31 May 2007

Rough, ROUGH Day

Yesterday started off well, but ended horribly, actually it's still ongoing. Around noon as I was eating lunch, my stomach started to ache, y'know, that queasy nauseous feeling. Over the next several hours it go worst. Every 15 to 60 seconds a wave of intense nausea would wash over my innards followed by an intense need to either burp or vomit, even though it felt like I couldn't. Long story short, after several major poops, a couple episodes of vomiting, I was off to the Urgent Care facility this morning and was diagnosed with a stomach virus and boy does it suck. They have me a prescription for Promethazine and Zantac 150 and honestly, after the 1st dose, I feel much, much better.

I have never felt anything like this before. I was convinced I had some kind of obstruction or something. Now I feel better and a little weak and am limited to clear liquids only. That really sucks cuz I haven't had any solid food since noon yesterday. I opted for Gatorade and chicken broth. Anyway, it's naptime for me. I stayed home from work and will return tomorrow. Oh, a couple of woo-hoos! in the midst of all this crap, one my blood pressure was 122/60 and again, I fit in the waiting room chairs, no problem and I weighed in at 333.8 lbs this morning! Yea!

Quick question and I hope someone can shed some light on this subject for me, the doctor said clear liquids today then starchy foods tomorrow. Now, I don't really like the idea of drinking Gatorade because of all the sugar so I guess that leaves me with water and maybe Crystal Light. Chicken broth will be good and I may pick up some Isopure protein drinks, those are clear and my Nectar Roadside Lemonade is kinda clear. The starchy foods thing is what worries me. I don't usually do starchy type foods and can't think of any low-carb alternatives besides Dreamfield's pasta. Any ideas?

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30 May 2007

Nine Months

I weighed in this morning at 335.4 lbs for a total loss of 181.2 lbs. Woo-hoo! I've lost an adult male. I can't believe I was carrying that much weight around. It doesn't seem real.

I had a good conversation with Kim the other night which got me thinking about some of the things I have been doing lately, foodwise and my overall approach to my health and nutrition, etc. In short, I think I have been doing good. Spend any time on many of the DS boards and you will see that I certainly have been more vigilant and pay more attention to what I am doing and how I am eating than many, but she helped me realize that it's not good enough. It's not bad, but I could certainly do better. Dr. Marchesini wants me to get down to around 250 lbs and that would be a success in his eyes. That would be a 266.6 lbs weight loss and something like a loss of 75-80% of my excess weight assuming an ideal body weight of 175. That would be a great result especially considering where I started at. Who could be disappointed with that? Well....me. Truth be told, I do NOT want to end up at 250 lbs with the distant hope that after plastic surgery, I could maybe get down somewhere around 200-225 lbs. What is it that I really want? I want to get down to 175 lbs. At 5'11, that's a normal weight. I want to be normal. I see so many people on the DS boards who admittedly weren't as strict that they could have been and ended up 30-50 lbs away from their goals. They seem to be happy with where they ended up and hell, if they are happy, I'm happy for them, but for me, I think I'd rather bust my butt now for the next year, year and a half to get to my goal.

Even though I was only good, not great for the month of May, I still lost 17 lbs which tells me that if I am even more vigilant with what goes into my mouth and get more exercise, then I should be able to squeeze in several more months of 15-20 lbs of loss per month, hopefully through the end of the year. I would love to hit 225 at the end of 2007. That would give me 8 more months to lose the last 50 lbs by my two year anniversary. I have quite a bit of travelling to do this year and deviating from my routine is always problematic for me. I leave in about a week to go home and instead of indulging in a bunch of junk, I am going to stick to my way of eating as much as possible. It is going to be freakin' hard, but I think it will accomplish a couple of things. One, it will keep me focused and on track and I will definitely learn how to deal with my nutritional requirements when I'm out of my comfort zone (something I've always struggled with). Two, a lot of people will be watching what I will be putting in my mouth for those several days and I don't want to do myself or the DS a disservice by eating a bunch of crap. Even if I say 50 million times that this isn't the way I normally eat, I don't think it would matter, people don't listen to what you say, they listen to what you do. I don't want to perpetuate the myth that the DS is an easy fix, that you can eat what you want with wreckless abandon and still lose a lot of weight. I have a few family members that are super morbidly obese and should consider having weight loss surgery. They are older than me and have other health problems, even if they don't approach me for more information, I still want to be an example of what you should do.

