A Giant Leap

Posted by Sherry , Tuesday, March 30, 2010 Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Forgive me bandsters for I have sinned. Yesterday I ate half a Keebler Buttery cracker. It called to me. It was SCREAMING from the pantry. I swear it was calling me every nasty, horrible name in the book, forcing me to eat it just to SHUT IT THE HELL UP.
So, with extreme reluctance (ha!) I finally found myself succumbing to the power of those little bakery elves and three small bites later, I had eaten ½ of a cracker.

I took a bite and chewed chewed chewed. Swallowed. Felt a little guilty but not enough to make me wanna stop (if you're having flashbacks of your high school prom here, know you aren't alone...).
Took a second bite, chew chew chew, swallow. That pesky guilt feeling ramped up a parcel. Third bite. Chew chew chew, swallow.
Suddenly I'm having visions of me squirming in a confessional booth, unable to mask the obvious crunch that little cracker crumbs make beneath my sneakers and begging Father Healey to just let me know how many Hail Marys its gonna take to shrink my ass back to size.

I fed the other half to the dog.

The thing is, the guilt was short-lived. In fact, the whole incident kinda just fell off my radar. No stuck. No PB. No issues whatsoever. Which, in retrospect, is really just too bad.

Because today I found myself popping into the grocery store for some milk, some lettuce and some strawberries and popping OUT of the store with milk, lettuce, strawberries, and a vanilla cream filled chocolate egg.

Uh-huh. You read it right. A CREAM FILLED EGG.

Now, friends, I recognize that we all have diet slip ups. One little cream filled egg (or miniature candy bar stolen from our co-worker's desk drawer ;-) ) isn't going to throw us off course indefinitely. But I am only 11 days post-op! What the HELL IS WRONG WITH ME???

Now, here is how the whole egg thing went down --- I raced to my car put up the windows. Looked around to make sure I wasn't spotted by the Lap Band Police. I opened the package. I pulled out the egg. I smelled it. I mean I put it up to my nostrils and inhaled that sickeningly sweet Easter-laden goodness like it was my last breath. Then I pulled off the chocolate top because, well, I was really just after the cream.I licked a bit of the cream. I savored. I swallowed. I cried.

I did. I cried.

I didn't sob but I cried.

Because I realized that the only thing holding me back from inhaling that egg and a carton of its strawberry cream filled friends was my own willpower. And I realized just how crucial that willpower is to my success. And I'm scared.

Just because I have plastic parts encasing one of my vital organs does not mean that I'm not still Sherry with the same food issues I had 3 weeks ago. Or 10 years ago. The Lap Band does not go around my head. It goes around my stomach. And that is f-ing terrifying.

I'm just now starting to really think about all this and my conclusions about how to flush out all my issues and bring them to the surface are not concise. Its not that I didn't 'think' about all of this before making my band decision, its just that I tend to think about things really analytically, get all the statistics and rules and theories and then think I know it all. And then, inevitably realize that I've got a hell of a lot to learn. *PLEASE don't tell my stepfather that I have finally admitted I don't KNOW IT ALL. *

Thanks for listening. I'll be leaning on you all a lot, I'm sure. I hope you can support this weight...
Oh, and that cream filled egg? Its in the trash. Minus that little lick.

I guess that's one small step for woman but one giant leap for bandkind.

Puttin' a little wiggle in it

Posted by Sherry , Saturday, March 27, 2010 Saturday, March 27, 2010

Down 8.5 pounds and doing the happy dance, my friends!

I'm 8 days post-op and feeling pretty darn good. In fact, I feel pretty much exactly as I always have – albeit hungrier. Its a little strange to imagine that there are these foreign objects taking residence in my body. I keep expecting to feel 'different' in some way, but I just plain don't. When does your port jump out of your belly button and do a dance on your stomach? Or is that just in SpaceBalls?

We took little D to her first Easter Egg “hunt” today. I put “hunt” in quotation marks because it was actually just a giant field covered in pastel plastic bits that you would step on if you weren't careful. The eggs were mostly filled with sweettarts and jelly beans and other sugary junk that in the past I probably would have just stuffed in my giant maw without even giving it a second thought.

