Friday, July 24, 2015

5 weeks in and still going strong

Well, I'm 5 weeks in and I'm still going strong.  When you decide to change something, I find it quite invigorating when you make it to (or past) a certain point that you weren't even sure you'd get to.  The last 5 weeks has gone really quick and I'm glad that I am more determined than ever to stay to keep going and see this through.

The issues I had with my band are no longer bothering me which is good.  I can still eat, drink and sleep without any issues.  I actually had a steak on Wednesday night for the first time years without worrying if I was going to vomit or not (steak is normally a big no no when you have a lap band as it gets stuck).  I am still very mindful that I can eat more and I am still very careful when making decisions regarding my food choices.

I've decided that I am going to set a goal for myself at the beginning of each week.  I'm going to put some thought to them as I want them to be achievable yet challenging.  Some of the things that have gone through my head are drinking 2 litres of water a day (I'm not great at that!), going to the gym 5 times a week (without fail!), eating more fruit and vegetables or trying a new class at the gym.  This will keep me focussed and engaged.

I'm finding that my fitness levels are increasing quite rapidly.  I was on the cross trainer last night for 6 minutes - that is the most I've ever done.  I had my personal training session with Neil last night and I think he was quite impressed with the fact that I was able to talk through most of my session (impressed that I could do it, not so impressed that I'm a chatterbox!).  Due to all the excitement with my band, I wasn't able to attend my favourite classes at the gym this week (aqua and fat blaster) but I look forward to going back next week.

I put on some weight this week which didn't really bother me.  I have lost lots of centre meters over the last month which is good.  I think regardless of what the scales say, so long as you know you've done the right thing then you're fine.  I wasn't able to do much exercise last week due to the my band issues so I am putting it down to that.  It will motivate me to work harder this week :)

I'm putting together a list of questions that I get asked about my band and I'll share them with you in a few weeks.  The answers are purely based on my experiences and as everyone's experiences are different, I always direct people to a form called 'banding together'.  You will find lots of bandits at all different stages who are happy to answer your questions.  They are full of helpful information and they are a great bunch of people - head over to www.bandingtogether.com.au should you wish to check the forum out :) 

I hope everyone has an amazing weekend xo

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Testing times ahead (and a small rant)

If you read the blog I wrote last night, you'd know that I had fluid taken out of my band last night and I couldn't quite wait to have an amazing sleep.  I guess you couldn't ask for anything better than that after not sleeping more than 2 hours straight for 2 weeks?  Well, my band had other ideas.

I went to bed at around midnight.  I woke up at 1.  Then 2.  3.  4.  5 and 6.  And finally, 7.  Each time, I woke up vomiting.  This horrible thick coloured acid (bile) that stung the back of my throat.  I've been so tired today as a result.

I called Dr Jason Winnett's rooms shortly after they opened and informed them of what was going on.  They consulted with Jason and phoned me back informing me Jason had recommended go and get 1ml of fluid out from my band.  I phoned the place where I got to have this done and they had no one there who could do it.  I phoned Jason's rooms back and informed them what had transpired.  They phoned me back about half an hour later and let me know that Jason had managed to locate a Doctor at the imaging centre who would do it for me.  I was relieved.  There was no way I could have another sleepless night.

I made the appointment at 1pm and the Doctor was able to take out 1ml of fluid.  I currently have 4.2ml in there which is less than what I have had since I have had my band I believe.  I am able to drink freely and eat food.  Let's just hope that I don't have another night of vomiting.

I got home only to be greeted by the children next door.  They were standing out the front of my house shouting out 'look out for the fat lady, it's the monster house'.  For anyone who isn't familiar with the movie 'monster house', one of the characters is a very large lady and she meets this man who she falls in love with.  ***Spoiler alert*** They go to build a house and she spends most of the time yelling at the children who walk past.  Anyway, one day, she falls in a hole and is covered with cement and the house is haunted as a result.  Her name was Constance.


