Tonight was the night I realised that pizza and I can’t be friends anymore. I’m not gonna lie, I will MISS it. But, if that’s the way it has to be, I will adjust, just as I have to everything else so far.
I went to the surgeon this week for a monthly follow-up and I had lost 4kg for the month, which is a fantastic result, and it meant I had no saline added to the band. But it’s like my body heard that and said to itself: “Right, well I am going to make it hard for her to eat things she has been able to get down until now.” The upshot of that is that I had a day yesterday where food and I were not really compatible, and then tonight, no pizza for me. I don’t know if it’s the dough, or the cheese, or a combination, but it’s off the menu – at least for the time being. I guess the best part for me is the other realisation: it’s not the end of the world if I can’t eat a meal. The food is not the most important thing anymore. It certainly used to be. I was more pissed off at the waste of money than the waste of food. I don’t ever remember feeling like that before. So, my relationship with food and eating is still changing. I find it easier to say no to food. I can go to the staff morning tea now (usually a magnificent spread of lots of yummy stuff) and not eat ANYTHING. Even just after the surgery I would have tried to have something very small, just so I could tell myself I had enjoyed something. Now it’s about talking to colleagues and getting out of the normal workspace. Things like that are a revelation, and quite emancipating really. At least now when I go out for breakfast with our friends tomorrow morning I will know I have some space to put some nice eggs, or a corncake. I will enjoy it, but I will enjoy the company, and the experience of being out and feeling comfortable in my own skin for the first time in a long time, MORE.
Thought I would just post an update after my pretty flat post last time. Things have settled down a bit more since the band tightening (nearly 2 weeks ago now) and the weight is starting to fall off again. I hit the 18kg loss mark yesterday, and falling. I am the lightest I have been in about 5 years now and it’s starting to show everywhere. Soon I will have to buy new knickers and a couple more smaller bras! Today I bought the first pair of button and zip jeans I have owned since 2011, which was exciting.
The best part is moving around freely. Being able to climb stairs, kneel down, bend to pick things up off the floor, and yes, being able to reach around and wipe myself properly when toileting (this was not always possible before) all works to make me a happier person over all.
Sure, it’s great getting all the compliments from friends, family and colleagues, but knowing I can go out and walk around and FUNCTION is priceless. My husband and I are even planning a walking event in the City next weekend (if it’s not pouring with rain of course – we’re not martyrs) that should cover about 10km. Six months ago I couldn’t even think about a walk that was more than 2km, and I would have resisted that too.
Life is great – and it’s getting better, all the time. (apologies to the Beatles)
A week ago I had 0.5ml added to my band. Doesn’t sound like much, but I now have a total of 4.5ml in the band, making my “passage” for food very narrow indeed. Whilst I have now reached a 17kg loss overall (yay), this has not been a fun week. Most days I bring up at least one meal, sometimes two. Breakfast is pretty much non-existent any more, which sucks because I have come to realise it’s my favourite meal of the day. I love going out for breakfast, I love a quiet brekkie at home working my way through a pot of Scottish Breakfast tea and reading the paper. For the time being, at least, breakfast is a no-go zone. For the first time since starting this journey I have felt down this week – really down. I am trying not to let the husband and children know just how dreadful I feel (like a stone is in my chest) a lot of the time – because it won’t help and will only upset them. It hasn’t helped that I am back to work this week and trying to fit in meals around the school day, but mostly I am finding that things I could previously eat without trouble are now causing me grief.
I am sure it will settle down soon, but in the meantime I am eating a lot of mush and soft stuff, which becomes demoralising when I have been able to eat relatively normally up to this point. Racing to the loo to chuck up whatever the latest eating attempt is during the work day is pretty shitty too. That’s what I just spent my lunch break doing. Luckily my colleagues understand what is going on and just wave sympathetically at me as I go back for the second/third/fourth time to get rid of that last little morsel that is causing me pain.
I also realise that in the larger scale of things this is a small problem. I am not dying, I can still eat a lot of different stuff, and I am losing weight. I am not so self-absorbed that I can’t see that to some people this might sound like the woman who got to go where she wanted, and then complained about the scenery. But this blog is as much a venting space for me as it is an account of what bariatric surgery (and the aftermath) entails.
On the face of it, life is pretty good. I am having to think about buying new undies because some are too big. I am going through clothes and now giving away the ones that are too BIG to charity. I feel amazingly well (apart from this week) and physically much more able to control my body and where it is going. Those are the positives and I am hanging on to every one of them. Hopefully I can check in here next week and tell you that things have improved and all is right with the world.
I remain optimistic and happy to be walking this many-coloured path.
A week to celebrate hitting another milestone. Went to bariatric clinic again this week and had a very small loss. I did indicate that I had my period and I always gain fluid at that time. They wanted to add some more saline to the band, but since we are off to Port Douglas next week they elected to wait until my return. Sure enough, I dropped nearly a kilo yesterday and a few hundred grams today and droppped below 120kg for the FIRST TIME IN FOUR YEARS. I am thrilled. It also means if I can keep the weight coming off over the next two weeks, I might not have to have saline added after all. In any case, I feel healthy, I feel positive, and I finally feel like I have control of my body and what it is doing.
Today, I tried on a new bra I bought a while ago. I inadvertently bought it a size too small. I now fit into it. The means I have dropped a full bra size! I also bought a new pair of tracksuit pants this week – and they fitted! I haven’t been able to buy a pair for nearly 2 years and have relied on yoga pants. Now I am warm, relaxed, and looking forward to buying some exercise gear soon to start some personal training. I can’t wait, because that will also help to push the weight loss along, and start helping me tone up too.
