Thursday, March 29, 2012

MRI's ... take 2

Yesterday was quite an "interesting" experience for me.  Hmm, anytime I say the word interesting with quotations around it, it's safe to assume I'm being sarcastic.  Last month, I wrote about my experience with attempting to get three MRI's done.  There was a tight fit for me squeezing into the machine, so we decided to try an open MRI machine instead.  So, I arrived at 10:40 a.m. for an 11:10 appointment.  They told me to come early so that I could do some paperwork.  Fine, no problem.  I had one of my Optifast shakes in the car on the way down there.  They took a copy of my driver's license and had me sit down to wait.  After about 20 minutes, I was starting to get antsy.  One of the guys in the waiting room arrived before I did and the other one arrived after I did - all of us kept looking at the clock.  It was then 40 minutes, then an hour.  I understand that sometimes things run behind at a doctor's office, but really?  Finally, the first guy asks how much longer it was going to be.  One of the receptionists then tells him it would be another hour.  Pardon me??  I asked for clarification, thinking I surely must have heard her wrong.  She said that the doctor only comes 1-2 times per month for the procedures that require him to be there, most everything else is done by techs.  So on those days, they pretty much need to schedule everyone at the same time.  [One of the procedures I needed required a doctor to inject some dye into my body around a surgery site.]  However, in my situation, they were going to let both guys go ahead of me because they wanted to do all three of my procedures at once.  I told her that I understood that it wasn't her fault, but that I should have been told about the long wait when I scheduled my appointment because I had to leave my job to do so.  Grrr.

After 3 hours of waiting, they finally take me to the back to do the paperwork I was supposed to do when I arrived early.  Then I got to go in and see the doctor.  The injections in my wrist were painful, but I pushed through and it was fine.  Next I was put in a room so that I could take off any clothing that had metal (including clasps, zippers, etc.).  Since my pants had metal in them, they gave me a pair of pants that looked like scrubs to put on.  I stared at them and then thought, Oh no, what if they don't fit?  Granted, I've lost a lot of weight so far, but I have a long road still to go and I started to worry that they wouldn't fit over my tummy.  I took off my shoes, took off my pants and then discovered that, lo and behold, that's exactly what happened.  I peeked around the corner and motioned the nurse over, told her what happened and dealt with the look on her face that was a mixture of disbelief that they didn't fit and an attempt to hide the expression she had from me.  Since I only had one metal clasp on my pants, she said it shouldn't be a problem.  So I left my shoes in that room and went over to the next waiting area for my turn in the machine.

When I got in the room where the machine was, the technician told me that I would be having 3 MRI's done - one on my right wrist, one on my left wrist and one on my neck.  For the ones on my wrists, I would have to be standing.  Each wrist MRI was going to take 17 minutes.  I could not move, even a little bit.  The machine looks very similar to the one pictured here.  However, because I had to put my hand through a little circle-shaped opening, I would have to be facing the side each time (not looking ahead like this man is doing).  And the machine is very loud, too.  Okay, 17 minutes, it can't be that long, right?  So I started with the wrist with the most pain, my right.  I was doing good, but there was nothing to stare at except the whiteness of the machine.  Then one of my legs started to hurt because I was standing there, leaning against nothing and not moving, with only socks on my feet.  You know that scene at the end of Psycho where Norman Bates is in custody and a fly is fluttering around his head but he doesn't move an inch?  That's exactly what I felt like.  Yet, I made it through.  Whew, 17 minutes is loooong! 

Next up was turning around and doing the left hand, again for 17 minutes.  I asked the technician if I could run and put on my shoes at least, which was fine.  I got in the machine again and started off fine.  However, after about 5 minutes, my vision was starting to get blurry.  I had to tell myself to just shake it off and push through.  Another few minutes, there was some blackness that was starting to occur and the next thing I knew, my body was starting to shut down and I actually blacked out completely.  I fell to the floor, although I don't know if I was conscious during the fall or if I came to after I hit the concrete underneath me, but I actually fainted and hit the deck!

