Posts tagged ‘weight loss surgery’
For the last few days I’ve noticed some hormonal changes, and I’m
hoping wondering if this is my body getting close to labor and birth. I’m starting to have night sweats again, I’m breaking out on my face, and I’m getting more crazy with each passing day. I kind of feel like I’m back in my first tri, except with 40 extra lbs. I originally went to the doctor because of the night sweats, thinking I was having some kind of endocrine issue. Nope! Just pregnancy!
I’m so excited to find out if Tax Deduction is a girl or a boy. I’ve gone back and forth so many times in this pregnancy, first thinking it was a boy, then girl for a looooooooooong time, now boy again. I just don’t know. This pregnancy has been a weird mixture of more and less intense than my others. It’s more intense because of my weight loss; I can feel a lot more than I could with all the others, and I’m more knowledgeable about the process. It’s less intense because — duh! — I’m a lot more busy with the older kids. A clerk at Tar*get will say something to me about how it’s getting close and I’m thinking, “Close to what, exactly? Oh, yeah. I’m having a baby.” I feel like not knowing the sex inhibits the bonding I’ve felt with the other kids. With the others, I would think, “Hey, The Informant, how did you like this Thanksgiving meal? Pretty good huh?” but now I think, “Hey baby who might be XX or XY and we’re still not 100% certain on a name, what do you think of…” and by the time the sentence is out I’m totally distracted by something else anyway.
Last night I was having some intense back pain, thinking, “This is it… maybe…?” but nope. I took a bath and went to bed. It was probably from doing “too much” on Thanksgiving. All that cooking, plus I moved a Graco Nautilus car seat from my garage into the house, so that The Happy Mathlete could borrow it.
Next Friday is My Chemical Romance’s birthday and it might be sort of cool if the baby shared his birthday.
Dear Dr. Gagner,
It’s me again, the girl who had OBAMA written on her arm in permanent black marker on the day you performed my surgery. In my defense, it was election day, and I was a proud absentee voter. I’m sure you remember how the anesthesiologists whined about my arm being “unsterile” (their word) and threatened to leave me awake while you rearranged my intestines. In fact, that’s probably why my recovery was so freaking painful that I had to all but pay the nurses to score me some dope on a street corner since mor*phine is clearly a total waste of time. Why not just some tylen*ol? UGH.
Anyway, Gagner, I just found out I’m pregnant. I’m 11 weeks. This will be #5 for me and I’m planning a homebirth.
I assume that as a non-American doctor, you are enlightened enough to realize that homebirth is just as safe as hospital birth for low-risk pregnancies. I realize I’m not quite low-risk, but my labs look good and I’m continuing my supplements and eating every ounce of protein that isn’t physically nailed to the ground. I’m even back to drinking those absolutely disgusting protein shakes. SHUDDER.
I’m seeing an OB along with a homebirth midwife, and having growth ultrasounds done every eight weeks to make sure Tax Deduction (due in December) is growing properly despite my malabsorption. If he or she is a little smaller than the four older ones — or at least has a slightly smaller head — I won’t complain. Honest.
Any other suggestions? – Skinny pregnant Mommy Soup
Dear My Chemical Romance,
I love you. Clearly even after four kids we can still find time for each other, since I’m pregnant and all. I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but I think sometime between January and when I took the kids to Disney World and ended up needing ass surgery, and you had to come rescue the kids and me and drive us home and I took too many painkillers and threw up in a paper bag in the car and the bag tore open and the dog licked up all the vomit and you and the kids gagged and insisted we drive with the windows down despite the fact that it was 45 degrees outside. I’m feeling much better now — and I still love you!
I’m very sorry that the health department wants to shut down our kitchen because it’s “toxic levels of nast.” I’m also sorry that you had to go commando to work twice this week because the laundry isn’t done. (Next time try borrowing a pair of my underwear!) Thank you for coming home from work early because I was having afternoon sickness — and bringing Kris*py Kre*me! Thank you for yelling at the kids when I was too tired to do so and could only wave my arm weakly at them while narrowing my eyes and trying to give THE LOOK.
I hope that in a few weeks, when I’m in my second trimester, I will have some energy back. Until then, I will buy you more boxers this weekend.
xoxox Mommy Soup
I didn’t have “colorectal surgeon” in my cell phone contacts until after I lost 130lbs. Prior to that, my only experience with a proctologist was watching Katie Couric’s colonoscopy on the Today Show.
I had other issues though, at nearly 275lbs. Mostly that I was exhausted and depressed, and self-loathing. I tend to be harder on myself than I am on others; you might be fat because of bad genes or a really stressful time in your life or a medication that causes you to gain weight but I was fat because I was lazy and had no self-control.
