Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!






This past year has been filled with laughter, love, tears, compassion, hardship, but most of all for me it's been about perseverance.

For my blog readers you have been able to see a small snippet into my life and experience some of what I'm talking about.  For friends and family you have seen first hand what this past year has entailed for me.  For both my readers and my loved ones I owe all of you a HUGE thank you.  Without the support and compassion that I have seen there is no way I would be where I am right now.

Here is a small list of the things I have experienced this past year.  I will try my best to keep them in order.  For those who are keeping track.  There is plenty to be thankful for in my life online but this is my DS blog therefore I'm going to try my hardest to keep on track with the theme.

1.  Life Came to a HALT:   In the beginning of the year, around January, I realized at 30 years old my health was declining faster than it should.  I was overweight, unhappy, uncomfortable but most importantly, unhealthy.  I started on my journey to a healthier new me.  I joined OH and started seeking out surgical options.  I also scheduled a doctors appointment with my new PCP to discuss what I could possibly do.  At this point, the option I liked best was the Lap band.  By February I had done enough research to learn that with my weight, lifestyle and for best overall results the only way for me to go was a Duodenal Switch.

2.  Time to Move On!:  By the time February rolled around I was determined on the DS.  I started to research doctors and found Dr. Greenbaum.  Not only was he one of the top docs for my surgery in the country but he was right up the street (literally 5 minutes from my house).  The best part was he took my insurance!  That was it.  mind made up, surgeon picked and support system in place!  for the next few months I researched, hit some road blocks and kept on 'truckin.

3.  Life is Forever Changed:  By June I had completed my testing, had gotten approved by insurance and had my surgery date scheduled.  On Monday, July 11th 2011 weighing in at 360lbs (I lost 19 lbs on my pre-op diet) my life changed forever.  By the end of that day I had custom designer guts and would never be the same again.  For those that paid attention I have the COOLEST surgiversary date ever!  Every year on 7/11 7-Eleven offers free Slurpees.  That means every year on the day I will relive one of the moments that changed my life forever I get a free Slurpee (I will be going for the sugar free version this year).

4.  Reality Slowly Slips Away:  Since 7/11 I have not had one week where my body hasn't changed.  If pounds weren't melting off the inches were.  I've seen frustration with my vitamins and water.  I've been furious over the fact that I can never seem to eat enough.  I've watched my immediate family change their eating habits and my wife lose weight in her own amazing way.  Nothing about my life is the same as it was.  I don't have any of the same clothes I had a year ago, My feet are smaller, I swear I'm shorter but mostly I have never felt so amazing in my life.


The old me vs the new me?




This time last year:
I weighed 379lbs.
I was wearing a size 28/30 or a 5xl with my shoes at a 10.5
I ran out of breath going across the room.
Stairs were my worst enemy.
My sleep apnea setting was the highest it's ever been, 16.
My blood sugar was completely out of control.
My cholesterol and blood pressure was getting higher every day.
Because I had no energy parenting was a chore.  To think about how this effected my son makes me sick.
Although I thought I was cooking healthy I had no idea what I was really doing to my family.
I hated going out because face it, at 379lbs taking a shower was a chore.  Going out to the car and moving around was torture.









Today:
I weigh 240lbs.
I am wearing an 18 or a 1x and my shoes are a 9 - 9.5 (I steal my sons clothes now)
I have to run around the block to run out of breath.
I love stairs.  I love the burn they make my legs feel after I've run up and down them a few times.
I am about to have a new sleep apnea study because my setting of 16 is entirely too high.
My blood sugar?  Normal.  All the diabetes signs I had such as the black rings around my neck are gone!
My cholesterol?  Normal.
My blood pressure?  Low.
My son doesn't have as much energy as I have.  Sometimes he can't even keep up with me.  
I now cook only healthy.  Everyone in my house is benefiting from the way I cook.  
I hate sitting in the house.  I look for every excuse to take a shower, get dressed and go out.





This past year has been memorable in so many ways.  I could keep going on and on but you'd get bored.  One thing is for sure, I may be thinner but I feel huge with the amount of love and people I now have in my life because of a surgery I never thought I would have the guts to have.

Thank you so much for every comment, message and like you have shown to my page.  I appreciate every single one of you.  Wether I've met you in real life, have already known you, or we know each other through IM's and forums, you have all made a tremendous difference in my life.  From the bottom of my heart, Thank you.

I can't ring in the new year and send out the old one without taking a moment to thank one of the most important people in my weight loss surgery journey.
R.I.P. Stephanie.  I will miss you forever and beyond.  I have you to thank for so many things.  Thank you for being all that you were and all that you will always be in my heart.  I dedicate my journey through WLS to you.  



-Forever Your's-
The Vanishing Mom
aka
Joianne

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sometimes Love Comes In Many Forms

If you know me personally you may have heard about my best friend and her battle with cancer.  If you don't know me personally you are about to find out a little more about me.  This has impacted me more than my DS has.  I've known this woman for over 12 years and her family has always meant as much to me as my own.

My best friend was diagnosed with cervical cancer a little over a year ago.  According to testing it was stage 2 aggressive.  She went under intensive radiation and chemo which did little to her cancer cells.  Finally they performed a hysterectomy this past fall.  Her surgery knocked her off her feet and caused several complications.  This past week her biopsy results came back and the cancer is still there.  She will be undergoing chemo and radiation again this coming new year.

My heart breaks for her.  She is a single mother to three children.  One is Autistic and one of them lost her father almost two years ago to cancer.  My friends life is anything but easy.  She is currently living in a state that offers little resources and since she is unable to work she is struggling more than someone should.  I wish there was more I could do to help.  Since there is very little I can do here states away from her I am spending my spare time researching everything I can in her area and looking for help in every nook and crany that I can.  One of the things I'm doing to help her along the way is setting up a donation site so that maybe I can get some food in her house and maybe a bill or two paid.  I know money is tight for everyone so if nothing else I am just asking that you pass this around.

