Thursday, June 5, 2014

Life happens.

Hello world, Erin here. Life happened...sorry! Lots of things have gone on since my last post. We moved back to Muncie in April and Xander had his first birthday just last month! And I got my first fill under fluoroscopy just yesterday.  Let's recap all those things now, shall we?

Xander is officially a toddler! He just had his first birthday on May 13th and I really cannot believe how fast this year has gone. My life seemed to go by pretty quickly anyway, but now that I have a child it seems even faster! (Of course, there are some days when I think that one day will never end.) Xander had lots of fun at his party and LOVED his cake. It was also adorable and I will have pics down here somewhere. 

My little man is pretty awesome. He has 4 teeth on top and 4 on bottom now, he walks, runs, hobbles like a zombie, but thankfully does not climb on furniture yet (although he does enjoy climbing on his daddy when Chris is laying/sitting on the floor). He says mum and dada, duh (I think he is trying to say dog), and gee (for our dog Gizmo). He also has started trying to sing with us, but he's really just making noise. He gives kisses (open-mouthed of course), clicks his tongue, and claps and waves (at inappropriate times). He also will do "so big" and raise his arms up as far as he can...all the time! It's pretty adorable.

We are currently dealing with stereotypical toddler issues... learning what "no" means but not caring, testing boundaries, throwing toys and smacking things, oh and throwing food instead of eating it (which is kind of the most annoying thing ever). He just got over his second cold ever and this one lasted a full week and ruined all the progress we had made with Xander eating new things and just eating at all. He has lived off of formula (which we are phasing out when we run out of this last can), toast and bananas, and cheese and crackers for the last week. I cannot explain the frustration I feel knowing my child isn't eating what I know he needs to eat when he was doing so well before. Now that Xander is finally feeling better though, Chris and I are going to bite the bullet, throw a towel on the floor, and just let him go nuts on any food we give him so he will at least put something edible in his mouth that is not cheese or crackers. Also, babies with colds is the worst thing ever. They don't understand why they feel this way, they don't understand why you keep attacking them with that scary thing you stick up their nose, and for the love of dog STOP WIPING MY NOSE. And they don't know that you don't want to do it and feel terrible and crying just makes your stuffy nose worse kid!!! Ugh. So glad last week is over.

Our recent triumph is Xander has started to drink out of his transition sippy cup! It's more like a bottle at this point, but the nipple changes to something more sippy cup-like. I cannot tell you how glad I will be when this is complete. I will probably be a little sad too, but it's a good step that means NO MORE WASHING BOTTLES. Hallelujah! 

Chris is still watching him while I work and then he works (also in Indy) on the weekends and I am home. Yes, it sucks as much as it sounds. I'm still working my Indy job and driving an hour to and from work every day is WHOA getting old and such a major waste of gas. Yes, I am looking for a local job but I have salary requirements that are not always easy to meet in Muncie's job market. Until then, I will continue my commute and continue being grumpy about it. 

Here are some recent pics of Xander...the ones with cake are from his birthday (obviously)
Birthday Blues Brother's suit!

Memorial Day cookout

Oooo cake!


My mini James Dean

Baby-wearing at the bookstore
Daddy and Xander people-watching at DD

Other than my adorable baby and awesome SAHD of a Husband, my life has been really...stressful. We found a house we loved in Muncie and started the buying process shortly after my last post. The closing date for our house was pushed back about 3 times and the last time it was pushed back it was ONE DAY before closing. A form wasn't turned in or signed like it was supposed to be but somehow it got all the way to the top before they threw it back at the bank. This meant all the planning for a rental truck, manual labor help, days off work...worthless. Thankfully, the bank realized how much they screwed me and paid for a moving company to help us (best idea ever, btw) and gave us a little extra for groceries! We didn't end up closing until April 7th. My birthday was April 8, and we moved on April 9. I do not recommend this. It worked out in the end though. The movers were amazing and fast and got a good tip from us for being so awesome, and I didn't have to burden any friends of family with moving all my crap.

Our house is exactly what we needed. Three bedrooms, one bath, living room, eat-in kitchen, washer and dryer, central air, big yard, garage. It's older and needs some repairs that we couldn't get the sellers to do (roof, update electrical) but it's nothing we can't handle with some planning and saving up and none of it is a dire need to fix right away situation. I won't lie, I'm stressed and worried about money and making ends meet...but I kind of always am so...whatever. (This is also another big reason I want to find a job locally...we are currently spending around $100/month for gas and I could pay bills with that money!) Xander also loves having carpet in the house and started walking as soon as he was free to wander around the floors!

