The Facebook conversation…

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Misc | Posted on 25-09-2013

One thing about my nearly teenage son... he still always had hugs available. (first, this SUCH a sweet photo, that’s my son, always ready with a hug – this time for Auntie Marcy!)

It’s a right of passage in this day and age. The kid turns 13 and all of a sudden, they are officially “legal” to have access to most social media accounts. Three weeks from today, Jamie turns 13. He came home sick from school yesterday so we were chatting and he said “wow, just 3 weeks and I’ll be 13″. I was all, “Yeah, I know, I can’t believe it either, I’m pretty sure you were born just like a week ago”.

I was on Facebook and was posting in a private group about something to do with him. He never minds this stuff. Both of my kids read over my shoulder from time to time. I guess I’m a different kind of parent in that we don’t really police their language and as long as they are, overall, polite and good kids, what they say to their friends in games and over text messages, I tend to let go. I kind of think my job is more to police for safety than content. I will call them out now and then if there’s something that is completely out of the realm of acceptable, but they know the line pretty well. I try my best to give them space and they try their best to be the best kids that they can be.

I remember I was posting one of those “yeah, my kids are driving me crazy and I want to move into a hotel for a week” posts on my timeline one day and the kids saw it, laughed, and offered to help me pack. That’s kind of the relationship we’ve fallen into. We try to not take things too seriously and it’s not unusual for us to all make a little fun of each other. Heck, earlier this week, I organized a nerf gun ambush on the middle school kids that walk together home on our block. Us parents hid and got them while Cassie videotaped it. The kids all took it in stride and Jamie thought I was pretty awesome. I’ll post more about that later, but it’s just kind of how we run things around here. I dunno. I want to be their friend, but I also want them to respect me for who I am and my feelings as much as it goes in the other direction. We’re working on that. I think my mom taught me that. We had a lot of fun as kids with her, and she was always willing to listen without judgement. I guess I strive to be my mom, in that way. (Shut up, Mom, you can stop grinning now, yeah you did a good job, I admit it, print this out and frame it, woman!)

I'm totally showing this on his wedding day. Blackmail FTW.Anyway… so we were talking about his turning 13. He is excited about several things, but he’s one of the first of his friends to turn 13 so one of the first that can “officially” have a Facebook page – I know, I’m mean. I make them wait until they are “legal”. I told him I wanted to talk to him about Facebook. His response was immediately, “I know mom, it’s like everything else, you get to have my password, don’t friend people I don’t know, don’t click on links that look weird, don’t have a public profile…… etc”

I laughed. I mean, it’s weird right? Our kids have grown up with the internet. They don’t really know life without it and Tom and I have spent a good deal of time teaching them about etiquette and internet safety. They probably know the entire speech by now.

I told that no, what I actually wanted to talk about is what I post. I wanted to be sure that if I was talking about him or complaining or talking about ADD or something, if he would feel weird (I made sure to tell him I wouldn’t tag him in stuff like that). He said that, no, he has ADD and he’s okay with people knowing, it’s not like it’s a big deal. I asked him about what if I was complaining about the kids making me crazy or something and he, typically, said that he didn’t care, but added that I wasn’t allowed to get upset if he posts that his mom is driving him crazy. LOL

We came up with some ground rules about respect and no arguing on our walls on Facebook and no tagging in photos without permission (although he pretty much doesn’t care “I’m a little weird, mom, in case you didn’t notice, I don’t care if someone sees me in a tutu afterall!”

He has a point… it’s interesting. I’ve watched other parents and kids interact on Facebook. I guess the key is to keep talking and realize that it’s JUST Facebook. I tend to overshare sometimes on there, I’m told. And that’s okay. Life isn’t always roses. My kids aren’t always perfect. My husband does drive me crazy sometimes. So, yeah, I post about the grumpy stuff as well as the happy stuff… let’s just hope he does the same :)

It definitely wasn’t the conversation I was expecting to have. I was expecting him to say “no, don’t talk about me or to me or even pretend to know who I am”. LOL. It will be interesting for me to see how much he uses it though. I know Facebook seems to be losing market share to the teenagers because us adults are on there a good bit. He knows, though… no matter where he goes… I’ll find it. *maniacal laughter*

That’s So Jamie…

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Posted by Tom | Posted in Misc | Posted on 15-07-2013

So last week I may have won an award for Meanest Dad Ever. Jamie has clarinet lessons once a week over the summer. It takes 5 minutes to get to the lesson, 30 minute lesson, 5 minutes to get back. Less than an hour out of his week. Of course, for me it is more like: put up with an hour of whining the night before when I remind him of the lesson. An hour of whining in the morning when I remind him. The whole hour before the lesson I give him reminders every 5 minutes that we will be going in (insert however many minutes here).

