Hi. I just finished writing this post and realized..wow, it's long. Apologies if you're bored, but I'm keeping it real. You might want to fix a fresh beverage or pack a snack before reading. And as always....your comments and feedback are appreciated.
How's everyone doing this fine hot summer? We're tooling right along here in the extremely hot Southeast USA. I had an outing this weekend with some ladies and while eating supper, they asked many questions about my surgery and how things are going. One made the comment that I needed to blog about my experiences more than I have. So, I figured I would take a minute to talk a little bit more about myself and what's been going down in the life of Miss Hope.
Next month is my one year anniversary since the change of my life. I will take that time to tell you all about the good side and how much better my health is and blah blah and etc. Right now, I'll tell you how consumed I am and may be just a tad overwhelmed at times.
Before surgery, I never worried about eating. That's kind of obvious because I was what is called SMO (super morbid obese). *shudder* I hate that I let my body get to that term in my medical files. How can I put this to explain what I'm trying to say?
Let's try this. How many of you really worry about what you're going to eat for your next meal? You eat breakfast, lunch, supper, and maybe a snack or two. Not much thought goes into it unless you're cooking a big meal and need prior preparation. Before surgery, I ate what I wanted for breakfast, if I even ate breakfast. No joke. I am not a breakfast eater and couldn't understand why on earth I got so big when I wasn't eating twenty four hours a day. I never ate a super huge lunch, either. Sandwich and chips were fine or just the sandwich alone. I always tried to fix a good hearty supper (I am Southern so think of hearty in capital letters) for the family and I took full advantage of that meal. It was nothing for me to ask the hubby to bake up some peanut butter cookies maybe every other month and sit and eat a plate straight from the oven.
If I thought about food, it was along the lines of "hmm, I just finished lunch, wonder what I can whip up for supper or where can we go eat?" You think about food, but it brings warm fuzzies because you just adore it.
All that changed on August 18, 2011.
I wasn't prepared.
I wasn't prepared for how my world would change so drastically on that day.
I had some serious buyer's remorse in the few weeks after surgery. I know now that having that feeling is normal and common. I cried to my husband as I smelled all this wonderful stuff I couldn't eat. I wailed to my family, "What have I done to myself? How could I do this?? I will never eat agaaaaaaaainnnnn!!!"
Yeah, it got ugly, people.
Little did I know that we store estrogen in our fat cells and Miss Hope had fat cells popping left and right so the hormones were going off like a ticker tape parade that wouldn't end. I was a big pot of a hot mess. (Apologies if I've mentioned this in a previous post, but if I could prepare one person going to have this surgery about anything afterwards, this is it right here.)
My cycle went completely bonkers on me, because yet again....hormones being released at a crazy rate into my system. At my six week post-op visit, I told the smug acting doctor who replaced my amazing surgeon that he really needed to warn women about this because I thought I was dying. Seriously. I went to my family doctor just knowing I was dying and she calmed me down and assured me that I was totally normal and what was going on was normal, too. Just to let you know, I did try to convince the wonderful Dr. C to remove my uterus while he was doing the gastric bypass and he said, "1. I don't mess with girly parts. (yes, he said that) and 2. I want to take as little time as possible with surgery for your sake." I remember looking at him and saying, "Surely, you got a golf buddy who is an ob/gyn who could slip in beside you?" Yeah, I wish I had pushed that a little harder.
I still have my gall bladder, too. Most surgeons will go ahead and remove a gall bladder during WLS (weight loss surgery) because chances are you will have it removed within 18 months or less due to massive and quick weight loss. I think I had an issue with it a few months ago and went in to see Dr. Smug. He told me he believes in yanking it out and taking a look around while inside. BEHOLD! I felt immediately better! It was a miracle! I kid you not. I haven't had any issues since, but I've tried to watch what I eat so as not to aggravate it further. Miss Hope doesn't feel like going under again any time soon.
Now to address the eating part.
Before surgery, I would eat what I wanted. Now? I eat to stay alive. Big difference.
And it's hard. Harder than I thought it would be. Impossible? Not at all. Just different than my life had been up until that point.
I am told that I need to get in 60-80 grams of protein a day. 64 or more ounces of fluid that has no sugar is required.
People, that is hard to do. Count one day as you eat and see for yourself. I really don't want this post to turn into a long boring piece about what I eat day by day, so suffice it to say it is not easy. I can only eat around 3/4 to one cup of food per sitting. Some days my system is grouchy and I'm lucky to get in a 1/2 cup of food. If you don't eat enough protein, you won't lose weight. True story. Your body will hang onto every single thing you ingest because it believes you are trying to starve yourself. Talk about messing with your mind!
I have become consumed with food. I hate that part. I hate that before I loved food and never worried about fat, protein and carb content. I hate that now I am obsessed with making sure I give my body what it needs to survive and lose what it needs to lose. I hate that I end up talking about it with Neighbor Debbie and Sherry Lou so much because I know they're bored senseless with my ramblings. God bless 'em, though, because they have been such amazing support and never act like I'm bugging them. They listen. They make suggestions. They keep me sane. I would literally be locked up by now if it wasn't for my husband, children (they police me "have you had enough to drink, Mama? Have you had enough protein today?"), Neighbor Debbie, Neighbor Greg, Big J and Sherry Lou. These people are on my Christmas List from now on and forever.
