How do you know?

How do you know when you've made the right decision? About anything, really? When you're given two perfectly acceptable options, how do you know which is the right one to choose? I feel like I'll always wonder what would have happened had I chosen the other path. What my life would have looked like, who I would have become, what experiences I'd have had…

Red pill or blue pill, Neo? There's no going back.

And perhaps that is the scariest part…

One year later.

Today, August 1, 2017, marks one year since I made the decision to pursue gastric bypass surgery. I had been suffering from a pinched nerve in my hip that would make my entire upper leg numb at times, and often prevented me from walking and standing for more than just a couple of minutes. I went to the doctor's office to get it checked out and in doing so, had to get on the scale. I was actually shocked… 400.7 pounds. I'd never thought I would let myself get to that point… I knew I was fat but I didn't realize just how bad things had gotten until that day.

Flip forward one year, and as of today I am at 295.8, which is a loss of 104.9 pounds. I am so much happier, and now I can move! I'm not nearly done with my changes, and honestly I still have a whole heck of a lot further to go, but I am so proud that I finally made the decision to seek a healthier life.

This was a year ago… I can't believe how much I've changed!

Raw

For the greater part of tonight, I’ve been deleting photos and screenshots from my phone and crying. And I don’t understand why really, so this is my attempt to process whatever it is I’m feeling.

In April, I ended an 18-month long relationship — short in the grand scheme of things, but it was intense and emotional always. We loved hard and fought hard. There were so many complicated aspects but at the core, I truly believe we loved each other. But he was, I see now, incredibly emotionally abusive. He was the king of gas-lighting — always made me think I was the cause of our problems, that I was crazy… in the end, I felt I’d lost touch with who I was before our relationship started. I defended him (and my decision to stick it out) to everyone who knew the real issues at hand. I must have done it so long I made myself believe what I was saying…

Finally I couldn’t stand the person he’d –what’s the right word here– made? forced? enabled? me to become. I questioned my gut and intuition at every decision, even unrelated to the relationship. I just felt like a faded out version of myself, and I hated that I had let myself get to that point. I honestly don’t remember what happened to make me bite the bullet, but one day I sat in an empty parking lot and sobbed, calling him and ending things. It was the hardest end to a relationship I’ve experienced, and I quite honestly cried for days. I was a mess, and there was little to console me. I felt like a limb had been cut off… and that’s when I realized that while I felt incomplete without him, I knew without a doubt that his life went on without a hitch. If I was feeling dismemberment, he was feeling a stubbed toe or perhaps a papercut. That realization may have been the biggest catalyst in getting over things.

Fast forward to now — I’m seeing an incredible man who treats me right in all the ways he can. We are intellectually connected on a level I’ve never experienced. I told my mother within the first week of meeting him that this was the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with.

And yet tonight, in deleting photos and screenshots of conversations from the past two years on my phone, I find myself in tears over the abusive man again. I KNOW he is bad for me, he is toxic to my life… but I can’t help but miss him on a visceral level. I want to be over him, but I find myself supremely tempted to contact him, to tell him about all the changes in my life, to see if he misses me and thinks of me… I know this is stupid. Honestly, kind of dangerous in some aspects. And so here I write, instead of messaging him.

I think that I just invested so much into that relationship that part of me feels so shitty about ending it. I’ve always wondered if I had just stuck it out, tried a little harder…what if we were meant to be together? But then I remember the man I’m with now, and how drastically my life has changed since leaving that abusive relationship. I want to be over him entirely, but when you love someone so much… even their abuse feels like love, apparently. I feel embarrassed at what baggage I now bring to this new relationship. I find myself walking on eggshells often even though there is no need — he has even allayed some of my fears outright without knowing where they come from. He is incredible. I think I owe it to him, and perhaps to myself, to have a very honest conversation about why I behave oddly sometimes. I know he’d understand… and I can only hope it would make our relationship stronger.

