Thursday, September 25, 2014

I'm With the Band - Pre-op Diet

 I started my pre-op diet yesterday. The purpose of the diet is to shrink my liver to make it easier to move for the surgery. I guess right now it's the shape of a football. This diet will shrink it down to the size of a stingray.

So what IS my pre-op diet? Liquids. Nothing but sugar-free liquids. I have supplements from the doctor's office that I drink 4 times a day and then I'm allowed strained soups, sugar-free jello, sugar-free popsicles, and all of the water my body can drink. I can flavor the water, so I'm experimenting with different sugar-free flavorings like Mio and Crystal Light. (Please don't lecture me on chemicals or how terrible faux sugar is for my body. Let me tackle one demon at a time.)

I was very nervous about doing this pre-op diet. In fact, Tuesday night I was a little sad. I didn't get to almost 250 lbs because it's easy for me to NOT eat food. But Wednesday morning I woke up determined and ready to go.

And honestly, it hasn't been that bad. I've felt hungry a few times, which is odd for me because it's something I've never really felt in many years! Mostly I felt lost. I didn't realize how much of my time was spent cooking, eating, and thinking about food. And now that it's being taken away from me (albeit temporarily) I wasn't sure what to do with myself. It's a big learning process!

I meet with my surgeon next week for my pre-op appointment. Want to know more? Tune in next time!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

I'm with the Band Pt 4

The weeks are just flying by - I can't believe surgery is just three weeks away.

When you decide to get any type of bariatric surgery, there are requirements you have to complete before you can actually do it. I'm pretty sure they are for insurance purposes, but I'm so thankful I was made to jump through these hoops. So what have I had to do?

  • Blood tests
  • Ultrasound of my liver 
  • Sleep study - it turns out I have mild sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome! 
  • Psychological evaluation - I had to meet with a psychologist and talk to him for an hour. I was so nervous about this! But he was very nice and pointed out that I tend to take responsibility for negative things that are not my fault. "Guilt" could be my middle name! It was nice to have him point that out so that I'm more aware of when I blame myself for things out of my control. 
  • Written psychological exam - It was LONG and at the end I had to finish sentences. For the first one it said, "I like to..." and I wrote, "eat apples and bananas." (Cue the Raffi song!) I was certain they would determine me crazy after I forgot to erase that...but surprise! I'm sane!
  • Meet with a dietitian once a month for 6 months. Her name is Whitney and she is so nice. But she's also not afraid to tell it like it is. I'll continue to meet with her through out this entire process, so I'm glad we get along. 
I also tried to read everything I could get my hands on about Lap Band and bariatric surgery in general. This is a huge step and it would be silly to go in uneducated. Somethings I found especially helpful are:

  • Blogs! Honestly there don't seem to be many up-to-date blogs about lap band. But I really like Lap Band Gal!, The World According to Eggface (RNY, not lap band. But still excellent info!), and Bariatric Foodie.  
  • Books! My favorites have been 
  • Facebook - I belong to a FB group specifically for Lap Bandsters. Some are new, some have been handed for years. It's been an awesome resource for all my questions. 
I start my pre-op diet next Wednesday! Want to hear all about it? Then ya'll come back now, ya hear?!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I'm with the Band Pt. 3

Can't you do this on your own?

No, I can't.

Okay, I suppose I'll elaborate. This is my #1 thought that plagues me.

Why CAN'T I just do this on my own??

I wish I had perfectly wonderful answers to that question, but I don't. The truth is people DO lose large amounts of weight and then keep it off all on their own. And "Hooray!" for them!

Losing all the weight I need to AND keep it off is an impossible feat in my mind. I'm working on that. (A huge part of ANY weight loss process is changing your mindset, not just your diet and activity) The gastric band will be a tool that will help get me there.

Is it the easy way out? Well, it will be easier than trying to do it all on my own. I'll have a physical reminder to make the changes necessary to be successful. But just being banded will not guarantee any weight loss. It will help me, it will NOT do it for me. The choices to lead a healthier lifestyle are still mine and mine alone to make.

What are you afraid of? 

Frogs, mostly. Toads really. They don't move for the longest time and then jump unexpectedly (I say they jump AT you, my husband says I'm crazy...) It scares the bejeeezus out of me.

"I vill kill you in your sleep!" (Toads speak with a terrifying German accent - didn't you know that?)

Oh! You mean about the band?! Well, I'm a bit nervous about the procedure. It's outpatient, but it will be the first time I will have been put under. There are complications that are rare but still worry me. But my biggest fear is that horrible four letter F-word...

I'm really afraid I'm going to FAIL. 

It can be easy to cheat with the band. Just ask Sharon Osborne. I'm really afraid I will find a way to work around the lap band and remain fat forever. 

