Fine Tuning a Ferrari

Dec 09, 2013….

I started this blog because I wanted to talk about and chronicle the major plastic (reconstructive) surgery that I was about to have that was scheduled for Dec 19, 2013.  Just saying the words are still scary: circumferential body lift (extensive tummy tuck plus) and brachioplasty (arm lift).

It’s a gruesome procedure and I remember watching so many videos on it. I read everything I could. I knew that I had chosen one of the best plastic surgeons to do those procedures. But I was so scared of the unknown.

When I think back on how I was feeling last year, I was so scared and excited. I didn’t know how the surgery would go, how I would look, if it be a waste of money, would I recover well. But I mostly worried that I could die on the table or never be healthy again because of it. I really believed that I may not get back into running or that it might take a long time. I worried that Daniel would miss me. Sadie was so young that she would not.

I remember talking to Daniel before the surgery to explain. I even explained what I was having done in a simple way he could understand. He told me to think about him hugging me while I was in surgery. I had tears in my eyes because that was the sweetest thing I’ve ever had said to me by anyone. And also, without him knowing…I was making sure he knew how much I loved him and how had he changed my life in an awesome way. Just in case… Of course, I wasn’t expecting to die but you can’t not think about that. …It’s that “what if” that happens.

That entire month run up to the day was nerve wrecking.

At first I intended to use this blog to post before and after pictures but I later decided that I did not want to do that. I have some on my initial posts back in December. I do appreciate the ones who did post their pictures and experiences with the surgery because it really helped me to understand what I would go through.

I am reflecting on all of that to get to my real post…..

In Sept of 2009, I weighed 288 lbs and at some points I was even heavier.

I lost weight: 288-161 = 127 lbs lighter. I want to be between 154-157 lbs.

I counted calories and started exercising.

I don’t put down people who have weight loss surgery but I did not want to go that route. I considered it. But I feared that it would make my health worse. I knew people who had it and they never looked healthy to me. That’s my personal feeling.

I wanted to change my lifestyle on my terms and not be forced to change my lifestyle by surgery. I counted calories and exercised. This was the most disciplined that I had ever been in my life. After I lost several pounds, I started exercising and tried running again the first time since I was 16 years old.

I fell in love with running because it challenged my body like I had never experienced. I loved how I felt when I met those challenges. I loved pushing myself (another thing I had never done).  I loved that euphoric feeling that I had afterwards. It also kicked my weight loss into gear.10245549_10152449806655505_2833190106778249596_n

I loved how I looked in the mirror…at first.

Before After

But with my age and that much weight loss, I had a lot of loose skin around my mid section. I could buy and wear small clothes but I looked awful in them….to me. My arms were a big embarrassment so the sleeveless style was out. So as women do….I became even more embarrassed of my body.

I had a couple free consultations with plastic surgeons and NEVER intended to go through with it. I knew the cost would be astounding and I knew insurance would not pay for it.

And even though I didn’t think I would do it, I only considered having my arms done (brachioplasty). That was all I wanted the consultation for.

But when Dr. Boswell analyzed my body and showed me what could be done, I couldn’t get that out of my mind.  I couldn’t sleep because I wanted it so bad. But $20,000…..

Kevin was so good as he always is. I don’t know how I got so lucky to find him later in my life after having such a bad marriage my first go around. He knew how bad I wanted that surgery. He told me the decision was mine and he would support whatever I wanted to do. But he was also very sweet to tell me that he loved how I looked without the surgery and to do it only for me….if that was what I wanted.

I suffered much more than I imagined after the surgery. I even regretted it….for a few weeks. But after the drainage tubes came out and I put on my regular clothes…..I cried the first time I looked at myself in nice, skinny clothes.

I’ve always had a somewhat negative opinion of people who have plastic surgery. I was wrong to be that judgemental. How people look to themselves is very important.

I love having a flat stomach, no muffin top, no flabby arms……it really was like a dream come true for me.

And what was even better…..I started running again as soon as I was permitted. I ran a half marathon full through with no walk breaks 4 months after the surgery. And in a few weeks from that, I signed up for my first marathon.

My journey has been incredible and surreal to me.

I don’t know why I wanted to blog about it today. I think I am feeling sentimental because 1 year ago…….my emotions were so screwed about the upcoming surgery and the status of my health.

