Thursday, December 24, 2009

I'm done with the 'Oughts thank you very much!

Somewhere along the way I lost my Christmas Spirit this year. Maybe it got packed in a box. I'm just not feeling Christmassy. Maybe because family bailed on us (although to be fair we usually travel), maybe it's the move, maybe it's the disappointing yet okay news from the doctor, maybe it was studying for all those tests, maybe I just don't care. I hope it's not that... But Christmas hasn't meant much to me as part of a couple and especially this year. It has to be the move.

I'm so ready for 2010. Imagine the possibilities! When I look at how far I came in the last decade no reason I can't go further in the next. I'm all about making peace first, with myself and my relationships. I'm happy with my weight, that hasn't been a resolution in years. But in 2010 I want to be a better friend wife and whatever.

We get just one shot at this life. It must be lived.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Final

So tomorrow I take my Organic Chemistry final. Well, actually it will be today. How far I have come. This year, this decade and in this life.

Friday, December 11, 2009

:c)

I've gotten some great compliments lately.

I really like being an adult.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Over soon!

I will be so glad when this semester is over. I say that at the end of every semester, but really I am ready to not be spending 20 hours a week on Organic Chemistry.

Why?

We are moving. I am so excited about this. New place is completely handicap accessible with doors wide enough to fit a wheelchair. Not that I need one, but nice to know. Our lives are about to change, I assume for the better. I am over drafty old house and slippery stairs. I am over stairs in general. We will be on 6th floor in new place with a so-so view, but I don't care. The idea of living just to the left of downtown. Very exciting stuff. I think this will help make me more active. Walking will become main mode of transportation and we will be selling a car. There is a workout room downstairs... I may look into getting myself stronger, but my days of cardio are long over. Even my new knee doc said that was fine.

Speaking of the new doc. I feel like he is the right fit. He's also a German... which he noted. He knew my plastic surgeon and his face lit up when i said nice things about him. He also knew the other German guy who started me down this path and was surprised that I had no use for him. Pain is influencing that opinion I know. What I like about this guy is he is not promising anything, just gathering information currently. A contrast MRI, hip to ankle Xray. All good things one would need to make an informed decision. We talked briefly about future, the joint space is okay and he would like to preserve that for as long as possible but it is the arthritis that is rapidly becoming a problem. Especially behind my knee cap, on the xray my patella was barely visible, obscured by all that ick. I see him again on the 22nd after all the tests are done. I am cramming them in where possible between moving and finals. Life is a bit overwhelming currently but that's better that letting it pass me by.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wierded out by recent weight loss

I'm losing weight, and not trying too. I just scrolled back a couple of months and can see first mention of it in late September and then again in early October. It has been much easier lately not to eat. And it's not that I'm not hungry I just have no appetite. Subtle difference but to someone like me it's become something I am hyper aware of. I've been craving protein and fiber. Trips to the grocery store for comfort food have me returning with frozen veggies, edamame and beef jerky. I can walk by the cookie isle or even the bakery section and there is just no pull to that stuff currently.

Sunday I was starving at the library so wandered to the vending machine, it was well picked over and so I settled on a 3 Musketeers bar. Something I used to love and now couldn't finish.

I feel paranoid about this but am afraid there is something wrong with me. Or is this just how I am now? After 5 years of listening to my body and training it to eat good things is this how skinny people who are just skinny think about food? Or is there something sinister going on here. It just feels different from other times in my life where I have felt in control of my food choices or on the the flip side not in control. I wonder if I am over thinking this or should I get it checked out.

I mentioned it to my doctor as well in early October, I believe I used the word creepy. It is creepy. I also have a very intermittent pinging pain under my right boob. I know better than to ignore things...

The vain part of me is just fine with it, but the healthy part of me is definitely concerned.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Five Years of Maintenance

This picture was taken in the last week of November 2004. M is being inducted into the Massachusetts Bar Association. I think of this picture as the day my weight maintenance started.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Blogging from 33K

I am on my way home from a week in Florida. What a week. People I haven't seen in forever... Some longer than others, but most haven't seen skinny Sarah.

My Gram had childhood friends in St. Petersburg. They are both 82 and have been married 60 years. Getting old is rough going, but they are both still with us. Bud more than Dot but it was so wonderful to see them both. The look of complete joy on Bud's face when I showed up. He told me he had looked out the window and could see that it was me, but not me all at the same time. He knew my Gram and how she struggled in the end with diabetes. I know i have done my part... I just hope my body cooperates when I get old.

I also saw a women who worked in the dinning hall of my dorm. She has known me since I was 13. She too has had her own weight issues and at 69 she looks amazing as a result of WLS. We talked a great deal about surgical weight loss as she was under the impression that was how I lost my weight. She proudly told our Thanksgiving dinner companions that I had done it all on my own. Dinner was amazing but I didn't expect anything less from our hosts. When my friend retired she moved to Florida just down the street from the guy who was director of Special Functions at my boarding school. Everything was ridiculously tasty. There was so much food. I took a 1/4 of each and enjoyed it thoroughly. I'll update with pictures when I get home.

Happy Thanksgiving and happy Black Friday!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Better but still annoyed.



I get back from Organic Chemistry section open up my browser and Boston.com has changed the text in the box below. Warns was a very poor word choice. Shame on you Boston.com. I remain annoyed however that that tidbit is still in the actual slideshow. Out of all 13 suggestions ranging from hemlines to accessories it is the only one that deals with an ideal of beauty. Why even put it in there? Maybe because it's written by a guy and also the consultant they quote, Gregg Andrews of Nordstroms is a guy? Maybe it just didn't occur to them that they were making a statement about beauty norms? Yeah, I don't think so.

This kind of thing never used to bother me. I'd think so what? Some guy says he doesn't want to see your flabby arms. Move on. But so what? So what? The what is that NO ONE GETS TO TELL YOU WHAT YOU CAN AND CAN NOT DO WITH YOUR OWN BODY IN REGARDS TO BEAUTY. Personally I think I bristled at this because I know that unless there is more surgery in my life, I will always jiggle. The idea that someone would suggest that I can't wear something sleeveless because of that is demeaning and dismissive. There will come a day when I will actually have my masters (Can this Orgo test and the next three years hurry up and be over already?/tangent) and I will be in a position where I can have a positive influence on people and their food and exercise choices. And you know what, if the dress code allows it, I'm sure there will be days where I wear something sleeveless.

Positive Body Image

I was annoyed by the story when I first clicked through the slideshow... but then when the screen shot you see below showed up on the front page of Boston.com. Argh! I emailed the author. Positive body image is so hard to attain. I've worked for years on my body image and it has been a long journey from hiding in shame to not caring what others think and loving my body just the way it is. To tell women that they shouldn't wear something based on an ideal of beauty is wrong. If your office requires proffessional attire that's one thing, but to tell women that they have to be Michelle Obama to rock the sleevless look is another. I am always going to jiggle and shame on you if you judge me for it!

I wear a lot of sleeveless dresses and shirts. I've owned this wool dress from Calvin Klein for quite some time and did in fact wear it to the office when I had a job. This is me in it just last week. Look, you can see my jiggle!

Part of the reason I like sleeveless things is because of the excess skin. Short sleeves on me are often not attractive... The cuff squeezing my arm is not a pretty look. I'm not one to hide my arms. I dress appropriately for my shape and size and I will not let my jiggle keep me from putting on something I know looks good. Not once has anyone ever stopped me to tell me that I don't have the arms for sleeveless dresses and shirts. I'm sad when women tell me that they hide their arms. So what, it's just skin. As long as the rest of you looks good, who cares? And quite frankly who the heck is even going to notice if you are rocking your outfit!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Updated my picture slide show

Some cute pictures and some not so cute pictures.

How is it possible I have another exam in less than a week?

Big week coming up. Twin sis is embarking on her own plastics journey... I'm so happy for her. I'm a little freaked out that she'll wander around with surgeons pen on her from tomorrow afternoon to Wednesday morning, but maybe it's a good thing. I think it would have helped me get a handle on where things were going and coming from. I still look at certain freckles and think geeze, where did that come from.

I'm the go with person Wednesday morning. Orgo exam the next day so I can get lots of focused (hopefully) studying done. She is having surgery at what used to be my hospital. But having always been the patient I'll have to scout out the best local from which to work. Those things never occur to you when you are the one with the pain pump.

Went to Target today and purchased granny panties for the recovery plus some cute clothes on sale. I bought a pencil skirt half off and in a size 8. I finally feel like the swelling of late is settling down. I was a mess this week after that fall on Tuesday. I can't wait for twin sis to have the flat clothing experience. We are so alike and this difference is so glaring, at least to us, I'll be glad when it's gone. I like being like her.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

2 weeks From Yesterday

I'll meet yet another orthopedic surgeon. This one seems well qualified, comes with recommendations and his picture isn't too smarmy. Hard to tell how jock he is, his sport seems to be hockey, the last doc fancied tennis payers. I'll ping his office staff to see what the interaction is like. This journey is never going to end, I know that but I'm ready to turn down a new road.

My week resets on Thursdays

Only 4 more weeks like this one. I can do it I can do it I can do it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I fell. Again. And other random...

