The Secrets We Keep

The only reason anyone can be reading this post right now is the fact I will I have had my weight loss surgery.  I have decided to keep it a secret from most people because I am not 100% certain it will happen until I actually wake up from the operation so until then I will just keep quiet.

My intention for doing my blog are still the same as previously.  I want to chronicle my personal journey regarding an issue that has impacted my life so greatly but I also truly hope in my heart that I can perhaps reach someone else who walks in shoes similar to mine and have them know someone understands, really understands the mind battles, the physical discomforts and issues that go with being a morbidly obese person.

Lots has happened in the last year.  Since I last posted my daughter, Lara, had whooping cough and was a very sick child and life became a blur of no sleep whilst I watched over her, cleaned up vomit and watched as she struggled for every breath.  Thank goodness that passed after three months but by then I was in a vicious battle with my ex, I was financially destitute and struggling with the basics of survival of providing food and shelter for my children and I.  A severely restrictive diet was just something I couldn’t handle when the basics of my life were under such threat.  I guess it wasn’t the right time.

Then I continued to be sick.  I didn’t see the pattern at first – you know how you can become so tied up in your own wee world you lose the bigger picture?  It turned out my infection hadn’t been fixed and I was regularly falling ill (quite severely with associated heart issues as well) then I would go on antibiotics, get well for a couple of weeks and then the cycle would start all over again.  Finally at the beginning of February my doctor and I agreed I needed to go back to my surgeon and that the mesh in my stomach was still infected and would need removing. She classed me as a high priority and I was given an appointment for in six weeks.  As a friend in the US said “Does imminent death mean you only wait one month with our socialized healthcare?”.

When I finally had my appointment with my surgeon he said the surgical mesh needed to be removed but there would be a high chance that I would re-herniate again so I really needed to have the gastric sleeve done at the same time.  Did I hear correctly?  The gastric sleeve done?  It was true. I was going to have two operations at once and both in the public system so I didn’t have to cover any costs.   I was stunned.  Not so excited as there was this real fear that I might wake up from the operation and find the weight loss surgery hadn’t been done.

I ended up waiting seven long, long months. Getting sicker all the time.  House bound, unable to do things with the kids.  No money.  Life was hard, it was miserable. But finally I got a date for surgery and as I write this I have had the surgery.  I need to do a few posts retrospectively to catch up on some things that have happened and then we can move forward as I walk this new path that I am now on.

And We Have to Start Again

What a two weeks it has been with more to come.  Both my children (aged 7 and 9) have tested positive for whooping cough and my life (aka diet) had just gone on hold in a blur of coughing fits, fevers, vomit, laundry, doctors, medicine, sleep deprivation and quarantine.

We are into day two of a five day quarantine and although I have tried my diet has fallen apart quite a bit.  I am eating two meals a day – I try to have one good one and by the end of the day I am so tired that carbs are hitting the system.  I wasn’t even able to weigh in this week as I have had Lara home all week off school and James also off for three out of the five days.  I get between 2-5 hours broken sleep a night and frankly if anyone told me to stay on the diet I would just punch them in the nose.  I am trying to be as good as I can under the circumstances and have resigned myself to basically starting again.  I also can’t get to the gym at the moment either.

But I have not given up – I will just start again. Frustrating and depressing but that is what I have to do. Just let me get one decent nights sleep first and I am not quite sure when that will be.  Soon I hope.

 

I Will Do It

My Darling Little Girl

To all my dear friends, followers and supporters on Tracey Interrupted –  I am still around.  My little seven year old daughter, Lara, is really sick at the moment with almost a type of whooping cough that is so much worse at night.  She coughs, chokes and vomits whilst she is sleeping so I have been watching over her at night and am only getting a few broken hours sleep each night.  I am just too tired to write any posts right now.

I did get weighed yesterday and sadly stayed the same.  I was proud of myself up till right now that with all the sleep loss I hadn’t broken my diet.  Shamefully just today I ate some carbs :(  - I feel  so rotten and tired. Just unbelievably tired and also depressed.  I think it is the sleep deprivation.  Interestingly the carbs didn’t taste very good anyway. I think guilt has a way of souring it so what is the point of having them?  I do understand though that I am looking for a pick me up/energy through eating them but it is short lived and really not worth the shame I feel at having had them.

