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Been a little AWOL

English: Cheeseburger 20 years ago had 333 cal...

English: Cheeseburger 20 years ago had 333 calories well a modern cheeseburger contains 590 calories. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Someone posted a comment and mentioned they missed my posts. It made me realize it had been awhile since I had posted something. Well, I tend to go in spurts. My interest is somewhat like a child’s. I will focus on one thing for a time and then switch to something else for a time and then to something else again.

Since I’ve been released from home health care and physical therapy, I’ve felt somewhat like I have been left on my own with not many resources left to look into. With help from my son, I’ve started the diet drug Qsymia and will try it about 2 months and decide if I can tell a benefit from it or not.

I went to the orthopedic surgeon about possible double knee replacement surgery. He told me, “Boy your knees are bad. Your knees are really bad, wow your knees are really bad.” Interesting, since I can only walk a few steps in a bent-knee position also having knee spurs this was something I already knew. What I also expected but was surprised to hear is that for elective surgery, I weighed too much and no hospital in town would want to accept me as a patient. ( I weighed about 335.) I realize I am overweight/obese, have been most of my life, but hospital surgical beds have a weight limit? Interesting…

The surgeon decided to refer me to a gastric bypass/bariatric surgeon. I am between a rock and a hard place so am willing to try almost anything.  I am still waiting for the referral phone call…it’s been a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, I have tried to cut down on my weight, as usual. I lost 1.8 lbs. the first week and 1.6 lbs. the 2nd week. The 3rd week, my daughter got a new color Nook for $50 from a friend. On it there was an app we noticed called Lose It. We looked at it and were instantly intrigued and both of us joined.

It is an online program that gives you so many daily calories to eat depending upon your weight and how many lbs. you want to lose each week. The program will keep track of everything you eat, subtracting the calories from your total. You can add calories back to the total by doing exercises. If you have an android or iPhone you can use your bar code scanner to scan foods to get the nutritional information and calories etc. That is very cool! As a longtime fast food junkie it is shocking to find out exactly how many calories are in fast foods. It is also interesting to discover how compelling it is to try to stay below my daily limit and in the ‘green’ and away from the ‘red’ side of my chart. Last week I lost 4.6 lbs. so boringly enough…watching calories and adding a few exercises actually work.

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Today is a new day

 

Why change your Diet?

Why change your Diet? (Photo credit: DES Daughter)

 

As I continue this adventure, no matter how difficult or how emotional yesterday was, when I wake up, it is always fresh and new and there is hope. That is the hardest part of the journey…to believe there is still hope.

 

I went to the orthopedic surgeon last week. As expected, my weight is an issue as well as the lymphedema. At 5′ 3 1/2″ tall 335 lbs. is too heavy. I have over the past 44 years since my 20’s, learned to hate and accept the label of morbidly obese. In December I will turn 65 and you learn to live with certain things. One of mine is that it has always been difficult to practically impossible for me to lose a certain amount of weight. I have lost 100 lbs. more than once using different approaches. Usually what works is to give up anything of interest and eat only bland foods with lots of vegetables. Thank goodness I always liked veggies! Even so, the pounds will come back when you begin to add back to your diet things that most normal people eat.

 

Add to that, I tend to be a stress eater. I used to binge eat and have managed with the grace of God to leave that behind. My favorite thing to do would be to eat the largest bag of Doritos with a 1 lb. bag of m & m’s until they were all gone. To this day, we can’t keep chips or candy or cookies in the house. It helped a lot when my husband developed diabetes. His is minor, easily managed with oral medication, and he still eats sweets but usually hides it from me. LOL But not having sweets in the house changed my taste buds a lot. I haven’t eaten chocolate in years.

 

 

The last time I lost weight was on nutrisystems. I used to weigh over 425 lbs. So, to me, maintaining a weight of between 325 and 335 has been a success. Now, with all of my health problems, the weight has once again become a major issue.

 

Back to the knee surgeon…he said at least 3 times how bad my knees were. Since I struggle just to get to the bathroom each day, it was not something I didn’t know. But he also said I needed to lose some weight before knee surgery and recommended I see a bariatric surgeon. So, we are once again in a hurry and wait period. They are attempting to get me in to see the surgeon and someone will call me with an appointment. What was interesting to find out was what the brochure on understanding obesity and metabolism had to say…

 

“Metabolically resistant obesity is essentially obesity that strongly resists dieting and weight loss. When an individual reduces their calories and loses approximately 10% of their body weight, their own metabolism will actually stimulate intense hunger through multiple neural gut hormonal changes and at the same time lower the body’s metabolic rate so that fewer calories are burned. This produces the typical yoyo cycle that patients experience when trying to diet down to a healthier weight. 

