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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Are you talking to me?

A good friend of mine and I recently spent the weekend at a hotel on the beach, girls weekend away, that kind of thing..... Well, I was astounded at how things have changed between women and men in the last 10 years. Yes, I am getting old and yes I apparently am not up to date with what crawls out from under rocks on Friday nights in Florida, but I was never expecting what I saw....

Now the lovely establishment we stayed at was definitely not a four star hotel. It was clean and boasted the largest tiki bar in South Florida, that was all I needed to know. The staff was friendly and made us feel safe, which is very important.

As a recent Roux-en-Y patient with a loss of 80 pounds, I am still a little uncomfortable with my body. When you go from a size 26/24 to a 12 and the opposite sex starts to say things to you, it is embarrassing and a shock to your system, but some of what I heard was just plain rude.

I heard, "Your boobs are like pillows of joy." "I've had a vasectomy. You'll be safe with me, baby!" and the biggest shocker was the 22 year old who swam up to me in the pool, grabbed my foot and sucked my toe. Yes, I promptly got out of the pool.

I have read many posts from fellow post-ops about feeling awkward about getting attention once they begin to lose the weight and near their target. How can we feel comfortable with others affection when we aren't completely comfortable with giving ourselves affection? I feel that if I am attracted to people who talk to me as if I am a piece of meat, then I am only doing myself a disservice. In the world of online dating, texting, sexting, immediate gratification and outward bluntness, we have lost that finesse for personal connectivity.

I know it is wonderful new world where I feel attractive for the first time in a long time, but at the same time, I look in the mirror sometimes and still see a obese person. My point is that after going through all we have been through, perhaps it is best to sort out how we feel about ourselves before we let someone in our lives and have to figure out how we feel about them.......

Just food for

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hope isn't just a word...

A few years back, I remember hearing those words, "You have Multiple Sclerosis." I was actually relieved. I had been "ill" for many years and it took six years to finally get the proper diagnosis. I finally knew what I had and I could move on, right? Not! The first year was awful. I wallowed in my own misery.

I went to the support groups and all I saw was the wheelchairs and disability. I didn't see the wonderful people sitting in them. I constantly saw the "what if" in my life, the never knowing if my disability was going to cripple me.

My disease over the next few years was very active, it paralyzed my right side, it took my sight for brief periods of time, and ended up making me bedridden for 3 years. With MS, when you have an exacerbation (attack), they treat you with high dose (1000 mg) of IV steroids twice a day, for 7 - 10 days, to try to stop the attack. So to say I got huge, is an

The spasms got so severe that my hips were dislocating and I couldn't walk and I had just ordered my scooter. The pain and the burden I was putting my family under was too much for me to bare. The emotional pain of being ill had taken it's toll. With MS, it can effect you cognitively and I felt like my intelligence was slipping away, as well. Then the speech difficulties became obvious, and my children started to make fun of me, who sounded like James T Kirk from the Star...Ship...Enter...Prise!

I wanted to die. Literally! I was giving up! I kept thinking, "Is this existing?" "Is this living?" I sat down with my neurologist and had a long talk with him about my existence and how unhappy I was. My treatments were not working and we needed something more aggressive, more radical. He agreed! We devised a treatment plan that included Novantrone, a form of chemo therapy used for MS patients and botox injections along my spine to control the spasms. I finally had hope again, even though nothing else had worked.

By my second batch of chemo and my botox treatments from the neck to my tailbone, I was walking without my crutch canes. My neuro cried.... I just smiled from ear to ear! I had hope again. Real hope!

I had lost sight of hope in my loss and sorrow. But, I promise you that I don't now. I can no longer do the chemo, it has a lifetime limitation on it, but I know that I am a different person. I had the RNY to reduce the "load" so to speak on my body and to live a healthier lifestyle, so that I can stay out of a chair. I am determined! I live by my rules. I don't involve myself in stressful situations, if at all possible. But, most of all, I will never give up. I have MS, but it doesn't have me.

I realized that if I could live through all the things that have happened to me in my life, I could do anything I wanted. We are all strong women. We have done what is best for us, to lose the weight and live healthier lives. We have chosen the right paths and taken a proactive step into our futures. If we hold onto that knowledge, we can achieve our biggest accomplishments. No matter what we have come from or what disorder we have, we are a force to be reckoned with! Strong, vibrate, liberated women with hearts of gold, who know what it is like to be the underdog and push through our strife's to succeed! Please don't let anyone or anything ever take your hope away!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Do Your Thing!

