Thursday, September 30, 2010

Doctor, psychologist, dietitian

So I had my first post op appointment with my surgeon, Dr Craig Taylor, at the OClinic yesterday which was very brief. Basically he got me to flash my belly and show him the healing scars and was satisfied I was going ok with 6kg weight loss so far. I, on the other hand, am not overly pleased with only 6kg loss as I thought I would have lost heaps more considering my food consumption has gone down majorly in quantity and up in quality.

When I think about it though, 6 kegs isn't that bad. If I was only on WW or Jenny I probably would have lost half that and I'd have a 99% chance of putting those 6kg back on in the not too distant future. At least I know those 6 kilos of flab are gone for good.

After I saw the surgeon I had an appointment with the Clinic's psychologist and then their dietitian. The psych was really lovely but she asked me the "how did you come to choosing a lap band" question. I had to tell my whole story all over again. I can't tell you how many times I've had to go through my mental health history over the last three years. I'm getting better at it every time though and the more I tell it the more it seems like someone else's story and therefore it is slowly losing its power over me. But when I tell the story (see my previous post for some detail) to other people they gasp and grimace and sigh as they hear the dramatic (and sometimes tragic) twists and turns (and lows) my life has taken. Its was a hard process but at the end she understood my whys and my hopes and fears and was very supportive. I also told her all about my blog and about the blogging community and how amazing this support network is, as well as about all the support and encouragement I have from family and friends and she was convinced I would be ok to get through it.

After the psych the dietitian took me through a typical day on solids with the band. Whoa, 1000 calories does not make for much food! Especially as Dr Taylor also said that as the swelling goes down, by the time I am due for my first fill which is booked in for 18 October, I will be eating as I was before the surgery and shouldn't expect much weightloss now until after the fill. I'm dreading feeling hungry all the time again. It was so liberating in those first two weeks post op not to feel that constant gnawing of hunger pangs but I really am starting to notice my rumbling tummy more now. Today I ate quite a large lunch too - probably 1.5 cups worth. I made a 2 egg omlette with a tblsp of canned tuna, a roma tomato, 1/4 cup avo, half a cheese slice. Its was absolutely delicious and I did eat it slowly but it was probably more than I should have had. I only ate a small bowl of soup for dinner though. Needless to say, I'm pretty damned hungry now though.

I am disappointed that there is such a delay between the surgery and the first fill as I really want to continue to lose weight and not plateau now as the doctor suggested I might. I'm committed to staying on track to get to 80kg by the time we go away down the south coast for Christmas and New Year. Christmas is only 12 weeks away so I need to be averaging at least a 1kg a week to make my goal. I've done that before on conventional diets but maybe now I'm older it won't be so easy. I need to get back to the gym as soon as the first six weeks are up and get that metabolism moving. 

Gees, I've just looked at the time and its nearly half past 11 so I must fly. Can't believe its Friday again tomorrow. Hope you all have a fab day/evening wherever you are.

V.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Whinge alert

Before you go any further, please take note...



Not feeling 100% today, both mentally and physically. I feel wiped out. I think my diet is seriously lacking in some real sustenance as I just feel so exhausted and weak. 

Today I had a stack of shopping to do. Fun kind of shopping like buying Noo some new shorts for summer and getting my mum a birthday present but walking around the shops I felt like I weighed about 100 tonnes and I didn't really enjoy it as much as I usually would (I am a shopaholic after all).  

I had lunch with a very good friend of mine which was the highlight of the day. The only problem was I made a stupid food decision. I'm finding it so hard to find appropriate food to eat when I go out and I'm still massively over ordering and therefore wasting money as I through so much food away. Also, its just become apparent to me how enormous a standard serve of food is at a food court - anywhere really - no wonder there's a serious obesity problem here in Australia.

I almost went for Nandos flame grilled chicken ribs because I figured they can't be too bad and there's no carbs (still too frightened to try rice, potato (unless mashed), pasta or bread) but instead went for a bolognaise crepe because its soft. The crepe was absolutely massive so I only really ate about 4-6 small mouthfuls and it was all cheesy and tasted naughty as. I washed it down with half a medium (should have ordered small) fresh vegetable juice. That was nearly four hours ago and I'm still uncomfortable. I feel kind of achy in the centre of my chest and around the port area, as well as my back is aching from walking around town all morning. I feel like I've got no strength in my abdo area at all and like I've got a stitch all over.

Whinge, whinge, whinge, whinge, whinge! 

My mission today to find my mum a birthday pressie was a challenge. I was thinking along the line of nice scarf, make up, jewellery and also looked everywhere for glass salad plates which she mentioned wanting a little while ago. No luck on any of the above. Finally I went to Hunt Leather in the MLC building and got the score of the century - a beautiful bright red handcrafted Italian leather wallet that was reduced from $375 to $260. Bargain! (God I hope my mum has stopped reading my blog otherwise this won't be a surprise on Sunday.) I'm going halvies with my bro and sister in law, otherwise it would totally be out of my price range.

I love buying presents for people! I just wish I had more money to shop with. 

So tomorrow is my big appointment with the surgeon, dietitian and psych. Its going to be interesting I hope. I'm not losing as fast as I'd like to be - I wish they had some sort of pill that was a metabolism speeder upperer. Something that wasn't a stimulant or amphetamine but would just make you burn calories quicker without having to go to the gym and without making you feel like a nervous wreck on speed. Hahahaha. As if. Actually I wish I could invent such a Metabolism Speeder Upperer (that's what I'd call it too) and then I'd be a rich woman and could do all the present shopping I wanted!

The other reason behind the abdo pains is that my little bundle of joy kicked me in the guts half the night. Gees, he was restless! Drove me crazy half the night. And he was up before 5.30am again. I think he misses his Nan and Pa and thank goodness they're back tonight.

As you can tell Noo and I co-share my bed. I tried to get him back into his cot months ago but he wasn't having it at all. I bought him a toddler bed thinking he'd like a big bed that didn't feel like a jail cell but no, he found his way back into mummy's bed. I don't mind most of the time, except when he has night like last night.

Anyways, enough moaning from me. Its not that bad. I have a pretty good life right now and I should stop and smell the roses rather than bitch about the little things.

Hope you have all had better days than me!

V.

Monday, September 27, 2010

It's a zoo out there!

Oh what a day we've had! Actually its been a pretty active weekend, but today was non stop.

Noo and I were up at 6am as usual. Brekky, shower, tidy up and out the door by 9. It was an absolutely stunning day today with perfect Sydney blue skies and a lovely low to mid 20s degrees and very little wind. Just perfect.

We strolled down to Circular Quay and got on the first ferry to Taronga Zoo. Noo absolutely loved the ferry ride. A lot of other people had the same idea as us and the boat was packed but it was a comfortable and short journey across Sydney Harbour. The zoo is situated kind of on a cliff going from the Harbour foreshore up towards Mosman. It really is a stunning location but gees, it was hard work getting around the steep grounds.

Going past the Opera House on the ferry
 
Loving being on the ferry

Check out that view!

I haven't been to the gym at all this year and I've been driving around a lot, unlike last year when I walked around with Noo in the pram for hours at a time and had two PT sessions a week. Boy did I notice it today! First I had to push Noo in the stroller up this massive hill to the entrance of the zoo. My heart was pounding and my breathing laboured by the time we reached the ticket counter. But $30 later for a concession ticket and we were through.

Although the zoo is really well organised and generally well designed, it is not stroller friendly. Especially not when you're on your own without someone to help get up and down steps. I was amazed too that not one person offered to help me the whole time we were there - very unAustralian. The positive side to this was that I had to do a lot of upper body work to drag the stroller from step to step. Not only did we have a great day checking out loads of animals, I basically exercised for 3 hours as we moved from enclosure to enclosure.

We finished our zoo trip by this little pretend beach that had been designed to show people about the importance of keeping beaches clean and tidy. Noo and lots of other kids stripped off to jump in and splash about in the warm spring sun. It was the highlight of Noo's visit I think as he splashed about for ages in a t-shirt and his nappy.

Checking out the beautiful Koi


Although Noo likes to pretend he's an elephant with trunk and sound effects, he found the real thing a bit scary.


Loving the chickens

If there's water, there's fun!

The view from Taronga Zoo

Self portrait

Don't know why I can't get vertical shots in the right way...

Splashing about in the man made beach

The best part of out adventure at the zoo

Lots of kids having fun under the blowhole


After the zoo we took the bus up town to Dymocks bookshop as I know it is the perfect way to bore Noo to sleep. We couldn't get anything decent at the zoo for lunch so once Noo fell asleep I was free to get something to eat in peace.

I decided I felt like sushi. I'm pretty much tolerating solid food now but its difficult to know what to get while I'm out. I'm not brave enough to try bread in a sandwich yet or salad, as I've heard those things can be difficult. Last night I ate 1.5 thin sausages that I cooked for Noo's dinner with no trouble at all so I thought a little sushimi would be a good protein laden low fat lunch option.

I went to this little Japanese cafe in the Queen Victoria Building and completely over ordered. My stomach my have changed size, but my eyes are still as big as they were, especially seeing as I was starving. Before I knew it I was sitting at a table with plates of sushimi and tempura, miso and rice. I managed to eat half the raw fish and four out of six pieces of tempura including three tempura prawns and a piece of pumpkin battered and deep fried as tempura is. The food was delicious! The guilt was horrific! I didn't feel bad about the sushimi - that was a good, nutritious and low fat choice, but the tempura was naughty, naughty, naughty! It was so yummy though it was kind of worth it, I think...

Yum!




Not long after I'd finished my lunch Noo woke up and wanted to move on. We walked back through the underground arcade and into the Sydney Central Plaza building where Noo started shouting "more, more!" which means I'm hungry mum. I got him a chocolate milkshake and mini cookies from Mrs Fields. More naughtiness. Its ok for him I suppose, he is the most slender baby I've ever known, but the problem was mummy helped him with both. God, the guilt! I had a couple of mouthfuls of the full cream milkshake and two of the cookies he didn't want. The were mini cookies, only the size of an Aussie 50 cent piece, but gees I felt bad about it. Its 8.30pm here now and I'm still pretty full so I won't have any dinner but I feel like I've undone all the good I did walking around the zoo.

I have my first surgeon's appointment since the op on Wednesday. I also have to see the dietitian and the psychologist while I'm there. I was kind of looking forward to it before the weekend but since I've been eating sausages and tempura and cookies, I'm a bit nervous as I feel like I've fallen off the wagon a bit. My restriction has definitely gone down a lot in the last week. I still do feel some restriction as I'm not eating anywhere near as much as I used to but I'm feeling more hungry more often and that is not good. I do want to be able to eat normal food though. Arrggghhh. I am beginning to understand other bloggers frustrations now about finding that "sweet spot" in the green zone when you've got the right restriction.

Oh well, I still haven't got any fill yet, so let the games begin! I'm hoping I might get a little on Wednesday although I'll only be 3.5 weeks post op so he'll probably make me wait til 6 weeks have passed before that happens.

Monday morning

We have been up since before 5am and I'm absolutely buggered after being kicked in the guts most the night by my restless little boy. Didn't get a chance to post this last night so I'll finish up now, get Noo to kindy and then I've cancelled my commitments today so I can go back to bed.

I weighed in this morning and it was just as I suspected - no change from last week. I'm pretty disappointed but I kind of knew because I didn't feel different. In fact I feel quite bloated as its TTOTM, albeit at the end, and I haven't been to the toilet since last weekend! This constipation is not good. Need more fibre in my diet. And more protein. After my nap I'm going shopping to find some decent tasting protein powder and buy up lots of vegies.

Ciao for now!

