Sunday, December 30, 2012

Yay for Lap Band!

I have no words to describe how simply amazing I feel right now!  I went in for my first weigh-in after surgery and I was down 12 lbs from surgery day; 12 lbs!!!  Holy boulders  right?! That 12 lb loss put me at 239.  I have not been in the 230's since 2008!  So freaking excited.  I know I made the perfect choice for me and I'm so glad I did.  I know the weight loss will not be as exciting as this, especially once I start on solid foods again, but for now it's great to bask in sheer awesomeness of it all!

Speaking of food, I finally got to switch to full liquids!  You know what that means... no more broth and jello!!!!! Yay!!!! I've never been so excited in my life to drink protein shakes and eat tomato soup!  I also made myself some vegetarian taco soup (since meat is still off limits) and blended all the beans and stuff together so I got a smooth soup instead of a chunky one (since chunks are still off limits as well) ;); and it's amazing.  It's so hearty that I get full before I can even finish one cup, and that almost cup can keep me full for up to 3 hours!  Yay!

Stay safe, stay happy, stay hopeful,
Totally ecstatic signing off

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


First let me begin by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!  Next I figure it's time to catch y'all up on what my last week has been like.

On Friday the 21st my mom, sister and I packed our bags and headed to Boise for a family Christmas with my cousin and his family.  The trip really wasn't that bad, which suprised me since it was only two days after surgery.  I did have quite a bit of pain around my insicions and had to get out and walk while clutching a pillow to my belly at every stop.  I swear one of the ladies at one of the gas stations was prepared to jump me at any second, convinced that I was going to steal some candy or something.  I guess I can't blame her too much since I was walking up and down the isles slowly with a big ol' pillow in front of my stomach; looks kinda suspicious huh? :D  When I wasn't out walking I actually slept fairly comfortably in the front seat that was slightly leaned back. 

We arrived in Boise and my cousins kids were so excited to see me but so cute because they'd been told about my surgery on my tummy and one of them thought I'd had a baby! :D  And he's been so concerned about when I'll be able to eat "real" food again; so adorable.  I just love those kids! 

Because of the gas that's been dissapating through my body, I get quite a bit of grugling in my tummy and I tend to get the gurgling confused with hunger pangs.  I had a jello cup and within a few minutes was in so much pain I could barely stand up straight let alone walk.  Thank goodness for hydrocodone! :D 

So I learned my lesson and have been very careful not to overdo it on the broth and jello, although I still can never quite telll if I'm satisfied or not.  More often than not I stop too soon and end up hungry within the hour and have to head back for some more jello. :D

Oddly this clear liquid diet has not been as bad as I'd been led to believe it would be.  I mean yes I can't wait to eat some mashed potataoes or even eggs, but I have not had any overwhelming desires to eat all the food that has been made in my cousin's house over the last few days.  To give you an idea of what I'm talking about my cousins wife has made bags of cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate dipped marbles, chocolate covered ritz cracker peanut butter sandwhiches.  My mom has made pineapple carrot cake, milky way cake, my great grandma's rolls (my favorit rolls), and spritz cookies (which we have every christmas).  They've had chinese food delivered (I love fried rice and orange chicken), we went to texas road house for dinner one night (need I say more?) and for Christmas breakfast an egg, hashbrown, cheese, and sausage caserole, all of my favorite breakfast foods in one bubbly, delicious concoction.

Yet throughout all this food overload I remained content with my chicken broth and jello.  Not that there weren't time I desperately wished I could eat some of those foods, but it wasn't like it has been in the past where the desire to eat overwhelmes my common sense and every other sense and turns me into a zombie moaning "food... must eat food." :D 

I think one thing that has made it so much easier on me is that I weigh myself everyday and see the results.  Since surgery last Wednesday I've dropped almost 10 lbs.  I know you shouldn't weigh yourself everyday, but for now it helps me get through these tough days knowing that even though I can't eat all the foods around me, the decision I've made is paying of and I am seeing results and it makes me feel hopeful about my future with my band and excited to see how well I'm going to do!

Stay safe, stay happy, stay hopeful
This is pleased and optomistic signing off 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Surgery and Post-Op

Ready for the hospital in my awesome pjs!
I had my surgery nearly two days ago so I thought I'd do a quick update as to how it went and how I'm doing now since I probably won't post for another week or so (what with Christmas and all).

