Food, Not-So-Glorious Food!

Dec 15, 2006

I never thought I would be saying this, but food is very much over-rated.  At least 10 weeks post-op.  No matter how hard I try, the most I can eat at one sitting is three bites.  Then comes the trick of trying to keep it down.  If I eat a little too fast ---- blaaaahhh!  If the food has a weird aftertaste ---- blaaaahhh!  If the food has a slimey texture ---- blaaaahhh!  I am now able to pace myself pretty well when I am eating by myself and NEVER eat anything unless I know a bathroom (ideally) or trash can (last resort) is nearby.  

But the trick is trying to eat a meal with others.  I had dinner in a restaurant with my husband earlier this week and they inadvertantly took his only remaining fork when they removed his salad plate when the main course arrived.  Of course the waiter was nowhere to be found and the restaurant was packed so we couldn't steal a fork off another table.  So I lent him my fork.  That bought me about ten minutes of having a reasonable excuse for not eating, but then my fork arrived.  Three bites and that was it.

Then a couple of nights later, we went out to dinner with our two boys after their Christmas program at school.  By the time we arrived at the restaurant, it was just a few minutes before 9:00 p.m. and my husband suddenly realized that we still needed to buy holiday-themed shirts and Santa hats for the boys' last day of school before Christmas vacation the next day.  Not sure when Target closes, I vollunteered to go get the shirts while my husband ordered my food to go.  They would stay at the restaurant and have their dinner while I went shopping, and then I would come back and get them.

Either I am a very fast shopper or service was reallllly slow that night (probably a little of both), but I came back to the restaurant a little disappointed to learn that my family were still waiting on their main course.  Dang, here we go again.  The waitress then brought my food, and then three bites later, ho hum.  As much as I used to love food, as my top weight of 312 lbs. will attest, it sure is a big drag now, especially when you spend the majority of a meal watching other people eat.  Yawn.

As sensitive as my stomach now is, eating with others also brings the risk of smelling and watching someone else eat food that makes me want to gag.  There are so few foods that I can eat in public.  But the worst is one someone orders something like, a big old oily piece of fried fish or something that comes with a stinky helping of garlic sauce.  The trick then becomes how not to throw up in front of your dining partner.  I am not sure what Emily Post would say, but I doubt I would score any ettiquette points for barfing at the dinner table.

But my biggest dilemma now is trying to figure out how to eat with others without getting bored.  Sure it gives me a great opportunity to corner the conversation, but I am not used to this.  At the same time, I really don't want to be asking my dining partners a lot of probing questions because, quite frankly, I want them to hurry the heck up and finish their meal, especially if it makes me want to gag.

I suppose I could start learning some parlor tricks, like how to balance a salt shaker on its edge, make little paper worms out of drinking straw wrappers that magically crawl across the table, or how to fold dollar bills in such a way that depict a giant mushroom cloud instead of George Washington's head.  Either that or teach all my friends and loved ones who I eat with often how to eat really, really fast.

More Bad Things About Having WLS

Nov 30, 2006

Back on October 2, two days before my surgery, I posted a Top Ten List of Bad Things About Having WLS (see Blog Archive).  They were all the crazy things "The Committee" in my very crowded head was telling me in order to talk me out of having surgery.  Well, now that I have lost a good chunk of weight already, I have discovered a couple of negative side affects of having the surgery.  They are:

--  I now have to use much more toilet paper when I wipe my butt after going poop because I can now reach farther; and

--  My books, magazines and other reading material are getting water logged when I take a bath because my belly no longer sticks out several inches above the water line.

Of course, I am being very sarcastic here.  I am thrilled that I can now effectively wipe my butt, and it is great that I have lost my bathtub book shelf.  It's just so weird -- but in a good way -- how much your life can change after surgery.

I am also very happy to report that I wore a blouse to work today that I haven't been able to wear for about three years.  I had done Optifast a while back and lost about 25 lbs and bought some new clothes, including the blouse that I wore today.  But within a few months of quitting Optifast, I regained all my weight back and then proceeded to gain an additional 30 lbs.  A little over a year ago I almost gave the blouse away because I was convinced I would never be able to wear it ever again.  I was so hopeless and depressed back then.  What a difference a year can make!