The most difficult part of the decision to have weight-loss surgery was flying the surrender flag. Choosing to have bariatric surgery meant that I had failed every diet-and-exercise-lifestyle-change-program on the planet. I was not ever going to call Jenny (again). I was not ever going to attend another We*ight Wa*tchers meeting (again). I was throwing in the towel instead, and throwing in my lot with a surgeon whose specialty is rearranging the intestines of the morbidly obese.
I had a Biliopancreatic Diversion with a Duodenal Switch on November 4th 2008, election day. (I woke up from anesthesia and asked, “Who won?” and when my mom said “Obama,” I replied, “Really?” and fell back asleep. She claims we had the same conversation eight times. I don’t remember.) I had my stomach cut and a portion of my small intestine moved and connected near my pylorus and duodenum; I no longer absorb much fat or protein in my meals.
My lowest weight, less than a year after surgery, was 129lbs; I’m now between 135lbs and 140lbs. I wear a size six.
When I was morbidly obese I used to think that thinness would cure all my problems. I knew in my rational brain that it was a fallacy, but it seemed like my problems always came back to my weight: I avoided intimacy with my husband because I felt my body was disgusting; I avoided making friends because I didn’t feel worthy of friendship; I rarely played with my kids because I had no energy to do so; I spent too much money buying clothes I hated because I couldn’t shop at normal stores and instead went to Lane Bryant; showering several times a day caused a high water bill; our energy bill was even higher because I was hot and kept the air conditioning going most months of the year.
The surgery and subsequent weight loss did solve some of those issues: I am intimate with my husband, in more ways; I have a lot of friends; I have the energy to play with my kids; I can buy things off the clearance rack at O*ld Na*vy; I usually shower only once a day day.
(Our energy bill stayed high because I was freezing cold all winter.)
However, more intimacy with my husband does not mean my marriage improved; I would not have friends who are fat-phobic in the first place; having the energy to play with my kids is not the same as having the desire to play with them; I still wear the same type of clothes I wore before (shorts or jeans and a solid-colored tshirt or long-sleeved shirt); and there are new problems.
That caught me off-guard. There are new problems.
I could not imagine a size six would have problems. Apparently I was sizist; what possible problem could one have when one fit into an airline seat properly and only needed to shower once a day? What else was there to worry about?
But as I typed the words “colorectal surgeon” into a search engine for the first time, I had to admit, even thin people have problems.
Since that first time, I’ve seen the proctologist three times; recently while on vacation with my kids and dog in Florida I had to have anal surgery. My insurance only covered 80% of the procedure, leaving me with a hefty out-of-pocket bill – and having to purchase a plane ticket to Florida for my husband so he could drive us home. I had taken our four kids (and the dog) by myself on vacation; I thought I’d recover quickly and still be able to drive us all home on my own. I was wrong — the surgery was intensely painful — and I couldn’t drive for days. It’s been nearly two weeks and my butt still hurts. This is a problem.
The issues for which I needed a colorectal surgeon are because of my surgery; specifically how my gut reacts to its new arrangement and how I treat my tender, rearranged intestines by what I eat.
There are other issues, too, daily issues: I do not have much good bacteria in my intestines, and bacteria are very useful to a colon. Just ask the gastrointestinal doctor; another new one on my speed-dial since Obama was elected. Even though I eat yogurt daily, and take a probiotic, sharing a bathroom with me isn’t fun. If you do a search for “Duodenal switch” and “bathroom issues” you will get a million sites. Maybe even my blog.
The leftover skin – the skin I swore I wouldn’t mind, because who cares, it’s just extra skin! I’m not going to worry about that when I’m skinny! – migrated to my mid-section and most days that I don’t wear mom-jeans I look pregnant. I have been asked by well-meaning strangers when I’m due – this means that not only do I look pregnant, I look pregnant enough that total strangers think it’s socially acceptable to ask me about it.
The first time someone asked, I was deeply offended and proffered a very snarky reply; the most recent time, I simply said I had a stomach condition that causes severe bloating. Combine extra skin in the mid-section with a body that lacks the hips to hold up pants; combine the occasion bout of bloating with not standing ramrod-straight all the time and you get me, looking like I’ve just finished my first trimester.
I was wrong when I thought being thin would solve all my problems; it solved some, exacerbated others, and created new ones. There are benefits to physical smallness: I love buying clothes off the rack; I love my underwear drawer full of size mediums and my cute bras. I feel great: I can run around like never before and jump on the trampoline with my kids, and my treadmill is no longer a towel holder. My self confidence has increased dramatically.
