Monday, May 31, 2010

One Year Ago Today

Today is the one-year anniversary of  this blog.  How wierd.  I just noticed that!  There were months at a time when I didn't post here.  I was too busy eating my five-dollar footlongs and supersizing my drive-through orders!!! For many, many years, I've had the intention of losing this weight and getting into shape... and it never seemed to happen.  Or it would happen and then I'd fall off the proverbial wagon.  Now I have my little helper, sitting atop my stomach, just waiting to be filled with saline in a couple of weeks.  Tomorrow is my four-week anniversary from surgery.  I'm down 36 lbs from my initial consultation in February.  It hasn't been an easy four weeks, by any stretch of the imagination.  But every day I feel better and stronger, and I'm finally beginning to believe that, with my little helper, I'll be able to do it this time, and make it a permanent change.  My bones and joints are SO happy!!!  I've abused them for many years now. 

I've found other bloggers on my favorite website,, and I've listed their blogs here so that I can easily access them.  Hopefully, they will make their own lists, and we can support each other in this manner. I look forward to having time to visit the blogs and learn from my fellow-bandsters.  It's a struggle sometimes, and it sure helps to read about the others along the same journey.  I am very fortunate to have met a friend in my local support group.  She's two weeks behind me in the process, but she has become a lifeline for me, and we e-mail every day or so to compare notes, offer encouragement, advice and general support.  It is fabulous.  I highly recommend attending local support groups, not just when you are having trouble and need support yourself, but when you are doing great, or good, or even mediocre.  Everyone needs the support of everyone else.  If you're having problems and go to a support group, and EVERYONE there is having problems, you won't feel like you're getting much support!!  So, go when things are going well, so that you can be an inspiration to someone else!  In encouraging/inspiring someone else, you'll encourage and inspire your own self at the same time.  Check out your local area (even if you didn't have your surgery locally) and see if there's a group.  Mine meets at the hospital where I work, and that's where I met my new friend. 

Speaking of work, I must get some done today.  It's a holiday for many, but hospitals never close, and patient care is 24/7!  Happy Memorial Day, everyone!!  Take a moment today to remember the fallen soldiers who gave their all. 


Hi, my name is Cathy, and I'm a fast-food junkie. Yes, I believe there actually is a 12-step program for weight loss called Overeater's Anonymous. I'm not poking fun at them, not in the least. I'm all about whatever works for a person to overcome whatever it is that has a hold on them. In my case, my demons are delicious fried chicken fingers, double-patty burgers, chili dogs and greasy onion rings, ooey-gooey pizza, cheesy crunchy things, scattered and smothered hashbrowns, and five-dollar foot-longs. mmm, mmm, good!

I've found myself struggling a bit since surgery. Not so much with the eating part, as there hasn't been much of an appetite. My struggle has been emotional. It's crazy, and it confuses me. I have taken a reasonable surgical risk, and committed the remainder of my life to a new way of eating. (See this post for background information.)

I've found myself "mourning" over the fact that I'll never be able to eat whatever and as much of whatever I want. Hopefully, I'll be one of the patients who can eat most anything I enjoyed before, only in much, much smaller portions. Still... I am surprised at how sad I feel, how deprived I feel. The strange thing is, I don't really WANT to gorge myself, and even if I had The Varsity's finest (or Chili's, or Outback, or Provino's, etc.) in front of me right at this minute, I wouldn't be able to eat it. Well, maybe a bite or lick or two.

So last night I'm driving through Winder. It was about 9:45 p.m. and I hadn't had dinner yet. Though not physically hungry, I found my mouth watering as I drove down restaurant row. At each of my favorite joints, I found myself imagining what I would order if I went to this drive through, or that drive through. By the time I made it past all the restaurants and fast-food spots, I had worked myself into somewhat of a dither. More precisely.. I was pissed. I was angry because I couldn't just pull up to the menu and tell the person on the other end what I wanted, and, oh, by the way, can you Supersize that??

As the lights of town began to fade and I made my way through the country, I had an epiphany. THE SURGERY IS WORKING!!!! If not for the surgery, my biggest dilemma would have been where to stop for dinner. Because, believe me, I would have stopped. Yes, I might have been in a bad mood for a few miles of my journey through town, but the end result is that I did NOT do the drive-through (or sit-down) version of dinner. I did not gorge myself with hundreds of fat grams and thousands of calories. That is HUGE for me. I was POd about it, because my old habits dictated that whenever I'm within a block of something good to eat, I'd better drive through (or go in) and get me some.

But, because I have this little band inside of me, even before my saline fills and before it is working optimally, I have a tool that helps me make better choices. Does that mean I'll never want my fast-food again? Doubt it. I'll probably always want it to some degree. Just like I imagine any sort of addict will always crave, to some degree, the substance that they formerly abused.

With the full moon shining through my windshield, driving through the country last night, I realized that this emotional battle may never be won. I may always struggle with an irrational sadness over giving up the very thing that was killing me. I know it sounds insane. I can't explain it. But I also realized for the first time in my overweight life, there is hope. I feel victorious! MY SURGERY IS WORKING!!! Woo hoo!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010


The week at mom and dad's was great, but it was time to come home and mentally prepare to go back to work.  When I got home Sunday afternoon, the house was empty.  I sat outside on the swing for quite some time and enjoyed the peace and quiet.  Then on Monday, I rode to Athens with Whitney, and we ran a few errands.  I was pretty wiped out by the time we got home, and before I knew it, it was Tuesday morning and time to go back to work.  Let me just say this:  If ever I have surgery again, I will take off two weeks instead of one.  It has been pretty rough.  I thought most of the CO2 had resorbed and "exited", but apparently there are still pockets of the nasty stuff in hidden nooks and crannies inside my body, and they have really tortured me while sitting at my desk. 

