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Less than one month to go…

Today I attended a seminar on what food is going to look like once I start the liquid diet and then what it looks like after the surgery is over.   I was expecting it to be worse….there were more options than I had anticipated.  However, talk to me once I have been on it for a week and I will tell you that there are no options and I am dying (most likely I am just HANGRY…my new word of the month).

My schedule, in the meantime, is filling up:

  • Dr visit – Blood work tomorrow
  • In the office for a client meeting next week
  • Dr visit – Results of blood work, EKG and pre-op clearance
  • Dr visit – Results of sleep test I did
  • In the office for a vendor meeting
  • Dr visit – last time with surgeon before surgery and with dietician to get results of what vitamins I will need after and to go over food
  • Last day of work
  • Surgery

In addition to the above I have a list of things I need to doing/looking for/getting for the time after the surgery.

  • Fine strainer
  • Pill cutter
  • Cleaning out the rest of the kitchen
  • Cleaning in the apt so mom has a place to sleep for a couple of nights
  • Going through clothes and separating them by size
  • Protein drinks for after the surgery
  • List of vitamins I will need to get and take for the rest of my life
  • Cleaning up work for when I am out

I have a lot ahead of me.  Today should have scared me.  Instead it made me ready.  I can do this.

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Updates and My Current State of Mind

This post is rambling about a bit – but it is very indicative of my mind right now.  So welcome to my mind people – it is all over the place.

Yesterday marked the 19th anniversary of my dad’s passing.  There are years when I don’t realize the day until later in the afternoon.  And there are years when I see the date early and a little part of me watches the date on the calendar throughout the day.  Yesterday, was different.  Yesterday, I felt it.  As the wedding approaches, I feel it more and more.  I wish he was here.  I wish he could meet J and the kids.  I wish more and more that we had not lost him so early.  And I wish more and more that I didn’t have to make the decision to walk the aisle alone or not.  I don’t write this to upset people, but just to say, I miss him everyday.  Whether I talk about it or not, and now especially.

I met with my surgeon yesterday – I have to start the liquid diet a week earlier than expected – so by Oct 26, I will no longer be eating food – just protein shakes.  I am not sure I am ready, but here it comes.

Work is busy but not overwhelming and that is a good thing.  I like that balance right now.  My biggest obstacle is my own mind but I have to find a way to find more time for myself to take care of myself.  Not in a – I need more free time kind of way – but in a I make more time for work than to do anything else in my life and I need more balance.  I will not get better without it.

My mind has been distracting itself from worrying about the surgery by worrying about the wedding.  Not big stuff – all stupid little things – but my mind is working overtime.  I need to channel that worry into energy as there is a lot to get done between now and then.

Thank you for listening.  I am sure there will be more later.  (However I do apologize for anything I saw while HANGRY and only on liquids).

 

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Winding Down/Revving Up

Now that the surgery date has been set, Nov 16 if I have not told you yet, I am working on winding down, cleaning out and trying to get ready for the big day.  I am devoting October to trying to get some things done around the apartment, working on how to transition work for the short time I am out, and setting myself up for success when it comes to having to rest for a few weeks and for people to come and stay with me while I do that.  So, just in case you were ever interested, here are the immediate plans for October.

Work – this one is pretty straight forward.

  • I need to discuss with my boss who will run the 1 small job I will have that I can’t do all the way through.  Not a big deal, but it needs to be done…and soon in case I need to prep someone to take this one on.
  • I would also like to:
    • finish up the filing I have in the house still.
    • file away and purge samples
    • clear up my desk area in the office
    • visit the physical office one more time for face to face meetings
    • clean out my inbox
    • set up the vendors and client to be ready for me to be out.

It sounds like a lot, but really, most of these are things I do on a regular basis already.

Apartment – again, fairly straight forward.