V.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Noo's day out

What a great day we've had! Noo and I hung out all day, starting at playgroup in Annandale to catch up with girlfriends and their kids. Noo loves that playgroup - there are so many cars and toys and a sandpit and lots and lots of kids. I love that playgroup because everything is really safe and geared toward the under 5s which means I can be fairly relaxed rather than being on high alert in helicopter parent mode as I am at most parks, etc.

After a good two hours of play we left to go hangout at our local shopping centre so Noo could get a haircut. I got him a number 2 all over and it looks great! He's usually really hard to keep still while getting a cut but this time I think he quite enjoyed the vibration of the clippers going over his scalp. The poor bub has bad eczema which I keep under control with a mild cortisone cream and lots of moisturiser after every bath. His skin flares up though if he overheats. It doesn't matter if its winter or summer he still has it. In winter grandparents and kindy teachers can't help themselves but overdress him, like other kids get all rugged up. Noo is so hot blooded though he doesn't need the same amount of layers and so the eczema rears its ugly red and itchy head. Summer, well you got to keep him as cool as possible, hence the trip to the hairdressers today. The poor Mr Man had a breakout on his forehead yesterday because the weather has really started to warm up and his fringe was quite thick so the hair had to go. 

Both he and I love it but his grandparents aren't so sure. They'll get used to it!

Buzz cut for Noo Noo
On the band front, I have really noticed a change in restriction these last couple of days. I seem to be able to eat more and more solid foods and more of it. Today I started well with half a banana and a couple of tablespoons of low fat yogurt. I had lunch at the shopping centre while Noo slept and my choices for mushie/soft type food was limited. I ended up getting a ham and cheese crepe as I thought that would be soft and able to go down. I managed about a fifth of it over about an hour. It was delicious but I was really conscious of the calories. I also had it with a Lipton Ice Tea which is chock full of sugar. Naughty as, but I hate paying for water!

After lunch we headed home and by about an hour or so later Noo was gagging to get out again. I'd brought home the leftover crepe so I gave him most of that for an early dinner, which he loved. We then went for a big walk into town, Noo sporting his cool new do and me holding on to him with the teddy bear toddler reins. Anyone who thinks toddler reins should be left for dogs and not children, mustn't live in a highly populated area with busy streets. My boy is a bolter. He's very active and loves to walk about but I'd never let him walk into the CBD of Sydney without being attached to me somehow. The alternative would be to strap him in the stroller but then he wouldn't get the exercise.

As a result of the walk he was a dream baby to get to sleep tonight. Half an hour of cuddles and then off like a light. Brilliant! Which leaves me here, writing and feeling a bit stuffed. Just had some mash, tiny bits of peas/corn/carrots and my Moroccan mince I made on the weekend, but without putting it through the blender. I was quite hungry before I started the meal but now, after about 3/4 cup of food, I'm chockers and I have that tight feeling across my chest. Don't know if I ate too much or if the food was too chunky.

I'm quite tired tonight, so I think I'll have an early night. They'll be more Noo Noo adventures in the morning!

V.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Back in jeans!

Thursday morning
Another milestone has been reached - I'm finally back into my "fat" jeans. They are pretty cool fat jeans though. Size 18 (Aussie size 20) American Not Your Daughters Jeans tummy tuck jeans which cost me over $250 last year (I bet they cost nowhere near that in the States!). They are so compfy and flattering. They are the best cut jeans for plus size girls I have ever tried on. I have a pair of blue bootlegs and a pair of black straight cuts. I'm so glad to be out of leggings! I don't want to stay in these too long though, as there are a pile of smaller jeans just waiting for me to fit into them, including another pair of NYDJ blue straight cuts in size US16 (Aussie size 18). And my UK14 (Aussie size 12) Seven For All Mankinds just laying in my draw patiently waiting for me to get that first 20 kegs off.

I've started to fantasise about my summer wardrobe should I continue on this current rate of weightloss. My sister and her husband are currently enjoying a two week stint in Berlin, Paris and London (nice for some!) and Yo, my sister, said she would get me a cool "goal" dress from London - something to aim for. I've been checking out some of the UK High Street stores online and am surprised there's not much in season at the moment that I like.  I did however find these two maxi dresses from Next (of all places).



I particularly like the second one. I love jersey knit and I love maxi dresses because they hide my dreadful knock kneed legs. God, to be as slim as the model in the picture! It will never happen, but I'm cool with that.

I just love clothes and makeup and having nice hair, etc, but when I'm really big, like I am now, I just can't be bothered a lot of the time. Being fair means I really should wear makeup everyday because I look terrible without it. Also my hair is frizz city unless I blowdry it. Once the effort has been made though, I scrub up quite well. But who can be bothered when I'm invisible anyway, no matter what makeup or clothes I wear, because I'm fat!

Not much else to report today. Its kinda cold and windy and overcast here in Sydney. Noo is at kindy and I am trying to catch up on all the tafe work I have missed this term.

Thursday afternoon

Didn't get any tafe work done. Instead I watched Brooklyn's Finest which was pretty bad. Very slow with a couple of strange plot lines that never really connected. I had a delicious lunch though. I should really have taken a picture. I had a small piece of Atlantic salmon I cooked last night with a quarter of an avocado and an egg on top. Protein bonanza! It was sooooo good. Now I'm trying to eat the rest of the salmon with a little mash potato but its not going down as well.

One of my oldest friends came over for a visit this arvo. She's 20 weeks pregnant and after having a coffee I took her to the two maternity shops with have in the city. Its crazy but that's all there is for pregnant women in the city of Sydney. There's a baby boom here at the moment too - pregnant women every where! Looking at the beautiful clothes made me sigh and think for a minute if I'd like another one. It wasn't long, probably a nano second, before I could answer with a resounding NO! I love my boy to death and wouldn't have it any other way to be a single mum but there's no way I could do a second one on my own. Hopefully that will come sometime in the future if I ever meet the right guy.

I've talked enough today so I'll say farewell. Looking forward to my three days hanging with Noo Noo.

