Sunday, December 13, 2009

Wow, 3 mos and so much has happened!

When I signed in just now, it said that my last post was posted Sept 11, 2009! OMG, that is 3 months ago! And, there has been SO much happen in my life since then...

I seem to recall posting about my knee scopes. I think I posted about hubby having health issues. Maybe I need to go back and read it again myself to see just what I have posted already! BRB LOL

Okay, so I posted about my knees, but not much more health-wise. I did tell you guys that I had found a bariatric doc here in FL. Dr. Shieh is great! He did my EDG on 9/23 and determined that my bypass is sort of messed up. The end of my intestine, which SHOULD come straight up to the bottom of my pouch, is hooked over like a candy cane with the end of the intestine closed up and connecting to the bottom of my pouch from the top of the candy cane hook. This means that I have my pouch, then below my pouch the food flows into this hook/chamber area and fills up there before my pouch fills up, so I essentially have TWO pouches and can eat a lot more than originally intended. In addition, I have a hernia that needs fixed. It causes lots of burping/belching every time I eat or drink ANYthing (and I do mean anything--even a sip of water!). At the time it was all diagnosed, I was not working and doc didn't think the insurance I had would cover the surgery to repair it all. Well, I have just gotten insurance approval to have this all fixed. It is technically a revision of my original RNY, but is a surgery specifically to correct the hernia and this hooked over intestine/pouch area. I will be having surgery on 12/21 and will be all fixed up afterwards. The hard part? It is really like having the RNY all over again! Teeny little pouch (as he'll make sure all is good on the actual size when he is done--it is a little large now plus the extra pouch space from the intestine), full liquids for days, etc. The good part? I have done it before and know what to expect this time. Hopefully there won't be any of that what-the-hell-did-I-do-to-myself phase this time!

In the meanwhile, I got a full-time teaching position! I am teaching social studies (world history, American history, geography, government, etc) at the very same high school that I graduated from way back in 1985. How cool is that? In a time when most of the counties here nearby laid off oodles of teachers at the end of last school year, I move back to town and get a position in the middle of the school year! Just had to be meant to be! There is a downside. The position requires dual certification--social studies AND ESE. My current certification is social studies, so I have to obtain the ESE certification. I am taking the FTCE for that this week. I'm studying and trying to get prepared. I take the test Thursday afternoon. Fingers and toes crossed and all prayers are greatly appreciated!

The World's Greatest Grandbaby has been in his dad's custody since 10/9/09. We've been to WV for court twice since then in my daughter's attempt to get him back. We've been waiting since 11/18/09 for the judge to render a ruling. How ridiculous is that? It has been almost a month now and we were told that he'd do what he could to render a quick ruling. If this is quick, I'd hate to see a slow ruling! Geez Louise! I have gotten to spend just about 18 hours with him since October 9th and we miss him dearly. We hope to have him home by Christmas.

Hubby has been through the wringer healthwise, but suffice it to say he is finally on the mend! He has had cellulitis that caused him to have a toe amputated. He had a heart attack and a quadruple bypass. Now, all that is left is the healing and that is going well.

What else??? Well, let me think and I'll post again soon!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Iron Update...

The bariatric doc called me back today and confirmed what I already knew (my hematocrit and hemoglobin numbers are in the "low" range and my ferritin is just 6.7). He wants me to do iron infusion therapy to get the numbers back up and start working on finding an iron supplement that will help keep it up once we get it there... They referred me to a hematologist and that office called me this afternoon to schedule that appointment. I will see them on 9/21 and may have the first iron infusion treatment on 9/22. Progress--finally!

Recipe: Spinach Artichoke Dip

This one looks SIMPLE and sounds yummy!

Recipe: Spinach Artichoke Dip

1 box frozen spinach, thawed, rinsed and drained
1 package cream cheese
1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp garlic salt
season with salt and pepper to taste

Mix cream cheese, mayo, parmesan and garlic salt until creamy. Blend well with spinach and artichoke hearts. Serve with tortilla chips, pita strips or bagel crisps (OR DIPPING ITEM OF YOUR CHOICE--whatever is on your program!). Refrigerate any leftovers promptly.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Confession is cleansing, right?

Starting weight for me was 410 pounds in 2006. These days, I range from 202 to 208 MOST days. That is a 200+ loss. My all-time low was 197. I know I will never see my goal of 185 without removal of LOTS of excess skin/tissue. But, I have also gone from a 36W or a 4X or 5X to a 14/16. I can also wear mediums in some stuff and larges in others. That is HUGE--being able to shop locally for all types of clothing! Trying stuff on in front of a mirror instead of shopping from a catalog... You all know what I mean!

I'm dealing with iron deficiency and will probably start iron infusion therapy soon. I'm getting my vitamin D up finally--51! I was down to 11 a year ago!

I have fallen off the calcium supplement wagon and only recently realized it. I hadn't taken a dose in almost two months! I had a routine before we moved from WV in June. I took them without fail, twice a day, EVERY day. Then, packing, moving, getting settled--my routine as broken, my supplements not located where they had been... Ugh! I just got them back in their place, took a dose and will start working to get back on track there.

I still battle DAILY with constipation.... How about you guys?? Had both knees scoped this past month and with the pain pills, that was even worse. Just getting back to normal (for me) now.

Eating....not sure I want to discuss that! LOL Confession time... I'm eating too many carbs (mostly complex, but still too many) and not really enough protein. I have changed my night-time snack from carbs (junk food) to nuts and or cheese, so hat is progress I suppose. But, still need to really get my eating back on track.

I moved from my home of the past 10 years, and my really strong WLS support group in June. I am back close to my immediate family, but they are not exactly the most wls friendly folks. Their eating habits are atrocious! And, they do NOT want to hear about it either. I have no support group here yet either. Heck, I only just found a new doctor Aug 27th! I'm still sort of stuck between home in WV and my interim home here. We are renting till we find/buy a house and go through another huge move. Everything seems sort of "in limbo" if you know what I mean. I think that is part of what has me so off track in everything.

Dr. Shieh, my new bariatric doc AND Labs results...UGH!

I saw Dr. Moses Shieh on 8/27. He seems to be a knowledgeable bariatric doc and even has a lab routine I can live with. I as impressed at his list of periodic labs as compared to what so many other docs request. He was happy with my surgery outcome and the fact that I've lost and kept off over 200 pounds. We talked about my iron concerns and he seems to agree that iron infusions are going to be necessary to get my numbers up again. He does want to start trying all iron supplement options again though and find one I can tolerate long term so that we can keep the numbers up once we get them there via infusions.

He ordered my labs and was going to do an EDG scope on 9/2 but had a family emergency and had to leave town, so the scope was cancelled for now. I had told him that I had reason to think my stoma may be enlarged and allowing food to pass more quickly than it did originally.

My lab results showed that my HCT and HGB were both low (lower than in Feb 09) and my Ferritin is at 6.7. It was 5.4 in February, so all the attempts at supplementation and the single dose of IV iron did practically nothing. Now that I have insurance again, I am hot to get that iron infusion therapy going. I am not going to take any chances on losing insurance again and not being able to pursue that option. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired! I feel SOOOOOOO tired all the time with my iron in the crapper!


Mine have hurt for YEARS! In 1984, I injured my right knee in a bicycle accident. I used it (my knee) to stop a bike which ended up having no brakes. I stopped at the bottom of the hill when I hit a car fender with my knee. OUCH!! I have had a water pocket on it ever since then--25 years. And, since then, I have favored that knee and put more weight and strain on my left knee. UNTIL 1999, October to be exact, when I fell down some steps and totally wrenched my left knee. I'm talking wrenched, literally...twisted that puppy round and went down. And, in October of 2000, repeat! I re-injured that same knee in a fall down a longer set of stairs. We don't know whether I blacked out for a sec or the knee just went out from under me, but the result was the same either way.

Fast forward all these years and factor in the loss of 200 pounds. For all those years, 25 of them, I was using injured knees. And, for all but the last 3 years, I was packing around all that extra weight. Both knees were arthritic and bone on bone when I had my RNY. I was having cortisone shots in both knees every 3 mos like clockwork. Then, I stopped that in March of 2007 when I had the last set of shots. I hadn't had much problem with either knee since then. I have exercised, walked in marathon relays and other walking events. I was walking 3.5 miles every day Monday through Friday in less than 50 minutes each day. Almost all of a sudden, I started having pain in my left knee on a daily basis. It ached so badly at night. I finally gave in and sought medical attention. After xrays and an MRI, it was decided that it was primarily torn meniscus that was at fault and that the best fix was arthroscopy and trimming up the tears to get rid of the ragged edges that were probably the cause of most of the pain. They put cortisone shots in both knees and scheduled the surgery.

