My Banded Time

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thyroid Out and Thank you for your wishes and posts and a Health NSV

I had surgery yesterday and was released from the pokey today!  It was good to get home and so nice to receive all your nice comments.  One thing I realized when I checked in yesterday  for surgery is that I can probably stop taking high blood pressure medicine very soon.  My BP was 120/70 when I checked in for surgery and 124/70 the week before for my pre op testing. I'm interested to see what the thyroid removal will do to my weight but we'll see.  I'm going to weigh myself officially tomorrow after I release some of this IV fluid.

I'm thankful for your virtual support and for the band!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Thyroid Surgery Today...And thankful for the band...and my word for 2011

One of the things I learned during my WLS pre op was that I had tumors growing on my thyroid.  So today, I'm getting a thyroidectomy (my thyroid is being removed and I will take synthroid everyday).  If I hadn't had WLS I would never have found this out.  My thyroid tests were always borderline, approaching hypothyroidism (under active).  And I lost my ability to sleep well.  It turns out I had a rather large tumor bending my trachea which probably caused me to wake up frequently at night.  The endocrinologist said it had probably been growing for several years. 

I actually feel relieved that my surgery is today and that it will be over in a couple of hours and that I will be able to address many health issues that I haven't been able to understand.  One thing that WLS has taught me is to prioritize my health, to advocate for it and to not be shy because of my weight.  Each time I went to my general practitioner, OB, ophthalmologist; I'd be lectured on my weight as the cause of all my health issues rather than asking for specific tests etc.  I think the shame of being overweight prevented me from seeking out more specific medical attention, asking more questions.  The reason I love my WLS office is that the staff really treats me with respects and listens to my health needs versus just making assumptions that a lot of my health issues are caused by my weight.  For me I think the thyroid/weight issue are like the chicken and egg issue...which came first?  What caused what?  I'm sure they are integrally inter related.  I'm just glad to make some changes.  I'm hoping surgery will accelrate my energy level and weight loss; we'll see.

Word for 2011:

PRIORITIZE (my health)

To function optimally on a physical, mental and spiritual level; I need to prioritize my health.  I need to make time for:
  • meal planning
  • exercise
  • medical appointments
  • blog!
  Happy New Year Virtual Friends...I'm thankful for you and appreciate you.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Getting Rid of Food as my Security Blanket, My Crutch, My Friend

The band is a great physical tool to help prevent overeating.  But aside from having this physical tool, I've been working on gaining the skills to overcome my dependency on food.

I think of why I've gained 60 lbs in the last 12 years and I can probably correlate weight to significant stressful times in my life.  Food has been my security blanket, my crutch and my protector:

-stressful client jobs-I'm a management consultant and for a people pleaser what a lethal profession...always trying to make clients happy.  TIME FOR A WHOLE BAKING DISH OF LASAGNA
-stressful co workers-It's not always relaxing working with engineers and people with MBAs...and I think its a reality that people bring their issues to work.   I got yelled at over the holidays once because my project lead was on vacation and the deliverable didn't meet the expectations she had in her head.  Another time my boss revealed to me, months later, that she had been yelling at me because she had been going through the demise of her marriage.  Nice of her to acknowledge this but still...?!  TIME FOR A BAG OF CHIPS
-stressful in laws-they are kind people but some of them are off.  For instance I helped my nephew get a job out of school and his parents complained that I put him a position where he never went anywhere with his career...even though he never chose to work hard, put in the hours or even show up sometimes...he forgot to file his taxes for 5+ years and it nullified his chances to get a security clearance and higher advancement in my old firm.  My sister in law told me that I should have told him about the importance of filing taxes...and that if I had, he wouldn't be living from pay check to pay check even with an ivy league degree.  The same sister in law told me she was surprised my kids were so good looking when me and my husband are just mediocre looking?!  Also I'm Asian and most Asians are so small.  I don't fit the norm and they let me know that I'm too big.  TIME FOR A PINT OF ICE CREAM
-juggling motherhood and working-my days would start at 5:30 am and end at midnight...stressful but I'd create these high standards for everything and work myself to exhaustion and overwork. TIME FOR A LOAF OF GREAT BREAD WITH LOTS OF REAL BUTTER
-inability to deal with failures and breakdowns in relationships-when friends/relatives have hurt me in the past, I would just withdraw from the friendships versus working them out.  TIME TO TREAT MYSELF TO A THREE COURSE LUNCH

Food has always been a way to comfort myself, to get myself through late nights of working, late nights of motherhood, late nights of stress in general and the pain of broken relationships.  And before that, when I was a child and adolescent, it comforted me in a house that was sometimes filled with tension and financial insecurity.  The dependency on food is a pattern that I have built up over the years. I'm starting to break the negative patterns and cycles.  Now that I don't have the ability to overeat, I've had to deal with things without my security blanket of food...which would comfort me but cover me in layers of fat as well.  Without the comfort of food protecting me from reality, I've had to face reality and its been hard but rewarding and a renewing and learning experience:

