Sunday, February 28, 2010

Still no restriction.

Now up to 6cc in a 14cc band and still...no restriction. Lemme tell ya, it's frustrating as all get out to know I had surgery almost 2 months ago and the band is not yet doing what it's supposed to be doing. I just ate 3 eggs with 2oz. of tri-tip and 1/4c. of reduced fat colby jack cheese...and had no problems getting it down. I headed over to LapBandTalk for some motivation and reassurance, and it helps. I'm still losing/maintaining, and I have hope that eventually I will get to the magic feelings of restriction that everyone talks about. At my last fill (three days ago), I was frustrated because the doctor's scale weighed me in 11 pounds heavier than my home scale had that morning...ELEVEN POUNDS! Granted, I had consumed a lot of water that morning and was wearing clothes (I'm au natural on my scale), but yeesh! As a result, he said that I had only lost three pounds since my last visit three weeks earlier, and he had expected me to lose four. Blah. It got me a fill, but my case worker had told me to come in earlier than my next scheduled appointment (two weeks this time) if I was still not feeling any restriction. I'll be giving her a call tomorrow to schedule a fill for THIS week instead of next week. I know I'm making better food and life choices now, but I want this band to be working for me too. I'm impatient!

I keep dreading the obvious questions that come to mind...am I one of those people the Band won't work for? Have I stretched my pouch? What am I doing wrong? Reading the LapBandTalk threads is helpful because I am constantly reminded of the patience I must have in getting to restriction. I'm lucky that my doctor will allow me to set my own fill schedule, because there are many patients that talk about having to wait 6+ weeks in between fills. I'm eager to learn the LapBand lifestyle after reaching restriction, and I'm especially eager to see the pounds come off! I'm really struggling mentally with all of this...maybe the third fill this week will be the charm? What if I get all the way to 14cc in my 14cc band and STILL have no restriction? Ugh. Okay, enough freaking out for the moment. Patience is a virtue. Time to go think about something else...like the piles of grading I have had sitting on my kitchen table for weeks!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

2nd Fill...hmmm.

Today's fill was a little easier than the first fill I received three weeks ago. I didn't have to do a sit up and clench my muscles, we didn't talk about math 101 to help me figure out how many cc's I had in my band...I made sure to tell both my case worker and doctor about how much food I'm actually able to eat. My case worker (Angela) was shocked to hear that I tolerate ANY food, including bread...apparently that's the one food many of her clients have issues with. Not me! I can tolerate a whole sandwich full of bread, and I have! Heck, yesterday I gave in and bought myself some french fries from Checker's (fast food...mmm). I know, I know, it's not healthy and I should be avoiding fast food entirely. BUT, I've earned the right to treat myself sometimes, and if this fill today gives me restriction...who knows when I'll enjoy some french fries again?!

The weird thing about the fill today is what's been happening to me since I left the doctor's office this afternoon. I'm hosting a HUGE annual event tomorrow and had to do some serious shopping with some students after my appointment...250 pounds of tri-tip, 1000+ bread rolls, water bottles, gatorade, etc...can ya tell we're having a giant BBQ? At any rate, I complained to my FFA President that I was having chest pains as soon as we got to the store, which was about an hour after my fill. I'd been fine drinking water at the doctor's office, and continued to sip the water I had with me. Pushing heavy carts around Costco made the pain worse, so I let the kids take over...and I let them unload the truck when we got back to school. It's now 6 hours after my fill and I'm still experiencing chest tightness and pain. I know it's not because I got "overfilled" because I'm able to drink liquids like a champ - remember, I'm on 24 hours of liquids after my fills. So...hmm? Not sure what's going on, and my day tomorrow is too busy and chaotic to go see the doctor. I'm hoping it's just my esophagus adjusting to the new restriction...or something? I actually posted a thread on the LapBandTalk website tonight to see if I can get any answers from my fellow Bandsters. If you read this and have any ideas, let me know!