I had the left knee scoped on 8/18. It went fairly well. It was painful, but I was able to put weight on it after a few days and get back to normal stuff with minimal pain after a week or so. It went well enough actually that when I went for my followup appointment on 8/28, I asked about doing the right knee as well as it had begun bothering me more since the surgery on the left knee and the favoring of that knee again. One doc said "let's do an MRI and some xrays and see what we are dealing with..." His partner, who scoped the left knee, said, "Nah, let's just get in there and clean it up. It is probably just about the same as the other was..."

I had the right knee scoped on 9/1. I was told afterwards that I had "lots of tears in the cartilage..." It has been MUCH more painful and was very stiff to begin with. Since then, it has begun this lovely popping/clicking noise with each and every step I take. My brother says it is "musical, like mine" as he has the same issue in one of his knees--the clicking. The doc says it is still very inflamed and needs anti-inflammatories (such as NSAIDs...) and ice and time. I'm not patient, so the time has been hard. I am not supposed to take NSAIDs as an RNY postop, so that hasn't been easy either. Ice...well, getting back to that lack of patience, you sort of have to sit around and be patient for ice to work, right? Not happening very much! So, to get the pain and stiffness and clicking taken care of, I am going to do a hopefully short round of anti-inflammatories and see what happens. If I don't notice any improvement in a few days, we'll see what the doc says on 9/11 when I go back for followup.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Think I've found a new bariatric doc...

As some of you may know, but many may not, once you have had surgery with a bariatric doc, it can be HARD to find a new doc who will take you on as a patient. When I found out I was moving back to Florida, I contacted my surgeon. He has contacts seemingly everywhere, so I had hoped he would have a comrade here that I could use once I got moved. No Such Luck! SO, I was on my own once we got here to try and find a doc that would take me AND a support group. I think (fingers crossed) that I have done both now! I am waiting for the doc to get my surgical report from Dr. S and will see what he says! It looks good. Plus, the hospital he works out of has a support group every month. I missed it this month, but will be there with bells on next month and hope to have good things to report there. It won't be MY support group and my surgery buddies and angels, but I can work to help make it what I like a support group to be! I'll have those folks thinking marathon by next year!! LOL

Sameo, Sameo...

And, as the saying goes, life goes on... I'm still job hunting. Hubby has two job offers but can't go till he gets done with these IV antibiotics. Our older daughter is doing better now that her life is on a more even keel and people aren't messing with her on a daily basis. Verbal abuse SUCKS! Mandy, our youngest, will start school Aug 24th--her senior year. So, we'll be sucked in to the senior rush of portraits, ordering announcements, college applications, and more! But, it should be a good year anyway. She's got good grades, solid plans for the future, and is a bright kid who seems to test pretty well (great ACT and SAT scores!). Matthew, the world's greatest grandbaby, is growing so fast! He has like 9 or 10 teeth now and is always on the go now that he's walking.

He's loving life here away from the cigarette smoke and with his mom under so much less stress.

My weight? Well, that is at a standstill again... No biggie--not losing or gaining. I am not exercising either due to the knee, so not gaining is good!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

And yet MORE before pics!

It is a wonder the stuff you find when you move and are in the process of packing and unpacking..... Some stuff should never see the light of day again. Some should have been trashed or donated a long time ago. And, still yet more stuff has been totally forgotten over the years. I stumbled upon a couple more "before" photos today!

This one was taken in June of 1991. I didn't yet know it, but I was just barely pregnant with my youngest (who was born Feb 92). Eliza (shown with me in the pic) was 2 and had a blast that day. We were on a road trip with my hubby in the tractor-trailer. He was hauling a load of watermelons from LaBelle, FL to Memphis, TN. We stopped along the way from time to time to be tourists--something we don't get much chance to do. This particular day, we toured the USS Alabama, a battleship from years gone by that is permanently docked at Mobile, AL. Eliza had a ball going up and down the corridors of the ship and climbing on bunks and such. There is also a submarine on site (the USS Drum I believe it was).

Then, there is this one... It was taken in the fall (Oct or Nov) of 1999 while at the CHADD conference. We were out sightseeing this particular day and, as you can see, this was taken in front of the White House. I probably weighed in the neighborhood of 350 to 370 at that time.

I am so happy to say that this is no longer me! I can't believe I waited so long to do anything about my weight.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

You're Not Done Losing Till YOU Say You're Done...

There was a post on OH lately that stated that the person was 2 years postop from RNY and still 60 pounds from their goal weight. They asked what info could be shared about losing weight in the 18 mos to 2 year postop timeframe and that they really wanted to lose that last 60 pounds. One response to that post stated that you are not done till you say you're done. I really liked that attitude... If you give up, then you probably are done. If you stop really trying,then you probably are done. BUT, until YOU decide that this is it and you are not going to try anymore, then you are not necessarily done losing weight! We are told over and over that the surgery we had merely gives us a tool which we can use to lose weight. That tool is there for the rest of our lives. What we are often missing though is the motivation to USE that tool.

At any time, we can decide to utilize this weapon against fat! We can go back to what we've been taught and start using that tool/weapon again. We can eat properly, boost our protein intake, and increase our exercise. It really can be just that simple!

I post this because I am in that spot right now. I've moved, as you know already, from the hills of West Virginia (the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains) back to the flatlands of southern Florida. Walking is easier. Biking is more possible--even with my old bone-on-bone knees... I truly have no excuse for not exercising. Now, I am trying to DO it. I've gone from walking 2.5 miles per day Monday to Friday at about a 3.5 mph pace to walking almost 3.5 miles Monday to Friday at that same 3.5 mph pace. I am going to ride my bike today if the sky doesn't fall early (it rains most afternoons here). My sister and her best friend walk (at a MUCH slower pace) most evenings just before dark while their kids are riding bikes. I may start doing that too. It is just a matter of deciding that I want to do it, I am worth it, and it will help me AND make me feel better. I have made that decision. I am ready to do it. Let's just see how it goes!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009, houses, peace!

Moving sucks...even when it is for good reasons! All the stress! Packing. Loading. Moving. Unloading. UnPACKing! UGH!! Then, the real stress of finding a job and finding a house to buy. It never ends! Toss in the daily stress of living with two teenage and 20-something girls and a toddler and life gets even more fun!

Did I mention that my name is now "somebody"?? "Somebody has to wash the dishes..." "Somebody come help me do ___________." "Somebody needs to wash clothes..." Yep, somehow I always end up being the one to do whatever it is that needs done. So, that makes me chief cook, bottlewasher, dishwasher, laundress, housewife/cleanup crew, and all on top of trying to find a job and look for a house to buy! Talk about someone who needs a CALGON moment!

Friday, July 10, 2009

before pictures....found a couple!

I've always made sure I was the one TAKING the pictures just so that I didn't have tons of pics with my big ole butt in them. I hated seeing pictures of myself when I was heavier. So, that made finding any full body "before" pics hard to do. As we moved though, I came across these... They ain't pretty!

This first one was from the Spring of 1997. We were at a get together for my hubby's family. It was the first time I ever met those folks in the picture and was the last time I've ever been around them. They live over in northern Ohio and we have always been somewhere else. We actually made that trip because my own grandmother had passed away and she lived in Columbus...

Then, the second picture I found was from my student teaching during the fall of 1998. I look so danged happy in this picture!

Thankfully, those are BEFORE pics and not current pics! Here's a pic of me at my current size just for perspective:

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Almost TWO months!

I just realized that as I posted a bit ago, it had been almost two whole months since my last post! WOW! Why, you may be asking????

Well, life is CRAZY here right now!
1) My daughter's divorce is not going really smoothly.
2) We're doing visitation every week, three days a week for 5 hours each day.
3) We got an offer and sold our house.
4) We're preparing to move back to Florida after 10 years here in WV.
5) We're packing and selling and packing and selling......
6) The 4-H cookbook finally went off to press with over 600 recipes!
7) 4-H camp is THIS WEEK!

