Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Christmas miracle (sort of)

Well, it's snowing finally...2 days after Christmas. Although, I'm not complaining. No snow on Christmas means easy traveling for me! My holiday was filled will good food (mmm king crab legs), good wine, and amazing company. I got to see one of my best friends ever (Hi, Ashley!!!), my dad and stepmom, my in-laws and sibling-in-laws, grandparent in-laws, my sister and my mommy! Needless to say, I was very busy this past weekend! It was hectic and relaxing and wonderful all at once.

On the lap-band front, I've done pretty good lately. I'm still rocking MyFitnessPal and loving it! I definitely believe it has helped me achieve my goals and stay on track. I lowered my calories to 1200 a week or 2 ago and have been doing a good job at keeping at or under my goal. I went over one day this weekend but it was worth it! One day of being over in calories is better than a lifetime of it :)

On Christmas eve, I'm pretty sure I ate about 9 ounces of king crab legs! (I'm only supposed to be able to eat 6-8 oz of food per meal.) I was full, to say the least, but I didn't go over my calories and it was so worth it!

Yesterday, I FINALLY got new workout shoes!!! Yay! I'll keep you updated on the workout progress. So far, it's not gone farther than walking at work, but I'm still losing! In fact, as of today, I have lost 50 lbs since my surgery 7 months ago! I can't tell you how stoked I am! I feel like these last few pounds have taken FOREVER to come off. Which they have, but my pooping schedule is improving and I think that has helped greatly! I'm hoping that getting to this milestone will motivate me and my body to lose the next 50 lbs a little bit faster (preferably by my one year bandiversary)! Until then, I'm getting a pedicure to celebrate my loss! (Assuming I can afford it.)

Well, my lunch break is over so this update is too! And sorry, (Alex,) for any mistakes! I did this on my iPhone! Also, I will be posting pics sometime this week too!

Until then! <3

Monday, December 5, 2011

Holidays ahoy!

Well, it's happening. Whether you want it to, or not. The holidays (and it's awesome weather) are upon us. I meant to update after thanksgiving, but well, I'm a busy bee! My turkey day was pretty sweet! The husband and I made a trip up to Ft. Wayne to visit my mom's side of the family. I'm fairly certain this is the first time Chris has had Amy holidays off, so it was a real treat! I ate about a tablespoon of everything I wanted and about 4 oz of turkey (and a few crackers and beef and onion cheeseball because I have a cheese problem). I had my low-fat pumpkin cake for dessert and was not stuffed or starving when I left! I also did not feel like I was missing out! I was actually satisfied! *high five for me!* 

A few days after thanksgiving, I weighed myself. I actually LOST 4 pounds!!! (I'm sure some of that was poop, but the number is still awesome! I am finally losing at a steady pace and I really think a lot of that has to do with MyFitnessPal! It's pretty awesome and now I have some friends on there! I've lost a bit more since then and I am officially 3.5 lbs away from losng 50 lbs! I. Am. Stoked! I think once I get my poo situation under control things will go much smoother. (no pun intended) 

In other news, I think FINALLY, after 5 years of being out of retail I am finally starting to enjoy Christmas again! Its a strange feeling being in the "Christmas spirit" again. Even though I'm not a kid anymore and I don't have kids of my own, I'm still finding myself excited at the thought of the holidays. We put up a little tree we got last year and I found some awesome stockings my step grandma made us a bit ago. I never realized how special the things she always made us were until she passed. Funny how life works that way. I am very greatful for all the things she's made for me now...even if I wasn't as excited about them when I was younger. They mean a lot to me now. Thanks grandma Dowling! <3

Oddly enough, I'm also looking forward to Christmas parties this year! Last year, I was basically at my heaviest and felt like a huge fatty at every party I went to. This year, I found a cute dress in my closet to wear to Chris's LAST military Christmas party and I even bought HEELS to wear with it (ok, they're kitten heels, but that still counts! Right?) This party will be bittersweet for myself and my husband. I will post pics of my outfit when I vet a chance! (Hopefully it will be one of those gross, cute couple pictures when Chris and I both look nice!) 

Well, I must be off! My lunch break update has come to an end! I will be sure to keep everyone updated on my progress as the holidays continue and as soon as I hit my 50 lb loss I will post pics! Until then!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sweet Spot?

Hello faithful readers! 

Well, it's that time again! I went in for my last checkup (before losing my good insurance) last Thursday. Firstly, I should point out that at the last minute before I signed up for my insurance at work, they upgraded it and this newer, 'better' insurance covers bariatric surgery and therefore will cover my lap band fills! OMGYAY! I was thrilled when I found out, to say the least! What a huge relief and weight off my shoulders!

On to my appointment! My mom took me to my appointment this time and we got there just in time! I talked to the nutritionist about how my portion sizes are pretty good right now and if I ever get stuck or PB its ALWAYS my fault for not paying attention to my bite sizes and my chewing. I'm getting better at it, but sometimes my brain and my stomach don't listen to me and get over-excited about eating... I also told her that I have been kicking butt on drinking my water! I was tired of feeling run-down and getting headaches all the time and I decided it was because I wasn't drinking my water, so I made goals. I decided to attempt to drink 1 bottle of water every 2 hours at work and that would be roughly 66 oz of water a day. Sounds easy enough right? Well I've been doing pretty good at it so far! I always get at least 2-4 bottles of water a day. I know, 2 is still low, but its more than the 1 or 1/2 of a bottle I was drinking before! Usually I get 3 unless I work overtime then I almost always get in my 4. Needless to say, I pee ALL THE TIME now. It's occasionally inconvenient. Other than that, it's doing me good I think. (Although, I do have to admit, I totally still suck at drinking water on the weekends. I never think about it...oops.)

After talking to my nutritionist I went upstairs to see my PA. I told her about some weird aliments I had going on this past month (cramping when laying on my left side only, random dizziness and flushing, my weight going down 5 lbs then up 3, and something else that I can't remember) and she attributed them ALL (almost all) to not pooing on a regular basis! Who knew not pooing regularly could affect you in so many ways? Well, now she wants me to take fiber supplements all day, everyday and MiraLAX, as well as my water intake! I feel like a medicine machine! I am slowly increasing the fiber to its intended amount (9 pills a day!) and I remembered to bring my MiraLAX to work today so YAY me! I really hope it works! I honestly can't remember the last time I was on a regular pooing schedule. (Even before my surgery my poo productivity was sketchy. TMI right? Oh wells!) She also pushed around on me and said she didn't feel anything out of the ordinary. Whew!

My PA also didn't think I needed another fill!!! HAHAOMGYAY! I didn't think I was going to need one, but I thought that last time too and she wanted to do a little more anyway, so I was STOKED when she told me this! I decided to wait 3 months to come back to see what I could do in that time on my own. I am really excited to think I might have found my sweet spot after 6 months of adjustments! I am not going to come to any conclusions until my 3-month check-up though and see how I've done on my own. I do occasionally get frustrated that my weight loss is behind what I envisioned myself weighing by now, but then I remind myself that 42 pounds took me a year to lose last time I attempted to lose weight and this time it's only taken me 6 months! How can you be mad about that? I may not lose it as fast as some bandsters, but I'm still losing and I think that's all that really counts! (Slow and steady wins the race, eh?)

That leads us into what I'm doing now to try to get this weight-loss thing into gear! Firstly, the water. Secondly, I have been trying to incorporate some stair climbing and walking around the hospital on my lunch breaks. I don't do it everyday because I don't always take 1 hour lunches, but I would say I do it at least 2-3 days a week. I also am not doing overtime anymore (at least for now) so Chris and I are going to try to get back into going to the gym in the evenings. (We were very worried a couple weeks ago because we thought maybe he had a hernia, but thankfully we just found out yesterday that it's just a strain! YAY!) I'm hoping to start doing this TONIGHT!

On top of getting back in to working out after such a long hiatus, I downloaded a MyFitnessPal application onto my iPhone and I am counting my calories. The thought of counting calories, to me, was pure hell. I hated the thought of having to scrutinize every single thing all the time, but I realized it's the best way to see what my deal is with not losing as much weight as I want to me in the amount of time I want it to be in. (At least 100 lbs lost in a year, for those of you who don't know.) So, I found this app for my phone and I freaking love it! They have a HUGE library of foods, meals, restaurants, etc and you can also track your water and exercise! I have been tracking my calories for about 2 weeks now, and I am really glad I'm getting into this before Thanksgiving! I have a feeling it will be a huge lifesaver! Also, since I've been doing this I am down 1.5 pounds! (Probably 2 if you don't count poo!) Having it on my phone is really convenient and I like it more than the calorie counter on the Realize website! (Which I haven't been on in a LONG time, but that's partially because I can't remember the password and I'm rarely on my main computer anymore.) Overall, it's not as terrible as I thought it would be! I put in my current weight, my goal weight, and how many pounds a week I wanted to lose and it calculated the amount of calories I would need to eat a day to achieve that goal! Pretty snazzy! My caloric goal according to MyFitnessPal is 1370 calories a day, which I think is even a little high but I'll take it! (And I always try to be under that anyway, not that I always am...)