So maybe that’s what I’ll take out of this: Without experiencing the emotional abuse, I wouldn’t appreciate goodness when it presented itself to me. I wouldn’t know just how precious this new relationship is without having experienced the pain of the last. Perhaps I can take the shit of the past and use it to grow something new and beautiful…

STALLED OUT.

Well fuck this shit, lol. Your lovely cruise director here has stalled out at 322.3lbs for a goddamn week now. I’ve heard this is common but c’mon, what a drag just three weeks out from surgery. Oh well… at least I’ll be away from the scale at camp til the 4th!

Post-Surgical Update #2: Three Weeks Out

Well, when I started this post, the title was “Two Weeks Out” — see how well I’m doing? Lol. It’s been an eventful few weeks. I do have to say — I’m sick to death of talking about gastric bypass, especially with people who have either had the surgery or who have no idea what the surgery entails. I don’t want to explain it any more, or hear advice that I’m already well aware of. I kind of wish I just hadn’t told most people that I had it done. But I did, and we’re here, so… Moving on.

I was approved last Thursday to move onto the pureed/soft food stage and let me just tell you — I was happy as a pig in shit. I’d gotten to the point where thinking about drinking protein shakes and broth made me sick to my stomach. Funnily enough, my first food was still a liquid, but it had been off-limits: chicken and gnocchi soup from Olive Garden (no I didn’t eat the gnocchi or chicken, but hell yes I had the broth and little bits of veggies!). In the earlier days I had baked sweet potato (with some of this Olivio spray and some salt and pepper), mashed potato, and yogurt, and since I’ve tried adding some more proteins — shrimp, shredded pork, and very finely ground beef. The shrimp was a no go — I don’t know if I ate too much, too fast, or if the shrimp and my belly just don’t get along, but let me tell you — this dumping syndrome is no bullshit. I thought I was going to split in half and vomit everywhere. Luckily it only lasted 10ish minutes, but it was hellacious. The shredded pork was better, but still I hurt myself (but nowhere near as bad!) — I think that time was genuinely that I didn’t chew well enough. This is SUCH a learning curve… Eating three shrimp just doesn’t feel like dinner. Eating three shrimp over the span of 30mins definitely doesn’t feel like dinner. This is definitely a mindset piece I’m struggling with at the moment. I need to remind myself constantly that I’m not going to be able to eat the way I was before. Of course, you know this, but in actually living it, things are hard!

I’m also struggling with vitamins. I just can’t seem to stomach them. I honestly haven’t taken them in awhile, but I’m hoping once my tummy heals a bit more they’ll be alright. My nutritionist also added iron and calcium, but damn… Trying to get all that in, along with the water and protein, is crazy. I definitely need to drink more, though I’ve been drinking a lot. Returning to work sucks but it is what it is. I was lucky enough to work from home during Week 2, but I returned to normal working this Monday. I can’t believe it’s only Wednesday — I’m so tired!

I’ve been reading about other people’s experiences, and it seems like this Week 3–Week 5 period is some of the toughest, mentally, for people, and I’d have to say I agree. While I definitely want the surgery and I want to do all the right things, making the changes and sticking to all the restrictions is hard when sometimes you just really want a damn handful of Cheez-its! Lol. I don’t regret surgery at all, but I do miss enjoying food. Right now, eating is a chore. I can’t wait til the day when things have normalized a bit, and I can enjoy a small portion without feeling like I’m missing out or deprived.

Today I’ve also discovered it hurts to change from a sitting to standing position — nothing major, just like a crampy discomfort mid-stomach. I’m also starting my period, so maybe things are just funky… who knows. I haven’t been on a scale since last Thursday, but my weight was (I believe) 322.2, which is an overall loss of 78.5lbs, and a weight loss from surgery day (~341) of ~18.8lbs. And when you consider I gained five pounds in the hospital, I’m feeling pretty good about the numbers 😛 I’m actually excited to get on the scale tomorrow, though I’m wary because of the period thing… we’ll see!

