Category Archives: Healthy Living

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.

Healing After Weight-Loss Surgery

Whoever says that weight-loss surgery is the easy way out has never had to heal after weight-loss surgery.

I used to think I’d feel like a failure if I did this, but in reality I’m proud of myself for keeping a positive attitude during surgery and recovery. This stuff is hard, but I’m looking forward to seeing the results of my efforts.

I’ve been surprised by the outpouring of prayers and encouragement I’ve received from people online and in my everyday life. I know I’ve already said it, but no one could ever ask for a better support group than what I have.

Mom is still here, and I’m thankful because I need her. She’s great at encouraging me to walk, rest and sip. I don’t know how I’d get through this without her. She has been so patient and helpful, and she’ll be that way as long as she needs to be.

Michael has been great too. He makes sure that Mom and I have everything we need and reminds me that the more I move around the quicker I’ll heal. (I don’t particularly like that part, but I know he’s right.) It’s such a weird feeling to sit right next to the guy I’m in love with without wanting to curl up next to him. There’s just too much discomfort for that right now.

Unfortunately, that also means that I’m skipping church tomorrow. My church community is filled with awesome people, and on an average Sunday I get loads of hugs from kids and adults. I can’t handle that yet, and if someone tried to hug me right now I’d probably cry. I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s true.

I slept better last night than I did my first night home, but it was still rough. I woke up around 4 am, then I went back to sleep and awakened for the day at 8:20 am.

As I write this I’m sitting in my bed, hoping that I’ll be comfortable enough to take a nap in a few minutes.

I wish I could say that I feel awesome, but I’m not quite there yet. Right now my pain level is at 5 or 6, but I’m looking forward to improving each day.

Until then…

Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Day One

The process to be approved for weight-loss surgery is not short, but if the end result leads me to incredible health benefits it’ll be worth it. It’s slightly less overwhelming now that I’ve spoken to my doctor about everything I need to do in preparation, but it’s going to be a long road.

The surgeon sent me a checklist that must be completed before I can be approved, and the process has begun:

  • Clearance from Cardiologist with a recent EKG – I had an EKG a few weeks ago, and it came back normal. Whew! I still have to see a cardiologist though, which means I have to find one soon.
  • Psychological Evaluation – I’m in the healthiest place I’ve ever been in my heart and mind, so that doesn’t seem like a big deal. I just need to schedule an appointment.
  • Pulmonology Evaluation – I have to have a pulmonary function test and an arterial blood gas. I really have no idea what this means, but it sounds like it might hurt. Yikes!
  • Blood work with a TSH within the last 12 months – I did this a few weeks ago too, but if they need more blood I’ll let them poke me again. I think we’re good are though.
  • Physician supervised weight loss and exercise program for 6 months – My insurance pays for Weight Watchers meetings, which counts. I’m already doing pretty well there, so I’m going to keep it up. Today was my first of 6 appointments that will be specific to my weight-loss progress. I’ll see my doctor again a month from now, and I hope to be 8 to 10 pounds lighter.
  • Dietician Evaluation – This seems pretty straight forward, and I think I could benefit greatly from it. I’ll do that on the same day as my surgical visit.

I’ve been doing well with Weight Watchers lately, and I’m finally starting to feel well after a few weeks of pain due to skin issues. I haven’t exercised in over two weeks, but I think I’m well enough to start again. Unfortunately, there’s no prescription or remedy to completely fix the problem, so even though it hurts again I have to deal with it.

sleep studyTonight I’m doing a sleep study, which should be interesting. Thankfully, they sent me home with the equipment, so I’m not required to spend the night anywhere else. It seems invasive, but it won’t be nearly as uncomfortable as sleeping in a hospital or another strange place.

I typically sleep through the night and wake up feeling rested, so I’m guessing I’m okay. I’m just going to do every test they suggest with the hope that it will lead me to a healthier place overall.

This process feels overwhelming to me, but I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about how life would be different. I already love my life! I have a loving family, a great job, a group of good friends, a boyfriend who is thoughtful, encouraging and understanding, a comfortable home and a bright future. I don’t want any of that to change; I just want my health to improve long-term, so I  can enjoy the life I’m already living. It would be cool to be able to buy jeans again too, but I think I’m pretty close to that right now.






I Will Always Love Richard Simmons Because of Moments Like This One

I cannot believe that this happened for the first time five years ago!

I think of Richard so often, and right now I’m going through training that makes me think of him everyday.

He helped me change the way I see myself. He made it okay for me to love myself more, to desire more for my life and to feel confident dancing off the pounds.

I’ve gained weight since this video, but I’m in pretty healthy groove right now. Watching this video for the first time in ages reminds me that I can do very cool things.

If you’re reading this, Richard, I love you and miss you and pray for you.

Motivation Monday

Monday was my least favorite day of the week until last month when my gentleman friend started exercising with me after work. Mondays are kind of long, but they’re much more enjoyable now that I’m in a healthy routine.

