Friday, December 31, 2010

Surgiversary and such

I had my 2 year surgiversary a couple of days ago.  Hard to believe it has been 2 years.  I am not home right now to be able to do my measurements and such.  I will have to do that when I get back home after the holidays.

I am disappointed in my 2nd year.  I had high hopes for what I was going to accomplish and not a whole lot of it came to fruition because of the various health issues I faced this year.  I did loose a little bit more weight - but not a whole lot - pretty negligible actually.  I am 120 pounds down from where I started.  I am in a size 10 and holding.  I would like to lose another 10-15 pounds and I really need to get this extra skin taken care of.  I need to get back to my running and get that half marathon under my belt.  Whenever I have tried to get back to my running I am still experiencing some pain in my abdomen.  I have also not completely said goodbye to the pancreatitis pain that I had experienced in the summer.  So I need to deal with that soon.  I have been firmly camped out in the Land of Denial for some time.  It's so pretty here.  But I'm just not ready to be dealing with doctors and such again.

I am a bit melancholy as I say goodbye to 2010.  I am not sure why.  I am anxious to bid adieu to this year with fervor.  It was not good to me by any means. 2011 has to be better, right?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Another fantastic recipe from The World According to Egg Face

I have been trying to get back to some basics with my eating.  A great way to do that is to follow Michelle Vicari and her WLS friendly recipes on her blog The World According to Egg Face.  She has some fantastic recipes on there. 

Today I tried her Ricota Bake Cups.  Oh good moogli googli.  Fantastic.

Shelly's Ricotta Bake Cups


1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese
1 Tablespoon Parmesan, grated
1 Egg Yolk
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasonings (Oregano, Basil, Garlic Blend)
a few twists of Black Pepper
Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
Large Pepperoni Slices (from deli department, not prepackaged)


Mix all ingredients together (except mozzarella cheese and pepperoni slices) till well blended.



Place a pepperoni slice in each hole of a mini muffin tin. Spoon a tablespoon of ricotta mixture into each pepperoni "cup" sprinkle top with a pinch of mozzarella cheese.



Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and remove from tin. Reheat in toaster oven or broiler.


OH MAN - it's so good.

Get. You. Some.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

You will get what you ask for.

The family and I watched Evan Almighty tonight.  It's one of my favorite movies.  I love to be reminded of how it has never been easy to follow God.  Looking at the story of Noah - a story I have known forever - but looking at it in a different way ...  It could not have been easy to be Noah - or his family for that matter.  We read the story and in the Bible it's pretty straightforward - God told him to build an ark and he did it.  But can you imagine? 

Or how about Mary?  Seriously?  A young girl has to not only convince her fiance she didn't cheat on him - but live with the stares and the rumors and the gossip.  Not only for her pregnancy - but probably the rest of her life.

There is a quote from the movie that always gets to me.

Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?



Now I don't know about you - but I stopped praying for patience a long time ago.   I HATE opportunities to be patient.  UGH.  And yet apparently I still need that lesson.  But have you ever found that when you pray for different things you expect God to just give them to you - but instead he gives you opportunities to exercise that muscle.  So be careful what you pray for.  :)
 
For instance ...
 
Lord, use me in my husband's life.
Lord, I want to shine for you at work.
 
Even the mundane like ...
 
Lord - thank you for this tool that is WLS to help me make these changes in my life. 
 
Whoops - now I've got to exercise that muscle.  Great.
 
God never promised us that life would be easy - only that He would be with us all the way.  I think most of all - He wants us to reach out for His hand and allow Him to lead us and help us.
 
So be on the look out for the opportunities He is giving you to get just what you prayed for.  :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I so get this

Someone just pointed me to this article on the link in the brain between overeating and drug use.

Overeating, like drugs use, Rewards and Alters the Brain

It is a good read and can explain to those who don't unerstand why some people just can't diet their way out of obesity.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Traditions Old and New

Everyone has their Christmas traditions.  Some involve when you open your presents - be it Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.  Some involve the types of food you eat and who you spend it with.  My family always opened presents Christmas morning (even though we never did the whole Santa thing), while my husband's family always opened presents Christmas Eve night.  Now as we have children we do a little of both. I always give my kids new pajamas on Christmas Even for them to wear when they come down to open their presents Christmas morning.

We have a couple of other traditions in our family that have evolved from some crazy experiences that have happened around the holiday.  One is known as "The Christmas Squirrel". 

Daren and I had been married just a couple of years and we were living in Michigan in our first house. We had decorated for Christmas and every day that I came home from work I would notice a few of the ornaments from around the tree on the floor.  I would scold our dog, Baxter and move on to the next thing.  But it was happening like every day.

One Friday night we had a large progressive supper that we participated in with our church.  I had left overs the next day.  We were both having a lazy Saturday and I plugged the leftovers in the crockpot and turned it on low and we were snacking on them through out the day as we wrapped presents and did various things to prepare for Christmas.  At one point we needed to leave to run some errands.  We put Baxter in the bathroom and unplugged the crock pot and left.  When we got back we let Baxter out and then went about our business.  A little while later I noticed that some of the food that had been in the crockpot was on the other side of the kitchen counter and some of the sauce was smeared across the counter.  I scolded Baxter and showed Daren.  He also scolded Baxter.  But after some reflection he came to me and said "You know - I don't think that was Baxter."  Of course it was Baxter - how could it not be.  "Well, if it was Baxter there would be nothing left - he would have ate it all and licked up all the sauce."  You're right.  "I have a feeling that happened while we were gone and we just didn't see it.  And I think it's a mouse."  Seriously?  A mouse.  I am not having it - you have to get rid of it.

Well later that night we had yet another Christmas party to go to.  When we were done it was quite late - around 2am but we stopped at the local Meijer (think Super WalMart) to pick up some mouse traps.  I gave very specific instructions that Daren was to take care of the situation and I wanted to know when it was taken care of, but I did not under any circumstances want to see any of the evidence that said mouse had been taken care of.

So when we got home I went back to the bedroom to get ready for bed while Daren went about setting the traps around the house.  Suddenly I heard all sorts of chaos in the kitchen.  Daren was running and jumping and laughing.  Before I could come out to see what was going around he came bounding down the hall with Baxter - threw him in the room with me and said "Whatever you do - don't let him out."  WHAT?

Apparently, Daren had gone to put a mouse trap behind a radio in our kitchen and when he pulled the radio out from the wall there was a little tail wagging at him.  But it wasn't a mouse tail ... it was a squirrel tail.  So Daren was chasing this squirrel all over the house trying to catch it.  At one point he lost it so he came back to the bedroom and said "Let Baxter out - maybe he can find him."  Before he even finished the sentence Baxter had found the squirrel and was chasing it around the house - his nose just inches behind the squirrels tail.  They were tearing through the house at an amazing pace.  Finally the squirrel jumped into the Christmas tree.  It was literally like the scene out of the Chevy Chase movie "Christmas Vacation".  The squirrel was scared to death - was making crazy sounds - the tree was shaking - and Baxter was just inches from the tree - barking and growling and generally going crazy.

Daren eventually caught the squirrel in a box and let it outside.  But every Christmas since then we have made it tradition to put a squirrel in the Christmas tree.  I found a small stuffed squirrel the next year and when we went to put our tree up we turned to Baxter and said "Where's the squirrel?" and darn it if that dog didn't go straight to the tree and start sniffing and growling.  So every Christmas we make a spectacle out of putting the squirrel in the tree while we are decorating it.

The first Christmas after Baxter was gone it was so bittersweet to bring the Squirrel out and put it in the tree. It brought tears to our eyes to remember our dear sweet baby on the other side of the rainbow bridge.  But now we have two more precious doggies in our lives.  And wouldn't you know that they think the squirrel lives in the tree too?

Here is the squirrel and where it is living this year:



And this year we have started what we hope will be a long standing tradition in our neighborhood.

All of us in our neighborhood LOVE the Christmas movie Elf (starring Will Ferrell).  So a bunch of us in the neighborhood decided to have an Elf party this year.  One of the neighbors managed to get Elf hats for everyone.  We had spaghetti - complete with syrup - and we watched the movie together while partaking in the 4 major Elf Food Groups (candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup) and some fantastic dessert.  At the point in the movie where Buddy the Elf lets out an epic burp, we paused the movie so that we could have our own burping contest.  And can I just tell you - the moms represent!



