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Monday, July 11, 2011

from there to here

I was looking over my beginning posts and came across this one---it was unpublished.  I'm not sure why...but since I'm a week away from finally getting surgery, I'm starting to look back over the last year.  When I wrote this post I weighed 215 pounds.  Almost a year later, I'm down to 178.  (I was lower a few months ago, but have been bouncing between 175-180 lbs).  This is the original title "from there to here," meaning here was 215; there was 142.  So it's kinda fun to remember and celebrate that I've lost 35 pounds since then.  And if you're a new follower, I was originally hoping to get the gastric band, but after my insurance company denied me in January, my parents offered to pay (actually it's a loan) for my surgery.  SO!  I decided a surgery with less maintenance afterwards (gastric sleeve) was the better option for me so I wouldn't have to deal with paying for fills & adjustments.


Two weeks ago, I called the Bariatric Center at Magee Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh.

The lady on the phone told me to watch an informational video on weight loss surgery on the hospital website and to fill out some forms after watching it.  

So I did.  Honestly, the video wasn't terribly informative but whatever.  I sent in my forms immediately and got all excited about the possibly of this surgery (gastric band).  The lady told me someone would call me in 3-4 days.

Two weeks went by so I called back.  She said that, yes, based on my weight and height I was a candidate.  I scheduled my first appointment with Dr. Ramanathan.   

I miss working out at the gym like I used to.  Spin classes, weight classes, the elliptical, I love it!  Seven years ago I weighed 142 pounds and was in fantastic shape thanks to 24 Hr Fitness and Weight Watchers.  Prior to THAT, I had gotten up to 193 and worked my ass back into shape.

So how did I get here again?

Because when I got down to 142, I thought I had all it figured out!  I never imagined I'd be back here.  Plus another 22 pounds.  I feel so out of control.

Now I'm 215 lbs and have a BMI of 39.4.  

How did I get from there to here?


In 2003, I worked out M-F.  My friend and I hit the gym for a few hours every day after work.  Yes, a few hours!  I would leave work at 4:00 and spin class started at 5:00.  I had to get there early to sign in and get a slot.  Then I worked out on weights or the elliptical until spin class started.  

I looked great.  I felt great.  I thought I'd won the war on weight.  

But as the year progressed I started gaining weight, despite my routine.  I remember getting to 150 and slamming my fist on the kitchen counter.  So my husband would understand how upset I was!  So he'd understand my anger and my frustration!  So I slammed my fist.  I followed Weight Watchers religiously and worked out constantly.  I couldn't figure it out.  

I went to my PCP when I got up to 166.   She gave me the standard "Diet & Exercise" lecture.  I was desperate for help and I just felt like she was blaming me.  So I tried harder.

I was hungry.  I felt like no one was listening to me.  I knew how to eat.  I knew how to exercise.  Hell, I even enjoyed it!  I didn't like being lectured on how to stay fit.  I wanted help.  Let me say it again:  I was hungry.

A kind of hunger that gnawed at my stomach all the time.  I'd fill up on broccoli, popcorn, lean protein, or whatever, then find myself hungry one to two hours later.  I could only make so many healthy choices and chew up so many bites of food before throwing in the towel, and slathering peanut butter on an English muffin, and stuffing it into my face.  I just wanted the hunger to stop so I could get on with my day.  Why is that so hard to understand?  

Then in the fall of 2004 I went back to school to get a master's degree.  I commuted from Denver to Ft. Collins, woke up around 5:15 a.m. and didn't return until late in the evenings.  I stopped working out.

But, awesomely enough, I only gained 4 pounds over the course of the next two years because I was still watching what I ate.  I only ate foods that were healthy---and a lot of it.

2006:  At 170 lbs, I packed my things and my husband drove me down to Texas for a 3 month internship.  My parents were kind enough to let me stay with them while I completed my internship at a children's hospital 45 minutes away.  It was a grueling schedule and despite my best intentions to start working out, I never did.  Instead, I stopped off at a gas station every morning to grab a breakfast taco!

Three months later, I weighed 186.  But I graduated and it felt great to be done with school. 

At 186, I was pretty disgusted with myself and knew that last 16 pounds was totally and completely my fault.  

2007:  I turned 30 and my husband & I felt it was time to start a family.  In March I stopped taking my birth control pills.  I have a chronic bladder condition called interstitial cystitis and stopping the pills was the worst thing I could have done.  The pain from this condition shot through the roof!  I was so miserable.  I started taking several medicines (in addition to all the ones I was already taking) that are notorious for making people gain weight---but I was desperate and just wanted the pain to stop.  These medicines and my complete lack of physical activity (because of pain) for three months made me pack on more weight.  I was up to 199 by June 2007.  

Then my husband found out he had been accepted into The University of Pittsburgh's CRNA program and we decided to move.  So I went back on the pill because we decided it wasn't a good time to have a baby. 

