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Friday, November 27, 2015

Band removal recommended for me

I visited the gastro surgeon.  He said my reflux and inflammation is being caused by the band.  He said the ultimate fix is to remove the band and have a gastric bypass.  Remove the band to eliminate reflux issues and gastric bypass to address weight issue.  He doesn't think insurance would cover it b/c my BMI is 29 and it would be hard won to convince the insurance company that someone of my weight would need gastric bypass but that he'd be wiling to try.  The gastric sleeve he said isn't a good option b/c it basically just would still have an acid issue b/c I'm just reducing the stomach size but not addressing the acid issue.  A gastric bypass reduces acid b/c it bypasses the bile duct.
I happened to have open enrollment at my job this past week and found out that they have a bariatric rider, my husband's insurance that I'm currently on does not.  So I signed up for insurance through my work, even though its more expensive than my husband's just to have the bariatric rider, just in case.
I don't want to have a gastric bypass.  I also don't want my band removed.  All you saw this coming, right?  I am surprised, even though I knew this was a possibility.  The thought of losing my band doesn't freak me out, it makes me unhappy.  I love having the band and to be totally honest I love having the appetite suppression I feel as a side effect from this hernia.  My acid issues are currently in check b/c I'm on prescription acid reducers.  It's strange to have to be faced with this when I actually feel the best I ever have since I got the band.

Keep in mind, y'all, that I don't have a lot of fluid in my band.  It's not even
The Dr said, it just happens sometimes and is (as we all know) a known complication from the band.
He want to perform him own endoscopy.  I'm having that done on Monday.

I'm not sure what I'll do or what decision I'll make.  I simply don't have all the fact or details yet.  I have to do something and that something is likely going to be having the band removed and no gastric bypass.

On a side note, Thanksgiving is done, it was nice to spend time with family (hubby's first Thanksgiving since his mother passed away last Jan).  We were busy preparing one Thanksgiving at our house for his family and then traveling to my mom's in the afternoon for Thanksgiving with my family.  We have great leftovers and I plan to spend the entire day in my PJs eating my sister's potato salad and some turkey and gravy!

Christmas is only 4 Fridays away.  Yikes.  We have a lot of work to do to get the house decorated and gifts bought and wrapped for the kids and everyone else.  This is our xmas card picture...

Hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend and get to do all the things YOU really want to.  I hope all of you out there take at least a few mins or a few hours or few days doing what you really want and find happiness in doing so!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I'm 162! Lowest ever in my adult life!

I'm writing an update, unsure who is really out there.  But I remember when I started this journey, I scoured message boards and eventually came to a certain group of bloggers (those I talk with here) and I wanted so desperately, the success that I saw in others.  I kind of stalled around 190, went up and down and figured my weight loss story was written.

Then, I get an endoscopy because of my concerns around my persistent long-term acid reflux.  One day after the endoscopy, I had a terrible pain and muscle cramp in my stomach.  That's when I'm personally certain that I developed my stomach hernia.  I know this because my eating changed immediately and has not been the same since.  I also lost, for the most part, my hunger pangs.  I've been wanting to write something specifically about this, because Amy W has written about this before and I really think she's right.  She asserted that the band isn't all about limited how much we can eat, but also about stimulating the vagus nerve and eliminating that "need" to eat all the time.  The constant thinking about and obsessing about what we're eating.  With this hernia, I just don't think about it.  It's not my central thought most of the time and it's much easier to plan how healthy I want to eat.  And I've been eating very clean and able to control my calories consistently.  I have almost eliminated dairy from my diet because I wanted to see what the hoopla was all about and my stomach feels less bloated, but I'm not convinced eliminating dairy is the reason why.  I also consciously choose my calories to be very clean and eat almost no processed foods.  I feel better.  I look better. And I weigh the least I've ever weighed that I can remember.  This hernia has been a real blessing and I am actually grateful for it.

