Wednesday, July 31, 2013

FLASHBACK: My tummy tuck surgery.

Since Chris' guest post about her Tummy Tuck surgery, apparently people have been going back to the beginning days of my blog to compare her experience with mine.  And, they have informed me via e-mail that I did not post any details on the surgery itself.  Really?  Well that was stupid of me!

So I will post on what I can remember from that day.  My memory is not always that great, but since this was a pretty life altering day to say the least, I have a pretty clear recollection!!

It was a Wednesday, April 18, 2012.  I remember being completely calm about what was going to happen.  I even slept really well the night before.  The one fear I had was being under anesthesia but still able to feel like has happened to some people.  However, I had been repeatedly reassured by the nurse who met with me that this could not and would not happen with their procedures.  I liked and trusted her so I was able to put that - mostly - out of my mind.

We got up early and I took a shower, dutifully scrubbing myself with Dial Antibacterial as I had been instructed.  I dressed in loose clothing, also as ordered.  And with that, we were off.

It's about a 90 minute drive and Marc and I chatted about inane things.  I think he was way more worried than I was.  I told him I wanted him to go to the mall while I was in surgery.  He was worried that something could happen - my response was "What could you do about it anyway?"  He still refused saying that he would stay in the waiting room during the multi-hour surgery.

We arrived as the nurse was opening the office up and without delay I was hustled into the small recovery/pre-op room next to the operating suite.  I was told to take off my clothes and given little socks to put on.  Before long, Dr. DeRoberts was there.  The first course of business was to mark me up with a magic marker.  He grabbed my loose skin and began drawing the lines where he would make the incisions.    Spinning me around - cocking his head - evaluating and re-evaluating.  To him it was all business as usual, but there was a certain humiliation aspect to it for me as he grabbed and marked up my skin.  Marc would later comment how impressed he was at the straight steady lines the doc made freehand.  Just as he was finishing, the anesthesiologist came in.

He was of middle eastern descent and was introduced to me.  You could tell that he was a hired man and had no interest in me as a person, he was just there to do his job.  So he was a little cold and didn't even look me in the eye.  Eh... he wasn't there to be my friend, right?

With me fully marked and ready both docs started their scrub down and the nurse asked if I was ready.  Now the nervousness hit.  On shaky legs I stood up.  Marc was completely pale and looked as if he was seeing me for the last time.

We went into the surgery suite and I laid on the surprisingly comfortable table which had thick padding.  The nurses placed my legs in these hard plastic things.  What was this?  But then I heard a machine turn on and soon felt an internal bladder in each plastic thing inflate and gently squeeze my legs and then deflate.  I then knew that this was to prevent clots in my legs during surgery.    

I felt really vulnerable laying there naked with my legs spread even though a sheet was draped across me.  Because I was having a 360 circumferential abdominoplasty, they would have to completely flip me over and have me on my stomach to remove all the skin in back.  So that meant that they had to have everything - all wires, the intubation tube, the catheter - everything would have to be placed right to make it relatively easy to flip me like a pancake without damaging what had just been done in the front.  This is not the standard abdominoplasty, so there was some discussion and fiddling with things from the nurses to make sure everything was just so.

The anesthesiologist  came in and started setting up.  He placed a blood pressure cuff on me but was having a hard time getting a reading.  He made a comment to the nurse - in a really annoyed voice - that my arm was "too thin".  Hmmm... ironic.  Then he started seaching for the best vein to put the needle in.  Dr. DeRoberts had come in and was kind of standing there waiting and must have seen the look in my eyes - I hate needles - and came over and gently took and held my hand, smiling reassuringly.  With the vein located the drugs started to flow.

I had been looking forward to what I had always seen in movies - you know, where they put that mask over your face and tell you to count back from 100?  Well, I remember seeing the mask come towards my face and that was it - I remember nothing after that - I apparently was OUT before they even got it on me!  Blissfully they didn't insert the catheter until I was unconscious.  Although later the thought of what that involved with me laying there motionless creeped me out a bit. 

5 hours later I opened my groggy eyes.  I was back in the recovery room.  Marc was there.  The nurse made sure that I felt ok.  There was zero pain.  She also asked if I felt sick or pukey - apparently that can happen with anesthesia.  I didn't.  She left Marc and I alone and he appeared relieved - still concerned, but relieved.  He told me that they said everything went perfectly.  I had on the compression garmet I would soon come to hate, and had a bag full of liquid hanging from my neck with two wires that were inserted just below my breasts that fed continuous pain medication to my abs which had been sewn together as part of the procedure.  I also had been re-dressed in the loose clothing I had worn in.

The On-Q pain pain pump that I wore around my neck following surgery.  It delivered pain meds directly to my abs.

Before long, the nurse came back in with a wheelchair.  She started giving us intructions and warnings.  I understood the words that she was saying, but couldn't incorporate them into my brain.  So I just kind of sat there and stared at her.  Marc was listening and I figured he would remember everything.  Then she encouraged me to stand and move over into the wheelchair.  I was wheeled out to the car where she and Marc helped me get in - Marc had laid the seat mostly down and he placed a blanket between my hips and the seatbelt.  I remember only bits and pieces of the ride home.

Once home, I was able to slowly get out of the car and inside.  I was VERY hunched over, and that was weird.  We had dropped the dogs off at Marc's sister's house the night before, so Marc got me settled into the recliner and ran over to get the boys.  I remember them arriving home and running in at me.  I don't normally sit in that recliner and had a moment of fear that Archer would launch himself onto me, but dogs are so awesome.  They came to a screeching halt and sat there by the chair - wiggling all over - but unusually and respectfully calm.

The rest of the night I drifted in and out of awareness.  I can remember some things completely clearly - like I remember watching Survivor and can even tell you who got eliminated that night!  Other things are completely gone from my memory.

I had decided beforehard that I was going to try to sleep in my own bed rather then in the recliner, like many people do after a tummy tuck.  So I had ordered a wedge pillow since lying down flat was out of the question.  It worked fantastically (in fact I still use it to this date while watching tv in bed!).  I was able to get settled fairly comfortably despite the incision along my back.  

The first night was the only truly difficult and painful part of my recovery.  Because Dr. DeRoberts had done liposuction in addition to the skin removal and ab repair, I had been pumped full of liqud.  So I had to pee many times that night - I think I got up 6 or 7 times.  The process would involve me waking poor Marc up.  He would come over to my side of the bed to pull me up which was AGONIZING.  Because of the abs, NOT the incision.  So he would be pulling me and I would be screaming in pain.  Then we would get to the bathroom and I would again scream in pain as he lowered me to the toilet.  Then we would reverse the process and getting off the toilet and back into bed was SO painful.   But I made it through the night.

