Category Archives: self-image

Post-Op Life: Righting the Ship

This post is going to be fairly brief, as things around these parts are crazy busy these days.  But the crazy busy is in a good way.  So I’ll do a quick drive-by update with bullet points, because it’s about all I have time for right now.

  • Gallbladder surgery went well.  My recovery was smooth and uneventful.  I did learn at my follow-up appointment that my gallbladder had stopped ejecting bile properly, and as a result, cholesterol and bile had accumulated on the inside walls of the sac.  As my surgeon said, “It was definitely time for it to come out.”  So it’s good that I had the surgery when I did.
  • I also learned that I no longer have a fatty liver.  When I had my gallbladder removed, my surgeon did a liver biopsy, as the lab work I had done on my trip to the ER in June gave him cause to want to poke around there.  The path report revealed that I no longer had evidence of fatty liver disease.  This is huge, given that on the day of my sleeve surgery a little over 2 years ago, my liver had 60% fatty infiltration.  My surgeon was thrilled to learn that my fatty liver had been resolved by my WLS.
  • Looks like I’ll be having more surgery this year.  UGH.  My right knee has decided it’s had enough of being patched together with a neoprene brace.  I’m looking at getting it scoped over Christmas so that I can have 2 weeks off my feet, and more importantly, 2 weeks with someone around who can help me!  And depending on what happens with my shoulder, there may be yet another surgery in the cards for me this year.  My left shoulder has decided it’s had enough and can’t even.  So I will be heading BACK to the ortho to find out what the hell is going on with my shoulder once I get back from being out of town this week.
  • Regain is real, y’all.   So for those of you who are early on in the process of having WLS, or who have just had it, please don’t delude yourselves into thinking, “I’m going to lose this weight FOREVER!!!!” or say stuff like “That’s ______ pounds gone FOREVER!!!!”   Or at the very least, don’t say those things without realizing that while yes, losing the weight as a result of surgical intervention is fast and seemingly easy, keeping it off is much, much more difficult.  I’ll be real with y’all–I’ve gained back about 35 pounds this past year (scary, huh?).  I know exactly why and how, and I’ve decided to go back to a devil I know to lose it.  I’ll be starting Weight Watchers online next week in an attempt to get back down to the weight I was at this time last year.  I felt good, I looked good, I slept better, and I moved around better.  I need the structure that the WW program provides because clearly I can’t provide it for myself right now.  Also?  All I have ever tried to do in my life is lose weight.  I’ve never known how to maintain it.  Losing weight is something I am good at; maintenance is not.  I’m scared I’ll never learn how to maintain a weight I can live with.  So in the meantime, I’ll be back to weight loss mode so that I can at least have a shot at feeling good about how I look and feel again.

Well, that’s all I’ve got time for…work and meal prep are calling.

Post-Op Week 109: Gallbladder Eviction

This past week, I joined millions of others in the world who walk around without a gallbladder.  Do I feel better without it?  Probably.  I wasn’t miserable before it came out, but when 4 doctors in 2 years tell you it needs to come out, it probably needs to come out.  So I had it done.

The surgery went well, thank goodness because I was really nervous about it.  It was a good thing I had it done.  Apparently, my gallbladder loved my intestines so much that it was stuck to them, which caused my surgery to be a bit longer than planned.  So removing it was a good plan, as this could have caused bigger problems later on had I delayed the procedure.

I was sent home the same afternoon.  In by 10 am, out by 4 (I take a long time to recover from anesthesia, apparently).  I was home and resting comfortably by 5, able to eat soup by 7 that night with minimal nausea.  I’ve done pretty well since, but I’ve also kept my food pretty bland and low-fat.  No major issues, just a bit of soreness at the largest incisions (not unexpected).  I stopped taking my pain meds Thursday night as I haven’t needed them since.  Besides, narcotic pain medication has some pretty undesirable side effects–itching and constipation to name a couple–so when I am placed on them, I take them for as short a time period as I can bear.  I’ve been fine without them since.   I’m on restricted lifting (nothing heavier than a jug of milk), and working out is off until next month so I won’t be back in the gym until September.  I want to make sure my abdominal muscles have healed sufficiently so that I don’t cause myself to have a hernia (Lord knows I can’t afford another frickin’ surgery–this “pray you don’t get sick health plan” is bullshit, but that’s a post for another time and place).

I did have a few revelations the day of my surgery, though.

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Accepting the Me that Is

Epicurus--do not spoil

A childhood friend shared this with me today.  In light of my moving toward acceptance of the body I am currently in, I thought it would be good to post it here for posterity’s sake.

I remember a time when I longed for the body I have, and how I didn’t think I’d ever get what I have now.  Now I’m here and struggling to love what is.

It is not constructive to want what I am not and what I cannot be or have because of my biology.

It’s time to stop fighting the genetic deck that is stacked against me and to accept what is.

It’s time to embrace the me that has become.  It’s time to accept the me that is.

I will love this incarnation of me.  As hard as this is, I will love this me, with all her imperfections, scratches and dents.

I will love the rolls, ripples, varicose veins, wrinkles and the stretch marks.  I will love the curves and bumps, the saggy, the baggy, the bones that jut out, and the tendons I more readily see under my skin.

