Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Things Only Hoped For

I found this quote the other day on pinterest, and it keeps swimming around in my head. It resonated with me so much. Not so much the first part but the second part, "Remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for."

It may sound strange to say but it reminds me of my weight loss surgery. Or at least the journey I went on to get weight loss surgery. My journey did not start on my surgery day, nor did it start when I first met with my surgeon. My journey started five years ago, when the thought,"I could just have weight loss surgery," first briefly flashed through my mind. I quickly dismissed that thought.

I was on a successful diet at the time, down to my lowest weight ever as an adult. At that time in my life, I was convinced I would never gain that weight back. But of course, I gained back everything I had lost plus 30 pounds.

I seriously started to consider surgery three years after that regain. I met with my Californian doctor, a kind, older gentleman, who never said one wit about my weight (making him one of my favorite doctors ever). I sat in his office, Adam by my side, and embarrassingly sobbed to him about how unhappy I was and how I wanted to have surgery.

He did not agree with that choice, telling me even after surgery I would have all the same problems I had before the surgery. That I would probably always have food issues, but he gave me a referral to a surgeon anyway.

I walked out feeling defeated.

Before meeting with the surgeon, I decided I should call my insurance company and see what their polices were for that type of procedure. They informed me on certain terms that there was absolutely nothing I could do to get them to cover it, Adam's employer opted out of covering any bariatric procedures. I remember the devastation that washed over me, the feeling that no one wanted to help me.  I remember laying in bed crying like a broken hearted teenage girl. I remember Adam holding me, saying we would figure it all out, somehow, someday. I had to let it go, there was nothing I could do. 

A couple of years later, we moved to Alabama. I was working full time, we were more financially secure, and we decided we wanted to start trying to have a baby.  I always figured I would have a problem getting pregnant. I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) at a very young age. But everyone told me I was worrying too much, and everyone was telling me their success stories of getting pregnant-once, twice, three time with PCOS.

I knew in my heart of hearts that would not be the case for me. 

We tried for several months and nothing happened. I went to my gynecologist, he started me on clomid to get my ovaries  moving. He told me that particular drug sometimes causes people to have twins and multiples. I joked that I could be the new Kate Plus Eight (minus the bitchiness and bad hair dos). 

It didn't work.

He upped the dosage 1x, 2x, 3x. I never even ovulated. 

I asked him many times if it was my weight. He was not overly concerned about my weight, but said it could be a contributing factor. He referred me to a fertility specialist, but I didn't know if I was ready to go down that road. Shell out all that money for something like IVF, which may or may not work. 

Again, I just let it go. 

A few month later, I was working the summer program at work, and I lifted a cooler that I had no business lifting, and so started my battle with sciatica. Or what I thought was sciatica.  It paralyzed me, it stopped my running regimen. I put on even more weight. It would not go away, so the doctor sent me to get an MRI.   

The day I went to the doctor to get my results was one of my toughest appointments I've ever had. 

The nurse could not get the scale to weigh me due to me being over the weight limit. She lead me to other scales, none of them would weigh me. I was mortified. She had me estimate my weight, I subtracted 40 pounds. The doctor came in and told me I didn't have sciatica, but I had weakness in my lower back, caused by my weight. He made a referral for me for the weight loss surgeon without even asking me if that is what I wanted to do.

I cried for a long time that night. I cried because I was embarrassed, I cried because I knew the insurance wouldn't cover it, I cried because I had let myself get to that point in the first place. 

I decided to go anyway because it could hurt nothing more than my pocketbook. 

The rest is history, and if you are wondering the insurance would not cover my surgery. We ended up taking out a loan. If we were still in California, we would have never been in the place where we could afford that loan. If I never struggled with fertility, I would not have had surgery (plus when I lose weight if I can't get pregnant, I can live with that, at least it won't because I'm fat). If I never had months and months of leg pain, I would not have ended up in that office after all.