Marc got up in the morning while I continued to lay there.  He had left a walkie talkie next to me so I could easily talk to him if I needed anything.  Being somewhat more "with it" I was able to reach down and feel that my stomach was flat.  Even with the compression garmet there, I knew that the horrible skin - which before the surgery I was still half convinced was more fat that I needed to lose - was gone.

This is what I dealt with pre-surgery.  I didn't believe the doctor when he told me it was all skin.

Since I had filled the meds I would need a few days before the surgery, I knew what I would have to take and when and had made a detailed chart for Marc on what he would need to give me and what times.  I was on an antibiotic, Percocet for pain management, Valium for muscle spasms, an anti-nausea drug if needed, plus two herbal medications that other tummy tuck sites had recommended and that I had started taking before surgery - Bromelain and Arnica Montana.  So Marc would come and deliver the meds to me.  I would wake up, swallow them down, and drift off again.  By mid-day I was able to get up and move into the living room.  

I was able to eat right away - Fat Jen doesn't let a simple thing like surgery get her down!!!  I had bought protein powder to aid in faster healing.  So I drank that with each meal and Marc made me eggs and gave me peanut butter - healthy high protein foods.  My throat was a bit sore from being intubated and these foods went down easy without irritating the throat too much.  Marc has a TV tray that slides under the furniture, and that worked perfectly as I could have the tray pulled right up under me while eating.

I have to say, that after that first painful night and somewhat difficult first day my healing went fairly smoothly.  Being hunched over sucked, but I didn't have many muscle spasm issues.  I went into my medicine cabinet before writing this and found that I have 26 of the 40 Percocets pills left, meaning that I only ended up taking a total of 14 pain killers!

The incision looked pretty gross, but wasn't all that painful.  You can see in this pic where the tubes were taped up and inserted that carried the medicine to my ab repair.

The rest, as they say, is history as I think that I documented the recovery process as it happened pretty well.  If you read this post, as well as Chris' post, you can see that every surgeon does things differently.  Surgery is never an easy thing, but given the way my life was altered for the better, obviously I wouldn't change a thing! 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Do it MY way!!!

When I was first studying addiction in college, we were given an assignment to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous or a Narcotics Anonymous meeting.  I walked into an AA meeting not having any idea what to expect, only what I had seen on TV. 

During the meeting a young man who appeared to be of American Indian descent talked about using nature as his "higher power".  An older man immediately went on a tirade about how Jesus Christ was the ONLY higher power a person should have and that this young man was doomed if he didn't accept Jesus and he knew what he was talking about because he had 22 years clean and sober.

I was personally HORRIFIED at this happening to this poor young guy that was desperately trying to change his life.  The paper I wrote for the professor reflected my feelings.  Since then, I have learned that this was NOT the way AA as an organization views the concept of higher power and that the statements made that day reflected one man - he was not speaking for everyone.

Despite that, I have seen many "old-timers" in AA pushing the agenda of "This is the way I got clean, so this is how YOU have to do it!"

So now that I'm in maintenance for a year, and have announced it to anyone who would listen, I've been asked "HOW DID YOU DO IT?" - both in terms of the loss as well as maintaining.

I don't believe that my way is the only way to do it.  What works for me might not work for you.  Yet, unfortunately, I see people all the time lecturing others that they MUST do this and MUST NOT do that when it comes to losing weight.

Let's look at some of the absolutes people are spouting:

  1. Sugar is addictive and evil - you must avoid it at all costs.  If you choose to use even a little bit, you will trigger your addiction and binge and get set back months.
 I certainly avoided eating foods with lots of sugar on a regular basis.  But I have found that having a high-calorie sugar laced treat once and a while is good for my soul.  And it doesn't cause me to binge.  In fact, if I really over-do it on sugar I find this tides me over for weeks and I have no interest in eating fatty food like that for a long while.

               2.  Fruit contains a lot of sugar, so see above and avoid it!

Um.... that one really chaps my ass.  Comparing the sugar in a banana or strawberries to the sugar in Keebler's cookies is insane.  Fruit is one of the best things you can do for your body.  I have eaten a banana almost every day without fail for 3+ years and still dropped the poundage.  Right now my fridge is filled with fresh pineapple, cherries, apples and strawberries that I snack on, not to mention the dried cranberries and raisins in my pantry.

               3. Carbs were invented by the devil.  Cut out carbs completely or be fat forever.

Now I know there are some people that carbs tends to trigger intense cravings and make it more difficult to stay "on plan".  However, research shows that low carb diets are often associated with things like constipation, vitamin deficiency, and extreme fatigue.  If you are exercising - like you should be - these problems are greatly exacerbated.  Worse of all, low carb diets are typically NOT SUSTAINABLE in the long term.  So if you are making a lifestyle change where does this leave you when you are looking to maintain???

             4.  Artificial sweetners, high-fructose corn syrup, and every other processed substance will
              immediately lead to tumors all over your body, you will not lose weight and will die an 
              early death.

Look, it's best to eat as naturally as possible.  That being said, having a Truvia in my oatmeal 3X's a week and eating things that are made "non fat" (like nonfat yogurt) hence some artificiality hasn't killed me yet.  I try to eat "clean".  Lots of fruits and veggies, meats, staying away from processed food, I do what I can.  But I still buy (GASP!) Peter Pan Peanut Butter rather then the "natural" PB.  

What it comes down to, my friends, is that you have to find what works for YOU - not me, not the guy who insists that he knows it all on Facebook.  Some people have a "cheat day" once per week - and this works out perfectly for them.  I didn't cheat hardly at all during my trip down - I refused to allow myself to think outside the strict box.  However, I am regularly "cheating" over my past year in maintenance.  This is what works for ME.

So taking advice from others who have been successful is a GOOD thing!  But using common sense and finding your own path?  That's a good thing, too.  

What are some of you favorite - YOU MUST or MUST NOTS that you have heard during your journey?

Monday, July 29, 2013

An auspicious occasion!

One year ago I stepped on the scale and, for the first time ever (well since I was a CHILD) I saw the number 119.  This meant 2 wonderful, unbelievable, life altering things:  I had lost 225 pounds and, more importantly, I had hit my goal weight.

I can remember that day so clearly.  I stood there for so long, processing, that the scale turned off.  I then, with shaky excitement, ran out to tell Marc.  This was it, a new chapter of my life was about to begin.

