Before & After

 
 
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Goals

Dance all night at my wedding reception!
1 Person
 in progress, 
0 People
 achieved this
Swim 700 miles
1 Person
 in progress, 
0 People
 achieved this
weigh under 300 lbs
6 People
 in progress, 
9 People
 achieved this
Swim 600 miles in 2012
1 Person
 in progress, 
0 People
 achieved this
See my collarbone again
11 People
 in progress, 
12 People
 achieved this
Surgeon Testimonial

Jeffrey A. Hunter
I liked his answers at the WLS Seminar. I asked why he is interested in Bariatrics, his answer: (I) saw my Mother-in-Law suffer for years with health issues related to obesity, so it became personal.

The time involved getting a date was difficult to deal with, but that is my issue. I am a "hurry-up and wait" type of person, so coming into his office with most of my "steps" already done, threw the usual rhythm of things done in preparation.

Finally getting a surgical date, I offered to start a full fast, he told me not to. "We want you healthy and stroing before surgery, now is the time to start taking in more proteins & looking closely at nutrients..." He made me feel valued, I lost 40 pounds to get to the BMI he wanted before setting a surgical date.
Member Interests
  • Crafts - I love creating things, hate following directions!
  • Games & Entertainment - Cards, board, word, video - I enjoy playing mini golf!
  • Cars - MoPar...
  • Movies - I see at least 2 movies at the theatre a week - an expensive habit...
  • Scuba & Snorkeling - I absolutely LOVE the water. You don't pee on Man of War stings (jelly fish!)
  • Swimming - I am in the water as often as I can, whether doing laps, or just floating
  • Pick-Ups - 2008 RED Dodge Laramie 4X4
  • Antique - 1955 DeSoto Fireflite
  • Tropical Fish - Saltwater & corals - I live on the Mainland, so I need to be reminded of home!
  • Gardening - If I feed the squirrels, will they PLEASE stop eating my flower bulbs?!

Brenda C.'s Journey

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Describe your behavioral and emotional battle with weight control before learning about bariatric surgery.
I had struggled my entire life, since grade school, so it took a deep look into my soul to come to the decision that I could NOT lose the weight on my own. Before coming to grips, I saw my considering surgery my own failure, but now I realize the failure was only in my emotions. Surgery is a tool, what you do with your tool dictates your success. I am still working on my success story, but now I have hope.
Latest Surgery Support Comments

  • Comment by KarrieMassotti 11/16/10 6:45 pm
    Brenda is out of Surgery and in recovery. The surgery was successful.
Click here for the surgery support page

Seattle_Maui's Blog
Seattle_Maui's Blog


Swimming Against The Pacific...
February 22, 2013 2:08 pm

I have to say that, swimming in the ocean not only pushes you harder, it just leaves me thirsty! I was out in the surf today, enjoying swimming laps around a buoy, when it struck me, "Man! I am thirsty!"  Usually I start my day with lots of fluids, many of my supplements, a cup of Greek yogurt, and a V8 while I walk to the beach, I guess I underestimated my fluids today.

One thing that is really cool about swimming laps on an open beach, lots of folks see you really working.  I laughed at the thought of the Life Guards at the main beach I have been swimming at, wondering what they may be saying to each other... "You think we'll have to swim after that fool?"  Eventually, I think they are used to seeing me on my daily workout, hopefully they are now saying, "How far will she swim today?"

While in the water, I actually enjoy strangers offering their paddle boards to others in the surf, "Wanna try?" I did get into a conversation with one guy, I had to ask why he kicked his legs in the air, while laying on his board paddling.  "I don't actually want to get wet, so it is like swimming without really swimming."  Hmmm, maybe he could understand how the water slows a person down when they are fat -  because above the water was little to no resistance.  Admittedly, it is much easier to swim, and swim against the waves, now that there is a whole lot less of me.

Resistance swimming is fabulous, and that the one beach with across from where I am staying has a buoy to mark off 50 meters, I enjoy the challenge every morning, especially for not having to drive to an aquatic center & swim in chlorinated water.  Admittedly, I do not get sun like I do when I am in the ocean.  I am hoping my Vitamin D levels are in sufficient supply, considering I haven't missed being outside any day this month.

Don't let your fear if "what others might say" about you when you are out enjoying life, just think that some of those thoughts might be, "Look at them! They sure are happy & healthy!"  Sure, I do not have the perfect body, but I am taking great care of the body I have!

Stay Positive!

Brenda : )~

 

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Life on Maui... Well, just Visiting for NOW
February 20, 2013 7:36 pm

I have swam an additional 22 miles of just lap swimming, and countless miles & hours in the Ocean, which is so much easier with 2/3 of my excess weight gone (over 200 pounds).  Sure, being fat makes you buoyant, but for distance or "free diving" (swimming deep without a tank), you need more lean body mass.  For those of you who have been following my journey, thank you - MAHALO - for making the trip with me!  Sharing the journey makes it a whole lot easier.

