Monday, June 30, 2014

Pre-op class #23, weekly weigh-in and returning to just a little work

One more pre-op class to go for my weight loss surgery... eeek!  This is getting really intense.  So here's what's left of my process:

  1. Attend the last pre-op class next week.  During that time, the facilitator will determine if I need to go back and see the doctor who originally approved me for surgery if I have not lost within ten pounds of my ten percent goal.  As it looks like right now, I will probably have to do that.
  2. The facilitator will send my paperwork down to Kaiser's Positive Choice clinic to their director, who will contact me to see the doctor.
  3. After I have seen that doctor, I will be instructed to do lab work where they will be drawing blood to run tests.
  4. Once the test results are in, I will then need to participate in an ambulatory test to ensure I am able to walk.  This consists of walking around an office building five times at my own pace.  That is a cinch ... I just walked ten miles a couple of days ago so I think I'm good.
  5. The next step is to schedule an appointment to meet with three doctors at Pacific Bariatric where they will be performing the surgery:  psychiatrist, internist and surgeon. When I meet with the surgeon, my surgery will be scheduled.
At this point, it looks like the surgery will be happening in September.  I'm a little disappointed with that since I'm not really working during the summer and it would have been great to do it now.  However, I understand it is what it is so I will need to contact the director of my master's program and let him know I won't be able to start classes with my cohort in September.  That's certainly not the worst thing in the world.  I was just anxious to get going on the classes but it's not as if it's going anywhere.  I will have to determine how much time to take off of work when the time is right.  The surgeon prefers that we take six weeks off to give our bodies the best chance to recover.  We can return to work sooner if we feel up to it, but he does expect us all to take the six weeks if possible.  My principal, administrator and quite a few others at work know I am going to have surgery and have been super supportive.  I have well over a thousand sick hours on the books, so it's not as if I don't have the time.  It's just hard for me, especially working in a busy high school, to take that much time off, even if deemed medically necessary.  It's probably my work ethic ... I just don't want to let anyone down.  I do believe they can get a sub in and I know a great one so it is possible that life goes on without me.  Letting go is so hard when you like to have control of things.  

Speaking of my class, I lost a couple of pounds this week so I'm happy about that.  Steadily going down is great.  This week we talked about ways of coping with stress instead of eating.  Here are some suggestions as given to us in class:
  • Learn to say no.
  • Listen to my body.
  • Let go of what is not working.
  • Accept myself as is.
  • Say yes to feeling good.
  • Find time each day to be a lone.
  • Simplify my life.
  • Talk about or write out what's worrying me.
  • Take time to be touched.
  • Develop a sense of humor.
Something that really struck a chord with me was this:  I must be willing to leave those parts of my life that no longer serve me.

Do you have those moments when you're in a room full of people but then you read something or hear something that makes you feel like you're all alone with God and everyone else is tuned out, even for just a brief moment?  That was what I felt when I read that.  When I was a kid, I was physically abused for a very long time and raped when I was a teenager.  Unless you've been the victim of those things, it's hard to articulate the feelings you go through, especially as a child.  You feel lost, abandoned and very, very small.  I didn't run to anyone and tell what was going on.  Instead, what I did was I hid inside myself and I ate food.  Food was my escape, my solace in a world I couldn't quite understand.  Food let me not feel pain and somehow made things better in the moment.  

As an adult, I no longer am abused and no longer surround myself with people that can hurt me.  Every person in my life today is there because I have chosen them to be there.  I'm no longer having those feelings of loss, terror or abandonment.  So the food no longer has to be a solace and I can let go of this need to run to it when I'm feeling some sort of emotion I am uncomfortable with.  When I'm bored, I really don't have to go eat something to fill up that moment.  When I come home from work, I really don't have to head straight to the kitchen.  Food no longer has the role it once did in my life.  Especially as I head into surgery, I must leave the part of my life that no longer serves me.  I know it's easier said than done, for many of us, but it takes practice.  That's what my program's facilitator reminded me of tonight ... these things will take time and practice.