In the next few days after that amazing day, I vacillated between confidence bordering on arrogance and utter terror.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you have witnessed my physical and emotional ups and downs since that day.  As far as my weight goes, in the last year, the lowest I have seen is 113 - and that was after a 14 mile run, so it wasn't "real".  The highest I've seen is 130 - which was after a huge meal which followed a couple of days of vacation indulgence, so that also wasn't real.  For the most part I've hovered right around 118-120.

Today I stepped on the scale and it read:

  So that means I have been successful in maintaining my weight loss for a year.  And that means that I have once again defied the odds.  Losing 225 pounds on my own defied the odds. Statistically being able to maintain weight loss for 1 year - the odds are pretty dismal, but yet here I am. 

I wish I could now say "I got this!" and just forget that for many years I was morbidly obese.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to never look at a label again to see how many calories something has?  But I am neither that naive nor delusional.  This journey will never end.

Having said that, as Gayle pointed out - I'm not a puppy anymore.  I have skills that have brought me this far and have kept me right where I am "supposed" to be.  With all the fear, whining, self-pity, self-sabotage, pain, tears, self-doubt, beating myself up and other drama over this past year, I ended up exactly where I want to be!!

Time to stretch my "big dog" legs.  Time to live this new life!  Not without awareness for sure, but free of some of my self-imposed bonds.

Can I do it?  Wish me luck, cuz here I go!!!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Relax, would ya?

My continuing challenge to myself in this journey is to learn to take some "me" time and relax.  That means some times I just need to chill out without getting up and doing something.  My mind works at about 1,000 miles a minute, and I find that I am constantly thinking about things I "should" be doing.

As we all know, maintaining a healthy lifestyle involves BALANCE.  This really and truly does elude me.  

Love this quote!  But knowing it and putting it into practice are two different things!

So today, I wore up and motivation was on vacation.  These are days that Fat Jen comes out to play.  But finally, reluctantly, I got dressed for a long run.  As I was headed out the door the rain started.  I don't mind running in rain, but this was torrential down-pouring rain.  Because I run on the roads it becomes an issue of safety as well as wetness and unpleasantness.

Fat Jen was delighted.  And she made us wait a short time to see if the rain would pass over and to give herself time to convince us not to run.  But then Thin Jen reminded us of the treadmill in the basement.  Yuck.  But we headed down.  I had intended on running 13 today.  I made it 11 before I had to surrender.  

Why do treadmill miles SUCK so bad??!!

So then, after lunch, it was still pouring.  Tomorrow is a special day - which I'll talk about tomorrow, and I decided I would treat myself.  So I went in for my first pedicure of the year.  I can't believe how difficult it was for me to just sit there and relax while getting the pedicure.  At one point while the guy was getting my one foot out of the water, it felt like we were playing tug-o-war with my leg!

I had to CONCENTRATE on relaxing and turning my mind off.  It was not easy.

On a side note, I've only had a handful of pedicures in my life.  All of the places around here are run by Chinese people who talk to each other in - surprise, surprise - Chinese.  This used to cause me tremendous anxiety because I was POSITIVE that they were talking about having to do my disgustingly fat feet.  I probably should have been more paranoid today, since my runner's feet are pretty tore up as they say - calluses, blisters, etc. - but I was not concerned about that at all!

Yay!  Pretty tootsies!

The other issue, as it always is with me, is justifying spending money on myself.   How do you guys do it?  I actually felt guilty for spending $40 on this non-necessary expense.

We then headed to the mall - it was still raining.  Halfway through the mall, I could see through their skylights that the sun was out.  The anxiety started to kick in - I need to get home!  I have to do wash!  I should be weeding!  I need to check on the chickens!  I should have cleaned the bathroom today!

I never used to stress out about this stuff when I was fat.  I never felt guilty for sitting around for 2 hours playing Spades on the computer.  Yet another way I am a work in progress!!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Anyone up for some tough love?

I received an e-mail yesterday from Sara.  She said that she had lost about 55 pounds over the last few months, but has but about 5 back on.  She said that she was in a "mid-summer slump" and has not been exercising and has - in her words - "eating right - well hell no!"

 Sara asked me to give her a swift kick in the pants.  Well, Sara, this is for you.  And it is also for anyone else out there who has fallen off the wagon.  

First off, I'll start out gentle.  So you fell off - GET BACK ON.  Right now.  Yes it's Friday.  But don't start Monday or August 1st.  Start right now.

Life is full of choices.  What is your goal?  You aren't going to become a super-model, right?  But aren't you sick of being fat and uncomfortable?  Don't you hate sitting around streaming sweat when you are just SITTING?  Isn't it horrible getting in bed at night and feeling worthless and guilty because you made awful choices AGAIN?

Don't you wish that you could put on a sleeveless top and marvel at how great you look?  Or how about putting on that bathing suit without wanting to cry?  Trust me - I have BEEN THERE.  

Those things are possible.  Stop whining if you are not willing to do something about it.  There is nothing miraculous about losing weight.  It is about eating less food then you are burning.  It's that simple.

So stop making excuses.  Stop saying you "have to" eat out or stop for pizza on the way home.  Stop pouting that it's too hot to cook or the heat makes you tired.  You don't like the heat?  TOUGH.  I don't like the cold but it doesn't stop me from exercising in the winter when I would rather be curled up under a thick blanket and it shouldn't just because you would rather sit in front of the AC and chill out. 

Or use these excuses.  Stay fat.  Feel sorry for yourself.  And when you can't fit into those new pants you bought and thought you looked great in, you'll have no one to blame but yourself.  When Thanksgiving comes and you are embarassed because you have to once again face the family as the fat one you'll wish you could go back 4 months and do it right.  

How many more hours, days, weeks, months, YEARS do you want to live as you are? 

On my Facebook page today I posted this quote "Cemetaries are full of people who wish they had a second chance."  Well this is it, another chance.  Another day to make the right choice. A day to get it right.  

What choice are you going to make?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Product review: Vitality Turkey and Veggies dog treats

I know what you are thinking - what the heck?  This isn't a pet blog!  It's a blog on weight loss!  Why is Jen posting a review of dog treats?

I'll tell you why - people that own dogs tend to be thinner and healthier.  Most people I know own dogs and like to give the best to them.  I was incredibly impressed with this product and had to share.  And finally, this is my blog and I can do what I want!

