Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Update on Revision Surgery

I've been waiting to hear from the doctor about the "peer to peer" appeal he was going to do with my insurance company.  In being patient with the holidays and bureaucracy, I was going to wait to call until after the New Year, but I received a phone call this morning!  Unfortunately, it wasn't good news.  Because my insurance plan doesn't offer any bariatric/complication coverage, they are refusing to cover any revision or removal of my LapBand.  Awesome!  The quote given to me from the doctor (depending on where he'll be able to do the surgery) ranges from $13k to $17.5k.  Sure - let me pull that out of my pocket!  Get a loan you say?  Sure - my credit is perfect for that!

Blah.  I miss my old insurance with my old job - I've paid more out of pocket for barium swallows, check ups, medication (Chantix) etc. in the 5 months that I've had this job than I paid in the entire eight years at my old job.  And what kind of company doesn't provide bariatric coverage nowadays?  Really?

Get this - the insurance company also told my doctor that if my issues got to the extreme where I get so stuck I have to be admitted for emergency removal (a repeat of early October, but this time with no fluid to drain from the band)?  That wouldn't be covered either.  Eff this.

So what's my daily life like at this point?  Well, if I eat really small bites and graze all day long - never have an actual meal - I get by okay.  If I attempt a meal, it's going to either (a) be manually regurgitated or (b) remain so lodged in my body that three symptoms occur: my chest is tight/hurts, my back hurts and I get really cold (from the inside out).  Can't figure out why my back hurts or I get cold, but my boyfriend is sure getting used to my symptoms as I spend this vacation at his house!  To eat and be in pain, or not to eat and be hungry...that is the constant question I deal with.

On the plus side, I HAVE quit smoking!  Today marks two solid weeks of no cigarettes, although my actual quit date was a month ago (I slipped and had a cig now and then in the first couple of weeks).  I'm still craving the habit/nicotine - which makes me want to eat = get sick - but the thought of the taste of a nasty cig deters me enough not to go out and buy a pack.  Even in those two weeks of rarely smoking, the cig did nothing for me (I was on Chantix then) and they tasted gross and made my stomach hurt.  Don't know why I bothered to smoke at all...that's when I decided 2 weeks ago to stop completely.  I'm no longer on Chantix, but am doing great!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

:::sigh:::

As I reflect on my weight loss journey of 2011, I realize that I haven't really progressed much at all.  While I made glorious plans, and at least 5 "restarts," my whopping loss for the year comes to about 25 pounds.  Yes, I'm grateful that the number reports a loss, but I'm disappointed in myself for not having the perseverance I should.

I'm not going to make glorious proclamations about how much better I'm going to be in 2012.  2011 seemed to be a year of excuses as to why I just couldn't get my head in the "healthy eating/exercising" mode (slipped LapBand, moving across the country, starting a new job/career, quitting smoking).  Granted, those excuses are big ones - heck, most of them are some of the most stressful things people do in a lifetime - they're still excuses.

I'm reminded of a saying I've heard - "Excuses are like assholes; everyone's got one."  Regardless of what I can "justify" in my head, regardless of the fact that I did lose weight in 2011...I know I'm not living a healthy lifestyle (although quitting smoking sure has helped!).

I need to drink more water.
I need to take my daily vitamins.
I need to make exercise a habit, not a rarity.
I need to wear and utilize my bodybugg daily.
I need to reach out to my friends in this community and to my family to help me.
I need to accept that help.

No 2012 resolutions from me - just another list of things I've written before, and will probably write again...perhaps the more I see it, the more it will sink in?


I gotta look in the mirror.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

You know those annoying people...

...you know, the ones who wake up at "oh-dark-thirty" to go work out?  I refuse to believe that there's anything good about waking up at 6am, putting on some running shoes and making a go at it.  Who purposely starts their day earlier?!

I did.  Today.  Working out has not become a habit for me yet, but I'm trying to force the habit as something about my weight loss journey I can control.  I hadn't worked out in awhile, and used the fact that I was quitting smoking as an excuse - didn't feel guilty at all about that one!  Started anew today at 6am.  Ugh.  What have I become!?

P.S. Those people who also claim that a morning workout energizes you for the day?  I call your bull shit.  I came home from the gym, ate a bowl of cereal, and I'm now more sleepy than when I woke up!  Ugh.  Off to the shower I go to get ready for work...if I don't return, it's because napping in the shower sounded like a good idea...despite the whole drowning thing.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Another "redesign" and "refocus."

Done.  I'm done putting my weight loss aspirations on hold because of what my LapBand is or is not doing.  I've used it as an excuse for a good year, as I've battled with this foreign object inside of my body.  I may or may not end up having surgery (depending on how the "peer to peer" consult goes between the doctors), but I've noticed an increased ability to eat during the day - although that lessens as the day goes on (complete opposite of how typical LapBand eating goes, I know).  At any rate, the "onederland by 2012" goal isn't going to happen based on the weight gain I had over Thanksgiving and my first week of quitting smoking - excuses, maybe, but I'll take a few pounds in lieu of a pack a day habit that was worse to my body than those pounds!

As such, I've readjusted my bodybugg program today.  My goal weight is 169, and with an average loss of 1.5 pounds per week, I can hit that by my 32nd birthday on August 28, 2012.  1.5 pounds a week is easy peasy, and allows flexibility for stalls, plateaus, minor gains, etc. along the way.  Besides, coming off of the last week where I downed bite sized chocolates from my candy dish at work (which I'm usually great at avoiding) as a substitute for nicotine, and Thanksgiving prior to that, I'm sure I'll easily knock out 1.5 pounds within a day or two...let alone a week.

I don't know how long this ability to eat in the morning/afternoon will last, but I do know that I can make healthy choices when I can eat.  And?  I totally will.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Frustrated.

After another barium swallow, there was no change in my LapBand's brokenness...next plan?  Surgery.  While I'd contemplated, researched and discussed the sleeve with others, I had decided that I would prefer to stick with LapBand revision surgery, knowing that the quality of after care I have now is what's necessary to be successful in the end of my journey.  I waited for a week to hear from the dietitian/nurse who would be contacting me with more information, but finally called her to find out what was going on...

...and, of course, the insurance I have doesn't cover anything.  Nothing.  I knew it didn't cover bariatric services (I've been paying out of pocket for all of these barium swallows and adjustments), but we assumed that since I am at the point where this brokenness is affecting my ability to eat, sometimes drink, live, etc...insurance would cover either the revision or removal.  Nope!  She told me that she even pleaded with the insurance nurse, telling her that I've been surviving mostly on liquids since they took over my case in August - nothing.  At this point, my doctor is going to do a "peer to peer" with the insurance doctor...basically, a last ditch effort conversation where my doctor has to convince the insurance doctor that surgery is essential for me.  They've told me so far that, if anything, the insurance would probably only agree to removal...definitely not a sleeve, and more than likely not revision.  When asked if I was okay with that option?  I have no choice.  I'm not independently wealthy, nor do I have the minimum $10,500 I was quoted...so, if my doctor can convince the insurance company to cover removal...my LapBand days are over.

While it makes me nervous, anxious, frustrated, etc. to live without the LapBand after having preliminary success with it, I'll admit that it'll be nice to return to a life of normalcy where I can eat without vomiting, pain, etc.  I'll have to summon all of the courage inside of me to finish this journey on my own, but I'll have to be confident that I've learned enough about myself to do this.  Guess I'll have to change the title of my blog, eh?

Flip side...if insurance won't cover it?  Ugh.  I can eat nowadays, but my food choices and portion sizes are very limited...otherwise, vomit ensues.  I stick to mostly liquids for safety reasons (although, hell, the doc said if I were admitted under emergency care and had to get the band removed, insurance would probably cover that - but I'm not interested in going there), but I'll have to do a better job at those food choices and portion sizes if I have to live with this slipped band.

F.
M.
L.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Good news?

Saw the doctor this morning to discuss my revision surgery.  Turns out, as he had been looking through all of my barium swallow pics, I actually have gotten better since he first took over my case in August.  Although my pouch and band are not ideal at the moment (and still causing me to throw up anything other than a small portion of foods), he's decided to put me on strict liquids again and take one more look right before Thanksgiving...

It's a catch 22, really, at this point (whatever that phrase means) because my band is completely empty.  Even if 10 days of liquids heals the pouch and repositions the band to it's correct location, any stuck food or bad day leaves the doctor with no course of action...there's no fluid to drain!  Ultimately, surgery will probably be in my future.  We did discuss the revision to a sleeve, though, and that sounds like an awesome alternative!  I know many of you have sleeves or have revised to a sleeve...I'm going to do more research on that to decide if it's really a viable alternative for me.  Any comments you can add about life with a sleeve, please do!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Temptation...