Goings-on in my life right now include having a new temporary roommate! We gave the cats we were watching back to their owners and 2 days later we got Gizmo, our dog-niece. She is a Teacup Rat Terrier and I will post a pic or two of her later. She is pretty much a spaz, but thankfully, she's gotten out of her puppy phase (she is 3...or 4...maybe) and really just likes to sleep all day (and poop OUTSIDE, so awesome!) She has behaved much better than expected and it's nice having a dog in the house again. Granted, she is literally 10 times smaller than Roxie and she really makes me want another dog of my own and BIG one. Gizmo is adorable and cute and cuddly but big dogs are where it's at for me. Maybe someday...

Oh! I need to say some shout-outs to family! Firstly, my BFF Elizabeth had her adorable baby on Wednesday! His name is Liam and he weighed 7 lbs, 4 oz! He is perfect and completely adorable and we are so happy we have a new member of our herd! (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, please just don't worry about. :]  )

Secondly, I have to say CONGRATS to my cousin Matt for FINALLY getting engaged! I'm sure the entire family was shocked! I know I was! I'm happy for ya cuz! 

Thirdly! I have to say good luck and have fun to my brother-in-law Adam! He is shipping off to basic training for the National Guard today! I wish you luck Adam! I know you will have a blast, just like your brother did! Can't wait to see you graduate! 

Oh! And last but not least, my Dad's birthday was last Friday! Happy birthday Dad!!! I can't wait to see you and Carol sometime during the holidays! Love ya!

That's all I have for now! Peace out blog-readers!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

To fill, or not to fill?

Hello lovely readers! Ready for my apparently monthly update? 

Let me go back to when I got my unfill last month. After being on liquids for a few more days, I felt much, MUCH better! Eating was not nearly as frightening, but even with 1 cc taken out I could really tell a difference in my restriction. Things I've learned this past month include: Small bites are now a MUST. I simply cannot slip and take a big bite of something, it WILL get stuck. Not to the point of puking, but lots of slimming hath occurred and it is WAY gross (and embarrassing to spit up thick, yucky mucus in the Applebee's parking lot facing the busiest street in the city). Bread is now a definite no-go. (sad face) Wraps are do-able IF they are tortilla shells and not actual flat bread-type wraps - they are too bread-like! Rice is okay as long as I take VERY small bites as well is spaghetti noodles but rice noodles are a HUGE no. Too chewy (which means they are too hard to chew up small like I need to). Sadly, I did find out that I can drink pop (it was a moment of weakness!) I do not intend to make this an everyday occurrence. In fact, I shared a pop with my friend about 2-3 weeks ago, then had a Sierra Mist at work 2 weeks ago and haven't had anything since. I think that's pretty good considering I once said I would never give up pop. The other big thing I learned was that I have to start eating slower than I am now. I am not giving myself enough time and by the time I realize I am full I am occasionally WHOA full. Thankfully, I have only been miserably full a couple times this past month and they were both my fault. 

The mental aspect of WLS is, by far, the hardest part. You have to constantly remember your portion sizes cannot be changed, even if you REALLY want those last few bites or some of your husband's/wife's/friend's dessert. IT WILL NOT FIT IN THERE. I have to constantly ask myself "Am I really hungry? Is this an appropriate portion size? Am I no longer hungry?" It's a daily struggle, that's for sure. 

On to other things that are also my fault...I still haven't gotten back into exercising! I feel pretty icky about it, but in my defense, I have been working crazy overtime at work these past few weeks and I do not think it is going to change any time soon. I worked 12 hours every day last week and yesterday I worked from 8am to 9 pm. Yeah...It sucked, but not until I got home and realized how tired I was. Until I am not offered crazy-good overtime, I am going to try to fit in some exercise on my breaks. (Per suggestion of my nutritionist today.) So, starting tomorrow I am going to take two 15-minute breaks or three 10-minute breaks and do some laps around the floor or walk up and down some flights of stairs (I'm pushing for the stairs because well...they make my butt and legs look better faster. :D ) Let's hope I can at least stick with this regimen while I'm doing my awesome overtime at work. 

Mentally, I am (still) stressed. Nothing I really want to talk about but I am dealing with it all pretty well, I think.

Now, on to my appointment today! I went in with the notion that I would not need another fill. I get full relatively fast, I saw full for 4-5 hours, so it's good...right? Well, when I told my nutritionist (who is apparently pregnant and showing and looks totally adorable) I was eating probably 1-2 cups of food per meal she make a 'yuck' face and told me that was still too much. Unfortunately, she is right. I did lose 5 pounds in the past month which averages to 1 pound per week, but it should be more by now and my goal is 2 pounds per week (average). From there, I told her about how I would be losing my awesome TriCare insurance next month and I was hoping I would be done with needing fills so often. She pointed out that I should talk to my PA (Physician's Assistant) about it and see what she thought (if I should get another fill or not). We also talked about my terrible lack of water consumption and my equally terrible lack of exercise. Once we talked about those things, I headed up to see my PA. 

 So, I told my PA my insurance dilemma and she thought I should go for 0.5 cc now (since we know 1 cc is too much) since my portion sizes still are not where they should be, that way if I need an unfill for any reason I can get it before I lose my insurance. I agreed that was the best thing to do so I got 0.5 cc put in my band. I am now at a total of 7 cc in my 11 cc band. She got my port on the first try and filled me before I even realized what happened! I was a little nervous about getting this fill thanks to my previous fill last month, but when I did the water drinking test everything went down just fine and there was no burping or funneling of the water as I drank. She even had me lie back down for a minute to make sure it didn't try to come back up either...and it didn't! I was apprehensive about another fill, but I am glad I got it. I don't want to settle with my band. I went through a lot to get it and have big plans for myself in the future, so I realized I should go all the way now and not hesitate because I am comfortable with my fill. I will never know what is truly my 'sweet spot' if I don't try to get to right where I need to be. (That meaning being able to be satisfied on 6-8 oz of food where I am currently at around 12-16 oz roughly. I suck so badly at measuring my food portions I am considering carrying around a 1 cup measuring cup so I know how much I am eating at all times!) Anyway, after my fill I went to schedule my 4-week followup and the lovely receptionist fit me in before my insurance was going to run out BEFORE Thanksgiving even though they were totally busy the entire month. She also warned me that my new insurance would probably NOT pay for anything since they don't even cover any type of weight loss procedure or treatment (which I pretty much assumed already). So, here's hoping this fill is my sweet spot because I only get one more crack at it before I have to pay out of pocket! (Which I am not opposed to doing. The receptionist told me it was about $125 which is WAY better than I thought, but not having to pay is obviously more favorable than paying for it.)


The other fun thing that happened today was Chris (my lovely husband) took me to Fashion Bug today and I got a new pair of jeans! NONE of mine fit (they are either way too big and baggy or too small). I didn't want to really buy new clothes yet but apparently when I was gaining all this weight I skipped the size I am now or just went straight to the giant sized clothes without even getting many things in the size I am now. So, I tried on a bunch of jeans (the sizes were TOTALLY messed up. I tried on one pair and they were snug, so I went a size up in the SAME JEANS and they wouldn't even get over my hips...I'm hoping they were just miss-tagged or something.) But then I found the Loop 18 section! Loop 18 is the 'new, young, hip' version of Fashion Bug/Lane Bryant and oddly, their pants sizes are ODD numbered. WHY do clothing stores do that?! It's so confusing to remember all of these difference sizes (Not to mention, if wear the Right Fit pants because they are all single digits!) Anyway, long story short, my new jeans are super cute and a size 23. When I started this blog, I was a snug size 28. (I can't believe I just admitted that to the internet.) I don't know how you are supposed to count clothing sizes when you lose (It goes by 2's but we count them like single digits when we lose sizes? WTF) So, I'm pretty sure I have dropped 2.5 pants sizes according to these jeans. Thanks to me being PEAR-SHAPED, I fit snugly in an XL shirt. 

OH YEAH, and at the beginning of last month I cut and dyed my hair! Yay for my first new hair style in over a year! Below, you can see pics of me BEFORE and NOW (hair and body). Enjoy! Also, I know I don't talk about it really but I am down a total of 37 pounds. I am SO CLOSE to losing 40 pounds, it's ridiculous and frustrating. But whatev!

Oh, and I will be sure to keep everyone posted on how this fill goes after I am off liquids (in 48 hours...ugh). Until then! <3


Here is the length of my hair before. I loved it but I was really tired of it!

Here is after my awesome cousin cut off!
My hair after dying it! Love this color!


Before pic for comparison

Me last week! I love finding 'new' clothes in my closet!


Friday, September 23, 2011

First un-fill

Too tight update ahoy! I got to the doctors office this morning on time thanks to my wonderful husband and was taken back immediately. I told my PA what problems I was having and she said I was definitely too tight and wanted to take out 1 cc. *whew* I was totally okay with that! She took out one cc (very quickly I might add, found my port in one try!) and had me drink some water and WOW what a difference that made! I could have hugged that tiny blond woman. She has me on clear liquids the rest of the day and full liquids tomorrow and told me to just take it easy and gradually work into 'real' food in order to get the swelling in my stomach to go down. She also wants me on at least one protein shake a day for 2 weeks to replenish my protein loss from not really being able to eat. She also heard me cough and suggested I get that checked out...so I did.

