What a wild ride! on February 10, 2013 8:03 pm
I'm coming up on one year since my open RNY gastric bypass surgery (I had it on 2/28/2012). I had a followup with my primary-care physician today. I'm down from 257 to 143! 114 pounds lost in a little under one year. Every morning when I wake up, I say, Thank you, Lord, for this day. Quickly followed by, Thank you, Lord, that I'm SKINNY!
This is all new for me. I'd been heavy my whole life (since about the age of 6). I am SKINNY. I don't deny it. I'm proud of it. I am brave, I walked to the precipice & stepped off into the unknown. So none of this body dysmorphic disorder stuff for me. But I'm working at it, one day at a time.
If you're not familiar with the term body dysmorphic disorder or BDD, Wikipedia describes it as a disorder generally diagnosed in those who are excessively critical of their mirror image or body, although there may be no actual defect. Family, friends & others will typically disagree and may protest that there is no defect. In other words, someone like me who's had WLS (weight loss surgery) may look in the mirror & still see a fat person when, in fact, the person is now slim by anyone's standards.
I read about BDD years ago. I think I had it in reverse: I thought I was adorable! When I saw photos of myself, I cried inconsolably. I couldn't believe I looked like that (& yes, I have mirrors in my house). When I reacquainted myself with BDD just before I had my RNY, I realized I would have to work with myself, my doctors, & mental health professionals to get a grip on the reality that was to become the new me.
I do things like look - I mean really LOOK - at myself in the mirror. I never did that before I lost weight. Now my butt looks like two Sharpei puppies (& not in a good way) instead of two bowls of rising yeast bread dough, but dag it, I LOOK at the new me in the mirror. I do positive affirmations like, "Grrl... you look GREAT! You DID IT! You are adorable! I love you." Stop laughing! Seriously, I say this to my SKINNY, wrinkled, saggy, stretch-marked self. I look into my eyes when I say these things to myself. At first, I felt uncomfortable, & like I didn't really mean it. But, as we say in Overeater's Anonymous, fake it 'til you make it! A psychologist I once had said, "Behavior begets attitude." I believe it.
I also put my hands on my body. I realize I avoided this when I was heavy. I can remember being on an airplane in 2011 (before RNY). I had to sit with my arms crossed with my elbows resting on (one of) my spare tire(s) to avoid having my heavy upper arms infringe on my rowmates' seats. I had to try to stay this way on an 11-HOUR FLIGHT from Istanbul to Chicago! I didn't like feeling my own self in any way. How sad! This woman who raised 2 babies, loves 2 grandchildren, & opens my arms to anyone in need, & I couldn't allow myself to feel my own skin. My poor, dear, neglected self.
So now, I put my palms on my pelvic bones (yes! They're there! The last time I saw them was when I had a sonogram a month before my now-20-year-old son was born) & say, "Oh Lord, thank you Lord! I am SKINNY!" I wrap my hand (almost completely) around my upper forearm & see how my index finger & thumb almost touch. And I say, "I am SKINNY!" The first time I ever saw my knee bone I thought it was a bruise. True story! About a month after my surgery, I saw this bluish shadow on my knee & thought, "Heck! How'd I do THAT?" Then I realized: "HEY! That's my KNEE BONE!" I couldn't stop rolling the tips of my fingers on it. How cool! I can feel my bone! Like I said earlier, this is all new to me.
And I love it. I love ME!
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Addiction to food and/or alcohol: No simple answer... on July 7, 2012 1:06 pm
An OHer started a thread complaining about people not taking personal responsibility for their addictions. She complained that people too often blame that to which they are addicted (food, alcohol, drugs) or they blame the fact that they've had WLS for their transfer addiction.
I think this accusation leaves out one important thing: We are human beings, made of flesh & bone. We are fallible. We were born to make mistakes.
It also leaves out the fact that as humans, we need other humans to have a heart & reach out a hand in support in order to recover from our addictions.
In Alcoholics Anonymous we say alcohol is cunning, baffling & powerful.
Personal responsibility comes into play in so many facets of the human condition. It's part of the baffling part of alcohol (& other addictions, including food) that people from all walks of life - from the mail room clerk to the CEO - become addicts.
God willing, I'll celebrate my 26th year of sobriety next month. My father was an alcoholic & died of cirrhosis of the liver at 49. Within the last 5 years, scientists have discovered a gene in the DNA string that predisposes one to addiction. I knew in my gut - even when I was a teenager - that I shouldn't drink. But life happened, & in my weakness - & with an enemy that is cunning, baffling & powerful - I became an alcoholic in my early 20s.
Somehow, as I was drowning, I looked up (so far up) & saw the surface of the water with the sun shining on it. In my stupor I knew I wanted to be THERE, but I didn't know how to save myself. But I knew I wanted to be a good (single) mother to my young child, & I knew I couldn't stop drinking without help.
So that's what led me to the 12 steps in 1986.
There is so much about the workings of the body in relation to the brain & one's psyche that come into play when one speaks about addiction. Why does one become an addict? It's not just one thing - one's upbringing, one's genetic predisposition - that can provide the answer to this question.
In my personal experience in practicing the 12th step in AA & Overeaters Anonymous, I know for a fact that compassion & patience with the addict is the only way to help someone get sober.
One day at a time.
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Overeaters Anonymous & the TOOLS of recovery! on June 14, 2012 10:52 am
I started attending Overeaters Anonymous meetings on 4/2/12, about a month after my open RNY surgery. I love this group. The 12 steps WORK if you work them. OA meetings have helped me so much!
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OA has a pamphlet: The TOOLS of Recovery. The tools are
A Plan of Eating
I see my WLS as one of the tools of my recovery from compulsive overeating.