I have to remind myself that when I get to goal and have lost all the weight I want, I will be able to eat a greater variety of foods. Nothing will be off limits, technically, however I will still be susceptible to any gastronomic consequences of consuming certain types of foods, but for the most part, this is true. I will be free, but for right now, I'm at the half way point of my journey, the middle, the hump. The middle, I think, is where success truly is defined. It's the boring, mundane part of the journey, all the excitement was in the first few months. There aren't as many drastic changes during this period, everything is pretty steady and it's much easier to become lax and complacent. There was a quote I came across some time ago: "Comfort is the enemy of achievement" and for me this is true. If I put my greatest effort during these middle months, I truly believe I can get to where I want to be. Every minute, hour, day will pass regardless if I do or not, so why not do better? Why not be better? I just don't want any more regrets and I have to remind myself of all of this every now and then. It's so easy to let it slip away. I will tell you this though, it seems like the only thing I will be able to eat with a great deal of frequency is barbecue, so watch out because I will be eating more than my fair share..... mmmm .... meat...

Anyway, 181.2 lbs loss is still pretty kick ass and I am happy. June is going to be tough, but I think I can hit the big 200 by the end of it. We'll see!

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27 May 2007


The day after I wrote my last post, I was down at the company cafeteria buying a Diet Dr. Pepper (I know, not good) and was waiting in line to pay for it when I noticed someone I used to work with. He walked right past and didn't even recognize me. It was too funny, he was within a couple of feet of me and nothing. I had to smile.

So, as I anticipated my eating this week has not been as good and I didn't expect to be perfect. My calories were lower than normal and probably my protein as well, I hadn't been tracking as strict as I would have like, mostly eyeballing things. I've also had this potato chip ... thing. I had one of those small bags of potato chips every day last week. They are around 20g of carbs each so I still stayed below my 50 grams of carbs per day. I guess I was really missing something crunchy & salty. I am not going to beat myself over it because I realize my approach and relationship to food is changing. Night before last, I was in a bad mood and I found myself at the grocery store walking around fuming over an argument I had with my business partner. A year ago, I would have stocked up on loads of crap, ice cream, cookies, pastries, etc. That night, I got two jars of spaghetti sauce to make my meaty "chili", two packs of really good sausage for the chili, some sugar free popsicles and two 2-liter bottles of Sugar Free Tropicana OrangeAde (this stuff is like crack). I walked past aisles of all kinds of stuff, walked through the bakery section, past the cookies and chips and didn't snag any of it. I am really proud of myself for that. I don't see it as dieting or not dieting, I see it as me taking control of the relationship. Obviously, I have the DS to thank for a large part of that. This is where the tool aspect of the duodenal switch is so great. Even if I had bought all that crap and ate it, I know it would not have derailed me for weeks on end like it would have in the past. The consequences of having such a binge would have been crappy...literally and I have enough stomach issues to deal with.

Anyway, it seems like potato and corn meal based products are really the only carby foods that I can eat -- in strict moderation -- that won't cause me problems. Stuff made with wheat and/or sugar are definite no-nos. When I go home in like a week and a half, there are really only two things I really, really want to have, cheese enchiladas and my dad's barbecue and when you think about it, only the cheese enchiladas will cause problems. Those are the only things I want to eat copious amounts of or rather I could alternate between those two things for every meal for the five days I'm home, everything else, I could really care less about. I'm sure I will pay for all the cheese consumption, but cheese enchiladas are by far, my favorite food. I am going to try to enjoy them (and I may start researching stuff like Lactaid) because it'll probably be another year or so before I have them again. I'm sorry, but it's nearly impossible to get good Mexican food in Georgia.

I am really tempted to bring my scale with me on my trip, but I'm not. :) I'll just have to go five days without weighing. That'll be a first since I got back from surgery. I've heard many people talk about losing weight while on vacation, much to their surprise, well I'll go on the record and say I seriously doubt I will be losing any weight while I'm gone, not with the way I will be eating! The cheese alone will do me in. I am also concerned about gas, I haven't had to be around people when I've had bad gas. I know the probiotics help a lot, but maybe I need to start thinking about something in addition to them.

The biggest change for me this week was that I have switched iron supplements again. I am dropping the Ferrous Sulfate (325mg twice daily) to Ferrochel (72mg twice daily). Ferrochel is chelated and allegedly 10 times more absorbable than the old stuff. The other good thing about it is that it purports to not cause stomach issues like the Ferrous Sulfate, namely constipation, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that this stuff works out for me. All I want is normal poop patterns, is that too much to ask for? My next labs are in late August with my PCP so I am hoping that the Ferrochel works just as well, if not better.

I got my labs back from the hematologist and all looks good. I'm pretty happy about that. The only thing that concerns me a tad is my blood sugar was 92. Granted, this was 1:30 in the afternoon, but still. Everything else is normal, except for my vitamin B12 was high so all I gotta do is cut down on my B12 supplementation. Not a problem.

