The Big 100!

I am currently 3 months post op, almost to the day. I can happily stop taking the Carafate, Protonix and Pepcid. I have considered continuing the Protonix, because I was taking it prior to surgery, and still have some, but I’m happy I can stop the Carafate. That stuff is pretty rancid, and I hate the aftertaste it leaves. Ick.

I feel good. The nausea is still a problem, and as are my stubborn bowels, but all in all I’m feeling pretty good. I have very little knee pain now unless I overdo, compared to constant pain even at rest back when all this started. I’m holding off on going back to the orthopedic surgeon. The more weight I lose, the easier rehab will be. And if it isn’t bothering me as much now, and I’m able to postpone, I will!

Mariah’s best friend, and lover of all things Avett, John from Alabama, has been visiting the last few days.  He’s a really sweet kid, and it’s been fun getting to know him. We talk a lot when Mariah is at work, and he’s gotten a real education about the history of our part of the country. He’s leaving for his return trip home tomorrow, so we took him to the Casino at Salamanca, NY last night. He was like a kid in a candy store. It was fun to watch.

I let Mariah do my make up and we took selfies before we left.

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Smoky eye – En point!

Oh yeah, and as of this morning, I’m down 100.2 pounds.  That’s right;

I’VE LOST 100 FRICKIN’ POUNDS!!!

I think I’m still waiting for the reality and gravity of it to hit me. I mean, yeah, I read the number, but it still hasn’t really sunk in yet.

100 pounds. 100. The guy in the cage at the casino last night did a double take when he looked at my license, and congratulated me on my weight loss.  Total victory! And that license picture was taken in December!

I need to get my sorry butt out of bed – I hate daylight savings time – and get motivated. I hope everyone enjoys their day.

Be good to each other.
Linda ❤

So long, 400!

Wednesday, I stepped on the scales, and for the first time since 2012, I was under 400 lbs. I still think I’m in shock. It doesn’t seem real yet. Regardless, my oldest daughter, Mariah, has been hounding me about taking photos to document my weight loss journey, and I haven’t  done it. I told her I would when I was under 400. Consequently, she took it upon herself to take a picture a couple nights ago. She then posted it side by side with a picture that was taken the day we decided to submit to Highmark for approval.

 

I am so lucky to have such a great kid. Her support and encouragement has been amazing, and I don’t know what I’d do without her.

Honestly, in the pictures, I don’t see much difference, but feeling how my clothes fit now, I KNOW there’s a difference. My clothes are MUCH MUCH looser; I’ve gotten to the point where some of my shirts are too big to wear. So I broke down and bought myself a few new things in smaller sizes.

That was difficult for me. For one, I’m not a big fan of buying clothes anyway; never have been. I’m sure it’s because fat clothes cost more to buy than “normal” clothes, but also because I always hated how I looked in them. I’m feeling much better about that now. I’m no size 5, but I’m becoming more comfortable. I ordered the new clothes online (I’m still too big to buy most things at a brick and mortar store), and most all of them fit. I bought two pairs of jeans a size smaller than the last jeans I bought (which were so tight, I couldn’t wear them for six months, starting back prior to surgery), a size 4x henley (the purple one from the photo above), and a black and white striped button up shirt in size 4x which I wore to work yesterday. I also bought a size 24 bathing suit which with any luck will fit me once the weather warms up, and another 4x button up that is still a little tight around my upper arms/armpits. I know it won’t take long to get to a point where it fits, so all in all, I feel really good about my purchases. On top of that, everything I bought was on sale. Yay me!

The nausea is still hanging around, unfortunately. It’s not quite as bad as before, but it still lasts several hours a day. I burp, and get hiccups all the time, which is extremely frustrating, but it’s getting a little easier to eat. So that’s something…

Oh, and I’ve been talking to a boy. We’re seeing each other tomorrow, on Valentine’s Day. Cross your fingers for me. 🙂

Til next time –

Linda ❤

 

 

One more wake up….

Tomorrow is the big day. I feel like I have so much to say, but I don’t even know where to start. This may be a little rambling at times; sorry.

I can’t believe it’s been seven months since I started this blog. Since I started the journey. And now here I am, on the eve of the day that will certainly change my life forever.  I’m overwhelmed with so many emotions right now that it’s hard to get them all out, but I’ll try.

