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Friday, December 28, 2012

2 year bandiversary....and final post

Hello chickadees!
...or should I say chickadee in the singular since I'm sure no one checks this blog anymore?  That is ok - you've moved on and frankly, so have I. Which means its time for me to shut this blog down.  I've just hit 2 years since getting banded and this seems like a good time to mark the milestone, wrap this phase of my my life up and say good-bye.  In an uncharacteristically Chloe move, I am even going to publish pics of me & my family.  Hope you enjoy it :)
 
I know conventional wisdom is that people stop blogging about WLS because they've fallen off the wagon and gained a bunch of weight back.  Happy to report that this is not the case for me.  I'm still bouncing between 146-148lbs just like I have been for the past 8-10months.  I wear a size 6. :)  Still love the sound of that.


So, what does maintenance look like?  Funny enough, its not very different. Much wiser band warriors have noted that there is no finish line.  Too true.  I still workout 8-10 hours a week: sweaty cardio, some weights, yoga and more sweaty cardio.  I don't drink my calories - tea, water, soy milk & protein shakes are my liquids.  I eat my protein first - no pasta, rice, bread.  Good carbs and good fats like nuts & avocado.  I still plan out weekly menus & do most of our cooking at home. I still eat off little plates, just order appetizers at restaurants and don't drink when I eat.  I'm not nearly as strict with my diet as I was during active weight loss, tho' and I no longer track my food... but I'm still a sugar addict and always will be.  I confess to lots of xmas cookies.  Also, I drink alcohol a bit more now which I had pretty much cut out during active losing.

Words of advice to new or struggling bandsters?  I've learned that active weight loss is almost all diet-dependent.  Yes, you really do have to consistently eat clean 90%+ of the time to drop pounds.  No, you can't have a glass of wine or a martini several nights a week and expect to see smaller numbers on the scale.  If you are not prepared to pass on the booze, soda, chips and fast food then you are NOT.GOING.TO.LOSE.WEIGHT.  (yes, I am calling out Dinnerland, Tessie Rose and even Amy W...but they already know the truth of this.  They're just not willing to live it.)

On the other hand, I believe exercise is the key to successful maintenance.  It provides more wiggle room in the diet to still keep the scale steady.  I do think exercising does help during active weight loss as a distraction.  If I go to the gym for 2 hours then that is 2 hours I'm not near my pantry.  Plus all the toning really helps lift the booty and the confidence.

How's life with the band?  I knew when I shelled 10 grand out of my own pocket to do this surgery that I was ready and willing to make big changes.  I knew I could lose weight - I had a million times before. What I didn't know was if I could keep it off.  Now that I am maintaining, I find the band to be at its most helpful.  It does something I'd never been able to do on my own - it keeps my portions in check.  I haven't had a fill in nearly a year and I still can only eat a little bit at a time.  I think Cat just had a post about how the band helps level the playing field between her & food.  Yes. Exactly.  Ditto.  But as you know, the worst foods slide down so easily which means I gotta bring some willpower of my own to the table.  The band can't do it all for me....or for you.  Own up to that fact. people.

Any unexpected changes after losing the weight? A huge change for me has been how integral fitness has become in my life.  Somewhere during this process going to the gym stopped being a chore and became a relief.  Sweating became more critical for my mental health than my physical health.  My version of happy pills, I suppose.  My husband & I are just so much more active today than in the past.  We did a 4 mile Turkey Trot at Thanksgiving.  There is a Resolution 5k on NYE plus a Commitment 5k on New Year's morning that we're going to run.   A good friend who is a big cyclist just came through town and he'll be back in May for the Elephant Rock ride.  E-Rock is the unofficial opening of racing season here in Denver.  I was agitating for the 62mile ride since I doubt I'll be able to get much outdoor training time in before the race but the guys want to do the full century right out of the gate...that's probably what we'll do.  Also, I want to do the Copper Triangle ride with my husband this summer - 3 mountain passes, 6000 feet elevation gain and 80 miles.  Plus, I'd like to do an Olympic distance triathlon, do Venus de Miles century again, blah, blah, blah....

Turkey Trot 2012
Another big change for me is learning to deal with my emotions when I actually experience them.  I can no longer eat my feelings but have to learn to process them instead.  This is not always easy.  For days after the Sandy Hook tragedy, I couldn't turn on the TV without crying.  I would not have been able to feel that sorrow 80lbs ago.  But there are happy tears, too.  We just had a meeting with my daughter's therapist team at school and they were telling a story about working with smells with her and how strongly she responded to the scent of lavender.  The team was quite pleased to get such a strong reaction out of her since her responses are so limited.   Tears were welling up in my eyes when I told them that lavender is my favorite scent - I use lavender soap, lavender lotion, lavender satchets in my closet, etc, etc, etc.  I've planted oodles of lavender all throughout my garden and my daughter keeps me company when I'm cutting it.  My daughter is not mobile, not verbal and at 10 years old, she has the capabilities of a 4 month old.  She will never come running to the room, jump in my lap, throw her arms around me and say "I love you, Mommy." As a mother, I will never know this.  not ever.  So, it was a revelation that, in her own way, she knows me and recognizes me.  I would not have been able to feel such happiness 80 lbs ago, either. 

Learning to bare my emotions and face my feelings - both good & bad - has been the hardest part of the struggle for me.  I think it will be this way for the rest of my life.

How to stay committed? Other than wanting to still fit into the thousands of dollars in gorgeous new clothes I've filled my closet with (for the first time ever, I even let my husband buy me clothes), I believe all of us on this journey need a "powerful why" to help us stay on track when the motivation inevitably dips.  Getting healthy and staying healthy so I can be around to take care of my daughter for many years to come is my most powerful why. What's yours?

My daughter - my powerful why

Halloween 2012 as the Flintsones
My love bugs!
My 40th bday
Xmas 2012

Hubs bought me a great, sexy dress for Xmas!

What's next?  I don't think I'll ever be done with this journey but I'm proud to say I've met my goals and now its time to move onto other life projects.  Thankfully, the hubs has fully recovered from his medical scare over the summer.  whew!  My daughter's health is starting to get a little precarious, tho'. Her scoliosis has dramatically worsened in the last few months and we're facing spinal fusion at the end of January.  Its a 6-hour surgery where they will open up her back from neck to butt crack, fuse the vertebrae and insert rods, wires & screws to straighten out her spine.  After surgery, she'll be in ICU for a few days, then in the hospital for about 10 days, then home from school for 4-6 weeks and then recovery will take 6months - 1 year.  Its as scary as it sounds.  She's had several surgeries in the past but this one will the most extensive and invasive to date.  I'm a wreck!

Also, I am deeply unhappy at work.  I need to muster the courage to dream big dreams and make a big leap in my career.  My best friend suggested "ChloesClimbUp" and I really like it.  No reason not to act....look at what I am capable of!
Where I started - never going back!


Merry Christmas.
Happy New Year.
Wishing you success, peace & joy.

Cheers,
chloe





Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Emotional fallout

In the last few posts, I updated you guys on all the medical drama with hubs.  You might be wondering how I have reacted to the craziness & what its done to my weight....this is a WLS blog. after all.  I am an admitted emotional & stress eater and there has been way too much of both in recent weeks which has lead to way too many sugary sweets.

So, can I still fit into all my fabulous clothes? 
Yes.
I am currently bouncing between 146-148lbs. Like I have been for many months.
To go through such an emotional roller coaster & not gain a pound.  wow.  For me, that is an NSV (although its one I wished I'd never had to experience).

I'm not eating perfect - lots of sugar plus carbs have crept back in - but I still follow the band basics like protein first, don't drink your calories & eat small portions often.   Nuts & greek yogurt are entire food groups for me.  In a perfect world after plastics, I'd probably weigh about 3-5lbs less but it is what is.  If you get to that perfect world, send me a postcard because I soooooo do not live there.