But today, I knew I couldn't be so careless and more importantly, just had no interest. I proudly carried a bucketful of candy-coated diet crashing missles at my side without even a twinge of temptation. I was feeling light on my feet and had a bounce in my step. I was Fred Astaire in Singing in the Rain. I was Neil Armstrong doing the chicken dance on the moon ---- and then I realized all that airlessness was the cause of the gravitational pull effect from the delicious, smoky, oniony goodness that is a Polish sausage and kielbasa cart.

Dammit! Foiled again!

I mean, seriously – WHY does there need to be a hot-dog cart at a Easter Egg Hunt? Don't these people know I was just BANDED for goodness sake!?

After H tackled me to the ground and some other friends put me in a Full Nelson I composed myself like the lady I am, and slowly STEPPED AWAY FROM THE WIENERS.

It was hard, friends. I mean, it took some serious willpower to say 'no, I'm not interested in your mouth-watering, fennel spiced, hoagie roll wrapped piece of meat! Instead, I shall enjoy my whey protein-laden, grape-frost flavored sport drink! SO THERE! Pfpht! I spit on your wieners!”

But let's get real here. I've gotta do this puree/liquid business for another week kids. And I just don't know if I can! I AM HUNGRY. And I'm sick of yogurt! I'm tired of Carnation Instant Breakfast! Campbell's Creamy Chicken can bite me! And don't even get me started the Jello. YOU PUT A LITTLE WIGGLE IN IT you gelatin bastards!

Anyway – off to eat my Cream of Wheat with cinnamon. I'm really a whole lotta bark and not a lot of bite.

p.s. Has anyone else noticed that their breath isn't quite as minty fresh as it used to be? I'm wondering if its the Isopure because it seems to flare up after drinking it. Or is it just me? The last thing this fat girl needs is a case of halitosis.

Pudding cup anyone?

Posted by Sherry , Wednesday, March 24, 2010 Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I think I may have entered the black hole. I went and registered myself at LapBandTalk.com in an effort to find more recipes for my puree stage.

Ever have analysis paralysis? This is a common ailment of mine and LBT.com has certainly not failed to assist me in entering an information coma.

Will artificial sweeteners make me crave sweets? Or do they help in keeping calories down? If you can't strain it through a sieve is it still a 'puree'? Why does your doctor tell you to keep everything at 'pudding consistency' but not put pudding on the list of suggested foods? How much lard is in Taco Bell refried beans? Will Patricia Heaton's career ever make a comeback?

Its not that I don't appreciate all the ramblings of hotchick91 or the debates about how to make the best fake pureed tuna salad (BLECH) but I wish that there was a place where I could just poll a SMALLER group of people for my questions. I wish I could just take you 61 followers and stick you in a virtual auditorium with those little handheld button pushy thingys that you see on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and get my final answer.

I mean, if I was to just post a question as my blog post, will it get answers or will you all be like,(imagine valley girl-esque voice ala Cher in Clueless here) “OMG there goes that question girl again. I'm so sick of her stupid questions. Why does she ask so many questions? Can she just go to LBT.com and leave us alone!? WHAT-EV-ER! Unfollow!”

Because seriously, I'm wondering if its bad that I had a pudding cup tonight...Seriously. Is it bad?

Urine Luck! My Surgery Post

Posted by Sherry , Tuesday, March 23, 2010 Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen, I'd like to introduce you to Sherry, your newest bandster! Please hold your applause for the end.

The anesthesia fog and gas pain haze have lifted and just when I thought I was entering the dark hole of starvation, I was cleared for non-clear liquids and purees. More on that later.

I'll try to paint you a picture of surgery day but to be honest, a lot of it is kind of foggy so bear with me.

Surgery was scheduled for 8:50 am on Friday the 19th and to my surprise, everything was ON TIME! Every other surgery I've ever had has been beyond late – I'm usually berobed in a hospital gown that is two sizes too small, sitting on a gurney in the hallway trying to make small talk with the orderlies that are on their way to turn over a coma patient, for hours and hours, just waiting patiently for my surgeon to finally get done with some other procedure. Or his 18th hole. Anyway, you get the picture. The sheer fact that my surgery was on time was a step in the right direction for me.

