Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Thank You, My Friend

A few months ago, I commented that I didn't know if anyone was really reading my TALO blog. My philosophy was mostly that I wanted to hold myself accountable and if anybody else got something from it, that would be gratifying.

I got a Facebook message yesterday from a dear friend and former colleague who moved out-of-state a couple of years ago. She's also married to a tall, lanky drink-of-water kind of guy, whom I suspect has the same kind of hollow legs as my 6'2" hubby.

"I know as a writer you don't always know that you have been an inspiration or help to someone. You even commented you didn't know if anyone was reading one of your blogs. Well, I'm writing to say thank you and let you know you've been a big inspiration to me for the last several months," she wrote.

With a couple of 'Alien' street performers in Barcelona in late July 2012.
She dieted for about six months for insurance reasons before Roux N-Y surgery mid-summer. And she has many of the same co-morbidities that I've struggled with — sleep apnea, high blood pressure, bad knees, etc. 

My friend is probably a little younger than I am, but we're both in about the same place lifestyle-wise. And I have a feeling we're both lucky women in that our hubbies love us no matter whether we're lean and mean or maybe not so much.

Here's a bit more of what she wrote:

"In January, I was looking for a blog from someone who had been through it. Imagine how excited I was to find one from a person I know and respect!! (I need you to write more, by the way.) So, I've been following it and you!

"It was great because we also do the wine on the patio thing and travel and just flat love to eat. ... I lost 15 pounds before and 16 so far since. So thank you for the times I wasn't sure I would be able to go through with it. And for lately. I've been looking back through to see how you handled what and when. This is crazy stuff but I think it's all going to be well worth it. (Oh, I had the Roux-N-Y). I so want a glass of wine! We are going on a cruise in September ... maybe then."

I was so touched and her message made me all teary and it's still having that effect. I'm not going to use her name for privacy reasons, but I know she'll be reading this and I wanted her to know how much her message meant to me. Thank you for that, dear friend.

I wrote back what a great tool that my gastric sleeve has been, and one thing I know for sure is that a person still has to do the hard work of staying on the weight-loss program. There's nothing like making a permanent lifestyle change and not giving yourself an out on it.

I've had some challenges: extended weight-loss stalls, hair loss, occasional nausea when I eat out with friends and sometimes slip into old habits of eating too fast.

The most obvious victory is my about 75-pound weight loss and how much better I feel, especially my knees, feet and back. 

And I've had lots of NSVs, also known as non-sleeve victories. I'm off all meds except for one — a blood-pressure med. My sleep apnea is lots better, and I'm hopeful that one day I'll be able to go without the Hannibal Lecter look-a-like CPAP mask. And forgive the indelicacy of it, but even my stress incontinence is much better. My new size 14 jeans purchased for the Barcelona trip are already getting loose. I think just by looking at the look on my face in the picture above, you can tell how much happier I am.

My hubby is amazed at how much better I'm feeling.  He tried hard to talk me out of having the surgery, but now is enjoying my increased energy and general improvement in my healthy well-being and comments on it frequently. I think he's come around.

Probably my biggest complaint is my whine about wine, or the lack thereof, to get off the weight. Can't have it often and lose weight. Plus, I just don't enjoy it as much. It kind of bothers my stomach some. I'm also finding the times I've had what I'd call a Carol Cosmo — vodka mixed with some Fuze low-cal fruit drink — I can't metabolize the alcohol very well and it hits me like the proverbial ton-of-bricks. Pretty much knocks me off my rocker. Not a good thing.

There are bumps, but they are getting smaller and the NSVs are getting more and larger. I'm going to stay after it.

Thanks, my friend, for the encouragement. Sometimes you get it when you least expect it. I'll be rooting for you and stay in touch!



Monday, August 27, 2012

Getting a Grip on the Roller Coaster

OK, I have no more excuses.

I need to get back to blogging and back to holding myself accountable, now that I'm healthy again and have no excuses.

For those who didn't follow my TALO blog, I had a series of health issues. First an abscessed molar while in Africa. Rambo antibiotics to get me home to the U.S. so I could get it addressed. And a day after getting the bad molar pulled, I had a couple of days of high temps, flu-like symptoms and Montezuma's like you wouldn't believe. The temps and flu-stuff went away, but the explosive "Monte" stayed around — for three weeks, including a long-planned trip to visit my daughter in Barcelona. I went anyway, but it was tough.

Many (negative) tests ensued, included a negative malaria test. My doc said I just had a virus. OK, virus begone — please.

My weight see-sawed during this time down to 193 pounds and back up to 203. I even threw up in some big-time places on my trip, including during turbulence on the way to Barcelona and in a two-Michelin-star restaurant and after eating my first goat ever, which I think was just too rich for my sleeve.

My system finally settled down and I got back to normal at about 199-200. I wasn't complaining.

I was just trying to string together some healthy days, and now I have.

During my sick three weeks, I tried to blog on our travel blog, ToAndFrowe.com, and was informed by my lovely and protective daughter that, "it's not up to your usual writing standards. Don't blog, Mom, until you feel better."

Now I'm back on that horse and riding it. I've started edging down again and was at 197 this morning. And I'm blogging.  



Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sizes and Pounds and Measurements -- Oh My!

I don't get it.

I'd pinned up my second set of jeans -- Size 18s -- for a couple of months now, and finally decided to buy smaller jeans before my July 22 10-day, trip to beautiful, exotic Barcelona, Spain, to visit darlin' daughter who had been in the study abroad program. 

Hooray, I slid comfortably right into Size 14s!!!!

En route to Montjuic on the Teleferic with Barcelona in the background.
OK, here's the confusing part. I took my measurements this morning and they're virtually the same as they were three months ago.  I don't get it. I know I'm a smaller size and a lighter weight. And I look better and my cheekbones are emerging. Lots of NSVs or non-sleeve victories too.

In this picture on the Teleferic (gondola) en route to the top of Montjuic in Barcelona (that's why a pole is sticking out of my head,) I'm wearing a blouse I formerly couldn't get into. My favorite NSV was that my knees and feet didn't hurt on the about 2-mile walk weaving down through all the gorgeous gardens and the Joan Miro' museum.

And I even went to the Sitges (pronounced sea-CHAISE) beach the day before and spent time in a SWIMSUIT on the fine, sand beach at the sparkling, clear Mediterranean.

So here's the offending measurements:

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"

April 1, 2012
Bust w/o bra: 42", -1"
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"

Those measurements will be better next month. That's it. No discussion. They just will be.

My internal system has been malfunctioning for more than two weeks straight now, since returning from our West Africa trip July 14. I know this is too much information, but still can't seem to solve the problem, no matter what I eat or don't eat. Still hoping it was the antibiotics for my now-extracted tooth. I was as a bit better this morning, but then the problem came roaring back after breakfast. Hoping my innards will settle down in the next day or two. Looking forward to seeing how my weight settles out after I'm not dehydrated anymore.

All my tests taken between West Africa and Barcelona came back negative, so if it doesn't stop soon, it's more tests for me. Sigh.

Other than that, it really wasn't that hard to travel with my sleeved stomach. More on some of that famous Barcelona food especially the tapas and coping with that soon. I even had some molecular gastronomy, which was blow-your-mind-kinds of food.