The other basic I still stick to is exercise.  In fact, I do truly believe exercise is what kept me sane.  I would spend all day in the hospital sitting by my husband's bedside & then go home to run 5 miles.  Headphones, deep breaths, pounding of my heart and the world would temporarily melt away.  He'd get out of surgery and I'd hop on my bike.   Once I got back to the office & struggled getting back in my regular routine, I headed back to my beloved kickboxing and yoga.  Working out went from being a chore to a reward.  Surprising to say, of everything, yoga was the most important exercise for me during this time.  I always felt rejuvenated & resilient after yoga...like I could face one more day and handle whatever happened next.  Salvation through sweat, my friends. 

I feel different now.   Even after I got to goal with the band, I felt like I was a fraud.  A fat girl hiding in a skinny suit.  Actually, I didn't see myself as skinny at all.  I still saw bloated & puffy. I felt like anything could come out of the blue, knock me off my game & I'd pork out instantly.  I don't feel like that anymore.  I was fat for 10 years - obesity claimed my 30s - but I now I view that decade as an aberration.  Not the normal me.  For the first time (maybe ever), I feel like this - right now - is the real me.  Its a powerful experience.    I stared down a crisis and made it my bitch....plus I can rock a size 6 dress & 4" heels.

Next up for me is a big road race at the end of this month.  Last year, I did my first ever road race - a metric century of 100km.  This year I am going to do the same race but the full century - 100 miles.  Yikes!  I did a 70mile ride on Saturday and it got rough.  The last 30miles, my legs were cramping so bad.  It was rather frustrating because I felt like my body is strong enough to do this ride but I gotta figure out how to fuel & hydrate better.  Tonight I'm going to "reward" myself with a 40mile easy ride.  :)

Update on hubs...he's doing better but bored out of his mind at his parent's house back in Kansas.  He's now about 6 weeks out of surgery and starting to resume activities slowly.  He still gets headaches but they don't seem to be as bad.  Honestly, I wish he'd stay in Kansas a few more weeks until school starts for the kid because once he gets back to Denver, child care is pretty much all on him.  I work during the day or travel & the kid will be home all day.  But he's bored and I haven't seen the kid since mid-June.  Yesterday was her 10th birthday.  Sniffle.  They are coming home Saturday :)

cheers,
chloe


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

the saga continues

...all the events I described in my last post happened about a month ago so let me catch you up with the rest.  After the second surgery, hubs spent one nite in the hospital & then they sent him home.  With 2 sets of staples in head & a 4" long incision down the back of his neck.  My hubs is very tall - 6'4" - and with a newly shaven head he did remind me a little of Frankenstein.  don't ever tell him I said that!

This has been a very long, messy year for us so far.  Let me recap:  in February, my daughter had a procedure that did not go well & she ended up on a feeding tube for several months.  VERY stressful!  I had my own extensive surgery on May 1.  VERY stressful!  My daughter had just gotten off the feeding tube & I was starting to recover when the downward spiral for the hubs began.  VERY stressful.  But wait!  There's more!  Right around my hubs' first surgery, my daughter had an appt to see a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.  Her scoliosis has gotten very bad (up to 20% curvature, docs say don't worry; 20-40% curvature, docs say watch but don't do anything; beyond 40% curvature, docs say its bad and surgery is likely. my daughter has a curvature of 60%.  seriously).    The curvature is starting to impact her internal organs and it only gets worse from here.  Even tho' she's just about to turn 10, she's already had several surgeries but this will be the most extensive.  the most scary.  Basically, they will cut her open from neck to butt crack in order to put in rods, screws & wires to fuse her spine as straight as possible.  They may even fuse her hips as well.  Imagine the recovery process from that!   Knowing how long it took to get this appt, I left my hubs in one hospital and took my daughter over to Children's Hospital.  I was trying to mentally prepare myself for the likelihood that I had surgery in May, hubs having multiple surgeries in June & my daughter would have a huge surgery in July.  trying & failing to prepare for that possibility.  VERY stressful!!!  Thankfully, doc said that yes, she will definitely need fusion surgery but her scoliosis seems to have stabilized and surgery is not imminent.  HUGE sigh of relief.  I know its coming, but tomorrow is another day, Scarlett.  I'll worry about that later.

By the time he got home, I was spent....but I had to return to work (hello, sole breadwinner & provider of health insurance!) plus I had to now figure out to care for our daughter.  For better or worse, my little family is rather fragile.  brittle.  We only work as a family unit if both my husband & I are shouldering our respective responsibilities.  I pay the bills & he cares for our daughter.  But in his condition, he is not able to carry his weight.  I  know myself well enough to know that I can't cover day-to-day care for the kid and work and travel and stay sane for any period of time.

We have no family in Denver so I did something very hard - I called my sister-in-law in Kansas City & asked if she could take my daughter for a few weeks.  Nerve wracking for both of us.  She's never watched the kid for more than a few hours.  However, she is a nurse & is working as a school nurse right now which means she has the summer off.  For me, I'm making the decision to split up my family.  I have to send my daughter away because I don't trust my husband not to half-ass his recovery.  I believe that if she was around, he would try to do too much, too soon and likely do more damage or prolong his recovery.  He can't do that - he needs to get back to 100% ASAP so we can move onto my daughter's spinal fusion.  After much discussion (and annoying drama with his extended family), my daughter is sent to KC.  As of right now, I haven't seen her in about a month.  I can't describe how deep that cuts.

After the second surgery, he's home for a few days before I have to get back to work & back on the road.  Sales meeting in London I have to attend.  Tired just reading this?  I was a mess & operating on sheer stubbornness and adrenaline by this point.  Traveling is distracting - in good ways & bad.  As crazy as it was to hop a plane to the UK at that moment, it was good for me in a way.  I got some distance (literally) and could take a deep breath for the next hurdle: recovery.

Two weeks after the second surgery, he had a follow-up with the surgeon.  A CT scan soon after the first surgery still showed blood on his brain & he was still having headaches.  It was feeling like we had been through a lot but it hadn't worked.  fuck!  Doc said its now a waiting game - it takes time for the blood to dissipate & of course, he's still having headaches....they just cut open his neck & head. duh.  those incisions need to heal before we'll know if the leaking has stopped.

Truth is is that I am not a particularly nurturing person & we've had so much drama this year that my reserves are all gone.  I know he will require a long recovery but I don't have it in me to provide it.  Also, his mom is too sickly to come out to Denver because of the altitude.  Through all of this, she's been back in her tiny Kansas town freaking out (his dad came out for a few days to help but ended up staying over three weeks.  in my 900 sq ft house.  with one bathroom.  VERY stressful!!!!).  So, I totally guilted him into going back home so his mother could spoil him.  He wasn't keen on going.  I didn't give him a choice.

Right now, he's been back in Kansas for about 2 weeks and hanging out with the kid in his hometown.  He's feeling better and hasn't had any headaches for a few days.  He is behaving himself and letting other people care for the kid.  Next step is to ramp up his activity bit by bit and see how he reacts.  Keep your fingers crossed that he continues to improve.

I'm in Denver now. I was gone on a business trip when family friends with a private jet came to take him back to Kansas.  When I got home to an empty house, I collapsed on the couch.  utterly spent.  an empty shell.  This has been a such an emotionally difficult time for me.....coming face to face with some of my worst fears.  While he was in ICU, I asked him what he would take away from this too-near brush with death.  He just kinda blinked at me with that "what'cha talkin' 'bout, Willis?" look.  Not a deep thinker or particularly reflective man so I doubt he'll take much from this experience.  But wouldn't you know, I'm having trouble processing it all.......

However, that is the subject of the next post....

cheers,
chloe












Monday, July 23, 2012

Serious, scary shit

Hello all,
I've posted pretty regularly in the year and half since I got the band and then -poof!- disappear for over a month.  Miss me?  Worry about me?  Well, you should worry - there's been some scary shit going on in my life.  My husband nearly died.  no joke. no laughing matter. no shit.

I'm sure this will take a couple posts to get fully caught up so lets get it going.....

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my husband has been having headaches since about Easter.  These headaches are positional which means they are a little better when he's laying down & much worse when he's upright.  Turns out these headaches are caused by leaking spinal fluid.  Over the course of a few months, we got kicked from specialist to specialist, test to test & treatment to treatment.  Then things went to bad to worse to dire in just a few short days.

