Sunday, February 28, 2010

Making Up For Missed Opportunities

So as I posted before - I was very disappointed when I was not cleared by my surgeon to participate in the Polar Plunge that I had raised money for.  The cause (Special Olympics) was very worthy and I suspect that many people donated with the ulterior motive of seeing me very cold and very wet.  :)

I am in Myrtle Beach this weekend on a very small vacation with my family and my brother-in-law and his family.  I got up this morning and managed to get out on the beach to do a run.  I have never run on the beach before - it's definitely more challenging - a great workout. 

It has been a very cold winter here in the south.  Normally at this time of year it would be in the 60's here in Myrtle Beach.  But it's barely out of the 40's this weekend and the wind is wicked.  When I got back from my run I was so cold - numb really - I figured - might as well jump in and do my polar plunge now - I'm already numb.  Hubby liked that idea, too.  So I quick changed before I could change my mind and warm up too much - and we went down to the beach - and here is what happened:

So as a thank you to all who donated - here is my polar plunge.  We are told the water temps might be 42.  Let me assure - that is some freakin' cold water.  It hurt!  But I hope it satisfies my supporters.  :)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pictorial Review

Yeah - so I don't even know if the title of this makes sense or is even a real word.  But this is what happens when I can't Facebook, text, or blog for a week.

I have titled this ... "The Many Faces Of Pam".

The top left pic is me before surgery and then the rest are kind of progress pictures during the last 14 months of my WLS journey.

Hold Tight

Hey y'all.  I have actually gotten my own domain!  I'm very excited.  But while the transition to the new domain is happening there might be a few hiccups on this site.  For the most part you should be able to see all the posts, etc...  This will really only be an issue for some of the bells and whistles (small as they may be at this time).  This should only last for about 3 days.  So hang tight with me here.  :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Skinny Cow

I just have to share that I have found an awesome treat.  The Chocolate Truffle ice cream bar by Skinny Cow.

1 bar is just 100 calories.  It's actually a pretty large bar considering it is only 100 calories. The ice cream is surprisingly rich and not icy. There are only 12 grams of sugar.  That might be too much for some post WLS - but it is just within my safe zone.  And thank goodness! It has become a regular nightly treat for me. 

Freak On

I love the girls at Bariatric TV.  They rock.  Their last episode was pure genius.  I may have to do my own blog post on it.  :)

I had a hard time embedding the video into my post.  So if you would please just visit this link you can see the awesome webisode.

Bariatric Brigade

I did it!

I made it 1 week without Facebook, texting, or my blog.  Whew!  Glad that is done.  Unfortunately, at this time I have no deep insight into my experience.  Probably because I am too busy playing Bejeweled Blitz and Combine on Facebook.  :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I have put off making this blog post.  I have tried my darndest to figure out a way around it.  But because of my recent surgery I am unable to run in the 2010 Torch Run coming up this Saturday - and more disappointing than that - I am unable to partake in the Polar Plunge that I have been raising money for.  Not that I would particularly enjoy jumping into Lake Raleigh, but I was amazed at how much money I was able to raise for such a worthy cause as the Special Olympics.  I had raised $525 so far.  The money that has been donated will still go towards Special Olympics and I am still committed to raising money for this cause and will continue to campaign to do so, but I am unable to run yet (have to give my insides time to heal before I go jostling them all around), and the doc has put a kabosh on me jumping into a nasty lake with incisions that are still healing, risking them getting infected.  I am still considering walking the 5K instead of running it, but I know that if I get there I will be so tempted to run it, so I may have to stay away for my own good.  As odd as it sounds I was really looking forward to this weekend and was excited about it.  I am so disappointed to not be able to participate as I had planned.


I have been challenged to give up Facebook, my blog, and texting on my phone for the first week of Lent.  I know - Lent is 44 days.  I am having trouble with just 1 week of this!

So why give up anything for Lent?  What is that all about.  What is Lent anyway?

I found a fantastic article on keeping a Holy Lent.  I am going to quote some of it here.

Lent, as a season of preparation, is traditionally focused on repentance. Speaking biblically, to repent means to make a change in our attitudes, words, and lifestyles. As 16th century reformer Martin Luther taught, the Christian life in its totality is a life of repentance. Beginning when we first commit our lives to Christ, and continuing throughout our lives, we are more and more turning away from sin and self-centeredness and more and more turning to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Even though a repentant spirit should mark all we do, it is still appropriate that certain times be set aside for a particular focus on repentance. In much the same way, we celebrate the resurrection of Christ each Sunday, but especially at Easter; and while we should always thank God for the Incarnation, we especially celebrate it at Christmas. These periodic reminders keep us from becoming forgetful and imbalanced. The church has traditionally done this at the Lenten season (and, to a lesser extent, in the pre-Christmas season of Advent).