It has made me realize that exercise, running half marathons, and all of that is not going to make me lose weight.  For me,  limiting my calories and consistently keeping my calorie intake low with higher calorie days thrown in every week to keep my body guessing has been key to my weight loss.  Exercise is absolutely necessary - to keep me from losing muscle and because it's simply the right thing to do and healthy for my body.  But for some reason, I thought the more I worked out the more weight I would lose.  I realize now that limiting my calories was primary to my weight loss.  I didn't always eat healthy, sometimes I was weak and ate Chef Boyarde Ravioli, but I still kept my calories low in the 1200-1400 range regardless of what I ate.  I made sure I got in 60-100 grams of protein and I also found that because my hernia seems to relax sometimes, I was able to eat MORE than my consistently low calories usually once a week.  On the days I ate a more calories after a couple of weeks of consistently low calories, I dropped pounds.  Keeping my body guessing on how many calories it was going to get seemed to really make a difference.  I track my weight and my food intake religiously and it allowed me to realize my natural pattern for losing weight and when my body holds on to weight, as long as I stay consistent, it's a sign that my body is about to let go of a few pounds.  Instead of being discouraged and giving up and blowing it b/c my weight ticked up a little,  looking at my weight loss chart made me realize that bump in weight is actually the precursor to my dropping a pound or two.

As for exercise, it is just plain healthy and keeps me toned. And I don't do it as often as I  think I should and want to.  Instead of exercising always at such a high intensity (so that I would burn enough calories) I've found  I don't have to work myself to death daily to lose weight.  I exercise so I can be strong and not because I think running will burn the most calories.  It has changed my outlook on exercise, removed the pressure, and I actually do the things I like to do and I don't kill myself with crazy intensity and then give up over time b/c I can't keep up the schedule when life happens.    I take it easy on myself and walk, bike, do yoga, and I do the activities I enjoy, not the ones that I think will burn the most calories in the least amount of time.  It's a completely different approach for me.  For some reason, I thought exercise and limited calories had to be equal in focus.

Then this hernia takes away my appetite and limits my calories basically for me.  And I've lost 30 lbs!  My gastroenterologist watches me closely and agrees that I can continue to wait to have surgery as I'm still able to lose weight and I'm losing it very slowly.  It's taken me 8 months to lose 30lbs but wow is it awesome to feel successful finally.  And I enjoy wearing clothes. I enjoy how I look in clothes for the first tim.  I feel healthier because I am.

I need to post some pictures of myself.  It's surreal to try clothes on from last winter and last summer that literally fall off me.  All of my tops are droopy.  I never conceived that my tops could be too big. I love trying on clothes and the sales person the other day said "you're picking too large a size"  NO ONE EVER has told me that.  I smile and pretend being smaller is normal for me because I've always wanted to  know what that felt like.  It feels really great and totally worth it.  For those of you struggling to get there, don't give up.  It may take you a long time like me, but I'm here and it's pretty awesome!!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

I'm actually 174? Me??

Scale said 174.8 this morning.  Really?  My scale?  MINE???  How can this be?  I have not seen the scale say anything in the 170's since I can even remember.  I seriously don't ever remember weighing in the 170's b/c I've always weighed in the upper 190's and eventually the mid 200's.  I can't even believe the scale says this.

This hiatal hernia is causing my stomach to be smaller and I'm eating a lot less.  I don't eat much for a few days, then I'm able to eat a lot for a few days, and I do.  I think the constant change of eating and not eating is helping my body to keep guessing.  It's not sure if it's going to get a lot of calories or a little - I'm starving it and feeding it on different days not because I want to, but because my stomach dictates it.  And it's making me lose weight.  I work with a serious body builder, and he actually does a similar diet when he is training for a competition and is trying to lose weight.   Maybe this is why it's working?  And the weight is dropping slowly - I've lost 20lbs since March, that's 5 lbs a month.

I have had monthly endoscopies, my stomach hernia doesn't require immanent surgery and she said as long as it continues to look good and I'm healthy and losing at a healthy pace, I can wait and see what happens and not jump right into surgery to correct it.

