Friday, September 28, 2012

Bariatric Betty laughs and victories (scale and non-scale)

OK, for everyone who needs a laugh... My "shrinkles" (wrinkles of excess skin) continue to be amusing.  Most recently I found out that when you have goosebumps on top of shrinkles, it can look really bizarre.  Note to the non-WLS patient readers - we get cold, a lot.  Imagine that you had lived most of your life wearing multiple wool sweaters in all weather, and then suddenly they were taken off.  Our thermostat is out of whack, so we tend to get cold easily (and stay cold a long time) just like the elderly.  Anyway, catching site of myself naked while chilled led me to an instant one-phrase description: Pink Seersucker!  That's what my skin looked like.  I was amused enough to consider taking a picture - but not crazy enough to do it.  Pseudonym or not, I don't want naked pictures online!  So after googling pink seersucker online, here's my best representation of what "shrinkled" goose-bumped skin looks like:

The only thing I would add is that the goosebumps appear about 4 times larger than they do on normal skin - I think mostly because the skin is so loose.  It looked a cross between goosebumps and hives!  

During my stall, I've kept looking for NSV's.  The most recent one was I went through the last of the clothes that I purchased 6 months ago (at 5 weeks post-op) at our school district's sale (Budget Bin).  On the last day of the sale, you can purchase a bag for $5, and then fill it with anything!  I chose to buy a lot of clothes that way, since I was still a size 16 in pants, and 2x/1x in tops.   Everything was just on faith that I might fit into them someday.  I got a lot of pants, because I had already discovered during the first 5 weeks of shrinking that while you can wear too-big shirts forever, too-big pants will FALL DOWN.  Of course, it is flattering and emotionally strengthening to wear correct sizes, but during the rapid weight loss phase, you simply can't affort to keep buying new clothes.  So, I got a lot of 14s and 12s, some 10s, and 1 pair of size 8 and one pair of size 6 pants.  I really never expected to go below a size 10.  When I was starving myself to be skinny in high school I wore a size 10 at 112 pounds.  Since I know that wasn't a healthy weight, I knew I would never be that small again, but then there is vanity sizing. 

A size 10 now isn't a size 10 from 25 years ago.  Talking with some neighborhood moms has reinforced my estimation that you can weigh 30-40 pounds more (plus have given birth to children - that means wider hip bones, people) and still fit in the "same size" you used to.   So when I got down to a size 10 I was surprised and pleased, but I knew that it's also a lie they sell us.  Then a little while ago I blogged that I bought some size 8 jeans.  They actually fit.  That was unexpected for me -although not for my mentor Jojo, who has been telling me I would fit in a size 8 or smaller since I was pre-op.  She's smirking right now and thinking "I TOLD you so!".  I had only gotten the size 8 and 6 pairs of pants because they were "free" since I had extra room in my bag, and from upscale shops.  So here's the NSV - the other morning I was getting ready for work and realized the the jeans I was putting on were stained, and everything else that fit was in the laundry already.  I dug through my drawers and found the Size 6 Ann Taylor khakis and thought "Why not try them?" and they FIT.  Well, they fit around my waist and hips - they weren't petite so I had to wear boots with heels so I didn't trip (note to self- never again wear heels to work, walking constantly for 2 1/2 hours in heels is PAINFUL).  Now for the reality check - I also just tried on a 10 petite pair of jeans that I found in the same drawer which I had missed before and other than being highly unflattering - they were snug around my waist.  But still - I'll take the NSV - I fit into a size 6 pant!

The stall has broken!  My second longer stall (about 4 weeks) and the scale started moving again.  This wasn't as hard for me as you might think.  I'm very happy with my success so far, and when the first big stall happened and I started to wonder if I was at the end of my weight loss - and then I came to the conclusion that if it was, I was OK with that.  No longer diabetic, no longer morbidly obese or even obese, able to jog and keep up with my kids... if I was "stuck" there for the rest of my life, how bad would that be?  Totally worth changing my life for.  Four pounds and a month later and I stalled again.  Again, I didn't feel the panic and frustration I felt before surgery during stalls.  Keep working the program, just be happy for where I am... and apparently I'm not done yet!

As of this morning I am under 150 pounds for the first time since college.  This was the most remote possibility I considered in weight loss when I talked about goals with my surgeon.  Despite what BMI charts would lead me to believe, I don't believe I can be a healthy weight below 135.  Being top-heavy with a large chest and broad shoulders, not to mention my excess skin, the range of 113 - 141 for "normal" for average people people my height doesn't translate well.  So I had talked about wanting to get down into the 160's, that I would be thrilled to be in the 150's and I guess the lightest I could imagine being happy and healthy at was the 140's.  And now I'm there.  Whoa. 

So I'm not even 8 months out and I've lost about 95 pounds.  I don't think I need to lose any more (although my vanity would like to be able to say "I lost 100 pounds!").  I would like to exchange some more fat for muscle (around my abdomen, where I have always carried the most fat) - but wouldn't everyone?  We don't get to choose where our fat comes off.  My non-existant rear-end has thinned out further, and my legs which always were one of my best features have enough excess skin hanging on them that when I lift my leg up while laying down, it looks like one of those drippy-candles my mom used to have in old wine bottles.

You know, with the excess wax pooling around in layers at the bottom!  It's weird.  I have the bat wings under my arms, too.  All of this I consider battle scars and a strange source of pride - although I have taken effort to learn how to display the best part of my evolving body.  I will wear sleeveless shirts and dresses, but will keep my arms down and in close to my body most of the time - especially if there are pictures.  I'm most comfortable wearing a swimsuit with a skirt to hid the excess skin folds around my rear.  My chest is actually decreasing in size (YAY!!!) - although with the amount of skin I have it still fills a "D" cup easily.  If I ever have plastic surgery it will be a long-dreamed-of breast reduction - although I now wonder if the excess skin was removed how much additional reducing would be needed.  This is a bonus - even at that too-skinny stage in high school I was a 32DD.  I don't know why my body has decided to let go of some of the volume there now, but I'm not complaining!  So much has changed about my life; my body and health, getting a job, and how I can participate in more things with my friends and family.  But inside I'm still the same person, I just enjoy my life a lot more.


  1. Reading this made me feel just so happy and vicariously triumphant. You are awesome. xoxo

    1. As are you, hon! You give us joy in your status updates all the time - happy to return the favor. Give everybody a hug for me <3

  2. The seersucker fabric analogy totally cracked me up...I remember wearing that in the summers when I was a kid! I am just starting the WLS journey, and love reading blogs like yours for encouragement. :-)