Saturday, October 30, 2010

An Excerpt from my Journal circa 1972

Last weekend I cleaned out the linen closet (ok Band Groupie—I need you at my house to organize). I came across a shoebox where I've kept a few small items since I was a teen (my memory box). I have all my report cards from Kindergarten to University, some letters, an autograph book from Grade 6 and a small little notebook where I recorded the experiments I did on worms for Grade 10 Biology. The little book was 3” x 5” with tiny little writing paper.

Bianca had posted a An excerpt from my journal circa 2000 and I thought I would do the same. Inside my little notebook I had written of my 6 week trip to Quebec City to learn French on a bursary. It was 1972. I was 18 and had just finished Grade 12. I had spent two years losing weight and I had reached a low of 130 pounds (from a high of 176). When I returned from that trip in August I was Maid of Honour in my sister’s wedding which meant I had to fit in the dress. 

As I read through a bunch of things jumped out:
  • My bursary covered my food and amenities of $20/week.
  • Chocolate bars were only 10¢, chips 5¢, a coke 15¢ and a milkshake 25¢.
  • I obsessed over my weight continuously recording a gain or loss.
  • My last entry on Aug 12th said “I have gained ½ pound altogether”.
  • A typical breakfast was a poptart and grapes.
  • I ate Whistles for dinner one night.
  • I listened to records on a record player.
  • I watched TV in french.
  • I had my "first kiss"!
  • I didn't learn much french (c'est la vie!).
  • I have really nice penmanship.
Here is the excerpt from my journal: 

Sunday, August 6, 1972: “Decided to fast today. Did washing, took a bath and washed hair. Had cantaloupe for lunch and read after. Listened to records. Then decided to go to cafeteria for supper (fast didn’t last too long). Sat at fountain after. Really nice & peaceful. Went back to residence and had choc bar (!!!). Went to TV room and saw last of Walt Disney. Went & bought 2 more choc bars (!!!!!). Watched Adam 12 in French. Bought 2 bags of chips and 2 glasses of pop (!!!!). Was really homesick. Got to bed at 11:30.”

Almost 40 years later, I could write the same friggin paragraph. Isn’t that sad. When I see how much weight has defined my life, I want to cry. And maybe that is why this blogging thingy is actually working. It is making me see that some things aren’t really that important. 

But really, how many of you can remember when chocolate bars were 10 cents? And Poptarts were a nutritious breakfast food. And do they still make Whistles? 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I've Got a Theory and Skittles Galore

I mentioned the other day that I was having some "stuck" episodes which also included "sliming" and "vomiting" every couple of days. Non-fun times.

And it hurts. Big time. I was considering an un-fill but worried because my weight has plateaued for the last two month and I didn’t want to gain any weight. I know the plateau has nothing to do with all the junk food, eating out and booze I have been inhaling. (JK—I know that is the biggest reason). Jennifer blogged today about a similar sliming situation (not for the faint at heart). It almost made me pee my pants as I could relate completely to the whole situation. She had me in tears laughing so you need to read her account to truly understand that in the whole scheme of things, at least we can laugh.

But not being able to eat much before getting stuck made me rethink how I ate. This started the pre-eating suggestion or more accurately “priming the band”. Jen has blogged that it is also called First Bite Syndrome. I just eat a few bites of my food, wait 20-30 minutes and then eat the rest. Here is a sample day of eating.

Breakfast: Glass of milk, coffee. 30 minutes later: scrambled eggs and ham.
Lunch: Puréed squash soup. 30 minutes later: ham and cheese in a pita.
Dinner: V8 juice. 30 minutes later: 3 oz salmon with mango salsa.
(do I admit to the pumpkin sugar cookies I ate later in the day?)

And it seems to be working. It’s been 5 days since I was last stuck and I’m eating solids for the first time in weeks. Until today, which leads me to my second theory. Today I forgot to drink my milk and just had coffee. I started to eat some mini pitas stuffed with ham. Two bites and I was done—I could feel a bit stuck. 2 hours later I had a scone which took me 2 hours to eat. Still not feeling super great but no pain, sliming or vomiting.

But wait! (play Jeopardy song while thinking)…
(Drazil—skip this part in blue as it will disturb you)

I said, "Self, when was the last time you pooped". It’s been 4 days! Egads. Don’t worry, I found the bathroom and now I can eat again.

