Hobbling around the summertime

by Christine on June 10th, 2015

filed under Christine's Life Updates

It’s now June 2015, and it’s been a few months, so I thought I would give an update.

So you know how the last 6-9 months have been pretty crap for me? Well, I got to add some more crap on top of it. Nothing so bad as my band getting ripped out, or my dad dying. If nothing else, those three months gave me some serious perspective. Some things just aren’t as bad as having one of your family members pass away, you know what I mean?

No. Things aren’t that bad, but they continue to be not-so-great. In February hubby and I were skiing in the Adirondacks. I was having a great ski day…you know, really getting the hang of it? And so I thought I would try to conquer a BLACK DIAMOND.

Boy, that was dumb. About 8 feet down the sucker, I slipped on some ice and trashed my knee. It turns out I tore my ACL. And, as I’ve learned, the ACL is pretty important for things like: exercise, losing weight, going down stairs, and in general doing fun things in life like volleyball, rollerblading, playing pickleball, skiing, and other such things. My doc said I COULD live without an ACL. Many people do. But I would basically need to live a sedentary life. I said, “screw that!” and so I scheduled surgery. No way am I going to live life in an armchair. There’s a lot of the world left for me to explore! People to meet! Things to do! Adventures to be had!

Thus, I got to experience my second surgery in the space of 9 months. Let me tell you….even though the general recovery time for ACL surgery is longer and harder than gastric-band-removal-surgery, the fact that this healed quickly and has been pretty textbook has been SOOO MUCH EASIER. OMG. No infection and subsequent hospital visits. Everything is cool. I can’t quite go down my stairs at home, but you know…perspective. I’m on-track, I’m doing well, and I’ll “get there” in due time.

Here is a picture of an ACL. It’s the thing that keeps your knee together, more or less.

I just started physical therapy and had my first real appointment yesterday. That was interesting. I’ll update a bit more about that in a few days.

You know, I can’t help but feel and wonder if tearing my ACL in February had anything to do with fairly dramatic and rapid weight GAIN since my gastric band has come out. I guess I’ll never know, but I can’t help but feel like there’s a correlation there.

In the meantime…I’ve actually gained NO WEIGHT in the three weeks since ACL surgery! Isn’t that something?!  On the other hand, I’m about 42 pounds up from my Goal/Low Weight. Sigh. You know what that means: new wardrobe. Chafing when wearing dresses. Fat rolls when you sit down. Bathing suit season. OMG!

The week before my surgery, hubby and I took a much-needed vacation to Mexico. He actually surprised me with the trip for my birthday? Isn’t that fantastic? Even with a torn ACL, we managed to squeeze in a bajillion fun adventures–nothing too knee intensive. We went snorkeling (I got to pet a wild sea turtle!), we went snorkeling in an underground cave, we went to Tulum, we went rappelling and zip lining, and we went deep sea fishing. I caught a HUGE 43 inch, 20 pound Blue Wahoo! Fantastic!!!  When I was reeling that sucker in, I felt my dad’s presence pretty strongly. It was cool. He would have thought going deep sea fishing was fun. Pics below…and you can see my weight gain. *sigh*

About 2 days after we got back from Mexico, I went to Manhattan with some friends of mine, including my therapist. (I know, what a weird life I lead, that I socialize and go on trips with my therapist? HAHA! But, talk about “ultimate therapy;” he can help me so much more now that we’re closer friends!!) It turns out we did about 10+ miles of walking on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. And it also turns out that I was sick from my trip to Mexico (Montezuma’s Revenge + a cold + ACL torn) and it turns out that I was SO FREAKING EXHAUSTED from that trip. OMG. So much walking. I was pretty much delirious the entire time. Our hotel overlooked the World Trade Center site though, so that was cool. (I know you’re wondering, and no no. Boys in one room, Betty and I in another room!)

 

Then I had my surgery 2 days later, after all that romping around. I’m healing up now. Trying to get eating under control. Trying not to balloon up any more than I already am. Better watch out: With my new bionic knee, I’m going to be kicking ass and taking names pretty soon here!

So I wanted to mention this also: Since the beginning of the year, hubby has been losing weight, exercising, and training for a Spartan race later this fall. He’s been doing so amazingly! I’m so proud of him! I admit, I’m a little sad that I can’t be exercising alongside him these past few months, but I am cheering him on nonetheless! This weekend hubby participated in his first 5K/mud/obstacle course race thing. The team’s time was deplorable, but they had a great time playing in the mud and busting out the teamwork to finish the course. I’m super proud of hubby for doing it! I can’t wait to cheer him on at the Spartan Race this fall!

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Are you bitter?

by Christine on March 29th, 2013

filed under Christine's Life Updates

This week I had an opportunity to chat with a perfect stranger about my weight loss and issues related to it. The conversation kind of came up in a roundabout way, the way these things do these days.  Usually they talk about their own attempt to lose weight, and I chime in with my own experiences, and they say, “Wow, you’ve lost over 100 pounds?” And then I pull out my phone and show them a “before” picture. Two things happen then: They either say, “Holy shit, you don’t even look like the same person!” or they say, “Awe, you look as good now as you did then.”  It’s funny how reactions can be lumped into one of the two categories.

