Beginning the Journey – “ReLoss”


It’s been a busy month since my return to sane medical care – had 2 blood tests, a mammogram, am scheduling a routine colonoscopy and a not routine stress echocardiogram.  … Started intake a few weeks ago at the medically supervised weight loss clinic my PCP referred me to – The Hernried Center here in Sacramento.  A full hour appointment.  Minimal physical, EKG (in which there was some small abnormality) and orders set forth for more blood lab work.   A 600-800 calorie a day (low carb/high protein) regime – definitely needing supervision.

The next day I gave 9 vials of blood which resulted in close to 50 lab results.  Normal actually. Got the lab results about a week ago – and found that some things I thought would be issues were fine, and some things need attention –

Chloride 110 High
Parathyroid (PTH) 94 High
Calcium 8 Low
Ferritin 7 Low
Vitamin D3 25-Hydroxy 8 Low

Started taking chewable calcium citrate and vitamin D3, along with my sublingual B12 (which was ok) again.  Add a multivitimin, ferrous sulfate iron, and slo-mag (magnesium) and fiber supplement daily and there’s breakfast (ha!).  This is not in any way sponsored, but my personal favorite source of bariatric friendly supplements is Bariatric Advantage. Reasonable, free shipping and they taste good.

The first week – the end of week one, I lost 2.6 pounds.  That was after a weekend of 2 days of travel, a trade show, networking mixer and visiting clients.  I was happy!

By the end of week 2, I lost 3 more pounds – probably would have liked to lose more – but as long as I’m losing every week, I’ll take it.  And gave them 2 more vials of blood. Labs – every 6 weeks to check vital levels.

Tomorrow is the end of my 3rd week – it’s been a struggle only from the point of missing my wine.  That’s my battle – nothing to do with the program! Let’s hope for 2 pounds.

And all the while, life goes on – my daughter was taken off her seizure meds because her neurologist feels that they have been causing her lack of sleeping (1-2 hours a night at best), and now she has started having small seizures again.  In June she goes inpatient for 5 – 6 days to be hooked up to about a hundred electrodes on her head to see if it can be determined if her seizures are localized in one part of her brain or not.  If so, she may be a candidate for surgery to help alleviate the seizures.  It’s a bittersweet opportunity.  She’s been on disability now since December – and there’s no end in sight.

My son now earns too much (marginally) for MediCal so has lost his free medical and can’t afford medical insurance.  I will likely end up subsidizing him for this because he cannot be without his bipolar meds and access to psychiatric med management. The last 2 weeks for him have been a manic week and a half (thank goodness it resulted only in him getting some business done in spite of not sleeping), then a 36-hour crash of sleeping non-stop, and general depression.  That’s bipolar life, even medicated.

One day at a time, my friends, that’s all you an do.  That’s the best we can take it most of the time.

Namaste – I honor you – with your crazy busy days ….  one day at a time.

Itty Bitty

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never Say Never Again


I haven’t posted in a while – mostly because IF I GET TIRED OF LISTENING TO MY DRAMA I’m sure others do too.  It’s exhausting.

Yes, I still deal daily with my adult children’s chronic mental and physical health issues – yes, I’m still dealing with my divorce… and the resulting anxiety and minor depressions.  And once again it has become crystal clear that, as much as I hoot and hollar to other women that we must always take care of ourselves first if we are to take care of others, I have been ignoring my own health.  Or, at least, not paying attention to it.   No. Ignoring it.

I went to the doctor this week for the first time in about 2 years.  After seven years and multiple health insurance changes, I was finally able to get back in to see the coolest doctor I’ve ever had.  I had to wait almost an hour past my appointment time, which normally would have driven me up the wall, but then she spent forty-five minutes with me.  Well beyond the expected ten minutes in and out crap that most doctors manage.  She listens.   She responds.  She’s intuitive.  She picked up right away on my anxiety and low grade depression issues.  She recognized my self-medicating with wine (better than Zanex, I argued) and suggested we try something that might be more helpful and less harmful.   She acknowledged my concern about regain after my gastric bypass surgery 10 years ago and the psychology around it – the stressors in my life and how they  are impacting my health.  Within that 45 minutes, she started the following processes:

