2 Months Post-Op!

I’m about a week late, but I live by the “better-late-than-never” motto. I’m two months post-op for my VSG! Within the last two months I’ve had several fabulous things to report:
1. I’ve lost a total of 55lbs (woo!)
2. I’ve gone from a size 22 pant to a size 12 jean!
3. I’ve lost an entire ring size
4. I’m getting great reactions from people I don’t see very often
5. One of my spare chins has left the building
6. Most photos look “flattering” (read: I don’t hate the majority of them)
7. My feet are less puffy looking
8. I’ve been invited to join the itty-bitty-titty-committee (sigh)
9. I’m in a men’s medium shirt from a men’s 2XL!
10. Over the month of September, I’ve had pretty spectacular food and workout habits without having to put much thought into either.

Pics or it didn’t happen, right?

Let’s talk about the first one on the left. That was at one of my most favorite wedding receptions EVER. I remember seeing this picture and thinking, “WELL, THAT’S TERRIBLE. MOVING ON.” and did some weird kind of mental magic to block it out. The one on the right is from a few days ago when my hair still looked fly AF after a long, long day working a wedding. I really love the facial changes here!

IMG_7287

Next, here’s some pant comparison-

IMG_7280

First off- these aren’t the largest pants I’ve ever owned. These are a size 20 pair of jeans I’ve decided to keep in the hopes that one day I can take one of those pictures where I’m standing in one pant leg. #skinnygoals BUT the top pair is a SIZE FREAKING TWELVE. I called my mom after I bought them to tell her I’d squeezed my butt into a 12 and asked when was the last time I’d worn a size 12 since I couldn’t remember. Well, I couldn’t remember because I skipped straight from a size 10 to a size 14 (thanks, high school). So, today I’m wearing a size I’ve never actually worn before. That’s nuts. I don’t weigh less than I did in high school, but I’ll get there soon enough.

One thing I’m really looking forward to is trying on my wedding dress. I know it’ll be nice and roomy now, but I think I’m going to wait for our anniversary to do that. If you’ve been around for a while or follow me on IG, you know the story about me not being able to zip it up a month before the wedding. Hello- worst nightmare. Busting my butt for a solid month to squeeze back into it was SO incredibly rewarding… I can’t even imagine how I’ll feel next time I put it on.

The last thing I’ve really thought a lot about this month is how unprepared I was to have to deal with feelings and emotions– I posted about this on IG a few days ago and got several concerned messages from random internet strangers about how much I drank before surgery, if I felt like I was out of control, etc. But truthfully, dealing with happy feelings, sad feelings, anxiety, nervousness, joy– all of that is usually accompanied with some sort of food or drink. We celebrate with a terrific meal. We unwind from a long day with a glass of something good. Socially we meet for drinks. Family time is centered around meals. Now, I can’t run to food. I can’t kick back with a drink.

THREE WEDDINGS now I’ve been asked by the bride or her family to celebrate with a drink- I can’t do that. This is a major life change! I do miss drinking. I do miss eating my feelings. Now, I just have to deal with them. Staring straight at your emotions is a scary thing. There aren’t any burritos or scotch to hide behind anymore. This is something I’m relearning daily. I’m happy to recognize it, but it doesn’t make it less difficult.

If anybody needs me, I’ll be working on a sugar free slurpee that’s taken up permanent residency in the fridge.
-Alee

 

 

Advertisements

23.65″

So far I’ve lost at least 23.65 inches. That is NUTS. I know it’s more than that too, since these measurements only start from 3 weeks post-op! That’s a ton of body that’s gone. I’m thankful to see it go!