So what are some of your Christmas traditions?

Have to share

I have a friend at work who is becoming quite the budding photographer.  She did a photo shoot of my family a few weeks ago and the pictures came out amazing.  I had to share just a few of them.











They came out fantastic!  Just one note - I am not at all happy that my son is now apparently up to my shoulder and looking like such a young man.  When did that happen?  NOT COOL!

I've missed you!

I know - bad bad bad blogger. I have no good excuses - none.

Nonetheless - here's what's been going on with me - keeping me from blogging ...

Work.  Work.  Work.  It sucks right now.  I'm trying to ride it out - but he simple truth is it really sucks right now.  I'm super busy and dealing with a lot of political drama that is totally dragging me down.

I've been a little down that I haven't been able to run.  When I have tried I have hurt.  Elvira's ghost is alive and well and she likes to remind me that I have had major surgery this summer and she's not done torturing me.  I was supposed to run a Turkey Trot but heeded my body and my husband and laid off the running for a bit.  I hate it.  It feels like I haven't really been able to run all year.  I'm trying to walk more and do situps and pushups to keep me going in the mean time.  I could use some encouragement here.

Rubber is meeting the road as far as "real life" in Kanga's world.  I can eat more ... sometimes.  I can eat things I couldn't eat before ... sometimes.    The reality that gastric bypass surgery is not a miracle cure all is staring me in the face.  I am not regaining, but I am scared that I easily could.  I can see old habits trying to creep back in.  I'm trying desperately to stay grounded, etc...  I will not be a statistic.  I will make this work.  I can not get this far only to slip back.  I will make this work.

And, of course, life in my house is insanely busy.  Kids are starting up basketball and cheerleading season.  I usually coach cheerleading, but was able to recruit enough coaches this year that I can focus on just being the Cheerleading Comissioner for the Upward league that we are involved in.  It is something I love and I am really looking forward to this season.  This time of year just tends to be so busy anyway with all the extras going on.  Of course, I love the extras.  :)  But life is just crazy hectic right now.

Speaking of hectic - I have 3 lia sophia parties this week.  Yeah!  I love doing lia sophia parties.  There are great deals to be had for Christmas gifts and it seems that lots of people want in on them.

I have talked about my BAHA on here before.  Mine suddenly stopped working this past weekend.  No bueno.  I have to get that checked out and I'm not looking forward to that bill.  I love my BAHA, but dang if it ain't expensive.  I have had it for 5 years and have never had a problem with it.  But this not hearing is really for the birds.

Ok - so how is that for an update?  I have all sorts of blogging madness going on in my head - so hold on because I'm about to be a blogging fool here in a hot second.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Blessing

What I am thankful for today - a day to work-at-home.  This is a new thing for me. It was just recently decided that I could work from  home one day a week.  I would love for it to be 2 days a week, but I'll take what I can get.  :)

What many people don't understand is that when I say I'm working from home ... I'm actually WORKING while I'm at home.  Yes, I'm able to get a lot of things done around the house and I can take the time to go to the doctor or run some errands, but I actually get a ton of work done on my work from home days - more than I do in the office.  With my kids at school it is a very RARE opportunity for me to have some QUIET time to myself.  I can't tell you how much I need this time to myself.  I can't tell you how much I look forward to my Wednesdays.  I need my Wednesdays.  I love my Wednesdays.

Get the picture?

November 2 Blessing

I forgot to post this yesterday, but I wanted to fill in anyway.

My blessing on November 2 is that I am thankful for living in the home of the free and the land of the brave.  I am thankful for the sacrifice of the many men and women (including both of my grandfathers, two of my uncles, and my father-in-law) who lay their lives on the line so that I can live in this great country and exercise my right to vote.

God Bless America.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Running Again

So I am finally running again.  It's slow going, but I'm doing it.  I'm up to running a 5K right now.  I guess it's more of a jog, but I'm doing it.

In an effort to get myself back in the right frame of mind I have signed up for the Ridgewood Turkey Trot for Thanksgiving morning.  It's an 8K (5 miles) race that I hear is pretty hilly.  This should be interesting.

Blessings

With Thanksgiving coming up I thought it was time to resurrect my "Blessings" posts.  I lost site of them a bit after the craziness of the summer.  So here we go. 

  • I am so thankful for my mom.  I don't know what I would do without her right now.  She not only takes great care of me - she takes great care of my kids.  She is not only a great mom - she is a great friend.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

BUNGEEEEEEEEE!!!!!

Living in Raleigh, NC the North Carolina State Fair is a HUGE deal.  I never realized what a big deal a state fair could be until you lived in the city that hosts it every year.  But it is always lots of fun.  Tons of midway rides, tons of ridiculous fair food, and fair freaks as far as the eye can see!  :)

We went to the fair today.  The kids loved it.  One of the things they really wanted to do was go on this bungee jumping thing.  There are these little trampolines and they jump in a harness that is attached to these huge bungees.  We waited in line for a while and when we got to the front of the line I was reading the rules, etc... and there in front of me was the weight limit.  I had to blink a couple of times in order to make sure I was reading it right.  I was UNDER the weight limit!!!!!!!

Well, in that case - I gotta ride this sucker!

Getting ready!

I'm doing it!  I'm doing it!

WHOA!!

It was utterly exhausting!  And, of course, right before she strapped me in all I could think was "I really should have gone pee before I did this ..."  I tried awful hard to flip, but I just couldn't bring myself to throw myself back quite far enough.  It was a bit un-nerving to be getting that high up, but it was exhilarating at the same time.  When I was done I could hardly walk. and I was breathing so hard.  But I did it!  It was so fun!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dumping

I have referred often to dumping.  It sounds nasty because it is.  But what exactly is it?  The most amazing Melting Mama has just recently posted a great explanation adapted from the OAC (Obesity Action Coalition) and so I thought I would share.

http://www.meltingmama.net/wls/2010/10/dumping-syndrome.html

Since my surgical ERCP I have started early dumping again and my late dumping has gotten worse.  Happy Happy Joy Joy!

Self Limiting Beliefs

So it seems my last post was quite timely. I was actually in the midst of taking a training class at work on Negotiating. The next day we spent quite a bit of time talking about self-limiting beliefs. It got me to thinking about my last post where I was talking about how I still see myself as I was before my gastric bypass surgery. I don’t recognize myself in the mirror all the time, etc…


So I thought I would share some of what I learned in my class as I felt it was quite applicable.

When we believe that we have a right o what we want, and when we believe we can be successful in achieving it, then we tend to go after it with a certain amount of gusto and confidence. When we do not believe that we have a right to something or cannot achieve something, then we tend to overreact or underreact or not try at all. Our disbelief makes us afraid and our fear makes us distrustful and unempowered. Consequently, we either approach what we want in a whimpering kind of way that others do not take seriously, or we puff up our courage and approach it so aggressively that others become defensive and non-cooperative. If we get scared enough, then we do not bother trying at all.

The amazing thing about our beliefs is that others believe us. Beliefs are contagious. When we believe that we can’t, others believe we can’t. When we believe that we can, others pick up on our confidence and believe that we can do what we say we can do. Others do not question us unless we question ourselves. They respect us as much as we expect to be respected. It is as if we walk around with a price tag hanging on our hat. Sometimes our price tag says we are worth a dollar, and other times fifty cents, and still other times we are willing to pay others to take us off their hands. Other people always seem to know what we believe we are worth, and they rarely give us more than we believe we are worth.

Our beliefs are formed out of particular experiences but we generalize those particular experiences. We assume that what happened to us in one situation or with a particular person will also happen in other situations with other people, especially in other situations and with other people who seem similar. Hence, we become scripted or predisposed to expect certain things in life. Our beliefs act as a filter system through which we interpret all of our life experiences.

Our self-limiting beliefs were formed from those times in our lives when we were not successful in getting what we needed.

Our empowering beliefs were formed from those times in our lives when we were successful at getting the results we needed. From these experiences, we developed the internal trust in ourselves that we could act and be successful.

What we say to ourselves creates boundaries around our behavior and therefore the results that we get. We act or don’t act effectively depending upon what we say to ourselves. What we do or fail to do produces our results.