He was leaking so much fluid that his brain was scraping around inside his skull and it caused a subdural hematoma - or bleeding in the brain.   He was already in the hospital due to dehydration & for pain management and was scheduled for surgery to plug up the holes.  However, the afternoon before surgery, the doc came by on rounds and felt my husband was "sicker than he should be for this issue" and ordered a CT scan out of curiosity.  Thank goodness for his suspicions!   The operating plan quickly changed from plug the leak to drilling holes in skull to relieve the pressure and flush out the blood.  That morning before surgery, I could not rouse my husband at all.  Shaking him, yelling at him, slapping his face - none of it produced any response.  I do truly believe that if he hadn't already been in the hospital and that if the surgeon hadn't been suspicious, then he would have likely slipped into a coma that day and I'm not sure we would have gotten him back.  Also, its difficult to think what might have happened if they'd gone ahead and done the original procedure to open up his spine with an undetected brain bleed. <<insert panic here>>

That morning was probably the scariest of my life....and considering everything I've been through with my daughter that is saying a lot!  The anesthesiologist mentioned that this was the most unusual case he'd ever seen.  great.  As they were wheeling him off the operating room, the pre-op nurses started giving us hugs & I could the tears in their eyes.  wtf? <<insert panic here>>  After seeing that, I walked about 10 steps before completely melting down and falling to pieces.  I am never a mess & I rarely cry but in that moment I was a bawling disaster.  <<insert panic here>>

After brain surgery, he spent a few days in ICU where he was markedly better - although he did lose about 5 days. doesn't remember them at all but he was speaking & eating again.  One week after the dealing with the blood in his brain, he went back under so the docs could try to plug up the leaks.  Films had shown the leaks were really high up in his neck at C2-C3.  Doc opened him up there (yikes!) but couldn't actually find any holes or source of the leaks.  fuck. He went ahead & pumped him full of superglue as a shot in the dark.  Now we wait and see if that did any good...

gotta run but I'll post more tomorrow.
cheers,
chloe

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I am released

Had my one month (technically 5 week) visit with my surgeon yesterday & I am officially released back into the wild.  yippee!!!  I can return to the gym.  I can have a bubble bath.  I can ditch the compression garment. I can wear any bra I like.  so relieved.

Sweating & soaking are my two favorite was to de-stress and, oh, how I have missed them since May 1.  I was ridiculously excited last night to once again pack up my gym bag & leave it next to my purse by the front door.  I even remembered to grab it this morning.  :)  His advice is to start slow so no kickboxing or weights right out of the gate.  I'm going to Zumba tonight - I am sooooo ready to shake my groove thing & get my sweat on!!!

The doc also checked out the area on my right upper back where I was afraid I had ripped open the incisions.  Nope!  It was just a staple & a suture that were trying to get expelled.  The nurse pulled them out & they are already starting to look better.  phew!   After 5 weeks, most of my swelling has gone down - you can even see my port again! - although the area right along the low body lift incision is still pretty numb.

With the lack of exercise, stress & crappy eating, my weight has crept up.  no surprise. I weighed myself this morning for the first time in a long time to assess the damage.  150.4lbs.  After surgery, I'm guessing that my ideal weight is now 143-145lbs.  Feels good to have a new goal (again).

As for the rest of the craziness in my life.....
 - my daughter goes in for a swallow study tomorrow.  If it the test goes reasonably well, then she should able to ditch the NG feeding tube.  I admit that I always hated the idea of the feeding tube, fought against it in the first place and am anxious for it to be gone.  I did a lot of negotiating with the docs before they ordered the feeding tube around what it takes for her to get off it.  Docs are always quick to prescribe some new thing but they never seem to think through how to end that thing.  sigh.  Keep your fingers crossed!

- Hubs is still the same.  Father-in-law originally planned to stay for just a few days but ended up staying another week to help out.  FIL is a great guy but his visit is going on two weeks.  (another reason I'm thrilled to be going back to the gym).  Hubs has a CT scan scheduled for Thursday.  Hoping that this definitely shows where the problem is so we can address it aggressively.  I'm out of patience.  Keep your fingers crossed!

cheers,
chloe

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I'm so STRESSED!

I'm about to go off on a long vent so if you don't feel like losing the next 20minutes of your life, by all means, click away.  However, if you want to join me on this rant then read on...

I am very frustrated.  My husband has had a headache since Easter.   On Good Friday, he was perfectly fine but by the Monday after Easter he was a mess.  Its a positional headache which means it gets worse when he stands or sits up.  This is not your garden variety headache, hangover or even migraine - at times the pain is so bad that he pukes.  Basically, he sprung a leak in his spinal column and is leaking spinal fluid which causes the brain to rest directly on the skull.   Its a relatively rare condition and is known to just spontaneously happen.   After about a week of no improvement, hubs went to the doctor who sent him to the ER.  They ran some tests, tried some stuff, gave him a painkiller and sent him home.  Over the next few weeks, nothing got better so he'd call the doc who just prescribed him escalating painkillers...and then anti-inflammatories....and then anti-depressants.  grrr.  After nagging from me, hubs pressed to doc to get referred to Neurology.  He called to make appt with Neuro dept but they wouldn't be able to see him until end of June.  wtf??? After nagging from me, hubs was able to get a quicker consult with Neuro.  During all these weeks, all hubs can do is lie on the couch with an icepack & a pile of pills.

Between travel for work & my own surgery, I could not attend any of the early dr appts but I was able to go to Neuro.  So glad I did.  The hubs is just too nice & is such a male.  He never really communicates the level of pain he's in or the impact it has on his daily routine (like taking care of our daughter) which makes it easy for the doc to not take him seriously & just brush him off.  HOWEVER! I don't mind being a bitch and have no problem browbeating the Neurologist (who I was not impressed by and did not like.  She's only seen 4 cases of this condition in a 20year career & is basically useless).  She tried to brush me off with a line about how medicine is not an exact science.  Really?  Believe me, after dealing with a severely disabled child for nearly 10 years, I am well acquainted with that fact and nothing about this appointment has changed my opinion.  Silly woman.  So, what happened at the Neuro appt?  She ordered some tests, prescribed yet another painkiller and sent him home. grr.

With this background, here is my frustration......it was about 10days after Neuro that hubs even made appts to get the tests scheduled & he only did that after nagging from me.  Notice a trend???  He's been in pain for nearly 2 months now - 1/6th of 2012 he has spent lying on the couch.  Where is the urgency to get this fixed??  I've read a couple papers about this condition online & there was this one story about a guy who had daily headaches for 13 YEARS but when he finally had something done he felt relief in 5 minutes.  Touching story, right?  Bull!!! When I read that paper, I thought that guy was the biggest idiot.  He wasted 13 years of his life.  What a pointless, useless expenditure of energy.  My husband does not have the luxury.

For better or worse, we have a finely balanced, fragile & brittle way of managing our family life and it *only* works if each of us meets our responsibilities.  Lord knows I'm not asking him to bring home a paycheck but I'm not in a position to cover primary care for our daughter.  Case in point - our daughter has had a feeding tube in since February.  At her school, only the nurse can do feeding tube feedings but the nurse is only at school twice a week which means the other 3 days hubs has to drive up to school to feed her which take about 90min.  With this headache, that was excruciatingly painful but she has to be fed & I can't leave the office that much to do it.   Also, we are trying to wean her off the blasted NG feeding tube so it doesn't become permanent but this requires he feed her by mouth and he has to sit up for that - but its too painful so its just easier for him to hit the "on" button on the pump and lay back down.  Other things he has to do is change her diaper, get her in & out of bed, get her in & out of her wheelchair, bathe her, etc, etc, etc.   blah, blah, blah

I offered to bring a nurse to help him out but he declined.  I offered to bring family out but he declined.  I offered to send them back to his family in Kansas but he declined.  Finally, his parents got so worried about everything & this week summer vacation started which means she's home full time now that his father just drove out on Saturday to care for her.  Right now, hubs is proceeding through a series of tests to determine where the actual leak is which then allows the docs to inject blood close to the leak in the hopes that the blood clots & plugs the hole.  This is the treatment of choice for this condition; it is effective and relief can be immediate & permanent.   These tests & treatments certainly involve needles in the back but no knives.  These things can all be done in the office & don't even require he goes under.  I get that hubs is less than keen about needles in his spine but doing nothing but laying on the couch isn't really working either.