This surgery isn't for everyone.  It is quite an adjustment that no one can prepare you for until you are experiencing it yourself.  Just today at lunch I threw up because I was hungry and ate a little too fast.  For me right now, one bite too much and my little pouch throws it back up.  Very yucky.  But there are so many other blessings, big ones like improved health and little ones like no longer having a bathtub book shelf make it all worthwhile.

Eight Weeks Post-Op

Nov 29, 2006

To those who are actually reading this, apologies for taking so long to post an update.  So many things have happened that I am not sure where I should start.  But perhaps a good place would be to pick up where I left off in late September.  Ugh, I would not want to turn back time to that period of my life.  I can honestly say that the few weeks leading up to my surgery were the most stressful time of my life.  I felt like a "deer in the headlights," so scared that I could hardly function.  The worst part was that I could not use the one relaxation method that had served me so well my entire life: compulsively overeating.  

As it was, I discovered mid-September that I was now a good ten lbs. heavier than my pre-op appointment weight in August.  We were threatened with the consequence of having our surgery canceled if we came in a single ounce higher than our pre-op appointment weight, but I couldn't help myself and ate myself silly beginning the very night I got home from my appointments.  But by mid-September I knew I had to quit eating or face the humiliation of having the surgery postponed after my husband arranged to have time off, I filed for Family Leave, told all my friends and family I my surgery date, etc.

So by mid-September, the gig was up.  I HAD to lose weight no matter what.  To complicate matters, my gallbladder was on its last legs and started acting up.  Anytime I ate anything with the slightest amount of fat, I would become violently ill.  Because of this, I was actually able to come in only about two lbs. more than my pre-op weight the day before my surgery.  And I also learned that they rarely cancel surgeries unless the person has gained 30-40 lbs. since the pre-op appointment.  It's probably a good thing I didn't know this ahead of time because I could have done some serious damage to myself.  In fact, I may have ended up being one of those folks that gained 30-40 lbs. and gotten my surgery canceled for real.

The surgery itself went smoothly, although I understand my gallbladder gave my surgeon a run for his money.  It turns out that my gallbladder was deeply embedded in my liver and he had to peel it out in layers.  When I woke up, I felt like I had been sucker-punched on my right side.  The pain for the most part subsided in about a day and wasn't really that bad.  In fact, my monthly menstrual cramps are far worse than my post-op pain was.

My surgery was on Wednesday, October 4 and I was able to go home on Saturday, October 7.  For the first few weeks, I was freezing cold all the time and could never get warm enough.  In addition, anytime I ate or drank anything, especially protein, I became very sick.  The nausea lasted a good six weeks.  But luckily, my surgeon prescribed Reglan for me and it helped with the nausea considerably.

I am now eight weeks out and have lost 40 lbs., or a total of 50 lbs. from my highest weight in mid-September.  It doesn't really feel like it though.  I started work just this past Monday and everyone says that I look great, but very few people have specifically said that I have lost weight.  I am not surprised because about 16 years ago I had lost about 80 lbs. and I remember people not noticing until I had lost at least 40.  This time around I started out a good 150 lbs. overweight so I think it will take a while longer for people to notice.  

Also, it is interesting to note that I am still able to wear most of my clothes.  Granted, they are very comfortable and some things are very loose, but they are all still wearable.  Which makes me wonder how in the heck I was able to wear them 50 lbs. ago!  I am able to wear outfits that I haven't been able to wear in a couple of years, so that's nice too.  But the reality is that I will probably need to lose another 30-40 lbs. before I really need to start buying new clothes.  This is a good thing because I am almost flat broke after being off work for so long, property taxes are due on December 10, and Christmas is less than a month away!