All Dressed up with nowhere to go.
Still waiting to be taken to surgery
Surgery Day:  I woke up excited and ready to go! I could not wait to have my surgery!  I arrived at the hospital at around 8:45 AM, weighed in (151.2 lbs which was a total 5 lb loss from when I started my liver shrinking diet), peed in a cup (trust me this was the highlight of my morning since I wasn't allowed to pee when I got up!!), then changed into a "lovely" paper hospital gown and laid down in bed where all the very nice nurses proceeded to stick me with needles; some putting stuff in, some taking stuff out, and of course I had to have my IV put in.  The worst part to all of this was the medicine they injected in my belly to help prevent blood clots (stung like crazy for about 5 minutes) and when they finally opened the IV and the medicine started coming in (apparently I have very sensitive veins and my hand burned and ached for about 5 minutes; it really sucked).                                                                                                                                After I was poked, prodded, and hooked up I got to enjoy a wonderful 45 minute wait where I watched some news and my mom pace a hole in the hospital room floor.  Pretty easy to say she was way more nervous than I was (not hard to do since I'm pretty sure I wasn't nervous).  At around 10:15 they came and wheeled me into holding where I again got to wait, but maybe only 30 minutes, until some very nice doctor gave me pre-anesthesia loopy drugs.  I was very "wooooooo" as I was wheeled back to the operating room.  Then I moved onto the surgery table and they put a face mask over me, pushed on my throat (why, I have no idea) and that is the last thing I remember before waking up in recovery.  Apparently I'd told the recovery nurse that I go by Ally, when really I go by Alex, lol oops.  They were very nice, giving me pain meds (yay meds!) and ice chips and by 12:30 I was wheeled into my room where I got to see my mom.  I believe she was very relieved to see me. :D
So yeah, just a little bit loopy.  Post surgery
I dozed for about two hours, then around 2:30 decided it was time for two things: morphine and walking (and yes in that order please). :D  The nurse was very impressed with me wanting to get up on my own and walk.  She said they normally had to go in and conjole the patients to get up and start walking.  My first walk was a success, but after going down two hallways I was super thirsty and had to get back to my room for some water.  It was at this point I discovered how wonderful it felt to sit.  I'd thought laying back as flat as possible would feel the best but it's just the opposite.  Sitting up is now one of my favorite positions on the planet!
Anyways, at around 3 my lovely friend came to see me and give me a present!  A froggy pillow with a froggy blanket inside!  I love it!  And she took me for 2 walks!  I was so glad she came to see me.  She's one of the best people I've ever had the pleasure to know!  After my last walk (at around 4:30) I decided it was time to go and I got to sign my discharge papers.  I stayed at the hospital a bit longer so my mom could pick up my prescriptions and so I could have my "dinner"; chicken broth and cranberry juice.  I'm told I had an excelent recovery at the hospital, but by the time I got home I couldn't sleep more than two hours without my pain meds (yay for hydrocodone elixir).  I took pain relief at 9 PM, 1 AM, 3 AM, and 5 AM.  It wasn't until my last dose that I actually slept for a good 5 1/2 to 6 hours!

1st Day Post-Op: Day one post op wasn't too bad, except I could never really tell when I was hungry, so I could never really tell when I was satisfied.  All the books and doctors say to stop eating when you're satisfied so as not to stretch the limits of the band and make yourself sick, but seeing as how it's just clear liquids right now, I'm not too worried.
This is when I started noticing a lot of the gas pain.  When they go in laproscopically, they have to pump you full of gas and that gas has no where to go once it decides to dissipate  so you tend to have all over body aches and, at least in my case, I had the added bonus of lost of burping and farting (which in all honesty felt awesome every time; just saying).
My incisions (one is hiding off screen though)
Sleeping on my back has also caused some neck pain since I am a side sleeper but it's not so bad.  However this could be some of the reason why I'm not sleeping for very long periods of time.  It is now 3 AM on my second day post-op and I woke up about an hour ago (about 5 hours after I went to sleep) and am wide awake.  Maybe I'm hungry, so I'll go down and have some broth and maybe a Popsicle and maybe then I'll be able to get some sleep.
Hope this helped fill you in on what it's been like the last day and a half or so. And I hope you enjoy the included pictures!

