My Initial Thoughts On Having Bariatric Surgery

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to weight-loss surgery over the last week, and here’s what I know so far:

  • The surgeon I was referred to accepts my insurance, which makes it possible to consider.
  • If I have surgery, which I hope to do, I will choose the gastric sleeve.
  • Losing weight feels good, and that part will be awesome.
  • I know I’ll have to work at it.
  • The first month will be the hardest. It may or may not be miserable (mainly because I’ll wish I could chew food.)
  • People in my personal life who have had the sleeve have experienced great success with it.
  • I’ll have to spend the night in the hospital, which is not something I look forward to.
  • I’m honestly scared to think about having surgery.
  • I’m hopeful that it will eventually be among the best health decisions I’ve ever made.
  • I’ll get to drink the protein shakes that I love now. (Shout out to Tera’s Whey! That stuff is awesome!)
  • My family will be super supportive.
  • I’ll have to take some time off work.
  • My boyfriend will be my strong arm, and he’ll help Mom while she helps me.
  • I’ll take more selfies. (Okay, I’m kidding. I already take enough selfies.)

The thing is…I already love my life and the people in it. I have a loving and supportive family, a job that I enjoy, an awesome circle of friends, a relationship with a intelligent, loyal guy (whom I now talk about online) and a church family who loves me too. My life is already good, and I want to be around as long as possible to enjoy it.

I haven’t been to the consultation yet, but I’ll make the appointment this week. It’s not a quick process, but I’m relieved that it’s starting. I’m doing a sleep apnea test at home next week, which should be interesting. I don’t snore, typically sleep through the night and wake up feeling rested. I don’t think I suffer from sleep apnea, but I’m going to go through every test I need to take.

 

Intense Pain, Pretty Nail Polish and Weekend Plans

I’m currently in more pain than I can ever remember being in…ever, and I’ve never felt as weighed down as I do right now. I’m still not the heaviest I’ve ever been, but I feel every pound that I’ve regained over the last few years.

I know that my pain is a direct result of obesity, and I’m disappointed in myself for not taking charge again sooner. I’ve fought hard, but I need to fighter harder…or smarter…or something.I went in again for blood work, and I’m awaiting results from a myriad of tests that they did during my visits. They took blood from my hand, which was odd. I’m glad they’re checking everything, but I’m so ready for relief from the skin stuff I’ve been dealing with for so long.

Skin irritation doesn’t sound particularly bad, but it hurts to stand, drive, lie down, etc. I finished Day 2 of the 10-day prescription, so I’m guessing I’ll start to feel better soon. I definitely hope so.

red OPI polishThankfully, it’s the weekend, and my plan is to stay out of the heat. I don’t usually work on Fridays, but I will get a few things done that I can do from home. I did some cleaning before my shower tonight, so I won’t have to worry about that tomorrow either.

My nails are painted, which always makes me feel good. I’m excited about a few books that I have to read, and Michael will come over for dinner after work.

Saturday I’m having a few friends over to grill on the roof, and the nice thing about the height of my building is that it’s never hot up there. It’s always breezy, and we’ll stay cool in the swimming pool. (Uh, I just rhymed.) It should be an easy weekend, so I’ll have some time to heal.

It’s been a long, physically challenging week, but there’s a lot to be thankful for too. I’m down another 2.6 pounds this week, and I’m thankful for the Weight Watchers meeting I found even if I’m the odd ball. Everyone else is significantly older than I am, which was evident today. I don’t mind though, and I don’t think they do either.

I cannot say it enough. I’m so grateful for my doctor, the medicine and the hope for healing change that seems to be just on the horizon.

 

 

Doctors, Weight Watchers and Friends…

It’s been a long couple of days, but I’m feeling thankful for it right now. My boyfriend and I had dinner with my long time friend, Shannon, her husband and their adorable baby girl. She’s 12 weeks old, and I already love her.

I spent the majority of the day at my new doctor’s office yesterday, and I went back in for blood work this morning. Those who know me know how hesitant I was to seek out a primary physician because it hasn’t always been a good experience for me.

Now that I have health insurance, which is such a relief, there’s no excuse to avoid the doctor when I’m in pain. I went in to get some help with my skin irritation yesterday, and I was met by a friendly, empathetic staff and a compassionate, knowledgable doctor. I cannot express the relief I feel now knowing that I have a doctor to go to when I’m sick.

We talked about my weight. (How could we not?) We just talked about everything else as well. She asked why I waited so long to get help with my skin, and I explained that doctor visits are usually different than my visit to her office. She prescribed meds that I picked up last night, and I’m hopeful that it will help me heal over the next 10 days.