Lent, therefore, is a time for focusing on the heart, a time for asking questions about our spiritual health:

• What are my characteristic sins, and how can I work and pray for change?
• What idols have captured my imagination so that my love for the living God has grown cold?
• In what ways is my devotion to Christ and his church less than wholehearted?

The Lenten season is the spiritual equivalent of an annual physical exam; it’s a time to take stock of our lives, our hearts. Keeping Lent, however, is potentially dangerous, precisely because of this focus on the heart. After all, it is much easier to read a book on prayer than to spend time leisurely speaking with our heavenly Father. It is much easier to fast from certain foods than it is to turn from idols of the heart. It is much easier to write a check than to spend time in ministries of mercy. Consequently, Lent is easily trivialized. The point of Lent is not to give up chocolate; it’s to give up sin!

Even with this warning, however, we need to beware of going from one extreme to the other. Yes, it is possible so completely to externalize your Lenten observance that you end up trivializing it. Yet we need to remember that we are not purely spiritual beings. God created humans as physical beings; we are psychosomatic creatures, a “nexus of body and soul.”

For example, it is unquestionably true that my attitude in prayer is more important that my posture in prayer. However, sometimes being in a physical posture of humility—kneeling in prayer—helps me get in the right frame of mind. It shouldn’t surprise us in the least that there is a connection between the physical and spiritual; it simply reflects how God created us. That’s why, at the center of Christian worship, God gave us the sacraments, baptism and the Eucharist—simple physical rites involving water, bread, and wine, but rites that communicate to us the most profound of spiritual realities. That’s also why, in the pages of Holy Scripture and throughout the history of the church, we find many physical acts and postures What we do physically has an effect on us spiritually—and we neglect this principle to our peril.

Designed to help us worship, to help us pray, to help us in our spiritual growth. Recognizing this God-created link between the physical and the spiritual, the Lenten season has historically included a physical element, specifically fasting and other acts of self-denial.
I hail from a "Reformed" faith upbringing where we didn't even celebrate Lent.  We would occassionally fast for a day during Lent, or take the opportunity to focus more on introspection, but we never "practiced" Lent by giving up something very important to us.  I have considered it in the past - realizing that catholicism doesn't have the corner on the rights to sacrifice, but have never taken it very seriously.

So when my friends at work challenged me to give up my electronic obsessions it pierced my heart!  No seriously - it did!  These are obsessions for me.  I am totally and uterly addicted to Facebook, my blog, and texting!  And so something that has started out as a fun game at work, has truly gotten me thinking about what I make as an 'idol' in my heart.

The interesting part of what we did at work is that we choose for each other what they had to give up.  It's a real kick in the gut.  My friend, Brad, was like "The day after you had surgery - you know - the one where you spent the day in the hospital recovering?  I got home and got on Facebook and my ENTIRE News Feed was PAM!"  Ha!  That's funny.  No really - that's funny, right?  Not sad?  Tell me it's not sad.  :)

When I told my kids, they were like "MOM!  You can't do it!  We need to take away your computer and your phone - otherwise you can't do it."  UGH!  I mean - I'm OK with being addicted to these things - I'm confident and secure in who I am.  But I'm not so crazy about this mirror being held up to me.  I think the part I don't like the most about this is the reflection I'm seeing.  And for some reason - it bothers me.  And I don't like it.

And that's the whole point of this exercise right?  I mean it's fun to accept a challenge.  I can do this.  Don't tell me I can't do it.  Cause I can do it.  But the whole point of Lent is to give something up for the purpose of more introspection.  And I gotta tell ya - it's working. 

So yeah - I realize I am somewhat trivializing Lent.  I'm only doing a week - it's kind a like a contest at work to take on a challenge - I am really struggling with giving up Facebook of all things.  But it is having the desired result of helping me to identify and resolve the sin in my life.

And as a post-note to all of this ... my heart is especially broken for those having to go without things during this Lenten season that they never dreamed of having to live without.  For the co-worker who recently lost his wife to a horrible disease - I don't want to trivialize "going without".