All of us will find ourselves grappling with self-limiting beliefs in life. The important issue for us is what to do when we find ourselves feeling unempowered. We have several options for managing self-limiting beliefs.

Option One: Check Out the Data
Sometimes we are stuck in self-limiting beliefs because we don’t have all the facts or our facts are inaccurate. Having distorted or incomplete data can cause us to make false assumptions that unnecessarily limit us.

Option Two: Get Input From Others
A second option for moving beyond our self-limiting beliefs is to talk to others in order to get a broader perspective on the situation and what our options are. Sometimes too, others have had different experiences that may apply to our situation. We may be able to learn something from their experience.

Option Three: Take It a Step at a Time
Sometimes the way through our self-limiting beliefs is to divide our situation into easily manageable steps. Sometimes we castrophize our situation or blow it out of proportion and overwhelm ourselves by what we are saying to ourselves.

Option Four: Resolve Past Issues
At times we are stuck in our self-limiting beliefs because we are unresolved about some past experience. We may need to get resolved either with ourselves or with others in order to change our beliefs.

What we believe about ourselves and what we need can either help us succeed or lead to failure. If we believe we deserve what we need, we will be empowered by the belief.

I think for so many years I didn’t believe I deserved to be anything other than fat. I assumed that because I had tried to lose weight before and failed – that was going to happen again – so why even try? That belief became my script for life in so many things other than my weight.

And because I believed that I did not deserve that – neither did anyone else. Why should they?

But if I “check out the data” and look at the numbers and the pictures – I’m doing it – I’m living the life I never thought I could have. If I get input from others – they see what sometimes I can’t see in myself. If I take it a step at a time and make it manageable steps – I can deal with it. If I resolve some of my unresolved past issues I can change what I believe I can do and therefore what I am capable of in the future.

I am a work in progress. My brain has not caught up with what I see in the mirror – but I’m working at it. It took me years to get to where I was 120 pounds ago. It may take some time to un-do that. But I owe it to myself and to those around me to stop my self-limiting beliefs so that I can empower not only myself but my children, my family, my friends – much the same way they have done for me over the past few years.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Who is that?

A few years ago my girls were featured in a local news spot called "Pint Size Sports" for their involvement in the local recreational tee ball team.  It was lots of fun and I hadn't thought about the spot for a while.  I was recently talking to a friend about his children's involvement in the same tee ball league and thought I would show him the video.



I forgot that I was in that video.  After I appeared my friend said "Who was that?"  Well, it was me.  "It sounded like you, but that wasn't you."  What do you mean?  That was me.  He rewinded it and looked at it again ... looked at me ... looked at the video again.  He was like "No."

Here's the thing - I know I look different now, but that is still how I see myself.  When I do look in the mirror - at first I'm almost taken back.  I may catch a glimpse of myself  in a window as I'm walking by and for a moment I actually think it is someone else - maybe someone walking beside me?  When is my mind going to catch up with what is in the mirror?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Summer Reflection

This summer took a lot more out of me than I was willing to admit.  Between finding the kidney tumor and having my kidney removed to the pancreatitis and finding the culprit for that and getting it fixed.  I am known for being the Queen of Denial.  It's such a pretty place and I love to live there.  But I have had a really hard time bouncing back from all of this.  I have had a lot of post-surgical pain and I have been quite simply exhausted.  I feel like I was physically, emotionally, spiritually drained.  I was feeling beat up - like every time I turned around something else was going wrong.  I know everyone feels like that from time to time, but seriously this was ridiculous.  And to be honest - a part of me feels like I'm just waiting for the other shoe to fall even now.

Then there was the stress fracture in my foot which also had me laid up for a while.  I have been given the go ahead to start putting more pressure on that foot and to start exercising.  I was very anxious to get back to running, but was warned to start slow and to ease back into it.  Not only because of my foot, but because of the surgeries, etc...  So I started walking this weekend, and as I listened to my body I had to regretfully admit - I am so not ready to run yet.  So I guess I will have to be content to walk some more and do some more cardio to work on my endurance, etc...  I am still determined to do a half marathon.  I will not let my body sideline me for long.

To add to all this wondrous-ness (yes - my own made up word), my husband hit a deer (or a deer hit him - at this point it doesn't really matter) with my car and the insurance company decided to total the car.  So now in the midst of all this we need to find a car.  Normally this would be fun for me.  Who doesn't want a new car?  I don't want a new car right now - I just don't have it in me to make this decision right now. 

I promise to be better about my blogging. I know, I know.  You've heard that all before.  :)  But I swear!  I promise to do better.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Interesting

I have noticed some interesting things since my surgical ERCP.  I was always kinda disappointed after my  gastric bypass that I was an inconsistent dumper at best.  I did this surgery this way because I wanted those very specific rules to help me eat right.  The inconsistency allowed me to test the waters which was always a little scary.

But since the surgical ERCP - I dump like a truck.  The littlest bit of sugar and I am miserable ... for hours!  I talked to my bariatric surgeon about it when I had my follow up appointment with him earlier this week.  He said it kind of made sense because now that they opened up the sphincter of oddi the bile, etc... is making it to the intestines much better - that would be assisting in the dumping syndrome.

Also, since the surgical ERCP my weight loss has kicked back in.  I have been quite steady for at least 8 months.  Now I am losing weight again.  I am down to a weight my scale has never seen and only 6 pounds from my goal weight!  I am more motivated than ever!  Especially since I am very limited in whatever exercise I can do because of my foot.  If I can't exercise I need to pay closer attention to what I'm eating.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Catching Up

Whew!  It's been a crazy couple of weeks.  I'm sorry I haven't posted.  Recovering from the surgical ERCP took way more out of me than I anticipated.  The hematoma that developed at one of the incision sites is still giving me a bit of grief.  I am getting it checked out tomorrow.  And last week we took a much needed family vacation to Orlando, FL.  So I am just now getting back into the swing of things.

I am feeling so much better.  I have felt like crap all summer long and I am finally feeling "right" again.  It is re-assuring to know that I wasn't losing my mind - something was wrong with me.  I'm hoping that this ERCP really fixes things and I don't have this problem again.  At least not for a while - I'm so done with hospitals right now.

Vacation was incredible.  I haven't had a vacation like that in years.  None of us wanted to leave at the end.  Usually by the end of vacation I'm ready to get back to the real world and I'm sick of all the people I'm with (yeah - you know who you are wink wink).  :)  I don't know if it's just the timing of the vacation after all the crap I've been through this summer, or if I maybe imbibed a little too much of the happy pills or pain killers and was just really enjoying myself, or what, but this vacation was simply heavenly.  We did go to Disney, but I think that even if we had not done that we still would have enjoyed ourselves immensely.  Everyone just had a really great time. 





Not everything went perfectly while we were there, but it was all good.  I had planned a surprise for the kids that would make me the coolest mom ever.  I got them tickets to a Jonas Brothers concert.  Unfortunately, there were flash floods in the area and they flooded the amphitheater the concert was at and the concert got cancelled.  So I'll have to find something else to make me the cool mom, I guess.


And as if on cue, when we got back - I could not walk without a lot of pain in my right foot.  Apparently, practically being in bed all summer is not conducive to then getting up and walking for 2 days through Disney, and I now have a stress fracture in that foot.  I think I may have officially kissed my chances of doing the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon this year goodbye.  Whoever has the voodoo doll of me - seriously - I think I've paid my dues.  Whatever I did to you - I'm sorry - please stop.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Going Home

I have finally been cleared to go home!  Yeah!  I've been here for a week and I'm so ready to go home and sleep in my own bed and take a shower.

The pancreatitis pain is much better - the only pain I'm dealing with right now is a hematoma that has developed at one of my incisions.  The doctors are hoping that it will re-absorb on it's own - but it will take a while and until then it's pretty painful.

Thanks to everyone for your kind words and prayers through all of this.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Still Here

OK - going on day 7 at the hospital.  My pancreatitis that flared up after the operation seems to have calmed down a bit and my lypase levels are back in the normal range.  I was also put on clear liquids this morning.  Who knew chicken broth could taste so good.

I have also developed a large hematoma at one of the incision sites.  It hurts like the dickens and is very tender to the touch.  Right now they are just watching it and hoping that my body reabsorbs it. 