You would think he would be ready to go. No…such…luck.

When I say it is time to go, he says,”I can’t find my shoes.” Seriously? We immediately find ONE tennis shoe. I tear through his room looking for the other, no luck. “Ok, Jamie. What about your crocs?” He immediately finds…..ONE of them. I am about 2 seconds from losing it, and we are already late. Then it hits me: “Jamie, what foot is the croc you found for?”

Yes, I made my son go to clarinet lessons with one plain white croc, and one electric blue sneaker. The funny part: his clarinet teacher took it totally in stride: “Jamie, I think this is a bit outside of the box even for you!”

In all:

1.) Jamie learned that I really don’t care how he is dressed as long as he is dressed.

2.) We got to see a more jovial side of his clarinet teacher.

3.) It ended up being a great day all around!

I met my final weight loss goal of 225 pounds… now what?

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Misc | Posted on 14-07-2013

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So, I did it. I got on the scale this morning, looked down and it said:

225+ pounds lost. 2 years, 23 days post vertical sleeve. Holy shit. I did it.So, I got off of the scale and got back on. It said the same thing. I stared at it. I took a couple of pain pills and laid down in bed and thought about it. So… what’s next? I’ve been easing into the maintenance phase of my weight loss over the past few months so I’m starting to feel more comfortable about what I need to eat to maintain my weight and stop losing (unfortunately, it doesn’t include ice cream every night LOL). While waiting for my back pain to subside, I just thought about that for a while and tried to figure out what I was feeling.

There’s a LOT of celebrating. I’ve never felt like a such a success in my life. My weight was always the huge pink elephant in the room. It was the ONE thing in my life that I couldn’t control. It was the one thing that defined me. I was always “the fat friend” or “the funny fat lady”. I think it’s unfair to say that my weight loss hasn’t changed me. It has. I like to believe that I’m mostly the same, but the changes inside are so enormous, it’s the things that you don’t see that have made me as successful as I have been.

I’ve been very honest throughout this process. It’s been HARD. The decision was hard too. You don’t wake up one day and say “oh, I think I’ll go get my stomach cut out”. A lot of thought and planning went into this. As I’ve said before, I had a pretty bad childhood. Food was an escape and a way to soothe feelings – whether good or bad. Having a party, have cake. Having a bad day, ice cream. Someone called you a bad name, there’s always pie. I had to learn about food – really learn about it. I had to learn to deal with stress and feelings. I’ve been seeing a counselor on a very regular basis now for over two years. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, therapy has been the single best thing I’ve done for myself, aside from the surgery itself. It’s something that is SO overlooked in the bariatric community.

So. I’m at my goal weight – actually, I will lose about 10 more pounds after plastics and 140 puts me right smack dab in the middle of where my doctors say my ideal weight is. Heck, no one expected me to get this far, so they’re happy no matter what. Anything under 175 was gravy, this is pure cream cheese frosting at this point. They are THRILLED with my progress. So few get as far as I have given my starting weight.

I feel great. About myself. About my family. I share my success with so many people. My husband, my kids, my support groups, my counselor, my trainer, everyone that’s ever said “yay!” to my stream of updates about my weight. I’ve been so incredibly lucky to have amazing people in my life that have been behind me ALL the way.

My next steps are figuring how how to maintain my weight while keeping a food plan that is something I can live with, allowing for “treats” and good overall healthy foods. I also need more clothes that fit. While I’m sure my size may change a little after plastics, I have a pretty pathetic closet right now. Continuing with therapy and working on my mental roadblocks. Choosing a weight range I want to stay within and keeping an eye on the scale to see how I’m doing. I had my head in the sand for FAR too many years, if I’ve learned one thing throughout the past two years it’s that I cannot just ignore the scale. I have to have some sort of check in for how I’m doing. And, just, living life.

So, I wasn’t sure what to post today, to be honest. I mean, I’ve probably written this post 20 times in my head over the past two years. So I’m going to give you the stats, share some photos and then give some tips if you’re supporting someone that is on a weight loss journey (surgery or not). I think that’s the best thing I can give right now.