V.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

5.8kg down, 24.2kg to go - 1st weighloss goal crossed off the list!

Tuesday evening

Had my second weigh in yesterday. I had mixed feelings about it and was initially a bit disappointed by the figure of 94.2kg on the scale. I had expected to lose another 3+ kilos this week given I've hardly been eating a thing and my plumbing is working just fine now, after some extreme blockages in the first week post op. Problem was I weighed myself mid week last week and so the drop didn't seem so noticeable. When I put it in my spreadsheet and realised I've lost 5.8kg (13lb) since the surgery I felt a bit better.

The other exciting thing is I've been able to cross off the first of my six weightloss goals! This was incredibly satisfying.



Food consumption is getting easier and I'm starting to get more flavours in my life. I'm pretty tired all the time though which I know is a result of me refusing to drink those horrid protein shakes. Its lucky I'm on three weeks holidays from tafe, otherwise I would struggle to get there to use any real brain power.

Today's food diary is as follows:

Breakfast
1/2 banana smoothie

Morning tea
1 egg fried with a short spray of olive oil spray

Late lunch
1 small avocado with about a tablespoon of canned tuna in spring water mashed with a tiny bit of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Afternoon treat
1 Mango Weiss Bar - a divine ice cream bar of 115 calories.

Not going to have any dinner as I'm still full from all the above. Got terrible gas after the tuna/avo combo, but I'm fine now.

So a very lazy day indeed. Watched the finales of Hung Season 2 and Entourage Season 7. Also watched Tom Ford's A Single Man. God, what a beautiful yet sad film. I really enjoyed it though. Colin Firth's performance was absolutely amazing, as was Julianne Moore's. You could feel every bit of the pain Colin Firth's character felt. Its one of those films that stay with you a while after you've finished watching it. It makes an impact on you. That doesn't happen very often these days, with the Hollywood machine pumping out so many vacuous films for the mentally and morally challenged. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind some of those kinds of movies for a laugh, but it was nice change to watch something with a little more soul.

4 stars from me - stylish, thought provoking film
Wednesday morning

When I put Noo to bed last night at 7.30pm I fell asleep so wasn't able to post this entry.

Have just enjoyed a lovely brekky of 1 tblsp Ski De-Lite bush honey with a couple of tblsps of canned diced peaches with a cup of black coffee. Delicious and nutritious!

Noo and I are off to the park today to hang out with my best friend and her two daughters. The sun is shining despite the forecast of rain so it should be a great day.

Hope you all enjoy your day wherever you are.

V.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mountain mushies

I haven't been online for a couple of days, so my blog reading and blog posting is behind. Noo and I came up to my parents place in the Blue Mountains. Its beautiful up here at the moment as Spring has definitely started with daffodils blooming everywhere. Though it is freezing at night still, during the day the weather is lovely and warm sitting out in the sun overlooking the Wollemi Valley.

It has been a very interesting couple of days bandwise. Thursday night we had a dinner with the family for my Dad's birthday. I love our family dinners in our apartment. My brother and sister in law and my sister came over for a big feast of cheese souffle, prawns and oysters with salad with a cheese platter and chocolates for dessert. I, on the other hand, had half a small avocado with salt and pepper and a couple of mouthfuls of the souffle for dinner. This is interesting on two points; 1. I'm on mushies (yay!) and 2. I sat through watching my family eat all that delicious food and was quite cool with it. When the choccies came out it was really, really hard not to just pop one in my gob and suck it but I used all the restraint I had to say no.

I am so stoked to be on mushie food. I know I was suppose to wait til 14 days had passed but by Thursday I wasn't feeling satisfied any more with just liquids. I really felt that they were passing through much easier than they had and that I needed something thicker to fill my new mini stomach - the pouch.

Friday night, our first night up the Mountains, mum made this delicious looking pork roast with lots of roast vegies and apples and crackling. Roast pork is definitely my favourite baked dinner. I got by with sharing a small avocado with a vinaigrette with Noo. He had about 2/3 and I finished the rest. (Crikey! My son has never been a good eater, but now he eats more than me!) I was ok to settle with that until dad brought Noo some chopped up roast potato and pumpkin. He wasn't interested in it so I mashed it up and had a couple of mouthfuls. I knew I shouldn't because the band was definitely telling me I was done. But those roast vegies looked so bloody good! 

So I had the two mouthfuls and at first I felt fine. Minutes passed, all was good until all of a sudden I started to feel way too full. Stuffed. Uncomfortably stuffed. It was my first experience of getting food stuck and I am only just under two weeks post op. I felt terrible! I walked around the house moaning and groaning and my parents couldn't believe I was so chockers after having such a tiny amount to eat. I couldn't stand it so I went to bed with Noo really early and thankfully when I woke up I felt back to normal.

I have been eating much more carefully since. Saturday night I cooked up some lean beef mince with Moroccan spices, onion, garlic, tomatoes, raisins and pine nuts. It looked delicious but too chunky so I put it in the blender and pureed it like baby food. It didn't look so good any more, but tasted divine! Especially for someone who hadn't eaten any meat in nearly two weeks. 

Today my parents, Noo and I went to the local workmen's club in Lithgow for dad's birthday. Mum and dad had steaks and I ordered a plate of vegies and mash. Noo shared off everyone's plates. They served just a scoop of mash which I added tomato sauce to, mashing in some of the roast pumpkin and corn and peas that were also served. I only managed a small bit but it was good. Good that it didn't fit through a straw kind of good. My parents loved their steaks and Noo had a great day all round. He's such a chatterbox! Can't say many words yet, but gees he likes to talk. Its cute really. Here's some action shots of Noo in full conversational mode...

Chatterbox Noo

Tomorrow is my two week weigh in. I'm nervous and excited at the same time. Nervous because I've really set myself up to think I'm going to get massive drops in these early weeks post op and I'll be devastated if I don't, but pretty excited because I do think I've dropped another couple of kegs.

