Saturday, November 30, 2013

5 Days Post-Ops and Downs

It's been a life changing week.  When I finally got home on Wednesday from the hospital I had some discomfort but the pain has been really manageable.  The more challenging part has been, as to be expected, with the food.  Learning my need stomach and what satisfied vs. full feels like.  The best analogy I can give is: it's like filling up a bottle using a funnel.  You try and guess how much will be ok but it is easy to overfill as the liquid funnels down into the bottle.  The feeling of overfull is immediate, I think.  Thankfully I have not had any nausea nor have I thrown up at all (knock on wood!).  I have my one week post op on Monday and I have lots of questions but I think I am healing well- my incisions are itchy=healing.  I am still having trouble taking a full breath, some of which I assume is swelling/bloating/all the IV fluids.  Overall, I am feeling good though.  Off pain meds.  Occasional gas discomfort in my left shoulder. but I can't really complain.

I did get on the scale today and I am only down one pound.  I am looking forward to being moving more again- feeling up for it.  We went out yesterday and it wiped me out.  It was good to get outside though, even on black Friday!  Ha! 

Two more days then back to the kids. :-)  

This one is from the first week of August with my dad. (Close to 390) 

 Today 11/30/13  (358, down about 30 lbs)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

"I was a kidney bean, now I'm a banana" or "The Losers Bench"

Monday morning I arrived at NYU around 715AM.  Everything happened efficiently and quickly.  I was checked in then they took me back to go through all the pre-op stuff with the anesthesiologist as well as getting changed into a gown.  Thankfully I ALSO started my period (I know, over-share) but if you can plan better than I did, don't have surgery when you have your period.  Really.  That sucked.  Charlie came back to say hi and later goodbye.  Everyone at NYU was warm, funny and personable helping me to be a little more relaxed.  I had an IV put in and shortly after they wheeled me to outside my operating room.  I chatted with my surgeon and then walked into the operating room.  I climbed up on the bed, settled in, was given something and that was it.  I was out. 

<---Later I woke up in recovery.  Charlie was there.  I kept getting yelled at to breath.  Apparently, I don't breath enough. When I finally arrived in my room, we learned it was a "step down" room with 24 hour RNs in the room.  There were three other patients in the room and it was a noisy first day and night.  I sent charlie home around 4 so we could both sleep. Sleep was a joke that first night. Many interruptions, noises.  Charlie had told me sleep in the hospital in not restful, he was right.  My legs look like pin cushions from the heparin shots. The second say was a whirl wind.  I was in and out of sleep after waking up at 4 AM.  Rounds, the "leak test", which gave me horrible diarrhea.  (Over-share, I know).  I wish I had the pictures from the leak test.  You drink this solution then they x-ray you as you drink to see if there are any leaks in the new stomach pouch or as I am calling it, the banana.  They had a monitor in the room so the patient can watch at the same time.  It was very cool.

I thought I would be going home that night.  That was not in the cards because I was not yet getting enough liquids down.  In a way it was better I stayed a second night.  I was able to start practicing drinking more.  It is a totally new sensation than before.  My stomach now is so small that I try and drink 1 oz. of liquid every 10 minutes.  That's right. ONE OUNCE- that is less that a cup an hour however, if I do this all day the goal is that I make it to 64 ounces of liquid each day.   (There are 8 oz in a cup)  Needless to say, no more "big gulps" for me!  

Wednesday morning I was discharged around 10 am.  The weather broke just enough for us to get home in reasonable time. I have settled in.  Trying to get in my liquids.  Took a glorious shower.  Napped with the puppy.  She was very glad to have me home.

Now I begin this new life.  A new way of thinking about and experiencing food.  I have a long 4 weeks ahead of me- 2 weeks of liquid then 2 weeks of puree.  My 1 week follow up is on Monday- it seems so close- but now I am on the losing side.  This time next year I will have a different body, one once at a time.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Night Before Sleeving

Twas the night before my sleeving, and all through the house
my bags were not yet packed, so thankful for sweats and not a work blouse.
Lots of sf jello was made, to treat my new tummy with care,
for when I return home only a part of it will still be there.

