Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Incredible Oh-So Edible Egg . . .

Oh, where to start? Where to start so you won't all think they removed my brain during my that you can understand the depth to which I really MEAN what I am saying in this post. It won't matter, you may not understand and simply call me a freak of nature or a gross exaggerator. I waited a day before posting this so as to come down off my high and really test the degree of my happiness, my exuberance, my joy, my relief, my over-the-top-holy-shit-was-that-really-THAT-good-ness....and of course, my sanity. Even if no one "gets it" and I remain alone on this topic, it doesn't matter. It was like my very own 28-year old Christmas morning...

Yesterday I graduated to a "soft" foods diet. Things like low fat ricotta, pureed veggies, tuna, cottage cheese, V8 and light condiments. I won't bore you with the list of "acceptable" foods. What I can tell you, however, is that I woke up yesterday feeling like Santa could crap on my porch and I would still welcome him in to eat cookies! I ran (yeah, ok...walked) down to the kitchen, yanked a pan out of the cupboard (or Evan did because he won't let me lift anything) and proceeded to light that gas stove! Now, the tricky part of the soft food stage is that you have NO idea A) IF you can tolerate the food you are about to try and B) IF you still even like that food because taste buds have been known to change after surgery (add it to the list of things they forget to tell you). So as my one scrambled egg is cooking all lonesome in its pan (you have to try only one food at a time so that if you do get sick, you certainly know which one it is and to avoid it in the future), I am praying like a nun on speed that I will not throw up and will still love eggs. As I serve the egg into a tiny dish that is meant to hold my condiments, I continue to hope. 

So, I sit down and I put the first teaspoon (literally the teaspoon I measure with) in my mouth and chew 20 times...swallow...and grin the biggest grin I can remember grinning since the first season of Prison Break (fictional hot cons without their shirts, need I say more?). Evan, if you are reading this, I grinned like this the day we got married too, don't fret! :o) Needless to say it was like skipping over top marshmallow clouds in heaven (ok that was a bit of an exaggeration). So seldom do we, as a culture, sit down, take a bite of a single food, chew and really taste it, wait a whole five minutes and then take another bite of that same food. It sounds incredibly boring but my appreciation skyrocketed  for something as little and simple as one egg (which I couldn't finish, by the way) or 1/2 can of tuna (dinner) with only 1 tablespoon of light mayo. I stopped both times around 6 teaspoons because I was honestly full and it took me 30 minutes to eat both meals. I find it amazing that our brains and our stomachs don't communicate better on a daily basis. My body was telling me that I was full and my brain asked "Why aren't you finishing the entire can of tuna...and on crackers at least?!" to which I replied "Because I don't NEED it." 

We have two very simple words that I think we confuse on a daily basis...WANT...and NEED. There are many things I WANT but very few things I actually NEED. We all do this and I am certainly guilty of it, but I think it is understanding the difference between these two words that is getting me through this on a daily basis. I now understand that when we say things like: "I really need  a coffee" or a cigarette, cheeseburger, huge glass of wine, quick lay, day off, man, woman, new purse...the list can go on and on...what we are really saying is that we WANT those things and by saying we need them we are justifying some of our really bad habits. Now, of course, everything is moderation is OK  and overall not harmful. But we tend to be an "I NEED" society when all we really NEED in life is a place to call home, friends and family that care about us, a decent income, food and water to survive and clothes to keep us warm. I am generally the last one to preach about anything, but this holiday season let me in on the really simple joys in my life and I hope that in the new year, you all still see those everyday pleasures, the little things that make you grin like the fool that I was yesterday (and still this morning when I added a Tb of salsa to my egg), the little things you do that make others around you so happy and blessed to have you in their lives and the courage to fight for what you want AND need. Sometimes, as is finally my belief about the difficult choice I made, they can be the same thing. Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

     After much consideration and many naps (where I dream about scrambled eggs and other actual healthy food I can't eat yet), I decided to share the big information about my current situation and upcoming journey with any and all of you who will read this Blog. I previously subscribed to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"  idea on facebook and still do to a point. Not everyone on my friends list has a right to know (or cares about) what is going on with every aspect of my life but those that do care and want to know what is going on/how they can help, deserve to know. So I figured that generally, the same people that read my blogs are the same people that give a shit. Now, this was a big decision for me to share something so personal as this journey with others but it was even more HUGE for me to do it. I will tell you why it has been and will be such a difficult road if you will hang in there with me.

