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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Oh My Word.

Word for 2011!  And a poem too.

When my husband graduated with his MSN recently, my parents sent him in a Graduation card in the mail.  Let me go ahead and preface this by saying I spent the entire month of December consumed with thoughts of, "What happens if the insurance company denies me for surgery?"  I'm sure everyone goes through this....but it's what I'm going through right now.  What if.  What if?!  The whole idea of getting lap band is what motivated me to lose 25 pounds so far.  It's been the life raft that I've been clinging to.  What if the insurance company rips it awayt?  Can I swim?  Will I drown?

And then, if I do get the lap band, can I do it?  Will I be successful?  Or will I be one of the "failures" my PCP spoke about when she discouraged me from moving forward with getting surgery?  Because that would really be humiliating!  "Everyone gains it back eventually," she said.  I vented about that visit here on my blog.  And that's when Sherry came across that post somehow.  Thank goodness.  Until then I hadn't discovered how to connect with others going through the same thing.    

Anyway, so, in the middle of December when I was consumed with all of this self-doubt my husband gets this graduation card in the mail and it's like God speaking to me.   It said,

"I believe
                 the most
single thing, 
beyond discipline
                    and creativity
is daring 
             to dare."

Only it wasn't God.  It was just Maya Angelou printed on a Hallmark card (for $2.79).

So, my word is dare.

Dare:  to have the necessary courage or boldness for something;be bold enough

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Numerical Closet

Over the last few months a few celebrities have revealed their numbers.

Not just any numbers, mind you.  Their most personal numbers.  Their WEIGHT.

Back in September Kathie Lee & Hoda Kotb announced their weights on The Today Show's fourth hour.    It was refreshing my friends.  Like a glass of lemonade on hot summer day refreshing!  I expected Kathie Lee's weight to be something like 115 pounds.  It was 129.  I think she's 5 ft 6 but don't quote me on that.  Hoda is a little taller (I can't remember exactly) but she weighed 146. Here are two women that admit to weighing more than the cliche "120" pounds or less number.  And they both look fantastic.  Especially Hoda.

And I shouldn't leave out Sara Haines either.  Are you wondering who she is?  She's the girl who sits off to the side of their show scrolling through Facebook, reading aloud cute and funny comments people make......  She announced her height and weight on the show that day as well.  She is 5 ft 6 and weighs 143 lbs.  Like everyone else, she looks terrific and obviously takes good care of herself.

Then a few weeks or so after that episode,  Portia de Rossi came out with her book and announced her weight is currently 168 lbs!  I don't remember if she said it on Ellen's show or Oprah's (I watched both) but I made note of it on my iPhone so I could go back later and calculate her BMI.  Out of curiousity, you know.  Are you ready?  25.5.  Say what?!?!?!  .........In case you don't have the BMI chart memorized like I do, let me translate that for you.  Portia de Rossi is OVERWEIGHT (albeit barely, but still).  The beautiful, sexy, Portia is falling into the overweight category on the BMI charts!  Don't shoot me, I'm just the messenger.

Okay, so first Jerome Bettis flunked the BMI test and now Portia de Rossi.  Well, that just proves this whole BMI chart is totally stupid.  Portia, if you are reading this---I want to be really clear.  You are not overweight.  You are gorgeous and I applaud you for coming out with your number and helping me realize that it's JUST A NUMBER and to stop judging my weight and myself---heckmy VALUE AS A PERSON based on this ridiculous BMI chart.

So, here's what these ladies helped me figure out by coming out of The Numerical Closet.  The BMI Chart is flawed.  It doesn't take muscle mass, bone density, or my disproportionately giant boobs into the equation.  So next time, when I find myself staring at 142 lbs (which is "my skinny" & a BMI of 25.5 like Portia) I'm going to think of her.  Instead of lamenting, "I'll never be perfect,"  I'll celebrate because if Portia can rock a BMI of 25.5 then so can I.  With the right outfit, hair, and makeup of course.  :D

Thanks to Portia, Hoda, Kathie Lee, and Sara.

And to the BMI chart---goodbye, I'm leaving you here in 2010.  You're not my measuring stick anymore.  To be more precise, EFFFF You.  