One thing I know for sure...tomorrow is a HUGE day for my agriculture program and students, so if I don't sleep this off, I'll survive...and maybe give Angela a call to see if she has any advice. And if the pain is still around on Saturday? I'll bail on my all-day meeting to head over to the doctor's office then.

Second Fill Today!

Hope this one gives me some restriction...I'm ready!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Scale is FINALLY moving again...

Today I weigh 311.4 pounds, down almost 27 pounds from where I started at the beginning of 2010. That puts my average weekly loss at 3.46 pounds according to my FitDay program, and that ain't bad! I had a talk with a friend yesterday about how frustrated I am...I want to be skinny NOW and I want to have restriction NOW and I want, I want, I want. He, as a former Biology teacher, reminded me that I'm doing this the healthy way. The LapBand didn't permanently alter my insides, and by doing everything I'm doing (drinking lots of water, eating better foods in the right portions, exercising, etc.), I'm doing quite well for my body and to maintain this weight loss long-term.

I've heard patients can expect to lose 100 pounds in a year. I understand that a year is a long time, and that in less than 1/6 of a year, I'm down a little over a 1/4 of the expected weight. I'm sure there will be many more stalls in this process as I watch the scale stand still and go up/down around the same few pounds. I just have to remember that putting all of this weight on took a LONG time, and that taking it off will take a LONG time as well.

For overweight people, food is a priority in life. We gorge because the feeling of "overfull" is comfortable. We don't eat to the point where we feel "yup, I'm not hungry anymore." We eat to the point of "ugh, I'm gonna be sick...but those french fries were SO worth it!" It's been a radical change for me to adjust to just being satiated, and to change my daily activities away from the overconsumption of food. It's still bizarre to me to sit down and have 4 ounces of water with a scoop of protein mix for breakfast...and be satiated until lunch. It's bizarre to me to think of what I consumed yesterday and know that I was full enough all day - the entire day's food content was usually what I'd eat in one meal. While I enjoy seeing the scale go down, a lot of the weight loss process after the LapBand is really analyzing the mental picture, and being okay with how my brain is changing in order to help the LapBand help me.

I may or may not reach my goal of 50 pounds by Spring Break, and I think I'm okay with that. My friends are noticing weight loss in my face, and another told me she notices the weight loss in my upper body...it's good to hear that! While I smile at the small victories on the scale, I can't wait to meet the girl I'll be in 2011! But, I know I must wait...this is a lifelong journey, not a sprint to the checkered flag.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Just. Frustrated.

I'm frustrated because I have no restriction, and my weight has been basically stalled for the entire month of February. No, I haven't been entering food into my FitDay as of late, and I know losing 1-2 pounds a week is normal and healthy, but I feel like I should be losing more! I've had one fill, but I can still eat a normal quantity of food, with beverage, and have no hang-ups with getting stuck, feeling full, etc. I just stop eating and eat again later in the day. I know, I know, this process is a life change...eventually I will have restriction...weight loss takes time...I should be proud of the 25 pounds gone in 2010...blah. I suppose it's just frustrating knowing I had the surgery almost a month and a half ago and I still feel like I never had it done. Second fill is on this Thursday, so I'm crossing my fingers and hoping restriction will come! I still check in on the LapBand Talk website I belong to, and am amazed at what restriction actually does to your eating habits, how much people have lost, etc. I guess...I just want that. I want what the LapBand promised. Argh.

Maybe I'm just grumpy after the nausea/pain from my period (read the last post), followed now by a terrible cough/sneeze/cold/flu thing. I'm tired of being sick!

I eat better than I have in my entire life, I take vitamins, I work out, I drink water, I sleep well...WHY am I sick!?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Eww...men probably don't want to read this...