Little did I know, I was actually pregnant when I started back on the pill.  I got down to 192 by the end of the summer.  However, I didn't feel right.  My toes would tingle.  My gums bled while brushing my teeth.  My left leg was perpetually numb.  My stomach hurt all of the time...  I had my husband palpate my belly because I felt a "mass."  He said, "It feels like your uterus....  Maybe there's a baby in there."  

We both got a huge laugh out of that.  After all, I was on the pill!

But in the middle of the night I woke up and started thinking about it.  Pregnancy made sense.  I vowed to take a pregnancy test the next morning and went back to sleep.

While my husband was at work, I took a pregnancy test and two lines appeared INSTANTLY.  My hands started shaking and I fumbled around with the directions and breathed a sigh of relief when I read, "Wait 3 minutes."


So I sat on the edge of the tub, half expecting one line to disappear.

It didn't.

I was thrilled and terrified.  I had been taking so many pills!!  Gabapentin, Vicodin, Atarax, Singulair, Ditropan, Prednisone, Elmiron, etc......all of these meds were to deal with the pain & inflammation of my bladder.  But a baby?  What had I done?

A few days later, at my first OB appointment, we learned I was already 19 weeks and 5 days along!!!!

If I hadn't been laying on the ultrasound table, I would have hit the floor.  I felt dizzy, faint, but most of all--STUPID.  (And in my defense I'd had a pregnancy test in mid-July when I would have been 7 weeks along that was negative----my doctor ordered the pregnancy test before prescribing Levaquin for a  bladder infection).

Anywho---at that first OB appointment, I weighed 192 and promised myself I wouldn't go over 200.  

Almost five months later (Feb. 08),  I delivered our son, weighing in at 246.  He was perfectly healthy though.  :)

But my weight was humiliating and I developed preeclampsia after delivery, which is somewhat rare.  I wondered (and still wonder) if that was somehow my fault, as obesity is a risk factor.

Regardless, I lost 26 pounds right away and started doing Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred video and walking.  After 18 months, I got down to 188 before getting pregnant with our second child.  Again, I swore to myself I would do better the second time around.

I didn't.  I weighed exactly the same---246---when our second son was born on May 1, 2010.  And unfortunately I developed gestational diabetes during that pregnancy but was able to control it with my diet.  More humiliation!  

June 2010:  Weighed 211 at my six week check up.

But I've eaten so much since then that I've gained another 4 pounds.

So here I am, at 215, taking medicine to control my blood pressure, which has caused me problems since my first pregnancy.

Aaaaand, I just realized I didn't even answer my original question---how did I go from there to here?


And now I'm wondering if the how even matters.  

What do you think?  Does the how matter?

Or.....Maybe the question is why?  I honestly think real, true, persistent hunger had something to do with it.  Sure, I messed up big time when I spent three months in Texas with my "fuck it" attitude.....but that only accounts for 16 pounds.  What about the rest?

And then I wonder if I'm just kidding myself.  I dunno.


Okay, so now I've had a year to reflect on that question.  Both my PCP and the bariatric surgeon that I met with feel like all of the medicines that I've taken in the past several years contributed to my increased appetite and weight gain.  (Or maybe they are just being nice?)  


  1. Much of your story of weight loss and regain feels so much like deja vu. I remember telling people over and over that it was the last time I was losing weight. That I knew it and had it all figured out. That I had finally won over the weight gain demon. Hell, I was even featured in my gym's monthly magazine as a success story! A terrible depression and meds later and I was regaining no matter how well I ate. I finally decided that for me, Vertical Sleeve Gastrecomy was the last option. I'm so glad I made that choice! 39 pounds down today (surgery date April 27)

  2. This story sounds so much like my own - with the exception to the pregnancy. I went up and down on the scale so many times and I have told friends and relatives time and again that "this is it!" I've got it all figured out this time. Boy was I wrong. I do beleieve I have finally found the way to stop dieting though and have learned to embrace exercise.

  3. Thank you for sharing your whole story. I feel like I've realyl gotten to know you and your struggles in this post.

  4. We all have a story to tell.....amazing how we can remember all the numbers....the pounds we gained, how much we weighed!!! I am often ashamed of the fact that I could tell you how much I weighed in January of 1988 but I couldn't tell you how much is in my checking account RIGHT NOW.....!
    Your journey, as with all of ours, had to happen. That's the only way you would have GOT HERE!!!! I'm so excited to be on this leg of your journey with you!!! It's all good!!!

  5. I wrote today about just how easy it is to become obese and your experience is another good example. I'd bet those medications are a BIG part of it!

  6. OMG. It's ME! you're story is so much like mine it's scary. I'm 42, waited to have kids until I was 34, and wow...used to weigh 139 or LESS, and now at 218 ish. Was up to 226. Rny scheduled for july 20th. BMI 40. HOW the HELL? I ask myself that all the time. You know what? I don't know either. I've worked out, eaten right, begged God, and now am at the end of that rope so to speak. RNY...please work for me!!!!!!