I did go to my chiropractor and asked him to pull it out if he could.  My friend had a hiatal hernia and her chiro pulled hers out and she's never had a problem since.  So I decided to give it a try.  I asked him, he said it was possible and he proceeded to push his fingertips into my abdomen just below my ribcage and made a quick move downward.  It felt like you think it would, kind of nauseating.  I got up, no real difference and then bam!  I felt a strong sliding sensation like my intestines moved, only it was below my ribcage and it was definitely my stomach!   I went home and proceeded to be able to eat much more volume than I had previously and that continued for at least 2 weeks.  Then I slowly began to feel stomach pains and got hiccups a lot, and my stomach slowly returned back to how it was before.  I had an endoscopy done and she said the herniated stomach had gone back up through my diaphragm.  She subsequently lectured me not to do that again, but I'm glad I tried.   I won't be doing it again, my weight loss is continuing now slowly but surely.

I am wearing all the clothes in my closet that are the smallest sizes I have.  I am still a 14 but actually zipped up an uncomfortable size 12.  My life goal, as you can see on my sidebar, is 165.  I'm 10 lbs away from that!!!

I know many of you have gotten to your goals much sooner than I have.  Somehow, for me, moving from 195 to 175 has made a considerable change in my body and clothing size.  When I weighed over 200,  20lbs before changed a size, but now just 10lbs down changes a clothing size for me.  That's pretty exciting and motivating!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Breaking into a new weight range! Yeeehaw!

I can't really believe it and I didn't even post about it because I figured I was dehydrated and wasn't going to stay there but I actually hit 177.7 two days ago.  I can't flipping believe it.  I really can't.  I haven't weighed in the 170's since in about 20 years.  That's crazy.  Tonight I hopped on the scale ( we all know the only time to weigh ourselves is after we pee and with little to no clothing on first thing the morning) but I weighed 179 at 9:30 at night which means, I'm in the 170's for real!

I've been trying all kinds of summer clothes on from last year and I'm just shocked at how loose they are and some are so baggy that I don't look good in them.  I keep trying clothes on because I really can't believe shorts and tops that were tight last year are too big this Summer.  How awesome is that? I have an entire new wardrobe of all the clothes that were a little too snug last year and they fit really well.  It feels amazing to feel like I look 'acceptable' to my own standards in my clothes.  That's a very foreign feeling to me.  I keep squashing the negative thoughts that this is only temporary and that I"m going to gain it all back once my hiatal hernia is fixed.

The crazy part is my reflux is essentially gone.  I still cannot eat much at a time but it's exactly like restriction was in the beginning.  No acid issues at night and no waking up.  I'm also not hungry hardly at all and I'm able to fresh raw fruits and vegetables, something I could not do at all before.   I just don't eat a lot of it.  It's actually quite perfect and I'm still losing weight.

My surgery consultation is Monday.  It's kind of hard to consider surgery when things are going so well right now.  I am taking the surgery seriously, it's just ironic that things are going so well and I"m going to have hiatal hernia surgery which I know will change it.  It's the right thing to do, but it's just hard to give up on this all new weight loss I've never experienced before.  I've lost 60 lbs total from my highest weight.  Unbelievable.  And while my eating is minimal and I have days (if I'm close to getting my period) where my stomach really doesn't want to accept much.  But on most days, I'm really good and able to eat whatever.  My calories are too low, but gosh, it's working.  I am eating about 800 calories (always >=60g of protein) for about 2 days and then on the third day (on average) whether it's because of my hormones or something else that I don't understand, I'm able to eat almost anything I want.  And I eat about 2500 calories.  I honestly think the very low calories for 2 days followed by a 3rd day of high calories is keeping the weight loss going.  I'm keeping my body and perhaps my metabolism guessing and since my body is only in what I call starvation mode for 2 days, maybe that's why my metabolism isn't completely shot ?  Otherwise, I'd stall in my weight loss, right?  Gosh, I don't know but it sure is working for me!

