Sunday, October 30, 2011

Nine Month Update

It's been one year since my first consultation with my surgeon and a little over nine months since my surgery.  A lot has happened since my last update, but it's mostly just person stuff, not surgery related.  I've lost ten pounds since my last update.  Most of that was within the past month or so, believe it or not!  When I look at my weight loss ticker, it just doesn't seem real.  189.  That's 97 lbs lost and 39 to go until I reach my goal.  I've lost 77% of my excess body weight, so even if I don't lose anymore, I consider this surgery to be successful.  I do, however, plan on losing a lot more!

I started a new job in September and that has kept me very busy.  I'm got a job in a deli/bakery.  I may have mentioned before that I have a lot of bakery experience.  Because it's been so hard to find a job, I took it knowing that it would be very hard on my new lifestyle.  Being around all of those delicious goodies all day has been very hard and I'll admit to have indulged more times than I should have - my vice being puff pastries and cheesecake.  I think the novelty of them are starting to wear off and I'm getting back on track.  In fact, I lost three pounds this past week alone!  It's also been difficult because when I'm at work I have to eat fast and eat whatever I can get a hold of.  Sometimes there's some kind of high protein entree in the hot case but it's mostly fried food.  This is how I've found out that I'm able to tolerate fried foods once more.  I'm also able to eat bread again.  This scares me a bit, so I'm trying hard to avoid them.

My schedule is very hectic right now.  I go to class through the day then work in the evening.  Sometimes I am fortunate to work during the day on days I don't have school.  I don't see my kids as often as I'd like, some days for just an hour a day.  I miss them, I miss being home and I miss eating right.  So you'll have to forgive me for not updating my blog lately, I really just haven't had time!

Speaking of school, check out this photo to the left.  This was me in March 2010 when I was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.  My how things change!  I look at that and can't believe that's me.  It's true that you really don't realize how big you are.  I look like me only grossly swollen.

I was wearing a size 28 in this picture, and it was tight.  Today I'm in a 16 in pants and can wear a large or some mediums in shirts.  My pants are significantly bigger than my shirts because I have a lot of excess skin around my abdomen.  Details about that in a bit, though, first I want to talk about my clothing size.  I found Spanx to be my best friend.  They really hold things in and make a better fit.  Right now I have to tuck the excess skin into my pants and it just looks horrible.  I'm wearing a pant size 1-2 sizes bigger than my waist and legs, so it always looks frumpy and I hate that!

About a month ago, I decided it was time to buy a couple good bras.  I'd had two bra measurements done and neither of them were correct.  I started this journey at a 48DDD.  I thought what fit me best right now was a 38DDD.  That was until I went for an actual bra fitting.  I tried on a few bras and had someone adjust them and finally found my size.  Hold on to your seats.  38G!!  Holy cow.  This just validated the feeling that I had that my breasts were way too big and causing problems (mostly back pain.)  It was impossible to walk into a store and find a bra in my size.  I did buy to balconet bras from Lane Bryant and let me tell you the results are amazing.  I'm half tempted to post a comparison picture between my old bra and the new one.

So I figured I'd had enough and made a consultation with a local plastic surgeon who was highly recommended by people associated with my bariatric surgeon.  I mostly talked with her about a breast reduction, to which she said I was a good candidate for.  I must get my BMI to 30 (it's currently 33) and be at a stable weight for three months before I can have surgery.  So we're working on it, almost there!  Hoping by next spring, maybe summer, I'll be able to get that taken care of.
Gross hanging skin in the back and in the front!

I also talked to her about a panniculectomy - removal of the excess skin.  She said that will have to be a totally separate surgery and we will discuss it more later.  It's going to be a lot more complicated as far as getting insurance approval for because it has to be proven to be medically necessary.  This is true (because of rashes and such) but it's harder to prove that it is needed.
This skin is not going to go away on it's own.  To the left is a picture of me, 37 weeks pregnant with my twins.  My belly stretched out so big!  I have too many stretchmarks to count.  My skin has totally lost it's elasticity.  Even if I got down to 120 lbs (which I don't plan on) I will still have the hanging skin because it's just not possible for it to bounce back.

After the first of the year, and when I get closer to my goal weight, I will be working more towards my goal of a panniculectomy.  I dream about it, how wonderful it'll be to just zip up a pair of jeans in the correct size and have them hug my body.  Instead, they are tight around the abdomen and way too loose around the waist and in the legs.  I recently bought a pair of size 16 jeans from Old Navy.  I tried on a pair of 14s but I couldn't get them comfortably zipped.  Instead, I have the 16s which are too baggy and I have to keep pulling up but at least they zip, right?  If I wore my Spanx every day I could probably wear the 14s.  But I don't want to wear them to work because let's face it, they are not exactly comfortable and I do a lot of physical work with lifting and squatting.

Speaking of lifting and squatting, I went to see my primary doctor a couple weeks ago to get a prescription for B12 shots.  She had seen me only a month prior to that visit and said even though I'd only lost a few pounds I looked even smaller.  She said I looked toned and the new job was probably giving me a nice workout.  I do feel a little more toned, too.  This morning I had my husband feel my thigh and even he said it felt a lot harder.  Yay for toning!  Oh, back to the B12.  I got the injections so I didn't have to remember to take a pill every day.  I'll inject myself once a month.  I haven't done it yet, my first one will be in two weeks.  I think I'll see if my mother-in-law can do it for me since she's an RN.  Now I just need to find a multivitamin that I like and remember to take my iron!

I'm still drinking a protein shake for breakfast most mornings.  I haven't had one in the past week because I had a mild stomach bug (my first one since surgery) and sometimes the protein shakes upset my stomach anyway.  Didn't want to tempt fate.  I have found a new way to enjoy my protein shakes, though - fat free coffee creamer!  Sure it has a few calories and carbs but I'm not using much of it and I love the flavor that it gives a straight Vanilla Bean Torte flavored Nectar protein powder.  Delicious.  Just typing about it makes me want to go get one.

I guess that's about it for updates.  I seriously need to develop an "ick" factor for the food at work.  I need to get my eating back under control and get the spark back that I had just after surgery.  I'm so close to goal, I don't want to blow it now!

I want to give a special shout out to my support group at New Life Weight Loss Center in Herrin, IL.  These people have become a family to me.  I love you all so much and am grateful for the friendships I have made and support you all give me!