I weighed in at 336.6 lbs this morning for a total loss of 180 lbs since August 30th of last year. I am starting to notice the veins in my hands and arms more. It is becoming much easier to cross my legs. I poked two more holes in my belt yesterday. I can pull my size 30 jeans down without unbuttoning them (which is a good and bad thing). My double chin is almost completely gone. Oh, one more thing, and this totally caught me by surprised, I actually experienced an urge to skip! WTF? Talk about unexpected...

Well, I think I am going to go take myself a nice walk and get some fresh air. I spent most of the day yesterday catching up on sleep and work. Time to go get moving.

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24 May 2007

Irony of Ironies

For shits and giggles today I went and checked the benefits package, specifically the particulars of our medical insurace of the new company I am working for to see if they have exclusions for weight loss surgery....wonder of all wonders, they don't. Geez. It's a good thing though, because it's there if someone needs it. They have thousands of employees so I know it'll come into good use.

I saw a friend of mine today that I hadn't seen in 4 years. He didn't mention anything about the way I look. Thank God (kinda). I mean it would have been great to hear "Oh my God, Tia, you look great." but then again, we were surrounded by people who have no idea I used to be fatter than fat, now I'm just fat. He may have noticed, but just didn't say anything, who knows.

Anyway, I am so freaking sore. Here's something you may not know about Atlanta. Atlanta is very hilly. If there is any flat terrain anywhere, it's because man made it. So I've been having to walk a lot more this past week than I normally do. I walk about 1/3 mile from my bus stop to my job and then I have to walk 1/2 a mile from work to the outgoing bus stop, not to mention the compound/campus/location where my job is, they didn't bother to level it all out, so there are lots of stairs and stuff. It's not bad, I have committed myself to taking the stairs whenever possible. I'm not fast going up them, but I do it and now my hips are sore, my knees, my calves, my shins, my ass. Oy! I know this is all temporary and my body will get used to it, but right now, it's no fun. BUT I will tell you this, I would have never, EVER, ever been able to do this 9 months ago. No freaking way. I like my little power walks to and from work, believe it or not. I feel like I'm doin' somethin'! Sounds silly, but I sling my messenger bag over my shoulder and off I go and you know what? I'm not really tired afterwards, not at all. It feels good actually.

For so long I've felt invisible and now it's like I'm coming into existence, I do have a life to live, I do belong and there are things in this world for me.

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19 May 2007

Buh-Bye 340's

Big surprise on the scale this morning...339.0 lbs. Holy shit. Buh-bye 340's, just that quick. Yesterday, I weighed in at 343.2, so that's a 4.2 lb drop overnight...well, overnight and post several trips to the bathroom. Not to go into too much detail, but I definitely have a constipation problem. I was doing so well for awhile, but then it came back with a vengeance. I am eating pretty well, getting in plenty of protein, fat and keeping my carbs pretty low (20-50g per day). I've gotten into a rhythm however that might be shot to hell come Monday when I start my new job. Anyway, I've been getting in between 80-100 ounces of water a day and taking my vitamins. The only thing I think it might be is that I stopped taking Magnesium because I ran out and didn't bother to pick up another bottle. Funny how that works. It's just amazing how at times it seems like my body can be a well tuned machine and others, I have no idea what's going on.

I bought my plane ticket this morning to go home for my family reunion. I am so anxious about the whole thing. Just thinking about getting on a plane makes my stomach churn. I'll be totally honest, I am scared about fitting into a freaking airplane seat. It is the quintessentially most painful (figuratively and literally) nightmare for obese people. I dread it. Sigh. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the anticipation will be the worst part of it.

My mom is practically foaming at the mouth for me to come home. She is really, really anxious to take me clothes shopping. I think the experience will be cathartic as I hated shopping with my mother when I was younger, but my sister is going with us, actually she is my primary shopping companion, Mom is tagging along for part of the day, so I think I'll be fine. I just really want to see my family. Losing Monica & Kenny and my cousin Brenda just really screwed us up and going to Brazil and having this surgery, I just want to soak up all the love.

I am changing sizes at an alarming rate. This morning, for kicks, I tried on a pair of size 24 pants and I think I will be able to wear them in a couple of weeks. It's weird though because another pair of 24's I couldn't get past my hips. The size 30 pants I bought, what, like two weeks ago have saggy butt syndrome and yet again, I have to poke holes in my belt. This is all such a trip... My one year anniversary is fast approaching as is the 200-lb loss mark. I really didn't much of anything when I hit 100 lbs lost, I'm not sure that I'll do anything when this next milestone comes around.