Monday, February 15, 2010


I got my hair cut last week again.  Not really newsworthy most days, but I have been kind of excited about this hair cut.  People who know me well know that I kinda like to play with my hair.  I wear it long, I wear it short, I wear it red, I wear it blonde, I wear it curly, I wear it straight.  It's all hair - in the grand scheme of things - it will grow back or out or whatever.

But something I haven't done in a long time is wear my hair really short.  Like - shave my neck short.  But I love my hair that way.  I felt my face was too fat to pull that off.  I lacked the confidence I felt it took to wear your hair really short.  But this time - I did it.  I went short!

I realize it's not everyone's cup of tea - the short short thing.  I went super short on the sides and in the back and left it long on the left side.  I also had highlights and low-lights put in and the low-lights are violet.  FUN!  Again - a little edgier than most and I know that not everyone will like it - I LOVE IT!  And it is so much easier for running.  And have I mentioned I have purple in my hair!  HEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHE.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Upping my Protein

I am making a concerted effort to up my protein lately.  I have mentioned on here before that I am a huge fan of  The World According To Eggface blog.  She was an absolute lifesaver when I first had surgery and had no idea what to eat!  And she continues to live out a successful post WLS life enjoying life and food to the fullest.

I have learned that a key way to up my protein is to use protein powder in what I cook.  Eggface currently has a great giveaway going for a protein powder that I have not tried yet. So check out her blog and her current giveaway of Max Protein powder.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

You know you're a runner when ...

I just found myself laughing out loud at this article:,7120,s6-238-267--13385-1-1X2-3,00.html.  My husband asked me what was so funny and as I read some of it to him I realized ... I am a running nerd.  Laughing out loud at expanding your sense of fun to include getting up at 5:30 to get a long run in is what I think pushed me over the edge.  But this list of running rules of thumb were helpful:

1. If you see a porta potty with no line, use it. Even if you don't need to.
2. If you have to ask yourself, Does this driver see me? The answer is no.
3. If you have to ask yourself, Are these shorts too short? The answer is yes.
4. 1 glazed doughnut = 2 miles
5. You rarely regret the runs you do; you almost always regret the runs you skip.
6. Not everyone who looks fast really is, and not everyone who looks slow really is.
7. Nobody has ever watched Chariots of Fire from beginning to end. Not even the people who made it.
8. You can never have too many safety pins on your gym bag.
9. Running any given route in the rain makes you feel 50 percent more hard-core than covering the same route on a sunny day.
10. If you care even a little about being called a jogger versus a runner, you're a runner.

Running is spiritual

I was just reading an article on about Apolo Ohno and how running is a part of his training routine and really helps him stay lean, etc...  But the last few sentences of the article are what caught my eye...

I do my best thinking when I'm running. I don't know why that is — everything seems to flow so easily. It's almost a spiritual thing for me.
 I totally identify with that!  It's part of why I have been jonesing for a good run.  It was a nice and sunny day today a good day for a run, but also I just needed to clear my mind!  I'm still achy and such from my surgery earlier this week - so common sense is telling me to wait just a bit before I start running - darn that common sense.  I seriously was so close to just putting on my running shoes and bolting out the door before anybody could stop me.

Friday, February 12, 2010


So we're coming up on that holiday.  You know - the one where we romanticize love.  We talk about all the warm and fuzzy feelings that come up when we celebrate Valentine's Day.

But the truth of the matter is - LOVE - true love - has nothing to do with feelings.  I have posted the toast that my father made at my wedding here before.  He talked about the first time I realized that love had nothing to do with feelings.  And he pointed out that the Bible had given a formula for love in I Corinthians 13 (the love chapter).  That chapter has a list of do's and don't's for love. 

  • be patient
  • be kind
  • rejoice with the truth
  • protect
  • trust
  • hope
  • persevere
  • envy
  • boast
  • be proud
  • be rude
  • be self-seeking
  • be easily-angered
  • keep a record of wrongs
  • delight in evil
And at the end of this list of do's and don't's there is a promise.  The promise is that if you do these do's and don't these don't's ... Love Never Fails.  My dad's toast to me and to Daren was "To the doing of your love ... that it may never fail."