  • I want to try and get some of the major cleaning things done
  • I need to decide if a Christmas tree/decorations are going up this year as it will have to be before the surgery
  • Make sure I have blankets/pillows/places for people to sleep
  • My couch (a sleeper sofa) is sinking – I need to find a way to prop up the cushions better
  • I need to clean out the kitchen cabinets, and purge/use food in the house.  This one is pretty important.  I don’t have a LOT, but I need to use up what I can or donate it somewhere.
  • I need to sort through some clothes and separate them by sizing.  I know I have a few things I can wear as I lose weight, but I am going to run out of clothes rather quickly.  And I would like to purge out anything that is in any way damaged while I do this.  I may also go ahead and get rid of anything I hate at this point as well.
  • I have a pile of things that need to go to Goodwill.
  • I have a HUGE pile of books I need to take to the used book store.

Getting ready for success

This one is a little more complex as I am not 100% sure how this is all going to go.  But here are the things I would like to do before I go into the surgery:

  • My goal for October is no eating out.  I need to move to less processed, less fattening foods.  I am currently fixing up soup for the freezer for this month.  And last week I put a few containers of turkey taco meat in the freezer.  As I go through the cabinet, I am pulling things I know I can still eat/add to recipes and getting rid of the rest.  This will not be an overnight thing – but by the end of the month, I really need to be off processed and out of the eating out habit.   It may be the most challenging thing I face.
  • I have been setting aside a small stack of things to do when I am recovering.  A few books, 2 bible studies, crafting projects, and movie marathons are all on the list.  My hope is to have a small box or bag that has everything in it and it can just be near me at all times.  The one thing I want to try and stay away from is my computer.  I may log on to check emails, pay bills and post here, but I need a break from the constant.
  • I also need to find a way to NOT read my work emails while I am out.  I may need to see if my work can turn off my access to it for a while.
  • Speaking of work, I have some paperwork to fill out JUST IN CASE I ever needed to go on short-term disability.  No one is expecting this, but I would like to have it all done just in case.
  • I have been trying all of the flavors of the bariatric diet shakes and protein bars to see which ones I like.  Need to finish that and pick my flavors.  I have to get my supplies this month.

Finally, I have a bunch of doctors appointments still to come.  I have sign off on the surgery from my general practitioner, my gastroenterologist, and my therapist.  I meet with the surgeon in October.  I also have meetings with a nutritionist and a dietician.  And then one final meeting with the surgeon.  Then it is go time.

It seems like an action packed month…and it is.  Focus will be key.  I was asked if I was nervous about the surgery.  Not really – I am more nervous about AFTER the surgery.  Life is changing BIG TIME.  Ready or not.  This list above is just the precursor.  Let’s go.

Weight Loss

The countdown has begun

Yesterday came the news I have been waiting for.  The insurance company approved my request for Gastric Bypass and we have an official date on the calendar.   The coming weeks will be filled with dr visits, work commitments – both to complete and to hand off, cleaning at my apartment in an effort to make sure it is presentable if someone were to drop by, and no small amount of worry.

The truth is I am excited now but I know that soon the worry will start to set in.  I am honestly not that scared of the surgery…I fear what happens next.  My surgery is scheduled a week before Thanksgiving, almost exactly a month before my birthday and just 6 weeks before Christmas.  This will be a different kind of holiday than I have ever had and that scares me a bit.

But it also means that I get to start 2018 in a new way.   I get to start with a new focus, a new perspective, a new way of being.   After years of promising that next year will be different – this time it really will be.

My intention is to share more often about this process.  Be prepared to hear about dr visits, clothes that don’t fit, food I can or can not eat and possibly a lot of complaining about how some people…Keith Walker…can’t stop posting about his daily donut habit or the huge plate of nachos he got to have that I will never be able to eat again.

I also hope to tell you what it is like to recover from morbid obesity.    And to do that I will be launching a new blog name to go with the new me.  So tell me what it should be called – give me your best suggestions and be clever.  Like Patti LaBelle sang…”I got a new attitude!”