In May 2011, my weight reached it’s highest at 375 pounds. I had surgery on June 21, 2011 at 355 pounds. 2 years and 23 days later (aka today!), I’ve lost a total of 225.5 pounds. I weigh 149.5 pounds. Holy wow. I have a LOT of skin. I’m asked that a lot. It’s pretty bad. It keeps me from wearing the right size jeans. Swimsuits without shorts are out of the question, I have to wear loose shirts or there is so much hanging flab that it looks terrible. I’m hoping to figure out how to afford at least a trunkplasty (around $12k). I’m hoping to finance it after my surgery is paid off. I feel great. I can eat anything I want except for pasta, squishy bread and carbonated beverages (all seem to expand in my stomach and cause me discomfort so I just don’t bother). My whole family changed their eating habits and we’re ALL healthier and happier.

…. and, now, the photos. A before & after and Tom giving me the promised piggyback ride for reaching my ultimate goal. He even ran around the front yard. It was pretty hilarious and SO sweet. I, of course, worried I was going to hurt him. LOL.

Candy reached goal weight      Candy reached goal weight

In past blog posts, I’ve given advice for people that wanted to lose weight, but I think it’s equally important to know how to support someone that is. So, just a few things that I found helped (or didn’t):

  • Be there to listen and not judge. If they are having some ice cream, don’t judge them for it. Maybe they worked it into their plan for the day. Maybe this is a day off of their food plan.
  • Don’t be afraid to speak up if they’re eating ice cream EVERY day. Be gentle and just ask, “hey, you said to check in with you, so don’t think I’m judging, but are you taking the week off? I just notice we’ve had ice cream every day this week…”
  • Be prepared for them to be annoyed that you asked. LOL!
  • It’s okay to ask about their weight loss, but “how do you feel” is a REALLY stupid question. I always answered this with “oh, just terrible” with a smirk on my face. Yes, I’m a smart ass.
  • Unless they are truly skin and bones, do NOT tell them they are getting too skinny or that they need to stop losing weight. I HATE this. I was still “overweight” and had a few people that insisted I was losing too much. I learned to just simply say I was working with my doctors about my ideal weight and had it handled, but thank you for your concern. I mean, really. I get that you are used to seeing your loved one a certain size and drastic weight loss really does seem like they are “too skinny”, but most weight loss people totally understand what weight they should be. That’s why we have doctors. It’s made me really feel like maybe I was doing it wrong and nearly sent me down another disordered place wondering if I just wasn’t seeing myself correctly.
  • Don’t call your friend “skinny bitch” more than a few times. It gets old and becomes hurtful. Just because we lost weight doesn’t mean we don’t love you or judge you and it feels bad to feel judged. Luckily, the friend that was doing this caught herself and stopped. I KNOW you don’t mean it, truly, but think about how that feels.
  • Absolutely, 100% tell us congrats and most don’t mind talking about it, but there are other subjects. After a while, even we get really tired of talking about our weight. Talk about the Paris Hilton. Or the weather. Or the Nicks game. ;)
  • Just be there. Be there to celebrate. Be there to high five. Be there with a hug when needed. Just show up and love us. No matter what.

So, that’s it. I am VERY aware that this is going to be a lifelong struggle. I meet people all the time that had surgery and gained back some (if not all) of their weight. I KNOW that my weight and food issues won’t disappear just because I see a number on the scale. It’s something that I will likely have to be aware of for the rest of my life.

But I’m there. I made it. Take THAT fat genes :)

2 years of weight loss, 223 pounds gone

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Misc | Posted on 21-06-2013

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So, today is kind of a cool day. Two years ago, today, I had weight loss surgery. I won’t bore you with the details, you can read my other blogs here marked “weight loss” for the “skinny”. If you just want to see the photos, scroll down… otherwise, I’ll ramble :)

Overall, I feel great. I actually hate when people ask me that, “How do you feel?” I am a smart ass and it shows because I tell them it’s awful. I mean, really, I’ve lost an obese person. How do you THINK that feels? It’s amazing, awe-inspiring, a little sad to think about, and I feel freaking amazing.

