Thursday, December 1, 2016

5 Weeks Out!

In less than two weeks, I'm back on the 5k circuit. 


Nervous.


I'm sure it will be fine, but with everything that my body has been through over the last few months I hope that it is ready.  I'm really going to have to buck up this week and power through a 3 or 4 mile walk to convince myself it will all be ok.  Plus, it's my first cold race.  So...


Next years race season is already in the works.  It looks like the Six Flags Roller Coaster Race and The Rivertown Run are a week apart, so that will be different for me.  I usually try to space them with at least a week in between, but these are my favorites.  It's good to challenge yourself, right?  Anybody, Anybody?


Just a few days ago, I hit the 50 pound mark.  I've lost 50 pounds since I made the decision to pursue Weight Loss Surgery (WLS) Amazing.  I can't believe it myself.




My doc suggested that I find an activity that I like other than walking and I am finding that as a struggle.  Walking is easy to fit into my day, but I guess I have to go old school and break out the free weights and pump the old iron.  My skin is getting super saggy, so I guess it's time to build some support muscle.


If you have any ideas on what other types of exercise/activities I might enjoy let me know.  Leave it in comments. 


I'm also super excited about my expanding diet options and mostly finding that I'm not as excited about them once they are a reality.  For example, this week I can have cold cereal (Only if it has less than 3g of Sugar and at least 5g of Fiber).  Eating cereal is a hard decision because the amount of food that I can have at a time is so limited AND I have a massive protein requirement, but sometimes, as much as I love cottage cheese...I miss something crunchy.  This morning I measured out my Cheerios and paired it with high protein Fairlife Milk.  The first few bites were miraculous and then....Soggyville.


My new acceptable foods are all carbs.  What a waste of a diet allowance.  Basically, if I eat any of them, I struggle to get in my proteins,  Tonight, I'm going to try to make Ricotta Bake, it's easy AND looks like Lasagna without the meat and noodles.  Hope it tastes as good. 


Always looking for high protein, low carb recipes and right now the only meat I can have is deli meat or fish. If you have a recipe worth sharing, hit me up in the comments, Facebook, Twitter (@truefictionblog), or Instagram (@chrmow).

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

4 Week Follow Up (Ode to Cottage Cheese)

Tomorrow will be 4 weeks since I had my surgery. 


So hard to believe.


I have my second follow up with the surgeon today and I'm nervous.  I was hoping to have lost about 20lbs in this first 28 days, but I stalled out in week 3 at 15lbs lost.  This is still MAJOR and it's impact is not lost on me. 


I'm down 2 dress sizes from April, clothes actually look kinda cute on me.  I've always tried to be conscious about the way I look, but it's definitely more fun when I feel like I can dress more like I feel inside.


Tomorrow I also get to step up my diet and add thin shaved deli meat, soft cooked beans or peas, and any soup as long as there is no beef.  While I am happy to be progressing, I feel like every new food addition is a step into an uncharted territory.  Since the protein shakes are now completely gagtastic, I have been trying to plan my meals so that I can fit in enough protein to be totally free of them.  I eat fish everyday and supplement with cottage cheese and/or Oikos Triple Zero Greek Yogurt.  In the last two weeks, cottage cheese has been my lifesaver.  It's my new perfect food.  When I'm eating something other than cottage cheese, I wish it were cottage cheese.  My family really loves it as well.  We need to buy stock in Prairie Farms because all kidding aside, we have gone through 15lbs of cottage cheese in 15 days and I can only eat it 1/2c at a time.


I'm pleased to announce that 4 weeks in, I've still never thrown up.  This was LITERALLY my biggest post surgery concern, second only to not getting enough protein and losing my hair.


My walking has continued to increase and I am now at about 4-4.5 miles per day. Getting stronger everyday!  My first post surgery race is 12/11/2016.  Ironically, The Hot Chocolate Run.  It seems unlikely to me that they will have "No sugar added", but I'm not really there for the beverages, right? I'm a little worried that it's too much too soon, but I'll never know unless I try.  I'll be walking with my friends Squirrely Berly and Susie.  I've never cried in front of them before, but unless tragedy strikes between now and then, that's likely to be the day.


All good things.  All good things.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

As Predicted

On Thursday, October 27, I awoke in the hospital to find the same old thing.  Me.


The surgery went off without a hitch if you don't count the hernia he found and repaired while he was in there. (Yes...ANOTHER hernia) Shortly after midnight, after the surgery, I was up and lapping the floor around the nurses station.  I was released from the hospital on the 27th after they confirmed that there was no leak in my gastric incision line with very little pain other than from the hernia repair.