Other than that I'm finally starting to feel better - I even went for a little walk around the floor today.  Let's hope I'm moving in the right direction.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Let's hope this works

OK - so I had a laparoscopic transgastric approach endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography with sphincterotomy yesterday.  Apparently my Sphincter of Oddi was very narrow - about the size of a pin head.  When the surgeon went in and cut it open he said that the bile and sludge really started to flow.  So he feels the surgery was a success and he said he has a 99% success rate with this procedure.  While I'm not at all happy that I had one more thing go wrong this year, I am at least relieved that we have found a reason for it, and everyone feels that I will stop having bouts of pancreatitis now and will start to feel much better.

Unfortunately, one of the side effects of the procedure I had done is that I actually have another bout of pancreatitis.  This is because they were in there messing with it.  It's not as bad as my past bouts by any means - but it means that I will be here in the hospital through the rest of the weekend as pancreatitis is nothing to mess with.

I also just started itching really bad all over.  We think it is a reaction to the morphine I had in the OR.  All I know is I'm about to scratch my ever lovin' skin right off.  EVERYTHING itches.  And I am quite sore from the surgery - it was laparoscopic so that helps - but it appears as though they bruised one of my ribs with one of the trocars.  All the extra skin makes things difficult and there was a lot of tugging and pulling.

So I have been here in the hospital for 6 days - will be here for 7 or 8 at this point.  It's kinda lonely.  I miss my family and my bed.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Stir Crazy

OK - so it's been 5 days in the hospital.  I'm going a little stir crazy here.

That's all.

Thanks for listening.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Plan of Attack ... Finally

After being in the hospital for 4 days I have finally met with the right doctors and we have a plan of attack.  I won't go into all of the details around the cluster that has been my life in the hospital.  Major mass confusion on my condition and the resulting communication around it was a nightmare.  The important thing is this:

The MRCP that was done did not show any stones in the bile ducts - it showed enlarged ducts - not uncommon after the gallbladder has been removed.  But my blood work shows that when I have these attacks not only do my pancreatic enzymes elevate - so do my liver enzymes.  This is evidence that whatever is going on is affecting my liver - almost like things are backing up there.  So while the MRCP is not really showing anything definitive - the bloodwork is indicating that there is a problem. 

So the next step would be an ERCP which is an endoscopic procedure (a camera down the throat) that would allow the doctor to visualize the ducts and do a sphincterectomy to relax that muscle.  As I previously stated that is difficult after you have had gastric bypass surgery.  So instead of it being endoscopic - it will now be done laparoscopically and surgically.  They are looking to specifically go in and make a cut in the Sphincter of Oddi to allow that muscle to stop acting like a dam.

All of this will be done tomorrow afternoon whenever the GI Surgeon and Dr. Enochs can coordinate their schedules in the operating room together.

Seems pretty straightforward doesn't it?  I have been in the hospital since Monday afternoon and just today at lunch was allowed clear liquids.  I have to now stop because of the procedure I'm having tomorrow.  This has been absolutely crazy.  I'm really ready to be done with doctors and hospitals and being poked and proded.  I'm ready to be done with all the pain I have had.  I don't get bored easily.  But I have been BORED being here the past 4 days.  It looks like I will be here until at least Saturday now.  Today I was told I was the most sane person on the floor - this after I unleashed the Wrath of Pam in order to get SOMEONE - ANYONE to tell me what the heck is going on.  That can't be good!  :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Was it worth it?

So I have been asked twice today if I think that my gastric bypass was worth it in light of the rare complications I have suffered in the past year that seem to be connected to my altered anatomy.

My answer ... YES!  115 pounds does not come off this quickly without some ramifications.  But they are gone and I am so much better in every way because of it.

The saga continues

Since I have been home from the hospital last week I have continued to deal with twinges of pain and a headache that won't quit.  I have not felt "right".  I followed up with my PCP (the most wonderful Dr. Josh Bloom) as well as with my GI Doc (the equally wonderful Dr. Hutzenbuhler).  Dr. Bloom was stumped and felt I needed to give my body a break from all the "noise" and just rest.  He felt that the physiological and psychological stresses that I have been under were causing my body to just cry UNCLE.  I couldn't agree more.

Then I went to see Dr. Hutz.  She said I was presenting with classic symptoms of having a stone stuck somewhere - like in my common bile duct or pancreatic duct (remember that I haven't had a gallbladder since 06).  We decided to follow up with an MRCP - which is basically an MRI of that area.  She said there were some problems - one is they wouldn't find a stone - which could also mean that I'm getting them and passing them but the act of passing them is painful.  Two is they would find a stone.  Normally you would then need an ERCP.  An ERCP is like an upper endoscopy - they just go down further past the stomach - and use the instruments in the endoscope to perform manometry on the Sphincter of Oddi (doesn't that sound like a bad word?).  It's actually a pretty simple procedure - in and out.  Problem is - not for someone who has had gastric bypass surgery - visualizing the SOD, etc... is very difficult.

I saw Dr. Hutz Monday morning and on Monday afternoon I started in with the pain again.  At work again.  This time it was accompanied by pretty bad vomitting.  I called Dr. Hutz and she sent me to the ER.  Have I mentioned I hate the ER?  I was there in extreme pain for over 6 hours before I was seen by a doctor.  I hate the ER!  By then I was so dehydrated they had a heck of a time getting an IV started - 6 times they tried!  They finally had to use doppler to find a good vein - even then they had a hard time threading the catheter.

I was admitted again.  My blood work was fine, but I was still having pain despite the good pain meds and obviously something is going on here.  So I was made comfortable for the evening and this morning an MRCP was performed.  The MRCP did not show any stones, but did show that the ducts and sphincter were dilated and inflamed.  So this fed the idea that I could be getting stones (or small stones) and passing them - causing these "attacks" - or I had some sludge build up at the SOD and it was acting kind of like a dam.  Dr. Hutz consulted with some other GI surgeons about how an ERCP could be done on a gastric bypass patient.  A former partner of hers does have some experience with this and consults with my bairatric surgeon (the incomparable Dr. Enochs) on a regular basis for them.  Dr. Enochs actually goes to the OR with them and helps them to visualize what they need to do the sphincterectomy.

So that is the plan - to have a sphincterectomy done here in fairly short order.  I don't have too many other details than that, but I am encouraged that I'm not just being told "We don't know what's wrong with you."  Pissy Pam takes up residence here at Rex when you tell her you don't know why she's in pain or when it will stop or get better.  :)

So the sag continues and I will update everyone on what is found and done next.  Thank you to everyone who has been praying for me - it means a lot to me and is very helpful.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Where do I go from here?

So I spent 3 days as a guest of Rex Hospital for my bout with Pancreatitis.  The only thing we learned while I was there was that no one knows why I had the Pancreatitis. I don't have a gallbladder anymore and the ultrasound they performed did not show any left over stones or sludge in the bile ducts.  The other common cause of Pancreatitis is alcohol - I don't drink enough to cause that - I may have one drink a week at this point.  The other thing that was discovered during my stay at Rex was that the surface of my liver is rough and uneven - it should be smooth.  So I was tested for several liver diseases.  None of them came back as positive.  So that begs the question - why is my liver like that (supposedly scarred - almost like cirhosis)?  Did the problem with my liver cause the pancreatitis? 

And more importantly ... What the hell?  I mean seriously?  Who has all this stuff happen to them in such a short amount of time and it's not connected somehow?  Everyone I talk to says that it can't be connected to the kidney tumor.  Fine.  But I had an attack like this just in May - so it can't be idiopathic - it must somehow be connected to SOMETHING else I have going on.  The gastric bypass surgery?  My malabsorption due to the gastric bypass?  The abdominal CT scan and the upper endoscopy I had showed nothing out of the ordinary there.  And let's not forget that the day before all this happened I had my wisdom tooth removed.  I was put on percocet (nothing new there) and amoxicillin for that.  I feel like my body is attacking itself.  So either someone seriously has a voo doo doll of me and is having a lot of fun with it, or there is something systemic going on here.  I need answers.  I need to know I'm not going insane. 

But somehow I feel like I'm not going to get any answers.