I also went to my PCP today to get some antibiotics for my bronchitis. She said it didn't sound like pneumonia yet (scary!) and gave me a script for antibiotics. I ended up taking the whole day off work so I could go to this other appointment...I feel bad, but I also really feel like crap. I'm totally exhausted after yesterday's shenanigans and I'm coughing and just generally do not feel well mentally or physically today. So, after stopped at Walmart for protein powder and CVS for my meds and some more soup, I am now home on the couch in my sweats. I'm happy that I'm home and resting, but sad that I feel so yucky on such a pretty day. Lamesauce.

In the end, it's all for the best. I got my 1 cc unfill so I can eat and drink normally again and here's to hoping that it still gives me the restriction that I need. I'll keep you all updated on that after my swelling goes down. Until then...I'm taking a nap!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

4th fill...Blarg!!!

So, on Monday I got my 4th fill. I was totally stoked even though I had to drive an hour there and back in the pouring rain with a sinus headache and a massive cold brewing in my chest. Still, I went because I was so sure this fill would be my 'sweet spot' where I would have perfect restriction and not have to get any more after this! I talked to my PA about not being able to eat bread anymore and the current stress in my life and my serious lack of exercise lately due to said stress. She suggested I try talking to a counselor to get out my frustrations so I don't use food instead. I agreed that would be a good idea and then she gave me my fill! We both agreed going for 2 cc would be a good idea. That put me at a total of 7.5 cc in my 11 cc band. I drank the water and it went down okay. Looking back, it did give me some bubbly feelings which was probably the way it says "TOO MUCH". But I digress...

Once I got home I was on liquids for 48 hours. My lovely husband brought home some tomato soup for me from Panera and I tried to eat a little of it and BAM, STUCK. WTF! It hurt and was very uncomfortable for quite a while. I didn't throw up, but there was some mucus. I didn't even eat the chunky parts. So I was thought, "Okay, maybe a little swollen...stick to clear liquids."

Skip to Tuesday evening...I got some potato soup from Great Steak and Potato for dinner because Chris had a night class. I ate a bit of it, ate a small piece of potato and BAM - STUCK AGAIN. So, I thought maybe I didn't chew that piece well enough or it was too big...something! I begrudgingly put away my yummy soup for another day. No dinner for Erin. Lame.

Wednesday night, I wanted to try soup again but maybe something not so thick, so we went to Olive Garden and I got the Zuppa (my fav! spicy sausage and potato soup). I told myself, and Chris, that I would take the recommended bites as small as half of my pinky finger and chew, chew, chew until it was basically nothing. I did and it took me probably 30 minutes to eat that darn bowl of soup, but I did it and I didn't get stuck! This confirmed my suspicions of me just not eating small enough bites. Which makes a lot of sense because until now, I really didn't have to worry about my bite sizes unless it was bread or pasta, which I pretty much decided I should just stop eating (most of the time...I won't lie. I ate a sandwich or two from Panera but it was very small bites and very slowly with no problems...and toasted).

So today, I brought the rest of my other potato soup with me to eat at work today for lunch. I have been drinking Carnation Instant Breakfast drinks all this week as to not irritate my band, by the way. And they taste way better than protein shakes! (But, alas, do not have nearly the same amount of protein.) I was starving, of course, by 10 am and had some Breakfast on the Go trail mix. I ate each piece individually, slowly, and chewed my heart out. No issues. I was so ready for that soup! Lunchtime came and I got my soup all heated and chopped up nice and small. As soon as I got 4 bites in, BAM STUCK A-FREAKIN-GAIN. I had to PB a few times to try to get some of that out of my esophagus but then I kept trying and trying to eat it. I just wanted my dang soup! Halfway through it and in a ton of pain I gave up, threw it away and went back to work. My chest was really hurting from being stuck and I am now reaching the coughing/yucky sounding lungs part of my cold and I think that REALLY didn't help the probable swelling in my band. Around 2, I was starving (still) so I went to the breakroom and found some left over Johnny Carinos chicken breast from a meeting earlier that afternoon. I heated it up and cut it up into tiny bites and downed 2 or 3 bites in a row...like an idiot. STUCK YET AGAIN.(People always said the band was fickle!) Now this was getting WAY OLD. I felt defeated, frustrated, and honestly, no fat girl likes to be that hungry at work. After the stuck feeling kind of went away, I started to still PB...and I would spit up foam. Oh yes, FOAM. Like a dog with rabies. Sexy. It was at this point I called my doctor's office for some advice.

I should also point out that I ran out of my crazy pills on Monday and didn't have the money to pick them up until tonight. I then started to get annoyed at work, twitching eye annoyed...As soon as my husband called me to say hi, I lost it and started crying...at work. (Which also not fun for a fat girl...or any girl I would imagine.) This, of course, coupled with being hungry, in pain, coughing, and not medicated made my band tighten so much I could barely swallow water. So, I finally came to the decision that maybe, just maybe, my band was too tight (if not for real, at least with this stupid cold). My doctor's nurse finally called me back and I told her what was going on and she immediately said, "You are too tight. Can you come in tomorrow?"

So now, I have an appointment at 9 am with my PA to get some of this fluid taken out. I was pretty upset about it at first because I was so sure this would be my sweet spot. I was very naive in thinking I wouldn't ever be too full or need a slight unfill. I get to learn the hard way instead....awesome! Now, I am just waiting to see what is going to happen. I may, or may not have to do a barium swallow or something like that to check the band and the fluid going through it. I am really hoping this is mostly due to my sickness and stress and they only take 0.5-1 cc out. I really don't want to go all the way back down to where I was. I would feel like its a total waste of my PTO at work and I won't have my awesome TriCare insurance for much longer since Chris is getting out of the Guard soon...I want to be as close as I can to where I need to be as soon as possible. Hopefully, a small unfill will do the trick because I even tried to eat some frozen yogurt to help my swelling and I even got stuck on that... ON FREAKIN FROZEN YOGURT. About 2 hours ago I had some chicken and noodles broth (the thick kind with the noodles I didn't eat *grumble*) and some of Chris's cottage cheese...with no issues.

Yes, thank you band, for letting me know that you are fickle. I get it now. Punk.

I will update everyone tomorrow evening on my first UN-fill appointment! Until then!

Friday, September 2, 2011

RIP Bread.

Well, it's happened. My first real PB (productive burping)/puking experience. This WILL be TMI for some people, so you if you don't like detailed accounts of puking, you may want to skip this post.

Firstly, I knew there would come a point in time where there would be things I could not eat (I dare say, I counted on it). Sadly, that thing is bread - at least the center bits of yummy Panera french bread.

Last Friday, the hubby and I went to Panera for dinner (I <3 Panera!) and I got the mac&cheese with a hunk of bread (because how good does bread dipped in cheese sound?). I know, I know. WHERE IS YOUR PROTEIN ERIN?! Apparently my band felt the same way. I ripped up my hunk of bread and mindlessly took a large bite of the yummy, gooey center bits from the bread. And I even told myself, "That was a big piece...better chew it really well!" Well, apparently I got too excited about it and did not chew or swallow as well as I should have. Almost immediately I was hit with a terrible pain/pressure in my chest. So I sat there for a few seconds willing this stupid bite of bread to go down. I. Was. Majorly. Stuck. I couldn't swallow spit or water. It sucked. After about 5 minutes of trying to swallow spit and will it down, I realized that was NOT happening. I could feel that stupid hunk of bread s-l-o-w-l-y work its way back up my esophagus. So I excused myself and went to the bathroom (YAY for public toilets!....not).

I stood in the stall for a while, spitting out the spit and mucus that wouldn't go down. I wasn't sure what to do really. I'm not one of those people that can put my finger in my throat to throw up. I get my hand to my face and I go "Uhhh ahhhh NO!" Can. Not. Do! So I kept spitting, and spitting, ....and spitting and finally I felt the bread closer to my throat and I wretched a few times and this gross wad of mucus and bread came out! It was disgusting, to say the least. It also wasn't done! I had to do that a few more times before I felt better. I think the rest of it went down.

So after that, I had lost my appetite and I was really upset with myself for being so stupid and knowingly taking that big of a bite of BREAD. What was I thinking? (Besides OMG YUMMY BREAD.) I was afraid to eat anything again until about 2 hours later.

Well, the next morning, we went to Bob Evans before going out of town and I had an egg, some sausage and some toast. I thought, "Hey, I can do toast. It's dry. I won't take big bites. And besides...you can't have a fried egg without toast!" Well, I threw some egg on the toast and took a WAY TOO BIG BITE AGAIN. As soon as I got stuck I was so mad at myself. Did I really just do that AGAIN? Yep, sure did. This time, it hurt worse and took longer to get rid of! It was awful.

Needless to say, I will not be eating bread anymore unless it is crust and very small bites! I am very saddened by this. I love(d) bread. :( Le sigh. Farewell bread...you will be missed.

In other news, that Biggest Loser workout killed me. Literally. My legs still hurt 3 days after I worked out and then on Saturday I bent down to go under a rope and I pulled my left hamstring. Ow. That shizzz hurts. My legs didn't start feeling okay after that until about 2 days ago. I have also been working overtime every night this week and it has pretty much halted anything else I do after work (ie - exercise). In my defense, I am about to start packing my house to move and working as much OT as possible so I can afford it! (PS, trying to get a loan for a house is PAIN IN MY ARSE.) Busy, busy times for this bandster.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lemonade out of lemons

Lots to talk about today!

