Pressing the reset button on life

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I am just over 2 weeks post-partial nephrectomy and starting to feel like a human again. I think getting back into a routine has been helpful. The past two months have been a blur full of so many emotions.

So let’s get the drama out of the way. I had my post-surgical appointment with my surgeon at UCSF on Monday (gosh, that was just a few days ago but feels like forever!). She walks in the exam room all smiles and hands me the pathology report and she says, “I have great news! It wasn’t cancer!” Imagine my dumbfounded look.  I have spent the last two months waiting to have a cancerous tumor removed from my kidney, so this was the best possible news, yet it’s still sinking in.  In my last post (almost a month ago), I mentioned that there was a 75% chance that my kidney mass was renal cell carcinoma, just like it said on my MRI report. Turns out after the pathology, it was something called an angiomyolipoma, which is a benign tumor made up of vascular, muscle, and fat cells. The short story is I didn’t have cancer, I don’t need to be monitored for cancer, and I’m basically done with anything over at UCSF!

I did, however, have a chunk of my kidney removed, so I still have a bit of recovery to do from that. No lifting anything more than 10 pounds until after September 3 (6 weeks post-surgery), so my workouts are on hold. The whole experience was a bit traumatic. The hospitalization was difficult. I was in so much pain, even for a few days after I was released, and then the pain meds made me dizzy and nauseous, so I discontinued those as soon as I could. I’ll spare the details but let me just say I no longer take the simple act of peeing for granted. Ugh.

So here’s the path forward: I’m still on leave from work for one more week but have been logging a few hours a day to catch up and figure out what I missed. I’ve been dealing with migraines for the last 10 days which has been a bitch, so I am off to my primary care doctor to see what’s up with that (since I’m out of my meds that I only get 12 of per month!). I have been working my way up to walking a couple of miles a day on the treadmill. I was so exhausted and realized I needed to push myself a bit to get my stamina back. It’s amazing how quickly you can lose it! I’m a bit out of sorts with food. Nothing has been sounding awesome and I’ve been slacking on food prep (I have an excuse, I think), so this week I will be doing some planning to get back into that routine too.

There’s so many lessons to come out of this ordeal. Believe me, I know how lucky I am and will never forget that. 

Feeling Bloggy

 

I got called out on Instagram for my lack of blogginess. So today, I feel bloggy. There’s currently a photo challenge for the month of February and I’ve been focused on doing daily posts. My life has been occupied with working out, sleeping, working, planning meals, focusing on good things — I guess I just wasn’t feeling the urge.

I am totally in. This should be fun! #Repost @mrmuleman with @repostapp ・・・ Mondays could use all the added umpf they can get, so I'm releasing the preview of this year's @MrMuleMan's #WLSFeb17PhotoChallenge today. Mark your calendars, repost, tag your friends, and spread the word. The idea is the same as last year's challenge, to share ideas, tips, strategies, questions and answers about topics related to weight loss transformation, getting healthy, weight loss surgery, and fitness in general. You do not have to have already had WLS to participate, this challenge is open to anyone interested in slimming down and getting healthier. Just post something on each daily topic, and don't forget to use the #WLSFeb17PhotoChallenge tag. New this year will be a prize pack that will go to one lucky winner, filled with snacks and health & fitness items. Look for the rules post to see how to get entered. Questions? Contact @MrMuleMan Start planning your posts and let's see how huge we can grow this challenge this year! #Wls #weightloss #weightlosssurgery #wlscommunity #vsg #vsgbro #gastricsleeve #rny #gastricbypass #weightlossmotivation #weightlosstransformation #weightlossinspiration #changeyourlife #fitnessrevolution #wlsrunner #gethealthy #getfit #wlsphotochallenge

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So there it is — check out my account to see my take on the theme of the day.

The one for today that I wanted to post, but then didn’t is here. The theme was skin. The truth is that I am not that upset about loose skin. I don’t have it that bad, but it’s still a trip.  The wrinkly bunched up skin shows up most when I am doing push-up.  It hangs forward on my arms. It hangs from my stomach and back, and my thighs. I’ve said it before – it’s like a badge of honor. My skin has been along with me on this journey from beginning to end.

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My entry for Day 10 of the #WLSFeb2017PhotoChallenge: Skin

So what else?

I just finished a 6-week long session of Kaia Fit.  It’s interesting that my weight loss completely stopped since I started working out fairly intensely, but my body composition is changing and I’m certainly getting more compact, not matter how slowly that’s happening.

I think people are noticing the changes more than I am. I’ve had people tell me I don’t need to lose anymore, or ask me what my secret is.  For the most part I have been pretty open about my surgery, but I don’t really share with people I am not that close to. I know a lot of people in my support groups on Facebook are extraordinarily private. I was too, in the beginning. This week must just be the one where everyone decided to complement me.  Maybe it’s all of my new super cute LulaRoe clothes.  Have I mentioned that? I have become a LulaRoe addict. I have a few pix posted over on Instagram of some of my new things. I am trying to figure out what my style is — outside of jeans and sweatshirts which is what you will typically find me on on the weekends.  It’s been fun dressing up a little more, even though I don’t have to.

I somehow think that my focus on being positive is somehow making me more approachable where people will say something to me. Whatever it is, I like it! I’m making new friends through Kaia Fit, I feel more social and all of this is good since I lowered all of my anti-anxiety and anti-depressant meds.

While it seems like my little life is perfect, it’s a constant struggle. I have to work hard to keep my head in this place. I have to fight the negative self-talk and self-doubt. I have to live day to day and not focus on weight as a number or the fact that the scale isn’t moving. I actually think I am done losing weight. Or maybe my body wants to just sit here for a while until it realizes that we haven’t entered an apocalyptic ice age and it needs to store every calorie.  I still know my metabolism is moving at snail’s pace, meaning every calorie I take in needs to be of the highest quality. I still can only eat about 1/2 cup at a time, and I need really good protein to keep me feeling full and to fuel my muscles from all of these workouts.  I don’t really have the desire to eat crap, but since my intake is so low, it has to feel worthwhile.

I don’t want to be that person who starts a blog to talk about their weight loss surgery journey and then stops.  Those were all the blogs I was finding while I was researching surgery.  I wanted to know more about how life was post surgery. I guess what it will be is…well, life. We’ll see! I’m enjoying the ride!

And Kellye — I am open to topics. Maybe like the photo challenge I need some blog prompts! Keep me honest!

 

Another piece of the puzzle

Being a rule follower, I have been diligent about exercise since my surgery. I use my Apple Watch as a gauge for activity, but up until the new year, I’d only been walking. Granted I was walking a lot, and running a bit with my Nike+ app, but as I was getting closer to goal and the weight loss was slowing down, I knew I needed to mix it up.

I’ve mentioned that I joined Kaia Fit at the beginning of the year. Three weeks in and I can feel myself getting stronger, pushing myself harder, and having fun.  The workouts can be hard and you definitely feel them afterward, but I think this push is what I need to get me the rest of the way.

And the rest of the way has gotten a little shorter. My goal changed from 120 to 130, per my primary care doctor. I went to see her to check in about my medications since I was getting close to goal. I wanted to make sure the doses were still right for my weight and see if I moved any of my lab results to come off some meds. I ended up reducing 2 meds, and coming straight off of 2 others. I still will need to take medication for my pituitary tumor and thyroid, but I’m more than ecstatic of making other improvements in my health besides weight. Weight is just one piece of the puzzle; it’s a metric like my body measurements, body fat, and other health indicators.  When I first met with my surgeon, we set 120 as a goal, which sort of seemed like it was out of my reach at the time. At 135, I feel amazing. My clothes fit, it’s so much easier to buy clothes (I need to stop!), and I’ve made some big moves in my health. I asked my PCP for her advice about goal and she thought 120 was too low, and even though 130 wouldn’t get me to a normal BMI, that’s the number we picked. I would love to get lower — 126 would make 100 pounds total lost. I’m just going to keep working my program, pushing myself, and enjoying my new life.

I am grateful to all the Kaia coaches who aren’t judging my journey (or if they are, I’m not feeling that way) and are supporting me in this next chapter. Today I did burpees without dying.  It was an awesome feeling.

I leave you with this though, to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Seemed fitting for where I am, and where I am going.

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Transformation from within

Let’s start with this Instagram Post:

Old Marilyn would never say this, but I am so proud of myself. I have made a lot of sacrifices to be where I am today. Cutting negativity from my life. Focusing on what is positive and in my control. This is my new size 6 dress from the Loft. My wonderful husband encouraged me to order a 6 instead of an 8. When I took it out of the package I was sure it wouldn't fit, but it did. Along with a pair of size 4 jeans. I can honestly say I am happy where I am. I'm not done, but if I didn't lose another pound I would be perfectly happy here. Loose skin, saggy boobs and all. But I'm on fire, so no stopping me yet! #progressnotperfection #rnylife #gastricbypass #rnycommunity #happiness #hardworkpaysoffs #rulefollower #almostnormal

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Friday night I came home from work, excited about the weekend and excited to see what goodies arrived from the post office. Since I am starting to run short on clothes, I took advantage of post-holiday deep discounts and bought myself that dress. I’m continuing to be surprised when things fit me. I still struggle with thinking of myself as being as small as I am, which is why pictures are so helpful.

