Wednesday, February 29, 2012

NO! Not that kind of food porn! While comical to a degree, it's not addiction worthy.

No, what I'm addicted to now are pictures of food...delicious, nutritious (mostly), mouth watering food. This is what happens when a girl who loves to eat is limited to liquids for weeks at a time. She resorts to the next best thing...finding recipes of yummy food with beautifully appetizing pictures. I swear it's for research purposes only!! I mean, after all I'll be eating differently for the rest of my life!! I have to make sure I get my proteins in and still have some variety and enjoyment in my meals. This girl does NOT intend to live on protein shakes how! So, I turn to food porn to get me through, to help me fantasize about those future meals that are just waiting for me. Forget that I can't even finish an entire yogurt at the moment, and it will be many months before I can eat "normally". And yes, I use the word normally very loosely. But still a girl can dream, and plan ahead. It's good to plan ahead, right?

Now if I'm honest I've been a closet food porn addict for as long as I can remember. I have stacks and stacks of recipe books. The ones with the full color images are my favorites. I've even got a weakness for those little recipe magazines they sell at the checkout line in the grocery store. I have a stash of special holiday ones with beautiful pictures of igloo shaped cheese balls with little black olive penguins, and a dozen different ways to make a witch's had from cookies or cupcakes. I once even had a food porn magazine subscription (or two) delivered right to my home. I keep my stash in a cabinet in the shelf.

And if cookbooks and magazines weren't we have the internet. There are more food blogs than I could ever hope to have the time to investigate...though I'm doing my best to find as many as I can. And I've found a shortcut....

If you haven't discovered it yet, may I introduce you to Pinterest. If you click the Pinterest link it will take you to my page on there. You'll notice that my first two boards are dedicated to food. You see all the other food porn addicts out there that have discovered Pinterest are pinning their favorite food porn there for the rest of us to peruse, find, and pin to our own boards. There is some amazing stuff on there! But let me warn you, Pinterest is an addiction all it's own. Coupled with food porn it could tie you to your computer for hours on end. Trust me, I know.

You may think that this is just going to defeat the whole purpose of me getting this surgery. That by focusing on food so much I will blow it all and end up sabotaging myself. But I don't see it that way. You see I know what I should and shouldn't eat. I know what is good for me and what is not. And I know that what will be most important for ME in being successful is still being able to enjoy foods of all kinds....IN MODERATION. That's what my new tiny tummy does for me. Initially it will limit what I eat in order to help me achieve a healthy weight. From that point on it will help me to do the one thing I've had the hardest time doing over the will help me moderate how much of something I have.

Let me share with you part of the conversation I had with my surgeon the week before my surgery. But, shhh! Don't tell the nutritionists!! (That's what he told me, so I'm passing it on.) We were talking about all of the "no-no's" the nutritionists gave us as we were going through the pre-op process. No caffeine...EVER. No fried foods...EVER. No real sugar...EVER. The last two especially if you've had the RNY. Probably another factor in why I was hesitant to have this procedure before talking to my surgeon. But what he told us that day was that his goal was not to have me on a restrictive diet for the rest of my life. He feels that a mentality like that will only set us up for failure. It's the whole reason regular diets don't work long term...people can't stick to them. His goal for his patients is to give them a tool (pouch, sleeve, band) that will help them lose the weight and along the way learn to eat the way they should have eaten all along...the way most people should eat. The way he sees it if a patient of his has a craving for french fries and goes out and orders some with a meal, eats two of them and is satisfied, that is a success. It's better than telling that person they can never eat french fries again, the person trying desperately to avoid the craving until they finally give in to it in frustration and binge on the whole order of fries. Moderation. Two french fries that you feel no guilt over eating is far better for your health and weight than entire order of fries eaten in shame and misery that could potentially put you into a devastating downward spiral. He wants me to feel normal. He wants me to eat normally, but in smaller, moderate quantities. To me that sounds reasonable.

So, I continue with my food porn addiction. I look for fun ideas, healthy versions of indulgent foods, and sometimes just down right yummy, who cares how many calories, it looks good so I want to have a few bites of it food. Will I eat french fries every day? No. Will I snack on cakes and cookies every day? No. Will I watch my protein, carb, sugar, and calorie intake? Yes. Will I obsess or pile on the guilt when I don't have a perfect day? No. I know what needs to be the bulk of my diet...lean meats and proteins, veggies, and fruit, with a few whole grains and healthy fats. And most of the time, that's exactly what I'll work into my diet. Food porn gives me more options for that. It will keep me from getting bored with the same old thing like I am now with this liquid diet. I do look at recipes and food porn a lot. But I look at it through different eyes than before. I look to see if it is high in protein, if it incorporates veggies and grains, if it is something we could have on a regular basis, or if it's something to have once in a while. My creativity only goes so far in the kitchen. So I turn to others and their pretty pictures of their creations for inspiration for this new journey I'm on. A journey of limitations and indulgences...all in moderation of course.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

First Sips and Steps

I guess at a week out from surgery it's about time I blogged about my experience. There may be some holes and/or uncertainties as to the exact day things happened or the full details...but that's thanks to the lovely pain medications I was given, so please forgive me if there are parts that I skim over. I'm going to see if I can give you a day-by-day account of what's been going on.

