Monday, August 31, 2009

I did something good!

This morning, I worked out. I did arm stuff with my free weights. Holy hell, do I feel like jello.

But, good jello!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

ENT checkup

Successful (sorta) trip to the ear/nose/throat doc this morning. I had my tonsils removed two days before Christmas '08 and have been following up ever since. 

The doc saw that I had a sleep study to get medical clearance for my band last year, and requested a repeat study to see if the "severe obstructive sleep apnea" I had had improved.

It has!

I refuse to use a CPAP machine because they scare the ever-loving shit out of me. Before my band surgery, I stopped breathing 45 times an hour (none during REM - but the ENT doc thinks I just didn't get to REM during that study). Now, after both the band/losing 55+ lbs and having my enormous tonsils removed, I stopped breathing 7 times a night, but 22 during REM.

Now, the ENT doc thinks it's great improvement and all, but he attributes "the great majority" of the improvement to - wait for it - HIS work in removing my tonsils! I quickly added that "perhaps losing nearly 60lbs helped?"

He was sure to say that it was a great start, but that I should keep "trying" to lose weight. 

I was already in a foul mood because he was 45 minutes late - as in, kept me waiting 45 minutes - and I had to be at work, where my boss had a project waiting for me to discuss with him. Naturally. When I'm late. 

Ugh. Doctors. 

Monday, August 17, 2009

another fill, a renewed hope

I have gained 9 lbs. It's insane. My ability to eat is huge. Like, I ate two bagels. This morning. Before noon. Not toasted.

Holy shit.

Saw the doc today.... and saw the scale.... and was determined to get back to a higher fill level. My therapist had another pearl of wisdom last week: maybe what I thought was too much was just right. The fact that I couldn't eat much when I was tighter.. is the whole point. Duh.

I asked for - and received - another 0.5ccs, so I went from 7.75 to 8.25 ccs. It's not the highest level I've been to, but may be what I need.

The doc wants to do my next fill under x-ray. I'll have to schedule that within the next couple of weeks. Very cool. I've had an x-ray before:
See my band? It's pretty cool. I had this x-ray several months ago when that particularly scary vomiting episode led to days of pain which led to extreme panic that I'd slipped my band (thankfully, all was well).

Looking forward to the next fill under fluoroscope with my doc. He's so cool.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I talked at length with my therapist today about food. We seem to talk a lot about other issues, like school and work, and (mostly) family relationships. But, after the other night and my confrontation of a judgmental stranger, I wanted to talk food.

We talked about how I felt ready for such a question ("That's all you've lost?") because I've been asking it of myself for months. 

One critically important thing I'm taking away from today's session: I need to grieve food. Every time I get a fill, I feel like I'm being punished for eating: no more eating for me. When I get fills taken out, it's a celebration: I can eat! Well, eat like I want to eat. Which is too much. 

I need to get a fill and grieve the loss of my food. It's such a huge source of pleasure for me. My therapist told me that I have to grieve it and it will be a huge loss, but not one I can't learn to live without. 

I'm going to give that a try. I get my next fill on Monday. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

support group

Well, I attended my first support group tonight. I've been post-op for over a year, but haven't been able to get to any support groups b/c of school and work, and always having class when they're held.

I thought it would be post-op bandsters only, but it was kind of a bandster free-for-all. Only about five of the thirty+ people there were post-ops. I was able to contribute a lot about my experience, and that made me feel good. What also made me feel good was when the patient liaison, co-chair of the group, called me by name. She remembers me! yay!

I had an interesting experience afterwards. I was talking to a pre-op woman behind me who had asked a few important and well-thought questions during the meeting. She wanted to know a few more things, so I was talking to her. Four more joined and asked me questions. I felt awesome! until..

This one skinny bitch (scusi, but she was!) kept interrupting. "Do you drink alcohol? How much soda do you drink? You hungry?" It irritated me, but I reminded myself that I was a question-filled pre-op once, too, so I answered her questions honestly.

Very quickly, though, she asked, "When was your surgery?" I told her, "May '08." Her next question - inevitably and without missing a beat - "and how much have you lost?"

"Almost sixty," I told her with a smile. After all, those were hard pounds to lose! And they were mine!

Her response?

wait for it..

wait foorrr it...

"Oh. That's all?"

I kind of sensed it was coming, so I had a mini-moment to prepare myself. I turned in my chair to face her directly, and, still smiling (though not quite as warmly), I answered in a clear, firm voice, so that I could be heard.

"Yes. 'That's all' I have lost. I hope you have an easier time with your surgery. It is not easy for anyone and I worked hard to lose as much as I have."

I went on to answer more questions from other pre-ops, but I made a point to keep coming back to this woman.