Okay, blatant shopping comment, I can now buy shirts/clothing in most stores!  No matter how little I bring with me when I travel, I always seem to end up with so many items that will have to be shoehorned into the suitcase. Good thing that one suitcase is just snorkel equipment, I have to add the weight of new clothing, creative packing is my specialty!

For those of you out in this great big world who use their size to keep them from going out & being active, I ask you to go look at my photos.  I was closing in on 500 pounds and still out in the ocean, up a volcano, and living life as fully as I could.  Sure it is more difficult dragging along all the extra weight, not to mention it is embarrassing, but do not stop living "until (you) lose the weight."  Too many folks have asked me how I did it, simply put, one step at a time.  Start with small steps, and keep pushing further.  Trust me, I still am fat, I still feel the eyes on me, but I also have strangers interacting with me daily.  Being open is one key, staying positive is another, add activity, and you are on your way!

Two years out from surgery, I am able to eat many of the healthy foods I ate before, and I laugh at the exceptions I cannot eat.  Trust me, if you are fearing surgery because you are limited in what you'll be able to eat, DON'T!  I have found my tastes have completely changed.  I stopped drinking Original V8 I think 18 months or more before surgery, because my doctor chewed me out, "Brenda, only Low Sodium V8 from this point on!"  I bought a can of Original V8 while out - not only does it have less potassium, I missed the flavor I love.  I had a friend ask me if I am jealous over folks eating Hawaiian Shave Ice - I was happy to say it brought me pleasure to see others enjoy it, but it didn't make me feel bad at all.  Life is still enjoyable without certain foods, so please do not use that as a reason to not improve your health.

Okay, I am going to post a couple photos of me on Maui - and if this isn't too rude, can I ask folks who are on Facebook to toss me a vote for Chike Nutrition's Photo Contest?  I would appreciate it, as I really do drink the stuff daily, and love it.  Just click the link on the bottom - or do a search for Chike Nutrition on Facebook, and toss Brenda a vote - mine is the Snorkel Mask over the tub!

Do not let life be lived at home away from the fun!!!  Face each day with at least one fun goal - mine are goofy most days, including counting a certain car of a certain color.  But if you add more activity to your day, you will enjoy yourself so much more - I promise!!!

Stay Positive!

Brenda : )~

 

https://apps.facebook.com/offerpop/Contest.psp?c=275753&u=181681&a=254553244581393&p=220276161320146&rest=0&v=View

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Swam 95 Miles So Far... 2013!
February 7, 2013 11:39 am

Hey Folks!

I am so busy chasing my tail, I am getting ready to board a plane back to Home, Sweet Home, Maui!  My progress toward my 750 mile goal for 2013 is going well, but I plan to kick it up while on Maui.  Not only do I have a place to swim laps, I will most certainly be spending time in the Pacific Ocean (got a cool dealie-bob to count the miles/strokes).

Staying on my food journal, and getting all my exercise is the way to keep on track to be a healthy, happy ME!  Anyhow, I still have messages to respond to, but I have been in the air, literally! 

Just realize, if I can lose 2/3 of my excess weight (and still going for that last 1/3), so can YOU! 

Stay Positive! I only bought ONE seat on the plan!

Brenda : )~

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Want a chance at a Free tub of Meal Replacement?
February 7, 2013 11:24 am

I was on Facebook, and saw a contest - and yes, I entered - to win a free tub of Chike Meal Replacement.  Anyhow, if you are interested and are on Facebook (I am not sure if there is a way to enter besides Facebook, but if I find out, I'll add it to the comments), here is the link:

Show Us Your Love of Chike Photo Contest! Enter here to win a tub of every flavor of Chike: http://bit.ly/VDEVai

I am getting ready to fly over to Maui, so if I have missed emails & comments, I promise to catch up with everyone real soon!

Stay Positive!

Brenda : )~

 

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I have written in Blog (in my head) so MANY times...
January 29, 2013 8:33 am

Here I sit, dealing with my emotions, after two years, my surgeon calls me a "success".  Many who have followed my long process will cheer for me, which I TOTALLY appreciate, but I still feel a certain amount of failure in my weight loss.  For those who do not know I lost over 200 pounds in two years, I look like a pre-surgical fat woman, who appears to exercise daily, but is still fat.  Obesity is NOT cured with any bariatric surgery, lifelong changes only bolster our health, and possible "normalcy" of BMI. 

I feel a certain amount of responsibility for putting myself "out there" as an example of what can be achieved with weight loss surgery, but who will take me seriously, as I am STILL FAT?!  In my life before super, morbid obesity, I was a very active, very healthy "fat chick" (I have always detested the term BBW, just a personal opinion).  Life growing up an active fat person wasn't always easy, mainly because there just weren't as many of us active fat folk out there.  It took a catastrophic event (injury) that changed my active fat chick status to: Growing FATTER without activity.  Sigh.  Well, I went from the mid 200's, which I seemed pretty good at carrying (I am 5 feet 7 inches tall) to at the highest recorded weigh in of 474 -- I believe my weight actually it was higher, as I spent a YEAR trying to lose weight, before conceding that I needed surgical assistance.