Surgery Day, Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I was oddly calm and peaceful on the day of my surgery. At the very least I expected to have a few butterflies or some serious impatience as I waited for the big moment. But all I felt was peace. I was calm and confident. I was smiling and laughing with the doctor's and nurses. The whole pre-surgery process that morning went by much more quickly and smoothly than I anticipated. Before I knew it, I was kissing Ryan goodbye as he headed for the waiting room.

I remember them moving my bed and heading for the O.R. but don't remember arriving there. Even my post-op memories are a bit fuzzy for the first few hours. I have a vague memory of waking up in pain and them telling me they were giving me pain meds that would help me rest. And I seem to remember Ryan coming in, but I can't remember where I was at that time. I know from that point they moved me into my room, but only have a slight memory of being wheeled through the hallway. When they got me to the room, a private room btw, they hooked me up to my pain meds and clipped the button for them to my blanket. That button and I were pretty good friends those first couple of days. :)

With all the pain medication on board, I wasn't hurting much at all. Maybe a moment or so of discomfort here and there, but no real pain. What was the worst to deal with was the fact that my mouth was dry...and I wasn't allowed even a sip of water or a measly ice chip! That entire first day all I was given was a cup with some water and a little sponge on a stick to wet my lips with. I wasn't supposed to even put it in my mouth because they didn't want me to swallow the water. But I couldn't stand it. There was this nasty film of what felt like paste in my mouth all the time. I would use the sponge to swab the inside of my mouth with water, not enough to swallow, but enough to moisten it temporarily and wipe the film away. That was my big struggle with day one.

The mantra I had been advised to adopt post-surgery was, "Sips and steps. Sips and steps." This would remind me to constantly be sipping my liquids and walking as much as I could. But just because I wasn't allowed to sip yet, I didn't let that stop me from starting on my steps. The area of the hospital I was in consisted of three short hallways that formed a triangle. The nurse's station was right outside my door at the tip of this triangle. So, the nurse's station was my start/finish line and I began on day one doing laps. My first time out I did one slow lap leaning on my IV pole with one hand and my husband with the other. The next time out I did two laps not much faster than the first. That was about all I could handle that day.


Wednesday was a much better day. Well, it was better for the simple fact that I was finally allowed to drink!! I was never in my life so thankful for a glass of water and some ice chips! Of course I had to take it slow and sip, sip, sip, but I was thrilled to do it. So on day two I was on clear liquids, as much as I could tolerate. They had given me a chart and for each ounce that I sipped from my little medicine cup I checked off a box. My goal was 4 oz per hour. Some hours I met that goal, others I did not. But overall I did pretty darn good!

Dr. Tyner came by that morning to check on me. He seemed thrilled with my progress. When he came in I was sitting up sipping some water and had already done a few laps around the halls that morning. He said the surgery went great, he was able to create the small pouch he'd been hoping for, and there had been no complications. He also said that I was doing so well that had it been his own private practice rather than a military hospital he probably would have sent me home that day rather than the next. I wasn't sure what was so amazing about my progress that had him and half the nurses impressed...but I would find that out before leaving the hospital.

The rest of day two was spent focusing on those sips and steps. I was tired of the lovely hospital gown they had given me, so I changed into my comfy new jammies I had bought. It made walking the halls easier since I didn't have to wear my robe to cover my caboose. And it made me feel better as well. I felt more normal, more human. Every few hours they came and took my vitals, and for some reason kept checking my blood sugar even though I'm not and never have been diabetic. Just those few days in the hospital had my poor fingertips looking like pin cushions. I have a whole new level of respect and sympathy for those that have to go through it every day! But aside from that occasional frustration, day two went great! Plans were started to send me home the next day as long as I tolerated the full liquid diet the next morning.


Thursday dawned and I was excited to be going home. As fabulous as the nurses and doctors had all been, I was ready for the comfort of my own bed, and the company of my family. Ryan had only been able to be with me during the day and had gone home at night to stay with the children. He had been able to bring Victoria to see me the first night, but I hadn't seen Steven since the morning of my surgery. So I was ready to go. While I waited for my tray of full liquids to arrive Dr. Tyner came and saw me. He said the nurses had told him I was racing through the hallways with all the walking I was doing. He was very pleased, and assured me that as long as I handled the full liquids, I'd be home that afternoon. So I began to pack my things.

I got my breakfast tray with a sugar free breakfast shake and I'm not sure what else, but the few sips I was able to drink went down well and stayed problems. The nurses came and told me they were going to start processing me and order my meds so they could check me out. I was excited!! Then I felt the urge to have a bowel movement, and that changed things.

I hadn't expected to have a bowel movement so soon after surgery, but had an urgent need to go. (I'm throwing in a disclaimer here: I've promised to be as honest as I can, even when that means discussing "gross" things. What I'm about to write is not pleasant, but it is the reality that I had that third day. If you prefer not to read this part, I recommend skipping the next paragraph or so.) At first I was quite pleased to be going to the bathroom so soon after my surgery, though I was surprised that it was more like diarrhea than the constipation I had expected. The reason for this became clear when I went to wipe myself. When I wiped it was not fecal matter at all on the toilet was blood...dark red/black...and my heart sank. I looked in the stool and it was dark red with lots of blood clots in it. I stayed calm, did NOT flush, and quietly asked Ryan to get a nurse. He looked to see what I was concerned about, and I must say I am proud of how calm he stayed.