Been a week full of "ewws" over in my world, including this morning's sampling of protein shake. Since my grandma turned me on to BariatricEating.com, I've bought all of my protein powder from there. In my last shipment, I ordered large bags of Caramel Frappe and Peanut Butter Cookie, which are both delicious! I also ordered the sample travel pack which contains all of the varieties in to-go pouches. This morning I was craving something fruity and decided to make the "Pom Razz Sangria." EW! I took one sip, put it down, picked it up to sip again...the smell is atrocious and the taste is UGH. I threw it down the sink and made myself a Caramel Frappe...all is right in the world again. I guess I just don't like Sangria? Never had the alcoholic version, but now I surely won't ever!

Adding to the "ew" week was the myriad of stomach issues I had. Starting last Monday, I was SICK. Cramps, nausea, etc...so bad I took Tuesday off of work. After a week of enduring this plus some fun "vomit" from my ass (okay sorry - I know that's gross and probably TMI, but this blog is to help track MY journey!), I finally had time to do some research yesterday...and I'm blaming it all on my Aunt Flo's visit. After getting approved by my doctor at my last fill to start my birth control pills again, I started them the next Sunday...which happened to be the day before all of the "ew" started this week. Despite starting the pill back up, my Aunt Flo was determined to make a visit. I learned, through research, that estrogen is stored in fat cells. Rapid weight loss (as I had in the first month) releases that estrogen, causing your monthly periods to be heavy, harsh and painful. Nausea and diarrhea can all go along with that...so, voila! Mystery solved, but having an answer didn't make the pain and upset stomach go away. However, time's done that. I'm now on Day 4 of the actual period, the flow has slowed down immensely, the cramps are manageable, and the diarrhea has mostly gone away. The weirdest part of all of this for me, and why I couldn't realize sooner what was going on, is that I've NEVER been a cramper/PMSer, and I only have a heavy flow every once in a GREAT while. Add to that the fact that I started taking my birth control again (which I've been off of since November)...I guess I kinda forgot that Aunt Flo might be coming around. I really don't want to make a habit of going through this, but I *do* take a 3-month birth control pill, so I'm hoping that by the time the next period comes around, I'll be losing weight more slowly and this won't be an issue next time.

Of course, having this "ew" session made me retain water and bloat, so weight loss has been a non-issue this week. I AM down to 314.6 this morning, which is the lowest number I've seen on a scale in...I can't remember how long! Hopefully when Aunt Flo finally packs her bags and gets the hell out of my uterus, I'll be back to normal weight loss!

:::sigh::: It really does suck to be a woman sometimes.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Surgery Monthiversary!

It's been one month since my LapBand was installed into my belly...incisions are fully closed, I've had my first fill, and I'm feeling great! I'm excited to watch my weight loss, although I admit that I get more eager at times, wishing the scale would move faster! I'm down a total of 21.8 pounds in 2010, and I'm quite happy with that number! I know my average weight loss of 4 pounds a week won't be a constant, but it's nice to see the scale continuing to go down for the most part. I know, I know...weighing once a day makes me a scale-a-holic, but it also keeps me motivated! I'm still keeping my calories between 1200-1400 and not working out at this point...that seems to make the weight go down. When I stall, I'll add some workout into my routine. But, it seems silly that when I was working out, I was stalling! For now? It's about eating right and watching the weight fall off without exercise. I suppose I *could* increase my calories and workout on top of that, but getting the exact body chemistry down will take another few days and I HATE stalling, even for a few days! LOL! For now, I know I'm doing what I'm supposed to, and life is good a month post-op!

My friends are already noticing the weight loss - primarily because I lose it in my face first. I was told yesterday that my face was "tiny!" Hahaha...my clothes are still fitting, for the most part, so I'm wondering where this almost 22 pounds came from that I've lost? I KNOW my face is thinner, but I doubt I had 22 pounds of extra weight on my face! Oh well, maybe my clothes are looser and I'm not realizing it? I told my boyfriend last night that when I do some clothes shopping for Spring Break, I want to buy smaller clothes than the size I'd buy now (if I were shopping). He's sure I will be :).