As of last week her insurance refused to pay for a very much needed pet scan.  News such as this is such a blow to her.  I will make sure to keep my readers updated through here and my donation site.

Prayers, wishes, and thoughts are greatly appreciated for her.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Holidays Every Day



I didn't make too big of a deal about Christmas on here.

I have my reasons.  One of which is that I've been so darn busy with the family that coming online to do anything was almost impossible.

Another reason is because I have a problem with the "Holidays".  Yes, this time of year is magical and amazing but shouldn't the rest of the year be the same?  I try to find one thing in my day (in my week at least) that makes me feel just as magical the rest of the year.  This past year has been full of amazement for me.  I have a whole blog post of "Wows" ready for New Years so I'll save that rambling for this weekend.

Christmas here at the VM house was nothing short of amazing though.  It was simple, sweet, and filled with family, just the way it should be.

I indulged a little bit more than I normally do.  I had a bit of sweet potatoes, red potato salad and a tiny slice of my Sister in Laws Famous Apple Cake.  With all the carbs I managed to get down I lost 4lbs.  Crazy for the Normies with their Normie bellies but for my DS belly awesome stuff!  Carbs are normally a no-no for us.  Carbs are easy to digest therefore we absorb all those calories and they can have the same effect as it does for anyone else with some added gas.  However if you follow your DS diet and indulge a little bit on a rare occasion expect it to shake things up a bit, in more ways than one.  Every DSer reacts a bit differently but for me all I had was a tiny bit of extra gas and the loss of a few lbs.

For Christmas we go to my wife's Aunt for Christmas breakfast and than we come home and I have some of my family over for dinner.  This year we were able to have my dad, my Sister in Law and her awesome boyfriend, and on Monday we took a trip to my moms to spend some time with my Step Dad, my Mom and my Step Brother.  Like I said, simple and full of family.

How were your Holidays?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Support



No matter where you are there is support to be found for almost everything.  For me I thrive on support for my surgery.  I find that the best people to turn to when I need advice about my DS are people who have already had the surgery.  Support such as this can be found in person through support groups such as Dr. Greenbaums  or online through websites such as WeightLossSurgery.

Without the support I have found through WeightLossSurgery I don't know what I would do.   Some of the vets have been my backbone, Dear Abbey, and answer to almost everything DS related.

I urge you to visit the forums and get involved.  Even if you just browse and lurk for a while.  You'll find everyone welcoming and full to the brim with knowledge.  Enjoy your stay and look me up, vanishingmom!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Came Early!

Last night was amazing.  


Good friends
(L to R An online friend who also used my surgeon, Dr. Greenbaum, and myself)

A night out on the town!
(My wife and myself)

I LOVE my support group.

Dr. Greenbaum offers an awesome support group for his pre-ops and post-ops.  I still rely heavily on my online support groups but for the chance encounter for one on one a support group in person can be an amazing experience.  One of the perks are Holiday Party's.  Last nights was no exception.  I got my certificate for the Century Club (increments of 100lbs lost).  My wife won an amazing gift basket but most of all we connected with some pretty awesome people.  Not to mention I looked fabulous.  Please excuse my hair though, by the time I took this picture I was wiped out.  I had to put my shoes back on just to take the picture.  :)






Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tis the Season to Pay it Forward

It's 8:30am.
The boy is off to school.
My mug of coffee is almost done and I'm about to take my first round off vitamins.
Once that is done I'm off to the Wii Fit which will tell me I'm losing weight too fast but still overweight.
Then I think I might go for a power walk, with my bestie Adele of course.  Her album makes for the best workout session!


This past week has been rather inspirational for me.  My wife and very good friend are both starting their journeys to a brand spanking new DS.  They've both talked to their primary doctors and received referrals for Dr. Greenbaum. I've set them both onto two of my favorite research sites Obesity Help and DSFacts.  They've both been to support groups with me and talked to other WLS friends.  Most of all though they've watched how I've slimmed down, grown and transformed over the past 5 months.  With both of them having several comorbalities they are excellent candidates for WLS.  I am so excited for them!  Being able to pass on the gift of health feels terrific.  Most of all I'm excited that my wife will be my partner in crime all the way!

The hardest part of passing on the gift of WLS is trying to get an excited newcomer to realize that with the good comes some bad.  It is major surgery.  There is a chance of major complications even if you do follow all the rules.  Your safest route is being informed.  When it comes to such a major life change there is no such thing as too much information.  So I've pointed them to a few blogs of wonderful people who have no problem sharing their stories.  I'm sure I've mentioned them before but in case you missed it and you're contemplating WLS of any kind please check them out.  These blogs are filled to the brim with helpful information that you will find useful in every step of your journey.

First up is BlackBerry Mama.  She has several blog posts that I refer to over and over again.  For instance when she explains how losing too much weight is an amazing adventure theres more to it than meets the eye. She also shared how she had a pretty intense hospital stay because she wasn't keeping up on her vitamins.  The latter of the two posts spoke volumes to me and every time I have a hard time with my vitamins I refer back to it to remind just how important it is that I keep on top of them.

Second is Melting Mama.  While she didn't have the DS she did have WLS and although her regimen isn't the exact as mine it comes pretty close.  She has a great story to tell and doesn't hold back from explaining how WLS can drastically change your life for good, bad, and in between.  MM also has an awesome support group that she runs through Facebook.  She is blunt., to the point, and doesn't hold back.  My favorite recent post exposes things that pre-ops don't normally think about: transfer addiction.  Check it out in Tis The Season To Transfer Your Addiction.

Third is Formerly Fluffy.  She holds awesome contests and always has fantastic recipes.  I use her as a resource for information up and beyond what I can find anywhere else.  If she doesn't know about it there is bound to be a link somewhere in her blog about it.

