Tag Archives: Energy

WLS Chronicles ~ Week 14 Update

6 Apr
I have not posted lately about my progress with weight loss surgery so I thought I would while I have a few minutes on my hands this morning! It has been 14 weeks and 2 days since my life changed in a major way. I am only on ONE medication now (which I can’t shake – you know thyroid meds NEVER go away once you start!!). I have more energy than I can ever remember in my life. My diet and meal planning still are a huge part of my day. I have been able to dine out with friends more lately and even last night had dinner at a friend’s house. You wouldn’t believe the anxiety over worrying about hurting someone’s feelings by not eating a ton of their home cooked food. (Yes, I know not everyone would have this anxiety but when you are someone who is super sensitive you are more sensitive about other’s feelings and some of y’all just should thank me right now for that because SOME people just don’t care about anyone’s feelings! I digress…) However, we had a wonderful time and I explained and we were done with that!
I have kissed blood pressure and diabetes meds goodbye. I have kissed 80 pounds goodbye. I have kissed lots of foods goodbye. I have kissed LOTS of clothes goodbye (5-6 sizes down!). I have welcomed new friendships made by this journey. I’ve enjoyed exercising which I have really never EVER looked forward to before. I have adapted to my new tummy and my new emotions and new habits….and I have even turned into the most COLD NATURED PERSON I KNOW. (Well besides Shannon :)) EVEN IN TEXAS! LOL I have felt stress about new things. Not eating enough protein, drinking water too quickly, having 1 too many carbs… It is crazy to think of the differences in my diet and lifestyle. There is absolutely no way to tell you in words the emotions and pure joy that I have in my heart over this opportunity. The coolest thing is that people have reached out, privately, to ask questions. To get advice. To tell me they have been considering it. To dig deeper. To get support. So while I’m already in my feels over here, let me tell you that I am OVERJOYED to support others and their personal decisions to make changes to better themselves. Whether that means surgery or diet changes or lifestyle changes – if it makes you better….if it makes you live longer, if it makes you able to enjoy your family more, if it makes you healthier, DOOOOO IT.  Will everyone agree with you?  NOPE!  I can tell you that firsthand.  Side note, don’t get me wrong….those that don’t agree with you likely won’t tell you that to your face…but the whispers happen.  The “why didn’t she just exercise and eat better” questions….the “wow, that was drastic” conversations…the people who just act like it didn’t happen (that’s by far my favorite….hahahahaha….like, do you NOT notice I look crazy different?  now you just seem weird.)  Honestly I used to be offended by the thought of someone not agreeing but then I read a few memes (HA HA HA!) and felt better.  You know the ones…
Also, the support of family and friends means a TON. It is still second to my relationship with Jesus. He is the ONLY reason I have been successful in this because I AM WEAK. Alone, I’d be searching out some Shipley’s Donuts right now. But here I sit, coffee with Splenda & sugar free creamer in hand. Happy. Blessed. Grateful.
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WLS Chronicles – Pre-Op Diet

15 Feb

Let me start by saying, every individual is different.  Every surgeon is different.  If you are reading this and you are on your journey to weight loss surgery, ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS listen to YOUR surgeon and medical team.

My surgeon instructed me to start a “liver reduction diet” two weeks before my surgery.  The purpose of this diet is to make it easier for the surgeon to move your liver out of the way so they can focus on your stomach during surgery.  The first week of the liver reduction diet is made up of a daily diet of 2 bariatric protein shakes, 2 bariatric snacks (crisps or bars) and one meal of lean meat and green veggies – NO/LOW carbs, NO caffeine, NO sugar – and 64 ounces of liquids.  I started on December 13th and this part of the diet was not THAT complicated or difficult but that one meal a day was CHERISHED let me tell you!

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Hamburger Steak, asparagus, green beans and a pickle!

The second week of this diet was very simple.  Five bariatric shakes a day.  Only that.  No solid foods, no snacks, no cheating.  This was HARD.  I missed chewing.  I missed real food.  I could still have hydrating liquids and that included sugar-free popsicles so they were my jam.  They still are.  Yummy.

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My protein shake – Bariatric Advantage Cookies & Cream

The liver reduction diet requires planning, willpower and commitment.  Basically this sets you up for success after surgery as well.  It also gives you bad breath, low energy and dry skin!  By the last few days, it was all I could do to get those shakes down.  The last day, I think I only drank three.  There was just no way.  I was tired of them and just tired in general.  Keep in mind that on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day I was on liquids only.  My family was so kind and understanding and did everything they could to make things easier on me.  During this time I still cooked for my family and was around food…I knew that it was going to require me to keep doing that after my surgery so I figured I should start learning to resist temptations!  Easier said than done but I did it!

