Saturday, December 31, 2011

Getting through the holiday season!

Made it through my first holiday season with my band!  For Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve & Christmas Day I felt the need to make a million and one things that are on my "do not eat" list and still make things that were "legal" for me to eat as well.  Even though I couldn't eat all the pies, cookies, chocolates, & side dishes I made for each day it still felt great to be able to provide my family and friends with all those yummy treats.  When I was making all my truffles and cookies it almost felt like I was testing myself, and it feels great to be able to say that I won!  I did not try a single thing, and Peter reaped the benefits of occasionally being my taste-tester.

Eating with the band is definitely different.  There is no such thing as a fast meal anymore, unless its a protein shake :-).  Everything has to be cut small and I have to take my time chewing and waiting between bites.  I have gotten "stuck" a few times this month and it usually passes (up or down) with in 15-20 minutes, each time it happens it is because I was not fully paying attention. 

I have noticed over the last week that I seem to be eating a little bit more and that I am getting hungry earlier between meals.  I have to listen to my band and see if that is just because I ate a little bit more over the holidays or if I actually need a fill.  I decided I need to try and figure out which it is over the next two weeks, rather than get a fill this week.  If I had gotten a fill I would have had to go back to clear liquids (24 hrs), 2 days protein shakes, 2 days mushy foods, then back to normal foods.  I would have still been on mushy foods for today (New Years Eve) and since we are going out to dinner I decided waiting on that fill was a GREAT idea!

Tonight we are going out to a pub with 2 other couples for dinner, followed by dancing!! I can not remember the last time I went out dancing and was actually excited about it, my guess is that it was back in college :-)

Here are my 6 month side by side pics from 12/8/11
And here is a Christmas 2010 vs Christmas 2011!

Wishing all of my family and friends a very happy, healthy New Year!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Things to be thankful for...

For the past month and a half I have been trying to listen to my body and what is it "sayng" when I eat.  The Lapband (when adjusted properly) is there to help me feel fuller faster, which means I eat less food.   Part of this is to learn to listen to when my body is telling me I'm full.  For the past month and a half I have been trying to pay attention to see if I needed to be adjusted or not.  Two weeks ago (11/3/11) I finally had my first fill.  I was so nervous about it since I was not sure what to expect at all.  The whole thing took less than 5 minutes and was no big deal at all!  I laid down on the table, the nurse practitioner felt around on my stomach to find where my port was (sown into my abdominal wall), she then pinpointed the port with a sonogram (or ultrasound, not sure exactly), numbed the area with a needle of lidocaine, then another needle was inserted into the port and saline (1cc) was added to the band.  When the needle of saline was put into the port there was A LOT of pressure, almost felt like she was trying to touch the table underneath me through my abdomen.  The pressure lasted less then 1 minute and was much easier this second time around since I knew what to expect. Post fill I am required to go back to the same plan as post surgery, only on an abbreviated timeline. 

First 24 hours is liquid only, next 2 days is 3 protein shakes, 4th & 5th days I can re-introduce mushy foods for 1 meal and then finally 6 days post fill I can go back to eating my one meal of regular foods along with my 2 protein shakes each day.  This was MUCH harder then I even imagined it would be!! At first I thought "No big deal, I dealt with it for longer right after surgery".  It is much different now that it has been 5 months and I am used to eating.  By the second day I felt awful and I was starving!  I was pretty cranky and actually had to give in a little early and had some mushy food (3oz) on my third night.  I had another fill this morning and I am happy I know what to expect and have warned all of those around me that it would be best to steer clear of me until at least sunday :-)

At my appointment this morning I weighed in at 61 lbs less then the morning of surgery and I have knocked off 12 points off my BMI!!!  I am know only consider Obese, instead of Morbidly Obese.  My weight is also now under 200 lbs (1st time in at least 10 years) and today I wore a skirt from NY&Co size 14!!  I also was planning on waiting a few more months to start wedding dress shopping but have decided I can't hold out any more.  While I am down on LI next week for Thanksgiving I am going to go try on wedding dresses for the first time!! While I am not going to order one until I am closer to goal I can't wait to start the process!