This particular gentleman that I was speaking to, Bob, was sharing that he coaches women’s sports at his local high school. He volunteers his time coaching softball, soccer, and basketball. He said there is one young girl that plays multiple sports (it’s a small school district), and he has noticed recently that he treats her differently because of her weight. Bob gives her less playing time than the other girls. He puts her in positions that require less effort (for example, outfield instead of shortstop, etc). He forgets to even think about her when he’s coming up with drills and plans. Bob is less friendly to her in person. He said she’s a very smart girl, very sweet, with a heart of gold. And she tries very hard at all the sports. So it’s really just her weight that causes him to treat her differently. Bob wanted to know how people have treated me differently now versus when I was overweight.

I had YET ANOTHER conversation along this same line with a very dear friend of mine, who we shall call John. John is, shall we say, an adventuresome lover. He has many lovers. He finds women attractive and enjoys sex with them. But there is one woman that has made it clear that she is attracted to him, and he said he is not attracted to her…..yes, because of her weight. John feels terrible about this and feels very self-conscious about his lack of attraction for this woman. He feels like a terrible person and wants badly to be more open-minded. And yet, his attraction…it is what it is.

I’ve been on the receiving end of this more times than I can count. The one that stands out to me is a crush I had on my friend Terry. We spent TONS of time together, even slept (yes, sleep…not sex) together all the time. We had many fun adventures together. I made it clear that I liked him, and one day he was finally honest with me and said, “Look, you are a nice girl, I’m glad we are friends and spend time together. But I’m just not attracted to you. I like girls that are a LOT thinner than you.”

I was crushed. Terribly crushed. It made me hate and loathe myself even more than I did before. But at the same time, I appreciated the HONEST response. “I’m not attracted to you because of your weight” was a whole hell of a lot more honest than, “I just don’t think we’re meant to be together” or some other bullshit like that.

I shared some of my experiences with Bob, and he was very attentive. He said he feels like a terrible person because of how he treats this girl on his sports team. He said he will not forget our conversation anytime soon, that my openness and candor meant a lot to him. He said that our conversation only reinforces that he needs to do a lot better job being a better person. It was one of the nicest compliments I’ve had in a long time.

But Bob asked me, “Are you ever bitter?  You know…bitter when people are nice to you now? Bitter because people weren’t nice to you before?” 

Hmmm. Now that is a complicated question.

Yes.

And no.

Yes: I mean, of course I’m bitter that I spent some 30 years of my life trapped in a body that I did not want. A body I did everything within my power to change.  I’m bitter that, for as much as I hated myself (oh, and I did!) the way people treated me only made me hate myself that much more.  I’m bitter for all the opportunities that were lost to me: opportunities to make friends, opportunities to date, even work opportunities. I’m bitter that people judge so much based on appearances and not based on the content of your heart and soul.

And no. I’m grateful for the fact that people are nice to me today, regardless of WHY they are being nice to me. I’m grateful for the smiles I get at the corner store. I’m grateful for the little flirts and smiles I get from guys. I’m grateful that I have the chance TODAY to meet new people, make new friends, have new opportunities. I’m grateful TODAY that my life is so much better.

Throughout all these conversations, it just reinforces to me over and over how TERRIFIED I am that I’ll someday gain my weight back.  I’ve felt the change in how people treat me. I’ve felt the change in how I treat myself. Even these conversations this week just demonstrate to me that people DO treat overweight people differently. I don’t want to go back. Oh, I’m so scared to go back.

There’s one positive to all this: my husband married me when I was at my fattest. I’m SO GRATEFUL for that. Because I know that he loves me for ME, not for how I look.  And I have hope that if I ever gained weight back, he would still love and respect me. That means the world to me! I am very grateful to have him in my life.

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2 Year Maintenance Anniversary

by Christine on December 28th, 2012

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Gastric Banding Surgery

Hello Revolutionists! Is everyone enjoying this holiday season?

I realize that it has been a while since I’ve posted! The reason for this is mainly because I haven’t really had a lot to talk about with regards to my gastric band and weight loss. In fact, I seem to be holding steady with my weight loss and doing pretty well overall, which is great!

A few months ago (October/November) I started to notice a change in my eating patterns. First, I was eating a lot more quantity than I normally would, and the food wasn’t making me feel “full.” Secondly, I stopped snacking throughout the day and was relying only on 3 larger meals per day.  Thirdly, I was having less barfing episodes and blockage.

And…the scale was going up. Just a little bit, but enough to make me start to panic a little. (My “goal weight” is 125 pounds, and I was at about 133 pounds at this point.) So I made an appointment with my surgeon’s office and had a fill. It had been a year since my last fill, so he gave me about 1.0 ccs — a big fill!!

Although it’s not my “sweet spot” and where I want to be — I think I need another medium-sized adjustment to get there — it has made a big difference. I’m eating less, feeling fuller for longer.  And my weight has crept back down. I was at 127.0 this morning: right within my maintenance zone!