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17 May 2007


I've just recently caught up with some Switch brothers and sisters of mine who were in Brazil the same time as I was. Their before and after pictures are amazing!! I am so happy for them and honestly, the tiniest bit envious. I can't wait to be "near normal", but I know if I keep at it and do the right things, I will get there. At lunch today, I did a little number crunching and I seem to be losing around 4.5% of my body weight each month. Instead of looking are pounds lost as a measure, I am going to keep my eye on that number as I know your average weight loss per month decreases as you lose weight, but I should be able to keep up my percentage loss in line.

I have been having weird poop issues. Lots of constipation and I'm not sure why, I'm not eating any cheese and have been fairly consistent in my eating. I have been eating some leaner than usual meats, ham steaks were on sale at Kroger so I picked up a couple of packs. Tasty, but pretty low fat. Also, chicken, believe or not is a big clogger of the innards and it's not even breast meat. What seems to work the best for me, if I get a good mix of different consistencies of foods throughout the day. If I start the day off with a protein shake, that seems to set the tone for the day and helps prevent issues. My pattern as of late is to fluctuate between the same 2-3 lbs for several days, then drop like 3-5 over the course of the next 3 days. It's a little frustrating as I'd like to be more consistent, but hey, as long as the trend is downward, I'll take it.

Today I weighed in at 343.2 lbs, I suspect (hope) the scale will show a bigger than normal loss tomorrow. We shall see. I get the sense that I am in the middle section of my weight loss journey where all the big changes and adjustments are behind me. Am I kidding myself? I don't know, but I do feel like the things to come are more along the lines of dealing self-perception issues. I am also starting to get a little impatient about the whole thing. Looking at the before/after pictures I mentioned before reminds me that I still have a ways to go. I've lost 170+ lbs, but I still have 140-160 lbs to go, sometimes it feels so far away. I know I won't lose the next 160 lbs in 8.5 months like I did the first. I just have to stay committed and try to be patient. I have to keep reminding myself of this and just remembering that each decade I drop out of, is a decade I will never see again. I know I will never 350 lbs again. That is a good thing and just one of many little things to hold onto.

Anyway, three weeks til I go home. I can not wait. I'm allowing myself some freedom food-wise while I am there. There are a few very specific things I want: my dad's barbecue, cheese & onion enchiladas, baked macaroni & cheese, Earl Campbell sausages. Yum. Notice no sweets. It's weird, but I have all but lost all interest in sweet things. That is definitely one thing I did not expect.

Well, tonight is support group night and boy am I excited! I love, love, love my support group and my friends there. I can't wait.

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14 May 2007

On track

Good day today. This is my last week at the old job, I am ready to move on. I had a doctor's appointment at the Hematologist's office and good news all around. My Hemoglobin went from 12.1 to 12.2 and my MCV went from low 70's to low 80's which (apparently) means my red blood cells are getting bigger which means I am absorbing iron better or soemthing along those lines...I'm not sure, but it just means it's an improvement and I'm happy that I don't need another infusion. They also ordered a complete metabolic panel so I should get the results Thursday or Friday. The best part of the whole thing was that I could finally weigh on the normal doctor's scale. Woo-hoo!!! It didn't even occur to me that I would be able to until the nurse asked me to step on. I weighed in at 348 or something fully clothed. So very cool.

I wore my size 22/24 shirt today with my new size 30 khaki pants. I must admit, I looked quite cute and kinda hip. I didn't think it was possible! I was hanging out in the kitchentte microwaving a bowl of my homemade (bean-free) chili when my boss' boss remarked that he can tell I lost a lot of weight and looked good. I blushed. It trips me out because I've only been there just under 3 months, I honestly didn't think I looked that much different in that short amount of time.

Lastly, I am ecstatic cuz m'girl Ann just crossed over into the land of 100-lb losers!!! Congrats!!!! Woo-hoo!!! I am so very happy and proud of her!

Me, on the other hand, I'm not sure what's going on. I weighed in at 346.4, exactly what I weighed a week ago today. I hate this crap, but I think I am past it. I weighed when I got home from work at 347.0 so we'll see what the morning brings. Anyway, I am pooped, but I gotta couple hours worth of work to do...sigh...I can't wait til this week is over!