     On December 22, 2010 I had Roux-en-y Gastric Bypass Surgery, or WLS (weight loss surgery). No, I did not have the band (lap-band) or the sleeve (don't even ask). Back in July, I made the choice to do this but it is something I thought very long and hard about for a long time. Most of you who know me already know that most of my life I was a big kid, a chubby pre-teen, a thinner me for 2 or so years in high school and a progressive gainer ever since. If I tell many of you that the reason I was actually thin for a few years is because I took Ephedra and worked out like a maniac (sometimes 3x a day)...oh, and barely ate, maybe you can understand that without that, I would have been big my entire life. I often think that those few years were the best of my life but, in truth, I barely slept because of the caffeine in my body. I barely ate a well rounded diet. I barely felt like me anymore. What I was good at was hiding how hard that time was. Those of you who remember me from HS, I am curious to know what your impressions of me were back then. Some of them, I am guessing, were negative based on the fact that I was, indeed, sort of a bitch sometimes.  I apologize for what I did to myself and in turn then took out on you. However, past is past and all I can do now is look ahead. Don't get me wrong...I lovedddd being fit and so active. I would not have gotten half the theater/singing roles I did if I could not have fit in the me.

Back to the RNY procedure. For the longest time I felt like it was a cheating choice. I thought it was an easy way out. I thought I could do it myself and months and years of me going to the gym and eating my WW points proved to be all crappy experiences in the end because I wouldn't  see results and I would become depressed and upset with myself. Time and time again I would try something different and all of those "methods" made me realize that in a very basic way, they were no different than taking ephedra and losing sleep. Either way I felt exhausted and used up emotionally and physically. I needed something more permanent that presented itself as a total "life change." I NEVER thought of RNY as an option previous to about 8 months ago because I didn't see it as a life change...I saw it as a too easy up on myself. What I didn't realize until recently was that I was and had already been giving up on myself...a lot! 

     It wasn't until I attended a Gastric Bypass info meeting that I realized what my new life would entail (and even then, until you actually do it, you have no idea). The procedure itself is major abdominal surgery, even if it is laproscopic (which mine was, thank God), and my life afterwards will never be the same. I can only tell you that I have already had days since Wednesday when I thought "Oh shit, what have I done?" but overall I am happy and proud that I have taken a huge step towards a healthier me...and someday, healthier children. I have seven little holes in my belly I didn't before (but hell, I had a belly button ring so it can't be THAT bad right?) and occasional discomfort (I find it hard to sleep on my side among other little pains) but overall I am feeling OK. I have been on a liquid diet for about a week and tomorrow I can try 3-4 tsp. of soft foods (scrambled egg here I come) at each meal. Protein shakes galore are taking over my kitchen as I need at least 60 gm a day now and I will start taking LOTS of chewable vitamins next week. There are SO many steps and stages and if I do anything wrong I WILL get sick and I WILL be pissed off enough for it not to happen again. I have a long road ahead of me but that's exactly what this is I have surrounded myself with supportive, caring and loving friends and family who make me feel good about me with or without my surgery and minus any "friends" who create unnecessary drama or childish shit. I just don't need any toxic ingredients to this new recipe.

     So, that's it. Now, you all know. I am not ashamed of my choices or who I am. I only know that I am in for a serious overhaul in all aspects of my life, including but not limited to my wardrobe. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to ask. I won't get pissed if you don't agree with my choice. Hell, I didn't agree with it for a very long time. However, also expect honest answers as this wouldn't be veracious verses without the brutal truth.