Life is plugging along. School continues to work me hard. I'm growing weary of it and I know that by mid month I'll be able to see teh light at the end of the tunnel. I'll be happy when my life no longer involves copious amounts of chemistry. Biffing it in the middle of Harvard Yard this morning was not a great way to start my day.

I feel like I've been slacking but I know this shit is just hard. I just hope that when I get to the end of all this, people who were once like me will want to take good eating advice from someone like me now. Yeah, it's a concern. I still can't get past all the bobble heads dishing diet advice to those they can not relate to. Maybe I'm just cranky today b/c I hurt.

Oh, and I guess I did slack this past weekend. Finally celebrated the 33rd birthday in NYC with twin sis and a friend. Two item minimum at this show we went to... I ordered a bottle of water and some edamame.

Of course earlier in the day and been 6 mimosas and tapas tapas and more tapas.

Life she is about balance. Where the hell is mine? Oh right, incinerated.

Still waiting to hear back from my PCP about a new Orthopedic Surgeon. Somedays I fantasize about a 4th ACL and the stability that would come with it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Yes, I really was that fat, sometimes I forget.

I came across some old pictures down on the Cape. This is Christmas 2000.


And this is the previous summer? I think? There are few pictures of me near 300 pounds.

Where did all this fluid come from?

I had heels on twice last week. Maybe I am still feeling puffy from that? I wish I knew what was causing it this week but I can't really pinpoint any specific cause (well besides the obvious) of why I am feeling this way. Such an odd feeling--- this tightness of skin stretched by fluid. But where it is the worst, I can't feel that area.... Going on 5 months and I am not sure that I am going to get that feeling back. Fine, there are other surgically altered areas of my body, the whole lateral side of my left knee for instance, that have no feeling. But it is uncomfortable in a way I can't explain.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Midterm Madness

Has come and gone, pulled a solid B in Orgo and a B+ on Lab Practical. And so it starts again.

Breaking up is hard to do.

I need to write another letter. This time to my Ortho Doc. I'm not even sure what to say. Telling him he has caused me nothing but pain and heartache doesn't quite seem like a nice thing to do... However it is important for me to tell him that decisions he has made have had a real impact on my life. The constant stream of tears at the last three visits I'm sure give that away, but it will help me to write it out. This is not my fault.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Doctors and such...

PCP is casting about for a new ortho doc. Someone who specializes in failed surgeries. No calcium deposits in the soft tissue, thankfully, but still, pain.

In other news I sent this to my Plastic Surgeon today.

Hi Dr. B!

I’ve been meaning to write you for some time now, but life, it’s been busy. Today is actually my birthday, it’s given me pause and a reason to reflect on what I’ve been through in the past year. The summer ended with lots of days at the beach and then vacation in late August. Now I’m back in school; Anatomy & Physiology, Organic Chemistry and Bio Chemistry are all on my plate. Time consuming, but worth it in the end if it gets me to the Dietetics degree. I am even more convinced now that you can change your life. Even if requires some surgical intervention at the end.

I cannot express to you how much this surgery has done for me. Physically and emotionally life is orders of magnitude better-- especially now that I am all healed. I am still experiencing occasional swelling or puffiness as I am fond of referring to it. Mostly on days with too much sodium or say standing several hours for a concert. I had a small pull next to my belly button for a while late summer. I knew the moment it happened (ouch!) and it lasted for the 6 weeks you said that those types of injuries would. The pull was the result of a fall due to my chronic instability in my knee. I have noticed however that the loss of that skin has made a huge difference in how I walk and carry myself. I do feel like this has helped my knee alignment, maybe that’s just wishful thinking, but it does seem better. I am excited to see what having my thighs reduced could do for that as well. My weight seems to have settled out at 157 pounds. This is smaller than I was pre surgery even with the skin removal. I feel fuller sooner which seems odd, but I suppose if you tuck the tummy in all tight it’s not going to be able to get as full before you feel it.

Emotionally sometimes I struggle with being so artificially flat, like I’ve cheated somehow. I know that is all in my head and this procedure was the best thing that I could have done for myself post massive weight loss. I always felt skinny, but never felt thin. It’s hard to explain the difference in these two words, but for me it’s huge. Clothing has once again become a vice-- I’ve been trying on pants, pants and more pants. Still a bit of a tough fit in the thighs, but I am happy to have the option for warmer clothes once winter arrives. I had thought that wearing a pair of pants would take away the femininity that I have so carefully cultivated through all those years of camouflaging skirts and dresses. Instead I have found the opposite; they have given me more confidence in my body and in being a woman than I could have anticipated. I thank you for that.

I also wanted to thank you for being so super. That word seems woefully inadequate for how positively I feel about this whole experience and you as a surgeon. When people ask me about my surgery I tell them that I had a doctor whom I felt was truly invested in making me well. Weight loss and plastics is just as much a mental journey as a physical one and despite my complications I always knew that I was being well taken care of, I was being listened to and supported.

Twin sis is going ahead with her procedure with Dr. D at N scheduled for 11/11. As you recall her weight loss is more in the 80lb. range, not the 180lb range. So while there is less to remove the surgery is no less necessary. She was also a heavy kid and this seems to contribute greatly to how much our skin has been stretched out over the years. I’m so thrilled that she is going to have this done as well but a bit sad that you won’t be the one performing the procedure. Currently it is a little awkward being twins and not having the same build. She constantly comments on how flat I am. I can't wait to repay the compliment. I also think seeing difference in her will help cement my own experience. I wake up everyday still amazed at the transformation. I often wonder when the novelty will wear off. It has not yet.

I hope you are enjoying your time abroad. Change of scenery is always good to help one reassess. Being totally selfish though, I do hope that you’ll be back and be setting up a practice. Given the wonderful experience and results that I had with my surgeries there is no way that I won’t do the rest of it.
I hope you and your family are well.

Best,
S

I Tweet

More than I should? I dunno. Sometimes it's just easier than putting together a blog post. Check me out @BubbyHeart.

X Rays today FINALLY!

Trying not to let that distract me form the chemistry at hand.

Answers? Doubtful, but a path to get some? Probable.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It won't be like this forever or Orgo is hard.

I have to remind myself of that. It is hard and I am taking it at a place where they teach more of the concepts than most.... Organic chemistry will end in two months. I can do this. Today I need to remind myself of what I have already accomplished and that I can do anything.

Personal pep talks help. Especially when life is feeling overwhelming.

In other news I saw a number on the scale I hadn't seen in a while 157. Period and two beers last night be dammed apparently. I'm eating well, lots of protein, limiting the caffeine (even tho I am exhausted) and generally trying to take in good fuel. Helps the brain function hopefully.

Back to chirality.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's cold

And I hate it. Seriously. I don't miss the weight but I do miss the insulation.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pictures are worth a thousand words.


I miss my Gram. I found this picture stuffed in a jewelry box while cleaning today. This was taken on her 70th Birthday. I hadn't met my husband yet, but would two months later. This is summer of 2002 and I'm 250+.

She's been on my mind lately. I think it's all this chemistry I am studying plus the Anatomy... All these little atoms forming molecules forming cells forming tissues forming organs forming you. You with a consciousness. I wonder what happens to that energy that is you? I know where it goes when you lose weight, but when you light goes out, where does it go?

I'm okay with not having the answer to that.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sometimes it just comes easy

Like right now. Eating well and in moderation is not hard at all. A couple of months ago, so hard. These cycles I've noticed in the past several years are just what they are. Good days and bad days come and go.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I wish

I wish a lot of things. Mostly I wish my body worked better. Especially my immune system.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Coke

Changing their nutrition label. I don't care why they are doing it, just happy they are. Like the article says, I assume it's a preemptive strike against all this soda tax chatter. I personally think obesity taxes are silly. Let's have some personal responsibility instead.

One of the reasons why I want to be a Dietician

Is my husband. He needs a low sodium diet, too much fluid on him is a bad thing. Even skinny people need help with food choices sometimes. He saw the doctor recently and was told to keep on the low sodium bandwagon. So back on it we go. I need to be better about not bringing food in the house that is bad for him. Not that'll he'll eat it, but it's the right thing to do.

Cooking low sodium has gotten easier as I have learned more about it. Flavor can come from all sorts of places, not just salt. My closet is stocked with all sorts of spices. Tonight I'll make a lasagna that uses a roux and swiss instead of mozzarella and ricotta. It's time consuming but worth it because we are what we eat. That fact has hit me hard this week. I was eating like crap and now am paying the price with a nasty cold. The scale wasn't moving, but I wasn't doing my self any favors by eating ice cream for dinner. Hello, wake up call. Just because your thin doesn't mean you can eat whatever you want. It just doesn't work that way.

Off to go make my sauce.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Look at us!

I had the pleasure of seeing an old friend from high school this past weekend. He was in town for the dedication of his baby girl, there was a church service followed by a get together at his grandparents lake house. His Mom was in town too and I just love this woman. She greeted twin sis and I with a hug and was all "Look at us! We're all skinny!" She's a wonderful lady who never made me feel bad about my size. At my heaviest twin sis and I had road tripped to Nashville over New Years to see our friend and his Mom welcomed us into her house even though we just showed up and the family was under a great deal of stress. I was massive then but she was very kind to me. I remember leaving her house with bags of clothes that were now too small for her, but just large enough for me. I was a 3x/28 then and although mortified by her gift was also grateful. She had just had a panniculectomy and I was amazed at the difference in her shape. She had lost some weight but not all of it, however her excess skin was causing problems and so she had the surgery pretty early on. I think it was her experience that planted the plastics seed in me. Ten years later and she still looks amazing, still thin, still eating well and has even lost a few more pounds.