I still haven’t picked up my exercise the way that I should, but that’s not to say that I’ve been entirely sedentary. I’ve been doing a vigorous yoga class every Sunday morning. When I say “vigorous,” I mean, it’s a class designed for INSTRUCTORS of yoga, who know what they’re doing. We do crazy arm balances and contortions of the type that you see on magazine covers. It’s really hard, but really fun!

Other than yoga, I am not doing anything on a regular basis, but I keep busy with miscellaneous activities. This fall I was rollerblading and hiking a bit. This weekend I am going to start downhill skiing on a regular basis through the winter.

My weight has adjusted on my body; that is to say, my body shape is changing. My Size 4 pants are fitting a little tight on me…it seems that my hips and butt have taken on some weight. So it’s a Size 6 for me. I’m trying not to stress out about this because it’s not like the scale has dramatically gone up. I keep telling myself that it’s normal for my weight to re-position itself on my body after losing so much weight, like it needed a “settling in” period.  That being said, I feel like this is a less than optimal change.

And I’ve been busy with some trips this fall, too! I ran away to Jamaica for an overnight trip with a friend, I spent a weekend in San Antonio, I took the hubby to a relaxing weekend in Lake Placid, and we spent Thanksgiving in Atlantic City. We have a lot of exciting trips planned in the next few months as well: a ski trip, a weekend in Boston, a few weeks in the UK, etc. I can’t wait!

Here are some pictures of the last few months, to show that I’m still in my maintenance zone!

Last but not least…a friend of mine had the gastric sleeve surgery just a few days before Christmas! Good luck with your journey, Karen! I can’t wait to see your progress!

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A blip in “maintenance mode…”

by Christine on February 23rd, 2012

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition, Gastric Banding Surgery

Well, I’ve been driving this “maintenance mode” gravy train for a little over a year, and I’ve noticed that my weight has gone up and down a little bit (say, 5 pounds) but it has stayed well within range.

However, I can feel the weight creeping up right now. I’m at about 8 pounds higher than my Goal Weight. Although I have actually kicked up my exercise a little bit (which isn’t really saying a lot…I was doing NOTHING before…now I’m squeezing in 2 days a week worth of exercise) I have noticed that my portion sizes are getting bigger and bigger. I’m hungry all the time. I’m eating too much. And I’m not feeling the restriction that my band gives me when it’s just right.

I’m going to give myself 2 weeks to try to get this under control on my own. That is to say, I’m going to crack down on my portion sizes, cut out the sweets that keep creeping into my diet, and eat 6 small mini-meals a day. When I was actively and successfully losing weight, my diet consisted of something like this:

8 a.m. Yogurt & coffee (150 calories worth approx.)
10 a.m.: cheese & crackers (150 calories worth approx.)
Noon: canned soup (150 calories worth approx.)
2 p.m.: fresh fruit  (100 calories worth approx.)
4 p.m.: Almonds (100 cals worth), skim milk
6 p.m.: 3 oz of meat (chicken, fish, or steak) with some fresh veggies (150 calories worth approx.)
8 p.m.: 100 calories worth of chocolate for a treat.

That’s what worked for me in the past, so that’s what I’m going to try to stick to this time. 2 weeks…and if it’s not working for me, then I’ll schedule a little fill with my bariatric surgeon.

I know that the gastric band leaks very very very slowly over time, so it’s not unusual to find it more “roomy” as time goes on. Lots of gastric banders get fills once a year or so to keep it tweaked just right. I don’t mind that, but I also don’t want to rely 100% in the band and get lazy with my food. I realize that I need to put out some effort into this as well. Now is that time! Rawr!

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Monday Morning Blues

by Christine on July 11th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Gastric Banding Surgery

It’s Monday and I’m feeling quite scattered.

Surgery-wise, I think I’m doing okay. I seem to be healing, which is good. There does not seem to be any noticeable thing wrong with my stomach, like infection or anything like that. I am sore, and when my pain medication wear off I can really tell how achy I still am! I’m trying to wean myself off the pain meds today, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to go through with it…I’m feeling quite achy already.

My weight is stable from a week ago; I’m at 134, which is nine pounds higher than my goal weight. This is not good, and I look forward to receiving a LARGE fill from my doctor when I see him next week. Today I went to wear a pair of black dress slacks (Size 4) and was unable to put them on. I need to get my Size 6 clothes out of storage, apparently because my fat ass isn’t fitting into my current clothes. Isn’t that depressing? Holy moses.

And this weight gain is doing wonky things to my brain. I FEEL incredibly fat. In fact, I feel as fat right now as I ever did at my Highest Weight. I know that is silly to feel the same way–after all, I’m still 90 pounds less than my Highest Weight!–but the feeling is the same. I feel mega, orka fat.  It is a very unpleasant feeling.

I am not eating poorly. On the contrary; I have been eating quite healthfully, actually. Grilled chicken, salad, fresh veggies. In fact, my band is a little loose on me right now, so I’ve been indulging in vegetables that I can’t normally eat. I can’t wait to tighten my band up though and drop these pounds. I hate feeling this way.

I’m very dizzy and can barely see straight, and I only had a half a painkiller this morning instead of my usual 2 pills. Oy, this is going to be a very long day at work I think.

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