Rest in peace, Constance
Although they are children, it still hurts.  I spent almost every single day being bullied when I was in Primary School and High School.  The song 'I feel the earth move under my feet' was sung by a group of girls every single time I walked past them.  A girl refused to let me on the bus one day as she believed I would pop the tyres so she closed the door as a result.  I missed on a school excursion because of it. 

As an adult, the bullying hasn't subsided.  People assume just because I'm fat I live off take away, I don't exercise, I have diabetes, cholesterol - whatever.  All because of what I look like.  People assume that I am a strain on the health system.  I've been told I shouldn't have been allowed to have children as I'm not responsible enough to look after myself so why should I have the care of someone else.  I've heard it all before but it still hurts.  I think the reason I might be upset about what they called me tonight is because I've never been called monster house before.  It's a new name.  And new ones hurt and take me back to when there were lots of new names.  And I hate it.

Over the past few years, I have worked hard on accepting myself for who I am.  I am fat.  But I am also remarkable.  As a bigger person, I often have to work harder to gain respect from people.  It can be harder for me to get a job and it can be more difficult to convince someone that just because I'm big doesn't mean I'm lazy.  I've spent a lot of my life pushed aside to make room for someone better and it does cut deep but I do have a thick (and fat) skin and I shall get past this.  No matter how big I am, I am an amazing person.  I would love to have me in their life.  And I know those who do have me are glad they do.

So FTW!  And I shall concentrate on my weight loss despite that it's going to be harder than ever to be able to use my band given the fact that it's not going to be doing a lot because I've got this and I will get through the testing times ahead.


A long time ago.  Me at 240kg odd.  Yes, I can see the resemblance to the character from monster house when I was that big but I don't see it now.
 


Monday, July 20, 2015

Another quickie

After another sleepless night last night, I was ecstatic to go and get some fluid taken out of my band today!

They took .3ml out of my band before they did the barium swallow.  The barium tasted revolting but I was told it was supposed to taste like strawberries.  It tasted like I was drinking the sweat out of someone's sandy sneakers.  It was vile.  I had to take 3 large mouthfuls of it.  Urgh.  To do the stress test, they get you to eat some food prior to taking more pictures.  I was handed a double chocolate chip cookie!  I asked them if they had any saladas or something else that I could have as I mentioned I was concerned about how bad it was for me and they offered me their only other alternative - a Tim Tam.  I stuck with the cookie. 

A photo of my port with the needle inside it.

I know I'll hear from Dr Winnett if there is anything to be concerned about.  He'll have the pictures by tomorrow morning so I'll sit and wait until then.  I also have a Gastroscopy booked for early August to check out if there's anything interesting going on inside. 


It's so nice to be able to eat and drink again!  I didn't realise how bad things were until after they had taken the fluid out.  From the moment I sat up, I could feel that it was better.  I look forward to having a good sleep tonight.  I certainly need it. 

I've had a few questions about my banding issue.  Has my band slipped?  I don't know.  I'll find out tomorrow.  Was there too much fluid in there?  Yes, it appears as though that was the case.  It didn't feel like to begin with but over time, it got worse and worse.  Am I going to have a sleeve procedure if I need to have more surgery?  Probably not.  But it's not something I'm worrying about right now.

I have my PT tomorrow which I'm looking forward to.  I have so much to do tomorrow but hardly any time!  I am going to work on my meal plan for the week as well which takes quite a while.  I'm looking forward to the rest of the week and doing much as I can :)

Trying to find the sweet spot

A quick blog tonight but I shall write more tomorrow.

The last few days have been a bit of a struggle as I've been struggling to determine if my band is too tight.  For the first few days after my fill, I lived on yogurt, soup and smoothies.  Things settled over the weekend and then last week, I couldn't keep much down again and I kept waking up vomiting stomach acid.  I've been really tired and most of the week due to the fact I'm missing out on a few hours of sleep each night, food and drink but despite this, I've still been able to function as normal.

It's hard to describe what having a band that's too tight feels like but the best thing I can compare it to is a knot in the throat.  You know that feeling you get when you are nervous about something or you've just heard some really bad news and you get this massive knot or lump in your throat?  That's what it feels like.  24/7!  It's a pain!  And very uncomfortable.