Temptation from yesterday: My job as a teacher’s union staff member can be frustrating at times. When I’m in my office, I receive calls from union members who are generally upset with something that’s been done to them by a supervisor/administrator. After an extremely difficult call yesterday (made even more difficult because there was nothing I could do to help the member), I snagged a Hershey’s snack size bar out of the candy dish on my desk and scarfed it down…then followed it with two more after a colleague came in and I reported to her that “I need chocolate.” Followed that with a small handful of the autumn candy corn I have in a Thanksgiving jar on my desk as well…

Why is there a candy jar on my desk? Well, it’s a great social tool for colleagues who come into my office throughout the day, and I often have union members come meet with me…good for their stress as well. 9.9 times out of 10, I don’t touch the stuff – not only has my LapBand had issues and I’ve been under direction to be on liquids for most of the time I’ve had this job (just started in July), but I don’t want to have to waste my daily calorie count on crap.

I think the root emotions that got me to scarf down that candy were a general frustration that stemmed from many places…the immediate frustration of the call, undertones of frustration with my colleagues, and general anxiety over the need for LapBand revision surgery somewhere amidst the insanely busy schedule that is my November. I see the doctor on Thursday to discuss and schedule the surgery, but the OCD organized person inside of me needs to schedule this surgery and my life NOW. Ugh. I’m generally just anxious/apprehensive about many things…and the easy answer is to grab some candy – no thought, no fuss, no muss! Hell, I did it for years – although, back then, it was typically a stop through a fast food joint to load as many calories into my mouth as I could.

Bottom line, I made sure to log that “snack” into my food journal (I utilize the bodybugg tool and website for that) and moved on. I only eat 1,350 calories a day, and that took up a meal-sized chunk of those calories on Monday, but that’s the way it goes. Weight loss surgery has been a blessing for me in that it helps me control my appetite, helps me focus on nutrition, calories, exercise, etc…but it is a DAILY (hell, hourly!) struggle to make the right choices. I truly believe that obesity is a disease, created by an addiction to unhealthy food. I just need to keep surrounding myself with positive people, energy and choose to maintain a health-centered focus on me!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

120 pounds GONE!

Although I was down this low (and even a little bit lower) in August, I'm officially BACK to being exactly 120 pounds lighter than I was at my pre-surgery weight!  This time?  There's no going back to the 220's or above...it's all downhill from here, and I can't wait for onederland!!

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^^ That chick is doin' the happy dance inside, just like me!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Changing Attitude.

Clearly, it's what I need to do.  I'll admit that many of the PB/vomit episodes I've had this week are because I'm depressed about my situation and am overcompensating my chowing down on either food I shouldn't eat, forcing quantities that are too large or bites that are too big/fast (despite what I wrote in my last post, I know that if I really analyze what's been making me throw up, it's mostly user error).  This is yet another sign that I need to have LapBand revision surgery instead of removal - I won't do this on my own.

It's time to derail the pity party train.  So far today I've had a small serving of oatmeal, 2 cups of coffee and a grilled turkey burger on 100 calorie deli flat bread (if you haven't tried these yet, they're great for bandsters!) with a little bit of mustard.  While this may not seem like much food by 2:09pm in the day, I've accepted that it's enough for me and, really, all my band will tolerate.

And now?  I need to go burn some calories.  I've been trying to find the motivation for a good walk for hours now.  Methinks I just need to change out of my pajamas, put on some tennis shoes and just do it.

Latest NSV:  Finally had to switch out the "large" bodybugg band for the "small" one - both came in the box.  The large band got to the point where I'd have to wear the bodybugg somewhat loose because, otherwise, there was too much band left in order to velcro to itself.  Yay for the small band!

Update 3 hours later: The turkey burger was apparently too much for me.  As tiny as it was, it decided to come back up.  Blech.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sick of throwing up.

I've been cleared to eat whatever I want (liquids, solids, etc.) as long as I do small portions...I meet with my doctor next Thursday (10th) to discuss my surgery options for either revision or removal (and I'll ask about the sleeve, but I don't know if he does them!).  Despite the road block of a slipped band, I'm hell bent on making my goal of "onederland by 2012" and continue to log my calories into my bodybugg program.

Here's the issue...I'm not overeating.  I'm not even eating normally intolerable foods.  I'm not taking huge bites.  I'm not swallowing my food whole/scarfing.  I'm not eating quickly.  Despite all of that, I've thrown up food for 4 or 5 days in a row now.  Hell, tonight I thought I took it easy and had some turkey chili without beans...nope, couldn't stomach that either.  Gotta love a slipped band, eh?  I just find it bizarre that I can nibble/eat throughout the day, but can't tolerate food at night (apparently...except for the one exception where I threw up twice at work yesterday after trying to eat lunch).

Bottom line?  I'm so done.  I'm so ready for this nightmare to be over.  I'm leaning toward revision surgery at this point because I know the aftercare will be what it's supposed to be...and, to be honest, I'm scared that my head really isn't in the right place to either continue or finish this journey.  I've been so mentally screwed up over the past year of dealing with these band issues, that I'm not sure I'm in the right place to do this on my own.  Beyond that - if I could have done it on my own, I wouldn't have had surgery in the first place.

An aside?  I posted about the need for surgery in a Facebook status and actually got pushback from a couple of people.  These "friends" suggested (one even begged) that I get the thing removed..."do you really need it?"  "Can't you do it on your own?"  I've always been open about my surgery, even with strangers, but the fact that I got flack from people because I mentioned that I was leaning toward revision surgery really bothered me.  Everyone's always been supportive...what happened to that?  What happened to it being okay to make my own choices without fear of judgment?  Screw people.

Ugh.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Revise or remove - that is the new question.

After today's barium swallow, it looks like my band has officially - and permanently - slipped.  It didn't move at all from the cock-eyed position it was in three weeks ago when he put me on liquids.  He told me that if it had moved back into position, even the tiniest bit toward normal, he'd have hope to keep me on liquids and see how it heals...tis not the case.  We're chalking it up to the months of neglectful after care I received in California with the ass clown surgery practice.  For those of you keeping track...my band WAS all good to go again in the beginning of September, but apparently the battle with the closed band/dehydration earlier this month was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.  Apparently my September "fix" was really just a temporary relief that my LapBand, stitching and insides couldn't maintain.

My choices now?  Revision surgery or remove the band.  Here's the pro/con list (as I still contemplate):

REVISION

  1. I'd still have a LapBand.
  2. I KNOW the after care I'd receive from this practice will be good - no more neglect.
  3. I've lost about 120 pounds and have 50-ish left to go...and I know my head isn't ready to take over this journey on it's own, even though my determination says otherwise.
  4. I've been through the surgery before, so I know what to expect post-op.
  5. My LapBand would finally WORK...I'd really like to know what that's like.
REMOVAL
  1. I'd never have LapBand/digestion/PB/acid reflux issues again.
  2. The last 50 pounds would be all me (not sure if that's a pro or con...).
  3. I'd never have LapBand/digestion/PB/acid reflux issues again.
  4. I'd really have to put ME to the test - what did I really learn in this journey?
  5. I'd never have LapBand/digestion/PB/acid reflux issues again. - Are you gathering my frustration?
I really don't know which way to go.  The doc is going to have his people look into insurance coverage for me (typically, he says insurances cover this piece - even if they don't cover the original surgery - because it's now a legitimate, digestive-altering, dangerous issue) and he wants me to come back in a week or two to "talk."  I'm sure by "talk" he means "make a decision."  He stressed to me that he didn't want to wait too long on this - at this point, I'm a ticking time bomb.  One wrong food choice, one piece of food not chewed well enough, one morsel swallowed too fast...I'm back to where I was at the beginning of the month with a closed stoma and dehydration from not being able to swallow liquids.  As the doc puts it, we have no cushion - he can't drain my band, as he'd typically do if a patient was too tight, because my band is completely empty.  

Soooo...no more liquids for me.  Doc says to eat whatever I want, but to focus on SMALL ("and I mean SMALL") portions, chewing vigorously, etc...any irritation to my lopsided band/partially closed stoma will put my ass on an IV (ask my mom - I HATE those) forcing fluids into my body.  Yes, Grandma, I DID tell him about my family's kidney history so he knew not to push it when it comes to dehydration!

Ugh.  Why me?  Have any of you had revision surgery?  Any wisdom to share in my decision making process?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hello 210's!!

I saw the 210's for a brief time in August of this year, but - like I've said - I've been fluctuating between 217 and 237 for months...this time?  I ain't goin' back!!  219.6 today, 199.8 (at least) by January 1st!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Good week...kinda!

I feel good about what I did this week for myself.  I worked out Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and today (skipped Thursday after hitting my head, hard, on the steel door frame at work...little bump and some blurred vision, but I'll be okay!).  In addition to that, I've stayed on liquids about 97% of the time since my last PB episode 8 days ago - doctor's orders!  Barium swallow on Monday should reveal that everything's back to normal...I'll probably get a fill at this point...and I REALLY hope I'll be able to chew solid foods again by late next week!  I'm so fucking sick of liquids that I want to kill myself (we call that "hyperbole").