But in return, I’m married to my Biliopancreatic Diversion with a Duodenal switch; it’s with me every second of every day, and unlike the days of diets and exercise this has changed my entire body forever, I can’t ever throw in the towel on my own body.
I was raised Jewish, so of course I feel guilt more intensely than, say, Jesse James or Jack the Ripper.
And, believe it or not, blogging causes me some amount of guilt. Thus proving I could never rob a bank or steal fruit from a grocery store; I can’t even type words on an empty page without feeling bad.
(I’m also a terrible liar. My friend Wii is the smoothest liar I’ve ever seen; once, while sitting in the office of a very prominent criminal defense attorney, she ran into an acquaintance who worked in the same building. The acquaintance, who clearly attended the Cream of Mommy School of Tact, asked incredulously, “What are you doing here?” Wii smiled a very kind, very mysterious smile and said, “Just in the neighborhood.” It was probably her smirk that put an end to that conversation.
Still, if you’d asked me the same question, I would have said the following:
“Who me? Here? Are you asking me why I’m here–” not snarky (for once!); just trying to buy more time “– well, um, I know it probably looks like I’m here to defend myself against committing a crime using this prominent defense attorney in whose lobby I am currently sitting looking very very nervous and guilty and flipping through Charlotte Magazine, but actually there’s another reason why I’m here. And it doesn’t involve a crime. Particularly NOT a felony. I swear. Um. There was this cat. It died. And I had nothing to do with it, but since everyone knows I hate cats with a passion, and because I happened to be the one who found the dead cat and reported it to the police, they think I did it!”
That is verbatim what I would have said.)
But, despite the fact that I do hate cats passionately — my friend Emily’s husband used to hate cats too, and he once told me that while in school he had to dissect a cat and did so “with relish;” I relished that story until he went and DIDN’T DISOWN EMILY WHEN SHE BROUGHT HOME A CAT, AND IS NOW A HAPPY CAT-OWNER, THAT TRAITOR — my guilt is about blogging.
1. If you’re reading my blog, and if you’ve ever commented, I have probably read your blog and not commented. And I feel bad about that.
2. If you blog, and your blog is even remotely funny/snarky/interesting/relating to the following topics: attachment parenting; food; cooking; your family; hating cats — basically if you’re more than borderline literate and have anything to say about anything — you probably have a great blog, that I may have saved to my Google Reader, but I am not caught up on it, and I feel bad about that. Alternately, I am not reading your blog, and your blog is teh awesome, and I feel bad about that.
3. If you’re following me on Facebook or Twitter, I’m probably not following you back, and I feel bad about that.
4. If you are Animal, Mineral, The Informant, My Masterpiece, My Chemical Romance, or The Dog Without a Downside, and you’ve ever needed me to wipe your butt/give you a bucket to vomit into/find you something clean to wear so that the neighbors don’t think we’re exhibitionists, and instead I’ve been blogging and let you walk the dog while naked with little poo-flecks on your rear end, while someone vomits into our pyrex bowls that never get cleaned in the dishwasher, I feel bad about that.
5. If you’re my neighbor, and have seen me wearing my pajamas at 3pm, while my children ride their bikes naked with the dog’s leash attached to their handlebars so she can get some exercise, for heaven’s sake and maybe someone is throwing up into a bowl because I’ve been too busy blogging to take a shower/do laundry/walk the dog/ensure my children are using toilets to hold their bodily fluids — I feel bad about that
The truth is, I love reading — and writing. I’ve loved writing ever since The Evil Fourth Grade — fourth grade! — Teacher Who Shall Not Be Named But Forced Nine-Year-Olds To Write Book Reports Each Week For The Entire School Year assigned her very first weekly book report. I hated doing them — seriously! nine years old! fourth grade! — but I had a talent for writing. And my writing improved. I got a lot of A+ on those book reports; once I got an A- during an off week.
I went on to earn a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan.
And yet, until the last few weeks, I’d hardly written in anything beside my journal since I graduated. I was busy getting unplannedly pregnant, with twins, who had Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, then being a single mom of twins; then meeting My Chemical Romance, then getting married; then moving cross-country; then being a wife and mom of twins; then getting pregnant with The Informant; then moving to another state, then being a wife and mom in a really really depressing small town; then becoming a doula; then having My Masterpiece; then being a wife and mom of four kids ages four and under — all while only knowing my husband for that long; then finding My Chemical Romance a job away from the small depressing town, then moving cross-country again, then being a wife and mom and doula in a completely new part of the country; then having weight loss surgery –
And I’m kind of annoyed at myself; I did so much stuff over those years and I never wrote about it. Only imagine what I would have called the town we lived in on the border of Mexico, where My Chemical Romance learned Spanish slang so offensive he couldn’t tell me — me! Only imagine what I would have written as I lost 130lbs.
