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.

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 Day Reflections – Here we go!

Riding the wave of emotion all the way to Surgery Day (Those Stay Puff arms soon to be gone!)

(Note: This blog was written over a few days and is about my tummy tuck and arm lift surgery)

I had dinner out tonight (Monday night 13th Feb) ate some lovely seafood and a few laughs with a friend – my last supper before surgery. Got home, packed my case for hospital, gave myself a pedicure with a lovely foot soak, tried to calm down. But it is now 3:30am and I still cant shut my mind down! It is the day of my surgery now, a day that I have been waiting for for many months. I have turned on the Macbook because sleep seems elusive, and my mind is racing. I turn it on to get all these niggling thoughts out of my head….

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I had to stop writing above it wasn’t really helping – It is now 4:30am,(Tuesday 14th Feb) Writing usually helps me deal with stuff, but I just had a bit of a panic attack – this has only happened a few times in my life where the physical symptoms become unbearably palpable.

My heart started to race, constrict and I felt like I was about to have a heart attack… I knew almost straight away that it was a panic attack, my chest hurt, my back hurt – and a headache was brewing..I also knew that I needed to calm down; given I am about to go into surgery in less than 12 hours I can’t take a calmative or any type of pain killer. So I grabbed my heat pack, popped it in the microwave for 3 minutes and tried to walk and breathe through the pain. I used the heat pack over my back chest and head and heat then began to release the muscles. I then called my friend Janelle and she talked to me for a bit, reassuring me, helping me to breath and work through it… It all helps and I feel calmer now, just opened up the Macbook to type what happened – for some reason it feels important to get it all down… I have to stop all food and fluids at 7am. I am tired now – will have a quick sip of water and try to get a few hours sleep.

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I wake at around 9:30am, shower, blow dry the hair, dress and change the bed (I love coming home to fresh sheets) Everything is packed, the day is here and my Mum picks me up to take me to the hospital.

We arrive at the hospital for my 12pm admission and I am taken through to the surgery waiting ward. Next the fashion stakes go up! I gown up in the lovely backless frock that hospitals specialize in, but I do get a nice terry toweling robe for modesty. I also get to wear lovely white compression stockings and a red colored hair net, I strategically (and to pass the time) place the hair net to one side to look like a raspberry beret, then spend the afternoon singing the Prince song to myself…

While I am supposed to go through for surgery at 2pm, I don’t end up going through until around 4:30pm – This doesn’t help with the nerves but I am so tired from lack of sleep I doze in and out, Mum does a good job of keeping me distracted, they come to take me to theatre and I say goodbye to mum. When I get to the holding area I am encouraged to hear some decent music coming from theatre. I joke about the music not being a fan of country music with House (my surgeon) while he marks out all the all the excess skin he is going to chop off a with a Sharpie. The anesthetist gives me some sleeping juice and the last thing I remember is moving onto the operating table….

I don’t remember much from that night – I remember my nurse explaining that I can just press the morphine pump for pain relief, and I vaguely remembered my house mate (who is a nurse at the same hospital) stopping by after her shift (she tells me the next day that I told her to go so she wouldn’t miss her train:) )

In the morning I am told by my nurse that I am not really using the pain pump that much, she asks if I am in pain- I am but don’t want to hit the button – We realize why I am reluctant because when I begin to use it more it makes me nauseated and I am promptly sick. Apparently Mr Morphine pump and I are not going to get along, despite really wanting a relationship him, he is too strong for me, overwhelming and just makes me sick rather than feel better (someone say toxic relationship 😦 ) The Nurses clear with Dr House for me to switch over to a few types of pain tablet and this concoction is much better…

Surprisingly I feel ok by Wednesday afternoon. House and a hospital physician tell me I am still losing a bit of blood through the drainage tubes that are coming out of my arms and stomach (gross right!) and everyone comments that I am a little pale, after blood tests  this is discovered to be due to low Hemoglobin Levels. The Doctors tell me they plan to give me an iron infusion the next day… I have my mum and then later a friend visit Wednesday night  – This makes me feel better, and I think that I am on the road to recovery… While I can’t really get out of bed by Wednesday night I feel quite good & I am hopeful that recovery will continue on this trajectory… Unfortunately things aren’t to pan out quite as smoothly as I would hope…But that will have to wait till the next blog post…                          Till then,

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

The Law of Attraction

What am I choosing to attract in my life?

