Friday, March 22, 2013

Miss Hope's Lessons in Marriage

There are a few things I've learned about being married and being in a marriage over the years. I have to admit, some lessons were hard and others not so much. Keep in mind, these are my own personal revelations and don't have to be yours.

MYTH #1:

Don't go to bed mad/angry/upset.

Miss Hope's Lesson:

Really? Why not? If I go to bed mad/angry/upset, that is giving my temper a chance to cool down before I say something I can't take back. The Man and I always end up talking it through after the cool down period and pretty much end up apologizing and expressing our separate viewpoints better to the other. Do we always end up agreeing? Heck no. We just come to a compromise or agree to disagree. I have an awful short term explosive temper. I will run off at the mouth for a few minutes, then I'm fine. I get past stuff pretty fast. Cooling down is a good thing for me.

MYTH #2:

Sleep separately until the anger is gone. Couches are optional or guest bedrooms.

Miss Hope's Lesson:

I think not. My bed is awesome. I have 1200 thread count sheets, memory foam, and an electric blanket. You're crazy if I'm going to go sleep somewhere else. I told my husband at the beginning of our marriage that I would never chase him out of his bed. That's his side and I have my side. We can coexist to sleep and not say a word. And we have done this successfully. Don't let anyone chase you out of your bed. Especially if you have an awesome bed.

MYTH #3:

Money is the cause of many marriages failing. (Okay, this may be true in many situations.)

Miss Hope's Lesson:

You're going to disagree about money. It will make you crazy when there's not enough or you don't know exactly how you want to budget to make it work the best. Guess what? You have what you have. Work with it. The Man and I make priority lists all the time. We have to go back and re-do the list because something comes along you weren't expecting. That's life. You're not always going to get what you want or do what you want to do. Work with it. Work with what you have. Forget about what you don't. Pay your tithes (we're pretty big on this), take care of your family, and pay your bills.

MYTH #4:

High end appliances are worth it.

Miss Hope's Lesson:

They are. We just had to replace our washer and dryer (unexpected and a cause to revamp our priority list). I did the shopping around online because we agreed that I would pick out what I use the most. I found what I wanted but those bad boys were the top of the line. I would get giddy over those machines and what I knew they were capable of doing for my clothes and to make my life easier. We went to the store and saw them in person. I fell deeper in love. We decided to get those particular machines and you know the guilt set in and I immediately started talking myself out of those luxurious pieces of machinery. The Man stood firm in that it was an investment that I would utilize to the fullest. I finally gave in. Let me tell you, high end appliances are worth it if you can swing it. The Priority List hates me, but my clothes love me. Oh, and really try to let your husband learn how to use those machines. I'm very protective of my BMW washer and dryer. The Boy can operate them as he and I do the laundry (yes, my son does better than his sisters when it comes to cleaning clothes). I was gone one day running errands and told my son to wash a load. When I called home, my husband informed me HE put the load in the washer. Mild panic set in until he told me The Boy showed him what to do. Whew.

MYTH #5:

Children come first and foremost.

Miss Hope's Lesson:

Children are important. My three are my heartbeat and I can't imagine a life without them. Children are going to grow up and hopefully leave one day. The spouse won't.  Keep your spouse in your eyesight. That means treat them well. Flirt with them. Flirt in front of the children (clean flirting, people). Show them a strong united front and that you love each other and respect each other. How you and your spouse act is what your children will look for one day. I want my girls to find a good strong man who has a good work ethic and will treat them with love, kindness, and respect. I want my son to find a good strong woman who will hug him, and treat him with love, kindness, and respect.
The Man and I may not always agree on discipline, but we don't demean, belittle, or overstep their authority when one is correcting a child. One of us has corrected a child and later the other will, in private, talk about how maybe that wasn't the right way. Date nights are important. So very important. The Man and I have a date night once a week. We go out with friends for supper and some socializing. It helps us reconnect as a couple so we're not one of those couples you see in a restaurant after the kids are grown just sitting there with nothing to say. We talk about so many different subjects. We turn the radio up when going out to eat and sing and car dance together. Have fun with your children. Have fun as a family. Don't forget to have fun with your spouse.

MYTH #6:

Tolerate your in-laws.

Miss Hope's Lessons:

Do your best to love your in-laws. This is your husband's first family. This is your children's family. This is your family. I'm very very blessed in that I truly love my in-laws. You don't always have to agree with their views. Guess what? They don't have to agree with yours either. Call your mother in law on occasion. Keep her up on what's going on with her son. Over the years, I've called my mother in law and complained about her son. Yes! I went there! Best part? She is so sympathetic because she lives with his father....who acts the same way or does the same things. Yes! Someone who gets it! Your spouse is the best and worse of two individuals...just like your own kids. Seek out the best and know that comes from two people who are your MOTHER and FATHER in law. I'm so sorry for those of you who can't get along with your in-laws. It's a sad situation (I've been there) and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

MYTH #7

No need to use manners after you say "I do."

Miss Hope's Lesson:

Bull. There's even more need to use manners. I am not of the generation that my mother come from where you wait hand and foot on your husband. Growing up, I would just get so mad over how my mother would wait on my father. Fix his plate, fix his drink, fetch this, and fetch that. Boy, have I eaten some humble pie in the past couple years. Since my mother has developed health problems, my Daddy has waited on her hand and foot. He has become the most amazing caregiver and I see the love he has for my mother.This has proven to me that what I saw growing up wasn't servitude. It was my mother's way of showing love for my father as he is doing now for her. I fix my husband's plate most of the time. I'm fixing the kid's and I just keep going. I don't mind. I want to do things for my husband. He fixes me coffee when I ask him to in the evenings. We serve each other and every single time, we say "Thank you." or "I appreciate that." Use simple sweet manners. I promise it will be a good example for your children and your spouse will feel appreciated.

MYTH #8:

One person must always be in control of the t.v. remote.

Miss Hope's Lesson:

Well that's a big fat false. My husband loves sports. With a complete passion. He has given up watching many games because Miss Hope hates football with an all burning passion. I can tolerate some baseball and adore the Olympics. My husband loves him some NASCAR. Bless him. On race day, he has the remote for sure. I don't watch the races as they bore me to tears. I love ghost shows. He tolerates the ghost shows and I tolerate the races. There are many we like in common and if there's a really good game going on? I understand him watching it on the laptop with headphones over one ear, while watching updates on said game on his phone, and watching a show with me. All at the same time. Share the remote. Watch family shows with your kids. Our children do not have televisions in their bedrooms. We feel that spending time together watching television is more important than them all going separate ways after supper. That's our personal belief. One gaming system located in the living room keeps play time on that bad boy to a decent level.