As I stand in front of the pantry, staring at the items inside, I ask myself questions that I never used to ask myself.....Are you really hungry or are you upset, bored, overwhelmed, stressed? I shut the door and walk away, empty handed. YES! I am doing it!

I am beginning to not crave as much as I once did, but those old habits run deep. I didn't eat because I was hungry, I ate to stuff. I ate to suppress. Can anyone else relate? Anxiety was my biggest enemy, I got anxious, so I shoved something in my mouth. I found eating soothing. Now I am having to find a new way of life. Eating this way is really quite passive aggressive. You upset me, I eat my way through a bag of cookies instead of telling you that you hurt me. What is up with that????

I recently read an article about the divorce rate among post-ops. Now this particular article struck a cord with me. It was about how we should compromise and give reassurance to our partners, so that they can survive our weight loss and their own insecurities. It stressed how we become "selfish" after surgery. No offense, but shut up!

This time is a time of self exploration and is difficult. I personally don't find anything "selfish" about making time for yourself. Most weight loss surgery patients that I have met have never done that for themselves previously. Some of us need to seek professional help to deal with areas that we may feel need to be addressed after the weight goes away. And to say that any of those things are "selfish" is ridiculous. Do things you have never done before and love it. Yes, try to include your partner, but if they won't do it with you....does it that mean you still need to share a blood supply with the couch? No! Get out there and love life! Find friends who will do it with you, expand your circle and network, you will be amazed at the amount of smiles it puts on your face.

I know our families are important, so is mine! My youngest is 17 and I still drag her out of that cave she calls a bedroom and make her go do things with me every once in a If you have teenagers, then you will understand! But, I need time for me. I don't find that selfish. Don't let anyone tell you or make you feel that you are being that way for needing time to do your thing.

Really? There is balance with everything, but I think as mothers, sisters and daughters, we do plenty for others. Make sure you are doing plenty for yourself.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Following your dreams.....

Following my dreams is a frightening event! For the first time in my life I am taking the bull by the horns, taking a chance, believing in myself, taking a risk, going for the gusto and I am freaking scared shitless!

On the outside, I am cool, collected and confident and on the inside, I am filled with anxiety and self doubt! That fat girl is screaming at me still, "You can't do this!" But, I know I can! Working through this is one of the hardest things I have ever done.

Self doubt and low self esteem filled my life when I was obese. I am having the hardest time breaking free from those ties that bind. I didn't just wake up thinner and poof, magically that issue was magically transformed. It is a daily battle for me, to believe in myself and love myself.

I know many others struggle with this issue, just like me, and I am not afraid to share my faults with others. We only get stronger by admitting our problems and making a conscience effort to change them. I feel that life is an never-ending journey in which I continue to try and grow.

So, right now....I am making a big step into an unknown future and you know what???? I am frightened! But, excited all at the same time. My life is full of surprises and what if's right now. I keep telling myself, "It is all going to be ok, trust yourself" and I know I can.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Stress Overload

Ever feel like you just want to runaway? Ever feel like people need to just stop leaning on you? That is me this week. After the fourth thing I have given up out of my schedule to care for someone else and their drama, I am done!

When do we as women, stop caring for the world and take care of ourselves? When do we take off the wife, mother, sister, daughter hat and just be ourselves? When do we say no? When do we put ourselves first?

I am resentful, angry, and spewing it everywhere this week and that isn't fair to those around me. And who do I have to blame, only myself. Why, because I can't say no? It is time to say no. I think that is why I am ranting this week. I have had enough and I am letting everyone know that I am no longer tolerating their drama.

Anyone want to runaway with me???? lol


Monday, July 12, 2010

Family Ties That Bind

Yes, I am a food addict, addicted to love too much and I am the only one who can keep all of it in check (well me and my higher power)!!!!! I can't just have one cookie, just like an alcoholic can't just have one beer...... For me, it leads to binges and it throws me completely off my new way of life. This is a constant mind battle for myself and for others like me. More power to the ones that can.