In any case, at about 8:40 I was given a quick-working sedative (think babbling idiot in less than 3 minutes) and wheeled into the operating room. I remember my surgeon saying 'hello' and asking me how I was doing and mumbling something about being “welp, bery excipted”and after that I remember nothing. Just how it is supposed to be!

I woke up in Recovery room I. I was still very sedated and kind of in and out of consciousness for awhile. After it was deemed that I was breathing normally and my vitals were stable, I was moved to Recovery II where my husband was waiting for me.

I was incredibly 'out of it' and recall asking a few stupid questions about the weather but otherwise hours went by before I was in the land of the living and able to stay awake for more than a few minutes at a time.

I was told the surgery went very routinely (I had the single incision surgery and the incision is in my belly button) and that if I could get up and walk, pee and take a few sips of liquids without regurgitating that I could go home. Sounds easy, right?

Well, apparently I was severely dehydrated and after multiple tries, I just COULD NOT PEE.

According to the head nurse my lack of urination was definitely not because the other nurse walked me into the bathroom, gruffly hoisted up my hospital gown, pushed me down onto the toilet and then stood there staring at me.

Each time I felt a tiny urge to urinate I was escorted into the bathroom where small talk would commence. It was like the hospital water cooler in there. “You watchin' American Idol”? “How about them Blue Devils?”

Alas, my urine is even more modest than I and chose not to appear for hours and hours. I was given, altogether, 7 bags of fluid and threatened, multiple times, with a catheter but my friend urine still eluded me like a wild unicorn in the forest.

In the last few months, when I would think over my lap-band surgery, I would imagine moments of emotion and mourning and fear. I just had no idea that it would be my elimination control that would kick off the trauma.

HOURS went by. I cried, I begged. I pleaded. Finally, I was able to enter the bathroom on my own and lo and behold....liquid gold my friends!

Right after, we left (around 6pm) and went home.

Friday and Saturday I was terribly uncomfortable. Gas had settled in my upper back and, of course, on my back is the only position you can really be in at first, so I didn't sleep well at all. I walked and walked and asked your advice and walked some more and by Sunday morning I felt a ton better.

I can honestly say I'm having no other 'pain' other than slight tenderness at the incision site.

However, I'm tight. I can't seem to get down the 1-2 oz of liquid every 30 minutes without a feeling really full. That worried me so I went to see my surgeon today and they took out the 'priming' from my band. Did you know that most doctors put in some liquid, just for priming it (straightening it, making sure it works, no leaks, etc.)? This was news to me!

I asked the P.A. Who did the fluid removal how much they use to prime and he said it could be anywhere from ½ a cc to 3 ccs depending on the person. WOW. Some of you only have 3 ccs in your band altogether!

Anyway, it was removed and I'm feeling better. I can get down more liquids more frequently so as to avoid dehydration and any more pee-pee incidents.

So all in all the surgery and recovery have gone well. I just have a small incision in my belly button and that's it. Of course ½ inch incisions have nothing on the pregnancy stretch marks that decorate my belly anyway so I wouldn't have minded additional scarring anyway.

Here is something frustrating though. My physicians office really needs to get their shit together.
My original orders were to be on clear liquids for a week, then non-clear for a week and then purees for a week then mushies for a week then regular food.

All of the literature they gave me has this information written down VERY CLEARLY. Yet, today the P.A. Tells me that they are revising everything and that in fact I can move onto purees NOW. This is, of course, great news. But what if I had waited to go in until my original appointment on April 1st? I would have endured all that liquid suffering for nothing! I hate suffering!

Not surprisingly I told the P.A. As much and he admitted that yes, some people were caught in the 'crossfire' of their after-care information changes and it seems I am one of them.

In any case, Carnation Instant Breakfast tastes like a little slice of heaven after 5 days of clear liquids. I seriously didn't think I could handle another day of jello and broth and Ispoure drinks.
Still not sure how I'm going to get in 60 grams of protien a day though. Seems like an awful lot when I'm only able to really get down about ½ a bottle of Isopure a day and a few other things that have limited fiber grams. How do you do it?