I've seen a great calorie deficit just about every day this week, but my weight is moving sloooowly...at a rate of about 0.2 pounds per day.  My boyfriend jokes that it's because I've been working out - it seems that if I hit my deficit but don't work out, I lose weight.  If I hit my deficit and work out, I always maintain.  Stupid body.  My goal with my bodybugg program is to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day (measured in calorie burn rate per minute) and 5,000 steps per day.  I know it's not a rigorous plan, but hitting that every day is more than I've done throughout most of my journey!  I didn't feel like hitting the treadmill tonight, but I did bust out the Wii Fit Plus and got my physical activity in...but not my steps.  Although it's rainy and drizzly outside (snow expected tomorrow - why the hell did I move to the East Coast again?), I'm seriously contemplating a brisk walk around the apartment complex.  I really want my 5,000 steps!!  As of now, I'm a little less than 1,500 steps away from hitting that for the day...and the extra calorie burn won't be a bad thing (or, it will, because exercising causes weight maintain/gain on me).

ANEEWAYZE - I'm proud of the commitment I made to myself this week.  I came home from work and put my workout clothes/shoes on and headed straight to the gym Monday through Wednesday, because I knew I wouldn't get up to workout if I allowed myself to sit down and watch TV or play on Facebook.  I'm proud that I've kept up my daily calorie deficit, burn, steps, physical activity, etc., despite seeing little movement on the scale.  I'm still waiting to get out of the 220's (220.4 both today and yesterday), but I know it's coming soon...and I vow to NEVER see that decade again!

Onederland by 2012, bitches.  It's so happening!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Re-energized!

I got in a good workout this morning.
I've stuck to liquids all weekend.
I've logged my calories in and out, creating a deficit for each day of the weekend.
I'm wearing my bodybugg...and using it.
My weight was down this morning.
I will say good-bye to the 220's, permanently, sometime in the next, few days.

See?  It's doable!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Accountability.

My last blog post referenced the fact that I was supposed to stay on liquids for two weeks, pending a follow-up barium swallow on the 24th, to ensure that my above-band pouch shrunk back to normal size and all inflammation ceased after my bout with dehydration at the beginning of this month.  Unfortunately, I've spent much of the latter half of 2011 on liquids and I just couldn't do it.  As a result, I've PB'ed three times in the last week.  Obviously my above-band pouch isn't healing and the irritation is still very present.  I noticed how serious it was, honestly, when I PB'ed after eating a minimal amount of food on Thursday.  Enough was enough!

I moved my Oct. 24th barium swallow to Oct. 31st (because, obviously, my doctor isn't going to see what he wants to see on Monday...and I'm not wasting $75 on a "facility fee" at the surgery center just for the doc to tell me to continue on liquids) and know that a strict liquid diet is absolutely necessary.  I don't like it one bit, and I'm so sick of blended soups, but I know that the alternative isn't allowing me to get any better.  Beyond that, I fall into this apathetic mood when I'm on liquids (or, maybe it's specific this time being on liquids again) that my calories don't matter...in reality, liquid calories can rack up just as big if I don't watch what I'm drinking.  With that being said, the bodybugg's finally back on my arm today and I'm tracking my "food" again.  I'd really like to get out of the 220's permanently - it's been a roller coaster between 217 and 237 for months, but I've spent the majority of my time in the 220's.  If this whole "onederland by 2012" thing is going to happen, it's on me!

I need to stop being a pathetic crybaby and literally get a straw and suck it up!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

2 more weeks of liquids...

After last week's tightness and dehydration episodes, I'm back to being able to drink normally and had my 3rd barium swallow on Monday.  My pouch is, yet again, enlarged and the doc doesn't like the position of my LapBand (again).  After seeing the screen, the doc wanted to drain my LapBand...until I told him he had already done that last week when I was so tight I could only keep spit down.  Oh well - I'm on liquids (again) now until I have my next barium swallow on the 24th, and then will probably get an adjustment and be on liquids for two more days...at this rate?  I'll be able to eat solid food again by Halloween - yay candy!!  Hahah!

Thankfully, most of the weight I lost from dehydration last week has decided to stay off of my body, despite the fact that I'm back to normal and fully hydrated this week.  I hit 222.0 (again) today and am excited to bust through 23 more pounds in the next 11 weeks and 3 days so I can be in "onderland" by 2012 - my current goal!  My weight tracking program tells me that will require a loss of 2.01 a week...I got this :).

:::SO STOKED FOR THE FUTURE:::

Friday, October 7, 2011

I'm better NOW!

But the week didn't start out that way...here's the timeline:

Thursday 9/29 - Fill (thank god - I'd been eating SO much and gained 13 pounds!)
Sunday 10/2 - While still on the "mushies," as per doctor's instructions, I carefully sampled a pumpkin swirl brownie from the batch I had made for my co-workers...immediately got stuck and started throwing up everything, including liquids
Monday 10/3 - Took the day off work after puking all night...forced myself to chug water/gatorade just to keep some down, even though I knew it'd come back up...continued to throw up everything - acid, liquids, chunks from days gone by...yeah, gross
Tuesday 10/4 - Unfill from the doc (had lost 14 pounds since the fill 5 days earlier), able to drink water at his office, but closed up again by that evening.  Continued to throw up liquids.  Called doc's emergency line - he told me to get some antacids and to come again in the morning if I was still having problems.
Wednesday 10/5 - 3rd day in a row off work, complete unfill from the doc.  Finally able to sip liquids.  Doc noticed how pale I was, how dry my lips were, etc.
Thursday 10/6 - Made it 5 hours at work, couldn't drink my Starbucks coffee (drank water instead), tried to drink some soup to no avail...got home, napped and continued to hydrate.  Realized that not only was I weak from dehydration, but also from the fact that I hadn't had calories in days...got a milkshake down :).
Friday 10/7 - Today I made it 6 hours at work, felt like I had more energy, and even drank most of a protein smoothie for lunch.  Stopped at the grocery store on the way home and was able to actually finish a bowl of soup when I got home.

I'm feeling better now, but not at 100%.  Although I barely worked at all this week, it's already time for the weekend!  I'm hoping to continue hydrating and putting some calories into my body so I can be normal by the time I go back to work on Tuesday (yup - we have Monday off!!).  My doc does want to see me on Monday for a barium swallow (yay...another $75 co-pay at the stupid surgery center), but that's the extent of my plans for the three-day weekend.  Since my band is completely empty again, I'm not sure if the doc is planning to fill me at all on Monday or just look at what's going on since I had so much irritation.  Either way, I'm determined not to get off the good track I started last week once my insides are all healed up...hunger or no hunger!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Happy Rocktober!!

I haven't been around, primarily because I was ashamed to come over here and say anything.  September 2011 saw a complete 180 in my LapBand issues...went from throwing up everything I ate to being able to consume anything I wanted!  I gained weight, didn't handle temptation well, etc.

Went back to the doc on Sept. 29th and got a fill (I have no idea how much, but I went through two cups of water testing the band's limits before he was satisfied he had the proper adjustment).  According to his records, I had gained 13 pounds (I like his records...because I think I actually gained more than that).  I scheduled my next evaluation for October 31st and, as I was leaving the office, the doc made sure I knew that I "owe him 13 pounds."  I started to tell him that I owe him that plus what I should have lost in September, but he assured me he doesn't charge interest :).  Have I professed yet how happy I am with my new doctor?!

At any rate, I'm back on the wagon now...I've been on liquids the past two days to let my adjustment sit, and I'm on mushies for the weekend...solid foods again on Monday.  The doc told me to be careful as I adjust back into normal foods, as he gave me a larger fill than he had anticipated.  He also said that if I get miserable, am too tight, etc., I am to call back immediately because, "You can't lose weight if you're miserable."  (Can somebody call my old doctor and tell him that?)

September was pretty much a depressing month for me.  Although it was glorious to eat foods again (and, boy, did I!), I had two big projects due at work and the weight gain/lack of self-control really brought me down overall.  I'm looking forward to ROCKING October (hence the "Rocktober" in the blog post title) and handing the doctor more than the 13 pounds he asked for when I see him on Halloween!  And the new goal?


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P.S. I'm already down 4 pounds since seeing him on Thursday!  Bring it on!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Lost/Disappointed/Frustrated.

It's been a long time (10 months) since I could eat any quantity of food without getting sick, stuck, etc.  After getting my issues fixed and being adjusted, I was finally able to eat a week ago...and, boy, have I been eating!  I gave myself permission to enjoy Labor Day weekend with my boyfriend, eating whatever I wanted, not counting calories.  He'll tell you that I didn't eat anything more than a normal person would, but my scale will tell you that I gained 10 pounds in that three days.  Ugh.  I knew I'd gain, but I suppose I didn't expect it to be that much.  A pound is 3,500 calories - I KNOW I didn't eat 35,000 calories of food!