Marriage isn't always easy. But, it's so worth it. I like my husband. He is my friend. My very best goodest friend. I trust him with my life, my children, my heart, and my washing machine and dryer. I look so forward to growing old with this man.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Miss Hope Update

I've had a few ask what's been going on with me personally. I suppose I can give you an update on how life after gastric bypass is treating me.

As of today, I've lost 157 pounds. Yes, you read that right. That number conflicts me on the inside greatly. While I'm so thrilled to have lost that number, I'm saddened and embarrassed that I HAD to lose that number. Thing is? I still need to lose around 20 more pounds to fit in with the medical community's definition of "normal". If I don't lose that last 20, then I'm going to be satisfied. (reason #3 I'm in therapy)

I go through spurts where I'm loyal to the gym. I'll go my required three times a week and do my level best. Then something will happen, like surgery, and I get a little lax and it takes a bit to get back into the groove. I have low blood pressure now. I can't win with that pressure. Before surgery, I was an inch away from being put on blood pressure meds. Now, I almost black out every time I stand up or bend over and straighten up. It's really irritating to be honest. When I was taken back for surgery and they were doing my vitals, the nurse make this low sound of appreciation and said, "You have the blood pressure of a runner!" To which I snorted and replied, "Please. The only running I do is a brisk walk for a good sale." I admit I walk like a fiend on the dreadmill at the gym in my pathetic attempt to condition myself for the Zombie Apocalypse, but it's not an every day all day occurrence.

About the surgery. I was allowed to keep my gall bladder when the bypass was performed. It was in good shape and my surgeon wasn't one to take out something that was working. Alas, a side effect of rapid weight loss is the destruction of the gall bladder. I started having pains under my sternum radiating under my right rib cage after eating certain foods like beef stew, meatballs, or steak. (beef- it was my enemy). After the second attack and a trip to the surgeon's office, he deemed it necessary to remove it. Gah. I put it off yet again and he smirked and told me if it was my gall bladder, and he was pretty positive it was, then the "attacks" would become more frequent and I would end up begging to have it out. Also, he wanted to remove it before it was seriously diseased. If it got in too bad of shape, then laproscopic surgery wouldn't be an option and I would have to be cut open. Well crap. I kept his advice in the back of my mind and went about my business.

In November I went for my well woman checkup. I have given birth three times and STILL hate that visit with a passion of great proportions. Another side effect of GB (gastric bypass) is screwy messed up monthly cycles. I was no exception to that rule. I dealt with horrible cycles that just about incapacitated me for a week at a time. I asked my OB/GYN what could we do. After a moment, she decided to do a biopsy on my uterus (mother trucker, that mess hurt! After she was done, I said...did you get a good sample? She replied yes. I then said...good, because that is the ONLY shot you will ever get to do that!). If the biopsy was fine, then we could do a uterine ablation procedure called Novasure. She gave me the option of a hysterectomy, but I declined as I didn't want the recovery period of that serious procedure. I waited for a week to see what was going down in the uterus. I went in for a follow up and all was fine. That meant we could go ahead with the ablation. Out of curiosity, I asked if she would be willing to go in with my surgeon and do a two-for-one. Ablation and gall bladder removal. She shrugged and said sure. Have his office call her office. Sweet!

I saw the bariatric surgeon and asked if he would willing to do this gall bladder deal and let my OB/GYN do her thing. He shrugged and said sure. His office said they would work out the details. I left thinking it would March or April before their schedules could work it out. Wrong. I got a call within two days saying that February 1 worked for them. Uh...ok. That was less than two weeks away. I agreed and when I got off of the phone, I realized that was the night of my daughter's birthday party. Crap. Mama went into combat mode then and I had that party all settled and ready to go no matter if I was home that evening or if it was decided to keep me over night.

I can't lie. I hate surgery. Hate the thought of it. And here I was going willingly into the operating room to have TWO procedures done. The morning of surgery, I had two NSV's (non-scale victories). First, the hospital gown was a regular one and it was huge! No big girl gown for me! Second, my husband was sitting there with me waiting for go time and I made the comment that I had room on either side of me in the bed. No overspill! The nurse laughed and said that I used the big girl bed last time for bariatric surgery and this was a standard bed. Say what?

My arrogant ass doctor (yes, I said that word and I meant it) was 40 minutes late. My OB doc was fit to be tied and ill as she could be. I can't blame her. He finally strolled in like he had all the time in the world. Next thing I know, these two nurses came in and started whipping up rails, started to roll, and talking 90 miles an hour. Hold up!!! I stopped them and told one...you better put the happy juice going in the I.V. because if you don't? I'm going to panic and make a run for it. She shot back that she needed me alert to get on the gurney in the O.R. I shot right back...I was out of it when I had bariatric surgery and you managed just fine. Knock. Me. Out. She did.

I woke up with my husband sitting there and hurting like nobody's bizness. Once I managed to potty, they let me go home. Laugh if you must, but I had that man stop at Mickey D's enroute home to get me a coffee. I dozed most of the short trip, but that coffee was mine when I was alert enough to drink it.

It was a tough week. I hurt. Badly. Liquid pain killer (liquid works better for GB patients post-op), pajamas, and coffee were my best friends for a solid week. By week 3, I was feeling pretty decent. Except for a sharp pain in my right side. I found out at my post-op visit that the surgeon had to put an extra stitch internally in that incision as I was bleeding and it would dissolve on it's own in about three months. Good to know. The gall bladder was ok looking, but it was going to need to come out. Here's the kicker. When you lose a massive amount of weight, your internal organs have a much bigger area to move around. I had a space in my bowels (he took a look around while inside to make sure all was well) that was heading towards being a kink with an internal hernia. He fixed it and feels like that, in conjunction with the gall bladder, were the roots of my evil. I got to say I think he's right because I'm now able to eat beef with no problem and haven't had any pain like before when I would eat. I have to add here how I love how God works. I was second guessing my decision to have surgery the first of the week. I ended up having the worst cycle in history the week before the ablation AND two gall bladder attacks with hours of pain. I was so ready for that Friday morning to get here. God has to slap me around some times to get a point across. I respect that. I'm stubborn.

FYI for the womenfolk. I have not had a cycle since the procedure. Granted, I would have only had one but it wasn't there! I pray that the procedure works for me and I don't have to worry about that mess again. I'm also hoping that not having heavy cycles will improve my iron levels because I sure could use a boost in that area.

I feel good. I still get irritated that food is still my main focus. Making sure I get protein in and fluids every single day. It still feels like a full time job that will never end. Therapy is showing me that I'm still in the learning phase of this area of my life. Eventually it will be a way of life and I won't have to spend so much time obsessing over food.

I'm still a food addict. I still want stuff that isn't good for me and I want to graze all day sometimes or just forget this altered digestive system for one freaking day and be "normal". Guess what? THIS is my normal now. Yeah, therapy is definitely one of the good decisions I've made in life.

