Friday, June 6, 2014

What's Bugging Me ... Another Hairy Dilemma

Greetings my bariatric surgery-interested friends:

It's now been about two-and-a-half years since I was "sleeved" and I haven't been sorry even one day since.

Dining at Oklahoma City's Bricktown River Walk, July 2014
That said, there have been a few bumps in the road and some I didn't expect. One of the biggest has been my hair debacle. I didn't mind when I went from a dark brunette to salt-and-pepper in my late 20s and 30s to mostly silver at about 45 and now about completely silver at 60. (Wow, did I say that? I'm 60. How did that happen?) That was gradual and gave me plenty of time to get used to it.

I expected to lose some hair after my sleeve after reading many of the bariatric message boards after my surgery, especially Bariatric Pal.
But what I didn't figure on was what came in after that.

Curls. I mean serious curls. And it just keeps getting curlier.

Note the ringlets underneath. Anaheim, Calif., Sept. '13
To be fair, all that curliness seemed to accelerate after I had surgery for a thrombosed hemorroid Aug. 1, 2013. You don't want one of those. Think red hot poker to sit on for a week or so and the pain drugs weren't all that effective. But that's another post. Just don't let yourself get constipated and I'll leave it at that.

Back to the hair.

A seriously bad hair day. In Taiwan at Yingge Pottery Street, Nov. '13
I noticed little baby hairs growing back in, but when I visited beautiful Taiwan late last October/early November, it seemed like all of a sudden I had this combination of stringy frizz and ringlets under it because of the constant drizzly rain from the approaching outer bands of the huge typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines on Nov 8, 2013.

I was among a group of 22 international journalists from 17 countries and between all the pictures taken by our hosts, the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and all the other journos, my bad hair days were well-recorded.

I'm starting a blog series on that trip "Taiwan Tales," just FYI. If you're interested, you can find it at ToAndFrowe.

When I returned home to Okla./Texas, the first thing I did was schedule a haircut to manage this mess. Part of my hair was still sorta straight and then there were those darn ringlets. And it kept growing in a weird way, not all curly, not all straight. My terrific stylist Amanda at Three Graces Salon in Oklahoma City cut it again and gave it some more shape and layering.

Bloggin' on the back porch. June 5, 2014
When nature messes with your hair, it kind of messes with your self-image too. I've interviewed breast cancer survivors over the years, and after losing their hair from chemo, often it grew back another color and curly. This must be sort of similar, although 100 percent of those women were just happy to be a survivor and most didn't care about what color or texture their hair is now. In fact, they embraced it. I'm trying.

The good news is that I'm learning to like it, although still begrudgingly because I'd always identified with having straight hair (except when it rained.) And I just wash my current mop and comb it and let it dry naturally. So easy. And I can make it even curlier by scrunching it and blow drying it with a diffuser. Who needs that though?

The bad news? I confess that I miss my former straight hair terribly though. Too bad. Move on.

I think it makes me look a bit older, but heck, I am getting older (if I'm lucky.) And there are a few other things that are "bugging me," that I'll be blogging about soon to help me tackle them. Gotta have a sense of humor about all of it.

Let me know if you've had anything similar and how you handled it. Thanks in advance.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

What a Difference a Coupla Years Makes ...

Singing about the crumbling Interstate-40 crosstown bridge to the tune of "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head," with my talented cohort Robert Burch. I'm about 80 pounds down in this shot. Photo by Bob Frowe. I still have pounds to go, but this looks and feels a whole lot better. 
I've been singing and dancing badly since 2000 in the Oklahoma City Gridiron Club benefitting about $500,000 in journalism scholarships since the club began long before I was born in 1928. 

The musical political satires, similar to Capitol Steps, happen some time in February after the Oklahoma Legislature's annual session starts. It's generally right after the governor du jour gives his or her State-of-the-State address. We've had three presidents, three governors and two lite guvs during that time. 