To my girls – I love you. You three are far and away the very best thing I’ve ever done in my life. Thank you so much for everything you’ve done and everything you are. I’m proud of each of you.

To my Mom – Thanks for coming up today. I know you would like to be there tomorrow, but I’d rather you stayed home and took care of yourself. You made enough trips to Erie over the years; I don’t want you to make it again. I love you for wanting to come, though.

To my brother and sister – I love you both, even if I don’t say it so much. I know we’ve had our ups and downs over the years, but I’m glad we’re okay now, and that if anything ever happens to me, I know my girls have someone to look out for them.

To my friends, coworkers, and fellow bloggers – Thank you all so much for unwavering support, encouragement and guidance. Before I started all this, I never knew how many people I had in my corner. I’m truly overwhelmed. I love you guys.

One last thing, and I’ll get to packing my hospital bag. There is one person who isn’t here who I know would be very proud of me. My dad. He worried about my weight for years, and I know he would be so excited that I’m having this surgery. When my Mom came to visit me today, she said that my brother had sent something for me for good luck. It was Dad’s badge, from when he was the Police Chief of Lawrence Township. My dad helped build it from two part time officers to a full time police force, and that’s always been one of the many things Dad did that made me proud of him. Carl, thank you so much.Badge.jpg

So, I guess I will see you all on the flip side.  Here’s to seeing less of me very soon.

Linda ❤

And September begins….

Yes, I know I said last time that I would write a blog post that following weekend, and I didn’t.

Life’s full of disappointments. But that isn’t what this blog is about at all.

I’d like to preface this blog by saying that yes, I understand that everyone is going to miss summer, but all I can say is bring on fall! Autumn is my favorite season – crisp air, falling leaves, football. I think it’s beautiful this time of years and absolutely love it. Well, if it weren’t pushing 90 every day this week I would, but soon enough, my favorite season will be upon us again.

The last time I posted, I had been at the hospital for my second sleep study.  I received the letter from the nurse at the Sleep Clinic telling me they were going to send a prescription for a CPAP machine to the local home health medical equipment joint when I walked in the door from actually picking up said machine.  The first night, the CPAP kicked my ass. I slept very little. I woke up in the morning feeling like I’d gone 10 rounds with Chuck Liddell. I had a headache, I had horrendous sinus pressure, and felt like crap. When I tried it the second night, I cranked up the humidifier on my machine and that did seem to help. According to my wristband fitness/sleep tracker, I did sleep lightly for over 6 hours, and was in a deep sleep for 20 minutes. Technically, 2 minutes less than night before, but I felt markedly better Wednesday morning than Tuesday. The old schnozz is a little ouchie yet, but I think in time, it’ll toughen up and I’ll be okay. I just really want this thing to work, and I’m willing to keep at it to make sure it does.

As of today, I’ve officially lost 27.2 lbs. I’m 8.8 lbs from my preop weight loss goal. (You can check out my “Weights and Measures” page to follow my progress.) I go back to UPMC Bariatrics on Monday the 14th, and I’d be pleased as punch if I could hit my goal at my weigh in there.  There is a HUGE part of me that would like to have my surgery this year. I’ve met my deductible for 2015, and of course, I would like to have it sooner rather than later so I won’t have to fork out ANOTHER deductible next year. But when I went to see Dr. Ali in May, he said February or March. The PROBLEM with having surgery this year is that I don’t have any more time off to take, so any time off will be unpaid. And there’s no way I can survive (as in pay my rent or utilities) if I miss 3 weeks work unpaid.  So unless someone out there wants to help a gal out, I’m probably still looking at next year, and a new deductible. *Shakes fist into the air!

I also have to go to the cardiologist on the 14th. I’m not too freaked out about it; I’m sure this all just CYA (cover your ass) territory.  That doesn’t make it suck any less.

On a completely unrelated note, my girls have got it going on!! Mariah has started grad school!!! She’s attending online classes through Clarion University to get her Masters in Library Science.  Victoria recently started a new job that she seems to enjoy (as much as any 19 year old enjoys a job), and from the feedback she’s received from staff and patients, she’s doing a great job! And Jordan started her senior year of high school yesterday. Where did the time go? I am SO  very proud of all three of my girls, and I love them very, very much!