When Marc and I were getting ready to go camping, we made sure to pack some protein bars for us to eat on our anticipated long hikes.  I wanted to get something for the dogs, because they expend as much - and usually MORE - energy as us when we hike.  This is especially true any place that they are allowed to be off leash, because they get excited and run around.  

So I went up to our local PetCo and began looking at options - the choices were many and overwhelming.  I needed something that was HEALTHY, natural, high quality, packed a punch of protein and that they would EAT.  Neither of my dogs are all that food driven and are reluctant to eat in strange places even when I know that they are hungry.

I ran across these Vitality Turkey and Veggie bars made by Dogswell.

It looked promising!  So I took a closer look at the ingredients:

  • Turkey
  • Tomatoes
  • Cranberries
  • Flaxseed
  • Cane
  • Molasses
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Apples
  • Salt
  • Tocopherols
  • Rosemary Extract
  • Zinc Propionate
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Vatamin A Acetate
Wow, I thought!  I was really impressed with the variety of ingredients and thought that these would be perfect to bring for my boys when we went hiking.  The bars contain 30% protein, a good number.  So they were purchased and thrown into the boys' stuff as we were packing.

So once there, we headed out for the first hike and I stuck the bag into Chakotay's backpack.  We stopped a few miles in for a break, and here was the first test - would they eat them?  Well, the answer is ABSOLUTELY YES.  They LOVED them! Without hesitation they sucked them down.  Usually they sniff and sniff, might put something in their mouths, spit it out, taste a little, spit out again.  Not with these!  They must have loved the smell and the first taste because they enthusiastically chowed down on them.  

So these treats went with us whereever we hiked.  Here they are enjoying them after our hike at Taughannock State Park.

I was thrilled to be able to give my dogs something healthy, energy filled and natural during our hikes.

What else did I like about the bars?  They are broken up into different sizes, allowing an easy grab based on the size of the dogs, how much you want them to have.

They are very dry and therefore very light.  That means that they travel well.  Not a lot of extra cargo to stick in either your backpack or your dog's.  They aren't terribly smelly like some products.

So I gotta tell you, I'm going to keep these on hand for whenever we go hiking.  By far, they are my favorite product I have found for active dogs.

I have not yet had a chance to get any of their other products, but Dogswell  has a whole line of products.  Some of the other bars they offer also contain very natural ingredients such as their line of jerky, which includes duck and salmon.  Or they have other bars that contain chicken and banana or lamb and veggies.  Some of these more unusual ingredients, like tilapia and sweet potato, are great for dogs that have allergies to traditional proteins such as beef or chicken.  

Try them, and let me know what your dog thinks!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hand me a bottle, would ya?

No, I haven't decided to start drinking!  What I want to do is capture what has been going on this week with me and keep it bottled for the future.

First off, I have fallen into funks for absolutely no reason in the past.  Even the recent past.

And then there are times when I am flying high for no reason.  This is one of those weeks.  Things have been just wonderful this week.  I am feeling happy, strong, confident.

Ok, so I'm still psyched from my 10K.  Then, even though I haven't changed anything - that I can think of - exercise or eating wise, my weight has been the lowest it has consistently been EVER.  I weighed in at 117.1 this morning.

Realistically, this is only a 1-2 pound difference then where I normally hang out.  But why has my body decided to weigh lower this week?  I'm not complaining, mind you!  However, it's the unpredictability of why now that is confusing me.

Either way - this feels great.  I feel in control of my eating.  I am exercising well.  All this without pressure and stress. 

Admittedly there still is an internal debate that goes on daily - the fight of "I like being thin, I want to eat this!" That could be a chant!

Will this ever end?  I don't know...  But I am starting to feel more like a "real" person.  Lately, I have been allowing myself to have a small piece of chocolate without then beating myself up.  And if I shorten an exercise session, it doesn't mean in my mind that I will gain 100 pounds.  

I haven't taken the leash off, but I have loosened up a little!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Clean yourself up!!!

I was asked in another post by an anonymous reader how I clean up and go back to work after running on my lunch hour.  

Ok, so the first thing that you have to know is that I am extremely fortunate to have a VERY fleixble job as far as setting my own schedule and what I do from hour to hour.  So I - whenever possible - leave the hour after my run free.  I don't schedule clients and leave that time to do paperwork.  That way I can eat lunch after my run while working on paperwork and even returning phone calls.  So I have it easy that way.

Secondly, I am not much of a "sweater".  I do sweat when I run, but then I come back into an air conditioned building and this dries me up almost immediately.  So I  have a couple advantages that not everyone might have.

But here is my routine.  I bought a small Rubbermaid container that I keep full of my stuff in the corner of our staff bathroom.    

I change in the bathroom and throw all my clothes in the tote for when I'm out running..  NOTHING that I wear running do I put back on when I come back in.  When I return from the run, I have a large plastic bag that I stick all the wet sweaty clothes in and then stick that plastic bag in the duffle bag.  That keeps the "stank" from settling in to the duffle bag really well.  Even though this is the case I still give the duffle bag a dousing of Febreze every once and a while!

The duffle bag I bring to work every day and the large, thick plastic bag I throw all my sweaty stuff in.  

When I get back, depending on how sweaty I am I use some moist wipes to get the sweat off.  I usually grab whatever is on sale.  I haven't found any one wipe that works better then others. 

Next?  Dr. Scholl's Foot Spray.  Honestly, this stuff is awesome.  Especially running without socks, it can get a little funky in the foot department, but this stuff is like magic!  I use this directly on my feet and they also have a powder to shake into the sneaks.  

Of course, a re-application of deoderant is a must!

I was not blessed much in the looks department, but I do have pretty awesome hair.  But in case it needs a little touch up from being pulled up in a ponytail, I have hairspray.

And finally - which has nothing to do with running, but I keep in my tote so I thought I'd include it - is mouthwash.

So, there ya go.  I haven't had any complaints - to my face anyway - about me stinking up the joint!  Some people are lucky enough to have a shower on their work site, but I don't and so I make due.  Most of the year it's not an issue because even at noon the weather is relatively cool and since I don't sweat a lot, it's pretty easy to clean up.

Weeks like last week can be a little more challenging, but on those days I only visit the offices of co-workers that I dislike or invite in clients that I'm mad at ;))))

Monday, July 22, 2013

My long - and self-indulgent - 10K race report...

This is my 10K race report for yesterday.  It will probably be long, and definitely self-indulgent, so read on if you are prepared.

In 2012, this race - Tibbetts Point - was the first 10K race I did. My time was 52:08 and I placed 3rd in my age group.  I was pretty confident that I would better that performance this year.