Tomorrow I'm going to return to work for just a few days to sub for a co-worker.  She is on a 12-month contract, so I'm coming in while she spends some time with family coming from out of town.  Knowing I wouldn't have as much time to play this week as normal (I know, you are hating me right now, aren't you??), I went with a friend down to Seaport Village today here in San Diego.  Here are some pics of our adventures. FYI, even when there is June gloom going on in the weather, always wear suntan lotion.  Always.  Just sayin'.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Pre-op class #22, weekly weigh-in and my vacation

I really need to kick it up on my blog posting.  With so much going on in the next few months, I'm going to need the outlet more than ever.  Let's see, I had my 22nd pre-op class this past Monday.  I lost a pound.  Is that even newsworthy?  Okay, I know ... a pound is a pound.  It is making me work out more this week though.  I was really disappointed with the number but I gained before that so I will choose to be grateful for the loss.

The class was a pretty intense one.  Of course, when are they not intense lately?  The topic was on creating a healthy lifestyle.  While I was not crazy about six months of pre-op classes when I started this process towards bariatric surgery, I can say that I am so glad for it now.  We talk about so much more than just the semantics of the surgery itself.  While it's important to know what we will be going through and how to best take care of our bodies before and after surgery, I find dealing with the emotional aspects much more valuable to me.  I can research until I'm blue in the face about the gastric bypass or vertical sleeve, but how am I going to incorporate emotional positivity into my life?  How will I know I am on track for success?

Thankfully I have already started incorporating healthy choices into my lifestyle now.  In fact, as I sit here at my dining room table and write, I am cooling down from a very sweaty workout.  I'm actually sitting here in baggy sweat pants and a loose t-shirt, thank you very much :)  That feels really good.  I've logged all of my food in for the day into MyFitnessPal.  I'm checking my blood sugar to make sure it is in the appropriate range.  These are all things I do for myself now that I can continue doing after the surgery as well.  One of the things discussed in the class this week was about expecting to succeed.  That is such an important thing for me to remember because a great concern I have is, "What if I have the surgery and then fail?"  The point I need to always remember is that I don't have to fear failure if I approach it with the mindset that I will succeed.  And why will I succeed?  Well, because I am putting in the work.  These results come from work, not osmosis.

A very difficult question that came up in class was, "How will I deal with guilt, shame and self-recrimination?"  I wrote down some things that our facilitator shared with us that I'd like to share with all of you:

Self-compassion:  being mindful rather than obsessing over personal weaknesses or imperfections.  This is recognizing you're like everyone else ... you're not unique.  Being kind rather than judgmental.  Talk to yourself as you would a beloved friend.

I shared with the group that I find this to be the biggest challenge of my life and one that I will need to constantly work on.  I am always so self critical.  I try to catch myself in the moment, but really that's easier said than done.  I'll be looking in the mirror, feeling really good about myself, and then everything goes to hell in a hand basket when I put on some clothes that don't cover up my arms.  In a matter of seconds, my good mood is blown and I'm feeling awful about myself.  I know I'm not alone in these feelings; many people feel the same way about themselves.  My challenge, though, is that I need to find a way of being in the moment without choosing to eat over these uncomfortable feelings.  Sitting in it is not a pleasant thought.  I've spent my whole life running away from uncomfortable feelings and now, especially after the surgery, I won't be able to run any longer.

Whew, that's all really heavy stuff!  I've been on summer vacation for over a week now and I love it.  It's amazing how quickly I have forgotten about work and am in relaxation mode.  In my summer of rediscovering my beautiful San Diego, I visited Balboa Park yesterday with a friend.  Balboa Park is a huge urban park with quite a few museums and well as other points of interest.  There is a lot to see and do there.  If you are a resident of San Diego county, some of the museums are free on Tuesdays.  So yesterday we went to several of them and just walked around.  We hit the San Diego Automotive Museum, San Diego Air & Space Museum, San Diego Hall of Champions and more.  We were there moving around for five hours. We had a great time and it was all free!  Of course I took some pictures.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A very good day

I am beyond thrilled to report that I received the letter in the mail from the dermatologist's office and my biopsies came back benign/normal.  Hooooray!  The letter actually came yesterday but I just checked the mail this morning.  I'm still dealing with the pain of having skin carved out of my body, but that will certainly heal.  Being without cancer is my biggest priority.