They rushed me to another room to have me lay down.  Everything was still very blurry as I laid there and drank some water.  What just happened?  The doctor had me describe what was going on.  I did tell him about my Optifast journey and that I'm supposed to have shakes every 3- to 3 1/2 hours.  At that point, it had been 5 hours.  Could that be it?  He said it's actually a quite common occurrence to have patients faint in the machine, about one in five do the same thing.  They offered me jalapeno chips to eat to see if that would help with my tummy.  I was in a big dilemma.  What do I do ... eat food on the guess that it had to do with going so long without shakes?  We weren't sure.  I could have just been one of the people that faints because of the staring of the wall and the loud whirring that makes you nauseous.  We decided to reschedule for another day.  After resting for a while and drinking more water, I headed back down to my car.  They told me there were a ton of fast food places to go to maybe eat something.  I told myself that if, by the time I got to my car, I didn't have my bearings and felt immediate food would help, I would try to get something very light and healthy.  It would not be an excuse for me to gorge on a burger and fries for the sake of the moment.  After having laid down for a while and having so much water, I was feeling a lot better.  Not great, but better.  I decided to wait until I got back to my office, which was about 15-20ish minutes away and just have a shake.  I have not deviated from my nutritional plan not even a little, being 110% committed, and I just didn't want to do anything to jeopardize that now.

Later in the evening, my body was really starting to hurt from the fall.  I don't know if I hit the corner of the machine on the way down, but my side and right arm were in extreme pain.  When I woke up this morning, the pain was tenfold and eventually spread to my back, too.  I decided to take care of myself and stayed home from work.  Given I could hardly move without lots of pain, that was probably the best idea.  I do really have to look at that whole situation and ask myself if eating a little something would have helped since I didn't have an extra shake with me (a lesson about replenishing my stash in my car for sure) or if I did the right thing and just waited.  Regardless, I will be going for a third time to finish these MRI's ... God willing!!  I did call the Optifast clinic and asked them what to do for the next time I have to do this and they told me to bring extra shakes in my purse, just in case!  I did ask the receptionist if I would need to wait 3 hours again and she said since I would not need to see the doctor, no, I would be able to go right in next time.  We'll just have to see about that.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekly weigh-in

Grateful to report I lost 7.5 pounds this week for a total of 65.5 (and, yes, that half pound counts!).  I'm feeling so blessed.  I just can't believe this is happening, in a good way.  It's very emotional for me to just see the weight dripping off.  Took more pics of my progress, too.  The first set is when I started and the second set is now 7 weeks later. 

After 7 weeks, 65.5 lbs lost

Saturday, March 24, 2012


This morning I decided to go for a walk to get some exercise in.  It's kind of dreary outside with rain expected tomorrow, but a perfect, cool day to walk around the neighborhood.  I got my tunes ready, put my hair in a ponytail and off I went.  My neighborhood is so interesting with a mix of condos, townhouses, mobile homes and detached homes.  There are always people out walking, jogging or playing with their children.  I did two miles, but it went by so quickly.  Music in my ears takes me to another place and this morning was no exception.  As I lose more weight, I notice how much easier it is to move around each time.  Bones are starting to appear on my body that are supposed to be there, like the ones around my wrist, ankles and collar.  I can feel my hips as I sway down the street.  I feel sort of like a bear coming out of hibernation.  I was hidden for so long, of my own choosing, but I can enjoy the beauty that surrounds me.  That includes myself.  There are things that are very beautiful about me.  I'm not talking physically (that would be conceited!), but I mean just about my spirit.  When I am happy, you can see it. 

Does this mean I am saying I am happy?  Actually ... yes.  I have a lot of things I am going through, but down deep, despite the challenges that I am facing, today I can honestly say am happy.  I have let the work thing go from the other day and I am putting me and my health as the number one priority.  No one else is going to do it for me, that's for sure.  I really feel God blessing me and I'm present enough to receive it.