But I am going to continue the changes I am making with myself and say “Ok Tracey, you did manage to last four days with little sleep and stuck to it. You have slipped but don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.  Make your next meal a good one again and continue on”.

See – I am learning to become a new Tracey.  This is lifestyle changing – breaking years of eating and thinking habits.  I.  AM.  GOING.  TO.  DO.  IT.

The Scars We Leave On Others

This is a post I have been wanting to write for some time. In fact I had started a political blog a couple of months ago and was going to put this post on there but the fit didn’t feel right. Then the opportunity came up for my surgery and I made the decision to devote this time to me and parked the political blog for a bit and created this one.  Now I have the perfect vehicle for this post.

One day I read online a little story.  It could be a true story (I think it is) or it could be an urban myth.  It really doesn’t matter which it is as the message within is valid irrespective.

A teacher in New York was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform. She had the children take a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stamp on it and really mess it up but do not rip it. Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty is was. She then told them to tell it they’re sorry. Now even though they said they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it. That is what happens when a child bully’s another child, they may say they’re sorry but the scars are there forever. The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her the message hit home. Pass it on or better yet, if you’re a parent or a teacher, do it with your child/children.

What got me thinking about this fabulous exercise was as we grow into adulthood we hope that most of us will leave any bullying traits in childhood, and obviously some sad individuals don’t. But thank goodness the majority of us do grow up or do we just change the way in which we leave scars on people?

I know at times we deliberately seek to hurt others and we must live with our own judgement on the rightness and wrongness of those actions. But how often have we uttered careless or unthinking words towards a recipient completely unaware of the impact those words have made; the potential scars they have left?  Sit for a moment and think back to your childhood.  Is there something or things that your parents said to you that may have seemed innocuous at the time but you still remember to this day.  It is more than likely a scar that was left. That is why you can remember it.

One of the comments I remember the most was my mother asking me as a 22/23 year old “What did I have to show for my life”.  When I asked what did she mean I was told because my sister (18 months younger than me) had a house and I didn’t.  That was another huge scar in the breakdown of the relationship with my parents. As I said to her “You would really judge me as a person and the value of my life as to whether I have a house or not?”  Was it an unthinking statement or deliberately designed to hurt?  I think probably the former.

We, as in society as a whole, I believe are quite irresponsible overall with our communication to ourselves and as a consequence also to others. How much thought is put into things that are said that could have a unnecessary impact, create an irreversible  scar? Too often the mouth is opened before the brain is put into gear. Is it laziness, is it lack of being taught, is it just the way we are?  I certainly think the parent has a big responsibility to teach a child this lesson and the ball of crumpled paper is a great method.  I have done it with my two children and will do so again as the message doesn’t always sink in the first time. But it is also laziness and lack of self responsibility.  We need to take ownership for what we say.  No one forces what comes out of our mouths, it is voluntary.

People often confuse the concept of freedom as meaning having a lack of responsibility. In fact the truth is in the reverse.  True freedom is freedom with responsibility not from it. And the same is true with communication.  Communication is how the world functions on every level.  Literally nothing can happen without it in some form. So we have a responsibility to ensure the communication we give is accurate and presented in the correct format for the circumstances.  That doesn’t mean for example that a child cannot be told off when being naughty.  What it does mean is the words used should be considered carefully. There doesn’t need to be generalizations such as “You are always so naughty” or “Your sister doesn’t think like that, why do you?”.

The reason I wanted to write the post was when I read the crumpled paper article it reminded of the scars that my ex-long distance boyfriend recently left on me.  He would regularly say he was worried he would be attracted to me because of my weight. At one point I asked him if he could stop saying that as it was feeding my own fear of that exact thing and impacting on the relationship.  His reply was “I am just being honest with you”. Did he have to say it in exactly that way? Was there any self introspection and responsibility from him of how it might impact in my world; the scars it could and did leave on me?

I think of the scars that people like Craig and my parents have left on me and some of them hurt so badly that I do wonder have I done that to others?  I am sure I have but I am trying to be more conscious; take more self-responsibility.  Just today I purposefully held back communication to someone so as not to hurt them or to cause discomfort in their world.  I wanted to say some things so much that it literally hurt me not to say them but my own pain was outweighed by not wanting to leave a scar on them.  That is also communication.  The art of recognizing within yourself when it is better not to communicate.