Marc is not in love with running, and decided not to run this race.  Instead he decided to leave early, ride his bike the 25 or so miles there and join me at the end of the race.  So as I got ready, I was alone and was both excited and questioning what I was doing.  This seems to be a race day pattern for me.

Originally when I signed up for the race, I was hoping to come in under 49 minutes.  However, this week had been blisteringly hot, and my runs this week were consequently really slow, so I was pessimistic that this was going to happen.  Like a gift, this day dawned sunny but very cool for July - high 60's and very little humidity.

I arrived at the race site, got signed in and wandered aimlessly doing only a short .25 mile warm up run.  Surprisingly, I saw not one person that I knew.  Finally we lined up and with little fanfare we were off.  I started out fast, and initially thought I should slow down, but then I remembered that this was a short race and told myself that I should push myself.

The race course spent about a mile moving through the village of Cape Vincent and then it followed a road that runs right along the St. Lawrence River.  At 1.5 miles we hit the turnaround for the 5k'ers - as usual, most ran around the pylons and headed back, where a smaller group of us moved to the left and continued running along the beautiful St. Lawrence.

About 2 miles in a woman tried to strike up a conversation with me about my Vibrams as I passed her.  I kept the headphones on, muttered a few words and kept it moving. I find it weird when strangers want to chat during races!

At 2.80 miles the runners that had already ran around the lighthouse turnaround started coming back.  I kept my eyes peeled and saw only men.  But everyone was moving right along, and I wasn't sure when a clustered group passed me if there was a woman in the bunch.  Then I climbed the hill that the lighthouse stands on and was on my way back.

The view heading up to Tibbetts Point Lighthouse.  It is the entrance point where the St. Lawrence River meets Lake Ontario.  The turn-around point for the 10K.

As I headed back, I passed a lot of grouped up people. I got a lot of waves, thumbs up, and positive and encouraging comments.  That made me wonder if I was indeed the first female!

For the next 2 miles, I saw virtually no one except spectators.  At mile 4 I realized that I was going much faster then my usual pace and felt out of breath and was starting to lag.  The difficulty I was having was compounded by a strong headwind coming off the water.  I did not want to slow down and was afraid that I would look back and see a pack gaining on me.  I then slowed and grabbed a wedge of fresh orange out of a bowl that had been put out for the runners and threw a glance over my shoulder.  There was not another soul in site.  Happily I bit in, squirting the orange juice down my throat and started to choke.  Nice job, idiot!!!  Wouldn't that have been ironic if I had to stop because I was choking!

At mile 5 there were more spectators clapping and cheering.  BY FAR, the people watching and cheering have become my favorite part of racing.  Although I was panting, I was on the home stretch, and back in the village where the wind wasn't an issue - so I was feeling fine.  Soon I spotted the end point.  I ripped my headphones off and ran up the short hill leading to the finish to a large cheering crowd and raised my arms as I took the the left turn and dashed towards the finish line.

Making the turn toward the finish line.

I saw the blazing red timer clock counting up the minutes and my eyes widened as I saw 47 as the first 2 numbers - holy shit, really??!!  I put out a short burst of speed and crossed the finish line.  I looked and saw Marc was there taking pictures.

Crossing the finish line.

I grabbed a water and headed over to Marc who congratulated me.  He told me he didn't know where I had placed since there were still 5k'ers coming in and he didn't know who had run which race.  I headed away from the crowd to stretch while Marc went back to the Edge to get some more camera stuff.

As I stretched, I saw a woman point at me and say to her friend that I was the top 10k woman.  Ohhhhh wow maybe I really did it!!

We headed up to where the awards ceremony would be held and stretched out in the sun in the warm grass as more people came in.  After what felt like forever, they announced that the 10K race results had been posted.  I dashed over and quickly scanned the sheet.

  • I finished 12th
  • There were 72 people that ran the 10K
  • Official time: 47:33

For my accomplishment, I was awarded a mug and a ribbon.  Here I am with Dan Pierson - the top placing male.

I'm not sure why this race was so special to me.  Maybe it's because I knew that I was killing it during the run.  I felt STRONG and totally in control.  Maybe it's also because this was the anniversary of the first 10K I ran.  Or who knows?

There is nothing - NOTHING - in my history that suggests I would be capable of not only RUNNING a 10K, but coming in first!!

I would encourage everyone out there to think about that.  You might be saying to yourself that there are things out there that you would never be able to do.  But once you try - once you give yourself a chance - you might be SHOCKED at what you are capable of!  I still am!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I fall and go boom!

They say that every runner will eventually wipe out while running.  I've had a couple of falls while running - once when I was very new to the whole thing.  I am definitely not the most graceful person in the world.  I've always had very weak ankles and used to fall a LOT from twisting my ankles.  But losing the weight and being stronger from running and working my legs has seemed to cure that.  However, I don't think I will ever try trail running because I am SO afraid of falling badly.

Well, while on vacation I had a MAJOR wipeout.  I'd like to blame someone or something other then myself, but the truth is that I just lost focus and did a very dumb thing.  I had run through a construction site and had a rock wedged in my shoe.  Rather then stopping like a normal human and pulling the rock out, I instead made the not so wise decision to try to "scuff" the rock out.  Next thing I know I am LAID OUT on the pavement.

Now you know that you're one of those crazy ass runners when the first thought you have is to stop your running watch.  Which is what I did!  Next, I got to my knees and looked around to see if my crash had been witnessed by anyone (it hadn't).  Only then did I assess the damage.

I must have been moving right along because I fell primarily on my arm and left hip.


Does it look like it hurt?  Well it did!  And I still had to run about 3 1/2 miles home.  Poor me.

At any rate, I did what any normal person (ahem!) would do and posted a picture to Facebook.  My cousin, Jessica, who works in a medical office recommended that I get this bandage type thing call Tegaderm.  I had never heard of it so I quickly did some research.  

It's a transparent bandage that is made primarily for "weeping" wounds.  It keeps the wound moist so that it doesn't shrink up - which helps in preventing scarring.  It protects the wound as well.  You simply paste this sucker on and can wear it up to 7 days.

So I went out and bought a pack.

We opened it up and found that it was really easy to just lay it over where I had the injury.  We had to use 2 because it was so big.  

When on, it's fairly inconspicuous.  The paperwork said that you can shower with it on.  I'm happy to report that I showered with it and it stayed on perfectly.  This patch DOES NOT have any painkilling properties, but as soon as I put it on, the pain went away and stayed away.  Not sure why that is, but it literally didn't hurt all all unless I laid on it or otherwise put a lot of pressure on it.  I think the patch protecting it from the air helps?