I almost feel bad about not writing. Looking back, it seems disingenuous.
I’m making up for lost time. I’m here now.
In which I use my recent experiences to illustrate three common types of poetry.
Examined my behind
Very tender tissues there
Rear end floating high
Shining light shows incisions
Doctor says I’m fine
Here lies Cream of Mommy’s ass-ventures. They began in San Diego, during her pregnancy with The Informant. She felt something sticking out that should instead be in; definitely an anal tumor. However, it was “merely” a hemorrhoid.* After pushing out two more daughters**, and having weight-loss surgery( a Biliopancreatic Diversion with a Duodenal Switch), the fun continued in Charlotte, North Carolina. This time, she employed the use of a colorectal surgeon, and thus had her first experience paying a doctor to worship at the High Temple of Ass-In-The-Air-Under-Bright-Lights. Next she took her show on the road to Florida. While on vacation, rather than sip a Mai-Tai on the beach, she wore My Masterpiece in a Mei Tai — which had absolutely nothing to do with anything, except that it gave her the opportunity to use the phrase “mei-tei” twice in one sentence, which may be a blog record. Thinking she may have yet another “mere” hemorrhoid, she opted to see a doctor. Although staying in the vaulted, gated residence of her parents in an affluent neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale, she could only get an appointment with a colorectal surgeon in the seediest of neighborhoods in Miami. Of course. The doctor who performed his version of an ass-ectomy — markedly different from the type of ass-ectomy that would be performed by the surgeon in Charlotte, apparently — continued the chain reaction of events: from ass pain, to pain in the incision of the ass; completely different, and leaving her to wonder if the surgery itself was worthwhile at all, save for the good drugs. Now, thanks to copious amounts of pain-killers, as well as sitting on pillows, she is on the mend and believes the ass-tastic adventures of Cream of Mommy are dead.
*Only people who have never had a hemorrhoid can say “merely” like that.
** Folk wisdom says that pregnancy with a daughter steals her mother’s beauty. I believe that pregnancy with a daughter steals her mother’s blissful unawareness of her own ass and the subsequent pain and discomfort that can happen down there.
Stay tuned for more homeschool lessons: Science! History! Economics!
I used to spend approximately half of My Chemical Romance’s paycheck at a large warehouse-type store.
I looooooathe driving to multiple stores, so I filled my house with store-brand everything, from paper towels to crackers. You would not believe how many items come in warehouse store brand.
And then things changed. First, we watched a documentary on W*l*Mart called The High Cost of Low Prices, and stopped shopping there completely. (Thus, the move to Kirkl*and, which may or may not be better.)
Then My Chemical Romance became interested in growing his own vegetables. Soon we had a beautiful organic garden, and slowly — really, really slowly; like at the pace of a dying tortoise — I started incorporating greens into our food.
Then I met my friend Wii, who is very particular about what her family eats. Nothing with high-fructose corn syrup, nothing partially hydrogenated, no trans fats, and a variety of other rules that can be summed up best in Michael Pollan-speak: Eat food.
I can’t say for sure whether or not I wouldn’t have needed weight loss surgery if I’d learned to eat real food sooner; I can only say I feel better when I eat it, no matter what I weigh. Learning to eat real food has been a gift.
However, this whole real food thing means I spend my weekends driving all over Charlotte and Fort Mill to buy my family’s food.
In my utopia, where things like anal fissures don’t exist, there exists one store where I can buy an entire (grass fed only) cow, mechanic towels, c*ttonelle wet wipes, handmade organic tortillas, organic bread, chocolate chip cookies, Che*rios, Wholly Wholesome pie crusts, frozen organic vegetables in bulk, organic chicken, printer ink, crayons, raw milk cheese, organic fresh produce, Tri-Spy, tshirts, organic canned chicken, legos, spices, pasta, Tom’s of Maine flouride-free kids’ toothpaste, raw milk, underpants, Duke’s Mayonaise, kids’ craft supplies, and my often-obscure vitamins, like Tender Dry A in 25,000 IU tablets.
That is seriously my utopia. I call it “Cream of Mommyland.”
Instead, I buy certain things at certain stores: bulk organic meat and frozen vegetables (and Cheerios) at C*stco; bread/cheese/cooking/baking ingredients at Tr*ader Joe’s; produce and toothpaste at E*rth Fare; the rest at my local T*arget, which has a large variety of organic items.
