Thursday, November 14, 2013

Put Down That Phone!!!

Put Down That Phone!!!

Did I get your attention? Seems everywhere I turn there is someone out there telling you that you are a bad parent if you have your phone in hand when your children are present. It's on Facebook, on the news, in magazines, etc. 

Part of me just wants to say "bug off". The other part of me wants to break it down for those who seem to think they've got all the answers. 

So here it goes: 

First off, mind your own damn business. If you don't like to spend time on your phone when your kids are around, so be it. 

But here's the thing, there are so many reasons why that parent is on the phone. Let's think of some ideas: 

1. They are making an appointment. 
2. They are checking in on a sick parent. 
3. They are taking a call from a spouse who is coming home early from work to be with his/her famly. 
4. Their spouse is in the service and can only call home at certain times. 
5. They took the day off from work and in order to do so they have to respond to an email. 
6. They are checking on a flight of an arriving loved one. 
7. Or hell maybe they've just had a stressful day and are playing some mindless game for 5 minutes. 

I am sure I could think of 100 more reasons of why a person might be on the phone in their child's presence. But here's the thing, unless you live with the person, you are seeing them for a fraction of their day. You have no idea what they have done with their child(ren) outside that 20 minutes you saw them at the park. Yeah, there's a chance they've been ignoring their kid all day long. But there's also a really good chance that they've bathed, dressed and fed that child...that they've read books and colored and sang silly songs dancing around the living room. And there is the chance that after that 20 minutes at the park, they'll make their way to the grocery store to buy ingredients to make supper and chocolate chips cookies together...and then they'll go home and make cookies and after supper they'll play a game as a family. 

The point is mind your own damn business. Stop judging parents for things like using a phone. 

I love my kids to death - would walk on fire for them - take a bullet - fight a name it, I'd do it. That said, if we are at the playground and I want to putz around on my phone for 20 minutes while the kids are busy going down the slide and swinging, that's my prerogative. See, for me I don't feel the need to be attached to my children 24/7. I benefit from having time apart from them and I am a better mother for it and they benefit from time apart for me. My children also need to learn that they are not the center of the universe - I don't need to drop everything I am doing to look at them go down the slide for the millionth time, etc. And frankly it chaps my ass to think that someone else is taking the time away from their children to sit and worry so much about what I am doing. Pot meet kettle! 

And please before you spout off the evils of social media, let me tell you that just cause I am on my phone doesn't mean that I am on Facebook ...I use my phone as an ereader, so quite often I am reading a book because I am avid reader. 

Before you start judging random strangers, just make sure your own "house" is in order! 

Monday, September 2, 2013

365 September - Day 2

2. What are you questioning?

Right now I am questioning if we are making the right choices.  And sometimes I over analyze every decision  we make. There has got to be a happy middle ground. Sometimes I think I just need to leap and have faith. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

365 September

I stumbled upon a journaling "challenge" on Pinterest today and thought I'd give it a try. This particular challenge is actually a 5 year challenge. You answer one question a day every day for 5 years. While I don't know as though I am ready to tackle or commit to a 5 year challenge, I can take it day by day. Heck, some days I don't even know if I can commit to something in the here and now...5 years of journaling seems like a crazy thing! LOL!

But alas, here goes....

September 01. 2013: 

1. What decision do you wish you didn't have to make?

My husband lost his job recently and we've had to work together as a couple to decide what will be the best route for us to take. Does he go back to work? Do I find a job so he can focus on his school work? Those are just a couple of the most recent questions we've had to ask ourselves. Truthfully, I wish we didn't have to make this decision, but it is what it is. You pick up the pieces and you move on and you make it work. 

This is just a blip in the road...and we'll come out of it stronger in the end. We are Casey's and we kick arse and you can't keep us down. We've had our share of ups and downs in our almost 20 years together, and we always come out of it even stronger. This is no exception! 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

1 YEAR!!!

I had intended this post for Wednesday - August 28th - but between doctor's appointments and bad news for hubby's job, it just didn't happen.

So, let's just pretend today is Wednesday and without further ado, I bring you....