 

Normally, as our bodies gain fat and weight, a hormone called leptin is released which triggers multiple mechanisms to control food intake and raise the body’s metabolism so that weight remains stable. Normal leptin metabolism is critical for weight control. Leptin resistance occurs when an individual’s metabolism no longer responds to the hormone leptin. After consuming a high fat diet for several years, many people develop leptin resistance. This drives their body’s set point weight higher to unhealthy levels. Some individuals are genetically predisposed to leptin resistance. Other factors that contribute to leptin resistance include food additives such as antibiotics, hormones, and preservatives. Unfortunately, once a patient’s set point for weight is in the ‘morbidly obese’ category, there is less than a 1% chance that significant weight loss through dieting will be successful.”

 

What!?? Wow! less than 1% chance? The struggles of the past 40 years all seem to make sense now. You can’t know how much relief there is in knowing the past failures weren’t totally from my lack of trying. I know you’ve heard if not said some of them…’just quit eating’…’just push away from the table’…’just use will power’…but all of that is for another rant on another day.

 

 

Meanwhile, my primary care physician had told me about a “new” diet drug on the market. It is a combination of two drugs…used for other purposes with an unexpected side effect of weight loss. It is very expensive and the insurance will not cover it. I tried to get it about 2-3 weeks ago but couldn’t afford $237 a month. With a 15% off coupon it runs about $185 which is still quite pricey. I gave up on trying it. And then my son said he probably could give me the money to try it out. I thought it would only take one month to see if it had any benefit for me and so voila! we now, beginning today, are trying out Qsymia.  Even a jump-start on losing weight once again would be helpful and any weight off of these tired old knees will be greatly beneficial. And so, we shall see what happens. We are still waiting for the appointment with the bariatric surgeon but can try this until then…and the journey continues…

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m in transition

Rays of Hope

Rays of Hope (Photo credit: ~K~)

It’s been two months, shy a couple of days, since I had to quit work and begin physical therapy and home health care. It has been emotional and stressful, changing each day. There were unknowns to get past and a new way of living each day to get used to.  There were goals to meet as I worked towards increasing my strength and hopefully get back my ability to walk with its limitations. There was fighting the fear of being totally handicapped and totally dependent upon others for my care and wondering if it was actually possible to get better.

Now I am in transition. I have finished my physical therapy for now. I have progressed, fallen back, progressed again, fallen back and progressed to the point where there is nothing else the therapy can do for me. I’m the best I can be at this time. I am taking an emotional rest and trying not to think of the next step. That is still up in the air and the path ahead is once more hidden from my view.

In my last evaluation of the progress I have made, the therapist supervisor could tell a difference in my strength and endurance. I can get up from the love seat and transfer to my rolling office chair with success most of the time. Sometimes it is easier than others. I still can’t just stand up to use my walker or to get out of bed by myself. I have to totally pull my weight up with my arms and for now, it is working. Whatever muscles and help you use from knees and legs are not there for me. So I am totally dependent on my upper body strength to move around.

The last step, the only resource left, is to see an orthopedic surgeon about knee replacement surgery. If he is not willing, because of my lymphedema, or my weight, then I will continue to deteriorate until I can no longer walk enough to get to the bathroom and will be totally dependent on others to care for me. It is something I try not to think about.

And so, we are in a waiting time, trying to get the appointment with the surgeon while hoping that there actually is hope left to strive for. It has been an unexpected and emotional journey and we are entering the next phase. And so…the journey continues…

Scared child

Scared child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the journey continues I am discovering that the biggest challenge is fighting my emotions; the fear of the unknown and the uncertainty of the future. I have always been a worrier and have fought my whole life against the fear of change, fear of the unknown, the fear of almost everything. Now the fear is of being totally handicapped, unable to walk and unable to be independent or even bathe myself. The change in my life happened too quickly. And since I’ve fallen 3 or 4 times in the last 8 months, that is one of the biggest fears. I can’t get out of bed without help and most days need help to get out of my chair to do a little walking across my kitchen. Fear of falling? What’s the big deal? It’s because I can’t pick myself up. Each time it happens I have to call 911 and have firemen pick me up off the floor.

