Friday, November 12, 2010

A new found freedom

I sit here today and ponder the upcoming weekend, which will include participating in a baby shower for my husbands side of the family. I suddenly realize just how much has changed within myself. I no long desire holding onto the difficult times in my past. I have a new freedom and inner peace within my life. I find I simply want to spread my wings to fly.

Gastric bypass has given me a gift like I can't even explain. To those of you non-weight loss surgery (WLS) readers, I'm not sure you can even understand. Imagine your day being filled with pain. Physical, spiritual, and emotional pain. I would get out of bed, muddle through my work day, and sit on the couch until time for bed. Any additional activity or movement was painful....physically painful. At 400+ pounds, my joints ached almost constantly. The lack of activity made my body numb and I hated life. I would do everything in my power to avoid any activities that involved going places and/or being with people. I avoided my family and my friends. Life.....sucked. Did that paint a clear enough picture?

Today, I reflect back and begin to cry. What a miserable and sad existence I had. I took for granted everything I had going for me as I could only focus on all the negatives. The childhood molestation and rape I had suffered found a way into my daily thoughts. I felt a victim and was angry for the hand life had dealt me. That is the sick thought process that kept me in a life of obesity. I could not for one single moment think or believe, "I CAN".

I am eager for this weekend, eager to see family I rarely see, eager to share my new found freedom with the world. I find I have an inner strength I never knew was possible. I want the world to see the real me shine through. To see just exactly what my husband has always seen...a beautiful, intelligent, sexy, funny, and outgoing woman. I lost myself in the last decade...lost focus of what life is about. Or, maybe I've just recently learned what life is about. I'm learning new things every day. Learning to let go of the things that don't matter and grab hold of the things that do. Past grudges and feelings do nothing but pull me down. I am moving on and my new found freedom guides the way. I CAN be anything and EVERYTHING I want to be. Not only that...I know know I WILL reach my goals!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

To blog or not to blog....that is the question.

Hello blogger land! It's been quite some time since this young lady has posted. I figured it was about time to either update or delete this lovely little blog. Obviously, you can tell my decision. So, hows about an update? So much has happened since I was last here. Looking back, my last update was about preparation for my upcoming weight loss surgery. My mind was all over the place at that point in time, but I clearly made it through.

I underwent Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass on June 28, 2010. I had zero complications from surgery and all in all had a pretty fast recovery. I went back to work two weeks after surgery and things have been non-stop ever since. The big question that might be on your mind....have I lost any weight? Of course I have! The real question is, how much have I lost? I started this journey at a whopping 424 lbs. So embarrassing to put that out in cyberspace, but it is what it is. Today, a mere 19 weeks after surgery, I am a much smaller yet still heavy 298 lbs. For those of you who hate math as much as I do, I'll save you the struggle. 424-298 is a total of 126 lbs. gone forever!

My life is quite different these days. In fact, I can comfortably sit here and say that I am not the same person I was the last time I blogged. I am healthier, happier, and know what I want from my life. This gift was the exact push start I needed to put me onto a path of bigger and better things. What has changed??? Well a better question would be, what hasn't changed. I spend between 3 and 5 days per week at the gym and do lots of other exercise on off days. I went from a total couch potato to someone who can barely sit still. I do water aerobics, I swim, I bike, I ride the elliptical, I many things that were near impossible at my starting size. My new life has not only made me a better person, but it has rubbed off on those I care about the most. My husband has lost weight and is more active. My sisters-in-law are both on the, "healthy lifestyle" bandwagon. Even my lovely mother has started an exercise program. It seems like this journey has not only inspired me, but everyone around me as well. It truely has been a blessing.

I have gone from a women's size 32 clothes to a 24, which is a whopping 5 sizes for those of you who don't know. I fit into seats I couldn't even dream of before. I was able to go to a baseball game for the first time in 4 years over the summer. Nothing holds me back! I eat healthy, I exercise, I feel amazing. And I know I will NEVER return to that hell of being over 400 lbs.

My journey has been well documented and I found a community of support like I never imagined I could. For anyone interested in what this journey has been like, please visit my channel on YouTube. All you have to do is search "Bamboo2you" and you will find links to my videos. The transformation from the start of my journey until present time is just remarkable. I don't even recognize myself. Actually, I don't recognize myself when I look back at my beginning pictures and videos as well as when I look in the mirror present time. I keep taking lots of photos and doing side by side comparisons so that I can really see the changes in my face and body. There are days where the lack of recognition is a mental trip, but most days I discover new things to love about myself.