1 YEAR!!! 

August 28th, 2012 was the day my whole life changed. It was the day my life started again. It was the day I was "reborn".

August 28th, 2012 I had Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery. 

August 28th, 2012 is right up there with the day I got married and the birth of my two children. a year's time there have been many changes: 

1. I've lost 133lbs

2. I've lost 73 inches

3. I've gone down 7 pants sizes

4. I've gone down 5 tops sizes

5. I've lost one shoe size

6. I learned to swim

7. I've climbed two mountains

8. I've completed numerous 5K's on my treadmill (itching to do one outside & off the treadmill)

9. I've gone on a 10 mile bike ride

10. I've started doing Yoga

11. I've spent hours walking around a fort 

12. I've lost 51% of my excess body weight

13. I've gone down 20 points in my BMI

Some of these things may seem minor to you, but to someone who was morbidly obese and could barely walk, this is major!!! Because of my bad knee, after sitting for 15-20 minutes in the car for example, if I tried to get out of the car and walk, I would hobble and my knee would buckle and practically give out. The fact I can climb a mountain...or ride a bike...or do Yoga is just beyond amazing. The idea I actually enjoy it is positively mind-blowing!!! 

Probably about time I shared some pictures, right? 

Let's take a walk down memory lane...

Summer of 2010
January 2011

Summer of 2011
May 2012 - My highest weight ever! 
August 2012 - 2 Weeks Pre Op

2 Weeks Post Op - September 2012
Sept 12, 2012 

October 10. 2012

November 3, 2012
December 3, 2012
December 16, 2012

January 17, 2013
January 31, 2013
February 13, 2013
March 6, 2013 
April 14, 2013
April 27, 2013
May 25, 2013

June 2, 2013
June 16, 2013 - First time climbing a mountain! Booyah! 
June 20, 2013
July 10. 2013 (Finally having the guts to go wild with my hair color. Sadly it didn't last long!)

August 4, 2013

August 10. 2013 (First time wearing a dress since I got married in 1999.)
August 24, 2013
August 31, 2013

12 months

52 weeks

525,600 minutes

31, 536,000 seconds

1 year

And what an amazing year it has been! 

I've come so far...and yet I have a whole lifetime ahead of me. 

Am I where I ultimately want to be weight-wise? The honest truth is, I am not. I'd like to lose at least 30 more pounds and my surgeon feels that is doable. I want to lose 30lbs and drop my BMI another 10 points. I want to drop two more pants sizes and shirt sizes. 

What scares me is that I still see that obese woman when I look in the mirror. I worry that I could get down to a size 6 and still see that obese woman in the mirror. On one hand, that's good - that fear will hopefully keep me on track...and yet, it's scary that I may never feel complete and happy with my weight loss. 

One of the things they discuss with you prior to surgery was your mental preparedness and how the surgery will affect you mentally. It's incredibly true! Luckily it's not gotten too crazy for me, but I can see where it could get out of control. 

At times I have people comment that I "took the easy way out" or "I thought you did it through hard work", or other completely ignorant thing...the truth is, it IS hard IS is NOT the easy way out. This is the hardest thing I have ever done but it's also been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. 

Looking back at those early pictures is one sets out to gain as much weight as possible...or at least no sane person does. So to see that I had let myself get that big is embarrassing and makes me sad. It's hard to share the pictures - I am afraid of being judged but I hope that maybe I can inspire someone else...not necessarily to have surgery but to take the first step...whether it is to lose weight...or quit drinking...or quit smoking...or gambling or any other addiction ...

I look forward to the next year...I know there are more amazing things in my future!!!

I almost forgot...I got a card from my surgeon and dietitian! 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

And the saga continues...

I can't remember where I left off...I guess I should have looked before I started this new post but alas, I'll just go ahead and recap...

Last Monday I called my PCP and spoke with the nurse. I let her know that I wanted to talk to my PCP about getting a referral downstate or out of state to see someone else for a second opinion. She said she'd tell Christine and then the wait began...Monday afternoon came and went....Tuesday came and went...Wednesday came and I was just getting ready to post online about how crazy this was and then I get a phone call from a Dr. downstate - Portland to be exact. So all that time I thought my PCP was ignoring me since she hadn't called me, but instead she was really working on getting me a referral to someone else.