It’s also nice that my friends and family are starting to treat me normal again. My weight isn’t the first and only topic of conversation anymore. It really does get old sometimes. Yes, I’m proud of myself. Yes, I don’t mind talking about it, but can we please talk about something else like the weather? Or my annoying children? Or how your husband is a big goofball? LOL. Luckily, I see my friends often enough that it’s becoming a non-issue again. Whew. It also gets annoying to hear about Great Aunt Edna’s daughter who gained all her weight back. Thanks for that story. *laughing* No, seriously, there’s the good and the bad and the good is definitely outweighing the bad ;)

I’ve yet to see the magical “150″ on the scale, but I’ve been maintaining at 152-155 for the past couple of months and that’s fine. After plastics, I’ll be well within my goal and that’s fine. I’m on the upper end of the BMI scale, but we all know that’s crap and frankly, I’m happy where I am right now. I mean, hello. I’ve lost a LOT of weight. I can’t be unhappy about that. Considering that I started at 375, met my surgeon’s goal of 250 at week 36, met my goal of 175 at 18 months and am now well below that… yeah.

Note: I’m 5’6″ – I’m not tall – why do people insist on telling me I’m getting “too skinny”. My doctors all agree that I’m great. If I lose another 5-10 pounds, they will be just as happy as if I stay this weight now. It’s a bizarre phenomenon in the weight loss community. I think it’s because we lose it relatively quickly and people don’t realize what your normal weight really is. My doctors all seem to agree that if I can stay between 135-160, that’s ideal. Heck, anything under 200 is amazing for where I started. So, mom… stop worrying. The doctor says they won’t worry about me unless I dip below 125 and I’m definitely not trying to lose more at this point :)

So, what I did right – journal what I eat and drink, get enough protein, cut out bad carbs, followed my surgeon’s plan, started regular therapy, not beat myself up when I had ice cream or an occasional treat.

What I would do differently – Hmmmm. I don’t know.  I hate to say this, but I can’t think of anything I would have done differently. I think I’ve done a good job, overall and everything I did was part of my own process.

My advice for those seeking to lose weight and/or have weight loss surgery? Do it. But be ready to change your life. I’ve said this a million times, but I didn’t get fat because I was hungry for food. I had a lot of issues to work through in therapy. Get therapy. Then get more therapy. I honestly believe that counseling is the most missed thing in the bariatric community. It’s sad really how many people don’t deal with their stuff. Be ready to change your eating habits. Don’t just CHANGE them – live them. Commit to them. Get support. My husband and children committed 100% to backing me, to cleaning up our eating as a family and to call me out when I’m screwing up. My friends have been AMAZING. I told them what I was doing and why and asked for their support. I have a few other support groups as well. Seek support, use the support. Keep using it, even when you think you don’t need it, show up. It matters. Relax and stop worrying about when you stall for a while, your body has to adjust. I didn’t lose my weight in one line, it was a long process.

At the end of the day, this is the best thing I could have done for myself. I tried dieting and exercise, but this saved many years of my life. I’ve yet to have anyone give me negative judgements and frankly, if they do, that’s their problem. I did what I did for myself and my family. I went public about it to help others and to be transparent about myself – and that has served me well. Knowing that others are watching me has, in some weird way, kept me on the right path :)

Yes, I had an emergency neck fusion 9 months after my surgery and, yes, I’m looking at a double lumbar fusion late next month. That’s life. It would have likely happened anyway… but recovering will be easier with all this weight gone. Much easier.

Okay, so the before and after photos… I can NOT believe I’m putting up photos of me in a freaking swimsuit, but here ya go. The last photo is GUCCI. A GUCCI shirt. Me! It was a gift from a dear friend <3

2 year Comparison

 

2 year Comparison - Side View

 

2 year Comparison - Face

Visit with the plastic surgeon

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Misc | Posted on 22-05-2013

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This is long about Candy’s visit for a plastic’s consult, kinda boring and WAY too much info. You’re warned. LOL!

How can you dread and look forward to a day at the same time? So, today I headed out for a plastics consultation. After losing 220+ pounds, there’s absolutely no way that I can live with all this skin. It’s bad. It breaks down, I need creams and powders all the time. My back is pinched when I roll over in bed. My butt get pinched when I sit down. My drooping arms rub against my armpit area. Clothing doesn’t fit right.

The worst is my stomach though – the vast majority of my weight was in my stomach and it’s like a big deflated balloon. The second worse is my breasts. They’ve lost so much volume that they get sore from being folded up into a bra. It’s seriously uncomfortable. Living in this body sucks. Not as much as it did 2 years ago, but it comes with it’s own set of problems.