Happy New Year y'all.  :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

joined the gym

Yesterday, on the morning of our TEN YEAR wedding anniversary, my husband and I started off our day by heading over to Urban Active to take a tour and check into getting a membership.

We were members of 24 Hour Fitness a few years ago when we lived in Colorado.  The equipment is a lot nicer now (at least compared to the "Express" version that I went to 4 years ago).  Each Precor machine has it's very own television.  Wow!  With cable.  Honestly I've always preferred music but if I want to watch something, I can.  Pretty cool.  I had no idea!

They have a pool and some of the group fitness classes are in the pool.  You won't catch me in a bathing suit for awhile, but hey!  It's there.  I'm just reporting.  The spinning classes have 35 bikes.  They even have a movie room and keep it pretty dark.  You can go in there an watch a movie while you workout on the treadmills or ellipticals.  The idea of the movie doesn't impress me as much as the idea of Darkness.  

You can workout in The Dark without worrying about how much sweat is beading up & down your back and dripping all over your shirt and under your arms.  And who cares what you're wearing or how red our face is getting?! 

The only complaint I have so far is one little child care rule.  They make it clear they do not change baby diapers and will call me away from my workout to come do it myself.  Ugh!  I have no problem with diapers---I'm a mom.  It's just the interruption that's annoying.  Especially if I have to hop off a bike in the middle of a spinning class.  And my little Rex is super gassy and stinky.  Even I think he's pooped a half dozen times a day until I open it up and see that diaper is, in fact, empty.  Hopefully they will check.  With their eyes and not their nose.

But I'm super excited!  I went this morning.  All by myself, so I haven't taken my little boys with me yet. My DH stayed home with them because they have runny little noses and coughs.  I spent an hour on the elliptical and listened to some music.  Loved every second of it!  Yes really!

Can I just say it was heaven to go an entire hour without hearing any 2 year olds whine, "Mommy, I want chocolate miiiiiilk!"  

For ONE WHOLE HOUR, I did not hear any crying, screaming, or fussing.  I did not hear myself warn, "Santa is watching you!"  I did not hear anyone beg me for chocolate milk.  Or fruit snacks.  I did not put anyone in timeout.  I did not recite The Serenity Prayer in my head.  Not even once. 

You might think,  "She's just desperate for some time to herself."

Or, "She just needs a break from her little ones!"

Or, "She's not there to work out--she's just there to escape."  

Hey, I'm not arguing.  My escape burned 500 calories.  I'm skeptical, but whatever.  :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


It's been a busy week.

My husband graduated from CRNA school at Pitt on Saturday.  His mom and grandma flew earlier in the week.  His grandma has never been to Pittsburgh so we had fun showing her around the city.

Me & DH

On Saturday morning our babysitter texted a message that she was sick and had to cancel.  I was a bit panicked (okay, totally freaked out!)---the graduation ceremony was later that evening at the Omni hotel downtown.  Not a place for toddlers and babies.  :C  Finally, an hour before we had to get in the car and get down there, our original babysitter found someone to replace her.  Whew!  It was a close call.  We were so thankful and had a lovely time.  And, since this is a LB blog, I'll say I was proud of myself for losing 25 pounds by his graduation date--which was the goal I set for myself back in July or August.

That's my DH's grandma & mom.  They aren't deformed, I blurred their faces since I posted without their permission.  Somehow I chopped my feet off while I was at it, which is a shame, because my shoes were these glittery peep-toes.  :)  

Tomorrow will be our ten year wedding anniversary.  I know what you're thinking---"She must've been like 16 when they got married."

You would be close.  Very very close.  :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I was 215 at my first visit to Dr. R's office on August 12 (with clothes, of course!) to 183 this morning at home without clothes.  So, about 24 pounds if you remove clothing from the equation.  

Nervousness has set in!  Am I losing too much on my own?  Boy, what a novel way to sabotage yourself!  At my nutritionist consult on Dec. 1, my Nut. guy (that's short for nutritionist, he's not actually loco) reassured me that the insurance company goes by your starting weight & BMI.  He also reassured me that the insurance company goes by your beginning co-morbidities and since I had high cholesterol and blood pressure to begin with, those are still what they will use to make their decision.  I'm still obese, but my BMI is 33-ish, not 38-ish like it was.  That means I'm no longer "morbidly" obese.  Just plain obese!  

