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My Journal

The Planet's Happenings

The Journal is a bit spotty at first as I am including some journal entries from before I ever even considered weight loss surgery.  They are just journals I wrote to get out what I was feeling at the time.  My pursuit of WLS didn't begin until Mid-2002 and I don't think I began keeping a journal of my feelings and experiences until much later.  Sorry for that, I wish I had been better at capturing everything, but hey, a girl's got to live too!
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11/20/00

So I am sitting here and I feel like I am waiting for something big to happen that is going to everything better. So often, I sit at the computer, turn it on and log on to AOL and just expect to find something in there that is going to make my life change... some letter from M to make my day. I am sad because there was no letter from him, I feel like when there is a letter or contact of some kind, like I am so happy, and if there isnt, then I am sad. I hate that that one thing can make my mood. It shouldnt be that way. I should either be happy or sad but not based on some word from some guy. but then I think about him and how he is everything I am looking for, except location, and I think, I don t want to give up on him. but then I feel like I am putting more into it than him, but if I gave up, I would regret it forever. I would always wonder what would have happened.... ugh, even all these thoughts about this make me sad. I shouldnt base my mood on men or love in my life. Yet, right now, I dont even know what to base my moods on... nothing feels right. Every day, I just feel so sad and like I am just fighting for energy, fighting for strength, fighting, searching, looking for some reason to be alive today, some reason to be happy, to keep on going. Some reason to believe it is all worth it, some reason to believe life is worth living and it will get better. But so far I am not sure... right now, I am just low, waiting for the medicine to kick in, waiting to feel excited about something in life, waiting to feel some pride in my accomplishments, waiting for all the work I am doing on myself to kick in and most of all waiting for a response from mike, waiting for love to come in to my life, waiting for love to live in it for the first time. But I cant find it. I know it is all out there.. someday, I am going to turn the corner and find the most amazing things waiting for me on the other side, but every time I get near a corner, I just get so afraid. I dont want to take another step, I am so afraid of finding another monster on the other side, another broken heart, another bad experience. so each corner, I approach with both fear and excitement. I am afraid of the excitement, afraid to believe, afraid to hope, because I am so afraid to be hurt, to find my hopes come up empty once again. But at the same time, I dont want to be hopeless, be someone who is too afraid to get hurt to even live. I dont know what to do, I dont know where the compromise is. So that is what is up with me tonight, as I sit here fighting tears, being sad and feeling like I dont know why, but apparently, I can look at the preceding paragraph and know exactly why. there seems to be so much to deal with, nothing feels stable. I dont know when it will end, when I can start looking forward, when I can stop looking back. So I will just try to be right here, right now, however it feels, it is all I have.

01/01/01

Some thoughts for a new millenium

Just wanted to capture some thoughts and feelings today. Looking back over the year, I wanted to capture what 2000 was like for me. I think there were some highlights and some lowlights.. I remember sitting at the cabin on New Years Day last year, staring out the window at the fresh snow. Everything felt so clean and pure. Like a fresh start. I had good feelings about this year, like this was it for me, good things were going to come. And some did, but not what I expected. So here it is, the bad and the good.

Worst moments: Finding out I was the other woman.  Putting up with things from men because I wanted to believe they cared.  Weird stomach pains with no cause, all the medical tests with no answers, my poor performance at work sometimes, continuing to give my heart to men only to get it squashed, my frequent illnesses, my depression, the canceling of the CRMS project, the company's poor performance

Best moments: Growing friendships , performing well on a project at work, getting through all the shit, learning more about myself, I think one of my favorite moments this year was back in March.. driving up to the valley with some friends to go karaoke and bowl. Sitting in the back of the convertible, freezing, listening to music, remembering and still being in the emotional pain but trying to get back to me, and realizing what brings joy in life, being with friends, laughing, etc.

1/16/01

So I am thinking about what it felt like as a child and how I didn't feel special in anyones life.. like I was the only. The best, the something. I think about instances where I felt this way and how this feeling motivates me even now how I make choices in my life, based on some need.

I remember in Kindergarten when I was going over to Jodys after school, and we were walking with Jenny. When Jenny went to part ways, Jody got so upset that she wanted to play with Jenny, not with me. And I remember feeling so left out, not appreciated, like Jody didnt really like me.. I think I am very sensitive. It is really easy for me to jump to conclusions, believe that someone doesnt like me I judge myself so harshly and sometimes I am surprised when someone likes me.

I remember when I would hear stories about my Grandma Louise and how special I was to her, how she named me, her last words were about me, and how she wanted to stay alive to watch me grow up (well, really, both me and my sister).. and I think, she would have been the one, I would have been special to her, I would have been her favorite grandchild..

And I remember feeling like I was always in competition with my sister. I grew up thinking that she was the pretty one and I was the smart one. I couldnt see myself as pretty because she was skinny and I was not, so to me, that meant that I was not pretty. And when my friends liked her, and when she seemed to have so many friends and I struggled to make them, it affirmed that feeling. She was special. I was no one.

And I think that in my desperate search for acceptance, for that feeling of being special, being appreciated, I pushed people out of my life, I needed them too much, more than they wanted to be needed.

And I have been thinking about men.. and how my standard operating procedure is when I have been hurt by a man, to immediately find a new one, to pour it all into.. so I can avoid my feelings of pain, I find what I think will be a source of joy. And when that one falls apart, I find the next one. I believe what they tell me because it is what I want to hear, what I have been trying to hear for my whole life.. You are special, beautiful, loved.  And I pretend the words are real.

