Friday, January 29, 2010

Boy, is my stomach stubborn!

That's right, it leaps small staples in a single bound!  It dances away from the surgeon's blade!  It laughs in the face of an upper GI!  It spews whatever nutritional entity is introduced to it!  It is...Pouchie the Pain-in-the-a**!

That's right, my surgery was not the smoothest.  Apparently my liver is the size of a football and I have a hernia in my belly button that needed repair (I had thought I was getting so fat that my belly button was caving under pressure).  So the surgery itself was difficult.  Then, when I woke up, I couldn't feel my feet.  I couldn't stand, walk, stroll, wiggle my toes...nothing.  Finally, the new stomach pouch (which I have christened "Pouchie") was taken in to the upper GI test, where he would not surrender the bariatric dye.  That's right a blockage.

To keep it from getting too graphic (as my friend D. will lose her cookies), I was in the hospital for 8 days instead of 2.5.  Yikes.

But I can tell you that I can already stand, and walk, and bend at the waist (a little, anyway).  I do have to have supplemental oxygen, but they think that as my body loses fat that my lungs will get the extra room and I will be fine.

Let's see how the weekend goes...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tomorrow's the day

...therefore tonight is the night I worry.  Did I make the right decision?  Will I heal well?  Can I ever eat pizza again?  So, to keep occupied and yet still obsess, here is my list of obsessions.
  • I have to bathe in iodine tonight and tomorrow.  What if my shellfish sensitivity is really an allergy to iodine and I turn into one enormous hive?  What if I stain the shower, my bath poof, the towels, or spill it on the cat?  What if I miss a spot?
  • I had to take a stool softener (TMI, I know).  What if I poop on the surgery table?  It happened to a pregnant friend of mine, so you never know.
  • What if, at the last minute, they tell me to go home because they found out that I am weak-willed and desperately want pizza?
  • What if they read this and decide I shouldn't have passed the psych eval after all
  • What if I get that sleep-eating thing tonight and have to reschedule because my stomach isn't empty?
  • What is going to happen with my hair?  All the experts say to expect losing your hair, and I've already lost at least 1/2 of my thickness because of a weird hormone thing.  
  • What if I can't do it, and I don't lose any weight?
  • What if I do it, and then regain everything I lost?
  • What will I wear, and why am I not allowed mascara in the O.R.?  
Okay.  I think that's about all.   I'm off to bathe in iodine.  I think I'll put down a tarp...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bariatric Babe's new beginning

Okay, so I decided that since I am a prominent HR Guru, I should have a code name for blogging.  Or "handle" as my parents called it in the 70's (or so I heard).  And I remember asking my good friend D. what she was doing.  The response was, "Oh, you know.  Just sitting around being a babe."  So I picked Bariatric Babe, or The Babe (as the case may be).

If you are thinking, "I want to know more about this obviously astute and clever 'D.'," you should check out her blog Fit by Fifty.  She is HI-larious.  And understands the fight between the desire to be fit and the desire to eat Giant Cheetos.

Preparing for weight loss word...

Distraction, distraction, distraction.

You see, I can't eat anything for 2 days prior to surgery.  So I haven't eaten since last night at 9:00pm, and I won't eat anything for at least another week.  Just clear liquids.

So when your brain insists that it is time to eat, and you have to pass 30 billboards on the way home with juicy cheeseburgers on them, and every other ad on TV is for pizza (my biggest downfall), and your mother is eating something that I would normally think is gross but smells delicious today in the other room, ya gotta find something to distract yourself.

It's time to shop!  I'm looking on-line for super-cool things that remind me of the healthy habits I will be starting.  I already perused the "resort wear" collection at Avenue (ooooo....swimsuits!), but I thought I'd share some things that might actually be helpful.

First up, I will need to drink lots and lots of water, until my eyeballs float and my bladder cries for mercy.  So I was looking for a water bottle that is good for the environment and not a pain in the butt to cart around (both full and empty).  Go to and check out these collapsible water bottles.  Fill them up, freeze them, put them in the top of your dishwasher rack, carry them with you, then roll up the empty bottles to take home and do it all over again!  These look awesome, and as soon as the blue color is back in stock, I'm ordering several.