My blood pressure was elevated, which has never been an issue until lately. I’m getting older, but I’m far too young to face high blood pressure. Of course, it’s not a surprise because I’m carrying so much excess weight. I’ve also carried a lot of stress this year since Mom’s health issues.

After talking for quite some time she asked me if I had ever considered bariatric surgery, and I explained that it was never an option for me. Financially, it wasn’t plausible because it’s so pricey without insurance, and for a long time I was opposed anyway. Now that I know that my insurance will cover it I’m going to consider it.

Weight-loss surgery is such a huge, life-changing step, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. It’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I could do something like this, but it’s certainly worth exploring. I know several people who had the gastric sleeve surgery and were incredibly successful.

I also went to the eye doctor (because again, it’s been a while since I had health insurance,) and my eye doctor is from New York. He lived only a few blocks from my old place, so we had a lot to chat about while he checked my eyes. I definitely can’t wait to get my new glasses on Friday, but I chose to use  my favorite frames that I had already. I’ll pick a new pair later this week when my eyes aren’t dilated.

I have to see my primary doctor again in two weeks, and I’m looking forward to feeling much better than I felt when I walked in yesterday. I can’t stand taking medicine, but I’m thankful for it right now.

I’ll head to Weight Watcher tomorrow, which should be a decent weigh-in. Right now I’m tired, so I’m going to curl up under the blankets and sleep.

Weekend Update: Family, Cardio and Pie

Saturday was a great day. Mom came to visit, and we always have fun when she’s here. We went to the movies to see Tarzan, went to Target and Whole Foods, then baked a coconut cream pie together. We also watched a Christmas movie on Hallmark because I have cable again. I’m still avoiding the 24 hour cable news cycle, but I always love watching Christmas movies with Mom in July. coconut pie

We used my grandma’s recipe to bake the pie and added a few of our own touches, and it was great. I’ve made prettier meringue, but we were satisfied with it. We’re definitely going to make it again soon.

Before Mom arrived, I spoke to a group about diabetes prevention. We discussed fitness and how it’s different for those of us who have significant amounts of weight to lose, and I learned a lot about how they feel and what they’d like to experience at the gym.

Kenlie and MomSunday morning we headed to Wal-Mart before church. My boyfriend, whose name is Michael, by the way, met us there because we both had errands to run. He got to see Mom before she left town, which was great. I love that they get along so well. We both have close, loving families, which is awesome.

When Mom left Michael and I went to church, which is where we met, by the way. After that we had ridiculously amazing burgers with our pastors, then I headed home for a long, cozy nap. We  spent the evening together as well, and we ate smoked pork, watermelon and pie, of course.

I’ve done a better job keeping track of what I’m eating since I wrote about that last week, but I’m still not exercising as much as I would be if my skin wasn’t causing so much pain. My goal right now is to avoid the hospital. I’m not trying to sound dramatic, it’s rough. I plan to see the doctor this week, and I’ll make an appointment for that tomorrow morning.

Now it’s time to sleep. I have a lot to look forward to this week, and I’m thankful for everything that made this weekend wonderful.

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

Black Lives Matter, and I’m Sorry I Didn’t Acknowledge That Sooner

I’m white. Actually, I’m American Indian too, but I look white. And I’ve never really given that much thought until this week.

I’m a white person who strives to love people whether I’ve known them for a day or for a decade, and I don’t think that’s a reason to be proud. As a Jesus follower I’m commanded to love people, and most of the time it’s the easiest part of walking in relationship with God.

Right now the world is hurting, and I’ve spent a lot of time over the last 48 hours being sad about the state of my city, our nation and our world. I’ve chosen to surrender my desire to obsess over the 24 hour news cycles that used to consume me, but this pain is felt everywhere.

It’s impossible to scroll through my Facebook feed without seeing countless posts about the long list of people who’ve lost their lives over the last few days. I know that murder, death and persecution extend far beyond our American borders, but Alton Sterling was shot an hour away from here. The murder rate in New Orleans is higher here than in most places in the world, but tonight my heart is breaking for the men and the families of the men everyone’s talking about – the men who were stopped and shot by officers and the policemen who lost their lives while seeking protect peaceful protesters.

I don’t know how to express the disdain I feel when I read the opinions of know-it-all folks on the death of the black men who were killed. I have thoughts on it, but I don’t have facts. All I know is that lives were taken, and that’s devastating. I also know that, in what seemed to be an attempt to retaliate, an angry man took the lives of five additional men.