The first few days were no big deal.  Resting and walking around the living room. A lot of thanking my husband for going above and beyond in ways only a man who took his "in sickness and in health" vows seriously can.  The clear liquid diet was ok...at first.  I wasn't experiencing any hunger, so it was more about forcing myself to get in the required protein and making sure that I was taking in enough to stay hydrated as slow and steady as possible. (not as easy as it seems it would be)
It was Sunday before I actually felt anything that was remotely like hunger and at this point, half a protein shake seemed to do the trick. 


Monday was Halloween and the hubster was gracious to drive me around while the kids did their thang. The doc probably would have liked me to walk after the surgery, but dealing with the tightness and the pulling from the hernia recovery was more than I could bear. As of Tuesday, I was getting around pretty good and was super pumped to start the full liquid diet the next day.


The full liquid diet was killing me slowly.  Not even gonna lie.  Protein shakes were getting old, protein drinks were better, but still a weird chalky flavor. Cream of Wheat was a blessing, but even with that I was dreaming of something with more substance.


The following Wednesday, a whole new world of food opened up to me.  Tuna, cheese, cottage cheese, mashed potatoes, low-fiber crackers.  This is living.  With this new advancement in my diet, I could no longer stomach the protein shakes, like at all.  I try to focus on foods that are higher in protein to make sure that I am getting my recommended amounts.  That basically means I eat fish a few times a day because there is not a scenario right now where I can even contemplate a protein shake.


I started back to work on Monday which was about 17 days since my surgery.  Everything is great.  I, of course, am looking forward to next week when I get to advance my diet again and enter the wonderful world of thin shaved deli meat.  So far I've lost 15lbs since the surgery and a total of 45 since I began this journey in April.  I am excited for all the changes and the opportunities that are in the forefront. 


I have attached a couple of before an after pictures.  The before pictures were taken from this very blog in 2011, the after taken last week.


More to come...












Tuesday, October 25, 2016

New Beginnings?

Tomorrow I am having Laproscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy.


I am a jumbled mix of excitement and nerves, but I am mostly at peace with my decision.


I have an amazing support system and while as I mentioned, there are some naysayers, my world is almost overwhelmingly positive, so thank you for that.


As I have addressed here before, I am an analyzer.  I really look into the heart of a person and see what they are truly about and I like to believe that I surround myself with generally good people.  Sure, some are catty...myself included sometimes, but it's a fun catty. (Ok, Ok, there's no such thing, we're working on it, ok?)


I've heard a lot about tomorrow and my new beginning.  It's all out of kindness and I don't want to sound at all ungrateful for the well wishes, but where did this idea come from?  This new beginning?


Sure, it all sounds great, right? 


Starting over?  Clean slate?


With all due respect, nothing about tomorrow is a clean slate.  I will not go under the knife tomorrow and wake up with a whole new body that allows me to start living the life I've always wanted.  What happens tomorrow won't remove all this extra weight in and of itself.  It will not change a minute, a word  It won't erase the fact that I haven't actively pursued a writing career.  It won't erase not even one of my 41 years.  It won't change anything, but the size of my stomach. 


If there is or was a new beginning to any of this it happened in April when I made the decision to pursue the operation.


Nothing about this is easy.


 You think it's easy?  Go on a 9 day liquid diet followed by two more weeks of a liquid diet.


This is not a new beginning, it's a different opportunity.  It's seeing the two roads diverge in the woods and taking the road that has a more direct path at being less morbidly obese.


This is a chance at being different.


All this does is mentally even my playing field.  It gives me the idea that I have a fighting chance and provides me with a weapon in my arsenal that I've never had before.


Tomorrow, when I come out of anesthesia...I will still be me. 


I will always still be me.


See you on the flip.







Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Save The Date

October 26, 2016


This is officially the date that I will undergo the surgery that I pray will be the tool that helps me to change my life.


I get a lot of questions about the procedure I am having, so click the link to find out all about Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy.  The link takes you directly to my surgeon's website.


This date is tentative pending the cooperation of my physician's office getting their crap together and faxing over a medical clearance for surgery.  A document that should be no problem, but thanks to a certain Medical Assistant in my primary's office it may take an act of God, but I digress.  Only good thoughts, right?


I officially start the process on the 21st, starting a 5 day full liquid diet.  My heart is thinking about starting it on the 17th.  I know that when it is all said and done I'll be OVER the whole liquid diet thing soon enough.


I have an amazing support system and I am so grateful for them all.  I also have some conscientious objectors.  People who like or love me that are concerned about what is going to happen.  People who are basing their opinions on what happened to so and so's cousin when they had surgery 15 years ago.  This is not your mama's gastric bypass surgery or "stomach stapling".  I fully believe through the research that I have done that this is a safer option than the actual bypass surgery which was available 20 years ago.  Not just from a surgical, but from a quality of life standpoint.


Regardless, this leg of the journey is just about to begin...