Two years ago, I was probably pretty close to my all time high weight of 273 pounds. Here's a screen shot off the club's website.  I'm the tub on the left, hamming it up as a race speedway fan, and there is my friend Robert Burch to the right in his lovely plaid shirt. 
I'm playing a disgruntled speedway fan on the left in the February 2011 show at 273 pounds, my all-time high weight. 

It's been a long couple of years, deciding to have my gastric sleeve surgery in June, working through all the tests, losing the 5 percent of my body weight my insurance company required and getting my surgery Dec. 27, 2011. 

I'm always amused when people say things like, "well, I lost the weight the real way...." or "I lost it the natural way." The People magazine after the first of the year had two women on the cover who had lost half their weight. The sub-headline screamed, "No gimmicks. No surgery." 

I don't advocate for weight loss surgery, but I also resent it when people put it down like it's the easy way out or that it's a gimmick. You still have to do the hard work of portion control, choosing your foods wisely and it's not all that fun to be on the liquid diet for the couple of weeks after surgery and then gently teach your stomach to eat again, like with cottage cheese and scrambled eggs. 

Weight loss surgery is a tool — a very effective tool to get the weight off. But it's not easy and it's not a gimmick. 

Working on losing an additional 10 pounds to fit in a dress for my darlin' daughter's wedding. She's lost more than 70 pounds in the past year, partly because she was scared she was going in the same direction as me on weight. She looks fabulous and will be wearing a size 4 wedding dress. It makes me smile. 

I'm not through yet. 


Thursday, January 3, 2013

The $32 Hamburger and Making It Through 2012

It was a sight to behold.

It was a massive $32 hamburger at renowned chef Daniel Boulud's DB Bistro Moderne in the theater district just off Times Square and down the street from the Millennium Broadway hotel where we stayed in New York City during the holidays while helping my brother move home to Oklahoma.

The foie gras-stuffed $32 hamburger at DB Bistro Moderne in New York City's theater district.
According to the menu, that big baby was a sirloin burger stuffed with braised short ribs, foie gras and black truffles, served on a parmesan bun with pommes frites.

Just for the record, my husband ate it although I did take a tiny bite of the meat.

It was good, but I don't know about $32 good.

I did what I often do and ordered an appetizer and it apparently wasn't notable enough to snap a picture of it. In fact, I don't even remember what I ordered.

The year 2012 was a great one for me, losing almost 80 pounds with my gastric sleeve surgery Dec. 27, 2011. Two of my friends had the surgery last year as well and both are doing great.

To recap:

- I'm down from 273 pounds to 195 pounds dry and unpainted as hubby likes to say. I lost two pounds in New York City despite my best attempts to eat and drink probably too much.

- I'm off all my meds except one blood pressure drug.

- I'm wearing a too-large size 14, down from a size 24.  I'm getting ready to purge a whole bunch of too-big clothes because I know I'll never wear them again.

- I've traveled a lot this year and have also been to Keystone, Colo.; Lagos, Nigeria; Barcelona and Madrid, Spain; San Francisco; Branson, Mo.; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; and Houston. Plus I split my time between the north Dallas area and central Oklahoma, where I've watched hubby eat chicken-fried steaks that almost cover your plate. Ordinarily I probably would have gained weight traveling that much, but I lost.

- My favorite dietician Steph told me I could eat anything, just not as much of it. I've taken that to heart although I still concentrate on protein and veggies. I'm back to doing a bit of food writing for our alternative newsweekly, which is fun. And once again, I just bring friends or my darlin' daughter (who has lost about 70 pounds on her own,) and I just take a couple of bites and/or get take out.

- I walked, walked, walked all over New York City and my knees and feet behaved themselves.

It's all good, and my life is definitely better. I still have some more weight to lose and I'm going to work hard to continue my progress by be careful with what I eat and drink, increasing my cardio, continuing my yoga and strength training.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Stress = Comfort Foot

What do you do when you're dealing with holiday stress that's ratcheted up with a family member's critical illness in another state (which means jumping on airplanes and living out of suitcases.)

