able to handle 2oz and slowly up to maybe 4oz at a time.

First Dinner - before and after

I've been hanging out with my Mom - and having fun playing cards, we made it to the beach one night, and I finallllly!! took her for her first ever pedicure. She loved it. She's been a little spoiled - I gave her a smaller Coach purse I don't really use any longer as well. Pedicures and Coach, she might never leave!

So... that's what's been going on w/ surgery and after. I'm doing well - walking... learning to eat again... drinking my fluids. I'm ready to go back to work, and considered going back to work early, but decided I'd take the last few days and enjoy it - as the fall is shaping up to be a busy one!

I'll leave you with my favorite new saying - it speaks to me!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

You Find Out Who Your Friends Are

This is where the rubber meets the road, this is where the cream is gonna rise, this is what you really didn't know, this is where the truth don't lie. You find out who your friends are. Somebody's gonna drop everything, run out and crank up their car, hit the gas, get there fast, never stop to think, 'Whats in it for me?' or 'Its way too far'. They just show on up with their big ol heart. You find out who your friends are
- Tracy Lawrence

No truer words can be spoken right now. I'm humbled by the texts, calls, emails, messages, from  my friends. Humbled and blown away. When I made the choice to have surgery, I made the choice mostly on my own, and kept it quiet until I was solid in my resolve. I met some resistance, or jealousy, I'd say, but nothing that made me think twice. Hater's gonna hate. It's there, I can feel it, but ... this is about me. When I finally started letting the info out, as it got much closer to the date, the positive comments were overwhelming. I grew up in small town Vermont (no, really... 1000 people small!) and I smile every time I get a comment from one of the people I grew up with. There's something about home...and those connections that are always going to be there.

One of the moments in my mind, is having my parents sign my advance care directive and immediately scanning it and sending it to my best friend, Lee Ann. She and my parents are listed on it as those who can make choices in the case I can't. (Yes, I have an amazing BFF!!!) That spawned a convo with Dad about "what to do....in case....". I asked to be cremated and passed that along to Lee Ann. I'd not broken down in tears until her reply came: "You tell Uncle Marty if anything should happen, I'm going to need some ashes...we'll have our rocking chairs on the porch, damn it". Yeah. That's my best friend. Sister, really.

So. I'm a week  plus post op. What?? A week. That also means...I go back to work in a few days. (That doesn't sound like fun, but if you know me, you know I'm getting bored...and welcome it!) I'm feeling pretty good. Still a little sore first thing in the morning, in the longest incision (VSG is done laparoscopically, but one incision is longer for removal of the part of the stomach they take out), but the soreness isn't anything worse than a bad-ass ab day with Joe. The incisions ITCH like mad. (And while we're on that topic... glued incisions are... weird!). Other than that... I feel good. Really good. I'm knocking on wood daily and thankful that I've had no complications.

I had my one week post op on Friday and I "passed" with flying colors. The doctor was very pleased with my progress and gave me his blessing on moving to "real" food. Soft foods, but still food that requires chewing. How much can I eat? It's quite laughable, but when you've been on liquids for 2 weeks, it's GOOD! Lunch Friday was half a string cheese stick, and dinner was one piece of deli turkey with 1/3 piece of cheese warmed. I at about 2/3 of it. Lunch today? Most of the other half a cheese stick, and some marinara, both warmed. But it was so yum!

I'm working on a blog about the surgery itself (well, not the surgery exactly ... I saw a video before surgery I wish I hadn't, but the parts I recall and being in the hospital, but that was getting wordy so I split it up.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

This Is My Last Goodbye

I really have no words... but this works.