So I get back home to Virginia and put the bodybugg back on, determined to start tracking my calories again and committing to at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day (I've been a horrible worker-outer in this whole journey, as I mentioned in my last post).  Well, I just completed Day 4 of working out in a row (really didn't want to yesterday, but I forced myself), so I'm proud that I'm keeping that up.

As for the counting calories?  I'm doing it...but they're not very low.  In fact, since Tuesday I haven't had a calorie deficit (less calories in than out).  I'm just hungry.  I feel like I've been teleported to the beginning band stages, where it's wide open and I can consume anything I want.  I'm in "Bandster Hell" again, where I have to force myself to "diet" instead of letting the band help control my hunger.  It makes sense that I'm here since the doctor did drain the band completely and is slowly going to adjust it back up to an appropriate level...and, I promise, I'm much happier being able to eat without getting sick.  It just...kinda sucks.

Take yesterday for example - I was doing WELL all day.  I had a Skinny Vanilla Latte at Starbucks (180 calories), went to lunch with some colleagues at Panera and consumed less than 400 calories...didn't snack on anything all day...then gorged on steak nachos and a quesadilla from a Mexican joint I had wanted to try near my house.  G'bye accountability!  I did enter it in my bodybugg program, thus resulting in another non-deficit day.  :::sigh:::

The only upside is that I lost one pound since Tuesday morning.  I'm not sure how since I haven't registered a deficit this week, but I'll take it!  I had to revise my goal this morning - again - to get to onederland by the end of 2011, instead of my goal of 169 in the same time frame.  Getting to goal would require a loss of 3.5 pounds a week, and I just can't sustain a loss like that for several months - oh, and it's not healthy either!

So....wish me luck as I continue to grapple with hunger and accountability issues.  I see the doctor again at the end of this month to get adjusted again and, even though he told me to call his office and come in earlier if I was hungry, I want to prove to myself that I have the willpower to make this happen.  Is that a correct attitude?  Or do I just need to accept the fact that I couldn't do this pre-LapBand and can't do it now?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

2 days...

2 days for two things:

1. I am now making an honest effort to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity in every day.  Obviously some days will be more than that, but I need to do SOMETHING that registers as physical activity every day.  I've been really lax about that in my entire journey thus far, and I know I need to kick myself in the ass to reach goal!  I'm happy to report that I did Zumba yesterday and some Wii Fit Plus games today...woot!  30 days makes something a habit, right?  28 days to go :)

2. 2 days from now will be the weekend.  I intend to catch up on reading YOUR blogs.  I love reading them because they make me feel like I'm part of a motivating community - good or bad, we all struggle and maintain a positive "losing" attitude!  I really wish I were close with y'all - I'm always jealous of the "BOOBS" because I really don't know what it's about.  Y'all exchange phone numbers, e-mails, etc...wish I had someone like that on my journey too!  So...what's the password to get in??? :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

I'm fixed!!!

I haven't updated in quite awhile, but I believe we left off during the beginning of my liquid diet...ugh.  I survived 16 (or 17?) days of liquids and saw my doctor again last Tuesday for another barium swallow.  Low and behold, I'm healed!  My pouch is back to the size it's supposed to be, the blockage is gone, and my band shifted back to it's normal position!!  The doc adjusted me again (he had removed all of the saline for the two weeks of "healing") and advised me to do liquids for 2 more days, mushies for 2 days, then solid food!  The doctor called my recovery "PERFECT" - yes, he even wrote that word in my chart, which he says he doesn't get to do often - and gave me a hug at my flawless, no cheating (even though it was my birthday during the fest of liquids...I stuck with a milkshake that day to celebrate!).

I've been eating like a normal human being again!  At first I was scared to eat mushy food...anything, really...since it's been months of me eating anything, being sore and stuck for hours and then throwing it all up.  I've lived in AGONY since November of last year, convinced there was nothing I could do to help the situation (liquids alone may have helped, but the barium swallow to really SEE what was going on was kinda nice).  Alas, I visited my boyfriend in West Virginia over this Labor Day weekend and ATE.  Like...he even commented that he's NEVER seen me eat that much (we met in person four days post-op).  Obviously my band is too loose now, but I gave myself a pass for this weekend to just EAT, guilt free.  I didn't overdo it and gorge out on food constantly all day, every day, but I know my scale will reveal a gain when I step on it tomorrow morning...that's okay!  After MONTHS of being deprived, I decided that this weekend was mine to eat as I please.  I enjoyed a southwestern omelette with sour cream, a bloomin' onion from Outback Steakhouse (not the whole thing), a steak, hot dogs, chocolates, cake...YUM!  Yeah, I'm totally fatter tonight as a result, but I'm okay with that!  It was glorious just to EAT, have food pass through my band, and actually feel FULL in my stomach (not my esophagus - nice switch!).

I put the bodybugg back on tonight and am determined to finish this journey the right way - I need to drink more water, I need to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity in a day, etc.  I have roughly 50 pounds left to go and know that it's time to tone up...because some of this is staying on my body!  Regardless, it'll be nice to eat healthy foods and not throw them up!

Wish me luck :).

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Liquids Day 6.

It's not that I'm TIRED of liquids, I just wish there was more variety in an all-liquid diet.  I've become a little creative by blending the hell out of some soups, bought some fresh fruit to add to my whey protein smoothies...anybody out there have a relatively simple/cheap idea for liquids?  I'm on liquids for band-healing purposes until I see my doctor on August 30th.  Then again, if all is well, he'll probably adjust me that day and I'll be on liquids again for another 48 hours.  Ugh.  I just want to be able to eat like a did a year ago - chew, eat small portions, and be not sick :).

Frustration for the week: Apparently I was highly dehydrated.  All that vomiting/PBing with the band apparently drained my system.  I've still been wearing my bodybugg and tracking calories this week, recording a deficit in calories burned v. calories consumed every day...and I gained almost 3 pounds since last Saturday.

Not cool, body, not cool.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

14.8 pounds away...

I updated my ticker this morning with today's weight.  I had been down at 216.6 last week, but I suppose I overate this weekend (didn't wear the bodybugg and was just trying to get food down when I could), and then since starting on liquids on Monday, my body is rehydrating...I hate when I gain weight for GOOD reason.  Ugh.  At any rate, I'm back down to 217.8 this morning...which means?

I'm 14.8 pounds away from being "overweight."  Not morbidly obese, not obese...just "overweight."  Considering most skinny/healthy Americans actually live in the "overweight" BMI category, I suppose I'll be in pretty good company!  It's still insane to me to think that my unhealthy, obese days are going to be soon behind me.  I know that I've already put many of the bad eating habits I had to rest (even though the fat girl in my head could really go for a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese any day of the week), and, despite the issues I've had with the Band, I'm really glad I made this choice.

Funny-ish story?  I picked up a Driver's License application a month ago and immediately filled it out, but had to wait for the moving company to get here with my boxes in order to get some of the documents that the DMV needed to prove my identity.  I finally took the application and the documents in yesterday, but noticed I had written "225" down as my weight.  At the counter, I told the lady that I'm on a weight loss journey and had actually already passed down the number I had written a month ago (a month ago, I had been holding steady at about 230, waiting to see if I was ever going to get fixed so I could tolerate foods and actually MOVE on the journey again).  Not wanting to be misleading, I ended up changing the number to 200.  I'm not far from that number now, and my goal weight is 169, but I figured that was much more accurate than the 225 I had already passed!  My license won't expire until 2018...I think when I do reach my goal weight, I'm going to go pay for a replacement...heck, when I pass into "onederland," I never want to see my weight listed as starting with anything but a "1" ever again! 

Monday, August 15, 2011

From Shitty Doctor to Awesomeness...

Wow, what a difference it makes to leave a large-scale surgical practice where my LapBand was just another cog in a factory of thousands of patients!  I finally got to see a new doctor today (well, technically the registered bariatric nurse and physician's assistant) who took the time to really hear about what's been going on with my stomach and it's myriad of issues since November 2010.  I then headed over to the surgery center - across the street - and met the SAME P.A. (that shouldn't seem like a miracle, but it IS when you know what kind of surgical practice I came from) who did a barium swallow test on me.  I'd never had one done, but it was really neat to finally see what my band looks like...and it was really awesome to watch the barium quickly go down my esophagus...and just sit there.