Friday, March 23, 2012

But I don't want to feel

I just had a supremely awful day yesterday that seeped into today a little bit. I was so livid driving home and darn it if I didn't have to sit in the feelings. I won't go into the whole drama of what happened since I'll be typing into next Tuesday if I did, but it involved someone at our district office at work throwing me under the bus for something that was not my responsibility whatsoever and me needing to defend myself. In the end, this person was rewarded for not doing her job and the work was pushed on to someone else. I was so angry when I got home yesterday. Thankfully I have evidence to the contrary through e-mails, but I still was so pissed off.   I try to do the right thing as much as I can and be a good person, so it really is hard to stomach when someone who doesn't just gets away with things.  I do believe what goes around comes around, but I have to then deal with my feelings about it in the meantime.  And I have to admit that I felt like I was a little girl, stomping my feet and pouting as I sulked off to my room saying, "But Mooom, it's not fair."  Isn't that one of the biggest lessons in life, that things just are not fair?? 

Here's the amazing part of this, though.  I did not and do not have to eat over this.  No amount of junky food or healthy food, for that matter, is going to take away anger, disappointment, fear, or whatever other emotions I was feeling.  There was never that moment for me where I was looking for food to eat.  That is a huge switch for me, let me just say that right now.  Before, I would have been mindlessly on the hunt in the kitchen.  If there was nothing in the house, then I would go out to search for food like a drug addict trying to score her dope in a dark alley or an alcoholic heading to the liquor store looking over his shoulder.  I had done it many times before ... driving through fast food places, stocking up at the grocery store for a binge or whatever other stupid thing I was convinced would take away feelings that I just did not want to sit in.  Thankfully, though, I'm in place where my health is very important to me and it is just not worth it.  It's not even just physical health, but emotional and spiritual health as well.  Can I tell you all what an amazing miracle that is?  There is absolutely no one stopping me from doing any of those things right now.  I'm in my house alone, waiting for a repairman, and I could do real damage.  The difference is, though, that I am not choosing that right now.  God is really helping me to remember that I am not walking through life alone.  I don't have to solve problems with my face in a container of ice-cream (as if that ever worked anyway).  No, I deserve so much better than that. 

Admittedly, while the anger is still there a little bit, I am in a much better place for having written this.  I can treat myself and my body with loving kindness, not punish it like I have done for so many years.  In fact, I think it's about time for another lovely Optifast shake with yummo Torani sugar-free syrup.  Oh, by the way, I discovered I fit into the next smaller size today.  Yahoo!!!  Happy, happy, joy, joy.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Weekly weigh-in

I had my group tonight and lost another 5 pounds for a total of 58 pounds in 6 weeks.  Hooray!!  However, I have to be honest.  When I got off the scale after weighing in, I actually was disappointed in my loss.  I thought to myself, Why did I only lose 5 pounds?  I actually got back on the scale and weighed myself again.  Then I started blaming myself for drinking so much water today or not drinking enough throughout the week.  Ugh, horrible thinking!  Most people would be grateful for those 5 pounds.  That's when I caught myself and remembered to get a little perspective.  58 pounds in 6 weeks is amazing, so I'll take those 5 pounds with no problem. 

When we were in our group, we were talking about our losses.  I told everyone I was down 58 pounds so far and they all clapped for me.  Then when I told my story about being disappointed with 5 pounds, my counselor told me that he has never had a woman in 30 years of his being a counselor in this program lose as fast as I have.  So, essentially, Get over yourself, Kathy!!!  Okay, okay, I'm over it now.  I feel so much better, I even look better.  My clothes are ridiculously big on me when I don't have safety pins holding them onto my body.  Guess I better break out the sewing machine this weekend to start taking things in.  I really am in a grateful place, I can't even stress that enough.  I am 100% committed to this program and I have such an incredible support system.  Really, all my friends, co-workers and family are amazingly supportive.  They are my biggest cheerleaders and I could not do this without them.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


I've made a couple little changes to my blog that I'm excited about, mostly because I figured out how to do it all on my own.  It's kind of sad when you're sitting at your laptop and clap when you discover something new all on your own, like a big girl!!  So, I added my story, my weight loss stats that I'll be updating every week and photos of how I'm doing.  I'm going to try my best to keep up on it because I need to do it for me.  Seeing myself in pictures is helping considerably, especially when I can't see it on my own body when I don't have the pictures to refer to.  All I do is get critical when I look in the mirror, critical of how much further I have to go, instead of celebrating how far I've come so far.  I am so glad I am doing this, though.  I don't want to be in this same space 20 years from now, God-willing!