I still had boxes that were never unpacked from our move in December of 1999... Granted, they were my good dishes that I never got a reason to use. But, they were still wrapped and packed from our last move! We have accumulated SO much junk in 10 more years. Where did it all come from? Why have we kept it so long? So much of it has been trashed, sold, or given away that I wonder why we ever packed it in here in the first place! Don't get me wrong, the extra cash from the stuff we've sold was cool... But, it probably would have been better to just keep the cash we paid for it way back when! LOL

And, OMG, the sorting! I have to pass on all the 4-H stuff to whoever will be taking over my club's leadership. I have tried not to save too much soapmaking stuff, so have been eBaying like crazy to move it out of here. I have a local lady who will take a bunch too, but haven't been able to even get her on the phone! I gave away a bunch of sample products I'd gotten to try formulating new recipes. Just passed them on to other soap and body product makers to play with.

CLOTHES! Wow, where do they all come from?? When I lost my weight, I gave away over 200 pounds of my own clothing. Now, as we go through drawers and closets for my girls, there is probably over 100 pounds of stuff that they are ready to give away.

And books! OMG, so many books! I am a history teacher. That doesn't help, but I have an entire 18" x 18" x 12" box stuffed full of cookbooks! That doesn't count all the stuff I've printed or written down over the years either! I didn't get to weigh 410 pounds without loving to cook! LOL

Add to all of this, the clutter of 41 years of living..... Well, 41 for me! I have SO MUCH STUFF!! Ugh!

We finally wrapped up the 4-H cookbook and ended up with 600 recipes! WOW was all I could say as I typed the list of recipes.... WOW!! That book will be a hit and I won't even be here to get one.... I'll have to leave a padded envelope with someone to send me one!

4-H camp is this week. I am the president of the Leaders Association, and camp planning was my responsibility. I was also to teach classes this week at camp, but with the move have had to find others to take that chore. Wow, my last 4-H camp... My girls are pretty much grown. Mandy could do 4-H for 3 or 4 more years (age out of program at 21), but really doesn't show enough interest to stick with it once we move and she has cousins to hang out with again... So, this may be the end of my time in 4-H unless I lead a craft group or some other specialty group in FL. It has been fun and I've made lots of friends who I will truly miss...

Emotional Aftermath of WLS...

In an interesting post yesterday by Therese (Miss Redd) over at OH, the term "emotional aftermath" was used in reference to the period after WLS when we all have such turbulent emotions as we attempt to get used to living in the "normal" world without so much extra weight to pack around... It was discussed how the journey is more than just a period of weight loss. It is a time of really finding ourself all over again. We were fat for SO long. During that time, we were rejected for various reasons. We were too fat. We were unable to do things. We were unhealthy. We had no self-esteem or confidence. Sometimes it was other doing the rejecting. Sometimes it was just our beating ourselves up.

Now, as we lose the weight and take our lives back, we still beat ourself up! We are still fat in our heads and will probably always feel that way. Once the fat chick, always the fat chick--even if only in our own mind... We still struggle with SO many things. And it is more than just not really feeling comfy shopping in the juniors or misses department at the clothing store!

I related a story about shopping for cars. I looked at cars I would never, ever have even glanced at before solely based upon the proximity of my belly to the steering wheel! Someone else told about skipping a pedicure with friends because of her weight. We can get so depressed even after losing the weight that we stop going out and being with others! How can we get past this? I truly think that the emotional impact of the weight loss journey needs to be addressed more before surgery is performed. They want to know that we can deal with the eating changes that are required before they do the surgery. How about starting to help deal with the thinking changes???

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Biggest Loser Addicts Step Forward

My name is Lea and I am addicted to The Biggest Loser!

I have my DVR set to record all new episodes! So, yeah, I am an addict too! And I don't delete them right away after I watch them either! I sometimes watch them again before I delete them...

I really like Tara and her dedication and commitment, but I hate her attitude. She can be such a bitch sometimes! And, the way she acted about Laura going home... It truly was in Laura's best interest as she would not have gotten better on campus because she would not have stayed off of that leg.

Mike and Kristen were my favorites though. I can relate to Kristen, especially since I started at 410 pounds and truly felt helpless and perhaps like I didn't really deserve it. It kills me that just when she finally realized that she DOES deserve it, she ends up going home. That sucked! And, we know she won't do quite as well at home as she was at the ranch. Mike is becoming a bit arrogant as he sees the competition thinning a bit. But, does he have the percentages that Tara does? I think she's at 41% and he's only at about 39%. That can change rapidly if she slows down and he keeps going steadily, but who knows! Tara lost 5 pounds this week! She's down to what--one seventy something? 5 pounds of that is a LOT compared to the same amount for someone who is still like 235 or so. Tara is also at a point where she is converting to muscle and I'm surprised she lost so much this week!

Centers of Excellence--Same death and complication rates...

Some insurance companies require that you go through a Center of Excellence for them to cover bariatric procedures. Why is that? Well, we assume it is because they are the best of the best and really know their stuff, right?? And, by that way of thinking, you'd also expect much lower rates for complications and deaths as a postop. BUT, according to a recent study by Dr. Edward Livingston of the University of Texas Southwestern School of Medicine, that is NOT the case! He writes, "Designation as a bariatric surgery center of excellence does not ensure better outcomes."

Livingston's study, which appears in The Archives of Surgery, analyzed data from patients who had surgery in 2005--19363 total patients and 5420 who utilized a center of excellence. Of those people, the patients who had surgery at a bariatric center of excellence had a death rate of 0.17% and a complication rate of 6.3%. Of the patients who did NOT use a bariatric center of excellence, the rates were a death rate of .09% and a complication rate of 6.4%. So, despite the fact that centers of excellence are usually better staffed and more costly to run, their outcomes are not better! The extra cost is apparently not warranted.

This information is quoted in a Reuters news article.

Did you have to use a bariatric center of excellence? Was it your insurance company's stipulation? or was it the only choice in your area? When you compare your experience with that of others, do you think things were better or went more smoothly? Do you think it made a difference?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Baby Bubbles...

There is nothing more enjoyable than a small baby's first bubble bath! Here's a few moments from the world's greatest grandbaby's first bubble experience!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

What have YOU lost??

I've lost an average adult man AND an automobile tire!


Your weight loss =

1 pound = a Guinea Pig
1.5 pounds = a dozen Krispy Kreme glazed donuts
2 pounds = a rack of baby back ribs
3 pounds = an average human brain
4 pounds = an ostrich egg
5 pounds = a Chihuahua
6 pounds = a human’s skin
7.5 pounds = an average newborn
8 pounds = a human head
10 pounds= chemical additives an American consumes each year
11 pounds = an average housecat
12 pounds = a Bald Eagle
15 pounds = 10 dozen large eggs
16 pounds = a sperm whale’s brain
20 pounds = an automobile tire
23 pounds = amount of pizza an average American eats in a year
24 pounds = a 3-gallon tub of super premium ice cream
25 pounds = an average 2 year old
30 pounds = amount of cheese an average American eats in a year
33 pounds = a cinder block
36 pounds = a mid-size microwave
40 pounds = a 5-gallon bottle of water or an average human leg
44 pounds = an elephant’s heart
50 pounds = a small bale of hay
55 pounds = a 5000 BTU air conditioner
60 pounds = an elephant’s penis (yep, weights more than his heart!)
66 pounds = fats and oils an average American eats in a year
70 pounds = an Irish Setter
77 pounds = a gold brick
80 pounds = the World’s Largest Ball of Tape
90 pounds = a newborn calf
100 pounds = a 2 month old horse
111 pounds = red meat an average American eats in a year
117 pounds = an average fashion model (and she’s 5’11”)
118 pounds = the complete Encyclopedia Britannica
120 pounds = amount of trash you throw away in a month
130 pounds = a newborn giraffe
138 pounds = potatoes an average American eats in a year
140 pounds = refined sugar an average American eats in a year
144 pounds = an average adult woman (and she’s 5’4”)
150 pounds = the complete Oxford English Dictionary
187 pounds = an average adult man
200 pounds = 2 Bloodhounds
235 pounds = Arnold Schwarzenegger
300 pounds = an average football lineman
400 pounds = a Welsh pony

Monday, April 13, 2009

What is UP with my weight?