A few minutes later the nurse had come and gone and the doctor that was on duty was standing in the room with us. He seemed a bit concerned himself. He said they would run some more tests, call my surgeon, and see where that put us, but that I should expect to stay one more night for observation. The air was suddenly let out of my balloon and I lost my momentum. I took to my bed for most of the rest of the day with only a minimal amount of walking once the doctor said it was okay to do it. Over the course of the next 24 hours I had 3 more of those bloody evacuations. And they scared me. But they did blood workups on me several times to make sure my counts were all normal...and they were better than normal, higher than expected. The blood continued to be a dark color and full of clots indicating that I was not actively bleeding. I had no excess pain. My energy level and skin color were good. There were no indications that anything was wrong other than the blood itself. But it scared me.


My numbers stayed good all night. No further problems arose. And the doctors on duty along with my surgeon determined that it was most likely residual blood from the staple lines in my intestine. It had to have somewhere to go, and between all the walking I was doing and the help of gravity, it was going the only place it could. So, I was once again cleared to go home. And this time...I made it. The nurses got me all my medications except for one. There was a bit of a mix up and confusion on that one. Read Please Be Patient to find out more about that.

It was good to be home and with my family. The remainder of the day was uneventful. On the way home I stopped for just a moment at the school where I work to say hello to the children in my class and let them know I was okay and had not forgotten them. Then I went home and spent most of the rest of the day resting, napping, and sipping.


Saturday I was feeling a little bit of cabin fever. I'd been cooped up in either the hospital or my house the whole week, so to get my walking in I went with my husband to Wal-Mart. We only needed a couple of things, but I used the cart for balance and support and we wandered around the store for a while just so I could get my walking in. I continued to have BMs with the dark almost black blood in them, but there was less and less of the blood and more and more of what actually should have been there so I was worrying about it less and less.


I did a lot of sleeping and resting on Sunday. As great as I was feeling, I kept forgetting that my body is trying to recover from major surgery and that takes a lot of energy. But overall I was feeling good. I continued to sip, sip, sip, all day as I should. And as we prepared to watch the Oscars that night, I had Ryan go on a walk with me around the block before they began. And after coming in from that walk I found myself once again going to the bathroom. This time, I cried. I'm not kidding. This time, I pooped and it made me cry. But they were good tears. For the first time since surgery I had a BM that had NO signs of blood in it! I was so relieved!! And so I sat with Ryan and we watched the Oscars. If you read the post I linked to above you'll know that I was not on my anti-depressant over the weekend, so my emotions were in a bit of a tizzy. I was teary eyed over several of the speeches that night. And in all honesty I had a mini-breakdown in the shower before the Oscars started. We had come in from our walk, I'd had my emotional BM, and I found myself standing in the shower crying. There was no real reason for it, but I couldn't stop myself. I was having an anxiety attack. I hadn't had one in over a year....the last time I'd missed a couple of days of my medication. So we checked with the doctor and he said I could take a Xanax, and that helped. The rest of the evening was relatively uneventful.


Monday morning I spent a couple of hours figuring out what to do about my medication issue. I couldn't just not take my meds any more. This post is already long, so I won't repeat the information that is in the blog I linked to above. It will explain all that happened with my meds. Once I was finished with that bit of drama, the rest of my day was fairly quiet. The only real problem I seemed to have was that I felt FULL all day!! I had a protein shake early in the morning and some yogurt (with meds mixed in) late in the morning. I spent the rest of the day just trying to force myself to sip water and Crystal Light. I had broth for dinner, but I was under my recommended amounts of both protein and liquids. It was not a great day nutritionally speaking. But from what I hear from others it's not unusual to have a day like that sometimes. I can't force my body to do what it isn't capable of or ready for. So I just did the best I could. Aside from a few minutes of walking around at the doctor's office that morning and a few more going into the store for yogurt I didn't really walk yesterday. It was wet and rainy outside and I can't drive myself anywhere to walk inside. Ryan is on night shifts, and I felt bad enough waking him up to take me to the doctor yesterday. I couldn't wake him up again to take me somewhere to walk. So, I tried to be up and moving around the house a bit to at least be moving.

So that is the summary of my first week. There are holes there due to the pain meds. I was on them most of the time I was in the hospital, and have only taken them 3 times since being home. But they made swiss cheese of my memory. Overall except for the blood in my BM's scaring me, I've had a good experience. I'm sick to death of drinking the same things day in and day out! I've been doing it for 3 weeks now and have another week and a half to go before I can see the surgeon and hopefully move on to soft foods. But it's worth it! I'm glad I did it! It's not going to be easy, but it's going to be worth it!!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Please Be Patient (Updated)

I wanted to take a moment to explain why I have not blogged much at all since my surgery. I had full intentions of documenting the entire process as well as some of what I'm going through on a personal level by now. But I have not been able to do it. While in the hospital I was too doped up on pain meds to be able to hold my thoughts long enough to get them blogged. And since I've been home I've had another issue.