I now have a neck, a jaw, collar bones, etc. I find something new to marvel at almost weekly. My feet have bones and tendons I didn't know existed...same with my wrists and hands. My beautiful wedding band set no longer fits my ring or middle fingers. I recently went to see how my ring size had changed to be shocked to discover I've gone from a size 10 1/4 to a 7 1/4! That is a FULL three sizes. Crazy!

So yes, life is different, but in all the right ways. I always knew that weight held me back, I just lost track of exaclty how much it held me back. I'm a better woman, wife, friend, daughter, sister, etc. The best part is that I know once I reach my final goal I am forever freed from this disease. I will be aware of what I eat and how I move for the rest of my life. The future is bright and I am happy.

Has it all be rosy and perfect? No, of course not. Life is not perfect so I must share the bad with the good. There are challenges I face on a daily basis. I now require a plethora of vitamins to keep me healthy. The regimen can be quite overwhelming some days, but I push through because it is what I must do. I require 64 oz of water every day, but unlike the average person, I can no longer gulp fluids. I must sip sip sip all day long as my stomach is now only the size of an egg and can't handle a large rush of water. Sugars are a huge no-no in life....forever. I can manage a little bit of them, but I must use extreme caution or I get what is called, 'Dumping Syndrome'. This is a very unpleasant side effect of gastric bypass, but an important one for learning. It causes nausea, dizziness, extreme fatigue, racing heart, diarrhea, vomitting. It is uncomfortable and I do all I can to avoid it. It only took one time of dumping for me to learn to avoid it at all costs. Another ugly thing that can and does happen from time to time, I call "stuck". If I don't chew food well enough or eat to big of a bite, the food has a hard time passing into my tiny stomach. It causes a "stuck" feeling in my chest, which is basically like somone stabbing my breast bone and every 15 seconds twisting the knife. The feeling passes when the food moves through, but if the food can't get through it forces me to vomit.

Now, luckily for me, these are RARE occurences. In fact, I've only dumped one time and only thrown up once from being stuck. It has taught me to be very careful when I eat and be aware of each bite that goes into my mouth. I avoid sugars, but will treat myself within reason. I know I can safely consume about 10 grams of sugar at one time so I am careful to stay way below that. Most times I only allow myself 5 grams. It is complicated and complex, but I don't regret it for a single second.

I think this is enough of an update for now. Hope all of you are doing well and I can't wait to get back into reading your blogs.

Monday, June 21, 2010

So what's been going on???

I figured it was about time to update my blog. Alot has happened since my last update, but I've gotten so into doing video blogging I sorta forget about my normal blog. Anyway, those of you who want to follow my vlogs, look me up on you tube. I am Bamboo2you.

So, the update. Today is the fourth day of my pre-operative clear liquid diet. Things are going pretty well, but this has been one of the most difficult things to get through. Day number 1 was horrible. I felt like I was starving and honestly it seemed like I was having withdrawal symptoms from lack of food. I was clammy and my heart was racing. It was weird, but I survived. Day number two was equally as hard; however, I tried to stay busy and I think that helped. Yesterday was a much better day and so far today has been even better. I think it's safe to say my body is getting used to the liquids.

I am able to eat as much as I want of a very limited group of foods. I can have broth, decaff tea, sugar free jello, sugar free Popsicles, water, diluted G2 Gatorade, crystal light, etc. Basically, I've been living off of chicken broth, Popsicles, and jello. I drink a good bit of G2 and tea, but also a good bit of water. Nothing makes me feel full, but at least the hot broth does sort of feel like a meal.

Surgery is in one week. Monday the 28th of June will be a life changing day for me. I hope I am ready for the challenges that lie ahead. I think for the most part, I feel pretty secure about this decision, but the liquid diet has made my brain try to play tricks on me and tell me I'd rather not do it so I can go eat a cheeseburger haha.

No, in all honesty, I'm as prepared as I possibly could be. I've been to a nutrition class and have a whole book of do's and dont's for what to eat. I have to follow a very strict diet for the first two months after surgery and then it will be up to me to make the change to a healthy lifestyle. I had pre-op testing done last week, which went pretty well. It gave me a chance to see the hospital and meet some of the surgical staff, which was a plus. All my testing came back just fine and now here I am on the countdown to surgery.