Firstly, on the mental front, I am keeping steady. Lots of stress still surrounds me but I am dealing. I still miss my dog terribly but I do not cry every time I think about her anymore, so that's a plus. Hubby and I are slowly checking out shelters and rescues to see if another dog chooses us but we are in no hurry and don't plan to actually get another dog until we move (in the next month or so).

On Monday, I got my 3rd fill! (My Sissy took me this time and we had fun! She also enjoyed talking about poop with the nutritionist. This is not at all surprising if you know my sister.) I was very stoked about this because a week prior I was officially down 30 lbs! Then my body decided to stop pooing and I gained 3 more. The scale at the doctor's office said I had only lost 7 lbs in 6 weeks. She said that was okay, seeing as how it averages to a pound a week, but I cannot STAND how I will lose 5 pounds and gain 2-3 back. It's SO ANNOYING. Just get off and stay off weight! I talked with the nutritionist first and she didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know. I have been majorly sucking on drinking my water and taking my vitamins so I am trying to get back on that routine of downing more water and taking my multivitamins. (I think not taking my multivitamins is messing with my nails because they have been breaking so easily! Could also be that I need more good protein.) I also told her my portion sizes seemed to be almost back to NORMAL (bad!) without really affecting me. (As in, if I eat the 6-8 oz I'm supposed to I am literally still hungry.) So upstairs for my fill I went!

I saw the PA again. I talked to her about how my hunger was out of control and I was still not pooping regularly. She basically said to be more diligent with my MiraLAX and water and that should help a lot (which I already knew). So I laid on this not-meant-for-fills table and she numbed me up. It took her a few tries to find the 'entrance' to my port this time and I am actually a little bit bruised today but it wasn't super bad at the time because I was pretty numb. At my request, she put in 2 cc's of fluid. She also mentioned that normally they put in 4 cc's the first fill and she doesn't know why I didn't get that! WTF! I could have been SO much more far ahead by now! Oh well. Such is life. So now, I am at a total of 5.5 cc's in my 11 cc band. I feel like this is getting pretty darn close to where I need to be. I was on full liquids for 48 hours but I broke that about 3 hours early and had a baked potato for lunch. I ate pretty much the whole thing (minus the skin since I am still kind of healing) and was pretty full! This made me happy! I won't lie, I did eat a small cookie too :x (It was delicious!) I am only just now starting to get hungry but that is because I just worked out!

Per my title, my lemons would be the fact that my husband is not here tonight so I have NO CAR to get to the gym. I didn't work out Monday or Tuesday because I was so busy doing other things so I started feeling like a slacker and I NEEDED to work out. Then, I had an epiphany (lemonade). DUH ERIN, you have freakin' Biggest Loser DVDs you've never used! So, I did my Biggest Loser Cardio Max DVD tonight! I only did the level 1 and it kicked my butt...in a good way. I was soaked in sweat (sexy!) so I know I got something accomplished. Now I have to get this bottle of water down and find me some protein for dinner!

Over and out little buddies.

EDIT: I forgot to mention, being so busy, I missed my support group meeting last night! (But I got to see my Dad instead!) I was a little bummed, but I will be there next month for sure!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

How much??

This post is something I forgot to mention in my last post. This is going to be mostly for the potential bandsters that read this blog. I am going to talk about MONEY!!! Everyone on LapBand Talk always wants to know how much other people's surgery costs. So, I am going to give you a rundown of my numbers.

The bills I received are as follows: Pre-op testing, pre-op radiology, and the actual surgery. This does not include my primary doctor bills for my physical nor does it include the mandatory psychological evaluation that is not covered by my insurance (that was $250, btw).

My insurance is TriCare Reserve Select. (My husband is in the National Guard.) And you will see why I waited until I got this specific insurance to have my surgery!

Pre-Op testing total cost: $4581.00
After insurance I paid: $76.57

Pre-Op radiology total cost: $28.00
After insurance I paid: $2.12

Actual surgery total cost: $37,320.90
After insurance I paid: $25.00

Grand total surgery cost: $41, 929.90
Grand total after insurance: $103.69

No, that is NOT a mistake...I paid $25 for my surgery! I had done my research on other people with my insurance and was hoping my outcome would be the same, but of course you can never make assumptions with insurance pricing. I was so shocked and happy when I got my bill I actually laughed out loud. Needless to say, I have already paid all the bills for my surgery off. :) It's a pretty good feeling, I'm not gonna lie. I do feel a little guilty when I think of the other people who have to pay out of pocket, but I waited and did my research and planned accordingly.


In other news, I worked out this morning! I am dog sitting for my sister this weekend and they decided I should get up at 7:30 this morning. So, I got up, took care the dogs, got changed, and went and worked out! This was my first morning workout...ever. It was nice and empty. There was only one person there besides me and that was really nice. I did my regular workout that I usually do and thankfully, after not working out for 3 whole weeks, I was still able to do everything I was doing before and a couple extra reps on a few machines! Once I get the money for some new workout shoes I will pick up my cardio too. I can't do it right now because my cheap Walmart shoes are NOT working. I can't walk for more than 15 minutes without my feet just KILLING ME. And it's not pain, its from rubbing...which is totally lame.

I'm still very sad about my dog and still have quite a bit of stress in my life, but I am taking it all one day at a time. I think working out helped with my stress (as I knew it would...why is it so easy to stop working out for periods of time even though you know it feels good afterwards and helps in every aspect of your life?). Keeping busy helps me not think too much on things so that's what I'm trying to do. We will be packing up our house soon and moving (yay!) so that should keep me pretty busy for the next month or so. As Dory would say, "Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming!" So that's what I'm doing, yo. If you need me, I'll be in the deep end.

Friday, August 5, 2011

It's ALIVE

It would seem that I have been slacking, but in reality, I have not! These past 3 weeks have been full of goings-on for myself. They include: visits from family and friends from out of state, family drama, job drama, birthday parties (for my husband!) and most upsettingly the loss of my dog, Roxie (who's adorable face is my profile picture). I don't have an urge to talk about any of these things, but suffice to say I have been more stressed than I can remember. This also has attributed to the fact that I have slacked off in the exercise department and have not worked out in almost 3 weeks. I just have not had time to juggle life, visiting friends/family, and working out. Things should be going back to normal as of today, so I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things today or tomorrow.
My weight has fluctuated a bit, but I was (at one point) finally past that stupid 20-pound mark and was actually down 26 pounds! I haven't even thought about scales or calories or water consumption in the last 2 weeks (although portions sizes I can never forget, but I could go for another fill on my next appointment on Aug 22). I know I am up a few more pounds since I last checked but I am not worrying about it until I get back into my work-outs. All of this stress has also NOT helped the constipation problem. I am happy to say, it's finally getting better now that things are slowing down (and the fact that I went to the Brickyard 400 on Sunday and did nothing but drink water)!
I am determined to get back on track now that things are slowing down and getting back to 'normal'. (At least as normal as they can be with the big hole my dog left in my house and my heart when she died...I am still very heartbroken as it has only been 3 weeks and it was very sudden and unexpected.) I still have an end goal to all this and I am trying not to lose sight of that. I also determined if I can lose an average of 10 pounds a month for the next year I will be 10 pounds from my goal of 130 pounds and I really feel like if I could lose 120 pounds I would be okay with that weight before trying to start a family. But that is a whole other chapter in this blog so I will save that talk for about 10-12 months down the road.
I really haven't even gotten on a computer at home since my last blog post, nor have I had time to contemplate anything profound or even somewhat interesting. I did, however, get a new cell phone (iPhone FTW!) and am able to update my info on the Realize band website from my phone now! Of course, I haven't lately for the reasons mentioned above, but I can do it from my phone now and don't have to worry about using my big computer to mess with it. (I usually use my Netbook and it is too small for the java script screen that pops up when you sign in.) I'm sorry I don't have much else interesting to say, but I wanted to stop in and say hello and give a quick update on my progress (or lack of right now, I guess). Hopefully, I will come back in a couple weeks with some NSV (nonscale victories) and other awesome things to share!
Until then.

Sorry if my post was a downer, but I really am trying to stay positive!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fill #2!

So I FINALLY got my 2nd fill yesterday and it went smoothly. I saw the PA (physician's assistant) for the first time and she was very young and dressed very cutesy (and young) and at first I was almost like "Uh... are you even an employee of this place?" That's how young she looked! It took me a second to take her seriously. They also didn't let Chris go back this time. They said it is their policy to not let people go back with lapband patients because some of them pass out and/or get woosy and things when watching their loved ones get fills. Which was kind of lame because they let him go back last time and the doctor didn't even care but whatevs. Sadly, that means no video BUT I found a video on YouTube that shows pretty much what I go through for a fill (see video below)! Also, she used a much smaller device to do my fill than Dr. Diaz did. She just use a syringe with a just as fat but not as freakishly long needle. She still numbed me (thankfully) and she did it WAY faster. It was pretty nice actually. The numbing hurt less when she did it too, so it was good times all around. She put in 2 mL but took out 0.5 because I said I could feel the water I drank kind of pooling and going slow down the back of my throat and apparently that means I may be too full. (awesome thought, I know) Thanks to my fill, I was on liquids for the last 48 hours. It wasn't not as bad as last time though and I am taking that as a good sign! I'm really looking forward to seeing what my restriction is like now. I'm crossing my fingers that I'm getting closer to that "sweet spot" every bandster longs for!

