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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Why WLS, part 2

This is the second part in an occasional series about why I chose weight loss surgery.  My reasons are right there in my short bio: my career, my daughter & myself.   My career was covered here and this post will be about my daughter.  This post has been brewing in me from the beginning but that won't make it any easier to write down.  Grab a box of tissues because I know I will.....

I think it takes a lot of strength to do what we do: willingly undergo surgery, have a foreign object implanted,  drain the bank account dry,  learn all new eating habits and risk it all to combat a lifetime of addiction.  To take this drastic step, I believe it takes a very powerful why.   Something compelling enough to keep us going to the gym, making good food choices, picking ourselves up when we stumble.  Day in, day out.  over & over & over.  For me, my most powerful why is my daughter.

This is a very timely post because my daughter turned 9 years old today.  Something the earliest doctors told us wouldn't happen.  My daughter is severely disabled - she is in a wheelchair, she does not speak, she is deaf/blind, she is in diapers, can not feed herself, she can not communicate, she has seizures.  Basically, there is something wrong with everything from head to toe: brain structural abnormalities, heart abnormalities, kidney issues, scoliosis and much, much more.  Developmentally, she is like a 4 month old but in a 42lb body.   I can give a long list of symptoms but I can't give a name to her disorder. We have no diagnosis and likely never will.  She has had 6 major surgeries and seen more doctors than I can count.  At 3 months old, her first doctors gave us a life expectancy of only 6 years.  Something like that definitely leaves a mark on your heart.  Just last year, the most recent doctors told us that she may be the first whatever she is in the world.  This also hurts.  My little family is completely off in uncharted territory.

The past nine years have not been easy.  I had a totally normal pregnancy - there was absolutely no hint of what was to come on that day she was born.  No time to prepare for the shock of it all.  It actually took several years to get a full picture of the breadth of her disabilities.  Even now, I don't think we know it all.  It always feels like there is yet one more crisis just around the corner.  I remember vividly when she was just a few weeks old and we went the Children's Hospital in Austin for the first appointment with a urologist.  I remember standing in the hospital lobby looking up at a list of all the doctors and specialists.  I was so scared.  I was so lost.  So many names on that board! A little over a year later, we were moving to Denver for my job.  We went back to the hospital to get a copy of all her medical records and I remember looking up at that same list of doctors.  However, a bare year later, we'd been to see every single specialty on that board except oncology.  And that was just her first year of life.

As I mentioned, I can provide a very long list of all the things that are wrong with my daughter and yet that list would completely fail to capture who she is.  She is the light of my life.  She laughs a lot. Even though she can't speak, she smiles and giggles often. She clearly communicates her joy.  She is very social & engaged.  She loves to be around people, she likes school, she likes to cuddle.  She loves Wendy's Frostys :)  Against all odds, she turned 9 today.

And this where it starts to get really tough.  She turned 9 today - she is strong, her health is stable, she continues to progress at her own pace.  Frankly, there is no reason that she shouldn't turn do I prepare for that future?  My daughter is the very definition of vulnerable.  There are a lot of bad people out there - people that could hurt her.  She can't fight back.  She can't speak up.  She can't say no and she could never identify anyone who harmed her.  And so this is my deepest, darkest fear: my daughter pregnant.  My husband and I are very clear that we want to keep her in our home and under our direct care.  I just don't think it would be possible for me to trust her welfare to institutionalized care.

A year ago, I could not envision my 69-year-old self capable of caring for a 39-year-old severely disabled daughter.  A year ago, I couldn't lift her out of the bathtub.  A year ago, I couldn't carry her to bed. A year ago, I couldn't walk more than ten steps with her in my arms. A year ago, it finally sunk in that I needed to take drastic steps in order to regain my health.

I need to be strong.  I need to live a long time so I am here to care for her always.  This is my most powerful why for choosing WLS.

what's your powerful why?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I am not cured...

... I was originally going to add "yet" to this title but then I realized I don't think I'll be cured *ever.*  This is just starting to dawn on me - pardon me while I catch up with the rest of the class.  Even though I'm banded, I think I will always struggle with food issues, cravings, overeating, etc. I'm now realizing that I'll never be cured of my food addictions or my desire to turn to food during stress.  Now I just need to come to terms with that.