Twenty-four hours before the surgery, I had to stop all red and purple liquids.  That means only orange sugar free popsicles!  🙂  As usual, nothing to eat after midnight the night before surgery.  My surgery was scheduled for 10:30 AM so I had to be there at 8:30 AM.  I was so beyond ready.  Prayer helped me so much here.  I felt a peace that I couldn’t have come by alone.  I was ready.

WLS Chronicles – The Initial Visit

13 Feb

Once you have committed in your mind that you’re going to go for it, the work begins.  You may not even commit until after the first appointment…or the third…or the tenth!  Personally, I had to commit in my mind before I even walked in to the office.  My first appointment (Aug 8, 2016) was a flurry of activity.  I was assigned a caseworker (Kevin, very helpful) and weighed (ugh).  I sat down with Kevin and he presented me with two important documents:  Surgery Estimate and Bariatric Checklist.  The estimate was FABULOUS:

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Now, this is not normal.  However, when your sweet husband spends a week in ICU due to double pneumonia, you have certainly met your out of pocket maximum for the year.  Thank you Jesus for health insurance.  Yes, you are seeing that right.  This surgery cost me exactly ZERO dollars.  (Hmm, I guess that should have been on my first post about this!  It was a factor!)

The Bariatric Checklist was the piece of paper that looked the most intimidating.

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All those highlights were something I had to do…which meant (to me) something to worry about.  (Let me just pause here and say that my prayer life was being tested and built at this time and I believe it was God’s plan to teach me how important it was!!)  The first thing I heard Kevin say was:  “Okay, your insurance requires four months of weight loss visits – basically four months of us weighing you – before surgery.”  I thought I had NO chance of getting this surgery squeezed into 2016!!  He then told me that this visit would count as my first one…so my window was TIGHT!  I had a ton of things to do in a short amount of time and we began scheduling appointments and making plans!  It was organized chaos and I was up for the challenge.

I met the surgeon and we discussed the types of bariatric surgeries and the pain I was feeling in my left side as well (my aforementioned femoral hernia).  Dr Tyner was very helpful with the tons of questions I had already and gave me some information on apps to use and diets to read up on to get myself ready for this huge change.

When I left the office that day, I cried like a baby knowing that this was going to be hard.  I cried harder out of joy, knowing that I serve a risen Savior who would equip me for this battle.  I literally and figuratively leaned on Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

xoxo

Small J

WLS Chronicles – The Decision

13 Feb

There are many steps of Weight Loss Surgery and possibly one of the hardest is making the decision to go for it.  Many weeks or months or even years go by while someone considers it, most often.

For me, it was a few factors.  I had been diagnosed with diabetes and put on meds for it.  I had been diagnosed with high blood pressure and medicated for that.  I lost an Uncle last March who was obese and we believe that led to his passing.  I had more time on my hands than EVER, after retiring from my job in July.  I was referred to a surgeon for a pain I was experiencing (that we thought was endometriosis related and turned out to be a femoral hernia) and this particular surgeon performed bariatric surgery as well.  I prayed.  I talked to my hubby.  I talked to my Daddy (who had lap band surgery in 2013).  I talked to my Mama (who was the chief cook/warden/support for my Daddy!).  I stressed, I worried, I prayed, I read, I researched, I cried, I decided.

I needed to do this for my family, for my health, for my LIFE.  I have ALWAYS battled with my weight.  I have hypothyroidism as well, which does NOT help.  I am an emotional eater.  I had a very stressful job for 5+ years with travel and meetings and “no time” to plan to eat healthy – so I didn’t.  Yes, that’s an excuse.  🙂  I was all about convenience.  I was being selfish.  Why not be selfish enough to take the time and energy and opportunity to push the reset button on my health?  My family was the most supportive.  I knew I would face criticism and the whispers of “why can’t she just diet and exercise?” and worse.  The thought of this negativity made every little bit of positivity mean that much more.  I clung to it and decided to move forward with the surgery, not really sure of which procedure I would land on.  I was open to all options and began praying that I would have peace and clarity about which one.  The procedures (lap band, gastric sleeve, duodenal switch, gastric bypass) all varied in their effectiveness as well as their chance of complications.