I also saw the nutritionist yesterday and that went really well too. We talked about my eating habits and good foods that will keep me satisfied longer (see: not mushy pears, RF cheese sticks, dense meats, crunchy good-for-you things). She also said she felt if I started eating pears and grains with fiber that my pooping issues would pretty much end. (I hope she's right!) Did you know that pears have the most fiber out of any fruit? She did scald me (well, us really) and eating out too much, but we knew that already...I try to make good choices there but, she pointed out, you don't know how they cook your 'healthy' food. She also pointed out my favorite veggie (green beans) are too mushy and I should be eating crunchier veggies to keep me satisfied longer. I have also been doing fairly good at drinking my water but I am still only getting up to 50 oz a day so I need to try to increase that as well (which, I admit, is not happening yet). She was very informative and reassuring about my slow weight loss. Even after working out A LOT for 2 weeks before this appointment, I was still only at my 20-pound loss. She said I was right on track, but the PA said she would like to see if going a bit faster for a person my age.
On the work out front, I have been doing pretty awesome if I do say so myself. :) I have been working out for 2 full weeks - 4 days a week and this week so far, I have worked out 3 days and it's only Wednesday! I'm shooting for 5 days this week. That would be super! I have been alternating with 10 minutes of warm up cardio, then weight machine training on arms one day and then legs another, then another 10-15 minutes of cardio (I can't do more than that because my shoes SUCK and I need new ones that work for large amounts of walking! Walmart shoes are not cutting it anymore). After a couple more weeks, my trainer is going to show me some different work outs on the big kid machines to target different muscle groups. At risk of sounding like those people I couldn't stand, it's all pretty exciting when I think about it. I have found that working out is the thing I look forward to after work now. It's very strange to feel that way. (Especially since I don't feel like I am seeing results yet.) I never felt that way the first time I was working out/being healthy. I dreaded going and felt like it was a chore. Now, I feel like I NEED it and crave it. I cannot tell you how much of a stress reliever it is for me. It helps me completely forget about how stressed out I am right now (which I totally am but my medicine is definitely helping!). And as of last night, I am down another 3 pounds! I'm hoping this is my working out finally kicking in, but it might just be all poo. (I guess every oz counts right?)

Now, what you've all been waiting for! Pics and measurements! I added my old pics for comparison so the tie dye is my original and the gray shirt is today! (don't judge me, I just got done working out)




As for measurements these are the inches I have LOST since the beginning:
Arm 0.5
Waist 5 (!)
Hip 0.5
Thigh 7 (!!!)

I was pretty shocked by the thigh and waist but there you have it! You know where I lose my weight first. I did not add my chest because I don't think it is accurate (bra v.s sports bra). So I will do that one next time :)

Okay, heres the video! This is the BEST video I found that is pretty much exactly what my fills are like for me except I don't get a fancy bed that sits me up, I have to do that by myself. Enjoy!




Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gettin' physical

So my friends...I have FINALLY started to work out! But first, I am going to back up a little bit. Last week and the beginning of this week (so Monday, really) I was pretty much feeling like a big fat failure (pun intended). I am stuck at this stupid 20-pound weight loss and have been for 3 WEEKS! W.T.F. Obviously, I need another fill (which isn't until July 11) because I am hungry by 1-2 hours after I eat. That's not helping the weight loss. I believe my other problem is that my walking at lunch just isn't cutting it any more. I was feeling really terrible but constantly tried to remind myself that other people are noticing a difference and once I get a fill and start working out everything will be fine. Everyone loses weight at different speeds and a lot of people have multiple plateaus throughout their journey (although, I was hoping that would not be the case for me). I just feel like time is slipping away from me so fast and I am not keeping up how I wanted/imagined.

So, yesterday Chris and I went to Anytime Fitness and I signed my fatass up for a gym! I was totally excited and ready to do this! (Let's do this! I'm a cashew! ... Sorry, Dane Cook reference. Carry on.) After I signed up and got my stupid picture taken I changed and got started. The guy who runs the place, Dennis, started me on the treadmill for 10 minutes to warm up. Then I went to this row of 6 machines that were all for arm workouts. I did 3 sets of 10 on all of them at specific weights. He showed me how to correctly do them all and helped me chose the best weight for my body. There is also an ab machine...thingy. Then after that I did 20 more minutes of cardio (a steady fast pace on the treadmill).

Today, I did the same cardio before and after, but this time I did the 'leg' row along with the ab machine...thingy. So far, I am not in a TON of pain but my arms are kind of jelly-like from yesterday and I KNOW my legs will be the same way tomorrow. YAY FOR WORKOUTS. Chris and I plan on trying to do this EVERY DAY (or at the least, 5 times a week). I also got a lovely lecture from my husband on not getting in my water, so to PROVE to him that I can do it, I drank my ENTIRE 33 oz bottle of water after/during my workout! Now, keep in mind I usually struggle to finish ONE of those while at work. Today I had a 17 oz bottle of water at work and that after my workout. This is the most water I have had since I can remember! (Speaking of water, I totally have to pee for the 4th time tonight).

I really want to make more progress in my weight loss before I go see Dr. Diaz for my next fill. He was so confident that I would rock this lap band that I don't want to disappoint him. Obviously, he will realize/know I need another fill but I want to be able to say "I have been working out for 2 weeks straight and lost X amount of weight! YAY ME!" So hopefully, I will be able to do that. I will also be asking him if I can record my fill so all of you lovely people can see what it's like!

I do plan on taking and posting some pics soon...The ones Chris took for my one month were just not the same distance away and you couldn't tell a difference and we never took more, so yeah. Next time will be more even! I also need to retake my measurements next week... Scary! I did that last month but they were off and I think it's because my friend did it instead of Chris. I need to remember to be consistent when I volunteer people to measure my body parts. (heh) I put all of this info on the Realize Band website...which I have not been on in quite a while! However, that is because my work computer and my home computer cannot be on at the same time (well, they could but why waste the electricity?) and my work computer is on more than my home computer. I also cannot get on that website on this silly little NetBook I am using now because the screen is too small! Oh well. I only plan on using it now for my weight, pics, and measurements. I have given up on the food diary for now because it got to be a chore putting it all in on the website. I did like the counting calories part, but I think I will just keep doing that on paper instead of on the computer. I like to do things old school from time to time.

...and I'm rambling again. I feel like I had something more insightful to say, but of course I can't remember now. Maybe you'll get a 2-fer later tonight! (But probably not)

<3
Erin


Oh, I totally remember what I was wanting to talk about now! So, I was at the gym today and I saw this girl who had obviously (at least I hope) just had a baby ("When's that ba-Aby due?" "What baby" "Ooh no." Sorry! Brian Regan that time.) and all I could do was think, "Man, I wish my thighs were that small!" Then it dawned on me that no matter what size you are, there is always someone that wishes that they had your body. How weird is that to think? As much as we scrutinize ourselves, there will always be some random person that wishes they were your size/shape/color/etc. It really was a mind-boggling epiphany for me. It's actually something I never even thought of at my smallest weight...which is silly to think that when I was a freakin' size 16 I didn't think anyone was jealous of me. Hell, I'm jealous of that me! Anyway, enough dwelling on the past.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Update...schmupdate

I've had a few people asking about an update...so here it is.

My poop (or lack of) situation is going alright. I am taking stool softeners until I get paid again and then I will switch to fiber. If that doesn't do the trick I will go for probiotics...here's hoping the cheaper option works!

My crazy is also going alright, but in all fairness, I haven't done much these past 2 weeks to test it. My husband has been gone for the last week and will be gone all of this week for AT (advanced training aka that 2 weeks in the summer business that the National Guard does) so I haven't had him around to test my level of annoyance (love you honey!) and I also haven't had a car to go anywhere or spend money. So I suppose it's both good and bad to not have a car right now (or a husband).

I have been eating very well, if I do say so myself. I eat one scrambled egg with cheese (and new this week - with turkey sausage crumbles!) for breakfast. I take my morning meds. When I get to work I take my multivitamins (which I forgot ALL WEEKEND because I suck and forget everything on the weekends, especially when my hubby isn't here to remind me). If I get hungry before lunch (which I pretty much always do) I eat all or half of one of my protein bars. Before lunch I eat one calcium chew (and another a few hours later to get the 1000 mg). Then at lunch I eat 2 lunchmeat/RF colby cheese roll-ups, a wedge of light Laughing Cow (omgyummy) cheese with some low fat wheat thins, and I am now adding in a fruit cup or applesauce or eventually - carrots. This is what I eat EVERY DAY for breakfast and lunch. I'm not tired of it yet, but the lunch does NOT hold me over. So, usually before 4 pm I am eating the rest of my protein bar.

Dinner last week consisted of 1/4 lb turkey burgers with no buns with green beans and this weekend I made some chicken breast with AMAZING cajun marinade with green beans and some wild rice (oh wild rice, how I've missed you!) I actually just had the rest of that for dinner today and it was still amazing. The chicken breast I usually only eat 3/4 of...which is probably about 4-5 oz (the size of a kind of fat deck of cards). So I think I am doing pretty good on the portion sizes.

