These pictures show so much of the story. The top is from Christmas 2014, and the bottom is from this Christmas. Three years and at least 200 pounds lost.
Today I celebrate the anniversary of the day I officially got my life and my health back. This has certainly not been an easy year in many ways, but it truly has been worth it.
I wanted to take some time today reflecting on the year, and offer insights on the struggles and things I have learned along the way. There are many things that you honestly can’t fully prepare for or appreciate until you experience them.
First a recap of the positives since surgery. I am no longer diabetic. I am down to one blood pressure medication, from 3 or 4 previously. My CPAP pressure went from 17 to 11. My activity and energy levels are increasing every day, along with my self-confidence and independence. My clothes are less expensive because I am buying smaller sizes. Those are just a few.
Now to some of the not so fun aspects. Just a warning, the first one may be gross to some, but it is important. I never realized just how much my life would revolve around going number two. This struggle is very real. I find if I don’t go at least once a day that when I do try to go it’s incredibly painful. And with the way my stomach is now, straining is very bad. Every time I go is like a new celebration. A couple months ago, I almost went to the ER because I was incredibly bloated even after taking magnesium citrate. Fortunately, my lymphedema pump therapy helped stimulate things and saved me an embarrassing trip to the hospital. I am on a probiotic daily now, which has been a big help and has kept me from having to take Miralax daily.
Another physical struggle is what they call dumping syndrome, which is not exactly what it sounds like. Basically it’s your body reacting to something with lots of sugar, fat, or grease. The symptoms are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, among others. Everybody is different, in what causes them to dump and what they feel. I have only experienced this a couple times, but it is enough to bring you down for the day. Funny enough, it has been from things from restaurants that I had no problems with at home, so it had to be the way they were prepared.
One mental challenge is that I find myself thinking about food even more now than prior to surgery, just in a different way. I am constantly considering if I eat this, what does that mean for the rest of the day. Also making sure I have enough of the right groceries stocked, which leads to something else: I don’t care what they say, it IS more expensive to eat healthier. The less processed foods are pricier, and I have to shop more often due to the freshness of everything along with a small freezer.
One last struggle is that head hunger definitely returns sooner than you think, so it is definitely about having the right things on hand.
I am trying to combat the lasst few, however. I think I am going to start meal planning for the week and write it down, so that way I think it will be easier to stick to a plan if it’s in writing, as well as save myself some daily stress. I have stocked up on sugar free hard candy to have between meals if I feel I need something.
One solution I’m most excited about is that starting today, I can have raw carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower. They were probited for a year as they can be harder to digest. These will be great to have on hand to grab a couple pieces to have something to munch on, or to have as an afternoon snack with nonfat Greek yogurt and dry ranch mix. I am thrilled to have these again!!
I still have a ways to go, and the scale is my enemy the last couple months. But looking at the overall picture and my body still changing and losing inches, I am very proud of what I have accomplished.
And I am not even close to throwing in the towel. I am going back to basics on my meals, and planning will definitely help with that. I am also becoming more active. Last month I had the epiphany that I can get steps in even just in my apartment. This has been a godsend because getting to the gym has been challenging between the weather and finances. Last month I had the most steps ever, and I should beat that in January. I am going to pick up a couple 5 pound weights soon and add them to my apartment walking workouts. It really is all about making the most of what you have.
My major goal this year is to lose enough weight to become eligible for my skin removal surgery. According to the weight center, I have to be at a steady weight for at least six months. Using their goal weight, I have another 70 to 80 pounds to lose. I would be happy to just get under 300, because I know that the skin they would remove is at least 30 pounds.
I hope you are still reading this ha-ha. Even with the struggles of the past couple months, I do not regret anything. I get so excited seeing my future: driving again, working a fulltime job outside of home, and who knows, maybe even start dating and having a social life. The possibilities are endless!
I have some exciting changes coming in the near future, and I don’t want to jinx anything, so I will let you know as they happen.
I continue to be awed by your constant support, love, and friendship. This journey would not be the same without all of you. You keep me going!