                      My size 14 skirt from NY&Co!!!

Sometimes I look at the life I am living and I wonder to myself "How did I get so lucky?"  With Thanksgiving right around the corner I am taking this time to look at my life and be grateful for all the people in it.  I have the most amazing fiance, phenomenal family members, and fantastic friends (including all my Facebook friends).  
I appreciate all of you coming along on this weight loss journey with me.  Posting about everything keeps me honest and accountable. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Slacking on the blog

I just realized its been about 6 weeks since I last blogged!  Clearly lots have happened since then as you know from my updates on Facebook.   Last month at my 3 month post-op mark I hit the 45 lbs mark, and three weeks later I hit the 50 lbs mark!  Things could not be going any smoother then this!  I still am drinking my 2 shakes a day, one yogurt or cottage cheese, and my small portion of dinner (3 oz protein & 6 oz veg).  I try and change things up so I am not eating the same things all the time and getting bored.  The amount I am eating is keeping me full for a few hours after I eat so I still have not gotten a fill.  Occasionally they say that a person will come out of surgery at exactly the right spot with the amount of saline in the band, I thank my lucky stars I am one of those people.  I have been warned that this feeling of satiety that I have now can change at any time and as I continue to loss weight the band my become looser around my stomach.  If the band becomes looser I will possible need a fill to make it tighter then, for now I'd rather leave it alone if its working properly. 
The way I eat now is drastically different then pre-surgery.  Now because the band is around the top of my stomach I need to cut my food into very small pieces (think toddler bite-size) and I need to chew, chew, chew everything very well so that it goes through the stomach opening (stoma) without any problems.  If something is not chewed enough or small enough it can get stuck.  Getting something stuck feelings like you are having a heart attack.  The food either needs to pass through or come back up.  I have been able to avoid this problem until this past week!  I was waiting for Peter to come home so we could head out to dinner and I had started to get hungry.  I went into the kitchen to grab a few little pieces of some kielbasi we had in the fridge, realized very quickly that kielbasi is no longer my friend and within a few minutes knew something was not right.  Getting something stuck feeling like you have something sitting in the middle of your chest, and I then started to feel the muscles of my esophagus moving (like it was trying to move the food ).  Then the nausea started because all the muscles are moving, then because something is stuck the saliva you are producing can not go down and sits on top of the stuck food.  At this point I was hoping the food was going to pass quickly but instead a little tiny bit came back up (coated in slime :-( ) This all took less then 4 minutes and luckily I was 100% ok as soon as that happened.  Any other bandster reading this avoid this feeling at all costs, its uncomfortable and gross!
Same thing happened on Saturday night at the food tasting for our wedding venue.  I took a bite of something, either filet Mignon or salmon, and it was apparently not small enough or not chewed enough and I got the same feeling in my chest & esophagus.  Luckily this passed through within a few minutes but at this point the lesson is learned! CHEW, CHEW, CHEW !!!!
 Here are some pics that I have been slacking on posting on here.
This was 3 months post-op!

And this was 4 months post-op, down 50 lbs!!!

This second picture was taken on 10/5/11.  We went out to dinner at Applebee's (where we had out first date) to celebrate that in 1 year we will be getting married!!! Even more motivation to keep up my momentum!  I have gone from a tight size 24 to a 16 in 4 months, the thought that I will not be a plus-size bride is almost unreal to me!  Can't wait to start dress shopping...after the new year :-)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Living in the moment & loving every minute!

Life with the band is much easier than I thought it would be.  Sure those first few weeks were pretty rough but I got through it and have been just coasting along with no major problems.  I have been doing fantastic with following the strict program laid out by my surgeon & dietician and it shows in my weight loss.  Last week I had another follow up at the bariatric office and between 7/25 to 8/10 I was down another 8 lbs!!  That put my weight loss at 34.5 lbs and I am down another 2-4 lbs since then. 