I find it hard to believe when people tell me how good I look. I mean, I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart but Big Girl Brain butts in and tells me it's not true. I am a victim of my own poor choices. I have loose skin (which I knew would happen) that is just crazy. Hopefully, next year at some point, I will have a tummy tuck (insurance will pay to remove the loose skin- I will have to kick in the rest for a contour and shape up of the abdomen area. Oh. Dear. Lord. I just realized I am yet AGAIN planning to go into an operating room willingly. I need to have my head checked again. And again. And again.) when I'm finished losing what my body will allow me to lose.

Don't get me wrong. I see how far I've come and I know it wasn't "free". I am human. I see my flaws before I see the positive. I really need to get past that.

Can I offer up a small piece of advice? You don't have to take it, but I sure wish you would consider it. When you come across someone who has had a weight loss surgery, PLEASE don't feel compelled to tell them that your best friend's second cousin's Aunt's daughter had this surgery and she gained ALL her weight back. We really don't need to hear that. We know we can gain the weight back. You telling us this is like a hammer on a glass window. All we hear is "You look good now, but you're going to fail and be obese again." Just don't, okay? Each person is different and telling these stories is an insult to those who have had this surgery and maintained their loss. We, the ones who have braved the knife, want to be successful. We want to know we made the right decision for our health. Don't knock us down. We're like pregnant women. Don't tell us horror stories about births gone wrong. It's just not necessary. Thanks.

I don't have a picture because, again, Big Girl Brain never thinks she looks good enough to take one for the update picture. I will take one within the week and have the oldest work her magic for a collage. Remember now, when you see me, you'll see a person who's lost weight. I see a person who has loose skin under her neck, more wrinkles around the eyes, and skin baggage around the middle area.

Positives from the past six months are:

-Crossing my legs. I never get tired of crossing my legs.
-Wearing tall boots with skinny jeans or leggings. I am a complete diva in my mind when I wear those boots.
-Discovering that the new hair growing on my head is curly. Really curly. To the point my stylist finally told me it was time to stop fighting it and work with it. Wait til you see it.
-Finally agreeing to fly to see my in-laws this summer. I haven't flown in ten years because I didn't want to buy another seat. True story. That, and I hate flying.
-Having amazing friends that are surely so exhausted from hearing the ups and down from this surgery, yet still talk me through the hard parts and lift me up when I need them to do so. Thank you, Neighbor Debbie and Sherry Lou!
-My family has adjusted to my new way of eating. My almost 9 year old son knows what Mama can't have and he doesn't mind reminding me. I need that.

I suppose I need to quit saying life after gastric bypass eventually. It's simply life. My life. I'm loving it and working on loving it more and more each day. My marriage is strong and we celebrate ten years this September! The Man has something up his sleeve and I'm content to sit back and wait for it to happen. My children are beautiful and healthy. Each child is walking their own path and I'm lucky enough to be along for the ride to shake the pom poms when they succeed and hug them when it doesn't go just right. 

Yeah, it's simply just life.



Monday, March 04, 2013

Fourteen is the new Twenty

Yeah...hello. I must be getting old for sure because time has flown by and I really didn't realize how long it had been since my last post. Have I been busy? I honestly have. In the past couple of weeks my middle child voiced to me how upset she was with me. I was confused. What had I done?

It was what I hadn't done.

Her birthday blog post.

* Apologies to you, Internets. I am halfway through writing this thing and it is long. I guess that's what happens when you don't blog for a while? Go ahead and grab a beverage...you're going to need it.*

I suppose I need to find that missing birthday post now, don't you?

On February 6, I finally had to face the fact that my baby girl had both feet in the teenage world. She turned 14 and I also had to admit she was going to start high school next year. I'm sorry, what? Surely, the math must be wrong. She is my baby girl. The one who loves to sit and read and fly below the radar.

Ahhh..time waits for not one single soul.

Allow me to fill you in on her busy life since we last spoke.



In September, she came home from school and informed me that her chorus teacher suggested she try out for the local theater group and audition for the Christmas Carol musical. I went to the website and was immediately overwhelmed. I sarcastically shot back, "And is she going to go with us to this so called audition?" The reply after school the next day was an absolute yes.

Fast forward a week or two and we are two parents and a school chorus teacher at a church....in a room...with over a hundred kids. We had to fill out an application with all her experience. A theater resume, if you will. One of the lead volunteers running the show is hollering something about "Please note on your application if any rehearsals interfere with cotillion." Are you kidding me? I discovered that a majority of these kids auditioning went to fine art schools, took lessons hours a day, and lived for this way of life. Well, crap. I knew right then and there we were in over our heads.

I asked Makenna if she was sure she wanted to do this. She was firm in her decision and when they took her back with a small group to learn a song, sing it, and speak with a British accent, she took off without looking back.

Then we waited for a couple of weeks. We checked the website every single day (okay, maybe a few dozen times a day) to see if maybe, just maybe, she made the ensemble and could sing in the background. We pretty much psyched ourselves and Makenna not to make it. (Seriously, the crowd of children auditioning was just crazy.) Imagine my surprise when I opened the website one morning before school and there was her name! In the ensemble. Woot!

I took her to the first practice and when she got in the truck afterwards, she literally glowed. She had found her people. People who loved the sing and who were really good at doing that.

It was a commitment that we supported and she never missed a rehearsal/practice. In fact, she was in district honors chorus for school and after her performance, we literally ran from the building to get across town so she could make the last of practice. She didn't want to miss a minute. As The Man was in a funky shift work kind of deal, there were many nights with me and my son sitting in the Tahoe for hours while she sang inside. He was smooth and never gave me issue. When I would take him inside to potty, I would tiptoe to the door and listen to the group singing. I was just blown away.

One night she jumped up in the truck with this huge pile of papers. I said...what is this? She said a copy of the script. Know what I got it? I GOT A SPEAKING PART! Yes, she did. She had four words to say in her very first play. I didn't know this at the time, but it's kind of a good thing to pull that off.

The week of performance, we moved from practice place to the theater itself. Wow. The Imperial Theater was a sight to behold. The history in this place was just amazing. I sat with other parents in the dark seats and watched the magic of pulling a play together. I heard the director holler insults and have tantrums of the Hollywood variety (or what I assume to be the diva attitude of Hollywood). I didn't know if they were going to be able to have a play by week's end, but they sure enough pulled it off.

She missed two days of school doing day performances for local schools. (I found out later this was the dress rehearsals for the weekend play and the days were excused from school as they qualified for public volunteers hours.) Every single show was better than the last. I pulled Stage Mom duty a couple of times. The kids are put up in a room over the lobby. It is dank, old, smelly, and a way to keep them corralled. They would come down the stairs, go down the alley to the back of the theater when it was their turn to perform. I graciously declined staying up in the room with thirty plus kids running around on adrenaline. My kid was potty trained and knew how to act. I had no patience for the others. So, I did alley duty. No kid was allowed to go down the alley without an adult watching and protecting. During day performances, I became great friends with the coffee shop next door. The Sunday afternoon performance of alley duty? I took a thermos of coffee.