Friday, August 13, 2010

I want off this ride

The fun just never stops here in Pamelot.  I had my consultation with the oral surgeon on Wednesday morning for my wisdom teeth.  Turns out I just had one that needed to be removed.  He had a cancellation after me and was able to just take care of it while I was there - so he did.  It wasn't bad and I don't have to think about it anymore.

So when I woke up Thursday - that was my biggest concern - the pain in my mouth and head from that.  But I had to get to work for a big team meeting that morning, so I took some Tylenol and sucked it up and went to work.

After the big team meeting we had I had a conference call that I needed to run.  So I stayed in the meeting room we were in and started the call there instead of heading back to my office.  Our group's administrative assistant was also there finishing things up and cleaning up the room - dealing with catering, etc...  Suddenly during my conference call I started getting some really intense pain.  I've had this pain before - it was the pain that lead us to eventually find my kidney tumor.  This pain was BAD - was coming fast - and would not let up. My chest hurt - all the way around to my back - and as a result I was hyperventilating.  I was shaking and having trouble breathing. I called the administrative assistant over to where I was and it was apparent very quickly that I was not doing well.  She went and got the building's security involved.  The company I work for really has their act together as far as first response, etc...  The head of security in that building is an EMT.  So he came with first responders and got my vital signs - gave me oxygen and called EMS.

So the firetruck came ... then the ambulance ...  You know I just love feeling special.  When they first started taking my pulse ox it was down in th 70's, but administering oxygen and getting me to calm down managed to fix that.  But the pain was not going away - it was coming in waves.  So the EMS asked me "Can we take you to the hospital?"  I said "I don't really get a choice, do I?"  she said "Well, you can choose which hospital we go to."  :)

So I got to take an ambulance ride.  Yeah me!  (Can you feel the sarcasm there?)

After several hours of blood work and xrays and tests the ER doc came to tell me that it appeared I have Pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is just simply when the pancreas is enflamed.  So I was admitted to the hospital for observation and treatment.  I have had an ultrasound for them to look closer at my liver and bile ducts.  I had my gallbladder removed in 06, so I didn't think that gallstones could still be a problem for me (a common cause of Pancreatitis), but apparently you can still get gallstones or sludge build up in the bile duct. Treatment for Pancreateitis is just pain meds (and I am telling you - I have never had pain meds like this - WOW!) and resting the bowel and pancreas.  Which means I just lay here and don't eat or drink.  Not even ice chips - nothing that could signal the pancreas to start doing it's thing by releasing enzymes and hormones to aid in digestion.

So ... Seriously?  I mean really?  To say I am cranky would be the understatement of the year at this point.  I want off this ride - I'm done.  I just simply can't take any more excitement in my life right now.  I'm so sick of this.  I am hitting my limit.  So beware of the cranky lady on the 6th floor of Rex Hospital.  I hear she's the youngest one on the floor.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Role Reversal

Some of you know this about me, but many of you probably don't.  When my husband and I had our first child 10 years ago we made a very important decision.  It was very important to us that one of us stay home with him.  So my husband made the very brave decision to be the one to quit his job and become a stay-at-home dad.  For us it was a very pragmatic decision.  I made more money and had the potential to make more money.  He came to me and said "This just makes more sense for us.  I will stay home."  We prayed about it and felt like this was the best decision for our family.

But I often feel that I never fully appreciated the sacrifice that my husband made for our family.  And I don't think others do either.  In this month's Marie Claire magazine there is an article by Hilary Stout entitled "Role reversal: The rise of the stay-at-home-husband".  And unlike many other articles I have read on the subject - I think she has covered this topic with care and open eye to the unique challenges this arrangement can have on a marriage.

But across the country, their situation is becoming more common: In the recent recession, three men lost their jobs for every one woman that did, and as a result, this year, for the first time ever, women make up the majority of the workforce. Four in 10 mothers are now their households’ primary breadwinners, and an estimated 143,000 unemployed fathers of children under 15 are caring for the kids full time while their wives work. Athomedad.org lists 148 support groups around the country; MTV’s atom.com lineup includes “Stay at Home Dad,” a side-splitting Web show about an acerbic househusband; and confessional blogs abound, with names like Rebel Dad and Dudes on Diapers. Speaking of, Pampers—which in a recent survey found that 69 percent of fathers say they change diapers as much as their wives—has started targeting male consumers, hiring New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees as a spokesman.


...

Still, the transition from breadwinner to househusband can be rough on a guy’s ego. Despite all the enlightened views about hands-on dads, all the reflexive “That’s great!” comments from hip and politically correct peers, the professional dad lives a life filled with big existential questions (What is my true worth as a person if I don’t get a paycheck?) and tiny daily indignities, like having to buy presents for his wife with her money, or shrugging off incredulous looks at dinner parties after revealing he’s a stay-at-home dad. “At times it’s been emasculating,” admits PJ, who has been home full time since his son, CJ, was born two years ago. When people see him pushing a stroller at 11 a.m. on a Tuesday, they jump to conclusions: Guys assume he’s been laid off, and little old ladies figure he’s dabbling in childcare. “Are you babysitting today? Giving Mommy a break?” they coo. “Babysitting?! I’m his father,” seethes PJ.

He recalls one recent evening after the baby had been a pill the whole day—nothing seemed to make him happy. By the time PJ’s wife, Michelle, came home from work, he was exhausted and miserable. “I need to leave,” he told her and walked out the door. He didn’t go far, just sat on the deck and listened to his iPod. After about an hour, he went back inside. “I don’t know if I’m man enough to be a woman,” he said to his wife.

It’s a doubt that plagues many men in his situation, who usually find themselves there for pragmatic reasons. PJ grew to hate his job, while his wife not only loved hers, she was making enough money to support them both. Joe and Jodi Schatz were pulling down similar salaries before they had the first of their three children 10 years ago. “She had benefits. I didn’t,” explains Joe, a former supervisor for a construction company in Baltimore. It was simple as that.

If the decision was easy, adjusting to it wasn’t. With thick, dark hair and a nice smile, Joe, now 35, isn’t the type of man women usually ignore, but he found the very female world of playgrounds and playdates alienating. He faithfully attended playgroup sessions in their suburban neighborhood, the only adult male in the room, and as babies drooled on toys and ignored each other, their mothers dished. “It would be a gripe session about their husbands, then they’d take it to the next level and talk about the hot guys in the neighborhood,” he says. “I’m like, What can I add?”

One day at his daughter’s tumbling class, a woman sat down next to him and struck up a conversation, to his delight after months of being ignored. But their talk turned into an interview. “Are you a stay-at-home dad?” she asked. “How does that work? Do you do the laundry and the dishes?!” He sighs. “I was like a science experiment to her.”

It could be worse, says Todd. Sometimes the moms are downright unfriendly, offering only judgmental looks from across the playground. “If your kid is crying and you can’t console him, you think, Oh, my God, I haven’t calmed my baby down in one minute. These moms think I’m a hack,” he says.

And the second-guessing doesn’t always stop at the park. Michelle Quiogue, a physician whose husband, Jason Sperber, stays home with the two kids, finds she has to curb her critical impulses when she walks in the door after a long day of seeing patients. “It’s a challenge not to say anything when there are dishes in the sink,” she admits. “But I have to check myself—he wasn’t Martha Stewart when I married him, and he won’t be Martha Stewart now.” Still, there are some things a mother can’t tolerate. Jason, a former teacher, is a wonderful, patient father, “but Lucy’s hair is often not properly combed,” says Michelle. “I know he tries, but I don’t think he tightens the ponytail enough.”

And what happens in the bedroom, when the Adonis you fell for has traded gym visits for mommy-and-me classes? Karen Gail Lewis, Ph.D., a marriage and family therapist with practices in Cincinnati and Washington, D.C., says sexual issues can easily arise from the radical role reversal. “A wife may be initially drawn to a man because he is nurturing and willing to do this,” she says. “But he can later look weak and inadequate,” particularly if she spends most of her day with men who are ambitious, like herself. Lewis says she has clients in this situation who wound up having affairs—a man with another stay-at-home mom, and a woman (not in the same family) with a colleague.

