Just keep going…

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Someone asked me if I was going to stop Weight Watchers since I’m on the path to the bariatric surgery, and while I had the quick answer of “No” for her, I realize the more I thought about it that her question was a blog topic in itself. So, let me talk about that for a bit…

One of the questions I asked the nurse at the information session on the surgery was, “Do you have to lose a certain amount of weight BEFORE the surgery in order to be approved for the surgery?” You see, I’ve been watching the TV show called “My 600# Life” and while I’m not near 600 pounds, I’m still greatly obese so given that the people on the show are attempting to have the surgery done, I watch it with keen interest. And on that show, Dr. Now (Younan Nowzaradan, MD) always tells them that they must lose x amount of weight before he’ll approve them for the surgery. I didn’t understand why. I just assumed that it was a standard thing that anyone wanting to have the surgery had to do – in order to prove that you could stick to a diet plan and lose weight.

Of course, that does sort of display a paradox, doesn’t it? After all, if you can stick to a diet plan and lose weight, why would you need to have the surgery.

I understand now that it was those people on the show – because of their size – had to show Dr. Now that they could adapt and change because as I’ve been saying all along, the surgery is not the be all to end all. If I don’t work hard and stick to the plan, I won’t learn how to live, lose the weight and keep it off.

In any case, the nurse’s reply was, “No, you would just have to maintain your weight. Certainly not gain any.”

So that was one reason I decided to stick to doing Weight Watchers until I couldn’t do so any further.

The other reason is that I’ve had some success with WW so why stop now? Why get lax or lazy, slip into old habits now, after that success and potentially see all that hard work go to waste.

Despite WW being a plan that you can eat quite a bit of different foods so it’s not boring and you are better off to stick to it, it doesn’t mean that you can go “whole hog” and eat whatever you want. I have hardly had any pasta since I went on WW. While I accumulate points for an end of the week special meal, I find the idea of blowing all those points on some foods not worth it. And certainly, the limited points that one has for meals during the day, it’s often not worth it to have things such as potatoes and pasta. And while it’s an “easy” plan to basically follow, it’s still not easy to adjust.

You’re still limiting your food. Tracking your food. Measuring your food. You have to review all the labels, determine if something is too high in points…and you have to keep going.

So, the other thing is that since I’ve been on WW, I’ve learned to make better choices, and I’m to the point now where I feel pretty good about how well I’ve done up to this point. Sure, there’s a learning curve – just as there will be one (or many) after the surgery – but WW has helped me a lot also. I’ve cut way back on my pop (vice #1) consumption to the point where I rarely have it, and if I do, it’s usually as a treat because I have some extra points at the end of the day. I haven’t had potato chips (vice #2) since I started WW except a single small bag one time when we were out and I felt it wasn’t worth the 9 points.

So as I prepare for the pre- and post- surgery, a lot of things that I’m dealing with through WW is helping me to better prepare for my journey’s next path.

So, no…I won’t be stopping Weight Watchers even though I’ve decided to do the surgery. I will continue to do it until I’m told by the bariatric center that I need to stop, which could be the two weeks leading up to the surgery when I’m just on a liquid diet, or it could anytime before then. I certainly hope I have some more time on it – both as a learning tool but also, in all honesty, because I paid for 6 months and I’d like to get my money’s worth.

On Weigh-In Monday (yesterday), I lost another 4 pounds last week (and lost a daily point in WW), so I am now down a total of 14.2 pounds since joining WW, and 36.6 pounds since last August. So, yeah…I think I’m going to just keep going…

Blessings to all…

dani1

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Look at me! The guinea pig.

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That means “Post-Bariatric Surgery Decision”. I just made that up. But my life from here on out is going to be quite busy. And quite challenging as well.

That’s not to say that my life hasn’t been busy. In some ways, it seems as if I have absolutely nothing going on. That I live a quite boring life. And then there are times when I realize that I simply don’t have time to do all of the things I want to do. And who doesn’t have that issue sometimes?

I’m crazy busy at my job. All. The. Damn. Time. There are not enough hours in the day to do the work I need to do and it provides a good portion of the stress I often feel. No matter how much effort I make to put a dent in it, it never seems to go down. And I know some of you might say, “Well, at least you have a job.” or “Being busy is better than not being busy.” And both of those are correct. I’m grateful I have a job. It pays well. But I also work very hard for that money. But it is a problem to feel so overwhelmed with the workload and not really have any way to deal with it except to just keep plowing through.

Oh and cry sometimes.

I also am writing my book “Kiwi Kiss” and I’m nearly done it. I get asked constantly “Are you done it yet?” and of course, non-writers have NO idea what is involved in writing novels. None. And I’m at the point where I really need to be in the mood. That’s not a great habit for a writer but it is where I’m at right now. So, while it’s nearly done, it is a process and I’m doing what I can to get it done and published. Patience, grasshopper.