Of course I saved the best for last!  Dina runs a blog called Living the DS Life.  I had a super hard time keeping anything in my belly.  I wasn't vomiting but I couldn't eat because I had nausea soo bad.  I couldn't even get in my vitamins.  Dina is the one who walked me through fixing my belly and she was there for me every step of the way.  When new patients ask me about post op diet and ideas on what to eat I direct them to her blog.  She has an awesome resource section for Eating.  Her story is also remarkable and one to make sure you read.





Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Count everything

What?!
Could it be?
Posting two days in a row?
Imagine that!

One of the things that really turned me onto my surgery was the new way of eating post-op.  High protein, high fat.  Who could ask for more?  I've always been a meat eater and now I can't get enough.  The only way I'm not hitting my goal of 100g of protein a day is if I physically can't eat a lot that day.  Everything I eat is protein.  I don't even crave carbs.  I honestly think that this plays a huge role in my success so far.  The benefits from protein are too many to count.  Since it makes up 95% of what I eat there's no doubt it's the reason I feel so fantastic!

How am I keeping track of my protein and other nutrients from my food?  I'm glad you asked.

With this site I'm able to track everything.  If the recipe I'm eating isn't listed I can add it using the ingredients I used to make it.  Best of all?  It's FREE!  I can even use it to track my weight.  

I recommend this site to everyone.  Pre-op, Post-op, even if you're not having any WLS surgery.  Even if you are totally happy with your weight.  It will help you see what you're really eating.  Plus you can find me on there and chat a bit. ;)

Pretty soon I'm going to start post recipes I've made up, doctored or simply recipes that are awesome by themselves.  I will be referring to http://www.myfitnesspal.com/ for nutrient info.  Go check it out and while you're there look me up!  The_Vanishing_Mom

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Programs, Support and Progress

Yeah I know, it's been forever and a day since I've made a new post.  Honestly though life has been crazy over here.  I promise not to stay away this long again.  I miss sharing but most of all I miss all the awesome feedback I get.

Short recap:

1.  As of this morning I've lost 132 lbs.  Yeah you read that right!  I am 5 months and two days out of surgery and I've lost a whole fricken person!  This is a huge reason why I've been absent.  In the past few months I find sitting down to be one of my biggest struggles.  Removing the weight of one person gives you amazing energy.  I now look forward to waking up early, taking a shower and picking out my cute outfit for the day.  Six months ago just getting out of bed was a struggle.  Sitting down at the computer for more than a few minutes seems like torture now.  As a matter of fact I think you all deserve a picture.  Here's my most recent (Thank you Daddy for putting it together!).  It's about 3 weeks old so expect a new one soon.


2.  Sitting down requires a longer explanation.  I've got hemorrhoids.  Personal and a little too much information I'm sure, however I did promise to share all the nitty gritty though so there you have it.  About a month ago I had surgery to remove some of them but it's still a work in progress.  So while sitting long enough to write a blog post is torture on my soul it can sometimes be a pain in the rear too.

3.  I needed to get back to the basics of being a mommy.  As hard as I try to put myself first there is this little guy who walks around here.  He needs my attention more than I do.  Since school is now in session which means this Mommy has IEP's, functions and homework to help with.  My son has ADHD and severe migraines and because of these things he gets extra attention from us.  Cooking dinner is normally a whole day process since we don't eat anything processed.  Everything I make to eat is fresh and homemade.  No food dyes, artificial anything (food dyes, preservatives or enhancers), and nothing premade (yuk).  We also practice Positive Behavior Mod which takes more energy than someone can imagine.  So needless to say the little guy (although he's not so little anymore) is a huge part of why I don't blog so much anymore.

4.  Thanks to this little nifty program I downloaded that was supposed to help make posting easier I lost 3 blog posts.  I never even thought to double check to make sure they made it on here.

     Like I said up top, I won't be gone this long again.  I miss you all.  Yeah I know I have a "therapist" and as wonderful as she is theres nothing better than spilling my guts on here.  Plus I have tons of new things to tell you about.  Rather than fill you're whole screen with nothing other than updates and all the awesomeness that I'm dealing with my way I'll split it up into a few posts.

     If you still are in the mood for reading head on over to one of my favorite WLS peeeps blog.  She's doing a contest right now for an awesome digital scale.  My Switched Scoop!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Month?!

Has it really been that long?

School work and family has taken up so much of my time that my poor blog has been sitting by it's lonesome self.

I promise by the end of the day I will have an INCREDIBLE update with pictures to boot!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Brrrrrrrrr....

Lets talk ICE CREAM!



A few days ago I received an awesome package from my good friends over at Arctic Zero.  They sent me all of their flavors of pints and ice cream bars.  It took me a second to get past the dry ice because I couldn't stop playing with it but as soon as the novelty wore off we all dug in.

Although they advertise as ice cream it tastes more like creamy water ice.  It's a perfect mix of sweet, creamy and cold.  Sweet enough that my son never notices that he's not eating real ice cream while at the same time not being so sweet that you think you're teeth might explode.

My favorite flavor so far is the Pumkin Spice with Coffee as being a close second.  We're still only part of the way through of trying all the flavors so expect a follow up post with plenty more awesome reviews of this yummy stuff.