Last Goodbye - Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Long before your rusted chains
Busted walls and barb wire cage
Tried to hold me down

And time was just a fist of change
Tossed in the water just in case
You ever came around

I could lose myself
I could curse like hell
But I've lost the will
To even try

If you ever doubt
Listen to the sound
No lies, no no no
This is my last goodbye

Now pardon me if I appear
To see beyond the now and here
To try to save myself

I'm not the kind to pin the blame
But I can't take more of the same
Livin' on your shelf

I could lose myself
I could curse like hell
But I've lost the will
To even try

If you ever doubt
Listen to the sound
No lies, no no no
This is my last goodbye, oh yeah

Door closes
Another one opens
I feel the cold wind blowin' over me

Hey, long gone but not forgotten
I might be lost
I might be finally free
I'm finally free

Long before you're rusted chains
Busted walls and barb wire cage
Tried to hold me down

And time was just a fist of change
Tossed in the water just in case
You ever came around

I could lose myself
I could curse like hell
But I've lost the will
To even try

If you ever doubt
Listen to the sound
No lies, no no no
This is my last goodbye

This is my last goodbye
Yes it is, yes it is

Monday, August 4, 2014

Here's to Us...

Here's to us
Here's to love
All the times
That we messed up
Here's to you
Fill the glass
Cause the last few nights
Have kicked my ass
If they give you hell
Tell em to go fuck themselves
Here's to us
Here's to Us - Halestorm

This song makes me think of all the awesome women in my life. It's fitting...and if you knew my girls, you'd agree!

I think my last post (vlog) was... 40 days pre-op. Little did I know a few days later I'd find out that we had to move the date from August 11 to either the 14th or...the 7th. I wasn't waiting till the 14th, plus my parents have obligations at home that they need to be back for, and would barely have been here for 2 weeks. As has been happening lately, they are able to come down sooner, and work was ok with me moving my PTO by a few days. (Has it really been that long since I posted? Apparently...)

So today marks 2 days and a wake up until surgery. I'm not entirely sure that's sunk in yet - but I'm also on day 3 of my pre-op liquid diet. That's about as fun as it sounds. Strained cream soups, sugar free pudding, SF Jello, SF Popsicles and 30g of protein max, a day. Oh and lots of water. I thought it would be worse than it was - but I'll admit, I'm not sure I'd do this voluntarily. Although my girl Mel ... is doing it with me. Who does that? Oh right... MY awesome friends. (In her defense, she's been through it, had VSG and needed to kick-start a plateau she's been at.)

I think this is going to be wordy...oops! I have some really amazing friends. From my friend in FLA who's been checking on me all weekend to make sure I'm keeping busy and not thinking about the liquid diet, to Mel... who... well yeah. She's the catalyst for this whole process. She encouraged me to go to the info session with Dr. Fontana. My girls here locally for just being there... and of course. My best friend (let's face it, the sister I always wanted), Lee Ann. From the day I told her about this, to her doing her research, being scared, the email asking me if I was REALLY sure, to her undying, never ending support, I couldn't do this life without her. We've been through just about everything in our adult lives together - and I can't imagine doing this without her. That all being said, every now and then I'm taken back by snarky comments that come from people I care about. They are few and far between, but they always catch me off guard. I'm sure I should get used to that... as I have heard "it's the easy way out" more then once. Easy, yup, we'll go with that.

I'm already ready to be back in the gym with Joe. My last day with him. last Wednesday, was a bad ass leg day (yeah, he's mean like that)... and "before" pics. I seriously had a melt down thinking about the pics, and changed days we were doing them. Then, I cried most of the drive to the gym. In the end, it wasn't the most horrible experience I've ever had, but it wasn't all that fun, either. Joe assured me I'd want them one day, and I know he's right. I saved the pics and have looked at them exactly once. I'd be pretty lost without Joe - he's been the person to push me past my limits, to figure out that some of those limits were just in my head, he's been a therapist, made me laugh, been a friend, and most of all, supported my choice from day one. I remember asking him if it was cheating and he said absolutely not. He was one of the first people I talked to about surgery... and he's supported me from Day 1. So now my countdown after surgery is to be back in the gym, lifting.