I'm off to catch up on blogs.
Good night all. 

V.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

To the lap band inside of me - You are my hero!

Arrrgghh, its late, I should be considering going to bed rather than writing a post but I want to get this down. Noo took so long to get to sleep tonight and now I need some 'me' time. Its the worst part of my day, every day, trying to get that little boy to settle down and quieten his mind to go to sleep.

I snuck on the scales again this morning despite swearing I would only weigh in once a week. I'm down another kilo, that's about 2.2lb. Stoked, totally stoked. Did my measurements too, and they were all down. I suppose it'll settle down a bit soon though. I just really want to lose 20 kg by Christmas. To get to my pre-breakdown weight would be such an amazing feeling for me. 

On the recovery front, I'm feeling pretty good. My wounds are healing really well. Its only the left one where the port is that is still causing me grief. It really stings at times, especially when bending over (which is all the time to pick up toys, etc, all day long!). I've been naughty and have been picking up Noo for three days now but its impossible not too.  He's about 12.5kg and getting really heavy to carry now. Can't wait to get back to the gym and do some weights!

Food intake has been strange, as has the feeling of restriction. It has really varied from day to day. Monday I felt able to consume a lot of liquids quite comfortably over the course of the day. This is what I ate:

Breakfast
1/4 cup tea with skim milk and sugar
1/4 cup very runny kids instant oats with Chia gel

Morning tea
300ml chocolate milk (naughty I know)

Lunch
1/4 cup potato and leek soup
1/4 cup low fat ice cream

Afternoon tea
1/2 cup skim milk instant coffee with Equal
Dinner
1/4 cup pumpkin soup

Tuesday was another story completely. I had a tight feeling in my chest as Bonnie (Banded and Proud of it!) described in her blog a couple of weeks ago. Luckily, like Bonnie, the feeling went away the next day, but gees, it was mighty uncomfortable. As a result I only ate small amounts of fruit Chia smoothies.

Today has been much better. I had my first full regular skim cappuccino this morning. Woohoo! I love my skim caps. I used to always drink a large skim cap with 2 Equals and I'm finding it hard to adjust to asking for a regular. Its good though. I'm just so happy not to be hungry All. The. Time. any more. I feel so liberated!

I had 1/2 cup of mum's tomato and bacon soup whizzed up with little pieces of avocado for lunch, which sat well. Didn't manage much for dinner though. Tried to eat a runny scrabbled egg, but it scared me because it was much thicker than anything else I've tried so far, so I only managed 2 tiny mouthfuls.

I even went into one of my favourite patisseries this arvo to get my mum some cake and was not bothered by it at all. Instead I went to the supermarket and bought a Nestle diet chocolate moose, which is one Weight Watches point. I've been getting through that tiny tub of moose over the last two hours and I still can't finish it.

Its a miracle! I just hope this feeling of restriction lasts! I finally see a light at the end of the tunnel after so many years of dieting struggles. This band is my hero! I love it!

My hero!
Its 11pm so I'm off to bed. Hope you all have a great night/day, wherever you may be.

V.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

3.3 down, 26.7 to go!

Yay! Exciting news! I had my first weigh in yesterday and I'm down 3.3kg. That's 7lb in one week. So, so happy. All the pain and discomfort was worth it. I didn't even think I'd lose much because of all the swelling and lack of trips to the toilet.

Its been a good start to the week all round actually. I started back in group therapy yesterday. Its a support group for a Schema Therapy group I did last year. Its really great to be back with some of the people I was with last year and also to have some extra support. I especially need it with controlling my "insufficient self control" schema which is the schema that leads me to eating too much as a way to self soothe when I'm stressed or upset, angry, tired, lonely, bored...

I'm feeling a bit guilty though that I haven't been taking my protein shakes. But seriously can't bear them. They are absolutely vile in my opinion. I can't even tolerate the Sustagen now either. I have however discovered another way to get some serious nutrients into my system. When I was at my sister's place the other day complaining about the shakes and my lack of protein and vitamins she suggested I try Chia seeds which are these amazing little tiny seeds that are packed with so many vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, protein and omega-3 that they are one of the world's best known super foods. They are also chock block full of soluble and insoluble fibre - just what a Bandit needs in the post op liquid diet phase!

This is a quote from an Aussie website regarding Chia seeds which was the clincher for my choosing to try it:

"Chia is a fantastic way to enhance your daily diet with a bonus nutritious boost. Chia has a pleasant mild nutty taste and can be added to any food or beverage without altering the original flavour."

Another important benefit of Chia seeds are that they slow the conversion of carbohydrates into sugars, thereby regulating and sustaining healthy blood sugar levels in the body. And we know how important it is to maintain stable blood sugar to help with cravings for sugary foods and simple carbs that come with low blood glucose levels.  

I've been googling all weekend for a protein powder that is tasteless so that when I add it to a soup or smoothie it won't wreck the taste of the food, but haven't been able to find any (if anyone knows of some, let me know!). I'm not sure if Chia meets all my protein needs compared to a commercial protein shake but its a hell of a lot easier to consume. I've been adding it to runny porridge in the morning, skim milk shakes at lunch and vegetable soups at dinner.

Basically, to get the most out of the seeds you mix two tablespoons of seeds with half a cup of water. Whisk really quickly for a couple of minutes so the seeds don't form clumps then leave to stand for about 10 minutes. Watch as the water slowly turns to a gel. Its amazing! This gel then keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks. You just add as much of the gel to your food and stir it through. The gel is completely calorie free and it bulks up anything you eat. For instance, if you add two tablespoons of Chia gel to 2 tablespoons of low fat yogurt, you double the amount of yogurt without adding the extra calories. Brilliant!

Yesterday I made a delicious berry smoothie as follows:

1 handful of blueberries
6 strawberries
2 tsp low fat unsweetened yogurt
2 tsp honey
1/2 cup of skim milk
3 ice cubes
2 tablespoons of Chia gel

Blend in the blender and all the seeds are blended up and you can't even see or taste them, but all that nutritious goodness is there. 