Since my surgery, I have already had a couple of big "Wow!" moments.  I can now fit in booths at restaurants again, whereas prior to surgery I had to make sure we got seated at a table.  For the rare occassions when tables weren't available, I would end up with bruises across my abdomen where my belly would be squeezed by the edge of the table.  Another big deal for me was learning that I was now able to fully wipe myself again after going poop.  It had gotten to the point where I would try to go poop only at home, so I could jump in the shower afterward and clean anything I had missed with a handheld shower head.  As I gained weight the last couple of years, I didn't realize how dehumanizing my obesity had become.  I can honestly say that just being able to wipe myself was worth having the surgery by itself.

Top Ten List of Bad Things About Having WLS

Oct 01, 2006

I am two days from surgery and my mind is doing weird things.  I cannot sleep because of all the unusual, random thoughts.  Believe it or not, these are things my crazy mind is telling me right now:

Top Ten List of Bad Things About Having WLS

10.  Will no longer be able to tackle a skinny gunman to the ground.

9.  Will miss Bunny (yes, that's her real name), the nice cashier at the McDonald's drive-thru that I go to often.

  Will have to use more water to fill up the bath tub when I want to take a nice, long soaking Bubble Bath.

Will no longer be able to steer the car wih my belly when I am talking on the cell phone with one hand and feeding myself with the other hand (see item 9 above).

  Will have to find a different morning workout routine from what I do now, which entails struggling to put my pantyhose on (my heart rate goes up, I break into a sweat, it takes about 20 minutes, so yes this does qualify as exercise)

  No longer be invisible in public.  Damn, I may have comb my hair, put on makeup and clean clothes before leaving the house.

  Will have to find new things to do with all the time previously spent buying, cooking and/or eating food.

  Will have to come up with different fantasies (Goodbye, Death by Chocolate Cake, Hello Julian McMahon!)

  Will no longer have an excuse to tell my kids for not going on all those scary roller coaster rides.


Will now have to buy long-term convalescent care insurance (was denied because my BMI was too high along with the fact that I probably wouldn't live to be old enough to need long-term convalescent care)


Will have to trade in my desktop PC for a laptop once I have a lap.

At peace with my decision

Sep 27, 2006

I have been thinking quite a bit about a prayer written by a trappist monk by the name of Thomas Merton:

"My Lord, God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am
following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But, I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and will never leave me to face my perils alone."

I really don't know if God truly approves of me having bariatric surgery, but because I am trying to better do His will by having it, I think this makes God happy. And even without all the amazing coincidences I wrote about yesterday, I trust that God and all of his guardian angels will be with me during my surgery next week. I am never alone in all of this, and for today I am at peace with my decision to have the surgery. Thank you Lord.

God shots

Sep 26, 2006

I had something spine-tingling happen tonight.

Back in January I was struggling with the thought of having bariatric surgery because it would take a perfectly working God-given stomach and mutilate it so I wouldn't be able to eat as much. At the time, my husband reminded me of the scripture, "And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell." It made perfect sense to me because I truly believe that my eating disorder separates me from God, the truth, and my fellow human beings, not necessarily in that order. And by doing so I am unable to do God's will.

So tonight I went to a prayer meeting that I rarely go to because I can't get off work in time. I think in the whole two years that it has been in existence, I have only been able to go perhaps four or five times. But today I was home, could get there in plenty of time, and it seemed like a really good idea to go to the prayer meeting so I could share my upcoming surgery concerns with my fellow prayer team members and also get prayed over by folks I view as prayer warriors.

After doing the rosary of the Sorrowful Mysteries, they then read scripture, which in the case of tonight's, is the scripture that will be read in all of the Roman Catholic churches WORLDWIDE at this coming Sunday's Mass. Guess what the scripture was? You got it, the one listed above from The Sermon on the Mount. Unbelievable. When they started reading it, I started crying. It's like God is reminding me, "Okay Anne, remember why you are having the surgery. It's so you can better do My will. You have my blessings. Don't blow it!" Of course, I really doubt He said "Don't blow it," that's more of a note to myself.

If I could figure out the odds of that particular scripture being read at tonight's prayer meeting, they would be phenomenal. If I could figure out the odds of that particular scripture being read at Mass the very Sunday before my surgery, they would be even more phenomenal. And that combined with my surgery date being October 4, the date celebrated as The Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi , the odds are downright impossible.

