Date Night, Shiftcon and More…

Life has been pretty good over the last few weeks, but this has been one of the best weeks I’ve had in quite a while.

domenica-new-orleansTuesday night Michael and I went out for an early dinner at my favorite restaurant, which is located in the Roosevelt Hotel near my home. The food was delicious! I used to eat the majority of their thin pizza, but that night I was able to eat a small slice.

After dinner we walked into the lobby of the hotel because it’s always decorated beautifully at Christmas, and there were old-fashioned Christmas carolers singing all of my favorite tunes.

I also met Santa Claus that night, which was the highlight of the tree lighting! I’m pretty sure he was the real Santa too because he definitely looked the part.

santa-clausAfter the tree-lighting ceremony we walked back to my place to put our leftovers in the fridge, then we walked down to the Riverwalk. It’s only a few blocks from home too, so we stroll over there from time to time.

We stopped at the Riverwalk outlet mall and shopped. Okay, no…I shopped while Michael played Pokemon Go, and I was able to find the perfect Christmas gift for my dad.

It was also a healthy week for me, which makes me feel good. After hearing my primary doctor tell me that she’s “never seen anyone do so poorly” after weight-loss surgery I dropped another 6 pounds. I’ve added two since then, which brings me to 52 pounds lost since in the last 10 weeks. I’m not losing weight as quickly as I thought I would (or as quickly as others have lost,) but I’m losing. I’m not seeing it on the scale, but I’m feeling it in my clothes.

I bought a shirt last month that I couldn’t button yet hoping that it would fit by Christmas, but it fits now. I could wear it, but I have to drive an hour each way back to The Avenue because they forgot to remove the sensor. I’m glad I kept my receipt!

Now it’s the end of the week, and I spent the day at Shiftcon. I’ve been struggling to consume enough protein lately, but I resorted to drinking things that I don’t like. Thankfully, when I arrived at Shiftcon this morning I learned about a product called Vital Proteins, and it’s going to be a game changer for me.

The awesome folks at Vital Proteins sent me home with lots of unflavored protein that I can add to my coffee and most other things I consume, and it’s such a relief to know that I’ll have enough protein by the day’s end (without continuing to drink stuff that I find appalling.

There are so many awesome people and products at Shiftcon that I’m still a bit overwhelmed by it all (in a good way.) It was so nice to see my long time pal, Alyssa, and my fierce friend, Kia. We were Twitter partying together, which we’ll be doing again tomorrow at 4 pm. You should join us if you can to win some cool prizes!

shiftcon-twitter-party

Now I’m heading out again to have coffee with my friend, Amanda. I’m not ready for beignets, but it’s a great night for a warm and cozy drink.

I can’t wait to head back to Shiftcon tomorrow. I’m so glad it’s right here in my neighborhood because change is happening right in my backyard.

I’m feeling better than I have in months, maybe years. I feel smaller, healthier and lighter on my feet, and I’m starting to feel like this whole weight-loss surgery thing is working. I’m also working on exercising more, and this week I’ve really enjoyed it. (That’s a relief!)

 

 

 

Quiet, but Happy

I haven’t had much to say here lately. I’ve been busier than normal, which is a good thing because now I’m ready to relax and enjoy the holidays. I love this time of year!

I’ve been avoiding the scale for weeks now, and I’m happier that way. I know I must be losing pounds or inches or something because my clothes fit much better than they did, but I’m also retaining a lot of fluid this week.

When I spoke to the dietitian at my surgeon’s office a couple of weeks ago she told me to drink considerably more water than I had been drinking since surgery. I went from drinking about a gallon a day to drinking less than a bottle a day post-op. Now I’m drinking one to two bottles a day (at least,) but my goal is 4 bottles (or 64 oz.) I rarely reach that, but I’m starting to reach my protein goals on a daily basis, so I’m still making some progress.

This journey hasn’t been easy. I spent most of last month fighting feelings of anger and regret toward my choice to have surgery, but I’m over that now. I’ve made peace with my decision, and I seriously need to give it some time to work. I’m doing my best most days, which feels like enough right now.

A coupe of weeks ago I decided to focus on other things, and I’ve been much happier since then. I’ve gotten back to my old self, in that, I’m spending time with loved ones again, cooking, baking and enjoying work.

My Christmas tree is up thanks to my Christmas-loving boyfriend, who took time to pick it out and fluff it with me, and I’m almost finished with my holiday shopping.