I can't have rice, breads, pastas, or sweets. You know, all that is Southern and good. It will cause the dumping episode. (posted the dumping link before but it helps you understand better) I am scared of the dumping syndrome. I've had it happen a couple of times because of crazy reasons. I didn't do it intentionally, but sugar/carbs hide in food that you don't know about and I've been caught unawares. I miss these foods. Wait, let me see if I can make you understand. I MISS THESE FOODS. With every fiber of my being.
Addiction much? Many WLS patients scoff when you mention food addiction. I believe it exists and I have it. Let me ask you this. Why do we have pity and label someone who is an alcoholic or hooked on drugs an addict and we're all "Let's help them! Put them in rehab! Let's get them straight!" They tell the addict to avoid the situations where alcohol is involved. Get away from that former life. Hey, Drug Addict, you need to avoid the "friends" you had before and get away from that former life, too! Uh...where do I go? I can't avoid my family. I love them. I can't avoid food. I kinda need it to live. I have triggers just like the alcoholic. If I were to eat a helping of pasta, I would want more. Even if it made me sick as a dog from dumping syndrome.
So, what do I do? I watch others eat what I can't have. I console myself with the fact that I've had enough of these foods in my life time to last five life times. Will I ever be able to eat them again? Probably. The further out from surgery you get, the more you are able to tolerate. I don't want to, though. I watched my Grandaddy be an alcoholic until I was six years old (yes, I remember his drinking) and after that, he was a recovering alcoholic until his death ten years ago. I hope and pray I can be as strong as he was and just put the bad away and concentrate on the good.
A few weeks ago, I didn't feel like cooking supper one night. I had some frozen pizzas in the freezer for a time such as this and I told The Man to cook 'em up for himself and the kids. For the first time since surgery, I was affected. Those pizzas smelled so good cooking, I couldn't hardly stand it. You know the cartoons where the subject is literally lifted off of the ground and lured somewhere by the aroma of something good? That's what I felt like. I stayed in the living room while they ate supper and sipped a protein shake. The Man went to run an errand and while he was gone, I walked in the kitchen. Big mistake. HUGE mistake. I just stood there and looked at that pizza with such longing. They had cooked a really thin crust cheese pizza for my son. I picked up a piece. I took a bite. I took another bite. I ate the whole piece. It wasn't a big piece, but I ate it. Then I went into panic mode and waiting for the dumping syndrome to begin. It didn't. Crap. What did I do? I ate another small piece. Son of a gun. What on earth was wrong with me??? I did feel a tad yucky but not a full fledged gonna die episode. (Had to tell you this after proofreading. When The Man got home, I told him I had a confession and then told him about the pizza. His response? "We'll have to work hard to make sure it doesn't happen again." We. He said "we". That's how he rolls. We're in this together. I loved him so good in that moment.)
I got scared. No, I was terrified. I ate something I wasn't supposed to eat.
The next morning, I called the therapist associated with my surgeon's office to make an appointment. She had a cancellation that week and I snatched it up. When I went into that appointment, I was a woman on a mission. I had been working on my body for almost 11 months at that time but never really worked on my head. It was time. Now, I want to go in my brain and find out the root of this addiction and see if I can find a way to control it. She was thrilled that I was terrified after eating the pizza. It meant I was aware and ready to fix the upstairs portion to match the downstairs. I believe that will be the best call I've made in a long time.
I've done much better since then. I have too much to lose, Literally and figuratively. I don't want to go through the surgery to reroute my insides, only to out eat all that hard work. I want to succeed with all my heart, mind, and soul.
I've said this before and I'll say it again and again. Weight loss surgery is NOT the easy way out. It's the last resort. I've lost so much weight over the years and regained. I was a foodaholic that kept falling off of the wagon over and over again. Will I fall again? I don't know. If I do, I will get up off my considerably smaller butt and run like crazy to jump back on that wagon. I have to, people. I owe it to myself first and my family and friends second to do what I can to be around for a while, God willing.
I admit that most days I am mad that I have to be consumed to my eyebrows with making sure I get enough protein and fluids in my system. I almost got dehydrated last week for the first time. I was busy and time got away from me and when I started getting sick, I realized I hadn't been drinking for two days like I was supposed to be doing. Now, I have Neighbor Debbie pointing her finger at me and saying "You drinking enough?" when we're out and about.
I truly hope you don't think this is a negative post. It's really not how I intend to come across to my peeps. It's a new lifestyle I've been trying to adjust to while the world keeps going around me with so many distractions. I'm looking forward to my one year post where I tell you all the amazing NSV's (non-scale victories) I've had since last August. There will be pictures, of course.
I am asking that you do your level best to keep from judging those who have had to have weight loss surgery. The obese world is a hard world to live in..especially in society today. Trust me, we are hard enough on ourselves. We don't need unkind words, snickers, or asinine opinions from those who haven't had a weight problem of this magnitude. Just know we are properly jealous of those of you who can wear the cute clothes and eat whatever you want. We only want to be accepted and for you to get to know how cool we are on the inside.
Be kind to one another. Please.