I'm sure I've bored you all to tears. This is by far my most boring post, in my opinion. But I blame it on the pee trauma and promise something more interesting to report next time.

I love your support, comments and advice so keep it coming. I truly have learned so much from you, dear readers!

Ouch! I'm in pain

Posted by Sherry , Saturday, March 20, 2010 Saturday, March 20, 2010

Typing one handed and kinda groggy but how much pain post-op is normal? Surgery was yesterday morning. I am super sore at top of stomach area (under my girls) and around my back. Seriously, pain meds aren't helping too much. Is it gas?

Will post more stories about surgery later but I need your advice. Pain feels MORE than "mild to moderate" which is what I keep reading is 'normal'. What was your experience?

Clearing my plate -- for tomorrow's surgery

Posted by Sherry , Thursday, March 18, 2010 Thursday, March 18, 2010

So tomorrow is my big day. Banded I Shall Be.

I've spent the last three hours trying to come up with something witty or inspiring to impart but I just find my mind wandering back to these four things:

  1. Surgery. Anesthesia. Living Will.
  2. Size 10, size 10, size 10, size 10....
  3. I AM FREAKING STARVING. After 3 days of pretty much entirely liquids/purees and only clear liquids today all I can think about is bagels and steaks and buttercream frosting. I seriously do not know how some of you did a 2 week liquid diet sans band.
  4. George Clooney (he is ALWAYS there, in my mind, just hanging out, being sexy).

I wish there was some book out there that outlined exactly how long it will take me to recuperate, how hungry I'll be, what I'll feel like 2 months from now, how much my life and relationship with food will change. If my stomach will ever not look like an ugly old man.

But after reading all of your blogs, I can see that everyone has a different experience. That makes it harder for me to get a handle on things. Can't you all please do something to make it easier on me? ;-)

Seriously though, just wish me luck. I'm about to embark on a road well traveled by others but brand new to me and I need all the direction you can offer.

See you on the flip side.

Slim Fast and Atkins and Jenny! Oh My!

Posted by Sherry , Monday, March 15, 2010 Monday, March 15, 2010

By my own accord (and insanity) I started a liquid diet today.

Unlike many of you, my doctor only requires a 24 hour clear liquid fast pre-op. Yes, I can hear the groans, ladies!

I know many of you did weeks of diet H.E. Double Hockey Sticks before you even got to the operating table and I guess part of me just wants to walk in your stylish, smaller-sized Jimmy Choos.

Really, though, Dr. E IS strict about his 5 pound gain rule: If you gain 5 pounds between the day you were in his office to schedule your surgery (about 4 weeks ago for me) and the day of surgery, he reserves the right to postpone. And I AM NOT POSTPONING.

According to my scale I'm up 4 pounds from that last meeting with him – although in my defense, their scale is always lighter than mine by 3 or 4 pounds – but I just don't want to risk it. So despite the angry cries from my stomach and the little begging voices from the pantry (the pop-tarts sound like Rodney Dangerfield and they are NOT getting the respect they deserve) I've decided to spend these 4 days pre-op on a non-clear liquid diet.

And, I'm cranky. I mean, not 16 month-old-toddler-without-a-nap-cranky (that would mean there were TWO of us in the household today) but just kind of cranky.

Today I've had a Carnation Instant Breakfast, a Special K protein water and a bowl of tomato soup.
I feel like I'm on a diet. And I don't want to feel like I'm on a diet. I want to feel like this is a first step in my 'life change.'

Reading a lot of other bandster blogs I can see that many of you track your foods every day. Which makes me think of Weight Watchers.

And some of you eat mostly protein shakes or Atkins bars. And that makes me think of Slim Fast.

And some of you eat the same foods, day in-day out because its easier to manage. And that makes me think of Jenny Craig.

See where I'm going here?

Does it end? Do you ever get to a point where you just kind of pick the right foods (with occasional indulgences) and know your full point and live your life?

I'm not scared of having that diet mentality for the rest of my life. Honestly, its the only way I've known since I was about 10 years old. I am pretty sure I could win the “How many Weight Watchers Points Is That Meal?” trivia game without even looking in my “Points Bible.”

