Weight Loss

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Sunday, February 8, 2015


I think this blog is officially done. I wouldn't say the "journey" is over at all. But I've said all I think I can say about the general subject of me and bariatric surgery.

I have maintained my weight for one year now. This last year was big. I recently finalized my divorce and my ex is still in jail. I'm sad things ended the way that they did but if those things are what needed to happen in order for my marriage to end, so be it. I hope he can get his life together so he can be a safe parent for our daughter. I don't hold a lot of hope for that, though.

I also ran my first half marathon in August. It wasn't easy and I walked the last bit, but I did it. I might do a couple this year, but I am feeling a little burned out on running, honestly. I've been switching it up from longer runs to HIIT sessions to try to shake things up a bit for me.

I'm struggling with a couple extra pounds that have crept back on, trying to get them back off. The trouble is that I really enjoy beer. :)  It's one of the great things about no longer living with an alcoholic, I can enjoy alcohol and keep it in my home again. Having the experience I have had for the past 10 years does make me very aware of my own drinking habits and what I want to have around my young daughter. I want her to see that adults can drink as a normal part of life and it doesn't have to be a focus or an illness or a dysfunction that negatively affects her.  But, the beer I like is loaded with calories! So I'm trying to work that balance out a little bit.

It has now been just over 2 years since my revision from lap band to sleeve gastrectomy.  I can eat a little bit more than I used to be able to but not much. I still have to be conscious about things like chewing well, not drinking while eating, and stopping eating before I feel full--because if I wait until I feel full I am actually over-full. The full sensation is pretty delayed.

Thank you to those who have followed this blog for the past 8 years and those who have stumbled in and out of it. I met a lot of fantastic people and got a lot of great support. I hope I passed on some useful perspectives as well. The beginning stages of having WLS are marked by an obsession with the subject--afraid to be excited for the possibility of actually overcoming obesity, anxious that it won't work, worried that something will go wrong, et cetera. Eventually that excitement and anxiety passes, and you have to learn how to incorporate your new health habits into everyday life. It just becomes another part of your life. Whether one considers themselves a "success" at WLS or not, life will change afterward. How you feel about yourself will change. How you look to yourself and others will change. How you feel about your life will change. The degree to which all of this changes is of course very individual, but no matter what, it will surprise you.

Good luck to all, wherever you are in your process of achieving better health!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

June update

I am at my lowest adult weight since the age of 18. My brain still isn't totally caught up to my body. I have bought way more clothes this year than is reasonable, because even my skinny clothes didn't fit me and also it was fun.  Truth.  I think I will still lose a little more since I am training for this half marathon but I don't feel like I really need to.  My BMI is still 28 but that's sort of misleading.  I'm wearing anywhere from XS-M everything (depending on brand) and mostly S.

My soon-to-be ex is convinced (or at least he says) that our marriage is ending/ended because of my weight loss, that I just want to be with other people now that I've lost all this weight.  It is certainly true that relationships usually don't last after weight loss surgery. (Statistically it is somewhere greater than 50% but I can't quote any sources on that number.) But that discounts a couple important facts: 1. I've lost this much weight before and did not end our marriage then, and 2. his behavior. So I'm just going to say that that is false.

There has been a crap ton of drama around here with the soon-to-be-ex (STBE?) ending in restraining orders, jail time and locks changed. Unfortunately he is too unstable for me to let Lucy visit him, which is too bad for her because she misses him terribly. I try to do what I can to help her. She's very anxious that I am going to leave her and it doesn't help that I frequently have my sitter come over so I can do things like go for a run or go out with friends on occasion. She's a smart girl, she gets that this is different.  All I think I can do is be honest with her, in an age appropriate way, and encourage her to talk about it, and reassure her frequently that I am not going away and that her daddy still loves her and she didn't do anything wrong and it has nothing to do with her.  Beyond that what do you tell an almost 4 year old?

So I'm running and trying to reconnect with friends for support. Still working a lot but I have weekends off. Planning my big Hawaii trip in August--solo with my toddler/preschooler for a week.  My diet is pretty good--about 80% good, which is what I aimed for with the band. I will say that the sleeve achieved one miracle that never happened with the band, and that is that certain trigger foods just don't do it for me anymore. I used to be able to eat a huge amount of ice cream, even banded. Now even if I could physically do it, I don't want to. I can get a tiny bowl with a tiny serving and be fine with it. And I eat way less sweet stuff and junk than I used to, not really trying just not that interested. I never thought that would happen, honestly.