Now the one thing I will say is that any of these "road rash" injuries leak a LOT.  So that fluid builds up under the patch as you can see.  It's perfectly NORMAL but pretty gross as well.

I peeled it off a few days later (very easy) and here's what my arm looks like one week after the fall.

So, I'm hoping that I don't fall again like an idiot.  But I am definitely going to keep these Tegaderm patches on hand because I was pretty impressed with the product. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

WHOOSH and worry...

I was fully prepared for this week to suck.  Coming back from vacation to dozens of voice mails and e-mails and then just getting back into the routine usually blows.  But instead I've had a wonderful week!

First off, the weather has been right down my alley!  I cannot express how much I love love love the heat!  So that in and of itself just skyrockets my mood.  We don't have air conditioning in my house - never have and never will.  Both Marc and I HATE air conditioning.  But I've been sleeping completely comfortably with the ceiling fan going.

Now, I want to know - have those of you that have been actively losing weight ever experienced the WHOOSH?  I really hope that you have been fortunate enough to!  The WHOOSH is when - seemingly out of nowhere - you drop a bunch of pounds overnight. You're not doing anything differently and just bang - the whoosh happens.

I loved experiencing the whoosh which I had several of on the way down.  They are hard to predict.  One time early on in my weight loss I dropped 5.5 pounds in a week and it was awesome - especially since I was in the midst of a weight loss competition!

I don't get whooshes anymore since I am at goal weight - except this week I did!  My weight spiked after the reunion for obvious reasons and then settled back down to 119 - where my body apparently likes to be.  But then I stepped on the scale and WHOOSH - overnight I had dropped to 117.2.  Yay!  That is the number that I like to see.  Who knows why it happened, but I'll take it.

 The weather has not stopped me from running.  This has resulted in some disapproval/worry from people in my life.  I know that it seems insane to people that hate the heat, but honestly and truly, running in this weather is 100x better for me then running in the cool.  Remember, I am cold ALL THE TIME.  So these temperatures to me are just right.  Plus, I do take my own advice.  I run slower, I take some breaks and drink water.  

And even though I ran in 90 degrees yesterday during my lunch, as soon as I finished, I come back into a well air conditioned building.  Which almost instantaneously cools me off.  So, no need to worry, I promise!

See, I'm even smiling after my run yesterday!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Crosswalk....

In front of my building is a crosswalk.  There is no light and no stop sign, but it is a clearly painted crosswalk.     As soon as winter ends, the city puts a large sign in the middle telling drivers that they must YIELD to pedestrians in the crosswalk.  That is in accordance with New York State Law.

Often times people go whizzing right through there and intentionally ignore the sign and anyone who happens to be crossing.  When I was fat, I could stand on the edge of that crosswalk for minutes at a time and people would keep going without letting me cross.  Often times they would be staring straight ahead pretending that they didn't see me there waiting to cross - EVEN IF I WAS HALFWAY THROUGH and standing in the middle of the road.  It would not be unusual for me to finally just walk out into traffic, basically FORCING the drivers to either run my ass over or stop.

I'm really noticing this summer that times have changed.  I use this crosswalk more because I've started parking in a different place, so it is really noticable.  Basically now, it is not uncommon for a driver to come to a complete stop and waive me on before I've even gotten to the edge of the road.  Not surprisingly, I guess, this happens more with male drivers.

I've been asked if I am treated differently now that I am thin.  You betcha.  People are nicer, men run to open doors for me, I get smiles and nods when I am out walking, people start random conversations with me, store personnel are more then happy to assist me and I get looked in the eye much more often.

This is sad.  Why I am worthy now of respect just because I am thin?  I am not a better person then I was when I was fat.  Why does society feel that fat people are less deserving of courtesy and respect then someone who is thin?  Does this happen to men, too, or just women I wonder?

Some of the attention I get.  I mean, for most people, thin is more attractive then heavy.  So when I am out running and a crew of counstruction workers comes to a stop and just watches me run by, I get that.  But letting someone across a road??!!  I sometimes want to stop and say to the random guy who just opened the door for me "Would you have done that for me when I weighed 300 pounds?!?!"  But I already know the answer having had doors let go right in my face not so long ago.

I recently read on a weight loss site a woman's post where she was walking out of a store to her car and a car with 2 grown men drove by slowly and yelled "Moo!!!!"  What the fuck is wrong with people?

I guess we can't stop the rest of the world from being assholes.  But I sometimes catch even myself thinking not so nice things when I see an extremely obese person.  And I, of all people, should be sensitive to that!  It's horrible.  But it seems like obesity is the last prejudice people are openly displaying without shame.  

You will not embarass or humiliate someone into losing weight.  I hope that someday people's attitudes will change!  Withthe obesity epidemic in this country, we need to work on positive, motivating solutions, not tearing people down...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Guest Post: Chris' Tummy Tuck surgery!

Chris W. had a tummy tuck and breast lift last month and was kind enough to share her story with us!

June 5, 2013 ~ My Mom and stepdad,  Jay, arrived from Michigan to help take care of me. My mom is a nurse, so I felt good that I would be well looked after, and Jay and I are very close, and I knew he would keep my mom in check, when she began hovering too much! lol For my "last meal", I decided on Mexican food, and enjoyed my usual, Chicken enchiladas with salsa verde. Mom, Jay, Christian (boyfriend), and I stayed in a hotel near the surgery center to avoid driving over an hour the next morning. I could not sleep, due to excitement and my mom's snoring! lol