Why eat, of course.

Making good choices after having my gastric sleeve is the best revenge, even when you want to revert to old urges. And having the sleeve as a tool to limit my good choices is such a good thing. I so could have gone completely off the rails earlier this week.

I was in New York City, trying to deal/help with a sibling's illness and hospitalization. His illness is scary and definitely life-threatening if he's not a good patient (and that's a concern.) He has wonderful friends in NYC, but no family there. It's a complex problem and one of the most incredible stress magnets I've been around since my surgery almost a year ago. 

So far, so good. Going for the protein and secondarily veggies first when eating out. Have had some adult beverages, but won't let that get out of hand.

I'm darn happy if I just stay even through this crisis. Losing more weight would be a bonus.

Stay posted. This is a gigantic challenge and probably the first test of my long-term sleeve weight-loss maintenance.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Strength in Numbers

At the first of the month, I went back to measuring up or measuring down, depending on how you look at it.

Well, all I can say is THANK GOODNESS, because the weight is still stalled at 197 (a giant aaaarrgh.) I started back strength training twice a week with my new trainer Shannon on Sept. 10, and that plus increasingly turning into a pretzel with my awesome yoga trainer Thomas Thompson twice a week ... drum roll ... my waist went down 3.5 INCHES in the past three months, without losing a pound. In fact, when I started strength training, my weight shot up several pounds and it was pretty upsetting.

Hubby Bob had been telling me my body was reshaping and liking it, but to tell the truth I didn't believe him. He's never complained about my weight, no matter how high it was and hasn't complained while I've been losing weight.

So here is the current tally, friends:

Dec. 2, 2012
Bust w/o bra: 41", -2"
Waist: 35.5", -7.5"
Hips: 44", -6.5"
Upper Right Arm: 14", -2" 
Right Thigh: 27", -3.25"
Right Calf:  16", -1.75"

Aug. 2, 2012
Bust w/o bra: 41", -2"
Waist: 39", -4"
Hips: 45", -5.5"
Neck: 15", -1.5"
Upper right arm: 15", -1"
Thigh: 27", -3.25"
Right Calf: 17", -.75"

Jan. 20, 2012 (The first time I measured after my Dec. 27, 2011, gastric sleeve surgery.)
Bust w/bra: 43"
Waist: 43" (makes me wonder if I'm a tree trunk ... I think getting a waist back will be sublime!)
Hips: 50.5"
Neck: 16.25"
Upper right arm: 16"
Thigh: 30.25"
Right Calf: 17.75"

Steph's note still adorns my frig.
One side note, I'm so concerned and my heart and prayers go out to my friend and dietician at WeightWise, Steph Moore. Anyone who thinks you don't get attached to the folks who help you through this transformation would be wrong.

Steph was in a terrible crash on the Turner Turnpike en route from Tulsa back to Oklahoma City the Saturday after Thanksgiving. She and her fiancé were both hurt, but according to the WeightWise Facebook page, she broke numerous bones, had lots of internal injuries and apparently spent several days in ICU. I understand she's improving -- walking and now off her ventilator.

Steph, know that I'm thinking about you. And heck, I know you. At some point, you'll have your laptop or whatever and you'll be checking up on me and my little blog.

Your last note to me continues to be on my frig and will probably stay there for awhile -- until you're better. Not that it says anything profound, but it just makes me send good thoughts your way every time I see it.

Hang in there girl. Can't wait to hear you're home and doing better.

Love ya Steph,

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Funniest Food Talk Ever

Posing with my daughter Kat, left, and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain
Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain is one funny guy.

My daughter Kat and I had a fantastic time hearing him when he was in town last Sunday night, Nov. 11, on his "Guts and Glory" tour.