While the band was always a struggle and a head game to lose weight and keep it off, the sleeve seems a lot simpler. It just works. I hear people ask about "restriction" (people who have been previously banded) and it's not even in the same ballpark. I never had a lot of "restriction" with my band. But this is just a tiny stomach. When it's full, that's it. No getting stuck, no wondering. If I eat too much, it goes up my esophagus, which is uncomfortable and causes reflux, so I have to make sure I don't do that. Reflux is always a potential issue for me, although I've been able to prevent it a lot better and worst case scenario can take some zantac to relieve it. Bottom line is I can't eat much, and so weight loss happens. It stalled a long time last year, but running has fixed that. Eat less, be active...it works.

Monday, March 3, 2014


It's been an exhausting winter, and I am looking forward to spring.  I am within a few pounds of my goal weight, and yet that seems like the least of the work I have done this winter.  Now spring is near, and I am exhausted in all ways.  I am ready for some renewal.

I am still running but I am a little burned out.  Tonight I planned to run...I planned to run last night, actually, but couldn't because I had no one to watch my daughter while I did...tonight I got home from work, planned to run, and even asked my husband to stay home when he wanted to go out because I needed to run.  But then, I just couldn't.  I was too tired, and I couldn't tell if it was physical or mental exhaustion, or if it even mattered.  

I'm not this tired every day, so I am not afraid that it is anemia, or malnutrition, or effects from my weight loss or anything like that.  I'm rarely this tired, and I don't know the exact cause, but it's acute, not chronic.  The biggest and most obvious cause is probably that we are getting divorced.

I have kept much of my marriage out of my blog, and I intend to keep it that way.  I will just say that while things have been difficult for us here, especially in the last few months, I wish nothing but the best for my husband.  He has struggled enormously with his demons for as long as I have known him, and he has worked very hard to get to the place he is in now, which is much stronger and healthier than ever before.  We will still be parenting our daughter for many years to come and so we will be connected in that way for a long time.  I think we can ultimately be good friends after all of this has settled a bit--we still are, despite the difficulties of separating and divorcing.  

Still, it's been very stressful for all of us, and seeing the stress on our young daughter just magnifies my own stress.  I'm sure that, while running has certainly been a valuable stress relief through this time, it is also impacted by this stress, and the strain of running and training can be a drain as well.  Plus weight loss...it all adds up, so I guess it's not surprising that every now and then I feel like I can't drag myself out for a run of any length after a work day.  I have to reiterate this to myself, because it's hard not to be dismayed when something that has been a source of renewal and even at times joy is now feeling like a chore.  

So, I didn't run yesterday, I'm not running today.  Tomorrow I have a day off from work, and I am planning to go to yoga.  I have missed my Saturday yoga class for 2 or 3 weekends now, so if I can get that in on Saturday too, that would be good.  If I feel like running tomorrow I will, otherwise I won't stress about it (or I'll try not to).  All the resources I looked at say that you can miss up to a week without impacting your training level, so I'm going to try to focus on sleep and cross-training this week.

But, here are the good things that have happened in the last few months with weight loss: All my sizes are back at their all-time lows again. I'm in my skinny jeans and slacks (6's) and my small scrubs.  A year ago I was in large scrubs (hospital issued, so more like an XL in normal sizes).  I can run a 9 minute mile consistently, and 8.5 or a little less if I try.  I am pretty settled in eating, although I can still overeat if I am not careful.  I'm much less likely to do so now.  I am satisfied with about 1/2-3/4 c. food, usually 1/2 but tonight a little more.  My BMI still measures 29, but I'm not terribly concerned with it. I don't think I could really stand to lose more than 15 pounds at the most and still be healthy for my build.  And I don't plan on losing 15 more pounds.  As far as quality of food goes, I think I am doing better than I did with the band.  My food choices still fluctuate with moods and hormones, but for the most part I crave less junk than I used to.  I am much more able to try something that looks good but is not a great choice, and toss it after one bite if it doesn't live up to my expectations.  I don't waste stomach space on crap as much as I could with the band.  That's not to say that I have given up chips and cookies and that sort of thing--not at all--but I would say that it's easier to either walk away or be satisfied with a few bites of it now. 