I want to shout at him: "get over it & get it fixed!!!" I'm not mad at him for getting sick but I am truly frustrated about how he has reacted and failed to drive to resolution.  We know from dealing with our daughter's medical issues that if you're not driving bus then nobody is.  He got the MRI done last night & next up is a CT scan.  I asked him this morning when that was scheduled and he looked at me like I'd sprouted a second head.  If he was really on the ball, he could have had an MRI in the morning, a CT scan in the early afternoon & blood patch by end of day. Shit - he could have been done with this by dinnertime.  So why the fuck isn't he trying to make that happen???? GRRRRR!!

I am a stress eater.  Yup, you can imagine what my eating has been like lately.  mmmm, sugar - my drug of choice.

I'm still only about 4 weeks out from my own extensive surgery.  Yup, you can imagine how well I'm following doctor's orders to rest & not do too much.  This past weekend I did waaaay too much.  I'm less "healed & sealed" than I thought and ended up popping open a couple stitches which are now crusty, oozing, itchy & bloody.  crap.

All I really want to do it go to the gym to workout my aggressions & sweat my frustrations.  I never thought I'd say this but I truly miss the gym.  sigh.

I AM SO FRUSTRATED!
grrr.
chloe





Thursday, May 24, 2012

day 23 pics


I just passed 3 weeks out from PS & snapped a few pics this morning.  Everyday is a little better - yesterday was the first day where I felt like my typical energy was back.  Its a fleeting thing tho' because today I feel tired again....but its nice to know the spark is still out there.  I can now sleep on side which is great but I tried laying on my belly for about 10min yesterday.  ah, no go.  also, the scar right at the top of my ass-crack is super itchy. ugh.

Here are today's pics!
still a little thick & swollen in the mid-section but look at that ass!









pre-op butt





my belly is not wrinlkly!!! yippee.




pre-op belly












































I feel a bikini in my future!
cheers,
chloe


Monday, May 21, 2012

Healed & Sealed

Tomorrow is 3 weeks out from surgery.  I think I'm doing pretty good.  I've been seeing this guy that specializes in post-op massage & he declared me "healed & sealed" on Friday.  Basically, my incisions have all closed up & the scabs have now fallen off.   Now I'm just left with new, tender, raised red scars.  Luckily, I've had no issues to this point - none of the stitches popped open or anything like that.  whew!

I'm still sore & tight, my belly is really numb & hard, my right nipple randomly starts tingling at odd times and I'm still swollen around my mid-section & in my low back (but its going getting a little better everyday).  My doc & the masseuse were all impressed with how quickly I've healed.  Here's what I think the keys to success have been (so far)
               1. waiting to reach goal weight.  I know a lot of people stall out & want to get surgery when they are 20, 30 or 40 lbs out from goal.  Don't.  Wait til you reach the end.  I'm so glad I did.  Those last 10lbs made a huge difference.  Seriously - stay on track, power through the plateau, maintain goal for a few months AND then go in for plastics.
               2.  healthy going in = healthy coming out.  I'm so glad I was in great shape before surgery.  this thing takes soooo long to recover from & you need to be strong to do it.
               3.  eating right.  Post PS eating is a lot like WLS eating.  Lots of protein, minimal carbs, minimal sodium & take your supplements
               4.  drink lots of water.  stay hydrated.  seems to be the answer for so many things! :)

I survived going back to work last week.   No lie - Monday was tough.  I hit a wall about 4pm & then I was done. DONE!  Everyday got a little bit better but I totally crashed when I got home and was beyond pooped when Friday rolled around.  Honestly, kinda glad that I can't go to the gym right now - doubt I'd have the energy for a typical 2-hour workout.  However,  I can already tell that I am losing muscle tone & that I'm starting to get soft. ugh!!! Still banned from any serious sweating for another 3 weeks but I am walking everyday.  its better than nothing.

Before going back to work, I trolled through my closet to see if anything would fit over the compression garment & the swelling.  Happy to report that everything fit.  yeah!!!  I can see a major difference in how things fit - especially in the bum.  I have no ass now.  yippee!

Now that I am healed & sealed, I started scar therapy over the weekend.  I bought a bunch of silicone sheets at the drugstore but its not going that great.  The ones across my back keep peeling off everything time I pull my panties down to go to the bathroom.  The ones under my bra band seem to be doing a little better.  My doc gave me some fancy new gel to try out which seems ok.  Honestly, the scars really gross me out & I don't even like touching them.  blech.   The post-op massage guy said the product itself doesn't matter as much as just rubbing them a couple times a day (blech).  Lets see if I can get over my squeamishness.

cheers,
chloe








Tuesday, May 8, 2012

7 days post-op

I'm now one week out from surgery.  I think the hardest parts are behind me but the road ahead is long.  Its just starting to sink in how far there is to go before I've recovered.....

Big news is that I got the drains out yesterday.  This was so great.  The drains are just gross....the idea of something that is embedded inside my body and then having those things dangle on the outside.  ick!  Also, with the drains out, I could take a shower last night.  I'll admit this has been pushing my limits of personal hygiene.  It was heaven to take a long, warm shower, shave my legs, shave my pits, wash & dry my hair and then slather on a bunch of smell-good body lotion. ahhhhhh.

After all the excitement, I slept through the night last night for the first time.  yeah.  However, with the drains out, I'm now swelling more.  My whole midsection is swollen & very hard.  I'm so swollen you can't even seen the lapband port which is weird.  My port has protruded & been visible from the very beginning.   My skin is still very taut which makes maneuvering, moving & bending quite difficult.  I never realized how clumsy I am!  It seems like I am always dropping something.  I went for my first walk around the block this morning...I believe it'll help alleviate the swelling but I was wiped when I got home.  Rather disconcerting for someone who ran 5k race just 10days ago to be tired after just a quiet stroll.  For me, "recovery" is going to mean recovering my energy.  I want my energy back and that feels very far away right now.

I'm weaning off the meds....today is last day of Celebrex, tomorrow is last day of antibiotics and 4 more days of blood-thinner injections.  Percocet as needed which is just at bedtime now.  I've been having trouble sleeping but I'm hoping as I increase my activity then my sleep will get better.

The hubs has been peach - especially now with the incision care.  I'm pretty squeamish & have a hard time looking at my body right now with the state its in but the hubs has been very helpful by slathering neosporin & arnica all over, placing gauze pads and helping me in & out of the compression garment.   He even stayed in the room yesterday when the nurse pulled out the drains.  thank you, pumpkin.

I'm off from work again this week but I go back to the office next Monday.  I feel like I need to be productive with this time but not sure what I'm really up for....cleaning my make-up brushes??  I'll admit that I am pretty bored.  Blurred vision is one of the med side-effects & it really limits my reading.  There are a lot of TV stations but its a case of quantity over quality.  sigh.

cheers,
chloe

Friday, May 4, 2012

I'm home!

I'm home & in quite a bit of discomfort.  Discomfort - not really pain.  The skin (especially across my back) is really tight and I'm hunched over quite a lot.  Right now I'm on 4 drugs: Kelfex (4x day) for antibiotic; Celebrex (2x daily) for swelling and severe pain, Percocet (up to every 4 hours for pain) & Lovenox (self-injection. ugh! 1x day) for anti-clotting.