Waking up every few hours vomiting isn't fun either.  The acid burns my throat.  Every time I vomit, I have to get up and rinse my mouth out so I end up wide awake!  I've been vomiting every 20 minutes or so today.  And it was the same yesterday.  I had school yesterday and managed to keep things down there but as soon as I was on the way home, my lunch came back up :/

I called Dr Winnett this evening and let him know that I think I need to have some fluid out.  I'm doing that tomorrow.  I'm also going to have a barium swallow (where I drink some revolting liquid and it shows up on an X-Ray - I'll share pictures tomorrow) and he is going to do an upper Endoscopy over the coming weeks just to make sure everything is okay.  He's going to get them to take out .2ml out tomorrow to see if that eases things. 

I shall post an update when I have some news.  I do hope nothing is wrong :) can't wait to have a good nights sleep tomorrow night!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Who wears short shorts? I wear short shorts.

First things first.  The last few days have been pretty tough since I had my lap band filled.  I have found it hard to keep some things down but each day has been getting better.  I ended up taking 2 days off work due to the fact that each time I drank something, half of it would need to be spat out.  Today is much better.  I have been able to eat normally (well, as normally as you can when you have just had a fill!) and I'm happy things seem to be continuing in the direction they should be.  I've also began taking Nexium which is for stomach acid.  I used to take this a few years ago to help with stomach acid.  This has provided a lot of relief. 

I had a bit of a dilemma yesterday.  Both my pairs of gym pants were in the wash and I wanted to go to the gym before everyone got home.  I had just folded a pair of bike pants that I wear around the house.  I decided that I would venture out to the gym in my bike pants and I am SO glad I did.  No, I don't look the best in them but they are much more comfortable than wearing my gym pants.  I can move around a lot better and I get more done.  I'm also not as hot. 

I know that there are a number of people who don't believe bigger people should wear the same sorts of things as what smaller people wear but I don't agree with that.  One of my gorgeous friends taught me a long time ago that you should wear what you are comfortable wearing and f**k whatever anyone else thinks.  Although I had decided I was going to wear them, I ran the thought past some of my friends and the support I had was amazing.  Thank you, lovely ladies (you know who you are) xo I wore them to the gym again today and shall continue to do so.  If people don't like what I look like in them, they shouldn't look.

Muscle pose is for comical purposes only :P I am aware that lots of weightlifters often do this in the mirror.  I failed quite miserably at being funny!


They don't look the best but gosh they're comfortable!
 Yesterday, I did 15 minutes of bike and 15 minutes of treadmill.  Today I decided to mix things up a bit.  Given the fact it's Saturday, there was hardly any one there so I had the front room to myself!  This is the room that the fat blaster class is held in so I just used some of the equipment and made myself a circuit.  I did the following for a minute with a 20 second break in between. 

1. Throwing a 6kg medicine ball in the air
2. Kettle bell squats
3. Push ups against the wall
4. Pull ups
5. Boxing using the punching bag
6. Marching on the spot and getting my knees as high as I can
7. Battle ropes (the really heavy ropes you hold at the end and make them ripple down)
8. Step ups

Once I had finished this, I would go out into the main gym and jump on the cross trainer.  I would go for 5 minutes but would have a 20 second rest and then go as fast as I could for 30 seconds.  I did 3 circuits, 2 lots of cross trainer and then a cool down.  I was WRECKED!  I also did something that I haven't done for a few years.  I ran :) I ran for 30 seconds!  I was so proud of myself.  I look forward to being able to do it for a bit longer each time I try.  Maybe I should try right at the start of my work out before I'm tired next time!

 
 
I had my flu shot yesterday and whilst I was there, my Doctor asked if he could weigh me.  I was 184.4kg on his scales.  I'm going to continue to weigh myself using my scales each week (these come up with the same figure as the ones at my Doctors) as I would like to know how well I'm tracking.  I wasn't sure if they were very accurate but they seem to be a kilo or so out so I'll take that! 
 