My exercise restrictions were lifted last week, and my food restrictions are lifted this week. I don’t eat much at all, but I’m starting to get used to it. That’s been the weirdest adjustment so far. In fact, I may discuss that in a different post at some point.

Life is pretty good right now. I’m happy, and I have some big things to look forward to. The future is bright, and I’m thankful.

 

Hello, Normality

Last week was awesome. I felt good all week, and I am still feeling continued improvements on a daily basis. I went back to work last Monday, and being there made me feel so much better! It made me feel normal, which is something I had been craving lately.

kenlie-and-dadDad came into town on Tuesday. I was so happy to see him because it’s been almost a year since I was in Oklahoma. He was supposed to be in early afternoon, but due to delays he didn’t arrive until almost 7 pm. I worked until he arrived, then headed to the airport to pick him up once he landed. I didn’t realize how close my office is to the airport until last week, but that’s a good thing to know.

cafe-du-mondeI didn’t work Wednesday, so I could spend the day with Dad. We drove across the Causeway just because, and we had coffee at Cafe Du Monde every morning. Dad had beignets too, but oddly enough, I didn’t crave them at all. I seriously have not wanted anything sweet since I started the liquids phase prior to surgery, and that feels like a major win to me.

 

He met Michael the night he arrived, and we all drove to Mississippi to have dinner with Michael’s parents the following night. It was such a great evening, and it felt good to know that Dad really enjoyed his time with Michael’s family. Our dads chatted over dinner for hours, and I managed to eat two pieces of sushi.

kenlie-in-msI ordered a naruto roll, which was filled with spicy crab and wrapped in cucumber. I didn’t eat the cucumber, but I did manage to eat the inside of two pieces. I also ate a shrimp, a scallop and a few bites of zucchini that Michael and his mom shared with me.

We all laughed when we saw the picture we took together after dinner because Michael’s dad doesn’t smile in photos. Michael joked that catching his dad smiling in a photo is like seeing Big Foot. My mom and I are spending Thanksgiving with them, so maybe I’ll have to tell him jokes. I’ll just need to come up with a few funny ones first.

On Thursday I had to work, so I brought Dad to the office with me. My space was being renovated (because I have an awesome director who recognized that I needed more room,) but it was cool to show Dad where I work. I even tried out my new desk and chair while he was there. That afternoon I had to attend a networking thing, so Dad went to that with me too. I kept apologizing that we had to go to the meeting, but Dad actually enjoyed himself a lot. I think we both learned a few things too.

Later that evening Dad joined me for rehearsal at church. I’m a vocal leader on the worship team, and it was so good to be back in rehearsal with my people. Dad got to visit with my pastor for a few minutes, then I took him to Trader Joe’s for the first time. After that, Michael joined us at my place for dinner.

Dad flew back to Oklahoma on Friday morning. I dropped him off at the airport then headed into the office. When I got there my boss, who is also one of the best friends I’ve ever had, thought I had gone in to work, but my plan was to exercise. I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of exercising, but she insisted that I exercise instead. Everyone in the office felt that way. (How cool is it to work in an uplifting environment that also has a state of the art gym on site?) I walked around the track because the treadmill still makes me nervous for some reason, then I worked.

By the end of the week I was beat, but I still had a weekend to enjoy. I spent Friday night at home, and friends stopped by for a few minutes. I spent Saturday with Mom, and we shopped in a town that’s about an hour away from each of us. I bought a pair of jeans that was a size smaller than I expected, and I bought a few other fall items that were on clearance. (Why pay full price when my size is, apparently, changing?)

On Sunday I lead worship at church for the first time in weeks, and it felt so good to be back. Singing is one of my passions, serving Jesus and one of my passions, and I love connecting people with Him. I missed doing it, and even though I was a little more tired than usual, I jumped right back in. The entire worship experience was awesome, and after that I spent the day with Michael’s family. This time they came to New Orleans, and we had a great day. We went to dinner last night, where I ate a few bites of delicious food. I also spent a lot of time talking and trying not to eat too quickly.

I’m happy to say that I tolerated the foods I tried all week. My weight-loss seems to be stalled, but there’s not much I can do about that, apart from being more active and practicing patience. I’m adding to my step count each day, but I know that I need to be more intentional about walking. The treadmill still makes me nervous, but I made an exercise date with a friend tomorrow. She’s going to meet me at work, and we’re going to walk together.

After a relaxing Monday, in which I planned out my week and some holiday events, I am heading back into the office tomorrow. I’m progressing enough that I’m starting to feel good about it, but I am still dealing with emotions. (More on that later.)