I think one of the biggest things that’s been bothering me is the fact that I don’t really have a goal at this point. Up until three weeks ago, the goal was to get to surgery. Well, we’re here, I’m home and alive, so what’s next? I guess I need to work on goal setting… I think the first one is ready to go: Get below 300lbs. I don’t remember the last time I was in the 200s… probably high school! Okay, now that I’ve written it, I’m kinda pumped to get to this goal. Here we go! 🙂

Surgery review — okay, this is gonna be brief…

I can’t believe how long it’s taken me to be in the mood to want to write this…And even now, I’m not really. But I do want to get out some details before everything becomes a hazy memory.

Surgery was Thursday, June 8 — as of that morning, I was at 340.4lbs, which is a total pre-surgery weight loss of 60.3lbs. While I’m proud of that, I really can’t believe I lost so little weight on the liquid diet pre-surgery. And just before I forget, I weighed myself on my first day home, and I was 345.3lbs, but that’s to be expected.

Honestly, I wasn’t nearly as nervous as I anticipated being before surgery. Dr. Toder assured me I didn’t need a catheter, and the nurse agreed to put my IV in my forearm instead of in my hand, so I was happy as a clam. I figured when I had to lay out on the operating table that I’d get a little heavy-chested and lightheaded, but I didn’t… I think I was just ready. Before I knew it I was waking up! I got to see my mom in the PACU, but my blood pressure shot up so they only allowed her to stay a few minutes. Within about 30mins I was up in my room, and pretty much totally aware about an hour out of surgery. My first crack to my mom was, “So… Am I skinny yet?” Why am I not surprised? 😛

Thursday was some walking — way easier than anticipated! — and napping. I had pain meds a couple of times but the worst pain was my lower back and my headache. I was dying for some water though! I wasn’t allowed anything til Friday morning, and even then the CNA gave me ice water (a no-no, apparently) — it made my stomach spasm and I just went back to sleep to deal with the pain. When I woke up again around 8, the nurse brought me room-temperature water, which went down WAY smoother! Lots of walking on Friday, and I believe Friday morning was my last pain meds, aside from Tylenol for my headache. Sometime Friday night my IV stopped functioning properly, so they had to switch it to my hand… Now, I’m a big ol’ baby and cried. I have some sort of phobia around having needles in my body, and the fact that it was in my hand sent me over the edge. Thank jeebus for my work wife, she was probably the only thing that saved me from having a real panic attack. ❤

Saturday morning it was time for the shake! I got about 2ish ounces down before I couldn’t take anymore, but it settled fine. I was out of the hospital and home by 11:30am!

This is probably super boring, but honestly since being home I’m just exhausted. Perhaps it’s the negligible calories (seriously — Sunday was 2oz protein shake, Monday was 3tbsp yogurt, and today was a record high of a full yogurt and some jello) and just my body needing to heal. Either way, my mood has been crummy ever since coming home. I just can’t wait to feel normal again! I know it’ll happen, and I feel progression every day, but it’s such a strange feeling to feel so incapacitated after feeling so good just days ago.

Below you’ll find some pictures — might be too graphic for some, but here are my incisions. I am so willing to answer questions, I just can’t formulate a good post right now… feel free to ask away! 🙂

Less than 12 hours out…

My surgery is tomorrow morning! I am so so soooo beyond excited. I feel like I’ve been waiting for this for ages, even though in reality the real prep for this has only been about ten months long. But I feel like it’s a step in the direction of a solution for a life-long problem, and a step I am incredibly ready for!


Today has been so weird. I was a grumpass all day because my weight has been stuck for a couple of days at 343, a pound and a half increase from my lowest weight so far. That’s only about ten pounds of weight lost in two weeks of a liquid-only diet that I stuck to like a damn champ. But that’s a conversation for another day…

This evening my cousin and I went on a long drive, and it was such a great stress-relief. We laughed and listened to music and saw all kinds of beautiful things along the way. It really was an awesome way to finish out an otherwise kind of stressful day.