Today, I am a marathoner at a normal weight with a flat stomach and nice arms and an awesome husband who truly is the best thing that has happened to me! 🙂

~Self-Confidence is Sexy~

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From Dairy Queen to Lean

Best Thing I've Ever Eaten..hands down
Best Thing I’ve Ever Eaten..hands down

It’s been 3 months since my plastic surgery. I had the circumferential body lift and brachioplasty (arm) lift for people who don’t know. After losing 131 lbs I splurged and got that extra skin removed and parts tightened up from a wonderful and talented plastic surgeon! You can see my 6 pack abs now! Well, maybe a 4 pack. 🙂

Time for an update….

I suffered much more right after the surgery than I anticipated. I’m a tough girl so I always think I will recover miraculously. I was wrong, I’m so very human! 🙂

It was a long process of healing but I can tell you that I couldn’t be happier.

Outside of some of my wounds separating a bit and not healing as fast as I wanted, I feel great. And….I look great if I have to say so myself. 🙂 Now, I’m not a bikini ready body but I love my flat stomach, tight butt and thighs and small arms. Dr. Boswell (St. Louis) is a great surgeon who specializes in circumferential procedures and doing multiple procedures in one operating room setting.

I still have a couple of places that have not healed completely. One is on my left hip and the other is under my right arm.

As of today, I have lost 131 lbs by changing my eating habits and exercising and especially running. From 288 lbs. in 2009 to 157 lbs. today. Most of my weight loss came in 2010. I did find out that the smaller you get, the harder to take off pounds. Those two simple things changed my life: diet change and running.

I still can’t believe what I see when I look in the mirror. At first, I actually didn’t recognize myself but as years went by I slowly stopped seeing myself as a fat girl. Now I’ve just moved on to thinking I need better boobs! 🙂

I feel my stamina is coming back on my runs. I will say that was my biggest disappointment besides the damn 4 drainage tubes coming from my lower tummy after the surgery, was not being able to run and having to start back from zero. I don’t think I’m being arrogant or shallow (or maybe I am) when I say that a big part of my identity is being a runner.

I hear people at work whisper or even to my face talk about how obsessed I am with what I eat and exercise, running etc. “Why in the world would someone want to run?”, “Haven’t you lost enough weight?”, “Do you ever eat?”….I try to be good-natured with my answers or joke it off but many times I want to be rude.

One woman who says those things to me has told me that she doesn’t understand why she is so big (~300 lbs). She says she doesn’t eat hardly anything. Yeah, I’ve said that before too. One morning for breakfast in the cafeteria, she was eating a huge Dairy Queen Blizzard. Ok, now we know why. BTW, Pumpkin Pie Blizzards at the DQ are to die for during the fall season.

I discovered that eating often/much and eating high calories are 2 different things. I used to think I didn’t eat much that day but ate a double whopper and large fries! That was an entire calorie day for me….in reality.

I’m 54 and feel like I’m 30…oh, yeah…I’m obsessed. I’m obsessed with living longer and feeling better. Looking awesome in my clothes is just an added benefit.

~obsess this!~

Born to Run…or was I?

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Day number one of my 30 day challenge to not eat sweets, junk food or fast food. It’s 6pm and I’m doing good! HA

It’s going to be hard to not eat more tonight. I am going to try to not to after 6pm unless in extreme duress! 🙂

I got in a little late to work this morning due to icy roads and I didn’t get a break from the time I stepped in until I left.

I was even too busy to get hungry. Kevin packed my lunch and I love him for it. It makes my day much better and helps me to stay on track with healthy eating.

I am still not exercising except walking per surgeon’s recommendation because of where my open scar is located. I now have one on each hip. I need to be running but weather is so bad even if I could. We run in a couple of weeks in the St. Patrick’s Day 5 Miler. I will never make it without walk breaks. 5 miles through downtown St. Louis is very hard. I’ve run it the last 2 years. Over 13,000 runners are in that race. I love it and will do the best that I can. I am hoping to start doing some running toward the end of the week.

I don’t even feel like a runner anymore and that gave me such satisfaction. Maybe I’m over-reacting. I want to run.

I guess bread pudding for Mardi Gras is out?
I guess bread pudding for Mardi Gras is out?

Bitch, Bitch, Bitch

bitching burns no calories

I have been very busy at work this week. I was looking forward to Mardi Gras and St. Louis this weekend but now they are calling for very cold, icy rain and a lot of snow.

I am getting another place on my left hip that has wound separation. The other places are healing but another one coming. I am getting very concerned that I am not healing. All the scabs and wounds are not very attractive! Maybe I’m worrying too much. My arm scars are healing pretty good with the exception of a place under my right arm. He said it was caused by the stitches trying to spit out but said it would go away. The surgeon said that all the stitches would be completely dissolved by 4 months so I’m counting on that. I have a follow up appointment with him next Friday and my yearly mammogram tomorrow.

