Shorts

I wore shorts today. That’s no big deal to most people, not worth noting. But I haven’t worn shorts in public since I was in 4th grade.

I bought 2 pairs at the thrift store about 2 years ago. I had a gastric bypass and lost 70 pounds, my weight had stabilized. I tried on my shorts and took a picture. Then I stuffed them into a drawer and forgot them, finally sending them back into the river of thrift when I had to move. Never wore them and saw no reason to keep them.

I didn’t wear shorts because I didn’t like my body, how my legs looked. I wore jeans during the summer, even when my mother complained she felt hot seeing me in long pants. My legs were fat and I felt I couldn’t expose people to their ugliness, I hated them.

I am still self conscious about my body, even though it has been nearly four years since my operation. I am smaller, my body is stronger and I am able to do more than I ever imagined. I don’t have to shop in special departments anymore, though it took a long time before I stopped going to Womens, Plus and Lane Bryant. I’ve come to recognize my reflection in mirrors. I am not tiny, petite or thin, I am healthier than before but not skinny. I don’t have the build. My mother did, she was tiny and small boned, like Audrey Hepburn. But my body looks different, feels different and I enjoy finding how I can stretch myself and go further, do more than I thought I could.  There are people who only know me as I am now, who never saw me when I was overweight. None of my current co-workers know my old fat past and frankly I don’t see the need to tell them.

I’m not sure when I decided to buy shorts again. I go for long walks and wear jeans (still) and yoga pants, which I’m okay with in cooler or wet weather. But it has been warm, darned hot even and I thought shorts would have been so much…better. Without giving it much thought I hit the Goodwill and bought a pair of shorts. Long and baggy, they came to my knees. I wore them yesterday, for a short walk with my dog and came home. Then since nothing drastic or horrific happened, I wore them today.

They felt weird. Comfortable, yes, but I felt like I was wearing somebody else’s clothes. That’s probably not an odd assumption since they did come from the thrift, that is they were somebody else’s at one time. But they didn’t feel right at first, they were foreign and it took awhile to get used to the feel.

My dog didn’t notice, she was glad to see me grab the leash and put on my shoes to go out. And no one else noticed either. If any of the people at the river made any judgments or had any criticisms about my shorts or my big white legs they wisely kept it to themselves. Nobody laughed, pointed at me or said I looked stupid or terrible in my baggy thrift shorts. The world did not stop or end. Nobody cared, except me.

I went to another thrift store later, looking for another cheap pair of baggy shorts. I found some, four bucks, and nobody there cared about me or my legs. I am on a roll here.

My legs are not pretty but they are strong. I have a long scar on my left calf and there’s cellulite because there is. They have been through a lot, covered a lot of miles, been in a lot of races and carried me in hot, cold and wet weather,sometimes in the same day. They take me up flights of stairs, only my right knee complains on occasion. My legs do their job, they work and that’s all that matters. Excuse the dirty carpet, my dog and cat still haven’t learned how to operate the shampooer.  And the large white thing is my t-shirt not a moon.

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Inertia

Sounds better than laziness but amounts to much the same thing. I don’t seem to be doing anything. I’m not working, the move is over and every day is a blank space I have to fill some way.

I should look at this as a vacation, time off, time to relax.

I went to a job fair yesterday and had a 10 minute interview before seeing the door again. I applied for 3 jobs today, 2 here and 1 in Seattle. I don’t know if any of these or any of the other applications I’ve filled out will come to anything.  I am trying to stay hopeful and remind myself it takes time. HR depts do not move quickly,  there are delays of all kinds, be patient I tell myself. Some days I seesaw between anxiety and fear. Other days it’s denial. I worry that the fact I don’t live in WA is keeping me from finding work there, that employers don’t want to deal with someone who will have to move 2,000 miles, that it’s easier to pick someone who already lives in the area.

Another concern is my weight. Frankly I eat a lot of junk food and have done some emotional eating. Granted it’s usually protein bars but it’s still chocolate and soothing. I haven’t walked in over 2 weeks. I went to yoga last night for the first time in 2 weeks. Moving took up all my time and energies, I couldn’t do anything else and I didn’t. Now that it’s over I’m not bouncing back like I thought I would. The spandex in my jeans is working harder now. I’m not scared but there’s a feeling of shame and guilt when I get dressed now. Ah, Shame and Guilt, it’s been awhile,  I almost missed you.

The occasional sense of fear, when I remember stories of people who had bypasses and then regained the weight they lost. I have worked hard to keep my weight down but any gain spurs the fear of gaining it all back. It may not be healthy but I know I’m not going back. Back to diabetes meds, taking my sugar 2 times a day, being less strong and flexible, feeling large and awkward (as opposed to just awkward) and having to  buy bigger clothes, no way. But I know I’ll feel better when my jeans feel loose, and when I get a job. I know the job is the bigger goal but I really want to feel comfortable in my clothes again.

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I bought this backrest today at a garage sale. The highlight of my day.