This week has been significant in my journey for a two huge reasons:
1. I’m in the 220’s now
2. I see myself now

On the 220’s:
Back in 2011 Jennie moved the scale from her bathroom to our laundry room… I’m not sure if she was making space or had noticed I’d packed on a ton of weight rather quickly and was trying to help me without screaming, “DEAR GOD WOMAN, LOOK AT YOURSELF!” a subtle scale re-home is more her style. It had been months since I’d weighed myself but in my head I was still 180 something. When the scale read 220 something I thought, “gee, when did that happen? I should do something about this.” and continued drinking copious amounts of boxed wine and eating my hearts content of mac & cheese. I remember having conversations with myself that sounded a lot like this:
-If I get a hold of this now, I can get back under 200!
-It’s only 40ish pounds
-You put it on overnight and you can take it off overnight!
-How the hell did you put on 40ish pounds?
-Where did this come from?
-If you don’t stop this now, it’ll get away from you
Yet, it just rose from there. So, here I am. Back in the 220’s. That place where I really, really, really finally noticed I was gaining. It feels weird to be back here because 220s feels like I’ve made it back to the base of the mountain. Once I get in the 180’s, I don’t think I’ll know what to do with myself. My goal weight is significantly under 180, but that will feel like uncharted territory. 180 was my teenage and early 20’s weight. What does life as an adult look like at less than 180lbs? I can’t wait to find out.

On seeing myself:
If you follow me on Instagram (@lighterladd) you’ve already seen this. I went upstairs at work to curl my hair where I could sit on the floor. I enjoy a good sit and curl.. standing and curling just feels like work. No thanks. Mirrors aren’t fun. Most of the time when I see myself in the mirror I see all the immediate flaws and through years of practice I’ve been able to quickly shove all the flaws into a box into the back of my brain and finish whatever task I’ve started (doing my hair, fixing my makeup, checking clothing for stains/wrinkles/dog hair). If I didn’t immediately shove all the “bad” into a mental box, I’d probably stand there for ages picking apart everything that I don’t like about my body.
Anyway, Sunday while I was sitting in front of the massive mirrors in the bridal suite, I looked in the mirror and just saw me.
I didn’t see extra chins.
I didn’t see love handles.
I didn’t see giant arms.
I didn’t see back rolls.
I just saw me! I sort of wanted to cry happy and confused tears over it but I just really enjoyed seeing myself staring at me in the mirror vs. all my flaws glaring at me from their tiny box in the back of my head. What a great feeling!

IMG_6861

Camp Gladiator starts tomorrow. Wish me luck!
-Alee

 

Vacation & the sleeve

I’m finally able to eat pureed foods and soft foods. Let me tell you, it’s glorious.

Alex & I were able to take an impromptu trip to Colorado this week. We spent a few nights in Denver and our last day/night in Colorado Springs. It was so wonderful to get away. We’ve been ultra busy lately- his eye surgery, my VSG surgery, work going a mile a minute… we’ll just say, we needed it! When the mountains are callin’, ya gotta go.

The last time I was in Colorado was last October when Debi got a wild hair and a great deal on plane tickets. Here is a comparison picture from then and from this week!

 

Yikes. There’s that. I can’t tell you exactly how much I weigh in the left picture, but we’ll say it was at my starting weight. Between here and that picture there is a THIRTY SIX POUND DIFFERENCE! Holy moly! Just… insane. I see it a bit in my body, but mostly see it in my face. I can tell I’ve lost weight because my eyes and mouth have both gotten bigger. I forgot that happens when I lose weight.

Finding puree or soft food appropriate foods was a little tougher than I expected. Although, most restaurants sold some kind of fish and that was really great! Chick-fil-a also will make you scrambled cheesy eggs… this was a major win.

Anyway, much like all adoring mothers like to list of the things their babies love to eat, I’ll give you a list of things that don’t make me want to puke:
-avocado
-eggs
-meatballs
-cheese
-refried beans
-cottage cheese
-salmon
-tuna

I’m still having a protein shake a day- 60 grams of protein is REALLY hard to get in when you can only eat a condiment cup size of food at once. I’m working on it! When I can, I try to add protein powder to foods. It doesn’t always happen, but at least I’m really well hydrated. I’ve got that going for me!