Our family dressed up in Sunday finery and attended the Saturday evening performance. Paige said it was more fun watching me watch the play. By this time, I knew it pretty much word for word and I was leaned forward in my seat watching each scene intently, mouthing along with the talented actors on stage. I sang every song that was performed (we still go around the house singing a favorite or two to this day). I almost couldn't see my child on stage because of the tears of pride...or was it exhaustion? (Performance weeks makes for long hours. I'm talking midnight here.)

She had been bitten. By the Stage Bug. She has found a new love called the stage. It was an amazing experience and she was off to audition for more more more!!! Since then, she has auditioned for two other plays, but sadly didn't make either one. There are more to be had and acting camp is in her future this summer. I have a feeling we'll be doing the Christmas Carol again this year.

Miss Thing has also discovered a desire to sew. To make things she can wear and show her fashion flair. She can't follow a pattern, but she loves a good you of tube tutorial. She has claimed the playroom/guest room as her sewing room and she will lock herself away for hours whipping up some creation. She saves her money for trips to Joann's or Hobby Lobby so she can spend it all on fabric and craft supplies. The mall is an afterthought and she has no desire to hang out there with groups of kids her age.

She loves a wig, too. I believe her hair to be amazing and I refuse to let her cut it off or color it some ungodly color. The compromise is a wig. Santa brought her a bunch of Styrofoam mannequin heads so she could carefully place those wigs and whatever hat is popular at the moment (did I mention the love of hats, too?).

How many of you are Whovians out there? You know who you are. This child is a great fan of Doctor Who. Her favorite is the tenth doctor, but she tolerates the eleventh one well. I've watched a few episodes and it's a pretty interesting series. I decided to see if I could pull off a Doctor Who themed birthday party. She was giddy with excitement. We did loads of research and I was bummed that most everything Doctor Who related would have to be ordered from the UK. I put out a plea on the face of books and was shocked at how many Whovians came out of the woodwork to help me give this child an amazing party. The 11th Doctor wears a fez. She insisted everyone coming needed a fez. Gah. I didn't want to spend the money. What did she do? Bought the material and made them herself.

During the planning, it was discovered I was to have some surgery (more details in a later post). I was frantic to have this party fully ready to go as it was the night of my day surgery. I wasn't going to punish her because I had to get a few cuts. I had every detail taken care of before I left for the hospital that morning. The pizza was ordered, paid for, and to be delivered that evening. The cake was there and ready to go. All that had to happen was kids show up, Dad and Sissy chaperon, and let the fun happen!

I still can't believe it all went down without a hitch. I was still loopy from surgery, but managed to hang until around 9:00 p.m. The kids were fantastic and had an amazing time. The limit to invite was ten and nine made it. They were so sweet to me and I don't remember too awful much. (Yay for liquid painkillers!)

Now here comes the mushy part.

Makenna, you have no idea on this earth how proud I am of you. You make my heart swell with love and amazement at all you do. You have dreams and you're not afraid to chase them. If there is a task you want to do, you jump in with dogged determination and come out the other side successful. Your heart is generous and you love your family and friends fully. I am secretly sad that you will be grown and ready to chase those dreams into the world before I'm ready to let you go. I love you dearly and will always be the one in the audience clapping like crazy and telling everyone around me, "THAT'S MY BABY!!"  Thank you. Thank you for letting me be a part of your dreams, your thoughts, your journey.

*sniff*

Now, are you all ready for a few pictures?

This was her microphone she wore. This was at a last late rehearsal. No pictures allowed of the play itself due to copyright issues. Bummer.
 
 
Here is Martha Cratchit. She is the eldest daughter of Bob. Big sister to Tiny Tim. This is the alley behind her to the back of the theater. Not a dark scary place at all.
 

Opening night! The weather was beautiful so The Man, Boy, and myself sat outside on park benches and waited to go inside.

Sunday performance. A little on the tired side. She sat downstairs outside with  me to get a breath of fresh air.

Boy, does she look tired here! That would be snow from the last scene in her hair. She went through every performance and avoided that plastic snow until the last show. They seemed to try to use the last of it and everyone was covered.

Night before the party. We invited the tenth Doctor to attend in cut out form. This thrilled her beyond belief to have him there.
 

And here is the tardis. The time traveling machine. It and the Doctor now reside in her room.
 

So thankful for an amazing bakery that saw my vision and rose to the challenge of making a tardis cake. A picture is displayed on their face of book pages. The background is a galaxy gray with fairy dust mixed in to make it sparkle like stars. We all agree that we will never have a cake without fairy dust mixed in to make it sparkle.


Yes, this is The Shirt she has worn since she was 8 years old. I'm wondering if she'll be able to wear it for at least ten more years? That's my girl. The Birthday Princess.
 
 
 
 
Happy Birthday, Makenna!
 
 
 
We'll have to do a post on her wigs so you can see the different looks she has now. Thanks for sticking with me. There are quite a few things to catch up on so I'll be back very soon.





Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Simply a Good Marriage...

I've encountered a few questions here and there in the past year related to my surgery. Most are easy to answer...others make me stop and think a moment or two.

The one question I've been asked time and again is "How's your marriage? Is it better or worse?" Even my therapist has asked me that same question at least twice (is she trying to trip me up and get a different answer?)

I'll be glad to answer that question.

My marriage is amazing.

It is better than amazing. It's simply over the moon.

Nope. I'm not lying. Hand on the Bible. (and we all know how I love me some Jesus) I am telling the honest full complete truth.

I would have never had this surgery if I didn't have the support of my husband behind me 110%. Sure, it was ultimately my decision to make, but I needed him to be standing beside me every step of the way. And he has. He went to the seminars with me, doctor's appointments, pre-op appointments, and he was there when they wheeled me back to surgery and was waiting when I got back to the room. He knows as much as I do about the post-op life and keeps a loving eye on me when I eat to make sure I'm okay. He doesn't hover over me, but I know he's watching and when the food addiction wants to take control again, he's there to help me get a handle on that raging monster.

Many marriages don't survive a spouse having a drastic weight loss. Insecurities rise to the surface and the marriage can drown. Many WLS* patients who are in unhappy marriages pre-op find confidence that was deeply hidden after the weight loss and will spread their wings. My wings were never clipped so I never worried about my marriage drowning in the aftermath.