So my theory is that when you are constipated or you are filled to the brim, the large intestine pushes against the stomach which pushes against the band and it is hard to get food down. I’ve included a picture for those that didn’t care too much for biology. Being a nurse I am very relaxed about bodily functions.
So now I have two theories to keep from getting stuck. First, prime the band and make sure you have had a good s&!# (did you guess the word?) .
I sent an e-mail to the clinic nurse telling her about the problems I was having and asking if I should actually have a small fill. She replied that I probably had first bite syndrome (Jen: shall we organize a First Bite Group?). She suggested I cut up my food really small and eat slow. Well I do that already, in fact most of my food is mushie like. So I will try the band priming for now and wait a couple of weeks to see if I can get my eating regulated to eat solid protein. I have been defaulting too much to soft and pureed foods. OK, that and chocolate and ice cream. And those darn Halloween candies. I'll get you, my pretty.

And to finish this post, I just saw a commercial on TV about a guy who turns everything into Skittles. Co-incidence. I think not. Now we know that Drazil can probably do the same thing. Because of course, everything we see on TV is true!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chicago Photos at Last!

I finally posted my Chicago photos on a separate page. Click here or on the Chicago picture below to check out all the lovelies. I have to admit I have also posted some photos I downloaded over the last few weeks and can't remember where I got them.

Can you find out if any Boob is missing? Let me know or send me your photo so I can complete the line-up.

ps: I can eat today. I'm eating a bit of something about 30 minutes before my protein. Maybe there is something to priming the pump.

Monday, October 25, 2010

You Guys...are the Best

Shhh. Today I am off "sick" from work. Don't tell.

After my stucky day on Saturday, my band is being reasonable. I was able to eat some solids, including toast, on Sunday and today I'm back to normal. You guys are the best because you made me think that maybe I just need to rethink how to eat with the band. I can't really relate the tight band to stress or Madame Flo (who no longer visits) or not chewing enough. I even wonder if maybe some food stays in the pouch for days (as mentioned by Caroline). I really thought about Jennifer's advice—she said she takes a bite or two 20 minutes before her main meal to get over the "first bite syndrome" she suffers.

I'm calling it pre-eating and it seems to work. Today I had bacon and scrambled eggs for breakfast about an hour after my coffee (I should have had a glass of milk with my coffee but forgot—need to up the protein!). For lunch I had some pureed squash soup with melted cheese. I waited 30 minutes then was able to eat about 3 ounces of salmon with mango salsa. The pre-eating takes the edge off my hunger and lets me eat really slow.

I think some of my problem is in trying to fit in healthy food. I love vegetables and fruit and try to have them with my meal. I've decided I will eat them first (probably pureed soups) and then have my main protein since I can usually only get the protein down. I am not counting calories, but am trying to make sure I get in my protein (60 g/day). I can do that if I do some pre-eating of veges and then spend my time on 'getting my protein on'. I have thought about trying the 5 day pouch test and going low carb, but it just won't work for me. This is the time of year that I need my carbs to keep me from getting too depressed. Low carb diets (or for that matter any type of diet) has never worked for me. I have to learn to live with food, all kinds of food, even foods that some think are not healthy.

I also know that I need to be hydrated with water. When I am home, I don't drink as much water as I should. At work I always drink lots of water. I love water and it has never been a problem for me. 
And I truly was in Chicago, here with Jennifer (I'm working on getting my pics posted)

And just to prove I was really in California, here I am just north of San Francisco on Route 1.

I'll keep you posted to let you know how the pre-eating is going. I'll be planning and cooking and chewing like mad. And maybe then will see the scale make it's move.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

No Happy Medium

For weeks now I have been pondering why the band can be so finicky. Right now, it won't let me eat very much which makes for no weight loss, but a hungry Sandy.

My last teeny fill was in June and that month I could eat and lost 4 pounds. Then a teeny unfill the end of July, a month where I couldn't eat much but I lost 5 pounds. I think I have just over 4 cc in my 10 cc band. August was a stellar eating month, barely a stuck episode and again I lost another 4 pounds. At the beginning of June I weighed 184 pounds and at the beginning of September 171 pounds. I weigh the same 171 pounds this morning. My weight has fluctuated up and down a few pounds for the last two months.