I suffer from sever chronic clinical depression and anxiety (my childhood wreaked havoc on my mental state). I've been on medication for it for over two years now and it works wonders! It makes me feel human, and I'm able to control my responses to things without having anxiety attacks. Unfortunately, the medication I take is an extended release capsule, and my surgeon does not want me taking capsules until my stomach is healed. I even have to crush all my regular matter how small they are. The capsules I take say very specifically on the bottle NOT to crush or open them. But there is an immediate release pill form of the medication that I can take twice a day as opposed to the once a day extended release. The problem is...they couldn't give me a prescription for it when I left the hospital. That didn't make much sense because I thought they had been giving me the pills while I was in the hospital. But remember I was high on pain meds...and they make swiss cheese of my memory.

So, they told me upon discharge from the hospital to talk to my primary care doctor to get my prescription changed. No bid deal, right? Except they told me this on a FRIDAY AFTERNOON!!! So guess what I've been without all weekend. No anti-depressant. And it has been screwing with my head and my emotions...everything makes me want to cry. No kidding...I cried when I finally pooped and there was no sign of blood in it this weekend! I cried over POOP, people!!

So, I call this morning knowing that it's been at least 3 days since I had my meds. I was informed this morning that the pharmacy at the military hospitals that I use DO NOT CARY the form of the medication I need!!! I will have to see the doctor and get a prescription to be filled out at a civilian pharmacy. No big deal, right!? Except if they don't cary it then how could they have given it to me when I was in the hospital?! So it's very possible that I have not had this med for a WEEK now. And this is a med that you are NOT supposed to stop cold turkey! If you have to stop it, the doctor is supposed to ween you off of it. So no frickin' wonder I've been a basket case!!!

So, I called the appointment line after talking to the pharmacy to get an appointment with my doctor. NO APPOINTMENTS UNTIL NEXT MONDAY!!!!! Are you kidding me!?!? So I was advised to try to walk in and see If I could speak to the doctor today to get the prescription changed. If they won't do that I'm kinda screwed!!

Now to add to the pain in the ass this is, I'm on doctor's orders not to drive for two weeks! So, hubby will have to take me, right? Okay, no big deal, except his shifts just got changed to nights, and he's trying to sleep right now. So I have to get him up and have him take me to the clinic to get this worked out and hope that it doesn't take all damn day because he needs his sleep.

I'm going to finish my protein shake and then wake him up. I hate this. I hate feeling the way I do. And I hate that no one told me BEFORE my surgery that I would need to do this so I could have it taken care of ahead of time. I should not have to be going through this while I'm trying to recover from surgery and adjust to this diet/life that I have ahead of me.

This is why I have not blogged yet. My mind is a total mess. I'm not even sure if all of this makes sense at this point. I will update you and let you know how things go this morning. Wish me luck!


Crisis averted! It's not the perfect solution, but it's definitely one I can live with! I wasn't able to see the doctor today, but I did get to have a nice chat with the pharmacist. She told me, as Charlene mentioned in her comment, that switching to a twice a day immediate release would take a few weeks for my body to adjust to. She already wasn't too happy that I've been off the meds for a few days. So, her best advice was NOT to switch to the other form of the med, because I'd have to wait for an appointment with the doctor next week, then spend a few weeks after that adjusting to the new med. And since this is only temporary, and I should be able to take the capsule in a month or so, she looked through all the info she had on this particular medication. And while her information said the same thing as my bottle...not to break or had further instructions that the capsule COULD be opened gently and the beads inside could be added to a small amount of applesauce (or yogurt in my case since I'm not up to apple sauce just yet), and I could "eat" it that way! She said I could do this until I'm able to take it regularly again and thus avoid changing meds and messing myself up even further. She did tell me it will take a few days, maybe even a week for me to start feeling 100% normal again, but I felt ten times better just having a solution!

Lesson for any of you out there in the pre-op stage...check far in advance with both your surgeon and your primary doctor to see what changes might be necessary with your current meds. I know my surgeon didn't put me in this position intentionally. He did tell me the week of the surgery that I would need a different version of the medication, but indicated it would be taken care of before I left the hospital. To be fair to him, all of my other meds were taken care of and I was either given a different form of it or instructed to crush it. I don't think he realized the pharmacy wouldn't have the pill form of the medication or that it takes weeks to adjust to even if I've been on the XR version of it for two years. After all, he specializes in bariatric surgery, not general medicine. So, lesson learned...the hard way for me, but hopefully it will keep someone else from having to go through it!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

It's All Just Fun and Names

No, I didn't type that wrong. I meant to say names not games. :) I wanted to post something fun and reader interactive today.