We have taken this walk together. I'm about 35 lbs smaller than when we met and started dating. Oh yeah....this man is loving the new and improved Miss Hope. I've rediscovered confidence I forgot existed. Then again, I'm paranoid and very reluctant to wear more fitted clothing. So many times I put an outfit on and critique it in the mirror (usually on Sunday mornings before church) and when I'm an inch away from changing into something else....he reassures me that it's fine and I believe him. He has ALWAYS called me "Beautiful", even when I didn't believe him because I knew what I looked like in the mirror. I don't know if I've mentioned this, but one day we were going on base/post and I looked at my military I.D. and then I put it beside my face and said, "Wow! Look at this!" He glanced over and did a double take. He then said the most memorable thing. He said..."Ya know, I never saw you like that. I just saw my beautiful wife."

Please, don't think we're not a normal couple. We disagree on occasion. I backseat drive better than anyone I know and it gets me lots of sideways eye rolls and huffs of exasperation. I also PMS like nobody's business once a month, and still he stays. I tend to nag when I ask for something to be done and weeks later I'm still waiting. Yet, here he stays.

Tomorrow is our 9 year wedding anniversary. We joke all the time that we've known each other 11 years total and STILL LIKE EACH OTHER! I can't imagine my life without him. I want to grow old with this man. I want to finish raising our kids, spoil grankids, and travel in our golden years with this man.

I am grateful my husband had an amazing upbringing with wonderful parents. I love his parents with all my heart and wish we lived closer to each other all the time. Anyone who knows my in-law's can testify I'm telling the truth. Neighbor Debbie and I share custody of them at times and she claims them for her own, too. I know I'm blessed to have such a loving relationship with my mother and father in-law. I cherish it and hold it close. They did an amazing job raising my husband (although my FIL would be glad to tell you a few stories about raising The Man that would make you think a little different!) and they love their grandchildren fully and completely. My children know the love of grandparents even though distance separates them. Thank you, Mrs. M and Mr. C!!! I owe you a debt of gratitude!

Raising kids isn't easy, either. This Man has been the most amazing father to my three babies. He may butt heads with the oldest at least once a week, but that gal knows her Daddy loves her. In fact, she'll text him quicker than she will me! The middle child is comfortable and confident in his love. They give each other a hard time and pick like crazy on each other, but she's quick to sit on his lap like she's still 2 years old when she needs a Daddy moment. Oh, that boy of ours. He is quite the handful, but that boy loves his Dad and his favorite time is when they go every three weeks to get a haircut and stop at the Waffle House for breakfast. It's their time and it's special. I thank God all the time for letting this man be the Father he is to these incredible people we've been blessed to raise.

I appreciate every single time he opens a door for me. I appreciate how he never fails to tell me I look nice/good/beautiful when we go somewhere. I appreciate how when we're sitting in the evenings watching t.v. and I look over at him and say..."Hey, I'll give you a dollar if you fix me something to drink (usually coffee)." and he will get up and do it. (I probably owe him a few hundred bucks by now.) I appreciate how he loves me and accepts me as I am....even when I can't.

Happy Anniversary, Honey. I look forward to many many more with you. There's nothing better than being able to tell you I love you every single day and mean it from the bottom of my heart.









*WLS-Weight Loss Surgery

Monday, September 10, 2012

New All the Way Around School Year

I am aware my younger two have been back in school a month. My College Kid has been walking the campus for a few weeks now. I didn't do the annual back to school picture of the youngest two as I wanted to include the oldest in on the post, too. Add in the fact that when the younger two started, I was wide open getting the oldest prepared to leave the nest. Holy cow! Preparing a kid to have their own place is expensive! I kept thinking of things I felt she would need and we had the Tahoe packed to the limit and her car when we took her that big Friday.

Of course, I took pictures to share with you all. I thought I'd share some and explain as we go. Kind of like an Edge Show and Tell post. Won't you come along for our first day pictures?


First day of 8th grade. For the first time since she was three years old, she has bangs. Granted, she was still learning how to make them work, but she loves them. I can't believe this tiny kid will be in high school next year!!


Yeah, she has personality. 


 When we went school shopping, this boy took off in the store after asking his size and did a little shopping of his own. I was kind of impressed. This is the shirt he picked out for his first day and I think he did pretty good. Man, that's a good looking guy!!




He picked out his backpack. I have to laugh at him wearing camouflage shorts. He is the exact opposite of a boy who wears camo. He loves those shorts, but I find it hard to match a shirt! I know. I know. Everything is supposed to go with camouflage. Not in my mind, people.


 We had the third row of seats down and this vehicle was packed to the limits that Friday morning. I told my husband that if we got hit on the road, we would literally explode.




 See this small amount of stuff? When we were checking Paige in to get her keys, I stayed in the truck with The Boy. This young kid pulled up in a small beater pickup truck beside us. He had an old bicycle thrown in the back and in his truck was a garbage bag, a blanket, a pillow, and cardboard box. That's it. All his worldly goods he thought important. I started laughing because I know that's how boys roll. That kid had less stuff than this pile right here.




We stopped for breakfast on the way. We laughed. We drank coffee. I enjoyed every single second I had with my girl. Yes, her siblings went with us. The Boy's psychiatrist felt it might be a good thing to take him to see where Sissy was going to live. It gives him a picture in his mind and it truly helped with the initial separation. It was definitely a family affair.



I may have texted my child more than a few times to beg for a first day of school picture. I threw the whole "I have one since you were in 3k so pleeeeeaaaaasssseeeee". She's a good girl and Mama got her picture. Look at my girl all growed up!!
 
 
 
It's been an adjustment all the way around. Third grade now has real grades! (Don't get me started over the past two years where he simply got S's). I admit I was nervous about the real grades and we worked in a 3rd grade workbook all summer and talked about grades and how important they are. I am THRILLED to say he got his interim report last week and has 100 averages thus far. Also, his teacher called to tell me he's been moved to a higher math level class. Chances are he'll be tested for gifted in the Spring. Who's bustin' buttons right now? This Mama!! Homework is a different story. It looks like the ADHD meds are wearing off earlier due to him taking them earlier in the day. He may have to take a "piggyback" medication in the afternoons so he can focus on homework and have calmer evenings. We're still contemplating this.
 
Eighth grade is what my Makenna loves. She has every single class with her best friend. Projects are the norm every single week and she never complains. Chorus is her passion and she's trying out for all-state this year. She's already researching fine art degrees. What?? I just tell her she can succeed greatly at whatever she decides. I love how this kid has a great group of friends and she's finally getting a little social on the weekends. She's always been content to sit at home, but now she's wanting to do sleep overs and go places! YaY....I think.
 