Research online helped tremendously as well as information from my surgeon’s office.  (I went to Bariatric Specialists of North Carolina.  Cannot say ENOUGH about how awesome they are.)

If you are considering bariatric surgery, my advice is this:  Research, be patient and ensure you have a support system that understands the full process.  Research the surgeries as well as the surgeons.  Don’t settle for mediocre care as you may end up with mediocre results.

I plan to chronicle each phase of this journey and would love feedback or questions!  You can reach me at mrsjmejones@gmail.com.

xoxo

Small J

 

Patient Patience

23 Sep

To say that I’m exhausted from pain is an understatement.  Let me just give you a quick rundown of what’s going on….(and if technical, lady-business words make you uncomfortable – skip this one!)  I posted this ten days ago but updated it today 10/3/16.

April 2013 – intense pain and cramping during periods, had an ablation to help with pain

October 2015 – pain starts back up and surgery is scheduled, due to endometriosis

December 2015 – hysterectomy performed (partial, kept ovaries)

June 2016 – pain is back, but only in left side…checked for cyst – negative….GYN thinks due to endometriosis.  Suggests removing ovaries will kill estrogen and therefore stop feeding endometriosis.

June 2016 – Ovaries removed. No hormones prescribed so as to remove as much estrogen as possible.  Pain continues.  While performing surgery, notices there is significant endometriosis on colon.

July 2016 – Pain continues. Visits to primary care physician, GYN and general surgeon to discuss options.  Surgeon orders colonoscopy and EGD to check for any blockages or other issues.

August 2016 – Colonoscopy performed.  No blockages.  Colon is “floppy” but not showing any signs internally that endo has damaged.  Surgeon not convinced that endo is source of pain.  GYN is sure endo is.

September 9, 2016 – Follow up with general surgeon and he now wonders if pain could be from femoral hernia.  He checks and feels “something”.  He performs ultrasound and sees “something”.  Orders CT Scan.

September 20, 2016 – CT Scan performed and awaiting results.  Still waiting.  Not patiently.

I’m so hoping this pain can be a distant memory soon.  Until it is, I am just taking one day at a time….sometimes an hour at a time.  The pain is on my left side, is worse when I’m standing and appears for most of the time when I am standing/walking/sitting and if I am laying down it is more than likely THERE but maybe not as “sharp”.

September 26, 2016 – Follow up with general surgeon to discuss CT Scan.  He started to say the words that I dreaded hearing…”The scan did not 100% confirm….” and I have to be honest, I didn’t hear much else.  I broke down in tears and just stopped listening.  When he was finished I confessed that I wasn’t listening and he started over with “I still think you have a femoral hernia…” and that was enough to make me feel better.  He thinks maybe the scan didn’t show because I was lying down and the hernia could correct itself while I’m lying down – so he wanted to proceed with surgery.  While discussing the surgery details, he let me know that he wanted to perform the surgery using robotic assistance so that slimmed down the time slots and hospitals.  It would be at Rex’s Raleigh campus and the day was up for grabs (depending on who could proctor and when the robot rep was available to be on call).  He wanted to use this means in order to explore my abdomen/intestines/colon to check on the endometriosis.  OH YES…..I was so happy.  We scheduled the surgery….and then rescheduled (based on all of the above) for just 4 days later, Friday, September 30th.  I was so happy it was going to be on Friday instead of Thursday since Mike was in Boston but due back late Thursday night!  (To be honest, I would have still had the surgery, but I was glad I didn’t have to without him!)

September 30, 2016 – Surgery day!  Woke up at 3:30 to leave the house by 4:30 am.  Traffic was very light!  LOL  Getting the IV in……not easy.  This is just one of my arms and the other was as bad…I think they stuck me around 6 times.  When they finally get one, they broke my heart by saying, “Since your surgery is robotic, you have to have two IV’s.”  They quickly followed that up by telling me they would do the second one after I was asleep. (Thank you Jesus!)

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My Mom and Mike were there (my Daddy and in-laws were on MJ duty at a school program) and by my side until they took me back.  FAST FORWARD —

When I woke up from surgery, I remember being so scared!  I remember worrying right then that I’d still have the pain that has been my enemy!  I panicked and they gave me more oxygen as it had fallen to 91%.  After that, I was okay…got more pain meds…drank Ginger Ale, ate my graham crackers and got out of there!  I was so ready to be home and in my own bed.  I don’t remember much about the ride home at all!  Just that Mike checked on me and held my hand most of the way!