Can you think of scars that you have perhaps, unknowingly at the time, left on others?

 

Wandering Thoughts

It is me.  The long lost dieter.  Hi everyone !  I am still around.  I still seem to be lost in my thoughts and emotions.  It is the weirdest sensation and I still can’t put my finger on what is going on in my head.  I am sure you are keen to know how things are going so here is an update:

I started at the gym last week and gosh it is good to be back there. I truly love the gym and could spend far more time there than I do.  My body is having a bit of struggle as I fell over a few weeks ago and really hurt my knee and that is giving me quite a bit of pain after each gym session but I will not stop.  I love the sensation of pushing myself physically, I enjoy the sweating  (I mean the “glowing” that females do) and as I walk out the door if my body would let me I would turn around and go back straight in there again. My goal is four times per week and I go straight after I have dropped the kids at school as it is just around the corner and really gives me no excuse as I am already out in the car.

In terms of the diet I am struggling there to get a good balance.  I haven’t been really naughty, in fact hardly naughty.  I would call it 99.5% good.  I did eat I think 5 potato crisps when James had a packet of them – the smell of chicken chips drove me insane.  That was all until last night :(  We went out visiting and ended up staying for dinner.  They ordered pizza. (Yes, I can hear the winces and groans already).  And yes, I had some.

I know, I felt soooooooo bad. I was starving and to sit there and watch everyone eat whilst I had nothing was too hard. Not sure how to handle that as I wasn’t expecting to stay for dinner.  The good thing is I tried to make up for it today with some extra work at the gym.

The dietitian has actually taken me off the 3x shakes per day as she thinks the whey was causing my nausea since I don’t drink milk at all.  Certainly since I stopped the shakes I have not had the nausea so I suspect that was the case. But the dietitian was meant to have emailed me a new low calorie diet (600 calories per day) and I haven’t got it yet.  I need to chase it up but am just lost in this weird wee world. So instead I have been doing a mix of not eating all day and then having a salad with tuna or chicken at night as she recommended.  I do need to sort that again with the nurse at the weigh in on Thursday.

So things I hope are still doing OK. I am very much noticing my clothes starting to hang on me differently and that excites me. The ladies who read this will relate to this bit – I have noticed my boobs starting to look more prominent (help I am blushing as I type this) but it makes me feel more feminine each time I look down (OK am now laughing helplessly).  I mean what is the point of having large breasts if you can’t see them properly.  (Geeze, did I just type this? Oh well, honesty was what I promised :)  A side effect of losing weight is  that my breasts will get smaller so I may as well enjoy the view for a bit. No one else is :)

My Second Weight Loss

LilySlim Weight loss tickers

Yesterday was weigh in day at the clinic.  I only had six days in between weigh ins this week so I guess I was a little over hopeful.  I had really wanted to lose 6kg as that would have me half way there in two weeks. Instead I lost 3.6kgs.  That does mean I am 41% of the way there to my target loss of 35kg so I can have the gastric sleeve operation. Maybe November is not such an unachievable goal after all. That would mean losing just under 3kg every week for the next seven weeks. Hmmmm.  Maybe do-able.

My reaction to the weight loss is unusual for me.  I have no joy or exhilaration. I felt such a lack of anything I couldn’t even bring myself to write this post till the day after the weigh in and even now I find it hard to type.  Why? I am not sure.

I do know this is the most emotional diet/weight loss I have ever experienced in all the times I have dieted. I think that is because all the other times I have tried I have given up most times after a week.  The amount I have had to lose has just always seemed insurmountable.  A target I couldn’t possibly hope to achieve so why start?  And of course as I gave up the guilt, the shame and the self loathing fell on me adding to the guilt and shame of all those past failures.

I think I have now lost the most weight on one diet than I ever lost from all the other diets. The huge difference this time is that I am viewing the whole process in stages which seems more achievable. The first stage is getting rid of the 35kg so I can have the operation.  Stage two is the actual op and the initial 6 week phase post-op when my diet is liquid only. The stage three is where the new patterns for life have to be laid down as I start to eat normal food, get an exercise routine and deal with the head issues that I know (fear) will come.