Since before Chicago, my band has been really tight, then loose, then tight... Somedays, I can eat normal solid protein, healthy stuff. Other days, its a crap shoot: whatever crap I can get down goes into my mouth, usually chocolate, chips, ice cream, milkshakes. Because I am physically hungry. There doesn't seem to be a happy medium.

Just when I decide I should go for an unfill, I can eat. Last Wednesday, I was out with a friend for a Moroccan dinner and was able to eat a bit of eggplant salad with couscous (yucky), two chicken thighs and a sweet dessert similar to baklava. The dinner did span a 2 hour period since it was a demo and as the chef cooked each course, it was served. The next day, I gagged on two bites of a small ham sandwich. It was back to ice cream again.

Each time I get stuck, I go on puree or mushies for a day and it seems to help reduce the swelling. But I have yet to figure out what will trigger the band to squeeze shut. Last night, I had a dinner party and merrily cooked most of the day. I had crisp bacon and scrambled eggs for breakfast and some cheese and nuts for lunch. No problems. My DH had made Coquille St. Jacques (scallops in cream sauce with whipped mashed potatoes). I was able to eat almost all the appetizer serving. Dinner was a wipe-out. I think I had three bites of potato, beef and some broccoli. And that was it. For two hours I suffered. I had this ache above my band and I waited for "something" to move through. Finally, hours later when I went to bed, my lovely dinner came back up over the next hour, along with massive heartburn, more vomiting and then relief at last.  

So far this morning I've had a glass of milk and a coffee. My stomach is still a bit sore. So what to do. I have been so diligent about chewing, chewing, chewing until mush. I can recall a few of my stuck episodes have been swallowing too much too soon. But I still cannot understand why somedays are good and others are bad. I will be honest and say, this is not what I signed up for. I expected the band to help me slow down and eat less. Not stop me from eating solids one day, just to catch up with lots the next day.

Just ranting on. I need to send an update to my surgical clinic nurses. I'll ask them if I should have a small unfill and see if that helps. There are a couple of reasons why I have not lost any weight in the last two months and it has nothing to do with the band.
  • The first reason would be all the travelling I have done and eating out. Lots of eating out and drinking. First in Chicago, then California, then Vermont. In a way I feel quite good that I didn't gain any weight.
  • Another reason is that I am about 15 pounds from goal and I knew weight loss would slow. In fact I am very happy with being 171 pounds and think anything more is just icing on the cake. I've bought a bunch of new clothes and am feeling rather small. I have this tummy problem (ok, I have a big muffin top to get rid of still). This is a weight I was at for many, many years. Remember the set-point theory. It will take a lot to break through.
  • My last reason for the scale stall. I have not been exercising regularly. As the fall doldrums set in, a bit of depression hits and it is hard to get my bum off the couch. I have a gym membership and need to get into a routine of just doing it!
That concludes my little rant for today. Liquids/purees for me today.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

10 Weeks til Christmas

Did anyone else notice that 10 weeks from today is Christmas Day? And not to forget my Jewish friends, it is less than 7 weeks until Hanukkah. When my kids were little, I used to have my shopping done by October. Which was one of the reasons I was able to get a Care Bear in 1983 for my baby daughter before the shortage happened that year. Not anymore. Now I wait until mid December or shop on-line. How things change.

I'm all alone in the house as my DH is at a fishing camp. No fishing taking place, just manly things like chopping wood, drinking scotch, chowing down on huge steaks, burping and farting and doing those guy things. I have to go clean the basement. Call for help if you don't hear from me in a few days. I might be lost in the junk. And this is my backyard full of leaves still to be raked.
Just answering a few BYOC questions. 
1. Tell me about someone you envy... I used to envy people who I thought had more money, more status, had their life together, had wonderful relationships, were skinny. Until I realized they were just like me. We all poop and pee and we all have problems. I actually envy those who don't worry about what others think because we all have our idiosyncrasies or differences. It would be boring to go through life with everyone the same. Where's the fun in that!

2. What makes you angry? Hate and propaganda. It shouldn't matter if someone is different, be it religion, race, sexual orientation, age, weight, disability, politics...  My blood boils and they can just stay out of my face. La La La La La (with fingers in my ears). I don't want to hear the crap.

3. What do you do when you feel very sad or depressed? Eat. Still.

4. If you were stranded on a lonely beach, what 5 things would you want to have?
LIIT* (which I had to google when someone put that in a comment. *Long Island Ice Tea), 5 of them.