Overall, if you asked me whether I could recommend the band or the sleeve more, I would say first, you found a surgeon who still places bands?!? Most bariatric surgeons say that the vast majority of their band surgeries now are either fixing slipped bands or removing them altogether.  And second, unreservedly, yes, the sleeve is worth it.  It's not for everyone.  If you really want to, you CAN defeat the sleeve, but you kind of have to work at it.  When it's full, it's full, game over.  You have to make good choices, and make sure you aren't eating unless you are actually hungry (that isn't easy for a lot of reasons), and sure it's "a tool" like everyone will tell you over and over.  But for me, it's way more effective than the band ever was, even with my 7 month plateau last year.  

Friday, January 3, 2014

Run because you have to...

Here's a quote I stumbled upon that I wanted to preserve:

There are no tricks. Run because you have to. Run because you love it. Run because you want to be fast. Run because you want to be skinny. Run to find some quiet time. Run to sweat. Run to eat. Run to hear your heart pound in your ears. Run because you're a runner. Run because you gotta keep the streak. Run because you don't know why the hell you're running. Run because you fought with your partner. Run because your job is shitty. Run because you got no money. Run for the sunrise. Run for a race. Run because it's impossible. Run because it's easy. Run instead of doing the laundry. Run instead of watching TV. Run because no one else understands. Run because the cool kids do it. Run because you're tired of talking. Run for numbers. Run for feel. Run to prove something. Run because it f***ing hurts. Or don't run. If you got something better to do. JEFF EDMONDS The Logic of Long Distance

Thursday, January 2, 2014

In the Long Run

A funny thing happened this December.  I started running every day.  There was this challenge on Facebook.  Run every day between Dec 1 and Jan 1, at least 1 mile.  I've been running again since the summer, but in a very half-assed way.  I'd run a day or two a week, feel lousy because I was slow and felt heavy and unmotivated.  I'd go back out a week later because I finally felt guilty enough to get back outside.  Rinse and repeat.  Not much happened except I cultivated a feeling of guilt and dread about working out.  My weight stayed stubbornly the same for months.

But this challenge came along.  I don't know why this was the silly little thing to kick me out of my rut.  I think it was because a work friend of mine was doing it, and she was so chipper and peppy about it, it made me want to do it too.  I started a couple days into the month because I saw a couple of her posts about it and decided to give it a go.  I figured, as slow as I feel, I can at least do a mile, right?

I gave myself 4 outs: days I could just say, nope, it's not happening today.  I took one within the first week.  Daily running felt hard at first.  I couldn't figure out which seemed worse: getting up early (earlier than 0530, my normal wakeup time) to run, or running after work.  I knew I could run on my days off, but days that I work? Sounded exhausting.  But I figured, a mile will take me 12 minutes at most.  What do I have to lose?

After the first week, I started to remember that running at night is fine: just use my dorky headlamp, and be safe and aware of my surroundings.  My neighborhood is pretty safe, so I stuck around there.  I noticed that while at first I had to start walking before I reached the end of my block, after a week I could go about twice as far.  I used my HR monitor chest strap and found that my heart rate was already improving.  And then I lost a couple pounds.

It was only a couple, but people noticed the difference immediately.  My face was different, and my posture.  My body composition was obviously changing.  My appetite decreased too: instead of stress eating, I was running my stress off.  I started to feel a sense of power in my body.

After a couple weeks, I had another out day, when I was unexpectedly on call and had to stay late at work.  I hated taking that night off.  It became much easier to fit my runs into my schedule.  If I was going to head out and my 3 year old fussed that she didn't want me to leave, I just stayed and went out after she went to bed.  It wasn't a big deal any longer.  I came to relish the time to myself to think and reflect.  Around this time I stopped listening to music during the run: now I mostly just run in silence, listening to my own thoughts or meditating.

My time improved as well as my mileage.  My ultimate guide of a successful run became how I felt during and after: strong, capable, confident, versus slow, heavy, lethargic.  I dropped a full 2 minutes off my mile, and my occasional sub-10 minute mile runs (I still walk a little, but not much anymore) feel like a real victory, even though I try not to fixate on time.