It's amazing to me that it was only 6 short months ago that I found out I was going to be able to make this happen. I am so thankful to my father for helping me on this journey, he truly is saving my life. I 100% feel like I will be a different person in the end of this. I know I can do well by this and make the changes to improve myself. I am a bit worried how those around me will take all the changes, but I can't really focus on that. I have got to do this for me and get better for me. If they can't handle it, in the end I feel like it will be them losing out on something rather than myself.

I have to say my vlog has been a huge plus to this point. I have gotten more followers than I ever thought I would and it gives me confidence to know there is great support out there. It's amazing to hear other people are motivated and inspired by my videos and thus far that is giving me a huge reason to go head forward into this video project. I hope it continues because I'm having a good time with it.

Anyway, that's the main update. I am looking forward to getting this week over with and starting my new life. I believe June 28, 2010 will be my new birthday and give good reason to celebrate in the future. I hope I am right.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Back to the grind

Well Monday came around again. I'm sorta over Monday's and wish they would just never come around. :) If only life worked that way. Anyway, I had a good weekend for the most part. My husband did a dumb thing and I was pretty shook up over it, but I dealt with it and am moving on.

I was at my parents over the weekend. It was wonderful and I was a single woman for a day and a half. No husband and no dog. I had a chance to just be left alone and it was terrific. Played mini golf with the family and even got to spend a few hours in my aunt and uncles pool. The down side to the pool time is that I am a bright red lobster now. I was only out for 3 hours and am crispy!! Typically I wear sun screen, but for whatever reason I didn't and am now really paying for it.

In other news, I have started a vlog (video blog) on YouTube. I was somewhat hesitant and nervous to do this as I'm not sure how people who know me will take it or what they will have to say about it. Nevertheless I decided it was something I wanted to do. Of course it really all started when I got a new computer. I just bought a new laptop, which happened to come with a built in web cam. Now, I did not buy my computer specifically for the web cam and actually didn't even think about doing a vlog until I realized it had one.

I have watched TONS of videos on YouTube about gastric bypass. Many people put up videos showing the progression after surgery and I decided it would be a neat way for me to keep track of my feelings as well as a way to be able to easily look back at how I change physically after surgery. So I did it. To date I have three videos on my channel and hope to add them at least weekly if not more frequently. Anyway, that is the latest and greatest.

Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

So what's been going on?

I just thought I would update about all the changes that have happened over the last few months. I had grown very bored with my blog and decided to put it to rest for awhile, but now I'm feeling more inspired and interesting in talking. Life has been busy and crazy and it seems like everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.

I was never so glad to see winter go away as I was this year. As the temps warmed up, my mood seemed to soar. I decided to get my flowers planted early this year so I didn't get all the crappy colors to choose from. Last year my pots were filled with red and white. Now, don't get me wrong, those are pretty colors...but anyone who knows me could easily see PINK is what I really wanted.

It wasn't long after planting that I realized I had the desire to play in the dirt even more. Jared and I spent some time cleaning up our back yard. We had a huge pile of left over rock from our landscape project from last summer. We decided to make a rock path off our patio to our shed. Because of our big trees, we have mostly mud for a yard. The path has not only added to the nice look of the back yard, but has drastically cut down on the mud we once suffered. Even after making that huge path we had rocks left over. So we cleaned our our lilac bed and re-rocked it as well. Now the back yard looks somewhat "nice", which is a far cry from where it started when we bought the house.

Even after all this, I still wanted to do more. So...I planted my very first garden! I need to take some pictures to put up because I am just super proud of it. We have two tomato plants, one is celebrity and one is roma. Those plants just seemed to take off. We even have several romas well on the way to being on our dinner table. In addition to the tomatoes, Jared and I planted radishes and carrots. We aren't overly confident that either of them will work out. We do have a bunch of radishes growing, but I fear we planted them to close together . Time will tell how they end up.

Like I said earlier, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. My life wouldnt be my life without some drama. I've had two fairly dramatic things happen in the last two months. First, our basement floor drain started backing up and it was getting worse and worse. To the point a short shower would bring poo water onto the basement floor. Washing dishes or doing laundry caused the same trouble. We assumed we had tree roots in our sewer line and paid a popular company to come out and clean it out. He pulled out roots, but the back up did not clear. Eventually, it was determined the line was broken and would need to be dug out to repair. This popular company dicked us around for awhile and eventually told us the break was under the street. Naturally, we assumed it would be up to the city to fix this damage, but I am sad to report that according to the city was our problem! We asked for an esitmate of cost and waitied 3 weeks for them to get it to us. Finally the numbers came in...9,000 dollars! Jared and I had no clue what to do. We started to scrable and found a way to pay the bill only to find out that this company was only "guessing" at the bid. We were told they didn't think we would "seriously" be able to pay to repair it. The manager decided he wanted to redo the bid and and the price went even higher. Needless to say we dumped them and found someone else. 8500 bucks later, our sewer is now repaired and useable once again.

