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!
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