Most shockingly, I lost about 10 pounds over that time.  Maybe that isn't shocking to people I consider "normal" at weight loss, but for me I've never lost weight like that--not even when I was losing weight with the band and running regularly.  Not only did I lose the weight but my body composition clearly changed.  I've lost one size in jeans, and am wearing smaller scrubs (in fact, small scrubs).  Now, I am within reach of my first goal weight, after spending most of the last year wondering if I was going to lose any more at all.

What next? The challenge ended.  I've continued running every day.  I'm just looking to see how long I can keep the streak alive right now.  It's been 15 days since my last day off (Dec 18, the day I had to work late). I'll sign up for some races this year, but racing isn't really an important goal for me.  The biggest things I get out of running are the feeling of being strong, and the time and space to myself.  I like to feel a slight soreness in my legs, just enough to remind me that I'm alive.  I'm taking yoga classes when I can, too, mostly on Saturdays.  Moving your body feels good and natural when you make a habit of it.  Whatever my next goal is, I want to reach it with joy, not exhaustion.  In fact, maybe that joy is my next goal.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

My 1-year "Surgiversary"

On this day last year was my band-to-sleeve revision surgery.  It seems so strange that it's been a year...a whole year, and yet only a year.  My revision experience has been very interesting and not exactly what I would have expected.  I knew that I would lose weight slower than first-time sleeve patients.  I didn't realize that I would have a 7 month plateau...or that losing just a few more pounds would change so much.

I am now at -50 lbs, and within 5-15 lbs of my goal weight, depending on what I want my goal to be.  I've set a short-term goal of 175 which is only 3 lbs away.  That is the BMI-30 point, which is where my surgeon says he is happy for me to stop.  He says he won't need to see me at all after that point, unless I have issues or problems.  I would be happy at 165-170, personally.  Most people who see me think I shouldn't lose anymore, which is nice to hear, but I am not quite ready to be done.

The December running challenge made a huge difference and helped me restart my weight loss.  It's funny that all the training I did over the summer changed my body shape but not my weight.  I don't think the running was all of it but I do think that it affected my appetite and my sense of well-being, which overall helped with jump-starting things again.  After December, I intend to continue running at least a mile most days--not necessarily every day, but close.  I don't love running, especially, but I enjoy it well enough once I get started, and I love how efficient an exercise it is. It also really helps with stress relief.  I've started running with a friend lately too.  I have never run with anyone else before--too self-conscious about how slow I am, mainly.  But it's been great.  I'm running with a gal I used to work with who I don't get to see much anymore.  Our pace is well-matched and we run a route on the river that I don't otherwise run.  It's been a lot of fun.

I think I have finally made peace with my sleeve.  I spent most of this year overeating by 1-2 bites nearly every meal.  Predictably, I would barf up at least a little of my meal each time, which is gross and embarrassing and always made me wonder why it was so hard to stop eating before that happened.  The last few months I have finally started to do better.  I can eat about 6 regular size bites of food, or up to 1/2 cup.  I can eat most foods, although really doughy bread can get stuck at times (not stuck like with a lap band, just not wanting to go down quickly).  With the band, it never mattered if I drank during a meal or not--I know it does for most people but it didn't for me.  With the sleeve, I can either eat or drink, but not both.  If I drink during a meal, I can be sure I will be seeing part of my meal again.  It isn't a huge deal for me--I am not super attached to drinking during meals like a lot of people are.  The only time it bothers me is when I am out for dinner with friends and I want to enjoy a glass of wine or something with my meal.  In fact, I can drink very little wine just because it sort of sits in my stomach.  I don't drink beer at all, between the volume and the fizz and the calories it just doesn't seem worth it.  I am a very occasional drinker anyway--a couple times a year at most--so this isn't a huge deal for me.  

Meals at home have been hard to get used to.  I don't have a lot of attachment to what we eat for dinner, because I know I'm only going to eat a few bites of it.  In fact, it's better if it isn't one of my favorite foods because I'm less likely to try to overeat.  I haven't gotten to the point where I view food strictly as fuel--I will probably never be at that point, and that is fine.  But it is less important than it used to be, and less of a coping mechanism for sure.  I still try to sit with my family while they are eating-which can be hard because I still tend to pick at food after I am full.  If I am mindful and I clear food away from my place, I do okay.  I want to keep meals as normal as I can for my daughter.  It's weird enough having a mother that eats less than the toddler does.  

One thing that I never had with the band that I have with the sleeve is a false hunger.  I find that I am frequently feeling hungry about an hour after I ate.  Nearly every time, if I drink some water that will go away quickly.  