So… I finally got up enough nerve to visit with a plastic surgeon. I was so nervous. The idea of standing naked in front of someone while they tell me all the crap that is wrong with me really just wasn’t all that appealing. When you grow up with someone telling you what’s wrong with you and pointing out your flaws and calling you names, it’s really tough to invite that type of thing.

From two friends, I got a referral to Dr. Mahlon Kerr at Synergy Plastic Surgery. Did I mention I was nervous? LOL! Dr. Kerr was so sweet and so personable. We headed to his office where he laid out what procedures were available and what he typically did for bariatric patients (I hate that word “bariatric”, by the way, but that’s the correct term LOL). I’m sure this was kind of a warm up before he told me to strip naked, but it gave me a chance to take a good breath because I honestly thought I was going to throw up.

Most doctors are amazed by the sheer amount of weight that I’ve lost from my weight loss surgery and that I’m a normal weight now when I started out at “super morbidly obese” (another phrase I hate LOL) and Dr. Kerr was not different. I guess most folks that start out as large as me aren’t as successful. I attribute that to the mental health help I’ve had as well as my own stubbornness to never give up.

Anyway… so off we went to the exam room, told me to leave on my undies and put on a robe. I didn’t puke, but was close (dude, I gave BIRTH with a whole room full of people, but this was unnerving). So he sits down, I’m looking over his shoulder in the mirror and he opens the robe and all of a sudden all was right with the world and I wasn’t as nervous. LOL. So, yeah. The first thing he said is “That’s an impressive amount of skin”. *laughing* Um… thanks? The vast majority of my weight was in my stomach so while my thighs fared pretty well and my arms aren’t horrendous, my stomach… yeah.

So… he basically squished and pulled and showed me kind of what he thought he would like to do… so here’s the run down (oh, and the prices I got from his assistant after – I really really need to find a rich dead relative that left me some cash – ouch!)

Trunk Plasty (I was surprised, but he said my back really isn’t that bad and because my upper abdomen was so large and has so much skin, he wants to do that instead of all the way around so that he can remove a good deal of the upper skin. He figures he will remove about 6-9″ ACROSS. I think that’s crazy, but he’s right. If you pull and stretch it… yup. All told, I’m looking at about 10 pounds of skin and fat from my stomach that would probably be taken away with his little scalpel. Cost? $11k (get out your calculators, my friends LOL). Unfortunately, he probably couldn’t totally clear up the girl parts that have issues because of the skin issues I mention below, so that would be a separate surgery (same with my butt if I decided to have it done). Sigh. Although, with any luck, the stomach work would make it liveable. (Told you I was over-sharing, but I know a lot of folks wanted to hear the down and dirty, so…)

So, they would do the stomach first and it would be over 3 (or 4) operations at least 6 weeks apart. Because my skin is so stretched out and thin, he doesn’t want to do too much at a time… so next up…

Boobs and Thigh lift. I think I could actually go without the thigh lift so I might would see if he could do the breasts and arms and be done with it. The breasts would be a reconstruction and implants. There’s simply nothing left there except for skin. Yay! I would have boobs again. Those together are 1 operation. Cost? $13k (If I ditch the thigh lift, I’d probably be looking at $7-9k or so?)

Next up, cutting off of the arm flappers, the bat wings, the weird chicken skin hanging from my upper arms… or, I guess if you want to use the correct word… Brachioplasty. This is a separate surgery, of course and I guess we could combine other stuff. I dunno. Cost? $6k.

So, yeah. Total will be around $30k to fix this mess of a body. Obviously, I cannot afford to do it all at once (heck, I hope to do it at all at this point). The insurance will only cover part of the stomach (probably about $1k – whoopee!). I knew this going in and I figured it would end up, all told $30-$40k, so I was right in there with it. The costs do vary from person to person, so if you’re reading this trying to figure out how much it would cost YOU, it might not be for you. I’m sure there’s different prices for different grades of issues and depending on how much time it takes him, etc etc.

So… this Summer, I’m likely having a double lumbar fusion in my back unless the pain miraculously goes away. At least I know about it.

The plastics guy wants my weight to be stable for 4-6 months (so far, it’s just been one month).

So… it’s looking like NEXT Summer I can start working on the plastic surgery thing. I really want to be sure Tom is home because recovery is… well… sucky… for plastic surgery.

