Saturday, August 8, 2009

Good Times

We celebrated my sister's birthday last night...had a wonderful time. I have been trying to get them to eat with us at Fox Valley for years and we just never made it happen. This year, Alison mentioned going so I got us all together to go for her birthday. Mom and Alison, who aren't big seafood eaters, trusted my judgement on Fox Valley's famous crab cakes and ordered steak and cake. Dad loves crab cakes so I knew he would love them. Well, they all cleaned their plates. Alison was even trying to get to the sauce on my plate! If you haven't been to Fox Valley, I highly recommend it. A great date place since it's a tad pricey. Everything you put in your mouth makes your eyes roll back in your head. It is that good. I went with one of my best friends right before I had surgery as my "last meal" and I think I ate enough for three people. I have had just a crab cake since and did very well with it so that is what I ordered last night. Delish. Anyway, I will now get off my shameless plug soapbox.

We all came back to our house to open presents and play some Wii. Alison brought her controllers so we could easily play with four people. Dad wanted to watch so mom, Alison, Mark and I started a game of bowling. I have done well with bowling until last night and I stank! Mom was hysterical. She never really learned the technique but it didn't matter since SHE BEAT ALL OF US! I wish I had a video of her bowling. I came in 2nd, Mark 3rd (so he still has yet to beat me) and the birthday girl was last. Dad took Alison's place in the 2nd game and mom was determined to beat him! She is so competitive but won't admit it. I did better the 2nd game and actually won, mom came in 2nd and I don't remember who came in last. We had so much fun! Alison and I decided to play tennis and she smoked me. Twice. We had some good matches though. One lasted forever. We are pretty evenly matched. Wish we could play more often!

I am so blessed to have my family so close. Mark's family isn't too far away either and I wish we saw them more than we do. I don't know what I would do without our families. I hear so many sad stories of estranged families and I am so thankful we both have parents and siblings that are such a huge part of our lives.

I know I talked about moving in my last post...and I still want to! We are trying hard to get our house ready to put on the market. It still needs so much work but Mark and dad have worked hard to get it to where it is now. New floors, paint and light fixtures have already brought it into the 21st century! We just got vinyl siding and new windows and it has really added a lot of curb appeal. Still have tons to do, though. Hoping the housing market will pick back up. I want to live on some land which means moving north of town. We will be closer to both our families so I am hoping we can make that happen in the next couple of years. I really want a garden--I love fresh vegetables and I would love to spend summers canning veggies and fruit preserves to enjoy throughout the year. I inherited that from my grandmother. We canned many jars of tomatoes when I was growing up. I miss those days! I gave Alison my last jar of pear preserves I made last year and she proclaimed them as liquid gold. Made me feel like a million dollars! I made four jars of peach preserves earlier this week and it really got me in the mood to can some more stuff. The pears on our (neighbor's) pear tree are ready so I think I will tackle that soon!

But for now, time to relax and enjoy my Saturday...hope everyone has a great rest of the weekend!

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Hey folks...can't believe the last month has gone by so quickly. The summer is gone and school is about to start back. No, I don't have any kids going to school but it sure does make my commute MUCH longer. Not looking forward to having to get up earlier next week.

I have realized I have really been so friends, to family, to coworkers and the worst of all, to church. It all began last year when I sat back down in the pew after a song and it made this horrible cracking sound. I really thought I was about to end up on the floor. I was so mortified that I crawled into a very deep hole. I was there until this past summer. I would get up, go to work, go home, lay on the couch, go to bed and do it all again the next morning. On the weekends, I didn't leave the house. I just shut down. And I was indifferent, I didn't care. Didn't care to go anywhere, see anyone or even answer the phone. Many times, I didn't even want to pray. That meant I had to face reality.