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On top of that, I have a lot of other things I want to do. Read all the books on my Kindle. Paint on the few canvases I bought. Watch all the movies and tv shows in my Netflix “My List” list. Travel more. The list goes on and on.

But in between some of that, I now have to concentrate on what I have to do before the bariatric surgery, and after.

So far this week it’s been a bunch of blood work, urine testing (for pregnancy, no less – yep…that ship sailed some time ago but I find it funny they still requested it), and EKG testing. I have an appointment coming up for an ultrasound on my abdomen, and a sleep study reassessment relating to my sleep apnea.

In early May, my first appointment is with a nurse for a consultation where I have to fill out a 40 page questionnaire. Then it’s more meetings with a nurse, dietitian, psychologist and eventually the surgeon. At the same time, I am having trouble with numbness in my left pinkie and ring finger, which is thought to be carpal tunnel but I have an appointment with a neurologist to find out. He will be my 6th neurologist since I also have the neuropathy in my feet.

Oh the joys of being unhealthy.

And I’m not complaining about these appointments. Truly. They are all a necessary part of getting me to my destination, so I’ll deal with them and keep on keeping on.

But I do feel like sort of a guinea pig.

But it is what it is. My goal is obtainable, it’s just going to take some patience, and a whole lot of hard work.

And a whole lot of support will be needed. So for those of you who have stuck with me all this time, I truly appreciate it and hope you’ll stick around some more.

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And the good news is that as of this morning, I am 1.2 pounds from losing 40 since my heaviest weight late last Summer.  WOOT!

More to follow soon. Watch this space.

Blessings to all,

dani1

Another path. Same journey.

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I’ve known for many years where I want to end up relating to my weight loss journey – what my destination looks like, and knowing that along the journey I will have struggles. And I will feel like I’ve failed – until I reached that destination.

I haven’t yet reached my destination. In fact, I’m far from it even now. But I’ve made a decision that is mine alone – that brings me just a step closer to my destination.

It won’t mean it will be easy. It won’t mean that I will be without struggles yet again. But it will give me a chance to reach my destination, and that’s really what I have been in dire need of – a chance.

No amount of determination that I could muster up through this journey has gotten me to where I want to be. But it has taught me a lot – about myself, and about what I want or need. And I not only want this – I’m not to the point where I feel I need it.

So, as of this past Monday, I am on a new path, but the same journey – with the same destination in my sights.

I’ve made the decision. And I’m ready to hit the new path running.

So, barring any issues of why I couldn’t, I’m going to have the bariatric surgery.

I’ve starting the process for pre-bariatric surgery: blood tests, ultrasound, nurse consultations, as well as consultations with a clinical social worker, psychologist, nutritionist/dietitian and eventually the surgeon.

Last Monday, my mom and I went to an information session on the surgery:

  • the pros and cons.
  • the many meetings/sessions the person must attend
  • some details on the surgery itself
  • pre- and post-operation physical changes and expectations

I already suspected before I went to it that I wanted to do it. And while, I’ll be honest, some of the “complications” do scare me, the idea of not having the surgery (and not being successful in my weight loss attempts on my own) and living a very shortened life scares me even more. There will also be plenty of sacrifices with this decision as well, but it comes down to what I want more.

And I have big plans for my future. So I need to be around to make sure they happen.

There is no set timeline for when my surgery would take place. They said that it can be as little as 5 months to 1 year, depending on how long it takes to get through all of the sessions/meetings and have all of the I’s dotted and T’s crossed. And get all those damn ducks in a row too!

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I really am hoping that it happens sooner rather than later, especially before the winter months. There are three places they do the surgery that will require travel for my mom and I. We’re aiming for London, Ontario which is about 2 hours away, and we can take the train there and back.

The hospital stay is 1 or 2 days for monitoring, and then they suggest 4-6 weeks off of work. But I’m not a typical worker, am I?  I may take a week off, but I seriously doubt I will sit in my bed, bored out of my ever-loving mind, for weeks at a time when my work computer is 5 feet away. If I’m going to have to just sit around, I’d rather do so and get paid for it. Most people leave their homes to go to their jobs and depending on the type of job they do, it can be physically labouring…but not for me.

One of the funniest parts during the information sessions is the list of “Things you can’t do/have post-surgery”. They included smoking, alcohol, caffeine, carbonated beverages and anti-inflammatory medications. Ever.