June 6, 2013 ~
5am ~ woke up after an hour or two of sleep. Used the restroom, got my stuff together, and stared at everyone until we were ready to leave.
6am ~ Check in at the surgery center. I filled out paperwork and paid the surgery center's fees and the anesthesiologist fees. I had already paid my surgeon's fees on May 24th.
6:45am ~ Called back to sign my waivers and be told about the preventative procedures (leg wraps for blood clots, transfusion waivers, after care information, etc.). My mom was able to come back to make sure I didn't sign anything crazy, as I was ready to sign ANYTHING just to get "my party started"! They sent her back to the waiting room, and said that right before I went back, she would come see me real quick. Next they needed me to pee in a cup for a pregnancy test (standard procedure), but since I had not drank anything for 9 hours, and I am used to drinking A LOT of water, I couldn't. They told me they couldn't do the surgery unless I did (even though I was on my period!). After a few minutes of trying really hard to get ANYTHING out, I told her I couldn't. They decided to get my IV started, push fluids, and see if that helped. They took me to my curtained room, I changed and got in the bed. The nurse came and tried to start my IV, and blew out my vein in my forearm, so I had to have it in the crook of my elbow. My mom later told me she should have used my "awesome vein" near my wrist because NO ONE could miss that one! She finally got the IV started and they began pushing fluids. It did not work, and while my mom was back visiting, she suggested to me (but loudly) they just start my catheter, and use that. Moments later, the nurse appeared and said, "I have an idea! Let's start your catheter, and just pull a little." At that point the anesthesiologist came in and introduced himself and his assistant, who would be doing most of my surgery. Both were nice, and put my fear of being awake during the procedure to rest quickly. My mom and Christian came back to see me until my surgeon arrived. Then my surgeon came in, did my markings (which was the funniest thing ever! He was SO pissed at the pre-op nurse because she couldn't draw a straight line while he held my loose skin in a certain position.) Then the anesthesiologist gave me my first "relaxing" drug, and then nurse put in my catheter, because even with the fluids, I still couldn't pee. I remember it being uncomfortable, feeling like I was peeing the bed, but the meds make it so fuzzy. The relaxing drugs made me shake and my teeth chatter. They asked me if I was OK, I was trying to talk, but was chattering and trying not to laugh, so I just had to answer yes/no questions with head shakes! They pulled the curtain and "stepped out" and were telling someone how nervous I was and calling me "that poor dear". I was about to say, "Um, I can hear you, I'm not nervous, I think this is funny, and lets get started, I'm bored!" But I decided NOT to piss off the people who might be working on me, and also told myself that I didn't want to have a "bad trip" while I was knocked out, so I closed my eyes and dreamed of clothes shopping. Right before 8:30am, the anesthesiologist gave me another drug, and I vaguely remember being rolled out of the room down a hallway.

4:30pm ~ My surgeon finished my tummy tuck and breast lift, and told my mom that he had taken 8 pounds off my stomach, and a bit more off the side boob area/underarm. He said I did great and because of how I carried the weight, I had to be readjusted on the table multiple times during the surgery. I remember opening my eyes, and the anesthesiologist saying "Welcome back! Are you in any pain?" I tried to say yes, but couldn't, so I nodded. Mind you, it was NOT agony pain. It was, "**** that hurts, and I want drugs before I wake up anymore" pain. He gave me something in my IV, and immediately, I had complete relief. I felt stiff and sore, like walking up the day after my half marathon. He told me that I was having problems talking because I had be intubated (tube down my airway) and that makes you sore. I was not sore, just no voice. The nurse then came over and said, "Geez you woke up fast! Usually we have to nose canual on before people are awake enough to be talking!" I remember trying to smile and trying to say, "Well, I like to talk!" but couldn't. She put the oxygen on me, and at this point, I realized I was not in recovery, but my overnight room. My mom, Jay, and Christian came in, and we were saying hi. I remember them being there, but nothing else. At this point, it was almost 6:30pm.

6:30pm ~ The nurse told me that if I was in pain I could have a pain shot. I wasn't really in pain, but I was feeling SO good, I didn't want to risk it, so I said, "Yea, a little. I'll take a shot now so it doesn't get worse." They got it and asked Jay and Christian to step into the hall. They had me roll and gave me a shot of Demerol and a anti-nausea med in the left butt check. It was an intramuscular shot, so I expected it to hurt. It did not hurt, but the anti-nausea med stung! I faded in and out throughout the night. Jay and Christian went back to the hotel and my mom stayed with me. I felt like I would sleep for an hour or two, then wake up, ask for water, my phone to play on Facebook, ask questions, get a snack, or watch TV. Then I would go back to sleep. I was TOLD by my night nurse and my mom that I would sleep for 10-15 minutes then be up asking for everything under the sun, including for my mom to call/text friends to come visit me at like 11pm-midnight. I would also complain constantly about how dry my mouth was from the anesthesia. The ONLY thing we ALL agree on what that I would somehow be able to keep track of time well enough to know when I was allowed to get my pain shot. What I would do is about 30 minutes before I was due, I would buzz my nurse, ask for water or pudding, and then say, "Oh yea, and my shot is due in 45 minutes, so make sure you are back here then! Thank you so much!" (lmao) Then, about 5-10 minutes before it was due, I would buzz the nurse and say, "Just making sure you didn't forget my pain shot! It's due in XX minutes! I have great pain control, so I want to keep on top of it!" (if my stomach still didn't hurt I would be dying of laughter right now, just typing it, because I know how I sound when I go into "teacher mode"!) I had shots at 6:30pm (left butt), 10:30pm (right butt), 2:30am (right thigh), and 6:30am (left butt).

2:30am ~ When the nurse came to give my my 2:30am shot, I began to roll for the left butt check, and she was like, "No, it goes in your thigh." I said, "I'm a runner and have no fat there! I'll take it in my butt." She said, "It will be too sore, the thigh will not be bad." Let me tell you, that was the WORST PAIN OF MY LIFE! If you have a meaty butt, go for the butt, even if they recommend your thigh. The other shots made me cringe, but I was swearing and cussing up a storm with the thigh. And I still have a bruise from that one, and none on my butt!

4:30am ~ the nurse took out my catheter so I would need to pee before I left. In order to leave, you have to pee a certain amount. I drank as much water as I could so I would REALLY have to pee! Then the nurse said, "You are about ready to go home it looks like." I said, "Um, My mom said Dr. Yee (my surgeon) will be here in a couple hours to check out my incisions." My mom agreed and the nurses said, "Um... OK, let me check." Later, my mom said she heard them talking in the hall about how I saved their asses, cuz Dr. Yee has very high expectations (why I picked him), and their asses would have been canned had they let me go home before he got there!  

6:30am ~ Time for my last pain shot. When the nurse came in I was like, "You can go ahead and just stay on that side. It is going in my butt, you are NOT putting that in my other leg!" The nurse was like, "You will be sorry. Your butt is going to hurt so bad." Me: "That was the worst pain in my entire life! Nothing could hurt as bad as that! It still hurts!" Eventually she agreed, gave me my shot (minus the swearing this time), and said, "I'll be back to get you up for the bathroom and walking." I peed a ton (my mom later told me it was full, and I probably should have gone twice before leaving). Dr. Yee showed up, liked what he saw. Had the nurses change my bandages, and told me to call if I needed anything.