At one point in the afternoon some old neighbors came by. It was clear that she hadn't seen these people in forever, because that moment happened. That moment I love, that moment where someone you haven't seen in forever is simply happy for you and the changes you have made in your life. I teared up watching my friend's mom be embraced and complimented by someone from her past. She kept saying over and over, "Look at you!"

America's Best Idea

I've been watching the Ken Burns series on the National Parks. Amazing. My list of places I want to go grows longer with each episode. Check it out if you haven't seen it yet.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Oink Oink?

Is it possible I have the swine flu again? What's with all these germs?

I know the answer to that.

I have been eating like crap. Sadly the scale has been rewarding me for it. I don't get it. There is a severe lack of fruits and veggies in my life right now. I need to turn that around.

Right after I stop sneezing.

Friday, September 25, 2009

My Knee

Is bumming me out. I couldn't even get through the brace fitting without tears. They aren't sobs. Just big hot crocodile tears that slide down my face and on to the floor. Or, if you happen to be the guy fitting my brace, on to your head. Sorry about that. I can't help it, they just well up...

I sent this to my PCP today.

Saw Dr. ______ again Monday. Told me to come back again in November and then he'll look at x-rays. Thinks pain is soft tissue related, recommended stretching and lidocaine patches and offered me a consult to a plastic surgeon for scar revision. :/
Pain is not like it was last yr but the bone still hurts. I don't understand his reluctance to take x-rays. Wouldn't one want to check and make sure something that you've surgically altered several times is healing properly given continued complaints of pain and a complicated past?
Been lots of tears since Monday and I keep reminding myself of something you once said. This is NOT my fault.
I don't know where to go from here.

I really don't know where to go from here. I think maybe I find a doc back at a teaching hospital? At least then I'm in the loop and they'll test some basic stuff every time. I can't tell you the last time my doc tested the laxity of my knee joint. You can feel it when they tug. Brace guy asked about that today.... couldn't give him an answer. I don't think my doc has ever done that. It's just understood that my knee has give I guess.

/sad vent

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Prematurely Fat Free Me

I'm coming up on a milestone. And I don't want to jinx it, but I'm there. I know it.

Five years of maintenance coming up this fall. omg. The girl who weighed more in 6th grade than she does now has kept off her weight for close to five years. Wow.

I'm having a bit of a bad (knee) day so it helps to remember that when I feel like I have done nothing, I have come so far. Accomplished what many only dream of and I did it all by myself. No pills, no celebrity diet plans, no surgery, just a complete overall of what and how much I eat. And I stuck with it day after day, when losing turned into maintaining I kept on going. No end of diet start of life for me. It's all the same thing.

It's cliche, but if I can do, you can do it too.

I have conquered the Oreo

I think I can say this. I'm pretty sure I have conquered the Oreo. These used to be a trigger food for me. M loves them. He has been buying the prepackaged snack packs. 12 in box, 6 in package at 270 calories. His line of reasoning was that pre-portioned is okay. And it is, as LONG AS YOU EAT ALL THE COOKIES.

But he never does. Often I come across 2 cookies, 4 cookies in what looks like an empty wrapper. Oh noes! So i've learned how to handle this and sometimes I eat them, sometimes I let them go stale. Like the ones by the bedside, 4 left, I had 1 a few days ago, last 3 are now all stale and soggy. I should just pitch them as M is out of town for a few days. But I'll let them sit.

Keeping weight off requires you to change the way you think about food. Before one was never enough, but now, it's okay. I know one isn't going to really harm me, they are my favorite after all and I can be satisfied with just one. No longer do I have to eat the whole package.

I'm thankful for that.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Infection

So I got my flu shot on Wednesday and by Thursday my arm was a twitchy mess of pain, big red lump, and I was cold. Oh so cold. I took some aspirins mid Orgo lecture and tried to put it out of my mind. Then yesterday after blowing off the whole day in bed with the electric blanket on I finally called the doctors office and was seen at 4pm. I have.... wait for it, an infection. Can you believe that? Fucking cellulitus at the injection site. I had two in the same arm at the same time. Flu and pneumonia. It was a tiny little pin prick. A two foot long incision from plastics getting infected. Sure, I can see that, but an infection from the flu shot.

Really?

Come on.

So I am on 10 days of anti-biotics. I'm hoping the augmentin will help my cause. I have my first test this week and don't have time to waste. I'm glad it's the left arm though. In the right and I would be screwed. It's that painful. There is no touching the left arm, no putting on a bra, no brushing my hair, no carrying anything, it sucks.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Umm, school is a lot of work.

I never ever had to work this hard as an undergrad. I can lose 185 pounds, I can do this. This only lasts 10 weeks. Maintenance lasts a lifetime.

M had a nice Ah-Ha moment

He said he thinks I get in trouble when food sits in the house that he won't eat. He'll buy all manner of snacks, some he likes, others he doesn't care for. But if he doesn't like it, he simply won't eat it. Most times I'm pretty good at ignoring his food. But not always. I'll take any help I can get.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Exercise

I should do it. I go on and on about being active. And I have been, but I know that deep down, as much as I am bitter about it and feel totally screwed over, I should be doing actual exercise for my knee. To that end I went to the gym this morning and did some strength training.

I kind of agree with TIME magazine by the way that exercise won't help you lose weight. Sure it will do a bunch of other really good things for you, but lose weight and keep it off? My personal experience tells me different. Beating the crap out of my body so I can stay thin? Notsomuch. The point of losing all that weight was so that my parts would last. 45 minutes a day on the elliptical for the next 30 years is not going to help that cause.

I'm grumpy about exercise because it's hard for me. It's hard not to look back on the last three years of my life and not get overwhelmed by the fact I am totally worse off than I was before we decided to replace my ACL for the third time. I would imagine that under Obama's proposed plan that never would have happened. Not all that cost effective, but then again, hindsight is 20/20. I'm clearly struggling with this again lately. Must be the Synvisc wearing off and my anxiety over whether or not I should attempt that again. I'm in a bunch of pain again, and am hoping that in 3 weeks my ortho will get some freaking X-rays. I just want to see.

All registered for Fall classes

Organic Chemistry. Lecture is Thursday night 6-9, 4 hour lab on Tuesday evenings plus section. Review is Monday night from 5:30-6:30.

Biochem. Lecture is Saturday morning from 9-12. There is an optional section but I don't know what time yet.

Anatomy and Physiology. I am taking this through MassBay community college. The Dietetics program I want to apply to in Massachusetts accepts their class for credit but not the one from the Harvard Extension School. I'm not thrilled about driving to Framingham for this twice a week on Mondays and Wednesday but it is what it is. The class is mid day, with lab on Wednesday.

I can haz life please? I'm warming up to Math and Science. But really I just want to help people live with food. It's not just those of us who have lost weight, trying to lose weight or whathaveyou. All sorts of people could eat better. Even the skinny folks.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ouch.

That belly button muscle pull is still plaguing me. I didn't know that there was a muscle there. Well, I've seen a picture of it on people with a six pack, but on myself, I had no idea it existed. It does, and I tweaked it. I'm not sure how long it will take to heal, but it does hurt. Rubbing that area helps, also ice and a pain killer. Hopefully it will pass soon, standing up straight is once again painful.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The solution to pollution is dilution.

Wow. Just wow. I know that there would be days like this, but I feel like since having returned from vacation I have been nothing but swollen. I seem to start fresh every morning but by mid day. Yikes! I have been way more active this week. I wonder how long I need to keep this up before my body eases off on the fluid retention? I'm drinking lots of water and still holding onto it.

What pollution are we diluting? Best guess is period & hormones (sorry guys for TMI) and also general muscle repair. You have to use your muscles to make them stronger. There is a small pull next to belly button. It's been sore since getting back on my bike and sweeping today made me cry out audibly. It'll heal up. I'm going to try and lay low this weekend and rest.

Pshaw... I feel like there is way too much to do before school starts.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I like to ride my bicycle



I spent the afternoon downtown watching the 'copters and Kennedy travel through the city. Twin sis has a great view. I rode my bicycle there and back. If everyday was like today I wouldn't own a car.

Monday, August 24, 2009

And I'm back

It's so humid here. Like ridiculous. I feel like the air is clinging to me. I don't really sweat anymore unless I am exerting myself. Weather like this way back when would have had me red faced and dripping instantly. I don't miss it. I wonder if it was because the fat insulates you or it just requires more energy to simply be at that weight. It's hard to remember what that was like.... even though I lived it.

FLG posted about how his high weight and all that went with it is starting to seem like a dream. I so understand that. As you get further away from it and are able to maintain (or continue losing if need be) it starts to feel like that was never your life, but it was. A dream, a nightmare, whatever. You experienced it but like everything it fades with time. Sometimes I'm afraid that I will completely forget what that was like and start putting on weight.