Band land is...confusing. After my unfill, I got a very small fill in the beginning of April (did I mention that was a busy time for me?). It was 0.25cc. It really made no change in my eating or satiety. I haven't been paying attention to portion sizes or what I eat. It's mostly from stress. Taking care of a baby, working an hour away, and moving really has sucked all motivation from me. I'm struggling to think properly when it comes to band rules, my health, and my needs. I had this problem before too, but having a baby just adds someone else I devote my energy too and avoid taking care of myself. (This is also part of the issue I've been having with keeping up with my body love revolution...which is also kind of frozen in time because I am spread so thin already.)

Anyway, back to that appointment with the small fill. I mentioned to the nutritionist that I wasn't feeling full/satisfied but I was getting stuck regularly. She seemed a little concerned and suggested I ask to get my next fill under fluoroscopy to make sure everything is working properly. For those of you unfamiliar with this term, fluoroscopy is a gastric procedure where they do a fill while looking at my band and stomach with an x-ray machine while I drink a barium liquid that allows the doctor to see the fluid going into my stomach and through my band to make sure its all moving properly. I was a bit concerned that maybe my band had slipped a little or had a leak maybe which is why everything seemed to feel so different from the last time I remember this process. If something was wrong that would mean a whole new set of issues and decisions to make. On the other hand, if nothing was wrong then I really was just a really terrible bandster and needed a major wake-up call. 

Fast forward to yesterday...Turns out I'm a terrible bandster who needs a wake-up call. My mom watched Xander and Chris and I went to my doctor appointment. Chris got to watch everything on the screen as well and said he could see the (3-inch) needle get put into my port. Dr. Diaz gave me 1 cc of fluid and then they turned the bed thing I was laying on upright and I drank the barium solution and saw it go down my esophagus, get to my band, and the slowly ooze through about the size of a pinhole at a time. It also would reflux up a little into my esophagus (which I didn't feel). This means it was too he took out 0.5 cc and I took another drink. We watched the fluid go back down my esophagus and this time is pooled in my pouch (stomach) and slowly, but steadily went through my band. There was a bit of residual back flow of fluid but it went through shortly after. I knew how this worked but it was pretty cool to see it and feel it at the same time. Chris said it helped give him an idea of what was going on in there with me as well, so I think that was really helpful. 

This was also helpful for me because it really did show me that I am just blatantly not using the band the way it's supposed to be used, as a tool. You can't use a tool if you aren't even TRYING to do whatever it is you need that tool for, right? So, I am wiping the slate and following my rules like I'm a brand new bandster and Chris is committed to helping me stick by those rules. I had soup for lunch and yogurt for dinner last night. (I was really not prepared for my fill!) Today I've had yogurt, instant soup (instantly gross), and a protein shake. After a fill, its 48 hours of liquids, then I can move on to more substantial things. Thanks to the fill with fluoroscopy, I know that I should be in the green/optimum zone for my lap band and I really cannot push my boundaries now or I know I will pay dearly (stuck, slimming, puking, oh my!) So, I'm just going to pretend that I'm in the green for the first time ever, be appreciative and excited about this journey and try my best to not eat like crap because I have a million other things to do and worry about in my life. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A new perspective

So…apparently having a baby makes you a million times busier than anything else in the history of ever. Lots of things going on in my little family right now and I just happen to have a free moment to catch you up on some things!

My baby boy is doing amazing! He just turned 9 months last Thursday (February 13th). I still can’t really believe it! He’s still adorable and loves to flirt with the ladies when we are out. He smiles at everyone but acts shy when he wants to. He’s starting to pull himself up to stand (!), he babbles and screams and says ‘ba ba ba’ and ‘da da da’ and his laugh makes your heart sing. He sits up on his own, feeds himself his bottles, tries to crawl (as much as he can since we have hardwood floors that we don’t let him on because they are constantly dirty), and is starting to learn how to eat solid foods. He picks bits up and gets them to his mouth, but sometimes he forgets he’s supposed to swallow it and spits it back out. I cannot wait until this kid can feed himself food. It will be messy, but totally worth it. Gizmo (our dog) is already learning the benefits of a baby learning to eat on their own…it rains food! Needless to say, Gizmo is quickly becoming Xander’s kitchen buddy. Xander also loves to cruise in his walker. He just recently learned how to move forward in it and will ZOOM across the floor. Best to wear shoes around this one…he runs over toes!