I'm educating myself, committing myself to the new lifestyle and surrounding myself with a support team and accountability partners. My fear will not become my reality! 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I'm With the Band Pt 2

1. Why Lap Band?

 My surgeon does three different types of bariatric surgery, Roux-en-Y, Gastric Sleeve, and Gastric Banding. Each surgery has it's own benefits and risks. I felt like gastric banding was the right pick for me because:

  • None of my internal organs will be cut. With the band, if something happens, I can have it removed and everything will go back to the way it was before. 
  • The recovery time is much shorter. It's an outpatient procedure, so I will not have to stay in the hospital. And since Grace isn't walking, having a weight restriction for a long period of time wouldn't work for our family. 
  • There will be long term follow-up. I will have to stay in regular contact with my surgeon, especially in the first year, to be sure I'm using the band correctly.
  • The weight loss will be slower. I LOVE instant gratification and losing weight quickly sounds terrific! But I know that in order for me to use this tool and be successful with it, I need to change my habits. I worry that if I dropped the weight quickly, I would go back to my old ways just as quickly. 
This wasn't a decision I took lightly. I weighed pros/cons, costs/benefits for quite sometime before making the decision. 

2. How did people respond when you told them? 

I didn't tell anyone for a long time because I expected the worst. I expected judgement, ridicule, and conflict. Instead all I have gotten has been love and support. My husband, Jeff, has been my biggest support through all of this. He's excited for me to feel better about myself. My family and friends have been quick to offer help with the kids and even feed my family afterwards. 

My kids don't quite understand. Riley told me he doesn't want me to change because he "loves me just the way I am". Those were the sweetest words I could have ever heard! But I'm sure he'll still love me when I'm healthier and able to jump on the trampoline and run around the yard with him. 

So why did I choose surgery? Can't I just do this on my own? Tune in next week to find out! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I'm With the Band Pt. 1

In July, I revealed that I decided to have lap band surgery. I've jumped through all the necessary hoops and finally got a surgery date - October 8th. So for the next 6 weeks, I'm going to share a bit about the various parts of the surgery. Well, all the "before" stuff anyway.

Part 1: The Basics

1. What is lap band surgery?

Lap Band is the brand name of an Adjustable Gastric Band, but is commonly used to describe the procedure (much like people refer to tissues as Kleenex regardless of brand).  A silicone band is placed around the stomach and then filled with saline to reduce the size of the stomach. Read more about it here

2. Why did you choose lap band surgery?

There are several answers to this question...

I have always had issues with food. I'm an emotional eater, but my main issue is that I'm a volume eater. I remember being younger and having my mom's friend laugh because I could eat an entire Stouffer's Lasagna by myself. The high school boys that worked at the local Subway thought it was amazing that my junior high self could eat an entire meatball sub. I never thought it was weird that I could eat so much and it never really occurred to me that it was a bad thing until I got older. After years of overeating, I've broken the natural system in my body that tells me when to stop. I have no idea what it means to be "full" until I'm uncomfortably stuffed. 

I've tried losing weight many other ways and have been successful, only to gain the weight (plus more!) back soon after. I don't want to spend the rest of my life losing the same 15-30 lbs over and over again just to regain it. 

I have a lot of weight to lose. If  I had 25, 30 or even 50 lbs to lose, my thought process may be different. But I have so much weight to lose (100.7 lbs to be exact) that it really seems impossible and I get discouraged before even starting.  

I know what it takes to lose weight. But I tend to forget that I'm dieting until after I've 'screwed' up. I need constant accountability.

So why did I choose Lap Band over other types of weight loss surgery? Tune in next week to find out!
(Have questions about the procedure? My decision? My sanity?? Leave them in the comments or email me! I'd love to answer them!) 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hey! It's Okay Tuesday!

It's Okay to...

Yes. Yes, she can. 

  • think my son was right. My kids go back to school tomorrow. Riley predicts I'll do a happy dance, then sit down to enjoy my cup of coffee and say, "Man, I really miss the kids." 
  • hope that Brenna's first tooth waits until I can make it to the bank before it falls out! This tooth fairy has no cash on her! (Actually, Brenna told me today she prefers chocolate over cash. She's writing the tooth fairy to inform her.) 
  • worry that I'm making the wrong decision with my education. I'm hearing of numerous special education teachers in the area that have resigned this summer. While I like the idea of job openings, it worries me - is there something about this field I should know?
  • be glad Debra Messing will be back on tv this fall. I really like her! But her last show (something broadway-ish?) wasn't great. Now if we can just get Amy Brenneman away from that confusing show "The Leftovers". 
Check out Airing My Dirty Laundry to see what else is okay!

Airing My Dirty Laundry

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hey! It's Okay Tuesday!

It's Okay to...

  • love books about brave, mischievous girls. Ramona will always have a special place in my heart, but I think my new favorite is Clementine
  • be so ready for the kids to go back to school. This fall will be crazy busy. But at least they won't be able to fight with each other all day! 
  • to really hope that this is the year I figure out how to get up earlier than the rest of my family. So many benefits to little desire to leave my warm bed in the morning!
  • be nervous/excited about my meeting with the nutritionist tomorrow. It's my last meeting pre-surgery. They'll submit it to insurance and schedule me soon. I wanted to write so much more about this journey before now, but it's gone so fast! Maybe now that the kids are going back I can sit and write more. 
Check out Airing My Dirty Laundry to see what else is okay!

Airing My Dirty Laundry