Berry Chia Smoothie
Noo Noo endorses mum's Berry Chia Smoothie - "Yum!"
If you don't like the idea of the gel you can just add the seeds without being soaked in water. These can be added to salads, dips, stirfrys, breads, granola... you name it!

Enough of me promoting little seeds. I'm off to watch the season three finale of True Blood. How will I bear the wait to season four?

Ciao for now
V.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

One week down!

Sunday morning
Well I'm on day 7. I'm still feeling very sore and uncomfortable but at least last night I slept through to 4.30am. I had the most vivid dreams all night about cakes and pastries! I must have been craving sweet food in my sleep. These cakes were so delicious in my dream. When I woke up I had an instant when I forgot about the band until I moved and reality hit.

Recuperating at home yesterday

I've felt kind of strange about it all over the last couple of days. Yesterday I woke up at about 5am after a particularly uncomfortable night. I'd been up several times with a terrible stabbing pain in my chest which was probably gas caught in my esophagus. It wasn't til I paced the apartment for a bit that I was able to shake it. The fitful sleep and the constant pain had kind of got to me by yesterday morning. I wasn't regretful or sad, just quite flat. I was really quiet, reflecting on the enormity of what I had done to my body in order to lose weight I struggled so many times to lose before.

Like I have talked about in a previous entry it has been a three year journey of self discovery that got me to where I am today. I have been lucky to have the help of my wonderful family and friends who have seen me through some really terrible bad times. I have also had the help of a lot of professionals, from psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and my general practitioner. They were all there to help me wade through the shit of a very deep hole known as Rock Bottom.

Even though I'm not completely healed (I still have severe anxiety attacks in certain situations), I'm a hell of a lot better from how I was. Now it stands to reason, after so much effort has been made on my heart and soul, that some serious work now commences on my body. And considering I've spent so much time, money and effort to heal the mind, why wouldn't I do the same for my body?

Sunday evening

What a difference a day makes! I am feeling 100% better than I was this morning. After having a full day out and about I finally think I've made a turnaround in my recovery. This morning Mum, Noo and I dropped my sister back to her house and then went to our local shopping centre to do a big shop. Noo had a lovely time running around, especially when he found there was a brand new Wiggles Big Red Car ride in the food court. He was so funny, spending half an hour looking over it back, front and centre, climbing and vigorously steering the little wheel. While we were walking around the shops I did find it quite uncomfortable still. Like an elephant was standing on my chest the whole time.

Later we went back to my sister's place for lunch. Her husband had made a delicious roast vegetable and cous cous salad. I was sorry not to be able to have any, but was satisfied with a cuppa soup instead... wow! What a statement. How long will this last I wonder?

On a not so good note, I've had a wicked headache all afternoon.  Could this be from not eating much? That's what it feels like, although I've managed quite a bit today:

6am 1/2 cup white tea
7.30am 1 cup banana smoothie
11am a couple of mouthfuls of a Boost Juice brekky to gogo smoothie
1pm 1/2 cuppa soup
3.30pm 1 cup berry smoothie
7pm 3/4 cup tomato soup

Maybe I haven't drunk enough water? Who knows. 

Random Noo Noo shot because he's so cute!

Its 9pm now and Iron Man is on telly so I think I'll wrap this up now. I hope everyone out there in Blogland has had a fantastic weekend.

V.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The recovery continues

So its day five of my life as a Bandit. I'm still pretty uncomfortable. I am not sleeping properly because my wounds still sting and sort of burn, particularly the left one where the port is. Its like I have a stitch all the time. Then there's the wind pain which is like a kind of burning down my esophagus that tightens every so often and takes my breath away with its intensity. I'm quite hungry too because I just can't drink those protein shakes. Ugh, they are disgusting! I've tried Optifast and Up&Go and they are vile. The Sustagen I had in the hospital was tolerable so I think I'll have to leave the house and get some of those.

In the meantime though, I've continued to have various versions of the classic egg flip. This morning's concoction is particularly yummy:

1.5 cups skim milk
2 tblsp Ski D'Lite Honey Buzz yogurt
1 tsp honey
1 whole egg
2 tsp Benefibre

Blend it in the blender and Bob's your aunty's live in lover!

Honey Buzz Egg Flip
Last night I also had two half cups (about an hour apart) of my mum's broccoli soup, which was delicious. It was lovely to eat something savoury.

Noo offering up some of his morning porridge

I'm still so full of wind and I haven't been to the toilet since Saturday so I'm not getting on the scales until Monday. I'll try some De-Gas today and hopefully that will help and my tummy won't feel so much like a blown up balloon.

I still haven't left the house since I got back from the hospital. I feel too sensitive and too tired because I'm still taking loads of pain meds. I'm not comfortable putting on a bra yet and there's no way that I'm leaving the house without the puppies strapped into place!

This has meant I've spent most of the week reading blogs and watching tv. I've been catching up on Hung, Entourage and Mad Men. This week's episode of Mad Men was particularly good. I've always loved Don and Peggy's relationship and this episode just nailed it - the way they are so different yet understand each other on such an intimate level.

I must say I'm starting to find this recovery part a little hard. I'm tired, uncomfortable, feel squeezy and kind of hungry. I just can't wait until this healing process is over and I can start to eat real food again. Even mushies are looking good right now! I just have to keep going over my Positive thoughts to remind myself why I'm going through all this.

I'm off to have a lie down.

V.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

All the gory details

I'm now two days post op and I'm feeling better with each hour that passes. I woke up this morning at 4am with seriously bad heartburn/wind pain. It was horrific! Its slowly passing as the day goes on but, god, its been awful.

