Head Hunger vs. Real Hunger

I am two weeks and two days post op. Full liquids. I’ve been to two BBQ’s and one huge family dinner. I survived and lived to tell the tale of head hunger.

I’ve heard people refer to it often, but I don’t think I really understood the concept until now. Since surgery I haven’t felt real hunger. No tummy grumbling, no real weakness or low blood sugar. None of the things that make me feel famished. But being around amazing smelling Filipino food constantly has triggered this feeling in me. I caught myself dipping my finger in the different sauces just to taste the taste. Although I’ve broken free from carbs, seeing a nice slab of my cousin’s 18th birthday cake had me drooling. But I knew I wasn’t hungry. It was all in my head, and it’s still all in my head. I find myself having pep talks in my head. I have to tell myself to take time to listen to my stomach. It’s full and there isn’t any room for more. I let it sink in and I move on.

I know that despite having had my VSG that I will always have to battle with food. But taking time to stop and listen to my new stomach is the key for me. I need to listen to what it’s saying.

Aside from that I’m in Winnipeg, my hometown for a little vacation. My cousin is graduating from high school and I promised I’d be here for her commencement. I’m here for a total of two weeks and I don’t have a reliable scale so I haven’t been able to keep up with my scale Nazi tendencies. Which I think is for the best because I was weighing myself twice a day. For now my success is measured in the amount of sag I’m now sporting in my tights. It looks like I took a dump in my pants, no lie. But I’ll take it as a victory!

The Play By Play to End All Play By Plays

Surgery is over and done. Now the hard part begins.

I left for Surgery with Dr. Aceves on Monday June 3rd. Which ended up being the longest day of my life. My Dad, who has been my ever constant supporter flew with me, and due to time constraints we were up before the crack of dawn, 3 am to be precise. From there we headed to the airport for our long flight to San Diego. The worst part was not being able to eat after 7 am. I was dying, and when I fly I tend to need something in my stomach so I don’t get nauseous. But these are the sacrifices we make right?

As soon as the driver Ernesto picked us up we headed to the hospital for blood work, an EKG and a chest x-ray. We got to the hospital and I was quickly greeted by Karla, Dr. Aceves’ coordinator. She ushered me in for the tests. My mind was racing and all I could think of was that there would be something wrong with the test and I would be sent back home, wasting all of my Dad’s time and money. After the testing was completed my Dad and I were sat in a room where we met Dr. Aceves. Now I understand why some people have this “hero” complex about him. He is simply amazing. He’s no-nonsense, but also very passionate. He tells you exactly what is expected of you and makes no bones about this being easy. From there Dr. Campos came in. He assists Dr. Aceves and also plays the role of nutritionist. Aside from being exceptionally good-looking he is also a great resource and breaks it down to a comprehensible level. He’s also quite funny, and helped lighten the mood. After than Yolanda came in, who also works for Dr. Aceves in a coordinator type role. She took the rest of the payment and was lovely enough to give me some Ativan (apparently this is common practice with Dr. Aceves’ patients).

From there I went back to the hotel to have my “last meal” and have a good snooze. Although Dr. Campos instructed no more than 2 margaritas or glasses of wine, I decided to abstain which was a huge feat for me, even my Dad was shocked. I nibbled a little at some fajitas but I was really too anxious to gorge myself like I thought I would. Took the Ativan and slept like a baby despite the fact that my Dad woke me up at midnight, he read his watch wrong and thought it was 6 in the morning and that we were going to be late. Slept and slept and woke up terrified. I hid it well I think, but I was just so nervous. All of the what-ifs started taunting me. What if it doesn’t work? What if there are complications? What if I die? I had to resign myself to the fact that I was in capable hands and that I had come to far to back down now. So I sucked it up, picked out the room I wanted since I was the only surgery that day (of course greedy me picked the most spacious room). The anesthesiologist came in, the internist came in, Dr. Aceves and Campos both came in. Then Perla, the youngest, sweetest most competent nurse I have ever met (and I come from a family of nurses) took me to the operating room where she teased me for having a Spanish last name and not being able to speak Spanish.