I don't think so, but it is still a fear.

Anyway, back from vacation and was a puffy 162 this morning. It's that time of month and I'm feeling it. I wonder if the novelty of this new body will ever wear off? I still can't believe how bloated one gets with their period. Or maybe this is still post surgical issues. Hard to say but in a few days it will pass.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I've fallen and I can't get up.


I'm afraid that is going to be me someday. It's been almost two weeks since I fell and I am still hurting. I was carrying a plant and stepped into a pothole. My right ankle rolled, my core couldn't compensate and then my left knee gave out and down I went. This is always the way it happens, even when I have core strength, and I land directly on my already injured knee. The picture above is from the next day and I am leaning against the window sill. I'm noticing my left leg is darker. From that angle you can't see the fluid retention in my calve but the left leg is larger than the right. Especially after a fall. I often notice people looking at my leg, I got the saddest look ever from a little old lady sitting on a bench earlier this week. These looks are almost harder on me than the fat stares. Why is revulsion easier to cope with when it's not accompanied by pity and/or confusion?

I'm still putting one foot in front of the other though and will continue to do so. I did see my orthopedic doc before I left. He stared at the wall and offered me a cortisone shot. wtf. What I really wanted were some x-rays. It's hard for me to take him at his word based on his (and mine) track record with these bone grafts. I'll be in touch with my PCP when I get back, she said if he didn't order them to come back to her and she would. I hope she meant it. I need the peace of mind.

We are headed back into the park tomorrow. I'll strap on my hiking boots and off we'll go. I need to keep moving.

On Vacation



We are at Yellowstone again. First trip out here was in 2005, then again in 2007 and 2008. I was in ridiculous shape for the trip in 2007. Last year was.... notsohot. This year is lovely with both of us going at our own pace, which is a bit run down actually. M from work and his fluctuating health issue and me from the flu before I left plus the fall that kicked my ass. Oh and the plastics. After a day of travel and then a day of driving-- Wow, puffy! Uncomfortably puffy in fact. I switched to a skirt yesterday so I could wear the binder. It helped even though I was a bit chilly.

So far we've done a few walks; Norris Geyser Basin, down to the brink of the Lower Falls, up and around the travertine terraces in Mammoth. I think Friday we will do a 5 mile hike out to Fairy Falls. Doesn't look too strenuous and it is something we haven't done yet. We've actually seen/done a bunch of things we hadn't done yet, that's what I love about Yellowstone, always something more to see. And even if you have seen it before it could be different now. Mammoth has changed dramatically in the past year. Over by Canary Spring the water has dried up along the boardwalk and is now cascading over another part of the terrace. It's amazing what you, or say a super heated spring, it's microbes and limestone can accomplish in a year. There is a webcam here.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Oink Oink

I think I have the swine flu. Symptoms include a high temp that came on suddenly. (I was napping in the sunshine yesterday and my nose was cold!) Horrible headache, bodyaches, sniffles, rumbly tummy and lack of appetite. I hope this doesn't last long I am very uncomfortable and find it hard to rest when all my muscles burn.

It was a weekend for kicking my own ass actually. Friday I fell, hard, and now my knee hurts when I bend it. Something was shoved out of place. Fortuitously I have an appointment with my knee doc tomorrow. It's been 6 months since he scraped the bone and I am having pain in that area again. It's not quite like it was but still sore and tender. Months later the bone shouldn't hurt. Sigh. I better be better by tomorrow or else I am going to that appointment with a mask.

Friday, August 7, 2009

You don't look like you ever weighed that much.


Or another popular line, you don't look like you needed plastic surgery. If this is what my arms look like you can imagine what the tummy was like. For the most part though, my arms don't bother me, even with all the extra skin. It never keeps me from putting on a sleeveless top or a dress with spaghetti straps. Hiding I think is worse. I love sunshine on my shoulders and the breeze on my neck. Tee shirts, long sleeves in summer-- Screw it. Most people don't notice anyway unless I point it out. I can see how tiny my arms would be and maybe someday when I'm older (and gravity continues to catch up) I'll do the rest of me. In the meantime, I'm loving summer.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My own camera

I haven't been taking pictures for a couple of years now. I use the camera on my iPhone a lot, but mostly it's of traffic that's pissing me off, the beach on the Cape where Gram's ashes are or stoopid cat photos. But now, I have my own camera again. The last one I had, an early Canon Elph drown in the bottom of a LV Speedy in a puddle of Diet Coke on my 29th birthday weekend in NYC. Since then I've had numerous cameras at my disposal but they are all way too much work for me and so my picture taking had come to a halt. Well, except for the hundreds of pictures I have taken of myself on my Mac which my husband only recently realized were there. Blogress: that was an oddly embarrassing/interesting moment. We were transferring pictures to my new Mac and M couldn't believe how many there were. He's in several... but I guess he didn't really know how often I took one. He was all, this is hilarious, and randomly started clicking on pictures. Most are happy and smily however the ones from last fall are depressing as all get out. They are a good indication of where I am with my weight. It comes back quick in my cheeks when I put on a few and taking a picture every few days helps me with perspective on maintenance.

Growing up as a kid my Dad was always taking pictures, both professionally and personally. Back in the day of film he took his own photographs for the stories he wrote and I can remember trips into Worcester to the T&G to bring in the film by deadline. I assume digital has changed all that. Point is I grew up around nice cameras and lenses. Now it's my husband with the nice camera and lenses. Twin sis also has a nice camera and lenses, (notice a pattern) and also a more advanced point and shoot she carts everywhere. She takes AMAZING pictures and keeps a photoblog that I check regularly. Between her and my husband they have some incredible skills/eye for composition but each also has their own forte. Twin sis takes amazing macro pics and the husband takes amazing portraits.

I just want to take good pictures of things I wish to get rid of on eBay, CL or whatever. Hopefully in a year we will be moving somewhere. Maybe near, maybe far, that's to be determined. This fall however it's time to get serious about applying to graduate programs. M said where ever.... so I'm looking into it. Regardless though, we need to downsize. I have no idea how in 7 years of being together we have so much stuff, but it has to go. Any Wallace Nutting fans out there? I'll make you a great deal on some antique hand colored photos.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot

With credit to Al Franken of course for one of the greatest titles ever of a book.

I suspect we might be in for a VERY SELF RIGHTEOUS Limbaugh in the coming months and possibly year(s) about his weight and his ability to simply get rid of it. I also fear some fat bashing, but I think he'd want to be way under 200 pounds before he gets that blatent. I'm honestly kind of amazed. 90 pounds since February? What is he not eating? He is going to waste away until he can't keep a check on himself. And then it will come back. He'll learn the hard way that this kind of extreme weight loss is not sustainable. It aggravates me to no end that he is promoting a get skinny quick idea and acting so blase about it. I don't think this is what overweight Americans need to hear right now. There needs to be talk of reasonable manageable livable change in our lifestyles. He has a national voice and the message he is spreading will simply add to the yo-yo that so many are on.

Limbaugh may be on a diet high right now but I'm going to assume it won't last. I can see why he probably felt pressure to lose the weight. I was just thinking the other day how difficult life would be for me if I were still heavy, the current climate around healthcare and politics would simply add to my self consciousness. I always felt very conspicuous as a 300+ woman, especially being my heaviest in the fittest state in country. Everyone is blaming the obese for everything; expensive healthcare, global warming, cramped planes. Rush can't get in on that game when he was himself. Earlier this year he tried to say it was the active people that were costing all those healthcare dollars, what with sports injuries and hip replacements and such. I think he realized that wasn't going to fly. Although it is interesting to note that his weight loss is all restrictive diet and not because of exercise, so he could probably still blame those fit folks as well as the fat for costing so many taxpayer dollars.

I wonder at what weight he will consider the shift to maintenance and how long that will last. He's no different than anybody else, quick fixes don't work. I can't wait to see what he'll say when he zooms back up to 300. But for now, he's going to be unpleasantly preachy.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Leaning

Leaning over sinks is now a different experience. Such a mundane little thing, but in the bathroom to see the mirror my skin would rest on the sink. In the kitchen it acted like a bumper up against the counter.

Now when I lean over the sink in the bathroom, I simply lean over it, nothing touches. In the kitchen I can stand flush up to the counter and cabinets. Like I said in my last post I am still missing some feeling so in the kitchen that feels a bit odd, this blank spot of no sensation except for swelling fullness. It feels worse than it looks, even at my puffiest I'm still flat.

School starts in a month!

Yikes! I'm so relieved that I can finally enjoy the summer.

Mostly.

I'm still swelling at the end of the day. Salt plays a role as does activity. It's an odd sort of feeling. Not exactly painful but more uncomfortable and I think that is because I can't feel all of that area yet. Some of it is back but there is still a place where there is none. When you touch it yourself it's hard to tell exactly, but someone else touching me... I know exactly where the line of sensation is. Makes me giggle it feels so weird. I hope it all returns, I've experienced the same in my knee but that now has a dead spot due to repeated surgeries.

I'm occasionally still wearing the binder, especially if I am going for a walk. I don't need to be held in anymore, but for some reason it just feels a little better. Not sure why, but I think it has to do with the lack of sensation and then the uncomfortable fluid feeling.