"It's really difficult to be on this side of surgery, more than you can imagine. It is a constant struggle. But I chose a band for a reason. I wanted to lose slowly, though I didn't realize it would be this hard. I chose the slow-but-steady route because I knew that if I didn't get the chance to fix my head, the reason I got fat in the first place, the surgery would not be successful, either for regain or 'head' issues."

She interrupted me then. "Well I wanna lose a hundred in the first year." First of all, she could not weigh more than 250, TOPS. And she was not a tiny woman, so 100 would have been plenty for her frame.

"Well, in that case," I told her, "maybe you should look into gastric bypass. Good luck with that." I was not putting up with this shit. No way. "If you want to drop weight and do it fast, bypass is great for you. For me, it's more important to have time to adjust to a new body, a new lifestyle, a new way of relating to food than to get skinny quick. But, hey, if that's what you want, have fun." I was gaining momentum. "You can drop 100 in a year with a band too, you know. If you work it, you can do it. I struggled with getting the right amount of fluid in my band to physically stop the hunger and the overeating. I struggle with exercise because of my schedule. See, I work full time. And I go to school full time. At night. So, yes, 'that's all' I've lost in this past year. But you know what?"

She looked at me quizzically. "I have kept it off. I've never been able to do that. And, furthermore, I am getting to know who I can be without the weight. I've never met her, and I have to live with her for the rest of my life, so I'd kind of like to get to know her. I've changed. My personality has changed. A lot. That's not easy to deal with. Again, good luck to you."

I was friendly but firm. After I was getting up to leave, she thanked me and apologized. I told her that we're all sensitive people. Labels and attention to the negative can be hurtful. "You're going to be on the other side someday soon," I warned her, "and it would be really helpful to be supported by people around you. You'll see."

I feel really good about standing up for myself, my decision, my struggle, my story. My life.

Monday, August 10, 2009

it's been a while, i know.

i've been away for school most of the summer. it was wonderful. i visited four countries and grew as a person. i feel so much more capable to take on the world now. also i feel more relaxed, adopting a very european "whatever will be, will be" kind of attitude. it's faded some in the 3 weeks i've been back at work, but i try to bring it to the surface as often as it's needed. which is pretty often.

i lost 9.6lbs on my trip! it felt good to see such a nice loss (over 35 days). i never counted calories. i ate ice cream at least once a day. i drank a lot of white wine. but i walked the shit out of my new birkenstocks. so much so that i felt different. more capable. more strong.

and i haven't really walked since. a HUGE drop in activity. i feel like i've gained all the weight back and probably then some. i'm also still exhausted, not really having a good solid rest in 8 weeks. i've been sleeping and sitting for the past 3 to rest from the previous 5 weeks! 

i had to go to lane giant the other day. there's a top that i've been dying some plus-size designer to make for ages (boat neck, cutouts on the sleeves so there's bare skin but the top of the arm, so i'm comfortable). i saw it in their ad and contemplated ordering it online, but i decided to go in and make sure i liked it. tried a 26/28 and a 22/24. some of my clothes are 22/24 and others are still 26/28s. i feel more comfortable in 26/28s but i do admit that sometimes a 22/24 looks better. anyway, i tried one of each and the 22/24 definitely fit, and fit well. what i thought was fit is really too big - the 26/28 looked fine to me, but when i tried the 22/24, i could see a difference. the bigger clothes really do make you look bigger! 

i bought a knitty cardi too, in basic black, to replace the craptastic avenue polyester monstrosity i'd been clinging to for three years. i got it in a 26/28 because i like my sweaters big. 

ANYWAY. my story does have a point. as i get to the register, i am chatting with the sales clerks when i mention how much i love this top with the cutouts and it would be perfect if it was not made sheer at the shoulder. the way it's made, i have to wear a strapless bra. the eager assistant (gay man, love love love seeing a gay man working at lane giant. he's FABULOUS) said i should buy a bra with clear straps. i didn't want to spend more money. he saw my coupon and told me i was already at $99, and the bras are buy one get one 50% off. i told him i needed to be measured. i was measured before my surgery last spring and bought a new set of bras with no underwire (i'd not ever worn a no-wire bra, thinking they'd be terribly unsupportive, but these were great!). recent pictures of me, however, show that i need new bras. i know they're big. the extra fabric looks stupid under clothes and i looked downright saggy! i was wearing 46DD bras.

he measured me (after asking if it was ok that he did it, how cute is THAT!) and... 

i'm a 42! woot woot. granted, he measured me at 42DDD, so that's up a cup size, but i'm tickled about the band size, which is what matters to me. he picked out two beautiful bras, one in a 42DD and the other in a 42DDD. i loved them both, and one works with my new top! I spent $100 exactly after my coupon and the sales and got great stuff. oh and i got realwoman dollars to spend in a few weeks. i love a bargain, but i really love the difference in clothes. 

i'll be buying more bras in a few weeks! :)