I'm really enjoying putting cut up fruit in my water.  I've had a few different suggestions on other things to try today.  Can't wait to put them to the test. 
 
Happy that I'm still feeling excited and on track.  The 19th of July marks 1 month since I restarted my journey.  Things are good :)


Thursday, July 9, 2015

A panni what?

'A panniculectomy is when a pannus is surgically removed. A pannus is excess skin and adipose tissue, sometimes referred to as an apron that hangs down over ones genitals and/or thighs'.

I'd like to talk all things fatty apron/lower stomach/hanging stomach/tummy below belly button or as I call it, my fat.  Here's a before and after picture of someone's fat removal.  Obviously mine is a bit more excessive but you'll get what I'm talking about...


If you know me (or even if you don't) it's not secret that my fat hangs quite low.  The more weight I lose, the lower my fat hangs.  The lower my fat hangs, the harder it is for me to do certain things.  For example, my fat rubs against the steering wheel of my car, I find it hard to put shoes on as it gets in the way, I can't use one of the exercise bikes at the gym (the one where you are slightly laying down) as my fat gets in the way, I can't use the rowing machine, I find it really awkward to do certain stretches, my movement is restricted as my fat just hangs and gets in the way, I hate wearing pants as then it is clear how big my fat actually is - this is not an exhaustive list but you get the point.

The other thing that concerns me is getting an infection.  I ended up with a boil some years ago that turned into cellulitis.  I ended up in hospital for 10 days.  The boil ended up spreading all the way across my fat underneath my belly button and it was very infected.  The plastic surgeon wanted to operate on me and 'grate' my infection to encourage new skin to grow.  It had to be dressed in gauze that had been soaked in Betadine 3 times a day.  I spent a fair bit of time on morphine for the pain as it was that bad.  I almost died as I had septicaemia.  It was not fun. 

So ever since yesterday when Dr Winnett indicated that he felt that I would benefit from having the surgery when I'd lost another 20kg, I have been paying attention to my fat and how much it actually does get in my way and stop me doing things and after monitoring it for 24 hours, I would love to get rid of it and I'm going to work just that little bit harder to lose the weight so I can maybe look at having it done in the next 6 - 12 months.

A mixture of emotions come up when I think about it.  I feel happy as I'll be able to wear jeans, yoga pants and other types of clothing that simply don't fit due to my fat.  I feel disappointed in myself for letting myself get so big that's resulted me to require surgery like this.  I'm scared as I've done a bit of research into it and I read words like drains, no showers - only baths and blood clots.  I also worry about dying (I always worry about dying before any type of surgery).  Then I think about how free I'll feel without it.  I'll be able to do things I can't do now and I'll wonder why I didn't do it sooner.

I'm going to take some photos of my fat (I won't share them until it's gone) as I want to be able to compare before and after shots.  The results will be amazing.  I need to remember that at the same time I think about some of the things I'm nervous about.

I found this article about this lady in the UK.  She was my starting weight (minus a few kilograms).  I found it very inspiring :) her fat (she named it Fred) weighed 19kg) which makes me wonder how heavy mine is.  It feels like it's about 10kg.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2539219/Woman-lost-22st-gastric-bypass-surgery-3st-excess-SKIN-removed-including-solid-lump-stomach-nicknamed-Fred.html

If you have had this surgery and are happy to share your experience with me, please get in touch.  You can email me at movingforwardlookingforward@gmail.com or inbox me at www.facebook.com/movingforwardlookingforward

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Lots of changes :)

I have had a very busy day today and I am so proud of myself on many counts.

Firstly, I had my monthly appointment with Jason Winnett.  I saw him at around 8.20am.  He was very pleased to see me and is ecstatic that I am back on track.  He weighed me and I weighed 187.2kg.  Just as I thought, my scales are a little bit out as at home I weighed in at 186.6kg.  No big deal.  It just means I'll add a kilo to my weight should I weigh myself at home.