I signed up for the Townebank 8k the day before the Shamrock Marathon in March. Um. what? Yeah... b/c we ALL know how much I love to run, so why not run 5 flipping miles. My girls are planning to do it with me, my sweet friend, Fran, who goes to the same gym said she'd be there w/ me for it (even though she's running the half the next day)... Lucky girl I am. Remind me of this when I'm thinking about running 5 miles.

Life after surgery is already starting to look busy. A 3-4 day trip to Boston & Cape Cod is in the works. a 2-3 day trip to NYC, (both work related) and hopefully ... a couple of personal trips to Fort Lauderdale and Chicago. There's been talk of a birthday trip ... as well, but now I'm not sure how to fit that all in before the end of the year AND make it home for Christmas. (Chicago wins out ... for the record! It's 15 years in the making!)

So... that's my update for now. Day 4 of the liquid diet in the books. Amazing support from all over... I'm a lucky girl... I can't say that enough.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

10 Things - updated

Shortly after the wedding was called off, I did a "Ten Things" post on FB. I updated it just about a year ago here - and I'm thinking it's time to update it, in part. This exercise is always cathartic.

Ten Things I Wish I Could Say to Ten Different People:

  1. (This one has not changed) You are the best friend I could ever ask for, and more. Neither time nor distance will ever be too much for us and I’m grateful every single day to call you my best friend. Thank you for supporting me, every single day. I can't do this life without you.
  2. I will always be convinced that our paths crossed for a reason, and I can't thank you enough for gently pushing me towards the start of my new journey. Thank you will never seem like enough.
  3. 15 years... it's just time, and I can't wait.
  4. I'm glad I finally ended it. It was... toxic. Enough said.
  5. While we don't see each other often - I can't thank you enough for the texts, calls, peptalk, bitch sessions. We must live closer, soon!
  6. You cross my mind all the time. Messy, painful, fun, smiles, frustration. All words I use to describe you and our interactions, and yet you're never, ever far from my thoughts.
  7. Our relationship started rocky at best - admittedly on both our parts, but I couldn't be happier at how we've turned it around and how much you support me. Grateful for second chances.
  8. Thank you for being one of my biggest supporters, for always encouraging me, being a therapist, and pushing me beyond the limits I think I have.
  9. It wasn't always easy, sometimes it's still not, but I am grateful for your unending, unconditional love and support.
  10. I'm so, so happy that things are working out. You're too far away, but that doesn't mean anything in our friendship. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

1st Vlog

So, you can find me on YouTube... well, I think and hope, anyway... (no pressure there!). And, I posted my first video on 7/1. SO much has changed since then... so much! But that's another post. Here's the first vid...eep!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Let It Rain

Let it Rain. Let it pour.
Let these skeletons darken my door
Lay the past in the graveyard with things they cant hold me no more
Breathe in deep. Let it out.
Wash the bitterness out of your mouth.
Threes no room left for darkness, when you’re filled with the light it comes out.
- Zac Brown Band 

In April, I was wondering where March went. Now...I'm wondering where all the time went! It's almost the end of June! Thankfully times moves fast... (I'm thankful for that for a number of reasons right now).

So a recap is in order, as best I can:

  • As of today I'm medically cleared for surgery. I had to have another mammogram. I'm grateful my insurance covers it 100%, no matter the reason or time, since I had my baseline in 2013. 
  • I have 2 more nutrition visits w/ my doctor. One next week, and one the week of July 14th. 
  • I've spoken with the case manager that approve my surgery, at my insurance company. Since I have a surgery date. (Oh yeah, I have a surgery date, August 11!!!!), and I'm, in her works, "extremely prepared and ready", she's allowing me to do my last nutrition visit a week early, so we can get the info to her so she can approve. She also told me that "with all certainty" she sees no reason she won't be approving me for surgery. It's all kind of real!! 
Now? It's a waiting game. And time, she flies. There's all sorts of other stuff going on, and all sorts of stuff that will be happening around my surgery that have me with mixed emotions, but it will all sort itself out. The situation is 1000000% out of my hands, so all I can do is smile, nod, put on a brave face, and say lots of prayers. (Cryptic, but I just found out the news today, still processing). 