It was a big old slap in the face and a reminder that being a home owner is not ALWAYS all its cracked up to be. We also learned to NEVER call that popular company for service issues. I was very put off by the service from the start and things only got increasingly bad as the time passed.

Drama number two was just 3 weeks ago. While working, my big old fat knee knocked over my computer tower. It sits on a shelf under my desk. The damn thing came crashing down and in the blink of an eye, it died. I tried to recover it, but have been unable to fix it. A friend of a friend is supposed to be coming to have a look at it, but he keeps forgetting he has an appointment to meet me. I've been borrowing a computer from my mother, but know she wants it back ASAP. At this point I'm not sure when the guy will ever get here to look at my baby. After some thought and growing tired of waiting, I decided to just buy a new system. I would still like to restore my old one for a back up, but it was a good time to update to some faster and better features. I ended up with an HP laptop, which I connect to a big HD flatscreen monitor. So yeah, one more thing I have spent money one.

Anyway, those are alot of my updates. Crazy things always seem to follow me. Always have and always will. I'm spending my days trying to catch up on all the blogs I love to read. So...what's been going on out there in blogger land??

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June has I'm SCARED

So, most of my recent blogs have been related to my upcoming surgery. I am officially having roux-en-y gastric bypass on June 28th. I have preop testing on the 16th, which at this point is just over 2 weeks away. EEP! I am anxious for the 16th day to get here because it will be a day filled with alot of education for me. Jared and I will participate in a 2 hour nutrition class that day and will have the final meeting with the surgeon to discuss any final questions or details. Two days later, on the 18th, I'll begin a clear liquid diet. It will include all no calorie and low calorie clear liquids. I can drink/eat as much of them as I like, but it will only include broths, sugar free jello, sugar free popsicles, water, low calorie Gatorade diluted with water, etc. It will be all I can eat for the 10 days prior to surgery, which is undoubtedly going to suck some major sweaty balls. I've read and heard the first three days are pure hell and then your body becomes numb to the the lack of real food. I sure hope that is the case. I will make it through and I think my real motivation is knowing the surgery will not happen if I don't follow this diet strictly. I've been waiting for this time to come for what seems like forever; however, now that it is so close I realize just how scared I am.

It's time for me to focus and get ready for the ride. I still need to decide how I want to document this journey. It may take me awhile before I can really get settled into one method so for now the blog is going to be my way of keeping track. I am preparing myself to take some "preop" photo's, but I haven't decided how I want to use them or if I will post those on the blog just yet. I have plenty of recent pictures of me on here so anyone who reads this should have a good idea of what I currently look like. I hope to get some photo's up from the recent wedding as well.

I do plan on trying to do a weekly photo and a weekly blog note to talk about my progress. It may be more frequently than that at first or it could be less frequent, time will tell. I'm just going to do it as I see fit when the time rolls around. For now, I'll keep updating as the month moves on to keep track of my feelings and thoughts.

Goose got MARRIED!!

This weekend was amazing and fun and fabulous and all that. My bestest friend in the world, Goose, tied the knot on Sunday. She has been such a beautiful part of my life for the past 14 years so it was a real blessing to stand by her side while she gave her vows. The best part of the whole day was when it really sank in that she is now "officially" a family member. Goose married my first cousin so now she will forever be a part of my life, which is AMAZING!

The wedding was at a very lovely state park. Though the day was warm, it was sunny and beautiful, which make for a lovely setting for photos. There was a big lodge with a huge fireplace as a back drop to the ceremony. The bride made her way down this beautiful wooden staircase with her terrific father by her side. It was just so pretty. Everything went perfectly and she glowed like I have never seen before. I was so proud to be there with both of them.

We ate, drank, and danced the night away. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet her friends and family I have heard so much about over the past years. Now the bride and groom are off on what sounds like the most terrific honeymoon ever. I can't wait to hear all about how the time went for them.