I did ask him about my weight and what he thought. He said that I’m at the top of my BMI (around 150-155 is where I’ve been staying lately) and that he would probably remove 10 pounds himself, so he doesn’t think I should lose too much more, 5 or 10 pounds, tops. So, yeah. I’m done. I’ve started adding back in calories and working on how my life in maintenance is going to be. I still want to SEE 150 on the scale, but I’d rather float down very slowly and work on figuring out what my daily caloric goals are. I’m 38 and I’ve had 2 kids, I’ll never see 120 on the scale (and frankly that would be too skinny for me I think).

So, I got what I needed from this visit, figured out where I am and what he thinks he can do. I was really surprised that he didn’t want to do the full body lift, but very relieved.

So… now… I gotta find that rich relative or take out one hell of a big loan. Or sell a kidney. Or sell Tom’s kidney. Heh.

… and, yes, if I do ever see 150 on the scale, I’ll be posting a big old party post :) But seriously… I’ve done really well and I’m calling this as “done” at this point.

Night out, all dressed up…

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Misc | Posted on 06-04-2013

We don’t get all dressed up and go out somewhere fancy all that often, but I’d been wanting to show off this cute dress I picked up so I made Tom take me out to Wink Restaurant (one of my fave places in Austin). We went with another couple. It was SO nice to have a nice quiet dinner out with friends. Just thought I’d share photos while we’re all spiffed up!

Night out

Night out

How I Lost 200 Pounds…

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Misc | Posted on 13-12-2012

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I’m not going to write a whole lot here… still kind of reeling that I made my goal. You can read the whole story of “how” by looking at my posts tagged with weight loss – the one in December 2011 explains the how (weight loss surgery) and the ugly (it ain’t in any way, shape or form easy LOL).

I’m a different person on so many levels. Physically, of course, I mean… I’ve lost TWO HUNDRED FREAKING POUNDS. But I think it also changed me emotionally and psychologically as well. I’m open with my children about my own childhood and the issues I had (to an extent, I think it’s important for them to understand the “why” of so many things in our lives). I won’t go into it here, but obviously no one gets to weigh 375 pounds because they were hungry for food. I had (and have) a lot of healing and work to do. Honestly, mental health, I believe, is THE single biggest missing component in the bariatric community. So many people don’t seek the help they really and truly need. I needed it. I got it. I’m working on me. It sucks sometimes, but I’m doing it.

So anyway… this morning, I woke up at 4:30, just couldn’t go back to sleep so decided to give it up at 5:15 and get up for the day. I got on the scale… and viola… my goal weight stared back at me. It’s wonderful and it’s fabulous and I’ve been on cloud 9 all day, but I also know my work isn’t done. At 5’6″, I’m still overweight – technically and in reality. So, I know I’ll want to go on to lose more. The 175 was a number I threw at the surgeon just to have something. I figured there was no way I’d do it. Ha!

Anyway. I did it. I reached the big bad wolf goal. In the process, I’ve pretty much eliminated a few big bad wolves from my life. It’s been a good 18 months.

A few people have asked why I share this so publicly and why I share my weight numbers. I think part of it is that it’s accountability issue. I have so many friends pulling for me and it keeps me motivated. But, also… I think it’s important for others in the position I started in to know that they aren’t alone. There is absolutely no way I ever thought I’d get to be less than 250. I figured that would be the best I could do. I think it’s important that people understand that those of us with major weight issues aren’t lazy, we aren’t stupid and we definitely aren’t clueless. It truly is an addiction and one that a lot of us need help to overcome. I needed not only surgical but also mental health help to overcome mine. But you know what? Much like an alcoholic, I think I’ll always be in recovery of some sort. Unlike an alcoholic, though, I can’t just throw out the drug of my choice and never look at it again.

Okay, getting too deep, today, though… I celebrate life and the extra years I’ve added to my own to enjoy.

And yes… a photo update:
December 2012 Comparison - 200 lost

Happy 12th Birthday to Jamie!

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Misc | Posted on 17-10-2012

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12-years-ago today, this sweet little baby boy came into our lives and changed things forever.

Now he’s still changing things. BUT he still smells funky too ;)

And a little bit of a funny…

Last night, Jamie asked me what time he was born, so I bought up his photos to see . He asked about Cassie (who was HUGE compared to him) and then asked me if it hurt.

