Back in the Saddle.

On yer bike… That is exactly what I did today, I got back in the saddle and loved every minute of it. I realised that I have indeed really missed riding, I know how much I love running and how much I missed running, but I forgot how much I love cycling.

I am really glad that I got on my bike and got the legs turning over. I have been on a couple of runs this week and needed to move my legs today to avoid them stiffening up, cycling was the perfect solution.

The path I chose to ride today was not my usual road riding choice, but it wasn’t hard core off road either,  it was a nice compacted dirt path that runs from Mordialloc down to Patterson Lakes, there were a few sections that were a little gravelly, but for the most part it was fine. I have a road bike and it doesn’t have tyres that are conducive to riding on rough surfaces. The ride was lovely though, it was along some wetland areas, and I met a friend after 10km and then we rode back together, which was a nice mix of camaraderie and competition.

Given it my first ride out in a really long time I was happy with my performance. I wasn’t as strong as I was, but that is ok, the strength, stamina and power will build up as I begin to ride more. I will be moving back to the road in the coming week, it was only a 20km ride today, short to start with. I will build up over the next few weeks, and given that my new job is quite close to home (10km away) I plan to ride as often as I can, not only is it a great way to keep moving each day without adding to much time to the commute, I hope that it will help me get my legs in better shape after my leg lift surgery given the complications . I found that out today at a follow up appointment with my surgeon that I will need some revision surgery to get them looking right, but they need the next 6 months to reduce in swelling and for the wound sites to calm down.

So for now it is all about continuing to work of my fitness, and enjoying the process. I enjoyed today, riding with a friend, hitting my rhythm, and the most important thing with any fitness plan is finding ways to enjoy the experience, so that it has purpose, that it doesn’t feel like work and makes you want to go back for more… I think I’ll leave it there for now and look the idea of the difference that motivation can make a bit more next week,

Keep smiling, till next time – Lin xox

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Being Tough (and not)

Hey readers, I am sitting here in a bed, not my bed – although it has been for the past 13 nights… but a bed none the less.  As I have previously blogged I came into hospital for a thigh lift and revision on my abdominoplasty, that was almost 2 weeks ago. This experience has been quite different to my first plastic surgery. I envisioned that it would be similar to the first surgery, after all legs are quite similar to arms, well that was what I thought. My surgeon House, (that is what I call him as it is part of his name) did tell me that this procedure is more complicated than doing my arms, but in my mind I still compared the two… 

I had a minor complication after this surgery, that’s why I am still here,  the suture line on my inner  right thigh came undone about 5 days after the initial surgery. I was still in hospital and being cared for extremely well (the nursing staff here are 5 kinds of fabulous), so I was sent back into surgery to have the leg washed out and re-sutured with a drainage tube. 

I have had a few rough days since then, honestly I can tough out a lot of stuff – there was the nausea and not being able to keep anything down from the antibiotics, the increased pain levels from having the already traumatised leg worked on again etc… but today I had a mini emotional crash day. Still sore and bruised (my inner thighs look like a thug took a baseball bat to them) I had the “What the hell did I decide to do to myself” moment. I had a little cry and wanted to take it all back. Deep down I know I have made the right decision, and that this is just that moment where I am feeling emotionally vulnerable, and that’s ok, it’s impossible to be tough all the time. 

I don’t like being or feeling vulnerable, it make me anxious to not have a sense of control. I have very limited control over how my body heals, and despite trying my best to manage the pain it can wear you down after awhile. What I realised however is that part of the process is in fact experiencing the full journey, embracing the fact that I am not in control, that I am not as tough as I try to be. That it’s OK to cry, experience pain – it is the human experience. It is essential to not only understand my own journey but to relate others stories as well. 

Thanks for reading, till next time – Lin xox

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 🙂

The issue with tonsils – Advice needed

My tonsils are inflamed and toxic, they are actually poisoning me, and are now resistant to antibiotics . I have seen an ear nose and throat surgeon and have a surgery date for the 1st of August to have the buggers taken out.

My issue is at the moment, every time I push myself to exercise, do my long runs and training sessions, I end up getting sicker. My Doctor has advised me to stop stressing my body and ease off my training… This is difficult and is upsetting me. I want  to do a half marathon in 3 weeks that I have entered, but every time I push myself I get sicker and taking 3 – 4 days to get better;  The tonsils get worse, I find it hard to swallow and I get a temperature and headaches that don’t go away..

