Sunday, October 2, 2011

There are no belt loops!

The shopping that I'm doing these days ie in my closet. Thanks Katie Mac! With some success and some failures. I honestly don't know how clothes are supposed to fit... Almost (note almost) 100 pounds ago... The looser the better. I didn't (dont) think I was fooling any dam body , but comfort ruled the day. I was like OJ if the pants fit... It was time to quit (i took some liberties with that, but you get it.) I dine like anything clinging, fitting, snug. It want attractive at all. I say all this to say I don't know how clothes are supposed to fit, and these days as I shop my closet, I'm not yet ready to let go of those items that just don't fit. L3ga talked those jeans I found hanging on well on q hanger the other week. They were jeans... And I hadn't worn jeans in 10 years... Actually more like 15 or 20 or 25 years. But anyway... I tried them on, and they buttoned, and zipped, and I thought... They might be a little big. But dam they are jeans! Those of you who saw me at work were all privy to a 3 point turn... I liked it. Except. Well except they were too Dammit big. I couldn't put anything in the pockets, or I would be showing undies. The butt and crotch were a little low. I know all this now, that day I thought their were Just fine. Except I knew I needed a belt. I fully planned on wearing a belt that morning, and voila... No belt loops!
Tomorrow I wear a pair of khaki pants that have been announced by others as too big. It's been suggested I throw them away... The pants have belt loops, so I'm wearing them!
Listen the thing isn't that I'm trying to hold on to the past. Most of these clothes I could NEVER fit, and they still had tags on them... It's the last time I bought pants... They fit on Tuesday, and by Friday they were too bog. I can't afford that sh@#t. So belts it is.
It's important to note o have been given the most generous gifts of clothes...thank you Tracy d, and Juanita Mac!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Old Habits Die Hard

I spent the first ten minutes of my arrival time to work looking for parking. There's not a day that I make it to the office that I don't. Some days, its quick, once around and then I park in the wayback where I know there's a free space, bit some days... Today. I looked and looked, I think I drove three times around. And I found one! W close one. Eureka! So here's the thing... 2.5 months ago... I had to. I couldn't physically do it. I would sit in my car and pray. Pay for strength. Pray for help,. I would just pray... Lord please help me get to the front door. I was in so much pain, and misery. My feel wept... Literally. Anyway that's not my current situation. I can make it. From ANYWHERE in that parking lot. The farthest, farthest corner of that lot... This fat ass can make it! Then someone tell me, please tell me; why the 10 minute search? Is it just a bad habit? Do I abhor the possible sweaty skein I may generate in my walk in? Look, tight now I may away less, but I still sweat. Well at the lower level we may call it perspiring. So drive around... Shoot with the current price of gas, I just can't afford that habit. And yet I continue. So what other Maxwell bad habits am I holding on to? (My bad habits are nowhere hear as melodious as Maxwell's, trust me!)
The truth is I don't want to own this habit anymore. I'm doing something different. I font know what yet because I sure to hate walking in from far away...
Another habit that hasn't yet died? Man I can still eat... It's markedly less, but I can still overeat. Seriously if I truly stop eating when I'm full... Two bites. Two bites. Can you imagine? I don't have to imagine. It's true ( did I mention 2 bites?) That drives me batty, cuckoo, mad. So I eat typically up 4 bites, sometimes up to 5. That's not good. It hampers my progress... How do I get through that? I can't throw that food out, can i?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

It's Been a While... the Food's not a Problem, but it is a Concern

I guess it's been a while for me. Back here. Last time I had just finished my follow up, and it was a mere 2 lbs. I was going to say a disappointing 2 lbs.,but since then I have changed my mind. It is what it is. The scale is going to say what it's going to say, but what I'm focusing on now is how do I feel. If I feel good. If I am happy with how my legs and feet feel... then this is a success.

My follow-up with Dr. Primomo was good. He was supportive. When I asked him is it possible they did it wrong, and missed it? He laughed. We are good at what we do. Everyone who has this surgery loses weight. You will lose weight. At that point I let it go. God got me here, and he was going to keep me moving forward.