So long story short, this Wednesday, Karl and I are headed down to Portland to meet with a new colo-rectal surgeon. It is my understanding he is one of the best in the state so I quite hopeful that he will be able to help me. Of course if I need more surgery, this means going back down to Portland, but at this point I'll go to Mars if it means I get help and get better.

Friday I went for my 2 (well 2.5) week follow-up with the surgeon who did the surgery...I didn't let on that I was going to someone else for a second opinion. He was shocked I am still in so much pain - tired to do an exam but the pain was too much for me - I nearly came off the table - I started to tear up and cry out in pain - he said the sutures are still in tact and everything looks great so he doesn't understand why so much pain still. He put me on another pain killer and more antibiotic and wants me to come back in a week - that won't be happening!!!

So that's where I am at...trying to be hopeful and stay positive. The new painkiller, which was supposed to be so potent, hasn't done much for me. I am trying to get out of the house more and act as "normal" as possible because I am going to go stir crazy sitting in this house anymore than I absolutely have to.

I just want to be normal again...I want to enjoy the summer...I want to just live my life...this has gone on far too long and ruined far too much of my life for the last couple months.

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Friday, July 5, 2013

Time to give a shout-out....

Every once in awhile a company comes along that knocks my socks off and I just feel compelled to tell everyone about them. First let me say, I am NOT getting paid in any way, shape or form for giving my review....this is simply me loving something and wanting to share my experience. 

Last month I signed up with Gwynnie Bee after seeing it advertised on the side bar of Facebook many times. 

"Gwynnie Bee is a monthly subscription service for size 10-28. You pay a monthly fee for access to an unlimited wardrobe and unlimited free shipping.
We offer a 30 day free trial period - there's no reason not to try it. Have fun with fashion. Enjoy and exchange."

So I signed up for my free trial and began to pick clothes to put in my virtual "closet". In no time at all I had my first shipment in the mail and it was like Christmas. I received a top, a cardigan and a jacket. Now admittedly I wasn't thinking when I selected a jacket because it's too warm here now for a jacket, but that said, the jacket was awesome. 

This is the jacket - 
and I loved it!! It fit amazingly and was well made and looked awesome. I was sad that it was too warm to wear it! And the color - normally I'd shy away from a color like that but as I loose more weight, I am getting more daring, and I must admit I loved the color. Such a fun piece! 

After I wore those pieces, I sent them back. Did I mention you don't have to launder the items - they take care of that for you. And oh, it's free to ship the items back. You can keep them as long as you want and then when you are ready, ship them back in the provided back and they'll send you something else from your closet. 

My next shipment came and unfortunately both tops were too big. And this was my fault. I am still learning about my new body and what size fits me and honestly I wasn't sure when it comes to clothes  like this - this is more like boutique type clothing and not the run of the mill stuff at Sears or JcPenney, so I ordered bigger thinking it might run small but it doesn't. So those pieces went right back in the mail. 

Today I got my 3rd shipment which included two tops and a denim skirt. And I am in love. I ordered the correct sizes - everything fits - everything is super cute and stylish! 

I got this shirt - 
I love that the sleeves are loose and a bit longer to hide my "bat wings" lol. I love how it ties on the side too - super cute. It's a lightweight material which is good in this heat. 

This is the other shirt I got - 
So when I picked this one I wasn't sure about it - but oh.em.gee. it's awesome. It's like it's ruched  so it's very forgiving of any flaws one might have in their midsection - it makes my waist look defined and smaller and it fits great on the bust...which honestly since surgery I've lost more than I've wanted in the bust, but this fits like a glove. Karl loves this one on me. 

This is by far one of the best subscription sites I've ever tried! There are several levels of membership to fit your budget - you can get as few as one piece out at a time or I think up to five pieces at a time and of course prices vary accordingly. To me it's well worth it - I live in the back woods practically - I would never have the opportunity to try clothes like this normally, nor would I be able to afford to buy clothes like this regularly. This way I get to try them, keep them as long as I want, then send them back and get more. And with the way I've been losing weight it's a great way to get new clothes without the commitment of buying new all the time. 