1/5/03

I take this big step in about 5 weeks.  For the most part, I am very comfortable with my decision.  I have gotten to the point in life where everything is hard.  I took a recent business trip and was miserable throughout the whole flight.  I wake up all night long feeling like I need to pee, then get to the bathroom and just have to go a little.  The pressure on my bladder is tremendous.  My joints ache constantly and I wake up in the middle of the night. 

Although I have had a pretty healthy body image, lately I am more aware of how big I am and how much the media focuses on skinny women.  I can't imagine what it would be like.

Well, I am tired, so calling it a night. 

1/6/03 11:37 PM
I should be asleep right now.  I am tired enough, I sure didn't get enough sleep last night and I have an early morning tomorrow.  But something is weighing (no pun intended) heavy on my mind and I can't sleep.   It's about a conversation I had today with a co-worker regarding some help I am going to need when I am out on LOA.  I wanted her to watch over a project for me while I am gone.  She, jokingly, stated, "I can't, I have too much to do..."   I said, "Well, I helped you out when you were on LOA."  She replied back "Yes, but yours in voluntary".  Hmm... that bothered me..  how could she think this was totally voluntary.   She knows I struggled with the decision.  She is not only a co-worker but a close friend.  Does she not remember any of our conversations about how hard life is, how much pain I am in all the time, how I have struggled, what a struggle life is, just to move from one place to another, choose an outfit, fit in a seat.  I feel that this is my last option, I am out of choices and without this surgery, my obesity will someday kill me.   Unfortunately, I said back to her that her surgery was optional too, and it really wasn't and it (a hysterectomy on a 33 year old) was very hard for her to deal with and caused her a lot of pain.  I hurt her feelings.  I don't know why I lashed out that way.  Or at least I didn't know why until I was lying here in bed trying to sleep.  I am so uptight about teasing, I don't take it well, even from good friends.  Guess this comes from a childhood of teasing about weight..  ya think the two could be related?  No one gets that, they think I should have tougher skin.  Well, I don't, I just don't.  Things hurt me that shouldn't hurt, that don't hurt other people.   Only someone who has walked in my, our, shoes could understand.  Maybe I have vented enough to sleep.

1/13/03
I feel like a train wreck.   Emotions coming out of nowhere, lots of carnage and destruction, leaving no survivors in its wake.   I am raw and hurt at every little thing.  I just had to take a little trip out to my car in the middle of my work day so I could have a little cry.   I am not only very sensitive, but I have also become insensitive of other people.  I think I have lost a friend, and that hurts.   She does not want to talk to me about it, told me that the issue is dead.   So what can I do.  I have already apologized.

Seems like everything is going wrong today.  I dont know if its just that I am taking everything too seriously so that even small things bother me, or if its just a bad day.   Who knows, I just want it to be over.

I wonder when the emotions are going to settle down.

I was always a chubby child.  Seems like every little subdivision of our family has a chubby one.  Not fat per se, but definitely bigger than other children.   My sister was always a skinny little thing, had to work to gain weight.  Whats up with that?  It wasnt until I hit puberty that I really put on the weight, I think I wore a size 18 in 7th grade and was already shopping in specialty stores.  And let me tell you, the selection for plus size women was just not that great back then.  

As for my diet history, I think all I need to say is that as a child my mom was a weight watchers counselor.  Yep, that's right, those wonderful people who help you restrict your calories and focus on food.  I know my mom loved me, but I know she couldnt deal with being a counselor for Weight Watchers and having a chubby child.   So the whole family was almost always on a diet.  We never had anything enjoyable to eat.  My sister and I resorted to stealing money and going to the grocery store on the way to school to buy snacks.  I remember one of my friends asking me, why it was that I always had the junk food all on the same day.  Then other days it was just my apple and tuna sandwich.  She mentioned that if I just took a little each day it would last longer.  No kidding.  But that wasnt an option for me.   There was no where to store it.  I even broke the freezer once by hiding ice cream behind the ice bin.   I was desperate for sweets, mixing sugar and butter and eating that, sometimes just eating spoonfuls of miracle whip.   One of my treats was taking a corn tortilla, spreading it with miracle whip and heating it up for a few seconds in the microwave.   It sounds disgusting now.  I cant imagine enjoying it.

I was the one who had to sign up for sports teams.  My sister wanted to play soccer.  She couldn't.  I had to.   What kind of crazy logic is that.   I was forced to join a swim team.   I was a fast swimmer, but it didn't matter.  I hated it.

I know I came out of the shoot with poor self-esteem, and all the years didn't add anything being last to be picked for a team, never being selected for class president, not wearing the fashionable clothes, the list goes on and on. 

1/25/03

Today I experienced a disappointment, not the first one of this kind.   I had plans with a friend to go out to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants.  One of those, last meal restaurants.  We talked about it on Friday and I was supposed to be at her house at 4:30.   Well this morning, I was at a stamping party, then came home.  Ive been really tired because I am getting over a sinus infection and not sleeping well.   I had a little time to relax, then get ready to go to her house.  She lives about 20-25 minutes away.   I get to her house and shes not there.   No one is there except one of her brothers and he said that no one has been there for a while and he doesnt know where they are, that no one is answering the cell phones or anything.  So I drive around her town for a bit, thinking maybe shell be home soon.   Call to her house a few times, but shes not there.   Then give up and come home.   I wasted 2 hours.   2 hours of my life.  Plus the time I spent getting ready.   I would rather have stayed home and rested.  I wish she had just called me to cancel.   Its 10 PM now, we were supposed to meet at 4:30.  And she hasnt even called.