In other news, several of my dresses now look “frumpy”. They’re baggy and look weird in certain spots. This is a very new feeling. I’m anxious to get rid of all my clothes because trying to find a dress this weekend was extremely frustrating. I’m not going to rush out and buy a ton of new clothes yet- but I’d really love to get rid of the ones that aren’t working.

True Confessions: I did buy a size XL shirt while in Colorado and a size L shirt at the Jimmy Eat World/Incubus concert. I had to.
-Alee

Last Night With A Full Stomach

Tomorrow is surgery day! I’ve been physically preparing for weeks, mentally preparing for months and hopeful that it would happen for lots longer than that.

My brain feels like it is in 1,000 different directions right now. Here is a small glimpse in:
-I’m SO sick of clear liquids
-Trader Joe’s should do peony sales more often
-I can’t forget to take my nail polish off for tomorrow
-Did I set an out of office message yet?
-Can’t forget surgical soap tonight
-How much water have I had today?
-Have I triple checked my hospital backpack?
-How am I going to get my industrial and tragus piercings back in?
-I wonder what the dogs are doing
-Did I overspend at Market?
-Why didn’t I buy that bag?
-Still tired of clear liquids
-I think it would be really fun to eat something
-When am I going to get my car fixed?
-How will it feel to wake up at 4:30 tomorrow?
-I wonder if I’ll lose any more weight  between here and tomorrow
-I wonder how many inches I’ve lost on my liquid diet

The last two days have been a whirl wind. I’ve been on clear liquids only and am REALLY feeling over it. Having soup in the full liquid stage helped me feel less blah about “food”. I’ve been living on these guys:

IMG_6962
Honestly, they’re not the worst. However, I’ll be happy to never drink one again. They taste like melted jello. Weird and thick. They don’t taste awful and certainly don’t taste great BUT 40 grams of protein is hard to beat. I’ve only felt hungry once the last two days. That is so bizarre for me! I’m used to feeling hungry ALL the time! They certainly aren’t a joke… they’ve done a great job of doing what they’re supposed to.

Nearly two full weeks of no nicotine, caffeine or alcohol and all I really feel is that it would be nice to have those things. I don’t crave any of them. I’m ok without them. It would just be reaaaally nice to have them. I definitely don’t need any of it- just sort of miss it. I don’t intend to bring nicotine back in, but certainly don’t want alcohol to be as regular a part of my life as it was before. Drinking and overeating are a very familiar combination for me.

On that note- 20lbs down as of today! 20lbs in 2 weeks! Wild.

Several people in my support group have mentioned that their last day pre-op was a miserable one. I feel really sad for all of them! Today has been a great day! I got lots of laundry done, had a fabulous friend help finish the housecleaning, and then went to spend the day with a few of my favorite people at the Dallas World Trade Center! We walked around for hours checking out makeup, clothes, jewelry, home goods, and my VERY FAVORITE- lighting! There’s just something magic about a good light fixture.

I’m tired, have new glorious jewelry and couldn’t have hoped for a better day.
-Alee

7 Days Liquid & 7 Days Left

My full liquid diet started seven days ago. I feel like I’m getting the hang of it! The most major changes have obviously been cutting out eating normal foods, no alcohol, no caffeine and no nicotine. It has been a busy, tiring and interesting week:

Day 1- Tired and underprepared. Cottage cheese late afternoon snack gave me life.
Day 2- Birthday party for a couple of friends including chips, dips, pizza, Jameson… All things that I love. It wasn’t hard to turn them down, just felt kind of out of place not being able to enjoy myself in the same way as everybody else.
Days 3 & 4- Busy and long days at work. It was difficult getting all my protein in between appointments.
Day 5- Better! It was less difficult being around everybody eating and drinking what they wanted. Getting the hang of timing my shakes right. Found some fabulous GNC shakes that taste like Starbucks drinks and satisfy all my pre-op requirements.
Day 6- Feeling great. Staying hydrated, having my protein and not feeling like I needed a 2nd snack or all of my soup.
Day 7- Bought 2 cases of the GNC shakes (treat yo self) and for the first time in a week, not having chicken and veggie soup for dinner!  Had a fabulous cup of Pho soup that meets the requirements (maybe a little sodium high, but I’ll be back to my chicken and veggies soon enough) and couldn’t have been happier with it.