I was rolled down to the car and it took FOREVER to get in because I had to slide in and then someone had to swing my legs. I fell asleep before we were out of the parking lot.

10:30am (Friday 6/7/13) ~ I got home, walked up the stairs by myself (slowly!), got in my chair I had set up on Wednesday morning before I picked my mom and Jay up from the airport. It took me holding on to my mom and Jay's upper arms and lowering myself into the seat SLOWLY. It wasn't painful, just slow and sore. I took oral Demerol and an anti-nausea med on the following schedule:
Friday 6/7: every 4.5 hours
Saturday 6/8: every 4.5-5 hours
Sunday 6/9: every 5 hours
Monday 6/10: every 6 hours
Tuesday 6/11: every 6.5 hours
Wednesday 6/12:every 8 hours
Thursday 6/13: every 9-10 hours
Friday 6/14 and Saturday 6/15: every 12 hours
Sunday 6/16: 2 extra strength Tylenol in the AM, and nothing since.

On 6/7-6/12, not much happened, except I broke up with my boyfriend on 6/12 because he was refusing to do ANYTHING except play video games and arguing constantly with my mom. Before my parents arrived, I had thought about breaking up with him for many other reasons not related to this post, but decided to give him one more chance. What made me decide to finally do it (only the final thing, there was MUCH MORE), was he was cleaning up dog poop off the kitchen floor and I asked him to get me something, and AFTER TOUCHING DOG POOP, HE DIDN'T WASH HIS HANDS AND CAME OVER AND TRIED TO TOUCH ME! I have about 4 feet of open incisions, and was trying to maintain a sanitary environment! When I told him and asked him to change, he told me that it was my job to tell him what to do, but when I did he would get mad at me and tell me to stop treating him like a child! Well, I'm sorry, I want you to wash your hands after using the restroom, playing with the animals, etc. and I should NOT have to tell you that EVERY TIME. There was so much more, but like I said, it's really not for this post.

The follow are truly the only things I remember other than the breakup:

*I nodded in and out from the side effects of anesthesia and the Demerol.
*My right drain itched constantly, and during dressing changes, my left drain pulled and it was annoying!
*I had to ask constantly if I was doing enough movement to prevent blood clots and was asking for my mom to count my laps as I circled the coffee table. lol
*I drank close to a gallon of water a day for the first 3 days and I had to follow every bite of food with water due to the dryness from intubation and anesthesia.
*I had to then pee (what felt like) constantly, but I needed to be supervised, as I would nod out and forget to pee!
*A laxative every other day helped a TON while I was eating on a weird schedule. A laxative every day for about 3 days once I was eating normal makes for way less discomfort.
*A stool softener a day until you have full use of your stomach muscles makes for a much happier Chris!
*Dressing changes I thought would be the easiest part. It turned out, I wouldn't have NOT been able to do it by myself! 3 times per day!
1. Undo PJ top and binder. Throw away old gauze. Mom inspects for drainage and healing. Notes any spots of concern.
2. Use cotton swabs (NOT Q-tips) to "paint" hydrogen peroxide on scars. Let bubble and "eat away" any bacteria/infection trying to start.
3. Use gauze to dab with sterile saline water to prevent over drying and irritation of skin .
4. Use gauze to smear Neosporin on incisions. We used about a giant tube and a half a day.
5. Put down fresh sterile gauze and tape into place as needed.
6. Redo binder and PJ top.
7. Twice per day, my drains would be stripped (squeezing the fluid out of the tubes, into the grenade looking container) and empty, measure, and record the amount of fluid. Then put new gauzes around where the drain tubes entered my body.

Thursday, June 13, 2013 (1 week) ~ Had my follow up. Got my drains out. It felt like a snake was slithering through my lower stomach trying to escape. I was laughing for like 30 minutes after! Doctor said everything looks good. I should only wash the incisions with my normal soap and water, wear the binder except while showering and sleeping, and no walking except into a restaurant from the front row or to a wheelchair/electric cart. I have found through trial and error that I can do about 2.5-3 hours of "outings" 5 days a week and avoid most swelling. If I am up for more than 4 hours per day, I swell quite a lot. I don't want to swell, as that could cause fluid build up under the skin which is quite painful. Typically, my mom, Jay, and I would go out to an early dinner and 1-2 stores that had electric carts.

Sunday, June 23, 2013 ~ My mom and Jay flew back to Michigan. My mom was scared to leave me, so my best friends came up to spend the night with me. We went out to eat and to Walmart to buy smaller sports bras since so much swelling has gone down.

Monday, June 24, 2013 ~ My friends had to leave around 6am to get to work on time, but I woke up long enough to say good bye and thank you. I slept til 9am when my friend, Renita, came over with her youngest daughter (15 years old). Renita helped me wash my hair (I just can't hold my arms up to shampoo, I can rinse by tilting my head sideways) and cleaning my incisions under my arms (same thing). She helped me get dressed. She cleaned the cat box (I can't bend and do not want to risk infection) while I ate breakfast. We then went out to see my GP, since she helped me so much in the months leading up to the surgery. Jennifer (my GP) introduced me to the main doctor in the office (I always just see Jennifer), and they raved about how well I'm doing and how good my incisions look. Apparently they talk about me constantly, because everyone knew me (even if I had never met them) and were in awe of how good I looked! Then we went to Best Buy to recycle some old hardware my stepdad had helped me sort out. Lunch at my favorite Mexican restaurant was next, followed by a quick stop at the grocery store. I was out for about 2.5 hours, so when we got back, Renita took care of my stuff and I sat down. She got me set up for the afternoon (didn't take much today!), and left. Since then I have put my feet up for 4 episodes of "Take Home Chef" on Netflix and 2 episodes of "Queer As Folk" (my favorite TV show). I got out disc cleaner and cleaned 2 seasons of "Queer As Folk" (QAF) so they would be ready for my marathon showing of all 5 seasons this week! lmao I also texted with Jay a bit. My mom called me after she got out of work and I talked to her from 5:40pm-6:00pm. Immediately after talking to her, I started typing this, and now, nearly 2 hours later, I am ready for dinner and more QAF!

Before weight loss:

 Chris shares for reference that the guy next to her in this pic is 6'1" and 185 pounds!

A view of the tummy before surgery.

Looking FAB and showing off her first bikini!

One month post surgery.  Chris is experiencing the same frustration that I went through with not being allowed to exercise.

Thanks Chris for sharing your story!  Continue to heal and you will be back to working out and back to your goal weight before you know it!!