Piddling around

I changed my layout for the heck of it but otherwise there’s little of interest going on here. There’s a full moon tonight and that explains some of the weirdness I’ve been experiencing, mostly just crazed behavior like buying two Christmas trees and then taking them both back. I decided to get a new fake tree to replace our little 15 yr old fake tree and bought one at Dollar General for twenty bucks. Then a friend mentioned Wal-Mart had slightly nicer ones for the same price. So I bought a Wal-Mart tree last night and placed it next to the DG box and noticed the DG box was bigger. I figured I’d return the smaller Wal-Mart tree and went to bed. Then when I woke up this morning I remembered I was supposed to go to the lab for bloodwork. I have a dr. appt. in 12 days and may, just may get the OK to ear solid food if my labs are good. Since I am a self pay patient and this would be on me I quickly realized I needed to come up with some money and went to return both trees. I also transferred some money from my savings to checking and headed to the DLO lab for my tests.

The lab tech took me back and said she’d look up the going rate for self pay. She returned and told me how much it was and I nearly fell over. Returning those trees and transferring some money meant I was still short, by about $800. After I closed my gaping mouth I mumbled that I didn’t have that on me and would it be OK if I came back, er, later? She nodded and I requested to transfer a big chunk of change  to my account so I can go back tomorrow and hand it over, all before I go to work.

I went to yoga class tonight. I was a little nervous since I haven’t gone in two weeks, mostly due to work. I walked an hour at the lake Tuesday and Wednesday so I felt good physically but balance and following directions are not my strong suits. It was a good class, we worked on grounding and back bends though we did no actual back bends, to my relief. I learned I am getting a little more flexible, my balance still sucks though. I barely managed tree pose when we were supposed to be balancing and holding a knee.  However I felt good by the end of the evening and relaxed, not mellow but good and strong. It will be over a week before I can go again, due to my schedule.

A lady in my class mentioned her cousin had a gastric bypass in June and she’s lost 84 pounds so far. Her diabetes is gone too and she looks and feels great, she saw her over Thanksgiving and was amazed at how much she had changed. She’s  happier now too, she said. I told her it made me feel good to hear about how well she’s done, that it gives me hope  and encouragement. I know I won’t lose as much and it may take longer than five months but it’s still encouraging. Though I’m happy to report I lost 2 pounds this week.

The Hobbit opens in two weeks and I have my ticket for the first showing at midnight on the 13th, I’ve started re-reading The Hobbit so I can be prepared.

Pre-Christmas

Rather than dwell on Thanksgiving I’m going a little ahead. My own Thanksgiving was good, a small family affair with plenty of food and some football. My sister and her husband left early, she was tired and the baby was kicking but he also planned to hit some of the early sales.

Food was no problem since I couldn’t eat anyway. I made the ham and pashofa (corn soup), both smelled heavenly but since I couldn’t even taste them while cooking I relied on sight and dumb luck. Everyone said they were good  and I watched them eat. I drank my Atkins shake and later drank 1.5 bottles of Crystal Light, both bottles were 16.9 oz and I brought them from home. The food looked good but as before I had no interest in eating. That sounds so strange since before surgery I’d be filling a plate and getting seconds. Thanksgiving is the national day to eat, it’s condoned and expected so much it’s almost unAmerican to eat reasonably or not at all. I did make a small bowl of pashofa broth with small pieces of pork and savored it. I’ve been wanting it since my uncle’s funeral and had to pass it up then and at the going away/early Thanksgiving dinner. This time I said “heck with it” and hoped it wouldn’t turn around and bite me in the butt (literally) like that fruit parfait did. It didn’t. The broth was enough, I got the flavor of the soup and the bits of meat were protein I needed anyway.  I chewed them into nothingness before swallowing.

The only trouble I’m having is hard stools, not quite constipation but going to the bathroom is not an easy or pleasant experience when doing number two. It’s a slow process and after yesterday’s BM I am determined to drink more fluid, hoping that will do it though I wonder if some of the meds may be affecting it too.

Warning, PG-13 content ahead: I learned something that might be of interest to women in *ahem* a committed relationship with a man. I had been reluctant to have sex because I haven’t felt like it and to be honest I’m still not there yet. But he’s been patient and today I gave him a blow job and was able to swallow without any problem. It was early and before I ate or drank, I’m not sure how that would affect it. But it works OK on an empty stomach.

