A Little Randomness

I wanted to take a few minutes to touch on a few topics that I forgot to cover in my last post, just some more aspects of my journey to fill you in on.

First of all, before surgery I had read about bariatric patients going from hot and sweating all the time to needing to wear layers even in the summer because they are freezing. At the time, I thought, interesting, but that won’t happen to me. After all, I come from a mother and siblings that at normal weights run hotter than most LOL. Well, let me tell you, the last few weeks I have been frozen more often than not! Even as the weather is warming up into the upper 60s and 70s, I find myself closing the windows in my apartment and wearing long pants and long-sleeve shirts. A week ago, I actually went to bed fully clothed and had blankets on and was comfortable! This is such a new and strange feeling for me. I still have some times that I am hot, and of course working out I am like a wet tea bag, but exercising is about the only time!

One of my other changes took a while to happen. I have always enjoyed plain water, especially after last year giving up on diet soda (don’t miss that at all!). But, the last week or two, my taste buds are finding water too plain, and I have been using a lot more water enhancers or drinks like Powerade Zero. I even find that I can get more liquid in with the flavored water, it seems to go down easier and not sit so heavy. Again, not a terrible thing, I just find it very interesting!

Last, and most excitedly, I have found a way to try my first 5K in a controlled environment. One of the bariatric support groups that I belong to on Facebook is holding a Virtual 5K on Saturday, June 3. It is actually a competition between us and another group to see how many members participate. The idea is, any time that day, whether it be in a park, the pool, or the gym, try your best to complete the distance, and take a picture of yourself and submit it to the group. I figure this is a great way to try this on the treadmill that morning. I am going to go, and not worry about timing or speed, just go at an even pace, have fun, and take my time to get it done! At this point, I would only have to do about a half mile more than what I can currently do. And, if for some reason, I can’t finish, I won’t be hard on myself, just know that I did my best! So send good vibes that day toward me please! And I would love to maybe get together with some family or friends later that day to celebrate my accomplishment, let me know if you would possibly be interested!

Have a fantastic spring weekend, happy Mother’s Day to all the moms reading this, and love to you all. Talk to you again soon!

4.5 Month Post-op Report

I had a very good visit at the weight center this morning! My official weight is 371.5 pounds, which is a 66 pound loss from surgery and 187 total! My blood pressure was 120/59, so it is still doing great after halving one of the meds.

I saw the dietician first, and she said it looks like I am still doing everything right. She is still happy with my water and protein intake, as well as my choices. She likes how I am always doing research on new and different products, and I have actually shared things she wasn’t aware of. I am now at the point that my calories can be 1000 to 1100, especially on days I go to the gym.

I saw my PA Erin next, and again very happy with my progress. The nurse did an EKG before Erin came in (they do one every time you reach a 50 pound loss), and it was perfectly normal. When I started at the center, I was already down to 482, so I have to remind them of my heaviest weight. When I did, she crunched some numbers and my BMI went from 83 to 55! She said that is amazing, and that I must feel so much better! I said I do, and we talked about the quality of life and health improvements, and she agreed wholeheartedly. She said she even noticed that I have a spring in my step now! As long as my BP remains steady, I should be completely off amlodipine next time I see her.

One of my recurring issues, as most of you know, is the excess skin affecting my gait and mobility. A couple weeks ago a friend suggested I look into door to door transportation through Wayne County to get to the gym. I don’t mind taking ride share services, but at over$60 a week, it gets a little pricey. The transportation is only $6 round trip, so I filled out an application, and asked Erin to fill out the medical portion. She agreed, so hopefully I will get approved in a few weeks. My team and I all agree that I am not ready to be crossing busy streets to catch busses and such, particularly by myself. So if I do get approved, maybe I can go to the gym more often and not have to do so much at one time. Erin also made sure I was aware that when it comes to skin removal surgery, they usually wait at least six months after I reach a steady goal weight. So that probably won’t be happening until the middle or end of next year.

Next up was the exercise physiologist Lori, who again was so happy with what I am accomplishing. I had several questions as I have read so much conflicting advice. She said when it comes to strength training to build muscle, they recommend less reps at higher weight. So I will be adjusting that. She also told me to add the chest press and seated row to my routine. She said I was right not doing those machines two times in a row. When it comes to cardio, she said I am doing great with the interval training and length of time on the treadmill. I told her that I think I will be brave enough to try the elliptical soon, and she said once I get comfortable on it I can do some time on that and less on the treadmill. Like maybe 10 or 20 minutes on the elliptical and only 30 on the treadmill, but maybe go at at faster pace on the latter since I will be on it for a shorter time. She said do the elliptical first, and then see how I feel, and don’t push myself. She said my body will tell me how much to do.

I love learning so much, and knowing that I am still doing the right things!