But, I want to talk about our families..... I want to talk about breaking the cycle. I am sure that if you look into your own families, you will see bad relationships, addiction issues, mental health disorders, etc. It is our choice to break the cycle and not hand it down (well, hopefully not as bad) to our own children. The only way to do that is to reach out for help ourselves. Find a 12 step group, a trained professional, or even a great self help book and work on what ails you. You have to want to help yourself before you can help the ones around you.

I used to be a case manager working with families who had children with mental illness, my specialty was families who had experienced sexual abuse. Nine out of ten times, the parents had experienced some kind of sexual abuse in their childhood and then their children where offended upon in their childhood. This type of abuse was the last thing the parents ever wanted to happen to their children, but because of the abuse that happened to them, they let people into their lives that in turn hurt their children. Of course, this isn't intentionally, it just happens.... Breaking the cycle of abuse, violence, eating disorders, low self esteem, obesity, and mental illness is sooo important! We need to do it for our children, before we pass it on to the next generation.

Surround yourself with positive people. Stand tall and be proud! Don't let someone look down on you because of your life's lessons. I recently had someone say not so nice things about my previous issues in life while all the while living in a glass house. You know what they say about people who live in glass houses??? These type of people aren't the type of people I want to surround myself with.

Seek professional help, if necessary. My ex-husband was in treatment for his drug addiction and bi-polar disorder. His doctor, he and I had just worked his treatment plan out when his doctor turned to me and said, "Great, now what about you?" I replied, "He is the one that is sick, not me!" He simply stated, "Really, then why did you stay?" That was a turning point for me. I couldn't think of a good answer. He was right, why did I stay? That was fifteen years ago and different me.

Be active, exercise physically to exercise the mind. Ever notice that you feel so much better emotionally and physically about yourself after a good workout. Get those endorphins flowing. Get the little ones to workout with you, start a trend. Ingrain a lifestyle in them while they are young. Exercise has been proven to help with depression as well. I recently started karate. The positive reinforcement of the dojo and the people around me just drew me to it. To me, the gym was too cold and impersonal. Find what charges your batteries!

The first step to breaking the cycle is to heal thyself! Like I said in my previous blog post, I never really feel "grown up" because I feel like I am constantly evolving into a better person and a better mom. But, at least I am trying!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Jello Growing Up....

Growing up is such a relative term.....

Are we ever really "grown up"? I am 40 and I just now feel like I am getting the hang of my life. Like most individuals whom have had weight loss surgery, it has been a life journey for me to get to this point.

As a toddler, my aunt nicknamed me "Jello", if that doesn't tell you something I don't know what does??? Even as a small child, I was getting nicknames as offensive as something jiggly and squishy as a child's dessert. All my life that name stuck as I battled abusive relationships, addiction to food and one bad relationship after another.

I longed for someone to love me and didn't know how to look within myself for love and acceptance. It wasn't until years later, years of therapy and hitting the bottom of my own barrel that I decided to get healthy within. This wasn't an overnight event and it is a constant battle to break the cycle of codependency that goes on in my head on a daily basis. There were years of "stages" to my development and it has been a long and painful journey. However, I can tell you that I no longer allow people to treat me like garbage and I feel good about myself.

In 1998, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). For years, I battled this disease that for three years left me bedridden, due to the advanced form I have. The pain with this disease can be immense. It causes, vision difficulties, severe muscle spasms, difficulty walking, bowel and bladder issues, just to name a few symptoms. I searched the best doctors out and began a new treatment and today you wouldn't know that there is anything wrong with me. But, from battling my weight prior and years of immobility, I was left with a "huge" problem, to say the least.

My weight loss surgery was another evolution in my development. After two years of feeling well from the MS, I decided it was time to take control of my weight, as well! My decision to have the Roux-N-Y was the best decision I have ever made. I am 4 months post-op and my MS is quite calm (knock on wood). I am on half the medication I was on prior to the surgery and I have lost almost 80 pounds.

When I talk about loving myself or learning to love myself, I am learning a new meaning to that now. I learned to love the inside me before and now I am learning to love the outside me, as well. As a weight loss surgery patient, as the pounds shed, you start to get more in touch with your body. When you go from a size 26 to a 12 in 4 months, you have no choice. I am able to exercise now and that is new, especially with the MS. I am taking it one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time. My new motto is that, "I have MS, it doesn't have me!"

Learning to live a new lifestyle, not a diet. I am learning to let that little girl heal inside me. And the best of it is that Jello (sugar free) is still allowed.....

Jill xxx