Stay safe, stay happy, stay hopeful

This is sleepless in Idaho signing off.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

...And Counting

I'm 28 hours and counting until my surgery tomorrow morning!  I've received a lot of questions about if I'm nervous or not.  Mostly I assume the questions are asking if I am nervous about the surgery itself.  To this I say "heck no!"  I've been working towards this for six months; I'm so totally stoked (dude!) to have this surgery.  And I will most likely go picture crazy tomorrow, so expect way to many pictures of me pre- and post-op. :D

On a more serious note, yes I am a bit concerned with what comes after the surgery.  I'm worried about my ability to really change and make this work.  I had a bit of an overwhelming day a few days ago and let out a lot, if not all, my biggest fears concerning my choice; however overall I think my worries still fall within the realm of normal and don't stray too close to over-analyzing territory. :D  I'm a bit bummed I won't be enjoying Christmas dinner with my family since my first breakfast doesn't come until a few days after, but it's  a sacrifice worth making (at least that's what I'll try to remember to tell myself when I'm sitting in a house full of yummy foods I won't have the ability to eat!)

Anyways, have to make this one a short one.  I'm off to take my last final (was going to put final final but even I couldn't get past that redundancy). ;)  After that I'm off to work and then come tomorrow I am free of all work and school responsibilities for an entire week (well work wise at least.  Three weeks until school starts up again! Woot!)

Stay safe, stay happy, stay hopeful,
This is probably a bit too excited signing off!

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Today, or I guess now, yesterday, a tragedy occurred in a small town in Connecticut.  In light of this, my post today will not be about my journey but about my thoughts and feelings on this event.  Even as I type I cannot stop a lump from forming in my throat or the tears from falling down my face.  To lose ones so young is not just tragic but horrific.  And, to me, no amount of explaining will ever make sense of why an adult felt the need to take out his rage on such innocent souls.

While I do not know if I believe in a God, I hope today, more than ever before, that there really is one and that all those poor children are now in a safe, warm, and loving place.  I am so sad, angry, and confused about not only today's events but what appears to be an alarming increase in such events.  Wasn't it only last week where a shopping mall in Oregon fell victim to a mass shooting, and before that the movie theater in Colorado?

I have no ideas or views on what should be done to attempt to stop such horrific happenings.  In fact I'm not even sure anyone could.  Illegal or not, guns can always find a way into the hands of those who truly wish to posses them.  And no amount of laws and regulations can prevent a dangerous and crazy person from doing dangerous and crazy things.

My heart goes out to all those families in Connecticut; both grieving for their lost loved ones and those rejoicing in their happy reunions.  All I can say is I am definitely going to hug my loved ones a little tighter and a little longer when I next see them.  I hope you all do the same.

Stay safe, stay together, and remember to show your loved ones how much you care.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Roller Coaster Rides and Zombies

I've never been a fan of roller coaster, literal or metaphorical, but boy did I strap myself in for one heck of a ride the last couple of days (I really shouldn't be tall enough to ride this ride). ;) Ok bad roller coaster joke out of my system... moving on.

Anyways, yesterday was a hard day for me.  After doing so well for nearly a week, I kinda went a little food crazy.  The real low point was last night after taking my friend home from watching tangled at my house (that was a highlight and then whoosh  down I go).  I found myself in the isles of Walmart and I bought an bag of pepperoni and a can of cheese.  I got home and ate the entire back, almost the entire contents of the can, and half a sleeve of Ritz crackers.

These are all definite no-nos on my liver shrinking diet.  So to "punish" myself, I decided I would not eat at all today.  I made sure this would happen by leaving all my money at home (since I'm spending all day in another city at school).  What did this genius idea end up doing for me?  I can't focus, I can't see straight half the time and I can't stand up and walk without feeling like I'm about to fall over.

So what's the moral to my story?  Put on your big girl panties and deal with the mistakes you make but freaking FEED yourself you ninny!  Or walk around like one of the zombie extras in the walking dead all day long. (Not a pretty sight).

Well I have my halfway point weigh-in tomorrow so maybe I'll have a more upbeat post tomorrow.

Stay safe, stay happy, stay hopeful,
Hungry zombie signing off.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Days 1-3 Wrap Up

It's Friday night, 9:19 to be exact, and I have been hungry for three days!  OMG you guys!  I mean, I knew the liver shrinking diet was not going to be a cake walk (mmm cake...), but being constantly hungry and driving down "fast food row" every day and not stopping in is torture and seriously testing my will - one I didn't even know existed!  Well trust me it does and it is fighting like a champ.

