Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Time Marches On...

I can't believe it happened - again!  I've gone months and seemingly ignored this blog, although I haven't forgotten about it!  Honest!

Since I last posted, life has been rather hectic.

A couple of weeks after my last entry I drove myself 7-1/2 hours to Columbus, OH for Thirty-One's annual National Conference.  I was admittedly anxious.  It was a long drive alone and I'd never met anyone on my team (nor the women with whom I shared a room) in person.  This was a leap of faith on many levels.  I also wasn't sure what to expect with food, so went prepared with plenty of protein bars and I stocked up on healthy snacks so I didn't find myself getting overly hungry.  But the anxiety was real.  I will say that I am not a fan of bridges and tunnels and never gave any thought about needing to tackle both just to get through PA.  I also don't drive in cities.  I'll be honest.  I was scared.  The Lord has a sense of humor because as soon as I saw the first set of tunnels the songs from my playlist entitled "Breathe" came on.  All I could do was giggle...and breathe.  The songs served as a necessary reminder.  It was mostly smooth sailing until I neared the city of Columbus.  Now, living near Philly I didn't plan on Columbus being city driving - another example of me simply not thinking.  It is a city.  Period.  It's not Philly, but it's not Suburbia, either.  Once more, God moment when the skies opened up and an old Jars of Clay song, "Flood" played.  The rain turned out to be a good thing, though, because it slowed traffic and allowed me freedom to read street signs going slowly and merge into the lanes necessary.

As for eating and Conference... it was a challenge, but one I handled pretty well.  Our team did pizza one day but I stuck to my protein bar (as hard as that was!).  One night I met with a new group of friends and actually just snacked on peanuts and raisins - a childhood lunchbox staple, altogether forgetting to eat a meal!  I may have been lacking in my daily protein intake for those few days, but I didn't eat junk, so it's a fair trade-off.  Plus, while I can't stomach plain water anymore, and you can't take bottles into the arena, I took individual packets of Crystal Light and bought a bottle of water everyday.  It got the job done.

I did get back to work with my trainer after some significant time off following hand surgery.  I swear some weeks he's trying to kill me.  But seriously, I need the accountability so I keep going.

But then August hit.  I was in a rough place and Keith went and developed a couple of kidney stones - OUCH!  One of them was so large he required surgery for it to be blasted with a laser.  He spent 2 nights in the hospital.  A week later he had the stent removed.  That same day (early September), I was admitted to the hospital for 24 days.  Once again, food became an issue.  But I was armed with protein shakes and bars.  I actually lost weight while I was there!

After that "break," I was back with the trainer until we went on VACATION, leaving 2 days after our 22nd anniversary....the same date we'd left for our honeymoon!  We took a brief cruise to on Disney Cruise Line and then took several days at Disney World.  And for fun, hubby gave notice at his job as soon as we hit land.  It wasn't ideal; he would have much preferred to tell his boss in person, but out of respect, he wanted to give the full 2 weeks notice.  Anyway, it wasn't for fun because he had a great job offer on the table.  We got back from vacation 12/14 and his last day of work was 12/22.

One HUGE non-scale victory for me - not needing a seatbelt extender on the plane.  Even better, I just kept pulling the end tighter and tighter.  It was a great feeling!

I was incredibly concerned about food at Disney.  It's always been one of our favorite things about our Disney vacations (this was my 13th trip; it was our 9th trip together, including our "Disneymoon").  We got the text that our room was ready and it turns out we'd been upgraded to "Club" (aka: concierge) Level.  You know what that means?  Free food!  It also meant that we walked out onto our balcony the first night at the Wilderness Lodge after a long day at 2 different parks, and watched the fireworks over Cinderella's Castle.  We were downright giddy!  We'd also been eligible for the Free Dining promotion they offered.  We weren't going to pay for the dining plan; I simply don't eat that much, but it was free, so we grabbed on!  I tried some new foods and did well until the last day when I tried a few too many new things in one day and my sleeve rebelled (I vomited).  Other than that, I did quite well.  I even lost weight because of all the walking we do at Disney.  It was an extraordinary vacation!  We still enjoyed some great food, we had the upgrade, we were at our favorite place on Earth (the adult-exclusive beach, called Serenity Bay, at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay where we floated on mats in the clear ocean and just hung out talking - all the while our backs getting burnt, as we were laying on our stomachs), and we were on a phenomenal new ride, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, during the nighttime fireworks.  And those were just the highlights!