Check them out- give it a try - free 30 day trial. And I must say their customer service has been impeccable. 

I love Gwynnie Bee and highly recommend them!!! 

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Surgery Saga Continues...

So since I didn't hear from the on-call doctor Wednesday afternoon, I decided to call first thing this morning when the office opened. I spoke with the secretary who said she'd have the nurse call me back. It was almost 2 hours later when the nurse finally called me back - she said my blood-work came back fine - no sign of infection. I asked her what the plan was then? I am still having discharge - I am still bleeding - and worst of all the pain is still up there. She said she'd talk to the on-call doctor and get back to me. Well here we's almost 8pm and no call back. I've come to the conclusion that these people are beyond useless. So here I go into another weekend in pain and no relief in sight. When this is all over and my health is back under control, someone will be getting an ear full from me & I can tell you right now, it won't be pretty!

If I wasn't in so much pain still, it would almost be comical...but really it's just pathetic. I have to wonder what these doctors and providers would do in a real city? in a real hospital? you know instead of in the back woods in northern Maine. They wouldn't last a minute. It's times like this that I miss living down in Portland and even more so NYC.

I think I am going to call my PCP on Monday and ask for a referral for a second opinion...downstate...I am done with the incompetence up here.

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

More surgery....

Last Wednesday I went back into the hospital to have yet another surgery. Since then life has been a nightmare. I am sure there is someone out there reading thinking, "don't be so dramatic"...and to them I say, if you haven't had surgery like this, then you have no right to judge me. This has been by all accounts the worst experience of my life. I have had numerous surgeries over the years....tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy...2 laparoscopies, 2 c/sections, hysterectomy, arthroscopic knee surgery, gastric bypass, the first rectal surgery and yet, this by far, has blown them all out of the water in terms of pain.

So what has gone on you ask? Well let me start back a week and half ago....settle in...this is a doozy ....

On Friday June 21st, I met with the colo-rectal specialist. We discussed my prior rectal surgery and what had happened up to the point of needing that surgery and of course, what has taken place since that surgery. He performed a rectal exam and decided that I needed another surgery. So the plan of action was to go in and use a healthy piece of tissue to create a "flap" over the fistula. However, if he got in there and discovered any infection, he was going to back out for now and would have to go back in another time. He put me on two different medications and scheduled me for surgery on Wednesday, June 26th. 

Monday, June 24th, the day surgery department of the hospital calls to go over my information and to schedule me to come in for a pre-op appointment. The lady on the phone says to me, "ok, we need you to come in the Wednesday before the surgery" keep in mind it is Monday and my surgery is Weds. So I said to her, "oh you mean tomorrow?" and she says "no, the Wednesday before the surgery". I said, "mam, I am sorry but there aren't any Wednesdays left before my surgery on Wednesday". OMG! Hello!!! So she chuckles and says, "oh yeah". That's when I should have realized things were going to go downhill. 

Tuesday, June 25th - I go in for my pre-op appointment. I meet with the nurse first and we go over my health history and then she leaves to get the anesthesiologist. A few minutes later the Dr. walks in and says, "you don't recognize me from Walmart?" and I just looked at him blankly. I realize that I shop at Walmart a lot but I don't pay attention to the other patrons enough to be able to recognize anyone. So he says, "you're a cashier, right?" I explain that I am indeed not a cashier - that I am a stay at home mom. So he proceeds to hand me the paperwork and points to where it says cashier at Walmart. It is the paperwork for a different person ...a person named Shannon....So I said to him, "I am not Shannon and I do not work at Walmart" and his eyes get as big as saucers and he quickly grabs the paperwork and tells me to "pretend I never saw it". This should have been the second clue to me that things were going to nosedive. 