I am a bit frustrated that I am unable to take the rest of the 5-7 lbs off. The weather is too cold to run. I can’t believe I am saying that when I used to love to run in winter. I have also been instructed by my doctor to ease up on exercise because of the area where my wound separation is. I’m very frustrated. I am not eating well. I had to drink most of my protein today.

So in summary: i’m frustrated at work, diet, exercise, weather 🙂

Tomorrow….

Portions, My Friend

Portion Guidelines
Portion Guidelines
I count my calories daily but I am not honest about portion sizes. As time goes on, my portion sizes are getting bigger and bigger. I was reading an entry another blog the other day “Why You Should Quit Trying to Lose Weight” http://guysandgoodhealth.com/2014/02/20/why-you-should-quit-trying-to-lose-weight/” and it dawned on me while I was trying to cheat the system, I was cheating myself.

When I eat a bowl of cereal, I count it as a serving and a serving is usually one cup. And if you take for instance that a cup of Mom’s Best Raisin Bran is 170 calories per cup and you fill that bowl, you are likely getting closer to 2 cups which is a difference from 170 –> 340!! Big difference!

So, back to measuring and weighing food. And I really need to leave cereal alone. I could eat it for all 3 meals several days a week. Then I have to drink my protein which I hate.

March 2 is the beginning of my “No sugar, No Junk Food” 30 day challenge. I’d start on the first but the big Mardi Gras celebration in St. Louis is on the 1st and I’m sure Hurricanes and King Cakes have sugar!

I’m about to leave work and make that long drive home to see my honey and my puppies. St. Louis Blues are playing tonight so I don’t have to spend the entire night watching “Criminal Minds.”

I “heart” Joe Mantegna

….Everyone knows that a woman can't judge measurements…. 🙂

Later……

Those Damn Facebook Drama Queens

Drama, drama
Drama, drama
I admit it, I’m a prolific facebooker. I enjoy staying in contact with friends, family, acquaintances and even make a few new friends. I never friend co-workers. I don’t want to know what they do and I certainly don’t want them to know what I do.

If not for Facebook, I’d never see or know what is going on with friends, ex co-workers, high school friends or relatives that live in other cities or states. I get to see weddings, babies, graduation etc. I enjoy Facebook. I keep up with area runners and what 5ks are going on in the city. I like occasional recipes but not the constant flood of butter and sugar soaked baked goods! Well, ok I do like those things. haha

But I can’t stand drama! And not a big fan of all those meme’s passed around and “If you love Jesus, share this” haha I don’t do those.

So….I have a Facebook loyalty dilemma. My best friend in high school married my cousin. He left her for a woman he met on Facebook. It crushed her to the point that I am not sure she can or will get over it. He’s my FB friend and so is she. He married this other woman and she has requested that I friend her. I don’t know her but I see what he posts about how much he loves his new wife. They do look happy. If I add her as a friend, my high school friend will definitely be hurt.

My surgeon told me Friday to stay on an appropriate amount of calories to maintain and don’t try to lose right now. He’s concerned about me trying to lose weight and not getting proper nourishment that helps in wound healing. I’ve added more protein to my daily intake. He also asked me to hold off on exercise other than walking right now because of where the wound is located.

I want to start running again. Saturday just wetted my appetite! But it’s still cold and since my surgery, I can’t tolerate cold. I used to do my best running in the winter but since my surgery I get so cold. Maybe it’s because the surgeon removed 12 lbs from around my mid section? haha

Anyway, maybe I’m getting lazy.

Endless Love

With Food.

I’m writing this today because I can’t get my mind off my weight. I have an almost paralyzing fear of getting fat again.

I have been fat for most of my life. I could blame my parents, friends or just being from the south but that’s not why. We southerners pride ourselves on cooking the richest most caloric comfort food imaginable. I don’t remember any traumatic event that made me overeat.

I remember the first time I became aware that I was more than just plump. Maybe I was 10 or so and overheard the doctor tell my mom that if I kept gaining weight at that rate, I’d end up in a wheelchair. I was crushed. My mother did things to try to help me after that such as buy things we considered diet foods then. I think I ate canned tuna and english peas solid for 2 weeks! haha She paid for me to join Weight Watchers and that wasn’t easy as poor as we were.

When I was 14 or 15, I did get to my goal weight of 137 lbs which is small for me. I’m 5’8″. I felt pretty and loved that feeling. From then on, being fat devastated me. I gained that weight back. I felt ugly. I felt worthless and not important.