So, despite the Nut Guy's reassurance, I'm still going crazy and doubting the process, so I called the PA at my surgeon's office and left a message asking her if I'm somehow screwing myself over by losing too much.  I DO NOT WANT TO BE DENIED BY INSURANCE.  I need to know right now---that way, if I do lose more weight over the holidays, I can strap on ankle weights or load up my pockets with spare change, lead bullets, or God-knows-what-else so that the next time I step on my surgeon's scale I can disguise whatever weight I may have lost!!!

Two can play this game!

Well the PA just called back (after writing one paragraph!) and told me patients have lost enough weight on the six month diet in the past to be denied by the insurance company.



I was 193 at my weigh-in on the surgeon's scale with clothes on 12/1/1o.

But again, she said, "It's rare.  Usually patients are approved the first time, so don't worry."  She reiterated that I not gain weight, no matter what.


I'm just so scared of being denied.  I mean, I've been clinging to this idea since July.  Just the hope of getting banded has been a bright light that has kept me afloat.

Monday, December 13, 2010

merry christmas & i have a question

Merry Christmas.  Oh and I have a question for you.  I'll get to it eventually.  Just be patient.

This photo is what I call A Christmas Miracle.  Two children both looking at the camera.  At the same time!  On the first try! Both smiling.  (One a little better than the other, but hey...)  Cue me some Hallelujah Music please.  

Don't let the cuteness fool you.

Yesterday my two year old stuck my old driver's license (the one where I was skinny!) into the toaster.  It caught fire and ruined the toaster, but even more sadly--it ruined the driver's license.  :(  Later in the day, he got ahold of my return address stamper and stamped our name and address all over our white bookcase.  Well, at least it will never get lost.  

Let's get something straight though.  When I refer to myself as 'skinny' that's a bit of a misnomer.  I've never been skinny.  I scratched and clawed myself to 142 pounds and hung on there for a few years once.  That's the 'skinny' I'm referring to.  At 63 inches tall, that's a BMI of roughly 25-point-something ---which borders on the Precipice of Normal and Overweight.  That's the geographical place I want to get back to (or so I say).  But yes, I confess!  I'd prefer to be more in the middle range of 'normal' weight---which would be 120 lbs.  Why?  I don't know.  Maybe it feels more secure---like I'm not on the edge of some stupid metaphorical BMI cliff.

Maybe I need someone to slap me upside the head.  

This will seem like another tangent at first, but I'll get to the point eventually.  Pinky swear.  When I went to college, I was lucky enough to attend 'one of them' schools where an A is an A.  No one cared about A minuses or A pluses or any of that.  Which was pretty cool because once I knew I'd locked up a particular letter grade, I did "just enough" when Finals Week rolled around to sit pretty and stay at that letter grade.  Super, because if I knew I had locked an A in Statistics (yes Math is my strong subject), then it gave me wiggle room to hit another subject (like History, grrr) really hard and give it my best effort, so I could hopefully pull myself up to the higher of the Two Letter Grade Precipice that I was teetering on.  

After all, an A is an A, right?

It was at The University of Texas.  It works for me.

Unless we're talking about my weight that is.  And then I can get to the category of normal (which is theoretically an A, right?) and then it's not good enough.  I want better.  I want to be more normal.  Why????   Well, in case you didn't quite catch it---that was the "point" I promised you, dear Faithful Reader.  Wow.  Earth-shattering, I know.  You want to subscribe now, don't you?

Okay, so I guess I didn't make any point at all.  It was a question.  So, to clarify:  Why isn't "normal" good enough?  What's wrong with a BMI of 25?  Why can't I just be happy with that?  Why am I already tempted to lower my goal?