We are on the Cape and I walked down to the beach yesterday. Now I have shin splints. It's nice to be moving finally, I'll take the pain for the moment, it'll pass with more exercise.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Eight Weeks Later

And I think I can finally say that I am healed, that tiny little hole has finally scabbed over. About freaking time.

Statistical Outlier

Why oh why is Kate Harding freaking everywhere right now. I seriously have no use for her snark and holier than tho attitude. /rant.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Click Here

You can see what's left of that two inch spilt and the deepest of my holes here. And the next one here shows just how low this scar goes. The redder areas are places that have healed/healing. These were taken with my iPhone lying in bed with my head propped up for perspective. I'll get braver.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Binder



Beneath it is still a small hole, tape burns and bloat.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More shopping

I went out and bought new undergarments today. The hold you in kind, especially for the thighs. My old set had been well worn and fit a different shape. Time to start fresh.

Shopping for these things always reminds me of Truvy from Steel Magnolias, "Well, these thighs haven't gone out of the house without lycra on them sice I was 14."

Clairee responds, "You were brought up right."

Wedding Weekend

My husbands other brother is getting married this weekend in VA. I was hoping to be all healed by time we left. Alas. There should be some pictures, I hope, of me in a new dress. It's still hard to tell how I look after this surgery and pictures will help. Mirrors are all fine but there is something about that moment caught in time that I can't get from living in this new body.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My lady parts

Confession first. I have snacked all day. This period snacking is just adding to me feeling fat and puffy. I know it's surgery and hormone related but days like today I still struggle with food. Like last month I am amazed at how much more I can see the period puffiness. I feel like it is on full display but with more time I'll adjust to this new body. I used to wonder how paparazzi would get pictures of celebrities and everyone would be all ooh, look at how fat they got or what ever. Bloat is surprisingly visible.

I finally got the okay for sex, of course just as I am starting my period. I think if I had asked sooner he would have said fine but it never occurred to me to ask with open holes. The only reason I inquired on Monday was because that was my last visit with the plastic surgeon for a while. It was a bit embarrassing to ask, but as always he was appropriate and kind. He said that it will be a different experience "without all that". I'm paraphrasing but he said that it was lovely that we had been able to share that experience as a married couple but it will be better now. I'm sure. I tried so hard not to let "all that" interfere with the sex part of being married but it was difficult. I was always wondering if he was looking at it or if he felt like it was in the way. Most of all I hated the phwapping sound that certain positions created. Fastest way to kill the moment for me.

My entire mons area has been lifted and much of the fat cut out. It looks entirely different, maybe that is because I can actually see it now and before the surgery most of that area was covered by my pannus. I think I am going to have to start shaving, waxing, something. In the past my mons was too large, yet too covered, and with the folds of skin it was too awkward to shave successfully. Now the scar dips so low that the pubic hair is not an even patch. I'm working up the courage to figure out how I want to deal with this. Leaving it as is won't be an option for me now that I can see it.

But even with this bloat and wonky pubic hair patches I feel more like a woman than ever. It took me years to cultivate my femininity, and ironically the excess skin contributed heavily to my outward girlieness. Under all those skirts and dresses though I never wanted to show my body. Sex happened with the babydolls still on. Even going to bed I still wanted to look cute and feminine. Now there is no embarrassment and no covering up, I look forward to trying out this new body with my husband.

I had to cut off all my nails

They looked amazing, it is incredible what all that protein can do. They went well past my finger tips and were very strong, like soda can opening strong. They also were poking my eye out as I attempted to retrieve a small piece of contact lens. :c( They had to go and as it turned out I didn't even get the tiny piece out. I woke up this morning and there it was a tiny ball wedged in the corner of my eye.

Argh.

It's okay though, they'll grow back, and long nails also harbor bacteria. Today is my last day of Zyvox and I still have a wee tiny hole left.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Can't I just hurry up and heal already?

I'm still packing that last hole. It's closing slowly. I'm doing this mostly myself now, I tried to get discharged from home care but alas, no luck. The last nurse watched me do all this to make sure I was okay on my own. She wanted to know if I was a nurse. No, but occasionally I play one in real life. So apparently I passed the test because they've dropped my visits to 3x a week, I probably won't see a nurse until Wednesday now. I'm hoping that I'll be all closed up by then, it's currently about half and inch deep and getting smaller at the opening. I switched from a piece of 2x2 gauze back to the strips. They sting and I am more aware of them but I think that wounds heals faster with them instead of being packed full with gauze. There are some stitches sticking out of me along the line that has healed, these are of the dissolvable kind and I assume he'll pull and snip them on Monday. They don't seem to be causing any issues. That two inches that broke open I think had healed well but I know the surgeon will be disappointed by it. It's amazing what's a priority for him as opposed to me. I just want no open holes.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Beach

I spent today at Crane Beach up in Ipswich. I follow a local weatherman on Twitter and he said today was a beach day. Indeed it was.

I saw the plastic surgeon on Monday and I am almost healed! Just one last spot is still being packed but I am not sure for how much longer. Today I told the nurse thanks but no thanks, I was already on the road to the beach by time she called to let me know when she was coming (between 12 and 3pm?).

So I've been out and about living again. I get winded very easily, but that's okay. Monday I shopped! I bought another bathing suit a maxi dress and a silk shirt that I am on the fence about it. It could be a dress but I'll wear it as a shirt, it has a big bow which is what drew me to it. I also went to the Bass Pro Shop on Monday night. I was exhausted by time we headed home and the seatbelt can be rough on me at the end of the day. It was fun trying on clothes... I bought a pair of shorts. My thighs still cause them to rise in the crotch, but the right cut will minimize that. I wore them today in fact. Getting down to the beach today also winded me. I bought a lawn chair that you can wear like a backpack. It's certainly light enough but when you are carrying a bag as well and have been sitting on your ass for 6 weeks 300 yards to the water is far.

I missed a few spots with the sunscreen but am happy to have some color. That pale antibiotic grey is not a good look on me.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Tankini

I'm wearing one. I've had this suit for years. Back when I first lost the weight I ordered it from LL Bean for a winter vacation to Key West thinking it would be cute. I also liked that I could order a larger bottom than top to accommodate all my excess. The top is a 10 the bottom a 12. It was AWFUL. The skin that hung over my belly button was on full display and it was not pretty. I ended up purchasing another one the first day of vacation for 85$ somewhere on Duval. I still have that suit and am a big fan of it. Bright pretty floral colors and bonus, it came with a sarong. I've always loved swim ware. I had 5 different bathing suits at 240 pounds when I lived in Colorado. I spent summer by the pool and didn't give my body a second thought.

It's been on my mind that I am more than just my skin, but I have to say that this makes me pretty damn happy. I never ever thought that I could feel this normal. Sure there are lots of other parts of me that still droop and hang, but I did not know that this was going to be as life changing as it has been. I was focused on mobility and my knee. But now I know I wouldn't be totally honest if I said this has nothing to do with looks because it does. I know I'm never going to have a magazine body and I don't care. That doesn't motivate me, what does motivate me is being comfortable in my own skin and living life. Being an active participant in my life. The excess skin gets in the way of that.

I don't have to justify, I know that, it's just that this result, even with complications is so different than what I had imagined. It's pretty damn close to perfect. All those years of hard work brought me to a body that I could love and respect, but had a hard time living with. Now I can prance around on the deck and feel just as comfortable being in my own body as I did at 240. My skin is now me sized and I think that is what is making all the difference.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Whole Foods and Single Baked Good Goodness

I wonder where Whole Food falls in California's nutrition labeling law? Do their prepared food fall under the restaurant category because you can sit and eat there? I took myself out to lunch today to my local Whole Foods in Cambridge and had a salad from their cold bar plus some overpriced sushi. They have lots of other things I enjoy from the hot bar, but right now I am focused on protein and getting the most bang for my calorie buck. It kind of annoys me that they don't post or have available their nutritional info. I know it is expensive to test each recipe and that when they do, they only usually test it once, there will be variations form store to store etc... That's all fine, I really just need a guesstimate.

Scouring their website I came across this answer to the nutritional info question in their forums.

And let's talk about the baked goods. They have more single serving desserts than a girl could hope for, but again, with no nutritional info. Ingredients only. Just knowing that they are there often keeps me from buying one... that and the one time I bought a single cupcake it was labeled as and I got charged for a 6 pack. Grumble. Totally defeated the purpose. I was craving something sweet today and picked up and put down many a desert. It seemed to be free sample day so I made do with a wee bit of Mojito cake. It was only okay but just enough all at the same time.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Not a fan of that Dannon Light & Fit Commercial

I'm glad to see I am not the only person who does not like this commercial.

Seriously, I am supposed to believe that this thin attractive woman is slurping down that yogurt in the store because it's so tasty? For me that stuff falls into the not real food category. But even more than that it's the stupid look at me smirk at the end of the commercial that really irritates.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

If I didn't know the difference

I'm pretty sure the nurse would have used one of those heparin syringes on me today. It wouldn't have killed me or anything, but it certainly wouldn't have helped. PAY ATTENTION! These syringes come prepackaged, you hook them up to your IV after administering a med to prevent clotting. I know this because I've had a couple of PICC lines in my past. Heparin is blue, saline for the flush is white. She had already unwrapped one and put it on the coffee table and I was all, hey that's heparin! She looked confused and said, oh how did those get in there...