Yup, my band is blocked.  Here's what I learned today:

  1. My LapBand is entirely too tight.  In fact, we couldn't even get the barium to pass through the band and into my stomach (you know, the way liquids are SUPPOSED to work - no wonder I couldn't get food down!) until he stuck a needle in me and removed some of the saline in my LapBand.
  2. The stoma (opening to my stomach via the LapBand) is blocked with undigested food.  Why?  Because my LapBand is too tight, every time I eat I'm continuing to add to the blockage that slowly drains into my stomach.  The food never has enough time/space to fully process through the band, leaving a constant blockage.
  3. The pouch above the LapBand which I normally fill with food has grown to at least four times the size it's supposed to be - pouch dilation.  That happened because my band was too tight and the food had nowhere else to go...the result was either throwing up (which I did quite a bit) or stretch out the pouch to attempt to hold the food until it can pass through the band (difficult when it's blocked) for future digestion.
  4. The pouch has grown so big, and so accustomed to holding onto food for hours before releasing it back up my esophagus, that it's actually pushed my LapBand DOWN...the doctor doesn't think it's permanently slipped (requiring another surgery to fix), but hopes that by draining all of the fluid today and putting me on a strictly liquid diet for the next two weeks (yay...), the pouch will shrink back to the size it's supposed to be and my LapBand will find itself back in it's original position.  He says that 99.9% of the time, this plan works to shrink the pouch and resituate the band.  I hope I'm in that percentage!!!  I'm really not looking forward to another surgery!!
  5. I've been having issues eating food and then throwing up (actually "productive burping") 3-5 hours after eating because my huge ass pouch and esophagus have learned to hold on to food.  Nice.
  6. I only had 3.6cc in my band - are you freaking kidding me?!?  My previous doctor swore I was up to 9.5cc.  What a jerk.  He also swore that I wasn't too tight - it was just me not eating properly (small bites, chewing thoroughly, eating slowly, etc.).  HEY ASSHOLE - if liquid barium can't even pass through the freakin' LapBand, I'm too freakin' tight!  Can I sue for malpractice?  I've been dealing with this ass clown since November of 2010 doubting my experience as a patient.
At any rate, it really was neat to see the band and port inside mah belly on a screen...and it's a relief to hear that my new doc is pretty sure I won't need surgery.  While I'm not totally stoked about being on liquids for the rest of August (that means no birthday cake for me on the 28th...sad face), I told the doc that I'm committed to whatever instructions he wanted to give me.  I've been so sick of not being treated correctly, not being listened to, throwing up all solid foods, etc...you bet your sweet ass I want this taken care of!  So, I stocked up on some soups (options are limited when you're looking for pure liquid soups) and some Yoplait frozen fruit smoothie packs.  That, protein shakes and water will be the second half of my August 2011!  I go back in at the end of the month for another barium swallow exam to see how things look...wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bulimia...

Why do people CHOOSE this as a course of weight loss?  Ugh.  I've had quite the week with my band:

Monday - Learned I had to reschedule Tuesday's intensive doctor visit/surgery center testing because my old doctor faxed my medical records to the wrong medical group.  Awesome.  I don't miss them, I don't.  The day continued with little eating for fear of getting massively stuck/sick...it ended with several hours of rest and hydration after standing up, feeling dizzy, and then literally falling on the ground shaking at my house after slamming into my glass patio sliding door.  Ugh.  I also did some research on hypoglycemia and low iron in light of my "unable to eat solid foods" issue...

Tuesday - More dizziness in the morning, but made it through a day of work and was sure to try to stuff in as many carbs and food as I could (that came out to a 100-calorie bag of popcorn and about 1/4 of a muffin the entire day of work).  Came home to stuff myself some more with crunchy things I could tolerate...still ended up waking up at 11:30pm to throw up my belly's contents for the day.

Wednesday - Dizziness is gone, but now I'm just sleepy...yeah, a lack of energy (read: food) will do that to you.  I didn't drink coffee today, but instead chose to drink water to keep hydrated.  Managed to get a little food down while at work, then tried a few ounces of pork chop and rice when I got home.  Spent the evening completely stuck and miserable again until my belly decided to give all of that food to my toilet just a few minutes ago.

Ugh.  I am completely drained, but trying to keep a smile on my face!  I do get to see the doctor next Monday (mental note: call new doc to make sure my ass clown doctors from CA got my records sent over this time), and I'm hoping things will start to look up!  I did not sign up for weight loss by bulimia.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My problem.

So here's the weird issue I've been having for the past few months...I can tolerate solid food in the moment I'm eating it.  I can chew it up, eat it, swallow it...and then shortly after eating, I'm ill.  My chest is tight, I'm gurgling, etc., but not enough to run to the bathroom and PB (as was the case in the olden days of trial and error while learning the LapBand and it's effect on my stomach).

Oh, no.  The "ill" feeling will last quite awhile.  Take today for instance - I made some lemon pepper pork loin chops and ate 5.2 ounces.  Great source of protein!  I ate that...hmm...maybe about 2:30pm?  I can't drink for awhile, I'm feeling stuck, but not forced to go PB...so I try to go work out for a bit at the gym to help the feeling pass.  I've found that it's either that or taking a nap (which I had already done earlier today) to let the food digest.  By 7pm, I'm still not feeling better...and the few sips of water I had at the gym weren't helping the situation.

Now at 8pm?  I finally feel better...only because I finally threw up a good portion of that pork loin about half an hour ago.  That seems to be my ritual - eat, feel uncomfortable for hours, then throw up and feel better.  It's not like I ate too much, too fast, etc. - I remember when my Band would tell me instantly when I had done that.  No, now I must suffer for hours before I get any release.  I try to keep the food down, I really do - but it seems to be easier to just let it come out hours after I've eaten when I can tell the food isn't digesting.

I read today that food actually passes through the Band within a few minutes, although what I'm throwing up is just regurgitated food - no stomach acid.  Hmm.  From the reading I've been doing, it seems that my acid reflux, PB'ing and etc. of the last few months could easily be explained by a slipped band.  I guess I'll find out on Tuesday!

Although, I'd really rather not go through a corrective surgery...at this point, if my Band has slipped?  I think I'll ask if they can just drain the damn thing and see how it goes.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hello from Virginia!

I realize it's been awhile since I've updated, but there hasn't really been any weight loss/LapBand news to post!  I left California on July 1st, stayed at my man's house in WV for a couple of weeks, then started my new job in Virginia on July 15th!  I moved into my own apartment on July 28th, but the movers didn't get here with my stuff until yesterday...so now I'm a couple of weeks into the new job (LOVING it!) and starting to settle in to Northern Virginia (or "NoVa" as it's referred to here).  Life has been stressful, as moving generally goes, but I'm happy to finally be able to cook for myself again...I'm going grocery shopping in just a minute!

My LapBand has been absolutely horrible.  Solid foods, in general, are murder on my system.  I've been PBing just about everything I've consumed other than frappuccino's, frappe's, etc. - I know these aren't great nutritional items for my system, but I was starving for SOME kind of calorie/energy for my body.  I've been living off of liquids, for the most part, and the occasional crunchy food that my band would tolerate.  It's really been ridiculous, and I know I'm greatly malnourished at this point.

The bright spot on the horizon is that I have a colleague in the next town over who had the surgery years ago and has referred me to a wonderful doctor and practice that she loves - I see them on Tuesday!  They know about the horror that has been my LapBand since, seemingly, 2011 began, so they're putting me through tests at their surgery center, counseling with the nutritionist, adjustment if needed, etc. on Tuesday...I'm to plan for a five hour visit!  I'm glad that a doctor is finally LISTENING to me and wants to get this issue fixed just as much as I do.  It's been far too long, and living paranoid of each bite you take for fear of another acid-filled vomit episode is no way to live.

I've also got my scale back up and running (haven't seen that since I left California either, since it was in a box), and I'm stoked to see I was down to 223.0 this morning - my lowest ever!  My goal of 200 by my 31st birthday (August 28th) isn't realistic anymore, but my final goal of 169 might be doable by the end of 2011!  That requires a loss of about 2.5 pounds a week, so we'll see how it goes!  My new apartment complex has a great gym, I'm cooking for myself again (as soon as I get to the grocery store) and my bodybugg is on, charged and ready to go!  I'm excited for the promises that Virginia holds for me in general, but stoked to finally be able to move forward on this journey again!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Moving to Virginia!

What a whirlwind past week it's been...sister got married (only went up 0.6 pounds over the entire three days - not bad!), and I was offered a job with the Virginia Education Association as a UniServ Director in Fairfax!  It's a little insane...I accepted the job Monday morning, went into my work and resigned from my job, headed to my apartment complex office to put in a 30-day notice, reserved a moving truck (full service move - yay!)...and now it's a matter of packing up a classroom I've been in for 8 years and an apartment I've been in for 5 years.  I'm not taking much with me (most of the furniture I own isn't worth hauling across the country), so I've also been listing items on Craigslist and have had a variety of people over to buy and haul out my crap!  Salvation Army truck comes on Saturday to pick up the rest of the stuff I don't want/sell...yeesh.  It's crazy to think that I won't be teaching high school anymore, won't be supervising livestock projects, etc.  It's time for a new adventure!

P.S. I don't think it's really going to "hit me" until I'm actually on the road - driving across country with 2 kitties in my car - in the beginning of July...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Heading to a wedding!

