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Call Jerry

I sometimes wonder if it is just my fate to be continually searching for community.   It seems I often find myself in this predicament and end up here writing about my need to find a place and a people with whom I truly belong.  I know from experience it is just a matter of time and eventually I will find the people who will be my people here in Leesburg.  But it feels disheartening to once again be searching for that elusive “fit”.

Part of what makes it hard for me to do this again is that I am changing.  What constitutes a fit now and what did before has changed and my needs are not as clear at the moment.  In the past I knew what I needed: people to do things with – see a movie, share a meal, talk to when I needed someone to listen, and just to live life with.  People to fill my time schedule up.  Now, married and adjusting to personal changes in my life, I need something else.  But I am still unsure of what that is and how to articulate it.  None of the above has changed necessarily – but now instead of looking for the person who will be my closest friend, I am looking to fill in gaps.  People who will round out my life…not complete it.

When I was single, it was find people or I was alone.  And so my expectations for what I wanted from other people was a lot broader.  I would start hoping to find a “best friend”.  Best friends take a long time and they are elusive (or have been to me) so I would soon give that up.  Then, I would start looking for a variety of people who as a group could fill the emptiness that I sometimes felt.  (It is never fair to be looking for that in other people, but it was my reality.)   Then when that didn’t work, I would try to find multiple people who could each fill a spot on “the roster”.  And when that didn’t work, I would finally settle into friendships that were more meaningful and real than the ones I had tried to find early on.  But all of this took so much time.  It was an exhausting cycle of looking, trying, expecting, disappointment, loneliness and finally – after a long time – relationship and resolution.

Part of my current angst seems to come from jealousy.  My husband has the thing I have wanted for a long time.  A support system that is not temporary and continues to be as strong today as ever.  Need someone to hang with?  Call Jerry.  Need someone to talk to?  Call Jerry.  Need someone to help you move your new wife into your home?  Call Jerry.  Need to vent about your new wife’s stuff all over your place?  Call Jerry.  And to make sure it is known, those calls go both ways.  If Jerry needs anything, he calls.  No questions asked.  No barriers to what is acceptable.

I want to be clear. I have great friends.  They are loving and supportive and never more than a phone call away.  But none are local.  And for some reason that leads me back to this place again and again.

I know that it is just a matter of time.  I realize that all of this angst is temporary and eventually I will have a community here…as I did in Culpeper, as I did in Woodbridge.   It will just take time.  But starting this cycle over again (and hopefully being more realistic this time about it) is always daunting.

In the meantime, maybe I will call Jerry.

 

 

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An 8 month update

This weekend will mark 8 months since I had gastric bypass surgery.   In 8 months I have learned quite a few things about myself and my tendencies.  The wedding and the move made this time both better and harder than it probably had to be but I have no regrets about the path I took.  I am officially 150 lbs down from my weight in October (3 weeks prior to the surgery).

Overall I feel better.  I feel more in tune with my body.  But there are places I am struggling.  Cravings are back.  While I am still not eating like I was, but my ability to eat is coming back and it is a continual process to NOT go back (some foods are easier to consume than others still and there are still foods I am actively avoiding).  Most of this is psychological and not physiological and is just something I need to be conscious of and work at.

Also, I am still struggling with the daily habits.  I have to be reminded to take all of my vitamins (the fact that I can’t take them all at once is one of the huge hurdles) and my recent blood tests attest to that fact.  Also making sure I get enough water, protein and the right balance of foods when I do eat means that I have to think about food (in a very different way) more than ever.

But – when I see my weight on the scale, I am still in a bit of disbelief.  My clothes – bought in the last month or two – are slowing becoming too big.  The weight is dropping slower – to a more normal 2-3 lbs a week right now – and that is ok.  The biggest thing I am still struggling with is the attention it has brought to me.  I was told yesterday I looked “cute” in my outfit.  That is not happened since I was a toddler.  While I can accept the compliment, I am just not used to it and need some time to adjust to hearing it.

In many ways I am less worried about how my body will “fit” into situations and places and more concerned with whether or not I will have clothes that fit me and what I may have to do to prepare to be healthy or to eat in an odd location.  Yesterday I was in a lunch meeting and realized too late – I should have brought my own lunch.  I had a bit of salad but I needed protein and after the meeting had to go hunt down some.  Not a huge deal…just something I wish I had thought through earlier.  My life takes more planning now than ever before and it is not something I am particularly good at…at least for these kinds of activities.

I am meeting with a new therapist today as I have a lot more things I need to work on to keep my mind focused on the ultimate prize…health.  And next week I will be able to join the hospitals Bariatric Support Group for the first time.