I picked up my mother this morning and took her for a walk on the beach.  She was excited to go with me, but did tell me that she hasn't exercised in a while so we would need to go a little slower.  She actually was going faster than me and I had to tell her to slow down.  My mom is over 20 years older than me and I freakin' had to tell her to slow down.  I didn't feel great about that but then I caught myself in the moment ... we all have our own issues and I don't need to beat myself up over the fact that I may need to walk slower.  Here's a picture of us doing a selfie about a mile in.

Forgive our sweatiness!  Looking at this picture, I feel like a giant.  I never realized how much taller I am than my mom.  I believe she's 5'5" and I'm almost 5'10".  We ended up walking over 8,000 steps in our jaunt.  My mom called me later in the day and told me she was already feeling soreness in her legs and ankles.  Hmm, so it appears there's another reason for me not to beat myself up - my mom was walking fast but at a cost.  She did tell me that she'd like to do that every Sunday with me to get exercise in and to keep her away from spending time in local casinos.  I'm all for that.  So next time we'll walk slower and maybe have her stretch out beforehand.

Later in the day, I had dinner with a friend.  We had the most scrumptious sushi.  Here's what I had.

I know, it looks amazing and, trust me, it tasted just as amazing.  It had five different types of baked fish, avocado and a delicious spicy sauce on top.  We talked about a lot of different things but one thing we spent a lot of time discussing is my upcoming surgery.  It turns out that her husband is a nurse in the very hospital where I will be having my surgery.  As I get closer to the time when it will happen, part of me feels very nervous while another part of me feels incredibly at peace.  Don't even ask me how I could be feeling both those things at the very same time.  I think, more than anything else, I switch those feelings depending on the day.  I have absolutely no pause with moving forward with the gastric bypass, but it's just an incredibly major surgery that will alter the rest of my life.  That's something I want, though.  The change to my life, while it is difficult on the one hand to know I will never be able to eat the same way again, is for a greater quality of life and prolonged good health.  To know that I may wake up from surgery without diabetes and sleep apnea is a really big deal.  Even if it doesn't happen instantaneously like that, the potential is there and that means a great deal to me.  That's why people such as me opt for surgery.  A good quality of life is very important.  I live in pain 24/7 and to know I have the potential of being pain-free or at least in significantly less pain is a really big deal.  Huge in fact.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Staycation in Southern California

I haven't heard back from my dermatologist's office yet on the results of the biopsies I had done on Monday.  No news is good news I suppose.  I did have a little bit of a scare because I received a call from Kaiser on Wednesday.  As soon as I saw the name splashed across my cell phone, my heart immediately started beating faster.  I had nothing to worry about, though ... it was just a routine call from my primary care doctor's office.  Whew!

I have been enjoying my summer so far, though.  It's funny how quickly I forgot about work.  I do periodically check my email for important messages because there's a few things going on that I can't neglect over the summer but other than that I'm pretty free.  I will be subbing for our principal's assistant for three days next month, but I'm not taking classes or trips over this summer so I'm really in relaxation mode.  I do want to work on some projects around my house, but primarily I want to focus the most on myself and preparing myself for the upcoming bariatric surgery.  I just have two weeks to go and then I will be done with my pre-op classes.  Eeeeek!  At times it seemed so slow and other times it felt like it whipped by.  

Since I will be in staycation mode, I have decided to make this summer one where I rediscover my beautiful San Diego.  I have lived in the county since 1974 and I often times forget why it is such a destination for many people going on vacation.  Yesterday I decided to make a list of some places I could potentially visit this summer.  I came up with almost thirty places that are free or almost free.  I do want to also include our beautiful beaches to explore.  I think we have something like 22 miles of beaches, some of which I haven't been to in a million years. While I probably won't be swimming in the ocean, practically all of them have walking paths near the shoreline.  