I have a lot more to say on the subject but my thoughts and emotions are all muddled but I know I will write more when I am ready on this. On another positive note I rejoined the gym today and start tomorrow.  Another thing for my tough love supporters to keep me on my toes with :)

Week 2 Diet Update

I am so proud of myself. After my dinner of steamed veges tonight I got a carbo craving. A massive carbo craving.  I justified it every which way and yep I could sure justify having a cheese muffin with melted butter and the last of our Marmite (yes, we really do still have some). I wasn’t intending to break the diet totally, I just wanted a little something.

A little (she was very tiny) voice kept saying to me you will feel so bad and maybe you will keep eating more carbs.  The thing she was saying the loudest to me though was to think of how many days it will take  to get back into ketosis and how hard I work to get there. All for the sake of one cheese muffin?

Seriously, the craving was SO bad I was almost going to put the kids and myself to bed at 7pm so that sleep might help me forget it. But somehow I lasted. I really don’t know how and after about an hour it was gone. The craving peeps, not the muffin :) That was a game changer for me. Maybe I can just do this.

I also discovered after doing some online research that the nausea is apparently a side effect of being in ketosis so I have decided to celebrate that fact and try and push on with the protein shakes as best I can. I need the nutrients and protein to keep my metabolism going and to keep me going. I managed to get a whole one in today. Aiming for two tomorrow.

Today I also had an appointment with the exercise consultant from the clinic.  Again she was lovely and very supportive but hard arse. Talk about tough love. She said she won’t chase me, hound me but if I want her help she is right there for me as much as possible.  She took all the tape measure statistics - although that was horrible I was glad she did so that I will have a record to compare against.  She also took my blood pressure which I am very happy to say was 118/63 and my heart rate was 73.  Excellent stats for even a “normal” weighted person let alone a morbidly obese one.

I get four exercise sessions with her post-op.  Because I have had two surgeries this year and so many post-op complications she won’t see me till six weeks after the operation but in that period I can go to the gym and walk on the treadmill.  Between now and the operation I am to do treadmill work and walk up and down a step 20x times per day per leg.  My current size limits the options I have at the gym and as those of you who know me from having asked the foolish question – I would rather slit my wrists than go walking around the block each night.

At this point any exercise is a bonus and the key thing is the nine months post-op. That is when you will hear about me really pushing myself.  That golden period is when I will lose the most weight so equally it is when I need to push the hardest. With the type of operation I am having (gastric sleeve) apparently during that period it is crucial to maintain muscle mass and I will need to do a lot of resistance work.  Sounds good to me – I am resistant to many things in life.

Oh yes, one lovely thing in all this shameful stuff. Vanessa (the exercise consultant) said I have a really good waist to hip ratio.  In losing weight terms it means I will naturally shrink inwards everywhere rather than having to target a specific area to lose weight from. So I am naturally evenly fat proportioned in other words.  Is there such a concept?

Weigh in tomorrow (only 6 days since the last). Am terrified again I won’t have lost anything with all the pain and hard work :(  I am realistic enough to know I have definitely not lost the same amount as last week but the thought of not having lost any?   Cross those fingers and toes again for me please.

Which Version of Insanity Am I?

The Insane Clothes Purge

I seriously think I am either insanely crazy or insanely hopeful. You need to understand that  seriously overweight people and clothes are like oil and water.  The two just do not go hand in hand.

Firstly there are the shame moments #4219 through to #6573 when clothes you try on do not fit for some reason.  I have the problem that my top half of my body is actually not one but several sizes smaller than my bottom half.  An instant problem just there.

Then there is the colour and pattern issue. Clothes that do fit are obviously made for an old granny attending never-ending funerals in black, black and more black or some hippie from the 70′s with garish colours and eye swirling patterns. It is rare to find something pretty, feminine and that makes me feel good.

So the other night I got in a mood. Not a good sign.  I was feeling like organizing so I decided to go through my bedroom – every drawer, every nook and cranny.  I don’t like mess (a huge conundrum right there having two young children). I am constantly “decluttering” and really don’t have a house filled with unwanted things.  But my clothes was a bit of a different story.

When you are overweight you tend to fall into three categories with clothes.

Category One: When you find or have something made that actually fits you tend to hang onto it and wear it till you really shouldn’t be.  Shame moment #4854 – I have a skirt I like because it is attractive and fits.  I wore it so much it got holes in it and I still wore it even then because it fitted.