There has been a “down” moment as well. It involves a long-standing friend and her refusal to even mention my surgery or weight loss after not seeing me since before I had the band put on. She has weight issues of her own, and I learned the hard way early on to never mention her weight. But I thought, after waiting for 12 months to have this surgery, that there would at least have been an inquiry about how the surgery went, about how different I look – ANYTHING. But, nothing. We have been friends since high school. I was very hurt when I left her last night. I feel like it has exposed a rift in our relationship that I had been blind to, until now. I wonder if I can go forward and NOT tell her how hurt I am (she won’t see this as she is not on social media). Her lack of tangible support will not stop me. It will not discourage me from my goals. But it makes me question lots of other things. I am so grateful to everyone who is supportive of my choices, to all those who offer words and gestures of encouragement. You know who you are and I thank you. I just wish I could take this friend with me on the ride.
I love my life. I love her. But if she can’t even wave from the shoreline I may have to sail on without her. I just don’t know.
This week I hit a total loss of 15kgs. Took some measurements too. I have lost 10cm off my hips, 3cm off my waist and nearly 8cm off my bust. I know my wrists are thinner too – I had to have a link removed from my watchband on the weekend to stop it flopping around! It is still a novelty to be able to walk around without getting exhausted; to walk up stairs and not be panting and sweating at the top; to feel my wedding ring spin around on my finger instead of being wedged in place. I am sleeping better, my skin is clearer, and I feel more in control of my body than I have in years. I did have a little glitch in the past week with a fish burger. Beware the fish burger. It is gluggy and dense and not the friend of the lap-banded person! As my mate Miffy keeps saying “Not the bread! Don’t eat the bread!” Just shows some habits are harder to break than others!
If I can drop another kilo, I will be lightest I have been since my Dad passed away (5 years on the 25th June). The best part is the knowledge that, if I continue to listen to my body and eat the way it tells me to, I will keep this weight off – and lose more.
I feel better equipped to handle the ups and downs of life now. It’s amazing how taking control of one thing can spill over into other parts of your life as well. I am looking at opportunities to work on secondment at a new school campus we are opening next year in Darwin; I am finally genuinely contemplating writing a novel; I make an additional effort to do things and see people where previously I might have made an excuse to get out of it (yes, it happened quite a lot because I was just so tired and sick of myself).
Even better is the knowledge that this first 3 months? This is only the BEGINNING.
Went back to my surgeon yesterday to get weighed and have more saline added to the band. 2.6 kg loss for the last 3 weeks, which was impressive enough not to warrant more saline! No needle! No uncomfortable tummy! BONUS! The specialist is happy with my progress and will see me in 3 more weeks. He even said it is possible they might not need to add any more for quite a while if my progress is steady and consistent, which is exciting.
What was also exciting, for a different reason, was a woman I confronted in the waiting room for her views about Muslims and immigrants in general. We had a nasty terrorist incident here in Melbourne this week. A bystander died, 3 police members were injured, and the perpetrator was shot and killed by police after a stand-off siege. So, this woman was reading, at a loud volume, an online news article to the person she was with (sister, friend, I dunno) and started going on about “towel heads” and other similar derogatory terms. I was sitting nearby and voiced my objections to her characterisations and asked her to tone it down. She, in turn, told me that Australia would be better off with no immigrants at all. I replied that she might be right, because unless she was an indigenous Australian she was an immigrant too – and we’d be better off without people like her here. With nowhere to go, she told me to f#%k off. I went in to get weighed and when I came out she was gone (presumably in to her appointment). We didn’t cross paths again. When I had finished my appointment and I was booking my next one, I apologised to the receptionist for making a scene with this lady and she was aghast.
“You do not need to apologise for anything,” she told me. “I wanted to thank you for speaking up. Not many people would. I am an immigrant, and I appreciated you putting her in her place. I am sorry she was so unpleasant to you.” I told her that I had been at a conference on the weekend (#YAMatters: Reading Matters 2017) where one of the overarching themes was acceptance over tolerance; and promoting diversity in literature. I said that I had seen an opportunity to make a small difference, so I did. I am so glad that I found the courage to call this woman out. I guess on reflection, if I am honest, if I had had more time to think about it, I might have worried about physical danger because she was taller and wider than me and was with someone. But I just had to back myself – and her.
How dare this ugly person say those things? Obviously I had reached a point where I had heard enough of this talk and spoke up. Next time, and I am sure one day this will happen again somehow, somewhere, I will step forward and speak again.
Bring on Week 12.
After the lamb incident everything has settled down quite well. Have reached 14kg lost and feeling great. Had to have a pair of jeans TAKEN IN this week because the waist band was gaping – a first.
I am at a fabulous YA Lit conference this weekend and there have been firsts here too. Walking to the venue this year was not the sweaty, panting, out of breath experience it was 2 years ago at the same conference – another first. Walking up and down the stairs at the venue was easy – another first. I bought a t-shirt from the event bookseller in a size L – yet another first (well, not for the last 4 years anyway). And then, back in the hotel room tonight, I could put on the hotel bathrobe! Last time I could not even get it around me! A definite first!
There have been a couple of hiccups today too, like not being able to eat breakfast, and a dodgy room service meal last night, but for the most part this week has been good. It is getting easier to tell when I am losing weight too. I can tell by how many times I have to take a whizz. The more wee, the more weight lost.
I feel so lucky to have been able to take this step towards changing my life and health for the better. My friends and family are being so very supportive and I honestly could not do it without all of them in my corner, so I just want to say thank you.
I see my surgeon next week to hopefully put in some more saline. Hopefully it will be a less painful experience than last time. 🙄
To round things off, here is a photo of me in that bathrobe!