5. Summarize your week in real life and in Blogland. I finally stopped travelling. I was upset at work because they shut off our access to Blogger. BUT!!!! I found out on Friday that I can still read posts using Google Reader. Access is not denied. Yahoo. I can't leave any comments but I am happily reading which is helping me get back on track. Band wise, I was tight, then loose, then tight to the point I was contemplating an unfill. Then I got loose again. Last night I got stuck on ice cream. WTF is going on. For breakfast I ate scrambled eggs, no problem. I am plateaued in the low 170's and expect to be there for another month. I have pledged to get back to the gym if I can only remember the way.

One more thing. I told Carmen that I would post my favourite picture from Chicago. It was of her. I loved her blue scarf and flower and kept staring at her. I had only ever seen her in black. She just seemed so exotic. And all you other lovely ladies: a picture page from Chicago will be coming with all your sweet faces. Till then Here's Carmen...
And remember, there are only 10 weeks til Christmas. What is the "must have" toy this year?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

One Year Ago Today…

I have been struggling with getting a post uploaded to my blog. First of all, I am in shock because my work has blocked Blogger. Egads! I miss reading on my downtime. Now I have to work or walk over to Starbucks and surf the net. Which means I am missing all of you guys. I have been reading some of your blogs and see a downward spiral. I’m back. It’s my fault that everyone is feeling down. Let this be the kick in the ass we all need to get our glow on again. Chicago was wonderful and it really was a hit of some new drug (as inferred by Carmen).

As I move into my winter drink of red wine (ok I just started my third glass), I am thinking back. Join me and think back. Way, way back to one year ago today. I remember October 14th, 2009.
Greenwich, standing on the Prime Meridien. GMT.
I was in London, England. We had been there for about 4 days and my feet were killing me. I had blisters and was exhausted. I had just toured Kensington Palace where they had displayed a collection of Princess Diana’s gowns. Earlier we had walked around Hyde Park and saw the fountain dedicated to her memory. I loved Princess Di. She was married only a few months before me. I remember getting up early to see the entire wedding in 1981 and I still remember the Sunday morning, August 31st,1997 when the news told of her death. One year ago today was an eerie day and I was sad. Sad about a life lost early. Sad that my feet hurt. Sad that I was fat. Sad that I couldn’t keep up physically. Tim and I went back to the hotel mid afternoon and we did nothing except read, ate some take-away and just vegged.
Tower of London

A while after I returned home from that trip, my older sister told me that she had been diagnosed with pre-diabetes and needed to lose weight (she is about 30 pounds overweight). She is a dietician and a mini Martha Stewart cook and hostess. I was mad because she is only 2 ½ years older than me and I knew in 2 ½ years I too would be diagnosed with diabetes. I remember being angry because I wasn’t eligible for the band. I wasn’t fat enough. I then set out to gain 15 pounds so I would meet the 35 BMI minimum needed to qualify. I know you all can believe the desperation. What the F*U*C*K* was I thinking (just for you Joey)!!!

But I didn’t gain. I found a surgical clinic who would give me my band because I did have co-morbidities. I paid. Actually my DH paid. A gift to me. And I still feel like a fake sometimes that I “only” had to lose 50 pounds, but that 50 pounds was like a chain around my neck that wouldn’t let me live.

So one year later I have a new lease on life. I have lost almost 40 pounds. My blood sugar is normal. My sister has not lost an ounce. I have so much left to do with my life, including many more BOOB encounters. And maybe some grandchildren. I miss blogging and will just have to find the time. I have had a hoot for the past few weeks but now I weigh 174 pounds, up almost 4 pounds from my ticker. But it will go down. I didn’t think it would ever get below 200, but it did and the band is with me for life to keep me there. The gym is calling—but not loud enough!