I haven't really been counting calories yet, just drinking anything that might sooth the discomfort. When I woke up I had half a cup of tea, which took about an hour to drink and then later my mum made me another egg flip (skim milk, one egg, splenda, vanilla essence) and I took a good while to drink that too. For lunch I had another skim milk milkshake but this time with Milo. I loooove Milo! That's been it so far. Tomorrow I will start on the Optifast shakes. I feel like I've been managing a lot more than most post op because I have been feeling a lot more hungry than I thought I would.

I'm still taking loads of painkillers so I'm a bit dopey and tired. Especially seeing I've been up since 4! Noo has been a cutie all day. He senses something is amiss but he's been cool about it all. My dad took him over to see my brother and they went to the park for a run around and to get him out of the apartment to leave me to convalesce

Aaargh, as I type this the wind pain has started up again along with some serious farting. I wish it would all just blow out and leave me be!

So, going back to Monday, the day of the operation. Noo woke me up at around 7am. He'd been up very late the night before so slept past his usual get up time. We got out of bed and I took my usual medication with a small amount of water. I was fine actually, surprisingly so. I thought I'd be losing it with anxiety, but actually I was quite calm about it all.

I walked Noo down to kindy at about 9.30, said my goodbyes and then came home, finished packing and then we were off to the Mater Hospital. It is such a lovely hospital. I'd read and heard a lot about it, especially because it is the hospital where Sarah Murdoch (Rupert Murdoch's daughter in law) had given birth to her three babies.

I was admitted at 11am and mum and I were promptly shown to my room. The staff were all so lovely! Not long after I was asked to get into the hospital garb (see yesterday's post A new Bandit in town! for pics). A nurse came to give me a pair of DVT stockings to wear as well as to take my obs (observations - blood pressure, temperature and heart rate) as well as to prep my belly button for surgery.

DVT stockings
Belly button ready for surgery
 
At 1pm I was wheeled up to theatre and discovered the one thing the agency nurse forgot to do was give me my pre meds which included something to relax my nerves. So as soon as I got there I started to panic. I'd never had an operation before, except to have my adenoid out when I was 3, which I can bearly remember. I've also had a couple of minor procedures like a colonoscopy and endoscopy but nothing has full on as this! 

The staff let mum stay until I was wheeled down to the theatre bay. This is where the anaesthetist met me. She was so lovely and did a great job to distract me from what was going on. At this stage I started to have doubts about what I was doing. I thought, for god sake Vanessa, couldn't you have just stuck to a bloody diet! Or a fitness regime! What am I doing here all prepped to go under the knife and have a foreign object placed inside my gut to force me to eat less. Fucking hell! What was I doing? But before long I was moved across to the operating table and a oxygen mask was placed over my mouth and nose and there was no turning back. I just kept reminding myself about all the research I had done, all the stories I had read, and how sure I was that morning when I left the apartment that this was the answer to my getting healthy. Then the next thing I knew I was out to it...

These are the pictures Dr Taylor gave me yesterday, showing what went on in those 50 minutes I was out.

The band going around my fatty stomach
The band being clipped into place
The band being sown into my gut

**Stop reading here, anyone about to be banded who has a low threshold for pain like me - this might put you off!**

When I came to out of the anesthetic I was in a world of pain. Excruciating pain, almost equal to having a 39 hour posterior positioned labour as I'd had with Noo. Probably not as bad, or as lengthy, but close to it. I was screaming and crying and swearing, writhing in the bed they had me in with the sides up. I gripped onto those sides just like I had while trying to push Noo out, but this time the pain was up high, right under my left boob. It was incredible. Like the grim reaper had thrust his gnarly hand in my chest and was attempting to rip my heart out whole. I was begging for morphine but the nurse could only give it to me in small doses. 

I remember having an oxygen mask over my face and the nurse telling me I had to keep it on because the morphine would slow down my breathing. I was crying so hard and the nurse was telling me to calm down because the tension would make my wounds hurt more. I opened my eyes slightly and saw to my right I was near a wall that had posters up for children, one of which had the alphabet on it. So I started singing it. A-B-C-D-E-F-G... trying anything to calm myself down and distract myself from the terrible burning sensation in my chest. H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P... Slowly the morphine started to take affect... Q-R-S-T-U-... think that's as far as I got!

I was wheeled back down to my room and given two Endone (Oxycontin) and finally I felt some real relief. I was completely whacked out but at least the pain was bearable. The first thing I asked for was my iPhone so I could get some pics...

Loaded up on morphine and Oxycontin
I called my mum and told her everything went well and I was well under the influence of serious opiates so probably no good for conversation over the phone. It was arranged that my parents would come and get me the following morning when the doctor said I was good to go.

I don't remember much of the rest of the night but I do know I was up every couple of hours for more pain meds. But despite all the pain and suffering, I have absolutely no regrets. 

I'm so excited to be on this roller coaster ride to finding a newer, better, healthier me!

Vanessa

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A new Bandit in town!

It's done! I am officially a bandit!

I'm in a lot of pain and discomfort but I have absolutely no regrets. I'm too whacked out on pain meds so I won't write a lot tonight, but here are some pics from the last couple of days.

Front view - morning of the op
Side view - morning of the op
Back view - morning of the op
Waiting to go to theatre - love those DVT socks!
Another gorgeous (not) pic

I have some post op photos that I'll load tomorrow.

Night.

V.

Monday, September 6, 2010

On the night before surgery...

Well, this is my "night before" blog. I've been thinking about what to write all day, as well as reading loads of other blogs, but I haven't been able to come up with any profound last words before I go under the knife, so I'm just going to type and see what comes out...

I've been quite consumed with anxiety about it all but not because I'm fearful of the surgery or the anesthetic. Quite the contrary, I don't mind being sedated and having that lovely dreamy feeling when you wake up. I'm not too scared about the pain either, I figure I endured a 39 hour labour when Noo was born, I can endure any pain that I might be inflicted with. What I'm really scared about is what losing weight means to me.