(Nutrition Facts from a pint)


Even though this is a great treat for the WLS patient, it is a great treat for anyone.  Look at those stats!  You can indulge in a whole pint and not feel guilty!  The best part? I felt good about letting my son try these because their ingredient list is rather user friendly.
(Copied off of their website:)

Pints:


Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter,
Mint Chocolate Cookie

INGREDIENTS: PURIFIED WATER, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, ORGANIC CANE SUGAR, DUTCH PROCESSED COCOA POWDER WITH ALKALI, GUAR GUM, XANTHAM GUM, NATURAL FLAVORS, SEA SALT, ORGANIC MONK FRUIT.
Vanilla Maple, Cookies & Cream, PumpkinINGREDIENTS: PURIFIED WATER, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, ORGANIC CANE SUGAR, CHICORY ROOT, GUAR GUM, XANTHAM GUM, NATURAL FLAVORS, SEA SALT, ORGANIC MONK FRUIT.
Coffee
INGREDIENTS: PURIFIED WATER, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, ORGANIC CANE SUGAR, CHICORY ROOT, INSTANT COFFEE, GUAR GUM, XANTHAM GUM, NATURAL FLAVORS, SEA SALT, ORGANIC MONK FRUIT.
Strawberry
INGREDIENTS: PURIFIED WATER, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, ORGANIC CANE SUGAR, CHICORY ROOT, STRAWBERRIES, GUAR GUM, XANTHAM GUM, BEET JUICE FOR COLOR, CITRIC ACID, SEA SALT, ORGANIC MONK FRUIT. OUR NATURAL FLAVORS DO NOT CONTAIN MSG OR HVP





Bars:

Chocolate
PURIFIED WATER, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, ORGANIC CANE SUGAR, DUTCH PROCESSED COCOA POWDER WITH ALKALI, CHICORY ROOT, GUAR GUM, XANTHAM GUM, NATURAL FLAVORS, SEA SALT, ORGANIC MONK FRUIT CONCENTRATE.
Vanilla
PURIFIED WATER, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, ORGANIC CANE SUGAR, CHICORY ROOT, GUAR GUM, XANTHAM GUM, NATURAL FLAVORS, SEA SALT, ORGANIC MONK FRUIT CONCENTRATE.
Strawberry
PURIFIED WATER, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, ORGANIC CANE SUGAR, CHICORY ROOT, GUAR GUM, XANTHAM GUM, NATURAL FLAVORS, BEET JUICE FOR COLOR, CITRIC ACID, SEA SALT, ORGANIC MONK FRUIT CONCENTRATE.
Orange Cream
PURIFIED WATER, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, ORGANIC CANE SUGAR, CHICORY ROOT, GUAR GUM, XANTHAM GUM, NATURAL FLAVORS, CITRIC ACID, ANNATTO FOR COLOR, SEA SALT, ORGANIC MONK FRUIT CONCENTRATE.
Chocolate Coating
ORGANIC PALM KERNEL OIL, CHOCOLATE LIQUOR PROCESSED WITH ALKALI, SUGAR, COCONUT OIL, SOY BEAN OIL, SOY LECITHIN (AN EMULSIFIER), PURE VANILLA EXTRACT. OUR NATURAL FLAVORS DO NOT CONTAIN MSG OR HVP





Wednesday, September 14, 2011

If all the rain drops were lemon drops and gum drops......

It's been pouring over here!  Pouring food that is!  

Lets see... Where should I start?  Ice cream!  That's where I should start.  Who doesn't like some good 'ol ice cream?!

Today in the mail I received a HUGE box of goodies from Arctic Zero, equipped with our very own dry ice!  After playing with the ice and having a ball I ripped open a chocolate covered vanilla ice cream bar and I literally melted into a pool of mush.  This stuff is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!  It's creamy, it's chocolately.  You feel like your eating something horrible for you.  But your not!  Check out these stats!


Plus the ingredient list isn't too shabby itself!

I'm going to do a full blog on them but until then check out their site and Facebook page.  Make sure you let them know I sent you!

The second full belly I had today came from my brand new awesome cast iron skillet.  I took a recipe from Bariatric Foodie and adapted it.  Yummy, Cheesy Alfredo Spaghetti Squash with Bite Size Marinated Chicken Breast.  My version is below my supper yummy picture. 


VM's Yummy, Cheesy Alfredo Spaghetti Squash with Bite Size Marinated Chicken Breast

I used a 12 inch cast iron skillet

1 package of chicken breast (mine had 3 large)
Walden Farms carb free, fat free Italian Dressing (I add extra Olive oil when I marinade)
1 large spaghetti squash
1 jar of low carb Alfredo sauce (Thanks Aldi's!)
2 garlic cloves
half a stick of butter
1 cup of shredded cheese (we used colby, any sharp kind should work fine)
1/4 a cup of Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste (I use pink salt)

The best advice I can give for the spaghetti squash can be found on Bariatric Foodies blog.  

Once you have that done follow these directions for VM's version:

Cut up chicken into bite sized portions and marinate in dressing for 30 minutes.
Brown butter and minced garlic in skillet, add chicken.
Brown chicken until chicken just starts to turn tan.  
Add jar of sauce (I thin it out a little bit by adding 1/4 cup of warm water to the jar).
Season with salt and pepper.
Stir and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Sprinkle top with both cheeses.
Put skillet in oven on broil until cheese melts to your liking.  
Enjoy!

This made enough for me, my wife and son.  I even had enough to freeze for another nights dinner.  I would estimate that this yielded 5-6 servings (with my serving as being only half a normal size).   

NOTE:  For sensitive DS tummies I suggest letting your chicken breast soak overnight in some greek yogurt and rinse before marinating or cooking.  The enzymes will help break down the meat so it's more tender and easier to digest.  I normally would have done so but I've been handling chicken better lately so, being lazy, I skipped this step.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fresh Beginings



On such a sad day when the world seems to come to a stop for some I like to think that it's a day of new beginnings. 

Today ten years ago I decided to keep a baby that I didn't think I was ready for.  Today my 9 1/2 year old stands besides me and reminds me of each life that was lost and how grateful I am am to them. We will always remember and cherish each and every family who lost a loved one. I hope one day he will grow up and help keep their memory alive. I can see the spark of hope in his eyes.  
At 8:46 my son and I held each other for a full minute, I had to wipe the tears but it led to a great discussion. We then sat down and talked about why 9/11 is so important, not just for a country but for him and I. We spoke of how almost 3,000 lives were lost that day but 2 were saved. We talked about why it's important for him to live his life with passion, hope and perseverance. One day that boy is going to make a difference in the world. He already has changed my world forever.
This year I reflected on how much the last 10 years have changed not just myself but those around me.  I think I can speak for all my loved ones that we are better people than we were 10 years ago.
So as I sit here sipping on my Chocolate/Banana Chike protein drink, I'm listening to the memorial at Ground Zero.  My heart goes out to all those who lost a loved one.  I also want to thank all those who have served/or are serving our country to keep our freedom.  
This year I've already taken the first steps to a new me.  I'm proud to be part of this country, a mother to my child and a DSer!  