Finally, there’s a boy in my life.  Well, not really a boy. More like a grown ass man.  He’s super sweet, and puts up with my bullshit and there’s been talk of the “f” word. Not THAT “f”word, you freaks! Future! We’ll see how all that pans out, but I am optimistic! I think he’s got real potential.

So that’s all the news that’s fit to print. I would like to take a second to thank all the wonderful people in my life for being there when I need you. My girls have been so terrific through all this, and yes, they are trying to make changes too! My Mom is a rock; always so supportive; I’ll never be able to adequately thank her. Alexis – you are amazing, and you are totally going to kick surgery’s ass in a couple of weeks. I wish I could be there to help you through it, but I’ll only be a phone call/text/email away.  And Dennis, thank you for wandering back into my life.  I look forward to everything my future brings, especially with you in it.

Be good to one another,

Linda ❤

You’ll have to wait one more day…

I had an 800 word blog almost done, fell asleep typing, and lost the whole damned thing, so you’re going to have to wait one more freaking day.

Mental note – save the draft while you’re writing it.

In the meantime, here’s The Avett Brothers. Seeing them live is one of my post op goals (hopefully at Red Rocks-a girl can dream!).

The Avett Brothers – Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise

My daughter Mariah got a tattoo of a lighthouse (for my Dad – I miss you!) with the lyrics from this song “Decide what to be and go be it” incorporated into it.  That line means a great deal to me now. I decided to be healthy, and am taking the steps I need to so I can be.

And with that, I am away.

Be kind, rewind.

Linda ❤

Father’s Day

Father’s Day is always tough for me. My dad has been gone for just over 4 years now, and I miss him as much today as ever. There is literally not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him.

Mom and Dad

My dad was the kind of guy that everybody liked. He always had a funny story or anecdote, and loved to tease people. It was never mean spirited, at least not intentionally, and everybody loved him, especially his wife, kids and granddaughters.

Family

My dad had a very hard childhood. His parents were hard people. And when we were kids, I don’t remember hearing “I love you” a lot from him, but I knew it. He showed us he loved us in his own way. By letting us ride the riding lawnmower with him, or taking us to Winky’s when he went for his daily dose of coffee and gossip.

He really was a kind and understanding man. When my sister and I were little (like 4 and 5) we decided to climb the ladder to the roof of the barn. (Dad was at work as the local police chief, and Mom was in the house with our baby brother.) To this day, I have no idea why we decided to climb up there. Anyway, once we were up there for a while, I climbed back down the ladder, but Donna was too scared. I tried to talk her down, but she wasn’t having it, so I climbed back up the ladder to the roof so she wouldn’t be scared. You know, when Dad came home, I don’t remember him yelling at us about it at all. He just got us down the ladder.

I remember on the trip to take me to college. My first real memory of him telling me he loved me was on that trip. As we drove through Harrisville, I remember him saying to me “You don’t have to do this. We can go back home.” We all had a laugh over that. We arrived at school shortly after. We had unloaded the van, and were standing out in front of North Hall at Slippery Rock. He put his arm around me, gave me a sideways hug and said “I love you, kid. I’m proud of you.”  I held it together until they were gone, but I’ve never forgotten it.

wedding day with dad

When we stood in the vestibule, waiting for the music cue to start our trip down the aisle, my Dad told me the same thing he said on the way to college. “We can get out of here and go back home if you want to.”  I didn’t.   Later, at the reception, during the Father-Daughter dance, he gave me a hug and told me he loved me. I cried.

I was fortunate enough to give my Dad three granddaughters that he loved very, very much.  My girls’ dad and I were dating when I got pregnant, and I was still living with my parents. When Mom found out, Dad was away working, and I was afraid to tell him, so Mom said she would when he came home from his trip. I hid upstairs while she told him about my pregnancy. I had no idea how he would react to the news, but I figured he’d be pissed, and knew there was a chance that he’d kick me out of the house, so I tried to prepare for the worst.  He walked to the bottom of the stairs, and yelled my name. I answered with a very meek “Yes?”. He said very sternly,  “Did you think I was going to be mad when your mother told me about the baby?” I was already crying, and answered through tears “Yes.”  What came next surprised the hell out of me. He said “Well, I was just talking to one of the guys at work the other day, and told him I thought it was about time I had grandchildren.” That was his way of telling me everything was going to be okay.

so pregnant

My girls were the sun and the stars to my dad. He had cancer for many years, and while he would have loved to see all my girls graduate, get married, and have babies, unfortunately, he was only able to see Mariah graduate from high school before the cancer took him from us.