In prep for surgery, tonight they had me shower with a wash (essential Hibiclens) all over, and I have to do it again in the morning! A little weird but… the soap leaves you smelling like a brand-new baby! It’s so great — I loveee this smell!

Tomorrow I’m getting up at 6, showering, throwing the last few things in my bag and packing up my CPAP machine, meeting my mom to do some car shuffling, and then we head to the hospital. 8am check-in and preparation for surgery, and a 10am start time. I’ve been told the surgery is about 1.5-2hrs, and then I’ll be in recovery for an hour or two coming out of anesthesia. Then some more big challenges… but I hope to write more when I’m at the hospital, so we’ll leave that for then.

See ya on the other side, guys! EEK!

One week away!

Today is Day 7 of the two-week liquid diet pre-surgery. It is definitely not the easiest thing I’ve ever done, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t tolerable! Don’t get me wrong I want pizza and Doritos and Cheez-it’s, but I can be around other people eating food and be okay. I can happily enjoy the yummier things, like miso soup and yogurt. And the  best part is — results! As of this morning, I was down just under 10lbs. I’m pumped. I can’t believe surgery is this close. Finally. And I’m damn proud of myself. I can’t remember the last time I said that… so this feels good! 🎊

Dreams suck.

I had a dream that I was the last to find out that Nan had died… no one bothered to tell me until the funeral preparations began, and it was accidental — I found out when someone asked me which photos of her I thought she would prefer. In my dream, I fell to my knees and lost it. I woke up and cried. Too similar to the day she died… when I arrived at the hospital, she has just gone. I never got to say goodbye. I wasn’t there when she died. She’d been there for me my whole fucking life and I wasn’t there when she died. How was I supposed to know not to go to work that day… I was planning on the fact that I would need to take days off down the road for her recovery — taking her to appointments when her sisters went home, having bad days where she just needed someone at home. I didn’t know she was dying that day.  Why the fuck did I even go to work?! I should have been there with her. I’d have rather been there and held onto her as she left, than running up four flights of stairs only to find my entire family sobbing. 


I know it’s selfish of me. She’s not hurting anymore. If some form of the afterlife is real, she’s with people she loved now — Bubba, Nana Homa, Allan. But it doesn’t change the fact that I fucking miss her. I just want to hear her voice again, I don’t even care if it’s just to tell me to clean my apartment. I can’t believe how much has changed in the little over one year since she’s been gone. I thought thinking of her would be easier by now, that I could think of her and just be happy with the memories. Usually, I guess, I can kind of force myself into that mentality. But today I’m still pissed off and feel like there’s a giant fucking hole in my life where she used to be. And I feel so shitty that I wasn’t there for her the way she was always there for me. 

Here we go…

Today is Day #1 of my 14-day liquid diet pre-surgery. I’m so pumped, and a teensy bit nervous… I’ve done full-liquid days, and they were fine, but can I manage two weeks? I’ve got the self control of a two-year-old, so I worry about saying no and avoiding mindlessly eating. I’ve got tons of protein shakes (Premier Protein, if you’re curious — I enjoy them, no weird whey taste that many others have), low-sodium broth, lots of yogurt, and I need to pick up some jello and low-sodium cream soups soon. I hope there’s enough variety in there that I’ll be okay and make it through. There’s of course a bbq this weekend at my aunt’s house, who is a notoriously amazing cook… Fingers crossed, please!

I’ve been eating like CRAP since I found out my surgery date. Last night we had a celebratory ‘last meal’, and I’m honestly so glad to be doing liquids today. My body is revolting — a few breakouts on my face, upset belly, frequent bathroom breaks, lol. It’ll be nice to have a reset of sorts. I got on the scale this morning and it had crept back up to 352.6, but I’m not worried about it. According to legend, these next two weeks should be drastic in the weight loss department! 🙂
PM update: All is well!