So much to be grateful for.  And I want to keep in mind these as I approach my 8 months:

  • I am grateful for God for allowing me this beautiful life
  • I am grateful for my husband who has been quietly trying to support me while also finding a way to live with big changes in his life
  • I am grateful for my family and friends who have been a constant source of support
  • I am grateful for my job which continues to encourage me
  • I am grateful for my doctors who saved my life
  • I am grateful for the small blessings that come each day – those acknowledged and those not – in the form of a compliment
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Addiction

Last year I had to face the fact that I am a food addict.  The last year has brought into focus that addiction and even in my limited ability to eat now, I am still fighting that addiction.  Every day I have to make the choice to eat better, to move more, to not just go have a piece of cake or the bread I am craving.  I have to make choices – and while some of it has been easy (as I have physical limitations) – I know I will have to be making these choices for the rest of my life.  And that is daunting.

If I am honest, I have some other addictions as well that I need to work on.  And they are going to be even more difficult I think.

I am addicted to stress.  I thrive on the energy it gives me and I will push myself until I am falling apart.  Who else but a stress addict would undergo a drastic life change including surgery, get married and move all in 7 months time?

I am addicted to my work.  I think this is partly due to the fact that work validated me for many years as a useful human.  When you are fat, that is all many people see so I spent years “proving” my worth to people at work. Even now as the stress of the above is coming to a close, I have started to put that attention into work.  And it has to stop.  Being driven is ok, this is not.

I am addicted to self-loathing.  This is a hard one to understand, but the single biggest struggle I have had with the weight loss, is that everyone sees me differently and I can’t see myself differently.  “Proud of you” is something I am not used to hearing from people who don’t know me well and yet I hear it all the time now.  And in my head, I can’t let go of the older image of myself I have built.  Working on it, but it will take a while.

I am addicted to negative self-talk.  I know this sounds like the above, but this habit has been ingrained in me for as long as I can remember.   If you say something nice to me or about me, I will spend the next hour or so telling myself how wrong you were and pointing out to myself how I am not that thing or how that thing is not as big a deal as what is wrong with me.  For instance, I always heard I had pretty eyes.  But in my head I kept saying that pretty eyes didn’t matter when you were fat or that other people had better eyes than mine or they were just being kind to not say the 50 things wrong with me.

I am a work in progress.   But there are things I want to be addicted to.

Movement – I don’t think I will ever be addicted to exercise, but I have spent a lifetime avoiding movement and I want to break that.  I am not talented as a dancer, but Zumba or some sort of exercise dance may be in my future.

Affirmations – I want to do daily affirmations and I want to be someone who affirms other people.

Being me – I want to be one of those people who is unabashedly me.  No pretense – just me.  Whatever that is.

Building people up – I want to be an encourager.  I do it in my head but have been too timid to do that with other people.  I feel like it is time to step it up.

Learning – I have always loved to learn.  You would not have known it by my grades in high school, but I love learning new things.  Take a class, read a book, whatever – I want to be learning.

My Bible – I have so much to learn still and I think this one needs it own category.  God has been so gracious to me and I need to prioritize Him again.

 

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6 month update

I can’t really wrap my head around the last 6 months and all of the changes that have been happening.  I had surgery, and then complications, and then another surgery and then I got married and now I am prepping to move.  I am still not sure why I did it all at once, but I don’t regret any of it.  What a life changing time for me.

I am officially 140 lbs down from my highest weight.  And I am down 112 lbs since the surgery weight.  That alone is huge.  I am now very close to the weight I was in high school…in fact, I think I am smaller than I was when I graduated and am closing in on the weight I was when I was 14 or 15.  Not quite there…but closer each day.

One of the things I have been trying to figure out is – if I stopped losing weight today, would I be happy with the progress I have made?  The short answer is yes and no.  While it has been fun being able to buy new clothes, and I do feel accomplished, I have a goal in mind that I really want to meet.  And I am about 65 lbs from it.  Considering how far I have come, it is possible – but I have a lot of work to do to make that happen.  And it will not come as easy as it has been.

I am working on packing for the next couple of weeks.   Then once the move has happened, I will be embarking on a whole new life in a whole new place.  And honestly, I am a bit worried.

Patterns I have established here on my own in Orange, have to be re-established once I move in with J.  Eating will change again as I will be cooking for 2 and J does not have the same restrictions as I have.  My routines will shift again once I have more than my own schedule to deal with.

I do believe that the last 6 months has prepped me as much as it can.  I don’t feel unprepared.  I just feel nervous.  I know I can do this, but I just want to be sure I don’t get sidetracked.

I keep saying it but thank you to everyone for the encouragement I have received.  I love you all.  Here’s to another 6 months!

 

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Single No More

Eternally single.  I was pretty sure that would be on my tombstone.

But 1 week ago, I married the sweetest man.  And I am happy beyond reason.   I came home today to Orange to pack and get ready for 1 more trip up there before the final move.  One more back and forth lugging my belongs along the way and then I get to move in with my husband and start this new life.