I buy 1/4 of a grass-fed cow every few months from a Cow-pool. I use a DivaCup and cloth pads (also known as “mama cloth”). I buy my vitamins from Vitalady — who carries the most obscure vitamins for the post-weight loss surgery set — and Vitacost, which is somewhere in North Carolina, so they deliver fast.
And I dream about my store that carries everything from grass fed cows to cray*la.
Actually, I kind of hate Lortab, that pain-relieving piece of crap.
I used to love it — I had some leftover from my weight loss surgery, and once in a while when I had a reaaaaaaaaaaaaaally bad back ache or headache I’d take one and drift off into my purple-land of joy.
Meanwhile, now that I need Lortab in order to function without shrieking in pain, it’s kind of a downer. No purple. No flowers. No bliss. Just absence of pain, and the ability to sit down properly. Humph.
Here are some things I do like:
1. I like onions. I think this proves that I’m truly a chef; I don’t really like onions, but I appreciate the flavor they bring to my cooking. My Chemical Romance is like Pavlov’s Dog when it comes to onions sautéd in butter. He says the same thing every time, with great shock and reverence: “What smells so GOOD?” I tell him it’s onions (just like I told him the day before and the day before that, and it’s like he doesn’t believe me or something; he is always so surprised that it smells so good).
Onions sautéd in butter is the basis of nearly everything I cook. Soup, chicken of all kinds, shepherds pie, even hamburgers. I don’t like them. They make me cry. But I appreciate them.
2. Comfortable shoes. Usually ugly ones. If a shoe is cute and supposedly comfortable, it’s not. (See: my Dansko clogs that I got for Christmas and ended up hating because they were so uncomfortable, and re-selling on eBay.) I’m talking UGLY comfortable shoes, like Tevas.
I first noticed Tevas when I was a teenager; they were the ugliest things I’d ever seen. They’ve only gotten worse with time. They only look appropriate if you’re like rappelling down the side of a mountain or something, wearing (useful) khaki shorts that have lots of pockets and a tshirt. And even then, I’m thinking, “OMG, take those off as soon as possible,” and shuddering. Meanwhile, I now officially own a pair, after borrowing my mom’s while we were at Disney. They are hideous. They do not go with anything I own. Anything. Their only slightly redeeming quality is that they showcase my pedicure.
3. Talk radio. I have satellite radio in my car, and I’ve always enjoyed music. The kids bop along, sing along, and I can “rewind” their favorite songs. (By the way, I never listen to kids’ music. My kids like U2 and Train and Gavin DeGraw.) But when I was driving to Florida and they were watching VHS tapes — yeah, my car is old school and has a VHS player in it! — I listened to talk. I listened to Dr. Laura berate the moronic idiots who call her so they can be berated for being moronic idiots. I listened to Faux News station, for a laugh (recent headline: “No, the head of the RNC was NOT at a strip club, despite being identified as being AT a strip club! How dare the democrats even suggest such nonsense! Just because he was IDENTIFIED as being at a strip club, doesn’t mean he was actually AT a strip club! And by the way, even if he was, there’s nothing wrong with that — unless the democrats go there!”)
I listened to Alexis Stewart, daughter of Martha, swear a lot and talk about how just because she had an abortion when she was 15, she still deserves to get pregnant at 45 when she now really really wants a baby, for fuck’s sake. (She does like to swear. And whine.) And I listened to my favorite, Rosie Radio.
I love Rosie O’Donnell. I think she’s fantastic.
She’s brutally honest about very emotional issues — I have no doubt she’d be as candid as I am about my ass pain. She’s almost hypersensitive, she’s aware that she has a zillion and four issues, and she’s very open. I dig her. I’m sad that I can’t listen to Rosie Radio much when my kids are in the car — I’d miss half of what she says — but listening to her was fantastic.
ETA: I just discovered that Rosie’s new girlfriend, Tracy, is a DOULA! Love!
Tonight’s dinner, courtesy of AllRecipes.com is Shepherds pie. I’m having a mashed potatoes craving.
- 4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
- 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- 5 carrots, chopped
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 3/4 cup beef broth
- 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and mash. Mix in butter, finely chopped onion and 1/4 cup shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add carrots and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, mash and set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C.)
- Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add onion and cook until clear. Add ground beef and cook until well browned. Pour off excess fat, then stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add ketchup and beef broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Spread the ground beef in an even layer on the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish. Next, spread a layer of mashed carrots. Top with the mashed potato mixture and sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.