Surgery, the next step…

Hey there lovely readers…It has been a while between drinks or blog posts, my apologies.  I caught up with a dear friend tonight; dinner, dessert and a DVD – perfect! He did chastise me a little for not having updated the blog in a while – and he was right… I then came home and checked Facebook to have another friend PM me to ask if everything was OK and that they hadn’t seen a blog in a while – Universe I hear you… So I will just get to it.

So readers the update is I am in the throws of preparing for some more plastic surgery. Round two 9 months after the first round and I am feeling only a little nervous this time. This surgery is a small revision on the tummy tuck, and the bigger role of having the excess skin removed from my thighs. This is all set to go down on the 19th of November – 3 weeks and 3 days away…

Honestly this time I am far less anxious about the surgery. I know what to expect afterwards, I feel ready to face it – and have organised the 8 weeks off work that it will take to recover. It seems like a long time, but it is major surgery and will take some time to be able to walk far enough given my job requires me to be fit and active (not to mention not doped out on pain killers)

So in the next 3 weeks I will be organising my life to make sure my time in hospital and when I am home recovering is as stress free as possible. I am still struggling with shift work, being tired and run down… I aim to take every day off between now and then to organise, rest and sleep… I do not want to get infections after surgery because I am run down (like after the tonsil surgery 2 months ago)

I feel that this is the next step in reclaiming my body. I hope that having the thigh reduction will help with the running and the  pain and discomfort that the excess skin creates at times. I am honestly very happy with how I am looking now. I am at a stable healthy weight, my doctor is very happy with that aspect.. However these processes and surgeries are also about helping heal the psychological impact that obesity has had on my life, it is not just about the aesthetic.

For all of you still losing weight, dreaming of the day you get to goal, feel alive and possible plan your own plastic surgery, know it can happen – There were many times I never thought I would get this far. I remember plenty of times that I felt at the bottom of the barrel ready to end it all. The lap band was the tool that allowed me to have the space and time to address the food addiction, the cycle of obesity… But it also meant hard work, exercise and not cheating the system. It happened for me slowly, sustainably, there were many plateau’s… But it did happen, my life is no longer one lived out in a fat coma – but one that is vibrant and I am content and very happy… I continue to learn more about myself everyday. Don’t give up – reach out to supports – and if you feel that you have no one else that you can reach out to – please leave me a message or email me at lin.k@me.com – you are not alone.

I would like to thank all my friends and family for your continued support this year. I have probably been a pain in the arse and a complaining git for some of it… You guys are my rocks…

I will keep you all updated, till next time – Love Lin xox

P.S; So – For those of you who have asked if I need anything, these is something you can do to help  – here is what I need – good book suggestions…The kindle needs some more books downloaded on it, basically I need some more reading material for the long nights in hospital. Feel free to leave your suggestions here on the blog, or on my FB page or emailed as per the address above……  Thanks 🙂

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Carnie Wilson & Lap Band Surgery – Options

Carnie, front & centre in Wilson Phillips.

“If you Hold on for one more day, things will go your way”…I am not sure if you remember Wilson Phillips, the 3 daughters of two of the Beach Boys who had the hit “Hold On”… Well I remember them, mostly because I identified with Carnie who was overweight.  Carnie, has an amazing voice, unfortunately received more notoriety for her size rather than her ability to belt out a tune. I remember when she under went gastric by-pass surgery in 1999 and the press that she received.

Carnie did great with the by-pass surgery, and I remember thinking after she lost her weight that surgery might be an option for me… However I just could not get my head around this type of surgery,where the stomach is basically bypassed and the food you eat doesn’t get absorbed properly. You do eat smaller portions, but the permanent change by chopping up and rearranging the digestive system scared the crap out of me…

I knew that Carnie put on some weight after the birth of her children, and now I read that she has recently had lap band surgery in January (see link below). After having a lap band put in 4 years ago (and losing over 175 pounds in the process) I know the change it has made for me, and, I am glad that it is helping Carnie get her weight down again, but this leads me to a sticking point I have with weight loss surgery…