We discussed the topic of surgery again.  I hate this terminology but my 'fatty apron' or 'lower stomach' or as I like to call it my 'fat' is getting in the way of doing things.  I may even dedicate a whole blog to it.  He has suggested that I lose 20kg and then have it removed.  I feel lots of different things about this.  I shall ponder on it and then write about it in the next day or two.

He sent me off for a fill.  I was terrified that my port had flipped again.  He is unable to do fills in his office for a few reasons.  Firstly, my port is on a horrible angle.  It is really hard to get to and many needles have been bent as a result of people trying to put fluid in it.  Secondly, because of my weight, it is quite hard for him to get to.  The length of the needle that he has had to use in the past is terrifying!  And for someone who hates needles, I HATE looking at it!  He sends me to an imaging place in the City where the person giving the fill is able to use an X-ray to locate the port and guide his needle to the right spot.

I drove to the City (gotta love the morning traffic) and I was hoping the man who used to do my fills was there but I am not sure if he works there any more (it has been 2 and a bit years since I got one done).  The bed for the machine is quite scary as there is nothing under it - no legs to hold it up or anything.  It simply sticks out from something and I always worry that it's going to break!  It took the man around 20 minutes and 2 goes to get the fill in.  I had 5ml to begin with and I had an additional .5ml put in.  That doesn't sound like a lot but oh wow, I can feel it!  I sat in the waiting room for 10 minutes to see how it felt before heading off to work. 

The big X-Ray machine that shows the man what he's doing in real time :)

I shall lay and wait patiently!  I was not pleased at this point as I was a bit anxious about the needle :/

All done :)
When I arrived at work, there was food all over my desk as we were having a morning tea.  It smelt SO good!  I couldn't have any of it but it was nice to passive eat!  I just kept sipping water and I had a cup of soup for lunch but made sure I didn't eat any of the noodles, peas or corn as I'm pretty sure that would make me vomit as it would get stuck.

Tonight I had my personal training session.  Neil got me to do some work in the pool.  It is a different type of hard work to doing exercises on the treadmill and the bike.  You feel it a lot more in your muscles.  After a while, everything starts to ache!  I see him again next Tuesday.  As soon as I had finished my PT, I was on a mission to get to fat blaster!  I had 20 minutes!  I ran in the door of my house, dried my hair, got changed out of my wet clothes and ran out the door.  I made it! 

The instructor was pleased to see me.  I made sure I let her know that the reason I didn't do aqua last week wasn't because of her but because I had something else on.  I didn't want her to think I was too sore or she wore me out after the first fat blaster class.  Tonight's class was just as hard as last week.  I started off with throwing a medicine ball in the air and catching it, marched on the spot and used these handles on a rope to pull myself up.  She is amazing.  She has so many ideas on how I can work around the things I can't do.  And when I think about the things I can't do, it's either because it makes my knees hurt or because my tummy (more so my fat) gets in the way.  We went on the cross trainer and had to do 20 seconds as fast as we could with a 20 second break.  I think we did this 8 times but I couldn't tell you.  I was buggered by then I didn't think to count!

2 classes in one night and 2 fat blaster sessions down :)
When I got home, I blended up the soup that I made before leaving (potato and leek), jumped in the shower and now I'm writing this :) I had forgotten how much help the band is in restricting the quantity you eat.  I know that is what it's for but after not having restriction for so long, I am pleased that I made the decision to get it filled.  For those who don't know much about lap band, my band wasn't empty.  I did have some restriction but I shouldn't be able to eat things like bread, sushi, bread rolls, steak and chicken.  I have been able to eat all of that for a few years.  It has to be the right texture but it has gotten through.  Now, even the yogurt I'm eating has totally filled me up and I've only had 3 tea spoons and 5 soup spoons of soup.  Now is the time when I go back to basics.  Multivitamins, calculated meals to make sure I am getting everything I need in the small amount I'm allowed along with the need to be creative in my ideas of what to make. 

So, here we go.  Things are getting serious now!  I'm excited :)