Well, I am running out of ideas... I am starting to think it is just my lack of exercise as I've tried low-carbing it to dump the water weight and it worked, but not completely... I am staying in the 208 to 212 range now, which is up about 5 pounds from my normal range for the last year or more. I normally range between 202 and 207. I always go up a few before "that time of the month" when I retain water and then lose it almost as soon as I start. No biggie and not stressing! But, this weight gain seems to be sticking, so perhaps it is more the winter of non-exercise than anything else? Thankfully, the weather has warmed and it is getting easier to get outside and move! This and getting ready for the half-marathon at Chicago on August 2nd may just get me back on track! If you are interested, Mandy and I are planning to do the Rock N Roll half-marathon at Chicago. Here's a link for more info! They have the COOLEST medal for this event!

Comment here if you're thinking of going too!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Finally! 21st century time!

I swear, for the last 10 years, I have crawled along at the speed of snail when it comes to internet surfing! Try to watch a You-Tube video at 21.6 kbps! It is NOT happening! But, click over there at 10 mbps and things go great! How in the world did we make it SO long at such a slow connection speed? I mean I have lived in the boonies for the last 18 years and have had no internet or slow-ass internet for the entire time. Now, I finally got satellite internet and am entering the 21st century!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

La, La, La, La Life goes on...

As the song says, La, la, la, la Life Goes On!! Two and a half years ago--Aug 29, 2006, I had gastric bypass weight loss surgery and began the journey of a lifetime. I started at 410 pounds. I now range between 202 and 205 on most any given day. I am literally HALF the person I was, physically. I can do so much more! I DO do much more than ever before. I have severe hypothyroidism and I've been overweight literally all my young adult and adult life. Now, I may still be what the antiquated BMI tables deem to be "obese," but I am living life and loving every day.

I think often of how my life would be different now if I still carried the 205 pounds I've left behind. I would still be sitting home every day full of body pain from the many ailments I dealt with. I would still be taking at least the 9 different prescription meds I took before my weight loss, if not more. I would not be working and helping support my family, which is doubly important in times like these! I would not be leading a 4-H club and the president of our 4-H leaders association. I would not be attending the support group meetings and participating in athletic events with fellow support group members. I would simply be existing, not living.

I still struggle with body image... In my head some days, I am still that 410 pound person I used to be. I still can't believe that I can go into most any store and find things that are nice and that fit well. I can not tell you how many years it has been since that was the case! How do you get past that fat-thinking about your self? How do you not do a double take when you see your own reflection in a store window or the side of someone's shiny new car and think--"Oh, who is that? She LOOKS like me, but that can't BE me! She's so small....." UGH!

Lots of things are going on right now... Hubby is being forced to change jobs yet again by a downturned economy and its effects on the trucking industry. Our older daughter and her infant son (AKA "world's greatest grandbaby") have moved home and she's in the middle of what looks to be an ugly divorce. Our younger daughter is coping with a serious weight gain this past year, tough courses at school, and facing her senior year next year which means taking the SAT and the ACT as well as preparing for graduation and all that this involves. Me, I'm working to help make ends meet, helping the older daughter swim upriver in the divorce court setting, and trying to help my younger daughter cope with life and all its challenges--both mental and physical. Hubby and I don't get to spend a lot of time together, so at times it can feel like it is all dumped on me (he is an over-the-road trucker). It is a lot like being a single mom! In the meanwhile, I am trying to get back on track with exercise and just keep my weight loss where it is--no regain is acceptable! I don't hyperfocus on those 3 or 4 pounds you gain overnight from time to time as I know that it is water weight and can be shed by counting carbs for a bit... I don't stress over getting to a "normal" BMI as I know it is not physically possible for my body/frame after 20 years of packing around 200+ extra pounds. BUT, I do strive to eat well, follow my dietician's guidelines and getting my protein and fluids in each and EVERY day. Beyond that, upping my exercise is about all I can do other than trying to keep the other stressors under control. Spring is here, though you can't tell it with the snow we're having today. I am hopeful that as I am able to get outdoors and exercise more (love working in my garden since I am now able!) that other things will start to fall in line again as well. Maybe just getting my own head on straight will help the others in my life?

Did I mention that we (myself and my younger daughter) are doing a half marathon in August in Chicago??? We've just barely begun to prepare for it, but we're going to do it! Anyone want to join us?? Hey, we are in West Virginia. If we can drive 10 hours for this, then some of you can do it too!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Susan G Komen Race for the Cure

I've been really slacking in the exercise arena this last few months... Lots of winter weather doesn't help, but today it is sunny and in the upper 70s here despite the fact that tomorrow is supposed to be rain and turn to snow (ugh--isn't it April?) on Tuesday. SO, we went for a walk. We stuck the world's greatest grandbaby in his stroller and off we went! Mandy and I used to walk this route often but it has been at least 6 mos since we did it last. It is 1 1/2 miles each way--both up and down hill each way too. Not bad considering how long it has been for both of us AND we were pushing the stroller as well. We used to do it at a 14 minute mile pace. We've got a lot of room for improvement now, but we'll get the pace we'd need for the half-marathon we're doing in August in Chicago... Anyone want to join us?? I'll get details if you're interested! And yes, this is a trip for us as we're in West Virginia. The support group I am part of does some fundraising and travels as a group for these events. That is the only way we're able to participate!

I've also signed us up for Team Medabolix for the Charleston, WV 5K event for the Susan G Komen Race for a Cure. That is May 2nd (a Saturday) at 9 am. Cost is $15 till 4/18 and then is $25. If you are from this area and can join us, please click over to our team page and join us!! That link is: =294247&lis=1&kntae294247=40BBE936D1CC4A52A27F70840AFCF55E&s upId=252454169&team=3375652

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Life! Work, divorce, grandbaby...

So, I've spent some time reading other WLS blogs lately and I am noticing how over the first year or so things are all about the journey. How much weight have they lost? How far out are they? How many pants sizes have they dropped? Where are they finding the greatest clothing buys, etc? Then, over that latter part of the first year postop, their blog entries turn to more stuff about the real world and things that are going on in their life instead of just the hows and whats of their WLS journey. I read one blog that had nothing whatsoever about their WLS journey in the first 3 pages of blog entries... If it hadn't mentioned WLS in the blog description, you never would have known or guessed.

I've noticed the same thing about a lot of my posts lately. My last post, for example, was just about getting high speed internet FINALLY! The post before that was about how much time had passed (most of a month) since I'd last posted a blog entry. Granted, the one just prior to that was a link to Andrea's vitamin post at OH, but they are a bit more spaced than they used to be! SO, I am going to try and make more effort to document how WLS still affects my life these days...

But, in the meanwhile (LOL), another life update!
Work--I'm working more days than not lately. I don't know of any real full-time teaching slots for next year yet, but the substitute thing is still good and will always be there. There just aren't any benefits!

Divorce--Not mine! My daughter is getting divorced and we have an emergency hearing tomorrow for the judge to decide whether her husband gets any specified visitation time with their baby (AKA the world's greatest grandbaby) during the divorce proceedings. And, last night her hubby revealed that his mother plans to try and get custody of the baby. Apparently she thinks that she is better able to raise him than his own mother. Her 3 sons are obvious proof that this is not the case. They are 17 (18 in June I think), 18 and 20 and not one of them has a high school diploma, a driver's license OR a job! They are all living off of their parents who live off of SSI and food stamps. Oh, and the occasional student loan (his mom) for many thousand dollars that she's stated she has no intent of paying back... Must be nice to fraud the government and feel like you're still a fine, upstanding person who is better able to raise a child in this world. What a start that gives a child in today's demanding world. Heck, this very lifestyle is at the core of the divorce. Our daughter was raised in a different world--a world where people support themself and don't wait for a monthly check to pay the bills. She was raised to believe that we grow up, educate ourselves, and move out into the world to make our own way. We don't sit around and let someone else take care of us and pay our bills. She is powerfully motivated now to get away from his family and their lifestyle and to get her college education and move on with her life. We're so glad she finally came to this point!

Grandbaby... What more can I say? He's just the world's greatest grandbaby! He's a great baby. He now has two teeth! He recently had both middle teeth from the bottom front break through. He's more stable on his feet and when sitting up now. He's starting to babble and talk more. He streaks through the house in his walker and is eating up a storm! He eats about 4 jars of baby food a day these days and still nurses as well. He's about 20 pounds and well over 2 feet tall (28" last time he was measured). Before we know it, he'll have enough teeth to chew finger foods and be walking on his own!

Coming into the 21st century! High Speed Adhead!

For YEARS, we have lived out in the boonies. For the most part, that is good... Privacy! Peace and quiet! No neighbors nosing around when you're not in a friendly mood... :-) But, when it also means living with the eternal slowness of DIALUP (gulp), it sucks! I've tried for the 10 years we've been in West Virginia to find access to some sort of high speed internet and have failed miserably. But, I am finally biting the bullet and going with satellite internet. They will be out Friday morning to install and we'll be surfing in the 21st century finally! I'm soooooo sick of 19.6 kbps. I mean really, it takes so long to load the average page that you can walk away to do something and come back before they finish loading! And videos like You-Tube and the like...get real! It ain't happening! You can't even get the darned things to load, let alone watch them!

There is so much of the internet that simply is not available when you live in dialup-hell.... We'll all be so much happier when this is done and working. I know my daughter will have an easier time with most of her college classes once it is in place. And, we'll be able to download files, watch videos, and more!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Wow, where DOES the time go?

Yes, I have been sick and I have been working, but DAMN! It has been 3 weeks since I posted! you guys know I go for days sometimes, but not normally THIS long! So, here goes the update!

Lots going on this last few weeks... As many of you know, our older daughter moved home back in December with her hubby and their baby (AKA world's greatest grandbaby). Things were good for a long time. But they began to disintegrate somewhere along the line and her hubby moved out on 3/10 without even telling her what was up... Then, he added himself back to his mom's food stamp case and filed for divorce! How weird is THAT! He did not even tell Eliza what was what till like 3/13...and filed on 3/16! SO, as he filed first and she was unaware till then, he got the legal aid group to represent him and he wants joint custody of the baby. He did next to nothing to help take care of the baby when they were together and now puts in the divorce papers that they shared the care of the baby equally while married. What a joke! And, he still isn't working (hasn't since like September) and has no ability to pay support. If it weren't for Medicaid, the little guy wouldn't have health insurance either. So, Josh moved home to his mommy and daddy's house where they will support him and allow him to just screw around and do nothing. Eliza is still at our home and taking college classes and trying to prepare to be a part of the GROWN UP WORLD!! She told him that he couldn't continue to live like that, but he probably will till his parents die or get sick of him freeloading on them. He has two younger brothers doing much the same thing though, so I guess they have a lot more patience for freeloading than my hubby and I ever did.

Eliza's got a great lawyer but had to pay a pricey retainer. He is young and enthusiastic and is getting paid for what he does (as opposed to the average pro bono/legal aid type representation) and will hopefully rock deal ole' Josh's world so that he rues the day he ever started this crap. I told Eliza last night that I wanted her to find someone who truly loves her for the person she is and not just what they feel she can get for or give to them. And, I want that person to love my little grandson as if he were their very own baby. She said she plans to do just that! She was really in a funk at first and didn't really even cry over losing Josh. I guess the writing's been on the wall for her for some time now. But, now she's got a good mad on and is out to set this right and make him support this baby.

She requested sole custody based upon how little he cared for the baby and how terrible the living situation is at her inlaws' home. The cigarette smoke is AWFUL! Those people smoke something like 5 cartons of cigarettes per week! And they do most of it right inside the house where the baby lives and breathes. We had a crib at that house while they were living there--painted white... Needless to say after 6 or so months in THAT house, there is this ugly yellow nicotine stain all over it. It is disgusting! And that poor baby was forced to breathe that air day in and day out. I would be ashamed to find something like that being forced on a baby.... Ever seen that new tobacco prevention commercial with all the little plastic babies crawling around a city sidewalk? In the end, one of them rolls over and the words on their belly are revealed to the camera. It says something like "How do babies avoid second hand smoke?" Then, the second line is "eventually they begin to crawl..." If the people don't have sense enough to keep the smoke away from them, eventually they try to get away from it themselves.... Pitiful!

SO, with that said, she has a hearing on Thursday 4/2 for an emergency motion that Josh filed (well, his mommy filled it out and he signed it). It is for the court to make visitation arrangements because, according to this document they filled out, Eliza is keeping him from seeing the baby and plans to move him out of state. Hah! He has not even showed up on our doorstep and asked to see the baby! But, he'd have to drive 30 miles and they just can't afford the gas. They expect Eliza to call them, arrange a visit AND transport back and forth so that they can see him I guess? All this while he still is not supporting them! Ugh.... Or, as a favorite cartoon character says, "Oh, the humanity!" LOL If I wanted to see my child, then I would haul my lazy ass out there to see him--whether his mom approved at first or not! At least I could tell the court that I tried and she refused! Instead, he can tell the judge, "well, your honor, I sat at my mommy's house and Eliza never brought the baby to see me....." Yeah, that is going to go over well! And, as for the moving out of state part, he got this somehow from us talking 2 or 3 mos ago about maybe going to Florida over spring break to see my mom who STILL has not seen her only great grandbaby despite buying him a crib, a stroller, a car seat, a playpen, clothes, and more! Josh's mom and step dad had given him a used baby swing someone gave them and just barely kept him in diapers while they lived with them. I had to pay for diapers more than once in order for him to have enough!

I'm already sick of this situation. My hubby is sick of it and worried that she'll get too stressed and it cause her problems with her classes. Hubby is also worried that if she feels in jeopardy of things going wrong that she'll go back to him to save some trouble. But, deep in my heart, I feel she's got her head screwed on right (finally!) after 2 years time. And, I think she's just upset enough at the way he's done her to follow through and make him pay. There are some illicit behaviors on his part that have apparently been going on behind the scenes for quite some time... We'll see what the judge thinks of those when it comes time to decide the custody situation--on top of the unhealthy living conditions and the total lack of financial support!

SO, with all that said, you can still wonder why I haven't posted????? Well, I just finished a third round of antibiotics for this crud I had in my chest and head... I did a 10 day round of 875 mg amoxicillin. Then, about a week later, I did a 10 day round of Doxycyline. Just about the time I finished those, I was starting to feel a bit better, but went downhill quickly afterwards. SO, another week or two go by and I am really sick again. Back to the doctor. I told him that with each round of meds, just as I reached the end and started to feel better, I was done. And, I really think it is the malabsorption keeping the meds from working to the maximum expectations. I asked him to prescribe something strong for a longer period of time and he gave me a 3 week round of Bactrim and said, "You better start getting the yogurt in!" LOL Now, as I finished this round, I truly feel better already. I didn't take that last pill thinking, well, so much for that! I really feel like I may finally kick this thing! Doc wanted to xray my sinuses and make sure there's no blockage there keeping me from healing. I decided to wait and see what happened with this round of meds and go from there. If I don't get sick again in the next week or so, I'll consider myself healed!

Oh, and I need to review those Maine Cottage Foods no-sugar chocolate bars. Those things ROCK!!
More later!!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Vitamin Info for WLS Postops...

Vitamins are a way of life for WLS postops. We have to take them and we have to take it seriously. When things go wrong, they can go VERY wrong! A fellow WLS postop who tries to help inform the masses posted a great piece over on OH that I thought I'd share a link to so you can all check it out! Check it out and let Andrea know you appreciate it!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Confession is good for the soul...

That is what they say anyway! Confession and that purging is good for your soul and your emotional being... Well, it is TIME! LOL On Monday, I have a 2 1/2 year postop visit with my surgeon. And, at that visit, I will be forced to admit to about a 10 pound overall gain from my weight one year ago. I hit my all time low of 197 in March of 2008, but it was a split second before I was back at 200 and stayed there pretty much for good with only a 2 to 5 pound float most of the time. I'd gain a few pounds just before my period each month with the water gain. I lose that most months literally the second day of my period. Some months my calorie intake would be up a bit and I'd gain some, but as it fluctuated over time (the calorie intake), the weight would level back out. All in all, I have stayed between 200 and 205 since last March.

I have never been a diligent exercise person. I live out in the boonies on top of a hill. It is 30 minutes to "town" and the nearest place to exercise. I don't have much to work with at home and the "gym" in town is sort of a joke. The cost is as much as if it were a Bally's or a 24 Hour Fitness, but the equipment sure isn't! LOL So, I garden in the spring. I live life. And, when I get the chance, I do a bit more. Every time I run errands or go shopping, I park at the end of the lot and I walk more while I'm out. I carry my own animal feed and groceries as much as possible. I load and unload 8 or 10 cases of bottled water when I make the trip to Sam's Club. You get the drill! I do laundry, household chores, climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator, and just take the opportunities life presents to do a bit more and burn a few calories.