I have noticed a interesting side effect from dropping a size, my tops are getting too big now. I like my tops on the baggy side but this is a bit much, with some of them. I tried on one to wear to Mass this morning and it hung down low. Normally a crewneck top it drooped down in a low neckline and bunched around the waist. Some of my dress things are old, over 10 yrs old and bought when I was at my biggest, about 3 sizes bigger than I am now. I kept them because I am lazy, they were big and comfortable and they still looked decent. But I’m going to wash them and reluctantly donate them to the YMCA thrift on my way to work. I need to buy new dress clothes and just bid on a twin-size sweater set on ebay to replace the one that hung on me this morning. We’re also going to the mall later and though I do not intend to buy anything because I’m adverse to participating in the Black Friday holiday madness and adverse to mall prices I will look around and may try on a few things. I’d like to ask for new clothes for Christmas but other than this I’m not sure what I want. I’m not a very fashionable person anyway. But it would be nice to shop in the “regular” sections of the store instead of a little section, usually in the back corner.

It gets better

Besides being a slogan for bullied high school kids this should be a slogan for bariatric patients as well. It does get better.

After a month and half of nothing but @#$% protein shakes I’m able to tolerate Carnation Breakfast again and had one a little while ago, for my late breakfast. I’m drinking AdvantEdge shakes  too, mostly for the protein content but prefer cream soups, yogurt and the protein bars because they feel like real food. I like having something I can chew rather than drink.  So I’ve made my peace with the shakes but I am looking forward to having real food, like meat.  I hope I can have some turkey at Christmas. I’d like to have tamales, cheese dip and tortilla chips and Chex mix too but that’s probably pushing it.

I’m able to get all my fluids in now, I can drink 4 16.9 oz. bottles of water or Crystal Light a day with ease, unless I’m at work. I can’t keep a bottle near the front of the store and usually get only a 10 minute break. I know we’re breaking labor laws here but the job is easy and I can run to the back for bathroom and drink breaks when I need.  I did sneak an AdvantEdge shake up front and drank it discreetly the other day and my boss knew but didn’t say anything. She knows about the surgery and my fluid requirements. I may try to sneak a bottle of water and hide it under the counter next time.

Gas and bloating are not a big deal. I’m able to belch and pass gas naturally now. I do have a little bloating but it’s related to my period but even that is not as bad. As for my period it was a little late but everything proceeded normally. I had some cramps a week before but I think it was related to the IVC filter removal surgery.

My energy level is OK but I hit a lull in the evening. I think it has more to do with the fact I haven’t been walking or been to yoga class in almost two weeks. It’s my own fault and once I get motivated and get off my butt I doubt the energy lull will be a problem. It’s been hard to find time with getting my son ready for his trip to Peru, work and just life but since he’s gone I’m finding I have more time. Even with Thanksgiving coming up.

The biggest plus has been seeing my clothes getting baggy. I was able to pull off  a pair of pants without unbuttoning them the other day. It felt great. Most of my pants are too big and some of my shirts are getting looser too. I like my tops loose but I hit a thrift store the other day and bought 3 pairs of pants, all a size smaller than what I wore before I started. Ill probably be here awhile but seeing that smaller size tag makes me feel good. I’m still using the shea butter every night and though I can’t see any difference in my saggy skin yet at least it feels softer and less dry now.  I even bought a pair of hightop Chucks knock-offs at Payless when I took my son shopping. It’s the first time I’ve worn these in more than 20 yrs and I probably look like the world’s oldest would-be hipster but they feel pretty good and they were only seven dollars. I could not resist.

one of my new shoes

I lost five pounds!

I weighed myself this morning and I lost five pounds. Woo-Hoo! To be frank I was shocked. I haven’t exercised in a week, not since yoga class. Maybe that massive BM on Sunday helped. I was thrilled, whatever the reason.

 

I know that I probably won’t show a loss next week, even if I get back into my exercise routine and make it to yoga class tonight and Thursday. The doctor said my weight loss would be slow and in a way that’s OK. Hopefully it means less loose skin, slower weight loss usually means your body gets the chance to change and adapt. At my advanced age this is really good news; I already have some loose skin and don’t want any more. Things are beginning to go south anyway and they don’t need any more help.

Right now I’m looking forward to going back to the doctor, I hope he gives me the OK to move on to real food. I’m still on the protein shakes but found I like the AdvanTage strawberry and chocolate shakes best, they have the most protein (17 gm) and fewest calories (100-110). I will make it through Thanksgiving too,  I’ve learned I  can cook, watch people eat, smell the food and not feel too deprived. If I do I will just remember what happened when I had that fruit and yogurt parfait and that should do it.

constipation warning

It happens. Boy, does it happen.