Umm... you put them in the bag because you weren't paying attention when you got supplies from the office. Mom and I noticed it last week, we should have taken them out then. They were at the very bottom of the bag, lesson learned. I would hate to think what would have happened if I hadn't said anything. That's not something most people know. Way to go crappy immune system.

So you might be able to tell I am over this nurse. She is a nice lady, but she is a lazy nurse. After the heparin incident, she had used 2 of the 3 saline syringes she had laid out. She went to reach for the third but grabbed the one that was already empty and screwed it back on to the catheter. This was for my last, tiniest hole and she had a hard time getting the catheter tip in, after about 20 secs. of fussing she got what she wanted only to depress the plunger and notice, oh, it's empty! Argh. PAY ATTENTION.

Really, is that to much to ask?

She goes on vacation at the end of the week for 10 days. I am going to do everything in my power to be all healed up and not need wound packing by time she gets back!

Easing back into life

The Tall Ships are in Boston right now and most of them are docked across the street from where M parks for work. When I am well I normally drop him off, it's a nice way to spend time together in the morning and then he doesn't have to pay for parking, which is 11$ at the cheapest. The MBTA doesn't seem to bother him and so instead of 15$ a day for commuting it's less than 5$ between the toll in on the Mass Pike, I take Storrow home, and his T fare.

So this morning I offered to drop him off. Well, he drove in, normally I drive, but one way was far enough for me. It was nice to get out and know that the city is still there. People are still running along the Charles, they are still working on that on ramp near Fenway and the Pike is still a shit show, but thankfully they hadn't closed down any lanes this morning.

At this point this is how I am going to get better, by easing back into my life. Things like dishes, ironing, errands. Well, no errands yet, but I will get to those. I super want to go to my local Target. It had been under renovation for the past 2 years and now it's finally done. I haven't been in yet, five weeks ago, they were still laying carpet in the woman's section and apparently they have some odd new all plastic carriages? I wanna see. It was a long process, they worked from the outside/periphery of the store to the inside. Last I time I was there only an island of the old Target remaining.

I've been cooking some too. Last night I only cut the meat for steak tips, but that was something. My protein intake is still close to or over 100 grams a day. My hair and nails have never looked better. I actually want to get a hair cut, but my stylist is on Newbury. Maybe next week I'll schedule an appointment and see just how good my parking karma is.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I need a better immune system

The germ that grew out last week was just plain old skin flora. I am a wee bit freaked out by that. The antibiotics keep getting bigger but the germs, from what I can read are supposedly less virulent? Serratia all those years was undeniably ugly, but the latest infections have just been small stuff. Why do we need to treat them with bombs? I understand that I did have a massive hole just cut in me but these bacteria don't cause problems for NORMAL people. I was healing up just fine from the fluid/pulling apart complication, but the infection. I feel like two steps forward one step back.

Warning possible gross TMI ahead!

Mom was here today and she said it looks much better. I agree, but the fact that two deepest tunnels are now "communicating" is also freaking me out. Basically what that means is that even though my largest hole has mostly healed, the spot where the infection was (that lump of ick I mentioned last week) has tunneled to the fascia. I could feel it yesterday when the plastic surgeon poked me. Actually the medical assistant found it. She impresses me. Nice girl, let's me ramble on because when I'm nervous I talk, pretty much non-stop. And there I go rambling. Anyways, it communicates with the other tunnel that was the deepest. When she flushed it with saline the fluid came out both holes. I will eventually heal, I assume the tissue is done breaking down and now will begin to build itself back up.

In other gross icky news. I have never ever had to deal with a feminine problem like I have right now. We are combatting on both fronts, the yeast and the lack of healthy helpful bacteria. Hopefully tomorrow I'll start feeling some relief from all this effort. I can't wipe, only blot if that tells you how bad this is.

So when all this is wrapped up maybe I'll see about talking to an immunologist. I'd like to know why I get the odd germs and the infections from things that aren't supposed to infect you. Literally the plastic surgeon said that yesterday, "You grew out nothing that should have done this."

I am going to heal.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I helped!

I need to start doing more for myself. Not too much-- but more. Tonight I chopped vegetables and helped with dinner. Ooooh, exciting right? We had stuffed peppers, mine was all hamburger and veggies, no brown rice and no cheese-- stupid Zyvox! We ate these as kids all the time, but I am willing to bet my version has more vegetables and less fat. Thinking back on it I assume they were made with 80/20 hamburger, white rice, tomato sauce chock full of sugar (check it out, most are!), smothered with full fat cheddar cheese and no extra vegetables to be seen. I can vividly remember the oil pooling on the surface of the stuffed peppers and in the bottom of the baking dish. Tonight's version was 93/7 hamburger with onions, garlic, mushrooms and spinach, brown rice and lorraine swiss. It was just as yummy as when I was a kid. It's all about changing your normal.

I also cut up a head of cauliflower, a couple of carrots and a sweet potato for a braised veggie recipe I'll make tomorrow. The sweet potato and carrots are veggies that need to be used and are an addition and substitution to the origional recipe but I'm sure will still be delicious. The spices lend the dish an Indian flavor so I can use up leftovers by wrapping them up in phylo dough, brush them with olive oil and bake turning them into a good for you version of the vegetable samosa.

It's so nice to have fruit & veggies back in the house and to have the energy to do things with them. Mom took me to the grocery store yesterday, I walked the produce isles and the frozen isle. I'm noticing the mini dessert trend has hit the ice cream case. Besides the Ben & Jerry's tiny cups you can also get the Edy's Slow Churned, chocolate, vanilla and chocolate mint. I know it's more packaging and I know they aren't great for you, but it makes me happier than having to buy a pint of something that will only taunt me later until I pitch the rest of it. I have no problems paying for exactly what I want. I had a tiny cup of the chocolate with fresh cherries, strawberries and blueberries. Tonight I just had the fruit and that's okay too, but sometimes a girl needs something chocolately to help her cope.

An After Picture


I took this with my iPhone last night. You can clearly see the ABD pads that are covering the 4x4s that are covering the packing strips of gauze that are stuffed inside of me. Love my belly button though. Never ever thought it could be that cute. PS did a very nice job, silly to think that I was considering going without, it's really been the least of my healing worries!


Edited to add...
Here's the link back to the before picture. I spent some time this weekend pulling pics off my old mac. I'm working on more of before gallery. I just need to crop out my head. I don't mind the pics being out there, but god forbid should anyone disperse them, yeah... They are all iPhone pics. Not the greatest, but you'll get the idea.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

It's been a month now.

June 4th seems like yesterday and a million years ago all at the same time. Today is the first day we've have had really nice weather. I opened up all the windows and still sat on the sofa under the blanket.

I really liked the weekend nurse who came this morning. My normal nurse, while a wound specialist is 1. A slob, 2. A slob and 3. Apparently can't spell. The nurse today was telling me that while reviewing my chart today she kept seeing the word puss. Thankfully she also had a sharps container. My regular nurse has been cutting the ends off of a butterfly needle in order to use the catheter tip to irriagte my holes. It's not unusual for her to just leave the needle ends sitting on my coffee table. I was also noting today going through the bag of supplies she pilfered from the office, because my insurance company is a bit slow about these things, that she dumped the syringe with the used catheter back in the bag! Ick. I know there is no such thing as sterile at home, but let's at least pretend like we care about germs okay? Sheesh. Oh also, in the bottom of that goody bag, heparin syringes. I need heparin like I need a hole in the head.

I am healing. I know that, seems slow, especially after a month, but again, the nurse today was super positive. Reminded me to consider the source of the tissue they had to use. My insicion line is stitched together layers of skin that were folded over, had a restricted blood flow, no air and were very stretched out. She also said to not let this deter me from my thighs as that's a different scenario in terms of tissue.

I think this week I'll see some good progress. I'm still eating well and have fined tuned the protein need to be met with less calories, ~2,200 a day was a bit excessive and my tummy was hurting. Good practice for my future career. Also this anti biotic I'm on tells you to stay away from foods with tyramine, so this has also changed the way I am approaching my nutritional needs. Less bars and shakes and more cooking. My muscle repair is mostly healed so cooking for myself is easier as I can stand pretty straight now. I still get tired quick but I am certainly able to do much more for myself than unwrap a Power Bar or gulp down an Odwalla protein shake.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Puff Puff Pass

I have done more in the last two days than I have in a month. I have driven myself twice now to the doctors and today I went from the hospital in West Roxbury to downtown where I immediately relinquished the wheel of my bouncy bucket of noise to twin sis. Driving is surprisingly hard on me-- I own a Chevy Colorado and there is nothing fancy about it. My air often doesn't work and so I have to roll down the windows, normally I'd just vent the back one in the rain, but I can't twist around so I was left wrestling with the window crank. I thought maybe I was weak, but twin sis also said it was hard to roll, especially up. Makes little things like getting in and out of the parking lot just a smidge more difficult. I was grateful when she drove from her work to her place in the South End and then after a quick stop at her house to see Cat, she drove me home.