So, how did I get a surgery date a month plus sooner than we thought? I didn't want to wait. I really did NOT want to wait. I'd like to have surgery RIGHT NOW if I could.  So I started looking at the calendar. I knew when my last nutrition visit would be. I knew how long it would take to get back approval, and I knew I had to see if my parents were available to come down in August vs. September. And I also had to make sure I could take that time off work. The moon, stars, tides and everything aligned. My parents were available. My boss was more than happy to let me take time off in August. I called my surgeon's admin (she's really so awesome) and gave her my thoughts - and it worked. Perfectly even. 

So that's my recap. I'm having surgery in 52 days!!!! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Where did March go?

It's April already? Yikes! My life has been a flurry of activity since February 19th. If you saw my day planner, you'd laugh too. I've had more doc appointments in the last 6 weeks than I have in years, I think! I've seen/been to: 
  • Info Session
  • Surgeon Visit
  • Lab Work
  • Nutritionist x2
  • General Physician
  • Pulmonologist (Sleep Study Consult)
  • Sleep Study - overnight
  • Psychologist visit
  • Vitamin/Protein Info Session
  • Diet/Exercise Info Session
That's 11 visits so far. Plus 2x a week at the trainer. Oh and work - that thing that pays my bills (and allows me to have the awesome insurance that I do!) ... Needless to say, I've been busy. I've completed everything I need to for the surgeon's office. I have a follow up Sleep Study appointment next week, and I have 4 more nutrition/diet visits left. That's it. That's all that stands between me and insurance approval! 

Oh and - Today marks day 19 without soda. Woohooo to myself, and to my awesome Aunt Kathy who also has been soda-less for 19 days. 

This feels like a boring update... but I needed to do it :) 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Lose Yourself ... Lose Myself... Lose...

Lose Yourself - Eminem
Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted. one moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?
You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime

I was almost song-less, a rarity! But I found a fitting one. Also a rarity, I'm not posting this on any social media. If someone happens upon it, that's great. I'm not hiding anything, I'm just not FULLY ready to hear anything "negative".

A few months ago, ok really, years and years ago, I started to look into Weight Loss Surgery (WLS). I had a close friend who'd been through it, and along with the surgery and weight loss, she also had lots of complications. I wasn't ready for it. Years went by, and I thought about it, and I wasn't ready for it. I worked out w/ a trainer, who in the end, discouraged me more than anything. I lost weight, and I put it back on. I finally found a new trainer (who I'm not leaving!), but it still wasn't all there. It's a battle, daily. In the process of all this, a friend of mine set up a girls night out, and invited a new friend of hers. Little did I know that in her mind, she knew that this new friend and I would hit it off. And she was oh so right, but I'm not sure she knew that his new friend, Melinda, would come to be one of my biggest inspirations, and supporters. Regardless, I can't thank her ENOUGH for the introduction.

Melinda has been an open book to me, and a huge support of everything fitness. She's gotten me to come to Zumba, and ready to make it a normal part of my life. She's answered questions that are probably weird and personal, and she's been a CONSTANT encouragement. AND, she introduced me to Dr. Mark Fontana, the man who is helping me change my life. Yes... that means I've decided to have WLS. To be exact, a Sleeve Gastrectomy.

Now, let's be clear. This was NOT an easy decision. And this decision was 100% my own, b/c for once. I am ready. It's not an easy way out. It's a lifestyle change. It's a tool. And importantly it is MY choice. Does it mean I stop working out? Nope, save for the few weeks after surgery as I heal. Does it mean I took the easy road? Not in the slightest. If you could see the appointments and requirements I have to meet pre and post surgery, you'd think it wasn't easy either. Will life be forever different? YES! Freaking yes!!