And the most hilarious yet saddest part of his talk was when he elaborated on his calling another celebrity chef Paula Deen out for some of the dishes served in her Lady and Sons restaurant in Savannah, Ga.

The irreverent and a bit profane Bourdain originally called Deen "the worst, most dangerous person to America," for creating dishes like her outrageous double cheeseburger served in between two doughnuts instead of a regular hamburger bun. The hamburger patties are topped with a fried egg and bacon. It tops out at nearly 1,400 calories per serving and 73 grams of fat.

And there's another Deen dish that's almost as bad: meatloaf topped with a cheese sauce that comes in at almost 1,000 calories per serving.

But the best was Deen's fried stuffing on a stick. How can you do that to stuffing?

He called her out again when she came out with the fact that she has Type 2 diabetes and announced she's going to be endorsing a diabetes drug. 

What does this have to do with my gastric sleeve surgery? Nothing except that no wonder so many Americans are obese when they're eating stuff like that. I'm sure eating something that rich would now make me sick.

I appreciate that Bourdain now crusades for much healthier food choices and isn't afraid to call out some of these chefs who create dishes with no regard to people's health. More power to him.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

All 'Eyes' on Halloween

Garlic chives make up the eyelashes on these Deviled Eggy Eyes.
Last Saturday night, I had a dilemma — bring a side dish to our homeowner's association traditional Halloween soirée that typically features a roast pig, pulled beef brisket, ribs and every kind of fattening pot luck side dish you can imagine from an expansive Halloween-themed cupcake display to dozens of salads, mac-and-cheese, baked beans, potato salads and au gratins.

I wanted to bring something I could eat that would be festive, so I decorated some Deviled Eggs with thin slices of pimento-stuffed olives and gave them eyelashes from the garlic chives growing in a pot on our back porch. Not exactly completely original to use the olives to make eyes, but I haven't seen anyone else do the chive eyelashes.

My most-used appliance — the Cuisinart egg cooker.
I hard-boiled a dozen plus eggs in my favorite appliance — the super-cute Cuisinart egg cooker (yes, it trumps my Cuisinart food processor, although it's a close race.) The reason I like my Cuisinart egg cooker, besides looking like it could be a Star Trek pod person, is because the eggs cook perfectly with none of that nasty gray exterior you get on overcooked yolks. The eggshells peel off easily, no matter how fresh your eggs are.

I mashed up the egg yolks in another bowl, mixed them with light mayonnaise to the right consistency, a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, about a teaspoon of Paul Prudhomme's Poultry Magic seasoning and then made them smooth and creamy by hitting them with just a touch of an immersion blender. Then I folded in about three tablespoons of capers for some savory texture. 

Filling eggs with a quart-size plastic bag filled with the creamy caper and egg yolk mixture. Roll the sides of the plastic bag down to make it easier to fill, then squeeze the mixture down to a corner and cut it off.
I put my creamy egg yolk mixture in a quart-size plastic bag, cut off one of the corners and piped the yolks back into my egg yolk whites. I gave the eggs a light sprinkling of some smoked paprika, cut a pimento-stuffed green olive about 1/16-inch thick and my garlic chives. I arranged them so no matter how you approached the platter, they were looking at you.

They were flying off the buffet table and onto partygoers plates when we left to go watch the University of Oklahoma football team lose terribly to our long-time nemesis Notre Dame. Oh well — at least the eggs were good.

I'm in the middle of a diet "reboot," which seems to have gotten me moving downward on the scales again. For most weekday meals, I've been substituting protein shakes or drinks and snacking in between meals on a protein bar or snack. On weekends, I commute to meet my hubby who is working back in the States, and I let my sleeve limit my eating and just try to make good choices.

I'm down to 196, a 77-pound loss. Finally moving again. I'm looking forward to my first-of-the-month Measure Down Day on Thursday.

For Halloween, I plan to buy some puckery Skittles (or another candy I don't like) to give to my spooks and goblins, so I won't have any trouble staying away from it.