Dad always worried about my weight. He didn’t ever tell me that, but my Mom told me that as I got bigger and bigger, he got more and more concerned.  I know that he’s looking down at me from wherever he is, and he is proud. He’s proud of the steps I’m taking to lose weight, and make myself healthier. He’s proud of my girls, and how through all the trials and struggles they’ve had to endure in their brief lives, they have survived. Just like he did.  And he’s proud of my Mom, for soldiering on after losing the love of her life, the man she took care of for twenty years.

Wednesday would have been his 75th birthday.  I miss you, Daddy. And I love you.

Edit – When we were kids, one of my Dad’s favorite shows was “Emergency!”. We used to watch it every week. So I decided that I’d spend my afternoon alone watching their reruns. It really did make me feel better.

L.

Back to the Grind

I’ve had a pretty crappy week or two. First, an update on what’s going on with THAT.

I was perusing my chart on the local hospital’s patient portal, and read my ultrasound report. It said my pancreas, kidney and gall bladder looked normal, but my liver was full of diffuse fatty tissue. That got me to thinking, and reading. I had no idea what fatty liver disease was (but leave it to me get something that REINFORCES that I’m fat!), so I did quite a bit of reading about it, and I think that might be the culprit. Lots of the symptoms are similar to gall bladder/gallstones, including the nausea and upper abdominal pain. If it IS fatty liver, then I’m already doing the things I need to do to reverse, which kind of came as a relief. No surgery for fatty liver unless it’s really advanced, which I don’t believe mine is. Bear in mind, this all me. I haven’t heard anything from either of my doctors yet.

I spent the weekend running to Erie. Saturday, I dropped Mariah off to catch a ride to Cooperstown, NY with some friends from Ohio to see the Avett Brothers and John Prine. (My dream double bill, btw. I introduced Mariah to JP, and she introduced me to AB. :)) We were supposed to be there by 8, but didn’t make it til 8:15, which worked out okay, because they ran into bad weather on their way from Kent. I drove right back home; I pulled in my drive way before 10am.  I hung out at home and watched Orange is the New Black most of our dreary Saturday,  then went back to Erie Sunday afternoon to get the kid.

In the meantime, it appears I got myself a nice, shiny chest cold. Just in time for my EGD on Friday. I reckon I’ll see how I’m feeling on Wednesday and give UPMC a jingle to see if they want to reschedule me or not.

Speaking of Friday, this is an exciting week for me! And busy! I have my first weigh in on Wednesday, after work, the consultation for the sleep study on Thursday morning and , of course, the good old endoscopy on Friday.  I don’t know which thing I’m more nervous about! It’s all exciting stuff, and now that I’m a month in, I feel like it’s really happening!

I’ve struggled with my meal plan a little the last few days. When I don’t feel well, I just want comfort. And when I’m running around, fast food was always super easy. So I have had some fast food, but I tried to make more informed and intelligent choices. The girls and I ordered chinese last night, and I ate about a quarter to a third of my portion. I’ll probably have the same amount for dinner tonight.

Tomorrow is “Food Day” at work. Ugh. Everybody brings in food. And we have 28 people working tomorrow, so it’ll be a veritable smorgasbord. Thankfully, a couple of people are bringing in veggies, and I’m taking in some roasted red pepper hummus, so at least I can eat something. I’m really tempted to have a little of Cheryl’s pulled pork, but I’ll behave myself and not overindulge. I’m trying to maintain portion control and not lose my mind. So far, so good.

And Bob is calling me every day. He’s more and more dependent on me as someone to talk to and keep him grounded. I’m still not sure if that’s good or bad.

So that’s that for now. I’ll more to report later this week. Cross your fingers for Wednesday!!

Be kind and love each other. ❤

Linda