Experts agree that when switching roles, as with any relationship upheaval, communication is paramount. After PJ Mullen announced that he didn’t know if he could continue, he and his wife talked. “She said, ‘If you feel that way, we will change.’ I said, ‘No, I just need to decompress.’” A few days later, she brought it up again. “I said, ‘No, I’m fine,’” PJ says, and he’s still convinced that this is the right choice for his family. Joe Schatz is, too. “We consider ourselves blessed and lucky to have kids in the first place,” he says. “We just evaluate things as we go. Jodi’s been very supportive of the fact I’ve stayed home. I’ve been very supportive of her career.”

Caryn Medved, an associate professor of communications at Baruch College in New York who’s conducting a study of 45 families with female breadwinners, says that most couples adapt. While the guys listed a number of challenges, she said, they also talked about what a deeply rewarding experience it could be. “I’ve had men crying when I interviewed them,” Medved says. “I remember a man in Utah who talked about the ability to be a father in a way his father couldn’t, and the joy he felt in seeing his children grow.”

Indeed, as the economy shows hints of recovery, not all househusbands are in a hurry to get back to the grind. Not long ago, PJ turned down a well-paid job offer. “You do wonder about your self-worth, because you’re not earning a paycheck,” he says. But “my wife is the only one who matters. As long as she can look at me and realize that I’m doing the best for our family, it doesn’t matter that some random guy thinks I’m less of a man.”
I see so much of our own experience reflected in this article.  My husband  repeatedly complained about how he always felt the outsider as the only male at events for the kids.  The other moms never reached out to make him feel welcome and in fact mainly shunned him. The struggle not to complain when everything wasn't done when I got home at the end of the day.  I had to put myself in his position and remember that if he did that to me we would be coming to blows!  :)

I absolutely despise when people ask him if he's babysitting.  Um, no - he's the dad!  And I also cringed when people would assume he'd been laid off and was just doing this till he found a job.  It was a very purposeful decision on our part for him to stay home with our children.

But what I don't think has been covered nearly enough in the articles and coverage I have seen of late (and we were doing this far before it was "fashionable") has been the struggle for these men to re-enter the workplace.  My husband stayed home for 7 years - until all 3 of our children were in school full time.  When it was time to go back to work it was a very difficult transition.  He's doing great now, but the world is not as understanding about a man staying home with his children and then re-entering the workforce as they are about women doing the same thing.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

That Never Gets Old

I love WOW moments since surgery.  But I've been pretty steady with my weight for a while now, so they don't come as often as they used to.  I used to have them several times a week when the weight was just melting away.  And I'm OK with not having as many of them - this is the new life I am settling into.  And to be honest - many times I didn't know how to handle them and they made me uncomfortable. 

But today I had a WOW moment in a very unexpected place and I have to tell you - that never gets old.  :)  I went to a dear friends house for her sons birthday party.  I knew everyone there, but one lady I hadn't seen in a while.  Apparently, when I walked in - she didn't recognize me.  When my friend told her who I was she exclaimed "NO WAY!"  She didn't recognize me at all.  And a little while later she came over to me and was like "I don't know what it is - whether it's the blonde hair or what - but you just look fantastic!"  HEHEHEHEHE.  THANKS!  I kinda needed that shot in the arm.  Later she was asking me when I went blonde and she said "I bet your husband loves that!  It must be like being with a different woman!"  My husband's reaction ...  Yeah ... it kinda is!  Truly - that never gets old.  :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Weighty Secrets

Have you heard of the website http://www.postsecrets.com/?  People can anonymously post their secrets on this website.  It's rather cathartic for those posting, and it's some great therapy for those of us reading it as well.

So a new website has been put out there by the most wonderful Melting Mama herself (who has also brought us the fabulous Bariatric Bad Girls Club), called Weighty Secrets (http://www.weightysecrets.com/). This is a place where people can post secret submissinos about life after weight loss surgery.  To quote Melting Mama ...

A lot of people who undergo weight loss surgery are told that having the surgery would be a cure for a their fat "disease" and life. After the honeymoon period of weight loss wears off - and the reality sets in - what then? This blog will give you a peek into the real life of WLS patients and those around them.


Life after weight loss surgery is filled with doubts, concerns and often? Secrets. Send yours.
As y'all know - I love my RNY.  I have a much different life than I did just 18 months ago.  But I am leaving that magic window and settling down into "normal".  Normal is never what you thought it was going to be.  I have tried my best to use the magic window to make the necessary changes in my life to make sure that this time "it sticks", but it's still a struggle.  I often feel like I'm still living in the fat me - still dealing with all the same feelings and responses I had before.  Reading this site has been immensely helpful for me on several levels.  One to realize that I'm not alone - others have gone before me - and have done it successfully.  If I'm willing to be taught - I can learn from them.  Two to remind myself that I can not be complacent about this - not now - not ever.  There is too much at stake.  I can't ... no I won't ... go back.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Lauren's Hope

Medical ID Alert bracelets are an import accessory for many people in today's society.  But many people resist wearing them. They may feel it's ugly and actually draws attention to a part of their life that they may be embarassed about.  But the Medical ID Alert could be life saving for them - so the company Lauren's Hope has addressed this in a unique way by creating beautiful jewelry around the Medical ID Alerts. 

They offer several types of medial identification including: medical ID bracelets, medical ID necklaces, medical ID dog tag necklaces, ICE (In Case of Emergency) dog tag necklaces, waterproof and adjustable medical ID bracelets, diabetic driver and diabetes passenger stickers, medical identification luggage tags, temporary medical ID tattoos, medical ID ankle bracelets, custom engraved medical ID tags and much more. They are always adding beautiful and functional medical ID products to their web site.

As you already know - I love me some jewelry.  :)  Jewelry that could potentially save your life - even better. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

SERIOUSLY?!?!?!?!

I had a dentist appointment today.  Just your usual 6 month cleaning appointment.  So I thought.  Not so much.  I now have to my upper wisdom teeth removed.  Doesn't sound like such a big deal really - it's not major surgery or anything.  But it will be the 4th surgery I have this year!!!!!!!!!  I mean - really?  Do I have some cosmic kick me sign on my back or something?  I just don't know how much more of this crap I can take.  Let's review, shall we?
  • Cholosteatoma surgery on my ear - they remove what's left of the bones in my middle ear and build me a new ear drum.
  • Internal hernia repair surgery - emergency surgery to repair an internal hernia due to massive weight loss.
  • Right nephrectomy - right kidney removed due to kidney cancer.
And like I said - not like having your wisdom teeth removed is any big deal - but all things considered .... I'm just fed up!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Running again!

I am finally 6 weeks post-op.  My infection has cleared up and slowly but surely I am starting to feel better.  So today I laced up my shoes and went for a run!  It was short.  It was hot.  It was SLOW. But it felt so good to get out there again!  Watch out Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon ... HERE I COME!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Another new adventure

So the other thing that I have been doing the past few weeks that I haven’t mentioned here on my blog is that I picked up a second job. I am now your Lia Sophia Advisor. I was looking for a way to make some extra money. 3 kids gets expensive really quick and while I am extremely grateful for my day job and I enjoy it a lot – the fact is – I make MUCH less money doing it now than I did just 4 years ago. I took a huge pay cut to become a “regular” employee (as opposed to a contractor) and have not seen a raise since due to the economy – so in essence – I make less now than I did when they hired me because inflation has gone up about 10% in that time and I have stayed still. Never mind – don’t get me started. I know I’m not the only one on that bus and I am truly grateful to just have a job in this economy – I really am. But back to my original point – I needed a way to make extra money that wouldn’t cut into my “day” job or keep me away from my family a ridiculous amount of time.


I have done direct sales before. My mom is a bit of a super-star when it comes to direct sales. She has been doing it for 20 years and is one of the top in her company, At Home America. I have sold for them in the past. I enjoy it, but again, let’s face it – the economy isn’t a friend to most Direct Sales companies at this time. That would be the ideal situation for me – I could set my own hours, etc…. I just needed to find the best way to do it.

I have always loved Lia Sophia jewelry and I knew a few people in the “biz” who were managing to be pretty successful with Lia Sophia – even in this economy. So I did my research and decided to give it a shot. Why Lia Sophia? Well, their jewelry is great and I wanted me some o’ dat. But also their compensation plan was great AND their hostess program was quite simply – phenomenal. Hostesses get a TON of stuff – and in Direct Sales – Hostesses are your bread and butter.