I just liked to eat. My brothers and sisters were not fat but they ate the same things I ate. I wasn’t active. I did play some sports with my dad and brothers but for the most part, I was a couch potato watching westerns: Gunsmoke, Big Valley, Lancer, High Chaparell….all my favorites!

I lost the weight again at 17 years old. I bought the cutest clothes and enjoyed people and particularly boys liking me. And at 18 I got married and pregnant soon after and that sealed my fate! Fat for life.

I love food. I consider myself a foodie. I’ve heard people equate foodaholic with alcoholic but I’m not sure it’s the same. You must eat and you don’t have to drink alcohol. So to me, a foodaholic has a lesser chance of beating that demon.

I’m a social eater. I love trying new foods and restaurants. I have over the last few years learned to appreciate the beauty and taste of food not the quantity.

I can never go on a diet that I can’t live my life by. I don’t over do it but I don’t exclude things I love. If I want a Cadbury Egg, I have one and either account for it in my calories or do extra exercise.

I regret not loosing the weight years ago.

(Brachioplasty scar is getting better and better)

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Kids and Dogs

I had another great day. I’m still suffering a bit from my Plastic Surgeon digging out stitches that are supposed to dissolve but are causing problems and wounds from healing properly.

Kevin, Daniel and I were so tired last night that we went to be early…9:30pm ish. Kevin went to Whole Foods to make salads for he and I. He made Daniel grilled cheese and tater tots! 🙂

We woke up early and had a great day. Daniel had rocky road ice cream at the Coffee Cartel after he had pancakes for breakfast! I can’t describe how I feel about Daniel and how good it makes me feel to spend time with him.

I am still recovering from running on Saturday. I’m a pussy. lol I need to start road running this week weather permitting.

Kevin made a healthy and delicious Chili Con Carne. I’m full as a tick now.

The dogs are settled in on the couches beside me. I look forward to that every night. I know they get jealous when Daniel and Sadie are around. So I’ll give them extra loving tonight.

I’ve been enthralled with Third Reich and Hitler shit this afternoon. I am mesmerized by the actually footage of things from Germany in that time. Sick fucker.

I’m dreading work tomorrow. It’s going to be hell week there!

Peace Out…

(Daniel and Rocky Road at Coffee Cartel)

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(Mommy and Eli Selfie)

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Running for Beads

My first 5k of the year was this morning. It was the annual “Run for Your Beads”. It was a beautiful day in St. Louis and people in Soulard were ready to dress up, party and run. I felt right away that I wouldn’t be able to run the entire way since my surgery and no real chance to run since then. So, I invited Daniel to run with me and we had a great time! As usual, he stole the show and when we did get to the finish line, so many people were cheering that charismatic little 6 year old who finished a 5k. It was awesome. Women were giving him beads and wanting their picture made with him. It was challenging for me to keep him encouraged along the way to keep going. We did stop so he could get water and of course we stopped where the Anheuser Busch Clydesdales were outside grazing. And he stopped to get beads that were thrown his way. He even wore my Ipod and headphones. I think he liked running with music. I had a great time. We then all went to breakfast at Hammerstone’s where all of Soulard was out early celebrating Mardi Gras.

Kevin and I kept Sadie for a few hours so the kids could take Daniel to see the Lego Movie. We took her in her stroller for a nice walk through the neighborhood and she had a great time. It’s so awesome to witness babies discovering things with their eyes. When we got home, she took a long nap and woke up in the best mood.

Daniel wanted to spend the night again so he and Popeye (Kevin) are playing Batman II on the Play Station and the dogs and I are curled up on the couch.

I had a good day…

I am as sore as when I ran the half marathon. I really have to get back into routine road running. I’ve missed it 🙂

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Oysters and Beads

I had my follow up appointment today with my surgeon. He didn’t think the places looked so bad on my hip and back. They did look better until he dug around in the wounds with tweezers! He was pulling the sutures that were spitting out. He said that is what is causing the wound separation. I was bleeding like crazy but I think it will help the healing. I come back in 2 weeks.

Kevin and I went to Johnny Brock’s dungeon to buy Mardi Gras beads. I love collecting weird and pretty ones. We ate dinner at the Broadway Oyster Bar…my favorite place to eat anywhere. I had oysters on the half, bloody Mary’s and Voodoo Shrimp.

We visited with the kids a while. Sadie Bug is so sweet and cute. She’s so fun to be around. Daniel is spending the night and laying right beside me watching Ben 10. I’m happiest when he is around.

I think he’s going to run with me in the 5k in the morning. He and I ran one together in November and he finished and he’s 6 🙂

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