After my surgery, I was hoping the low self-esteem I feel that fueled so much of this would start to fade away. I was praying I would feel more confident and realize where my true identity comes from. It's been slow, but it is finally getting better. The past six months, my prayer has been to move. I thought if I could start over somewhere else, start fresh and anew, that my life would be totally different. The disconnect I was feeling was mottled by discontent. I was ready to sell our house (which is in no condition to put on the market right now) and move! I kept praying for the Lord to ease my discontent, to be content in what He has provided for me; a wonderful husband, a family that loves me unconditionally, a job that I love and the best friends that I could have ever hoped for. So why did I have this unquenchable wanderlust?

The Lord was preparing me to move...just in His own way and in His own time.

I was approached by my supervisor about moving to work in another ministry area. I never saw it coming. As I sat in her office, it was like the door opened and I could see so far in the distance. Such a clear, beautiful path. A path the Lord had been preparing me for...a path He wanted me to take. So I did.

So on Monday, August 24th, I will be working in a new ministry area, two as a matter of fact. Missions and Ministries. I will be leaving the student ministry, a place where the last five years of my life I have lived and breathed this ministry. I still love the students, families and my coworkers. They are a part of my life that will never go away....but I am so excited about this new adventure the Lord has for me. I love the two ministers I will be working for. They are such men after God's own heart. I respect them both and I am thrilled to work with them. I would be lying if I didn't say I wasn't nervous though!

This was about being disconnected. I am happy-no, more like overjoyed-to say that I have spent the last month at every service the church has had. Last night, I was looking around and just feeling sorry for the ones that choose to stay home on Wednesdays--then I had to remind myself that I spent MANY Wednesdays at home. Moving back to the main building to a new ministry position is exactly what the Lord had planned for me all along. That disconnected feeling is fading more and more every day. I am so thankful.

I am going to be so plugged in, I am going to need a surge protector...

P.S. I have lost 109 pounds :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Black Pants

The night before surgery, February 18th, 2009. Lucy had to be in the picture, too.

Taken June 29th, 2009. If you can't tell a difference, keep it to yourself. ;o)

Hiatus Over! I am back!

When I am overwhelmed, the last thing I want to do is write a blog. For some, that may be the opposite, for them writing is a release. I can't organize my thoughts when I am overwhelmed! Actually, I think I am still overwhelmed but just handling it better than I have the past two months.

Heard a great quote the other day and it got me thinking. "Don't make someone a priority in your life when you are only an option in theirs." Wow. How often do we do that? I know I am very guilty. It is in my nature for everyone to be happy. Even if it means forsaking my own. Not good. But, I learned something about myself. I can still go out of my way to help people because that brings me joy! However, I don't have to make their happiness consume every fiber of my being. If it doesn't bring me joy, it isn't worth it.

Ok, off the soapbox.

I am just finishing a plate of cheese. Cheese in any form has become an entire food group to me. I love it! It is easy to eat, full of protein and easy on Pete. I have nicknamed my pouch Pete. My goal is to make Pete happy at all times. Sometimes, he gets very unhappy and we he does that, we are both miserable.

I am beginning to see real changes in my appearance. We celebrated a dear friend's birthday last week and lots of pictures were taken. I always hated pictures and never wanted to look at them when we got them back, if I managed to even be in any of them. Usually I hide in the back...or run! Anyway, she sent me the pictures and I didn't hate looking at myself. I could really see the difference. It made my day.

My clothes are getting baggy, too. Some stuff I really shouldn't wear but I still find myself dragging the same baggy clothes out of the closet. I want to have a big bonfire in the fall and burn every pair of black pants that I own. The fire may last for days! I have a LOT of black pants. It's slimming you know. No one can tell you are obese when you wear black pants. Easily takes 100 pounds off of you. What? You didn't know that?

As of this morning, I have lost 97 pounds. 4 months and 16 days ago, my new life began. 97 pounds later, a new person is emerging. Or should I say a hidden person...she has always been there. Waiting for her chance to escape.

She has been fighting her way out of a big pair of black pants.

Welcome home, girl. Welcome home.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Where's the Beef?