As cheesy as it sounds, I believe everything does happen for a reason, and everything was a cog in the machine that got me to the good place I am in now.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Weekend Report

I think this weekend was a type of recovery from last weekend, where I barely had any sleep, and also last week where apparently everyone's job in life was to make my job stressful. 

This week I took three naps and watched two movies (Frozen and Saving Mr. Banks-both flippin fantastic). I worked on my monster of a 1,000 piece puzzle, which I'm possibly only 1/4th of the way through. I made good progress on my book for book club. And on Saturday, I went shopping with Mom at the square in Downtown Athens.

I really love the square, even though it has the courthouse, which holds traumatic memories for me, as I failed both my written and driver's exams on the first go round. But it also has some of the best memories for me as well. The square used to have a used bookstore, The Green Door,  that my friends and I used to hang out in every Friday after school. We would drink tea, play card cards, and just have fun. 

Now I love the square because it has some of best boutiques around. We spent over an hour just browsing three of them: Pimentos, Trinitys, and Pablo's on Market. I bought this book on local history, that I can't wait to read. Afterwards, we went to a Chinese restaurant. I got the grilled shrimp, grilled chicken, cashews, and vegetables. I only had a few bites, but it was so good!

I am not feeling my usual sense of blahness that I usually have on Sunday night, because I only have to work 3 and 1/2 days, and then Adam and I are headed off to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, to celebrate our 5 year anniversary. Our anniversay is actually April 4th, but we wanted to rent the exact same cabin that Adam proposed to me in over 6 years ago (it was not available on our anniversary date). 

I need a little hot tubbing, hiking, tourist trap adventuring, and husband time in the smokey mountains. I just cannot wait.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Notes from the Week

This has been one stressful work week, y'all. I swear it was just like one crisis after another, putting out one fire, just to have another one ignite. But thanks to all that is good and holy, it is finally over. 

When I left work this afternoon (love half day Fridays), I came home and took something like a four hour nap, that is how drained I felt.  Then I woke up from my nap, completed my couch to 5k training for the day, and now I'm watching Frozen on demand (I just had to see what all the fuss is about, so far I love it). 

But I don't really want to get all hung up in all the low lights of this week and instead share a few of the highlights:

1. I bought tickets a few weeks ago for Jersey Boys for a steal, I love musicals but it wasn't really one I was excited about. Plus, it was on a Wednesday night, and I knew I'd get home late, and I really, really love my sleep. But Jersey Boys absolutely blew me away. So worth being tired the next day. It was funny, engaging, touching, and made everyone dance in their seats. I bought the soundtrack, and I've been playing it non-stop since. Who knew I could be such a fan of 60's music?

2. I broke out the playdough for a little play therapy at work. I don't break it out often because it can be kind of messy! My client built the cutest little snowman! I'm kind of a nazi about my playdough because something in my soul dies a little when the kids mix the colors, so there was no color mixing that day!

3. I've gotten into the habit of weekly manicures again, I forgot how relaxing painting my nails can be. I really wanted some bright colors as this winter has been too long and too cold. A little Essie, Knock Out Pout, did the trick!

4. I've been eating a lot of chili lately, it gets me the protein I'm supposed to have, and it is so tasty. Panera Bread seems to have my favorite chili right now, so I've been going out there to lunch pretty frequently. I love sitting in Panera, reading my kindle, having a few bites of chili, and taking the rest home for dinner.

5. Little bits of Spring are finally starting to peek through this week. Which is apt, since it is the first week of Spring. I love Spring! The flowers, the warm but not too warm weather, and all the things we get to celebrate during spring time (our Anniversary and both of our birthdays). I'm just worried we will have a cold snap and all the spring blooms will die.