I eat reasonably well. I try to always think protein first. I nix the bread whenever possible. We (as a family) rarely do pasta. If we do pizza, we make it at home with a whole wheat crust and lots of protein goodies on top. We enjoy meats, healthy veggies, hearty casseroles and crockpot dishes. I have always loved to cook and started adapting my cooking years ago when my hubby started dealing with type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.

Then came the carbs... There is no other excuse. Lately, we have had some stressful stuff going on at home. Hubby's job layoff and job change. My own slow-down after the holidays as a substitute school teacher. Both of those, coupled with taking in our older daughter, her hubby and their infant son (our grandson), lent a lot of stress to our life as we tromped through the downturned economy with fewer dollars in our pockets and more bills in our hands waiting to be paid... Add in some health issues (that couldn't be addressed while we had no health insurance) and things were even more stressful at times. I've been in a funk a lot lately and I've been in that snacky mood much more often than in the past 2 1/2 years. SO, I've been snacking and not on things that would normally be okay. A snack is not a snack if it is a planned part of your daily intake, right? Well, telling yourself it is time for your planned snack BUT eating a couple good-sized handfuls of Sun Chips is not the same thing! The snack that may have been 15 grams of protein in about 180 cals and 14 to 18 carbs in the past is suddenly 300 cals, many more carbs and maybe 7 or 8 grams of protein... Those carbs beget more carbs at mealtime. Pasta and rice creep back in. Then bread becomes okay again. Instead of one slice used for a sandwich, you now eat a whole sandwich--more bread, less room for protein rich stuff in between. Instead of pepperoni crisps and cheese, you have tortilla chips and salsa. Instead of a protein bar, you have pretzels and peanut butter. At bedtime, instead of a small dish of something like ricotta fluff, perhaps you have no-sugar-added ice cream OR a couple (ugh) cookies. But, you only ate it because everyone else was having some.... Yeah right! You ate it because you wanted it. You ate it because you have been on such a carb fest that you just can't say no anymore!

BUT, at some point, it has to stop! For me, this doctor's appointment is going to be that breaking point. I should have already called it quits. I should have been carb-detoxing for weeks already. I know what it takes to get back on track. All I have to do is DO IT. SO, it is time!
Step one--CONFESS!!
Step two--Get motivated to change things.
Step three--Make those changes.

So, I confess! I have been eating WAY too many carbs lately. I have just eaten whatever I felt like eating. I have not been planning my meals or our family dinners like I normally do. It has impacted my eating AND my grocery shopping for the whole family. The items in the house are not what they normally would be. There are always the makings for something sweet if we take a notion, but it is something like a protein enriched cookie (see my recipes here). It is not a pan of gooey cinnamon rolls or a scrumptious chocolate cake. What is there now is more the junk food sort of thing and I've eaten some of it too, not just allowed the rest of them to have it in the house. I'm not focusing on protein enough. My February labs showed that my protein number slipped a hair lower than the last set of labs. Not a huge drop...Not an OMG moment... Just a drop. But, it was a drop and that drop means that it is time to get back with the program before the drop is more significant. AND, worst of all, my weight is up. Granted, I am on my period and was fully dressed when I weighed myself, but my weight this morning was 215! OMG! I have seen numbers that started with 21_ before, but not more than 211 or 212 and normally at the end of a day full of liquid intake and proper meals. Days that were followed by waking up the next day to a more reasonable number like say 206... But, this MORNING it said 215. I know I'm constipated from starting the iron supplementation again, but surely it can't be THAT bad!

Get motivated to change things...
I'm motivated! 215 pounds is enough to motivate me, believe me! That and the thought of Dr. S seeing that number or anything even over 210 on Monday is enough to motivate me thoroughly! SO, this is war! Time to purge! And, heck, maybe some exercise might not hurt either???

Make those changes...
Fortunately, the weather is supposed to be mild this weekend, so I had planned to walk or bike some anyway. Maybe I'll stick the world's most adorable grandbaby in the stroller and go for a few miles! Can't hurt! And, I've been being pretty good about my food so far today. For breakfast, I had my normal high fiber Quaker oats with protein powder. Then, for lunch, I had cheese and pepperoni crisps. My snacks today have been some pecans and a package of Kay's Naturals Protein Os cereal (french vanilla flavor). Not exactly carb free, but a heck of a lot better than some days! When I get home from school today, I'll mix up some Ricotta Fluff and I'll boil some eggs. The hens are laying already, so we've got plenty! Supper tonight... I'll have to think on that one a bit. I've got some browned ground beef in the fridge. Maybe I'll toss that in a pot and make some chili... No cornbread! The rest of them can have something else, but it is time to get down to business!

Another thing I want to work on is that I have noted lately that I have NO strength anymore in my upper body/arms. I want to start doing something about that. We have a weight bench and some barbell type weights at home, but they are outside. I bought the stuff to recover the bench and start using that once the weather is a teensy bit warmer. It is so cold right now still that you'd have to wear gloves just to even keep hold of the barbell. If you have or know of a good upper body weight workout, I'd love it if you'd share!

My goal?
By next week (3/9), I want to be back below 210 pounds and back up to 80-100 grams of protein every day. I've not failed on my liquid intake or my vites and such, so I'm good there. I just need to work on cutting the carbs back and getting the protein back up.
In two weeks time (3/19), I want to be back in the 202 to 208 range and staying there. I also want to be consistently meeting my protein goal each day. I'm going to do a half marathon in April, so I have to start walking again... That will help with everything!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Recipe: Lea's Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

I make all our pizza here at home since my surgery... We just didn't DO pizza for a very, very long time. The crust made me yak and it was bad for us all... Now, I make it here and I can control how thick the crust is and what goes into it and on top of it! I make this crust and make my crust VERY thin--think Pizza Hut's thin and crispy crust... I put pizza sauce, all kinds of meats, veggies and cheeses on top. My whole family loves it! I was printing it for a cookbook we're doing here locally for our 4-H clubs and I thought I'd pass it on!!

Lea's Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

Contributor: Lea Burnside
Club: Frametown Trailblazers

1 1/3 cups water
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons fast-acting yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 - 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
dash pepper and other seasoning you like to taste
2 tablespoons cornmeal

Add water (warm, not cold), yeast and sugar to mixer. Mix well.
Put dough hook on mixer.
Add all other ingredients BUT cornmeal and mix well.
Let dough hook knead mix till all is thoroughly mixed and no longer sticking to bowl. If too wet, add a bit more whole wheat flour till bowl is clean. If too dry (excess flour), drizzle in a bit more warm water till bowl is clean. Allow to knead a bit longer (10 minutes or so).
Spray a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray. Place pizza dough into bowl and roll around to coat with spray.
Cover with a clean dish towel or paper towels and place in a warm place. Allow to rise till doubled in size.
Punch down dough and allow to rest (5 minutes or so). While resting, spray pizza pan with non-stick spray and sprinkle cornmeal on pan.
In hands, stretch dough till it is spread to over half the size of your pizza pan. Then, place on pan and continue to spread it with your hands till it covers pan to edges. This amount of dough will cover a large round pan of at least 14" OR a 10" x 15" cookie sheet.
Top with pizza sauce and your choice of toppings and bake at 400 degrees till done.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

New Drug for Chronic Constipation...Amitiza

While at my PCP this week, I read a brochure for a new drug called Amitiza. It is for chronic constipation. It says that it is recommended for folks who have constipation issues for unknown reasons and suggests that these reasons might include things like bowels that move too slowly and bowels that absorb too much of the water from the stool, thereby making it too dry and too hard to pass. It is not a laxative and the recommended dosing is a twice daily dosage. My doctor's office had coupons to redeem with a prescription for a free two week supply.

The drug is supposed to help you retain more water IN the stool or increase the bowel juices so that it is easier to pass the stools.