Surgery went pretty well but the doc had to make a change in plans about midway through surgery.  Original plan was a tummy tuck where he'd pull the skin down on my abdomen and the reshape the belly button. However, doc couldn't do that because the tube for my lapband port runs through my belly button.  Weird.  Surgeon had never seen anything like it before and it limited how much he could move the skin on my lower belly.  He ended up doing something like a reverse tummy tuck to deal with all the excess skin above the belly button and I think he pulled up the mons a bit but I still have my original belly button.  Honestly, this not really a big deal to me.  The area between belly button & camel toe was always tight & didn't really require much work.  All totaled, he took off about 7-8lbs of skin.  I'm *really* shocked by this.  Skin doesn't weigh much and I was only expecting about half of that.

I went for a post-op appt today & the nurse took off the bandages around my breasts.  The look so round now! No more flapjacks.  There really isn't much pain around my breasts - this aligns with what I'd read on the chat boards.  I feel pain around my lower back and along the side excisions.  The worst pain is right around where the drains come out.  If one of those get snagged, its REALLY painful.

A couple of notable notes from this experience so far...
            1.  SO glad I stayed in the hospital.  I was totally out of it & it was reassuring to have professional care.  They kept me hopped up on morphine & an IV to stay hydrated.  In the morning, they changed my dressing and helped me get up and move around.     SOOOOOO glad I didn't go home or to a hotel!!!
            2.  All the working out helps.  Yeah for muscles!!!  All those tricep dips help me manuever in bed, all those squats help me get up & down from the toilet.  I also believe my recovery will go faster since I'm in such good shape
            3.  Glad I did all that pre-cleaning.  I pretty much stuck in bed & can't putter around the house like I usually would.  Glad all the laundry is done, kitchen is clean, garden chores up to date.  I'd be a big stress ball if I was laying in bed when there are chores to do.
            4. Its like being a newbie bandster again.  Last thing I need right now is PB or stuck episode so I'm sticking with bandster-friendly mushies and protein shakes.  Ah, protein shakes.

Here are a couple pics I just took...

Drains pinned to compression garment.  Prevents getting the tubes snagged on anything.  I also wear a gigantic pair of granny panties over this as well.  Also, need to wear a sports bra around the clock.

a shot of my butt.  Definitely looks like it is less wrinkly.

cheers,
chloe

Monday, April 30, 2012

11 hours and counting....

...in less than 11 hours I'll be on the OR table. Time for a little "chassis work" and I'm getting the deluxe package!

At this point, all the running around is over & I'm trying not to freak out (too much). The last week or so has been thankfully jam-packed. Last weekend was my bday - I turned 40. The big 4-0. Actually, it kinda feels like the little 4-0. At this point, I feel confident & comfortable in my skin. How nice is that? I feel like I've accomplished a lot in my life but also there is still a lot more to do.

 Last week, I spent a lot of time working out. I won't be able to hit the gym for about 6 weeks so I wanted to get in some good sweat. Sunday morning I did my first running race many, many years! It was the Cherry Creak Sneak here in Denver & it was sooo busy. complete madness. The Sneak has lots of race options - 10mi, 5mi, 5k. I was toying with the idea of the 5mi since my typical run is 5.5-6miles. However, I was still a tad hungover from Saturday night festivities so 5k it was! Finished in just under 30min.

Saturday we went to a neighborhood fundraiser that the hubs is part of the organizing committee. It was an 80s-themed pub crawl complete with costumes and ending with a Cure cover band. I was decked out in neon leggings, an acid washed denim mini-skirt and off-the-shoulder crop sweatshirt. ah, good times. The 80s may have been bad music and bad clothes, but, dammit, its my bad. I am child of the 80s! it just reminded me how much I loved legwarmers. I think those suckers are going to stay in regular rotation! :)

As promised, here a couple of pre-op pics.  Hope you don't lose your lunch!  Behold all the extra skin on my belly & back, my sad ass and flying squirrels.  I also have a couple pre-pics on my flobby, low & lobsided tatas but I'll keep those for a while....

 Keep your fingers crossed for me!!!
cheers,
chloe

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

one week to go...

surgery is scheduled for Tuesday & I'm starting to get nervous. Running around right now trying to do a million last minute things like get scripts, lots of gauze since I'll have to change dressing, huge comfy clothes to lounge around in since I'll be really swollen. I'm also having this burst of nesting & wanting to clean everything in my house. I never get this feeling so I'm going with it....cleaned out the fridge this past weekend, tackling the hall closet tonight & have some garden chores to do this weekend Last week was crazy busy between work and home which meant I could only workout Monday & Friday. I felt so antsy not working out for just 3 days - how am I supposed to handle 6 weeks??? The most I'll be able to do it walk. guess Ill take what I can get. Surgeon did recommend a high protein diet pre & post op to help speed up healing. ahh, some things never change. glad I still love my protein shakes. I'll post some pre-op pics in the next few days. take care! cheers, chloe

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Next steps

Well, you can probably guess from that last post that I went with doc # 3 - baby bear - because his porridge is just right (Manda so nailed me on this one).  He was the doc I was most comfortable with...I know how I feel when I make a good decision (calm) or when I make a bad one (frazzled).  Right now, I've got that good decision vibe all around me....

My surgery is scheduled for May 1 & I'll be taking 2 whole weeks off of work.  This one was a little tough to explain at work....I didn't share any details on my band surgery (tucked it between xmas & new years so no one noticed I was out) and I have no intention of sharing deets on this either.  I did want to let my office now that "out" means "out" for these two weeks and I that I will be unreachable - without explaining why.  So, I told my boss in private that I needed to have surgery.  Instantly, he is all concerned and wants to helpful but I tell I don't want to talk about it.  I'm sure he assumed its girl-parts related and no guy I've ever met wants to know gory info on that.  I'm just going to let him run with that thought tho'....and then begged him not to make me travel for the entire month of May.  He instantly agreed and asked no questions.  Evil? perhaps.  Manipulative?  sure.  I'm ok with that.

So, I'm only about 2 weeks from surgery. yikes!  I had my pre-op appt last week.  Mostly just lots of instructions from the nurse, a quick chat with the surgeon and the requirement to pay in full.  I'm now $20,599 ways committed to this.

Meeting with the surgeon was good & reaffirmed that I made the right choice.  There are two big open issues about the surgery right now...
                  1. Auto augmentation of the butt or not?  I had to do a lot of Googling to find info on this one.  It's where the doc folds down a flap of skin at the top of each cheek during a butt lift.  Apparently during a butt lift people can end up with higher - but flatter - butts.  Doc said it was up to me & I just don't know.  On one hand, it seems like another thing that could go wrong or get lumpy but I want to have a beautiful booty.  Really on the fence about this one.  Suggestions?
                  2. how far should the upper body lift scar go across my back?  again, I  dunno.  One thing I realized meeting with all the surgeons & taking a long, hard look at my body now is that I am basically a sack of skin.  I asked each of the surgeons about lipo and all of them said I didn't have anything left to lipo.  Shocking news!!!!  All of my excess flesh it really just excess skin.  I was floating in my bathtub last nite and could grab huge handfuls of loose skin all up & down my back, my belly, my ass.  On this one, I'm inclined to ask the doc to be aggressive.  I'm only doing this once & I might as well make it count.  I know the trade-off is a longer scar but it'll be hidden under a bra. 

I am still trying to come to terms with the amount of scarring I'll end up with after this whole thing.  I'm afraid I'm going to look like a magician's assistant who really was cut in half.  Before I get too freaked out in my head, I realize the only people that will ever these scars will be my husband and the ladies at gym who see me when I'm changing in the locker room.  That doesn't sound too bad.  Actually, BethAnn just posted a beautifully written post here about the mental journey to plastics.

cheers,
chloe

Friday, April 13, 2012

Docs & dollars


I spent a lot of time researching different docs & narrowed it down to three.  In particular, I most want a plastic surgeon who has a lot of experience with bariatric patients.  I think we are a special breed & pose challenges unique to extreme weight loss.  I want someone who knows what they are doing.  Also, I've had lipo before & I'd say I had mixed results.  Definitely lots of lumps that never really resolved.  Because of this, I am quite leery of the bargain basement doc.  This is also why I won't consider surgery outside of the US.  Quality really matters to me.  I do believe there is a lot of skill *and* art required in this.