I’ve never considered whether or not to befriend someone based on the color of their skin, and I always believed that was the right thing. In my mind we’re all humans made by God who have unique gifts, talents and abilities. I honestly didn’t understand how or why anyone would choose to see it any other way, but I know now that they do.

While sitting in a coffee shop recently I found myself in an uncomfortable conversation about black people, and I made it very clear that I didn’t feel the way that person felt. Those conversations have happened a lot over the last few days, so I’m speaking up.

When police brutality was in question several months ago I made the naive and offensive mistake of noting that all lives matter. Of course all lives matter, but right now there’s an entire race of people worried about what might happen if they get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time by someone who doesn’t like the way they look. I think the Black Lives Matter movement needs a much better strategy and a public relations plan, but the reality is they exist because there are far too many people who don’t understand that racism still exists. Yes, it exists on both sides, but that’s not an acceptable reason to ignore it.

Discrimination exists too. I’m no stranger to that. It’s common for society to make snap judgements about me based on my size, but I’ve never felt as though my life was being threatened due to the way I look. 

Philippians 2-4Is every white person racist? No…not even close. Is every black person the victim of racism? I don’t know. I’ve never walked in those shoes. What I do know is that as a believer loving people and treating them with the same kind of respect I hope receive is not optional. 

I don’t know how to fix the racism, the hatred and the bigotry that exists in this society without turning to Jesus. He’s our only hope, but thankfully, He’s also our greatest hope. 

So listen up, believers, we live in a dark world that’s filled with sin, and the cycle will never be broken if all we do is write posts like this one or leave angry comments on social media. The only way to find peace is to ask Jesus for it, and the only way to be a comfort to the people hurting is to put our arms around them and to remind them that they’re not alone, that they’re loved and that Jesus loved them so much He was willing to die for them.

And now, to any and every black person who comes across this post, I want you to know that you matter to me. Your life, the lives of your family and the lives that were lost matter to me. My heart is broken with yours, and I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you face fears that I’ve never understood, and I’m sorry that you didn’t know that I value you.

And to the honest, hard-working men in blue: I’m sorry that your job is so hard, and I’m thankful  for your service.

The world is dark, and the only way to combat darkness is with light. Jesus is the light of the world, and we need Him now more than ever. I don’t have fancy, theological answers, but I don’t need them because God hears our prayers. And our prayers don’t have to be fancy either because God knows our hearts, and the power in prayer only exists because God does. He said, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

This isn’t a problem for society to fix. It’s a problem that God’s children need to take seriously, so if you’re a Jesus follower, I’d like you to pray with me. Pray for healing and peace and and for the salvation of those who are lost and hurting. 

 

 

 

Hello, 36…

The last couple of weeks have been incredibly busy, but in a good way. Tonight I actually made it home just as the sun was going down, which allowed me to cook dinner and catch up on The Mindy Project. Does anyone here watch it? It’s definitely my favorite show right now! Suits comes on again next week too, so I’ll have a few things to watch in my free time.

friendsYesterday was my birthday, and it was easily the best one I’ve had so far. I can identify a few reasons for that.

My friends and co-workers made a big deal about it (because they know how much it means to me.) My boss, who has become a close friend, booked a private karaoke room at a sushi bar over the weekend. Um, does she know me or what? I love to sing, and I love sushi. Put me in a room filled with friends, and that makes for a pretty perfect night. I’ve never been in a room full of people who love to sing karaoke as much or more than I do. It was awesome. We need a reason, any reason, to do that again soon. (As you can see I took a few selfies that night, but most of us forgot to take pictures because we were having so much fun.)

Earlier that day my boyfriend and I spent the day with my mom at her house. We ate lunch, played board games and relaxed. I love being close enough to Mom that I can see her often, and I’m really glad she likes my guy. It usually takes her a while to like who I’m dating, but she liked this guy right away. He’s a gentleman. He treats me really well, and she sees it. What’s not to like?

I started my day in church on Sunday, and after that my aforementioned boyfriend and I went to a BBQ with about 50 of our friends. We drove into the country to spend the afternoon and evening at a friend’s farm, and a few of our men put on quite a fireworks display.

I started my day in church on Sunday, and after that my aforementioned boyfriend and I went to a BBQ with about 50 of our friends. We drove into the country to spend the afternoon and evening at a friend’s farm, and a few of our men put on quite a fireworks display.