Today is exactly a month since my gastric bypass. So far I’ve done well, healed and got through the worst parts (mostly gas and bloating) including the dreaded protein shakes, which I no longer hate as much since I can have yogurt, those protein bars, cream soups and fruit pops as well. But my streak of luck ended two days ago when I had a bout of killer constipation. Which was my fault, I had a fruit and yogurt parfait at McDonald’s and even though I’m still on liquids and the parfait contains large chunks of fruit. I did have enough sense to leave the granola off but ate this anyway. It was hubris on my part, thinking if I chewed those chunks of fruit well enough I’d digest them with no problem, that my doctor was being too cautious. Well, it didn’t happen. Just look at the fruit in this sucker and you can see how deranged I was. Real fruit real fun my butt.

http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/food/product_nutrition.dessertsshakes.128.Fruit-n-Yogurt-Parfait-oz.html

I normally have BMs every other day, which I’ve been told is normal and OK. So when Friday came I got a big and painful surprise. Same thing Saturday. I have had constipation before but it would eventually pass if I drank extra water or Crystal Light and waited. It didn’t pass and I became concerned. I hate being sick, am not used to being sick and when something goes wrong I can be a little anxious and overreact. So I woke up my husband this morning at 6 am and told him I was going to Emergency. For constipation. He is a good man, very understanding and even if he thinks I am a little nuts is wise enough to keep it to himself so he got up and accompanied me in the dark and rain to the hospital.

I was afraid the staff would laugh when I told them why I was there. They didn’t, they treated my complaint professionally and compassionately. I told them I was a bariatric patient and unsure of what meds if any I could take. I almost expected an enema and mentally prepared myself for that when the doctor told me all I needed was a stool softener and some time. She wrote me a prescription and we were on our way, we even made it in time for services at my dad’s church.

I took the stool softener, Miralax and four hours later I finally had a BM and passed the whole nasty mess. The pharmacist was my pal and said they had a store brand of the same stuff for about half price, over the counter and I bought that. But it worked and I wanted to give a shout-out to Miralax. Constipation is common in bariatric patients since we have a hard time getting all our water and fluids in with a smaller stomach and because our diet is heavily based on dairy products. I also learned that Lortab can cause constipation too, though I’m no longer taking it. I wish I had known about Miralax and its generic siblings because it would have saved me a lot of  agony and a big bill from the Emergency department.  I’m not being compensated by Miralax or Walgreen’s, this is just my experience but if either company offered me money I’d take it.  So I can pay that Emergency room bill. Also I am avoiding McDonald’s like the plague.

yoga class

I went back to yoga class after more than a month and I was anxious. I shouldn’t have been,  from the moment I walked in I felt comfortable and welcomed. The teacher Trinity declared this a politics-free zone and we were staying away from the anxiety and just weird vibes from the election for at least an hour.

I found I was a little more flexible. I was surprised when I was able to hop forward when walking forward to a forward fold instead of having to stand up and walk forward. When we did lunges I didn’t use the blanket to protect my knees and prepared myself for a little pain but there wasn’t any. During one seated pose I could feel my butt feeling a little sore on the mat and the hardwood floor underneath. I used the blanket then.

The only difficulty was with balance, not one of my strong points anyway. It’s been awhile and I had a few awkward moments during tree pose, when everybody else was managing to balance on one leg I was wobbling and had to start again. It’s OK, I did and managed to hold it a few seconds then we went on to another pose. I knew I wouldn’t be perfect,  that some things might be harder and it would take awhile to get used to it again. I’m hoping I don’t work next Tuesday so I can go back to class and try again. After class I felt more serene, more relaxed and good overall. It wasn’t until I had to deal with traffic on the way home that I felt the world coming back into my head. Then I avoided any election coverage until 10pm when The Daily Show started. Overall it was a peaceful, decent night.

Which was good because when I weighed myself I found I gained 4 ounces. Not a significant amount but enough to piss me off. Since I didn’t lose anything last week I was hoping for a loss,  2-3 pounds maybe. I’ve been good but haven’t walked as much and I’ve been eating 2-3 protein bars a day, which are 170 calories apiece. I am determined to do better this week because this not losing crap is going to end.  It has to.

vote

This is not a regular post, it’s more of a public service announcement.  Tuesday is Election day in the US and commonwealths.  If you are a registered voter, go vote. Do it, don’t think “Oh, my vote won’t count.” It does, as long as we continue to exercise our right to vote it will stand, it will count. I’m going to vote even though I know my state will undoubtedly go to the other candidate but I don’t care. I’m going to vote for two basic reasons: women got the right to vote in 1920 and Native Americans (Indians) got it in 1930.  I was surprised to see that other countries granted women their voting rights before the US. See for yourself.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women’s_suffrage#United_States

Tomorrow I’m taking my son to go vote a day early because he’s anxious to do so. It’s his 2nd presidential election and he’s still excited about voting. I looked up my brother-in-law’s polling place for him because he said he didn’t think he’d bother with voting since HE DIDN’T KNOW WHERE HE WAS SUPPOSED TO GO. Now he knows.  So vote. I’m not advocating you vote for candidate A or candidate B, you decide who you want to be the leader of the free world for the next four years. It’s your right and privilege. If you don’t use it we may eventually lose it.

Another public service announcement, with guitar.