I emailed several other WLS postops and asked if they'd heard of this new drug or of anyone using it after WLS. One person responded that she had been prescribed this drug by her gastro doctor and that she had started taking it once a day but now took it twice a day with positive results/comments. Another person commented that the description of the drug gave her reason to worry about the stools retaining too much of the body water and the body then becoming dehydrated in turn... This wouldn't necessarily be a problem in a person who stays properly hydrated in the first place. I know that I drink over a gallon of fluids every day and would never worry about this.

I have the coupon and prescription from my doctor. I will be getting it filled this weekend and will give it a try. One concern I do have is that my current insurance (expiring this weekend) wants prior approval on this drug. I'm not quite sure what other drugs they expect you to have tried first... LOL But, I will have different insurance on June 1st, and perhaps they will have a more liberal stand on it. If they do not, this drug will not be an option for me as a 30 day supply was going to be well over $100...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Free Chocolate Anyone??

I posted a couple days ago about Maine Cottage Foods and their totally low-carb chocolate goodies... I contacted them and they told me the following:

We have a "Just a Taste" sampler which is a single Teenie of every flavor we make. We don't advertise that for sale but frequently include it as a freebie for new customers so that they can sample everything. If you could get your members to write in the comments section on the order form "Obesity Help Mini-Challenge" we could make sure that they get a free one of those on their first order.

There MAY be a discount coming soon! Stay tuned and I'll pass on info as I get it!

Free Kashi Frozen Entree

Kashi Foods has a coupon offer right now to get a coupon for a free Kashi frozen entree... Check it out!

Let us know if you try something new and decide you like it!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Low Carb Chocolate! VERY low carb and Yummy too!

Don't know how many of you saw Beth's (AKA Melting Mama) post about the
low carb chocolate, but the link is

It sounds REALLY good! You can view the nutritional info by going to and they have a
listing for each of their product groups (chocolate, baked items and more)

I'm thinking very seriously about ordering some of it. I'm about to start my period and I'm seriously craving some good chocolate that won't induce feelings of guilt!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sick, sick, sick!

I've been fighting this upper respiratory infection for weeks now... I'm sick of being sick! I'm on my second round of antibiotics and have made sure to get several cups of yogurt in lately to ward off those lovely yeasties... The hardest part of it is that I've been working more days than not and it is getting hard to keep going! I've been so worn out at the end of the day that I don't even do much on the 'puter! That is new! But, I am hoping that I'll start to feel better soon and can be back on the net again! Hubby said I'm not allowed to do ANYthing tomorrow but rest! He's promised me breakfast in bed too!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Chef Jay's/Tri-O-Plex Products Discount!

Any of you use these products? I got them to agree to give us a discount. Boxes of 12 packets are $20 each. They are normally $25 on their site, so this is a 20% discount like we've gotten elsewhere...

She wrote the following:

Your group can call in to our office to place an order. We answer phones Mon - Fri 8am - 5pm PST. They must give the code

when ordering to receive the special discount. The product will be $20.00 per box PLUS $5.95 for shipping.


SO, if you use these products, I thought I'd pass it on! I know that I've paid from $2.49 to $2.99 per packet when I've bought these items. I've seen them as high as $3.29 each. Cookie packets have two good sized cookies in them and brownies are one fair sized brownie. They have like 18 to 20 grams of protein in them... They are pretty good too. And, the $5.95 for shipping IS flat rate--one box or 20 boxes. I confirmed that with her! Oh, and they also have a "protein puff" that is sort of a higher protein Cheeto sort of thing! My surgeon's little shop sells them, but I've never tried them.

If you've tried their products and have a favorite, pass it on to us! I love the Decadent Chocolate Brownie when I just neeeeeed some chocolate but want the protein too. I have also tried 3 or 4 of the cookie flavors and liked those as well. I've not tried any of the bars or the puffs...

Sunday, February 8, 2009



My appetite is my shepherd; I always want.

It maketh me sit down and stuff myself.
It leadeth me to my refrigerator repeatedly.

It leadeth me in the path of Burger King for a Whopper.
It destroyeth my shape.

Yea, though I knoweth I gaineth, I will not stop eating
For the food tasteth so good.
The ice cream and the cookies, they comfort me.

When the table is spread before me, it exciteth me
For I knoweth that I sooneth shall dig in.
As I filleth my plate continuously,
My clothes runneth smaller.

Surely bulges and pudgies shall follow me all the days of my life
And I shall be "pleasingly plump" forever.

Free Shipping on ANY order!

I got notice that for the WHOLE month of February, is offering free shipping on ANY order! No minimum purchase--free shipping on ANY order! Click over to stock up on protein bars and shakes and MORE!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

CHIKE Nutrition Protein--15% off on 3 lb tubs!

As many of you already know, I am the group leader for a group of folks at ObesityHelp that we call the Mini-Challenge. One thing I do is look for discounts for us! Recently, I talked CHIKE Nutrition into offering us a discount on their protein powder! Use the discount code ohmini when checking out to receive 15% off on their 3 pound tubs of protein powder. It is available in 5 flavors too! Try it in banana, chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, and orange creme. Check them out at

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I Am Your Disease...

I am Your Disease

I hate meetings.
I hate your higher power.
I hate anyone who has a program.

To all who come in contact with me,
I wish you suffering and death.

Allow me to introduce myself...
I am the disease of addiction.

Alcoholism, drugs and eating disorders.
I am cunning, baffling and powerful. Thats me!

I've killed millions and enjoyed doing it.
I love to catch you by surprise.
I love pretending I'm your friend and lover.
I've given you comfort.
Wasn't I there when you were lonely?

When you wanted to die, didn't you call on me?

I love to make you hurt.
I love to make you cry. Better yet...
I love it when I make you so numb,
You can't hurt and you can't cry.
You feel nothing at all.

I give you instant gratification.
All I ask for in return is long term suffering.
I've always been there for you.

When things were going right, you invited me back.
You said you didn't deserve to be happy.
I agreed with you.
Together we were able to destroy your life.

People don't take me seriously.
They take strokes seriously.
They take heart attacks seriously.
Even diabetes, they take seriously.
Yet, without my help, these things wouldn't be possible.

I'm such a hated disease, yet I don't come uninvited.
You choose to have me.
Many have chosen me, instead of love and peace.

I hate all of you who work a 12step program.
Your program, your meetings, and your higher power weaken me.
I can't function in the manner I am accustomed to.

I am your disease.
For now I must lie here quietly.
You don't see me, but I'm growing more powerful everyday.

When you settle for mere existence, I thrive.
When you feel fully alive, I weaken.
But I'm always here waiting for you.

Until we meet again,
I wish you continued suffering and death.

Author Unknown

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Recipe: Lea's Apple Crisp

This is one of those let's-indulge-a-craving sort of recipes... It is a comfort food around our house. Thankfully it at least has some redeeming qualities... I mean, apples are fruit, right?? LOL


6-8 tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (such as Granny Smith)
2-3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 cup granulated Splenda

teaspoon cinnamon
teaspoon ground nutmeg

OR 2 teaspoons apple pie spice

Put apple slices in bottom of an 8 x 8 baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Sprinkle Splenda and spices over apples. Pour melted butter over them and sort of toss all with a spoon to coat the apple slices.

Prepare topping (see below) an sprinkle over top of apples. Bake at 350 till golden brown (30 to 40 minutes usually).

1 cup oats (rolled is better, any will work)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated Splenda
1 cup self rising flour
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine

NOTE--In topping, you can use other flour! If you have a preferred replacement, go with that. I've used almond flour with some baking soda, baking powder, and salt mixed in...

As I said in the beginning, we only do this once in a while. I canned several quarts of apple slices last summer, so I can drain a jar of apples and dump them into the baking pan and go from there... Easy, peasy! LOL It feels like cheating now (not having to peel, core, etc), but it sure didn't when I was getting all those bushels of apples ready to can!

Friday, January 23, 2009

2 more days for Kay's $10 special!!

New Kay's Products--$10 only through Sunday!
Just a reminder that the 4 new
Kay's Naturals products are only on sale thru this coming Sunday!!

Get a case of these 4 new items for just $10 each. Normally, $15 (with a suggested retail price of $19) for a case of 12 bags. That is a wonderful savings and a great time to try these new items!

The new items include:
hazelnut sweet protein chips
almond delight protein crisps
original flavor protein pretzels
sweet BBQ snack mix

And, don't forget that 20% discount code! You can save 20% off of your Kay's Naturals orders by using the discount code minichallenge when you go to checkout!

