Nov 24, 2015
I am now 60 years old and a size small in most cases. I play with about 10-15 pounds (like a "normal" person). I just celebrated 11 years out from my DS and enjoying the far better part of 175 lb weight loss.
Life goes on, Folks. Fat, thin, young, old. It goes on. I still have to be conscious of what I eat but I have leeway and since I had the DS, fat is kinda my friend and that is what makes it a considerably preferable option when you have a surgeon who performs the procedure as well as Dr. Roslin.
I am blessed in more ways than I can count. Having the "bulk" of concerns regarding my weight less of a focus, I have discovered some pretty cool things about myself and who I am. Many of us who have/had severe weight issues were scarred in some way. The weight, holding on to it, and having food as our refuge are all part of a reaction to the negatives we have experienced. Especially if you're the type of person who can lose a considerable amount of weight over a particular period (the good dieter) but then find yourself putting it back on and breaking all your "healthy rules" when you let down your defenses and feel more vulnerable.
Let's face it. People gonna do what they're gonna do. We can't control it and we can't control them. Give yourself the most important gift you would give someone else: LOVE. In the long run, it begins and ends with love. Love yourself unconditionally. Forgive yourself and others for intentional and unintentional acts that cause negativity and pain. Move forward positively and welcome all that keeps you from being stuck. Don't block yourself with how you've been wronged (even though no doubt you have been). Don't be a doormat but don't let your emotions take you over so that you can't keep going.
There is a force inside of you that wants better. If you've been doing a good amount of research about weight loss surgery and still engross yourself in profiles such as mine, you're looking for the "good word" that makes it your option. Just don't fool yourself into thinking it's the answer to all your problems. It is a resource, an opportunity to unlock a door inside yourself and open your mind. Take it seriously. Embrace the possibilities. Examine the positives and negatives. Be resolute to make a permanent difference one day at a time.
It is still one of the top five things I've ever done. Probably around #3. Thank you, OH... I may be a lapsed member but I'm forever in your debt. You opened the door to a life that has changed in amazing ways and being a consistently thinner me was only the beginning.
Blessings to all from above and within <3
9th Switchiversary & All is Well!
Nov 24, 2015
Anyone wondering why I had weight loss surgery 9 years ago today (11/19/13) can more clearly understand by looking at my weight battle throughout my lifetime. Now a more "normal" person, it is not always easy to maintain my 175 lb weight loss but it is admittedly easier. Normal means watching what I eat but allowing myself to enjoy food--within reasonable limits. I thank God for my family and WLS community (especially the DSers) for their support; I couldn't possibly have gotten here without you all!! #TakesAvillage ? OH was a place that for learning, understanding, and meeting new people with similar experiences, many of whom have become dear friends.
8th Switchiversary & All is Well!
Nov 24, 2015
Eight years out today (11/19/2012). A ride I wouldn't trade for just about anything in the world. Grateful for my success and relatively side-effect, complication-free post-DS life (despite the bowel obstruction and surgery in April 2012). Due to my age, autoimmune diseases and menopause, I have to work harder than many of you to maintain a size 4 body but the DS made it so much easier. Before 2004 I had never been able to wear the same size from year to year. I like food but it no longer rules my life. As far as food, eating and weight are concerned, this Libra is in balance. Gives me a whole host of other things to obsess about!
Super Seven Switchiversary!
Nov 24, 2015
If you're keeping track... Today (11/19/11) is my 7 year switch-i-versary... One of the greatest things I've ever done. Have maintained more than 150 lbs weight loss since the surgery. A little tougher this year since some unrelated medical issues and menopause have decided to team up and interfere but I persevere. Thank God for Dr Mitch Roslin at Lenox Hill Hospital... He is a rock star!
God has made me pretty much a model for the DS, altho--because of my several autoimmune diseases --I'm down a few quarts these days.I always claimed that, for the most part, I didn't have a huge appetite even, tho I was fat. Most of my post-DS results have proved me out.
Maintaining my weight loss has been terrific but then I eat healthier than ever (5 small meals daily, where 1-2 of the meals are as simple as an apple or 2 oz of raw almonds). I stay away from refined carbs, almost always eat sugar-free... yet I enjoy food more than ever. Having a cutoff point is awesome. I never did stretch my belly back.
Due to some severe stressors over the past couple of years, I did fall behind in my supplements which didn't help my other issues much. Most importantly, everyone should know that vitamin deficiencies affect the mind as much as the body, so don't be surprised if you find yourself feeling very depressed and coincidentally register low D, for example. Thank God I'm back on that track.
It is my pleasure to "be here"... in every way!
Stopping Back to Pay it Forward
Nov 24, 2015
As usual, life continues to speed along, with or without my participation. I have a mixed bag of news to share but since I refuse to spew all over a page without providing something useful, it’s taken me some time to post my experience and share it in a way that you (hopefully) find helpful.