And all of that sounds so well and good and gives you the warm fuzzies doesn't it?  But when the rubber meets the road - can you do it?  Can you do your love?  Can you be patient, kind, or even trust or hope in the face of something or someone that is NOT loving?  Can you stop being rude, or self seeking for the sake of love?  Because at Valentine's day it's easy to say you could, but could you?  In the face of incurable cancer could you continue to be patient, or to hope?  In the face of depression could you be slow to anger, or not keep a record of wrongs?  When the rubber meets the road do you CHOOSE love?  Not the warm fuzzy feel good stuff, but the hard test of your character stuff.  Because not only is love a verb as opposed to a noun ... it is HARD.  Love - true love - life long love - is hard.  And I would argue that unless you have lived that hard love - you haven't truly loved at all.  To get up every day and to choose NOT to be rude - to choose NOT to be proud - to choose NOT to be self seeking - even when it goes against every fiber of your being - even when the person you are striving to show love to is not showing love back to you - do you CHOOSE to show love for the sake of love?  Because love was shown to you when you did not deserve it?

At Valentine's Day my wish for you is that you have had the privilege of living love and having love lived out for you so that you know the true meaning of love that never fails.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Internal Hernia

So I posted back when I had my 1 year follow up appointment that the doctor was concerned about some intermittent pain I was having and said that one of the things it could be was an internal hernia.  We talked about when enough was enough, but never really came to agreement on when that point would be. 

Monday I had some achiness in my abdomen most of the day.  It was occassionally enough to make me pause - not enough to deter me in my daily activities - but always there in the background.  So I thought I would call the surgeon's nurse practitioner on Tuesday morning sometime and leave her a message to see what she thought.

So Tuesday morning I was woken up at 5am with excruciating pain in my abdomen.  I immediately  camped out in the Land of Denial - where I am the Queen.  I told my husband that I was a little concerned, but I had too much to do.  I would call the surgeon's office when it opened.  My son had an orthodontist appointment first thing in the moring.  I took him, but as I was driving to the appointment I was thinking "This was not the smartest thing you've ever done, Pam."  I got him through the orthodontist appointment and I left a message with the answering service at the surgeon's office.  As I was leaving the appointment with my son I called my mom to let her know what was going on.  She talked me in to pulling over - that I really shouldn't be driving.  So I pulled over and she and my dad came and met me where I was.  My dad took Caleb to school and my mom took me to the surgeon's office.

After waiting a couple of hours to see the surgeon ( he worked me in to his schedule instead of sending me to the ER which I greatly appreciated) he felt that this was a hernia.  Of course, there is no way to know for sure unless you go in surgically to look, but I was presenting with classic internal hernia symptoms.  He had an opening in his schedule for the next day, but he didn't want me to wait because something like this can go south really quickly.  His partner was already at the hospital and thought he could squeeze me in to his schedule in the afternoon.  So we scheduled things with the scheduling nurse for later in the afternoon and headed home for a couple of hours to set some things straight.

To make a long story short we waited and waited and waited for Dr. Tyner, but he was called into a life threatening emergency surgery situation.  So Dr. Enochs came back to the hospital to perform the surgery himself.  Have I mentioned how much I love that man?  Surgery did not start until after 9pm that night and I did not get back from recovery until after midnight.  Dr. Enochs did find an internal hernia and he was able to repair it quickly.  He also looked for adhesions (or scar tissue) from past surgery that might be catching things and he did an upper endoscopy while he had me under to look for an ulcer, etc...  I had no adhesions and no ulcer, and they caught the hernia before my intestines were damaged. 

So I spent most of the day today hanging out at the hospital waiting to be discharged, etc...  Dr. Enochs was able to perform the operation laproscopically (sp?) so I was pleasantly surprised that I was not in as much pain as I had anticipated.  Of course, I am convinced that they always send you home just as the really good drugs wear off so that they don't have to listen to you when the real pain hits and now that I am home I am a good deal more uncomfortable than I was in the hospital.

So an internal hernia is different than the hernia that most people think of when they hear about hernias.  Most people think of umbilical hernia's (where the intestine pokes out by your belly button), or groin hernias or hiatal hernias (where part of the stomach gets stuck through the diaphragm).  While this type of hernia (internal) is fairly common with gastric bypass patients it is very uncommon otherwise and most doctors won't diagnose it properly.  It won't show up on ultrasound or CT or MRI very well and many "regular" doctors aren't very aware of the increase in icidents with gastric bypass patients, etc...  The more common type of hernias involve the intestines poking through the abdominal wall or through the diaphragm or into the groin area.  Internal hernias are different in that the intestines kind of fold in on themselves.  You loose a lot of fat in the abdominal area and it leaves the intestines kind of loosey-goosey (yes that is a very technical term) and they can end up folding and going into spaces and spots that they shouldn't.  This is what happened with me - and when that happened it got stuck - causing the pain.  It is important to "un-stuck" it quickly so that the intestine isn't damaged or twisted or creates an obstruction or dies.  I was fortunate in that my doctor could just un-tuck things and pin it down and we were good.  Leaving it too long can get dangerous very quickly which is why Dr. Enochs wanted me to have surgery right away.