I've been thinking a lot about yesterday's post regarding setting goals & endpoints.  Thank you all for your lovely comments!!  I find it so helpful to turn to this community for support, answers, clarity.  I spent a lot of time yesterday perusing new & old blogs - trying to get a sense of where I am in this journey.  Reading your stories, I've come to the conclusion that I'm not done yet.  Still not convinced 145lbs is the right goal but I know 165lbs isn't it either.  So, I've decided to set an intermediate target of 155lbs.  Once I get there, I'll figure out where to go after that.  Basically, I've decided to decide later.  Fabulous!  I could be a politician. :)

Since I'm not done on this journey, I need to figure out what is holding me back, address it & move on.  Its really not much of mystery to me - I'm eating too much.  Of course, too much of the wrong things....cookies, pastries, breads, sweets, etc.   So the question is: why am I stuffing crap down my piehole?

I believe I am going to have to address some my underlying emotional drama.  I've been rather hesitant to unpack of my baggage since things have been going so swimmingly for the last 60lbs.   Why get dirty if I don't have to?  There have been things on my mind lately that its probably time to drag out into the light and really use this blog space for what its meant to be.  I started this blog as an anonymous place where I could record my journey - highs & lows - but also vent those bits of me that rarely are let loose in my real life.  my emotions.  the good, the bad, the ugly.  the parts I am proud of but also the parts I am ashamed of.  This will be the topics of my next few've been warned! :)  Now, there is nothing truly horrendous in my past - no abuse, no violence, no salacious Lifetime-worthy drama - its just LIFE I'm dealing with here.

In the meantime, I'm evaluating other aspects of my banded journey & trying to get back to basics.  I'm doing something this week I haven't done in quite awhile.  I sat down Sunday, did a meal plan for the week & then went grocery shopping.  We're cooking at home all week!

Here's the menu:
(Hubs is very good about trying new things & we like to experiment a little.  Fun to keep the tastes fresh & seasonal.)
Sunday: 5-spice tilapia with glazed carrots
OMG! this was so good, super fast & sooooo easy!  I sliced the carrots on a mandolin & that was the hardest part.  definitely going into our standard rotation.  huge hit.

Monday: Grilled Chicken with Peach Bourbon Butter and Mixed Greens & Avocado salad
we stole this entire dinner right out of this month's Cooking Light issue.  it was ok.  It took a lot of time to make the peach/bourbon glaze.  Not fabulous enough to be worth the effort.  Salad was just ok, too

Tuesday (tonight): Turkey with Blueberry Pan sauce & grilled corn on the cob
this recipe looks promising - fast & easy. Blueberries are a superfood.  yum.  Never had much luck with anything turkey that wasn't a whole bird, so we'll see how it goes.....

Wed Spinach Steak Blueberry Salad
Eating Well had a "blueberry" series & this looked good, too.  Great way to use any leftover berries from previous nite...

Thursday:  no cooking.  Going to see India Arie at the Botanical Gardens & will just pack a picnic

Friday:  some shrimp dish...forgetting the details

I'm also going to add another hour of cardio back into the workout routine.
Here's the menu:
Sunday:  long bike ride up Lookout
Monday: an hour of kickbox
Tuesday: going to hit the elliptical for an hour tonight
Wed: kickbox & weights
Thursday: rest (but looks like I just scheduled a round of golf with my boss.  is that exercise?)
Friday:  hour of spin & hour of weights

At the end of the week, I'll assess & see if I get any results.  I leave bright & early Saturday morning for a trip to Asia.  I'm in Seoul & Beijing all next week.  sigh.


Monday, July 18, 2011

More hill climbing

Monday weigh-in: 164.6lbs
up 0.4lbs from last week
more bitching about this in a bit...

...but, first!  Had a lovely weekend.  Went out to a concert at the Botanical Gardens with some friends on Friday nite.  Great Louisiana sounds in a beautiful setting!  Saw Harry Potter movie on Saturday - LOVED it!  I'm a rabid Potter fan but I'm a little sad the whole thing is over.  sigh.

Did some more hill climbing work yesterday.  We were able to get a babysitter so just the hubs & I could go for a ride.  nice treat.  We did Lookout Mountain in Golden.  Its a serious climb - 5 miles at 5-6% grade & 1300ft elevation gain.  This is the same climb we did after returning from Breck but this time I was able to complete the whole thing.  yippee!!!! no stops!!!  Granted, it took me 53minutes (a far cry from hubbie's best time of 32min) but I did it.  Even just riding it a second time, I felt much stronger & knew what to expect.  Also, we don't drive out to Golden & then ride up it....oh no.  We leave from our house in Denver, ride to Golden (which is 12miles & mostly uphill) in order to start the climb.  Whole trip is about 32miles & took us about 3hours with rest breaks. 1800 calories burnt

Next, I need to tackle the actual climb in my upcoming race a couple of times.  That climb is gentler but longer...