I could go on but I don't really have the head space for it tonight.  Lots done today including putting up the Christmas decor.  It will be nice to come home to a holiday feeling.  Charlie will be with me all day tomorrow.  I was thinking today how glad I am this is not an emergency like when he went into the hospital almost two years ago now.  He will still be nervous but I am in good hands and we know what is going on.  There is no mystery here.

Thanks to everyone for all the notes/texts/email today.  I have so much love around me.  

A await my rebirth.  A heroine evolves.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Great Pre Surgery Weekend!

I got the call last night to be at the hospital on Monday at 7:30 AM for 9:15 surgery.  I had my last pre-op appointment with my therapist, my lovely co workers gave me an amazing care package and I was able to organize all the post op "food" for the kitchen.  I organized by protein shakes and then by savory soups meal replacements.  I also used some of the per-session money (money teachers earn for additional work) to invest in a Magic Bullet.  I have not tried it out yet but it is on my list for today! This weekend will be full of getting ready, house cleaning/organizing, and decorating for the holidays.  My husband and I decided to do it this weekend...I usually do it the friday after Thanksgiving but I will be recovering so Christmas comes a little bit earlier this year.  My amazing teacher team sent me home with a delicious smelling candle-very holiday candle that I can't wait to use too!  In addition to decorating we also have the 50th Anniversary Doctor Who special in a few hours.  Can't wait!  Have lots of sugar free popsicles coming in the grocery order tomorrow and hopefully going to see Catching Fire Sunday afternoon.  A great weekend before heading to NYU for my surgery!  

The kitchen counter covered in all my protein, vitamins, and shakes!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Now It's Real

I got confirmation this morning that my insurance approval has gone through and that my surgery will be covered.  Now, it really is real.  I will get a call tomorrow to let me know when I have to be at the hospital on Monday.  I have been working a lot this week to get everything set for being out next week.  I also found out this morning that they were able to get a sub for me who is an ENGLISH/DRAMA teacher so the kids will be in good hands.  

As my Hero's Journey continues, I feel like I can not begin my rebirth.  I can begin my transformation.  

Good news day.  

Monday, November 18, 2013

The intensity of growing up

As a high school teacher I have been confronted by too many moments of teens in crisis.  I worked with at risk students for 5 years and now I am in a high school with not so at risk students however, the dangers of adolescence often reveal themselves in earnest.  Today was one of those days.  The first was with two of my advisory students, 9th graders who are slowly learning the the idiosyncrasies of confidentiality or lack there of.  Girls talking about girls and it causing drama.  One of the girls was so emotional, the crocodile tears streaming down her face because she didn't want to fight with the other girl and that this experience was reminding her of the bullying she received in middle school. She admitted that the other girl was unhappy with her because she had been talking about her behind her back.  

In the end they squashed the beef and hopefully this will lead to a healthier relationship as we move through the next 4 years together.  However, I anticipate many more conflicts over the years between my 11 girls.

As a drama teacher, we often ask our students to dive into feelings and memories that might not always feel comfortable or safe.  After watching To This Day by Shane Koyczan ( (See the animated version on the right.) I asked students to write down one line from Shane's poem that resonated with them.  Then we put all the slips of paper and each pair drew out two lines to serve as the beginning of the improv to develop a written scene.  One of my students began to break down- this drama work and the poem brought up so many memories and feelings of things that happened in the past.  I felt so powerless.  There was nothing I could do or say to console this young man who had experienced intense bullying in middle school.  

There is nothing easy about growing up.  I don't care who you are, what you look like, who your friends were or how much money your family had.  Growing up is hard.  Listening to both these kids today, so different from one another yet grappling with similar issues.  It brought up lots of feelings for me.  For so many years I didn't do things because of my weight.  I didn't go to school dances even though I love to dance.  I didn't date because no one wanted to date me.  I was the funny fat girl who had lots of platonic friends.  It was not until college, after I had lost those first 100 pounds, that I began to feel attractive, not lonely, and went out dancing on Wednesday and Thursday nights in a wonderful sweaty bar where we danced until early morning hours.  It was in college that I began to get reciprocated attention from people I was interested in.

