Party on: Bodacious is turning 5!

My beautiful baby girl, just a few hours after her birth.

My beautiful baby girl, just a few hours after her birth.

My baby will be 5 on Thursday, 5! How can that be? It seems like I just had her. I think that’s what chronic sleeplessness does to you, distorts time and makes you forget so much of the hard stuff

Now that she’s becoming a “big girl,” we agreed to throw her a big girl birthday party, one where she invites her friends and classmates. I know I am preaching to the choir here, but parties have changed a lot since I was a kid. There was a time when my mom invited the neighbor kids and my aunt and uncle over for cake and ice cream. That was it, no big production, no gift bags for guests. Just a gift or two and a homemade sheet cake. After the dishes were done, so was your birthday. But no more.

I gave Bodacious the same choice my parents gave me when I got married: cash or a dream reception. She could have her dream party, or she could have the two expensive gifts she wanted. That’s right – she could have a pink princess bike AND the Barbie Dreamhouse or she could have a Pinterest-worthy Valentine’s Day and Unicorns tea party. Like mother, like daughter, she chose the party.

As my online ordering reached a fevered pitch, I decided to revisit the $300 budget I had set for myself. Man. That was already gone on decorations, games and unicorn favors. I didn’t even have the cake or the food or the invitations and postage paid for yet. Feather boas and top hats aren’t as cheap as they used to be, even from Oriental Trading! I turned an unflinching eye to my menu. I needed cookie cutters in the shapes of flowers and hearts for pb&j sandwiches and pretty cheese tulips. I needed candy for kabobs, pink lemonade, raspberry tea, pink popcorn, fruit with crème fraiche, scones, a craft station and a croquet set – preferably one that looked like it was made from pink flamingoes. I still needed a cake and would have to do the set up and food myself. Having a house full of children and parents that I don’t know was starting to make we want to hide. Would I need to set the breakfast room up as an adult lounge with snacks and drinks?

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Goal met: 30 pounds down!

30 poundsWell, I survived my gastric sleeve surgery and now know what a watermelon feels like when it gets tapped at a frat party. It’s amazing to think that most of my stomach has been pulled out of five little holes in my stomach that are smaller than a single staple. Several readers have been intrigued enough to inquire if the surgery is painful. Well, that depends. I rank all things in accordance with the pain of my birth experiences.

My first c-section was awful. Awful. No one warned me about the crippling gas, all the blood or my inability to sit up. My second was a breeze – I knew what to expect and got pain pills to take home. I would rank the sleeve gastrectomy as slightly easier than my second c-section. Though as I stood in my bathroom looking at my bruised and swollen abdomen the next morning, I did burst into tears. It didn’t seem right to me to have that much trauma but no baby to show for it.

watermelon tapI stayed in the hospital overnight, then got to come home to two more weeks of liquid diet. If I see broth or tomato soup ever again, it will be too soon. I didn’t quite expect to miss food so much. And I mean the texture, the chewing motion. I haven’t been hungry but my mouth is bored. I stood over the trash can, chewing a piece of pizza and spitting out the mush, thinking, “Man, you are pathetic.” I would have died if The Hubs or the kids caught me. So the next day, I bought three bags of sugar free hard candy. It was either that or a pack of smokes. Don’t judge. Seriously. What do you skinny people do all the time? How do you watch television or surf the Internet? What occupies your midnight snack time? I am so thankful I am happily married – I would never survive dating without liquor and ice cream.

I had my post op visit with my surgeon on Thursday. I was nervous. I wanted to lose 20 pounds by Sunday so I could meet my first goal. I took off my shoes, held my breath and though “light” thoughts, you know, clouds and birdies and butterflies.

I pumped my arms when he told me I was down 30 pounds. “(Expletive) yeah! Oh, sorry, doc. But I did great!”

“No, not really,” he said. Bubble burst. “You’ve lost too much weight too quickly. You aren’t getting enough protein, so your body is eating its muscle mass.”

Puff. Double puff. “But I feel so good, and it’s hard to get in 80 grams of protein a day when all you can do is drink soup,” I complained. Continue reading

Gastric sleeve: New Year, new me!

resolutionsI have been trying to work up the nerve to make a resolution for my 2016. It is the New Year, my chance to embrace a fresh start and wipe the slate clean. I know, easy, right? That’s why so many of us make resolutions. Not many of us stick to them though, and most are abandoned by Valentine’s Day.

I feel like I have been on an endless treadmill lately. My family has experienced so much major change over the last two years that I don’t feel like I am making any headway. There is a bit of me that feels like gum stretched too thin; that instead of being sticky enough to hold everything together, I am unchewable and flavorless, something that, despite my best efforts, just makes my jaw hurt. While self-examination and reflection is NOT really my thing, I know that I need to make some decisions about how I want my life to move forward.

Here’s the thing, though. I hate change. Yes, I will tell people that I love it, that it makes me feel invigorated and excited about new opportunities. Lies. Lies, I tell you. I hate hate hate it. It is scary. Change is challenging and change forces personal growth. So yes, I embrace change because sometimes some really great things come from it. But that doesn’t mean I won’t complain about it. The other thing, I feel too tired to change. Part of that is my kids, they don’t let me sleep a lot, always climbing into bed with us or waking us up early. And our dogs, they wake me up a lot, too. And the t.v., I stay up too late watching trash. My multiple sclerosis doesn’t help, either. But the biggest thing that affects my energy level is me. This will be embarrassing to write, hard to face up to. I am too fat. There. I said it. It is hard to feel energetic dragging an extra 100 pounds about. As I have been thinking about this, I have one resounding question — what in the hell has happened here? I know part of it is long-term steroid use from my MS but that was a few years ago. Then pregnancies and not trying very hard to lose baby weight. Throw in a fondness for wine and ice cream and a reluctance for regular exercise … . Guess it all adds up.

I look in the mirror and I have some sort of dysmorphia: I still see myself at 18. So I am always surprised when a picture of all of me pops up and I think, “wow, is that what I really look like?”. Not that I let full body shots happen often. To look through the last four years of my pictures you would think I was just a floating head raising babies. Like the bodyless horseman, my body is cropped out of or covered up with one of my children in nearly every one of them.

I saw a shrink last month, and she said that the way I saw myself was a good thing because it meant I still saw myself as a healthy person and not someone who has given up on themselves. Words to ponder. And I want to be a healthy person. My kids are young and I am not. I want to do so much with them and The Hubs for as long as possible. The human body is amazing, it can do so many wonderful things. It is miraculous and beautiful, designed to jump and move and lift, dance, stretch, run. Why aren’t I letting it? Really. Why don’t I care about its well-being? I make an effort to make sure the kids eat balanced meals and get enough sleep, playtime and sunshine. Why can’t I do the same thing for myself?

And it really is about feeling good for me. If I can stand pictures of myself again, well, that’s just a bonus. In August I made the decision to have laparoscopic gastric sleeve surgery before year end. Which is all fancy talk for saying a surgeon is going to make a few incisions in my abdomen, lift up my liver, and then cut off and remove 90-95 percent of my stomach. I have had more bloodwork and tests run on me than you can imagine. I have been examined by a cardiologist, pulmonologist, surgeon, anesthesiologist, dieticians, an exercise therapist and a psychiatrist. I kept assuring them that the testing was unnecessary, and that I was the healthiest fat person they would ever meet. Guess what? My test results confirmed that! There isn’t anything wrong with me, yet. But that window won’t stay open forever and I know it.

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