The guy and I workout at different gyms, but he lives close enough to me that it’s easy to join me for a workout at the gym upstairs. I want to start jumping in the pool after our workouts, but we’re usually ready to eat dinner by the time we’re done.

We eat together a few times a week, and the majority of meals are at my place because I love to cook. He’ll eat anything I serve too, which makes it easy to want to feed him. Ha…

I’m working toward some pretty specific fitness goals that I”ll discuss here more in July or August, and it’s amazing to have his support, in addition to the encouragement I receive from my family, friends and co-workers.

I’m in a healthy place right now, and I want to continue improving in this area. I feel incredible after a sweaty workout, and sweaty selfies are still my favorite. (I suppose I should take some more of them.)

YMCA New Orleans

Gaining control of my weight is so hard, but I constantly remind myself that I can do all things through Christ. Seriously, I can’t even express how much my life has changed since I realized that God loves me and desires a healthy and abundant life for me.

It’s a long road, and I suppose it won’t end until life does. I’m okay with that now. The resentment I felt for far too long has been replaced by resilience. I know that I need to stay humble and accountable, and I am thankful for the loving people in my life who understand and empathize with that.

I have more energy than I did a month ago, and I’m looking forward to seeing more improvement in that area as I increase my level of activity.

Now it’s a new day, and it’s time to hit the ground running…(err, walking briskly…You know what I mean.)

Now That I Have Health Insurance Again…

This has been a productive year, and now that I have health insurance again I’m facing the daunting task of finding a primary care physician. Can we talk about how hard it is to find a doctor who will look at your whole person when you’re obese? (Yeah, I know I’m obese. I know I need to change that. I know that’s all you see, but can we discuss other things as well?)

I’m not saying that every doctor will see my size and nothing else, but the reality is that I’m facing an uphill battle. I haven’t had a lot of experience with doctors or hospitals, which is awesome.  I do know that I do need to get a physical and address a couple of  issues that have bothered me for a while. (I’ve mentioned them here in previous posts.)

Last time my blood pressure was checked it was 138/82, which is the highest it’s ever been…ever. I know that’s not terrible, but it was a reality check for me. I think it will be lower in the coming months because I’m exercising more than I have in a long time. My blood sugar was perfect too, which was good. I  just realize that I’m getting older and that I need to get serious about making some minor changes (at the very least.)

My biggest issue lately has nothing to do with finding a PCP though. I constantly squint because it’s harder to see the screens I stare at for the majority of the day. Even reading books on my iPad is taxing on my eyes, so it’s time for another visit to the eye doctor. Thankfully, that’s no big deal.

Do you have health insurance? If so, are you satisfied with your doctors and coverage?




Hurting People Hurt People, Or Why Blogging Probably Isn’t The Answer

I feel so much better than I have for the last month or so. After realizing that the contents of my work was bothering me, I was able to address it. I addressed everything else that bothered me as well, and I realized that people really are (mostly) good. 

Some of the feelings I faced were tough to navigate through because I’m insecure, but after some self-reflection and straightforward talk from someone close to me, I realized that I’m pretty lucky. It’s easy to count the times when someone has been mean to my face, but it happens countless times here on my blog. 

I find so much encouragement here, but there’s also a lot of negativity from the trolls who are still obsessed with hating me. There only seems to be a  couple of them, but they are loud and obsessive. It’s insane and a little disturbing that people who don’t know me are willing to waste so much energy obsessively hating me. It’s weird, but it makes me feel so sorry for them. I mean, how much does your life have to suck to be obsessed with spewing judgement and blind hatred on someone else’s? 

When I look around at my life, I see so much validation and fulfillment that didn’t always exist for me. I feel content in who I am and what I’m doing even though I still want to make changes. I think there will always be room for growth and progress, and I don’t think I’ll be a failure unless I give in to the feelings of self-doubt that I experienced last week. 

We all have bad days, and I had several in a row. When I think about the things that other people go through my issues seem pretty insignificant. My issues matter, in as much as I need to face them, but today my heart goes out to the people who are truly suffering – the people I read about at work and the people who are so consumed by hurt and anger that they target me and others like me. 

I love to write, and I love to share my feelings. It helps me grow, but I’m processing and progressing a lot right now outside of the blog. It’s hard to imagine not checking in here regularly, but it’s also not something that sounds appealing right now. 

I won’t make any hard and fast decisions, except to do what’s best for me regardless of what others think about it. 

Carrying Emotional Weight

I’ve been doing a lot of self-evalations lately because I’m trying to figure out how I got to the point of disdain that I’ve been at for the last two weeks, and I think I found one of the big sources of heaviness that I’ve been overlooking. 

Right now I’m working on a project that requires me to go into the office daily, and I’ve seen some positive changes as a result. I’ve formed some good habits, including going to bed a decent hour and waking up rested each morning and thinking about what I’m going to eat throughout the day. Those are huge wins for me, especially the sleep thing beccause I’ve never been good at resting enough until now. 