No, not mine...my sister's.  I'm heading south a couple of hours today for the bachelorette gathering, rehearsal and dinner tomorrow night and then the wedding on Saturday.  To be honest, I'm a bit leery of the whole thing - I've been doing SO GOOD tracking my calories in/out...I'm down to 226 pounds today (the weight loss slowed after the initial spurt, which I knew it would) and I DREAD returning to the 230's because of a family occasion.

I've already decided that drinking is out of the question for the weekend - perhaps a Bud Light or a glass of champagne here and there, but I know those calories can add up quickly.  In addition to that, I know that if I start drinking...eating of all the finger foods comes, too!  In addition, I'm not completely stoked about the fact that we have dinner reservations tonight at a place whose menu has no nutritional facts (yes, I tried to e-mail them - no response), looks completely horrible for you, etc.  Although I won't know calorie counts for the weekend, I'm still determined to be one of those picky order-ers and demand that I eat as healthy as I know possible!

The 230's have haunted me for months.  I refuse to let this wedding weekend slow my progress!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lowest weight EVAR!!!!

Yes, I know I spelled it wrong...but I'm stoked!  Back on March 23rd of this year, I weighed in at 227.4 pounds and was excited for the future.  But April and May brought a period of frustration for me - frustrated with my LapBand issues, stressful amount of workaholic overworked-ness, stress on job prospects and life in general - I gave up.  I did a great job maintaining my weight, weighing in at 232.6 pounds on June 2nd...but I was more than disappointed to see that I had gone so long with not doing much of anything in relation to weight loss.  Obviously, my band is still working to some degree, but that big lack of personal accountability I'd been talking about in recent blog posts was missing.

I'm stoked today to have weighed in at 227.0 - my lowest weight since beginning my journey!  This time?  No looking back (or, bouncing back, as it were)!  I'm determined to keep going, keep monitoring myself...and I can't "weight" to see myself in the BMI "overweight" category when I get below 203 pounds!  Deadline?  My 31st birthday - August 28th.  Despite the craziness that this summer will surely bring, this could actually be the summer where I say goodbye to the "obese" Joia!!!  Holy hell.

Friday, June 10, 2011

I'm not hungry...

...so why do I want to eat?  I've been really good since getting home on Wednesday - counting every calorie that goes into my mouth, wearing my bodybugg to track my burn...and it's paid off with some weight loss just in the past two days!  Tomorrow?  I may finally be at the lowest weight since starting my journey...and, this time, I don't plan on going back up to the 230's!

Being home with nothing on the calendar sure has it's pitfalls, though.  While I've enjoyed the time to clean my house, cook food, etc...I get bored.  A workaholic/foodaholic is dangerous with nothing to do.  I really wanted ice cream last night, and even went to the grocery store (also had to return a Redbox movie), but couldn't bring myself to buy any ice cream after picking up nearly half a dozen cartons and looking at their calorie content.  I opted for those Yoplait frozen fruit smoothie deals instead...satisfied when I came home to a delicious, creamy, low-in-calorie snack.  I was proud of myself for making that choice.

Today?  I found myself bored again, but knowing that I had recently eaten, - and was full, mind you - I decided to utilize my Wii Fit Plus game and did an hour of activity.  Wow...who am I?  And where has Joia gone?  Truth be told, it was all about the bodybugg again - having been generally sedentary for the first half of the day, and knowing the rest of my day was going to be more of the same, I knew I wouldn't hit my calorie burn if I didn't get up and move.

Bottom line...the bodybugg is a wonderful tool if you need something to help you be accountable to yourself.  As much as I hate counting calories, I love numbers.  I love seeing the exact calorie burn versus intake and knowing that my target deficit of 1,100 calories a day will not only make me feel good about sticking to the plan, but also makes that scale move.  Amazing what eating less and moving more will do for ya, eh?

I'm not hungry, nor could my LapBand hold any more food at this point - I'm still full from the lunch and snack I had several hours ago.  Soooo...my head hunger needs to knock itself off.  Seriously.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Current status...

I'm up in the air on where I will be living in the next few months, and it all depends on where I end up taking a new job (if I get a new job).  As such, I've resigned myself to the fact that I have to work with my current doctor and try to get this band fixed...there's no point in switching practices if the odds are that I'll be moving.  I'm tired of being stuck at the 230 mark, bouncing back and forth a pound or two like a yo-yo.  The last few weeks have been insane on my work schedule (yeah, yeah...excuses), but it's finally summer vacation for this teacher (still work to be done, but scheduled at my own pace) and I'm ready to pay attention to me again.  I'm doing good today - calories are logged, bodybugg's counting my output, and I even fit in some Biggest Loser and Zumba on my Wii tonight!  Ooo - and I'm drinking WATER.  Oh, oh - and I totally went to the grocery store to stock up on milk and proteins to eat while I'm home for the next week!

My doctor is still only doing barium swallow tests on Thursday mornings in Los Angeles...yes, I'm free tomorrow...but just spent the last week between Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Virginia - I really don't feel like traveling the 100 miles to and from LA tomorrow.  Next Thursday would work out perfectly - I have to be in the LA area for my sister's wedding...of course, the doctor is taking his first vacation in two years next week.  :::le sigh:::  At this point, it looks like I'll do the barium swallow on the 23rd, barring any potential travel plans to see my boyfriend (which MUST work into my summer!!).  I'd really like to find out if this band has flipped, get whatever's been wrong fixed, and get back on the right track.

But...and it's a big but...I know this ultimately comes back to my personal accountability.  If I'm honest with myself, I know it's been sorely lacking.  Time to take this one day at a time, count the input/output calories and make this goal weight happen!!  It will happen before the end of 2011!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

LapBand fails. This is apparently up to me.

So, no, it's not necessarily that the LapBand has failed me...my doctor has.  If you go back and read the last few posts, you'll know that my doctor is not interested in me or my well being, and the search for a new doctor has been put on the back burner in lieu of the millions of irons I have in the fire related to my career at the moment.  So what to do?  Take charge of my life again.  Who cares if my band is working with me or not?  Bottom line is that I can get certain foods down and I know the essentials of weight loss - healthy eating choices, small portions and exercise.  I'm doing this my way, now.  Who needs follow up care?  I can take Prevacid for the acid reflux if it gets unbearable (although I've found tricks to deal with it - smoothies, frappuccinos, etc.), and I have just learned that there are foods I just can't tolerate anymore (bread, tomatoes, lettuce, etc.).  Until I can get with a doctor who would actually like to work with me and figure out whether or not my band has slipped, moved...whatever...I'm doing this my way.

I put my bodybugg on again today...man, it's been awhile since I've worn it.  I counted calories, measured food and entered them into my bodybugg fitness program today.  Hell, I even went to the gym here at my apartment complex and did some wogging (walking/jogging) tonight:

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It's been MONTHS, literally, since I've paid attention to what I've put into and what I've gotten out of my body.  Why?  I convinced myself that there was nothing I could do until the doctor fixed me.  I lived on what foods I could tolerate - ignoring calorie counts - because I lost my judgment and personal accountability.  For some reason, nachos go down really well for me (I order them without tomatoes)...but how many freakin' calories is a plate of steak nachos from my fave Mexican joint?!  I've been stopping at my fave coffee place every morning - Java Detour - and ordering up the 32 oz. Black & White blended, nonfat with an extra shot...I can't find nutrition information for it, but I can't imagine it's low in calories.  I haven't seen a treadmill in months, because "I'm too tired."

I spent 29 years of my life being "too tired" and indulging in all of the crap my body wanted.  It's time to stop.  No more blaming the doctor or a seemingly broken LapBand.  No more.  I weighed in this morning at 232.4 pounds, which is a measly loss of about 18 pounds since Christmas.  Are you kidding me? My original goals had me hitting 200 by the end of May and my goal of 169 by my birthday (August 28th).  I've revised that tonight.

Goal #1: 200 pounds by August 28, 2011
Goal #2: 169 pounds by December 31, 2011

Hitting my goal weight by the end of 2011 can happen.  I just have to pull my head out of my ass and make it happen.  I need to count/log calories, because the alternative doesn't hold me accountable.  I need to get to the treadmill at least three times a week, because the alternative is doing nothing for me.  Yes, the LapBand is still restricting me on portion sizes and some foods (although I find it funny I can eat steak nachos, but not a salad)...I'll take that and make this thing work for me.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

No progress. Whatsoever.

Since the debaucle with my doctor not being able to get back to me -ever- about doing a barium swallow test (he wants me to take a day off work because they will only do it on a Thursday morning, and he refuses to let me outsource to another doctor because he wants to see the results), I haven't had a follow up or been able to figure out what's going on.  The doctor took me down to 7.0cc awhile ago now, but I can still barely eat or tolerate most foods...which leads me to believe that my band has flipped or that something else is wrong.  Oh, yeah, the acid reflux is still there, too.  I don't even have those "good days"...you know, when some days you can tolerate foods better than others.  Nope.  Nothing.  I live off of frappuccinos and mostly liquids.  On top of that?  My weight isn't going anywhere.  Oddly enough, the only food I tend to do okay with is chips smothered with something unhealthy (read: nachos).  I adore nachos, but a diet of nachos and frappuccinos does not make weight loss happen.