I will love this version 2.0, and I will accept it as me.

If I don’t love this me, it will be hard for others to love it too.

Post-Op Week 102: Acceptance and Moving Forward

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It’s been a couple of weeks since I updated anything regarding post-op life, so here is one.

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Post-Op Week 99: The Prodigal Patient

I know it’s been a couple of weeks since I last wrote anything here.  And as this is one of the ways I hold myself accountable, well…let’s just say I haven’t felt much like doing that lately.

This is going to be a quick post for a few reasons:

  • I have a bag full of grading to do.  It’s the end of the school year, and I’m bound and determined to finish grades tonight so that all I have to do is grade final exams.
  • I don’t much feel like writing anything.

A couple of weeks ago I was able to make it back to one of my support group meetings since my Rotary Club didn’t have a meeting that week.  It was really odd going back since it had been so long (9 months).  I was a bit fearful and I suppose I felt that way because I felt like I would be judged.  I was also fearful because I was afraid there wouldn’t be anyone I knew there.  Gee, it felt just like it did the first time I went to one of those meetings!  I saw one of the ladies who was a regular in the group before and joked that I’d been the Prodigal Patient, because that’s what I felt like going back to that meeting.

The meeting was led by an intern, not Dr. Ashmore.  This was slightly disappointing because I wanted to talk with him directly about setting up an appointment to see him.  I guess I will have to do that once I am back from the travel I am about to head out on.

It felt odd being back because of my long absence.  There were four folks there that I remember from before so I didn’t feel completely uncomfortable.  This particular meeting didn’t have any structure to it, so I felt lost.  I didn’t feel like going back gave me what I needed.  And at this point, I am not sure what I need from a support group.  I don’t even know what my goals are at this point.

I feel like I need to kick my own ass back into gear but have little to no motivation to do it.   I feel like I need to set new goals but I don’t know what to aim for.

When I joked about feeling like the Prodigal Patient, I wasn’t kidding.  If you don’t know the story of the Prodigal Son, here’s a good summary.

Like the Prodigal Son wasted what his father gave him, I feel like I’ve squandered the opportunity I’ve been given to get my health in order.  And for no good reason either.  I’m really angry about this, although even if there was a good reason for what has happened, I’d probably still be angry about it.  And I am angry with myself.  There is no one to be angry with but me.  This is entirely my fault and it is up to me to fix it.  But how?

I feel very, very, very lost and the only way I know how to calm the anxiety about this lost feeling is to self-medicate with food.  I wish I would self-medicate with exercise instead.  At least then I’d be in better shape than I am now.  :/

I need to find another way to do this because it’s not working.  My clothes are not fitting right and I’m starting to have aches where I didn’t before.  Neither of these things are good and they don’t make me feel good about myself either.

I’m considering the solution that everyone always has in this situation:  go back to basics.  Which for me means going back to pre-op diet world, and in these next three weeks that is not practical for me.  Starting Tuesday of next week, I am on the road for 11 days on a trip for work.  I will not have access to a refrigerator or have much control over what food is served me as there will be catering each day.  So I will just move as much as possible and keep things as simple as possible while I’m gone and hope that I don’t put on any more weight than I’ve already done.  I can do basics once I’m back home and have much, much more control over my environment.

I feel like I’m crawling to Friday.  I see myself in my head on hands and knees, crawling toward an end.  It’s a bleak image in my head, but it accurately reflects how I feel right now.

I just want the mojo I had about this whole process a year and a half ago back.  That’s all.

Post-Op Week 97: Failing vs. Failure

I haven’t felt much like taking pictures of myself the past couple of weeks because I haven’t made any progress.  If anything, I have regressed.

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With regard to my self-care, this is how I have felt the past few months. I am trying hard to plant my feet in the “I am failing” camp rather than the “I am a failure” camp.  I am failing myself right now but am trying to take small steps back toward being successful again.  I don’t see myself as a failure yet, which is good.  But I know I am failing.  And rather than pretend like everything is sunshine and rainbows along this path to health, I’m just going to say it: I’ve sucked at taking care of myself the past 6 months.  There, I said it.

I AM NOT DOING WELL RIGHT NOW.

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Post-Op Week 94: Going to the Prom

I won’t lie, I didn’t take a picture this week in my usual outfit.  I am also up this week.  Way up.  I know what I did–grazed, and ate way more than I should have.  I’ll pick up again next week and take care of business.

Next week will be better.  It has to be.  I did decide this week to continue on with more vegetables and fruits since I like the way I feel when I eat them.  So today I had calabacitas (zucchini, corn and garlic cooked in a chicken broth with a little cheese), grapes, a mandarin orange, a green salad with strawberries and almonds, and some hummus on red leaf lettuce.  Tomorrow I’m having almost the same stuff, just adding carrot chips to the mix.

So anyway…

Saturday night, my school had its senior prom.  I’d chaperoned it before, and decided that I would do it again.  The group of seniors that I teach this year  and I are pretty close.  I adore all of them, even the difficult ones, and so I wanted to share this milestone with them.

Not gonna lie, I was stylin’.

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