I got on to the operating table where a male nurse started wrapping my legs in compression bandages and commented that the liked my tattoo, the anesthesiologist then asked me “Did they give you a tablet?” to which I started panicking because they hadn’t, and then that was it. I was out cold.  Next thing I know I’m in a strange room screaming that I’m in pain. Then they give me more Morphine. From there I’m send back to my room. I’m feeling super nauseous from the Morphine. Dr. Campos informs my Dad that they gave me too much Morphine in the recovery room considering how sensitive I am to it. I freak, as for the kidney bowl and start throwing up blood. After that I’m fine. Absolutely fine.

That night I started walking and doing my breathing exercises with my spirometer. Each day it gets easier and I’m walking more and more. By the last night I’m walking at my usual pace and have enough pep to do my makeup. Dr. Campos tells me that I don’t even look like I’ve had surgery. I swoon.

I’m a week and two days out and I feel fantastic. My incisions are healing beautifully, my scars look like they’ll be pretty minimal. And I’m down 17.2 pounds since the morning of surgery.

I know it might be too early to say it, but I feel like this is the best decision I’ve ever made.

20 Days (or 19 Sleeps)

Parents have a funny way of explaining things to children. When I was a kid my Mom would always explain things in sleeps or Simpsons. I’ll explain;

“How many days until Christmas?”

“Five more sleeps.”

“How long does it take to drive there?”

“Eight episodes of the Simpsons.”

I had a huge obsession with watching the Simpsons and everything was easily explained to me in those half hour segments. I’m 19 sleeps away from surgery. I’m starting to get more and more anxious about it and all of the what-ifs have started to creep into my thoughts. What if it doesn’t work? What if there are complications? What if I die? I keep talking myself out of these thoughts but I do know that these things could happen. What makes me so special that they won’t happen to me? I don’t know that they won’t but I’ve got to keep positive and hope that they don’t. The one thing that I still have is a fucktonne of hope.

I’m immersing myself completely in different people’s stories, youtube videos and accounts of their surgeries. It’s amazing to see different transformations.  But, I’m also indulging myself. Next week I have to begin my pre-op diet. So I’m indulging now. Steak and wine. Copious amounts of both. I know… not necessarily “good” for me, but I know these are the things I’ll be craving post-op. One of my good friends is flying out in a few weeks. We are definitely food buddies. We both have a love for all things tasty, and it’s going to be so difficult for me to not participate in the yumminess. But giving up a little bit for a lifetime of health and happiness is worth it… I hope.

 

Wanderlust.

Wanderlust [ˈwɒndəˌlʌst]n a great desire to travel and rove about

 

This has always been me. I’ve always had a passport that is valid, ready for the next adventure. As I retired my old passport, full of stamps from across the world, and picked up my new one I had this weird sense of excitement. A new passport with 24 empty pages waiting to be filled with stamps for all of my new adventures.

I’m curious to know what it’s going to be like to travel without being so conscious of my size. I find that when I travel I try to draw as little attention to myself as possible. In North America being overweight is not out of the ordinary. So when I walk around I don’t feel self conscious because I know that I’m one of many overweight people walking around my neighborhood. But when I’m somewhere like Spain for example, I know I stick out like a sore thumb, so I do my best to be as incognito as possible. It’s places like this that I’m most excited to visit again once I’m healthy and in shape. I always feel this way when I visit the Philippines, aka the Father Land.