So heres what really strikes me.  This is not the first time this friend has done something like this.  Not to this extreme but similar, forgetting plans, etc.   And shes not the only friend I have like this.   I have this famine perspective when it comes to friends.  I let them treat me like sh** sometimes.  I should have more respect for myself.  But I am afraid of losing friends, that one day, I might be without any friends in my life.  Thats a horrible feeling, to be alone.  I know, I have been there before.  

When I started high school, I went from public education to catholic high school.  I had a really hard time adjusting and it took several years to find friends.  Even then, they werent the friends that I had deep relationships with.   When I went away to college, I made friends with my roommates but my third year I again found myself alone, trying to make friends and find my way.  This happened several more times throughout the course of my life as I moved to new places, etc.  Plus, I had bipolar disorder and wasnt diagnosed and treated until 1993 when I was 25, so during the years prior, if I was going through a depression, I could get a little overwhelming.  But I know I am not that person anymore.  People describe me as dynamic, magnetic, personable, loyal, caring.   Why do I let people treat me this way.  The whole things sucks and has put me in a foul mood.  

My surgery date has changed, it's now February 10th, one day sooner.  My Pre-op is scheduled for the 4th of February and I see my PCP on the 6th for the final clearing that my surgeon requires.   I was a bit worried because I caught a cold and it then turned into a sinus infection, but I am on antibiotics now and getting better.   Also, I read something about the H Pylori and got all stressed about that.   I was tested for that in 1998 because my doctor thought I had an ulcer.  I tested positive and he put me on antibiotics, Flagyl and Biaxin and some pepto bismol too.  Well, I had a horrible reaction within 20 minutes of taking my first dose of antibiotics.  Turned out I was allergic to both of them.   My whole face swelled up and hives were quickly moving down my neck and chest.   My heart rate was up, my hands were clammy.   Ugh.   Every treatment available uses one of the 6 antibiotic families that I am allergic too, so no treatment for me.  He sent me to a Gastro who scoped me and pronounced me fine.  But I worry that they'll test and find it and cancel.  I am over it now, nothing I can do about it if they do.  I called and they said they only do a CBC on the blood test, so hopefully everything will go well. 

1/26/03

I have had a day of hibernation, just taking it easy and I have enjoyed every minute of it.   I have a ton of emotions and feelings surrounding my boyfriend right now, but I just dont have the energy to get into it.  What I did want to write about is this funny story that happened last week at work.  I was on my way out to my car at the end of the day, I was sick so going home from work early to rest.  This woman that I know in passing (she works in another department where I have some friends..  she has fingernails about 6 inches long and they just totally freak me out, they are so gross to me, that when I see her in the hall I do my best not to run into her) cornered me in the parking lot.  She said that she heard (probably overheard) that I was having the surgery and I said yes I am.  I havent been keeping a secret of it so it wasnt that big of a deal but really who wants stories about themselves floating around the office.  Oh well.   So then she said, I am surprised you got it approved.   I asked her what she meant.  She said, you dont look big enough.  Hello!  I am 5' 5" and I weigh 360 pounds.  How big does she think someone has to be to qualify.   Made me laugh as I walked to my car.  Was she just saying it to be nice?  Who knows, who cares.

2/4/03
I had my pre-op today too...  I just loved drinking that barium.  Yum.  I almost threw up on the table, but I made myself keep it in because no way was I drinking it again.
I had the following:
A uninalysis and pregnancy test
about 7 vials of blood drawn for CBC, Thyroid, Hepatitis, HIV and a couple of others I don't remember
An EKG
A gallbladder ultrasound
A chest Xray
An Upper GI
A Pulmonary Function Test
And an Arterial Blood Gas
Fun fun fun.   Took half the day off for the tests then back to work with the barium rocks in my stomach.
I asked the nurse what would be a show stopper and she said elevated TSH for thyroid, UTI or raised White Blood cell count.   I think the only thing I am worred about is the TSH.  I take thyroid but sometimes it tests high and sometimes not.  I'll find out my results on Thursday.  Also, I am hoping for gallstones because I have frequent right upper quadrant pain and I'd like to be able to say that's what it is and be done with it. 
I was fighting a cold two weeks ago which turned into a sinus infection.  I just finished antibiotics on Sunday so hopefully the WBC is good, but I did wake up today with a scratchy throat, I am hoping it is just allergies or from having the window open as I sleep.  I really don't want anything getting in my way right now.  I am sure you can all relate.
Oh, and I have lost 10 pounds since my consult weight...  woo hoo.

2/9/03
Well, tomorrow is my big day.  I am finishing up my packing and getting ready.  I took my Milk of Magnesia this morning and I am on a clear liquid diet all day, so no more last meals.  I was supposed to go out last night with my boyfriend to celebrate an early valentine's day.  I talked to him at 5:30 and he was on his way over.  He never showed up.  I don't know what has happened to him.  I am caught up in both worry and anger.   I don't know whether to be worried that something may have happened or angry that he flaked on me for a very important day.   I can't find him or get in touch with him.  At this point, I have decided there's nothing more I can do and I have to focus on me and let it go.   I will know more in a few days, but I have to have my surgery and be in the best shape/mood I can be for that.  So that is where I am right this second.  I am going tonight to stay with my parents.  They'll be taking me to the hospital in the morning, then I will be staying with them after the surgery.   So, I'll update once again when I get home.  Good luck and best wishes to everyone else.  Thanks to all who have left messages of support.

