Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bariatric Betty's belts, boop oop a doops, and pics from Spring Break

I have returned from an epic Spring Break with my family in Orlando.  We had a wonderful time with less than wonderful weather, and of course - took TONS of pictures.  :)

The first one to show you was on the plane.  I was fortunate that even with a BMI of 43 (morbidly obese) I never had to ask for a seat belt extender on an airplane.  I did, however, probably spill over on to my seatmates, and always needed to use the arm rests.  This was the first time I have flown since surgery and when I sat down I was ASTOUNDED at the room I had in my economy seat.  I expected it to feel less cramped, I didn't imagine it would feel this different.  Being able to put the tray table all the way down without it pressing against my chest, belly, or legs!  When morbidly obese I would have to cross my ankles to keep my legs from spreading out into my seat mate's personal space, and I would wedge my arms against my body to make sure my torso didn't do the same.  Now my only issue is sitting down (with pressure on my tailbone) for the duration of the flight.  I rolled up my coat into a horseshoe shape to sit on, but still had to get up and shift my body several times during the flight from tailbone pain.  So minor an inconvenience!   I tried to think of how to show you how bizarre it felt in a picture and decided on showing you all of the EXCESS belt I didn't need after I fastened the seat belt across my hips....

It's almost as long as my whole arm!

Our first full day was supposed to have scattered thunderstorms and a threat of severe weather, so we chose to go to Universal Islands of Adventure instead of Sea World which had less places to stay dry.  The first couple hours were OK.  We waited in line for 90 minutes to go on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter's "Forbidden Journey" - if you have a family that adores Harry Potter, it's a blast.  Mine think it is OK, but aren't crazy about it, so 90 minutes was a bit much for them.  During your wait you get warned multiple times not to go on the ride if you have a bad back, are pregnant, get motions sickness, etc.  Umm - that motion sickness part?  They mean it.  I do get motion sick, but I figured I HAD to try it.  I mean, it was HARRY POTTER.  And maybe my motion sickness wasn't as bad as it used to be... maybe my surgery might have had a bonus effect..  NOT.  At the end of the ride my kids were scared from the dragon who breathed "hot steam" (water vapor) on them and I had a mouth full of spit and was holding back gagging until I got to the trash can.  Well, I really enjoyed walking through the castle in line, at least! 

During our stroll though Comic Cartoon world, I happened to see Betty Boop, and HAD to get my picture with her.  I always felt that at my lowest weight (starving myself in high school) I was proportioned like her cartoon - freakishly large in the chest and tiny everywhere else.  The funny thing is, now that I'm at a healthy weight, I don't feel like that at all.  And except for the wig, she looked normal, too.  Of course, that is partly because she was a cast member playing a part - not a drawn comic strip - but still I couldn't help thinking 1) "Hey, look at both of us looking kinda normal" and 2) "Is my rack bigger than Betty Boop's?"  OK, the second one wasn't fair - they couldn't put an over-endowed cast member into that tiny outfit at a family park... but it WAS funny.

We actually enjoyed the tame family-oriented rollercoaster "Flight of the Hippogriff" and that was the last ride we went on.  Rain started coming down while we were walking, and while we were debating whether to head back to the hotel or just duck under an overhang to wait it out.  Then the storm started in earnest, with 80 mph winds, thunder and lightening on top of us, and a tornado warning!  We spent the next 1 1/2 hours huddled on the floor of the Dr. Seuss gift shop trying to distract our kids. 

Meet my Thing 1 and Thing 2. 
I guess severe weather is good for forcing your family to participate in photo ops!

Back to the hotel we went, and collapsed for the rest of the day.  The next day - and for the rest of the trip - we enjoyed Sea World.  The shows, the underwater viewing areas where you could watch the animals play, the Turtle Trek 360 where you could meet a bunch of rescued animals like Belle - the sea turtle with only half of a shell after a boat hit her and paralyzed her lower half, and the Happy Harbor (aka Captain Kid's World if you're old like me).  It was WONDERFUL.

We still didn't see everything - and we spent 3 1/2 days there!  My now-10 year old son's favorite part was definitely feeding sting rays fish and shrimp.  He spent a good chunk of his birthday money on trays of ray food, and loved how they would come over and "hug" on his arm without even taking the food sometimes.  My favorite part?  OK, get your tissues ready...

When I was 6 or 7 there was a Sea World in the Cleveland area.  My family would go at least once a year, and I loved it.  My favorite part was the Pearl Divers - cute college age girls who would dress up in "traditional pearl diver costumes" and "dive" down in a tank where cultured oysters waited for them.  You could purchase the oyster of your choice and they would open it right there to show you your pearl (which of course, they would be happy to mount on the jewelry of your choice - also available for purchase).  At that age, my dream was to grow up and be a Sea World pearl diver!  How cool were they?!?  I told my boys the story on our first day there and took them to see the pearl divers.  They thought it was cool and encouraged me to buy an oyster.  "Nah.  It's too much money, and then it costs money to get the jewelry, and I would probably want two to get earrings, so that's more money..."  On our third day there, we told the boys that we wanted to treat each of them to a souvenir.  They were responsible for our meal and souvenir budget, and hadn't spent a dime unnecessarily yet (they got to keep the surplus at the end of the trip).  So we told them "We would like to get you each a little something to remember from Sea World, not from the budget - a snow globe, t-shirt, stuffed animal, etc."  They got excited, and then my 12 year old son said "Mom, could we get an oyster with a pearl?"  "Ummm, yeah.  If you want to have a pearl, OK."  I didn't know why they would want a pearl, but whatever floated their boats... "So, Mom, could we each get an oyster with a pearl, and then give you the pearls and then you could get them put into earrings for you?" 

Wow.  Yeah, my boys did that for me.  They used their "free" gift to get me the most amazing/ valuable earrings I will ever own.  I bawled when they said that, bawled when they gave me the pearls, bawled when I put the earrings on... get the picture?  One of the pearls was white, and the other black, so I have a set of earrings that are different colors, which looks very cool.  Here's a close up showing one...

Eating on vacation worked out pretty well.  The Embassy Suites we stayed at had a made-to-order breakfast for free every morning, so I started every day with an egg white omelet.  The rest of my meals consisted of Quest bars, Veggie Burgers (without the bun) that were available at Universal and Sea World, and eating the cheese/ sauce toppings off of pizza.  I actually didn't have a single pouch problem with my food - no throwing up or food getting stuck.  My only problem happened when I drank some crystal light too fast in a taxi.  I got a surface tension bubble in my stoma - the liquid couldn't drain, which caused some pain for a couple minutes.  But, as soon as I could get out of the cab and walked around, the bubbles popped (I belched about 10 times) and I felt all better.  I was a pound lighter than the day we left when I got back.  It probably helped that we were walking all day at the parks!

Some blog-specific news!  I got my first check from AdSense when we got back, and am donating $50 (1/2 of the total) to Caring Bridge - a wonderful organization that has helped several of my friends who have fought cancer and other serious illnesses (all survivors, too!).  Thank you to everyone who has clicked on my AdSense links.

Next up - my first mini-triathalon is this weekend.  Sunday morning at our Community Rec Center, I will join others in a reverse triathalon.  Instead of seeing how fast I can complete a course, they track how far you swim, bike and run/ walk in 15, 20 and 20 minutes.  The people who go the farthest win.  It should be really fun - and exhausting.  I haven't been training for it, so I imagine that whatever my total is this year I can plan on beating it next year :)  I'll make sure to have my hubby take pics to share on the next blog.  Happy Spring to everyone!

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