  • Ordered immediate blood work to check hemoglobin for diabetes indicators, and thyroid functioning (done that day)
  • Referral for mammogram (done yesterday) and colonoscopy (scheduled for May)
  • Referral to a local bariatric center that, besides doing surgeries, offers post-op medical/lab support, support groups,  psychological counseling and regain weight loss programs designed for post-op patients.  (intake appointment next Thursday)
  • Rx for a low dose of prozac to calm me down and help me cope with my day-to-day shit. (started Wednesday)
  • A follow-up appointment in a month to check on me and see how I am doing

I walked out of her office feeling better and stronger already simply because I finally felt like I have someone in my corner – rooting for me – not just telling me to lose weight and get therapy.

That’s a long way around to NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN.   In 2008, I weighed 147 pounds – 3 years post op and 10 lbs up from my happy weight of 135-ish.  In 2009, it was 151.  Not bad, four  pounds.  This week I weighed in at 187.

I was one of those post-ops who swore NEVER AGAIN.  I’m never going back “there” again. The reality is that without vigilance, without continuing to always work on our HEAD BATTLES along with our FOOD BATTLES, we can easily regain the weight we so painstakingly lost. We can … and we do.

But our tool is always there – our pouchies for us RNY gastric bypass post-ops.  I’m back at that sick and tired of being sick and tired point.  I’m not beating myself up nor am I full of self-loathing for having regained.  I am concerned that the very issues I sought to avoid in 2005 are again realistic concerns … a very strong family history of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.  I’ve been lucky so far, but I fear the possibilities.

So next Thursday I begin a medically supervised fasting weight loss program designed and administered by a medical group that specializes in weight loss surgery and support.  I am grateful that my health insurance covers it. I will take advantage of this as long as i have this insurance (pending my divorce becoming final) or can afford a subsequent medicare supplement that also covers this service.

I’m putting myself out there for the benefit of others on this journey.   It’s real, this path we take.   Never the easy way out, always requiring care and vigilance.  But don’t ever give up.

Namaste …..

I honor your journey –

IttyBitty

 

 

 

Head Battles – WLS Journey – 10 years and 6 months later


 

Yeah, it’s been a while, but as I recently read on one of my favorite blogs, life happens.  And life has been happening.

It’s a never ending – obesity and head battles.

2005 - 225 lbs
2005 – 225 lbs
March 2006 - 135 lbs
March 2006 – 135 lbs

And I am now half way in between the two weights.

I often contemplate how I got my head into that  place of commitment and action – that place that allowed me the strength to make the decision to have weight loss surgery.  I would like to get back there – I know that place is still inside me, somewhere in my brain.

And I remind myself daily that this tool I have was not brain surgery – it was stomach surgery.  Funny how I still know all the right answers.  And I also know all the triggers to the emotional eating that is occurring at this time in my life –

  • 2 adult children with bi-polar/anxiety disorders and other chronic health issues
  • going through a divorce (however currently amicable) due to husband’s inability to cope with the issues my kids have. We have been married just 4 years, so he has no emotional  investment in them and their issues (understandably).  He also has no desire to understand mental illness.  He is an acknowledged alcoholic.

I thank my higher powers that I currently have a good job.   I am self-supporting, which allows me to provide a home environment for the time being for my son.   That being said, it is a bit of an unanticpated burden and I live pay check to pay check  Son and I are hopefully working through this and building some parameters and expectations on both our parts.

The “UN” mindfulness part?

  • Too much comfort food and too much wine.  My self-medicating.  I’ve tried therapy for stress and anxiety – anxiety meds and anti-depressants are not my cup of tea.  I still have unused Zanex from 2 years ago.
  • No exercise
  • Insomnia – and yes I know, lack of exercise and alcohol are major contributors.

The plan? I refuse to call it a “resolution” because I don’t want to set myself up for failure.