Today, it all came back up for me too.  I was modeling the activity with a partner and the line we had selected from the hat was, "despite a loving husband she doesn’t think she’s beautiful". I said this out loud and felt it. It hurt to say because it was something I have felt in my heart so many times my entire life regardless of weight or relationship status. The feelings have decreased over the 8 years with my husband. I know he loves me and thinks I am beautiful. He means it when he says it. I remember early on when we were dating and he was explaining to me that he didn't see a size but rather a person- he saw me.

Now, as I am in the last week before my surgery (I go for pre-op at the hospital tonight) there are so many thoughts swirling arounds and I am reminded of all the times I was bullied through out my life. The time a man on campus in college, after I had gained the majority of my weight back, told me I looked like a beach ball on two sticks. Nice eh? People are cruel. I didn't have it as bad as some kids but I think my imposed bullying took a far greater tole than I ever could have imagined.

My hope, with this new transformation, I will be able to atone with the grievances I have committed against myself and be ready for a new era free of the negative self talk that has plagued me for most of my life.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


The transformation phase of the hero's journey involves the following:

As a result of successfully meeting the challenge of the abyss, the hero is transformed. The transformation is the moment of death and rebirth. Often the transformation takes the form of a revelation, a discovery or insight about oneself or one's culture. This revelation involves a change in consciousness, a change in the way the hero(ine) views life. 


There is something about this idea of transformation that resonates with me both literally and figuratively.  The literal is obvious I think- weight loss surgery will lead to weight loss thus the physical transformation from morbid obesity (a clinical term I really hate) to a healthy weight that will allow me to life a long healthy life with my husband.  The figurative is the tricky part.  It is what we don't see.  The figurative is the magic that happens behind our eyes while we sleep, in hours of therapy with trained clinicians who work with us to help flip those switches and figurative becomes literal the figurative is as important as the literal.

It took me years to finally come to this decision to have this surgery.  I was telling a friend this afternoon about my choice to have surgery and was welcomed with nothing but encouragement and support.  I think that so many people in my life have seen me struggle all my life and to be embarking on such a great transformation seems like such a natural part of my journey.   I have been into the depths of my abyss, and I face my biggest challenge that will begin my transformation and rebirth.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Day 1: Pre-Op

It's still early for a day off.  

I had a hard time sleeping last night.  Maybe because I knew today was the day that it would really all begin to become real. I enjoyed a lovely foodie weekend, brunch, then going to my favorite cocktail spot, taking in a broadway show, dinner out with my husband- a delicious steak that I enjoyed every bite of.  Sunday was lovely too...more of my favorites but I foud myself just wanting to get things started. Which takes me to today.

I am up with the puppy, first shake done.  I kind of wish I had my first day at work and not on a holiday- the busy would make it easier.  Lots of cleaning to be done at home.  Wish me luck!



Ok!  3 shakes down, 5 glasses of water.  Hunger is a non issue.  It is the habitual nature of the eating that is hard.  Being at home all day today was hard too.  In some ways being at work today would have been easier.  

2 more shakes today...


Pre-Op Day 2- The Rules

Today was better than yesterday, as I suspected it would be.  I think the key to these two weeks is going to be keeping busy.  Work helps.  I am a high school teacher and I really don't stop from the moment I leave my house in the morning until the time I get home and put my PJ's on.  I like being busy and I like structure.  I am a rule follower.  Rules sometimes make things easier.  Rules also make things really hard.  It means I am on a liqid diet for 2 weeks and get to watch my husband eat delicious, fluffy soft pretzles tonight and then have an ice cream sandwich later (he did eat real dinner, btw.)  I want this so much that I don't make up the rules as I go.  I follow every rule and highlight the guidelines in the packet from my nutritionist.  I am that girl.

Todays menu:
1 Scoop Muscle Milk Light powder w/ unsweetend almond milk- I didn't finish it because I didn't wash my travel mug well enough and it smelled yucky. :-(
Small tea w/ skim milk
3 protein shakes- GNC Total Lean 25 (Strawberry, Chocolate, Pumpkin Spice)
Green Giant Steamed broccoli spears
1.5 C of Chicken Broth (no salt)
1 Scoop protein powder
2 T Fat free dressing on the broccoli
2 SF jello cups

Im still way under the 1000 calorie RULE.  About 780...I can't drink another protein shake though!  Note to self- email NUT tomorrow.
Onward and Downward!