It seems like a no brainer, stop pushing myself… But that is what I do now – I push myself, I love the feeling of pushing my limits, long runs and proving I can do it…

I am really unsure about continuing my running training at the moment, or if i will be able to compete in the half marathon… this makes me want to cry a little…

To all my runner friends out there, Any one got any advice here? Should I keep going with some 10km & 15km and then push it on the day? or stop and take a break on the long runs until the tonsils are gone???

Till next time, Lin.

Gastric (Lap) Band – Part 1; What is it?

Gastric Lap Band Illustration (the port at the bottom right of pic is what is stitched to the muscle wall under the skin)

Part of understanding my journey is knowing that I had a Gastric (Lap) Band surgically implanted around 4 years ago. I realized that I haven’t written a lot about the Band, why I had it, what is does, and why I chose that path.

This first post (in this series) will look at what the lap band is, and how it works. I get a many questions about this and hopefully this post will be able to clarify some of the more popular queries.

A Gastric Band is a device that is placed around the top of your stomach. Looking at the picture to the right we can see that there is a plastic ring which on the inside has a silicone tube, this section is adjustable via saline solution being filled into the port.

The inner sections are adjustable with saline solution via the port and when filled contracts more around the opening of the stomach section is adjustable. From the band a tube runs down to a port, this is how the saline solution is injected into your band, essentially filling the silicone up and tightening it around the top of the stomach.

The lap band is inserted into you body via keyhole surgery.  The surgeon places the band around the top section of your stomach, where the stomach meets the esophagus. When adjusted the band creates a small opening into the stomach.

The band works in two ways;

  • It causes the brain to believe that you feel full, with a very small amount of food or sometimes even when you don’t eat. The band stimulates the nerves that sends these messages to the brain.
  • The band also physically creates a small pouch like stomach above your stomach. The food that you must chew well slowly enters the stomach. This makes you feel full and you don’t consume as many calories.

The port of the lap band is stitched to the muscle wall of the abdomen under the skin. After surgery your doctor / surgeon adjusts it with using a needle to inject saline which travels up tubing into the band tightening it. The adjustment is a simple procedure, seeing a doctor at their rooms like a normal consultation, I am usually in and out in 5 – 10 mins after a quick weigh in and chat about my progress.

The lap band can stay implanted indefinitely as long as are no issues. As it is adjustable all the fluid can be removed and you will have no restriction if required.

The Gastric Band is not an easy solution, you can cheat the band, eat all the chocolate, ice-cream, mushy food and anything liquid you like, they slide right on through and the calories on these add up quick. The band does have some issues however, sometimes I can’t keep food down, I can have days where I feel a bit more restriction than others and the band feels tighter and when happens food gets “stuck” and won’t go through the band – it can be painful and results in food coming up (not quite vomiting more like a painful swallow back up).

The Band is an aid in weight loss, it doesn’t do the work for you, I have worked hard to watch my portions, my food choices, and then there is exercise – a lot of exercise. For me the band was the tool I needed to get off the bulk of the weight to allow myself to begin to have success reprogramming my former failure mentality and be able to engage in physical activity.

In my next post I will discuss why the band worked for me, what I have struggled with, and would I recommend it, etc – If you have any questions please feel free to leave it in the comments section and I will do my very best to answer them…

Till next time, Lin xox

Surgery – Complications & Recovery; Part 1

Still smiling - well trying to!

This post is written more as an overview diary style; to document the recovery time after tummy tuck and arm lift surgery. I have had a few people email me who are considering surgery asking questions about how I have faired – This is just my experience and despite the complications and pain I would do it all again 🙂

Wednesday 15th February According to House (my surgeon) everything with my surgery went smoothly yesterday, “text book” was how he described it when he called into my hospital room today. He did say that I lost a fair amount of blood in surgery and that I was currently still draining quite a bit of blood and fluid… He ordered a blood test and it came back with info that I had a low hemoglobin level (75). It was explained to me by the hospital physician (who also looks after the care of patients post surgery) that I was low on red blood cells, which will make me lethargic as these carry oxygen around your body. They decided to put me down to have an iron transfusion on Thursday to assist with rebuilding the red blood levels.

Thursday 16th Feb I had the iron transfusion today, but still felt extremely tired and wiped out. I was still barely able to sit on the side of the bed whilst they changed it for me, and I was sleeping all the time. Honestly the pain isn’t quite as bad as I imagined it to be, the pain killers work well, the fatigue on the other hand is a killer, not used to feeling like this anymore! The highlight of the day was a visit from my mum and my friends Janelle and Joe!