In my head, I'm thinking I need a butt lift & a boob lift.  For the belly, I'm thinking reverse tummy tuck even though I know its not a common procedure & I have no idea what can be done about the squirrels.  Each doc got the same spiel from me & I was curious to see what each one would recommend.

Here are the results:

Doc #1:  Doc Hollywood
This doc was recommended by my band surgeon altho' my WLS guy referred me to his partner because Doc Hollywood is known to be pricey.  And he was - with good reason. He is probably the best ranked plastic surgeon in Denver, has a practice in LA and has celebrity clients.  He is older & very experienced.  Definitely got the artistic feel from this guy.  Pictures of his work were truly beautiful.

He told me that the butt was hard - no really great solutions for the butt (same story from all the docs).  He would do a lift & showed how the scars would carry around to the front to avoid "dog ears".  He grabbed a fist full of excess skin on the top of my butt & pulled up to give me an idea of what it would look like.  For my boobs, he would do a regular lift - suggested the implants but I talked him out of it.  He said I still have enough volume that I'd end up around a small C cup.  ah, music to my ears!  Then he would do a little lipo on top of the bigger breast to help even them out.  He could do the reverse tummy tuck in conjunction with the lift.  For the squirrels, he'd put the scar running up and down in my armpit & down my side a little bit.  He said he'd just "tuck up" the excess skin during the breast lift.

This doc does not have his own operating facilities.  I'd just go the hospital for surgery & then spend a nite or two there before heading home.  

Total price tag? $45,307
Practice fees came in at $30,400 & outside fees for hospital/anesthia came in at $14,907
Surgeon's fees broke down like this:
                      - butt lift $13,750
                      - breast lift $7,200
                      - reverse tummy tuck $5,500
compression garments, meds, blood tests & mammogram all required but not included in this number
Holy crap!!! hubs & I almost fell out of our chairs at this number!  This is way above my budget.  I toyed with idea of only doing my top half or bottom half but I think I would feel half finished (& annoyed) with this approach.

So, next I tried to fine something more affordable....
Doc #2:  The value option
This doc is not in Denver but out in Golden.  He has a pretty big practice with ~30-40% bariatric patients.  He's younger, energetic & more a go-getter.  However, his pictures really weren't that great.  Some of them looked more like a hack job.

He'd also do the butt lift, breast lift & reverse tummy tuck.  As for the flying squirrels, he won't do anything.  He said just go for zen acceptance of them.  ummm, not a great answer.

This doc does have his own operating facility at his office but no overnite care.  After the surgery, he recommended just checking into a hotel & hiring a nurse to come sit with me for a night or two.

Total price tag? $18,395
Practice fees came in at $16,945 & outside fees for anesthesia came in at $1,450
Surgeon's fees broke down like this:
                      - butt lift $7,200
                      - breast lift $4,400
                      - reverse tummy tuck $2,000
                      - operating room fee $3,235
compression garments included.  meds & blood tests, hotel & nurses fees not included in this numbe.
Holy comparison shopping, batman!! Worth the time to shop around a bit, eh?  This price was certainly more in line with my budget but no action on the squirrels wasn't great.  Plus, checking into a hotel after a 6-hour surgery kinds freaked me out.

So, I tried one more doc..
Doc #3: Baby bear
Older & more experienced like Doc Hollywood but not as flashy or as self-promoting.  More low key.  There are two major bariatric surgeons in town.  Doc Hollywood is tied to my WLS surgeon; Baby Bear is more closely tied to the other WLS surgeon so he sees lots of patients like me.  He does, however, have his own operating facilities like Doc #2.  Also, his office is right next to the hospital.  So I don't have to pay hospital OR fees but after surgery, they just wheel the gurney across the street & I spend a nite at the hospital for recovery.

Like all the docs, he said butt was hard.  He would take out about 8-10" of excess skin across the back to lift the butt.  He could also do the reverse tummy tuck but said I wouldn't be happy with it because the scar would cross the midline & I might not be able to wear v-necks anymore.  (yikes! this is my go-to shirt style).  He then suggested a full lower body lift, rather then just a butt lift, and doing a full tummy tuck in front.  To remove 8-10inches of skin in back would require the scars to come around all the way to the front so why not just go another 4inches and connect the whole thing?  He did commit that a full tummy tuck would address my loose skin issues in front.   He would do a breast lift - tried to upsell me on implants (this guy had several different sized implants laying around his office.  naturally, my hubs picked up the biggest one to play with.  I got an eyebrow waggle from him & he got an eye roll back from me).  As for the squirrels, he recommended extending the breast lift around my sides & onto my back.  Basically, a partial upper body lift.  He's done this before & showed me the pictures.  Definitely have scars but they would just be hidden under a bra band or bikini.  

(he priced out two options: butt lift & reverse tummy tuck vs. full low body lift.  first option was actually more expensive so this is for the LBL:)
Total price tag? $20,599
Practice fees came in at $19,599 & outside fees for anesthesia came in at $1,000
Surgeon's fees broke down like this:
                      - full low body lift $13,100
                      - breast lift with lateral excision $4,200
                      - compression garment $100
                      - operating room fee $2,500
                      - hospital stay $699
Blood work, meds are not included.  Pricier than I expected when I started but still reasonable. 

So, what do you think?  Which doc would you choose?

cheers,
chloe

Monday, April 9, 2012

Paper or Plastics?

Plastics, please.
I am looking into plastic surgery & have meet with several surgeons over the last few weeks to explore options.  I know there are lots of different opinions about going under the knife and, while I respect everyone's viewpoint,  I don't have an issue with it.  At this point in my life, objecting to plastics on some moral basis seems like raising a fuss after the horses have already left the barn.  I've done lots of things to alter my appearance/body: I use make-up, I color my hair, I wear high heeled shoes & a bra, my ears are pierced, I had braces, I even have a plastic tube around my stomach!  Not sure I understand the logic that plastics crosses some boundary.  In the interest of full disclosure, I have done this before...15years ago I did lipo while shedding for the wedding.  I do not miss those saddlebags!

I'm sure there will be many, many posts on this subject but lets start with a series.  Today, I'll go over my wish list.  Next post, I'll dish on the 3 drs I've seen & share their quotes (still picking my jaw up off the floor in some cases).  Lastly, I'll disclose my decision.

At the beginning of WLS, I didn't think I'd do plastics.  At first, I was like "if I just lose the weight, I'll be happy"  I'm happy but I want more.  I was good before the band, I'm great after the band but now I want to be spectacular.  Why?  Well, because I can.  Because I never thought I'd be this close but now I'm here and I have this vision in my head of rocking a bikini.  At 40.  :)

Here's my problem areas:
         1.  Butt.  As I've mentioned before, my ass has not fared well in this journey.  It sags way low & there is a ton of loose, wrinkly skin at the bottom of my bottom.  If I'm wearing a skirt or dress, it looks ok but pants are a real problem.  Pants that fit my waist end up flattening out my bum like some huge doughy pizza crust.  This is the number one hurdle in the way of rocking that bikini.
         2.  Boobs.  I'm almost 40, I've had a kid, I nursed and I lost 80lbs.  Of course my boobs need some work!!!  I just want them back in their original position and I'd like a matched set.  One boob has always been bigger than the other & the, ahem, headlights have never pointed in the same direction.  Its time to correct these issues.  I know its common practice to add implants after big weight loss but I really do not want bigger boobs.  When I was a fatty I wore a 38DD - now I'm a 34D.  When I was a fatty, I had to resort to getting my work shirts custom made so I could button them.  I always felt bad for that one button that had to strain so hard.  And now?  I wear a size 6 shirt but I continue to wear a tank top underneath because I still can't button up those shirts.  that poor little button. 
         3. Belly. all in all, my belly looks ok but I have a ton of extra skin.  all from my belly button up to my boobs.  When I pull up the skin, it looks great.   From belly button on down, its ok.
         4.  Flying squirrels.  I don't know what to call this issue so I call it a flying squirrel.  To me, a batwing is the bottom part of the upper arm in the tricep area.  This is not a batwing (I'm quite satisfied with my tris).  This is issue with copious amounts of excess flesh spilling over the band of my bra & tucked up into my arm pits.  This does make me hugely self-conscious & prevents me from wearing tanks and other summer items.