Saturday, September 10, 2011

And We Have a WINNER

We have a WINNER!!!  Well two actually :) 

Heidi D. has won one of my favorite goodies, a Pami Pocket!

You're very own Vanishing Mom has also won!  Although my win is more of a lose.  A 75lbs loss that is!!!

As of today I weigh in at 304.4lbs!  That is 75lbs down from my highest weight and 56lbs from my surgery date.  Ready for the best part?  Pictures!!

 In both pictures on the left I weighed in at 379, and on the right I weighed in at 305 (that was yesterday, today I'm a lb lighter)


I am sooo happy.  I can't wait to see what the following months have to come!  What makes this the best is I get to share it with you!  Yes you!  I have people I love to watch me shrink away.  Never in a million years did I ever think I could mutter the numbers that make up my weight to anyone, let alone all of cyber space.  I do it with the hopes of helping just one person.  If I can make the difference in just one persons life than I feel like I've done my job.  There are countless vets and pros who have given me tons of advice and support.  This is the best way I can find to pay it forward. 


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

PamiPocket GIVEAWAY!!!

My good friends over at PamiPocket are going to let me give away a PamiPocket to one of my readers!
It's super easy to enter and I have a new nifty company helping me pick a winner and organize it all.  Thanks Rafflecopter!

See my review of the PamiPocket:  HERE

Enter below:

Monday, September 5, 2011

Confessions of a Scale-O-Holic

First thing first, I know you love the new look!  I needed something simple. This works for now but it's not what my final look will be.  I'm soo indecisive. 


OK I'll admit it.  I've been weighing myself.  Mostly out of curiosity.  It's been beaten into my brain to stay away from it but I can't help it.  The worst thing about weighing yourself has already happened to me, I've stalled for a week and it didn't freak me out.  I expected that to happen.  For the past few days I've been losing at an amazing rate.  So fast in fact that I'm expecting my next stall.  I've lost about 3lbs a day for 3 days now.  Here are my stats so far:

379 - 2 week Pre-Op visit
360 - Day of surgery (7/11/11)
309 - Today (9/5/11 which is 8 weeks.  I'm not celebrating anything until my official two months next week)

I have officially lost 70 lbs.  Thats HUGE!  I feel amazing!  I have so much energy.  I can move in ways I couldn't just 70lbs ago.  I'm still not comfortable in my body though.  A 3x is still tight on me so I'm making that my first small goal.  I am so happy it's ridiculous.

I've stopped telling everyone around me about how fast I'm losing because it's starting to piss some people off.  It's a jealousy thing for sure.  Before my surgery if someone kept tell me how they lost 3lbs in their sleep I'd be super jealous too.  I just wish they knew this wasn't as easy as it looks.  I mean, it's not hard at this very moment but it's not a walk in the park either.

My newest complaint?  Eating.  Who would of ever thought I would almost never be hungry?  I've set a timer to remind me to eat and if I don't I find myself going almost all day with nothing but water in my system.  I've been eating a small portion of protein centered food every 2 hours.  So when I go out that means packing myself a snack or two.  If I don't do these things my blood sugar drops (yes you read that right, the prediabetic is having low blood sugar problems).  My body will even itself out over time in this respect but it takes patience and getting used to "grazing" my food throughout the day.

Speaking of which.  I have a B.A.T. calling my name!  YUM!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

My Switched Scoop: The BAT (Bacon Avocado and Tomato)

I have to share another awesome recipe I found. This time it's another DSer!

For the past month I keep reading this post because it looked so good and today I finally made it. I'm so glad I did because it is DELICIOUS!  Thanks Maria!

Try it for yourself, it's super easy:

My Switched Scoop: The BAT (Bacon Avocado and Tomato)



Saturday, September 3, 2011

PamiPocket


While cruising the web I ran into this little beauty you see on the right.   Being the kinda girl who likes to try new things I was anxious to try it and before I could click through the website I came up with a few reasons why a DSer would love one:
  1. Vitamins on the go.  This is water resistant so taking your vitamins on the go is simple and safe.  
  2. Small valuables while we exercise such as phone, credit cards, or even a few dollars.
  3. A safe place to keep things hand when going to this years OH conference!
I received my PamiPocket in the mail about 2 weeks ago and I'm in love with it.  The fabric is soft and stretchy.   The stitching is strong and resilient and the cord is just the right length to hang nicely.  

We tried splashing some water on it to see just how water resistant it was.  This was fun for my 9 year old who was finally told to wet something that should stay dry.  Nothing in the PamiPocket got wet.  

So far it's held up nicely to my everyday abuse.  I keep a days worth of vitamins in it and throw it in my purse.  If I'm going into a store or running errands I've thrown my cash and drivers license in the side pocket and just grabbed this and have been able to leave my purse in the car. 

Would I recommend this to my readers?  Without a doubt! 

Let me know some other uses you think this would be great for in the comments below! 



Friday, September 2, 2011

Cleaning Up

For some Irene left a nasty mess of destruction.  For those people my heart goes out and I wish them a quick recovery. I've donated some of my protein samples to a few people I know.  I just wish there was more I could do.  If you made it through the storm as good as I've done consider donating to the Red Cross or other charities.  It's amazing how little help they get. 

For us though, the story is completely different. My basements got some water in it.  We were fortunate enough to grab some of the valuable things out first.  What we lose we didn't need anyway.  We were lucky.