Job Update: I got a call from the job fair people and they scheduled an interview for me on Monday. Relief and anxiety kicked in. Then I got a call from Seattle to fill out an application here ro be faxed to them. Excitement joined relief and anxiety. I’m trying to stay stable, do my best and see what if anything comes of either one. I admit I am bullish on Seattle but will not say no to any job offered to me without thinking long and hard.

uh, no

I have said it before– I am vain. Being old and vain can be an expensive combination as I was reminded this week. As vain as I am, I am somewhat prudent too. Probably a result of age and experience.

I have a turkey wattle, loose skin under my chin. It’s from losing weight after my gastric bypass and it’s a sign of getting older, things begin to sag all over when you are half a century old. I don’t like the way it looks and decided to do something about it. I made a consult appt with the doctor who did my Juvederm treatment to see if I might be a candidate for lipo.

He was cordial and polite while he pulled back my hair and tugged my chin skin. He smoothed my skin back and said lipo wouldn’t do it.There was too much skin and sucking out some fat would leave me uneven and lumpy looking. He suggested a lower face/neck lift. An in-office procedure, trade name Naturale. Procedure is another term for in-patient surgery though he could do it in a hospital if I preferred though it would be more expensive and I’d be drugged up. In office would be with general anesthesia, a couple of injections to numb me but I’d be lucid.

He explained he would make a small incision by my right ear and another under my chin. He’d suck out some fat from under my chin and tighten up the rest with the ear incision. I’d have a drain installed under my chin for 3 days and after that I’d wear a face band to hold it all in place. He would give me a prescription for painkillers but it was likely I wouldn’t use them.I could not take Advil, aspirin or Aleve 10 days before my procedure or after. I’d be able to get around after a day or so but recommended taking off a week. You might be fine and ready in 5 days and think I am a great doctor because I said it would take a week. But if it takes a week then you have plenty of time to heal, he explained. The older the patient the longer the recovery time. He flattered me saying I’d probably take 5 days.

There are risks. Although it rarely happens blood can pool under the chin and I would call him and go to the hospital to have it drained, to avoid blood clots. It happens in less than 1% of cases he said.

Then I went to see the business manager who would give me the costs, details and even schedule the procedure if I wanted. This was what helped me make my decision.

The procedure would be $9291.00, if I paid in full in 7 days I’d get a 20% discount and it would be $7694.47.

Although I have confidence in this doctor and he took time to fully explain the surgery (and it is surgery whatever term is used) and answered my questions I left without scheduling. The main reason is the cost. I expected it to cost a bit, that I’d be spending vacation time and other costs besides money. I admit this was too much, frankly I can’t afford to spend this. I’m not rich, money is definitely an object. Then I had an unexpected twinge of conscious– what if I donated this sum, $7,000, to charity? Wouldn’t it be better used and possibly have greater long-term effects than what shows on my face? I asked how long the effect lasts and he said depending on weight loss about 5 years but a little tuck would usually tighten up the loose parts. Unfortunately I don’t have that amount to donate but it doesn’t mean I can’t give something. In the meantime I’m going to live with the wattle and looking like a 50 year old. I may not be thrilled with it but I know it’s the right choice. This doesn’t mean I am evolved enough to say no indefinitely. If I can afford it, and the circumstances are right I probably will. I am vain and honest.

I posted this not to glorify myself for becoming immediately enlightened or to criticize plastic surgery. I hope it answers some questions for someone who is curious about the procedure, what it is and the costs in time and money. The costs may be higher elsewhere, depending on the region, doctor and other factors, this is a rough estimate but the procedure should be much the same.

underwear

Last night I bought 3 bras. It wasn’t a just for fun splurge, I had to do it. Another cheap bra fell apart on me, the underwire poked through and I chucked it. There was another cheap bra in the trash; I had tried to keep it a little longer by stuffing the underwire back in and sewing up the hole. It worked, for 2 more wearings then the wire broke free again.  So I tossed that thing.

The two cheap bras lasted about 2 months.  I bought them for the obvious reasons,  to save some money and avoid going to the mall at Christmas. I was already at Target and they were only 15.00 each so I convinced myself this was a good deal.

It’s a cliche to say you get what you pay for but when it comes to bras it’s true.  To an extent, I tried on a Wacoal bra but saved myself $80 because it didn’t fit well

I went to Dillard’s, one of the few stores that carry 40Cs and bought mid-priced store brand brad that cost 42.00 each. To some women that’s typical,, to some women that’s chump change but to my thrift store sensibilities that’s a lot. Most of clothes in my closet didn’t cost that much and I could fill a cart with the amount I spent last night. Yet these bras are a better deal than my cheap ones. Ibought a Dillard’s bra last year and it still looks good and works. It’s held up, pardon the pun, to a lot of punishment.  It’s outlasted 4 cheap bras.