What was the most shocking thing post surgery was how little I could eat and drink. I knew I would have a smaller stomach, but it didn't equate to how little food I was going to be able to take in. It made me make thc connection that food is and was very psychological for me. I didn't just want and need to eat for nutrition; it was entertainment for me. And when I couldn't eat a full plate... I was disappointed. I felt like the Queen of England - we were not amused!

On an aside my parents were here for me for 3 weeks. They kept me sane before the surgery, and on track after the surgery. Thanks Mom and Dad! Thank you. Thank you! Thank you.

So what was I to do with this lack of entertainment? What and how would I amuse myself? I am continuing to figure that out. It's a process. Another thing for which I was not prepared, was the throwing up. I made it two weeks without throwing up. It's when I broke the strict liquid diet. I refused to stick to it, and I ate food. the food was GOOD! At first I was good; a couple of bites and I was satisfied. Mom's cooking was happening all over the place, and I didn't want to resist. I didn't resist. One day -- about 3 days in -- I ate too quickly, and probably too much, and it had to come up. The food sat on my chest like a ton of bricks and I didn't know what to do. I got the bright idea to regurgitate. And I did. That no one told me was that I would get sick if I didn't eat slowly, and stopped eating when I felt full. In the month since I've had the surgery, I have thrown up more than I have my whole life. I've thrown up at home, at work, in a restarant, you name it. The food has made its way from the inside to the outside quickly. I'm learning. But it's still a process. I threw up yesterday. You know what I've found the perfect food... sushi is the new perfect food. Small portions, flavorful and depending on what you get, kind of nutritious. I think Sushi is going to be my new go to food.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Rest of the Past, Everything Else Goes Forward

The rest of this story moves incredibly fast. Choosing to walk in faith was choosing the happy path. The path where everything just kind of falls into place.

Ellen called me back several days later saying I was approved and what day did I want to have surgery. Ellen is great, but a little absent minded... I reminded her of the remaining appointments and that since I didn't have a spare $45,000 lying around, I figured I'd follow through with the appointments.
Ellen: "Hmmm... That's weird Aetna never approves without that. Hmmm... Ok. Well call me when you finish each appointment."
Me: "Ok. You got a deal."

I made all of my appointments that day. In 3 weeks I would be able to ride this gastric bypass pony! Yee Haw!

First one up to the plate was the sleep study (this one scared me most of all for some reason) it was for that Friday at any time between 6 PM and 8 PM. I left work at 7:30 PM. It was directly across the street, so that should be time enough. Sooo... here's the problem with 7:30 PM in March. The time had not yet changed and 7:30 at night was still dark. Very dark. And my night vision rivals the day vision of a vampire bat -- I see very little at night. If/when you see me on the road find another way to get home. (LOL... but no I am serious get out of my way.) This night, I drove across the street safely, got to the parking lot, and couldn't find the building, nor a parking spot. Why in the world are there this many people in the medical complex at 7:30? (Or 7:45 as it now was?) And you KNOW how I feel about a good parking spot. Oh you don't? Next time ask the chubbiest person you know. They will tell you. Then come back and read this again. I drove round and round looking for some clue of the location of the sleep study (and prime parking) with no luck. I heard my own voice say inside my head -- to heck with this, I am going home! At that very moment my phone rang.

Strange New Voice: "Hi Ms. Abrams this is Tracy. I am calling from Memorial Hermann Sleep Study. Are you coming tonight?"

Me: "Um... Huh? Uh? (With my inside voice. I had made and canceled this appointment 10X over, what made her call me this time? But with my outside voice I said...) Yes I am coming tonight. I just can't find the building. I have been driving around what I think is your parking lot."

TracyL (No longer the Strange New Voice:) "Oh no worries. I can get you here in less than 2 minutes."

And she did. And I went. I forgo the desire for prime parking. God was getting interesting in working with me, and I wanted to see how this was going to go.

So it went with every other appointment I had. Even when I ran in to trouble with finding a way to pay for the psych eval with my Medical Spending Account. The doctor called me and said. "Hey meet me at a sifferent location and we can get you all taken care of." And since I am the antithesis of a GPS. Actually I am an 756 - I can get lost in a box. My dear friend Donna took me.