  • No smoking?  Easy
  • No alcohol?  I’m not much of a drinker anyway so I don’t have a problem with this.
  • No caffeine? I don’t drink coffee, rarely tea, so most of my caffeine would come from pop (or soda, depending on where you live).
  • No carbonated beverages? I don’t care for Perrier or beer so the only “issue” would be pop. But since I’ve been on Weight Watchers, due to the high point count for pop, I’ve only had it occasionally as a “treat” and mostly to use up some points to reach my daily limit (if you eat really well, most things don’t have points). So while it would be an adjustment, my WW journey has already prepared me to make this transition easier.

As I said before, this surgery isn’t the cure all to end all. It’s going to require a lot of hard work and attention to details, especially post-surgery relating to what I can eat and when. The first several weeks are pure liquids, then pureed, gradually adding solid foods but in such small quantities. And I’ll have to fight to “no hungry so don’t want to eat” issue. The “symptoms” of what happens if you eat too much, too fast, or the wrong things is something I want to avoid – like the plague. So, there is lots to read up on and be sure that I’m ready for each step on the journey.

I do hope you’ll stick around…exciting things are on the horizon!

Blessings,

dani1

 

Which way is the wind blowing?

I had intended to write this several weeks ago. In fact, I started it no less than four times. But, you know what they say about good intentions…

As it has happened so many times in my life, I have been thinking lately that I have absolutely no idea where I’m going in my life. What am I doing? Am I actually doing anything? If I am doing something, what the hell is it? Is it good? Bad? Indifferent? What?!

And I wish I had the answers, but as with the x number of times before that I have asked these questions of myself – well…the answer is:

I have no fucking clue.

I’m not getting any younger. The world is not slowing down. In fact, it feels as if it’s speeding up. I try not to have regrets, but it’s hard to not look back at my life and see the missed opportunities or changes. Whether I chose to ignore the signs, or simply wasn’t brave enough. I suspect it was usually the latter. Just a suspicion though…

In any case, today one of the more popular sayings is “as fuck,” as in I’m drunk as fuck or You’re as stupid as fuck. Though typically I think those younger kids are simply using “AF.” Okay, so…I had an AF moment hit me recently. As recently as yesterday, where I thought, I’m miserable AF. And, I have been the past several says. Off and on, actually, the past few weeks but mostly the past several days.

I know the “why” and I won’t be sharing it here. It’s personal to me, and me alone, and it’s no one else’s concern.

So, why am I mentioning it?

Because it’s only one of the things going on with me. And while it may not be the most prominent (but maybe it is), I also can’t ignore the rest. And that’s what I’m going to talk about in this post.

I’ve now been living back home for 8 months. There have been some adjustments. Cripes, what the fuck is with the TAX over here!?!  A friend said, “Oh I guess we’re all used to it.” when I complained about it. 13% on every stinking thing! Ridiculous!

“Free Healthcare” is a bit of a misnomer. I had to pay $300 in taxes to the Canadian Government for last year solely for a surtax on health insurance. The health insurance I had for 3 months. The health insurance that, while it covers doctor visits and some blood work, does not cover medications or dental. Of which I need the move coverage and cannot get private coverage of because of my weight/health.

But I digress…

So there have been some adjustments to living back home. But you know me…always looking at the glass as half full…

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Okay…Happy April Fool’s Day. Had you there, didn’t I?

In any case, the good things about being back home are that my mom, my family and my friends are nearby. I have people to “hang with”; I’m not so alone.

I’ve also been able to continue to work at my “former” job back in New York. My replacement did not work out – I tried to tell them I was irreplaceable but they didn’t believe me…

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So now I work remotely for the same office I’ve been at for 20 years, all from the comfort of my desk/bedroom in my home. In Canada. And there are many advantages to this, the least of which is simply rolling out of bed and sitting down to work. The disadvantages is that I feel I still have to get dressed – no working in my PJs for me. You know, in case I had a conference call. Then again, I need only be dressed from the chest up…

'Hang on a sec...I don't remember this being scheduled as a video conference call.'

Another change has been my health – specifically my weight, which you all know is the main reason for this blog. I’ve been on this journey for a while and I’m really trying to not be upset that I haven’t gotten to where I had hoped by now. I’m not going to make excuses, and I’m really trying to not dwell on it. What’s done is done and there is nothing I can do now about it.

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda, Pal…

Just before I left New York, I was at my heaviest weight ever in my life. For two months it seems all I did was eat like shit because I was stressed and panicking that I wasn’t going to be ready for my move. And I nearly wasn’t – I only made it thanks to many helpful friends back in New York that got me through it. But I was struggling. A lot.

People didn’t understand. It was a major life change. Even though I was moving back to my homeland – back to my hometown where I had family and friends – it was still a difficult transition for me. Many people didn’t “get it”. They couldn’t understand what the big deal was. Some did. One in particular really understood. He understood and didn’t make light of my situation. I appreciated that.