12/29 marked two years since I joined Thirty-One as an Independent Consultant.  What started off as a bit of a roller coaster has become a consistent and thriving business.  I love the company and what they stand for and the products can't be beat.  I know I'm partial, but I love what I do.  Since I'm not able to hold down a full-time traditional job and remain on disability, this is perfect.

12/30 was two years since my initial consultation with the bariatric surgeon.  It was the day my new life started, even if it wasn't my "surgiversary."  It was the day this portion of my journey began.  It was the day my eating changed and I slowly began to add exercise into my life.  It was the day I met the man who would give me a major tool for success in my weight loss.  It was the day I started the most difficult, and most rewarding thing I've done for myself.

I lost just over 26 pounds this year.  While I'm not at my goal just yet, I have fewer than 20 pounds to get there.  I have a consultation with a surgeon for skin removal surgery in a few weeks.  With hub's new job we have new insurance so I'm not sure what that will mean for payment.  Lots to investigate!

Yesterday I had an appointment with a surgeon regarding skin removal surgery.  I'm on the books for March 7, pending insurance approval.  Not to be overly graphic here, but with all of the sagging skin, I have a persistent rash which means that there is a good chance insurance will cover the procedure.  I'm anxious about it, but eager for the skin to be GONE!  It makes me appear far heavier than I am.  It's exciting!

I know I say this each time I write, but I really hope to post more often and want to be as open of a book as possible, so don't hesitate to ask questions and share this blog with someone you think may be interested - either considering surgery, had surgery, or is a support person for someone in either of those groups!  And please subscribe if you want to read the antics I'm certain are in store for this year!

Now I've been lax about taking regular photos, but here is a collage I put together.  It includes a slightly less-than-flattering picture from this past Saturday (with a sort of clingy shirt) but it's what I have and it's real, so I share it.  I apologize for the big gap in timing between pictures.  So I'll include an earlier collage with a couple of pictures not included with the most recent one.

Over and out, friends!


  1. Oh girl, you have way surpassed me and you are doing great! I wish I had your discipline with food. I struggled during the holidays and gained 10 lbs. On New Year's day I gave up sweets (again) and have lost 3 so far. You are looking great and I am excited for you and your skin surgery! Keep it up...you're an inspiration!

  2. Your discipline with exercise is one I wish I had! I weighed a little less than you when I had my surgery, so we're really not that different. I do have some sweets but try to keep it to a minimum. So far, no bread (other than the occasional pizza crust), pasta, or rice. They terrify me because I know I had a problem with them before. But I'm strict with my fluid intake and protein (with some exceptions, of course). We keep each other accountable, girl! I'm so thankful for that. You inspire me to get into the gym! I'm back again on Thursday after returning from Disney with a nasty cold. I want to do the Princess 5K in Disney World. We'll see... Hey, maybe we can do it together, although by the time I'm ready to do it, you'll have a few marathons under your belt! Thanks for your encouragement!

    1. Disney runs are a distant dream for me due to finances, but maybe someday!

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you! I'm not sure who you are, though (but I'll take the compliment, for sure!). Do I know you irl?

  4. the photos are amazing! I'm so glad that you've taken so many steps to being healthy -- with the surgery, the self discipline with food, the exercise - it's great to hear about how it's paying off! The seat belt on the plane -- GREAT JOB!

    1. Thanks! It's weird how I was looking forward to something so small. Of course I was more looking forward to the trip, but that seatbelt had been a thorn in my side for years so it was a happy moment!