One of the fun places I went to yesterday was our lovely San Diego Zoo.  I have a funny story around this.  When I was a little girl, maybe five or six, we had gone on one of our trips to the zoo as a family before my parents were divorced.  On that particular visit, I came across life-size statutes of gorillas.  As a little girl, the size of these things frightened me so much that I was wailing at just the mere sight of them.  When I say wailing, I mean I was representative of every child you dislike screaming in restaurants, airplanes and stores all rolled into one.  In fact, I was so scared that we had to leave the park.  Since that time, which was 1976 or 1977, I have not returned.  I don't know if it was because I was traumatized or what the reason was, but I never went back that I recall, even as an adult.  Here are some great pictures, including one where I encountered one of the gorilla statues again.


We had a great time and I laughed when I saw those statues again.  While they were the actual size, they were only busts on top of pillars.  Martha, you were absolutely right ... there are a lot of hills there.  When I got out of bed this morning, I felt it in my thighs.  They felt like they were on fire!  I ended up buying a year membership yesterday since it lets me get in free to both the zoo and the Wild Animal Park.  It's a great place to go walking and I can take a friend with me each time without having to pay extra.  While it's my goal to get in lots of exercise this summer, I think it's a great way to do it while also enjoying the sites.  

Monday, June 16, 2014

Pre-op class #21, weekly weigh-in and biopsies

I knew I had gained weight over the last two weeks and my class tonight confirmed it ... eight pounds.  Egads.  Yuck.  It's funny, I walked into my Kaiser class in a good mood.  Some of my friends even commented how good I looked.  I got on the scale and everything seemed to change.  My shoulders sort of slumped down and I seemed to drag myself back to my seat.  It wasn't a surprise to me though.  I wish I could say I had been doing all the right things but I wasn't.  I  hadn't been tracking my food every day like I was before and I certainly wasn't getting in all my exercise.  I'm not here to make excuses though.  It is what it is and the best I can do is to just be honest and move forward.

Tonight's class was about body image.  One of the exercises we did was to go around the room and say one thing we liked about our bodies.  Then, when we did that, our facilitator made us come up with one other thing.  Two whole things we like?  Hmm, why not just pull teeth out of my mouth without novacane?  That's what it felt like to me.  My two items were (1) my smile and (2) the strength I have to handle the chronic pain in my leg without crying in the corner day after day.  Body image is certainly something I need to work on.  As our facilitator pointed out, we need to work on loving and appreciating our bodies now, just as they are, and not waiting until some magical day when we have the surgery.  I get that.  We have to love ourselves before we can ever begin to take really good care of ourselves.  I remember when I had lost almost 200 pounds on Optifast.  Believe this or not, it was incredibly difficult for me to see any difference in my body from the 420-pound body I started out at.  I would go into stores and pick up the biggest size they had, like I used to do, not realizing that I could fit into 16's.  That's a distorted body image.  Some suggestions for things I can do to improve my body image, as described in our workbook, include:

  • Concentrate on things I do well.
  • Do physical things for fun.
  • Voice my opinions against poor body image messages others give me.
  • Be a role model of positive image.
  • Get rid of clothes that don't fit.
  • Don't buy clothing that I hope will fit me someday.
  • Remember that I am personality AND a body.
  • Remind myself of my positive qualities, not my size.
  • Be less critical of my weight.
  • Look at my body non-judgmentally.
Speaking of body image, boy do I have a story to tell about the visit to my dermatologist's office!  In yesterday's post I wrote about my check-up appointment with the doctor today.  I go about every 4-6 months now for a full-body check to make sure there are no questionable moles, discoloration or otherwise suspicious spots.  Up to this point, I have had five biopsies on my body after melanoma was first discovered.  I'm at the point that if something looks suspicious, the doc doesn't have to do anything to convince me to have it removed for a biopsy.  I would rather err on the side of caution then have that deadly cancer in my body again.  

So, anyway, I get to the appointment and I'm checking my cell phone while waiting my turn.  Usually a nurse will call from a door across the room but today someone came right up to me and asked my name.  "Miss B.?"  I looked up into the eyes of a clean cut, athletic, blue-eyed man who was smiling down at me and I wondered how he knew to come right up to me with a room full of patients and why was he so incredibly attractive?  He brought me back to the room, had me sit in a chair and then proceeded to check my blood pressure.  He seemed like he was flirty with me and I immediately looked at his ring finger.  Nope, nothing there.  I don't know why I did that, just habit I guess.  It's not like I was coming to the doctor's office to look for a date! After he was done doing his thing, he gave me a gown to get into for Dr. K, my dermatologist, as he left.  Dr. K. is this slight little man, a very good doctor who I feel very comfortable with.  