2/17/03
Okay, I am home from the hospital and 1 week and 1 day post op.  It's going pretty well.  So here's how everything went:
Surgery Day:I didn't feel any nervousness at all in the hospital, dozed most of the morning waiting for my surgery.  Then when I woke up after surgery, all these people were hovering around me doing this and that, it felt so chaotic.  Then there was this one man who kept telling me to breath deeply, that my breathing was too shallow.  I don't think I was even barely conscious.  That first breath killed!   I don't think I had ever experienced pain like that.  When I got to my room, my family came in and settled down.  I think I held a small conversation but I am not sure if I made sense.  A little bit later a friend of mine came by on her way to the WLS support group that meets that same night in the hospital.  I slept through most of her visit but I understand she had a good visit with my family.  The first time I had to get up to pee, that was one of the worst moments.  I could barely move and needed these tender and sore stomach muscles to get out of bed.  It was so hard.  So many people waking me up at night.  I am so glad my mom was there to help out, help me out of bed, help me with all my machines and IV while I went to the bathroom.  I got out of surgery at 2, was in my room at 4 and got out of bed for my first trip to the bathroom at 7.  Not too shabby.  Later that night, I took my first walk down the hall.   I held my hands to my stomach to keep my guts from falling out.  I had a great nurse that first night, she made things so much better.  Her name was Tanya and she was actually a recent nursing school grad, but her care was supreme!  What I don't understand is, if they only have to draw blood once a day, and you aren't eating anything, why do they have to draw it in the middle of the night? 
The second and third nights weren't quite as bad, although my nurse was different those nights and quite ditzy!  The second night, I kept finding myself jolting awake with my whole body twitching.  Kind of like the experience you would have when you have a dream you are falling.   I worried for a while that maybe my heart was stopping or something.  I was paranoid to sleep for a while and finally called the nurse.  She told me it was the pain meds.  That reassured me and I was able to go back to sleep.  I developed a great method for getting back into bed too, I would grab the bar (I had a trapeze above my bed) above the bed and put my leg on the bed, then I would hoist myself up on the bed, using as few stomach muscles as possible.   It worked.  I was glad on the third night when I had the IV removed.  It had infiltrated, so they took it out.  Also, I was on oxygen the whole time and a pulse ox.  They took the pulse ox off that same night and also discontinued the compression stockings (weird stockings that wrap around your feet and alterately squeeze them, helps prevent blood clots).  After getting freed from all those machines (all but the oxygen), it was much easier to go to the bathroom and get around and I finally felt like I could be a bit independent.  I think the second day I slept most of the day, with only brief periods of wakefulness.  Its funny, was my first stay in the hospital and I brought so much with me.  Was worried about being naked under the hospital gown, afraid I would get bored.  Didn't touch most of what I brought.  As for modesty, I couldn't care less...  let all the nurses, techs, aids, my mom, see my with my butt hanging out.  Didn't care.  And I read all these posts from people who said they were hot and thought, I'm never hot, I'll be fine.   I was roasting.   Had to turn the air on and freezed my poor mom out. 
On the fourth day, I got the okay to take a shower and go home.  Woo hoo.   More on the journey later, I am tired of sitting!

3/12/03 

Okay, haven't updated in a really long time.   Just seemed too hard to sit at the computer for long periods of time, then when I was feeling better, I just wanted to be out and about, visiting friends, running errands.  I feel great, most of the time I can't even believe I just had surgery.   I can't believe I go back to work in a week and a half.

I am doing pretty good, have lost 25 pounds in 4 weeks, but the last two weeks were slow, so I think I am not going to weigh myself every week.  I get too focused on what the scale says in determining my mood and I don't want to do that.  I still have all the old cravings and it's hard to fight sometimes.   The therapist who runs the support group says that if you have a specific craving it's better to give in to it otherwise you just keep eating and eating trying to satisfy yourself.  I have had small bites of a few things that weren't really on the authorized list, but it did get it out of my system.  I just made sure to chew really well and eat slow.  I have only thrown up one time, I think I must have eaten and drank too close together.  Then one day, everything I ate or drank made me naseous.  Somedays are like that.  Water has to be cold for it to go down well.  I miss gulping water down too.  Sometimes I get really thirsty, but it takes so long to quench the thirst.  And I have trouble getting in all the protein and liquid.  I really have to start first thing in the morning and then stay on a schedule to get it all in.  If I am out and about for the day, I get off track and have to catch up at the end of the day.

I did end up breaking up with my boyfriend.   We only dated for about a month, and we probably started dating exclusively too soon.   In hindsight, we should have waited until things settled down in both of our lives before making that decision, but we didn't.  Oh well.   He just couldn't be there for me during the whole process, kept making promises that he was coming over and then wouldn't show up and wouldn't call.  I wouldn't hear from him for days.  I told him that he just needed to be a man of his word, if he couldn't make it then don't tell me he would and at least call when he realized he couldn't.  On top of all the times he cancelled on me before the surgery and didn't call, it was just too much.  I got tired of having the same conversation with him and the relationship was just too new for so much stress.  I realized that I didn't like the way he handled conflict.  If he thought I was upset, he'd just not call, wait for me to call him, so I always had to confront him and I hate that.  I'm not like that.   I am not perfect, I know I'll make mistakes in a relationship, but it was just too much.   We'll probably remain friends, but I know he's someone I can't really count on.   But life goes on and better to find out sooner rather than later.

Well, that's all for now.  Catch up with you later.