I have noticed that there are quite a few people out there that have named their pouches and sleeves. I think this is hilarious, and I want to do it too! I think it is important to keep a sense of humor in life, and naming this new tiny tummy of mine is a great way to do that. And you guys are going to help me!! I'm going to post a few choices for names, and I need you to post your vote for the name I should use in my comments section. Let me give you a little more info before I list the help you understand my reasoning. But keep in mind that I have been on pain meds off and on all week. :D

I've decided my tummy must be a female...she's moody, can't make up her mind, and seems to like chocolate (flavored protein shakes that is...not candy). So we have to find a female name. But there are thousands. How do we narrow it down? Well, something you may notice about me as you read more of my writing is that I love alliteration. That explains why I like to call my new stomach my "tiny tummy" rather than my "pouch". It just sounds more fun. So, I need a T name to go with Tiny Tummy. That narrows it down. I also want the name to have a fitting meaning. I will list a few names I am considering along with their meaning and origin. Then you guys can vote and help me decide what to name her. :)

#1. Tiegan. Meaning: Little princess in the big valley Origin: Aztec (You have to admit, the meaning really fits!!)

#2. Tawny. Meaning: Litte one, or yellowish brown Origin: English (Little one is more the meaning I was looking at for this one.)

#3. Thora. Meaning: Thunder (Have you heard all the noise she's been making?!) Origin: Norse

#4. Tahnee. Meaning: Fairy Queen, little (combines my love of fantasy with my inexplicable belief that I am royalty and should be treated as such!) Origin: Russian, Slavic, English

#5. Tetta. Meaning: Ruler of the house (now rules my house/body) Origin: Teutonic

#6. Tilda. Meaning: Powerful Warrior Origin: German

#7. Tilly. Meaning: Strength through the battle Origin: Teutonic, Greek

#8. Totti. Meaning: Little one. Origin: English

#9. Toya. Meaning: Door that leads into the valley. Origin: Japanese

#10. Tumi. Meaning: Courage, happiness. Origin: African

Okay, there are my top ten names, their meanings, and their origins. Now I just need you to cast your vote! I'll post later today or tomorrow about how my week went with the surgery and hospital stay. Happy voting! I will collect votes until midnight central time Sunday, February 26.

Monday, February 20, 2012

12 Hours and Counting....

I report to the hospital in 12 hours. I'm super excited and super tired!! This clear liquid diet today is doing a number on me. I've had less than 50 calories an nothing but water, broth, SF jello, and a SF popsicle. I've got a splitting headache and I want to go to bed. But I still have a few things to do before I go to bed. I need to finish packing and getting things ready to go. I also have to do my special shower with the scrub they gave me. I'll do another one of those in the morning. 24 hours from now I will be in my hospital room trying to sip some water and hopefully doing a lap or two around the nurse's station.

I'll blog again as soon as I'm able. Until then, thank you all for your love, support, prayers, and well wishes. It means a lot! See ya on the other side!!

The 10 Commandments of Bariatric Eating
Golden Rules To Eating After Bariatric Surgery

1. You Shall Eat Your Protein First
2. You Shall Choose Solid Foods Over Soft, Mushy, or Liquidy Foods
3. You Shall Avoid Eating and Drinking at the Same Time
4. You Shall Avoid Drinks/Liquids With Calories
5. You Shall Take Small Bites
6. You Shall Chew Thoroughly
7. You Shall Eat Slowly
8. You Shall Stop Eating as Soon as You Feel Full
9. You Shall Stay Hydrated
10. You Shall Take Your Daily Vitamins

I found this HERE. Click to read more.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Rodeo, Renaissance, and Recipe

I had a great weekend! Friday night Ryan and I went to the Rodeo. We walked around for a couple of hours checking out all the booths and shopping. Then we watched the rodeo, followed by the Lady Antebellum concert.

In spite of the rain we had a great time! And I got some great goodies too! :)

I got a pair of these Sloggers (the darker pattern) and I love them! My feet were wet from the rain that night, so Ryan thought these would be good for traipsing around the wet fairgrounds and for our outing the next day. So comfy, and they kept my feet DRY!

I also got a key chain floating charm locket. I had never seen these before. They are really cute! I got charms that represent each of my sisters, my husband, and my children...oh, and one for myself as well. And I got a pretty turquoise ring (check out the pic of my nails below).

Saturday the kids had their own things going on. Steven spent most of the weekend at a friend's house, Tori went out with some friends. They went downtown for dinner and then on a ghost tour. Ryan and I drove a couple of hours away to go to the Sherwood Forest Faire Renaissance Festival. The weather forecast had called for rain in the morning that would clear up in the afternoon, so we figured it would be safe to spend the afternoon there. When we got there the weather was fine, but it began misting off and on, then eventually it began to rain pretty steady and the temperature dropped some. We really enjoyed it, in spite of the weather. It was our first Renaissance fair, and we decided it definitely won't be our last. Maybe that makes us nerds, but oh well. LOL

We did some shopping at the festival too. We bought a few trinkets like hand made jewelry, and a small trinket box. I got a new elm walking stick since walking and hiking are two of the things I intend to do more of in the future. And we found many things we didn't have the funds for, but would like to have in the future. Our big splurge of the day was wooden steins from the Knarly Knot. They weren't cheap, but they are guaranteed for life. We saw a few of them that had been in use for several years and still looked good as new. I figure not only will they be functional for future faires, but they are pretty just to display in the house as well.

Today I woke up not feeling too great. I had a headache that seemed to want to linger. But I was able to finally get it to subside. Once I was feeling better I headed out for a mani/pedi. I got my nails done with hot pink glitter tips. For my BBGC readers, I chose pink to match my BBGC bracelet. I'll be a full fledge BBG come Tuesday!

