Sunday, September 28, 2014

Two left feet and my bout with fish

I have been really kicking butt with the exercise this past week.  I walked every day for at least an hour or more, if not doing other activities in addition to that. While the surgery is a tool, I'm the one that has to do the work.  There are people who have a gastric bypass or other form of weight loss surgery and manage to regain all of their weight.  I want to learn from their examples so that I don't repeat those mistakes.  I sacrificed too much and underwent a major surgery just to throw it away.  I know that I need to continue working on the emotional and mental part of this journey, as it is just as important as what I do physically.  My therapist has been wonderful and I'm so glad to be seeing her every two weeks or so.

Speaking of the physical, yesterday I decided that it was such a gorgeous day here that I needed to be outdoors and not stuck inside a gym.  I went to Discovery Lake, which is a regular place I've been to many times before.  Surrounding the lake are beautiful homes up in the mountains with trees, hiking trails and a paved road.  One lap around this road is about three quarters of a mile.  Since I was walking alone, I decided to bring my iPhone with me to listen to music.  I had a big bottle full of Crystal Light and went about my merry way.  In no time at all, I was moving at a really good pace and starting to sweat.  Every time a song came on from my music library that was a little bit of a slower pace, I would skip it to something more upbeat.  That really kept my pace great and my heart rate was definitely up.  On the fifth lap, I decided it would be my last one.  It was about noon and the sun was high in the sky.  It wasn't as hot as it has been, but still in the 80's.  As I was rounding a bend about halfway through the lap, I fast forwarded the song and I started to feel light-headed.  I was drinking my Crystal Light the whole way through but I was also starting to get hungry.  Then, the next thing I knew, I lost my footing.  I'm pretty sure it was caused by the light-headedness because I had been changing songs the whole way through and hadn't had a problem up to that point.  I stumbled and actually tripped on the edge of the pavement.  I knew I was going to fall so I tried to brace myself, still holding my phone in my right hand (I was more worried about that thing than anything else!).  I ended up landing elbow and hand first on my left side, I hit my left wrist and my knees hit the pavement.  Actually, my elbow and hand sort of slid into third base, so the pavement was like a huge grater on my skin.  It was not a graceful fall in the slightest.  No one was behind me but there were people walking far ahead of me.  I motioned to them that I was okay when they turned around to help me.  I just thought to myself that if I could just make it to the bathroom by the parking lot, I could wash everything off.  I did take my t shirt and tried to stop the gushing blood from my elbow, but that wasn't doing much for me.  By the time I made it to the bathroom, I was a hot mess.

After a few minutes of trying to clean up and pulling gravel out of my arm and knees, I called a friend who lives a few miles away to see if she had some bandaids.  She was so great ... by the time I got to her house, she had a whole triage thing set up in her kitchen!  There was hydrogen peroxide, Neosporin and guaze galore, along with hugs.  The pain, on the other hand, really hit me last night and especially today.  I feel like I got in a fight with a brick wall and the wall won.  My whole left arm is in pain, I lost a lot of skin when I slid and I've got bruises all over.  Taking a shower was painful and touching anything against my skin stings.  Geez, if you're gonna do something, do it all the way, right?  I know things will feel better in time, but it just reminded me that I have to be very careful with my body.  Having a tiny pouch now, even though it doesn't have room for a lot of food, still can very much affect my entire body.  

My pouch, I have discovered, is a very sensitive girl.  I've dumped eight times now.  It's not as if I'm keeping count, but it's a pretty traumatizing event and hard to forget.  I haven't even dumped on sugar or high-fat things, which we were warned about with gastric bypass surgery.  I'm being very diligent about reading labels to ensure I don't have more dumping.  Mine has been on food that, I think, has been too dry or the consistency just didn't work with my body.  A dear friend [hi honey!] suggested I try very moist tuna since there is so much protein.  In just a two ounce serving, it provides 11 grams of protein.  I figured I just had to give it a try and make sure that it's extra moist.  One of my friends, who had the gastric bypass done just like me, ate tuna that was too dry and ended up dumping by throwing up for an entire day.  I obviously didn't want to do that!  When my mom was staying with me after the surgery, she brought some food I could have after I was feeling well enough.  One thing was a can of tuna.  Now, when I say a can of tuna, most people envision a regular-sized can you can buy in any grocery store.  Oh no, not my mom!  Instead, she brought me this.

Just for the sake of comparison, I put a regular-sized can next to it.  That sucker that she brought me was over four pounds!  I didn't know they even made cans that huge.  After opening and draining it, I had to put most of it in the freezer.  Can you imagine how long it's going to take me to eat that whole thing with my little pouch?  Gotta love moms though.  Anyway, it went down very well.  I made sure it was super moist.  Maybe that's the reason I have dumped on other food.  I have to always be sure to have some sort of sauce or moistening agent with all of my more dense food, just to be on the safe side.

This process is all about learning and doing the work.  For those that think you can just have surgery and the weight will magically disappear, that's just not true at all.  It's especially tough for people, such as me, who have always been overweight and have battled food issues my entire life.  The coping mechanism I have always relied on - food - is gone now.  When I'm bored, happy, sad, frustrated, feeling joy or whatever emotion is going on, I can no longer turn to food.  I have to learn new ways of living and treating food just what it is supposed to be, nourishment.  Don't get me wrong, I make my food tasty.  But, when I can't eat more than about two ounces at one sitting, it's just a few bites and then I'm done.  I have this amazing salmon I bought, but I can't eat more than one ounce of it because it's so dense.  That blows my mind!  I also need to move my body a lot with exercise.  The way people treat me is already different and so there are many challenges along the way.  Welcome to my new reality!  I don't regret this decision, not at all. It's just not as easy as many people in society think it is.  Who knows, maybe someone reading my blog will be affected by my experiences and what I write about them.  


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