Going out to eat is getting easier and easier.  Making smart choices is now becoming my norm, rather then ordering all the things I used to love.  Its funny how other people will sometimes feel bad about eating something in front of my, but all I tell them is "I choose to get Banded, you didn't.  Please go ahead and enjoy your self, I'm ok ".  I am so happy with my progress so far and have no intentions of messing this up just because I can't control myself.  The smaller sizes I am wearing are confirmation enough that I don't need to eat how I used too.

Last month I had found a pair of nice grey pants that I didn't even know I had and I had them hemmed to fit my height.  The pants fit great for a few weeks then all of a sudden last week they are now too long and baggy.  My hips and legs are getting smaller so these pants are now too big!  Went shopping this past week for a new pair of nice black pants for work.  When I started this journey I was wearing a pant size of 24, well the pants I just got this week are an 18! I can't even remember when the last time was that I was this size :-)  When I got home from work today I went through my entire closet and drawers and cleaned out EVERYTHING that was too big.  I literally got rid of half my clothes!  I still have more then enough clothes to last me a little while and will only need to buy a few essentials along the way.

As most of you know I am an Audiologist and work in a physicians office.  I am supposed to wear a lab coat at work but stopped a few years ago because it got too tight.  Tight like I couldn't really move my arms and there was no way in hell that thing was buttoning LOL.  Last month I tried on the lab coat and it was still too small.  Today I was freezing at work and decided even if this coat was tight it would be better then nothing so I put it on.  Without even realizing it I went to close the front of the coat and then noticed that I was able to pull one side right over the other!  I was able to button the whole lab coat and had some room to spare.  That's a huge reinforcement that what I am doing is absolutely working.

Last month I had started going to the gym and seemed to be super excited about it.  Somehow I lost the motivation already but luckily that hasn't slowed my weight loss.  I know I need to get back into it and will as soon as I get back from my girls weekend away in NC.  All in all I think I am doing pretty well and have not ever regretted getting this surgery!!

 Picture of me wearing a new cute little dress !

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Kicking my own a$$ :-)

Last week I decided it was finally time to get my butt back to the gym.  I've belonged to a gym for years but have not used it regularly for about a year.  I signed up for a free group session with the trainer at the gym so he can help me design a program specific to my needs.  My plan for the gym will consist of 7 minutes of warming up with cardio, weight training (upper body/lower body) & abs, then 30-45 minutes of cardio.  Looks like I will be spending close to 2 hours in the gym at a time!  I then met with the trainer so he could show me each of the machines (seat/bar positions & weight used).  This definitely is doable as long as I put my mind too it.  I have gone a few times this week and worked out on my own with no problems.  I want to keep up this motivation for as long as possible so I have decided that I am going to start working out 1 on 1 with the trainer a few days a week.  I want to get the maximum results possible from this band/working out while also hopefully keeping away any excess skin problems.  I'm almost positive this trainer is going to kick my ass but that's why I'll be paying him, right?!

This weekend Peter and I decided to finally try a restaurant.  We have not been out to eat together since before surgery (6/8).  I picked Ruby Tuesdays because even if there was nothing on the menu I could eat at least they have the salad bar.  I have been eating salad with a protein almost everyday since starting on solid foods again so decided to read over the menu and find something I could eat.  I picked out a grilled salmon/shrimp (sauce on the side) meal with roasted spaghetti squash & sliced tomatoes on the side.  As soon as the food came I asked for a take-home container and put half of the food on the plate in the box.  There was 3 shrimp on top of the salmon and I put away 1 1/2 shrimps, so literally half of everything :-)  I ate all the protein first like I am supposed too then moved onto the spaghetti squash,  could not eat the tomatoes because I was seriously full!! Never in my life have I gone to a restaurant and not been able to finish off my whole plate, let alone only half of it!  Was great being able to take home that second half and have an entire dinner for the next night.  I could definitely get used to this :-)

Had an appointment with the nurse practitioner (NP) at the bariatric office yesterday for my 7 week check.  I am down a total of 26 lbs from surgery on 6/8/11.  Today was the day that I was possibly getting a fill.  A fill is when the NP finds my port (located under my skin near my belly button) and will add saline into the port making the band tighter if I feel like I need more restriction.  On the same note if I ever feel like I am too tight and have too much restriction the NP will then take saline out of the band.  If I was snacking between meals, grazing during the day, or not staying full for close to 4 hours they generally recommend getting a fill.  As of right now I am doing well.  I have 2 protein shakes a day as meals, snack of either non-fat Greek yogurt or 3 oz cottage cheese, and my 1 meal of 3 oz lean protein with 6 oz vegetable.  This feeling can change at any time but right now I am loving every minute of this full feeling on such little food!