Xander is also starting to show stranger acknowledgement. If someone is holding him and he sees us (Chris or myself), he wants us and us only! He also starts to get grumpy when one of us leaves. I am not looking forward to this more when he gets older and can ask me to stay home…That will break my heart! Thankfully his Daddy will be there to play with him and keep him happy. Chris and I are both so excited for what the future holds for us and our little guy. 

8 months
9 month check-up with Daddy

Superbowl outfit! 

Lap Band
On the band front, I did get my fill in December. I got 2 cc’s put in and it did just fine. I felt restriction but not enough that it changed my portions really. It slowed my eating down considerably. I am still re-learning small bites and slower eating. I got another fill a month later in January, but I had some issues with that. This whole house buying process has left me more stressed than ever…so stressed it makes my band really tight sometimes. On top of that, 2 days before my January fill, I got a case of gastroenteritis. Feel free to Google that if you aren’t sure what all it entails. Thanks to that, I actually threw up 3 times (pretty violently actually). This was the first time I’ve thrown up or gotten really sick since I got my lap band in May 2011. Needless to say, this sickness made me swell even more on top of the stress swelling. But, I really wanted that stupid fill. I had lost 9 pounds since December by that point, but I attributed some of that to the sickness and not eating for almost 3 days. I told my PA about my sickness and she told me I could have rescheduled but I didn’t want to wait (because I’m impatient like that). So she just gave me 0.5 cc. It felt okay at the time and I figured it would loosen up after I had completely recovered from my sickness. After this fill, it was talking me 1-2 hours to finish my meals. I was okay with this, as I could still eat and it was nothing like the last time I was too tight and felt miserable. Then, the chest pains started. The first time it was sudden and went away as fast as it showed up… a throbbing pain in my sternum. Then a week later the pain was back and it did not go away. It HURT and then it burned. Then I felt like I was going to throw up. I could feel my esophagus tighten and the tightening was moving up and up and up all the way until I would gag. It was a little scary. It hurt so bad, I had to stop what I was doing on concentrate on breathing. That was when I knew it was probably time for a small un-fill. I call my doctor’s office the next day and they told me to take Prilosec to help with the burning (reflux) and scheduled me to come in on Friday for an un-fill. By the time Friday rolled around, I hadn’t had any more chest pain and I was taking Prilosec every night. My PA took out that 0.5 cc she put in just 2 weeks ago and I felt better immediately. She told me to give my body some time to rest and recover from these fills/un-fills and to come back for my next scheduled appointment in March. Since then, I haven’t really paid attention to my weight. I really don’t think about weighing myself in the morning anymore because I wake up with a baby and immediately take care of him. By the time I think about weighing myself, it’s nighttime and I’m all swollen and puffy from sitting at a desk most of the day at work. So, I’m just going to let the doctor’s office keep track of that while I take care of my baby. And lately I’ve noticed I don’t FEEL hungry that often; I am just eating because it’s time to eat. I’m going to work on that. My biggest issue is eating out of boredom or because there is food around. I’m going to try to work on listening to my body and my hunger cues and see where that gets me.

My new look on life/new beginnings
My life has been a complete roller coaster of ups and downs so far this year. I almost bought a house, then it fell through at the last minute (Do not even MESS with houses in flood plains, for the love of everything) and I was totally deflated and at a really low, dark place…then our living situation completely changed overnight and that house falling through was actually a blessing in disguise. Chris and I have since decided to move back to Muncie…our friends are there, my mom is there, the houses are more affordable, and it’s really just a better place to raise a child in our opinion. We will both keep our jobs here and commute. (It’s only 10 more miles than I drive now anyway.) We are now in the process of buying a cute little starter home in Muncie in a great neighborhood. We both couldn’t be more excited and as soon as we decided to move back to Muncie, a huge wave of relief washed over both of us. We are still pretty stressed out just due to general ‘buying a house’ stressors, but I feel much more knowledgeable and prepared in this go-round. I also am a lot happier about this process than I was with the first one. This time it feels right. Hopefully, this is one of those gut feelings that means good things are finally coming my way. I really need a break from all of this drama.