I blogress.

I think I was the first person the plastic surgeon saw today after his day in the OR. I can't tell you how much I like this guy and his staff. They are all super kind, they pay attention, they are helpful, knowledgeable and they listen, even when short on time. Anyone who has read my blog for a while will know that I don't heal like everyone else, and that's causing me some stress right now. I was hoping this would be flawless, but it's not. Results not typical I guess, but apparently this happens to about 30% of massive weight loss peeps.

Warning! Gross, possible TMI ahead!

I currently have three open holes. One is on my left side and was the one that burst with fluid almost two weeks ago. We have been packing it all along, at it's largest it was two inches long and I'm not sure how deep, it was hard to see, like a little cave. All the protein I have been eating is really helping, it has filled in almost to the surface (except for the infected part) and I suspect soon it will start healing from the sides. The infection started last Friday I think and was very ew, during Monday night's dressing change I noticed that there was this bit of solid ick that I couldn't dislodge with the wound cleansing spray. Tuesday morning before my shower I noticed that there was more of it! I grabbed it with a piece of gauze and a lump of congealed pus and drainage slid out about an inch and a quarter long. I was speechless but this was an excellent development, as it had been blocking the rest of the pus. Now that that spot has been able to drain it has closed up very quick, PS said it was pretty superficial at this point.

My second hole is the deepest and is basically at the bottom of my suture line. My incision runs from the back of my hips and dips into a deep crescent that's stitched just above my pubic area. The PS poked his tweezers in there and they disappeared! Yikes! He said to make sure that I point that out to the RN so she is packing it, on Tuesday that was still blocked by pus and starting to tunnel to the right. The top has open up a bit allowing for more drainage and now that the antibiotic has kicked in he could see just how deep the hole is.

The final hole is to the right and the one that PS opened himself on Tuesday. It's leaking some fat cells, umm, can we say necrosis. Apparently those are the small square chunks I am seeing on my dressing when I change it out. The PA told me not to worry on Tuesday, this is normal sometimes the fat cells get strangled by the stitches and die. Seeing them on the dressing is much better than having them sit inside of me. This hole is also pretty superficial but still packable.

So that's the wound round up. I'm looking forward to several days on the sofa. I'm puffy right now and the swelling I'm sure is a combination of being poked and also the driving. Potholes carved by weeks of rain plus stop and go city driving equals lots of tense tummy muscles.

I was telling twin sis on the way home that I would still do this again despite my hurdles. I'm used to things being a haul and had hoped that this would go smoothly, but it didn't and that's okay. One of things I say a lot about life's situations, problems, triumphs, etc. is that they are not better or worse from one another, they are just different. However this, this is better. It's hard explain it exactly, but wow, this body I have now, I am amazingly pleased with the improvement.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Did I speak too soon?

Probably.

I saw the PS today, was supposed to see just the PA. But I don't do anything half way. When he came in he told me I was his little worrier, by the end of the visit he looked, well, disappointed and concerned. He said he had been so happy with my incision line. Yeah me too, but now I think he is concerned for my health... I'm concerned for my future. That's a different post.

Like every other foreign object placed in my body I am now spitting out stitches. I've also grown some sort of germ... didn't catch the name, starts with a D. I've been on Bactrim and Clyndamycin. I'm allergic to Cipro and Keflex. I've had a couple of past infections, Staph and Serratia both involving a PICC line. So given my history and my allergies... the PS called his buddy the ID doc. He started the conversation in the exam room and then moved out into the hallway. He came back telling me that the ID doc thought he should go right to the top. In pill form THANK GOD. But man, this is a scary sounding drug, the only one in it's class, I have reached the top of the food chain when it comes to antibiotics.

Linezolid.

Ever heard of it? Yeah, neither had I, it's 1,900$ for a 10 day course and requires prior authorization from my insurance company. I have no doubt they'll approve it, but wow, that's $$$. The side effects sound kind of scary but it kills everything. I'm fine with that, if it helps me heal I'm down with whatever comes with it, well, as long as it's not death. Mom told me that I'm not allowed to take the first dose without someone with me. I'm inclined to agree.

I'm trying super hard not to hate my body. I love the way it looks, but it doesn't heal for shit.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Let's List Some Positives


My tummy no longer puddles onto my thighs and will never do that again.

I can walk around in a tank top and undies and not feel self conscious.

I have a closet full of clothes to try back on... many pieces that worked okay, should be awesome now. I'm looking at you vintage grey wool 4 gore skirt from Paris. And you too vintage Calvin Klein pencil skirt!

My supplies finally arrived today with a tape that isn't going to rip my skin to shreds.

That spot on my right side did it's thing, drained and has closed back up.

My belly button has pretty much stopped leaking.

I've been able to get a jump on the fall by working the Harvard Summer School website.

My husband is learning to cook. Tonight, Pot Pie.

I know it won't be like this forever

But right now it is, and it sucks. When I first went into this I was told no complaining. Complaining is whining about something to someone who can't do anything about it. I'm near 4 weeks on my sofa staring at clouds with no end in sight. I have no idea how long it's going to take to heal up completely, no one seems to have that information. I'm still eating 100+ grams of protein a day in hopes of moving things along. But with each step forward it seems like one step back.

This latest development I'm thinking is maybe what was causing me to sweat buckets last week over night. Hopefully what ever was causing that has been taken care of by my white cells and the result is now this pocket of ickyness just needs to move up and out. I was attributing last weeks night sweats to the Bactrum but I haven't had any problems with that in a few days.

So yeah, you can lose 185 pounds but still nothing is ever easy.

Ick Ick Ick Ick

This is getting to be a long drawn out process, as is most medical issues with me, it's never how I expect it to be.

Now I am leaking puss which is different than drainage. Puss is more like a liquid, drainage has some coagulation to it, you pull on drainage and it sticks together. Gross, I know.

No luck on the 3% saline, I finally found a pharmacy that did some leg work for me only to tell me that it is on manufacturers backorder. I spoke with the PA and she said it wasn't totally necessary. I think I'm going to go over there tomorrow so that they can actually look at it. The nurse this morning seemed concerned that the doc didn't want to see me, the PA gave me a different story when I spoke to her and said if it would give me some peace of mind that I could stop by the office. Just tell me what to do people. I just want to heal.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

I've been getting out.

Excursions have included two trips to CVS, one time I sat in the car, the other time I went in. CVS is NOT impressing me right now, I need 3% saline. PS wrote a script for the hypertonic solution to use on the dressing with which I pack my wound. It should help draw out more fluid, furthering the healing process. Problem is most saline comes in .9%, so I either need a compounding pharmacy and none of which are open near here on weekends or I wait till Monday when CVS should have ordered it for me. They said expect a call from corporate as they dispensed the wrong "medication". This is me promoting my own healing, I know what the doctor and I talked about and it's not what they dispensed me.

Where else, oh I went for ice cream. This local place has wonderful soft serve but the small is always so large. I always order the small-- a personal mantra that goes a long way. But even with that rule I still have to break off the top (after the jimmies are gone of course) and toss it. I was doing this before my tummy felt smaller.

Today I went to the mall, twin sis and Mom needed glasses. I spent a lot of time sitting on benches, I went one Mall "block" down to the bathroom and back. Mom needed makeup-- a task accomplished at Sephora even though she had no lenses. I hope she likes the stuff she picked out-- a small token of appreciation for all she had done for me.

I'm pooped and swollen today, not bad, just noticeable and I need rest. Nurse says I am doing okay, hopefully she'll be on the later side and I can sleep in tomorrow.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

And today I just want to cry

Hormonal, probably, but everything is making me tear up. I just want to heal. I have a stitch popping up next to my open wound, and I am worried about tunneling. I hope not. I've been doing everything I can, including 100+ grams of protein a day. I see the doc tomorrow. Hopefully he'll see some improvement.

I'm struggling with this.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I just want to stretch

I want to reach my arms up over my head, arch my back and stretch. And I can't.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Missing M

I'm losing track of the days, but I am pretty sure my 3 year wedding anniversary is next week. Anyways it's on July 1st and sometimes it's still hard to believe all that has happened since. Gram's passing and countless surgeries, well actually just 5 including this latest. When we said in sickness and in health neither of us knew what was coming.

Each surgery has been a learning experience but this one will keep me down longer than the others. I hate being a burden on M. While work is not what it once for him there are still those occasions where it sucks him dry. I haven't seen him since yesterday and it just killed me that I couldn't hop in the car and bring him a bag with fresh clothes and towel late last night. And now knowing that he'll need to come home and cook if he wants something low sodium for dinner-- I feel like crying because I can't help. I never thought I'd be that girl but I like taking care of my man.

He's been taking good care of me given his limited resource of time. It's weird being totally dependent on someone else but we're both adjusting to this new dynamic I think. It won't last forever and now more than ever I know how much he loves me. I'd do the same for him in a heart beat.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Nerves

Changed my dressing and the packing fell out. The nerves inside my wound burn a bit but the ones in my stomach hurt worse. I will heal, I will get better.

Now where's that last lorazapam?

Father's Day

I love my Dad.