The downside is that the content of the work is really hard to look at. I can’t go into detail, but it’s depressing…really depressing. I hate being privy to it, but I hate that people go through these things. Some of it is awful, and I’m definitely not cut out for this kind of work. (The work itself is great, but the content is weighing on me heavily.) 

Almost every Thursday since I started I go home and cry. That’s not like me. I’m usually pretty upbeat even when life presents challenges. I’ve also noticed a hightened sense of loneliness. I mean, I feel it from time to time, but it’s been really rough over the last few months. I’ve also noticed that I feel angry at times, and I’m not spending nearly as much time with God as I was before I took this position. 

I was looking over a report yesterday when my emotions hit me like a ton of bricks. Life isn’t fair, but I wasn’t sad about my life. I was devastated by the experiences that the subject of the report had to endure. It hit me hard, and at that moment, I realized that these reports are a huge part of the burden I’ve been feeling lately. I’m not angry that I have to do the work; I enjoy tedious tasks more than the average person. I’m just angry that we live in a world that is so full of hurt, and it breaks my heart into pieces to think that so many people walking around my community feel so hurt and hopeless. 

I’m going to finish out the contract that I signed, but I need some strength as I do it. I know that I can pray for these faceless people, and I know that’s all I can do. I just wish I coud take their hurt away. I wish they could feel peace. 

If you know me, you probably know that I’m emotional. Knowing that people feel pain makes me feel pain, and even though it sucks, it explains a lot. I’m relieved to have recognized this, and now I need to figure out how to dela with it. Days like yesterday make it easier to handle, so I’ll probably start by making an even bigger effort to do things that are good for me. 

I am so thankful for this job and for the opportunity to do something in this field, and I think I’ll leave stronger than I was when I got here. I just need to be very aware, and I really need to be wrapped up in God’s love just like each of the people I’ve just mentioned. 

If You Don’t Like It, Change It

Monte shared a message about discernment at NOLA Church Sunday morning, and while there was so much food for thought, the biggest takeaway for me was when he said, “If you don’t like your relationship with God, change it.” This isn’t going to be a post about that even though that’s really important, but the statement can apply to practically anything in our lives. 

I’ve been feeling down a lot lately, and today I decided to do some things to change it. Last night I spent some time singing and playing piano (if you can call what I did playing) just to break through some of the nervousness that I feel when I think of playing in front of people. I did it a lot growing up because my parents made me, but now I’d like to because I enjoy it. I’m passionate about singing, so maybe at some point I could feel the same way about keys. if not, it will still be fun to do it from time to time.


I changed up my lunch routine a bit today too. I went to Whole Foods and ate a healthy, hearty lunch, then I picked up a spa water (okay, two) to bring back to the office with me. I drank my fruit infused water instead of coffee, and it made me feel healthy and a little fancy. (It doens’t take much. Ha.) 


I also spent some time on my rooftop after work today. Having a snack and drink in your bed is gross and depressing, but do it by the pool, and it’s awesome. I had a couple of friends over too, and while we were up there a nice guy offered us some of the steaks he grilled. I had a few bites, but I grilled some stuff as well. 

After that I hit the gym with my aforementioned friends. Two out of three of us didn’t feel like it, but thankfully, the one who did convinced us to do it too. I spent 30 minutes on the treadmill, which feels a lot better than nothing. 


I also signed up to do a 5k with another friend on May 30th. She’ll reach the finish line before I do, but I’m fine with that. We’ll both leave with finisher metals anyway, and there will be someone waiting to take a picture of me. (Ah, the perks of being slower.) 

I can’t say that I feel 100% better and completely amazing yet, but I can honestly say that I feel so much better than I did yesterday. 

Now I’m going to curl up under my blankets, spend a few minutes reading the Bible, then have a good night’s sleep and pray that I can stay focused and empowered again tomorrow. (That may not be easy because I have to have a conversation that I’d rather not have tomorrow, but I’ll worry about that later.) 

I’m here, and I’m trying to jump out of my comfort zone to change what I don’t like while rediscovering my worth, which I seemed to forget for a while. Overall, I’d say I’m on my way back to the right track. 

Maybe I Can Be A Morning Person After All

I’ve been going through a period of adjustment lately, and I’m surprised that it hasn’t been more taxing. I thought it would feel really harsh to wake up at 6 am, but it’s not as awful as I feared it might be. Sunday afternoon I wasn’t looking forward to waking up early, but once Monday came it wasn’t too bad. I like what I’m doing at work, which makes it pleasurable to go in. 

I miss seeing my early afternoon Starbucks buddies, but I see most of them when I’m there to tutor, have meetings and/or coffee with friends, etc. Life doesn’t feel terribly different than it did before this transition, which makes me think that being a morning person isn’t so bad. I actually love that I’ve accomplished so much by 9 am. 

I’m not sure what my next step will be. ( Well, I have an idea, but nothing definite yet.) I just know that I’m much more open to the idea of getting to work early most mornings. That frees me up to do some things that I wasn’t willing to do previously. 

Who knew that growing up could be so rewarding and not at all dreadful? 😉