A month or so ago, I attended a "support group" meeting after a weigh-in at Magee Hospital.  They are more like informational meetings (go figure).  This particular meeting was about the skin surgeries some people get after WLS.  The plastic surgeon had a slide about how BMI isn't the best calculator for obesity (but it's all we've got).   To prove his point, he said Jerome Bettis has a BMI of 36.  

Hmmm, so does Jerome Bettis get an A?  Or is he morbidly obese?  It's so much easier to grade other peoples' papers!  When you consider muscle mass and bone density, you have to give him an A.  Screw the BMI calculator!  Why didn't I realize this when I weighed 142 pounds?!?!

So, dear successful & succeeding-as-we-speak Lap Banders & Losers of All Forms, how did you decide your goal weight?  Did BMI have anything to do with it?  Once you got to your goal, did you lower it?  Why?  Why not?  

Tell me, teach me, whisper words of wisdom in my ear.  Please.

my "day at the spa"

Call me crazy, but I scheduled all three of the following pre-op appointments for the same morning, December 1:  Upper GI, Nutrition Consult, & Psych Eval

It was almost as good as a day at the spa.

Hey, with two kids ages 2 and under, I was actually looking forward to having an entire morning of peace and quiet.  I got all dolled up with makeup and clean clothes like I was going somewhere special.  I even wore a real bra.  (Which, as a nursing mom, means it had powers to lift & separate).

So anyway.  I did the upper GI thing first.  My surgeon requires it of everyone he operates on.  I have no history of acid reflux or anything.  So other than feeling like a circus whale rolling around on a table, that went fine.  I say "circus" whale because I had to obey commands such as, "Lean towards me," "Roll onto your tummy" and "Stop breathing."  Hmmm.....  Usually they say, "Hold your breath," but noooooo, this doctor preferred the phrase, "Stop breathing."  Okay, dude.  Whatever you say.

Plus, this old guy sounded like Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, except he was croaking, "Drink.  DRINK!  More.  MORE.  Okay, again.  Swallow, swallow.  SWALLOW!"

I am just a real People Lover!  Can you tell?

Next up was the nutrition consult.  That lasted an hour.  My nutritionist (a guy!) spent an hour going over the post-op dietary changes, week by week.  I can't remember which post-op week it is---but whenever you can start eating 1/4C of protein.  I asked, "Are people full?  Are they satisfied off that little?"  He said most are.

Hold on!

....most?  Most?!?  You mean there's a chance I'll be hungry?  Crap!  I don't want to be hungry.  I hate being hungry.

He was encouraging though.  He said that I've done a great job losing weight since August and that he "can tell" I'm going to be "a huge success."  I hope his crystal ball is accurate!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand, then came the Psych Eval.

(Cue ominous music).  Dun dun DUNNNNNN.

I had no idea what to expect.  This is what happened.

I walked in and the lady showed me a picture of herself in a bathing suit before she had gastric bypass and introduced herself.  She asked what led me to my decision of wanting LB.  That's when I fell apart.

First off---I admire anyone who can wear a bathing suit when they are 'morbidly obese'.  That means she endured shopping for it.  And, as a plus-sized girl---that is torture.  Then, she somehow mustered the self-confidence to wear it.  And I have to say, she looked GOOD in it.

[sidebar:  I think it was Sherry who went off on some tangent somewhere regarding torturing terrorists with Neil Diamond music.  I have to agree.  If that's true, no wonder Osama bin Laden is still hiding somewhere.  He might have fallen in The Rabbit Hole of your blog though Sherry.  Have you considered that?  But I just came up with a new method of torture that may or may not violate the Geneva Convention.  Get these terrorists to gain some weight and go bikini shopping!!!  It's genius.  Maybe I'll write Obama and the Department of Defense a letter].

Anyhoo.  Back to the Psych Eval.  After making a joke about my "day at the spa," I answered the shrink's question.  Through tears, I explained how I had sat on the sidelines of Sandcastle (the local water park) while my two year old splashed in the kiddie pool this summer.  How he begged, "Mommy come play with me!"  How I couldn't--- because I refused to wear a bathing suit.  My friends got in the water with their children.  My son was the only one whose mommy wouldn't get in and splash around with him.  It made me feel terrible.  I told her how much I admired her for wearing her bathing suit and for rocking it.  I told her how I was just tired of sitting on the sidelines---and not just at the pool, but how my weight was now preventing me from doing all kinds of things.  I didn't want to teach my boys it was okay to sit off to the side and watch.  I want them to get in there!  I want the same for myself!  I want to feel good about myself again.  And damn, it would be great too, if I could zip up a pair of tall boots again!  