If I didn't fill you in on what exactly the liver shrinking diet it, it's a diet designed to force your body into starvation mode, causing your liver to use up it's glycogen stores, which will then cause it to shrink.  Because the liver lays right over the stomach, it's a great thing for the surgery; not so much for my confused and empty tummy!  I went from eating 2,000+ calories a day to eating less than 600 calories a day.  WHAT?!  

Here's a basic outline of the diet:  9 oz of protein 3 times a day, 2 servings of fruit, and 2 serving of vegetables (but really I eat about 4-6 servings of veggies since they're only veggies and per my dietitian this is fine).  My day pans out like this:  6/6:30 AM 1/4c egg beaters, 1 egg white, 1 slice low fat sharp cheddar cheese, either 2 T salsa or 1/2c cooked yellow bell peppers, and a serving of fruit.  Lunch time (around 12/12:30) is either two cups of mixed greens with 3 oz of fabulously cooked boneless/skinless chicken breast with 10-15 sprays of wishbone salad dressing spritzers or it's two lettuce roll ups with 5 ridiculously 
thin slices of lunch meat per leaf and 1/2 a slice of low fat sharp cheddar cheese per leaf accompanied by another serving of veggie (like 1 cup raw carrots).  Dinner, which is around 7, is 3 oz of chicken breast, 2 servings of veggies like 1/2c steamed broccoli and 1/2c cooked green beans, and 1 serving of fruit like half a large apple or 1/2c mango.  

Don't get me wrong, each meal is actually pretty good, and I totally rocked my zucchini and peppers last night, but no meal ever satisfies my hunger.  I drink water in between meals since it's supposed to help you feel full, but guess what, it doesn't.  By the time I go to bed, which depends on how much homework I have (ps not a diet I recommend doing two weeks before finals!) I'm either so tired because of lack of food and just want to pass out or I'm so hungry that I can't sleep.  I did find a little trick to help with that though: broth.  One cup of hot, delicious chicken broth kind of tricks my stomach (or is it my brain) that it's full enough to shut up and let me sleep. :D

I have noticed today, however, that even thought I'm hungry it's not bothering me as much.  I hope this trend continues so that maybe by surgery day I can be like "yeah I'm hungry but who gives a $@&#!" 

On another note, I'm about to go make my self some dinner since I woke up late and didn't eat breakfast until 2:30 this afternoon!  Like I said I think lack of food is making me sleepy... but hey sleepy is better than I-want-to-rip-off-every-person's-head-I-see. :D  Below are my dinners from Wednesday and Thursday; yummy but small. :D

Stay safe, stay happy, stay hopeful,
Sleepy and Hungry signing off.

Wednesday Night: chicken, broccoli, green beans and 1/2 an apple.
Thursday Night: chicken, zucchini and peppers, and 1/2c mango.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

New Chapter

As my mother so eloquently puts it, tomorrow starts a new chapter in my life.  After six months of medically supervised diet and exercise (which I didn't do so hot on I might add) I finally have a surgery date and start preparing for said surgery bright and early tomorrow morning.  As of tomorrow I will officially be on my liver shrinking diet.  (Yikes! I know).  For two weeks I will be allowed 9 oz of protein, 2 servings of fruit, and 2 servings of vegetables a day.  The goal here is to use up the glycogen stores in my liver to shrink it down to a "normal" size.  Little fun fact: according to my surgeon, the liver of an obese (or morbidly obese person, like me), is two to three times the size of that of a person who is at a healthy weight.  Interesting right?  I thought so.

Night before liver shrinking diet. 256 lbs
Anyways, to put it in a nutshell, the next two weeks will be a struggle to say the least.  I'll literally be putting my body into starvation mode and lets face it, I didn't get in this position by letting my body get anywhere near the vicinity of starvation!  I will most likely be crabby and whiny and hungry, but since it'll only be for two weeks I'm hoping we all survive without too much collateral damage (though I make no promises).

I meet with my "team" - aka my exercise physiologist and dietitian I've been working with over the past six months - a week into this diet just to see how things are going.  Like how I'm doing on the diet, if I have any questions or concerns, and to count the number fatalities so far (just kidding! I hope!)  My lovely and adorable dietitian has told me she's seen people lose 10 lbs in one week on this diet; so in the interest of documenting my progress I will add photos with current weight and we'll see how I do!  I'm definitely nervous for these two weeks but definitely excited for the surgery and what my life will be like in a year's time!

Happy? Nervous? Excited?  Um... Yes!
Stay safe, stay happy, stay hopeful!
Hopeful and nervous, signing off!