I’ve been doing lots of mindful thinking. Thinking about the shakes I’m putting into my body. No, it isn’t an omelette and isn’t as fun to eat or as delicious- but it’s giving my body the exact nutrients that it needs! I’m also trying to pay better attention to when I’m not hungry anymore. I think that we’re all very used to just eating whats in front of us. Sometimes that’s ok because it’s healthy stuff in front of us. But- we need to be able to recognize when we’re done. That’s something new for me!

One week of full liquids and I’m down 15 lbs. Fifteen! Fifteen. How wild is that? I’ve got 5 more days of full liquids (shakes, cottage cheese/yogurt/jello snacks and chicken with veggie soup) and then the final two days are clear liquids only. It feels GREAT to step on the scale every morning and see it go down! I feel like this is a little taste of what post-op might feel like. I know every day I won’t lose and will probably stall after a few months, but it sure is nice seeing the scale get into numbers I haven’t seen in years. I’m now below my lowest weight from a couple of years ago when I was hitting the gym at 5:00 Monday-Friday and eating right! All it took was a medically supervised liquid fast- haha!

Last trip to the grocery store: I think on day 4 of the liquid fast I’d gone to the grocery store for more cottage cheese (story of my life) and saw some tiny cocktail spoons. One thing I’ve seen other weight loss surgery patients recommend is using these to slow down your meals! I figured, hey- why not make the tiny bit of cottage cheese you get last longer! Try these! So, I grabbed them. When I got to the register, the high school aged cashier scanned the tiny spoons. Upon putting them in the bag she said, “Awww, tiny spoons! Are you going to eat a tiny meal with the tiny spoons?”

Yes, yes I am.
-Alee

Food Finale & Liquid Diet

Wednesday was my last day to eat & drink whatever I felt like. Honestly, I don’t feel like I went as wild as I was anticipating. I picked up an iced coffee (unsweet with half & half) from Starbucks, grabbed a breakfast burrito from Sonic (no fries or tots, just the burrito) and headed off to class. I had a few hours of work to do before I could come home so, I stopped to grab a bacon cheeseburger and diet Coke at One and Only in McKinney. I was a little irritated because I forgot to get fries but wasn’t hungry after eating the burger.

Mid-morning, I got a call from the PA at the surgeon’s office. She left a voicemail about my triglycerides being slightly elevated and that potentially putting me at risk for post-op pancreatitis. Scary! The good news is that she said if I follow my pre-op diet, she feels certain they’ll return to normal levels and there will be minimal cause for concern post-op. Not exactly the call you want to get- but so far all my other tests have been clear. I’m pretty thankful!

My 15-minute drive home went a little like this:
-Stomach knotting up
-Worrying about going out to dinner. Will I enjoy it enough? Will I regret what I’ve eaten?
-Should we cook at home? Will I regret not cooking another big dinner with Alex? What did we even cook together last time?
-What if I can’t stick to my pre-op good enough and get pancreatitis? Other people are tempted to cheat on their pre-op diet, what if I do too?

Oh, anxiety… I was wondering when you’d show back up.

When I got home I sat in my car for a minute and thought about why I’d been feeling so anxious.
1. If I didn’t like the food I was eating for my last meal, I have every capability to get up and eat somewhere else. I love sushi. I love sushi so much I want to be one big giant sushi. I wasn’t going to regret it. I’d be perfectly content with it. It’s sushi.
2. We were going to be making a big pot of pre-op diet approved soup the very next day. We will continue cooking with each other. This isn’t the end of us cooking all together, it’s just changing a bit.
3. Taking it day-by-day, I don’t think I’ll be tempted to cheat. Tonight is a good friend’s birthday and the most tempting thing there will be a 750 of Jameson. However, this is two weeks of work for a lifetime of better habits. I can say no but I’m also capable of setting myself up for success. I’ll bring a nice pitcher of decaf tea. 🙂

