Friday, May 28, 2010

The Farewell to Food Tour Has Come to an End

Tomorrow I am starting the liquid diet required to shrink my liver before surgery. At first I had convinced myself to only do the diet for 4 days prior, but I thought about it and decided that I have to learn will power, so I needed to attempt the full 10 days, well really 9, as surgery day I can't eat or drink anything. So of course, I have attempted to eat EVERYTHING I love. I wasn't able to fit all of my favorites in, but I did have lots of my favorite foods the last few days: Las Palmas, McDonald's, Sonic, Starbucks Coffee, well you get the idea. Plus, I had my last big GNO for a while. I am going to be the DD for a long time, so I went out with a bang!

Today was "date day" with my granddad. We go to eat at Famous Dave's weekly and have for four years, since Nana died. It was a tough decision today to pick what to eat, but I settled on the ribs & macaroni, and of course, a corn muffin. Tonight I had a really tough decision on what I wanted for my "last supper". I decided to go w/ a ribeye from O'Charley's, sweet potato fries, potato soup, and rolls. See a pattern? I love bread!! I'm going to finish tonight of with a banana split and hope that I don't get sick from all the food!

As the date gets closer, I can't help but be a little nervous. I am more excited than nervous, though. I wish it was already June 7 so we can get this show on the road! I think my mom is really nervous, but excited too. I am opening up to more people about what I'm doing, and so far everyone has been pretty supportive. Only one person asked if I didn't want to try "conventional" methods, but I explained to them that I had tried them all with no success. I hope they understand I am not trying to take the "easy way" out, as this is going to be harder than anything I have ever done. I think they understand, but I still feel a little self conscious about their reaction, like I'm just being lazy or something. The work I will have to put in will be anything BUT easy!

Anyway, things are a little better in other areas of my life. Work is going well, and the personal issues are still confusing, but I feel better about that after today. Amazing how one phone call can make you feel better. I have so much to get done in the next week, I hope I can get it all together. I am a little confused over the different supplements I have to take, hopefully my dietitian will email me back!

Ok, so I'm off to eat my banana split! Let's see how this liquid thing goes tomorrow.....

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

19 Days & Counting

Yep, just 19 more days until my surgery. Is it wrong that I am counting down to it not only to improve my health but to also get a break from my job?! So much has happened in the past week that my head is still spinning.

I attended my pre-op class on May 11. The first part was all about the surgery and what to expect, etc. Then the dietitian came and talked to us about supplements, the 4 phases of eating after surgery, and how all of the habits I have now will change. For example, after surgery you can't eat and drink together or you run the risk of overeating since the liquids will push your food through more quickly. It will be a real challenge to not have a sip of something to drink during meals. You have to stop drinking 30 minutes prior to eating and can't drink again until at least 30 after your meal. You also have to consume your protein first and then if you are still hungry you can have some low-carb vegetables from "the list". You have to chew each bite at least 20 times to make sure it will be able to be swallowed. So much to learn about how to eat! But after 35 years, I guess the way I've done it hasn't worked so it's time to try something new.

After the class was over, I paid my surgery deposit and headed over to the hospital to have my pre-op lab work done. Apparently they didn't schedule me so I had to wait a lot longer than planned, ruining my lunch plans in Franklin. It wouldn't have been a big deal, but since I don't get to see the person I was having lunch with often, it kinda sucked. At least I got my surgery stuff & hospital charges paid for before leaving.

The day only got worse from there. Actually, the whole week got worse from there. First I had a run in with the district HR guy about my schedule. So sorry I had to take off for pre op stuff! This was after the run in I had with him on Monday about my review. So I enjoyed the rest of my day off and my day off the next day too. Thursday I went to a walk through at another store, and returned to my store to get ready for the big review meeting on Friday.

Friday I met with my district manager, and apparently I am not running my store well. I had a feeling all week they were out to get me, so I took some time and considered the offer they made me to step down as a store manager and return to being an assistant. It hurt, I'm not going to lie. I felt like a failure. I felt like I hadn't gotten the support I needed and that I was going to look like the loser while someone else will go in there and look like a hero. After a lot of prayer and talking it over with lots of friends & family, I took the offer. Luckily I don't lose any salary, so in the long run this move might be better for me. It is definitely less stress already. Mt. Juliet is a lot quieter than Charlotte Pike!

As the day gets closer, I am getting more and more excited. I know this is going to give me a better outlook on life, and that I will gain so much from this experience. With at least the work stress down, I can concentrate on me. Now if I could just figure out what to do with the personal life stress.

