Created by MyFitnessPal - Nutrition Facts For Foods

Monday, April 30, 2012

11 hours and counting.... 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!!!

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.


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?


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!


Tuesday, April 3, 2012


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.