And oh yes, one more amazing factoid: Kaiser, my entirely secular HMO, contracts bariatric surgery out to another health organization, Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego . Scripps Mercy is the ONLY Roman Catholic hospital in San Diego, and only one of a few remaining Catholic hospitals in the entire State of California. Hmmm, maybe I should be buying lottery tickets right now.

I have my surgery date!

Aug 29, 2006

Hi all, I finally got the phone call I have been waiting for. Yesterday Pacific Bariatric called and let me know that my surgery date is October 4! I am sooo excited!!!

I actually started to tear up a bit when the person told me it was going to be October 4 because that day is very special to me. It is my youngest son's birthday and is also the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi , author of the prayer below. St. Francis is one of my favorite Saints and just Sunday night I was telling my husband that I felt my food obsession was getting in the way of my ability to do God's will. I told him that my hope is that I will be able to serve Him better as a result of the surgery by finally being at peace with food. So maybe good old St. Francis intervened so that I could be instrument of God's peace too? Amazing isn't it?

Even more amazing is the fact that my surgery is going to be on October 4 was a sign from God for my husband that everything is going exactly as planned and not to worry. My husband has had huge concerns in the last few months and told me no more than a couple of weeks ago that he thought I am making a big mistake. For my husband, though, St. Francis is his all-time favorite Saint and he has a special devotion to him, even making a pilgrimage to Assisi less than a year ago. Way to go, Frankie baby!

So... as always, God is in charge. Both me AND my husband are now at peace with my decision to go ahead with the surgery. I haven't told my kids yet, but it will also be cool that I share my rebirth date with my youngest boy! How exciting! Thanks to all of you for your support and I will keep you posted!


Prayer of St. Francis (also known as the 11th Step Prayer in 12-Step programs)

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


St. Francis of Assisi - 13th Century


Still no surgery date

Aug 24, 2006

Still nothing from Pacific Bariatric so I called down again. This time, however, I was told that all my transcripts are finally in and that someone would be calling me fairly shortly to ask for my availability. But on second thought, the person who answered the phone decided to get my availability now so the next call I get will be the date of my actual surgery.

I am a little disappointed because now September is completely booked with a variety of commitments. I am helping one of my closest friends cook food and do the decorations for a big party she is throwing on September 23, so I really can't have the surgery before then. If I am not fully recovered it will be a disaster for my girlfriend, and I also want to be able to enjoy her party. The next day, September 24, is my oldest son's birthday, and my youngest son's birthday is October 4. Since they both go to the same school and have many of the same friends, we do one big party sometime in September for the both of them. This year it will probably be on September 16 since my girlfriend's party is on the 23rd. Then the weekend of September 29 I am supposed to go on retreat.

Consequently I told Pacific Bariatric that the soonest I could have the surgery is October 1. I learned that if your surgery is scheduled for a Monday, your pre-op check-in appointment will be on the previous Friday, which is a bummer for those of us out of town. I then told them any day after October 1 AND not a Monday. Bummer, the earliest it can happen is now October 3.

God grant me patience...NOW!

Aug 21, 2006

I have still not heard anything from Pacific Bariatric so I called down today to see what the heck was going on. The coordinator for Kaiser told me that they still hadn't received all of my transcripts back. I really want to go down to San Diego and rattle some cages to make this happen, but the still, quiet voice inside of me is telling me to be patient, that God is slow but never late. Much easier said than done!

It's not my turn yet

Aug 16, 2006

I just learned that two of my classmates from the Kaiser Options program have already gotten their surgery dates. One friend is having her surgery on September 5, and another is having hers on September 12. I also learned that my doctor, Dr. Zorn, is booked out further, so my two friends picked other doctors whose schedule had earlier openings. Grrrr!

About Me
Covina, CA
Surgery Date
Jan 23, 2006
Member Since

Friends 23

Latest Blog 13
Food, Not-So-Glorious Food!
More Bad Things About Having WLS
Eight Weeks Post-Op
Top Ten List of Bad Things About Having WLS
At peace with my decision
God shots
I have my surgery date!
Still no surgery date
God grant me patience...NOW!
It's not my turn yet