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The Skinny on My New "Normal"

What? Me? Really? Yes! It’s true—I’m back with a blog update. I’d love to give you some grand reason for my disappearing act, but the truth is just that life has just gone on. Being banded was a huge life altering experience and for many months it affected everything. In a way, it defined me, just as being fat has defined me for the past 20 or so years of my life. Being banded affected my daily routine—what I ate, how I moved, work, the gym, doctors appointments. And then slowly, it affected me less. Life went back to normal. I stopped feeling sore, I went back to the gym, I started being able to wrestle those big dogs I work with again, and I stopped agonizing over every morsel I put in my mouth. My band became a part of who I am and stopped being everything I am about. And as life went on without me having to stop and contemplate my band every other minute, I stopped having new and exciting things to say about it. That’s not to say that everything has gone back to the way it used to be, although my life is not yet as completely altered as many of my pre-band fantasies projected it to be. A lot has happened in my life both related and unrelated to my weight-loss journey.

I believe last I left you guys, I was plagued with a big pain from a little kidney stone. Who knew something smaller than a pencil eraser could cause so much trouble? Well, in case you were wondering, the kidney stone did not pass on its own. After my trip to the hospital and the very happy drugs they pumped me with, my pain was gone. I followed up with an urologist anyhow and it was a good thing since he informed me that being pain free did not mean being urolith (big, fancy, medical word for a kidney stone) free. And low and behold, the night after my appointment, I had another bout of excruciating pain. The pain came and went for the rest of the week until my follow-up appointment at which point my doctor and I decided to schedule lithotripsy—a non-invasive surgical procedure used to break up kidney stones using shockwaves that pass through the body wall. Unfortunately the first available appointment for the procedure was not for another 2 1/2 weeks. The pain was sporadic in the mean time, and while I had some hefty pain meds, I was unable to use them at times—ie when at work. So, I used Ibuprofen instead—after all the PA at my docs office said it was okay given my situation as long as I took certain precautions. Well, I don’t think I took enough precautions, or I just took too much Ibuprofen because after a few days my stomach got all funky and I was sick for a good 2-3 days. I stopped the Motrin of course, and got better.

Finally I went for my scheduled procedure and they took an x-ray to locate the stone, then hooked me up to an IV and knocked me out. I woke up shortly after and everything went smoothly. Of course the lithotripsy only broke the stone up to smaller pieces and didn’t get rid of it, so for another week and a half I waited for the stone to pass—with even more pain than before, as well as several bouts of nausea. At last, my stone was gone, and with it, the pain. In addition, I felt energetic and just plain good for the first time since it happened. I turned the stone in for analysis and did some extra urine tests and next week I return to my doc for the results as well as a discussion on nutrition to help prevent further stones. I’m a little worried about how that will go and how his nutrition advice will work with my band. Obviously drinking plenty of water is paramount for both my situations, but I have a feeling he’s going to tell me to cut back on my protein which will not bode will with band eating. He says he’s seen many bandsters getting kidney stones 3-4 months after surgery and on the one hand, that probably means he knows our nutrition restrictions, but on the other hand, it probably means the diet change helped in the formation of the stone. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

Despite the passing of my kidney stone, I am—sadly—not yet a paragon of health. I’ve been having some trouble with my shoulder. At first I just suspected a pulled muscle or something, but given my kidney stone-ibuprofen snafu, could not treat it properly with anti-inflammatory meds like Mortrin. I finally sucked it up and got myself to the orthopod who examined me and took an x-ray. He said the x-ray looked pretty good, but he did see a small bone spur which probably caused some bursitis. Normally he would have just had me treat it with NSAIDS (if it was that easy, I wouldn’t have needed him) but instead he gave me a cortisone shot. Sadly, it didn’t work. He also gave me a prescription for physical therapy if it didn’t work. I think I’ll probably have to use it, but I’m going to try my sister’s acupuncturist first (I saw him once before and he actually predicted my kidney stone by feeling my pulse—well not a kidney stone exactly, but he told me the “kidney” part of my pulse was weak—how crazy is that?) Of course, I think I’m starting to sound like an 80 year old, going on and on about my health problems. I’ve been sicker since getting my band than I was before—how did that happen?

In other—non-medical—news, in the end of August, I finally moved into my new place. Having my own refrigerator to stock with all my own food has been helpful. I pretty much live off rotisserie chicken. I’ll have a quarter of a store bought chicken, no skin and I’ll pair it with some fruit, or carrot sticks, or tonight, a small baked potato. Yum, yum. My lunches vary, sometimes I’ll have a lean cuisine, or I’ll have a salad from the salad bar down the street. My usual breakfast is either a protein bar, or if I get up early enough, a 100 calorie whole grain English muffin with 1 egg, 1 egg white, and piece of low fat cheese. I do still have snacks. I believe in eating when I’m hungry. I’ll usually go for either a yogurt, or a high protein snack bar—Slim fast makes a yummy caramel nougat one, and South Beach has a chocolate raspberry one I love. Like a bad girl, I have taken to drinking diet soda again, but only 2-3 times a week instead of 5-6 times a day like I used to and of course, plenty of water is still a must.

I stalled with my weight-loss for a while, not because I didn’t have restriction, but because I was making bad choices and eating a lot of junk food again. So, I started going to Weight Watchers. The band helps me monitor how much I eat, and WW gives me the tools to help me make better choices. Having to figure out how many points everything is makes you stop and think before eating it. I only have so much room in my new little tummy pouch, and I need to make each bite count. That’s not to say I’ve given up all the good stuff—I still eat the foods I love…pizza, bagels, ice-cream, etc, but not on a regular basis. I really feel like I eat like a “normal” person now. I can eat a slice of pizza, without eating 3. I can have a turkey burger and leave half for the next meal. Anytime I order out, my food lasts a good 3 meals instead of finishing the whole thing and wanting more. It’s amazing how normal that is for me now. My loss is picking up again and I still have hopes of making my goal of losing 75# by my sisters wedding which is October 25. I’ve got to lose another 5 lbs and I’ve got 10 days to do it.

Holly, this entry is getting long. I have more to say about how I’m feeling about the changes the last 6 months have made to my mind, body and soul, but I’m working on page three of this thing now, so I’m going to cut it here, and save the rest for another entry. Here’s to not letting another 3 months go by before that happens ;) Tootles.