Unfortunately, this also means I am never full, usually at least no longer starving but always hungry a few hours later. It SUCKS. I can't wait until my next check up with Dr. Diaz to get more fluid in this band to help with the hunger. Don't get me wrong, I know that I am not supposed to be FULL every time I eat, but you have to remember I am a fat kid, and for a fat kid to feel satisfied they have to be FULL. I am slowly learning this is not the case, but mind over matter is a slow process. I did eat at Panera yesterday afternoon with some friends (as payment for helping them move - yay exercise!) and I was pretty full. Not full to the point of "omgPUKE" but full to the point of "I probably should not have had that delicious hunk of bread." BUT I felt like I should eat it now while I still can enjoy it just in case I am one of those people that cannot eat bread after I get more of a fill. Other than that yummy hunk of bread, I had half of a sandwich and a Caesar side salad. Not the healthiest thing I could have gotten, but it was delicious and I don't regret it at all!

As for my weight loss....I am currently down 21 lbs. Now, I know I forgot to tell everyone when I was down 20 lbs but I was at 20 lbs a week and a half ago. Then my lady time started and I was fluctuating between 1-2 lbs since then...but as of just now I am FINALLY down another pound! (I will have to attribute that to the pooping I did today..haha YAY for TMI) I am slightly disgruntled about my stalled weight loss but I am trying to think positively that it is another pound gone and next week I will start at the gym...and I will kick some major booty at it. (Yay for positive thinking!)

I think that all I got for today...have a good night!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Take the bad with the good.

So, it's been while! That is my fault. I thought today I should talk about some of the not-so-awesome things that are going on with my band. Obviously, it's nothing serious - it's just things I've come to notice. Please heed this as a warning, some of this will be kind of (maybe) gross and TMI, but this blog is about being real and honest, so that is what I am going to do.

First, I want to talk about poop. Yes, poop...or lack of really. When you don't eat a lot, you don't poo a lot. Long story short, I am kind of constipated. It sucks. I started taking a stool softener and it has been helping but I still don't feel ... satisfied? Either way, I will be adding FIBER into my diet as soon as I get paid and go back to the grocery store.

Secondly, I want to talk about what I lovingly call 'the crazies'. Now, before my surgery (more like 2-3 years ago I think) I was on antidepressants for anxiety and a bit of depression. I stopped taking it after a few months because I wasn't sure if it was working and I didn't like some of the side effects. I still have issues with anxiety and it seems to have come back more so since my surgery (I think, I really can't tell). It started with my husband mentioning to me that I had been more easily agitated and snide. I honestly didn't notice it. He brought it up again a few days later and the next day, I snapped. My shower head was slowly turning to one side and it was seriously pissing me off. So much so that I had a small panic attack in the shower and almost ripped the stupid thing off the wall. Once I was out of the shower I was feeling very nauseous and anxious. I was very, very close to throwing up...and that scared me. As most of you probably know, throwing up with the band is not a good thing. It can cause slippage of the hand and other irritations. So, I took my anti-nausea medicine as soon as I could stand and went slowly on my way. That afternoon, I made an appointment with my primary doctor to get back on some antidepressants.

The next morning, I went to the doctor, told her my problems and why I needed to avoid anxiety attacks at all costs, and she prescribed me new, different antidepressants. (If you want to know what it is leave me a message, email, or comment and I will share.) I have only been taking it for 5 days so I can't tell you how well they are working yet, but I will keep everyone updated on my mental health as time goes on.

Other than that, everything else is pretty chill. I started eating pasta last weekend but I think I am going to start avoiding it again...thanks to pasta being back in my life I have not lost any more weight (I'm attributing some of it to my constipation as well)! Well, I haven't weighed myself today and I don't plan on it either. I'm trying very hard to not to weigh myself more than once a week until I get on a steady exercise routine...which will be happening as soon as Chris gets back from AT and I go sign up at the gym he is a member of. He is very excited about us working out together and I hope it stays that way!

I think that's about all I have today. I am overhauling my diet these next 2 weeks while my husband is gone and trying to get back to my minimum portion sizes. I desperately do not want to get used to eating too much (even though it's still not A LOT by normal standards). I also have been slacking on my protein (although I do make SMOOTHIES now and they are awesome!) and my water fluctuates as usual. I have been adding 0 calorie flavor to it lately to try to drink it more/faster. It helps sometimes...

Until next time!

Friday, June 3, 2011

1-month checkup

Hello all!

I had my one-month checkup yesterday and it went great! We got there about an hour early (shocker...not) and thankfully, the dietitian wasn't busy so she saw me early! Their scale said I lost 15 pounds instead of 16 but that's okay. I'll stick with my scale :) We talked about what I was eating, how much, and what I could and could not eat. Basically, she said it was okay that I was eating 4-6 oz already because if that's what I need to do to stay full, then that's what I need to do. She also said I should start eating protein bars instead the shakes to help keep me full longer (which I totally agree, even though I just bought a whole new JUG of protein mix...I bought fruit to go with it though, so it can be more like a protein smoothie ^_^ OH AND, I get to start eating SALAD!!! I'm SO EXCITED! I have wanted salad since I got this surgery and I cannot wait to go salad crazy! Because lettuce breaks down so small, she said I could eat a normal sized side salad and still be within my 4-6 oz (this includes protein on the salad). YAY SALAD.

After the dietitian appointment, we went upstairs to my appointment with the surgeon. We got back to the room fairly quickly and Dr. Diaz was in there in probably less than 5 minutes! It was amazing, lol. We talked about how I was healing and feeling in general and about my hunger. We both thought a fill would be a good idea since I was still getting hungry between meals and I did not want to risk eating more food and getting too comfortable with larger portions again. So, I got my first fill! YAY!

Let me tell you, that was one of the weirdest experiences of my life! I laid on the table...thing and he pushed around (hard) on my stomach to locate my port. When he thought he found the middle, he numbed the area (ouchies) and pulled out this SUPER LONG, BIG NEEDLE (seriously, it was at least 6-7 inches long) and starting poking around my port. I could feel him hitting the port because it would give a little and I could feel it pull on my muscle. Well, turns out he was up too high and had the top of the port, so he set the giant needle of doom down and started pressing on my stomach some more. Once he found the right spot he numbed it again (worst part of this whole thing) and then went to town with the giant needle. He found the port opening and slowly put the saline into my band. He put it in and took the solution out a few times to get the air bubbles out and once it really started to get in there I could feel it tightening! It was such a crazy feeling - I don't even know if I could explain it! It's literally like if your stomach tightens when you are anxious, but not as severely. (I feel like I should point out that he marked where my port was on his paperwork so he doesn't always have to poke and prod me.) EDIT: I got 2 cc's put in my 11 cc band yesterday! Forgot to mention that!

So, thanks to my fill (yay) I am on a 48-hour liquid diet (boo)! I have been doing okay, but it still sucks as bad as it did when I was recovering. Thankfully, it's only until tomorrow afternoon and then I am going to get a SALAD!!! So excited! I'm thinking chef salad from Pizza King...yummy!

He also released me to exercise! So, starting sometime soon, I will be getting onto Chris's membership at Anytime Fitness and we are going to start working out together! I can't wait to get started and to see how much faster the weight comes off! w00t!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

First and foremost, I want to wish a Happy Memorial Day to all and a huge thank you to all of our troops - past, present, and future. We would not be where we are today without all of you and for that I will be eternally greatful. I especially would like to include all of my grandfathers (and grandmothers), uncles, friends, and most importantly, my wonderful husband. I love you and I am so proud of what you do for your country (even if you don't always think it is enough).

Onto band news! Everything here is going pretty smoothly. I can tell my portion sizes are a bit bigger than they should be, but its just 4-6 oz instead of 2 oz. I felt a little out of control after the wedding (even though I didn't eat that badly) so I am trying to keep with my smaller portions so I don't make any huge mistakes. The wedding went great by the way! I tried my best not to feel like the fattest girl there (even though I was) and it worked until I saw some pics of myself from the wedding that were not so flattering (like all of them...well there was one of Chris and I that I liked). There were only a few minor issues and the rest of it went smoothly (thank God!) I had a few 'bad' things while I was there, but they were small and did not follow me home.

The only problem I am having right now is getting all my protein and water. For the record, Muscle Milk Light is terrible! At least the chocolate kind is. I will NEVER buy it again. ICKY! I was never happier to get back to my cheap Walmart protein mix! This week I am going to get vanilla protein mix and some fruit and things to mix in with it to make them taste better and have fruit in them too! I'm pretty excited about mixing up the protein shakes and making them more interesting. I am not having any REAL cravings, but I do have a lot of temptations and I will admit I take a bite of things here and there that I feel can't resist. I do NOT, however, take more than that. I also still get occasionally grumpy at Chris (or anyone else around me really) for eating things I can't eat around me. I know I will just have to get past this since it will be that way forever, but it still gets to me on occasion right now. I'm working on it though!

Last Tuesday was my first support group meeting since my banding and it was super fun! Everyone there has only had gastric bypass so they all had lots of questions about my experience and there was even a new girl there who was considering lap band! This made me really happy as I like to share my experience and answer any questions anyone has for me. I gave her my email and a link to my blog in hopes of helping her make an informed decision about the lap band surgery. I also want to encourage ANYONE who reads this blog who has any questions about anything regarding my surgery please ask! Email me, facebook me, message me, comment on here, call/text me - anything!