3/20

So what is going on with me, right now, today?  It's been a crazy couple of days actually.  I have felt very emotional--angry, frustrated, sad.   I am angry that I have to live this life...  my sister (and many others like her, but let's face it, growing up with her was my slap in the face, I don't know who was yours) can eat what ever she wants and barely gain an ounce.   I had to have surgery to lose weight.  What a contrast.   I had a major "Why Me" session with my therapist today.  Not only Why Am I the Fat One?  But more than that.  Why have personal relationships been so hard for me?  Why do I have bi-polar?  Why are emotions so hard for me?   I did have a lot of realization about many things.  Growing up with untreated bi-polar disorder, I always felt so needed, like I was just this big, gaping black hole that was going to suck anyone in if they tried to be my friend.  I think the neediness overwhelmed people.  On top of that, I was very shy too.   So I had such a hard time making friends.  And keeping the ones I did make.  I even had one friend tell me that she could be my friend, that I was too much for her, she didn't have the energy for me.  I can't tell you how much that hurt.   Now I am such a different person, much more evolved, not needy like that.  But I still see myself that way, so that is how I approach people.   And they must sense it.  Also, because of it, I have this famine perspective when it comes to friends.  I can't get rid of any (not even the ones who don't contribute to my life) because I don't have enough.   Not enough, not enough, not enough.   That's how I view relationships.  Keep the bad ones because you might not have any if you get rid of all of them.  Which is not even true.  I do have good friends, friends that really care about me, and yeah, if I got rid of the not-so-good friends, my list would be smaller, but there would still be a list, and that is the important thing.  So I have to get out of this famine perspective.

Okay, now about my WLS journey.  It's been hard, I think I have been off of work too long.  I am getting lazy, sleeping in until noon, not starting my eating or drinking until 3 or so...  the downside of this is that I am not getting enough in.  So I have to work on that.   I have pretty much been an anything goes kind of eater as long as I stick with small amounts and chew really well.   If I say to myself (or anyone else says to me), I can't have this or that, it's like instant sabotage.   I'll immediately want that one thing and go have it just to prove who is really in charge.  So it is better for me to say, I can have whatever I want, but it is better to make my mainstay these certain foods.   It just always works better for me that way.  So, having said that, I have had a few things that weren't on my 3-6 week eating plan, but for the most part, I have stuck to the plan.   I decided that I didn't have this surgery to be on a diet the rest of my life.  I don't need to be a size 6, I just want to be healthy.  I want to walk without hearing my knees cry out for mercy.  I want to be normal, go into a restaurant and have a taste of something and not go crazy.  I know I can do this.   I am realizing that it is really important to chew well and listen to your stomach.  When it tells you it is full, wait a really long time before trying to put anything else into it.   That's important!   I was trying to catch up one day on liquids and proteins and ended up throwing up.  It was so unpleasant.   Well, I felt like I had a lot to say before I started trying to say it.  Now my mind is blank.  Oh well, back at ya soon.

3/23/03

Well, I realized that I hadn't mentioned how much weight I loss, so here goes.  As of last Monday, 3/17, I was down to 325, which is a 31 pound loss in 5 weeks.  Pretty good.  

I also realized that I hadn't really talked a lot about how I got this way, what's my history.. other than a bit on my childhood.   So as I sit here and sssslllloooowwwwllllyyyy eat some refried beans, I will tell my fat tale..  I think I'll focus specifically on weight issues, not on other issues.  I'll save those for another day.  Or if you peak around my website, you might find information on other things that were going on in my life at different times.   So here goes-- Fat Tales, by Janet

As I mentioned earlier, I was a chubby child.   And although I don't think we were literally always on a diet, in my memory it feels like we were.   I don't remember ever not feeling like the eyes of the world were on me when I was eating.  I also don't remember a time when food wasn't a comfort, a celebration, a reward.  I always looked forward to events surrounding food.   By the time I reached puberty, my weight had grown considerably.   I remember wearing a size 18 in 7th grade.   It was hard to find cute clothes, hell, it was hard to find clothes period.   The summer between 7th and 8th grade, my mom signed me up for a program called Diet Center.  I had to go there every day to weigh in (except Sundays) and eat a very restricted diet.  There was no bread on this diet, no beef, nothing that a 13 year old would consider fun or tasty.   I ate the same things over and over.  For variety, I even tried rabbit.   You can lose weight by eating rabbit because there is almost no meat on this little thing.  Takes all your energy just to pick off enough for one bite.   I remember at the start of this, I weighed about 180 and lost about 13 pounds in 6 long and painful weeks.  At the end of six weeks, I was complaining a lot about the lack of variety and my mom agreed to let me try weight watchers.  By this time, I was so fed up, tired of dieting.  I never really "followed" the weight watchers plan, just merely went to meetings.   Never lost a pound.  In fact, by the time my mom let me drop out of weight watchers, I weighed 192.   Not their big success story.   I continued to gain weight in high school and weighed 240 at graduation.   I went to a private school and had to have uniforms custom made.  I actually didn't mind wearing uniforms because it meant I didn't have to look cute and fashionable every day.  This would have been impossible as there were so few cute and fashionable large size clothes at the time, and my mom was not big on spending the kind of money it took to buy them.  Plus size clothes were so much more expensive than regular.  So where as my sister had a pretty large wardrobe, mine was very small.   As an adult, I am a clothes addict, I love to have cute and stylish clothes..   all because of this, I am sure.