I greatly appreciate every kind and supportive comment and all of the prayers and encouragement while I was healing. If you took the time to be there for me, then I sincerely thank you.

Let’s hope this is the beginning of my newer, healthier life…

 

Finally! Happy Monday!

I feel so much better! It’s been almost a month since my surgery, and I finally feel like myself again. I’m walking more, spending time with friends and getting back to normal. I’m even going into the office for a while today.

It hasn’t been easy, but it seems like the hardest part is over. Now I just need to continue trusting the process, being patient and living my life without focusing on the scale for a while. I think if I do those things, my weight will decrease without me worrying about it.

The last several days have been good, and I’m so incredibly thankful for it.

 

The Next Chapter

This process is still frustrating, but I feel so much better this week. The last few days have been mostly good, and I finally feel like I’m getting back to normal. I plan to go back to work, at least a little next week, and I think that will help me feel some normality too.

Yesterday my incredibly patient boyfriend and I walked around Audubon Park at my speed. Tortoises could have passed me on the track, but it felt so good to be moving that I didn’t care. I exceeded 10,000 steps for the first time since surgery.

Today my new bed arrived, which is exciting. I mentioned recently that Michael loves his king-size Tempurpedic bed and that my queen-size queen spring mattress needed to be replaced. The delivery guys showed up early, which was awesome. It was so weird and awesome to lie down on it and let it conform to my body. Now we both have awesome beds, and I’m seriously looking forward to going to sleep tonight.

Overall, things are looking up. It’s still frustrating that I can’t eat things, but in about a month all of my restrictions will be lifted. Right now I’m drinking lots of protein and eating Greek yogurt. In the coming week I plan to try oatmeal, potatoes and bananas. I obviously won’t be able to eat much of any of it, but I’m looking forward to having more options.

I’ve been home for a little over three weeks, and it’s been difficult and emotional. I’m so thankful for my family, my boyfriend and a few close friends. I know I’ve already said it, but Mom and Michael made this so much easier than it would have been. I don’t know how I would have gotten through this without them.

I feel pretty disconnected from everyone else right now, but I’m looking forward to jumping back into life and seeing what’s ahead in this next chapter.

 

 

 

Hungry and Frustrated, but Improving, I Guess

I’m still down exactly 40 pounds, and it’s been almost a week since the scale moved at all. I can think of a few things that might contribute to that (PMS, lack of calories,) but it’s frustrating. I’m doing my best to trust the process, and I am sticking to the rules. I can only hope that I’ll start losing again as I become more active.

The truth is I’m seeing daily improvements. After two and a half weeks I started driving again, and that has helped me feel a bit more normal. Today I got a manicure and shopped for yarn that I plan to use to make scarves and hats for my nieces. I planned to go into Walmart with my boyfriend today, but I was wiped out after walking around Michaels for half an hour. (I’m still not as strong as before.)

Seeing improvements reminds me that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but it doesn’t dissolve the anger I feel. (Yes, I feel angry that I’ve only lost 40 pounds in a month. That’s ridiculous; I know.)

I’m legitimately hungry. (Tell me you’r not hungry after eating nothing for over a month,) but I also just miss food. I think I was so comfortable in my addiction to food that it’s hard to let go. I’m just conflicted because we all need food to live.

I don’t miss cake, cookies or sweets. I’m oddly disgusted by that right now, but I’m craving a few of the same things everyday. If I could eat food right now I’d buy a steak burrito from Chipotle with extra veggies, sour cream and corn salsa. I’d also eat chips and guacamole, obviously.

I’ve also consistently craved various forms of chicken – rotisserie, smoked, Chinese chicken from the buffet near Mom’s house that I used to order to-go. I’m also craving sushi. I’d love to eat the crab that I used to get inside the Naruto Roll, which is wrapped cucumber instead of rice.

It’s weird not to want sweets, but I find them as repulsive as I find soda…just gross.

I’m sharing my feelings on this in the hopes that I can look back someday soon and tell myself that it was worth going through this. I don’t think that right now, but I’m going to continue to follow the rules.

Maybe I’ll have something better to say next time…

 

The Aftermath: The Truth About Weight-Loss Surgery

I seriously wish I had something to talk about right now, apart from my surgery and healing process, but I don’t. It has consumed the last two weeks since I’ve been home from the hospital.

Today was emotional for me, just like many other days in the last two weeks. The difference today was that I feel stronger than I have in a while. My heart still races when I walk out of my apartment down the long hallway, to the elevator, then to another elevator, then to my car. I’m still nervous each morning as I step into the shower, but I’m doing it.