 New shirt (2 sizes smaller!) newly hemmed pants, & heels, which I can now wear all day!!  Amazing how different I feel just losing the 26 lbs...looking forward to many more amazing days!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

First Shopping Trip Post-op

I have been "shopping" in my closet for the past few weeks, and while I have a bunch of pants to get me through going down a few more sizes shirts are a different story.  I recently found a pair of nice grey slacks that I had hemmed last week and now look like a whole new pair of pants that fit properly (a size smaller)!

My shirts are now a size too big and are starting to look long and baggy, making me look messy.  "The girls" have also been getting smaller and I am now down any entire cup size!  While I do not want to spend a lot of money on clothes I will (hopefully) only fit into for a short time I decided it was time to buy a few essentials.

Ran to the mall this morning and while it is not as hot today as it has been I found the mall to be sweltering, almost positive not a single store had any air conditioning on.  Went to Old Navy & Target in hopes of catching a good sale on just a few fitted tee's I could wear to both work & the gym.  Found shirts that were a decent price but when I tried them one they were all see-through!  While I know the saying "You get what you pay for"  I was hoping the material would have been a little better than that.

Decided to leave the mall and try my luck at Fashion Bug.  As I was walking to my car it started down pouring and I was drenched within 30 seconds.  So far my shopping trip was turning into a complete disaster!  Was going to head home because at this point I now looked like a drowned rat but figured I was already in the car and head to the store anyway :-)  Made out like a bandit!  Walked away with 5 shirts all in XL (not the normal 1X or 2X I used to buy) and 3 bra's that were a whole cup size smaller...all for less than $85!!! Thinking I will need to go shopping for a few essentials every 25 lbs without going overboard. 

Go back to the doctors on Monday where it is possible I will get my first fill, although I am doing very well without it so I may decide to hold off til I need it.  Will update again if I get the fill!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

6 weeks post-op

Exactly 6 weeks ago I went through one of the BIGGEST & BEST decisions of my life ( to date). I am down a total of 25 lbs and roughly 20 inches.  I am wearing clothes I have not worn in quite a while, its like I am going shopping in my own closet!  Today I even was able to wear little kitten heels to work and keep them on all day (I usually wear sneakers since my feet hurt all the time).  Its amazing what a big difference just the 25 lbs gone is making While there were some days in the first few weeks where I honestly thought I wouldn't make it through, I came out stronger on the other side :-)

I have been eating regular solid foods now for 10 days for 1 meal a day.  My daily food intake consists of 2 protein shakes, for either breakfast & lunch or breakfast & dinner, 1 snack, either 3 oz 1% cottage cheese or plain nonfat greek yogurt, & 1 meal of 3 oz lean protein on top of a 6 oz salad.  Never before would I have believe so little food would fill me and keep me full all day.  While my body will let me know when its near the 4 hour mark from my last meal, in between I rarely ever feel actual hunger.  The combination of low carbs (which suppresses cravings) & the actual lapband suppressing my appetite helps keep me from wanting to eat all the junk that got me here in the first place.  I can sit at a table surrounded by people eating pizza and be perfectly content with my salad / protein.  Do I still want that pizza? Maybe a little part of me does, but I signed up for this journey knowing it was going to be a long ride and I want it to run as smoothly as possible.

Made an appointment at the gym today to speak with the personal trainer on staff so he can help customize a workout routine for me.  I have a lot of work to do LOL!! I have another appointment tomorrow for him to show me a few machines.  Once I get all the machines down my plan is to hopefully set up some 1 on 1 sessions with him for a few weeks.  I definitely need to make time for working out.  Everyone keeps suggesting walking, but I find that soooooooo boring.  I do much better when I have a routine that I can stick too. 