Well, most people have heard of the "freshman 15"---for those that haven't this is the 15 pounds that most freshman gain their first year of college living in the dorms.  I went away to college to a beautiful campus called UC Santa Cruz where I lived in an on-campus apartment.  There were seven of us in this apartment, 3 single bedrooms, 2 double bedrooms with a communal style bathroom, shared kitchen, dining room and living area.   My freshman year, I actually lost over 40 pounds.  I was 198 when I went home for the summer.   The campus was so huge, I was walking several miles everyday.  Initially, the weight started dropping off without me even worrying about what I was eating.  As the year progressed, two of my roommates and myself banded together for an "anti-diet".  We didn't diet, we were just trying to eat healthy.   We would combine our resources for different meals.  For breakfast, we usually had fruit and yogurt, for dinner, vegetables and chicken.  Lunch we usually each handled on our own.  Fridays we decided to make special, we would go out together and give in to whichever prevailing temptation was the strongest.  It might be chinese food and cookies one week, pizza and ice cream the next.  Knowing that we had Friday's to splurge, we were usually able to resist whatever tempted us during the week.   The campus at UC Santa Cruz is huge, with lots of wilderness, trees, wildlife.  Walking from class to class was like hiking in the forest.   Also, for other reasons (see the section called the broken mind), I often found myself anxious and restless, walking helped to release some of this tension and anxiety.  I walked a lot that year.

My second year, I lived off campus with one of my roommates from my freshman year.  I was able to continue my healthy eating as well as exercise.  I lived in the heart of downtown Santa Cruz, right off of an outdoor mall.  I enjoyed spending spare time walking up and down the mall looking at the shops and people watching.  I maintained a weight between 200-220 during my sophomore year.  What's funny to me now (in an ironic painful way) is how I considered myself to be so fat during this time.   I thought I was so huge, no one could like me, I certainly couldn't attract the attention of a man.   I look at myself now compared to then, man what was I thinking?   I would kill to be that weight, to be that healthy.    There was this one guy in one of my french classes..  he was so cute and so different really... he's the only guy I ever knew who would wear a skirt.  He just didn't care.  I would often find him smiling at me across the classroom.  I was so insecure, I couldn't believe for a minute that he might actually be interested in me.   I secretly hoped he was and that he would make his move, but he never did.  I was so shy in those days that I put a lot of people off.  Oh well, can't go back.

It was my third year of college that destroyed me.   I made a decision that has affected my weight.   I decided to move into this one house where there were three guys and a girl living there.  We all rented rooms independent of each other from the landlord.  The landlord didn't live there, but found it easier to rent the house separately rather than as a whole house.   At first it seemed great, the rent was cheap, we were near the beach.  But as the year progressed, I discovered that these people weren't so neat and clean--one guy in particular.   He would make a pot of soup, eat half of it, then leave the pot on the stove for weeks.  People would use dishes then just leave them on the counter until every dish in the house was dirty and there was no counter space left.  There were a few of us who would try to keep things clean, but it became frustrating after a while as we were always cleaning up someone else's mess.  Pretty soon, I stopped cooking.   There went the healthy eating.   I didn't even enjoy being at home, kept mostly to myself in my room.   Since I worked at a pizza place that year, I ate a lot of pizza.  The other things I ate were Taco Bell and Burger King.  Isn't that a great healthy diet?  I started that year at 210 and quickly ballooned up to 280.   My clothes were stretched tight over my body (those that still fit), I couldn't really afford to buy new ones (nor could I find them), so I just wore the same things over and over again.     I wore mostly mens clothes, sweats and shorts, because those were the ones I found that could fit.  

Well, this takes you through my 21st year...  I need a break, I'll give you the low down on the next 13 years in one of my future entries.

4/1/03  Well, it happened.. that thing we know is coming but think wont be for a while, or we think maybe it wont happen to us I hit my first plateau. I havent gotten on a scale in two weeks, so I was expecting some significant movement, but nothing, nada, zilch. I am still 325. Well, I guess I should be lucky I didnt gain anything.

I started back to work last week, so evenings I find myself very tired. I just want to gel in front of the TV and not have to think. Even a 2 hour DVD takes too much energy for me.

Oh, let me tell you what tastes oh so good today. Orange Juice. Yum. Probably not the best choice of liquids as it does have fruit sugar in it, but it just looked so good and I wanted to have some. It is so delicious. It is ice cold and just tastes so refreshing, like candy. I am trying to drink only a little of it so I dont dump. I am going to put the bottle back in the fridge now before I go crazy.

This Friday is my birthday and I am going to try to make a cake with Splenda. Ill post on how it goes. I am hosting a BBQ at my parents house. They live on a small, residential lake and I am hoping that the weather cooperates. The forecast calls for a 30% chance of rain, but most of the time when they say its going to rain, it doesnt, or it rains the next day, so I am hoping thats what it does this time. This will be my first major post-surgery food event, and maybe I shouldnt even do it, people would say I am torturing myself, but its my 35th birthday and I just want to celebrate. I am in a time in my life where I just feel that my life is worthy of celebration and if I dont do it, no ones going to.

I have also started to notice a bit more hair coming out in the shower. I dont know if it really is more than normal or if I am just looking for it so I am now noticing it. I am not stressing about it though, my hair is thin, but I have a lot of it, and its got natural curl, so it always looks like I have more than I do. I use a special shampoo, Nioxin and also started taking Biotin. I know I am still not getting enough protein in each day but it is hard. I havent found a supplement that is a) satisfying b) convenient c) not too high in sugar. I can eat most meats but its not something I can count on, as what I can tolerate one day, I cant the next. I barbecued some tri-tip over the weekend and ate it a couple of times. Today, I tried having some for lunch and I just couldnt handle it. I only ate a couple of bites and just felt like if I ate more I was going to throw it up. Thats the reason I headed to our office lunch truck to see what they had and how I ended up with a container of orange juice on my desk. I also bought some cottage cheese but at that moment I was feeling more thirsty than hungry.