One thing about Asia that may be a stereotype to some, but a reality to me is that everyone is tiny. Even the fatties are tiny by western standards. I come from a family where being 5’7″ make me a giant. And weighing more than 100 pounds soaking wet is a shocker. So when I travel to the Philippines and I step foot on the soil of my ancestors, I feel automatically out of place. I’m the ultimate antithesis to everything that is Filipino. I’m half white so that’s already one strike against me. My complexion is what they call “puti”. A word I hear often when I’m there. I’m tall, which is noticeable, but even more noticeable when I’m walking alongside my 4’8″ grandma and 5’4″ father. I have thick curly hair, which people seem to like to touch and remark about; this is also something I’ve been bitter about my entire life. Straight black Asian hair just wasn’t in the cards for me. To top it all off I’m big, not just “mataba” as the locals would say. But I am gigantic in their standards.

When I’m in the Philippines people are curious about me. They aren’t out and out rude, but they want to see me, this big, tall, pale skinned curly haired girl. I’d like to visit and just fit in. Fly under the radar. I want to know what it’s like to travel like a local.

The wanderlust in me is building.

Finding Calm Amongst the Chaos

The past week has been a rollercoaster.

I started off on Monday explaining to my Dad that I would be having the surgery. I called him and the conversation started with tears. I couldn’t even get the words out. The most difficult thing for me was to explain to my Dad, who has always been my number one supporter, that I am not perfect, and I need help to change. It’s the first time I’ve ever explained all of my health fears to him. Despite my size my Dad has always treated me as though I  am perfect. But just in his usual way, he supported me. He’s flying down to Vancouver to come with me to surgery and he’ll be staying with me while I recoup.

To top it all off he offered to pay. He moved around his investments and was able to come up with the money for it without me even asking, or even insinuating that I needed financial help.

This is why my Dad is the best.

I also decided that I wasn’t going to be secretive about any of this. I told each and every person who is important to me and was met with unanimous support. From co-worker to childhood friends, everyone has been amazing. Even if there were unsupportive people in my life, I wouldn’t care because I am so sure that this is the right decision. Naysayers have no effect on me right now.

I had a day off today so I took it to do research. Looked into protein powders that will be necessary post op. I got some amazing suggestions from my friend Nhi, I often task her with looking random crap up for me, I think she gets off on filling her head with random facts. I also managed to get my passport renewed and also picked up a blender bottle for the aforementioned protein powders.

I guess I’m the same way about liking to research things. I need to know everything going into this surgery. I need to know the risks, I need to know the chances of failure. I need to go into it without rose-tinted glasses, thinking that this is a cure-all and that every ailment I have will suddenly disappear when the doctor makes that incision. I know that it won’t be easy and that it won’t happen over night. But if I go into this with realistic expectations I’ll succeed.

Nothing worth having is ever easy, and I want to have my health back.

Spring Has Sprung

I never used to like Spring. It was my least favorite season… but things have changed.

Suddenly spring means growth, change and rebirth.

My name is Lisa, I’m 26. I’m smart, funny, entertaining, well traveled, and fat. I’m also immensely unhealthy. I suffer from insulin resistance, poly-cycstic ovarian syndrome (or PCOS), and hypothyroidism. I’m over 300 pounds. I stopped getting on a scale after 300. I have diabetes and hypertension in my family history, and I carry a majority of my weight in my midsection.

In other words, I’m a medical disaster waiting to happen. I’ve lived my entire adult life and a large part of my childhood overweight. I’ve decided that this is not a life I’m willing to live anymore and have committed to having weight loss surgery. On June 4th I will be having a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, known as VSG. The next month and a half will be dedicated to preparing myself for the surgery.

So what should you know about me if you’re going to follow me on this journey?

  • I was born in Winnipeg but I currently reside in the Vancouver area
  • I am an ethnic mutt, Filipinio, Spanish, English and Scottish blood runs through my veins
  • I have a black belt in tae kwon do
  • I have a bad case of wanderlust and travel as much as life (and finances) allow
  • I am recently single
  • Crude, rude and tattooed
  • I’m a lover of history (it was my minor in university), especially anything and everything related to WWII
  • I collect stationary and I love sending and receiving snail mail
  • Make-up and hair products are my obession

So if you can stomach a bit attitude and a lot of ups and downs please follow me on this journey. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.