Tomorrow I start my clear liquid diet which will include a nice grape flavored magnesium citrate to clear me out. Yay! Not. But it does mean that I'm one day closer to my surgery and being on the loser's bench. :D

Very quickly before I go, I wanted to share another recipe I came up with this week. I had never tried Greek yogurt before, but had heard a lot about it. I picked some up the other day, plain. It had quite a bite to it. I've been using it as a sour cream alternative in my soups to liven them up a bit this week. But I was wanting some sweet, flavored yogurt as well. So, I did a little experimenting and it went quite well. Here's what I made.

Orange Creamsicle Greek Yogurt

1 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
1 individual serving packet of orange flavored Crystal Light mix
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon Splenda

Mix together and refrigerate. I let it sit overnight and found the flavor to be a bit better the next day. I have plans to try other flavors as well.

Friday, February 17, 2012

I Have Decided...

Yesterday I met with my surgeon, Dr. Tyner. He is so kind and caring. He took plenty of time to explain things to us in detail and answer all our questions. I had been planning on having the VSG (Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy). This choice was made because of some concerns I had about lack of nutrients with the RNY procedure. We spoke at length about both options. I was able to voice my concerns, and ask all the questions I wanted. In the end he recommended that I not make the decision right there in his office, but talk to Ryan about it, give it some thought, and let him know over the weekend.

Ryan and I spent quite a while talking about it yesterday, weighing pros and cons, and trying to think of all aspects of both procedures. We both were leaning the same direction at that point, but decided to get some final input from some of the people in an online support group I'm part of. I wanted to see if any of them had anything positive or negative to say about either operation that I had not yet thought of and considered for myself.

What I found with the responses I got was that most people were very happy with the choice they had made for both RNY and VSG. And in the end, no one offered up anything that I hadn't considered before, but it was still good to hear what they had to say. So, I decided to go to bed and sleep on it last night to see if I still felt the same way this morning that I was feeling after talking to Dr. Tyner.

I woke up today feeling very clear, very calm, and very confident that I had made a decision that is right for me. I have decided to go with the RNY rather than the VSG. Both are great options, but having my concerns addressed and hearing the doctor's recommendation I was able to take a more objective look at the RNY procedure and decided that the added limitations to diet and necessity to be diligent with my vitamins is a fair trade for the weight I expect to lose and the health I expect to gain.

I know this journey will not be easy. It will have it's ups and downs. It will have it's challenges and victories. I have a very realistic outlook on what to expect, and yet I dream of being a complete success! I'm ready for the challenges that lie ahead, and look forward to sharing this journey with you!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Visualizing My Goal

I've seen this idea in several places the last few weeks, and finally made mine today. Each stone represents one pound that I need to lose. My goal is to get down to 150 which means that from my highest weight I need to lose 163 lbs.

Each time I lose a pound I move one white stone from the "LBS To Lose" jar into the "LBS Lost" jar. For every tenth pound I get to move a red, heart stone. I've already been able to move 15 white and one red heart stones to the "LBS Lost" jar.

Now, if I were to get down to what is considered the "ideal" weight for someone my height, I would need to get down to about 130. So, in case I am able to work toward that goal beyond getting down to 150, I have added 20 blue stones (2 star shaped ones for the 10 lb marks) to the bottom of the "LBS To Lose" jar. If I get to move those stones, that means I have exceeded my personal goal. I'm super excited to see the "LBS Lost" jar fill up!!

Eggface Is Giving Away Click!

If you love your coffee and need to get your protein in, Click is the way to go! And Shelly (AKA: Eggface from The World According to Eggface) is giving it away this week. You've got until Sunday to enter. If you want to give it a try "Click" here!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Liquid Diet Recipes

I'm just going to take a moment to share a couple of recipes that turned out well for me. I've been trying to get some variety in my diet so I don't lose my mind.

First I'll share two Protein Shake Recipes that I enjoy.

Chocolate Mocha Protein Shake

8 oz skim milk
1 Scoop chocolate protein powder of your choice
1 tablespoon Sugar Free Caffeine Free Mocha instant coffee

Blend well and serve. You could also add ice and blend in a blender for added texture/chill.

Salted Caramel Cocoa Protein Shake

8 oz skim milk (or water, I use milk for a creamier texture and extra protein)
1 Scoop vanilla protein powder of your choice
1 pump Torani Sugar Free Salted Caramel Syrup
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Blend well and serve. You could also add ice and blend in a blender for added texture/chill.

This next recipe was created out of a desire for Cream of Chicken and Mushroom soup which I can not find in a low fat variety. So I made my own, and added protein to it as well.

High Protein, Low Fat Cream of Chicken and Mushroom Soup

1 can Campbell's 98% FF Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can Campbell's 98% FF Cream of Chicken Soup
2 Cups Skim milk
1 Scoop unflavored protein powder
2 teaspoons chicken bullion granuals

Add all ingredients into a blender and pulse several times until well blended. Makes about 4 1/4-4 1/2 cups of soup. I divided it into 4 servings that were just over 1 cup each. This worked perfectly for lunches. I put one in my lunch box and the others in the fridge for later in the week. The soup was a little thin, so you could probably thicken it up by cutting back on the milk. However, I have noticed that the low fat cream soups tend to be a bit thinner than the original to begin with. For my liquid diet I had to strain out any bits of chicken or mushroom from the soup, but that's not necessary if you can have them.