So what now?  My doctor had last told me not to take Prevacid because he didn't want me masking the symptoms I'm having.  I'm sorry, dick, but when you promise to return my calls and don't, refuse to work with me on getting some diagnostic tests done, etc., and I'm still miserable?  I'll take whatever the hell I want to take, thank you.

Yes, a new doctor is in my future.  I just found out yesterday that I didn't get the job I was hoping for about 2 and a half hours from here.  I think it's actually a good thing, but that's not what I'm blogging about today.  With that news, though, I can now look for a local doctor who won't dick me around like this guy/practice has been doing for months.  I'm sick of this.  I want to eat healthy and normal foods again, and I want to lose weight again.  Size 16/18 is nice compared to the 26/28 I started in, but my journey's not done.  And?  This acid reflux has got to go.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Another comparison...

Wow...

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Comparisons still blow me away.  Found the picture on the left recently while looking for something else in my file cabinet.  That was me, several years ago, at a friend's wedding.  How did I never know I was THAT big?!  Why didn't I ever see it?  Why didn't I take the step to change back then?

Whatever my life was, I'm glad I made the choice to change over a year ago.  The picture on the right was me earlier this week...what a change!  I still have about 60 pounds to go, but...it's funny that I don't really mind pictures so much anymore ;).  I'm one hot mama!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fix me, please!

Coming up on my 15 monthiversary of having my LapBand, and I'm satisfied with my results thus far.  What I'm not satisfied with, though, is the excessive adjustments I've had to have due to tightness and acid reflux.  I got adjusted back down to 7.0cc (we think) a couple of weeks ago, hoping that I could eat solid foods again and that the reflux would disappear.  7.0cc is fairly loose for someone who had been surviving at 9.0cc...or so we thought...

I'm eating solid foods...ish.  It's bizarre, really.  I eat a little bit, and then get ILL.  I don't PB...trust me, I've tried (remembers running out of a council meeting this weekend twice to PB in the bathroom...and nothing came up).  I don't eat much...I just get...ugh.  A fellow council member told me I looked sick...and I felt it.  I don't know what's going on there.

And, of course, the acid reflux is around with a vengeance.  What the hell is going on?  My doc told me not to take any medication for it so that I wasn't "masking the symptoms," but I finally broke down and took some Prevacid again today (it's not helping yet).  I called in sick today to work after vomiting acid again last night...this is getting really old.

What if my band's slipped?  What if I have an ulcer?  I'm pissed that my doctor's can't get me scheduled to even LOOK at what's going on...my life is stressful enough without having to deal with this.

Change doctors?  I will, soon.  I'm pending some job interviews right now that may take me out of the city I'm in...in which case, I'll look for a new doc in the new town.  If those don't pan out, I'll be looking for another doctor locally.  I'm sick of being sick!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Size 16?! Me?!

I asked my mom recently what I weighed in high school, because I have no recollection of when I was last in "onederland," or - heck - even when I weighed as little as I do now.  My mom said she had no idea...awesome. I guess I was secretive about my weight even then, eh?  It's funny that I was that way, because I've been WAY out in the open about my weight over the last couple of years...especially since being banded.  I'm proud to tell people that I started out at 338...mainly because no one ever believes that I actually weighed that much (I never looked it, to be honest...or, at least, I didn't fit the picture of what everyone has in their head of a 338 pound girl).  It's somewhat bittersweet to be in the 220's now, because I can't say when I last saw this decade...and it'll continue to be that way for the rest of my journey.  The smallest I had remembered being was 274 a few years ago, but obviously I'm kinda past that one now.

I did hit up Old Navy yesterday and, thanks to the clearance rack and my 30% off coupon, got three new pairs of SIZE 16 jeans for $36!  Score!  Of course, I didn't try them on at the store...got home and only 2 of the 3 pairs fit (weird), but I know I'll be squeezing into that third pair sometime soon!

Beyond that?  I'm absolutely miserable.  I can't eat at all now...which is quite the 180 from earlier this week.  I just tried to eat a 100-calorie snack pack (Cheez-It Snack Mix), couldn't get it all down, and ended up PBing some of it into the toilet.  Ugh.  I feel kinda acid refluxy, but not really...it probably helps that I started taking Prevacid about a week ago.  But, not being able to eat (or drink, for that matter), sure makes me weak.  I haven't wanted to chat with Nick on the phone because I flat out don't feel well, and I've spent most of the weekend so far in and out of sleep in my bed.  Ugh.  I guess it's time to schedule an appointment with my doctor and see if I can get an unfill, eh?  I thought my band was loosening up and all was well again in LapBand world...guess not.

I've got some grading and lesson planning to get to at some point today...guess I better go start!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

NSV's for the week...and stuff.

Interesting week being back home...I spent time last weekend while sick with the flu catching up on grading for my classes and really planning some stellar lessons for the three different high school classes I teach.  This week?  Was an awesome week at school.  Lessons were great, the kids were stoked about learning (rare in a high school setting these days!), and...hold the phone...they actually RETAINED information!  I KNOW.  I've still been struggling with sniffles, coughs, snotty tissues and the like for the week, but my LapBand has been playing tricks on me.

I guess we'll start with that part of the story.  I've been able to *eat* this week.  I had nachos twice (maybe three times?) for dinner this week.  I ate quite a few fried chicken tenders today.  I've been snacking on some mini Reese's PB cups.  I've been eating regular chip snack bags that we're selling out of my classroom (leftovers from our huge event a few weeks ago).  It's been nice to be able to EAT again, even though being sick and being able to eat has led to some horrible choices in my diet.  My scale was also at school all week for our Biggest Loser weigh ins (my students weigh in every Tuesday, but I had left the scale there...not enough energy/lack of forgetfulness to bring it home), so my normal routine of weighing every morning didn't happen.  As a result, those "bad-and-should-only-eat-every-now-and-then" foods weren't registering for me because I wasn't seeing the daily gain.  I brought the scale home today, so we'll see what I weigh tomorrow morning!  I tried hitting the gym a little bit tonight here in my apartment complex, but my snotty nose and coughing wouldn't let me breathe to do much of anything...:::sigh:::.  I guess I'm still supposed to be resting.

The NSV's (Non Scale Victories) for the week:

  1. My bras have been too big on me lately - not around, but cup size.  Heck, you'd think after losing 110 pounds that my band size would shrink...nope!  I invested in some bras this week by going down a cup size, and that made a world of difference!  I guess it's a good thing my boyfriend likes small boobies...cuz he's stuck with them!
  2. It seems like just yesterday I was squeezing into the size 18 jeans I bought at Old Navy.  This week?  I was having trouble finding ANY jeans that fit me right...my 20's were way too loose, my 18's seemed like they fit when I first put them on, but then were beyond loose by the end of the day...weird.  I stopped at Target on Wednesday to buy a new jacket (all of my jackets look like large blankets on me...and I didn't want to spend a ton of money on a nice one because it's not going to be cold here in Southern California much longer!) and decided to pick up a pair of new jeans as well.  I went for a 16W, not even fathoming that my still-fat ass could actually fit into a 16.  Isn't that what bigger high school kids wear?  At any rate, the 16W pair?  Umm.  Loose.  I really should start trying on clothes in stores.
  3. That jacket I bought?  I didn't even buy it in the plus section...I've worn it twice now and gotten tons of comments about how great n' skinny I look :).  Watch out bishes.  I was a hot fat chick - I'll be lethal as a skinny chick.
Other than that?  I donated blood this week (how many pounds lost is that?!) and picked up a 30% off coupon at Old Navy for donating...I'm almost scared to head in there this weekend to buy some new jeans, afraid that I'll blow $100...even at 30% off!  But, hell, isn't that the store where you can buy an entire outfit for $5?  I swear I see that in their annoying commercials.  (Sorry I don't know much about Old Navy - being able to buy clothes there is a new thing for me!)  I'm in desperate need of some new jeans, though, and you can't beat 30% off.  Guess it's time for some shopping this weekend!

That's all I got.  Ta da!  The end.  Okaythanxbye.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

2 Kinds of Fat Chicks.

While lying in bed the other night, waiting for the acid in my throat to die down enough to fall asleep (finally bought Prevacid yesterday and took my first pill this morning), I was thinking about all of YOU.  There's a reason we get along so well...a reason we choose who, among our list of blogging friends, we like/get along with better...or who we might go out of our way to meet when we're near their town.

Fat Chick #1 - You're the girl who kept to herself when you were a big girl...the introvert, the one who was so ashamed of how she looked that she dared not approach the rest of the people in the world.  You were quiet, reclusive, and generally found excuses not to be around people.  Your blogs tend to be more about self-discovery and internal reflection, and tend to have a bigger meaning to fat chicks #2 who never realized there were people in the world like you.