Wednesday, June 26th -  I arrive at 7:30 am. for my surgery. I am taken back a few minutes later and they begin to prep me. The nurse gets an iv into me in seconds, gave me some meds, and I remember falling asleep. At one point the Dr. came in and woke me to talk to me but I can't honestly remember much of that conversation other than to say what the surgery was going to be and ask how I was feeling. I remember being wheeled back into the operating room and being given anesthesia and going to sleep. I woke up in recovery feeling a bit "icky" and sore. They brought me back to day surgery and called hubby to let him know I was out. I remember again being uncomfortable and given more pain medication via my iv. Around 1pm they sent me on my way. (Looking back I wonder why they never had me try to use the bathroom nor feed me - two things that the other hospital did for my first rectal surgery the month prior). 

We got home and I went upstairs to lay down. It was about 30 minutes later when the pressure to use the bathroom hit me. I went to the bathroom but couldn't ...I sat there 5 minutes...10 minutes...15 minutes...panic starting to set in as the pressure was so intense ...20 minutes...I am starting to doze off from the meds....25 feet are going numb...30 minutes....still can't urinate. I get up and attempt to lay down again...pressure is too great...can't lay down...try to walk around the room. Back to the bathroom I go to sit on the toilet again...5..10...15...minutes...still can't....15 more minutes pass....starting to fall asleep again....20 more minutes....I am crying....the pain and pressure is intense. I get up and start pacing. I am crying. I want to pee so bad but can't. This goes on till about 8pm when I finally tell Karl I am going to lose my damn mind. I am fever but yet I am freezing and my teeth are chattering and I can't stop the shaking. I call the Dr. only to find out he's not on call that evening. The on call Dr. calls me shortly and tells me to go up to the ER. My best friends mom takes me up at almost 9pm. I go through triage and explain what is going on....taken back to a room and given a gown to put on. I am still so cold - they bring me probably 8 blankets over the course of my time there. I explain my story to the nurse...and then again to the Dr. on duty...they decide to give me a catheter...I've never had one before that wasn't put in place while already under anesthesia, so this was an experience I'd rather not have ever again. After that they attempted to put in an iv...three nurses...about 8 pokes later they finally got one in....gave me some painkiller - can't remember what it was and then drew blood for lab work. Long story short, my pain when I arrived was at a 10...when I left around 1am it was still 8/9. They did absolutely nothing for me. When I started having a reaction to the pain killer I was told it wasn't an allergy but just a common reaction, given Benadryl and then given a different pain killer. I was sent home as I said around 1am with catheter in place in a 'johnny" and still in intense pain. 

Thursday, June 27th, 2013 – Called Dr.'s office and was told that he wasn't in the office that day, but that the nurse would call me back. I waited another hour but no call back so I called the office and the nurse said she was going to talk to Dr. l and get back to me. Dr. himself called me back about 30-40 minutes and we talked about the amount of pain I was in, so he asked if I could come right in to the office.  I got there about 15 minutes later and he examined me. He seemed surprised to find out the packing was still in place. No one told me I should physically take that out – I had been told that it would fall out on its own. He removed the packing and said that should help the pressure. But it didn’t. If anything, the pulling out of the packing made the pain worse. He asked me if I wanted to keep the catheter in place and I declined, so he had the nurse remove it. Said to start the stiz baths (which apparently I was supposed to have done the day of surgery but was told not to start them by the nurse till the following day).  Continue taking the pain medication as well as Colace 3x’s per day. (At this point I still had yet to have a bowel movement.)

Friday, June 28th, 2013 – Karl went and bought one of those “donut” pillows to help me sit.  Still in severe pain – 9/10. Dr called me to see how I am doing – explained still in the worst pain I've had and he said he'd call in a new prescription – Gabapentin 800 mg – 1 tablet three times a day. Took that but didn't see any help from that at all. He asked if I was still putting the Bacitracin on it and I explained that was something no one had ever told me to do. So Karl went out and bought some for me.

Saturday, June 29th, 2013 – Finally able to use the bathroom (bowel movements) but it burns like hell. Continuing to do the sitz baths 3-4 times a day for relief. Gone back to taking just the Oxycodone.

Sunday, June 30th, 2013 – Still in so much pain – hurts to walk, lay down, sit….only relief comes when lying on stomach.