  • Returning to food choices that I know are appropriate and supportive of a WLS lifestyle
  • Reducing at least if I don’t eliminate the alcohol
  • Exercising if only walking and stretching to start to get back into the routine
  • Finding and participating in support programs for caregivers for family with mental illness and an al-anon type of group.
  • Allowing myself to grieve the loss of what I thought would be my life partner and cheerleader – not that I ever expected him to fix my problems, but there was a hope of him standing beside me.
  • Reminding myself to set personal boundries for self preservation
  • Engaging in my relationships with my women friends – rather than sharing and relying on them, I tend to do the opposite and isolate – I get tired of hearing about my problems, how can I expect them to?  Yet I know I would be there for any of them in a heartbeat

It’s mostly remembering to take care of myself ahead of everyone else.  I am the first one to tell people to “take care of you so you can take care of those who need you”.

I’m looking in the mirror – saying those words.

Do you need to say those words to you?

Namaste – I honor you and your head battles.

Itty Bitty

Non-Scale Victories and Surviving to Thriving


How ever one chooses to do it, losing weight (and maintaining it) is a challenging process.  It requires constant effort – staying on task – being consistent – knowing there will be those periods of time when, try as we might, we don’t drop pounds.

It is during those times, or even when we ARE dropping pounds consistently (steadily, slowly or quickly, no matter), the even more empowering changes in our lives are those amazing NSV’sNON-SCALE VICTORIES.   They make the journey worth the struggle more than that darned scale!

I received an email yesterday from a YouTuber that I follow who does a little series she calls ProofWLSWorks where she answers questions about weight loss surgery.  Rosemary Almgren is an amazing, inspiring woman who shares her journey candidly and honestly.

Here is a link to her YouTube:

Take a listen – it’s a 10-minute (or so) break that is WELL worth the time and inspiration!

When you have a little more time, watch and listen to Rosemary and her twin Connie’s journeys to weight loss surgery – bring along a box of tissue …

Rosemary & Connie – Surviving To Thriving

Namaste – I honor you and YOUR non-scale victories and your journey!

Itty  Bitty

Bite It ~ Write It!


Haha! Photos didn’t happen.  BUT!  One of the critical aspects of accountability is to make sure that we are journaling our food.  And there are so many awesome on-line tracking sites – I love FITDAY.COM myself – there’s a free version that is really user-friendly for tracking food, weight, goals, activity, moods, etc.   It keeps us MINDFUL of what is going in our mouths ….. hence today’s blog title … BITE IT ~ WRITE IT!!!

Sunday I did manage to keep my calories to about 900, even with a surprise going out to breakfast!

1 scrambled egg on a small slice of ham with cheddar cheese, 1/2 an English muffin and 1/2 cup of fresh diced fruit – yum!

Lunch was left-over turkey breast, a quarter of a baked potato and half a small-medium apple

Dinner was a 1 & 1/4 cup left over chicken noodle soup (minimal noodles cos we didn’t put many in a big pot), 1/2 a cup of edamame (love these!!!) – and (oh no!) 4 oz of dry red wine.

Monday I have to admit, though I kept it to a 1000 calories, was a challenge as I was out the door at 7:30 to my psych appointment (8 am till 10:30 am), then 45 minutes waiting for a flu shot, followed by half an hour in the pharmacy picking up meds.  Stopped for lunch, then was home for about 2 hours working before I left at 3:45 to go to a WLS support meeting from 4:30 – 6 pm, finally getting home for the day at 6:30.

Hubby beat me home by about 20 minutes so our plan to do a pot roast went out the window and he got pizza.

Ah, honey, I love ya, but … pizza? Really? 

I did LIMIT  it to ONE slice!  Breakfast was Trader Joes Greek yogurt with some fresh blueberries and half a thin bagel at 6:30 am – I ended up around 10:30 grabbing an egg/tomato/cheese/basil bagel  sandwich and skipped the bagel.  Lunch was 3/4 cup of beef stroganoff sans noodles. And the perpetual bottle of water.

It was an emotionally draining day – with starting therapy yesterday morning. You know how it is to have one of those “crying headaches”.  And the day demanded a few breaks to sit back and regroup

We can still remember to be mindful when we eat – in spite of chaos around us.  A perfect example of last night’s support meeting message …..

Aside from the scale, what are your MEASURES OF SUCCESS?

Namaste – I honor YOUR success!

Itty Bitty

Accountability – Yeah, it’s important.