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The nagging that won’t end

Typically when I take to my blog it is either that I have not been here in a while and feel the need to update (re: guilt) or because something is bothering me and I need to get it out.  So today, this is a bothering me post.  And honestly I am not sure what bothers me the most.  So I am just going to tell the story and see what happens.

On Aug 30, I came across a Facebook video by a Christian writer/comedienne named Whoa Susannah.  I have seen her before – in fact I have posted videos of hers before.  The last one I posted was about girls taking selfies in TJ Maxx like they were on a photo shoot.  I thought it was hilarious – my niece is constantly taking duck faced selfies in mirrors and I could totally see her and a friend doing this very thing at the mall.

So when I saw she had a new video – pretty my by accident – I watched.  But very quickly realized, this one was not as funny.  At least not to me.  So the story was that she had been on a plane, a man was putting his luggage above her head in the compartment and as she put it, he “belly slapped her”.   She goes on to say how he didn’t apologize and when he went to sit behind her his belly pushed her seat forward jarringly.  And then he proceeded to make out with his companion – both of them over 50 and that she was pretty sure that they were not a long time couple due to the amount of flirting that was happening.

Overall, the story was amusing.  And the man was VERY rude.  She had every reason to be upset that he didn’t even acknowledge his actions.  What was not amusing to me was the description she used in trying to tell the audience about this man.   She said he had a very big belly and that it was clear that he had “a couple of Coors lights in his life…a couple hundred thousand…” and that his belly looked like “beer, baked beans…I can see just see him eating potato salad…”

Now I am sure that to some of you this just seems funny.  But to me it seemed a little mean-spirited.  She can call him fat, obese, portly, big belly, whatever descriptive words are needed to get her point across, but it felt like she moved from description to making fun of how he looked.  It was not about giving people a mental picture, but about making judgements based on his looks…and letting people laugh at him unknowingly.

Typically, my response is to just move on.  But I felt she took it too far.  And I was not alone.  I left a comment that I didn’t feel like making fun of how someone looks is very Christian.  Within 10 minutes, I had 17 comments – 10 of which were all from the same woman.   She had gone on my FB page and tried to prove how I make fun of people on my page all of the time.   She was unsuccessful in really proving her point – I may poke fun at actions, words, events, but I don’t typically make fun of how someone looks – it is too personal for me.

Apparently after that video aired, a bunch of people unliked her page.  Me included.

But the whole thing kept nagging at me for days.  I went back to her page and she had posted a second video telling people that those that were offended needed to learn how to take a joke.   She was mad that people accused her of being unchristian and that God made her funny so she was going to be funny.  And if you didn’t like it, don’t watch.

And I agree. Don’t watch.  But the one thing that has been sticking with me is this – as the days have passed, I have reflected on this video more than once.  I have watched it again several times – trying to see if I had overreacted.  Trying to find the humor in it.  Trying to see how this was not making fun of some unsuspecting man on a plane.   The man was rude to her – but did it warrant her making comments that were insensitive at best?

I took a look at my own heart and tried to make sense of my reaction.  Was I only offended because being fat is a sore spot for me?  If she had made fun of his cross eyes, knock knees, large ears, etc – would I have been as offended?  Was this about me or her?

Most the commenters on the video felt those that were offended were unable to take a joke due to an oversensitive reaction – one like we see a lot on social media.  They called us crybabies.  They told us to go elsewhere.  They rolled their proverbial eyes at us and told Whoa Susannah how great and funny she was and how God was using her and her humor.

It took a couple of weeks but I finally realized what was bothering me – why I have been unable to let this go.  Once I made the decision to unlike the page – that should have been it.  That has been the end for me anytime I see something that I didn’t agree with.  I don’t get into arguments online with people.  I don’t feed the “trolls” as they are known.

But what was bothering me was this  – Whoa Susannah wasn’t willing to take a moment to consider if she had gone too far.  When you say something – especially publicly – there are always going to be people who disagree.   And any one of her videos could have been taken badly by someone with some personal issue with the topic.  But do public figures (and I use that term loosely here) have a responsibility to look back and take a second look to see if the offended were right?