My one month checkup is this Thursday and I can't wait! I get to meet with the dietitian first and I am going to bring my food diary (which I fill out truthfully everyday) and then I get to see my surgeon and hopefully get the go-ahead to work out for real and HOPEFULLY get a fill! I am trying not to get my hopes up on that but I can't help but be excited. On that note, as of today I have lost 16 pounds total :) AND I think I am starting to see it! Wednesday, I plan on taking another set of pictures to add to my collection...I may or may not put them up here. Depending on if I think there is a noticeable difference...

Well, I better get off here!

<3 Erin

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

2 week bandiversary!

Hello there readers!

Today is officially my 2 week bandiversary! My incisions are healing great and I usually forget they are even there! I still have some of the bandage strips (Steri-Strips) on a few of them but I am supposed to let them come off on their own...so I am. My large incision is partially free of the strips and feels fine. (Although when you press on it lightly you can feel the lump where it is healing back together...creepy!) The small incisions are smaller than I even thought will be gone in no time! The one on my belly button is doing fine as well and hasn't bothered me at all today now that I think about it (unless I bend completely over for too long). I have not tried to wear jeans yet though. I hope to possibly do that this weekend (more on that in a few). I am no longer wearing my binder thing-a-ma-jig and I only use my blanket for my stomach at work (my desk hits me right at my large incision). Overall, healing seems to be going great! I am still taking my icky medicine 4 times a day (before meals and at night) and I have about 1-1/2 bottles left. I'm hoping it will be gone by the month's end! (REALLY hoping! I am so OVER that stuff.)

Hunger-wise I am still hungry from time to time, especially if I do not drink my protein shake like I am supposed too. I am currently eating strict 2 oz meals for breakfast and 3-4 oz meals for lunch and dinner. (This is a bit more than recommended but I have a hard time measuring things without my cups and I don't always use them - although I probably should and I fear for my husbands life if I eat so less than I am right now.) I never get full, however, so I know that I am not over eating. As far as cheating goes...the only snacks I eat are sugar free Jell-o and pudding and for this week only I occasionally (once a night or so) have 3 little pieces (so, 1 row of a bar) of Hershey's Special Dark chocolate...and I savor every second of it! I won't lie either, hunger sucks. I have definitely had my moments where I question what I did to myself and WHY would I do something that forbade me to ever eat french fries again??!?!!? WHY CRUEL FATE?! .... Then I remember that it was my choice and I CAN eat fries, but I am choosing NOT TOO because I am a good girl...and I will resist you stupid delicious french fries of doom and cellulite. (Can you tell fries and I have a love-hate relationship?) But really, it's rough and can suck at times, but I am dealing.

I am very slowly learning to deal with my jealousy of other people eating what they want and drinking their pop (but I will say, I have not craved any pop since my surgery!) while I am sitting here drinking my not so tasty protein shakes and eating my 2ish oz of so-not-enough mushies. I also remind myself that in 2 more weeks I will hopefully get a fill and begin my journey to not being so hungry and being satisfied with these small portions I am doing right now. I am still working on eating slowly and I can tell when I eat too fast because I get hiccups! (BUt they don't hurt anymore thankfully!)

When I am feeling really frazzled I get on the LapBand Talk message boards or my Realize Band website and read and read and read and remind myself that I am not alone and if all of these other people can get past bandster hell then so can I! I am doing the damn thing already! As of today, I have lost 9 pounds. This doesn't seem too real to me yet because I don't feel like I am showing it, but I am hoping that when I try on my jeans this weekend they will seem just a *bit* bigger on me and then I really start to feel it.

Speaking of this weekend, I am going to be in a wedding (for my BFF Alex...who has already been married for over 2 years...long story). I am wearing a wrap dress. I tried it a few ways last night and I was NOT feeling it. I think it will be better once I get a new pair of Spanx and a safey pin or 2. (And a few more girls to help with situating it and to give their opinions. I love my husband, but he thinks I look beautiful all the time and is NO HELP when it comes to these matters...bless him.) Right now, the silky material shows all my lumps, and that's not cool. I am hoping the Spanx will smooth out all those lumps, at least for the few hours I will be in the dress. My friend is so awesome, she even is making sure there is stuff there that I can eat too. :) Granted, I can eat just about anything as long as I chew it well (except for bread, tortillas, chips, lettuce, rice, pasta, potato skin...ya know basically anything that has a lot of carbs...and tastes delicious).

On that note, I think I am going to finish my protein shake and enjoy my last bit of yummy dark chocolate before bed!

<3
Erin

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mushies and then some

I wasn't going to post again tonight for fear of being annoying, but I had to talk about a few things.

Firstly, yes. Oh. Yes. My tuna salad was amazing (thanks to my mom, because she makes the BEST tuna salad EVER and now I can make it!). I had 3 oz of tuna salad with 10 Special K crackers (which are the size of stamp) and it was uh-mazing. Dinner was 1 oz of tuna salad and 3 oz of green beans. Yes, I went over on my ounces BUT it was green beans not cake...I also had Chris dress them up a little with whatever seasonings he puts on them and it was yummy! (Thanks babe!) So, overall mushies is going swimmingly. I am still hungry from time to time but as I find new things to eat and start cooking some chicken, I think it will help bunches.

Other than that, I am healing quite well. I am moving better and better every day and I did not wear my binder at all today! I haven't decided if I am going to wear it to bed yet....I think I will just see how I feel, who knows, I may even feel frisky and sleep on my right side! That would an awesome change! One of the steri-strips came off today, from my incision on the far right. Looks good so far...I am eagerly awaiting when the rest fall off! Two out of the 4 on my largest incision are about to fall off as well so here's hoping!

Onto the last thing I wanted to talk about quickly tonight... As I said previously, I have the Realize Band and my surgeon chose that because he believes the website is more user friendly. Well, I checked it out tonight and let me just say... WOW He was right!

The Realize Band website is seriously awesome! Not only can you post pics for comparison, track your weight loss (with a little digital you that gets smaller as you do) and measurements, but it also has sections for fitness goals and tracking, reminders and tips to keep you on track, doctor's appointments and fill updates, and a menu tracker to fill out what you eat, how much water you drink, and if you take your vitamins AND a few things more I'm sure I have forgotten. It also has all of my surgeon's info on it and he is able to see my progress as well! Now, I know you can do all of this on your own but when it is all in one place and so neatly organized it is so, so much better. Thank you Dr. Diaz for choosing the Realize Band for my band!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

So close to tuna-heaven!

Firstly, I want to thank everyone for their encouraging words on here and on FB and LBT and through email regarding my pseudo-depressing post last night. I was just miserable but your positive words really helped keep me on track and remind myself that I am healing right now and that's what I should be focused on!

After last night and waking up starving this morning, I broke down and emailed one of the dietitians at St. Vincent's before work this morning. She basically suggested I spread out my protein shakes and only drink them when I am hungry (that way they go to good use). I was going to spread them out anyway, but I didn't think about drinking them only when hungry. I'm more of a schedule person. So, that is my plan for tomorrow. Oh, and there will be tuna salad (with a few fancy Special K crackers!).

I have my eggs boiling right now I am soooo excited! (How sad is that? lol) Today was not nearly as bad at work with the hunger. I drank half of my protein shake in the morning and half in the afternoon. I also had strawberry yogurt for breakfast and lunch and it seemed to keep me feeling fuller for longer (because it has protein). Well, it felt that way until I drank water, then not so much. AND I forgot my Jell-o this morning! DUH ERIN! I was just so tired this morning (and all day really - SUPER busy at work lately). I'm not used to getting up at 6:30 yet :/. Tomorrow I am getting up at 6 to shower and make myself 1 delicious scrambled egg and to enjoy 1/8 cup (that's 2 tablespoons if you're curious) of Cheerios (but I am fudging a bit and doing Honey Nut Cheerios because well....they're better!). I. Am. So. Excited!

I will probably scour the Lap Band Talk message boards tonight for mushies recipes so I don't get bored eating this way for a month...wish me luck!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Work, day 1

Well, today was my first day back to work after my surgery. I am 5 days post-op feeling relatively alright - pain wise. My highlights from work (not including 4 days of crap to catch up on) consisted of telling about a million people how I was, how the surgery went, and how I am feeling now. Sitting in the chair at work was pretty uncomfortable with my stomach binder on as I drank my protein shake this morning so I took it off fairly quickly. It felt better, but not great. I am starting to try to have it off for a while now and only use it when I am in the car, walking, or sleeping. My chair and desk are not very kind to stomach stitches, but I will live I think.

My biggest issue right now is I am STARVING. My first few days I was alright with hunger because I was still swollen but now that I am not, I am constantly hungry and I am definitely in what lap bandsters call "Bandster Hell". It is hell. I am not just kind of hungry, I am hungry to point that I burst into tears yesterday because my mom's neighbors were cooking out and I smelled it and when I came home all I could eat were mashed potatoes and a stupid protein shake. Ugh. Chris is helping me, as much as he can at least, deal with my hunger/emotional issues but I know it is just something I have to endure. I will not cheat. I will not cheat. I will not cheat. I have no desire to cheat on my diet actually. I am too afraid to mess something in there up. I know that I am on this diet for healing purposes and I am trying my best to remind myself of that.