Mine will hopefully arrive today while I'm at work... I hope to let you know what I think of them this weekend!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Review: Tumaro's Low in Carbs Multi-Grain Tortillas

I've tried to find a good, low carb tortilla in my area as sooooo many of the ones you guys try and love are just not available here in the boonies of wild, wonderful West Virginia. This one I found in a Kroger's store about 45 miles from home. And, I remember thinking that MY Kroger's store closer to home would have them too. Kroger's is Kroger's, right? WRONG! So, anyway, I bought a package of these:

Multi Grain (Award Winning)
A delicious way to get a
boost of fiber in your diet.

They are light and yummy. I used them for quesadillas with the Mexican Beef recipe I posted a bit back and some shredded Mexican blend cheese. I used them for sandwich wraps. I loved them no matter what I did with them.

There are 10 of the 8" size in the package. They were about $2.99 for the package. And, the nutritional info...WOW!

Nutrition Facts

Dietary Labeling
Certified Kosher
Serving size: 1 tortilla
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat25
Amount Per Serving and/or % Daily Value*
Total Fat2.5g (4%)
Saturated Fat0g (0%)
Trans Fat0g
Cholesterol0mg (0%)
Sodium115mg (5%)
Total Carbohydrate13g (4%)
Dietary Fiber8g (31%)
Amount Per Serving and/or % Daily Value*
Vitamin A0%
Vitamin C0%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your calorie needs.

Safety Information
Allergen Information: Contains wheat, soy, almond meal, sesame seed flour. Made on equipment shared with wheat, soy, almond meal, sesame flour.

Water, Oat Fiber, Whole Wheat Flour, Soy Bean Flour, Wheat Gluten, Canola Oil, Aluminum Free Baking Powder (Sodium Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Corn Starch, Monocalcium Phosphate), Calcium Propionate (Used to Maintain Freshness), Lecithin, Mono-diglycerides (Derived From Plant Sources), Salt, Sesame Seed Flour, Almond Meal, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Fumaric Acid (Used to Maintain Freshness), Potassium Sorbate (Used to Maintain Freshness), Sodium Metabisulfite (Used to Maintain Freshness).

Heating: Bend bag to loosen and separate flatbreads. Heat them individually in a skillet or pan for 10-15 seconds on each side to warm and soften. Flatbreads may also be wrapped in a moist paper towel and heated in a microwave for 20 seconds. For freshness, keep flatbreads refrigerated after opening. How to fold a wrap: Place fillings in the center of the wrap. Fold the bottom side of the wrap. Fold the left side over then wrap to the right. Enjoy the great taste of a delicious wrap. After opening, keep refrigerated for freshness.

They have FIVE net carbs and only 13 total carbs... Many tortillas have 20 or more total carbs. 7 grams of protein in a little 8" tortilla is nothing to sneeze at either! They are multi grain, so the carbs are complex for the most part. They include ingredients like oat flour, soy flour, sesame seed flour, and almond meal. They also come in Green Onion, Garden Vegetable, and Salsa flavors, but Kroger's did not have those...just the multi-grain version. Amazon carries this company's (Tumaro's) products too. They sell cases of 6 packs of 10 for less than $20 with free shipping on orders over $25.

Product Name: Tumaro's Low in Carbs 8" Multi-Grain Tortillas

Product Type (meal replacement, protein bar, snack, etc):
bread substitute

Where Can I Get/Find It? Krogers and some other grocers... See their site for a list!

Cost: pack of 10 is about $3.00

Pros: whole grain, low in carbs, taste great!

Cons: For me, finding them will be worrisome... I may end up approaching my Kroger's manager and asking them to order me a case. Otherwise, I'll have to bite the bullet and go the Amazon route!

Overall Rating: Yeah Baby! These will definitely be back in my cupboard!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Gut Microbes Shift with Obesity, Upended by Gastric Bypass

Gut Microbes Shift with Obesity, Upended by Gastric Bypass

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The microbes living in our guts are linked — and could potentially contribute — to our weight. And these microbial communities are overhauled following gastric bypass surgery-assisted weight loss, according to a new study scheduled to appear online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Using a combination of Sanger and Roche 454 sequencing technology, a team of researchers from Arizona State University, Arizona's Mayo Clinic, and the University of Arizona assessed the gut microbes of nine individuals who were either normal weight, obese, or had lost weight following Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery.

The team found that gastric bypass surgery was linked to a dramatic shift in individuals' gut microbes. They also detected an intriguing pattern in the microbial community within obese subjects: these individuals harbored a combination of hydrogen-producing and -consuming microbes that researchers say may ramp up the amount of energy harvested from their food.

By understanding such shifts, the team hopes to come up with new obesity treatments as well as markers to predict who is at risk of becoming obese.

Roughly four million Americans are affected by obesity and about 300,000 die from obesity-related conditions annually. Although increased food energy intake and a lack of physical activity are partly to blame, the authors noted, systems governing the body's energy balance could also be a factor.

Roux-en-Y and other bariatric surgeries are the most effective obesity treatments available to date. By bypassing part of the stomach and small intestine, the surgery limits the amount and type of food an individual can eat.

Such procedures are associated with a certain degree of nutrient malabsorption, changes in stomach acid exposure, and other gastrointestinal changes that could potentially alter the gut microbial community.

In an effort to understand these changes, the researchers used a combination of Sanger and Roche 454 sequencing to amplify and sequence microbial 16S sequences from stool samples taken from nine adults: three who were normal weight, three who were classified as morbidly obese, and three who had undergone gastric bypass surgery between eight and 15 months prior to the study.

Using massively parallel sequencing on the V6 hypervariable region of the 16S rRNA gene, the team generated 184,094 high-quality reads — an average of 20,455 reads per individual tested. These reads represented sequence from between 419 and 575 phylotypes.

Despite the diverse microbial communities and inter-personal differences within each trio of individuals, the researchers found groups of microbes that clustered together depending on weight or bypass surgery.

Whereas Firmicutes were the most common type of bacteria in normal weight and morbidly obese individuals, Gammaproteobacteria were dominant in the guts of those who'd had gastric bypass. These individuals also had more Enterobacteriaceae and Fusobacteriaceae and fewer bacteria from the order Clostridia.

"The large bacterial population shift seen in the post-gastric-bypass individuals may reflect the double impact of the gut alteration caused by the surgical procedure and the consequent changes in food ingestion and digestion," the authors wrote.

Because patients who've had gastric bypass surgery have a shorter gastrointestinal tract, lead author Husen Zhang, a post-doctoral researcher at ASU's Biodesign Institute, told GenomeWeb Daily News, they also have a higher concentration of oxygen in their gut. Not surprisingly then, he said the team found more facultative anaerobes — microbes that are capable of using oxygen — in that the guts of those who'd had the surgery.

Still, the researchers cautioned, more research is needed to determine the implications of this new microbial consortium. "The drastic change may or may not reflect a deficiency in beneficial microbes," Zhang said. "Maybe these patients need some kind of supplement."

The team also detected differences in the microbes found in the guts of the morbidly obese. While individuals from the normal weight and gastric bypass groups carried hordes of bacteria from the Verrucomicrobia phylum, for example, obese individuals did not. Instead, obese individuals often carried bacteria from the Prevotellaceae, a type of Bacteroidetes.

Both sequencing and quantitative real-time PCR indicated that the three obese subjects tested also carried microbes that produce or use hydrogen — including hydrogen-producing bacteria from the Prevotellaceae family and hydrogen-consuming Archaea.

Based on these results, the researchers speculated that there is teamwork taking place between the bacteria and archaea living in the guts of the obese. And, Zhang said, he and his team suspect that this cooperation may increase the amount of energy that obese individuals extract from food.

The researchers don't know yet whether this microbial community causes — or is a consequence of — obesity, senior author Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, a researcher at ASU's Biodesign Institute, told GenomeWeb. But if the team can verify that gut microbes contribute to weight problems, she said, it may be possible to develop new microbe-based obesity treatments.

And although physicians and researchers don't need a marker for morbid obesity itself, Krajmalnik-Brown added, the archaeal-bacterial community associated with obesity may eventually help to distinguish individuals who are at increased risk of becoming obese.

Next, the team plans to do similar studies in larger groups of individuals over time, to determine, for example, how gut microbes vary during weight-loss programs or before and after bypass surgery.

Powered by WebRing®.