So I had my Grand Opening Party this past week. And it was successful beyond my wildest dreams. It was quite simply – a kick ass Grand Opening. I am so excited about this great start to my new business – and without that excitement – you can’t really do well in this kind of business.

I have a great manager. Her name is Anne and she lives, quite literally, half way across the country from me in MA. But she has done a great job of bridging that physical gap to coach me. We use Skype a lot to chat and I get to sit in on her meetings with the rest of the group and glean even more useful information that way.

With all that being said – check out my new Lia Sophia web page at www.liasophia.com/pamdevries. The new catalog for Fall/Winter comes out in August and there is some great stuff in there.

I'm still here

Yes, I know – bad bad bad blogger.


I have just been feeling like crud lately. Getting over this infection has been difficult. I ended up with a bad reaction to the Septra they put me on and came down with a headache to end all headaches. I HATE going to the hospital for a headache. I seriously may as well just shove an ice pick through my eye. UGH! So I avoided that at all costs – all costs being having the headache for 3 days before finally being given some Percocet and Phenergan to help relieve it. And boy howdy – did it! But the headache has been threatening to come back the past couple of days. I don’t think I have kicked the infection either. I can’t put my finger on why – I just don’t think I have. One of these days I’ll learn to listen to my body. I go to the doctor’s office tomorrow to pee in the cup and get tested yet again. So we’ll see what happens then.

In the meantime – 6 weeks post op is quickly approaching. You know what that means – I can run again. Of course, I feel like crud – so is it really wise to start running yet? Well, if I want to make it to the half marathon in Myrtle Beach in October ………

We’ll see I guess. I may wait just a couple of days to see what happens with the tests at the doctors office and to make sure this headache doesn’t return with a vengeance. But I am really anxious to get back to running.

As a way to keep my mind in the game (if I couldn’t keep my body in it) I have been reading a book called “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougal. For a book I have loved so much – it has taken me forever to read it. But I have loved this book. And it has just spurned me to run again. I NEED to get out there and run again. It’s part story of an amazing race in the Copper Canyons of Mexico, but it’s also part documentary on the theory that mankind was made – biomechanically designed – to run. I don’t agree with many of the evolutionary theories that are touted in this book, but it is an interesting thesis on how the human body is made for running. Even more interesting – how the birth of the running shoe has been the introduction of the explosion of sports injuries. Seriously – almost makes me want to try running barefoot – or at the very least – to invest in some Vibram FiveFinger shoes.  I think every runner or wannabe runner should read this book. It has instilled in me the belief that running is even more about finding the enjoyment in it and running for the enjoyment – the unspoken comraderie between runners of all abilities – to “just do it” and to do it for the love of it. I never believed I would find a love in running – but it’s out there. You can have it to. You just have to let go long enough to find it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Update

I finally got a call from the doctor's office yesterday and I do have an infection.  Antibiotics were called in for me and I started them last night.  I feel a little better today, but not like I'm living in a new world - which is really what I was hoping for.  We shall see how this goes.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Back To Work

Today I went back to work.  YIKES!  Not sure if I just have to get used to working again - or if I am fighting something.  I had my 4 week follow up appointment with the surgeon yesterday after a weekend where I could hardly get out of bed because of being so dizzy and shaky and generally feeling like crap.  He is concerned that I have an infection and is doing some cultures and bloodwork and I am waiting to hear about all that stuff.  Until then - it was my day to go back to work - so I did.  I missed my work peeps - it was good to see them.  I'm easing my way back into the heavy duty stuff.  I'm so exhausted and still feeling really cruddy - so I guess we'll see what tomorrow brings.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Road ID Coupon

I blogged yesterday about how I finally ordered one of the best products ever. It's called a Road ID - perhaps you've heard of it. If you haven't, go to their website and check it out. Road ID is a great product that could save your life someday.

When I ordered, they gave me a coupon that I could pass along to my friends. Here's the coupon number:

Coupon Number: ThanksPamela794764

The coupon is good for $1 off any Road ID order placed by 08/12/2010. To order, simply go to RoadID.com or click the link below:

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If you prefer, you can call them at 800-345-6335.

You can thank me later.

Oh by the way, their website is awesome, the customer service is outstanding, and the owners are very smart and good looking.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bariatric Bad Girls Club

I am now officially 18 months post op.  That magic window that I have spoken of before is closing and closing fast.  I have always advocated that Weight Loss Surgery is not a quick bandaid approach to losing weight.  If you treat it as such - you will still lose the weight - but then you are at risk of putting it all right back on.  Because of the surgery - you will lose weight - and a lot of it.  But your body (I still marvel at our bodies and how they adjust to things - smaller stomach - missing organs, etc...) will adjust to a smaller stomach and re-routed intestines. You may stop dumping when you eat too much sugar or carbs - your little pouch may stretch a bit to accomodate more food - or you and your brain may figure out how to bypass the signals that your body is telling you you have eaten too much or the wrong things.  I mean - let's face it - I didn't get fat by accident people.  I ate - and ate - and ate.  And to be honest - there are days even now that I can get around the rules and eat quite a few things that I couldn't before - and eat all day if I time it right.  I still dump, but it takes more sugar for me to dump than it did before and I'm still unpredictable at it.  I can't eat a lot at one time, but if I time it right I could snack all day long and get in a ton of calories.

So the question becomes - what am I going to do about it?  I've lost about 115 pounds.  I would love to lose about 10 more.  I am down to a size 10 (I have even managed to squeeze into a few size 8's - but the extra skin makes it quite difficult).  I don't want to go back to the land of size 26 !  I don't even want to go back to size 12 or 14! I want this to stick - I want to take what I have learned over the past 18 months and make it work for me.

So that is where the Bariatric Bad Girls come in.  They are a group of wonderful women I have come to know (and quite honestly stalk!) who have are several years out from surgery.  They have lost the weight - and some of them have gained a little back - but they have lived to tell the story.  They do have the occassional slip in behavior - but they are committed to keeping the weight off.  These are the women I identify with - they don't sugar coat life.  In fact, they sometimes have sugar!!!  OH NO!  But then they get back on the band wagon - and they get back to the business of living the post bariatric surgery life.  I love it.  I am so with them.

The Obesity Action Coalition has been formed as a way to educate people about obesity and it's effects on our lives.  The Obesity Action Coalition is an IRS registered 501(c)3 National non profit organization dedicated to giving a voice to those affected by obesity. The OAC was formed to build a nationwide coalition of those affected to become active advocates and spread the important message of the need for obesity education. To increase obesity education, the OAC offers a wide variety of free educational resources on obesity, morbid obesity and childhood obesity, in addition to consequences and treatments of these conditions. The OAC also conducts a variety of advocacy efforts throughout the U.S. on both the National and state levels, and encourages individuals to become proactive advocates.

The Bariatric Bad Girls Club has come up with a way to donate some money for the OAC.  They have created a bracelet that you can purchase for just $5 and proudly display your membership in the BBGC!  Part of the procedes go to the OAC to help promote Obesity action and awareness.  I have a link for purchasing the bracelets on the right of my page.  Click on and join the cause to bring more awareness!  I know it can be a touchy subject - it was for me for many a year, but my sister reminded me of something recently when I had to have my kidney removed.  She said "Can you imagine having to do this 115 pounds ago?"  Yeah - kinda brings a lot into perspective for me.  :)

Bad Blogger

I know - I am a very bad blogger.  I haven't blogged in 2 weeks!  Crazy!  I have been at home - trying to be a good girl and rest and recover.  My major incision is still iffy at times, but the pain has gotten better.  I am reminded if I try to do too much that I am recovering from having a major organ removed from my body. 

The other thing that I have been struggling with lately is feeling very dizzy and shaky.  The problem is that this could be attributed to many things.  It could be medication I am taking - it could be that I haven't eaten enough - or that I have eaten the wrong things.  I am getting postural hypotension a lot the past week or so.  That is when you stand up from sitting or laying down and get very dizzy - it's a result of a drop in blood pressure.  Like I said - could be lots of things.  Your kidneys (or kidney in my case) play a big part in your blood pressure.  But tri-cyclic anti-depressants can also cause this (I take 2 different ones right now).  And with my gastric bypass - the dizziness and shakes could be caused by either not eating enough or eating the wrong things (too many carbs, etc...).  All I know is I have spent an awful lot of time in bed feeling like crud the past few days.