We had dinner at one of my favorite sushi restaurants and then went over to Bar Louie for martinis. I never knew I’d enjoy a martini until I tried their Rat Pack- it changed everything. We went home and I had my last bit of alcohol and nicotine.

martini.jpg

 

My pre-op diet is significantly more flexible than others that I’ve read. I have a shake for breakfast & lunch. Dinner is 2 cups of a broth based soup. I’m allowed a snack or two that can be either cottage cheese, yogurt or sugar free Jello.

fruit water.jpg
I made the fatal mistake yesterday of drinking a smoothie mix rather than a protein shake mix. The major difference is the amount of calories and protein between the two. The smoothie mix only had 80/cal rather than 120/cal and 10g/protein vs. 20g/protein. Yesterday was stressful because I had booked an oddly high amount of appointments for a Thursday. We were also trying to help get Debs out the door for her Uganda trip. There was just a lot going on.

I felt disrupted because I didn’t stop to get my normal iced coffee (which isn’t a BAD drink- I just can’t have caffeine pre-op), I also couldn’t have any nicotine and I was way down on calories. I was definitely not setting myself up right. Last night I ordered decaf cold brew on Amazon (which arrived 12 hours after I ordered it. I love Amazon.) and made sure my other meal replacements had a better amount of protein in them. All day I felt like I was moving in slow motion and just felt exhausted.

Last night’s soup was great. Carrots, onion, celery, cabbage, chicken, small amount of egg noodles… literally everything you could want in soup. Although I felt dead tired while we were making it, it was well worth it! Something about soup from scratch is just the best.

soup.jpg

This morning I had a much more protein packed shake. I’m still missing nicotine and caffeine, but if that’s the worst part of this then I’ll be alright.
Cheers to breakfast, lunch and dinner!
-Alee

EGD-Day

Today was the day I’d been SO nervous about- my first experience with anesthesia.

Obviously everything turned out ok because I’m sitting at home and typing this blog post. No adverse reactions. No breathing tubes down my throat. Nothing! Esophagogastroduodenoscopy, or EGDs, are necessary pre-sleeve to ensure everything looks typical in your stomach. They are looking for any abnormalities like hernias or cancer. Thankfully, they found nothing- collective sigh of relief. Surgery should still be scheduled for the 20th, as planned.

In preparation for today’s test, I was required to stop all food/liquid at midnight and not use any nicotine products for 24 hours in advance. Everything was as expected until I woke up with unbelievable cotton mouth. I really, really, really love drinking water. I have a hot pink blender bottle that I use daily and refill constantly. It was SO bizarre to not wake up and chug water… you know, my normal routine.

Anyway, we arrived at the medical center at 10:00 for my 10:30 appointment. As things often do, they ran late. I think I was finally wheeled back to the OR a little past noon. Thankfully, Alex was able to wait with me until the doctor arrived and took me back! EGD Waiting Room

When they’d taken me back to the OR, they asked the same few questions again- name, birthday and what procedure I was having done. The last thing I remember was joking with them about the Z my first name and then boom, lights out. Next thing I remember was being wheeled out and asking the nurses what color I should paint the study… the study that we don’t have. Who knows what other stuff I said while I was ultra loopy. I was very sure I’d had the colors narrowed down and none of them would tell me what colors they liked best. I was irritated because I couldn’t get an opinion from them and then realized it was ME asking about colors to paint the study and that we don’t even HAVE a study! From that point, the groggy feeling wore off and it was just a waiting game to be cleared by anesthesia to leave. About 30 minutes later I was free to go!

We had a fabulous soup lunch at Panera and I came home and napped. My throat is a tiny bit sore but aside from that, I feel great. Much, much less scary than I’d anticipated. I think we always brace for the worst.

7 days until my liquid diet starts and 21 days until surgery. Not that I’m counting down or anything. 🙂
-Alee