There's a bunch of tree limbs and branches on my lawn and in the street but thankfully no trees. 
Really though, this is as bad as it got.

I have a grandmother still without power and most of the towns around us just got turned back on yesterday and the day before.  We lost power for maybe 5 minutes, like I said, we were lucky.

I've also been working on myself.  I started not to feel so good and thought for sure I was going to end up in the ER.  I had a hard time dealing with my emotions for this and didn't speak about it with friends or family.  I kind of just sucked it up.  Instead I reached out to some of the DS vets I know.  One of which is Awesome Dina.  Click on her name.  It'll bring you to her blog and it is completely worth the trip.   She has some of the best information for the DS and life afterwards available.  Her site is always my fall back.  Luckily I know her through some of the online sources I use so when in doubt she is always a message away.  She's been through a lot since her surgery so she has tons of advice and information to fill you up on. 

Turns out the 64oz of water a day that we need is just not enough for me so I'm working towards 100oz of water a day.  I also wasn't eating enough.  That my friends is a funny thing.  I used to always be hungry.  I never could get enough to eat.  Now?  I am never, and I mean NEVER hungry.  It's a weird feeling and it takes sometime to get used too.  It's teaching me to have a different relationship with food than I'm used too.  Before my surgery I ate what I felt like eating.  After my surgery I have to learn to eat what fuels my body and is good for me.  I'm starting to enjoy food more and appreciate it's worth. It's really hard to understand and wrap my head around but I'm loving every second of it. 

Now that I'm all juiced up and feeling terrific again I'll be posting again.  It was so hard to come on here and offer advice when I felt like sludge.  I hate whining so it was even harder to blog since I hadn't really told my family about it and they read my blog.  

I have a post all ready to go for later today I just didn't want to bombard you with two at the same time.  I have a product review for the PamiPocket and Tomorrow I have a review for Banana CHIKE!  (so far my favorite flavor)!



Friday, August 26, 2011

Happy Birthday To ME!



For my Birthday this year do you know what I got myself?  A few things actually:
  • A Brand Spanking New 60 lb weight loss!  (As of this morning I'm 319lbs)
  • An awesome family that loves me
  • A Hurricane!  Beat that one! 

I'm here, I'm alive and I'm sorry if I haven't updated.  I've been super busy with school and my family.  I've also had a hard time thinking of this to write about that didn't involve Stephanie.  It's also been hard knowing she won't be able to comment or write me about something I've blogged.  I have heard from her friends and family though.  They really are wonderful people.  I'm so glad to have met them even if it was through such an unfortunate experience. 

I wanted to check in before Irene pounded us.  For those that don't know I live in NJ right across the bridge from Philadelphia.  Go ahead, I'll wait while you go check the link again....

Today I'm going to go register and insure my new Van and then I'm going to Camp Mom-Moms to pick it up, do a load of laundry, and sing Happy Birthday to me! Believe it or not the best part of my trip is not the van.  The best part of my trip is my step dads Pesole soup!  I've been craving this for weeks and I can't WAIT!

When I return to all my wonderful blogging friends I will have a new giveaway and a review!  I miss you all!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friends in Low Places

The whole time I've been thinking about what I was going to write in this blog I have this stuck in my head
Listen while you read, it really will make the whole blog that much more enjoyable.
(deal with this version, apparently Garth Brooks doesn't like to share so I couldn't find his version on YouTube)


When I started the path to get my DS I figured I was doing something for myself.  I thought this was going to be a solo journey that I would need to find internal strength to complete.  Over the course of the last few months I've learned that I could never of been more wrong.  Yes I need internal strength to conquer my obesity, but when that's running low I have amazing family and friends to help hold me up. Some of the places I've found those friends are surprising and humbling. 

Take for example my friend Wendi.  We met online through ObesityHelp.com and then really connected on Facebook.  Our surgeries were at the same time so as we progress we are able to compare notes and share tips/secrets.  She has also been a huge source of inspiration for me, not to mention just a great friend all around.  She's the person who really inspired my blog today.  Just as I was feeling out of control and a little helpless to my vitamin regime Wendi messaged me and told me she couldn't use her vitamin organizer, and did I want it?!  I never mentioned to her the problems I was having, I was a little ashamed, so her timing was impeccable.   Not to mention the organizer she had was the same one I was so bummed out about not being able to afford.  Instead I've been using little baggies, which works but it can be a little daunting.  Now if only I can find a way for her to ship me some of those awesome zucchini flowers she's got in her yard!

This is my new pretty.  I will call her Emily.  She is my new friend.

When I opened the box this morning I sat and stared.  How in the world do we go through life without people like her?  People who unselfishly and without bounds love us as if we've always been a part of their life?  Friends who without the internet we never would of met? 

This past week has been full of those friends for me.  Losing one of my best blog buddies Stephaine, spurred an online grieving process with some of the best online friends I could of asked for, BlackBerry Mama and Heidi and others who belong to my Facebook OH group and my ObesityHelp.com online forum. It's comforting to know that when I may feel lost and alone with how my new life is turning I always have a group of people I can turn to.  Not only will they understand how I feel but they have no problem smacking me around a bit to get a point across that I may not of seen otherwise.  The best part?  OH holds conferences that will make seeing these amazing people possible.  In a week or two I'm going to start the "Send The Vanishing Mom to OH Conference" petition. 

This doesn't discount the amazing friends and family I have right here in real life.  My Mother, Father, Step-Dad, Wife, Son, Grandmother, and Best Friend are all not just supportive, but just as excited as I am.  I have met almost no hesitation with them.  If nothing else I've even been able to change some of the things they previously thought about WLS.  My Mother and Father tell me everyday how proud they are of me.  My son who is large for his age and has always had an appetite like a teenager (he's 9) is starting to be more aware of what he puts in his mouth.  We're watching him choose healthier options and move around more than ever before.  His reasoning?  He wants to eat healthy like his Mommy.  My wife has cut out all of the carbs in her life (yes even Pepsi) and has lost 20lbs so far.  My Step-Dad, who isn't the biggest supportive of WLS itself has even made the positive comment or two.  My Grandmother got me a WiiFit for my birthday next week because I'm so excited to use it to work out(this will be a whole blog post for itself probably tomorrow). 