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The First Fill.

The experience of the first fill...in a word? Easy! I had a slight frustration with the process, which I'll explain in a minute...but let's focus on the positive! I had only one patient in front of me, so my wait to see the doctor was very quick. Once weighed and inside the room, the doc instantly came in and asked about my dietary habits...he was proud of the weight I'd lost so far, but asked what I'd been doing. I told him about how anal I am about counting my calories and keeping myself accountable...of course, he agreed at what a good habit it is, and encouraged me to continue drinking the truckload of water I consume in a day. I told him that I've been hungry...he says, "Well, you're not eating near as much as you used to, right? I mean, you can't possibly eat that much anymore, right?" My reply, "I'm sure I COULD - I've come close!" Yes, I've been starving...but keeping myself accountable with my FitDay program helps me make better food choices every day. Yes, I COULD sit down with a supersized Double Quarter Pounder w/Cheese meal...and probably get through it! But, I choose not to. After the quick discussion, I laid down...he stabbed me with some numbing stuffness and then worked on getting the fill needle in. He kept palpating the port area, and I wasn't quite sure why he needed to feel that much - I feel the port all the time! Eventually, he had me do a crunch to tighten my stomach muscles while I was laying there so that he could more easily see/feel the port. He finally got the needle and syringe in, and began to pull back on the syringe stopper to see if there was liquid already in my band. Apparently, the doctor who did my surgery commonly puts liquid in the band already - and, yup, I had 2.5 cc's of saline in my band! The doctor today had great bedside manner - although I'm very familiar with syringes and needles because of my work with livestock, he explained what he was doing, did the math for me (he started with 4 cc's in his syringe, after emptying the band he has 6.5...so that means there were how many already in there?? LOL!), and then filled me back up with 4.5 cc's of saline. He then had me sit up, drink a few sips of water to see if I was okay and not too "tight" with the restriction. When the sips went down without issue, he asked me to take a gulp of water...did that, and voila! I felt like I was ready to burp...at that point, he said "good" and sent me on my way. Overall, easy and painless process with a nice doctor. It felt good to get my questions answered (Can I go back on birth control now?) and discuss the weight loss I've seen tracked against my calories (less than 1,000 calories, and my body maintains...1,200-1,400 seems about right for me to consistently lose - yay for body chemistry!).

My big peeve of the visit, though? Once we finished, he made sure to give me the doctorly advice...

Him:
"Okay, be sure to have only liquids for the next 24 hours."
Me: ::nodding head yes:: "Wait, I could have eaten this MORNING?!"
(My nutritional packet from the nutritionist said that I had to be on liquids the DAY OF the fill and could resume normal foods the following day.)
Him: "Yes...it's only after the fill that you need to maintain liquids while your stomach adjusts."

Not a HUGE deal, since it was early in the afternoon when I got the fill...I had consumed an 8oz. protein drink (my normal breakfast) and a bunch of water. Usually by that time in the day, though, I eat my largest meal...doubled up the protein drink in the morning, though (usually start the day with 4oz.) because I knew I wouldn't be eating.

Moral of the story? I CAN EAT leading up to a fill - just not the 24 hours after! So, by the time I get home from work tomorrow, I'll have been about 36 hours on liquid...and craving some substance, I'm sure!

Ooo ooo - and I go back for fill #2 in THREE WEEKS! It's reassuring to know that I'll be "checked up on" pretty quickly - so if I'm not feeling restriction yet from the extra 2 cc's put in me today, my doctor and I can continue to work together to get this band working for me! Only drawback there? It's the day before our HUGE annual FFA Open House...is it Spring Break yet? I'm dying on the vine!