I’m struggling with the things I’m missing right now:

  • Eating Food – I haven’t chewed a piece of of food in a month, and I still have a week and a half to go.
  • Singing – I can do it, but it takes my breath away. Leading people into worship at church is one of my favorite privileges, but I need to continue to heal before I do it again.
  • Snuggling and Hugging – We can hold hands, and we do. I just can’t curl up with him to watch a movie or anything. My top love language is physical touch, so that’s been difficult for me. I haven’t hugged many people in the last few weeks, which is categorically unlike me.
  • Shopping – I like the instant gratification that comes from doing things like this, but I’ve been too tired to bother.
  • Cooking – It would be too hard to cook right now since I can’t eat, but I’ll be able to make a few recipes from SkinnyTaste.com in the coming weeks. I can’t wait because I just want to feel normal again.
  • Spending Time with Friends – I had a couple of visitors this week, they brought so much light into my day! I’m so thankful that I have such amazing friends. I just miss seeing them and doing things we usually do together.

I know it sounds like I’m complaining, and I’m not trying to. I’m just trying to express how difficult it is to experience all of these changes at one time. It’s insane.

A few times today I cried and said that I wished I could take it all back and that if I could go back in time I wouldn’t go through with surgery. I know how stupid that sounds even as it’s coming out of my mouth. I just want want to feel like my old, energetic-enough-to-get-through-the-day-and-night self.

What I have been reminded of over the last couple of weeks is that I’m surrounded by people who love me. Mom and Michael are both sincerely willing to do every little thing I need. I’ve acted like a baby. I’ve been difficult to handle because I’m dealing with anger over being hungry and tired. They’ve both stopped me in my tracks and prayed for me until I felt better.

Dad is coming to visit next week, which makes me happy too. I’m also feeling so much better today that I think I may head back to work next week. I’ll probably work less than I do regularly, but it gives me something to look forward to.

It’s still hard, but it’s getting easier. I’m finally out of the haze of discomfort that I’ve been in, so I’m starting to feel like things might be okay soon. The hardest part is almost over, and that’s a relief.

Surgical recovery is different for everyone; I know that. I also know that no one seems to remember being in so much pain or needing much time to heal, so I’ve documented this pretty closely. I don’t want it to define me, but I also don’t want to forget how hard I had to work for this.

When there’s a time down the road when I have to do something hard I’ll look at posts like this one, or the posts about the 5k I finished in last place when I weighed well over 350 pounds. I’ll remind myself that I’ve gone through hard things before and that I can do it again.

 

 

 

 

An Attitude Adjustment

I had a major adjustment in my attitude yesterday, which needed to happen. Surgical recovery has been rough to say the least. I’ve struggled more than I imagined I would, but I finally feel like I’m on the mend.

Yesterday I woke up and felt a level of pain that I haven’t experienced since early Summer. My skin irritation (cellulitis) was back in full force, and I was immediately reminded “why I did this to myself.”

I struggled for a few days with regret, knowing it was temporary, but allowing it to anger me none the less. When I felt the pain associated with my skin, which is a direct result of obesity, I was filled with hope. Yes, I did this to myself, and now I’m doing something about it.

Sleeping last night was a major struggle, but I was bothered by my skin more than anything pertaining to surgery. My boyfriend has a Tempurpedic mattress, and he thinks I need one too. I’m not sure what to think about that yet because there are so many choices now. It’s overwhelming.

Today I saw my primary doctor, and I’ve lost over 10% of my body weight since I last saw her. She took me off of my blood pressure medicine, which is great. I started taking it in July, and I’m glad it’s over.

I couldn’t do this with Mom, Michael and Jesus. I already knew that Mom would move the earth to make me feel better, and I couldn’t be more thankful for her. And Michael has been more patient, strong and loving than I ever imagined a man could be. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I even spent some time at the park today, and I’m finally feeling well enough for friends to visit.

I almost feel human again, and I’m hoping my tolerance for protein shakes, water and vitamins will help increase my energy levels. Overall, I’m improving, and I seriously hope that I can say that I feel great again soon.

 

 

 

 

Less Than Two Weeks After Weight-Loss Surgery

It’s been almost two weeks since I had surgery. I wish I could say that I feel better, but I don’t. I actually feel pretty terrible. I’ve made some great strides in terms of healing. I don’t feel pain or bloating anymore, which is awesome. I’ve dropped about 40 pounds, which is also awesome. I’m just miserable too.