Here is the next cool one.  I don't have immediate purchase plans, because eating solid food is a long way off, but these bowls have measurements built right in.  So you can measure your cereal in the bowl you eat it.  Now you and I know that we could just eat out of the measuring bowl, or we could measure and then put it into the bowl, but we also know that if we haven't managed to do it yet, we need something simpler.  It's microwavable and dishwasher safe, and come in a 1/2 to 2 cup size or a 1/4 to 3/4 cup size.  Cool!  Find this one at

As there are still 3 hours left in the evening before I can reasonably go to bed, I may find even more cool stuff to share.  Hey, it's not compulsive shopping until I actually buy something, right?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Why I'm having bariatric surgery. Or, "Because I said so."

Here is why I'm going to extreme lengths to lose weight.  In no particular order:

*I can't walk.  I have to plan everything I do so I take the least amount of steps.  I worry that I will get halfway through the store and not be able to get back to my car because my back hurts so bad.
*I can't bend over.  God help me if I drop something important.
*I can't sit on the floor or cross my legs.
*I can't wear real shoes or slippers or anything cute.  My feet are practically round.
*My legs and feet are constantly swollen.  They look appalling.
*Good grooming is a major undertaking, and sometimes impossible.  I can't reach to scrub my back, or in-between my toes, or exfoliate and shave my legs comfortably, so I always feel slightly icky.
*I have no neck.  I got a necklace as a gift and I love it, but can't wear it.
*I haven't gone on a vacation in a year, because I can't fit comfortably on a plane.  It is mortifying to have to ask for a lap-belt expander, and even worse to see the look of annoyance on the person who realizes they have to sit next to me.  And I love to fly, and to travel.  But right now the idea of having to travel feel like a little piece of hell.
*I hate people looking to see what I eat, whether it's in a restaurant or at the grocery store.  This one is probably in my head more than in reality, but it makes me self-conscious.
*I love swimming, and I'm too embarassed to go to a public pool.  I can't even find a swimsuit that fits.
*I can't breathe.  I found out that I don't have asthma, or anything wrong with my lungs.  They just can't expand enough with all the fat surrounding them.  I also have to wear a machine that breathes for me at night.
*My stomach almost touches the steering wheel, even with the seat all the way back.
*The thrill of new clothes is dampered by how unlikely I am to find something that fits, and to realize that I don't look cute in it anyway. 
*I've isolated myself to the point that I can go a whole weekend without leaving the house or talking to anyone.  And I'm a natural extrovert.
*About 90 pounds ago, I went on some blind dates.  And it killed my soul a little each time I would meet someone new and see the look of disappointment flash in their eyes.  One guy even walked out on me, pretending that he wasn't the one that was supposed to meet me.   And that was 90 pounds ago.
*I don't love meeting new people.  I don't love trying new things.  I don't love the unknown.  And I used to love all of that.  Now, all I can think of are the barriers:  Will that new restaurant have a booth I can't fit in?  Will that new person blow me off before getting to know me?  Will I be humiliated and embarrassed because I can't do something?  And I hate this scared, "glass-half-empty" person. 
*I love fussing with my hair, makeup, and clothes.  But I don't because right now I don't see the point--none of it makes me feel pretty anymore.
*"No fat chicks."
*Feeling out of control every time I get hungry.  And out of control every time I eat. 
*The bigger I am, the smaller my world gets.
*I almost don't remember what it feels like to be flirted with, or kissed, or admired.  I remember just enough to make me really sad.
*I see the look of worry in the eyes of my friends and family.  And I hate being the cause of that.
*I dread going to the doctor.
*I waste a lot of time with worry, with disappointment, with being preoccupied with food, with living second-hand.
*I feel like I'm a disappointment to my family, and I feel like I'm a burden to my friends.
*I'm feel like a happy person trapped inside a lot of misery and sadness.
*I eat to feel better, and I just end up feeling worse.
*I miss having hope, and possibilities, and energy.