As the darkness comes earlier and earlier each day—the news just said we lose 3 minutes each day—SAD is descending. Jen mentioned SAD and Gilly jumped on board talking about the earth tilting. Things are not the same. Are we in an alternate universe? I’ve suffered SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and depression for years. By Hallowe’en, I really have turned into a witch. I live too far north to get enough sun each winter. Yup. I live closer to the North Pole than the equator (and most of you) and no we do not have snow—yet. But then Santa Claus is just around the corner. And I love me a tanning bed as well as upping my dose of Vitamin D. As I drove back from Vermont last weekend the following sign popped up:
My trip to Stowe, Vt was really nice. The leaves were not at their peak but the small town was a treat from the hustle of the big cities. Which leaves my pining for a trip to the south in February. Closer to the equator. Maybe Cuba or Dominican Republic. Beaches and sand and all you can eat buffets. But maybe snow can again be enjoyed. The huffing and puffing is less and I love my new clothes. My next purchase is a new winter coat.

One year later, I have so much to be thankful and proud about. I can walk without pain. I feel great, even without wine. But wine is fine! My life has changed. I have a huge circle of virtual friends who I could not live without. Thank you all for getting me this far. I want to cry sometimes that you have my back (wrinkles and all)!

I am back. Hear me Roar (thank you Helen Reddy). I need to finish losing this weight once and for all. I want to give myself the best Christmas present this year and lose the last few pounds. Just 10 week til Christmas. Let’s just Do It!

So do you remember how you felt, 1 year ago today?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

On The Road Again

I need an award for marathon reading over 500 posts in the last two nights. And not only that, Blogger has now been blocked where I work. What will I ever do with my time. OK, I guess I'll have to work. But I work across from a Starbucks and they have wireless, so I think my iTouch will come in handy. As my previous post mentioned, I left Chicago but flew out to San Francisco with DH last week. We arrived home on Sunday, the 3rd around 10:00 pm. Morning came way too early and work was dreadful, especially when my Blogs were blocked. WTF!

I did have a moment to relax a bit after the fantastic time I had in Chicago. And it was amazing. I love you guys even though I didn't get to spend much time with all of you. It was sort of like licking the icing off 50 cupcakes. Ewww. That sounds a bit gross, but it was still a sweet time. I've been reading some of the worries that some of you had, but believe me, I was stunned by everyone. And tears fell. I felt like you were all my little girls or sisters. My eFamily!! This entire social networking idea was not very clear until I realized that complete strangers can actually form an amazing bond. Part of it might have been the Long Island Iced Tea that really isn't tea. But they are really, really good and I think I have found my new drink. It might have been the additional beers that had me singing karaoke as backup with Steph belting out "I will Survive". And we all did.

Shortly after boarding my plane for SF, I opened up Good Housekeeping magazine and one of the first articles began with the following quote:

"Beauty is what health and happiness looks like on the outside."

All I could think about is how beautiful everyone looked in Chicago. The pictures show the glow we all had. It was a moment of sheer happiness that we had actually got off our butts and gathered together. I do look at some of my pictures and want to pick out the flaws and fat and funny lumps. But in reality, no one saw that. Because we were all seeing the beauty of the health and happiness we have from losing weight and knowing that we are not alone in this journey.

Now to the title of my post. I'm going to Stowe, Vermont for the weekend. Just want to keep using my passport with my weird picture. It doesn't look anything like me but they keep letting me in and out of the country. I have saved a few Greenbacks and the Visa is still steaming but the leaves will be glorious and the weather great. I am leaving DH home alone and staying at an Inn with my sister. When DH looked a little sad that I was leaving, I had to reinforce that we had just spent 24-7 together and we are still married. I'll be back on Sunday, 10-10-10, for our 29th anniversary. We spent our first anniversary in Burlington, Vermont but ended up sleeping in the car as all the hotels were booked.

For those who don't know, it is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. Turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy and stuffing... And lots of pumpkin pie and apple crisp but I don't have to cook. My BIL and SIL host Thanksgiving and we host Christmas.

I will post some of my pictures from Chicago but haven't downloaded them onto my computer yet. I had hoped to get every single person but alas I missed a few. I want to make a new page and post as many as I can. I leave you with one photo from my wedding 29 years ago. This was taken just north of Ottawa in Quebec. The leaves were amazing and the weather wonderful. And Tim (my DH) had hair.
 Wishing you a lovely long weekend, wherever you are.

Just found a recipe for Long Island Iced Tea. I had two! No wonder I was singing Karaoke:
     3/4 oz. vodka
     3/4 oz. tequila
     3/4 oz. white rum
     3/4 oz. gin
     3/4 oz. Cointreau
     1 oz. fresh lemon juice
     1/2 tsp sugar syrup
     Splash cola
     Lemon slice for garnish
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