 
College has been an eye opener for Paige. First thing she realized is that there is much walking to be done. She's finding her way and we text quite a bit. I send her pictures of Prissy and her siblings on a regular basis. She even got a picture of her brother's first interim report. I have vowed to keep her involved in their lives and vice versa. She's had her car towed with a call full of panic to her Daddy. God bless the man because he can figure it all out over the phone and she had it back within the hour. She's making friends and exploring her new area. This past weekend, the air conditioner went out in her room/dorm/apartment. My child is not one to sweat so she got busy finding out how to fix her air. Suffice it to say, they will be getting a new motor in their A/C today. She was put out that her room mates were just going to sit there and swelter and suffer. I told her that's why I've made her do the things I did while she was growing up. You have to prepare these kids to take care of themselves! Another example to show you is the first week, she was taking the garbage out and chatted with the maintenance man. He was disgusted that the first night, there were a half dozen calls to come plunge toilets. The kids had no idea how to plunge a toilet. Paige blinked and informed him she's been plunging toilets since she was tall enough to do so. In fact, her Mama bought one and it was sitting beside her toilet at that moment. He was thrilled to hear this. I miss that girl with every fiber of my being, but I am so proud that she's out there and taking care of herself and having fun.
 
It's been interesting the past month for sure. I'm hanging in there and watching my kids grow at the speed of light. It feels like I'm going to blink and it will be Christmas morning!
 



Monday, August 20, 2012

One Blessed Year Later.....


(image courtesy of google images)
Well, hello!! Welcome to my celebration! Yes, my friends, it's been ONE year since my surgery. August 18, 2011 happened to be one serious life changing day for this ol' gal. 

Some people in the weight loss community call this a Surgiversary. I'm cool with that. I don't really remember being in the world much this time last year. Little did I know just how much life would be changing for me.

Since my last post wasn't the greatest in being positive, I have deemed my celebration post to be all positive.

Being positive will allow me to tell you about some of the NSV's I've experienced in the past twelve months. An NSV is a Non-Scale Victory. It's those little and big things that are not related to the scale. I've had a few that have made me happy, cry a little, and just plain out do a happy dance.

I think my favorite one is being able to cross my legs. You read that right. I love being able to cross my legs like a lady and not hurt. I was able to do this comfortably a few months ago and every single time I do it, I grin on the inside.

I've lost 8 sizes in clothes. Think about that a minute. Women's clothes go by 2's, you know (2,4,6, and etc). Suffice it to say, I was on the high end of the plus size spectrum. I now shop in the misses department with ease. Ha. No, I don't. The first time I went in the misses section was ....well, it was hard. My husband and I went to a store after supper out with the friends one night. I needed some pants. All of mine were falling off. He did a pit stop at the bathroom and I headed on to see to what I could find. I automatically went to the plus size section. When I got there, I realized the clothes were too big. I just stood there a minute. I walked over to the misses section and just stood there again. When my husband found me, I was literally about in tears because I was so overwhelmed and didn't know where to start. The choices! The styles! Oh my!! It's funny now, but it sure wasn't funny then. It's been 14 years since I've been able to shop in a section where the tags read small, medium, and large.

My fingers are thinner now. Since ring sizes go by half sizes, we can safely say the size 10.5 I wore before can't compare with the size 7 I can wear now. Yes, another eight sizes lost in the hands. Just within the past couple of weeks I had to go buy a simple wedding band. My original rings fell off long ago and the ring of my Mama's was too loose for me to feel safe wearing.

Let's talk about shoe sizes, too, shall we? I've worn a size 10 since I was ten years old. No joke. Firm foundation is what my Daddy has always called it. When I lost a hundred pounds fifteen years ago, I got down to a size 9. (I still miss those shoes!) Giving birth twice after that weight loss plus putting on a massive amount of weight, I've flirted with some size 11 shoes in the past couple of years. I've got plenty of size 10's, but some 11's have snuck into my closet. Lately, I've been buying size 9.5 shoes.

While on the subject of shoes, guess who has some sassy  heels? Yeah, baby, this GIRL has some heels. And you know what?? I can wear them without dying!! They are actually comfortable! And I feel awesome wearing them, too!

I am off of my cholesterol medication. That was HUGE for me. Having to take that medication scared me. In my mind, that was flirting with danger right there. My family doctor took me off of that medication within a couple months of the surgery and I've had blood tests to check for it every three months since then. I am officially off of it and not worried about it now.

My blood pressure blows my mind. I was an inch away from being put on medication before surgery. I was going to be just like my Mama and on blood pressure medication when I hit my 40's. Well, lo and behold, that stupid pressure has gone the opposite direction! Now, I have low blood pressure and get the dizzies when I stand up. My pulse is lower and I honestly don't feel like my body is struggling like it was 13 months ago.

What about sweat? Anyone who is overweight knows sweat intimately. It's what happens all the time no matter what the weather is like. Summer time is hard, especially in The South. There's nothing like trying to put on a little makeup during the summer and it basically starts melting off before you hit the front door. Lord help when you hit the humidity. There goes the rest of it down the drain. It has been wonderful not sweating all the time. In fact, I stay cold in buildings and keep coats in the trunk of the car. I feel sure I will be wearing thermal underwear this winter as my core temperature struggles to regulate. I read that may be problem for a year or two while my body adjusts. I'm perfectly fine with that.

I'm in therapy now. Can I just say I just love me some good therapy? I have no shame in admitting I need help with figuring out the root of my food addiction. I want to fix it. If I can't fix it, I want to understand it and have better tools in my arsenal to fight that demon that lives inside of me. I am very blessed that a renowned psychologist who specializes in addictions and treating WLS patients lives in this area. We're really digging into my psyche and I may fall apart before all is said and done, but if I do? Putting the pieces back together to make a better Miss Hope is worth it.

Pain is not a constant in my life anymore. I think I do have a tad bit of arthritis in my left hip, but years of being overweight and three pregnancies are big contributing factors with that issue. Before, just standing at the washing machine killed my back. Standing at the stove crippled my back with pain. Walking long distances (like simple grocery shopping throughout a grocery store) would almost put me in tears. I have none of those issues now. I can shop like a champ, walk the mall, and wash clothes all day long.

These are just a few NSV's that I wanted to share. I'm sure there are more, but I don't want to bore you all too much. You've been too patient with me like it is. I'm excited to experience more this upcoming year.

I...uh...went through my pictures trying to figure out what to share with you. I am ashamed of how bad I looked before surgery. Recently, a friend asked how much weight I had lost and I told them I was almost embarrassed to say because it meant I came from a bad place. I need to stop that. I made some poor choices with my food, health, and body. I stepped up and am now trying my best to work with this amazing tool I've been given so as to improve my food choices, my health, and my body. Yes, it was bad. Now it's not so much.

Thank you for hanging with me the past year. So many of you have supported me and I am forever grateful. The battle hasn't been won, but it's been a heck of a fight.

One year after surgery (give or take a day because you really don't start losing until the week after because of surgery and such).........