On my plate! I added beef and pork to my expanding menu this week. I was so excited! I am SO TIRED OF CHICKEN! I felt like I was growing feathers out of my ears. I cooked fajitas Wednesday night with beef strips and they were so good. Thursday and Friday, I had leftover BBQ pork from Jim N Nick's. Oh boy was it good. Now I need to figure out some good, healthy recipes to incorporate my two "new" foods. Any ideas?

I also have started drinking V8. The spicy hot one! It is so yummy!

The past two weeks have been hard emotionally because of things going on at work but I will persevere. When I get upset, though, I don't eat or drink and I can't afford to do that now. Really don't want to get dehydrated. NOT GOOD!

Had my 2nd support group meeting Thursday and it was great catching up with all my buddies at Princeton. I really enjoy seeing everyone and hearing about everyone's progess. Through this surgery, I have made some wonderful life long friends. I am so grateful for them!

Oh...and I have lost 60 pounds now. :)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Minus 53

It is Easter afternoon and I am molded into the couch. It is cloudy outside (which should make me happy) but for some reason, I have the blahs. Probably because it is Sunday which means tomorrow is Monday which means work. Woo hoo!

I think I have a skin cancer place on my neck thanks to an example I saw in a magazine I was reading last night. That could also be contributing to the blahs. I am very nervous about it and know I need to go get it seen about ASAP. Sigh...

I did add two new foods to my very short list! Almonds and shrimp. I love them both! Almonds are such a good, crunchy snack for me and I will probably keep some in my purse all the time. Did you know that if you get stuck in line at Walgreen's that you can find the sleeves of almonds in all kinds of flavors? I got vinegar and salt. Oh my. They were so good and I got my craving satisfied for that salty, savory chip I had been missing. They also have smokehouse and chili-lime. Yum.

I ate four shrimp tonight for dinner. And I mean shrimpy shrimp. Not the jumbo ones that look like a lobster tail! I can't believe how full I get. Last night, we were out running errands and we got some chicken mcnuggets to share. I ate two. I used to eat ten. Yeah, big difference.

On another note, I am going to begin the training to become a medical transcriptionist. One of my friends I went to high school with has been doing it for 10 years. After we became friends again through Facebook, I saw on her profile that she does this full time and also has her own training program. To make a long story short, as of last Saturday, me and three friends of mine signed up. I am so excited! I got my first book yesterday. Will start studying tomorrow! I want to make supplemental income and eventually be able to stay home and do this full time. That will be a little while, though.

So to explain the title if I need to, I am down 53 pounds. I am happy with the weight loss since it has only been two months. I can begin to tell a difference in my clothes but still have a long way to go. Taking it one day at a time!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

My New World is Overwhelming

So now that six weeks has passed, I can eat anything..well, except citrus (too acidic), sugar (can't digest well) and soda. So why am I still eating the same things? I am afraid to branch out? Some people have trouble with red meat and pork so I haven't tried those yet. I don't want to get sick but I won't ever know if I don't try them. I grilled chicken Friday night and ate maybe 5 bites and probably should have eaten only 4. Eating is just not fun anymore-it won't always be this way. Eventually I will get to eat a little more and also eat more of a variety. Eating is just work now! Before I ate whatever was in front of me without giving it a second thought. Now, I have to think and plan my meals. Maybe if I had been doing that before, I wouldn't have had to have gastric bypass surgery! :)

I just made some sugar free fudge. I had a small taste off the beaters and it wasn't too bad but wasn't something I would crave by any means.

I am just blah today. Don't get me wrong, I sure don't regret having the surgery. Having to work through establishing a new routine is so worth the 49 pounds I have lost. I wouldn't go back and change one thing!

Thanks for reading...I appreciate all of you!

May I decrease as He increases...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

37 Days's been 37 days since I had surgery. I have been on the same diet for over a week now. I go to my lifetime maintenance diet next Friday-the 6 week mark. So strange to think about. I have really been on a crash course of a new life. Started out on liquids, then mushy foods, then solid foods, then meat...and next week, raw veggies and fruit. From infancy to adulthood. All in six weeks.