Monday, July 1, 2013 – Called Dr.’s office to see what to do since pain is still 9/10 at this point. Nurse explains that Dr is out this week but she will talk to Dr. on call and call me back.  Never hear back from nurse.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013 – Notice more pain today in the vagina in addition to the pain I've been having in the rectum. When I take my shower I discover a new “lump” near where the initial lump was that started this whole mess back in April.  Still haven't heard from nurse. Pain is still the same. Call the nurse this afternoon and she says she’s waiting to talk to the Dr. on call in between surgeries today. She calls me back 30 mins later and says  that she talked with the Dr. on call and he wants me to wait another 24 hours and see how I feel then and if I am still in pain to call and they will try to get me in. I explained that I had this new “lump” and the nurse said it is probably just some trapped fluid that the body hasn't been able to reabsorb. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - Wake up around 4am in intense pain - feels like I am being stabbed rectally. Karl has to go to Bangor, so I am home alone with the kids. I decide that either the Dr. on call is seeing me today or I am taking myself to the ER. I call Karl's mom to come out and stay with the kids and finally the doctors office calls me back and says the on call Dr. wants to see me at 2:30pm. I get there at 2:15 like they asked me to and I wait till after 3pm to be seen. Dr. comes in along with a med student, and we talk briefly - he gives me a rectal exam ( has me in tears because the pain is out of this world). He says he's going to have bloodwork done to make sure I do not have an infection. Mentions the possibility of a CT scan. Says depending on the results of the bloodwork ( which he say she'll have later today) that may have to go back in for surgery tomorrow. WTF?!!!! 

So here we are today...Thursday, July call with blood work answers as to what is going to happen tomorrow...I am stuck in bed for the 8th day in a row basically. It hurts too much to do much of anything....our plans to get to the fair this week are cancelled...going to the lake to swim and hang out...cancelled....going to the fireworks ...cancelled. I can't exercise for 6 weeks. I can't do a hell of alot at this point. I can't go far in the car even with the "donut" cause the pain is just too great. I've spent almost 24 hours a day for the last 8 days in this bed. The kids, bless their little hearts, have had to entertain themselves for 8 days while I lay here, cranky and hurt and depressed. I feel as though the walls are closing in on me. This whole ordeal is doing nothing for my depression to say the least. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

9 Months

On May 28th, I was 9 months post gastric bypass surgery. It's hard for me to even wrap my mind around the idea that it's been 9 months. I've come so far since that day in August of 2012. I've learned a lot about myself. It may sound dramatic to some, but I honestly believe that having gastric bypass saved my life. As I was looking at pictures from a year ago this time, I was saddened, ashamed, disgusted with the person I saw. I had become so big and wasn't really "living". I was existing but not "living". It's funny but at the beginning it seemed like making all these changes would be such a daunting task but here I am 9 months later and it's all become second nature for the most part. 

I am at a point now where I eat pretty normal for the most part, the exception being that I eat much smaller portions. I do not feel deprived or left out. 

A typical day for me goes something like this: 


Protein Shake (either Chike Iced Coffee Whey Protein or Muscle Milk Chocolate Whey Protein made with 10 oz skim milk)


String Cheese or a couple crackers with peanut butter


Low Carb Pita with deli roasted turkey (2-3oz) with 1 slice provolone cheese, lettuce and tomato. (I buy the small pita's as the regular size ones are way too big.)


Wasa Crisp cracker with a Lite Laughing Cow cheese wedge spread on it or a small apple.


3oz of meat (steak, chicken, fish), 1/4 cup of veggies (peas, green beans, squash, zucchini, broccoli, brussel sprouts, etc) and then a couple cucumber spears. 


Sugar-Free Popsicle or 1 cup of air popped plain popcorn

So overall a pretty normal, healthy lifestyle! I take vitamins daily to help with any nutritional deficiencies that one is susceptible to with weight loss surgery. So far, my blood work has all come back outstanding. I think that is because I try my best to eat a good, varied diet. I try to stay away from processed foods as much as possible. I have to watch the amount of carbs and fats in my foods and make wise choices. 