At the top of Lookout is Buffalo Bill's grave.  Tacky museum & gift shop included.  You can get snacks at the gift shop and there are a bunch of picnic tables in the shade under the pines.  Lookout is a very popular ride & I think I saw 5x as many bicyclists as cars on Sunday.  The riders tend to gather for a rest at the picnic tables & swap stories.  As I was hanging out listening to the stories, I felt like I belonged there.  No one was looking at me like I crashed the party.  I wasn't the smallest person in the group but I also wasn't the biggest.  I was just....normal.  which is a segue to my next topic -

So, I'm stuck at 165lbs...and I'm not sure how I feel about it.  I still have 20lbs to goal but, I gotta ask, what is the right goal?  I truly don't know how to answer that.  It didn't matter much when I started but now I'm thinking a lot about how to define the endpoint.

Technically, I'm still overweight with a BMI of 25.1 but my waist-to-height ratio is healthy.  I know I could lose a few more pounds - I'm still flabby in my butt, back, etc.  Another 5-10lbs would put me solidly in a size 8.  But I feel good & feel I look good even now - so what's the end?


Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Sorry, folks, that I have been MIA but I've been away on vaca :)
We spent last week up in Breckenridge with my husband's brother & his family.  No weigh-in last week but here is yesterday's stats:

Monday weigh-in: 164.2lbs
down 1lb in 2 weeks
Considering the good, bad & ugly of my trip - a measly 1 lb loss is not terribly let's start with the good..

 - Breck does not suck.  It is absolutely beautiful up there - even with a lot of snow still on the peaks.  (People were still skiing over at A-basin on 4th of July. crazy!)  Plus its less than 2hours from my house...nice to go on a trip where I don't have to get on a plane.

- I hadn't seen my in-laws in about 2 years.  They were very complimentary & effusive in their praise.  So sweet  & nice to hear!

- My nieces, 10 & 13, have never been to Colorado or seen the mountains before.  A little strange to me since its my daily view but it was fun to see this amazing place through fresh eyes.  Another reminder how lucky I am to live in this beautiful state.

- I was active every day.  No lounging by the pool sipping drinks for me anymore.  I WANT to be out doing things.  this is new for me. We stayed at a nice place downtown & I hit the elliptical every morning for about 45min.  Plus we did a lot of walking, some hiking & even went horseback riding.  When my husband & I got back to Denver, we went out & did my first hill climb bike ride.  My 67-mile race is less than 2 months away & I need to get ready.

- Shopping!  I did another closet purge and let me tell you its getting to be slim pickings in there!!!  Especially summer wear because I haven't worn shorts in a very long time.  On one of the rainy afternoons, I hit the outlet malls.  It was SO great!  Its still a very novel experience to grab a bunch of mediums & 10s off the rack, have them fit & also have them look good!  I hit up Eddie Bauer for shorts & casual tops and everything I tried on looked so cute.  it was such a strange experience.  Before this, I would grab the largest size I could & take home whatever didn't look wretched.  Now, its a matter of picking out the cutest of the cute.  NSV - it was probably the most fun shopping trip I've ever done :)

Now for the bad....
- My band was sooooo tight.  Denver is at 5300ft elevation, Breck is at 9600ft elevation.  We also spent a lot of time hiking & 4x4ing at 11-12,000ft.  I could totally a feel the difference.  I did pack a lot of my own food so I had protein shakes, nuts, bars, etc but only a few nibbles here & there.
- Eating in public.  I did not tell my in-laws about the band & I was definitely getting some strange looks when we went out to eat and I barely touched my food.  Thankfully, we weren't with them 24x7 so my SIL couldn't inspect everything I ate.

- Daily PBs.  ick!  ugh!
- Even after returning home, it still feels really tight.  Sunday, I PB'd everything solid I ate....scrambled eggs, trail mix & shrimp.  gross, gross, gross

So, I'm back to liquids & mushies for a few days to see if everything calms down.  Given how little I actually consumed, you can see why 1lb loss is so disappointing. 

Back to work - its been absolutely crazy since getting back to the office.  Oh, how I love vaca......