To make a long story short, I’ve been a bad girl--and not in a good way. I stopped taking my vitamins/supplements religiously a couple of years ago and managed to keep myself “out of danger” by having my homemade coffee-protein shake and eating very healthily.
But a torrent of crummy circumstances occurred simultaneously: DH let go from a well-paying, well-deserved job he held for 14 years (without a sick day)--the exact month we had finished paying off $120,000 in debt (after five years of debt consolidation) and were going to apply for a mortgage to buy the house of our dreams; beloved family dog died shortly after coming to live with us again after “working” for several years as a companion for an old friend (who took us to court for asking her to leave the house where we had let her stay AND paid all her bills)… Mom's 80th birthday that played out more like “Weekend at Bernie’s” (she’s had Alzheimers for 15 years)... Yes, there IS more but I’ll spare you...
With fibromyalgia, severe Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and chronic fatigue syndrome, I had become convinced that my small dose (25mcg) of Synthroid was making me suicidal and that depression was the reason I had sunk so low. So I simply stopped taking it. Then I sank lower.
Over the past few months, it was clear by my "symptoms" that I was low on iron (e.g., no color to my skin, nails and the membranes under my eyes; lessening mental acuity and ability to concentrate; brittle nails; nonexistent energy); Vitamin A (dry skin, rashes, problems focusing eyes); Vitamin K (bruising); Calcium (joints creaking when flexing); Vitamin D & Zinc (decreased immunity levels; if it was “going around,” I caught it); Vitamin B (some neuropathy—lazy feet, feet falling asleep easily)… ad nauseum. Literally. The only right things I did were continuing to eat fresh foods, keeping protein first and staying reasonably hydrated.
What I have since learned that is imperative you all know (in case you hadn’t realized it already) is that what you may think is “only” depression is probably more related to the chemical imbalances caused by deficiencies.
Wherever life takes you, there’s a reason behind why you feel lousy. It’s not all depression or disappointment or “inability to cope.”
One hand washes the other & one malfunction is likely to affect/spark another.
Don’t give up on being a better you (which is easy to do);
Don’t think that you aren’t meant to live a better paced life (you might);
Don’t think that everything is too overwhelming and it’s better to lay in a fetal position than take chances (you will).
Find the impetus in you that risked it all to have this surgery & take it to a medical professional to fix what’s wrong.
You are so freakin’ worth it. See it, believe it, make it happen. Face it, fix it, rock it.
So I’ve been doing the iron infusion thing. When I started my hemoglobin was at 6; I’m almost at 11 (norm is about 12-16). Finally “regaining the will to live and regenerate.”
Downside is I’ve put on about 10 lbs because the supplement (Venofer) is 30% sucrose and my body is sucking up all the “sugar” along with the iron. (I live a sugar-free lifestyle, so those of you who know me know how aggravating & upsetting it is to me to put on any weight—even if most think I need it/look better.) But it’s also great motivation never to get to the point of needing clinical intervention for supplementation again.
I have SO learned my lesson. They tell me the weight gain is a necessary evil because it’s better than being anemic and that once the treatments are over, I will be able to eliminate the sucrose in my body. Sort of like taking steroids though; weight gain is weight gain—even when it has nothing to do with poor eating habits.
Additionally, I’m back to my daily coffee-protein shakes, I mix liquid vitamins in with my SF Hawaiian Punch… I’m chewing my calcium wafers…
The gratitude, as usual, comes with surviving and emerging from the other side of crap with renewed determination, improved health, and the ability to share the downside with you in hopes you learn from my stupidity that there’s much more to deficiencies than words/warnings and feeling lousy: IT MESSES WITH YOUR HEAD IN A MAJOR WAY.
So… Don’t let it get to the point I did. But if it has and you see any of you in my words/sharing... Get your butt to help... IM-freakin'-ME-DIATELY.
Get it? Got it? GOOD!!
NEVER Too Late
Apr 19, 2012
I have taken most of my life off-OH and onto FB but this is an important message that is ESSENTIAL TO ALL DSers and DS wannabees. I'd shout it from the rooftops if I could.
KNOW YOUR BODY, KNOW YOUR SURGERY, KNOW YOURSELF!
I say this because--as a post-op for more than 7 years--I just had a bowel obstruction caused by abdominal adhesions and ended up in a situation where no one basically had a clue about the DS.
Although in relatively close proximity to go back to my rock star God bariatric surgeon (Mitch Roslin), I had no choice at the time but to go elsewhere for surgical assistance. The bariatric surgeon who ultimately removed the adhesions ("adhesion lysis") knew about the DS but does not perform them. At least he knew my doctor and they consulted swiftly, professionally and knowledgeably.
But all the years of carrying around the card with a diagram of our anatomy, my surgeon's name & phone paid off in spades. I clutched it like a prayer card in my hand (and keep a copy on my smartphone) until I made sure someone made a copy of it to put in my hospital file since it was the first time there.