Spending the night in the hospital after my surgery last year was the first, and still the only, night I've spent away from my daughter.  It was really hard to be away from her, and taking care of her without picking her up afterward was tough.  She's so much older and more mature now--a lot of fun to be with, very funny and clever.  I'm glad I am a lot healthier and in better shape now to keep up with her.  I hope we can teach her healthy habits and skills so she doesn't find herself eventually in my position, looking at surgery like this.  I would do it again--if I had it to do all over again, I would skip the band entirely and just go with the sleeve, but I did learn from both experiences.  I find it hard to believe that surgeons are still performing lap band surgery, but I keep hearing about people who are getting banded.  I think it's negligent to do this when there is so much evidence that it doesn't work and does harm to a lot of people.  But people still ask for the band, so there are still surgeons who will do it.  The sleeve isn't perfect by any means, and it's not hard to defeat it if you are motivated enough.  But I am pleased with how simple it has been once I have relearned a few simple things and become more mindful of how I eat.  I don't really think about dieting at all.  I generally eat protein first, then veggies.  I do eat treats, sweets, etc.  I try not to eat them everyday or too much.  If I was more regimented about what I eat, I would probably be at my goal by now.  But if I can get there a little slower without having to worry so much, I'm fine with that.

Clothing-wise, I am wearing mostly mediums, some smalls, and usually a size 10.  I was recently refitted for bras and am now 34DD.  I'd like to get back into my 6s and 8s--last time I wore those I was 165-170.  

There you have it, the good, the bad and the ugly.  If you are looking at a band to sleeve revision, don't be surprised if your weight loss looks nothing like anyone else's.  It probably won't.  I find that the sleeve works the way the band was supposed to work, without all the hassles.  I do still get heartburn if I'm not careful and I overeat or eat too close to bedtime.  Be patient with yourself in learning necessary new habits for success.  It doesn't happen overnight, at least it sure didn't for me.  Stick with it.  Try something new.  Challenge yourself.  These are the things that helped me.  Good luck!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Icy December

It looks like most of the country is experiencing this same cold snap.  It has consistently been in the 20s here in Portland, which is extremely unusual.  The bright side is that the sky has been cloudless and sunny; that is the only way we ever get such low temps here.  But I cannot stand cold weather, really anything below 45 degrees.  I'm a warm weather girl.  I am layering like crazy and avoiding being outside whenever possible.

But...I did join a December running challenge.  Run every day of December, at least 1 mile.  Given the state of my schedule, I decided to give myself 4 days as a "pass" if needed, and I took one.  But I've done 7/8 days now.  My runs are getting stronger, so it's been good.  Most of the time I can only go late at night, after Lucy is in bed, and that is less than ideal.  I wear a head lamp and lots of layers.  I'm only running a couple miles at this point.  I've been back running for at least 6 months now, but I've done it so sporadically that I can't ever make any gains in my distance or speed.  But now I am noticing quick improvements, which is very encouraging.  I love this challenge because it is so easy to not run, or exercise at all, in the chilly month of December, and I know with this cold snap I would have avoided it at all costs.

Run on a treadmill, right? No, that is an absolute last resort.

I went to see my surgeon in October.  I told him about my stall and my frustration with trying to lose any more weight. I told him I had tried calorie ranges between 800-1500 per day, protein ranges of 60-120g/day, and changing everything else I could think of.  At that point, I couldn't decide how to proceed because I was simply confused.  Nothing was working.  He told me first that I had lost a couple pounds since my previous visit, so all was not lost.  Then he told me to just stick to 1200 calories, very simple, and come back in 1 month.  My surgeon's approach to a lot of things is very simple and no-nonsense.  He's within a few years of retiring (although he is well past standard retirement age) but still operates 3 days a week and maintains a full schedule.  He told me not to worry so much about protein because my sleeve is not malabsorptive.  I know that the mantra of our time is protein, protein, protein, but I needed something simple.  So I went with it, came back in a month, and I had lost about 1.5 lbs.  He was happy and told me to come back in 3 months and continue this plan. He also told me that as far as he is concerned, I only needed to lose about 10 pounds more and then he was pretty much satisfied.  So I've adjusted my goals a little bit, but I still hope to lose a little more than that.

