Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bariatric Betty's 1st surgiversary! Pics, measurements, and excitement

Yesterday I celebrated my first surgiversary - and it was AWESOME!  My day started off with my husband, 12 year-old and 9 year-old having me sit on a bizarre contraption.  My husband had balanced a pillow on top of a folded folding chair, on top of an upholstered storage unit.  Then he took the chair legs, one son took the chair back, and the other one grabbed the chair side behind me and they lifted me up!  I felt like there should be trumpets playing - or maybe Hava Nagila ;)!

I don't have a picture of that - everybody in the house with opposing thumbs was involved and I didn't know to get my camera set up with a timer!  I did try to take a picture of me "planking" sideways while they held me up later (I was trying to copy something I'd seen someone else do) and could have gotten us on America's Funniest Home Videos if we had been taping...  Also, word of advice to WLS patients who might think that sounds good - loose skin hanging sideways in a picture is NOT your friend.  So... this is a picture of two of them presenting me with roses later on :)
My family has been such a support to me during my journey, and I have great confidence they will continue to be.  Here's a picture of me one year ago:
 My family stood by me then, and they stand by me now.  They understand I can't let my social interactions revolve around food.  And when we do eat out together, they try to find places I'm comfortable to eat.  All day I kept thinking about "a year ago I was in pre-op right now, a year ago I was coming out of surgery, a year ago I was talking my first walk..."  It was very emotional. 

Here's another thing that was emotional for me to do.  Make a new composite.  This is 3 months pre-op, 1 month post op, 4 months post-op, 6 months post-op, 1 year post-op.

Now for some hard figures to spell it out.  My highest weight was 243.3 pounds.  On my surgiversary I was 143 even, just over 100 pounds lost.  In the picture on the left, my weight was 237.  Here is a comparison of measurements from 3 months pre-op to today:
                     November 2011                2/16/2013           Inches lost
Waist            45.3 inches                      33 inches               12.3
Hips            46.5 inches                      34.5 inches               12
Chest band         41.3 inches                   33.3 inches             8  
Thigh            24 inches                     18.8 inches                 5.2
Bicep              16 inches                      11 inches                  5

Total inches lost 43.5!  I didn't measure my neck, but I can guess I lost at least 6 inches there as well.  Insane. 

Volunteering at a school event that required standing for an hour used to leave me sweating like a pig.  Now I run 5ks. 

I used to be diabetic, taking oral meds and insulin injections 4 times a day.  My diabetes was reversed the day of surgery, and now my only concern is my Reactive Hypoglycemia, which I can avoid. 

I am still being treated for depression, but my meds have been cut in half.

I now have enough energy to work outside the home, at my son's elementary school. 

I no longer need to take naps to make it through the day (although occasionally I will take one for fun)!

My biggest change is one my husband helped me realize at about 4 months post-op.  He came down one morning, looked at me and got very concerned.  "Are you OK?  Is something wrong?"  "No, why?" I replied.  "You're not smiling.  You ALWAYS smile now.  I haven't seen you not smiling since your surgery!"  It's true, I'm a much happier person now.  I still get upset occasionally, the kids can still get on my nerves, and I can still have grumpy days, but for the most part I'm very happy.  I feel like I've got everything I have ever really wanted.  Loving friends and family, a safe home, being appreciated at work, and being healthy. 

This is GREAT, but now comes the hard part.  My sense of hunger is coming back.  My pouch can hold more than it used to.  There won't be much more changes in my measurements.  My weight is stable +/- 2 pounds daily.  I am going to keep trying to get my body fat percentage down a bit, but as it will be replaced by muscle, it won't show up on the scale.  The compliments will decrease as more and more people get used to seeing me, or never knew the bigger me.  I have to keep working the program, eating according to the rules, exercising the same - or I will regain.  My calorie consumption will need to stay about 1200 calories a day at my current activity level.  I dump, so I will not be able to indulge in carbs without getting sick - and that's a good thing. 

I will eat to live, not live to eat.  I will find ways to treat myself that don't have anything to do with food - like yesterday.  I was properly fitted for new bras by a pro named Nancy at Nordstrom's.  My 4 new bras cost over $300, but I'm going to be wearing the heck out of them so I know I'll get at least 100 wears out of each, and they do EVERYTHING I needed them to do, plus - they're PRETTY.  People who have never been obese might not know but it is very hard to find a really supportive and comfortable bra size 44DD/EE.  Forget about it being attractive.   It was hard to swallow that bill yesterday, but it was harder to swallow the similarly ones for bras that looked awful. 

My next treat will be getting my rings re-sized.  I have been winding medical tape around them to keep them from falling off.  It will take a while to save up for it, because I'm going to incorporate some stones from other rings (my 10th anniversary and my late mother-in-law's ring) as well. 

It comes down to making the right choices every day.  Most days I do really well, but some days I don't.  I recently read Al Roker's "Never Goin' Back" and feel the same way.  This will never be "over", but I will never go "back" either.  It is worth everything to be here for my family longer, and be able to enjoy life more.  I give thanks to my family, friends, surgeon, and God for this second chance at life.  Forward!


  1. You are such an inspiration! Sounds like you have a great attitude about maintenance, too. Congrats!

  2. Thanks - I'm a work-in-progress, but I feel great! I just found out that there is going to be a Color Run nearby in April, so that's my next race goal. And, it should mean a lot of fun pictures to share on the blog. Check this out: