27 June 2006

Old habits

I realized today that I have an old habit I've yet to change, I don't look at myself in the mirror unless I'm there specifically for the purpose of doing my hair, etc. I can be standing directly in front of a mirror washing my hands or whatever, and I just don't look at myself. I guess it comes from years of not wanting to see my own reflection, but I find it odd that even now, after having lost 134 pounds, my mindset hasn't changed. I guess if I force myself to look at myself whenever I go into a restroom (b/c I do want to see if I've got green stuff stuck in my teeth!) I may eventually change my behavior.

Our house seems so empty now without Koba. Yes, my husband's there, but it's missing a certain energy and presence. There have been a number of occasions since his passing where I know he would have made sure he was taking part in whatever was going on, and in each case, I realized it and missed him sorely which usually resulted in me crying. He was just so sweet, so generous and loving. I know I had 13 1/2 wonderful years; I just wish I could have had more.

25 June 2006

Too much ...

and not enough. As I'm sure you can all imagine, life's been significantly disrupted over the past week ... mostly with crying. I miss my sweet boy so much. Most of the time, I still can't accept that he's really gone. We picked up his cremains and paw print impression on Thursday, and I really thought that would help sink reality in. But, since there's really nothing that allows me to visibly tie his cremains to him, it didn't help. I guess I need to put everything of his away. I couldn't put his bed or his bowls away, and I haven't been able to bring myself to throw away the partially empty can of his food or the Frosty Paws (doggie ice cream) we used to help get his pills down in the last days. On multiple occasions, I swear I've heard him ... either his nails on the floor or his cough or his squeak. Usually, there's a good explanation for the noise, but after hearing what sounded exactly like his cough last night, I couldn't get settled down and didn't fall asleep until 3am. Everyone's been really nice. We got 4 cards, and my family sent us plants/flowers. And, all of your posts of encouragement and kind words have meant a lot to me. I am at least able to function mostly normally. But, I really need something that will keep my concentration in order for thoughts of him being gone not to creep into my mind. My husband and I are going to a coping with pet loss meeting on Tuesday night, and I hope it will help some. And, speaking of my husband, he's been really great throughout all this. He's been incredibly supportive and understanding, and I'm so grateful. I have wonderful friends and family, and this experience has really proven it to me.

19 June 2006

In Memoriam: Our Beloved Koba

01.13.1993 - 06.19.2006

He died peacefully (we hope) this morning at home just before I woke up. He was a wonderful dog, and I will miss him immeasurably. He was my baby. I had him before I met my husband, and he has been with me through so much. I honestly feel that he hung on during the time that my husband was gone because he wanted to help me, and once my husband moved back in, he felt it was ok for him to let go. I think this because it was shortly after my husband moved back in that he began not eating as well as he always had. I'm struggling with this loss so much. I've been crying so much today; I think that this may be harder than when my husband left because I know Koba can't come back. He'll always be with me, though. I will never forget his smile, his bark, even the way he panted. He was my first dog, and I know he won't be my last. But, he will always have a very special place in my heart, my sweet boy.