So, how did I feel about not losing any weight? Frustrated, sad, angry. I know that the weight is going to come off, that I just need to relax and not rush things, but after going through major surgery, theres just this need for immediate results. I know that my body is going through a lot, but I honestly thought that by coming back to work, being more active, eating more regularly that I would lose a little faster. I read a lot on obesityhelp.com about plateaus and what people do to get through them sometimes its because youre not eating enough, sometimes youre eating too much, sometimes eating the wrong things. I guess it makes me say, theres really know way of figuring it all out, so just do what I knowtry to get as much protein and liquid in a day as I canand stop worrying about all the rest.

I have been doing short walks during the day, 2 of my co-workers have been joining me for mile walks. I know I should do more, but with my joints it really is better to start slow. I told myself when I dropped 50 pounds I would head back to the gym, by then enough stress should be off of my knees where I can work out without too much pain. I might head back sooner, I tell myself I should, but then when it actually comes time to go, I never feel like it. I know getting started is the hardest part. From other times in my life when I worked out regularly, I know I loved it once I got started, but the first couple of weeks, as I was establishing my routine, were really hard.

I know I am getting smaller, I feel my clothes getting bigger, the ones that were skin tight are getting looser and I even wear a smaller size in some thingsdepends on the manufacturer though, theyre all different. But its great. I knew in July I was going to have the surgery, and by October, I knew that it would be either in the fall or the winter so I didnt buy any new clothes this fall or winter. By the time I had my surgery in February, I really didnt have that many clothes. I was so sick of everything I had, I hated getting dressed in the morning. Now I have a ton of clothes. I could actually go two weeks and not wear the same thing twice. Thats pretty exciting to me.

Just so you know, I do know how to use apostrophes appropriately, but for some reason, this site keeps editing them out..  oh well.  Tonight, I am too tired to care.

4-3-03   Its funny I remember all the worries I had prior to the surgeryGetting the date with the surgeon, will I get authorized or will I have to appeal, how long will all this take, the waiting, worrying about the pre-op testing, making sure everything came out okay or would the surgery have to be rescheduled, finishing up projects at work, getting everything ready at home. All of this just consumed me, became my whole life. Now that Ive had the surgery, I forget that I dont have to worry about that anymore. Sometimes these little thoughts come back to eat away at me and I forget I dont have to stress about it anymore. Ive already had the surgery. Now I just have to deal with the lifestyle changes. Its weird. I remember the night before the surgery, falling asleep thinking about everything I had to do in the morning. I was staying at my parents house and they were driving me to the hospital, but I had left something at my apartment that I needed (I cant remember what it was now), so we had to get up extra early to go to my apartment and then to the hospital. And of course, living in Southern California, we had to worry about traffic. I had to be at the hospital at 8, so I had to be at my apartment no later than 6:45 to get the stuff together (I think it was some of my medication), then get on the road to the hospital. When I had my pre-op, I had left my apartment at 7:15 and was late to the appointment at 8, so I knew we needed to leave at 7. So, to make sure we got to my apartment at 6:45, we had to leave the house no later than 5:45. I was pretty much all packed, but there were a few things that I needed to pack in the morning. So I was lying in bed, trying to sleep and worrying about all this, just going over the morning in my head over and over. Get up at 5, take a shower, dry my hair (not for fancy styling, it was just too cold to have a head of wet hair), get dressed, finish packing, hit the road, hope we dont hit traffic, get to my apartment, get the stuff together, hit the road, get to the hospital, then wait. I kept going over that in my head, over and over. It was crazy. Then, after I had the surgery, I would find myself going over it again, and I would have to remind myself that I already did it all, it all worked out, I didnt need to worry about it any more. Oh, so can you tell I am such a worrier? Its a wonder I never turned to nail-biting. I think I just turned to eating to help with my worrying. Which makes it hard now. Because I certainly still have things to worry about. Plus, I am totally obsessive-compulsive. I just take a thought and go over it and over it until I am just going crazy. Like heres another example of how I do this with disability checks still coming (from the delay it takes) and with me back at work earning my regular salary, I am starting to get just a little bit ahead of the game financially, which is great. I have some family in Norway and one of my cousins is getting married there next summer (2004), so I started to think how I might be able to go there for her wedding, if I start saving now, I could probably have enough money, plus Ill be so much healthier. I started adding up the money that I have right now and then subtracting my bills to see how much extra I have right now to start a savings account. Then I added the numbers again and again. I must have physically added up the numbers about 5 times. That doesnt count the 897 times I have gone over it in my head. Its crazy. Its a wonder I get anything productive done.

I was complaining the other day about the plateau, but I have to say one thing I wore some jeans last week for the first time, a smaller size than before the surgery and they fit but they were tight. I am wearing them today and they feel looser than last week. So something is going on. Makes it easier to relax and let the weight loss occur on its own. (Not that I think I dont have to actually do anything to encourage iteat right, exerciseIm not that stupid! LOL).

Man, today, I just feel totally hungry all day. I got to work at 8 and had a cup of cottage cheese. Then at about 9:30 I at a piece of cheese, now I am hungry again and I have felt this hunger all morning. Guess its time to go eat my lunch, since I am looking at the clock and it is now 11:25 I am having spinach salad with chicken and avocado. It sounds really good to me right now.