I have been feeling good-still get a little tired every now and then. I just have to remember to take my vitamins that are to be a part of my life forever. I have SEVEN I have to take every day. They are all chewable and thankfully they don't taste bad.

I get to start using my Curves membership after the six weeks mark. I am excited about getting to exercise. Did I really just say that?!?! I haven't been doing any exercise (I should have been walking) but I haven't made time for it. Not good-I need to schedule exercise in my day like I do anything else.

If you know anyone thinking about having this surgery or is already scheduled, send them here. They can leave me a comment and I can send them my email address. I want to help others who want, or already are, taking this same journey.

Love to you all!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Cash for Books

I LOVE to read! I read everything I can get my hands on. I get 33 magazines a month, all subscription. Crazy...I know. I also have tons of books. Most I have read more than five or six times. They are piling up to the point I don't know what to do with them. Now, I don't want to get rid of all my books but the old Danielle Steele novels can certainly go. Lo and behold, I ran across a blurb in one of my magazines about a website called Cash 4 Books and all you have to do is type in the ISBN number on the back of the book and see if it is one they are currently buying back. They will even send you a free shipping label! Yet another easy way to do some spring cleaning around the house. Most of the time, books only fetch a quarter at best in a garage sale and this site will pay a little more.

Happy Spring Cleaning!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Support is a Girl's Best Friend

Not THAT kind of support, although it is vital to me or else, well, you don't really need me to go there...I went to my first weight loss surgery support meeting tonight. It was sooooo what I needed. What was so refreshing was the freedom I felt being in that room. I didn't have to worry about being the fattest one in the room (although I was). No one judges you. Everyone has been where you have been, or they are about to be there. They understand. They laugh with you, they cry with you, they want to get to know you for YOU. Not that I don't have friends like that support me but I hate meetings, especially where one I have never been to before. I would rather hide under my desk or curl up under the covers. You can refer back to the post of WHY I had this surgery. So anyway, I met some great new people. We all share the same struggles. Chairs that we don't fit in. Ordering two drinks in a drive thru so they think two people are going to eat all the food you ordered. Worrying what everyone thinks about you. Yeah. That is my life. But not here. For two hours, I was fat and I wasn't alone.

I sitll sat in the back corner. Haven't come out of my shell too far yet! But I will.....just wait.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Trial and Error

It has been almost 3 weeks since surgery and for the most part, I have been doing pretty well. I have tolerated meat well even if it was of the potted variety, and plan to have a "real" piece of chicken this weekend.

I guess life in general could be called "trial and error." I have been doing trial and error with my meals the past few days. I have always eaten very fast...I wolfed down my food. Learning to eat slowly and actually chew my food has been the hardest thing. If I eat too fast, I am full before I realize it and one more bite will send me to the couch with a cold rag. Not good. I have done it more times than I care to mention. I have found that I can tolerate real eggs much better than egg substitute. Who knew? Peanut butter is ok....UNTIL I ate one teaspoon too much and then it was off to the bathroom. Ugh. I still haven't tried sugar. About 40% of WLS patients can't tolerate sugar. I hope I am in the 60% who can. I can't imagine not being able to eat a couple of bites of chocolate. Or cake. Or ice cream. Or my mom's pound cake. Or a 3 Musketeers. Or a Cadbury egg. Yikes! I like sugar! Sugar is in everything that is good! Even Catalina salad dressing and barbeque sauce! One day I will try a bite of something sweet, maybe on a Saturday, and see how it affects me. Fingers are crossed!

So I am living life by trial and error these days. Nothing wrong with that, that's the only way I will learn. I am hopeful that all of this will just become second nature.

I am down 27 pounds since I weighed on March 6th. I am not sure when I will get to weigh again. My scale at home only goes so high. Wow I can't believe I just typed that for everyone to see!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

It's the Little Things....