Last Sunday, the day before I was scheduled to leave for Chicago, he became very ill. He wasn't able to walk or stand, and when we tried to get him to stand he would immediately fall over. We took him to the vet, and they began IV fluids and antibiotics. I struggled with my decision to go to Chicago, but the next morning when we went to the vet's to see him and how he was doing, the vet felt he was doing better. He was more alert, his temperature was down slightly, he was willing to walk to go outside and he ate a little. So, I decided to go. On Tuesday, I learned that in the past month he lost 13 pounds, a lot of weight for a human in one month! We decided to keep him in the hospital for the week, and each day, the vet (and my husband because he went to see him each day) saw small marks of improvement. Even so, I knew he wasn't going to fully recover. So, on Friday upon returning from Chicago, we decided to bring him home with us, to continue monitoring his temperature and his weight, to make him as comfortable as possible and to spend as much time with him as we could. He seemed pretty good to me on Saturday (well, as good as could be expected), but he was worse yesterday. My parents came up to see him for what I told them was likely the last time, so I'm thankful they were able to come up. Then, after they left and before going to bed, my husband and I laid down with him for at least an hour just petting him, kissing him and being with him. It was a hot night, and earlier we'd considered going to Starbucks to get something cool, but something inside me told me not to go. I'm really glad we didn't. We went to bed about midnight, and at 3am he woke me by coming into the room. He was breathing rather heavily but was still able to walk on his own, so I tried to see if he wanted to go outside. He got as far as the mudroom and then decided he didn't want to go out. So, I laid down next to him on his bed and spent about an hour petting him until his breathing calmed and he was asleep then went back to bed. I decided not to get up at my normal time but to go into work late, but when my husband woke me up at 7:30am and I saw the look on his face, I knew. I've probably already given too many details, so I won't go into what all happened next. But, I had to tell his story; he was such a special dog. We've decided to have him cremated and to have his ashes kept in a wooden, memorial box so that he'll be with us forever. It was so horribly difficult leaving him at the vet's today, petting him, kissing him and saying goodbye for the last time. But, I know he's in a better place now, and he's watching over us telling us to go on. I just hope he wasn't in too much pain when it happened and that he knew we loved him with all our hearts. Life will not be the same without him, but I know I can do it.

10 June 2006

1 year post-op follow-up

I had my 1 year post-op follow-up appointment yesterday. It ended up being with the nurse practitioner. I was kind of hoping it would be with the surgeon, but I kind of knew it wasn't a likely possibility given his busy schedule. I went prepared with all of the questions/issues I'd written down over the past few weeks in preparation for the appointment. My weight on their scale was 144 lbs which is 3 lbs higher than my scale, but I was wearing clothes and shoes and had eaten. So, I didn't let it bother me. That weight puts me at 130 lb loss from my pre-surgery weight. The NP showed me a chart of my loss over the past year and the percentage of excess body weight that each number represents. So, as of yesterday's number, I was at a 98% loss of excess body weight when an ideal body weight of 134 lbs is used. I don't know where they get that number, the IBW, some chart I guess. But anyways, she said she was very happy with me at my current weight. I expressed my desire to get down to my goal of 135 lbs, and she was ok with it as long as it doesn't get below that.

One of my questions was about weight maintenance strategies, and that was answered by a "new" diet. They want me to increase my calories to 1200/day, but I won't start that until I reach my goal. It's not a whole lot different from what I'm already doing, though, so she said that once I reach my goal if I continue to lose weight to give them a call to re-evaluate. She asked me to keep in mind that the number on the scale is just a number and that it's how I feel that matters, but that number is part of how I feel. For me, 140ish is still too much. Yes, I'm wearing a size six, something I never thought I'd be able to do, but I'd like to be a solid size six. And, some sixes are still a bit tight on me, so I think losing the last 6 will get me there. I also I have a pretty strong desire to really start toning things up even though I do recognize that toning up certain areas won't help the loose skin situation.

On that subject, she did mention that she could refer me to a plastic surgeon at their affiliate hospital, Strong. She said that for an abdominal tummy tuck, hip to hip, w/ a regular plastic surgeon the cost would be about 10-12k. But, they have a residency plastic surgery program where the head resident does the surgery (and gets 1k) and the hospital costs are about 3k. So, it's a pretty significant cost reduction. She said she'd recommend I not consider it until I'm finished losing and only after having children (if there are any plans to). But, given the cost (even the 4k option), it's unlikely I'll do it. There are many other much more important things that need my money right now. And, she said that my skin isn't that bad; most of the time, I agree with her ... but not always.