Why is the least invasive option not explored first? I know for some people’s life style Lap Band won’t work, they will try to cheat the band… But why is there such a propensity especially in the USA to go down the path of organ altering permanent surgery first? Lap Band does take a little longer to get the weight off, it is not easy, but it can be reversed and removed and with no damage to the stomach or digestive system (barring complications). The other reason lap band should be a well-considered 1st option is that it is adjustable and can be tightened and loosened depending on life circumstances and need to lose weight or maintain. Therefore if you get pregnant and need calories, it can be adjusted, If you hit goal, it can be adjusted… If you are not feeling restricted it can be tightened a little…

I feel for Carnie, honestly one of my biggest fears (apart from birds) is putting weight back on…  But I am scared when the weight loss industry and surgeons take the most drastic surgery option as a first step, and sell this options to desperate people as the quickest and easiest way forward. Lap Banding has its issues too, but cutting the stomach out, bypassing it and taking food straight to the intestines should surely not the very first surgical option given to patients today.  I do understand that Lap Band has come a long way since 1999, and that maybe for Carnie it was rightly not a first option… But why do the stats in the States still show that gastric bypass is still the top choice?

Are we providing people with all the options first… The truth is no. It seems that it is up to the obese “consumer” to do all the research and surgeons offer their “service”, like picking a product off a shelf. I have an issue with this. I did my research, that is the type of woman I am, but desperate people are often “sold” a solution rather than their HEALTH treated with CARE…

I am lucky, I got a great Surgeon who did go over all the options with me, listened to me, I was, and, still am cared for by him, but not everyone is as lucky… I would like to see the weight loss industry, whether diet, exercise or surgery overhauled. I would like the industry to stop selling to people, and start caring for people, But honestly, I don’t expect to see it in my lifetime – there are too many desperate people and too much money at stake.

Till next time, Lin

Carnie Wilson Undergoes Lap-Band Surgery – E! Online.

When the going gets tough

Remember that 80’s song that Billy Ocean sang, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going, when the going gets rough, the tough get rough… Argh Billy, you are the best who would have thought that your cheesy love song would get me through my tough run this morning. Thanks mate 😉

So let me tell you a little of my latest training run. I was supposed to meet up with my running group on Sunday morning, but with work it didn’t happen… This meant that I had to squeeze the run in sometime and soon. I decided that After my Sunday night shift I would go out and pound the pavement for the 14k that I missed. I got home from work around 2:30am and was out the door roughly 15mins later. It was cold – super cold actually with the mercury hitting 2 degrees Celsius (or 36 Fahrenheit)  it was close to freezing out, but there was no wind so it wasn’t unpleasant, plus I knew that within the first 2km I would warm up enough.

I did a simple out and back track, given the hour of the morning I like to stick to roads and paths that are well-lit and not isolated. After talking to friend that runs earlier in the week, I decided to try a tip he gave me (thanks DW). I have had trouble trying to regulate my pace a little or speed up when I feel myself slowing. He suggested that I visualise myself running just in front of myself, and speed up to beat the me in front… Well I am happy to report that this worked, especially on the 3rd km which is always my toughest.

I often visualise and see the course laid out in my head, play mind games of how far till the next point and visualise good running form, this helps me in a number of ways, to stay distracted, to change posture and not slouch, and to complete the run.

I was running, loving it and all was good, I was enjoying the beat myself game and running at a good consistent pace for me, actually at my best overall pace yet (matching it from last season) Feeling good I turned around at the 7km mark and headed back… it was all good until I started the eleventh kilometre. I completed the 10th well, but then felt like my body hit a wall,, my legs were heavy, I felt zapped and I just kept telling myself that I only had 4k’s more… I was using all my metal arsenal to keep me out there. Fat Lin was screaming at me to give up, and walk a short cut home, But Fit Lin kept trying to hush her and say you have already done 10km what is another 4…

I was on struggle street – Big time… I kept saying to myself, this is tough, my legs were heavy as rock and I felt that I was running through mud (tough mudder is still a few months away) but then, somehow I heard Billy Ocean in my head. I was listening to some Dance music at the time, all my running playlists are hand-picked mind you, designed to pick me up and push me forward. But Billy, oh Billy – you came to the rescue… I heard his little love song and the chorus was ringing in my ears and It helped me push through. It wasn’t the only thing that helped, I also decided that finishing was more important to me than my time. This gave me permission to run at the slower pace (a pace that I couldn’t seem to speed up beyond anyway) and get the job done.

I did make it home, did the full 14km… and even though it was a little slower than I would have liked, after stretching and rolling out I was very pleased that I did not defeat myself and used the mental toughness that I have been building up to get me home…

Now to start visualizing running further again next Sunday… The battle is in the brain sometimes 🙂

Keep running, Till next time – Lin

10km training run; Hill Running.

Today was my longest run since surgery… And I feel great.  I actually don’t mind running hills. I like the satisfaction of beating them, and while I don’t actually carry a stick, I do beat them in my mind with a big, big stick.

Up at 7am this morning, a little reluctant to get out of bed, but I got out from under that warm doona and I headed down to the coast.

Mount Eliza has some great hills for running and our trainer mapped a course that is challenging and makes you work.

The first 1.5km is up a hill, a long gradual climb of roughly 70m in elevation. It keeps going after a short reprieve up a few more hills to roughly 80m elevation, then back down to sea level… It was a 5km course that we got to do twice… As the Run Melbourne Half Marathon is a twice around course, this is how we train.

So after I did it once, it was back to that long gradual hill, I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. I did not stop once this morning, I did not walk any hill or section of the run (with the exception of the slippery set of stairs) I might have been the slowest in my group, but I am not competing against any one, just myself, and my mind.

When running hills I may slow down a little, but I don’t stop and I don’t walk – I keep that running action and use my glute muscles like pistons to push me up the hills. It is not how fast you are, It is not about who beats you, it is about getting it done! and today, well I got it done!

Hill runs are great for building power and endurance into your legs because as you run you are using your body weight as resistance up the hills. I have found in the past that after a hard hill run, I run better the next week. It improves my strength and then when I go back to flats I notice an improvement in my time.

It would be easy to take the easy option when planning training runs and avoid the big hills, or map an easier route, but I encourage all you runners out there to put in some hill work every couple of weeks and notice how it improves your running. Here are a few tips; Make sure you warm up properly before setting out. Drop your regular speed a little on the hill and take a shorter stride. On the down hill avoid placing your foot way out in front and opening up the speed, while this is tempting this can cause a lot of stress to be placed through your knee and makes you more prone to injuries. Listen to your body and if your heart rate is climbing then slow the pace down a little but try to keep up the running action because this is not about speed as much as getting it done!

Finally – stretch out properly after the run, take your time to add a few more stretches over the day and the next day… and allow your body some time to recover before your next run.

Here is a good article from Runner World too!  Can Hill Running Make You Faster?.

Till next time, Lin xox

PS – I am no Dr, so if you are starting to run make sure you get cleared to exercise and all that jazz, don’t just listen to me!

One Year On – Here I go again!

Well kids, the time has come to begin training for the half marathon in July, leading into the full marathon in Oct. The July event is called Run Melbourne and the half marathon (21.1km) course consists of two laps on the course around my beautiful city.

I did this event last year, but competed in the 10km run… This year I am running the half distance. The run package I started last year was building up to run the 10km, we started week 1 of training with 4km.

I did my first training run on Monday (was sick Sunday so couldn’t run with my group) and I did 8km… It was a great feeling to know that I am fitter and healthier and love running, and that because of the hard work I have put in, I can start training at the distance that I worked up to this time last year. Sometimes reflecting on how far you have come is a great way to think about where you can be in another years time. I love the saying above – so true – I can look back and be grateful for all my hard work from last year, and continue to live a life that will bear fruit a year from now!

Striving for something more, being passionate, working towards new goals is something that gets me excited. Sunday’s are my long run day. Every Sunday I meet up with the Step Into Life Mordialloc training group for the runs. This coming Sunday – 10km on hills in Mount Eliza… Bring it on

Till next time, Lin xox

Total Eclipse of the Heart

I blogged earlier in the week that there has been some stuff I have dealt with over the past fortnight, and that I might share that later. So here is the story… A fortnight ago I ended up in Hospital with some bad abdominal pain. They did a bunch of tests, and couldn’t find the source. I saw 5 different doctors over the course of my stay, and was given 3 different diagnosis, and a bunch of wrong info.