I am at the tail end of what has been a very long, very hard journey that started in 2007 when I had a massive breakdown.  One minute I was living and working in London, the next being admitted to a psychiatric and rehabilitation hospital in Sydney's eastern suburbs. Its been an incredibly hard and bumpy road that has found me here, typing this blog getting ready to be banded to help me shed the fat I've been hiding behind while I heal what have been some pretty heavy emotional scars.

Before 2007 I was a bubbly, funny and energetic party girl. I lived to party and have fun. Then something very bad happened and all that came crashing down. The year that followed was a living hell. I started to self medicate with drugs and alcohol and when I finally came back to Sydney it was to detox to save my life.

Getting sober at first was like being striped clean with bleach. I had nothing to help me hide from the thoughts in my mind and was forced to face what my life had become. I was 32 and I had nothing but a massive UK credit card debt and a serious drug and alcohol problem. I was not the cool party girl/rock chick, in control of her habits, as I had somehow managed to convince myself I was. In those three weeks in the hospital I began to realise I had no idea who I was. Since I was a shy teenager who discovered drinking alcohol gave me the confidence I could never have alone, I had made drinking and partying the central part of my personality. Now that it was gone I was left open like a raw weeping wound without a band aid. 

In the hospital I was put on various medications to help with detoxing and with the deep depression I now found myself in. Over the last three years I have tried eight different anti-depressants and about five different anti-psychotic/mood stabilisers (which I don't need any more). Some of these medications really affect your appetite and by not being able to drink, I was seriously drawn to food - particularly chocolate and any other sweet food.

Chocolate is addictive and affects the same neuro pathways as drugs and alcohol do. With my increased appetite thanks to whatever meds the psychiatrists had me on I became obsessed with chocolate - it was my new cocaine! 

Finally, after four admissions and almost a year to the day of that terrible thing that happened, I found out I was pregnant with my son. It was make or break time. Get sober and live and raise a little baby out the ashes that was my old life or, well, the or just doesn't bear thinking about.

So I was preggers. The first 14 weeks I had horrific morning sickness and couldn't eat so actually lost 13 kg.  I got down to my lowest weight since giving up the booze, etc, and was 83 kg as I headed into the second trimester. By the end of my pregnancy I was completely infatuated with lollies and chocolates and fruit and ice cream and anything sweet I could get my hands on! Most importantly though, I found a new hope and could finally see a future for myself as I fell deeply in love with the little baby that was growing inside me.

By the time Noo was born I was 104kg. In the few weeks and months following his birth my weight never really dropped below 95 kg.  I was hungry all the time. Seriously starving 24 hours a day. I would eat whenever he needed a feed, even throughout the night. My appetite was bigger than it had even been on those horrible mood stabilisers! I complained about it to my doctor and it was just put down to the fact I was breast feeding. I also started to get other symptoms - profusive sweating, sleeplessness, and extreme anxiety. I began to feel like the world was going to end. I had this overwhelming feeling all time of impending doom.

Once again I went back to my GP and I was seeing a psychiatrist weekly but still my symptoms were put down to being a new mother who was breastfeeding. I was also on a massive dose of an anti-depressant which was giving me a strange side effect that my head would experience a buzzing sensation whenever I moved. Both my GP and the psych put it down to anxiety and kept increasing my dose.

By the time Noo was just over 3 months old, I was losing it and finally I was admitted to a psych hospital again to come off my meds to try another type of anti-depressant. As is routine when you get admitted to these places, the hospital's GP ordered a stack of blood tests. I was later called in to see the doctor and told that my thyroid was malfunctioning and was extremely hyperactive, to the point where he thought I might have Graves Disease. I had my laptop with me so was straight on to Google when I got back to my room. Symptoms included, anxiety, fast metabolism causing increased appetite, profusive sweating... I could not believe it! Here I was thinking I had regressed back to the depressed state I was in back in 2007 and what really was the issue was that I had a thyroid problem! 

I was furious to say the least.  I'm still not over it really, will never be, that my doctors did not test my thyroid function given my extreme symptoms. I suffered for about 4 months with a newborn who I was struggling to care for because I was losing my mind. When I finally got to see an endocrinologist I was diagnosed with postpartum thyroiditis. Phew! That was well over a year ago and my recent appointment with the specialist confirmed that the thyroid disease has righted itself and is functioning at normal levels now.

Wow, this has become a much longer entry than I expected but I suppose it goes to how I find myself here, on the eve of my gastric band surgery.

I tried many diets in an attempt to lose the weight I had gained including Weight Watchers (x2), Jenny Craig and two sessions a week with a personal trainer. Still nothing was working, or it would work for a couple of weeks to a month and next thing I knew I was falling into bad habits again.

In one of my stints in rehab I met an alcoholic girl around my age who would eat very little food. I must have asked her about it and when she told me she had a gastric band I was completely intrigued. When my Jenny Craig diet failed last year, I started thinking more about that young woman and began researching all about laproscopic gastric band surgery. I have read everything, I think, there is to read about it, and I knew it was the thing for me.  I know I have a lower BMI than most people who have the procedure but for someone who has been in the overweight/obese category for most of my adult life, I really think its the right thing for me.

So I've been sober two and a bit years and I am the mother of the most wonderful little boy. Getting pregnant got me sober and being a parent keeps me sober.  I don't know if anyone would understand this but being obese also keeps me sober. I hardly ever go out at night and I haven't even thought about another relationship or men in general, since this whole saga began. At the beginning, I was too broken for a relationship, now I'm just too fat. But a healthy relationship is something that I want but it frightens me so much at the same time.

Will losing weight and feeling good about my body be enough to make me want to go out and meet people but also tempt me to drink again? Its a frightening thought but honestly, I don't think so (the drink party I mean, not the meeting people!). Writing this blog has made me realise that. I am so far away from that shell shocked girl that came back from London in June 2007. I am a strong and resilient woman who has come back from the brink of oblivion and I'm ready to let go of this mask, this armour, and let the new and fabulous me come out and shine!

Next time I post I will be banded! It is midnight so I must go to bed.

Vanessa