I took the bloodwork results I had from late April with me, and she said everything but the B12 levels looked good. It was at the low end of normal, but they like it to be a bit higher. So, she's going to wait until the results of the blood draw they took to decide whether or not to put me on a supplement. Oh, and she did suggest I start a calcium supplement again. So, on the way home, I stopped at Sam's and picked up a box of the Caltrate Creamy Lemon chews (thanks for the recommendation, Sandi!). They're quite yummy!

We discussed my exercise habits (one of the reasons she's concerned I may continue to drop weight), and she was quite pleased. She said that I'm above average in the amount and level that I regularly do; I was surprised by this. I mean, I figured people would be more apt to exercise after having this surgery given that it's just so much easier, but apparently, in her experience, people still don't. They say, oh, I walk the dog, or I walk around the block sometimes. I guess it all depends upon the person. Yes, I did allow myself to get to 274 lbs, but I'm still the type of person that somewhat thrives upon exercise. I get tremendous enjoyment from it. Now, if summer would ever hit here (it's finally somewhat sunny here today but it rather chilly w/ the wind) I'd be able to do things outside again.

I also had somewhat of an ah-hah moment with her. I remember thinking the first time I met her "of course, she's really skinny". I figured she was about a size four. So, when we were talking about my weight, how happy I've been with the loss, etc. I mentioned how I was wearing size 8 jeans and had a couple of size 6 pants, and she said, wow! wouldn't that be nice. Incredulously, I said, what do you mean? Aren't you a size four or something? She laughed and said, no way, at the smallest I'm a 10! I was dumbfounded! Guess my perception is still rather askew.

In wrapping up the conversation we had, I mentioned how happy I am with my results. She said I, of course, had every reason to be very happy and that she hoped I recognized that my success is only partly due to the surgery. Yes, it played a big part, but the work that I've done over the past year is integral in my success. She mentioned that she's had other patients come to her and ask her to tell Dr. O'Malley thank you for their weight loss, that he's their only reason for losing weight. So, she just wanted to make sure that I wasn't thinking this as well. I let her know that I do commend myself for my success but that I also recognize that Dr. O'Malley's experience, knowledge and skills played a part as well.

I'm off to Chicago on Monday morning. I'm really looking forward to the trip even though it's for work. The work stuff doesn't begin until Tuesday morning and lasts through Thursday afternoon, so I'll have Monday evening and most of Friday to enjoy the city. Yippie! I plan to go to NoMI for dinner Monday night and do the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio on Friday. I'll try to post from Chicago, but if you don't hear from me, I'm sure I'll post a full discourse when I return. ;)

06 June 2006


No movement scale wise this week. I somewhat expected that because I'm still weighing myself every day. I read an article some time ago about a study that showed people who weighed themselves daily as opposed to weekly or not at all lost more weight and were able to catch weight gain trends more quickly and take steps to stop it. So, I don't feel as guilty about doing it. Oh, and my impending period is gracing my body with extra water weight I'm sure. We have to deal w/ the period the week before and probably the week after, so we really only have 1 week out of each month where we're "normal". Crazy!

While I didn't get to do too much this weekend because of rain, I still had a really good weekend. We're doing this every other Friday off thing at work as long as we make up the time prior to the Friday off. So, I had a nice 3-day weekend. Other than a couple of errands, I didn't accomplish much of anything on Friday, and come to think of it, I didn't accomplish much all weekend. But, that's ok, right? I can't remember if it was Thursday or Friday night, but one of those nights, my husband and I went down to Barnes & Noble, got coffee and just sat there for a while reading magazines. I discovered that I should always sit and preview magazines before buying them because I picked up 3 I probably would have just bought if I'd been looking for magazines but hadn't planned on reading them first, and after quickly reading them, I found there wasn't really anything of interest that caused me to want to buy them. Anyhoo, we watched Transamerica and Shopgirl, and on Sunday we got really good Dim Sum for lunch and later went down to Starbucks where I just sat reading the Sunday Times. It's weird, while we weren't interacting with each other all that much, the time we spent at B&N and Starbucks was really enjoyable and made me feel closer to my husband. Is that odd?