I do still emphasize protein foods, but I'm not trying for large amounts now.  In fact, I am not trying for large amounts of anything. I think I am getting better about keeping my portion sizes lower and stopping early enough.  And this week for some reason I've been stricken by insomnia...and I've lost 5 lbs.  I am finally at my prepregnancy weight at last... only 3 years later.  :)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Giving in to fall

I'm giving in to fall.  I am still not over summer being over.  A typical Portland summer doesn't really start until late July, and lasts until mid-October.  This year we got all our heat in May and June--very unusual--had a slightly warmer July, and then a cool August and crappy rainy September.  I want a refund.  It didn't help that I didn't get enough of my requested vacation time off to actually go on vacation this summer.  But, it's been raining for a while, and thoughts are turning to tea and quilting and cozying up.  The fireplace is on.  It's not so bad.  But I do still hope for some sunny fall days before the winter gray settles in.

Last Saturday I went to my usual trainer appointment at the gym, but my trainer did not show up. This was unusual for him to just not be there or respond to my text.  I did my workout and went home, and later texted him to see what was up.  Turns out that the gym fired him, and didn't notify me.  He said he was late and the new manager just fired him, like that.  Now, of course, I don't know how much more of the story there is.  All I do know is that my dealings with him were very professional and he was a fantastic trainer.  I've written all about what a great trainer he is before.  Not only am I pissed that I lost my trainer, but I'm pissed that the gym didn't bother to tell me.  So I am supposed to be hearing from the manager on Sunday.  It's a hard situation.  I have 3 or 4 sessions left that I paid for, but I don't want to work with a new trainer.  I want my trainer. I don't really even want to go to that gym anymore, but it is about 1/10 of a mile from my house, so it really eliminates a lot of excuses. And it's a nice gym, and affordable. I'm just pissed about this situation.  It feels like from what I know of the guy, it cannot be a justified firing, but again, who knows.  He is going to tell me what gym he ends up at, but the odds that it will be a practical fit for me are low.

So this left me in this week-long funk about working out, which goes well with my weeks-long funk about my plateau.  I finally ran today after about 4 days of no workouts.  I just didn't have the heart for it, frankly.  It did feel good to run.  I'm sure I will get back to the gym.  But the weight funk persists.  I have finally lost a couple pounds again, but they are pounds I've lost before.  Food journaling at this point is useless for me, because I have tried everything I can think of: anywhere between 60-120g protein per day, 800-1500 kcal per day, more water, more fiber, more carbs, less carbs.  Seriously.  I average 1000 cal when I don't journal (that is, when I have just eaten and added it all up at the end of the day).  My body is just not gonna budge right now.  So, fine.  Body, do your thing.  I guess as long as I'm not gaining and I'm still doing the right things, it's going to have to be okay.  I have an appointment with the surgeon in about a month, maybe we can come up with something.

Lucy's birthday is tomorrow--she will be 3.  It's really amazing how quickly the time goes by.  At this very time 3 years ago, I was only a few hours into my home labor, and unbeknownst to me, just 2 hours from suddenly needing to race to the hospital before she appeared.  I had a fast labor, especially for a first-time mom, and a pretty precipitous delivery.  It sounds a bit foolish that I was still at home when I was ready to deliver (and no, I didn't plan a home birth) but everyone tells you over and over that the first labor takes much longer than you think it will, you should stay home as long as possible if you don't want "interventions", etc. I never intended to wait until the last second.  I had exactly one contraction that felt like what was described as "transition" (from 7 cm to 10 cm dilation) and decided to get some clothes on to go to the hospital, because I was wearing a night shirt.  I went upstairs to get clothes on, and by the time I got up there I was having very hard, very fast contractions and could no longer walk. By the time my doula helped me down all my stairs (I had to crawl down them because I couldn't stand up), half an hour had elapsed and it was time to deliver, which I knew because my body started pushing and I had to try not to push, with the help of my fabulous doula.  I still had to get myself into the car, though, which was very hard.  We did make it to the hospital--with my hubby driving and my doula coaching me on not pushing--and Lucy was born 15 minutes later.  It all went perfectly, in retrospect, but we did cause quite a fuss when we got there, and the whole hospital knew about it by morning.