After writing that post, I realized that’s the most positive I have felt in a long time. I have worked hard to get there. I journal daily. I find a daily affirmation every day. I write down 3 things I am grateful for every day. I am more aware of my negative thoughts and I try to catch myself before I say anything that’s not constructive. I am working hard to avoid drama at work (not 100% successfully, but making the effort) but making the move from management to being a worker bee has contributed to this improved state of being.

I have made so many changes in such a short period of time, but still more work to be done.

Next topic: Kaia Fit. Last week, I completed my first full week of Kaia Fit in probably over a year. I started in May 2014 and was consistent until things in my life started to fall apart around me.  My dad was sick and in and out of the hospital starting in September. Somewhere in there, I stopped going, stopped caring about myself, and gained 40 pounds. In a really short period of time. I just gave up.  And I was sick for months with whatever cold, flu or other crap was going around. It was horrible.

Fast-forward to now. I am smaller than ever and still getting used to moving with this body. I managed to get through my 4 workouts pretty successfully. I couldn’t do everything full force, like burpees — I forgot how much I hate burpees. But I did it, and the thing I love about Kaia the most is you get really strong, really fast. And it’s fun. The hour goes by fast and I know that by 7:00 am, I’ve gotten my workout in. It is a very satisfying feeling. Plus, this gem came from our Flow class on Friday and it stayed with me.

Then there’s the food part. I have such a routine around food. Since I can only eat so much at a time, I need to make sure I am getting good nutrition in. I had to come up with a good routine to make sure I can take my vitamins, medication, get a protein shake into me, put my lunch together — all before getting to my 6 am class. Food prep is critical.

I think I actually thrive on the routine. So it’s Sunday. Got a bunch of food prep done (it’s actually pretty easy with teeny tiny meals).

Since I started Kaia, the scale stopped moving.  I think my body thinks I am trying to starve it again. I just need to stay with it while my body keeps transforming.  Looking forward to my weekly measurements to see the progress.

 

Weekend Warrior

This weekend has been quite eventful! I really look forward to doing absolutely nothing on the weekends but that’s not always in the cards. 


Friday I came home to my first shipment from My Bariatric Box. As my niece said on Facebook, there’s a box for everything. This is a great way to try products that are formulated for Bariatric patients and the low carb high protein lifestyle. Have only tried the cappuccino Nectar protein so far. It was good, but not good enough to warrant a 2 pound tub. This will be a great way to experiment. 

Saturday was a little lazy in the morning but I got Mike up and around to take me to Davis to visit Fleet Feet Davis. My 140 pound goal was to get a new sports bra. I am starting back up with Kaia Fit Woodland after the first of the year and my sports bras are way to big for high impact stuff. My regular bra size has gone from 38DD to 36C which is quite exciting. Had a bra fitting and ended up with a 34D Moving Comfort Juno bra which is one of my favorite. All I can say is I am really going to need a breast lift when I hit my goal weight. 

I also wanted to go to the Gap to try on some jeans. I had ordered some size 6 jeans several weeks back, but with the holidays, everything was delayed. 

I grabbed a few pairs in size 27 and 28 (where did these new sizes come from?). 


So the 27 fit me better than the 28 and I walked out with a new pair of jeans and these size S crazy leggings. 


Got out to the car and looked up the Gap sizes. Those pants were a size 4!!!! I have to say I got a little teary right there in the Gap, which Mike encouraged me to wait until we got through checkout. I was crying when I thought they were size 6!  

I really thought the surgery was not going to work for me. A few weeks back I thought I was done losing. I was bouncing back and forth between 138-140 since Thanksgiving. As of this morning, I am 136. Still unfathomable in my brain. 

So I decided to spend Sunday in my jammies. My new striped jammies! I woke up and got all the laundry done including a bunch of hand wash sweaters (ugh). 

I got adventurous and made this recipe for cauliflower kugel bites. I was originally looking for latke recipes on Pinterest but zeroed in on this one. 


I made them in little snow leopard cupcake liners for easy cleanup. They came out pretty good! I was going to make lentil curry too but I had too much food to finish up I figured I would hold off for now. My food prep also included cutting up some strawberries. I’ve been craving fresh fruit and veggies lately and I don’t get to eat a lot. Yogurt and strawberries on the menu for breakfasts this week!

My list of blog posts I need to write is growing, but I figured summing up my amazingly productive and happiness generating weekend would give me some momentum going into the holidays. Let’s hope!