-Work-I've talked to my bosses about the type of client engagements I wanted to participate on and got switched to a much more reasonable client.  I've told people when I don't think they are fair.  For instance when my project lead yelled at me over the Thanksgiving Holiday, I told her exactly why I did the things the way I did and I turned it around.  And the outcome was always really great.
-Friends-I've learn to acknowledge times I've been wrong and tried to work things out with friends and relatives.  I've reached out to friends that I have distanced myself from in the past because I'd get hurt and then just internalize it.  I've told people how much they mean to me and why I distanced myself and guess what...the world didn't was just nice to renew the friendship.
-Over Committing to Reasonable Committing-I've said "no" to many PTA and kid commitments and just tried to focus on the activities that bring the most value to my kids.
-In Laws-I haven't told them off.  But told them gently things I've held in for years.  For instance, my nephew could be successful if he shaved, wore normal work clothes and showed up and did a great job.  Yes my weight has been out of control but I'm taking proactive measures to address it.

So this weight loss thing has been as much mental as physical.  I have a long way to go but I'm learning and growing and trying to break the cycle that has made me fat.

Thank you for listening and talking through things.  It has helped so much.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Nobody does it better...Getting the Act of Self Love

This last month, we were ironing out our last will and testaments and probate.   Its an essential but morbid activity...No one wants to think about their demise or the demise of their spouse or significant other.  No one wants to think about what will happen to their kids... God forbid we ever both die prematurely.  But all this thinking about wills and dying made me realize that this band journey is an exercise in fighting premature death and that it is so important and so wonderful.  Without the band...I would still have my unhealthy eating habits, I would still have issues with portion control, I would still eat when stressed out, I would still be adding incremental weight to my body every couple of months.  Getting the band is a great act of self love.  Because no one can replace you and the role you play on are important and you were placed her on earth for a reason.  It is great that we are all fighting obesity and regaining our health...I'm glad to be sharing this journey with you and learning from you all...

Nobody does it better
Makes me feel sad for the rest
Nobody does it half as good as you
Baby, you're the best

So much for my deep and philisophical talk...I went to the National Zoo today with my 2nd grader and their class and had a wonderful time in the freezing weather.  I was running, chasing after them, running with them and it felt good.   It's days like this that I'm truly thankful for.

Now as per Linda's request...some Chrismasy Pictures.
The Zoo had a Gingerbread Habitat Contest...these are the habitats my son loved the most...We had to shepard 120 2nd graders through the exhibit...truly it was like herding cute bulls through a china shop...I was relieved when we got them all through without breaking anyone's precious piece of art.

Our tree accented by Yoda and his hut...My kids are Star Wars fanatics.

  Hope you are enjoying the holiday season.

Monday, December 13, 2010

SCARED-I don't want to be a slow loser!

I'm going to be honest...just 18 lbs ago, I was scared to do the treadmill alone at home or while the kids were here.  I didn't want to risk having a coronary incident while alone or with the kids.  I was feeling that unhealthy and short of breath.  Now I'm ready to join our company gym today.  I don't feel breathless, I've stopped huffing. 

I feel compelled to ramp up the exercise for one very scary reason...I'm so scared of being a non loser or a band failure!!!!  I've been a good girl but I'm a slow loser.  18 lbs for 3 months is kinda slow.  I realize I've gotta move more!  Because I've very scared to be one of those people who only loses 18 lbs through this whole experience.  The week before I was banded I met two ladies in the waiting room at my surgeons office.  One lost 12 lbs the whole year and another lost 70 lbs in 9 months.  It illustrated that the band is a tool but you also have to work the tool.  But my secret nightmare is not achieving a healthier life status and losing weight after all this pain and effort.  Statistically most successful banders lose a majority of their weight during the first 6 months.  I'm at 3 months so I want to take it up a notch.  I have an added complication in that my thyroid is not working well so I'm having it removed 12/29.  I hope that this will also help me maximize my weight loss.  But at the same time I don't want to use my thyroid as an excuse.  We'll see after its removed.  My endocrinologist thinks it will definitely help.
Thanks for posting your experiences and sharing your support.

Felt happy to see Gen and Camille as new followers...Mentors I've been following!  It always excites me to get new followers...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

NSV Mistaken Identity

At work, I have 2 female colleagues who have similar heights and hair styles/coloring to me.  But they are normal sized women...C and S are both about size 10 or 12.  For the last week I keep getting mistaken for them in the halls and I'm so flattered because they are size 10/12.  I have a ways to go before reaching their actual size but I realize that my 18 lb weight loss has allowed this mistaken identity because I walk and carry myself more normally/healthfully.  18 lbs ago:

1)  My legs would chaffe together causing me to waddle a bit.

2)  I'd be wearing the same clothes but they would be extremely tight with promiment muffin tops.  Often my shirts would ride up a bit, revealing my stomach.

3)  I'd be taking deep strained breaths.

4)  Prior to surgery, my face was very puffy.  I had water retention that centralized in my face (not a pretty site).   In the last 5 years I developed facial eczema on my eyelids...also not a pretty site.  As I've lost weight and started sleeping more, the eczema has almost gone away.  I correlate the eczema to stabilized hormones due to weight loss...I think the eczema was one of the many "red" flags telling me to address my weight issues.