CategoryTwo: Overweight people also have a pile of clothes in the back of the wardrobe that they used to fit and hope that one day they will get back into. (Mine is relegated to a cardboard box at the bottom of the wardrobe).  Doesn’t mean you like the clothes but you know that they used to fit and could do again. Maybe.  Some day.

Category Three: Because you have such a hard time finding clothes overweight people buy something just because it ‘sort of’ fits even though they really don’t like it but desperate times call for desperate measures.

I fall into all three categories and I don’t have many clothes at the best of times. But crazy Tracey really got into her stride when tidying the bedroom and threw out clothes that she never liked but still fitted or didn’t fit and doesn’t like.  It felt so good to throw out things I didn’t like. Was I insane or just very hopeful of the future?

Is it the Mice?

Did that title have you wondering?  If you read my Facebook update you would be in the picture as I have been battling horrible nausea all day and barely eaten or drunk anything.  It is like my nose has gone on hyper-alert and all sorts of smells are making me feel really awful and that’s in between the constant rock ‘n rolling of my stomach anyway.

The calorie intake is way down (only about 150 for the whole day) and it was so weird as when I finally had a salad about 4pm I soaked the tomato, cucumber and red onion in vinegar first.  I was really wanting that taste.  I was also naughty (I guess I have to admit that) as I looked up the calorie content of 1x tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese and made the decision to sprinkle that on the salad for some taste.  I traded that off instead of having my 1/2 cup of starchy vegetables and since my stomach feels so gross (justification part here) I thought it was OK.

The kids have had pet mice since Friday and I am thinking maybe the smell of them is creating the nausea.  They (the mice not the kids) have been banished to the spare bedroom to live with the door firmly shut. I suspect that they may not last much longer in this household as the smell is really getting to me.  Are mice perhaps a new weapon in my diet arsenal?  That’s an idea!  When I get a craving I will poke my head in their room and take a big whiff.  That should cure cravings for days on end.

(Photo to come of the little darlings when I can face the smell to take the picture)

Falling in Love With the Surgeon

This is one is for the ladies who read this blog. I thought it was time for a post of a lighter nature so I hope my surgeon never reads this as here is some more of my infamous honesty :)  You know how female patients supposedly fall in love with their doctors?  Mostly fiction or not?  Hmmm,  I know I am not in love with my surgeon but boy does he sure put forward a good case for doing so.

Of course he ticks all the normal boxes – good-looking, beautifully dressed, money, a position of authority etc etc. But the real hook is what a genuinely nice man he is. Not a stuck up medical man; someone who is real. In our first appointment 18 months ago we started chatting so much he missed his next appointment. Last visit we started discussing my favourite topic of politics (almost fell in love at that point) and it wasn’t just New Zealand politics but American as well (be still my beating heart).

But even that is not the biggest hook of all.  Why do I  like him so much? He is compassionate.  I am sure he has never been my size but he has empathy and understanding and what attractive qualities they are; particularly in someone who has had his hands inside my body literally. I see it in the small things that have meant a lot to me.

Firstly, he made all his staff go on the Optifast diet (the same I am on) so they would have an insight as to how really hard it is for their clients.  That saying “you never know someone till you have walked a mile in their shoes”.  His staff have done that.  I have mentioned in previous posts the caring and supportive attitude of the staff at the clinic and I view that comes directly from the top person downwards.

And ladies, this will make your heart melt.  When I went into his private rooms for the consult there were two chairs for patients.  He removed the cushion from one of them so that I would have more room in the chair. (I can hear the sighs) Then he was in his clinical room looking at my stomach wound (as he is also my public system surgeon) and he told me to take hold of his arm.  I was confused but did so. He was helping me to sit up from reclining on the surgical table.  I didn’t need the help but the gesture was just so thoughtful. We then had to go upstairs and he so kindly took the lift so that I didn’t have to embarrass myself puffing like a run down train in front of him.  And then to totally win me over when we got upstairs I had to stay with his co-ordinator for bit and he took the chair away in her office and brought back one without arms so that I would be more comfortable.  (You have my permission to swoon now).

I don’t get the impression he is all about the money.  He wouldn’t be doing the small things like he does otherwise. As an overweight, female patient (who still has some sense of pride) he takes away the embarrassment and makes me feel that I can trust him and that he has only my best interests at heart.

Note to self for next visit:   Found out if he has an unattached twin.