I looked at him and said, “You do know how babies come out right?”

“Yeah”….

“Well, what do YOU think”

… he just nodded and kind of walked away giggling nervously. I decided not to torture him with the whole 13 hour induced labor thought-I-was-going-to-die tale. I’ll save that for the first time he goes on a date or something.

Major (!) weight loss update and a sleep update

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Misc | Posted on 22-08-2012

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First, a really quick update on Cassie’s sleep… she slept ALL night last night. My friend gave me samples of some essential oils. I honestly have never seen another human being look SO tired in my entire life. Whether it was just down right completely exhaustion or the oils, I don’t know, but she says the oils helped so I’m going to buy a truckload of them if it continues to help. It felt SO good to check on her at 10:30 and see her sleeping like the little angel (coughcough) that she is.

I did it! The scale finally has a number 1 in front of it. This means that since my VSG surgery journey and having surgery 14 months and 1 day ago, I’ve lost over 175 pounds (Disclaimer: 20 of those were lost on the crazy pre-op diet you have to do, but I count it ALL darn it!). That’s just amazing to me. Even still! I STILL was getting on the scale amazed that it started with a number 2, a number 1 is just beyond my ability to comprehend. Getting under 200 has been one of those “yeah right” goals of mine. When I started this process at 375, my surgeon gave me the goal of 250. I will admit that somewhere deep down I never thought I’d actually hit that number. He asked me for my own personal goal and I threw out 175. That would mean a loss of 200 pounds and I liked the sound of that number. It almost feels like I can reach that number though. My next mini goal is 186.5. That will mean I’ve lost half my body weight and will also put me into the “overweight” category. According to the BMI charts (which I think are antiquated) my upper normal range is 155. I’m not making ANY goal decisions until I hit 175 though because I want to see what that looks and feels like.

So, that’s where I am. No tears today, I thought for sure I’d totally break down, but I’ve just been happy and smiling because I worked hard for this. Like I’ve said on this blog before, don’t EVER think this is the “easy way out” for anyone that has weight loss surgery. I’ve been lucky, no one has ever said that to me, but I am here to tell you that there is NOTHING easy about this. It really is just a tool to help you along. I did all the work. I took the time to really learn about food and nutrition. I worked my butt off at the gym. I choose to say no to sugar and carbs unless I’ve planned for them in my day. I went through all the mental issues that this whole thing brings about. *I* did that. Like I said, no one has said a single negative thing to me, but if you ever see someone that has done this, know that they are working harder than they have ever worked in their lives. Congratulate them, their achievement is no less important than someone that did it without surgery. Trust me. Obesity is a lifelong disease, I can still gain weight back. The real fight comes after I reach goal. Keeping it off. Part of me thinks that’s why I went more public with my surgery. It makes me be accountable.

I also shared a photo 75 pounds ago of me behind the steering wheel of the van. My stomach used to still graze it when it was all the way back. Today, I sit in the same space as my husband and there’s a LOT of room when I move the seat all the way back. Cassie can slide across my lap when we sit in restaurant booths (which I always avoided because I didn’t fit at all before). So, I’ll share another steering wheel photo because driving is the one thing that really does remind me of all the work I’ve put in. It’s kind of amazing even now (and look how freaking skinny my legs look! LOL!)

I am also taking time out to attend a conference that is NOT business related (stop gasping). I’m attending the Obesity Action Coalition’s (OAC) conference in late October in Dallas. There looks like there will be some really good speakers, and it really is a chance for me to celebrate myself. I do so few things that really are just for me that I’m excited to do this with a couple of friends.

One year later – weight loss surgery update

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Misc | Posted on 21-06-2012

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If you would have told me a year ago that I’d be sitting here (cross-legged) blogging about losing over 150 pounds, I’d have laughed. One year ago, today, I had the gastric sleeve.  I won’t bore you with the surgery details. You can read about it HERE, but my life is so different. I started this crazy journey in March of 2011 when I had had enough. I weighed 375 pounds. I was tired. I was tired just from every day living. I couldn’t walk long distances. I couldn’t play with my kids the way I wanted to. Oh, I thought I could. Denial is a super morbidly obese person’s best friend. I know denial well. I was sick of living in denial and decided, with the support of the most amazing man on the planet, to take the step that scared me most. Surgery. I had tried everything (that cabbage soup diet SUCKS, by the way – let’s not talk about the watermelon and rice, k?). On June 21, 2011, I had surgery and I changed my life forever. For the better.

