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Monday, August 25, 2008

Return from Vacation

Vacation was lovely. Two weeks without my books, or any thoughts of anesthesia. The first week I spent in Portland. While my husband worked, I went to Sauvie Island during the day, which is in the northwest end of Portland. Sauvie Island has a few public beaches, which are on the river but are sandy and perfect for replenishing Vitamin D stores in the summertime. I got lots of sun there, knowing that the following week was supposed to be stormy.

The second week we both packed up and went to the Oregon Coast, where we rented a house for a week. Actually we stayed at two different places that were close to one another--in a town called Neskowin, about 15 minutes north of Lincoln City. The first 3 days were, in fact, stormy--almost winter coast weather, actually. But the last few days we were there were nice and sunny and we had fun playing and relaxing on the beach.

We mostly cooked our own meals, only eating out a few times, and I ran on 3 days while I was there, but still gained 3 pounds. I think it will come off soon, though. I actually ate way too much, and challenged my band far more than I should have. I didn't PB or barf, but I did have that strange left shoulder pain that people sometimes get when they overeat--the referred pain from the diaphragm being pushed on by your food baby. Never had that before, and I'd rather not have it again. I think some of it was that I was being very bad and drinking (wine) with a couple meals. Instead of washing food through, it made it swell more, and I got fuller long after I stopped eating. Won't do that again! I got better about my vacation eating after that, but still ate far more than usual.

I celebrated my 35th birthday while we were there. We did some typical coast things--ate fish and chips, went to the Rogue Brewery--but mostly we stayed in on the stormy days, and went to the beach on the nice ones. It was lovely.

Today I went back to the hospital and tried to remember how to be an anesthetist again. I had some rocky moments but had a great CRNA to work with and got through the day fine. I even got to respond to my first code in the ICU, which was a good experience (for me anyway).

Now it's time to go run. It's raining today, so I'm not that thrilled about it, but it's going to be like this in the fall and winter anyway (until the snow starts) so I'd better get used to it. So, I'm off!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

On Vacation

There won't be any posts this week. We are at the coast for a week of relaxation, which includes no internet! So enjoy your week, everyone, and we'll see how the scale treats me after a week of vacation eating. :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Enough with the Babies R Us

I'm sorry to all the mommies out there. I have nothing against you, and I do hope to join your ranks in a few years. But I truly cringe when I get another baby shower invitation.

I hate Babies R Us. Everybody registers there when they have a baby, it seems. I can understand why--it's convenient for them and seems like it would make things easier for potential baby showerers.

Babies R Us is just so huge and confusing. Their baby registry confounds me every time. I only ever find half the things on the list that I set out to find. It's expensive, too. And it's so pastel everywhere. There are always some screaming kids there--rarely babies, I've noticed. And there's a lot of goo-goo baby talk going on. Babies R Us should be a free zone for that kind of behavior, I realize, but it doesn't make me any less anxious to get the hell out of there once I'm in.

I'm of the age that has passed the era of weddings among my friends (for the most part) and is in the thick of breeding now. So these BRU outings are becoming distressingly more frequent. Every single time I am there, I reach a point where I have to go check out with whatever is in my hands at the moment, just to get out already, no matter if I have done what I set out to do or not. And every single time, I question whether I really can be a parent if I hate this place so much. Which is kind of sad, because parenting is not supposed to be about this big marketing monolith. The kinds of products that do or do not send shivers up my spine shouldn't really reflect on my ability to be a parent. But still, I run out of the store, shivering and panting, and momentarily berate myself for being so un-mommy. Then logic reappears, and I remember that it's okay.

In the meanwhile, I think I'm going to start hinting to my pregnant friends that Target has a baby registry, too.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It's better at the beach

Well, I'm not at the coast yet, but that doesn't mean I can't spend a week at the beach while I'm in Portland. Sauvie Island is just at the northwest end of Portland, and is filled with farms where you can pick berries and fruit, and has several nice beaches--sandy beaches--along the Columbia River. (A sandy beach along a river in Oregon is not a common sight.)

So, yesterday was perfect, temp in the 80s and few clouds, no humidity, so I spent the afternoon on the beach, reading in the sun. It was so nice. It felt great to walk down the beach in a swimsuit without feeling so self-conscious--no more than most people do, I think. I'll be back today...

Saturday, August 9, 2008


I've been noticing my veins more lately. On the day I had surgery, the staff in the surgical admit unit had difficulty starting my IV. I think I rattled the nurse taking care of me: not only was I a bariatric patient and a redhead (notoriously more difficult to start IVs on), but I was also an ICU RN. She tried one time, missed and called the IV team. I didn't mind, and I totally understood: veins are difficult to find on obese people, and it's always intimidating to do things like starting IVs on other medical staff.