Day 15 after surgery is approaching. It is actually tomorrow! According to my sheet of instructions from my surgeon, I get to introduce some more things into my diet. Guess what I am most excited about??? VIENNA SAUSAGE! I haven't eaten those since I was in elementary school but now, it sounds like a steak. Not just any steak, but a gorgeous, juicy, melt in my mouth fillet. I can also have potted meat product. I am almost just as excited about that and have stocked up on some deviled chicken spread.'s the little things. Little milestones on this big journey. I think I am going to make it!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Post-Op Ponderings...

I saw a Zaxby's commercial yesterday and I think I cried. I miss food. I had nine months to learn how not to miss food, but I still miss food. I am able to eat more...yogurt, scrambled eggs, applesauce, grits, even refried beans and cheese but it doesn't taste like a chicken finger.

I can only eat about 6-7 baby spoonfuls of food. If I eat more than that, my tummy will hurt. I used to eat a large chicken finger platter with dessert. Used to. Never will again.

I did hear that I would "mourn" food. Mourn food? That sounded really silly to me. Yet, here I am, mourning food. Mourning the way stuffing myself in front of the TV would numb all my feelings, good and bad. Mourning the way it could make a bad day disappear. Mourning the way it would make a celebration that much more fun. Yes, I am mourning food.

Now I the fun part, I have to figure out what made me eat to numb feelings. That's hard. Once the pounds come off, the vulnerable part of me is revealed. She is coming whether I want her to or not. I have to deal with her. Head on. We have to become "friends" and figure out what makes her tick. Right now, we are kinda looking at each other from across the room. I guess I need to make the first move. Get to know this new person. After all, she is me.

Guess what Mark cooked for dinner last night? Chicken fingers. I just sat back and smiled at the 20 pounds I have lost. I did want to lick the air molecules, though.

Surgery Diary

One week ago today, I was waking up in recovery begging for pain and nausea medication. I never got sick but I sure felt like I would. After my wonderful nurse got everything under control, I just lay there with a damp, cool washcloth on my face, listening to the busy sounds of the post op recovery sounds all around me. My abdomen HURT but thank goodness for whatever they were giving me.

I didn't get moved to SICU until around 3 pm. I had only seen my parents for two seconds-I got called back that morning before they even got there so I didn't see them before the surgery. They paraded them back to recovery only because we have a good friend who is a surgeon at Princeton. Once I got to SICU, I was so happy to see my family. BUT I WAS SO THIRSTY! They wouldn't even let me have so much as an ice chip. My throat hurt and it was so dry! I got these pitiful little sponges to dampen my mouth. They helped but oh my goodness I wanted a big gulp soda like the bass drum carrier at July band practice.

I had great nurses in SICU-both male! If I even glanced their direction, they wanted to know what I needed. I had a restless night and after a 5 am lap around the floor, I waited anxiously for my contrast swallow test that would open the world of having something to drink!

At 7:30 am, they came and got me for the test. As horrible as the contrast tasted, a-it was cold and b-it was liquid so therefore it was like manna from heaven!! When I got back up to the room, I asked for liquid refreshment. They brought me a cup of water, except the cup was something the size of the medicine cup you get off the top of the Pepto Bismol bottle. And get this, I could have ONE of those every two hours. I got the first one down in no time. Ahhhh, was that good. Every two hours, I waited anxiously for my "shot" of water.

I got moved to a regular room around 1 pm. The first thing they did was bring me a bottle of Crystal Light and some tiny ice cubes. I loved those ice cubes and CL Raspberry Ice will go down in the history books as being the best thing I have ever tasted since my mouth had been on a drought.

Friday afternoon was wonderful...after I could drink again, I felt like a new woman! I had lots of visitors and they could come and go as they pleased, not hindered by the strict time table of SICU. I was feeling good, actually felt like talking and hated to see everyone go. I slept well and before I knew it, morning had arrived and when Dr. Smith came and pulled the drain out (that was 2 seconds I would rather not think about again), he told me I could go home. Oh, and Saturday I could have TWO medicine cups of liquids every two hours. That was like hearing I had won a million dollars.