Elsewhere, my sore right foot is still an annoyance tonight. Whatever I did I must have done it real good LOL!! Lori said if it doesn’t improve by Friday, not to do as much at the gym since that might make it worse. Hopefully it passes soon!

Next up on the medical care train is another round of eye injections on Monday. At least I know what to be prepared for!

Well, hopefully you haven’t fallen asleep reading this novel!! Thanks as always for you encouragement and support, I love you all!!

The Mental Game

I hesitated even writing this today, because I know the answer and the truth, but I believe in being transparent and sharing with you all aspects of my journey.

Especially amidst my current stall, I keep going back and forth between the warrior and fighter spirit, and feeling like I am failing or doing something wrong. Sometimes these feelings come and go minute to minute. Believe me, you don’t want to be inside my head, you would be exhausted!!

As I stated before, I know I should not feel bad. I have accomplished more in the last six months than I ever thought possible. My health has improved tremendously. I have a more active and vital life. That being said, I still can’t fight the negativity, especially since it seems that I am doing all the right things. It probably doesn’t help that I have my next check in with the weight center next week, and I don’t want to disappoint my doctor with a big slowdown of loss.

I don’t write this in order to get a pity party or anything like that. But I would like you to be aware that I am going through this. I guess in a way these are feelings that normal people experience with their own bodies, so you could say this is one more step to normalcy.

Thanks as always for reading and sending your support! You are all invaluable to me!

Endocrinology Report

Despite having some major issues with the driver there and back, I had a really good appointment this morning at my endocrinologist!

My random blood sugar was 117, and my blood pressure was 120/78. The nurse also took a sample for a random A1c number. When the doctor arrived, he said it came back at 5.5, and that he no longer considers me diabetic!!! I only have to check my blood sugars at home a couple times a week, or if I don’t feel well. And, he said to stay on the metformin as it helps with metabolism.

Thyroid level as of mid-February was 1.46, so the doctor said to stay on that medicine for now, and to have it rechecked in about three months before I see him again.

I mentioned about my low blood pressure last week, as well as a home reading yesterday of 101/52. He said that is getting pretty low, so I can cut my one medication, amlodipine, in half daily!

The weight loss is great, but really, my health and quality of life improvements are making me ever so grateful for this surgery and my new lease on life! It is amazing the difference only a few months has made!

One last thing, I will decide by this Friday whether or not we will definitely be doing the 5K walk on May 6. Jenny and I have talked, and I don’t want to push myself too hard training that I risk injuring myself. We can always put it off a little longer, there is no shame in that. I will let you all know when the decision has been made.

Love you all, you make my life better by being here for me!

Wounds and Other Updates

I wanted to take a few minutes to write on this blog since it’s been a little while, but I know most of you are following my Facebook updates.

I went to wound care today, and both are progressing slowly but surely. The shin wound from the bike incident is pretty much completely healed. I just have to keep a bandage on it for two more weeks, and only change it once. The groin wound is pretty much status quo, as can be expected. I did ask her about using a different covering, as the 5×9 pads we use tend to fall out more often with the weight changes 😀. Unfortunately her solution is to use tape. I am trying it now but it will depend on how easily it comes off as to whether or not I continue the tape or just take my chances. I go back in five weeks.

While there, I stepped on their scale, as well as checking on my scale at home. Different numbers, but they actually both showed an increase of one pound from last week. I am not stressing out at all. There are so many factors that go into weight (exercise, water, salt intake, bowel movements, etc), that I know better than to be concerned just yet. I think this time is probably due to the increase in arm exercises and maybe building more muscle.

The other interesting thing this morning was my blood pressure check. The nurse put it on my left lower arm, and it came out as 104/43!! It has never been that low for me! I am seeing my endocrinologist Monday and will talk to him about reducing or eliminating more of my BP meds. It’s still amazing all of the positive changes that are coming at such a rapid pace.

As most of you have seen, I am loving the gym. Yesterday’s 50 minutes on the treadmill did wear me out a little bit more, but I was not on my usual machine. When I go back Friday, I will do another 50 minutes and see if I can go more or wait until the next time. Music has been a huge help during these workouts. Last week was Michael Jackson’s greatest hits, and over the weekend I discovered a playlist on Amazon Prime called Never Give Up, with great songs from Kelly Clarkson, Pink, Katy Perry, and of course my Fight Song. Awesome music that kept me pumped and singing along (to myself LOL).

And, not sure how many saw this, but I have penciled in my first 5k walk for Saturday May 6! I am not concerned with speed, just going as far as I can go and crossing the finish line. If you would like to join us, or come out for support, let me know and I will give you the details.

I love you all! Have a wonderful day, and as always, thank you!!

Twelve Week Post-Op

I still can’t get over the fact that I just wrote that title.  After all of the preparation and struggles last year, the three months since the surgery have pretty much flown by. And, despite some of my self-confidence issues in the first few weeks, the staff today said I am a model patient.