I didn't even tell her the story about my six year old niece, who gave me the unvarnished truth, not once, but twice, and how her little kid voice was the reality check I needed (albeit brutal).

Then I left and prayed that I hadn't flunked the psych eval by crying my eyes out.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

things that make you go hmm

Okay this is semi-embarrassing.  My next door neighbor just handed me some of my mail that was delivered to his box.  (There goes my letter carrier's Holiday Tip!)  On one envelope, the return address says, "Bariatric Department of Surgery" on it or something like that.


Obviously, I've discussed this surgery with my husband and he's on board.  I'm not sure who else I want to tell!

Maybe I'm way wrong on this, but I'm afraid certain people will be judgmental.

My mom and mother-in-law frequently make comments about other people's size and body weight.  When my mom visited when my youngest was born in May, we were watching The Good Wife on CBS and she commented that Julianna Margulies "has cankles."


That's just one example, but both my mom and MIL frequently make comments regarding how big or small other people are.  They are both thin.  One more so than the other.

But it gets old.

Nauseating, even.

love, prison, & orgasms

How's that for a catchy title?

A few years ago I started taking Topamax for chronic pain issues.  It didn't help my pain but I noticed something miraculous---my appetite went from OMNIPRESENT to vanquished.  It was so liberating.  It felt like freedom.  I felt normal for the first time in my whole life.  Except for the pain.  It was still there but with regards to my hunger, wow!  Without much effort I lost seven pounds in one month.  Then I found out I was pregnant.  So I had to stop taking it.  That was 2008.  Fast forward to 2010. 

So when I went to see my PCP in November I asked her if I could start taking it again.  I already bitched about that visit, my tears, my frustration.  In my venting post I forgot to tell my audience of one the whole purpose of going to the doctor!  Whoops!  Well, that was the point of going to see her in the first place.  I wanted drugs.  She obliged me.

So, the first week I was at 25 mg at night and noticed no difference in my appetite. Once I bumped it up to 50 mg, my appetite decreased dramatically after just a few days. As far as I know, this isn't an option to keep my weight under control forever. But! I've lost six pounds in 3 weeks.

It didn't hurt that I came down with a vomiting stomach virus and a vicious cold in the last three weeks either.  I don't typically lose that fast.

I'm in love though---Topamax Love.  I still have hunger at meal times.  When I sit down to eat I'm hungry like anyone else.  But I get full faster.  I stay full longer.  I don't think about food between meals.  It's my idea of heaven, really.  Is it cheating?  Maybe.  No more than LB I suppose (and for the record, I don't see that as cheating either).  I still have to make good decisions when I eat.  But it's helped the number one reason fall off the wagon every time---it tames The Hunger Demon.  That feeling in my stomach that is screaming, "Hungry!  Feed me, feed me, feed me!"   No amount of broccoli, popcorn, and lean protein can seem to make The Demon happy.

But Topamax has killed that stupid bitch.

Is this what LB feels like?  I hope so.  Because Topamax isn't a long-term solution.  My doctor feels like three months at a time is okay---basically long enough to get me to surgery.  It causes electrolyte imbalances which means my fingertips are shriveled up.  It causes numbness and tingling.  It makes my brain a bit foggy.  And the worst part?  I can't have an orgasm to save my life.

So do you know what that means?!

It means---I'm really never posting pictures of my beautiful face!  First I confessed to peeing in a styrofoam cup and now this.

Hmm, so maybe I'm not in Topamax Love after all.  Honestly though, it's not even about the weight loss.  It's just so lovely to feel free of hunger.  I feel like I just got let out of prison or something.

Btw, thanks Band Groupie for becoming my first follower.  I see we are both in the same city, pretty cool.  If I see you in public and recognize you, I promise to fess up and tell you who I am.  :)