When I was discharged the doctor told me they had found something else that needed to be followed up, she then said it could wait until I saw my GP on Monday to discuss it and get further tests. The Dr said I could read it when I got home in the letter to my GP as my friends were there to pick me up and take me home. Bad practice right there to start. It was serious news, she should have asked my friends to step outside and given me the info, and allowed me to ask questions, and not send me home alone to read it myself without any way of being able to follow-up with my Doctor until Monday.

I got home and read that one test (of the 4 I had that day) detected fluid backed up on the right side of my heart. In fact I read “Right Sided Heart Failure”… Not helpful… I was stressed. Saturday was a nightmare of a day – I felt so alone and scared. I rang my mum in tears at 12:15am on Sunday morning – I was a wreck…. So Mum and Dad drove down arriving at 1am to try to calm their daughter who was a mess. It was a tough weekend all round for a number of reasons, I am very grateful to have parents who love me and understand that sometimes, despite the courageous facade I put up to the world, I can’t actually handle everything…

Off to my GP on Monday and she sent me for an Echocardiogram… I had that last Thursday and I had to wait a week to get the results. Waiting for the results since first reading the test from the hospital has been a time of high anxiety.  I haven’t coped well with it. I guess I felt that I had abused my body for so long, being obese for so many years that I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I felt that now that I kinda have some of my sh!t together, loving life and enjoying exercise, having all these fitness goals this year, the rug was going to be ripped out from under me…

Back to the results. I saw my GP yesterday for the results…. I got a clear bill of health – My Heart is all good and functioning within normal limits. Yee Haw!

Giddy Up, was my thought, I am back. I walked out of the doctor’s clinic feeling that I had dodged a bullet and  a smile from ear to ear! So I am back to training, running, and cycling and no need to keep the heart rate down… In fact my trainer did smash me a little last night (Thanks Dave – love it, bring it on more I say)

Being fit and healthy is the priority for me, this scare was again a good reminder that my best defence against illness and disease is a good offence… So I will keep eating well and moving more…. Remembering every time I don’t feel like running how I felt when I thought I wouldn’t be able to again.

But why write this post? Why share so much of my life on here… Despite what some people think, it is not about getting personal attention..  It is about letting people know that change is possible. Life is a choice. Everyday I spent overweight I was closer to dying. Everyday I was depressed, tired and at some levels did not want to live. Now that I have a life again, I don’t want anything to stop me living it. This is why I write my blog. It is about living everyday, but I do have to remember that I have to live with the consequences of my former decisions and life. If you or someone you love or care about is struggling with obesity, know that there is hope… If I can change my life – anyone can, there are solutions, there are second chances;  But I do understand this can be hard to believe if you are in the grip of obesity, there are days that I never believed that could be possible…  Part of my goal now is to be an example to people who feel that they have no hope, no future – to look them in the eye and say; I understand the pain, your journey, I have walked the long, slow, painful mile in those shoes…

You can reclaim your life. It can be better than you even imagine or dream, I never thought it was possible for me, yet here I am living it!

Till next time, Lin xox

“Coming Out”; Dating after Weight Loss.

Just a click away??

“Coming Out” is now a term synonymous for telling family and friends that you are gay or same sex attracted. Sorry readers, no gossip today, I’m not about to tell you I am gay, but I am here today to talk about dating.

Once upon a time in a little land called England, “coming out” or “coming of age” was the term used for young lady’s of aristocracy to be presented to society as ready and available to meet eligible gentlemen. These men; of good social standing and breeding – were the hope of securing marriage and a future. This occurred between the ages of 17 to 18, where the young woman would be presented to the courts and come out to society. The young ladies “job” role from this point forward was preparing for the social events of “the season”. Being introduced to interested, eligible and suitable bachelors. Enter the whirlwind of Balls (with gorgeous gowns), picnics, afternoon teas, charity events and concerts galore. It was the world of Jane Austen and Downtown Abbey, where marrying the “right” gentleman” had as many pitfalls and complications as it does today.

“Back in the day” these women’s family members, (usually female matriarchs such as mothers, grandmothers and aunts) would be out on the “social network”, think FB without computers. The rumor mills would run hot, the gossip of London’s “well to do” could make or break a future, a family and lives. Young women’s attributes and beauty would be extolled. Eligible bachelors were considered and evaluated; It was, for all intensive purposes – trade. Often match making occurred for a variety of reasons; to confirm or keep royal titles, money, and land. The idea of love and attraction in these matches was not usually the first priority, but the hidden romantic in me hopes that it wasn’t entirely lost either.