In an age of digital media and social interaction that is at best non-personal, we tend to live in a bubble of our making.  We like the things we like, we talk to and follow the people we want and we get a lot of positive feedback because we only allow ourselves the people and things that give us that.  But when you decide to open yourself up as a public platform, things change.  And what you say can’t be taken back as easily.  You don’t have the chance to “make things right” once someone has decided you wrong/insensitive/unfunny/rude/etc.

And most importantly when you announce that you are a Christian who is speaking on these things publicly, you are setting an expectation.  Christians are not perfect.  We are prone to as many mistakes and missteps as anyone else.  But what should make us different in this scenario, is a small dose of humility where you take just a moment to say – was I right or were they?  A small prayer, a small voice in the back of our head, a gentle leading.  It is idealistic for me to say this…and many of you will not agree with me.  But I expected more of her because she posts and writes about her faith quite often.  And while it may have been unrealistic to expect her to publicly question her choice of words, a small dose of humility would have gone a long way.  Even just to say – “I didn’t find it offensive…apparently others did and that was not my intention.”

 

Weight Loss

Eating Myself to Death

I just got back to J’s house after attending a conference at the Gaylord Hotel in the National Harbor.  I had been somewhat excited about the conference and somewhat scared of it – lots of people I needed to see, a few must-be-at moments and a lot of social interaction that I am technically not that comfortable with.   This event is huge in our industry and it was the first time I was invited to attend as a full participant.

When I got there, I remembered how big the hotel is, how much walking is involved to get from point A to point B and how warm it is in Aug in DC.  The hotel common areas are beautiful – an open air atrium that looks out over the Potomac is not to be missed.  But it also means that the open air areas are fairly humid…and when you go upstairs it gets worse.

From the first day, I could not breathe.   I have asthma and the weight intensifies the issues – I am so out of shape, that I lose my breath easily on a good day.  But this was a “my chest hurts from trying so hard to breathe”, “sit down anytime you see a chair”, “can’t go 50 yards from my room to the elevator” kind of not being able to breathe.  I even had hotel staff come up to me several times to ask if I was ok cause I looked like I was going to pass out trying to get back to my room.

I felt helpless.  I felt embarrassed.  I felt out of control.  And I felt panicky.  My anxiety level was through the roof.  And that made my breathing worse as I tried to calm my air flow down so I would stop wheezing.   I told my boss I felt guilty – I did all that I had to do, but not a lot of what else I was expected to do.   I worried about having to call for help last night as I desperately tried to breathe normally.

Last nights even was one I was expected to be at and I was sort of looking forward to it.  A ride on a yacht on the Potomac with my clients and co-workers.  But I had to ask my boss for a pass.  I just couldn’t risk it.  I left that little meeting in tears trying to not feel like a total failure of an employee.

This morning my boss and I met for breakfast and he said a few things that are really sticking with me right now.  He said he was afraid I would use work as an excuse to put off the surgery.  He said that he and all of the rest of my co-workers and management were pulling for me to get better.  And that I HAD TO TAKE CARE OF MYSELF.   And whether I got healthy was the only thing that mattered.

I count myself as so lucky to have found a place like this where they are really concerned with my well being – not just my output.

But all of this has really brought to my attention just how far my health has fallen since I moved to Orange.  Its not the fact that I moved.  Its the fact that what little exercise I was getting is no longer.  I no longer have to walk to and from my car at home or at the office to get somewhere everyday.  I no longer have to walk from my desk to the printer when I need to print something.  I no longer have to leave my house for days at a time.  I don’t climb steps ever if I don’t want to anymore.