Today I feel blessed.  On a day that is rainy, muggy and gloomy, after a week of sadness, I really needed a blog about the love we feel as we journey through life.  It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

Tell me, How has major life events changed how you view your family and friends?






Monday, August 15, 2011

The loss of a friend

I've been meaning to blog for the past few days.  I just haven't had it in me. 

As I sat down last night to blog to you about my one month Surgiversary I was greeted with terrible news. 
An online friend who you may have seen commenting on my blogs went for her DS surgery on 8/11.  She passed away two days later from complications. We don't know the final reasons just yet.  Quite a few people are pointing fingers at the surgeon.  Honestly I think that in such a tragic situation we all look to blame someone.  Until we have the test results and a reason why she passed away we need to curl our fingers back up.




Instead of dwelling on why, or how, I want to share with you who she was to me. 

Stephanie was a friend met through ObesityHelp.com.  She came to me with questions which quickly turned into a small online friendship.  We supported each others blogs and I shared with her all the tips I could as my progress went on.  Stephanie was always quick to help promote my blog and contests.  Without her I wouldn't have some of the traffic I do.  Through her trials and tribulations that she shared on her blog I was able to find strength and inspiration.  She wanted what all of us look for who are pursuing weight loss surgery, relief from obesity.  She was beautiful inside and out.  Stefanie is support by amazing family, friends, a sweet loving boyfriend and her cute lizard Osi.  She also leaves behind many online friends.  As an online community we will miss her soo much.  My only regret is that I never had the chance to meet her in person.  I keep checking online for new comments from her or a message telling me this was all a huge mistake and I have the wrong Stephanie.  I'm going to miss her sooo much.

Stephanie, We will miss you everyday.  You finally finished your journey, sleep with peace my friend.  This spot on the bench will always have your name on it.  *hugs*

For those that were not familiar with her, take the time to get to know an amazing person.  Her blog is HERE


I originally posted this comment on BlackBerry Mama's Blog and felt it was appropriate to add to this blog post:

"When preparing for my surgery death came up often, too much at one point. What made me feel comfortable is that my family understood. They knew exactly how I felt and agreed with me.
If I didn't die from trying to fix the problem, the problem was eventually going to kill me. I wanted to go down as a fighter. Had I of passed I wanted my son to know that his Mommy did EVERYTHING she could to be healthy. Everyone in my family agreed and understood, no matter how hard to reality of the situation was. 

Death is something that needs to be taken into careful consideration when deciding on surgery. It needs to be thought about when picking your surgery and surgeon. It needs to be thought about when preparing for your surgery and the life you live afterwards.

The friendship I had with Stephanie will always live within my blogs and online persona. As an online community her memory will be kept alive for all the other pre-ops who come after her.
I hurt for her family. I can't even imagine how they must feel. I've spoken to her boyfriend a few time and my heart breaks for him. The love they shared was immense."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pami Pocket

The mail just came.  

This has been the favorite part of my day for the past few weeks.  At least once a week I've been getting all kinds presents in the mail.

Even if they are school uniforms for my son that I got on an awesome Old Navy sale.  

Today though I got my Pami Pocket!  I am soo excited about this!  It's a pocket that you can hang on your shoulder or neck.  The possibilities for this are endless.  I can't wait to take it on outings to carry my vitamins, phone and maybe a few dollars. 


It's soft and cute, plus it has an extra pocket on the outside! I'm going to use it the next few days and let you know just how much I love it!

Ohhh!  Do you hear that sound?  It sounds like a hundred horses running down the street.  I never knew such a tiny tummy could be so loud!  I guess that's my cue to go and feed myself.  

Don't forget to enter my giveaway!  Who wouldn't want a tub of the best protein powder out there?!  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Oh No, I broke the rules

I did it. I didn't mean to but I couldn't help myself.


My wife keeps the scale in the kitchen.  I know what you're going to say.  Why in the world would anyone do that?!  It helps keep her on track with her diet which she is doing fabulous with.  I've done my hardest to stay off of the scale.  But today I couldn't help myself and I tiptoed on it and held my breath as I looked down.  330.4 lbs.... Are you kidding me?  I've been stuck at this number for at least a week now.  This is why we stay away from the scales.  I'm not as freaked out as you might think I am.  Because I have been following the advice of the wonderful people over at obesityhelp.com and have been measuring myself instead.  I also have been pay attention to how my clothes fit.  I know I've gone down in inches.  How many you ask?  Not enough that I feel comfortable with sharing just yet.  I'm going to update my numbers when I post my one month pictures (on Aug. 11th). The good news is that as long as I poop first I'll be able to go on a Wii Fit (crossing my fingers that I get one for my birthday in 2 weeks).

For the biggest question of the day: How are you feeling?
Honestly?  At four weeks I am feeling awesome!  I feel soo much better than I thought I would.  I have more energy and less pain than can be imagined.  I am also having fun cooking for my family.  They've been eating very similar to me which I've noticed is making a huge improvement with my son.  He's turned things down that a month ago he would of wanted second helpings of.  He's also excited about learning how to cook healthy.  What shocked me though is he wanted to weigh himself.  I put a quick halt to that mess.  There is no reason why a 9 year old needs to weigh themselves.  We had a nice long talk about diets vs. healthy eating and why at his age it's not something he needs to be concerned about.

Well I smell my dinner cooking.  We're having broiled cod with Quinoa and left over steamed brussell sprouts (fresh from the farmers market).