These are the areas that annoy me the most when I look in the mirror.  Next post - the docs!

cheers,
chloe

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Snaps

weekly weigh-in: 149.6lbs

I don't really have periods anymore since I have a Mir.ena IUD (I LOVE this thing) but I still have TOM.  My body still goes through changes like my boobs are bigger & I am snappier than usual.  When I was heavier, I never noticed this changes but now I am much more aware of my body.  It is TOM-time for me right now.

Now that I'm getting used to maintenance, I'm trying to find my steady state.  My eating is ok about 75% of the time (but I still have to have some chocolate almost every day) but more carbs than when I was actively losing.  My workouts are still good.  I Zumba'd last Thursday, nothing on Friday, 5.5mi run on Saturday (plus some garden work), 1 hr spin + 1 hr chisel on Sunday, 1 hr kickbox + 1 hr chisel last night.  Yoga tonight.   Kickbox & chisel tomorrow.

If I'm home, I think I workout now more than I did last year.  At this point, its more a mental thing.  All the exercise keeps me sane.  Something I desperately need with all the craziness at work & craziness at home (kid still has a feeding tube & will for an undetermined amount of time).  In the search for comfort, did I substitute exercise for food?  Even if I did, is that such a bad swap?  Sweat instead of sweets.

I'll close with a random NSV.  Pictures.  When the hubs & I started dating, he used to take lots of pics of me.  As we got married, had a kid, settled down & I ballooned up, random pics became rare to non-existent. There are years where you'd be hardpressed to find more than 2 or 3 pics of me.  I think partly due to me ducking the camera & partly due to him not trying to take pics.    That has changed.   On Friday, we went out to a neighborhood place for dinner & then stopped at a nearby cafe for wine and lounging on the patio listening to acoustic guitar.  As I walked to our table - boom! - the hubs snaps a few random pics.  Saturday afternoon was gorgeous here in Denver, so we went to local sports bar to watch basketball, drink a beer & hang out.  Boom!  a few more snaps.  :)  I think its kinda cute.

cheers,
chloe

Monday, March 26, 2012

Back in the USA

miss me?
I've been traveling like a mad woman but so glad to be home.  So much news - good & bad.

Let's start out with the good: shopping in Paris.  oo la la. 
I extended my business trip to spend last weekend in Paris so I could shop.  Solo shopping is a very serious sport, ladies, and I did some SERIOUS damage the old credit cards.  Started with dropping $1000 on lingerie at Galleries Lafay.ette and then it went downhill from there. :)  For the first time in my life, I could walk into any store & try on anything I wanted.  So that's what I did.  The big department stores, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, Saint Germain de Pres, etc.   I had such a blast!!!  I'm sure I'll get quite the lecture from the hubs when the bills roll in but I'm chalking this excursion up to "why not?"  How many times will I have this opportunity to shop spring fashions in Paris while I look (& feel) this fabulous??  Plus I turn 40 next month & this bit of craziness is my gift to myself.  Why? Because I can.  Besides, I don't think the hubs will complain one bit about oodles of sexy, new lingerie.  Actually, he liked everything I got.  I was in the mood for "pretty" (as opposed to "business-y") and ended up with many, many dresses.  Plus a pair of bright cobalt blue, tight, crop pants.  oooo, it is fun to be a girl.

More good news:  I feel like I've got a good adjustment now.  I can eat just about anything but only a few bites of it.  Hunger control without the acid reflux.  All in all, good balance.  Even though I was in Canada all last week & Paris the week before,  I still weighed in at 148.4lbs this weekend.  pretty pleased about that especially after the quantities of macarons, chocolate & croissants I consumed.  I did find the best macaron shop EVER - truly orgasmic.  Forget Laduree & go to Pierre Herme.  so damn good.

Last bit of good news: I have never been hit on as much as I've been hit on in the last two weeks.  I'm finding it very amusing.  Here's my best story....Galleries Lafay.ette has almost an entire floor dedicated to lingerie. me-ow.  I am a champion shopper so I circle the floor once to decide what I want to try on & then circle back around a time or two to pick out merchandise.  So there I am with my arms completely loaded down with lacy & racy unmentionables when a guy approaches me & launches into this big, long speech...in French.  He was probably early- to mid-thirties and kinda cute in that useless, curly brown mop-top, skinny academic kind of way.  PhD student in literature, if I had to guess.  He looked very earnest & it sounded like he had rehearsed this speech in his head for awhile before mustering up the nerve to approach me but his timing was waaaaaay off.  All those bras were getting heavy!  Plus it was just hard to maintain a straight face while looking at him over a fistful of panties.  I have no idea what he was saying so when he stopped for a breath, I just gave a shrug, small smile & asked "English?"  nope.  he did tell me that I was very beautiful - which I thought was very sweet.  so entertaining!!! and so good for the ego :)

Now for the bad news.....while I was in Paris, the kid was in surgery.  That's not the bad part.  There were some unintended consequences of the surgery & she ended up in the ER last Monday due to dehydration.  I returned from Paris late Sunday night, spent most of Monday evening in the ER, caught a few hours of sleep & repacked my suitcase before returning to the hospital Tuesday morning & then headed out to Toronto on Tuesday afternoon.   The kid eventually went home but now she has a feeding tube.  ugh!  total stress, my friends.

more bad: Canada was a clusterf*ck
the trip last week was such a mess.  The local guy in Toronto rearranged the schedule & my session ended up getting the boot.  so, I flew up there for nothing.  Next day in Montreal, he put me back on the agenda but there was a big student protest so most people couldn't make it into the event.  By Friday, I was well & truly ready to come home but 15min before I'm supposed to board my flight Air Canada goes on strike & they cancel dozens of flights.  it was sheer madness!!!! ugh. ugh. ugh.

Trust me, I'm SO glad to be home.  As of now, no trips planned until the middle of June.  Happy to be back into my regular routine.....went for a long bike ride on Saturday, 6mile run yesterday, kickbox & chisel tonight.  Weekly meals have been planned out & groceries bought.    ahhh, the comforts of home.


cheers,
chloe 
  

Friday, March 9, 2012

Single girl on a jet plane

I'm a single girl right now. The hubs went home to KC on Wed for the Big 12 basketball tournament.  Him, his brother & his dad get tickets to the whole thing - its a big male bonding thing for him.  He took the kid with him & she is hanging out with his mom & sister so they get some good girl bonding time.  And me?  Home alone with the dog.  Is it a crime to say I am totally digging it?  I loooooove hoggin the whole bed to myself :)!

It won't last long.  I leave Sunday for Paris.  A couple days of meetings & then a couple days of shopping.  SO looking forward to it!!!

I did go in for a fill yesterday.  She put back in .5ccs.  I don't really want to end up on this fill/unfill seesaw but here I am. 

cheers,
chloe

Monday, March 5, 2012

Oink

Monday weigh-in: 150.2lbs
up almost 4lbs from last week.

I have crossed my Rubicon.  sigh.  I never wanted to be above 150 again and yet here I am.  Result of  big unfill and being able to eat just about everything.  And lots of it.  I guess being sick, travel, too many business dinners and easing up on working out has caught up with me.  crap.

My belly is feeling much better since the unfill with no more heartburn/acid reflux.  do I want to go back to that?  I do have an appt for April 3 for a fill and I could conceivably go in before that.  not sure what to do.  It'd be nice to get some restriction back but not sure if I have the time.  I leave this weekend for Paris for a week and then turnaround to head to Toronto/Montreal for a week. 

Even before I weighed in this morning, I could tell I was up a few pounds.  At least I noticed it this time.  Well, off to the gym tonight for some kickbox & chisel.

cheers,
chloe

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I see the light & the double cross

Monday's weigh-in: 146.8lbs
weeks of maintenance: 6

I feel SO much better after my unfill.  No heartburn (especially at night. yeah!) and no pbing. Haven't popped Gas-x in a week.  At first, I think my belly was pretty irritated because I could only tolerate mushies after the unfill but its been slowly getting better.   I ate a steak on Sunday.  First time that has happened in a long while.  I've also been feeling better during my long workouts - no longer getting dizzy during a 2hr gym session or needing to eat between kickbox & chisel. 