I have said over and over that I am not excited to move.  I want to clarify that if I can – I am not excited about leaving my friends, my church or the cool little town I have called home for 4 years.  I AM however excited about moving in with my husband and getting started on this life together.

I wanted to take a few moments to say thank you to everyone who attended the wedding last weekend.  It was really fun to get to share this day with you all and while I feel like I barely got to see anyone I remember your faces and the wishes you sent to us and the way you embraced us both that day.

I also want to thank the 4 people who were able to watch remotely – technology saved the day!

There are so many things I want to say about that day.  So many thank you’s and so many glad to see you’s.  For now I will say, you all made me feel beautiful and loved and cared for that day.  A true princess moment.

 

 

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A New Way to Fly

A new way to fly
Far away from goodbye
Above the clouds and the rain
The memories and the pain
And the tears that they cry
Now the lesson’s been learned
They’ve all crashed and burned
But they can leave it behind
If they could just find
A new way to fly

Garth Brooks, “A New Way to Fly”

For my birthday, my mom got me the Garth Brooks Anthology Volume 1 book – it covers his first 5 albums and the stories behind how each song made it onto the album.   This song has been sticking my head lately.

This week was 5 months since the surgery.  And in less than 1 month, I am getting married.  In just under 2 months, I will move in with my husband in a new town.  It is a lot of changes in a short amount of time.

Every day, I feel like I am trying to find a new way to fly.  A new way to live my life – a life that had been largely unchanged for 44 years.  I don’t always do it well.  I don’t always succeed.  I don’t always feel like the path is as clear as I would like.   But every day I wake up and look for that new way to live a better life.

I am officially at 130 lbs lost.  I had to stop weighing myself everyday as the normal fluctuations started to drive me a bit crazy.  But that is a much slowed weight loss from where I was.  Its normal.  You plateau, you lose again…it means I need to change things up again.  But additional changes – on top of all of the other things right now – seems overwhelming.

I keep look for new ways to fly each day.  Which brings me to this verse and the reminder that every day is a new day.

Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
 His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.

Lamentations 3:21-23 (NLT)

 

 

 

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The Good, the Bad and the What????

Since I am apparently laying it all out there about my YouTube addiction, I decided at least 1 more post about what I am watching currently is in order.   And just so you don’t think that I am watching ONLY Gastric Bypass related videos, at the bottom of this post is a quick list of other things that have caught my eye lately.  Trust me – it has been like falling down the rabbit hole lately on YT.

Once I got past the “what do I eat now” videos and the “what I wish I had known” videos about weight loss surgery, I have been bombarded with the “Don’t Do It” and “It will ruin your life” type videos.  The same vloggers who posted the others after some time seem to regret their decision to do this.

To be honest, I think about it often.  Was this the right thing?  Will I be able to maintain this?  What if I gain back?  Will it all have been for nothing?  At this early stage in the game, it is impossible for me to know if this was truly a mistake.  I am still in the slight euphoric stage of “look how much I am losing” so I don’t have any serious perspective yet.

Saying that, when I watch the “it ruined my life” videos I am struck by a couple of things:

  1. How many people seem to do this without “knowing” the implications.  Are there doctors out there not telling patients about the reality or did you not listen when you were warned?  I was told.  My doctor made sure I understood the risks and the possible long term implications of my decision to do this.
  2. How many people will not take responsibility for some of the choices they made.  From moving back to old habits to the decision to even have surgery, it is never their fault.  They were not told, nobody was willing to help them, they had other circumstances.  It sounds harsh to say it – talk to me in a year and my tune may have changed – but this just seems like a lack of taking responsibility.
  3. Finally, how many people admit to not following the rules but try to justify the bad choices.  It happens in these videos and it happens in person.  A few times I have been in the doctors office talking to other patients and have heard them admit to breaking the rules.  “I know we can’t have XXX, but I do anyway” or “I know I need to take YYY, but I really hate it so I don’t.”   You did all of this, paid for all of this, and now you are going to risk it?

Here’s the thing:  I don’t know what is going to happen for me moving forward.  I can’t guarantee I won’t fall off the wagon.  In fact, I am guilty of some of this already.  But I keep coming back to the “I need to feel better and in order to do that, I have to…”.  It is keeping me sane for now.

I don’t pity these vloggers nor do I condemn them.  I am them.  In a year or two, that could be me.  I feel compassion for them.  I wish they had a great experience with this – mostly to give me hope that this was not a big mistake for ME.  That I will not end up writing a blog post that details how I gained it all back and how it was such a mistake for me to embark on this.  I don’t want to be that person.  Right now, I see them as a cautionary tale.  And that is why I keep watching and fighting to get my life back.  I am not there yet…but I will be.

As for what else has me fascinated on YouTube right now: