Friday, January 20, 2017

9 Months Post-Op

** I'll try to do updated photos every 3 months. As with my 6 month shots, you'll see more of this bod than you likely want to - but I want to be as honest as I can about what this process is like/does to a body. You've had your warning =) **

It truly seems like so much longer than 9 months since that morning that I couldn't stop sweating, because that's how my nerves chose to manifest themselves. Since I put on that huge gown with the cool air hose hooked to it. Since the new nurse tried to get my IV started, unsuccessfully. Since I sat there in that bed on wheels waiting for them to take me off to surgery, genuinely concerned I wouldn't wake up. Since Dr. Jones and his team changed my life for the insanely better.

In the photos I post that have 3 pictures - the one on the left will be September 2015, the middle will be October 2016 and the right will be January 2017. I am wearing the same clothes to show that difference as well - and lets face it - - they're pretty damn comfy now! I didn't spend a lot of time trying to make everything fit just right - so they're not professional shots by any means - - but they should give you an idea.

I don't know that I see much of a change from the 6 month to the 9 month pictures, but the lighting makes me look like I have a bit of a tan, so I'll take it =) I'm so pasty white thanks to Minnesota winter!!

Putting these pictures together was a little bit more difficult than it has been in the past. I don't know if it's that I am feeling so much better, and able to do so much more now - - not sure what caused it - but I was just so genuinely sad for that girl on the left.

This 9 months has definitely been a time of self-actualization. Before my surgery, I never felt depressed. I didn't feel like I lacked confidence. I didn't realize how the choices I was making were based on what I perceived to be the best I could do instead of what I actually deserved. I didn't feel that unhappy. Sure - I had moments, but it wasn't all the time. Thank God for defense mechanisms!! I am just now starting to realize how much I was holding myself back because it was just easier to do that then want/wish/hope for things. And I think I'm about done with that shit. Time to start going for exactly what I want!

I think this back photo, which we forgot to take at 6 months, was the most shocking to me. I mean, holy shit! All of those rolls were eating my bra! Not to worry - my ass is still wide, and those hips aren't going anywhere - - but I'm fine with that. Look at the rest of my back!!! It's not just multiple big rolls anymore! Yes - I will likely have chronic back fat - but I don't give one shit! I have a back now! I can kind of see the line where my spine is. I guess all those damn rows and back exercises Scott has me doing are worth it...almost! =)

I seriously cannot get enough of looking at this comparison. It is just unbelievable how much a body can change in such a short period of time! This, ladies and gentlemen, is why you do weight training.

This one...hasn't really improved. These arms of mine are...saggy. There is muscle in there somewhere - -  I promise! But the loose skin/sagging is insane! My nieces were touching the saggy part and promptly informed me that it feels "like a boob!" Which is great news, as I could possibly just move this saggy crap over to my boobs (see picture below) so I might actually be able to fill out my bra again! The one positive of this comparison is that my wings (that part under my armpit, hanging over my bra) appear to have shrunk up a bit? Or maybe that's just wishful thinking?

 Speaking of boobs - - mine have officially left the building. On the left you can see the open/unoccupied area in the cup of my bra. That's a lot of unused space, because my poor scrotum boobs are basically poured loosely into the bottom half of the cup, and no longer have the "meat" to fill the whole thing. Let me say - YES. I know I need new bras - but seriously. I can fit my fist in the now open area. Maybe I'll put a play together called "bye, bye boobies"?

The only other drawbacks I'm experiencing at this point is my hair - - it is still falling out at an alarming rate. Hoping that will start to slow one of these days. And nothing really fits right. I seem to be in the middle of all of the sizes. Not really something worth complaining about - - but it is my reality.

So things are moving right along over here. A year will be here before I know it. I feel like that warrants some sort of celebration - - but just not sure what that should be? I'd be open to suggestions?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

When Not Normal Becomes Normal

It seems as though my 7 and 8 month surgiversaries snuck right by me! Maybe it's because some of those milestones that seemed so big soon after surgery are seeming less and less noteworthy, and less and less important. Maybe it's because this "new" life is truly starting to feel Not new. Not old. But definitely better. Not to fret - - I will still be just may not always be monthly...because the day my life so drastically improved for the better is most assuredly something to be celebrated.

So as I approach my 9 month surgiversary, I've taken a little time to reflect. I interact with people who have had the surgery more recently than I have. I have a friend of mine from college who will be having her first appointment soon. When I chat or text with them, it takes me back to when I was at the stage they're at. All of the emotions you feel before your first meeting - - nerves, excitement...and also questioning if this is the right decision. Do I really need to have surgery? (the answer to that one for me was an absofuckinglutely) But you still go through all of that. Then those first few months after surgery can be so frustrating. The diet is limited. You might not be losing as fast as you wanted to, or as fast as others have - and you have a hard time not comparing your experience to theirs - - but everyone's experience is so different!

But the truth I am reminded of every time I start looking back is that this was the best decision I have made, and could have made, for myself. It's not always easy. There are definite challenges. I have to be conscious of the decisions I make regarding food all the time. I keep waiting for the honeymoon phase to end, and for it to be come increasingly difficult to make good decisions - because let's be honest - one doesn't get to almost 500 pounds if they don't have some pretty significant issues with food. But so far, so good. I still follow my rules. I don't drink within 30 minutes of eating (I set alarms, which has earned me a fair amount of mocking from my coworkers). I try to stay away from carbs for the most part, but don't beat myself up when I have them occasionally. I treat myself to the small bags of Cheetos sometimes. I don't drink carbonation, don't use a straw, don't chew gum and haven't had any alcohol in....forever. And I don't miss it - - except for diet coke, but oh well.

I've also spent some time looking to the future - which is new for me. Willing to try new things. Interested in trying new things. There are still many instances where my brain instantly reacts as BS (before surgery) Natalie would have - - instantly thinking "no" or "I can't do that"...but they're becoming less and less. I'm not nearly as content as I once was to just sit in my chair watching TV all day. I want to be out - - even though it's winter - doing things. Errands no longer terrify me. I'm no longer concerned about when I run my errands to insure I'm able to get the closest spot possible, so I don't have to walk any further than absolutely necessary. My only deterrent now is the weather (winter is not even remotely close to my favorite), but at least I can now fit into gear to allow me to combat it a bit.

Everything is easier. That is the biggest difference. EVERYTHING is easier. Getting up, sitting down, bending down, reaching up. Movement is easier. Everything doesn't constantly hurt! My left knee is still being a bit of a bitch - - but Scott has me doing some new exercises that will hopefully help. If not - off to the doctor I will go to have it looked at.

I'm trying to embrace cooking....or as I still like to refer to it: food prep. I've been scouring Pinterest. I've got some ideas sent to me by people on my page. I can't make any promises - but I'm going to try. That which does not kill you... =) It has it's benefits and challenges. One benefit is that when I do make something, I have about 342 meals because I eat such small portions. One challenge is that I have 342 portions - - so I end up eating it FOREVER! My freezer is currently fully stocked! One of my favorite meals continues to be a Greek yogurt, nuts and a string cheese. I was a little over eggs - - but that seems to be passing, gratefully. Still working on high protein, high fat, low carb. It's not as much of a challenge as I thought it would be. I allow myself pizza once every 2 weeks - - it's my gateway drug, so I'm a little more strict than usual with it.

My hair is falling out - which his proving to be the only real issue I deal with. Most people have said theirs stops around 6 months. Most people also have much less to lose than I do/did - but hopefully it's getting ready to wind down here before too long. I picked up some Biotin yesterday - so we'll see if that helps. But honestly - if that's the biggest issue I'm dealing with, I'm pretty luck.

I overextended myself a bit with work during the last month of the year, and was do damn exhausted I could barely function! I ended up skipping workouts, which made me feel guilty and stressed. It was a good reminder to me to not go back to BS Natalie - - where I didn't worry about taking care of myself, or make time to take care of myself. I need to allow myself time to take care of me. I need to make time to take care of me. I'll do better. I was back seeing Scott last week - and all though all the things kind of ached a bit, it felt so good to get back into that routine!! I have a body that will move now - - I need to keep it moving!

So basically, things are kind of kicking ass for me right now - and I'm trying to enjoy every minute of it! I hope your 2017 is off to an excellent start. I can't wait to see all of the amazing shit it will bring our way!!