In any case, at that point I wasn’t going to concern myself with my weight. I needed to get through the move and adjusting to my new life. At the time, I wasn’t going to be working after November 1st and I would be out looking for a job in a market that wasn’t very good. So I had decided I would address my weight at a later date and prayed I would survive to get to that point.

Here it is 8 months later and I’m happy to say that along with some of the good changes I mentioned above, another is that I’ve managed to drop 33 pounds in that time. And while it’s not as much as I’d like, I’m just happy it’s gone. And in late February, I joined Weight Watchers. I really needed to be able to enjoy some foods but still be within a sensible range to drop the weight. I’m only down 10 pounds since then but I’m still within their logical range of 1-2 pounds a week weight-loss.

But all of that is just a precursor. I had hoped to be able to get on a rhythm and keep going – dropping all of the weight I wanted/needed to but I’ve come to realize that I’m not sure I can. Not that much weight. And frankly, I’m been around and around on this subject extensively – both on my own and with friends and family – and at this point, I’m still asking:

Which way is the wind blowing?

I haven’t been an advocate of the weight loss surgery. I always had it in my head that if I didn’t learn how to eat properly and lose weight before the surgery, it wasn’t going to be the cure all to end all. It wasn’t some magic pill. The people I know that have had it are evenly split on success vs failure.

I got a new doctor when I moved back home. Of course, one of the first things she asked me was “Have you considered bariatric surgery?” and we discussed it briefly. She mentioned that it take up to a year before they will even do the surgery so that you get on a weight loss plan and learn to eat properly. You also have to see a psychiatrist, which I supposed is to figure out what someone’s triggers are for why they are the size they are. And let me tell you, a few episodes of My 600# Life is enough to get you motivated for sure. And I’m not even near 600#s but it’s an eye opener, especially on the “denial” part.

So she referred me to an information session that was to be in early February. My mother went with me and we were disappointed to find out that it was more for a 6 month liquid diet, not the surgery. It turns out that about a half dozen others in the room thought they were also there to hear about the surgery. Not great organization by the Bariatric Center, that’s for sure. In any case, they moved us all to the list for the bariatric session and that is going to happen on April 9th.

I can tell you that since I first spoke with my doctor about the surgery, I have gone from “I’m going to do it!” to “I’m not going to do it” to “I’m really going to do it!” to “I don’t really want to do it!” and where I currently sit…

I’m leaning towards “I really NEED to do it!”

After all these months, while I have had some success, this is not new. I have had success before. And invariably I don’t. And I gain it back. And then some. Then the next thing I know, I’m ballooned up like a humpback.

And I’m tired.

And while I still am quite aware that it’s not the miracle “cure”…I need the boost. I have zero energy most days. The pain in my feet is constant, to the point where some days I can’t walk because my toes feel as if they are being crushed.

And the idea of “missing out” of many things if I were to have the surgery, I’ve thought about it a lot lately and realize that there would be so much more that I would miss out on if I don’t do it.

I stood in line at the store today.  The person in front of me was buying adult diapers. And a thought hit me.

I would never be able to buy those.

And you know why? Because they don’t make them in my size. And you know why? Because no one my size lives long enough to need adult diapers.

So I’m still looking up as much as I can about the surgery that is done here in Ontario and will get more information at the session on the 9th. If I do it, it will be a huge adjustment. The first 6 months of nearly a complete liquid diet with maybe only teaspoons of jello and other soluble foods and in very VERY small quantities. No eating out. No splurging on popcorn at a movie. No chicken Parmesan (my fav!)…

but the alternatives are what?

Possible slow weight-loss but only IF I can work hard and to date, that hasn’t exactly been my forte. The surgery gives me no other choice. What the surgery will give me is rapid weight loss, potentially getting off nearly all of my medications including my diabetic medications, and renewed energy.

I mentioned knowing people that have done the surgery. Some have had success. The biggest one is my cousin who had the surgery 5 years ago and high recommends it. But I know others that have had it and it hasn’t been successful. Of course, the caveat is that it isn’t the surgery that wasn’t successful – it was the people themselves.

Remember: it’s not the magic pill.

And there are risks. It’s major surgery. There can be infections. Complications. Death. Thankfully that’s not a high statistic – I think.

So while it will still mean that I have to work hard and stick to the strictness that is required, it will also allow me the ability to drop the weight quickly and hopefully get me to a place where I can walk through the grocery store without feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck.

I would never advocate for doing it or not to others – whether I am successful with it or not. It’s a personal choice and whatever someone decides is up to them, and them alone. Whatever someone chose to do would have my support 100% because only they would know what is true to their hearts on what they need to do – for themselves.

I’ll keep you posted on what decision I make, but for now…here’s to more success!

Blessings to all…

dani1