I get to start 'mushies' in 2 days and I already have my first 2 meals planned. (Tuna salad with boiled egg, crackers, and green beans! this is over the course of 2 meals.) Mushies are basically anything that is easily digestible and well cooked. The kicker for me is, I can only eat 2 oz of food per meal (the same as right now, hence STARVING.) In between meals I have to get in my 20 oz protein shake (I drank this all at once this morning over 2 hours and it was too much I think. I will probably spread it out half and half tomorrow in the morning and after lunch. Here's hoping it helps with hunger too!), and on top of that I need to drink 2 bottles of water and 8 more oz of another liquid to get all my liquids in for a day (64 oz). AND on top of all that I am still taking my yucky stomach-healing medicine 1 hr before each meal and before bed. (And when I say yucky I mean 'strawberry' flavored chalk-water.) Along with liquid calcium in the morning (it's great if you like orange creamcicles, but I don't -FAIL) and then 2 hours later I get to take my 2 chewable Flintstones vitamins.

Thankfully, I am still writing down EVERYTHING I do or eat so I can keep track of it all. I am also keeping track of when I use my IS (and the AVG volume) and how much I walk after meals (with my pedometer). Today I walked for about 10 mins after breakfast which was a little over 1/2 a mile and then for lunch I walked about 1.5 miles around the perimeter of the hospital parking lot. (It was beautiful today!) And for after dinner, Chris and I went to the grocery store to get him some food to eat while I was doing my own thing.

Now, I know what you're thinking. "You went to the store while starving? Are you stupid?" And my answer to that is it was my choice to go and yes, I am STUPID. Even though I had already eaten my mashed potatoes (which I am going to mix up tomorrow because I am getting tired of them) I was walking around the grocery store like a sad puppy. It. was. terrible. I didn't cry thankfully, but I could have. Oh, I could have. I just kept reminding myself that I get some awesome tuna salad in 2 days and it will be AMAZING.

And now, I must be off make my protein shake for tomorrow (with pudding for extra thickness!) and to find something for my lunch at work! (Greek yogurt? Cream of chicken soup? Potato soup? Oh the possibilities! -_- )

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Post-op day 4

So I've gotten quite a few questions lately, and i figured other people were probably curious too so I am going to do a little 'do it yourself' mini-questionnaire.

1. How are feeling?/How is your pain?
I'm not doing too bad! It hurts to bend and to sit (especially since Chris wasn't here to help me today) and to stand. I only took my pain meds this morning and have been doing okay without them! Chris was talking about seeing a movie later tonight, so if we do that I will probably take one just to be on the safe side. I don't want to be super uncomfortable during a movie. I took my binder off for a few hours today (a thing I wear around my stomach to keep it from giggling and hurting and such) and that went okay, but then I took a shower (for the first time in 3 days...YAY) and decided it would be best to not push it and I put it back on. I also took off my TED hose (really tight stockings that help with leg circulation) earlier today and would be okay with not putting those back on again....ever! They are supposed to be worn until normal activity resumes, but for the weekend, I am more active now than I usually am! (Sad, but true.) I went on a walk this morning after breakfast up and down my street and it felt pretty good! I even used my pedometer to keep track of my steps. I would still say the most pain I feel is gas pains and hunger pains (which totally sucks!)

2.
What do your incisions look like?
I have 6 total incisions. They are all almost in a row. 4 of them are about 1/2 inch wide, the one by my belly button is about 1-1.5 inches, and the one where my port was placed is about 2 inches. And, for an added bonus I have a pic! Don't mind my gross stomach and the lighting was weird so any yellow you see is just bruising.


So there are 3 on YOUR left, my belly button, and 2 on your right.

Other things:

I am still pretty itchy with or without the binder and I can see where my stomach is still swollen but I have lost the water weight from the hospital already (which was only about 2-5 pounds anyway). I am also incredibly HUNGRY! My tummy is very rumbly! I did have 2 BM's today so that was a great sign that I can start my protein shakes! I already had about 6 oz of one and it made me feel pretty full but it didn't last that long (I think it maybe caused some of my bloating). I think it is because some of the pain I feel is gas and some is hunger and I just can't tell the difference! That's probably the most annoying part. I just can't wait to eat some REAL food! Once my week is up (next Wednesday, ugh) I can start eating 'mushies' like eggs and tuna salad or chicken salad (YAY) I can't tell you how amazing tuna salad with a hard boiled egg in it sounds! I was looking up different recipes last night on the Lap Band Talk message boards and it was a terrible idea because then I was REALLY hungry! (Lots of good ideas though!) Speaking of food, I took my yucky carapace liquid stuff about 45 mins ago so I get to eat some mashed potatoes soon! This is also very rough! I know I COULD eat more than 2 oz but I'm not supposed to. I have NEVER had this much control, but I am sticking to it and if I need more after that I will finish my tolerable protein shake. I am pretty darn excited about these mashed potatoes too!

Band Stats:

This is something not many people care about but I talked to my surgeon about it before the surgery because I just needed to know what he was putting in me. So here is the info about my band:

Realize Band
12 cc

He chose this band because he thinks the website is better and more patient friendly. I didn't have a real preference because I knew they both worked the same way. I am glad with his decision and I have a little card with a code on it to get to their website. I am going to check it out tonight probably.

If you have any more questions please feel free to post it on the comments or email/facebook/message me on LBT and I will be glad to answer them!

And on that note, I'm outta here to go make my awesome instant mashed potatoes!


<3 Erin

Friday, May 6, 2011

itchy!

Hello all!

I have now been home for 25 hours. I woke up in a good amount of pain (because my last pain pill was about 8 hours ago) and could NOT get comfortable. So, I ended up getting up at 7:30 am...ugh. I also had to pee once in the middle of the night and take nausea medicine and that wasn't very fun either. So here is the rundown of my day:

7:30 - Take pain meds, take liquid meds for healing the stomach (I have to take this 1 hour before every meal and once before bedtime), take chewable vitamins, take nexium, take temperature, pee AGAIN. If you are wondering why I took my temperature last night we are supposed to monitor it for the first week after surgery and if it gets to 101.5 I have to go to the ER. I'm guess that could mean infection...which is, of course, bad.

I walked around the house a bit to get some circulation and an hour later got to eat! Oh, I also took some Gas-X because I was soooo bloated. For breakfast I had 2 oz of Instant Cream of Wheat. I couldn't even finish it though! I'm not sure if it was from the bloating, or the pain, or if I was actually full. So I really only ate about 1 oz of my Cream of Wheat (which wasn't too bad consider I had never eaten it before). After eating, I had to walk around the house again for 8-10 minutes and Chris is NOT letting slack off on that at all.

Speaking of Chris, he has been so amazing taking care of me! He brings me my meds when I need them, he helps me get out of bed and up off the couch. I don't know what I would have done without him today! I love him! And on top of taking care of me, he is giving Roxie her meds too (we took her to the vet on Monday and she was having an allergic reaction to some FLEAS (poor thing) and she had a slight ear infection.

I practiced my incentive spirometer (IS) a few times this morning and that is not going so hot. You have to breath in as deep as you can for as long as you can and make this little thingy go up on the IS. When I first started this thing on my pre-op diet I could get it up to 2400 mL and now I can rarely get it over 1500. I am going to try to do it more than recommended to get my lung capacity back up. Two hours after lunch, I drank my calcium supplement (1000 mg). We got kind of bored after that so we went to Best Buy so I could walk around a little and get rid of some of this stupid gas pain!

For lunch I had some delicious strained cream of potato soup! (2.5 oz) I ate it a little too fast, but because it is liquid I don't think I'll get into too much trouble. Although I did hiccup once and that SUCKED! Definitely do not want to do that anymore.

Shortly after lunch, we went to the PX in Lawrence to try to find a poncho for Chris but with no luck. I got to walk around a lot there too and it felt good! Walking somewhere other than the house is much more effective. Once we got home and a little bit after I had some chicken broth from Thai Smile and sadly it tasted differently than it used to. I don't know if it was because it was just the broth, or I didn't get to eat the chicken, or because my tastes are changing already! (For those of you that aren't aware, a lot of bandsters and other people that get WLS have a total change in palate.) After the 2 oz of broth I felt I needed something a bit thicker so I had another 2 oz of potato soup. It's more than I was supposed to eat but I don't think 2 oz will tip the scales too much. :) Oh and NOW I am getting super itchy under my binder! I may put a pillowcase in between me and the binder like they suggested if I can find an extra, clean one.

I have been keeping track of everything I do all day, even counting my steps with a pedometer. I may have to get something a big bigger than the small notebook I have but this will do fine for now. I may even get super dorky and make some spreadsheets to keep track of everything! Now....if I could just get these TED hose off! They are driving me kind of nuts! Although, I really don't think I'm reading to take off the binding!

I am going to attempt a shower tonight and tomorrow I will TRY to type a little for work! It will be nice to make up some hours if I can. Even if it's only a few hours it's better than not making up any of them. Oh, also I jumped on the scale today out of sheer curiosity and I am actually UP by about 2 pounds. I'm sure that is water weight from the hospital and I can't WAIT until I get rid of it and move on to mushie foods! I keep looking at the recipes that people make in this phase and it has me really excited to do on a tiny meal cooking spree! I have some perfect-sized small little Tupperware cups to bring my food to work in too! They are 4 oz containers so I know if I fill them up half way I have 2 oz! YAY for small containers!

Well Chris is telling me it's time to walk around since I just ate a bit ago, so off I go to walk/wander around the house for a bit!

<3 erin