God wasn't playing. Despite myself. In spite of my fears. Regardless of the best efforts to get in my own way. He cleared the path. He made the way. And I did my part by continuing to move forward.

P.S. When you look at the photo you may think to yourself. Dayem! She looks unhappy. You would be wrong for 2 reasons:

1. Tracy (the strange new voice, who quickly became just Tracy?) was one of the nicest people I have ever met. She made the experience an incredibly easy one.

2. I had a better night of sleep than I could ever imagine. I don't know if it was the Tempur-Pedic mattress (now they should pay me for an unsolicited shout out! And I need it because I am thinking I owe some other folks...) Or maybe it was that they kept the room at a frosty 65 degrees (which I can never do at home, who has enough to pay the electric company for 65 degrees?) or maybe it was the comfort in my soul that I knew I was doing the right thing, at the right time for me - but my sleep that night was good.

And at the end of it all I don't know if I have/had sleep apnea, because I never got the results. Isn't that some BLEEP!?

So that's the rest of the beginning. That was it. Now what's left to tell is what's left to live. See you in a few more days. I think I will talk about my follow up with the cutie pie Dr. Primomo.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Guess Who Shows Up? Who Always Shows Up

You know the saying God is my co-pilot? Sometimes, not often, the co=pilot has to take the wheel. He took the wheel from me. God showed up. I know He's been here with me all along; there's not enough space on the Internet for me to list the miracles I've witnessed in my life. In this particular circumstance He jumped up and out and showed Himself plain.

*For my friends and followers who don't believe in God re-read the caveats of my earlier post. It's not that I don't respect your opinion, but this is MY story.

In a limp hearted effort to get the ball rolling again I sent an email to the coordinator with whom I'd been working. I guess I could/should have done something more direct -- like make a phone call, but looking back now I know I was still fearful and timid at the time and an email was the best I could do. I guess it was around Match 8, 2011. Ellen responded to my email a few days later (so we're at what? the 10th?) with a simple message -- call the office, and make an appointment -- why hadn't I thought of that? (Ohhh... I remember, fear.) I called made an appointment with the dreaded Dr. Davis. I can say honestly here the dread was because I knew that I hadn't filled my part of the bargain - I had lost some of the required weight, been approved by both the surgeon and the insurance company all that was left for ME to do was to meet with the psychologist, cardiologist and complete a sleep study. I was approved in June 2010. This was March 2010. So yes, I dreaded meeting with Dr. Davis.
My appointment with Dr. Davis was eventful and noteworthy. He had a few points to make, and he sure did make them. He read me the riot act. I could tell he was annoyed and disappointed. No real skills of discernment on my part were needed. He told me so very clearly and in no uncertain terms.
"I am disappointed. This is the problem with the morbidly obese. They are non=compliant!"
I took it all in. What could I say?

And I asked my question clearly - "Do I have to start again with all of the screenings? Or can I re-start the process from here?"

"Start from here? No. You have to start again. What did you think? You have to start all over again from day one. It's not me. (I think it was him.) It's the insurance company."

He asked the insurance expert. In order to underscore his point he brought her back to see me and asked one question - "does she have to start over?"

She said with no hesitation, "Yes."

I don't know what that was to prove. He was her boss right? If I were her I would agree with him too at that point. DAYEM! He was fired up! The day was March 14 2011

I left his office and was on my cell phone making the call to to the nutritionist. This was the first, but certainly not the last time God would clearly take the wheel. I was not living in the disappointment of the moment as I normally would. If I had to start over again, this is where I needed to start, and what I needed to do. Wait here for a second folks because God wasn't satisfied with taking the wheel, He was about to show out! When I called the nutritionist she said "Ms. Abrams, to be perfectly honest I don't think you have to start all over again. I'm pretty sure your 90 day nutrition counseling is good for a year. Connect with your coordinator to be sure. If you do, call me back." She transferred me to my coordinator Ellen for whom I left a message. And then I called her directly (outside of my character again, but this wasn't just me alone in this.) and she picked up! Ellen said, "Ms. Abrams! I was just looking at your file, and listening to your message. I have to tell you, I don't think you have to start from the beginning. Let me see."