On a happy note, I learned on Tuesday that I could add my yummylicious chocolate protein drinks back into my repertoire of drinks.  Hallelujah!!!  I was worried about zero nutrition for two weeks, and must say I am feeling stronger after getting some protein down. 

On another happy note, my weight this morning was 199!!!  Woo Hoo!!  This brings my total loss to 33 lb.  I'm over 1/3 of the way to my goal!!!  I took measurements tonight, and with the exception of my waist (where there is still a good bit of swelling in my stomach, I have lost 1 to 1.5inches in every spot that I measured!  WOW!!! 

I'm thinking this is really going to be worth the couple of weeks' worth of discomfort that I've had.  I'm so excited to see what waits around the corner!!

I'm saying special prayers tonight for my new friend D, who had her preop appointment today.  Her surgery is scheduled for Tuesday.  She has been such an inspiration to me.  I hope things go well for her.   Stay tuned for more news as it happens!!!

It's All Over But The Cryin'

I got a phone call from the hospital letting me know that I didnt need to arrive until 7:30, as opposed to the original arrive time of 6:30.  That was a good thing!  I woke up on the day of surgery with a raging headache.  I've been plagued with morning headaches for years, but they have drastically improved since using the C-PAP.  I blamed this particular monster on being dehydrated, and the anxiety associated with the upcoming events of the day.  I was looking forward to the anesthesia, and hoping the headache would be gone when I woke up.  And to let you know what a good daughter I am, I even suggested that my parents pick up their beloved Bojangles biscuits on the way to the hospital.  I knew it would be a long day, and I knew my  mom wouldn't budge from the waiting room.  It didn't take too terribly long to get all hooked up to monitors and IVs, and before I knew it, I was whisked back to the preoperative holding area.  The "happy juice" wasn't having its usual effect on me, though I was slightly fuzzy.  I do remember having a political discussion regarding health care reform with Dr. Lingenfelser, my anesthesiologist, for 10-15 minutes while we waited for our turn in the OR.  No telling what I said.  I'm passionately opinionated on the subject.  I remember the anesthetist telling me to close my eyes and think about a big juicy hamburger.  I kind of thought that was a little cruel... haha... and I vaguely remember telling them that I should be thinking of protein drinks and popsicles instead of hamburgers.  Next thing I knew, I was awake with the dreaded CO2 bloating my stomach, and feeling some serious discomfort.  I believe I was in recovery for three or four hours.  When I knew it was time to start thinking about going home, I thought it might be a good idea to sit up for a few minutes before trying to stand.  Unfortunately, I didn't allow myself enough time, and as soon as I stood, I started gagging and heaving.  Can I just say... OUCH!!!  I went home with mom and dad for my recovery.  The first couple of days are pretty much a blur.  I had a couple more episodes of retching, and those were pretty scary.  Of course it hurt, but I was more worried about band slippage than anything.  Fortunately I only had two episodes, and no more.  I had great intentions of reading, blogging, and working on my book, but none of that happened.  I napped, watched television, and napped, and watched television.  It was heavenly!!  Mom and dad took such fabulous care of me and I really enjoyed my stay.  I came home on Mother's Day. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I've Come A Long Way, Baby!!

Well, much has happened since last I posted.  I must admit that I was not the model preop patient with my liquid diet.  Dr. Mejias requires a two-week liquid diet of protein drinks and clear liquids.  When I got my surgery date, it was 31 days out, so it seemed like "forever" and I immediately started working on my bucket list of places to eat.  I carefully planned for The Last Supper to be a David steak, baked potato and salad.  Yum Yum.  I had lost a few pounds along the way, and at my two-week date, I only had about 11 lbs left to lose.  Piece of cake, I thought... because I had already lost 9 lbs while still eating dinner and just having the protein drinks for breakfast and lunch.  I guess it's just further confirmation of my decision to take this step, and attain for myself a tool to help me meet my goal.  It was the proverbial "I'll start 100% tomorrow"... and the days whizzed by.  I'd go by Dr. Mejias' office every Friday to weigh on his scales.  My start weight was 232.  Ouch.  I needed to reach 212 for him to be willing to do the surgery.  The morning of my preop, April 29, my scales at home said 210.  I was ecstatic!!  Not so much when I stepped on his scales and they said 212.8!!!  Oh No!!!!  Fortunately, he didn't say anything about the .8 lbs, and questions were asked and answered, the consent form signed, and off to the hospital I went for my appointment there.  Another confession here.  I truly intended to have myself a nice lunch when my appointments were completed, but I had to return to work and it was 3:00 before I left the hospital.  So I didn't have time for my lunch special at Chili's.  I did eat some over the weekend, but tried to be careful.  The colon prep on Monday was brutal, but very successful.  I spent the night at Mom and Dad's on Monday night, so that we could leave out early Tuesday morning. 

The picture at the top is my "official" BEFORE photo, taken at my preop appointment at 212.8 lbs. 
To Be Continued....