There were two spots on my body that were concerning.  I'm going to tell you about them so you can appreciate what I went through.  The first was under my left arm, right near the incision point where the melanoma surgeon checked my lymph nodes to ensure the cancer hadn't spread.  There was a mole there Dr. K didn't like the look of during my last visit, so he looked at it again and wanted to biopsy it.  Then, he went on inspecting the rest of my body.  This is the time where I feel as big as a house.  He doesn't make me feel that way, it's just the way I feel.  It's about my insecurities and body image issues.  Then I told Dr. K. that there was an area in my pubic region (TMI, sorry!) that had a discolored spot and I was concerned.  I wondered aloud to him if I should have my gynecologist look at it first but he told me, no, he could take a look at it.  Because I was going to have at least one biopsy done, he needed to call in his nurse for assistance, and particularly because we were going to look at the second one in a sensitive area.

So who comes bounding into the room after Dr. K. opened the door and called out for assistance?  Nurse McHottie.  Dr. K. went on to say to me that McHottie comes from the neurology department and he has a lot of experience.  There's a certain age you reach when you decide that you aren't going to be shy any more in front of medical professionals, but dang it, why did it have to be in front of someone who should be arrested for being so good-looking?  The first thing they were going to look at was the private area.  So Dr. K. holds a hand-held mirror, Nurse McHottie helps me up on a step ladder and they are both standing in front of me as I lower my underwear down so they could take a look at the area that I identified as an issue.  Could I be any more mortified???  Dr. K. is staring at it with his dermatology tools and said, "Yup, we better biopsy this area, too."  I laid on the table while he injected a numbing agent into me and proceeded to ask me if I had any plans for the summer.  Seriously?  Seriously?  McHottie was on the side trying to keep me calm.  Then, after that was done, I had to lay on my side with my arm above my head in just a bra so that they could biopsy the other area.  A numbing agent went in there too and Dr. K. was still trying to coax out of me my summer plans.  After he was done and started typing things into the computer, McHottie was treating the wound and putting band-aids on me.  While all of this was going on, I was fully aware that we were flirting just a few minutes before.  It was innocent little flirting, nothing that made me uncomfortable.  Here I was, boobs spilling out of my bra, gown practically off my body and feeling pain.  Like I said, M-O-R-T-I-F-I-E-D.

As I sit here now, I have to chuckle to myself.  The irony was not lost on me that we were talking about body image things today.  It's in these moments that I realize I just have to get over myself.  Yes, I'm self-conscious but there's no need to be.  McHottie was not the first person to flirt with me recently, I've actually had a handful of others.  I always say there's something in the water in a joking way, rationalizing that the reason men are hitting on me is because it's a full moon.  It's such a self-deprecating thing to do.  At least I could see the humor in the situation.  In terms of the biopsies, if I hear from the doctor on the phone, it means something came back malignant (not good) but if I receive them in the mail, then it means they are benign (fine).  Here's hoping the phone doesn't ring!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Those too-close-for-comfort booths

Yesterday I spoke with my mom and she told me she was robbed a couple of days ago at her dentist's office of $855.  This morning I took her out to breakfast so that we could talk.  We went to a place I have never been before and, when we walked into the restaurant, I wanted to leave.  They only had booths there and they were small.  I was afraid I wouldn't fit, but I didn't want the visit to be about me.  I barely fit into the booth.  Actually, I really didn't fit. It was cutting off my circulation, but I just kept silent and was there to support my mother.

Thankfully my mom is okay.  She has been heartsick since this happened and so was I.  My mother could have been hurt and, for a purely selfish reason, $500 of that money was for me.  She was trying to pay me back some money she borrowed about a year ago.  In the end, though, it is just money and obviously human life is so much more important.  She hadn't reported the incident to the police, so I convinced her to do so.  Even if the worst happens and she can't get the money back, maybe it will prevent it from happening to someone else.