Still hard to believe I am 6 weeks out from surgery...hoping my journey continues as smoothly as it has been :-)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Is that a waist I see??!!

It's been a great week and a half since my last post!  I somehow managed to survive that remaining days on my liquid only diet.  Getting a nasty cold with a terrible sore throat definitely helped keep away any thoughts of actually wanting to eat anything.
I had an appointment with with the dietician at the bariatric office this past monday, 6/27/11, and was finally allowed to start eating mushy foods!  It was seriously one of the best days of my entire life!  I found a recipe for a delish sounding shrimp salad so I made that Sunday along with a cucumber (ground up to applesauce consistency).  The salad wound up not being as good as I had hoped so for the rest of this week I have been eating a Buffalo Chicken Salad.  For right now I am still drinking two protein shakes a day as meals and the one mushy meal, which is 3 oz of a protein & 3 oz mushy vegetable.  I go back for my next appointment 7/8 to see the dietician and can move onto eating regular foods!

 This weekend is the 4th of July and Peter's parents are having a big BBQ on Sunday.  My parent's will be coming up for the day and actually our families will be meeting for the first time!! Pretty exciting :-)  I was a little concerned about how I would be at the BBQ with eating but if I made it through almost a whole month of only drinking protein shakes I can get through ANYTHING.  I plan on bringing my shakes & my 3 oz protein & 3 oz veg, maybe have a little fruit as a snack. 

To date I have lost 18 lbs in 23 days post-op and can actually see my waist beginning to show in pic!! when I measured last week I had also lost about 10 inches!! 

Hope everyone has a Happy & Safe 4th of July!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Two weeks after surgery

So I've made it this far!! I am now 14 days post-op and finally am feeling pretty much 100%.  I am now able to sleep on my stomach again, thank goodness.  At 14 days post-op I have lost a total of 15.5 lbs !!! I know once I start eating again things will slow down but for now I will love every second that it is coming off quickly :-)

Going into this I knew that there would be 5 days of clear liquids followed by 2 weeks of protein shakes.  I thought it would be no big deal, I was using two shakes a dayas meal replacements prior to surgery anyway.  Let me just say this has got to be the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  I am not physically hungry but what is called "head hunger" is out of control at times.  I want to eat because that is what I am used to or because that is what everyone else in the room is doing.  Peter brought home a left-over calzone the other night and the next day I told him I needed to get out of the house because I could hear it calling my name from the kitchen!  I've gone so far as going over to the fridge and opening a container of sauce to smell it.  While he was eating that left-over calzone I asked for a spoonful of sauce.  You know its bad when you are willing to resort to drinking sauce just to give in to the head hunger.

Right now I have a wicked sore throat so luckily even the idea of eating something is not appealing or I'm sure this battle with head hunger would continue.  I am looking forward to my appt with the dietician next monday and hoping they allow me to continue on to the mushy foods phase of this diet.  Never have I looked forward to foods like cottage cheese & cannned tuna so much in my life :-)

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Unexpected issues

When I decided to have Lapband surgery I was really nervous basically just about the surgery itself. I've been fortunate enough to never have anything medically wrong nor ever need any surgery.  I was surprised when everything surgery-wise was not as bad as I expected.  I never thought far enough ahead as to what exactly only drinking clear liquids for 5 days then protein shakes only could actually do to your body. 

Twice since surgery I've had two small episodes of what my Dr's office believes is Hypoglycemia.  During both episodes I got very hot & sweaty following a shower and one time I nearly passed out as well.  The nurse practicioner was not overly concerned since it was not consent but she does want me to follow up tomorrow morning with some bloodwork.  I was not diabetic pre-surgery so its strange if I'm starting to have some issues post-surgery.