On top of the house/living situation drama, I’ve had some revelations in terms of the way I see myself. When I got my first fill in December, I was telling my friend Kelly about it and she said something to me that didn’t really sink in until a month or so later. (Feel free to correct me if I paraphrase this wrong, Kelly.) She told me she was concerned that I was putting too much weight (no pun intended) on the lap band/losing weight instead of being happy with myself first. She wanted me to see myself in a positive light instead of constantly yearning for the perfect size/weight/etc. At the time, I assured her I wasn’t going to beat myself up if the weight didn’t fall off like it did before. I know my body is different and I really know that this is NOT going to be my main focus as it once was…at least not any time soon.

A few weeks after this conversation, I came upon this awesome blog post that had a fat girl posing with a small, tattooed male model in an anti-Abercrombie ad (because Abercrombie hates fat people, per their company president). You can see this article here.  Then I found the girl that was in those pictures had a blog of her own. It was about her struggle with body positivity and trying to break down the barriers that make being fat so taboo. She was doing a campaign called “Smash the Scale”. You can read about it here. That campaign had pictures of this woman, in all of her 5’2”, fat girl frame, along with a plethora of women of all sizes and shapes and colors literally smashing scales with sledge hammers. I loved the idea of the campaign, but more so, I saw these women of all sizes in short dresses and fishnets with combat boots, skinny jeans and leather jackets, swing dresses with their boobs out and proud with their war faces on and I had this epiphany: These women look AMAZING and empowered. They don’t care if society thinks they shouldn’t wear tight clothes or short dresses if you are over a size 12. They don’t care if people think their funky hair or crazy clothes are weird… So why do I constantly tell myself that I will wear fun and funky things like that, or do a pinup photo shoot with awesome vintage hair and make-up and a swing dress as soon as I get to my goal weight? Why the eff am I waiting to reach a certain weight to do the things I really want to do and wear what I really want to wear? I’ve always prided myself on being awesome (because I am) and different and a bit of a nonconformist, but I’ve recently realized how much my obsession (for lack of a better word) with my weight has really held me back from being the me I want to be.

It was that moment, looking at those pictures of all of those awesome women, that I realized the only person holding me back from being that awesome was me. No one is telling me I can’t dress that way but ME. I can say I know I’m awesome all I want to, but I always felt like a bit of a hypocrite saying it because I didn’t really FEEL like I was that awesome. So, I’m working on changing that. I’ve decided to finally throw out the majority of my wardrobe and start all over again. I have had the same clothes since I got out of high school and started working at Lane Bryant. I am way overdue for a new look. I have always loved the pinup/rockabilly style. I started doing research on it; the clothes, the hair, the make-up. It was pretty overwhelming at first, but I reminded myself that I don’t HAVE to do everything in a traditional way. That’s the whole point of being empowered and being yourself, right? BE YOURSELF. If I want to wear a swing dress with big hair and no make-up, who cares? If I want to wear bright red lipstick with skinny jeans and combat boots, THEN I WILL! I will take what I want from ALL of the styles I have always liked and make it my own. I’m 28 years old (almost 29…yikes!), I think it’s high time I developed a look that is all my own. My first step has already been completed… NEW HAIR. See pics below. 

In the midst of all of these life-changing, body empowering revelations, I came upon another amazing body-positive blogger. She is the girl in the ‘fat girl dancing’ videos flying around Facebook and the internet. She has a campaign she is about to launch called the No Body Shame Campaign. You can read about this here. She is another one of the women out there that help remind me that I don’t have to constantly focus on my weight and let it determine my happiness. And I don’t have to hold myself back from doing what I really want to do just because I think I’m too fat. Who am I too fat for? Not my husband, or my baby, or my family and friends…just me apparently. I’m too fat for myself. Well, that’s going to change damnit. I know it’s not going to be easy for me to try to change 20+ years of body shaming, self-loathing, and distorted thinking, but I am going to do my very best to try.

Now you may be asking yourself… so does this mean you aren’t going to try to lose weight now? What about your lap band? ALL THAT TIME AND MONEY WASTED? Well, yes, I think I am going to stop TRYING to lose weight. Instead, I am going to focus on being healthy and I am going to move more when I can, but I am not going to beat myself up if the weight doesn’t fall off. I am going to focus on my family, and my new home, and my job, and my happiness…not a number on the scale. I am going to LEARN to love myself at any size and be happy with who I am on the outside as much as I love myself on the inside (which I am also going to work on). I have wasted far too many years putting myself down because I didn’t look like I thought I was supposed to look like. I want to show my child that we are all different and that is awesome. I want him to grow up to love himself inside and out and I know that to teach him that, I have to be able to do it myself.  

Operation be as awesome as you are has started.