6. I got my April Warmer and Scent of the Month package in the mail yesterday from scentsy, and I absolutely love the warmer this month. The cherry blossoms on the blue background are so beautiful and the scent, Sugared Blossoms, isn't too shabby either.  Reminds me of our honeymoon in D.C., which took place during the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Monday, March 17, 2014

W Girls on Parade

Right here right now, I am still feeling hungover from the weekend. Not the boozy kind, there wasn't a lick of that for me, but from all the not sleeping, laughing, and general madness and mayhem of the weekend.

I spent the weekend in Jackson, Mississippi, at the famous St. Paddy's parade. Adam did not come since it was basically a girl's trip. Plus,  when I was planning the trip, he was all like, "You have had so much time alone time when I've been gone these past few months, and I need my alone time to do my man stuff."  But he did very little fun stuff while I was gone. He paid bills, did our taxes, and bought cleaning supplies (And then when I got home, and we were comparing notes from the weekend, I swear he said this to me about the grocery store, "I was about to leave the cracker aisle upset..." That may not be funny to you, but it tickled me. If the cracker aisle upsets you, will the produce aisle enrage you?

The weekend kicked off with me driving to Tupelo to pick up my friend Anna, so we could head down to Jackson together. I had two hours in the car to myself. Two hours to rock out, sing, and car dance embarrassingly. I loved every minute of it, road tripping truly is me in my happy place.

Once we got into town, we met the rest of the crew for dinner. How glad I was to be with my fellow misfits. I do want to say I had some anxiety about hanging with my friends for the first time post weight loss surgery. I worried I wouldn't be able to figure out what to eat, or my friends would judge me for how little I ate. But everyone was so helpful and supportive, and they went out of their way to make sure I had what I needed! It truly meant the world to me, although most of the time special treatment makes me uncomfortable. 

Saturday morning, we donned our St. Patrick's gear, and we headed out to the parade.  I have never been to such a big parade, nor have I ever really celebrated St. Patrick's Day, beyond getting pinched yearly for not wearing green. I am only a wee bit Irish after all.

The parade was so colorful, and I loved the creativity of some of the floats (my favorite was the German one). They threw beads all through out the parade also. I got probably 50 and may have been beamed in the face by even more! I got so much swag, and I didn't even have to flash anybody.

We spent the rest of the weekend hanging out at my friend's apartment. We played Phase 10 for two hours, and I came so close to winning. Which is pretty impressive, considering I have never played before, and how long it took me to even understand what was going on. At some point, I thought about saying, "Does anyone know how to play go fish?"

If anything this weekend just reminds me of how much I truly do love my friends. We spent so much time reminiscing about old times, as only people who have known each other for 10 years truly can. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bits N' Pieces

Just a few things I wanted to share that didn't really need their own blog post:

1. A few weekends ago, Adam and I finally played the game I've coveted since childhood (that he got me for Valentine's Day), 13 Dead End Drive. I seriously love a board game night. I swear sometimes at work, I get really excited when my clients pick a game I want to play.  We really had a fun time with this game, and I won both rounds, Adam was playing it "too careful." It was so very satisfying to drop a chandelier on Adam's head.

2. I am so excited to be heading down to Jackson, Mississippi, this weekend for their famous St. Paddy's Day Parade! I stocked up on so much "bling" for my girlfriends and me to wear. I've been somewhat obsessed! You would think by how excited I am that I was 100% Irish, instead of what I really am, just a wee bit Irish.

3. I found this adorable gastric sleeve plushie from this etsy shop. When I came across it, I knew I just had to have it. It is Pompeii in stuffed animal form! It is also a daily reminder of what I'm working with and working toward!

4. I've been working on this 1,000 piece Normal Rockwell puzzle for several weekends now. It may be nerdy, but I have complete a 1,000 piece puzzle on my bucket list. I'm finding working on it to be really relaxing. I'm sure it is going to take me several more weekends to complete, but I can't wait to snap in that last piece.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Two Months

Saturday marked two months since I had weight loss surgery. 8 1/2 weeks to be exact. In some ways, that shocks me. It seems that time just keeps marching on like it is a gear shift stuck in hyper drive. Yet sometimes I feel like surgery was forever ago, as dealing with life post surgery has become more and more routine.