February 17th, I attended Sentara Weight Loss Surgery Center's required information session. The next day, at 9:10a, I was on the phone setting up my first consult with the surgeon. Based on what they'd said the night before, it would be a week or so before I could get in. As luck would have it, there was a cancellation, and I had an appointment for the next day, February 19th, with Dr. Fontana. I'm not a fan of doctors, but I have to say, I have never felt more relief as I did walking through the doors at Sentara Weight Loss. Friendly staff, welcoming faces, warm welcomes. I've been there twice, and the 2nd time I walked in, Kristy, Dr. Fontana's secretary and Navigator, exclaimed "Girl, it's good to see you, welcome!!" as I walked through the doors. She'd met me once before. February 19th, there was a new beginning in sight. Not a light at the end of the tunnel, not an ending. A new beginning! And with luck, that new beginning starts around Labor Day!

I'm beyond blessed to have so many caring people in my corner, that do know already about the surgery. My best friend took the time to dig into the surgery, what it meant, looked at pros and cons and while scared out of her mind, supports me 1000000%. The fact that she took the time to find the good (and bad heh) info, and dig into it, and go so far as to look for support groups so she can help support me, floors me. I expect nothing less from her, but I'm still beyond touched. I really can't do this life without her. My parents didn't flinch when I told them. They are 100% behind me. And they (at least one lol) will be here to take care of me after surgery. What more can I ask for? My trainer is on board - and loves my dedication. He tells me that he can see it in my eyes - I'm just ready.

So why surgery? Why not do it the "hard" way? I decided I was done being a spectator of life. I'm ready to jump in the middle and live. I could do it the "hard" way and work out and watch my eating and let is consume me for the next 4-6 years (let's be realistic here... that's a safe number), and let life pass by while being consumed with fitness and weight loss. OR, I could be consumed by life, and have fitness and my health be a huge role, but not the part that consumes me. I want to be consumed by new experiences and living. It's that simple. And, it's MY choice. There are people that I KNOW do not fully support my choice, and no matter what they say, I know think it's an easy way out, or maybe they are jealous. Who knows. Trust me, it's nothing to be jealous about. BUT, there are going to be naysayers. They're out there. Oh well, That's all I can say. Don't like my choice? I probably don't like a lot of yours. But they're yours. And this is mine.

And so.... I'm happy, happier than I have been in a long time. It only gets better!

Saturday, February 15, 2014


Gonna take every chance I'm given. Feel the wind through the open plains. Freedom is a gift, get livin. Go chase that sunset highway down. You got to get uncaged! - Zac Brown Band

One of my faves, I admit it! I love ZBB, as well. I saw them in 2012, I got to take my Dad w/ me, a few months after his stroke. We had amazing seats and it was a blast singing along w/ my Dad, rocking out to ZBB. This fall, I got to see them again w/ friends, and it is still one of my fave shows. 

Anyway, 2014 is a new year and this year? It's all (and I do mean ALL) about me. I'm done w/ selfish people in my life taking all I give, and more, and draining me. There are lots and lots of changes coming this year, and I couldn't be more ready for them. (Vague yes, but judgmental people judge, and right now? Not even remotely ready for it!). All I know is that I'm ready for this year, I'm surrounded by the most awesome friends a girl could ask for both locally, and all over the country. So many people in MY corner, and it feels awesome. 

I got to kick 2014 with friends, but made it home early enough to ring in the new year with my Mama. She spent 3 weeks w/ me while Dad and their contractor were working on demoing their bathroom and building a new one. I loved having her here, and can't wait for another extended visit! 

Most of my free time has been spent making jewelry, and getting ready to launch my Etsy Shop: M Kimberley M Designs

You can find me on Facebook too! I love the creative outlet, it's such a relaxing "hobby". Plus, it gives me time to hang out w/ my best girlfriend in VA, while we create pieces together! 

Hmmm what else. Oh right. The purple hair. I have an awesome stylist that indulges my whims, and even suggests even MORE awesome ideas. It started w/ wanting a purple streak on the side/underneath, and we ended up w/ 2 steaks, and purple in the (new) bangs. LOVE it! 

So that's my update. More to come, soon!