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08 May 2007

Reality check

So I went to Catherine's today to return a pair of pants I bought two months ago and pick up another pair as I had to retire the pair I bought (but never wore) in February. If I didn't I'd only have one pair of good pants. Anyway, I tried on like 5-6 pairs of pants today and ended up getting two 3X's. Can you believe that? I can't. Friggin' 3X. Unbelievable. I am now convinced that everything at Catherine's runs about 3 sizes too big. I started browsing the clearance racks and noticed my favorite pink striped shirt in a 2X. I had to buy it. It was like $12 and I figured that I could wear it in like a couple of months. This was my actual train of thought...so I took it with me to the dressing room and tried it on. Fits perfect!!! Absolutely perfect! It's a god-dang 22/24! WTF?!? So I have the same shirt in a 34/36 (which I wore yesterday!) and a 22/24...How crazy is that?!?

Kim, I'm ready to come over and raid your closet. :)

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07 May 2007

Holy Crap!!!!

It's 6 AM and I just weighed in at 346.4 lbs! That's a total loss of 170.2 lbs. Woo-hoo!!!! Buh-bye 350's! So happy to see you go. I am now officially closer to 300 lbs than I am to 400 lbs! I stopped taking my acidophilus because it constipates me too much. I either need to get a less potent kind or just drop it completely. We'll see. Anyhoo....wow!

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06 May 2007


Protein & calorie-wise, this week has been a struggle. I haven't been tracking my food in Fitday like I have in the past thinking that I could eyeball everything. How wrong I was. I was probably doing maybe 60-70 grams of protein and maybe 1000 calories. Needless to say, I'd been retaining water and yesterday, I got a bad case of hollow leg syndrome. I ate (good stuff) all day. This week I've bounced up to 354.6 and this morning I weighed in at 350.0 lbs. Hopefully, I will dropping some more of this water weight within the next day or so. It's definitely back to proper food tracking for me and I need to be better about breakfast. A few times last week I hadn't had first meal til past 11 AM. Yikes! Not good.

So I am coming down from my high from the past few days, deciding to actually do it was the easy part, making it happen will be quite a bit of work. First and foremost is getting my house ready to be sold and selling the darn thing. It's a buyer's market and I have to make sure that my house is as appealing as possible and I have to be willing to break even or maybe even take a slight loss. I'm not on a timetable but I do want to be aggressive and do what I need to do to get the house sold. There is a house on my block that has been on the market for several months now and I have to accept the fact that my house may do the same. On the flip side, condo shopping looks like it's going to be fun! I am going to be much more pickier this time around. I want a great neighborhood with lots of great stuff close by or a quick train ride away. A lot of the suspect areas of Atlanta are experiencing a rejuvenation and there's ton of new construction and I think I may be able to snag a really nice place for a good price. Good stuff.

Tomorrow I have a quick lunch meeting with my new boss and I have to give my two weeks notice, which I had planned to do Friday, but I'll do it first thing Monday with the 19th being my last day. I only feel slightly bad about leaving after 2.5 months, but I gotta do what I gotta do. I won't say this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, but it's coming back to me for a reason so I am taking it.

Anyway, I bought a new telephoto lens for my camera this week and there is no sign of rain so I am going to head out and enjoy the day!

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03 May 2007

Big city, here I come!!!

Remember when, a few months ago, I was trying to decide between two jobs? I decided on the one closer to home, it pays less than the other one and is a smaller company. Well, the people from the other company called me Tuesday and they still want me. Mind you, they've been calling every couple of weeks and I have either ignored the phone calls or gratiously declined. Then something, I don't know what, made me think that maybe I should think about taking that other job. Why? Well, the other job is in the heart of Atlanta, where all the buzz is going on, the pay is fabulous, the only problem is that I live far away and I thought to myself...why do I live out here again? And it finally dawned on me that I am settling and I shouldn't be settling just yet. I'm young, single and have led a somewhat sheltered life. I don't want that anymore. I want to be out there, I want to go to concerts, football games, festivals in the park. I want to take the train to work. I want something more. So within a span of less than 48 hours actually, I've decided to take that other job, sell my house and buy a condo in the city. Drastic and completely unlike me, but that's what so great!

I noticed in the last 8 years, I've progressively been moving further and further away from the city, like I am hiding or secluding myself. Maybe it's some kind of unconscious element of shame or whatever, but I don't feel that way anymore. I wrote in my "My Story" post that I want a live, I want my chance and that reality becomes less of a possibility if I live out here in the boonies. I can't even contemplate calling any of my old friends to go hang out because I'm a good 40 min drive away.

This is all exciting and I've spent an ungodly amount of time looking at condos in the city and I can't tell you how long it's been that I've been this excited about something and this resolute. This afternoon I got the offer paperwork and tomorrow I give my boss my notice. Just like that.

I guarantee you I never, EVER would be doing this had I not had my DS. It's crazy, but this surgery is changing my life more than I imagined.

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