After we said our goodbyes, I had planned to go to the beach for a walk but I turned around and drove back home.  I was feeling as big as a house after sitting in that booth and I just felt so insecure to then head down to the beach.  I know no one really cares.  The place where I walk has a path near the water designed for walkers, runners and bikers.  It is meant for people with clothes on trying to get exercise in right along the water versus those laying out on the beach in their bathing suits. In that moment though, having squeezed in that booth, I just wanted to go home.  Perhaps it was to hide away.  I just don't know.  I was able to exercise later in the day, so I pushed through and sort of got over myself.  It felt good to sweat and walk away the tension I was feeling.  It's important for me to do that and not to eat over all of that.

Tomorrow I have a doctor's appointment with my dermatologist.  It's a melanoma check-up appointment.  I'm a bit concerned because I think he's going to perform two biopsies on me.  There's a mole under my arm near where the surgeon did an incision to check on the spread of the cancer.  The last time I saw the dermatologist, he was concerned about it and warned that he may want to do a biopsy.  Then I found another spot in a very private area that is causing me a little bit of stress.  It looks suspicious.   By this time, I know what to look for in terms of new spots on my body or changes on spots already existing.  I know that, in the past, I would try to run away from the fear toward food and make some excuse not to go in and see the doctor especially since it's in a private area.

Burying my head in the sand is not going to erase the facts of the situation.  Besides, I get to take this one step at a time.  I'm going to tell the doctor what's concerning me, he will take a look at the two areas and then only perform biopsies if he feels it is necessary.  This does not mean I have cancer, just concerns at this point.  I tell you, the black and white thinking is so hard to get away from but it's what I must do. I know there are shades of grey in this world and that I don't need to jump to the worse case conclusion.  Geez, why do I do that anyway?  Of course I'll report what the doctor decided to do so stay tuned.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Two months of whatever I want

My end of the school year craziness at work is over and now I'm on summer break for eight weeks.  Hooray!  It was pretty rough for me at the end, but no one really knows the extent of it because I just keep most of it inside.  It's difficult because I'm not one to just "dump" all of my complaints at work.  I mean, yes, I will complain about situations with kids or perhaps other staff to colleagues but generally not when it comes to the intricacies of my work.  The truth is that no one else is there to do it except me.  When I'm absent, no one picks up my work ... it just sits there waiting for me to come back.  We're all really busy anyway, I'm not unique.  I might have more responsibilities than some, but it's not as if we're just twiddling our thumbs.

Since this is my blog and I'm here to write about what's going on with me, I can talk about some things that I haven't necessarily shared with most people.  I am a part of the counseling department at the high school where I work.  I am not a counselor.  My title is Guidance Technician.  In some respects, I have a lot of crossover in duties with the counselors and there are many times when kids come in to see me instead of their counselor.  They have mentioned that they prefer to see me, even though they know I'm not their counselor.  When I can help them, I will but I will also send them to see their counselor when appropriate.  I do that because of liability issues and also, frankly, because I don't get paid what they are paid.  While it is not about the money, it is about a respect level.  I certainly don't want to be taken advantage of just because I know the answers.  I have struggled with my role a lot because while I am part of the department, I feel like a stepchild.  Some comments have been made recently that have made me feel this more than ever.  I am trying to choose my words carefully right now because I know some friends I work with read this blog regularly so I don't want to go into too many details.  We said goodbye to one of our counselors yesterday as she is headed off to a higher position elsewhere in our district and she has been a good friend.  I was incredibly emotional about this, even though I know we will still remain friends.  It's just hard saying goodbye.  While dealing with those issues, I have been in a world of tremendous physical pain.

At the end of the year, I am in charge of our senior awards ceremony and heavily involved in graduation activities.  Standing on my feet for long periods of time, especially when I'm not wearing sneakers, leaves my body in so much pain that I really can't adequately describe.  When you are 200 pounds overweight, your poor body can only take so much.  For me, the last few days have been about a lot of pain in my lower back, the chronic pain in my legs and on in my feet.  By the time graduation was over, I could only spend a few minutes at a graduation party because my legs and back were on fire.  Even now, a few days later, they still hurt.  Of course I would do it all over again because I love our kids and was so proud to see them graduate.  My body just goes through a lot that it really can't take on a day to day basis.  This year I was back down on the field with our graduates, dressed in my cap and gown with the hood on my back in my college colors.