Monday I slept in, went shopping with my good friend, Michelle, then went to a dinner party with friends. We never got around to playing board games, but we all had great time. I met a guy who went to the same church I went to in Oklahoma at the same time I was there. He was so familiar to me, and it didn’t take long to figure out why. Tell me the world isn’t small…I just won’t believe you. 😉

Cafe Dumonde New OrleansTuesday, which was my actual birthday, was fun because when I got into work I got flowers from a sweet friend and co-worker and friend. My boss, who’s also one of the most awesome people I know, brought me flowers and a bag of beignets from Cafe Dumonde.

I didn’t do much tracking in my Weight Watchers app this week, but that changes today. It’s hard to stay in the tracking mindset when you’re distracted, but life is busy. I need to make it a bigger priority, so I will now.  I managed to lose weight while my sister and nieces were here, and I kept it under control for the most part throughout the last week.

Michael KorsI’ll go to the meeting tomorrow, but I won’t weigh in because my feet are . It’s not painful or anything, but I’m definitely carrying extra water weight. I know it’s just a number, but I don’t want to feel like the progress I’ve made is gone – not even temporarily. because my feet are so incredibly swollen. It’s not painful or anything, but I’m definitely carrying extra water weight. I know it’s just a number, but I don’t want to feel like the progress I’ve made is gone – not even temporarily.  I’m hoping that they get back to normal soon, but the last few days have been rough! I’m drinking water, but not enough. My Hyrdroflask goes everywhere with me, but I need to fill it up a few more times a day.

 

In addition to my swelling feet I’m having some painful skin irritation issues. I mean, my skin hurts. This is one of the unfortunate effects of being plus-size in New Orleans during the overbearing heat of Summer. It’s hard to exercise because right now it hurts to move, but the only way this will ever go away is if I lose weight and have excess skin removed. It’s frustrating, but it’s reality. Now would be the perfect time to find a primary care doctor, but I still haven’t attempted to do that.

I’ve had a stellar week, but I’m looking forward to the quiet time that Friday brings. My favorite thing about Fridays is the time I spend alone reading and praying in the morning. I think it’s important to pray and read everyday, but I like the habit of quiet,  uninterrupted time that I’ve developed over the last several months. I’ll also do some grocery shopping, and maybe I’ll even make time for some arts and crafts.

There’s a lot going on in my life, but it’s mostly good stuff. I’m happy, and I’m moving in a positive direction. I took it easy this week because I’ve been in so much pain, but I’m looking forward to doing some cardio this weekend. I’ll probably give myself one more rest day.

If you’re reading this I hope you’re doing well too. Until next time…

 

 

 

Searching For Happiness Where You Lost it

My friend, Sarah, from Greater at 40, is awesome on so many levels. I met her in Los Angeles several years ago, and she made me feel fashionable and confident during my first interview on the Today Show back in the day. She’s fierce, fashionable and determined to make some healthy changes in her life, and i love following her journey.

As I was looking through her Instagram I found a quote that really struck a chord with me, so I made my own little graphic to share on my own IG account. Check it out:

unnamed

It seems like such an obvious statement, but I can’t count the times I’ve found myself looking for temporary and/or long term satisfaction in people or things that could never offer that. Stop searching for happiness in the same place you lost it. 

In my mind I hear stop eating doughnuts at midnight because you want to replace whatever you’re feeling at the moment with fleeting satisfaction. (I did that.)  Or stop giving your love to the selfish, egotistical man whose actions continually prove you mean nothing to him. (I did that.)

I’m thankful to be in healthier place now, but I do have to constantly remind myself that food won’t make me happy (at least for more than a few minutes.) It’s a struggle for me, but I feel like I’m on the brink of a breakthrough.

I have definitely found fulfillment in real and powerful ways thanks to Jesus, a job I love, a healthy relationship and a circle of loving, trusted friends and family.

I’m pretty happy for the most part, but I’m going to think back to this quote every time I’m looking for a temporary fix. I should probably make it the screensaver on my phone. (I’m just being honest her.)

I’m thankful for Sarah and her journey, and I’m grateful the right words when I need to hear them.

 

What’s the Weather Like Where You Live?

Can we take a moment to think about how hot it is in Louisiana right now? I know you think it’s hot where you live, and I’m sure it is. Even Colorado, where my sister lives, experienced record highs last week, but it’s sizzling in the Big Easy.

I worked all day Saturday, which is unusual, because I hosted an art gallery at the Y. It was cool inside, but when I left at around 6 pm it was still so hot that as I stood still, talking to a woman outside, I was sweating bullets.

Note that it wasn't even the hottest part of the day!