As an aside? Remember the one patient I had in front of me in the office? She came out to schedule her next fill and recognized my voice. Turns out it was the grandmother of a former student of mine! I'd had this student the last two years...how funny! Even funnier? She had her LapBand surgery done the SAME day as me, at the SAME hospital, by the SAME doctor...only about 6 hours before me. Today was her first fill, too! Awesome!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tahoe Joe's Blows.

Now, I realize I won't always be able to accurately account for the calories I consume...the great thing about the software program I use (FitDay) is that I can estimate what I've eaten (sizes, ingredients, etc.) and get a rough idea of what I've eaten. Today I'm not teaching - I'm with the contract negotiations team that I sit on...when it came to lunch time, I suggested we go to a place that didn't have chips and salsa on the table (LOL!). After some thought between the five of us, I agreed that Tahoe Joe's Steakhouse would be good - figured that since they're a brand name, and not a mom and pop cafe, I could easily find their nutrition facts online and enter them into my handy FitDay calculations.

Despite that hunch, I made sure to ask the hostess (who, in turn, asked her manager) if they had printed nutritional values at the restaurant...nope. So, I grab the lunch menu and start floundering for something low-cal I could eat. I even tried googling the restaurants' nutritional value on my T-Mobile G1 Phone to see if I could find information quickly, before the waitress came to take our order, but I found nothing on the main restaurant's site or in google. So, I buckled down and ordered their grilled chicken sandwich dry with only tomato, lettuce and a slice of cheese. Also paid the $1 extra to substitute the cabin fries with a baby green salad with champagne vinaigrette. Overall? It's much lower calorie than what was printed on the menu (the sandwich comes standard with bacon, avocado, mayo, etc...no thanks!). I'm just bitter that a chain restaurant like Tahoe Joe's has nutritional information NOWHERE accessible either at the restaurant or online. If anyone can find it, let me know! I'm pretty technologically savvy, so I'm convinced that if I can't find it...it doesn't exist.

On the plus side? I'm getting my first fill TOMORROW! Yeah, it was scheduled for this Saturday at 9am, but after the exhausting last week and a half, I really wanted to see if I could reschedule for the quick break I have in work tomorrow afternoon so that I could sleep in on Saturday...and I got it! 2pm tomorrow? Gettin' me some saline! WOOT! I'm sure I'll post tomorrow night after the experience of the fill!

And, and?

There goes another 2.4 pounds this morning...that'll show that 4.4 pound gain from the weekend! I'm a little nervous as now I'm back down to 19 pounds lost, and that's where my stall hit me last week. Wish me luck as I try to tackle the 20 pound goal! I'm anxious to get my fill this weekend!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I'm alive!

I've been absolutely slammed with work since last Monday with regular work, FFA applications being due (which require hours of my patience), and CTA State Council - a quarterly meeting of the elected state minds who make, shape and enforce policy for the California Teachers Association. Yikes! I still have a busy week in front of me, but I'm eagerly awaiting this weekend for two reasons - it's a three day weekend AND I get my first fill! Yup, Saturday morning I will hopefully put an end to this "Bandster Hell!"

The last week has been crazy, not only for work, but for weight loss. Last week I so DESPERATELY wanted to break through the 20 pound loss mark...but it wasn't to be. Despite my counting calories and working out, I was stalled at 19...then 18...then 19...repeat. I was frustrated all week, knowing I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. Then, CTA State Council came...catered food for every meal of the day. I *did* drink a ton of water (yay for free CTA bottles of water everywhere!), but I'll admit that I ate more of the bad-for-me stuff. As a result? I came home and weighed myself yesterday - and hated the 4.4 pound gain I saw. But, I jumped right back on the bandwagon yesterday, counted my calories and returned to the foods I know I should have...and was rewarded with a 2.8 pound loss this morning!

As I told my LapBand buddy last night, I do well when I'm at home. Thankfully, I don't have to deal with State Council again for another 2 months - and I *should* have restriction in my band by then. So, yay! Here's to a wonderful week of weight loss (you hear that body? Let's do this!)!