I'm walking at work daily and since it's warmer, Stand up Paddle boarding is next. I bought myself one for my birthday last year and I just love it.  So I'm also doing well with getting enough sleep and exercising!  All good momentum.

My heart of hearts want to get to 165, that's 15 lbs from where I am now.  Why does that seem impossible?  It's 15 lbs.  for goodness sake.  I have to get that negative voice out of my head telling me this loss is only temporary, just like all the previous weight loss attempts I've made.  I have to believe I'm not going to gain this weight back and find myself back at 195 which is where I was in January.  I am enjoying my clothes so much I really don't want to go back there.  I CAN DO THIS!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Fun Weekend! Weight steady and stomach getting better!

What beautiful weather we had on the East coast this weekend!  We spent the weekend fishing, crabbing, making tie dye shirts, and running around in a patriotic decorated golf cart!  We went on our annual camping trip and really had a lot of fun.  Not having my buddy Lola there this year was tough.  But we had a lot of laughs about our last trip there together.  She passed away from brain cancer last July and this is the first year there without her.  It wasn't the same but we made new fun memories in her honor as she would not allow us to have it any other way!

My stomach issues have gotten much, much better even though I've done nothing except take the Prilosec 40mg that I've been given.  My stomach is no longer "shut down" as I call it and I'm able to eat fibrous vegetables like broccoli, carrots, lettuce, etc.  I've not had issues overnight and I'm able to eat first thing in the morning.  That wasn't possible before.  I'm actually hungry and have cravings again, so it's feeling better and better each day.  I'm not sure I want to go through with the surgery and it is optional.  I have an appt in another week to discuss it and I'll make a decision later.

I also got the postcard in the  mail telling me the stomach polyp was benign.  So THAT was awesome news!! I must admit, there was a little something in the back of my brain a little worried about that.  I think it's because there has been a lot of deaths recently and so I realize how something like cancer could so easily happen to me.  My best friend passed away in July from brain cancer, my husband's mom passed away in January from lung cancer complications, and I just learned my son's friend at school - their father passed away Friday from a heart attack.  He was my age.  It really makes me appreciate today, the beautiful weather and the fact that all the relationships in my life right now are good.  Unfortunately, my MIL was difficult to deal with as she was a bit self centered and often dramatic about things.  We all have people like that in our lives, and while she wasn't always that way, but she was often enough that it made my life harder than it needed to be and there always seemed to be conflict even when I didn't understand it.    So not having any conflict in my life is really wonderful.  Having had conflict with her most of all my married life, I truly appreciate NOT having that in my life.  While I'm not looking to discuss the state of my previous relationship with my MIL, my point is that we all know life is short, YOLO, blah blah, whatever.  But what do we really do about it?  We need to do WHAT MAKES us HAPPY!  It's that simple.

Getting banded was the first thing I'd ever really done for myself.  And it made me happy to take care of myself.  It was taking time and money to take care of me.  I put myself first and I'm healthier for it.    I'm happy when I do take the time to do what makes me happy.  I plan to keep focusing on that and taking the time to ensure I'm doing stupid stuff that I like to do - not BUYING the things I want to buy.  There is a big difference in the satisfaction shelf life.  Buying something is fun at first, and I certainly enjoy buying what I want, but DOING the things that make me happy lasts much longer and I recall it and think about it more than a new outfit, expensive make up, or the latest whatever.  The issue of death is just coming up in my life for whatever reason and it's making me appreciate and recognize when things are good.

Hey, wait.....Is that what middle age is?!? Eeek!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Diagnosis: Hiatal hernia

Had another endoscopy yesterday.  I learned that I have a hiatal hernia and a polyp that needs to be surgically repaired.  UGH!

I did the research and the procedure looks like it's not so much fun.  I'm very concerned about the recovery process.  Surgery means 2 days in the hospital and you have to be on a liquid diet for about a week and slowly introduce solid foods back into your diet over the following 6 weeks or so.

I'm going to go get a second opinion from a lap band doctor just to make myself feel better.  I'll learn more details in the next few weeks after I go back to the doctor to learn more.