I am kind of at a place where nothing sounds really good to me unless its something thats not healthy. So then I get upset because I still want to eat the unhealthy stuff and I wish that I could. I guess its the whole "comfort" thing. When I eat food that tastes good, its like I feel like I am doing something fun, a treat. I need to get out of that mind set but its hard. I know I am not the first to go through this, nor will I be the last.

So heres the other thing that is on my mind I wasnt secretive with anyone about what I was doing. My friends, my family, my co-workers, everyone knew I was have the gastric bypass, even people I barely knew. For some reason, it just seemed to be the topic of conversation. And I really didnt care. It was no secret I am fat, you can look right at me and see it, and I have no shame about doing something to correct that. What bothers me know is all the questions. Every day someone is asking "how are you doing". I know people are just trying to be nice and some people I dont mind because they are my friends. Its not that I really mind when any one asks, its just tiresome to have to answer them all the time. Most people are too polite to ask me how much Ive lost and stuff like that, except close friends, and with them I dont mind. But sometimes I feel like people are just asking so Ill tell them. Oh well, this is the price you pay for not being secretive. I dont regret it though, I had to do it this way, its just how I am as a person. Having the surgery was very exciting for me, it was something I really wanted and so I was happy to share that news with people I am close to and then of course, somehow the word spread to a larger community of people but you cant really foresee that. I never swore anyone to secrecy. And really, its not a big deal, just something I was thinking about today.

4-8-03  Well, I finally did it, yesterday I drank over 64 fluid ounces. Woo Hoo. Thats the first time Ive been able to do that since the surgery. I am so proud! LOL Lets see if I can do it again. I am not sure how much protein I got in, but I ate 4 meals with protein, so thats about the best I can do. Friday was my birthday, Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me so I decided that I could nibble on things this weekend that werent normally on my eating plan. Those little special things that arent good for me, but taste good. I find that for me, I cant say that any food is off limits, or Ill immediately need to have it and be tortured by the thought of it, but I respect that certain foods shouldnt be eaten on a regular basis. So I gave myself the weekend off from worrying about what I was eating. When I think back over the weekend, I still didnt do that bad. I had about 10-15 chips. I had a couple of sips of real Coke (its funny how I used to have the buy the biggest coke, and now I am satisfied with just a few sips). I had about 1/8 a cup of potato salad, about cup of barbecued beans and a turkey burger with cheese, no bun. That was what I ate for the barbecue/party I threw for myself. On Friday, there was a potluck here at work (not for me, for someone else) and I let myself munch on a few things, but even still, I didnt eat that outrageously. I had half a spinach bagel with some cream cheese, 1 egg roll and a small scoop of chicken salad. I munched on that throughout the morning, then for a late lunch, I had a grilled fish taco from Rubios (just grilled Mahi Mahi, cabbage and a corn tortilla), for dinner, I had some rotisserie chicken and a little bit of cole slaw. Saturday morning, I was going to treat myself to a couple of bites of an Egg McMuffin from McDonalds but I didnt get moving fast enough, so I just had a piece of cheese when I got over to my parents (where I was hosting the party, they have a much nicer place than me). For my birthday cake, I even made a cake with Splenda. It wasnt as good as real cake, but it wasnt bad either. It was denser and did have a bit of an aftertaste, but it was pretty good. I also did eat piece of baklava. I find that I dont dump on small amounts of sugar, but if Id have eaten the whole piece, I would have dumped. Sunday, I didnt even eat that much, I was having a lazy day and didnt even eat my first meal until about 3 and I dont even remember what I ate. Then it was back to reality on Monday.

Now there are those out there who would say, you shouldnt reward yourself with food for your birthday. But its my life and Ill make my own choices. Yes, food shouldnt be a reward. Yes, I do see a therapist to work on these issues and theyll all get worked out in time. In the mean time, my life, my business.

Oh wait, I just remembered what I ate on Sunday. I didnt eat all day, because I didnt have anything at home that sounded good. Then at 6 PM I went to Rubios for another grilled fish taco. I also decided to get some chips. I came home and ate the taco and some chips, but I ate too fast and ended up throwing up. How could I forget that? LOL oh well, the price I paid. The taco was okay, it was the chips that was too much. Ill remember it in the future.

In case you were wondering, I just turned 35. I wasnt sure how I was going to feel about that number, so far I am okay. I know that I dont have everything in life that I want right now, that I am not entirely where I want to be, but I also know that I have done something very positive for myself, something that will enhance my future. Sometimes, I get frustrated. As a child, I expected to be married and have children at a young age. But both of those goals have seemed to be out of my grasp. Mostly because I cant do them alone, they both require a willing partner. So I have to focus on other things. I make lists of things I enjoy doing and make sure I get out and do them. I set goals, things I want to accomplish. I make sure that the goals are things I can do on my own, things that dont require other people to make them happen. But still, if you asked me as a child what I wanted to be when I grew up, I wouldve said a mom. Thats what I wanted to be. So until thats fulfilled, there might be a part of me thats always empty. I tell myself, that at some point, if I am not married, Ill do it on my own. Whether that means adopting or having a child naturally, but as a single parent, I dont know. Ill have to decide that when the time comes. I had set a deadline of 36. Not to have a child by 36, but to make a decision what I was going to do, whether to keep waiting, or to go it alone. 36 is only a year away now, so it feels a little scary. Although at 36 I will still be in control of my life, so I can decide to postpone my decision. I just know that the longer I postpone, the less choices I will have. The clock does tick

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