Fat Chick #2 - You're the girl who saw her overweight-ness as a free ticket to have a big personality.  You were always loud, obnoxious, fun, and people loved you.  You may have been told you had a "pretty face," and you were never short on friends.  Everyone had a fat, funny friend in their group, right?  You were it.  You thought that if you were the sarcastic one, people wouldn't notice you were fat.  Your blogs tend to be appealing to other fat chick #2's because they identify with your quirky personality, and have found a "kindred spirit."  Fat chicks #1 tend to read your blogs and are amazed by the courage you show in facing the world.

Am I spot on here?  Or am I over-stereotyping how we've each survived being fat chicks in our former lives? I'd like to think I'm fat chick #2...even though I'm not as funny a blogger as some others I read.  I'm not trying to be offensive to anyone on here, but I randomly have thoughts about all of you and the blogs I read, apparently, when I'm lying in bed.

Maybe it's just the flu I've got right now playing weird tricks on my head.  Or the sincere lack of calories since I can't handle much in the way of solid foods and can't get in to see my doctor for at least another almost two weeks.  Or the acid reflux/heartburn that just won't go away.  I'm sick in the head...and everywhere else.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Acid Reflux. It's beyond getting old.

I'm at 9.0cc in a 14.0cc band.  For the first time, that high level of fill was finally working for me.  I'm losing weight again, making healthy eating choices, being a good LapBand patient, etc.  In the past, 9.0cc has been a nightmare of being too full.  But now that I'm in the 230's, my body was handling that level of fill quite nicely...

...until this past Wednesday evening.  I had a visit with the doctor scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, but chose to cancel it (it was a 3 week post-unfill visit).  I was exhausted from a busy week last week, my LapBand had been doing great on restriction, I wasn't having any issues, etc...no reason to waste an hour of my life going to see the doctor.  Of course, Wednesday night brought the issues.  I'm back to having acid reflux again, I'm barely able to eat/drink (drinking happens very slowly, eating is happening in 2-3 bites in a thirty minute period...my food gets cold, every bite is torturous and slow, I'm PBing if I eat more, etc.).  Since Wednesday, I've woken up each night to spit out acid because it wakes me up...WTH?!  WHY did my band tighten up on me?

I'm trying liquids today and tomorrow to see if maybe (a) I've irritated the band with some of the PBing that's gone on this week and/or (b) I've just been so stressed out with work that I need to let my band relax.  This really sucks...prior to Wednesday, I finally felt like I had found my perfect level of restriction - that was 13 months in the making.  I really don't want to get an unfill because I don't want to have less restriction, so I've got until March 16th (next date I can see my doctor) to get this figured out.  'Scuse me, Ms. LapBand?  Let's get back to where we were a week ago, mkay?  I liked you then.


If any of y'all out there have any suggestions/empathy stories - I'd love to hear them!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bat wings...the fix?

Here's my horror.  I wear a bodybugg daily (since I got it for Christmas) and I love the numbers it shows me.  However, it has restricted me from wearing any arm-fitting shirts because of mah bat wings:

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(My arm, October 2010...doesn't look much different today.)

Oh yes.  Imagine having that upper tricep pinched by a bodybugg band all day...it's not pretty.  Some of my favorite sweaters have been neglected, hanging lonely in the closet, because I want to wear saggier-sleeved shirts that will hide the double arm that's created by wearing the bodybugg.  Ugh.  Here's what it should look like:

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(No, that's not my arm...obviously.)

My question to all of you - will these freakin' bat wings go AWAY?  I'm at 236 pounds now, down from 338 when I started, and I know the fat will go away in it's own time.  I'm definitely smaller, and my bat wings have shrunken...I'm only 30 years old, and I hear that the sagging skin is more likely to shrink up in younger people.  How many of you skinny people still have your wings?  Anyone get surgery to remove them?

The bottom line is that I'm feeling more confident about every other area of my body - I still have curves and bulges, but fitting all of it into a size 18 pants and an XL shirt is a far cry from where I started in a size 28 pants and a 3X shirt.  I feel cute...except for those damn arms.

Funny thing?  When I was younger?  My arms were my FAVE part of my body.  They were constantly tan, toned...I just loved showing them off in tank tops.  I loved summertime when I had an excuse to be out in the sun, wearing a tank top and reveling in the gorgeousness of them.  Now?  I still love tank tops, but they are for lounging around (out of public's view) only.

I miss thin arms :(.

Because Amy did it, and I have an admiring girl crush on her.

(A) Age: 30

(B) Bed Size: Queen...bought it after my divorce, because I am the queen!

(C) Chore You Hate: I'm not a bathroom girl.  Even though my boyfriend and I live far apart for now, we've already discussed that he will be cleaning bathrooms when we live together.  I'm in charge of dishes and laundry in exchange :)

(D) Dogs? None - just two kitty cats (plus a third that my old roommate left here and has yet to come get).

(E) Essential Start Your Day Item: Cigarette.  Yeah, I'm still a smoker.

(F) Favorite Color: Yellow - it's sunshiny and happy!

(G) Gold or Silver? Silver, for shiz.  I hate gold.

(H) Height: 5'9"

(I) Instruments You Play: Guitar & Vocal Cords...but I'm better at the singing thing.

(J) Job Title: High School Agriculture teacher, FFA Advisor and Teachers Union Leader (Grievance Chair, Executive Board member, county Vice Chair, state committee Vice Chair)

(K) Kids: Nick has 2, so I'll be a stepmommy.  I'd like to have one of our own, though, too!

(L) Live: With no regrets.  And with confidence.

(M) Mom's Name: Melinda Sue...she goes by Suzzie.

(N) Nicknames: Jonesy, Hoya...Nick calls me Turd Bird.

(O) Overnight Hospital Stays? I'd rather not - I like the comfort of my home.

(P) Pet Peeve: Ignorance.

(Q) Quote from a Movie: And I'll tell you why I can't put up with you people: because you're BASTARD people! That's what you are! You're just bastard people! And I'm goin' home and I'm gonna... I'm gonna BITE MY PILLOW, is what I'm gonna do! 


(R) Right or Left Handed? Righty tighty, yo :)

(S) Siblings: 2 younger sisters and 2 younger half-sisters.  Even with a divorce and new wife, dad STILL had all girls!

(T) Time You Wake Up? 6am, begrudgingly.

(U) Underwear: I like boy shorts, but I typically stick with some variation of granny panties...Nick likes 'em.

(V) Vegetable You Dislike: Cabbage.  Ew.

(W) What Makes You Run Late: Oversleeping...CityVille on Facebook...lol.

(X) X-Rays You've Had Done: Arms, legs, chest...probably everything at some point in my life.

(Y) Yummy Food You Make: Lasagna, 7-layer dip...and a bunch of other things I don't choose to make/eat anymore because of their calorie counts!

(Z) Zoo, Favorite Animal: Chimpanzeeeeeeeeeeees :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

100 pound picture comparison!

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It's been slow in LapBand land since October (the middle picture)...I'm down only 17 pounds since then, but I'm starting to see what other people are seeing.  It may only be 17 pounds since the last comparison picture, but there's a ton of difference there!  Guess I am toning up, eh?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

100 pounds, bishes!

I'm a little delayed in writing this post, but I'm glad to see the scale having some rapid movement lately!  I got a tiny (0.25cc) adjustment on February 3rd (and then drove off to a weekend CTA State Council session in Los Angeles)...ate fine after 24 hours of liquid, ate fine the next day...then BAM.  Acid reflux again, too tight, couldn't drink more than a sip of water at a time...it was miserable.  I woke up at least twice a night just to sit over the toilet and puke up black acid from my stomach.  Awesome, eh?  I was dehydrated, thirsty, etc...tried putting myself on liquids to help the swelling that was probably going on, but without being able to really drink, no such luck on healing.

I went back to the doctor on February 9th and got the 0.25cc taken back out.  It took a few days of liquids, hour-long eating sessions to get down a few ounces of food, etc. and I'm finally feeling somewhat normal today.  It took me an hour to eat breakfast this morning, but I ate more than a few ounces - yay!  I'm also back to being able to drink like a normal human being :).

The upside of the trial over the last week and a half is that my scale moved with lightspeed!  Yeah, I will probably go back up a couple of pounds as I start to rehydrate again, but I'm going to claim the following (FINALLY):


  1. I'm out of the 240's...F*CK, that took FOREVER.  I entered the 240's in early November...it took THREE FREAKIN' MONTHS to lose that 10 pounds!  
  2. I FINALLY hit my 100 pound weight loss - on February 9th :).


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I wasn't able to weigh in this morning (I'm a daily weigher) because I was on an overnight trip with students, but I'm anxious to see what the scale says tomorrow now that I'm eating and drinking again...PLEASE DEAR GOD keep me away from the 240's (I'm so sick of that freakin' decade and never want to see it again) and keep me below 238.2 so my 100 pound loss can be validated!