So, as a number of my WLS peeps do, and maybe for me more than anyone, I will hold myself accountable for what I eat and how I am living my life towards better health and this danged regain!

So – yesterday I managed to photo-journal my breakfast and dinner:

Breakfast
Breakfast – 277 Calories
21 Grams Protein

4 Jenny Lind Turkey Breakfast Sausages, 1/2 of a Trader Joes non fat English muffin with a teaspoon of peanut butter, and 4 apple slices (I got 3 of them down ….) – the coffee waited and was reheated about half an hour later.  NO LIQUIDS WITH MEALS!

Dinner - 332 calories, 26 grams protein
Dinner – 332 calories, 26 grams protein

3 oz roast turkey breast, 1/2 of a small white roasted potato and 6 small steamed asparagus spears

Lunch was out – Mongolian BBQ and a parental summit with my daughter and her ex about my grandson who is trying really hard to screw up his last semester as a Senior in high school.

Best I can guestimate, 304 calories, 30 grams of protein – onions, cabbage, mushrooms, bean sprouts and about 2 oz of chicken – minimal liquids to bbq it .. and 1/4 cup fried rice.

Total for the day – 900 calories, 83 gram protein.

And sample menu possibilities for whomever is interested!

Wishing you a healthy eating day, no head hunger, and winning your head battles!

Itty Bitty

 

 

 

 

Weight Loss Surgery Post Op Stuff


I don’t know how time passes so quickly. Again, almost every day my intention is to post an entry. And then the day is gone. There is much going on in my life – things I want to share because I need to – some of those things I am equally hesitant to share, blogs being rather public forums and all. The two things most prominent in my mind are vastly different, so I will do two entries today then follow up as each progresses in the future.

Exciting news (for me anyway) is that Hubby and I did, indeed, transition to Kaiser Permanente health insurance on January 1. I have had Kaiser insurance on and off since 1969, before which I was a military dependent. I have always had positive experiences so was excited to be able to go back. I am not typically one to run to the doctor, but there are just now so many things I need to “catch up” on that I have had a string of appointments of varying nature over the last three weeks.

The first thing accomplished was engaging with the bariatric department locally and getting into face to face support meetings for weight loss surgery peeps. There is a meeting every week – one alternating in the early afternoon, and alternating in the later afternoon. I’ve already been to one – and am signed up for another on Monday late afternoon.

Through this department I also signed up for an annual follow up “group” appointment and had the suggested nutritional blood analysis lab work done. 10 vials of blood and 14 tests later, I am doing ok – within the normal ranges, except for ferritin, Vitamin D and Vitamin B1. Considering I have been really bad about not taking my vitamin supplements for the most part for the last four or five years, I was surprised. Then again, I surmise my eating (leading to 30 pounds regain) was enough to keep those levels up.

I also had my PCP do a fasting glucose (as there is a family history of diabetes that I have so far avoided) and cholesterol panel. Both of these are within normal range as well!

Yesterday was the “group appointment” – to update on best practices with respect to supplements and nutrition. I was originally scheduled for a morning appointment, which got changed late last week to an afternoon appointment. As it turns out, the morning group was overbooked, and there ended up only being three of us in the afternoon, one of which had to leave early to go back to work.

This was not a bad thing at all, as the other lady and I ended up having, for all intents and purposes, a one-on-one meeting with the Dr. that runs the program, and the nutritionist!

The two-hour appointment reviewed what we should be doing as post-ops (modified a bit on the spot as we were both 7+ years out), what nutritional supplements are currently the recommended best practice – and (because we both have about 30 pounds to lose) sample 1200 calorie meal plans. We were told we could safely (with our supplements) modify this down to 800-1000 calories a day to assist in losing our regain and getting our eating patterns back on track for our WLS procedure.

The bariatric Dr. also wants me to redo my blood work in 3 months (after taking my vitamin supps and modifying calorie intake) to make sure I am still doing ok and the low levels are where they should be. No worries!

I feel more confident now about being successful in correcting this regain knowing that support is readily available – either in face to face support groups (weekly if necessary) – or just an email away with the Dr. and the nutritionist if I have concerns or questions.

The important thing is to never give up the fight.

Namaste – I honor you and your journey …

Itty Bitty