 

The reason for this rant is I’m beginning to wonder if I need an anti-depressant. My emotions are swinging back and forth. Some days I am encouraged by my progress and other days I am incapacitated by my fears and even the fear of trying to do more. As with any exercise, the more you do, the next day or two you pay a price. With me, it is usually pain and extreme soreness and what I call being crippled up. I have a harder time doing what I did two days ago….getting up, standing, walking to the bathroom…the knees are wobbly and try to buckle on me. Then the fear increases to the point of being afraid once again to keep at the same level of exercise or to strive to increase so I become stronger. Fear tells me the more I do the worse I will make the knees and legs that are barely supporting me right now. And the fear of falling again tries to keep me from trying. It is a vicious circle. Add to the cycle that I tend to be a stress eater, and another weight is added to the circle.

 

I have been on anti-depressants in the past and really don’t like the idea of taking them. I learned over the years that a positive attitude, determination and a lot of prayer goes a long way towards stability and sanity. I also realize that there are different levels to depression and sometimes the scale is heavier on the side of the depression while leaving the positive thinking swinging in the rafters. (I also recognize that some clinical depression is caused by something in the way the brain works and has nothing to do with positive thinking or trying.)  I’m starting to wonder if the fears are becoming too overwhelming and taking too much energy to fight leaving little energy to live and do what I need to do. Maybe I am needing a little help, something to help me push the fear away. It is something to think about…as the journey continues….

One Fear illustration from Book of Fears

One Fear illustration from Book of Fears (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our flooding

Laura Ness Flooding on Bell

The recent rain Wednesday evening and night in Amarillo, Texas caused our living room to be flooded. It came under the backdoor all along one wall, under the couch and under that wall into the computer room a bit and down the wall into the hall.  What a yucky mess. It’s not damage, just saturated carpet, but it is amazing how quickly rain/runoff water can start to smell while you are trying to dry out the carpet! We have all of our living room furniture kind of piled in the middle of the room while industrial sized fan is blowing LOUDLY to dry the carpet. It will be a couple of days of exciting fun! Later…

Originally posted on Estherlou's Blog:

My husband and I were driving on the local highway towards downtown, to pick up our daughter for an early supper together. We have set aside Sunday as the one special time the three of us spend together uninterrupted. One minute we were enjoying our conversation and the beautiful weather, and the next minute someone was trying to merge into our lane without realizing we were in it. Trying to swerve safely at 60 mph and honk at the same time is not as easy as it sounds! It seemed as if time slowed down and sped up all at the same time. It was quite unusual. You are strangely calm as well as full of the adrenaline rush and the terrifying realization that you have no control whatsoever on this particular second of time. Both cars survived untouched and went on our seperate ways as they swerved back and the highway…

View original 279 more words

 

Look Hear?

Look Hear? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been a stress eater my whole life. I was someone who sucked my thumb as a child. When I quit that at age 12, I think I replaced that with food. I realized very late in life that food fed my insecurities, my loneliness, my depression and my desire to fit in. It became a way of life. And it is not normal.

My husband is the kind of person who can buy a pie, or a bag of cookies, or chips…eat a piece or a handful, and then put the rest away for the next time which could be a week later. I have never understood that. I have friends who quit eating when they are depressed. I wish! Who does that? That is something I don’t understand either. My sister was like me. Her husband was an alcoholic. He couldn’t understand the way we looked at food either. So she asked him if he bought a pint or a quart of liquor would he take one drink out of it and put it away for another day, or would he finish it off? He said of course he would finish it off and then he understood.

A lot of M&M's.

My favorite binge food was to get a one pound bag of m & m’s and a large bag of chips…how can you improve on chocolate and salty together? And I would eat them until they were gone. Thank goodness those days are long gone, but the urge to eat when stressed or anxious about something is still there.

The Thai versions of Lay's Potato Chips. Most ...

The Thai versions of Lay’s Potato Chips. Most of the flavours are seafood oriented. Why can we not get these flavours in America? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And so, after supper, there is always the urge for dessert, or ‘something more’ or ‘I just want something else’ that I have to fight against. Sometimes I will eat less earlier in the day just so I CAN have that ‘something more’ later to feed my inner security blanket.

So as someone who needs to lose weight, being a stress eater never helps the new situations when they come. That sneaky little urge to feed the anxiety or the boredom or the fear or the depression is always hiding inside ready to pop out unawares. I think that maybe once I’d like to try the other side…the side that quits eating when upset. It’s amazing how odd that seems to me. I guess it is all in what’s ‘normal’ for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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