My mother did the same kind of reminiscing every year on each of our birthdays (yours probably did too), and I didn't quite understand why as a kid, or even really as an adult.  But childbirth does change you forever; you become a different person, and I'm sure with each subsequent pregnancy and delivery you change yet again.  The first time reveals to you what you are capable of, and it doesn't matter what kind of birth you had or what you did or did not do--it's yours, in the end.  The birth of my daughter definitely did change me forever and let me know what I could do physically and emotionally.  It has served as a reservoir of strength for me since then.  And of course, all of the changes that have come with becoming Lucy's mother have revealed much more to me.  It's been so fun getting to know the person she is and is becoming.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


I had a good night.  Today was hot, after a week of fall weather--gray and rainy--last week.  This week is hot, 96 degrees today, and I am happy.  I need the heat.  I got off work a little early, picked up my daughter and husband and took Lucy to the Jamison Square fountain, a tidal fountain in "the Pearl" neighborhood of NW Portland that she (and every other kid in Portland) loves to play in on hot summer days.  There is a place to buy a slice of pizza and an ice cream shop on the same block.  She played in the fountain with all the other kids, until a fire engine showed up and drew half the kids over to check it out.

I wanted to post a little update about it on Facebook, but instead saw an update from some good friends who have a son about Lucy's age who has been very sick.  He was born with a birth defect that they thought would be the worst of his problems, but he sailed through Pierre Robin syndrome without needing a trach or any interventions.  He was fine until his 1 year check-up, when his mom pointed out some pinpoint red spots on his body (called petechiae) to his pediatrician, and his slightly more frequent bruising.  By that evening he was in the PICU being treated for a severe and rare form of infant ALL (leukemia).  He has endured 2 years of brutal chemo that did put him into remission.  But now the chemo that cured his cancer has destroyed his immune system.  He has been in the hospital for much of the last 6 months with infections and systemic reactions to drugs meant to keep him from getting pneumonia, and he's now caught in a catch-22 that it has become apparent he won't survive.  So his parents posted to their friends, bravely, that they have decided to maximize the time he has, do the things that allow him to be a 3 year old boy for as long as possible, and keep him out of hospitals and stop treatment.  At this time, he has energy and is playing and laughing, although he needs IV nutrition because he isn't eating.  They are continuing those kinds of things that add to his life without subtracting a measure of misery.

It takes my breath away to imagine what his family is going through now, and has been for this entire time, contemplating losing him, desperately trying not to lose him, and then seeing that the trying isn't working and the best thing for him is to stop subjecting him to painful treatments that don't seem to be helping him.  It has to be especially painful that they wanted so badly to cure his cancer and they did, but the treatment is killing him anyway.  His parents are both nurses--I used to work with his dad in the ICU before I continued my training--and have been incredible in their ability to roll with this journey, and keep things as normal as possible for this little boy and his older brother.  They have both helped countless families through end-of-life decisions, and now have to make these decisions all to soon for their baby.

As I savor a lovely evening with my healthy and happy only child, my heart is also with my friends, who are savoring a late summer evening with their little family, trying to make the time slow down.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Lets try this again...

Well. I have been training with my personal trainer for about 3 months now. He is awesome, I am stronger and leaner, and it's been good. But I still am not losing weight. This whole time, no weight lost. Yes, I have lost a lot of fat and look and feel better, and I'm not losing sight of how huge that is or how much work I have put into this. But I do actually need to lose weight still. 

The last two weeks, fatigue and disappointment have really set in. Especially fatigue. Today's workout was terrible. I bonked almost immediately and had to be dragged through it. Finally, I asked my trainer to sit down with me and tell me what he would tell anyone about nutrition with no surgery or restrictions. He was very basic: more calories, more good quality carbs, more protein. I need fuel. I'm scared to do this, knowing that my metabolism has been so poor. But with more muscle to work with and more to do, I do need the fuel. So I decided to just follow it, and not weigh for one whole week.  Keep my food logs, but wait on weights and measurements. 

I am working a lot more. I'm tired mentally and emotionally when I get home, never mind physically. And I miss my daughter. Being a working mom often sucks. Finding the time for myself is difficult, as it is for everyone. Sleep is usually adequate, but stress and exhaustion take their toll. Yet there has to be a way to make this work. I'm reminded that sleeve-after-band is often a slow road, slower than it is for those who only have the sleeve. The loss of muscle mass from the first weight loss has made things slower this time. I'm trying to stay motivated, but I need to see some progress for this to work. 

Just 20 lbs, that's all I ask...