Part of this all sounds like fun right? Being part of a family that was wealthy enough so that you could spend your time shopping and having maids set your hair sounds a little delightful. However for some cases, surely the awful truth, was just that, awful, and that that for many women, and men for that matter, it was a scary, daunting prospect; a little like being a commodity or an object…

In previous blogs I have stated that I am dating. Don’t get me wrong, It is fun, but just like those wealthy English Girls of yesteryear , it feels like hard work, a little scary and a huge learning curve. I have stated previously that it is tough to meet people. In today’s world it feels like one of the few places left to meet other singles is on a dating website. So I have wondered about the dating website world, Is it the 21st Century version of Coming Out? We now create profiles of ourselves, have we become our own matriarchs?

Are we now using new social dating sites to change the way we meet, communicate and interact? Or are we now just spruiking or making a commodity of ourselves? Primping and priming our profiles, rather than our hair?

I am not bashful or embarrassed to be internet dating, honestly where do you meet the single eligible men of today? I haven’t heard from my Mum on this, but, I am pretty sure that she is not organizing my social calendar for picnics, charitable events, or balls…(No mum that is not a hint:)

Meeting people is hard, meeting a nice, funny, real, SINGLE man who your attracted to; even harder. The pub seems like a less attractive version of internet dating sites (beer goggles are not good for anyone) and most of us have exhausted the friend connections.

In today’s world we do everything online, we are connected all the time; So if that is the case, so why shouldn’t we use the tool that can (at some levels) make it easier to assess potential partners…

Saying that you were internet dating 5 – 10 years ago was almost taboo, one of the statements that would often get you a sideward glance, and a snigger from the corner – How times have changed. Now it seems like everyone has a profile..and if you are honest enough to admit it out loud you often find that the single person next to you has an online profile too (or is seriously thinking about it). Whilst we live most of our lives on-line, the hard part of internet dating is translating that into meeting, turning the online reality into a real life date, but more on that another time.

For me, part of this modern-day personal “Coming Out”, this Multi-dating (or meeting guys for coffee to see if they are reasonable human beings) is about learning who I am in this process. I am trying to figure out what I am looking for in an eligible bachelor. Losing weight is not just a physical journey. It is really more than that, it is about becoming healthier across mind, body and spirit; It is also about becoming healthier in connecting my self esteem and sexuality… Honestly it is some scary stuff people; I know, I know, I mentioned the word sex there – even though it was backed up with some “uality” at the end of it 🙂

But back to being fat for a second, when you are obese, and the discussion about partners starts, you hear a lot of “But you have a great personality, someone will see that”…

LETS STOP RIGHT THERE…. Lets cut the crap people, and, to be honest, for me, I don’t think my personality was that healthy. Sure I had friends, I was happy at some levels, but I was also really f*#king miserable as well. I did not like the me I was. I looked awful and didn’t love myself. If I am honest; deep down… gut wrenchingly honest – I did not want to be loved. Especially not by anyone that would have accepted that version of me; Seriously how could I love someone who accepted that me, when I couldn’t accept myself. It would have been settling for someone I didn’t respect…

So now, where to from here; Well I have jumped into the Magic Far Away Tree, and landed smack bang in the middle of “The land of Multi Dating”, where, the healthy me; the happy me; looks for Mr Darcy, whilst weeding out the Mr Duds… Who knows what the magic far away tree has in store next, but I like Multi Dating Land now, and plan to hang around for a while. Why? Well because I am learning, learning about myself, men, and how to navigate relationships. I am also learning that I have plenty of lessons that need to be learnt in this space.

I really look forward to reading your comments on this post 😉 and, as always, I will continue to keep you posted!

Till next time, Lin xox

Please Note; Multi Dating is a term used by some dating sites to explain that you are meeting people for a coffee or first date. A first date, second or third date doesn’t constitute a relationship people! I am not talking about being in multiple relationships. It is a process of getting to know people, developing friendships and seeing if anything more is there.