Ironically I used to look forward to buying the pretty little bras in the stores, the ones that never came in my size. That I could go anywhere and shop without worrying they wouldn’t have my big weird size. Well endowed women understand this and though I’m not exactly well endowed (mine is mostly back fat, to be honest) I did believe.

What I didn’t know was some of those pretty bras, even the more costly ones, can be crap.Some are made to be shown off and aren’t comfortable,  not something you can wear to work without scratching or shifting around. I suspect they were designed by men.

When all you can afford is the cheap bra from Target that’s what you get.But if you are able to afford better then buy it. Use some of that tax refund, it will serve you better than a trip to Vegas and will last longer. I usually wait til the bras go on sale but this was an emergency situation. Also get fitted, better stores will have someone who will measure you and see that you are wearing the right size and how to adjust the straps and hooks for the best fit. It is a little embarrassing at first but if the fitter is really good that feeling won’t last.  She’s seen worse. Really.

I wished I had known this when I went bra shopping the first time after losing weight after my surgery. The old style I wore was gone, it had been redesigned and I didn’t know what size I was now.  Even though I went back to Lane Bryant I eventually learned that it wasn’t my store anymore and had to start over again. Findng a good fitness bra was a challenge too. I never needed one before my unfortunate bra fail in yoga class. But I tried on several,  at Target and Dillard’s and was surprised the Target Champion bra fit and held better than the Nike model. Alas the Target bra finally gave up too but I knew what to look for when I went back. I also knew how long it would last. 

It may seem odd to spend more on a garment that no one else may see (unless you want them to) but it will make your outer clothes look better.  It even helps your posture,  much easier to stand straight when everything is in place.

 

story of a protein bar

new version

new version

original

original

old vs new, side by side

old vs new, side by side

More like the evolution of a protein bar, my favorite food source was revised and I’m not really thrilled about the changes. The photos tell the story–smaller bars. The new ones are 1.59 ounces while the old ones were a more substantial 1.76. They did shave off 20 calories but it also lost 3 grams of protein. Not a huge loss but darn. They did not increase the price and I am grateful for that.
The next question is “how does it taste? ” The taste is about the same, maybe a little better. But I did my taste test with a new fresh 1.59 bar and a 1.76 bar that’s been sitting on top of my fridge for a week so that should be considered. I scarfed them both, in the interest of science and the protein bar enthusiasts out there (hi to both of you).

One downside of being a bariatric surgery patient is having to plan your meals by volume. No five course dinners or pigouts at Golden Corral for you, lest you be miserably, possibly violently, sick. Although most people are encouraged to eat more fruits and vegetables if you do you run the risk of missing some basic nutrients, protein the main one. If, like me, you are no longer a carnivore getting your protein is not easy. Which is why I practically live on the things. That these are double chocolate makes it a little nicer. The Life Choice people are not paying me or sending me free bars so I am not obligated to them, which is a good thing because I”m bummed over the changes.

They are smaller, longer but flatter, have less protein but seem proud of it. I hate a smug protein bar. I’ll eat it but just want it to know that while I’m crushing it with my teeth. I’ll continue to buy and eat these bars but I feel like some level of trust is gone and it’s not the same.

belated anniversary

It’s been 2 years since my gastric bypass. I went into surgery on October 11, 2012. I didn’t realize the date had passed, probably because of Jerry.

In that time a lot has happened and I’ve changed as well. I’m in better health, I’ve done several 5Ks and one half marathon. I am more relaxed in yoga class, I can keep up and no longer feel like I have to prove I belong there, that I’m capable. Although there are still some poses I can’t do I notice that I’m not the only one and most of these people are younger than me. I look better too.

Even though it’s been 2 years I’m surprised when I look at myself in the mirror. I still pick larger sizes out of habit when I go shopping. I’ve lost 70 pounds, not as much as some gastric bypass patients but still pretty dramatic. I know I’m physically smaller and I am trying to see myself as I look now, not how I used to look. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

Eating is perhaps the most obvious change. I occasionally eat fish and chicken, though usually not together. It wasn’t for religious reasons. I lost my taste for beef and pork, they don’t make me sick and I can still digest them but they don’t taste as good as before. A friend of mine decided to give up all meat except for fish for health reasons and I thought it sounded like a good idea but giving up most animal flesh came from my own stomach and taste buds. I did not lose my taste for chocolate. I eat smaller meals, more like snacks and I eat more of these small meals. I take my multivitamin and calcium supplements every day too. I almost live on low-fat protein bars but have avoided protein drinks, lost my fondness for them during the liquid diet phase before my surgery.

the results of gastric bypass, in a few paragraphs

I’m not the author and I saw this on facebook, it comes courtesy of CNN and a local TV channel and was based on the experiences of this woman. It’s  a general overview of life after the rouen-y gastric bypass and while I haven’t shared all these experiences I agree with it overall. I found it interesting and anyone who is thinking that the operation is a cop-out and instant fix should read this, it’s short and very accessible. Enjoy!

What they never tell you about losing a lot of weight