I HAVE LOST 140 LBS !!!!!!!!


(clicking on the collage should make it bigger for you to see. My computer guru is at college now and I had to muddle my way through this thing. Sorry!)


 This was me in January of 2011 during a visit for Neighbor Greg's Military Retirement. Silly me thought if the picture was from the neck up, you couldn't see the bad part. Yeah.






This was in the past month. Neighbor Debbie gave me that lovely necklace for my birthday and when I wore it to church, I took a picture for her as proof I loved it.



I went this morning for my one year visit with the surgeon. He said he declares me a success thus far. So do I. All my nutrition levels are good and I am to keep doing what I'm doing. I do believe I shall. I'm having a few issues with the gall bladder and it will probably have to come out sooner rather than later. Eh, that's pretty standard for WLS kids.  (For some reason, the gall bladder surgery TERRIFIES me.) He also said my coffee addiction love is okay, too.

I'm feeling pretty decent, Internets. Yep...pretty dang decent.





Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Preparing for Big Kid School

I'm pretty sure people are tired of my Book of Faces status updates talking about my kid going to college this Friday.

I was unprepared for how involved a person can get trying to make sure their child is going to have what they need when they are away from home.

It literally looks like Dorms R Us exploded in my living room. I have under bed containers (3) lined up with different things in them. I have smaller containers lined up waiting to be filled. I have bags...no, really... BAGS of stuff lined up full to the brim. There are bags in the kitchen and another under bed container already full of dried goods, spices, oh you name it.

The Man says he feels like an ATM machine. He now dreads when I head out to run errands because I'm texting him every hour with how much I spent at what store. (He has a nifty budget program he's using for us and he likes to input every single thing so I bombard him with texts stating stores and amounts all the time.)

Today is bonding day for The Man and the College Kid. They took her car first thing to the dealer to have it thoroughly checked out. I am already cringing because I feel sure two new tires will be required. They get to go to two doctor appointments for the kid, fill prescriptions on base/post for The Man, and to top the day off? They get to sit at the I.D. place on base/post for a few hours to update her military I.D. and insurance information.

Guess what I get to do while they do all that fun stuff? I get to stay home and do the mountains of laundry that are sitting in my hallway. Last night, my girl decided doing some laundry to have clean clothes to take with her would be a grand idea. Ya think? I feel for her future spouse. I hope they know how to do laundry because that sister will put it off until the last minute....like a month later if she can help it.

To top it all off? For a whole year I have waited and waited for a fever blister to appear. I've had those stupid things since high school and have never gone more than a few months without battling one. I was SURE I would have to fight them after my surgery because of the stress, compromised immune system, and all that goes with triggering fever blisters. Nope. Haven't had a one the whole year.

Until yesterday.

Apparently, having a child go off to college is a fantastic trigger for the ol' fever blister. It's been so long since I've had one, I almost had a mild panic attack because I couldn't remember where the cream was I'm supposed to use. Good thing I out smarted myself because it was in the basket that holds mine and Paige's medicines. Crisis averted.

Three days.

I can make it three days.

I can pack this incredibly huge pile of stuff in two vehicles and take my child to Big Kid School and leave her there.

I can do this.

Some times?

There's just not enough coffee.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Consumed

Hi. I just finished writing this post and realized..wow, it's long. Apologies if you're bored, but I'm keeping it real. You might want to fix a fresh beverage or pack a snack before reading. And as always....your comments and feedback are appreciated.




How's everyone doing this fine hot summer? We're tooling right along here in the extremely hot Southeast USA. I had an outing this weekend with some ladies and while eating supper, they asked many questions about my surgery and how things are going. One made the comment that I needed to blog about my experiences more than I have. So, I figured I would take a minute to talk a little bit more about myself and what's been going down in the life of Miss Hope.

Next month is my one year anniversary since the change of my life. I will take that time to tell you all about the good side and how much better my health is and blah blah and etc. Right now, I'll tell you how consumed I am and may be just a tad overwhelmed at times.

Before surgery, I never worried about eating. That's kind of obvious because I was what is called SMO (super morbid obese). *shudder* I hate that I let my body get to that term in my medical files. How can I put this to explain what I'm trying to say?

Let's try this. How many of you really worry about what you're going to eat for your next meal? You eat breakfast, lunch, supper, and maybe a snack or two. Not much thought goes into it unless you're cooking a big meal and need prior preparation. Before surgery, I ate what I wanted for breakfast, if I even ate breakfast. No joke. I am not a breakfast eater and couldn't understand why on earth I got so big when I wasn't eating twenty four hours a day. I never ate a super huge lunch, either. Sandwich and chips were fine or just the sandwich alone. I always tried to fix a good hearty supper (I am Southern so think of hearty in capital letters) for the family and I took full advantage of that meal. It was nothing for me to ask the hubby to bake up some peanut butter cookies maybe every other month and sit and eat a plate straight from the oven.

If I thought about food, it was along the lines of  "hmm, I just finished lunch, wonder what I can whip up for supper or where can we go eat?" You think about food, but it brings warm fuzzies because you just adore it.

All that changed on August 18, 2011.

I wasn't prepared.

I wasn't prepared for how my world would change so drastically on that day.

I had some serious buyer's remorse in the few weeks after surgery. I know now that having that feeling is normal and common. I cried to my husband as I smelled all this wonderful stuff I couldn't eat. I wailed to my family, "What have I done to myself? How could I do this?? I will never eat agaaaaaaaainnnnn!!!"

Yeah, it got ugly, people.

Little did I know that we store estrogen in our fat cells and Miss Hope had fat cells popping left and right so the hormones were going off like a ticker tape parade that wouldn't end. I was a big pot of a hot mess. (Apologies if I've mentioned this in a previous post, but if I could prepare one person going to have this surgery about anything afterwards, this is it right here.)

My cycle went completely bonkers on me, because yet again....hormones being released at a crazy rate into my system. At my six week post-op visit, I told the smug acting doctor who replaced my amazing surgeon that he really needed to warn women about this because I thought I was dying. Seriously. I went to my family doctor just knowing I was dying and she calmed me down and assured me that I was totally normal and what was going on was normal, too. Just to let you know, I did try to convince the wonderful Dr. C to remove my uterus while he was doing the gastric bypass and he said, "1. I don't mess with girly parts. (yes, he said that) and 2. I want to take as little time as possible with surgery for your sake." I remember looking at him and saying, "Surely, you got a golf buddy who is an ob/gyn who could slip in beside you?" Yeah, I wish I had pushed that a little harder.