One of the best things about losing weight is feeling better about yourself; inside and out. It is the journey of feeling better on the outside that has changed dramatically for me, I have  started to make changes in how I view myself; and I have noticed that other people now view me differently too.

When I was walking everyday after I had the lap band in, I walked at night so no one could see me easily. At my heaviest I used to get people (particularly young guys) hang out of cars and yell abuse at me during the day, when I was walking up the shops, crossing the lights – Believe it or not but  near my highest weight I once had an apple thrown at my head when I was out walking at night..                                                                                                                       It was devastating & demoralising – I did not feel good about myself, Inside or Out.

I was speaking to someone the other day about the idea that we (as in individuals) shouldn’t care about what other people think about us. He challenged me when I said this, and suggested that the idea may be flawed in some aspects. He then suggested that we are social beings, we live, work and exist in community and what we say and our actions  impact each other…. Given this he suggested it is logical that we care about what other people think about us, it is a normal part of life. We care about what family and friends think of us and we don’t want people to think poorly of us. He is a well respected Psychologist and I got what he was suggesting, and agreed with it…

The fact is as much as I didn’t want to care about what other people thought about me, I did care that people yelled abuse at me, I did care that apples got thrown at me from cars; I did care and It hurt.

I sometimes still think that people see me as that fat girl, and It is an idea that I have to challenge on an ongoing basis. People don’t treat me like that fat girl anymore and I am starting to train my brain to actually “see” myself as I am now. I have gone from guys throwing insults and apples, to being whistled at on the street, or being flirted with in a bar – A very different experience, and something that is hard to get your head around.

I have noticed that the better I feel about myself, the more confidence I have, the more I smile, flirt and generally have fun with life and people. Confidence is an amazing feeling – and while I don’t have any delusions that I am some sort of super model (I do have curves for a start 😉 ), I feel good about myself and this is nice for a change.

Basically I liken it to the law of attraction – the idea that “like attracts like”… I am more confident, happy and loving life and therefore live a life like this. I now attract people in my life that are confident, happy and loving life.

I am sharing this because I think looking back I was not that person, I was not happy in myself and perceived other people who were successful as a threat to me.

The law of attraction for me back then was “I feel crap, and will attract crap in my life” –  I viewed life and people negatively.  That is no longer the case, I view life more positively now, and will continue to embrace life and understand that confidence begets confidence, it is this cycle and knowledge, that I believe, will help me to keep hold of the gains and progress that I have made.

Till next time,

Lin xox

Study Shows Why It’s Hard to Keep Weight Off – NYTimes.com

Study Shows Why It’s Hard to Keep Weight Off – NYTimes.com.

Read the article above 1st….It is very interesting.

I read this article and It struck a chord with me… I have lost a lot of weight, and it has been one of the biggest challenges and struggle that I have fought! And boxing or fighting is what I compare it to.

I was speaking to a friend about the weight loss and the struggle that losing weight is. Something that I believe deeply (and that research is starting to show)  It is not simply a matter of willpower, there are other factors going on.

I often felt that I was fighting with my body to get the weight off and keep it off. There were days when I could almost feel that I was in a fight, another round in the ring – another chance of a knock out that I wouldn’t get up from…

I am NOT saying excuses are OK, I am not saying that I was not responsible for the weight I got to, because I was! What I am saying is that when people want to change, and realise that they need to change… It is BLOODY HARD…

I don’t think that giving up is OK, We need to be a fighters & find solutions that work for us on an individual level. Lap Band worked for me (it is not the right choice for everyone), it wasn’t easy, in fact I think that option took more discipline and hard work than almost every diet i tried.

SO Everyday, (like everyone else out there) I watch what I eat and exercise…. It is a lifestyle thing, I can’t stress that enough… and I won’t let my own body and whatever hormones are choosing to float around in there, sabotage my desire and reality of living a real life!

Till next time, Lin xox