Weigh In Day Feb 13, 2012

Happy Monday! Since Mondays are my official weigh in days I wanted to take a moment to post today's results. I am so happy to announce a loss for this week!! Today's official weight is 297.0!! That is a loss of 6.2 pounds since last week, with an overall loss of 16 lbs!! I knew that "gain" from last week wasn't an accurate reading. I'm pretty sure part of that 6.2 lbs is from the previous week, but didn't show up due to some constipation and bloating. I know that's TMI for some, but it's the reality of my situation. Also, this liquid diet is definitely working to take off the lbs. I'm curious to see how much I lose this coming week. Next Monday's weigh in comes one day before surgery. Let's see how low that number gets by then!

Sorry, it's a little out of focus and dark. I tried several times to take the picture, but the scale kept turning off before I could get a good one. LOL

Have a great week!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I started this Saturday off in my favorite way...I slept in. But sleeping in usually comes with a price to pay such as losing part of the day or missing breakfast hours at McDonalds. But the price I paid this morning was a dream that really upset me.

In my dream I had been away somewhere and when I came home my husband was with another woman. I don't mean your ordinary, having an affair, romp in my bed kind of thing. I mean he was WITH another woman! As in they were living together as a couple and I was out of the picture. That was upsetting. What was weird though was that in my dream, Ryan seemed perfectly fine having both of us there. He didn't seem to understand why I was upset. And the other woman, who I never really got a good look at, didn't seem bothered by my presence either. In the dream my heart was breaking at the same time that I was furious and frustrated with Ry. I mean seriously, what the hell was going on?!

I was awakened in the middle of this dream which led to me waking up with those feelings still running through me. Ryan could tell something was wrong, and questioned me about it. I told him about the dream, and he of course reassured me that nothing like that was going to a good hubby should. We went on about our day which started with both of us getting a Swedish Massage.

This was the second time I had ever had a massage. My first time was the day before we left England (we were stationed there for 3 years). I had worked my butt off getting everything ready for the move, so Ryan had surprised me with a day of relaxation that included an amazing massage. That was about 11 years ago. Today, Ryan lost his massage virginity...figuratively of course...this was not a "happy ending" kind of place. A friend of ours is actually going to school to learn massage and she invited us to come have them done at the school. I was very impressed. It was a much better experience than I expected.

Our friend did Ryan's massage. He was a bit nervous about it. He, like most of us, is self-conscious of his body. And it didn't help that he is friends with her husband. I had my massage done by one of the other students, a young guy that believe it or not is shorter than me. And he looks like he might weigh a buck oh five soaking wet! I was a bit uncertain as to how this might work out. But my concerns were soon put to rest.

The room we were taken to was dimly lit. The massage tables were separated by soft flowing white curtains. And there was wonderfully relaxing music playing softly in the background. I was left alone behind my curtain to strip down to my panties and lay down on my stomach, under the sheet and blanket, with my face resting on the padded circle at the end of the table. When I was ready I quietly let my masseuse know, and he came in and joined me. The bed itself was heated, and that added to the peaceful atmosphere made it easy for me to relax. The young man that did my massage did an amazing job! His touch was perfect, not too hard or too soft. He moved silently around the table, only softly whispering to me when necessary to ask a question or give instructions. And while I was laying there in only my panties, never once did I feel exposed. He only uncovered the areas of my body that were necessary for him to work as he worked on them. When he wasn't working on an area it remained tucked safe and warm under the covers. The only parts of me ever exposed were my back and both legs from about the knee down.

Not having to worry about being exposed and how I looked allowed me to truly relax and let my mind wander. I couldn't tell you what I thought about, only that it was nothing stressful. The frustration of the dream earlier was gone. At the end of my hour and a half massage I met back up with Ry and found that his experience was as relaxing and enjoyable as mine. I decided this was a lovely early Valentine's gift we had given ourselves.

By this time we were starving, but we still needed to head to the mall. Being on a liquid diet greatly limits my dining options. But, being the resourceful woman that I am, I began to think of places that offer soup and pulled out my handy dandy cell phone. There is a Jason's Deli across the street from the mall, so I looked up their soup options and found that they had a tomato and basil soup that sounded yummy. We headed there.

I can't say that it was a direct result of the relaxing massage I'd just had or not, but I had a bit of a revelation as we drove to Jason's Deli, and I shared it with Ryan. It suddenly became clear to me that my dream was not at all about Ryan finding someone else. It was about my inner fear that this surgery would not only change how I look, but who I am. Me "going away" in the dream was a fear of losing myself. The "other woman" was the new me. I had changed so much that I didn't recognize myself. That explains why Ryan was fine with both of us being there. To him we were the same person. I know this surgery will change me, and I want that. There are some changes that truly need to be made. There are parts of myself and my personality that I have hidden away for so long that I'm nervous about what it will be like to see them surface again, but they need to surface. I just don't want the core of who I really am to change. And I think that's what the dream was about.