I was not able to see everyone today. I had to reschedule with the psychologist for April 11 as yet another transportation company dropped the ball this morning. I was supposed to be there for 9:00, but reserved for 8:30, giving myself a cushion. I received a call last night from the company saying they would be here between 7:00 and 8:00.  So I was down in the lobby by 7:00. The hour passes by, and nothing. So I call Reservations. She checks, and says the driver is about 15 minutes away, okay. After 8:30, the company calls and says the driver is running very behind, but they will call the doctor to see if I can arrive late. No problem, the office says that they will try to fit me in to everyone today if possible. Well, the driver does not pick me up until 9:15, and after a couple stops, I reach the doctor after 10:00. Luckily, the office made accommodations for me where they could. One of these days things will go smoothly!!

Anyway, back to the more important news.  My first stop, weigh in. I am officially at 388, pounds, exactly 50 less than at surgery! And 170 pounds total!!!

Saw Jessica, the dietitian, next. She said that she liked where I was at in my calorie intake, 700-800 daily, and recommended increasing to 900-1000 on gym days. I am still reaching my protein and liquid goals every day, and still focusing on about 3 ounces of protein, and then if I have room some veggies. She also said that now I am at the stage where I can add a cup of vegetables or fruit daily if they fit into my goals. She likes the protein supplement choices I am making as well. I had one question, mainly because I still have some in my apartment, and she said that sugar free hard candy is okay, and just not to overdo it. I said I would only do one a day if any, and she said that is perfect. She only cautioned on being careful not to accidentally swallow a piece, as that would not be fun on the new stomach. She mentioned again that she wished I could make it to one of their support groups, as I am doing all the right things nutritionally.

Up next was the exercise physiologist Valerie. She was also very happy with how much I have grown in my activity since my last visit. I asked her about the heart rate issue, and she had good news. She says that there is less and less concentration on the actual number, and that now it is very subjective. I told her that while I was on the treadmill, I definitely felt my body working, but was not short of breath, winded, or fatigued. I also said that I have always heard that you should be able to carry on a conversation while exercising, and since I am by myself, I sing along (quietly LOL) to my headphones and kind of dance my head to the music. She said that is perfect, so just continue to do what I am doing, with working on increasing speed some, and if not that, incline. And, I have noticed in the past couple weeks that I am getting a nice size set of bat wings, so I asked about arm exercises. She recommends concentrating on the cardio and fitness still, but starting to incorporate some dumbbells and machine exercises for this. My homework is to investigate whether Planet Fitness has a machine where you can do a one-arm pull (row) and one-arm push, while standing.  She said they may also have a tricep press down machine to sit down at. Also start some arm curls and lateral raises with 8-pound weights. It’s a little overwhelming at first, but I am going to ease into it, and maybe see if I have some heavier jars or cans at home that I can use here to start with.

Before I saw the doctor, the nurse checked my blood pressure, and it was 122/61, very happy about that! Now I am going to start monitoring it more often at home to watch out for low BP. I had not seen this doctor since about September in the other office, so it was good to catch up with him. He showed my a chart that says average weight loss at this time is 40 to 60 pounds, so I am right on target! When I reminded him of my heaviest weight, he said, “you’ve lost two of my kids!” Still unreal! He said I might want to consider staying on the metformin for a while as it helps with weight loss, and that I may want to stop taking that trazadone that I started in the fall for help sleeping, as it acts like an antihistamine and makes people hungry, leading to possible weight gain. As it does not seem to be helping me much anyway, I have stopped that. I will look for another solution, because I can’t tell you the last time I got a full night’s rest. He didn’t realize that I was living on my own now, and said that me accomplishing all this (mostly) by myself was amazing. I told him how much this blog and the support from all of you has helped.

After that, I got another B12 injection, and that was that for the day. As much of a pain it can be to get to and see everyone back to back like that, the office is so wonderful. Everyone on staff is incredibly friendly and supportive, I really miss it after a while.  I will see all of these same people again May 10, and they will probably do some lab work then as well.

Well, I hope you are all still reading this after today’s novel, but I will let you go for now! Tomorrow morning is my eye appointment, which is the third attempt at seeing this doctor, so hopefully the third time is the charm. I love you all, have a wonderful day! Continue being the best people around!

A Quick Non-Scale Victory

I started using the lymphedema pump in September. When I started, the device company took measurements of both legs. They actually come and take them every three months, so I saw them in December and then again this past Tuesday. I asked the tech if my measurements went down, and she did not have my previous numbers.

However, the office just called and told me that indeed the numbers have dropped. She said the left leg has significant loss, and the right leg is lower, just dropping more slowly. She also said that in a few spots I have lost as much as six inches!

Love this therapy, and definitely still love my tool!! All these little things are adding up BIG TIME!!