Note that it wasn’t even the hottest part of the day!

The good news is that I’m getting acclimated to the steamy heat. It bothered me much more during my first summer here in 2013. Now I expect it, and I’m just thankful that I live in an age of air conditioning. I’m also glad the a/c is working in my office again. (Have I mentioned that recently?)

it still makes exercise tricky, but it doesn’t seem to bother me as frequently as it did. (Knock on wood..)

I love crisp, cool days, and since they rarely occur in New Orleans I plan to take a trip to a cooler climate in October with friends.

What’s the weather like where you are right now?

 

The Number on the Scale

I’ve always been a fan of writing things out on paper. Whether I’m taking notes in my Bible, writing out grocery lists or making goals I always prefer doing it on paper.

When I spent some time with my family this week I came across a goal I had written out years ago. I left it in my room at Mom’s house, and it’s been a while since I really stopped to think about the hope I placed on that piece of paper years ago.

I also noted the date (almost exactly 4 years ago) when I recognized how hard my personal weight journey felt inside my head.

lose weight

At the time I weighed about 15 pounds more than the number I wrote down, but now, four years later, I weigh almost 70 pounds more than that number. I’m going to be really transparent for a minute; it sucks.

I remember sitting at the desk thinking about how impossibly difficult it felt to lose the necessary 15 or 16 pounds to reach that weight. I just The truth is it seems a lot harder now because it will take a lot more effort, but I think it feels possible. I realize that to most this number still seems high, and I know it is. I also know how awesome and accomplished I felt when I reached it, so it matters to me.

People with good intentions, naive though they may be, often say “stop focusing on the numbers,” and that just doesn’t work in my mind. I never obsessed over reaching a certain weight by a certain date or anything, but I do need to see the numbers moving in the right direction. It motivates me to see the numbers inching down, and now that I’m back with Weight Watchers I’m more aware of it than I’ve been in years.

The good news is that I’ve learned some things about myself and how my mind works since the day I put that number on paper. I’ve learned that I like routine. It’s good for me to know what time I’ll wake up, when I’ll exercise, when I’ll go out, when I’ll be home. (I need to work on the latter. I spend far too much time away from home, but that’s improving.) I always felt like routines were boring, but now that I love my work, my friends and my home it’s great to know that I can look forward to certain things on certain days.

Monday – work, exercise and dinner with my gentleman friend

Tuesday – work, exercise after work, then spend the evening with friends/gentleman friend

Wednesday – late day at work. I go in later than usual, but I’m still home in time to enjoy the evening.

Thursday – work, exercise, band practice for the worship team at church

Friday – rest day

Saturday – prayer with friends at church, followed by free time

Sunday – church, lunch with friends (most weeks,) followed by free time

There’s a lot of time in my schedule to add in exercise, and I could do meal prep too. I’ve never been a fan of eating leftovers, so I think it’s important to come up with ideas to make healthy and easy lunches and dinners.

I used to beat myself up when I saw the 284 photo, but lately I’ve been feeling a renewed hope. (I think it’s because I’m making an effort again.)

I don’t like the way I look in photos right now, but I’m not going to stop taking them. I don’t like how hard it is shop for clothes again, but I’m still going to do it.

I don’t like the fact that I let myself veer so far off track, but I’m happier than I was back then. I’m healthier in so many areas of my life than I was at that time, which means it’s not too late to do this.

 

 

 

 

How Often Do You Go to the Movies?

I don’t see many movies in the theater, and I don’t watch many at home either. Sure, I went through a pretty long love affair with the Hallmark Channel, but that seems over for now (at least until Christmas in July.)

Going to the movies is fun, and it’s a great way to avoid the scorching temps that we experience for months on end in New Orleans. I just rarely think to myself, “a movie sounds like a fun idea,) but last week I decided to see a movie on Friday because my friends at Starbucks made it sound so appealing.

They’re retired, and they’re early birds! (I aspire to be like them,)  and as we drank coffee my friend, Cathy, mentioned movies and everyone agreed that morning movies are great because they’re so inexpensive. As I questioned why anyone would go to an early morning movie I began to wonder why I don’t do it. I typically don’t go into the office on Fridays, so it’s a great day to treat myself to a $5 flick. Who knew that morning movies were so much cheaper?! (Okay, my friends at Starbucks knew, and I’m glad!)

I don’t know how many movies I’ll see over the next few weeks, but I plan to add that to my fun list of activities by myself or with friends.

How often do you go to the movies? What does a standard movie showing cost in your neck of the woods?