It is my routine to stop drinking water a half hour before and a half hour after I eat. It is routine for me to ditch the straw in cups as that puts air in my stomach, and that makes me feels odd. It is routine for me to bring my lunch to work, and to not even give a fleeting thought to all the sweets often laying around the office place.  It is routine for me to examine nutrition levels and work exceptionally hard to get all my protein in for the day (which is difficult, when I rarely feel like eating at all).

I'm starting to notice so many changes, both mentally and physically. I've lost a little over 67 pounds now, and while I know I'm still way fat, and I've got a long way to go, I feel so much more confident in the way I look. I think I present myself better as well.  I'm more interested in how I dress and wearing jewelry, before I didn't care, because I did not feel anything would make me look "better." I'm still working on make-up though, I'm really lazy about make-up. 

I love how my thighs look in jeans, and I'm still obsessed with my skinny, but strong, ankles. My fingers are smaller too, and sometimes when I snap my wrist too fast, my wedding ring will go flying off (I told Adam the only remedy to this situation is to get divorced obviously) .

In the best news of all, my leg pain has been much much better this month, making me think that when I lose a few more pounds, it might disappear altogether. 

I have yet to truly go down a size in my clothes (I don't think so anyway, I have yet to go shopping), but all my clothes are fitting better, and they are more flattering. I used to hate wearing jeans, thinking they were uncomfortable. Now I know they are not uncomfortable, they just did not fit well. I can also fit into a few pieces I grew too big for.

People compliment me all the time, and when I posted a picture on instagram recently, my niece told me I looked amazing. Hearing that from her, meant so much to me.

Everyone knows how much I love lists and "bucket lists," and I have started to mentally compile a list of things to accomplish with my new body eventually. This list includes big things like zip lining, surfing, and skydiving. But I also have simple things on the list like being able to cross my legs, shop in any store, and fly without worrying about what my passenger next to me is thinking about my size. I can't wait to start crossing things off this list. 

Of course, there have been some negatives. Occasionally, I really miss going out to eat on the weekends with Adam, when we would totally pig out, and have to waddle out of the restaurant. I do go out to eat some, but it feels like such a waste of money, when I eat so little. This weekend I got a 8 dollar sandwich in the food court, and I only ate a half of a half.

When I get a little down about what I can't eat right now, I just try and remember what my nutritionist says, "You are not on a diet, you are just eating healthy." I'm really starting to see food as fuel and nothing more.  

Ironically, sometimes I really, really miss having a soda. I find this funny because I wasn't a huge soda drinker before, but I crave that carbonation! Today, I had bought some flavored juice beverages, called Ice. I took a sip and immediately realized it was carbonated. I had to stop drinking it of course, but man that one little sip was heavenly!

The last week and a half I have been recovering from what seems to be chronic bronchitis.  I think all the congestion has been draining down into my stomach, which has given me a low level of nausea all week long, making me not want to eat anything at all. I've been having to force myself to eat, which is not fun, when you feel sick. But I'm finally starting to feel better and my queasiness is starting to improve as well.

In a new development, I have named my new stomach, Pompeii. Simply because it is prone to erupt, if I don't give it the respect it deserves. And yes, I have thrown up after trying new foods or taking one bite too many. It is unpleasant, but I swear I learn a little more about my health & body every time it happens.
At this point in time, I can honestly say the benefits outweigh the pitfalls. And I have no regrets yet. I'm excited to see what month three will bring.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Weekend Report

Sometimes I feel like Adam and I are the only people in the universe that don't like to spring forward. We really love the night time, and I really love driving home in the dark. Plus daylight savings, especially "Spring Forward" is so discombobulating. I've been confused all day, and this day has just flown by. It's making me cranky tonight. 

But besides my crankiness, I did have a nice weekend. The weather has been beautiful! We have had the windows open all weekend, and the apartment feels so fresh. And a nap with the windows open is a glorious thing.