Today, I weigh in at 216 pounds. That’s 159 pounds, an entire person, gone from my body. Today, I’m “moderately obese”. Yes, I’ve still got a lot of work to do for sure. I’m not done yet. My starting BMI as 60.5 and is now 34.9 (just barely slipped into that moderately category, but it’s mine, dammit!). I’ve lost a person. I’ve gained a life.

I can cross my legs when I sit down. I don’t worry about restaurant booths. I can bend down without thinking about it. I can kick a little butt on the elliptical. I enjoy walking. I enjoy playing with my kids. I still enjoy food, but it doesn’t rule my life. I enjoy my time with my therapist (as much as I hate it sometimes too). I can buy clothes from regular stores. I STILL get on the scale sometimes JUST to see that number 2 at the beginning of the number.

I still feel like a faker though. I have this fleeting fear that the weight will come back. That I will wake up and this will have been a dream and I’ll be  375 pounds and miserable. I fear of going back to that dark place of feeling like I’ll never be normal. I spent 30 years being overweight/obese. Do I just get one little year of somewhat normalcy? I feel bad for people I see walking around like I was. I fear I’ll be like that again. I worry I’ll magically be able to eat an entire pie one day again.

I’m not sure that I’ll ever completely get past that fear. Nor the guilt. The guilt of being the fat mom. The guilt of watching others struggle through while I’m whizzing through the pounds and losing steadily. It’s almost like a survivor’s guilt of sorts. It’s really hard to explain. THIS is why I am very vocal about others seeking weight loss (surgery or not) to find a therapist. Most of us didn’t gain weight just because we like food a whole lot. There’s a lot of emotions that come into play when you get into that SMO (super morbidly obese) category.

So, here I am. 1 year later. To the day. I feel like I’ve come so far. Yet I look and realize how far I have yet to go. This is where the real work starts. This is where I have to show my body who is boss and that I will WIN this war. I didn’t pay someone to  remove most of my stomach to go back now. I can do this. I’ve lost 159 freaking pounds. I want to lose 41 more and then look to see where I am and where I want to go. There will be, of course, plastic surgery in my future. I have major skin issues. My arms flap, my thighs flap, my stomach flaps. Everything sags. But it’s mostly empty. It’s no longer full of fat. Oh, there’s still plenty there, but one day it will be totally empty and I’ll be left looking like a melted person. Then, I’ll talk to a surgeon about what I need to do to fix the damage I did over the past 30 years. And at the end of the day, I have only myself to blame for it. No one made me get that overweight. I did that all myself. I take ownership of that as much as I’m taking ownership of fixing the problem now. I could spend time looking back to how I got there, and I have. I’ve spent a lot of time. But I also have to look forward. Look forward to my kids having a normal sized mom. To leading a normal life. To living it to the fullest. That’s why I did this. I wanted to feel normal. I wanted to feel good about myself.

And I do. I do things now that I never thought I would. I walk 5ks. I chase my kids. I buy clothes from the rack simply because I can. I go to the gym. I work out hard. I enjoy my life and make sure that I’m grateful for everything I’ve accomplished and everything I will accomplish.

I post photos and people see me and they all comment on that part. It’s the part that they cannot see that really matters though. There’s still a little bit of heartache, a little regret for the years I wasted. But mostly, it’s the positive. It’s how I feel about myself. It’s about that feeling of finally being who I really, truly, feel like I’m meant to be. It’s that part that people DON’T see that is the real change. Yeah I “look great”, but my psyche is what has really changed. I think that anyone that says you don’t change internally with such a drastic external difference is lying. I know I’ve changed. I like to believe for the better. So, I’ll share photos below, but know that the part you can’t see is the real change here. I love myself. Obesity won the battle, but the war is mine to win.

To my friends and family that have stood by me, shared food in a restaurant so I didn’t have to take home MORE leftovers, hugged me when I cried, laughed with me when I did something silly, gave me an atta-girl when I needed it, reminded me why I did this when I was full of remorse, dragged me to the gym when I didn’t want to go, told me to stop wearing clothes two sizes too big, took me shopping and helped me figured out what to buy, called me when they sensed I needed a reality check, and loved me no matter what… thank you. They are the real heroes here. I couldn’t have done this without them. They all know who they are. I can never repay them for the kindness and support. They are my success.