Good news is my weight is hanging around 182 which is great.  I've been picking up the pace on walking more and was considering joining Pure Barre, but now that I have this possible surgery and long recovery, I'm not sure I want to spend so much money on that.  I'm picking up and doing more yoga classes and meditating more.

The weather has been awesome lately and I hope all of you are out there enjoying it!  Hope you moms out there off all kinds (human and animal) have a great Mother's Day!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Gastro follow up today and some interesting new info

I had my first follow up appt since my endoscopy last month.  As you may recall, I had a lot of issues after like stomach muscle cramps, and a total stomach shut down for days at a time.  My stomach did not want to accept anything and I was rudely awakened to throwing up water out of a deep sleep multiple times per night.  In the last week, I have suddenly gotten better.  A lot more restriction than previous the endoscopy, but I imagined that was likely due to the inflammation after the procedure.  Well, it's still very consistent restriction and as a result, I've lost 7 lbs.  I'm down again to 183.5 but today I able to eat after 7pm which hasn't been the norm for me since the endoscopy.
So wow, that was a longer paragraph than planned.  Anyway, on to the interesting new info.  Well, the gastro doc again said she was surprised I was able to wait that long to seek treatment because the esophogitis was severe.  And because the inflammation was severe, she used a balloon and expanded the band opening between the pouch and my stomach.  I was like, whaaaa?  I blurted out - how and why?  She said she had a balloon, expanded it and stretched the band because she thought the food was getting stuck in the pouch too long and that's what was causing the reflux?  I looked confused how that would work and she said, she has to be careful because too much expansion of the balloon and the band could break!
Before I expand on the latter part of that last statement, let me first say how dumbfounded I am that she made that decision without my consent.  Did she say that at some point and I missed it?  She does have a heavy accent, so I thought, maybe?  Then I thought, how in the heck could a balloon expansion stretch the band if the band is filled with fluid?  Won't it, by design, simply bounce back like a water bed?  And if the pressure on the band expansion is so strong that it would actually stretch that hard plastic band on the outside, how is that a good thing?  Wouldn't that cause a major pinch of my stomach tissue?  Know WONDER my stomach was so irritated and "shut down" as I refer to it.  GEEZ!  Am I crazy here and just don't see any upside to this revelation?
The only positive I can think of is maybe she's right.  She is a professional after all and studies stomachs for a living.  Maybe that was causing my problem and maybe this new "adjustment" is a good thing.  While my restriction is still greater than before the endoscopy, my concern is that I will lose that and once my stomach heals from the reflux, will my band then be super lax and ineffective? I can't change the fact that my band was stretched, I just have to see what happens and proceed accordingly.  I'm not going to worry about something before it happens, but I am going to ask the doctor in May at my next endoscopy not to expand the band again and if it's protocol to expand the band as well as ask about restriction concerns in the future.  I'm not going to be a jerk, but I'm going to find out and seek to understand what is stirring in me now as some pissed offedness at her assuming I wanted that done.
Ok, hope all of you are having a great week.  I'm having a hard time eating the foods I should because fibrous vegetables take so long for me to eat.  I'm having a hard time avoiding peanut butter and Nutella,  and I still have not started working out.  I am thankful that I have lost some pounds and am at this weight.  I need to take advantage and work out just for my heart, lungs, and mood - not to build muscle or meet a goal.  I need to do it just because it's HEALTHY to do so!  I'm getting there, to being more healthy, because my stomach is healing, I'm feeling better, sleeping better and now my next step is working out.  I did take a 30 min walk at work today, so at least I got UP from my desk today!!  Pure Barre by my work is offering $100 unlimited month.  My sister has had such amazing success with them, I had considered joining them since I really liked the class I attended with her once.  I think I'm going to do it and make myself go at lunch each day!  Stay tuned!
So my girl is after my own heart, she wrote this: "If you give a kid a book, he'll want to read it.  Before he'll read it, he'll get something to eat"  Yes!!!!
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