Today at work was the strangest problem yet.  I was talking with a patient at my desk and all of a sudden I felt like a camera flash had gone off in my face.  I couldn't see what I was trying to focus on on the computer.  I then tried to finish writing up my results and realized that I could not see the spot on my paper where my pen was.  I could see the paper just not the exact spot I was trying to focus on.  Walked down the hall where I noticed I now had a strange blurry/wiggly line curving through the left side of my visual field.  Luckily I work in a Dr's office.  I was told to sit and drink some diluted apple juice because more then likely this was also due to low blood sugar.  After a while the strange line went away and then I just had blurry edges around my whole visual field.  This whole episode lasted about 40 minutes, pretty scary since I had no idea what was going on!!  I had my sugar tested (after the apple juice) and it was normal. My Dr's office wanted me to get an eye exam so I went downstairs to an eye Dr who squeezed me into the schedule.   Luckily he did not find anything wrong and attributes the symptoms more likely due to an ocular migraine.  I have a long history of migraines but none like this. 

 I go in tomorrow first thing to my Dr's to get bloodwork done to make sure everything is going ok and all my levels are good.  I'm guessing my body is not going to go down with out a fight!!  Hoping to get to the bottom of whatever is going on soon :-)

Monday, June 13, 2011

First post-op visit 6/13/11

I survived my 5 days of drinking only clear liquids!! I have to say the pain from this whole procedure was actually better than I expected.  Sure I was sore in my abdominal area for the first 2-3 days but by Sunday I was able to get up and down from a seated position without much trouble.  Laying down and sleeping is still not comfortable since I am a side/stomach sleeper.  I make it halfway through the night in my bed then have to move to the couch where I am a little more restricted in my movements. 

Had my first post-op visit today with my surgeon Dr. Kwon.  Things seem to be moving along nicely he said.  Since surgery I am down 11.5 lbs and have dropped 3.1 points off my BMI!!! I've also been able to graduate to drinking protein shakes.  I have to basically sip the shake at 1 oz every 5 minutes.  Never in my life has it taken me so long to drink something.  By taking small sips I am not allowing the liquid to build up at my band, which may cause stretching of the esophagus over time.

I can already notice a (slight) difference in my body just from these 11.5 lbs!! I look forward to getting some energy back by drinking these protein shakes :-) Love that I finally made this decision to get on track to a more healthy life :-)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pre-op start to finish :-)

I began this journey back in February 2011 by attending a free seminar at the local bariatric physicians office.  They squeezed me in the next day (my birthday) for an appointment to start the whole process.  I figured what better way to spend my birthday then investing in my future birthdays.  My insurance required a 3 month waiting period and the Dr's office required several internal appointments plus some outside appointments.

My final visit was scheduled for 5/20/11 at the bariatrics office.  I made sure prior to this appointment that everything they needed was in so nothing would hold up the decision to be approved for surgery.  I received a call from the office less that 24 hours later stating insurance had approved the surgery and I was all set for June 8, 2011!!

My surgery was yesterday.  Went into the hospital at 7:45 AM, surgery was around 9 AM, out of recovery and in my room by 11 AM, and home by 4:15 PM.  When I woke up from surgery there was a little pain which they gave me something for and when I got up to my room I started feeling very nausea which they gave me something else for that.  Did a lot of napping at the hospital and even more when I got home.  The napping was great and definitely needed until it turned into the middle of the night and I was still wide awake!!

Slept on the couch last night so I could be propped up a little better and was stuck in the position of laying on my back.  I tried laying on my side but it was too uncomfortable and stomach sleeping was out of the question.  Woke up with only slight discomfort in my abdominal area that the liquid Tylenol is taking care of. 

Yesterday afternoon and for the next two days I'm only drinking 1 oz of Crytal Lite flavored water every 20 mins, by Saturday into Monday I can graduate to a 3 oz Dixie cup every 30 mins.  I go back in to see my surgeon on Monday afternoon where he will check my incisions and show me how I now supposed to drink the protein shakes. 

So far the side effects of the surgery are much better than I expected! Very happy with my decision to go for the Lapband to help assist in my weight loss journey.  I plan on keeping you all updated on my progress.

Thank you all for your words of encouragement!!