But lately I've noticed that my hand and arm veins are huge! I can see them clearly just when going about my business during the day. I notice these things because I start a lot of IVs, especially now that I'm in the anesthesia program. It's more evidence of how much fat I've lost, even on my hands (more proof of that is that I downsized my wedding ring by a whole size, even though I had worn the same size ring since junior high). My veins might actually be bigger, from running, or they might just finally be making an appearance now that they've lost their cozy coat of fat.

At least if I need more surgery in the future, I should be a simpler patient to work with.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Plugging along

Things are holding steady. I have regained a couple of pounds, but I'm not too concerned--this typically happens, they'll go away again. I am officially on vacation now for 2 weeks, so perhaps some relaxation will help.

It was too hot for my scheduled run tonight, but I'll do it in the morning before heading to Bonney Lake for a barbeque with old friends and then to Portland. I'll be spending a week in Portland and the next week on the Oregon coast for our anniversary trip. I am so looking forward to this--even if it's cold and rainy, but I hope it isn't.

I have nothing of interest to post. Perhaps during my break...?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Rockin' out with the Band

Dropped again, folks. I am 7 lbs from goal now. Yay!

My recent increase in weight loss seems to correlate to a few things:
1. Less stress from classes + clinicals (now it's just clinicals)
2. Drinking alcohol--I'd pretty much abstained until recently.
3. Running a little less.

I'm not drinking a lot--but I've had 3 nights where I've had alcohol, which is almost unheard of since my band surgery. Each time has been followed by weight loss--which could be explained by dehydration, except that I don't regain after rehydrating. As for my running, I never did run THAT much, but I've gone from 15 or so miles per week to about 10-12 since starting full-time clinicals. These things may or may not be related to the increase in my weight loss, but they correlate. (Remember kids, correlation does not equal causality!)

But I wanted to take this moment, post-run and pre-shower, to tell you a bit about my band. I have a 4cc Inamed band; my surgery was about 1 month before the newer AP bands were released. (I think they are 10cc and 14cc, but I can't recall since I don't have one.) Currently, I am somewhere in the vicinity of 2cc fill. The last time I was filled I was at 2cc and they filled me to 2.5cc, but the time before that, I was also 2cc and filled to 2.5 cc. Don't know where the 0.5cc goes, but no matter. I'm not what most bandsters would call "restricted"--if I want I can eat nearly as much as I could preop. (Although this would probably result in dilating my pouch and/or esophagus, so I avoid this.) Nothing ever physically forces me to stop eating--I don't "PB" or slime or barf, I don't get "stuck". I never have. I DO get full, though. I don't always stop eating right when I get full. I try to, but it doesn't happen every time.

The biggest thing that keeps me on track is that I stay satisfied between meals for about 4 hours. I also don't eat "preventatively" anymore--that is, eating when I'm not hungry because I'm afraid I'll get hungry and won't be around food when I do. I'm not afraid to be hungry, because I know it's not that bad, and it's not hard to fix when I am able to eat again. I'm not using the band so much for WHEN I am eating as I do between meals, I guess. Of course, in addition to all of this, I run every other day, and eat a healthy diet.

I wanted to point this out to let people who are new to banding know that it's possible to be successful with the band without reaching this magical, elusive level of "restriction" that a lot of people talk about. The rates of band erosions and slips are rising, and a lot of band doctors and educators believe it is due to people getting and maintaining too-tight fills for too long.

I know some people feel that they need that behavioral "force" that keeps them on the straight and narrow. And my weight loss is slower than a lot of people would be happy with. But, I should be at goal in the next few months--knock on wood-- which is well ahead of the 2 year mark. (Next month is 18 months post band.) I don't have much loose skin to deal with--it's there, but not as bad as many people have. And I've never once barfed, gotten stuck, or had reflux. Plus, I can eat out anywhere, and no one ever knows I'm banded unless I tell them. So for those of you who are new to this, or if you are researching the band, know that it is possible to do this without a lot of the problems that you hear about bandsters having. Some people don't seem to tolerate the band very well, but that seems to be a minority. And I am a big advocate for keeping as little fill as possible while still losing weight. I want to keep my band until I am dead, and that should be a pretty long time from now.

This isn't to say that I'll never have a band complication, or that I'm some kind of band poster child. And I'm not better than anyone because of this. But I just wanted y'all to know that it can be done without suffering. Really!