So, 19 days. My life is going to change dramatically. Maybe by then I will be able to stop letting things bother me. I have more important things to worry about, like the liquid diet that is coming up and looking into taking some classes to change careers. I have to remind myself that I am all that matters right now. I pray for strength to do the things I need to do. I pray that I am able to resolve the issues I am having. I pray that these 19 days pass quickly so I can start my new life!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Let's Start at the Beginning

Ok, so I've read that blogging or keeping a journal will be very helpful to me during this journey I am about to begin. On June 7th, 2010, I will be checking into Centennial Medical Center to undergo gastric bypass surgery. I need a place to write my feelings, celebrate my successes, and document my progress. So, here we go.

I haven't always had a weight problem. In fact, I didn't really start to notice that I was gaining weight at all until after college. I was pretty active up until then, but once I went to work at a "sit down" job, I noticed that I was gaining weight more quickly. I loved my lunch hour, it was the only time I left the office. I needed that hour every day to get outside, but that usually meant meeting up with co-workers for lunch somewhere. Las Palmas was a favorite. Unfortunately, I had also become less active than in recent years, so the weight crept up quickly. I changed jobs and went back into the retail world, where sitting down is a luxury, not a job requirement.

In 2003, I topped 200 lbs. for the first time. I decided to try the Atkins diet. I did well with it, staying on it for about 6 months and losing 30 lbs. I was down to about 170 in January 2004 when I was sent to California for three weeks for work. I was able to maintain that weight, so when I went to Hawaii in February 2004, I let myself enjoy my vacation, and fell completely off the wagon. The weight came back. I tried to go back to Atkins, but when you haven't had pasta in 6 months, and then you rediscover it....well, let's just say my love affair with carbs was re-born.

From then on, I have struggled to maintain my weight. The two most successful things I have tried in recent years were Weight Watchers & phentermine/exercise/food journal. Weight Watchers was great at first. I lost 5 lbs. the first week. Then my Nana died, and I gained it all back. I stayed with it and eventually lost 25 lbs., but never broke the 200 mark. Plus, as much as I hate math, the constant tracking & adding points was a pain. Got bored with it, gained the weight plus some back. The phentermine was a good plan too, it gave me LOTS of energy. I bought a treadmill and used it almost daily. I lost 25-30 lbs., felt great, looked good. Then I developed bone spurs in my heels. Walking became excruciating for me. Needless to say my exercise regimen took a major hit. I got depressed and eventually gave up, only to gain the weight plus some back again.

I had almost decided that this was just my lot in life, to be overweight. I was tired of trying. Only after a visit to my Dr. for a yearly physical did I decide that I needed to try one more time. See, at that particular visit I was diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, or insulin resistance. Basically, I was on a fast track to having type 2 diabetes, which scared the crap out of me. I asked her about weight loss surgery and if this would be an option for me. She agreed that it was worth investigating and gave me contact information for a local practice. This was last summer. I attended a informational seminar and a support group, where I met several people who answered questions for me. I decided the Lap Band would be my choice. I requested the required paperwork and set out to get the ball rolling. I took my time, reading, researching, praying, and finally turned in the paperwork in October 2009. Afterward, started having second thoughts. Not about the procedure, but the practice itself. My mom works for HCA, and has a co-worker that had bypass surgery. She sent me lots of information and I decided that I wanted to change practices. I called the Centennial Center for the Treatment of Obesity and instantly felt good about my decision. I chose Dr. Douglas Olsen as my surgeon upon the recommendation of my mother's co-worker. I filled out all of their paperwork, and was ready to schedule the procedure for the beginning of 2010.

In December 2009, I developed gall stones and had to have my gall bladder removed in January 2010. This obviously set my plans back a little. Finally in March 2010, I made the last two appointments to meet my insurance requirements. The psych evaluation was scary for me. I know I'm of sound mind, but you never know. I was cleared by the psychiatrist with the warning that my evaluation had shown that I sometimes have problems following rules. You think? If I had more self control, I probably wouldn't be doing this! In April I met with Dr. Olsen for my consultation. I went in with an open mind, and after discussing my options with him, decided that the bypass, not the band, was going to be a better choice for me. I needed a more restrictive option, since I have problems following rules. They talk about dumping syndrome, and since I hate to get sick, thought this could help keep me in line and not eat things I'm not supposed to.

So that brings us to today. I have met all of my insurance requirements to cover my surgery as medically necessary. I have scheduled the procedure, and now I'm just waiting. I meet with the dietitian Tuesday, and have my pre-surgery blood work done too. 28 days.... and I'm starting to get a little stressed about it. Add that to the stress from work this past week (Nashville flood), and uncertainty about another aspect of my personal life, and I am one big ball of stress! Luckily I have a great support system in my family & friends. They have all been so supportive and I am so thankful, as I will need their support more than ever now. It's going to be hard, but I am determined to do this and be successful. As stressed and anxious as I am right now, I can't wait to start living my life again! Please pray that I can reduce my stress these next four weeks. I need all the prayers I can get!! I hope I'll keep up with this, so I can look back & see how far I've come.