I have my 4 week check up with the surgeon tomorrow.  I will talk about it with him.  Assuming that all else is well he will probably sign off on me returning to work.  I was feeling like it was time, but the past few days have made me wonder what the heck is going on with me.  I don't like wondering what is going on with my body.  I'm really rather tired of it.

But I am just waiting for 6 weeks post op (2 more weeks to go!) until I can run again.  Of course, it's been hotter than the south side of the sun here, so when I can start running again I will have to be very careful as to when and how far and how long I run.

Something that I did just today is I invested in a RoadID.  What is a Road ID you ask?  Well, it's kind of like a medical alert bracelet - but mainly for when I am running. 

I say that because it's not really a fashion forward accessory that I might wear to work or for an evening out.  For that I will have to find something to work better.  :)  But when I run I often times run in places where people don't know me and most often by myself.  If I were to get hurt, or pass out or something stupid like that - how would I let people know who to contact or what is important to know about me?  It appears more and more these days that I have some important medical information that people should know about me.  If I'm unconscious - how would they know?  The reason I chose Road ID is because it is interactive.  It actually gives them a website that they can go to and enter my information and it will give them everything they need to know - such as my emergency contacts, doctor information, my allergies (I have 2 now), and other important medical information - such as the fact that I have had gastric bypass and I only have 1 kidney.  I was seriously running out of room to put all this information!  :)  This allows me to put it all on a website and first responders would be able to see everything by entering the information on my bracelet.  At least now when I know I will not have anyone with me - there will be a way for people to know what is important to know about me.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Musings

I went to church this morning.  I really needed it.  The first song the praise band was singing was one of my all time favorite songs "Blessed Be Your Name"

 


  
My favorite words are
 
"Blessed be Your Name
On the Road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed Be Your Name".
I am reminded again and again that God never promised any of us an easy life - He only promised He would be with us in the midst of it if we asked Him to.  So yeah - cancer - still dealing with that.  Don't like that word - don't like what it means.  And not really having the best time the past few days with all that having a kidney removed from your body entails.  But I look at these words and I am reminded of many who have gone before me dealing with much more than this and how they continue to Bless the name of the Lord.  And so even though there may be pain in the offering - I offer up my praise.  You give and take away, but my heart will choose to say Blessed be Your Name.

So ... back to what I'm thankful for and what I am blessed with:

  1. I was diagnosed with cancer - but it was caught in an early stage and removed from my body in it's entirety.  So kiss my lilly white butt Big C!
  2. I have a really great mom who is really great at taking care of me and I am so fortunate that she is so close by!  :)  I am sure this will come back to bite me in the butt at some point.  But that is what family is for, right?  :)
  3. I have some really great friends who are also really good at taking care of me - not just physically - but spiritually and emotionally.  Friends I have had for ages that never leave my side even though they are miles away - and friends that God has deemed to put in my path just recently.  Friends I know more about than I should - and friends that I hardly know at all.
  4. Apparently I needed some time to lay low.  I'm not great at that, but it is needed.  I have a great job that allows me the opportunity to do so.  I may complain about a lot of things at my job (I'm sure they will all come back to me just as soon as I go back to work), but having a full time job with good benefits is truly a God-send during times like this.  And I truly love most (wink, wink) of the people I work with.  They are a fantastic group of people.
Monday is coming!  I better go prepare for that onslaught.

Friday, June 25, 2010

I can't explain it

So many people have told me they just can't understand my need to get back to running.  I hear ya - I really do - it's like I'm talking in third person - I can't believe that I'm saying that.  But I just do.

A friend of mine recommended that I get the book "Born To Run" by Christopher McDougall to read while I was recuperating as a way to keep me inspired during my convalescence.  Today I read  a section that summed it all up for me!  I just had to share:

There's something so universal about that sensation, the way running unites our two most primal impulses: fear and pleasure.  We run when we're scared, we run when we're ecstatic, we run away from our problems and run around for a good time.

And when things look worst, we run the most. Three times America has seen distance-running skyrocket, and it's always in the midst of a national crisis. The first boom came during the Great Depression, when more than two hundred runners set the trend by racing forty miles a day across the country in the Great American Footrace.  Running then went dormant, only to catch fire again in the early 70's , when we were struggling to recover from Vietnam, the Cold War, race riots, a criminal president, and the murders of 3 beloved leaders.  And the third distance boom? One year after the September 11 attacks, trail-running suddenly became the fastest growing outdoor sport in the country.  Maybe it was a coincidence. Or maybe there's a trigger in the human psyche, a coded response that activates our first and greatest survival skill when we sense the raptors approaching. In terms of stress relief and sensual pleasure, running is what you have in your life before you have sex. The equipment and desire come factory installed; all you have to do is let 'er rip and hang on for the ride.

I just had to share this. He has totally encapsulated the running experience for me.  Fear and Pleasure.

A Great Gift

My next door neighbor is a surgical nurse at Rex Hospital.  I was fortunate that she was on duty in the OR Holding area on the day of my surgery.  It was nice to have a friendly face during a very anxious time.  Shortly after I got home she came over with a lovely gift.  It was Amy Grant's newest CD.  I have been listening to Amy Grant since I was a little girl and I was wanting her latest CD.  There was one song in particular on it that I really was loving.  But what I have discovered is that there are a lot of great songs on this CD.  So I thought I would share the words to a few of them here.

This is the song I was longing to hear.  I love it - it's called "Better Than a Hallelujah"

God loves a lullaby in a mother's tears in the dead of night
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes
God loves a drunkard's cry
the soldier's plea not to let him die
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes

We pour out our miseries, God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are, the honest cries, of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

A woman holding on for life, a dying man giving up the fight
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes
Tears of shame for what's been done
The silence when the words won't come
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes

Better than a church bell rining
Better than a choir singing out, singing out

We pour out our miseries, God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are, the honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah


I remind myself of this lesson over and over and over again.  Y'all know I don't do the patience thing so well - and yet God is telling me time and time again - if it happened overnight - you'd never learn to believe what you cannot see.
Overnight

So you've handed in your resignation
Contemplating why nothing turns out right
A little fed up with all the disappointment
So what's the point in wasting any time

It's only temporary
So what's your hurry
No need to worry don't you know that

If it all just happened overnight
You wouldn't know how much it means
If it all just happened overnight
You would ever learn to believe what you cannot see

I feel like m pace is at a standstill
Do I wait 'till it falls into my hands
A long highway ahead geting started
Steady hearted is what I think I am

There's something to be said for experience
Who knows what's ahead keep on going
Take it a day at a atime
One foot in front of the other
Take it a day at a time
No need to hurry
Take it a day at a atime
It won't happen overnight

Have a little faith
You must appreciate every single day
Don't give up no

This next song really cuts to my heart.  As most of you can attest - I live my life out loud - no real secrets here.  :)  But someone I love dearly does not.  This person does not open up to many people at all about what is really truly going on deep inside.  But recently this person did open up to someone other than me.  I know it's frightening for this person to do so - but I so want this person to realize that people do want to come into their world and that it's OK.

This song just sounded so much like this person I love.  It spoke to me so loudly and so clearly.

Come Into My World

Come into my world
Come crashing through the ceiling
And find the messy rooms, the scattered pearls
If you are brave then come into my world

Come into my world so lovely from the outside
So dark in here the demons dance and twirl
And find their pleasure frightening this girl
If you are brave then come into my world

Cause I never saw the changes come
or knew enough to run when this old house had come undone
And now I'm buried in the walls
And no one comes to call but you
Come into my world

Come into my world
I can not find the doorway
It's overgrowin with vines that twist and curl
If you are brave then come into my world

Come into my world
There'll be no other invitation
Not another sound another word
Nothing more than you'v already heard
Please be brave and come into my world


And some of the best lines are the simple choruses in some of the songs

Somewhere down the road
There'll be answer to the questions
Somewhere down the road
Though we cannot see it now
Somewhere down the road
You will find mighty arms reaching for you
And they will hold the answers at the end of the road

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Cause there's so much in the worst of us
So much bad in the best of us
It never makes sense for any of us
To criticize the rest of us
We'll just find what we're looking for
We'll find it and so much more


So thanks for letting me ramble - just had to get some of that out - kinda cathartic.