Friday 17th Feb. Still not much better, pretty wiped out all day, had a quite day and two of my girlfriends came to see me… Had more blood tests and the level had dropped again despite the iron transfusion to around 68. Both House and the Physician stated that it would take a few days for the iron in my system to start to rebuild the red cells and that the level would come up over time. Exhausted I feel asleep very early tonight…

Saturday the 18th Feb – My Birthday (one I won’t forget in a hurry!)

Still draining a lot of fluid and blood from my abdomen, I awoke feeling wiped out, tired and like the sleep I had really did very little for me. After breakfast I went to the bathroom, just as I was about to go back to my bed I started to feel very unwell, very quickly.               I called my nurse who was just outside the door, I remember babbling to my nurse something about feeling like I was going to be sick, then I got dizzy and everything went black….

I had passed out and awoke disoriented with nurses yelling “Lin wake up” over and over. There were so many nurses, I managed to get wheeled back to bed and had a team of Doctor and Nurses in the room – checking everything. Apparently this is called a MET (Medical Emergency Team) call and is broadcast across the hospital so Dr’s and nurses can attend. So they decided that I passed out due to low blood levels and something called the Vagus nerve, which apparently when it is stimulated can make blood pressure drop and you pass out, this combined with the low hemoglobin sent by body into shut down. The doctors said I was as white as the sheets on my bed.. Just what every girl wants to hear! So I was ordered to stay in bed and was to receive a Birthday present from my doctors – Two units of blood to be transfused!

My Mum, Nan and Pa came in the afternoon and brought me some afternoon tea, the blood was flowing and I was feeling a bit better but still unable to get out of bed. Mum cheered me up with a homemade passionfruit iced sponge cake for my birthday – the nurses were so happy to have some supper, plus another friend visited after dinner and brought in a great sense of humour and  a super moist carrot cake, laughter is the best medicine right? (Yes I am spoilt!)

Sunday 19th Feb – Wipeout; Today was pretty much a good example of being wiped out in bed and exhausted – Yesterday’s shenanigans took it out of me a little, that plus I have been stuck in this room since Tuesday night… I miss being active and outdoors, but have no energy to care. The day pretty much consists of taking pain meds, sleeping and trying to recover.

To be continued, stay tuned –

Till next time, Lin xox

Surgery, My Valentines Present to myself!

I haven’t blogged a lot over the past few weeks, and I apologize for this. I have felt caught between a rock and a hard place over the past few weeks, and this has been because I have been getting ready for reconstructive plastic surgery.

Under the Knife - Happy Valentines Day!

I have been dealing with a variety of different emotions over the past months as I have been meeting with doctors, surgeons and my psychologist in getting ready for this, the next part of my journey.

With losing a huge amount of weight, I also lost any chance of my skin being able to bounce back, I lost all skin elasticity and therefore kind of looked like a deflated balloon when all the clothes came off. This was not something that I was happy with, part of me felt deflated too, it wasn’t boding well for my self esteem; Moreover it was causing me medical issues, especially when it came to exercise and physical training.

After speaking with my GP and referrals and appointments with Reconstructive Plastic Surgeons, I decided that the best way forward from this point would be to undergo 3 separate surgeries over the next 18 months. This would address most of  the issues and allow me to move forward emotionally and physically. It would also give me the best chance to have good outcomes without stressing my body by trying to have everything done in a short time frame.

I haven’t exactly hidden the fact that I am getting surgery, I have told friends, colleagues and family what I am doing – just haven’t blogged about it yet. I have had extraordinary support from everyone I have told.

I have had some crazy moments, moment of being so scared and paralyzed by the thought of what was happening, but have been supported through all these emotions by amazing people in my life; I am blessed to have such great friends, family and support.

So on Valentines Day this year (2012) I went into Hospital to for the first of 3 surgeries (Or as i jokingly call them to my friends – the slice and dice) I am now recovering from a tummy tuck / lateral thigh lift and a brachioplasty (arm lift) still in Hospital and will blog a bit about the journey that I have been through over the coming days… It has been a rough couple of days in Hospital, and the recovery has been slow! But I am happy to share it now, I was scared to write about it at the start, to share it – always for fear of being judged! – But now I know that I need to share it, because if this helps one person who is going through something similar, then this is how I pay it forward…

Will write more soon , Till next time

Lin xox