It still took longer to get surgery, as I was then in an auto accident that pushed back my process, but I still worked daily to swim & build strength and stamina.  I lived a modified diet waiting for the "date" for surgery, so my surgeon did not require a full fast two weeks prior to surgery.  Why am I reliving all this back story?  To let folks know, two years after surgery, I lost and kept off my losses of over 200 pounds.  So, I am considered a "success" in terms of weight loss surgery.  Okay, I need to deal with my own emotional shortfalls, and face folks - even if it is just online, or at support meetings.  I am still struggling, but NOT giving up.

If you seek surgery for a number on the scale, the chances of seeing that number, or even staying on that number, or less likely if you start at a higher then 50 BMI (my official BMI was 74.4).  If you expect to see a clothing size, you will have to work at it, and not just rely on surgery.  Sure, there are folks who attain amazing weight loss, but to keep those numbers, you will have to continue working on your health.  Yup, I am proof it is a daily struggle to be a "normal fat chick," as my daughter lovingly refers to me as,

Last year, I set a goal to swim 600 miles.  I surpassed that number by 42 miles.  I am proud of that achievement.  This year that number is 750 miles - and I am certainly on my way, as I have returned to swimming with gusto!  I am adding other physical goals, but planning on trying to add more weight (number) goals, even though I tried to stay away from making a certain goal weight.  The reason I exercise is not for a weight or clothing size, it is for my overall health & emotional well being.  I have excellent numbers when looking at the health -- blood pressure, blood values, and activity level.  Sure, I still have a leg that causes me to limp, but I had that before surgery.  The reason for being healthy is my goal of living a long and happy life.

Before surgery, and even starting my whole process of regaining my health, I was emotionally miserable.  The physical limitations seemed to grow over the years I was continuing to gain weight.  Nothing like having to get the dealership selling me a vehicle to include extender belts in the deal, as I was too damn fat to fit in the generous "one size fits all" seat belts.  I spent years trying to justify that airplanes just have smaller seats, that it was the airlines fault for being greedy that I was forced to purchase two tickets because my hips wouldn't fit in my assigned seat with the armrest down.  As I grow larger, I tried to reason that, "if I can still buy clothing (mostly online only), I am not TOO fat..." When you are forced to search for clothing manufacturers for swimsuits beyond a size 32, you are possibly in need of help, or just a wake up call for personal change.

Being a woman wearing a 7X didn't make me hide from the public eye, but I was also aware that I could be INVISIBLE to some people. Dealing with stares, comments just made me more aware I had to have a thick skin.  Being invisible hurt me more emotionally than the rude comments & stares.  Wearing a size 7X, I decided I would really need to get down to serious business, and make a plan, or I would need to consider weight loss surgery.  I actually went to see my doctor and told her my plan: ONE YEAR OF SERIOUS WORK, then decide if I really could lose weight on my own.

Fat folks KNOW how to lose weight, but the trick is keeping it off, right?  Well, after that year of work, I did see I was able to fit into smaller sized clothing, and I was getting around better, but damn it, I was down to a BMI of 74.4.  Who can get excited after a year of HARD WORK, just to see the scale saying 474 pounds?  How long of a journey has this been?  I started January of 2008, only to decide in February 2009, I needed surgery.  With a year off for an auto accident, I started working toward getting surgery in 2010 - when I joined support groups, an started writing my thoughts and support of others on here.  I finally got my gastric bypass on November 16, 2010.  Now, over two years post-surgery, I am still working everyday to be healthy.

Face yourself, admit to the things that you can change, and except the things out of your control, but strive to be healthy.  That is what I have learned from my journey so far.  Oh, and that you get support by giving OTHERS support.  Upon having my two year follow up, I still felt mixed emotions, and just seemed to hide away from my weight loss surgery community, as I felt like I was a failure.  Just remember, you are always your worst critic, so learn to support yourself, and not deny reaching out for help.  We can all find excuses to not go exercise, go to support group meetings, avoid friends online (waving at many folks who I haven't talked with!!!) -- it is the strong who do NOT let this happen.  I swear to anyone reading my blog, if you are open - to yourself & others - that you need help, you will continue to work on the issues you need help with.

Okay, I feel emotionally drained, but I also feel like I finally got a "dirty secret" off my chest.  I cannot hide behind my weight, I will face it with every day, and live a healthy life.  Surgery alone will not fix you, it is just part of the process.  Go to support group meetings, see your doctor regularly, weigh yourself, measure & journal your food intake, and be happy in your own skin!

Stay Positive!

Brenda : )~

 

 

 

 

 

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