Most importantly, I eat by myself – always the most dangerous for me.  It used to be I would eat in my car if I wanted to eat alone.  Now, I don’t have to do that – I can just sit in my apartment and eat until I can’t eat anymore.  Most days I don’t.  Most days I skip meals (which is just as bad) and then binge on a large meal when I decide I am hungry.  Or I graze all day on little nothing foods that are good but not good for me.

This week – late as you can imagine – I felt like I had eaten myself to the point of death.  As I struggled to move, to breathe even, I thought this is what I have come to.  And I wished for the first time for a scooter or a wheelchair to take me around.  I thought I was doing all of this to avoid needing that, but really that time has passed.  It is here now.  And I need to own up to the mistakes, the failures, the self-loathing and the mess I have made and get real.

I am not just fat.  I am morbidly obese – a phrase I have always hated but finally felt this was the appropriate phrase this week.  It is easy to see it in others – easy to dismiss in yourself.

I am sitting here with tears rolling down my face as I come to terms with the disregard in which I have treated myself for so long.  And now I have to find a way out of it….

 

 

 

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The Pity Invite

I just read this article, about a woman so traumatized about what happened at someones wedding that she has not allowed herself to be in pictures for 10 years.   To summarize, a co-worker was getting married, she was not invited.  Everyone expressed surprise and eventually an invite was extended (the original invites were handmade and hand delivered and hers was in her work mailbox and had been store bought).

She buys a dress and she and her husband went to the wedding.  They were not seated with her other co-workers and were essentially shunned for the evening.  After the wedding, when she asked to see the photos (some of which she had been in), she found she had been airbrushed out of them (large group shots with an empty spot where she had been – her husband standing next to no one).

She was distressed and ever since has not posed for a single picture.  She states that this is all due to her being a size 22 at the time of the wedding and the bride not wanting her fat body in the wedding pictures.

So there are a few things I would like to say about this.

First, I can imagine what this is like.  I am 43 years old.  I have been a bridesmaid exactly 1 time.  It was my sisters wedding.  There was a time when I was younger and a family friend was getting married and I was expected to be asked.  Instead, the mother of the bride asked my mother if I would be offended if my younger sister was asked instead of me as she would fit the dress better.  Regardless of the fact that she was supposedly my friend growing up.   Neither of us actually were in the wedding in the end.  The message was clear that I was too fat for her wedding and my thinner sister was more acceptable.

I had one other time when I was supposed to be a bridesmaid – or at least had been asked to.  A roommate was getting married and I made the choice to back out of being a bridesmaid and to sing at the wedding instead when I saw the dresses the other girls were picking.  I would never want to be in the position to have my comfort be a road block for the bride.  I didn’t know the other bridesmaids and I was just happy to be asked.  It was my choice to say no.  And I did sing at the wedding and I was a part of the big day – in a way that was comfortable for me and was not going to cause any of them additional stresses.

So back to the article – it was clear that the woman did not want her at the wedding.  There is not enough evidence to say for sure it was due to her weight, but the lack of invite initially and the afterthought invite later on, should have been a sign that you were not really welcome.  We call that a pity invite.

I have been there as well.  The pity invite is the one time when you should feel free to say NO.  It will not go well.  You will not enjoy it, they will not enjoy it and in the end it does more harm than good to all involved.

This is where I lose some sympathy for the woman in the story.  All indicators were that she didn’t want you there.  It doesn’t sound like you begged to be there, but either you didn’t get the unspoken clues or you were so determined to be part of it whether or not you were wanted that you barrelled forward with the plan to attend.  Either way – it was not a good idea to attend.   And that is on you.

Having said that, the bride showed incredibly bad form in acting like a diva – having someone photo-shopped out of the photos is pretty extreme.  You have to be really bothered by someone to go that far.

I know there are people who feel like the bride was rude to not invite her (especially when the other co-workers were) and yes it would sting to not get an invite.  But the hurt she felt then is not worth the 10 years she has spent letting it get to her.  10 YEARS.

I would love to here someone elses thoughts on this.  Has it happened to you?  have you ever taken advantage of the pity invite and it went well?