Since it's been 9 months I had Karl take a few pictures of me this morning and I was just blown away when I uploaded them. Honestly, as much as I am gaining this new found confidence, I still look in the mirror and sometimes see that obese woman. My mind plays tricks on me and sometimes I forget that hey I've lost 123lbs. So, seeing these pictures this morning was a total eye opener. 

I would like to loose another 40lbs but the ultimate goal would be 80lbs. Will I ever see that? I don't honestly know! I could loose the 40lbs and be totally happy and content. Right now it's a numbers "game" and just a wait and see. 

I have recently discovered that I love yoga. I began to learn yoga thanks to the Wii Fit and after several weeks found I was becoming stronger and the moves were easier to do and hold. I recently bought a yoga dvd and yoga mat and try to do it every day. I've also invested in a set of kettlebells and work out with those almost daily as well. I have a couple trouble areas - one being my upper arms. I've lost almost 6 inches in my upper arms and they are sagging with extra skin. You can see the definition of where my arm should be if I didn't have that damn flap of skin hanging. I know I will never eliminate totally without having cosmetic surgery but I figure I will do my best to lift the weights and work those upper arms as much as possible and try to at least hopefully lessen the amount of sag. You know I've lost so much in my arms and boobs are a sorry sight now (lol) but it's a small price to pay for having my health back. 

It's such an amazing feeling to be living once again. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rekindle the spark...

I ran across this quote on Pinterest this evening and it spoke volumes to me. We all need at least one person in our lives that can rekindle that spark within us. I am so thankful that I have several of them. And I hope that I can and have been that person for someone else. 

I've been through quite a bit lately with this health scare and it's not over yet, and I am grateful for having people in my life who I can turn to. 


Do you have that special person who can rekindle the spark inside you? 
Do you have what it takes to be that special person for someone else? 

~ Erin

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Where to begin?

It's been so long since I've sat down to blog - I think the last entry was back in November or December. So much has taken place since then, it's really crazy. I am not sure where to even start...forgive me if I start babbling...

So, this coming Tuesday will be 9 months post op. 9 months. It hardly seems possible that it's been that long, it seems like just yesterday I was getting ready to under the knife. But here I am 9 months out and down 121lbs...69.25 inches...7 pants sizes...4 tops sizes. I exercise 6-7 days a week doing everything from Wii Fit, treadmill, recumbent bike, yoga, ketttlebells, etc. I try to work out at least an hour to hour and half a day. I am determined that I will loose more - the weight loss has slowed down some now and I've found that upping my protein intake and exercising even more is helping break through the plateau. I must admit I am really enjoying working out. I never thought those words would come from my mouth but it's true. The days that for whatever reason I can't work out or don't get to, I feel so guilty and just blah. And yes, there are mornings where I'd rather just sit around when the kids get on the bus and are on their way to school, but once I get exercising I just feel so much better physically and mentally. It really makes a difference. I am doing things that I never would imagine I would be doing. At the end of March I signed up to take 10 weeks of swim lessons. I am 37 yrs old and finally learning to swim. Part of that was the fear of the water but a huge part of that was the fact that I wasn't comfortable getting into a swim suit. And granted, I am by no means thrilled with how I look now in a swim suit, I am ok enough with how far I've come to say the hell with it and get into that bathing suit and get into that pool and conquer my fear. Last week I actually swam unassisted for the first time in my life. What an incredible feeling! I am so looking forward to spending weekends at the lake this summer, sipping iced tea, watching the kids and dog running around and going for swims!

 It's amazing how one's life can change after a dramatic weight loss. There is one thing I've noticed and that is people treat me a lot differently now. People used to either look past me or give me those looks of pity know when you see someone morbidly obese and you look at them in disgust, judging every move they make. And maybe you personally don't do it but we all know someone who is like that. That doesn't happen anymore...people smile more at me...they chat me up more in general conversation...I get compliments all the time...and yes I've noticed that I get more attention from the male population...that is something that is really weird to me. Flattering...yes...but still weird. 