Still, I had to educate staff ad infinitum about my specific needs (e.g., I take mostly liquid and powder supplements whenever possible, avoid unnecessary sugars, and protein ALWAYS first). (You wouldn't believe the mess of sugar and sugared water they handed me for my first clear liquid meal. Mermaid don't do that. Kindly asked that they replace what they handed me with everything sugar-free. Imagine, an 8 oz protein drink with 45 freakin' carbs??)
First, the symptoms: For me, it was what seemed like gas pain starting about 8pm and escalating, refusing to dissipate to the point that I could feel my intestines throbbing from the stress with my hands. I took two chewable gas relievers and sipped water. At first I could pass a little gas and a little loose bowel movement. Then the throbbing got worse and the pile of intestine felt hard and totally immobile. I sweated through a night of this before throwing up the gas relievers and water and starting to bring up food I had eaten nearly 24 hours before. Then I knew I had no choice but to go to the ER.
Being a NYC girl you take for granted that even on Long Island they have a working knowledge of certain things--especially in the bariatric community--but when you find yourself versing a surgery intern on the procedure (and one more time justifying "Why the DS?" while in virtually unspeakable pain), would I have made any other choices?
Absolutely, unequivocally, NOT.
HOWEVER, prove to others how smart you are by making this decision: DSers, EDUCATE YOURSELF TO THE POINT OF INSANITY because another's ignorance shouldn't be our fate. We shouldn't settle because others don't know ALL the options available but we did.
With all this being said, don't just have the DS because you believe it's a foodie's dream. Believe me, I enjoy food more than ever and have multiple FB postings of my international culinary achievements but that has made it less important and less of a priority (i.e., to eat the world). I have the freedom, that's what counts.
What did I have for breakfast as soon as I was back in control of my food? A big juicy red grapefruit and 20oz of my homemade coffee-protein elixir. I now have homemade chicken soup steaming away in the pressure cooker and hard boiled eggs ready for a beautiful egg salad. Because that's what makes me stay 175 lbs lost and convinced I did the right thing. It's also the best way to eat for me. Five small meals a day (with some as small as an apple) but I never stretched my stomach much--nor felt the need to. I proudly call myself a DS success story because why go through this $hit to be anything less?
Let no one else decide for you, judge you, or convince you. Just GET informed. STAY informed. Share information and allow yourself to learn. Be able to back up what you know in your heart, mind and soul is right for you--and you alone.
Blessings to you always, whatever your place you might be in your journey.
When it's Not "All About Me"
Oct 17, 2011
Hey kids... Dropping by to let you know I'll be speaking about "Improving Every Relationship" at the Hauppauge LI OH Event this Saturday 10/22 at 4pm. It sure will be good to see you and exchange some powerful hugs.
Five Year Switch-i-versary!
Nov 18, 2009
Five years ago: I felt as though my life was over (but was optimistic)
Today: I feel as though my life has just begun.
I am 54 years old. I have never gained more than 10 lbs in five years--and that was all either water weight or hormone induced. I still can't eat more than 12 oz in one sitting but do eat every 2-3 hours. A humongous red pear wiIl still fill me up so much that I can't finish it but I'm satisfied as all get out.
I eat fresh wholesome foods, whole grains, sugar-free and have become a gourmet, a cooking whiz and have even started canning (recently put up my own SF meat tomato sauce, SF cranberry sauce, SF cranberry jam, SF apple butter, etc) ... I make my own yogurt, my own SF granola, etc etc and love every second of it. Eat out rarely because I can either imitate or improve upon the sugar-salt-and-preservative-laden-fare.
I have not waivered over 135 lbs since the great Mirena disaster of 2006 (that put 10 hormone-filled pounds on my body that took months to eliminate and caused a 1"x3" benign tumor in my breast) and because my body still changes/firms from proper eating and physical activity (no plastic surgery), I appear thinner than ever. I'm just under 130 lbs now: Maintaining a 190 lb weight loss to date.
Life is not without its challenges. I am not perfect. Everything from job loss to loss of friends and family (I still miss Rockin' Robin more than I can say... I think of her EVERYday; I just recently learned of Gary Viscio's and Crow's death; then of course there is Jeremy, who had his surgery the same day as mine and left us way too soon). My vits could be better; the autoimmune diseases persist. Yet there is an ebb and flow that reminds me life is for living not observing and even when I try to ride the wave, it pulls me in and demands my participation.
I am here to tell you that dreams ARE realized, persistence is key.
You matter. I matter. Believe it to your core.
Aspire Inspire Perspire ... or, if you like:
Make it happen!
Blessings to all of you... always!
I'm On TV!
Oct 16, 2009
Also, check my profile next month, when I will share life as a 5-year post-op. Blessings to each and every one of you. Always feel free to email/message me ([email protected]) if I can be of any help since I rarely post or frequent OH anymore. You can also follow me on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/MelissaMermaid) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/MelissaMermaid).
LHK to all of you always...
Tweeting My Story
Jul 16, 2009