01 June 2006

Nope, I haven't fallen off of the face of the earth ...

Although, it may have seemed so to you all! I can honestly say I've been very busy; although, off hand, I can't really say how. Well, let's see. I guess the big news first: my husband and I have officially moved back in with each other. The big move took place last Friday evening; I went with him to where he's officially been taking up residence for the past 5 1/2 months and helped him pack up what little he had there. I hadn't yet seen the place because I didn't want to see all of his stuff elsewhere. But, since he was leaving it (and coming home), it was ok. He didn't have a whole lot of stuff there, so it's integrated back into the house well. And, given that we only have 2 1/2 months left in this house (we've opted not to sign another year's lease b/c of the issues w/ the water), all that he has in storage will stay there. I'm happy to have him home; although, I found myself in a complete panic the other night as I was trying to fall asleep. I wasn't completely rational at the time given my sleepy state and became thoroughly afraid he was going to leave again if I didn't do everything right. It bothered me so much that I woke him up to talk about it. I've been doing much better lately, though.

On Sunday, my husband's dad and girlfriend were in town to visit. Although we think he knew I'd lost weight, he didn't know to what degree I had and that I had WLS. My husband and I had been sitting outside reading the Sunday Times, so when they called to say they were close, I moved inside so that my husband could greet them first and then I could make my grand appearance. I waited a couple of minutes after their arrival to go outside, so they were making their way toward the door as I stepped out. The look on my father-in-law's face was priceless. We'd surmised he would swear, but the look was even better. His jaw just completely dropped; he was without a doubt dumbfounded. I relished it. After giving them a quick tour of the messy house, we made our way to the Watkins Glen SP in order to do the gorge trail we weren't able to do last month. While we didn't do the entire trail, there are over 900 steps with some rather significant elevation changes, and nothing bothered me at all. Both my husband's dad and his dad's girlfriend were struggling, and their struggles brought back such memories for me. I'm so glad I'm not there anymore. We ended the evening with a nice dinner on the south end of the lake and a stroll on the pier. It was really good to see his dad; I'm glad I had the opportunity.

Then, Monday we met my parents about an hour away from home in order to see the latest IMAX movie, Roving Mars, and to go to the mall. The IMAX theater is part of a science museum, so while we were waiting, I found a scale that would tell you your weight on Earth, the moon and Mars. It's not something I ever would have done previously, but with my new-found confidence bolstering me and the quarter pricetag, I went for it. It was clearly geared toward kids as there was a cheesy, sci-fi sounding guy announcing that the ship was ready for blastoff or something, but even with my confidence higher than it's been in a long time, I almost cowered when I heard him say "and your weight on Earth is ..." b/c I thought he was really going to announce it. I liked what he had to say, though; my earth weight was 136.2 lbs, wrong, but cool. And, I don't remember my moon or Mars weights, but of course, they were significantly less. After the movie, we headed off to the mall as I was, once again, in need of some pants. Would you believe I found, and bought!, size six capris from J. Crew?! Size six! Holy buckets! I never dreamed that in less than a year I'd go from a size 26/28 at Lane Bryant to a size six at J. Crew. Never!! Yup, that made my day!

Next week will be my 1 year follow-up appointment at my surgeon's; although, my official 1 year anniversary isn't until the following week. But, I'll be in Chicago for training, so I had to push the appointment forward. My weight is currently 141 lbs, 6 lbs from my goal. And, while I don't think I'll be at my goal by my one year anniversary, it's so close I'm not stressing about it. I mean, dang, I'm at 141, I'm wearing size 6 pants and I've never felt better, physically, in my entire adult life. Although, there are still some niggling issues sticking around that I'll be discussing next week: dizziness, very easy bruising, foot cramps, potentially poor circulation in my extremities. I've got my most recent blood test results from my GP in hand, so they'll have those to compare to past/new results. Ok, did I make up for my neglect?