I just kinda hoped it would go away. Its just, as I've said previously, my brain is wanting new challenges.
And I'm tired of being on a freakin' diet!

Ho-hum. Off to eat a yogurt.

The Sweet Spot

Posted by Sherry , Tuesday, March 2, 2010 Tuesday, March 02, 2010

This is kinda big.

I'll start off by outlining what my vision of 'addiction' has always been:

Ok, remember that scene in “Leaving Las Vegas” where Nicolas Cage is wandering The Strip, looking like a homeless person and every once in awhile tripping and falling over his own shoes? I think there was also a little puking. And slurred speech – but then again, we're talking about Nicolas Cage here, so the monotone voice and “smell the fart” acting may be to blame for that. Anyway, know what movie I'm referring to? Well, THAT, for me, was addiction.

It was bloodshot eyes, family in ruins, pissing away money-type stuff. Yes, I watch Oprah. I saw the one(s) with the suburban soccer moms who stash Tanqueray in their Pottery Barn toy boxes and have a Estee Lauder free-with-purchase make-up bag full of prescription pain pills. But honestly, none of it hit home because I just plain didn't KNOW anyone who lived like this.

Then the bomb dropped.

The other day a good friend told me that she feels she has a drinking problem.

She's probably the person I am closest to in the world.

She called me the other day—and I'm sure it wasn't an easy call to make--to tell me that she's given up drinking, is seeking help and wanted me to know before she sees me again.

There was a a little crying, a lot of “Oh My Gods” and a fair amount of shock. Now, I won't go into our entire conversation and, obviously, I'm supporting her in any way that I can, but one of the things that I found myself reflecting on after we hung up was my own perception of 'addiction'.

During our conversation she mentioned a few times that she knew she was more likely to fall to an addiction because it runs in her family.

So I started thinking about who in my family has addiction problems.

I mean, the only 'addict' in my family that I could think of was my paternal grandfather who had a drinking problem, apparently. I never really witnessed it but I didn't know him all that well. I couldn't think of anyone else. At first. Then it came to me: My mom – smoker. Off and on as long as I can remember. My sister: smoker and drinker. 3 out of six aunts – smokers. Father – big gambler. Cousins – drinkers and pot smokers (to excess).

I was sitting high and mighty – a non-smoker who has maybe one drink a week and doesn't gamble -- until visions of guacamole, doughnuts, and penne a la vodka danced in my head. I suddenly fell off my throne with a thunderous thud.

I know you all probably saw that coming. I'm sure a lot of you have examined your relationships with food and maybe some of you even label yourselves as 'food addicts.' For me though, my weight has always been the problem. Not the food. Sure, anyone who has taken a high school psychology class can tell you that the two co-exist that its a symbiotic relationship. I guess I just never felt the need to label myself as an 'addict'.

To be perfectly honest and lay my heart on the line – I've always felt like a VICTIM not a perpatrator of my battle with weight/food. It was my metabolism. My coping mechanism. My lack of willpower. A byproduct of my father leaving us.

Addicts use their 'drug' to cope. Addicts can't stick to just 'sometimes'. Addicts lie to others about their habits. Addicts feel guilty or ashamed. Addicts can't stop on their own.

Check. Check. Check. Double Check. And LAP-BAND!

Isn't being Banded my re-hab? Isn't being FORCED to eat slowly, cut out certain foods, re-examine how I use food and how those uses have affected my life my own little 12 steps?

Side bar: I wonder if lap-band adjustment would be easier if I had Celebrity Rehab's Dr. Drew narrowing his sexy salt & pepper eyebrows at me and asking me about what my father did to cause me to dive face first into a bowl of spinach and artichoke dip?

In all seriousness, I am realizing that this woman and I have a lot more in common than our long eyelashes, fondness for dirty jokes and our soft-spot for cocker spaniels.

Its not fair that my 'addiction' has a tangible tool that can help me beat it and hers is going to be mostly reliant on willpower. But it is bittersweet to know that the person I trust more than anyone else will be able to support me in ways I didn't realize.

I just hope that we can both find our sweet-spot and come away stronger, better people.