Friday, October 7, 2016

It's really happenening...

Like for real.


The insurance company approval came in yesterday.


Well, here's the real scoop...


A friend of mine was encouraging me to call the insurance company to see if it was approved.  I was hesitant because when it comes to something that is really important to me...I am a rule follower and they told me 30 days.  She is a nurse and she advised me that patients do this all the time and that it really was not a big deal.  So, reluctantly...I called.


I was approved for surgery.  Yay!


Yay?


hrmpf...  Now WHEN is this happening??


I told myself that I would remain calm and give the Dr. time to receive the info before I followed up with them, but my anxiety got the better of me and I called them.  They had not received the information and I was told that they will likely call me on the same day that I receive approval letter from the insurance company.


More waiting, followed by...the approval letter in my mailbox when I got home last night.


So now, I'm waiting on this dang phone call. Experiencing a crazy mix of giddiness, anxiety, and sheer terror.  Doing everything in my power to not pick up the phone and be pushy.  To not be the heifer that calls relentlessly and nags them to schedule my surgery.  I know the deal.  You should be kind to everyone, but Especially kind to servers and medical providers.  #TrueStory


So, I guess I'll let you know when I know...



Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Here. We. Go.

Last Tuesday I had my last appointment with the surgeon. 


I was apprehensive because I spent a lot of last month having "last" times.  I REALLY TRIED TO BE BETTER, but it's hard.  Especially when all of those who are supporting you, don't realize how detrimental "last" times can be.  In all fairness, I had planned some "last" times of my own.


Despite all of this, I still lost a pound last month, which was all I needed to do to get the green light from the Dr. and the paperwork submitted to the insurance company.


Now we wait. 


The only thing we know for sure is that it is happening.  Sooner, rather than later.


I did select the gastric sleeve and I have been busy trying to prepare.  I purchased all the vitamins that I will need for the first month.  I've been making sure that I have access to plenty of protein shakes and powders for the first few weeks, as well as trying things like "Mush" Soup and Leek Soup that I can eat once I come off clear liquids.


Most days I'm mostly certain that this is the right decision.  Others, well...


I need it, though.


I feel like it's really my last chance to live a different life.


I read a lot about after surgery.  It's scary, but it really makes you take a hard look at how food focused your life can be.  I really didn't see myself as a food focused person, but sitting on this side of facing at least 3 and a half weeks of liquids only, I have found myself crying over my future lack of food.  What I may never eat again...


Wow...


How privileged am I that this is even a fleeting thought for me?  All will be well. 


My main concerns focus around what I read about relationships, though.  I worry about friends who have maybe subconsciously given me the "fat girl" role in their lives and won't be able to figure out where I fit in otherwise.  I worry about my bigger friends and family and how they will feel and react when I am different, like I can't understand their world anymore.  ( I will always understand).  And, of course, I worry about the hubster, he's my jam.  He's the Andy to my Raggedy Ann, the Bert to my Ernie.  I have loved that man since I set eyes on him and I could lose every ounce of extra weight on my body and it would all be for nought if I lost him.  We've talked about it and he laughed.  He said, "I'm pretty easy going."  and he is.


The doc says the insurance can take up to 30 days, then surgery would be about two weeks out from then.  I'll keep you posted.













Monday, August 29, 2016

Seven Years

It's weird how I've been in this space for 7 years, a place where I ran to get away from all the negativity of the world. A place where I decided to put it all out there because it quieted the whispers of gossipers and "concerned" friends.  A place that let me shout, "I know what you're saying and despite it...I'm valuable."


I thought that it was going to be the success story of a lifetime.  Girl admits struggles and heartbreak.  Girl fights through her struggles and loses weight.  Girl succeeds and is promptly interviewed by Oprah and becomes an inspiration to millions.  This of course all translates into a book deal and a reality show on the OWN network (This, of course, is an evolving translation).


I would've never believed that 7 years later, I would still be here and only be thirty pounds down.  Most of my bloggy friends are gone.  Just check out the blog roll.  Most haven't written in years.  Some are gone forever.  Others have become cherished Facebook friends. 


I'm still here.


Still writing.  Still struggling.


Less heartbreak, though.


There are moments when I log in and I think to myself, "Why?  Why do I still come here and say whatever is on my heart?  It hasn't changed anything."


It is then, I remind myself that I may have only dropped thirty pounds of physical baggage, but WOW!!!, have I changed as a person!


It was somewhere along this 7 year journey that I decided to stop hiding any part of me that was real.  I decided to abandon any part of me that wasn't.  I became the most authentic me I have ever been.