This is not how I expected my week to go, but I'm hoping that recovery will go well and quickly and I will be back among the land of the living here fairly quickly.  Thanks to all of you who have so graciously sent well wishes and prayed for me.  It is appreciated far more than you know.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ramblings ....

So I keep thinking "I'm going to blog about that ..." and then it doesn't turn into much to talk about.  So excuse me if this blog is rambling a bit - just a bunch of things going on in my head.

So I'm now 13 months out from surgery.  I have been stuck playing with the same few pounds since September.  I had to stop running when I had the vertigo problems and the ear surgery.  It took me a while to get back into a good running routine with how cold it has been here.  I have a hard time running in the cold - my old asthma rears it's ugly head then.  I am now back into a good running and exercise routine in order to meet my running goals for 2010.  But I am still stuck at the same weight. Frustrating.

I had my 1 year follow up appointment with my doctor.  He was happy with my progress but would like to see me loose another 20 pounds.  I, personally, would like to loose another 30 pounds.  I have come so far - I find it hard to believe I can't loose this last 30 pounds.  So I have recommitted myself to tracking my calories and my exercise on (they took over The Daily Plate).  I am trying to stick to 1100-1200 net calories a day.  I am easily able to eat about 1500 or so calories a day.  That is really wreaking havoc with my brain.  This part won't make sense to some of you.  I know that is a normal amount of calories to be taking in - possibly even still pretty low.  But it scares me.  I'm afraid to take in too much more than that in a day.  The fact that I haven't lost weight in 3 or so months scares me.  I am not ready to be done and I am afraid of going in the other direction.  I have actually started dreaming about it - waking up and I'm up over 200 pounds and I'm so mad and afraid and disappointed.

And there are some days I think Kanga has become made of steel - I can eat a lot of things I couldn't before - I can take in more than I could before.  I don't like that.  I don't want to go back to "normal".  And then there are some days that she reminds me that she is still in charge and I can't get more than a couple of bites of anything or I dump on something that hasn't caused me to dump in the past.

I did get my hand slapped at my 1 year follow up with Dr. Enochs.  I am not good at the vitamin regimine.  And for no good reason - just not good at it.  So I really need to get on top of that pretty quickly here.  I am going to have some bloodwork run soon and that should give us an idea of what the impact of that truly is.

Some other things that have been rearing their ugly heads now that I am a year out:  I have been having some off and on pain my abdomen.  Sometimes it's breath-taking pain - sometimes it's just an ache.  I talked to Dr. Enochs about it and he has a couple of different concerns that can be common after gastric bypass.  One is scar tissue.  I have had quite a few abdominal surgeries - 2 c-sections, an open hysterectomy, an open gallbladder removal, and some laparascopic surgeries.  So I most likely have quite a bit of scar tissue - that could be catching or kind of strangulating my intestines.  Something else that is common is that you can get an internal hernia once all the fat that used to hold things in place is gone.  So what do we do about it?  The only way to tell if the pain I'm having is one of these two things is to have surgery - there's no test that will tell them definitively if one of these things is what is happening.  It's a fine line to when we decide to do something about it - right now it doesn't normally interfere with daily life, but it could happen over night and become something that needs to be taken care of immediately.  So the approach we are taking right now is "watchful waiting".  We shall see.

I have also started having some reactive hypoglycemia symptoms.  I haven't had that officially checked out, but it looks like that is what I am dealing with - drops in blood sugar that make me weak and shaky, etc...  From what I can track it appears to be reactive which means I should be able to control it with what I am eating and how often I eat.  I plan on talking to my doctor about it when I see him next week.

I see my doctor next week to get fitted for orthotics for my running shoes.  I seem to have developed bursitis in my left foot and I don't want anything to distract me from my goals for running this year.

Speaking of running goals - I have already raised $500 for my Polar Plunge after the 2010 Torch Run.  I can't believe I have raised that much money!  I am looking forward to that run and will be sure to post pictures of of the craziness that ensues.

So thanks for listening to me ramble on and on.  I just had a bunch of things on my mind and no clear way to get them all out, but getting them out on this blog really is cathartic.