I didn't enter my first meeting with a willingness to share the fact that I'd had RNY a month previous. I told one other member (privately) that I'd had WLS.
We talk a lot on OH about "head hunger." Whatever you want to call it, I have struggled with the removal of food as my numbing drug of choice from my life since my RNY 2/28/12. I researched & read everything I could about RNY for years before I had my surgery, but nothing prepared me for the yanking of my "safety net" or "magic carpet" - food food food - out from under me overnight.
I see a counselor (social worker) every Wednesday. I go to AT LEAST one OA meeting a week (so far this week, 3). I honestly don't know where I'd be today if I hadn't walked into that first meeting on 4/2/12.
The thing about 12-step meetings is that they're run & attended by HUMANS. lol! We have our shortcomings. But we're all in this journey together.
You'll find that the meetings offer you a feeling of peace & serenity when you walk into the room (before anyone says a word). Remember, we are all "sick," so don't paint the whole program as unworthy if one person says something without thinking it through.
I look at it this way: I am there at the Overeaters Anonymous meetings to help myself one day at a time, but ALSO to help OTHERS recover from compulsive overeating. I'm on the leading edge at my local OA meetings. As WLS becomes more common, OA groups will open their doors & minds up to helping post-ops utilize this miraculous tool to overcome compulsive eating, just like we use the other tools of recovery.
I'm a PIONEER!
As we say in OA: "Keep coming back! It works if you WORK IT!"
Hair-raising (actually, falling)! on May 27, 2012 11:17 pm
Okay, my hair is falling out. Not dramatically, but it's definitely falling out in lots of strands.
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I have short hair, but I have scads of actual hairs. My poor hairdresser (who is also my dear friend & has done my hair since I was 29, AND had laparoscopic RNY 5 years ago) says it every time I go to get my hair done: "You have so. Much. HAIR!" My hair has always been quite thick. It's relatively straight (tiny bit of natural wave).
Optimally, I should be getting about 80-100g of protein a day. I'm not coming anywhere near this number.
I have had trouble getting in enough protein since my open RNY 2/28/12. Meat (any kind: beef, poultry) makes me rather queasy. Not sick, but kind of blecch on my tummy. So of course I eat about a slice of turkey lunchmeat & I am done.
Cheese is too rich for my tummy, too. I do have it once in awhile, but I don't like how any kind of dairy makes my tummy feel (queasy). I wasn't sensitive to dairy pre-op, but I sure am now.
I do drink protein shakes. I can have one pretty much only every other day, though. I have to push myself to drink them. They fill me up so much, so quickly. I have a Muscle Milk (lactose-free), either vanilla or chocolate (big shock!), mixed with 2 scoops of Syntrax Nectar unflavored protein powder, & a half-cup of rice milk. I add a few ice cubes & shake it up. I can drink almost all of it (except for about an inch left in the shaker bottle sometimes). That's 45 grams of protein. That's the most I get in one meal, & like I said, I only have one of those every other day or so.
Sometimes I do drink a Muscle Milk or Extreme Protein Smoothie (from bariatricchoice.com) in a sitting. The Extreme Protein Smoothies are the best protein drink I've ever had. I've tried quite a few, but not all of them out there.
So, here I am. I noticed many strands of hair on my shoulders, in my car, on my sink, in the shower, tangled in my eyelashes, etc. starting about a week or so ago. I'm getting my vitamins in every day (I did run out of calcium & I'm waiting for my next shipment this week). I had my complete post-op bloodwork drawn last Wednesday & haven't gotten the results back yet.
I'm not too terribly upset about it; I've had so many issues with my marriage since my RNY, I haven't been able to concentrate on much else.
Keep me in your prayers, darlings!
Telling the fam about your WLS; Diabetes type 2 &... on April 1, 2012 10:04 pm
I am type 2 diabetic (or I was). I'd been on every oral medication you can mention over the past 15 years & they never ever brought my glucose down below 150 fasting. And have you noticed how many oral medications for diabetes the FDA has pulled from the market?
When I started on insulin (4/2010) I was taking 20 units Lantus every night. At that time my fasting glucose without insulin was 349. I was up to 90 units insulin 2 days before my RNY 2/28/12 (living proof that diabetes is a progressive disease).
When the surgery was done & I was taken to my hospital room, my glucose was 127.
My endocrinologist has me on 20 units of Lantus a night to bring my glucose down around 80-90. I just started on that 3/21/12. I'm off my blood pressure meds & my high-cholesterol meds.
When I told my husband I wanted to have RNY, he was all for it because of the diabetes, & because he knew how miserable I was with my health AND my weight (looks, clothes, social limitations, etc.). I told my son (college freshman now) & he was happy about it because the diabetes would be improved.
About a month before my surgery, though, he came to me & said, "Mom, please don't have the surgery. You look great. You're beautiful. I mean it. Please don't do it."
This didn't bother me because I knew it must have just sunk in that I could die. I told him that this was something I had to do & that I'd put years of thought & prayer into the decision. He's been 100% on my team since then.
When I told my 32-year-old daughter I was considering the surgery, she had a complete & utter fit. She yelled, lectured, shook her finger, blah blah blah. She got her weight genes from me, & I think she was just incredulous that her OLD mother might not be fat anymore (she's never known me any other way). This was about 18 months ago, & my daughter & I are estranged now for many reasons. Sad, but hey, this is MY LIFE & MY JOURNEY.
My mother? My siblings? FORGET IT. I wouldn't tell them. They are all petite & skinny as a rail & always have been (my sister, 2 1/2 years younger, is a size 0 & cannot stand how fat she is when she sees photos of herself). I look at it this way: I gave the first 50 years of my life to my extended family. The next 50 years are for ME.
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