After a little mixup with dr's orders and a nurse who hadn't read my chart, my IV came out and 10:30 and she said I could get dressed and call my ride! WOO HOO! Home. Dad came to get me since Mark was working and after a stop at Sloss to see the old train at the Fairgrounds being moved (Don't ask, I really did want to see it) we picked my mom up and headed to my house. Mom worked all afternoon cleaning and straightening and dad blew leaves out of the yard. I have groovy parents.

Our sweet Sunday School teacher brought dinner over so while I enjoyed my Crystal Light-2 little cups in case you have forgotten-my parents, sister and Mark all enjoyed a delicious dinner. A knock at the door around 7 pm brought in my sister in law and brother in law! I was so excited! After a wonderful visit with everyone, I got to bed, after a dose of narcotics, and fitfully slept.

Since Sunday, I have been doing better with each hour that passes! I had scrambled eggs Sunday night. I was scared to death to eat them but oh my, they were wonderful and didn't upset my newly created "pouch." I got my staples out yesterday and last night, I slept like a baby. Ahhhh....

Your prayers were felt. Oh my were they felt.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Two More Days...

I sure haven't been on here very much! Too much going on.

I have been on a liquid diet for a week and I could gnaw my arm off. I am not really hungry but there are some things I just WANT like Zaxby's chicken fingers and a cheesy pizza. Sigh....I will be so ready to eat again, even if it is pureed chicken.

In two days, I am having a life changing surgery. I am ready. Past ready. I have met people along the way on this journey that are going to be life long friends. Two Susans and a Michele. Susan has had it before and not only has she been a wonderful wealth of information, she is a sweetheart and we have a lot in common. Michele has also had it and runs a support group I will be going to monthly. Another Susan I just met tonight over the phone and we are both having the same surgery at Princeton Thursday, same surgeon. I look forward to walking the halls with her! She is a hoot! I am so thankful for these new friends. When people have been on the same journey you are on, it sure does help.

I will be home a couple of weeks so I plan on trying to blog some more!

Love and hugs, friends!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Wow Moments...

Can you tell it has taken me a while to get back into the swing of things after the holidays?!? Being off two weeks and then jumping back into a routine with both feet was not real fun. I love staying at home. I am definitely a "homebody!"

Christmas was wonderful---fun times with family and friends. Finally caught up with the other half of the world and got a Wii and a Wii Fit. I can't wait to use the Wii Fit, I can't right now because I have to become more fit before I can be under the weight limit. (now don't all of you scramble to find the weight limit on the Wii Fit. You know I ain't little.) That was my wow moment. Couldn't wait for the Wii Fit and it, well, doesn't fit.

Went to Callaway Gardens and saw the Fantasy In Lights. So much fun! If you have kids at home from school and they are bored, this is a great day trip. Make reservations to see the lights and pay by the car load. I became such a kid! It was cold but I had my head stuck out the window in awe. I was reminded that it doesn't take much to bring out my inner

Got really bored and started looking up every friend I could come up with on Facebook, past and present. There was one person I have looked for in the past and never ran across him. Last Saturday, January 3rd, I found him. He was the very first person who taught me what a "quiet time" is. He taught me so much and I really looked up to him. Looking back, we had many of the same struggles, some of which still haunt us today. I "friended" him but he didn't remember me (it had only been 20+ years...) and sent me a message, asking how we knew each other. We started emailing back and forth and I was just blown away. I was so down and discouraged and in 5 minutes time, he had encouraged me and reminded me of Who clings to me...and I think he was a little down, too, and well, let's just say finding him on FB was not coincidence. Isn't God awesome?!? I have held onto what my friend said-remember to cling to Jesus, even though He is ALWAYS clinging to us. WOW.

He is a pastor now and doesn't live close. I hope to see him again one day and get to meet his family. He is one special person. I linked him up with two other old friends and now they are getting to catch up after many years. That just makes me smile.

God is so good. I don't deserve to even breathe the air He creates but yet He loves me.

Ok, going to bed now. Love you peeps!