October 3, 2016 – It’s been a few days now and I have to tell you I’m really surprised at how much these incisions hurt!  They are bigger than my previous surgeries (and I mean my poor belly button has had three surgeries now in just 10 months) and feel more tender.  Getting up and down out of a chair or the bed feels a bit like someone is ripping muscle in my abdomen….but no big deal…ha!  I do feel better every day so that’s a positive.  The leg pain that had started as a result (we believe) of the hernia is GONE – praise God!!

I am so thankful for friends and family who have reached out, helped out and prayed diligently.  I may not have a large family but I have an amazing husband and kids, an awesome set of parents and in-laws and many cousins who have prayed and checked in on me.  I’m blessed.

I can’t believe all that has changed in three months.  I went from a workaholic to a stay at home Mom.  A relatively healthy 37 year old to a 37 year old hermit in chronic pain.  Making the decision to leave my stressful, travel-heavy job was a hard one but I am so grateful that my husband and family supported me in it so much.  There is absolutely no way I could commit to working at this point.  I’m thankful that I have always had a job, since I was 15 (shout out to Jimbo’s Grill and On Cue!!) and I have had amazing opportunities, met wonderful people and learned many things (shout out to pivot tables, vlookups and incentive programs).  The season I’m in now is one of waiting and being still and having faith.  It’s uncomfortable but I do believe that the Lord is with me and is guiding me through this.  He is giving me strength to do things that matter.  Homework with MJ, moving my oldest to college, getting ready for doctor appointments, cooking dinner for my sweet husband….the important things.  I am just learning every day to be a patient patient.  It’s not easy.

Powerless

24 Jan

Today’s blog:  What is your favourite thing to do when you lose energy in your home and can’t use electronics?

This.just.happened.  Last week, a transformer blew outside of our house and we were in the dark.  There were no favorites, justsoyaknow…it was just whatever kept the kids quiet!  We had all of our devices, 3 iPads, iPad mini, MacBook, 3 iPhones and a Touch…6 rechargeable candles…1 Mag-lite…and we were set!  MJ watched Tangled w/ headphones as to not hear the wind…Mike and I talked…and slept.  Christian chilled in his room, playing games on his phone…it was a regular night, actually….just darker.. 🙂

Creative Conservation

23 Jan

Today’s post question ~ What is the most creative way you conserve energy in your home?

I’d say the BEST way?  I don’t cook!  Ha!  I save energy on a few things….my stove, oven, water (since there aren’t dishes to wash), dishwasher…  I can give you 100 excuses…but it boils down to time, energy and convenience…. My hubby loves it when I DO cook but at this point, it’s so rare it is such a cool thing…he thinks it’s a special occasion!  Works for me!  🙂

 

Powered by Toddlers

22 Jan

Today’s blog:  Come up with a creative plan (and no, it doesn’t have to be realistic and scientifically-based — toddler on a hamster wheel, anyone?) to create energy once we use up our fossil fuels.

Here is a good plan ~ somehow determine how best to bottle toddler energy.  Maybe it’s a chemical in their glands, maybe it’s in their blood, maybe it’s secreted in their urine…but somehow, it’s there.  They have a ton of it.  They can use less and we can use it for everything!!!  BOOM.

 

Water, Water, Everywhere

21 Jan

My prompt for today:  What is your biggest concern about the future of the environment?

Obviously, I’m concerned about the future for a few reasons….  Of course I just CARE.  I’d like to see this world we live in thrive and be green and pretty and all that jazz…  However, if the Lord doesn’t return soon and I leave this world before my children are left to hang around and endure it – I’d like for them to have pretty things to see, air to breath (that doesn’t harm them), animals to observe and clean water to drink.  I think water is a big deal for me for a few reasons….I LOVE IT first of all.  I love to drink it, swim in it, see it, you name it!  My job is obviously greatly affected by water.  We want people to ENJOY it…we want people to benefit from the cleanliness of it…we want to MOVE it…  It’s a big deal, y’all!!  I could give you lots of stats but you all know the deal.  There’s a lot of water.  There’s a lot of pollution.  There’s a lot of work to do…we just need to be sure we’re all doing it, that our government is funding someone doing it and that we are all supporting it!!!

 

What’s in a name?

18 Jan

We’ve already established that I’m not a superhero…but if I were…I’d have you call me – MOM.  Thas all.  Most of those are pretty superhumanish, don’t you think?

 

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