I'm almost at the 20 lb mark...things like this give me the incentive to try harder.  And oh by the way, the 2nd fill was terrific...I have ideal restriction and the restriction really shuts the bad foods out (at least my bad foods -breads, baked goods).

Thank you friends for reading/writing.  I appreciate you.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The band and me...a working's almost like a marriage!

I was thinking about the band and how it's so similar to being married or like any other significant relationship:

1)  The first year is often the hardest.  I have struggled and I have triumphed.  I've been jubilant and I've been disappointed.

2)  I still have to put work into this relationship for the band to work.  It does provide restriction but I have to control my diet and exercise.

3)  It has its ups and downs...there are times when I thought it was working tremendously and other times when I wasn't sure it was working.

4)  We are learning to get a long.   Each time I get a fill or post op, I have to guage what the band can take and not take.  We are getting to know each other and build up a momentum, a rapport of sorts.

5)  Its dynamic and always changing.  The band is filled, my body chemistry, composition changes, my life style changes.  With all these changes I have to adjust.

6)  It helps to have support from others to give you context and guidance on how to improve/enhance your relationship.  This is you blogger friends.  i think I have learned more from the blogging world than I have from my surgeon's office.

The relevance of these thoughts?  It reminds me that no matter how great a tool is, I need to work at it constantly. 

Thank you virtual friends.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What do you say to the Naysayers? The Anti Banders?

Did you see the article in the NY Times today about the Allergan's Lap Band?

Article 2, December 3:
If you go to the article through this link you will find an article in the NY Times which talks about how A federal advisory panel Friday endorsed an expansion of the use of Allergan’s Lap-Band stomach-restricting device to patients who are less than severely obese.

NY Times Article - Panel Votes to Expand Surgery for Less Obese


The vote could pave the way to double the number of Americans who qualify for weight-loss surgery. And it could eventually lead to making other types of weight-loss surgery available to those who are not quite as heavy.   I think this endorsement is a victory and a testament to the band

Article 1, December1:
OK but get this,  the same writer, Andrew Pollack wrote this article December 1.  where he basically blasted the band.  And talked about its dangers and how ineffectual it is.  What do you say to the Anti Band sentiments!? WTF?  He even interviews a woman whose daughter died two months after getting the band.  And how people don't lose weight on the band.  ( Just for the record our practice has never lost a patient to the band.  Two gastric bypass patients died in the last decated but they had a lot of severe co morbidities...and it isn't bad considering the fact that they have done tens of thousands of surgeries in the last decade).

The Anti Band Article a couple days before...

Ugh!  What do you say or think of people like this who are so Anti Band?  What do you say to the naysayers?  What are your thoughts?

My belief in the band comes from my own short journey and the stories from bandland friends and SOB's in particular.  I know it can work.  I did lots of research.  I have faith in my decision.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

NSV...Someone finally noticed! And the beauty of blending.

I was at the book fair at my kids school today.  The head of the PTA looked me up and down and said, "Something is different.   Have you lost weight? Your face is much smaller!!"  Finally someone other than my scale has noticed a difference in my weight!!!  Things like that really give me the incentive and feeling that WLS is working.

Fitting In
My biggest desire is to be a healthy BMI and weight but on a vain level, I want to fit in and look normal.  I live in the Metropolitan DC area and a lot of my environment/worlds are "thin". 

My Kids Schools:  
The moms and female teachers at my children's school are "fit", health conscious and take great care of themselves.  At their preschool I think I was one of two overweight moms.  One of my son's friends actually told me to my face, "You are obese"!  And when he was younger, my son told me he was embarrassed when I volunteered at his school and it made me die.  And it made me so mad at myself that I couldn't change it. 

Asian Church:
I'm Asian and I used to go to an Asian Church where the mean weight for women was probably 120 lbs.  And the men are small too, especially the older generation.  My dad and lots of his friends weight 130-140 lbs.  Also in my family a lot of the women like my sisters have never weighed over 110 lbs.  

And in the world of management consulting so many of my female colleagues dress powerfully and beautifully.  A lot of consultants are marathoners or compulsive exercisers. 

Its relative, I always felt fat against my environments.  I know its almost self absorbed and narcissistic but I could just hear the negative voices in my head and they are/were so handicapping:

"Oh no, there goes the fattest woman in our church!"
"XXXX has a fat mom"
"Wow how can she dress that way?"
"Look at the size of that butt"
"How can she give a presentation in that fat suit?"

The inability to lose weight in the last 10 years made me feel especially trapped.  But lately just losing 17-20 lbs in the last couple months has given me the feeling of blending in into my environments.  The focus is not on being self conscious/self absorbed but on living life normally and confidently.  I'm volunteering at school more confidently.  I don't worry about how I look when I'm giving presentations.  I serve and worship at church and focus on God rather than myself.

I appreciate this WLS because it is liberating me.

Thank you blogger friends for your kind words and thoughts and wisdom too.