Long pause.

Ellen: "Hmm.. did you do your cardiac screening?"
Me: "No."
Ellen: "Did you do the sleep study?"
Me: "No."
Ellen: "OK. Did you do the psych eval?"
Me: "Errr... Ummm... No."
Ellen: "Oh OK. So let's do this, I will send your file to the insurance company to get their approval. You call me in a few days and I will let you know where you stand."
Me: "OK Ellen sounds like a plan."
Before we hung up Ellen says "Ms. Abrams I have to tell you it's a good thing you called us again today because you know what I know for sure is that your nutrition counseling is good for a year. You saw Dr. Davis for the first time March 18 2010. If you had waited a few more days. I could say for SURE you would have to start again!"

What??? WHAT??? WHAT??? WHAT???

Come on people this was not chance, this was not circumstance, this was not coincidence. I am just saying... this could only be God at work. And I recognized Him showing His hand. And like that (poof) I decided to stop acting out of fear, and I decided to walk in faith.
He hadn't shown his full hand. God was not yet done with lil' ol' me.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Rest of the Beginning...

So where was I? Oh yeah in avoidance and procrastination. Deep, deep in avoidance and procrastination. It was 2010 I had stated publicly, mind you, my decision to have gastric bypass. I told my parents, siblings, extended family, friends co-workers. Look the dude that walked by my desk delivering paper for Office Depot (now they might just pay me) once a week? He knew. And I was deep, deep deeeeeep in "not ready" mode. You know how the green light is usually an indicator that the electronic device is ready to -- snap the picture, make the call, brew the coffee, filter the water? My light was red... not ready... probably broken... take back to the shop for servicing. That was my mode. The one good thing was that I was making the appointments; I just wasn't going to the appointments.

The end of 2010 was looming near, and so were the holidays, so I told everyone that asked, even the Office Depot guy (pay me now) not now. But certainly before the first quarter is out. Everyone agreed. "Yeah. You want to be able to eat what you want for the holiday." "Makes sense. Start again in the new year." It all made sense. And I had a chorus of folks who were agreeing with my decision. The only Greek Chorus members were my mom and Katrena (the actual heroines in this story.) And as usual -- always listen to the Greek chorus, they are most often right.

Let me stop here and talk about my mom. The other hero in my story, my lifelong hero. This is the woman who can hear in my voice that something is wrong. Sometimes annoying, but always true. The woman who has my back, come hell or high water, and high water has come, and she has had my back for real. Let me tell you my mom in her late '30s moved (pregnant with me mind you) to the US following my father with my brother and two sisters. And they started all over. They had a good life in Guyana - Dad was a senior fireman and my mom was in administration in education. Both were in prominent civil servant government positions in that country. (I will not digress into the Caribbean mantra here, about owning land in my country. I find it too funny to do that here.) And they elected to come to this country to start over. I am awed by their efforts and successes because within 10 years of their immigration, they had achieved "The American Dream," and bought their first home. Anyway long story short... my mom earned her Bachelor's degree in her late 40's and her Master's degree before she was 50. She's a superstar. And THAT superstar has my back. How awesome is that?

Fast forward to 2011... January came and went. February came and went. March came. WHAT???? IS IT MARCH ALREADY??? THE FIRST QUARTER IS ALMOST OVER! And to no one's surprise I was no closer to completing the tasks for qualifying for this surgery. DAYEM!! What am I going to do now. It's almost a year later. I don't even know if I will have to start all over again. There are a myriad of questions on the table for me. But wait... here's what's interesting. A special guest enters the story someone not yet heard from, but who has been here all along...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Brief Interlude...

Here's a brief imterlude to the ongoing story.

I had the surgery. When I weighed in minutes later I was 15 pounds lighter.

I was not scared. I was grateful. There was pain, but not a lot. The people at the hospital were great. Dr. Davis was still a little jerky (when I asked him pre-op how long the surgery would take, he said as long as it needs to take. That wasn't necessary.) But no matter he did what he was supposed to do.

Interlude over.