I still have my gall bladder, too. Most surgeons will go ahead and remove a gall bladder during WLS (weight loss surgery) because chances are you will have it removed within 18 months or less due to massive and quick weight loss. I think I had an issue with it a few months ago and went in to see Dr. Smug. He told me he believes in yanking it out and taking a look around while inside. BEHOLD! I felt immediately better! It was a miracle! I kid you not. I haven't had any issues since, but I've tried to watch what I eat so as not to aggravate it further. Miss Hope doesn't feel like going under again any time soon.

Now to address the eating part.

Gah.

Before surgery, I would eat what I wanted. Now? I eat to stay alive. Big difference.

And it's hard. Harder than I thought it would be. Impossible? Not at all. Just different than my life had been up until that point.

I am told that I need to get in 60-80 grams of protein a day. 64 or more ounces of fluid that has no sugar is required.

People, that is hard to do. Count one day as you eat and see for yourself. I really don't want this post to turn into a long boring piece about what I eat day by day, so suffice it to say it is not easy. I can only eat around 3/4 to one cup of food per sitting. Some days my system is grouchy and I'm lucky to get in a 1/2 cup of food. If you don't eat enough protein, you won't lose weight. True story. Your body will hang onto every single thing you ingest because it believes you are trying to starve yourself. Talk about messing with your mind!

I have become consumed with food. I hate that part. I hate that before I loved food and never worried about fat, protein and carb content. I hate that now I am obsessed with making sure I give my body what it needs to survive and lose what it needs to lose. I hate that I end up talking about it with Neighbor Debbie and Sherry Lou so much because I know they're bored senseless with my ramblings. God bless 'em, though, because they have been such amazing support and never act like I'm bugging them. They listen. They make suggestions. They keep me sane. I would literally be locked up by now if it wasn't for my husband, children (they police me "have you had enough to drink, Mama? Have you had enough protein today?"), Neighbor Debbie, Neighbor Greg, Big J and Sherry Lou. These people are on my Christmas List from now on and forever.

I can't have rice, breads, pastas, or sweets. You know, all that is Southern and good. It will cause the dumping episode. (posted the dumping link before but it helps you understand better) I am scared of the dumping syndrome. I've had it happen a couple of times because of crazy reasons. I didn't do it intentionally, but sugar/carbs hide in food that you don't know about and I've been caught unawares. I miss these foods. Wait, let me see if I can make you understand. I MISS THESE FOODS. With every fiber of my being.

Addiction much? Many WLS patients scoff when you mention food addiction. I believe it exists and I have it. Let me ask you this. Why do we have pity and label someone who is an alcoholic or hooked on drugs an addict and we're all "Let's help them! Put them in rehab! Let's get them straight!" They tell the addict to avoid the situations where alcohol is involved. Get away from that former life. Hey, Drug Addict, you need to avoid the "friends" you had before and get away from that former life, too! Uh...where do I go? I can't avoid my family. I love them. I can't avoid food. I kinda need it to live. I have triggers just like the alcoholic. If I were to eat a helping of pasta, I would want more. Even if it made me sick as a dog from dumping syndrome.

So, what do I do? I watch others eat what I can't have. I console myself with the fact that I've had enough of these foods in my life time to last five life times. Will I ever be able to eat them again? Probably. The further out from surgery you get, the more you are able to tolerate. I don't want to, though. I watched my Grandaddy be an alcoholic until I was six years old (yes, I remember his drinking) and after that, he was a recovering alcoholic until his death ten years ago. I hope and pray I can be as strong as he was and just put the bad away and concentrate on the good.

A few weeks ago, I didn't feel like cooking supper one night. I had some frozen pizzas in the freezer for a time such as this and I told The Man to cook 'em up for himself and the kids. For the first time since surgery, I was affected. Those pizzas smelled so good cooking, I couldn't hardly stand it. You know the cartoons where the subject is literally lifted off of the ground and lured somewhere by the aroma of something good? That's what I felt like. I stayed in the living room while they ate supper and sipped a protein shake. The Man went to run an errand and while he was gone, I walked in the kitchen. Big mistake. HUGE mistake. I just stood there and looked at that pizza with such longing. They had cooked a really thin crust cheese pizza for my son. I picked up a piece. I took a bite. I took another bite. I ate the whole piece. It wasn't a big piece, but I ate it. Then I went into panic mode and waiting for the dumping syndrome to begin. It didn't. Crap. What did I do? I ate another small piece. Son of a gun. What on earth was wrong with me??? I did feel a tad yucky but not a full fledged gonna die episode. (Had to tell you this after proofreading. When The Man got home, I told him I had a confession and then told him about the pizza. His response? "We'll have to work hard to make sure it doesn't happen again." We. He said "we". That's how he rolls. We're in this together. I loved him so good in that moment.)

I got scared. No, I was terrified. I ate something I wasn't supposed to eat.

The next morning, I called the therapist associated with my surgeon's office to make an appointment. She had a cancellation that week and I snatched it up. When I went into that appointment, I was a woman on a mission. I had been working on my body for almost 11 months at that time but never really worked on my head. It was time. Now, I want to go in my brain and find out the root of this addiction and see if I can find a way to control it. She was thrilled that I was terrified after eating the pizza. It meant I was aware and ready to fix the upstairs portion to match the downstairs. I believe that will be the best call I've made in a long time.

I've done much better since then. I have too much to lose, Literally and figuratively. I don't want to go through the surgery to reroute my insides, only to out eat all that hard work. I want to succeed with all my heart, mind, and soul.

I've said this before and I'll say it again and again. Weight loss surgery is NOT the easy way out. It's the last resort. I've lost so much weight over the years and regained. I was a foodaholic that kept falling off of the wagon over and over again. Will I fall again? I don't know. If I do, I will get up off my considerably smaller butt and run like crazy to jump back on that wagon. I have to, people. I owe it to myself first and my family and friends second to do what I can to be around for a while, God willing.

I admit that most days I am mad that I have to be consumed to my eyebrows with making sure I get enough protein and fluids in my system. I almost got dehydrated last week for the first time. I was busy and time got away from me and when I started getting sick, I realized I hadn't been drinking for two days like I was supposed to be doing. Now, I have Neighbor Debbie pointing her finger at me and saying "You drinking enough?"  when we're out and about.

I truly hope you don't think this is a negative post. It's really not how I intend to come across to my peeps. It's a new lifestyle I've been trying to adjust to while the world keeps going around me with so many distractions. I'm looking forward to my one year post where I tell you all the amazing NSV's (non-scale victories) I've had since last August. There will be pictures, of course.

I am asking that you do your level best to keep from judging those who have had to have weight loss surgery. The obese world is a hard world to live in..especially in society today. Trust me, we are hard enough on ourselves. We don't need unkind words, snickers, or asinine opinions from those who haven't had a weight problem of this magnitude. Just know we are properly jealous of those of you who can wear the cute clothes and eat whatever you want. We only want to be accepted and for you to get to know how cool we are on the inside.

Be kind to one another. Please.