Challenging times but motivation

Part of this process in losing weight is so difficult and I just need to say that.  Today I had a hard day with emotions.  I have a work injury that I have been trying to deal with.  I have had physical therapy and surgery, but it's not better. Thankfully I have an attorney to help me wade through this process and is helping me to get the medical care I need.  However, today when I was seeing the doctor (a different one) and he was putting some gel on my hands that helps with the pain, I just started crying.  The thing about me is I am good in a crisis - I handle things well in the moment.  It is in the after moments that things start to hit me and I think that's where I was today.  I felt like I was really being taken care of, just in those few moments, and it was very nice but also hard.  I think it was tough because I realized I don't do enough to take care of myself, a contributing factor that led to the perfect storm of me going on Optifast in the first place.  There is safety and security, however false, behind the food.  When that crutch is gone, all you are left with is you, being forced to walk through the feelings.  So that is what I am doing.  However, I do have motivation to keep going on this road.  Below are pictures I took of me behind the steering wheel.  The red one is before I started the program.  Look how close I am to the steering wheel.  I drove like that, my tummy touching everytime I was in the car. The black one is a picture I took this morning.  They are behind the same wheel in the same car (looks a little different because one is during the middle of the day and the other was under dark clouds) and my seat is in the same exact position.

It's tangible stuff like that that helps me remember the food is going to do nothing for me that I think it might when I'm having a moment of wanting to go to it.  I love the black and white of doing this program.  It almost makes it easy to say I'm not going to go to the food because I know I am not supposed to have it.  I say "almost" easy because really it is not easy at all.  It's the hardest thing I've ever done in my life to not be in the food and, instead, walk through emotions that might pop up.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Weekly weigh-in

I am not able to go to my group tonight, but I did go during lunch to weigh in and get my supplements for the next week.  When I got on the scale and did the calculations in my head, I thought I had lost 7 pounds all day long.  Goes to show I can't do math - it wasn't until I came to my computer to update my blog that I discovered I actually lost 8 pounds.  Well yee-haw!!  So I'm up to 53 pounds lost in 5 weeks.  That's pretty amazing.  What is even more amazing is what was going through my head as I was on the scale ... Oh, I hope I didn't gain any weight, I hope I at least stayed the same.  It was totally ludicrous.  Here I am, having just about 500 calories a day and I'm actually questioning if I lost weight?  I have not eaten anything I wasn't supposed to and I've been having my shakes religiously.  It's just the shitty committee in my head doing a number on me.  I need to do some more work around graciously accepting that I am losing weight and that I can finally acknowledge it is happening.  I have so much stress in my life right now, but that does not, in any way, take away from the weight loss.  It's a blessing and such a gift.  I really feel God's presence with me as I wade through this journey.  I don't do it alone.  I can't ever forget that very important lesson in my life.  I need to honor this process and say thank you more often.  So, thank you God!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pics of progress

Here's an update of how I'm looking since I started the program almost 5 weeks ago. I weigh in on Monday nights, so this is as of 45 pounds lost.  Can't deny I see it in my face on the left picture when I compare the before and after.  Hate the side view, but it is what it is. 

Taken at my body assessment prior to starting.