Lunch was yummy. I had to eat around the chunks of tomatoes in my soup, but I liked it enough that I had Ryan order me one to go. I put the tomatoes I had eaten around in a to go bowl as well. (They all blended up nicely with some protein powder tonight for a smooth and tasty dinner!) Next stop, the mall.

As far as I knew we were headed to the mall to get me some new tennis shoes for working out in, and some refills for my Bath and Body Works air freshener plug in. My old Nike's were starting to wear out, and the fact that my air freshener in my classroom had run out became VERY obvious this week with the presence of a skunk under the school building. But Ryan had a little surprise for me too. So we headed into the first athletic shoe store we came upon. I couldn't tell you which one. But what I can tell you is that the first pair of shoes I tried on were the perfect ones! Lightweight, perfect fit, and cute!!

I was ready to head to Bath & Body Works, but Ryan had planned another stop before that. He knew I was running low or out of a few makeup items, so we headed to MAC. I've been wearing MAC for about a year now, and I love it. But it's pricy. Luckily I don't wear makeup every single day, and I don't wear lots of it when I do. I hadn't been planning to buy more makeup just yet, so it was a nice treat for Ryan to remember that I needed it. What can I say, the man loves to buy things for me. Have you ever heard of the 5 love languages? Ryan's love language is gifts. This makes me a spoiled woman!

We finished up our trip to the mall with a stop in at Bath & Body Works. This place is like Wal Mart; you go in for one thing and come out with a bunch of stuff you never knew you needed. We always end up spending more than plan in that store, but I love it! I found a new fragrance for my plug in, Pink Sangria. We both liked it so much that we got the visor clip for the car and the big candle as well. And of course I needed the free with purchase reusable shopping bag they were offering, so I got some body wash while I was at it. I was almost out after all.

We stopped and got dinner for Ryan and the kids on the way home, and concluded our evening by cuddling up in bed and watching a movie. No! Not that kind of movie!!! What kind of people do you think we are? Wait! Don't answer that! Some of you know me and I don't need that kind of publicity. LOL

Anyway, it was a great day. A relaxing massage, a revealing dream, new kicks for my workouts, my favorite makeup, and something to cover up that horrible skunk smell at work. But more than anything, I loved getting to spend the day with my husband. He truly is my best friend. I missed him horribly the month he was gone, and today was just what I needed.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sorry to do this to all of you, but if I'm going to be real about this, I must include the good, the bad, the ugly....and um....#2 (that might fall into the bad AND ugly category).

I've been on my liquid diet for 5 days now. I drink 1 - 2 protein shakes a day, and I add protein powder to certain things to make sure I'm getting my full 60-70g a day as per Dr.'s orders. I'm also drinking a LOT of water and Crystal Light. You'd think that with all this liquid going in there wouldn't be much issue with things coming out the other end....ends? Anyway, I've been peeing like crazy this week. Every day I have to call someone into my classroom at least once to let me go to the bathroom, and that's in addition to the times I go on my breaks and at home. I'm normally a once a work day kind of girl. (If this is have 2 choices...don't read any further, or suck it up, Buttercup!)

What I haven't been doing this week is having normal BMs. I'm not a clockwork regular kind of girl, but it's typically a daily thing. However, this week has been a bit different. I went okay on Monday. I don't really remember how Tuesday went, but by Wednesday I was having issues. I managed to go, but with some....difficulty?....yes, we'll just say some difficulty. And it wasn't very....productive. I was starting to wonder what was up.

Thursday I didn't make poo (if you can find a better way to not repeat BM or #2 over and over I'd be glad to hear your suggestions) at all! And by this morning my whole abdomen was feeling full, bloated, and a bit swollen. I couldn't get anything to happen this morning either. So, here it is, Friday afternoon and I finally made caca (hey, if my preschoolers can say it, why not me?). I had to take 2 stool softeners to make it happen, and it still took some effort, but at least things are...uh....moving.

So, this brought up two things for me. First: Why? I've been drinking nothing but liquids. Second: That explains why I have not managed to lose any weight this week while drinking all my meals. The doctor said this diet would definitely make me lose weight. In fact they expect it, and I might not get to have the surgery if I don't. So I did what any concerned human would do and turned to the most reliable source for health information available...the internet!

Okay, okay, I know!! is NOT where I should be getting sound medical info. However, what I did find was that other people using whey protein powders have also experienced this clogged drain issue. It's not something that happens to everyone, but some do find it necessary to counteract this particular side effect. First, I need to make sure I'm getting in plenty of clear liquids in addition to my shakes and soups. I kinda slacked on that yesterday. I drank, more than "old me" would have, but not as much as I should have. And second, I need to add some fiber to my shakes.

I went back over my food journals on My Fitness Pal and found that I'd been averaging less than 5g of fiber a day. Not good! This revelation brought up a third thing: It's uber important to journal your food each day!!! By doing that I am now able to keep an eye on not only my protein (main focus of a WLS patient), calories, and fat, but I can watch my fiber and sugar intake as well. And if issues come up (like my drinks will if I don't unclog this drain) I can look back at my numbers and see where I'm off and what I need to adjust.

So, lessons learned for me today. I hope that by sharing my poo story, I can help someone else in their journey.