If I am hurt, I say I'm hurt. 
If there is something I want, I say that I want it.
I stopped saying "I'm praying for you" and started doing it.
I spend less time thinking about empathy and more time acting on it.
I stopped letting other people de-value me and most importantly...I quit believing them when they tried.
I speak honestly and I demand the same from others.
If I am wrong...I say I'm wrong.
If I act out in a human way that results in someone being hurt...I admit it and I apologize...even if that apology falls on deaf ears.


I try to be true to myself and who I am at all times.


I own this beautiful mess.


I have learned by being honest about some of my craziest idiosyncrasies that other people are more willing to be honest about theirs and there is something freeing and deeply moving about getting to know people on their realest levels.  It allows me to really think about others and offers me an insight into the hearts of friends and drives me to be a more considerate person.


If I don't lose another pound...that's ok. I've lost so much other baggage and gained amazing perspective.


I'll keep coming back here.


Because it's home.

Friday, August 26, 2016

There are days...

There are days when I fail and days when I let myself down.


If I eat terribly or my activity level is below par or non-existent, then its easy to find my morale in the shitter.


These are days when my positive thoughts bail and my ability to put my thoughts down on paper takes a hike.


There are days when I literally can't even...  You know?


If you don't...that's fine too.


There are other days, though.


Days when everything I do is on point.  Days when I don't wrestle with cravings.  Days when I walk 7 miles. 


I'm a beast.  I'm a hero.  I am king of the effing world. 


On those days, I'm full of words.  On those days, the job that pays my bill restricts my ability to take everything that that is tumbling in my brain, slow its roll and create a permanent space for it.


Today is one of those days.


My brain is to the point that every new thought that tries to take a seat on the bus is getting the Forrest Gump treatment. 


"You can't sit here"


Something has to change.  I don't know how to change it.  I've tried.  I'll keep trying though.


I'm in awe of people like Stephen King who figured it out, withstood rejection, just kept going, and built a life around what he loved instead of trying to fit it into a life that won't allow time for it.


I'm in awe of Jane Doe, who writes stories in her spare time and never shows them to a soul.  I'm in awe of her because she does the damn thing; answers the twinge in her soul that drives her to put pen to paper.  I know that twinge.  I feel it on days like today, but I've learned to suppress it.  I've learned to tell it to shut it's filthy mouth and let me review this car accident so I can get this customer paid. 


Most of the time it works.


Today it fills me.  I can feel it in my throat, fighting it's way out. I can feel it pressuring my finger tips when I type.


Remember the movie Idle Hands?


Well, my right hand is in the mood to murder some poetry, a short story, or free verse BS.


But...I have to work.


SO...


I literally can't even.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Friend Request

I don't have many secrets.


Most of what there is to know about me, I will gladly put out there. I learned a long time ago that it was so much easier to relate to others when they are honest about their struggle.  Some of my closest friends were just acquaintances until I got to understand how they were broken and in my brokenness I was able to recognize how their jagged edges would fit into the gaping holes in my heart.  I had never really thought of it that way until my former boss said to me, "I wasn't sure how I felt about you until I realized you were broken."  At first that really confused me.  Then I realized that by sharing our brokenness, we allow an opportunity for empathy.  That empathy crushes the shell of who we want to portray ourselves to be and people see who we are really.  The REAL us.  This realness in all it's raw beauty is the foundation for any true friendship.  Those friendships are kept alive through continued realness and honesty.


So here's a dose of that honesty...


My level of inactivity over the last few weeks is borderline redonkulous.


For the last 10 days, I have been trying to stay on point with my food intake, but my movement has been a struggle.  There are reasons excuses that I reiterate to make it sound ok, but it's not.  The goal of losing as much as I can before surgery is still there, but the drive has diminished and a bit of fear has set in.


Even the hubster is having doubts.  I get the occasional "Are you sure this is what you want to do"


YES!


Resounding "YES"!!


Actually, I felt so guilty about even admitting to the fact I haven't been walking, I left my desk for a hot minute and walked half a mile.  That's what it is going to take my friends.  The whole point of everything I am doing is to be in a better place beforehand, so the surgery becomes what it is actually meant to be: a tool.


My friends keep me going.  They know I'm not doing the right thing, because they are asking me about it less and less.  I know this will sound weird, but please be honest with me.  Call me out on it.  If you love me, don't be afraid to hurt my feelings and let me know that I am holding myself back and you see that.  I believe I can win this fight, but I don't always remember that I can. If you believe I can win this fight...Tell me...Throw it in my face that I am wasting an opportunity and that I am doing myself a disservice.  Hold me accountable.


It's not your job, but it is as important as encouraging me to write or pursue some other adventure. 


In fact, it's more important.


It will guarantee you more off-color commentary that you can't believe I said.
It guarantees you church giggles until your stomach hurts over some private joke.
It guarantees you that I will be here for you when it matters to you most.


Thank you in advance.