45 pounds lost

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Clothes that don't fit

Before I bought my house two years ago, I had boxed up some of the clothes I had that no longer fit me.  The sizes run the gamut, but they were all things that were reminders that my body was too big for anything cute.  I think most of you know what I mean ... when you're a certain size, they stop making things that make you feel good and instead make things that are frumpy, solids or just way too functional.  So when I moved into the house, the boxes came with me and I decided that it was time to finally give the clothes away.  I had my mom go through them since she's a little bit smaller than me and then put the boxes in my spare bedroom.  The next task was to donate them to charity.  Today I went to the boxes and pulled some of the clothes out just to see if maybe, just maybe some of them fit me.  To my utter disbelief, a lot of the pieces not only did fit me but were actually too big on me.  Can you imagine??  Not everything fit because there were about 5 different sizes represented, but it looks like I won't be donating those clothes any more, except to myself.  This journey is exciting in so many ways and so darn emotional.  You can't imagine the feelings I had inside when pants that I couldn't even get over my hips or hope to squeeze into were too big on me.  It really is a miracle on earth. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Does stress mean I give it all up?

Today was a very stressful day for me in so many different ways.  In the past, I know I would have been in the food to somehow handle it all.  Between physical pain, emotional turmoil and a workload that is not slowing down, it was rough.  But, thankfully, today I made a different choice and elected to walk through it.  I still had my Optifast shakes and did not pick up any food.  Thank you, God, for the strength for that.  I realized that exactly one month ago today I started Optifast and a new journey in my life.  I have not had any food outside of shakes and chicken broth.  I'm proud of myself for sticking it out.  I wore the outfit today I had on during my body assessment.  It was amazing to see what huge difference I am already feeling.  I think I'll post pictures in a few days to share my changes in a more tangible way.  What is so interesting to me is that, in my head, I think no one can see the difference.  Then I found out today that students at the high school where I work are talking about how much weight I've lost already.  In fact, one of our office assistants is going to talk to me to see what I'm doing as an alternative to surgery.  It is a great alternative.  I never realized how much I would love the program, but I totally do!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Weekly weigh-in

My weigh-in last night showed I lost 9.5 pounds during the week, giving me a total of 45 pounds after a month of doing the program.  I'm very excited about the changes that are occurring.  Things are getting easier and easier as the days pass.  One of the very interesting things I find when I tell someone who didn't know that I'm doing Optifast is that they feel the need to tell me about some other diet to go on and how losing weight is simply pushing away from the table.  Someone said that to me today while I was making a shake at work.  I looked at her with an expression on my face as if to say, "Are you serious right now???"  But, whatever, that's their thing and not mine.  If they keep on it, I'll tell them that I have found what I am doing that feels good for me and that their support is all I'm looking for.  People can be so frustrating sometimes.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Dreams & seat belts

I had a very vivid dream that the scale showed I didn't lose any weight this week.  Obviously it's not the worst thing in the world not to lose any weight, but I think that really isn't reality for me right now.  I'm only having about 500 calories a day between my shakes and allowable chicken broth and have a long road to go with the weight loss.  I'm getting all the nutrients in through the shakes and take a couple of pills for supplements, they just all happen to add up to about 500 calories.  I'm feeling great ... and that can be part of the problem.  Not a problem in a bad way, but it can explain why I had the dream.  My body is changing before my very eyes.  I have pants that don't stay up now, tops that are very baggy and that's just after almost a month since my first weigh-in.  I can really see the change in my face.  The double chin I have always had is shrinking pretty fast.  The other place I can really see it is when I'm sitting in my car.  I had gotten a seat belt extension for my SUV to wear at my highest weight and I decided the other day to take it off to see if maybe I didn't need it anymore.  I just had a gut feeling about that.  Lo and behold, I not only fit in the seat without it but actually have room to spare with the regular seat belt.  My tummy would almost touch the steering wheel and that's significantly changed, too.  It's amazing what's happening to me.  If I was not on the full-fast, I don't know if I'd handle it near as well as I am without food.  I feel like this is my time to really have some freedom with the food gone and retrain my brain to do things differently.  Anyway, my next weigh-in is on Monday night, so I'll check in afterwards with an update.