I've also noticed that I have this growing confidence in myself...I carry myself differently...head held higher...back straighter...shoulders back...I pass a mirror and I don't wince anymore. I look in the mirror and actually think that I am actually pretty now. And yet at the same time, strangely enough, it's hard to not still think of myself as that person 121lbs heavier. Sometimes I still see that girl in my mind. For example when I go shopping, I immediately assume clothes won't fit and I try to find the biggest sizes...and then I am in complete shock when I find the smaller sizes fit. It's just so surreal sometimes. 

At this point I am hoping to loose another 40lbs at least. Ultimately, I'd love to drop another 80lbs but I would settle for 40. I can't wait to see what the next nine months brings in terms of the weight loss and all the new found activities. 

***I should stop here and give a warning - the following is pretty intimate and personal - if you are offended easily, then maybe you should stop reading here.**

This week I had a pretty major health scare. You know the kind that has the big "C" word. It all started at the end of April when I discovered a hard lump inside my privates. It hurt quite badly and really freaked me out. I went to the Dr. that week and she took at a look at it and said she believed it to be an infected abscess. She injected some numbing medicine (which hurt like hell) and then she lanced it. She put me on antibiotics and on my way I went. About three weeks went by and everything seemed ok and then as I showered one day I noticed it was back. And the pain was back. I went in to see the Dr. again last week and spent 45 minutes in the stirrups while she attempted to cut it out. It was so deep though that she had a hard time and warned me that she most likely wouldn't be able to get it all. She took what she was able to get out to send for pathology. After a couple more needles of numbing medicine, she was able to put in three stitches and sent me on my way with some antibiotic ointment. By the weekend I could tell there was still more in there. Monday I went in to get checked out and she told me to come back on Wednesday to get the stitches out. When I went in on Weds, she had to give me more numbing medicine via needle to even take the stitches out. By now let me tell you've I've had so many needles in my privates and it hurts like hell and I'd die happy if I never had to experience that again. My Dr. wasn't happy with the way it was healing so she set me to see an OB/GYN the next day. (BTW, path report came back saying it was either a Bartholin's Cyst or fragments of Fallopian tube - which is weird considering I had a complete hysterectomy 2 yrs ago. So Thursday morning I go to see the OB/GYN and while doing her exam she discovered a mass between the bowels and colon. She immediately called a surgeon and scheduled me to go for a CT Scan and meet with the surgeon. 

So off I went to the hospital for the CT Scan and then met with the surgeon. Long story short, he scheduled me for surgery for Friday (yesterday). I tell you that I was incredibly scared. You know you think you are doing all you can to get healthy and then something like this happens and you really get scared. There has been a good deal of cancer in my family and it always looms in the back of my mind. My grandmother died of breast uncle died of cancer...just to name a couple. So here I am freaking out that there is a very real possibility that I could have cancer. 

Yesterday morning Karl and I went to the hospital and I had surgery. So the good news is that there is no cancer there! Phew! But there was an infection and it was more intense then they had thought it would be. Basically the infection created a "tunnel" from the rectum to the vagina. The Dr. doesn't feel very confident that it will heal properly based on what it's like. If that is the case, they will have to send me downstate to a specialist to have further surgery, in which they would have to cut the sphincter muscle. {taking a deep breathe} 

This all just blows my mind. I meant to ask how this could have happened...or what could have caused it but I was just so glad to know it wasn't cancer. I go back on Tuesday for a follow- up and will have to raise that question then. I am just glad to be on my way to being able to put this past me. I realize that there is still the very big possibility that I will have more surgery, but at least now I am on the path to getting healthy. 

I have got to say this has been a huge wake-up call. While I've been loosing weight and exercising, I will admit that I haven't been very good at taking my daily meds or vitamins. I know what I need to do but often, I forget or put myself last. But this has made me realize that I need to take care of me too. No more "forgetting" me. So this morning I got up and had my breakfast and took my vitamins and meds. And I used this as an opportunity to once again talk to the kids about how important it is to take care of yourself. Both Karl and I have cancer in our families and it worries me what the kids will face as they get older. 

I suppose for now this is a long enough post...the beginning of playing catch-up! I hope now that school is almost over and things will settle down a bit that I can get back to regular blogging. 

~ Erin