About the time that I embarked on losing the last of my weight he had weight loss surgery. Growing up it was clear that weight was a problem but I can only remember ONCE when it was an issue for him. At least to the point that I was aware of it as a child. Posted on the refrigerator was a sign, scrawled on a sheet from a yellow legal pad in green felt tip pen:

This is Not a Sanctuary

I had no idea what it meant and neither did my babysitter. I think I have told this story before, but it sits with me today. My parents got divorced eleven years ago and our relationship has never been the same. I miss him daily, and think of him often. His surgery is not the success that I had hoped it would be, but I think the above sign tells me why. I think of weight loss surgery as a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I admit my own bias having lost the weight without surgery. It's hard for me to wrap my brain around why you would do that when the complications and risks seem so high. And given what I know about me, I'm sure I would have suffered from complications. The "tool" as some call it is simply a rearranged part that you now are forced to live with. Some are able to accept it, learn from their new limitations and go onto great success, some are betrayed by it and others simply abuse it. The change has to come from within and no surgical procedure is going to do that for you.

I posted earlier this week that I wondered if I would have learned as much about myself if I had had a smaller stomach back then. I've been thinking a lot about this today, and I think I need to change my answer. I think yes, yes I would have. Again the change has to come from within you. Your heart and mind are the tools that you need to use to get to your sanctuary, it doesn't matter what path you walk down.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Is gift!

M has to be one of the greatest husbands ever. I was kind of over the internet yesterday, mostly because my Mac has been funky and I had no interest in stripping it clean, restoring to the factory settings and then reinstalling all my software. Blech. It also couldn't keep connected to the internet to save its life and 30 seconds of a clip on YouTube had to load like 3 times while playing.

When he got home I was mid dressing change. He's probably seen me naked from the waist down more in the past two weeks than during the entire prior history of our relationship. /tmi. Anyway after I alcoholed and covered up we had the normal how was your day conversation and I ranted. I went on and on about how I wanted to put the computer down for a bit, it's heavy and hard to keep on my lap for long periods of time, plus this on going internet issue, blah blah blah. He smiled and nodded. After he had brought everything in and started dinner I saw him go back outside with a blanket? I was all where you going, he said he'd be right back.

I couldn't fathom what he needed the blanket for, a new kitten, a cactus, what? Turns out he was using it as wrapping paper and beneath the green fleece was a new MacBook Pro. I cried. And felt like an ass for all the things I had just said. But man, it's nice and so clean and I don't want to make a mess of it. My last Mac was my first Mac and now that I know about them, I'll do things differently. The new touch pad will take some getting used to, but I'll be a pro at it in no time.

He's so awesome. I often remind myself that we never know how our life is going to turn out. What I have discovered since my days in Boulder is that you have to work at life. I think that also may be called growing up, but we don't all do it at the same pace. I used to sit there and wonder and worry how was I ever going to escape the life I had made for myself. I saw no exit at the time but as I started changing I began to see a new pathway. A path out. It required effort and self discipline to keep clearing the obstacles and moving forward. As I look back now, I can see where I have come from, it's been a long journey and it's never going to end. However you never know what or who you are going to find along the way, it's a great a reason to keep going. I'm so glad I have M with me now, helping to push aside the occasional debris or just to simply walk hand in hand.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Long Lonely Days

I feel like I should be more constructive with my time right now. I'm reading here and there but watching a lot of crap TV and wasting time on the internets. Reminds me of being 345 living in Boulder and never getting outside and never getting anything done. Except now it's forced, then it was willing. This experience makes me wonder how I lived like that.

I feel like my legs are going to atrophy, but no exercise or walking even for me with this hole. This weekend isn't looking like it will provide much relief from the long stretch of house confinement except for Mom and the visiting nurse. The VNA will be coming by in the morning, good thing it's early, I'll need a shower and I have no desire to wait all day. After that, I see a nap in my future.

And more freaking rain. Even being trapped inside it still sucks.

/complain

Even with gauze stuffed in my tummy...


I don't miss it.

Oh and Good News

I'm not infected. Culture just showed the regular skin flora. Apparently that is what is creating the ick on the gauze pad, my insides reacting with the outside world.

Where I'm At

There is a less than three inch section of my incision that has opened up. I assume probably the fluid that accumulated after the last drain came out put pressure on the incision line and with weak tissues it just couldn't hold together. When I'm sitting I can't really see inside, THANK GOD. There is a bit of over hang blocking my view and I am just fine with that. The plastic surgeon said that he could see two stitches in there and was going to leave them as they are keeping me together. They put a lot of tension on me and I need to make sure that I am not putting any undue stress on the incision line. I'm not, just hanging out on the sofa. He said that even without the weight loss surgery, the biology of people who have lost massive amounts of weight is just different. The tissue is not the same because the body has been starved. :c( I feel like that was so long ago, 4+ years, but apparently that doesn't make a difference. He said to keep it clean, continue to shower every day and wash myself twice a day with alcohol to dry out the opening.



So the VNA is going to come and pack my largest wound once a day. Back when I first got out of college I worked as a scheduler for a home care agency and my mom has been the on call lady for years for one as well. I am familiar with wound care but find it had to do myself, especially the idea of sticking wet saline drenched gauze into my tummy with a q tip by myself. The health insurance company and the VNA will probably want to teach me to do it myself. I guess I can do that, with some lorazapam maybe.

So it's a set back and not an unexpected one for the surgeon. As the awesome PA said to me, this is the way I do things. Alas. I will heal and this will still be a great result, I have no doubt about that. I'm glad I have the summer to heal.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Stuffed some calories in me today

There has been some adjustment with this surgery. The first being is that I get full very quick. Not WLS quick, but there is a noticeable difference in my stomach capacity pre and post surgery. I don't mind it, in fact I'm pretty sure this is how I'm supposed to feel. I can only imagine what a smaller stomach does for your weight loss efforts. Or what this feeling now could have done for my efforts back then.

Would I have really benefitted from that though? Would I have learned as much about myself, my health and food? This is a luxury I have now only because I've learned to live with food. Years of slowly changing my habits, figuring out what did and didn't work for me have brought me back to this point when my stomach, and the cavity and skin surrounding it are of normal size.

That being said, I do need to be stuffing a few more calories in me. Last week I kind of let it slide and was probably only taking in 1200-1500 calories a day, fine if I wanted to lose weight, but I need to be healing. 2000 is what I need currently at a minimum. I feel like I ate all day. Mom came and helped tonight, also made me dinner, french toast with eggs from a local farm, thick sliced raison bread and lots of butter and syrup. Took a while to eat all three slices, I was tempted to stop at two, but I stuffed the last one in. I'm not going to undue in a few weeks what I have accomplished in the last nine and half years.

Looking forward to Friday

I see the doctor.

My incision line has opened up a bit. Is what it is. Blaming myself will not help. I wish it hadn't happened, but it has. I would still do again. Although I did break down earlier when changing the dressing. Mom was here and she said she was wondering when I was going to say that. I didn't really mean it, but it felt good to get it out.

It's a bit painful actually. This burning pain that is extremely sensitive to pressure. Again, is what it is. I was probably a little naive to think that my poor body, that I had abused for years, would heal up with no complications. That's just not me.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Suspect

That spot I was so worried about-- it icked overnight. I woke up at 4:40 and had to pee, the bathroom was dark and I could feel something dripping down my leg. I got the light on, blood and fluid. A lot of blood and fluid. These things happen.

So they saw me in the office first thing. They paged the PA who came up from the OR. She manipulated the wound a bit expressing as much fluid as she could. They swabbed it for a culture and put me on Bactrum. The fluid doesn't smell or look infected to me, but I'm not the expert. She said to keep wiping myself clean with alcohol and apply dry gauze.

It will pass. And on a two foot long incision line we are talking an area maybe three inches long. I'll be fine. I'd still do this all over again.

Monday, June 15, 2009

God helps those who help themselves

My Gram used to say that, it's so true. You have to take responsibility for yourself and promote your own healing. I'm trying.

Sometimes I wonder how different my mindset would be if I hadn't gone for the 3rd ACL replacement. There was no way that I could have known that there would be more pain and suffering from that surgery than actual benefit. Unfortunately I can't predict the future and had no idea that I was setting off down a path of self doubt and self loathing instead of self confidence and love. It never occurred to me that I could become infected twice, but as my writing instructor said, who is also a PCP, "The chances for you are 100%."

It's one of the reasons I waited so long on this plastic surgery. Besides always needing my knee operated on so I didn't go nutty with pain, it was the idea of optional surgery that was hard for me to overcome.

And why the fuck does that spot on my leg throb today? It's goddamn aching, twinging and today was red for no reason in an unusual spot. Look for something to come out of my skin there in the next few days I'm sure.
/rant

This is the first step I need to take to get to the thighs to be able to wear a brace that doesn't chafe and rip apart my skin so I can give my knee a fighting chance to make it too 55. (I hope!) These surgeries some how seemed safer than finding someone who would stick a big hunk of metal in my knee at 32. Right now, whatever is going on under my incision will pass, and I have no doubt it will be nothing compared to what I have been through. I fear more tubes and more antibiotics that make me feel like shit. But mostly I fear imposing on my crazy wonderful family.