Of course, I'm starting to get hungrier & I can consume more than I used to.  The trick is learning to balance it all, eh? 

I ran both days this weekend - 3miles on Saturday & 5.2miles on Sunday.  I also had a watsu massage on Saturday.  Its where the massage is done in water - it was the first time I'd ever tried anything like it.  (Hello, Groupon!)  It was very zen & peaceful but I think I'll stick to the usual deep tissue massage to really work the kinks out.  However, I think its something that might be good for my daughter - she has pretty severe scoliosis and sitting in wheelchair all day does not help her back much.

A few new NSVs to report.....first - my thighs no longer rub together.  I noticed this while running over weekend.  I can see the light between my thighs.  its a miracle!

Second - I can sit with my knees crossed & my ankles crossed..at the same time.  I've always wanted to do this but have never been able to.  Until now.  :)

cheers,
chloe

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Big unfill

I went in for an unfill today - she took out a full cc.  that's a lot.

My band has been so tight & I've become increasingly miserable.  Last nite was the last straw - I was up most of the night with the worst heartburn ever.  Frankly, it made me panicky & scared.   I love where I'm at & I love my band which means I need to take care of it.  Just like you, I know that hearburn & night regurgitation can be a sign of slippage or erosion.  Something happening to my band really worries me. 

Looking back now, I can see that bouts of heartburn have steadily been increasing over the last few months and, in tandem, my eating habits have been getting worse.  Sometimes I eat crappy slider food just to get something - anything - in me.  not good.

So today, the fill whisperer took out 1cc.  We're going to give my belly a few weeks to calm down & then we'll start easing back up the fills (if needed).  I know what I want from maintenance - I want to be able to eat small amounts of a wide variety of foods without constantly pbing, fighting heartburn or popping gas-x.  I want it to be easy - think that's too much to ask?

cheers,
chloe

Monday, February 20, 2012

quick check-in

today's weight: 146.0lbs
weeks of maintenance: 5

just a quick check-in today.  I'm sick!!!  I think my tight band last week was more about this cold coming on than TOM.  This is my first illness since getting banded.  verdict?  it sucks.  I admit that I am not a good patient & don't the patience to be ill.  I was curled up in bed all day Friday & still feel like crap today. This has settled into an upper respiratory/sore throat/cough kind of thing.  I'm most annoyed that its keeping me from working out - didn't do a dang thing all weekend.  yikes!  I'm going to try to do kickbox tonight....we'll see how it goes.

Hubs & I did our Valentines Day thing on Saturday.  Got a babysitter & went out like adults.  Pre-dinner drinks, dinner & post-dinner cocktails (all mixed with a heavy dose of Dayquil).  It was nice to be out & about.  I hope we start doing this more often.  I got dressed up in a great red dress & bought some hot lingerie from Agent Provocateur.  me-ow!!! my outfit also included something new - stayup stockings.  ever tried these?  I loved them!  they actually stayed up & didn't cut off the blood supply to my legs.  all in all, I think my man was quite pleased and I felt super sexy :)

quick update for my friend whose dad had a heart attack while visiting out in California.  Thursday nite I got plane tix for her to spend the weekend with him.  As an added bonus, she had a 3hour layover in Denver on Saturday so I went out to the airport to meet up with her. 

have a great week!!!
cheers,
chloe

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sp.a.nx. review - a la LBG

I'm riffing off a recent post from the fabulous LapBandGal where she reviews a Sp.a.nx cami here.  I have a similar piece of shapewear & love it - looks great under a cashmere sweater & I'm glad I can wear my own bras.

My ass has not fared well in this journey - its flat & flabby.  I need scaffolding to lift it up about 4inches.  Enter the Sp.a.nx B.o.o.ty B.o.o.ster.  Its like regular shapewear - with a twist.  There are pockets on each cheek that hold a "butt-let".  Similar to a push-up bra but for your butt.  seriously.  Here are some pics...


the "butt-let"

Here it is under a pair of work pants (these are size 6 "Martin" fit from Banana.Republic)
with boot booster
no booty booster




















with booty booster




no booty booster



















What do you think?
Frankly, I'm not sold.

cheers,
chloe

Monday, February 13, 2012

D@mn fickle band

today's weigh-in: 146.2lbs (last week's weigh-in: 146.8lbs)
weeks of maintenance: 4

My band can be a damn fickle beastie.  Case in point - it was fairly wide open late last week.  So much so that Saturday I was happy to be home, in a domestic mood & feeling good, so I decided to whip up dinner from scratch.  Its been freezing here lately and tomato soup with grilled cheese just sounded lovely.  Here is a yummy recipe for Bacon Tomato Soup & the grilled cheese had cottage cheese in it.  I know it sounds weird but it was delish!  (sorry can't find the recipe)  And I ate it all.  I had a sandwich, people!! I haven't eaten one in nearly a year.  Sometimes I really do miss the old foods....(but not enough to be 225lbs again).

And how did Sunday eating go?  Horrible! Tighter than drum - I even pb'd on greek yogurt.  From open enough to enjoy a sandwich to so tight I could barely keep down hot tea in less than 24 hours.  damn fickle beastie, indeed!

What causes such fickle behavior?  Excessive traveling?  Big swings in altitude from beach to mountains?  Big swings in temperature from sunny beach to snowy Denver?  Stress? Impending period?  I don't know but given how short-tempered, bitchy & worn I've been feeling lately, I'm guessing Aunt Flo is heading to town.

More than a year into this thing & I'm still trying to figure it out.  I've noticed lately that if I go *too* long between eating, my belly actually hurts more.  Its like the acid goes into overdrive when my stomach is empty.  Perhaps part of the issue with yesterday's debacle was that I didn't eat anything until the yogurt at 10:30am even tho' I'd been up for a couple of hours.  Another reason to follow the bandster rule of eating something small every few hours.  I've noticed more nighttime heartburn lately, too.  I started a course of Prevacid last week - hoping this helps cut acid production a bit.

Finally, how about a flyover on some of the other things in my life right now? 
           *I miss my bestie.  She moved far away & has been struggling with the transition.  I love her & I wish I could just reach out to hug her.  Mostly, I just miss her.
           *My MIL is in the hospital.  She is generally not well & is in the hospital for a course of treatment that is supposed to make her stronger but its not going well.  Hubs doesn't say much about it but I know its on his mind.  Starting to feel like the beginning of the end...
           *My oldest friend from Kansas City called me up on Saturday crying & in a panic.   Her dad had (another) stroke.  Problem is that he was in California when it happened - so he is in a hospital out there while my oldie is back in KC.  This one seems pretty bad - he's not speaking, having seizures & can't see.
           * My daughter is losing weight.  It would be understatement to say that this is not a good thing.  My daughter has a whole host of eating problems like chewing & swallowing difficulties, aspiration & reflux all of which add up to serious challenges in getting enough food in her.  She's always been a tiny thing but her weight has not kept up with her height for the last few years and then at last week's physical, she was actually down a few pounds.  We have been fighting against a feeding tube for years but if her weight doesn't come up then that threat could easily become a reality.  We really, really, really, really, really (REALLY!) do not want to go down that path.  I think a feeding tube would just make life exponentially more complicated.  Hubs is now doing everything he can think of to cram in the calories.  do you know how hard it is to find full-fat yogurt???!

As with most of these types of things, I generally feel useless & helpless.  Relationships and intra-personal touchy, feely stuff is just not my forte (honestly - I'm so much better at the work stuff.  can I just be a coward & hide at the office for the next month?)  Best thing I've come up with is for my oldie.  She doesn't have the funds to fly out to Cali on a moment's notice.  However, I have gobs of frequent flyer miles that I think I can use to get her a free ticket.  Just a small thing but I hope it'll help.

I never know what to say or what to do.  Any advice?

cheers,
chloe