Don't forget to enter my giveaway from yesterday!  I'm giving away a free tub of CHIKE!  Make sure you spread the word.  If I have a good enough turn out I can do almost a giveaway a week of different products I've been sent to review!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Chike Giveaway!!

The wonderful guys over at Chike! gave me a call today.  
It seems that they are thrilled that I like their product!

I heart those guys.

They really are the best.

They want to make sure you love them just as much.  
So they are allowing me to hook my readers up with some of their product!
A 1.59 tub of their Strawberry Burst!

So here's the rules:
1.  You have to "like" and share my Facebook page. Click HERE
2.  You have to "like" and share Melting Mama.  Without her I wouldn't know Chike!  Click HERE
3.  Most importantly you have to "like" and share CHIKE!'s Facebook's page.  Click HERE
4.  When you're all done leave me a comment and let me know.  I will enter your name into a random generator (aka a paper bag) and let my assistant (my son) randomly pick a winner.
5.  The deadline is August 11th at 8pm.  

Spread the word.  The more people I'm able to have participate in this contest will determine if I'm able to do this again. 



Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chike Review

My baby's back and I couldn't be happier.  I feel like I can officially resume life again.  That includes this blog.

So let's talk Chike!


Apparently I must of forgot to take pictures.  So I'll grab some from them so you can get an idea of what their product looks like. 

Let's start off with the fact that I hate protein drinks.  Actually I've only met a handful of people who do like them.  Part of my dislike for them is that for them to taste good you have to make up creative and sometimes odd concoctions in order to ingest them.  So from the door, when I received my samples I was pretty hesitant to like it.  


For my reviews I will only use water with a splash of soymilk if I feel it should be creamy.  For this review I strictly used water and followed the package directions:
"Fill shaker with 7oz. of water or your favorite beverage.
Add 1 packet (48g) of Chike.
Shake well and ENJOY!"

(The only thing I did extra was add two ice cubes after I was done shaking)

Made with strictly water and 2 ice cubes Chike's Strawberry Burst is full of flavor and just the right consistency.  I also didn't experience any nasty protein after taste that I normally do.  One of my favorite parts about this drink is that I only had to add 7oz of liquid.  The amount of liquid I have to add is super important to me since I'm an early post-op and can still only ingest a little bit at a time.  I find that other protein drinks require more liquid which means longer to ingest and by the time I'm done them they are warm and gross.  I also look for protein drinks that are true to their flavor.  If it's strawberry I want it to literally burst with Strawberry goodness into my mouth.  I don't want something that vaguely resembles pink liquid with some sweetness to it.  Chike  delivered enough strawberry goodness to my taste buds that I was almost disappointed it was gone.  I wanted more.  I'm going to wait to try the other flavors before I order because if their Strawberry was this good I can only imagine how good Chocolate, Banana and Vanilla must be!



Keep your eyes peeled for my first giveaway this week.  I will be giving away some Torani Syrup and some protein samples to try it with!  Spread the word so we can make this happen and have fun with it!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I'm still here

I've been in quite the funk lately.... My baby is gone.  He's off to summer camp and I miss him soo much.  


I haven't felt like doing much since he's been gone.  He gets back in two days and I'll be my old self again. 

Today I wanted to tell you about a blog that I'm hooked on.  I'm about to go grocery shopping for the first time post op.  Her blog was the first place I went for advice on how to stock up my kitchen.  I have the essentials that I will need but the every day, get meals prepared so I'm not grazing or ordering out with my new DS kind of stuff.  She has had a different surgery but eating wise it's pretty similar.  Take your butts over to her blog and make sure you let her know who sent you!  The World According To EggFace  You'll thank me. 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Things I may have forgotten

Posting more than once a day is confusing.  So rather than make two posts I'll save what I wanted to post today for tomorrow.  In the meantime I'd really appreciate it if you made your way over to Blackberry Mama's blog and wished her a Happy Birthday!  She has been influential and inspirational in every way.  I can't wait to go to my first event and be able to give her a real hug.  Until then, my virtual hug will have to do.  Visit her, you won't regret it! And don't forget to tell her who sent you!


As I was going through my Droid grabbing pictures for my next post I stumbled on hospital pictures I never shared.  Since I have a few friends about to have surgery I thought posting them was important.  There is only a few so don't worry about a long load time.  Enjoy!


Jully 11th, 2001 
 This was my view in pre-op as I waited to be brought upstairs for surgery.

I will never forget that day.  It will live with me for the rest of my life.  It was the day my life started all over.  It was the day that changed how I view and eat food.  It's the day I really started living. 


Look at that chubby, round, pale face.  I was scared and did everything I could not to show it.  This was pre-op still.  Waiting for my good friend Leann (who also works on the surgical floor) to wheel me upstairs.


This was the view from my bed post-op.  That black bag on the table is my CPAP machine bag.  Everyday I struggled to get out of bed and walk as much as I could.  My room was pretty spacious.  I won't lie and tell you I couldn't wait to come home, quite the contrary.  I LOVE staying in a hospital.  It's quiet, calm and relaxing.  People bring you food and fluff your pillow.  Who wouldn't like that?


Not much to see, just more of the view I had from bed.  The view from my window was boring so I didn't even bother to take a picture.


This was one of the highlights of my hospital stay.  I'm a geek, I know I am and I watch too much damn Grey's Anatomy.  My first highlight was the cute little Greys Anatomy scrubs the nurses wore.  The second highlight?  This big boy bag hanging up.  Potassium Chloride, this stuff will keep you hydrated and have the potential to kill you!  While I laid in bed I saw an episode of Law and Order that highlighted this very same substance.  Can you imagine the freaked out position I laid in as I looked at the TV then looked at this bag.  You can bet I grabbed my phone and Googled this stuff quick and in a hurry.  LoL

Tomorrow I have some Chike to review and I can't wait to share it with you!  I also will be doing my first giveaway next week so tell you're friends to come check out my blog if they want to win some yummy things to try!
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