Last week, Adam got a nice bonus at work. We have been saving so hard for the last two years to have a nice down payment for a house this summer.  We have done a really good job, and any extra money we have ever gotten has gone straight into savings. But with the bonus, we decided we should splurge a little for once. 

So Saturday morning, we hopped in the car and drove to Nashville to hit, you guessed it, the Lego Store. Adam's own personal Mecca. As long as I've been with Adam, his dream has been to own one of those big Star Wars sets. The joy on his face when he finally got the Death Star was infectious. I was so happy for him. I have no clue how long that will take for him to build it, but I love seeing his dream come true, even if it's a small one. 

Nashville is an hour and a half away, which is a nice day trip. You would think that would be enough activity for the day, but no I had plans that night to go painting with my mother. I'm in full I want to paint all the time mode again. 

 I really loved how this painting "Cafe Love," turned out. I hope to hang it in the kitchen when we finally buy our dream home.

I hope everyone has a great week.

P.S.-This weekend I celebrated my two month weight loss surgiversary, I will be posting about that later this week.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Favorite Things: Brighton Charm Bracelet

A few months ago, when my W girls were in town, we stopped in a store, Brighton, and I spotted these lovely charm bracelets. I have loved charm bracelets since I first saw one at my Grandmother's favorite jewelry store, when I was 16 years old. I have longed for one ever since.

Of course, over the past few years Pandora and Charm Bracelets have been all the rage, and I am not sure why I never bought one. But when I got home from shopping that day, I told Adam I wanted a charm bracelet for Christmas.

He was not very stealth when it came time to buy it for me, as he randomly used a tape measure to size my wrist before going out shopping one morning. But I had no clue what charms he would choose.

I was so excited when I unwrapped the box on Christmas eve, and I was very pleased/surprised with what he picked out! The charms were: a travel suitcase (which opens), California palm trees (to represent our time in Los Angeles), an Emerald Birth Stone Heart, A Sweet Home Alabama charm, and a dog for our first pet, Sarah

I bought the anchor charm for myself due to my love for all things nautical lately. 

I also bought the spacers, as Adam did not think about doing that, and all the charms were piled on top of each other. But you can't expect many men to understand the aesthetics of a bracelet now can you?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Things You Do When You Have Bronchitis for the 3rd time in 6 months:

1. Tough it out at work because you refuse to take any sick leave (that is for weaklings, plus you don't have any anyway). Scare everyone with your, "I would rather be dead than be here right now look," and "gravelly voice." Tell everyone you are certainly not contagious, although you have no idea if you really are contagious or not.  

2. Spew some weird sounding, delirious, half awake/half sleep nonsense after your husband wakes you up from a 4 hour nap, more accurately described as a coma. Scare him so much that he must ask you what day it is, what time it is, and what your name is. Swear the things you were saying made perfect sense to you at the time, and be so annoyed that he just didn't understand your mutterings. But when you wake up again, wonder what the heck were you talking about?

3. Attend book club sick because gosh darn it,  you are going to attend book club! Get disproportional pleased when the group chooses your book club selection for March: Wild (From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail) by Cheryl Strayed.

4. Watch all 4 hours of the Being Maci/Being Farrah/Being Amber/Being Catelynn Teen Mom catch up specials on MTV and cry, cry, cry because you are sick and maybe hormonal? I mean come on, is it really that sad that Farrah turned to porn and now owns a gigantic house in Texas?

5. Go to see the other Doctor that works with my regular Doctor because your Doctor is sick today. Remember she was sick the last time you were sick as well. Think it is a little disconcerting when your Doctor is sick as much as you are. It is like going to a hair dresser with a bad haircut.

I'm fully convinced that I own a set of crap lungs, that truly, honestly hate me and want to punish me. I don't even want to talk about it. But my lungs are free to a good decent, home. Any takers?