Saturday I spent the day in the emergency room because I was dehydrated. My dear friend, Brandon, came down from New York to visit me. He brought me tea from Starbucks (and gift cards to use when I can tolerate it better later.) He spent time inside with me, but on Saturday we ventured out for a walk.

brandon-and-kenlieMy energy level is at zero. I’m not in much pain at all, but I’m exhausted. Just taking the elevator and walking the length of the lobby to him made me tired and shaky. He knew we’d go slow, and we did. After stopping several times on one block (the length of my building) I told him I could go another block. I was wrong. 

We stopped so I could lean against a wall, and he snapped a selfie of us. He immediately noticed that I was leaning into him, cold and sweaty and started walking back toward my building.

When we accessed the back entrance I immediately sat down. I felt dizzy and sweaty even though I also felt cold. I think I passed out because the next thing I remember was Brandon saying, “Kenlie, wake up. Look at me. Focus on your breathing. Keep your eyes open.” It felt like this phase lasted for an eternity, but they said it was about 20 minutes.

At that point Brandon called Michael, who was upstairs doing my laundry, and he came down. They quickly made the decision to call an ambulance, and Michael went into first-responder mode. (He’s an Eagle Scout, and he used to work as a first-responder, which I was thankful for yesterday.) Bran continued to get me to look at him, and all I can remember is looking at his chin and trying desperately to open my eyes.

The ambulance arrived in less than two minutes – one of the perks of living in the center of downtown, and it only took about two more minutes to reach the hospital once they hooked me up to fluids and checked my vitals.

I spent the next several hours at the emergency room, where I was greeted by a friendly anddehydrated empathetic doctor. When I told him what was happening he said he’d be miserable and much crankier than I  if he had only had 60 calories so far too.

They ran several tests and gave me two liters of fluid. The second bag even had a few added calories, and I was relieved that I’d be hydrated again soon. (Seriously, can’t I just lie around with an IV for the next few weeks?)

After several hours they released me and told me to see my primary at some point early in the week.

I know I’ve said it already, but this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done…ever. I’m exhausted all the time, but I’m finally able to sleep in bed. I couldn’t do that a week ago. I haven’t eaten anything since September 15th, which was almost a month ago. I don’t know anyone who had to do liquids that long prior to surgery, and I’m still a few weeks away from eating semi-solid foods like eggs and mozzarella sticks. (That’s a day I’m looking forward to.)

In a few days I can start consuming pre-made protein shakes, which should help because the powder one I usually love is currently the most appalling and disgusting thing on the planet. I seriously have more disdain for the protein shakes than I do for the current presidential candidates!

I can also start “eating” Greek yogurt in a few days, and I hope my body can tolerate it because I’d like to take advantage of the fact that we finally have a Trader Joe’s in town.

My mom has been my champion, and my boyfriend has been amazing too. Their love for me is so evident, and I’m thankful (even though I’m also cranky.) Dad is coming down to visit later this month, and I hope and pray that I’m doing better by then.

Right now I’m struggling. I can’t believe I did this to myself. I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t know it would be this hard. If I had known I wouldn’t have done it. I’m not kidding.

People who have experienced this surgery say that I’ll look back at some point and think it was worth it. I hope that’s true. I’m pretty sure I know it’s true, but it doesn’t feel that way right now.

I live my life by choosing to look at the positive, but right now it’s hard to see. I hope I see the bright side soon because I can’t be bothered being sad for long.

Better Than Yesterday

My attitude changed dramatically after yesterday’s blog post. People started praying for me, and Michael and I prayed together too. It was so cool to realize that while I was intentionally worshiping God I felt no pain at all.

I was a little sore throughout the second part of the day yesterday, but I went to bed last night in very little pain and woke up the same way. I also accomplished a major post-surgical goal (insert poop emoji,) which felt great.

I’m still tired after basic things like showering. It’ been a week since I’ve cared about my hair and makeup, and I still don’t care right now. All I’m doing these days is drinking liquids and walking. I have also spent more time outside in the last few days because the weather has been perfect (at least as perfect as it gets around here.)

Life is so quiet right now, and I’m more disconnected from the internet than I can remember. I’m thankful that I have this break and even more thankful that I have some fun things to look forward to later this week.

My favorite guy from New York will be here this weekend, and it has been way too long since I last saw him. Michael and I also plan to spend some time with friends from our church in a comfortable environment that won’t be difficult for me.

I’m also down 30 pounds since the liquids phase began almost 3 weeks ago, which is a small reminder that the foggy pain I felt most of the week is worth it.