This post is designed to slap me in the face anytime I want to go "off plan" after the surgery.  I know there are people that gain back all the weight, and I don't want to be one of them.  I need to remember why I made this decision in the coming months when I am tempted to go off plan.  I need to remember that I am doing this to get my life back, and how grim it has been.  It's all too easy to forget, and forgetting this misery is the surest way to get back to it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Delayed Gratification

Ever psych yourself up for something and then it doesn't happen.  Like when you really have to sneeze.  You scrunch up your face, close your eyes, take a deep breath in, and....nothing.

Yup, my gastric bypass surgery was postposed.  Only a week, but still.  I'd already started fasting.  And I am a bitch when I don't eat (I have several co-workers, vendors, and worker's comp lawyers that can now attest to this).

Yet I don't feel as though I have a "reprieve" or "stay of execution."  I feel let down.  And yeah, I can eat carbs for another 7 days, but what is the point, really?  It feels like a punishment.  I never thought I'd say that.  I guess this means I'm ready...

Monday, January 11, 2010

From the Mom

My mom just came into town, since she is going to be helping me after my surgery.  She just handed me a piece of paper with this on it, and asked me to read it before going to bed, and again when I woke up:

"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."  from Isaiah 43:1-3 NRSV

I like the idea of walking through fire and not being burned.  Maybe singed a little is all.

I don't see this process as smooth sailing, but I (somewhat surprisingly) have faith that I will come through it.  With scars, yes.  But without being consumed.

Thank you for reminding me, Mom.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New beginnings

I have a feeling this blog is about to take a very different turn than just an outlet for my silliness. I made the decision a while ago that I was ready to have a gastric bypass. I've been heavy all my life, but in the last 2 years my life has gotten completely unmanageable. For a long time I've fought this, thinking I could just go on a diet again. And it wasn't until I really looked at myself that I realized I just do not have one more diet left in me. And that I could either fade away, hiding in my bulk, and let this kill me, or I could go to the extreme (and only known cure for morbid obesity) and have the bypass. Today is the day they scheduled my surgery, just 9 short days away, on January 14, 2010.

I will never again be able to eat a whole loaf of bread. This does not make me sad. I will have to take vitamins for the rest of my life--this is doable. I will have to focus on protein, then veggies, then fruits, then (if there is any space left) complex carbs. This will be hard, don't get me wrong, but it isn't the end of the world. Giving up soda is going to be hard, so I'm just not going to think about it. And even if I am one of the people who can't eat chocolate after the survery, I will live. It will not be the most horrible thing.

No. Horrible is shopping in a gas station because I don't have to walk as far as I would in a grocery store to get to the milk. Horrible is the clothing that I'm forced to wear, because nothing fits (and even if it did, it would be of the mumu variety and nothing pretty to look at). Horrible is having to take showers, because I'm afraid that if I sit in the tub I won't be able to get back out (calling 911 when naked in the tub is not the most ideal way to meet firemen, I'm guessing). Horrible is not being able to cross your legs, sit on the floor, walk across a parking lot, or go shopping. Horrible is knowing that my size makes me invisible, shortens my lifespan, makes me hate myself. There's more of the horrible, of course, and I plan on writing it all down so that I can look back and see why I did this, in case the pain of the surgery or the throwing up or the restricted menus make me wonder "what the hell was I thinking."

Right now, all I can think about is my goal weight. My doctor told me that my ideal goal would be to weigh "around 150." 150. I was close, once. I made it to 148 after a four-month liquid diet followed by the stomach flu. That lasted about 15 minutes, when a deep sniff outside the pizza parlor pushed me back over 150 (that's right, yummy-smelling air has enough calories to make me gain weight). So I can't even imagine 150. I have to lose an entire Back Street Boy, plus one-half of Hanna Montana, to even be able to see it on the horizon. That's over 1/2 my current body weight. And I wonder, what happens when you lose more than half of yourself?

In my head, I'm hoping that it means there is more room for actual living--not sitting on the couch watching people act out life. And I don't know what kind of living I want to do--not yet. But, as Auntie Mame says, "Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!" Perhaps I will get to finally belly up to the banquet and eat...