As I was sitting down on the field, I got nervous in the chairs, sure I was about to break the one I was sitting in.  It's irrational thinking because the chairs are sturdy.  Truly, it's based on a fear of have of being in the stadium and I fall on the ground because I've broken my chair.  This irrational fear is the same one I have with heights and thinking that the bridge I may be standing on just can't support my weight so I'm going to fall.  As you can clearly see from my writing, I have a lot of issues around weight.  As I move forward, closer to the time when I will be going in for my bariatric surgery, there is a lot of hopefulness in me about it helping relieve pain.  This is why it has never been a vanity decision for me, not at all.  I frankly want to be in far less pain than I am in now.  It hurts so much being in this body.

Looking at the positives, since I'm off for two months, I can spend a lot of time working on my health leading up to the surgery.  I am not planning on going on any big trips or taking classes during the summer.  I do want to do some work on my house, but also spend time exercising and practicing habits I've learned in my Kaiser pre-op classes to help me be successful with the surgery.  I'm so grateful for having been through the classes because I just feel so much more prepared than the people I know who have not had the benefit of the classes.  I desperately want to be successful with the surgery and I know that if I keep talking about whatever is on my mind and I follow the rules given to me, I will be successful.  I just pray I continue to remember that along the way.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Where in the world is Miss Kathy Jean?

Hi everyone.  I'm sure you've noticed I've been quiet in my neck of the woods.  I'm so sorry, but it always gets like that at this time of the year when I'm preparing for the end of the school year.  I'm in charge of our senior awards ceremony and it takes up a lot of my time.  Thankfully it will happen on Monday afternoon so I'll be able to return to normal life.  After that, we have a senior breakfast, senior picnic and then graduation.  Speaking of graduation day, I definitely have to pace myself because it's going to be super busy.  Here's what it will look like that day:  graduation practice with our seniors which includes showing them how to march into our stadium, helping the senior girls put on their caps and gowns in a security area, handing out stoles to all the graduates (approximately 600) to wear in the ceremony, doing security in our theater while we all wait to start, throw on my own cap and gown, help the students line up as we near start time for the processional down to the field, run ahead to the staff line as we begin the march onto the field, participate in the actual ceremony down on the field, help with crowd control as students turn in their gowns and pick up their diplomas after the ceremony and then head over to a graduation party afterwards.  Whew!!  I'm exhausted just typing that out.  Speaking of the cap and gown, I got mine yesterday.  This is the first time in all the marches I've done that I will now get to wear a hood with my university colors representing my degree since I received mine last year.  Whenever I marched in our high school's graduation in past years, I've always longed for those colors adorning my gown.  To me, it represents years of sitting in classrooms at night after a full day of work and soldiering on even when I sometimes wanted to quit.  It's about perseverance, which I try to impart to kids all the time.  My degree hangs on my wall in my office at work and it's a reminder to me to never give up.

On the weight loss front, I've been slacking on my workouts the last couple of weeks.  I've been so tired with all the end-of-the-school year craziness that I'm just pooped out by the end of the day.  Friday will be my last day and then I have eight glorious weeks of summer break.  I wish it was paid summer break, but I guess you can't have everything!  I'm so excited that I will have the time to refocus my energies and give myself what I need to take care of my body.  In one month from today, I will have my last bariatric pre-op class.  It's so insane how quickly these last five months have gone.  When I first started the class, like most everyone else, I dreaded having to do the six months of education and group work.  However, I have met some amazing new friends in there and have grown so much.  I'm much more mentally prepared for surgery.  Obviously it's going to be a big change in my life, but I have such great tools to handle it on a grander level than had I just hurriedly pushed through and got the surgery as soon as possible.  I won't have the ability to eat for comfort any longer and that's going to be a big adjustment since that's what I've done my entire life.  If I was happy, sad or just plain bored, I'd go to the kitchen to see what was in there to make me feel better.  I won't be able to do that so I have to continue working to find other ways to handle those moments of being uncomfortable.

Anyway, I'm still here!